What could be more boring than a website about nothing that updates sporadically at best? A new website, from the same lazy dickhead, about a subject even more boring than nothing! Chronic back pain! Seriously! And I couldn't even be bothered to pick a new WordPress theme. But if it ain't broke, etc. At least I added a background image, right?
So go ahead and visit my new site: 808s And Backache. I dare you.
...that it's the summer of 2000: The Dismemberment Plan's amazing "Emergency & I" is less than a year old and Deltron 3030 releases their incredible eponymous first record. I have a lot more hair on my head and nobody has strong opinions on Muslims. Everything is great, at least for another year. But what if I told you that right now, in 2013, both bands were gearing up to release new records and tour the country (with stops in Philadelphia, thank fucking god)? You'd probably say "yeah, I know all of this already, because everyone is on the fucking Internet all of the time and you can even get that shit on your phone now". But it'd still be pretty great, right? Almost great enough for a guy to want to paint his website orange.
Even better, both bands seem to be as awesome as they were thirteen whole years ago. Oh, you don't believe me, smart guy? Check out "Invisible" by D-Plan here:
Obviously you're into it, right? Well, what about "Pay The Price" by Deltron 3030?
I bet you're so pumped that you can't even believe it. And lest you think I've fallen prey to mindless nostalgia, I'll have you know that the fucking Pixies -- one of my all-time favorite bands and an enormous inspiration to me -- released a surprise EP this week of brand new material and I think it's just kinda okay. Definitely not bad, but... It sounds a lot more like later Frank Black material than the Pixies. That's not a knock against Frank Black, by the way; I still think his first solo record is better than anything the Pixies ever put out. I like to imagine that this would be a highly contentious opionion, if I had a large group of Pixies-loving friends.
I've spent more hours staring at Google Reader than I care to estimate. At work, I've got Spiceworks open in one tab, Gmail in another, and Google Reader in yet another. And yesterday, Google took all of that away from me. From us. Word is that nobody -- except for me, I suppose -- gets their news like that anymore. Apparently, everyone gets their news through social networks, which is fucking ridiculous. I don't give a shit what my friends are reading. The most recent news item posted by a friend on Facebook, for instance, is an article from "Metal Hammer" about a baby-friendly lullaby album of Tool covers. Babies and Tool? You couldn't pay someone to dream up something I'd care less about. And just as much as I don't care what my friends are reading, I definitely don't want them to know what I'm reading. A large chunk of it is pretty embarrassing.
So it was with much sadness that I said goodbye to my good friend Google Reader and began exploring some of the more well-received replacements. And so far, I hate all of them. I'll tell you why.
This appears to be everyone's favorite and it's fucking stupid. This is my "All" view and it's not in chronological order. Also, while you can't tell because I was kind enough to crop it out of my screenshot, but about a third of the screen is white space.
Haha, you guys remember Digg? Well, they have a Google Reader replacement now! Pretty relevant, right? And they've shoehorned a bunch of stupid "social" elements into it!
Digg Reader is fucking stupid. Unnecessary social elements aside, look at all of this white space. Furthermore, I swear to God new items show up ten minutes later here than they do in any of the other readers I looked at. Any why aren't there new item counts listed next to my subscriptions? That's ridiculous. What a piece of shit.
The Old Reader:
This ugly mess is The Old Reader and it's fucking stupid. It aims for the same minimalist interface that made Google Reader so enjoyable, only with a lot more green. While there's a lot less white space than the previous two entries, it looks like wet shit. And you can't make it look any less like wet shit... at least not yet. If they manage to change that, I'll upgrade The Old Reader from fucking stupid to just stupid. On the plus side, I can see my new item counts and it actually lists my items in chronological order. But again, it looks hideous.
Of course I could have set this site up as my own personal RSS reader. Or at least I've read you can do that. But it looks like a lot of work, and if I wanted to do a lot of work, I'd just go to all of these sites individually so that I didn't have to rely on anyone's reader. Aw man, I could have called it WAXREADER. Fuck -- I really missed the boat on that one.
So anyway, there you have it. Everything is terrible.
First up is a new track from the (very) long awaited sequel to the first (and only) Deltron 3030 record. It's calling "City Rising From The Ashes" and it's great.
