Now Playing: Outkast - "Hey Ya!"
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! Polaroid warns the public not to ?shake it.?
You can?t make this stuff up, folks.
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! Polaroid warns the public not to ?shake it.?
You can?t make this stuff up, folks.
?the window doesn?t open and the fan is broke and my face is turning blue
I haven?t been in a crowd like this since I went to see The Who
Well, I shoulda got off a coupla miles ago, but I couldn?t get to the door
There isn?t any room for me to breathe and now we?re gonna pick up more??
?Another One Rides The Bus,? ?Weird Al? Yankovic.
Brother Al?s parody of a popular song by the group Queen was all about a cramped bus ride, but those four bars above easily describe what many New Yorkers deal with on the subway. I subject myself to the morning madness five days a week like many others. I take a bus to the subway, then take that the rest of the way to work. Some might say, why not a faster route, like Metro-North? Real simple: ECONOMICS. It all comes down to the dollars, and they?re in short supply these days.
It costs me $70 for a 30-day unlimited MetroCard. That?s exactly what I used to pay for a monthly Metro-North off-peak ticket when I worked in Greenwich, CT. Since I was traveling in the other direction, I didn?t have to pay peak hour prices. I?m currently earning half of what I used to make at my last job. Consider the fact that Metro-North?s rates went up last year and it shouldn?t take you very long to dig the logic. Peak hour prices were astronomical before ? now they?re just insane. It shouldn?t cost someone $5.50 to travel for 30 minutes on a Metro-North train during off-peak hours. That?s the cost of a one-way trip from the Mount Vernon East station to Grand Central Terminal. A.M. and P.M. peak time ? you?re looking at $7.25 one-way.
My wife was paying at least $126 a month for a peak-hour ticket from Pelham to NYC. That price has gone up about 30 bones. Think about the heads that are traveling from places like Poughkeepsie or Brewster North. Think about the money the MTA?s making off of the State of Connecticut alone. Their prices skyrocketed last year. Everybody?s getting taken for a ride, but the ride that they paid for is lessening in quality by the day. Check this out: there are about 800 cars in Metro-North?s fleet. About 300 of them bad boys are being repaired. Less cars mean mad crowded trains. The brutal weather we?ve had this winter has taken its toll on a lot of those cars. And for some reason, the New Haven Line (which serves Connecticut) always gets the short end of the stick. I used to ride it daily, so I know from experience. Imagine how heated you?d be if you were paying $200, $250, $300 a month to ride a train that?s constantly late and when it does come, your ass can?t get a seat. I?d be heated, too.
You know what I just thought about? Sesame Street. They had this skit on the show called ?Subway? well over 15 years ago. They recreated a subway car and various muppets were riding the train singing about the subway. I only remember a few of the lyrics: ?If you?re in a hurry, take the express / It will go right by your local address.? But the line that sticks out the most in my mind is ?You could lose your purse (or you might lose something worse) on the subway.? The idea that they would be that honest and real with children still boggles my mind. You?d never know that judging from today?s Elmo?s World bits, but anyway?
The subway contains its own set of misadventures. Depending upon when I get out of the house, my ride is relatively headache-free (especially considering I?m likely to sleep most of the way through it). But sometimes I have to take the 8A.M. train, and if that happens, I know what I?m in for - a conductor who loves to hear themselves talk. Every ride with him starts off like this:
?The time is (enter time here) and thank you for riding the MTA New York City Transit. Have yourself a magnificent, safe, and a glorious day. Please enjoy it?and be careful.?
Now, there?s nothing wrong with those sentiments in and of themselves. In fact, it?s rather nice when you hear it after a stressful morning. Most subway train conductors aren?t that considerate. And supposedly, this brother was on a train near the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks. Once you know that, his words carry even more weight than before.
