Monday, November 23, 2009

Urban Farming

After hearing all sorts of good things about the chickens from Daye et al., Stephanie has been wanting to try it. I've always been more inclined towards pigs or llamas, but this week, the Ypsi City Council approved an ordinance allowing for bee keeping. A couple of Langstroth hives in the back of the yard would be pretty sweet... get it.. sweet, you know, like honey? The main thing standing in our way is the initial start-up money. I'm not really down w/ the idea of a full on working beet farm, like Dwight, but having a few useful animals around would be a nice change of pace from all the cats/dogs/squirrels in the neighborhood. And, of course, Sherlock Holmes moved to Portsmouth when he retired from his London sleuthing & started keeping bees. Those last few stories aren't very good, but the bee-keeping stuff is pretty interesting. Why Portsmouth? Because Doyle spent time there also keeping bees (& helping to start Portsmouth FC & he actually played goalie for a little while before it became a professional side). Visions of Ypsi is proud to bring you all the soccer/Sherlock Holmes/Bee Minutiae you can handle. This also brings up a new paper topic seeing as there are no articles specifically about Holmes' beekeeping, & nothing about Holmes' relation to nature in general since a West Virginia University Philological Papers article from 1949. Weird. I imagine there are references in books though... I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holiday Post #1: What's w/ the Wig?

Embedding has been disabled for this video, but you should definitely check it out. I keep reading horrible reviews of his X-Mas album, but everything I've heard from it is great. Here's the fun 1st video from Christmas in the Heart: "Must Be Santa Clause." Check it out and enjoy the ridiculous list of reindeer names that includes (for some unknown reason) recent presidents. Not to mention, the ridiculous wig that Dylan is wearing.

In other holiday news, it might be time to start sending your nominations for the Visions of Ypsi Celebrity MILF of the Year Award, & as we're getting towards Life Day, be sure to watch the Star Wars Holiday Special. The official site has been updated since the last time I checked it out... last year I suppose. Here's the first ten minutes. You can then follow the links to watch the rest. Be sure to check out the Boba Fett cartoon & the sweet Jefferson Starship cameo... oh, & of course, Bea Arthur, Harvey Korman, & the Princess Leia song @ the end.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bruce Fans are Ugly as Shit (and other things learned from at the Palace last night)

1) I felt like I was back in Niagara, what w/ the way I was the most attractive person there. I'm not trying to suggest that I'm all that, but good God! It was like an army of Da Bears guys accompanied by 55 year old strippers. I don't understand why those women feel the need to bleach their hair & accentuate their catcher's mitt faces while wearing tight leather clothes & fuck-me-boots.

2) Bruce is more than willing to sacrifice the technical stuff to rock the crowd. I never saw Jerry Garcia throw his guitar around or let audience members screw w/ it... but then again, I never saw him surf the crowd from 1/3 of the way back all the way up to the stage. I never really saw him move at all... & neither did you.

3) When playing the Palace, feel free to sacrifice the sound for the energy because the sound is shit anyway. I suppose I always knew this, I hadn't seen a concert there since Phish in the fall of 1996, so I'd forgotten how bad it is. It's like they're playing in a basketball arena or something.

4) People will buy anything. They were selling bandannas, key chains, coffee cups, & of course, shit-ass watered down beer (not to mention the Clarence Clemons' book which may or may not be any good), & people were going nuts for that shit. There was 1 cool t-shirt that I would have gotten had I had the money or been a bigger fan... it was black w/ a 70s era scruffy Bruce on it.

5) There are too many cooks in the Palace kitchen. When we pulled in, we just said we were vendors & they let us through w/o checking anything. When we had to leave & get a beer because they weren't ready for us, we got in a 2nd time the same way. When the promoter forgot about us, we weren't sure we were ever going to get in, the car battery died as we sat for over an hour waiting to get the call to set up. We got in & had to wait for another hour while they tried to figure out what to do w/ us... the chaos was fun though & worked to our advantage.

6) We sold 103 of the 120 books we brought. Apparently, the average had been about 50 before last night, so we kind of rocked it. Then, our little sticker/passes got us into a great spot neI don't think I would have been willing to shed out the cash for this show, but being on the clock was great. However, considering the damage to my ear-drums, I guess I need hazard pay... plus it was pretty late so I probably deserve a shift premium. These are the sacrifices I'm willing to make to bring books to the masses. I'm doing my part!
1. Wrecking Ball
2. Prove It All Night
3. Johnny 99
4. Hungry Heart
5. Working on A Dream

Born to Run in its entirety:
6. Thunder Road
7. 10th Ave. Freeze Out
8. Night
9. Backstreets
10. Born To Run
11. She's the One
12. Meeting Across the River
13. Jungleland

14. Working on the Highway
15. Raise Your Hand
16. Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
17. Detroit Medley:
- Devil w/ a Blue Dress>
- Good Golly Miss Molly>
- Devil w/ a Blue Dress>
- C.C. Rider>
- Devil w/ a Blue Dress
18. Because the Night> Sweet Jam
19. Lonesome Day
20. The Rising
21. Badlands

