Archive for January, 2009

My A-hole Car

My car is an asshole.   It’s true.   The latest incident to make me call it an asshole?   Wednesday, while leaving my office, my co-worker found that his car had been towed due to snow emergency.   So he asked me for a ride.  I said sure, knowing full well that my asshole car would see this as an opportunity.

The rest is predictable.  Halfway to the tow lot, asshole car stalls.  Now, this is not unusual.  Asshole car stalls about 5 times during every 20 minutes of travel time.    It’s been doing this since October.   Brought it to the garage then, they had it two days andthey  couldn’t figure it out.  I called and called…. “hey,” I said to them, “is my asshole car ready?”

“no,” they’d say, “we’re still trying to figure out the problem.”

Finally, after 2 days of this they had a solution.  Keep in mind I brought the car in voluntarily for a tune up.  Their solution?  “Time to get a new car buddy.”

Fuck no.    Bought this car about 6 years ago for $500 from a friend who was an illegal alein and needed the cash.  And dammit, I’m driving it til it’s just a couple of wheels, seat and steering wheel.   It’s getting there.  I know that probably makes me an asshole to my car too, but I digress.

So, the asshole car stalls.  I’m used to this – my co-worker was amazed at one point… “Did you just stall and restart your car as we went through that light???

Sure did.  It’s asshole car dude.  This is what happens.

But then this time, it was different.  I could tell….  It wouldn’t restart.   So I pulled to the side of the road and we called And so, as they drove off into the horizon, I called AAA.  I called AAA on my asshole car.

Did I mention the storm?  Oh yeah.  It had been snowing all day and was now oozing frozen rain everywhere.   AAA (which I’m convinced stands for All Assholes Always) gave me a wait time of 60 minutes.   About 100 minutes and 2 phone calls later, they showed up.   Having broken down in a residential area, I basically sat in the car the whole time. all 100+ minutes.

My only consolation is that one of my favorite radio shows came on shortly after breaking down.     The Intercontinental on FM 88.1 WMBR (MIT radio).  A mighty fine radio show it is, playing all sorts of psychedelic soul rock twangy garage punk whatever from all over the world.  Turkish soul.  Moroccan Surf Guitar.   HipHop in languages other than English.   Jesse Kaminski made me stop cursing my asshole car for much of the interminable wait time, with some well chosen Malaysian and Cambodian rock and mancini-like pop.

So, the tow truck finally showed, as I was making my 2nd follow up call to AAA, wondering why they had forsaken me, and all was swell.   Got home just before 8pm, left work shortly after 5.   Nearly 3 hours for about 6 or 7 miles.

The garage calls me the next morning and tells me that they got it started right up – the fuel cutoff switch had been tripped.  Asked me if I’d been hit by someone.  Nope.   I’d never ever heard of a fuel cutoff switch either, but then there are things in cars I have heard of that I have no idea what they do.

Of course suddenly things started tipping back in my favor.  They discovered another problem – the cause of the problem they were unable to solve 3 months ago.  The cause of the stalling!  And they could fix it!  For less than $200! Holy crap!  Eureka!

So I took the day off to let ’em fix it.  Then, that night, I had a gig to get to.  Car was ready by shortly after 3.   Picked it up, drove it the 2 blocks home and, for those 2 blocks,  it ran beautifully.    5 hours later, I head off to my gig.

I get 2 whole blocks from my apartment (different ones) and WHAM-O!!!! THE FREAKING CAR STALLS!   AGAIN!   AND WON’T RESTART!!!! AGAIN!!!

Luckily I was at a light on a corner with a buncha dudes hanging out in front of a liquor store.  Probably the only time in my life I have thought “luckily there are dudes loitering in front of a liquor store”  but, there it is.

They helped me push the asshole car into an open spot, right there on the corner.  I called my bandmate to come pick my ass up.  Unfortunately I had no 90 minutes to wait for AAA this night.   Double unfortunately, the spot was a 15 minute parking only (though I was pretty sure they wouldn’t hassle me tonite).    My poor bandmate, came and picked me and all my gear up, knowing full well that five hours (or so) later, he would be stuck bringing me back here.

