Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Trip Shopping

I'm leaving town tomorrow for a couple of days and needed some entertainment for the trip. I ordered a couple of CD's but I'm still waiting for them to come in (one of them for a month now). Plus I'm almost finished with my book. With a four hour layover in St. Louis both ways, that's a problem. Off to Hastings I went!!

I know I bitch a bunch about Hastings, and it's always accurate. However, occasionally I leave happy. Tonight was definitely a happy night. Most of everything I was looking for was not there so I started searching for stuff not first on my list. And that's where things turned around. First I found a used Smog album (Rain on Lens). Who the hell around here:
A.) Knows who the hell Smog is?
B.) Would trade in a Smog album??
A little more searching netted me one of the two Superchunk albums I don't own (Foolish). Plus it's the Japanese import version!! I'm sure you're surprised that there is stuff by Superchunk that I don't own. Both CD's were only $6.

I was still a little worried about what book I should pick up because I just couldn't think of anything that excited me. But, WAIT, yes there was...it just took me a minute. A little searching and I found one copy of 3 Nights in August. I was thrilled. Then I started thinking, what self-respecting book store in Missouri only has one in-store copy of this book?? I always have to bitch about something when coming out of Hastings.


Oh, by the way. Since this is a dry season for new releases, I'll make a suggestion somebody may have missed:

Stars-Set Yourself on Fire

Definitely check this one out. I've been struggling coming up with something to compare it with, but then I realized it's an impossible task because every song is so different, very eclectic. Some of it sounds like Rilo Kiley, some like the Postal Service, some like the Smiths. They're from Montreal so it'd be inevitable to compare them to the Arcade Fire, but you can't. Well I guess both use strings and have both a guy and girl singer. That's about it.

Kizza You, Mr. Chilton

I've really been struggling trying to find some more releases this year to get excited about. Orenda Fink, John Vanderslice, Portastatic, and Death Cab for Cutie are about all I can come up with.

Well, that's all until I saw this little story today.

Big Star is releasing their first album in 27 years on September 26!! Oh my, that's way more than enough to get me excited!!

It's pretty rare that a reunion album gets me excited. The Pixies have a new one coming out. That's cool. Usually, however, reunion albums SUCK. American Music Club proved last year that it's very possible to have a reunion album turn out great. I'm trusting in Alex and Jody to give me another winner.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Dick Beats Dave.....I Win

An old argument has finally been settled. I used to argue with certain friends that Richard Avedon was a far superior visual artist than David LaChapelle. With this lost Lost promo that's surfaced, it appears I finally win.

In case you haven't seen it, check it out here via the fab Trent.

Let me sum it up......IT SUCKS!! Go back to directing crappy Mariah Carey videos you hack!!

Friday, July 22, 2005

A Walk Off Bunt

I can't remember the last time I saw this....

....a squeeze to win a game.

What an awesome game tonight!! I pity you if you didn't get to see it. It was exactly what it should've been. Two rival aces pitch nine innings in an eleven inning thriller.

My favorite thing about the Cards/Cubs rivalry? Well every game is like a playoff game and the atmosphere is intense. Every game is a thriller. The best thing? My team always seems to win!!

I Respond.....Eventually

Cory sent me one of those questionnaire emails a while back and I figured I'll respond here. I'm with KO, usually I just delete them. However, Cory's a nice feller. Plus I'm not doing much right now but drinking a beer and listening to some tunes. Okay, here goes.....

1. What is your occupation?
Television Production Manager
2. What color is your underwear?
blue, white, and gray stripes
3. What are you listening to now?
Morons calling into the Cardinals postgame show.
4. What was the last thing you ate?
5. Do you wish on stars?
Maybe if it's a shooting star. No stinking normal star will do!
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Can't say I've ever really thought about that.
7. How is the weather right now?
Hotter than blazes!!
8. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
Sparky at work
9. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
At this moment? Yeah sure.
10. How old are you today?
25 as of Sunday!!
11. Favorite drink?
cold-Egg Cream
hot-Chai Tea
12. Favorite sport to watch?
Cardinal baseball
13. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Many, many times.
14. Do you wear contacts or glasses?
15. Pets?

