Monday, November 27, 2006

Stupid Todd and his death wish

So a couple weeks ago Todd died. He had forgotten to bulk up for winter hibernation, and his body went kaput at the first cold snap (apparently he'd been on an America's Funniest Home Videos bender for a month or so and had ignored his body's primal instinct to gorge itself during autumn). His dying request was that I film me hitting his corpse over the fence with a baseball bat and send the video to America's Funniest Home Videos. I did, and this morning some police came to the door. Apparently squirrels getting clocked with bats raised a few red flags. I guess if I'd thought about it I would have realized that that's kind of a perverse thing to send to anyone...but when it's Todd it just seems like another funny PCP party trick.

Anyhow, Lyle got the door and I listened to his conversation with the cops from behind the couch. It went kind of like this:

LYLE: SooooOOOO! It's YOU again!

COP 1: Sir, are you Téodor Orezscu?

LYLE: Do I look like that fat pussy to you? Tell me now. Say it to my face, asshole shitwad. I fucked your mother and drew a daisy on her ass. [spits]

COP 1: There's no need for this kind of behavior, sir.

LYLE: Oh yes there IS! [sound of bottle breaking] ACE OF SPADES!

COP 2: Sir, have you been drinking?


COP 1: Does a Téodor Orezscu live here?

LYLE: What's this about, mustache-dick? Your partner here put his dick across your upper lip like a mustache? Is that why you're buggin' me? I already have a mustache, so NO THANKS on the lip pedro thing.

COP 2: We're investigating some charges of squirrel cruelty. Does the squirrel in this photograph resemble anyone you know?

LYLE: Nope.

COP 2: And this...[flips page] this Téodor Orezscu?

LYLE: Never seen that fat piece of crap before. Get lost. Both of you. Get in your cop car and go to your cop car parkin' spot.

COP 1: Have a nice day.

COP 2: Make sure you clean up this broken glass. It's a hazard.

LYLE: Fuck...YOUUUUUUUUUU! [door clicks]

So, I figure I've got to lay low for a while, and probably change the way I look pretty significantly. Should probably grow a beard...get glasses...maybe do the Hasidic Jew thing with the black suit and stuff...what are those corkscrew sideburns called? I think my great-grandpa Bliklish had a pretty rad set. Okay, off to Jew it up. The next time I see you, it will not be as Téodor Orezscu. It will be as...Herschel Schviz-Meskewicz.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Got kicked out of my one-man band.

I gave up on trying to learn how to use all that professional recording equipment. Too many dials, knobs, sliders, cross-faders, modalities, and unlabelled function keys. No user interface design to speak of. More Enigma machine than envelope, if you follow me. Every time I stood in front of it, I felt like Dave at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, presented with all those monolithic lucite "buttons." One wrong push and the whole thing might blow up in my face. Suffice it to say, I won't be releasing any album that isn't a YouTube webcam clip of my left hand doing the chord changes to "Free Fallin'." Yes, I will be sitting on my bed. Yes, at the end you will see me get up. Off-camera, I will hit the space bar, which stops the recording. You will hear the first half of the click of the key. VIEWS: 17. COMMENTS: Yah that was good, chek out mine 2 :) [link]

What's new with me...I've been making a lot of bread. I uncovered a bread machine in the garage (a wedding present that had never been touched), and it's great. It takes the crappy part out of making bread (interminable kneading), and leaves you to just throw essentially free ingredients together, wait a bit, and then see what happened. It's like tossing a grenade over a hill, having a smoke, and then climbing over to discover that the grenade has turned into a lovely rosemary focaccia.

I've got a sourdough starter going right now, this yeasty slop that's supposed to sit out for three days and rot. The more I try to figure food out, the more I find that toeing the line between discoloration and dysentery is where real flavor lies. Should we always be eating food that might almost make us sick, in order to keep up digestive strength? There might be some wisdom there.

You know what? I've never had Limburger cheese. Or Liverwurst, for that matter. I'll be stinkin' it up tomorrow. For dessert? You guessed it. I'm going to eat a red onion like it was an apple. You'll know me — I'll be the guy swatting away vultures with a big diagram of Mitteleuropa.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rough goings with music recording efforts.

