Thursday, August 18, 2005

Coincidences Rock

The string of never-ending coincidences in my, never ends.

I know this isn't unique to me, which is why I love the universal art of the coincidence, but I feel like my life is one fluky happenstance after the next. And there's a philosophy to be created or celebrated here, but I've never been able to figure it out and put it all in context. There's something there though, someone pulling these mysterious strings. If it doesn't involve running into people on the street that I just finished talking about, or getting an e-mail from someone I was just thinking about, it's the little things like what happened last night.

I walked in from work to find my make-shift bookshelf had nearly toppled over. Not surprisingly for a huge nerd, I've got a ton of books. But I have no bookshelf, so half of these books sit in towering piles on my bedroom desk, the other half fills up four stacked Yaffa blocks. Since the Yaffas aren't designed to support that much weight for that long (or maybe they are and they just suck at their job), the bottom cube is leaning to the right, which is causing the whole stack to bend like a phototropic plant.

If I didn't take action immediately, I'd come home one day soon to see the crates' 75 books strewn all over the floor, breaking all the shit I've got next to them. In the process of clearing out the Yaffas -- my goal was to take out all the books in order to put the bottom block on the top and move the other three down -- I came across a tacklebox in the back of the bottom crate. The dust on this box indicated to me I hadn't opened it since moving in to the apartment, in August 2001.

I put the box aside, left the books on the floor and went to the living room for a break. At that point, TJ in OH called me from an outdoor amphitheatre in Springfield, Ohio. In a spur of the moment decision, TJ and the Mrs. decided to check out a free Dark Star Orchestra show with the band's new keyboardist, and he wanted to let me know they just broke into an Ace, Donnie and TJ favorite: B.E. Women.

As I wrote on this here blog at the time, DSO's keyboardist and founder, Scott Larned, passed away recently, something I'm sure affected the band members as much as the Dead losing Pigpen or Brent. They're back on the road, though, after hiring a pretty talented guy (from what I understand). In that obituary-like post, I mentioned how Scott met with me for a while so I could report on them for a story I was doing for my journalism class. And he was great, taking time out of his schedule and putting up with my newb-ness.

About a half-hour after TJ's call last night, I went back to my room to fix the books situation. Curiously I opened the dusty tacklebox, and found the following contents inside: my childhood Gameboy, 10-15 games (including Paperboy and Tetris of course), four double-A batteries, a mix tape from freshman year in college, a mix tape from senior year in high school and tape labeled "Scott Larned Interview -- 11/6/98."

I honestly had no idea this tape even existed. I lost the transcripted Word file, and I thought I had lost the tape in the course of moving. But there it was, untouched since the last millenium, unseen in maybe five or six years, staring me in the face 30 minutes after TJ's report on DSO's new keyboard player. I mean, what are the odds? What are the odds that I'd finally succumb to fixing my make-shift bookshelf yesterday of all days, that I'd decide to clear out all the crates and find that box and open it, that the tape would actually be in there after years of thinking I'd lost it, that DSO would be in Ohio, that TJ would decide to make an impromptu run to the show, that he'd call me right before I found the tape? I fucking love when this shit happens. And it happens all the time.

So I sat and listened to the tape with the Yankee game on mute. And I can only describe my interview style as "piss poor" and "Chris Farley-esque." I would say things like, "So, I mean, you guys are so awesome, are you just like, having fun up there, ya know?" and "So, like, does the whole band have the same goal, to start touring?" when he JUST said they did in answering the last question. Man, what an awful interviewer I was back then.

Despite my shortcomings, I got some great information from him. He told me the popular rock band Phish's drummer Jon Fishman would be sitting in with them that upcoming Tuesday, and he did. We talked about the differences between Phish and the Dead, we talked about jambands, great stuff. Well, we didn't "talk" about much -- basically I stumbled over dumb questions and he provided eloquent answers.

But still, it was great. I cringed every time I opened my mouth on the tape, but I'm glad I spent an hour listening to it. And, I will say, it's definitely weird that he's no longer alive. We'll always have that hour in the Unicorn Cafe.

(By the way, it's certainly no coincidence the Yankees fucking suck. Two awful losses in a row, to the D-Rays. Terrible. Like one of the opponents of the Pin Pals, "those guys are the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.")

