Friday, October 30, 2009

Where do you prefer to listen to new music?

Q: What has four words, four syllables, and just four tracks on their latest album?
A: "Other Truths" by Do Make Say Think
Here's a sample of Do Make Say Think. It's the music video for "In Mind" from their album You, You're a History In Rust

Ladies & Gentleman we have a new winner...
For most absolute obscure musical act in my iPod!

The guys from DMST have interconnected members with the Broken Social Scene conglomerate from Canada. Therefore, by definition, this is the latest installment in my personal quest to make "Mountie Rock" it's own Grammy Category (or at least get the phrase into our lexicon).

Not to mention, the next concert I see will be these guys in the first week of December.
Looking forward to it.

A friend gave me this "Other Truths" album, which was released in the past month.
The CD only left my car stereo momentarily for its iTunes import.
But it's back in there now.
It's the kind of music that makes you want to sit back and reflect upon matters...

Recently, I began taking inventory on where I listen to music most often.
(ranked by frequency)
- at my desk at work
- in my car
- from the computer in my bedroom (usually very late at night, always with headphones)

Of these top three options - in the car is the best.
It makes a lot of sense, since it's the only non-headphoned choice of the three.
Yes, I could listen to through speakers at home, but I choose not to out of politeness (I tend to like it loud, and I tend to listen to it late).

Here's the new album on Amazon

For the record: The opening track to this DMST album - is making a late run at Phoenix's "1901" for song of the year!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Can you fake the funk?

Q: Do you find it hard to believe I don't dance?
A: You should, now, because it's not all that entirely accurate.

I know that I've introduced this man to you before, but to remind you:

This is Girl Talk, someone who mixes music that may soon make me dance.

Much to MySister's chagrin, more people have seen me dance in the last year than in my previous 29 years.
To the outsider, this might be interpreted as me finally shedding a shielding layer of vulnerability.
That might be true, but to a very minuscule extent.

Back in the hey day of the "25 Random Things" task that swept the world - I was more specific to why I prefer to not dance.

I'll spare you from sifting through that manifesto and copy what I wrote back in February in regards to dancing:

38. Some people can dance like no one is watching. Some people like to dance when others are watching. Nothing debilitates my self confidence than the feeling of eyes watching me dance. However, girls can get me to dance. But as much as it breaks my sister's heart - not her. I'm an absolute wreck at weddings, when people start dancing. I sweat bullets and pray I don't have to hurt someone's feelings by turning down a dance. Alcohol does cut through this. Whatever that inhibition is that is freed by booze can get me to dance - but only if I get "way in the bag" so to speak - to a level I rarely descend.

But there's a new caveat to my viewpoint that I recently discovered:
I need to really like a song to dance to it.
There are many people, that just need a beat.
Not I.

This statement, paired with the fact that the danceable music I enjoy is quite odd (i.e. Girl Talk) or not played at weddings (i.e. Daft Punk), results in me not dancing.

On a side, but very tangentially related, note: I am not a fan of New Year's Eve.
To me, it feels like an entire Valentine's Day compressed into a very awkward 20 minute period.
Not to mention, like St. Patrick's Day, it's Amateur Drinking Night in America.
Let me stay in, be alone, safe from myself and others.

What does this have to do with dancing?
Well, Girl Talk is coming to Chicago to perform a New Year's Eve show.

It's kind of difficult for me to believe what I'm about to write:

I want to go into the City on New Year's Eve.
And I want to go there to dance.

If you liked that Girl Talk concert clip, here's part two:

For the record I have very large doubts I'll get to this NYE show.
My doubts of finding someone to go with are even larger.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What do you get from a season of kickball?

Q: Is it over?
A: Yes, but hopefully we can play again in the Spring.

Well, I think a better team won,
Tonight Conflict Diamond's first season came to a close.
The consolation prize: finally receiving our T-Shirts:

I'm glad I brought my camera, for I took a few more pictures.
And it just wasn't of the photogenic women of our club:

Above is Diana and Michelle.
Below is Zach and Jeff.

And finally, a great pose from our pitcher Jessica.

Bonus Note: Jessica has the athletic accomplishment of the kickball season.
During the season, she trained and completed her first marathon in an astounding sub-5 hour time!

We'll see what happens next season when we have veterans kickin' balls and ass.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Do you know how I vote?

Q: Is it pointless?
A: It's not.

