August 1st, 2012

Wanted to let everyone know that we have made the difficult decision to allow our beloved Gandalf to “pass into the West”, as it were, on this Friday morning.

There is no one particular issue I can point to, rather there has been a systematic decline that has picked up momentum in the past few months.   A combination of his cancer symptoms worsening, plus his arthritis, plus the effects of being on Prednisolone for over two years.  While it has given him two more years of life and helped ease his arthritis, Pred is a very grueling drug which has left him with serious Cushing’s Disease (muscle wasting and adrenal failure) after such long-term use.  We think that the effects of the Pred, coupled with the arthritis and other issues are now finally taxing his body beyond a tolerable point.  He is very clearly weakened and is beginning to have more bad days than good.

However, he still has some quality of life yet but we choose to err on the side of too soon rather than too late and regret causing him undue suffering.  We have always wanted him to go while he still had some purrs left in him, and that he does.  And being Gandalf, he should leave us with his dignity and grace intact — it is what he would demand.

We haven’t said anything about this earlier, because we wanted to keep it as quiet and dignified a process as possible.  Although the idea of a future without Gandalf is nearly inconceivable, we are as at peace with this decision as we can be.

Though everyone in our house looks like this.

Obligatory Chick-Fil-A Post

July 30th, 2012

I really have nothing to say about CfA defenders, apart from “Aww.  Makes you feel sad when you think someone is infringing upon your rights, don’t it?”  Annnnddd…that “whoooosh!” is the sound of the point zooming over heads.

To which all I can do is summon up the awesome power of


Job Update: Final Edition

July 25th, 2012

So, I have a job again.

All of the levels of Kafkaness were gotten through, and I received the official offer phone call yesterday afternoon.  Much to my great surprise, my future supervisor managed to wrangle the highest starting salary level for me out of H.R.  She must have some dirt on someone, somewhere.

Now I can finally tell you what the job is!

It’s a part-time job at University of Pittsburgh in the Center for Philosophy of Science.

WTF is that? You may well ask.

It’s basically a Think Tank.  Pitt’s Philosophy and “History and Philosophy of Science” departments are both ranked among the best in the world, so scholars in those fields naturally want to come and study here.  The CPS is not a teaching department, but a place that gives out fellowships/stipends to interested researchers, who then come and spend a term or two thinking Deep Thoughts in PGH.  There are lectures and seminars and whathaveyou held throughout the year to help provide an “intellectually stimulating” environment.  So I get to hang out with philosophers and scientists instead of librarians — UPGRADE.

My job within this atmosphere is more-or-less Tech Support Ninja.  I will be managing/redeveloping the Center website, making sure that the visiting scholars have working Pitt email accounts and up to date software, etc.  And of course, “other duties as required.”

The office is located in the Cathedral of Learning, and is actually pretty nice.  From what I’ve seen so far, my co-workers are pretty nice too.  My direct supervisor is a woman who told me that she intentionally scales back her own work hours to be with her dogs, and that she fully identified with my reasons for not wanting full-time work.  The Center director is a laid-back British chap.

It will take a lot of getting used to, leaving the house to go to work.  But the hours per day are short, and the benefits are good, and I used it as an excuse to buy myself a Shaun White / Burton backpack to carry my lunch and iPad in.  So although I’ve got some angst, it’s not out of hand.

But wish me luck anyway.

Happy Benedict Cumberbirthday!!

July 19th, 2012

Scarves, tea, and SlashArt for all!!

Drive-By Hotting: Copyright Infringement Edition

July 18th, 2012

Hey now!

I’m gonna let this slide for once, just because it’s Joe.  But that’s the only warning that GQ is going to get.

Cat Snatch Fever

July 11th, 2012


First, let’s kill all the humans.

You will recall the tale of how we came to own our Ed, right?  How we found him as a “stray” 6 month old kitten, then several month later our across-the-street neighbors came by with a sob story about his being their cat who they lost.  Who they 1. allowed outside with no supervision 2. made absolutely NO attempt (signs, messages with shelters, nada) to locate 3. had not had neutered and 4. was the offspring of ANOTHER one of their cats that they didn’t spay.  Sound familiar?

Yeah, well the cretins got a new cat.

