Friday, December 31, 2010

Echoes from the past push us into the future.

Echoes from the past push us into the future.

Here's to you having an EPIC New Year's Eve. Stay safe and I'll see you in 2011.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Time to listen to my favorite tunes of 2010!

Time to listen to my favorite tunes of 2010!

As promised yesterday, here it is, my yearly musical gift of my favorite tracks of 2o10. You can see the full list of what's included at the end of this post. The biggest difference between this years list and last is that pop has dropped back behind guitars in most of the songs. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think it's because in the last few years pop and mainstream stuff was getting willfully weirder but in 2010 most artists seemed to coast on their past sounds without really trying anything new, thereby sucking a lot of energy from their output. Rock and/or roll, on the other hand, seemed to just kick out a larger percentage of tunes I just enjoyed listening to.

So anyway, if you want a broader treatise on my view of music in general in 2010, please do check out my proper "Best Of" post. Now feel free to download my top tracks, play them at a party, delete the ones you never want to come up on your shuffle setting ever again, buy the albums of the band's whose tunes interest you and please do let me know what you think of the whole thing!

DOWNLOAD: The Top Tunes of 2010: One Man's View

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sooooo ... what music stuck with me in 2010?

Sooooo ... what music stuck with me in 2010?

Hey everyone, it's finally up! My list of my Top 20 Albums, Top Local Releases and Top 50 Songs is up! Check it out out and let me know what you think (or share your favorites)! And then check in here tomorrow when, and I do this every year for the loyal readers of this little corner of my internet real estate, you can download my fave tunes from the past 12 months and pretend you're in the tankPOD for a couple hours.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The shadows are growing shorter.

The shadows are growing shorter.

I've written about this before, but when we hit this point of winter it gets tough. I notice GalPal sleeping later and going to bed earlier, simply because the elements are too much to bear and hibernation helps the time pass more quickly. I'm usually able to power though, though I do really hate the cold, but for some reason this year the chill is even affecting my mood and wearing me down. Maybe it's because we had a such a glorious summer this year and I just am so pissed it has to fade into memory, blurred by a frosted rear view. Maybe it's because I feel as if the cold grips my ankles to chain me to a radius of a couple of blocks because I simply don't want to venture to far from the warmth of my home unless absolutely necessary, thus triggering the early onset of cabin fever (which really shouldn't be hitting until January / February). Maybe Occam's Razor dictates I've simply grown sick of Chicago winters, period.

So I'm trying to put a positive spin on this. We're past the winter solstice so the days are growing longer, and the sun's reach is growing longer as it pulls us back towards the summer. And, oddly, I've found I actually enjoy shoveling our walks this winter, and not just because GalPal admits she finds it sexy when I do something so physical in the cold. I've discovered something therapeutic in clearing a way, creating a safe path throughout the snow and ice, and maybe that too is because I'm just trying to find a way to mentally navigate back towards warmer times.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snowpocalypse? Please.

Snowpocalypse? Please.

You folks on the East Coast have no idea what you're talking about. I'm only in the office two days this week so I am SNOWED UNDER with work! The 9-to-5 in the daytime and Chicagoist at night. Whew. At least a bunch of you are getting a snow day or two (something, frankly, that never happens in Chicago).

Friday, December 24, 2010

Road weary.

Road weary.

"Uhhhh, you're taking up the whole bed," is what GalPal just said to me.

Anyway, happy holidays!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

How do we get away with it?

How do we get away with it?

So here's this; I look like I'm in my mid-twenties though I am in fact quite older. I'm not the only mutant (I'm looking at you, Gage) but we seem to be a rare breed. There's aging gracefully, where you wear your years well, and there's people like me, that still get regularly carded for cigarettes. Genes have something to do with it, my whole family ages incredibly well, but my brothers always get pegged as the "older" one even though I'm the eldest.

I'm not complaining but with each year I have to admit I'm terrified it will all crumble and I'll suddenly end up looking like I'm 63.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Don Van Vliet.

Don Van Vliet.

So am I the only music writer who, try as I might and believe me I've logged in plenty of time with the man's catalog, just does not connect with Captain Beefheart's music?

RELATED: I also am not a Zappa fan. Coincidence? I think not.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Adorable!

Adorable!

Can you resist this quiet moment of civility? I think not.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Meet The Beatles ... again.

Meet The Beatles ... again.

Going through a mini Beatles phase again. I always respect what they've done but I have to admit sometimes I just can't listen to the band. You would think what with all the media overkill around the band right now this would be one of those times I wouldn't be able to stand the Fab Four, but for some weird reason I'm finding myself willingly plugging them into the tankPOD (especially the latter albums) far more often again. I wonder why?

In a related note, I realize that whenever I get into The Beatles, The Rolling Stones or The Who, it's always singularly. I never find myself digging all three bands to the extreme at the same time. Again, I wonder why?

Friday, December 17, 2010

These things are true.

These things are true.


A brief list for you on a Friday.
  • Betty the Beagle is the cutest dog I own.
  • Pickle the Kitten and Sasha are the cutest cats I own.
  • I lead a mostly charmed life.
  • Coca-Cola Cherry Zero is mysteriously delicious.
  • I am extremely honored that any of you take time out of your day to read any of my various musings here or anywhere.
  • Tonight is The Burlington Holiday Party and I'll be DJing with the Burlington Collective, so stop by for some free egg nog or a $1 PBR!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Year end lists.

Year end lists.

Let me begin by saying most year-end “best of” lists are total bullshit. 99.9% of the time they reflect what a music writer / editorial staff THINKS should be perceived as “the best” instead of just having the balls to pick what they actually find enjoyment in. (That said, some people just have zero taste no matter what, so what’re you gonna do?)

So there’s that.

That said, I usually enjoy crafting my own year-end list. I like the fact I can look at past lists – for instance this one – and there is stuff on there I still like listening to years later. If something is on your “best of” list and you’re still not listening to it a year later that’s a pretty good indication your list was dishonest to begin with, crafted based on trying to attract cool points versus displaying an honest to god opinion.

This year, despite all the platitudes that this was “finally one of the best years for music after a long drought,” I am having difficulty crafting a list of truly outstanding music. I realized this last night as I listlessly scrolled through the tankPHONE at the bus stop, a device largely loaded with recent music I need to familiarize myself with or have recently written about, and I realized there was nothing on there I wanted to listen to. I finally settled on all the LCD Soundsystem albums on shuffle. And it made me realize that while, yes, a great deal of good music has been released this year I’m not so sure a good deal of great music has been released this year.

I am certain I will be able to fill out my top ten (possibly twenty) favorite albums, but it’s not going to involve great fretting over what gets bumped to make room for something else as might have happened in past years.

