My Greatest Shame

I own nine seasons of Bones on DVD.

my greatest shame


First of all, how is it that Bones has lasted nine seasons?  Secondly, why did I feel the need to buy them all?  That’s 190 episodes up there…or approximately 8,170 minutes worth of television.  I’m not going to divide that up into hours because I can tell without even doing the math that I’ve literally spent days of my life watching Emily Deschanel add extra syllables to words in that whiny sing-song voice of hers.

I don’t know how this happened, but I hope that publicly admitting my problem will be the first step towards recovery.

Posted in uncategorized | 13 Comments

Don’t forget to bring your stocking.

There once was a time when I did advent calendar posts here on WordPress.  It was a lot of fun at first, but it quickly became difficult to come up with 24 new Christmas posts each year.  I gave up on the advent calendar a couple years ago.  Then I switched over to doing a red ink drawing of my Christmas list.  I gave up on that this year.  Although I’m enjoying December, I just haven’t felt like enjoying it online.  I wouldn’t want the holiday to go by without some sort of acknowledgement, however, so I’d like to share this picture of the Lego Santa I saw at the mall last week.  Yes, I went to the mall.

lego santa

(lego santa)

And here’s a picture of my front door while we’re at it.

christmas babo

(festive babo)

That’s about as Christmassy as it’s going to get around here.  Best wishes and all that.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

SIBR: A Monthly Column (11/14)

Strange Shores, Outrage, and Black Skies–Arnaldur Indriðason
I last read one of Arnaldur Indridason’s Inspector Erlendur books back in November of 2011.  At the end of Hypothermia, Erlendur got all depressed and decided to take a trip out to the East Fjords to mope about.  I was at the library a couple months ago and saw there was a new book in the series, Strange Shores.  I checked it out and knew I hadn’t missed anything because Erlendur was still out on the fjords moping about.

But then I finished it and the ending was so shocking that I began investigating online (you know, did that ending really happen?–that sort of thing).  That’s when I learned that I’d somehow missed two Inspector Erlendur books, Outrage and Black Skies.  That didn’t make any sense, of course, because how could Erlendur possibly spend two entire books moping about on the fjords?

Well, it ended up making sense as Erlendur’s detective partners each got their own book in between Hypothermia and Strange Shores.  Elinborg is the lead detective in Outrage; Sigurdur Oli takes charge in Black Skies.  Erlendur isn’t in either of them.  Somebody occasionally wonders aloud where Erlendur is, but then another character just mentions he’s still moping about on the fjords.  Taking the main character out of detective series sounds like a recipe for disappointment, but I thought both books were on par with the rest (and even better than the series stinker, Arctic Chill).  Strangely enough, I think either one would make a fine place to start with the series.

So that’s all I have to say about that.  Here’s a picture of the nine Inspector Erlendur books that have been released so far in English.  They’re in order starting with Jar City and going to the right.  I took this picture because I was going to write the definitive guide to the Inspector Erlendur series.  I lost my motivation for that project.

inspector erlendur series

(the complete inspector erlendur series)

page 146

(page 146)

The Phantom Tollbooth–Norton Juster
I read three other books in November.   Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth is a children’s book that somehow ended up on my Books to Read list.  (Really, I have no idea how it got on there.)  Although I enjoyed some of the wordplay and puns, the book was far too heavy-handed and preachy for my tastes.  It made for a decent airplane book, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil–Stephen Collins
Stephen Collins’ awkwardly titled The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil is something I picked up to give my brother as a Christmas present.  He usually has a gigantic beard himself, so I thought it would be appropriate.  Unfortunately, about two days after I bought the book, my brother shaved off most of his beard so he could go to a Halloween party as the Wolverine.  I saw pictures of his costume; although he has the physique for it, he took his sideburns down too much and ended up looking less like the Wolverine and more like one of those hipsters who only drinks local beer and moans about it if you happen to like Blue Moon.

Our Story Begins–Tobias Wolff
I wrote about Tobias Wolff’s short story collection The Night in Question in last month’s SIBR post.  I liked it so much that I went out and bought the only other collection by the author that I could find.  It’s an anthology of new and selected stories.  The downside of Our Story Begins is that it includes 12 of the 15 stories I originally read in The Night in Question.  That’s really not much of a negative, though, as I liked most of them the first time through (the exception was “Lady’s Dream”).  The upside is that the book also includes nine earlier stories and ten brand new ones.  So far, Tobias Wolff has a 97% short story success rate with me.  That puts him right up there with T.C. Boyle.

phantom beard begins

(the phantom beard begins)

I also read the remaining short stories from the A.J. Fikry list:

“Lamb to the Slaughter”–Roald Dahl
“The Bookseller”–Roald Dahl
“Indian Camp”–Ernest Hemingway
“A Good Man Is Hard to Find”–Flannery O’Connor
“A Perfect Day For Bananafish”–J.D. Salinger
“Fat”–Raymond Carver
“What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”–Raymond Carver
“The Tell-Tale Heart”–Edgar Allan Poe
“In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried”–Amy Hempel
“The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”–Mark Twain
“Ironhead”–Aimee Bender
“The Beauties”–Anton Chekov
“The Doll’s House”–Katherine Mansfield

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , | 12 Comments

“Little Girl on a Flowered Couch Reading a Book to Her Dollbaby (While Also Listening to Records)”

I like to give my vintage photographs very detailed names when I scan them into the computer.  I named my latest find “Little Girl on a Flowered Couch Reading a Book to Her Dollbaby (While Also Listening to Records)”.  That pretty much sums it up right there.

little girl on a flowered couch reading a book to her dollbaby (while also listening to records)What the title doesn’t tell you is that I’m planning on spending my weekend in the same manner.  No computers.  Nothing digital.  Just books, music, and dollbabies.  It should be fun.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged | 12 Comments

Sidewalk Ringo…and other pictures from San Francisco and Seattle.

I found Sidewalk Ringo abandoned on the curb with some other garbage.  I set him up, took his picture, and then left him there.  I was depressed for the rest of the night.  Fortunately, I found a really cool fire hydrant with a blue top the next day and was soon back to my optimistic and happy self.

As always, hover your mouse over the images to read their titles.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

56 CDs and 23 records in a box or on the floor…

The only special release that really interested me for this year’s Black Friday Record Store Day event was the Miles Davis Blue Xmas 7″ (on blue vinyl).  I strolled into Everybody’s Records close to an hour and a half after they opened, having decided to go to the gym first in an attempt to avoid the crowds and elbows.  I didn’t have any problem finding Miles.  I probably should’ve turned around and headed out as soon as I found it, but that’s not my style.  I looked through the rest of the shop and eventually came away with two Game Theory EPs, a Bessie Smith Christmas single, the new Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols LP, and a used copy of Jimmy Smith’s excellent Christmas Cookin’ record, complete with the superior red car cover art.

black friday purchases

(black friday purchases)

But wait, there’s more.  I recently got back from a trip to San Francisco and Seattle.  I visited the Amoeba Music locations in both Berkeley and San Fran.  I bought so much stuff there (and later on at Everday Music, Easy Street, and Wall of Sound in Seattle) that I decided to ship the CDs home in one of those USPS flat rate boxes.  I would’ve been screwed had it gotten lost in the mail, but the box arrived without any problems.  Here’s the left side of the box:

left side of box

(left side of the CD box)

I also acquired a fair amount of vinyl on my trip.  I didn’t ship that, though.  I packed it up (breaking two of Beth’s three scissors in the process) and carried it with me on the plane.  Highlights in this batch include the new Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy with the hard-to-find bonus Barely Regal 12″, a Young Fresh Fellows -vs- Scruffy the Cat split, and charming singles by the Summer Twins and Dreamdate.

vinyl from san fran and seattle

(vinyl from San Francisco & Seattle)

Here’s the right side of the box mentioned above.  The Wake’s Assembly and Spain’s Sargent Place are the only new CDs in the box; everything else was purchased used.

right side of box

(right side of the box)

This last picture shows a couple CDs I bought in Seattle after shipping the box, a few things that were in the box but not visible in the pictures, and an order from my favorite mail-order company, Jigsaw Records.

other cds


I probably won’t do another one of these posts until the new year rolls around.  Strangely enough, December is usually the slowest month for me music-wise.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Attention: People with pets…or people who know people with pets!

I would like to draw your attention to the Hometown Unicorn shop on Etsy.  It opened up a couple months ago and is run by an artist and WP neighbor named Steph.  She specializes in 5×7 Custom Pet Portraits.

I didn’t know what to get my mom for Christmas this year, so I thought I’d commission a painting of her cat, Kylie Momo.  I ordered the portrait on Etsy, sent Steph a few photographs of the feline in question, and then sat around a couple weeks until the finished product arrived.  Then I went over to my parents’ house and snapped this shot while my mom was out:

kylie momo and her portrait

(kylie momo poses with her portrait)

I’m pretty sure this portrait is going to be the biggest hit of the Christmas season.  If you’ve got an animal you’d like to immortalize or have a pet lover in your life, you really can’t go wrong ordering one of these tiny masterpieces.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Phish @ UIC Pavilion, Chicago, IL (11/25/94)

I went to my first Phish concert twenty years ago today.  I’m not ashamed to admit that.  I’m not even ashamed to admit that I went to the concert with my parents and younger brother.  It was a road trip to Chicago and we had a fun time.  My dad still hauls out the story when he wants to impress younger business associates, and my mom occasionally brings up the fact that she was “frisked for doobies” by security.  I mostly remember wanting to do it again.  I eventually saw the band eleven more times before retiring from the scene in 1999.

