Monday, June 28, 2010

Do you live vicariously?

Q: How to I rationalize the high frequency in which I live vicariously through others?
A: By telling myself it's more of a supporting venture.

My life, by itself, is rather boring.
However, I'm (blessed?) fortunate enough to know people with much richer lives than my own. I get added joy from those friends (or acquaintances) that I know who are highly creative. Rarely do I pass up an opportunity to help support their creativity.

For example, when my friend got a short story published - I quickly ordered the literary magazine (see picture of me astounded). Or, if I happen to see local Achievers coordinating a Burlesque show, I try my best to help spread the word.

It's time for me to try to spread the word again on a friend's creative endeavor. I've mentioned Machine Gun Mojo before on this blog shortly after I saw them live for the first time.

They are about to release their first full length album: Souvenirs from the other side of here. However, seeing how this is the band's first album, they did it themselves and without the help of Simon Cowell or whatever entities churn out music to the masses nowadays. Which leads me to my point:

I never knew of Kickstarter before, but it's a great vessel that helps bands raise funds by allowing fans to essentially pre-ordering albums during the recording phase - by having the money go straight to the studio bill. It makes wonderful sense. This was an album I was going to buy anyways - but now I don't have to have the band go more into debt then they already are before they reap the benefit my album purchase.

Now, there was another motive for my donation. Every time I hear of a band going through problems with recording music - I love thinking about my favorite scene from Boogie Nights. (By the way, if you haven't seen Boogie Nights - you should. Yeah, it's got a large amount of Sex, Nudity, explicit drug use and all the horrible consequences of such actions - but it's got a character played by John C. Reily that is just a pure comedic gem.)

I posted that link both on the band's facebook page and also the "event" to help gain momentum for their effort. There was no way I could post that YouTube video without donating. Yes, I'm the kind of guy that will pay $10 just to try to make someone laugh without personal guilt.

Back to Machine Gun Mojo:
I'm not telling you to [virtually] run over and donate to their cause. I know you dear reader is not looking to be sold anything when you clicked on this post. What I am asking is that you read the story about them from the blog Windy City Rock. In that story are links to free downloads of the band (both songs from the new album). If you like those tracks, consider pre-ordering the album by making a donation on their kickstarter page.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What is Postapalooza?

Q: What instantly turned my day around for the better?
A: The multiple "Official Lollapalooza Aftershow" announcements!

(TQ note: For total enjoyment of this post, when you see a link - right click to "Open Link in New Window" or New Tab because each link will send you to a choice YouTube track by the hyperlinked musical act. I hope MySister appreciates that direction for the computer illiterate)

I'm sure someone has already come up with this name before - but I'm calling this concert series that doesn't involve heat exhaustion, uncomfortably large crowds, tickets that are way too expensive for quality far too poor - POSTAPALOOZA!

First I see that my new favorite Lincoln Hall is bringing Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros to perform a show on the Friday night of the Lolla'weekend. It gets better, the opener for them will be Freelance Whales!

But I'm not going to that show.... Why not? More importantly, why am I not that upset about it?

Because just seconds later (as I scrolled down my iPhone during lunch today) I saw that Cut Copy will be performing a Metro show! I'm sorry Edward Sharpe, but Cut Copy wins this this concert face off without any hesitation.

In a distant third place for that Friday night: MGMT at House of Blues.

Lincoln Hall also announced that NPR darling Blitzen Trapper will be there on Saturday. However, I'm more interested in the opener: Avi Buffalo.

But I'm thinking I'm going to take Saturday night off. Yes, I also saw that The National is playing at The House of Blues - but I'm going to pass because of what will be there the night after:

Yup, the band I saw an astonishing 3 times in 2009 will be at the House of Blues that fateful Sunday in August. Phoenix is baaaaaaack!

The Cut Copy show is the only lock down will be seen by me of all these shows mentioned. Odds are I will most likely also purchase tickets for Phoenix (if I'm able to) to allow me the opportunity to see them if I want.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What's the question?

Q: How much do I regret starting the motif of beginning these with a question.
A: Tons.