So what’s your take? Has there been a deluge of awesome music and I’ve just grown into such an old coot that I can’t appreciate it? Am I right that things continue to grow ever more broadly mediocre? Or, and here’s the age thing again, have I just gotten to the point that I’m secure liking what I like and can call out others who are more self conscious? Feel free to weigh in.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Shifting sands.

Shifting sands.

This time last year I think we were still unpacking from our move into the coach house, but now it feels like we've always been here. I'm experiencing a bit of historical vertigo though because it seems as if there's no way 2010 is almost at an end. Summer both feels like it ended last week and like it never happened. Perspective swims in and out of focus, though I think that's more a byproduct of my tendency to make sense of both recent and distant past by studying moments too minutely when I should be taking a step back to take in the canvas as a whole.

I've worked entire short stories off a particular sentence or fragment I thought was either particularly melodic and rather ingenious only to find that at the end it is the genesis phrase that gets cut in order to benefit the story as a whole. This is not something a younger writer is usually aware or capable of.

It's a good feeling, realizing I am capable of this.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Is this even legal?

Is this even legal?

The State of Illinois is trying to get residents to pay back taxes on all online purchases made over the last six years. Um, what?!

I know the state is in dire financial straits but is this even technically legal? I seem to remember other states trying a similar approach to bolstering revenue by targeting online businesses like Amazon but that's still an unresolved issue. So now it looks like Illinois (and New York) have just decided to go after the consumer instead? OK then, write a law to that effect and go ahead and do just that. But going after folks for past purchases seems at the least to be pretty dodgy and at its worst pretty damn close to extortion.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thoughts on a Jamaican vacation.

Thoughts on a Jamaican vacation.

We're back! Actually we got back Saturday but spent all day Sunday recovering from a horrific return travel experience. Just the thing to cap off a relaxing vacation! Anyway, I thought I'd share a few things I learned over the past week.
  • Jamaican actually do say "Ya mon!" and "Irie!" Anybody from Jamaican should not say either because you will end up sounding very silly.
  • Bob Marley, and a dizzying array of Bob Marley covers in a multitude of musical genres, are played everywhere there are tourists. I suspect this is more for the benefit of the tourists than the residents. Sadly, we heard no Jimmy Cliff ... what's up with that?!
  • The beach in Montego Bay is awesome. And the views we had of the mountains surrounding the bay were just eye-poppingly lovely.
  • People told us to expect barrel loads of pot tempting us from every direction, I'm guessing this is one reason we went through two very thorough security checkpoints at the Montego Bay airport on our way out, but we didn't see (or even smell) so much as a single joint the whole time we were there.
  • When flying, you get what you pay for. We flew an Ultra Low Cost Carrier airline and while travel to Jamaica was OK the experience of getting home was a nightmare featuring breakdowns on every level of the airline's system. Next time we're spending the couple extra hundred to fly a more dependable airline.
  • Vacations never last long enough. One more day in Montego Bay would have really hit the spot, but overall it was a wonderful trip.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Vacation well wishers.

Vacation well wishers.

Yesterday GalPal was checking her email for the first time since she's been here and remarked that she found it tack y people would send her "I hate you because you're on vacation" messages. This sort of thing never bothered me, in fact it always kind of tickles me, but she had a point. We save money throughout the year to take a vacation, and everyone we know has the same capacity to do so. While I find "I hate you while you're on vacation" messages funny and take them as a badge of honor I can understand why she views that same message as some attempt to bite into her hard earned fun.

So the lesson here? Feel free to hate me and tell me how jealous you are of me soaking in the Jamaican sun, but try to send GalPal messages more along the "hope you're having fun" conversational path.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday!

Everybody please join me in wishing GalPal a very happy birthday! She is now an old lady. She should be happy our world didn't turn out like Logan's Run, otherwise this would be her last birthday!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Slipping into the routine.

Slipping into the routine.

This resort is much bigger than the one we stayed in last year, so it's taking me a little longer to unwind and relax. (Don't worry, I'm getting there.) Our balcony off the beach is helping though, so don't feel too bad for me...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Don't hate me but...

Don't hate me but...

This is the view I'm looking at right now.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Vay-caaaaaaaay-shun!

Vay-caaaaaaaay-shun!

We leave for Jamaica tomorrow. (I feel OK telling you this since we have a friend house-sitting, so all you would be thieves should probably stay away because I'm reasonably sure our friend will be here 24-hours a day cheerfully soaking up our cable and WiFi ... one of the few perks for putting up with the tiny terror that is Betty the Beagle!*)

Anyway, what that means is that I shall still be writing regularly this week, but don't be surprised if most of the entries consist of photos of sunny beaches and GalPal in a bikini. If those sort of things upset you, you should probably stay away from here until next Monday.

Toodles!

*I kid. Betty loves our friend. So much so I think she's a little disappointed when we finally return home.

Friday, December 03, 2010

In an alternate universe...

In an alternate universe...

What if Betty the Beagle owned an iPhone?

How can you say no to a face like this?

How can you say no to a face like this?

Seriously!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I was meant for a life of leisure as a man of letters.

I was meant for a life of leisure as a man of letters.

When I first started college the initial plan was to get a double major and a double minor and then proceed onward on either the path of a life as a fine artist or as a college professor. Of course I dripped my art major in my first year and a half, realizing I hated most other artists and thought they were just blowhards full of more crap than talent, and refocused my efforts on my writing, which was itself probably pretty pretentious and terrible. Obviously the life of the college professor was to be for me.

University life had its obvious perks – you get to read books all the time and write whenever you want to and chase down beautiful coeds and ravish them a la Rip Torn in The Man Who Fell To Earth – so you can see why I would have been attracted to it. When you’re younger and idealistic and still capable of arguing some idiotic philosophical tenet you truly believe to be fiercely personal (but is in fact being argued identically by some wet-nosed scamp on any campus around you in any given direction) it only makes sense you’d want to remain in that cozy shroud until the end of days.

I was meant to be an intellect. At least I thought I was. And then I realized that intellects accomplish very little if all they do is mull over personal theories. So I moved out of a college town and into the big city, got a job, and worked full time while pursuing my degree. I was still a man of letters but there was no longer a life of leisure for me. What I gave up in idealism, and I did sacrifice the ability to naively dream, I gained in balanced pragmatism. Don’t get me wrong, I was, and still very much am, a dreamer. I still believe in taking chances and launching into the unknown – life would be pointless without that and discovery would grow nonexistent. I still appreciate everything that is beautiful and wondrous around me, I’m just no longer stunned into submission by it.

In some alternate reality there’s a version of me that never stopped going to school. He has a doctorate and he hasn’t written a novel but he has been published in a few journals and his students think he’s pretty cool and, probably, he’s sleeping with a few of them each semester but he figures it’s OK if it’s only Juniors and Seniors since they’re more “grounded.” He probably smoked pot and grabs drinks after class with a crew of underclassmen and cool teachers and they end up arguing in some campus house until 3 a.m. over an editing point or who as a bigger asshole, Ayn Rand or Sartre. I bet he has a beard too, huh? And I’m sure he likes his life. In fact I’m sure it’s a good life. Maybe even a great one.

