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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

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


My new obsession is MusicBrainz, a user-maintained community music metadatabase that is now being used as the backend for Last.fm. MusicBrainz is similar to WikiPedia, but is entirely focused on information about music. Although the UI is a little clunky to work with, I think the concept of building a collective database of music knowledge is awesome. As a bonus, the project is still in its early stages, so there are lots of good opportunities to contribute by adding and updating the existing data.


IO2Technology's new Heliodisplay looks kick ass!

"The Heliodisplay projects TV, streaming video and computer images into free space (i.e. mid-air). It is plug-and-play compatibile with most video sources. The Heliodisplay is interactive -- a 'floating touch screen'"

Apparently the display uses lasers to project the images into a cloud of water vapor diffused into the air. Welcome to the future.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Neko @ The Zoo

Yesterday I went to see Neko Case play as part of the Zoo Tunes series at the Woodland Park Zoo. The show started off great, with Neko sounding just as wonderful as usual, but about five songs into her set the skies opened up to what must have been our heaviest downpour of the summer (ironically enough Neko had just played a cover of Bob Dylan's "Buckets of Rain"). We tried to tough out the bad weather, building a make-shift rain fort out of the blankets we'd brought to sit on, but eventually Mother Nature won out driving us out to find real shelter.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

102 mph!!

At the Mariners game tonight we saw Bobby Jenks throw a 102mph fastball! The fastest I'd seen previously at Safeco Field was 101mph by Billy Wagner.

Baseball Almanac has a good article on the fastest pitches ever recorded, but it looks like 102mph is a feat that hasn't been accomplished more than a handful of times.



Reckless Bacon Fantasy Football

Today was the draft for my fantasy football league, affectionately dubbed Reckless Bacon. The league has 14 teams and is a semi-keeper league. This year we got to keep 6 guys and then drafted 14 to fill out our 20 man rosters. Here's what my team is looking like heading into the season:
  • QB Peyton Manning (keeper)
  • QB Kyle Boller
  • RB Willis McGahee (keeper)
  • RB Julius Jones (keeper)
  • RB Corey Dillon (keeper)
  • RB Frank Gore
  • RB Chris Perry
  • WR Jerry Porter
  • WR Eric Moulds
  • WR Brandon Lloyd
  • WR Mark Clayton
  • WR Vincent Jackson
  • WR Rod Gardner
  • TE Todd Heap
  • K Jason Elam
  • D Brian Urlacher (keeper)
  • D Keith Bulluck (keeper)
  • D Kailee Wong
  • D Troy Polamalu
  • D Sammy Knight

Village Green and Derby

Saw a great show by a Portland band called Village Green at the Crocodile Thursday night. They were opening for Derby. Village Green sounds a little like Blur or Supergrass, but mostly they just sound good. They're currently working on an EP, but for now you can check out some of their songs on their MySpace site.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Everyday Low Places

As if there weren't already enough reasons to dislike Garth Brooks and Wal-Mart, today brings us this bit of depressing news. This deal marks the first time an artist has made their entire catalog available only through one outlet. Hopefully this isn't the start of a trend.

Rashard Lewis Celebrity Softball Game

On Saturday we went to Jamal Crawford and Rashard Lewis' Celebrity Softball game at the University of Washington's baseball field. The game featured a bunch of NBA and former UW players.

For anyone planning a future celebrity game here's a quick scouting report based on what I saw:
  • Freddie Jones - Won the home run derby by hitting 20+ homers! If his NBA career ever peters out the Mariners should give him a call.
  • Reggie Evans - Not so good with the whole softball thing as evidenced by the fact that he had his hands backwards on the bat. He did manage to hit a one-handed single his second at-bat though, and then in his 3rd at-bat showed that a key benefit of hitting one-handed is that you can hold a popsicle in the other.
  • Gary Payton - Showed up, but apparently forgot his mitt or something cause we didn't get to see him play. If your nickname is 'The Glove' you should probably remember to bring one.
  • Nick Collison - Wasn't as consistent as Freddie Jones, but had better power than anyone else out there even launching a few softballs out of the stadium during the home run derby.
  • Nate Robinson - Looked pretty smooth at shortstop. If Nate 'The Great' ever decides to leave the NBA and then quits the NFL career that would undoubtedly be waiting him then he could always take up baseball.
  • Lorenzo Romar - Okay I know it's slow pitch, but dude's ERA was like a bazillion. I do have to give him credit for outhustling all of the young guys out there though. You gotta like Romar.
  • Jerome James - Jerome James is really tall. Where do you find size 22 baseball cleats anyways?

