December 31, 2007

Lyrics: More Than Words (Part Five)

In honor of the New Year, here are three songs to get you reflecting on 2007 and on 2008.

"A Long December"
- Counting Crows from Recovering the Satellites

A long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember the last thing that you said as you were leaving
Now the days go by so fast

And it's one more day up in the canyons
And it's one more night in Hollywood
If you think that I could be forgiven...I wish you would

The smell of hospitals in winter
And the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
All at once you look across a crowded room
To see the way that light attaches to a girl

And it's one more day up in the canyons
And it's one more night in Hollywood
If you think you might come to California...I think you should

Drove up to Hillside Manor sometime after 2 AM
And talked a little while about the year
I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower,
Makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her

And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

And it's one more day up in the canyon
And it's one more night in Hollywood
It's been so long since I've seen the ocean...I guess I should

"New Year's Day" - U2 from War

All is quiet on New Year's Day
A world in white gets underway
I want to be with you,
Be with you night and day

Nothing changes on New Year's Day
On New Year's Day

I will be with you again
I will be with you again

Under a blood red sky
A crowd has gathered in black and white
Arms entwined, the chosen few
The newspapers says, says
Say it's true, it's true
And we can break through
Though torn in two
We can be one

I will begin again
I will begin again

Maybe the time is right
Oh, maybe tonight

I will be with you again
I will be with you again

And so we're told this is the golden age
And gold is the reason for the wars we wage
Though I want to be with you
Be with you night and day
Nothing changes
On New Year's Day

"The New Year" - Death Cab for Cutie from Transatlanticism

So this is the new year
And I don't feel any different
The clanking of crystal
Explosions off in the distance, in the distance

So this is the new year
And I have no resolutions
For self assigned penance
For problems with easy solutions

So everybody put your best suit or dress on
Let's make believe that we are wealthy for just this once
Lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn
As thirty dialogs bleed into one

I wish the world was flat like the old days
Then i could travel just by folding a map
No more airplanes, or speed trains, or freeways
There'd be no distance that can hold us back

So this is the new year

2007 Has Come To An End

I have one hour left of work in 2007 and I think I'll spend it not doing any work. I don't like making resolutions. But I think it's appropriate to make some public blogging goals for 2008.

1. Blog more. I've slipped a lot in frequency and I think I need to overlook quality (read: perfectionism) in order to be more consistent. Twitter and Facebook have shown that being brief and pithy can be effective.
2. Post more pictures (that I take). I have a great camera and live in a great place that many people who read my stuff have no concept outside of movies and Jeff Corwin.
3. Officially and formally launch
4. Comment on and link to the blogs I read regularly more often.
5. Get back to covering lots of topics (music, film, lit, art, news, politics, sports).

Let me help you make some resolutions of your own...

1. Join Facebook. When you do or if you already have, add me.
2. Sign up for Twitter (and add me).
3. Sign up for Flickr (and add me).
4. Start a blog if you don't have one yet.
5. Take a chance on music people (not Clear Channel) recommend.

Buon Anno.

December 15, 2007

2000 New York Yankees

Is it me or does the Mitchell report looks a lot like the 2000 New York Yankees roster?

Chuck Knoblauch, David Justice, Glenallen Hill, Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, Denny Neagle, Jason Grimsley

I'm not saying, I'm just saying...coincidence it was the last World Series they won?

December 14, 2007

10 Years, 10 years

Do you remember what you were doing 10 years ago? While the date passed on Wednesday, 12/12/1997 was a Friday, however, so tonight is the night I choose to recognize. Still lost? Were you part of the famous sweet 16? Ring any bells? On December 12, 1997, U2 played one of the last major concerts in Seattle's Kingdome and myself and 15 other friends were in the front row for it. Most of those 16 have gone their own way over the last 10 years, but I do still keep in regular contact with many. It will always be a special night. So, Riche, Mad Fishicist, [Sch]metzger, Chindo, J-Nard, Laura, Fearing, Freshmaker, Thunderchuck, Homdrom, Gladney, Reaney and others I can't distinguish (it's been 10 years, give me a break) at this hour. Someone somewhere has a photo from that night I remember posing for it a few minutes after convincing Bono to bring "40" out of the vault.

December 7, 2007

I Prefer My TV in 3D over HD

I'm convinced that someday soon, I'll get on the HD train and buy a high definition TV...but for now I'm convinced that 3D TV has way more value than HD TV. What do I mean by 3D TV? Television with three dimensions. No, not the goofy glasses with one blue and one red "lens." I'm talking about stories that go deeper than shallow characters and linear plot lines. I learned early in my days of dabbling in fiction that there are really only 5 basic conflicts from which to base fiction. Man vs. Man, Man vs. Himself, Man vs. God, Man vs. The World, Man vs. Nature. Three dimensional television should creatively wrap 3 or more of those conflicts together at the same time. My favorite show on TV right now is LOST and I think you can make the statement that all five conflicts are playing out on and off the island before and after the crash of flight 815. It's creative enough and the characters are developed well enough to sustain the tangle of conflicts. Comedies, sit coms especially can get away with humor surrounding a premise and with an electric enough cast and good enough writers, can ride a premise for season after season without needing to tangle conflicts. I just caught up on the latest episodes of Life and it's proven that it can successfully meld at least three of the conflicts together. I've thought of it before, but I thought I would try and put words to it. A good story, good character development and elements of our real world mixed with a world we don't live in (figuratively or literally) will always win out over any effect made more special by high definition television. I support the writers in the WGA and their strike, even as it affects shows I love, because there are story elements, characters, conficts and magic that studio heads, special effects designers, and executive producers can't begin to dream up.

