Monday, August 31, 2009
A: I hope it is, because the following was originally written October 14, 2008 (courtesy MySpace's now defunct View de TQ blog)
So you want to get into Canadian Independent Rock Music?
A genre I lovingly call "Mountie Rock."
Allow me to make a few suggestions.
Follow the musical path I am about to lay out, if you so choose.
If you are a man, I suggest you start listening to this album first:
"You Forgot It In People" by Broken Social Scene"
If you are a lady, I suggest you start here instead:
"The Reminder" by Feist
After sampling these, ask yourself if you like the faster paced beats-
-or the slower paced grooves.
If you're a dude, and want to move stop here next:
"Folkloric Feel" by Apostle of Hustle
If you've got matching pairs of X chromosomes, and you don't stop 'til you get enough:
"Some Are Lakes" by Land of Talk
Now on the flip side, if you're a fella' and want to lay back with the brim o'your cap over your eyes:
"Population" by The Most Serene Republic
Similarly, if you are the fairer sex looking for introspection in music:
"In Our Bedroom After The War" by Stars
At this time let me disclose that I enjoy all above mentioned music.
By some accounts, there may not be much of a difference in the above voyages.
And, I surely did not come to all these acts in such a logical manner.
I may be depriving you of the fun of traversing the Northern Ally's landscape looking for cool note imports.
If you're still with me, and have enticed your Canadian appetite (not talking about venison here), it's time to take a seriously close look at Broken Social Scene.
Listen to the self-titled 2005 album by Broken Social Scene:
Feel free to play this performance in the background when I give a brief history of Broken Social Scene:
Broken Social Scene, at it's core, is Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning.
When they tour, which is often, they have somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 to 11 musicians:
The whole group was bascially a "side project." It is comprised of solo acts who are either between tours/albums or quite possibly bored/broke. All the above mentioned bands have shared a stage with Broken Social Scene. The "side project" became the Main Attraction.
However, although I believe the group is more than the sum of their interchanging parts - it does have one large glowing success story in Leslie Feist. Feist is the breakout star and no longer tours as a part of Broken Social Scene (however, you can't take her voice off some of my favorite B.S.S. tracks).
Leading me to the next step in this path to Mountie Rock fandom. The two "Broken Social Scene Presents:" albums:
Kevin Drew's "Spirit If..."
Brendan Canning's "Something For All of Us"
These, the latest two efforts, from the Broken Social Scene machine are a reversing of the tide. These two founding mounties invested all of themselves into B.S.S... They have no other vessel to spin off their own solo efforts. Some of the more, for lack of a better term, "Fundamentalist" lovers of Independent Canadian Music see these efforts as an inferior attempt to capitalize on the successful bandwagon of B.S.S.
I strongly disagree. Not only do I enjoy both of these albums, but Drew and Canning deserve to have their own name on the marquee after helping along such a long line of acts for us to enjoy.
To listen to this much music is asking too much. I have no delusions of grandeur that someone will read this, dive in head first and end up calling me in a few months asking if I'm going to see New Buffalo in concert.
Basically, I kinda fell into this deep, deep well of sonic talent.
For me, it started in the most random of places.
A NetFlix rental of Half Nelson, in which I heard a song in the background of this scene:
That song is "Shampoo Suicide" by Broken Social Scene... It remains my favorite song in the "Mountie Rock" genre.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
A: I would be there before midnight tomorrow.
I bought my plane ticket.
My next Vegas trip will be the Monday - Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
Start the countdown: 12 weeks to go!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
A: No, but I'm casting out a large net looking for other fish...
(prices listed are without the service charge ass blasting)
Ra Ra Riot: Wed. 9/16 @ Schubas ($20)
Grizzly Bear: Sun. 9/27 @ Metro ($25)
Moby: Wed. 9/30 @ Vic ($34)
Fever Ray: Sat 10/3 @ Metro ($25)
The Bravery: Sun 10/4 @ Vic ($18)
Peter Bjorn and John: Thurs. 11/12 @ Metro ($20)
There are bands listed (Ra Ra Riot & The Bravery) that have passed through Chicago knowingly and regrettably without my attendance.
