Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Attendance Record

Today I'm updating an old post. These are the notable concerts I can remember attending:

High School Era (1993-1997)

Pearl Jam / Urge Overkill - Century II, Wichita

Winger / Blackfish - West Bank Stage, Wichita

Collective Soul - Kansas Coliseum, Wichita

Spin Doctors / Sponge - Sedgwick County Park, Wichita

Green Day - Cotillion Ballroom, Wichita

Foo Fighters / Ween - Cotillion Ballroom, Wichita

Bush / Goo Goo Dolls / No Doubt - Kansas Coliseum, Wichita

Smashing Pumpkins - Kansas Coliseum, Wichita

Stone Temple Pilots / Cheap Trick - Kansas Coliseum, Wichita

Smashing Pumpkins / Blues Traveler / Ben Harper / Barenaked Ladies
(H.O.R.D.E. Fest), Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, Oklahoma City

Undergraduate Era (1997-2001)

U2 / Smash Mouth - Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis

U2 / Third Eye Blind - TWA Dome, St. Louis

Third Eye Blind / Space Monkeys - Cotillion Ballroom, Wichita

Cake / Ben Folds Five / Jude - Starlight Theater, Kansas City

Postgraduate Era (2001-2003)

Weezer - Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Saint Paul

Bob Dylan - Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul

Ben Folds (w/ full band) / Citizen Cope - First Avenue, Minneapolis

Travis / Remy Zero - Historic State Theater, Minneapolis

Ben Folds (solo) / Divine Comedy - First Avenue, Minneapolis

Tom Petty / Jackson Browne - Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul

Ben Folds (solo) / Duncan Sheik - First Avenue, Minneapolis

They Might Be Giants / Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players / Dave Eggers
- Fitzgerald Theater, Saint Paul

Professional Scientist Era (2003-present)

Rufus Wainwright / Joan as Policewoman (instead of Shannon McNally) - Liberty Hall, Lawrence

Guster / Ben Folds (solo) / Gavin DeGraw - City Market, Kansas City

Secret Machines / Moving Units / Autolux - Bottleneck, Lawrence

Modest Mouse / Mason Jennings - Uptown Theater, Kansas City

Fiery Furnaces - Bottleneck, Lawrence

The Shins / The Brunettes - Liberty Hall, Lawrence

Rilo Kiley - Granada, Lawrence

Aimee Mann - Liberty Hall, Lawrence

Nickel Creek / Matt Pond PA - Liberty Hall, Lawrence

Tilly and the Wall - Bottleneck, Lawrence

Secret Machines / Death Cab for Cutie / Keane / Mates of State / Broken Social Scene (Bleeding Kansas Festival) - Burcham Park, Lawrence

The Shins / Viva Voce - Liberty Hall, Lawrence

Tapes 'n Tapes / Chuck Klosterman - Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul

Neko Case - Liberty Hall, Lawrence

The Polyphonic Spree - Gothic Theater, Englewood

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Granada, Lawrence (If I live to see tomorrow.)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Other Archives - Craigslist Follies

Back in 2005, Heather forwarded me a funny Craiglist post:


I'm 6/2 190 blond blue, etc. No fatties. Good genes please.
Two years later, Heather's follow-up question remains unanswered: What does this guy mean by "etc."?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

600th Post!

What to say on this momentous occasion? Uh...

Today, after 28 years, I finally made the connection between the name "Stephen" and the name "Stephanie".

It wasn't nearly as bad an episode from my sophomore year of high school. I was listening to the geometry teacher discuss triangles. I'd always been good at the subject, so I nodded in agreement when Teach told the class that a triangle has three sides and three angles. I was thinking about how those three angles always add up to 180 degrees when he said, "That's why they call it a triangle. Tri-angle. Three angles."

It had never occurred to me.

(It's also never occurred to me that my first day of high school geometry sounds like a class for the learning-disabled. We weren't, you know. I mean, I'm not. I rocked proofs like a champ. QED.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Good Way, The Badwey, And The Elway

This morning, Paul sent along news of his recent vacation:
This past Sunday I went to a Chris Cornell concert in Detroit. We arrived about 30 minutes before the opening act, which we had no idea who it was. So, when they introduced the band "Juliette and the Licks", I was still clueless. Then, it became quickly evident that this is Juliette Lewis's band. Needless to say, it was a frightening and gut-wrenching experience. I really don't even know how to describe this train wreck. She tries to look like a cross between David Bowie and David Lee Roth and tries to strut around like Mick Jagger. When you add these weak impersonations in with her voice, it's not a good combo.

