Derelict Junction

Providing missile launch codes for foreign cryptographers everywhere.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Faith


Taking off again today. This time, it's to go back to Boston for all the elation or disappointment that comes along with this year's World Series. I've always said if the Sox were "in jeopardy" of winning the World Series, I'd head back to Boston for the party and subsequent urban riot (I would hate to miss either). So here I go. I probably won't have much opportunity to post while I help the citizens of Boston push buildings into the Charles River, but I'll try.

Last week's games were so monumental and draining, I really neglected the Junction. Here's my thoughts on the Yankees Series:

The defining moment had to be A-Rod's slap of the glove. Like Lisa pointed out, one can almost understand what he was trying to get away with, but to actually argue with the umps about it reveals not only desperation, but just how much a petulant douche he really is. And Tom commented on just what a horrible team player A-Rod is. If he doesn't do that, Jeter is in scoring position with 2 outs, after the slap, Jeter is back on first with 2 outs.

Here's what he said afterwards:
"They (umpires) said I could run him over kind of like a catcher, but I can't go out of my way to knock the ball out of his hand. My response is, if he's trying to touch my stomach, I can knock his arm."

What the fuck? That's exactly the opposite of what the umpires told him he could do! He soon concluded to the press:
"I don't want those umpires to meet anymore. When they do, it goes against the Yankees."

As the Sportsguy put it, that's the difference this time around:
"With the old Red Sox, Bellhorn's homer gets ruled a double, A-Rod definitely gets called safe at first base, and Miguel Cairo clears the bases for the game-winner in the ninth."

My other favorite quote from last night came out of Johnny Damon when they asked him to comment on the crowd throwing shit onto the field, prompting the riot police to come out:
"I've definitely seen it in Oakland. We thought this place was a little bit different."

I think the Oakland Tourism slogan should be, "Oakland, the land of low expectations."

While waiting for the bus this morning, I tried to determine what I'd like to see more, the Sox or Kerry win. Tough choice, but considering what lays in the balance, I'd have to go with Kerry, since the Sox can always try again next year. -Very surprising, especially from someone flying back to Boston tonight just to watch the games on television. Basically, that means the Sox will win and we'll all suffer through four more destructive years of redneck rule. In any other election year, I'd gladly sacrifice 4 years in the Executive for a Sox Championship, but things are dire politically. Besides, even if we lose to the Cardinals, people will mostly remember the Yankees series.

Is there any sense in expecting to win both? Can a guy dream? Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

As for tonight...


My only Yankees fan friend (everyone should have one), Steve put it best:

ALL IN. Posted by Hello

Monday, October 18, 2004

You're serious, aren't you?

I promise to not make all these about baseball.

Following Sunday night's 5 hour Sox/Yanks game that the Sox finally won in extra innings, giving hope (however fleeting) to Sox fans everywhere, I was so drained. -Just from watching. I can't imagine what it was like for those guys playing.

The best and worst aspect of baseball is the pace. When you're watching a bad game, you think nothing could possibly be more boring. When you're watching a good game, there's so much drama generated in the moments between plays it can be mentally and physically taxing just to watch. So with the most storied rivalry in baseball, elimination for the Red Sox laying in the balance, and hours of extra innings to ponder what you'd like to see happen, Sunday's game could make even the most casual baseball fan reach into the medicine cabinet.

But the Sox pulled it out. So there's hope, right? Like I wrote earlier, "Don't Stop Believin'."

A coworker, knowing all about my genetically encoded Red Sox addiction, mentioned the game and noted how great it was to see the Sox win one. I immediately agreed. He talked about how difficult it must have been for those fans to sit on the edge of their seats, wondering if it was gonna be the Sox last game for over 5 hours.

"Maddening. Absolutely maddening," I replied. "All I can hope for is to win today's game, and for the Sox to squeak out a cheap game 6 win. 'Cuz as we saw with the Sox in '86, and the Giants a couple years ago, a heart-breaking game 6 all but assures victory in game 7, right?"

