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Monday, October 29, 2007

Spook City USA


Ghouls and goblins and jack-o-lanterns... oh my!
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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The NC State Fair


So we went to the NC State Fair this past weekend. We opted for the early Sunday morning trip figuring - being the aethist heathens we are - that we'd beat the church goers by a few hours.

But it was still crowded as shit.

Kudos goes out to my kids who kept their chins up during 30-45 minute waits in line for rides, getting let down by not winning that giant, stuffed animal at the softball toss and long walks around the fairgrounds.

They didn't bitch once which is more than I can say.

We did see the racing pigs.

That's something you must see at least once in your life.

I believe they call it local color.
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The Old School Tractor Exhibit


Was a pleasant surprise... even the kids dug it.
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Fuzzy Bunnies


Two words: Donnie Darko
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The Rides! The Rides!


My 7-year-old wouldn't shut up about going on the rides. From the moment he was informed that the family was going to the NC State Fair, that's all he would talk about.

Then we got to this junior roller coaster.

He changed his mind.

My wife was bummed.

We used to be coaster afficianodos before we had kids: Magic Mountain when we lived in Los Angeles and Kings Dominion in Virginia were once-a-year at best destinations.
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Food Vendors


I kept it simple and stuck with a hot dog and a piece of pizza if only because they were $4 a pop each. My wife tackled a $7 turkey leg - a homage to the days when we were courtin' and we'd go to Rennaisance Fests for shits & giggles.

I dig this pic for reason I can't explain.
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Monday, October 15, 2007

Rock Like War


Bill Buckley of Cobra Kahn...

Cobra Kahn played a reunion set last night at Hell on the east side of Chapel Hill. It'd been ten years since the band had graced the clubs of Chapel Hill. Back in the day - when Chapel Hill was a haven for indie rock and bands like Polvo, Archers of Loaf and Superchunk reigned supreme - Cobra Kahn was the one band I could rely on to shudder the foundations of any club with their thunderous dirge. They were heavy but they weren't metal. They had aligned themselves more with the Minneapolis Am Rep bands or NYC's Unsane than anything coming out of Chapel Hill at the time.

And like most bands, just as they were starting to be appreciated by the locals, they broke up.

But last night they returned for one brief night and for a fleeting moment, I was transported back to the mid-90s and the now defunct, long forgotten Lizard & Snake club when I used to watch these guys wretch and heave and spit vitirol and vile from their speakers and mouths.

Sometimes you don't know how much you miss a band until things like these rare reunions come along. I glad they returned, if only for a night, because within those foggy memories came inspiration.

And I'd forgotten what it really means to have your ears ring the day after...

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

City Of Manning


A couple of weekends ago I got a speeding ticket in South Carolina.

So not wanting to pay a hefty fine and get some points tossed onto my driver's license and have my insurance go up, I drove over three and a half hours each way to go to court in Manning, SC, in the hopes that I would be able to get my fine and charge reduced.

I had to drive my truck, not the Buick Regal I got the ticket with, because my wife had to have the Buick to pick up the kids. My truck is a beat-up Ford Ranger I've had since '92 and has a tape deck with only one working speaker and no A/C. Needless to say, I wasn't stoked to drive this thing to South Carolina.

Oh and SC had record temps - it was 95 degrees.

When I got to Manning, a small town off the I95 corridor, I was shocked to find out just how small a town it was and even more shocked to find out the size of traffic court.

Here's some things I found out about Manning:

- It was first settled by the French Hugenots
- 63 percent of the population today is African-American
- The median household income in $22,483
- In 2003, the population was less than 4,000
- It is equi-distance between Maine and Miami

Fascinating facts about one small town in the Southeast US no?

I can tell you that my fine was reduced to $76.50 and that my points were dropped from 4 to 2. So you can guess that making the trip to this bucolic one-horse town was worth it. But I did feel like I was a bit character in some B-movie horror flick walking around town (one block!) passing three churches, the town's post office and the town's fire station.

