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March 31st, 2008

Fresh, hot cinnamon roles.

I've started this thing about 5 times now, and each time I decided that what I was writing was either boring, or scattered or made me look too stupid and pathetic for a Monday morning. So rather than some brilliant, cogent, cohesive essay, here's the weekend (etc) in bullet points:

- My friend was telling me about how he likes to bake fresh cinnamon roles in the morning when he is entertaining the ladies. "No one is ever disappointed to awaken to the smell of fresh hot cinnamon roles." he quipped. My natural retort was to point out that he must have been making up for the disappointment of the night before. Its a thank you/apology in the form of baked goods. And then of course I remembered how Ayesha always accused me of giving her the bum rush out of my apartment in the morning and realized that I don't ever remember making breakfast for anyone. Apparently I'm a dick. Or just not a morning person.

- I succumbed to the evils of Oberon Friday night - getting black out drunk on enough of the stuff to choke a donkey. Yes kids, Oberon is delicious, but its not to be trifled with. That's as drunk as I've been in some time (which as always, is saying something.)

- Markie C and I commiserated Saturday night for the first time since we're both now truly in the same situation - dumped and still pining. But as he pointed out to me over and over again, its not quite the same as I still talk/txt/IM with Ayesha all the time. I tried to argue that I don't know if my situation is better or worse, because I'm in some sort of limbo and he knows where he stands. Neither of us was buying it though. I still have outs to get what I want (theoretically). If it doesn't work out in the end, then we can talk about how I drug things out and was ultimately worse off, but I still don't think that means Markie C wouldn't trade places with me.

- Watch! The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters Read! Sleepwalk by Adrian Tomine Hear! Elephant Shell by Tokyo Police Club. They were my pop culture consumption for the weekend and they were all fabulous.

Posted 11:28am
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March 28th, 2008

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment.

- Its 2008, so almost all of retail is chain based at this point. But I started writing yesterday with chains period in mind. As I edited (I edited! Aren't you proud? I almost never do that.) I realized it made much more sense to keep things to the restaurants exclusively. But here's an excerpt from the edits, featuring a sentiment I've expressed on these pages before:

Target - As far as chain retail goes, Target feels somehow upscale (despite its bargain basement prices on dish detergent). They also make a big deal about giving 5% of their revenue back to local communities, which at least shows effort. For whatever reason, I don't feel like I need a shower after shopping at Target, unlike...
its evil equivalent: Wal-Mart. Universally known for swallowing up competition while criminally underpaying its workforce, there may be none more evil than America's Superstore. I take great pride in the fact that I live a good 5+ miles from the nearest Wal-Mart. Not many can say that anymore.

- Flight of the Conchords have a 'new' song on their MySpace page that you can download. I say 'new' because fans of the show will recognize it, but I assume its a new recording from their upcoming album (due out April 22nd)

- Atheists/Agnostics are 4%! This report on American religious beliefs shows that people swap, drop and pick up religions like baseball cards and hairstyles. As Edward G Robinson once said, 'Where's your messiah now?'

- Due to my mourning period (coupled with financial concerns) I haven't been to the bar since I've been back from AZ, which means that I haven't been to the bar in Michigan in three weeks. I'm pretty sure this is a record for the 14 (14!) years I've lived here (we're looking into the validity of that). That all ends tonight as I head to Bdubs (chain chain chain) to watch Michigan hockey and March Madness. Will they have Oberon on tap? Perhaps. Will I drink it if they do? You bet your sweet, round, perfectly shaped ass.

- I've been so bipolar about this whole election cycle its pathetic. I've gone from resolute beliefs of 'Obama gets the nomination' to 'The rug will be pulled out from underneath me at the last second I just know it' back to 'Ladies and Gentlemen, the next president of the United States of America, Barack Obama!' I'm leaning towards 'He'll get the nomination and then the Republicans will photoshop a picture of him next to Osama bin Laden and McCain will be President until he gets pneumonia during his inauguration and dies'.(If that happens by the way, the $20 I put on it in Vegas nets me 2.2 mil.) Anyway, people are kinda sorta starting to agree with me: The Hillary Death Watch.

Posted 12:05pm
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March 27th, 2008

Chain Chain Chain.

I deplore chain restaurants, have for some time now. I think its the epitome of bland to go to the Chili's or TGI Fridays on the row of chains a few miles from your house rather than to try something local and unique and different. I realize that I live in a somewhat unique situation where its easy for me to do this constantly and never run out of choices to try, but that makes it all the more egregious when someone who doesn't have a plethora of choices comes to town and says 'Let's go to Max and Ermas.'

So with the above in mind, I'm honest enough to admit that chains are inevitable. Sometimes they're just too convenient. Sometimes their just too cheap. And every once in a while, they are just too delicious. So that in mind, here's a few of my favorite chains, along with their evil equivalents.

BW3's - OK, 'Buffalo Wild Wings' for the kids out there. Let's face it, the wings are good and when you want to watch sports, you want convenience not the esoteric. It doesn't matter if you've been in so many that you could walk into a fresh one and know your way around blindfolded because you're so familiar with the layout, they have big beers!
its evil equivalent: Applebees. Feelin' Good in the Neighborhood? Have you ever seen a group of people having a raucous good time in an Applebees? That's what I thought.

Taco Bell - This is sustenance when you absolutely have to have it. Whether drunk at 2am on a Friday night, or hungover at noon on a Saturday, Taco Bell hath saved my life too many times to mention.
its evil equivalent: McDonalds. Does anything taste good here? Would anyone still go to McD's if they didn't have a massive billion dollar ad campaign to indoctrinate children and set them up for a life of tasteless failure? I think not.

Chipotle - Taco Bell's younger, better looking, more successful brother. You don't necessarily feel like a degenerate an hour after eating here. And they have fresh ingredients that are spicy enough to make your nose run. Score.
its evil equivalent: Panera Bread. As Stov once said, everything that's wrong with America can be traced back to Panera Bread. I'm not sure what he meant, but I was in a Panera once, and I wanted to punch about half the people in there in the face - just on principle. Haven't been back.

Dennys - First, re-read the Taco Bell entry, remove the part about Saturday 'morning', and then add a +100 guilty feeling for when you sober up the next day. Because you will feel guilty after Denny's. Its like a last call bar hookup. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but now its the walk of shame - to the toilet. Eventually, you'll get over it, remembering that you enjoyed it in the moment and will probably do it again.
its evil equivalent: Cracker Barrel. Trying to upscale the Denny's concept is just wrong. And adding a retail component is infuriating. Bad quaint rural atmosphere! Bad!

Outback Steakhouse - Want a cheap steak? Sometimes we all do. If you're somewhere without an actual steakhouse, this will do in a pinch.
its evil equivalent: TGI Fridays - billed as fun, tasty and affordable, it is none of the above. Outback has its mildly irritating Aussie theme, Fridays has an intolerable atmosphere of forcing you to have a good time by being kitchy, making you want to gouge your eyes out. It is also one of the original restaurant chains, so ultimately responsible for all the evil spawn that came after it.

There's tons more. And at some point, the 'chain' designation gets specious. Is Cottage Inn a chain? It has multiple locations in multiple cities. But is it Dominos? Certainly not. I can't get Cottage Inn outside of Michigan (I don't think). I used to think Mongolian BBQ was a cool Ann Arbor thing. But now they have like 50+ locations in like 6 states. Does it make me like them less? Yes. Did I eat there last weekend? Absolutely.

So chain when you have to. Its just an unavoidable matter of fact in this modern life. But next time you take out the Misses, or meet your friends for a drink, think about going some place that doesn't advertise during Dancing with the Stars. You may find a new favorite place to tell all your friends about. And trust me, The Olive Garden will still be there next time you get a craving for all you can gorge on salad and breadsticks - no matter where you are.

- Unless you're totally gay for Ben Gibbard like I am, you will be sick of Death Cab references on this blog by the time Summer rolls around. Here's another new DCFC song, performed solo acoustic by Benjamin on the BBC.

Posted 10:09am
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March 26th, 2008

Nectar of the gods.

November through March are the worst 5 months of the year here in Michigan. Not because of the bitter cold that rips through the state; that's biting but bearable. Not because of the driving snow that piles up and then melts away and then turns to ice and slush until it snows again; that's malevolent but manageable. Its not the expanding potholes nor the fact that women are forced to dress in parkas rather than tank tops. November through March are the months where time seems to stand still because that's when Bell's stops making Oberon. Sure, their Winter White is fine. And the Consecrator Dopple Bock Boike treated me to on Saturday tasted like a creamy, rich, dark heaven (with 8% alcohol). But there's nothing in the world quite like an Oberon. If summer has a taste, it is that of the Oberon. So imagine my glee as I was browsing through my Busch's circular and saw this:

Ah sweet Oberon! My heart is ever at your service! There is nothing quite as supple and sweet. Nothing so refreshing nor intoxicating on a warm spring evening. Nothing so soothing and relaxing when sitting in the shade on a hot summer day. Nothing so uplifting when its the end of March and the forecast is for snow. Oberon, you make me see the light at the end of the tunnel. And you can hold my hand all the way through that tunnel until we reach the other side.

- Being a giant music snob, I love to pick over the minutiae of every part of an album. I'll talk about the producer and the label and what effect they have on how much I like an album. Of course the most subjective criteria in this over dissection is the cover art. I'll freely admit that a good album cover can elevate a mediocre album, while a bad one can make the road to listenability an uphill battle. Anyway, the point is that I'm not that thrilled with the cover of the new Death Cab album.

Posted 9:38am
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March 25th, 2008

The sun comes up a little later, so you can drink a little longer.

OK, so just a little residual emo. I cut off the next line where Davey sings 'I wish I had a dream last night, so half the time you'd be here.' See? I'm getting better. At least I'm keeping my 'a broken heart is like herpes' analogy to myself.

Over Xmas break I ran into my old boss, who I also happened to be pretty good friends with. She used to work from home on Fridays and would always find reasons for me to come work on her home computer on those afternoons - which would end up being 5 minutes of work that turned into - eh, its already 3, let's just sit outside and have a beer (or three). Anyway, she moved away years ago and I rarely get to see her. The last time our path's crossed was the summer before I started dating Ayesha. But anyway, she was in town for New Years Eve and I got to have a drink or two with her at a friend's house before we both took off for our evening's endeavors. During our interaction, she was throwing out compliments and mentioned seeing a picture of me and Ayesha from several months back and noting how she hardly recognized me, at which point H. chimed in with 'that's probably because he was happy for once.' Despite recent trends I've always thought of myself as a pretty happy guy. Even while people call me crabby or a curmudgeon, I can somehow meld those two seemingly disparate emotions and have them both be true simultaneously. But that wasn't the first time friends noted how happy I looked when I was with Ayesha (most did it in less disparaging ways than H., but that's not surprising). Anyway, that is (of course) what I thought of as I read this article about how hot girls should marry less attractive guys (its science.) It naturally closes with the line "Men are rated as more likable and friendly when they have a wife who is very attractive." Science!

- For the love of all that is holy, this has to be a sign of the pending apocalypse. It makes the Kidz Bop kids seem rockin'. May Joe Strummer rise from the grave and smite you all.

- I started to do this quiz and got all but like 4 of the first 25, but then my eyes started to cross. I found that if I just relaxed my eyes and kind of soaked in the words randomly I was just as successful as if I systematically tried to make sense of it. I missed 6, 10, 11 and 15 for those of you who want to get competitive.

Posted 10:17am
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March 24th, 2008

On your machine I slur a plea for you to come home
But I know it's too late, I should have given you a reason to stay

Barring any unforeseen Monday evening setbacks (which I can't imagine what they'd be, but I take nothing for granted at this point) this'll probably be the last 'emo' post. My melancholy is far from abated, and I'm sure the weekends where I am sitting home doing nothing, imagining what fabulousness Ayesha is up to will be especially bad. But I need to suck it up, this I know. So no more pinings from Ben and Davey as headlines; no more lamenting my misfortune to start the day. I still have plenty of venom to spew that will be therapeutic enough without (hopefully) being pathetic.

- Yesterday Sid and I went to lunch at Mongolian BBQ with his mother for her birthday/easter celebration. Sid's Mongolian meals consist of noodles and imitation crab meat, which he then eats bundled up in a tortilla. Anyway, yesterday we're having lunch and I noticed that he was using a fork AND one chopstick to shovel his noodles into the tortilla before picking it up to eat it. It of course immediately occurred to me that this was the perfect hybrid utensil use for my little half-breed. I asked him if all Chaulkasians honored their dual heritages thusly when the opportunity presented itself. He laughed pretty hard.

- I got my first pair of Chucks when I was in junior high and have owned at least one pair ever since, usually multiples at any specific period in my life. When I first started wearing them, a lot of my classmates thought I was being strange - which in my mind is still one of the best examples of how small a backwater I grew up in. I remember just a few months back, talking about my wardrobe with a recent acquaintance and noting that 'Suit jacket, T-shirt, jeans and Chucks - that's pretty much my armor until spring, when I take off the jacket, trade the jeans for cargo shorts and loose the shoes all together.' So I love my Chucks something terrible. Here's a really interesting article on their relationship with rock and roll.

- Since Kurt Vonnegut passed, I don't think there's a clear cut answer as to who is America's greatest living author. I can think of plenty of good candidates that one could make a case for, my leader in the clubhouse being Salinger (too bad the canon is soo small). ANYWAY I think that maybe MAYBE - if he stays around long enough, the title one day could go to Bret Easton Ellis. Here's a pretty great article/interview with author.

Posted 10:02am
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March 23rd, 2008

Hanging around, you turned me upside down
You stole the clock when you left town

Today was, in a very relative sense, pretty sweet. We had our fantasy baseball draft, which is like a holiday around my house. A few beers, a few well timed insults, lots of jokes and all the while trying to screw over your buddies. Good times. And Ayesha and I have been in contact. I mean, we have been through this entire process, but I'm getting less bitter quicker than I thought I would. I don't know if that open door she talked about will ever be walked through again, but I'm on my way to being OK with it on some level. That's probably convoluted to you, and I can't quickly and succinctly explain it. Ayesha and I have this habit of being too honest with each other. Most of the time its one of my favorite things about us - but there are times we do it despite knowing its potential for harm. And the good of it way outweighs the bad, but its time like these that it scares me. But scared is better than sad, so hooray new emotions! Just in time for easter!

- Given the swirling drama surrounding my life the past week, I managed to not enter an NCAA pool for the first time in neigh 20 years. So I've also managed to watch less of the tournament than I have in any year over same said span. But while drafting today, we got the added pleasure of watching Duke lose, and you don't have to follow anything or be in any pool to enjoy that. Ahh, sweet shadenfreude.

- Siddhartha and I share a lot of things. Other than 50% of his DNA, we also have pretty similar tastes, mannerisms and sense of humor. But when it comes to pop culture we can only share so much. A lot of the stuff I'm into goes over his head (and is sometimes too 'adult', although that field is shrinking) or is just too 'old'. And of course he's immersed in the culture of video games and japenese culture that I either left a while ago (the former) or am, again, too old for (the later). ANYWAY I stared reading this series of graphic novels about a Canadian guy in his early 20's who's in a band, dates a high school girl, then falls for an American who travels in his dreams, only to find out that he has to fight her 7 evil ex-boyfriends to date her. Its called Scott Pilgrim and its absolutely fucking fabulous. Anyway, given its manga influenced art style, its video game references and anime fight sequences, I told Sid he should try reading them with me. And now after I read them, he'll come out and read me passages out loud while I'm making dinner, laughing his balls off all the way. I think there is nothing sweeter in this whole wide world than my son enjoying something that I also think is the bee's knees.

Posted 12:32am
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March 22nd, 2008

There's no blame for how our love did slowly fade
And now that it's gone it's like it wasn't there at all
And here i rest where disappointment and regret collide
Lying awake at night.

Yesterday felt like the worst day of my life. As I was cleaning up my office I was going through some old files and I found a blog post from two months ago that I started and never finished. It was about how all my friends were pairing off and procreating and how I eschewed that for so long. But yet how in the face of not believing in true love or marriage or any of that I had maybe turned a corner and had found someone that had changed all that. So that sucked. Then I tried to drive home in a driving snowstorm and my car refused to go up any incline steeper than 5 degrees. So I put it in a parking lot 2 miles from my apartment (after getting stuck three times over 90 minutes during a 6 mile drive) and hoofed it home through two inches of snow in my low top chuck taylors. Along the way I txted Ayesha about how life sucked and I wanted to die, which made me feel like the most pathetic sap in the entire universe. Needless to say I went home and drank two bottles of wine.

- Here's a brief third person review of UTC (with picture!) Consensus is we rock.

- When I was having dinner with Ayesha's married friends out in AZ we somehow started to talk about music. Ayesha's coworker's husband was a big hip-hop guy, and she asked him what his favorite album of all-time was (which I now can't remember. I think maybe he said Straight Outta Compton). Anyway Ayesha then looked at me and said 'What's your favorite album? WAIT! Jim (coworkers husband) what do YOU think Tyler's favorite album is?' And without much hesitation, he said 'I don't know, something by Elvis Costello.' I then went on about how I adore This Year's Model and then diatribed about the nature of favorites for a while. I think I ended up saying Nothing Feels Good (foreshadow much?) But we were talking about it afterwards and I was like 'Clearly he said that because of the glasses', which of course I started to wear partially because of Elvis in the first place. So, perfect. ANYWAY, Elvis has a new album out soon, vinyl and digital only, and its got the super fucking hot name of Momofuku.

