Jan 13 2011

taco life

A couple of months ago I was driving up to Baltimore after work to visit my friend Cait when she gave me a call.  She told me that she had a surprise for me, and that I should call back after I had made it through the Harbor Tunnel to let her know that I was close.  Despite my pleading, she wouldn’t give me any more information than that about what she had up her sleeve.  So I all but sprinted from the car to her doorstep, only to be greeted by the foul stench of taco meat.  I couldn’t help but laugh as I entered her house.  Hanging from the archway between the living room and the kitchen was a handmade sign in three parts that read “Surprise it’s” and “Taco Night!” followed by “Woo Hoo!”

On Tuesday we had tacos for dinner again.  It was my turn to cook, and I put the meat on the stove and went upstairs to wake up Cait – who had fallen asleep reading her latest book-club book.  Before I did that, however, I had hung a new sign – one that I made – in the archway and I tied a shiny and expensive piece of jewelry to it.  She was in kind of a daze when she came downstairs, so it took her a minute to realize that this sign was different.  Thankfully, it took her less time to say yes.

I was chatting recently with Dabysan and he suggested that it might be time to drop the “my friend” modifier when I refer to Cait.  And he may be right.  He suggested changing it to “girlfriend,” but I had a better idea.  As of last Tuesday my friend Cait is the real future Mrs. Hotrod.  And I couldn’t be happier.


Oct 8 2010

i can’t complain but sometimes i still do

That sentence above – the title of this post – is pretty much a summary of every Rocktober, to say nothing of my life as a whole.  I’m now a week into this year’s celebration of the majesty of rock and everything is going swimmingly.  The rest of my life away from the blog is pretty swell too.  And I’m not even a rich and famous rock star.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzxF-M2erx8


Sep 28 2010

jeremiah was a bullfrog

I recently became friends with someone whose all-time favorite band is U2.  As if that’s not enough, her favorite sports team is the Boston Red Sox and her favorite television show is The Wire.  One of her favorite movies is Slumdog Millionaire, which she has delivered directly to her flat-panel television via Netflix.  And I’m pretty sure she eats cupcakes while she watches.  On the surface, none of those things have anything to do with anything.  But the thing is, I have this list.

Once my friend got over her horror that I would be so petty as to A/ make a list of things I spite and B/ actually write it down, she issued a challenge.  And we all know how much I enjoy a challenge.  That’s why I’ve compiled below a similar list of things that bring me joy.  According to our initial discussions, this was only to be at least one-fourth as long as my spite list.  But my spite list consists of eighty-one items, and listing only twenty here is too easy to be worthwhile.  So I upped the ante by suggesting I exceed the spite list by at least one.  The only other stipulation was that I am not permitted to use this list as a way to make fun of her.  It’s amazing how well she knows me.

Antoni Gaudi / Arrested Development / aquariums / Baltimore, Maryland / Batman / Bill Bryson / blogging / bowling / Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band / buildings / Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid / chimpanzees / Chuck Klosterman / Conan O’Brien / crosswords / cycling / Daisy / dreams / euchre / Euskaltel-Euskadi / fantasy football / freshly cleaned sheets / game night / Games Magazine / Harry Potter books / history books / Homestar Runner / hot dogs / Iceland / Indiana Jones / Joel and Ethan Coen / Jon Krakauer / Karaoke to the Death / Kate Winslet / Lake Diane / Lake Tahoe / Lando Calrissian / Lego / Louis Kahn / macaroni and cheese / Marta / Michigan Wolverines / mimes / museums / nephews / New York Yankees / NFL / Nick Nolte / nieces / The Old 97’s / Old Town Alexandria / Outer Banks / pie / pigs / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / Pittsburgh Steelers / Pixar movies / Polaroids / Prince / pug farts / Ricky Gervais / roller derby / sandwiches / Santiago Calatrava / schnitzel with noodles / Scrabble / The Simpsons / snowboarding / soup / South Park / spite / Star Wars trilogy / strange maps / sushi / swimming / szechaun chicken / Thanksgiving / Tour de France / trains / traveling / vegetarian chili / video games / water skiing / westerns / Wilco / yinzers / Zooey Deschanel / zoos


Aug 25 2010

doo doo doo doo doo

When I look back on my life, I realize that I’ve done some great things.  I wrote the great American novel.  I discovered cold fusion.  I co-founded a beloved karaoke contest.  It’s been an enjoyable life so far, but I haven’t done the one thing I’ve wanted to do more than anything.  Reproduce?  Contribute to society?  Win the respect and admiration of my peers?  Nah, I don’t care for that stuff.  What I want to do is this….

I want to compile a list of all the pop songs that feature “doo-doo-doo” in the lyrics, edit them for quality, and then compile the best ones into a collection called The Doo-Doo Box Set.  I think it’s why I’m alive.  I’ve thought about doing The Doo-Doo Box Set for years, but I’ve never taken the time.  I once had a playlist in iTunes consisting of a few doo-doo songs, but I lost it when my computer died last year.  Well, it’s time to rebuild my list.  It’s time to fulfill my destiny.

