Monday, October 31, 2005

Ramblings (special "no inside jokes" edition)

1) I'm not much of a Lou Reed fan, personally, but "Street Hassle," which I downloaded today and which is apparently featured in the new Wes Anderson-esque The Squid and the Whale might just be the greatest thing I've ever heard. The backstory (Lou's) might have something to do with it, but still. It's completely and totally great.

The first interlude vocals sound like the intro to a TV on the Radio song, which is also interesting (to me and me alone, I'd guess). I wonder if they nicked it intentionally, or whether I'm just hearing things.


2) During the slow parts of the song (which is more than eleven minutes long, by the way) I can hear my across-the-street neighbors blasting "Tubular Bells," Mike Oldfield's theme music from the Exorcist. They've also been playing the theme from Halloween, for that matter.

And you know what? The music is kinda creeping me out. Especially now that it's dark outside.

I wonder if the five-year-olds being walked around by their parents find it creepy, too... or if, as they have no idea what those songs mean, they're completely unfazed?

Huh.


3) Theo Epstein resigning from the Sox is a big blow, and I imagine New England is going to let out a collective groan as they get the news. I wonder how Chris (and other Sox fans, for that matter) is/are doing.

I'd feel for them, but I'm more concerned with my own impotent Philly teams, thank you very much.

You know, I've got tickets to see the Birds against the Giants in December... and now that they're struggling, I almost (almost) wish I didn't.

It will be great to see Dave, as it always is, don't get me wrong. But if the Eagles are out of the playoffs by then, it's just going to be two old buddies (which is great) sitting for several hours in sub-freezing weather (which is not).

Please don't hate me, if you're reading this. I'm just being honest.


4) Scalito has me worried... but then I see this and perk up a little bit.


5) A friend asked me for a clearer picture of the oil-for-food scandal. Maybe this would be a nice start?


6) Teso... you going to come through for me on the Steptoe front?

Because you know... you haven't done enough for me, lately.


7) Invariably, I'm going to forget all about the premiere episode of The Boondocks, even though it's going to completely own.

I hope so, anyway.


8) If you haven't done so already, and if you dig politics (preferably but not necessarily from the left), click on the link to The Jaker. I'm fascinated by the points he brings to the table every day, and especially the odds he posts on the Democratic and GOP Presidential nominations. The link is over there, to the right. Down a bit. Down a bit further. THERE you go.


9) My contractor starts getting down to business tomorrow... afternoon. For some reason, he's going to be here from 2:30 until 9pm or so. I am not thrilled by this... but at least the bathroom is finally going to get done.

Theoretically. I suppose I don't really know this guy from a hole in the ground.

But I have faith. Yes, indeedy.


10) The password is "chocolate babies."

***

First five songs to play after a random iTunes shuffle:

debra - beck
we both go down together - the decemberists
i'm a cuckoo - belle & sebastian
feeling gravity's pull - r.e.m.
lost in the supermarket - the clash

By the Way...

Happy Halloween, everybody.

Ewww! A Band-Aid!

Please... don't even ask.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

My new fair-to-middling review is up on Harmonium.

Pain, Agony, Tears, Laughter

There were a few moments last night, during the final October installment of Bonehead Enzo's Storytime Theater, where I thought I might be dying. My face was burning so badly from laughing so hard that I was having trouble breathing.

Thankfully, I wasn't the one driving the car.

Sadly, Jeff was, and was undergoing the same near-convulsions as he was relaying the stories. It's somewhat impressive that we made it back in one piece.

***

Who knew that wet cardboard could be so damned funny?

***



Thursday's viewing of the Family Guy DVD was a lot of fun, if only for the several priceless moments scattered throughout.



It wasn't the most consistent Family Guy episode, but I don't think it was meant to be. Seeing the Kool-Aid guy again, though... pretty frickin' sweet.

***

After watching the surprisingly good Batman Begins on Friday night, I drove on down to (frickin') Stafford to watch some football with Andy and his family. Had a very good time, and his HDTV... it makes me all tingly.

To say nothing of his cooking. For the record, Andy makes a mean batch of wings.

Sadly, his cable company didn't offer PPV buys... and so the Penn State game we were hoping and expecting to watch... was suddenly unavailable. And while we considered going all the way back up to Springfield for the one sports bar we thought would have the game... we (by which I mean Andy) ended up listening to the radio broadcast online.

Which was somewhat underwhelming for all of us, but it didn't turn out badly at all in the end. The Lions pulled out a fairly strong win, thus making Andy's day... which is all that really counts.

That, and his family. Always, always, always good seeing the Hunts.

***

But last night with Jeff... good times. After getting the State of the Lexie address, we headed out for dinner to Crystal City, which has become a bit of a stompinng grounds.

I'm wondering whether I wouldn't live there, after all. Some great places are starting to pop up in that area, and I'd imagine that's only going to continue.

Thoughts?

***

We watched an episode or two of Ricky Gervais' new show, Extras, last night. I don't know if Jeff would agree (then again, I don't know if he could make out any of their accents), but I thought the show was pretty sub-par.

Good to see, good to check out, but the comedic stylings of Vinnie Jones are nothing compared to The Office. In any way, shape or form.

At least Teso broke out the John Bellairs. Who knew?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Every Once in a While,

Andy Dick does something that is funny. Something that doesn't involve his own body parts, angel dust or a police baton.

Our President has a much better comedy ratio. Maybe it's because he's so much more... dextricious.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Translation Means I Love You

Sorry, Wilma.

Today's earlier post had to go. The image disappeared, as others have, in the past. And I don't want this blog looking sloppy, now, do I?