I’m just glad it’s not mine.

Photo: If I were still living in a University town, I bet I'd still be wearing that damn electric blue three-piece suit...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Pink Floyd was, and I guess still is, one of my favorite bands of all time.

Pink Floyd was, and I guess still is, one of my favorite bands of all time.

I suspect these guys like them a lot too. And you know what? Everyone who has posted this video thus far has teased these musicians mercilessly but all I see is a couple dudes doing something that makes them happy and while they're kind of stumbling their way through it I think that's actually kind of touching.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

That wonderful time of the year!

That wonderful time of the year!

So, hey, wow, it's almost December!* How the heck did that happen?! That means it's almost time for year-end lists, holiday parties, vacations, ineffective fist-shaking at snow and ice and face-shearing winds, convincing GalPal it is NOT a good idea to put reindeer antlers on Betty the Beagle, bourbon sippin' with a movie on the couch in lieu of braving the elements to go to a bar, bitching about a cough that just will NOT go away (oh look, I'm already doing that!), winter snugglin', enjoying the gym for thirty-one more days before the Resolutionaries stream in and temporarily fuck everything up, my newly mended leather jacket to come out of the closet and onto my shoulders, and me giving into GalPal and allowing her to put party hats on Sash the Cat and Pickle the Kitten.

Yup, almost that time of year!

*A side note, if I may? I woke up the Friday after Thanksgiving morning to discover our house had already been festooned with Christmas decorations. GalPal has enough sense to know Thanksgiving is too early, but as of midnight the next day the holidays have free reign in her house! I noticed, similarly, that the owner of the corner bar by our house did the same thing at midnight that morning; he removed the rotating boobie sculpture to replace it with the seasonal leg lamp and a Festivus pole. Viva la holidays!

Monday, November 29, 2010

As I type this, I think Pickle the Kitten has found some residual catnip around the scratching post.

As I type this, I think Pickle the Kitten has found some residual catnip around the scratching post.

Y'know, it just ain't fair that this year Cyber Monday falls on the the day BEFORE I get paid. Usually I wouldn't be so broke, but I laid out all the dough for an all-inclusive vacation GalPal and I are taking this winter. It's nice to have such a big expense paid before you even take off -- nothing worse than coming home from a vacation realizing you have yet to pay it off, right? -- but it comes at the expense of missing any great deals that pop up today.

In other "it ain't fair" news, I spent most of the holiday weekend sick on the couch. Yay! No, it blew. I'm not used to being ill and I really hate being ill during any sort of vacation time! On the plus side, GalPal enjoyed the fact that my up and down fevers and constant coughing meant we stayed in almost all weekend, which made for a really relaxing couple of days off work for her. I'm trying to accentuate the positive here.

Finally, this week is shaping up to be a challenging one at the 9-to-5. My teammates and I have a lot on our plate, and that's daunting, but I'm also excited that the things facing us are the sorts of things that will end up allowing us to create some really, really cool stuff.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Get groovy...

Get groovy...

Let yourself get lost in the Tame Impala song I included in this post.

Have a killer weekend!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Thanksgiving post.

The Thanksgiving post.

I'm not gonna write some lame blog post about what I'm thankful for, no! Instead ... I'll Tweet it! (And post an image of said Tweet below for the benefit of my mom, who is not on The Twitters.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I got a fever ... no, not for more cowbell.

I got a fever ... no, not for more cowbell.

I've spent the past two days hovering at a fever of 102° F, alternating between sweating profusely and shivering until I think my bones will work their way up through my skin. It's been really pleasant AND it's kept me from going out on the town on on of my favorite bar nights of the year. Boo!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ground control to major Tom!

Ground control to Major Tom!

I'm feeling like crud. Which is not good just before a holiday weekend, during a work week in which I have a million thing I HAVE to get done before the office closes tomorrow. I know I'm just going to have to power through -- I always do* -- so whatever. I'll just ignore how I feel and get what needs to get done, done. If I need to go to my happy place at any point I'll just imagine a better world; a world here David Foster Wallace actually interviewed David Bowie.

*Much to GalPal's chagrin. She says she's never found anyone with so many reasons not to take a sick day in her life. I blame my discomfort in calling in on a) an unusually strong work ethic and b) an unusually strong sense of Catholic guilt that fears people won't believe me even when I'm telling the truth.

Monday, November 22, 2010

If we put cool indie music in the commercial, people with think it's cool. Like Apple."

"If we put cool indie music in the commercial, people with think it's cool. Like Apple."

You could subtitle this with "yet another reason bands let their music be used in commercials ... because it's gonna happen anyway so you may as well make some money off of it."



[Via Dangerous Minds]

Friday, November 19, 2010

Portrait of Tankboy as a young man.

Portrait of Tankboy as a young man.

First, I can't believe this video of me made it online!


Second, you ARE coming to see me and GalPal DJ at The Burlington tonight, right? I promise I'll play some David Bowie...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Proof you can't "create a viral video on purpose."

Proof you can't "create a viral video on purpose."

Not that it didn't stop GalPal's favorite morning crew from trying...

They know!

They know!

Guess which beagle is now onto my morning schedule and starts heading downstairs to be let out about 30 seconds before my alarm goes off?


And guess which kitten is already by HER food bowl at that time?


And which cat is laready rubbing up against the window shade waiting for me to open it and turn on her "Kitty TV?"


Betty the Beagle, Pickle the Kitten, and Sasha Cat ... y'all are too smart for your own (or my) good!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Drawing a blank.

Drawing a blank.

Today Leah wrote about having nothing going on.* I realized that while I have the opposite problem I have a really hard time articulating it. Whenever someone asks me "what's going on?" my answer is always "not much" or "same old same old." It's akin to when someone asks me what I'm listening too or what my new favorite band is; there's just too much going on there for me to answer in a bite-sized nugget that would be appropriate for a simple socially polite question. Sometimes I almost feel like I should carry a cheat-sheet with me, or a flashcard, or something similar so I can field what should be a simple query.

Do you have the same problem?

*To be honest, I think Leah's idea of "nothing going on" is probably still WAY busier than the average person's idea of "nothing going on."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dark all day.

Dark all day.

It's Tuesday and it already feels like a long week. Rising to darkness and coming home to darkness can begin to do weird things to your head, and with the dropping temps I can't even take solace in a ten-minute lunchtime walk across the street. Instead I find myself hugging buildings and diving into underground tunnels to avoid the chill. The only upswing is that with the recent time change I do feel more rested, what with that whole gaining of an hour. But it's a bittersweet achievement since I know that advantage is only a week or two from melting away completely to be replaced by the cold throb of another Midwest winter.

