Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Bought It For The Music

I realize I'm way, way behind the game since I'm just getting around to listening to Dying To Say This To You, the second CD from The Sounds.

But that's how I operate, a good four or five months behind the curve.

First Listen

After listening to the album the first time, I do like it. The songs are upbeat, catchy, and Maja Ivarsson is a great rock vocalist. The only criticism would be, and keep in mind this coming from someone with no technical musical background, is the songs do sound a lot a like, especially the first five or six tracks. However, this is only the first listen and it's common(in my experience), especially in rock and pop. Also, the one song with non-maja vocals just doesn't stand up. At least not for me.

It's very catch indie-rock, or indie-pop, whatever you want to call it. It's all rock and roll to me. I'm a big fan of short, to the point songs, and this album is full of them.

My favorite tracks after the first listen would be: Tony The Beat, 24 Hours, Ego.

Second Listen

Holy crap, this is good. Maja Ivarsson can fucking wail. Tony The Beat (Push It) has got to be one of the few songs that can make someone instantly horny. That might be the highest compliment one can give a rock song.

In conclusion, if you like catchy rock/punk songs and some great, aggressive vocals - check this CD out.

Also, if you only pick this up because of the chick on the right on the album cover and her amazing rack:
  1. She's not in the band.
  2. I hear you, man, I hear you.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Great iPod Moments

Dick Clark once said music is the soundtrack of our lives. Or at least that's what is written on the wall of his restaurants, which I've actually never been to. I just saw one when I watched Bowling For Columbine. Anyway, of all the things from that movie, that stuck with me the most.

Stunning ignorance aside, with the advent of iPods*, music really can be the soundtrack of our lives. That is it can be, IF we plan out our playlists or artists according to our scheduled activities, and have a huge list of stock playlists for any unexpected moments. I'm guessing a lot of us listen to our iPods in transit or at work most of the time, so it shouldn't be too hard to soundtrack those moments. We can leave Zack Braff out of this one.

I'm would also guess that most of us have our iPods on shuffle anyway, since listening to the same Metro Mix or Shutting Out The Co-Workers playlists can get old. So much for sound tracking our lives. Still, every once in a while, I have what I call a great iPod moment. When the song that comes on shuffle is just perfect for what is going on in your life. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Tuesday's Gone - Lynrd Skynrd. It came on at the end of a very long Tuesday at work, during the metro ride home. Ronnie Van Zant never sounded so good.
  • Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne. Another metro moment, this time while I was waiting on a very crowded platform and we all squeezed into a train that had just arrived.
  • Love Train** - The O'Jays. The last metro one, I promise. After numerous delays, our train finally stopped. It was explained we would be stopped indefinitely due to a problem several stations ahead. Everyone was visibly pissed and irritable. Then Love Train comes on, and I almost laughed out loud. I'm sure my fellow passengers would have torn me apart if I had.
  • Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley. The day I mailed out my divorce papers, this was the first song that played. Besides being a great, sad song that is perfect for mourning, it was my ex-wife who introduced me to it.
  • Bad Boy - Frankie Knuckles. This came on one day when I took an extra long lunch so I could work out and shop.
  • You Can't Always Get What You Want - The Rolling Stones. It came on when I was going home to be with my family for Thanksgiving. No real specific connection, but it sure felt good to hear it.

I'm sure everyone has had some moments like these. If you want, share some in the comments section.

*I am aware there are other mp3 players besides the iPod, but I refuse to type "iPods and other mp3 players" every time I...well, okay, you win this round. But I'm not typing it again. iPod is to Walkman is to Kleenex is to Google. Yeah, Google, suck it.

**No, I will not explain or defend why Love Train is on my iPod. Would you really buy any excuse I came up with anyway.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Play On

I can hear the smooth sound of jazz coming up behind me, mixed with the barely audible purr of a good engine.

A silver Cadillac CTS pulls up to the crosswalk. A man slightly resembling Common , complete with a stylish newspaper boy cap and polo, takes a long drag from his cigarette. A true player, no doubt. And like a true player, he has a vanity plate I spy after he speeds off.


That's right. The Dinty Moore Player. That's beef stew, bitches.

Monday, August 28, 2006


To people who live and work in the city, jaywalking is an art. This is especially true for your routine walks, the metro, office, and grocery (OK, liquor) store walks.

This morning, on my metro walk, I shared a jaywalking moment with about five other people. We were all about to make a routine cross, against the DO NOT WALK sign, knowing that it was a one way street with the traffic also having a red light. A nice, routine jaywalk. However, all five of us took one step and stopped. The car to get the red was one of DC's finest, lights flashing.

