Reversing the Numbness

Friday, June 22, 2007

Russia Who?

There's nothing like new love to help a person get over a broken heart. In my case, my new mistress is The Netherlands, and I'm going to her on Wednesday. Goodbye Russia, hello Assen MotoGP!

Friday Music

It's Friday. I need music.

And, please, nothing with an Eastern European flair to it. Russia just broke up with me, and it's just too soon.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

To Russia with Love

In a week I'll be packing my bags for Russia for my Tuesday departure. I'm extremely excited about it. I haven't been out of the USA in a couple of years, I think, and I'm more than ready.

Some random musings about my trip:

The reason I'm going to Russia is to check out the Red Bull X-Fighters freestyle motocross show. The best FMXers in the world will be there, including Travis Pastrana and my buddy Ronnie Renner, jumping in front of the Vasilyevsky Spusk. If all goes according to plan, I'm going to blog from there throughout my trip, though it'll be on our official Racer X travel blog.

One thing I've been struggling with is what to read while abroad. I'm in the middle of a couple of books right now, but none of them are slaying me. I've been meaning to read Oliver Twist for years now, but since I'm going to Russia, I'm starting to lean toward Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. I read the first few pages in a bookstore last month and was captured immediately, and it seems like an appropriate read given the circumstances. I really won't have much time to read anyway, but I always have to have a book while traveling.

I have a direct flight from Atlanta to Moscow that lasts 11 hours. When I land it'll be 10:30 AM, and it's imperative that I sleep on the flight, which I always have trouble doing. I plan on seeing my doctor tomorrow to see what he can give me to help facilitate this.

I'm learning basic Russian phrases as well as I can, but it's a tough language if you have no experience. This site helps a lot. I'd like to at least be able to be polite in Russian.

I will drink vodka while there.

I just saw a piece on CNN that lists Moscow as the most expensive city in the world. New York City is #15, I believe, and L.A. is in the 40s. But Moscow is #1.

Still, I'll drink vodka while there.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

More Classic Calvin

If you miss him as much as I do, read more here.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday Music

It's Friday. I need music.

In fact, to commemorate this, the 150th post on RtN, I'd like to bring the rock. I got in this mood yesterday when I was blessed with Quiet Riot's "Cum on Feel the Noize" on the Hair Metal Nation station of Sirius. So, as Dee Snider would say, "I wanna rock."

Starting with Nirvana. Anything else?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

from PrehistoriC to imMACulate

The day has finally come. Today, on the same day that I saw Vista for the first time, I turned in my PC and moved over to the light. I'm now a Mac user.

I'm only a day in, and it's astounding how much better this computer is. I'm already a Mac snob. PCs? P'shaw.

Our art department is rejoicing.

What I've Learned

Here is one of my true pleasures and monthly rituals. As soon as my new Esquire issue is delivered, I turn to the one feature that never disappoints: What I've Learned. It gives a very cool person every month a page to write whatever and a cool photo of them on the other page. Here is what Elvis has to say in honor of my boy, Sleek. There are tons of other cool folks. I have incorporated some of there life knowledge into my life. Hope you enjoy.

What I've Learned
What I've Learned: Elvis Costello

Songwriter, 48, Dublin

By Tom Junod

10/31/2003, 9:00 PM
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What have I learned? Well, you can answer that on so many levels, can't you? You can answer it on a philosophical level, or you can say, "I know this restaurant," or "Always get the foam pillow."

I was in a room with Chuck Berry once. I said to myself, I don't want to meet you. I just want to look at you. He was scary.

We're all just animals. That's all we are, and everything else is just an elaborate justification of our instincts. That's where music comes from. And romantic poetry. And bad novels. Sometimes when I finish a bad novel, I say, "You wrote seven hundred pages just to say that? Couldn't you have just said, 'I want to fuck'?"

Fruit helps in the middle of the day.

Happiness isn't a fortune in a cookie. It's deeper, wider, funnier, and more transporting than that.

I'm not very good at joyful.

You need to meet Sting. He's a totally charming guy. He's always been a nice guy, very good-looking, he's got a good voice -- it's not a voice I like particularly, but he's written one or two really beautiful songs, and he's been extraordinarily fortunate in many ways. He's some people's idea of sophisticated. He plays the corporate events; maybe nobody invites him to any better parties. But there's always somebody in music who's equivalent to that role, and I think he's easy to hold up as kind of an Aunt Sally. I don't think he's an insincere musician. He just doesn't seem to value the same things about music that I do.

Songs are more powerful than books.

Elvis probably had a little more curiosity than the next kid, and that's why he was him.

