Friday, September 30, 2005

Media Binge

Spent way too much money tonight, all on the usual suspects (games, movies, music). The highlight for me is the latest in the Sly Cooper series (PS2), Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. (ES, as soon as I'm done, you can borrow it.) Also picked up the latest discs from a couple of today's hard-prog acts, Coheed & Cambria and Cave-In. Was inspired to grab the C&C after reading some recent reviews; I was already a fan of Cave-In. I should have picked up the latest from Opeth, then I would have had all my prog-nerd ducks in a row. People please, if you call yourself a friend, stop me if I ever reach for a Rush album in your presence.

Of salesmen,

Thursday, September 29, 2005

All The Rage

Little known fact: one of the things of which I'm most proud is my ability, brought on by "maturity", I suppose, to properly channel my anger. These days, I'm more apt to play at being enraged by something absurd (like Norm Chow's playcalling) than to be truly engulfed by blinding hatred for anything. The episodes of anger and the (occasional) accompanying violence have receded into the past, part of what I was, not who I am.

Well, mostly.

This week has topped last week in terms of colossal work-related shittiness. The high (low?) point was when I within two feet of being out of my job for good. I'd thrown my ID down on the assistant boss' office floor, told her I quit, grabbed my bag, and headed for the exit. Had she not asked me to please stop (and I'm not sure why I did) and I had made it out the door, my resolve would have carried me out of there forever. On the plus side, when I turned around, I was still engulfed with rage enough to (again) punch a wall. Congratulations to me, I finally drew blood. A nice visual for the movie I'll never produce: a seething employee, bloody-knuckled, sitting in his boss' office, while said boss impotently tries to calm things down.


This week has re-opened many feelings I have not felt in years. It's like the old anger, the premium rage, has roared to the surface. I'm not sure I've had so many thoughts of intense destruction in my entire life as I have this week. I'm not really interested in causing people (other than myself, apparently) any physical harm, but I do really feel like taking chairs and throwing them through windows. Or maybe jacking one of the laundry trucks and driving it through the lobby entrance.

You know, I'm just saying.

I'm not proud of this, by the by, even though I'm sure it seems like it. It is what it is, and it will pass. In the meantime, I'll manage it without doing anybody harm. And my life, outside of the hours I spend at work, is good, if uneventful. I just need to restore some balance to it. And get a new fucking job. But that goes without saying, eh?

Consequently, I'm going to be laying low in terms of social activity for a while. I just need to withdraw a bit, so I can re-emerge (hopefully) energized.

In other news, my brother-in-law is having his surgery this coming week. If you've got any spare positive thoughts/vibes/paryers, please send them his way. He needs it, my sister needs it, their kids need it. So please, help a brutha out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Two-fer Tuesday

Happy Anniversary, Los Os


Happy Birthday, GC!

It's a celebration, bitches...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Last Man Standing

Well, this week finished much better than it started. After a particularly foul week at work that pushed me to my limits of office supply-throwing rage, the weekend was a grand success.

Friday was the worst day, work-wise, and convinced me that going into work on Saturday was a sucker move. After work, I came home and relaxed a bit, then went shopping. Being a good little consumer always makes me feel better. One purchase was Sid Meier's Pirates, which is good, addictive fun. I can't say how it compares to the original, but I'm certainly enjoying it thoroughly right now.

I came home and popped in one of my Netflix movies, The Life Aquatic, which I enjoyed. Having made the decision to not go into work, I stayed up a lot longer than I expected, torn between thumb-jockeying on the PS2 and listening to new music, including the latest from The New Pornographers, Twin Cinema, which is excellent, if not as immediately catchy as Electric Version.

Saturday, I woke up early, finished Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, the second installment in the fine series, then did some cleaning. Bathroom, vacuuming, and a lot of paper shredding. The place feels so different after a decent, if severely incomplete, cleaning. Since I woke up late, this all finished up sometime around 4:30, with no eating to speak of. Which is fine, since the first destination of the evening was Shula's Steakhouse. A shower and a trip to CVS later, I'm ready to head out the door to make the six o'clock reservations at the Don's.