Then, the same thought must have clicked in all of our heads. There are six of us, what's he gonna do, get out and cite all of us!?! Assuming he even cares. That's it, I'm going! Damn the torpedoes!* We all continued to cross in defiant unison.

Jaywalking prowess is also a good way to tell urbanites from tourists(if the usual visual ques aren't enough for you). Tourists, at least in my experience, are either terrified of or oblivious to jaywalking. The terrified ones are harmless, they just follow the signals. You know, they obey the law.

The oblivious tourists, however, can be more fun. They will follow after you when you cross, no matter what else is going on around them. Therein lies the opportunity.

Anyone who jaywalks knows timing is everything. A second too late or too early, and you've either missed your window, you're getting honked at, or worst case scenario, you get killed.** Oblivous Tourists, not knowing this, are always a second or two behind you. This can lead to disaster. Well, for them.

So if you want to give into tourist hate, I'm sure you know of an intersection or two that could prove deadly to anyone who is a few seconds behind you. They will follow you like lemmings. Then after the sound of metal hitting fanny packs and Bermuda shorts, DC will be left with a few less tourists.***

*I was probably the only person nerdy enough to quote David Farragut.

**So far, I have a 100% success rate in not getting killed.

***Note: I am not really advocating leading innocent people to their deaths. Just tourists.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Look Out For My Shameless Product Placement

I'm having dinner with my girlfriend and her sister tonight. I have never met the sister before and I'd like to make a good impression. Especially since the sister is in the Navy and I won't get a chance at a second impression for at least a year. I'm usually very good with families; I already have the adoration of the mother. I think.

I actually was able to go to the gym today, on a Saturday. Since my gym was in DC I never got to go on the weekends before; living in the suburbs it made no sense. I would always go during my lunch break, Monday through Friday, the gym being only two metro stops away from the office making this possible. It felt good to go there when there was no rush and no crowds. Another little benefit of living in the city, many of which I'll probably discover in the days to come.

Anyway, I had a good run. Five miles at a good clip, and it was all (geek moment) documented by my iPod(I highly recommend Nike+ for the iPod, it's an excellent motivating and tracking tool).

Back at home, I'm faced with the reality that my roommate is never, ever here. I know she travels a lot for work and loves to go hiking and what not on the weekends, but still. I don't want to fool myself and get used to having the entire place to myself, then be disappointed when she shows up. I just hope I have nothing to do with her not being here. I was a little worried that maybe she hasn't taking a liking to me. Then I met some of the neighbors, who had no idea who she was even though she has been living here almost a year. They thought I was moving into an empty apartment. So I guess I will get used to having the run of the place and face reality.

I'm also faced with a lesser, though a little more depressing, reality: my towels do not fold and put away themselves.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Hyattsville Hotties

I don't live in Hyattsville. I'm not single. So, the following ad is not directed at me. Still, I couldn't help but be intrigued. Here it is, click for a full view:

Courtesy of Mate1, we have three lovely young women. All single, available, and hailing from Hyattsville. Kitten9436, Barbie09341, and Teacher777.

Kitten is 25, slim, and has brown eyes.

Barbie is 26, curvy, and has blue eyes.

Teacher is 22, slim and has green eyes.

Now, I understand slim. Skinny, right? But curvy could mean so many things. What could Barbie (or mate1) possibly be driving at? Does curvy mean voluptuous, a nice ass and hips, or a few extra pounds?

Oh I see, curvy means you have huge, back-breaking breasts. Not only that, but you love to give everyone in the world a spectacular view ofthem. Curvy means curvy breasts, and nothing else. Mate1 knows how men like their women: either slim, or with giant curvy tits.

Man, I hope Kitten and Barbie aren't taken. They sound hot. I wonder if they have online friends with screen names like Trixie47 or Bubbles1288?

Teacher777? Eh, green eyes freak me out. Plus, what's fun about teaching?

She is slim though, apparently one of the only two body types women in Hyattsville have. I wonder, would a skinny girl with huge breasts be a third body type? Could we call it slurvy?

I would date a slurvy girl, that's for sure.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Strange iPod Transition Of The Day

Metallica - Fade To Black to Third Eye Blind - Jumper.

Fade To Black is a song most metal fans have a story about. Some kid wrote it on a notebook, a wall, or posted it on the fridge with a magnet(I'm not kidding), and their parents were convinced the kid was moments away from hanging himself. The story usually ended with "...and that's why I have all of Larry's Metallica CDs."

Anyway, from a song about suicide to a song about talking someone out of suicide. One of those things that gives you kind of a "Hmmm" feeling when the connection clicks in your brain.

Apparently, I have an iPod of hope. "You could kill yourself, " my iPod says. "But step back from that ledge my friend, you still have plenty of money to spend at the iTunes music store!"

