Thursday, January 31, 2008

A warning ... and an announcement!

A warning ... and an announcement!

THE WARNING:
I moved today, and am not expecting to have internets at my apartment for a week! So if they are brief over the next few days it's because I'm typing them from coffee shops or over purloined Wi-Fi (not that I would ever purloin anyone's Wi-Fi). It also appears I won't have heat for a few days, but that's not so bad since the apartment is insulated well and on the third floor. An extra layer or two, and a comfy quilt at night, should do me fine. Also, I banged the hell out of my leg falling down the front steps. Luckily the front gate broke my fall by bashing in my leg. Ow.

THE ANNOUNCEMENT:
Tomorrow America's #1 Sweetheart plays with The Venom Lords, Farewell Captain, and Floor Model. We'll also have a photographer there taking "prom" pictures of everyone in attendance. And to top things off my Bomb Squad partners JB and Lisa will be spinning the after show dance party until 3 a.m.! The most awesome part? the whole thing is FREE FREE FREE!

Show up by the time the first band starts at 9 p.m., and make sure you don't miss our sets ... we have a few surprises up our collective sleeve.

And look Gina made a flier (top one) ... and Mark made TWO fliers (bottom two) !



Dirtbags, (Rudy) Tuesdays, and Me.

Dirtbags, Tuesdays, and Me.

Man do I have a lot of packing to do today. Luckily a bunch of my stuff is still in boxes in the basement, but the pain in the ass part is packing all these CDs and books. I have a feeling that once I'm in the new apartment and evaluate what space I have left, I might be jettisoning a bunch of these CDs. Should I sell 'em? Donate 'em? Give 'em away to friends? Probably all of the above. I'm doing well on the whole purging of extraneous things. For instance I donated about 10 trashbags full of clothes that I've been holding onto for years -- some since high school! -- and was never able to part with due to sentimental reasons in the past. I'm finding I get less attached to material things as I get older. I assume that's a good sign.

So since I'm buckling down and working on packing all day, I'm gonna need to blow off a little steam tonight. (Well, not TOO much steam, I need to be in good shape to move tomorrow!) It's another Bomb Squad Thursday at Liar's Club and I'll be joined by regular guest DJs Rudy Tuesday and Dirtbag (Josh from La Scala). Come on by and blow off some steam of your own.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Remembering that moment.

Remembering that moment.


I had forgotten that this photo was taken last Friday. I remember that the flash caught me totally off guard and I whirled around to find out where the bright light came from a split second after this was shot. I was talking to Mel and Mary, and I remember the dude in the white shirt really didn't seem to like me being there, but the two girls and I were having so much fun talking I really didn't care, and they didn't seem to notice. Sorry dude.

Old, but true.

Old, but true.

Ancient, I know, but when you write for sites that get LOTS of user feedback (and that's the polite term) the below REALLY rings true.

Your vote really DOES count.

Your vote really DOES count.

This primary election season is looking to be all about the delegates, so you actually MUST vote. For once, it matters.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thank goodness for my awesome friends.

Thank goodness for my awesome friends.

Everyone has been such a huge help with the move, offering me all sorts of stuff. The weird thing is I don't know exactly what I'll need (or have room for) until Friday! I do know I need a bed, so if anyone has any guidance in that area (Um, where does one BUY beds? I've never done this before. Sad, huh?) it would be greatly appreciated.

I actually started packing last night and am bringing over a load tonight. It's a tad overwhelming. And I just realized I have to put all the utilities in my name, which brings up the question: cable or phone? Due to my Chicagost stuff I CAN'T be offline for too long so I'm hoping for a relatively seamless Wi-Fi transition.

Man, moving sucks. Ah well, at least my new place gets LOTS of sunshine through its windows.

Conflicted.

Conflicted.

Hm, that title just sort of popped up. I realize I wanted to write along that theme, but I also realize this is not the correct forum. This site has gone through a number of cycles, hasn't it? At the outset it was primarily chronicling my pop culture addictions and serving as a platform for some music criticism so I could stretch outside the freelance gigs I had. Then donewaiting came along and most of my music content migrated there, while this space got more experimental. Then I got a day job, Photogal moved in, and things calmed down (for the most part, although I remember her being slightly upset when I talked about her dancing around in her underwear one day ... but that's as scandalous as it got).

Now I'm at another off juncture. Almost all my pop culture writing goes into Chicagoist. I can't really write about my social misadventures here because, well, to be honest, it just doesn't feel the right right thing to do right now. So where do I go?

Hm. Honest answer? I'm not sure. But I've found this forum invaluable as far as keeping the mental gears cranking. Having somewhere that you MUST provide content for 5-7 days a week really helps keep the juices (cliché!) flowing. Between the 9-to-5, band, work, the social life, DVDs, reviewing music, (right now) packing and rearranging my life in general, my time is obviously at a premium, and the first thing that would usually fall by the wayside would be the writing. Luckily, between here and Chicagoist, I can't allow the writing to atrophy. And that keeps me grounded, in the end. It provides a consistent base that I can use to anchor me even in the wildest times.

