Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Time keeps on skipping

I am nearly in literal shock that today is the last day of February. What the hell is happening? So far I haven't made a single Rachael Ray recipe (that was my goal to do one every other week, granted I did squeeze a move into January) nor have I read a page of Gillian Flynn's novel Sharp Objects. Dammit. I am finishing that by a week from today or your money back.

Born of Frustration

Friday, February 23, 2007

Selling out

I recently heard The New Pornographers' "The Bleeding Heart Show" used in a commercial for the University of Phoenix. This was one of my fave songs from 2005. I love it so much that I included it on my revised Best of 2005 CD. And now my favorite part, the driving ending chorus is being used to pimp the horrible for-profit college that has seen its academic reputation getting skewered recently.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

2007 ... amazing year for music?

So far I've already purchased Lily Allen's "Alright, Still" (sic), Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's "Some Loud Thunder" and The Shins' "Wincing the Night Away." They are all outstanding. Nothing against The Shins, but I'd rate them third so far. Lily Allen arrives fresh as promised and in response to the most prematurebacklash ever, I'd say ignore those so hip that they need to hate something for being too popular before they ever even tried to like it.

Bill Simmons at espn.com was dead right when he said that the Internet has bred a culture of "Everything sucks now." I don't understand why some people think that they earn more cred for hating something first rather than spreading the gospel of loving something really cool and staying faithful to it?

This could be an expensive year for music then ... upcoming releases this year: Rachael Yamagata, Rilo Kiley, Arcade Fire, Bright Eyes, Brandi Carlile, Tift Merritt (probably), Jem, Gemma Hayes, Wilco and Stars. Those are all absolutely must-buys. And of course there'll be discoveries (courtesy of Nic Harcourt at kcrw and Indie 103.1). I think the first one in the latter category is beyourownpet. Dag, I just realized that Be Your Own Pet released its record in 2006.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Greatest celeb encounter EVER / My biggest life choke EVER

I went to see Lily Allen Monday, Feb. 5 at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood. First let me say that she was awesome, even when singing her song about men with small penises. It was funny and she was incredibly charming while performing for her mostly just-out-of-college female audience.

This show was sold out and I staked out my usual position about 20 feet from the front edge of the stage and near the wall on the left (when facing the stage). I like to position myself here, b/c I'm still close enough to be close without having to subject myself to the frontrows flesh press. And usually setting up near the wall means a little less people density. Well, not with a sold out show apparently. Even though it's a pretty dense amoeba of people, in front of me and the others in our makeshift "row." Small groups continue to wedge between myself and the small group to my left and then disappear into the mob.

As the available space shrinks the brazen rudeness of the line-busters increases. Eventually they're no longer offering even the cursory "excuse mes" and they're just busting through with sharp elbows. After the third person clips me, I look to my left and notice a beautiful, short (keep in mind I'm 5-4), fiery redhead dressed in a funky, indie chic outfit. I'm dead certain it's Rilo Kiley singer and songwriter Jenny Lewis. What the fuck is my wife doing here, right? Oh wait, I only want to marry her, but have never like met her or anything.

"Are you Jenny Lewis" or "You're Jenny Lewis, right?" both flash through my head. I don't even consider losering out and dropping those witty lines. I am honestly getting sick to my stomach a little though. What do I say??!?!?!?!??!?!!!!!!

Well, then I notice that she's standing with a bunch of people who appear very young, like still in college. And she's my age, so now I'm wondering what she's doing there with them and start convincing myself that it's not her.

OUCH. I've just been elbowed again and in my surprise I instinctively look to my left. This time my eyes lock with Jenny(?) and we share a mutual eye roll at the rudeness. I shift my weight about 56 times in the next three minutes debating whether to approach and how to if I decide to throw my insecurities and doubts to the wind. (By the way, I was farted on about 4 times at this show. one made me want to puke. This has become a very negative pattern recently. Happened at M. Ward enough to make me almost give up my amazing standing position behind the soundboard at the El Rey).

Lily's music has honestly been the furthest thing from my mind during this near-encounter with Jenny. After getting back into the show, so as to dull the I'm sure stalker vibe I'm giving off, I look left again and notice that she and her friends are making neck craning gestures toward the back of the hall indicating that they're gonna bail out on this scene. They leave before I have a chance to say anything. :( and I still don't know if it was her.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Welcome back to the City of Angels

Hardwood laminate floors in an IKEA beechy color (but a tad darker). Stone tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. Marble countertops. Brand new name-brand appliances including front-loading, energy efficient washer/dryer. Refrigerator with functioning light and ice maker. Dishwasher. Microwave. Stove and oven. Recessed sink that allows for easy "sweep in the crumbs." Faucet that has a removeable nozzle that acts as a hose with an on handle-button that toggled between spout and shower-type-spray. New cabinets and cupboards. Newly installed marble tiles in the showers and new bathrooms.

What's not to love about my new apartment?