Others listed I have actually already seen (Grizzly Bear & Peter Bjorn and John) but didn't have as great as an experience as I would have liked and want to give them a second chance.
One (Moby) is a legend according to my iPod library. It's amazing that I haven't seen him live.
And then there's one wild card (Fever Ray) that I suspect will be well worth the price of admission.
All have one glaring fact in common: I can't go to any of these by myself. (Although the foursome from Brooklyn is making a strong case)
Feel free to watch the following YouTube selections for a musical sampling:
"Dying is Fine" by Ra Ra Riot
"Ready, Able" by Grizzly Bear
"Study War" by Moby
"When I Grow Up" by Fever Ray
"An Honest Mistake" by The Bravery
"Nothing to Worry About" by Peter Bjorn and John
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
A: "Party in the U.S.A." by Miley Cyrus
You know, I'm not at all upset at this news.
And although I initially wanted to make fun of the title - I won't.
Truth is, how can there not have been a song by this name before?
Or, if there was, shame on that song for not being massively popular.
A song with that moniker is built for success.
I had zero interest in hearing the song, but ample in researching its words:
So I put my hands up
They’re playing my song,
And the butterflys fly away
Noddin’ my head like yea
Movin my hips like yea
I got my hands up,
They’re playin my song
I know im gonna be ok
Yea, It's a party in the USA
Yea, It's a party in the USA
Sunday, August 23, 2009
A: My balcony.
It is 64 degrees in the City of Destiny tonight.
I am sitting on a chair on my balcony.
My headphones are pumping the song "Ready, Able" into my brain.
This is why I like mobile blogging.
Although I set the whole mobile capability up in order to document a
recent trip to San Fran, this is really the reason why I like it.
For when I am by myself late into the day at my condo (and without a
purpose) I am usually attempting to empty my mind at my computer, or
trying to clear it on my balcony. Tonight I'm thowing my stone at
Washington Street is, 99% of the time, very peaceful. When I am out
here past dusk, only two things tend to disrupt the tranquility:
-the late arriving neighbor parrell parking
-smokers across the street lighting up
It's such a wonderful night in Des Plaines.
Later this month will be the 3 year anniversary of my closing.
Not much has changed in those 3 years.
I have a new couch, hopefully soon a new roof, and a sense of mature
The first month living alone, I remember, presented an odd challenge.
I didn't know how to cope with just myself. Nobody just "stops by"
like your friends down the hall when living in a dorm...
You are home and your day is done. Hello evening and good night. I'm
used to it now, and don't fear it. The opposite may now be the case.
UPDATE: my neighbors to the immediate east just appeared on their
balcony. Luckily I know that they never initiate contact with me. I
am dead to any neighborly contact now thanks to my eyes transfixed on
this text and my ears in iPod occupation.
Yesterday was a day for me to recharge batteries that weren't
neccisarily in need of recharging. I woke up early, but napped most of
the afternoon. Watched a DVD, but not of a Film but a TV show now
extinct. I also watched a meaningless preseason NFL game.
Sometimes when I sit out here on the balcony I want to see life.
Health conscious feet running. Canine friendly owners walking.
Mindless children ambling. Older folks strolling.
Othertimes I prefer to stare into a suburban abyss. Rows of midsized
sedans parked in preparation for the workweek. Trees with soon to be
departed leaves. Sidewalks with zero trace of snow, salt, or snap.
When I bought the chair I am now sitting on, I bought two. I don't
think the two have ever been used at the same time. I would like to
think I might be able to share this quiet relection with another. But
D.P. isn't the sexiest of locales. Not exactly a third date preposition.
I think I'm going to attempt to fall asleep earlier than normal
tonight. Hopefully this post will have served some sort of purpose...
However, there's much more to do in the area if you are an Achiever in Chicago that weekend.
The Thursday prior to LF-Chicago, September 10, a special screening of The Achievers will play at the Portage Theater.
The Portage Theater, located on Milwaukee Ave in the great city of Chicago, is also the location of the official Lebowski Fest Chicago Movie Party on Sunday September 13.
However, something a lot more... revealing... is occurring just down the street from the Portage at Gorilla Tango Theater.
