Monday, March 31, 2008

One Pop-ular Guy


IMG_0128
Originally uploaded by cbg_rocketfever
Just got done spending a week with the old man. We had a great time. A full report will come soon. Thanks for coming out, Dad. I'll see you and Pearl Bailey on the lanai.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Mustache Is Back in Town


Dad Gaines is here for a visit. Yesterday we hit up Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada, browsed at Skylight Books, watched a couple episodes of The Office, and ate a stupendous meal at Vermont, where I introduced him to burrata. Today we’re motoring up to Neptune’s Net for piles of fried and steamed seafood by the ocean and then having some kids over for drinks tonight. After that? All basketball, all the time ...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sign of the Times


Sign of the Times
Originally uploaded by cbg_rocketfever
I'm sure this ad on the front of the LAT was greeted with good cheer by millions of Angelenos this Sunday morning.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Read Joe Rexrode, Redux

Joey Ballgame is back writing for Yahoo during the Tournament!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Internet in Turkey

Karis has found that more than a few Web sites aren't accessible in Turkey. Ever wonder what government censorship looks like? Check it:

SXSW Recap

Chad Swiatecki saw every band in the known universe last weekend in Austin. His impressive list, with exclamation points denoting awesomer shows:

The Headlights
Bowerbirds
Shapes Have Fangs
Phil and the Ospers
Call Me Lightning (!)
Fatal Flying Guilloteens (!)
The Mae Shi (!)
Sons & Daughters
The Grand Archive
The Pity Party
The Raveonettes (three times)
Great Lakes Myth Society (!)
The Hard Lessons (three times) (!)
Vivian Girls
The Heavy
Samulnori drummers
Fucked Up (!)
Jay Reatard
Dark Meat (!)
Portugal The Man
Ben Jelen
The Whigs
Vampire Weekend
X
Crystal Castles
Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Flosstradamus (!)
The Cool Kids (!)
A-Trak (!)
Kid Sister (!)
Chromeo (!)
John Doe
Duffy (!)
Okkervil River (!)
Justin Townes Earle (!)
B.o.B.
DJ Eleven
Nassau
Wale
GZA

Monday, March 17, 2008

There Will Be Blood

Pat Muir has a strong piece on backyard fight clubs in last weekend's Yakima Herald Republic. Pat, a long-time appreciator of the friendly brawl, leads off the story with this:

The thing that stands out is the blood.

It's not the friendly banter between Vengeance and Nasty Rob as they exchange blows. It's not the assorted characters cheering the fight, although little Ricky with the mohawk is probably worth his own story. It's not the thud, the deep, hollow sound of 450 pounds of two bodies hitting a dead lawn.

It's the blood, pouring down Nasty Rob's face and clogging his nose. Blood dripping onto the grass and the walkway. Blood stifling his breath to the point where he has to quit. That's what everyone is here for. That's why people will watch this fight when it's posted on YouTube.

It's the blood.


The piece continues with quotes from some experts trying to explain why in God's name anyone would take up such a habit, and some beautiful narrative by Pat detailing the day's fight. Well worth your time.

Story here and audio/video here.

YouTube clips here (with Pat in the background). Warning: very violent.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pamela Rasmussen: the Oracle of Ornithology


Trey Rogers now faces stiff competition for biggest star on the Michigan State faculty. The Lawn Geek, renowned for his turf-care prowess, has long been my most beloved MSU expert. But he might have to share that top spot with Dr. Pamela Rasmussen, the Oracle of Ornithology

Dr. Rasmussen was featured in a New Yorker piece in 2006 for revealing famed birdist Col. Richard Meinertzhagen to be the biggest fraud in all of ornithology, if not taxonomy. The Oracle of O proved that the Bad Colonel stole thousands of bird specimens from the British Museum and claimed them as his own, which in the bird world is, like, really the wrong thing to do.

But Powerful Pamela hasn't rested on her laurels since then. The Lansing State Journal today reports that she has discovered a new bird species in Indonesia, called the Togian white-eye (although I'd have named it the ruffled Rasmussen, or the peaked Pamela). The craziest thing about it is that, while we're all going nuts over the discovery, this is old hat to the Oracle of O: It's her sixth discovery! Cock-a-doodle-doo!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New-Economy Day Laborers

Check out my latest story on The City Desk, written in conjunction with Ilya Perchikovsky of New York, New York.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Saturday, March 08, 2008

90 Percent Back at 100 Percent


Mike “Mike” Hudson has been burning up the base paths on our baseball blog, 90% Mental. He’s installed something called a tag cloud and thrown up a poll, and is providing near daily spring training reports, aided by his trusty TiVo. This will be a historic baseball season, folks, coming after the Long Clemens Winter and featuring the best lineup in Detroit Tigers history. Time to start paying attention.

