Oh, Discovery Channel

You are the home of nerd shows like Mythbusters and Planet Earth. Did you not think anyone would notice your poor grammar? Really?


Love is like a bottle of gin, but a bottle of gin is not like love

Contrary to popular belief, I am not curled up in the fetal position crying and my head has not exploded. Yes, Missouri lost, but I refuse to stoop to the level of all those Michigan and Miami fans who freak out the second their team hits a rough patch. I've been through lots of bad times as a Missouri football fan, so I choose to reflect on all the good the last couple months have brought.

Besides, basketball season has already started!


Sooooo excited!

The Missouri v. Kansas game is only days away and I can't wait! I have decided to celebrate in the tradition of my ancestors and watch the game at a bar with beer and greasy food. It might be the only time I get to watch a Mizzou game on a BIG screen. Usually I have to beg and they turn on some nine inch television that's mounted about 20 feet in the air. I could get used to these winning ways.

Want to read a story about the horrible history behind the Missouri/Kansas rivalry? I knew you did! It's right here.


Chase Daniel - It's not just a name, it's a sentence

If you haven't had the thrill of talking to me in person lately, you might not know how excited I am about Missouri football. (If you have, I'm sorry about talking about Missouri football all the time.)

Anyway, you may not have noticed that my beloved Missouri Tigers are 10 and 1 this season. They're ranked in the top 5 of college football, but it seems a lot of people out here in Big 10 country haven't noticed.

When I was in school at Missouri, they hadn't been to a bowl game in 13 years. When they made it to the Holiday Bowl, people acted like they won the national championship - this year they have a chance to actually win it.

All the Ohio State and Michigan fans around here don't really understand my enthusiasm. They have teams that are expected to contend for a national title every year. What's happening at Missouri this year feels like a once in a lifetime event. Will they ever be this good again? Who knows, but right now I'm really enjoying the chance to make fun of all those loser schools like USC and Ohio State.

So next week is the big showdown between Kansas (?!) and Missouri for Big 12 North dominance and possibly the #2 spot in the nation. No matter what happens, I'll enjoy the moment and hope it will be like this next year, too.


Every week I read The Onion's AV Club and this week has an especially good article, Tighten Up: 21 Good Albums That Could Have Been Great EPs. I agree with most everything on the list. If you're a music fan (and you really should be) check it out.


More ice skating in public

Jeff, Melissa and I went to visit New York last weekend where we crashed tenement style in Harlem with Josh. (Seven people, one bathroom? No problem!)

I shot a little video of ice skating at Rockefeller Center that you might enjoy. Come for the low quality, stay for the funny ending.


And now the moment you've all been waiting for...

I got my camera back today with all the photos on it from the end of my Texarkana trip. So here's what's left:

First, my favorite room from Graceland. Check out the awesome monkey statue. What you don't see is the purple lightning bolt on the wall with a big "T.C.B." for Takin' Care of Business. It's a nice touch. Subtle.

I took a little tour of Texarkana the day of Summer's wedding. Downtown looks as hopping as it's always been. It's a strange little time capsule of shuttered buildings and odd shops.

And right there in downtown is the famed Texarkana post office where you can get your picture taken with one foot in Texas and one in Arkansas. Oh yes!


I would give my life to find it, I would give it all

If you're like my parents, you might think I was kidnapped by a band of Arkansas hillbillies. Mostly, though, I was just too busy enjoying the wonders of Texarkana to post anything. Summer's wedding was awesome and it was fun meeting her bridesmaids and seeing her family. I got to tool around town a bit, too.

Unfortunately, I can't post my favorite picture from the weekend, because I lost my camera in Texarkana. The good news is I got an email today and it will soon be on it's way back to me. One of Summer's bridesmaids picked it up. So hang in there and soon I'll have a photo of me standing with a foot in Arkansas and one foot in Texas. Trust me, it will be worth the wait.


The Mississippi Delta was shining like a National guitar

I'm now officially in the South with a capital S - the land of access roads, barbecue and red dirt roads. Today I took some back roads through Kentucky on my way to Memphis. I took the interstate down to Elizabethtown then headed out across country past Lincoln's birthplace. (That would be in Kentucky, not Illinois, even though they get all the Lincoln credit.)

I've been meaning to mention that when your drive Sir Ranulph on the interstate, the view from the rear view mirror often looks like this. Those SUVs get right up on my little hatchback.

It might be too blurry, but that's a Texas sticker on the front of that truck - I'd almost forgotten about Texas drivers.