I wonder, if I had more "illegal" music on my iPod, would the transition have been reversed to Jumper then Fade To Black?

"You could go on living, but why don't you just end it all you fucking low-life criminal? How can you stand the hell you feel, the hell of knowing about all the musicians and record executives you have put in poverty? I hope you die in a fire. Started by me."


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Gentrification, My Bad

A very funny opinion piece from The Onion.

My favorite line has to be:

"I mean, what's the point of supporting a local business if it's not cool?"

"I know this neighborhood would benefit from the diversity of more people like me moving in."

Hilarious, and yet, having recently moved into an "up and coming" area of DC, I guess I'm part of the problem. I'm not demanding a Whole Foods like some people, but at the same time I'm not opposed to the new Target or Best Buy either. And I just got here.

I guess, at the heart of it, I have no real problem with people wanting to live in and develop a neighborhood. My problem comes from the illusion people have that their urban area is somehow more of a "real" place to live than the suburbs, or anywhere else for that matter. I can understand preferring a certain lifestyle and area, but looking down on people who do not live like you, shop like you, eat like you, etc. is just snobbery.

Sometimes it seems the young and upwardly mobile just want to live in the "city" because the idea is slightly edgy and dangerous. There is nothing dangerous about cul de sacs, manicured lawns, and next door neighbors named Ron who drive mini-vans. That's not cool.

It is dangerous to live in the city. There is crime here, or more importantly, street crime. The kind that's on TV. Life feels more...real. Even as we seal ourselves away, or attempt to, with our gentrified walls, we can still pretend there is always imminent danger. And that is cool.

I know crime is a real problem here, for everyone. But the difference between what happens in the rest of the city versus the "gentrified" parts of town is like the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it.

But what point can I make about that, I don't live in an area with that kind of danger either, and I never have.

He's A Mac, He's A PC, I'm Justin Long's Bitch

It's nearly 11 pm on Tuesday night as I write this on the first computer I have ever owned. This information isn't nearly as shocking until you learn that I've been a web developer for nearly a decade. For the better part of that, I have never owned my own computer.

Of course I'm cheating a little bit to get that shock; I certainly had access to a computer wherever I was living most of the time. Except for the first year and a half of my first marriage, I'm pretty sure I had some sort of computer to use, it was just always someone else's. A friend's, a family members, or the best loaner ever, a laptop loaned by the government(before the recent hysteria, and thank god, or I wouldn't know all I need to know about your chances of getting cancer from pennies...I mean, um...this is anonymous right?).

Those computers were always PCs. The computer I'm using right now is a MacBook. I'm using a MacBook because of Justin Long, the hip-indie-hipster kid from Apples batch of Mac vs PC commercials. Yes, I was a victim of those commercials. Yes, that means some tall guy in a suit in some boardroom somewhere can celebrate because their focus group marketing testing worked on at least one consumer, me. He probably helps Urban Outfitters with their marketing too. I'm a part of the "Wannabe Hipster-Indie Kid" demographic. The shame.

Actually, that's all a lie.

I'm a victim of my iPod.

The iPod is a beautiful device and the first Apple product I've ever owned. After borrowing one from my girlfriend for about a month, I wondered how I ever lived without one. It hooked me on Apple. After buying my own iPod, I had to have a computer of my own to go with it, and it had to be a Mac. Justin Long was just the final nail in the coffin.

So, I guess it wasn't a total lie. The commercials, despite criticism, did work on me. I desperately wanted a Mac, to go with my iPod, to launch me into cool creative productivity. And now I have it.

Interestingly, at least to me, is the fact that my first exposure to Justing Long was the movie Jeepers Creepers. I didnt' realize this until after the third or fourth Apple commercial though, and it's a good thing. In Jeepers Creepers(the greatest failure in broadway history), Justin Long's character dies like a little bitch after his sister can't protect him the Creeper, a monster who eats people for parts. "Wants To Be A Little Bitch Who Loses His Eyes To A Monster-Bat-Thing" is not a demographic I would like to be in.

I am Justin Long's Bitch. I'm a filthy, filthy apple whore now. Feel free to judge and hurl rotten fruit at me.

How is it? I love it. It's been great, if a little bewildering for a long-time PC user. OS X is a beautiful operating system. I guess this means, at heart, I am extremely shallow. I love OS X and all of the beautiful applications that can be used on it(CoverFlow, Delicous Library, etc.).

Plus, the computer itself is nice to look at. It matches my iPod. Filthy, filthy whore.

