oh my beautiful liar


Eleven and a half years down the line since that missed show in Boston, I can now say that I've actually seen Trent in concert. This time around was in a hockey arena, and we were way the heck up on the slant, but what can you do. I likely appreciated it more, with the larger body of work, and the me being less rooted in the drama of being 19. More distance = more entertainment, less angst, a winning combination for a Wednesday night. And, our fears that it was going to be like that godawful painfully bad Janes Addiction show four years ago were completely unfounded. Apparently being an active musician and/or not a drug addict for the intervening decades does something positive for one's ability to perform one's own music (yes, I'm talking about you, Perry).

Several things stick. 1: Trent can play instruments; who knew [likely everyone between the ages of 30 and 40 besides me]. 2: Trent, godfather of crescendo rock [the performance of which comes full circle as a subtextual tribute to Johnny Cash]. 3: some fans are cuck-a-loo, not in those myriad good ways (you know who you are, Mr. I-give-CBGB-a-bad-name Fabio Impersonator [she clearly does not want to make out with you, we can all see that!]).

And finally, even though he didn't play 'The Downward Spiral,' I found myself thinking about Jay during the concert, at the end of a train of connections that started with a general curiosity about how many of the kids at the show recognized 'Burn,' even with the degree to which young people hooked on Trent might also be violence junkies [although in nosing around in the discography, I see that 'Burn' is on the deluxe edition of Downward Spiral, so likely more than I initially figured]. I remember Jay's obsession with the Faces of Death videos, and that whole summer I was home from college and didn't call him, didn't even think to wonder if he was in town. So, Jay, I'm sorry. I still wish more than anything it hadn't come to that.

fitness and the life


The most amazing thing has happened: my back has healed. Granted, it's not perfect, and the shoulder and thoracic spine still need some serious adjustment. But, for the first time in over a decade, I am cleared to swim. Already I'm feeling more like my self, having only been in the pool for laps once. So after pausing and being filled with gratitude for the folks at Crossings who have worked on me for over a year to make this happen, I'm moving on to articulating my long-term fitness goals. My body is chomping at the bit for exercise, and I'm reminded that underneath all the jammed up joints and twisted around muscles, I still have a pretty solid foundation for the endurance events that I like the best.

Being laid up at home with the Toddler Flu (tm) for the past three days may not seem like the best time to set workout goals, but I haven't had anything better to do than sniffle and think about what I'd rather be doing. Along those lines, I keep coming back to the following:

cycling: Ever since my Bike Hounds team leader did the Montreal to Boston AIDS ride [that's her in the third photo down], I've been wanting to be in solid enough shape to do it myself. It's a 5 day ride over difficult terrain, with minimal (although solid) road support. I'd need a road bike, not to mention needing to learn to ride with clips. But completing this ride would make my day.

running: I have no true desire to learn to run per se, but I am itching to complete a triathlon. Given that my knees are never going to be marathon-class joints no matter how long and hard I train, I'm thinking a nice little 'sprint' triathlon, where I only have to run 5k or so, is what I'm shooting for. It's nice to look at the distance listings for those and be able to say now, even in the shape I'm in, that I could do the swimming and biking part, cake. Of course, I realize that doing the swimming and biking parts back to back, as fast I can, and then running at all, let alone 5k, is, well, a bit harder. But still, there's something about 15 miles being less than the distance between pit stops on a distance ride that makes the whole thing more doable. Plus, there's a triathlon club in the area, so whenever I'm fit enough to not embarass myself completely, I'll give them a call. And again, I only have to think back on my first group training ride two years ago to remember that it only gets easier after that. At the very least I now know to bring water everywhere I go!

swimming: My main goal with swimming is to get strong enough to surf again. Being in the pool feels like home, so it's easy for me to build in regular laps as part of a training program. Truly, though, I don't see myself on a master's team or anything like that. It's fun, and it's a means to an end. Since I have to travel to surf no matter what, I'm thinking the Costa Rica camp is the way to go. I'm thinking I could twist an arm and get my college buddy, the multi-sport outdoor diva, on board for this trip as well.

