Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I don't wanna grow up. It's been said countless times, but none better than by Tom Waits. I don't think I could ever get sick of hearing him sing it either.

"I don't wanna have to shout it out
I don't want my hair to fall out
I don't wanna be filled with doubt
I don't wanna be a good boy scout
I don't wanna have to learn to count
I don't wanna have the biggest amount
I don't wanna grow up"

I'm somewhat of a late-comer to the Waits' party, but his music has that timeless quality to it that makes it feel so personal even years after it was written.

I don't want to grow up. I don't want to be an adult right now.

Read the full lyrics.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Synaesthesia is a condition in which the "sufferer" (more like lucky recipient) is able to hear colors, or taste certain words. In this woman's case she can actually see time.

This is probably the coolest thing I have heard of in a long time. Sure, I've heard of things like this before, but I had never heard someone actually describing the experience like in the BBC article.

I think that if I could have syaesthesia I would like the ability to taste certain sounds. That is, as long as there is no infamous "brown note," because I'm sure that would taste terrible.

Imagine all the different tastes that would be associated with different sounds. What would The Decemberists taste like? I have a feeling it would be a warm baked coconut cream pie, but I'm not entirely sure why.

Of course there may be negative experiences that come along with such an incredible affliction, but I think it would be worth the risk.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mad Libs with 1st Graders, II

This week I enlisted help from students from other grades, mostly because the children no longer sit with just their classmates. Some of these answers come from first graders, some second, a fifth and other assorted ages. I hope you enjoy this one:

Vacation Want Ads

DRIVER AVAILABLE: Are you planning a trip to Melbourne? I will drive your bike. I am a person of cool character and a graduate of high school. I have been sleeping for twelve years.

MOTHER Susie offers you stupid accommodations in her weird home. Only $10 per human for food and breakfast.

DO YOU NEED A HOUSE SITTER? While you are running around the country, who is looking after your confused house? Burglars could steal your Playstation 2. Who will fee your zebras? We will swimmingly take care of everything. Call Apple Sitters Unlimited.

That's all for this week's installment, hope you liked it. I'll have a new one next Monday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mad Libs with 1st Graders

Now that I am doing after school programs for the town of Normal I figured I would take the opportunity to have some fun. To start off I've completed a Mad Lib using words given to me by first grade students. This was extremely difficult, mostly owed to the fact that the words "adjective," "noun" and "adverb" are completely lost on them. Next time I think I'll move up a grade. For now here's what we came up with.

It is often said that "a dog is a man's best Disney World." Dogs are very gross and can be taught many slimy tricks. A dog can be trained to carry a robot in his mouth. And if you throw this puppy, he will run and fetch it. Dogs will also bark crazily if someone tries to break into your IHOP during the night. One of the most popular canine pets today is the Cake Spaniel. Spaniels have curly pink and black coats and awesome ears. They also have very fat dispositions and live to be 110 years old. Other popular dogs are Cool Terriers, German G.I. Joes, and the Sad Poodle. Every home should have a loyal dog for a wizard.

I hope you enjoyed that, I know the first graders did when I read their work back to them. Hopefully I'll have some more of these soon.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Favorite Songs, pt. 7: Results-Round Two

After one round things have been rather predictable, no huge surprises so far. Now that we're in deeper than that, and I've listened to everything many many times more things are getting interesting.

Here we go:

East Bracket
1. Anything You Want v. 4. Gamblin' Man
-Oh man, why this match-up? Why here? This should be the championship. There have been some close ones, but this is tight. In the end, I'm going with Limbeck, I'm pulling the upset. Things can only get crazier from here.

2. Heavy Metal Drummer v. 6. July! July!
-The Decemberists had a really good run, and my adoration for them will never fade I am certain. However, Wilco wins. Come on, did you expect anything else.

West Bracket
1. Lisztomania v. 5. Two Weeks
-So hot right now. They both have their own distinct flair and innate qualities that make me enjoy them individually. I am going to choose Grizzly Bear though, because I feel like "Two Weeks" has more staying power.