***

recent awesomeness which I have neglected to share with you:

the cardigans - i need some fine wine and you, you need to be nicer
the clientele - losing haringey
acid house kings - this heart is a stone
the arrogants - you trip me up (JAMC cover)
broken social scene - major label debut (fast)

***

in the hopper, in addition to the mix below:

the avalanches - since i left you
the decemberists - picaresque
harvey danger - little by little
spoon - gimme fiction
supergrass - life on other planets

Woke Up

... to a few more responses this morning. Good stuff.

***

I'll be asking you for your opinions in the coming days and weeks as to where I should take these ladies, what I should wear, and what conversations I should start... and in what order.

Also, if you have any opinions as to particular compliments I could offer, again, perhaps, in what order... that would be great, mmmkay?

Oh, and jokes. I'm gonna need lots and lots of jokes.

***

So, the contractor came over and demo'd my master bathroom. Also saved me more than a couple hundred bucks, most likely, by telling me there was no need to buy a new shower pan, as the "old" one was more than salvagable, in his opinion.

Promise not to tell the eventual buyers, OK?

That said, now he's gone for a week until the plumber can come. It's bad enough that I can't use the bathroom, and haven't really been able to for while... now it looks like a setpiece from The People Under the Stairs.

I'm keeping the door shut. Halloween and all. You know.

***

Weak mailbag this week, I thought. Thankfully, Chris pointed me to the greatest column in the history of man (to some of us twisted bastards, anyway).

At the risk of being rude(r)... if you don't get it... just keep walking. Nothing to see, here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The White House Has Its Shit in Gear

Gotta love this Administration.

(edited title... damned apostrophes!)

Good Morning, Good Morning

Miscellaneous links to start your day:

1) The WNBA gets a gift. Or, as the article intimates, a potential problem. Either way, good for Sheryl Swoopes.


2) Lists are always fun.


3) Ashlee digs Bloom County, apparently. I see her as a Portnoy kinda gal.


4) Ho, ho, ho, indeed. We'll miss you, big guy.


5) Great article in today's Washington Post on low-budget ads. Includes the following gem:

"Among other images, Ranger Surplus uses a brief stock clip of a nuclear explosion in its commercials. Its spokesman, Captain Happy, wears sunglasses and a Smokey the Bear hat and reminds viewers "to carry a knife. . . . You'll never realize its many uses until you have one on you!"

The chain's unusual ad slogan -- "This store is the cat's ass" -- was a bit of a fluke, says Kramer. A customer uttered it spontaneously during the taping of a testimonial ad five years ago, and it stuck. Now it's a badge of honor, appearing on T-shirts and bumper stickers. "People stick their heads in the store and shout it out," says Kramer proudly."

That's great and all... but Eastern Motors' commercials will always be #1 in my heart. A review, in case you have no idea what I'm talking about.


6) Finally, if you haven't heard it yet, find and download (I mean "buy," of course) "Blankest Year" by Nada Surf. Best 2 minutes and 13 seconds of music this year, hands down.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Pass the Courvoisier

I'll know more tomorrow. Be patient.

That said, I'll be out the bulk of the... mid-day, I suppose, at an LMA Luncheon. So for now... I'll just leave you with this.

It's Not Just Me

Check out Ryan's post here. And those labels he mentions... I had no idea. Those are quite a bit bigger than the ones I mentioned yesterday.

Crazy.

Monday, October 24, 2005

You Know the Night Time... is the Right Time



So, tomorrow night is the (*cough*) big night. I may or may not post on it.

Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I will. Too much potential for high comedy.

But I probably won't write anything until Wednesday morning at the earliest. I will be leaving the office quasi-early tomorrow afternoon, so no emails, no calls. I won't be here. I'll be on the road, driving up I-395 to get to the bar 18 hours ahead of time, wearing 4 quarts of eau de toilet.

Wish me luck, kids. It should be a time.

***

Harmonium is going absolutely apeshit, by the way. If you visit the site, you'll see that the designers have added some new features, beefing it up ever-so-slightly. More graphics, more links, easier to use, that sort of thing. And more to come, if I may be so bold.

But wait! There's more!

1. We're starting to put feelers out for, and we're receiving multiple offers from, major indie labels who want to send us free CDs, give us miscellaneous schwag and/or have us interview their artists.

Now, it's not like getting an interview with U2 (or listening to Bono, as the case may be), but for a bunch of indie music snobs... it's pretty fucking spectacular. Over the past few days alone, we've heard from seven labels, including Orange Twin and K Records. More to come, inevitably.

Damn, our shit is tight.


2. Our contributors are pumping out enough product to warrant 2-3 entries a day. That pace may or may not last for long, who knows, but again... who woulda thunk it? Somehow, we've started an honest-to-goodness site, which at this rate would... continue to grow at an exponential rate.


3. Part of the reason why is that I'll soon be sending an email out to major music sites, labels and blogs, announcing our presence. My MP3 feature made a few waves (26 comments for an article at a site that no one knew about the day before? not too shabby), but after this email goes out, we'll be linked to by many more music sites. To say nothing of the tens (hundreds? thousands?) of people who click on these sites every day.

The mind boggles.


4. Coming down the pike, my album reviews of Broom (Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin), Young Adults Against Suicide (Ninja High School), and perhaps another feature.

Or four.

***

It's time for a nap. Maybe that will shake "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover" out of my head.

Whoa!

How Could This POSSIBLY Be Happernin to Me?


"Why can't people juss see the blessins that I am deliverin' onto them?"

Read about the Nixonian descent of the "lion in winter" here. Couldn't have happened to a more misguided, boneheaded, short-sighted, tunnel-visioned...

You know, it sure is a shame that he's had to take several countries down in the process, huh?

Golly. At least he'll have a good seat at the end of days.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

You're Not the Only One with Mixed Emotions



Look at it this way:

1) A win is a win.

