Monday, April 28, 2008

Karma for the Car-ma

Let it be noted that I did my good deed for the day early this morning, so I am therefore excused from being nice the rest of the day.

I arrived at the office, and it was raining. As I walked across the parking lot, I saw a coworker's car with its lights on. I walked back to my car (in the rain, did I mention?), and got a pen and piece of paper. I then wrote down the license plate and turned it in at the front desk.

Somebody will be able to get home without complication tonight.

The cold rain is a stark contrast to the weekend's weather. We were able to get out on the bike trail Saturday and Sunday, logging about 20 trail miles. It's going to be a good season; surprisingly, I have not lost as much stamina as in years past. I also have a fun little helmet cam that TFN got me for Christmas this year. I'm looking forward to sharing a Rat's eye view with you as the summer progresses.

This weekend we also went to the roller derby, where we were able to watch the Motor City Disassembly Line (with our very own Paprika as a blocker - although she goes under a different name on the court) thoroughly trounce the Killamazoo Derby Darlins by something like 80 points. It was a very satisfactory weekend.

I replaced my hazardous water bottle with a BPA-free bottle this weekend as well, so I will be safe from BPA, and will use this bottle until it's declared hazardous. At this point, I have consumed about 36 ounces of water from the bottle with no immediate ill effects. I'll keep you posted.

Fast and Furious...

Just sharing this little advertisement.

Friday, April 25, 2008

We just came to party down...

Yeah! It's Friday!

The proper thing to have done on Earth Day would have been to put an environmentally-themed post here. I didn't feel like it, though. It just so happens that today, I do.

We're throwing out our Nalgene bottles. It turns out that they're made with bisphenol A. We bought them to be environmentally sound, but the latest studies suggest that they might be linked to cancer, schizophrenia and a host of other conditions. While it's still a might, I think its best to err toward caution. It's a shame, too. I liked those water bottles.

For Earth Day, we joined a CSA. Now, with the talk of food shortages and prices through the roof, it seems like it was an economically sound choice as well as an environmentally sound call. I'm just looking forward to fresh organic produce.

I also have two little tiny tomato plants growing in my kitchen right now. As bad as I am keeping a garden, I'm trying again, because I love fresh tomatoes.

Also on a whim, while we were at Holiday Market, we picked up a book on homemade cheeses. The thought of fresh mozzarella, and tomato salad coming from my own house is a good thought.

OK, I think that's all the green talk you'll get from me right now.

Things are dropping into place around here. TFN just got the flyers back for her exhibition - it will be her first solo show, and she's stoked. I'll post the flyer here when I have a jpeg of it.

It now looks as if I will be traveling for three days in Dublin. It's a business trip, but it seems like they'll have several fun things planned - plus, when the business involves going to see bands, you can't go wrong, can you?

We've been spending a lot time outside lately. Almost every night since it got warm has involved eating dinner, then going for a walk or bike ride to downtown F-town, stopping for cocktails, than heading home. In the years since we've moved here, it's gotten amazing in F-town to the fact that one can always call a friend to walk up and meet you for a cocktail, and if you can't reach anyone, odds are 75% that you'll run into someone you know when you get to a pub. F-town has gotten very close that way, I think. Or everyone I know is a drunk. Either way, it works.

So this weekend's projection? I would like to get about 30 miles in on my bike, because we're in for cold next week. Again.

That's really all I got at this point. If you've made it this far, you've realized I have little to say, but rather than keep it to myself, I've opted to project it at you.

Thanks for playing.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rockstar Sis

Originally uploaded by Life in the Pumpkin Shell
This is not my Rockstar Sis, it's Ange's, but I wanted to give props to both RSS and Ange.

It's not easy to shoot a drummer. Well, I guess it would be as easy to shoot a drummer as it would be to shoot anyone else with a large caliber weapon, but it's not easy to take photos of a drummer. TFN will attest to that.

First off, drummers are afforded some sort of instantaneous protection by their kit. Hi-hats block their faces from view, which is sometimes for the best, as a drummer in a really intense song often gets the look of a deranged psychopath on their face. That can frighten the kids.

Second, your typical club has a stage that puts the drummer immediately behind the rest of the band, so a photog must finagle to get shots of the drummer.

At any rate, I saw these photos, and thought of the old song "Hillbilly Drummer Girl" by Young Fresh Fellows.

"She came down from the Ozarks
To the big city Memphis world
She's a legend and a landmark
Hillbilly drummer girl."

Not that RSS is a hillbilly, but its the only chick drummer song I know.

You can see all of Ange's Rockstar Sister photos here, and RSS's band, Chemcoma, is located on the MizzleSpizzle here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Quotable Headline

Ok, so I just read this news story that made me laugh. It was about three dogs that discovered a baby that had been abandoned by her mother in India, and barked until people came and discovered her.

