Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Curse of New Year's Eve

I'm sick. No fevers or anything like that, but a nasty cough that would make anyone turn and run to get a SARS-style mask if they wanted to hang out and chat. It's kind of a bummer, seeing as how I'd like to go out and revel with the revelers and bid farewell to 2004. Still hoping for a dramatic recovery, but at this point it's probably better to watch the ball drop on the tele with Dick Clark... er, Anderson Cooper? The irony in that is how Dick Clark is "the man who never ages" and Anderson Cooper looks like he could be 60 (but he's actually 37).

Anyhows, New Years Eve has always been a lame holiday for me and probably countless others because the expectations are higher than Scott Weiland two weeks after rehab! I mean, what better holiday than a day where we're EXPECTED to go out and make a bunch of noise and get drunk and have a hangover the next day. But no such luck this year for yours truly.

This isn't the first time. I got really ill in the late 90's and sweated out my fever in bed. My roommate Luke busted through my door half-wasted at about 11 and looked at me cross-eyed while babbling something about a party, then saw me under the covers and turned around and yelled "WOOHOO" as he ran down the hall. The next year, my girlfriend got us tickets to Primus at the Oakland Arena. We had about 3 shots of Jaegermeister each before BART-ing it over. Once we made it inside, we got into a huge fight which forced us to leave before the show began. And most recently, I was on a job in Chicago and couldn't make it back to SF to be with friends. The saving grace was that Lily was able to come out and take one for the team.

So now I look forward to NYE 2005 to do some reveling. With Anderson Cooper.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Merry fucking Xmas

Done all your Xmas shopping yet? I haven't. None of it. Well, I actually got a few gifts for my family when were in Spain, but they weren't going to be Xmas gifts. But since we've now reached that time of year for MANDATORY gift-giving, the Spain gifts will be used for that purpose. And I suggest we all call it "X"-mas and not "CHRIST"-mas, because there is hardly a whiff of Christ in there anymore. Now I'm not advocating putting Jesus back in there as much as I'm advocating calling the holdiay "SHOPFEST" so we're aware of what the 25th of December really means. It means giving gifts and receiving gifts.

For some of us with a major tendency to accept guilt into our lives as a motivational factor, we will go to church and perform the requisite sequence of sitting, standing, and kneeling. But for a large majority of Americans, we do nothing more to celebrate this holiday than handing over credit cards and receiving merchandise which will be wrapped with paper and bows and put under a decorated tree. Don't get me wrong, I find it all really beautiful and heartwarming to spend time with friends and family and stuffing your gut like it's Thanksgiving again. It's just the blatant merchandising and mandatory nature of the buying that kills me.

So while you're out there on the night of the 24th, looking for that gift for cousin Charlie that you forgot to get, just remember that this is what Jesus really wants you to do.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

music can kill

So aside from my previous rant about wearing earplugs to shows to avoid face melt-age, it appears that there is now a convincing body of evidence that music can indeed kill. Just today, I read an article about the former guitarist of Pantera - "Dimebag" Darrell - was shot and killed onstage by a gunman in the audience. Now I guess I'm gonna have to recommend that in addition to the earplugs, everybody should wear a bulletproof vest to any and all metal shows, and a bulletproof helmet wouldn't be a bad idea either.

I know I'll be getting a letter soon from the USHMA - United States Heavy Metal Association - declaring that I have singled out metal as the only violent type of music warranting such protective gear. But I also know that with all the moshing and people wearing spikes and lyrics talking about beating the crap out of your neighbor and such, it's hard to point the finger in any other direction.

On the other side of the spectrum (not really, but hear me out) - John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers is doing the unthinkable by recording and releasing 6 albums in 6 months. Now if that's not a death wish, I don't know what is. I only hope the subsequent touring schedule doesn't kill him in the process. But then, that would be the Chili Peppers' legacy, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

What a week!

Last week I flew to Detroit. As many of you may know, TNSC co-founder Alan Chimenti is close friends with another famous Lee - Lee Iacocca, the former president of Chrysler who once said "Don't die waiting for prosperity to come." Chrysler has fallen on hard times lately, and taking a cue from the success of Apple Computer, they've decided that he's the Steve Jobs of Chrylser, and they're hoping that Iacocca can produce the same kind of magic.

Iacocca got in touch with AC and begged him to edit a huge monstrosity of a piece for a trade show that was happening ASAP in Auburn Hills, Michican. It was to be played on 9 screens side-by-side with pictures moving from screen to screen in a motion they referred to as "screen gymnastics". Fascinating. Well, it turns out that AC was booked (as he always is), and Iacocca begged and pleaded, but to no avail. Luckily for Lee and for me, I was available. So off I went to MI.

I had a meeting with the boardmembers of Chrysler Motor Corp. where Mr. Iacocca was thrilled by the fact that a person named "Lee" would be editing his masterpiece. He insisted I call him "Lee" and not "Mr. Iacocca". I obliged, even though I knew he was not really Lee, that his real name is Lido. But I smiled and played along with his little game of trying to be a "Lee".

