Sunday, September 30, 2007
While on break tonight and listening to podcasts, I learned about Hotel Chevalier, the online-only prequel to The Darjeeling Limited. Keywords remembered include "Natalie Portman" and "naked." Knowing I'd be watching that download soon after returning home kept the drudgery amidst the time clocks bearable.
Download complete. Signing off...
Of course, you can always require three whole trolleys for your numerous and heavy boxes and shrug it off with, "I'd tip you but I'm all out of cash." I just keep it polite and hope that tomorrow is a better day.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I only ever saw her at 12th & Porter, but most fans of hers have probably seen her any number of times at Nashville's famous Bluebird Cafe. A true fan of the artist, the staff at the Bluebird notoriously wastes no time in shhhh-ing any patron who dares to talk at all while a musician performs in the tiny venue.
Catch Jonell this Wednesday, October 3, when she sings at the grandfather of the almighty "shhhh": the local library.
Dates: Wednesday, October 03
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Sponsor: Nashville Public Library Foundation
Friday, September 28, 2007
I think it was the summer of '93. My Nashville record store days. The chapter where I was in one of those "none of our friends could tell if we were dating or just close friends" relationships. I had come across the first hip-hop artist I could get into a year or so before when I worked at Turtles on Nolensville Road. My store was stocking top sellers like The Geto Boys and N.W.A., and hip-hop may as well have been as gangsta as the rest of the guys in the rap section to my uninitiated ears. One day the BMG rep stopped in and handed me a stack of discs for in-store play. These stacks that the label reps would give us were always like manna to us music lovers -- some good stuff, some bad stuff, and you could always count on one clerk finding his or her newest favorite next great artist among the unfamiliar CD spines.
On this day one stood out to me. Me Phi Me. From Murfreesboro as I recall. After one listen, he was my newest favorite next great artist. So unlike what I was used to hearing from the rap world, Me Phi Me's "One" disc featured so much actual music. Not just samples of old songs behind rap, but fresh and original guitar tracks. "Not My Brotha'" opens with a cool harmonica and sings a song about not being pressured to remain tight with a trouble-maker just because that trouble-maker shares a skin color with you. Where Ice-T was earning his dead presidents while singing about a "Cop Killer" in his heavy metal outfit, Body Count, just a year earlier, Me Phi Me was singing and writing about peace, love, and education. The positivity within was simply uplifting and hopeful. Me Phi Me should have at least been as big as P.M. Dawn.
Anyway, 1993 found me working at another record store -- Waves Music in Green Hills Mall. The clientele was quite richer and certainly whiter. There was little if any demand for the hard rap that was so popular at the little store next to Harding Mall. If anything, we sold movie soundtracks and original scores to Broadway plays there. The Saturday matinees would conclude and here would come their audiences, moved by a Van Morrison track that played as the credits rolled, they were at my counter with a credit card ready for swiping.
If the customers' tastes of Turtles-Nolensville Road were more of the outlaw variety (popular sellers from Merle Haggard to DJ Quik), then Waves-Green Hills had the "life is easy and safe" crowd covered (Kenny G. to Barbra Streisand). But one genre that sold well at both locations was hip-hop. At both brik-and-mortars, I could sell a lot of Arrested Development ("Tennessee") and Digable Planets ("Rebirth of Slick") with minimal in-store play. US3 was also pretty huge in '93 with their jazzy "Cantaloop." What frustrated me was my inability to convince a lot of people that Me Phi Me was their newest favorite next great artist. He didn't have the street cred that the Nolensville Road shoppers required and his music wasn't in enough movies for the Green Hills kids. (Actually, his "Revival" is in Reality Bites and we did sell a ton of that movie's soundtrack, but it seems that Lisa Loeb's "Stay" was the only reason anyone bought that.)
I was at least able to bring the love of Me Phi Me's music to my close friends. He played a show at 328 Performance Hall one night and we all squeezed into my Ford Tempo, cranked David Baerwald's "Triage" disc ("I am your waiter/I am ordinary/and the wildest in the world!"), and made our way to 328 that hot summer evening to dance and party to the organic and seductive sounds of Me Phi Me in a venue where we more often heard the likes of Dash Rip Rock and Mojo Nixon. Sadly for the artist, it was far from packed, but those who were there had the big time. There was plenty of room for bad and buzzed dancing for lost in the moment 20-somethings like us. What was educational and enlightening on CD was absolutely sexy and primal in a live setting. The world spun solely because those at the show were cool enough to let it.