I'm sorry.
I've changed my mind.
For the last couple hours I've been grappling with this self assigned task.
Trying to figure out a way to explain why I abhor talking about politics.

I had so much crap written.
Even talking about these two dopes:

Also examples of my Democratic Mother and Republican Father.

I wanted to help others understand how awkward I feel when it seems like my friends with views more to the Left than I want me to agree more with them and when friends with views from the Right want me to agree more with them.

But I deleted it all after I realized posting it could lead to more of the same.

More importantly, I deleted it because I don't want to stop others from talking politics.
Obviously, we all have the right and freedom to express our opinions.
As much as I don't like talking about my personal politics, I appreciate that I have friends that openly discuss their own beliefs. I'm lucky to have friends from both sides of the aisle.

Just please don't ask me who I voted for... Get to know me, very well, and I'm sure you can figure it out.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Do you want to know who sends you unsigned messages?

Q: Why do I allow "anonymous" comments on my blog?
A: Because I welcome honest reactions and opinions.

Quite a comment from my last post:

As with all comments, this made my day.
I'm especially happy because the specific area referenced in this comment was very deep into a long post. I am appreciative that this unknown commenter stuck with that post long enough to get to that section.

This warrants a longer, more direct response.
I need more time to craft what I need to say, because it's clear I missed the point.

Long story short: the above comment is right:
-Current Political Events are not pointless
(It is my opinion that the majority of the arguments have, at the least, misguided points)
-My points are generally irrelevant, proving the last point as well.

I will not be revealing any of my personal political beliefs.
Additionally, I will not be asking anybody to share theirs.
The issue I hope to address is the social construct of the modern political discourse in America today.

Tune back in tomorrow, as hopefully I will separate "talking politics" from "Political Discussions." However, at least one person believes I can't make a logical and convincing argument.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's keeping you awake tonight?

Q: What time is it?
A: Mindless rant time

At work today, I decided to listen to a live concert by The Frames.
This is the song that started the first encore:

It stopped me in my tracks.
I sat motionless in my cube.
Transfixed by the sound.
It's not a popular song, there is no official music video for it.
I embedded a video of the best version from a concert goer.
(For those of you not reading on the actual blog, but on facebook, here's the link:)
The video is from a performance in Belgium nearly two years ago.

As you know, I enjoy going to concerts.
Live music has become a newfound passion of mine.
But there have been two new advancements that almost replace it entirely.
One is HDTV - my friend has access to this amazing VH-1 offshoot channel that has programming that makes me druel.
The second is NPR's All Songs Considered Live Concert Podcast - with as much emphasis as this medium allows, I strongly insist that you check out their website to see the massive list of concerts available (all for free, all in great podcast quality)

There are many aspects of concerts many don't like.
The cost, the crowds, the general feeling of non comfort, the realization that you are one of the older ones in attendance, the sound quality, the inferior opening acts... the list can go on...
If you aren't willing, or don't care, to fight any of these perils check out that NPR podcast. You'll see tons of bands you've never heard of - have fun exploring.

That being said, I'm going to the House of Blues this Sunday Night.
I bought the ticket not checking the National Football League Regular Season Schedule.
It's directly opposite a Chicago Football Bears Football Game.
The band is Mute Math, or MUTEMATH (as iTunes chooses to list them on their latest album).
For the record, the HOB is one of, if the THE, best music venue in the greater Chicago area.

I was asked if I wanted to go to another show next month.
Thankfully, I have since uploaded the Bear schedule into my calendar.
Yes, the concert proposed was on a Thursday - but it happens to be a Bear Thursday Night NFL special game!
Lesson Learned / No Concert
(Besides, it was for an act I have already seen live before)

I've been feeling real active and real good lately.
Last night I played kickball (my team won)
Tonight I played basketball - and let me tell you about the joy of my Wednesday Night Basketball group...

Shirts vs Shirts
We collect canned goods for my parish's food pantry
No pricks
Tonight we had exactly ten show up
We played four games
My team lost the first two games
That first game - I didn't make a single shot

Then it started getting hot in the gym.
Primarily me.

I try to be somewhat modest
Which, directly contradicts the whole venture of blog writing.
But I really want to say how good I feel that I was hitting deep shots tonight.
And these just weren't open looks - closely guarded rise and release bombs.
If I pat myself on the back any harder, I'll hurt my hand and won't be able to finish typing...

Tomorrow night is a rehearsal dinner.
I've been an usher.
I've been a groomsman
And now, for the first time, I've been asked to get up and read one of the Readings.

