Friday, June 25, 2010

The Northside Fest Gift Bag Was Full Of Useless Bullshit, But That's OK

Taste the fucking rainforest

I have some scattered thoughts on the first day of the Northside Festival, even though today is the second day. Whatever, don't judge me.

When I went to pick up my badge, there was free beer. You can't ever go wrong with that. In fact, every time you pick up a ticket for a show, it should come with a beer. Thus begins my long day of drinking. While I go through the gift bag and drink my beer, someone keeps taking pictures of me. I try not to be self-conscious, but also refuse to take anything out of the bag at the moment.

I get home and look through the bag. There's a tank-top that's way too small for me promoting Splice. Even if it fit, it wouldn't crack my rotation of don't-give-a-fuck clothing, headed by my three ridiculous 90s basketball jerseys. There's some kind of gym thing, but I have no use for that if I'm going to die at thirty. Also some kind of Yerba Mate drink promising "a powerful rain forest experience" and calling itself "a flavorful tribute to the Ache Guayaki", a tribe that lives in the South American rain forest. Jesus. I eat a chocolate while talking to my roommate and head to Shea Stadium.

Shea Stadium is nice, especially the huge Met logo they have painted on one of the walls. Nothing much is going on and the promised barbecue isn't happening anytime soon. There's free beer here too though, so I help myself. There's a small deck that everyone seems to be on, I'm sitting next to two people who have a friend that's never seen a penis. Another person tells his friend he doesn't get enough ass, to which his friend goes nuclear, pointing to a girl and saying "She gets more pussy than you," and ending his tirade with "All my niggas get more pussy than you." I marvel at the fact that there isn't a cloud in the sky and choke down a salty Heineken light (free) before giving my Sharpie away to the bouncer.

I go up to Greenpoint, but there's nothing going on at the Warsaw yet. I go a little further north to a taco place, La Nortena, since I didn't get anything to eat at Shea Stadium. I ask the waitress to turn on the Met game since I'm the only one in the restaurant. "Oh, you want English TV?" Sigh. I should have paid better attention in Spanish class. Still, the tacos are good and the Met game is eventually put on.

Just in time for the end of open bar at The Trash Bar, where there's no music yet. In fact, I haven't seen any music at all, so after I finish my beer in the company of five people sitting around waiting for, something, I leave.

Finally, music. The Knitting Factory is hosting the illustrious opening night party for the festival, which means I get to catch a glimpse of lo-fi wiseass Dom. Everything is in the Wavves, No Age mold, which is cool. I'm amazed by how young looking the lead singer is. Also, one of my bosses is there. "Shouldn't you be chopping up trout?" I ask him. I stick around for a bit longer before heading back to Greenpoint.

Jesus Christ, there's still nothing is going on at the Warsaw. I lock up my bike and walk to Europa where a tiny group of people is watching Pillow Theory. Calling it sad would be meaner than I'd want to be, but the question keeps echoing around my head: who the fuck plays grunge anymore? Becoming uncomfortable, I walk back down to the Warsaw.

Finally, something going on there. The Hundred in the Hands is finishing up their set. They're a guy-girl duo, the guy plays guitars over electro beats and the girl sings. They sound a little like Blonde Redhead. I get a beer when the set ends and try to get my friend to come out for the show. He's acting like a forty-year old though, so I'm still going it alone.

Au Revoir Simone goes on shortly after 11, and I see my boss again. I make sure not to mention the chocolate. The set brings me back to younger me, three years ago to be precise. Back in 2007 was the first time I'd heard Au Revoir Simone and also the last time I'd been at the Warsaw. Back then I had a real job, with a suit and tie, but it didn't stop me from staying out until 2 AM to hang out with the Polyphonic Spree after a show there. Au Revoir Simone's music is bouncier than I remember.

Someone says, "The one on the right, she's so hot." Well, duh, all of the girls in Au Revoir Simone are pretty. I don't know how you'd test this theory, but you can't have an atmospheric, electro-pop girl trio with ugly people. It wouldn't fly. There's a guy with an Ed Hardy shirt just going nuts, whipping a shirt above his head. I wonder what brought him to the show.

In a heartbreaking moment for me, I don't get to hear the one song I really wanted to hear. These things happen. Au Revoir Simone end their show with a cover of "Boys of Summer." I identify it from the first chord, mostly because the mean Arab guy that does the music where I sell fish heads plays it all the time. When I nail the song so quickly, I tell my boss I've been selling fish heads for too long. He just laughs. He's been doing it way longer than me.

