Monday, March 27, 2006

To board or not to board

I have a dilemma.

I've been invited to go with a group to Mammoth next month. Get a hotel for a couple nights, hang out and drink & such, and, of course, do some snowboarding. Seems fun, right? First, let's take a closer look at what "snowboarding" will actually mean to me, aside from some beginner lessons and a lot of falling down.

I am not athletic. At ALL. I never have been. As a kid I used to ride my bike around, play a little tennis and, being a Hoosier, play a little basketball. I also ran track for, like, a week. That said, I can hit about 50% of the shots I take, but I never really could run & dribble at the same time. "Tennis" was actually me and my friend Stephanie running all over the damn court hitting whatever we could no matter how many times it bounced or how out of bounds it was. I never learned to serve overhand. Track was a joke - you can only get last place (by a lot) so many times before you get tired of your team mates calling you "Minute Maid," and quit. And when I try to ride a bike these days, my knees hurt inside of 5 minutes.

I don't run, I don't jump, and I don't play in any kind of athletic way. The only exercise I get is the hateful, forced variety that I impose upon myself because I'm trying desperately to reduce the mass of my ass. I consider this to be torture, despite having tried all varieties, both at home and the gym.

The last time I went on a hike, I got so dizzy I almost passed out and scraped the shit out of my shin and by the way, I still have a really ugly scar from it and it was almost a month ago.

I've tried downhill skiing. It took me 2 1/2 hours to get down a green slope and I wanted to cry and shove one of those god-awful robot boots right up my so-called "friends" asses one by one for convincing me it would be fun.

I've tried cross-country skiing--what a miserable fucking day that was. I never got the hang of it, so mostly I was moving forward inches at a time, sweating my ass off in the cold (go figure that one), slowing down the group and basically feeling like a loser all day. Thank god I at least had mAc on that trip to entertain me, although the poor guy got an earful and a half after I fell through a particularly nasty patch of icy snow.

I've tried snorkeling and "snuba" diving (a cross between snorkeling and scuba, but I'm sure you figured that out on your own). That was actually really nice and the snuba instructor told both mAc and me that we were fairly natural at it. Mind you, that was in Maui, so I doubt it's an experience I could replicate in the cold, polluted waters of southern California's Pacific, even if I wanted to.

I feel like I've tried a lot, you know? Hell, I even joined my company's softball team in 2003 knowing all of this about myself, and I practiced throwing and catching and hitting and I even got a little better.... but I hated every game. No one wants to be the loser that drags the team down. So that was that.

So what the heck was I thinking when I said I'd be interested to try snowboarding? It's cold and slippery and everyone who learns falls down all the time when they first start: ALL THINGS I HATE. Plus, I'll suck at it. I don't think I'm being negative when I say that; I have sufficient data. I WILL SUCK AND I WILL BE MISERABLE.

But as much as I hate subjecting myself to the physical pain and social humiliation of trying new activities, I hate being the negative whiner even more. It's stupid pride, but I constantly feel compelled to at least try. Maybe just so I can say that I tried? I don't know.

There's also the issue of the gear. I never have the right gear. I used an old, heavy, wooden hand-me-down tennis racket when everyone else had light-weight metal ones. My downhill skiing ensemble was a yellow, red, and black hodge-podge of ugly, borrowed crap. At least when I tried to ski cross-country, I was able to borrow something sassy from my stylish snowboarding friend who's my size.

What do I do now? Do I waste money on gear for an adventure that I'm 99% certain I am going to hate, and then be stuck with it? Or do I try to borrow something so I can suffer the humiliation of wearing/using someone else's crap for the bazillionth time in my life?

I wish I could be one of those people who's confident enough to just say, "I don't do athletic activities, thanks." And move on. But I can't. I can't say it without imagining the listener thinking, "Well, maybe if you did, you wouldn't be so flabby and out of shape, Fatass." You can't tell me no one is thinking that. You've thought it at least once, I bet.

At this point, the invitation is on the table: to board or not to board. That is the question. We need to commit, like, today in order to reserve the room.

Do I succumb to my fear and past trauma and take a pass? Or do I push past one more time, try one more new thing, and get my ass kicked again? That, my friends, is the REAL question.

No, really. I want your opinion.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Dicky Speaks

Click the link in the title for an update on what happened to Dicky on Indie 103.1. And I know my mom reads my blog and, by extension, other family members, but I can't possibly hold back when I say,

THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT.

Read the whole statement, but essentially, Dicky Barrett was fired from Indie the day he discussed abortion and made extensive pro-choice comments on the air.