We started noticing this cat in our yard during the spring.  She is tiny and black, so when I first saw her I freaked out thinking that Barrett had escaped somehow.  She has tags, but she was too fearful to allow me to get close enough to read them.  We began leaving food out so that she’d lose her fear of us.

About a month ago, she finally let me approach her.  She had two tags: a rabies tag from the Animal Rescue League, and a tag with a microchip number.  (So at least we knew she’d come from a shelter and was therefore spayed…this is a big step up for cretin neighbors.)  I called the 800 number on the microchip tag and found out that, yup…cat “belongs” to same Idiot Family.

So I thought, “Ok, she ostensibly has a home. Fine.”  And started leaving her alone.  Except she is ALWAYS outside.  She is always starving hungry looking for food on my porch.  I have no idea if the Idiots make any attempt to care for her, or if they’ve written her off.

Yesterday, I was talking about the cat to a different neighbor (we’ll call her Mabel.)  Mabel said that she encountered Ms. Idiot outside one day and asked whether the cat belonged to them.  Ms. Idiot gave the same sorry lines of bullshit she did about Ed, namely, “Oh, we just can’t keep her in the house, she gets out all the time!”  Mmm-hm.  Now tell me: how have I managed to own cats for 18 goddamn years without EVER having one slip outside by accident?!  Do I possess some kinda special fucking magic?!  No.  I have a BRAIN and EYES in my head and I USE them and I give a shit what becomes of my cats.  There is no fucking rocket science to this.

I’m sure if I tried to talk to them about it, I’d just get shunned/written off as “Dat bitch who stole our kitten.”

So.  I have this cat practically living on my porch now.  I have an email in to the shelter to see if there’s anything that can be done on their end.  (I really don’t want to take her back there, as a black cat during the height of kitten season, she’ll never get adopted.)  I cannot take her.  So I am pleading with everyone out there:

I will happily make this cat “disappear” from the neighborhood if someone would offer to take her in.  I have done (I think) above and beyond my share for the cats of this world.  I know there are people out there within the sound of my typing who have the means and the space in their hearts and homes to accept a new cat.  Stop making excuses and start stepping up, people!!  Pardon my confrontational tone, but I am pissed off beyond the point of niceness by this.

The Plot Thickens

July 7th, 2012

After spending some time asking questions, making phone calls, some new shit has come to light regarding yesterday’s post.

Turns out that there is NOT a University-wide hiring freeze, though I believe that my would-be employers are under the impression that there is.  Turns out that the position I’m in line for belonged to one of the 350 people who opted for early retirement last month.

The University is now “reviewing” all of those vacant positions to determine whether or not they are “essential”, or if they can cheap out and get away with not re-staffing them.  So it’s only a hiring freeze on those positions.

I’m not sure if that makes my situation better or worse.  On the one hand, I’d hardly call it essential.  On the other, the pay is a drop in the bucket compared to some of the other newly-vacated positions.

Time will tell.  Meanwhile, I’ll have a Caucasian.

Welcome Back, Kafka

July 6th, 2012

And now a Non-Job Non-Update.

The past year+ has been one long hamster wheel of misplaced hopes, false starts, stressful job interviews, demeaning job interviews, rejections, missed opportunities, truly Kafkaesque online applications, and above all, ENNUI.  And I don’t even really want a job very much.  I can’t imagine what I’d feel like if I was one of those career-oriented sickos.  (Though much of the above applies to more than just my employment situation.)

I had one offer in March for a job that sounded pretty good.  Lots of autonomy, interesting work, etc.  But the pay offered was a joke, and they weren’t willing to flex on the schedule.  So I turned it down, and tried to work on fully embracing the “stick it to the Man”/screw your Capitalist ideology/I am a Domestic Engineer mindset.

For the most part, it was working.  But I’d still browse the job ads when I didn’t have anything better to do.

Which leads me to Monday.

This past Monday I had a really good job interview.  Which was strange because I went in not even wanting to be there (as a result of shellshock from a really bad interview the previous week), thinking the job was going to be lame, etc.  But I came out enthused and hopeful, thinking that it would be a fun place to work, and that I’d gotten the job (because they more or less came out and said so during the interview.)  They called me two days afterward to let me know that I was the #1 candidate.

