Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Paigey's Top Vids of '08 (part II)

I Are Cute Kitten - Sure, kittens are cute. But do we have to pretend that if they were to speak in English, they'd use bad grammar?

The Ting Tings - Shut Up and Let Me Go - Sooner or later, Paige is going to learn to use the phrase "shut up." Traci and I are both wondering how we are going to teach her not to say it, when this is one of her favorite songs and she shouts lyrics at the top of her lungs.

Baby Laughing
- This is a newcomer to Paige's list of favs. There's not a lot going on here that isn't explained in the title.

Hot Chip - One Pure Thought - Thank you, Hot Chip, for teaching my daughter to use her leg as a guitar. The chubby band member has also taught Paige some sweet dance moves.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Paigey's Top Vids of '08 (part I)

Because I'm a good parent, Paige and I spend a lot of time watching YouTube together. Here's some of her favs. 

1. Matt & Kim - Yea Yeah This video's great if you like identifying food items. PAIGE: Oh, there's a banana! Oh, there's a pizza! CRASH!!! Now they're cleaning up! Matt and Kim are great role models, teaching kids you always clean up after having a food fight with friends in food costumes.

2. Matt & Kim - Lightspeed Paige calls this "Clap Clap," for obvious reasons. This is my favorite Matt & Kim song, and somehow after watching the video 18 million times (literally) I still like it. Paige sings along with every word. 

3. Nathaniel Rave Take the dancing kid from Yo Gabba Gabba (via The Soup), mix it with a cat head and BLAMO!!! YouTube gold! 

4. Patches the Horse If there's one thing I know, it's that a talking horse really appeals to a three-year-old. A horse that can fetch a beer from the fridge really appeals to its redneck owners. 

5. Dancing with Little Einsteins Paige doesn't like watching videos of the actual Little Einsteins show. She only wants to watch this crappy home video of a restaurant appearance by the mascot version of the characters. She affectionately refers to them as "The 'Steins." 

More to come...

Enjoy the Off Season

As a lifetime Denver Broncos fan (go ahead and scoff), I should feel saddened by the team missing the playoffs. Instead, I'm just amazed by the year of utter suckiness. So incredibly sucky. 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Review: She & Him

She & Him
Volume I

I fell in love with Zooey Deschanel the second I heard her sing “Baby it’s Cold Outside” in the movie Elf. Who knew a few years later she’d team up with M. Ward, record a bunch of songs she’d been hiding under her bed and become an indie sensation?

“Volume I” is a strange blend of everything from ‘50s country to ‘70s pop. “I Was Made for You” wouldn’t be out of place on the “Grease” soundtrack, “Got Me” is classic Nashville, and “I Thought I Saw  Your Face Today” is reminiscent of The Carpenters.

Deschanel’s voice is gorgeous, her lyrics are simple, and Ward’s accompaniment is refrained. This album certainly isn’t for everyone, but it’s a rare album that may appeal as much to indie hipsters as their great grandmothers.  It's a pleasant enough listen--and will appeal to both indie hipsters and their great grandmothers--but overall, it's just a bit boring for me. Nevertheless, I can't get enough of "Sentimental Heart." 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Best Music of 2008

I casually mentioned I was making my best of '08 music list and my sister-and-law immediately shouted "Chris Brown! Chris Brown!" Though Chris Brown didn't actually release in a new album in 2008, I got the point. You like what you like. Here are the new albums that were in heavy rotation in my car this year.

The Streets
Everything is Borrowed

After 2006's crap-tacular release, "The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living," my confidence in The Streets was shaken a bit. Oh, me of little faith. Mike Skinner totally redeemed himself. "Everything is Borrowed" is a great comeback.

Does It Offend You, Yeah?
You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into

When I checked out the band, I thought I was just going to get some spastic dance music. The band with the horrible name certainly delivered on that front, but also squeezed in the best neo-new wave track of the year, "Dawn of the Dead."

Machine 15

Even punks have to grow up sometime. These Swedes are aging gracefully, slowing things down a bit without losing too much steam. "Vicious Cycle" is one of the best songs in the band's catalog.

The Academy Is
Fast Times at Barrington High

Looking at these skinny boys in their v-neck tees and tight girl jeans makes me throw up in my mouth a little. But "Fast Times at Barrington High" is a pure pop delight. I just close my eyes, think about relaxed-fit jeans, and enjoy the music.

Matt Pryor
Confidence Man

Get Up Kids and New Amsterdams leader Matt Pryor sure knows how to make a beautiful solo album. The line "You don't have to worry/Baby, I'm your confidence man" has been stuck in my head for five months.

Kanye West
808s and Heartbreak

Hands down the best not-really-hip-hop, hip hop record of the year. Kanye makes a bold move by trading big samples for small production and lots of auto-tuned singing. It's a love it or hate it affair. I choose the former.

Tokyo Police Club
Elephant Shell

Love those fuzzy bassline and bouncy beats. This band was a joyous new discovery for me this year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Even Better than the Jonas Brothers' Hair

We went to the holiday sing-in at Energy Solutions Arena last night with our friends the Bawdens. We were standing in line for our free hotdogs when Janeen leaned over to me and said, "Is that Shawn Bradley?" When I turned my head, I noticed I was looking right at a navel. Whose navel? Seven-foot-six-inch Shawn Bradley's.

As we sat there eating our hotdogs, we were of course excitedly talking about our celebrity sighting. That's when something even more exciting happened. "Guys, where'd you get the ketchup?" What? Shawn Bradley is talking to us?

Brett kept his cool and said calmly, "Right over there."

Shawn Bradley: "Thanks."
According to this site, Shawn Bradley is also known as:

"The Stormin' Mormon," "The Deathstick," "Missionary Impossible," "The Mormon Mantis," "The Praying Mantis," and "Siggi."

It's hard to choose a favorite, but I think I'm going to have to go with "The Deathstick."

And That's How I Saved Christmas

We didn't put Christmas lights up last year. We'd only been in our house for a few months and things were still pretty out of sorts. I don't know what everyone else's excuse was--not one person on our street put up lights.

This year I braved the cold to adorn our little house with a single strand of color lights. (Classy in its simplicity, I say.) Within a week or so, our next door neighbors put up lights, followed by the folks across the street. It's a regular Christmas town around here.

I'm pretty I was the motivating factor for this Christmas miracle. Traci doesn't seem convinced.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

DVD Review: Bazan Alone at the Mic

It's no secret that I heart Pedro the Lion and Pedro The Lion-related projects (I've written about it at least here, here, here, here, here, and here). So I was pretty excited about David Bazan's new DVD.