If you hear it seven times in one 45-minute trip, it gets monotonous. Multiply that by five days a week and you?re ready to strangle this cat. Plus, right before the conductor says something, you hear a little bell sound. Imagine how many times I have to hear that damn bell during the work week if I don?t catch a train before 8A.M. And on that train, when I hear the bell, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The best is what he almost always says right before we pull into the 42nd Street-Grand Central Terminal stop:
?To all passengers exiting at 42nd Street: do not slow?the FLOW. Please use all available doors to exit this train. Help. One. Another.?
EVERY. FREAKING. WORKDAY. I will admit that his heart?s in the right place. I?m just warning you in advance: don?t be surprised if you pick up the newspaper one day and a headline reads, ?Crazed Black Man Gags Conductor on Subway Train.? Still, Mr. Magnificent-Safe-and-a-Glorious-Day pales in comparison to what I?ve had to deal with lately.
About a month ago, my wife and I were making the routine trek into the city when the train stops somewhere around 77th Street. An announcement is made that someone in a train at the 59th Street station got sick. EMS has to go and do their thing before our train can move. Mind you, we?re underground, so it?s not like we can just get off the train. I have more sympathy for the claustrophobic than ever before. Not a good scenario for asthmatics, either. Anyway, just as the incident at the 59th Street station is taken care of, another announcement is made. Someone in a train ahead of ours got sick. The next thing we know, our train?s heading back uptown to the 86th Street station. We?re told to get out there and walk upstairs to catch a local downtown train. Since it makes all stops, it was all kinds of crowded by the time it got to us and we piled on. In cases such as those, the concept of personal space becomes nonexistent. Those that choose the lifestyle of the malodorous give themselves away almost immediately. There is no other adventure for the nose quite like the subway. It would stand to reason that Tuscan Sam (the Froot Loops cereal mascot) would either be beside himself or dead from asphyxiation.
Then there?s my subway story from last week. My Monday morning was already off to a bad start. Somewhere between waking up and having my breakfast, I slept for almost two hours. I?ve rewound the video tape in my head about a dozen times and I still can?t figure out how this happened. All I remember is listening to *1010 Wins* and hearing the announcer say:
?WINS news time: 7:41.?
Seeing as how I usually leave the house by 7:15 at the latest, this was a problem. I?m sitting on the bed with a half-eaten bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats, still in my pajamas, wondering how time managed to escape from me. So I race through the hygiene ritual, throw on some clothes, and my wife drives me to the subway. I hop on the number five and I?m on my way, but my troubles have just begun. At the 149th Street-Grand Concouse stop, an announcement is made that the train is being rerouted. This would take me out of my way, so I run upstairs to catch the number four. After sitting in that train for about five minutes with no movement, they make an announcement that the train isn?t going anywhere due to debris on the tracks and to take the rerouted trains anyway.
At this point, I?m rather annoyed, but nothing compared to other riders who were straight up cursing conductors out. Soon, I?m surrounded by a mass of people all trying to board the next train heading downtown. It was literally hundreds of people all moving in this aggravated swarm down flights of stairs. I couldn?t get anywhere, so I just got out of the way and waited for things to blow over. After about five minutes of this, a brother in a denim outfit who had been communicating with others by C.B. radio says?
?Go back upstairs. Everything?s back to normal.?
If you?ve ever seen Do The Right Thing, one of the most memorable parts is when Buggin? Out confronts this white guy living in the neighborhood for stepping on his sneakers. Buggin? asks him, ?Why don?t you move back to Massachusetts?? The man (rocking a Celtics basketball jersey) replies, ?I was born in Brooklyn.? The crowd alongside Buggin? lets out an exasperated, ?AWWWWWW!!!? That?s exactly what the straphanger multitude did. As irritating as the whole incident was, that made for an amusing moment.
There?s a woman working in the school district of Kenosha, WI named Mary, and I hope the Lord God blesses her real good. Shortly after I got to work, her call was the first I received. She sounded like she was having a day similar to mine. We commiserated and shared a laugh. That was all I needed for my day to realign itself. So Mary, thank you. And I hope it?s all good today.
Time for the TKO combination. Why? Because it?s Black History Month and nobody delivers a dark-shaded perspective better than my man vic feedle. And without further delay, three hits to the dome: Won. Two. 3ree.