I heart the South...
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Religion Is Everywhere In The South


You can even find it in the shadows.

Mill Street, Manning, SC.
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Monday, October 08, 2007

Seven Inch Vinyl Is Alive And Well My Friends

Over the course of the summer, I picked up a bunch of seven inch vinyl records. I have to say that when it comes to punk rock I find the seven inch to be the best way to have your music presented. Most songs are short, you can always opt out for 33 rpms if need be, and you still have the ability to make cool artwork and include a lyric sheet that doesn't need a magnifying glass to read.

During the course of my band's existence, we've managed to meet not only jaded old fucks like ourselves who still enjoy a good Flipperesque groove or hollerin' vocals but also the younger generation who still uphold and revere the finer traditions of underground punk music by still putting out seven inch records.

And even - gasp! - cassettes.

So now I've finally managed to get off my ass and write about some of these records because well I was moved to write about them.

Crossed Eyes
(Sorry State Records)
This is the debut from the pop punk phoenix that rose from the ashes of Raleigh's Street Sharks. And when I say pop punk I mean that the music that lies here within contains melody which is often lacking and overlooked these days. This is the stuff fanzines like Razorcake go apeshit over. Smart lyrics and crisp art direction to boot. Soon to be Sorry State Records best seller.

Side 1 vs. Side 2: Side one wins.

Wasted Time
No Shore EP
(Grave Mistake)
I recently saw these guys and was completely blown away by their enthusiasm and - most importantly - their delivery of old school hardcore. Reminds me a lot of Agnostic Front's early Victim In Pain record. This EP definitely takes me back to being 20-year's-old and mad at the world but without sounding contrived:this is angry music for angry people (with latent Negative Approach-isms].

Side 1 vs. Side 2: Side 2 wins because the track "Ritual" is badass.

The Worst Kids Ever
Rot Shit!
(Big Neck)
Fuzzed out, in-the-red raunch 'n' roll with songs like "I Can't Wait To Hate You," "Spilled Beer," "I Wanna Fuck Right Now," and "I Spent The Rent." If yer not down with drunken lo-fi gee-raj rawk then please move along. You may need a Devil Dogs or Dwarves record for as a token for entry into the Worst Kids' world. Record comes complete with un-PC cut & paste cover.

Side 1 vs. Side 2: Side 1 because it features the one-two punch of "Spilled Beer" into "Swimmin' In Hot Dogz"

Canadian Rifle
(Squirrel Heart Records)
Chicago band with loose ties to ex-Hellbender, ex-Milemarker, ex[?]-Challenger and Burn Collector Al Burian. Punk but not hardcore if that makes any sense; this used to be called post-punk before the snarky goth math-rockers got a hold of the moniker. Green vinyl, great lyrics and top notch art.

Side 1 vs. Side 2: Side 2.

Toys That Kill
(Razorcake Records)
Having been an on-again/off-again contributor to Razorcake over the last few years, I had always seen the name Toys That Kill in the fanzine and read the high praises lofted upon them but until now had never actually heard the band. Fucking shit I've been missing out on some awesome songs that dredge up the ghosts of the Replacements, Pegboy and Hot Water Music. Drunken Billy Goat Gruff vocals with real life lyricism.

Side 1 vs. Side 2: Side 2, er in this case Side B because "02" could be the best song ever... right now... on my turntable.

Tiltwheel/Off With Their Heads
(Fast Crowd Records)
First off, this comes on orange colored vinyl. OWTH delivers one of the finest two-song sides ever. There's '77 Thunders in there, the drunken revere of the Dropkick Murphys (without the overstated working class cheese) and some Rezillos. You work. You play. You party... period. Tiltwheel does their best to keep up with OWTH on side two. Each band cover's a song from the other which helps shine light on what spectrum of the punk rock continuum these guys fall on. This is the sound of Minneappolis-meets-Gainesville; this is the sound of independent music and the sound of house party basement shows; this is the sound of now.

Side 1 vs. Side 2: It's a freakin' tie!

