Monday, May 07, 2001

Tales From the Salt Mines.......... Episode 2: Standardizing Culture

Scene: One white male character sits at a table in Starbuck’s Coffee, clicking away on a laptop, coffee cup within reach. White Male #2 enters, laptop under arm, coffee in hand, and begins sitting across the table from White Male #1. Both characters dress (JCrew, Tommy, GAP) and look quite similar:

M2: What’s up, man?
M1: Word....what’s up?
M2: Word ‘em up!
(M2 sits and hooks up laptop and begins typing away in same posture and manner as M1)
M2: What’s your poison, man?
M1: Soy vanilla steamer...or half-caff mocha frappachino.
M2: Word booty! I’m half-caff vanilla steamer, or soy mocha frappachino.
M1: Word...
M2: Bird is the Word!
M1: Word ‘em up, boieeee.
(Silence.... but typing continues)
M2: You working on that marketing assignment?
M1: Word Booty, Money... you?
M2: Word up...
M1: I’ll e-mail mine to you...
M1: okay?
M2: (Looks confused) Word.......Perfect?
M1: uuuuhhhhhhhh...... or how about Word?
M2: Word!!!!
M1: Word!!!

Narrator: Microsoft Network and Microsoft Word!!!! We’ve got a monopoly on culture.....ooops!....communication!!!!!

Thursday, May 03, 2001


Tales from the Saltmines --------> Episode One:

The air here is nearly unbearable. Reticulated from the top floor down, those in the mailroom (basement) are breathing 7 floors of ABB (Already-Been-Breathed) air. Luckily, my cubicle workstation is on the 4th floor: only 3 ABB floors above.

My first order today is to perform a service for one of the longer standing employees of The Firm. These requests come to me via my PC and I am to accomplish these tasks as quickly as possible. When I arrive at the employee’s desk, he is missing, and another man sits in his spot, his white shirt reflects blue under the flickering fluorescents:


-Who? Oh...he’s no longer with us.

-Where did he go?

-Who? Oh he’s gone.

-What was...

-He’s gone....can I...

-No can I....I got a call...

-No that must have been I don’t...

-Must have been.

I am doubly lucky that my job is such that other workers do me favors in order to receive my services more readily. Today, a worker offered me lunch as reciprocation for services rendered (an unusual circumstance.... pay-offs come in advance). The brown walls and brown carpeting and brown desk nicely offset the brilliant green sautéed spinach, and orange sweet potato mash bordered in styrofoam upon my workstation.

A rumor is spread that a co-worker has spinal menangitis... he is asked to go home without pay.

Another worker is sent home for wearing capri pants.
bikes performed live at schuba's last night.... here is the Holow Times synopsis:

"Bikes Will Take Us wasn't in the most polished of forms, but was still personable and entertaining and charming. He trainwrecked moving into a bar chord progression on his acoustic and then a verse later stopped and explained that the experience was akin to watching the Olympics with your parents and some girl tries a quadruple axel and lands square on her ass. I imagine him singing a whole verse, the thoughts of his fuckup brewing in him until he needs to address them directly mid-song a little later. That boy can belt out the lonesomeness, I give him that."

My only comment on this is that i dont intend to be "polished"...and if being polished were my intention, i probably would have hung it up after my "trainwreck".. it would mean i had failed. My intension is to be personable, entertaining, and charming.... so i guess this is my best (and first) review ever. i know that rob is honest, and the fact that he knows i read
the Times doesnt change that i hope.

I was not terribly impressed with sixto....though their other incarnation YE SHINEY GHOSTIES i thought was grand.

DETATCHMENT KIT blew me away with their first tune in the style of Brahms and JSBE...but after that i lost interest.

41rivers was spot on untill some technical problems took their steam. they have not failed to impress me with their growth and poise as performers... theyre tight and dynamic.... and it will only get better.

Tuesday, May 01, 2001

Try viewing this URL, or any URL, with this "dialectizer".... kick ass!!! thank gore for the internet!!!!!

Reading "Letters to Wendy's" ....

"I rarely ask anything of you because I am a realist. There is something though, I'd like
to ask. You know the little spot of lawn outside-- the immaculate green rectangle between
the sidewalk and the parking lot? I'd like it if you put a baited tiger-trap there. It would show
just how far we've come in the meat industry and it would make clear how much time
we now save (and then waste) every day."

What the Market Will Bear.... a finely written article suggesting that market capitalism is not all its cracked up to be...