December 3, 2007

If You Want To Make The Best Album in 2008...

...learn a lesson or two from these artists.

It's that time of year again....everyone else is doing it so why shouldn't I? 2007 has been a long, funny diverse year in my life and the music business has been pretty much on par with it. I'm breaking lists in half this year to recognize not only the best albums of the year, but also the breakthroughs, discoveries, fresh looks too. Obviously neither list is in any particular order.

First the 13 best breakthroughs...
Deerhunter - Cryptograms
Au Revoir Simone - The Bird of Music
Peter, Bjorn & John - Writer's Block ("Young Folks" might scream 2007 in 5 years, but it might be the song of the year...and a good ringtone)
Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
St. Vincent - Marry Me
Foreign Born - On the Wing Now
Amy Winehouse - Back to Black (surprised?)
Elvis Perkins - Ash Wednesday
Okkervil River - The Stage Names
Stars - In Our Bedroom After the War
I'm From Barcelona - Let Me Introduce My Friends (Incidentally makes a frigid Alaska day feel a bit warmer)
Kathy Diamond - Miss Diamond to You
Coconut Records - Nighttiming

The 13 Best Albums of 2007
Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
Bruce Springsteen - Magic
Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Feist - The Reminder
Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Kings of Leon - Because of the Times
The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
The National - Boxer
Bjork - Volta

And finally 13 albums I know I'm leaving off...but they're not far from the list
Travis - The Boy With No Name
Eisley - Combinations
KT Tunstall - Drastic Fantastic
Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
Colin Hay - Are You Lookin' At Me? (great cameo in Scrubs in season premiere of Scrubs)
Son Volt - The Search
Paul McCartney - Memory Almost Full
Athlete - Beyond the Neighbourhood
The Broken West - I Can't Go On, I'll Go On
Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero
Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
Dan Wilson - Free Life

Incidentally I'm looking forward to some very promising new records in 2008, but that's another post.

And in case you missed it, here is my post for the Best of 2006. And get your copy of Superbad Tuesday.

December 1, 2007


Seriously, do you know how many posts I've started in the last month? It's officially December, so my boycott of NaBloPoMo is over. Things haven't been overly busy, or overly crazy, or overly anything. I just didn't have it in me. It's not that the WiFi doesn't reach my igloo, or a corporate NDA, or me running off to join the Police Academy, I haven't run off to join Ron Paul's campaign...just slow blog month (I hereby trademark 'sloblomo', thanks). No promises on catching up on the last month of music, ideas, stories, or controversial statements. But seriously, enough with the "What happened?", "What's wrong?", "Where are you?" emails unless you're looking for more metaphysical or existential answers, but if you are...stick around.

October 28, 2007

Lyrics: More than Words (Part Four)

I've said many times before that I don't hear lyrics very often. Sometimes a phrase stands out. Sometimes I sing it in my head using the wrong words. Either way, it's hard to listen to Josh Ritter much without being struck by the creativity of the words. Here are two examples of Josh Ritter's work that stood out to me on my way home from breakfast this morning.

"Kathleen" - Josh Ritter from Hello Starling

All the other girls here are stars; you are the Northern Lights
They try to shine in through your curtain; you're too close and too bright
They try and they try but everything that they do
Is the ghost of a trace of a pale imitation of you
I'll be the one to drive you back home Kathleen

This party was made with the night air and the chance that a smile
Will wind its way from your face to one of the boys in your line
You act like you're hip to their tricks and you're strong
But a virgin Wurlitzer heart never once had a song
I'll be the one to drive you back home Kathleen

And I'll have you back by break of day
I'm going your way anyway
And if you'd like to come along
I'll be yours for a song

I know you are waiting and I know that it is not for me
But I'm here and I'm ready and I've saved you the passenger seat
I won't be your last dance just your last goodnight
Every heart is a package tangled up in knots someone else tied
I'll be the one to drive you back home Kathleen

So crawl up your trellis and quietly back into your room
And I'll coast down the length of your drive by the light of the moon
And the next time I see you—a new kind of hello
Both our hearts have a secret only both of us know
'bout the night that I drove you back home Kathleen

"Good Man" - Josh Ritter from The Animal Years

These chords are old but we shake hands
Cause I believe that they're the good guys
We can use all the help we can
So many minor chords outside
I fell in love with the sound
Oh I love to sing along with you
We got tunes we kicked around some
We got a bucket that the tunes go through

Babe, we both had dry spells, hard times; in bad lands
I'm a good man for ya, I'm a good man

Last night there was a horse in the road
I was twisting in the hairpin
My hands held on my mind let go
And back to you my heart went skipping
I found the inside of the road
Thought about the first time that I met you
All those glances that we stole
Sometimes, if you want them then you've got to

Babe, we both had dry spells, hard times; in bad lands
I'm a good man for ya, I'm a good man