Stream that one here:
And next is the full, self-titled album from Run The Jewels, which is comprised of El-P and Killer Mike. White people love these guys. It is also great.
Download the entire thing, totally free and legal, here:
ll the same boring, cantankerous fuck that you fell in like with back when I was making camgirls cry. And if you're finding it hard to believe that someone as fascinating as myself could be a creature of habit, it's probably worth mentioning that I just returned home from my seventh (eighth? I don't know) trip to Thailand, where I once again surrounded myself with muay Thai, miserable weather, and the sight of tiny brown asses lazily swaying on dirty, mirrored stages. It was an alright time that ended up being just a bit more laid back than previous trips, as evidenced by the fact that highlights include completing a thousand piece mosaic puzzle and enduring a two and a half hour massage that cured a long-standing bout of quad pain. Though both accomplishments are obviously spectacular, the latter really strikes me as particularly remarkable as I haven't been able to shake that pain for probably around four years now, and countless physical therapists, pain specialists, and even orthopods have been able to do a single thing about it. But two hours and 2,000 baht spent with a tiny Thai woman and it's gone without a trace. Crazy, right?
I'll talk a bit more about that particular experience in a future update, but for now I just wanted to share my thoughts on some of the places I stayed at while in Bangkok. There is an almost endless supply of guest houses, hotels, etc. in Bangkok, and one thing I like to do is try somewhere new every time I come through the city. And this trip was no exception. My only real requirement for these accommodations is that they're in the general Sukhumvit area and they're not prohibitively expensive. Or prohibitively cheap.
First on my list this time around was the Citichic Boutique Hotel, located deep down Sukhumvit Soi 13. Ideally, I want a quick walk to Sukhumvit, where I can do whatever it is I want to do there or just hop on the Skytrain or subway. Citichic is definitely within walking distance of Sukhumvit, but you're looking at maybe a ten minute walk. That's doesn't sound like a whole lot, and it's not a deal breaker, but in the buildup to monsoon season -- in May or June, for instance -- that ten minute walk may be very hot or very wet. Or both -- hey, it's Thailand. The hotel does offer a shuttle, but they only run every half hour and I'm a terrible, impatient man. Since my plane didn't land until around 11:30 on a Friday night, I didn't end up at the front desk until around midnight. But the front desk was there and awake, which isn't always a guarantee at that hour. The check-in process was fast, which is appreciated after you've just sat in a plane for literally an entire day. My room -- their standard single -- was nice: a decent size, modern, and quiet. Quiet is important to me, but it's not an attribute that you can ever count on: construction and demolition in Bangkok, much like drinking, only seems to slow on Buddhist holidays. The curtains hanging in front of the nearly floor-to-ceiling windows were also large and thick enough to block out just about every iota of sunlight, something that comes in handy as you're trying to adjust to your new time zone. The air con was cold and all of lights in the room are controlled by a panel on the nightstand, something that made me feel like I was living in a 1960's vision of the future. I didn't check out the hotel's fitness room, pool, or restaurant. But despite being a bit on the small side, I heard that all three were nice enough. My only two issues -- and I admit that they're pretty trivial -- with Citichic were as follows: 1) the bathroom was weird. There are a lot of weird bathrooms in Thailand, but this wasn't one of those weird bathrooms. Instead, you had your usual sink and toilet area separated from the shower and bathtub area by a glass wall. This, on its own, is not all that weird. But the bathtub was enormous and it left little room for you to stand for the showerheads (and there were two: your standard wall-mounted head as well as an overhead "rainfall" head, which was a bit difficult to switch on). I would have preferred if, like many of the other hotels I've stayed in, they did away with the tub entirely and left all of that room to stand in. I'm not a baby, so I don't take baths anyway. The wall above the bathtub was also mirrored, something I didn't mind at all but a traveling partner found a bit off-putting. I know what my dick looks like and I don't care. 2) Beginning early in the morning that I was scheduled to check out, the entire wing that I was staying in started to smell quite literally like shit. It's a smell that hits you fairly often while walking around the Sukhumvit area, but I don't think I've ever experienced it inside of a hotel. It wasn't overpowering (and I was checking out anyway, so who cares?), but it was definitely kinda gross. If I were staying longer and it didn't subside, I'm sure I wouldn't have been so cavalier about it.