Man, what a downer to start the day, huh? Let's counter those previous thoughts with some sequins to try and offset the above a bit. This dude LOVES HIS LIFE, so I'm going to try and follow his lead...

Monday, November 15, 2010

All Day, all Girl Talk.

All Day, all Girl Talk.

I have a super early meeting today, so I'm up early. And what do I discover? There's a new Girl Talk album out right now, and it's available as a free download! Grab it!


You're welcome!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One thing follows another.

One thing follows another.

Last night GalPal surprised me with a bottle of wine, followed by warm chatter, followed by a bit of Conan, followed by a trip to the Corner, followed by a bunch of beer and camaraderie and mocking certain denizens of the bar who were perhaps a tad overly made-up and obviously looking for love in all the wrong places, followed by a brief walk home, followed by some snuggling and smiling and an eventual drifting off to sleep.

It was a pretty good night.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

About all those Twinkies.

About all those Twinkies.

So, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University lost 27 pounds in 10 weeks eating on a diet almost wholly composed of Twinkies (and other snack foods). This is NOT a repudiation of eating healthy food, but it does help people understand that it’s the calories, stupid.* You can lose weight eating whatever you damn well please as long as you are consuming less calories than you burn every day.** Do you want to lose weight? Fuck crazy diets and count your calories. Want to lose weight faster? Exercise while doing it. Hell, exercise no mater what. You know why? Because it helps you feel good! It ain’t rocket science kids.

If you’re looking for help with tracking your calories, and you own an iPhone, I’ve already endorsed my favorite method of doing so, the Lose It! app. If you don’t have access to that, there are a multiple number of other ways to track what you eat. In fact, if you have NO access to technology, you should still keep a food diary. Once you see WHAT you’re eating you’ll understand HOW MUCH of it to eat at a time.***

On one hand I appreciate that this professor has demonstrated on a strict caloric regimen that losing weight is possible, even on a diet of junk food. I just hope it doesn’t lead to people misinterpreting the outcome and thinking it’s a good idea to do it on a diet constructed of Twinkies.

*Let me make one thing absolutely clear: I DO understand how difficult weight management can be for some (many?). Intimately so since I've struggled with keeping my weight where I want it be since I was a teenager. I am in no way disparaging anyone struggling with weight issues; I am merely underscoring a simple medical fact that is often lost in the modern chatter.

**Though I do admit a bit of confusion over the fact his "good" cholesterol rose and his "bad" cholesterol fell, but since his diet wasn't 100% composed of sweet snacks that just means we'll now see a jillion different studies over which "good" part of his diet worked to have that effect.

***This is one of the keys to my own weight loss. I never deny myself sweets. Hell, I love desserts of all kinds! I just keep an eye on how many of them I'm eating.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Scattered.

Scattered.

I need to do a better job of either carrying a notepad with me to collect writing ideas. I always have my tankPHONE, but sometimes (often) whipping out a notepad while talking or in a meeting appears far less intrusive then typing away on a phone's keypad. With the phone folks don't know if you've just entirely checked out and are either surfing email or texting, but with a notepad if a flash pops in the back of that cavernous brain you can jot it down without interrupting anyone's flow.

Anyway, I know there's lots of stuff I've been wanting to write about but for some dang reason -- maybe I'm just not feeling it this early in the morning this particular day? -- none of it's filtering to my fingers. I mean I could go on some screed about this, that or the other, but honestly man, nothing is really stirring my cauldron at this second. There's all the usual stresses (money, Betty the Beagle, work, hoping my leather coat gets back from the tailor's before it gets much colder, getting my passport renewed in time for a trip to Jamaica that's coming up) but nothing out of the ordinary that I can't handle.

So let's take the glass half-full stance and accept that on this particular day, at this particular hour, having nothing to really write about means my life is going OK at this second and maybe I should just enjoy this moment instead of worrying about filling it with words.

Good idea.

Monday, November 08, 2010

I am typing this...

I am typing this...

...on my back, on my couch, thoroughly enjoying Conan's return. And then the super annoying actress from Glee (even more so since she's obviously ultra hot but Glee cast her as the "nerdy, gawky one," thus furthering my belief that show actually hates its audience) pops on and I'm actually tempted to flip the channel ... until Conan proves why he's a pro and makes what could have been BO-ring into a pretty fun interview.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Why, oh whyyyy?!

Why, oh whyyyy?!

I've been listening to the new Cee lo Green this afternoon and all I can say is WHY DIDN'T IT COME OUT DURING THE SUMMER ... IT WOULD HAVE RUUUUULED!


You probably want to pick this up when it comes out.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

My fellow citizens...

My fellow citizens...

Dear United States of America,

You are a bunch of idiots.

Just once I'd like to see you vote on issues and facts instead of sound bytes and sloganeering. And to all of you that didn't vote? I don't want to hear a single gripe from you because you haven't earned the fucking right to complain.

Love,
Me

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

And here I thought I was the most interesting man in the world!

And here I thought I was the most interesting man in the world!

A bunch of friends of mine have teamed up with a beer company to offer up an event at House of Blues tonight dubbed The Most Interesting Show In The World. The Chicago stop is M.C.ed by Andrew W.K. -- and it appears he will even play a handful of songs between acts which would be awesome since it's been a really long time since I saw him play on the I Get Wet tour -- and features a variety of different acts (I think including a trapeze artist or something?).

RSVP for free entry but be warned, like any other corporate sponsored party their producing more tickets than capacity to ensure the party is packed so get there early!

Photo from the St. Petersburg stop of The Most Interesting Show in the World

Monday, November 01, 2010

Halloween was absolute panduh-monium!

Halloween was absolute panduh-monium!

I dressed up in a Halloween costume Saturday night. I haven’t worn a costume in many, many years, but GalPal came up with one – the rabble-rousing pandas (panduhs) from LCD Soundsytem’s “Drunk Girls” video – that was so much fun I couldn’t resist.* And it was a HUGE success. We threw confetti at people, jumped onstage to dance with a friend’s band at Double Door (he didn’t know it was us until afterward) and generally did our best to have fun and wreak havoc (without actually wreaking any havoc that might ruin someone else’s god time.**)

It was also the first year that GalPal didn’t wear a “sexy _____” costume (though previous years’ “sexy _____” costumes she wore were often “sexy” primarily because of their formfitting nature and often countered with gruesome make-up so she looked like a zombie or the Black Dahlia). I would like to go on the record saying I see nothing wrong with folks that want to get “sexy” or “slutty” on Halloween. It’s the day everyone gets to be whatever they want to you should feel free to wear as little, or as much, clothing as you feel comfortable in. Don’t be hatin’ of people that want to be hot on Halloween, they have the right to do so.***

*Bonus costume for Friday Night: We attended a Halloween party urging you “mash-up” costumes – our friend was “Garth Vader” and GalPal was “Vampire Weekend at Bernies” – so I just wore and old Boy Scout shirt and went as “Tankboy Scout.” Har de har.