To celebrate the fact that I remembered this anniversary (perhaps even more than the anniversary itself), I have decided to scan and post the seven pages of my journal that cover the night’s events.  I seriously doubt anyone will take the time to read beyond the first page, but I’m going to do it anyway.  I’m also going to include the front and back of the ticket stub and an era-appropriate shot of me wearing the shirt I wore to the concert.  I’m nostalgic that way.

People who care about these things now consider this concert to be a highlight of the band’s mid-90s run.  The show was officially released as part of the Phish: Chicago ’94 box set.  It’s my plan to listen to the concert in its entirety today.  I’m not sure how good two and a half hours of Phish is going to sound this many years on, but I suspect I’ll still find parts to enjoy.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Death From Above 1979 @ Neumos (11/19/14)

Backstory: cousin, YaWIaM, Chicago, road trip, nope, disappointment, breakup, disappointment, etc.

(ten years go by)

More backstory: reunion, new album, tour, Seattle date, sold out, disappointment, disappointment, depression, five hours out, StubHub, cheap ticket, fuck yeah, camouflage pants, knit hat, tiny French fries that were near impossible to eat, Neumos, DFA1979, live, etc.

Main Set: Turn It Out/Right On, Frankenstein!/Virgins/Cheap Talk/You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine/Go Home, Get Down/White Is Red/Trainwreck 1979/Crystal Ball/Going Steady/Nothin’ Left/Gemini/Little Girl/Government Trash/Dead Womb/Always On

Encore Set: Pull Out/Romantic Rights/The Physical World

(Sexy) results: Hearing loss, worth it, etc.

dfa tour schedule

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

There’s also a cassette in there, but I’m not sure why.

I tried to do a post last Friday night that showed a 3-second video of a dancing neon sign.  The Flickr–>WP connection no longer seems to be working properly and the video showed up as a blank white rectangle.  I got grumpy and deleted the post.  Then I took a computer-free weekend and forgot all about it.  Computer-free weekends are good things. Computer-free weeks, on the other hand, are not good things, so I’m back and ready to do a post.  I couldn’t think of anything to write about, so I decided to take pictures of music on the floor.  I haven’t done one of these since September.

Let’s begin with four 7″ singles I picked up at Everybody’s Records.  The first one (top left) is by a band I’d never heard of called Meadownoise.  I bought their record because it looked like they spent a lot of time on the packaging.  It’s very elaborate with paper spindles, tabs, and slots.  I’m pretty sure I could tell the time with it if I took it outside and sat it in the sun.  Then comes Opium Drivel by Peter Buck, an old single by a local band from the 90s called the Tigerlilies, and another Mudhoney 7″.  The Mudhoney is a split single.  Their side is called “You Stupid Asshole”.  I might give that away as a gift, but I haven’t decided yet who deserves it most.  I’ll have to consult my list.


(you stupid asshole+)

Next up are some 12″ records.  The first one is Brill Bruisers by the New Pornographers.  The other two in that top row are a remix EP by Howard Jones and an Icehouse compilation.  The next row consists of a surprisingly good (and blue) record by a band called Soft Metals.  I bought that one because it was $5.99 and I liked how the sticker on the front described the music.  Unfortunately, I threw away the sticker and no longer remember what it said.  Then comes A Date With the Everly Brothers and a Nick Lowe picture disc full of Christmas songs.  It’s way too early for Christmas music, but I didn’t think it would still be around come December.  By the way, my new favorite Everly Brothers song is “Made to Love”, the first song off the record shown below.  The bottom row is a reissue of Crayon’s Brick Factory and my first Mudhoney full-length.  I think 40 minutes of Mudhoney is too much Mudhoney, so I’ll probably just buy their old singles going forward.


(made to love+)

This last picture shows all the CDs I’ve gotten since last time.  There are too many of them to go through, but I’ll pick out some highlights.  The Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Mark Olson CDs were purchased at an awesome record store in Paris called Fargo Records.  The guy working there gave me four free promo CDs after checkout.  Those are in the bottom row.  In fact, many of the CDs shown below were given to me (9) or purchased for $4 or less (17).  A guy like me can really score during these last dying days of the compact disc era.

One of the $2 CDs I got was a Pulp bootleg called Cocker Hoop.  I don’t understand it, but their song “Disco 2000″ is somehow even better in 2014 than it was when it came out in 1995.  It still talks about meeting up in the year 2000, but that temporal inconsistency just makes it more fun.  It’s my goal to karaoke the heck out of it at the Rock Box the next time I’m in Seattle.  Oh, and Jackson Browne has a new one out.  A bunch of people put fake 5-star reviews of it up on Amazon, but they’re just trying to cover up the fact that he dropped a dud.  There are a few good songs on it, though.  Power pop compilations are notoriously hit-or-miss, but those two International Pop Overthrow collections are both mostly hits.  I might have to get more from that series.



There’s also a cassette in there, but I’m not sure why.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments