Friday, January 30, 2009

DJ kudos and the greatest show EVER (well, this weekend, at least).

DJ kudos and the greatest show EVER (well, this weekend, at least).

I just saw this on the Laser and Fast and Shit blog:
Jim is a all-around great dude. Please check out some of his DJ Nights I guarantee he will play a song an u will ask "who is this " and then you will have a new favorite band.
I love those guys. Which reminds me ... they are playing tomorrow at Hideout with my current absolute favorite band right now, THE FRIENDLY FOES!

Whoooo!

Afterwards I am NOT DJing -- though I really should be considering this line-up -- but the excellent Life During Wartime DJs Chess and Chris will keep the party going late into the night (early into the morning?).

If you miss this show I will still be your friend, but I will remind you of the awesomeness you missed out on every single day for the rest of your life. (O.K., not really, but you will be sad when you hear everyone else talking about the fabbo time that was had by all and the unicorns that were in attendance.)

Here is a poster you can blow up, print out, and put on your wall so you don't forget.


And here are some Friendly Foes tracks to get you in the mood...

MP3: Friendly Foes "My Body (Is A Strange Place To Live)"
MP3: Friendly Foes "Get Yr Shit Together"
DOWNLOAD: Friendly Foes "Couch Surfing"

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Germany's Avril Lavigne?

Germany's Avril Lavigne?

I stumbled across the new album by Germany's Aloha From Hell -- what a terribly awesome name, huh? -- and decided to give it a spin. Much to my surprise its contents consisted of a bunch of over the top arena pop-rockers charmingly sung by frontwoman Vivi. The sound is right up that Avril / Clarkson big guitar, bigger chorus alley, which means I'm more than happy to drive my car into a dark corner, throw on the blinkers, and settle in to submerge myself in the easily digestible hooks. (In fact, there's a touch of Josie and the Pussycats in there too, and we all know how much I frickin' love that album.

Anyway, here's a taste. Unfortunately I don't know if this album is ever set to drop in the U.S., but I sure hope it does so I snag myself a copy and file it on my shelf under "unabashedly guilty pleasures."

MP3: Aloha From Hell "No More Days To Waste"
MP3: Aloha From Hell "Can You Hear Me Boys"

In case you missed it on Chicagoist yesterday...

In case you missed it on Chicagoist yesterday...

Barack Obama continues to rise in my estimation as he plows through D.C. with a singular sense of purpose. And by singular sense of purpose, I mean his ability to call out D.C. residents for being a bunch of pansies when it comes to cold weather!


And, speaking of Chicagoist, I'm looking to add a whole bunch of writers to the A&E staff, so apply if you are interested!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Super Bowl ... denied!

Super Bowl ... denied!

GalPal and I just realized we have no Super Bowl plans! People! Just because I don't watch any sports doesn't mean I like to miss out on a Super Bowl party! Chips! Snacks! Beer! The commercials!

Why would anyone think I want to miss out on all of that!

Yes, perhaps I wrote a satirical article in high school about football that prompted pre-class speeches by numerous teachers declaiming me as an evil little mind set out to corrupt their glorious sport. And perhaps it got to the point that the high school football coach had to tell his players -- after the captain pulled a knife on me in the lunch room -- that if any harm came to me they would be off the team. And I suppose feelings remained raw for a while after that since that same captain slammed my head into a wall at a party years later. But seriously, that's behind me ... I promise if I'm at your party I wouldn't saw too much to mock the sport!

Oh well, I guess we'll just have to grab a few bottles of wine and settle for watching this year's Puppy Bowl instead.

UPDATE: Karl's recent Chicagoist post offers a tempting vision of football ... but I still think I'd prefer watching puppies at play.

Pedi-Paws...

Pedi-Paws...

Please pay particular attention to the second test subject...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Backing it up...

Backing it up...

My DVD burner seem irreparably harmed by whatever driver it missing of software conflict is confusing it, so I'm looking into online back-up options. I considered an external hard drive, but if I can find good online back-up that option seems safer. Mozy is out though, since once my files are backed up, I want to be able to delete them from my laptop drive without deleting the back-up as well. One of the reasons I want to back my stuff up is to free space on my hard drive! I'd also like to be able to access and download backed-up files remotely from other computers.