Slack Weird Plug of the Day: Phish bassist Mike Gordon gets a mention in today's Personal Journal section of the Wall Street Journal. But since you mere mortals can't read Journal articles without a password, go here instead.

Cactus and guitarist Leo Kottke have a new album coming out and the WSJ wrote a little brief about the release. This bodes well: "One track is a cover of Aerosmith's Sweet Emotion sung in a monotone and performed on a mandolin-like instrument from Turkey." To listen to Sweet Emotion, click on Mike and Leo's website above and go for it. Or just click here. Cool stuff.

But hey, writer-guy, this isn't very nice: "One man's fans include guitar playing yuppies; the other's wear tie-die shirts and avoid washing their hair." Dude, I love Pantene Pro-V. Don't be a dick.

Slack Song of the Day: Although I've never seen these guys live (at least I'm pretty sure I haven't), Assembly of Dust has been high on my list of quality bands I need to catch. They've got a cool sound and certainly put on a good show from what I'm told. So here's some AoD from April 8th, 2005 at the Knitting Factory.

First try out the show's closer from that night, Poland, then hit up the sweet sing-along cover of Up On Cripple Creek. And if that don't do the trick, Bootlegger's Advice might help you see the light.


At 12:22 PM, Blogger MDS said...

My wife just went to Ikea and bought a couple of huge-ass bookshelves, which is very important because we've got more books than we know what to do with. Unfortunately, when she got home from Ikea one of the damn bookshelves had a big crack in it, so she's going to have to go back and get it replaced, and she bought the last one so she won't be able to replace it until it's in stock. I have no idea why I'm telling you this story other than it's yet another coincidence that I see your blog post 12 hours after dealing with my own bookshelves.

At 12:36 PM, Blogger TJ in OH said...

Dude, I didn't realize you interviewed him on 11/6. Why weren't you at the show at The Kohl Center? Best of those four, imo. Or were you there? I don't remember seeing you.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

MDS, see there it is again. I appreciate the story. Pay it forward.

TJ, it was Parents Weekend at NU, and my folks made plans to come out to school way before Phish announced plans to tour the Upper Midwest. I had to miss 11/7 too.

So I only caught 11/8 and 11/9 of those three UIC shows, and 11/9 was incredible (despite the Ace Cowboy's well-documented mushrooms problem).

At 12:47 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

Coincidences rule.

Somewhat oddly, this past weekend was Madison Wisconsin's moveout day, where every renter moves at exactly the same time. This results in a bunch of garbage being left all over the curbsides.

One of the Law profs there was complaining about it (on his blog, Tuesday) and I pointed out the positive:

That one time I found an end table (nice) which had three or for working game boy games in the drawer, (which I sold for a hefty profit).

What are the odds of recounting a story of finding gameboy games only to read another a few days later?

Also, my wife is at IKEA at this very moment, buying bookshelves.

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At 12:53 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Jesus, that spam commentjust made me blush. Stephen's basement must have been a sexy cool time.

Noonan, that's crazy stuff, a couple of coincidences...IKEA's a fun time, like Stephen's Gay Basement.

At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:11 PM, Blogger jakezebra said...

Did anyone else click through on the link for the caribbean cruise? It goes directly to Mulgrew's blog. What a coincidence.

At 1:12 PM, Blogger ethan said...

the food at the ikea in chicago is fantastic. ikea is just all around great, but i lose sanity at the checkout lines within like 4.2 minutes.

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At 1:26 PM, Blogger Don Fiedler said...

what a coincidence! i was just coming online to look up atlanta backruptcy and structured settlements. from what i hear, the structured settlements in atlanta are fantastic, thought the fan base is someone unenthusastic. some settlements at the phillips arena are sparsely attended. plus, an atlanta bankruptcy attorney gave me crabs under an assumed name. what are the odds?

TJ, must disagree. 11/6 was great but was not the show of that run. i will be partial to 11/7, my own mushroom induced freak-out, the freakish early snow on the way back to e-town and a particularly fantastic wedge that both frightened me and snapped me out of my psychosis.

At 1:31 PM, Blogger poophopanonymous22 said...


there, now u will all have it in your head, as i have it in mine. damn canadians, fuck canada!

At 1:35 PM, Blogger John Howard said...

So would you say this was a BIG conincidence?

At 1:40 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

Poopman, it's a scientific fact that you can get any song out of your head by humming the chorus to Warren Zevon's Werewolves of London.

