Monday, December 17, 2012

#125 - A Long Walk To Wait For The Riverbottom Nightmare Band

A meandering tale about the perils of washtub holes.

Unwrap the free gift here.

Not much more to say.  Nobody should spend much time on the internet around the holidays anyway.  See you next year.

-jim

Sunday, December 9, 2012

#124 - Slow Is Smooth And Smooth Is Fast

I'm not sure what this means.

I've crunched the numbers and all I came up with is this.

***

I'm teetering between committing myself to a life of fun and discovery or one of purpose and meaning.  Maybe there is a middle ground, but I can't find it.  I've picked these two paths to mull over because I haven't engaged in either one my entire life.  I'm also not sure if they will involved blogs and podcasts.

But I'm not there yet.

Instead, here's a funny show.

jim

Sunday, December 2, 2012

#123 - Completely Covered With Chestnuts

This is pretty much what I see all day.

Resume the chatter here.

***

Yeah, so I still want to talk.  I have found employment, yet it is still a job where I am alone most of my day.  I keep doing this.  It must mean something to me.

You may see me driving in the neighborhoods of SE Portland or the uppity and hilly suburbs of Happy Valley.  I'll be the one listening to the Jimmy Pardo podcast, eating a ham sandwich on wheat bread and swerving through roundabouts.  I may pull over and write a few notes down about old movies or cereal or Bill Clinton; all for a podcast that has almost no listeners.  But that is definitely me.

enjoy,
jim

Monday, November 5, 2012

#122 - The Last Ride Through The Wilderness


Holy crap!  It was sponsored by Red Bull!

There's a whole lot of talkin' to do.
There's a whole lot of talkin' to do.
Don't know what I'll say
Don't know what I'll do
There's a whole lot of talkin' to do.

I don't know why I wrote that.

Follow this link to Dylan's long awaited video:  West Coast

enjoy it all,

jim

Monday, October 29, 2012

#121 - Just Bring A Jug


I don't know.  I needed a picture.  These kids are cute, right?

Lemm git at that thing!  Pass it here.

***
I work kinds long hours now.  I'm tired.  When my body acclimates, maybe I'll have more to say.  I'm assuming that will eventually happen.  Listen to the show.

Peace and all that goes with it,

jim

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Banjos and Sertraline



So much has changed in such a brief amount of time.  I should have guessed; the big occurrences in my life always seem to turn with the leaves in the last part of the year.  Amy got a decent job, I got a job I can hang with, I've lost a nice amount of weight and I am officially on Zoloft.  All of this transpired in the last month, most of it in the last two weeks.  I am relieved.  I am trying to enjoy the feeling of relief as it is. 
My thoughts now are to what to do with my time.  My job is about 45 hours a week, M-F, and I get home at about 6:00 each night.  Amy’s chef job is naturally at night, which means we are back to having no days off together at all.  I was spoiled having her around every evening for the last six months.  It was nice. Now, it’s me an a dog and the TV.  The kids are around usually, but they are teens in their rooms most of the time.  They are in their own worlds.  It stings, but I am getting used to it.
So, how to occupy my time?  It may appear that this is a no-brainer of a problem; I mean, who can’t just do what they want when they have time to themselves?  Well, me.  I've never been very good at this.  When my kids were younger, I had excuses.  I had to be with them, for them, about them.  Now, it had changed.  But who the hell am I?
Enter the pills.  I feel the anxiety slipping.  I don’t freak out when the questions come.  There are points where there are no questions at all.  They have given me a little peace of mind.  I can relax.  It’s difficult to express in words.  I feel present; in the moment.  I’m not so concerned all of the time.  The energy I used to worry so much is not being used.  I just need to find something or some things to do with my time.
Since I turned 40, I can put my old job behind me and I’m medicated I want to do new things with my time.  I don’t know if I need to express myself the way I used to.  I still want to podcast.  I’m hoping to record again next week, but the writing bug may relent.  I think I might be okay with that.  I like using it when I want to; instead of one more reach for a life preserver.  I never really wrote much that wasn't some sort of opinion piece.  I liked my books.  Maybe one day.
I want to do new things and maybe meet some people.  I want to do something with my hands or something active.  I've never really gone down that road before.  I don’t know.  I kinda still want to play the banjo.  Or at least pick on a guitar.  I want to impress myself with an achievement.  Or just learn new things.  Or, or, or…
Fun.  It’s what’s been missing for 20 years.  I want to find it again and hold on. When me and the Mrs. can enjoy it together it will be better, but in the meantime, I want some.  I just have to find out what I enjoy.  The good news is, I’m not freaking out about it, thanks to the medication.  I’ll find it.
We still have restaurant plans.  That could be the answer.  That may take enough of my time so there won’t be questions.  But that’s not today or in the next week.  Until that time, what will I do?
Hmmmmm…..

Monday, October 1, 2012

#120 - I Don't Like It When They Grew The Mustaches

The  "s" is backwards because it's a chimp.

It'll all become clear when you give in to the undeniable magic of the podcast.

***

My chef wife Amy will tell you that getting into the restaurant game is not for everyone, and a a lot of it sucks.  Stupid schedules, egos, criminals, incompetence, sore feet and shoulders, third-degree burns, and smashing stone crabs are just a few of the pitfalls. But, I've told her that I'm jealous.  Not just because she found something she's good at, but that its a real thing.  Food is a tangible thing we all need, and a lot of us just love it.

She didn't want me in her game at first.  I'm a person with a lot of interests; and my trivia knowledge gives me the illusion that I know a lot of things.  She wanted the food world to be hers.  But, just like I'm not a musician and I still enjoy music, I'm a food fan. I like to cook but I'm no cook.  With the talk of the cart and the new talk of an eventual restaurant business, my role now is essential. I'm the support.  I'm management. I get to help the chef girl shine in her own kitchen, which has been her dream for fifteen years or so.

I'm fine with all of that. Thrilled, actually.  As hard and crazy as all this is, it is a genuine product.  An honest exchange of goods for money.  There are so many people who don't need their work to mean anything.  Some of us can't feel good about working without meaning.

***
-jim

Monday, September 24, 2012

#119 - My French Fries Smell Like A Circus

This is the trip to Typhoon Lagoon, 1989, referenced in the podcast.  Dylan and I are in the foreground, I'm the dork waving.  We were much thinner and tanner.

There's nothing in the rule book that says an elephant can't pitch.  Here's a podcast.

***

If everything may brain is telling is true, I have a whole lot of writing ahead of me.  Life is essentially a never-ending list of brainstorming notes.