David Bazan
Alone at the Mic

To tide fans over until his first full-length solo release, former Pedro the Lion leader David Bazan offers up an intimate live collection of songs spanning his 11-year career. It is impossible not to be drawn in by the tales of conflict, betrayal, and waning faith. Backed by just a piano, electric, or acoustic guitar, Bazan shows he is just as talented a singer as he is a storyteller.

Between songs, Bazan fields questions about songwriting, touring, and cutting ties with his Evangelical Christian background. Though he is no stranger to such questions--at nearly every performance he allows the audience to ask him anything they want--on camera he seems a bit shy. He brushes by a question about his changing views on religion and, when asked when he'll finally write a long song, he insists that his tragic tune "Slow Car Crash" technically qualifies.

The performances are amazing. Pedro the Lion classics "1976" and "When They Really Get to Know You" are as beautiful as expected, but the real surprise is the piano version of the Headphones song "Never Wanted To." The heartbreaking "Please Baby Please," from Bazan's upcoming album, show there is still plenty to look forward to.

www.davidbazan.com. $13.99 + shipping.

DVD Review: The Up Beat

I've been a ska fan ever since I went to my first Stretch Armstrong show at UVSC when I was 14. By the time I was 17, we'd morphed our grunge band, The Twelfth of Never, into the ska band Left Foot Forward. Thus making us one of the 8 million high school ska bands at the time.

Local dude Brandon Smith recently made a documentary of Utah ska's golden age. Buy a copy or come over to my house and we can watch it together.

Here's a review I wrote for IN.

The Up Beat

If you grew up in Utah in the '90s, whether you'll now admit it or not, you likely spent at least one weekend skanking in Provo. Thanks to the combination of great local bands, great promotion, and a lot of high school and college kids with nothing better to do, Utah was once the ska music mecca. Lest we forget, Salt Lake City filmmaker (and trombonist for the Upstarts) Brandon Smith, gives documentary treatment to the scene's heyday.

The Up Beat follows the history of ska from its roots in Jamaica to its export to England, as told by pivotal players Toots Hibbert of the Maytals and Buster Bloodvessel of Bad Manners. From there, the genre eventually made it to the States, with Utah at the forefront in the movement.

Local bands like Swim Herschel Swim and Stretch Armstrong weigh in on how they helped make Utah one of the largest ska scenes in the country. Corey Fox, owner of the Velour club in Provo, comments that at the height of it all, Stretch Armstrong played a CD release show to a crowd of more than 2,000 and every national ska act made Utah a touring destination.

Though the scene peaked in the late '90s, this film helps the memory live on for anyone who has a soft spot in their heart for a good horn section or just wants an excuse to bust out those two-toned shoes.

www.theupbeatmovie.com. $12 + shipping.

Up Down Up Down Circle Circle Rinse

I was stopped at a red light this morning on my way into work. I noticed that in the car ahead of me, the dude's head suddenly started bobbing side to side really quickly. This wasn't a rockin-to-the-beat type motion (unless the beat was sideways). Was he having a seizure? I watch a lot of House and Grey's Anatomy so I figured I could probably save him.

Upon closer inspection, I discovered he was brushing his teeth. Well, that's all fine and good. But one question remains. What was he going to do with all that spit?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Review: The Killers Day & Age

The Killers
Day & Age

On the album's lead single, "Human," Brandon Flowers asks life's most pressing question, "Are we human/Or are we dancer?" I'm pretty sure the Killers are both. Their beloved first album, "Hot Fuss," was definitely dancer, with all of its bubbly '80s synths. Their generally behated (except my me) second album, "Sam's Town," tried to be human, in a we-think-we're-Bruce-Springsteen sort of way.

On "Day & Age," the Las Vegas quartet tries to strike a balance between the two. While the songs definitely skew dance-y, they are less produced and calculated than their debut. This works marvelously on the first three tracks, but is then absolutely derailed by the hideous "Joy Ride" and its accompanying saxophone solo.

The rest of the record is pretty uneven. While "The World We Live In" is quite endearing, "This is Your Life" sounds like an outtake from the Peter Gabriel catalog, and that awful saxophone reappears in "I Can't Stay." Equal parts hit and miss, "Day & Age" shows the poor Killers are still trying to figure out who they are.

The Killers - Spaceman [MP3]

For fans of: The Bravery, Hot Hot Heat
Rating: 2.5 of 4

Friday, December 05, 2008

Celebrity Sighting: The Jonas Brothers' Hair

Outside of the Winnie the Pooh ride

Disneyland must have been a success because about every other day Paige will say, "Was that fun to go to Disneyland?" (She only speaks in question form.) Then she'll rattle off every ride that we went on and every Disney character we met.

These reminders made me realize that I neglected to write about the most exciting part of our trip--seeing the Jonas Brothers' hair. Yep, those big-haired, teen faux rockers were recording their Disney Christmas special while we were there. The crowd of 12-year-old girls was so big and shriek-y that I could only get close enough to see her hair. But that's all I needed.

It looked a bit like this:

And, as an added bonus, we later got trapped in a foot-traffic jam thanks to a Corbin Bleu performance. I saw his hair as well.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Review: Kanye West 808s & Heartbreak

Kanye West
808s and Heartbreak

Kanye West has a big mouth, a big ego, and has always wanted to be bigger than hip hop itself. With his fourth album, he finally transcends the genre, ironically enough, by keeping things small.

"808s and Heartbreak" is the rap equivalent of an acoustic rock album. There are no "Gold Digger"-esque samples here, no "Jesus Walks" grandiosity. Just tribal 808 drum machine beats, auto-tuned vocals and poor Kanye's broken heart.

It works beautifully. West trades bravado for insecurity, and money-makin' for personal loss. The majority of the tracks are incredibly somber, including album opener "Say You Will" and closer "Coldest Winter." For a hint of variety, Kanye throws in a couple of upbeat (yet still lo-fi) numbers, including the string-driven "RoboCop" and very French-dance-club "Paranoid." Nearly every track is a winner, especially "Heartless" and "Street Lights." This is definitely one of the best records of the year.

Street Lights [MP3]

For fans of: Lupe Fiasco, Bloc Party
Rating: 3.5 of 4

Review: Guns n' Roses Chinese Democracy

Guns n' Roses
Chinese Democracy

It really happened. . It just took 17 years—or the entire life of a high school senior—for "Chinese Democracy" to finally make it to the shelves. The big question is 'was it worth it the wait?'

