Thursday, June 30, 2011

I am another year older.

Birthdays are weird for me. I love celebrating them. Goddam can I get down with a day that's all about me. But while most people seem to fear birthdays I don't. My joints ache. My elbow hurts. My body is slowly breaking down, just like it's supposed to. But I don't feel old. And I don't look old. It's odd but I actually look better than I did 20 years ago. It's a little weird, actually. Stressful, kinda. Because I keep waiting for the other show to drop. I literally fear the painting in the attic because my lack of aging IS unnatural.

Only, it really isn't. It's just genes. Most of my family look far younger than they are. It wasn't until my dad hit his late 40s that he started to look like he'd hit his early 40s. My mom looks amazing for her age. And while folks will often look at my brothers and think I'm the baby (when I'm actually the eldest) they're holding up pretty damn well too.

So I don't fear birthdays. They're milemarkers. And so far I've been lucky enough to see myself actually moving forward each year. You might look at me and say I don't look a year older but luckily for me I do feel a year older.

Thanks for sticking around with me. Let's look forward to another year together, no?

P.S. If you wanna, you can celebrate another year with me tonight.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A general disappointment.

Photo by Fuzzy Gerdes
A few words on Rod Blagojevich. I've been slightly sickened by the piranha-like response to his conviction. And I feel bad that the guy's going to prison for not actually doing anything wrong. Or at least I believe he didn't really think he was doing something wrong; nothing every other politician sitting in office doesn't do every single day. If you think your elected representative isn't wheeling and dealing to further his or her political future then you are an idiot. Blagojevich's main stumble was that he was caught with a truckload of embarrassing tapes of him strutting and huffing and puffing his chest about it.

One of the jurors justified their decision by making the analogy that if someone talks about robbing a bank over and over again then they intend on robbing a bank, so in their eyes Blogojevich was guilty. Charming, but guilty. That's complete bullshit. We talk about stuff we'd never do all the time. If we could get convicted for saying something over and over again then 80% of the population would be in jail for thinking about murdering their boss. Ludicrous.

If anything I've come to view Rod as a slightly clueless and hugely egotistical guy. He thought he deserved something political in return for a political favor. That's not exactly unusual. And yes, people will pipe up that's just exactly one of the main things that's wrong with our government today -- there's too much wheeling and dealing without actually taking into account the public good -- but I posit the best way to deal with that is by throwing the bums out of office. If they get caught taking bribes for their favors then yes, by all means, convict the bums. But if they just talk about it a whole lot, and curse just as much as your next door neighbor (or lover, or mother, or priest) does then I say you just put someone else in their place and see if they can do any better.

But you know what you don't do? Gleefully convict a man, drag his family screaming behind a herd of ravenous media Nightmares and then rub your hands whilst drooling over the huge sentence he's going to have to serve for his actions in office. For letting the people down. For talking big but ultimately doing nothing.

Is Rod Blagojevich a somewhat embarrassing buffoon? Yes. And we put him into office. But were his actions so terrible he deserves to quite possibly spend the next ten plus years in prison?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Here in my Sloan...

Considering the number of people who I know at the Chicago AVClub office, and my famous love for all things Sloan, I can't believe NO ONE told me about this ahead of time or invited me to watch!

Sloan covers "Cars" by Gary Numan

Monday, June 27, 2011

Big week!

If 40 is the new 30 then I'm about to turn 29 later this week. Between that, a short week and a loooong holiday weekend it's shaping up to be a nice couple of days!

Friday, June 24, 2011


So, this happened.

The thing about ordering a bottle of champagne at a slightly ridiculous club that I never realized is that you also have to suffer having it delivered amidst sparklers and clapping and cheering and general hoo-rah. It's totally goofy.

Also, as you can tell from the photo, my work pals are awesome. Don't tell them I said that though, they'd make fun of me for being overly sentimental.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Some days...

I'm sleepy. And restless. And bored. And exhausted. And buried. And you?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ManDate ... the setlist!

Keep and I went mano y mano, head-to-head, back and forth and back and forth four four hours last night. See what we played!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Keep, the lead songwriter / singer / guitarist in the band I drum for-- the long-on-hiatus America's #1 Sweetheart (now, I believe when we finally resurface it may actually be under a new name) -- occasionally escape the hum-drum-thrum of daily life through our ManDates. Imagine lotsa of hamburger eating, cheap pitchers of beer, Bieber and Manowar on the jukebox and late night tamales or pizza. And many, many outlandish discussions with truly odd and interesting characters. Usually these exciting misadventures are for us alone, but tonight we invite you into our topsy-turvy world (well, musically at least) through our DJ set at The Burlington!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wotta Monday.

