Monday, February 25, 2008


I'm still waiting for Juno to win for best actress and picture. Poop.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I was originally going to write about something else today and title it "A-Hole" to keep with my A theme this week, but I just do not have the energy to type out my bitchings. I'll save that post for another time. Today it's about how much I adore

Thanks to Bee Spot for posting about this a while ago. And when she did I checked it out, thought it was nifty, and then moved on. One day with and for some reason I was not hooked. Well this week has been five work days with Pandora and I am completely obsessed. For those of you who do not know... it's an online radio station that is built around bands you like. I have different playlists (indierock, britpop, hiphipraggadubstep, sludge, etc.) for different moods. It's amazing how many great bands come up that I have not listened to in ages, or bands I have never heard of. Sure there are some annoying parts (Bush keeps coming up on my indie rock play list) but it's free and legal. And awesome.

Thanks Bee Spot. You rock. Now readers... go try it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


At the end of January I mailed away for Wheel of Fortune tickets. The show is coming to Chicago to film espisodes for a few days in March. I don't even like the show, but thought it would be something cool to do - and most definitely to blog about. The instructions were very clear and simple, but sadly you only could pick one taping time you wanted (out of about five). A self address stamped envelope needed to be included and the rules clearly said those that did not receive tickets would not get their envelopes back. Fine.

Yesterday when I got home I saw my envelope. I almost pooped my pants. I was so excited. Happy. Over-joyed. Surprised. Elated. You get the picture. I dropped my things, tore that envelope open, and pulled out... a sheet of paper. No tickets. The glossy paper had some stupid photo of Pat & Vanna and a letter to tell me (I suck) that they got so many requested that they did not have enough for everyone else.

Bummer. Sadness. Sadcakes indeed.

I hate Wheel of Fortune even more now.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I love the winter. I delight in the snow and the cold temperatures. I've written about this many times. And I totally understand it's partialy because of two major reasons:

1. I grew up in California without snow, so I am not sick of it.
2. I do not have to commute/drive in it so I don't get so stressed about it.

This is the first winter that is starting to push my buttons a little. The problem is that we have been getting so much snow (45 inches this year / 13 last year) and that leaves less time for bright blue sunny days. It's the overcast days that get to me... and all the ice on the ground. This morning I slid about two feet and was shocked I did not fall on my butt. I am fine with it being ten degrees outside, as long as the sun is shining.

I will be happy when Spring is here. Hopefully this Spring is not like most Chicago Springs (baseball games with snow).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Just over a week ago one of the interns for the company I share office space with was handing out the new demo (CD-R) tape of his band. He was asking everyone for their opinions about it. He walked over to my desk and asked me if I wanted one. I clearly told him that I would give it a listen BUT I would be extremely honest in my review of it. I even told him I'd be super blunt about my findings. He went on an on about how that is what he was looking for (although he looked a bit nervous) and he would never grow if everyone lied to him about how great it was.

I got home and even though I did not want to listen to it... I put the CD on the stereo. Two words: Not good. One word: Awful. Ten more words: Sounds like a bad slow jam Stained (the band) wanna-be. That evening I had to go pick up the Aussie so bought the demo to play in the car. I made the Aussie listen to the three very painful songs. At first the Aussie was trying to be nice, but once I explained that this was an intern, not a close friend, the truth came out. Wow. Bad. I can understand someone wanting to sound like bad corporate rock (bruthas got get paid), so that is not the point of my disdain. The point is (there are two)... people in their younger twenties should not be making boring ass music (you should be angry with the world, not willing to sell out), and his vocals were unlistenable. Really. The boy cannot sing.

So what to say? Well the next time the intern was in the office he came over to my desk and wanted my thoughts. I told him point blank that it was boring and the vocals are awful. His expression resembled a tiny bit like the expression one would give if I shot his puppy. I did let him know the good points (it sounded like they could play their instruments), and I made sure not to come across as elitist or pompous. He tried to argue his case saying it was just an 8-track recording... blah blah blah. I ended our little conversation by giving him a copy of Mark Kozelek's (from the Red House Painters) amazing versions of AC/DC songs so maybe that would help him think differently about how to approach music. He went into the bathroom for ten minutes.

I don't think what I did was wrong, but some people in the office seem to think that I was a little too harsh. Sure I thought it was funny… but I was trying to help too. I don't think anyone else took the time to talk to the intern about it. And the last time I saw him he was determined to give me the next demo he records.