2) A waiter is a waiter.

3) And you'll never have to sit through that, ever again.

Was anyone else reminded of the Eagles-Jints game from a few years back? The worst game in the history of mankind, redeemed only by Westbrook's 4th quarter punt return for a touchdown?

Apologies / I Believe the Number Was 37

Sorry, it's been awhile, I know. The good news is that I've seen most of you since Thursday. So some or all of these stories/links/bits will be old news. What are you gonna do?

***

Teso, sorry to hear about yer uncle.

***

Anyone (aside from Jeff) have ideas for Halloween costumes? His daughters are already set, apparently.

***

So, Thursday night was Bailey's... nice "worlds colliding" kind of night, with Benton making a winning impression on Chris, in particular. Mike was there to watch MD trounce VA Tech, but... that didn't happen.

Sorry about that.

What *did* happen, however (apart from a waitress who declined in quality as the night went on), was that Mike busted out all the classics. All your favorite impersonations: Al Pacino, Samuel L. Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio... he might have thrown some Walken in the mix.

And the man is suffering from vertigo, ladies and gentlemen!

"It killed, Jerry-- it killed!"


Jeff showed up later (post-bison) with his sister, Karen. She seemed pretty great, but the way she hauled off on her brother (on several fronts) made even Chris and I wince a bit. Some great stories, some odd turns of phrase... I guess that's to be expected from someone who works for H&M.

Like I even know what that means in the grand scheme of things.

***

Friday night was spent driving around, trying to find Ilise's Cousin Michael's house. Though I had forgotten about the "why" we were meeting there, I soon remembered-- it was to babysit for Michael's one-year old son, Dorian.

All babysitting should be so easy. Dorian (yes, his name is Dorian-- wanna fight about it?) was put to bed before Michael and Jess left the house, and so we had no actual babysitting duties to speak of.

I actually shouldn't speak for Ilise; she bathed him at one point, if I remember.

But most of the night was spent eating take-out Thai food and watching The Goonies. Which was an exceptionally satisying way to spend a rainy Friday night, actually.

It's so good to have Ilise and Paul back.

Not that they were the ones who left in the first place...

***

Yesterday was madness. It started with several pre-noon phone calls. I don't think anyone had plans set up for yesterday... and everyone was the same kind of restless.

I had set aside the evening to catch up with Jeff and Liza, who were in town for a very brief weekend (Felix's son's christening, if I remember). But we hadn't really worked out the details... and so I played the day by ear. Or by year. What's the phrase, again?

Anyway, I drove over to Jeff's to grab some lunch... we stopped by Al's Steakhouse and had ourselves some sandwiches (sadly, no bison), caught some of the early football games, watched a few Family Guy eps, had some chocolate... good times.

As I type that, I realize how dangerously close that sounded like a Lifetime movie.

From there, I drove to Tyson's Corner. It only took 14 hours with all the traffic... at which point I was still entirely too early for my meeting with Benton. So I got a few things at the Gap, chatted with a cute employee or two, felt good. Waited for Mike, waited, waited.

When will I learn that Mike works on PST? I've only known the guy a decade.

Anyway, when he finally arrived, he was thrilled to have the culture-shock that Tyson's offered. Quite different from the Dominican Republic malls, I'd guess... especially with the new renovation/addition. Mike was thrilled-- thrilled-- to go into a CVS, for God's sake. It was somewhat hysterical.

More importantly, it was good to see him doing so well, following the havoc of the past week. He was just happy to be there, hanging out. We grabbed some Five Guys (that could not have hit the spot any more than it did)... did some more shopping, went into the LoveSac store... again, good times.

(that just set off alarm bells again, huh?)

At that point, we split up and I headed towards Shirlington to meet up with Chris and Noel for drinks. I was able to contact Jeff and Liza to have them meet us there (at Guapo's), and... unbelievably, it worked out well. Chris' friend Ben was there, as were a few others that I didn't get too speak to all that much... but they were a collective hoot.

(yes, I said hoot)

And when Jeff and Liza came at around 10pm or so... we had enough of a chance to talk amongst ourselves so that I didn't feel incredibly guilty for not giving them my 100% attention. They seemed to be doing well, though they we mostly spoke about The Situation. Their support was a wonderful thing.

That said, Liza may have gone a bit too far in sympathizing with me, going into more detail than necessary on the importance of a healthy sexual relationship.

Jeff, you are a lucky, lucky man. ;)

***

Enough rambling. Too long of an entry by half.

Next time, I'll just talk about Harmonium. Maybe an entry on Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Guessing My Mystery Movie

Just got October Sky and/or Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Nope.

Nope.

Try again.

Please Sign In

I'll bet there aren't five of you who will.

Humor me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Hey, Teddy, I Hate to Bother You...

... but could you sign my melon?

Peyton Manning, comic genius. Who knew?

Flying Spaghetti Monster

Reason #4873 why I'm glad the bass-ackwards theory of Intelligent Design is around-- it gives us tons and tons of goofy websites.

Praised be Steph for sending the link along.

***

Reasons #4874 - 5212.

1:19:52

1) Mr Blue Sky - Electric Light Orchestra
2) Stormy Weather - Echo and the Bunnymen
3) Do You Want To - Franz Ferdinand
4) Beautiful Mess - The Cloud Room
5) Pull The Curtains - Grandaddy
6) Good Kind Of Crazy - Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
7) Random Rules - Silver Jews
8) Season Of Young Mouss - Handsomeboy Technique
9) For Real - Okkervil River
10) Forgotten Favorite - Velocity Girl
11) Maps (Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover) - The Arcade Fire
12) Cash Machine - Hard-Fi
13) The Fallen - Franz Ferdinand
14) Jam Band Death Cult - Ninja High School
15) Satan Said Dance (live) - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
16) A Million Ways - OK Go
17) Blankest Year - Nada Surf
18) Toby, Take a Bow - Casiotone for the Painfully Alone
19) Strange Powers (Magnetic Fields cover) - The Shins
20) Dry Drunk Emperor - TV on the Radio

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Gimme Fiction

Today was one of those really great days.

