Thursday, October 28, 2004

Photos added

Haha ... figured out how to add photos to my posts. So I've added a photo to the Cake post, and photos to the Coral Snake post as well.

October book club

Monthly progressive bookclub meeting tonight. We meet at the downtown, 3rd Ave Dunn Bros location, and for some reason I can never find the place coming from the southwest, I always end up overshooting it and having to come around and approach from the east. Very strange. There was a slight mist in the air tonight - just enough to obscure the upper reaches of the downtown skyscrapers, making them like Jack's beanstalk, stretching upwards and disappearing into the clouds. Made for a scenic bike ride to and from. I love urban biking at night. Not sure why - maybe in part because it's tough for a car to sneak up on you with it's headlights on.

Bookclub discussion tonight was very good. There was one guy who described himself as a moderate conservative. He seemed to be enjoying the discussion, and I could tell from his occasional nodding of his head that he agreed with at least some of our points. I actually wish there were more people like him in the club, so we could have a little more debate as opposed to preaching to the choir.

Book for this month was Wellstone's "Conscience of a Liberal". I'm a little embarrassed to admit just how little I really knew about Wellstone. The book starts out with him describing his time spent teaching at Carlton College, almost getting fired due to his activism, and how the students argued on his behalf and pressured the administration to grant him tenure. Pretty powerful stuff. That leads into his description of this first campaign for Senator, and then into discussions of the machinations and process within the Senate. I'm not a process wonk, but it was fascinating to learn a little about just how complicated the law-making process is in the Senate. Especially fascinating was his description of how committees act out of the public eye to modify bills before the final voting before the senate body occurs. Also the difference between a "voice-vote" where the individual senator's votes are not recorded, versus a vote where each senator's vote becomes a matter of record.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Coral Snake and a Tutu

I'm sitting here in my new tutu ... part of my halloween costume which I fashioned from some blue mesh and elastic procured from a fabric store somewhere in the Snelling/University Ave area. I biked out that way Sunday afternoon in hopes of picking up some colored duct tape from AxMan to decorate my kickbike as a coral snake. I completed that project in a few hours last night, and it looks even better than I had envisioned it! (Wish I could get photos up on this blog!) The kickbike's chrome has been covered with splendid red, yellow and black bands, along with a head I carved from a foam block, complete with glass snake eyes and a forked tongue (actually, I still need to add the tongue, but it'll be complete in time for the Halloween Critical Mass ride on Friday.) Speaking of which, Reann's boyfriend Jon plans to do the ride as well - yea Jon! I sent out a mass email (pun intended) last week to everyone I thought might be interested in the ride, and so far Jon is the only person to respond. I had fun doing the ride solo last month, but it'll be more fun with someone to share the experience - especially since it's the super duper halloween ride.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Cake report

Cake Show, First Ave, Oct 23, 2004 

I've been looking forward to last night for several weeks. I've been a Cake fan ever since Fashion Nugget came out sometime during my undergrad. My good high school friend Brad, and his wife Sharon, are coming into town from central WI to see the show at First Ave. Unfortunately, they'll only be in town for less than a day, as their cat Sasha was recently diagnosed with diabetes, and can't go for more than a day without an insulin shot. I offered that they could bring Sasha to Mpls, but apparently she has associated car rides with rides to the vet, and bringer her would have been a bigger hassle. To bad.

Anyway, I couldn't convince them to take the bus downtown, and I suppose in the end that was fine, since we parked in the lot right behind First Ave ($9 to park, but hey, I wasn't paying, and this allowed us to leave our coats in the car.) So Brad, OK, for once in your life you were right - driving in this case was a good call. You can't say I don't admit it when I'm wrong.

Got to the show 'round 7, and were hoping we might have missed the first act. No such luck. Northern State is some sort of trio of hip-hip wanna-bees. Something like Spice Girls, except if I had to give them names I would call two of them "Slightly Overweight Spice" and the other one "Trashy Spice". They really had no flow, and the only thing interesting about their set was the guy running the snyth in the background - he also did some beatbox stuff on the last track which was at least a change of pace.

After a stage set change which seemed to take forever, Cake took the stage with a pretty intense version of "Comfort Eagle". I was mesmerized with the antics Vincent diFiore on trumpet/keyboard/tambourine. One minute he'd be on the keyboard, crouched over with his ear just inches from the ivory, the next he'd be wailing - and I mean WAILING on the trumpet, then two seconds later he'd be going nuts with the tamborine while belting out the backing vocals. Impressive! Brad said the lead guitar player was no slouch either - I've never played guitar, so I'll take his word for it. Lead singer John McCrea seemed in top form, and was sporting what looked to be a garage sale acoustic guitar with a little tiny amp for all that dry strumming. Anyway, they worked their way through most of the songs I wanted to hear (with the exception of "Meanwhile ... Rick James" and closed with an encore of "The Distance" which pretty much brought down the house.

Oh yea, the one thing that pissed me off was when they did this "call and response" thing, asking the crowd to repeat a chorus (Like "No phone ..." or "Shut the fuck up ..." and then pitting the main floor against the balcony. I don't give two shits about whether the crowd can yell the chorus - I just want to bath in your beautiful music, OK? I mean they probably could have played two more songs in the time they wasted.

Another side commment: It seems some people are totally without a sense of irony. I mean, McCrea has the crowd repeating the chorus to "No Phone" over and over and over, meanwhile you've got jackasses in the crowd holding their cell phones up, apparently broadcasting the concert to someone on the other end. Now, if a friend called me from a concert, my reaction would either be "what the fuck are you calling me for, I don't give a shit" or "I couldn't get tickets to that show, and what, now you're just trying to tease me?!" Either way, people need to get some manners. And a clue.

Oh yes, Brad thought the show was both "super" and "excellent". His words.