THE USER INTERFACES ON MUSICAL RECORDING EQUIPMENT ARE MANY LIGHT YEARS BEHIND THOSE ON GENERAL-PURPOSE COMPUTER EQUIPMENT OR EVEN BLENDERS. Thank you for listening while I got that off my chest. It's just that all this high-end gear I borrowed from Ray is virtually inscrutable. I go to establish the settings on one input track out of 64, and I'm faced with twelve knobs, two sliders, five three-position buttons, and so many LEDs that I might as well be shining a flashlight into a cave full of bats. I JUST WANT TO MIC MY ACOUSTIC GUITAR WHILE I PLUCK AWAY AT "APRIL COME SHE WILL." SORRY I'M NOT THE LONDON PHILHARMONIC. I'M LIKE A FAMOUS CHEF WHO BOOKED HELL BUT ONLY NEEDED TO COOK A SINGLE HOT DOG. Oh look, I'm yelling again. Maybe it's because I hate everything in my room, including the large stupid machines and the little idiotic man who is sitting on the floor in front of them.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Into the Studio

Wow. I was in Ray's garage looking for a soccer ball, when what should I find under a sheet but a huge mixing table, a bunch of recording equipment, a big Pearl drum kit, and a bunch of Pro Tools software! He had about fifty grand worth of gear in there, so I asked him if he was planning on doing anything with it, since I've really been itching to lay down some tracks.

RAY: Téodor! Doggie, you find that soccer ball I said about?

ME: Yeah, but it was flat. It looked like a rat had been eating one of the panels.

RAY: [thinks] That's right. Damn. I put that ball away with a slice of sandwich ham stuck to it. I shouldn't have done that. [Shakes head] Man, what if Coach Dan saw me doin' somethin' so—

ME: I saw a ton of recording equipment out there. [Pretends to give Ray benefit of doubt] Are you starting a recording project?

RAY: Don't talk to me about that stuff, man.

ME: What? I'm sorry.

RAY: Hell of annoying, dogg. Bad times.

ME: Bad, huh. I'm sorry.

RAY: Bad, dogg. You want a soda? Amstel?

ME: You don't want to talk about it, do you.

RAY: Well, I got kind of burned.

ME: Damn.

RAY: Yeah. These dudes from East side, you know, they played me this demo with this fat track on it, some real delicious wax, you know, but they said it was produced on equipment that had recently been stolen from them. I said I'd procure new gear and they had this thing where it was getting to be dinnertime, and they kept mentioning dinner, and I was like, I'll get on these dudes' good side, take 'em under my wing, get 'em some dinner. So we went and had steaks down at The Chophouse, and I dropped on some good wines, to kind of start grooming them for the limelight, and then afterwards real quick they said they had to go to bed because of all the food and wine, so I chuckled and they rolled off. I tried their pager the next day but no deal, it was fake, you know, and I played their demo for a friend of mine and turns out it was just the new Krass Medik single that got leaked onto the Internet that I hadn't heard yet. These dudes just burned that onto a CD and pretended it was them. Meanwhile I had ordered all this gear Next-Day Air. I feel like a stone idiot about that.

ME: Wow. Damn. Conniving, you know?

RAY: That's exactly it! They were conniving! Exactly!

ME: So you gonna sell all that stuff back on eBay?

RAY: I don't know. I'm kinda hopin' some new act will come along and need it.

ME: Why don't I take it to my place, and hook it all up, and learn it, and that way if a good act comes along, but they aren't too technically proficient, I can kind of serve as their engineer. A lot of times these guys can't tell an RCA jack from a USB port. All they know is straight mic.

RAY: [gets real quiet for several seconds] Damn. I had about sixteen thoughts just now. But yeah, yeah. That is a real genius idea for a service. A lot of these dudes had no advantages. There is this one guy, Kareem Kara-mell, his whole thing is that he can't use any digital technology, he is so poor. He can only use analog technology. He's warped. He's out there, but his sound is so odd, I can see it in like a Cingular ad. Old Navy at least, or like if Old Navy started to sell ringtones.

ME: Awesome. How you have a flatbed we can use to get the gear to my place?

RAY: I'll take care of it. Business expense, you know. Nice. Thanks, T. This is real smart.

ME: Alright. Let's set that up right now.

RAY: Cool. [makes phone call]

Now I'm here in my room with tons of gear and trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I'm now able to produce studio-quality sound. It's a heavier burden than you'd think. Imagine when Simon & Garfunkel went in to record "April Come She Will," with just one voice and one guitar: that guitar's tone would forever define the feel of the song. Think also of the distinctive Stella that Kurt Cobain used here and there on Unplugged. Do I have a unique instrument like that? One that's got a sound worth recording?

