Monday, March 31, 2008
Oh, good news! Liz Phair, who was recently (and silently) dropped from Capitol Records after they completely bungled her career and last two albums (Yes.), has signed to a new label, which is reissuing Exile In Guyville in time for its 15th anniversary (it is currently out of print). And it comes with bonus tracks: a few of her demo recordings, which I already have. But still, it's good news! And a new album in the fall, which will hopefully redeem her last two efforts!
This is all very funny because I have been listening to this album religiously over the past week, as it is still hitting very hard. And I was planning on writing an article (maybe two!) for This Recording about it.
NOW, Pitchfork just needs to add Liz to the lineup for ATO's Don't Look Back and my life will forever be complete.
Also, I was JUST about to post this thought:
That album cover made so many people angry because Liz Phair was 36 when she posed for it.
But this, apparently, is JUST FINE:
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
“I did have to break up with one guy because he was very keen on Ayn Rand,” said Laura Miller, a book critic for Salon. “He was sweet and incredibly decent despite all the grandiosely heartless ‘philosophy’ he espoused, but it wasn’t even the ideology that did it. I just thought Rand was a hilariously bad writer, and past a certain point I couldn’t hide my amusement.”
It's Not You, It's Your Books [NYT]
Friday, March 28, 2008
But then, on my way to meet Rachel for lunch, I saw two Lamborghinis and realized my day was going to get better. That's good luck!
Rachel and I had a great lunch and it made our day much better (she told me she tried - and failed - to quit her job this morning). And now I may actually have plans to hang out with friends tonight, instead of my earlier plan to drink a bottle of Syrah and watched Enchanted. Saved!
I also bought tickets for Sweeney Todd, which comes to Chicago on its national tour in a month. I'm super excited, and just spent a good half-hour watching scenes from it on YouTube, as I am wont to do.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I always forget that we are a fairly conservative country: twelve years of democratic leadership in the past thirty years? Hardly a dent. Jimmy Carter, bless his heart! And Bill Clinton, whom we now dislike because his wife is running for president. I'm still leaning toward Hillary, only because I can't get past how everyone treats Obama like America's Cool Dad. But I'd be happy with either of them, honestly, and I think anyone who would vote for McCAIN because their preferred Democratic hopeful didn't get the nomination is a dumbshit to begin with and shouldn't be allowed to express opinions.
On Tuesday, I was very, very tired at work, and had forgotten about most of what happened during the previous night. (Except that some guy stopped at our table, patted me on the back, and said, "You're really cute!" And then he walked away. He hasn't even had the decency to write a Missed Connection about me since.) And then I got this email:
I laughed out loud really hard for a good ten seconds. And then I thought, "Wait a minute, why was this so funny?"
Unfortunately, the other three can't remember, either. But that doesn't mean we're not going to make it happen anyway.
I don't even have a response to this. And I will go back to my personal blogging hiatus and post a video of Kate Bush and interpretive dance.
(PS. Thank you, Brit, for posting the Chromatics cover of this song - now I know I don't hate Kate Bush after all.)
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
It's all in jest with Christina, of course, but the list of people I legitimately hope will dance is growing.
Somewhat related: Adam and I had a big bro / little bro conversation this morning and I, for once, did not want him to dance. Excerpt:
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
The Yelle video is daffy enough, but this version really takes the cake. First of all, it's some weird French version of the Go-Gos, heavily influenced by Robert Palmer? And it's a live-action version of the video for Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing?"
In any case, the song is catchy, in a somewhat annoying way. I have a theory that Yelle is only hip right now because she's singing in French; I bet if we could understand what the hell she was saying, people wouldn't like her so much.
Monday, March 24, 2008
We both agree that the show was NUTS and would never be on television today, and again were sad that we didn't grow up watching stuff like that in the '60s. Then as we watched more clips from JCS (specifically this one), Christina turned to me and said, "Tyler, what makes us so attracted to this stuff? I mean, I've always loved this kind of thing."
I laughed and said, "And how lucky are we that we found each other?"
And then the both of us were temporarily sad that the idea of finding a mate who is as interested in weird shit like this is almost a pipe dream. I love Christina and all, but I think I'd love it more if I could find someone else who would want to spent an afternoon watching Match Game on DVD and sleep with me.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Here, enjoy some hilarious Canadian sketch comedy from the '80s:
Speaking of comedy, Attila has another show tonight at the Cornservatory! Come check it out, and bring beer!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
The Ice Storm is now on Criterion Collection. What a brilliant way to talk about how it's the first day of Spring and Chicago is expecting six inches of snow tonight! Hurrah!