I made it to Memphis in the late afternoon, checked into my hotel then went to check out the sites. I drove by Sun Studios then had dinner at Rendezvous Barbecue downtown. It was awesome! Then, it was off to Beale Street for an after dinner drink. I just kept thinking about how Memphis just looked and felt "Southern" and what exactly that meant. I'm not sure I came to any conclusions, but it was fun to consider (over a beer).

This is what the Mississippi looks like out of the sunroof of my car.

So tomorrow it's off to Graceland, then on in to Texarkana. Elvis and Catfish await.

MTV, what have you done to me?

Check it out, I'm in Louisville tonight AND I'm blogging. It's like I live in the future!

I left for my Texarkana road trip this evening and kicked it off with a lovely drive to Louisville. I hope the weather stays this nice for the rest of the trip.

Then, I checked into my hotel out in the suburbs ('cause it was cheap). Let me just say that Microtel is not lying. Their rooms are teeny tiny (like my car). Did I mention it was cheap? The place was clean and has free breakfast, so I've got no complaints.

The Arcade Fire concert tonight was lovely. LCD Soundsystem was super fun but I pretty much feel the same about them as I always have - great party music. Arcade Fire, though, made me love them a little more tonight. I've not really been a huge fan, but I heard their live shows were good. There were a ton of musicians on stage, but the whole wall of sound effect wasn't overwhelming. They're lyrics also struck me as very political - something I'd never paid much attention to.

Anyway, I've got to get to bed so I can head for Memphis tomorrow. There's some barbecue waiting for me!


I really do know where Amsterdam is

It's kind of an inside joke, but trust me, it's funny.

Let's say you're a Dutch band with a love of Queensryche style guitar solos and you're kicking off your first "tour" of America in Cincinnati. What would you do to mark your arrival in the states? If you're RoryMi, you buy a pack of Lucky Strikes and throw rocks in the river.

Maybe they just failed to tape the part later where they did a bunch of heroin and slept with groupies.

One show down, billions to go

Well, maybe not billions, but my next couple weeks look to be chock full 'o concerts.

Last night I went to see The National (again) and ended up standing next to one of the old-lady relatives of the band who was scandalized by the shirtless guy near us. Scandalized!

Wednesday it's Bloc Party then Thursday is my volunteer stint at MidPoint Music Festival where I am oddly excited about seeing the Belgian band Staircase. Maybe I can ask them about the possibility of their country breaking up. Or maybe I'll just tell them I love Belgium - Amsterdam is awesome!

Friday and Saturday I am free to rock out at MidPoint, including my now legendary fourth annual Saturday night bar hop. I'm still finalizing the schedule, but I'm pretty sure we'll be seeing the Chicago band Otter Petter if only because their name mentions otters.

But it's not over there folks! The following Wednesday I've got a ticket to see Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem in Louisville as the kickoff to my great Texarkana road trip. You see my friend Summer is getting married in Texarkana and rather than driving to Indy for cheap plane fair then renting a car and driving three hours to Dallas, I just decided to take Sir Ranulph for a drive. Besides, I like to drive.

So it's Wednesday night in Louisville then Thursday night in Memphis where I'll get up early Friday to go see Graceland. I'm not really an Elvis (well, Presley) fan but Graceland is the Wrigley Field of music. If you're a fan of music, you must see the jungle room. It's the law.

Friday afternoon it's on down to the city so great it takes up two states and Saturday is the wedding. Whew, I'm getting worn out just thinking about it, but worn out in a good way. I'm planning on bringing my laptop and a camera so hopefully I'll have some photos to post along the way. I'm sure I'll have at least a few from MidPoint!


Now and again it seems worse than it is, but mostly the view is accurate

Josh and I can't stop talking about the new Rilo Kiley album, Under the Blacklight. It's seriously good. Not just, this is fun to listen to good, but this could be an all-time great album good. You really must check it out.

If all you know about Rilo Kiley is "Portions for Foxes" you might be a little surprised. There is more of a Southern California '70s pop feel to this album. There are actual disco beats if you listen closely. You'll be like, "This song is great!" Then you'll be like, "Wait, this sort of sounds like ABBA." You won't care, though. You'll love it anyway.

Speaking of ABBA, I'm also enjoying Our Ill Wills by my favorite Swedish band, the Shout Out Louds. It's a more mellow follow up to Howl, Howl, Gaff, Gaff but I think the lyrics are better. I've got tickets to see them in Columbus in October and I can't wait. They're on tour in the U.S. right now and it's worth checking them out.


Declan's next album today is Fevers and Mirrors by Bright Eyes. While I was listening to it, I kept thinking this had to be a debut album. It's pretty wide-eyed yet pretentious. It sounds like music from someone who's still sure they're going to change the world.