Honestly, I meant to post earlier. But then, you know, life got in the way and I've been busy all day. But yet, I check in! If even for a minute. Hm, let's see, let's make it worth your while to have read this far. Ah! I have it! Listen to Norm Macdonald's Me Doing Standup (and if you only have time for one track make it "The News"). The man is far funnier in a standup situation than I would have thought. In fact he's quite good at crafting actual jokes twisting observational humor, instead of going for easily identifiable targets. Not the smartest comedy out there, but I can respect the craftsmanship.

Wow, I honestly never thought I'd write a post about enjoying something specifically Norm Macdonald related, but there you are!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Shakin' to (Brian) Olive.

I've never heard of Brian Olive before today but based on this one tune his PR peeps sent me I think I'm gonna be searchin' out some deeper info on the guy. "Two Of Everything" straddles a bit o' '60s psych, '70s boogie-prog (?!) and a heaping slathering of soul dripping down and into the grooves. Seriously, all this comes together in a way that just won't quit and demands repeated spins and invented dance moves, preferably with a partner twirling their hair this way and that before pushing up against you chest and your hips to melt into you.


MP3: Brian Olive "Two Of Everything"

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Chicago Alt-Media Slam returns!

Tonight Chicagoist defends it's title as the king of the Chicago Alt-Media Slam. We're up against Time Out Chicago, Gapers Block and the Onion's AV Club. Come out and wish us luck!

Here's how it went down last time we faced off. Gotta admit, it's gonna be a little weird to see MACRUS on the AV team and not ours...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm beginning to worry about you, summer.

Click to embiggen, it's worth it!
Visitors frequently question the sanity of Chicago residents when they are exposed to our winters. Hell, WE question our sanity when exposed to our winters? What rational person would stay in a location that treated them so brutally? It's almost as if Chicago wants to push us all to the brink of, and then beyond, our physical limits to ensure our fealty.

So why the hell would we put up with this?

Chicago summers are as glorious and wonderful as our winters are vicious and evil.

I've lived in many parts of the country over the years, in different climates, and have yet to encounter a summer like Chicago offers. Sure, we have a few stifling hot days, but for the most part those few months make it totally worth toughing it through the other ten months of ice and freeze and wind and misery.

A few years ago, though, the unthinkable happened. Summer never came. Instead we experienced a relapse of fall and our days were darker, drearier and chillier. Much rainier too. "What happened?!" we asked, "Did the pacific northwest move here and not tell us?!" Luckily the following year saw the return of the summer we all dream of, and that dark period faded in our memories. Did it really happen?

Well, here we are on June 15 and summer has yet to arrive. We've had a few days here and there of lovely weather but for the most part it's been darker, drearier, chillier and MUCH rainier. Suddenly "the summer that never happened" is fresh in everyone's mind again. Is summer not happening again? We experienced an unusual cruel winter and I know everyone in my personal circle was depending on the perfect weather Chicago summers bring to validate our suffering.

Every winter I wonder if it will be my last, if Chicago will finally break me and send me running from its ridiculous freeze. And evey winter it's the dream of our summer that gets me through. Honestly, though, I don't think I can handle it if it turns out our beautiful summers are a variable not to be depended on.

I resemble an action figure!

Tom Gaylord sent me this via Twitter and jokingly asked if I had posed for the design of this action figure. Obviously I hadn't, though it does bear a striking resemblance to me!
Of course the MOST hilarious part of this whole story is that there has been an action figure based on a character I posed for once, and the possibility that I would dress up as that character for a public appearance was brought to me at the time.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Today I was a tourist.

I had an extra vacation day I had to use or lose so I took the day off abc decided to do something tourist-y that I never usually would have the time to do.

This is the view from where I was.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bacon Ipsum now I'm hungry...

Bacon ipsum dolor sit amet spare ribs short ribs tail turkey rump ball tip. Jowl pork beef pastrami. Meatloaf bresaola rump, beef ribs fatback spare ribs t-bone pancetta biltong tenderloin tongue shank drumstick meatball ground round. Pork belly pork chop ball tip spare ribs. Bresaola tri-tip ground round, shoulder jowl jerky shankle short loin beef ribs tenderloin pork chop chuck meatloaf. Short ribs flank sirloin chuck pork chop. Short ribs salami pastrami t-bone ball tip strip steak ground round.

