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!

Friday, July 17, 2009

You know I'm being emo when...

I've updated my Twitter more than once in six hours and they aren't cheery messages.

Today was one of those days. I got a ton done during the day, but then I went back to work. It slipped from there.

Friday afternoons are notorious for inspiring insipidity within the counselors at the camp where I work. Of course, being within one minor screw-up of losing this job (Bloomington is strict, really strict) I am not one to sit back and phone an afternoon in. I enjoy playing with the kids: the fact that I get paid to do so is just a bonus. So when my colleagues act their age it bothers me more than a little bit.

Today I was one of the last to leave, and my boss's boss was hanging out at the park. This is the woman with whom I have been in trouble, and for all intents and purposes been on probation with. Needless to say I am on edge with her, that alone is enough to wreck a perfectly good afternoon. As if to compound my own problems I commented on how I was impressed that she could "still" make it from one end of the monkey bars to the other. Meaning that she possessed the physical size and strength to do so; size being an issue for me and strength being an issue for almost everyone else who works at the camp. In no way did I mean to comment on her age (which is not that old), but in true womanly fashion (apologies for the misogyny) she accused me of just that. She said it in a somewhat light way, but given our history I have no reason to believe that she took it lightly and doesn't hate me more as a result. Thus pushing me deeper in to this self-loathing spiral of abhorrence.

I don't know if anyone reads this, or if any of those readers realize this yet, but I have a tendency to think far too much. This puts all of my stress on a logarithmic scale, escalating my own levels of sorrow and making me more detached and down. If I started content I ended up despondent.

Of course, I didn't just become so emo (if you will), there were other things this evening that helped me become forlorn. However, it is in my own personal interest regarding the many relationships in my life to not disclose those details in such a public manner.

I suppose I have learned from the past in that way. Perhaps that can make things better for tomorrow, and so on.

Look, a cheerful(?) note to end on. How optimistic of me. But the previous sentence ends in a preposition (ahh, there I am again).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Favorite Songs, pt. 4: North - Nostalgia

Oh, to be young again, er, to be in high school again. As mentioned before, I used to be a sort of emo-kid. It's true, hard as it is to believe.

I still did have some good tastes, however, so not all of these songs are going to suck completely. Let's hop on to this train to the old days and get a bit nostalgic.

1. The Sound of Settling - Death Cab for Cutie


8. Grenade Jumper - Fall Out Boy

-Death Cab was one of the bands that got me interested in more indie music; Fall Out Boy was one of the bands that got me interested in punk music. It's interesting now that Death Cab can hardly be considered an indie band anymore and Fall Out Boy certainly can't be considered punk at all. I'm pretty certain I know the winner already, and it's not much of a surprise.

4. God and Mars - Days Away


5. 1400 Things to be Happy About - Troubled Hubble

-Two underrated bands and two songs I still definitely enjoy. This will be a difficult battle and may require several listens before a winner (clear or not) will become evident. TH may have the edge because they were the first show I ever went to...

2. This is not an Exit - Saves The Day


7. Chicago - Sufjan Stevens

-Saves The Day used to be one of, if not my one favorite band. Sufjan rode in on a wave of indie music and never really left. I don't really think that Saves The Day stands a chance, though I think I'd still enjoy listening to them. We'll see how this turns out.

3. More Adventurous - Rilo Kiley


6. Checkmarks - The Academy Is...

-Honestly, I would put Rilo Kiley as the dark horse to win the group. I still listen to their music regularly and I still find "More Adventurous" to be one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. TAI on the other hand I don't really get in to so much these days, but I did love it back in the day.

Results soon, feel free to tell me what you think.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Favorite Song, pt.3: West - Current

This is what's hot right now, what's been blowing up on my computer and in my car stereo. Right now this is what I want to hear and this is what I've been digging.

1. Lisztomania - Phoenix


8. Akron/Family - River

-These two have been hot recently, and it's really a much closer race than the rankings would indicate. Phoenix burst on to my iTunes after being hyped up by the blog, I don't regret the decision to get this album at all. The French band puts together some incredible dancy-tunes and "Lisztomania" is certainly my favorite. "River" was almost gifted to me by the local record store, and since this song has been making the rounds in my car's CD player. This one is going to be heated.

4. My Friend - Dr. Dog


5. Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear

-Dr. Dog's album Fate is getting a bit old now, a year or so, but it never lost it's appeal to me. "My Friend" has such a fun guitar riff and vocal styling that I couldn't, and still can't stop listening to it. "Two Weeks" is the most accessible Grizzly Bear song, and my favorite from Veckatimest. The only thing holding the Bear back is that "Two Weeks" is tied for my favorite off their newest with the song "Cheerleader."