And here’s the part where it’s like they turned the script over to Franz K. for editing….

The job is at a department at the University of Pittsburgh.  (I’m not going to give any more details because I want to cover my ass.)  Days before my interview, the H.R. Nazis informed the department that the University is instigating a hiring freeze, effective immediately and until further notice.  No further information was given.  No one is allowed to hire anyone, and no one knows exactly why, or exactly for how long.

The assumption is that this has to do with the proposed State budget.  Pitt has been panicking for the last year or so, because THE GOVERNMENT OF PENNSYLVANIA ARE EVIL SHITHEADS who gut education funding and public transportation while letting gas companies rape the environment.  Anyway, Pitt’s budget has been circling the drain, and they are frantically trying to stop the bleeding through a series of sudden unannounced cuts in departments, early retirement buyouts, and now, apparently, this hiring freeze.

But the thing is, the 2012 -13 state budget was announced, and the additional major planned cuts to Pitt’s funding didn’t happen.  So what’s the problem?  I begin to suspect a conspiracy.

Not that the PA State Government aren’t evil shitheads, but the University’s continued lack of transparency on any of these matters (the media found out about Pitt’s actions through tips first, official communications only afterward), the refusal to communicate the situation to faculty and staff, makes me believe that the administration is taking advantage of the State budget crisis to further its own plans and correct its own financial missteps, all the while playing the victim card and crying, “It’s all the Governor’s fault!”

My sympathy.  You no longer haz it.

And so, I have a job.  But I’m not allowed to be offered it.

Thus continuing the one-step-forward, three-steps-back cycle of stasis, stagnation, and all-around pointlessness.  Franz would be so proud.





June 30th, 2012

I think I am officially done with Fantasy novels.

Last week, out of sheer boredom, I made my first trip to the public library in over two years.  Honestly, public libraries never have a goddamned thing I’m interested in reading.  (But these days, neither do book stores.  We’ll get to that in a minute.)  I’ve been reading practically nothing but non-fiction lately, and I because I get so frustrated with the increasingly limited range of books I enjoy anymore, I wanted to force myself to just pick some cheesy, light thing off the shelf and just READ it!  Just read it, dammit, it’s free!  Don’t worry about it!  Read for entertainment!


As with movies, I cannot be entertained by poor-quality crap.  I swear they’ll publish anything in fantasy these days!  Where have all the editors gone?  Was there a mass die-off?

Apart from the bad writing itself, I’ve been reading Fantasy for so long I really think there is no trope that I haven’t encountered before and gotten sick of.

I am so over/want nothing to do with Any Of the Following:

  • Multi-part book series
  • Dragons as main characters
  • Vampires as main characters
  • “Chosen One” young heroes who are preternaturally the Most! Giftedest! Ever!
  • Wizard schools
  • Assassin schools
  • Dragon-riding schools
  • World-building with no story-telling (i.e. author spent more time thinking up cool names than writing the plot)
  • Fantasy Char’acqtuars with apostrophes in their names
  • Overly-long battle scenes
  • Thinly disguised Wiccan shit
  • “Feminist reimaginings” of anything (see above)
  • “Authors” who just cannot bloody write.

So where does that leave me?

But here’s my thing: Fantasy is/was the only kind of fiction that I reliably like.  I’m at a real loss now.  I’m afraid of having to live the next 35+ odd years of my life with nothing to read but but non-fiction.  Don’t get me wrong, I obviously love my history books (with the odd biography or Film Criticism thrown in), but I really, REALLY don’t want to morph into a old white guy who only reads military history and books about the Nazis!  But I fear it may already be too late.

Unless you guys can help!  Given the (admittedly ridiculous, but hey I acknowledge that I have a problem) criteria below, can someone throw me a lifeline and tell me what to read?!

