Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Geek Speak

I noticed on Meetup.com that the Alexandria Dungeons & Dragons Group had a meeting on Sunday. This group of three local D&D players meet once a month for beers and spell-casting around a DM screen at a local tavern to be announced only to level 20 or higher Chaotic-Evil Paladins of Slaughter. Actually all you have to do for info is give your name and email address.

I know a lot of you closet RPG-ers must be crushed at having missed this, but never fear for Meetup.com also has information for a monthly GURPS happy hour happening this Tuesday at Buffalo Billiards. The GURPS group seems to have been around much longer and has a base group of 17 role-playing members.

Since these meet-ups happen at local bars I can only assume that all the members are adults, which in one way is kind of amusing, while in another (former RPG-er) kind of way is friggin awesome. As I know at least one other DC Metroblogger will agree.

I can hear those 20-sided dice rolling now.

Originally published on February 20, 2006.

I never had the nerve to dive into this geeky under-belly of Washington DC. Now that I am writing again it may be time to revisit this.

Hey Pilgrim

It is time to speed up our secret plans to flee earth on a rocketship and form a colony on another planet where religion does not exist. Like reverse Pilgrims we will flee towards religious persecution. The stuff is just too dangerous to exist anymore.

(I realize the above sentiment is silly - so save your angry comments for someone who means it)

Originally posted on February 19, 2006 on Myspace.

The link to the crazy religious zealot story in this post went inactive a long time ago.


Channel surfing today I determined that the last 10 minutes of Platoon are way better then the last 10 minutes of The Devil's Advocate however neither movie has the youthful mid-90's techno exuberance of the first 6 minutes of The Mod Squad movie. I also realized that the Winter Olympics are a snore-fest, StarGate:Atlantis blows, and America's Test Kitchen has a wiener for a host. The first two episodes of the British sitcom As Time Goes By have a quiet charm about them that I found hypnotic, whilst the shrill voice of Hyacinth Bouqet on Keeping Up Appearances is too much for me to relax to these days. I also saw about 30 seconds of Tom Hanks talking to a volleyball and a bunch of fake-boobs on about a hundred chat phone-line commercials.

On DVD I recently watched the Coen Brothers' remake of The Ladykillers which is one of G and I's favorite flicks as a couple. I also watched Lethal Weapon 2 today which reminded me that the first 10 minutes of that film have more action and adrenalin than most action films of the new millennium. Watching Lethal Weapon 2 also made me realize how much I miss watching action movies with Marcus, Steve, and Josh. Finally I watched 3/4 of the Criterion edition of Man Bites Dog a movie that I had almost forgotten how disturbing it really is (altho funny too) - I turned it off when G got home to spare her sensitive nature.

Originally posted on February 19, 2006 on Myspace.

For some reason I love this post.

Chatty Kathy

Most nights out I am not a very sociable guy. When I’m out having beers with my friends, I am there to do exactly that, have beers with my friends not have a million small-conversations with a million random people. However there is the rare occasion when that’s exactly what I end up doing. Such as Thursday night at the Alcian Blue/Ceremony/APTBS show at the Black Cat.

From the owner of Cue Bar to various DC band members to all these random folk in the Red Room, I was a regular chatty kathy on Thursday night. Talking in the Red Room so much so that after watching A Place To Bury Strangers, completely shred all their performances I have seen previously, and Ceremony, putting on a tad sloppy but equally sonic performance with Jake’s guitar guesting on all but 2 songs, I completely missed Alcian Blue’s set which I hear from everyone was one of their best ever.

Needless to say I am disappointed that I missed Alcian Blue, especially since they debuted so much new material on Thursday. I also feel like I did my faithful readers a slight disservice in not watching and reviewing one of DC’s best up-and-coming acts. So I asked my good friend Chris Diamond, who did watch their set, to say a few words about how good it was:

“I’ve seen Alcian Blue more than a few times, and have always thoroughly enjoyed their show, but last night’s gig at the Black Cat saw them taking it to another level. A couple weeks ago Jake had mentioned that they were going to take things in a new direction, if this is the direction, it seems like a good one to me. Maybe they were inspired by the opening bands, maybe Jake got an itchy trigger finger from his guest guitar sit-in with the Ceremony. I don’t know what the cause was, but they were in overdrive last night. They made all their other shows before this seem unplugged.”

Now doesn’t that just remind me why I never talk to people at shows!

Originally published on February 18, 2006.

This is still very unlike me.

I Beg To Differ

Having just returned from Elevation Burger (422 S. Washington St. Falls Church,VA) I feel compelled to say that I disagree with Bridge’s rave review. Maybe we’re looking for different things in a burger joint, maybe it’s an East Coast/West Coast thing, I don’t know, but to my wife and I Elevation Burger was a real let-down.

While the place has a nice family-run atmosphere (from 14 year-old Tommy taking orders to Grandma sweeping the floor) and yummy milkshakes. Everything else about it was really lacking when compared to the other DC area burger options. The burgers at Elevation may be made with kobe-style beef but to us they kind of tasted like liver. The french fries are thin and crispy style (which can be nice) but they tasted too much of the oil they were fried in and not enough like potatoes. In fact half way through our lunch we caught ourselve gazing longingly at the hole-in-the-wall skank tavern across the street with it’s old, chipped, hand-painted sign promising “Texas style Chili and down home country-cooking” thinking we’d get a tastier burger in that dive than the one we were forcing ourselves to finish because the $7 was too much too waste.

Comparing Elevation to Five Guys is really what does in Bridge’s review of this place. There is no comparison other than to say Five Guys is much much better. Rolls, patty, toppings, fries – Five Guys blows Elevation away. And that’s not to say I am an unreasonable devotee of Five Guys either. In fact in 2000, before Five Guys started franchising out the wazoo, my buddy Chris and I had the great DC burger blow-out in which we compared our fav DC area burger joints. His, Five Guys, came out as the best burger sans accoutrement while mine, Lindy’s Bon Appetit ( 2040 I Street NW), came out as best messy burger with their Burl Ive’s Burger – two 1/2lb patties slathered in BBQ sauce topped with a fried hot-dog. Needless to say I love me some good burgers and those two burger stands out-do Elevation completely.

I was very excited about Elevation, obviously I went there immediately after reading Bridge’s write-up, but unfortunately I left disappointed and with a bad taste in my mouth.

Originally published on February 18, 2006.

This was a rebuttal to another Metroblog writer's rave review of Elevation Burger. Unfortunately I am unable to find an active link to his article in 2010.

Projecting Disgust

I found out today that during last weekend’s snowstorm someone pulled off a heist of 10 brand new digital projectors from the 3rd floor classrooms of George Mason University’s Innovation Hall. That’s quite an impressive haul, however it is going to put a serious crimp into a lot of student’s semesters. Including mine! Bring them back you jerks!

If anybody has any leads on the missing projectors please call the Fairfax Police at 1-800-673-2777

Originally published on February 16, 2006.

When Protests and Late-Night Monologue Jokes Mix

It had to happen. Today I saw a bunch of Lyndon LaRouchers out protesting with sandwich-boards adorned with a collage of Bugs Bunny in Hunting Gear munching on a carrot while Dick Cheney aimed a shotgun at him. Of course in a big cartoon balloon good old Bugs was asking “Ehhhh What’s up Dick?”

Originally published on February 16, 2006.

For you youngsters, this was a few days after Vice-President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his friend in the face while hunting.

As If I Picked the Line-Up Myself

The DC music scene is indeed fortunate to have a phenomenal line-up playing the Black Cat’s backstage tonight. I have been waiting for these three bands to play together inside city-limits for three years. Ceremony from Fredericksburg, A Place To Bury Strangers from NYC, and DC’s own Alcian Blue represent the absolute best in new American Shoegazer music and two of the three have made it on my year-end live performances lists (2004 & 2005). In fact for the first concert I’m going to in 2006 this line-up could very well take the cake for best show of the year.

All three bands create perfection through guitar power – to have all three in that tiny backroom playing back to back is almost absurd to imagine – I sure hope the walls are reinforced and the Black Cat have got the roof firmly fastened on, because these three bands are going to do their best to blow it off.

@ the Black Cat backstage
doors at 9
cover $7

(PS- Last time I ran into Jake from AB he promised tons of new material at this show – can’t wait!)

Originally published on February 16, 2006.

Flag at Half-Assed

Either the staff at the Route 1 Mcdonald’s entering Old Town are lazy or I am totally out of the loop because I am at a loss as to why their flag has been at half-mast for the last several days. Has their been any major tragic event in the last few days to warrant the flag being lowered that I haven’t been made aware of?

