Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Class Assignment: Democratic Debate in Pictures

video

This is actually from Scott even though it says Ryan at that bottom.

Welcome to Beyond.com

Beyond.Com
1060 First Avenue, Suite 100
King of Prussia, PA 19406


Offer Letter: Business Development Associate

Congratulations and welcome to Beyond.com! As a newly hired Business Development Associate, you'll be responsible for leading some exciting new initiatives that we'll make up as we go along. As one of Philadelphia Magazine's top places to work in the greater Philadelphia area, you'll have an exciting opportunity to work in one the most relaxed and progressive business environments in the country!

By all means, take a tour of our office and acclimate yourself with your surroundings. You notice how we don't use cubicles in our office? This is because we encourage the lines of communications to be open between our employees. We believe that creativity should be fostered, and not stifled by oppressive cubicles! By the way, when you walked past these desks, did you notice anyone surfing the internet? Is Greg from accounting on Idolator again? If so, please report this to HR or your supervisor. Surfing the internet on company time is unacceptable, and we encourage our employees to report inappropriate behavior. Wait a minute; is Katya from marketing using a google search? I can't see how this "google" relates to anything we do. Changes must be made.

While touring our office, you'll also notice our 'game' room complete with air hockey and a Nintendo Wii. We at Beyond.com actually like to call this game room the 'scorcher', because anyone caught in this room during business hours will be fired. The game room is only acceptable to use when emissaries from the press are visiting.

Finally, your last stop on our tour will be the kitchen. Did you notice that we keep the kitchen fully stocked? We here at Beyond.com like to take care of our employees in case they forget to bring their lunch. With that said, why did you forget your lunch?! Attention to detail in your position is critical, and forgetting your lunch sends the wrong message to the rest of the company about your capabilities.

Whew! I'm sure you had a lot to take in there. Here is your desk. Please sit and look busy while we figure out what your position is, who hired you, and what work they wanted you to start with. As you can see, we're expanding so fast that we are getting ahead of ourselves!

You aren't looking busy enough. Remember, as your supervisor, you are supposed to look busy so I can tell the CEO that our team is busy, so he'll be satisfied, because there are no performance measures here! Hurrah for our laid back atmosphere!

Sincerely,
Beyond.com

P.S. Look busy all the time, but don't look busy when the press is here. Instead, play a game of frisbee with the webmaster from accross the office.

P.P.S. You're fired.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A band that can inspire a thousand bad puns: Audible

I saw the Philly band Audible Saturday night at Johnny Brendas. Apparently, their lead singer has really "paid his dues" around here, and is really "connected" to the Philly music scene.

The Tweener convicts Audible of the following indie rock crimes:

1.)Token attractive female "playing" un-plugged keyboard. From Spiritualized, the Dandy Warhols, to the Warlocks, there is a time-honored tradition of the indie rock female keyboardist whose musical contribution is questionable. At least you could *hear* the keyboardists I mentioned, however, as I'm not even sure Audible's keyboardist had an actual keyboard on stage. It looked like the band bought a 747 flight recorder from a pawn shop and painted "Casio" on it.

2.) Additional token female playing the bass. "Hey current girlfriend, I need a bassist for my band. Can you pick this up?". Usually, this practice results in some fine musicians (see Kim Deal, Kim Gordon). The undercurrent of this practice, however, is that the bass isn't as important. And why not? It's only the rythmic foundation of your music.

Rest assured, however, if these guys don't care about bass, than they must be some great guitarists?

3.) NO. This is indie rock, fool. Three electric guitars, all playing the exact same shit. You know this is costing you money, right? Why don't you jettison one of your guitarists? Ok, one guy played lead; typical "in-the-pocket", repititive indie-lead. I'm not asking you to play a five-minute solo or anything, but how about showing me that you have a pulse. Give me some crazy effects, makes some noise, trip over one of your cords and fall into the drum kit, DO ANYTHING.

4.) Bad vocals. I'm sure all of us saw this coming anyway.

Whatever. Audible wasn't worth the two hour lunch I had to take to finally decide on writing this.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ten Middling Philadelphia Bars (ok, five)

The Pennyslvania Avenue Best Western Hotel Bar
You can have a Fantasy Football draft here. Eat before you show; you don't want the two course meal of chicken fingers and where are my fries? They'll say they don't have pitchers but you just have to ask twice and press a bit, then they'll say they have pitchers but you and your friends have to get six of them if you want any. Don't ask where the pitchers were a minute ago or you'll have to buy ten. Then your only option is to say, "Tell you what we'll get a Baker's dozen," because they don't know what the hell that is.

Twelve Steps Down
Proximity is the great equalizer, but not that great.

Drinkers
Drinkers has good specials; it's cool if you come with a team. If you come alone or with a buddy with any ideas other than getting pissed for the next bar, well shit man step it up. I know the girls can be hot but after all the buildup you inevitably find out they live in Manayunk or freaking Conshohocken. I mean, my mom has a friend who wants me to impregnate her daughter but I'm not driving to goddamn Yardley. Still, the specials really are fantastic and the music is ok, considering the crowd. One small note of warning, if you're like me and don't really care what you're drinking because you had eight lagers before you left the house, don't say, "I'll have the same," after your friend orders one of those Heineken keg can specials. The two of you will look pretty stupid standing there with matching keg cans. Believe. (Everything I've said doesn't go for that grimy basement at the Old City Drinkers when it's almost pitch-black and they play "Lean Back" on eternal repeat. Someday, somethings really going to happen in there.)