After the guilt of last night, going out with the guys to Trivia Night, only to (maybe, maybe not) bring the group down by being tired and mildly cranky... this was better.

I billed a lot of hours today, for one.

But that is considerably less important than the fact that I'm gaining a bit of confidence at work. It's coming slowly, perhaps... but it is coming. I'm moving forward, and there have been a few times this week (and today in particular) where I have been able to see it.

The problem I've had for years, professionally, is confidence-based. And to think that I might finally be breaking through... even a little bit... it means a lot to me.

Those of you who've known me longest know. This is a big deal.

***

Then there was my conversation with my parents. Both are doing well, and excited about their cruise out to the Pacific coast. They'll be away for two weeks, and should have a blast.

I'll miss them, but it makes me so happy to have them out and about, enjoying themselves. I love when they go on these trips.

Because when they're gone... I get to throw these incredible house parties.

Er... yeah.

It was actually something my Dad said, tonight out of nowhere... he noted how happy I've seemed these last few months... and it really made my day. He can tell the difference. And, without getting into it any further, so can I.

So can you, I hope.

***

The problem with this blog is that the above bit/piece/note is as close as I can get to sentiment on here. There are a few too many (different) people who read this from time to time... some who'd soak up every word, some who'd mock me (justifiably so), some who'd rather not hear about any of it... and so I edit.

And I leave things out, amazing as that may seem.

But... I just saw one of "those" movies tonight. Just... well, without telling you which one, the type of movie you can really relate to.

Lump-in-the-throat, smile-like-an-idiot-type of movie. In a good way.

It's something I'll likely buy. Because it was good. Verrrrry good, to quote Rob.

Perhaps I'll let some of you guess at it.

And no, it's not Clifford.

***

By the way... seeing an episode of South Park, the Simpsons, or Seinfeld that you've never seen before?

It's like Hannukah come early!

SACRILEGE!!!



From the WIP Web site (click the link for more information):

WIP’s Wing Bowl 14 – The Virgin Wing Bowl
Friday February 3, 2006 at 6 am at Wachovia Center

WIP’s Wing Bowl 14 is the VIRGIN WING BOWL because NO previous Wing Bowl participants will be eligible to compete in this year’s Wing Bowl. No “El Wingador”, No “Sonya”, No “Cookie”.

(And did I mention it costs $5 a head this year?)

Hello, Hello (Hola!)

Vertigo.

Some of you are going to the show on Wednesday night.

And some of you suffer from it.

***

Speaking of, did anyone notice any imperceptible changes in Mike's behavior last night?

***

Anyway.

Sorry I was off my game last night for trivia. I shouldn't have gone out when I was that tired, but... the lure of seeing my Dominican friend... it was simply too great. Hope I wasn't too mopey or distracted.

Landing in the money for the second straight time didn't hurt-- the ends justified the means, I suppose. $50 once again pays for drinks and Mike's horrible fish entree.

What all of this means is that we are an unstoppable trivia beast.

Though suggesting "Princess Jeopardy" as the answer to a question about the British Royal Family (is that supposed to be capitalized? capitalised?)... that will earn you no points.

May God have mercy on your soul.

***

Everybody think good thoughts for Benton, huh? Everything seemed kosher, especially after speaking with him about it for awhile... but it's an issue. Having to fly from Spanish hospital to US hospital will make anything an issue. And it's (clearly) frustrating Mike, to say nothing of any actual health-related difficulties that he might be dealing with.

So, my advice? Friends?

Invest heavily in the handrail industry.

And Dramamine? Dramamine is very hot right now. And getting hotter.

***

Since I got home late, I was able to watch the first episode of the Colbert Report. And if I were to tell you that it has the promise to be even better than the Daily Show... would you believe me?

Flawless. I was stunned at how strong it was, at how many Factor-related darts were thrown, at how ridiculous Stone Phillips is, even in real life (dude MUST be flatlining, even now, as we speak).

Whoever gave Mr. Colbert his own show deserves several raises.



***

Yesterday I was in the city all day with one of our clients. I'm getting thrown a bit more into the mix at work, and despite my hatred for wearing suits (as opposed to wifebeaters or pajamas with bunny slippers), it's a very good thing.

Business will be booming (personally) once I'm able to get a firmer grasp on client dealings... and my colleagues are steadily opening the door for that. It's nothing that I can't handle.

Though come to think of it, one should never be excited about talking with patent litigators, banking attorneys or other corporate governance folk. So perhaps I should calm down.

***

Congratulations to John Ferguson, the first law school friend of mine (that I know of) to make partner. Goodwin Proctor chose... wisely.

***

Who are my real friends?
Have they all got the bends?
(Am I really sinking this low?)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Rule #1: Know Thy Face

Before getting started, I just want to pass along good luck and well-wishes to Noel, who, yesterday, took her "mother-of-all-exams," which she'd been studying for over the past weeks and months.

I don't remember the test's name or acronym... but I *think* it was the PSAT. I can't be sure.

None of this is meant in any way as a slight to Ilise, and all the tests she's had to take as of late (and still has in front of her), but Noel's test was apparently one of those end-all, be-all, turn-Chris-into-a-complete-puscatore exams.

Anyway-- I'm sure you kicked ass, Noel. Happy for you that it's over.