I get the impression that they lowered it back when Coretta Scott King passed and have failed to restore it to its position ever since. I found this interesting discussion of the flag’s pole position which explains that half-mast is regulated by law and I don’t see any justification in this thread for that McDonald’s flag’s status other than laziness.

If anyone knows otherwise, please correct my ignorance.

Originally published on February 15, 2006.

Death Cab for Ferdinand

I have no particular interest in this show announcement but I know a lot of people out there are fans so I thought I’d give a heads up.

Death Cab for Cutie and Franz Ferdinand arguably two of the biggest newer alt-rock radio bands around are playing a show together at the D.A.R. Constitution Hall on April 11th. If you like these bands you couldn’t ask for a better seated venue in DC than D.A.R. – the sound there is great. Tickets for this instant sell-out go on sale at noon this Saturday. However I wouldn’t be surprised if some pre-sale info pops up in certain email boxes on Thursday. If I get one I’ll be sure to post the info for all you Cuties and Archdukes.

Originally published on February 15, 2006.

Warming up for Summer

After a slow January and 1st half of February, the rest of this month and March are deceptively building up some flicks I actually want to go see.

Running Scared
16 Blocks
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Nacho Libre
Silent Hill
V for Vendetta
Thank You for Smoking

Let's hear it for the return of onscreen violence!

Originally posted on February 15, 2006.

I still need to see half of these movies!

Vietnamese Valentine

Nothing says lovin’ like the exotic spices and scents of Vietnamese cuisine right? Well, not exactly but after driving around for a while trying to figure out where to go for a tasty dinner minus the Valentine’s Day crush my wife and I ended up at one of our old haunts at the Eden Center in Falls Church.

The instant we walked through the door of Huong Viet, Greta and I were met by mouth-watering aromas generated from every table in the little joint. It was dizzying waiting for our table amongst the throng of Vietnamese dishes being served up around us. Trying to decide which ones looked best, most flavorful, or most interesting.

Huong Viet is a very small establishment that gets over-shadowed in the Eden Center by the larger, touristy, Vietnamese restaurants but it is the Center’s flavor heart and soul. The clientele are packed in every available space, which to some can be uncomfortable while to others (like us) adds to its charm. Surrounded by Vietnamese families and Valentine’s dates and the occasional older American couple ordering like old pros ordering at Huong Viet can be intimidating at first but eventually you master the art of “I’ll have what she’s having” after spying a dish that looks intriguing from across the room.

If the cramped atmosphere sounds like a turn-off it is the authenticity of the food at Huong Viet that keeps us going back. Nowhere have I tasted Vietnamese food seasoned, marinated, and spiced so well. Every bite of our meal tonight was a flavor explosion. From the chili and lemongrass chicken to the mind-numbingly good grilled pork skewers to the delictable fresh-rolled garden rolls every thing was perfect. And all under thirty bucks too.

Vietnamese Valentine – we’ll take it.

Huong Viet
@ the Eden Center
6785 Wilson Blvd.
Falls Church, VA.

Originally published on February 14, 2006.

SprechenSieParlezVousYoHabloDeutschFrancaisEspanol Eh?

To cheer myself up over admitting defeat in Spanish class I've been listening to DPD: 0033 a mix of music in other languages put together by Diamond, Prokop, and I.

Check out this awesome track list with liner notes. If that doesn't cheer a guy up, what will?

Originally posted on February 14, 2006 on Myspace.

The DPD Project is a music website my buddies and I ran for several years. A ton of good music writing there.

Language Barrier

Today was the last day to drop classes at George Mason and I so dropped Spanish class. I don't know what the fuck it is, but I can not learn languages to save my life. French, Spanish, German, Spanish again, Chinese, and now Spanish yet again - all failed attempts.

I really tried this time, but it is obvious this isn't the semester for me to try tackling espanol. I'm going to have to take it when I can give it my complete concentration - so hopefully this summer. I need 2 langauge classes to graduate. This fucking sucks.

I feel like a complete fuckject loser.

Originally posted on February 14, 2006 on Myspace.

I did eventually take Spanish 1 through 4 and I got all A's. As my brother Marcus told me on a much needed cell phone pep talk, "What one man can do...another can do!"

16 Blocks

I don't know action fans, I'm starting to get that good feeling about Burce Willis' next movie "16 Blocks".

1. It stars Bruce Willis looking like a fucking wash-up (which is always good ie: "Last Boy Scout" and "Last Man Standing)
2. It's directed by Richard Donner!
3. It's about time David Morse is getting credit in previews and posters.
Which brings me to...
4. The posters...oh man look at these posters.

If they don't scream 70's gritty cop movie I don't know what does. If that is the direction Donner is taking with this combining 70's grit with Donner action this could be one of the best Mike movies of the year.

Originally posted on February 10, 2006 on Myspace.

This movie was amazing until they got on that damned bus. All down hill from there.

PS - my link to the posters is inactive in 2010.

Rory's Story

Rory wished he'd met his wife somewhere exciting like ballroom dancing during the Blitz or huddled together under a bomb shelter blanket listening to buzz-bombs, but he'd have to settle for the ordinary story of meeting her in the check-out line at the grocer's.

Rory wished his kids would have amounted to something spectacular like becoming Prime Minister of England or the number one striker in Dover, but he'd have to settle for ordinary offspring one of whom grew up to sell fish-n-chips whilst the other drove a black cab.

Rory wished he had done something amazing in his life like battled Moors knee deep in Moroccan sand or died in a last-stand with the Guard's Grenadiers, but he'd have to settle for the ordinary life living pay-check to pay-check, supporting a wife who bored him, and feeding ungrateful kids he couldn't stand.

This was Rory's story and now he's gone.

Originally posted on February 10, 2006 on Myspace.

More of my prose fiction for your enjoyment.

The Nationals vs The Helices

Do you think if we made a sharp-looking baseball cap for the much needed DC DNA Crime Lab it would get the City Council to do more about it than just pay the idea lip service after each DNA-based conviction in the news? As much as I love DC baseball, I’m getting tired of this deal with MLB monopolizing the council’s time, efforts, and media coverage.

Let’s check the scoreboard:

Nationals’ Stadium $300 mil
Crime Lab $200 mil

Perhaps the Council could sneak the Crime Lab into new the Stadium plans killing two birds with one very expensive stone. Of course I’m sure it’s all Barry blocking the Crime Lab, who knows what undiscovered crimes he’s committed that DNA evidence would finger him for.

Originally published on February 9, 2006.


A classmate told me a story today about an event surrounding the State of the Union Address that involved her older brother that was just so wrong that I had to share it here.

My classmate’s older brother was born and raised in Chicago, as an adult he moved to Texas where he enlisted in the Army. He was mobilized in Texas and sent to Iraq where he was severely wounded. This young soldier is now recuperating at Walter Reed Medical Center. About a week before the State of the Union, the soldier was contacted by the office of a Senator from Illinois with a personal invitation to be the Senator’s honored guest at the esteemed event. The invite was in appreciation of the soldier’s brave service.

That was until the Illinois Senator found out that the Chicago-born soldier was now a resident of Texas. The Senator decided to uninvite the wounded soldier and to find a soldier who currently lives in Chicago.

Unfortunately for the soldier (who had made special arrangements with the hospital to be transported from Walter Reed to the Capitol Building) nobody from the Senator’s office informed him that he was no longer to receive this honor until late in the afternoon on the day of the State of the Union! Of course the soldier was a might upset at finding this out after doing his best to fit his wounded self into his dress uniform. Not to mention that he was disappointed to find out that the Senator didn’t really have any true intentions of honoring his service but was merely arranging a photo op for the voters back home.

My classmate refused to tell me which Senator it was, but for some reason I just don’t see Obama pulling a tasteless move like this – I wonder about Durbin however after looking at this photo and caption about his guests on his Senate Homepage.

I believe in the military a situation like this would be called a royal cluster-f*ck. I mean seriously Senator don’t play politics with our wounded soldiers’ lives, they are human beings not tin soldiers.

Originally published on February 8, 2006.

It is incredible that 4 years later these shitty wars are still dragging on and wounded vets are still getting the shaft.

The Little DJ Night That Could

One half of Re:sonance DJ’s – DJ Balance aka Chris Diamond – will be guest spinning at the Marx Cafe on Mt. Pleasant St. tonight.