2. Sweet Talk - Dear and the Headlights


7. Ragged Wood - Fleet Foxes

-Dear easily could have made it on the Classics bracket because of my affection for the AZ band. But "Ragged Wood" has such a great guitar and such incredible vocal harmonies that I ca hardly resist it's allure. Tough match-up.

3. Cannibal Queen - Miniature Tigers


6. Coma Girl - Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros

-Little pop gems from these new comers and the king of punk. This one may come down to a coin flip as well.

Comments are appreciated!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Favorite Song, pt. 2: East - Classics

In this bracket are the songs that I typically call my "favorite" songs. A wide variety of tunes from many bands were considered, but here are the top eight

1. Anything You Want - Spoon


8. Spoils of the Spoiled - The New Amsterdams

-This match up seems a bit lopsided, as I don't often claim to be a huge NA fan. "Anything" is a song that I discovered at a point in my life when I really needed it, and it has remained a favorite for a long time. "Spoils," on the other hand, is a catchy little number from a solid album. This is really the David and Goliath match-up, but as with all songs in the competition, they will be listened to equally and further judged.

4. Gamblin' Man - Limbeck


5. Dance All Night - Ryan Adams & the Cardinals

-As the rankings would indicate, this is the closest match up of songs in this bracket. On any given day either of these two artists could be counted as number one in my pantheon of music. I'm going to have a hard time picking between the two, and it may come down to something trivial like a coin flip.

2. Heavy Metal Drummer - Wilco


7. Your English is Good - Tokyo Police Club

-Another seemingly lopsided clash of songs. Both are poppy up-tempo numbers that make me happy inside. The advantage that "Drummer" has is that it launched what can only be described as a torrid love affair with Wilco. They will be given equal opportunity to advance, but I can almost call this one now.

3. Janet - The Format


6. July! July! - The Decemberists

-If there was going to be a Cinderella from this bracket "July!" may just be the best candidate. Very frequently I cite "Janet" as my favorite, but the more I grow to love the Decemberists, the more "July!" sticks out to me.

Let me know what you think about these match up's and how you would pick them.

Stay tuned for the other three regions, and the results next week.

My Favorite Song, pt. 1: Introductions

Everyone gets asked the question, it's almost a mandate when you tell someone that you are really interested in music that they ask you. It's not often that I have an answer though. It seems to me that I give a different answer each time, depending on my mood or what I just heard. So let's lay this one to rest once and for all:

What is my favorite song?

The best way to figure this out is, of course, by entering each song into a pool for a single elimination "March Madness" style tournament.

There will be four divisions of eight songs each that will be pitted against each other in a head-to-head fashion. The four divisions will be:

East - Classics: these are the songs that I traditionally answer with. It will be a tough division and only one will be able to emerge as the top.

West - Current:
These are the songs that have been blowing up my iTunes lately. Since these usually have a big impact on the way I answer they are getting their own bracket.

North - Nostalgia: These are the songs that I would have claimed to love five years ago. Warning: I was a bit emo, but still awesome, so no worries.

South - Wild Cards: I don't even know what may end up in this category. It could be songs that I haven't listened to in years or just a song that I really dig but didn't make another category. We'll see.

I'm going to start in on making the brackets now and I should have a post up sometime in the next day or two. There may even be some mp3's to go with them, who knows.

Please comment and let me know what you think of the songs!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


In the spirit of summer and awesome music I'm posting my favorite songs right now. I hope you enjoy my summer playlist.

1. Lisztomania - Phoenix
-This french indie-pop outfit has been taking the musical world by storm, playing their music for Conan, Letterman and the like and creating a huge blogosphere buzz along the way. I hope you dig this first song from their new album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

2. Corriander - Pomegranates
-Ever since I saw these Cincinnati natives open for my beloved Headlights I had a big love affair with their music. The way they structure their songs and integrate strange timings in to their work is incredible.

3. The Magnificent Seven - The Clash
-Classic Clash. I love that The Clash by the end of their career could do whatever they wanted and still make it awesome and punk as fuck.

4. Cheerleader - Grizzly Bear
-Veckatimest has been on repeat here in the townhome (at least in my basement dwelling) and this song has stuck out as one of my favorites.

5. Knotty Pine - Dirty Projectors with David Byrne
-Since I don't have Bitte Orca (I know, I'm so behind!) I decided to through this offering from the Dark Was the Night comp. on here. It's a fun catchy tune that certainly wasn't detracted by the addition the one and only David Byrne.

6. Kodachrome - Paul Simon
-In honor of the late, great Kodak product which, as Mr. Simon so poignantly sings, brings us the brightest colors and the greens of summer.

7. Sunny Feeling - Wilco
-Oh, Wilco, how do I love thee. Let me count the ways: AM, Being There...Wilco (The Album). That's seven (trust me). This song has such a fun poppy jangle to it that I couldn't resist putting it on my summer mix.

