Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A slightly winding path leading to an honest query for you.

Photo of GalPal and me by Ryan Mitchell
The wind is howling—HOWLING—outside my window, and I can't wait to get out of town on vacation soon. The 9-to-5 has been KEE-razy, all of my own making since I quite literally asked for it and I'm actually happy to be in this situation (and, as an aside, this is not one of those times when someone says they're happy that they're busy at work when in fact they're miserable but are afraid someone they work with might read what they're saying and think less of them; no sir, you should know me better than that and figure out if I was miserable I'd tell you right off the bat), but that doesn't for one second mean I'm not looking forward to getting the heck outta Dodge for a few days of R-N-R with GalPal so we can properly and very belatedly celebrate our three year anniversary.

We should have celebrated that anniversary back in August, though we have a hard time figuring out exactly when we should mark our anniversary since there's a particular day in July that we met and it, truth be told, might be the best way to mark the beginning of our relationship.

Now I'm not going to get all mushy here. You all know I like GalPal an awful lot and she likes me. She must, since I'm not the easiest guy in the world to date, and I am extremely lucky she has been a patient and understanding partner. OK, that was a little mushy, so let's move on.

So where did we decide to celebrate this very belated anniversary? Vegas, baby! I got a free stay for a couple nights at a hotel in Vegas when I played Lolla kickball a few years ago, and the voucher runs out at the end of December, so we decided to take advantage of it and treat ourselves to a couple days of doing nothing. Well, doing nothing together. Well, probably something but nothing we don't wanna do together.

So now to the point of this post (well, not the point, but an underlying motivation for the preceding set-up)*: Give me your recommendations on what we should do over a few days in Las Vegas when the weather will be less than stellar but not exactly freezing? Off-the-beaten-path ideas are welcome! Tell me, tell me, tell me, please!

*I'm being disingenuous here. This post started with no point outside the sudden howling of the wind outside. Then I got slightly mushy and realized I had better wrap things up so how better to do that than an engaging question on a topic I would actually like your opinion on! But there was no master plan from the outset, I just, at that second, liked pretending there was. Isn't that kind of what we all do every day? A-ha! Another question!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Wait, what?

Oh my oh my oh my but buying a Blu-ray player that streams and then immediately subscribing to Netflix has completely changed my viewing habits because even though 97% of the movies / shows available for immediate viewing are kinda bunk the other 3% are totally rad and, FINALLY, it looks like I have no excuse to catch up with and watch every episode of the critically lauded series so I can finally judge for myself whether it is truly "all that" or not.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Watching Thor.

ME: Wow, he's in really good shape. I need to step it up at the gym.
SHE: Mm-hm.
ME: I reckon it'll take a week or two.
SHE: Riiiight.
ME: OK, maybe three weeks. He is pretty big.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This evening I shall jump into the fire.

In the States tonight is a night where everyone goes out and gets shitfaced. In the old days it was because all your high school chums and family you never spoke to were in town but in modern times that's no longer really the case since we're all pretty much in constant contact with who we want to be in contact with anymore. So it's just an excuse to get drunk. And the cats in the video below were FAMOUS for getting drunk.

This is also an elaborate excuse to post a video of Keith Moon behind a drum kit.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Juggling waterspouts.

I'm looking forward to December! Right now I'm in the middle of the yearly "let's get all this done before the holidays" madness at the 9-to-5. On one hand I'm thankful because the craziness makes time rush by drawing the holidays ever closer at great speed. On the other hand, the deadlines are also rushing my way!

It's cool, I can totally handle it! But it does tend to restrict my non-9-to-5 output since so much of my attention is heading towards a single resource.

How're you holding up pre-holiday season?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Travel along this "Suburban Dream," maaaaaaaan.

I dunno what it is about The Stepkids that compels me to keep writing about them. Oh yeah, now I remember, it's because I dig their music. I keep going back to their live set from CMJ (which you can own FOR FREE) and now I'm digging this totally tripped out new video from the band for their song "Suburban Dream."

As The Stepkids themselves might say, dig it, man.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Livin' in the '80s.

I almost forgot to tell you! I'm DJing tomorrow at Beauty Bar! At an '80s night! SUPER EARLY. I'm on from 9-10:15 p.m. so you gotta get there early to hear my set, but it'll be totally worth it because if you RSVP ahead of time there'll be free champagne flowing from 9-10 p.m. BALLER.