And Ilise? Like I could ever doubt your test-taking skills and ability...

You, like Prometheus, bringing natural childbirth education back into the hospitals, where it was... missing... somehow...

I still can't get over that. Jesus, what a horrifying story.

***

Last night was Jeff's birthday party. I think it was, anyway. I mean, it was lots of fun, but there were only three of us there.

Jeff has, apparently, offended the gods.

I mean, where was that little guy Jeff always brings along with him, his Mini-Me? His doppleganger?

Anyway.

Last night consisted of:

1) Me at the door, greeting Lexie while draped in the Union Jack;
2) The three of us getting in touch with our inner "Paco";
3) Jeff and I eating shitloads of bison, and repeating the word "bison" over and over again until it became funny (which did not take long);
4) A (horrible) waiter whose hair had obviously come via a Flowbee; and
5) Jeff sagely offering the "3 Rules of Shaving," complete with the little-known 4th Rule of Shaving, as well as much brand placement and suggestion.

Jeff is a manscaping shill.

Good times.

***

Did you ever wake up hung over on a morning where you only had two beers the night before? It's much more disturbing than waking up free and clear after a night of pounding. It seems to go against science itself.

Anybody got some aspirin?

So embarrassing.

***

Yesterday's football games-- and I'm talking USC/ND and PSU/Michigan, specifically-- were off the hizzle for shizzle (!). Both were just great, even if Michigan pulled out Penn State's heart with a fork on the last play of the game.

Which reminds me... has anyone heard from JoePa this morning? Is he OK?

Similarly, is Andy? Last night, he called me afterwards (no WAY was I taking a chance and calling him), and he started off with that "oh, it's just a game... aw, shucks" attitude that Andy has NEVER had about a Penn State game.

It only took a little pushing on my part, for Andy's football flood gates to bust open. Talking about how come nobody jammed the wideout, what was with the coverage schemes, so many missed calls... his voice was starting to rise... yipes. I had to hang up the phone, as my own pulse was starting to rise too quickly. ;)

***

My article on MP3 blogs got picked up by at least three other sites-- Bradley's Almanac, Largehearted Boy and Information Leafblower, if I'm not mistaken. You can find each of them on the right column of this page, if you care.

Between that and the fact that other Harmonium contributors are starting to pick up the pace with their submissions... I'm not saying I have a second career waiting for me, but this has developed into something unexpected, that I'm (obviously) a bit proud of.

Thanks for indulging me.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Nerd Ego, Spiralling Out of Control

What else is new?

***

Apparently, my MP3 blogs article has been read by at least 660 people, so far... those statistics courtesy of the fact that the article is the #1 referrer (sp?) at You Ain't No Picasso (go to YANP and see for yourself-- scroll down the left-hand column for the stats).

That is scary. If I'd have known that more than 600 people (and likely many, many more than that) would be reading my nonsense, I would have hired a proofreader.

***

Nothing much has been going on this week... hence the lack of legit content. Some links here and there, but... no one's been around, the weather's been kinda dreary... it's just one of those weeks.

***

I failed to observe the holidays, which makes me a bad person.

The honest reason why? I'm not there yet. Baby steps.

Have faith. I'll get there.

***

Yesterday marked my one-year anniversary at Jaffe. I am thrilled to have made it so far with what was, effectively, an entry-level position. If I can continue to move forward and keep learning, who knows? Maybe I can make it to 2006?

I'd love to stay here. It is a phenomenal set-up/opportunity, which I am more than thankful for, every day.

***

Eagles have a bye week, so the big game of the week is Penn State-Michigan, at the Big House. I think this might be the game where the Lions come back to earth, but the way things have been going, who knows?

***

I'll be posting a few more album reviews to Harmonium in the next week: Depeche Mode's Playing the Angel and Harvey Danger's Little by Little. Perhaps I can keep the momentum going?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Oh, the Way You Turned My Head

I'll get back to posting, you know, actual content soon enough... I promise. But until then, check out this really, really great video from Supergrass.

Trust me: the mermaids of Weeki Wachee

Another Find

I don't know whose idea this was, but thank you, whoever you are.

Grading Your Charities

This is a terrific Web site... I've wondered about this quite often, actually.

The American Institute of Philanthropy

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Toby, Take a Bow

As soon as Jed posted my ridiculous (though marginally well-intentioned) MP3 summary on Harmonium, we got what I believe are the first comments on the site.

So how did our craptastic (though marginally well-intentioned) site get readers? That's right. Stereogum linked us. Yikes! How could he have found us???

Er... awkward. I sincerely wish I'd been more effusive in my praise of Scott's site-- it would have been deserved. I only visit several times (*cough*) a day.

If it means anything to you, sir... heartiest congratulations on your nuptials. It's a shame you couldn't have linked up with Kyle Leafblower, professional Wedding DJ, but I have faith that your playlist was pretty damned strong in its own right.

For you, a spin of the Decemberists covering "Mr. Blue Sky." Thanks for the link.

***

On a dimmer note, for renewing my Entertainment Weekly subscription, I was promised a free gift.

A new car?

A summer home, maybe?

Nope. I got this, instead: disc one of three, only.

First person who asks, gets it.

By the Way

You have seen this, right?

Right?

Thou Shalt Not Judge

I just had a friend try to sell me on this.

I have absolutely nothing against yoga... but this seems kind of, well, silly.

He did say, though, that 99% of the students were women, so who knows, really?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Kanye... Look!

Saturday Night Live is still worth at least a few laughs a season.

I guess.

Anyway, here's a rare 2005 keeper.

