stAllio!'s way
Saturday, June 11, 2005 
mess up the mix, mix up the mess
finally got around to opening up my mixer. hoo boy, that's complicated! fixing it is well beyond my skillset. it has two big PCBs so even disassembling it enough to really diagnose it will be pretty complicated.

i have a show on friday, one that will likely get press attention. i need a working mixer for the show; theoretically i could do a performance without a mixer, using two inputs on my kaoss pad (for one cd player and a microphone?) but that would be half-assing it, and this show is too important to half-ass.

so i guess i need to buy a new mixer by friday! i'd been fantasizing for awhile about upgrading to a mixer with more features anyway, so this is a pretty damn good excuse to do that. barry will still try to take a closer look at my broken mixer, and if he can fix it, i can sell it.

i need a 19" 4-channel dj mixer. some of the special features i'm interested in include
and that's not an exclusive list. i know i won't get everything on it. i'd rather not have to spend more than $400 (i'd go as high as $500 or so for something really special).

fx loop is more important than built-in fx or sampling, as fx send/return capability would greatly increase what i can do with my kaoss pad. that's probably the most important feature on the list, and any mixer with send/return will probably also have individual eq controls, which is standard on mid- and high-end mixers. i probably won't find one with individual pan controls, which they don't seem to make on 4-channel dj mixers anymore.

i'm open to suggestions and/or feedback. but i'm the kind of person who is very quick to go out and buy something once i've decided to do so. i wouldn't be surprised if i feel compelled to go out shopping for mixers after dinner. but maybe i'll be able to restrain myself until tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, June 10, 2005 
ever since the riaa raided a few indy record stores and seized their mixtapes, i've been waiting until i started to hear more stories about record store raids.

the wait is over. and this time, it might gain more attention, as they raided a popular store in new york city.

New York police, in cooperation with the RIAA, arrested five employees of Kim's Video — one of the East Village's most beloved independent video and music stores — during a Wednesday afternoon raid that netted 500 pirated CD-Rs.

Those arrested were charged with trademark counterfeiting, and police also seized 27 music DVDs, nine DVD burners and several store computers. All of the CD-Rs and DVDs were described by an RIAA spokesperson as "urban in nature" — mixtapes, featuring music by artists such as 50 Cent, Nelly, Alicia Keyes and Jay-Z.

and more raids have probably been going on that we never heard about:

According to the RIAA's Web site, because several retailers — including the owners of convenience stores, liquor stores or corner markets — are attempting "to make a quick buck by reselling illegal CDs, or, in some cases, manufacturing counterfeit CDs themselves," the RIAA has adopted an "aggressive 'zero tolerance' approach to retailers engaged in this activity."

A similar raid late last month in the Albany, Schenectady and Troy areas of Upstate New York resulted in 11 arrests, the seizure of 3,400 illicit CD-Rs and more than $54,000.

note the use of the term "counterfeit CDs"... but mondo kims wasn't selling bootlegged or pirated material. mondo kims sold mixtapes. to the riaa, djs are the same as pirates or bootleggers. except, that is, when they're trying to break the latest single, in which case they love djs and mixtapes.

when will the djs start making a stand?

deep fried reese's cups
i had a deep-fried snicker's bar at the fair last year. the experience was not unlike eating a candy bar you've had in your pocket or sitting in your car for too long: it tasted good but was essentially like eating a sac full of liquid chocolate. not a great experience.

but the indy star has the lowdown on this year's new fried crap at the indiana state fair.

If you loved deep-fried Oreos and Twinkies, get ready for Reese's Cups and Ho Hos, battered and fried as only the State Fair can.

