Archive for December, 2009

Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy

December 25, 2009 Leave a comment

5 years ago a friend dragged me into downtown Burlington, VT to see a Frank Zappa cover band.  What I saw that night single-handedly reinvigorated my fascination with FZ and his music, and therefore music in general.  See you in Baltimore… Project/Object… 12/28…

Categories: Music Tags: ,

Previously on…

December 24, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s Christmas eve and I’ve just realized that it’s been exactly 20 days since I’ve left any update.  This is unacceptable.  However, since I’m lazy – and most likely so are you – I’ll spare the lengthy written update in favor of a sort-of photo essay.  I hope this will suffice.  Whatever the outcome, I will absolutely not keep you (maybe three people?) bereft of material for that long ever again.  So, without further adieu, the last 20 days…

Yea. It was a solid 20 days.

Categories: Uncategorized

Meet me on Fayette

December 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Similarities?  Maybe more than we’d like to admit…

What’s Goin on tonight?

December 2, 2009 Leave a comment

I remember a time when I didn’t know how to text.  It’s a vague memory, but one I’m cherishing more and more.  It started out as a slow process.  First I learned how to send a rudimentary text – often entering one letter at a time, and usually to embarrassing results (‘Wht tim is t?’)  Then I took the next step; I finally gave into the trust fall known as ‘t9’.  Who knew that a simple cell phone could reliably guess what word I’m meaning type after only a few letters?!  The notion seemed strange at first, but now is a facet of my daily life as basic the newspaper or hot water.  Then I began to send picture messages – slowly at first, but with more regularity once I realized there was an audience for such things.  Being abroad – in both South Africa and South Korea – only emboldened my sms-habbits.  I had always assumed that Americans lead the world in our pension for texting.  How wrong I was.  And now I’m here: 24, a college grad, and a hopeless, fervent texter.

At first texting seems ideal.  After all, how many times have you called someone up to ask a question, only to hang up the phone 45 minutes later without an answer, and an unnecessarily vivid picture of what someone did over Spring break?  People like to gab.  They feel it’s the friendly option, where terse, direct speaking can come off as rude, or aloof.  (Hold on, I need to hit the can…) Ok, I’m back.  But let’s be frank: most of the time, phone calls are meant to convey a brief message.  Therefore, texting seems to be the better option.  All the information transference, and none of the awkward social niceties.  But like facebook, emailing, and most of the other tech-oriented features of our cultural zeitgeist, texting has mutated into an insidious, life-sucking beast.

I am now almost crippled when it comes to phone conversation.  I speak when I’m not supposed to, I laugh at the wrong times, my cadence is totally off.  I’m a sniveling, awkward mess on the phone, and texting has made me so.  I hardly call anyone anymore.  But at this point, I can’t even lie and say that it’s due to the convenience of texting.  It’s not.  I don’t call people anymore because I’m afraid to.  The fear of exposing myself to another person on a field I’m so incapable of navigating is a dreadful feeling.  It’s like I would rather exist as this amorphous avatar in the texting world.  I can be anyone, and speak however I choose in the texting world – as long as I do it in fewer than 160 characters.  The truth is that texting is starting to do irreparable damage to my psyche.

And so from this moment on I am committing myself to a strict regimen of phone calls.  I will continue to text as the moment demands, but know that I am willfully weening myself off the text message.  Never again will anyone be greeted by a dead phone when they call to confirm a text I’ve sent.  This, by the way – the act of texting someone and then not picking up their call a moment later – is the clearest evidence of a person hopelessly in the grips of a disease more heinous and pervasive than h1n1: Conversaphobia!  I’m a sufferer, but are you willing to admit that you are as well?  No more!  I will be calling you.  We will be talking, awkwardly albeit, and we’ll be bettering ourselves all the while.

Who’s with me?!

Ninja Assassin

December 2, 2009 Leave a comment

Got a ‘Rain’y day?  Go see this flick.  It’s absolutely one of the best mindless action movies I’ve seen in a long, long while.  Imagine a classic Arnold movie… only Asian.

Categories: Film Tags: ,

Half Smoke

December 2, 2009 Leave a comment

Every great city needs its signature eatery.  This should be a place that takes all comers, including the tourists – on whose to-do lists it firmly rests.  It should be greasy, cheap, and preferably have a link to the city’s history.  In short, this restaurant should be a physical summation of what the city is all about.  New York has Gray’s Papaya, Philly has Frank’s Cheesesteaks, and Washington D.C. has Ben’s Chilli Bowl.  That it took me 24 years to be amongst its peeling walls is truly embarrassing.

Ben’s is significant on many fronts – it served as a safe-haven during the ’68 riots, it was the first D.C. establishment visited by a freshly-minted President Obama – but mostly so for what it represents.  Nobody has profited from Ben’s sizable reputation in a way that’s out of step with its essence.  Thus, you won’t find an outpost amongst the polished pillars of the downtown/mall area.  You won’t see Ben’s Chilli Bowl t-shirts being hawked at regional highway rest stops.  It’s not marketing ploy.  It’s just a restaurant where people go to get half smokes (half beef/half sausage link in a bun, most likely smothered in homemade chili and onions) and take in the ambience of the city that birthed it.  Furthermore, Ben’s remains a black establishment.  Sure, we’re all welcome there, but while its quickly-gentrifying U-st neighborhood becomes devoid of color, Ben’s stands proudly as a reminder of what once was.  For better or worse, Ben’s has not seeped beyond the seams of what it is at its core: a humble, neighborhood greasy spoon that has lined the stomachs of Washingtonians, poor and rich alike, free of vanity or pretense for the better part of two generations.

Like most cities, D.C. is beginning to disappear under a thick sludge of classless, race-less, corporate cafeterias – whose only defining characteristic may be as basic as the gaudy, cartoonish sign that rests above the entrance.  Joints like Ben’s are in the fight of their lives.  And as buyouts from Coke and McDonalds become more and more appealing in these trying times, original taste-makers are becoming fewer and far between.  Indeed, my generation stands at the cusp of what could become the great suburbanization of independent gastronomic destinations.  But like all generations at the outset of a potential massacre, we are all now in a position to fight.

Remember, the Chipotle on Beacon Hill is no different than the Chipotle next to Wrigley Field.  We must not forget that a dollar spent at the independent haunt, is a dollar donated to the overall identity of that city.  We may not be able to bring down the giants of corporate America, but we most certainly can keep our mom and pop’s around to remind them of how it’s done.

Categories: Travel Tags: ,