Then, I heard her being interviewed on the radio the next morning, and the DJ made the mistake of asking "How would you describe your sound?" She said that people have compared them to everyone from Aerosmith to Ted Nugent to Henry Rollins to Patti Smith. If she's the intersection of those 4 artists, somebody needs to rework the recipe.
A quick follow up email clarified:
I forgot to mention that I spent most of Juliette Lewis's set waiting for Robert DeNiro to wander onto stage so she could suck his fingers as in Cape Fear.

* * *

In contrast, I had a great time this weekend in sunny, elevated Denver. Luke and Jessica brought Gav and I to a friendly backyard BBQ that slowly turned into a Beckham Madness watch party. We cheered when Becks sat on the bench, adjusting his shoes. We shouted with disdain toward his Galaxy teammates: "What the fuck! Get Beckham in the game! This asshole can't bend it worth a shit!" When the game ended, we remembered that we're American, and soccer can bugger off, and so can Sportcenter's repeating reel of four Beckham "highlights": running into the locker room, running out of the locker room, tripping over a dude and pretending to be injured, and failing to eponymously bend a corner kick.

Earlier that evening, as partygoers attempted to toss beanbags into small holes (Gav was the night's big winner), I made a passing jab at another past-his-prime superstar, former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway. Luke and Jessica quickly glanced around the patio to be sure the other guests hadn't heard my comment. They solemnly explained that Elway could not be mocked in Denver. "It's like if you said something about George Brett in Kansas City, but a thousand times worse," they said. In fact, one of the locals, sitting just a few feet from me, had recently analogized Jay Cutler's succession of Elway to Pope Benedict's replacement of John Paul II.

This fanaticism fed the weekend's running joke -- the pinnacle was late Saturday night, at a bar near Coors field, at a time I'll call "before we took those additional four shots". Gav was pondering what shot he could order after the requisite Tuaca. We imagined a shot named "The Elway" -- Gav postulated that it would contain, "One part effort, and one part heart."

An annoyed bartender confirmed that The Elway did not yet exist.

* * *

Sunday was bracketed by two impressive events, beginning with a superb breakfast of Denver omelettes smothered with green chile sauce, and ending with the best concert experience of my life.

I was prepared for my high expectations to render the concert mediocre, but The Polyphonic Spree did not disappoint. They made me smile, they made me laugh, they cured my hangover, and they rocked my shit for nearly two and a half hours. Did I mention the confetti cannons? I mean, does it LOOK like everyone was having fun?

Posted by Picasa

The concert was so perfect that I considered not attending their upcoming show in Kansas City. It's destined to be a less impressive concert -- they'll be playing an outdoor venue, after performing in Columbia the previous night, and they're due to play Lollapallooza the following afternoon. Still, a half-assed effort from the Spree -- if such efforts exist -- is likely to be more entertaining than most any alternative. At the cost of $19 and a few hours of sleep, I'll embrace the risk.

I invite any Kansas City area readers to join me at the venue August 2.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Portland - Saturday, June 2

[We begin with a large editor's note.]

Bloop bloop bloop.

My post frequency has dropped, and that's partially due to the Portland recap. See, I've already posted Day One and Day Two, but that left us asleep in Alphabet Town. Clearly, other things happened, and it's my responsibility to write about it. The problem is that I've wanted those summaries to be excellent. I've wanted to compose proper travelogues, with drama and humor and a unifying theme. I have given up that ghost. I just want to be done with this, and move on to other things. And you know what? Those other things aren't going to be groundbreaking literature, either.

You can expect more volume, and much less quality. (If you ever thought there was quality here to begin with.) I assume that's what you want. When I'm on the internet, I just want to read something my friend wrote. Of course, I can't do that anymore, because my friends abandoned their blogs. Maybe my friends are your friends, and that puts you in a tight spot. So you need my output. So I'm going to write.

So. Here's some stream-of-consciousness, not-fact-checked nonsense that happened over a month ago...

* * *

Saturday morning we went to a bakery -- a different one than the previous morning -- with our hosts. Our hosts paid for the meal, again. I had a French apple tart, she had a heart-shaped thing with strawberries. We finished up and began the caravan west.

She and I listened to the radio until the station dissolved into static. As new Travis single played, she asked me what I was thinking about.

"I was trying to place this song. At first I thought it could be Snow Patrol, which is funny, as they're Scottish, and so are Travis, who actually sing this song. And then I thought about a dream I had, where I was hanging out with Chuck Klosterman, and I was asking him, 'When is it okay to stop buying a band's albums?' That question was with Travis in mind, as I don't like this new song, but I like all of there previous stuff, and I've been to see them in concert."