I already own The Ice Storm on VHS and DVD, but it's Criterion! And one of my favorites! (I have a problem.)
Finally, if you apply for an internship at Megan's company, she will make fun of you and then lock you in the stairwell:
Megan: also, we're testing the intern (the one i didn't like) for a full time job
Megan: oh i told you that
Megan: i'm grading his test now
me: wait, the hot guy?
me: you don't like him?
Megan: hottish. hot in a short, jewish way. he looked much hotter in his facebook pictures
Megan: no, he made me very uncomfortable
Megan: and i locked him in the stairwell four times accidentally. he probably holds it against me
me: FOUR times?
Megan: well he kept coming up the stairs in the morning, but the doors are all locked
Megan: and he'd leave a message on my office phone
Megan: but i don't check my messages ever!
Megan: so, he would be in there until i realized he was missing
Megan: it took 20 minutes once
me: jesus, megan.
Last night I went to see X at the Metro (by myself... JEALOUS?), and it was a very, very good show. While there may have been about thirty other people in their twenties there, it was still pretty goddamn amazing to see so many old, former-punks dancing around in their leather jackets. And turtle necks! I swear to God, Jerri Blank was there!
Before X came out, I was standing behind two older guys. One was wearing what I believe to have been a Champion sweatshirt. The other had a ponytail and male-pattern baldness. I got to overhear a ton of gems, like Bald Ponytail's theory that Material Issue's Jim Ellison killed himself because Paul Westerberg made fun of him at the Taste of Chicago in 1991. "CAN YOU IMAGINE YOUR IDOL MAKING FUN OF YOU?" he yelled. Before I went back to the bar to get another beer (MGD makes things like this much less uncomfortable), I heard him tell his friend that he saw XTC open for The Police at the Aragon. "That was back when you were afraid of general admission shows." WHA'?!
I really was compelled to turn to turn to one of my more mature concert-goers and ask how long they've been listening to X. "Really?" I'd shout. "I just got into them! They were on the soundtrack to Margot at the Wedding!" (Coincidentally, and much to my dismay, they did not play that song.)
Despite how goddamn young I felt, I still had a really good time. It made me start to think about how many bands I currently listen to will still be able to sound as great in thirty years, or even be around to set out on a tour. Also, will I still be going to shows when I'm that old? I sure hope so. One day I hope to make THE KIDS envious when I talk about seeing Of Montreal and Sufjan Stevens in a theater of three-hundred people in a small, Virginia town, or getting the chance to see Feist at Schuba's. GOD, those were the days.
Thax Douglas was, of course, in attendance, but I bet he was just ecstatic to be around people his own age for once.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I missed Obama's speech yesterday, but I was reading it this morning and was surprised that he quoted Faulkner. From the transcript:
"Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, 'The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.' We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow."
It's an incredible soundbite (of course, isn't everything he says compulsively quotable?), but here's my problem: he misquoted Faulkner. It comes from Requiem for a Nun, a play Faulkner wrote very late in his career as a sequel to Sanctuary; it's a seldom-read book, but the quotation is the most frequently repeated line from all of Faulkner's works. It comes from the following exchange between Gavin Stevens and Temple Drake:
Yet you invented the coincidence.
Mrs Gowan Stevens did.
Temple Drake did. Mrs Gowan Stevens is not even fighting in this class. This is Temple Drake’s.
Temple Drake is dead.
The past is never dead. It’s not even past.
I get that Obama is paraphrasing in his speech, and that doesn't belittle the meaning of what he was trying to say, but it still bugs me. It kind of reminds me of this girl I went to high school with who graduated the year before me. She was co-valedictorian basically because she managed to take the easiest classes for four years and get straight As, but was honestly as dumb as a brick. (This was before AP classes were offered, so those weighted grades didn't place the people who actually put forth more effort higher in the class rankings than those who took Home Ec.) In her graduation speech, she quoted Charles Dickens as writing, "It was the worst of times, it was the best of times." Sure, that fit in perfectly with the way she spoke about high school ("You guys, ninth grade English was so scary with Ms. Wagstaff, but we learned a lot, didn't we?!?!"), but that's NOT what Charles Dickens wrote.
Transcript of Obama Speech [Politico]
Requiem for a Nun [WFotW]
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I saw it for a split second as I was leaving the page, and I shrieked and went back to IMDb. Because I thought Dennis Farina had died.
