Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How do you handle a musical bully?

Q: What do you do when a stranger wants to talk to you about music?
A: Follow some of these steps.

Yesterday I received an e-mail expressing mild frustration about not being able to keep up with today’s music. Basically, this guy was caught in the middle of a conversation at a holiday party in which only ten percent of the acts mentioned were recognizable.

He asked what I do to keep up with new music, finally realizing his car radio presets weren’t going to be a viable source for new content. I gave him my standard, “podcasts, podcasts, podcasts” response – which appeared to be more work than he’d be willing to undertake. An entirely understandable stance: for even professional music critics – who just sit around all day listening to music – are many times running behind as well.

So I decided to offer the following, lazy method, to holding your own if you get cornered by a music aficionado. If you’re going to a New Year’s Eve Party this Thursday, you’ll likely have a bulldozer approach trying to find somebody/anybody willing to listen…

The easiest defense is to ask one of these Tune Bullies a question that will give them an opportunity to further prove to themselves they have important thoughts. Now, this is a polite course of action that will buy you more time until you see an opening for an escape. Questions that will work in almost any situation include:
-Do you know who produced that album/track, seems like that’s a more important part of the musical equation now?
-Is that also available on Amazon, because you know iTunes is so 2007, right?
-Do they tour?

If you are called upon to bring up a musical act, tread carefully. If you just met this person, they might want to start a “dueling banjos of unknown acts.” I’ve gotten into these back and forths – and nobody wins. The following statements will hopefully get you out of having to name an act that will come under instant scrutiny.
-It’s been tough to find new music, nothing sounds original anymore.
-New music doesn’t interest me, especially when you see those confusing reviews on Pitchfork.
-Actually, I’ve had a fun time recently rediscovering music I’d forgotten since high school.

Now for the advanced level tactic.
To be used when you particularly don’t care for whoever trapped you into this conversation. It’s time to start an arms race…
-Invent a genre, label it yourself... (i.e. “Mountie Rock”)
-Create an unknown act using exactly three short words or “The (insert word)s” (i.e. Neutral Milk Hotel or The Fuck Buttons). But be careful, because those two bands already exist.  Just play it safe and mention The xx:
Here they are performing the song "Islands"
They were in Chicago recently, early December, at The Bottom Lounge
They return in early April to play at the new Lincoln Hall
(bonus music snobbery: know that Lincoln Hall is the new concert hall run by the crew behind Schubas)
This album has made a few top ten lists, including NPR's listeners' poll.

Here are some possible fictitious genre names to consider assigning this band:
Your preferred merge of the words Angst and Orchestral (Angstestral?)

This works. I have successfully fooled many people into thinking I go to thousands of concerts and have an iPod library the size of Gibraltar. The truth is there are massive gaps in my musical knowledge and even the small amounts of acts I do know well, I only know tangentially.

I like what I like, as does everybody... And that's really the only way to talk about music with others. Maybe you'll get a good tip - or even better - might give a good tip to someone else.

Happy New Year everybody.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Is it named after the time or drug element?

Q: Did I ever tell you about Speed Dating?
A: If not, enjoy this gem from MySpace's discontinued "View de TQ"

Over the past couple months, I've heard some front line battlefield reports from friends caught in the eHarm war... I asked each if they are considering "re-upping" their current tour of duty. One question I won't ask them, "Maybe you should try Speed Dating?"

Here is the reason why I won't be offering that as an option... to anybody...
(Reposted in it's original stark manner, for no google image search possible can convey the depth of this experience)

ORIGINAL POST DATE: November 10, 2008
ORIGINAL POST TITLE: The Unabridged, sad, tale of my misadventure into Speed Dating.

A couple minutes shy of 2 am, I am unable to sleep.
Now is just as good of a time to relay to you the ordeal of this past Wednesday.

My anninimity already gone, I will attempt to keep it for all others involved.
(All names have been changed)

Buster and Keaton are both single like me.
Amongst our normal "guy" talk consisting of the current fantasy sport issue or recent NetFlix title viewed - we've shared our various reports from the war of single life of the modern era.

Online winking there, blind craisglist dating there, coworker allegiance misinterpretations of the past and neighbor interactions of the future...

When Buster brought up the idea of attending a Speed Dating event it was mainly presented as:
"When we've been trying all these other methods, how can we not give this a shot?"
I was on board as long as Buster and Keaton would be in - I thought (at least) I'd be writing to inform others of an entertaining story.
Keaton, I sensed, was not fully on board.
After a year of joking and batting around the idea, we all committed.

Registration was to open at 8 pm, with the event starting at 8:30.
Buster arrived at my curb at about 7:50.
Keaton was already in the car.
Buster flipped on the dome light in his car, to make sure I wasn't wearing the same shirt.
We weren't... But in all respects - we were.

The striped shirt has become a massive cliche in the single guy wardrobe.
A slow plague of striped shirt dominance has appeared in my closet.
If you were to catch me stepping out to work, you have an over 80% chance of seeing me wearing a striped shirt.
It has become the new prison uniform.

We arrive at the location: a hotel in Rosemont (another suburb known for their... well, hotels to be honest with you).
Specifically the hotel bar, where we register.
Keaton first, followed by me, and finally by Buster.
Keaton has been assigned number 35, me 36, and Buster 37.
We were all handed sticker "name tags" with just these two digits markered onto them.

Now just killing time before the "first date" we attempt to scan the crowd for a sneak preview of our future.
I see no women with nametags.
I barely see any women at all.
There's the cocktail waitress, and a young woman playing at the pool table located just beyond the limits of the bar's seating area.

This bar is classically lit - for a bar....
Which means, dimly lit.
The music playing makes me feel like I'm at a junior high dance party.
The air is cold, thanks to a propped-open (for reasons unknown ) door.

A bit of future foreshadowing:
The most attractive girl I saw was our cocktail server.
The second most attractive girl I saw was the pool player, who quickly left the area before the monstrosity began.
The most interesting person I met was one of the other MALE speed daters.

Keaton was to begin at table 7.
I was slotted for table 6.
Buster got pegged for table 5.

Although I'm loosely using the term "table" here. The respective areas were more like lounge/booth setups than chairs with a table.

Carol is an assistant buyer for a large retail apparel chain.
She quickly announces her single motherdom.
She is an attractive woman, and has positive qualities.
The six minutes we spent was unspectacular.
I mentioned that I liked going to the city for concerts.
She recommended a pizza place nearby one of the venues owned by her friends.
After the debriefing with my two friends, it's learned that she has two children, aged 3 and 5.
Also learned is her age - six years older than I - and that she supposedly made out very well in a recent divorce.
Ladies and Gentleman, if you were a cougar hunter - I think Carol might have been your pick.
Truthfully, not for me.

I'm in the lucky position of being between Buster and Keaton. I don't need to wander around looking for numbers - just follow Keaton. Also, I don't have to worry about the next guy blowing up my spot because I'm confident that Buster won't be interrupting me looking to get a head start.

Here's how ROUND 2 began, word-for-word:
TQ: Hi, my name is Tom
Eleanor: Hi, I'm El- Tom [my actual last name]?
TQ: (instantly looking to my name tag, confused it just has "36" and not my name) yeah.
Eleanor: I went to Grammar School with you.
TQ: Eleanor Roosevelt?
Elanor: (nods head approvingly)
TQ: Oh, hey.