Seriously, try it.

At 2:00 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

JR, that's what a coincidence is. There are big coincidences and small coincidences.

No, there are degrees of coincidence.

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Gypsy Rose said...

Damn it PaulNoonan. I happen to be the most impressionable person on the planet and now I can't stop singing Werewolves of London. Except I don't know the words so really I can't stop singing.... na na na na pina colada at Trader Vick's. His hair was perfect. AHHOOO werewolves of London.

At 2:28 PM, Blogger jakezebra said...

I saw a werewolf drinking a ...

At 2:35 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

Best line:

"I saw him howling around your kitchen door,

Better not let him in,

Little old lady got mutilated late last night,

werewolves of London again.


At 2:43 PM, Blogger Gypsy Rose said...

Hey! A little old lady got mutilated late last night in MY neighborhood. Now there's a big coincidence!

At 2:46 PM, Blogger jakezebra said...

That would only be a coincidence if you were the little old lady or if Ace did it (which he didn't, cause it was poophop).

At 2:51 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

I'm with Gypsy...I think it IS a coincidence. Now, if Lon Chaney was walking with the Queen in your neighborhood, that would be some fucked up repugnant shit. The same could be said for Lon Chaney Jr.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...


Now I'm off to go get a big plate of beef chow mein.

At 3:02 PM, Blogger Gypsy Rose said...

Hey Jake. I may be old, but I'm no lady. Got it?

At 3:14 PM, Blogger jakezebra said...

Gyp, I have it and I'd like to meet your tailor.

At 3:22 PM, Blogger ethan said...

gyps, congrats on the little bopper. my question for you is, do you, like all moms seems to do, fall over all the time?

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Gypsy Rose said...

Okay Jake. But I should warn you. He's a hairy hairy gent. (It was the only thing left. I'll stop now).

Thanks Ethan. Interestingly, or not so, I have always fallen over a lot so it's hard to distinguish.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

I overheard in Mayfair that it was the only thing left (I pledge to stop now as well).

At 3:44 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

It's stop now...Mack.

As an eyewitness, Gypsy is indeed a clumsy fool and prone to oversight...but she's still cooler than all of you and Warren Zevon combined. Even if you were to dig up Zevon and put a headband on him, she'd still be cooler than all of you and Zevon's dancing corpse combined.

At 3:48 PM, Blogger ethan said...

Clumsy Gypsy.

Dancing Headband.

good band names.

At 3:56 PM, Blogger Gypsy Rose said...

uhh. Thanks Ace. I think.

At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

31 (now 32) comments... is that a new record? Even if half are spam.

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

I think only four were spam...but I'm pretty sure the record is 40, on a post right after the election. Or maybe the ALCS.

Either way, talk about religion, politics or Northeastern baseball and the people will show up.

At 4:59 PM, Blogger poophopanonymous22 said...

wow, does it count if i just post this 12 times?

At 9:04 AM, Blogger TJ in OH said...

Don - I have nothing but good things to say about 11/7 as well (hell, the whole run really). I guess Fall 98 was all about what you ingested...I'm a bit partial to 11/6 due to a now-infamous batch of surprisingly potent cookies.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Jason Mulgrew said...

hey, did you guys see Ace's post about Randy Moss and pot? I mean, we get it Ace - you're a stoner and you love your pot. Man, I would recommend some reefer so he chills out. You know what I'm saying?

What did Jake mean about the "tailor" remark?

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Haha, you got some (tiny) balls, Muldoon...hey, by the way, nice post about sweating and food and poo the other day. And the other day. And the other day. I'm actually just guessing because I haven't read your one-track comedy in weeks. Ho, snap, yo. Lather, rinse, repeat, bitches.

I should say, seriously though, that post is more about my hatred for ESPN's wacky antics than my love for the doje. And that's tough to top.

At 2:50 PM, Blogger Gypsy Rose said...

Jason, Maybe Jake's tailor comment was a dig at my femininity? Or lack of it. Hmmmm?

So I'm not only a clumsy fool whose prone to oversight, but just a little bit dyke-like as well. You guys are swell.

At 6:48 PM, Blogger andrew123 said...

I should say, seriously though, that post is more about my hatred for ESPN's wacky antics than my love for the doje. And that's tough to top.
Andrew William

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