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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ryan Adams @ The Moore

On Sunday night we saw Ryan Adams play at the Moore Theater. I promised a friend before the show that it was bound to be memorable in one way or another and it turned out I was spot on. Ry-Ry now has the distinction of playing the best live show I've ever seen (solo acoustic at the Century Ballroom a couple of years ago) and the worst live show I've ever seen (solo acoustic Sunday night).

Here are 10 helpful tips that Ryan could've used before the show:


  1. Do not show up for your show drunk and/or high
  2. If you do show up drunk consider laying off the booze during the show
  3. Try to remember the lyrics to your songs
  4. If it's going to take you two minutes between songs to decide what to play next consider writing down a "set list". A "set list" is your friend.
  5. Do not carry on conversations with your stage manager while you are on stage
  6. Do not carry on conversations with the sound people while you are on stage
  7. Do not carry on conversations with your guitar while you are on stage (though the 'firewood or friend?' comment was the funniest thing he said all night)
  8. Do not stop for a "cortizone shot" in the middle of the show. If your wrist is really hurting at least fake like you're done and get the shot during the "encore break"
  9. Do not blow your nose onto the stage in the middle of a song...if you must at least don't feel compelled to tell us how much snot just came out of your nose
  10. Do not make farting noises with the piano bench...if you really must at least don't do it twice.

Seattlest' review of the show titled 'Ryan Adams Show Worse Than Food Poisioning' is available here. And it looks like the Portland show was just as bad. I give him half the tour and then its off to rehab. Hopefully it'll be a wakeup call as its sad to see one of my favorite songwriter/artists in such a woeful state...can I at least blame Lindsay Lohan?

Galapagos

"It's evolution baby!"

Book #16 on my '06 list was Kurt Vonnegut's Galapagos.

Galapagos is a story about a small group of travellers who journey to Ecuador to board the Bahia de Darwin for the "Nature Cruise of the Century". Little do the guests know that the Earth is about to undergo a major war and economic crisis (as societies realize that money is really just meaningless paper that's of little real worth) that will leave them as the last human survivors and the future progenitors of all mankind. The tale is told by the ghost of Leon Trout (son of the Vonnegut's infamous Kilgore) and set one million years in the future (1,001,986). Over the million years humans (d)evolve from the big-brained civilized beings we are today into small-brained seal-like creatures who subsist on fish and are preyed upon by sharks.

To me Galapagos reads as a critique of the way we coexist with our environment today. Despite our big brains and technological advances we continue to erode away at the very environment which nurtures us. A nature cruise is a perfect example of a well meaning attempt to connect with our environment, that in actuality would only result in more pollution and further disruption of the relatively undisturbed Galapagos. In Vonnegut's story evolution works it's magic reducing (or improving depending upon how you look at it) our cumbersome big brained species into a small-brained sustainable species that isn't capable of wreaking the kind of havoc that we do today. Sometimes evolution works in mysterious ways.

Vonnegut pulls it all off in his typical humorous form. Despite the depressing underlying theme the book is never preachy and doesn't feel at all heavy handed. Instead Vonnegut focuses on building the characters and setting the scene, letting you fill in the details for yourself. As an example, here's a snippet from the book which I think illustrates Vonnegut at his finest:
"Even dogs had names back then. Donald was the dog...and Donald was harmless. He had never bitten anybody. All he wanted was for someone to throw a stick for him, so he could bring it back, so somebody could throw a stick for him, so he could bring it back and so on. Donald wasn't very smart to say the least. He certainly wasn't going to write Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. When Donald slept, he would often whimper and his hind legs would shiver. He was dreaming of chasing sticks."
I would definitely recommend this one, though that's true of pretty much every Vonnegut book I've read.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Mariner Blogs

I'm a big fan of USS Mariner and Lookout Landing, two excellent stat-junkie centric Seattle Mariners baseball blogs. Both are excellent and well worth adding to your RSS feeds if you follow Mariner baseball.

My new favorite post though is this absolutely hilarious animated "Rally Dino", which pokes fun at our new DH Carl Everett and his questionable stance on the existance of dinosaurs. I've seriously been laughing at this thing for like two days straight. Kudos to the photoshop wizard/comedy genius who put this bad boy together.
"The Bible never says anything about dinosaurs. You can't say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them. Someone actually saw Adam and Eve. No one ever saw a Tyrannosaurus rex." -- Carl Everett

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April Music Recommendations

I haven't posted any music recommendations recently, so I thought I'd throw two quick ones out there.

Band of Horses - Everything All The Time - Fabulous debut album from former member's of Carissa's Weird. "The Funeral" is hands-down my favorite song so far this year. Songs really just don't get any better. I'd describe their sound as My Morning Jacket with the Shins' James Mercer singing the vocals. You can find some tunes to check them out on The Hype Machine or check out their recent KEXP performance via So Much Silence.