This evening is the 2 year anniversary party of We Fought The Big One the DC post-punk/shoegaze night that we here at Metroblog DC helped save from extinction back in August. It’s nice to see our friends starting off their third year properly with a kick-ass guest DJ.

Head out to Marx Cafe to show “the little DJ night that could” some support as they enter year three. The music starts at 10:30 and there’ll be a free 2-year Anniversary mix CD for all at the door!

Originally published on February 3, 2006.

Cooking Mysteries of the Orient

Last night while taking in a scrumptious dinner of freshly made samosas and chicken kebabs at Arlington’s best quick dinner option, The Food Factory, the wife and I came up with two questions as to what makes the Pakistani food there so damn good.

1. What is it that makes the chicken turn reddish-orange in the cooking process?
2. Just what is that mysterious black and red spice that is peppered all over the chicken and then baked on to give it that extra flavor kick?

Anyone have any ideas?

Go to The Food Factory and try to figure it out:

4213 North Fairfax Dr., Arlington (entrance in the back behind Salad & Things).

Originally published on February 1, 2006.

This place changed into a shitty sports bar a few weeks after I wrote this. So maddening.

One more for mediocrity

Today Reprint Bookshop, the best bookstore in DC, is going out of business. Reprint was the oldest, independent bookstore in Washington DC, residing first in Foggy Bottom and then moving to L’Enfant Plaza in the 80’s. Reprint was known for their very knowledgeable staff (of which I was a member for 2 years) and for strongly supporting independent and self publishers for decades. Reprint also played a key part in supporting the African American fiction explosion of the 90’s by giving a home to several of that movement’s biggest authors back when they were unkown and being ignored by the chain store circuit and New York publishers.

Today is a sad day for DC book buyers. RIP Reprint Bookshop.

Originally published on January 27, 2006.

So sad, so missed.

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

Well after a relatively quiet January, the DC rock-n-roll scene is kicking back into gear in February and March with a slew of great shows. Here’s a list of the upcoming overload of shows that I hope to attend:

Feb 3 (FRI) The Herion Shieks – Ottobar – Baltimore
Feb 3 (FRI) The Lilys – Black Cat
Feb 4 (SAT) Low, His Name Is Alive – Black Cat
Feb 13 (MON) Report Suspicious Activity (Jawbox and Kerosene 454 membs) – DC9
Feb 16 (THU) Alcian Blue, A Place To Bury Strangers, Ceremony – Black Cat
Feb 20 (MON) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – 930 Club
Feb 23 (THU) My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult – Black Cat

Mar 2 (THU) WHITEHOUSE, Pig Destroyer, Wolf Eyes – DC9
Mar 3 (FRI) 45 Grave – Black Cat
Mar 5 (SUN) Wedding Present – Black Cat
Mar 7 (TUE) Mogwai – SONAR – Baltimore
Mar 7 (TUE) The Sisters of Mercy – 930 Club
Mar 21 (TUE) Jackie-O Motherfucker – Talking Head Club
Mar 26 (SUN) Rob Zombie – 930 Club
Mar 26 (SUN) Annie – Black Cat

Apr 1 (SAT) The Editors w/ StellaStar – SONAR – Baltimore
Apr 12 (WED) Subhumans – Ottobar – Baltimore
Apr 14 (FRI) Anti-flag, Casualties – 930 Club
Apr 22 (SAT) Acid Mothers Temple – Ottobar – Baltimore
Apr 30 (SUN) ISIS w/ Dalek – Black Cat

May 2 (TUE) ISIS w/ Dalek – Ottobar – Baltimore
May 11 (THU) Mono w/ Pelican – Black Cat

Not a bad stretch of shows – should keep me in reviews for the next couple of months.

Originally published on January 25, 2006.

I caught exactly half of the shows on this list.

Weekend Movie Recap

Rewatched Lord of War with Nick Cage and I stand by my original seeing-it-in-the-theater opinion - this movie fucking rules. Great writing and directing by Andrew Nicholl, perfect dead-pan acting by Cage and excellent support performances by all around. Plus a difficult subject matter handled in a very entertaining and informative way.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy - I have been holding off on watching this for awhile. I don't know why but I just have been. This movie is full of so much weird, twisted, left-field humor that it is impossible not to find something that makes you laugh in it. And laugh hard. You may not like the entire thing, but those handful of jokes that are just for you that are in this make the whole thing worth your time.

Godzilla: Final Wars - this movie is an ultimate geek fest. Supposedly the final Godzilla flick directed by none other than the action-meister from Versus - this installment takes mutants, aliens, about 15 monsters, Starblazers, and the Matrix and puts them all in a blender to create a total mess of a movie but one that is oh so fun for the inner-geek. There is so much going on in the final battle of this flick that it is almost impossible to keep track of. You've got Godzilla and Mothra duking it out with M-gene creatures, a Neo type dude battling an Agent Smith type dude, some Russian Wrestler turned gruff Sea-Captain dude with a samurai sword, all kinds of space-ships and drilling machines and kung-fu and motorcycles - it is insanity. Only watch it if you are a hardcore geek (like me) otherwise you'll hate it.

Oh yeah - been reading "A Scanner Darkly" by Phillip K. Dick in my ongoing quest to read every novel he ever wrote. It is quite good, an excellent proto-cyberpunk drug addiction story. Maybe even better than William S. Burroughs- blasphemy I know. Still it's a great book and Linklater better not screw-up the movie that's coming out this July.

Originally posted on January 24, 2006 on Myspace.

Ho Down

Who doesn’t love reading about a good suburban Maryland prostitution bust now and then? This latest one in Ellicott City involving a former University of Maryland professor has it all – sex, drugs, anthropology, throat cutting, bikini gardening and pot-bellied pigs! Can’t wait til the rumors of a client list start flying.

Originally published on January 19, 2006.

The links in this post are now inactive. A shame because this was one whacky story.

On Cue

Looking for a good, comfortable place to watch one of this weekend’s NFL Playoff games? You may want to try out the new joint at 12th and U st. NW called the Cue Bar. My buddies and I took in the Saturday games there last weekend and in the world of yuppy/hipster, micro-brew, transportation themed neighborhood hybrids it was quite a pleasant surprise.

The Cue Bar took over a basement space that used to be fairly barren in decor and has created a cool atmosphere of muted tones and buffed metal, dim lights and high-tech flat-screen tvs. There are plenty of comfortable vantage points to watch a game, including an over-stuffed chair lounge and a very nice bar. The Cue Bar as its name suggests offers up about 8 pool tables as well as an adult Ping-pong table and darts. Around 9:30 at night they start in with DJ’s and the place fills up. But if you’ve been there all day watching football and having beers, then the added crowds come at just the right time.

Probably the most attractive feature are the very friendly bartenders who have no qualms sharing their football theories or very amusing anecdotes from their life stories. Not to mention a few free ones to celebrate a spectacular play.

While the Cue Bar probably aspires to be the next hip spot, which is usually the quality I hate in new bars, they manage to have the down home feel that I love about older joints thanks to their down-home service and willingness to host loud football fans. I really liked this place, hopefully it’ll survive the neighborhood competition until next season.

Originally published on January 19, 2006.

Cue Bar is now U Street Music Hall.

Godzilla Dream

I had a dream last night that I was leading a flotilla of make-shift gun-boats on the Potomac river to save DC from Godzilla. All of my friends were driving the boats and their crews were made up of people that annoy me that I have seen around DC area bars. It was a titanic battle, Godzilla trashed most of DC until I convinced the Navy to bring a Battleship up the Potomac. When the Battleship fired at Godzilla part of him exploded, it turns out it wasn't really Godzilla but a robot made to look like Godzilla. So as the Battleship and my fleet of armed fishing boats continued to battle the Godzilla robot - I led a commado team of Diamond, Josh and Scott into the robot to find whoever was driving it.

We end up capturing the driver, who much to our surprise turned out to be Beck Hanson! Upon the capture of Beck, the Godzilla robot shut-down. We dragged Beck out to the docks by his sgraggly hair and showed everyone that it was Beck who was destroying DC with a giant Godzilla robot and no one believed us! When we insisted that it was him and showed how the robot had shut-down because we caught Beck the crews of our make-shift gunboats and all the Navy guys said that that was impossible because Beck's music was too great to party to. So then they mutinied on us.

The last thing I remember was Diamond, Josh, Scott, and I being chased while dragging Beck toward the White House thinking that the President would believe us. Then Beck gave me an evil smile and said that the President was a frat-boy too.

What a nightmare.