"Rolling Outta Here Naked: A Big Lebowski Burlesque" by the Achievers at Vaudezilla is the perfect pre-party for Lebowski Fest Chicago.
I am very excited to report that this crew is scheduled to appear before the movie is screened at the Movie Party. I asked one of the organizers, Red Hot Annie for some more info and she told me that they are doing a "handful of acts" from their show. Don't be fatuous, I don't think she was being literal with her word choice. But here are five reasons why you shouldn't settle for just their appearance during the Movie Party.
5: I'm not the only one with this opinion. They have recently received mentions from NBC Chicago and Centerstage along with their peers at Burlesque Baby and Candy Pitch. This review from Chicago Reader is hot off the figurative press!
4: There is just one Movie Party and two Bowling Parties with the Founding Dudes, but four chances to see "Rolling Out of Here Naked: A Big Lebowski Burlesque." You can catch it every Saturday in September at Gorilla Tango Theater. The opening show of Saturday September 3 is nearly sold out! Yours truly will be in attendance at the September 10th performance and I highly suspect their Portage Theater appearance will make the last two shows a sought after scene.
3: You are not dealing with a bunch of fucking amateurs here. Check out vaudezilla.com to see what else they have done. Now it's tough for me to attribute any level of legitimate opinion to a burlesque show. With the exception of a 15 minute underwhelming performance at the now defunct Tangerine Nightclub (which was located inside Treasure Island, Las Vegas), I haven't had any exposure to the artform. That being said, these people have made a believer out of me. Here's a picture of Wham Bam Pam and Red Hot Annie showing off their costume prep progress:
2: Their level of dedication is beyond your average Achiever. At my last Lebowski Fest in Louisville there were a couple people dressed up as Marty the Landlord. But did any of them make the follicle commitment of a Mr. Dick Dijon?
1: Maria May I.
The first I heard of these performances was when Dick Dijon posted that above poster on the Achiever Forum. He was smart to mention that The Woman Behind the Ball was Maria May I, and that she was in fact performing in the show. Without the help of a Brother Shamus, relying on my powers of logic and deduction (not to mention a junior high quality crush) I was able to find Maria May I's blog, and thankfully received permission to use the above purple jumpsuited picture.
On a personal level, I hope to see a lot of Achievers alongside me at Gorilla Tango Theater as we help make September official Lebowski Month in Chicago.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Q: Why do you keep f*ckin' bothering me!?
A: I don't know lady, please, I don't know.
What a sight.
A woman in a full scale yell into her cell phone.
One of those: hold out the phone away from your ear "microphone style."
I was walking into McDonald's circa six o'clock.
Yes, that's my sin.
Normally I take my shame drive-thru style.
You see, lately my food taste has come under some small scale attack.
Some of my friends think I have more than a suitable inkling towards bad burgers.
I don't argue... much...
For the most part... they're correct...
But I had this coupon for a free McDonald's Angus Burger.
By the way, McD's needs to QUIT being CLASSY.
Although they've been blitzing the airwaves touting these "upscale" burgers, I had no clue which one to get.
Which made me walk into this well known establishment as opposed to distant yet familiar method.
Miss "Can you hear me motherf*ckin' now?" Lady was in her car - in one of those side parking spots: the "your drive-thru order is not yet ready" reserved space. Which placed her near the front door, right along my path.
The first I heard her I was quite a distance away from her car. Also thinking that was no way just one half of a conversation, I spun around expecting to see a sidewalk fight. Nope, as I continued walking my astonishment grew.
What the f*ck!?
Why do you keep f*ckin' bothering me?
I don't give a sh*t, STOP CALLING ME!
A one person car wreck.
I couldn't help but continue gazing from inside, waiting in line for my free Angus Burger (which eventually cost over $4 after the required Drink & Fry purchase).
It seemed she went silent, almost peaceful, when she ended her call.
But then she started at it again....
I thought: Why did she pick up that next call?
I also thought: What the hell is taking so long to get ready at McDonald's?
By the time the McDonald's worker brought over a remarkably small bag to her car - they lady was entirely occupied by her rage. The disenfranchised, but uniformed, soul had to just stand there literally holding the bag... Unable to get a word in edgewise (although, what could one possibly say in the midst of that?)