Woody's
Baha JK

Twelve Steps Down, redux
If there's hardly any people at your bar, ever, even on a Saturday night, your beer should be cheap. I mean there's hardly even any doods. $3.50 for a Yuengling, even from 5-7? What is that fifty cents about? I understand that you spent all that money on the huge projector screen and no one told you that if the room isn't dark you can't see anything on a projector screen, but hey I got my own life, my own problems, I don't want to hear about your fuckups.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Eagles-Vikings Preview

It's been a slow blog week. About only 10% of my readers give a toss about sports. I need to be productive, however.

I'm a philly transplant. I spent the first ten years of my life in New York. I'm a Giants fan. Nevertheless, I know a little bit about the Eagles. Here is a preview of sunday's game against the Vikings.

-McNabb needs enough time to pass. If he gets enough time, the Eagles will win.

-McNabb also needs to be accurate when he gets time to pass. If he does that, the Eagles will win.

-What's going on with Reggie Brown this year? He's the x-factor. If the Eagles balance the equation, they'll win.

-You gotta love Bryan Westbrook. If he has 3 or more 50 yard touchdowns, the Eagles will win.

-Andy Reid needs to call better plays; namely, the plays to win. If he does that, the Eagles will win.

-What's not to like about 3rd round pick Victor Abiamiri? When I looked up his stats at Notre Dame, I noticed that the Fighting Irish had a winning record when he played there. If the Eagles play him, they'll win.

-Adrian Peterson...Whoa. He's the A-factor. I'm pretty sure an anagram of his name is "rad perestroika". Or maybe not. If the Eagles put eight men in the box and stop him, or if they simply play a base 4-3 defense and stop him, they'll win.

-Vikings QB Tavarias Jackson really knows how to manage the game. We've heard, however, that his Controller has some shoddy book keeping practices. That's on Tavarias and his lack of oversight. Shoot an e-mail to his regional supervisor and try and get him reprimanded. If the Eagles do that, they'll win.

If the Eagles do all of the above, they'll win...Unless they lose.

Either way, you heard it here first.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Swift Gavel of Justice: Anna C. Verna











I went to a city council meeting today. If there's one lesson I learned, other than the fact that our 16 city council members are a rather unattractive bunch that were no doubt the deciding factor in our horrible nationwide rating, it's that you don't trifle with City Council Prez Anna C. Verna. Indeed, she is one Italian matriarch that just screams, "Italian fucking matriarch".

It's appropriate that President Verna's middle initial is a "c", because she embodies a certain c-word that you all are definitely familiar with:

Combative

I learned the following about how to behave in her council today:

1.) You don't not talk when someone else has the floor. When the organizers of the million women march were honored in a resolution today, they were provided the floor to give an acceptance speech. When their leader was about to give her speech, one of the other members took the moment to try and shout out some sort of "political statement" off the mic. Anna C. Verna struck the gavel and was like, "step-off, you don't have the floor" and then told her stenographer to write "stfu", scan the page and upload it into a PDF, and then send it the member's blackberry.

2.) If the audience noise forces President Verna to strike the gavel twice for order, she'll start asking people to take it outside. After the Million Women's March gave their speech, there was a photo shoot with the rest of city council (At-large member Frank Rizzo, Jr. declined to take part. In fact, Rizzo looked like he'd rather be anywhere other than a City Council meeting. He's probably just eager to get his next FOP kickback.). When the audience kept talking well after the shoot was over, the wizened stump that is prez Verna told em' where the hall was.

3.) She moves the proceedings along quickly, because she is just as bored as everyone else. Verna makes the statement "all those in favor, say aye" like she wishes we could just skip the democratic process. No one would disagree with her. I mean, come on...A resolution calling to re-pave the road on Kelly Drive? Do we really need to vote on that? Can't the City Council member introducing the resolution just hand out the no-bid construction contract and get things over with?

Other observations about City Council: The council clerk talks faster than the guy from the micro-machines commercial. seriously; I don't think the I can remember the details of a single resolution that went through the council today. I'm glad I'm not a real reporter.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Did you hear?! Philadelphia voted least attractive city in the US!
















Unfortunately, no post today. I needed to get a haircut. I didn't.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Tweener Workout Regimen: Iron Works II

How does a tweener handle physical fitness?

Over the course of a year, a tweener will go to the gym three times a week for three consecutive months and haphazardly run a few miles and do a couple of bicep curls.

At some point, however, this person will miss two workouts in row and say, "fuck it, I'm already out of shape again" and not return to the gym for another 9 months.

People say, "write about what you know". I know the above scenario because it happened in a book I read. It was definitely The Sun Also Rises.

I've got a gym membership at Iron Works II at Northern Liberties. I don't live near Northern Liberties anymore, so I don't go to Iron Works. Nevertheless, I'm still being charged monthly membership fees.

I need to go there to cancel my membership, but I just haven't gotten around to it.

So hahaha, you want to talk about people being too lazy to go to the gym? That ain't shit, I'm too lazy to go to the gym to cancel my fucking membership!

Luckily, it's been said that Iron Works cancels the membership of people who complain about them online.

So, Iron Works II, even though I think you guys are merely providing a mediocre gym, I'll change it to "slightly below average" so you can cancel me.