Originally posted on January 18, 2006 on Myspace.



A concrete world; gray sky
over fields of slate

Stone steps, puddles
collected in cracks

These are the sights
in his last minute

Lying in a black, great coat
life leaking into pools

The image fades on
brown leaves

Now a spiral as
his soul retreats

Spinning up, looking
down on his shell

Crooked, bent
at the base of steps

Leading from a playground
in a humorless land

Birds circle above
mingling with his soul

But his mind's eye scans
the stretched city of stone

To the outskirts, what is
left of the earth

Far away fields of green
trees and mountains
guarding the sea

From the dead place where
he lived and died
on a cold January day

Life leaking
soul fleeing

thoughts on what
he missed.

Originally posted on January 17, 2006 on Myspace.

Another poem of mine. I quite like this one.

The Devil's Rejects Strike Back

Greta and I re-watched The Empire Strikes Back tonight and I don't know why but it got me thinking about The Devil's Rejects and the more I thought about the 2 movies I decided that they have essentially the same plot structure and that Rob Zombie was hinting at the similarity when he had the whore-house Star Wars discussion.

Bear with me here. What follows is a list of the similarities between the two films starting with elements of DR and then equating them to their Empire equivalents.

1. Tiny dragging the girl's body in the opening = The Snowbeast dragging Luke to his cave.

2. The raid on the house = The battle on Hoth

3. Otis and Baby escape through a tunnel = Han and Leia escaping through the halls of the Snow Base

4. Otis and Baby stealing a car = Han and Leia escaping Hoth on the Falcon.

5. Captain Spaulding = Luke Skywalker (on his own path from the others)

6. Spaulding's sex dream turning into the fat whore= Luke's Obi-Wan vision on Hoth turning into Han Solo on Tan-Tan.

7. Spaulding's truck running out of gas / stealing the station wagon = Luke's X-Wing crashing in the swamp / Yoda lifiting it out

8. Otis and Baby in the motel (pre-Spaulding) = Han and Leia in the Asteroid cave.

9. Sherif Wydell = the Anakin/Vader transition of the first 4 SW movies condensed in one film.

10. Wydell hiring The Terrible Duo = Vader hiring Bounty Hunters

11. Charlie Altamont (the whore house owner) = Lando Calrissian

12. Charlie's Whore House = Cloud City

13. The bald freak dude from "The Hills Have Eyes" = Lando's bald mute freak helper with the ear muffs.

14. Charlie Altamont greeting the Rejects with the "shotgun" then hugging them = Lando cursing out Han the hugging him.

15. Charlie Altamont giving the Rejects safe harbor then selling the out to save his neck and his business = Lando giving Han and Leia safe harbor and the selling them out to save his neck and his business.

16. The Reject's being tortured by Wydell = Han Solo being tortured by Vader and Luke getting his hand chopped off and being psychologically tortured by learning Vader is his dad.

Of course in DR everyone ends up dead. But other than that the two movies have essentially the same structure.

Originally posted January 11, 2006 on Myspace.

Mos Espy or bust!

Star Wars Galaxies has completely taken over my life. I am agog, yes agog at how huge they made the world in this game. Each planet is composed of several very developed cities, tons of towns and miles and miles of wilderness adventures. Tattooine alone is a role-playing game in itself. Awesome.

I am now a level 17 Commando and I am getting very close to that inevitable decision. Do I align with the Empire or the Rebel Alliance?

Any opinions from the SW peanut gallery? And if you cast a vote tell me why you would pick that side.

Originally posted on January 11, 2006 on Myspace.

I managed to play SWG for several years without ever going factional. I know that only means something to a seldom few of you readers, but it is quite an accomplishment in-game.


by: MHD

Pale, pregnant,
pugilist's wife
watches her man go down.

Face to the mat
flash-bulbs flash.
Frantic fans cry out.

Dilated pupil, diminished
dead stare, past his praying wife.

Dime-store Danny dances around the ring.

Originally posted on January 10, 2006 on Myspace.

A little more of my poetry.

Star Wars Galaxies

Ahh man. I used a Best Buy gift card I got to buy the online Star Wars role-playing game. It fucking owns.

Living, breathing, fighting, flying in the Star Wars universe with a couple hundred thousand other live online players and a ga-zillion NPC's with PS II cinematic quality graphics. It rules! It fucking rules!

All my friends who are into Star Wars should start playing this online and we can all meet up and form our own bad-ass adventure squad. Hell just the intro quests are a blast - I've been playing 2 days and am almost ready to make the move into total submersion - once I go to a planet it's on!

All the PSII SW games were the perfect build-up to buying this ultimate Star Wars game. It combines elements of all of Battlefront and Starfigther and adds a bitchin' role-playing interface to make the uber-SW game.

Defintiely a great time-waster.

Originally posted on January 6, 2006 on Myspace

This game ruled my life for a few years - good times.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


My opinion of the Brickskeller has been in decline over the past several years. I go there a couple of times a year, usually with visiting friends, and it increasingly feels like an over-priced tourist trap rather than the neighborhood bar with a great beer selection that it used to be.

I went there last night with a few buddies for a few brews. We sat upstairs at the bar. Got a very friendly bartender. Ordered some beers.

Ace of Hearts – the pilsner of El Salvador – 5 mintues later – “Sorry we’re out of that.”

Wexford Cream Ale or Boddingtons whichever ya got- 5 minutes later – “Sorry try again”

Decided to get something on tap. Try the only beer that is less than $8 a pint. It’s crap. Start experimenting with the other beers on tap. Averaging $9.95 a glass!

Decided to give up on the expensive taps, and the non-existant bottled selection, and go with good old cheap American beers.

Order a Yeungling Lager – ten minutes later – “Sorry we’re out of that too.” – What!?

How can the bar touting the largest beer menu in the world be out of Yeungling Lager!? I mean run down to 7-11 for christ sake!

So we end up drinking Schlitz in a can the rest of the night. Yes, Sclitz in a can – the old stand-by -which I never thought I’d have to stoop to at the Brickskeller of all places.

As I sat there bitterly drinking my over-priced can of Shlitz, taking in the beer-hall decor, and running-down the list of not very rare out-of-stock beers I got to thinking that the ol’ Brick ain’t what she used to be.

Of course as my friends and I were parting ways out in front of the place, a tourist couple came strolling by looking for fun, the Brickskeller sign stopped them in their tracks. As they looked over the sign I overheard the woman say “ohhhh the largest beer selection in the world!” and they promptly went in. I caught myself starting to warn them, but then stopped myself thinking maybe the $60 they drop for 5 beers might buy a couple of cases of Ace of Hearts for the inventory the next time I get suckered into going to the Skeller.

Originally published on January 6, 2006.

I have some good memories at this bar, but I have not been back since this lame night.

Yes it's true - I am a geek

Re-watched "Strange Days" with Ralph Fiennes and Angela Bassett tonight. I've got a thing for the cyber-punk-inspired film-niche of the 1990's. Most of the movies were fairly poor but I love 'em just the same. Strange Days is one of the better directed ones. Kathyrn Bigelow used to rock as a director, I wonder what she's been working on lately?

I also finally defeated the two droid tank factories in "SW Clone Wars". It only took me about 5 hours of trying. Of course I was then promptly trounced for an hour straight by the two Proto-dekas guarding the Sith City on Thule. Ahh the joys of PS2.

I noticed in the bookstore the other day that ROC is re-launching a series of Shadowrun novels, so I picked up the first one called "Born to Run" - it's pure derivative cyber-cheese but it is still fun to jack into the Shadowrun universe again. It's amazing how quickly all the details of that world came back to me. I'd love to get a game going again someday.

I guess that's all for tonight, later chummers!

Originally posted on January 4, 2006 on Myspace.

What the frig? Redux

The Redskins over the Eagles on Sunday. The Redskins are now play-off bound. I say again “What the frig?”

The last time the Redskins beat the Eagles, they lost to Tampa Bay by 1 point the following week. Well guess who the Redskins are up against in the first round of the play-offs? That’s right, Tampa Bay. If that’s not a case of scheduling deja-vu I don’t know what is. Let’s see if Gibbs and his boys can pull this one out. I don’t see it happening, but if they do, you know what I’ll be saying.

And in Hockey news – let’s hear it for the Capitals who beat the Flyers in a rare over-time shoot-out on Saturday night.

Two DC teams over two Philly teams in the same weekend? What the frig?

Originally published on January 3, 2006.