At the end of the day, since I'm a simpleton, I found Citichic's crowning achievement to be a slickly lit mini bar. Go figure.
Now, before I tell you about my next stop, a quick story:
I've spent a lot of time in the area around the MBK mall. The mall itself is useful for cheap electronics, they host free fights every Friday night, it's a short walk from the mall to my favorite muay Thai equipment shop, etc. And a minute or two down the street is a hotel that has always intrigued me, from it's bright and modern exterior to a lush outdoor bar and restaurant viewable from the street. I've been curious about staying there for years, but didn't get around to actually trying to make it happen until this trip. My traveling partners and I had nowhere to stay on our way out of the country, so I proposed the MBK-area mystery hotel. Only I didn't know anything about the place other than it was located in the Sukhumvit area and its name was "(Something) @ (Something)". A quick Google search told us that we were looking for Sukhumvit @ Sukhumvit (sounded about right) and the pictures looked familiar. So we booked two nights, surprised to find that rooms were far more affordable than I had anticipated. Once we arrived back in Bangkok from Phuket, we handed our taxi driver the Agoda printout and soon realized that we had booked the wrong hotel. Not only had we booked the wrong hotel, but we ended up pretty much on the other side of Sukhumvit, far further off the main road than I had ever stayed. Turns out that we were looking for Siam @ Siam. Confusing, right?
Our own mistakes aside, the hotel itself is cute and the staff is very friendly. Although a bit on the cheesy side here and there, I actually really enjoyed the decor in not only the hotel lobby and halls, but also the rooms, which all appear to be decorated a bit differently. I was able to peek inside one of the larger rooms, and they looked particularly cool. My room -- the standard single room -- was a good size with an okay bed, though the bathroom felt a bit cramped.
So what didn't I care for? Beyond the location, a handful of things bothered me: 1) The air con struggled quite a bit to keep me cool. I run a bit warm and I can't sleep if I'm not cold. 2) While I expect things like the air con and television to turn off once you pull your key card out, this also shut down every single outlet, which meant that I had to be in my room in order to charge my phone or my tablet. 3) The windows allowed a bit more light than preferred to creep into my room and, in tandem with the poor air conditioning unit, made sleep a bit difficult to find and maintain. 4) The shower had a half dozen or so hairs in it when I checked in to my room. When I were a little younger, this would have been an enormous deal, and I wouldn't have showered until the entire bathroom was scrubbed down with bleach. But this is still super gross and pretty much inexcusable in a hotel with a full cleaning staff. Speaking of the bathroom: 5) There's a little oval carpet on the outside of the bathroom that had tried to take my life a dozen or so times. Coming out of the bathroom after a shower, when I'm still a bit wet, of course I'm going to want to step on that thing rather than the tile floor (after all, that's why it's there). But the bottom would slip and the entire carpet would quickly shift a few inches every single time. Thank goodness I have respectable balance or I would have wound up split in two. Other than putting the carpet to the side and not using it at all (and opting to slip on the tile instead), I suppose the other option would be selecting carpets with a stickier undersides.
Really a very adorable, affordable hotel, but I'll probably stay somewhere a bit more central next time.
So that's it. Add two more to the list, with mixed results. I'm unlikely to end up at either one again, and Siam @ Siam is still on the list.
Here are two full sets from the very first Minor Times tour in the summer of 2002. These VHS cassettes have been sitting in my basement for roughly ten years now, but I finally got around to converting them to DVD. Just because.
This first one is from our tour kick-off/record release show in Sellersville, PA. Sellersville was close to our "hometown", so shows in the area brought out an interesting group of friends, fans, and assorted weirdos. If this venue looks weird, it's because it is: this was a VFW with an outdoor area that basically amounted to a barn in the woods.
This next video is from one of our last shows on the tour and is filmed by friend of the site, Rick, from... ricknroll.com, was it? I want to say rickroll.com, but there's no way that's right, right? Either way, this was shot in a basement in Adelphi, Maryland. All I really remember about this show was what a pain it was to get my bass rig downstairs and that they had a trampoline in the backyard, which of course I jumped on with my pants around my ankles, like an asshole.