I arrive at the restaurant, which is in the Wyndham City Center, and wait outside, assuming that, since I was almost a half-hour early, I had beaten The Entourage (that's JG and Los Os) there. So I waited around outside until it was nearly six, then decided that I'd just go inside, where, as it turns out, they were having drinks at the bar. Go me! I'm so smart. Within minutes, we are taken to our table in a room that is completely empty. Taking advantage of the situation, JG sounds off with a louder-than-expected "deez nutz!" That pretty much set the tone for the evening.

Dinner was, as it always is at Shula's, fantastic. Food details are, for the most part, boring, so I won't bog down this wee narrative with them. I will say that if you eat there, you simply must have the barbecue shrimp. It's shrimp, stuffed with basil, wrapped in bacon, and dipped in barbecue sauce. After dinner, we piled into The Os car and drove to The Black Cat, arriving around a quarter of nine. We positioned ourselves, as we always do, at the end of the Red Room bar, near the Backstage. And the drinking begins. I have to say, I felt ready to throw in the towel, as I was still in a beef coma. As it turns out, so was everybody else. Eventually, a couple more stools opened up and we could all sit. (To that point, Mr. O and I were standing.) Unfortunately, there were a couple of people dividing our group. Mrs. O and JG were in the corner talking, while Mr. O and I were sitting diagonally from them on the other side of the bar.

CO and I are talking and drinking when I suddenly get a tap on the shoulder. It's Jamy. With quick, across the bar greetings, followed soon by actual mingling, the energy starts to pick up. Also, by that point, I'm nearly out of the food coma. A short while later, ES and her boyfriend show up, and the group is pretty much complete. There was a possibility that a few more people would show up, but due to the work week, I wasn't able to coordinate any firm plans with them.

With our party all present and accounted for, I'm ready to do some quality drinking. And I am. But sooner than expected, the steak sweats have finally defeated Mr. O. Mrs. O and JG are waving the white flag, too. So they settle up and depart. While I do wish they could have stayed longer, I certainly know how they were feeling, and they did so much to make the day great already, I wasn't upset that they had to bail earlier than expected.

Now it's just me, Jamy, ES and James (her bf). We take over the corner and basically just chat and drink. ES, due to an illness, is not drinking (much...she does have on mixed drink and a shot). Jamy, after a couple of drinks and a short night of sleep, is fading fast. So really, it's James and I doing the drinking. Not unexpectedly, Jamy takes leave of the party, which is good. Because falling asleep is pretty dangerous in that corner. Like that one time I passed out, and I woke up with my pants...oh wait. Nevermind.

Jamy leaves, and shortly after, James takes ill and he leaves. So ES and I basically hold it down for probably another thirty or forty-five minutes, leaving sometime after midnight. She walked back to my spot with me, which served two purposes: it kept me entertained, and it also kept me from stopping at Yum's. Thank goodness for that girl. Though, it wouldn't have mattered, because Yum's didn't smell as delicious as it usually does at that time of night.

And that was that. Lots of friends, lots of steak, lots of beer. I couldn't ask for more on a birthday. It completely wiped clean the vitriol from the previous work week. Let's hope that the good vibes from the weekend carry into this week.

To everyone who came out, my deepest and sincerest thanks. You made it a great, great time. And for the well-wishers, I wish you could have been there.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Enraging. I had a double post, and for some reason, I could not delete the duplicate. So I've edited to the nonsense you're reading right now. Not much different than the nonsense before.

Or, Blogging Like The Lazy Git I Am

-Computer is still down. Because I've been working long crazy hours the last couple of weeks, I've got just enough energy to go to the gym or keep prior engagements. Consequently, no online shopping has been done.