8. My Maudlin Career - Camera Obscura
-I just recently got in to this band thanks to a local record store owner, and I am really glad that I did. The Scottish band put out a fun pop record in the vain of Rilo Kiley and Neko Case. This is the title track from that album.

9. The Ancient Common Sense of Things - Bishop Allen
-Ever since The Broken String burst on to my iTunes in '07 I have been in love with the tunes that this band has been putting out. This song from their sophomore effort, Grrr... is another one of those catchy tunes that they are so good at writing.

10. I Was Once a Loyal Lover - Death Cab for Cutie
-Death Cab is practically obligatory, right? Either way this song is really good.

11. Nothing Ever Happened - Deerhunter
-Noise pop never sounded so good. If you haven't picked up Microcastle yet I'd recommend a trip to a record store or a BitTorrent site.

12. The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!) - The Decemberists
-Colin Meloy wrote a folk-rock-opera. How awesome is that? This is one of my favorite songs off their newest work. It reminds me of Sabbath if they were a folk band.

13. Set 'Em Free - Akron/Family
-Another band that I heard about because of the local record store owner. I like the progressive folk style that Akron/Family has. Their experimental nature is interesting set to the folk music genre. This song goes more for the straightforward folk and they do it well.

14. People Got A Lotta Nerve - Neko Case
-Case's latest, Middle Cyclone, is a strong effort and might be her finest to date. Thanks to my friend Pat for turning me on to her music.

15. Right Moves - Josh Ritter
-I love this guy. He's like Ryan Adams older brother or something. He just does his brand of Alt-Country/Folk so well. He really should be bigger than he is.

16. Luna - Fanfarlo
-A fun young British band that has been generating a good buzz across the internet. Their first album, which this song comes from, is available on their web site for only a dollar. You should get it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Oh, Boredom.

65 Questions You've Probably Never Been Asked...

1. First thing you wash in the shower?
my chest

2. What color is your favorite hoodie?
dark silverish

3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?

4. Do you plan outfits?
nope, not really. black and brown don't go together, that's the only rule i follow.

5. How are you feeling RIGHT now?
tired, bored

6. Whats the closest thing to you that's red?

7. Last dream you remember having?
i placed some skinny girl under citizens arrest and was waiting for the police

8. Did you meet anybody new today?
a lot of kids at camp and soccer

9. What are you craving right now?
nothing really. sleep maybe.

10. Do you floss?
i should

11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage?
hitting a shot in long grass in golf.

12. Are you emotional?
not really

13. Have you ever counted to 1,000?
probably not, i have a shorter attention span than that

14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it?

15. Do you like your hair?
it's alright

16. Do you like yourself?
not all the time

17. Have you lost a best friend recently?
not really

18. What are you listening to right now?

19. Are your parents strict?
not really

20. Would you go sky diving?

21. Do you like cottage cheese?
not a ton

22. Have you ever met a celebrity?
minor celebrities

23. Do you rent movies often?
no, i watch them online

24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you're in?
umm, not really.

25. How many countries have you visited?
one besides the u.s.

26. Have you made a prank phone call?

27. Ever been on a train?
i was this weekend.

28. Brown or white eggs?
over easy. i don't care.

29. Do you have a cell-phone?
fucking eight year olds at day camp do, of course i do.

30. Do you use chap stick?
when i need it.

31. Do you own a gun?

32. Can you use chopsticks?
not correctly

33. Who are you going to be with tonight?
my pillows

34. Are you too forgiving?
with children

35. Ever been in love?

36. What is your best friend(s) doing tomorrow?
uh, i don't know.

37. Ever have cream puffs?

38. Last time you cried?
a long time ago

39. What was the last question you asked?
i don't know

40. Favorite time of the year?
opening day/playoffs(if the indians are involved)

41. Do you have any tattoos?
no thanks

42. Are you sarcastic?

43. Have you ever seen The Butterfly Effect?

44. Have you ever walked into a wall?
all the time

45. Favorite color?
blue or red

46. Have you ever slapped someone?

47. Is your hair curly?
not even a bit

48. What was the last CD you bought?
lol, i think it was dear and the headlights

49. Do looks matter?
uhhhhhh be more specific

50. Could you ever forgive a cheater?
i don't think so

51. Is your phone bill sky high?

52. Do you like your life right now?
yeah, it's busy, but yeah

53. Do you sleep with the TV on?
i use the sleep timer

54. Can you handle the truth?
um, probably

55. Do you have good vision?
yes, but only after a few seconds. vertical astigmatism.

56. Do you hate or dislike more than 3 people?
no, i try not to.

57. How often do you talk on the phone
not that often really.

58. The last person you held hands with?
some four year old at soccer when we were trying to form a circle

59. What are you wearing?

60.What is your favorite animal?
grizzly bears

61. Where was your profile picture taken?
1032 waveland ave

62. Can you hoola hoop?
not the slightest bit

63. Do you have a job?

64. What was the most recent thing you bought?

65. Have you ever crawled through a window?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Snap Judgements on Music I Just Downloaded

New Stuff

1. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Um, "Best New Music," I disagree. Maybe if I was into drugs. Since I'm not, I'll keep my weird music a bit more musical and a bit less computer generated.

2. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
The bands single "Knife" from Yellow House caught my ear the first time I listened to it, the rest of the album, however, took much longer to be memorable. Similarly "Two Weeks" has stuck itself in my head but the rest of the album is still digesting. Jury's out on this one still.

3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz
I dig the danciness of this album. That is not a word, but I figured it best described what the New York group has done with this album. It's a bit like an American, chick-fronted Bloc Party album. The only thing about it I don't like has nothing to do with the music. My friend Pat pointed this out: it's called "It's Blitz" but it's not a loud record. This discrepancy causes a bit of mental anguish on my part, and Pat's too I would surmise.

4. Wavves - S/T
I get it, it's kitsch, aggressive and fun. It's loud and there are something like four songs with "goth" in the title. Good hooks and a bit of studio experimentation, it's an alright album. Not great though.

5. Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything To Nothing
Solid sophomore effort. Not much else to say. I like it but again, I don't love it. I loved their first album for a brief period of time, but it grew old. Hopefully this one goes in reverse of that.

Stuff I Missed Out On

1. Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain
This is the deluxe edition which I read a review of on Pitchfork. Since I enjoyed Kind of Blue quite a bit I figured I'd like the follow up as well. Since it raises the question as to whether or not this is even jazz music, I'm sure that I will dig it, and so far no qualms.

2. Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um
Nineteen fifty-nine was the golden year of jazz, with Davis and Trane collaborating on Kind of Blue and Monk putting out three albums and also working with Trane it was a year that produced some great music. Mingus, the great bassist and band leader put out this gem and I couldn't pass it up. So far so good.

3. Tom Waits - Incomplete Discography
I selected several of Waits best albums from the past thirty years ranging from Closing Time to Alice. I've got the classic, the strange and the obscure. On this current jazz kick and my long-term love with punk, blues and rock music Waits just makes sense. I'm enjoying his music, not all of it, but I'm listening and finding the gems.

4. No Age - Nouns
I don't like it. I think the reviews of this album were off. It's no longer in my iTunes.

5. The Dodos - Visiter
I should have listened to this sooner. It's been mentioned to me before, I just hadn't gotten around to listening. My mistake, it's good.

6. Brian Wilson - Smile
Good but not the best album ever like so many reviews would have you believe. The one thing I don't like is the new "Good Vibrations." Why change a classic even if it was never properly released on a full length.

7. Frightened Rabbit - Sing The Greys
I loved (understatement) Midnight Organ Fight so I had to download this one as well. Haven't listened to enough of it, but I haven't been disappointed.

8. Josh Ritter - Discography
I got The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter a couple months back and loved it so I had to get all of his older material (see a theme emerging?). I love it, anyone who enjoys a good folksy, country-rock singer-songwriter would love all of this as well.

9. Velvet Underground - V.U. & Nico
It's like the first indie record ever. It's an important album, it's not my favorite, but I do like it.

10. Decemberists - 5 Songs and The Tain
Five Songs is the bands first material they ever released and for being early Decemberists it still has all elements that I love about the band. The Tain is eighteen plus minutes of Irish-folk, progressive indie rock that I love. I'm sure I'll have this one on vinyl soon.

That's all for now, I still need to listen to Matt and Kim, Mos Def, Wilco, Kid Cudi (if it ever comes out), etc. etc.

a farewell

i rowed the length of the maggiore to keep you from any harm. my muscles hurt like never before, but montreaux took it all away.
we can be happy here, with the front a distant memory.
we come from separate continents, but fate brought me to you. your belly grew bigger each week, like our love it did bloom.
we will build a family, we'll build a home.
early in the morning, as i stood right by your side, as you birthed our baby, and we prepared to begin our new life.
i stood right by your side, but fate was not with us that day.
i stood right by your side, but i could not say...