And with that, my blogginess increased by roughly 1000%. It's the bloggiest this blog has ever been.
I'm thinking about adding some more stories from my touring days. I can call the entire collection "Get In The Minivan", like a total asshole. Which reminds me: my number one piece of advice to bands -- are small-time, touring bands even still a thing? Fuck, I'm old and out-of-touch -- that have any designs on touring, whether it's two weeks or two months, is to avoid the temptation of buying a minivan and touring with a trailer. What a fucking disaster. Of course it looks good on paper because you can detach the trailer and drive your kids to soccer practice or whatever, but there is nothing worse than sharing a minivan with 3-4 grumpy, smelly human beings and trailers are dangerously unwieldy. Is it raining or snowing outside? Are you playing a show that will require highway travel? Will you need to park at some point? Then fucking forget it. Spend the extra few bucks and buy yourself a real van. Or, do what pretty much half the bands I've ever shared a show with do and just borrow everyone else's expensive shit. This goes double for bass players. As a long-time bass player, I can't tell you how many times I've had to loan out my shit to other bass players who either don't own their own (what) or are too lazy to transport it. I know it's fucking heavy, but that's the price you pay for having pretty much the easiest job in the band. I remember playing a show at the wonderfully named 123 Fake Street in Rochester; we were booked pretty early, and before we went on, I was approached by two guys. By now, as a bass player, I had learned that nine times out of ten, when you or your band are approached by someone and you hear "hey, who's your bass player?", someone is about to ask to borrow your shit. Obviously, you can always say "no", but then you look like a real cocksucker in front of the promoter and all of the locals and you may make it difficult for yourself to get booked in that town again. Anyway, so of course they ask to borrow my cabinet and I reluctantly tell them "okay". Turns out there are like eight bands booked on this fucking show and they're going last, so we're not able to leave Rochester for Philadelphia until somewhere around midnight. Bass players, listen to me: buy yourself a Gallien-Krueger 400RB (you can find them in Craigslist for less than $200, they're loud as fuck, they sound great, and they're indestructible) and a cheap 2x12 or 1x15 cabinet. All of that shit will fit in your car, no problem, and propped on a milk crate or whatever, the sound will pass for a full stack. If you ever want to be taken seriously, own some shit.
I've been lucky enough to play about half of the lower forty-eight states while in various bands, and the one that will always stick out the most, and for all the wrong reasons, is West Virginia. And it's not even close. Ohio has always been in a trip in some way, but it's still hard for me to believe that West Virginia is not actually located on another planet.
My very first time there, I played a show in a totally nondescript, slate grey building, out in the middle of nowhere. There were no signs, no visible address, and the only reason we knew we were in the right place was because the gravel parking lot was full of teenagers and twenty-somethings who looked almost out of place as we did.
The inside of the building was certainly a bit more... interesting: there was one large, open room, the walls and ceiling of which were painted black; four bronze stripper poles on elevated platforms were scattered about; two giant, plush sectional couches took up most of the space in the back; and there was a poorly built, homemade bar located in the center. The bar didn't have any taps, only a small refridgerator on the counter that contained some cheap liquor and a small variety of underwhelming beer. Although it was probably no later than six o'clock and the show wasn't scheduled to start for another hour or so, roughly half of the audience already seemed plastered.
We played our set fairly early on -- probably 2nd or 3rd. By then, the cheap tile floor on which we were playing was pretty well covered in beer. And while it was probably largely due to the alcohol, everyone was really into us. There was a ton of positive, drunken energy coming from everyone and we were totally feeling it. And maybe I was feeling it a bit more than the other guys, because less than a minute into our 2nd song, I slipped backwards like I had stepped on a fucking banana peel, with my feet tucked under my ass, though I had managed to do so without missing a single note. Rather than fuck the whole song up by attempting to upright myself, I figured I'd stay right where I was, staring at the black ceiling and sopping up the beer with the the only pair of jeans I brought on tour. A couple of seconds later, a man with shoulder-length hair appeared directly above me, like an angel who has double-fisting cans of cheap beer, and screamed at the top of his lungs, "YYYEEEAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!" It was probably the most psyched I've ever seen any human being and even now, maybe a decade or so later, I still envy that guy's enthusiasm for shitty beer, loud music, and (more than likely) illegal backwoods gentlemans' clubs.