This is where, having finished my thought, I paused for the other end of the conversation to be picked up, but there was only silence. Nothing. Realizing I've been looking down at my desk, I quickly looked up to find that "Oh, no" look. That concerned, almost parental, "I don't want to see you get hurt again" look. The "You're serious, aren't you?" look.

Like this:


The conversation ended rather abruptly with the statement, "At least they didn't get skunked," which I agreed and quickly sunk into an awkward silence.

So here I am. Another October. Believing the same old story. Only this year, the setting appears even more delusional. Down 3 games to none, a deficit no team has ever come back from, and coming off just one cosmetic marathon extra inning game to provide a glimmer of hope.

Am I sick? Do I like pain?

Tonight's game: even longer, more dramatic, more drawn out than last night. 14 innings. Almost 6 hours. Sox 5, Yanks 4. Sox trail 3 Games to 2, the rest of the series in New York.

Thank you to all the enablers who called me when it was finally over. I love you with all my heart. Tomorrow's game starts at 4:50 Pacific.

Oh, yeah, I accidentally, in a drunken stupor, pledged to go see Hall & Oates at the Concord Pavillion on Wednesday. It definitely sounds like something funny to actually do, but the only thing that could spare me that fate is if there's a Game 7. I already informed my friends, if the Sox beat the Yanks and people call me after the game and hear Hall & Oates in the backround, they'll think I've really lost it.

So how's that for fate laying in the balance? As my friend Jon said, "How is it that, during the entire retro 80's thing, they're the only band that never got cool again?" So please guys, stare into this photo and save me:
Posted by Hello

Red Sox Philosophy Intersects with 70's Arena Rock



A friend once told me the best argument against the existence of God is that Christian Rock bands are all so terrible. (I believe the actual phrase was "...couldn't suck more.") We then both realized that the best argument for the existence of God was that Journey frontman, Steve Perry, was stricken with throat cancer.

I was reminded of this metaphysical riddle at the conclusion of the Sox/Yankees game last night, a game the Sox eventually won, to barely stay alive 3 games to 1. Knowing full well no team has ever returned from 3-0 down in a 7 game series to win, I needed just a minute amount of encouragement in order to enjoy this win. Luckily the phone rang. The voice on the other end simply said, "In the words of Steve Perry, 'Don't Stop Believin'." Like many Red Sox fans, in the absence of any religious beliefs whatsoever, Steve Perry, bad throat and all, seems a fitting deity.

Indeed. Have there ever been more appropriate lyrics?:

"Working hard to get my fill,
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin’ anything to roll the dice,
Just one more time
Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on"

How 'bout:

"Strangers waiting, up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night
Streetlight people, living just to find emotion
Hiding, somewhere in the night!"

Actually, maybe Steve wasn't talking about baseball there.

Game 5, today, 2PM Pacific. God willing, the Red Sox Wheel in the Sky will keep on turning.Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 14, 2004

"Business Trip"


'Heading to LA on business until Saturday. Until then, gaze upon the photo above and listen to this at full volume until all your questions about life are answered:
Common People.

Also, 'saw I Heart Huckabees last night. The only problem with it is it's too short, but then again, I wanted it to go on forever. It's like watching God on The Gong Show. Pure Genius.Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Face of Grief.


Not the grief of the Red Sox, although that does apply here.

Does anyone else hate it when, like clockwork, the sports media turns some story into this year's Yankees Post-Season Inspiration Angle? Most people who follow baseball are thinking it already, it just needs an insensitive jackass to point it out.

Right on schedule, the New York sports machine has found their latest "Face of Courage" story. Following in the grand tradition of Darryl Strawberry's cancer, Joe Torre's dying brother, and the mother of all opportunistic tragedies, 9/11, we now have the story of Mariano Rivera's distant relatives who were electrocuted in his house back in Panama. Truly a horrible tragedy, but the way it was reported, near the top of all sportscasts, I was convinced it was a direct relative of Rivera's. In fact, I told people it must have been his own child because of all the coverage devoted to the story. As it turns out, it's his wife's cousin, and his wife's cousin's son (which I don't even think there's a genealogy title for. Second cousin?).

