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.


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.)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

#103 - The Great Arkansas Marshmallow Festival

Failed attempt to keep straight faces.

Eat the newest serving of beans here.

Amy gave me a little chore this morning.  It's a rainy day, and Thursdays are usually pretty dead when it comes to job searches, so I was tasked with turning a few old bananas into banana bread.  We had all the ingredients already, so no big deal.  Within ten minutes, I had the mixture in the oven with no problem.

I went out into my bedroom to get some things done on this here computer. After about a half hour, I went back into the kitchen.  The unbelievably familiar smell of banana bread had filled my house.  It is normally reserved for the fall months, but just the scent of the bananas and cinnamon put me in a better mood.  I can't imagine anyone not enjoying that smell.  They could pump it through the vents to calm a prison riot.  Imagine what could get done in the UN if this aroma floated through the air.

There is some food stuff on this podcast. I think I need to start folding more into my mixture.