Leg warmers not required.

You guys are a bunch of comedians.

We had the Chicagoist reader meet-up last night at The Owl and it went incredibly well. So many people came out and I actually do love meeting the readers, even the ones who leave the snarkiest of comments. Listen, if you write for a widely read site you should never lose sight of the fact that the readers are the ones making you widely read. So I always try and give them my best and don't take it personally when they don't like what I write.

Anyway, it was loads of fun.  mean, look!

Good times, people. Good times.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My knight in shining armor.

Thank god for our tamale guy!

What's another name for pirate treasure?

I had intended to get you up on the right overly sampled old school spliced together with tape and a razor blade foot by sharing a download of Paul's Boutique: The Instrumentals, but the site I originally stumbled across the finest version of that never-released collection seems to no longer exist.


It does appear as if the link to the actual collection DOES still exist though! However I'm not going to run the risk of sharing it with you because, well, copyright is a weird thing -- and it gets even weirder when you're talking about a collection of music cobbled together by a few dudes in the shadowy years before sample clearances became codified and set in unwieldy legal stone -- and I certainly don't want to do anything considered shadowy by the Internets Police. I will however share with you the fact that the site I originally found this collection housed upon was fittingly called The Unheard Music and that enterprising sleuths may find a way to track down this bountiful booty of twenty-five most excellent beats.

And let's all hope the next reissue of this album, because you just know the label's gonna find an excuse to reissue this album any chance they can, let's hope this stuff finds it's way into the world via bonus tracks (or even better a bonus disc or EVEN BETTER bonus vinyl!).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Been a week. Wait, it ain't over yet?!

My life has been even more go go GO GO lately than usual. There's a whole bunch of reasons for this, all of them positive ones, but that still doesn't mean it's 100% fun for me. Let's call it 89% fun, 10% stress and a 1% mixture of coffee and endorphins triggered by trips to the gym.

Anyway, we're mere hours from the Chicagoist meet-up (tomorrow, Thursday November 17) so prepare for my excitement /anticipation of that glorious event to throw the percentages above into serious flux because I'm 100% excited to meet readers, enjoy complimentary booze and give away a complete Pink Floyd catalog at The Owl from 8 p.m. onward!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weird coincidence?

I'm currently revisiting the entire Pink Floyd catalog for a longer piece I'm going to write about the current reissue series. I can't decide if it'll run on Chicagoist or Donewaiting yet, but I'm leaning towards the latter just because I have a feeling it may be kind of lengthy.

As I'm going through them I'm being reminded of so many things because this catalog is such a part of my musical DNA. Many folks fall into either being fans of early Pink Floyd or late Pink Floyd (and I don't think much of anyone counts themselves as fans of post-Waters Pink Floyd so let's just not even consider that) but I've always found I liked it all. One of my favorite albums in the band's soundtrack to La Vallée, Obscured By Clouds. It's got a few rockers, some pop and some nice weird atmospheric stuff. It's kind of the perfect bridge between the group's more experimental tendencies and the more structured approach they would adopt for the remainder of the '70s.

Only the weird thing is for some reason, in my internal history, Obscured By Clouds always felt like an album from the late '60s so I never quite realized that it was actually released in June, 1972. The month and year I was born. What are the chances that the Pink Floyd album that would have the weirdest grip on me would come out at that exact point in time? I mean, it's not my absolute favorite of the band's catalog, but considering it's definitely one of their more overlooked works it's one that I've felt myself gravitating to over and over again throughout the years.

Weird, huh? I wonder if it means anything. Probably not, but maybe...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Crystal clear.

Some days you write tons and other days you don't wanna write at all but one thing remains certain through it all.

You gotta write.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Boy, someone sure has been busy!