They shot a Western south of here
They had him cornered in a canyon
And even his horse had disappeared
They said it got run down by a bad bad man
You're not a good shot but I'm worse
And there's so much where we ain't been yet
So swing up on this little horse
The only thing we'll hit is sunset

Babe, we both had dry spells, hard times; in bad lands
I'm a good man for ya, I'm a good man

"Rumors" - Josh Ritter from The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter

Serenade me with rocks, love
No lullabies through the locks love
I locked myself in with the band
But the music's never loud enough

Decibels in the belfry
Hey what the hell if it helps me
I put a whip to the kick drum
But the music's never loud enough

So you're gonna have to show me
How that dance is done
The one where somebody leaves someone

My orchestra is gigantic
This thing could sink the Titanic
And the string section's screaming
Like horses in a barn burning up

He plays pianos with fistfuls
Of broken Belvedere crystal
But he can't seem to forget you
And the music's never loud enough

So you're gonna have to show me
How that dance is done
The one where somebody leaves someone

He's impaling the front row
Fighting fires with arrows
And he'll act like he forgot you
But the music's never loud enough

So you're gonna have to show me
How that dance is done
The one where somebody leaves someone

October 24, 2007

Anchorage Winter Car Care Tip #1

After parking your vehicle for the night, lift your windshield wipers up off of your windshield. This will avoid them getting stuck to your windshield or buried in the snow. Simple and effective way to keep your blades in good shape for when you need them most.

Addendum: This also applies to your arrival at work for the day. Often your defroster has melted snow and ice from your windshield by the time you reach work, but soon after you're settling in for a full day of work, the melt drips down to your wipers and freezes; not to mention any weather that might happen while you're inside.

October 23, 2007

Ducks, Red Sox, Josh Ritter, Viruses, ReckenRoll and Snow

What a great all inclusive title for a summary of my weekend in Seattle.
I got to see the Ducks beat the Huskies on Saturday. We got there early to do a little tailgating and it was just in time to catch the Ducks getting off the buses and heading into the locker room. It's a mind blowing experience to be reminded not only how big these guys really are, but also how young they are. The game was entertaining to both sides through 3 quarters, but then the Ducks pulled away utilizing their spread running game and no huddle offense to take the Huskies out of the game. It may not hold a candle to an SEC rivalry or Michigan-Ohio State, but the Oregon Washington rivalry is alive and well with pretty much everyone who was out tail gating Saturday. This weekend will be interesting for the Pac-10 as #4 Arizona State (who haven't faced much of a challenge yet) host a pretty pissed off #21 Cal and #5 Oregon hosts #12 USC. Combine those games with Game 3 of the World Series and it's pretty easy to avoid snowy roads. Speaking of the World Series...
I had resigned myself to letting the Red Sox blow the series against the Indians but continued passively to pay attention to the games. Going down 3-1 is a pretty big feat to overcome, but they did it and I got to watch most of game 7. The World Series will again have meaning to me. As a Red Sox fan and a Cardinal fan, the last few years have been good.
Josh Ritter's show at the Showbox in Seattle was amazing. I mentioned watching game 7, it was in a bar across the street from the Showbox. While eating or waiting for food, I saw Josh Ritter walk by. Then a few seconds later he walked up into our section of the bar. He turned around but didn't get out of earshot before I could get his attention and call him over to our table. He seems like such a nice guy and meeting him, as brief as it was, makes his music seem all the more genuine than it already does. He even mentioned having played in Anchorage at a pretty specific venue and that Alaska (along with Japan) are on his wish list for future shows. The show was special. It was his birthday and his mom even came up on stage at one point with cupcakes and a candled cupcake. Josh passed the cupcakes out to the crowd. I'm sure there's a certain extent to which he tells every audience that it's been an amazing, unforgettable night, but I certainly believe his Seattle show will be remembered by all involved.
I woke up Friday morning feeling fine other than a little bit of a headache, which is pretty normal when I am up late and sleep late, but by the time ReckenRoll and I sat down to brunch and food was in front of me, I had lost my appetite and felt pretty bad. I fell asleep shortly after being dropped off and slept the rest of the day. I felt pretty normal on Saturday with the exception of no appetite, but got exhausted Saturday night fairly early. Sunday was a little of the same, but when it came time for Josh Ritter I was feeling much better.
ReckenRoll was a gracious host. Giving me space while I dealt with feeling crappy and she even came home from shopping with Ginger Snaps and smart water. She's got a good summary over at her site. She definitely got the Josh Ritter bug...especially after meeting him before the show. Although she might exagerate my Freaks & Geeks references, I had just finished watching the complete series and during the commentaries which were recorded more recently, there were lots of tie ins to Superbad, Knocked Up, 40 year old Virgin, and even Anchorman (all Judd Apatow influenced films with Seth Rogen involved).
I woke up this morning to the report of snow on the roads. It snowed about an inch. It's bright and sunny now, so some of it has melted, but what doesn't melt is likely to be around for the duration.
Despite not doing much of what was on the loose agenda for the weekend and being under the weather it was the weekend of the year.

October 16, 2007

An Emerald Weekend

This weekend I'll be in Seattle having a ReckenRoll weekend. While Josh Ritter at the Showbox and the Oregon Ducks at Husky Stadium are on the docket, my real challenge is to be featured on ReckenRoll's "Things I learned this weekend" or weekend quotes series. Stay tuned to flickr and twitter...