(Hey! Are you a fan of the pastime and live in one of baseball’s key markets? Wanna join the blog? E-mail us at rocketfever@gmail.com.)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Turkey and the White People Blog

Yesterday I e-mailed Karis in Istanbul a post from the new sensation in the blog world, Stuff White People Like. She e-mailed me back today that when she tried to read it, a screen came up telling her it was “restricted by court order.”

True freedom won’t exist until all people — Americans, Turks, and everyone else — are free to make fun of white people. Let the revolution begin.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Two Men and a Truck YouTube Contest

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, the successful mid-Michigan moving franchise that was intelligent enough to hire Katie Rexrode as its media relations and communications manager a few years ago, is hosting a YouTube contest to see who can come up with the best ways to reuse TWO MEN's boxes. Rocket Fever unofficially recommends:

  • Using them to fill Michigan's potholes
  • Taping them together to make a hang glider for a James Bond-inspired escape from the top of the Michigan National tower
  • Cutting them into millions of round pieces, coloring them gold, and pouring them into a vault so that I may swim about them a la Scrooge McDuck
Check out TWO MEN's main YouTube page, and peep the hip-hop-flavored submission below.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Los Feliz Pub Crawl II: This Time, It’s Personal

Image courtesy WalkJogRun.net.

NOTE TO READERS: I make no claims as to the veracity of any of the facts contained within this blog post. If we were to graph my inebriation during the evening, and then overlay that with a graph of important/blog-worthy moments, the lines would follow the same upward path. Except that at about 2:30 a.m., the important events would tail off and my inebriation would hit a steady plateau for the next few hours. In summation, reader beware.

Los Feliz Pub Crawl Winter 2008 began badly, which is to say exactly as it should. When Matt Fleischer, my former L.A. Weekly colleague and eternal pub crawl co-conspirator, and I showed up at the Tiki-Ti at 4 p.m. and saw that it wouldn’t open till 6, we knew everything was going to be all right. But first we needed a bar, and fast. We were shut out at Akbar, so we turned back up Sunset to El Chavo, which looked even less promising than the Tiki: Portions of its exterior was ripped away because of ongoing renovation, and all three doors to the building seemed either locked or strictly ornamental. But then I did what any pub crawl organizer desperate for a launch bar would do: I knocked on a door. After a tense moment, a smiling, mustachioed waiter opened the door, and LFPC II was officially under way.

I ordered a Jameson’s on the rocks, duh, and Matt ordered a margarita and the ceremonial beef tongue. He noted that during LFPC I he ordered it with the mole; this time he went with the Spanish sauce. Fleischer persuaded me to take a taste, and I instantly remembered my bite from last time. This was the second time in my life I had chewed on something with taste buds. Just as I was complimenting Matt on his African T-shirt, replete with an antelope and pockets, Katie Byrne walked in with half a dozen Michiganders. I refuse to even attempt to remember any of their names, but will venture to say they were all welcome additions to the crawl. They also win special recognition for being the first kids to the party, a distinction won last year by Kat Berger and Andrea Bricco (who were prevented, sadly, from imbibing this time by Milwaukee and the flu, respectively).

After a second whiskey and some conversational catchup with Katie, Matt the crawlmeister announced it was time for the first crawl. Since our route was thrown off from the get-go by our Tiki-Ti miscalculation, we boldly decided to head up to the Dresden Room. While going to the Dresden at 5:30 might seem odd, we figured it was the only time on a Saturday when a large group could get into Los Feliz’s most crowded bar. After I assured one of my new Michigan friends that it wouldn't be feminine to order a Stella, I started work on the Tom Collins that Matt recommended to me. It was fizzy and ginny, and most assuredly feminine. I loved it.

The party started to warm up at the Dresden with the additions of Ryan Colditz, two of his friends, and Matt’s friend Margaret, who is from Maine and has an accent that suggests she was born stateside but has lived abroad extensively. Then, just as I was getting comfortable, Matt called for a crawl: We were heading for Ye Rustic Inn. (A note about Ye Rustic: During my first months in Los Angeles, the Rustic served as my personal mental-health clinic. My damaged psyche was rehabilitated by hundreds of dollars of Miller Lite, sultry bar maidens, Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing,” Myrtle Burgers, the Hudsons, and Irish car bombs. It is an old friend, and I love it dearly.)

The previous pub crawl kicked into high gear at the Rustic, and the same was true on Saturday. Matt and I downed Irish car bombs and then listened to one of the Rustic-ettes passionately explain what Steelers football means to Pittsburgh (this wasn’t the first football conversation I’ve had with the YR staff). Long story short, the logo is really important. If you want to find her and ask the girl yourself, just stick your head in the door and yell “Go Browns!” The raven-haired woman who decks you will tell you the rest of the details.