So what does that mean to you? I'm sure you're thinking, "Well, that's all well and good,* but what's in it for me?" And my answer is, the same thing that's in it for you now. If you've been a longtime reader, these changes have probably been barely noticeable. If you're a newer reader, you know no other Tankboy, right? It's only if you went back in the archives and dug around a bit that you would even know there has been shifting tones around these parts.

And that's perfectly O.K., right? Back in the day I would flutter my eyelashes at, and opine about, Kelly Clarkson on the original American Idol. And I would talk about drunken adventures stumbling around New York (many of which would act as an odd precursor to that whole avalanche of NYC bloggers that tumbled across the internets a few years ago). Heck, at the beginning I had no idea how to even post a photo on here!

I'm rambling, aren't I?

Anyway, this was an incredibly obtuse way of saying I can't always write about the things I want to write about here, but I'm thankful you're still reading the things that I do write about.

And that, my friends, is how you turn a simple one sentence sentiment into a long, drawn-out, exhausting post.

NOTE: As usual, the photo has nothing to do with the post, but Jesus, doesn't Donna Balls look so freaking happy?

*
In real life, peaople say that. "Well it's all well and good." Sure it looks a little redundant in print, but read it out loud. Really. Do it now. I'll wait ... see? Doesn't it actually sound natural. And how did I do that. By virtue of my craft!

Monday, January 28, 2008

DJing can be exhausting.

DJing can be exhausting.

Saturday night at Liar's Club was packed. Nelly's "Hot In Herre" got The Naked Guy* on the dance floor, and people took lots of pictures and danced around him. The dance floor was packed solid, full of folks actually "whoooo!"-ing along with the songs, until around 2:15 a.m. when folks began to finally tire out and stumble out of the bar. I like nights like that.

They can be pretty tiring though. A weekend crowd at Liar's Club is different than most of the other places I spin. They want to dance, but they don't want challenging dance music. '80s tunes, hip-hop, and familiar jams rule the roost, and I have no problem accommodating them, especially since it's so different from my other gigs. Plus it resembles a lot of the types of sets i would play at The Gallery or at house parties down in Normal, Illinois. The only thing is that when you are the one solely responsible for keeping people dancing their brains out for hours and hours, it can be a little daunting. And believe me, it's not like you can just trigger an "oldies" playlist and work on auto-pilot, segues still matter, and a bad one can clear a dance floor, even if the song is good. The mood needs to be sustained while gently gliding slightly up and down. It actually takes a lot of thought.

The only bummer of the evening was when I played the same song twice. I had just played "White Lines" when someone requested "White Horse." I thought I cued it up, but when I hit play "White Lines" came bursting out again. I was in such a hurry to get to the bathroom I didn't even realize what I had done until a girl came up to me and said, "Man, I really like the music you're laying tonight, but didn't you just play this five minutes ago?"

The really funny thing? The dance floor was still packed with people who just assumed I did it on purpose. So it didn't cost me the crowd, but it did mark the first time, in almost 20 years, I played the same song in a single set by accident.

*The Naked Guy is a Chicago staple. He's been around for years and doesn't bug anyone. He simply doffs his clothes from time to time, shakes his thing on the dance floor and then gets dressed again. It's hard to comprehend, but there is absolutely nothing creepy or sleazy about the guy, and it's not like he's trying to rub up against anyone or anything like that. He just likes being naked sometimes.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

And people ask me, "Seriously, when do you sleep?"

And people ask me, "Seriously, when do you sleep?"

The answer is, "I don't."

Just a reminder that I'm filling in for Kevin Tihista at Liar's Club tonight. And I have some Eddie Money and I'm not afraid to use it. Don't worry, it's old Eddie Money; none of that synth-driven later crap.

It relatively toasty outside, so you should have no excuse for not showing up to dance tonight.

Friday, January 25, 2008

This just in!

This just in!

I will be DJing at Liar's Club tomorrow -- that'd be Saturday January 26 -- night. Tonight Rudy and Lisa are spinning there. It's a Bomb Squad kinda weekend, huh? I think we might need to set up a cot in the basement sometime soon so we can nap between our sets.

Anyway, tomorrow it'll be relatively balmy outside (the temps will even reach the upper 20s, yeah!) so please come by and keep me company. I'll even play requests.

Only no R.E.M. or Michael McDonald, since that's against the rules.

She likes it when I'm naked.

She likes it when I'm naked.

I have to admit, this is one of the more clever online ads I've seen lately.


In other "remember the '90s" news, I realized yesterday that I still find Jenny McCarthy incredibly hot. Does that betray my age? And even if it does, can you really disagree with me?