McLusky - McLuskyism - Nicely priced 3-CD compilation set from the now defunct UK rawk band. When I first heard McLusky Do Dallas it was one of those rare musical moments like when I first heard Nirvana or the Pixies. These guys were really an amazing band and have been grossly underrated. Get the album now and hang on to it because if there's any justice this will be one of those bands that everyone starts listing as influental 10 years from now. FWIW, I said the same thing about the Toadies 5 yrs. ago and lo and behold I've noticed they've been getting a surge in airplay on KEXP lately...it's just a matter of time before all the hipsters jump on the bandwagon. -- McLusky on The Hype Machine

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

When Woodpeckers Attack

Last week I woke up to the sound of incessant hammering. Thinking it was an inconsiderate noisy neighbour I went to my back window to spy on them, but was surprised to find that the annoying sound was actually coming from above my window. Being so early in the morning, I decided to ignore it and head back to bed, but when I got home from work that evening I took a look outside and found that a woodpecker had pecked a hole the size of a fist in the siding of my attic! Sigh.

Thanks to the power of the internets I was able to do some quick research on woodpeckers. Apparently they're very territorial so once you have one stakes is high. Your best bet is to get rid of them quickly so they don't get too attached to trying to knock down your house. Another tidbit I gathered was that woodpeckers no-like-a shiny things or anything that ruins that sweet sweet sound of banging your head on wood. In full on MacGyver mode I ended up crawling up into the attic and patching the hole with some wadded up aluminum foil and then nailing a metal sign up over the hole. So far I haven't heard back from my feathery friend, but I'm not yet convinced it's time to declare victory (especially since I've still got to figure out a more permanent way to fix that darned hole).

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Pinky and the Brain on DVD

Sweet! Pinky and the Brain is finally coming out on DVD! I hope it includes the Bubba Bo Bob Brain episode (watch it here).


ACL Festival Tix

I ordered my tickets to the Austin City Limits Music Festival on pre-sale a couple of days ago. No word on the lineup yet (though the rumors are already swirling), but I decided to plow ahead and get the tix on faith that it'll be another great set of bands this year.

We've managed to make it down every year since the festival started in 2002 (even a hurricane couldn't stop us last year), and have always had a great time. God willing and the creek don't rise we'll make it lucky number five this year! Viva la Austin.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Saunders Army Initiation Care Package

A couple of weeks ago I received this email sent to the George Saunders' mailing list:

You knew the duties of the Saunders Army were going to be rigorous. That your membership in this elite cadre would demand sweat, valor, extreme sacrifice...

Bring it on, you say.

OK. First, you must give us a mailing address. Well, we'd really appreciate it anyway. We need to know where to send your Saunders Army Initiation Care Package - which includes a limited edition signed chapbook of brilliant Saunders nonfiction pieces, as well as something other really nice stuff (let us surprise you, it's more fun that way).

The care package is free, but we'll be expecting a lot of you in the coming months. Because we are, of course, preparing to mobilize the Saunders Army. Saunders's brand new book of stories, In Persuasion Nation, lands in less than six weeks, and the plan involves Americans coming out en masse to greet it with flowers. Maybe there's some work for us to do? We hope you've been doing your calisthenics.

Thanks very much. Email me back.

Never one to pass up a good chance to join a literary militia I sent in my address. Much to my surprise, the initiation package arrived today and it's great! Included were:

  • A signed and numbered (448 of 500) copy of a collection of non-fiction works titled A Bee Stung Me, So I Killed All The Fish: Notes From The Homeland, 2003-2006.
  • A giant IPN poster, complete with instructions for building your own Saunders Book Catherdral
  • An In Persuasion Nation iron-on transfer for t-shirt making goodness
  • 5 IPN America tattoos, 5 IPN floral tattoos
  • A Photo Challenge
  • The IPN Official Recruitment Tool complete w/ hilarious 'descriptions' of Saunders' previous works

Now that's my kind of Army!

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

David Blaine: Drowned Alive

Looks like David Blaine's next stunt is going to involve living in a human aquarium for 7 days, and then trying to break the record for holding one's breath underwater (currently held by Martin Stepanek at 8 minutes 58 seconds). ABC will be airing David Blaine: Drowned Alive on May 8th. Good to know that David Blaine is still as crazy as ever.

Bumbershoot 2006 Lineup

The initial music line-up for the 2006 Bumbershoot festival was announced earlier this week. Much like last year the early announcement looks pretty weak (except for the Hip Hop 101 acts which have been consistently solid the last 5 years). It's especially disappointing considering that the move from a 4-day festival to a 3-day festival was supposed to result in an increased focus on bringing in top talent. Instead it seems like all of the big names are skipping Bumbershoot and heading to the Sasquatch Festival instead.