Monday, June 1, 2009

First Impressions: The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

I would vote for Conan if he ever ran for political office. No, I don't know his personal political preferences nor do I care. That is because Conan did not lie to us when he left Late Night and he is still the same old Conan.
The pressure was there to change his show, to make it fitting for the 35 and up crowd that tunes in to The Tonight Show and it would have been so easy to tone things down and be a little less...Conan. But right from the start it was obvious that, as promised, there would be no dramatic change: Conan is still Conan.From his trademark hip-string cutting to his tram tour of Universal Studios, Conan picked the Tonight Show up right where Late Night left off.
I must say that Conan took 900 (or 170) lucky, lucky fans on what I would have to wager was the best tour of the studio of all time, a tour that I would have loved to have been a part of. It was signature Conan, reminiscent of the studio tours that Conan took over in 30 Rock during the writers strike.
It was also good to see Max, La Bamba and the rest of the band formerly known as the "Max Weinberg Seven" back in action under the new moniker of "The Tonight Show Band." Everybody's favorite sidekick, Andy Richter, looked like he will make an admirable announcer and even offer more to the show than his voice. For instance, when the top of the 'D' broke off and the camera shots switched between Richter and Conan took me back immediately to the awkward exchanges between Max and Conan.
Having Will Ferrell as the first guest provided a nice flair to the show and his theatrics and personality matched Conan's so well that the jokes about how long Conan will be on the air seemed ridiculous. Plus, Ferrell's line about Twitter, "Forget Twitter, I'm on the CB," was an instant classic.
Overall I am excited to watch Conan in his new time slot for what I believe will be a long time.

Lessons on Life and Love in Wallcoverings

In the one-month plus that I have been gainfully employed by the Menards in Normal I have learned quite a bit. Some of these bits of knowledge is highly trivial, like what lite-rock songs were marginally popular in the late '80s and early '90s or where the toilet seats are located. However, some things I have learned have been very beneficial, and even beyond the wonderful realm of latex and oil paints.
Obviously I can tell you what would be best for your walls or decks and what would be the best way to apply that paint or stain would be. The things I have learned go well beyond work related and in to even more practical applications.
The first lesson I have learned has been a particularly hard one to learn, and I am still learning. That is that nothing is easy and if you want respect you have to earn it. Learning everything there is to know about the multitude of products in our department has not been easy, and I'm not anywhere near where most of my co-workers who have been around for a while are, but I have tried my hardest to absorb as much knowledge as I can and become an asset to the department.
One thing about me is that I dislike feeling like a burden upon anyone almost to a fault. A hard part about starting this job has been having to rely upon my superiors to learn things, which means asking many questions when it may not be the most convenient. About half of the staff has been extremely helpful and kind whenever I ask for assistance and even customers, for the most part, have been patient. Some co-workers, however, don't have that same compassion and understanding, and as a result leave me feeling as if I were in the way. It's been hard, but I have gotten through the hard feelings and perceived impatience and made myself a bit stronger as a person.
That's the first lesson I've learned, that it isn't easy, and I won't have anything handed to me like I may prefer. But if I want this job (which I do, or more correctly need to help pay for rent and food) I have to keep working hard to earn everyone's respect and become a valuable member of Menards, and maybe even get a raise here and there.
The other lesson I have learned in my short time at the store I have learned from the customers. This lesson has no bearing on paint, selling paint or painting anything but it has everything to do with being happy.
In my estimation (which is rough at best), about 75 percent of the couples and 25 percent of single gentlemen (excluding contractors and interior designers) aren't concerned with their purchase as much as they are with how their partner/wife/girlfriends opinion of that purchase.
That's it right there, the key to happiness: if your significant other is happy, you can be happy.
I hope that life, or life in a couple, is that easy. Gauging by the couples I've seen, which includes young couples, small and large families and couples that have been together 40 plus years, it seems to me that all it takes is making sure that the other person is happy. I guess we'll see, but who'd have thunk that I'd learn so much from selling paint.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Musical Notes

Get it? These are my thoughts about music, so they are notes about it. Terrible pun, I'm still laughing.

A. My friend Pat was explaining to me the bands that he would have play at his version of Lollapalooza if anyone ever asked him to put together a festival. It sounded like a cool idea, so I thought I'd give it a try in case any Jane's Addiction lead singers ever need any help with ideas.
1. Wilco: Easy, they're my favorite and they're from Chicago. I think it's a sin they aren't going to be there this year.
2. Spoon: Another softball. This band has been off the radar for a while after the buzz from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga died down, but I would love to hear some new stuff an see these gents play a big show.
3. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals: I'm calling his bluff here. He said he was done playing for a while, but I don't believe it. I think that his married life and book tour will make him want to get on the road again and what better place than a festival?
4. Fleet Foxes: I like the folk sound that this group from the northwest puts together, and I don't care if it makes some people sleepy. It's good music.
5. Vampire Weekend: The last we heard of these chaps they were playing a new song on Fallon's show and I wasn't a big fan of it. I want to hear more new stuff and I want to see these Ivy Leaguers rock their deck shoes off.
6. Kid Cudi: I'm going to surprise some people with this pick, but every fest needs a little hip hop flavor, and for my money this Cleveland native is the best in the biz.
7. Brian Wilson: That Lucky Old Sun came out not too long ago, and those classic Beach Boys hits would be cool to see from the man himself. Plus, who is expecting Brian Wilson at an indie-music fest?
8. American Football: A reunion of one of 90's indie rock's most influential groups in the area they hail from. It would be epic for those who care. Plus Mike Kinsella could play some Owen songs for everyone at some point during the day too.
9. Death Cab For Cutie: Who doesn't want to see these guys? If Zooey made her way on stage for a song or two that would be sweet too.
10. Limbeck!: What fest of mine would be complete without my favorite band? Plus it might open some people's eyes to one of the most agreeable bands I've ever heard.