As with all these, I truly feel honored to be included in these events.

But let me say that I think this latest gig is the best most sweet setup to date.
No Tux Rental, Hardly any responsibilities, and I get all the benefits of getting to go to the rehearsal dinner!
Oh, and I bet I got an upgrade as far as the reception seating is concerned.

My connection is with the Bride - I've known her for over 25 years and grew up less than two blocks away back in the less than charming, less than urban, suburb of Prospect Heights. The rehearsal is on a Thurssday, the Wedding on a Saturday.

By the way, the rehearsal dinner will be at Lou Malnati's! How infinitely awesome is that?

I'll be using that Friday as a rest day.

Sunday Night is the aforementioned concert.

Monday Night I am meeting two friends in town from Cleveland for dinner downtown.
I met this duo at Lebowski Fest two years ago. This dinner will further by belief that my obsession with The Big Lebowski has yielded more to my life than just an unhealthy amount of trivia knowledge and a penchant for quoting the film regardless of listener comprehension.

Tuesday night is Kickball Playoffs bitch!

And then we're back to one week from tonight: another late night Wednesday basketball run.

Unclassified Random Note Section
Have I mentioned that I am done dating strangers?
And strange women?
It's true, I've tried that route more than my share.
I think I may be a worse person because of it.
If there's another stranger I want to date, I need to get to know her first.
Yeah, it seems so crazy that I actually had to realize that.

I'm going into the much maligned Wrigleyville next weekend.
Someone's got a birthday.
Potentially one of the nicest people I know, a genuinely good citizen of the planet.
I've only known him for about two years, and I hate to sound all man crush like but the more I get to know him the more I appreciate knowing him.
It'll be great to be able to wish him a proper birthday alongside people who know him much better than I.

Someone who is ten years older than me gave me the following advice shortly before I began working 40+ hours a week for the rest of my life:
"If someone asks me for help, I always try - even if I'm not able to help out, it creates a great perception of you in others."
I try to follow this, even today.
It's great advice.
Especially if it's not my job I like being someone asked for help.
Sometimes I know I'm being used, but it's tough for me to say no.
The day they stop coming you for help may be the day they stop needing you.

Baskin Robbins, or 31 flavors - whatever, needs a better milkshake.
I got one today, and it was nearly pure liquid ice cream.
It's called viscosity BR31.
You're lucky you don't puncture a lung trying to get the Steak & Shake product up the straw.
But S&S is overkill - give me the Oberweiss milkshake.
Tonight I actually considered obtaining a blender.
Take this shake venture into my own hands.
However, that blender route could lead to weight I don't want.

Speaking of weight, another person I know started Seattle Sutton.
I've been off it for a loooong time now.
Kinda treading water at a weight larger than I want, but someone content in the fact that I'm not where I was...

The following statement is not an embellishment:
When I come home from work, insert my key into the lock, I fear that there will be a hole in my ceiling.
The roof situation in my condo building is beyond reason and I've lost all confidence in it's future. Bascially, I'm preparing for major damage to inflict my quality of life.
Just, please, don't wreck my new couch. The only good thing: it's making me not want to get a new TV because I'm afraid it will get snowed upon!

The stupidest thing I did today was take a spoon and shovel out a large portion of mashed potatoes onto my plate only to realize it was hummus less than a minute later.
If I'm on death row, my last meal will include Mashed Potatoes.

I realize it's important to stay current with the News.
Talking politics exists in a stratosphere beyond brutal.
Being in the midst of a discussion with people who don't agree with you is infuriating.
As it can also be with people that agree with you.
The whole venture seems pointless to me.
None of us are running for public office.
I haven't ever heard someone say, "that's a good point, I'll reconsider my stance."
It seems we're just arming ourselves to be better fighters for our next argument.

Time to listen to that violin solo one more time before my next failed slumber attempt.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why is everyone smiling?

Q: Is the kickball season over?
A: Nope, just the regular season... It's playoff time in kickballville!

So everyone is smiling for a very simple reason:
Conflict Diamond won it's regular season finale 11-2.

With a record of 3-4, we'll be the 5 seed in the 8 team playoff.
It turns out, having a massive roster close to 20 was the right idea.
Nearly everbody said they would be at tonight's game 8 weeks ago.
This is why I was hoping to get a good group picture tonight.
Various unforeseen events led to us with almost the bare minimum.
Which, gloriously, led to no roster stress for yours truly.
Plenty of playing time to go around.
Not to mention, when you score 11, everyone kicks more too.

