Monday, September 30, 2013

Hey Tankboy, what did YOU think of the last episode ever of 'Breaking Bad'?

Hey man, I'm just glad we finally found out what happened to Huell!*

Seriously though, I was with Breaking Bad since the very first night the very first episode aired and I found last night's finale to be absolutely perfect. Those who are griping about it not being morally ambiguous enough (?!) confuse me, but everyone's entitled to their opinion. Me? I walked away perfectly happy.

*Also, somewhat seriously, while I can understand the urge to keep the Bad franchise going with a prequel series dedicated to Saul Goodman, I can't help feeling that's fundamentally a bad idea. However I would totally watch Huell's Rules if it actually exited!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Stupid me.

I went to lunch with some co-workers this week and was pretty excited because they were folks I rarely get to work with directly so any chance to catch up (and maybe pick their brains a little) is always appreciated! We went to a place I was also excited to check out. I had looked up their menu ahead of time and was stoked to see it was all comfort food—burgers, rips, and stuff like that—but I didn't read the fine print. It was a totally vegan restaurant. No meat, no dairy, no nothing. I'm a picky eater and can usually find something to eat on the menu but this place was out of even my league. One thing I hate about being a picky eater is people noticing me being a picky eater so I made a self-deprecating (I hope) joke about being "100% the opposite of a vegetarian" and then went ahead and ordered a faux cheese pizza but asked that it come without mushrooms since they are my mortal culinary enemy.

It was right around this point a bee decided to make its way to our table and stay there. I sat stock still as my co-workers swatted at it and it just kept buzzing around the table.

I'm allergic to bees.

So by now I'm starting to look for the hidden camera since I felt like I was in some TV show that takes all of the chinks in your armor and exploits them until you explode and start running around like a mad man. I finally broke and told m table mates of my allergy and they were totally sympathetic. I think the bee was too because tat that point it took off never to return.

My pizza wasn't great, fake cheese does not taste better as it cools, but the company and conversation was terrific. I walked away from the lunch appreciating my co-workers even more as I simultaneously wished I didn't have so many stupid food hang-ups and wasn't allergic to stupid bees.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dead Gaze makes lively music.

So I get loads of albums daily, and I dutifully file them to the side to listen to when I get a chance. Sometimes that means music can sit there for weeks before i get to it, but I always get to it. And sometimes, every once in a while, I crack open an album that's been in my queue for a while and immediately regret not listening to it sooner. Dead Gaze's Brain Holiday is one of those types of albums. It's not out until October 22, but they are on tour now (though sadly they skipped Chicago) so I'll wait to do a full review on Chicagoist, but you can get a taste of what turned me on some much below via the stream of "Rowdy Jungle" off the forthcoming LP.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Edukator update.

So you know how excited I was to discover the Ultra Sonic Edukators' album for free yesterday? Well, I posted about it on Chicagoist and the singer saw the piece and let me know that he's in a band with some of the other Edukators named Z, while the rhythm section is in another band in Tennessee named Los Colognes (which I kind of knew but didn't know they were still active).

So I'm pleased that my post not only turned other folks onto great music from the past, it also made me aware that the folks I liked were still making music today!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Look what I found! A bunch of music from Ultra Sonic Edukators!

You've probably never heard of them, but outside one other band that played around tow in the late '90s and early '00s, Ultra Sonic Edukators was the closest thing we had to the Blur-zone of Britpop in Chicago. They were a massive outfit filled with characters and wrote what I thought were really great songs, but the city never really embraced them and they went their separate ways years ago. A version of their debut was on iTunes—and has since disappeared—but it was always missing a few songs, so I'm excited to see someone from the band just went ahead and posted an expanded version of Armageddon Is In My Room on bandcamp for free, along with some other tunes attributed to the band. You can stream or download the whole thing below. Grab it and enjoy one of the hidden gems lost in the silt of Chicago music scenes past!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

Believe it or not, we won.

So I think something that's been greatly overlooked as our entire culture has skewed in the direction it has is that it's safe to say all of us persecuted severely as nerds in the '70s and '80s did indeed have the last laugh. Everything tangential from that time is now mainstream, and while knuckleheads are omnipresent and will always dominate their ape-ish shere of influence, douchebags are now largely culturally mocked while people like us define future tastes based on our own past influences. 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

So much to sort through, so many to feel for.

My mom and my Aunt Diane; off to cause trouble, no doubt.
Today would be my Aunt Diane's birthday, if she hadn't lost her battle with cancer a few days ago. Aunt Diane—for some reason I can't separate the title from the name in my head—was also my godmother. She was also the "artist" in my mom's family, and I am reasonably certain that it was her influence—along with my parents' support of their weird kid—that kindled my creativity and set me on the path I ended up traveling down over the last four decades.

Aunt Diane has had cancer off and on for over a decade, so her passing comes with the positive note that she is no longer in pain. I saw my dad fall to cancer in an incredibly short period of time so I can't imagine what it would be like to wage that war for years and years. 