B. The Open Door EP is awesome. But if I'm Zooey Deschanel I'm thinking otherwise. Here's the deal, the fledgling indie darling gets engaged to the king of the scene and then he writes a collection of songs all related to an open door: a not-so-subtle metaphor about leaving. Yeah, I'd be upset.
These metaphors about marriage, self-doubt and general worries line the entire short collection. They make up an astounding listen for fans of any level, except that special category Zooey belongs to. If I were her, I'd be on the phone with Matt Ward planning another She & Him release about not putting out, or something passive aggressive like that. Let's hope that she admires the art and holds no grudges.

C. I think there should be a song for the Indians like "Go Cubs Go". It's not fair that they have the market cornered on that.

D. Still looking for best new music this year. Good thing Wilco (The Album) drops soon.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Day At Work

The first thing that you notice is the music. Spend more than three minutes inside of your local Menards, and I can guarantee that you will almost certainly question what you are listening to. Most stores will broadcast a light rock, or a country or a pop station, something that most guests (not customers, as I have been reminded several times) will agree on.
I think that whomever chose this particular station believed that they were choosing a generally agreeable station, but I'm not positive that the screening process went very far. The music spans the whole gamut of the late 1960's to the early parts of the new millenium offering country, lite rock, classic rock and songs that make me ask myself, "What the fuck is this?"
In a typical hour the works of such timeless artists as Eddie Money, the Backstreet Boys, George Strait and Carly Simon. That sample is very likely to be heard consecutively because the deejay or computer generated sequence has no idea what a genre is, or how a program could be divided into such rational segments.
The next thing that most customers gifted with eye sight will notice is the rainbow of dayglow colors that adorn almost anything with writing inside the building. From the radioactive green that hangs from the ceilings directing customers to different departments to the royal blue vests emblazoned with highlighter yellow "Menards" worn by all 'team-members.' Each sale is represented by a different color, which means that this week your retinas will burn from the orange sale signs currently posted but in two weeks a nice bright fuchsia could haunt your shopping experience. If your vision hasn't already been impaired by the obnoxious color on display in the store you may be lucky enough to visit during a time when the employees are allowed (by the gracious Menards t-shirt gods) to wear special tee's with the Menards NASCAR printed on it. If a NASCAR t-shirt isn't trashy enough, the car is a mineral-rich urine color bordered by royal blue and blaze orange.
Though most guests will be squinting until they get accustomed to the colors in the store they will be able to find absolutely anything that they could ever need for anything they would ever want to do in any application at Menards. Besides your typical home improvement supplies, all stores now carry such goods as DVD's, small food items (even many sizes of milk) and lawn darts. Why a home improvement store like Menards would carry such items is beyond my knowledge, I suppose it does make shopping easier for the DIYer with no time for other stores, however.
Of course there are parts of the store that are not immediately evident by the average customer such as the joke of a break room that is offered above the hardware section. The mezzanine features quality made plastic furniture that just barely wobbles when you sit on it for the comfort of the hard at work employees to enjoy. On the three bare walls there is a clock and a note reminding employees to clean up after themselves, because a television might suggest that employees should really take a break while on break.
Hand down the best part of the break room is the camaraderie shared by all employees who use it. Aside from the occasional cashier girl clique breaking together or a significant other bringing an employee lunch you can enjoy the company of no one while eating a meal or resting your feet. You may sit directly beside another employee, but after the customary greeting enjoy their silence while you watch the second tick away until you must return to the sales floor.
Of course, I wouldn't say that Menards is a terrible place to work, because it is not. The pay is especially not a bad thing, and you've got to pay the bills somehow. I will also give the company credit for finding managers who really give two shits about what they are doing. It's just part time, so what the hell, I can find ways to make it better I suppose.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I hate the Indians (bullpen)