If you don't know a Ho Ho from a Ding Dong, the Ho Ho also is sometimes generically referred to as an iced chocolate cake roll. It just so happens that Hostess, the company that makes Ho Hos, got its start in Indianapolis in 1925, according to Hostess' Web site. But we digress.

batter-fried reese's peanut butter cups? hot damn, i think i'll have to try that. just like i need to try the new peanut butter milkshakes at steak n shake (they're not listed on the menu on the website, but i found out about them during a trip to a cleveland steak n shake last week... mmm.... peanut butter shakes).

support for npr...
one thing i wanted to mention about the merck story but forgot (as by the time i finish a long entry i have often forgotten one or two details that i wanted to mention):

merck underwrites on npr.

or at least they did until yesterday. i know this because just yesterday, i actually heard the underwriting blurb just yesterday, with their new slogan about orgasming first and everything. a few hours after hearing that, i heard the big long story about merck's ultra-unethical practices.

so as much as i might criticize the public radio underwriting practice for essentially being "advertising" that they just won't admit is advertising, i do have to say that, at least on this occasion, npr went ahead with a story that was sure to piss off one of their sponsors. and they played the story big, so big that they put up a full text transcript.

how many other media outlets would air a story so highly critical of a sponsor? i'm sure there are some that would, but i'm even more sure that a lot would not.

Thursday, June 09, 2005 
merck: where profits come first
so the other day when i was reading this blurb on prwatch, my mind immediately went racing to the gutter. apparently pharmaceutical giant merck is trying to make over its image after its medication vioxx was pulled from the market for causing pulmonary and death problems. merck has a new slogan:

merck: where patients come first

i immediately started researching to put together an ad parody around erectile enhancement and the idea of "coming first". the possibilities there are endless. but after browsing through merck's website, i realized that merck doesn't make any dick drugs! i couldn't find a single penis drug on their product page. somewhat disappointed, i abandoned my ad parody idea, and i almost even felt sorry for merck that they have so far been unable to cash in on the ever-growing erection market.

but then tonight i was listening to all things considered on my drive home from work and was fortunate enough to catch their massive exposé on merck. it's a long story: long enough that it took up most of my drive home (and wasn't finished when i arrived, causing me to have one of those "driveway moments"), and big enough that npr has already posted a transcript of the story.

npr somehow (though one of those "undisclosed sources" that right-wingers seem to hate?) acquired some extremely incriminating internal documents from merck that detail how merck tried to buy off various high-profile doctors so they would speak well of vioxx, which from what i understand is fairly common.

When they located a prospect, they entered the details about that doctor into a spreadsheet at headquarters. Spreadsheet entries included items such as:

"...treats all of the major sports teams, including the Lakers basketball team and the Dodgers baseball team, as well as the high-profile members of our society."

"... 2,4OO prescriptions per year... also known nationally... Writes for a lot of rheumatology textbooks."

Merck's vast army of sales representatives gathered intelligence on what it would take to win over individual doctors. Their notes included the following strategic observations:

"Use in many speaking engagements... At least $20,000 for speaking engagements for the remainder of the year."

"Will speak for us only at certain restaurants and high honorarium... Likes to feel important... He needs the VIP treatment."

this is all ethically questionable (if the question is "is this unethical or is it super duper unethical?") but like i said, it's relatively common practice. so it wouldn't really be a story if it stopped there. but it doesn't; it's just getting started.

the story goes on to discuss a stanford researcher named gurkirpal singh, who did some paid speaking engagements for merck for awhile, but then started having doubts about the safety of vioxx. singh began to think, you know, maybe vioxx wasn't really that great, and maybe it was killing thousands of people, or something like that.

merck expected singh to be a good little paid-off corporate shill and ix-nay on the eart-hay attacks-way. but singh grew increasingly concerned about the potential dangers of vioxx, & he dared to openly discuss his concerns in his speaking engagements. then, worst of all, started recommending rival product celebrex instead of vioxx. that was it: the guy had to go.

the npr story discusses just how deeply merck "investigated" singh:

The profile of Dr. Singh is remarkably complete," says Columbia's David Rothman, who reviewed the final document for NPR. "One can't help but almost frame it in terms of an FBI dossier, except here Dr. Singh is not cavorting with possible communists, or possible gangsters. Here the dossier is filled with Dr. Singh's take on Vioxx, who is Dr. Singh talking to. It's scrupulously watched and very, very carefully recorded."

once it was clear that singh would not come back into the fold, merck had to take him out of play. so merck tried to call singh's bosses at stanford & get him in trouble. merck also called the deans at at least 7 other institutions that also had pesky researchers who dared to suggest that maybe vioxx was causing heart problems.

but why would merck think that a couple phone calls would be enough to make these universities clamp down on their employees?