He's still alive. Thank God.
I think about this whenever I see someone reading a David Sedaris book on the El.
Coincidentally, has David Sedaris entered the same lame collective consciousness of Cats and Mad About You in the sense that he's now so popular and a mainstay of funny little personal essays that he appeals to the lowest common denominator? Could one compare his career to that of the greatly underrated Paul Reiser? I'm sure someone must think that.
*To be clear, I had to look up their characters' names on IMDb, because I never watched Mad About You because that show sucked.
Monday, March 17, 2008
REM-frontman Michael Stipe came out of the closet. I always think it's a little condescending and offensive to say stuff like, "Oh, that was obvious," but it's different when you thought that the person in question had been out for years.
Megan: you know what i've decided?
Megan: foreign language majors shouldn't look for internship that don't require foreign languages
Megan: because if your only distinguishing skill is spanish? you're not very special
Megan: and if you say you're in a sorority
Megan: I'M GOING TO DELETE YOUR RESUME
me: i fully support you on that.
Megan: i feel like this is my one chance to really stick it people like that. even if they have no idea who i am
me: or even know at all.
Megan: i did write one girl back to tell her that her resume was too long
Megan: it's five pages, tyler
Megan: tyler, this guy wrote that his "skills and abilities" include: Cataloguing and Pricing Rare Books
me: i wish i got to look at resumes all day
Megan: it's the best part of my day, i love it.
Megan: under "language": Italian- Intermediate, English- Mother tongue
Megan: nobody cares where you studied abroad either. i know you think it makes you fancy. but everyone went to europe in college.
Megan: "Public Relations, MOEF GA GA, Lloret de Mar, Spain, summer 2007.
Talking to thousands of tourists, and bringing them to my disco with a minimum of ten tourists a night. Responsible for knowing the special deals of each night and be able to explain it in at least five languages."
Megan: tyler, i'm going to start crying i'm laughing so hard
me: i'm tempted to put ads on craigslist now just to read the resumes
Megan: i'm totally going to test this guy. let's see what disco-customer-sleuthing does for your editorial skills.
Megan: "I hereby apply to be considered for position with your organization. I am studying for the Master of Science in Journalism at Florida A&M University.My concentration is in print journalism."
me: "with sound mind, i want to state my desire to work for your company."
Megan: i hereby delete your resume
Things I saw in a span of five minutes while walking down Clark Street on St. Patrick's Day (Observed):
2. At least two people narrowly avoiding collisions with cabs.
3. A man with a two-foot-long red beard smashing beer bottles on the curb.
This is all you've got, seriously? Last year, on Broadway, I saw a man walk out of Avenue Tavern, drop his pants, and hail a cab with his penis. You disappoint me, St. Patrick's Day 2K8.
I'm not very good at writing about music (or dancing about architecture, AM I RIGHT YOU GUYS?), but I would like to say that I went to see the Magnetic Fields last night and good lord, I'm still kind of reeling from it. I went to the show feeling rather apathetic about it, as I tend to forget how fucking amazing their entire catalog because I always remember how nasally the female vocalists are. And while, yeah, they were pretty nasal live, it was still a fantastic experience to listen to gorgeous chamber music for two hours and remember all of the songs that fill me with such joy and despair. Seriously, there are so many songs from last night that made me remember good times and terrible times in the last year. And they played "It's Only Time," and I fucking cried. It was a rather intense concert experience, and I'm not sure I've had one like that before.
Here's a video of another of my favorites, "Yeah, Oh Yeah!"
Friday, March 14, 2008
TONIGHT! Come see Attila at the CORNservatory. That's right, there's a THEATRE called the CORNservatory! Like CONservatory but with an extra R, which makes it kinda punny!
Bless their hearts!
If you didn't know already, my roommate / life-partner Christina is in Attila and she, along with the rest of the gang, is a goddamn delight. So if you want to laugh a lot, you should come at 10:30. Tickets are ten bucks, but it's not too pricey if you consider that it's BYOB! So bring a bottle of Yellow Tail. Or two! Everything will be really hilarious if you bring two!
There will most likely be a lot of cleavage, as well:
And if you need something funny and adorable to tie you over for the rest of the day, watch this:
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
With that in mind, I'd like to admit that I am losing my shit over this song and video:
First of all, this song is The Shit. It has CHANTING and, even though it's only four minutes long, it seems to go on forever, which is indeed a good thing. And the video? Fantastic. I love how you'll see old music videos from the '70s and '80s and think, "Man, this is so DIY," when it probably took a crew of forty Swedes to put this together. Doesn't it look like the Bjorns (I know one of those dudes is named Bjorn, but I can't remember which) filmed the ladies themselves? I bet it took a whole week to clean the Vaseline off the lens.