Does such a service exist? And if so, is it established enough that if I pay for it I can trust my files to still be there a few years from now?

Hmmm? Hm?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Blog core.

Blog core.

While I'm still getting my head together around the fact this is the beginning of the work week, check out GalPal's recent interview with OFFICE's Scott Masson. That's the edited take on his comments, shortened to fit the constraints of the feature piece. You can check out the entire transcript here, if you wish.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kid Rose? Axl Sister?

Kid Rose? Axl Sister?


Cream Team nails it with the below analaog blog, and it forces me to say it again; Dream Date is quickly becoming the local hip-hop version of Chinese Democracy.

Make with the clicky to enlarge to readable size.

Friday, January 23, 2009

What I learned from Barack Obama's inauguration.

What I learned from Barack Obama's inauguration.

GalPal and I make a smart match.

Even after Roadtripping over1,600 miles, being in each other's company 24-7, braving crowds of millions packed in like cattle in a pen and not arguing with each other even as despair grew we would never escape downtown D.C., putting up with a Tankboy that believed he was TankBot but was merely WastedFace, walking miles in the cold, and basically just putting our relationship to the test do you know what the first thing we did when we got back to Chicago was? Did we each go to our respective abodes to decompress and get away from each other?

No. Instead we decided to spend yet another night together just because we still enjoyed each other's company.

Now that is a smart match.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chicagoist has PULL!

Chicagoist has PULL!

I'm still sorting through my photos of the past few days, but Chicagoist Editor-in-Chief was WAY closer to the action than I was. He worked his ass off for press credentials and his hard work benefited all of us in the form of some terrific dispatches from D.C. and some jaw dropping photo sets.

Check out his shots of Obama's swearing in ceremony. After that, check out the Home States Ball later that night. (Dude saw Jesse Jackson, Stevie Wonder, AND Common within moments of each other!)

Color me equal parts jealous, impressed, and proud of out L'il Marcus!

Photo by Marcus Gilmer for Chicagoist ... look at how cute the Obamas look!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Where were you for the Inauguration?

Where were you for the Inauguration?

This was my view...


Also, note in the image below, people actually levitated as Obama took the Oath of Office! Sadly, though, no unicorns were sighted.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Update from PA.

Update from PA.

Man, I haven't been offline for this long in years. Anyway, we jetted out of D.C. today and stopped off in in Pennsylvania for the night. That was I can see some pretty mountains in the daylight AND get back to Chicago at a decent time. I'm still gathering my thoughts on the Inauguration, but you can get a good feel for what the last few days were like by looking at my Tweets. In fact, for a REALLY good impression of the last few days, check out GalPal's new Twitter stream!

Barack Obama is my president!

Barack Obama is my president!

In other news, I survived the inauguration ... But more on that later!

Monday, January 19, 2009

In D.C.!

In D.C.!

So follow me on Twitter for constant updates!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mind blown.

Mind blown.

Compare this to this and this.

Which is worse? ChuffPo ripping off the original source or NBC for crediting ChuffPo as the source?

Discuss. Fuck.

UPDATE: The ChuffPo post and the original post are by the same writer ... and NBC's site has switched their text to a recap instead of just yanking the original.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Let the music play...

Let the music play...

You might have noticed less DJ Tankboy action than usual lately, and that is intentional. I'm trying to stick to just a few gigs a month so they're more fun. Your two chances to see me in January are this Thursday and Friday, and I've teamed up with different DJs at each event.

Tonight finds me DJing at Liar's Club with Chicagoist Editor-in-Chief Marcus Gilmer making his debut as DJ Pocket Taco! My bandmate Keep might roll in later in the evening to offer some musical assistance as well, if he can ever escape the clutches of his day job.

Friday I'll be laying down the groove at Old Oak Tap (featuring awesome food created by former Mas chef John Manion!) sharing the spotlight with the Hos Before Bros DJs (Chicagoist's Lizz Kannenberg, Pitchfork's Amy Phillips, and if she gets there in time, Marah from Touch and Go).

Yes, I know I am SO lucky to be DJing on the two days predicted to be the coldest of this hellacious winter thus far, but should you REALLY let that stop you from having a good time?