16. Favorite month?
April (changing weather, baseball)
17. Favorite food?
Mediterranean or Italian
18. What was the last movie you watched?
Star Wars: Episode III
19. Favorite day of the year?
20. What do you do to vent anger?
21. What was your favorite toy as a child?

22. Fall or Spring?
I like both!! I can't choose.
23. Hugs or kisses?
Depends on the recipient.
24. Cherry or Blueberry?
25. Do you want your friends to email you back?
I'm not emailing this on.
26. Who is most likely to respond?
See above.
27. Who is least likely to respond?
Lay off!!
28. Living arrangements?.
3 BR duplex with the cat
29. When was the last time you cried?
I welled up a touch at John's wedding last year.
30. What is on the floor of your closet?
laundry basket and various luggage
31. Who is the friend you have had the longest?
Jonathan, since 4th grade
32. What did you do last night?
Watched baseball and cleaned the kitchen.
33. Favorite smell?
Pizza or a ballpark
34. What inspires you?
Republicans inspire me to be better.
35. What are you afraid of?
Again, Republicans
36. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers?
loads of onions (I'm single, ladies!)
37. Favorite car?
Audi or Jaguar
38. Favorite dog breed?
39. Number of keys on your key ring?
40. How many years at your current job?
I'll've been back 5 years on Aug. 18 (just over 4 years in current position).
41. Favorite day of the week?
42. How many states have you lived in?
four (Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin)
43. How many cities have you lived in?
four (Winfield, Kirksville, Kent, Milwaukee)

The Man From Halifax Comes to Save the Steel City

I was so excited about today's NHL draft lottery and was thrilled when I saw that FSN Midwest was actually covering it live. Yeah you heard right! Screw you, ESPN!!

Somehow I was still holding out a touch of hope that the Blues would somehow end up with the first pick and get Sidney Crosby. Of course I forgot that the hockey gods like to crap on St. Louis and the pick ended up in Pittsburgh (the Blues got 24).

Oh well, at least the Blues will have a nice second round pick. Besides, I like the Pens and am very happy for them. Hopefully Sidney will be as great as he's said to be and really turns around those sorry Penguins.....and stay the hell out of the Western Conference.

Any chance Sidney will fall to 24? Hmmmm? No? Damn.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Koreans Love Albert....And So Do I

The NL Central summed up by the Koreans.

I don't know what it says, but I love it!! I'm also a little confused as to why Pujols--I think it's Pujols--is in his underpants.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


How am I just now hearing about this?

A Johnny Cash biopic?

That's awesome!! I saw a couple of clips last night and Joaquin Phoenix looks and sounds so much like JRC circa 1960. Reese Witherspoon as June Carter? Not so much. Shooter Jennings as Waylon Jennings? Well, duh. I can't wait for this one.

Finally a movie I'm actually excited about that isn't Star Wars!!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

All Riot, No Melody

Okay, so I've listened to the new Son Volt all week and I'm starting to let it get to me. I still can't quite figure out whether or not I actually like it, but I've got a descent idea. It's good, but it's very difficult for me not to compare it to the other three Son Volt albums. That's a bad thing for Okemah.

Man do I miss the Farrar of ten years ago. I really long for the Farrar of Uncle Tupelo and the other Son Volt. Jay's solo stuff was, well, okay. At least Okemah seems to be a slight turn back to what he does best. He's cut from the same cloth as Graham Parsons, John Fogerty, and Neil Young, and he writes his best when he's in that mindset. Not to drudge back in that old-hat comparison, but Wilco.....Wilco had a sound that was built for change. I loved the sound of A.M. and Being There, but evolution was necessary. For Jay, it was not. If Jay never dove into experimental waters and was still writing the same songs from Anodyne and Trace I would be content. I really miss those days.