My other strongest memory of West Virginia isn't as pleasant, unfortunately. After a show, we grabbed a bite to eat at the nearest restaurant, which was a 50's diner, though we were never quite able to figure out whether it was a themed restaurant or the diner was legitimately frozen in time, because that's really the kind of place that West Virginia is. Shortly after ordering, a middle-aged man on his way out of the diner approached our table and said, "Hey, are you gentlemen in a band?" It probably seems like an odd thing to say to a group of strangers, but we always stuck out like a sore thumb in certain parts of the country, and West Virginia was one of them.
We told this guy that yeah, we were a touring band and we had just played a show in the area. So he sat down at our booth, uninvited, and proceeded to tell us that before becoming a local preacher, he was in what he claimed was a successful area Beach Boys soundalike band. In West Virginia. Chanelling his more recent profession, I suppose, the guy would not shut the fuck up about his favorite bands and his favorite guitars, none of which were in the slightest bit interesting. Oh, cool, you like Les Pauls. We wouldn't have given a single fuck about this guy or his stories even on a good day, but we were all tired and hungry, which made the whole thing that much more irritating. But we're nice guys and we're not in our element whatsoever, so we keep nodding. About forty-five minutes later, once he finally stopped talking about himself, he asked us a few pedestrian questions about us and our band. I stayed quiet while a couple of other band members gave him either short or totally farcical answers in an attempt to speed up the whole process. His feigned interest in us didn't last long. He turns his sights to modern music and says, "Now, if you were to ask me," -- we weren't planning on it, for the record -- "the problem isn't even so much the blacks these days." Our eyes nervously darted around the table as we knew things were about to get weird. "No, the real problem is with the faggots."
At this point, just about everyone had unequivicoally had enough, save for our vocalist, who insisted on continuing to fuck with him. "That's what I was trying to tell these guys!" he said, "See, guys?" Incredibly, after irritating us for what seemed like forever, this is the note the preacher chooses to go out on. He begins to gather his things and stands up. "Well, you fellas have a safe trip back to the east coast! I'll be praying for you!"
I'm going to let you all in on a little secret: I don't update this site much. I had a lot of big, dumb ideas back when I suckef it up, reached into my filthy pockets and purchased a hosting plan for the first time in about a decade. And like every other idea I've ever had in my unproductive life, I got bored and nothing came of it. Since then, about once a week, I'll take a look into the stats and see what's still driving Internet weirdos here. There's a lot of totally expected shit, like "rebel alliance", "jacquie camwhores", "five stars for failure", this and that about training in Thailand, and of course "how to wax a mans nipple". But the most curious addition has been "98 cavalier", which has become the most popular search keyphrase over the last few months, and by a large margin. This search -- of course -- points hapless visitors in the direction of my post about fat girl cars (the late 90's Cavalier being the ultimate fat girl car, of course). I'm too lazy to find it and link to it for you, but trust me when I say that you're not missing much.
I was curious to see what other kinds of information existed out there regarding the '98 Cavalier, as I can't imagine what would inspire someone to check out an article titled "Fat girl cars" while researching how to change a spark plug or something. An initial web search just returned a bunch of horseshit regarding parts, etc, and this site wasn't anywhere to be seen for at least the first ten pages of results. And then I wanted to see whether or not there was any photographic proof of what I already believed to be true: the late nineties Chevrolet Cavalier only exists in turquoise, green, and purple, and is exclusively driven by fat white girls. So I switched over to an image search.
This was the third result:
The photo is small and taken at a distance, but it's pretty obvious that this girl isn't... fat. She's clearly white, and you could safely make the argument that she's built like a linebacker, but "fat" is a real stretch. Bummer. But I feel like it's worth mentioning that this particular photo was taken at a Wal-mart car show.
Further photos show that the Cavalier does indeed exist in other colors, as well, though I stand by the idea that colors such as red and black are simply not popular with fat white girls.
I'll leave you with one last photo from my search:
'Cause y'all didn't even have the decency to change the font color.