***

I appreciate any podcast listeners.  Some new writing coming soon.

thanks,
jim

Monday, September 17, 2012

#118 - Some Kind Of Mental Douche


How did I get here?

Get your proverbial freak on here.

***

I want to create Mindbook.  It's exactly like Facebook, but the people who post on it are honest about what's going on in their lives.  There's no need to show off or try to remain brutally positive.  It's just a giant collection of fears and problems and maybe, just maybe, connections through honesty.  I hope that doesn't sound cynical; I'm truly honest here.

***

Even though we are barreling toward disaster right now, I bought two tickets to see one of my favorite comedians, Dana Gould.  Amy has no idea who he is, and I think that will be fun for her.  I would love to be able to talk to him, but I have no idea what I would say.  What do you say?  Do I really want to talk to this stranger or do I just want the opportunity to thank him?  I know he shouldn't meet our heroes, but I don't have heroes.  I have performers who I respect.  Hmmmmmm.  

"Thanks, man.  I really love your work."

Generic?  Well maybe, but how many dipshits out there try to be cutesy and cool and hip and instead of a compliment, the guy gets insulted or embarrassed?

Enough talk.  Action.

-jim

Thursday, September 6, 2012

#117 - The Appropriate Distance From The Caveman

Forest Park, September 2012

Take a leisurely stroll to the podcast here.

***

The only successful way to diet is to keep busy.  Burn a few extra calories and try not to think of snacking on deliciousness...  So, I'm writing more.

***

Outside of writing and related endeavors, these are things I know how to do:

Change a tire.
Replace a heating element in an electric oven.
Jumpstart a car.
Replace a toilet, or just the guts of a toilet.
Patch a reasonable sized hole in the wall.
Replace a door.
Set up a computer, TV, game system or wireless modem.
Cook, bake, grill, smoke, saute, broil, sear, and fry. And make pizza.
Care for a lawn, although I usually don't care.
Create a Christmas display, and take it down before it's trashy to still have it up.
Clean windows, roofs, gutters, driveways and other gross stuff.
Raise children.
Be married.

That''s about it.
The rest of my brain is reserved for forgetting tasks I've learned and remembering everything else.

enjoy,
jim







Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What I Did On My Summer Vacation, 2067


I swear, I had a dream about this last night and I had to write about it.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation, 2067

By: Louis O’Dowd Garcia-Wellington
Grade 11

Instead of going to the space station for Gravity Camp like all my friends, I had to work.  At first, I was bitter and resentful toward my parents, who are always trying to teach me self-reliance any way they can.  Then, they told me I would have to work the Time Travel Visitors Week at Disney World.  They pay is pretty good, there are a lot of pretty girls that work there and the entire job also counts as a history credit.
About eight years ago, after scientists at Stanford perfected time travel, Americans went crazy for it.  The rules were simple; visit anywhere for a day and you could only watch and enjoy.  No interference or passing on of lottery numbers. Nothing that would affect the fabric of time.  Travelers were monitored, and after a few hiccups (as you know, the Statue of liberty is still nude) we went back and forth in time in droves.
Like with most miraculous achievements in technology, we got bored.  Travels dwindled.  Americans looked ahead again to the first flying car, which has still not been invented.
A year ago, one of the original researchers at Stanford went on an undocumented trip.  He told no one about his experiment.  He came back an older man only moments after he first disappeared.  He told his story to his colleagues; he had been traveling through time confronting historical figures.
As this was outlawed, his colleagues were furious.  They demanded a reason.  They demanded to know what he was up to.  The researcher told them he informed these pivotal people in history about the future.  He shared as many details about the modern world as he could.  He also asked them if they would like to travel back to 2066 or so and see the world he came from.  Almost all of them said yes. 
But the strange part about all of this?  When asked where they wanted to go, they all answered: “Disney World”.
Which brings me to my job.  
July 10 -16 , 2067.  Time Travel Visitor’s Week.  A few thousand park attendants at the Magic Kingdom, closed to the public, a few hundred photographers and cameramen, and people from all walks of life and time periods meandering around the happiest place on Earth wondering where the bathrooms were.
I was a guide.  I’ve been to Disney a few times, and I know the nooks and crannies of the park pretty well.  The gateway was set up at the front of the park, just under the train station.  Sunday morning, we awaited the researchers. They would escort each person through the time portal smack dab into the smell of popcorn, roasted peanuts, and the view of a giant fake castle.
First though the gateway?  Teddy Roosevelt. He was definitely from his Rough Riders period; the tailored uniform was a giveaway. I was a little underwhelmed.  Not because of his significance, but that he himself seemed underwhelmed.  However, after about thirty seconds of scanning the welcoming committee (and their Disney info iPads), he shrieked with joy.  A cute blonde girl from Georgia took him up to the train.  After that, they were pouring through the gate.  Presidents, authors, scientists, musicians…it was insane.  For some reason, Da Vinci stepped out, paused, and stepped right back through the gate.  We never saw him again.
I got Medger Evers, Henry VIII and Abigail Adams on my first day.  (John Adams also wasn’t into it.) It really wasn’t much of a job, to be truthful.  Once they got a hang of everything, it was like a surreal family reunion.  These people usually admired each other, and while standing in line to get on the Jungle Cruise, you’d have a quartet of writers chatting about God-knows-what and holding up the line.  Hemingway just jumped into the water, he almost broke his neck.
I saw Pierre and Marie Curie eating turkey legs in Frontierland.  I saw Gene Krupa and Jimi Hendrix at ‘It’s A Small World’.  All of the musicians broke off into little groups.  They usually weren’t big on the rides; they just wandered around eating ice cream and caramel corn.  Van Gogh just laughed at everything.  The idea of a fake mountain with a fake train running through it was the craziest thing he could imagine.
They closed the Hall of Presidents after George Washington complained.  The story was that he wasn’t a fan of the portraits.  The line for the Raceway bumper cars was packed all day.  Somehow cars with lawnmower engines were more impressive than anything else. 
Here’s what made it worth it.  This is the sight you wish you could see, and I actually saw it.  Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln on the Tea Cups.  You know, the cups that spin around and make you sick?  These guys were giggling like nine-year-olds.  They went three times in a row.  Thomas Jefferson wanted in, but Lincoln’s legs were too long.
MLK eating cotton candy.  Lincoln in line with Winston Churchill and Picasso at the Haunted Mansion.  Stupid.  Insane.  Wonderful.
After seven straight days of madness there was only  one unpleasant incident.  (If it ever comes up, don’t invite both of the Wright Brothers anywhere.  Just one or the other.)  I was paid well, and I got a few numbers.  Two girls from Georgia, one from California, and some detailed help from Albert Einstein on my AP Physics summer assignment.
That’s all I did. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What My English Teachers Gave Me