This might be interesting too...

Sobering Story in the London Guardian regarding Bush's corporate paybacks and his screwing the masses for the priviledged few....

"It doesn't even do any good to hope [Bush] gets shot. Cheney's a dick too." -----> Anthony Burton

Friday, April 27, 2001

I love spring so much...i havent even had a chance to write about it. spring always makes me consider life anew, in much the same way that slipping in the shower does. i have only seen my life flash before my eyes twice...once when i fell in front of a van doing 65mph literally just escaping death with a Shatneresque (TJ Hooker) roll to the curb. the other when i slipped and fell in the shower, coming only an inch from smashing my soft skull against the spigot (often when i shower now, i visualize my own brains washing down the moldy old drain). if youve never had your life flash before your eyes.... i wouldnt suggest trying to simulate it----> it’s nothing like the movies (though a friend of mine told me a story recently of his grandfather whose battleship was sunk by kamikaze pilots in the pacific. he floated on debris for two days before being rescued.... talk about cheating death) though, it does force some issues: namely, reflecting upon your existence....a timeout.... an opportunity to take stock of your reality and how it fits in with reality in general. for me, these sensations also emerge (though with less urgency) every spring.....more to come on this.

listening to calexico: the black light. this is a record i have enjoyed for a bit, and it never ceases to intrigue me. the tone moves from carnival sideshow to extremely dark and emotive, while never loosing the southwestern flavor that makes it unique. in my opinion, the heart and backbone of calexico are the intricate “latin” rhythms ala john convertino, which are brilliantly tracked “in the round”. This skeleton is nicely dressed by Joey Burns’ outlaw stories, urban-indy influenced guitarwork, and fantastic brass and string orchestrations in the style of the grandest spaghetti westerns ever. Please check out #9: Minas de Cobre (for better metal), #10: Over Your Shoulder , and #11: Vinegaroon, for what i would consider characteristic calexico......

check out this link to some wicked Kung-fu animation in Flash.... you'll need some headphones if youre at work....and a sub-woofer helps.... if you dont have sound, it may be a bit of a drag
Le manque d'intérêt pour blogging est une chose, mais n'admettre librement que vous avez rien à dire est d'admettre la faillite mentale: être alésé et alésage.

Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Listening to John Fahey, "The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death." this guy was pioneering in the early sixties what hacks (and i mean "hack" in the nicest possible way) like Dougie McCombs are trying out today with their fancy electric guitars and roland samplers... fahey manupulates sound and ambience in ways that folks in the sixties thought was "woah...far out".... while still keeping true to the melodicism and tradition of the american musics he so loved. Today, he is still infultrating the minds of guitar players with brains everywhere

fahey's recent death (feb 22 2001) had me choked up for a few minutes, and after about a hundred listenings of "live in tasmania" you'll be choked up too, you insensitive fuck. im also choked up over the fact that everybody who thought fahey was an asshole is gonna make some dough off of interviews singing his praises, or auctioning off the "Mississippi" John Hurt and Dock Boggs records that fahey lent them that they never gave disgust me.

Fahey recorded a lot of records and started a hip label called Revenant which released the likes of Jim O'Rourke and Cap'n Beefheart.

end transmission

Also listening to Brokeback aka Dougie McCombs (and his whammybar). their first release Field Recordings from Cook County Water Table is killing me. the second tune "returne to orange grove" features none other than dougie and his whammy bar, and a superbly recorded sample of a train... also check out "another routine day breaks", and "the flat curving" #s 5 & 8 respectively and with respect. the cover art is great...and minimal like doug's taste....a water table map of cookcounty... this combines three of my major infatuations: train sounds, maps, and guitars.....aaaahhhhhhhh!!!!

i went on a solo roadtrip this winter, and one of my stops was flagstaf az.....anyone who's been knows that a freight wails through the center of flagstaff every 15 minutes (no joke).... i probably watched 8 or ten of them with my eyes closed....and recorded a couple....

at any rate....Field Recordings from Cook County Water Table also includes some great bass work by the chicago underground duo's Noel Kupersmith, clutch triange work by John "big mac" McEntyre (insert baby w/ one eyebrow here), and some other stuff by some indie-giants weve all had dreams of being just like (as if!!!). check it out....havnt heard the second recording yet.... but its on the list


Monday, April 09, 2001

Every Dog has its Thorns

"If you cant clean up after your dog....get rid of it: NO SHIT!!!!" -- ABurton

As seen on TV's "Survivor"

on the way to work this morning i witnessed a white 8"x11" paper flyer bow past my windshield onto the woman's wet windshield beside me. the flyer stuck flat directly in her field of vision so she could not possibly see the road in front of her. had i been her i would have gotten out at the next light and removed it.....however she decided to roll down her window and drive with her head out instead.