-I spent two hours in the DMV on my day off last Friday. Enraging. Had the WMATA bus schedule not been filled with lies, I would have gotten home a good 45 minutes earlier than I did Thursday night, meaning I would have been up nearly an hour earlier on Friday morning. Who knows how long my wait would have been had I arrived at the DMV an hour earlier. Still, I did have a very nice afternoon with my friend KM, who I had not seen in almost exactly a year, despite the fact that she and her husband had returned to the area back in December.

-I went to see the family Friday night, as it was my birthday on Saturday. Good times all around, with the exception of the bad news I received re: my brother-in-law. Not going to go into the details here, but will say that it is operable and he should make a full recovery. Still, so close (relatively) on the heels of my sister's ABC, it's enough to be overwhelming, especially for their children.

-The ridiculousness of my job will not be ending for at least another week, and may require weekend work to catch up on a few things. It's too much (and too boring) to go into, but I will say that the pictures that the former assistant director here has on my boss simply must be compromising, or else he would never hire the two duds (one since departed) based on her recommendation. Their inability to grasp their work has sent this office backwards. It's just a bit infuriating.

-Wednesday night, I attended the FME show at The Black Cat. I really enjoyed the show, nearly as much as when I saw 2/3rds of FME playing there with the Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet back in May. I really wish this area got more shows like this.

-Last night, I met CO for beers and dinner, before joining in the Blogger Madness at Pharaoh's in Adam's Morgan. I definitely enjoyed the change of venue, even though it was dead except for the lively group of bloggers there. I basically talked to Jamy and CO, my usual brand of inanity amplified by the $1 drafts we downed before we got there. Met Velvet In Dupont when she briefly joined our table to talk to Jamy.

-This weekend, beyond possibly going into work on Saturday morning, will be the Birthday Celebration: Friends Edition. Saturday night will be dinner with The Entourage (haven't pulled that out in a while), then drinks and chicanery in the Red Room of The Black Cat. To you random visitors: feel free to stop by and buy me a drink. We'll be at the end of the bar near the Backstage. If you have any trouble identifying me, I'm the drunken asshole.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Well, It Started Off Well

This week started with so much promise. Sunday, spent a good part of the day with CO watching some terrible football. And by terrible, I mean comedic. Switching between the Redskins/Bears game and Steelers/Titans game afforded us ample opportunity to laugh at the inept offenses on display, the Steelers being the lone bright spot in a swirling sea of crappy gridiron madness. Punchouts to Norm Chow and Kyle "Baby Admiral" Orton all around. Then CO and I went to one of the local watering holes to catch the second game. We hung around until halftime, then bailed. The atmosphere was a bit lacking. Anyway, I had a good time, all told, especially with the Dolphins picking up an impressive win over the sorry, no account Broncos. After that game, Mr. O was kind enough to drive me all the way back into the city. That was kind of him.

So I gets home and switch on the computer monitor, ready to log back in for some hot PC action, when I see a screen telling me that the OS was not detected. Well shit. And now Windows won't load. After some helpful email correspondence from GC, a conclusion has been reached that I should replace my hard drive. So I've been using the shitty old laptop this week. Everything is barebones and serviceable, but it really sucks ass, not to put too fine a point on it. Hopefully, I'll be able to get this fixed sooner than later. And

Meanwhile, work has sucked. Today was another punch and throw random things kind of day. That place really turns me into Bob Knight, but not as funny. Fortunately, I'm taking Friday off, plus we're adding to staff, so things should be normalizing soon. Still, I could have ruined that office with my anger today.

Randomly: we have some celebs in-house for a USO event, Wayne Newton, John Elway, and Shaquille O'Neal being the big names. Naturally, I made many jokes about going to Shaq's room and trying to post him up. Now that would have been a real coup. Fuck Ronald McDonald, or whatever the Georgia Tech's center's name is. (I can't believe I forgot.)

