January 31, 2005

Best. Picture. Ever.

Courtesy of Tom@Zunta.

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Notes from the weekend

1. If you're on the South Beach Diet, don't attempt to get crunk'd within the bounds of your allowed food intake by downing five vodka and club sodas. They taste awful and the bagel that could have been the difference between recovery and continued hangover the next morning will lie just beyond your reach, as you dejectedly munch on dry turkey bacon.

2. Some people don't like being rushed and aren't afraid to let you know. For example, take the guy who was clearing his car of snow last night. I put my car in park a few yards behind the spot and waited for him to clear off the windows. Then he cleared the rest of the car almost completely of all snow. Then he took several passes around the car, front and back, to make sure the car was properly snow-free as I turned on my hazards to signal other drivers that I'd be awhile. Passive agressive much?

3. Of Montreal's Satanic Panic in the Attic is awesome.

4. It's also probably one of the last CDs to be burnt on my circa-2000 notebook computer, which has seen better days. Attached to an external keyboard and monitor like an iron lung and a dialysis machine, it took ten minutes to open up a 2-page PDF on Sunday. I'm not buying a replacement quite yet, in the hopes that prices will drop in the next few months to the point that I can get it for less than the cost of an iPod, which I'm also not buying for fear that it will arrive the day they announce the new 100GB, $23.87 5G models.

5. Realizing that I'd miss Desperate Housewives: saddening.
Finding out that it was an hour later: awesome.
Seeing that it was a rerun: maddening.

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January 28, 2005

SOB of the Week - Gov. Robert Ehrlich

The best teachers I had at school commanded my respect and the respect of my classmates. They were sharp, knew the material, demanded hard work from students and generally engaged them, if not as equals, as equals-in-training. In retrospect, the joke teachers with the easy classes who gave everyone high grades ended up forgotten and inconsequential in the long run.

Worse than the easy but forgettable teachers are the domineering ones. When a class falls out of line, they appeal to you not as a source of useful or interesting knowledge, but revert to pulling rank and making threats. It may make the students shut up, but it does little to make them like school.

In fact, pulling rank and demanding respect for their authourit-a are the worst kind of leaders. They spend most of their time asserting their power and not much time actually leading. Maryland's Gov. Robert Ehrlich is just such a leader:

The Moonies on his latest hystrionics:

"Being treated with appropriate dignity when the governor appears before the legislative committees is about respect," the Republican governor told a joint session of the Democrat-controlled General Assembly.

"Being treated with dignity when I enter a chamber — thank you very much — is about respect," Mr. Ehrlich said.

[...]

Mr. Ehrlich has been irked when committees have set aside his bills and then have passed similar legislation introduced by Democratic lawmakers. When he was a delegate from 1987 through 1994, the legislature worked with administration bills, he said.

Ehrlich aides have said the governor has endured pointed questioning and rough handling that has gone beyond the bounds of respect that the office of governor deserves when he has testified before some committees.

The Washington Times reported this month that the Legislative Black Caucus last month refused to allow Mr. Ehrlich to address a meeting on medical-malpractice reform, forcing the governor to wait outside the conference room.

Waah waah waah. I could understand these sorts of complaints from the governor of some blood-red state with a few obstinate Democrats who the Governor feels secure in yelling at to score a few political points. But this is Maryland, and Ehrlich needs the Democrats if he wants to do anything, whether it's his insurance company coddling med-mal plan or his proposal to boost the pawn shop industry through slots. And even though they're near the bottom rungs of the national political structure, state legislators don't appreciate being treated like cranky middle schoolers.

UPDATE: As soon as I finish my missive on Ehrlich, I visit DCist an see these idiots have popped up again. Oh well, maybe they'll break something next week.

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January 27, 2005

Maybe they'll be on the "Green Line." Heh heh heh. Pass the chips...

Remember the controversy over marijuana legalization ads on the Metro? You know, when Rep. Ernest "The Meddler" Istook (R-Okla.) decided it was his business what ads WMATA could run and put a rider on legislation banning Change The Climate's ads from Metrorail? Apparently, Ernie thought that while it was OK to advertise in favor of changing telecom or social safety net laws, doing the same thing for drug laws would bring us one step closer to complete social and moral chaos.

The Justice Department said they wouldn't defend the statute in court. Specifically, Acting Solicitor General Paul Clement said "The government does not have a viable argument to advance in the statute's defense."

If the people who can think up a viable argument defending chemical glowstick sodomy can't think of a weasely court presentation against the ads, your statute must be seriously off the reservation.

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January 26, 2005

Best. Political. Name. Ever.

Don't you wish you could vote for a guy named Tokyo Sexwale?