2. Sweet Talk v. 6. Coma Girl
-Joe Strummer's impact on music, and me personally are unparalleled, his work is so incredible. As far as my favorites go, DATH wins this battle and moves on to the next round.

North Bracket:
1. The Sound of Settling v. 5. 1400 Things to Be Happy About
-Wonderfully crafted pop songs, they have mixed messages but are undeniably fun. I think that Death Cab has to take this match up, pretty easily really.

7. Chicago v. 3. More Adventurous
-Another clash of titans; two incredible orchestrations of musical genius. I can hardly pick between the two, and doing so is almost painful. Rilo Kiley's song just sticks out more to me as the more beautiful song of the two. There was hardly anything between them though.

South Bracket
1. Love Song v. 4. Rich Girl
-I don't want to. I really don't. This match up has a clear winner, and it's not that hard. I just don't want to say it's "Love Song," but I did. There it is. Sorry Darryl and John.

7. Good Man v. 3. Wouldn't It Be Nice
-Josh Ritter could have cruised against anyone else in this bracket, but not against the Beach Boys. Pet Sounds is probably the closest thing to a perfect album I've ever heard, and this is just one shining example of that piece of work.

And there it is! Round two is complete, here is what it looks like now:

East: 4. Gamblin' Man v. 2. Heavy Metal Drummer
West: 5. Two Weeks v. 2. Sweet Talk
North: 1. The Sound of Settling v. 3. More Adventurous
South: 1. Love Song v. 3. Wouldn't It Be Nice

Leave some comments and let me know what you think of how things turned out so far.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Favorite Songs, pt. 6: Results-Round One

On the first day of my epic battle royale which pits all of my favorite songs together for the chance at the coveted title of the one favorite song we see the East and West brackets squaring off.

East Bracket:
- 1. "Anything You Want" vs. 8. "Spoils of the Spoiled" - There was no contest. Spoils made a late second half charge but was ultimately overcome by how much Anything means to me.

- 2. "Heavy Metal Drummer" vs. 7. "Your English is Good" - I'll be damned if TPC doesn't keep my toe tapping all day. Toe tapping doesn't make for victories, however, just little pleasantries. Because this was the first Wilco song I ever heard and because it's still my favorite of theirs the decision was easy.

- 3. "Janet" vs. 6. "July! July!" - Ugh, not an easy choice. Currently I'm on quite a Decemberists kick, since I am going to see them in Indy but regardless I can't ignore the appeal of "Janet." I think I have to go with The Decemberists ultimately, but it wasn't easy.

- 4. "Gamblin' Man" vs. 5. "Dance All Night" - This was terribly difficult. Like all the others, combined, multiplies by two. How do I pick between these two? But in the end it's the unadulterated joy of Limbeck that wins against the sophisticated country-rock swing of Ryan Adams. That makes this bracket all chalk.

West Bracket:
- 1. "Lisztomania" vs. "River" - It's the chorus of "River" that becomes the gentle outro that makes this such a difficult decision. I love the jaunty dance-pop of the French rockers, but the Philly folk group is really putting up a fight.

-2. "Sweet Talk" vs. "Ragged Wood" - I really like DATH and this song kind of got me in to them. Fleet Foxes have a lot of good songs, and this one comes up a lot like My Morning Jacket in my mind. I think "Sweet Talk" wins this one by knockout.

- 3. "Cannibal Queen" vs. "Coma Girl" - This is our first upset. I love the chugging guitar of Miniature Tigers, "Cannibal" is a pop gem, but you just can't beat Joe Strummer.

-4. "My Friend" vs. "Two Weeks" - Dr. Dog put two songs together in "My Friend" something I am not averse to, but I just can't refuse the goodness that is "Two Weeks." This bracket is just full of upsets.

North Bracket:
-1. "The Sound of Settling" v. 8. "Grenade Jumper" - No contest. It's always nice to hear my old favorites, like FOB, though.