This is not to say I don't like Omekah, but it's just not quite there. There are some very strong songs ("Bandages & Scars," "Afterglow 61," "Atmosphere," "Medication"), but as a whole it's just not great. It's listenable, but it won't take too long for me to push it aside and pull Trace back out. It's just lacking the intimacy of his earlier work. Overall Omekah shows a ton of promise.....but it doesn't matter because I'll still get everything Jay puts out. It's just a matter of whether or not I'll bitch about it or not.

By the way, in a couple of hours my third decade will be half over....a quarter century. Hooray!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Sufjan Stevens is a Google God

Another Sufjan Stevens post....I know, I know.....but this time it has an mp3 link!

NPR had a test for Sufjan. You can read about it here. Essentially they gave him a town (Brinkley, Arkansas) and told him to right a song about it. He did, and it's great. You can download it here.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts, But Keeps His Copyrights

Well I hope you all pre-ordered Sufjan Stevens' latest opus Illinois because the wonderful folks at D.C. Comics have decided to step in and shut down any sales due to the image of $uperman on the cover. Thankfully I've owned a copy for around a month now. Before Monday, there were only a couple of copies listed on eBay for around $15-$20. Now check it out. Jeez!! Oh well, at least you may be able pick up a copy for a short bit at a retailer. Otherwise, iTunes has it. Hopefully the son of Jor-El will calm down and go back to saving lives and shit and leave alone the indie artists. Besides, I always liked Marvel Comics more.
Really you do need to search this album out because it is truly remarkable. Maybe this phrase is a little overused, but it truly is unlike anything else out there. It took a bit longer for me to like than Michigan and Seven Swans. Now I have it. The music is so mindbending and complex, but boy is it rewarding. Sufjan Stevens truly is one of the best songwriters out there, but he will never alienate you as you listen. He's so clever, funny, and heartbreaking that listening to any of his albums is an exhausting experience. (Actually just reading the song titles alone is an exhausting experience.) With Illinois he seems to be embarking on a Brian Wilson-esque trip....without all the drugs and insanity. It's as complex as Pet Sounds and as surreal as SMiLE.
It's very difficult to pick out a favorite moment on this album. "Come On! Feel the Illinoise!" is truly remarkable. "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." is just so sad that it's hard not to well up. I want to wake up to "Chicago" every morning. "The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out To Get Us!" is just gorgeous. "The Seer's Tower" proves that Sufjan actually is self-conscious about copyright laws in a very disturbing song. The climax "The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders" is a perfect culmination of a truly remarkable tribute to a truly mediocre state (sorry, I'm from Missouri).
Trust me, just go buy this album somewhere. It's so totally worth it. At least if you spend $80 for it on eBay, at least you'll be getting your money's worth as it clocks in at 74 minutes. Just get it and thank your lucky stars for having an artist like Sufjan. A lifetime of incredible music awaits as Sufjan still has 48 more albums to go in this series.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

What I Learned During My July 4th Weekend

I learned that the worst time of the year to get bronchitis is during July 4th. I've struggled breathing for over a week now, and just when things started to get better the whole town filled up with a cloud of gunpowder smoke. Everything I did this weekend was horrible for my lungs. From the smoke-filled video game night at Josh's, to the dusty softball tournament I played in, to the citronella-scented birthday party for my nephew, all culminating last night when the town was filled with smoke.

I'll say this....bronchitis is the worst thing in the world for a chain smoker to catch. Breathing is a chore. Friday and Saturday mornings I woke up with the worst headaches I've had in a long time. Saturday I finally got fed up when I woke up with a crippling headache and felt like I was suffocating. I rushed to an after hours clinic where they found the diagnosis. I got a nice little steroid shot in the butt by a pretty nurse, an expensive prescription, and I was off to the softball tournament. Maybe the steroid shot helped because I had was only a homer away from the cycle!!

I haven't been getting any more headaches, and my breathing has been progressively getting better. I'm having problems breathing right now, but it's the worst it's been all day. That's better than I can brag over the last week. Still I've decided to stop smoking throughout this mess. Hopefully it sticks and I'll be smoke-free. Hopefully.