In John Lennon's songs, people tend to isolate the lines that sound like epitaphs or greeting cards. It's very odd to drive by the Liverpool airport and see the logo with his drawing and the words "Above us only sky." The sky is full of planes! But everybody becomes a mass-pattern tablecloth in the end.

I've seen a lot of exotic places in my work and all my traveling. But the place I still want to see is the place in somebody's eyes. You know: Travel less, see more.

I don't like that idea, eye surgery. I won't be getting that. It's like penile enlargement or something.

Living a very long time would be a very scary thing.

Eventually we'll need jet packs to get around and space helmets with Ventolin in them to allow us to breathe. Do you know what Ventolin is? It's what asthmatics take. A lot of kids have asthma now. We've done a good job at mucking things up.

Read the magazines at the margins of the music industry. That's where most of the interesting music is.

They used to just get on with things, didn't they? They had the blues then. They understood the idea of the blues.

I used to wear these blue lenses all the time. You really do get depressed if you wear blue lenses. When people say, "You're looking at the world through rose-colored glasses," well, I have no idea what rose ones do, but I know what blue ones do. They make you sad.

I didn't even own a Bob Dylan record until 1971. To me, he was a great singles artist. You heard him on the radio. What a shocking thing to live in a world where there was Manfred Mann and the Supremes and Engelbert Humperdinck and here comes "Like a Rolling Stone." That was a great world, a very exciting time.

The assumption that something is not for you is an assumption that can be undone in time.

It's very important to allow yourself the ability to have a second thought. Because if you put everything into breaking down the door, what are you going to say when you get in there?

Singing with Emmylou Harris: If there is heaven, that's what it's like.

People don't know that music can affect your sense of smell, but it can.

All songs are motivated by revenge or guilt? Did I say that? I must have been full of Pernod.

There are about five things to write songs about: I'm leaving you. You're leaving me. I want you. You don't want me. I believe in something. Five subjects, and twelve notes. For all that, we musicians do pretty well.

Elvis Costello has just released North, his twenty-fourth record.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I ♥ Cat Power

Oops, that wasn't even the song I wanted to post. I like this one much better:

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Friday Music

It's Friday. I need music.

You name it, I'll play it. But this week, if I may be so bold, I hope some of you will join in with me on the first two songs I'm going to listen to. I'd love to know what you think of them.

First is a mellow song by a band I'm just getting into, the Avett Brothers.

powered by ODEO

Next is a number by Rufus Wainwright, who's sort of hit or miss for me. This song's a big hit, though. Also super mellow, simple piano, yet somehow epic. This is a live recording from KEXP.

powered by ODEO

What's next?

Batman and the Yellow Sports Wagon

It was the summer of 1989, just before my senior year in high school, and I was 17 years old. The greatest week of my year, camp week, was but a few days away. I was on top of the world. Then I woke up with a sore throat. A very sore throat.

At first I held on to hope that it would clear up, but it didn't take long for me to realize that this wasn't just an ordinary sore throat. Within a day I was admitted to the hospital with a hard-core case of mono.

Not only was I devastated to have to miss out on my yearly camp experience, but I felt absolutely miserable. My throat got so bad that the only thing I could eat for two days was whipped cream. I was so worn down that I could barely walk to the bathroom. I'd end up spending three or four nights in the hospital, watching the summer days pass outside my window and thinking about all the awesome things I was missing. I sank into a pretty deep depression.

During this time, there were only two things that made me feel better. The first was my nightly dose of Demerol and the second was knowing that Batman, starring Michael Keaton, was due to be released soon.

For some reason, I was just crazy about this movie. I wasn't even into comic books, but when I heard this film was coming out, I got all amped up. Somebody brought me a copy of Premiere, which had Batman on the cover, to read in the hospital, and I kept telling myself that I'd know I was on the road to recovery when I was finally well enough to catch this flick.

Anyone who's had a bad case of mono knows that recovery comes slowly, and after I got out of the hospital I was laid up for a good week or so before I could do much of anything. Eventually I started to come around, though, and as soon as I was remotely well enough, I called my buddy Raoul Duke (pictured). Time to go catch Batman!

We usually went to see movies in Fairmont, which was 20 minutes up the freeway, just because they had chairs that reclined back and it was always cool to leave town by ourselves at that age. Good ol' Raoul swung by my house and picked me up in his good ol' Yellow Sports Wagon. My recovery was under way -- everything was going to be okay.

Before he picked me up, I specifically remember looking at the thermometer, and it was a scorching 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). As we embarked on our journey to my well-being, I remembered that the Yellow Sports Wagon wasn't equipped with air-conditioning. Oh, well. The fresh West Virginia air would probably do me good, even if it was packed with 98 percent humidity.

As I reached down to twist the window's handle, Raoul said the following:

"Uh, what are you doing?"