(WARNING - my life has been a virtual barren tundra as of late, devoid of any misadventures or stories... The following is an insane amount of loose ends that have rattled their way out of my mind and onto my blog)

Tonight, at a stop light, a girl well in her early twenties yelled over and said - "You're cool!"
I looked back and jokingly yelled back, "You rock" while giving a Thumbs Up gesture.
Hours later, the entire incident is bringing my blood to a tepid boil.
Seriously? C'mon. I didn't need that today.

I have a confession to make.
The World Cup is a joy to watch.
That's not the confession - the confession is that I have yet to be able to watch an entire contest from start to finish. The beautiful HD green, the lifeless British commentary, the hypnotic buzz of those horns - puts me to sleep. I love it. I wish these games were on at night. If there's a goal, I go back and rewind. I knew I'd enjoy this year's World Cup, but not like this.

For the first time... ever... I wore a sweater vest. It was really for a comedic joke five years in the making. You see, after five years at my company you become fully "vested" in the pension plan. I decided to take this financial status quite literally today. These sweater vests are very popular, especially around my office. Many golfers prefer them as well. I can't help but think they look like life preservers. Wearing one made me feel like I was waiting on a dock looking for a jet ski. To those that like wearing sweater vests - who like the medium level of warmth while freeing up your limbs to be limber - I'm happy for you. Please don't take offense. The only people that should be offended about my displeasure of sweater vests are my family. I once made a stupid scene rejecting a sweater vest gift.

The new season of kickball, under new management (read: not me), started with a win by the score of 5 to 0. For the first time, I wasn't Captain and wasn't kicking last in the lineup. I got a single my first time up and scored one of our runs. Not to mention I had a good day in the field, making the first peg-out of the season. The move of finding someone to replace me as team leader is the early leader for best social move of 2010.

Did you hear that Manute Bol died?

If I decide to start another godawful blog, it's going to be dedicated to Pulled Pork Sandwiches. I've been eating a ridiculous amount of these over the past two years. It's almost gotten to the point that I'm opening up a menu just to find it. I could write about the sandwich at Russells, then a post about this local joint called Wally's. How do the Brew Pub efforts stand up? Thankfully, I don't think Portillo's has this on their menu. If they did, someone may have to call the CDC 'cause I'd be eating there in epidemic proportions.

Portillos, for better or worse, is becoming one of my most favorite restaurants. I can sincerely (in other words, sadly) say that the last 5 times I've been there I've had 5 different items. I can probably go the next 5 times and continue the unique ordering. I usually don't act this way at restaurants.

I spent over a half hour tonight in silence sitting on my porch during the rain. For those that don't know, there's an overhang that keeps me somewhat shielded from the elements. I meant for it to be a calming action, but I had trouble ridding my mind of irritating thoughts. Guys who are pricks, Girls who are clueless, powers that... It was a mental ramble of disorienting proportions. The conclusion I gave myself, which is one that I've arrived at before, is that I over-analyze many stupid things. Most of which I end up being harshly self critical. It costs me precious confidence when I get like that.

When I can't quickly find a playlist that I want to listen to, I know I'm in for a bad day. I'm overdue for a new chill out album. In the meantime, I'll throw on The xx album again and dull the edge I've been riding.

I'm halfway through Dexter. (I have now seen the first two of it's so far four seasons)
You gotta love the recent innovations of streaming NetFlix to your TV. I hope it catches on and more titles (such as Dexter season 3) become available through that vessel.

The other day I used the term "effortless beauty" to describe a very attractive woman to two close friends. This statement, or maybe the fact that I said it, was called out and discussed. I tried to reinforce how attractive I find the concept of "low maintenance." Is this a manifestation of my laziness? I don't know. If I knew how to play an acoustic guitar I may consider writing a song about that effortless beauty. Lyrics would include her gym workouts featuring clothes not color coordinated, yet matched on a different plane of consciousness. The chorus of the song would include a two step cadence that would balance her approachability and distance. The song would become featured on a myriad of MTV non-competition based reality programming.

Here's an idea - I want to sit in a bar with a tip jar offering slogans for a nominal fee. If you want a name for your fantasy football team - drop in a buck. How about a nickname for someone you just met? Maybe these strangers would just want a single word to describe a painting they are considering. I think I'd be okay in that vibe. Just casually minding my own business until called upon to write on the stack of colored 4 x 6 note cards piled just off center on the table. Examples might include "Squeeze me Jesus!" "Jones and Juice" "Hyperbolic" "Moop"

The last time I was at my barber I asked him if he knows how often I go in between hair cuts? I felt stupid asking. I've been deciding on when to go cut my hair for quite a while now, shouldn't I know this? It seems lately I play something like a game of chicken with my hair - in which I let it keep growing to the point that I can no longer deal with it and need it chopped. It's either that strategy or I see an event on the calendar that would require optimal hair. Such an event is coming up somewhat soon, and I had to have a crazy inner monologue weighing if I could wait the extra weeks or not.

