Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Tale of Three Cities (with Pictures!)

Things have been pretty quiet around here lately, huh? I admit that I'm not quite sure why that is; usually when a blogger apologizes for low output, it's a prelude to announcing a book deal or something, but I'm afraid I have no such exciting news. I did finally bite the bullet and get a commenter account over at the A.V. Club, which serves as a useful outlet for my many short observations that I would be otherwise trying to pad out to blog-post length.

Anyway, to get you caught up, here's a quick recap of where I've been these past few weeks:

1) [of] Montreal

I've been meaning to see of Montreal for a long time; any band where the frontman might make his entrance on a white horse or perform in the nude is probably worth catching live. Nothing quite so outlandish happened at the Trocadero on April 22, but considering the show still included various costumed animals (including the dapper, tiger-headed fellow above) and strange leotard-wearing figures, plus trippy visuals projected on screen behind the band, it was hardly a dull affair either.

I was watching from my usual spot on the floor, and let me tell you: nothing gets the party started like dark lyrics of psychological meltdown married to poppy, danceable melodies. Despite that, I can see the appeal of watching this show from a distance, the better to take in all of the bizarre skits playing out around the band; the overall effect was like a Flaming Lips show directed by Max Fischer.

2) Alexandria

Last week was the second time I've had to travel to Alexandria, VA for my job. Not much to report about that place, which I'm sure is a perfectly nice place to live. My hotel room did have a nice view of the Capitol dome:
(Note: Photo has been zoomed in to an absurd degree.)

You probably can't read that, but it says, "Unplug iron before storing." There were no power outlets near the iron holder, so you'd have to really be determined to put away your still-burning iron for that to be an effective warning.

Boy, that swine flu sure is in the news a lot, huh? I saw this on CNN as I arrived at my hotel room, and couldn't help but laugh. Yes, Jack Cafferty, in the 24 hours I had been aware of swine flu at that point, I feel it's safe to say that my life will never be the same.

3) Philadelphia

One of the odd perks of my job is that, from time to time, I get invited to go to events at places I would ordinarily never go. That's the only reason I've been to a pricey steakhouse, gone barhopping on St. Patrick's Day, or spent an evening at an overpriced, self-consciously trendy lounge. It's also why earlier this week I went to XIX, the swanky lounge on the nineteenth floor of the Bellevue/Park Hyatt in Philadelphia. I though I might be able to get some nice photos from the balcony, but it was a foggy, rainy night and things didn't really work out that way:

(I was hoping this would have a cool, Blade Runner look about it. Who knows: maybe if Jordan Cronenweth had shot that film with a cheap digital camera on a hotel balcony, this is how it would have turned out.)
I guess I should have stuck to taking pictures inside, like this giant pearl necklace chandelier thing that was hanging from the ceiling.
(If you think those are big, you should see the oyster!)

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