Archive for September 2009

These are giraffes

27 Sep 2009

Switching things up today here at Tin Speaker. Instead of a hilarious dialogue or a hilarious advertisement, I’m just going to give you a picture I took of a couple of giraffes. Think of it as a Christmas present, because you’re not going to get a real Christmas present from me.


A Yellow Friend

23 Sep 2009

What up, chumps. There’s no question mark because that’s not a question, it’s a greeting. As if I would care to know anything about your miserable lives. Listen. I’m thinking of turning Tin Speaker into a cooking blog, maybe calling it Tin Whisk or Tin Springform Pan or Tin Fondue Pot or something. Ever since I’ve been in Madrid, also known as The City That Indie Music Forgot, I’ve been spending all my time reading and cooking, as opposed to reading Brooklyn Vegan and going to concerts. While this is perhaps a more practical use of my time (though slightly less sociable (very slightly less)), it is not without its unfortunate consequences. For instance, although I have finally learned how to cook rice like a motherfucker, I have made no friends (and in fact, several enemies — several powerful enough that I have feared for my life and the safety of my family) in the past few weeks. Also, my Spanish abilities have actually declined, with the notable exception of my spice-related vocabulary (tomillo, estragón, albahaca, &c). There is also the not-insignificant matter of the seven kilograms (metric strong! (no, not you, Emily Haines. Your band’s overrated, and you’re not even that hot.) I have gained in two weeks. This has been a factor in the friend-making department, as I have taken to wearing enormous tee shirts to hide my new girth.

Ha, ha! Had you fooled. The seven kilograms are actually entirely muscle. I’ve been training for my return to the concert-going sphere. The first thing I’m going to do when I land in New York is go to the Market Hotel and sock an N.Y.U. freshman right in the forehead. Whatup, class of 2013! Getting punched in the forehead in front of Todd P and all your new, wack friends is what! Holla! Ouch! Hurt my hand! Shouldn’t have gone for the forehead! Awfully hard, the forehead! Hope I can get someone to help me carry my luggage! No! No one wants to help the violent dude with eighty pounds of bags! Uh oh! Going to have to rely on my wits! And excessive use of the exclamation mark! Call my friends! All of them have company tonight! Cousins from out of town! What a coincidence! $100 cab ride to Grand Central! Overdrew my ATM card! Looks like I’m working Christmas this year! Again!

Also, I was just kidding about not having any friends. I’m great friends with the lady who works at the pastelería near my crib. I say hola to her four times a day — once every time I come in and buy a milhojas.

To touch upon another subject, has anyone heard the new Flaming Lips album? It’s outrageous.

The New Yorker Festival, Friday

19 Sep 2009

It’s nearly autumn again, and that means it’s nearly time for the old New Yorker Festival, every middle-aged Manhattanite couple’s favorite weekend. Since I can’t go, I’ll be living vicariously through you, genial reader.

This year’s lineup is once again a cold and terrifying thing, an unapologetic cavalcade of literary luminaries that never fails to remind me just how much reading I really ought to be doing. Let’s start with Friday night.

Here we find a quiet evening of “paired readings by New Yorker fiction writers” — certainly a lovely, low-key way to begin the evening. But wait! In the rich tradition of the New Yorker dance party (that was sarcasm; I never went (it was always 21+!) but I’m sure it was wack. Or should I say sour — LIKE THOSE DAMN GRAPES THAT I CAN’T REACH!), Sasha Frere-Jones (along with Kelefa Sanneh, this year) has curated a concert that will allow pseudo-intellectual hipsters to say they went to the New Yorker festival without having to pay $25 to watch people talk for a couple of hours. Dirty Projectors, House of Ladosha, Jubilee and Liturgy are on the bill; I’ve seen DPs and Jubilee and can recommend them (especially after the brilliant Bitte Orca (that means Please Orca!)), but I know nothing about the other two except that House of Ladosha are described by TNY Web site as a “dark-crunk collective,” and any band who causes that phrase to be published on the New Yorker Web site deserves at least a modicum of respect, no matter what their music ends up sounding like. I wonder what E.B. White would think about dark crunk.

The Friday night paired readings are all at either 7 p.m. or 9:30 p.m., which presumable means that it will be possible to attend two  (but not if they’re both at the same time, man!). So let’s look at each group separately.

