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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   two restaurant Valentine's Day
Tuesday, February 14 2012 Valentine's Day is the anniversary of the day that Gretchen got back in touch with me after a twelve year estrangement. And so, every Valentine's Day, she makes me some sort of heart out of sculpy. This was the heart for this year:

We're told that the record industry is in decline because of internet piracy, but somehow we're nevertheless going through a golden age of music creation. It seems that cheap tools and cheap distribution are better for music than professional production, payola, groupies, and riches. I love music, but I don't think popular bands need my financial support. I have a great ad hoc way of determining who gets my money: if you're really good and I can't find you on, I'll pay for your MP3 album on Recently I was able to download Darker My Love's Alive as You Are via Bittorrent, but that just left me craving more, and more wasn't available on Bittorrent, so I had to download Darker My Love's eponymous album from Amazon. Darker My Love has a retro late-1960s psychedelic sound, similar to the kind produced by bands that would later evolve into heavy metal, art rock, or aging over-orchestrated self-parodies. To my ear, their music sounds ranges between classic-era Moody Blues, early Judas Priest, and the Grateful Dead. It's a sound that is familiar, though occasionally it ranges outside of expectations (as when the guitars take a turn for either the heavy or the wall-of-soundy). I like it best when it reminds me of my favorite Moody Blues songs ("chorus guitar" in "A Lovely Game") or in the ponderous proto-metal of most of the eponymous album.

This evening Gretchen and I went to Skytop to celebrate Valentine's Day, though our goal of getting french fries and a salad with our drinks was thwarted by a "special Valentine's Day meal." That was odd, considering all the gaggle of old guys hanging out near the bar. Were they all gay couples? Obviously not. In the end our bartender went in the back and found us some bread and hummus. Skytop usually has a good selection of beers, though tonight they only had Lagunitas IPA, a beer that had seemed unremarkable from a bottle. From the tap, though, it was delicious.
Still desirous of french fries, we drove to Rolling Rock, the unexpectedly awesome bar at the Hudson Valley Mall. There we ordered veggie burgers and fries, as well as Rolling Rock beer for Gretchen and a Jack Daniels on the rocks for me. Rolling Rock is sort of a sports bar, but nobody seemed to be watching the games except for another couple next to us, folks who couldn't get the Madison Square Garden channel on their cable or satellite package. The New York Knicks were playing the Toronto Raptors on one screen, there was some other basketball game on another, and on a third was a weepy tribute to the recently-deceased Whitney Houston. I'd seen something about "Linsanity" in various places on the web, and so knew the significance of the Asian-American point guard Jeremy Lin, whom I pointed out to Gretchen. She was having trouble watching from her angle, so she had the bartender put the Knicks-Raptors game on another screen. For the time we were there (in the second quarter), it was, truth be told, a little hard to catch the Lintagion. The Knicks were down by something like fifteen points, and while Lin managed to get off the odd three point shot, it was going to take a real miracle to save them. That miracle, or rather, that series of miracles, happened later after we got home. Somehow Lin made six points in a row, with the final tie-breaking three happening with just a half second left to go.

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