Now, I'm certainly not down-playing what occurred, it's terrible, but the way the sports media portrayed it, with a concerned and dramatic hush, wondering if Riveria would pitch at all in the ALCS, smacks of their own opportunistic dramatization. Could it be that the storied Sox/Yanks rivalry is being enhanced by vulture sports journalism, looking to inject every last drop of drama into it's already over-loaded veins?

"Oh, no, would Mariano pitch in the series?" Of course he would! And he did, quite well actually. In fact, the day before game 1, he told the sports world he was simply going to finish up some family obligations in Panama and he'd be ready for the series. This, of course, couldn't stop the momentum of the story. They broadcasted Mariano getting out of his car and walking into the stadium, the dramatic long ovation the formerly nervous Yankee fans gave him when they announced his name in the line up, and his courageous entrance into the bull pen. This all perfectly sets up that humanizing, and familiar Yankee storyline of "how brave and courageous (insert name) is to put their personal distraction aside and focus enough to play for our Yankees."

This is not just a Yankee phenomenon, recently NFL sportscasters haven't stopped talking about the game Brett Farve played last year following the death of his father against the hapless Raiders. Now, it's not that his perfomance in that game is anything to marginalize, but it is nauseating the way the coverage continues to milk it for every last cheap rating point. The worst recent example of this warped awe-inspiring side-story came in the way sportscasters spoke of the focus and courage Kobe Bryant displayed to put the distraction of a rape trial aside to concentrate on shooting jumpers. How brave!

So it's not so much that these tragedies occur, but the way they're exploited to over-dramatize the games, which definitely are secondary, is really unconscionable. In the case of Rivera, I still think they're reaching. Every shot of him last night revealed a smiling, at ease, relief pitcher, just like he's always been. And that's not to say he's not upset, but did anyone think that the constant coverage of his ordeal isn't merely to document compassion? Did anyone consider that this is a personal problem and that Mariano might not want to have a camera on him every step of the way? From what I can see, the coverage hasn't bothered him.

Now, when he said to the media he just had to go down to Panama and take care of some family obligations, he could very well have been saying, "I'm just going down there to find out who those two people were who snuck into my hot tub. I'm now told they're somehow related to me. Can you believe that? Of course I'll be back for the game. The family of these two might sue me, so I may need the money for lawyer fees." He could have said that verbatim, but they sports coverage would have still painted it as the face of Yankee Courage. I can see it now, if the Yankees win, Rivera will be interviewed in front of all Yankee stadium and say, "I would like to dedicate my performance to the memories of those two people I sort of knew. I know, right now, they're up in heaven, looking down on this and, ...ahh, the big one is smiling at the little one. Thank You, New York!"

They'll probably make a movie about it.Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 09, 2004

NERDS!!!


Ever get the perverse desire just to bother people for hours on end?

On my daily commute to work, I have the pleasure of riding passed San Francisco's City Hall and Civic Center. Last week I noticed a lot of construction going on. An outdoor stage was being set up as well as huge tents. Now, the Civic Center is the site of many a public function. From the Gay Pride Parade, to a failed attempt to move the SF Halloween celebration out of the Castro. It also includes the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, SF Public Library, and the Asian Art Museum, so it's not surprising that another multiple-day event would be setting up. But for days I couldn't figure out what it was.

Then, one morning I saw on stage (Spoiler Alert) what appeared to be technicians testing out a huge mechanical Pac-Man, chomping an illuminated white pellet. What could possibly be going on here that they would finally erect a proper tribute to the pop culture phenomenon who's eponymous fever grew to epidemic proportions in the early 80's? Why, The World Cyber Game Conference!

Having lost much of my pre-teen years to video arcades, this piqued my interest. Could Buckner and Garcia actually be slated to perform? How could they ever free up from their busy schedule?