Burn the Witch

Samples from today's Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, tame by comparison to what I'm hearing on WIP:


Bob Ford
Deep in the cavernous visiting locker room, deep in the heart of Texas, Terrell Owens pulled a white Dallas Cowboys jersey from his traveling bag, shook it out, and put it on for the bus ride to the airport and the long, quiet charter flight home to Philadelphia.

Leave it to Owens to find the perfect coda for a dissonant afternoon in Texas Stadium. That was exactly what all his teammates needed to see after a long day of watching those jerseys nearly run them off the field.

If Owens were communicating, he probably would observe that it hardly matters what he wears when the game is over - and, in that, he would be right. But it's worth pointing out that donning a Michael Irvin throwback jersey was probably not the best choice for someone who spent most of the day looking for the quickest route to run out of bounds.


Les Bowen
At the end of the game, Owens was the first Eagle up the tunnel, smiling enigmatically, perhaps to signal that the Cowboys fans leaning over the railing yelling insults weren't bothering him. Or maybe he was just contemplating the stir he knew he would create with the Michael Irvin jersey he was about to don in the Eagles' locker room.


John Smallwood
And just an aside that really has nothing to do with the rest of this column: Terrell Owens, who caught five passes for 50 yards with no touchdowns, didn't play well enough to warrant his wearing a Dallas Cowboys Michael Irvin throwback jersey in the Eagles' locker room after a humiliating loss, either.

But that's an issue between him and his organization - not that I expect management or any of his teammates to say anything to Owens about it.


Phil Sheridan

"We've just got to come out and sucker-punch somebody," middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter said.

Here's a good place to start:

Owens got on the team bus to the airport yesterday wearing a white Dallas Cowboys jersey with Michael Irvin's name and No. 88 on it.

If he made it home without one of his teammates ripping it off him and stuffing it down his throat, the Eagles are in even more trouble than the Texas Stadium scoreboard said.

There's No Point / Bill Berry's Return

There's no point to this post, that is. The first part of it, anyway. I just wanted to share.

So I woke up this morning, showered, made some coffee... the usual. Then I walk outside to get the paper, mostly to read about the Eagles' debacle.

No sooner do I open the front door, two squirrels look up from whatever they were doing to stare right at me. Standing about five feet apart from one another, on the sidewalk in front of my car, the squirrels had evidently been having a serious, in-depth conversation, which I rudely interrupted. As soon as I spotted them, they looked at me, and ran in opposite directions.

Strange thing is, they both ran about 15 feet, turned, saw that I was still looking at them, and then continued to run away.

My parking area is littered with nuts, acorns, shells, you name it.

Something was going on.

It was as though I'd walked in on the squirrel mafia or something.

***

I told you there was no point.

***

By the way, I wish I knew Dewitt Burton.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Top Five Things I Think I Think

With apologies to ubercoffeenerd Peter King.

1. Penn State could lose the rest of their games this season (which they won't), and they could still call their year an unqualified success after their big win last night. At the risk of offending certain family members of mine, Penn State outplayed Ohio State... if only just enough to grab the "W."

They play that game ten times, Ohio State wins the majority of them. Everybody knows that. But... wow. A great college football game, even if Bucks fans don't want to hear it.

Both teams showed up, both defenses played extraordinarily well, and it was just a great game to watch (if you appreciate great defense, that is).

Ohio State needed that game much, much, MUCH more than the Lions did, though. And they couldn't get it done. Now their season is over, at least by Ohio State standards.

On the other hand, Penn State, with help yesterday from Northwestern and Minnesota, is somehow staring at a possible Big Ten Championship... something that had been absolutely unthinkable just a week ago, let alone at the beginning of the season.

Unbelievable. And the run that the university got during last night's broadcast-- that may be the very definition of the word "priceless." JoePa, say hello to the Penn State Nittany Lions' Class of 2010. It just expanded exponentially after last night.

Andy may still be shaking and crying-- I'm not sure. I should check up on him.


2. William H. Macy has to be, along with Jeff Bridges, the most underrated actor of our time. Sure, critics know both of them, but even Phillip Seymour Hoffman gets more run in People Magazine.

2a. I might not do another "top five things I think I think" column, as that last part sounded suspiciously like Larry King in USA Today-- "Is it just me, or is Reese Witherspoon adorable in everything she does?"

"Hands down, Two for the Money is the best movie you will see all year. Pacino's career best."


3. After a few weeks (if not a few months) of drought-like conditions... 48 hours of rain is enough, thanks. Regardless of what I might have said yesterday. We don't need any more, let alone rain appearing in the forecast for the next seven days straight or whatever it is, thank you very much.


4. All of these catastrophes are starting to smell a bit Biblical, aren't they?


5. Eagles pull away in the third quarter. Again. Birds 34-21.

Stinkin', good-for-nothing Cowboys.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Think Globally, Act Locally

In the past few days, I've been lucky enough to hear from some of my old (and not-so-old) friends who are currently living in Singapore and in the Dominican Republic. Not to be cliche... but it's pretty great to know people who live thousands of miles away. It's like having pen pals, but better, somehow.

Much better.

The England crew, however, has been conspicuously silent as of late. I hope we're not looking at them sliding down the power rankings.

Oh, who am I kidding?

England will always be my #1.

(groan)

***

Great list of the top 50 movies of the millenium, so far.

Incredibly, sadly, or somewhere in between, I have seen 33 of them.

***

Hey! Look who else has a blog!

***

It continues to rain outside, as it has been doing up and down the East Coast for the past 24 hours or so. And I LOVE it.

Sure, walking the dog was a pain in the ass this morning. And sure, I couldn't be bothered to change my shirt after walking out into a "break" in the constant storming, only to get caught in a torrential downpour minutes later. So I'm sure I'll be catching a cold, shortly, if not the avian flu.

But I love the rain, right now.