So let me fully illustrate how insulting me forgetting Eleanor Roosevelt is.
I went to a small Catholic Grammar School.
(By the way, let the record show I graduated first in my class)
Also, I went to this school from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade with Eleanor.
But she didn't look insulted in the least, for she used to have a crush on me.
I know this because I was invited to her 15th birthday party.
I have yet to find anybody else who was invited to that party in 1994.
It's safe to say, I went the last 15 years without thinking of Eleanor Roosevelt.
And now, I had to do nothing but think of her for the next six minutes.

Eleanor: I was just thinking of you, when I was walking my dog past your parents' house-
TQ: (interrupting) My parents don't live there anymore.
Eleanor: Oh, where?
TQ: Arlington Heights.
Eleanor: Oh, where in?
TQ: Lake Arlington
Eleanor: Oh, in one of the town homes?

Buster tells me, one of the first things Eleanor said to him during ROUND 3 is that she went to Grammar School with me.
Buster informed Eleanor that he was my friend, and wanted to know what I was like back in the day...
Buster told me she said, "He was wonderful."
He also told me that Eleanor said, "You know, I'm afraid you may stalk me - because your friend knows where I live."

So after I left the dark alley falsely disguised as memory lane with Eleanor, I looked to find Keaton - in order to find to whatever girl he just "dated."
But instead I saw Keaton sitting in the corner of the bar alone - not moving.
"Welcome to the bullpen" he says to me as I walk over.

Turns out that "Girl 7" is the end of the line, and because there are 11 guys at the event, you have to wait until the bottleneck clears up before you can talk to "Girl 1"
Keaton had just spent, in his terms "the longest six minutes of my life here with my tail between my legs." He was one fourth of his way into the bullpen experience.

Again, my position proved to be my advantage. I was able to spend this time - not alone - but talking and joking with Keaton... Six minutes later Buster would join us in the bullpen. And it was in this time period that the cocktail server came by to ask us if we wanted another drink. A cruel irony to have that attractive women talk to us at that point in the evening.

Keaton finally broke out of the bullpen to go back into the fray, and Buster and I talked with another guy newly arrived to the bullpen...
This was the most interesting person I met.
He was tall, like Barrack Obama.
He was slender, like Barrack Obama
He had a slightly darker skin tone, had short hair with a hairline like... you guessed it.
This guy, if he wanted to, could make a career as an impersonator of the man who was elected the night before to be our 44th President.
The story he told, of how he was able to get a blind date to the Grant Park Rally because he looked like Obama, was the best story of the night.

The first question that Debra asked me was, "How old are you?"
I didn't think this was appropriate to ask, I certainly didn't ask her in return.
TQ: 29, will be 30 in January.
Debra: Oh, when in January?
TQ: The 24th.
Debra: Oooooh, you're an Aquarian - that's gooood.

Later I found out that Debra grew up on the East Coast - went to a school I seemingly knew more about that her, and works for a major Airline. Also, I found out that Debra did not pay for this event....

Oh yeah, I had to pay $35 to attend such a circus.

...Debra was brought in by the event's organizers because too many men had signed up. She was brought in to even out the numbers. This was a clear example of having the "B-Team" brought in to the game during a blowout.

Gweneth is here with friends. She's happy to hear I'm here with friends too. She wants to know who my friends are - but I politely don't tell her.
She, in not a polite of fashion, wants me to guess who she's here with.
Because I later find out that she is an Air Traffic Controller, I don't have a hard time guessing.
Also, I should point out, that I'm noticing the intoxicating levels of alcohol being ingested by these women.
Gweneth has a difficult time connecting her lips to her wine glass on first attempt.
The only thing notable about Gweneth is her accent, she was born in England.
It's the only thing I found interesting about her... Something that was not of her control (like her drinking).

I'm not going to change this girl's name, because I think it's fake.
"Dream" is the name she told me.
I bet she wanted me to say, "what was that again?" but I heard it.
I bet she also wanted me to compliment on that name's beauty or originality, but I wasn't.
Midway through our six minute semi-interview for her courtship the beautiful cocktail server interrupted us to refill her triangular shaped liquor fueling system. She (the server) was doing a lot of this - which Keaton told me later he didn't appreciate.
Personally, I could have used more of it.
I was already beginning to mentally check out of this affair. Growing more upset at the level of drunkenness at the other end of the conversation.

Petria asked me 3 times in six minutes what I did for a living.
I answered truthfully everytime, but using different word choices.
My idea was to avoid the same words sparking a "oh, I already asked that" in her mind.
A potentiallly embarrassing situation.
But I think I overestimated Petria, it probably just confused her more.
This girl's best story was told to Buster one round (and another drink) after me.
I really wish I would've heard first hand how she reacted on the morning of September 11, 2001. Especially how the role of moving around her with her ex-boyfriend was involved. Supposedly, it involved someone dropping to their knees.

And then we came to the end.
Sharon, I thought, was the drunkest.
Turns out, she was the dumbest.
After this event, when Keaton went to the Mens Bathroom - he saw Sharon walking in when he was walking out.
Sharon is taking courses at a local community college to be a web designer.
Sharon does not know how to work an iPod.
Sharon, when asked by me what she does for fun, said, "I have a cat.... and I walk my two dogs."
I mentioned that I like to go to concerts - asked her the last show she saw was.
Sharon said, "I saw Carrie Underwood in Peoria, do you know what Peoria is?"
I told her the next show I had tickets for was My Morning Jacket.
"What's My Morning Jacket?"

Meanwhile the organizer comes by to tell us that he's not going to blow the whistle, because this was the last round.
Yeah, if I forgot to mention it before, the organizer had a gym-class-issued whistle he's blow every "six" minutes. (Reports vary on just how accurate his timing method was)
I was nearly visibly angry at this lack of whistle blowing. I wanted to grab it from him and blow the holy hell out of it myself.

Next to me, I see Keaton walking away from Carol, girl six, who I started my night with and now Keaton was ending. Keaton was walking away, but Carol was now ordering another drink. I was thankful I got to talk to Carol before the liquid got to her.

Finally, when the organizer asked for my "card" it was my excuse to bail on Sharon.
This card was where you wrote down who you had interest in.
The girls supposedly do the same.
Buster wrote "no" for all seven women.
Although Keaton and I were not as decisive in our summary of the night - we all hope to never see any of these characters again.

Was it worth it?
Honestly, I don't know.
Yes, I got a story out of it (which was my only goal).
People who I told this story to last week laughed (which made me smile).
But I feel awful for having gone through it.

Monastic life looks better and better.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Do You Realize?

Q: When does a Phoenix fail to rise from the ashes?
A: Looks like it's dependent on it's touring drummer.

The main appeal of the annual XRT Big Holiday Concert for me was the French pop sensation Phoenix. I initially balked at getting tickets to this show, especially since I've seen them twice this year already - and at better venues than the Allstate Arena. However, when a friend had extra tickets available, I didn't hesitate to grab'em.

Sadly, news broke shortly before they appeared on stage that they would be without their touring drummer due to a family health emergency that understandably, and rightly, held a higher priority than honoring a previous commitment to perform for a band in suburban Chicago. Phoenix could have just canceled their entire set - but instead opted to play a 20 minute acoustic set that featured only four songs.