Here’s a Brief List of Fiction Genres that I DO NOT like:

  • Mystery
  • Sci-Fi
  • Romance*
  • Porn posing as Romance*
  • Chick-Lit*
  • Victorian fiction 1 (i.e. fiction written in Victorian times) Eliminates 90% of “classic literature”.
  • Victorian fiction 2* (i.e. fiction books SET during Victorian times.  If there’s top hats, count me out.)  Same goes for Georgian and Regency times.
  • *If any of the above feature a time-traveling heroine, that’s even worse.
  • “Young Adult” fiction
  • “Supernatural Romance” (i.e. porn with vampires/werewolves/etc.)
  • Steampunk (see above, re: top hats)
  • Cyberpunk
  • Nautical books
  • Legal thrillers
  • Cop thrillers
  • Spy thrillers
  • Civil War books
  • Books set in modern times do not interest me.  If there’s cell phones and computers, count me out.  About as recent an era that I’m willing to read about is 1950.
  • Anything Oprah would tell me to read
  • Anything classified as “beach reading”

So what DO I like in fiction books?

  • Historical fiction
  • As long as it doesn’t suck.
  • Medieval times, plagues, Yorkists, Lancastrians, witch trials, Vikings, Druids, Celts
  • Gay heroes
  • Arthuriana
  • As long as it doesn’t suck, but I think I’ve read all of it that doesn’t.
  • Serial killers
  • My favorite fiction authors include: Tolkien, Kafka, Truman Capote, Cormac McCarthy, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Raymond Chandler.

There you have it.  Is there hope for me?

I suppose I could spend eternity rereading Swordspoint; not such a bad fate, at that.


Drive-By Drive-Bying

June 29th, 2012

For your Friday pleasure, six minutes of pure beauty.  Oh, Michael Mann….


Game of Thrones? Meh.  The Wire? Whatevs.  This is epic tv-making.  I weep for bygone times.  It’s like, once there were colors in the world, and ever since 1990, everything turned to sepia.

Old People Needed!

June 28th, 2012

My friends, I have a problem, and only people who grew up in the 80′s can help!

Nobody makes light-wash jeans anymore!  I keep coming across jeans that claim to be “light rinse”, but the mofos who wrote the descriptions clearly do not hail from the 80′s!  I graduated high school in 1990, goddamn it!  When I say I want light-rinse denim, I want it to be light.  Not medium.  Not “cornflower”.  Not dark with a couple of token faded spots.  LIGHT.

Rant over.  So I’m addicted to Lucky Brand Jeans; they’re virtually the only jeans I’ll wear anymore ever since GAP’s fit/quality took a nosedive.  If they’re on sale, I’ll buy them even though I don’t need them because they’re freakin’ expensive.  So I recently bought a pair that I totally didn’t need because they were marked down to $30 from $99, I had a coupon, and the picture made them look really light.

Light my ass.  I think I need to email someone the ad up there for reference.

Now I’m stuck with these jeans (final clearance, no returns) that are really, really nice….but are the same color as all my other jeans.

So tell me 80′s people:  How does one lighten jeans?

I know I could just throw them in the washer with bleach, but I don’t want them to look spotty.  How can I achieve an overall, more uniform lightening?  Gawd, I wish I had an issue of Teen Beat to tell me how.

Now In Meh-O-Vision

June 21st, 2012


This is a weird summer movie season for me.  Ordinarily, I’m frothing with hate at the slate of summer’s films.  This year, there isn’t even anything that looks bad enough to rage about.  And there are a number of films that, on paper, look like something I should enjoy, but all I can muster is a big old “Meh” and shoulder shrug.  It’s the Summer of Meh.  Perhaps that full list could be its own blog post, but for now let’s look at Pixar’s Brave.

There’s an assumption that I’d want to see this because it’s set in Scotland, and “But you loovvvveee Scotland!”  Well, yeah.  But I could just as soon watch Trainspotting again and actually enjoy myself.

I’ll admit, I’m just not into animated films.  I was for a while when it was a big “thing” in the 90s to like animated films just to go check out the animation, but what interest I had in that was killed by CG.  And I don’t like kids’ movies.  I don’t care if, “But they put some token things in there that adults will like too!”  It’s never enough.

I honestly tried to muster up interest in Brave.  Yet after watching every single iteration of the trailer, I –  1. never felt anything more than “Meh”, and 2. could not tell WTF the movie is ABOUT.  That’s not a good sign.  If I’m not going to see it just because it looks pretty, I need to know…I dunno…the plot?  Maybe just a hint?  And the final nail was that the trailers were full of cheap Scottish jokes/stereotypes.  “OMG LOL they wear kilts! THAT’S FUNNY! LOL! Look, huge hairy guy who farts! HAHA”  Sod off.