Eons ago, in a misty, neon-drenched time called the late 1980’s, I was a mullet-headed teenager in a high school classroom.  I wore the same jeans every day, my high-tops had holes in their soles and all I cared about was goofing off.  In my morning English class, as a daily classroom assignment, we had to write from a prompt on the blackboard.  I was tentative at first; the prompts were a little hackneyed and junior-high, and I better things to do like ignoring adults and letting my grades slip.  After a week of toying with the chore, which needed to be done the first thing in the morning, I took to it like a puppy to your favorite sock.
Within a month, my journal entries were longer and more detailed.  I titled them and kept table of contents.  I wrote essays and jokes and stopped caring about the prompts.  I made my own prompts.  I read some journaling to friends.  I got attention.  I think I got a girlfriend from that attention.  Writing was everything.  I knew I wasn’t that good; I didn’t have the discipline and I certainly was not well–read in high school.  But writing kept the ideas stirring.  I was in love with the process.  It was all by hand in those days.  Just me and a pencil.  After the school year was over I have to buy my own notebook and keep going.  I soon learned that choosing a pencil was a ridiculous idea; most of my old stuff is nearly faded away.  I switched to a Papermate black pen.  (Papermate’s require less force than Bic’s and I hold my pen like a lefty).  After I got my perfect pen/paper combo, I wrote every week for the next ten years. 
Before I graduated, I had two more English teachers take notice of my scribbles.  First I was singled out as exceptionally organized in my class essays, and then they complimented my maturing style.  That’s all I needed.  Combine that with my first reading of The Catcher In the Rye, a book my young brain was convinced it could write, and writing became an integral and deeply inseparable part of me.  My ego and my innate need to ‘get it out on paper’ were off to the races.
I’ve never been published.  Almost no one has ever read me.  Outside of college, there has been no editing or review.  I write this today because even though it hasn’t earned me a dime and probably never will, I don’t think I will ever stop writing.  I can’t.  It’s my other brain, my other arm.  I can’t function properly without sorting it out on paper or a keyboard.  
I filled ten notebooks before I moved to computers.  I have no idea how many words that might be.  I don’t know how to how much time and patience and frustration and overall silliness that translates.   I know the finished books, half-finished books, the script, the poetry, and the whatever sits in my journals in the last nine years is just over half a million words. (Thanks, Word Count.)  Maybe that means nothing at all.  Maybe no one will ever read it.  Truth be told, they could all use some polish.  It used to hurt a little.  But you know what I did?  I wrote about that, too.
My English teachers introduced me to a method of staying attached to the world around me.  It’s as if another sense is involved; one that interprets sensory input and records it while still reliving it.  It is my brain at work and on vacation.  Books were coal for this fire. Reading taught me how to relax and breathe.  I sipped information and art rather than shotgunning it through a face-hole.  When I’m done with a book, I have a new array of themes and ideas and vocabulary.  I don’t need to learn the lesson.  The journey to the end was the point of it all.
I can think clearly because I write.  I organize my thoughts on the fly; I outline as I wash dishes or walk my dog.  The most amazing thing writing has given me?  Therapy.  When emotions are crooked and broken and when you truly feel on the cusp of stupidity or insanity, writing always gives a perspective.  For free.  Your subconscious is allowed to come forward and tell you if you are okay, if you are whining, or if you just need to shut up and watch cartoons for a while. Another human is a nice substitute, but every person has their limit of how much of your crap they can take.  Writing has no restrictions.  You can keep going as long as you need to.
Now I have a stack of notebooks and a My Documents file full of stuff.  I can look back if I feel the need.  I don’t just remember the events in my life; I can remember how I felt at the time. The minute details; the bills that were due, the temporary worries, the bits of joy and appreciation of my children are all there.  You don’t need these things, but when you are in the process of working things out, it’s helpful to have shadows from the past who figured out how to press on.  I love reading an old story and not remembering even writing the thing.  Who is this character?  Why would I set a plot in Chicago?  Who is this female character based on? Where’d the talking goat come from?
It all came from me at some point.  I was just working out some things.
I would not have had this in my life without someone telling me to write it all down.  It’s that simple. They’re called English teachers and professors, but they are your reading and writing coaches.  They give you a few basic tools to learn how to listen and think. If used correctly, these tools are powerful and wonderful.  They become necessary.  They become a part of you.

Monday, August 27, 2012

#116 - Noooooooooo!

I repeat: Noooooooooo!

Turn to the dark side here.

---

I wonder why I feel the need to personalize all of my creative endeavors.  I realize that this element has kept me from commercial success, or at the very least, a few more readers or listeners.  But that's what I do.  All the essays, stories, podcasts, articles, poems and whatever I write when i'm bored always have something I need to say to myself or the world inside.  I don't try to impress.  I try to connect.  Nobody pays for that.  And apparently, not many people read it, either.

---

Good stuff coming.  I have to go learn things now.

bye-
jim

Monday, August 13, 2012

#115 - Hug Each Other And Say 'Champ'


Albuquerque + script + acting + not much else = Good.

You can go full measure right here.

***

Sooner or later, you stop feeling self-conscious about sounding like an old man.  Complaining about the weather is about as old-fart as it gets.  But it happens every year.  So be it.  I'm hot and I'm cranky.

***
I'm is an essay-writing mood but there's nothing at the tip of my brain today that's worth 900 words or so.  It'll come to me sooner or later. Maybe when I stop sweating.

enjoy,
jim

Monday, August 6, 2012

#114 - That Place Is Fantasmatron


Horseradish. A wonderful, ass-kicking ingredient.

Show 114, your order is ready.  Show 114, your order is ready here.

***

I'm still mesmerized by the Olympic athletes. The dedication, the sacrifice, the pain.... the weird bonnet-like swim caps the men on the water polo teams have to wear.  Is it a sport, or a floating Princess Leia lookalike convention?

***

August makes me want to give up.  It makes me feel slow and old and beat.  I fight through it every year.  I guess therein lies its merit.  It keeps me strong; so I can enjoy better, cooler, sweeter months of the year.