It was painful to watch. Their songs lacked the intensity required to fill the area and the performers looked to have lacked the enthusiasm or momentum to carry through. They were painfully apologetic between their songs, and left the stage as dissapointed as the concert goers. Having seen them at full strength, I felt sorry for others that may have also assigned them the top spot in their lists of anticipation who weren't as lucky I to have seen them at their other two shows (which had sold out both the Park West and Aragon).

But all was not lost.
I didn't know it then, but to walk into the Allstate Arena concentrating on Phoenix's set was horribly short sided. This was not a Phoenix concert. Ask those four fries from Versailles - they'll tell ya also - this was a Flaming Lips show. The stage was set up for them, the majority of the crowd was there for them, and they bought it.

It's a shame I wasn't able to prepare for this show to the level I am accustomed to. Due to the unfortunate consequence of Do Make Say Think and Mew rolling into town in the week leading, I was musically focused on preparing for those shows. If I can, I like to listen to as much of an act's discography in preparation for seeing them live. I want to know what song is playing after three notes, I want to be able to yell the chorus and the verses.

The fact that, when I look back and realize that I was only familiar with their "radio hits," but still massively enjoyed the show, is a testament to how well The Flaming Lips performed that night. Shortly after the show I was asked what my highlight was... The question kinda took me off guard, and I hastily said it was when they played "Do You Realize" during a magnificent storm of confetti.

But looking back, I think the true highlight was the very start of the set. Starting with the human gerbil ball entrance...

Leading into their first song: "Race for the Prize" which included a release of large balloons into the crowd. I had General Admission floor tickets, right in the heart of the Bezerk of the Balloons. Let me assure you I used everything I learned during my stint on the Hersey High Volleyball team in addition to my natural height advantage to aid in my enjoyment of that first song.

One of my friends who was at this show with me is also a coworker. He walked up to my cube and saw me a tad perplexed hours before the show. It was because I was in "cram session" mode listening to this group. I told him that I felt a little overwhelmed due to how much music this group has produced over the last fifteen or so years. He calmed me down a bit, and told me their album "The Soft Bulletin" was solid. The first song on this album is in fact "Race for the Prize" and to have the first song of the set be recognizable, and have it be played in such an enthusiastic manner (washing away any poor Phoenix aftertaste) set me up to enjoy a great headlining set.

The Flaming Lips won me over.
Without question, I will want to see them the next time they stroll through town.
Any regrets I might have had about my lack of prep will be cleanly washed away with that next show.

I'm going to enjoy the next few months of my life, which will certainly include a further review of their musical resume. Yes, I'm late to this party - but that won't mean I'll be having any less fun at it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What does the "I" stand for again?

Q: How important are you?
A: Very.

This story happened a while ago, but I'm just now getting around to it.
It's the tale of my first experience as a V.I.P. at the Metro.

Most concert goers in Chicago will answer "Metro" when asked to provide their favorite show venue. I believe even those hipsters with the tightest of jeans will leave their island of "small show" superiority to compliment this Clark Street stalwart. It's still small, when compared to such other locations as The Riv[eria] or Aragon [Ballroom], but will still have "known" commodities on their marquee. Best of all, Metro seems to keep their prices somewhat reasonable (a far cry from the ass blasting procedures of the House of Blues).

So when a small, in my estimation, band from Denmark announced a headlining show there a two months ago I jumped at the chance. Mew had come into town twice this year already. First as one of the many opening acts at the annual Pitchfork Festival in Union Park. In hindsight, if I had known then what I know about The Flaming Lips (this is a tease for my next post), who headlined that event, I would've been there. The last time they came into town was to open for Nine Inch Nails... Nothing against Nine Inch Nails, but I wasn't going to pay for a NIN priced ticket for a show in which I was more interested in the opening act. Not to mention, I thought Mew and NIN was a horrible mismatch - stylistically.

So why Mew?
Why now?
Well, I first heard them about 4 years ago when I heard their song "Special."

Since then I've gathered 20+ songs from 4 different albums and have been biding my time...

This next part of the story... I don't know how I got from there to here... But next thing I know I'm sitting in the VIP area... Trying to act cool:

I went with a pair of music loving sisters. One who is from the [in]famous Conflict Diamond kickball team. It was her sister, who I met for the first time the evening of that show, who had the connection with a Metro employee. (side note: isn't "connection" such a more classy term than "hook-up?")

For the first time ever I saw a concert without paying for parking, tickets, drinks, or the cost of time needed to show up early for a good viewpoint. (However, for the sake of accountability, the parking was free regardless thanks to parking being much more available when the Cubs aren't playing down the street)

The VIP area is up in the balcony. We had a table reserved for us a little closer to Stage Right from center. Oh, and seats for the table... I don't attend many seated concerts, but seeing how I've listened to this band as frequently as I did sitting in my cube at work it felt more than natural. More importantly, I've realized just how spoiled I am for having a pair of eyes higher in the air than most. The two sisters who accompanied me, both of them, are in the range of 7 to 10 inches shorter than I (as long as women continue to wear heels / boots / unknown to me entities on their feet around me I will never be an accurate judge of female height). Not having to struggle for a vision window to the stage is a much larger plus in their books.

Although I did pose with that above "too cool for school" photograph, I asked to have another one snapped to show my true emotion of the evening: cheesy giddiness.

Their second song of the set was the aforementioned "Special." They also had a nice mix of older songs and tracks off their current album. The greatest named album of 2009: No More Stories Are Told Today I'm Sorry They Washed Away No More Stories The World Is Grey I'm Tired Let's Wash Away

I really wish they would've played more. I think their set was just over an hour. For a band that has 3+ albums, they could have done more. They aren't an upstart band with only ten songs to their name... But maybe they didn't have any oddball visual accompaniment planned for their other songs? Yup, this band is not for those of you with epilepsy. We're talking massive coordinated strobe lights and a video screen that has the ability to conjure follow up night terrors for those of weaker minds. As much as I like Mew, I had to laugh at some of the oddball animation, such as cartoon humans with feline heads marching, chosen as backdrops.

But all is right in my mind - I wasn't there for a visual critique of their artsy fartsy craftsy orchestral pop rock alternative moving pictures. They have a great sound and I'm more than happy I heard it... as a V.I.P. nonetheless!

Finally, another song they played in their set - one that if it had been absent it would've been a cornerstone disappointment, was "Sometimes Life Isn't Easy." It's the song that makes their newest album worth the price on it's own.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why is New Jersey so damn entertaining?

Q: What phrase should become more popular?
A: "Put a jersey on!"

Just so you know, many years ago there was an odd exchange after a Green Bay Packers / Tampa Bay Buccaneers game between Warren Sapp and Mike Sherman. The GB head coach did not appreciate the TB defensive lineman's actions during the game. Sapp's response was to keep repeating the line, "Put a jersey on, put a jersey on..."

Lately, I've put a jersey on (cue cliche record squeal) my television.
The following are two recommendations for your televisions.
Both involve the State of New Jersey.
Both have real people.
Both couldn't be more different from each other.