Cliff Lee has given up 9 earned runs in his last 7 starts, that's 52 innings which comes out to an ERA of 1.21.
Phenomenal. With such stingy pitching he should have 7 wins, right? Wrong. Instead he is exactly 2-3. I don't know how to calculate criminally unsupported starts, but I can tell you that Cliffy has a couple now.
That is not the issue tonight, however. Tonight my ire comes down upon the bullpen who have let me down, and let me down, and let me down and on forever. Eight innings Cliff gave the team tonight, and the offense actually managed to put a five spot on Brian Bannister who has owned them in the past. All Kerry Wood had to do was the job he signed a two-year contract to do: close out the ballgame. But like the rest of his battery mates, he decided to implode and give the damn ballgame away.
After two straight home runs, I couldn't even watch as the Royals proceeded to drive in the final, winning runs.
Since May 6th there have been five moves made involving 15 people. With all these moves perhaps things could change, or maybe it could just make me feel like I wasted money on
I've never been more disappointed in an Indians team before. It might be because I had high hopes for this season based on how poor the end of '07 and all of '08 were. But I don't think anything like this should be occurring.
I have never been one to blame a coach for how the team is playing, but at this point Eric Wedge has to go. Clearly he does not have a handle on this team, and things need to be shaken up.
I've always loved Uncle Eric, but I think tonight was the last straw. If the Indians don't do something as soon as possible, it's going to be too late. That something has to be drastic too, we can't just keep shuffling relievers.
In a division whose leader is two games over .500 and this terrible team only trails by 8.5, there is still time, but, (and I can't stress this enough) things have to change.

New Music

Is it just me, or has this year been particularly lackluster in regards to new music? There have been a few good things to come out in the past five months but the ones that have the most staying power aren't really spectacular.
For instance, the albums that I would call the 'best' so far have been Noble Beast by Andrew Bird and The Hazards of Love by The Decemberists. To be honest, these albums are not great, they are not the best in either artists repertoire and certainly not anything like what we saw in 2008.
Last year brought us Vampire Weekend, Midnight Organ Fight by Frightened Rabbit, Fleet Foxes, Dear Science by TV on the Radio, new Sigur Rós and Death Cab just to name a few. It was a stellar year for indie music, I'm still catching up to it.
This year, however, I feel like the quality of music that has been declared "Best New Music" is not the same. For instance, Pitchfork recommends St. Vincent, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Deerhunter and Animal Collective as the best music that has come out this year. Even Dark Was The Night made their list. I'm sorry, though each of those artists does have some decent tunes, it's not on the same level as what we saw last year, I mean DWTN is a compilation of one-off songs that most of the bands determined not good enough for a full length. Conor Oberst siply re-did an old Bright Eyes song, and though it was good, I don't think that deserves the 'Best New Music' title.
Of course, hindsight is 20-20, and at this time next year I might be proclaiming 2009 the best year ever for music. I hope so, I'd like to get some new tunes spinning soon. Wilco (The Album) is due out in five weeks now, so there is hope (at least for my personal collection). For the time being I'm going to let the needle drop on something from the past.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Holden Caufield

Today, I feel like Holden Caufield.
Everything is going one-hundred miles an hour, in five different directions.
Or maybe I am Andrew Largeman.
While everything else seems to be a blur, I feel like I'm standing still.

This coming of age story has been written countless times before, and I am no different than any of those stories. I don't know how it ends, but I suppose I just need to keep up.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ever have one of those moments...

when you act like an idiot and say the first thing that comes to mind. Yeah, I did that. I don't mean to be so emo, I just don't quite know how to deal with some things yet. Thanks to some good, kind words words from some better friends I realize that things aren't so bad and maybe I'm not in the worst place ever right now.
So I guess that means that I'm sorry for sounding like such a pathetic train wreck and throwing people under the bus. On to better things.

First Impressions: Wilco (The Album)

Random thoughts about what I've heard/seen:

-The cover art is amazing.
-Wilco (The Song) is just as good as it was on Colbert
-One Wing sounds awesome.
-I'm not sold on Deeper Down.
-Bull Black Nova is different, but it's still Wilco...I don't know yet.
-The duets on You and I and Country Disappeared are really pretty
-You and I reminds me of an old fashioned country song, like Johnny Cash and June Carter, but you know, like Wilco
-Country Disappeared has a Sky Blue Sky chill to it with am AM country vibe
-Solitaire is really stripped down, more so than most songs since A Ghost Is Born
-I'll Fight is fun, that and Solitaire are early favorites off the album
-I'm getting a bit of Summerteeth from Sonny Feeling, it's poppy and twangy
-I changed my mind Sonny Feeling is my favorite off the album at this point
-Everlasting Everything hasn't grown on me yet. I heard Tweedy do it solo in Champaign, but I still need more time with it.
-The album is less like AM than the first track (Wilco [The Song]) led me to believe but it stays away from the Sky Blue Sky slow territory as well (with no disrespect to SBS
-I like the second half of the album more, for the most part

Premature grade: B+/A-
I like it, it goes back to earlier Wilco stuff and presents more of a raw sound than YHF or A Ghost did. I think that the more I listen to it the better it will get.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Restaurant Review

Normal, Il

Grade: A-

For those of you unfamiliar with Destihl the concept is quite simple: high quality beer and food, both handcrafted in-house. It is simple, elegant and wonderfully executed.