Korean New Year’s

I must admit I’m surprised there haven’t been any New Year’s Eve stories posted this weekend. So I’ll share mine.

Being our first New Year’s Eve as a married couple, my wife and I decided to ring in the New Year with a date. We took in a veritable feast of Korean food at Hee Been, just off Little River Turnpike. If you’ve never been to Hee Been and like spicy foods I highly recommend it. The dinners are centered around Korean BBQ which is best when composed of several different marinated meats grilled at your table and enhanced with about 10 Korean side dishes (included in price) ranging from the identifiable to the “that’s going in my mouth?!” variety. In all the experience makes for a fun flavor-filled evening of food experimenting and on New Year’s it didn’t disappoint.

Hee Been
6231 Little River Turnpike, Alexandria, Va.
(703) 941-3737
(They also have an inexpensive lunch buffet which is a cheaper way to find out which Korean delicacies you like and which ones you don’t.)

After dinner, we had a quiet evening of ice cream and DVD’s until midnight when we scampered out to our cul-de-sac, in our bare-feet and pajamas, to watch the Old Town fireworks lighting up the Masonic Temple while hugging each other for warmth. As we stood there, fireworks blazing, freezing our toes off, hugging in a light drizzle I decided then and there that my resolution would be to have more evenings like this one in the New Year.

Originally published on January 3, 2006.

Holiday Movie Catch-up. Not Ketchup or I'd be Screaming.

Munich - totally rules the planet. Best film on the terrorism/revenge cycle ever and darn entertaining at the same time. Even better than the Robert Shaw classic Black Sunday!

Wolf Creek - I don't know what all the hub-bub is about surrounding this movie. It is a basic killer in the badlands movie. A lot of slow build-up then some decent "run rabbit" scenes, then a lame ending.

The Rutles - Eric Idle's feature length Beatles spoof. G's father got me this for X-mas and it is really hilarious. The spoofs of the different Beatle's films are genius.

The Aviator
- this movie totally kicked-ass - why didn't anyone insist on me watching it. Definitely one of Scorcese's best as a director and DiCaprio's finest hour as an actor so far.

High Tension
(Unrated Director's Cut) - Whoa momma did this one kick ass. Probably one of the best tense horror movies I've seen in the last decade. The plot got pretty non-sensical but by that point there is so much blood on screen your brain is numb anyway. I was horrified and thrilled by this movie. It's fucking great.

- Christian Slater's first movie. I watch this one a lot. The title says it all. Slater's character is one fucked up little hombre.

Miami Vice
: Season I - episodes 1-10 - Greta got me this for X-mas. I fucking loved this show as a kid and realize now as an adult that it was one of the best gritty cop dramas of all time. Watching the series develop over the early episodes is really cool. Tubbs is the man.

Danger Mouse
: Season I - episodes 1-4 - Marcus and I got each other the same gift and it was this. Great minds think alike. This show is another childhood joy that has taken on a whole new level of humor watching it as an adult. It is brilliant comedy.

And of course I saw King Kong a second time. Which on a non-digital projector lost some of that "other-worldly glow" I referred to in my earlier review but still pretty much made me grin from ear to ear the whole dang time.

Originally posted on January 2, 2006 on Myspace.

Happy Holidays!

The Night Before Christmas in DC
by: Michael Darpino

Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the city
Not a person was stirring
Not even G. Gordon Liddy.

The stadium negotiations were hung
By the council who care
With chances slim
that the Nationals would play there.

And the President was nestled
All snug in his bed
While visions of Crawford (TX)
Danced through his head.

Originally published on December 23, 2005.

A little DC poem I wrote.

"I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen.”

Everybody knows by now that the Library of Congress hosts free retrospective films, right? Well they do and quite often they are real old school rarities and classics. This week they’re offering up a little lighter, more mainstream fare but it sure is a good one.

Thursday evening at 7:00 in the Madison Library there will be a free showing of "Say Anything". What can I say about this movie that hasn’t already been said? "Say Anything" is the last of the great 80’s romances. The movie that ended the John Hughes era and heralded in the reign of Cameron Crowe over America’s comedic heart strings. Not necessarily a good transition in my opinion but one that showed only promise in this pitch perfect movie. After all "Say Anything" is still Cameron Crowe’s best movie.

Go see Cusack hold up the boom box, for free at the Library of Congress tomorrow night.

Library of Congress
Madison Building, Mary Pickford Theater
101 Independence Ave. SE
(202) 707-5677

Originally published on December 21, 2005.

Pistol Pete

Pistol Pete is waiting on Tommy Tune in the lobby of the Trip Fantastic. Plastic furniture and retro rugs, hotel right outta da fifties. Pete sits in the corner, hid behind the sports page, peeking over it every few ticks. Tommy be walking through any sec. Tommy the two-bit band leader. Tommy the turd. Tommy the truant. Tommy who ripped Yuletide Cheer off for 50 big ones. Tommy who Pete is here to collect. Pete pokes his peepers past the paper and pans the parlor for the poor piggy he's here to pick-up.

Originally posted on December 22, 2005 on Myspace.

Another prose fiction slice.

The 10 best concerts in and around DC for 2005

Time for my best concerts in and around DC of 2005 list. You remember the rules right? This list is based on individual sets by bands rather than total concert bills. This is the top 10 out of about 50 or so bands that I saw this year.

10. Slint @ the 930 Club: In a surprise reunion tour early in 2005, Slint proved that they were the ultimate nexus of noise-rock and post-rock by building up a tense atmosphere of precision guitar picking and then blowing it apart with their insane guitar squall abilities.

9. Muse @ University of Maryland’s Cole Field House: Of the 5 times I’ve seen them this was by far the best set I’ve seen Muse play since they’ve come to the United States, these brit-rockers treated the tiny Field House like it was a major arena and rocked out accordingly. Their sound is always huge but in this venue they sounded gigantic.

8. Ceremony @ Central Station : By far the highlight of the Wall of Sound Festival was Ceremony’s set near the end of the night. These favorite sons of Fredricksburg combined simple dance beats and complex shoegaze guitars to create some of the best new sounds in the whole damn country let alone DC. Their ripping set dominated the crowd particularly their bad-ass cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” and the guest shots by Jake from DC’s own Alcian Blue.

7. Kraftwerk (night 2) @ the 930 Club: Having attended both nights of their show at the 930 Club, I feel safe in declaring their second night the best electronic show in DC of 2005. Everything clicked perfectly the second night and I’ve never heard the 930’s system sound soooo good. Kraftwerk transformed the 930 Club making the audience feel like little neutrons and electrons zipping around in their digital wonderland.

6. Gang of Four @ SONAR: I felt extremely honored to finally see Gang of Four at the 930 Club in May of 2005, they are one of my favorites and that show was fan-friggin-tastic. So imagine my pleasant surprise when I got to see them again up in Baltimore in October and they topped themselves. Gang of Four’s Baltimore show was a sweaty, dancy, herky-jerky, spastic freak-out of a show. From Jon King’s gyrating to Andy Gill’s git-box grinding it was like the band somehow took us all back in time to their “Entertainment” heyday for one night. It was spectacular.

5. Helmet @ the Recher Theater: There is probably no band I have seen in concert more than Helmet. That said, the new line-up Page Hamilton threw together for his Fall mini-tour put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen under the Helmet moniker. Once again the Recher Theater in Towson proved to be a great sounding concert hall and Page Hamilton and his crew took full advantage of the space. Helmet grinded through fan favorites off of most of their discography treating the 40 or so people to a good-old fashioned Helmet throw-down. I haven’t heard Helmet sound this good since “Meantime”.

4. Jello Biafra and the Melvins @ the Black Cat: Jello Biafra and Dave Gahan tie for best stage presence of 2005. Biafra’s return to DC couldn’t have come at a better time than now. The political atmosphere in DC is electric and Biafra was totally plugged into it, giving a rousing performance of Dead Kennedy’s classics, new songs he wrote with the Melvins, and the special treat of “Forkboy” which he wrote with Lard. There was an old SNL skit called “Happy Fun Ball” about this dangerous rubber toy ball being dropped over Iraq. If ever the “Happy Fun Ball” had a human equivalent it was Jello Biafra at this show.

3. Depeche Mode @ the Patriot Center: Closing out the American leg of their world tour, Depeche Mode treated the DC area to a longer set-list than anywhere else in the country. Their dazzling stage presence hit on the majority of their singles from “Music for the Masses” to “Songs of Faith and Devotion” and also featured all the good tunes off of their new album “Playing the Angel.” From what I’ve read about other dates on the tour, Dave Gahan has been somewhat subdued on stage, but not at this show. Gahan was in full rock-god glory all night as much as little guy Martin Gore was playing the reluctant shy “sensitive” one. The addition of a live drummer really kicked up the old numbers and Andrew Fletcher’s keyboards never sounded better than on the new tracks.The crowd loved every minute of the show, and there really is nothing better than seeing Depeche Mode with a good crowd, especially during the encores when Gahan interacts with them like the master performer that he is.

2. M83 @ the Black Cat: A performance so good it required me to invent a new word, one that I hope wil mark my place in the lexicon of international music criticism and that l shall re-introduce here. M83 were shimmattering. (Shimmering + Shattering, in other words the unholy combination of music’s best yet disparate qualities in a way that seems sonically impossible and utterly mind-blowing to mere mortal concert-goers like myself). Seriously, if you missed this performance I pity you.

1. Mono @ the Talking Head Club: When I got home from this show in October, I fully intended to review it on this site. But when I sat down at my keyboard to type, my hands were frozen over the keys. My ears were still ringing and if I closed my eyes I could see and hear Mono (from Japan) creating their beautiful maelstrom of sound all over again. I sat there in the dark, in front of my PC for about a half-hour just enjoying the ride. Of all the sets I saw in 2005 none left a more lasting impression on me than seeing Mono play at the tiny, but underrated Talking Head Club. I picked Black Rebel Motorcycle Club as my #1 set of 2004 because their show that year put me in a state of pure music nirvana. Since that was my first official year-end list I have decided that it shall be the judging criteria for every list to follow. A criteria Mono surely matches. From the first quiet strum of Mono’s guitars to their final 15 minute extended tidal wave of sound I was in music nirvana the entire time at this show. Standing in that cramped, dirty, little club I had one of those transcendent music moments that I live for. Mono definitely put on the best performance I saw in 2005.

Originally published on December 20, 2005.

You're a Mean One...Mister Grump

Well la-de-da, I got my first fucking 'B' today, in Terrorism no less. Fuckin' bull-puckey is what it is. Added to which I just got home from the bloody dentist and my gums feel like the Vietnam War.

So what do I do now? 1. Go an a shooting rampage in McDonalds or 2. go see a movie? Feel like 1 will probably do 2.

Originally posted on December 20, 2005 on Myspace.

Road Rage Metroblog Style

Getting cut-off while driving is one annoying thing, but getting almost run off the road by an armored car is another. Some ass-faced employee of AT Solutions, while trying to squeeze his 5 ton armored car into my lane like it was a Geo Metro, nearly squashed the driver side of my car and forced me onto the shoulder of Route 1 in Alexandria this afternoon. The crack-head driver then proceeded to swerve in front of me again a few minutes later whilst on the on-ramp for 495 after which he slammed on his brakes nearly causing a massive collision. My Camry versus his Armored f*cking Car, it would not have been pretty.

It is days like this that I wish I had upgraded for the Dual Grill Missile Launcher package when I bought the old Mike-mobile.

Published on December 19, 2005.

Everyone shows up for a funeral

I will never understand DC’s industrial/Gothic nightclub scene. On a usual night out at one of DC’s three scene events the crowd size is medium to small, and occasionally nil. Indicating that the scene in DC is waning.

Chiaroscuro at the edge is a perfect example. A perfectly fun dance night that we’ve been going to about once a month for the last couple of years. There is hardly ever a large crowd there, with the exception of this past Saturday night.

Saturday was the final Chiaroscuro and my friends and I went there expecting the usual mediocre crowd to give this fun little night its send-off. That was not the case. The club was packed to the gills with people and it was jumping.

A fun night was had by all, one I would even go out on a limb to call an “old-school” good time. “Old-school” like the years of fun at former scene havens the Roxy and Trax. Which leaves me wondering, where the heck are all these people every other Saturday night and why do they only come out to support the end of a dance night that they otherwise seem to ignore?

Is it in the morbid Goth tendencies to let a night flounder in obscurity and then revel in its demise with one heck of a wake? Or is it that the scene veterans can only bring themselves to hire a sitter once a year and throw down? Being of the eternal youth mind-set I don’t get the phenomenon of the scene hibernating and only showing its colors once in a blue moon.

Saturday night was evidence to me that the scene in DC is still as large as ever, it’s just in a dormant state hiding in a crypt somewhere. Whatever dance night pops up to replace Chiaroscuro I hope the scene can bring themselves out to support it a little more frequently than just to celebrate its end.

Originally published on December 19, 2005.

Just this week, on June 18, 2010, we launched a new Industrial/Goth night at FUR Nightclub in DC. I was one of the DJs. The night is called 'Revolution' and marks the return of this scene to a large nightclub format. 'Chiaroscuro' at the Edge was the last big nightclub Industrial night. I can't believe it has been 5 years!

“This is the End, beautiful friend”

Saturday night marks the end of Chiaroscuro at the Edge in southeast.

Chiaroscuro is one of the last of the Industrial/Goth dance parties in DC, although they often mixed in plenty of 80’s hits as well, and while they certainly couldn’t come close to the heyday of Trax and the Roxy, they still managed to be a lot more fun than their current competition Alchemy and Midnight.

Saturday night will feature a retrospective line-up of all their past DJ’s and should be a pretty good time. Go to the above link for a 2-for-1 admission coupon to celebrate the end of the “two party dance system.”

Originally published on December 17, 2005.

Uptown: King Kong

I consider the Uptown Theater to be one of DC’s great resources. There’s nothing I love more than going to see big event pictures at the Uptown and I’ve seen all the big ones of the last 12 years there.

I just got home from seeing Peter Jackson’s remake of "King Kong" at the Uptown and (while I’ll spare you a review) I have to say I think that it might be the best match for that giant screen out of any other movie I’ve seen there.

Jackson’s Kong is a movie fanatic’s wet dream, it’s got it all, and on such a large scale that only the Uptown can really do it justice. Tonight was a sublime movie-going experience. The audience was totally captivated and Kong, Skull Island, and 1930’s New York just looked so incredible up on DC’s premier movie screen that it almost made me want to shout out in a moment of sheer movie geek nirvana (which in fact I eventually did during the Bug Pit sequence).

If you like movies, do yourself a favor and go see "King Kong" at the Uptown, it is an incredible experience.

Originally published on December 17, 2005.

Return of the King

I just got home from seeing "King Kong" at the Uptown. And I have to say, that movie in that theater was one of the single greatest movie-going experiences of my life. "King Kong" is a magical, breath-taking, ass-kicking cinematic achievement. Everyone has to see this in a theater - it is essential.

The new Kong is AMAZING! The whole movie has this aura about it that just puts it into a warm glowing other-world where giant Apes really can exist. The depiction of old school New York city is mind-blowingly good and the Skull Island sequences are fucking movie geek porn.

Skull Island is so fucking bad-ass from start to finish. Oh My God! I was grinning from ear to ear the entire second act. It is an adventure movie fan's wet dream. It's got it all - natives, tommy guns, dinosaurs, creatures, violence, great buddies, insects, and Kong! Shit, I'm still smiling.

This flick is one of the best I've ever seen in the theater. It is movie magic of the first order - it makes you a kid again - it makes you question how any human could possibly create something that crazy - it is a massively good movie.

Everyone - go - just fucking go!

Originally posted on December 17, 2005 on Myspace.

A lot of people hate on this movie but it still hits that inner-child, giant monster movie loving part of me every time I watch it. I acknowledge some of its flaws on re-watching but that first Uptown theater viewing was magical and I stand by my two posts about it.


There is really only one word I can use to describe the new Narnia movie and that is "class". This movie was almost picture perfect as an adaptation but also crafted with such class, particularly in the first half, that it felt like real old fashioned movie magic. Like it really gets you to suspend disbelief. The kids, especially Lucy and Edmund, are cast perfectly and the portrayal of Narnia is spot on.

When I say class I am referring to the restrained FX as we get introduced to the world of Narnia. They actually had the balls to let the characters impress the audience before going crazy with FX. The second half is where the mucho-macho FX work kicks in and it doesn't disappoint. Don't get me wrong, there are a few tiny FX flubs, but by that point you are so wrapped up in the movie it doesn't matter. And the end, the end is the best live-action massive battle in any kids' movie ever.

And when I say class, I am also referring to the performances. The old-school british politeness that we rarely see in modern movies. It was excellent to hear these children speaking intelligently without resorting to modern slang or attitudes. Their performances really are quite old fashioned and what a difference it makes in this fantasy story set in the 1930's. Total class all the way.

