Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Revolt of the appliances!

At about 8:00 PM I decided to show a little neighborly mercy and turn down the music that was providing the backdrop to my Memorial Day cookout. I stepped inside and crouched down to the bookshelf stereo, its speakers leaning outward against the window screens.

I turned the dial to the left and watched the digital volume readout increase, from 23 to 24. This wasn't quite what I was looking for so I reversed tactics and rotated the dial clockwise, at which point the volume audibly and visibly increased to 25, 26, and 27.

I paused, and checked the dial. Yes, it was labeled as "Volume."

I turned the dial counter-clockwise again and the volume began to thankfully subside--26, 25, 24--before suddenly doubling back and getting louder, 25, 26, 27, 28.

I rotated the dial back and forth in a desperate attempt to establish some causal relationship, but the volume mocked me and accelerated madly, the number scrolling up illegibly fast--past 30, past 35, past 40--the music now a distorted, predatory roar.

Panicked, I pressed the power button, and after a threatening second--I wasn't aware my stereo could even reach 45--the volume mercifully cut out, the distant sound of outside laughter pouring in to fill the void.

I sat there, staring at the empty readout.

When I pass the stereo now I can feel it watching me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Off the grid: take 1

I attended the farmer's market on Saturday, this time emboldened by purpose. I was a man of business, immune to the distracting frivolities of the goatee'd guy pushing cheese curds or the lady with the beehive hat.

It was the first step of my plan to start eating locally grown food. I had decided to remove myself from the national factory farm network and reduce the amount of resources my food consumes on its way to my plate.

I figured the resulting smarter-than-thou points would stack nicely with my NPR listening habits and utter disinterest in television.

So there I was, striding (with such purpose!) through the throng of like-minded individualistic sheep. Perusing the wares hawked in each stand revealed a snag in the grand plan, though, as I realized that a lifetime of supermarket shopping had caused a complete personal disconnect from the reality of seasonal crops. I was used to the convenience of buying red peppers and green beans at the drop of a hat, and yet neither were apparently in season.

What is actually in season, evidence suggested, is this:

Asparagus, asparagus, and asparagus.

I hope Madison pees behind closed windows this week.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Miscellaneous debris

Saturday night brought The Kills to Madison, a bluesy garage rock duo that makes heavy use of samples and drum machines. Bafflingly, they didn't augment their live show with other players, preferring instead to cue up each track and play along as a two piece. The problem with this approach is the show is only as good as the few performers' stage presence and showmanship, and The Kills proved that even an excess of this is no match for the electric chemistry of live musicians.

It turns out that dominating backing tracks are just as crippling to indie rock as they are to industrial and electro.


Two things political:

First, don't be surprised if the media starts second guessing Obama's nomination guarantee after he loses West Virginia tomorrow. Don't listen, it's still over, especially with Oregon looming on the horizon. We'll see if she bows out on Tuesday like I predicted.

And, on that topic, don't listen to the talking heads regarding Hillary being fused onto the ticket as Veep. Nobody except for the media actually thinks this is a good idea. Once Hillary withdraws and supports Obama--and she will--most of her supporters will fall in line, especially with Supreme Court Justice seats in play. As of that point, Hillary brings absolutely nothing to the ticket.


When I complain about disconnected junk piles of cinematic ejaculate like Transformers and people ask what I expect out of a summer action movie, my answer henceforth shall be the following:

"I expect Iron Man."


I shaved off my mustache and am now completely free of facial hair for the first time in nearly six months.

I look like I'm fourteen.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Overheard at Goodwill

Two teenage girls were digging through secondhand t-shirts in the rack adjacent to me.

One held up a white t-shirt that sported the Beijing Olympics 2008 logo. She popped her gum and said, "Hey, are the Olympics in Beijing this year?"

The other girl looked up and pointed to the shirt. "Well they totally are now, right?"

"Like, totally," the first girl replied as she put the shirt in her purchase pile.

That's one powerful shirt.