Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fevered pitch

Hot damn, they did it again. The Red Sox. It was actually kind of anti-climactic, just like in 2004 when they swept the Cardinals. The American League is so much better, it seems.

It also seems that I care way too much about the Red Sox. So much that it's kind of embarrassing. Just what is it about baseball that I find so fascinating? I mean, no other sport -- no other baseball team, even -- gets me this obsessed. After they beat Cleveland, I even went back and watched Fever Pitch again, just to relive 2004. It's a pretty bad movie unless you're a Sox fan and you recognize how insane the region is about the Sox.

At one point, a character says, "They'll break your heart," and everyone nods sagely, because it used to be true. So why love something that keeps kicking you in the teeth?

I started seriously following the Sox when I was eight years old. My folks had split up, I didn't have a lot of friends my own age, and my dad was living at the commune, so I wonder if I didn't get obsessed with baseball to take my mind off everything. It was something I could count on. Or rather, something I could count on failing me, but not leaving me. They were there next game, next week, next season, even if they always broke your heart. But I wonder if that construct -- the expectation of failure, no matter how hard you want something, no matter how hard you root for something -- imprinted a certain negative view of relationships upon me.

Or it could've just been the relationships around me.

Anyway, no matter. The Sox get me all teary eyed, I swear. Watching the video of the Game 4 celebration, I got choked up hearing ancient Christian dude Mike Timlin tell other ancient Christian knuckleballer dude Tim Wakefield that he loved him. How can you not love a team with an outfielder (Manny) who once slipped into the scoreboard in the Green Monster to use the bathroom -- in the middle of an inning! Or a closer who, when the team clinches the pennant, does a bizarre Riverdance while wearing a Bud Light case box on his head. Or a bullpen that startsd a bizarre ritual that looks and sounds like a water bottle drum circle. Or has two -- two! -- cancer survivors, a Navajo descendent who can beat out a grounder to second, an outfielder named Coco Crisp, the aforementioned knuckleballer, and a general manager who once snuck out of the park wearing a gorilla suit (Wendy says he was a jerk in high school, but my softball pal Gabe says his brother was very nice).

And how can you not love a team with adorably hot reporters like Amalie Benjamin? Christ, she's got her own fanclub already.

She looks a little like Joanna, I guess. I asked my hometown friends Gene and Chris if everyone there has a crush on her (Chris used to have crushes on all the Weather Channel girls), and Gene said, "Yes, but she's made cuter because of her sports knowledge." Like a guy who can appreciate Jane Austen, I suppose. Or notices when it's time to clean the bathroom.

Anyway, now I need to find something else to occupy myself. I guess it's good NaNoWriMo starts in two days.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Preposterous Tunes

In the run up to the KALX fundrazor (yes, they spell it that way on purpose) and in celebration of the station's 45th anniversary, DJs are focusing on music from a different decade each week. Last Monday, Fresh Pink asked me to sub her show so she and the Fuzzz could get out of town, and I could get my '80s jones on. It was one of the most fun shows I'd done in ages, and I didn't even get to play half the stuff I wanted to. I guess I can play some of the rest on October 29, when Fresh and I will be doing our fundrazor show together (save your money for our show, hint hint). Oh yeah, and next Monday, October 22 from 3 to 5:30 p.m., we'll be sharing the '90s, which prolly means I'll be rocking the indie and she'll be dropping mad science on ya. For reals. Um, here's what I played on Monday (you may notice a few current things, which were supposed to take care of official station business):

My Bloody Valentine, Drive It All Over Me, Thorn
Chin Chin, Stop Your Cryin', 53rd & 3rd presents AGARR Retro
The Wake, On Our Honeymoon, Harmony
Plasticines, Zazie Fait de la Bicyclette, LP1
The Raincoats, No One's Little Girl, Moving
Manatella, Brandy, Fashionable Neighborhood
Emma Pollock, Adrenaline, Watch The Fireworks,
Throwing Muses, Green, S/T,
Three O'Clock, I Go Wild, Baroque Hoedown,
Primal Scream, Gentle Tuesday, Children of Nuggets Vol. 4,
Jesus and Mary Chain, Cut Dead, Psychocandy,
Shocking Pinks, This Aching Deal, S/T,
Doublehappys, The Others Way, Nerves,
Delta 5, Mind Your Own Business, Rough Trade: Post Punk Vol. 1,
Sexual Harassment, If I Gave You a Party, Anti-NY,
Jens Lekman, Kanske Ar Jag Kar i Dig, Night Falls Over Kortedala,
Jazz Butcher, Partytime, In Bath of Bacon,
Breathe Owl Breathe, Marshland, Climb In
Pylon, Crazy, Hits,
Young Marble Giants, Final Day, Colossal Youth & Collected Works
Rosehips, Room in Your Heart, S/T,
I, Ludicrous, Prepostrous Tales, Rough Trade Shops: Indiepop 1,
Shop Assistants, All Day Long, S/T
Les Calamites, The Kids Are All Right, S/T
The Black Lips, Veni Vidi Vici, Good Bad Not Evil
Replacements, Take Me Down to the Hospital, Hootenanny
X, True Love, More Fun in the New World
Violent Femmes, Ugly, S/T
Great Plains, Letter to a Fanzine, Naked at the Buy, Sell & Trade
Young Fresh Fellows, When the Girls Get Here, The Men Who Loved Music
The Mixers, Love Hurts, Whaam! Bam! Thank You Dan,
Primitives, Really Stupid, CD86
Fire Engines, Meat Whiplash, Hungry Beat
Embarrassment, Wellsville, Heyday 1979-83
The Chesterfields, Completely & Utterly, S/T
The Speedies, You Need Pop, Speedy Delivery
Brilliant Corners, Oh, BBC Sessions
Georgie James, Need Your Needs, Places
dBs, Black and White, Stands for Decibels,
Feelies, It's Only Life, Only Life

