Monday, October 31, 2011

Ass Chill in Asheville (Moogfest)

Day One (Chromeo, Moby, Flying Lotus, TV on the Radio, Araabmuzik)
Traffic struggles getting out the Triangle area meant Little Dragon and Tangerine Dream were an early scratch from the schedule. As the long road unwound in front of us, we watched the temperature drop into the upper 30's - certain trouble for those of us who planned on being a White T-Shirt for Halloween.

CHROMEO. Even though we were unfashionably late, we arrived just in time for a blistering set from Chromeo.  The transition from cubicle cuties to icicle ice cubes wasn’t easy for anybody; Chromeo wasn’t able to play the entire length of their set. But holy f**k did they do their damnedest to melt the crowd.  Not only did they set an example for the rest of the outdoor performers to match, they left little doubt that Moogfest was meant to burn and we were meant to be the ins(pyre)d.
RecycledOrphan: Chromeo’s Gangsta sounded like orgasm poured into the hot mouth of a horny dragon.
mackensyChromeo sez #moogfest is "gangsta" for hanging in the rain for the whole show. I'm inclined to agree. #what

MOBY. After Chromeo, we headed to the Asheville Civic Center for some warmth and to join Moogfest’s Moby movement. During the fifteen minute walk to the Civic Center there were several discussions topics to choose from:   
  1. What are some of the benefits of hypothermia?
  2. If we set the city on fire, would they rename it Ash Ville?
  3. Is that an icicle under that wizard’s robe or is he just keeping Moby’s microphone warm?

Moby put together the perfect performance for the time and place. The crowd left pleased, and I was surprised to have never experienced an “Oh, Moby, what are you doing?” moment.
codynapierMoby was surprisingly awesome now TV on the radio #moogfest

TV ON THE RADIO. The night ended with TV on the Radio. They were tuned in to the right frequency and put on a solid performance that finished strong. I thought their best song was "Will Do" but that is probably survivor's bias, since I killed everyone who doesn't think that is their best song.

AARABMUSIK. I wasn’t able to make it over to Aarabmuzik that night, but by all accounts he knew how to blast off without any support from NASA, diet coke, or Mentos.
veryanalThe 6 minutes of Araabmuzik I saw might've been Day 1's best. Blistering. #moogfest

We headed ten minutes out of downtown Asheville into Tipi Camp. The owners met us with flashlights and hugs, informing us that we were the last visitors of the season. Given the choice between an uninsulated tipi or an uninsulated shed, I chose the shed and a long night of fumbling through fond memories, hoping for something – anything –  to warm me up. I haven’t consulted Urban Dictionary, but I believe that sleeping in a freezing shed when there are tipi's available is the exact opposite of Gansta.

Day Two (The Naked and Famous, SBTRKT, Twin Shadow, Toro y Moi, STS9)
What. A. Day. !. The incredible lineup and a solar sunstorm (approx. 5 minutes of weak daylight) made day two by far the best day at Moogfest.

THE NAKED AND FAMOUS. I experienced my first taste of Asheville’s acclaimed yum-yum scene with a Jimmy the Greek burrito from the Lucky Otter for lunch. Stomachs satisfied, our “clothed and unknown” group went to see “The Naked and Famous.” Performing outdoors, they cut electric ribbons through the air with steely accuracy. When they let loose it was an incredible array of lights and noise, spark and pattern. The Naked and Famous were gracious and excited; they seemed genuine in their thanking both the crowd and the festival for an amazing event. That said, I was glad to get out of the cold and head to the Orange Peel for what turned out to be the best back-to-back performances of the weekend.
RecycledOrphanSlipped into Orange Peel for Twin Shadow y Toro y Moi. Place looks seductive.

TWIN SHADOW. Twin Shadow was a pleasant surprise and one of my weekend favorites. It was their last show after a year long tour, and they left it all onstage except their clothes. The lead singer, George Lewis Jr., was instantly captivating, stepping out of the shadows and up to the mic with a chuckle-worthy cowboy hat. Then the spurs hit, and Twin Shadow dug a hole in the floor and invited us all to jump in. The band’s showmanship was flawless. Just when I was wondering when and where the drummer would be featured, the lights highlighted the snares and he went brazen on every bronze disc he could find. Then, though seemingly impossible at that point, the pace escalated and Twin Shadow finished on a strong note with Castles in the Snow.

TORO Y MOI. Though previously undiagnosed, Drs. Toro y Moi helped me discover on Saturday night that I “suffer” from Deep Vein Thrumbosis. They unlocked this secret during their enrapturing show at the Orange Peel. The energy and sound they produced is what I imagine fueled all VW vans in the 70’s. Want to know what cool kids acted like when our parents were our age? Just watch Toro y Moi. They tossed their bassist upfront and center for the entire set, unapologetically indicating to the crowd, “This guy is the important one. Don’t take your eyes off of him.” He let his hair hang over his eyes as he stared at the ground, fingers flying like lotuses over amper waves of gain. He never looked up; we never looked away.

brianyeazel: "@RecycledOrphan: Toro y Moi uses buttered microphones, sugared instruments. Audacity. #moogfest" Always thought of it as a tamed veracity.