A little Googling, though, told me that's it's actually Bright Eyes' third album (released in 2000). I found that surprising considering the second from last song, "An Attempt to Tip the Scales" is not actually a song but an excerpt from a radio interview in which a crazy (or very high) Conor Oberst tells the radio guy how very sad he is. It's really, really terrible and did I mention pretentious?

That said, the album as a whole isn't terrible. "The Calendar Hung Itself" and "Something Vague" are classic Bright Eyes tunes and remind me why I love Conor so. That radio interview at the end brings everything to a grinding halt and leaves abad taste in my mouth. At least Bright Eyes is down to just having talking during the first songs on albums. I'm getting used to that, even though it's still pretentious. I love Conor anyway.

More Sir Ranulph

Here's one more photo.


Pray to Sony my soul to keep

It looks like I wasn't the only person who was a little disappointed with the new iPod announcements this week. I love the idea of the touch screen but there's no way I could operate with just 16 gigs of space for music. I love the giant hard drive on the 160 gig iPod Classic, but I really want it with a touch screen. I have a feeling that combo's a couple of years away and I fear Declan won't last that long, so I've started saving my pennies for a 160 gig Declan 2.0. Hopefully, I won't need a new one any time soon, though.


And now I want to tell you a little story about today's album...

For 90% of the world, Semisonic is a classic one-hit wonder band. "Closing Time" was all over the radio in the spring and summer of '98 and they were never heard from again. For me, "Closing Time" was the beginning of the end of a years long love of the band. Let me explain.

I can't remember the first time I saw Semisonic, but I know I was working at The Blue Note at the time so it was probably 1996 or so. They must have been opening for another band I liked, because I can't imagine going to the show otherwise. Either way I left that night with their first album, Great Divide. As the months progressed, I continued to force that album on my friends, insisting they listen to my favorite tracks or including them in mix tapes (yes, back then it was really tapes).

In January of 1998, I headed out for a semester in London, where I was left with the stack of CDs I brought and the little radio I picked up for a few dollars at a Radio Shack. I came back home in May with a deep knowledge of Natalie Imbruglia and Spacehog but no idea that while I was gone the band I loved had become a household name. Semisonic had released Feeling Strangely Fine and their single was on the radio every five minutes. I was used to always explaining who Semisonic was to everyone and now they were those "Closing Time" guys.

That summer I caught their Summerfest show in Milwaukee and had to put up with one of those terrible crowds that is only there to hear the hit single. It made me sad. Suddenly, there were people everywhere at their shows, but they only wanted to hear one song.

Most people don't know Feeling Strangely Fine is a great album. I can't say I listen to it much these days, but when I dusted it off for this listen, I still loved it. "This Will Be My Year" still makes me feel positive about my life and "California" stands out in that crowded group of songs about the state.

In March, 2001 when the band finally got around to releasing All About Chemistry, it had been too long between albums, and no one seemed to remember who they were. Chemistry wasn't their best work either, and I'm sure their label had high expectations. I can't say I know what happened, but now the band is no more. Lead singer Dan Wilson did win a Grammy last year for writing "I'm Not Ready To Make Nice" with the Dixie Chicks, so maybe a few other people will go back and check out the band they wrote off as a one-hit wonder.


The children are our future

I'm guessing a lot of you have seen this by now, but if not, you must watch it. So funny!

Declan deathwatch

Declan froze up again the other day and it took another trip to the Apple Store to get him going. This time the genius warned me that his hard drive is going bad and it's only a mater of time until he completely craps out. Decaln worked for four months between fixes last time, so maybe he can make it that long again if I'm gentle with him.

I do want to get a new iPod eventually, but I've been holding out for a new version. I've heard rumors of a new release coming in September, but I'm just hoping it's actually new new iPod version and not just a Nano. They've had their time in the sun.

So I guess I'll start saving my pennies, while also being sure to take extra care of Declan. No pressing buttons too quickly or making too many demands. He deserves to enjoy his golden years.


Slow down, think it over

I've spent the last few days trying to remember where I picked up my copy of Fedra by the Pittsburgh band Shade. I know I saw them at Alchemize (back when Alchemize was in Over The Rhine) before a Boys and Girls night. I have a feeling it was the weekend that Josh and all his friend were in town, but I was so exhausted by the time we got to Alchemize that everything is a little fuzzy.

I've spent all this time thinking about when I bought the CD because the album itself isn't that great. The band is awesome live and I highly recommend you go see them if they come to your town, but the CD sounds flat. I think this happens with new bands a lot. I don't know if it's actually being in a studio and all the bells and whistles they offer or what. Maybe I just need to listen to the CD with a beer so it will feel more like a live show.