You might be asking yourself, or be tempted to ask me "What happened with the Red Sox?" Don't make me be the one to have to explain that this is the misery we as Red Sox fans lived with for years, even losing to Cleveland in 1998 and 1995. I was upset being down 2-1 because in a 7 game series, being down 2-1 and being up 2-1 are virtually the same thing. I still haven't given up all hope of winning the series, but I stopped watching and listening to tonight's game after the 5th inning because it was making me physically ill. Though, I'm sure Jnard is pleased.

October 14, 2007

Gagne and Rogen

Why did the Red Sox put game 2 of the ALCS in the hands of Seth Rogen?

October 13, 2007

Name My Moose

Over the last few weeks, I've heard some strange noises coming from outside my bedroom window after I've gone to bed. I couldn't put my finger on what it was and figured it was the building settling or the ducts expanding and contracting with the cold air/hot air phenomenon. Nothing alarming enough for me to get up and check it out. I'm starting to form some pretty valid conclusions about what the noises could have been. I came home later than usual on Thursday night after a hockey game, got out of my truck and started to walk toward my front door when up from the ground springs a moose that had been bedding down in my front yard. All the signs are there that he/she has been out there quite often lately. In fact, he/she is out there right now. Despite it pouring down rain and being in the low to mid 30's, it's just laying low, literally in a spot where it's protected from the road by my truck, my neighbor's truck and a big bush. I've seen the moose out in the backyard, on the side of the house and where he/she lays now. Moose seem like docile creatures, and seem quite slow and tame too. Because of their sheer size, one must be very careful about being around moose. They get defensive of young, and are fairly unpredictable...and a little stubborn too. I don't mind having him/her out there, but when it comes time to come and go from my apartment, I need to get him/her to move far enough away that I can pass without being in range of attack. I figure if I have to get in a habit of shoeing him/her away having a name would make a difference. So, I'm asking you the readers to submit names via comments to name this moose of unknown gender. Androgynous names preferred, but be as creative as you want. I'll get a photo to post once it's been named.

October 7, 2007

October Baseball

In 2004 all three of the players highlighted as Sunday's top performers were members of the Red Sox. There's still some loyalty with Trot, but Damon and I are no longer friends.

October 1, 2007

Chuck is Lost?

I confirmed by rewinding with my Tivo, but at first I thought I was hearing things... While watching a segment of Chuck in between extra innings of the Rockies Padres game, I overheard Chuck's subconsious say "Ocean flight 815 was shot down." They're on different networks so it's a little strange for a LOST reference, isn't it? I'm not convinced Chuck is a good show, but Tivo is recording it every week for me just in case I decide to like it.

September 29, 2007

Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings Delayed

According to lead singer Adam Duritz's blog, Counting Crows are delaying the release of the long awaited album Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings. We've waited this long, I guess we can keep waiting.

New Music Tuesday: 3 Albums, 3 Services

You may have heard that Amazon has thrown their hat into the ring of selling music online. iTunes has been the big player for legal downloading of music for years, but eMusic and now Amazon continue to make competition more interesting. I tested Amazon as well as the new eMusic remote and have to say they are both strong products. So I bought the new Athlete album on iTunes, the new Joni Mitchell album on eMusic and the new Thrills album on Amazon. Both Amazon and eMusic's new app download the file and load it automatically into your iTunes library, which is handy and skips an extra step. eMusic continues to specialize in indie music whereas Amazon seems to have a very similar catalog as iTunes. There are definitely differences between the services. Apple continues to copy protect their music. Both eMusic and Amazon sell unprotected mp3's which means you can listen to them on any device without having to enter a password. Another major difference is that eMusic is a monthly charge for a set number of songs. Both iTunes and Amazon charge per song. Another difference is that Amazon charges less per track for popular music. I recommend giving them a look if you're into legally downloading music. I may just continue to use all three to their strengths. On a separate note, eMusic recently launched an audiobooks section, which is one more step in making the competition heightened.


The BLB Family Continues to Grow

News from remote Alaska...The Mad Fischicist and Belle Etoile welcome their second child, a beautiful daughter Jolie. Mom and baby are doing great. Head over to Belle Etoile's blog for the specs and pictures.

September 22, 2007

What Comes After August?

I won't title this "New Music Tuesday", but I wouldn't feel right if I didn't highlight a new release this week. Counting Crows released a reissue of August and Everything After. August is one of the most special albums for me coming out of the 90's for its influence and its timelessness. Along with the original 11 tracks, come 6 demos from that time period and if you buy from iTunes, they throw in an amazing concert from France. The version of "Round Here" from the Elysee Monmarte show (a version that was a b-side on one of the singles on Recovering The Satellites - Remember singles?) is worth the $14.99 iTunes is charging for 30 tracks. They know how good the "Round Here" version is as they've made it "Album Only". If you've been reading for any length of time, you've probably been inundated with how much I love this album and this band. The reissue of August and Everything After is great in and of itself, but also serves as a perfect primer for the first all-new album from the Crows since 2002's Hard Candy. Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings is set to be released in November and has already generated quite a bit of buzz with fans and non fans alike.