Those who love(d) Guns n' Roses for all of its complementary parts—Slash's blazing solos, Izzy's blues, Duff's basslines—will likely be disappointed. But those who love Axl Rose and his megalomania get everything they could hope for.

There is nothing organic about this album. It is filled with millions of guitar parts, billions of vocal tracks, strings, synths, and production credits longer than most feature films. Each track is a mini-opera, stuffed with all of Rose's tricks--the low voice, the falsetto voice, the guitar solo, the big climax. But in spite of all of the drama, they are just rock songs. Axl Rose is a crazy, reclusive perfectionist who spent $13 millio n dollars and more than a decade recording just 14 songs. But he still rocks. Does anything else matter?

For fans of: Axl Rose
Rating: 3 of 4

Monday, December 01, 2008


[click for larger view]

For all of the writing I do, I sure never get my picture in the paper. This last month, however, everything's been turning up Milhouse. I got to submit my Christmas list to IN (accompanied by a lovely self portrait) and there was a really fuzzy picture of me pretended to walk on the trail behind the SelectHealth building in Utah Business Magazine. (Pretty lousy for a guy who's been writing for the magazine for three years.)

Anyhoo, I'm pretty much a big deal.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Review: Candlebox Into the Sun

Candlebox was kind of bunch of grunge imposters in the early '90s. They didn't move to Seattle until well after grunge was becoming "the thing" and they were really more of a hair metal band at heart. That said, their first album sure was good.

I didn't even know they were still together, but I recently ran into their new album. I wrote up this little review for this week's issue of IN.

nto the Sun

You know what's been missing from 2008? Nineties rock. Luckily Candlebox, ever the opportunists, have reunited to fill the void. Eight years after their disbandment, the second-wave grungers are back with their forth studio album.

"Into the Sun" begins with the same reverb-y riffs that made the band popular in 1993. Unfortunately, the hooky choruses that helped the band stand out are noticeably absent. Singer Kevin Martin's arena-sized voice works best on the album's closing three tracks. The bluesy ballad "Breathe Me In" builds slowly before kicking into high gear and allowing Martin's vocals to soar, "Lover – Come Back to Me" is enjoyable despite its cheesy lyrics, and "Consider Us" is a heartfelt ending to the record.

Though this is no return to form, it should be enough to tide you over until you dig out your old Soundgarden CDs.

For fans of: Bush, Fuel
Rating: 2.5 of 4

Post-Disney Letdown

After returning from our little trip to Disneyland, we headed over to Traci's parents' houses to pick up Curtis. Traci's family was still at church so we hung out and waited for them. When we opened the garage door we saw that Traci's mom Cathie had a new Nissan Murano, a pretty sweet ride.

When Cathie showed up, Traci congratulated her on the new car, but she didn't say much about it. A minute or two later, Cathie walked over to her and said, "Dad got you something while you were gone," and dangled a pair of keys over Traci's head.

My heart stopped for a minute. Did Traci's parents really buy her that car? She is the golden child, but really?

Nope. Not really . We had left our car at their house while we were out of town. Our car key is broken and no longer hooks onto a key ring. Traci's dad got new copies made for us. No new Murano, but still a nice gesture.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Heard It on the Internet: The Killers - Human (Ocelot Remix)

That wife of mine sure hates the Killers. She hates Brandon Flowers. She hates "Human." And she really hates the line "Are we human/Or are we dancer?" I'm pretty found of the band. I like the new song. And I really like robots. All of those things combined make this remix great for me.

The Killers - Human (Ocelot Remix) [MP3]

Review: David Archuleta

David Archuleta

It's not easy to take an American Idol winner and make them into a believable recording artist, especially when you're working with a little Muppet like Utah's own David Archuleta. Surprisingly enough, Archuleta's first album isn't half bad.

Fortunately, the producers don't try to push Davey too far out of his comfort zone. The tracks alternate between mid-tempo bubble gum pop numbers and ballads and the lyrics never stray from PG-rated boy-meets-girl fare. While the pop numbers work well, including the album's first single "Crush" and "Touch My Hand," the ballads are real snoozers. The worst is the sleepy "You Can," where the 17-year-old ends up sounding like John Denver.

The album closes with a straightforward cover of Robbie Williams' "Angels." Though it was the safe bet, it sure would have been more fun to hear Archuleta take a shot at "Rock DJ."

For fans of: Clay Aiken, Elliot Yamin
Rating: 2 of 4

On a related note, I now wake up to classical music. No matter what station I put the alarm to, I always ended up waking up to "Crush." What a horrible way to start a day.

David Archuleta - Crush [YouTube]

Heard It on the Internet: Jesus Walks D'NB REMIX

I decided this morning that I needed to listen to Jesus Walks this morning, but didn't have it on my iPod. I found a very cool drum 'n bass version by DJ Zinc.

Kanye West - Jesus Walks (DJ Zinc D'N B Mix) [Mp3]

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Happiest Place on Earth Sure Made Me Tired

Minnie is so photogenic. Paige is pretty cute, too. Surprisingly, I don't have too much to say about our Disneyland adventure. It was a 50/50 tossup of whether it would be the best trip ever or the worst four days of my life.

Luckily, it skewed much more toward the former. It took Paige a little bit to get used to the idea of going on rides but once she caught on, she couldn't have been happier. Meeting Minnie was a definite highlight for her.

When we got ready to leave for the airport I said, "Come on, Paige, let's go get on the airplane."

"No, how 'bout go to Disneyland?"

"No, we need to go home and see Curtis."

"How 'bout see Mickey?"


"How 'bout yes?"

So I guess she had a good time.

By the time we made it to the airport, her fun meter had run out. Trying to persuade her to keep walking to the security check, I said, "Come on, Paige, we need to go to the line?"

"See a lion? Okay."

"No. We need to go to that liiine."

"Where's the lion?"


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Streets Everything is Borrowed

The Streets
Everything is Borrowed

There couldn't be a more unlikely rap star. Mike Skinner, aka The Streets is skinny, white, and extremely British. With the release of his 2002 debut album, however, the London suburbanite gave hip hop an entirely new—and decidedly squeakier—voice. (You know a guy's good when he can rhyme about having tea with his mum and still make it interesting.)

