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Thursday, June 16, 2005
Cool cover of "Black Star"
I write about it today in the XL Blog, but here's the relevant info: Gillian Welch's cover of Radiohead's "Black Star" (from The Bends).
99 cents on her Web site. Just go to "Downloads" and find it under latest tracks. It's a live recording and you can get it in AAC, mp3 or FLAC format.
Good deal, cool song. Check it out.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Weighlifting is a curse
After much delay, the long-promised new Space Monkeys! comic is up. More to come, this time for the reals.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
I said come on Fhqwhgads
My take on seeing "Homestar Runner Live" at the Alamo Drafthouse.
Incidentally, they wouldn't let me use the word "Fhgwhgads" in the headline or body text for that blog entry. Looks too much like the f-bomb, they said, even after I sent links to the original cartoon and the lyrics, which are about as dirty as Sesame Street.
Monday, June 13, 2005
You may have noticed...
That things look a tiny bit different around here.
I added some Google ads over there on the right and also a search button.
The search button should have been there ages ago; I just was too lazy to add it. As for the ads, it's purely an experiment to see what'll happen. In the week since I put them up, I've made an astounding $0.39 so far, so you can see what a raging success this venture into Internet commerce has been. If it continues like that, the ads will disappear and we'll all go back to being ad-free, our mouths pulled away from what looked like quite the full teat of Internet cash.
(But, which, we can now see was merely filled with a saline implant. I blame the Wonderbra of online ad success stories. Or am I taking this metaphor too far?)
City of ... never-sleeping lights? Urine by warm breeze? Land of 1,000 dry cleaners?
We'd been before, and it was nice to lose the virgin tourist, neck-craning gooberism that had struck us last time. We knew we'd want to see a few good shows, that we had to, had to, HAD TO eat again at Cafe Habana and that there was plenty of shopping to be done, so we wouldn't just leave it until the end of the trip.
We also brought an umbrella.
What we should have brought were earplugs because despite our memories of staying on 53rd and Broadway last time and hearing street noise all hours of the night, we somehow naively thought it wouldn't happen again since we booked a hotel slightly out of the Times Square area. As luck would have it, there was construction going on at 1 a.m. every night (jackhammers, people. 1 a.m. jackhammers!) with cars honking and trying to get through. We concluded that the one factor in us not moving to New York (aside from, you know, being all Texany and stuff) was the noise. It was driving Rebecca fucking insane. (Me, I like noise. Noise is all right in my book as long as it's not late at night when I'm trying to sleep.)
The trip was ostensibly a business one; I was reading as part of a cavalcade of Television Without Pity recappers -- we read bits of recaps, stuff from our sites and (in the case of Glark) funny letters from readers.
If you want to know what I read, there was the Bamboo Heather saga from my old City of Angels recaps and parts of the crappetizing "Spell" episode of Smallville. I ran out of time before I could get to the George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine entry from Terribly Happy.
We performed in an artsy space in Brooklyn with its own rectangular moat. We were on a rock-'n'roll stage and indeed got a rock star reception from readers. Y'all are nice.
Then we took the subway back to Manhattan and ate some very good Italian. Glark busted out his PSP and I had to shamefully report that I haven't bought one myself yet. He did an awesome job convincing my wife why it is that I need to buy one before the next time I see him. (You can't multiplayer with one PSP. And in that, I let the man down.)
We saw two awesome Broadway shows -- The Producers and The Pillowman, which was just flat-out the best play I've ever seen. Dark and funny and disturbing and incredibly well acted. I'll write more about it for XL Blog, probably, but I was just blown away. It was one of those plays that, for writers especially, gets your brain all worked up and sweaty, brimming with ideas and imagery.
The first night we were in New York, we wandered over to Times Square and must have gotten there just as some of the shows were ending, because we rounded the corner on 44th Street and... hey! It's Hank Azaria! And David Hyde Pierce! Signing autographs! For Spamalot (which, try as I might in advance, I couldn't swing tickets to). There was a small rail, and the two of them signed for as long as we were there (a good half an hour or so) and posed for pictures as people with camera phones and digital cameras snapped them.
We looked over to the right and a much smaller crowd waited as cast members from The Pillowman came out. We saw Jeff Goldblum and then Billy Crudup as he signed a few programs, then walked off into the night by himself.
A few days later, after we'd actually seen The Pillowman (and my respect for Mr. Goldblum grew about 100-fold), we got them to sign the program. The highlight? Meeting one of my all-time-favorite "Hey! It's that Guy!" actors, Zeljko Ivanek.
