Thursday, June 29, 2006

No Rock N' Roll Fun

sad times for rock and roll music -- Sleater-Kinney announced a couple days ago that they're heading off on an indefinite hiatus, go see 'em on their last dates this summer if you can, especially if you never have. what a great, unique, galvanizing rock band! the moves, the beats, the voice, it's sad to not see them rock again as the power trio they are, but i bet they're not sad (well maybe a little), and i can tell you from Superchunk's occasionally interrupted extended hiatus (OIEH) that hiatuses are full of good times! i bet they know that. thanks, SK.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


it can't be an election year, can it? the idiots we hire to run the country are once again trying to pass the Flag-Burning Amendment and apparently in the Senate it's not far from passing ...

seriously, the Gay Marriage Amendment, this useless anti-free speech grandstanding, are there REALLY no more important things they could be working on?

we pay their fucking salaries, that's the topper.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Gore in the Movies

went and finally saw "An Inconvenient Truth" last night and i'm glad i did. if you don't have your head in the sand, or in your ass, or wherever, it's mostly stuff you kinda know from absorbing it over a long period of time, but sometimes it's helpful to have it all condensed into an hour and a half of "holy shit" depressing stats and pics to remind you that this is something that a) is NOT controversial -- there's no one who's not insane that argues that global warming isn't a manmade thing that's happening to the earth and b) something needs to be done now about it, by everyone who can do something.

we went to the beach last week, it's still at the coast as we know it. horrible to think that it could be in freaking Wilson or Apex or something in 20 years.

go see it even if you think you know...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What Joy Looks Like

you know those old Peppermint Patty commercials where the sugar-starved protagonist eats the little chocolate covered disc and is immediately transported from wherever they are to the top of a wintry mountain scene that cools their brain? that's what recalling the game Monday night is like for me, except instead of a puck of chemically-created mint mush covered in waxy chocolate, it's a hockey puck that makes me feel like that. 4 hockey pucks to be exact - the two goals scored by Aaron Ward and Frank The Tank, the empty netter by Justin Williams that blew the roof off the place with a few seconds to go (people weeping, embracing total strangers, i lost my rally towel to the rafters), and the stop Cam Ward made on Pisani with 4 minutes to go. the 'Canes came out and literally knocked the Oil on their ass from minute one, they blocked shots (revealed later that Kevyn Adams broke his wrist in two places blocking a shot by Pronger in the 1st), the forecheck was relentless and they hit and hit again, sitting down Torres, Pisani, Pronger, it was a thing of beauty after the nightmare that was Game 6. the 'Canes were again the team that finished the reg. season with 112 points, dispatched every favored opponent in the post-season, and their reward was the freaking Stanley Cup. sometimes when i'm replaying the game in my brain i have to make sure it all really went down like that... Red and Black Hockey has a lo-fi video clip that comes close as it can to conveying the pandemonium at the end of the game.

i haven't even considered trying to post about Game 7 until now because every time i think about it just want to think about it, not try to write about it. the surreal combination of exhilaration, relief, joy is hard to describe (though folks are doing a good job over here and here, though most including CasonBlog have already doggedly moved on to the draft - this saturday - and offseason moves) was the best and most intense thing i've ever seen in sports, and that includes college basketball nailbiters, world series games, this was just something different. i've been trying to figure out what makes it so different, better even than what i thought was the best thing in sports (NCAA college b-ball); i mean, my general feeling about professional sports over the years, which has only become more entrenched and cynical even as i continue to watch baseball and of course hockey, is that these guys are mercenaries. but it's impossible to come away with that feeling after following a team like these Hurricanes through the grind of a season and a post-season that's a third as long as the regular...maybe it's because no one playing hockey grows up thinking they're going to be a superstar like Kobe Bryant; it's just not a dream that's there in hockey. maybe it's because they still often come from small towns, mostly in Canada, not a nation known for it's ego or, um, swagger... maybe it's because the sport itself is humbing and brutal, i don't know, but i never thought that a professional sporting event or team could inspire such a powerful emotional response or attachment... i still can't explain it.

(*note: i have of course been reduced to hurling obscenities at the teevee during a yankees or knicks game, and rooted hard for anyone playing against the Lakers or Michael Jordan, but this different)

anyway, Rod Brind'Amour's violently joyous hoisting of the cup was something no one there will forget, and it amazes me that this is the least popular professional spectator sport in the country. can't explain that either though "ESPN" and "OLN" are a couple reasons i suppose... i'm not promising this is the last post on the 'Canes this year, as i could be walking on fluffly RBC-Center-shaped clouds for awhile now, and in fact what on earth will i write about other than this anyway? but i'm sure i'll move on to more, what's it called, music-y things soon enough.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

No Words

Monday, June 19, 2006

Postcards from the Edge...of Grunge!