That excitement lasted only a few seconds, for video games have come a long way and I, fortunately, have been left behind. What's featured in this day and age are complex one-on-one fantasy and fighting games that the internet allows you to play against other shut-ins around the world.

This leaves me with a crotchety, 34-year old scowl as I gaze upon the Pac-Man monument, grumbling nonsense like, "How many of those kids even know what that is?" And then sounding suspiciously like Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner just as he's about to die, "I have seen levels of Tempest, & Defender, & Space Invaders, that you people could only dream of!"

Flash-back: 1980, Ziggy's Video Arcade, Taunton Massachusetts. A ten year old version of myself studies every move of a venerable 18 year old master of Defender, clearly the most difficult video game in the world. I scan for the secret "pattern" that the game designers, according to talk in the men's room, have programmed in that would make any player invincible. This is the current-day Fountain of Youth that teens and adolescents have devoted more time to finding than all of Ponce De Leon's years. The Pac-Man pattern is real. Not only have I seen it in action, but multiple books have documented it's existence. The Defender equivalent, though, is still in question.

Goddamn that game. Just the name commanded respect back then. All other games paled in comparison. Pac-Man and Centipede looked silly being in the same room with Defender. Only the conceptual Tempest could be placed side-by side and not get embarrassed. But make no mistake, if Defender was The Police, it made all other games look like Christopher Cross.

Now the world through ten year old eyes is much different from reality. I remember watching the Defender high score champion, with his pack of cigarettes rolled in his T-Shirt sleeve and his skanky girlfriend, just waiting to go to the back seat of his Trans Am, and thinking, "That's all I want in the world. I want high score, the skakiest girl in the arcade, cigarettes, and having sex in a car to Rush's Moving Pictures." Unfortunately, I think, I achieved none of those.

How many kids at WCG will have flash-backs like that? How many VietNam vets have flash-backs that lucid?

Now I know how old people feel when the come across a car they had as a teenager. Maybe someday I'll wheel my chair into a throw-back restaurant, see a Defender game some kitschy interior designer thought would be hilarious to put in the corner, and be so moved with nostalgia I'll actually stop shitting into my bag for 10 seconds.

What was the point? Oh, yeah, having spent most of my later years absorbing, not distributing common nerd abuse, I feel strangely tempted to attend WCG costumed like Ogre of Revenge of the Nerds fame, and scream "Nerds!" as loud as possible. Most people wouldn't get it, but those who do, would love it to no end. It's thoughts like that that remind me how much we miss Andy Kaufman. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Debate Team



Ever watch a presidential (or vice-presidential) debate and think to yourself, "Hell, I could do a better job than this guy."? For all his efforts last night (which weren't bad), I have to admit I was a little disappointed in John Edwards's performance. I think it was simply that I heard, because of his experience as a trial lawyer, he would lay waste to Cheney in a way not seen since the Tyson-Spinks fight of 1989 (90 seconds to a knock-out). I think I got my hopes too high up. Still, at least he didn't lose the debate, like Bush did last Thursday.

So here's my political wish list for the next debate on Friday:

1. When Bush inevitably starts the "Flip-Flopper Attack", as he and Cheney are so fond of, I plead Kerry to simply state that conviction is a very important and admirable quality, only if you're right. Otherwise, it's common thick-headedness. Can't he just say, "Mr. President, I would love to give you credit for having conviction, if you were ever once correct in your decisions in the last four years. Why should we celebrate someone's stubbornness?" I feel Kerry is spending so much time trying to clarify his positions in the past, this fundamental point is being lost.

&

2. When, once again, Bush implies that a Kerry/Edwards White House would compromise homeland security against another 9/11-like attack. Kerry should just ask, "How in the world could anyone do a worse job than you did leading up to 9/11? One would have to work very hard to do worse." Indeed. One of the most insidious strategies of the Bush campaign is, as John McLaughlin called it, "Vote Bush or Die!" Simply put, the President and Vice-President are going around trying to scare people into voting for them using the threat of another imminent state-side attack. -An attack they're more qualified to prevent. In fact, Cheney has even started mentioning a nuclear explosion as the next possible attack on US soil. Now, how do they figure you're safer with the current White House, who by all accounts dropped the ball on thwarting the largest terrorist attack in American History? They screwed up on preventing it, yet it's one of the cornerstone strategies of their entire campaign.