- Jeff Tweedy is almost a cliched rock star genius drug addict. Except that its mostly due to his debilitating migraines. He blog's about it eloquently here. I'm sure when his tragic lyrics make one of my post breakup headlines he'll feel much better.

- If I were a gay multimillionaire cult follower I may try to marry a former star of Dawson's Creek star to ease my pain. Lucky for me (?) that's not an option.

- Remember how Elvis is shaking things up a la Radiohead in the way he's releasing his new album? Jack White one ups him. (and yes, I already found it.)

Posted 12:04am
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March 21st, 2008

I'm not as good as the interstates are, I just can't take you that far.

I'm back bitches. Sort of. Let me explain. My first night back in Michigan was torturous. I unpacked and dabbled in some masochism as I went through everything Ayesha has ever given me before (largely) putting it away. And then I of course got spectacularly drunk. And even though I didn't pass out till 1:30, I couldn't sleep past about 6:15. Of course the weird thing is that I fell asleep and woke up writing blog entries in my head. So clearly my little non-blogging plan isn't working. Right now its 1:30am* and I'm scribbling in my little black book because I was foolish enough to think that 3 double gin and sodas would put me out. My natural reaction to this insomnia was to pour #4 and that a little scribbling couldn't hurt. So here's my intentions going forward - to blog around the following loosely based rules until normalcy resumes enough to go back to what we're all used to. Its all pretty arbitrary, so take it for what you will. History dictates that I'll take it all back in a day or too (obviously).

1. Headlines will become sad pseudo-emo lyrics that have no bearing on the actual post itself. All headlines will be assigned point values so that you can play name that tune along your fellow blog readers. Guessing '...that one Death Cab song' or '...some Promise Ring tune' merits you nothing. They will obviously be mostly DCFC and TPR songs. Today's lyric is worth 500 blog points. Its from one of my favorite songs and of course is one that has a special history for Ayesha and I (natch).

2. After the headline will be the 'tbaggervance and the infinite sadness' portion of the post. I'll do my best to keep it short, but it will be a deposit for whining and feeling sorry for myself. Feel free to skip it.

3. The rest of each days post will likely be random pop culture links followed by quick observations of said phenomena. No groupings of things innocuously making me happy (which is nothing) or things making baby jesus cry (everything), just whatever I don't want you to miss.

4. The email notification service is dead. For now. It returns when the blog returns to normal. This effects very few of you. No complaining.

5. Speaking of complaining, no complaining or bitching via the comments or direct emails about the format or Ayesha. And as far as that goes, no showing concern or sympathy for me neither. I don't want or need any of it. This is my little bitchfest and you can either abandon ship or suck it up. Right now (pouring double #5) I don't give shit.

So that's the low down. Sad and angry for a little while at the top, but good stuff you don't want to miss following that. Let's get this party started. You know the rules...

I awoke my first morning back in A2 quite convinced that I was asleep in my bed room that I grew up in. My parents moved after I graduated high school, so I slept there for years and then when I went off to college, I had no home to return to. At least not one that I recognized. Anyway, this feeling I had was coupled with the fact that my mom kept showing up in my dreams the night before. And of course both of these things probably point to a desire to run home and be comforted by things that no longer exist. But I was wide awake in the dark and I swear I could kinesthetically feel the dimensions of my old room. I even mapped out the path in my head to the bathroom that I so desperately needed - the path through my old room to my old bathroom, not the one I've traveled to every morning for five + years (I wish I could tell you that I peed in closet or something hilarious like that, but I shortly got my bearings.) Anyway, I don't know that any of this is surprising or insightful given that it basically says when you're as sad as you've ever been you run home to mama, and sometimes your home and your mama are gone. But it freaked my shit out. So there. On to the links.

- Mr. Show was one of the funniest shows ever to grace TV, and the birth place of the phrase King Shit of Fuck Mountain©. I am pleased to announce that its creators (Bob and David) are returning to HBO with a new show. Please don't suck.

- They are bringing back 90210. It will suck. I will watch it.

- New Death Cab! Just in time for me to curl up in the fetal position in the dark and listen to it over and over again!

- Joss Whedon films musical for the internet, starring Neil Patrick Harris. It will be legendary.

*technically its 9:20am as I type the transcription and do some sweetening, but you know...

Posted 9:54am
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March 19th, 2008


So Ayesha has a blog as well. Its only viewable to a select few, so not publicly available. Anyway, she gave me permission to repost her synopsis of things for all y'all. I thought it'd be a nice perspective for anyone that's interested in our little drama. Enjoy.

how i ruined vegas.

Although my blog hasn't spelled it out, Tyler and I have been back on for a couple of months now. We had that huge falling out in October, didn't talk for two months until I made a drunken phone call (are you surprised? you shouldn't be) and then we kind of just started back up where we had left off before all the bad stuff came on. We ended up spending two blissful days together when I was back in town in December and have been in constant communication since then. There has been talk of marriage, true love and forgiveness. Tyler and my old roomie formed a band together and somehow I was bought a plane ticket home for their one and only concert. He had also planned an 8-day trip out to the West in the near future. Prior to my arrival and his visit, it was clear that the next month would hold the answer to whether or not Tyler and I should be together.

My Michigan visit was great. Tyler loves me more than anyone I've ever known. He knows my soul to the core and believes in me. He is, a wonderful and beautiful person. However, my Michigan visit was filled with doubts and a feeling of defeat. I had to dig deep and figure out if I was capable of forgiving and forgetting all the bull shit that had torn us apart in the first place. Is it possible to go back to a time when you wanted to spend the rest of your life with someone, even after you have spent months attempting to get over them? Would I be able to make the distinction between loving him, and being in love with him?

So, he arrived last Tuesday. We've been having a great time together- but the doubts were resurfacing full on. Spending twenty-four hours a day with him is just like old times, but something inside of me has changed. I had nightmares and would awake to him next to me, smiling. We would drink, and I would stop myself because I was afraid that my big mouth mixed with alcohol would blurt out something I wasn't ready to share. I worked through it, and had come to the realization that there is no way I am ready to be with Tyler again. This realization was awful and guilt-ridden. Here is this person that loves me so much, and I used to love him the same way... why can't I go back? What is wrong with me?

Unfortunately, while in Vegas, I forgot about my drinking/big mouth problem and blurted something out that forced us to have the conversation. We were both a wreck, crying in our very perfect hotel room. I explained over and over again how much it hurt to do this to someone I really care about, and he said he understood and broke his 4-month no smoking streak. Unfortunately, Vegas is probably Tyler's favorite city and I ruined our one night there. Needless to say, I'm not only filled with guilt about having to break it off but also that I ruined our last couple of days together, including a nice in Sin City and St. Patty's Day.

Jeane said something that hit a chord with me- something to the effect of how not only do you need the right person, but also the right timing. Tyler may well have been the right person, but timing has not worked in our favor. Every time I want to be with him, he is on the other side of things (and vice versa). We've had fun, it has been quite the roller-coaster, but I think it is fair to say that we need to call it quits. For now.

Fingers crossed that I made the right choice. I'll be hiding under my covers until further notice.

Posted 11:01am
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March 17th, 2008

By the time I get to Arizona... (part 2)

The following was scribbled in my little black book at about 3am last night. The transcription is pretty word for word, with just a tad of sweetening. The only caveat is that after writing it, I did go on a bit of a bender, downing 8 vodka sodas in just over an hour. A hooker told me that I looked so sad she'd almost blow me for free. Almost. What a sweetheart...

Things fall apart. Deteriorate. That's what they do. Sometimes even with the best of care you can't stop the eventual erosion. That's what happened to the second half of my vacation. First slowly, then spectacularly.

Saturday morning we awoke early to head out to the most fabulous of holes, the grand canyon. But here's on thing about the American Southwest for the uninitiated - there's only one way to get anywhere. Its not like going from Ann Arbor to Detroit where there are half a dozen completely valid routes - there's one way. Period. And Saturday, after traveling for an hour towards la gash grande we found out the route to get there was closed. That's right - the grand canyon was ostensibly closed. So we headed home in frustration and stared at the wall for a bit. We got some Mexican food and decided to meet up with my fellow Naptowners that have migrated to the desert.

And here's the other thing about desert dwelling - everything is far away. If you want to have any kind of fun imaginable, prepare to drive a minimum of 20 minutes. This erodes friendships and makes being a successful drunk a home based business. I imagine a lot of phone conversations in the PHX area going like this: "You come here." "No, you come here." Anyway, we schlepped to the other side of the valley of the sun and hung out with my old high school bandmates. We drank and played guitar. Life was good for a moment. Little did I know that I was walking eyes closed towards life's grandest of holes.

The next morning we packed our shizz and headed to the desert's giant gold plated turd - Las Vegas (thankfully, not closed. But we did have to drive through a torrential snowstorm to get there. I shit you not. I love it when life is operatic without even trying.)

Anyway, we hit the strip and checked into our ultra fabulous room, which had a TV in the bathroom mirror and a telephone within arm's reach of the toilet. I thought that was a tad ostentatious, but we decided to stay there anyway. We met my buddy RJ and had some cocktails and shot some crap (Ayesha got hot throwing dice and made us a bunch of money, then we pissed it all away. Yes, it will be an apt metaphor of foreshadowing, wait for it...) RJ had to take off for work shortly thereafter and we were left drunk and alone to ponder life's mysteries. And that's when she dumped my ass.

It started out with her making an innocuous off the cuff remark that snowballed and escalated into both of us crying in our hotel room. We both used to joke that we should never do Vegas together - her being a clubber and I a degenerate gambler. Turns out we were right. Vegas was the end of us.

After much boo-hooing I ran down to the casino floor for some much needed booze and a pack of cigarettes (Vegas always makes me smoke. Damn you Sin City.) I eventually composed myself enough to head back to the room so we could go find dinner and talk some more about thoughts and feelings. Good times on the strip.

I wish I could tell you that I later went on a spectacular bender the likes of which Vegas has never seen - but I didn't. We went back to the room and passed out around 10. Five hours in the car and a few hundred bucks for this. Swell.

I don't want to trash Ayesha in any way. I still love her. Still am in love with her. She just didn't feel the same way and chose a completely awful time to tell me so. That's what our relationship came down to in the end - bad timing. It happens. Its not necessarily anyone's fault. I saw all of this coming. I tried to plug the hole in the dam but couldn't. Other holes cropped up and I ran out of fingers. That's all. She left a door open for the future, but it feels like guilt more than anything. Hey, with our history, who knows...

So given my flair for the dramatic, prepare thyself dear reader for a little radio silence. Its time for some heavy drinking (even by my standards) and then some self-evaluation. I think neither of those things will be blog inducing. Strike that. They will likely be spectacularly blog inducing, but I'm going to put down the proverbial pen for a while instead. I think it too much right now. I'll be back, probably shortly, to regale you with whatever is next in my sad little existence. If you see me between now and then, buy me a drink, and please don't ask about Ayesha. See you on the other side...


Posted 5:13pm
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March 15th, 2008

By the time I get to Arizona... (part 1)

Its been approximately two years since I got a plane and took a vacation. Not that I haven't traveled and imbibed across this great land of ours in the meantime, but an extended, no agenda excursion to some place much warmer than Michigan in an effort to escape the doldrums of a midwestern winter is something quite different. Turns out its something quite necessary. So being back in Ayesha's good graces, when she asked me 'When are you going to come visit me?' my immediate response was 'As soon as you'll have me.'

So after work on Tuesday I threw some clothes in a bag* and ran to DTW to hop a plane and like a modern day Tom Joad, head West in search of a better life. For a week or so anyway. Of course my flight was delayed and was packed with 50+ junior high kids playing slap tickle the whole way, but I was surprisingly calm about everything. The flight was actually quite bearable, perhaps because I was about to see Ayesha and gain the ability to walk outside without a coat. I guess we'll see how I tolerate the return flight if it contains similar annoyances. Anyway, I touched down in the desert and there was my gorgeous psuedo-ex/perhaps future girlfriend. No one knows what the appropriate label is, but she was a sight to behold regardless of an appropriate moniker for what we are to each other. We grabbed the bags and after a quick booze run on the way home, settled in at Ayesha's place for a quiet evening of throwing back some Mooseheads. (Moosehead! In the desert! I know, right?)

One of the things we had planned on during my desert excursion was to do some hiking around the greater PHX area. We started off with a pretty easy little trail on Wednesday morning. This is us at the top of the thing:

Yes, I'm wearing a hat. This is what I am forced to stoop to when taking a shower before going outside to sweat makes no sense. Afterwards we did a little running around then headed back to Ayesha's for some poolside grilling (in March!) After about five minutes in the sun the little brown desert dweller got some sort of heat rash and had to move to the shade, but my white ass powered through. I'm certain the proximity to St. Pat's Day has bolstered my immune system - or something like that to explain this irony.

After a nap and a shower, we decided on a trip to BevMo and then out for drinks. Remember in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the original Gene Wilder one, natch) when he opens the door to the factory and the kids stand there, mouth agape while he sings 'If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it..'? Well walking into BevMo made me feel like Charlie Bucket.

Everything I'm holding cost less than $25. So far its keeping me very lubricated out here in the heat. Anyway, we then went to some trendy little part of PHX where they turned a bunch of old houses into hipster bars. No place has a sign or any real indication that they are an actual bar as opposed to somebody's domicile, but the places we stopped took our money and gave us booze in exchange, so it all worked out. I felt at home. Even after Ayesha made me order and drink this $10 martini:

Being a hipster hurts sometimes. The next day we decided on another hike - this time a much more difficult, double black diamond trail. Warning. The following pic includes massive amounts of lilly white flesh.

The view was gorgeous, and even though Ayesha's legs shook the whole way down from over exertion, we both felt it was worth it. We also felt that we had earned some pizza and a beer, which is what we did immediately afterwards.

Later that night we met up with Ayesha's friends (and coworker) Jim and Jeane. They're good people. Jeane is a cheesy art teacher and Jim seems like my kind of degenerate, so we all got along pretty well.

The next morning I decided that I really needed to see Michigan get clobbered in the Big Ten tournament. Since Ayesha doesn't have cable and the game was on at 9am, we were faced with the daunting task of finding a bar that was open early enough to feed us beer and let us watch ESPN while the rest of the world was being productive. We eventually found Barwinkles - which turns out wasn't open, but the lady let us come in and drink anyway. Beers for breakfast!

We tried to take this picture several times with Ayesha frowning for having me drag her out of bed for such ridiculousness, but this was the one that turned out. Don't tell anyone that she's wearing a maize and blue shirt.

We had planned to go the Mariners baseball game at 4, but like a real fucking rube, I had got the east coast starting time, so when we showed up at 4, we found people leaving the 1pm game that just ended. We went home dejected, drowning out sorrows with more poolside grilling.

And lucky for us, there was a game that night at 7, so we headed back to the ball park and snagged some sweet lawn seats. Ayesha would want you to notice the super cute purse by her feet that she just received in the mail.

We spent most of the game people watching, marveling at how parents let their kids run amok in public. No one teaches couth anymore. Oh, and since we missed out on J.J. Putz, Ayesha had me take this picture instead:

I don't know how it measures up as far as consolation prizes go, but it made Ayesha laugh, which is always worth it.

Since we were headed to the Grand Canyon the next morning, we decided to go home and do some arts and crafts and watch a movie. And booze. Here are the Artist Trading Cards I made. Countdown to Boike calling me gay in 3... 2...

And for the record, Dan in Real Life is about the biggest craptacular we've ever laid eyes on. It made us both violently angry and physically ill. Should have known when we saw Dane Cook's name in the credits. Douche nozzle.

We woke up today and packed up the car for the Grand Canyon, but got the Heisman from the I-17. It was shutdown for construction and as it was our only route to the canyon, we turned around and headed home. Getting to meet one the of the 7 natural wonders of world doesn't seem to be in the cards. We're planning on meeting up with AZ Naptowners instead, which, no offense to the grandiosity of some canyon, is a fabulous consolation prize.

Anyway, that's first half of the trip. Its been a whirlwind of awesome ever since I got here, with no signs of letting up. Tomorrow Vegas, Monday St. Pats and Nada Surf, Tuesday some museums and some Minibosses. Wednesday back to frozen tundra of the mitten. Look for part two then...

* Yes, we all know I am far too anal for this to be even remotely true, but I'm telling this story, so shh.

Posted 2:03pm
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March 11th, 2008

Jesus H. Ridout-Norris.

A little over 6 months ago I helped pack up my girlfriend of a little less than a year and moved her to the opposite side of the country. It was an event that was nearly as life changing for me as it was for her (role with my hyperbole please). Ayesha and I had become pretty intrinsically tied together during our all too brief time in Ann Arbor, and while we were doing that, more and more of my friends got paired off or started breeding. So by the time I dropped her off in the desert, I was resigned to return to Michigan utterly alone. My formerly single friends were now in time sucking relationships, and my married friends who were formerly regularly social were now home changing diapers. I, of course, was being overly dramatic about all of it.

But a funny thing happened during this grand transition. I found myself returning more and more to Ayesha's old house to hang with her ex-roommates the Jesuses. When Ayesha and I started dating I had fashioned the Jesuses in my head to be the polar opposites of us. They were Christians. They got married young. They didn't really drink. They seemed to live a lifestyle quite the opposite of us. They sometimes referred to Ayesha as their 'daughter' and that's pretty much what it felt like. But not for long. I eventually got to know the two of them beyond the initial stereotypes I assigned them. And with Ayesha gone and me trying to cling to some part of the past while still moving on, I came to be good friends with AJ and MJ.

