Friday, March 27, 2009

Drive-By Truckers at The Dame 3/26/09

Scheduling problems with work almost kept me from seeing this one. It was originally set for a day I was off but had to work the next day...staying up until the wee hours isn't wise ahead of putting in a 13-hour shift. This all became a moot point after one of the band members got sick, resulting in the postponement of that and several other dates. Unfortunately the rescheduled date was one I had to work, but since I didn't have to work the next day I was able to do some switching around to free it up.

Then came getting tickets. With the original show sold out and those tickets still being honored for the new date, it wasn't looking good in spite of my own scheduling success. After checking online two or three times a day for a week or so, they finally put some up which I promptly pounced on.

I didn't have high hopes for the opening act (Don Chambers and Goat) after skimming over some of their stuff on their myspace page. I ended up being pleasantly surprised. Lots of bluesy stomp-rock. Even if it all sounded sort of the same I kind of liked it. Their stuff definitely sounds better live. Any band with a comically grimacing drummer who uses a wooden stepladder with hubcaps tied to it as part of his drum kit gets originality points too.

All in all a good show with a nice setlist, although I was hoping for at least one song off the next album. I took a few pictures -- blurry, thanks to the dim red lighting -- nothing really worth posting. And no video, deciding instead just to focus on the music this time.

As usual, the crowd provided entertainment of their own. The requisite mouthy drunk (you know, the one who elbows his way to the front so he can scream at the opening band "you guys &*@#$ RUUUUULE!!!!" and "I @*%$ LOOOOOVE you guys!!!" only to then use equivalent enthusiasm to curse their continued presence on the stage after they've played more than three songs) made his appearance early on and was gone by 10 minutes into the Truckers' set.

I was in my customary position down front on Cooley's side. The Dame has a rail a couple of feet in front of the stage proper, but that didn't stop a small trickle of people from ducking under it and standing right next to the stage as the show went on. A couple of women were the first to go, gyrating the same out-of-left-field booty dance regardless of what was being played. Cooley was undeterred, stepping right out on the edge in front of them during solos. As time went on and the Pabst Blue Ribbon began to work its magic, their booty dancing morphed into rubbing their hands up and down his legs every time he came close. He didn't seem to mind, though, and thankfully they still had the presence of mind to keep their hands below his knees and off his guitar.

During the next-to-last song of the encore ("Zip City"), I suddenly felt a determined pushing behind me. For a second I thought a mosh pit had broken out. Thankfully it was just one guy who decided he wanted to occupy the same space I was in, precedence and the laws of physics be danged. Considering that I had made a beeline for and occupied that very spot from the moment I got in the door a good three hours ago, I moved not one inch. Out of the corner of my eye I could see him standing in awkward stalemate, tantalizingly close to the destination he had up until that point approached through pushing who knows how many people from who knows how far back. I could see him glancing over at me, then beyond to the small patch of open space between me and the person to my right. He said something, which through the din of the music and my earplugs I interpreted as a greeting, and I returned it in kind, throwing in a look that reiterated the fact that he wasn't going to be gaining any ground at my expense. So I spent the next song and a half in exactly the same spot I had spent the ones before. Only with the outstretched arm of my new neighbor excitedly thrusting the rock horns gesture across a good chunk of my field of view. But that's all part of the experience. I had fun.

Quotes of the night:

(While standing in line outside)
Someone driving down the street: "Whoooooo!!! Who's playing?"
Someone in line: "Your mother!"

(Late in the show)
Cooley: "Wha y'all wanna hear?"
Crowd: "Blahbluhblahbluhblah..."
Cooley [already strumming the next song]: "Alright we'll play that one then."


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Animated Bayeux Tapestry

The first English comic strip becomes, well, the first cartoon representation of the first English comic strip I could find on Youtube.

Sure, it's oversimplified and only uses the second half of the work, but it's a good summary. Plus it has music, moves, and does away with that pesky Latin.

Watch it once for a lesson on Medieval history. Watch it twice for the Warcraft II remix.

It amazes me that one of the most important events in English history hasn't gotten the Big Bad Jerry Bruckheimer Historical Epic Movie treatment yet. Not that that's a bad thing.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Yo Dawg, I Herd You Like Mace, or Today's Ride 3/9/09

Route: 41.1 miles, Levi Jackson loop.

Weather: Partly cloudy, 67 degrees, 5 mph wind.

Performance: Average speed 14.4 mph, time 3:03:19. Average HR 148 bpm. Average power 116 watts, maximum power 732 watts. Work 1194 kJ. link:

Comment: Good day for an easy early-season ride at an easy early-season pace. And for macing punk dogs. Yes, I was ready this time. The line was drawn in my head...if a given canine met two out of the following three criteria, he was getting a faceful:

1. Is he within 18 inches of a body part?
2. Is he large enough to reach my foot at the top of my pedal stroke?
3. Is he acting in an aggressive manner? (Many do, but after a while you just get this gut feeling which ones are having a good time and which ones may try something).

And of course nothing happened. Sort of anticlimactic. Mile after mile, house after house, the most faithful of family members were either preoccupied or otherwise invisible.

But about halfway through my ride I passed one house on a hill that never lets me down. It's home to a large, white, shaggy-haired dog that sort of looks like a St. Bernard, only slightly smaller. And one or two other tag-along mutts of similar aggressiveness.

Down they came like bats out of Hades.

And out came my trusty can of Halt!. The same can that, in over 3,000 miles, I had heretofore only fired once in anger. But the unfortunate event of early last month has put an end to those days, I'm afraid, forever.

In a split second, all three of my criteria were met. Out came a stream of ruddy-orange liquid fire in a beeline for two lucky dogs' headlights. And my aim was true. Each of them stopped dead in his tracks, blinking.

Just as the satisfaction in my newfound power was beginning to wane, I found myself approaching another notorious dog-house. This one has a particularly outgoing German Shepherd as head of the welcoming party...a dog with such a primeval hatred of bikes that, if he comes at you from the side, won't hesitate one bit in sacrificing his body to smack into your back wheel so hard that it makes you fishtail. This would be a true test of my defense mechanism.

And out he came in a full-on sprint, companion in tow. Spray in hand. Criteria met. Stream engaged.

What followed was not quite the result I had hoped for or had seen minutes earlier. They paused briefly, but were so crazed that the assault continued. Thankfully though, they live on a flat stretch of ground, so outrunning them isn't a problem. And outrun them I did.

So my battle plan is simple Pavlovian conditioning. I aim to be the instrument of implementation for this cold, hard equation:

bike + chase = pain

No matter how much fun it is, no matter how instinctual it is, no matter how much you want to impress that hott yellow pomeranian down the street. Chase a bike and you will hurt.

And maybe I need to go bear strength on that German Shepherd.

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Pinocchio Paradox

With thanks to Epimenides of Knossos and Digg.