I’m basically starting from scratch here and would greatly appreciate any suggestions.  Do you know any doo-doo songs?  If so, please leave a comment or send me a message with artist and title information.  I promise to thank you in the extensive hand-written liner notes that will accompany the box set.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxrXVhYzcCE&feature=player_embedded

Okay, fine.  This endeavor hasn’t exactly been my lifelong dream.  It’s only been my lifelong dream since March, when I saw Wilco at the Strathmore Theater.  The concert was less than two weeks after Alex Chilton died, and they closed their main set with a timely cover of a doo-doo song: Big Star’s “Thank You, Friends.”  It was one of the most joyous moments in all of my concert-going experiences.  I want to share that joy, and The Doo-Doo Box Set is my means to do so.  Yes, there is the likelihood that I will be hailed as a visionary, as nothing like this undertaking has ever been attempted before.  But I’m not doing this for personal glory.  I’m just a humble man who wants to share some songs with nonsensical lyrics.  Is that so wrong?

Big Star – Thank You, Friends / The Police – De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da / The Rolling Stones – Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) / The Beatles – Happiness Is a Warm Gun / Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side / Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner / Wilco – How to Fight Loneliness / Creedence Clearwater Revival – Lookin’ Out My Back Door* / Simon and Garfunkle – Mrs. Robinsonⁿ / Sir Lord von Raven – Take It or Leave It∞ / Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Do You Love Me? (Part 2)∞ / Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Jangling Jack∞ / Brendan Benson – Life in the D‡ / Frank Zappa – Broken Hearts Are for Assholes™ / The Sleepy Jackson – Old Dirt Farmer∞ / The Sleepy Jackson – (Just Like) Starting Over∞ / Raffi – Banana Phone* / Crosby, Stills, and Nash – Suite: Judy Blue Eyes* / David Bowie – Rebel Rebel∞ / Paul Weller – Roll Along Summer∞ / The Chameleons UK – Inside Out∞ / Van Morrison – Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)♪ / Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Let’s Get This Straight (From the Start)♪ / The Jam – Burning Sky♪ / Cherry Twister – Sparkle‡ / Delays – Wanderlust‡ / Junip – Always∞ / Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band – Express Yourself∞ / The Clientele – I Wonder Who We Are‡ / Gomez – Win Park Slope∞ / Kinky – I Say Hey∞ / The Beach Boys – God Only Knows* / The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations* / The Old 97’s – The Villain / The New Pornographers – Chump Change / The New Pornographers – Mass Romantic / Cut Copy – Out There on the Ice∞ / Kinky – Monday Killer∞ / Amy Correia – The Bike∞ / The Cranberries – Ode to My Family∞

* Nominated by Mariser
ⁿ Nominated by FS
∞ Nominated by Crankypants
‡ Nominated by Silverchimes
™ Nominated by M—–l
♪ Nominated by Homebody

Feb 8 2010

who dat!

Dat is Tracy Porter and dat is the second greatest interception in the history of the Super Bowl.  Remember when Peyton Manning had a reputation for being a huge choker who couldn't win the big game?  Why did we all stop thinking that just because he beat the Rex Grossman-led Bears?

As a lifelong football fan, watching the New Orleans Saints win the Super Bowl was one of the more surreal experiences of my life.  In some ways, it was even more strange to me than actually being at the game last year.  It's moments like last night that make sports so special.  The Saints are Super Bowl Champions, but we're all winners really.  Except for Peyton.  He's a big loser.

A few other random Bowl related thoughts: It's time to put to rest this notion that Super Bowl commercials are something worth getting excited about.  The Who are my least favorite iconic classic rock band, and their halftime show was terrible and offensive.  And it's borderline criminal that I can't seem to find any pictures online of Tater Tot, who won Puppy Bowl VI in a rout.

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Feb 7 2010

we couldn't be more proud

We've been featured in the [this is good] box before.  A few times, actually.  But this one is special.  Very special.

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Feb 5 2010

number four

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (AP) — The cutthroat world of bad karaoke was
rocked to its very core this morning after a surprise announcement by
one of the sport's most beloved icons.  Three-time winner – and the
greatest champion in the long and glorious history of Karaoke to the
Death – Hotrod announced he was ending his eleven-month retirement and
would compete in KttD X.

Although he currently holds the coveted Ramsey Cup, Hotrod announced his intention to retire
from the sport he loves so dearly only one day into his latest reign as
champion.  On February 16, 2009, he issued a statement to the press,
saying in part "After three wins, I feel I have nothing left to prove –
both to others
and to myself – and I much prefer to walk away at the top of my game
than to hang on, desperately grasping for one last shot at greatness." 
Since that time, Hotrod has seemed content to let others bask in the
spotlight – and bear the scrutiny – of KttD's faithful following.  He
has maintained consistently that he would participate in KttD X, but
not compete.  The notoriously tight-lipped champion announced his
intended songs – Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" and "Hot For
Teacher" – months ago, and all who know the intricacies of KttD voting
know those are not winning songs.  In recent weeks, he has even gone so
far as to offer advice to former rivals.  All of which make today's
bombshell only more shocking.