Angie and Hollie and Ray and Susan were my fellow dancers in crime that night. Susan was my undefined relationship. If there is one thing I like about this current era of MySpace and Facebook, it's that there is the good possibility that I can look up one of those old friends and exchange a few emails where one of us will ask, "Do you remember the night when we saw Me Phi Me at 328 Performance Hall?" and the other will reply, "Wow. Yeah, wasn't that an awesome night?"
We've all surely changed so much since then, and I bet that we all like where our lives are now. But it's nice to reflect back, filling in the forgotten details with imagined cool scenarios, and remembering that we were once the wildest in the world.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
I tried to get that rare night of eight hours of uninterrupted sleep last night to no avail. I tossed and turned in the bed a good four hours before my normal bedtime and finally gave up and came into the living room to watch TV. Usually it's blogs that own my quiet time at night, but I used last night to catch up on a few shows I've been enjoying of late.
DVDs borrowed from the library and watched in their entirety over the course of the last two days:
- The Muppet Show: Season 2
- Entourage: Season 1
- Black Books: Season 1
- Hotel Babylon
Florida is battling Ole Miss on television early in the fourth with only a three point lead. Georgia travels to Alabama tonight for a contest that I am sure my wife will be following closely, whether or not anyone else at the wedding she is attending is scheduling its events with regard to kickoff time.
Off to read my newest issue of The New Yorker. Anthony Lane writes about Leica cameras. And I wish I was here.
Friday, September 21, 2007
When Amanda Congdon received a contract to host a weekly show on ABCNews.com, the 25-year-old was heralded as “the first video blogger to make the jump to a major network” and described herself as “bridging the gap between old and new media.”
That bridge is closed, at least temporarily: Ms. Congdon’s one-year contract isn’t being renewed, ABC confirmed today. ... more>>
I found that I was more partial to the Rocketboom brand than to its host anyway.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I wasn't fired. I just have four days off in a row. My beautiful wife is going to Georgia this weekend for a wedding and I am staying home to watch the kids. I've got ten bucks, a car whose front, right tire has developed a slow leak, and...that's about it. But that won't stop us from having the big time. We've got a nice library just around the corner and an excellent playground next to said library.
I've got a camera to document the fun and a couch to rescue me from extreme exhaustion when the sun goes down. I just hope I don't look too scary by Sunday night. I won't be shaving my face since I won't have to shave my face. Between Day One of not shaving my face and Day Four of not shaving my face, there's a big difference. Between Day Four of not shaving my face and Day Twenty of not shaving my face, there's not much difference at all. So much for the full beard. But I should have the Just Broke Out Of Prison And Am Hiding From The Law look down good.
I just polished off the last of the Guinness from the fridge. If Pops drops in this weekend, there should be an infusion of Sam Adams beers. Two per night will do just fine. With the kiddos in bed by nine each night, Comcast On Demand's BBC America offerings on the television ("telly" for you hardcore BBC-ers), and my stinky feet on the couch, this has the makings of a wonderful weekend of leisure. (When my wife's out of town, I usually just sleep on the couch. That bed is just way too big for one person.)
So, fellow bloggers of Nashville, what are y'all doing this weekend?
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
We were outside playing with cars and such as the iPod played on shuffle in the window. When Van Halen songs came on, she would abandon what she was doing and go to the screen and listen.
In related news, some guy named Zakk is trying to break into showbiz, but Dave won't give him a break. Come on Dave, give him a break.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
On October 29, she will play in my fair city of Nashville at the Exit/In. The saving up for admission starts now.
There's a lot to love here.
*Special request for Jesca's people:
If I keep talking about her on the blog, can I have a free ticket? I really miss working at a record store. I was always on the list at club shows.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I like Sprint's new ad, called "Manning's Mind," where he stands in a Salvador Dali-esque environment facing various threats and illusions (receiver Harrison is literally being surrounded by dolphins). I wonder if Fisher has nightmares like this, with Peyton Manning standing behind every door. Jeff opens one, Peyton throws a touchdown. Jeff opens another one, Peyton throws another touchdown.
Current score: Colts 6 (blocked extra point), Titans 3
We can't be settling for field goals against these guys.
For my next worthless conversation, I'll discuss the writings of Bertrand Russell with the dog. At least she pays attention when I mention dogmatic doubt.
"I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn't wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine."
"It is a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly, just as it is to be angry with a car that won't go."
"It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this."
