Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Cartwheels and such!

Up until today it had been a bit of a week. Well, weeks. I haven't been feeling well and a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff has kept me incredibly occupied. I can't go into all the details here, but today was a nigh perfect day. Early workout, lunch by a rooftop pool, extremely good news, and optimism infecting my future all came together to craft one of the best days I've had all year.

Oh! And the latest Bloom County book I pre-ordered months ago showed up, and I completely forgot that it included an actual autograph from Berkeley Breathed on the frontispiece!

Color me a pretty happy, if somewhat exhausted, boy right now.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Creepy crawly.

I'm not really familiar with K. Flay but I got sent a copy of her new EP, and while it's O.K. (not really knocking me out on every level) the lead off track "Blood In The Cut" is quite nice. It's a sultry little burner that crawls along like a menacing wolf creeping through the dark underbrush barely illuminated by a moon half hidden behind a bank of menacing clouds.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Big, big day.

I know I don't usually post inscrutable stuff here, so for once indulge me and let me write this for myself. Big steps are being made starting today that will have far reaching impact and a deeply positive effect.

Maybe sometime I'll spill the beans. Maybe I never will.

You'll just have to wait and find out!

Oh yeah, I also got two new tattoos yesterday. They ended up a little bigger than I think I envisioned, and I'm still getting used to them. But they mean something to me—that even extends beyond the obvious Bowie nod—that reaches deep into my family and will serve as a mile marker for future actions.

At least that's the thinking.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Yesterday marked my 4700th post here.

Photo by Epic Fireworks
That a lot of posts! I mean, maybe not to folks who are required to kick out 5-8 posts (or more) a day for their job. But for a little website I quietly started in May of 2002 and has only ever written on a labor of love (and sometimes anguish) I'd say it's a reasonably impressive milestone.

So a sparkling cider toast to this little site—I mean, it is still underage so we'll hold off on the champagne for for now—and to you as well, no matter how long you've been visiting here.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Today was a good day.

Excellent presentation at work. Excellent fried chicken for lunch. Excellent progress in my James Bond movie watching. Excellent.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Rachael has a new song.

Photo by Laura Crosta
You should listen to it. Also I managed to get my hands on the new album and it is amazing. I can't wait to write about it closer to its release date.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New routine.

Lately I've been spending a lot of time on my porch. I get home from work, make some dinner and listen to podcasts. And after the sun goes down I break out the iHome and listen to some tunes to catch up on all the music I get sent. And if I'm not doing that I've started to mainline the entire James Bond series from start to finish.

I know, this sounds boring but it's not.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Wilco Schmilco.

At the last second I ended up seeing Wilco at Millennium Park last night and I'm glad I did. It was one of the best shows I've ever seen them play and I've been following the band since the very beginning. (My next door nighbor in college was the drummer for Uncle Tupelo's little sister so I got clued into them really early on.)

Anyway, their new album is super mellow, so I was afraid last nights show would be as well. Hoo boy was I wrong.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Step by step.

It's been a year. But I'm finally committed to taking steps to fix the stuff that has gone wrong over the past few months. It's both scary and freeing because I feel like I've finally turned a corner and suddenly discovered the right direction I should be moving.

Hang in there, kid.

This summer can bite me.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Direct hit to the head.

I know you're probably allergic to the concept of a punk rock concept album but this one is so, so good. Also, the last time I saw Direct Hit! I think I got a concussion. Or broke my cheek bone. But I still love them.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

My friends, they have talents.

I've hit the point where my incredibly talented musician friends literally just make music for themselves. Lizz sent me these tracks a while ago and I only recently got a chance to listen to them and was (as usual) blown away what she, Blake, Nixon, and their drummer whose name I can never remember (but he's talented!) can put together.

Of course what Lizz didn't tell me is that they quietly released the track for free LAST JUNE. That's kind of how I can tell old musician friends from new ones: the old ones never even tell me when new music is out because they don't care. Of course they want people to hear it, but they don't need to lean on the exposure I can give them in order to attract other people to validate their art. They just do it.

And I find that inspirational. And it's kind of how music should be, right? Do it for yourself, and if other people come to find it ... well that's just gravy.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Pick yourself up, kid.

I watched the Olympics for the first time tonight and 1) sat in awe and 2) realized that when you fall, or stumble, or fuck something up that the best thing to do is learn from your mistake but don't let it hold you back.

This post brought to you by Stuart Smalley.

Friday, August 12, 2016

My job(s).

I just celebrated my third anniversary at my 9-to-5. And I still really like my job. I’ve been lucky to move around quite a bit over the last couple of years and have touched pretty much every account, so that’s been rewarding. And the people I work with are great. I tend to always like the people I work with—I’ve also been lucky in always being surrounded with smart folks who are actually really good at what they do—but at this company the teams have always been uniformly amazing.

