December 12th, 2005

ho ho ho

We like the party! We like the disco sound! Unh!

So I went to a party this weekend at the home of friends Doug and Lorrie Akin. Their house, situated on Chicago's northwest side, looks like a massive yet tidy explosion at an upscale, ultra-campy thrift store. In other words, exactly the kind of house I would like to live in if I wasn't lazy, dirty and impoverished. Their basement is tricked out into a full-on tiki bar, and it's just all so amazing I could die. They were swell hosts and brewed up lots of hot buttered rum for to numb our brains on a snowy December night. I presented them with the gift of all six of my annual Kung Fu Christmas mixes, and was given, in return, Lorrie's amazing 2005 Christmas mix, chock full of incredibly crazy old stuff she got vinyl-trawling at resale shops; I intend to crib a bunch of them for Kung Fu Christmas 2006, which I confidently predict will be even better than this year's. There was also a 'white elephant' gift exchange, during which my contribution (a "Space Commander Galaxy" raspberry syrup bottle) inexplicably turned out to be the most sought-after piece of swag. thaitea ended up with a metal race car picture frame with a stock picture of a terrifying kid within, but rum_holiday got the score of the night: a bunch of old jazz on vinyl, including the first two John Coltrane solo albums. It was a good time, and like Paris Hilton, it was had by all.

In other news:

- Everyone knows by now that Ricahrd Pryor snuffed it. It's too bad, and only underscores how tragic it is that one of the three greatest standup comics of all time had been silent for close to 20 years because of MS. Fuck you, MS. Of course the lifetime of dug abuse probably didn't help, but bottom line: I liked Richard Pryor, and I'm sorry he's gone.

- My girl ninafarina busted up her knee last week. Unlike superdaintykate, she probably won't need surgery or anything like that, but you should all say nice things about her anyway because otherwise I'll clobber yas. One of the worst things about the long-distance relationship is that I can't always be there to take care of her when shit like this goes down, and it tears me apart; but that's gonna be rectified before long.

- I got some good freelance work this weekend, and lost some other good freelance work. People at Town Hall complained about rude teenagers, communists taking over our universities, and how Muslims (and NO ONE ELSE) demand censorship and the punishment of those they find to be engaging in heretical attacks on their religion. People came and went and snow fell to the ground and novels were written and read. Somehow this became headline news, and yet there's not a "Man apologizes for hundreds of poorly written, badly researched Wikipedia articles" to be found anywhere. Then I posted on LiveJournal and eventually died.
ho ho ho

What we learned from Friday's poll

1. The majority of you, who obviously do not occupy a seat on the bleeding edge of modern literary trends, were unaware that there is a name for very short fiction. 21% of you said all the names for it are stupid without offering an alternative, because goodness knows it's very easy to find fault. Of those of you expressing a preference, an equally numbered majority preferred the eminently practical "very short fiction" and the cool science-fictiony-sounding "nanofiction". No one liked "postcard fiction", as somewhere, Jennifer Amey cries real tears.

2. More people voted in this poll than in any of the Friday polls to date. The reason for this was unclear; possibly more peoples' jobs have been unfulfilling of late, or respondents mistakenly believed that answering the 'what do you want for Christmas?' question would actually result in my giving them gifts.

3. Despite the claim that there is a liberal war on Christmas, and the fact that my friends list is almost entirely populated with America-hating leftist swine, a whopping 78% of correspondents cop the celebrating Christmas. Only one of you whitebread cracker motherfuckers give any love to Kwanzaa, and a big fat zero of you chose Eid as something to cheer. 9% of you are dirty Christ-killing Jews; 10% think your own birthday is more important than that of Jesus; and 23% of you celebrate a made-up holiday from a now-canceled television show. Surprisingly, only 40% of you mercenary bastards will celebrate any bullshit holiday as lng as you get something out of it.

4. A staggering 92% of respondents confirm that the battery-powered remote control fiber optic snowman figurine is telling me to kill the President. Wait, that was a different poll.

5. Proving that I am awesome you are all lame I am a pretentious elitist snob, a majority 40% of you have never heard any of my Critics' Poll choices for the ten best albums of 2005. An additional 20% of you chose to gratuitously insult me, and 12% of you found it necessary to affirm your allegience to Billy "Piano Man" Joel. A meager three of you have heard any of my rap of metal selections. The most commonly heard album was Sufjan Stevens' Come On Feel the Illinoise!, followed closely by the Decemberists' Picaresque; only 9 of you say you've heard M.I.A.'s Arular, which is hard to believe given its ubiquity of late. Conclusion: Booooo, me.

6. The most popular vulgarized Christmas carol was "Fuckface the Snowman", the complete lyrics of which I offer you Collapse )

7. Finally, way too many of you want happy children and world piece this Christmas, and far too few of you want giant robots and sacks of cocaine. But Santa Dog is generous, and he may yet move mountains. Happy Festivus!
now let me tell you what *i* think

A Very Metal Christmas

One of the local rags I work for bumped my awesome "A Very Metal Christmas" article (about great metal songs to play over the holidays) in favor of a fashion spread. Apparently these fools believe that pictures of attractive models in stylish clothing would be more appealing to their demographic than an article about a bunch of loud, unpleasant music that no one has ever heard of.

Anyway, here it is, for your lack of enjoyment.


This has been the Year of Metal -- ask anybody. Well, ask me. Especially when I've had about five glasses of eggnog. With bands like Meshuggah garnering critical raves all over the place, local acts like Pelican putting Chicago's metal scene on the national radar, and prominent performers like the Mars Volta blurring the lines between metal, prog, and punk, there's never been a better time to unleash your inner 14-year-old boy. Here's a few tracks to get you started up the stairway to headbanger heaven this Christmas.

Best Ironic Title in a Non-Ironic Context: "I'm Charming", The Black Dahlia Murder

Whatever you call the combo of high-pitched Donald Duck shrieks and slab-of-concrete mechanical growls that makes up the BDM's vocal attack, it ain't charming; but it is damned effective, making them sound like a band from the frigid wastes of Norway instead of the more prosaic surroundings of Detroit. (Available on Miasma, Metal Blade Records)

Best Song to Relax Your Colored Friends At Parties: "To the Fallen Hero", God Forbid

Even leaving aside some of the more, er, stridently Nordic strains coming from Scandinavia, metal has a bit of an image problem: it's widely percieved as the whitest of white-boy music. But the crushing New Jersey quintet God Forbid bring a new meaning to 'black metal' by being, well, black; mammoth, dreadlocked frontman Byron Davis is doing for metal what Bad Brains did for punk 25 years ago. (Available on IV: Constitution of Treason, Century Media)

Best Way to Convince Your Annoying Hipster Friends That Metal Isn't Stupid: "The Face of Oblivion", High On Fire

If you like metal and you're sick of your hipper-than-thou friends turning up their surgically perfected noses whenever you put something heavy on the deck, wipe that ironic smile off their faces by spinning the new album by ex-Sleep bossman Matt Pike's new bad. Not only is it showing up on many a critic's top ten list this year, but it's produced by Chicago's own uber-hip Steve Albini, whose indie cred is unimpeachable. That'll learn 'em! (Available on Blessed Black Wings, Relapse Records)

Best Way to Clear the Room When the Party's Over: "OV", Orthrelm

The brandy's all gone and the presents are all unwrapped, but your mooching relatives still won't leave. Easy solution: just put on this disc. It's one of the best records of the year, but very few people have the intestinal fortitude to stick around through a 45-minute-long track, especially a punishing free-jazz/doom-metal workout like this. Happy New Year! (Available on OV, Ipecac)