26 September 2006

When They Finally Start Putting Microchips In Our Brains

I want this permanently installed on mine:

SMALL UPDATE: I forgot to point out the strange sports coincidence that this 2002 Super Bowl performance took place at the Superdome in New Orleans, the very site of last night's U2 mini-gig.

25 September 2006

You Are Beautiful

So U2 just absolutely embarrassed Green Day in the Monday Night Football pre-game show. I know plenty of folks who adore Billy Joe Armstrong, but I just don't get it. Green Day fans can keep their self-destructive, gloom-ridden top-40 punk. As this New Orleans performance proved – along with the (less than 5 months post 9/11) Super Bowl XXXVI half-time show – sometimes exuberant, world-saving rock 'n' roll is the most beautifully healing sound in the world.

May God bless New Orleans.

22 September 2006

Thunder, Lightning, Television

I think it snowed (or maybe just slushed) at my house last night. There's plenty of the white stuff on the mountains. And the mother of all thunderstorms plowed through the Salt Lake valley at about 4am. Serious stuff. Lightning that lit up our bedroom (with the blinds closed) and immediate thunder that shook the foundation. Good times all around. Did I mention that it's September 22 and we've had the heat on in our house for 6 days now?

Anyway. Aside from Monday night's premiere of Studio 60 (which was pretty fantastic in a West-Wing-vs.-Hollywood sort of way), last night finally delivered some television worth getting excited about.

The Office
Probably one of the more uncomfortable episodes of the American version. Those of you who haven't seen the BBC original should be advised that it is far more brutal than the NBC take. Far more brutal. And last night's premiere was just about as close as Steve Carell has come to David Brent. And that's OK. I've come to enjoy the funnier, more lighthearted direction of The Office. And that's what made (for me, anyway) the episode even better. I'm not sold on the Jim/Pam melodrama. And it's an obvious mistake for anyone involved with the show to let that relationship overwhelm everything else that's going on. Immediate spinning the show into a painful and bruising episode-long tailspin was the right move. The Pam/Jim longing was reasonable and Steve Carell was just about as obliviously ruthless as can be. Not the greatest 22 minutes of The Office. But solid. And promising. Seriously... the "gaydar" clip at the end paired with Michael Scott's "Do you think his roommate knows?" comment were pure brilliance. Looks like a good year.

My Name is Earl
In October of 2003, the New Yorker ran a piece on Jaime Pressley (by Rebeccas Mead... I had no luck tracking down the article online) titled "The Almost It Girl". I read it. Of course I did. Contrary to the opinion my current slacking would seem to give, I was once a faithful cover-to-cover reader of the New Yorker. At any rate, the story detailed the struggle of a fringe "IT" actress like Pressley. She always seemed on the edge of a big break but rarely landed any substantial roles and was often relegated to sleazy side parts in epic films like "Joe Dirt".

As I watched last night's season premiere, I couldn't help but think about the article. Whether or not Pressley has finally "made" it is certainly debatable. But there seemed to be a larger lesson at work here. Jaime Pressley steals the show in nearly every episode. Last night she was simply fantastic. Even alongside the tremendously hilarious Jason Lee, Pressley knocks every white-trash line out of the park. She's absolutely beautiful — in that Pabst-Blue-Ribbon sort of way. The truth is, she probably looks exactly like I dream that some of the hottest girls from my high school look now (although they've all probably put on 75 pounds and now walk through the supermarket barefoot). In some weird way, Jaime Pressley is the perfect, unrealistic, Hollywood take on trailer-park beauty. And I applaud it.

But back to the New Yorker article... I started to think that maybe Jaime Pressley simply figured out what casting directors and audiences had known all along: The only way for her to become an "IT" girl was to embrace the very thing she'd been fighting. The New Yorker profiles her struggle to eliminate her Southern accent and land some serious roles. The truth is, that would have been a mistake. By exaggerating the accent and essentially playing a caricature of herself, Pressley has achieved the "IT" status that surely would have eluded her had she continued to swim upstream.

The real lesson: Stop fighting who you are. Now you know. And well... you know the rest.

