Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Asleep on the Job

Just after 7am yesterday, MBTA Government Center Blue Line platform, Boston.

My cheap HP point and shoot has now lasted 13 months, making it my second-longest-lasting digital point and shoot of all time. Though it's slow and allows for little creative control, I've learned how to manipulate the firmware to get most of the images I want. It's always in my bag.

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Yesterday's Commute

MBTA 88 bus to Green Line at Lechmere to Blue Line at Goverment Center to Airport. Massport shuttle to JetBlue A320 to JFK. Port Authority AirTrain to MTA E train at Jamaica to 6 train at 51st to Grand Central.

Then, F train from 42nd to Roosevelt Ave. E train to Jamaica, AirTrain to JetBlue E-190 to BOS. Massport shuttle bus to Blue Line to Green Line at Government Center. Green Line to Lechmere, 88 bus home.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Last Week in BBQ, Part I: Clem's BBQ, Outside Port Matilda, PA

This addressless, open air shack on the side of PA-322 just outside of Port Matilda, PA (pop. 638) serves up real wood-fired 'cue.

Inside, we found one guy in full winter gear placing ribs on racks above a glowing woodfire. Another bundled-up worker was handling sales from a little booth-like area within the shack. A tiny, open-sided wood stove provided heat for customers standing in line. Frozen marshmallows and roasting sticks waited next to it. The menu boards announced all the barbecue standards you'd expect, but the one intriguing item, boneless ribs, had sold out by 4:30 pm.

We got a pound of chopped pork--tender chunks punctauted by smoky flavor as well as the occasional fleck of bone or cartilage. The house sauce--thick, tomato-based and tangy--was slathered over the cue as an afterthought. (That might be how things work everywhere but the Carolinas, but I still prefer my pig to be drenched with vinegar-based sauce as it smokes for hours). Clem's potato salad managed to be both velvety and chunky (delicious!). The baked beans were nothing to brag about.

As you may have guessed, the vending machines handle all the beverage sales.

Web link: clemsfire.com.

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The woodstack at Clem's, just before sunset.

Martha's Furnace/Port Matilda, PA.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

I win.

SPRAWL

Manorville, LI (I think). I took this from Erich's plane.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

MySpace Adds Amber Alerts, Reaffirms Status as Nexus of America's Child Rape Obsession

Sorry, it was an off week. Between getting stranded by snow in the middle of nowhere and dodging media overcoverage/hype of Dakota Fanning's feature film rape scene (I first mentioned this in July), I didn't get the chance to post this link to more silly MySpace news. Just imagine the new possibilities for ironic content juxtaposition these new Amber Alerts will bring. With such outlandishness so widely available, perhaps the bell has finally tolled for the novelist.

What a world!

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Point, Shoot.

Everyone should have a cheap digicam so that they can make art whenever they want.

Moldy Lime, Cambridge, MA, 11.18.06.

27 things that suck about Boston

Even though I've launched a pro-Boston PR campaign in my head, I'd like to call your attention to this Phoenix article. Regular readers of this page, if there are any, will be familiar with many of the Phoenix's complaints.

For instance, they report that Mass. could have saved $67 million dollars last year by not requiring police to be paid "private" dollars (i.e. my dollars) to stand around trenches and open manholes (this figure excludes highway projects). On today's lunch break, I witnessed four cops protecting a side street from a crane in Davis Sq and two more cops protecting a freshly dug utility hole on Central St.

Traditional Monday Morning PC Hatred

9:03 Open PC laptop. PC starts making crunching noises.
9:14 Finish closing programs that were open without doing any work (I'm reading email and blogging on iBook in meantime)
9:17 PC finishes rebooting
9:19 Outlook loads.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

SOMETHING HAPPENED IN CALGARY!!!

After five long years of fruitless searching, the exact guitar I've been after has appeared on eBay! In boring Calgary of all places!

It's a mid-60s, Japanese-made Guyatone strat ripoff in RED AND WHITE. I have had a sunburst one since 2002, and it's the greatest vintage guitar I've ever bought. I wrote and played all my FSH songs on it. The pickups sound nice and tinny, the action is great, and it's easy to shred on the tiny fretboard.

Five years ago, I missed out on such a guitar, having been outbid by less than $2. This time I will win, no matter what the cost.

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Christmas Evening

My block in Queens on Christmas evening.


Now that I've learned of the simple "handshake" between Flickr and Blogger, I'm going to post many more pictures on the blog (I used to FTP them to rbellinger.com).

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Has the blog "Virtually Actual" been deleted already?