A special thanks to three coworkers who chose to cheer us on tonight.
I know I've been hanging my head slightly low this last week.
A company wide e-mail announced our record of (at the time) 2-4.
Worse yet, it listed the scores (some of which weren't too flattering).
It feels double nice to have witnesses to a victory.
I told them to spread the word that our team can win.
They felt the enthusiasm too, as illustrated by their post game Hi-5.

Monday, October 12, 2009

How far away is Vegas?

Q: Has an official countdown been posted at work?
A: Yes, but it's not as large as past countdowns.

Below is a small glimpse into my office cubicle.
The "6" refers to how many more weeks of work remain between me and my
annual trip to Las Vegas.

In the past, the countdown has been very large and blatant.
The current edition, as you can see, is devoid of any obnoxious font
and self titleing.

People now understand that If I'm going on vacation, it's to the
desert. (However, I will have taken more days off in 2009 for various
Lebowski-related efforts)

Oh, and that most certainly is an Optimus Prime magnet holding up the

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What were you thinking one year ago?

Q: Do you ever look back into your e-mails to see what was on your mind a year ago?
A: In my case, I tend to look at old blog posts (below is "LoT + BSS = WOW" originally posted October 12, 2008 on MySpace's now defunct View de TQ blog)

I spent more than a half hour attempting to find an appropriate video to describe the Broken Social Scene concert I attended last Thursday.

Thanks to the blog "Pop Tarts Suck Toasted", I think I found it.

That's where I found the below clip from just over a month ago. It shows Broken Social Scene performing "Shoreline" (which is, if you subscribe to the "YouTube as your popularity indicator" theory, would be their number one song). Key to this video taken at a NYU concert is that it features Elizabeth Powell.

This is "Lizzy" Powell, the front person and main creative force behind Land of Talk:

Land of Talk was the opening act for Broken Social Scene. And in the true collaborate effort that BSS is, Lizzy stepped in happily for any song needing a female vocal. This, if you don't know, was the path first blazed in BSS folklore by Leslie Feist (You've probably heard of her).

Land of Talk, although they didn't play the song I heard on NPR's All Songs Considered, had a powerful set... considering...

Considering that whoever was in charge of the sound quality the night of Thursday October 9 at the Vic Theatre in Chicago was incompetent. Honestly, I've never heard such a mismangled sound at a professional concert. Maybe I should give those boys some slack, because mixing an 8-11 member band must present unique challenges.

Back to Land of Talk:
Lizzie was hot.
She was powerful.
I just bought her debut album off iTunes.
Add another name to my growing list of "Mountie Rock" acts I'm following.

But LoT wasn't alone on using the BSS bandwagon to gain the attention of yours truly.
I've heard a few songs before from Apostle of Hustle, which I liked.
Julian Brown, of AoH, was performing with BSS last Thursday.
Just one more example of the interconnected harmony of the Canadian Independent Rock Scene... Here's a picture of Mr. Brown:

I haven't bought any AoH music yet, but I'm sure I won't be able to make that statement much longer.

As for the actual main event: the set by Broken Social Scene...
In any other year that didn't include a free ticket to Radiohead, that concert would have been the musical highlight of the year - and in the running for moment of the decade.
They played the songs I wanted to hear, but I got to experience the joy of BSS. To see 8 to 11 Canadians playing multiple instruments and truly conveying at atmosphere of fun playing.

There was also a sentiment expressed by Kevin Drew (one of the two "founding" members of BSS) that was echoed two weeks earlier from fellow Mountie Rockers Stars. Drew mentioned that he understood that economic times are rough, and that he appreciates everybody spending their money to see them live (and to fund his life, to be lived the way he wants to live it).

The show ended at 10:30 pm, per the neighborhood's noise ordinance mandates. They didn't waste any time, cramming as much music as they could muster. In a move I've never seen before, but dreamed of seeing, a band played their "last" song - then continued right into their "encore." This band doesn't want to pull the charade of ending a set and walking off the stage, in a gratuitous ploy for more applause. They just kept on playing. Because that's what we all wanted, and I get the sense that's what they wanted too...

