Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rejected Space Needle titles

for Voyager LP:
Here Come the Hotsteppers
"Two Nigs United 4 East Northport"
Fuck You Ray McKenzie

songs from Voyager:
"Theme from Penthouse Letters"
"Simian Wind"
"Noise Dub"
"I Love Tussin"

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The 600 Club

Tonight I became a member of an elite group: The 600 Club (or "DC+").

I'm obviously not talking about home runs, but I'm feeling kinda kindred to some special folks nonetheless...

762  Barry Bonds*
755  Hank Aaron
714  Babe Ruth
660  Willie Mays
630  Ken Griffey Jr.
609  Sammy Sosa**
600  Lee Mazzola**

(* alleged use of steroids, ** confirmed use of steroids)

I'll be checking in on my head-to-head race with A-Rod this season as well.

Anyway, I've decided to celebrate my milestone achievement by providing a list of my own highlights-- wait a sec, what exactly are we talking about here?!! Tonight I self-adminstered my 600th weekly injection of A****x in treatment of my very own chronic illness. The entries are chronological, and contain supplementary drug info keyed below:

α = sleeping pill, β = narcotic pain reliever, γ = anticonvulsant, δ = steroid

Injection #3 - Days Inn, Youngstown OH 10:30pm
α = ●●
Only my second full-dose injection and the first travel night of a national tour with B** *****. Had intense double vision while watching Law & Order; I understood that there weren't really two Carey Lowells on the screen, but I somehow convinced myself that they didn't know that on the show, and worked the "twin" characters into the storyline. Woke up with intense flu-like symptoms and horrible headache.

Injection #43 - President St, Brooklyn NY 8:15pm

α = ●●●●
This could have been any weekend in fair-weathered 1999 (actually, that summer was hotter than hell!)... I fell into a wonderful and mysterious pattern of taking hallucinogenic dosages of pills and going to movies, usually by myself. What a time for trippy films: eXistenZ, Julien Donkey-Boy (late year), The Blair Witch Project, Fight Club, The Matrix, Bringing Out the Dead, Go, Election, Eyes Wide Shut, Limbo, Deep Blue Sea, Three Kings, American Beauty,  . Anyway, I picked this particular date because I'm pretty sure it was the night I went to see Run, Lola, Run at Angelika, and then stumbled out after about 15 minutes to sneak into South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut. I know I saw Deep Blue Sea as part of some insane self-produced double feature somewhere, but I haven't the foggiest what the other movie was (maybe Lake Placid???). The old Worldwide Theater was another of my favorite haunts around this time ($3 admission and easiest place to sneak around ever).

Injection #47 - Summer Rental Cottage, 1000 Islands NY 9:15pm
α = ●●●●
I injected near the beginning of our nightly Trivial Pursuit match, featuring me, my parents, my grandmother, uncle and three cousins. My behavior became erratic around the fourth pie, when I accidentally shouted out the answer "Cheops!" during an opposing team's history question. Badly slurring, I spent the last 30 minutes of the match alternating between laying my forehead down on the table and maniacally cackling every time my grandmother gave a final answer. The next morning my cousin says, "Man, you were pretty fucked up last night."

Injection #50President St, Brooklyn NY 8:00pm
α = ●●

Milled around the old Tower Records w.4th area downtown. I was providing guest percussion with Mascott at The Fez Under Time Cafe later that evening, so I figured I'd stay in the area until "show time." Drugs seemed to be kicking in when I finally got on stage, or perhaps it was the three NA St. Pauli Girls I nursed. My assignment was alternating whole notes on a tamborine, but I treated my part like royalty. The sound at Fez was always so beautiful on stage for quiet bands, and I really got into the decay of the tamborine picking up ambient reverb from the vocal mic's (which I was not granted permission to use at this show). Likely that I sat there like a simpleton with a silly grin, but who the fuck cares?! Someone told me after the show that it was the greatest tamborine performance they'd ever seen live, and I'm still not sure if they were kidding or not.

