"Wouldn't you Know, a Drive-By in Missouri"

I live in the most dangerous city in the country. A few million people around here claim that, but trust me, they live in the county. Night and day. Ice Cube's Summer Vacation in the city and ice cubes and summer vacation in the county. It's funny, too because the report came out at just the right time, coninciding with a few other things.

First of all, I've been reading a book about cities and what makes a good city. The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs is engaging, and what struck me at first was a chapter about the safety along sidewalks. The basic point Jacobs makes is that the more familiar faces out and about, the less likely you are to get mugged. Sounds simple, right?

I myself have been using sidewalks lately. I walk home from the metro station along a stretch of dimly lit roads every night. I've heard these sidewalks referred to as "dangerous" or "sketchy" by more than a few people. Why? Well last night was the first time I walked back thinking about what Jacobs wrote. And I only saw 3 other faces. One other guy was practically running, and two people were just pacing in the distance in front of their house.

Now, another thing you might know about St. Louis is it's also America's fattest city. Where were all these people on the block? It's an interesting thought to think that maybe people could kill two birds with one stone by getting outside to feel the fresh air every once in awhile.* St. Louis's mayor, Francis Slay mocked that St. Louis should be behind cities like Chicago or New York on the list. Well, let me just say that when I visited those cities, I didn't usually find myself alone on a street at 6 pm. People had a taxi, bus, or train to catch. So maybe Jacobs has a point.

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One other point of convergence. The Cardinals won the World Series and threw a parade. The population of the city** doubled for the day. It's interesting to think, looking at some pictures of the parade, what the city would be like if the city were this dense, and not like some old post-Gold Rush ghost town.

Oh, and one other thing. I renewed my plates today. I've heard St. Louis is the capital of getting your stickers ganked. So I stop at the stoplight after the DMV and what do I see? Crime! That's right, a car with a torn sticker from its plate.

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*What could also be keeping them inside? Gonorrhea
**City as in the city, not the county
Make your own plate


Double Speak

I haven't posted in awhile. What have I been up to? Well, for starters I dressed up like a girl for one of Cassidy's photo project. This is probably one of the least embarassing...

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After that I had to turn the tables on her- it always evens the score a little. I don't know what my artist statement was here. So I'll shoot from the hip.

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"Society today has become withdrawn. We don't look each other in the face. For example, some of the most emotional music nowadays is dubbed 'shoegaze' because of its listeners' tendency to stare at their feet while listening to such music, rather than connecting with each other. In my picture, I show someone with dominating shoes and nothing else. In this way you cannot avoid her, even by looking at her shoes."

Oh yeah, Halloween was fun too. I was supposed to be baby Bill Clinton. I pussed out of wearing the diaper, seeing as I'm pasty as.. well toothpaste. But my onesie looks like a prison outfit. So I guess I was jailbait. Here's me dancing a little to Thriller. I think I may have breakdanced then humped the floor soon after.

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Am I Moving to Europe Next Week? Survey Says.. No haha

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I had a quarter life crisis last week. But I ran across a pic from the week of my birth, early August, 1981. Look at Wikipedia's entry on the year and take a look at all the stuff that was going on 25 years ago.

-A goofy republican becomes president, uses controversial policies & tactics
-Terrorism in the Arab world
-Soccer hooligans stampeding
-CBS Evening News makes a big deal about a news anchor
-Bob Marley dies, but his legend lives on
-IndyCar/Nascar racing controversy!
-HIV discovered
-Wheel of Fortune goes on the air
-Prince Charles's love life is in the tabloids
-MTV starts broadcasting
-Nuclear weapon negotiations
-Two future "You Got Served" stars are born the same week I am!*

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The point is, what's changed? Um, besides people. Haha, early 80's fashion is back and has anything in my lifetime really shaken the world, besides the Internet? Honestly, the only difference is that instead of a billion people watching Prince Charles's wedding to Princess Di on TV, they read the tabloids online**. Instead of people waiting for 2 hours to see the LL Cool J video on MTV they just download it in minutes. Information is faster.

I guess it's uplifting in the sense that 25 years in terms of the world is just a blink. I like to think that I've done some things. Seeing how the world is just like a kid who won't move out of their parents basement and get a job makes me feel better about myself. No more quarter life crisis.

*Meagan Good and Roger (from Sister, Sister). How do I know? Yep, 23 years later I saw the movie on opening night. I didn't dance in the aisle, although I should have.

**Man, K-Fed got his ass handed to him on the WWF the other night...


I Dream of Encino Man.. .and That 2000 Calorie Burger from Friday's

I had a dream not too long ago, which involved skywalks from high rises in a city. I'm not sure what happened exactly in the dream, but I do know that it was futuristic and that there were skywalks connecting every building to every other one, making the landscape look like an arrangement of Tinkertoys.

The reason I bring this up now is because of the sidewalk outside work. I can't help but think of this dream every time I get on or off the metro. I go past a sidewalk that's been "cleared" of the bus crowd (they wait in a parking garage, that's another story) and I always see a couple health officials scurrying by on one of the many skywalks around the hospital buildings.

You know those science fiction films where everyone had a flying car, like Back to the Future 2? I don't think that will happen. I mean, look at the guy in the picture above... why go downstairs and walk 20 feet past him playing "The Times They Are a-Changin'" and tell him you don't have a buck, when you can just invest in a skywalk! During those 20 feet you can almost imagine the climate changing randomly occuring outside. I think things will continue like this. I picture it more like Blade Runner or Final Fantasy VII (Hah, I'm a dork!), where a corporation exists high above the unwashed masses, and interaction between the two is minimal at most.

I mean, if they could build a city in the sky, wouldn't they? What about the Hollywood Hills- it's known that monkeys feel power only when they're given a higher living position. So of course Pauly Shore will only feel successful when he can pee off his balcony (metaphorically) onto everyone below.

Sorry this post is kinda dismal, maybe it's the weather. Um, I mean, Go Cards! Team Chemistry hasn't been this high since... well you know...

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Ronnie Belliard's tongue and Weaver's new-found meth habit seem to have paid off! The Cardinal fans at the game last night were just... well they looked like they were looking for a skywalk to the nearest TGI Friday's. They should try that burger with the fried cheese on top, good God it's good!


So a Lawyer and a Spider Monkey walk into a Bar...

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So anybody who wants to make a roadtrip and is near Springfield, MO might want to check out the Exotic Animal Paradise today or tomorrow. Apparently they're selling off some animals from the park, and trust me, this will be your only chance to ever have a lemur. Endangered species are kinda like that.
Here's the basic news story, which sort of skims the surface. And there's also an unflattering entry on the park from a animal rescue blogger which, given a pictoral tour, is much more convincing. There's also a video on the News-Leader's site showing the spider monkey (named "Spidey") and other animals that they will be auctioning.

In related Springfield news, if you're passing through and you just happen to run afowl of the law, call my bro. I'm sure he knows the animal laws down there from Aardvark to Zebra.


Twist Should Play in My League...

Have you ever said to yourself, "Hey, am I the only person who had sanctioned Friday Night spoon hockey in my parents house back in the day?" Well, I'm guessing you haven't said it. Because I just did a google search for "spoon hockey," and I found a sad sack of results. Here are the three categories they fell under.

1. Bonding exercises that take place in a rec room atop a Formica table. The one shown here is a Union University in Tenne-key. Do these kids look like they're having fun? I'd say maybe, but only because they're about ready to have the four most bangtastic years of their lives.

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2. The second variation is played in the yard, also known as the "mommy and the milkman" version of the game. Apparently, you go outside to hit a wiffle ball on the ground with a spatula, breaking your back, while you see the milkman slip inside until the Third Period. And if you don't hear the milkman enter the house, you'll at least hear a cocktail shaker.

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3. My version is only referenced once-in a Maple Leaf's fan's LiveJournal. She seems to have a working knowledge of the game. For instance, you play knees-on-carpet. Pain is the name of the game, just like life. Also, forks to enable tricks and whatnot, but after too many heated exchanges and delays of game, forks can get messy real quickly. So stick to spoons or sporks. The way I remember it, ball selection is a no brainer (ping-pong ball), and slappers are still the best way to score.

Anyway, this is all relevant because at my new apartment I have a room that only has a rocking chair. Optimal spoon hockey real estate if you ask me. Also, I read this article at the RFT on Tony Twist. I like how the psychopath offers advice on the proper way to kill someone.

"You don't threaten them first..."


How Do You Follow up a Half Nelson? With a Sleeper Hold?

It was a pretty wild, four day, chicken noodle soup weekend. I had the flu on Thursday, so it didn't really make sense to go to the DJ Shadow concert on Friday and drive to Columbia later that night. But hey, you only live once right?