At what point are you locked in for the rest of your life with a hairstyle? I think I've gone through about 5 or 6 in my 31 years. I wonder if me at 51 will have some kind of odd side part, like the 1993 version of me. Of course, my hair could always start falling out - that would be a game changer. My Dad has been modeling the "ring around the scalp" look going on over 50 years now.

It's been a while since I've bought a pair of shoes. I just typed that with a sense of accomplishment. A couple years ago, I began to wonder if I should be concerned at the number of shoes I owned. It was nothing that required a documentary feature, but the pairs were starting to add up as my life boringly diversified (black dress, brown dress, casual non athletic, casual athletic, basketball only, golf only, outdoor basketball only, Misc. Crap Footwear). Sometimes I miss the days when feet grew - when getting new shoes was a fun necessity, not a chore. Once upon a time I was unable to walk past a Foot Locker without looking at every single shoe for sale theorizing of what my feet could grow into next. Now I wear shoes until the literally fall off my feet into shards of debris. Pretty soon I'm going to be one of those people that buy multiple pairs of the same shoes. I already wish I had did it because I want the exact same shoes again - and in one case, regret a recent "downgrade" every time I drag'em over to my socked feet.

Decided tonight: every bedroom of my future will require a ceiling fan. This is now a necessity to my life.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Where do playlists go to die?

Q: When does an ego inflate to the point of being conceited?
A: I dunno, but I hope I'm not there yet.

I uncovered a picture from my youth:

If you happened to be my Facebook friend, and were looking at my "mobile uploads" during a specific 6 minute time frame last Saturday, you saw the uncensored version. I've been told I have an unhealthy positive opinion of pictures of myself. As soon as I saw the above picture I executed a classic, "Taking a picture of a picture" to digitally steal the image while keeping the original exactly where I found it.

A plan that didn't consider the intentions of others. In fact, I hope even the censored picture passes. There was another plan of mine that didn't go off very smoothly.

(This is not about the playoff exit of Kick Tan Laundry. Yes, my second effort in kickball ended with another first round playoff exit. But, to tell you the absolute truth, the season was a huge success for one reason: it was my last as captain. I found a willing successor to undertake all the aspects I no longer wanted. I got that team off the ground, and now it's going forward... Still with me at First Base, but thankfully without the coordination hassle. However, I don't intend to stop writing about Kickball... Coming soon, the third season of kickball: Come At Me Bro.)

No, the most recent failed plan involves a mixtape. I love mixtapes and nearly everything about them. A few years ago my friend was making a mixtape for a new Mother - and wanted to dip into my expertise of Mountie Rock to provide a couple suggestions. Instead of giving him a couple suggestions, I made him an entire "Lullaby" mixtape telling him that I wasn't going to miss another chance of crafting a playlist from scratch. That mixtape still remains an often listened to playlist on my iPod.

Here's the playlist - I took a screen shot to allow me to delete it entirely (but still giving me a file to go back to if I ever want to recreate it):

This playlist is titled "30 songs"
It is meant to be a song per year, without repeating artists, for the past 30 years. Exactly how do you know a playlist is bad?
  • Entirely too much time is spent debating the year "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley belongs - nearly every "Best of 1988" list has it high, yet the iTunes music store has an album release date of 1987
  • There is no constant theme, a playlist looks as if it was selected by two different people (popular vs. unknown)
  • When the song title "Creep" becomes a label alongside track titles such as "I Think We're Alone Now"
  • It's too long for one Audio CD, which is only a problem if there is no clear "disc break"
  • You just plain don't want to listen to it
Back to the drawing board. I'm happy to report I'll be seeing My Morning Jacket in concert soon. My playlists will be updated to accommodate Jim James and my second favorite thing to come out of Louisville, Kentucky. (You all of course should know my favorite thing to come out of Louisville)