-enjoy
jim

Saturday, August 4, 2012

My British TV Invasion



 In March of 2011, I started streaming episodes of the revamped and updated version of Doctor Who.  The original series was never that appealing.  I realize like all things this old that purists will profess that the original run, especially when the portrayal of The Doctor was Tom Baker, was better in some way.  Well, good for them.  My few glimpses of the old show when I was a kid left no pleasant memories.  The show was cramped and dark and cheap to an American kid weaned on Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
So many good things were said about the new Who I wanted to give it a go.  I really enjoyed it.  I was a fan of 9th, 10th and 11th doctors, but we all know that the Tenth was the best.  David Tennant, dressed in a casual suit and sneakers like an early eighties new wave guitarist, ripped through space and time with intelligence, humor and well-written dialogue.  The old villains were alive to placate the purists, but the story arcs and time-travel twists and turns were so modern in pace and reverence for solid sci-fi. My daughter, eleven at the time, hopped on board as we watched five series in a month or so. 
It is my responsibility in an essay like this to relay why I was so drawn to this mainstay of British television.  It’s still unclear.  I know there was this feeling of it being wholly different.   Themes and pace are so outside most of American TV.  There was no sense of repetition or blatant pandering to the slower members of the audience.  You have to keep up.  In fact it has a lot in common with the best of American TV like The West Wing, Deadwood, Lost, and deal old Firefly. Imaginative and quick.
My wife, an experienced chef, was also diving deep into the 3,000 or so programs by Gordon Ramsay, specifically the ones for the BBC.  Ramsay has many American shows and he’s well known, but something about the British shows was a little more interesting.  I’m not a person who things that just because we revere some British accents as eloquent and elevated that the Brits are automatically smarter than Americans.  (Have you seen the depths of bad British sitcoms?  Somebody’s watching those.) But there are nuances.  There are less safety restraints.  Like The Doctor was allowed monologues about crumbling civilizations or the quasi-technical feats of the Tardis, Ramsay is allowed to be honest. When he is screaming about a chef who is too lazy at his job, you agree that it’s the chef’s fault and he deserves the tirade. You aren’t coddled by British TV.  You are responsible for your own emotional reaction and acceptance of the material.
I sampled Spaced.  I was not as enamored by the show as much as the movies Pegg and Frost have put out.  There was the British Office, and I know I’m in the minority, but I enjoyed the American version better.  I also loved Extras, which was technically an American show.
Recently my wife and I caved and sought out Downton Abbey to see what the fuss was about.  American drama is entering a new age with shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Dexter and Boardwalk Empire among others.  These are well-written artistic serial dramas of movie quality in a time of reality TV. I wanted to see this PBS show that was nominated for awards alongside of them.
Never in my life would I have imagined that a TV show about the class struggles of servants and the noble family they serve in a giant estate in World War I-era Britain would keep my interest.  But we are into it.  It’s right up there with the meth-cooking cancerous high school teacher and the serial killer blood expert. 
Again, it is what the show isn’t that pulled me in.  The pace was slow.  The accents took time to get used to.  The plots weren’t dire. The world might as well been a Japanese colony on Mars. I had nothing with which to relate.  As the episodes go, you felt for the characters, you invested in all of the mini-plots and you learned to truly despise Mrs. O’Brien.  It is an entire village of characters completely constrained by antiquated social mores and you feel even better to live in a freer time and a freer country.  (At least I do.)
In Downton Abbey, there are servants wanting to break free of the shackles of thankless labor, and rich, privileged elite looking for purpose.  Everyone longs for something and nearly everyone waits an eternity for a chance to have sex.  I’ve never seen this sheer amount of sexual repression in one show.  It’s brutal.
Okay, but why am I now watching Top Gear?  I don’t care about cars.  I don’t even like cars.  I think of them like dishwashers; loud, wasteful, just a means to an end.  But I watched an episode a scant three weeks ago, and now I’m digging deep into eleven seasons of a car appreciation show.  If I take a step back, I think I know why.
Like Ramsay, the hosts are honest.  They are encouraged and expected to review these cars and crap on the ones they despise.  They argue, and they assume the audience is on board.  I’ll never drive 99% of these cars and I’ve only seen a handful in real life, but I’m vested in what happens on the show.  And so is my daughter!  Why?  She’s twelve now, and about as interested in automotive technology as Katy Perry is in a grey pantsuit.
We’re fans.  Not sure how, but we are. 
If you haven’t sampled what England has to offer for any reason, ignore your prejudices.  Just sample something.  They aren’t all hit shows, but I guarantee you will be surprised. I don’t want to say that if you want sophistication you’re only option is British TV.  That’s not true.  But they have different flavors.  Just like food, it’s important to refresh the palette and be adventurous.  Even if you’re just watching some TV.

Monday, July 30, 2012

#113 - Can We Have Another Spastic Bonfire Tonight, Daddy?

If only science existed to help me understand this.

Prepare for the inevitable! Download this or perish!

***

Don't hate on the Olympics.  I watch the Olympics because it's unpredictable and a little weird.  I know some of the events are a little corny, but that is the point.  It only lasts for  2 1/2 weeks every other year, and you can watch unusual people do unusual things very, very, well.  It's a lot like a Vegas show.  

***

More essays about stuff and things coming up.

Thank you,

jim


Monday, July 23, 2012

#112 - White Trash Lobster


These dirty little 'maters will soon be sauce.

Food show.  Tasting menu available here.

Pressing on.  I'm writing even though I know no one is reading. I'm also writing a little better; sharper, and with more organization.

An apropos analogy:  My writing career is exactly like a man stranded on an island for months, who still lights bonfires every night.

I don't want to miss my boat.

