Get Busy Child


Wheee! The Crystal Method are in town tomorrow night 🙂
For those not familiar with the band, here’s a short bio from All Music Guide:

L.A.’s Crystal Method have been referred to as America’s answer to the Chemical Brothers. A dance-based electronic duo with a definite rock band feel, the comparison would seem appropriate, although it tends to erase what makes the group distinct: a solid base in American hip-hop, rock, soul, and pop. Formed in 1993 by Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland, Crystal Method is the most recent stop in a string of projects that led them from their native Las Vegas (and some forgettable four-track stabs at vocal house music), to the early-’90s L.A. rave scene. Drawn in by its youthful idealism, Jordan and Kirkland became absorbed by L.A.’s underground club culture and began knocking out tracks inspired by their experiences. On the strength of one of their demos, Crystal Method signed to Steve Melrose and Justin King’s City of Angels imprint in 1994, and their debut single, “Keep Hope Alive,” appeared soon after. The title was in reference to L.A.’s waning rave scene (burdened by constant police pressure and a string of random violent incidents) and became something of an anthem due to the endless barrage of remixes and alternate versions that appeared. The pair’s demand to be taken seriously as a band (as opposed to the enforced anonymity of most techno acts, and something of a new concept for American dance producers) extended to incessant live performances, and Crystal Method’s increasing popularity both in the clubs and among radio jocks led to a deal with Geffen affiliate Outpost Recordings in 1996. The group’s debut LP, Vegas — an unabashed party record bathed in acid, funk, rock, and big beat hip-hop — appeared in mid-1997 and sold very well. The follow-up Tweekend was released four years later, and the duo inaugurated a series of mix albums (Community Service) in 2002. Third album Legion of Boom followed in 2004. ~ Sean Cooper, All Music Guide

It’s All Gone Pete Tong and Billy Elliot

So, time for another couple mini-reviews!

First, It’s All Gone Pete Tong is mildly black comedy about a superstar DJ who has to come to terms with the loss of his hearing. Certainly it’s an interesting premise, and when I saw the box at the video store I stopped looking at the other movies and went straight to the check-out line. I think my friend Sean recommended it to me at one point. He was right about 24 Hour Party People, so I had no reason to question his judgment. What surprised me most about this film was just how authentic they made the club scenes feel. As I found out later through the special features, that’s because they /actually/ *go* to Ibiza to film, and are actually in superclubs Cream and Amnesia on actual Friday and Saturday nights. I’m not really sure how to describe the film without giving too much away, but hopefully I’ve got you curious. I enjoyed it. 7.5/10.

Secondly, today, Yawen loaned me a few films, one of which was Billy Elliot. The premise is, a young boy from a blue-collar mining town takes up ballet lessons behind his family’s back, knowing they’ll disapprove. And he’s really good at it. Family in this case means older brother, Grandma, and Dad — Mom is no longer around for unexplained reasons. Basically, life is hard. I was skeptical before pushed “play”, but the film won me over. It’s got heart, it’s funny and it’s wonderfully told. Of course, with a premise like this one, it’s pretty hard to go wrong, but they certainly could have done worse. Highly recommended. 8.5/10.

New carpet

About a year ago, I discovered I was allergic to my apartment floor. The theory was that one of the previous residents had had a cat. The reaction was much like what I get when I’m in a room that houses a cat: wheezy inhale/exhale, watery, irrritated eyes and given enough time, runny nose and sneezing. After explaining the situation to my landlord, she agreed to replace my carpet, given I’d be renewing my lease and accepting the concomitant 5% rent increase.
Wednesday and Thursday night I moved all my belongings — save my sofa and mattress — off the carpet. Cam and Melissa loaned me their tarp, which helped out; thanks guys. I ended up purchasing a tarp of my own, just to be on the safe side; I have a lot of stuff.
Not certain that some possessions could take the high Florida humidity, they ended up in the kitchen:

Unfortunately I didn’t get a shot of my loaded porch. The carpet replacement company showed up at 8:30 Friday morning. I took off to work to get some stuff I needed to renew my driver’s license, renewed it, and by the time I made it back to my apartment to retrieve my camera at 10:30 — I had the day off and decided I wanted to take a few photos downtown — it looked like they were just finishing up! Pretty quick!
Unfortunately a few hours after they left I discovered the nails on the “tackless strips” — standard equipment for retaining tension on carpets near the wall — poked out of the carpet about 7mm, and I almost cut my foot stepping on them accidentally… several times. I left the leasing office a message about it that afternoon, but it’s been a couple days now and I haven’t heard anything.