Bertrand Russell (link)
Between this and my recent enjoyment of Philip K. Dick's wonderful stories, it's possible that I'm becoming a bit of a sci-fi fan.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
I was at Sam's last night.It was only after that last part that I figured out that she was talking about Sam's, the popular bar in Hillsboro Village, and not Sam's, the wholesale club.
I was the only woman there.
This skanky looking guy started hitting on me
while my boyfriend was at the bar getting us another beer.
She's in her early-20s. I'm 37 and I can't remember the last time I was at the bar, but I can easily recall the last time I shopped the aisles of Sam's, filling the cart with so many economy-sized groceries.
These kids these days are going to have to start clarifying these things before they start talking to me.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I can't get to the renewal place until later this afternoon, but I'm already the proud owner of one of those unsightly stickers that the apartment management places on cars without proper tags. I'm both victim and offender at the same time. Ugh.
Ain't life nice? ;)
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
You know you're one of my top bros, bro, because you got my back. And I got yours. You're my bro. But you went above and beyond the other night, bromaldehyde. You really did. Saving me that seat at the Velvet Revolver show, even though all those other bros were trying to get up front, bro? So clutch.
You are truly a god among bros.
H/T Sasha Frere-Jones
I had last Friday off from work, and on four hours of slumber, I was brave and determined to make the most of my quality time with my two youngest children. No lounging on the couch with the television doing the entertaining for me, I arose way, way too early for my body's comfort, and did my best impression of a wide awake dad. As a family, we drove my beautiful wife to her job and saw a world at a time that I like to pretend doesn't exist as I usually keep my head to the pillow.
Our first stop was Nashville's Bicentennial Mall. The kids loved it. It was 8 A.M. and already too hot for my dress-to-impress attire. I wore my nicest jeans, my favorite crisp, black long-sleeved dress shirt, and my cool Guinness flat cap upon my head. If it was late October, I would have been perfectly dressed. However, it was a warm September morning and I was sweating already. Oh well. Onward.
We enjoyed exploring the mall. We walked all over the map of our state, seeing how many steps it would take to travel from Nashville to Pawpaw's home in East Tennessee. We took the step or two to Franklin and to Thompson's Station to visit Grandma Foxy and Bubba, respectively.
Then we walked to the carillions (95 carillions for our 95 counties) at the north end of the mall, the kids marveling at the music of their chimes. I marveled at all of the joggers. If they didn't have to be at work at this hour, why weren't they at home sleeping? I try to never do anything I don't have to do before 10 A.M.
The three of us then ran up the steps to our State Capitol. I was proud of the kids for their energy and general fitness to be able to run up all of those steps without stopping to rest. Admittedly, Ari had it easier as she required me to carry her all the way. We enjoyed looking at Bicentennial Mall from high above. Joshua enjoyed the perspective of seeing where we had just been from our newfound elevation.
Now it was almost time for the library to open and we made the quick drive to it's magnificent doors. As luck would have it, we arrived just in time for storytime. My wild-in-their-own-home children were perfectly still and attentive as the librarian read wonderfully for her small audience. In a small semi-circle, there were about six children all accompanied by a parent. Of course, I noticed that I was the only male parent. Strangely, I also noticed that I was the only parent with a wedding ring. Are Fridays single parent day at the library?
Anyway, after the book was read, we moved to the nearby tables for Arts and Crafts. We each made a pinwheel fish with not much more than paper plates, bits of paper, a long straw, and paste. This was a real winner of a day for us. I was feeling like the best dad ever. The kids were behaving, learning, creating, and having fun. Later, in the children's section, while reading to Ari, another kid from the earlier storytime handed me a book to read to him.
In no time, I was the new storyteller, feeling like I was a teacher in a classroom and enjoying the attention and watchful eyes of the accompanying moms. I imagined that I was some Hugh Grant character in some wistful romantic-comedy. Alas, their watchful eyes were probably less of swooning admiration and more protective maternal instincts and mistrust of the out-of-place man, not working on a Friday morning. We'll just stick with the Hugh Grant reference for ego's sake.
Our next stop was Centennial Park. No more air-conditioned environment for me. It was now high noon and time to sweat profusely. Joshua, Ari, and I had the big time running around the Parthenon, playing at the playground, and just generally being silly.
The quote of the day was when we were walking back to the van to get a quick and easy McDonald's lunch. I was carrying Ari and told her that we would skip the fries to spend less because she had "a broke daddy." She looked at me, grinned, poked my cheek, and replied, "You're not broken and I love you."
I've got Wednesday and Thursday off this week. I don't think we can top last Friday's outing, but we sure will try.
