Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Carl Sagan was one of the greatest people of the 20th Century

I have always felt that.

I remember watching episodes of Cosmos with my stepdad on PBS. Here this nerdy scientist guy drabbed in a brown suit was telling me things like "There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on the earth." and streaming out on scrolled paper as best they could a number so unfathomable that they couldn't even actually do it. Blew my mind. He had a kind of new age vibe but it also made a lot of SENSE. He mathematically predicted life on other planets (borrowed from a colleague at the time) that made it not only probable, but also shed light on the danger WE are in and need to address to sustain the human race. Wow.

Also, he made me think about the world and the worldhood of the world (as such). I believe if there were one pop culture person in my youth that helped me think of things in the world today, it was him.

When we lost Carl, we lost a whole lot more than just a silly "billions and billions" joke.

Yes, I own the DVD set. Yes, I miss him. The world should too.

Link to something cool.

Another cool link.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

...and the War on Terrorism put them back a thousand years...

Antiquation Mechanism. A device that my Liance and I learned about on a program on PBS a few months ago has now gotten more press on Boing Boing and more importantly here. Incredible, proving that Ancient Greece was perhaps the best society humans ever produced. Well, maybe a few slips of the slopes but was more democratic and open to new ideas than our current "free" world. They still don't know how "mass" produced or known this knowledge was or what it was really even used for. A good bet to me would be seafaring. I also bet the schematics were lying in a Library somewhere. Or maybe we need to look toward the East. Still, it is astonishing what history uncovers, when humans were more in touch with the earth and not so driven to not be a part of it. Imagine what is left to discover...

Reading as best I can this holiday season: Hard-boiled Wonderland/End of the World by Haruki Murakami

Spitting sonic rage with: Rio Grande Blood by Ministry

Bopping my holiday head to: Christmas Remixed 1 & 2 from Six Degrees Records

Shameless Music Plugs:

"Cotton" Dick Clinton plays The Mall

Noble Chicken plays Lump of Coal

Monday, November 06, 2006

If voting changed anything

Jello Biafra did a spoken bit on this a few years ago and some kind person was dedicated enough to transcribe it HERE.
Please please read it, it is quite informative...

Three candidates (only two heard from and in the running) in Virginia:

Gail Parker : her big platform? More trains! It's almost comical, yet ya know what? At least she is making a stand! Ha!

George Allen : please. This man is only a birthright away from Schwarzenegger, so it's frightening that he COULD be president someday...

James Webb : Apparently USED to support Allen 6 years ago!

You know what? Watching all these political debates between the two main players, and I will probably apply this to the last presidential election as well, it is amazing how OUT OF TOUCH they are with the people. Politicians have always had that shade of higher than thou, yes, but these days, man, these days...

How out of touch they are with common every day people? Completely. They have NO IDEA what some person goes through day to day to day to day. One stupid visit to a poor house or VA hospital or line cooks at a Wendys or anything like that don't make em KNOW diddly. It's repulsive to think that unless something is done soon, we will be creating a 2nd (maybe more already, I'm sure) generation of accepting this tripe.

Another thing, it's insulting to listen to them churn this rhetoric butter, making it easy to understand for us fools in the normal world, but when they get to the lawmaking, they use all this complicated and lawyer ridden language. That is just plain WRONG. Make it easy to understand. I guess that's what happens when you get a buncha bored lawyers and businessmen together.

How about one word: NOTA.
None Of The Above.
Let's maybe put THAT into the election mix.

No extra election money or a cap on it at least.

Career politicians are NOT representing anyone but themselves.

Okay, get out there an vote?
No on all three amendments, please?

Reading: Kind of waiting for my copy of Crimson Labyrinth by Yusuke Kishi to come in the mail to me...

Listening to: Balkan Beat Box, definitely check it out!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Rebuild this Wall?

So we work for YEARS in Cold War conditions to "tear down this wall".

Only to build another in our back yard?

I wonder how many of those hired will be from South of the Border?

Excellent places visited or nearly visited by me in the past week:

U.S.S. Shenandoah Airship crash site
Big Muskie Bucket
Used Kids Records
The Blue Danube
Henricus / Dutch Gap
Antique Village

Note: Just when you think all good indie music has died, leave it up to the good bands to prove your ass wrong! Alice Donut, Nomeansno and Uzeda all have new ones out. Buy em!