Because this weekend is set up to be a lazy, relaxing weekend-- nothing but football and reading, little else. And I love that. It's exactly what I need, following the stress of (travelling to) Denver and a week of staying up far too late for my own good.

Watching Lord knows what.

***

At the risk of horrifying you, here is some of what I am currently reading (or what I have out from the library, anyway):

(recently finished)
Lunar Park - Bret Easton Ellis
Killing Yourself to Live - Chuck Klosterman
some miscellaneous VHS tape on Meditation for Beginners, which was a load of crap

(in the queue)
Shalimar the Clown - Salman Rushdie
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities - Alexandra Robbins
20 Minute Vacations - Judith Sachs
In the Shadow of the Law - Kermit Roosevelt
What Should I Do with My Life? - Po Bronson
You, the Owner's Manual - Dr. Michael Roizen
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men - David Foster Wallace

Much of the self-help schlock on the list? I won't even open the books, out of embarrassment.

And I'll spare you the list of the books that I have on hold.

If you're asking where I have the time to read all this... I don't, really. I generally read only a handful (or portions thereof) of every ten books I grab from the shelves.

Still. It's like a sickness. Borderline OCD. Wherever I move to next... there must be a library within striking distance.

There's got to be.

***

I may have found a new friend, by the way.

I doubt it, though.

"Our" contractor-to-be, Steve, came by last night to take measurements, so that he could buy tile and paint and such for the master bathroom, which will finally be torn up and redone in about two weeks or so. In an attempt to make conversation, I made the what-was-I-thinking? mistake of mentioning THE SITUATION to him, thinking Abby might have told him herself, and, of course, it turned into A THING.

He told me that he's been married at least once, maybe twice, and just hates the institution. Despises it. Swears that men should know better, animals aren't monogamous, its unnatural, yadda yadda yadda. His rant went on and on for awhile, and all I could do was mentally slap the shit out myself for opening the door.

But then he started talking about guy things, things you could do "without havin' to ask some broad's permission," and eventually came to talk about fishing. He's a championship-level fisherman, apparently, having entered (and won) local competitions in and around the DC area.

I told Steve that I knew less than nothing about fishing, and had no experience with it apart from crabbing, save for the fact (and I did not tell him this part) that as a young man, I lost my father's rod (ahem) once, when we went fishing as part of an event through our synagogue's Men's Club.

What was supposed to be a father-son bonding experience (along with other fathers and other sons) turned to horror and shame, when, from below the water, some strange force or another allowed my hands to, for the briefest of seconds, let go of the fishing pole, effectively and immediately dropping hundreds of dollars worth of equipment into the briny deep, never to be recovered, while my dad and his friends watched, appalled and disappointed.

I sat off to the side of the boat for the remainder of the excursion, for what seemed like hours (and may have been) from what I remember, traumatized. I couldn't have been more than 9 at the time, though if asked about it, Dad might be able to tell me that it actually happened when I was 22. I honestly don't remember.

Anyway, what I actually told Steve was that while I was out West last week, everyone in Denver talked about fly-fishing, the beauty, the glory, the Brad-Pitt-and-Robert-Redford-in-a-river-out-West of it all. And I wanted to learn, take it up, be a man, take lessons.

Steve's eyes lit up, and he swore up and down that he'd be thrilled to take me out and learn me a few lessons. That there's nothing like it in the world, that the fishing in this area is phenomenal, that he'd be a great teacher and happy to share what he knew with me, and take me out, and I'd become a champion, too, and...

We'll see.

So many life changes to make, so little time.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Aw, Hell No

Please do NOT dress your children like this for Halloween.



***

I had a good time the past two nights with Jay and Teso (really enjoyed A History of Violence, btw)... but now everyone is leaving for the long holiday weekend. Beach houses, Florida, Maine... what is it with you people?

Do I smell?

Is that it? Am I smelly? ;)

I guess I did go to Denver last weekend. If you're wondering how I'll be biding my time over the next few days (with an empty house, as Abby is away through Wednesday), my answer is... decompression.

***

Andy, have you given up on your site? That makes Jebus cry.

***

Did anyone read "Lunar Park," by Bret Easton Ellis? One of the more enjoyable novels I've read in awhile. Not a masterpiece by any means, but a nice combination of his past novels (obvs), Stephen King-y nonsense and, well, a tabloid.

Big dumb fun.

***

Stolen from the Web, a little game we all can play.

The Task: Choose a band/artist and answer ONLY IN SONG TITLES by that band:

Artist/Band: Belle & Sebastian
Are you male or female: Big John Shaft
Describe yourself: We Rule the School
How do some people feel about you: Like Dylan in the Movies
How do you feel about yourself: I'm Waking Up to Us
Describe what you want to be: Seeing Other People
Describe how you live: I'm a Cuckoo
Describe how you love: Step Into My Office, Baby
Share a few words of wisdom: Your Cover's Blown

Now you.

***

Chris was lucky enough to see the Rolling Stones play Charlottesville last night.

But I can't believe he had to sit through this.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Say It Ain't So, Parts I & II

Tell me that FOX News didn't just out Dr. Rice.

Check it out (scroll all the way down to the bottom).

I know, I know. It's less than a non-story, no matter which way you slice it. But for your reference:



***

And, as if that ain't enough, check out this wackiness:

Possible? Sure. Probable? Not bloody likely.

Meh.

Nothing doing this morning.



Except this.



And these, too.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Few Pics from Denver, part deux

Happy New Year, everyone!

***

A quick reminder that you can click on these to make them larger... these shots look a bit sad in thumbnail form.

***

Though the scenery was 100% of the appeal, I was still hoping for some traditional "sights." Some animals grazing, a waterfall, something. Anything.