It's a case of a sad story with a (somewhat) happy ending, but that's not what made me laugh. It was the headline:

Dogs "rescue" girl abandoned by mother

It was that use of quotes around "rescue". In my crazy mind, I finished out the headline as such:

Dogs "rescue" girl abandoned by mother
(and by "rescue", we meant "eat")

Sick and twisted I know, but I wasn't the one who decided quotes were necessary.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Comics and Meat

My good friend TheChrisBrown opened up his own comic book shop about a year ago ( or more accurately, he took over an existing one, but whatevs), and we've all been way proud of him. Not only is he you know, like independently employed, but he's doing it in a business that speaks to his geekier tastes.

Anyway, he produced a series of commercials for the store, for local TV. These are all full of geeky comic book superhero humor, and acted by a bunch of people I know. For instance:

Comics and More/Spiderman vid.

TheChrisBrown is the guy with the mohawk behind the counter.

He has another one in production that he told me about the other night. It should be the best yet.

In other, meatier news:

I don't always approve of the ends, means or methods of the folks at PETA, but this time they seem dead on. 

It seems that they are offering a $1 million prize for the "first person to come up with a method to produce commercially viable quantities of in vitro meat at competitive prices by 2012."

It's a really gutsy move for PETA, essentially they are saying that they are willing to give up their war against meat, should a way be discovered that meat can be grown in a vat, having never been a breathing creature that could feel pain. It's apparently causing huge rifts in PETA's ranks, as many of them object to eating flesh, even if it was never really an animal.

It's an interesting dilemma that we may need to consider. What if, in the future, meat were able to come from a lab? Theoretically, it would be healthier; all organic, as the controlled environment wouldn't need chemicals, hormones or antibiotics to grow big vats o' beef.

But then again, the result would still be a slab of meat from a vat. Sort of like Spam.

It would be cruelty free, no animal would ever feel pain. It could also revolutionize the culinary field. Gourmet cuts like veal and filet mignon could be grown en masse, as could, conceivably, cuts like shark fin that the Japanese black market goes after. Many taboo meats from other cultures would be available, like dog or horse, and even whale meat would be obtainable in this fashion. 

Hell, why not human flesh? If it could be grown in a lab in this way, why not? What's the harm? Would you want to try it, even just for the sake of seeing what it tastes like? I mean, I tried Haggis, chicken feet, tripe, sweet breads... what if vat-grown people became available, even as a novelty? Would there be harm?

All I know is this: once they perfect the art of lab meat, I need somebody to grow me a meat sweater.

Good to know...

Sound Advice

Sunday, April 20, 2008


More Mountain Goats Lyrics:

In the cold clear light of day down here everyone's a monster

That's cool with all of us - we've been past the point of help since early April

It was a beautiful weekend; temperatures were in the 70's, and the trails are finally ready for us to take our bikes out - in fact that's what we planned to do all weekend.

That is, until the CDC showed up and declared our home a biohazard and placed us under quarantine.

Or to put it more accurately, until we woke up Saturday morning to discover our eyes were... I'll spare you the gross details and simply tell you the diagnosis is pink eye. We ventured out long enough to get to an urgent care clinic, where we were diagnosed, sent home and told to stay away from others until Monday morning.

When we walk out in the sunlight we tell every we know it hurts our eyes
When the real reason we don't like it is that it makes us wonder if we're dying.

Our first really nice weekend, and we're fricking ebola threats. Fortunately, we have enough supplies to last until we're released - just in time to go back to work. Actually we're doing very well, I've got babybacks in the oven because I've got the time for slow cooking. In fact, I've got a lot of time.

Then again, it's not like I've managed to get anything done with my time at home, though, because I am also too exhausted from just being sick to do much more than sleep and watch movies. In fact, I will sign off now. Just know that the seclusion has not been self-imposed.

Yeah we're all here, chewing our tongues off, waiting for the fever to break.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Twin High-Maintenance Machines

As is the case with all too many of my posts as of late, let's begin with a song of significance to me. This is The Mountain Goats...

The first time I heard this song was at a solo performance by the lead singer at the Magic Stick. TFN and I were both unemployed, and had been for a while. We were really splurging on a show and a few beers, because I'd always wanted to see him. The chorus really struck home.

Since then, the chorus is line we often invoke, whether things are bad or really good, but very chaotic, which is the case right now. Case in point:

  1. Read By Dawn comes out next month.
  2. TFN has her first solo exhibition in Detroit next month.
  3. I may be going to Ireland next month.
  4. TFN was accepted to an art exhibition on Cape Cod in June. We will be attending.
  5. Breast Fest 3 is also in June. 

This is a series of a few weeks here. All great things, but the type of things that leave one physically, mentally and emotionally wrecked... I'll make it though.

Speaking of wreckage, Mr. Shane woke me up at around 4 this morning. He was pacing around the house, whining and crying. He didn't want to go out, didn't want food, and REALLY didn't want me to go back to bed. I sat up most of the night, well I slept sitting up next to a nervous dog most of the night.