i love Seattle in the springtime... sunny, breezy and cool, nice! we only had a couple days there but SIFF seems like a festival you could spend a couple weeks enjoying no problem, tons of great movies and other stuff, most of which we missed (mark mothersbaugh speaking, robin guthrie / harold budd live collaboration, a bajillion films). those who DO spend day after day attending events i think have unfortunately dubbed themselves "Siffies" but what can you do? just love them for it i suppose.

the Portastatic performance at the Moore (what a cool old place -- i was last there to attend a grunge festival in 1989 featuring Mudhoney, Tad, and at the bottom of the bill, Nirvana) on Friday went great i thought, and it was awesome, if occasionally distracting, to see the movie on a big screen with a big audience reacting to the film and laughing and whatnot. much more exciting than running through the thing in a cramped rehearsal setting watching the movie on an 8" portable DVD player screen. hopefully we can get this large group back together and record the music for the Unknown, and who knows maybe play with the film again in some other towns.

don't know if there are other reviews of the show online, but this guy wasn't too into it, though he charitably notes that our performance was "not entirely meritless"... thanks! neither is your narrow idea of what the soundtrack to this film should be. anyway, had fun playing & the festival people went out of their way to make the whole experience hospitable and fun. thanks especially Eric, Amy, Randi, Barbara, at SIFF!

next day, saw a moving and heartbreaking documentary about Harry Nilsson ("Who Is Harry Nilsson (and Why Is Everybody Talking About Him?)" ) which was prefaced surprisingly by an impromptu a capella performance by an audience member of an entire Nilsson song, complete with beat boxing and vocal orchestration... the guy had some major cojones to jump up at 11 AM in a theater full of Nilsson geeks and do what he did (including 2 false starts that had the emcee telling him "one more chance") and he won everyone over by the end of the tune...the film was great, as was the coffee at the Egyptian Theater.

back in the Triangle late last night after a long travel day & will be at Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals this evening, ruining further my already-destroyed voice, lending my support to a team that needs to find its legs and play its game in order to do what no one seems to think they can do tonight -- turn it around after being drubbed on Saturday in Edmonton. The Oilers certainly think they've already won it and who can blame them with the roll they're on, but i'm not counting out the 'Canes (nor am i going to jinx them!)... it's the last game of the season whatever the result and it's been a great one that could get a lot greater in one evening.....GO CANES

Sunday, June 18, 2006

That Sinking Feeling

wow we found the hockey game here in seattle at some monstrous sports bar filled with oilers, and i kinda wish we hadn't! it would have been a reprieve from having to sit through possibly the worst three consecutive periods the canes have played all year, definitely all postseason.

what can you say? out hit, out skated, obviously outscored 4-zip and even the return of erik cole couldn't lift the guys into some semblance of intensity. ugh. edmonton has to be riding high and i don't look forward to hearing about how "only one team in history has ever..." etc and not only because that lumps us in with the Leafs...

i don't have a good feeling about tomorrow night's game 7 but of course i will be there destroying my choice at this point!

more about the portastatic trip to seattle later...

Thursday, June 15, 2006


well, that sucked. really $#&*(%#$(&!! sucked is what i meant to say...

'Canes & Oil see-saw back and forth all game, take it to OT where the 'Canes get a power play and... GIVE THE PUCK (and the game) away and lose on a shorty FOR PETE'S SAKE that may have been the lamest way to lose a big game in OT i can imagine.

Carolina's defense looked porous and Ward wasn't as sharp as the last couple games, and we still had a chance to skate the Cup around the RBC but no such luck.

speaking of Lord Stanley's Cup, can we have a freaking moratorium on TALKING ABOUT THE CANES WINNING THE CUP until the series is over? man all day on the sports radio talking places people actually would not stop discussing who was going to win the Conn Smythe trophy however you spell it... dudes, no one wins that until someone wins THE SERIES, but everyone was talking as though the Oilers were going to skate onto the ice, over to Roddy and just be all "we're tired of playing hockey this year, you guys can have it" which obviously isn't what happened.

so please just act like it's a series, BECAUSE IT IS! cripes already, jinxers.

Saturday is forever and many provinces away. I hope they've heard of hockey in Seattle.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Music for Silent Equestrians, Freaks, & Armless Obsessives

look the Portastatic Unknown group exists in all it's many numbers! (L-R Matt McCaughan, Carrie Shull, yrs truly, Margaret White, Laura Thomas, Jim Wilbur, Jeb Bishop) and we'll be in Seattle tomorrow for the show at the Moore Theater on Friday night as part of the Seattle Film Festival, playing along with The Unknown. joining the group you see here will also be special guest TW Walsh on percussion and acoustic guitar; i believe TW's waiting by his mailbox for The Unknown to arrive from Netflix as i write.

ok gotta get ready to watch hockey, see you out west!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Music V Hockey Game IV

decisions decisions -- Portastatic has a marathon rehearsal this evening, getting ready for Seattle Film Festival performance on Friday... our man Jeb Bishop is in from Chicago for the practice, as is Margaret White from the big apple and it's our only rehearsal with the whole group, scheduled of course months ago, when there was no way to know for sure that it would also be the night when your Carolina Hurricanes are trying to win a third game in the Stanley Cup Finals. in fact even if i known that that was a possibility i STILL would have had to schedule practice only in order to not jinx the 'Canes.