"Look, medical research is expensive," says David Rothman of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. "No one can take a call from a drug company high official, critical of an investigator, and not realize that behind that call is the implicit reminder, implicit threat -- 'If you can't control your folks, how do you expect us to continue to do business with you?''"

of course none of that did much good for merck, as the fda eventually pulled vioxx from the market, and at least 38,000 people are now estimated to have died because of the drug.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005 
more on indy driving costs
my sister just emailed me with a very good point concerning the previous post on indianapolis being the #7 most expensive city to drive in.

she points out that the study lists indy's gas price (presumably some kind of average) as $2.335. "for premium maybe!" she says. but the article clearly states they looked at "the cost of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline".

i drive past at least one gas station every day (except some sundays), and i have to agree. the absolute highest i've seen regular go for here in indy was about $2.19. that was at the height of the price gouging a few months ago, and people were absolutely flipping out about gas prices. i sure as hell have never ever seen the price of regular gas in the indianapolis metro area come even close to $2.33.

so where the hell did they get that number? and are the numbers for other cities similarly overpriced?

well i found the AAA fuel gauge report, which is cited as one of their sources in their methodology. and it lists the current indiana average gas price at $2.043, which i can believe (i paid $2.09 the other day).

in fact it lists the highest recorded price for indianapolis as $2.340 on 4/8/2005. so how can the average price be $2.335 if the price has never even gone over $2.340?

something is seriously screwy here.

so let's keep looking. atlanta is listed as #1 most expensive. the sperling study lists atlanta's gas price as $2.200. the AAA says atlanta's highest recorded price $2.200.

#2: birmingham, AL. sperling gas price: $2.192. AAA highest recorded price: $2.192.

#3: nashville, TN. sperling price: $2.205. AAA highest recorded price: $2.200.

#4: orlando, FL. sperling price: $2.270. AAA highest recorded price: $2.273.

#5: jacksonville, FL. sperling price: $2.281. AAA highest recorded price: $2.283.

#6: pensacola, FL. sperling price: $2.281. AAA highest recorded price: $2.281.

#7: indianapols, IN. sperling price $2.335. AAA highest recorded price: $2.340.

#8: san francisco/oakland, CA. sperling price: $2.699. AAA highest recorded price: $2.748 for SF and $2.689 for oakland.

#9: raleigh/durham, NC. sperling price: $2.252. AAA highest recorded price: $2.252.

#10: LA/long beach/santa ana, CA. sperling price: $2.610. AAA highest recorded price: $2.625.

so the sperling study does not use average gas prices. the prices used in that study are pretty much the highest they've ever been... and 10-20 cents or more higher than they are currently. study authors used the "current" average from two months ago (4/11/2005), which happens to be a week of record-high prices.

thos prices are then treated as though they were "average" and used to extrapolate other stuff, such as percentage of family income spent on gas. that seems pretty disingenuous to me. and the findings of the study should be regarded with extreme scepticism because of this. though their points about urban sprawl should not be disregarded.

from sprawl to shining sprawl
the other day i finally watched i ♥ huckabees (which i absolutely loved). in the film, jason schwartzman's character is an activist who tries to create a coalition called "open spaces" to combat suburban sprawl, and mark wahlberg is a firefighter who rides a bike (never a gas-burning vehicle) because he is so upset about the world's petroleum dependency.

so it's probably natural that i immediately thought of i ♥ huckabees when i read this article about a study that places indianapolis as the #7 most expensive US city to drive in.

The hit you take in your pocketbook depends at least in part on where you live -- not only because gas prices range widely, but because commuting conditions do, too. So while California's gas prices are typically the highest in the nation, Southern cities top the list of most expensive places to drive.