It's safe to say that I will be purchasing two tickets the day the next BSS show goes on sale - then spending whatever time window I have leading up to the concert to convince someone else that it's worth the voyage. (Special shout out to Jeff, who was the unsuspecting party that I dragged to this show - but I think he appreciated it almost as much as I... Even if my dance grooves were probably embarrassing)

And now, for your viewing pleasure - Here's Broken Social Scene featuring Lizzy Powell performing "Shoreline"

Friday, October 9, 2009

What were you thinking two years ago?

Q: Do you ever look back into your e-mails to see what was on your mind a year ago?
A: In my case, I tend to look at old blog posts (below is "More disconnected thoughts from the sleepless" originally posted October 9, 2007 on MySpace's now defunct View de TQ blog)

Finally acquired the new Kanye album from a coworkin' friend - now I'm really looking forward to my return to live Hip-Hop this Halloween at the House of Blues (Lupe Fiasco)

Mr. Thomas Brady, the quarterback of the New England Football Patriots - please continue your excellence - my fantasy (football team) is coming true.

This Saturday I will be in a tuxedo for only the third time of my life. Skip, you're worth it.

I was invited to go out to a couple gay bars last Saturday. Decided to play poker instead (no pun intended).

For the first time in my life, the hours between 8 am and 5 pm seem to be in better order than anytime after 5 pm. I do not like that fact.

A little over a week ago a friend asked, "did she have a ring on her finger." I didn't know the answer. I used to be pretty much on top of that - what does it say about me that I'm not even taking the effort to check anymore? (assuming it's there either in reality or in theory)

Very recently I was asked "Do you still play basketball?" I had to pause. "It's not a tough question." was the follow up comment. No it's not, but why am I making it tough? Sure, I used the whole face-breaking incident as a fall back excuse, but that's not it

Every other commercial is for a film I really want to see.

I may soon set a record: most money spent at Costco without showing (let alone owning) a Costco Membership card.

Explaining what I do for a living is difficult to say in under 7 minutes. That has to be boring to all else but me.

Yes the Bears won, but let's still start talkin' Bulls.

Nothing made me happier last month that listening to my Father's stories from his first visit to Ireland - this is saying a lot because September was very good to me. In fact, September 2006 was the best month of my life ever, and Sept 07 was a very nice follow up act.

Even if you understand - you may not comprehend.

Nip/Tuck is commin' back... It's gonna be worse than ever before (and that means I'll only want to watch it more)

Friday Night Lights is already back... It's going to continue to be as good as it was (and that means nobody will want to watch it)

I think Rexy will be Sexy elsewhere very soon. And I hope he leaves. Chicago was so poor to him, and yet I still believe in him... He deserves better - and I will continue to root for him.

Eddy Curry got hurt today. I care less about that individual.

In the beginnings of a major upset to my popular opinion - I am starting to wonder if raising a daughter would be an easier proposition than a son. This is classic beyond issue worrying.

3 AM Eternal, as I look at the clock right now, only makes me think of one thing.... not the amount of time I have left to rest... I can only think of the classic late 80s track by The KLF. Paging Mr. iTunes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Do you believe in moral victories?

Q: With a title like that, it must've been a loss?
A: Yup.

Earlier tonight, Conflict Diamond lost 1-6.
Falling us to 2-4 on the year.
To be perfectly honest, it was the most fun I've had all season.

The day started off crappy, as far as the weather in concerned.
Everyone wished it was warmer.
Everyone was afraid of the morning rain.
Many openly doubted that the game would still take place.
I had the weather hotline on near speed dial.

By the time 6:15 pm rolled around, the sun was out and the field was dry.
All these weather factors, among other extraneous motivators, resulted in the team's lowest turnout of players.
This made my responsibility of lineup creation the easiest it was all year.

It was also the first game in which I played the entire time.
Tonight I realized, for the first time, the level of fun my teammates were experiencing this phenomenon of kickball.
Not once did I have to tell someone to sit out an inning.
Not once did I have to move people around to balance playing time.

The feeling was beyond marvelous.
Completely devoid of worry, doubt and second guessing.

As for the game: it's a tough loss to dissect.
We only scored one run, but I feel we kicked the ball better this week (just AT the other team more).

On a personal level, I had my first extra base hit of the year (wiped out by an absent-minded idea to stretch it into a triple)! Also, I had an error free game at first base that saw a little bit of everything (including my first "peg" of a runner and a well executed double play).

Next week is our last "regular season game" before the playoffs start.
I think it's safe to say this entire idea of fielding a kickball team was a great idea.