Life. Inside the Beltway. Outside of Politics. Mostly.


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This is the end, my friends.

Adieu. I end my job today (in five, four, three...), and the gf and I start on the road trip on Sunday morning. Maybe I'll update this a few times over the summer, but I ain't making no promises to nobody I don't know. In the fall I may come back to blogging, but I'll be based out of Austin, Texas, so a DC-themed blog probably doesn't make the most sense.


Ted Leo, what what

If you couldn't get a ticket to last night's sold-out Ted Leo show, you can go thank your local high schooler. They showed up early and in force.

Mary Timony, same as always, comes across as a cross between Kim Deal and Liz Phair. Personally, I love the tunes, just as I did in 1996, but the lyrics and vocals leave something to be desired. Sorry to rag, but my time is short.

Radio 4, yeah. At first they sounded a lot like Q and Not U, with the same funk infused rhythm and energetic dancing. But then I realized that they were epileptic and having seizures on stage. Decent opening act nonetheless. I think that they could go really far since the lead singer looks like Paul Simon and the guitarist looks just like that dude from The State and Wet, Hot American Summer, Michael Showalter, so yeah they could break into the OC crowd.

Before I get to Ted Leo, let me just say respect to the kid in the front row wearing the yarmukle. My only suggestion would be to get a more fashionable pattern. Traditional is good when you want a traditional lady, but you were at a Ted Leo show, so I'm thinking that you might want your girl to be a little more hip and cutting edge. Meet her halfway.

Alright, back to what counts, Ted Leo rocking out. Internet hype or no, the man can put on a show. The crowd was into him being there, and he kept up his usual rapport with the audience. And he blazed through a solid set of songs. A- on the music and sound, A+ on the concert experience.

And for bonus hipness, here is an excerpt from his website:
Yikes! I just got a very welcome e-mail from a guy going to the 9:30 this week informing me of insane surcharges on the tickets he purchased. I must heartily apologize to any and all who have experienced this as well. Honestly, I didn't even look into who was handling ticketing for this show, but of course, the culprit (if you don't go directly through the club) is... yeah, you guessed it: Ticketmaster. And of course, as I now look at my own web-site, I see that there's a Ticketmaster link below a bunch of the shows... DUH... Man, am I sorry about this. Alright, well anyway, I present, for your perusal, our conversation below, and ask you to accept my apologies to the "D" as apologies to you as well. We'll stay on top of it, I promise...

On Jun 11, 2005, at 4:21 PM, D**** wrote:
Hey, this email might be better sent to your bookign agent, but I was wondering why you book with clubs that use the great evil that is ticketmaster? Is it because they usually are larger venues or is this just something you don't normally pay attention to? I'm only asking because I was buying a ticket to your show at the 9:30 club in Washington DC, which is 12 dollars, but with all the extra surcharges, it becomes a $25 dollar show. I hate to sound whiny, even though that's probably what I'm coming off as, but do you think that on future tours you could support smaller venues, or is that just not an option?
Thanks, D*****

-- Response:
Ouch! That is rough, man -- I'm sorry about that. I just tried to buy a ticket through Ticketmaster myself, and found that if I chose to pick it up at the venue, it comes out to just under $20, which is still ridiculous, but not $25 -- did you ask them to overnight it to you or something? It sucks, either way, I know... One option would have been to buy them directly from the 9:30 box office, but that doesn't really help you at this point, either... Ticketmaster is an organization that has never really been a part of our equation before, and assuming that on-line ticketing would be done through the club (as it is at most of the places we've been playing for the past many many years) we didn't really look into what was going on with it for this particular show. Oddly enough, though, one thing I do know about Ticketmaster, is that the DC Ticketmaster franchise is the only one in the country that wasn't bought out by the larger corporation, and thus, remains independent of much of their shittiness. Apparently not enough of it, though! Be that as it may, when we have only one night to spend in a town, we have to face the crappy choice of having more than half of the people who might want to see us not be able to get in by playing the smaller clubs we've all been accustomed to, or going with the bigger clubs (9:30 in DC, Irving Plaza in NYC, etc.). And I don't mean to diss the 9:30 -- it's an amazing club, that we're psyched to be able to "move up" to -- but in essence, it's the spike in attendance that's why we're there this time around, and not doing multiple nights at the Black Cat, like last time. For instance, in December, at the Cat, we did two nights, with each night over-selling to 800+ people in a 600 capacity club. We simply can't stay for multiple nights on this trip, so we had to go with the 9:30, which has a 1200 capacity, still, possibly locking some people out, but considerably less than had we gone with the Cat again for only one night. You can't really just block out 2/3 of the people who want to come see you, so unfortunately, small venues aren't really an option sometimes. We are, however, extremely conscientious about the "business" side of our business. I've spent the last "x" amount of years of my life playing small venues, and learning how to control the things you need to, while allowing your "thing" to grow, and you can bet that there's a reason for just about every choice I (and Mahmood, my booking agent) make. This time, however, things were being booked while I was overseas for months, blah, blah, blah, not much of an excuse, I know... and it seems like we dropped the ball. I apologize for that. I'm sorry you had such a frustrating experience -- I'll be sure to look deeper into ticketing issues for the next tour! Thanks.
P.S. -- I hope you won't mind me putting this conversation on my website, in case there are others who are wondering what you are as well. I'll delete your name and e-mail addy. Thanks!