Even more funny: someone, presumably another celeb, is checked in using "Tito Puente" as his name. No respect for the dead, I tells ya. I could have called up and given him what for, but that would have probably gotten me fired. Not that I would have cared much after the day I was having. Fortunately, the good times will be rolling soon and next week promises to be a very good one. Good to know that even after this shitty week, I can be optimistic. And I didn't have to hit one person with a brick. I must be mellowing in my old age.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Go Buckeyes!

The Ohio State/Texas game is entering halftime, so it must be time to blog.

I don't know how that works, either.

Finished up a long work week yesterday, with my office in full short-staff mode. That means attitudes are less chipper, hours are a bit longer, and the inanity of what I do for a living is center stage in my thoughts. Surprisingly, I did not withdraw from the work-sponsored outing last night, which was a Nats/Braves game. To be perfectly honest, I'm not interested in hanging out with my co-workers, even the ones with which I am friendly and have a great working relationship. Nothing personal against them, but I hate the overlap between my job and my life and avoid these occurrences. However, after seeing the list of people who signed up for the Friday night game (the hotel also got tickets for this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon), I thought it could be some fun, so I went. Was it fun? Not particularly. It wasn't miserable by any stretch of the imagination, but it certainly did not qualify as fun. The baseball itself was quality, and the stadium had its usual share of eye candy, but it was mostly a forgettable experience. I spent most of the evening talking with a woman who used to work in my department and is really one of my first friends at the hotel. At the end of six, she and I decided to bail. It was interesting: the score was 6-3 (Braves) when we left our seats, 6-4 by the time we reached the stadium parking lot, and 8-6 (Nats) by the time we got out of the cab back at the hotel.

In the midst of all this beisbol, I worked the phone to set up post-game plans. These plans, as is the custom, involved meeting up with CO and JG for beers. So after grabbing my bag from the office, I was dropped off by my co-worker at the Gallery Place metro so I could grab a yellow line down to the Georgetown of Crackerdom: King Street. Bugsy's ahoy! It was a nice way to cap the night, as I finally was able to turn off my work brain and strap in for funny.

Today: woke up and went to Spring Mill Bread Co. in Bethesda, for to buy a couple of loaves of their Pesto Asiago bread. Best. Bread. Ever. After, I stopped in for a bite to eat at California Tortilla. It wasn't bad at all, despite its cheesy, "destined for a strip mall near you" appearance. From there, I brought the bread home, lazed a bit, then headed back out for a trip to Pentagon City, inspired by a coupon I had to use before it expired. Wound up picking up a few cds, including Sleater-Kinney's latest, The Woods. I have heard way too many good things about this album to continue putting it off. We'll see if I've been had soon enough. I also picked up the best of Mick Foley DVD collection, a new pair of shoes for work, and a game, La Pucelle Tactics, because I have been looking for a game in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics forever and this, along with related title Disgaea, seems to fit the bill.

Now I am home, finishing up laundry and enjoying the second half of the OSU/Texas game. I'm feeling kind of antsy, to tell the truth. Maybe I'll head up to the Black Cat for a beer or two.

Tomorrow: some hot NFL action at Chez O.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Afro Samurai

Manga. TV Series. Movie. Video Game.

I know nothing about Afro Samurai beyond what this article is telling me, but am intrigued because of the man who will be co-producer of the animated mini-series and live-action feature film: Samuel L. Jackson.

"'Afro Samurai' is a visually striking and rich story." said Jeff Lujan, business director at Namco Hometek Inc. "With its gritty and unique mix of hip-hop and samurai styling, 'Afro Samurai' is perfectly suited for video games. We are looking forward to working with GDH in bringing this exciting new property to life."

"Afro Samurai" follows the story of one man’s journey of bloody hardship and pain. After witnessing the cold blooded murder of his father, Afro devotes himself to the path of revenge. He sheds no tears, knows no love and stops at nothing to achieve his goal. Forever chased by powerful enemies in a lawless technology-speckled dystopia, he evades bullets and blades to reach his final prey: a man who will not die...