I want to go on and on about some spoilers but I won't until I know some of my movie guys (and gals) get a chance to see this one.

On a side note: everyone knows I'm a sucker for "brothers" stories and Narnia has a great one. I have to say that there were many times during the movie that I saw myself in Edmund and in Peter, but I also saw my brothers in both characters too. It created a really cool empathy with those characters that raised their story to a whole other level of enjoyment. Marc and Craig, I bet you'll love their story.

Originally posted on December 15, 2005 on Myspace.

I recently saw the lackluster trailer for the third Narnia film. This is an odd series of films and I am glad that the first movie can stand on its own without needing the uneven sequels.


All my friends who don't live here are jerks. Move suckas!

Originally posted on December 7, 2005 on Myspace.


If you haven't seen "Unleashed" with Jet Li, Morgan Freeman and Bob Hoskins please do. This is a transcendent action/drama that just rules from top to bottom. If you liked "The Professional" you have to see "Unleashed". The two movies are almost a genre unto themselves.

Originally posted on December 6, 2005 on Myspace.


I just finished a fascinating research project on the Shining Path down in Peru. Revolutionary movements like this are often romanticised in our culture. I came across this chilling paragraph in my studies that paints a more realistic portrait of these bloody conflicts.

"One of the most common (Shining Path) tactics was beheading victims. Also eyes were gouged out; men were castrated; children were disemboweled; and human bonfires were set. Shining Path socialized its young recruits to violence; children of five and six were taught to kill chickens so that they would be accustomed to blood, and by the age of nine were smashing skulls with stones." (McClintock p69).

Originally posted on December 1, 2005 on Myspace.

The world is a crazy place.

Darpino Liberation Front

So I've been planning this hypothetical terrorist attack for my Terrorism Policy class. It's all based on information available on the internet. It's a little frightening to think that all I need to implement my plan of destruction is about 30 thousand dollars, some explosives, and 4 willing co-conspirators.

I can't believe I go to school to learn how to blow-up buildings.

If it weren't for my good nature, I'd be a dangerous man.

Originally posted on November 27, 2005 on Myspace.

Thanksgiving Movie Marathon

Had a nice night of vegging on the couch after eating an awesome meal made by my awesome wife.

I finally got around to seeing Infernal Affairs - a very stylish police thriller from Hong Kong. I had heard a lot about this and was not let down. This is a pretty damn cool flick with tons of great tension and a plot that at times is just crazy complicated. I know have high hopes for the Scorsese directed remake.

After that Greta and I re-watched Signs which is a movie I just love and like more and more with each viewing.

We wrapped up our movie marathon re-watching Shaun of the Dead which I was a little luke-warm about when it first came out, but now realize the error of my ways. That flick is awesome.

I also have been watching episodes from the Aeon Flux Complete DVD collection.Which in one word is AMAZING! The remastered sound kicks ass, the image transfer is great, and the cartoon is quite simply one of the greatest things ever drawn. (PS - fuck that new Aeon movie!)

Originally posted on November 26, 2005 on Myspace.


Have any of you seen the movie "Equilibrium" starring Christina Bale and Taye Diggs? If so I'm curious to hear your opinions on it.

I saw it for the first time tonight and am left with an odd feeling about it. For the most part I enjoyed it. Even with its budget constraints the film makers created a decent sci-fi/action movie. The no-feeling future was interesting - completely unrealistic but it worked in a fable sense. The gun-kata was an cool concept altho I'm left a little cold by the execution of it in the flick. I guess the actual action directing could have been a little better.

One thing I thought was really interesting was the lack of emotional response during scenes of extreme violence in the first half. It really upped the impact of these sanctioned massacres to have no one in the movie responding to them with any emotion whatsoever. And of course as Christian Bale's character makes his arc it worked pretty brilliantly.

In all, I recommend this movie with the condition that I could see how some of you might not dig it. I'm curious to hear all of your opinions on it.

Originally posted on November 23, 2005 on Myspace.

Men at Work

No, not the 80’s band from down under but the men who work in all kinds of weather on road-crews all across the DC region.

My first job as a lad was working on a road-crew in South Jersey in the summer. We policed downed trees, we filled pot-holes, we cleaned up illegal dump sites, and whatever other bizarre grunt-work the Township presented us. It was a tough job but a great one filled with misadventure, camaraderie, and fights. I worked with some of the toughest of the tough guys and they were plenty of fist-fights and heated shouting matches that combined with the work turned my scrawny 15 year-old butt into a hearty ass-kicker. I have fond memories of that summer spent in the wilds of South Jersey with the crew. Today on King Street I saw something that sparked a deluge of memories from those days.

King between 95 and Braddock is down to one lane today as a huge road-crew is scrambling to fill 5 gigantic holes left by the recent laying of underground powerlines. The work turned that section of King Street into a choke-hold of traffic and I was stuck sitting in it for about 10 minutes. I sat watching a group of three guys having trouble directing a dump-truck filled with sand over one of the holes. One of the guys was working, the other two seemed to be arguing. Their mouths flapping, their faces twisted in anger, shovels beng stabbed into the dirt for emphasis.

As my car inched closer I rolled down my window, and sure enough the two guys were screaming at each other. The third guy finally got between them and split it up. Watching this I was instantly reminded of a fight I got in that summer with a crew-member after he almost ran me over with a Bulldozer.

The three guys eventually got the truck positioned and as it started to drop its sand the traffic in front of me started moving. As my car passed the crew – one of the guys threw down his shovel and lunged at the guy he had been yelling at. I got to see two or three landed punches before the flow of traffic took me past the dump-truck.

As I drove home the memories started flooding in of that summer on the crew in NJ. I wondered what those guys were fighting over? Kind of odd to see that sort fo thing around here but back in South Jersey it wasn’t a normal week on the crew without two guys getting into some sort of fight in the yard or on the roadside.

Originally published on November 23, 2005.


Did anyone watch "Las Vegas" tonight on NBC? Did any of you see what has got to be the lamest death in television history?

I guess that's what I get for watching a television show merely for the T&A. This show sucks ass and it has been on a downward slide for the last two seasons and tonight's lame-ass Lara Flynn Boyle death scene has got to be the most retarded death of a television character ever - ever!

She got blown off the casino roof when the wind caught the flying-squirrel-like fabric under her ridiculous outfit's armpits! What is that?

And as we see in the teaser for next week's continuation - apparently she glided all the way down the Vegas strip before crashing through a window and dying! What?! Asinine!

I watch shows like this to veg out after a long day at school - to go brain-dead if you will - but please dear god - however lax my mind is while watching - it is still possible to insult my intelligence! Wind - armpits! What?

Originally posted on November 22, 2005 on Myspace.

Goblet of Fire

Okay, so I've been mumbling under my breath for about a year now that the Harry Potter movies are good. In fact they keep getting better with each new one. Say what you will nay-sayers, but until you actually watch the flicks your opinion means nothing to me.

These are good movies - period!

I've made a point not to read any of the books, just like I did with LOTR so that I can watch the movies pure. And damn if the Harry Potter flicks don't rule.

The latest one is perhaps the best. I wouldn't recommend seeing it without seeing the first three as they explain nothing and just jump right in. However having watched the first three, the movie is a great evolution of the characters and the maturity of the action. The Goblet of Fire is definitely the The Empire Strikes Back of the series. At least so far.

It actually leaves you depressed. I can't express how happy I am that they had the balls to make a depressing movie in this franchise. Potter faces real evil in this series and the new movie serves as an excellent "raising or the stakes" flick. Evil (like Darth Sidious machinations evil) comes onto the scene for the first time and as we all know Evil makes for damn fine entertainment.

My only complaint about the latest episode is that there are a few scenes in the beginning with bad lighting and that there are a few goofy jokes in a vain attempt to give something to the little kids. Fortunately those minor "laughs" take up about 2 seconds of screen time and then it's back to the killin'!

Now that they are on the fourth movie, I am really getting the sense that the Harry Potter movies are something major in cinema. This is a real honest to goodness movement right under our noses. The genius of having the actors actually grow up while telling a story of evolving maturity and risk is really taking shape here.

And that's why I'm finally writing about them. To recommend the movies (to everyone out there who like me was avoiding them). To all my movie geek friends - if you haven't seen these - please do. They are great.

Originally posted on November 22, 2005 on Myspace.