Day Three (M83, Childish Gambino, Neon Indian, Passion Pit)
The final day featured several great acts. After a lamb burger at Boca on Lexington Ave., it was time for the much-anticipated M83.

M83. After “Midnight City,” the mood was subdued, almost relaxing. After being lulled into a false sense of serenity, the Claritin pumping through the recycled air finally hit home; the volume and pace intensified, and a bright filter overlaid the scene. Anthony Gonzalez knelt at the front of the stage and channeled the Unibomber, piping explosion through wires without remorse. Best finale of the weekend.
RecycledOrphanM83 blitzed the crowd by bursting through a squelching, taut finish line tape. What a finale.

NEON INDIAN. CHILDISH GAMBINO. I stayed at the Civic Center for Neon Indian, but made it clear that I planned to live vicariously through the rest of the group which was headed to Childish Gambino. While Neon Indian cycled through every sound that God handed to heaven's marching band, Childish Gambino apparently came out onto the freezing outdoor stage in shorts and launched into one of the best shows of the weekend. Neon Indian was invigorating, but was never able to match the excellence I expected based on Psychic Chasms and Era Extra├▒a.
b_mcnettNeon Indian! Alan Palomo leaves the stage with his Roland arpegiatting in latch mode. #ihaveamancrush
JakeFrankelNeon Indian makes me feel like I'm living in an 80s movie about relationship drama and skateboarding #moogfest
moogfestAlright I'm calling it now- Childish Gambino has the best dance moves at #moogfest @donaldglover

PASSION PIT. Passion Pit added a “!” to the weekend, making Moogfest! a category 5 success. They did it all and then some, sending the Sunday night crowd into a fit of fitness as we jumped and pumped without pause. In the car headed home, bumping along with 4 sleeping passengers, I ordered my Moogfest! experience as such:

  1. Toro y Moi
  2. Chromeo
  3. Twin Shadow
  4. Childish Gambino
  5. Passion Pit
  6. The Naked & Famous
  7. M83
  8. Araabmuzik
  9. Neon Indian
  10. SBTRKT

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Russ, 31, realizes that his younger brother has never dropped anything

Russ Gestaro, of Mea Culpa, Minnesota, is creating quite a stir among local social media outlets. 

"Can you drop me off at the bar, bro?"
"Nope. Sorry. I don't drop anything."

Over the weekend, Russ received a blow to the head. This blow was an idea hammer, bearing the weight of a harsh theory - that his younger brother, Daniel Gestaro Jr., had never dropped anything. During the first commercial of the Minnesota Vikings attempt at a football game, Russ approached and then circled his brother (who was grabbing a snack in the kitchen) and asked him if he had ever dropped a thing in his life. His brother is said to have shrugged and said no, walking away with a taco balanced on a spoon.

Russ strenuously searched his memory, and couldn’t recall a single time when something had fallen from Daniel’s grasp. Suffice it to say, ladies and gentle ladies, Russ is growing up. Hard.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'm in a Book! I'm Famous?

This is just great.

I Googled Wesley King + Raleigh + lost wallet and I find out things about me that I never knew. 

I should have drowned John that day we splashed together. I should have given him the ol' Baptist treatment... but held him under for just a few seconds too long. It would have been so easy, and I would have gotten a nice pair of water moccasins out of the deal.

But alas, his splashes distracted me from the fact that Vanita was a useless excuse for a human - even worse than he was. Why does it always have to come back to snakes with me? And is Vanita a poorly veiled caricature of Vanity?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How to Ask for Christmas Abs

An idea recently settled on my mind - an idea that must've blown in on the first chill breeze of autumn. This idea jostled about my brain for a few days, and then blindsided my consciousness like a ninja saddled to a seeing-eye dog.

The idea is simple: the perfect Christmas gift is a set of abdominal muscles that you can take home with you after the holidays. The best scenario would be to have that gift on Christmas Day, there hiding under your clumpy sweater... before the presents are even opened. In this case, your New Year's resolution wouldn't be to "lose weight," it would be to "maintain the health level I accumulated through the end of last year." Goals you say? Golly!

Sure, I could give this gift to myself, but that would be about as fun as calling Santa for phone sex. Instead, I think I'll give it to a few people around me, and hope that one of them gives it back. If not, I'll give them dead puppies for Christmas to go along with that flexing armadillo under their ribcage.

