April 18th, 2005

flavored with age

Notes from a weekend

And from a weekend where I didn't spend the entire three days hunched in front of the computer, for once. Okay, well, I spent a good chunk of it hunched in front of the computer, but not the WHOLE WEEKEND, which is key.

- Friday I headed north to Rogers Park, to meet thevulgartrade at Standee's. Much geek-talk was made on the usual topics: writing, computers, comics, music, grinding poverty. I contemplated picking up some Metropolis coffee for my gal ninafarina, but by the time she got it home it would have lost its fascistically mandated uber-freshness, so I took a pass.

- The weather the entire weekend was stunning (the three months a year of decent weather in Chicago is finally here, huzzah), so I tried to get out in it as much as I could, but unfortunately that turned out to be much less than I planned. On the way back from the dry cleaners, I turned my ankle worse than I have in months and sprained the shit out of it. After limping home, spending at least half the trip hopping on one foot, I ended up running the rest of my errands in the car instead of on foot. That's a drag at the worst of times, but on a day like Saturday was, it's a goddamn crime.

- Made one of my increasingly infrequent trips to Chicago Comics and picked up a pile of stuff. I got an issue of Hsu and Chan I didn't have, the first issue of The Atheist, a few of the Grant Morrison Seven Soldiers titles (verdict so far: meh, although I do really like Simone Bianchi's art on Shining Knight), the latest installment of Jessica Abel's La Perdida, the collected Seaguy (it's evidence of how much comics publishers know their suckers that they put out a collection of an incomplete comic), a copy of Killing Joke (my original's been missing for years), volume 2 of Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier (which I've decided I really dig despite some huge, huge flaws), and, to top it all off, the latest 100 Bullets collection, which I already had and forgot about. Save your receipts, kids.

I also picked up the 3rd Space Ghost: Coast to Coast collection -- stuff from when it really, really started to get good -- which I highly recommend (in both senses of the word "highly"), and the mailbag brought me tons of free CDs from my pals in the record label publicity trade. I'm taking this "Heavy Trash thing -- Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray -- to work today and give it a listen.

- Saturday night, I went with Lara & Jeff to see Hella at Bruce's Empty Bottle. The first two bands were Canadian all-girl groups (one was called Pony Up!, and was very short and uninteresting; the other, whose name I don't remember, was less short but also less interesting) who had me stifling yawns throughout the evening. Once Hella came on, though...well, I've never seen Hella live be anything but amazing. This was the first time I've seen Zach Hill and Spencer Seim play with a full band (a bassist -- who we suspected, and which a peek at their website confirmed, was Jonathan Hischke from the late, lamented My Name Is Rar-Rar -- and D. Elkan on vocals/guitar/keys/synth/sampler), and any worries we had about them not being as good with the extra personnel were pretty much immediately dispelled. Hischke is a near-perfect match for them, and while Elkan's not up to their level of musicianship, he's at least got plenty to do and understands their music. It was a phenomenal show, and as I've said elsewhere, if there's a better drummer anywhere in the world today than Zach Hill, you'll have to prove it to me.

- Amidst much cleaning and writing and general trip preparation yesterday, I made a beef and Guinness casserole from this Irish cookbook I got a while back. It turned out quite well, I think -- the short cooking time really gave the meat a solid stout flavor, and the mushrooms were a swell addition -- and tomorrow, I think, I'm going to make a Dublin coddle from the same book, since it was really good the last time I made it.

Wednesday: to San Francisco with my honey! And how's by you?
flavored with age

Letters, I send letters

Dear artistic people with websites,

I don't care how artsy you and your people think you are. I don't care if you're in a band. I don't even care if you're in a band I like. Please do not make your website full of Flash-animated icons that are totally incomprehensible and give me not a single clue as to how to navigate your site and find what I'm looking for. Especially if every click gives me a new pop-up window. I'm sure it's very artsy and satisfying to have a rumbling truck be the icon that leads to your discography, but at the very least, put in a pop-up text box so I know what the fuck I'm doing.

Love,
Leonard

***

Dear football players from the Catholic high school,

Despite what you may have learned from your innate sense of entitlement and losing record, you don't own the damn sidewalk, and you can just walk single file until I pass by. If you want to try me, consider this: I used to play football too, and I've spent the intervening 20 years learning to fight dirty.