After getting our NFL history for the evening, Matt and I, insufficiently bombed, downed two quick Jaeger bombs with some of the other pub crawlers. Or did we have one of the Jaeger bombs earlier? Ah, my friends. Here we go: This is the point in the story where things get much more fuzzy and exciting. After all the bombing, there was conversation at various tables and then, under the cover of night, we slipped out of the Rustic and across the street to the Drawing Room, the finest neighborhood bar in Los Feliz.

I believe this is where I had my last Jameson’s for the evening. This is also where Chris Sapardanis, neighbors Abby and Andy, and I think new friend Diliana showed up. Diliana deserves special recognition: She found the Facebook page I threw together for the crawl, RSVP’ed, and showed up. All on her own. And instantly became part of the group and a total trooper. Look! Social networking is a success! Huzzah! Other Drawing Room add-ons included Weekly intern Erika and a friend of hers. (Not to mention that one of the Michigan guys chatted up Sarah Silverman’s sister and Mr. Show’s Jay Johnston. It also needs to be put on the record that, while I wouldn’t be able to remember this guy’s name if you were shoving bamboo shoots under my nails, I do remember that he studies fire science at Lake Superior State University, located in one of the coldest, snowiest cities in these United States. Fire and ice indeed.)

Just as I was settling in to a red-vinyl seat at the DR, that bastard Fleischer announced it was time to crawl again. So we broke camp and formed a drunken, drunken caravan down Hillhurst Avenue, careening to a happy halt at the beautifully named (and similarly red-vinyl-and-Chinese-dragon-themed) Good Luck Bar. Now at this point, honestly, do any of you expect me to have any sharp memories? I’m pretty sure I ordered a Miller Lite — or was it a Red Stripe? — and that I babbled for quite a while to Abby and Andy about God knows what.

Drink, sit, talk, crawl! Back out into the L.A. evening we went, farther south down Hillhurst and then a speculative turn east onto Sunset. But our frontal assault on the now-open Tiki-Ti was rebuffed immediately: The Tiki, just barely bigger than my studio apartment, was predictably packed to the palm fronds. Which called for bold measures, calculated risk, manly leaps into the dark unknown: We headed for Cheetah’s. This would be my third time in an adult-themed establishment, and it was by far the most fun. Cheetah’s is way less scuzzy than I anticipated. The staff was friendly, and the air was pleasantly free of desperation and sadness. Then again, my image of the joint might be colored by the fact that this is where my boon pal Alice Johnson and her Chilean dude Sebastian showed up (and I shouldn’t forget to mention Abby and Andy’s two friends, although I will proudly forget their names). So here we sat for a while, drinking beers, puzzling over the presence of a Phil Collins song, applauding one lady’s yogic headstand. 

Like a confident football team holding up four fingers at the start of the last quarter, the Los Feliz Pub Crawl crew daringly tore down Hollywood Boulevard toward our last stop of the evening: The Stone, whose Web site declares it neither gay nor straight but fun, and I’d have to agree. Our glorious night ended soaked in Thai beer, narrated by Sebastian’s distinctions between Argentines and Chileans, and celebrated with manic dancing to a stomping country duo. Alice, Sebastian and I shared a cab ride back to the neighborhood, where we downed one last drink and a bowlful of almonds and pistachios at the Gaines pad. (And the evening went from perfect to golden when I got a cross-continental call from Karis, who had just taken a jog and laughed her head off at my sloppy diction.)

So that, fellow sinners, is how you do a pub crawl: 2.19 miles of movable, drinkable revelry. I don’t mind saying that Matt and I are two for two so far on these suckers, and we’re now emboldened even more to continue these events on a roughly seasonal basis. I’ve already fielded a suggestion for another crawl in July, and I’m wide open that month. Here’s to friends and Los Feliz!

(Photos to follow soon. If anyone else took pix, please lemme know.)

Congratulations to Everyone!

Very cool things have been happening to some very cool friends lately:

  • Jon Brunt and Adrian Rogers are getting married! Is The State News a wedding factory or what?
  • Micah Muzio is now an FAA-approved helicopter pilot! I hope to be bringing you a detailed post on a chopper ride with the Air Wolf himself in the not-too-distant future.
  • Amy Bevevino and Shane O'Dell are having a baby! Here's to hoping the child will be adorable, but maybe not so adorable that Amy will want to bite it.
Huzzahs to my great friends!

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Look to this digital space soon for a full report on Los Feliz Pub Crawl Winter 2008, which was a smashing, and smashed, success.