After the disappointing 2006 "The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living," Skinner is back on track with his fourth album. The childish humor of past records has largely given way to reflection, but Skinner shows his wit is a sharp as ever when he sings "I want to go to heaven for the weather/But hell for the company." Though the usual off-key singing remains, the songs are more restrained and have a definite world-weary vibe. The simplest tracks are the best, including the guitar vamp "The Way of the Dodo" and the soft-hearted title track. Even the super sappy "The Strongest Person I Know" comes off as lovable.

Rating: 3.5 of 4
For fans of: MIA, The Futureheads

Okkervil River The Stand Ins

Okkervil River
The Stand Ins

For whatever reason, I have avoided Okkervil River for the past few years. When I heard "Lost Coastlines," with its banjo accents, mariachi trumpets, and Jonathan Meiburg's baritone croon, I had to the give the band a second chance.

Though the majority of the album is not as light-hearted as "Lost Coastlines," the downtrodden tracks are equally as enjoyable. "Blue Tulip" is a lovely slowburner and "Bruce Wayne Campbell" perfectly fills every second of the six minute track. "Calling and Not Calling My Ex" and "Pop Lie" are standouts as well.

So I'm now a converted Okkervil fan and am currently going through their back catalog.

Rating: 3.5 of 4
For fans of: The National

Toilet Troubles

Potty training is not going well at all. But it's not without it's humor. We bought a Dora the Explorer seat that fits over the regular toilet seat, hoping it would help the process. It didn't, despite the fact that Paige loves it. The other day she picked up the Dora seat, put her face in the hole, looked at me and said, smiling, "I seeee you."

On a similar note, when Paige was in the tub today she discovered that there's a very funny way to make bubbles in the water.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

To Disneyland and Beyond!

I would say that this sums up the vast majority of Paige's inaugural visit to Disneyland--only being able to see one inch over the side of the car. But that's what you get when you're only 30 inches tall. (Notice my sweet my sweet high score. 26,700! Paige's meager 3,300 was still better than Traci.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

America is "Super"

I totally chickened out. I had planned on voting for Super Dell Schanze, aka Captain Crazy, but then at the last second I decided that there was really no point in voting for someone just for comedy's sake.

I do love that his official blurb from the Utah information pamphlet (click on the image for full view) says we'll be accountable for our choice. His website also contains the following taglines:

--All of the Other Candidates Suck!


--Promote Morality to Increase Prosperity. Fire Huntsman Immediately!!!

SUPERDELL, Utah's ONLY Christian Candidate

SuperDell, you're still so crazy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

LL Cool J Exit 13

LL Cool J
Exit 13

When he's not designing a clothing line for the hippest of hip hop shops, Sears, LL Cool J is dropping his 13th album. On "Exit 13," 40-year-old Cool James is on a mission to let the kids know he's still relevant. It's too bad that he spends so much time referencing his place in the history of the game because the songs could really speak for themselves.

"Get Over Here" shows LL is not afraid of dabbling in the new school and "Feel My Heart" (featuring 50 Cent) is one more dirty-talk slow jam notch on his bedpost. The album takes a turn for the weird when Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora and Cool J turn "Baby" into a horrible remake of "Living On a Prayer." Luckily, the record finds redemption when Cool J pledges his allegiance to the hometown girls. "Man, American girls are something to see/I bet Thomas Jefferson would love BET." Truer words were never spoken.


Rating: 3 of 4
For fans of: Run DMC, Public Enemy

Better with Faces

Paige is not always awesome with names. She just barely stopped calling my friend Bert's daughter McKenzie (Kenzie) "Candies." She calls her cousin, Nathan Vogelsberg, Nathan Cheeseburgers. And she thinks my mom's remodeling guy's name is Christmas. Uh, it's Chris. Is there a pattern--candy, cheeseburgers, Christmas? Favorite things, perhaps?

In the Daylight Everywhere Feels Like Home

Luckily Paige and I have the same taste in music. We were both very excited when the new Matt & Kim video debuted. However, she is very concerned about some of the unsanitary situations in the video.

"Oh, no! They're in the garbage can! Oh, no! They're in the fridge! "

We love it.

Matt & Kim - Daylight

Brought To You By...

During sacrament meeting on Sunday, Paige was lying under the pews saying something over and over. I didn't mind. It was the quietest she had been all day and she wasn't shouting"A-MEN!" or declaring, "That's yummy bread!" But after I heard repeat the same phrase for the tenth time, I leaned down to get a closer listen.

"Sesame Street is brought to you by the letter E and the number 6. Sesame Street is brought to you by the letter E and the number 6. Sesame Street is brought to you..."

She doesn't even watch Sesame Street regularly. What a weirdo.

Monday night is record review night, where I hammer out 3 record reviews for IN Utah This Week. I never thought that writing about music would be incredibly taxing, but alas, it does make it more difficult for me to enjoy my preferred Monday night activities, namely watching The Hills and Gossip Girl with Traci.

The majority of the CDs I review are direct submissions to the magazine. Most fall into the so-so category, which is really the hardest to write about. Awesome is easy. Horrible is easy. But what do you say about the mediocre?

Tuesday is my day off from new music. So what do I choose to listen to when decompressing? This morning I commuted with "Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace" by The Offspring. It made me really happy. It also served as proof that I have no right giving an opinion on what qualifies as good music.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Review: Ben Folds Way to Normal

Ben Folds
Way to Normal

"Way to Normal," is filled with the quirky humor that has largely been missing since Ben Folds' ditched the Five. But rather than feel refreshing, 42-year-old Fold's crass jokes come off a bit sophomoric.

The record starts out strong with "Hiroshima (BBB Benny Hits Head)," a story of Folds falling off the front of the stage during a show in Japan. The fall must have knocked something loose because the album's lyrics are all over the place. Folds sings about getting acupuncture, being rich enough to get free coffee, and wondering if an ex-girlfriend is reading the same news article about astronaut Lisa Nowak's diaper-clad trip across America.

Though the album has plenty of charm ("Hiroshima," "Effington"), it is incredibly disjointed. It's nice to hear Ben Folds having a little fun after his snoozer last record "Songs for Silverman," but "Way to Normal" could have used a bit more focus.

Rating: 3 of 4

Ben Folds - Hiroshima [MP3]

Review: One Day As a Lion

One Day As a Lion

With just about every band opening their political mouths over the last few years, one voice has not only been quiet but missing entirely. Zach de la Rocha breaks his eight year studio silence, not with his band Rage Against the Machine, but with side project One Day As a Lion. De la Rocha mans the keyboards and the microphone and ex-Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore keeps the beat steady.