22. Hard Times (Come Again No More)
23. Born in the USA
24. American Land
25. Dancing in the Dark
26. Rosalita
27. Higher and Higher

We missed the 1st song but then the next 4 songs were really strong. After the 2nd one, he shouted, "Hello OHIO!" At that point, Little Steven ran up to him laughing an explained what just happened. Bruce's response was something like this:
"FUCK! Hello MICHIGAN! I can't fucking believe I just did that. It's every rock n roll front man's worst fear. Forty fucking years of nightmares just came to an end tonight. FUCK!" He was pretty embarrassed but dealt w/ it really well. He then proceeded to ask, "Where am I?" after every song. After "Raise Your Hand," he went around collecting signs w/ song names on them & then, one by one, held them up for the band as he chose which ones to play. I'm sure it's a canned routine, but it was cool none-the-less. This was the first time they played "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" on this tour. I don't really like that song (or Bob Seger for that matter) but it was cool. He then held up a sign w/ something about Mitch Ryder on it & they went into the Detroit medley. Following the Seger tune & then closing w/ the Jackie Wilson was a cool Detroit music tribute. "Because the Night" was fantastic... I always forget he wrote that and associate it w/ Patty Smith.

The break between the set & the encore was almost non-existent. I wasn't even certain that we were watching an encore. They never left the stage. Then they went into an old Stephen Foster tune about economic and spiritual problems. It was a fantastic tune to lead into "Born in the USA" & then "American Land." I didn't know "American Land" beforehand, but I definitely dig it. "Dancing in the Dark" was fine & a woman was thrown off the stage for doin' some Courtney Cox thing. "Rosalita" was awesome, & then the Jackie Wilson song. Every single song as played w/ the intensity of an encore. I couldn't tell when it was going to end... & 3 hours straight ain't bad for those old dudes.
From our seats 1 (The woman throwin' the metal sign was dancin' like a crazy-person... and then after 5 or 6 songs left to get sick and never returned. She was w/ her twin or her girlfriend... it was hard to tell [maybe both] but they seemed to have fetal alcohol syndrome or something... strange).
Another shot from our seats

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Boss & the Big Man

Last spring, @ Nicola's books, I came across an advance of Clarence Clemons' memoir, Big Man, & wondered who would ever read such a book. I grabbed it for John, my boss @ Plum because he's a huge Springsteen fan, but I don't think even he ever read it. Fast-forward to a week & a half ago when people @ Nicola's were wondering who was going to work the "Bruce event." Here's how the conversation went:
Jack: "Who's workin' the Bruce event?"
Me: "Bruce who?" (by the way no one seemed to want to work it as it was going to be crazy w/ fans, I assumed that maybe Bruce Feiler, the Walking the Bible guy, was coming)
Jack: "Springsteen, The Boss, next week @ The Palace."
Me: "Yeah, right... seriously, Bruce who?"
Nicola: "Clarence Clemons is getting local stores to do his book events @ their concerts rather than contracting w/ a major company like Borders or Barnes & Noble. He asked us to do it."

As it turns out, the union rules @ the Palace state that only Palace employees can sell stuff, so my job is to bring the books out there, sign them over to the Palace people, hang w/ Clarence Clemons while he signs them, watch the show & then bring the extras back w/ a check for whatever sells.

Nicola: "Are you sure you want to do this? It's gonna be a pretty late night."
Me: "Um... yeah."
Nicola: "It's gonna be loud."
Me: Um...."

The most shocking thing about this is that it fell to me. I don't understand why no one else wanted to do this. I've never been a huge Springsteen fan, but I dig his politics, & everyone says his live shows are amazing... so it should be fun. Not to mention, he;'s written a few pretty decent songs too. In fact, tonight, he's apparently playing Born to Run in its entirety. I've never been a huge fan supporter of the "play an entire album" approach to live shows, but it should be cool. Even when Phil Lesh played a series of GD albums during his May '08 run @ the Warfield, when he played 2 albums a night (Grateful Dead & Anthem of the Sun; Aoxomoxoa & Live Dead; Workingman's Dead & American Beauty; & finaly Skull Fuck & Dead Set), I thought it took away from the spontaneity. Tonight should be a blast though. I'll report back tomorrow w/ a full review... pics & a set-list.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ridiculous Fans @ Soccer Games

Guy brushing his teeth @ the Chelsea v ManUre match the other day:

Some douche tries to catch Puyol's poorly hit cross:

Ryan Gigg's ability to fit into the Man U first team since I was in high school is pretty impressive, but evidently not to the elderly Arsenal fan behind him:

Perhaps it was just this woman getting her revenge on the Man U side:

A crazy Russian fan scores a PK for Spartak Moscow:

Spurs Ball Boy takes out his Spursian angst on some random Cypriot winger.