Experts at Sperling�s Best Places looked at 84 major cities, factoring in not only the cost of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline, but also the number of miles driven by daily commuters and the effect of rush-hour congestion.

naptown's #7 ranking places us as more expensive than even "nightmare" driving cities like san francisco/oakland and the LA/long beach areas. the reason indy is so expensive for driving? urban sprawl.

i have driven in LA (though years ago), and when in the matrix reloaded they talk about how driving on the freeway is suicide, they're talking about LA's freeways. LA freeways are just nuts: constant congestion mixed with massive speeding. and gas prices in LA are 50 cents to a dollar more expensive than in indiana. but, at least according to this study, even though LA has 3-4x more people, and despite the fact that the whole region is almost 100% (sub)urban sprawl (seriously), indy ranks higher. because we apparently have even more sprawl.

i've spent some time in SF too, recently, and gas there is about as expensive as it is anywhere in the country. but the bay area does not sprawl in the same way. buildings and houses are so close together there that you can practically hear their shrieks of claustrophobia. this is likely caused, at least in part, by the fact that san francisco is an island, and land developers can't expand outward, so they have no choice but to cram everything in as tightly as they can. this is not so in indianapolis, where the metropolitan area seeps out across the region like fungus. in san francisco, with close proximity to everything and good public transportation, you can live quite well without ever getting inside a car (connie, who will continue to live there until late july, doesn't even have a driver's license). in indy, you can barely get from your house to the bank without a car, unless you're lucky enough to live near a bus route.

but i would be remiss (especially consideriny my previous post) if i just uncritically reported on this study without asking two important questions:

#1. what is the methodolgy for the study?

This study uses measures of gas usage and economy, such as the average number of miles drivers travel in each city and the average number of gallons each driver uses and wastes in traffic congestion each day. It was assumed that a typical family had two wage-earners, each commuting in separate vehicles. The total of federal and state tax rates varied from 35% to 42%, depending on the family�s income. Statistics were derived from the following studies: 2004 Urban Mobility Study by Texas Transportation Institute, the American Automobile Association (AAA) Fuel Gauge Report, 2004 Fuel Economy data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Tax Foundation and the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.

uh-huh. i have to wonder whether the study factored in the fuel efficiency of the typical vehicle in each area. places with a lot of SUVs and other gas-guzzlers will obviously spend a fuckload more on gas/driving than places with lots of hybrid or electric vehicles. (you can see more details here)

question #2: who or what is sperling's best places?

In 1985, Bert Sperling developed a software program named "Places, U.S.A." which allowed people to enter their personal preferences to find their own best place. is a natural extension of our work over the last fifteen years regarding demographics, preferences, and the selection of "Best Places" to live, work, or retire.

Sperling's concepts and methodology have been the basic of numerous studies since 1985. Today, Fast Forward, Inc. (the producer of is responsible for more "Best Places" studies and projects than any other single organization.

itunes NOT more popular than p2p
a new study came out comparing p2p to paid music download services, and it's already being misinterpreted and misread.

the headline in pcworld/macworld (and other places) is ITunes More Popular Than Peer-to-Peer... but simply reading the article shows this to be false.

A new report from market research company The NPD Group shows that Apple's ITunes Music Store is proving to be more popular than many peer-to-peer file sharing services.

According to NPD's MusicWatch Digital Service, ITunes is in a dead heat with P-to-P service LimeWire, and is beating out other services like Kazaa and IMesh.
At the top of the list was WinMX, a Windows P-to-P service that NPD claims is used by 2.1 million households. ITunes and LimeWire saw use by 1.7 million households. Kazaa came in fourth, followed by BearShare, Ares Galaxy, Napster, Morpheus, Real Player Store, and IMesh.

so not only is iTunes not more popular than peer-to-peer, it's not even #1 on the list. winmx has more users than itunes.

and of course, p2p isn't just one program: it's a community made up of users of dozens of different programs. in order to fairly compare whether itunes or p2p is "more popular", you would need to compare the number of itunes users with the number of p2p users overall, not the number of users of each p2p program factored independently. if you add up those numbers, p2p wins by a factor of at least 10.

i also note that bittorrent is not on the list. i suppose that could be because bt has fewer users than the "top 10" listed by the survey. but i'm skeptical, and suspect this is more likely a flaw in the survey.

then there's a question of methodology. where did they get these numbers?

The survey was conducted by collecting data from Windows-based PCs used by 40,000 online panelists. The information compares March 2005 to March 2004 household activity of consumers who had acquired digital music either through paid services or P-to-P file sharing services.