One Day As a Lion follows doesn't stray far from the Rage formula, though it is a bit more electro than electric (and those wacky Tom Morello guitar solos are absent). De la Rocha hasn't lost a step, spitting vitriolic verses about death, destruction, war and religion over fuzzed out keyboard lines. The only drawback is that the lyrics often get buried in the mix.

Clocking in at just 20 minutes, the release is driven by unrelenting urgency. The songs are not as instantly memorable as the highlights from the Rage catalog, mostly because they are not as repetitive. This is actually good thing, as it prevents the 5 song EP from tiring so quickly. Here's hoping De la Rocha doesn't make us wait another eight years for the next release.

One Day as a Lion - One Day as a Lion [MP3]

Rating: 3.5 of 4
For fans of: Rage Against the Machine, Rise Against

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Your Costume is Making Me Hungry

Last night, my sister-in-law asked Paige what she's going to be for Halloween.

PAIGE: A sandwich!
ME: No, a witch.
PAIGE: Oh. A witch!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Review: Weezer at the E Center

Oct. 7

The new and improved Weezer definitely got the party started at the E Center last night. The band has always been fun on their records, but has been known to be a bit ornery on stage. On this tour, the foursome has gone out of their way to make things fun for the fans and themselves.

Clad in matching white old man jumpsuits the band opened with the revved up version of "My Name is Jonas." After just a few tracks they unzipped, only to reveal matching red old man jumpsuits. Sweet.

The stage was packed with microphones, allowing the normally reserved Rivers Cuomo to sing anywhere he wanted. At one point, he even donned a Britney Spears-style headset mic so he could play guitar, hop and sing at the same time. (When he needed to do additional jumping, he bounced on the mini trampoline stage right.)

Also very uncharacteristic was Cuomo's delightful stage banter. He recounted spending yesterday in Salt Lake at the Children's Museum with his wife and 17-month-old daughter, buying fake food in the fake grocery store. Though he looked like a junior high school janitor in his jumpsuit and moustache, he was certainly a lovable janitor.

Much like on "The Red Album," each band member took turns on lead vocals on several tunes. Bassist Scott Shriner was surprisingly good on "Perfect Situation" and Brian Bell pleasantly squeaked through "El Scorcho." Though none of the other Weezers have nearly as a good a voice as Cuomo, it was cool to see how much they all enjoyed changing roles. Cuomo banged away on the drums for a few numbers, drummer Pat Wilson shredded the guitar, and there was even a keyboard cameo by the band's webmaster.

The crowd also able to get into the instrument-switching fun. For an encore, 30 or so fans were invited to bring their instruments—ranging from a penny whistle to an accordions to a tuba—on stage to accompany Weezer on "Island in the Sun." The result was delightfully horrible.

Though longtime Weezer fans may have been hoping to hear more early material—the majority came from "The Red Album"--the atmosphere and performance more than made up for it. No one left disappointed.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Streets are Not Safe

Paige and her cousin Ryan were a scary sight, driving around at grandpa's ranch in the Gravedigger.

The Evil Hairdresser

Curtis got a real haircut from Grandma Martha today. Fortunately, Paige had prepped him for it.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Metallica, Jack's Mannequin, Ra Ra Riot

Death Magnetic

Metallica's been in a lose-lose situation for the past 15 years. They've desperately tried to move forward but all their fans really want is the old Metallica. "Death Magnetic" is a calculated attempt to return to the pre-"Black Album" days.

The elements are all there. Songs are longer, darker and more complex. Kirk Hammett's guitar solos melt faces, Lars Ulrich brings back the thrash metal swing and James Hetfield is still growling. But it is a hit and miss affair. There are moments, such as on "The Day That Never Comes," that feel like vintage Metallica, but lesser tracks like "Cyanide" just feel forced. Though "Death Magnet" is no "Kill 'Em All," it does show the band still has some firepower left.

Rating: 3 of 4
For fans of: Metallica

Jack's Mannequin
Glass Passenger

"Glass Passenger" picks up where the Jack's Mannequin debut left off. Opening track "The Resolution" is an instantly engaging, piano-driven pop tune that wouldn't feel out of place between Vanessa Carlton and Michelle Branch. Though the album doesn't always maintain this same level of overt happiness, it is always full of life.

Frontman Andrew McMahon has a pretty interesting perspective on life, having spent the past few years fighting leukemia. This record reflects McMahon's desire not just fight, but to win. "You gotta swim/Swim when it hurts/The whole world is watching/You haven't come this far/To fall off the earth." McMahon doesn't waste any time feeling bad for himself. "Glass Passenger" is all about moving forward.

Rating: 3.5 of 4
For fans of: Dashboard Confessional, Early November

Ra Ra Riot
The Rhumb Line

If you love Vampire Weekend, you will love this record. If you don't, at least you will find Ra Ra Riot about 20 percent less annoying. Formed at the University of Syracuse, Ra Ra Riot definitely shares Vampire Weekend's Ivy League feel, but manages to sound less pretentious.

The songs are generally bouncy head boppers, propelled by Wes Miles' slightly-British accent and Milo Bonacci's understated guitar. The real highlight, though, is the weight given by violinist Rebecca Zeller and cellist Alexandra Lawn. The ladies' sweeping strings manage to push tracks like "Ghost Under Rocks" to whole other level and really give the band an identity of their own.

Rating: 3 of 4
For Fans of: Vampire Weekend, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Weez(er)ing the Juice, Bud-dy

I officially did the Weezer interview. It didn't start out well. The phone interview was originally scheduled for Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. eastern, postponed until 4:00 p.m. eastern, and then moved to Thursday at 3:40 central. Blasted time zones.

At 4:00 central I got the call. I talked to guitarist Brian Bell for exactly 44 seconds before the call dropped. After reconnecting, we spoke for another 30 seconds before it dropped again. The third time was a charm and we had a good, if not disjointed, conversation.

The only really uncomfortable moment was when I asked if the dudes in the band thought it was cool that they got to sing on the new album. "We sing all the time. I sung more on 'Undone' that Rivers did.'"

"Uh, you did? Well, I mean, lead vocals."

"Oh, yeah. That was cool."

We talked about how backstage Weezer is just a bunch of dudes loading up the trucks and that pre-performance Weezer consists of a lot of napping and not eating four hours before the show.

I'll post the full interview shortly. Until then, here's the completed article.