Never fear though, I'm still holding out hope that it'll improve. Last year a bunch of great acts were added after the initial announcement, so hopefully we'll see a similar surge this year. If not there's going to be a whole lot of waiting in the Comedy Festival lines for me.

Lineup So Far
Kanye West • AFI • A Tribe Called Quest • Yellowcard • Atmosphere • Hawthorne Heights • Feist • Shooter Jennings • Mates of State • Of Montreal • Matt Costa • The Blood Brothers • Bettye LaVette • the subdudes • Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk • Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings • Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey • Yerba Buena • The English Beat • Gossip • 3 Inches of Blood • Deerhoof • Laura Veirs • Nouvelle Vague • Breakestra • Jamie Lidell • Vashti Bunyan • Dengue Fever • Metric

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Norway? Sweden?

I'm thinking about going to Norway and/or Sweden this summer. Anyone ever been? Any recommendations on things to see, places to stay, etc.?


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Summer of '49

In honor of the start of baseball season, book #15 on my reading list was David Halberstam's hardball classic Summer of '49.

Summer of '49 follows Ted Williams' Red Sox and Joe DiMaggio's Yankees as they battle it out for the pennant. The baseball stories and andecdotes are great, but the book also succeeds at painting a vivid picture of life in late 1940's America.

For a good detailed review of the book check out David Martinez' post on HomeRunWeb or John Nesbit's review on ToxicUniverse.

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Joakim & Crew Are Comin' Back

Friday night brought great news for Gator fans. Not only was there a big National Championship celebration at the O-Dome, but we also found out that Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer and Al Horford will all be returning for their junior seasons. The guys couldn't help having some fun with it first though, making the crowd sweat it out before making their announcement. Next year should be a lot of fun.


"Well, we're back, baby!" -- Joakim Noah


Thursday, April 06, 2006

That's Our Bush

The Gator basketball team joined the Huskies' volleyball team and several other NCAA champions today to meet President Bush at the White House. Of course it wouldn't be a meeting with Bush without some classic slip-ups, including Bush temporarily forgetting which UW he was dealing with [transcript]:

"Jim McLaughlin and the University of Washington Women's Volleyball Team is here. Congratulations to the Huskies. (Applause.) These women won their first national championship in school history. They weren't supposed to win. They were the underdog. They had low expectations. It's a good thing, is to keep expectations low, by the way. And they brought home a national championship to the University of Wisconsin. Congratulations to you all. I mean, the University of Washington, I beg your pardon.

Guess I've got to keep my expectations lower...


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

What Would Jesus Walk On?

This just in. Jesus didn't actually walk on water, he walked on ice. Oh snap. Okay, so it's just a theory, but still you gotta admit that if it's true Scientology is looking pretty darned sweet right about now. Then again the professor who did the study *is* from FSU, so I'll leave the credibility check as an exercise to the reader.



WWJWO?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Albert vs. The Crocodile Hunter

ESPN has been running a cool new SportsCenter commercial featuring the Gators' mascot Albert working over Steve Irwin aka The Crocodile Hunter. Funny stuff.

Laziest Attempt at Photoshopping Ever...


Monday, April 03, 2006

National Champs

Gators Baby! Yeeeeeeeeaaaaaahhhhh!


Sunday, April 02, 2006

Inside Man

Today I saw Inside Man the new Spike Lee joint. It was entertaining, if not particularly thought provoking with a plot that is fairly middle-of-the-road for a heist flick. Lee trys to work in several twists and turns, but there are no real surprises or Usual Suspects-type shockers. On the bright side, the film is buoyed by a strong cast featuring the always excellent Denzel (man he was frickin' awesome in Glory) Washington.

On a side note, before the film they showed a remarkably distrubing preview for United Flight 93, the new film about the flight that went down in Pennsylvania on 9/11. Has anyone else seen this preview yet? I can't believe they're actually going to release the movie. It was terribly uncomfortable to just sit through the two-minute preview, so I can't imagine anyone is really going to want to watch a two-hour movie about it :-(

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Vox

Book #14 of my '06 reading list was Vox by Nicholson Baker.

It's hard to believe that the same Nicholson Baker who wrote Double Fold, a non-fiction diatribe taking libraries to task for destroying original materials, is also the author of this controversial, erotic, fictional novella centered around a phone-sex conversation between Jim and Abby, two lonely, articulate souls who meet on a 900 call-in line. Go figure.

I wasn't aware of it when I picked the book up, but apparently one of Vox's biggest claims to fame is that it was one of the books that Monica Lewinsky gave to Bill Clinton as a gift. His return gift? Leaves of Grass. Classy. At least Clinton read though...we never knew how good we had it.

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Gators In The Final

Sweet Lee Humphrey! The Gators are going to the Finals!