Alexandria Arms Dealer

A few years ago I read the novel Run by Douglas Winter – it was a gripping yarn about illegal Arms Dealers, the CIA, and East Coast gangs. In the novel Winter claimed that Alexandria, Virginia was the epi-center of the world’s legal and illegal Arms and Munitions trade. I always wondered if that was true or if Winter just pulled it out of his imagination.

I’ve been doing a little digging lately and I have stumbled across this interesting little Alexandria based firm called Wye Oak Technology (named of course after Maryland’s state tree the Wye Oak).

If you go to Wye Oak’s corporate web site they offer themselves out as a group of “engineering professionals” who offer various tech solutions to businesses. If you follow their offered services links you get the usual but then you get this.

Here’s an idea of the kinds of special projects this innocent looking tech solutions firm does for their various clients.

Seems Wye Oak is doing a little more than developing tacky websites for churches and supermarkets. Seems Wye Oak is an Alexandria VA based cover operation doing more than a little arms dealing.

In fact Wye Oak’s founder Dale C. Stoffel was murdered in Iraq last December after hinting at a kick-back scheme in the Iraqi Defense Ministry in which Wye Oak was contracted to refurbish old Soviet Era tanks for the new government. You can read all about the Stoffel mystery at this great blog or this independent media site that I stumbled upon in my research.

Or you can go to this other independent media site where they have Insurgent Communiques claiming that Stoffel was murdered for being the unofficial CIA Director in Iraq.

Either way you shake it, there is something fishy about Wye Oak. All it took was a good novel and a little curiosity to discover a front company for an arms dealer in my own backyard. I wonder what other Old Town secrets I can dig up?

UPDATE: Since the writing of this article two days ago Wye Oak Technology have taken their website offline. You can go to a cached version of it here.

Originally published on November 22, 2005.

This led to a paranoid few days where I thought I might get kidnapped or killed for exposing this. I found out about this because I was trying to find out who owned this awesome house that was always empty in my neighborhood. Wye Oak owned it and researching them lead to this story.

Note: This article was chock full of weblinks that lead to some amazingly weird supporting evidence for my story. Almost all of those weblinks are inactive in 2010. Too bad because everything I write about here sounds too crazy to be true, but it is. I uncovered this operation in my town and it quickly went offline.


Hate, bile, anti-social. Blech. Fuck you.

(either cheer me up or come back tomorrow)

Originally posted on November 19, 2005 on Myspace.

A bad day at the office.

We Don’t Play Guitars!

Electro-clash sarcasto vixens Chicks on Speed are finally playing the DC area – a couple of years after their hey-dey – but hey better late than never and that’s about how long it takes most of this town to find the really cool scene anyway.

I worship these ladies and their unique brand of musical satire. Sending-up everything in the worlds of fashion, entertainment, and politics in such a circular way that by show’s end you don’t know whether you’re coming or going. For tonight expect a tissue paper fashion show, spatulas, and some jarringly original dance music as CoS dissect, digest and regurgitate the genre they helped create back in ‘98.

They are playing an early show at Cubik down at Nation where the Buzzlife promoters have got a full night lined-up. Not only are CoS playing but so are Glastonbury wunderkinds Infusion and uber-DJ Rob Swift along with the Scion Battle of the DJ’s to round-out a night of dancing well-worth the 20 samoleons.

Cubik @ Nation
doors at 8

Originally published on November 18, 2005.

Re:sonance DJ’s strike again!

Tonight I’m going to be DJ-ing at DC9 with my partner in crime DJ Balance.

We’re spinning for our favorite DC shoegazers Alcian Blue and their special blissed-out guests Isobella and Odiorne.

With these great bands and our great record collections this should make for one mighty shoegazer showcase – don’t miss it!

Doors @ 9:00
Cover $7

Originally published on November 15, 2005.

Bald Chicken

Today I was shaved completely bald.

For those who don't shave their heads, there is a distinct difference between the "second to closest" setting on the razor and the "closest" setting. I am a "second to closest" type of head-shaver. I like having a very neat shave with some hair remaining. That's my "look" - if I ever had one.

Today the guy at the barber shop - who gave me a perfect precision shave last month - for some reaosn forgot how I like my hair cut and he shaved off all of my hair! All of it. My pale naked scalp looks like a damn frozen chicken. Not too mention, he cut me in three different places on my scalp.

I feel like a god damn space-monkey. I can only hope my head hair grows as fast as my chin hair.

Now I have to go find a hat.

Originally posted on November 12, 2005 on Myspace.

Mail Call

Have a little announcement from the US Postal Service – If anyone needs to send any Christmas presents or holiday care packages to friends or loved ones serving in Iraq or Afghanistan – this Saturday is the deadline for getting them in the mail with a guarantee that the packages will get to the troops by Christmas Day.

Having just experienced the doldrums of Jarhead – I am sure mail call is a big event for all our boys and gals out there on the frontlines. So if you know one why not drop them a DVD, a book, or a PSP in the mail with a message of Holiday Cheer.

Originally published on November 10, 2005.

Spring Schedule

Signed up for Spring Classes today.

Spanish 101
Intro to American Politics
Literature: Empire and Adventure
History Advanced Research: Colonialism in the Modern World - Africa, Asia, South America

It's looking like I am going to end up with a History B.A. with a minor in International Politics and my license to teach History at the High School level.

Only a year and a half to two years to go!

Originally posted on November 10, 2005 on Myspace.

What the frig?

The Redskins beat the Eagles! Not only that but for most of the game they looked pretty damn good doing it too.

I’m not much of a sports writer and I’m still in shock at the 17 to 10 victory but – what the frig?

I can’t believe the Skins are 5-3 and I can’t believe they hung this victory on the Eagles! The Skins are now ahead of the Eagles in the NFC East and today’s victory ties them with Dallas for second place in the division!

I repeat what the frig?

I’m not saying I’m a convert now, but I am impressed by this win over the Eagles and I’m really curious to see what the Skins do next week against Tampa Bay.

Originally published on November 7, 2005.

For the collectors

A few musings on massive collections of things:

You ever notice how the bigger your collections get (no matter what you collect) the harder they get to maintain? Cleaning, sorting, consolidating, and organizing. And did you ever notice how people who aren't collectors think you are wasting your time spending all those hours doing the above? Have you ever had trouble explaining to them that that is part of the fun of collecting? Have you ever been successful in convincing them that sitting in a room surrounded by your collection and looking over every item in it for hours on end is to some degree the whole point of having the collection in the first place?

What is the point in having your toys and not playing with them, your music and not listening to it, your movies and not watching them, or your comics and not reading them?

To me there is none. I know a few of you readers know what I'm getting at.

Here's to collections and collectors - god bless 'em! (unless they're standing between me and Amazing Spiderman #129)

Originally posted on November 7, 2005 on Myspace.

Go Spielberg

This guy is full of surprises.

Originally posted on November 5, 2005 on Myspace.

Mike TV

My own DVD driven television channel has really been shaping up lately. I watch an episode or two of "Arrested Development: Season One - then I toss in a couple of episodes of "Tour of Duty" - and now I've finally added "War of the Worlds: The Series" to the mix which I debuted tonight with the 2 hour pilot movie.

When I run out of "Arrested Development" it'll be "The Young Ones" for comic relief.

Hopefully I'll be adding "Danger Mouse" and "Deadwood" to the rotation in the next month or so.

Man, who needs cable?

Originally posted on November 4, 2005 on Myspace.

MIA Story

Does anyone out there know the name of the Joe R. Lansdale inter-racial boxing story set during the turn of the century hurricane in Gavelston Texas? Or the anthology he wrote it for?

I want to read it bad.

Posted on November 2, 2005 on Myspace.

I am still trying to find this story.

Super-Awesome Mix Tape (well CD really)

Just check out this great track list of Shoegaze and Brit greatness!

1. Color Filter - Stella Sea
2. The Charlatans UK - (No One) Not Even The Sea
3. The Stone Roses - Waterfall
4. The Cooper Temple Clause - The Lake
5. Aerial Love Feed - 5 Miles into the Atmosphere
6. The Boo Radleys - Firesky
7. Hum - Double Dip
8. Fields of the Nephilim - Shiva
9. My Bloody Valentine - Inferno
10. Swallow - Lovesleep (vocal version)
11. Curve - Doppelganger
12. Highspire - Skies You Climb
13. Airiel - Stratosphere
14. Air Formation - Caught Upon The Waves
15. Scala - Still

Yeah, you know you want it.

Originally posted on November 2, 2005 on Myspace.