You should watch MTV's Jersey Shore

Especially if you are, like me, someone who loved all the True Life episodes documenting young people's antics in Seaside Heights, NJ. This show is a true extension of those gems. However, nobody on this cast is as great as the all-time great "Tommy." (<- that's a YouTube link to his stellar True Life appearance)

This is a reality show. Make no mistake about it. Sure, I'm sure a lot of it is staged. And, not being at all exposed to "that scene" it is sometimes difficult to imagine people are actually like this. I also feel very bad for the Italian-American Defamation League. I have less sympathy for Jersey Girls. This show tries to show real drama, but the result is actual comedy.

There's already a genre assigned for actual real life drama: documentaries...

You should watch Sundance Channel's Brick City.

I rented this from Net Flix, but I believe it's also available to a lot of people who have a Sundance option in their "On Demand" listings.

On the whole, this is a good story.
A success story.
But it's amazing how horrible success can appear.
Once again I'm reminded how incredibly lucky of an existence I have.
A freakin' blissful ignorance of a childhood with no threats of gangs, drugs, poverty, fatherlessness, violence, and a general unknowing if I would live to see 30.

But this series is not all about doom and gloom as a city, Newark, fights to feel good about itself again.

On the other hand, it's a document primarily about a charismatic Mayor who believes progress can continue.
A confident police director who's views his pursuit as more of a vocation than a job.
A young woman accepting her past choices and actively mentoring others based on her experiences.

And then there are my personal highlights: a band of people who struggle every day for small victories like a school principal in a new school, a member of a "Men Against Murdering Our Children" support group and an old man named Street Doctor who is the head of a large grass roots volunteer effort in Newark.

On multiple occasions I had to rewind to catch some of the amazing quotes and drops of wisdom captured during Brick City.

I'll only choose to share one here, for I don't want to spoil the experience I just had for you:
"They say the reward for suffering is experience."

And now, it's time for some hidden tracks.
Mindless insomniac rants I don't want classified in its own post.

By the way, it's 4 am now.

I've been better places mentally.
But I think these two Jersey related shows are helping me now.
My life has been without perspective lately.
I'm not a bad person.
You won't see me fist pumping in a club.
My anxiety is stupid.
I'm not hungry, I have a job, I feel safe.

I'm wondering if I should convert this to a "music only" blog
There are two concerts I went to that I want to review here
A potentially very large musical initiative I am considering
More and more music that I'm finding every day that I want to share

But that's not why I started writing almost five years ago
It was for nights like now, when I can't sleep
When I have thoughts that can't stop
Thoughts that I don't necessarily want to share with anybody specifically
But I feel need to escape from my own inner monologue

Stuff I certainly can't say when I'm starting to get anonymous comments
But don't worry, I have no plans on removing that option.
I consider myself very approachable, if you don't want to leave your name - fine.
People have been, thankfully, upfront and honest to me recently.

...I'm opting to quit here with tons more in my mind...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Aren't talented friends wonderful?

Q: What's keeping me up tonight?
A: I needed to upload this song pardody!

My friend Stefan, the professional writer, sings a Tiger Woods inspired parody of a John Legend song called "Stereo."
He e-mailed it to me this morning, and I felt compelled to upload it. Thankfully, he granted me permission to use the song.

("Ya Ha" is a commonly used term on WSCR 670 AM The Score's Boers and Bernstein show)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Who is ohad benchetrit? (And Do Make Say Think for that matter?)

Q: What's my favorite musician who's name I honestly don't know how to pronounce?
A: Ohad Benchetrit, one of the founding members of the Mountie Rock band Do Make Say Think.

Charles Spearin (left) and Ohad Benchetrit (right) are the two leading forces behind Do Make Say Think, a mainly instrument heavy - non vocal - post rock band out of Canada. Charles and Ohad are consistent Members of Broken Social Scene (a big time favorite of yours truly).

A quick refresher on Mountie Rock:
It's the label I've given a genre that describes the interconnected independent music scene in Canada. It's bascially a family tree with interconnecting and common branches, with Broken Social Scene as it's "trunk." The creation of Broken Social Scene was a bunch of struggling musicians who all pooled together to make a side project - only the side project of BSS caught on and caught the folllowing initially intented for everybody's main project...

So back to Charles and Ohad... The project they call their own - together - is Do Make Say Think. (Not unlike how Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew are the heart of Broken Social Scene). What was especially cool about this show were that the opening acts consisted of the individual side/solo efforts of Charles and Ohad respectively.

First was Years. This is Ohad's baby, which is a very high-depth guitar experimentation. It's just him, and a guitar, but the sound is far more complex and compelling thanks to his use of looping his own guitar hooks together into a growing tapestry. Ohad is able to make a single guitar produce sounds of percussion, bass, rhythm, and even a sense of lyrical content to each track. To see his songs live was like watching a painter start with a blank canvas as he worked his way from mixing the different colors together to creating a clear image.

Next up was Charles' own musical idea: The Happiness Project, which is as experimental as you're gonna get. Very simply, he wanted to translate people's natural melodies in their normal speech patterns and syntax into music. He interviewed a couple of his neighbors and family on a recorder. After playing a minute of these interviews, we would listen to them again with the musical accompaniment. It was like a grown-up version of Peter and the Wolf.

Charles Spearin - The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project | MySpace Music Videos

All three acts were different combination of the same 9 musicians. They openly joked about this on stage. Different mixes of people playing under different banners. My friend that I went to this concert with jokingly yelled out "Ripoff!" and Charles laughed and responded back to him, "ha, you're right!" Foo me, it was a great illustration of why I like Mountie Rock - and how thankful I am of their musical creativity and paths they have led me down in discovery.

All 9 were used during Do Make Say Think's main set. And everybody showcased their talents of multiple instruments. Most of the songs used two drummers, two guitarists, one bass player, one violinist, one saxophonist, one pianist and two horn players. But sometimes Charles would put down the bass and pick up a french horn. Or Ohad would amazingly yield his beyond belief guitar skills to play the saxophone. The lady who's name I don't know, who mainly played the saxophone would use the keyboard on occasion and even one of the two drummers stepped around to show that drummer can be multifaceted as well.

I should also mention that DMST made a gallant effort when they performed their latest song, "Do" in an attempt up upset Phoenix's "1901" for Song of My Year. This is a group that I will easily want to see again the next time they come through town.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What are my friend Ryan's songs of the decade?

Q: How much do I love comments?
A: To a level impossible to measure...

So here's the comment my friend Ryan left in response to my "What are my songs of the decade?" post:

So as a 'thank you' for providing that mini list, here are the songs Ryan thinks are worthy of inclusion on his own list.

But first a quick commentary:
By far, the song I like most out of this bunch is the Bon Iver track.
And the song I kinda didn't want to advertise was "Yellow." I know there are a lot of Coldplay haters out there - and I've gotten into many fights with their "shooting fish in a barrell" tactics... But I personally think "Yellow" is an inferior song compared to "Trouble" which is hidden on the same debut album.

"Paper Tiger" by Beck:

"Flume" by Bon Iver:

"Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't" by Brand New:

"First Day of my Life" by Bright Eyes:

"Yellow" by Coldplay:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What are my songs of the decade?

Q: What's the latest mixtape?
A: "Best of 2000s" is the title, although it can also be called "Best Music of the Century to date."