40,000 online "panelists"? who the hell are these panelists? how were they chosen? does anyone really believe that all 40,000 of them were entirely honest about their downloading habits? (p2p has been demonized and unauthorized downloading is still technically illegal.) does anyone really believe that those 40,000 users are representative of the general online community?

the npd group itself uses the somewhat-less-false headline iTunes More Popular Than Most Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Services, which you can at least pretend is true if you accept the survey results. so who the hell is the npd group?

The NPD Group provides global sales and marketing information that helps our clients make more informed, fact-based decisions in order to optimize their businesses. Many of the world's most successful companies rely on us for insight on what is selling, where and why so that they can understand and leverage the latest trends.

Since 1967 we have introduced market information and its far-reaching benefits across a wide range of vertical markets, including apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, cellular, consumer electronics, food and beverage, foodservice, footwear, housewares, imaging, information technology, movies, music, software, toys, travel, video games, and more.

yeah, they're a marketing firm. and i can pretty much guarantee you that "the industry" paid for this survey.

Monday, June 06, 2005 
up in smoke
okay, i am confused by today's supreme court ruling on medical marijuana:

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday ruled doctors can be blocked from prescribing marijuana for patients suffering from pain caused by cancer or other serious illnesses.

In a 6-3 vote, the justices ruled the Bush administration can block the backyard cultivation of pot for personal use, because such use has broader social and financial implications.
The decision means that federal anti-drug laws trump state laws that allow the use of medical marijuana, said CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Ten states have such laws.

okay, so it's illegal to grow medical marijuana in your backyard. that seems straightforward enough. so what was the reasoning?

A federal appeals court concluded use of medical marijuana was non-commercial, and therefore not subject to congressional oversight of "economic enterprise."

But lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department argued to the Supreme Court that homegrown marijuana represented interstate commerce, because the garden patch weed would affect "overall production" of the weed, much of it imported across American borders by well-financed, often violent drug gangs.

whoa, what? growing weed in your own backyard, for your own use, is interstate commerce? and not only did the supremes' heads not explode from cognitive dissonance when hearing this, but 6 out of 9 apparently agreed? (the other dissented not from cranial collapse, but because they believe in "states' rights".) so when my parents grow tomatoes in their backyard, for eatin' and givin' to friends in the neighborhood, is that interstate commerce? is the pile of clutter that has been growing in my bedroom interstate commerce?

and this doesn't make any sense either:

Anti-drug activists say Monday's ruling could encourage abuse of drugs deemed by the government to be narcotics.

"It's a handful of people who want to see not just marijuana, but all drugs legalized," said Calvina Fay of the Drug Free America Foundation.

monday's ruling was against the medical marijuana users, yes? so why would it encourage people to abuse drugs? making things illegal is supposed to deter them, right? so either about half this article was written on bizarro world or there is something else, something really significant, about this case that cnn isn't reporting.

apparently, there is a precedent that even something you grow in your yard for your own use can "affect interstate commerce" and therefore be regulated by congress. even something you grow for yourself, according to stevens, can affect interstate commerce simply because even if you aren't selling it, theoretically you could sell it. just like theoretically, because i have a lighter in my pocket, i could go out and start some church fires. of course this makes nothing resembling sense, and flies in the face of the legal principles that allow, say gun and missile manufacturers from being prosecuted everytime a civilian gets shot. if you want to try to make sense of the reasoning, you can read the ruling.

but if anyone can explain that second blockquote... how anyone with a brain could think that this ruling would "encourage abuse of drugs", please let me know.

Sunday, June 05, 2005 
reinal do sanchez
several months ago i received a suspicious email asking me to send a free t-shirt. i googled the person who sent it, found other suspicious (and similar, yet very different) posts on various other sites (like this gullible sap, who thought it was legit), and ignored it:





i wasn't the first person to be suspicious. google also turns up this, from someone who even tracked down the photo that "reinal do sanchez" attached.

it's a scam. and surprisingly not the first person who has tried to scam me for t-shirts, either. i don't know how many shirts these people have, but i'm not a fool and when someone tells me they're doing "A PEDAGOGICAL PROJECT BASED UPON MODE & FASHION APPLIED ON T-SHIRTS" or that they want 20 t-shirts for their "store" in nigeria, i can tell i'm being scammed.

so tonight i got another email from reinal do sanchez.