Enjoy the vittles,

-jim

To Those Who Nit-Pick The Cool Things In Life




The internet has given us an absolutely insurmountable pile of opinions.  Besides porn, the internet’s true bounty is millions of opinions that are cast into the ether to be argued, disseminated, and mostly forgotten.  Everyone wants their voices heard, as I do.  I want people to know how I feel.  My friends and family aren’t enough.  I want strangers to weigh in, for some reason.  But that’s my problem.
Movies are one of the bigger targets because they are one of the last bastions of shared experiences we have.  We watch The Dark Knight Rises and we shuffle out into the hall and craft an opinion on smart phones before we get back to our cars.  I, personally, have class.  I wait until I come home.
 I love giving my opinions.  I have a podcast, for God’s sake.  I love when my kids ask me my opinion and I get to be a long-winded old fart.  It’s one of my only gifts. 
I cannot blame anyone for wanting to be heard and using the discussion or entertainment and its attempts to be art as a subject. But in the race to be different, edgy, or have your blog post get picked up by an aggregator or news site, we are all trying to come up with our own angle.  This film was fantastic, except…  The purists will love it, but…  It might be okay for a superhero film, but… 
I think we’re lying. 
I believe this because I don’t think we care as much as we say we do and I don’t think there can be millions of differing opinions out there.  Sure there can be…say…20 or so angles for the last movie in the Nolan trilogy, but 709 million results on Google?  For a Batman movie?  Somebody’s padding out there.  There are a few of you desperate to stand out so you are fudging the numbers and doctoring the books.  You are just looking for something to nit-pick.  If so, and you had that agenda before you bought your ticket, it’s not a legitimate review.  You’re a big faker-face.
I loved the movie. Here’s what I thought. I think I liked the previous one a little better because of Heath Ledger, but this stood alone as an epic with a brilliant villain and it was a successful finale to the franchise.  Are we having spaghetti for dinner? What’s next on Breaking Bad?
To the pseudo-hype: the notion that modern politics seeped its way onto the screen cannot be surprising to anyone. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. If it did, is this a shock to people?  Aren’t movies one of the first red flags of discontentment?  The sterility and McCarthyism of the 50’s, the generational clash of the 60’s, the frustration of Vietnam in the 70’s, and the cultural divide of the 80’s, all can be found in serious films and Spielberg blockbusters?  It’s in the air we breathe! 
But for this stuff, the superhero movies of the summer; the problem isn’t the studios.  We can’t decide whether or not we take them seriously or not.  We all know the stuffed shirts and old codgers out there who regard Batman as the spandexed goof who talks like Adam West and throws the Kiff! And Pow! jabs.  That’s all he’ll ever be to them.  Frank Miller never existed and Robin is always at his side.  Spider-Man is in his jammies all the time and Superman doesn’t deal with inner struggles of loneliness and abandonment, he kicks incoming asteroids into the sun.  You know, kid shit.
There’s a new generation who think differently.  The heroes are part of the psyche and the lexicon and the folklore.  This stuff means something to us.  We know they are stories and fables.  But they’re American and they are ours. 
Then the movies come out.  And we can’t help ourselves.  Our versions of the stories and characters and dialogues don’t match up and we have to blame Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan.  Sam Raimi and Joel Schumacher.  Zack Snyder and Bryan Singer.  Then we say they’re just superhero movies.  There’s no need to get our panties in a bunch. 
What happened here?  Are these our folk heroes in action or are they just movies meant to entertain us for a few hours every May through July?
Well, yeah.
Folk heroes are awesome and cool and fun and the impetus of young imaginations.  They are a root system for power and individuality and creativity.  But, in the end, you only need them for so long.  At some point, you take a step back and enjoy them as a whole.  As your life becomes more complicated you appreciate the stories for having endings and resolutions you wish were around the corner for yourself.
We shouldn’t nit-pick. It’s unseemly and douchey.  It isn’t becoming and it isn’t very manly.  I know Spider-Man 3, X-Men 3 and that Hulk movie were clunkers.  Yeah, that was a waste of money.  I got over it pretty quickly.  The latest Batman may have been a little long, but I don’t care.  It was a good film and I’m satisfied.  Maybe you thought differently and the entire 7 or 8 hours of Nolan’s superhero series was a giant waste of time.  You’re wrong, but you are entitled to your opinion.  What I’m sure of is, we’ll both get over it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

They’re Only Smoked Ribs If I Can Hang Them On My Wall



I received a smoker for my birthday this year.  It is a charcoal and wood smoker; not one of the fancier, smarter, and more efficient electric models.  This is basically a black water heater sitting on its side, propped up by four legs, with a stove pipe sticking out of one side.  It is as simple as can be for the smoking process.
For one of my side projects to become a more employable writer, I am rewriting the manual to use this behemoth.  The original was bare-bones; and the primary concern of the two pages of instruction was to keep you from burning your backyard down with a misuse of charcoal lighter fluid.  I was lost when it came time to smoke my first few chickens.  The manual detailed nothing of realistic cooking times, the size of the fire, the type of fuel that should be used, and extra equipment needed to actually complete the desired task. There was also nothing about how much of your day would be consumed by cooking your dinner.
This is a running theme in my life these days.  How much should food be a concern?   It is just fuel and deserving of no fanfare?  Eat the required vitamins, stay near your calorie count and get on with your hectic American existence?  Or, since there are entire cable networks dedicated to preparing, caring, exploring, and discovering food, is there more for the brain itself?  Can you spend time on the planet devoted to nourishing your palette? We have art and music for the eyes and ears, what about my tongue?  What did he ever do to be so ignored?  Nothing, I say!
In our house, we cook.  There are no prepared frozen entrees of anything, save an occasional store-bought pie.  We never made a formal decision to put some thought into our food.  It is just the way it is.  My wife is a chef; but there were never home-schooled classes on how to chop onions or sear meats in a skillet.  Both of us come from families who cooked whatever was around.  Nothing fancy, nothing too exciting or even worth passing on to younger generations.  Cooking was an effort. You burned a few calories before eating a few.
With that labor to create our own food comes an appreciation when it’s done with flair and expertise.  I know the precision it takes to achieve perfect uniform pieces with a chef’s knife.  I can tell when the seasoning is just right.  My kids now know that a dinner with a protein, a starch and a vegetable doesn’t fall from the sky.  It’s not a magic trick.  It takes practice and time.
When I smoke my first slabs of ribs on July 4th, it took six hours of work.  The smoker’s fires have to be continually rebuilt.  I monitored the temperature of both the heat and the meat inside.  I have a remote thermometer that beeped when things were getting too hot or cold.  It was my afternoon.  I played some cards in between, but for an entire afternoon, I was tethered to my backyard.
I make homemade pizza when it’s a bit cooler outside.  My process for making pizzas for company can take up to three hours.  Preparing ingredients, dough work, and fighting with my oven to operate correctly.  My wife makes a giant mess to make chicken and dumplings.  She also discovered a fantastic fried chicken recipe that takes 30 minutes per batch to complete. There are no less than four batches whenever she gets the urge to fry.
There are rib places out there that serve them up hot in 15 minutes.  I could snag three pizzas from Costco for $30. I am renowned Popeye’s Chicken fanatic that has no qualms about the 20 minute drive to the nearest location.
So why?  Why all the effort? Why do people show up to all my wife’s restaurants over the years?   Why, in a time of chronic obesity, should we care at all about food? 
Like art and music and television and athletics, there is a skill to this.  Because an appreciation exists out there for a juicy hamburger, coq au vin, and leek soup, there are those of us who want to perfect them. It’s another thing we can get good at.  The entire willing world is out there ready to sample these creations.  You only need teeth and a modicum of bravery.  Most food needs no explanations, artist statements or librettos.  Granted, nuances are lost to the uninitiated.  But that distinction just upholds the similarities between art and cooking.
Whether or not you’ve ever spent ten seconds in a kitchen, you have some preferences to what you like to eat.  Keep an open mind.  It may seem insane for someone to spend a day working on chalk sketches on a sidewalk, or a sandcastle at the beach, only to have all the effort eventually washed away by the elements.  Is that so different from my wife’s chicken or my ribs?  Or a vegetable garden?  Or making mac and cheese from scratch? 
I’m going outside to smoke ribs now.  It looks like it may rain on me today.  In a few hours I will smell like sticky sweat and apple wood.  Before you even ask, I will tell you.  It is worth it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#111 - A Real Live Wackadoodle


Waterfront Park, July 2012

Podload the downcast right about here.

