Nov 26 2010

black friday

Whew!  Thank goodness today is over.  Fighting the crowds was such a hassle.

Jul 30 2010

taco night

One of the reasons that CarrieNation is my nemesis is that we both want to win the potluck.  The concept is simple: bring the dish that garners the most raves.  My track record is pretty good – or it was, at least, until Dabysan started bringing her around.  Now it’s a close call.  I’ve got a few slam dunks, but her repertoire is more varied.  She definitely challenges me and pushes me out of my comfort zone – which is good.  I just wish she ended up in second place a little more often.

Until I met CarrieNation, I didn’t realize that anybody else was this petty about bringing food to a gathering of friends.  I was wrong.  And I attribute this common characteristic to us both having the good sense to get the hell out of the flyover states.  She – like me – hails from the Midwest.  And she – like me – is deeply, deeply scornful of what they’ve managed to deep-fry at the local Applebee’s.  The vast swath of this country between the Appalachians and the Sierra Nevadas is where good food goes to die.  We both know this.

A few months ago, I noticed a trend in my Facebook feed.  As if on cue, several people simultaneously posted about something called “Taco Night,” as if tacos were something of significance.  I have no doubt that this caught my eye because I reject the notion that certain foods are inherently more “fun” than others.  Tacos (like pizza) are not fun.  Not only do I not know why anybody would think so, but I don’t know why anybody would want to think so.  Calling attention to the monumental occasion of one’s mediocre dinner only highlights the emptiness of the rest of that person’s life.  When I mentioned this to CarrieNation several days later, she told me that a former housemate had instituted a taco night ritual with her boyfriend in a desperate attempt to resuscitate a failing relationship.  I can’t imagine why that strategy didn’t work.

Not long ago, I noticed a second rash of “Taco Night” posts on Facebook.  By the time it occurred to me to record these posts for posterity, it was too late.  I’ve only seen a couple since.  I had been holding out until I had a longer list, but then I saw the video below.  Gwyneth Paltrow revives my scorn almost as much as does Sandra Lee.  So bon appetit.  And don’t forget to check back from time to time for more taco sadness.

S.M. is thinking taco night, aren’t you? – June 16, 2010
T.C.B. is excited for tacos and a 6 pack of boys tonight! – July 18, 2010
J.S. really enjoyed taco Tuesday. – September 14, 2010
S.M. is happy for taco night! Right on for a good dinner. Thanks for the idea P.S.! – September 15, 2010
C.McG.  While adulthood does mean things like hard decisions, responsibility, and taxes, tonight it also means (vegan) tacos for dinner. Not a terrible tradeoff. – October 18, 2010
J.H. is looking forward to tacos for dinner tonight! – October 19, 2010

Jun 21 2010

bloodbuzz ohio

This is a watershed moment here at  For the first time in over four years, our humble blog is sponsored by a song that is both current and relevant.  But more specifically, current.  The latest by the National – High Violet – has only been out for a little over a month.  It’s spent five weeks (and counting!) on the Billboard charts, peaking at number one.  Here’s the band performing our titular song on Letterman on the same day as our latest anti-Netflix rant.

I’m not sure why I bought this record.  Nobody has ever specifically recommended the National to me, and I didn’t – at the time – own any of their other records.  (And though I’ve since bought Boxer, I’m kind of indifferent about it.)  I would say that Pitchfork told me to, but they’ve given high marks to plenty of records with which I haven’t bothered.  At any rate, I’m glad I did.  I’ve listened to little else over the past few weeks.  The National are from Cincinnati in the same way that the Hold Steady are from Minneapolis – which is to say that they’re actually from Brooklyn.  But if they were from Queen City for real, they’d be the third best Cincinnati band after Afghan Whigs and the Newspaper Taxis.

Dec 27 2009

my holiday in more than one hundred bullet-pointed words

A couple of hours ago, I got home from my annual December tour of the flyovers.  Here are a few of the highlights:

  • I kicked my sister’s ass at Rummikub.  It’s mostly a game of chance, so it’s not as satisfying as a Scrabble victory.  But the important thing is that I won.  A lot.
  • I watched Elf as I wrapped presents for the unknownth year in a row.  It was weird that I wasn’t wrapping presents on Christmas Eve this year.
  • I met up with a friend from high school I haven’t seen in at least ten years, and maybe since graduation.  That was good.
  • My ploy to buy the love of my nieces and nephews through cool Christmas presents continues apace.
  • I went to see Up in the Air by myself on Christmas Eve.  That was a little ironic, but I enjoyed it anyway.
  • I’m sick and tired of coming home sick and tired.  I’ll settle for just tired if my sister agrees not to bring sick kids from here on out.

Oct 12 2009

terms of endearment

I planned this trip poorly.  I flew back home this morning, and not only did I have to get up ridiculously early to do so but I'm missing out today on Maggie's ninth birthday.  I don't know why it didn't occur to me to take the day off so I could hang around to celebrate.  On the other hand, though, the novelty of me being around seemed to have worn off by the end of my visit judging by the names she was calling me.  I'm shocked, frankly, at her disrespect for her elders.  (I blame bad parenting.)  And she's not the least bit shy, but it was like pulling teeth to get her to sit still long enough for Unkie Hotrod to take a new picture.  I'm not sure what this pose is supposed to be; I think maybe she was trying to keep the entire internet from seeing that she's in her pajamas.  Anyway, happy birthday Maggie!  Lucky thing for you I find your bratty behavior kind of endearing.

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Oct 11 2009

feast and famine

The main reason for my trip to the flyovers on this particular weekend
is to go to the Steelers game.  They're playing the Lions in Detroit,
and my brother-in-law (poor guy) is a lifelong Lions fan.  One of us – the one who roots for the team who has won the most Super Bowls and has been enormously successful over the past forty years – is
going to be pretty pleased at four o'clock this afternoon.  At least my brother-in-law is accustomed to
disappointment.  He is, after all, a lifelong Lions fan.