Appalachian Terror Unit
Armageddon Won't Be Brought By Gods
(Profane Existence)
West Virgina crust (with an umlot!) Bullet belts and anarchy my friends. Honestly, that Ford Econoline van and the acetate used to make your record is far more evil than halogen light bulbs, but like Oprah with James Frey I can overlook it! It is what it is and I tend to dig "is" stuff like this. At least for a song or two. Discharge anyone?

Side 1 vs. Side 2: Side 1... who ever gets to Side Two?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ian's Not Dead

It's just a rumor folks.

Please return to your regularly scheduled programs...

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Good Ol' Fashion Grub Kick

So I've caught a few games of the rugby World Cup in the past week and I've got to say that rugby is - by far - the best sport I ever played.

Don't get me wrong, I grew up on Redskins football in a family that had - and still has - season tickets. When I was a little kid, the youngest of four, my father helped start the Olney Boys Club with some other men he knew at the time and went on to become a high school football referee.

So I like to watch me some football.

Growing up it was football, basketball and track (my dad coached me in track in 8th grade). I stuck to that formula for a long time. Then bmx entered into my world. I rode my bike everywhere and anywhere. I raced a few times but found it too boring in its quickness. And as much as I love to ride my bike over jumps, bmx racing just didn't interest me to watch unlike football, basketball and track.

Bmx led me to skateboarding and the concept of sport as an individual. I have to say that I still enjoy watching a good skateboard competition but after a few rounds I'm done.

By the time I got to high school, I opted out of my traditional spring sport for lacrosse. I loved lacrosse. It was like a combination of basketball, soccer and hockey. But it was also a sport of privilege much like polo and that turned me off of it. Plus I got kicked off the team my senior year.

College introduced me to rugby.

And to this day i still have a fondness for it. I played my freshman year for a university on the Eastern Shore and it was like that movie Dogtown- all a bunch of characters. Naked beer slides were involved but that's a whole 'nother story.

I went on to transfer to a college north of Baltimore and played fall and spring seasons for the next three and a half years and when I graduated and moved to Los Angeles I ended up playing for the Pasadena/Crown City Rugby Football Club for a handful of seasons.

So when I found myself with the rare opportunity to watch top-notch rugby during this year's World Cup, I gladly welcomed it: it's like my Olympics, my Tour De France, my Winston Cup.

While watching a game the other day with my boys, I said, "Ah man, nothing like a good ol' fashion grub kick" after a play by the New Zealand All Blacks, who are like the Yankees, Bulls or Patriots of the rugby world, and smiled.

A couple of days later we caught another game and my 7-year-old randomly belted out, "nothing like a good old fashioned grub kick," after a guy kicked the ball.

I tried my best to explain it but this rugby site does it better:

"a grub kick is using your feet to get the ball rolling forward. Important in the grub is that it actually touches the ground. It should not be a low drop kick. A grub kick should be done on the run with either foot. The classic grub will bounce twice close to the ground and bounce to waist level on the third. I have seen it, but very rarely. Like a drop kick, timing is very important, as you want to contact the ball just as the point of the ball hits the ground. You want your foot to make contact with upper third of the ball, essentially kicking it into the ground. A grub kick should be used when an opposing player is committed to making contact with you and is no closer than five meters. Do not kick to him, but off to his side (that ability to kick with both feet is very important). Grubs are useful because the opposing player has forward momentum towards you, is unlikely to react quickly enough to a kick, and cannot hit you if you do not have the ball. You should be able to cover your own kick."

Another site compared it to a grounder past the short stop.


I could have summed that up quicker.

Me & The Lady


Rehearsal dinner.

Old Fort Jackson.

Too bad you can't hear the bugler or the fife and drums in the background...
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Because Nothing Says I Love You


Quite like a racist tchotchke
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That's Right Folks


89 in a 70.


4 points and a hefty fine received enroute to wedding in Savannah.

Do you think I'm going to drive to South Carolina for my court date?
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Savannah, Georgia


Cobblestone streets.

Watch your step.
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