I have been to the restaurant on many occasions and being an adventurous soul, tried something different on each visit. On these visits I have had the pleasure of experiencing their kobe beef burger, pancetta and apple pizza, beer braised spare ribs, green chile and cavatappi pasta and the ham and apple sandwich.

The best meal that I have had at the restaurant by far has been the kobe beef burger. Eight ounces of tender, delicious kobe beef topped with crunchy maple jalapeño bacon, white cheddar and bleu cheeses with a side of their espresso chipotle barbecue sauce. If reading that sentence does not make your mouth water you may need to see a doctor. The meat by itself would pass as a delightful entree, but paired with the sweet and spicy bacon and barbecue sauce it becomes something more. The flavors dance across the palate creating a delicate flavor balance that has been masterfully crafted in the kitchens by a chef who clearly takes pride in his or her work.

The fact that the burger was the best meal I have had at Destihl is not meant to take anything away from any of the other meals I have had. The pancetta and apple pizza is another creative flavor combo from the restaurant that works on many levels. The crispy pancetta sprinkled around the pizza offers a good textural contrast to the soft cheese and apple that top the thin brick-oven cooked crust. The apple is mild offering a sweetness to balance the saltiness of the pancetta and the savor of the gouda that adorn the top. The ale onions balance the sweet and savory of the apple and gouda and tie the flavors together.

The beer braised spare ribs are rubbed with a combination of stout and ancho chiles and cooked until the meat is falling of the bones. The flavors are rich and complex, taking barbecue to a completely different level. The espresso chipotle barbecue sauce served on the side adds a little bitterness and a little heat to the already tender and juicy meat. The side of shoestring potatoes compliment the dish well and help to absorb some of the extra sauce.

I was a bit disappointed in the green chile and cavatappi, but only for the sole reason that I had been blown away by everything prior to that. The meal was still very satisfying and good, just a bit under-par in a head-to-head comparison. The meal is served with ancho chicken and black beans in a light cream and corn sauce. The sauce, in my opinion, was very watered down especially since the dish is served as a chili-mac. If the sauce had been thickened the dish as a whole would have been much better, but as is the flavors of the chicken, cheese and vegetables play on the tongue and never overpower, rather create an interesting southwestern flavor.

One of the lunch options that I have sampled is the ham and apple sandwich. I was impressed by the thick cut spiral ham that the chef used. It reminded me of Christmas dinners, it was well cooked, sweet and flavorful, however, more than a third of the ham was comprised of fat. Part of the sandwich was very difficult to chew through because of the high fat content, but it didn't ruin my meal altogether. The ham and apple combination is one of my favorites, the sweetness of the apple really compliment the sweetness of the ham. Topped with my favorite kind of bacon, applewood smoked, and an apple-horseradish mayonnaise I could see the sandwich being one of the best on the menu easily.

The drinks, of course, are another specialty of the restaurant and all of their beers are brewed on site. Being slightly under the age of legal consumption I have not been able to try many of their signature ales, but I hope to have someone else provide some insight in the near future. I have been able to sip on their orange-ginger blossom iced tea, and I can recommend it to anyone looking for a non-alcoholic beverage to compliment their meal.

Overall I give the restaurant an A- because of the little things that have detracted from my overall experience. As a whole the restaurant is one of the top of the line, and certainly the nicest I have visited in Normal. The prices are all moderate and very reasonable for the quality that is offered. Everyone I have gone with has also raved about the restrooms, and after visiting myself I must say I was impressed with their cleanliness and smell, something I normally wouldn't compliment a gentleman's restroom for.

I would recommend that anyone looking for a good meal at a decent price in Normal check out Destihl. With the patio seating available in the summer months, this restaurant is sure to please.


Hello loyal friends or no one at all, I am back from my self-imposed, purposeless writing hiatus. I don't know why I stopped writing so much. I guess I just got bored with everything. It happens. But the good news for you lucky two readers is that I'll be posting more often.
Back here at the dorms everyone is packing up and moving out. Thank god, I have had more than my fair share of this creativity stifling hell hole. I'm ready to move out and move up to my own place and a fresh start.
I need a fresh start. Today is Courtney's birthday and it made me re-evaluate my birthday last year. At the time I was okay with not going out or doing anything really at all, but looking back I'm actually pissed about it. Because all of my friends went out with my ex-girlfriend the night before for her birthday I got shit on. What good friends.
That's where the new start comes in. I practically removed myself from Facebook, so we'll see which of my friends really care about me sometime soon.
Anyway, enough of the personal b.s. I've decided to do some new things with this space. I'm thinking more music, film and food reviews, occasional mind dumps and some witticisms here and there. I hope the one person who reads this enjoys it.