Movie: Three Extremes
Books: World War Z by Max Brooks
Music, OH MY GOSH, music! Did you not read above??

FUNDRAISER: DONATE TO WRIR!!!! Radio for the rest of us!

Monday, September 11, 2006

George Bush just plain sucks

I am watching him read off the teleprompter what other people have written right now thinking he is a freaking idiot. I don't think anyone in presidential history has shit on the people he is supposed to represent more than him. You know I don't have to list the problems with this former baseball manager. I watched a little bit of the 9/11 5 year special on NBC, and I feel a sense of rage and anger at what those terrorists did that day, but I have the same feeling toward the Commander in Chief's behavior and his hoodwinked style governing with his neo-conservative bootboys in his hip pocket. But who sould I be angry at the most? The PEOPLE. How can a war in Iraq go from weapons of mass destraction to the The War Against Terror (T.W.A.T.) and we BUY this hindsight 20/20 style action? Shoot first then shoot others later? If so, then WE ARE DOOMED. Oh well, keep smiling!

I'm engaged! Popped the question at Natural Bridge Sept 2 and L. said yes! HAPPY!

Read: Nikki Turner's "Glamorous Life" (hilariously awful, the ghetto Danielle Steel)
Reading: Blood on the River : Jamestown, 1607 by Elisa Carbone
Getting ready to Read: Dark Water by Suzuki

Listening: lotsa stuff! I'm a DJ now damnit!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

New York Don'ti

I am no curmudgeon when it comes to new things, but I have to say that New York Deli has all the charm and enchantment of the Carytown McDonald's redesigned "living room" area. Miserable.

So L. and I decided to give it a try, L. much more wary of the new design and atmosphere than I. The drab interior is a textured orange wall treatment, complete with shiny metal duct work and gee whiz, pictures of New York seemingly bought from the Garden Ridge catalog. There is a pull down screen and power pointish projector on either side of the dining hall and there is a DJ looking booth in the corner. Immediately I am thinking that these tables could be moved away and a rave could bust out at any moment. There is a cross section in the patronage; the west end couple with their teen college kid in flip flops; a young tattooed man with a pair of breasts for women, one with a child who leaves to never return; and old couple still trying to see what this new NYD is all about.


Oh waitress?

Oh here are our menus. L. orders the terriyaki wrap and I order the orange chicken entree for 10 bucks. Probably my first mistake, should have stuck with what the Deli WAS known for, like some stacked meat sandwich, BUT if it's on the menu, it should have some taste.

I order a PBR.

By the time I get the beer the couple next to us has gotten their second sets of drinks. Our waitress, oh waitress, basically ignores us the whole time. Looking across the room, there is another, more competent and pleasant waitress gabbing warmly to some table. Damn, we should have gotten her.

So our food comes, delivered by some lanky fellow from the kitchen, no nonsense in the delivery. I can appreciate that at least. L. says her wrap is okay. Mine? Oh, I'll let you know about it.

It comes in a bowl, stuffed nearly to the brim with rice drown in some nasty tasting orange "flavored" sauce probably from a bottle from Kroger or something. Then there are a few pieces of broccoli and red peppers and like 5 chunks of chicken. This meal is mostly rice and a residual taste that is as appealing as dabbing the terminals of a nine volt on your tongue for 20 minutes.

I order another PBR.

Waitress would rather wipe the table next to us, even though there is no one waiting to be seated, than to get me my second beer to get rid of this rancid taste from my mouth.
I don't finish my food, but the beer is emptied.

"Would you like a box for your meal?"
"Oh no, that will NOT be necessary."

Style magazine
has no sense when it pushes a place that for has not even earned a reputation for what is has to offer BESIDES being open late. Don't tell me in some poetic language that this place is the electric keystone of neo Carytown when it can't even produce the goods on a slower evening for a proper meal. What, are they planning on advertising with your paper for a while? For a bar scene, the decor looks a little five years ago already anyway. For a restaurant, I think I will go to Bev's for a tasty grilled cheese, or Mom Siam's or Thai Diner Too, or Farouks, or Double T's or anything else but...

I do plan on a second visit, this time maybe sitting at the bar and ordering a proper sandwich, fingers crossed.