Even though the decade is technically 2001-2010, we all know that's no fun.
I've been reading a ton of blogs that have posts titled "Best Ten (blank) of the Decade" and wanted in on the fun.

However, when I was compiling this list I realized that some years (like 2005 & 2008) were much more deep than others. Therefore, I've decided to make the list a tad bit simpler and limit one song per year plus two bonus entries for special circumstances.

My first thought when I was done with this list was my amazement that neither "Clocks" by Coldplay or "Hey Ya" by Outkast made the list. Both these songs were super huge in their time. Each was in heavy rotation by yours truly, but other songs just hit me a certain way that earned their inclusion.

SONG OF 2000:
"I've Seen It All" by Björk (featuring Thom Yorke)
Those that have been in my condo know that I have a framed movie poster for Dancer in the Dark. It was that 2000 film that deeply moved me, although most don't like it at all. This song is from that film, and the version from the album Selmasongs is a track that still holds weight for me today.

SONG OF 2001:
"Sing" by Travis
An upset pick. One that if I was making a top ten songs of the decade probably wouldn't have made it. I had to think back to who I was in 2001. For some reason I remembered my friend Paul coming over to me one night when I was studying in my favorite place in Marquette (the large cafeteria located in our Union). I was holed up in some table with my portable CD player and ungodly large headphones. He gave me Travis' first album and told me, "they're better than Coldplay." Soon after that handoff Travis released a new album - with this "Sing" song as their first single. This decade was easily the decade of friends finding music before me, and my thankfulness for their various recommendations... And with all those considerations I'm going with this track for this spot.

"Walk On" by U2
Before all the TV stations went back to "normal" after that Tuesday morning, MTV had made their own music video featuring clips of the aftermath to "Walk On." (The link above is to that music video, which is not able to be embedded, per request, here) However, the video I am able to embed is the version of the song u2 played to conclude the "Tribute to Heroes" telethon telecast. Note that Ringo is helping them out here as well. For me, this song will always be attached to those events.

SONG OF 2002:
"Star Guitar" by Chemical Brothers
I have to say this is my most favorite song of the past ten years. Every meaningful playlist I have made, just for me - not for mixtape distribution, has had this song as the 4th track (4th because that's where it lied on the Come With Us album). It is nearly a requirement, no necessity, that I listen to this song while commuting by train or a traveling on a plane. If I was a hoity-toity music critic I'd write a review that called it's orbital grooves and cascading beats transcendent. It may not be your style, but hey - this is not your list.

SONG OF 2003:
"Where I End And You Begin" by Radiohead
I loved this song so much, I used to type out all its lyrics to keep me from accepting reality at my first job out of school. Radiohead would win Band of the Decade for me, even though the album this track is from, Hail To The Thief, was the bands third best effort of the decade. (In Rainbows is my choice for best album of the decade) 2003 was spent in the worst job of my life. This song hit me perfectly thanks that that awful fact. Sorry "Clocks" and "Hey Ya" but my life was just too depressing to have those songs rescue me.

SONG OF 2004:
"Take Me Out" by Franz Ferdinand
I bought a laptop in 2004. My friend T-Bone downloaded iTunes without me asking. I didn't think I needed it at the time. Pretty soon I was making mixtapes for anyone and anybody regardless if they wanted them or not. And this year, nearly every damn CD I burned for somebody had this Franz Ferdinand song on it.

SONG OF 2005:
"E-Pro" by Beck
This was a great follow up guitar hook heavy rock track to follow up the Franz Ferdinand hit. It also correctly translates my upbeat mood as I had finally left the soul prison of my previous job and began the one that I am still at today.

"The Saints Are Coming" by Green Day and U2
This song was debuted at the Louisiana Superdome before the Saints' Monday Night Football game - the first game played there since Hurricane Katrina.

SONG OF 2006:
"Shampoo Suicide" by Broken Social Scene
I'm cheating here with the dates. This song was actually released in 2004. However, it was the 2006 film Half Nelson that introduced this song, and more importantly, this band to me. Finding BSS was the single greatest musical discovery for me this decade. This list would be inadequate without a track by them.

SONG OF 2007:
"Young Folks" by Peter Bjorn and John
If I was in college in 2007, I would've found a way to write a very long essay analyzing this song's lyrics. This is a rarity for me, one who barely can understand the words in his favorite songs. But this song has themes that resonate for me.

SONG OF 2008:
"Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt. 2" by My Morning Jacket
I first heard this song on a SXSW Preview podcast from NPR's All Songs Considered. It blew me away and propelled me to seek out more MMJ music.

SONG OF 2009:
"1901" by Phoenix
This song took an early lead and although other songs tried, none was able to top it... Also, I'm extremely confident that nothing in the next 30 days will be able to change that fact - especially when you consider that I'll be hearing this song live for a sanity-challenging thrid time later this month.

I hope this post can inspire some sort of debate or controversy. After all, that's basically the point of these kinds of lists. Which songs do you think were wrongly omitted? How much does one of these songs make your skin crawl?

Better yet - I hope you make your own list and share it with me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What was my best moment of the 2009 Vegas Trip?

Well, the flight home was not oversold.
That gamble, like so many others of the past 48 hours, didn't pay off.

But some of them did:

It was just after Midnight. After a dissapointing Mirage tournament in
which I might have played my worst poker of the trip and after I
walked over to TI and lost more in a $1-$3 NL game - I was done.

Done gambling, done for the trip. Time to take the long walk from TI
to the Monte Carlo, sleep and head for the airport immediadetly after

But I knew there was a 1 am Caesars tournament.
I knew there would be many great looking women hanging around the
poker room's entrance ( the room shares a wall with Pure nightclub ).
And I knew there would be Pussycat Doll blackjack dealers.

What I didn't expect to see was a $10 blackjack table with a pussycat
doll dealer!

I decided that, now at about 12:40, I would sit down with $100 and
try to get to $170 in twenty minutes (in time for that 1 am $70

This is a good story. I did it. I was very closely tracking my
betting, and promptly left when I hit my goal on the mark.

It felt remarkable, hustling over from the blackjack table to the
poker room.

In my mind, I played that 1 am tourney for free. And I knew it would,
for sure, be my last gaming action of the trip.

I played for over two hours. Busting out in 9th place out of 19 (only
top 3 paid). It was 3:45 am by the time I finally go back to the
Monte Carlo. Ending the vacation on a, for me, somewhat happy note.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When is making progress no longer good enough.

I finished 5th out of 18 in the 11 am Tourney at TI.
Top 3 paid. Both me and the 4th place finisher busted out on the same
hand, bringing a celebration to those souls making the money.

I've gotten closer and closer every tournament. It's starting ti
sting. Looks line the 7 pm Mirage tourney is my last chance for romance.

Do you think my room number is good luck?

They put me in room 30-124. I'm currently 30 years old and my birthday
is 1/24.

So the Wynn tourney.
Ah, it's why I like tourneys.... You can't make one mental mistake. I
was sitting very pretty with 7 people left ( we started with 20, top 3
paid) and I got caught being too cutesy. Dropped from about 75K to
under 35K by doubling up this Brazillian Cougar that barely spoke

A brave comeback soon commenced, but I lost to a 6-outer on the River.
All in all, I played from 8 pm to 1 am in that thing. The Wynn won't
joke around in these things: 20K in starting chips / 30 minute
levels / a break every two hours.