Monday, February 18, 2008


I have written from time to time my lack of being a strong reader. Yes, I know how to read- and I read every day (at least the newspaper and all the crap at work). But I am not one of those people who can just sit down and read a book from cover to cover. Harry Potter books take me months. It's also very hard for me to sit still for that long... I am not one to go to a double feature. To read a book you need to be able to just sit down and read. It is a tough challange for me. So reading twenty pages here, ten pages there... well getting through a book takes a long time, and it is easy to lose interest.
This book (Love is a Mix Tape) that inspired my last week's post is in the finished pile for me. It is the first book I read is two sittings. Ever. I read about forty pages two weekends ago, and then yesterday I sat on the couch and finished it. Sure it's only about 220 pages long - but I was completely absorbed with. LP was impressed.

Yea for an good personal accomplishment, and yea for a good book.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mix Tape: Friday.

Good Old Days 1989-1992
Why Do Men Have Breasts?
The House (F-ed Up Mix)
What's The Buzz?
I Love Girls
The Mall
Who Is It?

On the last day of my week of the mix tape I realized had so many great picks in a desk drawer full of gems to write about. My pick was a tape my friend Keith made me a while ago. I am not sure when he made it since there is no date on the tape (remember to always put the date on your mix tapes!) but if my memories serves me right it was when I lived in NYC. So the tape is around ten years old. And the recordings on it are closing in on twenty years old (wowzers).

My pal Keith was the king of the mix tape. He should of had stock in TDK. Each time he got into a car he had made a new mix tape just for the drive... even if it was a five minute drive. This is a tape of recordings Keith and I made in our teens, all made at his home recording studio / bedroom. We were so obsorbed with spinning records, recording techno (mostly jungle and house) and rap songs. Hey, don't laugh - I was a great lyricist. And Keith created some of the most amazing beats. He spent hours upon hours working on his next recordings... and he never spent any time on school work (he was a terrible student). These recordings have stood the test of time, not because they are so good, but because they are a snap shot of my youth and remind me what I wanted to do, and how I had such a drive to do it. Sure, we never got the huge record deal - but we performed at some fantastic raves (remember those) and had a blast doing it. We were obsorbed with music and buying the next new cool 12" - we had no time or money for drugs.

I wish it stayed that way, but life cannot be frozen in one moment. I feel I made choices (good and bad) that helped me grow in a positive direction. Sadly, Keith seemed to make the wrong decisions and bad luck kept following him. And this tape of our time together being creative and goofy only comes in less than thirty minutes long, but it spands so many years, and such a great friendship. I just hope Keith is passing out his mix tapes in heaven - he would get heaven dancing, I am sure of that.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mix Tape: Thursday.

Drive To Memphis, Vol 4.
Spring 2007

Mojave 3 "Got My Sunshine"
Neil Diamond "Soolaimoon"
Nada Surf "Always Love"
Oasis "Little James"
Phantom Planet "California"
The Pogues "The Sunny Side of the Street"
The Righteous Brothers "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'"
The Rolling Stones "Sweet Virginia"
Neko Case "Whip The Blankets"
The Sundays "Summertime"
Talking Heads "Road To Nowhere"
Ben Folds Five "Jackson Cannery"
Lyle Lovett "Fat Babies"
Jack Johnson "Taylor"
Brendan Benson "You're Quiet"
Cake "Stickshifts And Safetybelts"
Pat Benatar "Love Is A Battlefield"
The Go-Go's "Head Over Heels"
The Monkees "A Little Bit of Me, A Little Bit of You"
Spoon "The Way We Get By"
Islands "Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby"
David Byrne "Miss America"

The road trip mix. A very different approach one must make for mix tapes dedicated to long drives with your wife (friends, etc.). This is about singing along. This is not about random crazy obscure songs, or how cool am I. This about feeling like you are on the Muppets and the whole gang is happy as pie and singing and being big dorks. I excel at being a big dork. Sure you can add in a lesser known gem (Islands) but after a few seconds the carload better be singing or you have messed up (Bones, Bones, Bittle little bones...). So above is a list of songs from a four volume mix I made for our long drive (nine hours) to Memphis last year. We do the drive a few times a year, so I was hoping we would listen to them a few times. The other volumes include hits by Bad Company, Weezer, Buffalo Tom, Tom Petty, The Who, Count Five, Motley Crue, Skid Row, Primal Scream, Smoking Popes, Futureheads, and many fine others.

LP is not a hip hop or reggae fan, so usually mixes for our road trips leave out the rap and ragga songs (with an occasional Kris Kross song for good times). And looking back at this volume I would of chosen a different Phantom Planet song since the O.C. killed that one... and LP is not a fan of the Ben Folds either - we often just skip over than one. Neil Diamond's song is one of the best sing-a-long songs of all time (hell, most N.D. rules on road trips). It's so hippie love and kind of makes you want to barf, but it's so catchy you cannot help embracing it (I guess that's kind of like all of those wacky cults). I once drove from San Jose to Irvine just listening to Neil Diamond (They Might Be Giants was the entire drive back). Lyle Lovett's song was actaully the wrong song... I think I meant to put "Bears" on there which is a brilliant little ditty, but "Fat Babies" is a good one just not ideal for the road.

Rule for the road mix: keep the downers out, unless the tempo is upbeat and you really don't realize how depressing it is. Also keep it simple. The mix tape is meant to have the hits... for those areas on the road that do not have good radio. Oh yeah, and always remember the Rolling Stones because they make everyone happy.

I know I should of wrote something about a love mix tape for Valentine's Day... but I didn't - so deal with.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mix Tape: Wednesday.

4 January 1996
Brady Experience

Statics "Radio"
Marcy "Join the Gospel Express"
J Chruch "Cigarettes Kill"
Kpants "Sonic Ripoff"
Rollerball "Apples"
Robyn Hitchcock "Ballon Man"
Vomit Launch "Hence The Box"
Pavement "I Love Perth"
Handsome "Waiting"
Rattlecake "Wa Wa Wa"
Spinanes "10 Meter Platform"
Damien Jurado "Bicycle"
Wesley Willis "Rock 'n' Roll McDonalds"
Weaklings "Rock 'n' Roll Party"
10-4 "Safe-n-Sane"
Ben Lee "Away With the Pixies"
Odd Numbers "All Worked Up"
Chixdiggit "Shadow Bangers (?)"
Southern Culture on the Skids "Whole Lotta Things"
Built To Spill "Big Dipper"
So if you actaully know more than five of these bands you are awesome. Sure Pavement, Robyn Hitchcock, Built to Spill, and Ben Lee are the most obvious. This is a playlist from the first hour of my college radio show... The Brady Experience. I used to tape the shows just to have a record of it so one day I could blog about it. Well, something like that. But these tapes also made great mix tapes that I would copy and mail to friends who lived far away. Hearing my voice makes me laugh, I sounded so bored with the whole thing. The PSAs I read are lifeless. If I had spent as much time on my school work as I did on being indie rock rad... well, I would of been a 4.0 student.

It's so funny to look back and see what an "indie-r than you" attitude I had. This one hour had twenty songs... of which twelve came from 7"s and two came off 10"s. I was so ultra cool that I had to be playing the ultra new, or ultra rare single rather than the CD. Some of these songs have not dated well at all, but it served a purpose in 1996 - and I was supporting a lot of local music (Kpants, Rattlecake, Rollerball, Spinanes, Weaklings, 10-4).

The Statics were this really great garage band on Estrus, and their song "Radio" was my theme song. I opened each week with that track. And then showing how I was into buying cheap old records I played a Marcy song... she is this little puppet that sang Christian children's songs. Only on college radio could someone get away with it. Damien Jurado and Ben Lee (Noise Addict) I was so obsessed with - I played them every show, and people at the station use to tease me about it. Vomit Launch was such a great forgotten pop band from Chico, CA. Sure their name made people think they were something else, but they recorded some great indie pop tunes. Chixdiggit were on Sub Pop for a month or so, and I was such a fan of these Canadians... and when Sub Pop dropped them so did I (geee... such a follower). And then there was J Church with "Cigarettes Kill". Sadly No-Pants Lance from J Church just died a couple months ago... from cancer.

Mix tapes are a good way of capturing time in one's life. There are photos and videos, but the mix tapes that are in my desk drawer remind me of my twenties and how the world look to me back then. It reminds me of how I've changed and what I view as important now versus back then.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mix Tape: Tuesday.

27 November 2001
Arling & Cameron "Weekend"
Gladys Knight & the Pips "Midnight Train to Georgia"
Smog "Held"
Actionslacks "Perfect G"
Blondie "Sunday Girl"
Magnetic Fields "The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side"
Rolling Stones "Dead Flowers"
Sam Cooke "Don't Know Much About History"
Travis "Driftwood"
David Bowie "Modern Love"
Oasis "Wonderwall"
Otis Redding "I've Been Loving You Too Long"
Paul Simon "Graceland"
Willie Nelson "Always On My Mind"
Dream Academy "Life In A Northern Town"
Squeeze "Tempted"
Red House Painters "I Feel the Rain Fall"
Al Green "Let's Stay Together"
Stan Getz & Astrud Giberto "The Girl From Ipanema"
Looking back at this mix tape (actually on CD-R) only one word comes to mind: Obvious. I usually pick more obscure songs to show everyone how cool and hip I am (or was, or thought I was). But this is not that at all. This was made for LP while we were living in Portland for her long drives to work in the burbs that she dreaded (she dreaded the commute and the job). It was a way for me to be with her on her journey in the mornings and evenings in the car that could barely make it over the west hills on highway 26. I remember how I use to worry that car would one day just die on that road, but it never did. It actually got totalled by some hit and run driver while it was parked on the street by LP's apartment.

Arling & Cameron's "Weekend" is one song I am sure LP could go without ever hearing again. It is such a catchy little electro-pop song that just makes you sing along. But I seemed to put it on every mix tape for a five years span (maybe more). The Magnetic Field's "Luckiest Guys" is by far my favorite song they ever recorded. It reminds me of living in NYC - and there were many days in Portland that I so wanted to move back. I just get lost in the song. The Stones' "Dead Flower" is another song I beat to death on mix tapes. I went through a big "Beatles Blow, Stones Rule... Ramones come in Second" period. "Dead Flowers" is the perfect song to me - so why not make sure everyone knows that by putting it on their mix tape. David Bowie's "Modern Love" took me years to get into it. When it came out I was a little rebel that listened to punk rock (that my older brother was into). And Dream Academy's "Northern Town" also goes down as one of my favorite songs. I so wanted to be in Dream Academy when that song came out. I thought they were the coolest - and perfect fit for me.  Otis and Al Green are on there because they are two of LP's favorites.  She loves her Memphis Hi and Stax soul.

The art of the mix tape is an all day process for me. I've sat on the floor of bedrooms for hours and hours perfecting the mix tape. The skill I miss is when actaully making a mix on a cassette tape you need the perfect use of all the tape on both sides. So you must know off the top of your head lots of songs that come in under a minute - punk rock is great for this. Throw in a good Minor Threat, Youth Brigade, or Adolecense song for a great ending tov Side A or B.  I've always been more into making mix tapes to expose people to new / different music than they are use to - rather than making the party mix, or the I hate you / love you mixes.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mix Tape: Monday.

I am currently reading "Love Is A Mix Tape" by Rob Sheffield. An absolute brilliant book that I have connected with in so many ways. My life could be seen through a series of mix tape. There are certain parts of this book that could be my autobiography. I highly recommend it to anyone, especially if you are into music, or if you were once into music; if you are in a relationship, or if you were once in a relationship.

This book is an autobiography about the author's life as seen through a series of mix tapes. He spends his days and nights writing while re-listening to old mix tapes. The memories are mostly good ones, but most are about his wife who he lost after only after five years of marriage. Reading Sheffield's reflections just remind one of how precious life is and we never know when our time on earth will be up.

After about 30 pages I put the book down and walked over to LP and told her how much she meant to me. This is something I do often, but you know... you can never do it too much. As I kept reading I remembered how many mix tapes I still own that I have made for LP over the ten years we've know each other. I even have a couple others I've made for others that we so awesome I had to make a copy for myself. I have some on CD-Rs (which are not as good as tapes) and some copies of play lists. I have recordings of old college radio shows I did, which even has record of my ultra boring radio deejay voice. My radio name was Johnny Bravo... and yes, my show was called the Brady Experience. My show was on Monday nights.

So this week I am going to dig some of those old mixes out and share with you some of my history... and it will also get me back in the groove of writing every day.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Writing About Not Writing.

Not doing a blog is so much easier than maintaining a blog. I tend to post every weekday about miscellaneous things. Every once in a while a day will pass where I am too busy to post something or my brain is just empty of things to type away about. This is fine and really causes no problems. It's when day number two of no posting passes. Part of me thinks I really enjoy not posting... while part of my brain stops thinking about future things to blog about. After day number three trouble starts to set in. I start realizing I really have nothing to say and might never have anything ever to say again.

So what do I do? I get back on the horse and post a blog about not blogging. Genius! Maybe this will get those brain cells flowing and assist me in coming up with new and interesting things to write about. The past week I did have things to write about (sort of), I just did not.

Monday (1/28): I was going to let the blogging world know that I am a sinner and rekindled my relationship with Tony's. Yes, I know Tony's treated me badly and made me barf... a lot. But I could not stay away.
Thursday (1/31): I was going to blog about my job hunt, which is kind of depressing so no one missed out on much.
Friday (2/1): A post would of been, could of been, about February being here which means baseball season is right around the corner and that is super fantastic.
Saturday (2/2): I was going to do this long post of Groundhog's Day and how I truly love this day... but I never got to it.
Monday (2/4): Nothing was going on in my brain so there would not of been a post yesterday... except that I went to Tony's again. It was good.

So there you go! And Happy Paczki Day!