We've seen it before, but Eric Cantona goes APE SHIT!

The real issue here has got to be w/ the ref... WTF??? (not a fan situation, but worth checking out)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jon Stewart IS Glenn Beck!

Here's a fun little clip from The Daily Show the other night... enjoy. Apparently Glenn Beck's medical problems are part of a much bigger conspiracy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

3 Books (Plus 2 Others)

If you've scrolled down & taken a look @ my "Chain Reading" thing anytime over the last few months, you may have noticed that it hadn't really changed since the summer. Another Country & The Cardboard Universe took me quite a while to finish... & by finish I mean finally give up on. A couple years ago, I began a project that would see me teach a different James Baldwin book every year. As it stands, I think I'm done w/ that project. Another Country was an arduous journey up a mountain of pretension... even more so than this very blog. Go Tell it on the Mountain & Giovanni's Room are absolutely brilliant. If you ever feel the need to read read Baldwin, stick to those. Go Tell it on the Mountain is a fantastic coming of age story about an African American kid realizing he's not cut out to follow in his step-father's footsteps & take over his church as he comes to terms w/ his bisexuality & agnostic questions. Giovanni's Room deals w/ the stories of a group of drunks in France in the '50s leading up to & in the aftermath of ones execution. The problem I have w/ Another Country is w/ it's melodramatic problems. They just keep coming while the over-the-top description never ends. It feels as though Baldwin had too many ideas & couldn't choose. Of course, the problem my students had w/ it was the sex. I was shocked by their united front of homophobia. Admittedly, the sex was often graphic & misogynistic, but that was the best part of the book... it's real. However, for good graphic gay sex in a good novel, stick w/ Giovanni's Room.

Christopher Miller's The Cardboard Universe suffers from many of the same problems. It's a cool premise, but it just doesn't hold up. It's written as an encyclopedia of the works of a fictitious SF writer names Phoebus K. Dank (a clear reference to Phillip K. Dick). On the surface it seems like a cool post-modern take on literary guide books. It's often funny, but it seems like a cop-out. Miller came up w/ a bunch of silly book topics and then made fun of them. Rather than actually sustaining a narrative, it reads like a SF version of Tucker Max: clever, but in the end, pretty empty. it might make for decent bathroom reading though as each entry cold be gotten through during a satisfying deuce.

Since I'm finally done w/ these, I started The Savage Detectives yesterday... Awesome! I imagine many of you have already read it, but if you haven't... do it! Roberto Bolaño lived a fascinating life, & as his works seem to be getting translated @ a rate of about 1 book per year, we should have another 6 years of cool stuff to come yet. The Savage Detectives follows a couple of struggling writers on their adventures through Central America & then Western Europe & has all sorts of auto-biographical aspects... not unlike the best of Baldwin. But it's like Baldwin meets Carlos Ruiz Zafón, w/ a little Borges & Kerouac thrown in for good measure. Where Christopher Miller falls short w/ his post-modernism, Bolaño hits the mark perfectly.
Along w/ The Savage Detectives, I've also started reading 99 Drams, a fun little book about drinking whiskey & Djbot Baghostus's Run, a strange look @ the jazz world that Dan loaned me a few weeks ago. So far, so good. More complete reviews will follow once I finish them.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cub Scouts... Again

This week, Aiden & I made his rocket for the "Space Derby." It was another stellar Scouting event. Kids were being shits, talking about how the other rockets sucked, and generally running amok w/o any parental supervision. This year's leader is a lot cooler than the one we had last year though, & I think he sees us as the one family that doesn't deserve a foot in the ass each week. The other issue w/ the parents is that they rarely actually have their kids do anything. Clearly, making a rocket out of a block of wood is a bit beyond an 8 year old (it's a bit beyond me too), but we worked together & he learned about sanding & whittling, plus, he designed it & colored it himself. Of course, he then said, "I bet I'm the only kid who actually worked on it himself." I bet he was right. Some of the families may have a bigger tool collection than I do (it only makes sense... they're bigger tools), but there's no way in Hell the kids were using the electric saws. These douchey kids would certainly have injured themselves in new & exciting ways had that been the case.

Maybe part of the problem is the fact that they're choosing an activity that is too "saw oriented" for a little kid. Along w/ the saws, it also has to do w/ the mathematics of balancing it properly. On the other hand, maybe I'm just too over-protective & should let Aiden just play w/ saws. I'm sure I was doing that when I was his age.Of course, the night ended w/ tears as his rocket got it's ass handed to it by his friend's rocket (this friend is significantly less nozzly than the other kids btw... he's cool. It's the rest I don't dig... except the leader's son is usually alright too). I wish the focus was less on the competition & more on the construction & camaraderie. he can lose every single soccer game this fall & never shed a tear, but as soon as it's a one on one competition w/ his friends, the waterworks are bound to spring forth. We did have fun making it though. I think he learned a few things about the tools too.