Also playing: my favorite song from the '80s, The Fixx's "One Thing Leads to Another". Then I started to ask her the "Inside the Actor's Studio" questions.

The Tillamook Burn museum was our rest stop. A large forest burned 40 years ago, and they replanted it. Using elementary school students. Perfect. Put the little bastards to work! We'll regain this timber yet! The forest is 40 years young, and still looks more distinguished than most destinations. Oregon is beautiful without even trying.

Our destination was Netarts, a small village on Netarts Bay, on the Pacific. It was our hosts' beach house. The first thing you see when you walk in the door is a gigantic, colorful painting of Rodney Dangerfield's face. The second thing you see depends on which way you turn your head, and whether or not you're myopic.

We ate a bit of lunch, salad and soup, prepared by a new proprietor of an established local restaurant, a young man who told us of his disdain for the local food inspector's "health codes", as well as his dream of naming his first born son Sebastian, and his first girl Taliano. He personality was far less robust than his clam chowder.

Beach time. Walter, the dog (I was going to write "the boxer" to be more specific about the breed, but I guess that would just be more confusing, given the other meanings, e.g. sparring partner, Simon & Garfunkel classic, one who places things inside of boxes), our two hosts, and we two visitors made our way to the sand. Fog. Wind. A dog enjoying the sand more than you'd think possible, making figure eights around us, running ahead of us, but not too far -- Walter likes the group to be together. If he gets too far ahead, he stops and waits for you. If you dally too far behind, he stops, turns, and stares, begging you to hurry the fuck up so he can gallop around with a clear conscience.

Walter will wait for you

We walked all the way to Oceanside, which put the song "Oceanside" in my head, and made me wonder if the authors, Portland-based The Decemberists, had my location in mind when writing their lyrics.

We walked back. This may sound pretty tame, and objectively, it was. It was just a walk on the beach, on a foggy day, no less. But it was calming. It was NICE.

The house was quiet afterward. Our hosts napped, as did Walter, and I finished "In Cold Blood" while she read some of the magazines lying about.

Dinner was superb. We went to Roseanne's in Oceanside. She and I were treated to:

A half-dozen raw oyster shooters
Shrimp/scallops pasta
Pacific snapper
Marionberry cheesecake
Triple chocolate cake

Back at the house, I sat on the dog-hair-covered couch and watched the parade on television. One of our hosts -- a real estate man -- could hear the parade play-by-play as he stocked the fireplace. As the television's voices said the phrase "Red Hot Chili Peppers" for some reason, he brought up he'd recently shown a house to Anthony Kiedis. "But I thought he was a Californicator," our other host joked. The reason AK gave for looking at the Portland housing market? Quality of life. I was stunned. Kiedis is a millionaire -- he can afford to live anywhere he wants, and he's poking around in Portland? What the fuck is going on in that city? And what the fuck is going on in CALIFORNIA, THE STATE THEY WRITE THE GODDAMN SONGS ABOUT, "CALIFORNIA GIRLS", "CALIFORNIA DREAMIN'", AND SO ON AND SO ON AND SO ON??? If you've got more money than God, and you can't find a quality life in California, what does that mean?

(You know what I think about when I think of California? There are two references that float around in my head. The first I can't recall the origin of, but I believe it was someone's internet profile. The profile had a list of like and dislikes, and under "likes" this woman had included "The idea of California". I like that.

The second is from Dave Eggers' "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius". He and his brother are newly arrived in the state, singing along to Journey, driving along, headed back to the Bay Area after goofing off south on Highway 1:
We run back across the highway, back into the red Civic and keep driving. Past the surfers, through the eucalyptus forest before Half Moon Bay, birds swooping up and over then back, circling around us -- they too, for us! -- then the cliffs before Seaside -- then flat for a little while, then a few more bends and can you see this motherfucking sky? I mean, have you fucking BEEN to California?
But maybe Mr. Under The Bridge is over it.)

We watch a movie about Al Franken, and I eat a lot of popcorn even though I'm not hungry.

Our bedroom's curtains are comically designed. We have one of those talks that can only happen late at night, divulging information about deeply personal subjects. I wake up during the night and use the restroom; when I return to the bed, I accidentally bump her leg, and she immediately deadpans, "Stop it." I chuckle and settle into my sleeping position, but she doesn't laugh. She doesn't say a thing. In the morning, she doesn't remember any of the previous night's topics, but does insist that "Stop it." was meant to be humorous.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Video Hit

I don't know if the earth has shifted its tilt or what, but I'm watching VH1 tonight, and it's actually pretty awesome. The new Scott Baio reality show is good. It turns out that Charles in Charge is much more likeable than you'd expect. And this could be VH1's least staged reality show yet. To celebrate, here's some vintage Bob Loblaw:

Between this television revelation and the dangerous potential of The Darjeeling Limited -- Wes Anderson + Natalie Portman -- I'm putting myself on 24-hour mindfuck watch.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Other Archives - Cooter

An old email from a friend, back when I was trying to bring "cooter" back into the colloquial lexicon:
[My roommate] does not like the term "cooter". Her reply back is "cooter" is they guy from Dukes.