The show is over. "Just as unrehearsed as I remember them being," my boss says. "Ah, but that's authentic," I respond. He laughs and we go our separate ways. I meet up with my roommate for a drink and we find a piano sitting out in the middle of McCarren Park. Apparently it's an art installation for Northside. A guy standing there with a girl tells us that she's played the piano for fifteen years, but she won't play anything for us. We stop in at Blackbird, where I sit and drink for a little while before going to Public Assembly.

The first thing that happens when I get to Public Assembly is some girl in large heels steps on my foot as she's being carried out of the club. I realize that no matter how far gone I've been in my life, I've never been that girl. I look at the stage to see Fang Island finishing their sound check. I knew a little bit about them, but there's still a shock at seeing four guys with guitars just wailing away in unison. It's like if Andrew W.K. and the Polyphonic Spree had a baby, a sonic assault,but a happy one. There's no letting up the entire set and I wish the room was more packed so I could stage dive. In fact, I can't believe I got in so easy, because what else were you going to do with a Northside badge at 1 AM, watch Ryan Schreiber DJ? I'm almost angry the room isn't wall to wall packed, but it's impossible to stay angry during this music. I do resolve to punch my friend in the mouth for offering me, then taking back, an extra ticket he had to see Fang Island at the Knitting Factory two or three months ago.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Six Months In A Leaky Boat

I've got a bad habit of going to songs and song lyrics to try to make sense of it all when it comes to the Mets, but I think a song about a nervous breakdown is a pretty apt metaphor for looking at the life of the Met fan the last few years. Plus the baseball season is six months, so there's that.

Truth be told, it's not all doom and gloom here at the new TGME HQ (I moved). Even though I watched the Mets lose two games this past weekend, they still had a 7-2 road trip. If the losses had come in two consecutive games to, say, the Reds, it would hardly have mattered. Instead, the Mets lost two to the Yankees and all of a sudden it became imperative to come out and stomp the Tigers, to prove this team wouldn't undo all the progress they'd made.

Well, stomp they have. Most teams don't score nineteen runs in a series, much less in the first two games of the series, but the Mets have managed that feat in cavernous Citi Field. Add to that the fact that they seem to have their very own 2005 Aaron Small in R.A. Dickey and you would think there isn't anything at all to be worried about, much less have a nervous breakdown over.

And yet...

Every positive thing that happens with this team can instantly be set back by boneheaded moves from the front office. Actually, boneheaded doesn't quite grasp it. I've probably linked to this David Roth piece, in which he agonizes over how completely inexplicable the Mets' decision making process appears to be, before. I could point at that piece almost every day when I think about this team. For instance we've been treated to Jennry Mejia finally, FINALLY, being sent down to Binghamton. Presumably this is because Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel no longer see trotting out a buzzed-about prospect the only avenue to saving their respective jobs. Not that Mejia's ability would have saved anyone if this team were 30-41, but that makes sense because he's 20 and has barely pitched above A ball. Of course, the mystery remains what he was doing on the team until the middle of June considering that he wasn't the team's primary set up man, but good luck getting an answer to that question.

Also good luck to figuring out why there's any talk at all of Angel Pagan being the odd man out when Carlos Beltran comes back from the depths of the ocean. In what world am I living in when a team sees the need to keep Jeff Francoeur's one-dimensional ass in the line-up over a prototypical two-hitter that's finally living up to his immense talent? Because when I look out the window, the sky is blue, 9/11 still happened and it doesn't rain donuts. If Jerry Manuel wants to explain to me that in his universe, taking at-bats away from Angel Pagan keeps us from some terrible Homefront future, I'm all ears, but I'm also going to start putting lithium in his water.

Are we even going to go into the Johan Santana sexual assault thing? No, no we will not.

In the end, my big fear regarding this team is that the Braves are exactly as good as they're playing, the Phillies are better than their record indicates and that the Mets aren't quite this good. It's impressive that a team still missing it's All-Star centerfielder and getting basically no help from its big power bat acquisition is eleven games over .500 and half a game out of first place. I just don't know that it's sustainable.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rock Rock Rock Rock Rock'N'Roll General

Does anyone remember in 2003 or 2004 when John Kerry got interviewed in Rolling Stone and said George Bush was "fucking dumb"; or something like that? He also talked about his motorcycle and his leather jacket collection and generally made an ass out of himself. That's all I could think of when I woke up today and read that Stanley McChrystal was summoned to Washington to get yelled at because his aide said "fuck" and basically everyone involved with high level decisions in Afghanistan made asses out of themselves. Don't these guys know we have a trillion dollars of resources to secure a commitment to a democratic Afghanistan?