Not good enough? Fine; you are also providing a haven for thugs and drug dealers from North Philly to work out and harrass the customers, apparently.

Still keeping my membership? Well, you just asked for the hammer to be dropped:

I've heard rumors that there are constant leaks in the ceiling. This is unacceptable even though I haven't seen it and probably wouldn't care if I did.

So go ahead and cancel me, BITCH. Don't even think about overcharging me, which is something I've also heard you do but I can in no way verify. My brother's about to be a lawyer, and he's spent a shitload time in a gym over the years.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Uh Oh






















When someone gets too drunk on a night out, they usually ask some basic questions the next morning. Where are my car keys? What assholish things did I say? Who is this lying next to me? I've got a splitting headache; where is my bag?


For me, however, I only had one horrifying question when I woke up Sunday morning:
Why oh why is the Calexico Live DVD playing on the TV?


It's not that I dislike Calexico; they're one of my favorite bands, and the DVD is great. In the year 2003, 95% of my sentences included a reference to Calexico. But, jesus, something must have really triggered me to put this thing on late Saturday night, and it couldn't have been good.


It was a party in Northern Liberties, and when I arrived I was in the drunk but not too drunk "sweet spot". Even though I can't remember a single damn thing I said while I was there, I could tell from people's faces that I was being entertaining for at least 20 mins. Then it all caught up to me, and let me tell you, those faces began to tell a different story.


I can see it now: I'm interjecting in some group conversation about brunch the next morning to discuss the merits of the album Hot Rail.
-

I start talking about Plaxico Burress to a bunch of people who aren't even sports fans, in which I eventually change the subject to Calexico because it rhymes with "Plaxico".


Let establish a rule here. If you get too drunk and go 'music nerd' on someone, you aren't even being an effective drunk. At least grab an ass or something.


So, anyone who has at that party, and can confirm that I indeed went Calexico on someone, spare me the details. It's all too much.

Friday, October 19, 2007

WTF Place of the Month: Parker Spruce Hotel























One of the pleasures of walking a through a heavily gentrifying center city neighborhood is the appearance of a building or business that does not belong. It may be a dilapidated apartment building, a working class corner bar in the midst of high end nightlife, or an old time diner. Nevertheless, these types of places stand out amongst the modern condominiums, lounges, fusion restaurants, and coffee shops of the post-industrial city.

This is not an anti-gentrification dissertation. I don't want to turn the clock back 30 years on Philadelphia when most of the center city was dead save for a couple of gentleman's burlesque houses. I would, however, like to see some old symbols remain. The Parker Hotel on 1300 Spruce Street is one of them.

When you see the Parker Hotel, considering it's location, you ask yourself, "WTF"? Within two blocks of the Parker Hotel, there are Korean and Japanese Restaurants, as well as a hipster bar named Dirty Franks, housing for University of Arts students, musical instrument stores, and the last drop. The Parker Hotel, on the other hand, presents a run-down appearance that is contrasted by these immediate surroundings, embodied by the hotel's utilitarian 1920s design and the dirty, indistinct sign in front (not very visible in the pic, but you get the idea). Whenever I look in the lobby, one of the two elevators is inevitably broken, there are mattresses leaning against the wall, and there is absolutely no sign of a continental breakfast. In many ways, the Parker Hotel represents what the area used to be, a haven for trannies and prostitutes. Incidentally, the hotel is located a block away from where Officer Daniel Faulkner was presumably shot by Mumia Abu-Jamal in 1981

The Parker hotel was built in the 1925, intending to be provide small, affordable "bachelor apartments" to single males in the city. Eventually, these residential hotels were supplanted by condominiums in the later half of the 20th century. The Parker Hotel remains one the last of its kind in Philadelphia.

Who does it house now? Drug addicts/dealers, homeless men who gathered a bit of scratch and do not want to stay in a shelter for a night, men who are kicked of their houses by wives/girlfriends, and, believe it or not, a few actual lower-mid salary professionals who embrace the hotel's seedy atmosphere. The street it is located on, 13th, has a reputation for being wild, but as someone who walks through it often, it just seems like any other bar/club strip.

If you want to know more about the Parker Hotel, the Philadelphia Weekly had a piece on it last year.

As I was walking home from work yesterday, a large man exited the Parker Hotel and walked in front of me. He had tattoos down his arms and white t-shirt with a dragon design plastered on the back. He walked two blocks, turned down an alley, and proceeded to hand off some drugs to a 20-something white young professional.

I wasn't even trying, and one of the few times I walk past the hotel on my way home I stumble upon a drug transaction! Fantastic.

Don't tear this place down.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Coffee Shop? The Last Drop













Cracked walls? Old-timey lamp? Solitary figure? Dozens of useless fliers?

I guess we're talking about a coffee shop. In this case, it is the Last Drop, which actually looks nothing like the picture I just posted.

The Last Drop, located at 1300 Pine street, is one of the best coffee shops in Philly. I've enjoyed everything I've had there. There's only one problem: I don't particularly care for coffee shops.

First things first; Coffee. It has one primary ingredient, caffeine.

"blah blah this coffee is better than that coffee blah blah Colombian supremo". Listen, I know people are gonna disagree with me, but coffee is simply a conduit for caffeine. No matter what the quality of coffee or espresso is, will wake you up to a certain extent and then start producing diminishing returns.