The only appealing elements were the Pixar deerhounds, the Scottish landscape, and the very impressive job they did with Merida’s hair.  Honestly, her hair looks like its own sentient being.  (Pixar, consider making an animated film about Shaun White!  Perhaps put cute animated foxes in it too?  I’ll not only shell out for full-price IMAX seats, I’ll even buy concessions!  MAKE IT SO!!)

And you know what else?  I’m really, really, extraordinarily tired of “girl power” movies.  Because I’m anti-girl?  No, because I am pro-girl.

Let me break it down for ya.

It’s the year 2000-bloody-12.  Shouldn’t girls already BE empowered?  Yes!  And if not, why the hell aren’t they?  What are we doing wrong (ooooohhh, Jesus, don’t get me started…)  WHY is our culture still cranking out movies/tv shows/other media in which it is a Big Freaking Deal when a female character is good at something?!

You all have seen the trope a zillion times.  Some girl (in this case Merida), displays a heretofore hidden talent for doing something (in her case, archery), that is normally the domain of males.  And ZOMG, everyone is stunned. Stunned!  Heads snap in whiplash double-takes, jaws comically drop!  Because holy cow, it’s like so inconceivable that a GIRL could do that!  And then she proceeds to kick everyone’s butt.

That may have been empowering once.  Decades ago.  But tell me, how is that substantially ANY different from movies of the 30′s where there’s always a spunky gal reporter (she’s always spunky, and always a reporter) and the other characters spout lines like, “Gee! A lady reporter?!”  Or those fabulous 1950′s Sci-Fi gems that often feature a Lady Scientist and, guess what? Heads snap in whiplash double-takes, jaws comically drop!  Men say, “Well whaddaya know! A Lady Scientist!

It is 2012. This is not empowering anymore, it’s insulting.  You know what would be empowering?  You know what would be fucking groundbreaking?

Make a film in which the female protagonist is good at something.  And nobody bats an eyelash about it.  It’s not a big deal.  It’s just a given that a female could be good at [whatever thing], because, duh…it is.  And she goes about her business with quiet competence and helps out as an equal and it is not treated as the least bit strange that such a thing is possible.  Not saying such characters don’t exist, but they are so RARE and typically found in media for adults (Dana Scully, I’m looking at you. And shout out to my girl Molly Hooper from Sherlock!)

And while we’re at it, Hollywood, if you want to be motherfucking revolutionary….

How about “empowering” a girl who isn’t Pretty, White, and Thin?

I know, that’s like crazy advanced alien civilization from the future talk!!

And how about, instead of being good at beating boys up with ninja skills, or archery, some other athletic ability, we have the girl save the day by building a nuclear reactor or fixing the Warp Drive, or something requiring brain power?


Hey, looks like I got a rant in after all.  Aren’t I just spunky?



June 18th, 2012

As of today, Barrett Benedict has been with us for six months.  His provisional period is over and he is now a full employee!

Alright, “employee” isn’t the right word, but I did joke with him that he was going to have to write up a 6-month evaluation report (or PowerPoint presentation) to send back to Animal Friends.  I imagine it would go something like,

My name is Barrett, but you called me Archie at the shelter, and before that it was Baby, but my name is Barrett.  Thank you for helping me to find a new home.  It is a very good home.  I have a Mum, and a Dad, and Ed and Mr. Gandalf.  Ed and Mr. Gandalf are grey cats.  Ed is my good pal.  He’s really big, and cool, and we play and have lots of fun together.  Mr. Gandalf is grumpy and he doesn’t like me, and he gets to eat whenever he wants and I’m not allowed to pounce on him and I don’t think that’s very fair, but Mum says he’s really old and has the cancer.  I have a good window to watch birds at.  My favorite thing about my home is bed.  I like to play on it, and hide in the covers, and I sleep there and don’t have to sleep outside on a porch like I did before.  I have lots of toys, it’s good.