Injection #70 - President St, Brooklyn NY 8:00pm
γ = ●●●
A bit stressed out, so I decided to just stay in for a change. Either I hit an artery or missed completely because my leg swelled up like a grapefruit, and got all purple and shit. First (and definitely not the last!) time this happened, so I decided to call the hotline number I had in my notebook. Nobody answered, so I left a message and kinda forgot about it.
I probably forgot about it because I smoked a big old joint to "take the edge off." The swelling started going down anyway, so things got better pretty quickly. My pager started dancing at around 10:30, with an official-looking callback number (I'm not sure exactly what that means). Anyway, I called the number, stoned out of my swollen gourd. It was the injection hotline!!! Duh!!! I told 'em "Everything's cool, now. Really. Everything's totally cool..." but I still had to run a gauntlet of difficult questions like "How old are you presently?" and "Describe the exact shape of the swollen area." I was absolutely sure there was a team of paramedics outside the front door ready to carry me off in a giant ice pack. I never heard from the hotline people again, but continued to smoke pot semi-regularly after injections for several years.

Injection #119 - Home, New York NY 4:00am
β = ●●●
You'd think I'd have this injection thing down pat after 2+ years, no? Rule #1: always wash your hands before spiking (no problem). Rule #2: NO ALCOHOL! Rule #3: (something about raw shellfish, not entirely clear on this one). But the no booze thing's never been an issue for me at all.
So I went out and got completely shitfaced on a Friday night after a hard week's work, which I absolut(e)ly had the right to do. I wasn't injecting until Saturday anyway, so pour it up! I got home around 3:30, barely coherent, and decided that I'd just "sneak in" a shot before I passed out. I mean, I was obviously gonna sleep in, so I'd just zzzz my way right through the nasty side effects, right? I pounded the 1.5" needle into my leg, slugged a few pills and hit the sack.
I woke up three hours later in excruciating pain, sweaty and freezing. I puked like a frat plege for about 5 straight hours, muttering self-deprecating phrases over and over like fucking Jake LaMotta. I was severly hung over for at least 40 hours, but still made it to work Monday morning. Life's a bitch. 

Injection #299 - Yankee Stadium, Bronx NY 12:00pm (injected at home)
α = ●, β = ●●●, δ = ●

For a couple of years I bought what I believe was called the "mid-week pack" or something like that from the Yankees. You got six or eight games, all at weird times during the week against weird teams, for only $5 each. I usually called it the "Slacker Pack." I decided to just buy a single seat for each game, and go whenever I could.
Perfect kind of game to shoot up for. I chose a Thursday 1:00 game against the Colorado Rockies, for which I actually had a decent seat. Who cares if Jose Contreras was pitching? I was heading up to the Cathedral with a sophisticated high.
I think I took the bus to the game, which is pretty weird in itself. I also spent quite a bit of time on the Thursday Times crossword, which might explain my confusion when I noticed Contreras was still pitching in the 7th inning, even though he seemed to be giving up home runs every time I lifted my head up. The Yanks crushed the Rockies 10-4, winning their 4th in a row. I staggered out of the Stadium at around 4:30 with a huge bucket of popcorn and a nasty case of double vision. I wisely took the D train home to the safety of my own living room.
Interesting to note that only two players on the Yankee scorecard that day still play for the team: Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez (Posada was rested for John Flaherty, who bashed a grand slam in the 6th).

Injection #319Home, Manhattan NY 8:15pm

α = ●●, β = ●●●, δ = ●●
I was just finishing up a particularly rough cycle of I.V. Steroids over these two weeks, and this night was my last oral taper. It also happened to be game 7 of the 2004 ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.
As I said, I was dealing with some major health issues at this point. I had a catheter/port put in my left arm so I could perform the steroid infusion in the privacy of my own home. I actually went to game 2 of the ALCS (the "Who's Your Daddy?!!" game) with the catheter sticking out of my arm, wrapped in a sock and under two jacket layers. I was white as a sheet.
Nowhere near as sickly looking as I'd be a week later, as the Yankees proceeded to piss away a 3-0 lead to the dreaded "1918" Sox. The game 7 loss was such a foregone conclusion that my only response was to medicate and wait. I complemented my injection with what I used to call the Full Count: 3 painkillers and 2 sleeping pills. My buddy and I tried this just for kicks at another Yankee game one time and nearly got lost in another dimension, or at least another section of the tier reserve.
So I watched the game at home lying in a puddle on my green couch, with my wife sitting to my right across the room. I remember her taking advantage of my extremely vulnerable state by making some suggestions for new habits I might begin practicing over the next few months, like watching less TV, talking about things other than sports, not taking so many pills, eating better, etc. I also remember slurring back to her, "But what about watching the Knicks..." to which she never responded. It was the end of a devastating week, and the beginning of an entirely new existence for baseball fans.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Women's Curling

Imagine my excitement when I turned on USA this afternoon to find Russia vs. USA in women's curling. So many unanswered questions caroming around in my head: Is the curling sheet the same length as in men's competition? Is the stone lighter? Is it still called a stone, or maybe an egg? Are women better at curling because they're better at cleaning floors than men?