And yeah, that is a picture of me in 1982. Wow.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Spice wreck

Saw the Darjeeling Limited with a bunch of high college kids last night. How was it, you ask? Better than The Life Aquatic, for sure. Worse than all his other films.

It certainly started out good and quirky, and it looked frigging beautiful. India tourism council should be paying him because even the squalid tenements looked gorgeous. And the actors were all great, even if they didn't have a lot to work with. (A scene with Owen Wilson revealing his brutalized face was particularly poignant, considering his recent suicide attempt.)

But there were tons of problems. While Wes Anderson had sort of gotten over his daddy issues, his characters were still running after a missing mom figure. And, as Chris pointed out, the Wilson character was pretty similar to the one in Bottle Rocket.

But the main problem was that the characters are flat and unknowable. I didn't care about them because I didn't know them. I got that they were as damaged as the kids in the Royal Tannenbaums, but I never knew why. A flashback didn't add anything, and neither did the short prequel available for free on iTunes (although it did allow you to see Nathalie Portman naked, if bruised.) And like the Life Aquatic, Darjeeling leaked energy as much as an old balloon, dragging at the end.

It almost felt like it was made to sell a 2-DVD set full of extras that will supply the answers to the blank stares and stunted monologues.

In other words, I like his earlier films better.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

king dork

Last night, I was coming home from bowling with Cameron and Kristin (Presidio Bowl has those bizarre Bud Lite bottles shaped like bowling pins), and got off BART right behind Dr. Frank. And man was he speeding along.

I knew he'd just taken part in Porchlight's Litquake show at the Du Nerd, and I've had this secret fantasy that he might help me with my YA novel if I ever finish editing it. So when we got to a light, I said, "Hey, you're Dr. Frank." It seemed better than saying, "Hey, you're Frank Portman" for some reason.

And instead of running away in fear, he said, "Why yes I am." So we talked about how his agent had talked him into writing King Dork and how he was late finishing his second book, and how he thought the Litquake crowd was tough and NPR-ish, but they laughed, even though he had never had a job before and the topic was "crap jobs." I said I knew Joe Sixpack, who I know he used to know but I have no idea if he still does. And then he turned in at his house and I continued on home, dreaming of a Dr. Frank quote on the back of my novel.

Oh yeah, this song came on the Internet jukebox at Presidio Bowl and I liked it, even though I had a sneaking feeling it was a Jack Johnson song. Sure, enough it was. Jeez, what's next, Dave Matthews? Ben Harper?

No, I swear this will never happen.

Friday, October 5, 2007

chemistry lesson

It's all about the Red Sox this time of year. And Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (today with Johnny Cougar and Neko Case!). And Tease-o-rama. And the end of softball season. Jeez, it's busy times.

I'm bummed I can't see the Go-Go's tonight, even if I could only remember three of their hits last night. (In my defense, no one else could remember more. You try, I dare you.)

Here's a question for you. Why did it take so long for someone to come up with "I just don't feel any chemistry between us" as an excuse for not dating any longer? I mean, it's like squeezable ketchup bottles -- people needed it, so why didn't they think of it earlier?

I have now been the recipient and the offerer of this phrase, and I have to say it's brilliant. Way better than "It's not you; it's me" or "I'm moving to Alaska." Suddenly, everyone is absolved -- it's not anyone's fault, it's just a matter of the cosmos and its wacky ways. You're not to blame. It's a lack of spark. No matter that the other person probably felt more spark than you did. Too bad! It's not my fault.

I think what the person's actually saying is "I prefer guys with 401k-s" or "You have stubby fingers" or "Pottery doesn't turn me on." Or worse. But now no one has to be honest. Or at least not brutally so.