Swine shank pancetta pig, beef ground round rump sausage. Fatback meatloaf chicken pork loin pastrami, drumstick ribeye sirloin pork belly tenderloin short loin pancetta pig biltong. Strip steak biltong jowl, pork chop pastrami salami flank ball tip sirloin chuck rump. Meatball pork belly flank ground round ball tip, shoulder turkey tenderloin. Rump ham hock tenderloin biltong, salami ribeye ground round pork chop pig tail sausage pork belly. Salami tongue fatback, ribeye shoulder pork chop pork ball tip pork loin cow hamburger. Venison corned beef pork t-bone.

I think I want BBQ tonight. Wanna make your lorem ipsum even meatier? Go ahead.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Open the pod bay doors, HAL.

A mode of conveyance recently occupied. Can you identify it's exact location?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Fatty. Squirrel.

Leaving the house this morning, GalPal and I crossed paths with three absolutely insane squirrels playing and running and darting all over our fence. It was amusing. Even more amusing is that I think seeing those squirrels reminded GalPal of a conversation we had last night, where she tried to describe the video below, leadng her to actually forward said video a few minutes ago and totally make my morning 100% more hilarious.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

America needs better pop stars.

Kids should not be looking to Steven Tyler as an example of a rock and/or roll singer. We need more cheeky and slightly naughty elder statespeople influencing our youth to prevent music from getting completely neutered..

Monday, June 06, 2011

Where you been?

I've been downstate (and just south of the state) for the last two weekends hanging out with GalPal's family and friends. It's been nice to get out of town but man were we both zonked by the time we got home from both of these trips! Anyhoo, this last weekend we went to a wedding in a state park and got another chance to see just how swollen all the rivers around there are. Last week we also drove around and we able to see firsthand some of the tornado damage that occurred around St. Louis. It's incredibly scary to see how much destruction they can cause in a single spot -- decimating a house while leaving the one next door untouched -- and it just reminded me how tiny and weak we all are in the face of nature.

I didn't take any photos of the tornado damage; I wouldn't want someone treating the destruction of my house as a tourist-y photo op. I did manage to get a picture of just what the river looks like down there though.
Note the submerged structure, and if you look waaaay back there you'll see a building with stairs leading into the water. I'm telling you, we have GOT to start showing Mother Nature a lot more respect...

Friday, June 03, 2011

Change is good, right?

As I told a friend via email, I knew I had to update the look around these parts, and it's still certainly a project in process, and things certainly do look sleeker and I can post bigger photos and my mom can probably read the text better, and all of that. But, after having the same template, simple and outdated as it might have been, for almost a decade the new look is still kind of freaking me out!

Is it working for you? Do you like it better?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Dusting off the ol' memory servers.

When people ask how long I've been active in digital / social media, and I tell them over 15 years, they usually think I'm lying. I imagine this is for a number of reasons including but not limited to the simple facts that (a) I don't look my age at all, (b) while I've never been a bleeding edge I have always been a curious early adopter, (c) most folks actually think "social media" is a relatively recent development and (d) most can't imagine what "social media" could possibly be in the absence of what they've come to know as fully baked social networks. But it's true, once I moved out of the college town I hid out in for the first part of the '90s I jumped online, started reaching our and building communities and never looked back. Oh, you still don't believe me? Well it's always nice to run across a little proof from someone that was there, way back when.

Next time I'm at my mom's house I'll have to dig through my little brother's ancient Mac and see if I have any of my early emails from the original Tankboy Mailing List circa '96 still around.

OK, now who here remembers the Pavement, Jane's Addiction and Weezer mailing lists from back in the day? (Hint: Quite a few of the participants in those lists are still around, and more than a few form the backbone of what constitutes the core critical music discussion nowadays.)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A working stiff.

I just realized yesterday was totally a cliche. I spent all day at the 9-to-5 furiously catching up after a few days vacations, ended up working late, then briefly stopped by a happy hour with co-workers current and past, then stopped by the sushi place down the street to bring carryout out home for GalPal and I, then watched a totally formulaic reality competition featuring singers slightly more interesting than those usually found on formulaic reality competitions, then fell asleep on the couch somewhere midway a late night comedy monologue and a guest interview.

Let's mix it up today!