Sunday, December 31, 2006

what the world needs now is a new frank sinatra, so i can get you in bed

one of the benefits of working the the education field is the built in vacation that comes during the christmas-new year holiday time. with the exception of a cold that hit right around christmas day and lingered for a few days (hitting jp much worse than me), it's been a fine week+ off from work. jp and i took a short trip to tahoe for a couple of days.

it was not only my first time up there, but once we hit the cross-country ski trail it was my first time on skis ever. a bit of falling down, well, lots of falling down....but that was ok. once i got the hang of it, i had a great time. next time i'll try downhill.

the rest of the week has been pretty darned slothful. a bit of work, lots of movie and "the office" (bbc version, series 2, via netflix) watching. idle hands may be the devil's plaything, but idleness is a good tonic for getting over a cold.

last night we went to see camper van beethoven & cracker at the independent. i haven't seen camper in god knows how many years. jp works with a guy who plays in both bands, so not only did we get comped tickets, but access to an upstairs area where we didn't have to get jostled and could actually see the stage clearly. camper were as good as i remember from way back...equal parts of a variety of musical styles that work in a surprising but cool way .cracker seems to have morphed from the more alt-country/blues of their origins to a sort of harder-edged, bluesier and more jam-band type of camper that seem to be as much a showcase for johnny hickman's guitar as for david lowery's songs. their set was shorter than the cvb set, not just in overall length, but in number of songs. and some of the songs went on for, well, a long time. and jp has to ask her colleague what was up with the computer that lowery kept checking on during both sets. was he im-ing friends during the set?

tonight it's off to a party to ring in 2007. here's to a great year.

Friday, December 22, 2006

all the young boots and contracts

happiness is a new pair of doc martens.

pain is breaking them in. ouch. thank heavens for moleskin.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

we had some massive nights

it's december 21, solstice, the shortest day of the year. happy winter. the good news? the daytime only gets longer for the next 6 months.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

i know people whose idea of fun is throwing stones in the river in the afternoon sun

why haven't i been watching the office more regularly? huh? the christmas special is hilarious. even better than last year's christmas episode. interesting piece on the office in the dec 11th issue of the new yorker. i'd post a link, but it'll expire soon. if only the new yorker was better about their on-line content.

how is it that i found news gingrich oddly reasonable on meet the press this week? it's like in early 2004 when i as listening to npr, heard a guy who's voice i coulnd't palce, but he was saying some interesting stuff. i just about crashed my car when he was introduced as al sharpton. i still don't trust gingrich to not be a nutjob (his recent take on the possible need to curtail free speech is very worrisome), but he was ok today. and also on meet the press? tom friedman? dude, the sunni-shia thing erupting in iraq isn't just the result of what happened during hussein's rule, it's not baed on a 30-year build up of animosity. how ridiculously shallow an analysis, but then, nothing i shouldn't expect from him. and timmy? would it have killed you to have someone from the dem, liberal or progressive camp this week?

the netflix queue has been and i watched a very long engagement friday. yes, a touching love story, yes, very beautifully and inventively shot. but also? reminds me of 12 angry men, in that mathilde was the only one among her inner circle to not take the evidence at face value. also, like 12 angry men and name of the rose, mathilde proved her case by way of some basic deductive reasoning, marshalling the evidence point by point.

i also watched broken flowers, arguably jim jarmusch's most mainstream film. i liked how he made bill murray's road trip geographically anonymous. the device was clearly used to mirror murray's quest -- just like he wasn't sure exactly what it was he was searching for, you were never exactly certain where it was he was during the search. i would like to see bill murray break his recent string of playing guys who look like they overdosed on prozec.

had the occassion to met the lovely and talented leah and simon of a girl and a boy, thanks to going to see simon's band play. they're both cool people and simon's band is a kick-ass honky-tonkin' quartet.

and was an amazing day to be out and about...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

they shifted the statues for harboring ghosts

morning at ft. point, the presidio...

after some walking and running at ft. point we got some breakfast at the grove cafe on chestnut st, and damn if i did't have the most amazing breakfast burrito ever. super flavorful and spicy mix of salsa, guacamole, egg and beans. get it with bacon, if you're meat/pork inclined. the staff are very friendly.

