31 March 2008

Those Are the Marks My Feet Made In The Sand

Every now and again, a work trip turns into a vacation. For an hour or two, anyway. I spent the weekend in the LBC and actually managed to see two movies, eat some BBQ, watch some basketball, take a nap on the beach and finish it all off with a blood-clotting ribeye steak. It all made me feel a little sheepish for having such a sourpuss attitude about work-related travel. I've used the "nice place, but it's not like I'll get to enjoy it" line about 27 times too many. You're all sick of it and, now, so am I. So I apologize for being such a malcontent. It really just took a 53-minute nap on the beach to change my heart.

There's no other point to this post. Just an apology. Take it at face value and move on with your day...

28 March 2008

I Paid $7.75

Is it irony that the tagline for this movie is "You get what you pay for"? I might have to check with an irony expert, but I'm thinking that it is the very definition of irony. I mean, I paid $7.75 (the matinee price here in the LBC) and I guess I didn't deserve more than two or three laughs. Although seeing a movie with four co-workers and being the only five folks in the theater adds some value, right?

Come to think of it all... I'm not sure what I expected. Can I complain when I'm the idiot who placed such high hopes on such an obviously bad movie? I mean, I think the trailer settles the irony question once and for all. The tagline has no ironic value... it's just the truth. I paid $7.75 (along with a piece of my soul) and got exactly what I paid for.

19 March 2008

Trip-Hop, You Don't Stop

I'd heard the news a while back, but somehow the gravity of it escaped me. After a strange disappearance (was the Roseland NYC album really 11 years ago?!), Portishead returns in April with it's third LP. That extended absence has me realizing that I've neglected Portishead over the last couple years. And I've also neglected to preach the wonders of Portishead to the younger generation. You know, the kids who might have only been 11 or 12 when Roseland NYC dropped.

So, without getting into the nuts and bolts of Portishead's trip-hop sound and the sheer face-slapping power of Beth Gibbons' vocal trickery, I think I'll leave you with a gateway sample of what makes Portishead so incredible. You won't likely find a song as stunning and stop-what-you're-doing-right-now-and-give-your-full-attention-to-this as the track "Roads"—especially in its live, NYC perfection. Don't blame me if you end up watching this roughly 26 times in the next three hours.

Like what you've seen/heard? The first single ("Machine Gun") from the new album is available for purchase here (there's some tricky pounds/dollars conversion involved). For some reason it's not up on iTunes yet. If you're afraid of the conversion and just can't wait... well, I'll leave the illegal options upto you and keep my pious self out of it.

18 March 2008

An Open Letter

It's no secret at this point—I can't be trusted with this blahg. Just when you think I've established some sense of regularity and commitment, I let you down. I don't blame you for abandoning upto12. You say you haven't abandoned me? I know better. Google tells me that you're a fickle bunch and that you need more than one lousy (and quickly crushed) YouTube embed over the course of a month. And that's okay. I can appreciate your need for content. This is the worldwide web and there are roughly two bazillion other sites competing for your precious traffic and calculated clicks.

So I'm coming clean. I'm offering up some full disclosure. I owe you some accountability after 39 days of bad blahg behavior. So... whether you care to read it all or not, you're getting every viable excuse I've got.

1. The upto12 family took a vacation. Five days in California and as many rides on the Buzz Blaster as the Wilson Brothers could talk me into. But the Tower of Terror and a morning at Seal Beach made up for all the blasting. How is this an excuse for bad blahging? I have no idea.

2. Too much work-related travel. Two-and-a-half days in Mexico City. Another two-and-a-half in Frankfurt, Germany. And about 35 hours on a plane. Maybe it was only 30... but still. Flying a total of 25 hours to spend just more than twice that in Germany isn't ideal. On the bright side, it was my first trip to Europe and the bratwurst was exactly the high-fat-content blood blizzard I'd been hoping for.

3. Books. I've been reading. A lot. Probably more in the last two months than in the last two years combined. What has Mr. upto12 been reading? Two books by Jonathan Safran Foer. One by Cormac McCarthy. One by Nick Hornby (a re-run). Lots of magazines. And now I've started a novel by a girl named Zadie. In short, I've been allowing fiction to break my heart and put it back together again. The Safran Foer books were amazing. The Road still has me wrecked two weeks after I finished it. The re-run was perfect. And the magazines have given me enough fodder to start two months of conversations with the phrase, "I just read an article...." Now that I'm on the literacy bandwagon, feel free to leave your recommendations in the comments.

4. Basketball. I watch too much. I care too much. And I'm afraid I'm rubbing off on the upto12 offspring. Last week, the older Wilson started begging me to take him to a game. Time to start scrounging for some free tix.

5. Work. With a capital "W."

6. Rob & Big. If you're not watching this show, you're missing out. It's the funniest half-hour television has to offer—a strange and mostly ridiculous, laugh-out-loud buddy comedy somehow wrapped up in a reality-show format. I know it's on MTV. But just believe me on this one. Hop on the iTunes store and download the Season 3 premiere ("Poop in the Pool"). If you don't like it, I'll refund your money. Yeah, I know it's a free download. I was trying to be funny. I failed? I guess that's to be expected, isn't it?

7. Listening to Bon Iver on repeat (and anywhere I can find a live set). Someone needs to stop me. I'm serious. It's an epidemic. This collection of the most haunting, broken songs I've heard in ages feels like the perfect stuck-in-the-fog-of-a-too-long-winter album. And if these songs aren't somehow featured in the soundtrack of the film version of The Road, I'm going to be sorely disappointed. The only problem with Bon Iver is the pronunciation. Apparently, it's Bone Ee-Vayr (say it like a Frenchman and it makes sense, I guess), but I just can't bring myself to adopt the haughty tone required by that phonic breakdown. And that leaves me with Bawn Eye-Vuhr, which is certainly no better. Help, please.

8. Wasting loads of time here and here.

That's all I've got. (Well, I guess I've neglected to mention just flat-out laziness.) I'll keep trying not to fall off the face of the earth. You do the same, yeah?