September 19, 2007

Shelley Duncan Might Be Right

You should know I'm a huge Sox fan, but the last week or two I'm almost ready to agree with Shelley Duncan. Pull yourselves together, guys.

September 18, 2007

How To Reach Me

In my weekly meeting with an ad agency, I brought up the fact that our advertising is not reaching me. I was told I am in a unique demographic that advertisers everywhere are trying to reach.

I rarely read the newspaper. I get the majority of my news online.
I only listen to 15 minutes of commercial radio a day. I listen to NPR, podcasts and music on my iPod.
I watch the majority of my television post-broadcast via Tivo skipping through the advertisements. I don't watch local news, network prime time programming (with a few exceptions; LOST, The Office). I enjoy a good TV spot, so when I watch sports or other TV, I am very aware of what ads are running.
I don't eat fast food or drink big brand beer. I avoid Wal-Mart.

My demographic is valuable, despite its elusiveness because in theory I have disposable income, a desire to be on the cutting edge of technology, vehicles, and entertainment. I'm old enough that I still pay for music; young enough that I still get out to see live music and go to movies; and active enough in my geography that I require clothing and equipment for all seasons and climates. It will be a challenge for those who make/sell products as well as those who produce ads for such products to reach generations that continue to go further and further from the traditional big three mediums of newsprint, television and radio. It's already clear those in the print, television and radio industries are doing all they can to keep their mediums as the dominant distribution of content.

If you're not recognizing the messages advertisers are throwing at you, you should. There is lots of research and analysis going into every ad placed. If for no other reason, you'll know what demographics are behaving the same way as you.

September 17, 2007


It's fascinating how the human brain works, isn't it? I'm sitting here reading an article about corrupt Alaskan politicians (allegedly corrupt) and the image of Garth Brooks trying out for the San Diego Padres crosses my mind....quick fact check takes that back to 98-99 (apparently he worked with the Mets in 2004, too). How does the brain warehouse useless trivial information and then all of a sudden with no apparent triggering effect, put it at the front of your mind? I guess when I think of the subject, I realize I've already thought and typed too much about it.

I've had some good revelations and realizations about blogging lately as I've been avoiding typing anything in this space. I've remained fairly active with Twitter and Facebook, so If you haven't already, get signed up and look me up.

September 6, 2007

September 5, 2007

Music Advice

Since high school, I've been someone people come to asking questions about music. Recommendations, reviews, back stories, etc...

But now it's my turn to ask you, the collective universe, for some advice. Say a guy wanted to discover good music from a foreign country...say Spain or Greece. What reference would you use?

Just a Couple Thoughts

While I have your attention...

It's been feeling more and more like fall everyday...then a beautiful day like today comes along.

I'm getting more and more interested in Facebook.

Did anyone think Medellin was going to be good? Gotta love fictional movies with real trailers, though...this is why Entourage is limitless.

I like the Touch.

Weighing Halloween costume options. (1,2,3,4,5) In Alaska, Halloween is one of the biggest holidays. Feel free to weigh in on my decision making process.

People knock Twitter for it's simplicity, yet I think it's the simplicity that will win in the end.

Didn't notice ReckenRoll is back in the USA? She's back and also back to blogging.

Going on a photo shoot Friday...gonna try to glean some tips from the pro.

That's all I've got tonight.

September 1, 2007

Clay Buchholz Tosses No Hitter in Second Start

Clay Buchholz won't have to deal with being an anonymous sillouette for long after today's no hitter. Not only has Buchholz not been in the majors long enough to have a photo on file, but he's still waiting to get credit for the win on the ND above.

August 28, 2007

Gaping Void

Often crass, but more often thought provoking, Hugh MacLeod has a great thing going with GapingVoid. What better of an example than one of his latest cartoon drawn on the back of business cards?

August 27, 2007

Not from Cincinnati Anymore

I withheld writing anything about the show because I was still trying to figure out enough about what was happening with it to make a coherent pitch. What I should have said weeks ago was "Watch John From Cincinnati!" HBO canceled the show, as networks continue to do to shows I like. The thing about JFC was that it was doing something very unique...but in the way that the show ended it's first and only season, there are so many unanswered questions it's not even worth discussing. It's such a waste. The characters were intriguing, the storyline was Twin Peaksy, and with actors like Ed O'Neill [whose character Bill Jacks may have stolen the show], Bruce Greenwood, Rebecca DeMornay, Luis Guzman, Luke Perry (even the idea that Zach Morris and Dylan McKay shared the screen was intriguing), the dynamic Paul Ben-Victor (who joins a list of multi-show HBO veterans for his role on Entourage [Season 3]), and even Jennifer Grey. The story examines many people who are at the bottom of the list of people you would expect miracles to happen to. The mysterious character of John comes into their lives and only really tells people what they're thinking, what others are thinking and to seek God. One character is raised from the ground, one character is raised from the dead, and all of the characters are actively feeling themselves change. I also thought it was interesting the way the characters all used labels for each other (the hairlip, the lawyer, the doctor, the chemist, the Hawaiian, the porn star, the skinny girl, and other not so nice labels too). It was fascinating and I'm sad to see it not coming back.