**Well, there was one dude at Panic! That got super aggro when I just walked by him and the target of his affections in an overly exaggerated “I’m so sneaky” manner. He actually shook his fist at me and started yelling. I still have no idea what that was about. Maybe he’s just really scared of panduhs?

***I will admit I was a bit afraid I’d see way too many “sexy Lady GaGa” costumes though and was really pleased to see almost no one dressed up as her at the places I ended up. Like I said, “sexy” is fine with me, but I do like to see “original” too.

Friday, October 29, 2010

BRI-CURIOUS!

BRI-CURIOUS!

GalPal has an unhealthy fascination (O.K., attraction to) Brian Williams. I'm O.K. with it though. In fact I am so O.K. with it I have no problem posting this video, just for her.

IRL.

IRL.

So I’ve been trying this new thing at work, and it’s called “get up and walk over to talk to somebody when you have a question instead of sending them an email or IM, if they’re in at least.” It’s great!

When you work in digital for as long as I have, and when so much communication is done online, it’s easy to forget how terrific personal interaction can be. It also comes with the bonus side effect of people getting to know each other even better! I’m obviously adept and presenting my personality via text, and when most folks meet me they are astounded that I come across exactly as they expect me to (no fudging the facts here!), but there are still nuances I can’t convey in writing that I do in speech. Heck, there’s probably reams of stuff my co-workers could clue you into about myself I don’t even know because it’s just a reflex I don’t pay attention to. Kind of like the day Keep pointed out my funny vocal delivery wherein I start sentences slowly and speed them up as I keep talking.*

So yeah, next time you have a question for someone, head on over and ask them in person! I’m really digging it.

*By the way, my theory behind this is that since I spent so many years in bars and clubs I had to slow down the beginning of conversations so people could adjust and latch onto what I was saying, and once I knew they were tuned in I could speed things up.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

So, I missed this tour back in '95...

So, I missed this tour back in '95...

...and I'm STILL kicking myself over it!

Writers! In the wild!

Writers! In the wild!

So I’m not saying this is happening, but if you wanted to see what a bunch of writers look like after one too many cheap beers you might want to swing by Holiday Club tonight. Folks that write for a certain Chicago-centric website will be congregating there for their monthly happy hour and I may or may not be one of them. If you are a reader of a certain Chicago-centric website you could show up, as long as you bring baked goods or some other form of comestible, and we would not shun you. Well, it may seem as if we are shunning you but the true fact is that writers can, at times, be a somewhat shy and timid bunch. That’s just another reason we use as an excuse to drink copious amounts of bourbon.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Post 3,100. Wow,

Post 3,100. Wow.

Some days I struggle to come up with even a single line of interesting text to justify your visit here. This is one of those days.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Great Lakes Cyclone!

Great Lakes Cyclone!

Aaaaaaaaah! Windegeddon is upon us! Storm of the century! How will we ever survive?!

All kidding aside, we're supposedly in for a humdinger of a storm tonight and tomorrow and while I know weatherpeople can exaggerate I have a healthy respect for Mother Nature. I hope it's not as bad as they're saying because if it is, that could get really scary.

It's all fun and games until you realize just how powerful the elements are, and just how helpless you are when they decide to flex a little muscle.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Whoop!

Whoop!

After an exhausting (and super fun) day at the 9-to5, what do I discover in my mailbox upon returning home? The Pinkerton deluxe reissue!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dandy video, eh?

Dandy video, eh?

The Dandy Warhols continue their tradition of bad timing that keeps me from seeing them the few times they come through Chicago by playing a show on the night everyone is celebrating Halloween in Chicago. Boo! So I guess this new video for the new track tacked onto their "greatest hits (while we were signed to a Major label" album will have to tide me over until next time they tour.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Things I need.

Things I need.

  1. A new template.
  2. An updated avatar.
  3. Four extra sets of ears to listen to new music.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When indie rock was more HAWT, less HIP.

When indie rock was more HAWT, less HIP.

I've been spending a lot of time listening to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion reissues that are coming / have come out, sort of rediscovering how much I loved 'em the first time around and what a fun and exciting time in music they marked.* For a while that band and Boss Hog pretty much ruled the indie rock world, the former fronted by Jon Spencer and the latter by his wife Cristina Martinez. They were the king and the queen.

GalPal finally got a chance to see Jon Spencer front the Blues Explosion over the summer, and she was impressed, but it wasn't until I showed her a photo of him from the Orange-era that she understood just what about him would make so many girls all moony-eyed. And then I explained to her that his wife had the same effect on the male half of our race. Together they were far sexier than Brangelina. And impossibly cool.

And you know what? there is no recent example of that in the music world. Spencer and Martinez made sexy music that made you want to dance and fuck and sweat and they looked great doing it. They still had those last tenuous ties to the real NYC underground, and while they didn't exactly have rough upbringings I think they did have an honest artistic curiosity that drove them to try and make something "real." Spencer sometimes has swipes taken at him for mocking the blues but I think he was honestly just looking to make visceral music that connected. And when you see the man play live there is no doubt he is dead fucking serious about pouring his all into each and every second of the songs he plays. And seeing the two of them together onstage in Boss Hog was almost just absolutely unfair to anyone in the room hoping to score with the opposite sex since all eyes were on the king and queen on indie hawt.

I don't even know if something like Spencer/Martinez could even exist today since the blog age has all but decimated mystery and myth (and it's not like I'm judging it for that, just making an observation) and really, isn't that what creates real sex appeal and not just a knee-jerk momentary crush?

*I'm working on delving way more deeply into the reissue stuff, most likely on Donewaiting, in a bit.

Top photo is The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (Spencer in the center) back in the day
Bottom photo is Cristina Martinez by Richard Kern

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gorillaz! Gorillaz! Gorillaz!

Gorillaz! Gorillaz! Gorillaz!

The show was wonderful. My photos and review should be up sometime this afternoon, but until then enjoy this taste of what's to come!


UPDATE: Photos and review are up!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Today was pretty awesome.

Today was pretty awesome.

Really, it was. I love it when everything's clicking and you feel like you're firing on all cylinders. Let's see if I can take that into tonight! And tomorrow! And tomorrow's morrow!

P.S. VERY EXCITED to be shooting the Gorillaz show tomorrow. SQUEEEEE!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You know what's good just about any time of the day?

You know what's good just about any time of the day?

Cakesters! Oh yeah!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh yeah, that reunion thing.

Oh yeah, that reunion thing.