Do I even NEED to add commentary?

Friday, March 24, 2006

I'm so sad.

I just found out something both sad and troubling. Dicky Barrett has been fired from the Mighty Morning Show on LA's Indie 103.1.

For those of you who don't live in Los Angeles and are wondering, "Wait. Dicky Barrett from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones was hosting a radio morning show?" Yes. Yes, he was. And doing a really amazing job.

Listening to the Mighty Morning Show with Dicky and Liz and Stacey and Chuck was like listening to your cooler-than-you older siblings talk with their cooler-than-you friends about rock music you wanted access to, movies you'd never heard of, books you hoped to read someday, politics you never thought you'd understand, and parties you desperately wanted to go to. Only, brilliantly, they did all of this in a way that was intelligent, warm, funny and totally accessible.

I especially loved their interviews. Dicky treats his guests with respect while asking exactly the kinds of questions fans would want to know, as well as many we hadn't thought of. He sold me on many a movie I otherwise hadn't even heard of.

I loved it when Liz would try to do the news. I don't know why Dicky hated the news so much, but he would never let her just get straight through it. He'd mock the news and Liz herself without mercy, and Liz, bless her, would just power straight through. They perfectly captured the "we're siblings and we bug each other but really we totally love each other" vibe. It was awesome.

And, of course, I loved it when Dicky would tell stories. He'd regale his coworkers and, by extension, us listeners, with stories about his mom or his band or how he and Pavarotti once selected the same flavor of pie. It sounds so mundane, but his delivery is just so charming.

I could go on. I've been known to sit with my friends and just talk and talk about how much we love listening to the Mighty Morning Show. I once spent a good 45 minutes explaining to my husband why I think Dicky does better interviews than anyone else on the radio. I actually sent the show a love letter of sorts on Valentine's Day, because mAc and I once met Dicky and it was a cute story and I thought they'd get a kick out of it. And they did. They sent me a thank you.

So what went wrong? Well, I'm looking into it. So far, this is what I know, from hitsdailydouble.com.

Influential L.A. radio station Indie 103.1, the English-language alternative outlet owned by leading Hispanic broadcast company Entravision, has fired its morning show host, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' Dicky Barrett, who has been off the air for the past three days. His spokesperson reports that his "unexplained disappearance comes just a few days after the station's powers-that-be called him into their office and told him to refrain from making any political or controversial comments on the air."

L.A. Indie 103.1 station GM Dawn Girocco on the firing of morning man Dicky Barrett: "We have been working with Dicky for the past five months trying to get the show to the next level.. We invested a lot into not only the show, but in promoting and coaching him. Unfortunately it takes a lot of work to build and grow a morning show as well as develop interesting, compelling content. This was not Dicky's priority, as he had other commitments with Jimmy Kimmel Live, which was, in his words, 'his bread and butter.' Everyone at Indie has a tremendous commitment to the station and to the audience. We need to have a morning show that is able to make Indie their #1 priority. We wish Dicky the best in the future and appreciate his contributions to the station."

Former Indie 103.1 morning show host Dicky Barrett gives his side of his firing by Entravision from the influential L.A. station: "Jimmy Kimmel is a great guy who supported the Mighty Morning Show, and loved it, even though he helped to build the Kevin and Bean Show on KROQ and is the Producer of the Adam Carolla Morning Radio Show. The man hired to 'coach' me in 'trying to get the show to the next level',' Dan Kieley, said: 'Dicky is a true talent and a radio star' and 'It's a great Morning Show'.' I was fired for being unwilling to be, in Dawn Girocco's words 'more mainstream.' It was a great morning show. It is unfair to let people think I walked away to put more work into loudly reading 20-30 words a night on Jimmy's TV show. I worked hard on the Mighty Morning Show. I along with Stacey, Chuck and Liz, built and grew it to what it was. You could count on it (for the most part) to provide you with interesting, compelling content and better music then any other show on the air in the morning."

I checked Indie's web site to see if they had anything on the Mighty Morning Show's page. It's...not even there anymore. Other sites have some additional bits & pieces, and LAVoice.org is also looking into it pretty thoroughly. One comment in particular said that Dicky was fired because he wanted to play the music he wanted, and was in a fight with Girocco, so she fired him. (Until an official spokesperson says it, however, I'm counting it as "unconfirmed" but will keep you posted.)

I'm so sad. And, in truth, I don't know what makes me sadder--the idea that he was fired after making "political and controversial comments" or the fact that he's just not going to be on the air in the morning anymore. Actually, I'm pretty sure it's the latter. The idea that he got fired for saying the wrong thing mostly just really pisses me off.