I haven't had the chance to read the actual McChrystal profile yet, but I did get to read all the juicy pull quotes and I have to say I'm truly disappointed. These people are supposed to be our hardest and meanest killing machines and their idea of a burn is turning "Biden" into "bite me." I get through more creative insults after two hours of selling fish heads then these guys do after looking death in the face every day. Well, I guess McChrystal does but his aides don't, which would explain why one of them called a dinner with a French minister "fucking gay." Send that guy on more night time raids until he learns how to call people, I dunno, "mutant, dog screwing fuckfaces."

The only truly unfortunate aspect of the entire article, again, from my perspective of not having had time to read it, is apparently that Team McChrystal America (seriously?) said Barack Obama was intimidated at a meeting of big shot generals. We have to stop playing these games pretending like liberal presidents don't kill foreign people with weird names. I know that between 1980 and 2008 we had one Democratic president, but he bombed the shit out of people with names we couldn't pronounce just as well as his Republican counterparts. Maybe even better. Doesn't anyone remember Behind Enemy Lines?

Shit, no, wait.

Damn that looks more awesome than I remembered. Netflix'd!

So let's drop this idea that Barack Obama isn't committed to continuing the war in Afghanistan. He's said he is a million times AND he sent 30,000 troops there. The skies of Afghanistan are still populated by killing machines that are basically flying Terminators. Rand Paul is more radical on the military-industrial complex than Obama, so let's PLEASE stop acting like mainstream Democrats are uncomfortable with war.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Media Matters Uncovers Important Information About Glenn Beck's Cock

Namely, that he calls it "the panther." Uh, what?

From The 10 Stupidest Moments in Glenn Beck's New Novel:

Noah and Molly find themselves in bed together early in the book after a harrowing experience at a Founders' Keepers rally. They agree to sleep in bed together because Molly is too scared to sleep at home, but Molly insists that nothing sexual will take place. Noah agrees, on the condition that she "not do anything sexy." She presses her cold feet against his legs, and Noah responds:

"Suit yourself, lady. I'm telling you right now, you made the rules, but you're playing with fire here. I've got some rules, too, and rule number one is, don't tease the panther." [Emphasis theirs]

Then again, no one should be shocked by this. Since Glenn Beck is just an unhinged, Mormon Bill O'Reilly, it would make sense there's a terrifically awkward scene involving sex. We should just consider ourselves lucky Beck didn't include an actual sex scene.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

When I Say "Hollywood Is Killing Me" This Isn't What I Mean

From the Times:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The toxic metal cadmium has been discovered in the painted design on “Shrek”-themed drinking glasses being sold nationwide at McDonald’s, forcing the burger giant to recall 12 million of the collectibles.

Q: Didja hear the one about the underperforming Shrek sequel?
A: They're calling it box office poison!

Q: Could going to McDonald's still kill me?
A: No. As long as you don't order off the menu.

Q: What if I need to complete my Shrek cup collection?
A: Eh, buy one. You won't be missed.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Oh Save Yourself, Timothy Egan

The biggest problem with the Times' Op-Ed page is that it's almost never funny. Not that they don't try (and fail). Witness Timothy Egan:

The millennials, that echo boomer generation born after 1982, have not been heard from of late, ever since proving that they could pull away from their Facebook pages long enough to help elect a president.

HA HA! KIDS AND THEIR INTERNETS! That a man from a generation that couldn't fulfill their own revolutionary promises makes that kind of condescending joke is irritating enough. That he makes it while begging everyone under thirty to come to the rescue of the country is just galling.

Egan is right of course that the Republicans retaking Congress would be a disaster and that Barack Obama needs to get them engaged in the midterm elections. That would probably be easier though if he hadn't been a disappointment even as a pragmatist.

Exiting the voting booth, I didn't expect Barack Obama to completely reflect my politics, but almost every time some right wing nut starts crying, this administration has given in. Why did I vote for this guy if he won't tell Joe Lieberman to shut the fuck up when he floats the idea of stripping citizenship from Americans? How could Obama possibly justify expanding off-shore drilling after he spent months being the candidate opposite the moron chanting "Drill baby, drill!"