Since leaving Yuma Hall (my dorm at the University of Arizona for two years), I've lived places that could hold plenty of couches and chairs to host parties, had a parking spot for a car in the front yard, contained dead roaches in the kitchen cupboards, featured spots on the carpets that Mob hitmen might be proud of, was a tiny studio with really high ceilings and a furnace in the bathroom that wouldn't shut off, a place furnished with a red pleather sofa that was sticky in the humidity, bad parking, and an apartment with a really long hallway that every once in a while made me scared of the dark.

The new place well, kisses good-bye to all that except for the not-so-great parking.

Quickie backstory ...

One of Andrew's oldest friends, Curtis, moved out here in December to work for Nielsen (the TV ratings peeps). While he was getting himself set up, he crashed on our floor. At the beginning of his apartment search we told him that if he finds any three bedroom places to keep us informed, since we were living month-to-month in a place that had the gross carpet stains, old crappy appliances (with no dishwasher). However, deep down I know I didn't expect to be moving. We were paying $717.50 a month each in rent and living in an amazing neighborhood in Culver City. I couldn't imagine Curtis finding a place that was proximal to our Culver City locale (e.g. near the ocean) that would have a comparable rent and be of similar quality to our old place. Not that our last place was palatial by any stretch (in fact it was kinda dumpy), but it was cheap and in a great neighborhood in Culver City!! I could walk to Trader Joe's, the Post Office, a good movie theater and Duke's (the coolest bar I've been to in Los Angeles. As Dave says, it seems like you're on a movie set).

Well, a couple weeks into the search he found a three-bedroom, two-bath apartment which was asking for $2550. This was more than we wanted to pay, especially for a place that said "like-new bathrooms." In the L.A. market, places that say "like-" anything typically mean, we put something newish on top of something indescribably horrifying. We were happy to pass.

A couple weeks later, this place appeared again. Curtis decided to call as the search for a decent, affordable one-bedroom place was not going so well. I was honestly ├╝berskeptical at this point now, b/c for a place to re-list means that a body must have been found. So Andrew and Curtis arrange to see it. I give them a list of questions to make sure they ask and to call me (I had to work late).

Well, Andrew, who shared much of my skepticism about whether we'd find a good-enough place and this place in particular, called raving. We went back that night and immediately upon walking in ... I knew we were taking this place. The rub, Andrew would be out of town for three consecutive weekends. including an entire week around the end of January. Moving suddenly would become an additionally burdensome task. At this point, we decide it's time to get movers. Long story, not toooooo long, the movers rule. At my age, I can honestly say that I don't know of a better $230 I've ever spent. They were fast and like actually strong adult males. One dude carried our large 27-inch TV by himself and they all handled everything far more carefully (respecting corners and edges) than we would have.

So now several weeks of unpacking, furniture buying and organizing later we're basically in. Btw, at Target I picked up this amazing kitchen shelving unit. It's black wire racks that's 72 inches high and about 48 inches feet wide and 20 inches deep. And it cost only $39.99 Buy this thing if you need more shelf space in your kitchen. It's like the Darth Vader of kitchen racks (it happens to be black).

There have been a few minor issues ... the hot water in the bathroom Andrew and I share ain't so hot (pun intended). They screwed up installing the temp/on-off control lever so that it reaches its maximum hot point, before the cold water valve is actually fully closed off. And they still have to get a big fan out of here. But we've recently discovered a much bigger rub. There's a leak in the bathroom. This is very uncool. :(

But every night I'm still really happy we made the move. Because the place I'm living has matching high-quality, non-stick pots and pans, mostly genuinely nice adult furniture, ceiling fans in every room and a full-size couch. And I've got new 300-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, a new 400-thread count sateen comforter, a desk (yay!). So no regrets as I feel truly welcomed to adulthood.

Pix coming soon, I hope.

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Btw, a former NBA player has revealed that he's gay. Good for John Amaechi. And then Tim Hardaway replied that he hates gays. Bad for everybody, but perhaps it'll get people to have an honest conversation. The only way to educate the ignorant is for them to be exposed.

So many people have said that they hope this story goes away and that they don't care what people do as long as it's confined to their bedrooms. I dig that. And I'm glad that they're at least not actively rejecting gays and their lifestyle. But that attitude seems to be very don't ask, don't tell to me. And that is not accepting. So while I don't want to get news fatigue on this, I hope that the notion of atheletes and sexuality and what's acceptable in sports culture and social norms doesn't get relegated to the closet.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Absentia

Dammit. The new apartment is awesome, but I've been having ridiculously maddening Internet access problems -- none of which existed in the old place or even here in the first few days prior to a power spike. The best part -- the problems show no pattern, so it's really hard to diagnose, ergo, fix.

More blogging when (if) this gets resolved.

Friday, February 02, 2007

What is this? Puberty?

I've got a deeply subcutaneous zit just below and to the left of my left nostril. It's barely visible to the naked eye, but I know it's there, dammit.

Story and pix of the move coming this weekend.

Go Sabres!