Friday, July 29, 2011

Knock, knock, knock on wood.

Photo from a few days ago by Ann Fisher
Dogs do not, generally, like thunder storms. One particular beagle I know REALLY doesn't like thunder storms. And when those storms consist of a solid volley of lightning and thunder happening simultaneously for an extended period of time that particular beagle REALLY REALLY doesn't like thunder storms.

Lately we've been in the path of a number of massive storms. We've been lucky and suffered no damage around us but lots of others have lost electricity, experienced wind damage or, in the case of one friend, had a tree fall on his car. It really reminds you just how helpless we are when the elements decide to turn violent. Hopefully all of you are OK, yes?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's not you, it's me. And I swear that's not just a line.

Today is the day I unsubscribe from Raymi's blog. I don't dislike her, and I started following her back in the dark ages of blogging due to Tony's endorsement, but I have a really hard time figuring out what she offers anymore that's any different than, say, any given reality TV show. I can't really tell what she offers anymore outside of just being an online personality. It's not you, Raymi, it's totally me. She will keep rockin' on, and I know she's certainly not going to miss one single reader in her vast audience since she's doing so well. So, so long Raymi, and thanks for all the fish.

A life more or less (probably less) ordinary.

In today's Life in Bullet Points we get a quick rundown of what's bubbling top of mind. Whee!

  • I've been chewing gum long enough you'd think I'dve learned how not to bite the BEJEEZUS outta the inside of my cheek, but you'd be wrong.
  • I think it was David Plotz of Slate who made this analogy first but it's true: the super Conservative Republicans holding up this whole debt ceiling thing are playing a game of chicken and they don't care if they crash head-on into the world economy since they believe they are absolutely right no matter what the price. You don't play chicken with the suicidal, and that's what these cats are.
  • I have secured a spot in the photo-pit at Lollapalooza for the one band I was most excited about shooting, so I am EXTREMELY happy about that. It makes the fact I'll be running the equivalent of thirteen marathons around Grant Park and Chicago during that weekend completely worth it.
  • I've been listening to Chicago garage-glam outfit Mickey's debut album and think they probably share a lot more in common with Foxy Shazam than they'd probably like. It doesn't bother me though; I like Foxy Shazam.
  • Speaking of Foxy Shazam, they were on my kickball team at Lolla last year. I wonder who's on my team this year?
  • Somebody stole Jessica Hopper's bike. That totally sucks. If you see it, help get it back to her!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

They needed some pet photos at work today so I had to round up a couple of Betty the Beagle's greatest hits from easily accesible places (in other words I had about 45 seconds to round these up) and whil a few have made an appearance in this space before I reckoned we could all use a heavy dose to the cute today. So let's stroll down memory lane...

Regal beagle or caught mid-escape?
On hot summer days it's important to stay hydrated!
O.K., one more...
I swear, I had nothing to do with the garbage bag that's torn open...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How pets protect themselves.

They seriously turn up the cute. Case in point: Pickle the Kitten.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bedheaded, redeyed and bewildered.

It's late. Not super late, and actually on some nights I might consider this early, but this evening this hour qualifies as late. I want to go to bed but I also had the strong urge to write something so as I hit the top of the stairs I made a left into the office instead of a right into the bedroom. And then I sat in front of the computer, in the dark and staring at the screen with nothing to say.

When people say they have to write because they have no choice, and they're not lying or merely mimicking what they think a writer would say, sometimes you'll get the mental equivalent of the dry heaves and lurch and work because something wants to come out but the gut from which all literary "genius" issues forth is physically dry at that moment.

So, I'm sorry for taking up the last 45 seconds of your time dry heaving but at least I didn't puke on your shoes. Silver lining!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hit pause.

I just realized I've been running non-stop since last Thursday. I think tomorrow night would be a good time just stay in and chill with GalPal.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

So, last night, this happened.

What more can I say?

L.A. was a lot of work but a lot of fun. However, I missed you Chicago so I'm coming back your way.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lunch time.

Been running around like mad all day for the 9-to-5, but now it's time to take a break and eat. At our hotel. Here.

I wish I wasn't so busy so I could enjoy this a little more!

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's on like some sort of hipster Donkey Kong!

Ready. Steady. GO!

DJ Kitten Paws.

This video has me so stoked to see DJ Shadow this weekend at the Pitchfork Music Festival!

Are you going? If so, find me and say hi! Follow me @tankboy and hit me up with a place to cross paths and I'll be there!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Faux-bachelor life.

GalPal is out of town at a destination bachelorette party in the Caribbean (color me jealous) so I'm holding down the fort solo stylee.

I'm already bored.

Yes I have Pitchfork Music Festival to occupy my time, thank god, but Jeebis I think I'm at that point where I'm not quite sure what to do with myself when she's not around! When she IS here I love typing out solo but that's because I know I have some one to go home to. When she's out of town I remember what it was like to actually be a bachelor and I then also remember that, outside a slice of time when I was really enjoying being single, I'm not such a fan of that lifestyle.