I won’t try to say that taking Barrett on hasn’t been without a high degree of hassles.  His adjustment period took a while, complicated by his upper respiratory infection.  He does make life rough for Mr. G, and continues to be a nuisance about what he will and won’t eat.  But I think there are more checks in the “Pros” column.  Adding him to the family helped ease some of the grief and guilt at giving up Ciaran.  He brings a new level of energy to the house, and joy, with his playful and loving ways.  Definitely when I watch he and Ed romping around, I know it was a sound decision.

Barrett B, you’re a keeper.  But no Employee of the Month parking space until you stop hassling Gandalf!

A Douchebag Is A Person In Your Neighborhood

June 17th, 2012

Time for a little status report.

I’m still unemployed.  I still don’t care that much, though I feel so great when I hear that “more qualified candidates” have been selected for freaking minimal-wage grunt jobs.  The ennui is very thick around here.  It’s not so much that I want a job (meh), but I would just like to make some kind of change.

For instance, I’m itching to move out of my neighborhood, but unemployment and This Economy put a damper on that.  Yeah, my house is awesome.  But when we moved into this area, we believed it was heading into a revitalization.  Once the economy hit the skids, that never materialized, and if anything the place has backslid.  Between the living dead, the Russian Mafia, the trashy renters, and the yinzers, there are an awful lot of losers around here.  And now they’re right next door……

See, we live next door to a sweet, stereotypical Old Italian Lady.  She lived alone (with a friggin obnoxious yappy dog), and was always very spry, constantly out puttering in her garden, etc.  I think she’s lived in the same house since she immigrated here from Italy after WW2, so she’s like the anchor of the block.  Very kind, always offering stuff from her kitchen….if she ever spotted us doing some major household project, suddenly she’d materialize with a homemade pizza in hand.

But for almost a month now she’s been in the hospital with heart trouble.  And her annoying daughter and even more annoying teen grandkids have moved in.  The daughter claims they were planning to move in anyway, to “help”, but I suspect they just want to be able to lay claim to the house whenever the OIL dies.  It’s not the greatest house, but it’s huge, and they’d just been renting before.

Family consists of

  • Middle Aged Yinzer Ma:  Glasses, very heavy, smoker, short weed-whacker haircut, voice like a buzz saw — if you’ve ever been to PGH, you know of what I speak.
  • Twihard Teen Daughter:  Very, very heavy.  Whines a lot, but with her family I don’t blame her.  Over the past few years when they’d come by to visit, I’d NEVER seen her wear ANYTHING other than one of two styles of Twilight tshirts that she owned.  And a Twilight hoodie in the winter.  Honestly, nothing else.  But they must not make Twilight summer clothes because she has switched to a nondescript purple tank top now that it’s really hot.  I’m keeping an eye out for Edward and/or Jacob’s return.
  • Douchebag Teen Son:  I think he’s older than the daughter, and such a piece of work.  Doughy, no neck, super-short hair.  Constantly on cell phone (who wants to talk to him?!) with cig in hand.  He sort of looks like Mussolini, (if you can picture 19 year-old Mussolini in baggy nylon shorts sliding off his ass) with a personality to match, so I call him “Il Douché.”  When he’s not sharing quality smoke break time with his mom, he’s cussing her out.  All of them snipe at each other constantly (though I can’t blame the girl), but Il Douché wins the prize.  I once heard him say to his mother, “…because you’re a fucking bitch and you make stupid decisions!”  Exact quote.  Quality.

The first annoying thing they did was get a reserved Handicapped Parking Space blocked off on the street, even though OIL’s house has a garage.  The second thing is that they stand out in the front yard to smoke, and it blows into my windows.  And the third thing –

The three of them (Though Il Douché loves to remind his mom that it’s HER dog) have a small female Siberian Husky.  Never wanted one, but I swear I’m about to stage a Husky Liberation Action.  It’s not that they neglect or are cruel to the dog.  They keep her indoors, she’s obviously fed, she gets let out many times per day (not without a chorus of constant bitching by Il Douché when it’s his turn.)  But the yard is postage-stamp sized, no room to play at all, and when they take her for “walks”…..I’m so hesitant to even use the word….they “walk” her to the end of the block.  And back.  AND THAT IS ALL.  This is a freakin’ Husky you lazy fucks, it’s supposed to be pulling a sled and you are walking it 30 feet!  It’s not just the Ma, but the kids do this as well.