Does someone have a commitment problem? Dude, you're contributing to the negative stereotyping of our generation.

hyperrelevance

  • brother calls to discuss all
  • we settle upon our love of filth and meaningless/sincere american culture
  • we decide to become experts in regional, blue-collar american food and open a restaurant
  • we trash the insincerity of 'gourmet comfort food'
  • we tout the sincerity of growing and existing in multiple cultures
  • despite lateness and below-freezing temps, i start walking to toad to catch some music
  • on wrong-side-of-the-tracks somerville ave, i realize i should at least start a blue collar cuisine group on flickr, perhaps yahoo groups
  • i look up and see a new sign for City Slicker Gourmet Comfort Food, now hiring in a vacant storefront
  • a bus appears and whisks me to toad
  • Mike Leavy plays TWO Freddie King covers and tears through a set of exactly what i listen to every day while working for the man
  • i walk home with a dollar in my pocket and heat up some Betzio's (also made in queens)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

New blogger sucks.

I switched over from "old blogger" today to try out the new "drag and drop" template editor. But that feature is not available to those who don't use the folks at Google to host their blogs. Apparently it has something to do with the "dynamic hosting abilities of Blog*Spot." Too bad they didn't mention that before.

Does this too make me a contrarian? I am still wary about Google and News Corp. owning and/or storing the western world's personalities/marketing preferences. When I first started blogging (in 1997, before it was called blogging), authors understood the simple software they used to share their thoughts. Now I have no idea what's going on, and I don't think that anyone else does, either.

Why should I use Blog*Spot? My blog isn't about anything, and it never was. Will Google really make it easier for people to find out what I think? Who cares? Why can't I own my own blog? Why am I not supposed to own anything around me except my clothes?

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Friday, January 19, 2007

bird brains


bird brains
Originally uploaded by rbdeluxe.

from today's flat-tire enducing bike ride.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Capsule thoughts and a short play from several days in the new New Orleans

Zydeco lives at the Mid-City Lanes! Chris Ardoin and NuStep delivered some serious, r&b-powered stuff. My CD just came in the mail today, and it's amazing to hear how hip-hop it actually is (even with accordion...check out some sounds here). In conversation, I struggle to explain how what I'm really into about music is the tradition. Blues into early jazz into R&B into rock into soul into funk into??? When a band like this (or Rebirth Brass Band, which I saw twice last week), takes the stage, they live and play what I think I know. It's something else.

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PARKING LOT ALTERCATION FROM THE MID-CITY LANES ROCK-N-BOWL
As experienced and written by R. Bellinger

AN ORANGE MERCURY CAB PULLS UP TO THE BLANK FACADE OF THE MID-CITY LANES ROCK-N-BOWL. WITHIN THE LARGE RECTANGULAR BUILDING, THE BAND'S DRUM AND BASS CAN BE HEARD THUMPING TOGETHER. A HANDWRITTEN SIGN READS: "Chris Ardoin $8." TWO GLASS DOORS SEPARATE THE DARK STAIRCASE THAT RISES TO THE DANCE FLOOR AND BOWLING LANES FROM THE SILENT PARKING LOT. RB, WEARING AN OLD-MAN-LIKE, YELLOW, SHORTSLEEVE, STRIPED SHIRT, EXITS THE CAB FIRST AND APPROACHES THE DOORWAY. SUDDENLY, A MIDDLE-AGED DRUNK MAN, BALDING AND WITH A LARGE TRIANGLE OF SWEAT POINTING FROM THE NECK OF HIS OPEN RED POLO SHIRT TO HIS CROTCH, EMERGES INTO THE PARKING LOT. HE STUMBLES TOWARD RB.

Wet Polo Shirt Man (to RB): You're about to see an excellent band!

RB: Cool.

(SECONDS LATER, A LEAN, FIFTY-SOMETHING, HUNCHBACKED MAN EMERGES FROM THE SAME STAIRWELL WEARING A GRAY SUIT, NO TIE, LARGE GLASSES, AND A MILITARY-STYLE BERET. HE WALKS WITH A HEAVY LIMP AND THE AID OF A THICK, WOODEN CANE. BERET MAN PRODUCES A FOLDED FIVE-DOLLAR BILL AND, WITH THE AID OF HIS CANE, STUMBLES TOWARD RB. HE THRUSTS THE FIVE DOLLAR BILL INTO RB'S FACE.

RB: Free money!?

Wet Polo Shirt Man: (LAUGHS LOUDLY AT BERET MAN)

Beret Man: (TO RB) You're not the homeless guy I thought you was! (TO WET POLO SHIRT MAN, WITH AN ARROGANT COCK OF THE HEAD). You better stop laughin', or this retired lieutenant colonel in the US Marine Corps will put you to sleep. Humph! (HE TURNS TO RE-ENTER THE BUILDINIG)

Wet Polo Shirt Man: (TO RB) What an asshole!