So to sum it up:
Shade is a nice band.
Go see their show.
Don't buy Fedra.
Maybe buy any new recording instead.


Meet Sir Ranulph!

After months of distrust between Benecio and I, I had to break things off. So I gave up my sultry Latin man for a British adventurer. Today I picked up my new Mini Cooper, which I promptly named Sir Ranulph after this guy. (You can call him "Ran" for short.) I took a little drive this evening and I think I'm in love. So here's to a long and happy relationship.


Stop making eyes at me

You must listen to this now! Proof, once again, that Tom Jones is the greatest Welshman of all time.


Come back from San Francisco

OK, they are - photos from the San Francisco trip! I used all my photo editing skilz to pick a few shots that pretty much encapsulate the trip. I think they (more or less) speak for themselves.

Me on a cable car. It's very Mary Tyler Moore.

The first day we all went on a bay cruise where Carrie and Dayna learned they are the same person what with the being cold all the time and the computer geekery. It's good they live on opposite coasts or their power might be unstoppable.

The next day we went to a Giants game. They killed the Diamondbacks but we were pretty much into the view and the beer.

On Monday it was off to Berkeley and the Scharffen Berger factory. Melissa let out a startling whoop when they passed out hairnets. I think it made her week.

That afternoon we ran into Josh's friend Nick at a bar on Haight Street (as you do). He invited us out for karaoke and that's when the party really got started.

At midnight, I turned 30!

And Josh sang a song.

Then I sang a song with a little help from Jeff.

The next day, we were all feeling a little rough for our tour of the Anchor Brewery.

But somehow Melissa had the energy to take pictures.

There was more after that but I ran out of photos. I'll just leave everyone with beautiful shot from Carrie. It was an awesome trip and I'm glad so many people could make it.


Wow, 30 feels a lot like 29...

...except during warms ups for my first flag football game as a 30-year-old, I jammed my finger pretty badly. Now it's all purple and swelly. As I'm still one of the youngest people on my team, my teammates have assured me that it only gets worse from here.

My brother made me a birthday card that as pretty awesome and I wanted to share it with the world (or at least the six cats that read this blog). Enjoy!


Discarded all the naughty nights for niceness

Do you see that little countdown clock to the right over there? Yep, it's down to single digits, which means in just a few days I'll be 30! (Are you allowed to have a blog after 30? I'm pretty sure I have to turn in my MySpace page.)

It also means that in a few short days I'll be heading off to San Francisco to celebrate said birthday with all the friends I managed to convince to join me. I woke up this morning pretty excited about the whole trip. I can already tell that this next week at work is going to seem endless. Oh well, at least there will be some serious fun at the end of it.


Now it's time for that album I promised. Today it's Favourite Worst Nightmare by Arctic Monkeys. Is it a sophomore slump from the young British band that burst on the scene in 2006? My answer - maybe?

I definitely don't like this album as much as their first. Maybe it's just that the witty lyrics and punk riffs were such a surprise the first time. Now they all seem a little worn. I still think Favourite Worst Nightmare is worth your time (and money), it's just not going to change your life. Arctic Monkeys have a lot of good music ahead of them, and I'll always be there to see what they put out. If they're the future of British rock, I'm in good hands.


My imaginary British boyfriend

I promise to write about Declan's next album soon, but I wanted to add another quick post. I stumbled on this website for the International Mixtape Project last month and decided to check it out. It's perfect for geeks like me who enjoy making mixes and forcing them upon friends. Now I get to force them upon perfect strangers.

Here's how it works: You sign up and pay $10 (for operating fees - I don't blame them, this thing's probably a hassle to run). Every month they send you the name and address of someone to send a mix CD to. The email usually contains a thematic suggestion but you can send anything you want. In turn, somebody else sends you a CD.

I signed up in May and sent a copy of "Sad Panda" to a guy in Canada. I was starting to think the whole thing might be too much of a hassle for me, what with the going to the post office and all, when one afternoon there was a lovely brown envelope in my mailbox with a Royal Mail stamp on it. My CD had arrived and it was from some British (and sad?) guy named James.

I immediately played the CD and it was great fun. It had a little British rap (which I love) and Neutral Milk Hotel (which I also love) and I found myself imagining my wonderful British boyfriend had sent this to me. If Shawn can have an imaginary German girlfriend and Nicolaj can have an imaginary New York girlfriend, why not me? Now, I can't wait to see what arrives this month. I have a brand new mix to ship off to New Zealand!