My name is Reinaldo Javier Sanchez.
I am 25 years old. I am a girl Costume Designer (PhD).
I am professor of Youth Apparel at University:

I would like to know if you can send me (By Airmail)
one (1) T-Shirt (Size L) related to ANIMALSWITHINANIMALS

I just need this item in order to get better my classes
because I am developing -joined with my own students-
a project based on T-Shirts according to design, size,
texture, logo, color and fashion dressed by Teenagers.

The T-Shirt will be used for educational purposes only.
My students are waiting for your kind donation.

the address and url have been expunged, though they're easy to find if you look.

but anyway, why do her job description and study project seem to subtly change over time? and why is she sometimes a musicologist, and other times a professor of "mode"?

obviously, i know the answer to these questions. it's just a rhetorical device.

vacation notes
i've been pretty busy since i got back from vacation: at the office, catching up with work, and at home, catching up with tv and comics as well as working on other stuff i probably shouldn't mention yet. i haven't even fully unpacked my suitcase yet. and on top of that, we went to the video store tonight and rented 5 movies (4 of which i personally intend to watch).

but i drove up to the cleveland area last weekend to hang out with connie for the weekend, and to attend RRX. we had a lot of fun, and ate in a bunch of places: several mediocre all-night diners, and a bunch of other restaurants of varying quality. the big winners were mi pueblo taqueria and sahara, both on lorain avenue around W 120-125th st. (which are super close to each other; in fact, we discovered sahara because we were looking for mi pueblo and drove too far.) mi pueblo was very authentic mexican, with all the right stuff on the menu (though the chips were rather stale). their mole was delectable. sahara is a lebanese restaurant, and the food was quite tasty indeed, though the service was ridiculously slow, especially considering that the place was virtually empty. the loser of the restaurants was the chinese/japanese place around 160th & lorain avenue. it was notably worse than sakura, the sushi place in lakewood on detriot avenue that connie complains about so much (but that i think is okay, at least by midwest standards).

on friday afternoon we went to see star wars episode iii. overall, i really enjoyed it. it had some flaws, notably inserting things from the original trilogy that don't need to be there (the droid roles for example could be played by any two droids; there was no point in bringing back c3p0 or r2d2, though that's a problem with the whole trilogy). but it was very dark, and for the most part it delivered.

friday night was the first night of RRX. things were pretty laid back. thursday club played for awhile, and they were good. hetmana was supposed to play, but didn't show up on friday night at all. (she eventually showed up on saturday and played at 5am, which was a little too late for me & connie.) we hung out for a few hours and when things started winding down, we left. i want to say we went to some late-night diner. we probably did.

we spent saturday afternoon getting the last of our costumes and props ready. we also went to trader joe's to buy desserts to contribute to the vegetarian potluck dinner that was supposed to start at RRX at 6pm. well, the dinner didn't really start until after 7 and there were only a few food items available. so the potluck wasn't that great, but i ate some noodles, which along with my special cookies was enough to tide me over until connie & i could go to yet another mediocre late-night diner after we left.

for various reasons, this event de-emphasized the "musical performance" aspect compared to past recycled rainbows. this did help to tighten up the schedule somewhat (it only ran 2 or so hours late by the end), and new alternative activities were added, with more theatrical-type performances and a couple workshops. as a result, there were only 4 bona fide musical "performances" during the night, with occasional between-activity djing by bobby vomit & humdrum. AWIA was the first, and i think it went pretty well. i already posted the mp3 so you can judge for yourself. bobby & humdrum brought their gear, and virago collaborated with my on my gear. there were the typical occasional problems, and a new one: my mixer cut out suddenly, so for a minute or two connie & i were totally silent. eventually i slapped the side of my rig and it started working again, and the performance continued. by the end we had a small crowd accumulated in the basement, and at one point they even clapped & stomped along to a beat that i had playing... a first for animals within animals.

the other musical performances were by henry james, who did some kind of improv with guitar, electronics, and delay that was pretty interesting, and 9-volt haunted house, who as usual did a nice set as usual. their name is very apropos: electronic, a little noisy, and a little creepy. as i mentioned earlier, hetmana also played at 5am, but we were leaving and missed it. contrary to what bobby vomit posted on his blawg, i believe there was only one actual cancellation--jock trap--and i believe henry james was added to the schedule in jock trap's place.