So last Friday I trekked to the 'burbs to see people I once went to high school with. I got to the bar and realized that despite most attendees having been "popular" in those halcyon days I didn't recognize 99% of the folks in the room. Once girl had an incredibly square jaw and looked almost exactly like she did in high school, leading me to wonder if we shared some similar genetic material, but I couldn't even remember her name. The gentleman who literally saved me from getting killed by the football game was there, though, and I was happy to see him. One of my exes -- a girl far out of my reach in high school but who dated me during my college years and is now a cop in the city I spent my later teen years in -- was there and I was happy to catch up with her too. A few folks approached me throughout the evening, recognizing me, but I had to admit to each of them I honestly couldn't place them when they wanted to walk down memory lane with me.

There was a truly awful suburban cover band so we left the bar early and went to another, scuzzier joint across town where GalPal and I had a few beers and laughed about a girl who looked just like latter-era Liza Minelli.

I'm glad I headed out to the 'burbs. Otherwise I'd have always wondered if my 20-year high school reunion would have been worth going to. Now I know it wasn't.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Purring motorboats in the dark.

Purring motorboats in the dark.

So I'm sitting in my dark office, lit only by my screen, and somewhere buried in the inky corners of the room I hear what sounds like a small purring motorboat interrupted by the occasional chirp. I crept off my chair and inched towards the source of the noise; Pickle the Kitten happily sitting underneath our papasan chair. That cat is so silly.

In other silly news I'm DJing at The Burlington tonight! This looks to probably be my last Tuesday there for a while (I'm going to try out a few Fridays there in November and December) so if you can make it out tonight I'd really appreciate it. Hopefully they'll have the Bulrington house beer on draft. It's been a while since I had one and I've really been craving it lately.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Airplane, A Melodrama!

Airplane, A Melodrama!

Who knew that under all that humor lay such a compelling story about the victory of man over tragedy being such an edge of your seat experience?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Beyond the horizon, where the land ceases to exist.

Beyond the horizon, where the land ceases to exist.

I am going to a bar in the suburbs tonight. Willingly. For the evening. No rushing back to the city, just drinking in a suburban bar. It's a bar with the same name as a bar I hung out at when I would visit home during my college years -- that bar went from being an artsy-fartsy hangout to becoming the destination for every douchebag in a twenty mile radius -- but I assure you it is not the same bar. Same owners, I think, but a new location. The new space is cavernous and wrong and built to pack in as many sweaty desperate bodies as it can possibly hold. I am looking forward to seeing generations of alumni from my high school clumsily flirt, and I am especially looking forward to the moment a 40-something hits on a 21-year old without realizing they are hitting on a 21-year because, sometimes, in the suburbs 20 is actually the new 40.

This should be interesting.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

It was twenty years ago today…

It was twenty years ago today…

O.K., not exactly twenty years ago TODAY, but this weekend is when my twenty-year high school reunion is taking place. Kind of mind-blowing, huh? Especially if you know me. Most people have a hard time believing I’m not IN my twenties, much less than I graduated from high school two decades ago.

I went to my ten-year reunion and it was pretty much what I expected, almost cartoonishly so. The jocks looked like miserable inflated balloons and everyone that had been picked on had fabulous jobs and looked great. Oh, and the DJ sucked. In the end I was glad I went because I did get to touch base with a few folks I hadn’t seen in, well, ten years, and I certainly got my fill of the open bar so I counted the whole experience in the win column.

This time around I’m skipping the actual reunion. Primarily this is because there’s not that many folks attending that I really feel that strongly about seeing. Plus, there’s a certain amount of “competition” at these things when the room is sparsely filled and you have a little too much time to gauge other’s lives in relation to your own. I’m old enough at this point to not want to attend simply to rub the nose of folks that gave me a hard time so long ago in just how well I’m doing now. I was a real weirdo back then – literally spending my senior year trying not to get beaten to a pulp by the football team -- and it would seem like the ultimate revenge to show up good looking and fit, professionally successful, with super cool hobbies and an ultra-hot girlfriend … but really, now, what’s the point?

Instead I’m going to attend a little get-together in a Palatine bar tomorrow night. It’s my high school’s homecoming weekend and this place is sort of the informal meeting place for al alumni, so some of the girls arranging the reunion thoughtfully reserved a section of the bar early in the evening for the class of 1990 to congregate in. It’s more informal, there’s no admission price for an open bar, and it’ll afford me the chance to see the few folks I might want to catch up with along with some other old high school acquaintances that graduated in years other than mine. There’s less pressure and there’s more of a chance that I, and my old classmates, might actual find we enjoy spending some time together n a less formal setting.

So I guess in a weird way I’m actually looking forward to not attending my twenty-year high school reunion, but I am kind of excited about seeing some high school classmates after twenty years.

Click the picture to embiggen and see if you can find me!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Flip it up, flip it down.

Flip it up, flip it down.

Once she lit my fire but now Uffie's music fails to turn me on. Her videos are still hot though. Check the new one.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Remote control starter, anyone?

Remote control starter, anyone?

As the mornings steadily grow colder, and we refuse to fire up the heat yet because that feels like capitulation, it grows more difficult to haul my frame from beneath our heavy covers and launch it into the curtains of chill hanging about the house. My day's start has been pushed back an average of 15-minutes just to convince my body that it should voluntarily enter a hostile atmosphere.

Someone out there want to tell me again how this is better than summer?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Who is too stubborn? Maybe me.

Who is too stubborn? Maybe me.

A few weeks ago we were in Milwaukee for a friend’s wedding when I started to feel funky. My sinuses started to act up and occasional chills rippled under my skin.

Crap, I thought, I’m getting sick. And I was. I did. And it has hung on stubbornly to make my life as uncomfortable as possible. Each day GalPal would tell me to stay home from work and each day I’d point out all the reasons I couldn’t. Plus, everyone at work seemed to be sick to so why should I look bad by calling in?

I really should have. Maybe I would have gotten better a lot faster. But that’s not in my nature. Throughout my entire professional career I’ve called in sick under a handful of times. I rack up sick days until the form towers to house me should anything calamitous actually occur. I push through the pain and discomfort and just move on.

This weekend we attended another wedding – a truly stunning affair, it must be said – and again I was still sick. My throat was on fire, my head ready to explode, my joints ached, and still I acted as if nothing was wrong, doing my best to smile and have a good time. Yesterday I decided enough was enough and camped out on the couch. Outside the wedding I had already spent much of the weekend asleep and I decided to beat this thing once and for all. Did I want to go to brunch? And the gym? And then try out a new BBQ place nearby? You bet I did, but I decided to act like a human being for a single day and admit that maybe I deserved to stop moving and rest a little in order to give my body a chance to fix itself.

And that seems to have worked.