The 7 p.m. group is, unsurprisingly, strong. Jonathan Franzen and T. Coraghessan Boyle are a couple of names that jump out at me as having had really strong stories in TNY. And then there’s Salman Rushdie, whom I refuse to read on account of the fact that he looks really smug all the time and doesn’t deserve to have been married to Padma Lakshmi, from Top Chef. Forget about him. If I had to pick one pairing, I’d go with Boyle and Mary Gaitskill.

The night owl group is also awfully strong, with Junot Díaz, Jonathan Lethem, Colson Whitehead and Gary Shteyngart as particular standouts, in my view. I would go with Lethem/Whitehead, only because I already saw Díaz give a reading earlier this year, at Fordham. Actually, I feel like Whitehead was at Fordham last year, too, at a discussion with, among others, Saul Williams. I can’t remember, though; it may have been someone else.

But if I really had my ‘druthers that Friday night I’d see the marquee event: New Yorker Writers on The New Yorker, featuring Roger Angell, Adam Gopnik, Ariel Levy, Mark Singer and Judith Thurman, and hosted by Andy Borowitz. Though my opinion on Andy has recently declined thanks to his constant Twittery Facebook statuses (and the parade of fools who comment insipidly on them. Actually, it’s probably more the parade of fools than the statuses themselves that get me. I should go easy on Andy), he’s still an entertaining guy, and the rest of the people here are all very accomplished. Unsurprisingly, the event has already sold out (despite a hefty $45 price tag).

What girls say to each other about me when I eat alone in the cafeteria of my university

17 Sep 2009

This one is just what the title says. Actual transcript, edited for length and clarity by Hornblower.

Girl 1: Who is that guy over their eating by himself? Look at him brood. He’s probably really intellectual.

Girl 2: I don’t know who he is, but I think I want to sleep with him.

Girl 1: Is he doing the crossword puzzle? I heard Tuesday’s crossword is really hard. He doesn’t even look like he’s having any trouble.

Girl 2: I heard guys who do crossword puzzles have big wieners.

Girl 1: I heard that, too. It’s like the same gene or something.

Girl 2: Look at all those plates around him; he must eat a lot. It looks like he got one of everything. That’s really impressive.

Girl 1: He must be so good at eating.

Girl 2: I think I want to sleep with him.

Girl 1: Look, he’s wearing a tie.

Girl 2: Wow, he probably has a bunch of money. He probably does really cool expensive things all the time.

Girl 1: I’ve never seen him before at any parties around campus. He must be too busy going to exclusive rooftop parties with the Knicks and also with models.

Girl 2: Girl models.

Girl 1: Uh, yeah.

Girl 2: …

Girl 1: I wonder if he’s single.

Girl 2: I don’t care. I will murder to be with him.

Girl 1: I think that’s a little extreme.

Girl 2: No. I will murder you.

Girl 1: I don’t think that would help you in any way.

Girl 2: You quiet down, Girl 1. You just quiet your damn self down.

Girl 1: …

Girl 2: …

Girl 1: Look, he’s getting up. I think he finished the crossword puzzle. Wow, look at his shirt. He spilled sauce all over it.

Girl 2: He probably did it on purpose. As part of an art project.

Girl 1: Yeah, maybe. He looks really arty. Look how tight his pants are.

Girl 2: Awfully tight.

Girl 1: Awfully tight.

Girl 2: He’s getting more food? Uhhh…

Girl 1: Hmm.

Girl 2: Look how long his hair is. Some people would say that he looks like a greasy, dirty cur, but I think it just makes him look European.

Girl 1: He looks like a European footballer. He looks like he plays for the Spanish national team and makes a hundred million Euro a year.

Girl 2: …

Girl 1: You know what, I bet he only eats once a day, that’s why he’s eating so much.

Girl 2: Wow. That’s pretty hip. I think I’ll start doing that.

Girl 1: I bet you won’t, ‘cause you’re fat as hell.

Girl 2: I have told you before that I am prepared to murder you.

Girl 1: Listen, Girl 2. I will fight you in the streets for the right to this man’s heart. I will fight you in the streets, and I will fight you in the gutter.