i missed a couple of the non-musical performances, especially at first (and i missed the first workshop, which was on bookbinding, because i was busy setting up for the AWIA performance). but i caught several, of varying quality. there was a short play, frank lloyd wright vs van der rohe, about art in architecture, form vs function, and so on, using the narrative device of "dungeons & dragons rules" to keep the argument going. i thought it was pretty good. but i wondered: was frank lloyd wright really as big a dick as he was portrayed in this play? because i really wanted to agree with him a lot of of the time, but he acted like such a bitch eyes that i had to root for van der rohe (who designed skyscrapers and the like).

leia alligator's puppet theatre also involved dungeons & dragons, a humorous unforeseen consequence of the event's theme being legends and myths. i like leia's puppet shows, but i always feel somewhat bad for her because the audiences there tend to be over-the-top rowdy and disruptive. now, i don't mind a bit of friendly heckling at a loud music show, for example, but when 20-30 people are yelling out stuff during an unamplified performance such as a puppet show, it gets frustrating and holds up the show.

the other performance i saw was this thing about bill & ted's excellent adventure. i really wanted to like the performance, because i was all about bill & ted for many years, and they still hold a special place in my heart. but the thing was simply weak. this guy dressed up like ted (very accurately, i should add), played the movie on a vcr, and had volunteers from the audience read lines from his favorite scenes. that was it: he didn't even cue up the vcr or anything. he just had the video playing and had printouts, each one 2-4 lines, of some of his favorite exchanges, and would call people up to read the lines aloud. this went on for 20-25 minutes. even as a fan of the movie, i thought it was incredibly boring and quickly wanted to escape.

overall, RRX was a fun time spent with good people, but it wasn't as much as i'd had at past RR events. bobby vomit and humdrum, who only came up to cleveland for saturday night, were disappointed. i wasn't as disappointed as they were, but then i was there for a lot longer...

sunday we slept in late, then ate dinner at mi pueblo. there was a big soccer game on, but we couldn't tell who was playing. as i mentioned above, the mole was delicious. then we went back to relax at the hotel for awhile before it was time to leave for press the button on WRUW.

press the button was tons of fun; leia alligator had some electronic kids' book that he hooked into my kaoss pad & played through its fx. i was on the mic all night, spouting freeform bulldada along with everyman, kyle, people who called in to the show, and other guests such as ryan from thursday club. bulldada is pretty fun when they other people are doing it too; i at least need someone to riff off of if i'm going to be talking a bunch of nonsense for long periods of time. i had a lot of fun calling for price checks and clean-ups all over the galaxy, and our food-related riffs, inspired by all the food and grocery shopping in leia's book, eventually turned into an elaborate routine: i'm so hungry i could eat at subway! i'm so hungry i want to stuff your small intestines into your large intestines and eat them! i'm so hungry i want to chew your face off and smother it in frank's famous bbq sauce! i'm so hungry i could eat a whole batch of ecstasy rolls, or a bunch of condoms full of cocaine! at one point i tried to drive it into the realm of non sequitur (i'm so hungry i want to punch you in the face!).

then, 10 mintues before the end of the show, my mixer went dead again. i smacked it around and got it to come back for a minute, then it died completely. fortunately, it didn't matter much because the show was pretty much over. after the show, 7 of us went to a diner that's usually mediocre but that actually had really good service this time.

monday we ate lebanese, lounged around the hotel, and took a walk around the neighborhood near the hotel, while connie took pictures. she hasn't acclimated to the midwest yet, and was fascinated by things like robins and chipmunks. it was pretty cute. and there's some house only a couple blocks from our hotel that has a big yard full of sculpture... it's right by the lakeside, so it's probably not a cheap neighborhood.

tueday we ate crappy sushi and shopped briefly at bent crayon before i took connie to the airport and drove home.

my mixer still seems to be broken. i have a relatively important show coming up on june 17. i need to either fix my mixer or replace it before then. i wanted to eventually replace it with a fancier model, but i'd rather not be forced into it, and now is not the ideal time either. but if barry or i can't fix it, i won't have much choice.

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