Yeah, I've been thinking over and over lately about my place in the creative spectrum.  I think, if I'm honest, I have no place.  I'm as I've always been; a student, a questioner, a mocker and a learner of everything.  I'm just a vocal member of the audience.  A re-creationist, an editor. A critic.  A reviewer of other's work. I make mix tapes, not music.  A sampler.

It's a little sad because I thought I had a shot at writing. I really put the hours in. Other than being a family man, it's the only thing I tried to be good at. The truth is,  I wanted the audience more than I wanted the work to get done.  I think if I felt heard as a kid, I probably would have never picked up a pen and started writing 20 years of journals, projects, and notes.  

Even so, I'm trying to make a practical form of writing into a career.  The business of interpreting and explaining.  Why?  Because I've been doing it for 20 years.  I can't stop now.

And then there's the podcasts.  I still find things to talk about. I also love being a goof.  That's a thing, right?

It's warm in July in Oregon, and still not too bad-

jim




Monday, July 2, 2012

#110 - Come On, Italy Guy


It's about time I throw a personal pic in here.

You know that new sound you've been looking for?  Well listen to this!

***

"How To Smash Your Pinkie Toe In 10 Simple Steps"

1) Order a smoker.  A heavy charcoal grill with at least three grates and a separate firebox will do.  It will have to be big enough to be shipped to your house attached to a giant wooden pallet.

2) Assemble and move the smoker out of the garage, but make sure to leave the pallet on the floor.  The more of an obstacle it is between you and your work bench, bikes, tools, etc., the better.

3) During a smoke in the backyard, forget several necessary items in the garage.

4)  This is important:  Do not wear shoes.  Be barefoot, even if you own a nice pair of sandals.

5) Walk through your garage toward the work bench and completely forget there is a giant pallet on the floor.  It helps if you believe you are in such a rush you don't have time to flick the light switch to the ON position.

6) Blindly kick pallet with your right foot, smashing your pinkie toe.

7) Curse nature for the existence of the pinkie toe.

8) Swear.

9) Limp back to the cooking area.

10) Enjoy.

thanks,
jim

PS - That is the correct way to spell 'pallet' for this use.  I had to look it up.

Monday, June 25, 2012

#109 - Grandmammy Pappy's

Not even sure if it's any good.

Get all the tastiness right here.

Sorry about the glitchiness last week. Something kooky happened during the upload.  The rest of the show is here.  Can you hear me?  Anyone?

Survived my birthday week and it didn't hurt so bad.  It is truly amazing what you can get used to in life. I truly believe that. Part of maturing is letting go of all the silly details of life you thought were essential.  Turns out that a lot of things are merely cosmetic.

In that vein, watching HGTV should be mandatory.  Not because of the programming; for the theme.  Guess what?  You can't have it all.  But, what you can do is pretty up what you have and you will be quite satisfied. On second thought, forget TV.  That should be taught in school.

thanks,
jim

Monday, June 18, 2012

#108 - The Story About The Fried Chicken Bowl

Hamburger-looking chewing tobacco gum.

Sop this up with a biscuit here.

My tomatoes are coming along nicely. I used Mr. Internet this year to discover that I've not only been watering them in the incorrect manner, I have been over-watering.  We'll see what happens when I go by the book.

I have a smoker coming to my house as a gift for my birthday.  I'm already imagining the amount of crap I can smoke with this thing.  It's ridiculous how excited I can get about this stuff, but as these food shows will reveal, it is the truth.  Me likey food.

enjoy, taste the rainbow, be a part of the pepsi generation, it's what's for dinner, grab life by the bottle, 

jim

Monday, June 11, 2012

#107 - Get This Guy A Candy Bar So He Doesn’t Have To Die

...and from under the table, I might add.

Obtain your necessary nutrients here.

Summer is just around the corner.  For most of the country, it's been here and made it's presence known.  In Oregon, even the seasons are laid back.  Winter eases into spring, and spring follows suit. 

My goal this year is to face it head on, and do my best to enjoy what I can.  That seems sane and easy. For so long I put pressure on myself because of my kids and culture in general; a type of recreational performance anxiety.  Now I'm trying to think: If there's a picnic to have, go.  If there is a trail to hike, do it.  If there's a chance to enjoy downtown, get in the car.  If not, I'll hang back.

It's still mostly job hunting and budgeting for me now anyway.  But that's no excuse to not rub some sunshine on my face.

***

Food-oriented podcast coming up next week.  Podcaster also turning 40 next week. I guess that's a thing.

enjoy-
-jim

Monday, June 4, 2012

#106 - A Gorilla Knows This Sucks


It's easy to have fun here.

With all this talk of fun, why not partake here?

I swear I could make an entire podcast about food.  I know there are thousands of them already, but my life seems to revolve around food and being an opinionated human, I have plenty to say.  I think I just need to have a Food Minute for some shows.  Maybe a Food Corner.  Eating Time?  I'll work on the title later.

My wife and I will have conversations about food while we're eating dinner and watching the Food Network at the same time.  My brain is trying it's darnedest to shame mew for this; because we are a nation obsessed with food, and too much is just obsessive.  I agree.  Well, I don't agree.  We are a nation obsessed with eating and consuming.  Not food. Well prepared, fresh, original and traditional meals are what we're lacking.  If we could manage our plate and serving sizes, then food itself isn't the problem.  

But I love telling people I am into Greek food right now.  My wife has a killer fried chicken recipe.  Brining chicken has changed our dinners forever.  I'm completely tired of cucumbers, but I can't get enough cauliflower.   And so much more.  Okay, I think I convinced myself.  I'll have to stick it in there somewhere.  I'm glad we had this chat.

Enjoy -

jim

Monday, May 28, 2012

#105 - She Doesn't Like Squalor



Follow the adventures here.

It's been awhile since my last post and show. I think my brain was on a holding pattern.  We spent a month wanting something we didn't get and now we are experiencing life after that thing.  This is a very, very strange time.