Am I being too picky? Should I just take out the hammer now? It doesn’t strike me as right to put up with workmanship that can cause bodily injury. On the other hand, they’re just tiny nails.

All Faiths 2006

So once again I trundled up to St Pete for the annual All Faiths [Ultimate Frisbee] Hat tournament. “All Faiths” being the name of a local charity, and “Hat” referring to how the teams are drawn randomly from “hats”, each containing pools of equally skilled players. That is to say, players rank their skill level when they register, and the tournament organizer creates equally skilled teams composed of new and experienced players alike. It’s a great way to learn how to play the game, and meet some new faces in the process. Hat tournaments are the best part of Ultimate!
And this one was definitely one of the better ones I’ve been to. Not only were all the teams already made up when I arrived, thanks to online registration — all I had to do was fork over my $20 — but games started within minutes of their schedule time! Pretty amazing with 120 players, 8 teams and 5 skill levels to manage. There was a bit of a foulup with the shirt printing (they couldn’t get all the colours they wanted); as a result everyone ended up with two t-shirts, one coloured, representing their team, and the other a white shirt, with the tournament’s design. The design itself was quite something, taking one of the banned Danish cartoons, which I’m not going to link to here, and modifying it, replacing a sword with a disc, with the slogan “Frisbee Fanatic”. I’m still kind of surprised they did it. Is there such a thing as satire for Muslims?
Controversial shirt designs aside, the tournament was run beautifully. Games were to 11 points, or to a time cap, signaled by an air horn, at which point the current point gets finished, or, if between points, the next point gets played. If a team is up by one point at that point, then game over. Simple rules. Simple rules!
I can’t even remember team Navy’s record for the day. I think it was two and three; regardless, after our fourth game we were relegated to the beer bracket and took it easy after that. Perfect timing, since it happened to be exactly when Helen — recovering from laparoscopic surgery and hence not playing — arrived with the apple pie shooters. Ahhh. 🙂
After our final game we all headed back to disc central under the giant oaks and enjoyed BBQed brats and veggie dogs, an awesome bean salad, potato salad, complemented with great kettle-style potato chips and a keg of Heineken, which watching the two top teams duke it out in a 13-point final. Darren, Mike, Winton and Stephen Poulous were all playing on the White team. I don’t think I knew anyone on the opposing, Green team. I will say I need to take heckling lessons from Eric G, who was in top form that evening. 🙂
Earlier in the day, an old friend Lisa, who I knew from a former Savannah trip, spotted me on the field and got me to agree to be a “counter” for bat races (you might know them as spinning races): essentially you run from a starting line, reach your destination point, drink a beverage, rotate around a bat — one end of which is on your forehead, the other on the ground — ten times, and try to race back to your point of origin. The sprint back typically results in people falling over. The job of the counter is to let the crowd and the spinner know how many times he or she has spun. Lisa even had a special shirt made up just for the occasion. Leonard and I helped out. It was pretty special.
The game ended up being much closer than I thought it would be; Green had nice flow, and they had a girl who could catch anything. But it just wasn’t enough, and the straw hats and champagne went to the fine folks on White.
Hung out with Eric J and Sonia a bit afterwards, which was fun and something I need to do more often! Darren, it was good to have you for company on the way back too, always makes the drive shorter.
Update:
For some pictures, have a look at Josh Smith‘s excellent photos (see if you can spot me!). I have a few of my own to add to the mix too.. I’ll be adding them below when I get a moment.

Thundertastic


Image courtesy Teslamania
It’s pouring outside like it did when I got here in the summer of 2002. Only thing different is that this time, instead of being in a double-wide trailer, I’m on the top floor of my apartment building. Yeehaw! I took a bit of video for you guys to gander. Turn your volume up, and if you’ve got a subwoofer, turn it on — there’s thunder every 20 seconds or so pretty much continuously.