So there you have it. Step 1 is starting the workouts, and the JCC around the corner from us is where it's happening. In addition to being the most convenient, the JCC is my kind of gym: small, sparsely populated, big on basics, with as few hardbodies as it's possible for a gym to have. Over the next few years I hope to be able to say I did all of this. In the meantime, biking and swimming updates will keep coming.



I haven't enjoyed a movie in the theater so much in a long time. Seriously, the movie is great. It made me feel like I was 6 years old in Chicago again, since the movie is set there in the year I learned to skate in a little playground on Hyde Park Boulevard. It made me remember my little metal put-on-over-your-shoes skates with an adjustable screw on the underside that I had all through elementary school, zooming around in driveways, up and down the sidewalk and around and around in my friends' unfinished basements. It made me feel like I was a 6th grade supahstah at Skateaway (you know, that cheesy country bar down on the levee...that's why it's a big oval, yo).

I had this flash memory, when the kids walk into the new rink for the first time, of being 15 and taking my out-of-town friend skating, after she begged me to do so. I had forgotten about that, the rink on the edge of town, with the goofy music and the sketchy clientele. In high school I spent more time at ice rinks than roller skating (and even that wasn't saying much as we only went a few times a year at most), and that week when she was down from Chicago on her spring break is the only time I can remember being in a roller rink after the age of 12.

There's a lot about the movie that's great, but the fact that it makes you feel like jumping up and skating backwards to the groove is truly the best part. That, and the old guys in the audience with their old school roller team tshirts.

DC kind of day


Today: first I walk down the road to attend a peace march, then it's on to a friend's open house to admire two new bathrooms.

I can hear the sirens down at the White House already, so I'll be sure to bring my camera and see what's what. No small amount of them appear to be converging on the Ryder truck across the street, which is, in all likelihood, just some people picking a bad day to move in. Not that our street is officially truck-free, but DC Metro's not too fussy.

all in a day's work


1. The action down at the White House was great. I couldn't stay all day, but I jumped in with the Jammin for Justice folks and the Socialist Party kids (you know I can't resist those "No war but the class war!" banners, they warm the cockles of my heart). Plus, they had radical cheerleaders.

Besides going off on some media folks (for which I apologize) who were involved in a lot of pushing as Cindy Sheehan and the Rev moved through the crowd to get close to the White House, it was all good.

2. At our friend's open house today we discovered that they own the house that Henry Rollins lived in as a teenager. While the fact that it was his former house was neighborhood lore, it was confirmed when Henry stopped by yesterday. That's right. He's in town for something involving Ian MacKaye's family (possibly his sister's wedding? we're not exactly sure) and just stopped by the old neighborhood. As a result of this visit, though, we learned a bit more about the house. For example, in the basement (finished), he showed our friend (who subsequently showed us) the pockmarks in the plaster from where he and Ian used to hang out and shoot BB guns at the wall. That's right. Henry was invited back for the open house today, but politely declined as he had other (presumably Ian-related) plans.

Unfortunately, our friends didn't have any film in the camera, so there are no photos of Henry's visit. They're buying themselves a digital camera for Christmas.

rock concerts and the like


This meme about first concerts making its way around the interwebs has gotten me thinking about what I really count as my first concert. For me, it's much like the first kiss -- what I remember as The First really wasn't at all, it was just the first one that seemed to matter (sorry, Dave).

It's the same with concerts. Technically, my first concert was seeing Whitney Houston at the Minnesota State Fair in 1987. And, to be fair to the event, it was a real experience -- moving through crowds of people, standing on the end of benches to be able to see over the heads of the mobs of adults around us (I was tall at 12, but not that tall). Whitney was at the top of her game, and the whole country loved her in 1987, pre-coke, pre-Bobby, pre-bones-sticking-out-everywhere.