Desperate, I took a picture of a rock that looked like a monkey's head.



Everything else paled by comparison. These shots, for example.







Apparently, I have an admirer. Teso, thanks for coming.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A Few Pics from Denver, part one



This was the view from our hotel in Avon. The hotel, like everything else, was on the side of a mountain... though this one was near the top of one of the peaks. We had to drive 5-10 minutes just to get to the bottom of the hill.



These are my co-workers... the other publicists I work with. From left to right, Dave, Kevin, Liz, Vivian, Cari and Jason. They put up with me.

Sometimes.



The beginning of our Jeep ride.



The view from the bottom.

Is It Just Me?



Lots to Cover, Let's Get Started

So... Harriet Miers? Really? I just wrote a press release for her a few months ago! I didn't meet her or anything, but... that's kinda cool, I guess.

Let's see, now. She was Bush's personal lawyer in Texas. And she's never been a judge before. Not even a Justice of the Peace.

Let's put her on the Supreme Court! Sure, why not?

The most transparent trial balloon, ever.

I think Dubya still wants Alberto up there, conservatives be damned.

***

A very preliminary version of Harmonium is up and running, by the way. I've contributed a few album reviews so far (search for eels, Supergrass or Stephen Malkmus, if you care), and more will be coming in the future. Feel free to check it out, and tell me what you think:

www.harmoniummusic.com

***

So how was your weekend? Haven't heard from you (yes, YOU) in a few days.

***

Denver turned out to be a really good time-- if I can figure out how to do so, I'll post a few pictures on here, so you can share the love.

The retreat was a bit rushed, though, as we only had one whole day in Denver (Friday and Sunday being travel days)... but getting to see everyone was a very good thing.

It's always nice to know what your co-workers look like.

***

My Friday flights were a mixed bag-- the first one a nice, quick flight, and the second one... it was spent sitting next to two screaming children for the first time in my life.

Not fun. You know the drill; I'll spare you the details.

Once I got to Denver, and the kids were out of my life, I met up with the Jaffe group. We all collected and took a van about two hours west of the airport, driving through the Rockies, past Vail and on to Avon, Colorado (there were about 15 of us, meeting with about 5 locally-based employees).

We stayed at an absolutely beautiful hotel-- good. Two people to a room-- not so good. Thankfully, I roomed with Jason, a good guy, and the two of us had ESPN on the entire weekend.

The only thing on the docket Friday was dinner at a family-style Mexican restaurant. Jay was nice enough to have "goodie bags" sitting out for everyone-- each contained a disposable camera for the weekend, a Jaffe hat, and a Jaffe parka. Very generous.

Unfortunately, soon after we sat down to eat, Jason started struggling with the elevation, and had to stand outside throughout the entire meal. Everyone wanted to help, and Cari went to the store next door to buy him some ginger ale-- and ended up being offered some weed, instead. How this happened, I don't know.

She did not buy any, for the record.

***

On the subject of health (and possibly the reason for Jason's difficulty), we'd been warned in advance to over-hydrate, to compensate for the mile-high nature of the area. So we were all drinking water, non-stop. I was fine, luckily enough... but all of us were transformed into "bathroom? where's the bathroom"-ranting idiots throughout the weekend. None of us were accustomed to drinking so much, so often.

Anyway.

Saturday morning meant a quick breakfast and a few "sessions"-- in which Jay told us that the company had undergone a difficult, mediocre year. Apparently the main reasons for this were that we're in the middle of a strategic shift, with lots of marketing changes, that sort of thing... and that Jay had been dealing with a lawsuit filed by a former disgruntled employee. That, and Jay's heart surgery. So, there was a lot going on in 2005 that was "out of the norm."

All signs point to a successful 2005/2006, however... so there's a lot of reason to be optimistic. Very optimistic, in fact.

Then we took some photos. If you check the Jaffe website in a month or so (and I know you will), you'll see that we'll have multiple photos next to our profiles... I think they'll be moving, flipbook style, creating a mini-movie of sorts. Should be cool.

After the morning meetings, we took a Jeep tour into the mountains. We saw very little snow, but... just incredible sightseeing. The trip was not for the queasy-- it was 3 hours of up and down, side to side (get your mind out of the gutter), at never more than 5-10 miles an hour, which was perfect. Thankfully, I was in the front seat the whole team, so I saw the bumps coming. It made life a little easier.

Saturday night was dinner at an Italian restaurant, and Sunday morning a quick breakfast before taking the shuttle back to the airport. If it seems as though we did more eating than strategizing... you'd be right. But then the main reason for the retreat was to socialize-- it wasn't for business. So all was well.

I got to the airport at 10:30 local time on Sunday morning, and caught a standby flight at 11:30. It was awesome to get it, as I wasn't scheduled to leave until 3:30 pm local (the trip was originally supposed to last a bit longer).

So, I get to O'Hare, and... storms. Maintenance issues. Delays. I end up stranded until 9:30 pm or so, and walk in the door at midnight. I spent the entire day at the airport. Uccchhh.

Which would have been horrible, but for football. Sadly, all I could find was the Vikings-Falcons debacle, but I was getting scores (and frequent updates from my Dad, for which I will be eternally grateful).

***

The Eagles? Yeah, they're kinda good. :)

***

So, I give Abby a call, to let her know what's going on and to tell her when I'll be home... and I ask her if she could walk Venus this morning, as I would likely be completely spent.

Yeah, she tells me she might not be able to, as she thinks she may have sprained her ankle. Not playing sports, just... it just happened, apparently.

I haven't spoken with her today... so, I really have no idea how this happened, or how she's doing.

***

Despite this, and despite waking up at an ungodly hour despite my better intentions, I am very glad to be home.

***

Anybody up for drinks this week?