So sorry about this everybody!
Always Learning,

DC once, DC forever.

All in all, I've had a solid couple of weeks of concerts (Old 97's, Bloc Party, and TL+P), and feeling good as I head out of town.


The internet is for conversations that I just can't have with my co-workers

Whole heartedly lifted from Sue and Not U. I was going to just link it, but then I remembered that I don't click on random links on people's blogs, so why should I expect you too. But I encourage you to check hers out, cause its all about the hits, right?

Strolling down U St. yesterday afternoon, Kriston and I passed by the grime-covered, dilapidated storefront of Exotic Pleasures—a depressing, lurid establishment that seems to have weathered a great deal, but never a customer.

K: Guh, how does that place stay in business?

Me: I know. Who would want to fulfill their pleasures there?

K: Wasn't there one of those by your old house in Austin? It was all hip, and...

Me: ...earthy, and "Oooh, I'm so comfortable with my sexuality." [pause] Although, I imagine it would be strange to have an exotic pleasures store that was not comfortable with sexuality.

K: That would be pretty great. A repressed sex shop.

Me: Yeah, your toy could come with flagellation devices so you could go "Oh God, I hate myself!"

K: And the videos they sell would just show a man and a woman sitting on a bed, and him going "I swear this never happens."

Me: And she's all, "Oh, it's really okay! It's normal!"

K: And then that's the end.

Me: The name of the store could be: Crying While Masturbating. For Catholics.

Prepping the new home

In the midst of the drag 'em out, knock 'em down slug-fest of a Spurs-Pistons Game 6, I had the distinct pleasure of watching the season premiere of Real World 16: Austin. Whoo-wee! Not only was I able to say "I've been there! I've been there!", but some cast member got fucking cold cocked on his second night of bar crawling, literally getting his face broken! Go MTV! As for the guy who beat his ass, I am sure that he was so excited to get his fifteen minutes of fame in front of the MTV cameras by punching some drunk dude who was on the ground, that he completely forgot that he was committing assault on film. Good move wise guy. Not that I object to the drunken, fratbags getting hassled by the locals, but please. I hope that your dumb ass is in jail and off of 6th Street by the time I get down there.

Aside from the injection of dramatic violence, the rest of the episode is just a repetition of what these kids think that the Real World Genre is all about. The first thing that they did was get drunk and sit in the hot tub. Then they got two of the girls to kiss. Then they all got in the shower together. Then they went out and got really drunk. A girl started dancing on the bar, a guy tried to be protective of her, they yelled at each other. Guy storms off, and everyone tries to find him on the streets of Austin, you know rather than going back to the house. Then they get in a fight with random dudes on the street.

Yup, the first episode was a cross between the entire fourth season of Real World and a single episode of the OC. What's next on the list? I'm betting that the blonde girl who walks around the apartment in her underwear ("at home I walk around in my bra and panties in front of my parents") gets fucked by one of the dudes in the house. Even money.

-Oh and for those of you who said that the NBA finals were going to suck, we got us a game 7! A series hasn't gone that long for eleven years. These two teams want it. And my hatred of Manu Ginobli's flops grows inside of me everyday. Fucking hack. I don't like floppers in soccer, and they definitely don't belong in basketball. The NBA should start handing out technical fouls for players who try to draw imaginary fouls.


I just thought that the world had "gone gay"

Thank god for the New York Times. I was walking to work this morning, and my gaydar was going ding-ding-ding! Gays to the left of me Gays to the right. They were everywhere. Then I realized that it wasn't just me who was having trouble: "Gay or Straight? Hard to Tell". Oh my savior of cultural news that is about six months out of date! Hopefully by the time that I am 45 and completely out of touch with modern culture, I too can glean nuggets of fashionably late information from your doddering pages!

