I. Had a post-work work function this evening, …


Had a post-work work function this evening, which lasted until 8:15 or so. I boarded the 7 train and took that and the B61 bus to get home, where I changed out of my quasi-formal work clothes into something more comfortable/rock show friendly. Called Pianos: “Is tonight’s show sold out?” No, I was told. At just after nine, I left my apartment and made it to Manhattan in around half an hour, arriving at the club in question at 9:40 to see the debut of Bling Kong.

Except that by the time I arrived inside, the show had sold out. No, really. First show ever. I feel kinda proud of the fellas and ladies now, five hours later. At the time, though, I was cursing the wrathful hand of fate (okay – my language did get a bit overblown) .

So at this point, R.F. and I were standing in the back of the bar grumbling about arriving too late to get in. One of the many Bling Kong-associated folks (there are around a dozen altogether) grabbed both of us – I was told to tell the fellow working the door that I was someone else (someone else who wasn’t likely to show up); said person had a plus one. Things seemed to be improving.

Got to the door. “I’m on the list with a plus one,” said I. “The name’s [a name which is not mine].”

The door guy found the name and waved us both through. At which point, I was recognized by some other folks whose attempts to enter had been stymied. “Toby!” I heard. “How’d you get in?”

I looked straight ahead, tried to put my best “Toby? I know not this ‘Toby'” face, and walked in, resolving to explain myself later.


What do Bling Kong sound like?

1. The quick version: “Like Big Black crossed with a pep rally”.

2. The elaborate version:

“Here’s the pitch, Bob. Let’s say Le Tigre go out on tour with Andrew W.K. One night, Kathleen Hanna and Andrew get smashed and, well, hook up. Fifteen years later, they’re married in the suburbs with a bunch of fresh-faced kids. And those kids decide to put a band together.”

It’s kind of like that.

I’m curious to hear the proper CD; for Bling Kong, the live experience is — well, kind of overwhelming. Four cheerleaders, crazy video projections, bananas thrown into the audience…

It was a fine night.


It’s 3:04 AM right now, and I have work tomorrow. The Mountain Goats’ Tallahassee is on the headphones right now, and sleep seems like an incrementally better idea with each passing moment.

O blessed happy day: Jury duty is over. And yeah,…

O blessed happy day: Jury duty is over. And yeah, I do feel like I learned more about how our judicial system works, just like the video they showed us featuring assorted 60 Minutes folks and a re-enactment of trial by ordeal said I would. Feels like I’m back in school an’ stuff.


I’m just getting around to listening to Mojave 3’s Excuses for Travellers now. This is a sprawling, gorgeous album; I’m a sucker for the slide guitar, and it can be found in abundance here. I’m suddenly feeling the need to drive somewhere, the above album played at maximum volume.


Mr. Voith is in town. This, too, is a fine thing.

I picked this book up close to two years ago. For…

I picked this book up close to two years ago. For a while, it sat on the shelf next to Underworld and Bleak House, part of a triad of fend-off-an-attacker thick books that perpetually gazed up at me resentfully.

I’m now three hundred pages into it. Yee-haw.


I’m feeling slightly proud of myself for reading more history books lately – or, more properly, more books about history – I don’t want to give the impression that I’m digging out old textbooks or something similar. My absolutely scattershot knowledge of history, though, is especially shameful given the number of history buffs I count among the people closest to me.

Both this and this come highly recommended. Next up: The Guns of August. Slowly, I’m making my way through the 19th and 20th centuries…

Went to a Jonathan Lethem reading / book release e…

Went to a Jonathan Lethem reading / book release event tonight at St. Anne’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. It was a fine time; I can’t really argue with free beer, hearing one of my favorite authors read excerpts from his new novel, and a mostly interesting q & a session (though the fellow up front who kept asking questions about the novel that was released today was, I felt, kind of flaunting the fact that he’d read the book before, assumably, everyone else there).

At the moment, drained from a late night at work yesterday (followed by a random run-in with a friend of mine from New Jersey), I’m trying to make some headway on a couple of pieces – some reviews for Earlash and a piece or two for Copper Press….not to mention the ever-present fiction in varying stages of completion that’s currently scattered around my room.

Ninety more minutes. I can get a decent amount done in that time, I think.

It’s a rainy, quiet Saturday in Brooklyn. I’m tak…

It’s a rainy, quiet Saturday in Brooklyn. I’m taking the opportunity to clean house somewhat – selling or donating a bunch of underlistened CDs, shifting a few things around in my room, musing on the purchase of a new bedroom stereo.

I’m also cleaning out my old address book. Although I have emails containing assorted people’s home addresses, I’d like to have a permanent record as well – seems like a wise course of action, given this year’s lesson in computer fallibility.

Going through here, though, is unexpectedly….well, painful isn’t the word. Mainly, the addresses fall into three distinct categories:

1. Old addresses of people I’m still in touch with.

2. Addresses of people I haven’t spoken to in years. (Which may or may not be due to the fact that this book hasn’t been touched since sometime in 1997).

3. Zine contacts. Feel like contacting the promotions department at Conversion Records – or maybe a member of Kerosene 454? I’m your man….

I can count on both hands the number of addresses that I’m carrying over, and I’m unsure about the updatedness of about 2/3 of those…


The other odd rush of nostalgia, to be honest, is the references to prospective summer jobs, dating to my early college days. Contacts at the local Barnes & Noble, Nobody Beats the Wiz….ah, nostalgia.

Eleven thirty-eight on September 11th, 2003. I’…

Eleven thirty-eight on September 11th, 2003.

I’d thought about posting something today, and have spent a good amount of time trying to figure out exactly what that would/should be.

It’s not quite coming.

Last year, I worked a normal day, and made my way to Carroll Gardens after work, where I met some friends, including these two, for drinks. It was a good night; a crisp, bittersweet night in the early autumn. It felt reassuring to be sitting in a garden with people dear to me.

Today, I feel mostly numb.

It’s entirely possible that this numbness is hiding a deeper sense of disquiet; I can’t honestly say. But one year ago, there was still that sense of regeneration, of hope in the face of loss. This year, it seems as though the tragedy of two years ago has been co-opted by groups on both the right and left, for less-than-altruistic ends. The international goodwill that moved me so much is, seemingly, gone. My belief in an event that could transcend politics – which gave me a fragment of hope after everything had happened – is lost.

Two years later, it’s all sunk in, and I’m left uncertain how to feel. If my lack of feeling is somehow wrong. If my numbness is, ultimately, burying something deeper.