The two tourneys I bought into today took just shy of 9 hours total.
I'm a little mentally fatigued righ now without much to show for it.

By the way, my room looks out into the belly of the City Center beast.
The Aria looks more like an upscale condo building than a hotel.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Have I even seen the inside of my room yet?

I'm resting just outside the Wynn Sports Book.
The 8 PM daily tournament starts in under 40 minutes, which has
allowed me ample time to catch my breath over a Roast Beef sandwich at
the Wynn deli.

Long story short, I left the Caesars Poker Room with more than I
entered and have decided to make the strech for the higher buy-in at
the Wynn.

Besides, I was already halfway there from the Monte Carlo. I knew I
wouldn't get to play in the Wynn Poker Room much, so I'm taking the

My room, last I checked, wasn't ready. After the plane landed, I took
a cab to the Monte Carlo, left my bag at the Bell Desk, and hit their
Poker Room.

Not all that impressed with that Room, and left after an hour to the
In-N-Out for lunch. I tried to check in when I got back (circa 1:30),
but they told me a room wasn't ready. (I guess this is to be expected
when you don't make reservations).

So I bolted for Caesars, a route which took me past City Center.
Tomorow I will have to take pictures with my camera (not just my
phone) to later illustrate the scope of that project.

Again, Caesars went well, and I'm currently watching some MNF and
getting mentally prepared for the most expensive tournament (including
Charities) of my life.

We'll see where the night takes me after the tourney.

Is that a Lucky Charms watch?

The watch stopped working over two years ago.
Late last night I decided that it's time to bring it back.

My first poker tournament starts in a little over an hour. I will be
attempting my "win the buy-in" mission as soon as an open seat
presents itself at a $1-$2 NL table.

Where to get lunch in Vegas?

Bad news: The Poker Room in the Monte Carlo serves Pepsi.
Good News: In-N-Out serves Coke.

How do you bookend vacations?

Q: How do you know when a vacation starts, and ends?
A: Besides the normal punch out - punch in routine...

I'm feeling higher than a weather balloon right now.
It's 2:00 am.
I just set my alarm for 5:00 am.
My Dad's gonna pick me up at 6 am to take me to the airport.
Vegas Vegas Vegas Vegas Vegas Vegas Vegas

So right now, this moment, I feel like I'm on vacation.
Not at all upset that I'm starring down the barrel of yet another Sunday Night Insomnia fest!

To be technically accurate, vacations are bookmarked by actual work.
From the time you leave the office until the time 0bligated to return - that's a vacation.

But for me, and Vegas Vacations especially, the bookends are my trips to the bank.
I'm thinking positive here.

Yesterday I made my annual withdraw from my bank.
Cash bitch.
I'm not using Traveler's Checks this time.
The point is - I hope my vacation ends with a deposit to the same bank.

I've got my daily budget.
Multiplied it by two.
Took out an extra segment for incidentals.
Non credit cardable taxis, food, tips... the like.

The iPod is charged up and in my carry on...
My phone is getting there...
Recharging accessories packed as well...




And now I'm listening to Kylie when I should be charging myself.

My next post will be from Clark County!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Do you want an autograph?

Q: Do you still try to get autographs?
A: Personally, I think I'm done.

I will get to this prized relic in a moment... The autographed liner notes for a CD that was released in 1997. Since I dug it up today, literally, it's meaning has grown.

Per my usual Sunday Night Sleep Difficulties, I spent a lot of time on The YouTube clicking the most random of music. I love those kinds of musical sessions for all those songs itching your mind but somehow have never won their way into your possession. Songs from TV commercials, songs from dance mixes of years past... Random Songs of The Moment.

Last Sunday I decided to post some of the more odder choices for the Facebook Faithful. The first of the three that I posted was an obscure dance video for a song I stumbled upon in a Fatboy Slip clip. Finding that video was like winning a scavenger hunt. Secondly I found a newer version of an old (to me) classic Ben Folds Five song. It's sorta creepy to have BF5 songs performed post breakup by it's solo star. And for good measure I included the current Song of the Moment by a band named The Rapture, who were mentioned in a "what the hell happened to these guys" context in a recent NPR All Songs Considered roundtable. Here's an enthusiastic performance of the song on a Letterman show that is obviously taped in some November's past.

Of these three video postings, people came out of the Facebook woodwork to "like" the Ben Folds Five clip. It was a nice discovery, because I was previously unaware these Facebook friends also liked Ben Folds Five. It's a nice feeling to get an added, "yeah, that's another good reason why we're friends" moment for yours truly.

--cue the fade to a flashback--

The back half of 1997 was an extremely odd time in my life. If it wasn't epically boring it might have made for a nice Coming-Of-Age flick. For those that don't know, I spent a year in a quagmire purgatory between my high school graduation and departure for college. In that time I worked a lot in a very isolated job in which my only company was my CD collection. Thankfully one of my closest friends from high school choose a school not far at all from us and we ended up going to more concerts that year than the four years prior combined. (Of course, that's an easy task to accomplish when we're both 18 and curfew-free*)

If pressed at gunpoint, I'd probably say "The Colour and The Shape" by The Foo Fighters was my personal pick for Album of the Year. However, Ben Folds Five easily would've won Band of the Year.

(Just processing this story out in my mind right now, the vivid memories coming back, is making me smile)

One night, late at night, I was listening to Q101 (one of the things I will mention that I did frequently in 1997 and have completely stopped currently). After playing "Battle of Who Could Care Less" the 'DJ' said, "That was Ben Folds Five - if you get a chance to see them live - do it." A few months later, on the same radio station, an upcoming concert of theirs was aannounced. I called my friend a couple days later and suggested that we should check it out. Neither of us had any of their music, but we agreed nonetheless. I went out to the local Best Buy and bought their most recent album (Whatever And Ever Amen). My friend, who was working at his college radio station, liberated it from their library.

They blew me away that night at the Riv. 3 men produced a sound that was larger than I could comprehend at the time. After the show my friend and I were somewhat dumbstruck in its wake. We decided to wait around the corner, by the tour bus, to see them after they walked out. I ran back to the car and got the CD.

Today I plug my 30GB iPod into my dashboard and can play music for ten days straight before a song repeats. In 1997, I had a cassette tape deck and a cord to my Kenwood (yeah, screw that Discman!) CD player. Not to mention about 4-6 jewel cases (I had yet progressed to the Case Logic Car Accessory Line).

All three: Ben Folds, Darren Jesse and Robert Sledge were the nicest of gentleman and very considerate of the 8-11 fans waiting for them outside. One girl was wearing a self made T-Shirt that said "KATE" on it (a song from the Whatever And Ever... album). "Oh, is that your name?" Ben said coyly. Looking at this autographed relic tonight, I find humor how each politely and neatly wrote their names next to their individual pictures.

I believe this is the only autographed piece of merchandise / memorabilia I own. I like it. I like what it represents. I like the snapshot in time looking at it brings me back and, to some extent, the realization of how that time is in so many ways gone forever. (not the least of which is that Ben Folds Five is no more)

This post was initially started with the intention of bashing autograph hounds. I wanted to say how I won't buy something that is "already" autographed. Something that would include a bitter "if you didn't see the guy ink it himself, someone else forged it" remark. But maybe these people are able to recreate the feeling I have with my jewel case many times over?

