Punk Rock and Skinny Jeans

  • Things with the band are going well...we suck less and less with every practice, I'm back on a churning-out-new-tunes kick, and we've got a show coming up in April that we're looking forward to.  
  • That noted, it's kind of lame to think that Portland's punk scene itself is not what it used to be; I assumed that punk was the subculture zombie that would never die, but it appears to be a little battered in the P-Town area (this information was brought to me by my homie C, who actually knows what's happening in the music scene, unlike me.)  
  • That said, I don't really care.  The whole point of The Nervous was three spectacularly smooth operators who were spectacularly out of give-a-shits about "succeeding" in any way beyond getting to play some shows and recording something, eventually.
  • It turns out my whole life, I was wearing the wrong kind of pants.  Now that I know I look good in skinny pants, I buy them.  Today was, it turns out, Urban Outfitter's last day of the big early-spring pants sale, and I scored some appropriate legwear for both the classroom and the urban rock n' roll venue.


Complaining About Anthony Bourdain

B got me the last season of No Reservations on DVD for my birthday.  Last night, as a post-dinner-with-friends winding-down, we watched the Ozarks episode, which consists largely of Tony tooling around in the backwoods of Missouri with different gaggles of rednecks, killing (or at least trying to kill) animals.  As usual, his own humor and gravitas are such that the hillbillies he's hanging out with, whether in the duck blind or the tavern with the arm-wrestling tournament, seem to warm up to him pretty quickly, and he goes to great pains to relate to them, to join them, and not to stick his nose in the air just because he happens to be visiting a fly-over state.

The episode is highly reminiscent of one he did several seasons ago where he zipped across the southwest, ending up at Ted Dickhead Nugent's survivalist mansion/compound, where Tony cheerfully joined Uncle Ted in shooting machine guns and listening to foaming-at-the-mouth libertarianism given free reign.

I like Tony Bourdain, I like his show a lot, but I hate these episodes.  It strikes me that he suffers from a bizarre kind of liberal guilt in which he feels guilty for BEING liberal; it's not so much that he questions his own politics, but instead that he feels ethically obligated to demonstrate with great force that his open-mindedness extends to people on the other side of the aisle.  He also makes a big show of his dislike for mealy-mouthed political correctness; his whole San Francisco episode consisted of him trying to find something he hated, gloomily concluding that San Francisco is really cool and fun, much to his own irritation.

I have two problems with this:
  1. The other side doesn't launch liberal-outreach programs.  Ann Coulter does not visit Berkeley or Austin or Portland and ask around to try to understand us better; she instead compares us to satanic Stalinists and hopes that we get what we got comin'.  I do not think Bourdain does "his" side any service by putting on a one-man dog and pony show to conspicuously reach out to them.
  2. Liberalism has always needed more balls.  Obama in his second term, whatever else can be said about him, is at least coming out swinging.  He wasted so much time and political capital in his first term being a good liberal conciliator, and it's nice to see that he's finally acknowledged that Republicans are not reasonable people capable of compromise.  For his part, Bourdain has plenty of balls, and I hate to see him wasting his ballsiness trying to hate on liberal stereotypes (another tired vegetarian joke, anyone?) rather than sticking it to the idiots who, like Nugent, think every man is an island, and that island should be surrounded by guard towers and stocked with wild game to kill.


Razor Wire

I was having a good, solid man-to-man existential hashing-of-it-out with my homie T a couple of months ago (it goes without saying this was over beers), discussing elements of his life he finds dissatisfying, and when we switched over to me, I rapidly concluded that what I want out of life is to have the things I already have, just protected by an elite cadre of highly-trained security personnel, razor wire, and some kind of robot that can anticipate and neutralize threats before they happen.  Every time we plant a new thing in the back yard (dogwood tree!), every time Plan C gets a little older and funnier (changing up lyrics!), every time nothing disastrous happens at work (no dickhead students this term!  Solid enrollments for next term!), my natural inclination to cringe as I wait for the proverbial other shoe to drop kicks in, big time.

[Note: that paragraph consists of two sentences, but they are not run-ons.]

Thus, my intention lately is to just assume that the things I have, against all odds, will still be here in the foreseeable future.  I am still working on the threat-neutralization robot (I call it "playing video games"), but I'm trying to stay calmer in the meantime.

Unrelated: yesterday I dug up the clothes line anchor in our back yard.  I do not use the term "anchor" lightly.  This bastard is the same size and shape as an actual ship's anchor: about 8 feet of steel piping embedded in a two-foot cylinder of solid concrete, which was buried three feet down.  It weighs about 200 pounds (guesstimate.)  It took me over an hour of cursing and digging to get at it, then a lot of leverage was involved in getting it out of the ground.  We're not sure how we're actually going to get rid of it, but we'll figure something out...


Chicken Cookies

I am on record as hating lessons, e.g., you go over to smell a pretty flower whilst hearing a pleasant buzzing noise, then hornets sting you in the neck and you die.  While dead, you think "ok, ok....I get it.  Don't mess with buzzing noises near flowers."  The lesson is overkill; you already got it.

CASE.  IN.  POINT:  We roasted some chickens for B's family, gathered and visiting, and the disposable pan had a leak.  Chicken fat ensued all over the bottom of our oven.  We had had some whiskey, so it didn't occur to us that cookies in this oven might be a bad idea right now.  I tried to put in the cookie pan, a plume of deadly smoke ensued, and I retreated.  In the meantime, however, two cookies had fallen off and proceeded to kind of leak through to the bottom of the oven.  Please reference the above picture to see the results: pure chicken-fat cooked cookies.

We did not eat them.

The next day involved a whole lot of me scrubbing before I ran the oven self-clean cycle, which immolated the remaining nastiness and replaced it with a fine layer of ash.