"Jason Lee" - All Girl Summer Fun Band - mp3

19 September 2006

An extra hour on the cyberweb, just for you...

A little digging yielded a complete live Jeff Tweedy show from 2000. It features a handful of YHF gems that had not been released at the time. Great stuff.

Check out the whole show here.

Jeff Tweedy - Sunken Treasure - Live in Chicago (January 4, 2000)

When Jeff Tweedy tours the Northwest, the world listens. And watches. And adores.

The trailer.


Download this track:
Wilco - Sunken Treasure - mp3

18 September 2006

What I Learned

Since I know nothing, "What I Learned" will surely be a recurring feature on upto12. Some days the list will be long. Some days it will be short (but only because I'm too lazy or too ashamed to continue the list). Anyway, let's get on with it...

What I Learned on September 16, 17 & 18 (let's call it a two-by-two edition):
- A 16-staple head wound is every bit as frightening as you think it is.
- A 16-staple head wound has no business on my little sister's head.
- I do not handle confrontation well.
- I do not handle confrontation at all.
- "Scrubs" reruns air at 10:00pm on KJZZ.
- "Scrubs" reruns air at 10:30pm on KJZZ.
- Monday is a good day for sunshine and an outdoor photo shoot.
- Every day is a good day for sunshine and an outdoor photo shoot.
- Brothers and boyfriends rarely mix.
- Brothers and bad boyfriends never mix.
- A "locked out" email password is no reason to fear you've been fired.
- Not being fired is no reason to stop fearing you'll be fired.

14 September 2006

So Here We Are

Aside from being a dreadful day at work and a partially frightening commute home (thanks to a rare Utah monsoon), today is a momentous occasion. I finally hooked up a connection to EZ Archive. More details on that later.

For now, humor my fawning over an album I probably should have been blogging about 18 months ago. I'm slow on the uptake. You know this. I know this. Let's proceed accordingly.

I'll cut to the chase. Bloc Party's Silent Alarm (VICE Records) has me floored. I can't get enough. I listen three or four times a week. I listen quietly. Through headphones. I listen loudly. Through headphones. I ignore co-workers even when they're standing directly behind me waving pens and tapping on my cubicle wall (although I'm not sure how much that actually has to do with the music...). The truth is this: If I had to go back and re-rank my Best Albums of 2005, I'd have a hard time keeping Silent Alarm out of the top three.

So what happened? A year ago, had you asked me what I thought about Bloc Party, I probably would have simply said, "Great name. 'This Modern Love' is a fantastic song." And that would've been that. Today, I'd rant for 20 minutes on the brilliance of Kele Okereke's vocal inflections and then proceed to discuss whether or not London Calling is the closest album-ancestor to Silent Alarm.

I've asked around and there's no consensus. In fact, most people just think I was asleep at the wheel when the album originally dropped. But that's not altogether true. I was aware. I listened. I read the buzz on the blogs. I noticed the pie-in-the-sky review from the snottiest of critic-sites. But it just didn't click. I didn't get it. And now... well, I'm skeptical that picking up a mortgage, welcoming kid #2, moving into corporate middle management and becoming the reluctant owner of a Honda Odyssey have all somehow combined to give me sharper musical chops.

I fear this post is more of a waste of time than usual. I have no conclusion, no explanation, no resolution. I suppose I just needed to write it down. All of this shouldn't trouble me. I should simply embrace the album and move on. Why the search for reason?

At any rate, here's a stunning cover of "Pioneers" along with my current standout from the album that was kind enough to wait for me to catch up.

Pioneers - Tunng - mp3
So Here We Are - m4a

NOTE: Let me know how the downloads work out. I'll try and keep things up for as long as I can (until my archive space is maxed), but—if you're tempted—it'd probably be wise to grab 'em while they're warm.

13 September 2006

I Stand Corrected

Of course I do. Let's just get used to it. I'm sloppy. I'm a borderline liar. I'm irresponsible with the facts.

Turns out I finished 2 points behind Creent in last week's fantasy football standings. I finished one point above a certainly fellow known as Rowdy Roddy. But that's another story. I apologize for the error. I meant no defamation to the young Creent. I am very sorry if anyone has felt offended by my actions.