***

A word to the uninitiated - these podcasts tend to get personal; and by that I mean there are bits and pieces of our personal lives that crop up during conversation.  I listen back to them and it sounds a little out of place.  I have a decision to make, whether or not to edit the talk of kids' grades and water bills.  I thought about this for awhile and decided that it's staying in there.  I like the informality of podcasts and this is a part that I also enjoy.  So, if you don't know what Dylan and I are referring to, listen to more shows,.  You'll get it.

***

Have you ever concentrated so hard on a major decision that your eyes fell out of your skull?  That's what I feel is happening to me.  I need to pull the trigger on the next stage of my life.  Details to follow, but just the intensity of defining my life post 40 is pretty huge.  I recommend ibuprofen.

enjoy,
jim

Thursday, May 10, 2012

#104 - The Kid Who Called Me Squirrel Boy

My old ass, Sherwood, OR.

Feel the tension by downloading here.

First, thoughts:

The beautiful and welcomed sunshine cascades over my balding pate and reminds me of standing in line for the Corkscrew slide at Wet N Wild in the early 80's.  

Dreaming of one day sitting in a comfortable but firm chair, beset with enveloping work I love, completely forgetting this moment, when I'm wishing I was there.

I am overcome with a sense of fragmented pride over the sheer amount of unfinished projects and hobbies I can call my own.

My black Labrador Retriever sometimes appears to be a very quiet human baby in dog pajamas.

Second, this:

I have created a list of my favorite comedians of all time.  I've been struggling to write some accompanying remarks; reviews, etc. I keep falling short.  Maybe I don't have enough to say about enough of them? Not sure. So I want to put it in here so I can move on with my nerdy habits.

Withheld from the list are the two greatest comedians of all time, no argument, George Carlin and Richard Pryor. Also not on here are Dennis Miller, Sam Kinison and Eddie Murphy, three stand-up comedians that used to make me laugh a lot, but really have not done so in quite some time.

Favorite funniest Comedians (Stand up):

20 – Sarah Silverman

19 – Maria Bamford

18 - Paul F. Tompkins

17 - Jim Gaffigan

16 – Steven Wright

15 - Gilbert Gottfried

14 – Janeane Garafalo

13 – David Cross

12 – Marc Maron

11 – Richard Jeni

10 – Dave Attell

9 – Kathy Griffin

8 – Bill Hicks

7 – Jimmy Pardo

6 – Bob Goldthwait

5 - Louis CK

4 – Chris Rock

3 – Dana Gould

2 – Andy Kindler

1 – Patton Oswalt

Comments?  Let me know.  Otherwise, at least I got it out there.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Super Listy Part 2


             I wrote all of this before Adam Yauch died. It feels a little douchy that I left them off the list on purpose.  But I will say this right here up top.  Yauch has died and so has the band.  The Beastie Boys will remain one of my favorite things for the rest of my life.  They’re up there with Christmas, Disney World, fried chicken, and Sunday mornings. There probably hasn’t been a week that has gone by without me listening to something by them.  That’s a little crazy, I know, especially with their limited discography.  They were the soundtrack to so many daydreams as I took endless walks; they were the pick-me-up I needed when I was down.  I will miss him.  I will miss them.  They were the most fun band ever.

            Now, with the original post.
This is a tough one.  Everyone has a favorite music list.  A new one is written every four seconds.  That’s a true stat.
            I didn’t want to exclude music from my favorites lists, but constructing one always runs into a few snags.  First, there is the sheer volume of music I’ve heard in my life.  I can’t possibly remember everything I’ve ever heard and put it in order, so I need to choose criteria.  The specific criteria are as daunting to choose as the actual albums.  Best song? Artists?  Most listened? Desert island music?  Love songs?  Driving songs?  Songs to plant organic tomatoes by?
            But then, all of a sudden, it hit me like that hackneyed record scratch sound effect.  It’s my damn list. And in what way do I connect to music? Emotionally.  I’m not a musician; I play the drums and I’ve written a bunch of stuff.  I know nine chords.  To me, music either makes the emotional impact or it doesn’t.  That’s probably how most humans relate to music without even realizing. I am also a very uncool person.
            I call it my David Bowie explanation.  Bowie is a legend with decades of great music.  He’s respected by industry, critics and fans.  I respect him, but I have almost nothing in all my stacks of music from David Bowie.  I don’t change the channel when his stuff comes on the radio; but I’ve never bothered to dig deeper because it really doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t feel anything.
            I also have failed to retroactively pretend that I liked the better music of the past.  I think certain music has to get its hooks in you early or you’ll never truly embrace it.  I can’t really get into the Pixies or Sonic Youth...I missed the boat.  Also, I think there are more people claiming to have liked Elvis Costello today than ever bought his records and showed up to his shows.  I like him fine, but I feel almost nothing.  I keep promising myself I’ll try Zappa and listen to a full Wu-Tang album and see what the big deal was with Van Morrison.  But I probably won’t.  And I’ll never get Lou Reed.  In fact…Lou Reed sucks.
           
            I will exclude music from the following bands: The Beatles, Beastie Boys and The White Stripes. Their stuff is so intertwined with childhood memories and the memories of my own children, that half the list would be from their catalogues.
            So here goes:

            My Top Twenty Emotionally Satisfying Albums Of All Time.



20 - Who’s Next - The Who  

            I know it’s not the hip Who album.  It’s not Sell Out or Quadrophenia.  But this is the album that comes to mind when I think of classic rock.  Power guitar and lyrics belted out like a banshee --- and ‘My Wife’.  I just think of myself as a long-haired teenager daydreaming with my headphones on whenever I hear ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’.



19 - Brighten the Corners - Pavement
           
            I have this habit of falling in love with the more unpopular records of a band’s catalogue.  I’ll have a few examples on my list.  I have never tried to be cool in my life and purposely venture off the beaten path; it just happens that way for me.  Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is the seminal Pavement album, but I like BTC which came out after Pavement was hip.  It’s more melodic and sweet.  Malkmus’ lyrics are just as imaginative; but there is a cohesiveness here that I just love. 
            It came out in 1997, during the long gap between about 1996 and 2002 where the type of music I liked was nowhere to be found.  I have a few representatives on the list that got me through the drought.



18 - Blind Melon – Blind Melon

            Blind Melon came and went and are regarded as a one-hit wonder.  My wife and I listened to this album non-stop when our son was a baby, so I have powerful memories tied to it. They have a another album that some say is better, but this one doesn’t have ‘Dear Ol’ Dad’ and ‘Change’, which transport me to a much more carefree state of mind. 