BILL O?REILLY ACTUALLY APOLOGIZED FOR SOMETHING. I thought the second coming of Christ would occur before this. Well, whadaya know?anything really is possible. Which means you may wanna get right with God now. Pack your stuff, seriously. The end is nigh.
Last Saturday, I attended a fantastic party in Poughkeepsie, NY. It was a strange homecoming of sorts for me, considering how long I resided in the Dutchess County area. Wasn?t sure what to expect from the party, but I was pleasantly surprised. Surrounded by good friends and happy people, lots of young heads bouncin? around the joint. Lots of positive energy, too. Definitely rubbed off on me; I?m still all smiles from it. Also spun a set in the chill room alongside Praveen (minimal techno), Dave Mars (hypnotic breaks), and my man Tommy Church (ambient and chill-out beats). That room featured some of the best music of the evening ? fantastic vibe. Gotta give props to my man Omar a.k.a. Praying Mantis who KILLED IT in area two during his tag team jungle set with Dynasty. Our feet were bloody stumps after they were through with us. Seriously.
The party was a reminder for me of how much I enjoy the upstate NY party vibe. I find it more intimate and open than the functions in Gotham, although NYC does have its moments. It?s important to mix it up, though, see how other heads get down. It had been a while since my last upstate jam, and I was so happy to be a part of this one. I was so amped by the positive energy that I ended up spinning one of my best sets ever, in my opinion. The set wouldn?t have been the same without the energy of the kids there. Can?t say enough about the great time I had there.
Someone posted a gang of pics on a bulletin board, so for anybody that wasn?t there, a good summation of the party is within these shots. As always, opinions differ, and such can be seen in the difference of opinion between this site and this site (by the way, don?t travel past the first screen on the latter board ? talks degenerate into a rather ugly name-calling session). As for my DJ set, check the playlist below:
>Macedonia ? Live @ Squeeshee, Poughkeepsie, NY / 1.31.03<
baba sound system*petra*auri
cookie monster & the girls* c is for cookie (sweet version)*ninja tune (uk)
roy ayers*running away*polydor
metro area*dance reaction*environ
the soft pink truth*gender studies*soundslike (uk)
pepe bradock*lara*kif s.a. (france)
nina simone*see-line woman (masters at work remix)*verve
manu dibango*soul makossa*atlantic
tony allen vs. boozoo bajou*yoruba road*comet (france)
nuyorican soul feat. george benson*you can do it (baby) (bar beats)*giant step/blue thumb
akufen*jeep sex*force inc. (germany)
matthew dear*dog days (pantytec interpretation)*spectral sound
esg*moody*universal sound (uk)
liquid liquid*optimo*soul jazz (uk)
dj vadim*london mindstate*ninja tune (uk)
uzo*200 elephants (remix)*codek
the beginning of the end*funky nassau (part 1)*alston
the joe cuba sextet*bang! bang!*tico
titanic*sultana (danny krivit re-edit)*ibadan
afronaught*transcend me*apollo (uk)
dj rels*eclipse (parts I and II)*stones throw/goya (uk)
Something went down during the Super Bowl championship game that doesn?t sit right with me?and it ain?t the halftime peep show.
Yet another Patriots win. In fact, their 15th straight win this past season. Not only that, but their 2nd Super Bowl win in three years. Not like I?m hating on a winning team ? obviously they did their thing. But how many people are paying attention to the years in which their championship victories land? Quit peepin? the right breast replay and check this scenario...
Flash back to September 11, 2001: the day in which our world changes forever. Tough talk immediately begins to emanate from key players in the White House. Heads on some ?America or else? steez flood the streets and call all who say otherwise ?traitors.? Civil liberties come under fire with the implementation of the Patriot Act. Along with all the flag-waving and spontaneous choruses of Neil Greenwood?s ?God Bless The USA,? America begins the process of ?getting back to normal,? living our lives as we once did, but could never recapture completely. And as always, we gotta show out, so much pomp and circumstance surrounded the first post-9/11 Super Bowl. Who won that Super Bowl, folks?