It's a discussion for another time, as this entry is already really long and I'm in mourning, but what, specifically, did he say? How "bad" was it? Why was he fired, and not fined? What happened to free speech? How does someone get fired for talking, when they were essentially hired to talk? And, seriously, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN OUR COUNTRY AND WHEN ARE WE GOING TO START PAYING ATTENTION AND FIGHTING BACK, PEOPLE?!?!?

Further, political rage aside, why is a radio station whose name is "Indie" trying to coach someone on how to be more mainstream? Counterintuitive much? Oh, no, wait. That's just your basic flat-out bullshit.

Dicky, I'm so sorry you're gone. If I could, I'd put you back on the air right now, and I hope that someone figures out a way to do just that. In the meantime, I want you and the rest of the crew to know that you were truly Great, and you will be missed.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

BOGLE!

Today, I have discovered that Captain Awesome is a Bogle.

BOGLE!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mix of the Month: February 2006

Ah, l'amour.

February's mix of the month was a Valentine's Day gift. Now, traditionally, mAc and I don't do up the Hallmark Holiday real big. (You may remember the grocery store goodies we exchanged last year.) This year, I gave mAc something I'd ordered in September that I thought would show up for his birthday in November... then maybe by Christmas in December... Finally, it showed up a week before Valentine's Day: A Phase Plasma Rifle with a 40 Watt Range. Make sure you get your Schwarzenegger on when you say it.
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Little did I know, however, that mAc's gift for me would blow me away even more than a prop replica gun from Terminator 2. Because, my friends, that's just how much a good mix CD means to me. And this one came with a cute case that totally looked like he wrote it up in his notebook during fifth period, and it's all just so dreamy. And, finally--in the 6 plus years we've been together, this is the first mix he's ever made me. I KNOW.

It's so good, y'all. Check it out.

mAc's Locker Combo: 02-14-06 (memorize and destroy!)
1. DOA - Foo Fighters
2. Sexy Little Cuts - Temper Temper
3. Saturday Night - Surferosa
4. Gold Lion - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
5. King of the World - Angelfish
6. No One Really Wins - Copeland
7. Modern Way - Kaiser Chiefs
8. Cash Machine - Hard-Fi
9. Run Baby Run - Garbage
10. This Isn't It - Giant Drag
11. Everyone is Someone in LA - Felix da Housecat
12. DARE - Gorillaz
13. Galvanize - Chemical Bros
14. The Hand that Feeds - NIN
15. Tits on the Radio - Scissor Sisters
16. Touch the Sky - Kanye West

Thanks so much baby! If you'd like to add some liner notes, the Comments box is all yours.

Total badass and totally huggable

Okay, so I was watching last week's Daily Show featuring action star Vin Diesel last night (TiVO!), and here's all I have to say.

Vin? Come out. Seriously. It's obvious to anyone with a halfway functioning Gaydar (and mine's way off with all the prissy straight bitches in LA) that you are gay.

Here's what's also obvious: you are DARLING. Oh, yes, you are. You big bad action star, you. Total badass and totally huggable. Come on out, honey, and CALL ME. Because I know all kinds of cute boys who would dig a nice butch beefcake like yourself, plus we could totally go dancing and dish about how pretty and dumb Paul Walker is.

Right??

Mix of the Month: January 2006

Yes, I know it's March. That just means three mixes back to back, right?

So, January. This month's mix was a Christmas present from my big sister Amy, the same sister who made me my very first mix tape so many years ago. She introduced me to Jane's Addiction and Neneh Cherry and the Tom Tom Club. She has excellent taste in tunes.

She actually made three mixes for us all this year: Run, Stretch and, our feature today, Fiddle. She even wrote liner notes, because she knows how madly I love them. In fact, her writing is generally better than mine, so without further ado, I present to you,

Fiddle
"The violin is a diva instrument--it sings and does guitar solos and wants attention. So mixing it into pop music can be challenging. Where is the aural space for violin when guitars and vocals are the usual leads?

"Fiddles are commonly used in string orchestration--big swells of string choruses you hear in Motown music and the Phil Spector 'Wall of Sound.' Check out Be My Baby by the Ronettes: Ronnie's voice cuts through fluffy layers of strings played in echo chambers. Yum.

"David Bowie uses the violin in a stripped down, beautifully recorded string section on Life on Mars.

"Most of the songs on this mix, however, feature the violin or fiddle in the songs or the bands. When I started listening for violin in pop music, I heard it everywhere, especially in some modern alternative rock bands. I heard it so much I trimmed the playlist back to the best songs, best bands and best use.