It's the least I can do to post a Rocktober
song just for him, though.  We used to work together at the service
station during the summers when I was in college, and there were several songs with which we always sang along whenever they came on the
radio.  We sounded good.  You never would have guessed – way back then – that I would one day be an award-winning bad singer.  Our tickets for the game are in the all-you-can-eats-seats, which makes today's song a little ironic.

Fun fact: though widely considered by most (including me until just
now) to be a crass cross-promotional attempt by Soundgarden and Pearl
Jam to capitalize on the success of Badmotorfinger and Ten,
this song – and the record on which it appears – predates those albums
by six and four months, respectively.  It was only after both of those
records broke big that this one was reissued and crassly
cross-promoted.  Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

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Oct 11 2009

buckeye state

So I'm in Ohio for the weekend.  You may have figured that out from my post last night.  I'd planned – before my flight was delayed and I got in later than expected – to write a little bit about how returning home now depresses me a whole lot less than it used to, and to contradict my experience with that of Chrissie Hynde.  I guess, now that I get around to thinking about it, I shouldn't be surprised.  She's from Akron.  I'd be depressed to return to Akron, too.  But when I come back to Ohio, I visit Toledo.  Things are a whole lot more hopping in Toledo.  The only real drag these days is that I'm subjected to Ohio State football.  I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

But there are many aspects of returning home that I have grown to enjoy.  For starters, even though Toledo has a long way to go, there really is more going on here than there was when I left a decade and a half ago.  And I get to see two of my terrific nieces.  They welcomed me warmly when I got in last night, and today has been a pretty great day – mostly because I win all the games I play with them.  We played a little basketball earlier, and I destroyed them even though it was two against one.  Our game of Trivial Pursuit wasn't even close.  Scrabble went about the same way.  (Though they are better competition at this point than Jodi.)  And even with my slightly gimpy ankle, I easily won our footrace around the block.  But perhaps the best part about spending time with my nieces is all the things I learn from them.  They shared with me today some of the music they enjoy.  If you think I'm not gonna be singing some Taylor Swift when KttD comes around, you've got another think coming.

Most people blame bands who came later for the scourge of hair metal power ballads, but really it's Mötley Crüe's fault.  They started it.

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Oct 10 2009

under the wire

Man, I feel like Daby or Jodi today - throwing up junk at the last minute just to meet some arbitrary deadline.  I got to Ohio later than I expected, and time is running short.  Plus, I don't want to do this now.  So more tomorrow.  Maybe.

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Dec 28 2008

too much information

So I survived my holiday trip to the flyover states, but it was dicey for a while there and I'm still not completely recovered.  Nobody told me I needed to renew my shots.  And only I am to blame for drinking the water.  I should have known better.

My amateur diagnosis and a trip to WebMD confirms that I contracted a delightful mélange of malaria, dengue, and dysentery.  I spent much of Christmas and Boxing Day in a groggy and feverish daze before the fun really started with a nasty bout of diarrhea that was is still taking its toll as of this morning.  There aren't adequate words to describe how uncomfortable I was to board a train for a twelve-hour trip home after shitting liquid for the previous five hours.  I think this settles it: anyone who wants to experience the unbridled joy of my company on Christmas in the future is going to have to come to me.

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Nov 24 2008

take two of these and call me in the morning

Most of the time, I feel pretty goddamn pleased with myself for having the foresight to get the hell out of the flyovers and move to an east coast city where there’s lots of cool shit to do.  But every so often, I come across something that reminds me that all the really cool shit happens about two hundred and fifty miles to my north.  Like today when I learned about “Indie Rock Karaoke.”

You’re probably thinking about now that “Indie Rock Karaoke” offers for our karaoke pleasure a collection of indie rock favorites with which you and I may sing along.  And it does (sort of), but it gets better.  When I mention that “Indie Rock Karaoke” offers you and me an opportunity to sing with a live band, you’ll probably think that’s pretty fucking sweet.  And it is, but it gets better.  When I drop the other shoe and tell you that the house band for “Indie Rock Karaoke” is Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, you’ll probably think I’m making shit up.  But I’m not.  And what’s more, here (thanks to Pitchfork) is the list of songs from which we might choose:

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap   AC/DC
One Thing   Amerie
Dreaming   Blondie
Since U Been Gone   Kelly Clarkson
Rock the Casbah   The Clash
Fortunate Son   Creedence Clearwater Revival
Just Like Heaven   The Cure
Respect   Aretha Franklin
Dancin’ With Myself   Billy Idol
Transmission   Joy Division
Louie Louie   The Kingsmen
Minor Threat   Minor Threat
Where Eagles Dare   The Misfits
Your Love   The Outfield
Kiss   Prince
Under Pressure   Queen & David Bowie
Blitzkrieg Bop   The Ramones
(I’m) Stranded   The Saints
L.E.S. Artistes   Santogold
Born in the U.S.A.   Bruce Springsteen
Dancing in the Dark   Bruce Springsteen
Reelin’ in the Years   Steely Dan
Suspect Device   Stiff Little Fingers
Search and Destroy   The Stooges
My Generation   The Who
Maps   Yeah Yeah Yeah’s

It’s probably for the best that this is happening on a Wednesday, because if it was on a weekend there is no way in hell that I wouldn’t be there.  And after I sang “Since U Been Gone” with Ted Leo and the Rx backing me up I might as well die because my life would be all downhill from there.  As it is, I might still go.  I mean…. if I’m going to die afterward anyway, I probably shouldn’t worry so much about missing work the next day.