Finally, the exchange was made and when the employee walked back inside I gave her a nod and said, "are you okay?" She responded with a classic chuckle/smile while shaking her head 'no.'
EPILOGUE: that burger sucked.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Q: What was it that the late R&B singer Aaliyah said?
A: I believe it was something in regards to repeated efforts.
Post 3 am and I can't sleep.
I will be getting into the shower in less than 3 hours.
This is the time of the night when I realize that I will not have a good night's sleep for work.
The thought doesn't help my mind in slowing down.
For a reason I choose to not share, I was thinking of golfing and dating.
Both are areas I am, compared to most people my age who date and who golf, relatively inexperienced.
Both are areas that been the source of pain, hardship, regression and small insignificant victories.
Both are areas that had instances of me being dumped without warning or stated purpose - just sheer avoidance by others.
Both are areas that I'm still working to improve.
I don't want to throw away by golf clubs.
I don't want to resign to dating failure and prepare for a life of solitude.
In this late night, I wonder if these two pursuits could be a source of personal strength.
Don't we all like to think of ourselves as fighters? Don't we want to be people who aren't quitters?
I wanted to look for other examples of hardships that I worked to overcome.
For some reason, my attempt at rollerblading came into my mind first.
Sadly, this shot down my entire theory.
I quit everything associated with rollerblading.
This was over 15 years ago.
When I was 16 I loved playing street hockey with my friends.
Maybe only one of us knew how to rollerblade, so we played on our feet.
These games are one of the rare reoccuring moments of my high school years that makes me smile. Those afternoons after school on Moki Lane in Mount Prospect were pure joy. Pure because it was youthful and harmless and fun because we always kept score, but never a historical track record.
Naturally, I wanted to take my new found love of hockey to the next step, and learn how to skate. I might have bought ice skates if I had come to this realization during winter, but it was summer when I bought "hockey type" rollerblades. They were made my CCM, a rather respectable hockey company. They were pretty sweet. My motion on them however was quite sour. After a week of gingerly sliding back and forth on the same 40 foot stretch of School Street I was done. Done forever.
What did I lack then in motivation that I now possess?
The easy answer might be maturity.
Ask MySister, she'll tell you that I still feel immature.
(which she disagrees, saying the sheer admission of that is a sign to the contrary)
Not saying this is the reason - but I think a lot has to do with the source of the pain I associate with some of these failures.
I, and I alone, was the cause for all the scrapes I suffered.
The embarrassment was caused, created and experienced in a vacuum of isolation.
Other people are involved with golfing and dating.
And although those 'other people' will never see the product their actions may have propelled, it has an effect deep in my thought process.
My vocabulary isn't deep enough to find a word fitting.
It's a distant nephew of revenge.
An ancestor of pride.
Maybe a pupil of selfishness.
The golf season is very close to ending.
My goal for this season will not be accomplished.
But I have had recent hope. And feel more confident (in this venture, not necessarily my "game") that I did at the start of the season.
I have a lot more to learn, and am more than okay with that.
Lately I've had renewed confidence in dating.
Opportunities that I never would have envisioned myself in years ago have become reality.
Situations that would have been paralyzing are now less fearful.
I'm more comfortable dating than golfing. I probably get into more trouble with dating, but I know what has to be done to improve the situation... Not like golf that, when it goes wrong, ends up in lost balls.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
The rehersal dinner last night, the ceremony and the reception are all
at my cousin's new wife's step mom's house. It is the most beautiful
property I have ever been to. Literally cut into a vineyard. I
actually fit in well around here. I could get used to this.
By the way, if anybody out there is wondering why I'm blogging, not
dancing... I will just have to explain in depth later.
I haven't seen these cousins since the last family wedding.
That was six years ago,
However, it has felt like no time has passed at all.
Tonight I was invited to the rehersal dinner.
Not being in the actual cermony at all, I was honored
Yes, modern custom has driven most weddings to invite out-of-town
family to these affairs.
But it is not a given, and I am exhuberent to be included.