Quality of coffee to me is pretty much defined by this: Does it have enough caffeine in it? That's why I typically choose a no-frills triple shot of espresso to go with my 300 dollar Alan Edmunds shoes. Both say one thing: Feigning power.

It's only 200 words into this post and I've already used about 15 colons.

It is fitting that weed in Amsterdam is sold in what are called 'coffee shops'. In the end, the two drugs are remarkably similar; not in the actual effects per se, but in the ways they are packaged and the ease in which an average person can consume the drug daily without real consequence. In the end, however, it doesn't matter if it's northern lights, AK-47, beasters, Italian roast, or a white chocolate mocha. They will all leave you with a headache and a propensity to do something completely irrelevant to what you need to be doing.

Anyway, the other uses of coffee shops include a place to socialize, read, or use a laptop. I have nothing against this concept; it actually seems pretty great in theory. The only problem is that I never see anyone socializing.

Which brings me to my next point: Without fail, every female says it's best for guys to meet girls at coffee shops. Until they start serving alcohol at coffee shops, however, this is asking for a hell of a lot.

All kidding aside (haha, "kidding"), I have one question to my female readers: How many guys have YOU met at coffee shops?

Let's just face the gritty reality. When guys and girls meet, a bar is somewhere in the early equation.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Prevent this trend from ever happening: Kickball

All over the country, people are being hoodwinked by the red menace. Adams Morgan jocks, Greenpoint hipsters, Seattle...err...Web 2.0 start-up dudes; they all are embracing kickball as the combined sports event/social gathering of choice.

How did this travesty happen? Why is this a travesty?

Let's first examine the brief history of kickball as an adult sport. Here is an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article:

Kickball's history as a business, however, dates back just a few years. In 1998, four recent college graduates -- David Lowry, Jimmy Walicek, Rich Humphrey and Mr. LeHane -- were having drinks at a bar here when the conversation turned to finding a way to meet women.
Three of the men had been members of Trigon, a coed engineering fraternity at the University of Virginia, and the group settled on the idea of launching a sports league that mixes athletics and socializing. They decided on kickball, which requires little athletic skill and isn't likely to injure anybody.

The league began on the National Mall here in 1998 with eight teams and grew quickly, fueled by word of mouth and the on-air endorsement of a popular Washington morning deejay who started a team and brought bagpipers and women in bikinis to his games.

You can see the warning signs already: University of Virginia, Washington, D.C., morning deejays, lack of injuries. The UVA/D.C. connection is the most troubling. Two of the most vanilla, old money places on earth combined forces to make kickball a national trend amongst adults; status quo people and counter-culturalists alike. What, ultimately, is the travesty from this?

The travesty is that four extremely boring dudes from UVA have succeeded in bringing an entire nation down to their level.

Well played, gentleman.

Think about it for a second: Kickball is basically a way for guys to meet women and make friends when they can't. Girls have embraced it probably for the same reason. That means these people have been unable to forge relationships through work, bars, concerts, festivals, coffee shops, mutual friends, book clubs, political/charity fundraisers, and Capoeira lessons.

Now think about kickball as a sport: No history, minimal skill, minimal knowledge required about the game.

Kickball is the emptiest activity known to man. It is a way for boring urban Americans to bond over their shared boringness.

For you "men" out there who play it, what pride have you? You should be out there hitting doubles, scoring goals, committing flagrant fouls, or any other actual sport activity. Are you so incapable of meeting women that you need a kid's game? Or are you intimidated of playing in a real coed league like softball or soccer and getting embarrassed?

Luckily, unlike New York and DC, Philadelphia has resisted this trend. The obnoxiously named indiekickball.org has locations all over the states, but not a Philly office. You also never see entire kickball teams take over bars on weeknights.

I think I know why Philly, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes of post-industrial decay, has remained pure in the face of kickball:

It's either the 70 dollar registration fee or the goat baked eggs at Standard Tap. Most people choose the latter.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Job Opportunities at The Tweener

Contributing Writers

Are you tired of working in big media? Do you have an Ivy League Degree? Are you one those "connectors" from Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point- someone knows everyone and everything - who can look down on other people?

We believe we have a position for you. The Tweener - the premier upstart cultural blog in Philadelphia - is looking to hire a few talented writers to accommodate their growing readership of 10, and sometimes on a good day, 15, readers. We want comedic writers, and our studies have shown that all good comedy comes from the Ivy League.

For this position, we are looking for the following:

-An Ivy League degree
-This Ivy League degree must be from Harvard
-New York address preferable
-5"9" an absolute minimum
-5-7 years experience in blogging or publishing

This is an unpaid internship with a weekly stipend of Campbell's Soup (non-chunky).

To apply for this position, DO NOT send us a resume. Just e-mail us telling us how awesome you are, a few key namedrops, a link to your blog, and a brief sentence telling us that you went to Harvard.

Phone calls are not ok.

Map Builder Associate

Are you a web designer at a creative marketing firm? Are you fat? Do you find the life being sucked out of you? Has your CEO been murdered?

The Tweener- the premier googlemap-based cityguide blog in Philadelphia- can't build a fucking map. There must be compatibility issues that we expect you to solve.

To qualify for this position, you must have the following abilities:

-Be able to go to http://www.mapbuilder.net/
-Sign in with the username "gozer25" and password "trane1"
-Click on "source code" and insert the Google API code that I will send to you.
-Past source code onto blog post
-Tell us why it isn't working
-then fix it.