It's not a matter of missing what New York Deli was as so much as unimpressed and disappointed with what it has become.

Come on in, the water is fine!

Shockoe Creek Strikes Back

I don't care what anyone says about Shockoe Bottom and the flooding problem.


This creek has been around long before us, creating that little gulch in the city known as Shockoe Valley. Heard of it? I have always had a fascination with this historic and largely overlooked body of water. Indian tribes lived on the creek long before Chris Newport decided to plant a cross near the Falls and Poe supposedly learned to swim in it when he was a young lad. If it wasn't used for flinging waste and filth for so many years, ultimately turning into a sewage line, maybe it would have been given the proper respect it deserves. I have always planned on writing a pamphlet on the history of the creek, scouting the areas where it could have exactly been, exploring the valley till I find the source. It still exists, that I am sure, just under asphalt and in the valley (near what was known as Butchertown) and surfacing at it's mouth near the James much to our human dismay for years and years and years...

Funny how in Man Vs. Nature we ultimately lose.

Watching: Battle Royale, again!
Song stuck in the head by: Gogogo Airheart

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I gots a lots

I have a lot of things going on these days, sorry for not posting for a while. Moving, trips, cleaning old apartments, maybe even Djing soon! Sweet! Here are a few things in the world that I have opinions on:

They supposedly caught the Bonet girl killer, who looks like he is enjoying the press a bit too much. 2 things, either a nutter or a fake. The whole thing is gross. True, all parents manipulate their kids, to steer them into certain life directions, but smearing make-up on and having them sing "I wanna be the cowboy's lady" when they are just out of diapers just ain't cute to me.

More importantly, the federal courts have found that wire-tapping is a bad thing. And further proof that the Bush Regime is really representing other factions than the good of the nation, they are fighting it.

Finally, here in RVA, those jerkabilly killers that murdered 2 families on New Years Day have gone to trial. Here is a link of someone I have met that seems to be blogging it far better than I ever could. I didn't know them, but when I heard what happened (and WHY it happened --senseless robbery) there was such a sense of anger that pulsed through me it made me want those idiots who murdered them tortured to inches of their lives, only to be brought back to health, then tortured all over again, one for each life they took. Then spend the rest of their lives in a hole in the ground. No light, no free tv, no exercise, a hole. I like to think myself as a nice guy, but I have very dark and cruel thoughts for those that commit such crimes. I know it may be a little twisted of me but...

I digress.

On a happy note, I live in town again and love it.

Listening: Fleshies
Reading: Charles Stross "Glasshouse"

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Star Spangled Banner - for sale

Happy 4th of July!

Today in history:

1826 John Adams & Thomas Jefferson 2nd & 3rd presidents, both died
1831 James Monroe 5th president, died
1865 1st edition of "Alice in Wonderland" is published
1867 Stephen Mather was born to one day organize US National Park Service
1876 1st public exhibition of electric light in SF
1916 Tokyo Rose, WW II propogandist, was born

Meanwhile, who is in charge of the United States charge today? Where have these powers that be taken us? Their children and their children's children will never forget. And what do you think they will think of us?
Just look here to see a possibility.

Happy fireworks day!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Pied Bumper Stickers of Hamelin

So does the display of having one of these stickers on your car mean something? I am never quick enough to judge that said stickers, particularly OBX, are silly, annoying and what? I don't know. Some close friends of mine have them on their cars. I really can't fathom the need for it. Is it the same thing as when I put punk rock band or MST3K stickers on my car? I like to think that I at least put some unique thought into my stickiness. The way I see an OBX sticker is the same way I see people who tune into American Idol with such fervor.

--Oh, and by the way on that. How cattled are we as United States citizens that my beloved Richmond has a parade for the third place contestant, and thousands of people show up (the same people who wrote in grease paint on their auto windows, "Vote for Elliot!"), but try and protest an unjust Iraqi War lie, MAYBE hundreds show up? ---

I want to call them brainwashed but I know that is just too strong a word and I know some of them really aren't because they are my friends. And you know there are plenty of annoying car stickers out there: My kid is an honor roll student, Git-R-Done, My kid beat up your honor roll student, Power of Pride. Oooo. Now there is one that trumps them all when it comes to gilded ignorance. I want to know how many good christian souls have that on the bumper of their SUV or immaculately undirtied suburban bound F350 Ford Truck? The Power of Pride. Even the alliteration is hopelessly Bush-esque in its childish king of the mountain type stance.

