The New Year always feels like it comes too soon. I guess that's a pretty trite observation, but I feel like this past year, especially, ended without enough concrete deliverables -- I never got to see the roll-out of the final (working) version of the code I wrote at Rebel Monkey (hell, I haven't even been paid). I didn't juice all the juice out of the summer. The projects I laid out for myself the year I graduated from college are still incomplete -- the second-order dependencies for some of them are still incomplete. I'm softer around the middle than I want to be, my hair is thinner than I'm comfortable with. These things aren't surprises, I suppose, but I think even younger, less decrepit readers can relate to the feeling of doors to possible futures shutting for lack of time.
Call the waaambulance.
My list, for posterity:
Best book I read: 2666
Best movie I saw in the theater: Moon
Best movie I saw not in the theater: Let The Right One In
Best show I went to: The Dickies, at Southpaw, January 2nd
Best reason for donating to WFMU: Ken Freedman, drunk
Best pie: Winter fruit
Best bark stripper: Alan Grayson
Best video game: Fallout 3
Best single: Alcoholics Unanimous
Best cemita: Pollo asado, Tacos Matamoros
For New Year's Eve, Nina and I had vague plans to hit up a dance party at the still-mysterious-to-me Industry City, the warren of art studios across the BQE from us between 34th and 40th St. But we waffled and ultimately took the train up to KT's apartment on the upper west side, which was filled with friends and food. We left around 2:30 AM, taking a D train that paused for a while at 53rd St. while some guys who were puking and punching at each other were hustled off the train by some extremely patient police officers. When Nina and I got off at 36th St., we weren't totally beat yet, so we decided to investigate the party. We walked in the dark, up and down the puddly, unpaved service roads strewn with rusty barrel hoops and corded rebar; but, although we could hear the sounds of music in the distance, we couldn't figure out precisely where the entrance was and gave up.
When I saw Billy and Chris at Billy's birthday party at Barcade on the 18th, we discussed the possibility of forming a (new) band, huddled in the corner with the original and unforgiving Punch Out!! machine. I did not realize these discussions were in earnest until a week or two later, when the email negotiations began.
I haven't played real drums in, god, years; and the last time I played anything approximating the drums was during the final, sad weeks of Rebel Monkey, on the office copy of Rock Band. I was holding the sticks a bit too tight or something, because I gave myself a large and painful hematoma on the inner joint of my thumb, which, at the time, I decided was a sprain and peevishly splinted with two snapped-off barbecue skewers.
Messrs. Lopez and Cumming were very tolerant. We played in a small attic room at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, across the street from the 26th precinct on 126th St. I'd been to Bill's wedding there a year or so ago; I'd even stood around the Kooperkamps' living room -- the western half of the church is their house, sort of -- uncomfortable and hungover in my one fancy, funereal suit. But I'd never explored the upper reaches of the place, and it turns to be delightfully maze-like, with irregularly-placed staircases and chilly, darkened corridors leading off to rooms that have been abandoned to the cats and dogs. There's art all over the walls -- prints, paintings, and sketches made by Sarah and her family. It's really beautiful, especially the aforementioned practice room, which is covered in collages and photos. There are amps, an old computer with a surprisingly well-balanced microphone, and the original drum kit we bought for The Headliners, although I didn't recognize it at first.
Like I said, I'm a bit out of practice, but I think I've made incremental improvements to some of the basics, especially when it comes to bass drum independence and endurance, which was always a weak spot for me. We wrote and recorded three songs, no lyrics yet. They're substantially different, tonally, than Headliners songs -- a bit moodier, less patently "rock and roll punk rock music." The hooks are buried a little deeper, but they're there.