I geeked out a lot about the Broadway stuff. I was thrilled just to be walking by the theater showing Wicked, or knowing the names from the original cast of Rent or being able to remember who's starring in Glengarry Glenn Ross and who's in The Glass Menagerie. In all, we saw a musical, a play, and the Upright Citizen's Brigade Sunday improv show, Asssscat 3000, which was nowhere near Broadway, but which still turned out to be some of the best improv comedy I've ever seen.
And for $8? That's better that Broadway, dammit.
One last thing about that -- the Sunday night we were there was Tony Awards night. Once again, we were walking back from something and ended up near Times Square. On our way back to the hotel, we passed by Radio City Music Hall just as a bunch of attendees were streaming down the streets in their gowns and tuxes.
An older guy I didn't recognize walked by nonchalantly with his wife, carrying the Tony award he was holding in his hand as if it were a bus pass or a cell phone. Dude! You got a Tony! Walk like you earned it!
Dim sum. Awesome Cuban brunch with Trash and M. Giant, who was introduced to the delight that is the Michelada. Great Italian. Wonderful bagels. Great burgers. Fantastic Mexican treats.
I like to think we walked most of that off, but damn if it wasn't all tasty.
Spurs, out of their native habitat
We were at Times Square the night the San Antonio Spurs won the semifinals. We were outside the ESPN building and the winding-down last seconds of the game were being shown on the huge screen above. We stood on the street median with other watchers, including a family that I swear must have been from San Antonio. They all had matching Spurs shirts and spoke in that distinctive 2nd-generation Latino accent as they shouted, "Go, Spurs, go!" and "Horale, Ginobli!".
The purse whisperer
You can get a damn good fake purse (if you're a lady, or a purse-carrying sort of gent) around Times Square. The deal is this: the more real it looks, the more likely it is to be illegal, or even more likely, stolen.
So, Rebecca looked at purses that weren't fakes since you can find those two on the cheap. Those you can find everywhere on tables and stands.
But when you see the dude with purses on a blanket that's ready to be scooped up and run with, then you know you're on shaky legal ground. We spotted just such a dude near Bloomingdale's, under some shady scaffolding. Rebecca showed some interest in some cherry Louis Vuitton fakes (only these were too good to be fakes; we began suspecting they were hot) and the dude that was selling them decided we were going to be customers whether we liked it or not. He went straight from $190 to $90 for two pretty good sized purses. We both got nervous and decided to walk off.
The guy, not to be dissuaded, followed us. "Lady, lady, lady, lady, lady! $90! I give you both," he whisper-shouted. "Lady, lady, lady!"
We ducked into an Aerosoles store and finally lost him. He was a persistent shady dude.
On the first flight on the way home, from New York to St. Louis, I sat next to a lady carrying a dog. Specifically a chihuahua. She jammed the dog in his carrier under the seat in front of her and through the four-hour flights (two hours of sitting on the runway because of bad weather + two hours of actual flight time) the dog got more and more restless, whining little by little until the woman had to jam her hand into the carrier to stroke the little guy or take him out to cradle him.
That was a big no-no with the flight attendants. They kept telling the woman to put the dog back in the carrier.
Now, I was the nearest person to her and I didn't have a problem with the dog. He was cute and relatively quiet, especially compared to some babies I've been seated next to in the past.
At one point, one of the head flight attendants came and scolded the woman repeatedly while she tried to calm the dog down and put him back in his carrier. "Ma'am, you CAN NOT have that dog out of his carrier. I'm a dog person, and I sympathize, but those are the rules."
The woman got scolded like this about four times as she struggled. When the flight attendant left, this woman completely lost it, and was crying by the end of it.
And then my iPod stitched to a really good Hope Sandoval song, so I kind of tuned out whatever happened next.
So now we're back in the newest of Braunfels, safe and happy. It's summer and we've got our Schlitterbahn season passes, which is 10 kinds of sweetness with bonus sweet miles.
I miss New York. I always do when I leave. But my sore feet from walking all over the damn place and my need to be near home always outweigh those yearnings to be somewhere where I could see great shows and eat amazing food all the time.
I'd go completely broke there and my brain would probably overload and short-circuit within a month.
Plus, they don't have a kick-ass waterpark five minutes away.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
First the Pixies, now this?
Pink Floyd to play together again next month.
Nice that it only took you guys 24 years to figure out you were being petty.
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