Disclaimer:  I do NOT believe in fat-bashing.  I have always believed people can be healthy at any size and the body standards imposed by the media are sick and damaging.  I’ll never change my mind about that.

But this family….I’m sorry.  When your whole family is obese-to-morbidly obese, and the only food I ever see you bring into the house is pizza and Mountain Dew, that you drive the two blocks to pick up, and you don’t walk your dog more than a half a block, and 2 out of 3 of you smoke….then you can take your reserved Handicapped Parking Space sign and you can shove it up your “handicapped” ass.

Over and out.


Brain Scan: 1988

June 13th, 2012

Yesterday we watched a clip from the Human Rights Now tour.  Throughout 1988/89, I watched my copy like a 3 year-old watches Dora The Explorer.  But there were other concerts that I owned on VHS that got the same treatment, watching them over and over and OVER, usually on weekends.  (We only had one TV and one VCR in my house.  If I wanted to fangirl out, I had to wait until no one else was watching anything.  I know! Such hardship.)

Anyway, they reside, fully intact, deep in the recesses of my cerebrum.  And now they’re on YouTube.  (THANK YOU, Internets!)

I’ve been enjoying the hell out of revisiting them, so for lack of anything better to post, I’m gonna make these Brain Scan videos into a little ongoing series.  Keep coming back for more, if you dare!  Think of the money this is saving me on therapist’s bills!

Now, more from 1988′s Human Rights Now show, the concert that wore new grooves into my brain.  This is Chimes of Freedom, and rewatching it brings tears and goosebumps.  SO much to love here:

  1. Best cover of this song. Ever.
  2. Sting’s vest!! MOTHER OF GAWD!!!
  3. Peter Fucking Gabriel.
  4. Sting’s hair!  Oh Gordon, your hair!! Behold the Vampire Lestat, bitches.
  5. Tracy Chapman!  Girl, where have you been?  I used to love you!  Come back!
  6. STING’S VEST!!  Peter Gabriel’s vest, not so much.
  7. The way Sting tries to sing all gravelly and Springsteen-esque.
  8. Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce!



As those crazy Tumblr kids like to say…

June 12th, 2012

ALL THE FEELS!  ALL of them!!

Oh my gawd, look what I unearthed on YouTube:  The 1988 Amnesty International Human Rights Now concert tour!!  Sweet Jeebus, if you weren’t there in the late 80′s you just don’t know.  This event was my life’s blood!  I had it on VHS and I watched it so many times that it fused with my DNA! (And pretty sure the tape wore out.)  I forced all of my friends to watch it.  Multiple times.  Do a CAT scan of my brain, and you will see this concert.

And now, I shall share it with you over the next few days while I try to think of some genuine content for this blog.

But then who needs content when you have 26 minutes of Sting in 1988?  I am still powerless before this.  This is his lineup with Kenny Kirkland! and Branford Marsalis! and, and….OMG at 4:15…!



June 11th, 2012



Forever and ever, THIS.  So infuriating when all of the ignorant hypocrite right-wingers cry “Founding fathers this” and “Founding fathers that.” None of them could probably even name more than two FFs without peeking at bills in their wallet, and clearly none of them knows what the founding fathers actually said, and it’s so good to have proof.


A Pox on Both Their Houses

May 21st, 2012

You know what?  Screw The Avengers.

At first I was simply indifferent;  I have of late lost my capacity to be entertained by comic book movies.  I’m done with them. D-O-N-E.  And I have nothing but apathy for every Marvel character with the exception of some X-Men.  So I just didn’t care.  BW saw it without me.

But godDAMN, go the hell away!  I cannot turn my head either in real life or on the internet without being assaulted on all sides by Avengers images, news, and references.  But that is not even why I came here to rant.

I’m here because Avengers made $55 million bucks on its third weekend, bringing its total to $457 fucking million dollars as of this writing.