We are living the Power of Pride; NASCAR is the biggest "sport" in the country (imagine the riots and protest if we had to stop NASCAR during an oil shortage), the new Disney Pixar film Cars, about NASCAR, is sure to be a summer hit. I can just feel the needle going in my arm every time I start my car. We are glorifying our addiction and covering it with a bumper sticker to hide the track marks.

Don't these good christians know that Pride is the father of all the seven deadly sins? Think people, before they start selling you bottled water from the melting glaciers.

Still, maybe if everyone that owned a car with an OBX sticker on the bumper went to the Outer Banks at the same time, I could take a vacation too; in my own town devoid of lemmings.

Listening: Melt Banana

Reading: Rats by Robert Sullivan

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Past smears

At my job, we often have to take advantage of restroom facilities of the various places we visit. This was one of those times.

I hurried through the lobby of some retirement compound with the wind having just insaned my hair nicely. There was an old lady in the lobby. Without even a pause she said, "You're runnin'." Was I runnin'? I took a moment to assess my stride. Hell, I guess I was, definately to her anyway. Let's take it to the bigger picture...

We live in an age of instant gratification. We want things either now or yesterday and it is usually disposable satisfaction. Fast food (really? is it really fast?), instant downloads of music, box-stores on every damn corner (same things in all of them, it's the CONVENIENCE of them everywhere), instant American Idols (prepackaged instant hits television show that runs season to season only to be forgotten through the years), cheaply made reality T.V. (that runs season to season too) where we want to see conflict amongst the players and often don't care the results after the big winner has won and gone (can you even remember the full name of the first Big Brother Winner? The first Apprentice winner? --without looking it up instantly on the internet?). Our whole way of life seems to revolve around the hurry-up or hurry-up and wait lifestyle.

Before you know it, you will be old and then dead. At 36, I'm already looking at high school yearbook photos and going, shit, that was me....20 years ago? Yeah, yeah --we've read all that nostalgic drivel of where have all the good times gone, and that's not the point of this.

I think what that old lady was saying was: take it easy boy, LOOK AROUND. Maybe if we actually stopped a moment and gave pause to reflect we'd see things a little more clearer. Maybe that's why I kind of enjoy birdwatching; seeing the abundance of what is around you if you would just stand still for a spell. Maybe we'd see that we're being fed crap as entertainment on television, maybe we'd see that we really don't have to buy that DVD of "Walk the Line" just because it's on sale for 16.98 (unless you KNOW you would watch it more than 4 times in your life), maybe we'd see that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that our government has been hijacked, that the 20 minutes in a fast food line would probably best be spent to make your own damned sandwich every once in a while. The list is long if we take the time to read it.

So thinking all of this while urinating, I decided to slow down a little, at least for the walk out (small steps, as they say). Strolling down the hall I enjoyed the large oil paintings of the stuffy old men, perhaps the founders of the retirement home, I enjoyed the long Japanese tapestry on the wall next to the small library, the fabric glowing a golden hue with intricate green and red lines for asian gardens. On the way out, the same lady, still perched in her chair by the motion sensitive front doors, gives me the eye again, and with the same sense of authoritative wisdom says, "You've slowed down."

True. "You're runnin'" no longer applies.

Reading: "Kafka on the shore" by Haruki Murakami

Listens to: The Cougars

Saturday, January 28, 2006

How long is a cookie lifespan?

At my job a few days ago we had to swing by Garden Ridge to get some decorations for my job. So while I waited for my co-worker to purchase some cheesy hearts and such, I come across these little beauties of modern human design. Well, more or less. Spongebob Squarepants cookies. You know you have seen them, admit it. Well, there are also King Kong ones too, to promote the new Peter Jackson masturbation released last December. (I could not find a picture of this cookie on the Web, unfortunately.) Can you imagine how empowering it must be to be a kid and have a Kong Cookie in your mitts AND be able to bite his head off? Whoa!

But have you ever thought to give those cookies being fed to youths across the planet a good inspection? The icing looks almost petrified onto the shortbread, and the shrink-wrap is almost as if it were melded to the cookie by Brundle Science Experimentation. As I further inspected it, searching for a bakery, lo and behold it's distributed by some company out of some mid-western state, but in nice all CAPS font, so obvious and therefore almost incognito are the words: PRODUCT OF CHINA. Wow. Even our cookies come from China. So this cookie was created way over on the other side of the globe. By the delicate touch of a bakers hand? Probably not. Oh, how that $1.99 bit of shortbread must have traveled, hell it's seen the world! The things it must have seen. That is one world traveled cookie. I'm not too sure I would want that bit of globalization in my mouth. Imagine all the preservatives in that sucker. It would probably outlive me! Cookies aren't supposed to do that, damnit. Anyway, as I further investigate the pseudo-delicious Kong cookie, I see the expiration date: 11/01/06. Wow! This thing is built to last too! And considering how it was probably made in August of 2005, in preparation for the movie release, this is one well aged cookie. How long is a cookie lifespan anyway? I wonder what the cookie to human years ratio would be? 30 = 1? 40 = 1? 7 = 1? That is something for a scientist to figure out.

I then think of some family in line, with a cart full of fake plants and flowers and crafts, trying to satiate their kid who is hollering "gimmie gimmie" and eyeing that Spongebob or Kong sugary goodness. Without even thinking the parent buys it, unwraps it and stuffs it into the kid's mouth. Instantly pacified. It seems like we are okay with all of this. What's next? Microwavable meals for our kids because we are too tired from a long days work to cook a simple 3 ingredient dinner? Oh, wait, too late huh?

A link regarding WTO and NAFTA . I recommend watching the video of Lori Wallach.

Movie: A Tale of Two Sisters. A wonderfully creepy Korean fairy tale set in modern times that will surely be an American remake and then totally suck.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Consumer addiction

I am an addict. I don't know why, I shouldn't be, but even those of us who feel Capitalism is the downfall of the world cannot resist the sensation of a new purchase. I myself fell to it a few days ago.
Lying around the house in the morning, watching the kid play video games, I had the sudden urge to buy a book I have been wanting about Carny Folk. You see I was already losing a bid on ebay on another book about Sideshows.
(By the way, my interest is Sideshows is spawned by a movie everyone must see at least once.) I figured I would zip up to the Barnes & Noble, since massive bookstores give the illusion of having EVERYTHING. Yeah, that's what I would do: just pop into the bookstore, MAYBE across the street to Best Buy for some fine Japanese horror DVD and then back home to read! Of course, I get there, and NO, they do not have it. Well, maybe the mall bookstore, on a slight chance, would have it. (Stupid thought, I know). I get there and NO! of course not, you dolt. By this time all my sensors are worked up into a lather of materialistic desirous foam, oozing at every pore. Sounds like smut doesn't it? That's Capitalism! Okay, so I bag the whole deal, but wait! On the way home, there are clearly 4 more stores I could visit. Hmmm, okay bag the Carny book, because we have come to terms that it won't be found at a Walmart or Target either. BUT! I did buy potatoes for dinner. Finally on the last leg home, I thwarted the temptation of reducing myself to buying Young Frankenstein (pronounced Frahnkensteeeen) on the cheap at a K-mart. Okay, so 3 hours later what do I have to show for my shopping habit? 9 dollars worth of product, them being : a hiking book (initially bought at the B&N), potatoes, mushrooms, and worstershire sauce. So, despite my desperate attempt to satiate some sort of consumer monkey, I wind buying a helpful book on the outdoors and food. Pretty basic and necessary things. Now I understand our problem in this culture, I have felt the urge that some people probably feel everytime they go out into the stores. I think in the most evolutionary way, through years of buying and buying, modern people, particularly in the U.S., are cultivating an addiction to the need to shop. We may very well be in trouble as a species people. Maybe that's also why our government has been hijacked and we don't even care, as long as the sales are good. And you know what I found out visiting all these damn stores? They all have the SAME THINGS and the price of those things are the SAME everywhere. I'm still looking for that damn Carny book though however. Which is available online at a fraction of the cost!

Listening to : Candy Machine "A Modest Proposal"

Reading: okay so I gave up on that damn Quicksilver book, for now, so I am looking for that Carny Book!