Photos can be found here.

Chuck Klosterman Reading

Friday night we went to see Chuck Klosterman read at Elliott Bay. Klosterman was in town to promote his new book Killing Yourself to Live, making this one of the first book readings I've been to where I had actually read the book before seeing the reading for it.

The reading itself was a lot of fun. In person, Klosterman reminded me a little of Quentin Tarantino's character (Jimmie) in Pulp Fiction, which made him quite entertaining to watch. Klosterman started by talking a little about the main themes of the book and then read a funny chapter chronicling his drive across Montana during the blackout of 2003. Hearing him talk about the book made me appreciate it a little more in retrospect than I did when I first read it, so I was glad I went.

During the question and answer period he mentioned that plans are currently in place to put out an anthology next year (he half jokingly suggested Chuck Klosterman IV as the title) featuring collected articles from Spin and Esquire, a novella, and some new material. Another fun nugget of information he shared was that he had originally wanted to title Fargo Rock City as Appetite For Deconstruction, but was eventually talked out of it by his publishers. Too bad, cause Appetite for Deconstruction would've been a friggin' awesome title!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Charles R. Cross Reading

Tonight we were at the Elliott Bay Bookstore to see Seattle-icon Charles R. Cross read from his new book Room Full of Mirrors, a biography about Jimi Hendrix (another Seattle-icon).

The reading was excellent, probably one of the best I've been to. He read the Prologue of the book (a story about Hendrix and band-mate Noel Redding being refused service in an England pub) and a couple of stories from the book that were related to Seattle. Each of the excerpts Cross read from the book were fascinating and definitely piqued my interest in picking up a copy.

Another interesting aspect of the reading was the fact that there were several people with connections to Hendrix present. A few specific people Cross pointed out in the audience were Hendrix's brother Leon, one of Hendrix's cousins, a high school class mate, fellow biographer Mary Willix, and one of Hendrix's first girlfriends. The combination of having people who actually knew Jimi in the audience and the stories about his life in Seattle (he once lived only a few blocks away from the bookstore) made the whole experience feel more intimate, almost as if the man himself was there with us. All in all a fascinating night.

You can read an excerpt from Cross' new book in the Seattle Weekly. Cross also had an article on Hendrix published in a recent Rolling Stone, part of which is available on-line here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I've recently started playing around with Last.FM (formerly AudioScrobbler) and am really starting to dig it. It's a social networking service which is designed around music. By installing their media player plug-ins the site can track the music you listen to and post your personal play list. You can find mine here (and in the minty fresh new link below my picture in the green bar to the right).

When you've listened to enough songs Last.FM will match you up with your musical neighbors, the people who's musical interests most closely map to yours. You can also join groups which allows you to see what other people with similar interests to yours are listening to. So far I've joined Postcard From Hell, KEXP, Austin City Limits, and Seattle.

Anyways, pretty cool stuff that's well worth checking out IMHO. If you join up let me know and I'll add you as a friend.

Felix Take 3

I was lucky enough to be at Safeco Field to catch Felix's 3rd Major League start tonight. He didn't disappoint going 8 excellent innings giving up only one run on 3 hits and striking out 11 batters. His ERA now sits at a cool 0.86 which for those of you keeping score at home is almost as low as Scott Spiezio's batting average. Has anyone ever had as strong of a first 3 starts as this guy?

I'm seriously considering just making my blog all Felix all the time...Rain King....King Felix...I think I could make it work.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Speez

Mariners bench-warmer extraordinaire Scott Spiezio is batting a whopping .048 (2 for 42) this year, striking out in an astonishing 43% of his at-bats.

After watching him throw up another oh-fer at yesterday's game, I jokingly hypothesized that with an average that low there must be at least 50 pitchers in the Major Leagues hitting better than the Speez. Sadly, with a little help from the stats on MLB.com and an Excel spreadsheet I was able to prove this when I got home, finding 54 pitchers (with 30 or more at-bats) who are hitting better than Spiezio this season. Next time we need a left-handed pinch hitter late in the game maybe manager Mike Hargrove should call on Jamie Moyer instead.