I assume that The RZA will be involved in the soundtracks to all of these.

One of the best things about where I live right now is that I can walk to work. The morning walk is always a good one (unless it's raining), because it wakes me up and the "sights" in my neighborhood are always top notch.

Sometimes, I get treated to a little extra. For instance, this morning, at the intersection of 19th and Q, I saw a woman get run over by a delivery truck. Well, her foot was run over. You see, what ha' happened was, she was to the right of this truck as it was making a right turn. The truck driver did not see her. The next thing I heard was a loud crunch (that was her bicycle's front wheel, not her foot) and her screaming. Nothing terribly shrill, almost like what you might do if you stubbed your toe, but magnified 100 times. She wasn't a courier, so I was immediately on her side, especially since it seemed to take the driver (who did actually stop, instead of just going on his merry way) forever to hop out to find out what he did. And then he just sort of shrugged it off, saying "I didn't see her". Which is entirely possible, since she was pretty close to the truck and he was riding high. Still, show a little bit more concern, jackass.

At the same time, I kept asking myself, "why didn't she just jump off the bike?" This truck was not speeding, and neither was she. As a matter of fact, they were both going pretty slow, since he was taking his large vehicle into that rather tight turn and she was just hanging back to his right. It was as if she was playing chicken, seeing if the truck would stop and let her go straight. I'm sorry, but that's a fool's gamble in this town, and no bike is worth bodily harm, not even the old-timey ones with the big front wheel. (If she had been riding one of those, the driver surely would have seen her.)

I have no idea what the upshot of this accident was. She was calling someone (the police? her employer?) as I passed by her and the small group of well-meaning gawkers who had assembled. The only thing of which I am certain is that her bike's front tire is completely dead. Better it than her.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Pardon me for a moment...

He's #2!

"The Ultimate Sage Rosenfels Experience" was named the back-up to recently named starter Gus Frerotte, dropping AJ "Waste of a #2 pick" Feeley to the third string. I know this is a bit like being named the most likely to be a mental patient, hillbilly, or chimpanzee, since none of these guys are exactly world-beaters, but I've always liked Sage, even when he was a Redskin. Sure, most of my enjoyment of Mr. Rosenfels is in part due to my always pulling for the Dolphins third-stringer, no matter how ridiculous (I pulled for Druckenmiller and McNown, too). But I do actually like what I've seen from him on the field. Nothing against Gus, but I hope that Sage gets a chance at being a starter at some point.

Blues, Beer, and Foulmouthery

Saturday, while Chief Justices were dying and Ralph Friedgen was mainlining bacon drippings, I did manage to make it to the DC Blues Festival out at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre. I got there in the middle of DeConstance's set. She has a tremendous voice, but did not have a band to match. The place was not even half-filled yet, so I got myself an excellent seat. After they finished up, there was a swift set change and then my main reason for being there took the stage: Candye Kane. Full disclosure: I am not that familiar with her music, having only heard a song or two before. (Though, I am quite familiar with her "early career".) I went because my friend, EMT, has testified to the greatness of a Candye Kane live performance and I had to see it for myself. And you know what? She was dead right. Even though she only had an hour to perform, and the show was not in an intimate club setting, Candye completely worked everyone in attendance. The description of her show as being like "a revival in an adult bookstore parking lot" is spot on. The set was funny, sassy and an all-around good time. And unlike DeConstance, her band was the equal to her singing. Unfortunately, I didn't see any merch for her at the tables, so I'll just have to buy online.

The original plan was to just see Candye, but after reading the bio of Sharrie Williams in the program, I decided to stick around for that, too. Once again, I made the right decision. Like Candye, Sharrie completely worked the crowd and had them eating out of the palm of her hands. The band was tight, too, kicking out some very good soul-blues jams. Definitely worth seeing again if she returns to the area.