I think not.

Photo by barrettbw

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Insta-DJ with Tankboy's favorite tunes of 2008!

Insta-DJ with Tankboy's favorite tunes of 2008!

I've been meaning to do this for awhile, but just never got around to it. Anyway, here they are, my 50+1 favorite songs of 2008, ready for your downloading pleasure.

Rock those virtual wheels of steel, kids!

DOWNLOAD: TANKBOY'S 50+1 SONGS OF 2008

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Who the hell is Tera Melos?

Who the hell is Tera Melos?

I have no idea who Tera Melos is, but they;'re certainly piqued my interest with this EP of covers they're giving away (your choice of MP3 or WAV format ... sweet!). Sure they cover predictable bands like The Beach Boys and The Clash, but they also tackle solo Rivers Cuomo, The The Pixies, and Pete and Pete house band Polaris (in whose song they inject just a fleeting glimpse of "God Only Knows")!

The best part? the whole 5-song EP clocks in at under 9 minutes so even if you don't dig a single musical re-imagining -- and you will dig at least or more than one -- it's not like you wasted half your life listening to the thing.

Enjoy.

DOWNLOAD: Tera Melos - Idioms Vol I

Troubleshootin'.

Troubleshootin'.

So I wanted to back-up a bunch of stuff last night onto DVD using my DVD burner on my Sony VAIO, but every time I put a blank DVD in my system read it as a blank CD. I usually use Roxio or the Windows system but neither would work properly. I then tried burning some stuff using ImgBrn and that worked, kind of. Every other disc failed during the burn cycle and those that didn't couldn't be read even though I saw the files .... they were all corrupted. I tried removing my DVD burner and then restarting my computer in hopes of updating the software but that didn't work wither.

Anyone out there have any idea what's going on here? I've never had this problem before and when I was backing stuff up a month ago it worked fine. So frustrating...

The Great Blizzard of '09!

The Great Blizzard of '09!

In Chicago if every single media outlet is awash in stories about an incoming snow storm that is sure to incapacitate the area you can be pretty sure that there will be no snowfall of mythic community paralyzing proportion. In fact, the next day's news will pretty much be filled with newspeople chattering about how we missed seventeen feet worth of snow by thiiiiiis much.

Last evening's news was filled with predictions of white-outs and a snowbound Chicago, and what was the result? I've had dandruff that put the evening's accumulation to shame.

On top of it, I have no idea why anyone in Chicago even cares if we do get hit by a blizzard that would drop a foot-plus of snow on top of us. It's not like we get snow days? Last night I was grousing that as an adult in this city there is never enough snow to actually close any office I've ever worked.*

Instead, the heavier the snow, the earlier you need to leave to account for slow travel times ... and the longer you'll work since there's no point in leaving the office when everyone is trying to travel home at the same time ten hours later. (And it's no better for kids ... due to our mayor's past and recently rediscovered desire to retain political office, the city's extremely aggressive street clearing plans mean that even this tiniest tyke is going to have to report to homeroom when the kids in outlying counties are building snow forts.)

So forgive me if we don't get sucked into hysterical new stories urging us to stock up on supplies, and forgive us if you can hear us sneering at friends in NYC or D.C. or Boston who talk of offices closing at the threat of six inches of snow. We in the urban Midwest (I am also peering your way, my eben crazier Minnesota sisters and brothers) are made of surprisingly hardier stuff. Tell me there's a foot of snow coming our way and we will laughg in your face.

However, those days with high of -3° to -11° F that are being predicted for later this week? That kind of news scares our pants off! (Insert laughter from our Canadian cousins ... here.)

*O.K., there was that ONE blizzard back in -- what, '98ish? -- where the city got hit by almost two feet of snow no one saw coming and everything actually did shut down for one day. That was magical.

Photo by by : : w i n t e r t w i n e d : :

Monday, January 12, 2009

It was only a matter of time...

It was only a matter of time...

Stuff Journalists Like
... yup.

Burgeoning technical difficulties can wreak havoc on productivity.

Burgeoning technical difficulties can wreak havoc on productivity.

I realize this isn't the best way to start off the week, but the space bar on my laptop seems to be failing on me already! For a writer that's a pretty annoying development.