The Chrysler video team and I worked furiously to get the "screen gymnastics" to work correctly, and they even brought in Mary Lou Retton to choreograph the gymnastics. Fascinating. In the end it was a wonderful installation to behold, and Mr. Iacocca, I mean Lee, was so exploding with joy that he gave me a ticket to see the world champion Detroit Pistons play the main contenders to their throne, the Indiana Pacers. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to see a game of such magnitude and with nearly courtside seats.

Lee sent me to the game with his nephew, who I wasn't too thrilled about going with, but what was I gonna do? Well, we got to the arena and Iacocca's nephew, whose name is also Lido proceeded to get really drunk. I mean belligerent and sloppy drunk. He MUST have spilled about 5 of my beers, so I probably only drank one over the course of the game. And a boring game it was. The Pistons were getting blown out, much to the dismay of the home fans. Then came the hard foul on Ben Wallace and the reactionary shove on Ron Artest.

Lido got really excited and amped up. He sprayed as he shouted in my face "DID YOU SEE THAT?!?!?!!! BIG BEN SMACKED THAT LITTLE BITCH ASS!!" I looked over and saw Artest lying on the scorers table. When I turned around, Lido yelled "BIG BEN SMACKED YOUR ASS!!!" in the direction of Artest, while simultaneously knocking the beer out of my hand and right into Artest's face. I immediately turned and hurried toward the concessions stand, fully aware that this may be my last chance to buy a beer before they stopped selling. As I was about to reach the top step, I heard a ruckus and turned to see Lido getting pummeled by Artest. People all over the place were scrambling to get out of there, to get in there, to get a piece of the action. A group of fans with Pacers gear shoved their way through everybody including me and pushed me out into the hallway, where security was yelling "EVERYBODY GET OUT!!!" I've never felt so unwelcome at any time other than at Lucky 13 after last call.

I pretty much figured that Lido wouldn't be coming out of the arena anytime soon, much less getting up at all. He probably had a lot of paperwork to fill out with the police. Luckily my flight was the red eye, so I grabbed my bags from the hotel and headed down to the airport. I saw the video of the riot replayed over and over on SportsCenter as I waited for the flight. Poor Lido.

The next day I went to a Charlie Hunter show with Critters Buggin at the Independent. And I forgot my earplugs.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

ear-splittin' madness

Me and a bunch of pals went to Bottom of the Hill on Saturday night to see some bands none of us had ever heard of, much less heard before. That can be a rewarding experience if you're up for something new. Kinda like going to the same restaurant where you always get the same thing and then just closing your eyes and pointing at the menu and going with it. Except you might have to eat again because your choice turned out to be filled with cilantro and eggplant. You wouldn't go to another show to clear your ears out. I digress.

The bands at Bottom of the Hill were: Smegma, Comets on Fire, and Wolf Eyes. And the articles that got us off our barstools to venture out to Potrero promised "ear-splitting madness" and "face-melting volume". One article even said "The latest release from Wolf Eyes will molest you. That is for certain." Well sheeit, where do I sign up? Without actually providing a review of these bands, I will say this: Volume promised, volume delivered. If you ever read an article that talks about a band being so loud that it melts your face, bring some damn earplugs. I even reminded my friends that if you're old like me, BRING EARPLUGS. Did they? No.

We were at the front corner of the stage as Comets on Fire setup, and I put in my earplugs so's not to get my ears split. The first crash of the cymbals and guitar crunch were so loud that as I looked around the crowd you could see two sets of people - the people who weren't looking at the band, but looking at their friends with fingers firmly planted in their ears and expressions like "my face is melting from the volume", and the other people with earplugs nodding heads in slight headbang-age. One person in my group remembered to bring one earplug, so only half his face melted.

Wolf Eyes was the kind of band that likes to use a lot of feedback, and by that time we had moved to the back of the room but even there people were holding their fingers in their ears and looking around like "What the hell? They're melting my face even way back here!" A lot of people were tired of being "molested" by Wolf Eyes so they left en masse. I hate wearing earplugs, but I hate my ears ringing for the next day or week even more.

After the show we went to Baghdad Cafe and I had a Sloppy Joe, fried mozzerella sticks, wings, and mac and cheese. God bless America.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Whoa, my very own section!

First off, thanks to the Robot for seeing that I needed an outlet to vent/rant, and giving me my very own forum to do so. I'm a little concerned as to what will happen to the TNSC rant section now, given that my rants were a healthy portion of that section in the past. But ya gotta love that new rant section being right there in plain view of all TNSCers, with no clicking necessary. Perhaps some TNSCer with aspirations to have a section named after him or her in some future version of the TNSC website will follow my lead. I'm still trying to figure out if this section will contain some musical angle to it, since I am Lee Lee the MUSICAL Bee, but just for grins, let's do that: I missed the Mclusky show at Bottom of the Hill last Saturday, and I fear that I'll live to regret that. They sound kinda like a modern day PIL, so if you're into that sorta thing, go to their site and listen.

Okay, so what's on the dartboard this week is post-election realization that those computerized voting machines were RIGGED! I know, it's hard to believe that more people might have voted for somebody other than that son of a Bush, but reports are coming out from all over the place that we might actually have elected somebody with a brain into office instead of Goober. If you wanna read any more on the political buzz about secession, here's an article that says we probably aren't allowed to.

Stay tuned...