Come on Down (to lowest common Denominator)

For my grandmother's 70th birthday this weekend, my grandfather treated her to tickets to the Price is Right, starring the only living person in worse shape than Lenin. My grandma was not asked to come on down, but she did spy a chinette she bought immediately after the show, and got a kiss from the immortal Bob Barker....

Yeh Capitalism!!!

today i saw a man drinking coffee from an orange cup with the TIDE detergent logo on it.....hhhhhmmmmmmmmmm...i wonder if it leaked.

Perfect Disguise

Well...ive come full circle. disgusted by the idea that one of my faves was stolen into superockstardom, i was hardpressed to even listen to the modest mouse major label debut "the moon and antarctica".... however, the worst thing about the record is the cover "art" depicting a godly handshake that may actually be the handshake that occured between Issac Brock and Epic Record/Sony bigwigs. ... and you all know the saying, so i listened. to Brock's credit, and Epic's chagrin, the only songs resembling "hits" on this rec are "a different city", and "tiny cities made of ashes", and "paperthin walls". the rocker, "a different city", features Brock snearing "im gonna look out the window of my color t.v." while MM's characteristic terrible trebble guitars rip holes in your unborn children's eardrums... "tiny cities made of ashes" is a bombastic driving tune, weilding electronicish drumtracks and vox that will make you want to punch me in my glasses. bothof these tunes utilize a fine sense of vocal layering...different textures, and timings, stuck together making it seem that brock is singing out of all ten sides of his cool-guy head simultaneously. "Paperthin walls" has a cool cowbell, and a guitar lick that paul simon could have written... the rest of the rec is quite moody.... beautiful at times (my personal fave being "Perfect Diguise"), nursury rhyming here and there (Wild Packs of Family Dogs), and frighteningly poignant in others... "the stars are projectors, yeah/ projecting our lives down to this planet earth"(the stars are projectors)... the record's opener,"3rd Planet," is an intruiguing, lyrical play ending with "The universe is shaped exactly like the earth you go straight long enought youll end up where you were" ... simple and stylish. the more i listen to all the textures of vocal tracks that B Deck tied togeather ...the more i think this record to be genius...
buy all their records, and if you can steal this one, do it... cuz these guys should be back on K Records again...or even UP.

Tuesday, April 03, 2001

"1st gear..........its all right,
2nd gear..........hold on tight,
3rd gear..........make a right
FASTER.......its all right!!!" Brian Wilson

i just recently bought a new car, and of all the odd happeneings surrounding this act (including a hardened salesman, sniffling over a wreck just off the lot)....only one really stands out in my head: whenever i asked to testdrive a 5-speed no one ever said "Do you like blue or black?" i got a "You dont want a 5-speed"..."do you know what a 5-speed is?".... "What does mom think about this?" (the fact that mom tagged along for emotional support does not not make this comment less disconcerting), and a "we have plenty of nice AUTOMATIC vehicles to choose from."

like most odd occurences, i treid to put this one in the context of our bass ackwards american culture...
i feel we have culture that is inbibed with conveniences....elevators, dishwashers, drawstring trashbags, calculators...the list is long... the fact that i even bought a car is a testament to convenience...i can wake up later, dont have to walk or stand or wait for the bus and the train and i dont have to talk to anybody....thats convienient.

an automatic trans is a modern convenience...and like most conveniences (call me old fasioned) something is lost in translation. when i was forced to take the CTA to work, i had to participate in my environment before and after work...i didnt leave one closed building to end up in another in no time. i interacted with others...ooogled women, talked to little kids, read, listened to the lap lap of the train, drank a beer (after work...after), took a breath, unwound, let someone else drive....

the "inconvienience" of a 5-speed car yields some pretty cool stuff... no one can drive it but you (and your enlightened friends), it demands a greater understanding of road conditions, handles better in rain and snow, more control over speed and torque, better gas mileage, more pick-up, and the feeling that youre really driving a vehicle.... the stop and go aspect of automatic cars is like driving a go cart at the winsconsin stuff.

before you condemn me to the cellar where they lock andy rooney up for 6 days and 23 hours a week, heres the point:

take the stairs.