Oct. 7
E Center
w/ Tokyo Police Club, Angels and Airwaves

The past year has been a strange one for Weezer. The band's normally reclusive and dictatorial leader, Rivers Cuomo, not only released an album of intimate home recordings but also relinquished some of his Weezer power, allowing each of his band mates to take a shot in the lead singer role on the band's new record. And the guys have never been happier.

Weezer guitarist, (and big brother of local artist extraordinaire Leia Bell) Brian Bell, put up with Cuomo's constant chiding and a bad cell phone connection to talk about their current Troublemaker Tour.

"We're definitely the most entertaining we've ever been in our career," Bell says. "The shows are getting progressively better, so I predict by the time we hit Salt Lake we'll be in full swing."

Bell says that the quality of recent shows results from the band feeling more comfortable with each other on stage than ever before. "Everybody's taking more responsibility in the show," Bell says. "Rivers is really performing. I don't want to give away too much of the show, but it's absolutely entertaining. People that have seen our shows for years and years say this is by far the best show they've seen."

Weezer has made a conscious effort as of late to push themselves out of their comfort zone, both onstage and in the studio. The most notable change on the "The Red Album" was Bell, bassist Scott Shriner and drummer Pat Wilson each taking a turn on lead vocals.

"That's what we went for on this album—what would be thrilling for us," Bell explains. "One of the things I mentioned was I'd like to sing and even write a Weezer song for this new album and we made it happen."

Cuomo also pushed himself in the songwriting. The album's centerpiece, "The Greatest Man that Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)," manages to switch genres a half dozen times in just under six minutes.

"Rivers was a little bit fed up with the pop song structure and wanted to experiment," Bell says of the song. "Theme variation structure is prevalent in classical music. He came up with different versions of the melody—the theme—and later we found out that the theme was very similar to a Shaker hymn. So that's why we call it 'Variations on a Quaker hymn.'"

When it comes to long term plans for Weezer, it's just about moving forward. "To keep making records and tour [is] success enough for me," Bell says. "But I would like each record to not rehash the past. To stay in the creative moment and come up with music that wasn't there before, that's one of the most fulfilling things you could possibly do."

"Our approach has always been to try to make something groundbreaking, otherwise what's the point?" Bell says.

One For the Road

I don't know how I could have let this slip passed me. One of my all time fav bands, The Travoltas, covering one of the all time best Bad Religion songs, Sorrow.

The Travoltas are from Holland. I think they only did one tour in the U.S., which I believe was while I was on my mission. When Traci and I went on our second trip the Netherlands, they were playing a show way on the other side of the country. I briefly considered us doing a huge amount of train and bus riding to go, but I wussed out. Shoulda gone. They broke up about a year ago.

But they left behind this:

Travoltas - Sorrow

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hip Hip

I'm a couple of minutes away from a phone interview with Brian Bell of Weezer. I'm pretty nervous.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Who's the Boss?

A few months ago, I was being proactive and I taught Paige the following:

Me: Paige, who's the boss? Daddy's the boss.
Me: Who's the boss?
Paige: Dad's the boss.

She quickly unlearned this truth. On Sunday I said, "Paige, let's watch football."

"After Dora." (Dora the Explorer is her new favorite thing, leaving the Wiggles and the Doodlebops in the dust."

"No, now."

"No. After Dora."

And that was that. We watched Dora.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Hope They Call Me On a...

In Amsterdam with our good friends the Joneseses

I spent an hour with the missionaries last night, waiting for an investigator to not show up. Though I’ve been the ward mission leader for almost a year, my interaction with the elders has been almost all business.

Last night, however, they finally let their guard down and I heard them interact like humans. One of the dudes is going home next month and they were talking about all the awesomeness that happens at the end of the mission.

Here are some of the highlights:

Elder 1: I’m going to get to go to conference like the week before I go home.
Elder 2: That’s sweet.
E1: And then I get to go downtown on my last day.
E2: Downtown?
E1: Well, not all of downtown. Just Temple Square…AND the Church museum.
E2: The church museum is AWESOME! Are you going to go on the temple tour?
E1: And have them tell me all the stuff I already know? Nah.
E2: But you get to go the Joseph Smith movie, right?
E1: Yeah. I should take my digital camera and tape it for you and send you a copy.
E2: And you’d get struck by lightning.

On the last day of my mission I went to Amsterdam with all the other elders who were going home. I bought some silver man capris (or man-pris) that had Velcro on all the pockets at a store called The Bizzee Bee. On the way there we walked past the Amsterdam Sex Museum and a bunch of coffee (the Dutch euphemism for marijuana) shops. Then I bought some white Pumas that looked like baseball cleats.

To each his own, I guess.

And as added bonus, here’s one other conversation piece:

E1: I wish there was a Seagull Book where I live.
E2: I love Seaguall Book. I could spend hours there. If could have like a $5,000 gift certificate anywhere, I’d choose Seagull Book.
Me: Me, too.

soft talk + big stick

There's an older lady that lives in my circle who walks her little dog every day. She always carries two items with her: a poop bag and a baseball bat. I'm guessing the bat is for protection, but I would think the bag of fresh pooh would be a more effective weapon.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gym Class Heroes--The Quilt

Gym Class Heroes
The Quilt

Gym Class Heroes found their niche by making hip hop for indie kids, replacing street life bravado with tales of meeting chicks on Myspace. Frontman Travis McCoy is always the standout star, undeniably charismatic in his quest to become the next Jay-Z, when it's clear he's really just an emo boy at heart.

"The Quilt" is a fitting name for a record that stitches together all sorts of genres. There's the sultry club banger "The Cookie Jar," the kiss-off "Peace Sign/Index Down" (featuring Busta Rhymes) and the sappy "Like Father Like Son." The stylistic schizophrenia works, it's just the album's stuffy production that's disappointing. The feel of the live band is missing as well as the usual fun that really makes Gym Class Heroes stand out.

Rating: 3 of 4
For fans of: Outkast, N.E.R.D., Fall Out Boy

Maybe Local H Doesn't Hate Me After All

I listened to my interview with Scott Lucas again tonight so I could write the article. It turns out it wasn't that bad. I hate hearing how I bumble through the questions, but I don't think he was really trying to be a jerk or to make me feel like an idiot (I did that all on my own.)

If you feel like listening, it's 14 minutes long and has a couple of eff words.

Scott Lucas Interview 9/16/08

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Surly Scott Lucas

I was pretty excited when I had the chance to do an interview with Scott Lucas of Local H today. I've been listening to the band since I was 16. Their show at the Saltair in 1996(ish) is still on my list of all-time favorites. I saw them again at a bar in 2004 and I was scared that Lucas was going to beat me up.