I prefer the term "pooter-putter" or "hoo-hoo". When I shadowed a physician in college, a woman we examined was so upset that he was going to examine "her hoo-hoo in front of this lady...what are you trying to teach her about hoo-hoos and stuff?".

Luckily the physician was quick to say "um...first she has one of those and second, I think it is best we teach people who want to go into medicine about hoo-hoos".

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Dangerous Playground Games

Crack The Whip

Children form the "whip" by holding the hand of the person in front of them. The head of the whip runs in a Brownian motion, twisting and turning as he or she sees fit. The end of the whip, or the "caboose", is the most dangerous position to be in, as the most force acts upon this point of the whip -- the child may be tossed to the ground (or to the ice, depending on where the game is played) after losing his or her grip.

Red Rover

Children form two teams -- each team links themselves together by holding hands. Teams take turns trying to break through one of the opposing team's links. If a player is unable to break through a link, that player is absorbed by the victorious team; if not, the other team wins the battle, and gains a player in the process. Injuries are commonplace. If a child's arm is not hurt (pulled muscle, bruise, etc.) when the link is maintained, then the other child may be injured (clotheslined, bruised ribs, etc.)

Skinny Skeletons

At a dome-shaped jungle gym, four children stand on their marks at the dome's four "compass points". When the whistle is blown, each child walks up the dome by stepping on its bars -- crawling is not allowed, as arms and hands may only be used for balance. After reaching the top of the dome, the child must fall between the bars. The first to reach the ground wins. Children are not only injured on the way to the top of the dome (usually by falling forward onto the bars), but also when performing the final maneuver (often biting their tongues when their chins hit a bar during the foot-first dive).

Swing Fight

Two children stand in a swing, facing each other, as the judge (or "observer") begins to push them. When the pendulum effect has been established, the observer shouts, "Go!". The two children then use any means necessary to dispatch their opponent from the swing. Injuries often occur when the defeated opponent falls from the swing onto the ground (bruises, scrapes, etc.). Additional injuries may occur before the fall (eye gouging, twisted gonads, etc.)

Stop The Butcher

One child is elected "butcher", and takes his position balancing above the seesaw's fulcrum. A line of children, perpendicular to the seesaw, is formed 15 yards away, facing the butcher. The game begins as the butcher removes his waistcoat, revealing two bandoliers of paring knives (or sharpened sticks). The first child in line may choose to run in a straight line toward either end of the seesaw -- in an attempt to unbalance the butcher, the child must headbutt the seesaw up or down. The child that causes the butcher to fall wins; alternatively, if the line of children is exhausted and neither side of the seesaw has touched the ground, the butcher is victorious. Many children are injured before their headbutt is executed. More savvy butchers can thwack their opponents with the seesaw by simply shifting his or her weight.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Atlantic Shitty

Here's the final word on Atlantic City. Here's all you need to know:

I brought a camera, but didn't take any pictures.

Not because I was lazy, but because it was ugly.

I've fashioned a slogan for it, along the lines of "Las Vegas: What happens here, stays here."

"Atlantic City: What happens here will both anger and disturb you."

On the plus side, there was a LARGE selection of porn to browse at the Trump -- some 60 titles were available for its guests. I wrote down several of the titles, and will classify and rank them below. It should be noted that I did not watch any of these films. I just like to see what's out there. I do it whenever I'm in such a hotel.


Explicit Sex
Slutty Older Women
Just Filthy Sex
Natural Bush
Older Women and Young Guys
Super Compilation [The "Boner Jams '03" of the group?]


I Laid the Nanny
More Sex with my Sister's Hot Friends
I Laid your Hot Mom
Screwing my Buddy's Mom
You Can Screw my Husband


Where the Boys Aren't #17
Forbidden Coeds / Young Butt [Double feature!]
Bi Bi American Pie
Spinners [Mysterious!]

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Weekend Wrap-Up

Friday night, Floyd and I managed to set off 50 bottle rockets AT ONCE, without the aid of elongated wicks/string/fuses or other technological witchcraft.

I watched Detective John McClane fight crime this afternoon, and sent a text message afterward: "Live Free or Die Hard = Citizen Kane".