Monday, September 10, 2007
The trouble with Bill - and, as much as anything, that was the cause for our deciding to record him live - was always persuading Bill to play at all. He had very low self-esteem. That's what drew him to Scott. Scott was already a rumor even before he was a whisper - everyone had heard of this phenomenal bass player, and when they started working together what was clear from the first was that Bill had something very different in mind from the normal interplay of piano with bass. Most so-called trio records are just an accompanied piano player - the bass player's function is to emancipate the pianist's left hand. Bill was looking for something very different - a joined-together kind of thing.
"We chose Sunday because we knew that we had two shows, the afternoon matinee and the evening show, and we would have both. Live recording was pretty much in its infancy. Today, you'd have a van with a studio inside, but we just had portable Ampex equipment, which I think we lined up by the banquette. Bill was tough, of course. Even after we had made the first record with the trio, he didn't believe that he had enough to express. He was brutally self-critical. I used to joke about forming a Demon Band of musicians who never thought they were good enough, never thought they had got it right. The Demon Band would have included Sonny Rollins on sax, J.J. Johnson on trombone, Wes Montgomery on guitar, and Bill on piano. It seemed to have an inordinate number of my musicians. Finally, I realized that the Demon Band could never really exist, because we could never find a drummer. No drummer suffers from self-doubt."
Sunday, September 09, 2007
I've read criticisms here and there that she only gave a half-hearted attempt at lip-synching her 3-minute song. Well, everyone lip-synchs these days (and those days, too, for that matter), so why go to the extra bother to fake it when the world expects a fakery from the start? Just because some people won't "phone it in" doesn't mean that she shouldn't. Incidentally, I've heard it said that jazz is all about the notes you don't play. Maybe we've got Britney all wrong. While she might be yesterday's pop princess, Ms. Spears might actually be the latest phenom in the jazz world, bringing to the performance no notes whatsoever. Britney Spears is the new Miles Davis. (Don't worry. Even I hate myself for that previous sentence.)
Associated Press called her "out of shape." TMZ said that Britney aimed to bring the house down, but "she just looked like a house." Please. I've seen pictures. The girl looks pretty fine to me. Admittedly, she's not the Brit of the "Toxic" days, but she doesn't look bad at all for a mother of two...or even a mother of one...or even an average woman in her twenties.
(Sorry. I interrupt this post to bring you the following announcement: I just saw the clip. I can't defend the performance any longer. She looked sleepy and bored. I think the person who was the least excited about Britney's comeback performance was Britney herself. What the heck was that? I didn't spend any money, didn't see it live, and still I feel ripped off. What did she take before she hit the stage? Cough medicine?
Brit needs to get serious about this or stay home and watch someone else perform who gives a damn. This wig-wearing, lip-synching, barely-dancing, has-been needs to watch Rocky III, get inspired by hearing "The Eye Of The Tiger," and work her ass off to win us over again. Britney, I'm the Adrian to your Rocky Balboa. I believe in you. Now stop making me look bad and work a little.)
Police and court files indicate that Mr. Craig’s case may have been handled moreInterference with privacy? One can be charged with that? The people around me better shape up. Everytime I go to the bathroom, all I get is "interference with privacy." At home, as soon as I close the bathroom door, the kids come barging in asking me questions or telling on one another. At work, no sooner than I turn the latch on the stall door, than I get a call on my Nextel requesting my presence in the main lobby.
harshly than some of the others. For instance, he alone among the 40 men
arrested was charged with both disorderly conduct and interference with privacy.
Heck, that should be the one place in life where we should be assured of a bit of quiet time. I only want five minutes of peace and a good magazine. No kids whining, no boss calling, and certainly no neighbor tapping his foot. Thank you.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Friday, September 07, 2007
I work nights and have habits that keep me up well into the wee hours of the A.M. (reading blogs, perusing Flickr, watching Hotel Babylon) and so I usually get up with my wife to help she and the kids get off to school and then it's back to bed for me until close to noon. It's never eight hours uninterrupted, but it's close enough for a working man with a family.
Today, I'll be up early as usual to drive Paige to school with the kids in tow. Then I'll go about the day trying to be an entertaining and fun dad while keeping my children so busy playing that they won't have time to annoy one another. If I just take the lazy way out and stay home with them, taking pseudo-naps on the couch while the Noggin channel does the entertaining on the television, I will spend most of my day breaking up small, but disruptive altercations between the two bored little siblings; I will be a lazy and an irritated dad. And there's no sense in that.