If, according to a Pew poll that Egan cites, American kids are optimistic about the future, there's a word for that: delusion. He wants us to go volunteer to clean up the Gulf? Maybe when I've got a job that's better than selling fish heads I'll take some time to go down there. Because otherwise, these heads are just going to be rotting in the sun.

Just in case you didn't get it before, Egan ends with this:

Besides, with news that George W. Bush is now on Facebook, what better time to leave the digital den?

You are horrible, Timothy Egan.

Caroline Glick Almost Takes The Prize For "Most Loathsome 'We Are The World' Parody"..

...but still can't quite beat out the Westboro Baptist Church.

As someone who loves the original "We Are The World" so much he has the video on his hard drive, I appreciate the Dylan and Springsteen impersonations. Spot on guys. Maybe next time don't do an Arab minstrel show though. Just a suggestion.

(video via The Awl)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Understand There Are Changing Standards of Beauty But This Is Ridiculous

Young people, as we all know, can't be trusted with anything. Unfortunately, they're prodigious spenders of their parent's cash, which means they get trusted with the keys to the pop culture car. Sometimes it spawns phenomena that are irritating but understandable. Other times, there's this:

Come on adolescents! You can't do any better than this? If you want music what with the throbbing bass for you to listen at your underage sex parties just listen to some fucking house music or something. I need to know what the purpose of this song/video is aside from providing sixteen-year-old boys with Ke$ha blowjob masturbation fantasies.

More importantly, I want to know if this guy is actually a teen girl fantasy:

Teenage girls hate the idea of sex with teenage guys because they're awkward, immature, and probably have braces. It's not shocking that even the most nonthreatening teen idols are older than their shrieking fans, but this guy from 3OH!3 is really pushing it. Really, what is this guy, six hundred?

Putting age aside, how is he even attractive to a ridiculous scene girl? Say what you will about Brokencyde (and Lord knows I have) but at least they look the part. This guy looks like the failed result of a Tom Brady cloning project, but not even the kind of failure that creates a bitter, revenge obsessed loner. He looks like your dad's creepy friend who works as a middle management failure and begs you to not mention the time he got drunk at the barbecue and put his hand uncomfortably high on your thigh. Makes me wish I was young again. I could compete with that.

It's Why I Don't Eat Before Watching Met Games

"Living with you is like living in a living nightmare."
-Tad Ghostal
Our next possible GM (l) and his brain trust

Since it happens to the Mets only so often, I've come to like West Coast baseball. There are a few reasons, like being old enough to stay up and watch games and no longer needing to rely on the next day's paper to get a score and the fact that it happens mostly during the summer. When I was in school and used to be home for summer, I'd go out to my car, parked in front of the house, turn on WFAN and smoke while listening to the Mets play the Dodgers or Giants or Padres. The A's too a couple times, I guess. Of course, usually the Mets weren't doing too hot, courtesy of some kind of gypsy curse that doesn't allow them to win once they cross the Rocky Mountain range.

Jason Fry and Greg Prince have a much more encyclopedic knowledge of the Mets' Pacific Coast failures than I do, although I'll always remember last year's balk-tastic, base-running gaffe filled (oh look, both of them in one Top Ten list), impossible to believe losses. Because of those memories, I wasn't at all comfortable watching the Mets cling to a 1-0 lead last night. I went back to work hoping that Johan Santana would be rewarded with a win, but knowing full well it wasn't a guarantee.

Of course, isn't that why K-Rod was brought in? To erase memories of Braden Looper and Luis Ay-ay-ay-ala? That would be the case for a normal team maybe, but the nightmare of being a Met fan must go on, which means our heralded closer now has a save percentage with the Mets that's comparable to a barely acceptable stolen base rate. K-Rod has blown almost 20 percent of the games he's been brought in to tamp down. Not all of them involve blowing a game the Mets need to turn a disastrous road trip into a good one, but all of them hurt. Especially because in the off-season two years ago it was conventional wisdom that all the Mets needed to do to fix their rotten bullpen was bring a dump truck full of money to Anaheim.

So much for that. Between yet another sub-.500 road trip and the ongoing saga of Oliver Perez: Unkillable, the Mets are showing consistency in one department: being the baseball equivalent of that dream I have where I'm stuck in a warehouse district somewhere and people are trying to kill me but also reminding me I'm late for work and my bosses won't accept "lost in a maze with hired killers" as an excuse as to why I'm late. So thanks guys, I need something like that while I'm awake.