Thursday, October 30, 2008

I think it bears mentioning...

my wedding day
Originally uploaded by alpharat
That it was nine years ago today that I said, "I Do." With those two words, my best friend also became my wife.

As this cryptic photo shows, things were just as crazy then as they are now.

Nine years has seemed like a drop in a bucket, so here's to the bucket taking a long, long, looooong time to fill up.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Get the awesomest pants they offer.

Further proof that God is getting ready for the battle to end the world: Rudy Ray Moore, AKA Dolemite, AKA The Human Tornado, AKA The Avenging Disco Godfather was called back yesterday. He was 81. I’ll let you search for your own videos, because I couldn’t find one that was remotely safe or appropriate to post here (and you know that’s a mean feat!). So, if you decide to look, you can start here, but you’ve been warned.

Here’s a little something for the wallflowers in the room.
All my people at the party for whom the dance don’t come natural.

I have a new song that I am incredibly addicted to, to the point of listening to it nonstop (Four times today so far!). You know that phrase “Dance like nobody’s watching”? This song speaks to those of us who can’t dance, but don’t necessarily care. It’s called “Wallflowers,” and it’s by MC Frontalot. It’s a song that just makes me want to dance, and I think it will make you want to dance, too.

Hidden with the song is a great bit of advice for life (and dancing) as well:

Don’t retract unless you’re starting a move, and don’t begin a motion unless you follow it through.

Like the song? Wait there’s more! As an added bonus, if you wander through this post, you can download the MP3 for free. Download it, learn to do the Margaret Thatcher (listen and you’ll understand), and then we’ll all do it together when next we meet.

Big adventures are in the making in these parts. First of all, this Saturday marks the annual bacchanal we celebrate in these parts, that’s most commonly known as our Halloween party. This year, we’re going with a heroes and villains theme (last year was dead celebrities, and the year before that was pirates), and it should be mad fun.

Sunday, Lasers and Fast and Shit will be playing in Detroit. They’re on tour right now opening for Shiny Toy Guns. The thing is, Lasers and Fast and Shit need a place to stay, and their drummer is MZZO, a dear old friend of ours (he went to high school with TFN, was in our wedding, and has brought one of his bands from Chicago to play our breast cancer benefit, etc.), so log story short, Sunday night will see our place as a band house for the evening.

Honestly, I don’t mind doing it, gas has gotten so expensive over the years, so that anything I can do to help a touring band out, even going so far as to give them a shower, bed and dinner for the night, I’ll gladly do it to help keep the tradition of touring bands alive.

But, getting back to big adventures, I have been grumbling on about how I want to have a big bit of vagabondoggery lately, and a big adventure has been scheduled to coincide with TFN’s birthday. A road trip.

And not just any road trip. This will be our big adventure. We’re flying into Shannon Airport in Ireland and picking up a rental car. One week later, we’re flying out of Dublin, on the other side of the country.

No itinerary.

Just adventure.

Friday, October 17, 2008

We do what we do to get by...

Song for the weekend - "Thrash Unreal" by Against Me! (whom we're going to see on Saturday)

This night is going to end when we’re damn well ready for it to be over.
Worked all week long, now the music is playing on our time.

Action-packed weekend ahead, starting with a trip to the Winchester for dinner and beers with the K&A faction tonight, thenSaturday begins with getting up and mowing the lawn one last time, a bike ride, a run out to Ann Arbor to have dinner with a friend who’s in town on a movie shoot, then back to Detroit for the Against Me! show, then back home for a few hours of sleep before we’re back downtown at 5 am for the Detroit Marathon (where we’re volunteering), then a bike ride, then dinner with family, then bed and then it’s time to go to work Monday morning.

Damn, that’s exhausting to even think of. So I try not to think of it. Just roll with it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

RIP - Sho'Nuff

This news is a few months old, but I just found out that Julius Carry, better known as Sho'Nuff, Shogun of Harlem died in August.

First, Sho'Nuff, then Paul Newman. What's going on up there? It's like God is calling all the tough guys home. It almost makes you wonder if we aren't gearing up for the end of the world.

I also have to wonder if the tournament to find the next next Shogun of Harlem has begun.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Cold bones and bandanas

Music for the moment: "Swing Life Away" by Rise Against

We live on front porches and swing life away
We get by just fine here on minimum wage
If love is a labor I'll slave 'til the end
I won't cross these streets until you hold my hand...

This song reminds me of summers in Ferndale, and how much fun I have just going places with no reason other than to see friends and have fun.

I've been here so long; think that its time to move
The winter's so cold summer's over too soon
so let's pack our bags and settle down where palm trees grow.

Now the days are getting short and cold, and we turned on the heat the other night. It seems like it's time to put another summer to bed. All things considered, it was a really good one. Broken ribs and stitches aside, it was well-lived. We managed to pack a lot into the summer for sure.

I've got some friends, some that I hardly know
But we've had some times I wouldn't trade for the world
We chase these days down with talks of the places that we will go...

Tonight, I have tickets to the Wings home opener. I am soooo excited. Unlike the recent lame night where we decided not to go, tonight is the next best thing to being there to see them win the cup. They'll bring the cup out, and hoist the championship banner. It's an incredible opportunity and a good way to welcome the fall, and I won't lame out this time.

Originally uploaded by alpharat
We had a little scare with the Shane yesterday. We went to to the vet to get his nails "did," and to get his bordatella (kennel cough) vaccination. This is always an unpleasant visit for him, because the kennel cough vaccination is an "intranasal vaccination," meaning they load it up in a syringe and shoot it up his nose. He doesn't like that.

But he took it like a trooper, and came out of the exam room with a fancy new Halloween bandanna that he was very proud of, and all of the girls in the vet's office told him how nice he looks (he always gets really happy when they dote on him). As a last stop, he climbed on the scale before we left.

It turns out, he'd lost five pounds, which adds up to 15 pounds over the past two years. The vet, with that dreaded disclaimer "it's probably nothing," took him back for some bloodwork.

They called me at 8:30 this morning. It turns out, it is nothing. Shane is just getting old, and they said his appetite was probably just decreasing. Still, they said (and I haven't broke this news to him yet), they were giving us the green light to start really spoiling him. This means wet food two or three times a week, and the occasional bits of people food.

This goes along with what a lot of our friends have been saying, actually, only they put it more like this: "Come on! He's old and he's a good dog! If he wants some people food/to tip over the garbage/to go in and and out all day/to beg at the table/to steal food from the table/etc., you let him!"

So yeah, I won't break the news to Shane in exactly this way, but the vet basically said let him be naughty and to eat what he wants.

Honestly, I have started this way already. On a warm evening a few weeks ago, TFN and I grilled steaks, then sat on the deck in the dark, drinking beers and sucking the last bit of warm marrow out of the cooling bones of summer. At some point, I had taken the dishes from dinner in, and Mr. Shane scratched at the door to go inside.

I let him in.

I let him in knowing he didn't want to go to bed. I let him in knowing he wanted to tip over the trash for the bits of steak in there.

Which he did.

And I didn't punish him beyond a "Shane, what did you do?" because, really, I was just happy the old guy still has it in him to be naughty for the sake of a bit of steak.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The great purge

TFN and I are in the middle of a giant purge. We are throwing out and donating many of our worldlies. A few weeks ago, it was a garbage bag of shoes (no small feat (feet?) for TFN, because she bears a fondness toward footwear that borders on obsession) and another of coats.

I have been gifting books to friends under the condition that they be passed on and not returned.

We simply want to end up with less clutter. Less stuff.

Apparently, this need to purge has entered the subconscious areas governing our basic motor skills as well, because in the past few weeks, we have also accidentally broken more dishes that we have in the entire time we've been together, Glasses, coffee mugs, a bowl; it's like the dishes have gone suicidal, and our seeking ways to meet untimely demises under the guise of butterfingered accidents.


Dreaming a little dream

I once had a friend, a very good friend. He was a good friend to a bunch of us, a big pert of the circle of friends.

Then one day, he wrote off all of his friends. He just went on with his life sans the original bunch.

There was no discernible altercation to cause this rift. It was just like the typical way in which people grow apart, at 10 times the typical speed.

Life went on.

I was a little hurt by the whole situation. OK, a lot. But I got over it.

Monday night, I had a dream where I was in a bar on a Saturday night. I ran into him, and he offered advice about something. I told him he had no right to just turn up again and offer advice after not returning calls or coming to parties. As far as his advice went, it was pretty stupid, anyway.

Then I woke up.

I was angry.

I was not angry about the contents of the dream though.

I was upset that, for a moment, I thought it was Saturday night and I didn't have to get up for work in the morning.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Amazing Grace

Z asked if anybody had recorded "Amazing Grace" with Flatfoot 56 the other night. While I don't know about that, here they are playing it elsewhere, and it was pretty similar:

It's so far been a positively great weekend in the Motor City. It started with chciken wings, beer and a three-way of intellectual intercourse with A of the K&A faction last night, prompting sleeping in this morning before a trip to the Eastern Market and a stop in at Vivio's for more than a few of the absolute best Bloody Marys in the city.

Good Market Day
Originally uploaded by alpharat

Trips to the Eastern Market are always so much fun. Aside from getting delicious fresh produce, there's always the "run-in factor," the old friends that we'll see that we haven't seen in months. Today it was an old artist friend we hadn't ssen in a year and a musician friend (who holds the long-running title for being the girl who gives out the best hugs) that we hadn't seen in half a year.

Now at this point, we're not even halfway through the weekend; we still have a lot to go. Tonight, it's dinner with Mr. and Ms. Yoda and an Orbitsuns show. Tomorrow, it's a few hours with the best haircutter in the city, and then a bike ride.

This truly is the type of weekend that needs to be fully enjoyed.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Could it be?

Yes, it’s Friday!

Last night’s show was amazing, a packed house of kids dancing and singing and having a great time. The crowd ranged from 40-year-old skins to 16-year-old punks and there were no issues, nobody got hurt, and the bands and the crowd kicked ass. I even took a few laps in the circle pit during Flatfoot 56’s set, something I decided I was too old for a few years ago.

And let me tell you, until you've heard a crowded punk bar sing "Amazing Grace" together, you've never really heard that song.

The nation could take a lesson from this crowd, because we can apparently get along and play nicely quite well.

Moving along, this post is actually for Z- In response to this post. Here's my reply:

Doesn’t that just make you feel better? No? Not yet?

Let’s try again:

There, if you’re not feeling great now, I don’t know what to tell you. There’s something seriously wrong with you.

Now please, carry on with your weekend. It’s Friday, bitches!


One more thing. Sorry to harsh your Friday after I pumped you up with those great feelings, but here’s more sad cycling news (because that’s what I’m good at):

I just received word that, as of tomorrow, the Great Demoralizer will be no more. The Great Demoralizer is the first hill on the 20-some mile Potowatomi trail, so named because it’s a craggy, tall climb that destroys you just to get to the top. Then once you clear this hill, muscles screaming and lungs blown out, the realization sets in that you have over 20 miles left to go. Somehow, I call this fun.

Part of the reason it’s so difficult and demoralizing is the erosion damage that contributes to its roughness. It’s an environmentally sound choice to eliminate it, rerouting to a better construction in a less steep climb.

Still, I’m going to miss it, and I wish I would have known about this sooner so it could have kicked my ass just one more time.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

All the news, everywhere, ever.

Music of the moment: Street Dogs

So, that VP debate is tonight, but I will not be viewing. TFN and I have tickets to see Street Dogs, a hard-working blue-collar punk band from Boston. They sing about worker’s rights, taking pride in yourself and taking care of your friends – the sort of thing that should be talked about at the debate but probably won’t.

It may be escapist, but an evening in the microcosm of a rock club where the ideals getting thrown around consist of drinking beer with your friends and looking out for one another is exactly what I need. What I don't need are more mindlessly awful Palin soundbites.

I don’t really think Palin is the devil per se, but she definitely just scares me because of her apparent lack of knowledge and her apparent view of being OK with that. She just babbles and throws out talking points without really ever saying anything, and some people eat that up.

Biden will have a hard time with this debate because he addresses issues with facts, while what I’ve seen from her, she resorts to colloquialisms, pandering and cutesy anecdotes. And if he tries to confront her with facts or force an answer, he may come across as a bully, pushing around dear sweet Sarah Palin, the backwoods hockey mom.

Then again, she may have a hidden ace and we may be incredibly surprised by her performance, because she apparently reads all of the news written anywhere, ever.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sad times...

Music for the moment: Plan 9

It's been a strange day with some weird sad events. Just as I was posting a review of the new Plan 9 album to my music site, I got an email from Plan 9's PR person. It seems that Plan 9's frontman, Aaron Fuller, was killed in a motorcycle accident early Tuesday morning. He was a really talented singer with an amazing voice, and Plan 9 was the closest thing to a Misfits replacement since Danzig left that band.

I also found more information on the Ghost Bike locked to a sign near my bank. The person that was hit and killed was a 40-year-old woman. She was a single mother of two kids who worked taking care of a 90-year-old man. She didn't have a car, and the bike was her only mode of transportation to and from work.

The person that hit her dragged her for 100 feet and fled the scene. I don't know what kind of monster would do something like that, but I hope they find the person and put them away.

I also sincerely hope she was killed instantly, and the person didn't leave her there to die. There's a special place in hell for a person who would do that.

Another disturbing aspect of all this are the people who commented on the story, especially the original story. They suggest that cyclists are at fault in these situations. These are people who've been inconvenienced by being behind cyclists, not realizing or caring that we have the same rights and are required to follow the same laws as a motorist.

When I ride the roads, I ride extremely defensively because of people like this; people who think nothing of running a bike off the road. I never assume that a car has noticed me, often they look right past you. I have a friend who has been hit three times now, simply because people don't pay attention.

I don't want to get on a high horse (or a tall bike in this case) in this situation, but whether people are riding for fun, fitness, transportation choice or because they have no choice other than to ride a bike, they deserve the right to share the road, and to do it without fear of being killed. Cyclists have a real need to be cautious, too, because whether or not they are in the right, they will ALWAYS lose in a car vs. bike confrontation.

Incidentally, she wasn't the only cyclist killed that night. In this case, the person turned himself in the next day, saying he thought he hit a deer.

Did he really? If you hit a deer, wouldn't you pull over to check? Again, my fear is that, at the time, he knew what he did and panicked, leaving another cyclist in a ditch to die.

Sad cycling news aside, there are other sad news items that have been making me shake my head. In Denver, the people who perpetrated the violence upon nonviolent protesters are celebrating the fact, and using this occasion to profit.

The Denver police union is selling T-shirts that poke fun at protesters at last month's Democratic National Convention, but the main target isn't laughing.

The back of the shirts reads, "We get up early to beat the crowds" and "2008 DNC," and has a caricature of a police officer holding a baton. (Link)

So what you have is a situation where police were able to violate the First Amendment rights of this country's citizens, and then are allowed to joke about and profit from it. But we're not heading toward a police state.

If that's not enough distressing news, apparently Sarah Palin believes that man walked the Earth with the dinosaurs. I won't go so far as to say that she's not intelligent, but she's apparently not very well educated or well read.

That's probably the case, as she is the person who asked how she would go about getting books banned from public libraries. This bit of old news is especially relevant this week, which happens to be Banned Books Week. If you do nothing else, make a silent statement of rebellion by reading a book that has faced a ban. There are plenty of good ones on the list, and who knows? If things keep heading in the direction they are, this may not always be a guaranteed right in this country.