This is a 1 hour position that will pay you a free bowl pack.

To apply for this position, please send us a resume, cover letter, and portfolio over the phone. Carrier pigeon also accepted

Please: NO emails about this job!

Parking Ticket Coordinator

Are you desperate for a job?!?

The Tweener - the premier subsidized-by-parents blog about making it on your own in the city - has a shitload of parking tickets. We need them to be paid before Dad makes good on his 23 threats to stop paying the lease.

To apply for this position, send me a check for 500 dollars and wait to hear from us.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Female Tweeners

A few of our 100% x-chromosome readers have asked us to define a female tweener.

The definition is fairly simple: A female tweener is someone who is intelligent, has fairly good taste, but is not a scenester.

You may be thinking, "that's a pretty boring definition". To which I say, you're right; they are boring.

Just Fucking around.

Honestly though, if you want to break it down, do it by outward style first. Let's explore the WASP/hipster dichotomy:

WASP: Fake tans, pastel tank tops, flood pants blah blah blah. Pretty basic stuff. For the non-WASP male, the WASP female can either be ridiculously unattractive (the reasons usually start with a "fake" and end with a "tan"), or so unbearably attractive that all this guy wants to do is unhinge the shackles of status oppression and throw one in her for the universal rights of humanity. Something about a slight outward air of preppy snobishness will do this to you.

Hipster girl: accessories, accessories, accessories, big sunglasses, tattoos, little girl's dresses, stomach belts etc. Jesus, there is isn't a single redeemable thing on this list! Where are you all from, Japan?

Oh, and Tattoos: Not attractive under any circumstances. Artist's/hipster's love of tattoos are perhaps the stupidest thing about Philadelphia. I mean really stupid. I make two exceptions: contractors, and indie bands that have guitar solos. Otherwise, If you are reading this and have more than one tattoo (you get a pass for one bad decision), you are stupid for at least one day and I'm sure as shit not apologizing to you if you see me at a party. Stop fetishizing the working class that you have nothing in common with. They hate you. I hate you. And if you ever met this guy, you'd embarrassed about who your arm scribblings have bonded you with.

What were we talking about again? Female tweens??

Ok: Female tweens dress fairly unpretentiously and are very pleasant beyond an initial stand-offish demeanor. They're a little bit confused about who they are, but at least know exactly who they aren't. They can be either wild or a dead fish in bed. If you find a female tween who is single, you better get at that with the quickness, because guys of all backgrounds recognize their relative lack of craziness, and will line up to get them.

To all the female tweens out there: Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" is pretty overrated.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Technical Difficulties

We were supposed to unveil our first google map guide today, but we are experiencing technical difficulties. Our entry will postponed until tomorrow.

My blood is really boiling right now...Fuck fucking mapbuilder.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dealers where R U?

Man, back in college, I didn't know how sweet I had it.

I hear this phrase a lot, almost always in the context of women, and I guess it's true in that sense, at least in terms of raw numbers (although I'll take the lower frequency in exchange for twenty-something girls generally not being fish stix in bed), but this old saying really hits the money when it comes to the drugs. Back in school, I couldn't make a court appearance without getting high beforehand. I had three losers and one jam band on call right when my day ended at 11 AM. You thought you didn't have a coke habit senior year? Maybe you were just blacked out. But now that everyone has a fancy job and self-respect, I can't find even a damn nickel-bag to save my life, and I'm trying, hard. There are four things you can try to do that probably won't work to find some trees:

1. Walk in circles in black neighborhoods

This method used to work wonders for me. When I moved back to Philly three summers ago, I didn't have any "friends," my roommates didn't "like" me, so my only recourse was to walk as slowly as possible to the six-pack store and try to make eye contact with every shady guy I passed. This is a dangerous game, mind you. Your body language has to somehow scream addiction rather than sexual perversion. I can't explain how it's done, you'll just have to try it for yourself. You might even make some friends. I named a championship fantasy football team after one. Another taught me new respect for seminal club hit "Watch Out For the Big Girl" and to not hold back when you see that big lady walking down the other side of the street. Just yell that shit. Loud and Proud. They love it. The downside of this method is that the weed will suck. Don't even try the coke. Also, no matter how cool you think you are with your blunt buddy, one of these days he's taking your ten bucks and never coming back.

2. The chill middle-aged woman at your job

She hits the bong and everybody knows it. How would this conversation go? "Soo... totally off the record from work and all, and if this is out-of-line, just tell me and I apologize in advance, but I can't seem to find any pot anywhere and I was wondering if maybe you could help me out?" I don't know. I don't think I have the balls.

3. Your little brother

This is a low. My little brother likes me. He thinks I'm as cool as I know I am but other people are too dumb to realize. He likes when I have him come into the city and get him bombed. That time he came back from Geno's and I had thrown up all over the couch, I think it somehow raised my stature in his eyes. There's really no turning back from flipping the script like this and revealing to him that really I don't know anyone and they only come to our parties out of pity. Too late. Turns out his dealer got arrested or some shit.

4. Text and MySpace messaging every damn person you know

Get back at me already, plz.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Philly Music Part 2: Kurt Vile

Has he read my big sunglasses post yet?

I know...Yesterday's post was supposed to be a review of Philadelphia musician Kurt Vile that turned into a two part series that was never intended to be. Sometimes, a guy just needs an excuse to bash Anton Newcomb and Brian Jonestown Massacre, even though no one has ever cared about them except the three or four idiots on Dig! who compared Anton to fucking Jesus Christ!