I sort of looked around to see if there was someone else in the car he could be talking to, but when I realized that he was indeed talking to me, I answered:

"Uh, putting my window down."

"Oh. Yeah. Well, see, I'd really rather you didn't do that."

"Dude, shut the eff up!" I reached down again toward the window. He slowed the car down and said:

"I'm serious. I don't want the window down."

"What? It's 104 degrees! I'm freaking dying here! Why don't you want the window down?"

What Raoul didn't know was that I had a tape recorder going at the time, secretly recording our conversation. After nearly 20 years of keeping the existence of this tape a secret, I'm bringing it out right here on RtN. And I'm going to uncover it by playing Raoul's actual answer as to why I couldn't put the window down in this extreme situation. This audio recording hasn't been manipulated in any way and is 100 percent authentic.

Click here to hear Raoul's response.

It was his car, so I relented. My throat started to swell. After a few miles, I started to hyperventilate, and soon I was hallucinating as we raced zebras up the interstate. Eventually we made it to Fairmont and to the theater. As the door of the Yellow Sports Wagon opened up, I looked like an Army recruit fleeing from the tear-gas house at boot camp. I was lying in the parking lot, gasping for air, my throat well on the way to swelling shut again.

Raoul said Batman was great, at least as far as he could tell, since he spent the whole movie making out with some Fairmont chick in the back row. I wouldn't know, because I spent those same hours recovering on a cot in the theater's office. But I wasn't mad. Raoul's perfect hair got him the girl, and as a best bud, if you can't make a sacrifice for the greater cause, what kind of friend are you?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Who Would Play You?

We have a feature in the magazine I work for called "2 Tribes," where we find two people who are somehow related -- same name, similar job, same birthday, etc. -- and we ask them an identical set of questions. I'm always interested to see how people answer the "Who would play you in a movie?" question. So I'm going to pose this same question here.

Who would play you in a movie?

I'll start: Zach Braff, because he'd nail the silly-dance scenes.


On a side note, I'd like to direct everyone on over to Melissavina's blog for a little dose of "What to Watch on Wednesday." Trust me, this is not to be missed, even if you don't get to it until Thursday.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Sarah Smiles (If You Visit Her on IMDB)

Meet my friend Sarah Lieving. Raoul Duke, Spooge, G2theLow and I graduated with her big sister, but she and I have become friends recently because she's into motorcycle racing, and we have some mutual friends. (And she owes me, like, 12 beers.) Sarah's making movies out in SoCal, which is her dream I think, but she's looking to take her career up a notch.

Now, I'm pretty sure I don't have any high-level Hollywood agents visiting RtN, so I doubt this post will do much to affect her career in any significant way. But what my blog buddies could do for Miss Lieving is check out her profile page. I'm not exactly sure how it works, but they've got some sort of rating system, and the more times her page gets accessed, the higher she moves up in the rankings. This is clearly a good thing. So, please!, check her out. (Also at her personal website.)

As for her movies, I'm afraid I've yet to see one. I know The Beast of Bray Road was on the Sci-Fi channel a while back but I missed it, so I'm still awaiting my chance to check out her work. I love horror flicks, though, and that seems to make up most of Sarah's repertoire, so I'm looking forward to it.

I think you owe me 13 beers now, Sarah.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Yes? Hell no!

A while back I made a post about my distaste for poser "rockers" KISS. I typically try to stay as positive as possible, but this evening I've decided to talk about another band from that era that I simply can't stand: Yes.

Yes, I hate Yes.

Yes, they can play their instruments. Yes, their music was complicated stuff. But did it actually sound good? To me, hell no.

In fact, the best thing I can say about Yes is that they had really cool album covers. Beyond that, I think they suck toads.

So I've decided to make a list of some songs that I would honest-to-god rather listen to than any Yes song.

  1. Air Supply's "All Out of Love"
  2. Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart," written by Air Supply
  3. Juice Newton's "Angel of the Morning"
  4. Melissa Manchester's "Don't Cry Out Loud" (this one took some soul searching, but I'm pretty sure it goes on this list) Robbie Dupree's "Hot Rod Hearts"
  5. Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy"
  6. Milli Vanilli's "Girl, I'm Gonna Miss You"
  7. Ugly Kid Joe's remake of "Cat's in the Cradle"
  8. George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone" (also took soul searching)
  9. Extreme's "Hole Hearted" Meatloaf's "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad"
  10. Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire"

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Happy Saturday night!

Thought I might share the nuggets of wisdom from under the bottlecaps as I libate (is that a word?) tonight. Enjoy!

1. "Humor is a Tumor when it becomes a Rumor."

Friday, June 1, 2007