anyway, do i a) tape the game and put myself on media/cellphone lockdown after practice, race home and watch the whole thing on DVR? or b) try to catch the last half period after practice, possibly missing the whole thing but finding out the score as it stands? or c) just go eat after practice and call someone to find out the score, leaving fate to others besides myself...aaaahhh it's agonizing.

choice a) is appealing but i stopped taping all the games since the mtl series because when i tape them we lose. then again, i didn't tape Sat's game and we lost on Ryan Smiths goal-charging junk goal of a goal (hey it counts and we lost...i've stopped thinking about it...almost)... maybe if i tape tonight we'll go back to shooting the puck? need to carry over the energy from the 3rd period into tonights game, as we've seen from Game 2 if the 'Canes play for 60 minutes they can crush.

anyway, can't wait for Game 4 whether i see it or not.

ok off to watch The Unknown for the unknownth time...


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Talk to the Hand...

...and the blocker and the stick and the pads...Cam Ward was fantastic again last night albeit in slightly less heart-stopping conditions and blanked the Oil, whose Jussi Markkanen didn't look terrible or anything -- a couple soft goals after not playing for, like, years, is to be expected -- but he wasn't getting a lot of help from his D, particularly after Corey Stillman's awesome "think i'll pass it to myself over the goal and then shoot from...HERE" goal made it 3-0 and things kinda devolved from there. Oilers did spend a lot of time down in the 'Canes end in the first but Ward was solid and so was the defense; Brind'Amour made one goal-saving poke at the puck when Ward was flat on his back on the other side of the crease, and the D was blocking pucks left and right before they could even get to the goalie.

So, a rout but the Oilers came back from down 0-2 against the Sharks, who if you read Oilers fan blogs were "much better" and had the fans "much more worried" than the 'Canes do, so who knows what'll happen up at the Rexall center, but i can't believe we have to wait 'til Saturday to watch it WHO DO THEY THINK WE ARE people with better things to do than watch hockey!?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Good Morning, Captain

My ears are ringing, the final outcome seemed pretty unreal & i'm still trying to get my brain around Game 1 last night at the RBC Center and it's almost time for Game 2 already...anyway, you can't ask for more in a hockey game than what you saw last night. Unless you're an Oilers fan of course in which case you could ask for a better 3rd period, and your brick wall of a goalie not going off the ice with a busted-up knee. The 'Canes have been playing without their star Erik Cole for months now but it hurts if you're the Oil to lose Roloson and it's no fun as a 'Canes fan to win against a team that's not at full strength...

Having said that: it's also no fun to watch the Eastern Conf champs come out and play 2 periods of substandard hockey...not that i ever bought the "Edmonton will be rusty" line of BS, but you'd think that we'd be hopped up ourselves right outta the gates. It took the 3-0 hole though and while the comeback was miraculous (and the 4 unanswered goals were scored against Roloson) it'd be nice to see solid hockey from Carolina for three straight periods. If it weren't for some absolutely ridiculous flailing by Cam Ward the 'Canes wouldn't have been in it.

Gotta feel bad for Conklin doing what most goalies do that drives you nuts as a fan, occasionally getting caught behind the net & taking too long to clear the puck, but doing it at the WORST POSSIBLE TIME and his teammate Jason Smith's inability to clear the puck himself has doomed Conklin to ignominy, at least for the time being.

But the rending of garments up in the great white north seems premature, considering Rollie the Goalie only played the last 19 games of the regular season, so didn't Conklin and the other guy get them there? We've got our backup goalie in the net, at some point you've just gotta deal. But I feel their pain and this guy is great at elucidating the pain of a fan who senses a season slipping away. Read his blog!

My point though is that Pronger & the Oilers aren't going to fold, Brind'Amour & Carolina will give no quarter, and we still have some intense hockey ahead of us. Is it 8 o'clock yet?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Who Loves the Internets

the Who Loves the Sun soundtrack hits the racks tomorrow in a boutique near you but there's plenty more content to absorb on the internets -- including my very first podcast & a streaming version of the album in case you're one of those untrusting types who likes to know whether they like something or not before they buy it -- all over at Merge on the front page. the podcast is me rambling about the score and other soundtracks i like. i've already recieved complaints that my talking is too quiet and the music too loud...look, i didn't say i INVENTED podcasting, i just said i was learning out to do steps, people.

as the movie itself (starring Molly Parker, Lukas Haas, & Adam Scott, btw) won't be in theaters 'til the fall (festivals before then however) there's also a trailer to tide you over, right here for the big version and here if you've still got a dinosaur on a treadmill powering your internet connection.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Hockey Night In Carolina Pt III or Don't Touch The Prince of Wales!

that's not the hardware you came for, guys.

Game 7: Carolina 4, Buffalo 2

what a series.

i'm still hoarse; with all this hockey it's a good thing The Unknown score is instrumental.