Yup, Tankboy; online heavyweight, blogger extroadinare, and he's wasting his 5 minutes of residual fame reposting videos and photos of outrageously good-looking funny ladies.

Things to do tonight:
  • Panic! at Darkroom
  • Amy's condo for post-horror flick raging
  • Stumble home

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My five minutes.

My five minutes.

This week's Time Out Chicago is all about web writers and critics, and I'm mentioned on the cover, quoted in the lead story, and profiled later on. When I first agreed to do an interview with them I seriously thought it was going to be a web-only piece. When they called me in for a photo shoot I was a little confused and began to suspect that perhaps the interview would be appearing in print. And then Monday I got the cover text from a friend who works there along with his fearful commentary, "My god...what this will do to your ego... We've created a monster..."

No, no monster here. Of course I'm flattered by the attention, and it would be foolish to deny that. And, of course, I have one eensy-teensy quibble; the quote they use from my Daft Punk piece is incorrect (they wrote "adulterated" when it should have been "unadulterated") but you're alway going to find something, right?

Anyway, hop on over, check it out, and allow me to enjoy my five minutes of fame.

So, would it be tacky if I carried the magazine around and whipped it out around cute girls in order to impress them? Think that'd work?


Also, look for Chuck and Margaret from Chicagoist, since they make appearances in the magazine as well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Whoa, lady.

Whoa, lady.

Oh my gosh, I totally forgot about the crazy lady at The Burlington last night. I stopped in after practice for a few drinks and near the end of the evening this cute girl sat down next to me. She just sat there, looking around, nursing a drink, and I couldn't figure out if she was waiting to meet someone or not. She stood out slightly because she was dressed a little conservatively in comparison to the late-night hipsters still in the room, but the nice thing about that bar is that everyone is welcome and --- as long as you have a good attitude -- no one gets judged or anything.

After about 20 minutes she suddenly turns to me and asks if I went to ISU. I was surprised but said I had, but left in 1995. That was when she started going to school there, so it turned out that's not where she knew me from, but she insisted she had seen me before. Which is quite possible, I do tend to get out and about quite a bit.

The conversation meandered on for a bit until she took a weird detour and started going on and on about how much she hated The Burlington, the hipsters, and the attitude, and the only reason she even went there was because she lived 3 blocks away. Our opinions on this subject were obviously polar opposites, so I tried to argue with her, but realized it was futile when she took another left-turn and started going on about how she was a blogger, but everyone hated her because she was too honest, and that was the reason she hadn't had a date in, like, forever.

Huh?

I dug in a little deeper and it became obvious that what she was calling "honest" was in fact just her publicly belittling guys she slept with by making fun of the size of their genitalia, or their kissing methods. Which is all fine and good, I suppose. But when you do something like that how can you not expect it to have repercussions? And how can you possibly try to say that people should be more accepting of your honesty?

So she ranted a while longer, and then asked me if I would walk her to her car. Being the sort of guy that will always say yes to a request like that, I walked her to her car ... which was 5 feet from the front door. Oh well, whatever. She took off, I had a smoke, and then went inside to tell Nixon and Lizz -- who thought I had actually left with her ... yikes! -- about the exchange.

After it all, though, I have to admit, I really wish I had gotten the address of her blog. That would probably have made some super interesting reading.

Singledom.

Singledom.

Last night I was asked just what was so great about being single. I knew they were angling for an answer more suited to "I'm kissing so-and-so" and fun gossipy stuff like that, but it actually did get me thinking. What is so great about being single?

The answer is, and it's the same one I reflexively blurted out last night, broadly, I can do whatever I want without worrying about how someone else will fell about it. Drilling down it means I can go out at night, and see bands, and hang out with friends, and never have to answer to someone else.

But there's a flip side.

I also have no one I can 100% confide in anymore. Since I've obviously been dating, Photogal has grown a little distant, and I can totally understand and respect that. It's a little weird, since in the past she's always been the one to start dating right away, but maybe I can empathize more fully because I remember what it's like to see someone you've been intertwined with enjoying the company of someone that's not you. But while I've made that adjustment I'm beginning to notice just how completely I'll miss having someone there I can always trust and depend on.

So between that realization, and the impending move (a move I admit I'm severely slacking on since I have yet to pack a single bow ... but I'm guessing that's another avoidance technique, right?) things are sort of coming to a head, becoming more concrete, and the ramifications of ending a 12-year relationship -- that I think I was previously avoiding -- are making themselves felt.

Ick, O.K., enough personal grossness. Here's a kicky dance song to take your mind off my blathering.

MP3: The Bird & The Bee "Polite Dance Song"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's for professional reasons ... at least that's the excuse I'm using.

It's for professional reasons ... at least that's the excuse I'm using.