Road Trip!

Three and a half more days of work. Then a summer on the road. Who knew that quitting your job and moving halfway across the country could be so stressful? I'm really hoping that once Friday rolls around, all of the little things that didn't get done will pass on, and the gf and I can enjoy six weeks driving around the country.

After two months of dragging our asses planning (well, of my dragging my ass planning) we finally came up with an itinerary that hits most of places we want to see. Sure we'll be rolling through some places quicker than I'd like, but I only have so much time and money. Tough-titties.

1. Columbus, OH. Yeah, I know, we have a place to crash and its halfway to
2. Chicago
3. Badlands, SD and Mount Rushmore
4. Glacier National Park
5. Spokane, WA, the Grand Coulee Dam, and the North Cascades
6. Seattle
7. Olympic Peninsula
8. Washington, Oregon, and Northern California Coast.
9. San Francisco
10. Yosemite
11. The godless city of LA
12. Zion, North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Moab
13. Santa Fe, NM
14. Austin, TX

Just typing it all out gets me jittery with excitement. Kinda like sex, only more family friendly.

If you have some thoughts about must see places in or between these locales, it is not too late to have an impact on "The Greatest Road Trip Ever Taken By Me!" as this event has been labeled for publicities sake. And if you check back in over the next few weeks, there might just be some updates and photos to evoke public commentary. Who knows, there might even be some witty stories that poke fun at the trashiness that is the heartland of America. Wow, it is like one big mystery.

-As I wrote this I found a link to a friend, who is doing a waaaaaay cooler road trip this summer, fifty state capitals in fifty days. Pretty nifty. Makes my little trip look shabby in comparison. I will now go cry.


Oh yeah, like a new Giant was enough.

I know that I've been running around preparing for my grand exit, and I haven't been getting as much sleep as I should have, but I would swear that I just saw an aisle full of beer and wine at the unSafeway on Columbia. WTF? The only consolation that I can take from this new found convenience is that now the always functional cheese, deli meat, butter aisle is now half the size and selection. Oh yeah, and they don't have room for saltines! Go Team Gentrification!

Eviction is a depressing thing.

Someone just got kicked out of their public housing on Harvard. Its depressing to see all of the miscellaneous crap that was haphazardly dragged out of their apartment. Its even more depressing that I wasn't sure that it wasn't just a poorly timed yard-sale or a garage cleaning until I saw the security guard blocking the door. Put a bummer on my night.

Weekend Bar Bitch

Somehow in a three day weekend, there is always more than enough time to drink and actually be productive.

Friday started out with a trip to REI to purchase a tent and other assorted gear for this summer's next week's road trip. After fiddling around the rest of the day, the gf and I met up with out mother's for dinner at Ardeo. Aside from the restaurant being absolutely dead at 7:30 on a Friday night, the food was pretty good for the $16-22 entree range. I'd be in no hurry to go back, but if someone said they were going, I'd tell them that they made a good choice.

Next was a meet-up with some friends in Dupont, where we had a $10 foofy drink at Firefly before heading over to Lucky Bar. Firefly good, Lucky Bar baaaaaaaaad. First of all, no one should ever have to wait in line to get into Lucky Bar. The line was longer and slower than next door at MCCXXIII. Second, at some point in my life, I would have agreed with the following statement: "Seeing a girl who is enjoying grinding with two dudes on the dance-floor is a decent indicator of a place with the potential to be very interesting." I am clearly no longer at that place in my life. Watching the creepy 35-year olds stare at the trashy, trashed interns dancing made me very uncomfortable. Luckily we were able to grab our acquaintances and head over to the Big Hunt, where we could sit, drink, and not feel like filthy old men.

Saturday brunch with the future-in-laws was at 15 Ria. Good food, no problem getting a table outside, terrible service. You make the call. The rest of the day was a blur of boxes and packing tape. The good news is that I'm almost ready to go.

Saturday night was Wonderlandful. Well, it would have been if we weren't playing Goldielocks. The downstairs was too smoky, and the upstairs had a godawful DJ playing techno-crap at a volume that was deafening. After a few more songs that DJs switched, and we got a more tolerable volume of good reggae and hip-hop. Pints of Racer 5, until bedtime. At some point there was dancing involved, but I think that may reveal too much of the evening. All I can say is "Vaginica?"