Aw, crap. I'm acting like every note I set down will be angel-kissed. I'm probably gonna toss 99% of this stuff, then re-record later. Simon & Garfunkel probably threw out enough tape to rig a thousand Cutty Sarks. It's such a rookie move to act like every early project is worth saving, like it's going to be featured in a documentary twenty years from now. Do I watch too many "rockumentaries," or do I just think too highly of myself? Can someone please help me plot a realistic Venn diagram.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Beef = new GOF think tanker?

Man, I've never seen so much online discussion about the GOF. I guess I've never looked for it, but this year, with Ray and Beef calculating a huge B.O.C. surprise overthrow, everybody's on home row at full tilt. I read thousands of threads while the action was unfolding, most of which were based on Barry King's offshore blog, and a handful of which actually made decent points.

I loved the full-level razing of the grounds, and as a fan I'd like to see the concept of the Fight rise up from the ashes in a new format. In fact, I'm surprised it took this long for the contestants to try to overthrow the grounds themselves. Anyhow, for my money, the guys at have a lot of it figured out: for grandeur and drama, they have to take Beef on in an executive-level advisory role. He clearly knows more about the Fight than any of them, and, as many software security companies have demonstrated, you need to hire your most dangerous adversaries. Why do you think you see so many sixteen year-old Ukrainian kids driving around in Maybachs?

I don't want to be too nosy or anything this year, but I'm sure they're going to call him and I'm pretty hopelessly interested in seeing how it all plays out. You stick around a place long enough, you see things like this happen.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


I've been commiserating with Cornelius, of all people, about bad wine experiences at Trader Joe’s (I'd have thought he was above buying wine there). TJs has long been of renown for affordable wine, but sometimes it takes a couple guys getting together to compare notes and discover that, actually, hey, TJs is selling some ruined, backlot wines.

Cases in point are:

Their recent $4.99 Meridians (typically $8 at other stores), which basically taste like “wine.” I’m talking about the kind of wine you’d expect at Malibu Grand Prix.

That “Amarone” they are selling, which should be a raisiny, sweet, complex dark wine, but instead tastes like “antler piss” (imagine a rack of deer antlers shooting piss out of the ends)

Their viogniers, some of which taste like simmered Mad Dog 20/20 that has been poured and left to cool among the upraised strands of an astroturf mat that a dog sleeps on.

This information, taken in with the fact that Trader Joe's often puts oversized, funny-shaped, horridly flavored bottles of wine on prominent store-front displays, indicates that they are not the quality broker they originally purported to be.

Here's another weird thing about their liquor aisle: all of the full-pint canned 6-packs (Oranjeboom, Peter's Brand, 3 Horses, Melcher's, Henninger) taste the same. Why carry 5+ different brands? Do they have some LagerBringer machine in the back, and just shoot the stuff into different packaging? Those lagers are fine, but it's weird that there are five of them in a store with limited shelf space.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sunday, January 22, 2006

They say to take vitamin D these days

I had a pretty rotten afternoon. I walked down to Starbucks to get my usual afternoon doppio espresso, and sat outside on the planterbox to take it in and maybe see if I could bum a smoke off of one of the local kids. Nobody was around, though, so I just sat and looked up and down the sidewalk for a while.

Just as I was about to go, this older bald guy approached pretty quickly in my direction. You know how you can tell in an instant that something's threatening you? I couldn't ever put my finger on it, but this guy was trouble. He was walking too fast, and a little too...thinly, his steps getting out of control, and when he was about ten feet from me his feet got all tangled up in each other and he took a pretty good header onto the sidewalk. The shoulder of his navy blue jacket landed square in a coffee-tinged puddle, and he scraped his head. The skin on his scalp was whitish-pale, and looked unnatural. I jumped up to see if he was okay.

"Are you alright? Sir?" I asked.

"I'm fine!" he gasped.

"Can I help you up?"

"I'm OK! I'm fine!"

"Here, let me give you a hand." I reached out my hand to help him up.

Dazed, but processing an enormous amount of information, he missed a beat before reaching for my hand. "I'm a cancer patient. Good thing I didn't have chemo today," he said to the ground.

I didn't know how much that might mean. I helped him to his feet and he, thanking me briefly while brushing off his shoulder, pulled a cell phone out of his pocket, walked a distance away, sat on the curb, and placed a call.

Once I saw that he was fairly engrossed in conversation, I tossed my cup in the trash and disappeared around the corner. He couldn't have been less aware of my departure.