Way to go Speez!


In The Country of Country

Nicholas Dawidoff's In The Country of Country was book #38 of my quest to read 50 books this year.

This excellent book provides a insightful overview of 'real' or 'hard' Country music from it's roots in the Depression era to its modern day torch bearers like Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle. While writing his book Dawidoff travelled across the country visting the small towns, backwoods, and other places where country music originated and interviewing the fascinating people who made it all happen.

The book is layed out as a series of profiles on individual artists. In order, the primary artists covered include: Jimmie Rodgers (read an excerpt here), Harlan Howard, Chet Atkins, Sara Carter, Kitty Wells, Patsy Cline, Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Earl Scruggs, The Louvin Brothers, Doc Watson, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Rose Maddox, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Iris DeMent, Emmylou Harris, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and The Flatlanders.

As you can see from the list above, Dawidoff's books is by no means an exhaustive study of every important artist in the genre, but the artists chosen allow Dawidoff to cover a lot of territory quickly while still painting a vivid picture of the evolution of the music over the years. I think my favorite two chapters were the one on Merle Haggard and the one on Patsy Cline, but I found almost every profile to be an interesting read.

All told, I'd have to say this was one of the most enjoyable music books I've read in awhile. I learned a lot about the artists I liked already, and also discovered several new artists who I'm now going to check out. Should be required reading for anyone interested in real country and/or alt-country music.

Salon Review
No Depression Review

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Ryan Adams Cancels West Coast Dates

I'm supposed to be seeing Ryan Adams right now (and last night too), but unfortunately yesterday he cancelled the remainder of his west coast tour dates including the Seattle shows. He's now 0 for his last 3 shows in Seattle since he cancelled the last tour after breaking his arm in Liverpool. The official reason given this time is illness --a bad bug caught on the way back from Japan, but speculation on message boards is that his band is not so happy with him.
"Well, I don't know...i mean it's not just...it's not my imagination, I don't think anybody was playing the same notes I was, but don't mind me, I just WROTE THE FUCKING SONG!"-- Ryan Adams in Vancouver the night before the rest of the tour was cancelled

Clap Your Hands Say Holopaw

I picked up the new Clap Your Hand Say Yeah! album last week and it has quickly rocketed it's way into contention for best album of 2005. Kind of sounds like a cross between Arcade Fire and Neutral Milk Hotel. Highly recommended.

While I'm at it, I'd also suggest checking out the new album Quit +/or Fight from Gainesville's own Holopaw. Just got it yesterday and am enjoying it so far.

Kanye vs. Duritz

I saw this funny Kanye West quote in a Chicago Tribune article:

"I'm being a lot more selective about who I work with. Could you picture Kurt Cobain working with Counting Crows? Somebody less important, you know what I'm saying? I'm only interested in working with artists who have that spark, who could sell a million records on their own without working with me." – Kanye West

Okay so technically August and Everything After sold 7+ million copies without Kayne but who's counting? Mostly I'm just hoping this means we’ll see an Adam Duritz vs. Kanye battle rap sometime soon.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

More King Felix

In Felix Hernandez's home debut at Safeco Field tonight he went 8 scoreless innings scattering 5 hits, striking out 6 and just being generally dominating. His fastball was consistently over 95mph, his curve ball had a wicked 12 to 6 drop, and his change-up (which he didn't even start throwing until around the 4th inning) had guys hitting weak ground balls. I don't think more than 6 or 7 balls even left the infield while he was in. His E.R.A. after two major league starts now sits at 0.69. I'd recommend getting on the band wagon now while there's still a little room left, cause King Felix looks like the real deal!


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Aliens of Affection

University of Florida professor Padgett Powell's Aliens of Affection was book #37 of my 2005 50 book challenge. Aliens is an eclectic collection of nine short stories that together paint a broad brush view of rural life in the South. Powell's distinct writing style and flair for prose bring each story to life and makes for a wonderful read.

I was going to pick out a couple of favorite stories to call out here, but after thumbing back through the book, I'd have to say I enjoyed them all. I suppose if I had to pick one to start with, I'd recommend 'Trick or Treat', which you may still be able to view online here.