Sunday was a hell of planning and packing at Lauren's, but progress was made. An itinerary for the road trip was finalized, but we still have enough flexibility to take a few extra days wherever we like (it'll be posted later today for public comments). Then Father's Day dinner was going great until I saw that on the back of one of the ties that I had bought for my father it read (no shitting you) "Please remove before sex." At that point, I couldn't take the painfully stilted conversation between my parents and their college friends that followed. Thinking about it just sent a shiver up my spine.

Then there was the basketball game....until way past my bedtime. Robert Horry, Robert Horry, Robert motherfucking Horry. How do you not guard that fucker? How?


No Sleep 'til...

After work nap. Coffee. Bloc Party.

Amazing. For those of you unable to acquire tickets, I am truly sorry. Although I would have loved to have seen you there rather than the beefcake bonanza that it appeared to be at times, you missed a great concert at which the band played a really tight set while staying loose on stage. I'm hard pressed to say who I got a bigger kick out of, the lead singer, Kele Okereke, who played off of the crowd, taking flowers, requests, and dollar bills, or the drummer, Matt Tong, who rocked out with his bouncing feathered hair and trash-'stash galore (perhaps there'll be pictures later!).

Thoughts from the evening:

1. Now I know what bands do when they only have one album. They play every song on the album without question. You'll have to check out some other blog for a set list, but off the top of my head, I don't think they played a song that wasn't on the album. And I don't think that they missed any songs either. 14 songs on a Thursday night is good enough for me.

2. Early on in the show there were balloons bouncing around the crowd. Then, once a balloon landed on stage and Kele picked it up and said something about it, they all disappeared into people hands. No more fun bouncing balloons. One woman ended up with two of them. What the hell are you going to do with a balloon from a concert? Hang it on your wall until it shrivels up like testicles in cold water? Fucking lame DC, fucking lame.

3. No dancing. For once I'm not going to blame the DC hardcore scene or the crowd for this one. After some introspective thought, I came up with two reasons why people no longer dance at concerts. A. People come to see the bands. When they dance, or are surrounded by people bouncing up and down, they can no longer focus solely on the band and the music. As a corollary to this point, people pay too much money to casually attend and not pay attention to the band. B. Since concerts have become a major moneymaker for bands and venues, the venues pack in as many paying customers as possible, making it impossible to comfortably dance without elbowing your neighbor. No space=no dancing. These two points don't even touch on the growing self-consciousness of American adolescents and young adults.

4. Before the encore, the crowd just sat there expectantly. No real sign of appreciation or strong desire to drag the band back out. Sure, there were two technicians on stage tuning, but if I was in the band, and the audience wasn't clapping and chanting, I wouldn't come back out on stage. Weird. But then again the whole night was a little off. Like the older DC-indie crowd had gone to the Modest Mouse concert, leaving the younger kids who didn't know their ass from a whole in the wall to act like spoiled brats. Just a random thought.

5. I'm kinda glad that I didn't go to see the Pixies/Bloc Party on Monday night because I'd bet that they played the same set. Since they don't have any other songs. Maybe I'm wrong though. I frequently am. Hopefully they'll come to Austin on their next tour. Cause they fucking rocked like stars.

6. Why don't I get coffee more frequently at shows? The legs never got tired, the mind never drifted too far... Oh yeah, cause now I can't sleep. Thank god I'm taking tomorrow off. Suckers. (is it wrong to make fun of your readers?)


Batman Begins is to Mr. And Mrs. Smith like....

...Heart of Darkness is to Catch-22.

Hahahahahahahaha. Hahahahaha.

Seriously, though, if you like summer fluff (and who doesn't love fluffers?) these two films give you action-plus. Plus what you might ask, well Batman Begins gives you action plus a dark look at how humanity struggles to destroy evil without becoming evil itself, while Mr. And Mrs. Smith gives you action plus sexual tension. Man, I was almost able to write that with cracking a smile. Look, neither of these movies is going to enter into the canon of film, but they're good enough to be enjoyable. Certainly comparable to everything here. And better than SWAT. Maybe even better than Bad Boys II. Yes, that good.

Morning Headlines: 2 for 1 squared

Filed under "Shit, you mean that I have to get re-elected to keep this job," 1. the House voted to repeal some of the most offensive parts of the Patriot Act 2. GOP leaders begin quest to stop screwing the American people on Social Security

On the lighter side, we have two happy family stories, 1. Alzheimer's isn't so bad when the kids cash in on Deep Throat 2. apparently that little lady down in Florida really was a zombie.

Its days like this when I start to question why I even bother to read the newspaper. If I stuck to blogs, I could have been knee deep in hearing how the Washingtonienne gettin' served up a heapin' pile of court order at her reading last night.