I still don’t fell 100%, but the sore throat is almost gone, my sinuses are no longer the size of fire hoses and I haven’t shivered for almost 24-hours. So of course I wonder if this is just because whatever was making me ill finally moved on regardless of my actions or if by taking a day “off” – albeit on the weekend – I finally gave that bug a final kick in the pants to get the fuck out of my system. There’s really no way to know for sure, but maybe next time I’m feeling that crappy I will just call in to work and give my system a day off and see if that keeps me from suffering for weeks on end.

Maybe part of growing up is being mature enough to know when you should call into work, huh?

Friday, October 01, 2010

So things are a'changin' over at Chicagoist...

Today is Marcus’ last full day at Chicagoist as Editor-in-Chief before he heads off to greener pastures in the faerie laced fields of the Onion’s AV Club. I still remember getting his application to be a Chicagoist music writer, being impressed with his work, and bringing him on board after a brief audition period. Little did I know that one day he’s outgrow the A&E section to take over the whole ship! He was the perfect choice at the time and has helped the site through an amazing growth period. He put in a lot of really hard work – YOU try working a schedule where you are basically ALWAYS WORKING, no matter what – and I’m glad he’s moving on to a job that will be a little less stressful but hopefully just as rewarding.

And who is the site being handed over to? Chuck! I admit I was a little worried back when Marcus told me he had started interviewing (since I knew he’d be hired because the folks at the AV Club aren’t fools). I couldn’t see a clear successor amongst the non-editorial staff and I knew there was no way I would leave my job to take the reins and I assumed Chuck felt the same way. So my fear was that we’d have to bring someone in from outside the family and who knew what would happen? Would they jettison staff? Would they just totally screw things up? There were a lot of unanswered questions.

Then Marcus asked me how I would feel if we DID offer the job to Chuck since it seemed he was interested in ditching his 9-to-5 gig for a full-time gig heading Chicagoist and I breathed a sigh of relief. It just felt right. In some ways the two of us have been the backbone of the site for a long time – constants through a number of structural and editorial changes over the years – so there would be no upheaval. The transition should go pretty seamlessly and we can all work on continuing to build on the progress made under Marcus’ oversight. I'm really glad Chuck is going to be the one that takes us there.

Of course with Marcus gone this means I’m going to have to up my quotient of posts mentioning unicorns to make up for his absence…

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New addiction...

New addiction...

I load up all of the Economist onto my Instapaper app on Thursday afternoon to see how many stories I can finish before the print edition shows up in my mailbox on Friday!

I am a real nerd sometimes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My extremely brief thoughts on this year's nominees for the 2011 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

My extremely brief thoughts on this year's nominees for the 2011 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Let's not even get into how ridiculous the concept of a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is, or how idiotic that it basically follows the geriatric Rolling Stone definition of what "classic" means, because those are just obvious truths. Instead, allow me to shed some light on the thinking behind, and my own thoughts on, this year's nominees.

Alice Cooper - Yes. Heard his early scary prog stuff? He wasn't always a cartoon. I'm down with this possibility.

The Beastie Boys - As years have gone on this trio has gleefully broken rules and defied expectations, so I approve of this pick too.

Bon Jovi - I'm guessing Billboard had something to do with this. Sorry Jon, you ain't rock.

Chic - Badass funk that should be included if for no other reason than Nile Rodgers is an insanely bad motherfucker behind the boards and on-stage.

Neil Diamond - I love Neil, and he wrote some killer tracks for other bands but no thanks.

Donovan - Famous folkie included for variety's sake; once related via marriage to another of this year's nominees!

Dr. John - No, no, no, just no.

The J. Geils Band - You may not believe this, but once upon a time these cats were some of the most fiery performers around, lacing blues rock with electric vinegar. I understand most people only know them from "Centerfold" but believe me when I say they are probably one of the most deserving of this year's nominees. Despite the fact Jann Wenner and Co. cream at the mere sight of them.

LL Cool J - I've seen LL live and he does rock, but sadly the only reason he's on here is to give hip-hop a little more recognition.

Darlene Love - Obligatory "The Worked With Phil Spector" candidate. She won't win because no one wants to mention Spector in their speeches.

Laura Nyro - Obscure folkie, included to appease guys that hunted for out-of-print vinyl in the '8s. And indie rock boys who think she's still underrated and undiscovered even though everyone knows who she is.

Donna Summer - I thought disco was punk rock again six five years ago, isn't this a bit late?

Joe Tex - Old rock and roller, again included as a tip of the hat; no pun intended.

Tom Waits - I don't think Waits would even describe himself as rock, but he's the scariest person on this list so I say induct him and let him make fun of everyone in his acceptance speech! FUN FACT: No one will know he's making fun of them until the next day when they read commentary on the ceremony.

Chuck Willis - Wrote "The Stroll" and the list needs someone from that time period to make it look as if the Hall Of Fame is actually aware of artist's "historical importance."
There you have it, my thoughts and commentary. Now it's time to tell me what YOU think!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Brrrrr!

Brrrrr!

Oh my god I can't believe we're tempted to turn the heat on in our house!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall? Blerg.

Fall? Blerg.

This stupid weather is bringing me down. Dreary, rainy, chilly ... I know a lot of people love this stuff because it means breaking out cute boots and jackets but I already miss the summer. GalPal and I are fighting the malaise by gorging ourselves on TV comfort food tonight.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Last Saturday of the month? Don't mind if I do!

Last Saturday of the month? Don't mind if I do!

I'm Djing at The Continental tomorrow, September 25, from 11 until 5. Rumor has it there may be a Sweet Treat surprise in the booth with me. Before the gig, though, I'll be at the of Montreal show shooting the band and hopefully enjoying a terrific set of music. I wasn't too impressed with them last time they were in town, but I love the new album and word has it this tour has been seeing a reinvigorated band so I'm hoping for the best!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Recharging the batteries.

Recharging the batteries.

Last week GalPal and I went to an out of town wedding and treated it like an adventure. We took our time getting there and tried daring things in town before the ceremony, like eating food in a castle-like structure surrounded by steins, armor, weapons, and really old people. No, it wasn't Medieval Times. The trip back the next day was even more fun, filled with off the path meandering, insanely large breakfasts, custard, and the sighting of another castle in mid-construction.

It was just what we needed.

I'm taking tomorrow off work in order to use up a vacation day before it expires and I think I'll view that the same way I treated last weekend. It's a chance to do something unexpected, something with no real purpose, something just for me.

I'm looking forward to it and I'm glad last weekend reminded me how much fun life can be when you allow it to just happen.

[image via here]

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It’s a conspiracy!

It’s a conspiracy!

So last night all the local news channels were screaming about severe thunderstorms that would come through the area ripping the asphalt off the roads and throwing our houses to and fro! O.K., maybe they weren’t that dramatic, but they did make it seem like it was a better idea to batten down the hatches between 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. to ensure safety from the approaching storm.