We'll miss you Tony!

Jeff and I are celebrating the last episode of The Sopranos with a nice chianti.

Quick update

I have to get ready for the last episode of The Sopranos tonight (laundry, vacuum, pizza) but I wanted to give a quick update on Tippy. I'm happy to report that his wound is healing nicely and his famous appetite has returned. I gave him a bath on Thursday to clean him up and he wasn't too happy about that, but otherwise he's back to his perky self.



Do you get HBO with that thing?

My parents were in town this weekend, but it was Tippy who stole the show. I noticed he wasn't eating well and would whine when I picked him up. On Saturday night I did a little looking and discovered some swelling in a not so comfortable place. That landed him an emergency trip to the vet where they said he had an infected anal gland (I know, eww). There was some lancing, and some pain killers and then he came out in this cute little lampshade. He was not a happy camper.

He spent most of the weekend under my bed, and I spent most of it paying way more attention to my cat's backside than I ever thought I would.

So he's been on antibiotics the last couple days and starting to return to his old self. Getting rid of the lampshde improved his spirits immensely. Apparently, he's not a big fan of the Sopranos.


If you ask how I got so bitter, I'll ask how you got so vain

I guess these are my Fridays now. I go home. I feed the cat. I watch the Tivo. I get up earlier than I want to on Saturday. Going out on Fridays is for kids!

My car is fixed again, but there is a constant chance that it may not start at any moment. I have a few ideas of how I might get it started in my glove compartment (thanks Google) but I think Benecio has turned from a loyal friend to and angry tiger. He's a ticking time bomb. I think a new car may be in my future.

If Benecio holds up, I'm going to see Bright Eyes up in Columbus on Sunday. If there's one thing that everyone in Cincinnati agrees on, it's the fact that the two hour drive from here to Columbus is one of the most boring on the planet. It makes the drive from Cincinnati to Indianapolis seem like a weekend at Disney World. (In fact, that's why my parents never took me to Disney World. I'd had the joy of the drive to Indy.)

Anyway, I am willing to put up with this interminable drive for my buddy Conor. I hope he appreciates it. I've heard Bright Eyes concerts can be spotty but I'm guessing Conor will bring his A game when he hears about the lengths I'm going to hear him sing.


I've been listening to today's album for a couple days now and it probably isn't helping my mood. It's the sort of desperate anger that can only be summoned by guys from a place like Winnipeg, Canada.

Of course, I'm speaking of The Weakerthans.

I'm actually a huge Weakerthans fan and I constantly dream of being able to see them in concert (if they would only leave Canada). But Fallow is their first album from 1997, and while it contains hints of the brilliance they offer up in later works, I can't say it's very good all on its own. What makes a Weakerthan? I would describe it as acoustic pop punk layered under an array of metaphors and biting lyrics. Do I sound like a music writer now?

So if any of those words sound interesting, go out right now and buy Reconstruction Site (available at discerning record stores in Canada and amazon.com). You could also buy Left & Leaving, but I would save Fallow for until you're a superfan. Otherwise it's just not worth it.


I'm not ready yet to share the phone or tv set

I know, I know, it's been a long time. I guess I've just been busy. It's all work, work, work here in Eileenland.

Have you seen that Lexus commercial with Elvis Costello? The first time I saw it, at the very beginning, it just has a close-up profile of his glasses and I immediately thought, "gee that looks like Elvis," and it was! I especially like his little giggle at the end.

I think I've also avoided writing because I don't know what to say about Declan's next album (yes, I'm still doing that). It's Faith And Courage by Sinead O'Connor. I seem to be stuck on it for some reason, so I'm going to make this fast and get it over with.

1. The first half of the album is really good.
2. "Dancing Lessons" is one of the best songs ever - seriously.
3. The album gets a little too slow and mysterious at the end.
4. There are too many mentions of "the goddess" for my tastes. Does it need to be in every song? It's like listening for the word "corazon" in a Spanish song.

In other news, my car is in the shop again. It still thinks I'm trying to steal it, but the mechanics don't know where the problem is. It could be a long week. So I hope all of you are having a better time than I am right now. I promise more updates and more albums soon.


In which I fall in love with Colin Meloy . . .

Gahh! What a week, people, what a week. This time last Friday I was making my way to Louisville despite having spent the previous two days with an ice pack over my eyes due to some nasty swelling and a mysterious rash (mangoes may be the culprit).

I wasn't going to let a little swelling stop me, though, because I had a date with The Decemberists. Due to a fluke (or possible computer malfunction) I had second row seats to their show at the Brown Theater. At some point, I had wrangled Jeff into going with me and we made it into town just in time to grab a beer and then our seats.

I've been uncertain about the Decemberists in the past. You may remember that I once called their album, "music for theater geeks" and "pirate rock" so I wasn't surprised when they took the stage in three piece suits and lacy sundresses. What did surprise me was their humor.

Colin Meloy was really warm and made it seem perfectly normal to sing Southern Gothic songs about dead Civil War husbands. The rest of the band seemed to truly be enjoying themselves, too. I guess it was the dramatic nature of their songs that made me think the might be annoyingly self-serious, but I was pleased to be wrong.

Jeff had a good time, too, as we both "screamed like we were being swallowed by a whale" (as instructed) during "The Mariner's Revenge Song." It was a night for everyone to unleash their inner drama geek.

The rest of the week? It was all work, sleep, work, sleep, etc. Let's just say I managed to survive - barely.


Damn you, Klosterman!

Vacations and staffing has me working a day shift at my job these days (well, 10-7 is about as day shifty as I get). This means I should be getting to bed by midnight and up by 8. For normal people that wouldn't be a problem, but years of working 3pm to midnight have left me a seeming inability to fall asleep before at least 2 am. I'm singlehandedly keeping Greenup Cafe in the black with all my coffee purchases.

There are many reasons for this inability to fall asleep but I'm choosing to blame Chuck Klosterman. I'm reading his latest book, and no matter how sleepy I am, I want to read the next few pages of his book more. It's just a collection of old essays and such but I'm totally hooked. I'm probably just using it as an excuse, though.

When I'm not reading Chuck, I'm reading Perfect From Now On by John Sellers. The guy is a little too in love with Guided By Voices and his extensive footnotes were funny at first but now they're getting annoying. Still, I'm liking it, and both books combined have got me thinking.

I think this will all lead to a long blog post in the coming days, but I've been pondering how people in general (and me particular) come to love the music they do. Nobody is born loving obscure sad & British bands, there's always a journey. The music you live usually mirrors the age in which you live, but at some point almost everyone settles into something they like. Think about how you got there, musically, and we'll chat later.

For now, I must try to go to sleep.


Declan rocks again!

Okay, I'll give to the geniuses at Apple. Some guy in strange glasses took Declan to a dark room in the back and got him working again. I'm not sure what he did to him (and I'm not sure if I want to) but it's really exciting to have my old buddy back to normal.


I've had enough of this parade

I have an appointment at the Apple Store tomorrow night, but I think it's just a technicality. I've tried everything and Declan seems to be truly shot. Maybe those smarmy Apple guys can save him, but I'm losing hope.

What goes better with my sad state of affairs than the saddest band out there? Here's the video for the new single from the sad & Scottish boys of Travis. They really know what it's like to lose an iPod.


Declan is sick! (And not in a good way.)

It's a sad day, people. Last night I went to plug in Declan and I was greeted with this symbol:

Now anyone who is familair with Apple products knows that a frowny face is never a good sign. I did some looking, though, and it just seemed that perhaps the battery had just run very low. I left him plugged in and sure enough things seemed back to normal this morning.

But it did not last. Today I was listening to full-charged Declan when he froze up in the middle of a song (that's been happening occasionally these days). When I reset him, I was once again greeted with the frowny face. I don't think that bodes well at all.

I'm going to try a few things tonight and there may be a visit to the Apple store in my future but I'm really starting to lose hope. On the plus side, I could really use a bigger iPod, but Declan and I have been through so much together. Also, I really don't want to spend $350. It's strange but I really am feeling very sad about the downfall of Declan. What will I do without him?


You love my lady lumps

Meggan, Jeff and I watched Florida win yet another national championship last night. Yea, I guess. Meggan's a UF alumn so I'm sure she's happy, but even she thinks it's probably someone else's turn to win.

While we were watching the game, Meggan mentioned Alanis Morissette's new cover of the Black Eyed Peas song "My Humps." She tried to explain it but I couldn't quite get my mind around this whole thing until I saw the video. Now I'm sharing it so you can see the coolest thing Alanis has done since 1995.

While we're at it, you should check out this video, too. The Reds had their opening day game yesterday and it's usually the biggest thing that happens in Cincinnati all year. The mayor got the chance to throw out the first pitch (usually something a president or VP does) and, well, see the results for yourself. I guess this is what happens when you still live with your parents.


Time to let Bill Cosby do a picture page with you!

Hey kids! Remember those photos I keep promising? Well, here they are. Most of them are from Carrie, Nancy and Jeff who I let do all the heavy lifting. I just do the editing, you know?

So the weekend before St. Patrick's Day, my old, old friends Nancy and Michelle came to visit The 'Nati. Here are the highlights.

Then, the next weekend Melvin and Carrie came back into town for St. Patrick's Day. We were at the Hofbrauhaus once again. There was chicken dancing.

Jeff got a little creative with his camera angles...

And was rewarded.

Then it was out to the bars the next day, where Meggan got ready to throw a flag.

And Craig came out for one last drink.

Speaking of Craig, the next weekend was his going away party. There were many photographers in one room. Some might say too many.

Finally, here's a picture I actually took. Shawn, Josh and me at the Flatiron Lounge in New York. My plan is to spend the whole summer trying to recreate that drink our bartender made. No Shawn, not the gross one with the egg.

So there you go. I promise more album reviews soon.


Cho Chang!

I promise many photos are coming very soon, but here's something to tide you over in the meantime.

The new Harry Potter book cover art was released today. There are usually a few cklues, so what can we guess from this picture?

Well, I'm thinking the dude on the left is Voldermort, but that's about it.


Once again, offices are filled with hope

The NCAA tournament starts today! I can't even begin to tell you how excited that makes me. I'm taking tomorrow off to watch basketball ALL DAY LONG. It will be wonderful. Throw in a St. Patrick's Day on Saturday, the anniversary of my forth year in The 'Nati and a visit from Carrie and Melvin and the weekend ahead looks excellent.

I need to put up some photos from Michelle and Nancy's visit this past weekend, but I've been busy filling out brackets all week. So much to do so little time...

So what the biggest upset you're predicting in the tournament? I've got Oral Roberts beating Washington State. They have God on their side.


Do you think your Boys Club will crumble just because of a loud-mouthed girl?

In the last few years I've become a fan of a lot of Canadian artists. No, I'm not talking about Alanis Morissette and Barenaked Ladies, I mean The Weakerthans, Sarah Harmer and Kathleen Edwards.

The problem with liking all these Canadians is trying to catch them on tour. The Weakerthans always seem to play show after show in Winnipeg with the odd trip down to Buffalo. I doubt they'll ever make it to The 'Nati. Of those three, the only person I've managed to catch in concert was Kathleen Edwards and that was before I even knew much about her.

I saw Kathleen in the summer of 2003 when she opened for Guster at the Taft Theatre. I'd heard her song "Hockey Skates" on Coffeehouse Rock, one of my cable TV music channels, but that was it. At the concert I learned she liked Maker's Mark bourbon, The Cracker Barrel and upon her first trip to Over-The-Rhine said, "I thought crack went out of style in 1992." I knew pretty quickly that this was a girl I could hang with.

So today's album is Failer, Kathleen Edwards' first album and also one of the albums Josh correctly predicted in the "F" albums contest. It's a great collection of melancholy tunes, but what keeps it from being too shoegazey is Edwards' sense of humor and angry edge. This is not a woman who goes around feeling sorry for herself. She might egg your car, though.

The end of the album gets a little slow for my taste, but I challenge anyone to find a better song about sleeping with an old married alcoholic man than "Westby."

"I don't think your wife would like my friends."


It's the future, where's my jet pack?

If you care at all about the news and/or the people that cover it, you should check out this series from the show Frontline on PBS. You can watch the entire three part series online. I know it's long, but it's good for you.

Part one is a great refresher on the Valerie Plame case. Can't remember why a guy named Scooter is on trial? Apparently no one can.

Part two is about the pressure TV news has faced top actually be entertaining. Is "To Catch a Predator" on Dateline actually news? Does it matter?

Part three is about newspapers and web sites and where the two actually meet. Are papers a dying industry? If they are, then why do they make so much money?

Pick the section you like or watch all three. I got totally sucked in last night and spent hours contemplating the future of media. It sounds like something Josh would do.


I've been getting along for long before you came into play

Bonus album! O.K., It's not really a bonus, I just forgot that I actually had one last, final last "E" album, Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple.

You may remember that I downloaded an early version of this album back in May 2005 when there was a whole free Fiona movement because Sony wouldn't release her album. I checked out the final version from the library when it was officially released in October of that year. I love the syncopated piano parts and many of the clever rhymes, but I still don't think it's the masterpiece it was made out to be before its release. The title track is a beautiful song but the rest is like standard Fiona with maybe a twist here and there.

I'm not coming at this from out of nowhere. I'm not afraid to admit that I own all her albums and I even saw her play a show when I was in college (she's so tiny, she looked like she could hide behind the mic stand, but that's another story). She's sad and I can appreciate that. Sometimes she's angry and I can appreciate that, too. I'm just not feeling that here as much as I can on here earlier albums. I also kind of miss the more traditional sound of songs like "Shadowboxer" and "Paper Bag."