Beret Man: (TURNING SHARPLY AND POINTING HIS CANE AT WET POLO SHIRT MAN) PRICK! (HE RE-ENTERS THE BUILDING AND ASCENDS THE STAIRCASE. WET POLO SHIRT MAN DISAPPEARS INTO THE NIGHT.)

***
(A FEW SECONDS PASS. RB ENTERS THE ROCK-N-BOWL. SUDDENLY, BOWLING ALLEY WOMAN, A FRUMPY, UNATTRACTIVE, AND SHORT WOMAN IN HER MID-30S APPEARS, MOVING RAPIDLY DOWN THE STAIRS WITH A LOOK OF CONCERN ON HER BESPECTACLED FACE. AS SHE APPROACHES, SHE QUICKLY CONCEALS A LARGE WAD OF CASH IN HER PANTS POCKET.)

Bowling Alley Woman: (TO RB) What happened with him?

RB: It was the other guy.

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Hipsters look the same here (N.O.) as they do everywhere else: elderly versions of lost teenagers. Same clothes, same product. The people I made fun of in Brooklyn were easy targets because of how hard they tried to be different. The artists in America's b-cities are easy to make fun of because they all look the same.

Star Wars

Did you hear about China's new satellite-destroying capabilities?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

DISTRACTED

Tonight I'd like to write a bulleted summary of myself and maybe post 1,000 images on Flickr. (???) I have to work an honest day first.

Insane JFK-BOS fares

$39 on JetBlue weekdays. Compare with $95 on Acela.

PC Hatred

Today I wake up and turn this thing on and everything is FUCKING GIGANTIC. The ICONS, the WINDOWS, the TEXT ITSELF. Only three WINDOWS fit in the GIANT, RETARD-SIZED TOOLBAR. I try the Function+Spacebar trick, and it makes everything BIGGER. This being Windows, everything looks pixellated at its new size. I know I didn't change any of the settings when I shut down the computer last night. So what the fuck? I've already wasted 20 minutes tinkering with the display settings and have gotten nowhere. Everything is just TOO GODDAMN BIG. I truly hate Windows.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

12:05 pm

mjfeds: just a quick distraction - there's a popeye's 1 block from my school - but i've only gone there once cause that kind of stuff makes me feel really really fat. it was really good that one time i went though haha - red beans and rice style!
N914DL: NICE!
N914DL: meade and i used to go in regis, when he and pergo worked at WSJ and i worked at Billboard

The Boston music scene

is really awesome, even if Tir na nOg is closing, and even if it should be called the Somerville/Cambridge music scene. Currently into the Rudds, Sam Kininger, A.K.A.C.O.D. (all completely different genres). I regret that I'm not involved. I'm such a loser.

How I wish there were a Popeyes fried chicken store around!

Impulse-blogging today. Yes, on work time.

AIM

I haven't been on AIM since I got addicted to Gmail chat and started using Windows Live Messenger for work. I went back on and rediscovered a half dozen humans I really like. What a world.

Now MySpace is launching its own IM software. I will stay away from that.

American Psycho

Just started reading--fiction lives! I think it seems worth finishing.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Exactly fifteen minutes later,

I find this Times article proving my point, although the silly reporter seems to be under the impression that chains like Victoria's Secret and Starbucks are "remaking the [other boroughs'] streetscape in Manhattan’s image."

Hasn't he been to Peoria?

I haven't, but I'm pretty sure what's there.

It's a sad day when the gold standard of retail in 'the capital of the world' has become a bunch of chain stores.

the irony of gentrification

Can we all be gentry?

Would we all like to spend our money at high-class chain establishments?

What's going on everywhere around me makes me think that the fast food stands and big boxes at the edge of the city were just an experiment that readied development teams for the challenge of pushing margins higher and higher.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

THE PROBLEM WITH USER-GENERATED CONTENT

IS THAT WE DON'T GET PAID FOR THE VALUE WE CREATE.

Friday, January 12, 2007

It's that time again...

Threatening or non-threatening?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It

is cool here.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

I'm in a Hyatt in Chicago,

and the building has been overrun by a teen modeling competition.

It's 55 degrees out. What global warming?

On to Seattle in the morning.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Some Rolling Stone guy just mentioned record stores "in the East Village"

on NPR, which I never listen to.

There is no East Village. The East Village is dead. There is one record store left on St. Marks. There are places like Qdoba, Supercuts, and a CBGB store (even though CBGB is out of business).

Where do the New York City high school kids hang out now? On the internet? We are all becoming the same.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

America's worst commutes.

From Forbes. Have these cities not heard of trains? (Most haven't.)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

All the action

is on Flickr.

Still digging out from last week. Then, on to last summer. Then, the last 3 years.

Happy National Day of Mourning

USPS service is suspended.

Monday, January 01, 2007

COMMA SPLICES ARE EVERYWHERE