I generally don't deal with death well. I tend to go blank, and whatever emotional response there is—and there always is one—tends to creep up on me and catch me by surprise. I'm sure it's some sort of defense mechanism I unknowingly put in place long ago, so at the moment I don't have any real feelings to sort through as far as my Aunt Diane's actual death. But I am in pain over her family's situation. Within hours of her passing away, her husband—my uncle—got news that his own brother had passed away as well. And my mom had a trip planned to spend time with my Aunt Diane and missed her passing by days; she is still heading down there today to help in whatever capacity she can. Oh, and of course she was my mom's little sister and, I think, her best friend in the whole world so I can't imagine what that's doing to my mom.

And did I mention that just a few days before all of this GalPal's granny passed away too?

It's been a hell of a week.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I don't even know.

Let's just call this one "a case of the Mondays on a Tuesday."

Monday, September 16, 2013

Helluva week.

Photo of the Replacements at Riot Fest 2013 by Aaron Cynic for Chicagoist. Yes, it was awesome.
The last seven days have been, um, interesting. Some massive highs were experienced and a couple blows that knock the wind out of you to such an extent you wonder if you will breathe again were weathered. I think the negatives require more time to process, so instead let's focus on the week's high points, all brought to you courtesy the Chicago edition of Riot Fest, recapped via the links below.

Review: Friday at Riot Fest 2013
Review: Saturday at Riot Fest 2013
Review: Sunday at Riot Fest 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

New Free Energy!

Photo of Free Energy at The Empty Bottle in 2010 by me

Free Energy just released a cover of jackson Browne's "Somebody's baby" and it is—of course—quite excellent. Download it for free! Heh, free Free Energy.

And yes, Love Sign is still one of my favorite albums of 2013 so far.

This is why the -ist rules.

Just sayin'.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Riot Fest survival guide!

Read it. Learn it. Love it. Need a quick summary? Humboldt Park is safe and don't be a dick. Golden rules.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The post-grad blues are bringin' me down, man.

You know you're getting older when you see friends who graduated college years ago suddenly going to grad school after working lower tier jobs post-graduation for a few years and getting nowhere ONLY the grad school program they've chosen is even less likely to end up in a career once they again graduate.

And then you have to listen to them complain about living by the skin of their teeth for the next three years. Then the five years following that as they try to support themselves on next to nothing while trying to pay off numerous post-grad student loans they should've never taken in the first place.* Until they go back to grad school and rack up even more debt...

*This gripe does not apply to undergrad student loans.** Most need them to finish college and despite whatever stance the current trend piece is taking, you do need a college degree. But, and I did this, work through your degree so your loans are slightly less crippling when you graduate.

**Yeah, I know they're a racket. But until meaningful reform comes through, what're you gonna do?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Sasha is having none of your sass, Tuesday,  so shut it.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Yet another reason I love working where I do.

This is their idea of a company holiday card.

Seriously, just too awesome. You dig that one? Watch this one too.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Weekend musics.

GalPal is out of town and I admit part of me just wants to bum around the house doing nothing but, alas, the world has other plans for me. However I can't really complain when one of those plans involves seeing Superchunk and Local H play separate shows within an hour of each other and I'll be attending both.

I know: wah wah wah.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

A little levity.

This photo totally cracks me up. 

I got nothin' else for you today so have a chuckle with me over these two goofballs. 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

You should give to the National Endowment for the Brents RIGHT NOW.

This is Brent. 
My friend Brent got sick and needed surgery that literally saved him from the brink of death and of course he has no insurance because that's sadly too often the case with everyone these days (though not for much longer, thank goodness). In order to help him with outlandish medical bills—you think your student loan is bad, try getting sick without insurance—lots of his friends got together and released a compilation of unreleased material to raise some dough. And of course this was all done without Brent knowing, but now he does so the cat's out of the bag. I bought my copy and think you should buy one too.

And Brent has talented friends. Contributors to the compilation include Rachael Yamagata, Wilco's Pat Sansone, JC Brooks And the Uptown Sound, Joe Pug, Tom Schraeder, Dick Prall, Alphabet, Bumpus, Clip Art and many, many more.

You should buy the compilation now. Usually these types of fundraising albums are kindhearted in spirit but don't often feature first rate music, but that is certainly not the case here. You're getting more than your money's worth.

As a sample, here's the track I'm currently grooving on from Any Kind, it's a total jam.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

I got new business cards today.

It's weird how something so tiny can make you so happy when it's connected to something you're so proud of.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Checked out a pretty cool mural today.

Click to embiggen!
A bunch of local businesses hosted a BBQ this afternoon around the unveiling of a huge mural painted by THOR on the back of their building that, according to a press release, "serves as an ode to PBR as well as the surrounding Logan Square community" We actually saw it on the train on our way there and I thought to myself "that looks new, I wonder who painted that" because I was too dumb to put two and two together and figure out that was the mural we were going to see!

Check it out above and make certain to click on the panoramic photo I took to enlarge the image so you can see it better. It's not 100% finished, THOR was still painting it during the BBQ, but it's 99% f the way there.