So I went to my gig.  I got home just after 2:30am (lord knows what time my ride got back home).  And I had to be at work at 10am for a meeting.

So this meant I had to get up at 7am to call AAA for a very delightful 90 minute wait AND had to ask my co-worker who’s car towing two days before marked the beginning of this whole mess to come pick my ass up.  Because public transportation would involve bus to train to other train to other bus to walk, and be a minimum of 90 minutes.  Meaning I would miss the 10am meeting.  Which I would have preferred.

So I thank you asshole car.  Thank you for a wonderful way to start the day tired, hungover, early with AAA and then sitting in a very boring and pointless 3 hour meeting.   And now I hope the car is ready so that we may resume our rivalry all weekend long.

One can download the Intercontinental past shows from the links above.  I recommend doing that, rather than hanging with my asshole car.   Leave that part to me.


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The above headline is straight from the Onion and was written by my ex-coworker Jason Roeder. Though he’s a pretty unassuming guy in person, Jason is one of the best humor writers working today – and I’m talking David Sedaris good. On his website you can read “rejected” headlines like “Area Dad Tells Son He’ll Love Him No Matter Which Sport He Excels At” and “Disgruntled High School Senior Touring College Bell Towers.”

Also highly recommended:

The Elements of Spam (McSweeney’s)
Grand Theft Auto: Myst (Salon.com)
Thieves Are Everywhere (New Yorker)
Magical Jason: Secrets of the Professional-Caliber Magician (YouTube video)

He also has a book, Oh, The Humanity!: A Gentle Guide to Social Interaction for the Feeble Young Introvert, which promises to help see you through all your interpersonal struggles (“My hobbies include scrapbooking, swimming with dolphins, and taking chain letters seriously. How can I find people with similar interests?”)

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Review: Animal Collective

Inspired by this comments thread on Enough Cowbell, here’s my take on the new album by Animal Collective – those critical darlings of electro-psych-noise-folk led by Panda Bear, Avey Tare, and the other two guys with slightly less annoying nicknames. The first half of Merriweather Post Pavilion has some truly great moments, especially Summertime Clothes – the closest thing on here to straight up pop – and first single My Girls. But despite all the ambition, creative ideas, and cool sounds, most tracks – even the better ones – offer little in the way of development, and I’d often find myself losing interest, paying more attention to the album’s trippy “Magic Eye” cover art. Maybe that’s the point.
Taste the colors.

I taste colors.

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Van Hammersly

Hey there. Van Hammersly here. Welcome to my inaugural post for the Limits of Science. I am originally from Rochester, New York – the home of Kodak, the never unappetizing looking garbage plate, and inspirational autistic teens with hoop dreams. I was raised by two violinists who banned me from rock music until the 8th grade. I thank them now for shielding me from the likes of Winger for so long. I listen to all types of music – heck, even country and classical sometimes. Stay tuned for my best music of ’08 post – only 30 or so days late.

Thanks, mom and dad!

Thanks, mom and dad!

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And so it begins

what it is that is beginning, I’m not exactly sure at this point.  but it is something, and that’s something.  I think it’s something that will involve music.

In fact, it will definitely involve music.  The creation of, the performance of, the slobbering over, the championing of… etc etc.  It will also involve film.  Perhaps not so much the creation of film, but the commenting on, the touting of,  the analyzing of, etc as well.

And other esotera.   By myself and several other folks, who happen to be musicians/writers/artists and day slummers.  And hopefully we’ll have something at least mildly interesting here.  and hopefully you – the reader – assuming you actually exist –  will agree or disagree or somewhat agree, but not with that middle part no way, that shit is just plain crazy… but you’ll COMMENT on it.  We’ll talk, shoot the breeze, sling mud, and generally enjoy our time here on the internets.  and maybe learn about some new music.  or old music.  or art films.  or crappy summer camp comedies.  or, you know, whatevs.

so, yikes! and AWAAAAAY!

Robin Hood Daffy

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