What the fuck?Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Libertines Update


As expected, I bought a ticket to last night's sold out Libertines show at the Fillmore. So for the third time, I've paid 100% to see 75% of the band. As mentioned before, Libertines co-frontman, and full time drug addict, Pete Doherty, was not along for the second consecutive US tour. Reports have him abruptly canceling UK shows of his other band, Babyshambles. The official excuse for an Aberteen no-show? -Pete fell down the stairs. As expected, riots promptly followed.

"Fell down the stairs." That poor, sick fuck. That must be the most incidious, infuriating component of addiction, the inability to see merit in anything other than your next fix. The Libertines are one of the top two bands in England (along with The Darkness), yet Doherty wants nothing to do with them, which I'm convinced is due to fellow band mate and guitarist Carl Barat demanding he clean up.

These guys only play to sold out shows, and even Babyshambles is wildly popular, but Pete continues to prioritize that well below heroin and crack. As a fan, it saddens me, I can't even begin to imagine how frustrating it must be for someone who is close and cares for him. Those people must have had their hearts broken about a thousand times already.

For England, this is a national tragedy. Even beloved 77 year old English actress, June Brown, got involved and paid to have Pete sent and committed to a Thai rehab monastary. He only lasted a week before escaping and going on a 3 day heroin bender in a Bankok hotel room. -Sad, but not the first time he's released himself from rehab by his own reconnaissance. At a British clinic, he claims to have been kicked out because he left to take in a soccer game. Soon after that, he posted this message to fans on his website: "Will someone lend me £1,000 until the album comes out? I'll do a one-on-one, any song you like. Or gig for the cash on the nail." His financial hardship is due to Libertines manager, Alan McGee, limiting his cash flow for obvious reasons. Even in this month's Spin magazine there's a report of multiple photos circulating around the internet of Pete smoking crack.

Goddamnit.

And for the compassionate side of the story, fellow bandmember, Carl Barat, has always condended that Pete is welcome back in the band once he cleans up. In fact, he pleads and looks forward to that day saying, "I want to be in a band with my friend. That's all I can say." And when asked if they'd ever play together again- "if he turned up and he was the Peter I know and love, then of course, that’d be natural. It’s a bit of a fucking tricky one really." So while Pete continues to slide and publicly trash his old band and friend, it appears Carl only wants his friend back. Indeed, here's the cover photo of NME when Pete got out of jail and they were back together long enough to cut the latest CD (Pete on the right):

That type of loyalty and compassion I find amazing. It must be incredibly difficult to take someone back despite repeated fuck-ups. It must be even harder to decide it better to shun a close friend rather than to accept his self-destruction.

One of the Libertines many strong points has always been their lyrics. So last night while contemplating the obvious void onstage and all the band's efforts to keep it together, it seemed heart-breaking to watch Carl sing:

"Monkey asked the mouse before
If she loved anybody more than he
It turns you into stone
Now I'm reversing down the lonely street
To a cheap hotel when I can meet the past
And pay it off and keep it sweet
It's sweet like nothing no
It's just like nothing at all

Yes I've seen you there
How could I help but stare
It rips the heart out off your baby
Now I've taken far too much to see
Or think or touch what's real
I'm stranded on this street that
Paved my only way home

You really need it oh
You just won't leave it behind

So baby please kill me
Oh baby don't kill me
But don't bring that ghost round to my door
I don't wanna see him anymore"

Oh, yeah, the show was great. -Lots of hip high schoolers. When I looked around, my first thought was, "Man, I haven't seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High in a long time." And despite there not being the full Libertines line-up, it's always worth it to see a show at the Fillmore, if for no other reason than for the free poster on the way out. The one for last night's show is magnificent. Posted by Hello