You may be asking why I found this song in the first place. Well, like "Honky Cat," I've gotten into this ABBA classic because of a Julie Klausner performance at The Loser's Lounge, as seen below:
In all seriousness, I listened to this song three times on the way to work. It's like the perfect Spring hit, if Spring was really a 34-degree morning in Chicago. (It's the first workday in MONTHS that I haven't worn long underwear!)
In an unrelated note: I deleted Vampire Weekend from my computer last night, and I feel really good about it. (Although I did keep "Oxford Comma," but let it be known that I do, in fact, give a fuck.) It's not that I hate Vampire Weekend, but I do think they are kind of silly. And that's clearly saying something when you realize that I kept the Free To Be Friends song, "Boys and Girls are Different in the Pants."
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Last night, however, I got a call from my mother as soon as I got home. I had sent her the link to my post at This Recording, and she wanted to tell me she liked it, and that I seemed to not completely make fun of her, which she appreciated. Of course, I had an idea that she was calling because, in that article, I had written the following sentences:
"Once a girl I had a crush on pressured me into eating a strawberry, but I haven’t had one since."
"It wasn’t until last year, when my first serious boyfriend listed it as one of the reasons for breaking up with me, did I begin to think that there might be something wrong and it was affecting other people more than it was affecting me."
Of course that invoked the first conversation of many, probs, about my sexual preferences. She asked the same question that most people I've known in the last four to six years have asked: Did you really have crushes on girls in college? Are you bisexual? Et cetera, et cetera.
It's a difficult question to answer because, if you didn't know me well in college, I was very head-over-heels with someone I went to school with, feelings with lasted for about two years. Obviously, those feelings were unrequited, but they existed nonetheless. And I did date Megan for a few months my junior year, although it admittedly wasn't a very serious relationship. Perhaps my attraction to girls really stemmed from emotion and what I thought I was supposed to feel. I've certainly found men attractive, too, but I think I never developed feelings for a guy until after college because, frankly, I never had male friends. (Even my mother said, "I never really thought of you being attracted to men, as you seemed to hate most of the ones you knew." Which is true; I never had many male friends (aside from my childhood best friend, with whom I'm no longer friends), even in college.
But, like I told my mother last night, this is an issue I honestly don't think about much. Sure, people ask the question, and I try to give an answer, but it's not easy to produce when I haven't exactly figured it out for myself and, really, don't feel like I have to. I am who I am: I like dudes, and I'm fine with that. I don't think it's really the most important aspect of my life, or the only (or even the most important) way to identify myself. In fact, I've never actually found that I can come up with an identity for myself, and I think the reason for that is I'm from a family and a cultural background that can't trace back its roots to another foreign culture. When you grow up not thinking about that sort of thing, and then suddenly are hounded with ideas of multi-culturalism and "hyphenation" in college, it's a lot to take in. I suppose you could say I'm "Southern" or, simply, "American," but those are silly labels that, ironically, no one (especially in our dear, liberal city of Chicago) takes very seriously. At the same time, however, I'm not going to put "Gay" in front of anything, either.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Last night's series finale of The Wire was, as I expected, one of the best endings to a television series I have ever seen. In an effort to not give anything away, for I still have hopes that the people I know who have been reading this blog will eventually heed my advice that they need to watch this show will actually do so. (Mark put it really well: "I suppose its like saying, 'What? You haven’t read War and Peace yet??' Yes, watching all five seasons of The Wire seems rather daunting, but then again, its not like you have to fucking read War and Peace.")
I'm not going to write much about it anymore, as I don't think I have the time or the space here to really dig very deep into the series. But I think it must be said that it was an extremely satisfying experience to dive into the live of Baltimore residents for the past few months. It was pretty insane how much I devoured since I started season one last August, and I'm pretty amazed that I was able to catch up in time for the ending last night. I'm especially surprised that I didn't tear up, although during the last thirty minutes, I had the feeling I might.