I failed in picture taking tonight. There were just too many cousins
that I needed to reconnect with tonight. No time to step back and
report. Luckily I will be back in at that locale tomorrow, and will
get the scenery pics out of the way first.
Kinda at loss for things to do tomorrow, pre cermony. Maybe I will
actually sleep in tomorrow? But that seems lime a waste of an
opportunity. My cousin Tom, the one from Vermont - not the one
getting married, is staying at the same hotel as me. Tonight was the
first time I met his wife Amber. I am looking forward to spend more
time with them.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Maybe I don't have as much experience in this arena, but if all the
seafood meals I have ever had in my entire life: Scoma's was the best.
It's right on the Wharf, but doesn't have as obnoxious of a sign as
the other restaurants. My parents knew of this place because my Dad's
sister and her late husband took them there years ago. I know
understand why they remembered it as well as they did.
My Dad had Clam Chowder, MySister had the Crabcake sandwich and my Mom
had the Crabcake dinner (which means she got a couple more cakes
without an Onion roll). I ordered the Lobster Ravioli, but traded some
of that with my Mom for a Crabcake.
Typing this encounter is really making me hungry, and slightly sad
because I don't know how long (if ever) I will have seafood that great
day of my summer vacation:
- John Hughes is dead. Just yesterday I remarked hoe I was involved in
Planes, Trains and Automobiles. A comment to that remark called that
film one of the greatest of all-time (not just of comedies). How can
- I received another comment to a recent post: looking for some
background into why my cousin's fiancée is "the one.". Honestly I
don't know. It's kind of a tough question for me to ask my cousin.
Not to mention I have yet to meet her, and really hope to learn more
about her before making my theory. But I do know my cousin was first
intersted in her because of common interests such as TRAVEL and golf.
(trust me, when my cousin mentioned TRAVEL my tounge almost bled from
biting it so hard)
- Earlier today I posted more refrences to the ABC-TGIF sitcom Full
House. In my unjustified exhuberence I misspelled Saget. If you were
a good detective you might have realied that the F key is next to the
G key, an error I repeated with R and T. At least I got Stamos in
there correctly on first attempt
And now a lecture on street performers:
There are a few of them in San Fran. I have seen more than 3 "robot
men" in silver glitter body paint. Only one Michael Jackson (RIP)
impersonator. And an odd clown with balloon animals.
These don't bother me. I avoid them and don't take a picture. If you
decide to take their picure, I hope you tip them.
Now there are also some homeless men panhandling in SF. I am used to
seeing this. Very frequently, walking to class in Milwaukee, I would
encounter these types of situations. It doesn't faze me.
But there is a hybrid of sorts down on fisherman's wharf: a panhandler
street performer. I didn't care much for him. He holds up a large
tree branch, hiding himself, on the sidewalk. Periodically he dips
down the branch to startle a pedistrian. Many laugh at the freaked
out walker, but the victim rarely laughs. For example, my Mom.
Something just doest sit right with me in this scenario. The concept
isn't funny to me.
Finally, it is now certain that our 50 or so hours in San Fran proper
will not include a trolley car. This doesn't upset me at all, but the
rest of my family doesn't feel the same way. It is just something to
say you did. Nothing is improved from the venture. It would cost a
total of $20 for the 4 of us to ride the car from our hotel to
Fishermans Wharf. We took a cab for $12. Oh, and the wait for the
trolley was an hour.
We did try to get on one if these primitive devices. On the way to
the In-N-Out yesterday we were unable to hop on mid route. The car
was full. The line was too long for our patience at the end of our
day yesterday only to see the line even longer today.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
"you got it dude"
Safer, Couiller, STAMOS
D.J. Tanner & Kimmy Gibler
On a side note, it's odd being with a group of tourists from outside
America. I feel like maybe I should know of these places already. Of
course tons of people from Chicago suburbs take river tours all the
My Dad remarked that he thought the TransAmerica building would be
taller. I told him that we are easily skyscraper jaded.
We bought tickets for a tour bus. Standard experience involving an
unfunny wisecracking driver and frequent stops for picture taking.
There is a quaint little Japeneese Tea Garden here. A statue of
Buddha here, a school of Koi (coy?) fish there. My Mom seems to love
saying the word "pagoda."