Scott Lucas's onstage and on record persona is very angry, very confrontation. I was expecting that he was going to be different in person. Maybe he is. He's not on the phone. The interview turned out okay, but he was not incredibly personable.

ME: So the new album 12 Angry Nights is a very personal record about a bad breakup. Was it difficult to open yourself up so much?

SL: I know what you're trying to get me say, and I'm not going to say it.

[I didn't know what I wanted him to say, but I guess he did.]


ME: So, what happened to [original Local H drummer] Joe? Is he still alive somewhere?

SL: I don't know. Why don't you Google him?

I don't know if he thought I was asking bad questions, if he just doesn't like doing interviews with little local papers, or he's just a little short with people. S'all good, I guess. It was still cool to talk to him. I'll post the full interview shortly.

Local H - The One With 'Kid' [MP3]

Hello Again, Breakfast

It's well documented that I am not really an awesome business traveler. I just got back from spending two days at a conference in exotic Layton, Utah.

Comrade Kaleb and I had the hotel's buffet breakfast right before the event, but by the time we made it to the conference hall I was feeling so great. I sat down at our exhibition booth and said, "Kaleb, I may need to throw up."

Five seconds later, it was on. I headed to the bathroom (fortunately it was right across from our booth), hoping to make it to the toilet. I had to settle for the garbage can. I felt better immediately, but it sure smelled bad. I tied up the can liner and left it in the can.

I was hoping to see a janitor so I could ask someone to replace it. No luck. Finally, a few hours later, I saw a janitor come by. I thought I should go tell her that the garbage can needed a new liner. But I couldn't figure out what to say. I was too embarrassed to say, "Uh, I threw up in the garbage can and it smells pretty bad." I thought about saying, "I noticed that some dude threw up in there," but I was too scared to do that. either. So I said nothing. But the can got changed anyway.

Down Wind

During sacrament meeting on Sunday I smelled a smell. A very bad smell. I leaned down to Paige and said, "Are you stinky?" She just looked at me and blinked. Traci took her out to change her diaper. When she came back she said she was fine. It turns out it was the old man in the row in front of us.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Warning: A Picture So Cute You Will Die

Curtis kind of has a drooling problem. Fortunately, now he has a legitimate excuse. At just under five months, the little guy is getting his first tooth. The other day I had him in the Bumbo for about five minutes. By the time I got him out he was literally wet down to his toes. He didn't mind. Just look at that face.

Friday, September 12, 2008

No Mo' Motowntownphilly

Some people just don't appreciate my role as the (unofficial and possibly unwanted) office DJ. I was just minding my own beeswax, listening to some slow jams on my computer speakers yesterday. Along comes "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men and it's imperative that I pump up the volume. Next thing I know, I'm getting pelted in the back of the head with balls of Play-Doh from the next aisle over. Where's the love?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So Fresh and So Clean

Traci and Curtis are at the doctor for his four month checkup and Paige and I are hanging out at home. I've enjoyed watching her do her morning routine. She just walked over to our dresser, grabbed Traci's deodorant, pulled up her shirt and rubbed it on her stomach. She then exclaimed, "That's so pretty!"

Friday, September 05, 2008

Day Two: Smells Unlike Teen Spirit

2 p.m.

This hotel smells like sweaty men's cologne.

2:05 p.m.

I think a job staffing the Purse & Jewelry sale in the lobby of a hotel may be the saddest job in the world. No one goes into the room because who really needs to buy jewelry in the lobby of a hotel? Then, because no one is in the room, even the people who might want to buy some purses and jewelry in a hotel lobby find it too awkward to be the only one in there. Poor purse and jewelry sales lady.

But then again, maybe sitting an empty room and reading a book all day wouldn't be that bad. And maybe purse and jewelry lady is thinking 'I sure am glad that I don't have to sit at a conference about dental insurance all day. At least here I'm surrounded by my two favorite things--purses and jewelry.'

3:05 p.m. Full head of hair envy...

Sitting in a breakout session, annoying guy keeps asking dumb questions. He has a lisp that is really bugging me, but I can't help thinking "Man, what a great head of hair."

Would I want my hair back if it meant I had to have a lisp? Hmm. Maybe. But I talk a lot, so that might not be best for me. If it was a light lisp, I think I'd do it. I'll talk to annoying guy after the meeting. I wonder if he'd ditch his hair to have my beautiful. lisp-free voice.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Day Two: Knight of the Round Table (Discussion)

Noon Round table discussion lunch

I didn't realize it was literally going to be a round table discussion. There's 50 tables in the conference room and each has a different topic. So in order to eat, I have to make awkward conversation with a group of people for an hour and a half.

Sean and I split up, so I'm on my own. Choosing "Sales & Marketing" seemed to make sense, but I've quickly realized I'm the only one sitting at the table. Awkward.


One other lady just showed up. I thought that sitting by myself would be worst case scenario. This is worse.


Now there are a couple of other dudes here. I will pretend to know what I'm talking about.


It turns out I know the most stuff out of anyone here. Frightening.

Day Two: The Radical Paradigm Shift

Look at me reading the complimentary New York Times like a real business man.

9:15 The conference begins...

I got exactly one minute into the continental breakfast before spilling orange juice on my shirt (I can hear Traci sighing aloud. She told me to bring an extra shirt.) Two minutes into the breakfast, Sean looks around and says what I am already thinking. "I know that this is only a dental insurance conference, but there sure are a lot of bad teeth here." I don't think I want to go to that speeding dating session anymore.

10:30 Leadership...to the EXTREME!!!

Just sat through a presentation called "Extreme Leadership." Buzz words a plenty. I couldn't help thinking about Poochie the Rockin' dog.

Krusty: (Brainstorming about Poochie) So he's proactive, huh?

Network Executive: Oh God, yes. We're talking about a totally outrageous paradigm.

Writer: Excuse me, but, "proactive" and "paradigm?" Aren't those just buzzwords that dumb
people use to sound important? Not that I'm accusing you of anything like that.

(Silent pause in the room.)

Writer: I'm fired, aren't I?

Roger Meyers Jr.: Oh, yes

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Day 1: Trip To Orlando, Now Cocaine Free

10 a.m. And it begins...

Off on my first business flight. This is my second work trip, but I don't know how official last year's man-cation to St. George with Tim really was. 