"But bands from the Bats to Eminem are featuring at least a fake violin lately. There is even an entry in Wikipedia about 'violindie' rock. The Dambuilders are the nineties precursor to theis trend.

"ZOX is a young ska punk band with a cute guy jumping around with a violin. Andrew Bird Studiously uses violin in his releases. I like his solo work but I love his collaboration with the Squirrel Nut Zippers. There are country tinged fidle songs from the Dixie Chicks who make fiddle look hip and pretty, some roots rock and the Gorillaz use of a Suzuki classic. Dinah makes a cameo on the Brits song (I wish the violin was mixed higher).

"And of course there's that 70s classic, The Devil Went Down to Georgia. Could I have left that out? Nope. Plus it's only one of many devilishly good songs on this mix."
~Amy, Christmas 2005
1) Paper and Fire - John Mellencamp
2) Drive By Kiss - Dambuilders
3) Mississippi - Sheryl Crow
4) Li'l Jack Slade - The Dixie Chicks
5) Queen of the Surface Streets - Devotchka
6) Richard - The Geraldine Fibbers
7) Life on Mars? - David Bowie
8) Summer Skin - Brits Out of America
9) Travelin' Soldier - Dixie Chicks
10) Part of the Process - Morcheeba
11) Be My Baby - The Ronettes
12) Blue Angel - Squirrel Nut Zippers
13) Thirsty - ZOX
14) A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left - Andrew Bird
15) The Devil Went Down to Georgia - Charlie Daniels
16) Left Hand Suzuki Method - Gorillaz


Thanks so much Amy! I love it!
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Amy and Me circa 1979

Monday, March 06, 2006

Joaquin, Pee Next

Some people do up holidays. My mother-in-law has, roughly, 6,584 bins of Christmas stuff in the garage that she busts out every December to decorate the house, makes about 50 different kinds of cookies, does a gift exchange, a cookie exchange, various dinners & brunches--it's what she does. My Irish friends have been plotting their plans for St. Pat's for months (although, how involved is that plan, really? Pour Guinness, drink Guinness, do a shot of Jamison's, repeat). A co-worker of mAc's does Halloween by presenting an elaborate musical on their front lawn, complete with full-on makeup, costumes and a rotating set, and no, I am no joking.

mAc & I, we do the Oscars.

What does that mean, exactly? Man, I wish I had pictures. I can not believe we didn't take pictures. You're going to have to use your imagination.

We had 4 TVs going: one in the living room for the main party, one in mAc's movie room for a "quiet room," one in the kitchen (for me, mostly), and one outside, for the smokers. We put out movie candy in silver tins that look like film cans. We created a centerpiece for the main food table, featuring a cowboy hat, a grenade, a microphone, a toy cop car, and a copy of "In Cold Blood." We literally rolled out a red carpet,and had an Oscar standee on the front porch to welcome guests.

The themed food turned out like so:
Brokeback Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Beans & Franks
Crash Cakes (crab cakes)
Munich Munchies (home-made pretzel bites served with cheese fondue and spicy mustard)
The Constant Gardener Crudite
Memoirs of a Geisha Teriyaki Skewers
Good Night and Good Luck Black & White Cookies (Oreos - the ones I baked were a disaster)
Wallace & Gromit Carrot Cupcakes (with an orange-ginger cream-cheese frosting... *drool*)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Funch (tm Therese: because it's fun, it's punch, it's Funch!)
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Plus we had crackers with a meat & cheese platter, some Brie and fruit, chips & salsa, and, of course, popcorn.

David Strathairn smoking a cigarette made our sign for the smoking section; Capote and his cocktail labeled the bar. As for the signs for the bathrooms:
Hustle & Flow (no joke required)
Joaquin, Pee Next

We invited people to dress up and about a third of our guests did. The winners of the best dressed prize (a bottle of vodka and a copy of this month's Vogue): the gay cowboys, of course.

As for the pool, it ended up at around $280, which we split between two winners. Second & third place took home goodie bags of DVDs, shwag & candy, and the last-place boobie-prize winner (with only FIVE correct) got her own bag of, er, choice films... like the Hot Chick. And Scary Movie 3. Good times!

All in all, I'd say the evening was a success. The decor came out nice, the food was splendid, and Captain Awesome was on his very best behavior. For those of you who came, THANK YOU for making our Oscar Party such a fabulous event (send pictures if you have them!). For those of you who missed it, well. You'll know better next year, won't you?