So on four hours of sleep, starting near the crack of dawn, I plan to stay busy out and about in my fair city with two kids and an empty wallet. I ask you stay-at-homers and weird work schedule moms and pops: What to do with kids on an average Friday in Nashville? We've got plenty of parks for playing, malls for walking, and...what else exactly? Let's not let the couch win. I want to be Super Dad.
At least for the day.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
For most of the day, the camera was around my neck and as I was leaving for my car, I took out the iPod to give it a listen. I also took out my cellphone to call my wife. I got to my car, left the park, and drove down West End Avenue to go home. As I approached the intersection of West End and Murphy Road, I got the impulse to stop in at the Exxon on the corner to buy a Mountain Dew. I stepped out of my car, remembered that my cash was in the yellow sack and reached back in for it. Crap. No yellow sack. Phone in pocket, iPod and camera on passenger seat, wallet and cash in the absent yellow sack. Crap!
I drove back down West End retracing my route. I trudged slowly through traffic while scouting the street for a yellow sack. Maybe I had left the sack on my car roof and it had blown off? I got back to where I had previously parked at Centennial Park and considered driving the route back to the Exxon again. Surely, I had left it on the car's roof. It must have blown off. Had I set it down on the Parthenon's steps when I had called my wife earlier? I didn't think so, and took a minute to consider walking to the Parthenon or getting back into the car. It was unlikely that it hadn't been found by someone else by now regardless of where I had left it. A free wallet with a credit card and roughly sixty bucks for a lucky passerby is what I had left, right?
I was amazed. I approached the Parthenon with a quick pace, hoping against hope. There was a small yellow sack on the steps. It was Labor Day and the park was packed. Diamond Rio and Pam Tillis were performing a free concert. People were everywhere. Who knows how many people walked by that yellow sack and thought it nothing more than empty litter. Whatever luck I was the recipient of, I was in awe to be reunited with my wallet and cash. Phew! Just another day in the life of Mike.
Kids and I always have a good time. They tell me their names and I shake their hands and tell them I'm glad to meet them. They tell me about their annoying sisters and I tell them that I can relate. I love interacting with the kiddos. But this young man just looked up and into my eyes and sang, "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?" What do you say to that? That was just weird as hell.
Now I've learned that it is indeed possible. It's just me who's not figuring it out. Ugh.
Anyone care to come over and teach me how to use this computer/internet thingy? And watch my kids? And whitewash my fence? It's a lot of fun!
The pictures are here and here and a larger video clip is here.
I told them how awesome they were as I was leaving and asked if they were here often. "Every Saturday night," was their reply.
While Pam Tillis and Diamond Rio performed their free concert on the stage right next to the Parthenon, I was thoroughly entertained watching these guys do their thing in front of the big doors. Athena certainly had her choice of music to listen to. It's not just the diversity I love about Nashville, it's also that it all coexists in such close proximity.
Monday, September 03, 2007
I didn't see any alligators that day, I'm happy to say. There's a lot of city boy in me. I'd much rather face the dangers of fast buses and potential muggers than wildlife creatures like alligators, bears and snakes. My wife is vacationing on Amelia Island now and told me today that that marsh area just south of Atlantic Avenue is a popular greenway where people like to hike and get a bit closer to nature. Of course, there are sensible people who have concerns about alligators. Here's what the local paper has to say about that:
He said some people have expressed fear of alligators in the greenway, but the few of them that can be found there are docile and keep to themselves.Guess what. That's not good enough for me. They say that there's always one in every crowd, and while that phrase is meant to refer to gatherings of humans, I bet it applies to alligators, too.
Just two full years into a remarkable Commodore career, junior Earl Bennett opened the 2007 season in even more remarkable style, setting new team and Southeastern Conference records in a dazzling performance versus Richmond.
Bennett, a product of West End H.S. in Birmingham, Ala., earned SEC Player of the Week honors today after catching 13 passes, good for 223 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He also added 62 yards in punt returns. ... more>>
Three newlywed couples.
A funeral. (He was 37.)
A football team and its fans.
A hug from a regular guest.
A very generous tipper coming home from Alaska.
I come home to my dog and I play Motley Crue and Guns N' Roses on the iPod.
I miss my wife and kids but I'm doing fine in the meantime.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Saturday, September 01, 2007
She's a rose, she's the pearl
She's the spin on my world
All the stars make their wishes on her eyes
She's my Coney Island Baby
She's my Coney Island Girl
She's a princess in a red dress
She's the moon in the mist to me
Tom Waits - "Coney Island Baby"