Thursday, May 18, 2006

Stuff on my cat.

Since some feel my blog has been a bit of a downer lately I am going to redirect you all to a great blog I discovered this past week... Stuff On My Cat. Their motto is:

"Stuff + Cats = Awesome"

That pretty much sold me on the website right there. This site is well worth wasting a few minutes (or more) at work when you just do not feel like being productive for the Man. Or you could start your own blog called "Stuff On The Man."

I know LP thinks I have all of these ideas going through my head on what I could put on our two cats. I have to admit, I do. But when looking through the pages and pages of photos on so many great ideas have been taken. My idea must be better, more original, shocking, yet cute, and funny. What will I come up with...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Running a small record label to me is similar to people who are into running, cycling, quilting. It's my hobby. It is something I do for fun, and I entirely enjoy it. Just like those who spend their money on running suits, bicycles, or fabric, they usually do not search out the money they want back in return... they just get this warm fuzzy feeling of accomplishment, or fulfillment, of whatever reason they are doing said activity. My record label seems to stay in the red, but has small accomplishments. Those small accomplishments are the reason I keep the label going.

When dealing with distribution companies, who sell my CDs to retailers, there are these nasty little things called returns. In case you do not know how this all works here is the simple explanation: Distributors send CDs to stores and get paid for them, and then pay the label (that's me). I get this little bit of money and put it in my bank account and feel this sense of accomplishment... my release is selling. A few months pass and this CD is sitting in a store and they realize it is not selling (just taking up space) so they return it to the distributor and get their money back. So what does that mean? Yep, I then in turn have to give that paid money back to the distributor. So hopefully I did not spend all of the money they already gave me.

I've been running my little non-profit (because it has never made a profit) label for four years and I understand how this system works... so I never spend too much of the money coming in from distributors. My last release seemed to be doing really well. It was selling a good amount, receiving good reviews in magazines, and I was actually breaking even on the release (this was a first). And then WHAM! This morning I get the dreaded report from my main distributor that all of my profits had been returned... plus some. A major disappointment for me.

I know I do this label for fun. I do not expect to make tons of money... actually losing money each year just means I don't have to deal with taxes. But those dreaded returns took my enjoyment of success away. Returns are no fun.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Wait.

I have always like Built to Spill... well, at least since 1993 or '94 when I first heard/saw them.

Yes, they have been attracting the hippy, earthy, spinning, patchouli-wearing, crowd for a while now... but I still like them. Yes, their live shows can be a tad on the wanky Neil Young-ish extended guitar jams side (good for spinning hippies)... but I still like them. Yes, their last record ("Ancient Melodies of the Future") was not their best effort... but I still like them.

And now they have released "You In Reverse" and all you need to do is play the last track, "The Wait", and you will remember why you spent so many hours listening to Built to Spill years ago.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Discovering friends in IKEA.

Today LP and I went to IKEA. I am not really a fan of their stuff (because most of it is just that... stuff), but I was looking for a cheap new table to set my turntables and mixer on... something that could be portable. And IKEA has cheap tables.

We drove out to lovely Schamburg, and walked through the maze of IKEA show rooms which really reminds me of the shopping segment of the Wheel of Fortune show back in the 1980's. We find the table. And we also find two chairs, a dining room table, and a new bed frame, plus a bag full of hangers. Yep. We had all of our Aisle and Bin numbers written down and made our way to the first floor IKEA warehouse. The turntable table ended up being a piece of shit so we decided that $20 was too much for shit. The dining room table ended up being just what we needed, and the bed was fantastic BUT the big boxes it came packaged in would never fit in our little SUV (Jermaine). LP and I sat there and thought of some possible solutions, but nothing was realistic, and since it was raining outside we could not even tie it to the top of the car. Crap!

We admitted defeat and walked with our kitchen table to the checkout line. I decide to call Will who was moving all day to a new condo on the Northside. Crazy enough, he was at IKEA Schamburg! With his entire family (not really, it just seemed like it) and his mate Richard who just flew in from Down Under. Now that to us was tops since Will's family is a hoot, and we were super excited to meet Mr. Vegemite. When we discover Will's brother Bob had a UHAUL and was willing to help us move our big ass boxed bed frame I almost peed my pants (Maybe it was not the excitement... I had used the restroom five times during our IKEA trip). What an amazing group of good people.

So after six hours in IKEA (that's less than one bathroom break per hour) we all drove back to Chicago and spent the rest of the night putting things together... and I am happy to say all of the parts were in the boxes. IKEA was good to me today. It's good to have friends at IKEA.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Drag Queens are scary.

Drag Queens are scary. I have had ample time to get use to them, and be entertained by them (is lip-syncing really entertainment or talent?). Portland, OR is very proud of their ever so trendy drag queen scene. While living there I had the opportunity to catch a few shows and even had conversations with a couple drag queens at parties. I think I can even remember getting drunk with a group of drag queens at this awful up-scale SOHO party in the late 90's. I understand the glam movement, Ziggy Stardust, Vogue, Wang Chung, and all of that (at least with those movements came a slew of great albums... maybe not Wang Chung). So all of this leads me to these opinions:

1. Most drag queens look like Ursula from "The Little Mermaid" and that is not a good thing.

2. Most drag queens have so much make-up on they look like clowns.… and clowns are scary (ever read "It"?).

3. Most drag queens have this over the top pompous / thespian attitude that would make most Broadway fans puke.

4. Most drag queens look more like trashy grandmas instead of fashionable females.

5. Cirque du Soleil is not cool. It's French-Canadian.

5. And all drag queens are at least one of the above... making them all scary (unless you think your grandma is hot... which is scary!).

Artistic expression is important. I even support the idea of modern dance (just do not go see it). But I also believe that scary things are not good, not funny, and just not fun to be around. So while other blogs may have fun with their "Drag Queen of the Week" profiles... I will not be supporting them here.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

0 for 2.

Indie Team #7 lost both of our first two games on Saturday. I struck out my first at bat (yep, struck out at slow pitch softball). But for a team who had never met before we played well. Both of our games went all seven innings... no mercy rule stopped our game. The second team we faced had drills to warm-up before the game... and their first baseman was decked out in the Cubs' away uniform (yes, he did look like a dork). Everyone on our team seemed to be playing for fun, but playing hard and not slacking. And the most important part - I have realized how truly out of shape I am. Ouch, my back is killing me!

*Thanks to the peanut gallery of LP & Will for the play by play analysis.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Indie Team #7.

Indie Team #7 is the name of the softball team I joined this year through the City of Chicago Parks Department. Our opening game will be this Saturday at 3pm on field number 11. I do not have much to say about my teammates given that I have yet to be introduced to them. This Saturday will be our first gathering, first game, and I suppose our first practice too. Excellent.

I am joining for one reason: to meet people. Since I work by myself in a satellite office, I do not see any co-workers all day. This can bring about me becoming a little stir-crazy, and it leaves a huge void in my social life. I end up talking to people in the coffee shop across the street just to get some social interaction with real people during my work day . The UPS man only has a few seconds to chat so no sitting down and discussing life with him, our conversation is usually “Sign here,” and “Have a good one.” Not sure that actually constitutes a conversation.

So softball is here to save my social life! Go Go Indie Team #7!