-2. "This is Not an Exit" v. 7. "Chicago" - Another one-sided battle. Especially with anticipation building for the Sufjan concert in Champaign.

-3. "More Adventurous" v. 6. "Checkmarks" - This bracket has been a breeze. I just bought "More Adventurous" on vinyl and that only solidified the pick for me.

-4. "God and Mars" v. 5. "1400 Things to be Happy About" - Once again the vinyl made the difference. This one was close, real close, but since I now have "Making Beds In A Burning House" on wax Troubled Hubble gets the nod.

South Bracket:
-1. "Love Song" v. 8. "California" - I thought that I burned myself out on "Love Song" and that "California" would have a good chance in this battle. Nope, I still have feelings for Sarah Bareilles I guess. "Love Song" takes this one.

-2. "Stay Where You Are" v. 7. "Good Man" - Oh, this one was hard. Really hard. These two have tremendous staying power for me because they are both really good songs. I wish they didn't meet in the first round. I decided to go with Josh Ritter instead of Ambulance LTD.

-3. "Wouldn't It Be Nice" v. 6. "Anonanimal" - These two artists are pretty similar, they use harmonies expertly, be it stringed or vocal, these two both create lovely pop gems. "Wouldn't It Be Nice" is a timeless, nearly flawless piece of work; likewise, "Anonanimal" is a real gem among Andrew Bird's work. Time, however, is on the Beach Boys song, unfortunately for Andrew Bird.

-4. "Rich Girl" v. 5. "All You Wanted" - My soft spot for female vocalists has been noted previously in this group, but my soft spot for eighties pop has been substantiated. No longer will it remain in the dark shadows of my guilty music listening: Hall and Oates win!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Favorite Songs, pt. 5: South - Wild Cards

We all have them. Guilty pleasures, secret indulgences, Spin Doctors on repeat on your iPod (that joke will be lost on most). I am no different, there are some songs that I may not claim to be my favorite, but I secretly love.

That's what this division is for; those songs that you always turn up at a party and pretend someone else did.

Of course, there aren't that many spaces, and some of the songs that narrowly missed spots in other brackets will be getting consideration in this too so somethings may not be like others.

Here we go...

1. Love Song - Sarah Bareilles


8. California - Rufus Wainwright

Alright we're starting off hot. "Love Song" has an outrageous number of plays on my iTunes compared to some of these others and I'll be damned if I didn't learn that piano part. Unfortunately as a side-effect from the airtime burn of the song it really has little endearing qualities left in it to me, and thus makes it hard to see through to the next round. "California" is a similarly poppy number from the ever talented Rufus Wainwright. A little spoiler alert here, this one may be over before it begins.

4. Rich Girl - Hall and Oates


5. All You Wanted - Michelle Branch

Another set of songs that I just can't resist. Hall and Oates is a testament to my nerdy side and Michelle Branch further exemplifies my soft spot for talented female pop artists. This is going to be a really tough match-up, it may require several guilty listens to make a decision.

3. Wouldn't It Be Nice - Beach Boys


6. Anonanimal - Andrew Bird

Neither of these two are really guilty pleasures because I am not ashamed of my adoration for either group of performers. "Wouldn't It Be Nice" just missed on the Classics list, because it is a song that I have enjoyed almost my whole life thanks in large part to my dad. "Anonanimal" is a song that just missed the Current list. It is probably my favorite song of the year thus far because of its beautiful layered violin and guitar harmonies. This might give him an edge though. Right now I can't even pick a favorite (despite ranking) in this match-up.

2. Stay Where You Are - Ambulance LTD


7. Good Man - Josh Ritter

Ambulance really helped me get in to indie music in the same way Sufjan Stevens did, and this song is a magnificent piece of work. "Good Man" is probably my favorite by Josh Ritter, who is one of my more recent obsessions. Both of these songs just missed other lists and are seeing their chance in this auxiliary bracket. This is yet another close match-up regardless of standing.

COMING SOON: First Round Results!!!

Stay Tuned!