I think the best way to give this gift is as a loose collection of constraints that slowly tightens around the waist as Holiday chimes draw nigh:
  1. No TV during daylight hours. This is one constraint that will actually loosen. As daylight hours lessen, you'll find this rule easier to follow. Of course, by then, you might have enough of a routine established with any of the following alternative activities that you may not have time for TV.

    Alternative Activities: Walk the dog (yo-yo or bark-bark). Read a book. Write a letter to an old friend. Attend a free class online. Watch a TED talk. Bite a few bulletpoints off that bucket list. Scrabble. Scrobble. Scribble.

  2. Make your own lunch 4 days a week. If you forget to pack, hit up Subway for $5 footlongs. Use the money you save to buy something health related (pedometer, Groupon exercise class, massage).
  3. Don't sit down, sit up. Move every 30 minutes. Sitting is for babies and their sitters. If you sit at a desk all day, feast on this. Start with 20 minutes of abdominal exercises a week. Increase as it becomes easier. Exercises are included below.
  4. Walk or run ~3 miles 5 days a week. On days when you end up moving a lot throughout the course of the day, a short walk should suffice. If you were more sedentary, go for a jog or a take a longer walk. 
  5. Feed with intent. No one else is to blame for what you put in your body. Unless you are a 2-year-old with a craving for blended peas, you should take a few minutes everyday to tell yourself "I choose what, when, and how much I eat. No one forces food down my throat." I find it inwardly amusing and socially grating when someone who has just inhaled their food needs to seek out others to point out that they haven't cleaned their plates or that it looks like they are "struggling to finish." As I said, you choose what, when, and how much to eat; no one else.
  6. Feed to your need. If your are eating for longevity, health, and maintenance, 40% protein, 30% carbs, and 30% fat should be just fine. For steady weight loss, increase the amount of protein by stealing some percentage from carbohydrates. It should be noted that consumed carbs should be free of trans fats and processed as little as possible. No sodas, juices, flavored chips, crap snacks... you know the drill. I and others have had moderate to great success using a 4-Hour Body style diet; very high in protein 6 days a week, 1 "binge day" where anything goes and you are encouraged to overeat.
  7. When you do bad, do it all. Then erase. If you are going to have a binge day, try to fit all the stuff you wouldn't do outside of that day into that 24-hour time frame. If you are going to drink heavily, do it then. If you are going to snort cocoa powder, do it then. Whatever you do, don't bring it back into your living space. Externalize those actions and material needs and cravings, internalize the great stuff during the rest of the week. Do everything with intent.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thinking Off Your Feet

We live in a world full of complex problems. I understand, sometimes it's just too much. Sometimes there is so much pressure to do the right thing that it's hard to breathe. 

For example, what do you do when the pizza delivery cowboy gets an attitude and doesn't take the coupon your daughter made you for "1 Free Hug," and to make matters worse, your daughter is standing right there, watching the awkward exchange?

What coping mechanism should you adopt when you find out moon landings are as fake as Pamela Anderson's double-breasted fur pantsuits?

How do you avoid drive-by cubicle warfare when you've just finished a one hour game of mid-day basketball and you're toting a can of chili for lunch but have no bowl to microwave it in?  Well, that one I can answer.

First, locate two microwave-safe cups. These will be used to heat your chili - in a rapid fashion, quite fortunately for you. Two cups heat faster than one bowl. Because each second you spend away from your shoes is another second an innocent bystander can be sneaker attacked, it is imperative that you plan out this entire sneakquence ahead of time.
Second, take the shoes off in a safe place. There is no reason to assault a co-worker with your rancid sweat scent... unless they have been complaining that you grind far too much pepper for someone who is more sugar than spice. In that case assault away. If you take the more humane route, you're going to need a safe place to do the deed. The safest place, in my opinion, is the dark area under the stairwell.

Third, open your chili. If the can doesn't have a tab with which to unveil its innards, wrap it in as much paper or plastic as politically possible and head for the stairwell. You're going to play crack the can. This step comes third because you wouldn't want to slip on chili juice while disrobing under the stairs. Don't be silly, walk-through the steps in order.
Fourth, pour whatever chili isn't coating the walls of the stairwell into the cups, picking out any pieces of paper you see. Shuffle to the breakroom and pop them in the microwave for a minute... maybe ninety seconds. When you hear a beep, grab the cups and sprint. However, don't forget to apologize to the person that made the mistake of getting coffee while you were in there. You're a person in a hurry, not an asshole in a crackhouse.
Fifth, tilt the chili so the air hits it as you sprint back to your cube. This will minimize the amount of time it takes to cool the chili. When you recover your breath from the sprint and stairs, drink the food like you would a cup of treason: very carefully.
Sixth, put the empty cups into the ankle holes of your shoes. This simple action will effectively staunch the prospect of your getting noticed for being weird for having soggy basketball shoes in your cubicle. :)