And I still get to be creative with my work at Chicagoist, so that helps keep me satisfied too. I’m in more of a senior advisory role there now, and less of a day to day writer, which was a bit of an adjustment at first. But now we have have a full time team there that’s killing it so I feel our A&E coverage is in excellent hands.

I think if there’s anything that’s lacking it’s more on my end: I need to let the people around me know I appreciate them more than I do. I can be snarky and sarcastic and sometimes I forget to temper that with the forthrightness that allows people to know how much I respect and admire them. That’s something I’m working on. In fact I even took a colleague out to lunch this week, and that’s something I’ve never done, believe it or not!

So I’m a lucky dude, and I always treasure that. I think I just need to do a better job of letting the people around me know that’s how i feel about them too.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Big choruses save lives.

Another track often used to fight my Bummer Summer™ mood is this one. It has one of the most epic, perfect sounding choruses and it always makes me feel triumphant and happy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Crap summer.

It's been quite a few months, and aside from festivals and friends this summer has been rough. So I've listened to this song a lot. It is one of the most perfect pieces of pop and so sunny and uplifting, it's just thing thing to brighten my mood when everything else feels dark.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

It took a while at the Apple Store but I have a new phone! Thank god I paid for AppleCare+. Being untethered for almost three days was a little refreshing though.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Cellphone free!

OK, not "cellphone free" in the good way. My phone decided to go for a swim Saturday afternoon so I've been without one since then. It's loss meant I wasn't getting any texts so my Sunday plans kind of blew up, and the first Apple Store appointment wasn't available until this evening so that's the fastest I can (hopefully) get a replacement. Believer you me, I am extremely happy I laid out extra do for AppleCare+ coverage.

But while I do feel disconnected and a little anxious, now that everyone who needs to know understands I'm not avoiding their calls or texts, it is a little liberating. I'm usually constantly checking email, socials, news feeds and all that—probably even more than the average person—so while their is a smidge of FOMO right now I think the breather is doing me good. I even had to read a book on the bus to work this morning!

It's certainly forced me into some self-reflection over the last fews days, since that's the only thing I have available to fill time that would usually be spent on my phone. And no, self-reflection is not always awesome but it's something I need to do more of. It's been a rough summer.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Big and buzzy in the summer sun.

Navy Gangs, photo via their Facebook page
My serotonin levels feel low today so I need to amp things up with music.While digging through my playlist of albums sent to me for review consideration I hadn't listened to yet I came across the self-titled EP of NYC's Navy Gangs.

It's over too fast, but it's four songs tread the lines between pop and shoegaze without ever feeling sleepy. The opening track "Special Glands" grabbed my attention immediately, the the following songs settle into a slightly easier, loping vibe.

So let's see if this can reset those brain chemicals.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

What happened to the song of the summer?

My company's holiday party is today and a call for song requests went out, and I was trying to think of contemporary tunes that are dominating summer this year—and there aren't any. Some songs are popular on the charts but none of them have that universal cross-over / permeating pop culture appeal the traditional songs of summer have had in years past.

What is going on?!

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

On repeat. All day long.

By far one of my favorite Lollapalooza moments this year.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

LCD Soundsystem loves us more.

I danced myself clean, for sure.
I was fortunate enough to be able to score last minute tickets to the intimate LCD Soundsystem show at Metro last Saturday. It was the second night of a two-night stand and I was just comparing setlists and realized we got two more songs than the previous night did! In fact, Friday's set was exactly the same as the Sunday night Lollapalooza headlining set, so I'm pretty happy we got into the Saturday show! It was also special for me since the last time I saw the band was at Metro and that was one of my favorite shows of all time. Saturday's show did not disappoint or tarnish that memory. I danced so much it was really hard to walk the next day.

Now what are the chances of ever seeing them in a room the size of Metro again? Pretty much nil.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Lollapalooza 2016 stats.

True love is giving your wife your C3 wristband.
Over the last four days I've racked up quite an impressive number of stats!

Miles walked: 47.02
Air-conditioned bathrooms used: 2
Portapotties used: 9
Cheese fries eaten: 2 1/2
Chubby Wieners hot dogs eaten: 3
Leghorn chicken sandwiches eaten: 1
Dominos pizzas ordered: 1
Blisters formed: 0
Legs wrecked: 2
Water consumed: gallons
Cigarettes smoked: 3 1/2 packs
Bands seen: 43
Number LCD Soundsystem concerts seen: 2
Number of women seen suspended by hooks pierced into their backs swinging over the audience: 2
Anxiety attacks: 2
Ponchos worn: 1
Ponchos given away: 1
C3 guest wristbands given to my wife: 1
Times better the media area was than just about any other area on the grounds: 100X
Number of tears cried by the media upon learning nest year's fest is also 4 days: gallons