Anyway, this 2006 Kurt Vile EP has eight songs, and the name of the songs and the EP I can't remember because I don't have the cd at work. It doesn't matter anyway, because they only sell it at AKA Records and I bought the last copy. You'll never get your hands on it. Before you cry, remember I walked a long ass way to get it .

On this EP, Kurt Vile executes a simple lo-fi formula: Acoustic and clean-toned electric guitar strumming, some drum machine backing, a bit of ghostly keyboards, and reverb-drenched vocals. On one "jawn", Vile shows off his acoustic finger-picking style, and he is badass wit' it.

Vile is a decent singer and knows how to craft a vocal melody, which in today's indie environment, is like uncovering the fucking dead sea scrolls. He is a lazy singer, though, which sometimes makes him sound like he is phoning his vocals in from a traditional "landline" as they used to call them. As for the lyrics, they include some images like "alligator suit" and "pile of shit", so you can't go wrong.

Overall, it is a great album for the Fall. Fall, as you know, is a season that no longer exists.

By all means, check out this guy's live performances. They include blisteringly loud, wall-of-sound freak-outs that go well with a bowl. I don't if these songs were real when I saw them, or if Vile was just trying to scare the Penn kids away. The editorial staff at the Tweener certainly enjoyed them.

Anyway, although Vile tends to be a Philebrity favorite, he is often overshadowed by the bands he is associated with, like The War on Drugs and Relay. This is because he is most likely a chill cat who not concerned by fame, but in reality, I have no fucking clue. All that matters, however, is that he is a hell of a lot better than Anton Newcomb. Take that San Francisco/Portland.




Monday, October 8, 2007

Philly Music: Mystical Shaman Index (Another 2 Part Series)

Happy Monday,

This past weekend, the big 215 festival was going down in Philly. The Tweener is here to promise you 0% coverage of what happened. We didn't go to a single goddamned event. Not even the spelling bee. Not even 6 hours and 45 minutes of Questlove spinning obscure Terry Callier at Bubble House. We're not even sure the Questlove event was part of the 215 festival, that's how little we know/knew about it.

We at the Tweener are busy on the weekends with murderous grad school assignments until mid-November, when this shit will really start poppin'. I did take a two hour study break on Saturday, however, to walk 400 blocks from my apartment near 11th and fitzwater to AKA Records on N. 3rd and market. I went there to pick up a Kurt Vile EP.

Kurt Vile is one of those slightly crazy looking, multi-talented solo musicians who often get described as "mystical shamans", "shaman mystics", or less often, "like Mystikal". Often, the music media are quick to exalt to the talents of such artists based on what their image promises rather than the actual tunes they deliver. I can think of no better example of this than Anton Newcomb and the Brian Jonestown Massacre

A brief aside of what gets my blood boiling regarding the Jonestown Massacre. I got hip to them In 2003 in Norwich, England, before the good but embarrassingly fawning dig came out and gave them an undeserving legacy. I had read everything available on the internet about the band and their awesome self-appointed influences, from shoegaze to soul music to freak-folk to free-jazz to regular jazz to classic rock to Switzerlandian blues. When I finally got my hands some of their albums, however, all I heard was a bunch of junkie shitheads trying to imitate Spacemen 3's Playing with Fire over the course an entire career, only with no guitar pedals and even shittier vocals.

To make sure I am never cheated again, I've created the "mystical shaman" index for deciding the legitimacy of said artist's musical genius before I make an investment. If you read clippings about the solo artist, here are the red herrings:

Artist can play 100 instruments: Translation: Artist can play guitar at a competent level, can play bass at a barely competent level, can play three chords on a Keyboard, and can string together three notes with any other instrument that's lying around. In addition, all instruments besides guitar will be buried so low in the mix that they might as well not even be there.

Besides, when comes to songwriting, who cares if you can play 100 instruments!? You're not going to make a Greek folk album, so what does it matter that you can make a killer Bouzouki arrangement?

Artist/media cites many disparate influences: This is what ropes the average listener in. They think they're going to be sent on a non-stop thrill ride of musical styles. The problem with this is that every musician has a comfort zone skill level that usually doesn't extend beyond a few genres. You're better believing press clippings about an artist that is specifically good at some kind of playing/writing style, ie Howe Gelb and his approach to piano, than someone who supposedly can play any kind of song. Too often, their reach exceeds their grasp.

Artist is their "own worst enemy": Translation: Artist hasn't made a good album yet.

There you go. Three red herrings that should give you pause before you fall for a genius of the month. Kurt Vile passes these tests, but I'll talk about that tomorrow.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

THE DREAM IS ALIVE

Do not go gentle into that off season,
Fans should burn and rave at end of the NLDS;
Rage, rage against the clinching of the Rox.

Though wise fans at their end know dark is right,
Because their cheers had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that off season.

Good fans, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail cheers might have danced in a green field,
Rage, rage against the clinching of the Rox.

Wild fans who caught the bandwagon in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that off season.

Grave fans, near death, who forget 1980
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the clinching of the Rox.

And you, my team, there on losing streak,
Curse, bless us now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that off season.
Rage, rage against the clinching of the Rox.

by phdave of backshegoes.com fame

Friday, October 5, 2007

5 Professions for The Tweener Part 2

We are covering 3-5.


3. Librarians


















Over the second half of the 20th century, librarians were a bit like Dustin Hoffman in the first hour and a half of Straw Dogs: Nebbish, snotty, introverted, and completely unequipped (microfilm anyone?) to handle the gaggle of philistine thugs threatening their home and family.

Over the last decade, however, librarians have become Dustin Hoffman in the last half-hour of Straw Dogs: An armed, resourceful killing machine; taking on any thug who invades the home with a combination of wits and a bear-trap. How do both the librarian and Dustin Hoffman find themselves in this predicament? For providing refuge to the town retard that everyone wants to kill. In this case, the librarian/Hoffman stands their ground, only occasionally interrupting their killing spree to go upstairs and slap the retard for making too much noise.

4. Journalists

An ideal fit. You go and report on people from different backgrounds, write stories about them, and if they don't let you in their inner circle, you can trash them in print...Pretty much a tweener defined.

5. Bartender


"Coughlin's law: Don't bother looking up my IMDB page, mate."


Who doesn't dream of a night of making drinks for snobby Upper East Side patrons, reciting shitty poems, and then going home with Gina Gershon? Indeed, the bartender is the "aristocrat of the working class". For Philadelphians, this is the best job to have when you have an artistic side hustle like a band, because you'll have more daylight hours to practice, and besides, saying "I'm a tax accessor when I'm not playing bass in The Teeth" just doesn't have the same ring to it. Also, you won't be too hipster by being a bartender, as you actually have to communicate with people who aren't like you. You won't communicate with me, though. Just give me my Dewars on the rocks and let me stare at the fucking counter.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Five Professions for Tweeners Part 1

Overview: So, you've decided not to punch your status ticket by going to law school. Like everyone else in America, you have no desire to trudge through med school. When you entertain the thought of getting an MBA, it's only because it's amusing to think of what other people will think about you getting an MBA.

As a response to your choice not to attend these professional schools, we have to say: Welcome to the outskirts of upper middle class society! What's wrong with you? There are some psychological tests you can take home from the tweener lobby that will hopefully steer you back to the Beasley School of Law, or worse, Rutgers of Camden. In the meantime, here are five professions that are ideal for the tweener scum that you are. Enjoy, you Hamlet-complex having motherfucker:

1.) Web Designer, Graphic Designer, Marketer, Biz Dev Developer at any small creative/branding/web marketing firm.

These types of companies often promote their "laid back", creative atmosphere to go with their highly exaggerated client list. They often hire job candidates for the hell of it because hardly anyone applies to their positions. The rewards of working at these companies are mixed. If you are part of the 'creative' team, ie graphic designer of web developer, you usually know exactly what you need to do for any reasonable client, ensuring both job security and a creative portfolio (provided you do your work). If you are part of the marketing or biz dev team, however, throw that "laid back" concept in the pile of discarded computer equipment that's accumulating in the corner of your company's office because they were to cheap to hire an Office Manager. You have to understand that these companies need money. They don't have a lot of money. They hired you as a biz developer to make it. And generally, they have no clue how to create a marketing or sales plan for you to execute, hence why they have no money. Are you willing to do all their work, especially when you are just out of college in and lack experience in these types of things?

Anyway, to make sure you don't find yourself in the dilemma I described above, ask your potential manager in the interview about performance evualation standards. This will merit a confused look from your disorganized companies, while the better ones will have an answer. A example of a good creative marketing firm in the Philly area is Refinery, which recently got acquired. For an example of poor creative marketing firm, go ahead and read this article

2. Nonprofit Development/PR/Marketing/Outreach

Are you willing to work twice as much for half the money? Well hot damn, have I got a profession for you! All kidding aside, nonprofits often at least give the illusion of working for a good cause, and frequently give good benefits. So whether you are mentoring a headache-inducing autistic kid, commissioning a mural in a troubled neighborhood that needs a hell of lot more practical assistance, washing the windows of Constantine Papadakis' helicopter, or just shooting the shit about fantasy football to the Press Officer in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, nonprofits are jobs that soothe the soul...And the chicks are great. Good luck getting one, however.

3-5 tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Hey Look, a Dated Article that Indirectly Refers to Tweeners!

I have to comment on a June 3rd article from Timeout New York, titled "Why the Hipster Must Die; a Modest Proposal to Save New York Cool". Now, I'm sure the great blogosphere has already talked about this one, but there are just too many priceless lines in here to pass up commentary. Now; although this article is ostensibly about NY, there are many points that apply to Philly, especially concerning what the author here refers to as "mainstream hipsters". A "mainstream hipster" could easily be confused for a tweener, and here's what the author has to say about them:

Yes, the assassins of cool still walk our streets: Any night of the week finds the East Village, the Lower East Side and Williamsburg teeming with youth—a pageant of the bohemian undead. These hipster zombies—now more likely to be brokers or lawyers than art-school dropouts—are the idols of the style pages, the darlings of viral marketers and the marks of predatory real-estate agents. And they must be buried for cool to be reborn.

First of all, there has never been a lawyer or broker hipster in the history of humanity...Period. I can take a pretty good guess as to what an accountant, broker or l*wy*r(trust me on this one) in NY is doing on the weekend, and believe me, it ain't Williamsburg. They are, in fact, somewhere in a castle on the Upper East Side, sitting a mound of blow, playing with their old money, and participating in paid/unpaid orgies. For all you know, they are undead, because you sure as hell will never see them.