The New England Patriots. Think about that: THE PATRIOTS WON. How much more of a morale booster does America need than that? But it struck me as more than a coincidence. It was like when the numbers 9-1-1 ended up being chosen in the daily lottery number drawing in New York?just not as freaky, of course. I always found something symbolic about the Patriots winning that particular game. It just seemed too perfect, too Hollywood, too ?freedom fries,? if you will.
Now fast forward to February 2004. It?s a possible re-election year for the Bush administration and there has talk of retooling the Patriot Act, making a new and improved version. Who better to win the Super Bowl than New England? Particularly in such a nail-biting fashion, right down to the last four seconds of the game? Those are the types of wins America eats up. Couple that with the fact that we really like to hear about how great we are as a country (especially considering the number of countries that don?t share the same view of us) and the possibilities for a little pigskin propaganda at just the right time are endless.
But here?s the problem with that scenario: no one wins all the time. Not even the Patriots. And that?s the whole reason why I wanted a team ? ANY TEAM ? to knock them out of the playoffs. If nothing else, a message needs to be sent to the American public?sometimes patriots lose. Nothing profound, just a fact of life. Sometimes we blow it. Humans are prone to do that from time to time. You know how much the USA likes to win? We?ve just come to grips within the last decade over losing the Vietnam War. To this day, it?s still a sore spot. It?s as if we didn?t believe it until we spent the better part of the 1990s romanticizing the ?60s or until Oliver Stone and Stanley Kubrick had to visualize it for us on the silver screen. Meanwhile, we?ve lost more soldiers during our current war?s aftermath than in the actual war. An upbeat State of the Union address doesn?t change the fact that even if we win, we still lose. Better for us to admit that to ourselves now than another 30 years down the road.
Man, I really didn?t mean for this to turn serious. I wanted this to be silly, but it didn?t end up that way. For the record, I think the New England Patriots won because they were the best, period. Fifteen straight wins don?t lie. It?s the connection between the championships they?ve won and the particular years in which they?ve won them that I find a little strange. Not expecting anyone to agree, all I?m saying is think about it.
While we?re talking about football, anybody ever watch NFL on FOX with James Brown, Howie Long, Terry Bradshaw, and Jimmy Johnson? Let?s focus on my man Jimmy for a minute. Get an image of Jimmy in your mind runnin? down his opinion on a particular team or player. Now close your eyes, hear his voice, and replace Jimmy Johnson with Cotton, Hank Hill?s father on the animated TV series King of the Hill. I swear those two were separated at birth. I can?t tell you how many times I?ve listened to him talk and heard Cotton saying, ?Hello, Hank. Hello, Hank?s wife.?
Now, that?s silly.
SOUNDSCRAPER SANCTUARY @ BIG SUR, NYC
Playlist for Tuesday, January 27, 2004
*soundtrack for a snowstorm* / 7:15pm-11:00pm
- set number one -
jazzanova*cyclic/another new day*jcr (germany)
will.i.am*lost change*bbe (uk)
ryuichi sakamoto*rap the world*virgin
electric chairs*barbie girl (blastiquer mix by s.e. berlin)*shanachie
tipsy*mr. excitement*asphodel ultramarine*saratoga*rough trade (uk)
ezekiel honig*juxtapose*anticipate recordings
fila brazilia*monk?s utterance*twentythree (uk)
dj vadim*london mindstate*ninja tune (uk)
towa tei*let me know (mighty bop remix)*elektra
tony allen vs. tweak*leroy*guidance recordings
4 hero*star chaser*giant step
while tag teaming with soundscraper, I played the following?
soul II soul*holdin? on*virgin
larry young?s fuel*turn off the lights*?