Love,
Leonard

***

Dear superhero comics, Cities & Knights of Catan and chicarrones,

What is this evil hold you have on me?

Love,
Leonard

***

Dear publicists,

I know your job is difficult and often unrewarding, and that you often bust your ass for people who don't appreciate it. As a freelance writer, I find myself in a very similar position. We both work hard and we both make very little money. But in order for me to make my money, I need you to get back to me in a timely manner. This might seem like an onerous burden, but really, my function is to give your clients free advertising, which means more money for you, so to me it doesn't seem like much. And I even say "thank you" at the end of every communication. I'm the Dickie Crickets of freelance writing.

Love,
Leonard

***

Dear Little Green Footballs,

Every time I think you can't sink any lower, you surprise me. Your recent posts about Marla Ruzicka, who was killed by an insurgent's car bomb in Iraq while raising money to give aid to people who had been maimed or injured (by BOTH sides) in the war, proves that there's no one you won't vilify on ideological grounds. Ruzicka, who spent huge chunks of her time and money and energy helping impoverished people whose children had their legs blown off or whose wives had their faces burned away, kept her politics to herself during her time in Iraq and made it a point to say that American AND Iraqis were causing these injuries, and that while she was against the war, the important thing was not to place partisan blame, but to help people who desperately needed help and couldn't get it. For her opposition to the war and leftist politics, though, you spent 250 posts calling her a dirty pinko moonbat who had it coming, laughing at her demise, naming her as a co-culprit in her own murder, and generally pissing all over her still-warm corpse. I hope you enjoyed it! I'm sure one or all of you will be heading over there right away to carry on her blameless work helping cripplied and maimed children, right?

Love,
Leonard
flavored with age

Another week, another stupid poll

It's just about time for a new pope, and since everything must be done through the filter of middle-class white Americans, I demand the new pope name himself based on popular American baby names from the last few years. Pick one.

Poll #477218 Pope Caleb, you put that diaper BACK on your sister!

What should be the name of the next pope?

Pope Ethan I
1(3.2%)
Pope Tyler I
2(6.5%)
Pope Dylan I
3(9.7%)
Pope Brandon I
1(3.2%)
Pope Jose I
2(6.5%)
Pope Logan I
3(9.7%)
Pope Jordan I
1(3.2%)
Pope Aidan I
3(9.7%)
Pope Cameron I
1(3.2%)
Pope Hunter I
6(19.4%)
Pope Connor I
3(9.7%)
Pope Evan I
1(3.2%)
Pope Zach I
0(0.0%)
Pope Angel I
3(9.7%)
Pope Aaron I
1(3.2%)

What if the pope was a girl?

Pope Madison I
2(6.5%)
Pope Alexis I
0(0.0%)
Pope Ashley I
0(0.0%)
Pope Samantha I
2(6.5%)
Pope Alyssa I
0(0.0%)
Pope Kayla I
0(0.0%)
Pope Brianna I
0(0.0%)
Pope Chloe I
5(16.1%)
Pope Hailey I
3(9.7%)
Pope Jasmine I
3(9.7%)
Pope Kaitlyn I
1(3.2%)
Pope Destiny I
6(19.4%)
Pope Savannah I
3(9.7%)
Pope Brooke I
1(3.2%)
Pope MacKenzie I
5(16.1%)

Which of these pope names I came up with do you like best?

Pope Dingbat I
0(0.0%)
Pope Sparky I
2(6.1%)
Pope Mitch I
1(3.0%)
Pope Superman I
0(0.0%)
Pope Wassamattafayoo I
2(6.1%)
Pope Hitler I
2(6.1%)
Pope John-John I
3(9.1%)
Pope American Milk Solids Council I
7(21.2%)
Pope Infallibilus I
3(9.1%)
Pope God I
1(3.0%)
Pope Lester I
2(6.1%)
Pope Mohammed I
3(9.1%)
Pope John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt III
2(6.1%)
Pope Slim Shady I
2(6.1%)
Pope Pius Pius Bo Bius Banana Fana Fo Fius Me Mi Mo Mius Pius I
3(9.1%)