Imagine if other shows were cancelled after one season. Imagine the mythology of LOST ending with Jack and Locke looking down into the hatch. Imagine Friends ending with Rachel learning Ross loves her and not dragging the storyline on for 7 more years... Imagine The West Wing concluding with gunfire on the President and his staff but no resolution. Imagine 24 ending with Nina killing Teri Bauer. Imagine if the Sopranos ended anticlimactically with all four Sopranos sitting in a restaurant having dinner...oh wait.

Nothing in the new shows this year stands out as my next favorite TV show, so in the meantime I will continue to enjoy Entourage, Flight of the Conchords, Hard Knocks, and wait impatiently for LOST to return in February.

Speaking of LOST, some exciting stuff coming out of Comic-Con. I've always held back from writing about LOST on this blog, but it won't take long to find info...don't worry the producers are way too smart to let spoilers ruin anything for you. Why Email Still Rules

I had my first email address in 1996, it was I know full well that plenty of people had email prior to that, but I was still an early adopter as far as my circle of friends went. I think of the class that just graduated high school...they were born in 1989. It doesn't take much thought beyond that to both blow my mind and clue me into the fact that they've never really operated without the web...and in fact, it might be safe to say they haven't operated without the web as we know it today. Lots of innovations have come along since 1996 when I got my first email address, but email still remains one of the most powerful means of communication despite the innovations. If someone really wants to tell me something, the best way to communicate it to me is via email. Whether it's work, friends, family, etc. email still rules.

Communication experts tell you that only 7% of communication is solely through the actual words used. The other 93% of communication is through verbal and non-verbal tones and gestures that help communicate the message. In email, it's both a blessing and a curse to cut the 93% out of your message. It might be a challenge to convey tone or sarcasm or humor or all the other mediums of conversation. It might not give you the instant gratification, but there are other advantages. Responses can be thought out, articulated and measured. Information is documented and can be found later. I love the star feature in gmail. If I get an email that I either want to take more time later to read or reply to, I star it and every evening or morning if I'm too busy, I go to my starred mail and read and respond...rather than focusing on clearing my inbox as the task.

Today there's an ongoing movement to abandon email and rely strictly on other mediums like Facebook messaging, Myspace [which I'm in hate with right now] messaging, twitter, blogging, text messaging, etc. I don't think we're there yet, but I can see a day coming when writing someone a personal email is viewed as antique as receiving a letter in the know the hand written type...

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that email is a fundamental communication medium. If you're trying to get a hold of me any other way, you're likely just not talking my language. Though I still might want to be your "friend" on facebook or your follower on twitter...both of which can use email to find people in your contact list. It might be because email is the prime medium for communication in my job, or it might be my natural tendency for writing rather than speaking, or it maybe hanging on to the past...'cause 1996 was a great year. Incidentally, if you emailed me at the address, you're several lifetimes behind.

Another incidental. I didn't mention facebook back in June when I listed 6 things I wish you all had, but I'm coming around to it and if you're on it, look me up...or for all other things...


August 20, 2007

New Music Tuesday: Make the Right Moves

(photo credit: Ko(char *)hook)

I caught myself editing this post because I've been using too shiny of hyperbole to describe how excited I am that Josh Ritter's new album is downloading from iTunes as I type. I've been hearing snippets for a few months and everything I've heard leads me to believe that it's a great follow up to The Animal Years (#6 best album of 2006). When I saw Josh play at the Swedish American Hall just before I left California for Alaska, it was a sweet sweet cherry on the top of a wonderful sundae of live music in my time down there. Well, although I've begged a little, I doubt that Josh Ritter will be scheduling any Anchorage dates this time around...but at least he's supplying plenty of music to make up for it. If you've listened to any of Ritter's music, it's clear that his narrative style is reminiscent of Guthrie and Springsteen...if it sounds like he's smiling while he's singing, it's a good chance he is. The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter has all the promise to cement itself ready to top the 2007 list of best albums. If you're not convinced by my preview, do a little investigation for yourself. You can download the Paste Culture Club podcast from 7/27/07 for samples or his website. iTunes has the album for just $9.99 but it contains 19 tracks (5 bonus tracks) and you can't go too far on the internet without stumbling upon the leaked track "To The Dogs or Whoever." You should also take a swing at "Right Moves." Portland, he's coming at you for two shows at the Aladdin, so get out there and show the Idaho native some lovin' won't regret it. His tour, sponsored by Paste Magazine, and involves his full band. The dates are below.

Speaking of Paste, in answer to my issue of having not received a CD sampler in one of my magazines, their customer service department (pretty sure it's outsourced) added a month to my subscription as an apology.

Another note, while I'm taking the time for a rare post, if you're on Myspace, you'll need to check out the songs Matthew Ryan's been posting...lots of good stuff. I'm in hate with Myspace right now, but seeing as MRyan was the reason I started an account, I'm still loyal to his posted music.