Friday, December 15, 2006

i got lost in all the lights but it was ok in the end

taken in jp's living room, the night of her hosting a party for her book club

tv party tonight!

it seems that lately i've been posting less than intermittently. it's not like i've got nothing to say or that i'm not thinking about anything. and it's not like i haven't been doing what?

well, beyond vacations and shows (written about), there's my yuppiefied acquisition of a new hdtv, a westinghouse 27". i feel odd about the purchase. for one, i've been on a binge (for me anyway) in terms of apartment in the city, the egypt and morocco trip, a new mac, a new tooth (titanium implants are expensive) it's been hard to save like i'm used to. i'm also not prone to profiligate spending on big stuff. i tend to blow my cash on food, drink, books and music. the pleasures of daily life.

that said, the tv is awesome, and watching a hockey or football game in hd is lightyears better than conventional tv. plus there's the fact that my last tv was so old it didn't have inputs for a dvd player. i had a radio shack rf converter box which required unhooking cables, and that resulted in me never using the dvd player which resulted in my netflix subscription languishing (i got netflix when with roommates, one of whom had a newer tv...but the tv stayed with her). plus, old tv was purchased second-hand from a friend while in grad school, for the low, low price of $50. after 9 years it was time.

the other problem i have with the tv purchase is the mere fact of buying it makes me feel like i'm some tv addict, as if i need it. at jp's book club party on sunday the discussion came up what tv size and cable service says about one's level of tv snobbery and/or time spent reading. i read enough (thanks in no small measuree to the bart commmute) and i'm hardly a tv addict. and i take with a grain of salt and a healthy dose of suspicion people who claim to watch hardly any tv. half the time i think it's said for effect, for status. that said, i felt like anything more than a 27" tv was ridiculous, and as it is i only had hbo because of a great new subscriber deal from comcast.

in any event, it's hooked up and i've got the hd service from comcast. and i'm slowly warming to it and not feeling sheepish for buying it. that said, i downgraded the cable service today, ditching hbo (though it'll come back when the sporanos returns).

i am, however, going to get a bit more serious about saving...the 403b will be opened soon, and lunches will be more often brought than bought. after all, i can watch a ball game while i'm cooking for the week.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

we get wet and we corrode and we get covered up in rust

the rain that's hit us this week takes me back, oh, a few weeks the sunny gulf coast of florida...the in-laws of one of my brothers moved there a year or so ago, and this year they invited his side of the family down for thanksgiving. that extended into a short family vacation to clearwater beach. so while you dodge the rain and light your fireplace at night and keep warm with whomever makes you warmest...some images to remember what the sun looks like...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

take a step up then a quick step back in time

saturday night at the red devil lounge was another installment of "touring through my musical past", this time with the plimsouls. yes, the plimsouls, up with big star on the top floor in my power-pop pantheon. the plimsouls, who had a so-called "minor hit" with "million miles away", thanks in no small measure to the song and the band being featured in the 1983 movie valley girl, featuring a young nicolas cage.

this version of the band features all but the drummer from the line-up that recorded everywhere at once, one of my all-time favorite records (it's one of the few albums i have where i can honestly say that there isn't a bad song on there). so it was peter case singing and playing guitar, eddie munoz on lead guitar, dave pahoa on bass, and bryan head on drums. peter's looking a bit more, eh, filled out than in years past, but then he's 52 (!), so these things happen. but his voice can still carry a loud power-pop band, and he and the rest of the band had the kind of energy i'm sure they did way back in the early 1980s. they played the hits and then some, including "how long will it take", "million miles away", "everywhere at once" and "zero hour". i wasn't the only one in the packed-house crowd singing along to every song...we were mostly a bunch of kids of the 80s who came out to see a band that (like big star), although they didn't last long back then, have left a lasting impression on us even after all these years.