One thing I particularly love about my MacBook is it's built-in digital camera, the iSight. It has many uses, but one of which I know have intimate knowledge of. So, without further ado, here is my first "guide" to using the iSight:

How To Use The iSight To Take A Picture Of Your Penis For Your Girlfriend

  1. Location is key. I, for example, chose to do this in the living room of my parent's house after using their SUV to move most of my stuff to my new apartment Saturday night. It was late, I wasn't going anywhere, and I had semi-privacy. Which leads me to...
  2. Complete Privacy Is Unecessary. Do not let the fact that your brother, his friends the catholic school girls from next door and the two rednecks, are a mere room or two away watching a movie. Or that your parents sleep a floor above. No one is in the room now, which should be all the privacy you need to whip it out and pose for the iSight for your girlfriend's viewing pleasure.
  3. Your Erection Must Last At Least 15 Seconds. I know we can all suffer from performance anxiety, not to mention it's hard to get in the mood when you have to pose yourself just right and then wait 3 seconds for the iSight to click off a photo. Any last second movement and your member is just a big pink blur. Could be a penis, could be a can of the new Tab. Only you know for sure.
  4. Your Mother Must Come Down, at One In The Morning Against All Odds, and Almost Catch You. After this, you will not have any erections for at least a year.

If you follow these steps, you can give your girlfriend the Mr. Happy pics she so wants and deserves.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Things I Learned From Ikea Manuals

1. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to lift something by yourself. Severe constipation will occur. Instead, get help from your shaggy-haired, one ass-cheeked unisex friend Pit Pat.

2. Playing with your ass with both hands breaks things. Instead, plant only ONE hand firmly on your ass and pet your Ikea furniture with the other. Also, ride a magic carpet. Good times.

3. If you become confused, entangle yourself in a telephone cord. After being on hold for over an hour trying to order parts that should have been in the box in the first place, this will make hanging yourself much more convenient.

The adventures of Ikea's own Goofus and Galant aside, it wasn't that hard to set things up at all. Good thing, because I'm pretty sure if Ikea furniture gives you trouble you've just failed some sort of basic mental competence test in society's eyes.

Tonight was the first night my new roommate has been home since I moved in. She is extremely nice. Here are some things about the apartment I have learned from her, though, since moving in:

  1. She is not a back belt in Tae Kwan Do, the uniform was left at the apartment after a party almost a year ago, along with a cardboard box no one has looked in during that time(sadly, it was empty).
  2. We have free cable. This means we have a disincentive to call the cable company to fix the internet.
  3. The apartment next door was robbed a week ago, so we need to make sure to keep all those doors locked. She sometimes forgets.
  4. We are infested with silverfish.
I haven't seen any silverfish...yet. That doesn't make sleeping any easier knowing what could be crawling up into my ear. Ewwww...I hate that feeling, it's like wiping off snot.

Overall though, the apartment is great. Free cable and all.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Moving Back

Well, I'm back in DC. A year ago(give or take a couple of months) I moved out to the wasteland that is the suburbs. Wasteland is a little misleading...perhaps to avoid offending surbanites I should say the alternate universe that is the suburbs, seperated from city life by a ring of gas stations and strip malls, and ten asphalt lanes of something called the "beltway" that I never seriously believed existed before I moved into the suburbs.

I used to live in Foggy Bottom, which is very conviently located near the George Washington Universtiy campus. And it would have been very convient for me if I was a) a GW student or b) a doctor at the GW hospital or c) worked in Georgetown. Unfortunately, none of those statements were ever true. It was a nice neighborhod. I was surrounded by GW frat guys driving Escalades and Hummers(how these were ever parked I consider a miracle of physics, either that or you can major in magic at GW now. Or these frat guys were capable of Octopuss-like squeezing in-between stacked luxury SUVs, slipping in through the cracks of the doors and then expanding back to their original size like other invertebrate life).

I moved out of Foggy Bottom due to....unpleasantness. Not because of frat boys or SUVs, or even the constant presence of a Seven Eleven that literally was only open from seven to eleven, but due to a break-up. Well, a divorce.

But that's over now, and here I am, back in the city. Ready to get back to the city life I've missed. I've had doses off and on. Working in the city, it's hard not to. Visiting my girlfriend in New York has also helped; there is no place like Manhattan.

What to do, what to do. So many possibilities, I don't know where to start. All of my stuff has been moved. I'm ready.

Hmmm. I think my first act will be to invest in some curtains. Like so many city dwellers, I have the luxury of a peeping tom. While disgusting, I can't help but feel sorry for him. I replaced a rather attractive girl here in this room, and now he gets to watch my white irish ass make it's way from my bed to the shower. And when I say white, I mean white. If the light catches it just right this bastard might go blind, and then he won't be able to peep on anyone.

Anyway, now that I've shared that, I think it's bed time.