Grrr. I was going to put together a post about how excited I was to score tickets to the inauguration the old fashioned way -- through my Congressman -- and how stressful and thrilling it is to try and cobble together a trip to D.C. in less than 7 days, but I guess that'll just have to wait until I can at least stomach typing a paragraph without half the words flowing together sans spacing.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Craiglist Missed Connection anomaly.

Craiglist Missed Connection anomaly.

They don't always have to be creepy ... sometimes they can warm even the coldest of hearts.

Yet another reason to love Edward Gorey...

Yet another reason to love Edward Gorey...

If you are a fan of pitch-black humor, then you will want to peruse The Recently Deflowered Girl.

Whoah...


If you are not a fan of pitch-black humor, but instead prefer le cuteness, then you will want to point your eyeballs towards Rusty, the narcoleptic daschund.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Falkor yeah, it's The NeverEnding Story!

Falkor yeah, it's The NeverEnding Story!

Buffetlibre put together another one of their massive Rewind projects, getting bands both impossibly obscure and firmly mainstream to cover songs they lurve from the past. With 89 tracks there's plenty of dross in there, but the few gems are real finds. My absolute favorite is Canadians' -- with Rentals singer/keyboardist Cherielynn Westrich -- cover of the theme to The NeverEnding Story.

Makes me wanna hunt out my own luckdragon...

MP3: Canadians "The NeverEnding Story (feat. Cherielynn Westrich)"

DOWNLOAD: The entire Buffetlibre Rewind 2 collection

Looks like it's time for a lesson in basic netiquette, folks.

Looks like it's time for a lesson in basic netiquette, folks.

O.K., I think someone has to say something about re-posting the same material in a dozen different places. When you enter a blog entry on your regular site, I don't want to see the exact same entry as a Facebook note, as a MySpace blog, as a Tweet and as you status message on a dozen different sites and IM handles. I don't mind the occasional re-post of an announcement or something like that, but for the most part putting the same material in a dozen places is just unacceptable.

Look, I want people to read the stuff I write too, and I think it should be readily available, but I also think it's more valuable when people opt in to read it instead of getting spammed by the same content over and over again. I don't mind when you remind me you write elsewhere, or suggest I sign up for your feed (something I will immediately do if I want to keep up with your regular stuff). At some point we'll each have our own aggregated site everyone else can subscribe too (yes, I know FriendFeed exists but I still don't find them 100% reliable) but until then let's keep from burying each other in the exact same post five different times.

I'm not saying you should never post something in more than one place, there are always exceptions to the rule, but if you're someone whose multiple online forums contain all the same content, I'm going to start getting annoyed even by the good stuff ... and none of us wants that to happen, right?

Also, if you're on Twitter and all you ever do is post links to your own blog posts, I'm un-following you.* You've been warned.

*And yes, I realize this is an ironic statement since currently that's what Chicagoist is set up to do ... but honestly I didn't even know the site had a Twitter account and we're now taking steps to make it more of a conversational tool than a self-promotional one.

Happy birthday Mr. Jones.

Happy birthday Mr. Jones.

Today is my favorite musician's birthday. Here's hoping he has many more and continues on the creative streak he's been enjoying for the last few years!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

ZOMG TXT = ++ !!!

ZOMG TXT = ++ !!!

File this under "so obvious it kills me" but I feel compelled to write about it anyway...

Yesterday reminded my why text messaging is awesome. Sure, it's often abused, and I'm not exactly innocent of that. I've tried to amend my ways though! I no longer send out those anonymous "What's going on tonight?" or "What are you up to?" or "You still up?" text messages to a number of people at the same time. I do admit to sending out the "I'm DJing tonight at ..." texts from time to time, but that's to a fixed list and only goes out very rarely. Now when I ask someone what they're up to any particular evening I try to personalize it somehow so they know I am actually interested in what they are doing and not just fishing for parties and such.

So yeah, as a basic mode of communication I think text messaging is pretty nifty, but yesterday proved how useful it can be in the dissemination of information. Two instances in particular underscored this point for me.