I quietly joined Twitter a few days ago in my never-ending quest to see just how many various forms of social media I can handle before my head explodes. You can follow me if you feel like it. And let me know if I should be following you!

And while I was around and writing online well before 2005, the cartoon below is still pretty durn funny.

Hibernation?

Ah, American health insurance, how I hate thee.

First of all, I think it's the cold, but I've had very little interest in going out. I would've stayed in Saturday -- and probably never left the couch -- if I hadn't been DJing. Sunday I was glad practice was super-quick since all I wanted to do was get home and climb under some blankets with Betty the Beagle. And last night, while I enjoyed SND ON SND and Bicycle, Tricycle at The Note, ultimately I probably would have been happier staying at home. Tonight? Usually I would visit Lizz at The Burlington after practice, but even that is looking unappetizing.* Bleh, what's happening to me? And what will happen once I move? Will I just become a recluse?**

And then there's this morning's encounter with my pharmacist, when I realized my monthly Prevacid prescription jumped from $30 to $50. That's almost a 100% increase? And an extra $20 a month, especially now, is actually a bit of a strain. But I'm stuck. If I stop taking it, I have a good chance of developing Barret's, which is the condition that ended up triggering my dad's fatal esophageal cancer. So what can I do? Fuck you very much, Blue Cross.

God, this must be an incredibly boring read for anyone who's not me. Sorry, but I just need to jettison this stuff so I can move on to more entertaining things. And believe me when I say this a momentary funk. My life is actually going really well right now. I think the stress of the big move and a deadline I was dealing with at work (which has now -- yay! -- been met) are unfairly coloring my perception when, in fact, I'm feeling pretty positive about a whole bunch of stuff.

Huh, maybe I just need to list out the good stuff to remind me how lucky I am? Yeah! That's a good idea!

Here goes. This is all good stuff:
  • The single life is treating me well.
  • My band is fun as hell.
  • This is my first breakup that isn't wholly unpleasant. It's sad, but we're both still on the same page as far as its necessity.
  • My friends are super supportive.
  • My apartment, once I get over the hassle of actually moving, should be pretty terrific. Did I mention I've never actually lived 100% by myself before? Wild, huh?
  • My job is keeping me busy and challenging me in new ways than it ever has, and I find that incredibly rewarding. Sure I stress out from time to time, but it's only because my brain is happily working.
  • I'm about to be profiled in a magazine.
  • Pickle the Kitten has progressed to the point where she only bites 90% of the time, and actually likes to get pet while purring away the other 10%.
  • I'm in the best shape I've been in, well, probably ever.
  • This week's Time Out Chicago's cover reads: The blogging issue: Featuring: the CTA Tattler, Tankboy, Claire Zulkey, Roger Ebert and more!
Yeah, that’s right, I’m billed above both Zulkey AND Ebert. Ha! Pick it up at newsstands on Thursday.

Huh, after reading that list, the first half of this entry seems pretty pitiful, huh? Most people would be ecstatic to be half as lucky as me. So, now that I've grasped that nugget, we can return you to our regularly scheduled programming.

Pictured: SND ON SND

*Aw, who am I kidding? How can I resist The Burlington?!
**O.K., that's doubtful. I think I'm veering pretty dangerously towards the over-dramatic with that one. Blame it on the weather and it's psychological effect.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Under pressure.

Under pressure.

Ten days until I have to get all my stuff into the new place. Six hours until another deadline I've been working furiously to meet.

You know, I feel like I'm the only person who doesn't get MLK day off, and this is one year I really could've used an extra day away from the work week to get this stuff done.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Random observations and exhortations.

Random observations and exhortations.

Let's do this.
  • I am DJing at The Burlington tomorrow night. Metromix was there last night to film a segment on the joint, so it must be cool. Plus, the house brew on tap is one of my favorite beers in the world. Double plus, it's the only bar in the city that let's me DJ whatever I want, so my sets there are always interesting! So put on a scarf, or twelve, and come on out! Exclamation mark! Now!
  • I can't stop listening to either the Twin Peaks or Blade Runner soundtracks. That's what I get for watching multi-DVD sets back-to-back. At least they're soothing so it's perfect for work while I'm racing against this massive deadline.
  • The Venom Lords are playing Ronnys tonight, go see them.
  • We have a show coming up with The Venom Lords and Farewell Captain on February 2 at The Mutiny. It will also be Keep's birthday. And my fellow Bomb Squad DJs JB and Lisa will be curating a dance party after the bands. The best part? I'm using The Venom Lords' drum kit, so I don't have to lug mine around. Or load them out! Too much awesome.
  • Speaking of awesome, have you been reading Chicagoist lately? We're on a pretty awesome roll right now.
  • Big news next Wednesday, but I'm not telling you what it is in fear I might jinx it and get bumped.
  • I got the keys to my new pad and was going to start moving stuff in this weekend. naturally I would pick the coldest weekend in months to decide to do this. Wish me luck.
  • Freelance checks that finally show up are awesome. Finding twenty bucks in a pair of jeans you haven't worn in, well to be honest, years is almost more awesome. It would be more awesome if the freelance check I was comparing it to wasn't considerably more than twenty bucks.There I am back on that "awesome" thing.
  • One last thing: YOU are awesome.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Obligatory Thursday night plug.

Obligatory Thursday night plug.

Le Bomb Squad welcomes Kevin Tihista to the guest DJ slot this evening! I'm looking forward t DJing with him, and I promise not to embarrass him with any Triplefastaction, even though they remain one of my favorite Chicago bands ever. Lisa will hopefully be rounding out the trio, if she can figure out how to mainline some caffeine. It's supposed to be super snowy, so get there early and camp out for the evening. If we're lucky, maybe 'Balls will show up to break out some of his new dance moves.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Chicago Music Commission: Tankboy on tape!

Chicago Music Commission: Tankboy on tape!

A while ago I spoke on a panel for one of the Chicago Music Commission's Musicians At Work forums. It was notable because a) I think I actually had one latecomer believing I was Greg Kot and b) it was Jay Prasad's last public appearance before his company went down for alleged embezzlement and tax fraud.* It was also where I met Erin from Hidden Mitten. And Jinja from Utah Carol. And a bunch of other cool folks. And I think I actually made a couple reasonable points that have been proven true with the progression of time. Come to think of it, that was a pretty good night.

Anyway, I just noticed that they have finally archived the recording of the panel, so it you have any interest in hearing it, you can snag 'em. In case you're not familiar with my voice, I'm the speaker after Doug LeFrak that opens with "Thanks for stealing all my good lines, Doug." Try not to laugh too much at how idiotic I sound.

MP3: Marketing Music - Part I - DIY Reach the Public Part I
MP3: Marketing Music - Part I - DIY Reach the Public Part II

The Chicago Music Commission has a monster panel coming up on January 24 with a veritable who's-who in Chicago music coming together to discuss the impact of the economic impact study Chicago: Music City, conducted by the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago. It should be an interesting evening ... check out the full list of panelists. Whoa!

*Ironically, one of the companies he owned was UR Chicago, a magazine I now regularly freelance for. Heh.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hitting our stride.

Hitting our stride.

It's hard to believe the band has only been playing together for about eight months. And it's even more unbelievable that we've come this far when a) Tome had never played keyboards in a band before and b) it had been well over a decade since I played drums with a group, and even then it was a loosely held together affair in a band that didn't take itself seriously at all. Well, musically at least. America's #1 Sweetheart takes the songwriting seriously, we just make sure we have lots of fun with the presentation.

Anyway, when we started it took us weeks to cobble together two songs (and God bless the guys for being so patient with me while I settled back into the rhythm of drumming with a band!), and now we're able to more or less get the structure of a song down in a single practice. It of course gets refined after that, but we've gotten to the point where we're getting pretty darn good at just hammering Keep's ideas out. And the other day he even started trotting out a bunch of Sweetheart classics from before my joining the band, but since I sort of remembered the drum parts I was able to play along semi-faithfully. Brian, the drummer preceding me, is WAY better than I am, but I think I was able to at least approximate the feel of the songs. It was lots of fun, so maybe we'll work on some of the old repertoire as well.

Anyway, the new song we're working on has already been demoed, and is sounding pretty kick-ass, so hopefully it'll be battle ready by our February 2 show at The Mutiny. That show is going to kick so much ass. The Mutiny may be a dive bar, but it's an awesome dive bar, and the vibe there can be so much fun, and the bands we're playing with a all good friends, and we're just going to have a blast. Well, I don't really know the openers, but since Gina picked them, I'm going to guess they're good people too. They just better remember to keep their mini-pitchers of beer above Keep's waist level. I'm just sayin'...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Realization is settling in.

Realization is settling in.

Just so you know, this might be a boring read for anyone but me, but it's heavy on my mind so I feel the need to get it out.

So we're halfway through January which means I'm only about two weeks away from having to move everything out and into the new place. I've been going out a lot, and I realized that part of the reason is because I've been partially avoiding the reality of the situation. On one hand I'm really enjoying being single, and certainly won't deny that. But there is the undercurrent of realization that I'm cutting a lot of major ties with the person I really thought I was going to end up with, well, forever. And that can be rough.

We also both changed our profile status to single on the social networks we belong to, and I have to admit that felt a lot weirder than I thought it would. A few months ago I remember hearing a bartender talk to one of his friends about his own break-up, and I thought he was joking when he said, "Naw man, it's really over. I can tell because her MySpace says she's single and I'm no longer in her top friends." Now I realize there was a certain bittersweet truth in his statement. I hope I never see a reason to remove Photogal from my top friends though!

Yesterday I also realized just how much I'm going to miss living with Lucy the Dog and Chloe the Cat, especially since Lucy spent most of yesterday afternoon planted by my side with her head on my chest as I finished out watching the complete Twin Peaks. And then later, I found her and Betty the Beagle curled together in Betty's crate, something I have NEVER seen them do before, and I realized that Betty's going to miss Lucy an awful lot too. They'll still have doggy play-dates, but it just won't be the same. I'm glad Pickle the Kitten is coming with me though, since that's give Betty someone else to at least be around when I'm at work.

I guess I was able to mentally avoid the full impact of this by amping up the social side of my existence, but that front is beginning to hit a natural down-shift. I mean, you can only go out every other night for so long before you just mentally get drained by the whole thing. On the other hand, I've met scads of awesome new people, and have reconnected with a number of old friends, and through it all I've been having a blast. But the party always has to end sometime and I think I've hit that point.

And by that I don't mean I'm suddenly turning domestic, I simply mean that I no longer am feeling the drive to keep myself occupied with some sort of social endeavor every single night. And when I move into the new place I think I'm actually looking forward to staying in with movies, or catching up on the stack of books I have yet to read, or, of course, winnowing away that growing pile of old New Yorker magazines whose feature stories haven't been read.

Anyway, if you're still there, thanks for putting up with my prattling. This is one of those situations where I flip from bursting with excitement to being filled with dread, so it gets a little tricky at times. And, since you stuck around, I feel like I owe you a treat, so please enjoy the following selection from a local band that I think has a bright future. It's an early demo of a current audience favorite.

MP3: America's #1 Sweetheart "Drunken Sweethearts"

You can download more demos and album tracks from the band on their MySpace page. Hee!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

It's a good day.

It's a good day.

Last night was actually pretty wonderful. We had a Friday band practice where Keep kept trotting out songs from the band's past, before I ever joined, and we just sort of fumbled through and banged 'em out. I could see PP and 'Balls were enjoying it, so I need to go back to their last album so I can replicate the drum parts a little more faithfully. They'd be an easy way to boost our set of available material by 20 minutes or so. And we worked out the arrangement of a new song, but you'll have to wait until February 2 to hear that.

Afterwards I tried to hit Liar's Club, but only lasted about 20 minutes. Usually I like the Friday mixture of drunk yuppies and Lincoln Park college students dancing. Maybe it's because school just got back in session, but last night it was a little too packed with those folks, and I just wasn't having any fun. So I met up with my friends Dan, Gina, and Amy at Mutiny. And then I got dragged to Neo. And the less said about that the better.

No, I lied, I do need to say something. At first I was super annoyed by Neo, since the attitude / behavior there is so largely manufactured and meant to replicate a time / scene that never really existed the way these kids remember it. But then I chilled and realized, fuck it, why can't folks have fun, and create their own scene? Who cares how silly I think it is if it's something they really enjoy? Right? After realizing that, I was able to just relax, do a bit of people watching, and enjoy the rest of th evening.

I really must be mellowing with age, huh?

NOTE: The photo above isn't from last night. It's from a few weeks ago, and the caption would read, "And that's when Holly realized that she was not, in fact, standing next to Tankboy, but that the man next to her was Tankboy's evil twin!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rhymefest + MJ = SWEET!

Rhymefest + MJ = SWEET!

And into the rabbit hole we go. Peep it.

Yay!

Yay!

I helped my company get its blog off and running and I'm pretty proud of it already! I love the voice our CEO has adopted ... it's conversational yet authoritative; I think it's a good read. Launching a blog for a company can be a tricky proposition, but I think we're off to a good start. I wrote a bunch of the surrounding text and I'm pretty happy with that too. As time goes on a couple other folks, well, and me, will be entering posts too. Have a look, won't you?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Holy crap ... The Gutter Twins!

Holy crap ... The Gutter Twins!

Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli's side-project, The Gutter Twins, has finally released a taste of what their collaboration will sound like. The song, "Idle Hands," sounds a LOT like old Screaming Trees to my ears. If this is indicative of what the rest of the album sounds like I think I'm going to be in heaven. Get the track for free off their MySpace page. Now. The record comes out March 4, and I can't wait.

My only question? Why the fuck aren't they playing Chicago?! C'mon Shinnyhan, time to call in a favor.

Funny how things circle around.

Funny how things circle around.

I got an apartment yesterday in Humboldt Park, the same Chicago neighborhood I moved out of when Photogal moved in with me. Funny how that works. It's right off North Avenue, and way closer to stuff than my old Humboldt apartment was. A friend clued me into the place so hopefully he won't be sorry to have me as a neighbor!

So it's exciting. But it's also actually really depressing.

While Photogal and I broke up in November, this feels like the actual final blow. The whole moving out thing is a lot more real, and a lot scarier, now that, well, I'm actually doing it.

So now, I'm locked into moving out. So it's sad and exciting. And it seems like all the forces of the universe are doing whatever they can to make the transition easier. I get the key later today and can start moving my stuff in whenever I want. Which is actually really cool of my new landlord, since moving can be such a hassle when you have to do it all at once. And my friends are certainly making it easier with offers of help and (very appreciated) offers of spare furniture. Actually, though this all, my friends -- both old and new -- have been unbelievably awesome.

Though the one that's been most awesome, and I have to give credit where it's due, has been Photogal. She's gone way above and beyond what could possibly be expected from an ex-girlfriend to do what she can to help out. She's been incredible and I love her for that.

And now, back to Humboldt Park.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hassles.

Hassles.

First of all, I haven't had to look for an apartment in over 12 years, so to say this current process is frustrating and annoying would be an understatement. But that's actually relatively minor next to the next HUGE realization I've just made.

What the hell am I gonna sit on when I move?

Over the years most of my furniture has disappeared or been disposed of. The main reason for this was the fact that Photogal had both taste and a bunch of her own much nicer furniture, and I had been collecting a motley crew of mismatched items for years. When she would suggest we get rid of something that was mine I would always half-heartedly say, "But what if we break-up ... won't I need that?" And seconds later I would realize how stupid such an excuse sounded in the face of a long-term relationship. Some might say that was an early sign things might go awry, but I actually think it's a testament to my pack-rat nature, and wasn't at all a reflection of the current or future status of my commitment to our relationship.

But now I actually am moving out and have discovered I have LOTS of crap like magazines, DVDs, books, CDs, and a couple mismatched sets of silverware I managed to forget at the bottom of a box in our basement. Unfortunately I have very little of those day to day items one actually uses like couches, beds, or television sets. I do have a blender I never use though*, so thank goodness for that.

Seriously though, I'm 35 but feel like I've been launched back to the same status, living-space decor-wise, I inhabited when I was just out of college.** This is frustrating to say the least.

*O.K., she doesn't know it yet, but I'm actually letting Photogal have my blender because I know she actually loves it and really enjoys making smoothies in it. What can I say? I'm a nice guy.
**Well, more accurately, the status I had when I initially dropped out of college. I was actually pretty well outfitted when I actually graduated 6 year later than I should have.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Trust me, I WANNA drink the Kool-Aid, I just can't, yet.

Trust me, I WANNA drink the Kool-Aid, I just can't, yet.

I wanna root for Obama. I want to believe he could actually change shit in Washington. The hard truth, though, is he's really just not the best person for the job. Not yet, at least. Unfortunately, and I only say that because of all the "electability" issues it raises, the best person on the Dems side is a woman*, and the best person on the Repub's side is a war hero. And while neither are particularly likable, both have displayed the ability to work between parties, and thoughtfully work through issues that come their way. But unfortunately, that no longer seems to be the way we choose candidates anymore, huh? Actually, was that ever the way?

I do think Obama's awesome. I love the fact that he speaks intelligently, and passionately, and rejects dumbing down his message to 20-second soundbites. I'm just not 100% sure that passion is a good substitute for experience. But hey, we'll see ... my mind isn't made up yet. Maybe, if i get thirsty enough, I might just have to reach for that glass of Kool-Aid.

*Sorry, Kev, I just can't buy into the Edwards thing even though I know you love the fact he loves the unions.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Shadowy head on some shadowy shoulders.

Shadowy head on some shadowy shoulders.

Still processing so:
  • It was a long weekend.
  • I tried to make peace with a certain individual and he still saw fit to try and make me look bad right afterwards. Don't fuck with my livelihood, man.
  • Twin Peaks might have just saved my sanity, though I forgot how excruciatingly long the scene is between Agent Cooper and the ancient room service waiter.
  • DJing three nights in a row at Liar's Club was a hell of a lot of fun, but certainly took it's toll.
  • Dancing with cute girls to songs by Pulp, that you just played, is fun.
  • Apartment hunting is a drag, especially when people don't show up for appointments.
  • Hell, moving is a drag.
  • I got a pleasant surprise when I discovered an interview i did last week will be appearing in print and not just online. Sometimes I am old school and get jazzed by the paper thing.
  • Drum parts are hard, until you get them, and then they're easy.
  • You really shouldn't park on Milwaukee after 3 a.m. in the winter, but if you do I guess you're lucky if you have a friend like me who can at least guide you through the torturous process you're about to be subjected too.
  • Life is surprisingly good right now, even though it's also frightening as hell.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Brrrrr!

Brrrrr!

This is the lighthouse in South Haven. It gets a bit nippy there.


Also, I will be DJing at Liar's Club again tonight! With Rudy! Awesome.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Sometimes three IS company!

Sometimes three IS company!

Wow, this hasn't happened in a while, but the original trio that kicked off the whole Bomb Squad explosion (um, that'd be me, Lisa, and JB) are gonna be DJing a special Friday night engagement at Liar's Club tonight! Since we try to keep a healthy rotation of guest DJs coming through on Thursdays, it's very rare that we all get to spin together at the same time, so I'm really looking forward to this.


Not bad for a flier I made in, oh, 5 minutes, huh?

Also? Last night? Keep and Balls absolutely killed! Seriously. EVERYone loved them.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Resolutions and (finally) the big reveal.

Resolutions and (finally) the big reveal.

I mentioned the other day that I didn't really think I needed any resolutions. I didn't mean it sound like I didn't believe there was any room for self-improvement in my life, because there certainly is, but i don't really like the idea that you only start down those particular paths beginning with a certain date. Also, resolutions seem to set lots of folks up for failure. In my mind, you're either going to do something or you're not, and you don't need January 1 to make the distinction for you. For example, I decided it was time to lose weight around my birthday of last year, but i didn't say, "I WILL start watching what I eat after June 30!" No, instead I merely decided it was time to lose some wight, and I just did it.

So what does the new year bring? I don't know. I do know I feel like I'm in a good place now. I'm writing for a living, so no complaints there. I'm healthier than I have been in years, so that's good. I'm DJing a lot and my band is doing well so that keeps my in good spirits. In fact, I'm a pretty all-around happy guy right now, which is especially odd since I'm in the midst of breaking up with my best friend.

Now this isn't news to any that read this site closely, and it's certainly not news to close friends of mine, but yes, it's true, Photogal and I have decided to see what it's like to no longer live together and date. It's a 100% amicable break, and it actually occurred back in November, but we were sort of keeping it under our hats because, well, it wasn't really anyone else's business. Also, we had lots of family get-togethers and didn't feel like explaining to folks why we were still attending them together. In fact the only reason I'm going public with this now is because Photogal slipped up and let her sister know we were parting, and here sister reads this site, so there you have it. (Also, side note to my mother, no freaking out, please. It's all fine, I promise.)

We are still living together, although I am looking for a place I can move into February 1, so if you know of any affordable dog and cat friendly 1 or 2 bedroom apartments in the Logan Square / Wicker Park area, please email me and let me know!

Now I can't stress the following point enough: Photogal is still my closest and best friend and I still love her 9and believe she loves me) deeply, but we both agree that this is the right move for now.

And I think that's all I'm really going to say about that.

So, resolutions? I have none. What I do have is a great amount of optimism and a pretty firm belief that the coming 12 months will be completely different from the previous 12, and all of those differences will be good ones.

Birthday bash!

Birthday bash!

Gina Knapik is one of my favorite people, so I am super-pleased she asked if she could have her birthday bash during one of our Bomb Squad Thursdays at Liar's Club. Then when she asked if Keep and Balls, and her friend Curley, could guest DJ with me my head almost exploded with joy. It will be so much fun. Plus, if we're lucky, the short-short red gym shorts might make an appearance!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I am the DJ, and these are my jamz.

I am the DJ, and these are my jamz.

Bergen asked for the set-list from Saturday night at The Burlington. I never write these things down but luckily my iPods remembered. I was taking my time to reconstruct it, but some other folks have emailed me for it, and I remember one guy that night asking me if I recorded my sets because he wanted to use my selections at his NYE party, so I figured at least a handful of folks will get a kick out of this. And to the rest of you, it does offer a slight idea what my sets are like, even if they rarely repeat.

The evening was a blast, including a one-time replay of an old SONO song, since all the original band members were in the bar at the same time. Also memorable was the '80's inspired dance Amy and her friend choreographed for me. You'll notice near the end of the evening we slid into early '90s Brit-pop house-party mode, and it was all good. The only song I might have not played, or played at an earlier time, is the Billy Ocean, but Keep did request it far ahead of time so I felt duty-bound to play it.

See the whole playlist from the evening.

Next dance party? Tomorrow at Liar's Club with guest DJs Curley, Keep and Balls joining me to spin for Gina's birthday party. And Holly , if you come by I will let you plug your iPod in for exactly ONE song. Hee!

Back to normal.

Back to normal.

I've got something in mind to write vis a vis resolutions / the last year / all that jazz, but since today marks the first day most people (including me) are returning to work after an extended absence, I really need to focus my brain on that.

If you've been gone too, now's the time to scroll through the last two weeks or so of my posts, and to catch up with Chicagoist and donewaiting as well.

I do, have one PSA though; if you still haven't seen Jon Brion play a small space, and you live in Chicago, he's playing Martyr's tonight.

Get your tickets NOW!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Oh-ate.

Oh-ate.

Happy New Year suckas. Last year was a good one for the most part. I think this one will be even better.