But I won't get you off that easily - autograph junkies... Giving anybody a napkin or stupid piece of paper (stupid = something that shouldn't be autographed - like a receipt) to sign is pointless. Do you expect to frame that damp napkin to hang on a sad wall? Now that everyone has cameras in their cell phones - you don't need a napkin to prove your story.

Oh, and let's not forget these creepy individuals who are involved in the buying and selling of these tangible nothings online. I don't know who's sadder, the guy with a backback of stuff for multiple people to sign or those willing to buy it?

Before I forget, all this anti autograph talk is not intended for the young. Autograph seeking is one of the pure thrills of childhood. I have another friend who had an extremely successful by-mail autograph seeking campaign. It's definitely something to be proud of and look back upon with great fondness. But not something that should be continued into adulthood (as this specific friend would be the first to agree with me).

Which makes my only autograph, quite possibly my last autograph, of this Ben Folds Five album special to me. And that's a good thought for me to have tonight.

*In a surprising note to nobody, my curfew growing up was decided upon by me informing my parents shortly before I'd leave. This is primarily attributed to factors of lack of popularity and my general harmlessness.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What's the deal with beards?

Q: Do you have an opinion on beards?
A: I welcome opinions formed out of perceptions of style, laziness, functionality and the like...

Could there be any other band to feature on a post such as this?
Ladies and gentleman, here are the Fleet Foxes:

So I have sideburns, or attempts at such...
They're not quite Elvis Quality - but they somewhat exist.
If I could, I'd beard it up quicker than you can say 'caveman'.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Vegas, what?

Q: Have I decided upon a hotel for Las Vegas yet?
A: Yes, Monte Carlo is the winner.

I am unable to ignore the great rate of $46 a night.
As much as I told myself, "Next year, Mirage" in 2008's December - It' s not worth the extra money to me.

Not to mention, take a look at what restaurant is within extremely close walking distance:

I happen to know there's a sidewalk built underneath the expressway.
Although, some people probably wouldn't put me walking across high speed traffic for a Double-Double.

The Monte Carlo might have had some problems re-establishing itself after it's fire:

Maybe my Memory is wrong, but I thought the base room at the Monte Carlo was more expensive than the base room at New York New York. I have done a very small amount of gambling in their casino both before and after the famous fire and considered it rather nice. In fact, the casino floor is much nicer than that of Treasure Island.

Treasure Island, or "TI" as they want to be branded, is one of my more favorite locations to stay in Las Vegas. I've stayed there more than any other place. However, MGM Mirage sold it off recently and my MGM Mirage gift cards can't buy me a room anymore. I especially liked TI's location, kitty-corner from the Wynn Property:

While TI was my favorite place to stay, Wynn is my favorite place to play.
Sadly, another bit of rough news came to my attention recently.
The buy-in for their Daily Poker Tournaments have more than doubled.

I was hoping to play both the Noon and 8 pm Tournaments both on Monday and Tuesday of next week. But now I have a new strategy. I will just show up at the Wynn 3-4 hours before one of those tournaments and buy-into a cash game for the old Tournament Buy-in and try to chip up to the point of the new Tournament Buy-in. If I can't, well - then I'm not playing well enough for that tournament anyways and would have lost the same amount of money I would have if I had busted out early.

My flight, if it arrives on time, will get me to the Monte Carlo around 11 am. Perfect timing to give my bags to the bell hop before grabbing lunch. I definitely want to get my hands on some chips quick, and will give Monte Carlo the first shot... If I like what I'm experiencing, I'll stick around for the 3 pm sit-and-go tournament. If not, I'll start my long trek up The Strip. Taking pictures of the City Center development and anything new that wasn't there 11 months ago on my way to the 3 pm tournament at Caesar's Palace.

The intended destination will by the Wynn Poker Room, trying to earn my way into their tournament. I might also have a Roast Beef sandwich in the deli near it's Sports Book (great sandwich!).

This afternoon I loaded into my iPhone all the times for the daily tournaments at Caesars, Monte Carlo, TI, and The Mirage... Depending on my mood, willingness to walk, eagerness to play again, and general level of hunger appetite will decide where I meander next. I'll probably end up playing some other tables games at Paris (find the blue ceiling relaxing) or Planet Hollywood (find the dealers attractive) somewhere that first night as well.

As far as that Tuesday and Wednesday I'm in Vegas - that will depend a lot on what happens in those first few hours... What places I get a good vibe, what I want to do next, it's all up to me... One of the benefits of traveling solo.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What can you not say to a woman?

Q: Isn't this common knowledge?
A: Just in case it isn't to some...

(I'd like you to have this as background music today)

I implore you, gentlemen of the world, to never make the following statement within earshot of a person rocking double x chromosomes:
"In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel is a horrible song.

Today I drove to the bank over my lunch hour.
And it wasn't until I pulled into the bank's parking lot did I remember-
-about Veteran's Day.
(less than three hours earlier I wished my boss' boss, a Veteran, a happy one)

On the car ride, before the trip was ruined, the above mentioned song made famous by Say Anything was played on WXRT (Chicago FM 93.1).

A good friend yesterday is done with the FM side of the dial. He said he accidentally hit the "band" button in his car the other day and was disgusted. I don't feel this strongly and wanted to reinforce my not-yet-destroyed opinion of Terrestrial Radio.

Have I convinced you that I don't purposely cruise around the suburbs listening to the various solo efforts from the band Genesis? Truth be told, I really could use a Phil Collins track about now...

I have long joked that the Universal Feminine Love of "In Your Eyes" is the only thing that can rival their U.F.L. of Travel (i.e. "I love travel, I LOVE travel, I. LOVE. TRA. VEL."). Today was the first time in - I don't know how long - I listened to this song from start to finish. Intently listening.

It is a magnificent song.
Worth of the esteem women keep for it.
Of course, I don't believe it's quality is the primary force behind it's inclusion in the upper echelon of Fe-votion.

You've got the scores of women who danced to this song at their Prom.
Then the dateless wonders who watched Say Anything that night instead.


For the record, yours truly didn't go to a Prom of any sort.
Just consider that before you sharpen your knife after that 'dateless wonders' comment.

Listening to "In Your Eyes" today is making me consider a very dangerous question of, "Should I re-watch Say Anything?" What could I gain from watching this? Besides, after my recent viewing of Road House I really can't say my Net Flix queue has any standards. I just don't want the death of John Cusack to have to push my hand in this.

Also for the record, I do not wish for any ill to come to John Cusack. Actually, I really hope he lives until at least the year 2013. God forbid if he dies in the year 2012... It will make us all have to acknowledge that movie again. (I say that like I don't fully expect to see myself in a mega large theater arena watching 2012 in the next month)

Why hasn't John Cusack and Vince Vaughn co-starred in a movie yet? Isn't there some out of work Chicago Meatball writer that's got a screenplay for that already? The thing writes itself doesn't it?

John plays "Jon"
A smirking shy like a fox charmer.

Vince plays "Vin"
A smrking wiseguy skeptical romantic.

