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.

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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

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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.

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Gigantic Chocolate Cat…and other pictures from Paris.

This is the third post dedicated to the 1,100+ photographs I took in Paris back at the beginning of October.  Whereas the first and the second posts featured some of the city’s famous tourist locations, this one mostly deals with my old Vox tags “graffiti and other forms of street art” and “things i’ve seen behind glass”.  Not all of the pictures fit into those groups, though.  There’s also a shot of a friendly bee crawling around on my hand and a picture of paint samples floating in a puddle outside the Louvre.  I didn’t know where else to put those two, so I stuck them in here.

I’m not sure how long I’m going to milk this Paris trip for posts, but I suspect it’ll be a couple more months.

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SIBR: A Monthly Column (10/14)

The Paying Guests–Sarah Waters
The Paying Guests is a book about a mother and daughter who come out of World War I so close to financial ruin that they’re forced to rent out portions of their elegant London home to a pair of married lodgers.

And that’s all I’m going to say about it.  You see, that’s all I knew of the plot when I decided to read Sarah Waters’ most recent book.  Sure, I’d heard rumors that it might be a romance or a crime novel and might even feature some supernatural bits (like the author’s excellent 2009 book, The Little Stranger), but that was really all I knew.  For some reason, not having the book pegged into a specific genre made reading it that much more fun for me.  So I’m not going to say anything more about it except that I highly recommend The Paying Guests.  Unless I read something surprisingly fantastic in the next two months, I suspect it’ll be my favorite book published in 2014.

The Night in Question–Tobias Wolff
I’ve been reading many of the stories mentioned in Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (see the list below for more).  One of the stories I got from that book was “Bullet in the Brain” by Tobias Wolff.  I found the story in the author’s collection, The Night in Question.  As the story’s title would suggest, it’s about the thoughts that go through a man’s head during the instant a bullet enters his brain.  It was the last story in the book; I liked it so much that when I finished it, I turned to the first page of the book and read the first story, and the second, and the third.  On and on.  It wasn’t long before I was back where I’d started from.

The Night in Question is one of the best single-author short story collections I’ve read in the last few years.  Highlights include “Mortals”, about a newspaper writer who publishes an obituary of a still-living man; “The Chain”, about the consequences of taking revenge after a vicious dog attack; and “The Other Miller”, about the confusion that results when two men in the same military company share a last name.  With the exception of “Lady’s Dream”, I thoroughly enjoyed all of the stories and could’ve listed each of them as highlights.  I really stumbled on a good one here.  I look forward to tracking down Tobias Wolff’s other short story collections.

The Philosophy of Beards–Thomas S. Gowing
This is the book I purchased when Beth and I visited the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris.  I had to purchase something, right?  It’s a strange little book consisting of a Victorian era lecture about the awesomeness of Beards–the word is always capitalized in the book–and how men who shave are basically wusses.  As it states on the front cover:

The absence of Beard is usually a sign of physical and moral weakness.

As a man who gives the finger to the television every time a Gillette commercial comes on (now with six rotating balls and 13 blades!), I can certainly get behind a book that isn’t afraid to stick it to the clean-shaven.  Unfortunately, most of the best lines are on the cover and the book itself fails to live up to its promise.  It probably suffers a bit from the fact that the author was most likely insane.  Oh well, I like the cover.

“The Luck of Roaring Camp”–Bret Harte
“The Outcasts of Poker Flat”–Bret Harte
“The Girls in Their Summer Dresses”–Irwin Shaw
“The Eighty-Yard Run”–Irwin Shaw
“The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”–F. Scott Fitzgerald

Strange Shores–Arnaldur Indridason

october books

(the october books all had fine covers)

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I guess I’ll give out some candy this year.

It’s been four or five years since I’ve participated in my neighborhood’s Halloween activities.  In recent years I’ve parked my car in the garage, turned off the porchlight, and hidden in one of the back rooms with the shades drawn.

Well, I think I’m going to get back into it this year.  Have I become a nicer neighbor who wants to bond with the locals and give candy to their children?  No, that’s not it at all.  It’s just that I saw a ghost piñata at Target and bought the thing without really thinking.  If I hang up the ghost from my never-before-used flagpole, then costumed kids will show up on Friday expecting candy.  If I don’t hang up the ghost, then I’ve wasted $15.  So now I’ve got to buy some candy so I can use this guy:

friendly ghost

(friendly ghost piñata)

I’ll probably get some Kit Kats and a couple bags of those tiny Peppermint Patties.  I want to make sure I have something I like in case I have leftovers.

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What’s in the box?!

It’s a mystery.

outside of the box

(click to open the box)

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With an S…like the poet.

I am happy to report that after many years of waiting, I am finally about to watch the first episode of Spenser: For Hire on DVD.  Yes, long after inferior shows from the same time period–Hunter, The Equalizer, etc.–have had their complete series released on DVD, the first season of Spenser is out via the Warner Archive Collection.  This might sound like a silly thing to get excited about, but Spenser: For Hire is pretty much my favorite television show ever.  I like it so much that I spent my entire first visit to Boston tracking down shooting locations from the series.  I like it so much that I taped 63 of the 66 episodes off Lifetime: Television For Women back in 1997.  (I had to edit out so many tampon commercials.)  Until today when my DVDs arrived in the mail, those ten VHS tapes were among my prized possessions and the things I’d rescue second in a house-fire.  I’m still going to hold on to them, of course.  I’ll keep them at least until seasons two and three come out.



And now I’m going to watch the two-part pilot, “Promised Land”.  It’s based on Robert B. Parker’s novel of the same name.

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A red ink view from the window at 26, Rue des Rosiers

I included the roof cat, but left out the woman who paraded around topless in that upper floor bathroom across the street.  Both were magical Parisian sights that I’ll always remember, but it’s much easier for me to draw a tiny cat than a tiny woman.
26, Rue des RosiersI also left out the ladder because it would’ve overlapped the cat.

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A Farther-out Look at the Sights of Paris

It occurred to me about a day too late that I should’ve set up my previous post differently.  A click on any of the small close-up photographs should’ve opened a different, more traditional shot of each of the sights instead of a larger version of the close-up.  The post would’ve featured eighteen photos (two of each location) instead of just the nine.  Oh well, it’s too late for that now.

It’s not too late to post the other nine photographs, however.  So here they are, more representative shots of the nine places featured in that earlier post.

(As before, you can hover over the individual photos for the names of the locations or click to enlarge.)

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