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Batting a thousand

Virginia now has a state bat, perhaps only to rub in the fact that they're a state and we're not.

On a related note, "batsh*t nuts" has officially been designated the official state of mind of Virginia legislators.

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January 25, 2005

¿QUEstival?

So even though 99.1 has gone from "siempre la Jane's Addiction" to "siempre la fiesta," there will be a HFStival? I don't get it. Shouldn't they call it something else, like "Dyingformatstival" or "Keptalivebyourreputationstival?"

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Have a fair and balanced flight

I think it would be a good idea to name BWI airport after former Supreme Court Justice and famous NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall, who is best known for arguing Brown v. Board of Education.

Now one would have a choice of landing at an airport named after a B-Movie actor who stumbled through eight years of nun-shooting and voodoo economics, a Cold War pioneer (Dulles) or a civil rights leader. Plus, it would be fun to watch the mouth-breathers go nuts over it.

Marshall on Reagan:


"Q: Did you ever want to be the chief justice?
A: Hell no. Yeah, if I had the president on my side.

Q: But if Reagan had just appointed you, you would have said no.
A: I wouldn't do the job of dogcatcher for Ronald Reagan."

Going to cocktail parties with James Watt wouldn't have been too comfortable either.

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January 24, 2005

Like Watts, but with more starch

Disrupt a $40 million party by acting like a jackass: get pepper sprayed and get arrested.

Disrupt the work of Miami election officials working on a recount: get promoted.

It just goes to show that tendencies toward douchbaggery are found across all party lines.

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January 22, 2005

Eeh, DC was whiter on Thursday

snow.jpg

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January 21, 2005

A can of organic soy whupass

This WaPo article misses some of the what happened during the protests yesterday. I sholuld know, I was there.

"At Eighth and E streets NW, about 1:20 p.m., a bunch of kids come running around the corner by the Ginger Cove restaurant, past the Penn Camera store. The protesters are wearing black hooded sweatshirts, and red leotards, and gas masks, ski masks, goggles, and for a second you don't know if they're running toward something or away from it until you see cops chasing them, too, and weapons being drawn and arms flailing. Everyone has a camera or a picture phone or a digital recorder. Bystanders scramble out of the way. The crowd flows down toward the FBI building. Snipers watch from above. "

To understand how this moment of chaos came to be, back up a little bit to 7th and D a few minutes prior. Hotel-bound conventioneers met up with protestors here, all packed in next to one another about as tightly as possible outside of the Tokyo subway system. As rude as ever, I tried to push through en route to I-don't-know-what when I start to see pieces of wood flying about 50 feet from where I was stuck in a seemingly unpenetrable wall of fur and flannel. I don't know what the wood was, although pickets from signs would make sense. Then came the sirens from all directions, the cops running through the crowd like linebackers to make way for the motorcycles, the funny smell and the shortness of breath.

A block up and over at 8th and E, I saw the beginnings of yet another mess. Unsatisfied with the reaction they were getting from the police (hearts and minds are apparently a secondary concern, behind the self-satisfaction of getting arrested) the protesters started yelling at the cops. First, it was the usual "your boss is a war criminal" stuff -- the sort of thing that leads cops in riot gear to join the resistance during revolutions (another problem with these guys: they think they're in 1970s Pretoria, Kiev in 2004 or Montgomery in 1955 when they're only a few miles from the malls where they buy their Anti-Flag CDs).

Then some shaggy-haired dude (really specific, I know) holds up a Dunkin Donuts bag and says "Hey cops, is this what you came for? Who ordered jelly?"

If you've deluded yourself into thinking that you represent a repressed popular movement in an oppressed country seeking to cause a great uprising, stick with the theme and don't break charachter into your usual self, i.e. the kind of person who will taunt the police into whupping them for a small infraction just so that you can claim police brutality. I'm not a trained law enforcement officer, but enough being yelled at, on the job or not, and I'll show you the instruments of repression.

The little "charge" mentioned in the article took place after the protesters started throwing things, striking a blow for ... their own self-satisfaction.

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Give it away now

Bluestate (remember bluestate?) is giving away some preemo swag this week, and all you have to do is shoot us an email to enter.

A few people have asked me when we're DJing next -- we don't know yet, but we're talking with a few places about some more free gigs. I'll keep you posted.

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January 20, 2005

An inaguration song

(To the tune of "Let the Eagle Soar" -- yes, I can rhyme better than this)

Be a red state whore
Offer the yokels a special tour
From Anacostia go door to door
Then run away when they're curled on the floor.
Don't you know that there are lots of things
you can for fatcats under your wings:
To an insecure white man nothing stings
like an SUV with lots of dings.
My advice is not to throw a pie
There's not much harassment you can do
From within the walls of Cell Block 5
But if you're alert and WASPy
There are $100,000 vacations to ruin.

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We now interrupt the snark

Best of luck to Kyle's cat Jarvis, who isn't feeling so great.

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January 19, 2005

Gentlemen, place your bets

WMATA says there are no delays on the trains. Who wants to put down some cold, hard cash that my trip home will take longer than usual?

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January 18, 2005

I have a scented candle and I'm not afraid to use it

Yeah, DCeiver is right, the vanman is seriously pissing me off. I'm glad that the standoff ended without anyone getting hurt, but I'm still ticked that he got as much attention as he did.

Let me explain: My car has a gas tank that holds about 13 gallons of gasoline. Does that mean that if I drive down 15th Street right after a fill-up with a chip on my shoulder (it happens often), will the Secret Service bring me a cell phone on a robot?

Can I keep the robot?

The larger point is that we're defining noteriety down. William Hung can cut an album because he embarassed himself at an audition. People can get the sort of face-time on primetime network TV a political candidate pays hundreds of thousands of dollars for by eating bugs. It used to be that they'd only take threats seriously if they came from someone with some serious firepower. You used to need sketchy connections or some advanced chemistry knowledge to start a stand-off. Now anyone with an Exxon card can shut down major streets.

The gatekeepers of celebrity (TV producers, federal law enforcement) need to tigten up the system. The next time they break out the robots, people had better be in some bigtime peril.

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'It's just one of my bugaboos'

Kevin Drum takes on one of the reasons why it's impossible to speak to far-lefties without either wanting to laugh at or slap them - the use of phrases and slogans from back when such things made sense in a wider context. And I'm a liberal who has never voted for a Republican.

"I would like lead a crusade to forever ban the phrase "speaking truth to power," especially in academic settings. It's always uttered in tones that imply vast moral courage for doing so, and in Stalinist Russia that would have been true. In the 21st century American university system, however, most academics do nothing but speak truth to power, as loudly and as frequently as they can. Their punishment? Tenure, usually."

While we're at it, can we ban the use of "Salisbury Hill" from movie trailers and stop protesters from formulating and repeating any chant that starts with "hey hey, ho ho" or "what do we want... when do we want it"? Changing times require updated slogans, people!

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Linknuggets

- Why spend the inaguration with 20 dirty hippies in a jail cell when you can spend it with more numerous and better-smelling liberals at the Manderin Oriental Hotel for the launch of Progressive Talk 1260, a.k.a. Our Try At The Thing On AM Radio That's Not The Traffic Report Or Hellfire Preaching.

- DCist has a supercool article on a 1976 car bombing in Sheridan Circle connected to Chile's government under Pinochet. Visit the memorial, then proceed to the nearest Riggs Bank to spit on it.

- Over at the FÜD, W.R.C. has an entertaining post on beer tangentially connected to bluestate.

- Golly, Jeff cut his hair off!

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January 14, 2005

Look what came in the mail

fockers.jpg

Maybe this week didn't suck completely.

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Inauguration 102

Some of you undoubtedly need useful information on what to do and how to get around during the inauguration, and DCist has you covered.

But really, why risk getting sent to Gitmo for finding yourself on the wrong side of a barricade with the blue pass instead of the purple pass, or ending up in a smelly, confused haze when the anti-war, pro-housing or some such protestors trapse around your neighborhood complaining about how they couldn't get a permit to follow the motorcade down Pennsylvania Avenue with their 12' tall paper mache monster representing Exxon or Bechtel or Safeway or something. Or risk writing really, really long sentences.

Anyway, all I can tell you is that the only safe place is your home, behind all the plastic sheeting and duct tape you can muster. Best to stock up on booze and MREs this weekend.

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January 13, 2005

Haikou

Crummy day, open thread, add your own in the comments.

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January 12, 2005

A letter to other radio stations

I will mail this to several area stations tomorrow:

To Whom It May Concern:
My name is XXXXXXXX and I am a radio listener in Washington, D.C., who is currently in search of a new radio station. As you are undoubtedly aware, WHFS-FM changed formats this week, switching from “alternative” rock to Spanish-language music. While I appreciate latin music, my lack of all but a very basic knowledge of the Spanish language prevents me from fully enjoying the new 99.1 FM. My loss can be your gain because the first preset on my car stereo is now open and your station can fill it, provided you convince me that I would enjoy the music you play.

First, a little about me: I am a 23-year-old young professional who lives and works in Washington. I listen to the radio almost exclusively in my car, which I drive mainly evenings and weekends, about 15,000 miles per year. I rarely scan the radio dial, instead switching between CDs and my six presets (WHFS, WWDC, WARW, WIYY, WAMU and WBIG), making a preset assignment in my car even more valuable. Musically, I tend to listen to inde rock at home and in clubs, but the fact that I tend to seek out music not found on the radio signals my openness to different genres.

To your advertising department, I am a diamond in the rough that your station could claim as its own through smart actions taken before I re-assign the WHFS preset. While I own a car I am happy with, I do not have the three other main products/services advertised on the radio: diamonds, network administrator certification or dining room sets. I could be convinced to get any of these three, perhaps by one of your advertisers. Best of all, I am old enough to have my own disposable income but young enough to remain in advertisers’ favorite age cohort for quite some time.

So, how does your station earn its own dedicated button on my car stereo? You can persuade me with words (it is easiest to reach me via email at XXXXXXXXXX), but I would also like to know how much you want my top preset spot. Free CDs? I promise I will play them from beginning to end to evaluate your format. T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats? I will judge them on the criteria of fashion and comfort. A free iPod filled with your playlist? I’ll be yours.

Please take a minute to think about this unique opportunity to gain a valuable listener in this era of media fragmentation and satellite radio. I’ll even promise to keep your station assigned to the preset button until I either get a new car or move out of the listening area.


Sincerely,
XXXXXXXXXX

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I'm on a (Spanish language) radio

WHFS, once a great station that played lots of interesting music but in later days sold out to the suburban teens, kicked the bucket. Or should I say "golpeó el cubo con el pie."

It's probably not worth arguing whether a tight, repetitive playlist aimed at listeners within a five-year age band encourages or discourages the maximum number of people from spending the maximum amount of time from listening to the station -- 'HFS is gone and it's not coming back.

Now on to the next problem: What replaces 99.1 on my car stereo preset? Here are my current button allocations:

Preset 1: WHFS 99.1
Preset 2: WWDC 101.1
Preset 3: WARW 94.7
Preset 4: WAMU 88.5
Preset 5: WIYY 97.9
Preset 6: WBIG 100.3

No, I'm not 35 years old, but my radio selections sure make me look that way. When I lived in Batlimore, I had essentially the same selection, swapping NPR and Classic Rock outlets and replacing Big 100 with Annapolis' WRNR, a far superior station that I don't get here without tons of static.

What Washington really needs a powerful college radio station that actually plays "college radio."

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January 11, 2005

A proud moment for this blog

DCSOB is now the #4 result on Google for "david brooks dumbass".

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iPod Shuffle - do I want one?


I've been waffling for some time as to whether or not to get a portable MP3 player. My standard line is that my commute isn't long enough (i.e. longer than it takes to read Express) to justify the cost of an iPod and that if I'm going to plunk down the money for one of these things, I might as well get an iPod.

Now that Apple has introduced the iPod shuffle, my life has been made complicated. Now that it's in a price range I can afford, I am considering purchasing this fine Apple product, even if it doesn't have a clickwheel. I've plunked down $100 for less useful things (who needs a carpet or a front headlight?)

My main hangup is not capacity, but the lack of a display. I could easily envision loading up on tracks from MP3 blogs, playing through them on a walk around the neighborhood, noting what I do and do not like -- something I couldn't do if I didn't have a screen.

Oh well, I guess it's back to the Victrola for me.

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Cattle cars

DCist is looking at possible seating configurations for new Metrorail cars.

I considered the five options presented by WMATA to increase rail capacity to deal with growing ridership and a stagnant system, and I found all of them lacking. Would removing all but 16 seats (they now have 64) really add only 13 percent more capacity? Would people really ride what amounts to an empty boxcar? Would it be hilarious or sad that one fat jerk could take up 12.5 percent of all seating in a car?

What surprised me most, however, is the lack of improvement provided by bench seating. By adopting an arrangement used on some New York and London lines that alone carry more people than the entire D.C. Metro, we gain capacity for six more souls, while sacrificing 14 seats. That doesn't seem like a good deal to me. Here are some better ideas:

- Improve downtown circulator service: There was some talk a while ago of Bus Rapid Transit along K Street between Union Station and Georgetown, but I haven't seen much work on it recently. Such a system, if swift and well-publicised enough, would take some of the strain off the downtown core stations by diverting people on short trips and commuters into Union Station as they fan out across downtown.

- Integrate commuter rail: There is no reason why someone using the Rockville or New Carrolton stations shouldn't be allowed to use the same SmartTrip card to use the MARC train instead of Metro if they please. Of course, MARC and VRE have to be improved as well, but that's a different story for a different day.

- Eight car trains: Just as soon as they figure out how to stop them.

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This fire is out of control

Thank the blog-gods that a popular music blogger has finally urged people to shut up about the Arcade Fire already. Sorry Kyle, but if I read pap like this, I'm gonna start... not reading their blogs anymore:

"Funeral is splendid and brave and every week I have a new favourite track. This is a band I've loved for a long, long time, and here's an album that will never go away, that I can always turn back to, that will shimmer and flash even years from now. It'll bring memories of dark, hot or flush days; not of childhood but of the time after, of when everything loomed big, when my heart beat big, when I wasn't scared of death, only of life. These are songs whose lyrics flash behind my mind's eye, realer than other scenes; they're songs that are meant, made blazing with feeling, and yet, for all this earnesty and wisdom and narrative, so too are they songs for dancing, for singing, for loving and listening to. These are pop-songs for the end of the world or the beginning of it, for Wendy remembering Peter, for broken, whole and beating hearts. And I thank them."

I love Said the Gramaphone, but here's hoping this guy doesn't write his own wedding vows.

Sorry everyone, but the best thing to come out of Montreal is still poutine.

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January 10, 2005

What was old is new again

grand.jpg
After watching the Buick LaCrosse Product Placement Variety Hour (formerly known as Desperate Hosuewives) with downstairs neighbor Katie, she showed me a changer full of CD-Rs from a music snob friend (not me) who wanted to get her away from the crunk and into something a little more, well, not crunk.

Among those CDs was The Streets' A Grand Don't Come For Free, which I had planned to revisit during the year-end period as part of a larger series of posts revisiting albums I didn't like when the came out. Now and then, I listen a few times, don't get it and store it away for quite some time before I pull it out in a fit of boredom and discover it's the best new album of a year ago. So now I have no excuse to get cracking.

Yes, I like "Fit but don't you know it," but the rest of this album tortuously sticks to its larger theme of love and loss of money with the obligatory UK geezer pastimes and mannerisms thrown in. Almost entirely gone are the rambunctious beats of Original Pirate Material tracks like "Lets Push Things Forward," "Sharp Darts" and "Don't Mug Yourself," nor most of the humor in "Too Much Brandy" and "The Irony Of It All." Mike Skinner became a slave to the thin plot, cutting out his trademark clever wordplay and spot-on scene-setting to jam in foreshadowing and a hokey love affair theme.

And "Dry Your Eyes," makes me cringe. It's so obvious that the guy can write lyrics and that his rhyming style is innovative; why can't he use his powers for good instead of wasting them on this syrupy pap?

I would feel bad asking for an Original Pirate Material II, but I just don't like the new direction taken by A Grand Don't Come For Free and I hope this is a diversion from an otherwise fuitful career.

So something like eight months after I first heard it, A Grand Don't Come For Free isn't any better.

Next up: TV on the Radio, one of these days.

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Let this be a lesson to you

From the Baltimore Sun's police blotter, where bad things happen to other people:


Theft: An 18-speed bicycle valued at $200 and secured by a lock and chain to a traffic sign in the 600 block of Melvin Drive was stolen along with the lock Saturday by a thief who removed the sign from the ground.

Give the pole you're chaining up to a good yank before walking away.

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January 9, 2005

Bluestatastic!

So now I've DJed at a club, I can check off another goal on the list and get started on that novel for real this time.

But seriously, bluestate was a huge success and I'd like to thank everyone who showed up to get down. It was my first experience playing music for people since the sixth grade orchestra concert. I was perhaps more nervous this time, which was silly because I didn't have to actually play an instrument, just cue up some CDs and records.

I quickly relaxed when my turn came up and soon started chatting with party-goers, waving to people in the crowd and generally enjoying myself. I had no problem with the equipment and had some surprisingly clean transitions in the early stages.

Then things got interesting.

Hoping for a clean switch into Talking Heads' "Crosseyed and Painless," I instead heard the overwhelming loud fuzzed-out guitars of The Hong Kong. I immidiately freaked out and started queuing up "Crosseyed" on the other player. But I hit stop instead of pause and lost my place on the track. Then The Hong Kong started skipping, a problem we had all night. In the middle of this mess, I remembered that I had an English Beat record on the turntable that I wasn't planning to play but had spinning in case of emergencies.

It couldn't have been more than three seconds of technical problems to the crowd, but the gap between when everything went wrong and "Mirror in the Bathroom" saved my first-timer butt seemed to last for an hour. Everybody told me it was "barely noticable," which either means that they were either very drunk or very good friends.

Speaking of stretching time, I realized about 40 minutes into my set that I had been cutting songs off too early and that my setlist would have to be expanded. Luckilly, I had a CD-R clearly labeled "Emergency Rawk" ready for just such an occasion. That second Futureheads song and "Don't Mug Yourself" were not planned, although I'm glad I played them, given the personal thanks I recieved from random strangers who came up to the DJ booth.

So if it looked easy, it wasn't. My original set list went out the window fairly early on and I spent most of my hour flying by the seat of my pants. In the end, I learned to program for a quarter more time than you expect to actually spin, know your equipment and always keep a track ready to go on a third piece of equipment. All screw-ups and wierd transitions aside, it was a blast and I'd love to do it again.

P.S.: All of the setlists will be online later.

UPDATE Setlists are up, as are lots and lots of pictures.

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January 8, 2005

Tonight!

bluestate flyer 2.jpg

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January 7, 2005

Cat Power

Why is it strange that hardboiled D.C. Councilman David Catania is cuddling with his cat in the Post this morning?

Perhaps it's because one usually pictures politicians as dog people. Many a Hill vet (as in veteran, silly) will tell you stories about members bringing their dogs into work, most notably Sen. Ted Kennedy, who has a yappy little thing trail him on occasion. The obvious exception to this rule is Bill Clinton, who had both a cat and a dog, but as everyone knows, he played the fence on just about every issue he could.

But while politicians may enjoy stumping at the state fair with their dog at their side (something a cat would never do), there is probably some sort of distniction to be made between dog and cat voters. I'm sure David Brooks would be delighted to inform us of how Americans can be divided cleanly between "dog people" and "cat people" even if they don't have actual dogs or cats, and how the faction associated with Democrats is either clueless or in decline.

Personally, I think Bushism is most closely related to cat behavior: The Prez that loves sending people into harm's way but stayed stateside because of his connections has common cause with the housepet that loves fish but hates getting wet.

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Coming too soon to an Urban Outfitters near you

yhst-37025177803217_1827_2483943.jpg
(from some web site)


Actually, it does not. Not even for Delaware.

I'm still waiting for the "Virginia is for f*ckers" tee. CafePress, anyone?

UPDATE: Yeah, they have 'em.

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January 6, 2005

Bluestate 5, Jesusland 0

We're in el WaPo!!!

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Iraq break

I don't usually blog about anything that doesn't take place between Baltimore and Fredericksburg, but I'll make an exception for The Poor Man's hilarious (if it wasn't so sad) take-down of the entire conservative media borg and blog echo-chamber. A sample:

Reality is that the situation in Iraq is horrible, the outlook for any lasting peace is grim, and that this has nothing to do with a nebulous, malignant, all-powerful “Left”, and everything to do with the people in power who make bad and stupid policies. You can pull your head out of your ass, stop dreaming up stupid conspiracy theories about how everyone around the world you don’t like is working together to destroy Freedom, and tell them that they need to do a better job. And if they won’t do a better job, the solution is not to get upset at people who aren’t waving their pom-poms or denouncing Saddam single-mindedly enough for you, it is to fire the fuck-ups so we can maybe have some chance at salvaging something from this fiasco.

"Read the whole thing." Heh.

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Crabby in Baltimore

What gets the Baltimore Sun's editorial board more pissed than Faidley's closing early? Delaware mooching off Maryland by exploiting a tax loophole. In jest or not, the eds go all out:

SOMEBODY SMASHES your car windshield to steal the quarter sitting on the dashboard. He's 25 cents richer, but you're out 500 bucks. A fair transaction? Apparently, it's not a problem for authorities in Delaware.

Yes, that's right, our neighbors to the east seem to have the instincts of a second-rate criminal -- at least when it comes to business dealings. Recently, Delaware created a new type of corporate tax dodge that is breathtaking in its audacity. Its sole purpose? To help large companies hide profits from states like Maryland.

[...]

In a different era, this kind of behavior might have been resolved with a slap of the glove and pistols at 20 paces. Wars have been fought over less. And, by the way, how much of a fight could this tiny, ethically challenged state put up anyway? It'd be a cakewalk. When it's over, we'd keep the beach resorts and let New Jersey handle the rest.

Delaware is welcome to tax its own citizens any way it wants, of course, but when it starts stealing from its neighbors, there ought to be consequences.

Whoa, Zellie!

Frankly, hyperbole or not, they have a point: Delaware is a state that takes advantage of its neighbors by being a tax and litigation haven while not suffering the consequences because it's small enough to have the benefits of everybody elses' business outweigh the decreased revenue. It's like the Cayman Islands without the nice weather or a mobbed-up Moldovan bank without the charm.

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January 5, 2005

Bluestate, T minus 3

The greatest DJ event to ever hit Washington will take place on Saturday, and it's a darn good thing the DJs involved don't believe in hyperbole or setting unreasonable expectations.

So come to Bluestate at the Black Cat this Saturday from 9-2, where you'll feel the pulses of audible awesomeness wash over you like a cleansing Irish Spring combined with the hottest lovemakin' you've ever had.

I'll be on at midnight, with one hot hour of the beats you need, the rawk you love and the body you crave.

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Postal Workerz R Kewl

Somebody sent a package from Baltimore with a camera attached to the front and bold instructions telling postal workers to take all the pictures they'd like. They didn't break the camera, nor did they arrest the sender for endangering national security -- they took a whole roll of pictures before delivering the package to its destination in Oregon, like people with senses of humor who lack the usual government fear of anything out of the ordinary.

Blogger Justin:

I just want to conclude this by saying how awesome the United States Postal Service is. I think our mail system is grossly underappreciated, especially after seeing what an excellent sense of humour our postal workers have even in the post-9/11, post-"anthrax scare" world we live in. So, a big thank you to the Post Office, you guys rock.
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January 4, 2005

Why the Connecticut Avenue Flags are emblematic of why the Democratic Party fares poorly in large swaths of the country

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The people of the D.C. side of Chevy Chase are enlightened, peaceful people. While some are most certainly senile and occasionally have trouble remembering the names of their own shrinks, most Chevy Chasers happily tool around the neighborhood on foot or in their station wagons, loading up on expensive cheese from Rodman's or catching independent films about the problems of middle-aged men at the Avalon. Truly right-thinking folk, these people generate demand for fair-trade coffee and keep PBS stations on the air. As a matter of fact, the area is home to more than a few Democratic Party operatives, who probably love to come home from a hard day of partisan bickering to a neighborhood only slightly less to the left than Takoma Park.

But the people of Chevy Chase had a problem: their neighborhood's commercial strip is centered on Connecticut Avenue, where there have been "several close calls in recent years between motorists and pedestrians," with the motorists likely lobbyists in BMWs taking a shortcut between K Street and the country house in West Virginia, swerving at high speeds to avoid zero-pollution walkers, if only to avoid having to pick the hemp out of the grill.

The point: people weren't getting killed, but the occasional spook had to be dealth with.

So ever since August, if you'd like to cross Connecticut at Morrison or Northampton Streets, you can pick up an orange flag hanging off the side of a pole, wave it in front of you and cross the street at your will. No red light? No problem -- now that lobbyist will see you and your tote bag and will courteously stop.

Now, I've been through the area dozens of times since they put up "Safe Steps," and I always think the pedestrians using the flags are both a) dorky looking (see photo) and b) over-coddled weenies who can't walk the block to the intersection or just time a quick dart across the street like everyone else.

But there's something more to it than looking like a dork. These flags represent the death of the Democratic Party.

Why did the Kerry team take so long to shoot back after the initial Swift Boat attacks? Why was he always lampooned for being a flip-flopping French-speaking windsurfer who married the Queen Bitch for her ketchup money without replying that those comments were indeed rich coming from supporters of a perpetual flunkie New Englander who pretends to be a good 'ol boy by taking on an accent and buying a show ranch right before his presidental campaign?

Why have some political factions been allowed to turn New England, home of the Minutemen, Colt Firearms, The Dropkick Murphys and plenty of other things that can kick your ass, into a synonym for weak?

Because us good liberal types, always more optimistic about human nature than the fire and brimstone types, believe that deep down (train yourself to shudder when you read those words next to one another), they'll come over if they just realize they're getting hurt. After all, we reason over a meal that more likely than not has goat cheese in it, most Republican voters are getting screwed by their party's economic and Iraq policies -- haven't they read What's the Matter With Kansas?

So we shouldn't get mean, attack the other side or misrepresent what they believe in like they do to us. We need to make ourselves heard, clearly articulating our talking points and comparing what they will do to what we will do through charts audited by a reputable accounting firm. If the people just knew what they were getting, they would pick us every time.

These are the people who believe that the most dangerous drivers, the ones who hit people, will slow down if they could only see people crossing the street. They don't need lights, cameras or penalties -- they need to be made aware. And what's more indicitive of a loser liberal than awareness, in its most useless and amorphous form?

Welcome to the permanent minority, Chevy Chase. Unless, that is, you're willing to put down the dumbass flags and pick up a radar gun.

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January 3, 2005

SOB of the Week

I've always found the operation of a few hundred pounds of steel, leather and simulated wood-grain at high speeds to be fairly demanding on my attention. While I may be able to hold a conversation (phone or otherwise) or listen to a CD, anything beyond that has always seemed to be an invitation to disaster. While I have, on occasion, done a one-handed CD switch with a jewel case wedged in the back of the glove compartment, I find modern highway travel to be at least as worthy of concentration as, for example, using the bathroom.

That's why I went from even-tempered to furious switching from 495 to the Dulles Toll Road last night. As I got in lane for the exit, the pickup in front of me suddenly slammed on the brakes and made a turn for the shoulder. I of course had to brake as well, and the chain reaction continues for several cars behind me. As the pickup cleared the lane, I saw the problem, a Navigator with two giant television screens in the back going about 20 miles per hour.

How big were the screens? Pimp My Ride big, maybe 18"-20". I thought I saw porn, which is its own unique road hazard. But how distracting could it be for the driver, who could only hear muffled moans and groans from the front?

As I passed the driver, still going 20 mph slower than traffic on the DTR, I saw the full extent of the media funhouse inside: they weren't watching porn, but professional wrestling (which looks the same at a distance) from not two, but three screens (one smaller unit shotgun). The driver was talking on the phone cradled between her ear and shoulder while smoking a cigarette. The quick braking probably came as this hideous road-monster-b*tch searched the console for her lighter.

Listen lady (and I'm fairly sure it was a lady with family in tow): If you want to live out your own real-life version of a rap video, do it at home with a jacuzzi, Cristal and ornamental dental work -- the rest of us want to live.

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January 2, 2005

2004: The year in whining, Part III

Damn, a year is a long time. You'll be happy to know I'm feeling better, but I won't be 100% until I've finished with what I started, year-end-summary-wise.

September: The month started out fear-tastically with the GOP convention , making the four-day period one of a very few times I wouldn't rather be in New York. The event, combined with the death of Rick James and the continuing popularity of D.C. native Dave Chapelle, led large swaths of the country to independently and simultaneously scream "Ownership society, bitch!"

My birthday is in September, so one might expect to party like it's my Berfday. And Helix didn't give a f*ck if it's my berfday.

And even though I did walk away with some cool goodies, the real big winner in September was Marion Barry, who won back his old Eighth Ward council seat. DCSOB was not happy, if not extremely surprised.

...Then it got cold, we lost the election and won a baseball team. I'm sick of this.

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January 1, 2005

2004: The year in whining, Part II

I wanted to finish up June through December yesterday, but I've been one sick SOB of late. So now that I've popped some Tylenol and got some chicken soup on the stove, I'll do the best I can to sum up the year as best I can in my convalescent state.

June: I tried to be respectful when Reagan died, seeing that he was a predident, husband, father and whatnot, but sometimes you need to stand up to the re-writing of history. I won't get into all the gory details you've heard before, but I was glad when the ceremonies finally ended. Fer chrissakes, I haven't seen that many white people on a Washington street since Shania Twain played at the MCI Center. Of course, there's always room for one more potshot.

June was also a month for rocking out, with McLusky and Franz Ferdinand playing on successive nights, keeping me from seeing !!!, who was also playing two local gigs that weekend. After a slow musical start to the year, when it rained, it poured. A note in retrospect: McLusky is from Wales, not Scotland. The song "Born in Cardiff, Raised by Wolves" should have been a dead giveaway.

And six months later, I still haven't ordered the plaque for The Spiro Agnew Blogging Center and Pit Beef Palace.

I suppose I am one of those people who are very sensitive to the weather, since I went out a whole lot in June. Remember the "T as in 'I pity the fool'?" I didn't. That's what you get for being clever.

July: Geezers needed excitement to kick off the month, and they got it when Dizzee Rascal and the Streets played the 9:30 Club on the 1st. When I start a band, I too will have booze dispensers welded right to the drumkit.

Quote of the month: You know the evening has taken a turn for the worse when the sun's down and you're in the Golden Triangle.

There doesn't seem to be any specific post on my July 4, but it was quite a barnburner, involving three quadrants (sorry SW), three houses, two bars and, of course, that great symbol of American hegemony: the jumbo slice. Frat boys peed off roofs, kids shot off fireworks in protected airspace, brats were consumed in a house entirely full of people from Indiana (and me) and sweaty fun was generally had all around. I haven't had so much Natty Ice since.

Even in the sweltering heat, people with bowties were still annoying.

July was a big month for DCSOB with the posting of the first SOB of the Week feature, ensuring that inconsiderate people the city over know that someone, somewhere, was pissed at them. Washington has since seen a marked decline in asshat behavior.

August: It sucks to be stuck at work in your city all summer, so I saved my pennies and booked a cheap-ass flight to Boston, right in the middle of the Democratic National Convention. It was as if I was with the same D.C. people in a different town. Strange. But I did get to see some old college friends, watch lesbian duet kareoke in a smoky Irish bar and sit on a very dirty beach. Rock.

People with summer birthdays never got cupcakes at school, but they do get to have a nice day during which they can be entertained by their friends. Unless, of course, the roller rink you go to decides to f*ck you over.

And:

- Jews for Jesus descend on the city.
- American Idol tryouts, among other things, piss me off.
- But the state fair kicks ass.

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