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Something much better happened.
My Uncle Tom and my cousin Tom joined us for drinks and conversation
in our hotel lobby cafe.
By the way, at least one more "Tom" is scheduled to appear this weekend.
The cousin Tom that joined us is the one who is getting married this
Saturday. Tonight we heard the story of how he met his fiancée.
In a remarkable display of candor, my cousin admitted to the following
methods of modern day dating that eventually led the way to find the
love of his life. His path included bouts with "Match" "eHarm" and
All of those avenues were dead ends. However he said the speed dating
had the most success out of those schemes I just mentioned. A few of
you know that I had a miserable failure of a foray into Speed Dating.
"Its Just Lunch" is how he met her. My cousin signed up for a plan
that promised him at least 12 dates in 12 months. He said, without
batting an eye, that he had been on 20 dates through this service
before finding the winner.
If accurate, and I am giving my cousin the benefit of the doubt, this
20 date figure is astounding!
Going on that many ultimately unsuccessful dates in a short time frame
would cripple my resolve, dignity, stamina and overall quality of life.
I have already had an immense amount of respect for this cousin of
mine. He has had envious jobs in the sports world that has sent him
to multitude of marquee events (including 3 Olympics). Also being one
of my funnier cousins, I have always wanted to have a closer
relationship with him. The story I heard him masterfully tell tonight
has vaulted him into clear admiration status in my psyche.
the menu to see what kind of sundae she wants. I'm going with a thick
The weather is great here: low 60s in the shade, but it feels 70 plus
in the sun.
Still have not checked into the hotel yet. I think that's next before
we regroup for a seafood dinner.
A: When they are both over 30, it won't be a problem.
We have landed safely. MySister has checked a bag, which includes
items from both parents. Of course me being independant, I was able
to carry on all I needed. But that meant I had to wear the sport
jacket I'm planning to wear to the wedding on the plane.
I must admit, I look like a young silicon valley exec, with a black t-
shirt under my tan sport coat. Not to mention the jeans and iPhone.
The plane ride was uneventful. No snakes. Honestly, the across the
aisle (both literally and figuratively) Health Care debate between my
parents bothered me and MySister more than the young kids kicking the
back of our seats.
We now wait for the carausel of bags to start, then on to Bay Area
A: We will see.
As I sit here, well past midnight in my parents' house, incapable of sleeping I have made a decision. For the first time in my nearly 4 years of blogging I will attempt "live blogging."
Although the experiment is technically starting right now, as I dillegently punch every character with my two thumbs in a pitch black TV room in Arlington Heights, the "event" for this chronicling expedition begins in a little under 4 hours. For that is when the cab arrives to take us to the airport. All four of us, my nuclear family, will be on the first flight to San Francisco. After 50 or so hours of random yet specific touristy activities, we will all travel via rental car one hour north to St. Helena (wine country). That is where my cousin Tom will get married on August 8.
My friends have told me I am wrong to think this will be our last family vacation. I hope they are right, but just in case I hope this project will result in a nice pseudo-journal that I can look back at and smile.
Thank you in advance to you, whoever you are reading this, for your unasked compliance. I am not sure how this technology will appear on your end, and hope the pictures I intend to take are clear. One thing is for certain: the unfiltered mind of yours truly (especially without spell check) is a dangerous idea.
Stay tuned (or if you'd rather, turn away now while you still have the chance).
Monday, August 3, 2009
Q: Was it just a coincidence?
Last week, the song "Chicken Bone Circuit" by RJD2 came up on the iPod and I wanted to use it as a "Song of the Moment."
Tonight I went looking for a YouTube clip featuring the song, and the top hit was one that featured sights from the SF Bay area...
I don't expect to see any of these places later this week, when I travel to this part of the world for a cousin's wedding...
It's standard fare tourist mumbojumbo:
But we're making it our own, not going by the general rules of what you've got to see
-We're not going to Alcatraz
-We're going to the Muir Forrest Preserve to see the Redwoods
-I'm making us go to the In-N-Out Burger
...and so on...
Hopefully, I'll get some ideas to write about.