I'm headed to Orlando with my boss Sean for a dental insurance conference. I'm not exactly sure what we're going to be learning once we're there, but I do know that there is a speed dating course offered. Traci said I can't go. She has also forbidden me from the following:
  • Looking at naked people (girls or boys)
  • Drinking beer
  • Doing cocaine
I was hoping this would finally be my chance to starting using cocaine--what with my lousy kids out of the picture--but alas, Traci has thwarted my plans.

11 a.m. Boot Scootin' Boogie

Airlines are cutting back on everything. Delta's charging an extra $50 for a second piece of luggage and I just found out that there will be no lunch on this four hour flight (luckily I brought some Pringles).

The airport, however, spares no expense. I noticed that under the X-ray table was not one but two of those cowboy boot shoehorn things. I guess the lines were experiencing a lot of cowboy boot-related slowdowns. 

I haven't seen a lot of cowboys on this flight, but I have noticed quite a few Morty Seinfelds. They must all be on their way back to Del Boca Vista for HOA board elections.

Noon Made of Boring

As opposed to, say, Continental Airlines where you get your own TV, Delta offers just one movie option. And my luck? "Made of Honor." I'd say I'd like the last two hours of my life back, but then I wouldn't currently be flying somewhere over Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Bye, Bye Doug. We Hardly Knew Ye.

Lamest. Breakup. Ever.

Why are all of Lauren's new L.A. boyfriends just boyfriends that she had when she was in high school--Jason, Stephen, Doug? I'm guessing that it is probably hard to meet someone who wants to date you and have that relationship scripted and taped. But then again, it is L.A., where everyone wants to be an actor. So I guess the real problem is that guys just don't want to date Lauren because she's boring.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Shocking News! Acting Debut Surfaces on Internet

It's just the price you have to paywhen you're famous--racy videos of you appearing on the internet. I am no exception. My acting debut recently found its way onto the world wide web. (Thanks, Ike.)

Back in the innocence of 2002, I had a video production class at the U. Our final project was to create a five minute video based on the theme "The Odd Couple." We split up into groups of five and started brainstorming. We went around the circle trying to figure out if anyone had anything cool to contribute.

Ike had access to a mailman hat, I had some hand puppets, Rashed had the fact that he was from Kuwait, Brett knew to handle the production, and Becca mentioned that she happened to live in the basement of a mortuary. Thus Rashed's Neighborhood was born.

The best part for me was Rashed trying to get the grasp on the whole thing. He was an exchange student and still working on his English. He'd obviously never seen Mr. Roger's Neighborhood before, but he watched a couple of episodes for research. His Mexican girlfriend was also an exchange student, learning English. Together, the two of them worked on learning the lyrics to the theme song. They tried their best, but usually here's the best they could come up with:

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, beautiful day neighbor...hood.

Ah, close enough.

So, with no further introduction, here's Rashed's Neighborhood. (Notice my lush, full head of hair.)

Here's Ike's (a.k.a. Speedy Delivery Guy) version of the story.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

All The Things Curtis is Not

Curtis shows the happiness that comes from Grandma giving you 'business hair'

Paige spends every waking moment talking. She comfortably executes both sides of the conversation, but still has to be acknowledged in everything she says.


PAIGE: Where's Danny? (the drummer in my band)
ME: [I am forced to repeat this question in order for her to answer. If I don't she just keeps asking, FOREVER.] Where's Danny?
PAIGE: He's at playing the drums.

We have this same conversation about airplanes, helicopters, grandma, kids in her nursery class, and the moon...every day.

The other night, Traci was at work and I was hanging out with both of the kids. Paige and I had to have the following conversation:

PAIGE: Is Curtis a refrigerator?
ME: Is Curtis a refrigeratior?
PAIGE: No!!!
PAIGE: Is Curtis a window?
ME: Is Curtis a window?
PAIGE: Nooooo!!!

This went on for about half an hour. We were able to determine that Curtis was not in fact a kitchen, a ball, a dog, or a computer (thank goodness!); nor was he in the swing, in the tub, or outside. Fortunately, we did get to the bottom of the mystery. Paige was able to verify that he was "a cute little guy," "a little brother," and "on the floor." Phew. I had really been worried that Curtis was either a lamp, a couch, or a tuba.

MHS X: The Mixtape

Though the reunion may have been a bit of a disappointment, it wasn't a total loss. I had a little nostalgia trip all by myself. I was asked to put together a mixtape for the event, allowing me to dive headfirst into '96-'98 mode.

I avoided all temptation to put in my own personal favorites and went straight for the hits. And man, what hits! Chumbawamba, Savage Garden, Backstreet Boys. Music was never better before or since.

Here are the top song 100 of 1996, 1997, and 1998.

Digging through these songs was kind of like the reunion itself. For me, 1996-1998 was more about watching Local H at Saltair or driving to Sacramento to see Millencolin play than doing the Macarena. But Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" automatically produces a mental snapshot of every dance my senior year.

The songs that really meant a lot to me in '98 have made the journey with me throughout the past decade. I was just listening to Millencolin last night. They keep putting out new records, and I buy (actually buy) all of them. And believe it or not, Local H will be playing at the Big Ass show next month.

It's pretty much the same with friends. I've kept in touch with a number of high school friends (plus I'm married to one of 'em) over the years. They've been there for college and weddings and parenthood and I'm sure they'll still be around in another 10 years. So it's not really that big of a deal to seem them at some awkward event.

Regardless, it feels great to hear to Jewel, or White Town, or even NSync once in a while. Just like it's nice to run into an old prom date at the Wal-Mart. Hooray for forced nostalgia. I guess I'm going to have to start posting old dance pictures on the blog. Whatevs.

Here's a few tracks from the MHS X mix...

Friday, August 22, 2008

MHS X: The Recount

Spencer & Ramsi

Three weeks after the infamous High School Reunion, I am finally able to pull myself up off the ground and write about the all of the drama and excitement. Oh wait, there wasn't any. On an interesting scale from 1-10 it was about a 1.

I think I was hoping to see classmates who had become superstars, drug addicts, cross dressers, millionaires. Nope. I guess if you fit into any of those categories you have better things to do than go to your high school reunion.

Everyone looked pretty much the same, though a lot of dudes had less hair (which made me feel better about my male pattern baldness). The usual conversation went pretty much like this.

"Er, so what's been up with you for past 10 years?"
"Uh, I've got some kids and a job and stuff."
"Sweet, see you in another 10 years."

I thought I'd at least be able to count on some reminiscing and nostalgia, but none really to be had. Fortunately, I found all of that elsewhere. I was put in charge of making the evening's mixtape...