And better friends one could not have. We've been to some amazing concerts. We've traveled to foreign lands. We've stalked celebrities, played hooky, and fought and clawed to win trivia contests together. It's been difficult at times, trying to keep them from being caught in the middle of some of Ayesha and I's drama. But someday should us two crazy kids end up together, we'll owe something to the Jesuses for being there during some trying times. If nothing else I can never properly thank them for that.

Tonight I fly West to spend a glorious week with Ayesha in the desert, and when I return, the Jesuses will be gone. They've decided that their time in A2 is at an end and are moving lock, stock and barrel to the hills of South Kadota. So its the end of an era once again. No more UTC. No more Green Door Chapel. No more happy hours at the Grizz, no more pizza buffets at Aubrees, no more games of lighter toss on my living room floor. Goodbye Jesuses. Ann Arbor, and even more so Sid and I, will miss you. In the grand scheme of things it was an unlikely friendship, but I think that fact will strengthen the resolve to maintain it. Turns out everyone can use a little Jesus in their life. Even me.

Posted 11:07am
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March 10th, 2008

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment.

Tomorrow I leave the frozen tundra of Michigan for the balmy desert of Arizona. I don't know how much if at all I'll be posting the next 10 days. There could be daily updates thrown up while Ayesha takes a nap, or I could completely eschew my blogging responsibilities until I get back and provide one massive travelogue. Only time will tell. Anyway, I'm pretty much just sitting around daydreaming until I get on the plane, so here's some of the stuff that's making me giddy with anticipation.

- The low in AZ for every day over the next week is a minimum of 10 degrees warmer than than the high in Michigan. So, suck it Michiganders. Until a week from Wednesday anyway, then suck it tbaggervance, too.

- I was kind of disappointed in the new Nada Surf album upon first listen. Two great songs, a bunch of mediocre ones. That was my initial reaction. But the rest of the album is starting to grow on me. This only increases my excitement for their St. Patty's day concert we will be attending.

- Spring training in baseball takes place in two different areas - Florida's "grapefruit" league and Arizona's "Cactus" league. I've managed to take in a Tiger game or two in Lakeland, FL during a couple of my reluctant visits to that cestpool of a state, so I'm excited to see the left coast's version of inconsequential baseball. And to point out my sadness, one of the deciding factors in which game to go see was that U of M's J.J. Putz plays for the Mariners, coincidentally right down the road from Ayesha's apartment.

- Years ago I cam across a band called the Minibosses. Their stock in trade is recreating the music from original NES games as a four piece prog-rock outfit. Needless to say that this colliding of my love for music and my love for old-school Nintendo is about the coolest thing to me since Vodka met soda. And because apparently I've built up some kind of positive karma over the years, they are playing in PHX my last night in town. I'm sure this will be just short of torture for Ayesha, as when I mentioned it as a possibility, her response was "That annoying band is fine with me." She must really like me.

- The best part of traveling to me is seeing friends that have dispersed throughout the country. 95% of all of my adult travel (not related to Michigan athletics) has been based around seeing one friend or other who has relocated to some exotic locale. Not only is it exciting and comforting to be with people you love in a far off land, but it usually allows you to crash on a couch rather than pay for a hotel room. Of course the impedance for this trip is to see Ayesha, but I also hope to catch Jer and Pants (seen above in 1994 prom splendor) in nearby Scottsdale, as well as RJ (who gets spared high school photo embarrassment) when we make our quick stop over in the Vegas. These are some of my favorite people in the world, so its kind of amazing to me that they're all so close together so far away from where we all grew up. Its going to make a sweet trip even sweeter. Or perhaps a drunken extravaganza even more drunken. Or both.

Posted 12:53pm
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March 9th, 2008

Indefatigable. [ indi fattig'b'l ] adjective Definition: untiring: never showing any sign of getting tired or of relaxing an effort

Its the word of the day around our house. Tonight Sid and I went out at midnight to wait in the freezing cold, surrounded by dudes who have have never touched an actual girl, to pick up his copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Its the game he's wanted for the Wii ever since we got it 14 months ago. I stood there, shivering, wondering how many of these nerds had less sexual experience than my 12 year old son. I reminded him of all the Sunday mornings that I (and Ayesha and the Jesuses (thanks again team)) stood in similar conditions to get the system in the first place. He just stood there (jumping up and down), dreaming of the nerd nirvana he was about to be in. It was kind of adorable to see him so excited. He was like a meth head once he got it. "I can't believe I finally got this effing game! I can't wait to get home and start this shit." (Yes, my son is already learned in the ways of cussing like a sailor). I have no doubt he'll be up long after I am passed out, unlocking characters and finding the nuances of this shit.

Me? I'm thinking happy thoughts of thawing out in the desert in a mere 72 hours. I don't get actual vacation but once in a great while. So when it comes, I border on obsession about it. I dream of driving with the windows down. Of traversing the Grand Canyon and hanging out in the Vegas in the ways that only a true degenerate like myself can. Of spring training games and hiking and concerts. And most of all, of just being with Ayesha and letting the cares of the world melt away. Its not often that you can build up an experience in your mind and still know that it has little to no chance of disappointing you. And assuming that I haven't just jinxed it, this is one of those times. The whole thing just makes me so... indefatigable.

Posted 1:27am
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March 7th, 2008

Erin Go Bragh.

Dearest blog readers, you know how I hate to intrude on your kind and gentle nature. My causes are my own and while I aspire to inspire from time to time, I do my level headed best to have my call to actions be ones of the 'do something' variety rather than the 'do this'. But friends, this time I cannot stay silent. This time I am imploring you to stand next to me and fight a battle worth fighting. Its an idea who's time has come and one that's a rallying cry for an entire generation. My good friends at Guiness and I are asking you to help us make Proposition 3-17 a reality.

Prop 3-17 is an effort to make St. Patrick's Day an official honest-to-goodness holiday here in the States. The Italians have Columbus Day; the Pilgrims Thanksgiving. The Christians even get a whole day off for the baby Jesus. But what about us drunks? Where's the love for us? What about those of us who realize that Columbus didn't discover America, buckles on your hat look stupid and Jesus is a bed time story? How about we honor the hearty Irish stock that helped build this great nation? Most importantly, how about we don't all have to fake call in sick on St. Patrick's Day every year?

I know you guys are behind me. Together, we can make this sweet, sweet dream a reality. St. Patrick has done so much for you over the years, isn't it time you gave a little back? And just think, if St. Pat's is a holiday, it'll be so much easier to take off the 18th to recover.

- I swear to god, you'll read this and think I wrote it. The dude sucks of Death Cab so much it almost makes me uncomfortable. It also makes my pants really tight (if you know what I'm sayin').

- I've never watched Human Giant, but this makes me want to.

Posted 11:05am
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March 6th, 2008

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment.

- My mom was a big Hitchcock fan. Growing up, I had seen most of the man's catalog by the time I was 12 - which is disturbing on a lot of levels. The Birds will mess up a kid's head, man. Anyway, I was steeped in the man's genius and over the years have come to enjoy every nuanced piece of the man's style. Which, as any Hitchcock buff will tell you, owes quite a bit to Saul Bass. Saul was a graphic artist and title designer that worked with Hitch and Otto Preminger quite a bit back in the day. That's why this little exercise made me giggle over and over again.

- Now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb... This will probably go straight from suck to blow, but the idea is intriguing for certain of us nerds out there.

- Stov sent me this link (and I think the Spaceballs one as well) and it makes me laugh out loud every time I look at it.

- For those of you who got the Loblaw picture from yesterday's Cananada extravaganza, here's an Arrested Development quiz.

- Its been a whirlwind last couple weeks, which means I've barely had time to process the fact that I'll be in AZ in less than a week. We've got quite a bit planned (Vegas, Grand Canyon, Spring Training, Nada Surf) but I think we're both kind of looking forward to things being low key and easy. That and the weather. Someone tell fucking Michigan that its March and I'm officially done with putting up with this shit. Officially.

Posted 10:55am
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March 5th, 2008

They're never going to believe this back home!

Its been almost 2 years since I made a foray into our neighbors to the North (or if you're from Michigan, our neighbors to the East). Windsor is less than an hour away, but there's really no reason to go there. Unless you're only 19 and want to drink or are really insistent that your fully nude strippers come with the ability to drink booze on the premises, its just kind of a dirty low rent town with funny looking money. But I recently realized that if you've only been to Windsor and you tell people 'I've been to Cananada', its a lot like saying that you've been to New York because you were once in Hoboken.

We hit the border and when the customs guy asked us what are business was in Cananada, we told him that we were headed to Toronto to see Josh. His immediate response was 'Didn't he just play in Michigan last night?' Apparently, Canadians love Josh Ritter! They had immediately endeared themselves to us as a whole. We also quickly learned that Cananada's love for their flag puts us to shame. Look at this giant one:

That little maple leaf is fucking everywhere! Thanks goodness its completely badass. Also note in the back ground that Canadians are not insistent that their gas prices end in nine. We managed to see prices ending in every integer imaginable, save 0, 2 and 4. We agreed that the elusive 0 was the real get, but we also noted that it may even be mythical in nature.

As you undoubtedly also know, those quirky Canadians also use kilometers instead of miles, so watching the numbers get smaller so quickly made the trip fly by. Before you knew it we were in the heart of Toronto, where apparently Bob Loblaw practices law.

When we hit our room at the Days Inn, we were inundated with the Canadian differences. First of all, they are apparently a tall people, as our ceiling was vaulted like a motherfucker. It also smelled of baseball cards, which was nostalgic for those of us with a penis. We also poked around to notice that while one would imagine it as inconceivable, the french word for shampoo is shampooing! Our minds were officially blown.

Of course after those initial observations, it was time to start pounding some booze. The cups in the room were microscopic, so I decided to use the coffee decanter instead. MJ thought this was about the funniest thing she had ever seen.

After getting sufficiently crocked, (and getting really excited about what we thought was an awesome teenage melodrama but turned out to be One Tree Hill. Damn you, Cananada!) we headed out into the Canadian wilderness. We figured we'd find the venue and then find a restaurant/bar that was close. When we parked the car (Canadian cross walk figures have feet, btw) it took all of 5 seconds to figure out we were smack dab in the middle of Toronto's gay district. You'd think the sign we saw that said 'Big pumpin', All humpin'' with pictures of shirtless dudes on it would have tipped us off, but we didn't know for sure until some very effeminate older gentleman came up to AJ and I as we were feeding the meter (not a euphemism) and told us "I think I have a looney if you need change." We politely declined his looney in case it was, you know, a euphemism.

So we hit the first gay bar (Churchmouse and Firkin) and began to ask around for where we could find some poutine. The Jesuses, as veterans of the Canadian experience, are obsessed with this concoction of french fries, gravy and cheese curds. Our gay waiter claimed to have no clue where we could find it, so we finished our appetizers and beers and headed across the street to the next gay bar, where of course they had authentic poutine.

They made me try it. It tastes like poverty.

We finished up and headed to our next stop, Zeldas, which from the exterior made Ann Arbor's Aut Bar look positively straight. We headed in only to find out that the place was booked because it was "Canadian Drag Idol" night. We were seriously disappointed we were going to miss out, but decided to just head to the venue and get our drink on there.

Now by this point I'm pretty lit. MJ says she wants to play a game and suggests that AJ and I see how many pieces of clothing we could exchange without making a scene. I of course immediately tell her that we could exchange every stitch of clothing we had on. She laughed and said 'Like you're going to take off your pants in the middle of the bar.' Which I viewed as a challenge and immediately dropped trou. There is a picture of this. You won't see it here. Instead, here is Josh Ritter.

The show rocked. We stood five feet from the stage and were practically sweat on my Mr. Ritter. After the show it was MJ's goal to meet Josh and get her picture taken with him. So we went outside only to find a driving snowstorm. Not to be deterred, we stood outside the bus as ice formed in our hair and the wind nipped at our noses. After 40 minutes I had had enough and stated that if I didn't get a Mooshead on draft soon I was going to die. We eventually found a bar that was open (it being almost 1am on a Tuesday) and even though they only had the Moose in bottles, they did have a sweet fake Marijuana plant right by our table.

We had them turn the TV to CNN (would you mind? We're from the States...) and got the evenings bad news. We tried to soldier on with the evening anyway. We stopped and got some awful latenight pizza and headed back to our hotel. It was then that we noticed that the french word(s) for shower cap are bonnet de douche. AJ is wearing a douche bonnet.

Then it was pass out time. We dug the car out next morning and headed back. I have to say, I love me some Cananada now. I would like to suggest that their tourism board immediately start a campaign in Michigan along the lines of "Come to Cananada. Its not all like Windsor!"

Posted 9:09pm
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March 4th, 2008

You're motorin'

I'm headed to Cananada as you read this to see indie folk hunk Josh Ritter, so no major posting today and perhaps tomorrow. But I wanted to share a little revelation from Sid's Sunday tennis match before I go. This is Sid and Christian:

They're both half breeds and we've been telling them they could easily pass for brothers. I especially noted that they both have the same pasty complexion, thus dubbing them 'Chaulkasians'. I immediately thought 'What a great name for their doubles tennis team!' Kara insisted that doubles teams in tennis don't have names, to which I replied 'The T-shirt I'm going to have made up says otherwise.' Then it hit me, like a lightening bolt. It was a truly eureka! moment. 'Chaulkasians' was all well and good, but it belies the obviously most truly super-awesome, radical name of all time. Ladies and gentleman, dearest blog readers and tennis fans everywhere, I give you A2's hottest all half-asian doubles team: Sidster Christian.

They're 2-0 in 2008, by the way. 7-2, 4-2. It's true...

Posted 10:02am
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March 3rd, 2008

This Week in Indie Rock.

- Friday night's debut of Urinary Tractor Convention was a rousing success. I got way drunker before going on stage than I promised myself I would, yet screwed up less than anticipated, so pretty much perfect. There was a some concern when Ayesha brought me a shot of Jaeger halfway through the set, but we persevered. There's photos and videos on facebook for those of you young enough to take advantage of such things. I'll be sure to let you know if they ever make it to youtube or any other public domain type thing. Again, thanks to everyone who showed up - I hope you had half as much fun as I did, and that you weren't too offended by the encore.


- The drummer for Nada Surf is interviewed here, and comes off as a cat I'd love to go out drinking with - even if we had to start a fight over somebody disrespecting Ringo.

- Unofficial band of The Hold Steady has a new album preped and ready, its called Stay Positive.

- Aging hipster Mike Doughty is interviewed here. We use that fact as a reminder to all y'all that Soul Coughing was once King Shit of Fuck Mountain© as far as we were concerned.

- Most of you probably heard that Maxim reviewed the new Black Crowes album without actually hearing it. As we pride ourselves on having the utmost journalistic integrity here at, we publicly condemn this action. But having seen the review and not having heard the album, we can't imagine how it isn't 100% accurate.

- Glen and Marketa are headed out on tour under the monicker The Swell Season. I'm not sure how excited I am to see this live, but I'm sure its pretty incredible.

- Here's a 45 minute video of the Conchords explaining SXSW - although it is well documented that offcially endorses the Hamtramck Blowout over Austin's precious little mainstream lovefest.

- Finally, here's Brit Daniel playing I Summon You in the back of a cab in London. He will rock your face.

Posted 11:11am
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March 2nd, 2008

Always worth the wait.

Ayesha and I haven't always made sense to me. I fell for her hard and fast in a whirlwind romance about a year and half ago and pretty much nothing in my life has been the same since. Early on in our relationship we were on our way to Bdubs and stopped at the punishment light*, listening to Nada Surf when she looked at me and said something akin to "I really want to make out with you quick but this is so new and I don't know what to do." As she would continue to do from then on, she had expressed my thoughts perfectly.

It wasn't long after that I knew I was in love in a big way and throwing myself into terrible peril. She's 7 years younger than me, from a racial and ethnic background that's almost diametrically opposed to mine and was always moving to Arizona. Of course I threw myself in head first anyway and wouldn't change a second of it for the world. Even through the bad times and the ugliness, Ayesha and I have always worked. (OK, there was the thing in October, but we're past that and done mentioning it.) The thing is that my life makes eminently more sense with Ayesha in it. I don't know if I believe that there's a right person out there for each of us, but if there is, then Ayesha is it for me. We seem to get each other, and that's not something you throw away for anything.

The last three and a half days she was here were pretty much like the best of times. The only real problems were that we had so much planned that there wasn't enough downtime for my liking and Ayesha kept reminding me that she never wants to endure a Michigan winter again (its just one of the myriad ways the weather in this state has fucked me this year.) We of course were too busy with the drinking and whatnot to have any serious discussions about what any of this means, but its a scant 10 days before we get to spend a week together out in the desert. I suppose there will be time between between all the drinking and the sweating to have philosophical and practical discussions about things going forward. My feelings on whether or not I think things will work in our favor flip back and forth like a schizophrenic on a tilt-a-whirl. But I'm hopeful. It would be cruel and unusual for the bottom to drop out now just when things are starting to consistently make sense.

- There's tons to blog about, including the UTC wrap-up. I'll get to it. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who showed up. It meant the world...

* Stadium and Brockman. You will never not have to stop here.

Posted 5:32pm
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February 27th, 2008

Here comes my girl...

The Jesuses are leaving our fair state and AJ and I are playing our first last concert together. It seemed only right to have Ayesha around for this final round of shenanigans. So when MJ suggested that we all pitch in to bring her here for one last hurrah, it didn't take long for everyone to get on board. The four of us have had a somewhat bizarre and metamorphic relationship over the last six months or so, but one last weekend with all of us back in their house on Packard (The Green Door Chapel) before this specific period in all of our lives comes to an end seemed the only appropriate way to celebrate such a wonderful whirlwind that the last year and a half has been.