It's that time of year when everything seems to get crazy -- I think folks all around are trying to get "responsibilities" taken care of before the holiday season -- so I can understand if you've missed a few of the things I've written about or aren't in the loop with everything I have going on. Hell, I can barely follow me all the places I'm active in. So, let's sum it up!
  • Google Reader killed it's awesome share function, forcing everyone through a narrow corral into the Google+ zone. So if you want to keep up with articles I share it appears the Shared Items Pages no longer update at all (though my final post it's displaying is hilarious), so you'll have to subscribe to me on Google+. All stuff I would have shared from Google Reader I mark as public so you can see it all.
  • I wrote a nice piece for the Edelman Digital blog. If you're interested in reading something I have tosay that has to do with creativity and big ideas and markety-ish stuff please head over and read it then tell me what you think. I'm going to try and write more stuff along those lines on that site and I'd like to know if any of you find it helpful!
  • Chicagoist is having a reader meet-up on November 17. RSVP for it here. But also enter our contest for your chance to win one of two sets of the ENTIRE REMASTERED REISSUED PINK FLOYD CATALOG we're giving away. Awesome, huh?
  • Speaking of making plans, keep November 19 open on your calendar since I'll be the opening DJ for the '80s night that'll be going on at Beauty Bar. And there's free champagne if you RSVP! Baller! I assume since I'm so early I'll get to spin more the indie side of the '80s, but I'm totally sneaking in some Huey Lewis, INXS and Jane's Addiction!
OK, that's enough for now. Who wants some coffee?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Photo by Joe Lukey
Soft Speaker are currently one of my favorite local bands. I've been following them for a while now and have quite enjoyed watching them grow past my initial expectations and develop into something that has surprised me as each of their releases makes the sorts of subtle shifts only evident in a band that's honestly trying to discover its true self. I say it a lot better on Chicagoist in my review of their latest album Vortrobos, so read that. And then read the band's bio to see that while their music is seriously good, they know how to not take themselves to seriously. Then go to your calendar and pen in your plans to attend their album release show at Beat Kitchen on November 19.

STREAM: Soft Speaker "Ask The Guild"

Monday, November 07, 2011

Where does one person's hair end and the other's begin?

Ah, college.

After looking through a bunch of a friend's photos from my college days I am officially feeling old. And nostalgic. And realizing what a great crew I ran with in the early '90s. But mostly old.

I'm the one of the left, by the way.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Happy birthday dad.

Some days it feels like you've been gone forever and other it feels like you're still around and I've just forgotten to call you for too long. Either way I still miss you.

Oh the irony.

Someone should tell the new Google Reader layout that its "Tips and tricks" tips and tricks no longer exist...

It's down there in the lower right. Oh, you can't see that? Here, let me blow it up for you.
Awesome, huh? Idiots.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Further insight.

In addition to seasonal malaise it's now growing more obvious another driver of my current discontent might be the fact that I am ill but too stubborn to take time off work for a variety of reasons, the primary one being I'm not contagious as far as I know so I may as well just tough it out.

It's this thinking that has led me to accumulate a virtual war chest of sick days that were I to trade them in for money could fund my overthrow of the early Roman empire. It's also led me to stay in yet another evening and self medicate with sugar free nighttime TheraFlu yet again.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Need a jolt.

These days I'm bouncing back and forth between feeling inspired and feeling beaten down. Not beaten down by anyone in particular mind you, just sort of like I'm slogging through things in general. Part of the problem -- probably most of the problem actually -- is just the change in weather. That always gets to me this time of year. So the way I dealt with that the last few years was b scheduling a nice winter vacation to look forward to. Sadly, this year due to timing and such there is no winter vacation in my foreseeable future. So that's adding to the general feeling of that whole "no end in sight" feeling that accompanies a Chicago winter. And we haven't even hit winter yet!

So yeah, that's cheery, huh?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

I kid you not, this is terrible music.

What do you get when you imitate Kate Bush with none of the artistry? Florence + the Machine! Seriously, we don't know how histrionic warbling like hers became so mainstream but we're obviously in the minority when it comes to hating on this band. So could someone please tell us what you see in this uninspired, overly dramatic dreck? Is it her flowing costumes? Is it because you feel Tori Amos is too serious? Is it because what this world needs is another mediocre songstress with average pipes making it safe for yuppies to get a little of their pop-goth on?

To give you an idea just how terrible this band is, I present to you the evidence below. If The Weeknd can't make a song better than there's obviously something rotten at the foundation. And a funny aside, this MP3 is sanctioned by the band yet it's not of the actual song but of a radio rip (witness the DJ's dulcet tones just before the end).

MP3: Florence + the Machine "Shake it Out (The Weeknd Remix)"