Throw in - ah, hell - Kate Hudson for all I care. Along with some young hunk kid that's played some sort of Vampire in the last two years (Not to play a Vampire, but some young coworker / mutual acquaintance of Jon and Vin who is moving in on Meg Rya- I mean Kate Hudson's character).

In the culminating scene - Vin holds up his iPhone high into the air to try to get a better signal.
Jon's call finally comes through to tell him the news we've all known since the first act.
The ringtone: "In Your Eyes."

Which reminds me, how soon are we from a movie in which "texting" becomes such an overwhelming motif in a plot that it's almost its own character? How come I have yet to see an iPhone being used on the Big Screen?

The most popular thesis from the NYU Film School Class of 2039:
The Use of The Text Message As A Thematic Vehicle

Two months ago someone I had met two hours earlier asked me, "You know who you look like?"
I was very thankful that the answer in my mind was not the answer in hers!
The nightmare of my bad Hollywood actor association may be done.
His name will not be mentioned here, because I really think nobody knows who that SLC Punk is anymore (that's a clue if anybody really needs to know).

It wasn't the first time that someone has compared my looks to that of Vince Vaughn.
The first person was actually a middle aged man, who was refereeing a park district league basketball game.
This latest correlation, from an attractive woman in a bowling alley, was a lot less creepy than that first (a balding man on a basketball court).
I'm a somewhat taller guy with sideburns - I honestly think that's all the factors being used for these people... I have no delusions of grandeur that I actually look like him.

There is a song on my iPod called "In Your Eyes."
It's not a cover - an entirely different song - by Kylie Minogue.

Who, by the way, is Australian. If you read my last post (thank you if you did) you know that those Aussies get me moving. (A asked a native of that continent what he thought of my self made labels - and he preferred "Great Barrier Beats")

Since I almost feel that I need to, here's the original music video of the song that inspired this late night serpentine of mindlessness...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Does The Coriolis Effect get you spinning?

Q: What label can we affix to the Australian Dance Scene?
A: I'm sure I'll figure it out soon enough.

Ladies and Gentleman, here's a nice little song called "Since I Left You" by The Avalanches.

You all know by now that I love the term "Mountie Rock."
I am purposely pushing forward my agenda by mentioning it constantly here.
Maybe one day it will come up in a Google Search.
The hidden reason behind why I like that label is because assigning music the "indie rock" distinction feels as dumb as "alternative" felt like in the mid 90s.

Now we have a new genre that needs labeling.
It's a subset that had way too many variations.
Please ask somebody more in tune than I to help you distinguish between:
Trip Hop
2 Step
Drum & Bass
Big Beat

I almost went to a DJ Set by Basement Jaxx last Friday. I was on the phone asking a friend if he wanted to join me. He asked, "What kind of music is it?" My mind was cycling through the above list of classes and came up empty. I ended up not going to the show.

For this new genre I want to name, I'll use the similar geographical qualifications.
Turns out I'm enjoying the upbeat high tempo music coming out of Australia.

It all started when iTunes picked a Cut Copy song for one of it's weekly free Discovery Downloads ("Sands of Time" is their latest song that I'm enjoying). I liked it, and signed up for a newsletter in order to download another one of their songs for free (the excellent "Hearts on Fire" track). The e-newsletter was from their record label: Modular.

That led me to Modcast, their free podcast featuring their other artists.
Most of the acts also being Down Under Dance Machines*.

My pursuit to embed myself into the Great Barrier Beat* peaked with the Cut Copy show I saw in March 2009. A show that made me hunt down Craigslist tickets after it had sold out.

Lately I've found more Sydney Synth* and Melbourne Melody* acts such as The Satellites, The Presets and Ladyhawke. You can expect to have more of their catchier songs featured in upcoming posts.

The problem is that no name that I come up with is sticking to my mind. I'm really starting to like this genre more and more - and what good am I at parties when someone asks me what I've been listening to recently and I'm unable to have a self invented musical distinction? I need a quick catchy title that will make people want me to expand. But maybe I should give up and just say coldly, "I've been listening to a lot of music from Australian born artists."

*These are all the horrible candidates floating in my head.

I think I'm just going to call it Coriolis Effects.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What time is it?

Q: Is it 3 am?
A: It's time for awful late night poetry!

Opportunity knocks.
On a house with more than one door.

Open one.
Locking all others.

Inaction is an action.
Comprehension confirms the choice.

Sometimes the knock changes.
Creating doubts of its existence.

Worse, it was never a knock.
Everything outside becomes more foreign.

What is better?
Living under a good fantasy or realization of an actual helll?

The sun won't keep you warm on a cold day
The night can't shield you from the nearby day.

That knocking is a beat.
Reminicent of Poe's heart.

But it's vital.
It keeps you alive.


How often is movement violent?
Gracefulness disguised as deviousness?
An eloborate elegance playing on the good natured.
All to hoping for it to be without alterior motives.
An accidental coincidence through accurate chaos.
Assured calamity thanks to assumed consent.
A soap opera full of dirt.

Single women like to dance
Opportunitic men have a way to romance

My mind has trouble figuring out the simplest ideas such as turning
itself off in an effort to stop considering the infinate potential
combinations of how my social surroundings will challenge me in the
next stage of a mision I gave yet to comprehend much less succeed
especially when it's more than proven that over 99% of my anxiety
never manifests.

celebrating the
dedicated &

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Do you like Public Transportation?

Q: If you were raised by Dan Quiery, what fills you with a sense of pride?
A: The successful inclusion of Public Transportation into your itinerary.

I understand that the following story will sound fruitless to most.
But most weren't raised by my Father.
My Dad loves Public Transportation.
He's one of its stronger advocates.

Tonight I did him proud.
And I have to admit, this fills me with a sense of accomplishment.

Tonight I came home from work.
I relaxed.
Watched one of my favorite TV shows, The Soup, at 9pm.
After the show ended at 9:30 I got up and left my condo.
Walked the few blocks to the Metra station in downtown Des Plaines.
Less than five minutes later, the train arrived to wisk me into the City Proper.

I got off at the Irving Park stop.
Briskfully walked across the street and up the escalator to the CTA platform.
Easily, without a doubt, it was the shortest time I ever had to wait for a train.
About four stops later I'm off the train again at the corner of California and Milwaukee.

It was a nice November evening in Chicago today.
About fifty degrees.
Just warm enough to warrant me going jacketless tonight.
Long sleeves served just fine.

Less than twenty minutes later,
up California to the north,
and over Fullerton walking east,
I had arrived at my destination for the night.

A few beverages with a couple friends.
Ears willing to help me decompress my latest drama.
A roast beef sandwich on top.
Not to mention, a few tunes from a local band....
And I'm off...

This time west on Fullerton and south on California.
The wait at the eL stop was a little longer than I would've liked now (just after 12:15 am).
A quick hustle back across the street at the Irving Park stops provided the night's only true drama.

But fear not, I was able to catch the very last outbound train.
Promptly at 12:43 am.
Bringing me back to downtown Des Plaines some fifteen minutes ago at 1:04.
Allowing me to be blogging in front of my computer by 1:15.

By the time I have finished this post, it's 1:30.
Exactly four hours from the time I left here.
I feel like I hit the town with the precision of a sniper.

What did I actually accomplish?
Not much.

But it was better than what I did yesterday: Watch Road House on DVD.