And of course there's the whole Ayesha and I thing independent of everything else. The other day Ayesha asked me if I was getting nervous for her impending visit. I told her that nervous wasn't the right adjective. She started to say something about getting nervous when studying for a test in college - at which point she realized she had poorly executed her joke and that it was coming out as awkward. I let her off the hook, but continued to think about the analogy for quite some time after. I think that Ayesha and I's rollercoaster relationship is at yet another crossroads, and that the next few weeks will help to determine where the train is headed. So yeah, I guess there is an atmosphere of a test in the air. However, I have no doubt that upon Ayesha's arrival that we will fall into the line of best fit that we always seem to find around each other. And that we have so much fantastic stuff planned that the extended weekend will be a magnificent maelstrom of booze, music, laughter and sex. I guess that's why even if their is a pretext of this being some sort of test, I'm not at all worried. In my mind, we've both already gotten A's.

Posted 11:22am
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February 26th, 2008

Tuesday's are for politickin'

Its a fact of life - politicians will look you straight in the face and lie their asses off. Its kind of their job. But mostly, we know we're being lied to. Or at least being exaggerated to. I mean, we're all adults here. We're capable of reading between the lines. But I never get tired of being irate over the combination of delusional precepts and bold faced lies that come out of W's mouth. Like this speech, where he recently told people that he knows we'll get a Republican President, House and Senate, because "I understand the mentality of the American people." If this doesn't make you want to beat him about the head with a whiffle ball bat, you need to check your outrageous indignation meter. I'm not sure how a wealthy son of a privileged family, who never had to work a day in his life and was given job after job in which he failed miserably - has managed to convince a majority of the American public that he's a good ol' boy, but its gotta be one of the great all-time snow jobs. He also went on in his speech to say that American's still value the core Republican ideals of strong defense, low taxes and personal freedoms. And that may be true to a large extent. But then that only begs the question of why HE DID THE EXACT FUCKING OPPOSITE FOR EIGHT GODDAMN YEARS. He's weakened our position militarily throughout the world, and he's acted the opposite of a fiscal conservative while consistently eroding our personal freedoms. See, I don't have a problem with Republicans. I like lower taxes as much as the next guy. But I do have a problem with someone who manages to be a fucking elitist and an anti-intellectual at the same time, and manages to sell the same lies over and over again despite having never even feigned action towards fulfilling those false promises. FUCK. I can't wait for it to be over.

- Clinton and Obama debate tonight in Ohio (presumably they are, as we speak, working on parsing their language to remove as many multi-syllabic words from their stump speeches as possible.) The Clinton campaign has spent the last 2 weeks finger pointing and whining like a bunch of petulant children. Anything that doesn't go their way is someone else's fault, and its getting embarrassing to watch. (Texas looks like it might go to Obama? Then it doesn't count anymore.) That's like McCain coming out and saying the war in Iraq will be over soon because, hey it turns out nobody wants to be there for a hundred years. But the straight talker would never do that, would he? Anyway, I know we're "yeah proletariat" around here, but I've said it before and I will say it again, what does it portend when the informed and the educated are voting Obama and those that are neither swing towards Clinton?

- Inflation is rampant, foreclosures are at an all time high, and I live in the state with the worst economy in the nation. All is well, nothing to see here.

OK, that's enough vitriol for one day. I know there is no new information in anything I've written above. They're all points I've made before. But sometimes the bile backs up and needs to be purged. More hearts and flowers tomorrow, as Ayesha will be on her way here and the month of goodness begins in earnest.

Posted 11:16am
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February 25th, 2008

Oscar Hangover.

I really try not to give two shits about the Oscars. I didn't even get home until after 9 last night, showing how little it meant to me to be there for the start of the show. Of course once I plopped on the couch (with a severe food baby in my belly) I turned on the telecast and stayed glued to the set right until the end. I didn't have much of a vested interest in who one what. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men were going to take down the big awards - and as of right now I've seen neither. I mean, I will eventually, and I'm sure I'll like them both, but its not like I can actively root for films I've yet to watch.

On the other hand, I was on the edge of my seat for two very important categories. The first was Best Original Screenplay. To me, this is the best picture award. This is where the Academy honors the esoteric and independent. Where they spotlight those who went out on a limb and took a chance to do something different. Its where Pulp Fiction won the year Forest Gump stole its thunder. And where Fargo bested the English Patient. This year, it was where I hoped Juno would make its stand. Firstly, the movie is largely a triumph of the script. Everything about it is great, but what makes the movie work is really there on the page. But more importantly, its where I thought it had the best chance to win. The big two movies of the night weren't represented, and while Ellen Page and Jason Reitman are fabulous, they were dark horses at best to win the awards they were nominated for. So I sat with fingers crossed that this tiny idiosyncratic movie would get recognized as the Best Original Screenplay of the year.

The second, even more important category that actually made me nervous was Best Original Song. The nominees were as follows: some insipid gospel song you've heard 8,000 times before from some terrible movie that starred Felicity; 3 (THREE!) songs from that live action Disney princess movie, each one more middling than the next; and the transcendant "Falling Slowly" from Once. Even without my unnatural love for the little indie Irish movie, it was important to me for society as a whole to recognize an actual artistic endeavor instead of the same old trite bullshit designed to make small children clap their hands to the beat. So this was the make or break moment of the evening for me.

Luckily the universe had chosen to treat me like a spoiled 2 year old and give me everything I wanted. Diablo Cody won best OG Screenplay for Juno and Glen and Marketa won for Once, giving speeches that couldn't help but make you feel like this is what events like this should really be about. So hooray for recognizing those that stand up and put themselves out there and attempt to provide the proletariat with something visceral and real. It doesn't happen near as often as it should.

- Jimmy Kimmel responds to the fact that his girlfriend is fucking Matt Damon. This seemed destined to be a colossal failure, but its just the opposite. Harrison Ford! Brad Pitt! You've got to be kidding me!

- A 3 year old synopsizes Star Wars - every bit as succinctly as most adults I know could.

Posted 11:56am
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February 23rd, 2008

Urinary Tractor Convention?!?

Its well documented on these here pages that I like to imbibe from time to time. And as such I tend to surround myself with people who share my most prominent proclivity. Unfortunately (mostly for them) there are those who don't feel the need to throw back cocktails like its the last night on earth every time they leave the house. And it is these people who call you on your shit. Who show up a week after you hung out on a random Tuesday and say things like "Remember how you said you'd drive me to the airport?" or "So did you call that girl back who you were making out with at the end of night?" All you can do is scratch your head and with a look of bewilderment mutter "I did what?"

This has apparently become the Jesuses stock in trade when it comes to me. They have a seemingly endless catalog of things I said and promised while under the influence that most people would throw away and attribute to someone who just likes to drink to much and is a little too in love with the sound of his own voice. And while I know these utterances (despite the ol' maxim of en vino veritas) would never hold water in a court of law, the J's have an uncanny way of making them stick. That's the basic story of how and why this is happening:

The short story goes like this: Mr. Jesus (AJ) took up the guitar about 6 months ago or so. Being a long time veteran of the instrument myself, I agreed to show AJ a trick or two. We played together several times, I showed him some simple songs and old tricks that a hack like me has managed to pick up over the course of 20 or so years. Cut to a few months back when the Jesuses and I were drinking at some bar (natch) and discussing their impending move to Kadota when I (apparently) drunkenly blurt out "AJ and I are going to play a concert in front of an actual audience before you guys move." Of course I was as shocked as you are now to hear this revelation when Mrs. Jesus (MJ) asked me a week later "When is this concert going to happen?"

So after getting over the shock of making such a proclamation and sussing out the details of what I actually said, we decided to get down to work. We picked some songs, picked a date and a venue; started practicing. Now that evites have been sent and arrangements to fly in special guests have been made, all that's left to do is intentionally embarrass myself in front of all of my closest friends. It shouldn't be all that different from all of the times when I unintentionally do it.

- I'm not sure how to explain the name or so many other things, but please come Friday, or at least be our friend on myspace. Feel free to print out the above flyer and post it around town as well.

Posted 7:52pm
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February 22nd, 2008

What's making Baby Jesus cry this week?

Its another of's irregularly regular features - our look at religion on the internet. It tends to be snarky and snobby, and if we're wrong in our worldview, man are we in trouble.

- Oh-oh. Baby J isn't going to like this. We talk a lot about religion and morality around here, but how about religion and prosperity? Well, they don't go hand in hand, according to this study. And were we to assume affluent societies are less prone to criminal activities, we're again left with the conclusion that religion and morality have little to do with each other. The fact that the U.S. sits as an outlier on the scale and happens to have such a higher crime rate than most other affluent countries helps to serve my point (yes, my petty correlational point. Its still better than yours).

- They say a good compromise is one that leaves both sides unhappy. That is surely the thinking behind this decision, as 83 years after the Scopes Monkey Trial, Florida adds 'theory' of evolution to its state education curriculum. I'll never understand why people can't let government run institutions have their secular views and let their churches have their religious ones. What's wrong with a science teacher saying '99% of the worlds biologists take this as fact', and a pastor saying 'we believe differently.' Are children not capable of understanding the differentiation, or are their parents just not capable of making the delineation?

- As noted the other day, Pakistan had successful democratic elections earlier in the week. What we didn't talk about, was that it was the secular political parties that won by devastating margins, as people wanted to throw out an eight year incumbent that ruled through the military, through religion, through scare tactics and through abuse of authority. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Please let it be a precursor.

- Even though even Baby J thinks that Bono should probably get over himself just a wee bit, we still assume he's a fan of The Joshua Tree. I mean, its a great fucking record - even if it did give name to a crappy teen melodrama and less than 10% of kids who watch it are probably aware of that fact, making me want to slap them in their silly faces. ANYWAY, given everything just mentioned, we here at are unequivocally sure that little Baby Jesus shed a tear over this.

Posted 10:52am
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February 21st, 2008

When reruns of Dawson's Creek just aren't enough.

Yesterday we talked about fancast and its ability to let you watch your favorite TV shows old and new over this thing we call the internet. Well today I am here to tell you that there are perfectly good alternatives to the same shit TV you watch night in and night out, right here on the interweb. So here's a few options for those of you looking to keep things fresh.

- Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick have a long history with quality tv melodrama. First there was thirtysomething, which I roundly ignored because it came out when I was a teenager and there's nothing more boring to a teenager than people in their 30s, although I imagine had I given it a shot I probably would have been sucked in. Then there was My So-Called Life, which perfectly captured teenage angst and juxtaposed it with adult concerns, setting the tone for all of the Dawson's Creeks and O.C's that followed. Then there was Once and Again, which was little seen and largely ignored, but too poignant for words for a sap like me. It was 40 year olds getting divorced and dealing with kids and all that bullshit. Now there's a new web series from Messrs.. Herskovitz and Zwick called quarterlife and I'm completely obsessed. Its 20 somethings that all want to sleep with each other as they struggle through jobs and petty problems and the things that generally give people in their 20's angst. Of course as in all Herskovitz/Zwick endeavors, the people are impossibly good looking and have vocabularies that put mine to shame. Plus this show has blogging, so you know, right up my alley. Anyway, there's about 30 10 minute episodes available, and if you're at all like me, you'll be stuck to your computer until you get through each and every last one.

- For those that don't have the same quasi-14 year old girl tastes that I do, there's We Need Girlfriends, a show about dudes just out of college whose long term girlfriends all dump them - a predicament that they are sure will ruin their lives. It was just sold to CBS, so go watch it online before the suits get a hold of it and turn it into the next soul crushingly bland sitcom that saps your will to live.

- Of course if you missed it before when I linked to it and now that you've seen Juno and Superbad you're finally on the Michael Cera bandwagon, here's Clark and Michael. You're going to love it.

Posted 1:58pm
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February 20th, 2008

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment.

- If it weren't for the fact I've spent thousands of dollars on an HD TV with HD TiVo and 5.1 surround sound, I'd be starting to wonder if an actual television was really necessary. Enter fancast, which yes, is a product of the evil empire known as Comcast, but which also provides thousands of hours of your favorite TV shows both old and new. Go ahead - watch the WKRP in Cincinnati where Johnny Fever and Venus get drunk and test their reaction times - I did. Of course a four inch streaming version of The Office isn't nearly as fun as watching it live in HD with the Jesuses, but when looking to kill some time at work, its a beggar's banquet.

- Speaking of internet video, I was reading a feature on the 10 best viral videos of 2007 on Nerve the other day and came across this. Now I'm not a big National Geographic channel/Animal Planet type of guy, but if I told you there was a video with water buffalo, lions and alligators that had a twist ending, you'd watch right? Well do it then!

- 8-17 Michigan knocked off 17-9 Ohio State Sunday at Crisler Arena. Its not all that much to brag about, OSU isn't even a tournament team now and its the first time we've beat them in four years, which is sad. But it was unbelievably satisfying, and here's why: 1.) We've struggled all year and finally managed to win 3 in a row - culminating with a win against your rival who's at least decent. 2.) Beating OSU is never not satisfying. 3.) Most importantly, there were a few hundred HUGE douche bags from OSU who showed up just to show how classless OSU fans tend to be. Now I have no problem showing up and cheering and showing spirit, but to fucking be dicks when our new coach is giving a speech is classless. Take your never ending string of 8 foot tall white guys with no basketball ability back to the trailer parks from whence you came.

- I haven't been on an honest to goodness job interview in over a dozen years. And who knows, I may never go on one again (although I'm starting to finally think that may not be for the best). But if and when I do seek gainful employment, I'm going to have to purge the shit out of the internet. I can imagine many, if not most or all, potential employers might scoff at some of the things they would find here at the ol' bloggy blog, or that are readily available via MySpace and Facebook. So I was glad to hear that should such drastic measures become necessary, its now a little easier to hit the permanent delete key.

- In one week Ayesha is coming back to the Mitten for a few days to watch a little UTC and say goodbye to the Jesuses in Michigan. I tend to have trouble focusing and being productive when such fun looms large on the horizon, so pardon any scatterbrained-ness you may experience out of me in the next week - I'm just excited.

- p.s and +1...
Lunar eclipse tonight. Look up before you go to bed. NASA tells you when.

Posted 11:41am
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February 19th, 2008

¡Viva la revolucion!

- Not being old enough to even remember the Bay of Pigs, Fidel Castro is mostly a punchline and trivia answer to me. He's cigars and that uniform and that beard and little else. Which is why even though I know its significant that he's resigning, its hard for me to get worked up about someone who is little more than cartoon character to me. That is why I link you to the USA Today's coverage, as they are the Yosemite Sam of American newspapers.

- Pakistan held actual elections where even the losers didn't cry fraud. (For this we direct you to the NYTimes, which as everyone knows is the NYTimes of American newspapers). I'm not versed enough on international relations and diplomacy to render much of an opinion, other than to say A.) Man I wish Bush wasn't in office to try and navigate a relationship with a new Pakistani government and B.) Pakistan can have elections where the loser says (Teddy KGB style) "He beat me. Straight up." but we can't?

- Stov sent me a link to this article that suggests blue collar white males will largely determine the upcoming presidential election. He sent it to me in order to raise my ire, because blue collar dudes in Ohio come off as either racist or sexist in the piece. Of course being from Ohio, this isn't the least bit surprising to me. Lamentable sure, but not surprising. I was having a discussion recently about the place that caucuses have in modern society (correct answer: none) and took the stance that while yes, it makes it easy for uninformed idiots to determine the course of our country, we should be working to make voting as simple as possible. I just wish that those efforts didn't help hicks in Ohio decide who gets to be President.

- I know that was a lot of heavy stuff for a Tuesday, so as a palate cleanser, watch this video of Ron Burgundy asking Tom Izzo "Technically, are you a dwarf?"

Posted 10:31am
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February 18th, 2008

Is this you?

Sometimes, even for a member of the technorati such as myself, technological advances are lamentable. Sure, most of the time they make our lives easier and more convenient - even when promoting such paradoxes as email and txt messaging - which make it simultaneously easier to contact AND avoid people. Think about it. Yes, it really works both ways. Let us pause as you put back the pieces of your mind now that is sufficiently blown.

But as any of us old codgers will tell you, sometimes technology takes the character out of things. I love easier, faster, more as much as the next guy, but easier, faster, more is not always better. I wouldn't trade my iPod for anything (in fact I just bought a Nano yesterday, as my OG 20gb with the monochromatic screen just bit the dust) but I also still collect my favorite stuff on vinyl. Music will always sound better on a quality turntable, even if its a fragile, clumsy media that takes up way too much space in my living room.

Similarly, I miss me some old fashioned jukebox. It used to be that the largest determining factor in whether or not you wanted to hang out at a certain bar was the quality of its jukebox. Did contain an eclectic mix of old and new? Was it devoid of cringe inducing crap that some douche could saunter in off of the street and torture you with? Did it have hidden gems and time tested favorites that could help you evaluate your companions by? You know, as you play darts and hear something near and dear to your heart come on and you turn to your drinking buddy and ask 'Is this you?' Their answer can really make or break a friendship, much less an evening.

But nowadays everyone has these new fangled machines connected to the internet and capable of playing just about anything your heart desires. Its not a few carefully selected CDs or 45s that the owners and patrons of the establishment have grown to love - its just everything. Its not a group of music from a few precise genres that add to the overall ennui of a place - its just whatever you can think of. This means that I can be at B-Dubs in Ann Arbor, MI and some asshole can come and torture me with Garth Brooks. It means that some fuckstick can walk into the 8 Ball and play Fergie much to the chagrin of everyone in the place. This is not technology that helps. This is trying to please all of the people all of the time - another step towards the blandification of America.