I'm glad that's over with. Stay tuned for more mistakes.

12 September 2006

While I try to figure out the wild world that is EZ Archive...

Let me just say that I could be the worst fantasy football owner/player/manager/whatever ever. Wow, that sentence ended awkwardly.

Anyway, my powerhouse team finished with 41 points. I lost (duh) my head-to-head matchup. And finished just one point above Creent, who I'm fairly certainly has never watched a football game in his life. Or maybe he has. It's hard to tell with a boy like Creent. So very hard to tell...

My team:
And yes, I knew that Vanderjagt wouldn't be playing. But I couldn't figure out who to drop from my (apparently) superstar squad. There's no way I was going to part with Chris Simms, who turned in a stellar -2 point performance. And the fact that Kevin Curtis didn't play an offensive down? Well, like I said... I'm a moron.

Someday I will figure out how to post songs for your listening pleasure.

But until then... another picture and more words.

It's been something like 15 months since the release of Sufjan Stevens' Come on Feel the Illinoise! and I still find the need to start up an occasional workday with the opening strains of "Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois". I'm not entirely sure what it is, but the word "revenants" always seems to drop my jaw and hit me while I'm not looking. The crazy thing is, I've never had a clue what the word means. So I looked it up:

rev·e·nant n.
1. One that returns after a lengthy absence.
2. One who returns after death.

Just thought I would share. And let you know that "revenant" might just be my favorite word of all time. The layering. The depth. The verbal allusion to "revelation." Maybe it's just that there's nothing like a return, a reunion, a rebirth. There's nothing like the thought of going back. Or waiting for someone else to return. Maybe I'm verging on a spiritual territory previously uncharted in this plot of the cyberweb... but "revenant" seems to sum it all up.

circa 1894

07 September 2006

If You Don't Know By Now

Then I'm not going to tell you.

Beat This... Please

AC Green walked past my cube today. Why? Well, why not? Seriously. AC Green. Former NBA star. Noted advocate of abstinence. See the visual proof. He's sitting right in front of my big boss. The one with the flowing Italian locks.

Anyway. That's all. We did our best to hold back the 40-year-old virgin jokes. We acted busy. I said I wouldn't beg a co-worker to fork over the pictures we were required to capture. I promised (myself, anyway) not to blog about work. This (along with string of stinging and inflammatory emails I seem to send on a daily basis) could get me fired.

All that said... who came to your work today, hunh? Who?

That's what I thought.

05 September 2006

I'm Not Here. This Isn't Happening.

You know the ones. The dreams that aren't dreams. The ones that leave you scared for days. It goes down quick — I wake with a start and wonder if I'm really as much of a mess as I just was. Does BeyoncĂ© really have a crush on me? Would she really reunite Destiny's Child to serenade a terribly unhip minivan-driver who owns a grand total of two hip-hop records (both composed by the same pale-white Brit). Or, on another night, am I really the type of fella who would enrage a co-worker to the point where she would yell, "YOU ARE A MORON! YOU WILL NEVER BE AS IMPORTANT AS I AM!" Wait, don't answer that.

So what does it matter? Enh. Nothing. Right? Right? So why am I dodging the coworker? Why am I working on my best Jay-Z impersonation? Why do I think this is worthy of a blog post? Why am I following the same bedtime ritual every night, hoping to recreate the best of the too-real non-realities — the one that ends in smiles and giggles, the one that keeps me grinning for days?

03 September 2006

What I Learned UPDATE

It appears that (aside from not making everything better) picking up the breakfast tab will also NOT result in any residual feelings of goodwill and/or gratitude and probably WILL result in a minor argument with the household bookkeeper.

Just thought you'd like to know in case you're currently reaching for your VISA Platinum as you finish off the last bite of French toast.

ALSO... D found it his duty to correct my appraisal of the "best breakfast joint in town." Apparently this place is the rightful title holder.

02 September 2006

What I Learned Today

Picking up the breakfast tab (even if it is at the best breakfast joint in town and even if it does involve my plowing through a chicken-fried-steak-and-three-egg monster platter) won't make everything better.