Girl 2: Let us adjourn, then, to a place of true reckoning, wherein we may this dispute settle. And all our yesterdays have only wrought what we have dreamt to be so, until now the end time of our suffering and our dreams. As it must be, it shall. As created, so destroyed; as forgotten, so recalled.

Girl 1: Damn you, mystery man, man of deepest mystery. The fire of your brooding, solitary mystery touches souls all ‘round you, and there is naught to be done for succor.

What clarion call, um, calls? Sounds? What clarion calls? I’m not really sure what a clarion is. Okay, just looked it up: a type of trumpet used in the Middle Ages. So how’s this for a title for this post: “Wherefore sounds the clarion?”

12 Sep 2009

Last time there was a great lapse between posts here at Tin Speaker (back in the Bronze Medals days), the spark that brought me back was a thrilling new piece of technology, one destined to change forever the way we experience the world. I’m talking of course about Microsoft’s Songsmith, which has relegated Apple and its woefully deficient GarageBand to the scrap heap of history.

Today, the motivating factor is news of an event that is sure to make everyone feel awfully swell. It’s called the Brooklyn Cheese Experiment, and I wish I could go. It’s at the Bell House in Gowanus, Brooklyn; perhaps a bit out of the way (perhaps not; I don’t know where you live), but don’t live your life in fear, man. That’s no way to be. The BCE is tomorrow, 13 September 2009, at 1 p.m. — hurry up and get dressed, or you’ll miss it.

So what’s happening here? At first I thought this was just a bunch of people bringing in home-made cheeses and everyone gets to eat them. Maybe that’s what you thought, too. But not quite. What it is is an opportunity for ordinary people (who don’t know which way to go; who, this time, will take things slow) like you and me to bring in their very finest cheese-based dishes to have them judged by a panel of ironically detached Brooklynites (just had to add “Brooklynites” to my Firefox dictionary; I’ll thank myself later). If you pay the $20 to get in ($25 the day of the event), you get to get in on the cheese-based dish action.

Sounds a bit steep, no? But wait. There’s a little surprise going on here. Not only is this a cheese-based dish competition, it’s also a home-made beer competition! Homebrewers from all around Brooklyn will bring their wares and compete for glory. So you can get your drink on, hard body.

I was just kidding about ragging on the judges, by the way. They’re actually quite an accomplished group, with such credits as Iron Chef judge and Editor at Bon Apétit magazine (Andrew Knowlton) and fromager at Chanterelle Restaurant (Adrian Murcia). Much love.

UPDATE: Just checked another part of the Web site, and it says the ticket price includes “a beer from our sponsor.” There are a bunch of beer sponsors, though, so I don’t know if there’s one main one, or you get to choose from among them, or what. I also don’t know if that means you don’t get to sample all the homebrew. The submission guidelines advise the brewers to bring 3.5 gallons of their product, but not to worry about serving cups. I think 3.5 gallons is a bit much to be solely for the judges use (let’s hope it is, at least), so I think you probably do get to sample all the beer.

I also neglected to mention that there’s an afterparty for an additional $5, at the very same Bell House. Not sure what’s going on there. It’s just going to be a bunch of people who are really, really full and don’t feel like moving at all. On the other hand, the Bell House is a great place to get hit on by older women. Just go alone, bring a copy of The Unbearable Lightness of Being and use your brother’s ID to get an over-21 bracelet. Oh, and also be inconceivably attractive, with muscles that recall the original definition of the word “Titanic.”

Yeah, it’s been a while. What are you going to do, complain like a little tiny four-year-old?

11 Sep 2009

You and your puppy-dog eyes have no effect on me. I empathize not with your pleas and insistent cries. Be grateful for what you have had at your disposal these past few weeks: a back catalogue of exceptional beauty and wit. These are posts to savor, posts to revisit. If you have not done, you have deprived yourself of a priceless treasure: the treasure of rediscovering greatness. Remedy yourself, reader. Return to these past months, return and relive once more the glories of the past. For there is naught else to do when barren times take hold and helplessness looms like a terrible pronouncement of dread. Arise now, and know the succor of the archive. The healing power and the cleansing wash. We wake and breathe and eat and pray, and this our lowly present will yet be a tired past.

Rejoice now in your lowly present, for sustenance is night. Tin Speaker is back.