03-Oct-07 Northampton, MA - Pearl Street Ballroom
04-Oct-07 Boston, MA Somerville Theater
05-Oct-07 Boston, MA Somerville Theater
06-Oct-07 Westport CT - TBC
09-Oct-07 Washington D.C. 9:30 Club
11-Oct-07 Charlottesville, VA - TBC
13-Oct-07 Lewisburg, WV - Carnegie Hall Performing Arts Center
14-Oct-07 Charleston, WV - Mountain Stage radio show
15-Oct-07 Ann Arbor, MI - Blind Pig
16-Oct-07 Chicago, IL - Park West
17-Oct-07 Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center
18-Oct-07 Boulder, CO - Fox Theater
20-Oct-07 Boise, ID - Egyptian Theater
21-Oct-07 Seattle - Showbox
22-Oct-07 Portland - Aladdin Theater
23-Oct-07 Portland - Aladdin Theater
24-Oct-07 San Francisco - Bimbo's 365 Club
25-Oct-07 Los Angeles - El Rey
27-Oct-07 Tucson, AZ -Plush
29-Oct-07 Austin, TX - the Parish
31-Oct-07 Birmingham AL - Workplay
01-Nov-07 Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
02-Nov-07 Nashville, TN - Exit-Inn
03-Nov-07 Louisville, KY - Headliners
04-Nov-07 Cincinnati, OH - Southgate House
0?-Nov-07 Carrborro, NC - Cat's Cradle - TBC
07-Nov-07 Philadelphia - World Cafe Live
09-Nov-07 New York - Webster Hall

Concert dates cut and pasted from email rec'd from publicist, so make sure to check with your local sources to confirm date and venues.

Also releasing 8/21 is the new Rilo Kiley, Under the Black Light (though not available yet at midnight EST like Josh Ritter). An album I was excited about until I heard the first single, "The Money Maker" and was a bit disappointed.

I should also mention that I've really been digging Eisley's new album, Combinations, it's pretty rockin compared to their previous work.

UPDATE: After listening to The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter most of the day today, I can thoroughly and whole heartedly recommend you pick it up. A little bit of everything for everyone.

August 15, 2007

YouTube Goes to the Source

Proving that search, online video and intelligent advertising aren't their only strong suits, Google/YouTube have called for Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert to be deposed in the Viacom v. Youtube lawsuit. I'm no lawyer, but in my mind genius. Both Colbert and Stewart are "Producers" of their shows (Stewart of both) and if, as suspected, clips of the shows are knowingly uploaded to YouTube by members of the staff, the Producers will either have to admit it or imitate the politicians they love to mock so much by using the Reagan defense. Either way, it's a page straight out of Aaron Sorkin's story line.

Law: Did you order the clips to be uploaded?

Colbert: Do you want answers?

Law: I think I'm entitled.

Stewart: Do you want answers?

Law: I want the truth.

Viacom: You can't handle the truth!

That's right, I believe Google/YouTube are putting Jessep on the stand in a move to get the case dismissed. Again, I'm no lawyer, but my guess is it'll probably work.


August 13, 2007

What Were The 90's All About?: 1999

It can be argued...
It can be argued that White Ladder didn't get discovered until 2001...
It can be argued that The Man Who didn't get discovered until 2000...
It can be argued that Californication was derivative of previous RHCP releases...
It can be argued that Blue (specifically "Never Let You Go") killed the 3EB momentum...

All of these things can be argued, but when it comes down to it these are the albums that sifted out of the gold pan that was 1999.

1. White Ladder, David Gray
2. The Man Who, Travis
3. Summerteeth, Wilco
4. Everything You Want, Vertical Horizon
5. Californication, Red Hot Chili Peppers

Honorable Mentions: This Desert Life, Counting Crows; No Angel, Dido; Mezzamorphis, Delirious?; When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He'll Win the Whole Thing Fore He Enters the Ring There's No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You'll Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You Know That You're Right., Fiona Apple; Blue, Third Eye Blind

Don't be afraid to admit you were listening to Britney, Ricky Martin, J-Lo, or Backstreet Boys, just be glad you moved on in the next millennium...all except the re-patrioting ReckenRoll...

I Don't Sound Desperate

I swear I don't sound desperate. If you read desperate, it's probably your own stuff mixed in with my words. A week and a half ago two of my best friends got married. Because they were scheduled so close to each other, I was only able to attend one. Riche and Julia's magical ceremony was in the Alaska Botanical Gardens; small crowd, beautiful couple (you may have noticed the photos in my Flickr feed). Having a lifelong friend get married is fun because there are lots of stories and memories to share with his family as well as plenty of catching up. In a conversation with Riche's dad, I explained what I was doing for work these days, to which he replied, "who'd have thunk it." I learned time can fly for parents when it seems like yesterday we needed rides around town. [Sch]Metzger also got married down in Portland the same weekend. I've heard it was a beautiful ceremony with lots of sentiment. I would have loved to have gone, but the timing just didn't work. I've noticed a trend amongst the supposed A-list bloggers that they can quickly take a post about other people or companies and flip it into a post about themselves. Always trying to boost my merits as a blogger, I'll give it a shot here. When [Sch]Metzger and Riche were married (not to each other, mind you) it designated me as the last single guy in my circle of friends. The Mad Fishicist, The Freshmaker, Mike, Trudeau, they're all married. Like I said, I'm not that concerned about my status. Don't think I'm upset about this, don't think I'm soliciting help (there are enough people out there who feel responsible for helping), I'm just struck that when it all comes down to it, I'm pleased with my life. I'm pleased with my job. I feel blessed to be a big fan of all of the wives of my friends. I feel blessed to have so many friends. I'm not in a hurry to do anything, so again don't make this out to be desperation, just a good exercise in self-actualization. Realizing I'm content, realizing I'm pleased...sometimes that's the key. Anyway back to leaving whiskers in the sink, towels on the floor and baseball on TV. Now back to non-self-centered postings.