I haven't given up on Fiona, though. I'm sure I'll pick up her next album if only to check on her mental health in a couple years 'cause that chick is crazy!


In just a few days I'll be heading out to New York for a reunion of the San Francisco 3 and to, you know, party and stuff. Also, there will be congratulations to Josh and his Lady Bear. Did you know they got engaged on Valentine's Day? They did!

I'm sure photos and stuff will follow. Consider yourself warned.


Found it!

Wanna see the little kids I'm inviting to my party? Keep an eye out for them about halfway through this clip. Sorry the quality is so bad, but I think you'll get the idea.



A bunch of confetti is what constitutes the "performance that everyone will be talking about tomorrow"? The Red Hot Chili Peppers seemed pretty flat to me.

Are we trying to make nice?

I get the feeling that the music industry is trying to show it's political support by giving the Dixie Chicks record of the year. It's a pretty good song, but I wonder if it's more about their Bush comments than the actual music.

Plus, what was up with Quentin Tarantino? I think he really scared Tony Bennett.

No, you're beautiful

I'm such a sucker for James Blunt. I loved his performance of "You're Beautiful" even though there were mic problems.

You know that line "she could tell from my face that I was flying high"? If you get the unedited version he uses a different "f" word. It's strange to hear it in such a soft song, but it makes me like him even more. That's rock and roll, James.


My favorite part of any awards ceremony is the tributes they do for all the dead people. The James Brown tribute was pretty cool if a little over the top - just like the man himself.


I'm totally inviting those crazy little breakdancing kids to my next party. Maybe I'll throw in some trampolines, too. They look like fun.

Make it stop!

A Don Henley solo song, too?

I mean I'm as much of a Henley fan as anyone. He's from Kilgore, Texas and was good friends with my eighth grade science teacher so I have heard all the stories about what a great guy he is, but I WANT MORE POLICE and less Rascal Flats!

The Police better be back

Seriously, The Police get one song at the very beginning of the show, but we have to sit through two songs in tribute to The Eagles? It's not even the actual Eagles, just Carrie Underwood, Gah!

I'd like to thank all my fans

I was just presented a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award - me and about half the planet. They're giving those things out like candy this year.


Airline pilots uniforms + orchestra + full chorus = Awesome!

Gnarls Barkley, you guys are the best!

I was right

Peter Frampton did win. I guess I had the category wrong, though. It was for Best Pop Instrumental Album. I knew those old voters wouldn't be able to resist!

One hour in

Okay so the Grammys have been going on for an hour now, and what have learned?

1. When you give an award to Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder, it would make it a lot easier if there weren't a bunch of stairs up to the stage. I thought they'd never make it.

2. Mary J. Blige is going to win a TON of awards. She's got a comeback story, and a decent album. That equals Grammy Darling.

3. I like Justin Timberlake more than I thought I did.

4. Roxanne? I really wanted The Police to play anything but "Roxanne." It's my least favorite of their hits and I never thought it did justice to their sound. People like it I guess, but I would have preferred something like "Message in a Bottle." The biggest question is, how much will tickets cost on their reunion tour? You know people will be willing to pay a ton.

Other times I'm probably found between a pair of huge speakers pushed by vacuum tubes

Grammy night! Oh, who am I kidding, I haven't even heard half the albums nominated this year. Despite what Rolling Stone says, John Mayer is no Guitar God. All the safe choices will win awards and all the awesome people will go home only with the knowledge that they don't appeal to the 75-year-old Grammy voters. I think this all means that fellow Cincinnatian Peter Frampton has an excellent chance of winning for best pop instrumental performance. I'm tempted to post updates as the night goes on so watch this space.

On to the very last of the "E" albums, the excellent Exhibit A by The Features. I first heard about The Features when their song "Blow It Out" was on a free iTunes sampler that I got when I bought my iPod. I couldn't stop listening to it, and man, is it an awesome tune for the gym.

The rest of the album is probably more punk than "Blow It Out" but still really good. It has an urgent pop punk sound that reminds of early Elvis Costello and the Attractions albums. Very This Year's Model. It might be the rockin' organ. You don't hear it that much in music these days. The song "Me and The Skirts" is probably more indicative of their sound.

I got really excited a couple weeks ago when I saw that The Features would be playing at the Southgate House. I thought this would be the first time I'd get to do an album review/live show. When I checked later, though, I noticed that they had played the previous weekend and I was pretty bummed out. D'oh! Sorry I missed you, Features.