- set number two -
foreign exchange*track 11*CD-R
jimmy luxury and the tommy rome orchestra*sentimental guy*epic/work
shawn lee*floating*wall of sound (uk)
shuggie otis*inspiration information*luaka bop
sylk 130*skipping stones (feat. alison moyet)*six degrees
phoenix*if i ever feel better*astralwerks
ski*(ain?t gonna) justify ? slow trip to space mix*C&S
brothers and systems*opium dentine*nettwerk
echelon*enter the carousel*mind horizon (uk)
propellerheads*take california*giant step
nightmares on wax*mission venice*warp (uk)
ultramarine*lights in my brain*rough trade (uk)
suba*felicidade (buscemi remix)*guidance recordings
soul II soul*people*virgin
So, have you heard? James Brown is facing a domestic violence charge. The only reason that I feel the need to even link to this news bit is the mug shot. It?s all about the mug shot. Look at that mug shot while playing ?RC?s Mom? by The Dead Milkmen and you?ll understand why I felt the need to share.
Yeah, I know?sick puppy. So what else is new?
So I wonder if my man Dr. Neal would change his moniker from ?The Godfather of Soul? to ?The Godfather of Rhythm and Beatdown.? Don?t know what I?m referring to? Click here?It?ll all make sense in a minute.
i'll admit, i feel better now than i did earlier today. several thousand degrees cooler in my brain. no longer a need to leave a trail of bloody carcasses in the snow. but when you're trudging through eight or nine inches of it the night before, your boots completely covered with each step you take, the last place you want to go in the morning is to work. travel went smoother than expected (NYC fared surprisingly well despite the circumstances), but it was still a nuisance. i'm not exactly sure who you have to pay off in the Department of Public Works in the city of Mount Vernon in order to have clean streets, but somebody needs to do them a solid. streets were horrendous, whether walking or driving. i'm working on two hours sleep anyway due to being up the night before long after i was supposed to be asleep, then overslept and missed breakfast (which is guaranteed to make me good and evil all day).
i don't know if i need to tell you this, but customer service is not the best department to work in if you don't even like answering the phones at home. if you don't already hate people, you will more than likely acquire such a hatred about three months into the gig. it's a good thing i don't have morphing powers...otherwise i would have jumped through the phone lines and strangled several teachers and librarians with their own phone cord. it's amazing the things you find you have to do when no other opportunities come around, when it's been six and a half months and you're still looking for steady work, when certain political figures keep telling you that things are getting better in the job market and some companies are still outsourcing work to other countries.
so just exactly how does someone who says he loves God (whom he has not seen) hate people so much (whom he has to deal with everyday)? i plead insanity...as brought on by a four-month bid in customer service. abrasive music helps, though. when in doubt, try Donna Summer. no, not the disco diva, this guy. that and every wednesday breakfast is brought into the office. so two cinnamon donuts and a glass of orange juice was enough to keep me at bay today.
("i don't want people's excuses, i want their money." this was apparently a direct quote from someone at work today. keep in mind that i work for an educational book publisher. who says the smaller companies can't play hardball?)
a melody from a song's been stuck in my head all day: "Prototype" from Andre 3000's The Love Below. i had that song in the mix at Big Sur (upper East Side bar/restaurant/lounge/gallery) when the manager walked in from the storm. "pick up the tempo - this is WAY too slow." there were a total of six people in the place who couldn't have cared what i played, but you don't argue with management. i oblige. he's pleased. i'm happy. and my man enrique comes back to hold down the fort and i take off. that was around 11pm. then the schlep home starts and...well...boots covered in snow...you know the rest...
but now i'm back home with my loving wife and neurotic cat. which is where i wanted to be in the first place. why leave home when you know others bring drama? "paging Dr. Ama, Dr. Ama, you have a urgent matter outside an unsuspecting soul's front door..." Dr. Ama makes house calls regularly at the job.
i was just thinking today...is there such a thing as an edgy Christian? is there ever supposed to be? (you do realize that i'm posing a rhetorical question to myself, right?) if the FOX Network ever decides to do a special called When Christians Attack, expect to see my face flash across the screen at least once. it's said in the Bible that the clay has no business asking the potter "why did you make me this way?" and that the potter can do what they wish with the clay. that's how i know that there's a God and that He has an immeasurable amount of grace and mercy...
cause i'm one stubborn ass ball of clay.