When asked, though, I always cite seeing the Chili Peppers in Indy in 1991 as the first time. Even that's not entirely fair, because there were dozens of shows -- local, largely free, mainly involving people I knew -- in the intervening 4 years. But the Chili Peppers show was the first one I had to pay for, beg my parents to let me attend, travel out of town for. It was the first one that could truly be called a Rock Concert, it was inside, and my friends and I were going without adult supervision to Market Square. I remember the feel of the folding chairs set out on the court for general admission, and I can still hear the crowd booing Smashing Pumpkins, yelling 'go back to Chicago and bring out the Chili Peppers,' and then being mildly impressed with Pearl Jam. I remember being swept near the stage, losing my friends in the crowd and having a view mostly of the underside of John's guitar. Mostly I remember the exhiliration, of being 16 years old and feeling like I was on top of the world.

Since then, you could divide the shows I've seen neatly along gender lines. With friends from Bryn Mawr and grad school: the Indigo Girls, Ani D, Tori Amos, Shawn Colvin, folk singers galore. With the best boy and others: Echo & the Bunnymen, Skinny Puppy, KMFDM, Gang of Four, Thrill Kill Cult, Psychedelic Furs, Pixies. And then there are the ones I drag others to: Cibo Matto, Camper van, the Giants, the Killers, Live.

I've seen many great shows, and several terrible ones where I lucked out with the opening bands -- James making up for being dragged to Duran Duran over Christmas break, Live as the surprise opener for a should-have-stayed-broken-up Janes Addiction. Oddly, though, some of my sharpest concert-related memories are of shows I didn't get to see. The NIN show I was supposed to see in Boston in 1994 that I missed because I didn't get my finals done in time. The Madonna and Prince tours I was too young to be allowed to travel out of town to see. Violent Femmes last month in Baltimore, that we couldn't be arsed to drive to see at an ouside show on a rainy night. And of course, Lollapalooza II that I missed in three consecutive cities to go on a family vacation, where I walked around in my Chili Peppers t-shirt(s) and commiserated with a boy from Guelph who was moping around the lake in his Chili Peppers shirts (you out there, Colin Kennedy?). While heart-breaking at the time, I consoled myself with having seen the aforementioned great show 6 months earlier.

And, we're seeing NIN (again) in three weeks.

the past on the other end of a camera


I'm going to NYC next month to participate in a photo project that requires a photo of me at 15.

As unlikely as it might seem, I don't have photos of me at 15 lying around. After digging through my boxes in storage (easy to access, since 'storage' is currently a friend's basement), I located my old photo albums and high school yearbooks. Old albums yielded surprisingly few photos of me at 15; having acquired a real camera, I was occupied with taking photos of anything and everyone else. I have (comparatively) loads of photos of me at 16, 17, and 18, but only three that are definitely 15. While none of them is great, at least they are the right range.

It was much more interesting to browse the photos of other people, though, particularly from the yearbooks (which, while traumatizing at the time, are endlessly amusing now). The conclusions I (and my esteemed card-playing friends, who were suitably curious once I emerged from the basement with yearbooks in tow) came to were these: my friends and I all had too much hair, we all wore too much flannel, and berets appeared on our heads way too frequently. I must say that I laughed and laughed and laughed at the theater arts club photos, just out of sheer enjoyment.

Besides the general nostalgia for days spent eating pizza and watching scrawny boys with too much hair bail off of handrails, there were more specific things I remembered from the assortment of photos. Chief among them was Jonathan. I'm sure I saw him again over the next year, but that photo is the last clear memory I have of him, that evening with Jason and Tim, out on the wall by Garcia's, goofing off and taking photos before I went off to college. They both signed my yearbook that night, which I know because I just, well, brought it out of the basement this evening.

Rest in peace, little buddy.