Do you know what that MEANS?  America is fucked in the head?  Yes, but apart from that it means that the world will NEVER be rid of Chris Goddamned Hemsworth now!  NEVER!  Because casting directors are dumb as bricks.  (“Hey, that big blond guy’s movie made a billion trillion dollars, therefore any movie he’s in will make a billion trillion dollars!”)  And when they can’t get him, they’ll get one of the other Bland Chrisses because who the fuck can tell them apart anyway?

The Reign of Terror…no, “terror” is too strong an emotion to use in relation to those bland bitches….The Bland Chrisses’ Monarchy of Meh will go on and on and Hemsworth and the other ones will be blighting our screens for probably the next ten years.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it also means the movie universe will never be rid of  Scarlett Johansson, either.  She’s officially entered the Cameron Diaz phase of her career.  You know how that goes, right?  ScarJo, having lucked into an endless franchise that essentially gives her a license to mint money, will now be around for eternity, cranking out shit film after shit film, going to parties, posing for the paps, partially forgotten yet always scurrying around the edges of the movie industry, like an especially vapid, mouth-breathing cockroach.

That’s what I came here to rant about.  And people wonder why I don’t go to the movies anymore.

(P.S.  Marvel comics, I will never forgive what you did to the god Loki.  In print and on screen.  Do you know there is only one human on Midgard fit to embody Loki?)

Stan Lee can suck it.

Squee: The Sequel

May 8th, 2012

jonathan meiburg May 7, 2012 Pittsburgh

There’s something to be said for obsessing over obscure bands/people/interests.  Access is much easier to attain.

First of all, the show was really, really great.  Any and all negatives (cheesy lighting, wonky acoustics, TOTAL LACK OF AIR CIRCULATION) were the fault of the venue, not the band.

Before the start, BW ran into JM in the hallway outside the men’s room, looking for a place to change.  BW being BW, he gave directions.

Shearwater had a bigger lineup for the show than I’d been expecting. The best addition was the “back-up drummer”, who I assume was there to help the main drummer achieve the MASSIVE sounds from Animal Joy.  It worked.  Everything sounded absolutely epic, and JM’s voice was in fine form.

As they were only the opening act for St. Vincent (Yeah, I dunno who that is either.  Some indie-pixie chick.), we didn’t expect a very long show, but St. V was running late, and a honcho from the venue kept lurking out to the corner of the stage to tell Shearwater to keep playing.  Heh.  So we got 3 or so bonus songs out of it, including a sweet cover of R.E.M.’s “These Days.”  Frankly, I’d have been very happy if St. Vincent had come down with a crippling 24-hour intestinal flu at that point.  But alas, was not to be…

After Shearwater wrapped up, we all FLED outside so that we could breathe again.  Stood there chit-chatting a while, and then noticed the guitar player (Mitch Billeaud) walking out, getting into the tour rig, and pulling it around to the back.  BW and I moseyed on over, and there they all were, loading up.  Drummer Danny Reisch was nearest, so we approached him.  What. A. Freaking. Nice. Guy.

Told him that I was a new fan, been listening to their stuff non-stop for 4 months, my whole prepared spiel.  He was really sweet, thanked us, shook hands, griped about the heat in the venue, and then asked if we were going back in to see St. Vincent.

I said, “No, we just came for you guys.”

“Oh my gosh, really?!” He seemed genuinely delighted, and he flagged JM over to us with a, “You’ve gotta meet these guys, they came just to see us!”

So much thanks Danny!  If it weren’t for you, I’d have probably been too chickenshit to approach JM.  :)   JM came over, shook hands, I repeated my spiel, he remembered BW from the hallway, signed my shirt, was very gracious and amiable, and yeah, was paying attention to all the swallows darting in and out of the old Strip District warehouses.

Great bunch of guys.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.


Obsession du Jour

May 5th, 2012


I am the opposite of a Tedious Music Prick;  I’m pretty much happy to listen to the same 50 or so albums from the 50′s – 80′s over and over again for the rest of my life.  I don’t go seeking out new music, and I rarely get all excited and passionate about bands.  I save my frothing hysteria and/or rage for important things like movies and politics.

There are exceptions to everything.

Meet Jonathan Meiburg, singer/songwriter/scientist/auteur/driving force behind the band Shearwater.  I am neck-deep in OCD love with this man and his music, and have been for a few months now.  (Obsession du Printemps? Read on…)

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