  • As I was leaving the gym I realized GalPal had sent me a text warning me not to take the Blue Line train into work. Someone had jumped on the tracks and everything was backed up. Because of her warning I was able to hop on a different bus that was just passing by, take an alternate train downtown, and ended up getting to work on time. (Though it should be noticed that texting technology allowed me to contact my boss and let him know I might be late due to the re-route.)

  • Around lunchtime I got a text from my brother asking where to grab a quick bite near where he was serving jury duty. Knowing his tastes I was able to just shoot him back a text with a locale and directions on how to get there. An hour later he sent another text letting me know how great the place was.
I know the two examples above may seem silly, and one could argue that phone calls could have taken the place of texts ... but in both instances they really couldn't. If GalPal had left a voice message I might not have noticed it until it was too late, and I suspect my brother texted me from where he was waiting to be called in for duty, so he couldn't exactly whip out his phone and start yapping. Plus, I was able to send him directions in writing he could refer back to instead of trying to remember them or scribble them down furtively on a scrap of paper. So see, not only is texting helpful, it saves trees!

P.S. Notice how I did not even get into the way texting made its way into last year's Presidential campaign?

Photo by another.point.in.time

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Why sometimes it would be best to entrust your music to someone else.

Why sometimes it would be best to entrust your music to someone else.

Dear Kevin Barnes,

The Jon Brion re-workings of both "An Eluardian Instance" and "Gallery Piece" unlock the inner pop smash-hit potential hidden within each song improving both by leaps and bounds (and this is coming from a fellow who likes the original recordings of both quite a bit).

Please beg him to produce your next album.

Thanks,
Tankboy

We now return to your regularly scheduled programming...

We now return to your regularly scheduled programming...

Man, am I exhausted ... how about you? I think it has to do with the fade of the holidays and the return to regular uninterrupted work weeks. I was the only copywriter in my office over the holidays so it's not like I wasn't busy, but I did get a little too used to the 3-day weeks with four days off at a time! I got right back into the swing of things yesterday and was pleasantly busy, but when I got home last night I was wiped out! It was actually a little weird. Ah well, it's probably just readjustment.

Come to think of it, I was looking at my January calendar and realized it's looking pretty barren at the moment. If you take this month's events and compared them to the whirlwind of the last two months, I think it's safe to presume that my mind is probably just taking this chance at downtime to recharge itself as much as possible.

I guess you could say my internal tank is automatically refilling while it has the chance!

Photo from NYE by Ryan Mitchell

Monday, January 05, 2009

The thing about regret is that you should never regret the same thing twice.

The thing about regret is that you should never regret the same thing twice.

I don't really have any resolutions for this year. I've sort of adopted the thinking that if there's something about yourself you want to improve, you should be able to do it any time of the year. There are a few usual beginning-of-year thoughts running through my head, but none of them require any huge change in personal behavior. My jeans are a tad tighter than they were a month ago, but with the end of the holiday season and its attendant uptick in food intake I suspect that will correct itself in a week or two. Quitting smoking has crossed my mind too, but again, that's the sort of thing I'll just deal with when I decide to finally do it. I'd like to hit the 52 books in 52 weeks mark ... but honestly, between my massive multimedia intake and crunched schedule that'll probably be impossible. Plus it doesn't help that the first book I chose to start the year weighs in at 898 pages.

So I say no to the conventional resolutions everyone seems to adopt at the beginning of January only to discard by the end of the month, but I do think there is something to be said for resolving not to repeat past mistakes.

My biggest regret of 2008 was the way I totally botched my break-up with a girl I had known for over ten years before we decided to date. She was a person I always had fun with, and after Photogal and I ended things she and I grew very close. We dated for a few months and I ended things with her very abruptly and in a manner that can only be described and selfish and completely self-centered. She was, and still is, a completely amazing person and she deserved far better treatment than I doled out.

So there you have it, I guess I do have a resolution for 2009 and beyond; I hope my selfishness never again hurts someone I love.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Feelin' unproductive.

Feelin' unproductive.

Plans for the day:
  1. Gym
  2. Rent Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe game and play my first videogame since 1996
  3. Rent dumb comedy movie
  4. Order pizza
  5. Eat pizza
  6. Snuggle
  7. Sleep
Should be fun!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Yup, we all survived another one. Congratulations!