I left after that, got home, and then got in touch with JG to make plans for the evening. The plan: let's go see The Aristocrats! We got CO into the fold and made an evening of it, starting and ending with beers at Harry's. The movie was, as expected, hilarious, so overloaded with great lines and images (Fred Willard, anyone?) that it would be ridiculous to try to get them all in here. Just go see it already.

After the movie, as mentioned just a few sentences back, we returned to Harry's and drank on into the night. Lots of fun was had, including wasting the film of some girl who asked me to take a picture of her group. (Unfortunately, she did not take the long way back to get her film, as I was prepared to take another quick shot of the boys, this time in full "deez nutz" mode.) What all was discussed, aside from the movie, is a bit fuzzy, though, I do know we spent a lot of time talking about what songs we'd like to perform karaoke style, including the three of us doing Snoop's "Signs", with CO as Justin Timberlake. Ha! Also, under the influence of beer and the movie, preliminary talk of doing open mic comedy was made, but that will have to wait until we've karaoked.

Today, I veg, after deciding against going to Hoss's. I know I'll regret it soon enough, but that sleep was solid. No complaints here.

Tomorrow, BBQ avec mein familia.

Apache Chief Chief Justice Rehnquist Dies at Home

And now it's time for the panicking hordes to get their freak on.

Once again, I know I'm late to this (we don't have any White Castles in this area). But really, the whole Burger King Chicken Fries thing simply cannot match this on any level. Coq Roq can go suck it. White Castle, fool! What?!

Kill Whitie

How did I miss this? Gee, what a surprise. A bunch of smirking white kids taking refuge in irony while appropriating a culture to which they've never contributed, outside of buying copies of 3 Feet High And Rising and The Low End Theory, which, by the way, are the only albums by non-white artists they own besides Bob Marley's Legend. Didn't hipster irony end when Pavement broke up? And, of course, it started in Williamsburg. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Fuck Williamsburg and their contemptible brand of hipsters. It's because of people like this that I have to constantly read about how great The Arcade Fire and Death Cab For Cutie are. (Hint: they suck.)

Another flier offers free admission to anyone with a bucket of fried chicken.

It's okay, we're being ironic.

"If you don't see it's funny," he said, "I can't help you."

Of course, Mr. Grubstein has "funny" on lock, so if you ain't feelin' it, he ain't tryin' to help ya. You bitches bettah recognize.

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Some Saturday Afternoon Absurdity

Local monkey evangelist Rev. Bonkers does a little faith healing.

Helper Monkeys! (Thanks to Dr. C for the find.)

Two bits from last night's drinking with The Drizzle:

"Ronald McDonald can't play no cover two!" (credit: Damian Vega$)

Carl Weathers/Colin Powell in '08! (credit: The Drizzle)

Personally, I'd like to see Hogan/Ventura in '08. A pres/veep tandem that comes to debates in feather boas? Hogan constantly referring to Russert as "Mean Gene"? The National Anthem changed to "Real American"? State of the Union addresses promos that end with "Whatcha gonna do, brother, when Hulkamania runs wild on you?" All pure (red and) gold.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

I Have No Idea What's Going On...

This week has been just shy of ridiculous. Massive sleep deprivation, two people leaving just before the end of the month (ridiculous when you've got to close the books and you were short-staffed already), going into work by 6 this morning, watching images of the whole spectrum of humanity dealing with Katrina. glasses STILL haven't come in. I know they said it could take up to two weeks, but I never thought it would actually take two weeks. Plus, it's already September! Where did this year go?

I've got nothing useful to add, as I'm even more scatterbrained than usual. I haven't been able to return emails, and I've only managed to watch one of my first three movies from Netflix (Napoleon Dynamite, finally). Saturday, I will be wading through a sea of blues fans as I go to see Candye Kane at The 17th DC Blues Festival. I would just go see her perform tomorrow night at the Chevy Chase Ballroom, but I think it's probably mandatory swing dancing and my skills fall just short. And, sadly, the Running Man is not considered an acceptable substitute. I lose again.

Or maybe I win. Viva lucha!