Let's get something out of the way first-- the Russian women's curling team are total sexpots. Anna Sidorova (pictured) could probably do for curling what Anna Kournikova has done for tennis, which is to inspire thousands of drunk American men to watch the sport while killing time at Chili's (that's where I was when first saw Kournikova compete).

Sidorova is unbelievable. Her delivery approach is part swan, part Russian battleship-- brutal elegance. Her teammates are no slouches either. The Privivkova-Sidorova-Fomina-Galkina quartet stacks up nicely with the all-time Olympic foxy foursomes, none of which are immediately coming to mind, but take my word for it. These girls could melt the ice off a Gulag snowshovel.

Wow, I think the match is tied after regulation. Extra ends? Break Point? Sweep-off? I won't tell you what I'm hoping for.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Men's Curling

Curling tends to be the butt of most anti-Winter Olympiad jokes, usually at the hands of Americans that just don't understand the sport.  Since 99.998% of the American viewing public doesn't understand curling, you hear a lot of jokes about curling every four years or so.  I don't think I'll be the guy that does much to reverse this trend.

I won't bother trying to explain the sport, except that it's exactly like Friday nights when I lived with my ex-wife: me coming home drunk and sliding down the hallway towards the bathroom, usually dropping and rolling a 40 oz beer down the hall while she frantically scrubbed the floor clean.

Although the sport is of Scottish origin (early matches featured huge chunks of frozen haggis instead of today's granite "stones"), Canada has established herself as the modern-day curling capital of the world.  Our gracious hosts are favored to bring home the curling gold in Vancouver this year, and they won't have far to travel with their medals since they're already at home.

Of course, the Americans will be lurking in the shadows, brooms in hand.  Since the floodgates opened near the end of the 20th century and curling was no longer restricted to amateurs, the US has made its presence known.  I took a look at today's match against the Germans.

The US curlers have a young, fresh, almost hip look (i.e. one of them has a goatee), while the Germans are pretty plain.  As the Mz said, "They look like janitors."  Cool or not, the Teutons dominated with lots of help from Andy "I Don't Need No Fucking Scrubbers" Lang, who seemed to just power the stone right down the middle every time.

The rules really are simple in curling, but it's damned hard to tell whether a team's delivery was good or bad.  I'll say things like, "Jeez, that was a terrible job by the Germans," only to watch them celebrating three seconds later.  It's also possible that I just don't understand the game at all.

Lots of funny things go on during a match.  After the curler delivers the stone (that sounds kinda disgusting, right?), he generally screams orders at the other guys with the brooms.  And I mean SCREAMS!!! (this part especially reminds me of my ex-wife)  The sport also features time outs, which seems sort of weird-- do they really need a break that badly?  They wear awesome shoes, too.

At least curling at Vancouver should be immune to the top plagues of this year's games: warm weather and accidental deaths.  Then again, those granite stones are pretty fucking heavy...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Women's Ice Hockey

Awesome! My first legitimate "free time" to cover an event this time around. Women/s Ice Hockey? No problem! I'll take Men;s Ice Sculpting at this point.

Looks like Canada vs. Switzerland, which sounds like a classic match-up, right? Team Canada's coming off an 18-0 trouncing of Slovakia, so you might say they're on a roll. Goals are worth one point, right?

I dunno about this... I thought they were just warming up and skating around and they're actually 0:52 into the first period. I wonder if an announcer ever made a period joke during one of these games, like "Yuck, messy period for the girls out there," or "I thought the women showed a lot of poise and grace considering it's only their first period."