Pretty lame, huh?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

P4K Music Fest!

JSBX at last year's P4K Music Fest
Yes m'dears, the Pitchfork Music Festival is this weekend. I'm in the midst of trying to wrangle up previews, and I'll be there all weekend shooting bands and taking notes. I'm excited to see a bunch of acts I've long loved play again and hopeful that some of the lesser known acts might count me as a fun by the time Monday morning rolls around.

Are you going? Coming into town? Heading to the fest? Who are you stoked to see?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Look what I found!

I fell in love with these in Kiev over a decade ago. Five years ago I finally found a little Ukrainian deli that carried them. Yesterday my eyes Almost popped outta my head when I saw them in an end-cap of a major grocery store.

Best potato chips ever.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Despite the hippy vibe, this was actually fun!

The Flaming Lips were the only band to draw me to the DMB Caravan but I have to admit, though I still don't get DMB's musical appeal, it was a pretty chill way to spend my Sunday surrounded by nice folks.

Friday, July 08, 2011

A heavier Brotherhood

Photo by Beka Cope
JEFF The Brotherhood, congratulations! You've also on the list of bands I missed when they came through town and now I'm kicking myself for doing so!* Man, I'm on a roll. Anyway, their latest album We Are The Champions is one of those rare discs that hasn't been deleted from regular rotation after the first few listens. It's catchy rock and/or roll at it's best. A bit of pop, a dash of stoner, a smidge of metal and teensy sprig of psych all comes together to create a pretty tasty mix. They just released a re-recorded version of a tune that appears on that album, "Health & Strength." The original lightly rocks butt this new version throws the bottom back in and cranks up the volume. I think you'll find it especially delightful when the song hit the 1:48 mark. Crank it up, kids!

MP3: JEFF the Brotherhood "Health & Strength (Heavy Version)"

*OK, only kinda kicking myself. Why? They're coming back through Chicago next month to play August 18 at Reggie's. Woo hoo!

Street festivals ahoy!

GalPal and I will be hitting up West Fest this weekend; definitely tomorrow and probably Sunday. We expect the kids to get all kee-razy, like they did in the video I shot below of some unruly young 'uns getting down to The Life And Times a few weeks ago.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Radical Dads not so much radical as they are just good.

File this under the "goddammit I slept on this too long and totally missed their Chicago show" tab of disappointment. I got the Radical Dads album back in May and it's been in my "to review" queue the whole time. I really like parts of the album -- specifically the parts that totally ape that oh-so sweet early '90s indie sound I grew up on -- but I just never got around to writing about them. I kept putting it off, thinking I'd tackle it when they came through town. Well, they just released a video and it was while digging though my emails to get background on the video that I realized they came through Chicago two weeks ago! I'm so bummed. Anyway, the video they just released just happens to be for my favorite song on their album, so check it out.

Psssst. If you like the song, head over and download it.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

My Little Bronie Reggie Watts stylee.

Absofrickinglutely hilarious, but if you're at work you'd best slap on the headphones. Reggie Watts' lyrics are awesome but very NSFW. I've had this bookmarked from Dangerous Minds for quite a while, debating whether to use it as a Friday Diversion, but it just never felt right. It's far too good not to share though, so here you are.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Google+ ... first impressions?

I've been playing with Google+ the last couple days and so far it seems pretty cool. Certainly not as robust as Facebook, but its developers seem to have learned from the Wave and Buzz mishaps and created something much more user friendly. I'm also loving its clean design.

I've seen a lot of early adopter types either gush or laugh off this latest advance from Google into the "social space." It's too early for anyone to plausibly guish, we simply don't know how malleable Google+ will ultimately become. Will brands be able to able to integrate themselves in creative ways as Facebook currently allows them to? Or will Google+'s strength be in creating connections between people who actually interact on a regular basis instead of serving as a "friend collector?" Again, who knows?

To those dismissing Google+ already because they think people are too deeply ingrained in other social networks and won't want to be bothered building up their presence in yet another location I would ask that you just remember that at one point MySpace* (and even Friendster) once seemed unbeatable.

If you have Google+ already, what are your initial thoughts on it?

*Incidentally that profile picture above is one I snagged from one of those cheesy MySpace ads YEARS ago and have used as an inside joke / nod to that network by using itas my Google avatar. No word on whether I'll be changing it now that said avatar seems to be your default Google+ profile pic.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Things that go boom.

Photo by semuthutan
Another of the little changes I've noticed since we moved to our neighborhood that is a new experience for me is the relative silence around here on the Fourth of July holiday. I had grown used to the evenings surrounding the holiday turning in sonic war zones. It's a nice change of pace. I like not worrying that someone is going to start aiming bottle rockets at me or my house. I like that Betty the Beagle isn't freaking out for hours because the non-stop explosions are upsetting her. I like that I don't hear sirens every couple of minutes because someone caught something on fire.

Does this mean I like getting old?