The only positive element of the kitchen-sink type jukebox is that it makes the game of Worst Jukebox Ever much more fun. Introduced to me by Stov, its exactly what it sounds like. Who can find the worst possible piece of crap in the entire jukebox. Score is kept on overall consensus of those at your table, with bonus points if you can conclusively determine you've made somebody get up and leave the premises. I mean, if they're going to take away the charm of an idiosyncratic jukebox, let 'em know how you feel with a little Mike and the Mechanics, you know?

Posted 1:54pm
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February 15th, 2008

Its Friday afternoon and I've never been more livid.

As you undoubtedly know by now dear reader, I am prone to fits of rage. Sometimes I just snap and the vitriol spews. Often these diatribes find themselves at the feet of the undeserving, once in a while they hit their target. The other day I was reading this article by local pundit Jack Lessenberry and I kinda lost my shit. (For those who don't click on links (MJ) its about how the Michigan Democratic Party botched our primary and suggests that they don't want to make things right because they favor Hillary. Grrrr.) ANYWAY I immediately went to the Michigan Democratic Party's website and looked for ways to vent my anger.

I immediately saw the 'Contact us' link and went in and told them the following:

I want to make it known that I am absolutely livid at the leadership of my party in this State. I feel that I have effectively been disenfranchised by those who are supposed to bring us peoples of like ideals together. If the MDP doesn't fix this mistake and get us a caucus so that the actual will of the people can be known, you'll be losing the support of myself and any other Michigan Dem with any sense whatsoever.

Its pretty tame in my eyes, but gets my point across. And I felt a little bit better. I mean, I know that no one of any import will ever see it much less craft a response, but I let it out and it felt better. Time to move on, right? Not so fast...

I started to poke around the site a bit and saw this video from our beloved party chairman and I started to seethe with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. He called this a 'regular primary'. He said our delegates will be seated! HE TOLD ME TO VOTE UNCOMMITTED!! Sir, I am not uncommitted. I never wanted to punch somebody in their smug little bitchface so badly in my entire life. Instead I sent him this:

From: tbaggervance
Subject: How you botched our primary

You sir, have disenfranchised me. Your little power play during this primary season and subsequent calling of the National Party's "bluff" have effectively left me without a voice during the most important presidential election of my lifetime. I have never been more livid. If you had any self respect whatsoever, you'd spend every waking moment working towards getting us a caucus so that the will of the people can be known. Afterwards, save some face and immediately resign, because you've obviously been entrusted with responsibilities that you are clearly ill equipped to handle.

You're a douche bag,

Maybe the douche bag part was a tad over the line, but at least its not inaccurate. Again, I don't expect a response, but somebody has to at least try and tell those little fucksticks to straighten up.

- Oh yeah, and THIS is the festival we get in Michigan? Fucking Dave Matthews and Widespread Panic?!? God damn dirty hippies. I feel cursed.

Posted 11:33am
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February 14th, 2008

All you need is love.

There is always a danger that someone who is capable of being as sappy as I am will be completely saccharine and disgusting on a day like today. Especially given the fact that the girl I want to be my Valentine is 2,000 miles away. But you can thank me, as I have decided to skip the sappy platitudes about Ayesha or love in general and instead just wish you and yours a Happy Valentines Day. Here's hoping you have someone to love and you find them within arms length tonight. If not, I'll be out getting drunk later, come commiserate. Or here's some things you just may love:

- The first trailer for the new Indiana Jones movie is out. It is boner inducing. There's also this for the new Star Wars cartoon. I'll admit that I wish they'd have stuck with Gendy Tartakovsky and his unique vision, but I will still probably watch this like the huge nerd I am. Its got to be better than the actual prequels, right?

- Its always great to see an artist you love covering a song of someone else whom you admire. It doesn't get much better than Josh Ritter doing Tom Petty's Walls. Unless you count the time I saw Ben Gibbard cover my favorite Neil Young song ever.

- Speaking of Ben, the new Death Cab album has a release date and track list. It sounds depressing as shit, which is exciting. We here at do not recommend getting blind drunk and sitting in the dark listenting to Death Cab over and over again on days like today, but we've also been there, so no judgement if that's really what you need right now.

- Finally, Thom Yorke is pumping out big love on NPR today as guest DJ. You should be able to download it later on today from here.

Posted 10:14am
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February 13th, 2008

Scarlet Letter.

Back in college we used to occassionaly go to a bar in BG called Gargoyles. The one notable thing about the joint was that their hand stamp was so giant and black that it was the equivalent of rolling the entire inkpad over the back of your hand. Well apparently, the Pig is the new Gargoyles. This is my hand this morning:

That's after 45 minutes of scrubbing the back of my hand with Comet and a toilet brush in the shower this morning. I'm having the same imagined, one sided conversation in my head over and over. "This? Oh yeah, I was at a bar last night. Yup, out drinking after normal, respectable people were fast asleep. And yes, it might have had something to do with why I was 20 minutes late this morning."

Posted 10:19am
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February 12th, 2008

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment.

- Another Tuesday, another round of caucuses/primaries. Obama is looking to make it 7 wins in 7 tries, making me cautiously optimistic. Last night Michelle Obama was on Larry King. I kind of love her too. After watching this video, I wondered if they met in some kind of debate/dramatic oratory club in college, or if Barack is capable of clapping his hands Miagi style and imparting the power of affecting an audience.

- In an effort to provide equal time, I don't know if this is sanctioned by the Clinton campaign, but I hear she could use the money, so, you know, look into it.

- It appears that the writer's strike is finally in its death throes. To find out what happens next for your favorite shows, TV Guide has compiled a handy list. What you really want to know: The Office returns in April/May.

- Its the tenth Anniversary of one of the albums I recently featured in my 12 years, a dozen perfect albums post. Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is double digits, so Pitchfork is giving the masterpiece its due, with features here and here.

- Finally, I'm headed to the Pig tonight to see prep rockers Vampire Weekend (!). Its an all ages, sold out show - so I'll be surrounded by annoying kids and people not old enough to drink who will get in my way and spend the night txting while the show is going on. I will give them evil old man looks to get them to move as I make 87 trips to the bar over the course of the evening. I can't fucking wait!

Posted 12:04pm
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February 11th, 2008

Weekend Throw Roundup.

- Cleaning up vom is never pleasant. When a houseguest has too much to drink and splatters your bathroom with late night NYPD and you find little remnants caked into the tile around your toilet, you're ready to explode like Mount Vesuvius. When you do it to yourself, its slightly more palatable but nonetheless disgusting. And when your progeny gets a virus and spews diet coke all over your beige carpet, it takes the patience of a saint to tell them 'Its ok, don't worry about it.' as you're on your hands and knees with the carpet cleaner, but that's what you signed on for when you checked the 'Yes' box on the parenthood form. I'm already practicing my 'Guess who gets to clean that up?' speech for when the offspring pukes over things he did to himself. I figure if you can rub a puppies nose in shit, its only fair.

- Obama sweeps four (FOUR!) primaries/caucuses this weekend, which basically ties the delegate count (and pulls him ahead of Clinton nationally, as well as showing him as the clear choice to take down McCain in November). Good things portend for tomorrow and over the next two weeks, setting the table for a Death Blow on March fourth. Yes, I'm pinning hopes on Texas and Ohio.

- Ann Arbor residents, let me reiterate a position I have held for a long time - Don't ever go to The Ark. I mean, fuck that place. I suppose the fact that shows begin on time and everyone sits down in the blackness rivaling space appeals to a certain demo in the Ann Arbor area that doesn't mind overpaying for tickets just so they can see their bland favorites play in downtown A2. But if the above criticisms aren't enough or readily apparent, did I mention that you have to be a member to drink there? I mean, a member can purchase drinks for anyone and I could have become a member for the night for the mere price of $5, but fuck that on principle. I was there to see the opening act, and I wasn't about to stay for the guy on next who was a Jack Johnson/John Mayer wannabe - and that's even more offensive than actually being either of those two milquetoast assholes. There'll be a marquee pic in the appropriate section when I get home later - to serve only as a warning.

Posted 2:14pm
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February 8th, 2008

After 12 years on the internet, I finally feel like a voyeur.

Despite the best intentions of things like or even, the internet is about voyeurism. As with all technological advances, it started with porn. Porn built the internet - don't let Al Gore or anyone else tell you different. And its still the fuel that turns the turbine to be sure. But what's the new hotness? Myspace. Facebook. Youtube. While they may contain some actual traditional entertainment content, these are ostensibly tools for rooting around for information about your friends. Its polite stalking.

Because you're not looking at anything that someone didn't post for all the world to see. I guess in that way, one could argue that the internet is about exhibitionism. But as someone writing on a blog that occasionally delves far too deep into my personal business, we'll leave that analogy be. Let's just concede that you can't really have one without the other and move on. Besides, these days most people are setting their profiles to private and choosing to share their info with only the chosen ones, so its more like a private newsletter than exhibitionism.

And while I've fallen prey to the temptations of google stalking and in weaker moments find myself perusing the profiles of those I know just to get a glimpse of what they're up to, I never really felt like a voyeur. Sure by any reasonable definition I was, but I was only interested in those I had personal connections with, which in my mind made it more palatable.

I've recently crossed the threshold and am venturing into Body Double territory. OK, not nearly that creepy (have you seen that movie? Its fucked up), but I've become obsessed with the lives of others. Ayesha turned me onto a site called, where they pay people to blog about their dating experiences (look for the blog-a-log), and I am totally hooked. Its almost as bad as my recent obsession with Dawson's Creek reruns on The N (yes, this is gay even by my standards, I'm over it, you're over it). I'm particularly in love the bloggers ILoveYourMom and GirlGoneMad (both in the archives). I love hearing people talk in a real way about their sexual conquests, and these chicks are good at it. And as my friends get older and more monogamous, this turns out to be my outlet. God help me, before you know it I will be watching reality TV. If one more person tells me to watch Celebrity Rehab I may vom.

Posted 3:23pm
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February 7th, 2008

I am the wanderlust king.

February just started and I have cabin fever. Maybe its the disappointment over last night. Yesterday afternoon MJ shoots me an IM that says 'I really want to go a concert tonight.' As one could imagine, I don't take such challenges lightly and immediately took up the mantle of concert provider. I started where anyone would start when looking for live music in A2 - The Blind Pig. I checked out Wednesday night's lineup and started perusing myspace for glimpses into the evening's musical fare. The first act of the evening was all the deeper I got before I told MJ - "I've found our concert".

So I was excited. Finding random good music to go see for $5 on a Wednesday is - if not the finest thing in life - certainly up there with booze and blowjobs. But then it started to snow. Hard. Right after it had rained. Hard. Michigan had become a solid sheet of ice. Of course this was in no way going to weaken our resolve to have random good times. But we had to travel a few blocks, not the hundreds of miles that the musicians were forced to trek. So when we arrived at the Pig ready to be entertained, we were met with darkness and locked doors. We salvaged the evening with a few beers at the Grizz, but my thirst for adventure remains unquenched.

I think a lot of it is that a month from now I'll be fresh off our trip to Cananada to see Josh Ritter and mere days from my pilgrimage west to see Ayesha. I was hoping that a little Wednesday night indie folk would help satisfy my wanderlust. Thankfully I've got a quick trip to the Ark to see Chris Bathgate on Saturday. And there's tennis on the island Sunday. And shit Vampire Weekend is next Tuesday! Let's hope that satisfies my urges. March can't get here soon enough.

Posted 1:07pm
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February 6th, 2008

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment.

- Last night I clicked back and forth between CNN and MSNBC for 5 straight hours (I'd really like to just stay on MSNBC minus commercials, but CNN is in HD and its just so darn purty). I burnt out at about midnight, as my alcohol soaked brain couldn't take it anymore, and they called California for Hillary and I was dejected anyway. But I feel good this morning. Obama won more states and (apparently) more delegates. So, victory is ours!

- And by the way, the next 9 states all hold significant Obama advantages. Which is a good thing, because after that is Texas and Ohio, and if history is any barometer, those two fucked up boo butts© will surely try to screw the pooch.

- Last night I asked Sid who he would vote for. He initially answered a wise 'I don't know enough to make my decision'. When I eventually pressed him he answered a sage 'Obama'. I tried to get him to name some reasons for that, and when he came up short I asked him if it was because they both had big ears or because they both were biracial. He said no, but I think Obama is likely winning the big-eared, biracial demographic.

- The one thing that really is still pissing me off about this whole election is Mike Huckabee. I hate that people are voting for him because of Jesus, even though the man is an irrational fucktard. And I know he has a 0% chance of winning the nomination, but there was a lot of talk last night about him being McCain's running mate. If this happens, and the worst case scenario comes into play where I have to choose between Hillary Clinton or voting for a ticket where a gay hating, rapture awaiting, televangelist is a heart beat away from the presidency - well, shit. I guess its Cananada or Ralph Nader time again.

- Finally, for those of you who don't give shit about politics (shame on you), here's some exciting news about an Arrested Development movie, complete with requisite Lucille Bluth montage.

Posted 11:33am
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February 5th, 2008

Second Coming.

I sometimes have a hard time sitting still. There's something somewhere in my genes that makes me a pacer. It makes me the type of person that needs to walk out of the room and clear my head when waiting to find out the outcome of something I care about. I like to pretend I've got that whole zen thing going on, but anybody who's ever watched a close Michigan football game with me knows that nothing could be further from the truth. Given a vested interest and an uncertain outcome, I can be a bit of a mess. Normally, this behavior is reserved for football Saturdays and traveling by aeroplane. But tonight, for maybe the first time in my life, I'll pace for politics.

As with most people born after 1970, I've spent my life being disillusioned by all things political. Constant disappointment, desensitization to scandal, resignation to a 'lesser of two evils' approach, and outright apathy - these are the emotions and realities we've come to expect and accept. I once voted for Ralph Nader because I felt that the choice at the time was between a fucking yokel and a guy with a stick so far up his ass that if he opened his mouth wide enough you could see it tickle his uvula. And then four years later, when it was inconceivable to me that my countrymen would vote for someone who represented failure and anti-intellectualism at unprecedented levels, guess what they did? And they did it with a shrug of their shoulders and moved on like nothing happened.

So now, four years after that debacle, I find myself on the cusp of something that I didn't dare dream of at that time. I saw Barack Obama give the keynote address at 2004's Democratic National Convention and was inspired. I wanted him to be my candidate. I wondered if America would be ready in 8 years (after two terms of John Kerry's presidency - I'm not always right) to elect a black man president. Since then I've read his books and followed his career, and four years later, here we are. For the first time in my life, I want to believe.

So tonight when I sit down in my easy chair with a cocktail in hand, it won't be for long. I'll have to get up and walk to the kitchen every 5 minutes as I flip from CNN to MSNBC (to minimize commercials). I'll walk back to the bedroom and immediately forget why I did so as Tim Russert explains the delegate count. My hands will fidget wondering where the cigarette is. I will pace and worry about the fact that our kicker is KC Lapota the Hispanic vote in New Mexico. Obama may not be the second coming. His policy differences may be marginal and his ability to implement change questionable. But he's given me hope. He represents change. And that's more than any candidate has given me in 32 years.

Posted 10:31am
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February 4th, 2008

No Fucking Way.

I'm fairly sure that not even Eli Manning believes that he won the Super Bowl last night. I mean, Eli Fucking Manning? Come on! Inconceivable! But I'm pretty sure that's what happened. Somehow, he broke that fucking sack and threw up a miracle ball to David fucking Tyree in the fourth quarter and went on to win the game. Jesus Christ. I mean, the game was fairly sloppy. No scoring, no standout performances - just overthrows, poorly run routes and missed opportunities. The commercials even pretty uniformly sucked. And when did Tom Petty turn in to the crypt keeper? I just don't know about any of it. My poor Tom Brady. I'm not sure how this happened yet, but I'm already sick of hearing about it. There might have to be a moratorium on ESPN in my house for the rest of the week. More time for Dawson's Creek reruns I guess.

- I'm sure you've all seen this already, as a half dozen people have forwarded it to me, but its still hilarious and has succeeded in bringing a smile to my face on this day of mourning.

Posted 10:38am
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February 1st, 2008

Your Indie Rock Weekend.

- Our love for Josh Ritter is well documented around these parts. I've agreed to go back to Cananada to see him live, which should tell you something. Anyway, for fans (or doubters not sold yet) here is on Letterman last week. Tell me that doesn't look fun and sound fabulous.

- Let the Vampire Weekend backlash begin! I've managed to score tix for myself and the Jesuses to see the VW at the Blind Pig (PIG!) in about 10 days. At this point I'm sure the majority of hipsters will see them as sooooo 2007. But my affections are steadfast and resolute. Here's the usually snarky Pitchfork's review of their stellar debut, and here's them live on NPR.

- I had two artists that I absolutely had to see in 2008 - Vampire Weekend (which, as we just discussed, is happening imminently) and my other current indie crush, Tokyo Police Club. Well fret not, dear readers. I just procured two tickets to see them on May 4th at the venue of venues, The Magic Stick. Now I just need to find someone to drag with me. Interested parties should submit their application via the comments section. Willingness to drive, drinking proclivities and thoughts on how low cut of a top your willing to show up in (females only) should be included in your submission.

- When things from my youth start celebrating birthdays that near legal drinking age, it gets a little sad. The first 'indie' label that I really knew by name was Seattle's Sub Pop. Living in rural Ohio, the grunge revolution was about as alternative as things ever got, and Sub Pop was a big part of that. So naturally I clung to anything that embodied the counterculture, and Sub Pop was at the forefront of that. Anyway, Sub Pop is 20. * sigh *. Here's their 10 biggest selling albums, which were surprising even to me after you get past number 5.

- Quickly: The Hold Steady are recording, Thom Yorke rocks the BBC, Zooey Deschanel is adorable and can sing a little, Ted Leo is both a better musician and political diatriber than myself (dick), I apparently like what all bloggers like, and country music makes you dumb.

- Finally, its more news to make you swoon. Death Cab has announced the title of their new album (coming in May!) And they've also got a neat little video up on their site of them doin' some recording. Come on already May! Where are you?!?

Posted 10:06am
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January 31st, 2008

Obama, Brady and Sumbal.

Yesterday there was a convergence in the desert. My 3 biggest crushes (OK, one's more than a crush) were all in the same place at the same time. The vibrations that it caused in my psyche gave me goosebumps even though I was 2,000 miles away. I think that had I been in Phoenix yesterday my head would have exploded. OK, I'm way out there on the extreme end of hyperbole, but stay with me, I'm just excited. Yesterday Ayesha attended a rally for Barack Obama (so jealous - again, I hate you Michigan Democratic Party) and it occurred to me that Tom Brady was ALSO in Phoenix for the Superbowl. So more accurately, the three people who make me swoon the most in the world were all in same metropolitan area yesterday. But its not as exciting when worded such. Ayesha attended said rally with a friend of a friend who happens to work at the hotel where the Patriots are staying while prepping for the big game, which allowed her to see Tom Brady and Barack Obama on the same day. OK, I need to go calm down.

- Speaking of Brady swoonage, there's no guarantee that I wouldn't act exactly like this reporter were I ever to be in earshot of Captain Dreamboat.

- We somehow missed hitting those kooky scientologists yesterday, so here's a list of the cult's biggest donors. Prepare to have a cow, man.

- I saw the headline of 'Most Romantic Cities in America' and clicked on it. Truthfully, anytime I see 'Most ______ Cities' or any derivative thereof, I always check it out to see if A2 is listed. Sure enough, our beloved hamlet is the 5th most romantic city in these United States. As I scratched the noggin and tried to justify this in my head, I read that it was based on "sales data of romance novels, relationship and sex books". Oh well yeah, we do read a lot and tend to over analyze everything, so now it makes sense.

- Here's something fun for you to do. Can you unscramble the letters?

Posted 11:32am
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January 30th, 2008

What is making Baby Jesus cry this week?

Its another of's irregularly regular features - our look at religion on the internet. It tends to be snarky and snobby, and if we're wrong in our worldview, man are we in trouble.

- Perhaps our biggest pet peeve with religion is that its too often a process of indoctrination. By the time most people think to question what they've been brought up to take on faith, outside viewpoints don't stand a chance. And OF COURSE we love when religion and science meet! Which is why we loved this evisceration of a 12 year old's science project that attempts to correlationally prove that religion leads to a higher standard of morality. We here at tbaggervance would also like to point to the avalanche of evidence suggesting that atheists and agnostics are actually more moral people than their christian brothers, including divorce rates and the relative morality of atheistic nations. We know that poking fun at a 12 year old for her belief in god makes Baby Jesus cry, but its not like we're doing it to her face.

- We don't really have a stance on Dana Jacobson here at We saw that First Take thing once and found it pretty awful, but not really because of her, so eh, whatevs. But when we say 'We don't really...' we mean we DIDN'T really, because now we kind of love her. For those of you who missed it, DJ got drunk at the Mike and Mike roast a while back and told Golic "Fuck Notre Dame," "Fuck Touchdown Jesus," and "Fuck Jesus" I only wished this happened next September, so it would be fresh in everyone's mind when I wear a t-shirt with a picture of DJ that says "Fuck Jesus" to South Bend. OK, I don't really have the balls to do that. But I kind of wish I did.

- Of course is down like four flat tires with, home of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and those Pastafarians who have been touched by his noodley appendage. But there's a hot new religion sweeping the internet, and its the Church of Google. They've been kind enough to provide us with proof that Google is God. I have to say, its more compelling than anything I got in 18 years of going to church or approximately the same amount of religious education.

- Here's one man's list of pet peeves that I found to be quite amusing. But I also thought this last one might make Baby Jesus cry:

I've been all over the world and have lived among every kind of culture and I can say, without any hesitation, that the most ignorant, rude, selfish, and self-centered people on earth are babies.

Poor babies! Shhh! I think I can hear the Baby Jesus starting to whimper...

Posted 9:24am
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January 29th, 2008

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment.

So last week, presented a first annual celebration of our '5 innocuous...' feature. In hindsight I realized that there was one big omission from that segment - Ayesha. She's been the biggest single entity that's made me happy in the past 365, and it was a tad strange to have her not represented there. Sure, it could be easily argued that nothing that Ayesha has brought to me has been innocuous, but that's selling things short on some level. As documented, I'm deeply in love with her and want to show how even though the crux of the thing isn't in any way innocuous, there's still many, many ways in which I smile daily based to things that are, in fact, innocuously related to Ayesha. Here are five recent examples that prove my point:

- I hate talking on the phone. For the most part. Usually. Its a fairly pointless exercise as far as I'm concerned. 90% of all cell phone conversations consist roughly of "Where are you? When are you getting here?" bullshit that would have been easily settled by something called patience 10 years ago. And if you want to have an actual conversation, then let's just get in our cars and go have a drink. That being said, I spent a record 2 and half hours on the phone Saturday night, 4am to 6:30am to boot. And I in no way ever felt like I wanted to end the conversation. I guess not being able to get in the car and go have a drink was a factor here. So congrats Ayesha, one more record you get to hold. For those keeping score at home, the longest I've ever been on the phone with a dude is 8 minutes 30 seconds (Stov and I started riffing on Charles Nelson Reilly - don't ask).

- The other day a friend of Ayesha's asked her if she liked indie folk super star Bright Eyes, and when she professed ignorance he claimed 'Anyone who likes Death Cab will love Bright Eyes' (at least that's the sentiment, obv. that quote is third hand and soaked in alcohol). Of course I had to take a knee I started laughing so hard I nearly wet myself. First of all, because I worship at the alter of Ben Gibbard and think Conor Oberst is straight poop. Secondly, its long been my theory that Bright Eyes is popular ONLY because someone once said something akin to 'If you like Death Cab you'll totally love Bright Eyes,' and the person being told this outright lie was being nice and even though he realized (as most intelligent people do) that Bright Eyes sucks ass, he didn't say anything. And then it snowballed from there. This is known in some circles as the 'Stephen Malkmus Effect.' For some reason a few cool people decide to deem something cool and too few people called them on their shit and now we're all stuck with it (as a side note, its often theorized that some snobby asshole tried this as a joke back in 1989 saying about Pavement 'Nobody will actually buy into that this has any quality whatsoever, much less that its cool' . And look what happened.)

- Sid's back on the tennis circuit for 2008 and started the season by going 3-0 last Sunday. His middle match of the day was with this tall girl who wore shorts so tiny they made my balls ache at the thought of my ever having to wear anything so crotchstrophobic. Anyway, said leggy chick had lost her first match and immediately started crying to her dad post beat-down. When we figured out that her next match was against Sid I told him 'Now this the only time I'm going to say that this is permissible, but you go out there and make that little girl cry.' How do we get to Ayesha from this? I txted her near the end of their match that 'Sid is going to make some girl cry.' Her response? 'Good for him.' I loved it.

- Our benevolent proprietor and overlord here at is involved in an exciting new project. tbaggervance considers himself somewhat the part-time musician (along with part-time several other things that we won't go into right now). But back to the whole "musician' thing. In a drunken stupor he promised Mr. Jesus that before he moved away from the beloved A2 that the two of them would perform for friends and general onlookers as an acoustic duo. Several days later Mrs. Jesus called him on his drunken promise (damn sober people) and long story short, Urinary Tractor Convention was born. The whole town is a buzz with the news, much like a side of the road car accident that causes rubbernecking and traffic backups for miles. Anyway, UTC (yes, its a convoluted name, but UTC is childish and it makes them giggle) will be performing a bunch of mostly obscure hits from your favorite folk/indie rock acts. They're also really hoping to get one original song into the mix by showtime (which is TBD). No promises, but the writing promise is intriguing. And of course, all the songs are about Ayesha.

- Last night hap and circumstance allowed me to attend another trivia night at Conor Oneils (we finished a disappointing fourth - it was a travesty of biblical proportions, I'm still getting over it.) Anyway, the Jesuses and I joined forces with former trivia buddies Markie C, Jen and Pete. As I picked up the Jesuses to head out for the evening I was trying to explain who all these people were that we were teaming up with - then it hit me. Markie C and I have known each other for well over a dozen years now. In that time, neither of us have been known for having significant others of any import for quite some time. But about a year and a half ago both of us found ourselves head over heels in bliss with woman that were both 7 years our junior that both happened to be of different races. The similarities and irony were both palpable. So last night Markie C and I attended trivia, both with the former roommates of our previous significant others in tow. Both married couples who, despite our s.o. relationships dissolving on some level, we were still friends with. Jen and Pete are pretty fabulous, and I love me some Jesuses, so the fact that these relationships have endured is both inconceivable on some level and of course deeply satisfying. I know it hasn't been easy for anyone on my end of things, so thanks Jesuses and thanks to Ayesha for how magnanimous things have been. I imagine Markie C feels the same way.

Posted 10:14am
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January 28th, 2008

The healing powers of the bloggy blog.

Officially, we here at take no stance on alcohol consumption. As in all things, we want our readership to do something well if they decide to do it at all, so from time to time we may seem like we're encouraging drinking, but its really meant more to be more informative than persuasive. And yes, anecdotally we may seem to promote a lifestyle of drunken debauchery, but for the record - moderation and responsibility - that's what we're in to. Officially. Which is why it should surprise no one that is helping the troubled youths of America get off the sauce.

You may remember this story from back in October. We do love our boo butts around these parts. Not always in the 'Hey, you should go get that fucked up again!' way, but they are entertaining nonetheless. Well it turns out that the first boo butt from that October anecdote was spending a little too much time being a fucked up boo butt©. As such, those around him kindly suggested that he may want to think about, you know, NOT drinking to boo buttian levels on a consistent basis. As is often the case with boo butts, he didn't really want to hear that. That is until he heard it from tbaggervance.

According to the story as it was related to us here at the blog, reading our recap of his boo butt exploits was instrumental in putting him on the path to sobriety. Now as you could guess, we hate when anyone has to give up the booze altogether. And we are not in the business of intervening upon anyone's behalves (certainly not our own, anyway). But over the years we've contributed to the delinquency of many a boo butt, so it is with much reverence that we say how pleased we are to have for once done the opposite. Don't count on it happening again any time soon.

Posted 11:24am
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January 24th, 2008

From disillusionment to perfection.

Sometimes, we all need cheering up. Often times its just that your boss yelled at you and you're feeling worthless and then the cute checkout girl at Trader Joes smiles at you and you snap out of it. Other times your woman leaves and a bj from a co-ed majoring in bj's only temporarily alleviates your funk. But most times its somewhere in between.

Wednesday night, I finally got my perdiddle fixed. I don't know if the first replacement bulb I bought was just jank or what, but changing it the second time really did the trick. I was jubilant. Stov and I went and had a couple beers at the bar to celebrate and I was feeling pretty good. Then I drove home.

Now I stress to you that while I HAD been drinking, it had nothing to do with the events that follow. I had 3 beers. My impairment was near zero. I would have gladly taken a breathalyzer. But it was snowing. And dark. And I did feel a little impervious. Which is why I was literally shocked when I pulled through my parking lot and tried to turn the corner only to have my car continue going straight and unimpeded into the curb. I heard the crunch. I knew how bad it was going to be. Things have been going pretty well, but they certainly didn't merit this overcorrection.

So its going to be a grand easy to make things right. A grand I don't have. I've been more than a tad nonplused about the whole thing. Immediately after the incident I had a long talk with Ayesha that immediately made me forget everything. I went to bed feeling pretty good. Then I drove my car the next day and the depression returned. Since then I've had ups and downs of things that make me more or less happy to thinking of nothing other than YOU'VE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME.

Then somebody sent me this. If you read it while listening to Death Cab, drinking a vodka and soda and having a Stephen Soderbergh movie on silent in the background, you'll have an idea of what perfection is to me. Sure it will dissipate into nothing by the time I meet with another mechanic in the morning, but for the moment things are good.

Posted 9:00pm
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January 23rd, 2008

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment past year.

It was a year ago today that I was feeling pretty good about life and the little things that it holds for us to enjoy, and looked for a way to impart some of those things to my dear readership. They weren't major events, they didn't merit 500 word essays or lengthy backstories in an attempt to connect them to greater truths. They were just things, innocuous at best, that made me smile and I wanted to share them with you. Thus '5 innocuous things...' was born.

I wasn't trying to create a feature or ongoing heading, it just kind of happened that way. It took some time to catch on, but its become quite the staple here at the ol' bloggy blog, and so we celebrate its birthday with 5 of my favorites out of the 100 innocuous things that have made me happy over the last 365:

November 29th, 2007
- Finally, I have no hope of emulating the majority of my heroes. No one's ever going to tell me 'You throw just like Tom Brady.' (nor are they likely to ever say 'You pull tail just like him' either.) And while I secretly hope someone hears me singing one day and tells me that I remind them of Ben Gibbard, my only real chance of being confused with those I put on pedestals is the written word. So I've been on cloud nine as twice (TWICE!) in the last fortnight people have compared me to Chuck K. The first was my oldest friend in the world, upon reading Klosterman for the first time, telling me that he thought 'this sounds just like Tyler'. And the second was someone who doesn't know me at all, upon reading the blog for the first time, noting 'you write a lot like klosterman.' Thanks kids. Unsolicited love is the best kind.
(natch, this put me on cloud nine. Comparing me to Chuck K is the quickest way to my heart outside of buying me a drink.)

November 14th, 2007
- The list of famous and important Michigan alumni is something of which every Wolverine can be proud. From President Gerald Ford to Google founder Larry Page to Darth Vader, Michigan alums hold positions of distinction and power throughout the universe. We also have some of the worlds great writers, like Arthur Miller and Lawrence Kasdan (he wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark, bitches!) And we can top it off with hot chicks like Lucy Liu, Selma Blair and Ann B. Davis. Out of curiosity, I looked up famous OSU alums to see how they stack up. Here's the names of import I recognized: Patricia Heaton, Melina Kanakaredes, Richard Lewis, J.K. Simmons, Bruce Vilanch and Dwight Yokum. Huh. I didn't even need to bring up the fact that we have an alumni chapter on the moon (space, bitches).
(making Ohio State look stupid is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, but have you ever shot fish in a barrel? Its more fun than a barrel of monkeys - which we all know is the gold standard for fun. This ends my barrel metaphor/simile/idiom usage for the day)

September 19th, 2007
- Last night I was on IM and I saw my son's away status read: 'Just sitting in the corner, listening to music, just like a good little emo should.' I, like the douche I am, had to have a conversation with him about what emo actually was, but I don't think I totally spoiled the moment. It still makes me smile even if I did.
(Obv. I could probably fill my 5 innocuous things with anecdotes about Sid and nothing else every time, but even I get sick of hearing myself talk about how great he is sometimes. Even if every word is true and its one of the few times I don't stray towards hyperbole.)

June 7th, 2007
- I know a lot of you are entertained by the ol' bloggy blog (albeit mildly) and in return, I've never asked for anything. But if you really loved me, you'd buy me a bracelet made out of Ben Gibbard's old guitar string. Its only a measly $100 (and it goes to charity!)
(This has become the de facto incentivizor for many of you blog readers, as I've been offered this bracelet several times in exchange for some service or other that I have little hope of fulfilling. I doubt this will ever actually make its way to my wrist, but a boy can dream...)

April 26th, 2007
- In the next ten days I will see Ted Leo, Ben Gibbard and Spider-Man. In no way does my life suck. That is all.
(Sometimes, goodness comes in bunches. I love those times (even though that last Spider-Man movie sucked ass.)

Posted 12:24pm
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January 23rd, 2008

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment.

- Wouldn't it be really weird and awkward if The Moldy Peaches were on The View? I mean just imagine it...

- While we all agree that if manna from heaven existed it would most likely come in the form of beer, it does tend to have a devastating effect on our midsections. Here is a handy guide to help minimize the devastation.

- God damn it I miss The OC.

- At first the whole Tom Brady boot-gate thing would seem to elicit a 'Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!' But then calmer heads realize that A.) The game is in two weeks. B.) He was out later that night without said boot C.) ESPN is now having to get information from TMZ D.) Tom Brady is invincible. So now the whole thing is very tee-hee.

- It sounds like I am planing a return trip to the desert this March, which may or may not include tattoos, Vegas, Nada Surf, and me being the closest thing to a real Irishman on St. Patty's Day for 500 miles. And its obviously to see Ayesha, so you know, I'm a tad excited. Plus how oppressive can the heat be in March? I should be hitting the sweet spot, although no one will be surprised when I get a massive sunburn the first day out there and spend the rest of my vacation in agony.

Posted 11:14am
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January 22nd, 2008

Victory snatched from the jaws of defeat. Righteous indignation. We Win!

Oh how I've missed trivia night. Our local Irish pub here in A2 has a live hosted trivia night every Monday. And for years I was a staple there. Given the right, eclectic group of people, we were from time to time as good as any other team in the joint. But people move away and schedules change and because of unmitigating circumstances, I only get to trivia a few times a year anymore.

And usually when I do these days its at the behest of the Jesuses. For good Christian folk they also happen to be bloodthirsty competitors, rabid to show up and make everyone else in the bar their bitch. So far, in about half a dozen tries, we've managed one third place finish. Not bad, but nor is it sufficient to the Jesuses or my massive ego. So last night hap and circumstance came together and it was time for another run at the trivia crown.

We were hampered from the start, as it was just the three of us. We were competing against teams of 5 or more, and while our brain power is considerable, more people provides more proclivities. As such, the deck was stacked against us. But we fought valiantly, pulling some answers seemingly from nowhere, while completely swinging and missing on others. The one thing we did manage to do particularly well was correctly answer the bonus questions. Bonus questions usually lead to bar swag and free appetizers (which we got some of) but last night, each correct bonus question also earned you an entry for a $25 BP gas card. Now even though we managed to nail 4 of the 6 bonus questions, we weren't exactly expecting to be $25 richer before the night was over. Which made the moment when they called our team number as the winner all the more glorious.

But the victory was short lived. As I approached the host's table, I noticed him scrambling to find our rightfully earned booty. That's when I heard him over the mic scream 'all right, who fucking took the gas card?' I was crushed. He turned the table inside out looking for it, but it was nowhere to be found. He apologized profusely, and offered us $5 in dimes as consolation. I walked back to our table utterly dejected. I felt like I had just traveled cross country to get to Wally World only to find it closed. We were so close! We had our victory! We were already making plans to use the card on our trip to see Josh Ritter (in Canada!) in March. The bastards were going to pay, I tell you! That's when the sweet sound of redemption rang forth from the bar's sound system.

'Are the guys who won the gas card still here? I found it.' It was like if that asshole referee would have called the trip on Michigan State against Desmond Howard in 1990. From totally geek to totally chic. I ran up and grabbed the card and brought it back like it was the spoils of war. We had our victory. We had our gas to go see Josh Ritter (half of it, anyway). Maybe even more importantly, we had the motivation to come back and get the big victory, because as sweet as this was, we still have goals to reach.

Posted 2:24pm
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January 21st, 2008

What a friend we have in Jesus(es)

I spent the majority of my weekend drinking and cavorting with my friends the Jesuses. (Who, for the record, aren't really that Jesus-y. It was something that started as an inside joke and just stuck. But that's a story for another time. Well, actually that is the story. Basically. ANYWAY...) I won't bore you with a blow by blow account of the weekend (in which Blind Pig bartenders were personality plus, two gentiles consider naming their band JDate, Chris Bathgate is a modern day Paul Bunyon and "When did this turn into a Flaming Lips concert?") But two stories in particular stick out and in my opinion are worth telling. So, submitted for your approval:

- Friday happy hour brought together the Jesuses with my long time friend GLane. We were talking and drinking (as happy hour participants are wont to do) and started to discuss the fact that glane had just successfully knocked up his wife. We began to discuss name options when it suddenly occurred to me 'If you have a daughter you have to name her Penny!' Everyone agreed that this was a brilliant idea - except for Greg. Then, in what can only be referred to as a compromise worthy of Solomon, Mrs. Jesus (whose real last name happens to be Norris) offered to name their first born 'Chuck' if Greg Lane named his daughter 'Penny'. And even though I think we all would agree that the torture to befall a little boy named 'Chuck Norris' would FAR outweigh that of a girl named 'Penny Lane', GLane was still the one to veto the compromise. The important thing is that I now know that 'Chuck Norris' is on the table and I have a new goal in life. And while 'Penny' doesn't look promising, when I texted Mrs. Lane she suggested there's room for movement on the name 'Fast', so this shit ain't over.

- As previously mentioned, Saturday night we went to Chris Bathgate et al. at The Elbow Room. We got into Ypsi WAY early so come midnight we were all pretty well buzzed and we still had an hour till the headliner was to take the stage. Anyway, given the brain cloud that had settled in at this point, I don't remember how it came about, but AJ said at one point "You know, I've never actually done a shot." Well as anyone could guess, saying this to me is the equivalent of asking 'Pretty pretty please buy me a shot.' (or even some really hot chick saying 'Please take my virginity'). So I immediately (and literally) ran to the bar and ordered to fairly massive washington apples. When I returned, AJ looked at me and said 'What's this?' After I stated the obvious he then asked 'And I'm supposed to just, what, drink all of this really fast?' And yup, that's what we did. As you can imagine, the night when down hill from there. I will note that AJ eventually said (about me) 'I've learned a lot from this guy, and someday I'm going to be just like him.' Yes, this is cause for concern from everyone in AJ's life.

Posted 11:18am
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January 18th, 2008

Your Indie Rock Weekend.

Yes friends, its the return of much ignored segment here at, Your Indie Rock Weekend. Which, along with This Week in Indie Rock, lets you know what you should be listening to and checking out (yes, the header is subject to the day of the week I choose to post it and that fact only). Anyway, we've got an avalanche of stuff to get to, so grab your chucks, put a short sleeve tee on over a long sleeve tee and do something ironically, then follow me.

- A while back Radiohead announced their North American Tour. Kind of. They announced what cities they intend on playing anyway. As usual, Thom Yorke tells Michigan to 'suck it.'

- Nada Surf has a new album coming out Feb. 5 called Lucky. As per usual, those in the know can find it in the ether already. Its not quite up to par with their last two jaw-droppingly beautiful pop gems, but the first two songs will get you all kinds of excited. I know I've said it before, but its really implausible to me that this is the same band that gave us "Popular" back in the day. Peep the first video here.

- Irish indie heart throb and burgeoning movie star Glen Hansard is interviewed over at the AV Club. For the last time, watch Once. Those who hate it are entitled to give me a free kick in the balls, my hand to god.

- Speaking of heart wrenchingly beautiful indie movie gems, Juno has been permeating my consciousness ever since I saw it. Its made me seek out and learn to love one Kimya Dawson, her formerly of The Moldy Peaches. She's not uniformly spectacular, but when she's being sweet and ironic, that chick really gets to me.

- My buddy Yarnball turned me on to Ezra Furman, and all I can say is wow. Its like 1982 Gordon Gano got in a time machine and started making music in 2008. Yes, that is all kinds of awesome.

- According to mtvU, my latest band crush Vampire Weekend have invented a new subgenre called '80's Prep Rock'. I deem it somewhat appropriate. Check out an interview and other silliness, and ignore the moment of pretension where they aspire to be like the Beatles (although way to set the bar, boys).

- This weekend I'm headed out with the Jesuses to see local burgeoning indie folk superstar Chris Bathgate (why he's playing a dive like the Elbow Room I have no idea, but I'm a huge fan). Proof of his skyrocketing career is evidenced here, as he was NPR's 'Song of the Day' on Tuesday.

- Finally, from the not-so-indie-rock rumor mill, I got this from a friend claiming to be in the know:

just heard an unconfirmed report (although the source is supposedly their manager) that led zeppelin will play their only american show this year at coachella...

Idolator semi-confirms this rumor, along with many others, here. Set your indignation to 'ready' for when this turns out to be pure unadulterated bullshit.

Posted 11:43am
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January 17th, 2008

Yes, I drive a ridiculously yellow automobile.

I was once on a first date where we met downtown on a Friday for drinks and a general feeling out period. After sitting and talking and me nervously downing vodka sodas like it was the last night on earth for a few hours, we decided to head across town to shoot some pool. Because after you drink too many cocktails on a first date, what you really want to do is drive said date 20 minutes away to play a game you will most likely embarrass the shit out of yourself at. ANYWAY, like I said we had met at the bar but I agreed to DUI us across town. So we settle the tab and leave out the back to find my hoopty. She looks at me, clad in a suit jacket with a bright yellow shirt underneath, and as I'm unlocking her car door she asks 'Do you have a different car for every outfit?' I was smitten. Of course long story short, she eventually moved away, forcing us to end the relationship amicably. Story of my life.

But the reason I tell that little anecdote now is because yesterday I went to pick up my new glasses (see the new publicity photo to the right). I had decided to trade the yellow tinted specs that I had rocked for so long for a pair of green ones. So I walked inside and sat down and the tech brought over my new glasses and handed them to me. As I was making the swap and placing the new ones on my face, he noted 'Now you're going to have to get yourself a green car.' I was not smitten. This was a 45 year old dude in an optometrist's office and not a beautiful, wise cracking Romanian girl asking me to play pool, so the smitten part is understandable. But I thought it was a good joke the first time, and the second time I was like 'How the fuck do you even know what I drive? (even though he obviously saw me pull up). He went on to try and think of 'that one jazz musician with a last name a Brubaker' and suggest I could use that to my advantage, even after I explained to him he was thinking of Dave Brubeck. Great. Now I've got 'Take Five' in my head for the rest of the day. Errrgh. I guess the moral of the story is that the penis has a sense of humor all its own. Or something like that.

Posted 11:43am
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January 16th, 2008


I'm not one to take chances. Wait. Let me rephrase. I take a lot of stupid chances, but I do so in a mostly calculated, measured way. That is to say I like to be smart about my stupidity. As such I currently have a 6pm self-imposed curfew.

My car is a perdiddle (as Ayesha and I recently discussed, there are regional variations to this, including padiddle, which is strip perdiddle. Ayesha apparently had more fun in high school than I did). Anyway, the perdiddle is the kiss of death to the modern drunkard. My leaving the house at night is predicated on eliminating the risk of getting pulled over on the way home several hours later, and there's no bigger red flag than the perdiddle. You might as well drive down the street backwards doing a beer bong while your windows are fogged over with pot smoke. So yeah, I'm basically under house arrest (because we know the likelihood of me going out at night and NOT drinking.) I hope this can be cheaply fixed (I've replaced the bulb to no avail, and I have no clue where to look next) because otherwise the bartenders of Ann Arbor will likely start calling hospitals wondering what has happened to me.

- I can't go without mentioning that yes, this video affirms that Tom Cruise is bat shit crazy. Unless he does have the pseudo superpowers he claims, in which case I predict that we will all be under his benevolent rule within five years.

- Apparently, being a national joke has become a way of life for Toledo. Known mainly for being the home of Jamie Farr, the Mud Hens, and urban blight, you can now add 'Home of the Peckerwoods.' (Please let us add Home of the Peckerwoods).

Posted 10:47am
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January 15th, 2008


This should be a day of celebration. I should be teeming with anticipation. We should be showing the country what a state that's somewhat representative of the country as a whole thinks about this quagmire of a presidential field. But instead, we're flaccid. We've managed to turn one of the few days where you can stand up and be counted and have it matter, into one where I am dejected, depressed and completely impotent. I am uncommitted.

I mean, I'm obviously not 'uncommitted' uncommitted. I'm in love with Barack and I don't care who knows it! The only problem is, the DNC doesn't care. To them, we are star crossed lovers. It is a relationship that is verboten - one that can never be. You see, somebody in Michigan decided that we were too important to cast our votes on Super Tuesday like most of the country. They were tired of those yokels in Iowa and New Hampshire getting all the say and all the attention that comes with it. So they decided to move our primary waaaay up - so people will hear our voice and our vote will matter! But then the DNC said, 'Um, dude, you can't do that.' And like a defiant teenager we yelled back 'YOU CAN"T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!' And then calmly, as a parent with a petulant child is often forced to do, they said 'Fine. Then your primary doesn't count at all.'

Of course my boy Barack, beholden to his party and wanting to play by the rules, removed his name from the Michigan ballot (as did Edwards). So today, as I exercise the right endowed to me by my creator to voice my opinion and have say in our national government, I am forced to do so uncommitted. You see, the only names on the ballot are Clinton and Kucinich - two people I'm not inclined to vote for. So I'm told by the powers that be that my only choice is uncommitted.

The theory goes that come convention time that the DNC will cave and Michigan will get its delegates, despite the fact that they basically go to Hillary by default. And that by voting uncommitted, should this happen, perhaps some judicious delegates could cast our collective uncommitted votes for someone without a vagina. Because I'll say it again, she's a last name and a vajayjay. Period. She doesn't have anymore experience than Obama, and stories like these should give you the heebie jeebies.

I've spent a considerable amount of time listening to rhetoric, reading books and newspapers, watching CNN and Meet the Press so that I can perform my civic duty and make an informed decision. Yet I've been castrated and rendered ineffective by the very people who are supposed to facilitate and champion this process. God fucking damn it I've never been more livid. But hey, maybe in four or eight years I'll get to actually, you know, vote for a primary candidate. Its not like this election actually matters or anything. Fuckers.

Posted 10:36am
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January 14th, 2008

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in an around the present moment.

- Football is coming to an end and that is lamentable. There are 3 games left, and I'd be shocked - shocked I tell you - if any of them aren't a forgone conclusion. Yesterday we got to see the 'good' Manning collapse and take it in the poop shoot from a bunch of career backups, while the NFL's #1 yokel Eli lived to fight another day (also known as a delayed reaming courtesy of Papa Favre). But man, that was a satisfying game. Who doesn't hate the Cowboys? What will Jimmy Johnson and Emmitt Smith talk about on pregame next week? And how about TO crying? Or this super sweet (albeit ineffective) move by the Post? And at least it'll be fun winning all that money on knowing the outcomes of the games before they're played going forward. I'll need it to offset the slobberfest that will beset Favre starting next Monday.

- This is just kinda sweet, even if the majority of the albums used are unknown even to me.

- The other week I was leaving Crisler Arena after another humiliating loss by the Michigan basketball team in the sheep-like herd one often finds themselves in upon leaving massive sporting events. I was just kind of malaised when Markie C jabbed me with his elbow and I almost intuitively knew exactly why he was doing so. Walking literally right in front of us was Ann Arbor's own Mike Tirico. We (meaning Markie C and I) immediately began to discuss his level of fame and wonder how much he gets messed with in public from idiot fans. We also talked about how much we enjoyed his show and its superiority to the other schlock that permeates sports talk radio. I can't imagine he didn't hear the majority of what we were saying. Hopefully hearing people say nice things about you peripherally somewhat offsets drunks coming up to you at dinner going 'Hey aren't you that football guy?'

- Let's be honest, as much as I am obsessed with Tom Cruise and Scientology, there's no way I'm sifting through Andrew Morton's new biography - even if it does insinuate that he inseminated Katie with L. Ron Hubbard's sperm. Thankfully, Slate condenses the juicy bits, which includes information that hints at homophobia. Me thinks he doth protest too much.

- Finally, yesterday I had what can only be described as the closest peripheral Antiques Roadshow moment I will likely ever have. Boike stopped by for a little playoff football and brought a bottle of 'Black Whiskey' that he picked up randomly at a liquor store off of the expressway. It was a dusty, misplaced bottle that he bought on a whim for $35. Over the course of 6 quarters of football, the vast majority of the fifth was consumed. Its unique tastes were discussed and then basically dismissed. The next day Boike did a little research on Loch Dhu, and while most connesuers deem it 'undrinkable', its also been off the market since 1996 and unopened bottles are worth $200 or more. While I think Boike enjoyed drinking his Loch Dhu, I think he would have much rather had the $200 and a bottle of Black Velvet. At least I know I would have.

Posted 11:00am
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January 11th, 2008

Hmmm, that's mildly interesting.

I've been struggling with where to put the nuggets I now lay before you for some time. The fact that I've been sitting on a few of them for weeks (hence never making it into a '5 innocuous' segment), may mean that they are a bit 'meh'. I leave that distinction to you, the judgmental masses:

- I saw this set of instructions a while back and immediately thought 'cool'. Then I thought 'When the hell are you ever going to find the time and energy for such an endeavor, you have a van silently rusting across town.' THEN I thought 'You barely even drink beer anymore - when its cheap at bars and while watching sports, that's it.' I still maintain of course that its pretty cool.

- Again, if I were 10 years younger this would be way more important to me (and consequently wouldn't be actual 'news') But now I just think about the snowsuits girls walked around in year round when I was in college and kind of lament being born in 1975.

- Our buddies the Conchords were at CES last week and someone had the foresight to tape it. Its mildly amusing, but the audience doesn't quite seem to 'get it' and let's be clear, how's about some new songs boys?

- "Don't expect any quality level because there is none." At least that's Thom's assessment of their whole 'Thumbs Down' casts they posted post In Rainbows debut. I still think their pretty clever and let's not forget the music Thom, because the quality is inherent there my British friend. This and this are my personal favorites, but they're all good.

- I almost forgot that were it not for the fact that Jeri Ryan's ex-husband was into some seriously sketchy sex practices, Barack Obama may still be languishing in obscurity. Of course I'm of the opinion that Barack's position now was one of predeterminism or manifest destiny if you will, but I'm trying to remember to temper my enthusiasm.

- Finally, for those who have ever had the pleasure of a little Polish Bison Vodka (or, if you are Darcy, the displeasure of being completely crocked shitface to the levels of decidedly unpristine-ness) here's their official site, and the US version. If you've had the pleasure, you either got it from me and I must really like you, or we're probably friends waiting to happen. Zubrowka!

Posted 1:45pm
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January 10th, 2008

12 years, a dozen perfect albums.

There's not a skipable song. There's at least one on the album that you could play for any thinking person in the world and they would love it. They are albums that unequivocally evoke a certain mood. They have a cohesive sound and theme. They represent the time they were made and over time have come to transcend it. These are 12 perfect albums that were all created in the past dozen years. They all mean something immeasurable to me. I've listened to each of them at least a hundred times, with a thousand more (depending on how long my liver holds out) on the docket. So without further ado, here are the 12 perfect albums of the last dozen years. The way it turned out, its pretty much the 12 perfect albums that were produced in my 20's, but that has less of a ring to it. Don't hold your breath Stephen Malkmus.

The Hold Steady - Separation Sunday [2005]
Craig Finn once imagined a small band of kids who attended killer parties that almost killed them and then found religion and tattoos and somehow it all ended up in a huge wash of biblical allegory. I know two things, one that The Hold Steady sounds like an amalgam of Thin Lizzy and a masculine Fred Schneider. And two, that I've never been happier to have been steeped in Catholic dogma than while listening to this album. Its not necessary to have that club in your bag to enjoy it, but it certainly helps to make it perfect.


Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah [2005]
This is perhaps the most tenuous selection of the 12, as the opening song unto itself is imminently skipable But it does help establish the carnival barker tone that permeates the album, so we're going to allow it. As a latter day Talking Heads, CYHSY maintain an intensity and energy that seems unfathomable over the course of 40 minutes. Go ahead, try and dance your way through this bitch and see if you aren't tired at the end.


Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot [2002]
OK, we've talked about this album enough over the years to not waste too much time here. If we were doing this by order of importance, this may be my number one. Sublime songwriting coupled with production that gets richer upon each listen. Yeah, this is the high water mark. I will note that this is more technically a 2001 album that didn't get distribution until 2002, but that's the official release date, so we'll keep it as such to support the argument that 2002 was fan-fucking-tastic.


The Promise Ring - Wood/Water [2002]
Naw, this is the most tenuous selection. First off, most people who like The Promise Ring HATE this album. It doesn't sound like the other Promise Ring albums. Its light and dark, soft and hard. Meticulous and painted with broad strokes. Its emo all growns up. Its an album that nobody has heard of, yet everyone I've ever played it for falls in love with it. And to me, that's as good an album as there ever will be.


The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots [2002]
Thus we begin to see that 2002 was the greatest year for music in the history of tbaggervance. This is concerting for me in hindsight, as 2002 will (hopefully) forever stand as the worst year in my life personally. Yoshimi stands as the Lips ultimate blending of their psychedelic style and undeniable hooky songwriting. Its interesting to draw parallels between the Lips and Neutral Milk Hotel, as they both make death seem so cheery. But more on that later. I know she can beat them...


Spoon - Kill the Moonlight [2002]
Spoon never did it as consistently better (to REALLY paraphrase Carly Simon) than they did on 2002's Kill the Moonlight. By the time you're done with 'The Way We Get By' (the second song) you know you are in for something unforgettable. Its a relentless album that still maintains a playfulness about it. Spoon would get grander on Gimme Fiction and more cohesive on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, but the magic is inherent in these 35 minutes.


Death Cab - The Photo Album [2002]
Most people who came to know DCFC through The O.C. or only know them peripherally likely think of them as a whiny emo band who need to get over themselves. Well there was a time when Ben Gibbard was (almost) as angry as he was contemplative. This was the height of it. Death Cab may someday decide to really rock again, but watch them perform anything from this album live, and you'll see Ben spew venom. I swear to God.


Cake - Prolonging the Magic [1998]
Cake's 3rd effort isn't their most well-known nor does it contain their breakthrough hits. But as far as creating an overall Cake ennui, this is as good as they've ever been. Its got the requisite car metaphors and methodical Cake pacing, but rarely have they ever been this tight and catchy over the entire span of an album. Off the top of my head, its also the rare Cake album that doesn't have a cover song. I'm sure that's not true, but let's pretend that it is and that the fact is significant.


Neutral Milk Hotel - In an Aeroplane Over the Sea [1998]
This is actually the album that made me decide to pursue this little feature. I feel like most people wouldn't enjoy this album. Most of family wouldn't make it through the second song. OK, none of them would. But for an album largely dealing with Anne Frank and the realization that death is coming and that's OK, its the most beautiful thing in the world. It will break your heart in a way that will leave you smiling. I swear to Jesus, its the truth.


Radiohead - OK Computer [1997]
Again, I'm not going to dwell on this because anyone who knows anything about music agrees that this album is a piece of pop perfection. An album that will someday be seen as a harbinger of sea change for the industry as a whole. Yeah, its that good. And let me say that, as unpopular of an opinion as it may be, I still prefer The Bends for personal reasons, but this is the magnum opus, and I'd be a fool not to see that.


Weezer - Pinkerton [1996]
Despite what your buddy who reads pitchfork everyday and your 15 year old nephew who loves Dashboard will tell you, this is the album that birthed emo. From the amniotic sack of Pinkerton came The Promise Ring and The Get Up Kids and all the rest (Yes, Sunny Day Real Estate was before and 30 Degrees Everywhere has nothing to do with Pinkerton, but this was emo's herald - I think that's the metaphor I wanted, but I was dying to use the amniotic sack imagery). Anyway, that's really neither here nor there. This is a brilliant pop album that deals exclusively with sexual isolation. Its never felt so good.


Beck - Odelay [1996]
OK, full disclosure - this was the soundtrack to my college experience. If you were at a bar with me when I was 21, half the bar was clamoring for one of the songs on this album. In fact, someone somewhere was probably clamoring for each and every one of the songs on this album. A girl I knew in 1996 had the outgoing message on her answering machine as the 12 second scream that starts "Devil's Haircut". If that doesn't signal perfection, I don't know what does.

Posted 10:41am
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January 9th, 2008

Back down to earth.

The correction was inevitable - it always is. I was just hoping it would last the year. or five. Barack inexplicably loses New Hampshire and Michigan's offense defects. The perma-smile I was experiencing had all but completely faded upon my return home last night from Michigan's 14 point home basketball loss. I'm often accused of being a pessimist, to which I always counter that I'm merely pragmatic. But here's my attempt to be optimistic about both of these things.

- At the end of the day, Hillary is just a last name and a va-jay-jay. That's it. Let's not kid ourselves, no one's voting for her for any other reason. Now, it unfortunately might actually win her the nomination, but we're better than that, right? Iowa and NH have made Barack viable enough to go out and energize the electorate and get people out there to vote for change. Who knows what will happen when Edwards cries uncle? Or when Richardson stops stroking his own ego with his futile candidacy. In any event, you'll never convince me that she didn't calculate that 'crying' incident and that it didn't get a bunch of women to give her their sympathy vote yesterday. I know this is wrong but - well, there it is, that's all I'm saying.

- While losing two of the best receivers in the country a year before you have to borders on devastating, let's not kid ourselves that either were ever staying. And if Mallett's attrition lands us Terrelle Pryor, then don't let the door hit you in the ass. I loved your enthusiasm but was always concerned about that 2 cent head of yours. I'm not holding my breath for a national championship next year anyway. Just beat OSU, MSU and ND. Is that too much to ask?

And let's be honest, all of the good we discussed yesterday still holds true, and all of it is still worthy of celebration. Let us choose to view these minor speedbumps as such, rather than precursors to the long, disparaging fall into bleakness. Obama would want me to have hope.

Posted 1:45pm
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January 8th, 2008

Everything's coming up roses...

Hmm, well is it just me or is 2008 shaping up to be the best year ever? Michigan spanks Florida, tOSU embarrasses themselves (again), JK Rowling hints at another Harry Potter, Ayesha is talking to me, Obama is rol... wait. What the fuck? Are you serious? Holy god damn balls, this changes everything...

Suri Cruise is Rosemary's Baby

Are you sitting down? Of course you are, who stands up at a computer? But in any case prepare yourself, because despite what George W Bush and Mike Huckabee may tell you, this is as close as we'll ever get to the rapture. Whew. OK, ready? (I can barely type between the giggling and the erection). There's a new Tom Cruise biography that suggests that Katie Holmes was impregnated with the sperm of deceased Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard! OMG! WTF! RU4 REALZ!?! I know. I couldn't have made this shit up if I was 10,000 monkeys typing on 10,000 typewriters for 10,000 years.

Now even a jaded cynic such as myself will reluctantly admit that this has about as much chance of being true as the rumor that Jessica Alba is actually carrying my baby (you heard it here first). But what if it was? How fan-fucking-tastic would that be? I seriously might just go to bed until 2009 because this is already the best year ever. I totally expect to find a $5000 bill on the way home from work today and get free hand release with an 8 gallon purchase at BP. I am teflon. I am beyond Thunderdome. I'm superfly TNT. I am the guns of the Naverone. Get on the bandwagon because 2008 might just be the year of the baggervance.

Posted 9:59am
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January 7th, 2008

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment.

- Barack is running rupshod through New Hampshire and is making his case to become the next King Shit of Fuck Mountain©. The original poll taken right after Iowa had him pulling even with Hillary, but a poll released yesterday has him up a full 10 percentage points. I was positively giddy at the news and was convinced that with a win tomorrow, it would like an avalanche (comin' down a mountain) to the nomination. But then I read this scary and plausible analysis. Now that would break my heart in two. In the far less innocuous department, Deadspin provides some insight into what sports stars support what candidates. I long for a 'Brady for Obama' endorsement.

- I had a pretty fabulous New Years this year. We talked just the other day about dealing with the noobs and the rubes on certain holidays, and New Years is no exception. There's plenty of people out and about who need remedial lessons as to how to party. As such I've never had a problem staying in and spending NYE with those I love and who know how take care of business. But I must say, as great as my NYE was, this is the best New Years Party ever, and one I'd put up with just about anything to attend.

- Who doesn't love a good cat fight? This kind of whiny post by David Cross elicited this response from Patton Oswalt. Unfortunately I'm sure they are both kind of embarrassed by it now and are good friends again. I say unfortunately only for entertainment values mind you, as said feelings and responses are appropriate, mature and responsible - unlike the rest of the internet.

- Sometimes its hard to know how much entertainment inspired depictions of technology actually predict and reflect such things, and how much the creators of those technologies are influenced by the depictions they grow up with. Get that? My point is, click here and watch the movie and be damned if its not actual science, even though it looks like some awesome fucking special effect from a movie. And its OK, I know I'm a bit of a nerd.

- Finally, last night my all-too-excitable heart fell in love again, this time with a little quirky indie movie called Juno. I went in knowing that all it had to do was live up its advance billing for me to fall all over it, and I was really nervous during the title sequence because its kind of awful. But every minute after that is pure cinematic perfection. OK, not perfection. Perfection is bad. Its perfect in its own idiosyncrasies, which to me is perfection. "I don't see what anyone can see, in anyone else But you..."

Posted 1:45pm
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January 4th, 2008

Barack Out with Your Caucus Out.

If you're not sick of it already, you will be soon, because last night gave legitimacy to my hope that we could really have an election where people have a choice and more importantly, that we might have a Democratic candidate not just worth voting for, but worth fighting for. My man crush on Barack Obama has reached new levels of swooning, and I want to shout it from the rooftops.

First off, let's dismiss the Huckabee win. Yes, its jaw droppingly scary that someone who once advocated isolating people with AIDS from the general population won anything, but Mike Huckabee has only slightly more chance of being President than I do of having Tom Brady's babies (as much as we both would do about anything to make it so). Don't get me wrong, I was livid about seeing Huckabee gain momentum, but then I saw the stat that 8 in 10 of his supporters (in Iowa) identified themselves as evangelicals. And while evangelicals are scary motivated to hijack the country's political and moral agenda, they can't get it done on the born-again thing alone, and once you get past that, Huckabee has little else going for him (outside of his friendship with Chuck Norris, which I'm still like 'Seriously?' about). Plus lots of Republicans big wigs hate the guy and are adamant that he go away quickly, like in five days when he gets crushed in New Hampshire.

But let's move on to the positive things from yesterday, like Hillary finishing third and a black man winning a state that's 94% white. I fell in love with Obama shortly after seeing his speech at the 2004 Democratic National convention, and its a love that's deepened with each passing year. But when I gush about him to even my liberalest of friends, many of them have been quick to dismiss his candidacy with 'Yeah, I don't know though. I don't think a black man can get elected.' Well as James Brown once said to John Belushi, 'Do you see the light?' This is real. It is possible.

Four years ago I put a lot of energy into wanting to see anyone unseat W from the White House. I ranted and pontificated about our idiot President and the havoc four more years would wreak. Then the Dems ran Kerry and I was stuck with a candidate I didn't really believe in and of course, we all know how the thing ended. I never wanted to put that much energy behind anything again. But Obama makes me want to believe, to hope. His message is infectious, and five days from now he could take hold like a scorching case of herpes. I know that last night, while watching his acceptance speech, I got excited again. Like a jilted lover spurned over and over, I don't want to do it. But when the girl candidate of your dreams winks at you, you want to believe in possibilities again. You want to hope.

Posted 10:55am
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January 3rd, 2008

Stop wasting my time.

The busiest day of the year for the phone company is Mother's Day. For florists its Valentines Day. And I'm not exactly sure how those fireworks shops near the state line survive other than say the month of June. Of course for the proprietor of its St. Patrick's Day - where the worst part of celebrating is having to put up with the amateurs. March 17th is the day when everybody likes to pretend they're Irish, and far too many pretend like they know how to drink. This leaves those of us who are actually Irish and actually drunks to watch as the rest of you annoyingly fall all over yourselves in an attempt to ruin our holiest of high holidays. Its a real cross to bear, so to speak. And while my level of physical fitness nowhere near approaches my alcoholism nor my Irishness, I'm here to tell all of you New Years Resolutioners one thing: Get the fuck out of my gym.

Because as anyone who's ever worked out consistently will tell you, like the free clinic after prom night, January at the gym is crowded. People come crawling out of the woodwork - whether to 'work off those holiday pounds' or because they chose an arbitrary date like January first to 'finally get in shape.' And while I applaud your decision to change your fat ass ways, stop deluding yourself. You - the guy who took the last stationary bike right before I was about to get on it today - you know that by the Super Bowl those new running shoes will be buried at the bottom of your closet. And you - stupid fucking freshmen girls that were in high school 6 months ago - get off the track. You are the most egregious of all. I'm trying to actually run (OK, jog. Shut up) while you are walking THREE ACROSS TAKING UP ALL THE LANES. All so you can talk about, well, god knows what. But stop talking, pick up the pace, and get in line. We all know that come Valentines Day you'll be utterly devastated that the frat guy you were so sure was going to take you to his Spring formal will have dumped you for some bar slut and you'll be 'too depressed' to set foot in the gym. Probably ever again.

Now those of you who are serious about this and want to follow the rules, I'll give you some slack. I mean, yes I've always been Irish, but there WAS a time when even I fell all over myself trying to act like I knew what I was doing on St. Pats. But you have to want it. You can't be taking days off because you had a hard day at work. You can't decide to go to happy hour instead of coming to the gym (you only get those passes if you've been doing it more than a year. Yes, do as I say, not as I do). Laziness begets laziness, and two or three missed appointments at the gym and all of a sudden you're eating a whole pizza thinking 'Fuck it, I haven't been to the gym in a week anyway.' And if that's how its gonna be, just don't show up. Those of us who will still be there on Groundhogs Day would appreciate it.

Posted 10:19pm
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January 1st, 2008

...and I don't feel any different.

As I was saying to someone just yesterday, I don't believe in resolutions. I'm a fan of trying to constantly and consistantly make myself a better person (I swear!) so using an arbitrary date on the calender to say 'I'm finally going stop drinking before 5' seems strange to me. I think if you're going to take stock and make changes, birthdays are better suited to remind us what we might want to tweak in our lives. But of course the strict conventions of blog writing dictate that I at least make an attempt to note that it is a New Year by looking at things and writing about my life. How this is different than any other day around here is beyond me, but nevertheless, here we go...

Luckily we have last years New Years post to help give us some talking points, so for those of you want to see where my noggin was at about a year ago, take a gander and then we can begin. Ready? Super.

- A year later going to the gym is still a part of my life. One that I don't care for mind you, but its there. Now I am supposedly 'in training', which will serve as a modevator to go more often and work a little harder. Maybe the gut will actually shrink this year...

- The promise of football glory in 2007 never really came to fruition. Let's be honest, the 2007 Wolverines stunk up the joint. But we did have another highly successful road trip to Illinois, and more importantly, the 2008 Wolverines gave me my best New Years day in years by taking it to that whiny bitch Urban Meyer. I couldn't be prouder of those boys right this second, and in 9 months we'll begin the next era of Michigan Football, one that is already teeming with promise.

- Work finally came through with the cash, and while I'm still poverty stricken, I'm less so. If I were to be the sort that made resolutions, getting my financial house in order would be near the top of things to do in 2008. - 2008 will be nicotine free. Maybe by this time next year I'll actually be OK with that.

- Sid is by all measures (both subjective and objective) the greatest 12 year old on the face of god's green earth. He should be crushing me in tennis by the end of the year.

And then there's Ayesha. We had an interesting 2007. To call it a rollercoaster is kind of selling it short. We experienced some unbelievable highs and some soul crushing lows over the last 365. I'm sure many of you had heard me say (more than once) that its over, only to see her show up at my side the next day. And with her all the way out in AZ and the drama that unfolded while she was here in October (as recently discussed here) I had assumed that things were pretty much over. For good this time. But that's not how Ayesha and I work.

Over the last few weeks we've been talking again, which culminated in our spending New Years Eve together (with the Jesuses, natch.) She was hesitant about it, I was nervous. But we managed to spend a pretty good 48 hours together. It didn't take me long to realize how much I still love her. Of course I don't know what any of it means yet. We're still not on the same page and most of the obstacles that we faced when we were together didn't magically disappear over the last two months. But I am hopeful. I know I want to make her happy, and I think I might be capable of doing that. As MJ once said, 'I don't think you guys are done with each other yet.' I'm hoping 2008 proves her right.

Posted 9:34pm
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