Hotrod's
triumphs in the sport of bad karaoke are legion.  Though he is a humble
man, he is known as a fierce competitor.  He is a sure first-ballot
Hall of Famer, and he owns nearly every KttD record that exists: first
champion, first two-time champion, first three-time champion.  When
asked this morning to comment on this sudden change of heart, he
replied "I've given this a lot of thought and consideration, and it
isn't true that I have nothing left to prove.  No one has ever won
back-to-back titles, and I'll be damned if I sit idly by without even
trying for that record too.  And a fourth title would be sweet."  He went on to say that the competitive
fire within him was further fueled as the event neared.  "Everyone
around me was talking about their songs.  And if I didn't know them, I
would look them up on Youtube.  It wasn't long before I was checking
out Air Supply and Billy Ocean and several other songs I'd discarded in
past years.  Then I was looking up new stuff like Gretchen Wilson.  One
thing kind of just lead to another, you know?"

Reaction from
Hotrod's peers was varied.  Both Emma Peel and Karaoke to the Death
Co-Founder Dabysan were at this morning's press conference.  Emma – the
odds-on favorite to be the next two-time KttD champion – was heard to
say "I'm not really surprised by this.  Everybody figured he was done
after his second title, but he dug deep within himself to give us
something special last year.  There's no doubt in my mind that he will
come out swinging."  Dabysan was less restrained.  "That weaselly fink. 
I figured this year was my chance at long last to finish above him in
the standings for a second time.  But not any more.  Not any more.  I
hate him so much."  This year's presumptive favorite – Matyas – was
unavailable for comment.

With the gladiators set for battle on
the dingy stage of the Rock It Grill in just over one week's time,
today's news has intense repercussions.  Strategies must be adjusted. 
Changes may be made.  We won't know until February 14th what impact
this will have on the competition, but there is little doubt in the minds
of the dedicated KttD fanbase that things just got a whole lot more
interesting.

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Mar 16 2009

rand mcnally

Hey, have I mentioned that I recently got a new bike?  Because I did.  She's a beauty, too.  I managed to take her out for a spin this past weekend (before the weather got really miserable) and the ride was everything I'd hoped for.  I don't think I have ever felt less buyer's remorse.  I've agonized more over the six dollars and sixty cents I spent on that steak burrito for lunch today at Chipotle.

I've been playing around lately with MapMyRide.com.  Below is the route I rode on Saturday.  I figure if I post enough of these I might eventually come up with something interesting to say.  Not today, though.  Today you just get a map.

Nokesville, VA — 37 miles

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Feb 16 2009

excelsior!

Well, the dust – if not my digestive system – is starting to settle in the wake of the Ninth Annual Karaoke to the Death IX, and it's finally sinking in that I really am the champion for an unexpected third time.  So much had been written about the possibility that the game had passed me by that I had begun to believe it.  It pleases me that I had the resolve to dig deep and deliver another tuneless performance, and it especially pleases me that I was able to do so without the substance abuse that had accompanied my previous two victories.  (Not that I didn't abuse any substances, mind you – it's just that I delivered my winning performance early in the evening, before the mind and voice altering effects became a factor.)  I would like to extend my congratulations to all who participated in KttD IX, but especially so to Matyas.  She's a worthy adversary, and – truth be told – maybe should have won.  Maybe.  I would also like to thank, once again, my coach.  Vanna has put up with a lot of my bullshit over the years, and patiently at that.  And yet she gives tirelessly.  I wish I could say her (sometimes brutally) honest advice was always well-received, but I promise it never has been taken for granted.

And so it is with both joy and sadness that I hereby announce my retirement from the sport of bad karaoke.  After three wins, I feel I have nothing left to prove – both to others and to myself – and I much prefer to walk away at the top of my game than to hang on, desperately grasping for one last shot at greatness.  But though I may be removing myself from contention in future KttD contests, I am most definitely not removing myself from the event that means so much to me.  I will still be involved in what I hope becomes a more active administrative role with the KttD front office, and I think I would like to make a move into coaching somewhere down the line.  Time will tell.  And I will still sing, of course, but I will sing those songs I want to sing, regardless of how I calculate the performance of said song might benefit me in the voting.  Who knows?  Maybe someday I'll even be able to take the stage without becoming impossibly nervous.

As always: well, you know….

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Jan 30 2009

hotrod's goin' to the super bowl

All right, we're off to Tampa, Florida for THE SUPER BOWL!!!.  For the next few days, we'll only be posting quick hits when we have a chance.  If yinz find yinzselves in need of still more evidence in our absence of just how awesome the Pittsburgh Steelers are, go ahead and look here or here or here or here or here.  Oh, sorry.  That last one isn't about the Steelers.  It's about how terrible the Cardinals are.  Our bad.

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