The concert at the Pageant was pretty solid. I didn't expect so many weed smokers and bad breakdancers and so few of everybody else. I also didn't expect a self conscious DJ Shadow. His first LP, Endtroducing, was our generation's version of Pet Sounds, so what does he have to worry about? Ah, maybe it's because every single thing he does now can't compare. I have a grainy picture of how he looked on stage from my camera phone, I'll try to get it up by tomorrow.

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I slept in Columbia, Cassidy took care of me. But we did catch Half Nelson. No no, not the Garbage Pail Kid. Although, I have to wonder how much they were inspired by this card. The whole theme revolved around opposites, obvious and subliminal: black/white, candy/drugs, change/unmoving.

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Now all they need to do is make a movie out of Slain Wayne. I'm thinking it's a Vietnam-era dramedy. The guys been shot like 10 different times. And he's trying to make a living after the war as a dirty comedian. Get it, "Slain" Wayne? You're killin' me, Wayner!

Oh and big thanks to No Mas for hooking me up with one of these.

The only problem is this isn't the 10 day stretch to wear it to STL bars, unless shiners come back into style. Can the Cardinals beat the Mets? Yeah, but they also can fold in four, no one would complain, and people would still fill the seats next year.


"Really? Monkeys?"

People ask me all the time, what do you do Drew, other than being cool as hell? Well, I can point you to the Research part of the website for my lab, the one I should be maintaining. If you know any good books on Html, that go from the ground up, with a few tutorials, let me know. Online would help, too. Or there's this. Just search for "Thach" and you'll find a little blurb.

Oh, and specifically, if you want to know what I do, it's hard to describe. But if you're the gimmie gimmie type, I guess the best description would be that I'm programming something like the videogame Pong and spending obscene amounts of time looking at eye movements.

"I Can Get a Pujols Chant Going Right Now"

I'm not sure if it's the fish smell from the disposal in my new place, or the fact that the burglar alarm keeps beeping every few hours just to let me know it's there. But sometimes I get the feeling that my new roommate, Eugene (aka Fudge), and I are teetering on the edge of insanity.

Take our philosophical musings on sport lately. The roller-coaster ride that was the Cardinal clinching felt more like a ride through a Wal-Mart parking lot late at night. You know, people acting as if their survival depended on saving a dollar for the 30 pack of double roll Charmin.

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Cardinal fans are like Shakespearean mobs, fickle as hell. On Monday they can be seen in pairs around town, resembling sheep parading up to Noah's ark. The problem is, the animals don't boo the ark out of the water on Friday if there aren't enough squeeze plays by little white middle infielders. Hitting up the CWE the other night, we felt underdressed in a classy bar until two gents in Edmonds and Carpenter replica tees walked in.

"Two Budweisers gentlemen?"
"Why However did you know, sir?"
"Why, your frosted tips gave me away..."

So it's a knee jerk reaction for a sensible person to just step back and wonder where this mess got started. When did Cardinal fans have their clothing choices, beverage choices, and even Cable TV packages determined by a simple backyard game?

Ah, I blame you, Michael Jordan. You and that damn, catchy advertising campaign. We've reached a point where every sport is a commentary on mankind. Every muscle reaction is captured by ESPN and analyzed. When a ball goes into a hoop, a guy is flying. When a ball goes far, it's a shot to the heart of dictators and hatemongers worldwide. And now, today, when I go kick a soccer ball in the park, I'll wonder why I don't hear orchestral music (with a hip hop beat). I guess the profit margin was just a little too slim.

Eugene's Pro Wrestling Bit on McSweeney's
Eugene's Bonds Bit on McSweeney's
The Book on Jordan



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The back says "NATURE FEARS NO FLAWS." And maybe I'm just imagining it, but that sure looks like an alien in the negative space. Spoonfed can manage to grab your attention with a logo or design and then always flips it. Like the shirt with a swoosh stabbing a guy into submission, or the Michael Jackson, "Smooth Criminal" one. When I think elephants I think power, but the shirt shows that anything can become extinct. Hell, we flock to the movie screens to see extermination of humans by little green men with lasers.

The label is right up there with No Mas for brilliant ideas, in my book. Aside from those two labels though, I can't think of a T shirt company that does anything better than an ordinary guy with a sense of humor with a big pack of Sharpies.

So I'm thinking about throwing a few designs on to shirts. The first one is going to have something about mummies or pharoes and pyramids. A shot from the Buddhist in me.