What Were The 90's All About?: Behind The Music

I'm having a hard time bringing the 90's album series to a close, although 1999 is just around the corner. There are other posts I plan on creating revolving around the music of the 90's. One aspect I thought might be interesting would be how I've put these posts together to this point. Other than the many faces of Bono post, the others all entailed a particular structure. Going in order of year helped, because I knew exactly what the topic of my next post was going to be. Sometimes structure is a good thing in blogging...sometimes it's just what you need to push through a pretty uneventful month.

I have a smart playlist created in iTunes that sorts out albums by year released. I edit the smart playlist to the year I'm researching. I press play and shuffle the songs. Sometimes this has taken longer than other times either because of the amount of great music or the number of distractions. Listening to the music while I do other things really helps me get into the time machine and journey back to the 90's. The project that I started out to do was to look at the most influential albums of the 90's, so there are lots of great songs that didn't make the cut, so I'll put together a 90's songs list for the one, two and three hit wonders that came to fruition in the decade. Several albums got left out because they weren't influential until much later or they might have been great albums, but I don't consider them influential. In the same way the decade is hard to define, so is an influential album without an entire post per album to justify my opinion, so a lot of biting of the tongue occurred. I take a look through the albums released during that year that I might not have representation of in iTunes (I have 115+ gigs of music with 26+ gigs falling between 1990 and 1999, so it's fair to say there's lots of representation) via Wikipedia. I try to put the top 5 in some sort of order but feel a lot better when I think that they aren't necessarily in order otherwise I'll want to go back and change them back and forth all the time. The topic generated a lot of discussion on and off (mostly off) the blog, so it struck a chord somewhere.

What's the next series for Whoever suggests the best topic wins the generous prize of thanks and recognition. And by the way, I've been listening to 1999 music for what seems like forever now, so the post will come along soon.

August 7, 2007

What Were the 90's All About?: 1998

1998...Madonna redefined herself, Shawn Mullins inadvertently invented a sub-genre, and again the music industry evolved a little.

1. Before the Crowded Streets, Dave Matthews Band (probably their one true masterpiece album)
2. Hello Nasty, Beastie Boys
3. Soul's Core, Shawn Mullins
4. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Lucinda Williams
5. XO, Elliot Smith

Honorable Mentions: Feeling Strangely Fine, Semisonic; Dizzy Up The Girl, Goo Goo Dolls; Train, Train; Teatro, Willie Nelson; Ozomatli, Ozomatli; Ray of Light, Madonna; The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Lauryn Hill

What was going on with you in 1998?

August 5, 2007

What Were the 90's All About?: 1997

OK Computer might have been the masterpiece that defined the 90's (I've heard it compared to Sgt. Pepper's effect on culture in 1968). Matthew Ryan released his ambitious debut album with 6 songs that would show up on a greatest hits album if he made one. The tide turned in 1997 again with Sarah McLachlan becoming a household name and helping to bring her entire genre to the mainstream.

1. OK Computer, Radiohead
2. Surfacing, Sarah McLachlan
3. Pop, U2
4. Third Eye Blind, Third Eye Blind
5. Sound of Lies, The Jayhawks

Honorable Mention: The Colour and The Shape, Foo Fighters; Time Out of Mind, Bob Dylan; Urban Hymns, The Verve; So Much For the Afterglow, Everclear; Firecracker, Lisa Loeb; Mayday, Matthew Ryan

How do you remember 1997?

August 4, 2007

What Were the 90's All About?: 1996

It's not like 1996 was a thin year for music...because there are some epic albums, but in hindsight it feels more like a setting of the stage than an epic year.

1. Recovering the Satellites, Counting Crows
2. Being There, Wilco
3. Bringing Down the Horse, The Wallflowers
4. Yourself and Someone Like You, Matchbox 20 (if you don't trust me, give it a listen)
5. Fashion Nugget, Cake

Honorable Mentions: Crash, Dave Matthews Band; Tidal, Fiona Apple; Faithless Street, Whiskeytown; Odelay, Beck

August 1, 2007

iTunes: Again With The Driving Me Crazy

The latest oddity with iTunes (and I've been getting a lot of traffic looking for info on the alphabetizing issue I pointed out) is that I can't burn a CD if any of the songs have question marks in the title. I had to re-tag the song as well as rename the file in order for a question titled song to burn. I should clarify, the disk would burn, but it would skip the question songs. Strange things those Apple people probably overlooked while they were salivating over launching iPhone.

July 31, 2007

What Were the 90's All About?: Bono

How can you define the 90's when there is such a variety? The 90's through the many faces phases of Bono.

1990 (Early Achtung sessions in Berlin)

1991 (Achtung Baby sessions)

1992 (ZooTV)

1993 (ZooTV/Zoomerang)

1994 (Remember the Sinatra duets/Grammy presentation?)

1995 (Warchild)

1996 (Yeah, he's wearing a Batman necklace)

1997 (PopMart)

1998 (Is that Bono or Elvis Costello?)