This morning, I found out we had an earthquake last night - just before the dog woke me up. It actually hit by Chicago, but could still be felt here.

My dog doesn't like earthquakes. I apparently sleep through them. 

Things are back to normal though, he was passed out in his bed when I left for work.

So, we have the final two bands for Breast Fest now. First up is Jesus and the Devil. They are based in Chicago, but sound like a combo of the Stooges, the MC5, and a host of other Detroit greats.

Toxic Shock Syndrome
Originally uploaded by alpharat
The opener is a band that I'm really excited about as well. We saw them open up for Girl In A Coma last week, and they are buckets of awesome. The band is called Toxic Shock Syndrome, and it's composed of four women who know how to rock, and so they do so in a snotty, raunchy way. They play songs like "Kill Yourself," "Fuck Your Life" and "Fuck The Government." It's pure punk rock, and even purer fun.

So, that's the state of things at the moment. I should be back in touch in a few days, when I adjust to the speed things are spinning at right now.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Trash Day

Press play and let's meander, shall we?

The song is "Garbage Picker" by Blanche, and we'll get back to it, I swear.

Today was trash day, and it was a particularly windy one. As I stepped out onto the front porch to have my cup of coffee, I noted that someone, blocks away for all I know, had apparently thrown out a large amount of styrofoam packing peanuts, not bothering to secure them very well. They were drifting down to street in the wind. We just finally managed to get past all of the snow from a particularly painful winter, and somebody puts out garbage that replicates it.

Spring seems to have finally arrived - I hope. Monday, we walked downtown for dinner and drinks. It was so nice, and so easy to slip back into the routine. What I wouldn't do to live in a temperate place where it's rarely too hot or too cold to wander or bike to go have some food or a beer.

Last night, at Punk Fitness, that was the prevailing commentary, too - how everyone is so glad that spring appears to be here, and how this was a particularly bad winter for everyone. It was brutally cold, and snowy, and it turned everyone into hermits and recluses. It was not fun, but hopefully it's over, and for a few months we can focus on the things we like.

There are some big projects happening at the Alpharat's nest, it would appear. Hopefully, the next month will see us putting on a new roof (that's needed to happen for a while), and even more hopefully, we will be gutting and replacing the kitchen. TFN and I cook a lot, and for too many years now we have worked with a little galley kitchen that is really poorly laid out. I can handle the galley kitchen if the space is used decently. This one isn't even trying, though.

Back to trash day... I know that when we are gutting the kitchen, a lot of our stuff will be taken to the curb to be gathered up by the scrappers and garbage pickers who patrol the hood on the night before garbage day, and while that may be an appropriate enough reason to include this song, it's only half of the story...

The band performing the song is called Blanche. The singer is a guy named Dan John Miller. He's known for many things in Detroit - not only does he sing for Blanche, but he was also the lead singer for a band called Goober and the Peas, a band in which Jack White was his drummer.

Nationally, Miller is better known for playing the part of Luther Perkins, Johnny Cash's guitarist in I Walk The Line. In the too much information vein, he's also the one who lived in my house before we moved in.

As if that weren't enough of a claim to fame for our little house and our little neighborhood, but the song "Garbage Picker" was written about our neighbors.

So there you go...

Monday, April 07, 2008

Another Band Added to Breast Fest 3!

I am deathly ill this week with one of those little illnesses that sneaks quietly up from behind and punches you right in the back of the skull, leaving you laid out and trying your best to recover.

Even so, life goes on. 

We are really happy to announce that we've added another band to the Breast Festivities!

When this band performs, it's not just a performance, it's an experience. I am talking about Los Minstrels Del Diablo.

Poised somewhere between the Residents and Skinny Puppy, Los Minstrels Del Diablo are a two-piece industrial multimedia show, complete with music synchronized to video and light effects. For several years, they have been a mainstay at the Theatre Bizarre, and now we are fortunate enough to bring them to Breast Fest.

Take a peek:

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


I read somewhere that the vast majority of blog posts relate to people apologizing for not having blogged in a while. I can believe it. I get wrapped up in stuff - work, trips, the benefit, life in general - and blogging is one of the last things on my mind or fitting in my agenda. Instead you get the occasional mini-thought and a video link.

Meh. Today won't be much better.

Last night we went out to eat, college student style, and by that I mean cheap. First it was off to Lily's for $10 all-you-can-eat fish and $2 drafts, then over to Gusoline Alley for a couple $1 beers. 

Gus's has the best jukebox, and after we hung out there for a while, I decided to throw some money into it. I was really surprised to discover that my and TFN's wedding song was in there.

Today, I decided to see if a video was ever made for it. I doubted it, guessing it was a little obscure, being a remake of a song that was pretty obscure the first time around. Happily, I was wrong. So that's the little bit of video I'm throwing at you today; the song that we first danced together to on our wedding night.