17 - Apocalypse ’91 - Public Enemy

Public Enemy opened up for U2 on the Achtung Baby tour.  It was one of the coolest experiences at a concert I’ve ever seen. A stadium full of sweaty, bouncing Bono fans. I went home and got the album and it made me feel like a tough white boy.  Fans will say Fear of a Black Planet is the album to own, but it didn’t grab me like the follow-up.  A common theme.  Plus, ‘Shut ‘Em Down’ is still pretty bad-ass.



16 – Wildflowers - Tom Petty

            There a bunch of worthy Petty albums to put in here.  I believe this was the first one I really listened to over and over, beginning to end.  I remember the production was what drew me in…and I always like to hear Petty’s laid back lyrics. Listen to ‘Don’t Fade On Me’.



15 - Alien Lanes - Guided By Voices

            This is another album I got into in ‘The Gap’.  It’s almost a sister album to Bee Thousand which is the album you’ve heard if you know who these guys are.  I listened to a lot of this one when I was trying to write and play music myself.  It’s beyond classification, other than calling it lo-fi.  And anything goes lyrically when it comes to GbV. “I want to start a new life…with my valuable hunting knife…”




14 - Weezer – Weezer (Blue)

            I had absolutely no interest in power pop before Weezer.  I can’t remember if I liked this one right off the bat or not.  I was working in a record store when it came out and if I ignored it at first, the smarmy lyrics and fun, crunchy guitar won me over.  My daughter loves this album.  She’s been singing ‘Say It Ain’t So’ since she was in first grade.


           
13 -Yes - Morphine

            Everyone loves the album before this, I know.  Here’s the lyrics that kill me on this brooding and funky CD: “I had my chance and I let it go.  I had my chance and I let it go.  If I ever have myself another chance like that, I’m gonna grab it and I won’t look back.  I’m gonna grab it and I won’t look back…”  Awesome.     Plus, there’s a song called ‘Super Sex’.



12 - A.M. - Wilco

            I’m not a Wilco fan.  They lost me after Being There, which is also a great album.  If they kept it close to this countrified alterna-rock I would still be a fan.  I discovered my secret love of the banjo while listening to this.  It’s not connected to anything else; that’s why I like it.



11- Broken Boy Soldiers - The Raconteurs
           
            Yes, this is my way of squeezing Jack White on my list.  This was the first time I got to hear him wail in a full rock band and it did not disappoint.  Far and away my favorite musician of the last ten years, Jack White plays ferociously and writes tenderly with a smirk.  I love that shit.



10 - The Moon and Antarctica – Modest Mouse

            I’m pretty late to this indie rock staple.  My son Holden’s first venture into music at all was with Modest Mouse, and I think this is the sweet and scary gateway recording.  I absolutely love ‘3rd Planet’. I’m not sure why they don’t get enough airplay of their older, meatier music.  M & A is disjointed and warm, like a late-night party that’s dwindled down to the most eclectic of friends.



9 - Rockin’ the Suburbs – Ben Folds

            Ben Folds should be much more popular.  Maybe it’s the occasional swearing.  I have no idea. This is truly happy and fun and deeply sad all at the same time. It’s one of those albums that make you sing along, and then you realize what the lyrics are describing, then you like it that much more.



8 -  The Colour and the Shape - Foo Fighters

            I love rock music.  There, I said it. I’m not afraid.  I like guitars both acoustic and electric, I love softly spoken lyrics and screaming refrains.  I love loud drums and songs that build dramatically. This is a fine rock album and deserves its place among the greats. All the hits are here, but “Enough Space’ and ‘New Way Home’ are my favorites.  Just pure excitement and fun.



7 - Automatic For The People – REM

            Reckoning, Life’s Rich Pageant, Document and Green are probably better than this one.  I love all of those, too.  But this one is also melded into the backdrop of my life.  My son was a baby and all we had was a stereo and a channel or two of TV to watch.  There is some sweet sadness on this recording that is too sappy for some.  I get it.  But there is also beauty and haunting production that makes it list-worthy.  Trust me.



6 - Billy Breathes – Phish

            I'm off to see the man Mulcahey!  I like several Phish albums but this one sits at first, second and third place.  I think it’s a success from beginning to end, and for a guy who doesn’t care to sit through nine-minute jams, it is damn near perfect.  I sing along to nearly every song.  There are emotional peaks and valleys in there and it was yet another record that got me through The Gap. 



5 – Guero – Beck

            Guero came out just a few weeks before I moved the family to Oregon.  I love this sequel to Odelay; it’s playful, fun, smart and ridiculous just like everything Beck gives us. 



4 – Physical Graffiti – Led Zeppelin

            After I listened to this a dozen times or so when I was seventeen, I know what type of music I loved.  I’ve been told Zeppelin ripped off riffs and lyrics.  I’m been told Page was sloppy.  I’ve been told that other bands deliver better blues-based rock.  Well, they are full of shit.  This double album has everything; electric guitar, slide, acoustic, instrumentals, banjo, you name it. 
            ‘In My Time Of Dying’ is eleven minutes of jamming and abrupt stops and starts that makes you feel something.  There are songs that are meant for stomping on a back porch in a rocking chair with good friends, and songs that are meant for a highway drive alone in the middle of the night.
            It’s just cool. 



3 - Yield – Pearl Jam

            Loved Pearl Jam.  Still love Pearl Jam.  The eight or so bands that the media categorized as grunge put out their best work by about 1995 or so.  Yield came out in 1998 when the band was deemed silly or forgetful.  This album has elements of punk and KISS, ‘70’s a.m. radio and arena rock.  It’s lyrically beautiful and it feels like the one truly rounded album by the band. 



2 – Odelay – Beck

            I never listen to a CD over and over again.  I always think I’ll spoil it.  I like to spread it out, savoring every track.  When Odelay came out in 1996, when everyone forget who Beck was, and it was getting 5 star reviews, I bought it as soon as I could.  I listened to it three times in a day.  I told everyone about it; that it was the sweetest thing I’d heard in years.  I wish there was more if this in music.  It is produced without sounding sterile; it’s fun and inventive and mature and silly.  You can rap to it, dance to it, and sing along with it.



1 - The Bends – Radiohead

            Just before OK Computer made this band one of the biggest in the world, The Bends came out when I seriously needed new music in my life. There a lot less electronic experimentation and a lot more emotional ebbs and flows on this album. ‘Bones’ is a song that gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. There are songs like ‘Sulk” and ‘Just’ that have no radio play but are better than most of the stuff on the radio in the late nineties.  This is one recording I could not enjoy my life without.

            (After reading through, I think I love albums with a little bit of everything. I love a good buffet.)