For more on the book, check out the New York Times review

Monday, August 08, 2005

This Is Burning Man

Book #36 on my quest to read 50 books this year was This Is Burning Man by Brian Doherty (a fellow Blogger).

I picked this one up in hopes of learning more about the Burning Man festival that takes place every year in Nevada's Black Rock desert. I've heard great things about the festival and always wanted to learn more about it, but I had never really had a chance to explore the topic.

Doherty's book does a good job of walking through the history of Burning Man from it's humble beginnings on a San Francisco beach to the massive art show/social experiment it is today. Along the way, Doherty interviews many of the people that make Burning Man happen, from creator Larry Harvey to its organizers and some of its most famous attendees including guys with names like Chicken John, Danger Ranger and Dr. Megavolt. Doherty's descriptions of Burning Man paints it as an amazing place unlike anything most people will ever experience. From art cars to flame-throwers to fighting robots, each story he tells provides a fascinating glimpse into life on the Playa. By the end of the book, I felt like I really had a good idea of what it would be like to attend the festival, and I didn't even have to stay a week in the blistering desert sun to find out!

Although I'm glad that I read the book, it's not without its faults. Doherty's experience as a long-time Burner makes him far from an unbiased observer. His observation that Burning Man is 'the most profound and subversive idea to surface in decades' feels like a stretch to me, and the book did little to convince me otherwise. In addition to being a bit sychophantic at times, the book also suffers from a wandering narrative structure. Doherty's approach of jumping from one aspect of the festival to another allows the reader to learn about a lot of different aspects of the event, but does little to build a cohesive argument for its greater social importance. In the end though I'm not sure that really matters, it sounds like one helluva party!

Here are links to a few more detailed reviews that you may find interesting:

The American Standard
Seattle Weekly
Las Vegas City Life

Friday, August 05, 2005

Killing Yourself to Live

Book #35 of my 2005 challenge was Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story.

Killing Yourself to Live chronicles Klosterman's journey across the U.S. to visit sites where several famous rock stars passed away and report on them for Spin magazine. In theory the book is about how these stars grew in popularity after their death, and about American's fascination with the deaths of rock/movie stars, but in reality the book ends up being more about Klosterman's trip and his troublesome love life.

Despite the fact that the book wasn't really what I was expecting, I still enjoyed it. I've always liked Klosterman's stream of conscious writing style and his obscure rock geek pop references both of which are out in full force again here (at one point he describes a former girlfriend as "the girl in Ben Folds Five's 'Kate' multiplied by the woman described in Sloan's "Underwhelmed" divided by the person Evan Dando sings about in...'My Drug Buddy'").

My main beef with this book and with Klosterman's debut book Fargo Rock City, is that after awhile the topic starts to grow thin and the narrative begins to feel forced. I'm hoping in his next book we'll see Klosterman return to the short essay structure he used so well in Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, as I think that was much more conducive to his writing style.

For more detailed reviews of the book check out:

The Onion AV Club
San Francisco Chronicle
Paste Magazine
New York Times

10,000 hits!!

Today I registered my 10,000th hit! Watch out Yahoo!, MSN, and Google, here I come!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

R Kelly's Trapped in the Closet

After seeing R. Kelly's new five part video 'Trapped in the Closet', part of which is available for streaming on-line here, I've decided the man is an absolute genius. He's managed to create a parody of himself that's so good it's worthy of sending even Dave Chapelle into retirement.

BlogCritics has a nice write-up on the video that sums things up pretty well, but it's one of those things you really just have to see for yourself. MTV2 has been running the video on a pretty regular rotation and has even been kind enough to add it to their schedule so you can easily set your TiVo to catch it. If you don't get a chance to watch it I'd at least recommend a quick read through the lyrics if you get a chance.


King Felix Time

Mark it down - August 4th, 2005 - future Hall of Famer Felix Hernandez makes his Major League debut going 5 innings, allowing 1 earned run and striking out four.


Family Reunion

I'm baaaack. The family reunion was a lot of fun. Got to see lots of folks I haven't seen in a long time, ate some great southern cooking (including some yummy boiled peanuts) and enjoyed staying at the surprisingly comfortable cabins at Gold Head Branch State Park. I've uploaded a few of the better pics I took to Flickr.