Behold again, Wire fans, one of the best six minutes of television:
That is my life, you guys.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Jury nullification is American dissent, as old and as heralded as the 1735 trial of John Peter Zenger, who was acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, and absent a government capable of repairing injustices, it is legitimate protest. If some few episodes of a television entertainment have caused others to reflect on the war zones we have created in our cities and the human beings stranded there, we ask that those people might also consider their conscience. And when the lawyers or the judge or your fellow jurors seek explanation, think for a moment on Bubbles or Bodie or Wallace. And remember that the lives being held in the balance aren't fictional." (via BG5000)
The Wire will end on Sunday, but, in my opinion, it will forever be the most socially relevant and under-appreciated series ever on television.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Well, I don't necessarily like it, but I do it. A lot. I don't know why, exactly. I think mostly because there's an Au Bon Pain in the building next to mine, and it's connected by a bridge, which means I can go to lunch without walking outside in the cold. And we all know how lazy I am. I am so lazy, in fact, that I will willingly and repeatedly make the same mistake of getting my lunch from Au Bon Pain.
I've written about this place before - remember when Megan went on a crusade against their soup choices? Well, now I want to enlist.
I go there a couple of times a week and the same guy makes my sandwich. It's always a disappointing sandwich, considering that it costs seven dollars and forty-two cents (with a Pepsi and a bag of Baked Lays, which we all know really means half a bag of Baked Lays). I think the sandwich-maker is becoming increasingly fed up with his place of employment as much as I am. On Monday, he forgot to put lettuce on my sandwich, which is pretty unforgivable since the only thing I order for my sandwich is chicken, mozzarella, and lettuce. So, in essence, he gave me a chicken and cheese sandwich.
Today, however, he did not forget the lettuce. To wit:
The man gave me more lettuce than sandwich.
He has clearly given up on me and Au Bon Pain. Unfortunately, I have a feeling I'll go back before the end of the week. After all, it's the only place in the vicinity where I can buy Baked Lays.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Sometimes I wonder how my life would be different if I was diagnosed and medicated for ADD. For some reason, I feel like it would have enabled me to recognize my potential early in high school and prevented my general apathy about schoolwork (which, I think, is to blame for being called a nerd in middle school, or just the general unhappiness I felt throughout school that made me, at fourteen, think there wasn't much point to it all) and made me at least focus on the work that I should have been doing. And maybe I would have gotten into William and Mary! And put forth some effort and graduated with honors, or something!
After reading Molly's essay, I thought to myself, "Man, I should have taken more Adderall in college." Sure, it's possible that the Attention Deficit Disorder that I self-diagnosed was possibly (and probably) just laziness, but I do think that if I was on drugs I could have at least gotten a better GPA. Like, I probably wouldn't have dropped statistics after a month because I changed my major from political science to English and didn't need the hard math class. Maybe I would have actually studied some, which would have prevented that C- in psychology, or that D in GSCI 103 (the name of the class escapes me, natch, but the course had something to do with rocks).
I was talking to Megan this morning about it, and she disagreed with me, of course.
Megan: that's a terrible way to think
Megan: ANYONE on adderall would have gotten more done
me: well, it's true
me: i was lazy and unfocused
Megan: why do you need drugs to be focused?
Megan: i don't understand that
me: of course, the one time i did take adderall, i played snood for four hours.
I agree that people rely too much on medications to fix the things about themselves that they don't like, and ADD and ADHD are both over-diagnosed and, like depression, are sometimes blown out of proportion. It's so easy these days for a patient to go to a physician and leave with a few prescriptions for psychological medications and, while it's not really a good thing, it does kind of make me feel dumb for never taking advantage of that.
Monday, March 03, 2008
It kind of blew my mind. When I told Christina, she said, "You did it! You win!"
No one other than us really understands or even cares, but it was exciting none the less. And I figured, "Hey, that's cool. I've peaked! Nothing else, Internet wise, will be as exciting."
Then, a little while ago:
That's even more hilarious.
Thanks for the memories, you guys!
In an effort to not bore the Internet with the details of my weekend, I'll share that I spent $50 at BabyGap (buying baby clothes, by the way, will go down as one of the most awkward moments of my life because I didn't know how to pick out baby clothes), then bought three more DVDs (and, by the way, I only watched one of the 13 I had planned to this weekend, which was The Darjeeling Limited, and it was really boring), and then bought this:
I still don't know how I feel about it, honestly, but I am going to keep wearing it until I make jersey-knit turtlenecks happen.
Today is Casimir Pulaski Day, which is only exciting if you're Polish, go to a public school in Chicago, or are still obsessed with Sufjan Stevens. The rest of us can go on not giving a shit.