Demise of Tommy.

I came terrifyingly close to titling this blog about MySpace “Tommy Can You Hear Me?” You can thank me later for my restraint.
Pix ganked from Francesca Caputo.

Been to Friendster lately? It kind of creeps me out. Occasionally I get a friend request over there, and I go over; it’s like a very well appointed abandoned amusement park. Better-looking than MySpace, I think. What did them in? Their refusal to acknowledge themselves as anything other than a dating site? Their cold deletions of Fakesters? (why exactly couldn’t we all be friends with “Cheese” or “Massapequa”?)
I have something like 400 or 500 friends over there; I thought it was a lot. Nowadays I have about 14,000 on MySpace.
I remember when there was a hipster frenzy over Friendster, and the servers were crammed, and you used to wait for 15 or 20 frustrated minutes trying to get on there, finally giving up and waiting until late at night to check your Friendstermail.
I got an Orkut and a MySpace account because I had time to kill. I didn’t think Friendster was going to lessen in significance. If anything, I thought Orkut had the better shot–hipper name, Google’s bucks. What’s up with “MySpace” anyway? Tommy MySpace had better things to do than think up a decent name? If you go to GoDaddy and try to register a taken domain, it will automatically suggest “DoughtySite” “DoughtyOnline” and “MyDoughty.” Did Tommy initially want to call it “Space”?
Now MySpace has gotten glitchy and arduous; you can’t get on. Your mail is inaccessible. Weird fuckups and bugs. The thing is growing so monstrously they can’t keep up. (I wonder how significant those Dateline “We-Catch-Pervs-on-MySpace” shows are in bringing in new customers?)
What the hell are we all doing on there, anyway? For me, I get fifty friend requests a day, and, among them, sometimes I go look at the cute girls, listen to some of the bands, check out the weird looking dudes with Anchorman jokes as screen names. But if you don’t get fifty new faces to look at every day, what good is it?
I do read my girlfriend’s blogs, and I’m happy that she has the forum. She is an excellent and funny casual blogger.
I half hope that a new site will come and wipe up the floor with Tommy’s sorry, badly-named, buggy ass. Maybe Orkut–(a phenomenon among Brazillians, by the way, did you know that? Crammed with Portuguese speakers. It’s really something)–or Friendster will win us back with free candy and pie. But I have a lot invested over there. 14,000 people to whom I must occasionally communicate a vital message of, like, “Hey, I’m playing Baltimore next week.”
It doesn’t bother me that Rupert Murdoch bought ‘em. I don’t hate on King of the Hill for the same association.

Now Dateless.

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I asked Sean Porter–the illustrious IdeaNode guy who hooked me up with this awesome blog–to change the entries so there’s no date at the top. Will this make older entries seem newer? Yep. Is this cheating? Yes it is.
(Pic ganked from listener Chris Callinan)

Wie Kommt Man Dahin? Mit Dem Zug!

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I’ve been learning German.
(Pix ganked from listener Stephanie Marie Kubes, except the last one, by Ike Whiting)

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Gehen wir los! Ganz meinerseits. Was ist los? Wie ist das Wetter heute? Das Wetter is schrecklich. Es regnet. Es ist sechs Uhr zwanzig.
So, yeah, I got one of those audio language courses and have been doing some German every day. My accent’s getting kind of OK, I’m absorbing random phrases such as those above like a champ, but of course I’m just sitting in my house repeating after a CD, and am not actually speaking to anybody in German.
My plan is to get a head of steam going with the language, and then hire a tutor. In the past couple years I’ve developed a fascination with German/Germans/Germany. I have this dream of pulling a Shakira and doing an album entirely in German.
I told Scrap that fried eggs in German was “spiegeleier” which I believe translates literally to “shiny eggs” or “mirror eggs.” He told me that he has a big stack of lieders left over from grad school. I said that if the songs were about counting to ten, catching a train, or naming colors, I’d be all over it.
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The Emoticon: a Bummer, but a Necessity?

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I bummed this dude out. Perhaps a : ) would have saved the day.
(pix ganked from listener Chuck Hucklebuck)

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I use smileys, aka emoticons, aka : ), all the time. For some reason I wrote letters for years and was able to delineate between sarcasm and sincerity. But I have lost this ability to the march of progress.
I’ve been trying to wean myself off them.
I wrote to a fellow blogger, and it was the kind of remark right on the edge of snarkiness; the kind of thing that can start a flame war. A smiley would’ve cleared it up, but he’s a notable writer, and I wanted to seem like the kind of guy that’s never used a smiley in his life.
I failed. He got MAD.
I’m so embarrassed.
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With Scrap, At the Gap.

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Yes, Scrap and I played a set at the Gap on 54th Street last night.
(These pix ganked from listener Stephanie Marie Kubes)

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The description in Time Out sounded mildly snarky to me: “Former Soul Cougher plays for free at the Gap.” Or maybe I’m being paranoid.
Who cares? I got free pants.
Scrap was jazzed by the weirdness of the setting. They put us in front of a wall of denim. Lots of people there, too.
I’m generally pretty blas

Alright, Already: Where the Hell Are You, Mike Doughty?

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Responding to your many emails of concern.
(all these photos by listener Ike Whiting)

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I came home from tour and entered a state of perma-nap.
Been working on some songs. Maybe I’ll cook up some new ones, gather up the band and return to Minneapolis to cut them.
Been listening to rough mixes of what we did at Dan’s during the last round. John Kirby is my new audio boyfriend. He makes the mmm mmm dirty dirty tasty tasty on his electronic piano.
I iTunes-ed a bunch of Tigrinya songs–that’s the predominant language in Eritrea–and have been dancing around my living room, a solo simulation of the dancing at a club in Asmara called Hidmona, where I went almost every night for a week when I was in Africa. The tunes are based around the guaila beat, which goes bu-DOOMP! bu-DOOMP beat–very offkilter to American ears–and everybody shuffles around in a circle like a hurricane in slow motion, bumping into each other. Mid-song, as the dancing heats up, they add this one beat right in front of the bu-doomp, and the rhythm suddenly turns around in this amazing exciting way.
Yeah. Pink boxer shorts. And what of it?
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Yay America.


Chuck managed to clean the graffiti off the trailer that hauls our instruments. In Toronto, somebody tagged the pristine surface, and wrote next to it, “Sorry I Had To…”
This strikes me as particularly Canadian.
However, he was unable to remove the Sad Bears that I had drawn in the dust of the windows. This proves the magic of the Sad Bear.
I do not draw the Sad Bear; I am a channel for the Sad Bear.
Today, for tens of thousands of people at a free show in a Chicago park, we open for Ray Davies. I saw him play Eisenhower Hall at West Point when I was a high school freshman.

Mode Switcher.

Chicago bound.

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Chuck returned to Minneapolis last night, bearing cheese curds and potato chip cookies (!) from his Mom in Wisconsin. So, this morning, we pile into the van and drive to Chicago for the big 4th of July Taste of Chicago outdoor fest; then big outdoor festivals in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
Mode-switching provokes my anxiety; road-to-home and vice versa. Not so much when I’ve made the switch–I gain my road legs/home legs quickly–as a couple of days beforehand. This is a weird one, though; I’ve switched modes from recording-to-tour and tour-to-recordings, but never tour-to-recording-to-tour. So it’s a little surreal.
I have recieved emails complaining that at these fests, the true fans will be outnumbered by Grey’s Anatomy and Veronica Mars people. I welcome everybody.