Same for Philly lawyers and brokers (if there are any Philly brokers). You think they're actually going to forget Continental Lounge for a night in exchange for watching 20 noise bands in a West Philly basement? Fuck outta here.

In regards to neighborhoods, they don't go from hipster to mainstream hipster, they from hipster to asshole pretty immediately. Take Northern Liberties for example. There was no transition from hipster to mainstream hipster. Literally in the space of a year, rape n'stalk became Liberties Walk, Ministry became le' ministre' (French bistro), and Standard Tap became Standard Tap...With assholes.

And as for extolling the virtues of "art school dropouts", I have met plenty of hipsters in Philly and nearly all of them had college degrees, Art or otherwise. I mean, come on; college is so easy these days that it's harder actually drop out than succeed. You have to be really trying hard to fail...Hat's off to you if accomplished that.

Let's go to the next line:

“The mainstream hipster is not an artist or a musician. He has an office job, and wears one hat to work and another at night.” Presumably, the latter is a trucker—or a porkpie—hat.

Repeat this mantra after me: Just because you have a mediocre band does not make you cutting edge. Just because you have a mediocre band does not make you cutting edge. Just because you have a mediocre band does not make you cutting edge.

Beyond that, however, is this pesky 'office job' that is continually cited as the root of all evil. This author seems to think that everyone with an office job is a banker or a lawyer. What about the grey areas? Librarians? Graphic designers? Journalists? These are classic tween professions (to be covered in another post; Do they need to be sent to the gulags?

The great thing about Philly, as opposed to New York, is that we are much more industrious. Most of the people I've met that are in bands have some of the occupations listed above. To them, as well as most people in this city, it's not selling out, it called "earning a living", which makes it a great inbetween city. You can be a musician, an artist, a marketer, a meth dealer, a contractor, or nothing at all, really; honestly, who the fuck cares this much about divisions these days when the internet has destroyed secrets? Just have fun with it.

Finally: What distinguishes the zombie hipsters at large today from the “white Negroes” Norman Mailer described in the 1950s is a lack of menace. The original hipster—Mailer had in mind James Dean and the Neal Cassady who inspired On the Road—was a “philosophical psychopath” who might steal your car and drive it to Mexico.

Err...That is probably the least menacing thing I've ever heard. I guess stealing my old roomate's adderall made me menacing.

Hipsters past, present, and future never had menace. I mean,On the Road?! Are you serious!? Kerouac once wrote a novel in which his protagonist was celibate for christ sake! William Burroughs killed his wife, and then wussed out and claimed it was an accident. What a punk. These guys were no paradigm of toughness.

Anyway, my point being: Tweeners are far from being lawyers and brokers, we have a creative side but won't be in band for being in a band's sake, and neither hipsters nor tweeners are that menacing...Nor should they care.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Jason Werth likes to drink


There isn't much more to say about THE 2007 NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST DIVISION CHAMPION PHILADELPHIA PHILLIEZ.

They make it rain. They run New York. 'Cause they're on.

The 2007 Phillies are the kind of team you should love even if you're from Milwaukee, but they're approaching Godliness to ever-patient Phillies Phans. From Saint Rollins to Jesus Christ Romero to Brother Burrell, they're absolving our sins and opening the doors to salvation. Heck, Scott has already converted and completed his mission to Seattle (although it doesn't take a Judas Chair to convince a kid who grew up with the Orioles).

And hey, props to all the run-of-the-mill Phils fans who had a blast on Sunday and will party along with the rest of us. Your enthusiasm is appreciated. But if you're one of those few who remember Desi Relaford, Joe Roa, Mickey Morandini 2.0, Danny Tartabull, Kevin Freaking Sefcik, Travis Lee, Joe Table 1.0, and Bruce Chen, well, just believe me when I say I know how much this means to you.

And that's why we'll never really be down with the Black Cap set. If you're not into this, you're probably a (let's just say probably don't like Hemingway - Ed.).

P.S. Thanks for making us forget the Frankadelphia Yelloweagles.

Monday, October 1, 2007

"Bikeover Country"


^Not England^

Every once in a while, the Tweener staff takes off their worn Charlie Parker t-shirts, throws on a relatively unused Lacoste polo, and says, "let's mix it up with the frat boys and the fake tans!"

For the average young Philadelphian with a soul, the area of the city North of Pine, South of Spring Garden, West of 4th, and East of 16th is "bikeover country" between South Philly and Northern Fishmond. Well; last saturday night, we went straight into middle Philadelphia to give you the REAL scope on what the Manayunkians and Jersey fools are doing while you're somewhere getting busy wearing glasses (regular ones this time).

The verdict? Uhh...Let's see: McGillian's smelled like vomit, the girls were hot but ditzy, I think...Then we went to Fado, and it was really dark and we were sure it would take an hour to get a drink, so we left. I think one, possibly twelve dudes were wearing phillies hats. We also went into some lounge bar near McGillin's and walked in a circle before leaving.

I would say I would give you a more comprehensive guide, but seriously; no fucking chance*. You've seen one frat boy bar, you've seen em' all**, and that's not neccesarily an insult. Just remember that if you are a guy on the prowl, observe the following rules:

WASP girls: More approachable, less talkable
Hipster girls: Less approachable, more talkable

*There's actually a considerable chance.

**I had a big paper to write.