Anyway, they're not very good. A slow-motion replay of a slapshot was just shown, and I swear her stick (blade?) hit the ice at least 6 inches in front of the puck. You know, like when you're little kids playing out in the street and Kevin skronks a wide open shot under a parked car? Just like that. I hate to imagine what a Slovakian slapshot must look like.

I thought I'd do a little research about Olympic Women's Ice Hockey... I clicked OLYMPIC SPORTS>>ICE HOCKEY and got a diagram that looks exactly like the old bubble hockey arcade games. Remember that shit?!! The booing button?!!

Awesome! Cammi Granato's in the booth for MSNBC's coverage. i guess she's the Cheryl Miller of ice hockey. Wow, that works even better than I realized.
EEK! They just did a little side piece on the US team, and I don't think they'll be winning any medals for good looks... well, this Ruggerio character managed to avoid the ugly stick. I imagine she'll handle most of our face-offs.

It says in the US vs China boxscore that "Q Xueting" served penalties for hooking at 4:12 and 19:32 in the first period. You think they kept her overnight or just gave her a summons? At least she used an alias.

I don't think I can actually watch this. My son just fell asleep on the couch a good two hours before his bedtime. Au revoir.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vancouver Winter Olympic Games 2010 (opening ceremonies)

I fully intend to cover this year's Vancouver Winter Olympiad as completely as I did the Chinese Summer Games two years ago, but this may not be possible. I don't think I'll be able to stay awake.

I was busy reporting on last night's opening ceremonies (even though I tuned in almost three hours late) when I was overwhelmed by several feelings at once: exhaustion, shame and intoxication. I've been averaging three hours of sleep (tops!) for over a week now, and my body's reacting in several ways at once: loss of appetite, bizarre emotional swings, and general dimwittedness. See what I mean? I can't even write anymore!

Anyway, I was all fired up to rip this year's Olympiad a new arse-hole. I already had some pretty funny stuff down after only 15 minutes of tube time (including a funny riff involving k.d. lang and an igloo) when I was overwhelmed by several different started to feel like a real asshole. Usually that's my sign that I'm writing some really good stuff, but this was different.

These opening ceremonies were doomed from the start. In addtion to an athlete dying during a training run on the luge course, balmy weather conditions, and having to follow the unbelievable Chinese OC last time, the Canadians just didn't seem to "want it." Let's face it-- the ceremonies have become an event in themselves.

So why'd I feel so bad about ripping the 'nucks for doing a lousy job? Mainly because they did the right thing.  There's no way they could have even come close to rivaling Beijing '08's extravaganza, so why bother? This year's committee (team? groupe?) did things in true Canadian fashion: modest, understated, and sorta hard to understand. I applaud them for this.

Not that they didn't attempt a couple of tough routines. When I turned the TV on, there was something going on that looked like a giant-scale outtake from Inland Empire. Images projected on enormous rippling tarps in an utterly confusing manner. I honestly couldn't tell if something was broken or I was just seeing things or both.

Minutes later a guy looking like Fat Joe as a college professor was orating to the thousands about who-the-hell-knows-what. Yeah, I had the volume muted and our CC wasn't picking up anything, but I had no idea what he was talking about! k.d. came on and delivered a laborious version of... I don't know what it was, OK?! And where the hell was Rush during all this crap?! I'd think they'd have Geddy Lee on speed dial #1 any time a Canadian cultural event of any kind is in production.

The guy that made the final address (like, "let the games begin") seemed to be apologizing more than anything else, and there were still more mishaps to come. I don't know what the composite "torch" structure was actually supposed to look like, due to the fact that a large component of the piece never actually erected itself. I came up with (a) a half-assed bonfire, (b) a huge replica of half-eaten french fries, (c) the cover of Los Angeles by X, or (d) a conglomeration of marijuana joints.

Even weirder seeing Wayne Gretzky carrying the last leg of the torch's journey in a pickup truck like he was running from the cops. The kids running next to him on the side of the street were a nice touch.

All in all, they rolled with the punches pretty well. Merci, Canada, for bringing the Olympics back to the people. At least Anne Murray didn't have a wardrobe malfunction.

Holy Jesus... I thought I was tuning in to today's Games at 2pm Eastern and instead got an insane "We Are the World: Haiti" performance/advertisement. Absolutely terrifying. Check it out if you can.