Only the storm never came.

And then GalPal and I realized it’s premiere week on the major networks and by telling us to lay low between 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. they weren’t ensuring our safety, they were ensuring that we would tune into their new (crap) programming!

Those sneaky devils!

Slow it down, man.

Slow it down, man.


You know, since Lollapalooza I don't think I've been to many shows outside catching a local band here and there. I mean, it makes sense since even I am human and everyone needs a break. But I think another reason is that since I've built up a nice batch of really talented music writers on Chicagoist I haven't had to go out and cover as much music as before. Better yet, I've been discovering new music through their writing. Rocktober is coming up, so I suspect my personal concert schedule will ramp up again, and I'm looking forward to that. But I'm most looking forward to seeing my fellow writers' schedules ramp up so I can see what their discovering too.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The pragmatic dreamer.

The pragmatic dreamer.

I'm past the point where new developments can be met with honest-to-god wide-eyed wonder. That is the province of someone whose mind is far younger and unfiltered. And that's all well and fine because that is not to say I don't get super crazy pee-in-my-pants excited about stuff still, it's just not framed in halos and rainbows any longer. Instead now I gow from "wow" to "how does this work" to "how can I make this work for me" pretty quickly. So I think that's probably a pretty fair trade-off.

I DO get excited, it's just a little more focused nowadays. How about you? What stage are you in?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Teamwork trumps all.

Teamwork trumps all.

The less said about last week, the better. I'm going to try and look at its events in a positive light, drop my anger involved with what happened, and take it as a chance to use the turbulence to mark the beginning of a new mile-marker in this exciting journey I'm taking with my best friend in the whole world.

Happy Monday everyone.

Friday, September 17, 2010

On a more positive note...

On a more positive note...

Marcus just made my day with this.


foursquare douchebaggery.

foursquare douchebaggery.

So this douchebag has been checking in EVERY DAY to Chicago "hot spots" -- Millennium Park, Kuma's, numerous music venues, cool cupcake spots -- in order to promote his lame ass website filled with sub-par photography and simpleminded fashions. This is the first example of actual foursquare spamming I've seen, and it's unexpected since I always kind of thought it was enough of a niche thing to keep folks at least somewhat on the honor system.

I've sent him repeated emails and alerted the local foursquare team but no one seems willing to do anything about it. Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A note of positivity!

A note of positivity!

A late post today, huh? That's because I was up super early this morning prepping for and then driving to a client presentation. I was a little nervous going in but the team and I did absolutely fabulously and our audience was filled with great questions. It was really rewarding.

It was a real bright spot in what has been a rough week. I needed it and am thankful it happened.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fix it.

Fix it.

You know those weeks where in your personal life nothing seems to go right, everything seems hopeless, and it's all your fault?

I'm in the middle of one of those.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The quiet thrum becomes a reassuring roar.

The quiet thrum becomes a reassuring roar.


My neighborhood is really quiet, even though we live hear one of the most bustling nightspots in Chicago. It's a weird little island and if it were located anywhere else I would probably be annoyed by many of its residents, however right now it's concocted of the perfect symbiosis of urban solitude. But at this hour in the morning, with everything around me so still, I realize just how noisy my neighborhood is. With no other sounds immediately around me -- no children playing, dogs barking, car doors opening and closing, neighbors barbecuing on their porches -- I can hear the constant drone of the highway. It's soothing, like crickets, and I notice with a start that I've never heard it before. It's thrum calms me more than my previous perception of my block's utter stillness ever did.

I am, always have been and always will be, a child of sound.

Painting by Christopher Buoscio

Monday, September 13, 2010

This pretty much says it all...

This pretty much says it all...


Man, what that depressing or what?

Friday, September 10, 2010

On social networking...

On social networking...

Dear everyone, if you've never met me in person, do not ask to connect with me via Linked In. This goes for bands / publicists / aspiring writers / cute girls for some reason trying to contact me. Much the same goes for Facebook, though I do make exceptions there for people I've corresponded with for many, many years and divulged many, many secrets to. Oh and MySpace? Hell, request all you want, I never check that page.

The rest of you? Invite me out for a drink before you send me a friend request, m'kay?

Thursday, September 09, 2010

What book publishers can learn from music, among other things.

What book publishers can learn from music, among other things.

It has been taking me forever to get through Roberto Bolaño's 2666. I bought the hardcover quite a while back and I've been reading it in fits and starts. Recently I decided the time had come to just focus on finishing it so I've been reading it at home and bringing it to work with me so I can read it during the commute.

I've discovered one reason I've probably been dragging with this particular book is because it is huge. And I don't mean too long, I mean the hardcover version I bought is just not the easiest thing to tote around. That's when I began to think, wouldn't it be awesome if with every hardcover (or physical copy) of a book you got a digital version as well? That was I can still buy my beloved hardcovers and read them at home (or in a nearby park or, obviously, at the beach) but I don't have to lug them to and from work (or on business trips or to a party so I have something to read on the bus) all the time!

I griped about this to some friends and most were of the opinion the publishing industry doesn't do this because it would only spur rampant pirating. Now this is bullshit. First of all, there already IS rampant pirating of digital books from what I can tell. Second, publishers could actually learn from the music industry (?!) through the rising sales of vinyl LPs. I know one factor that has been fattening my vinyl collection is the fact that almost all records also come with digital copies of the album so I can enjoy the album at home or on the go. THIS is how you draw in longtime consumers like myself AND entice a generation that doesn't have the same need/love of physical media to consume your wares. Third, by depriving honest physical books buyers the chance to also obtain a digital copy of their purchase, publishers are placing consumers in an ethical quandary; one, it appears, the publishers are on the losing side of, as was opined in a recent NYT column:

An illegal download is — to use an ugly word — illegal. But in this case, it is not unethical. Author and publisher are entitled to be paid for their work, and by purchasing the hardcover, you did so. Your subsequent downloading is akin to buying a CD, then copying it to your iPod.

Buying a book or a piece of music should be regarded as a license to enjoy it on any platform. Sadly, the anachronistic conventions of bookselling and copyright law lag the technology. Thus you’ve violated the publishing company’s legal right to control the distribution of its intellectual property, but you’ve done no harm or so little as to meet my threshold of acceptability.
Finally, as I found in the case of the current Bolaño tome when I finally decided to cave and just BUY a fucking eBook version for the commute no matter how much it vexed me to buy the same thing twice, some popular books simply don't exist in digital form ... because the publishers fear they will be pirated.*

So, dear publishers, do what's right and realize if folks like me are still going to plonk down hard earned cash for physical copies of your wares you're going to heave to get with the times. What's sad is that "getting with the times" means learning something from vinyl records and an industry that's in even worse shape than you are!

*Which reminds me, anyone know where I can safely download a digital copy of the book?