Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Love and Happiness...Indeed

To the considerable surprise of a great many people (myself included), my sister eloped this past weekend and tied the knot in Las Vegas. My mom was "shocked" at the news, but, to me at least, this made perfect sense; my sister, ever the rational attorney, found a sense of reckless abandon in a deep and obvious love and took a chance. I could not be more happy (and, judging from the pictures of the ceremony, neither could she).

To keep this from becoming a completely maudlin post, I shall make this brief. Tracy and I are 11 years apart (though we don't look it), but since I've become an adult, our relationship has evolved from its early beginnings with me being a spoiled brat and she being the highly tolerant, over-achieving (but very loving) overseer to...me being a slightly less spoiled brat and she, the highly tolerant, over-achieving (but very loving) world beater. In all seriousness, we now act as each other's sounding boards, and, on occasion, we function as mischievous co-conspirators, as only brother and sister can.

I am not an overly religious person, but from time to time, I find myself contemplating the existence of heaven and hell, saints, sinners and angels. Guardian angels specifically. If ever there was such a thing, I feel confident in saying I know one and she continues to look over me at all times and from all places. It is beyond comforting to have that kind of presence in your life.

Tracy Michele, I love you dearly and I am overjoyed at what you have found. No one I know deserves this more than you. No one.

To Brian, welcome! I promise we're not all crazy (not all the time at least). Basic rules:
-Don't speak ill of Georgetown, the University of Virginia, or the New York Giants. Past that, you can figure out the rest.

All of my love to both of you.


Michael Minna Ain't Got S#$t On Me

Watch out...I shall unveil my (minimal) culinary skills to the world July 26th.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Speaking of Dick Cheney

The Washington Post is running a four part series on the most powerful V.P. this country has ever seen. If you're at all interested in understanding how and why America's status in the world has tumbled in the last six and half years, this is vital reading.

I've read Parts I & II and all I can say is that for as bad I thought Cheney was, this makes him out to be much much worse. Cheney, David Addington, the veeps legal counsel, and John Yoo seem to have complete and utter disregard for the rule of law, and they also seem to possess a, "total indifference to public opinion".

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Dick Cheney = GOD

No one can be that delusional.

Song Lyric of the Day

We expected something, something better than before
We expected something more
Do you really think you can just put it in a safe behind a painting, lock it up and leave?
Do you really think you can just put it in a safe behind a painting, lock it up and leave?
Walk away now and you’re gonna start a war

From this album, which gets better and better every time I listen to it. Lyrically, this album is very vivid and begs for repeated listens.

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

The other day I was having, more or less, a crisis of confidence. This is not an unusal occurrence. This particular bout, for a variety of reasons, was especially acute. A good friend, playing both the role of clear eyed realist and motivational speaker, told me that there are certain things you can't control in life and that you have to take some things at face value. When faced with situations that I have no control over, I image contrived scenarios (in which I'm somehow imbued with God-like powers) to explain why some thing I said, or some action I didn't take, causes things to go awry. This friend told me that everyone goes through these things, and while that is surely true, it never makes you feel any better to be mired in a real or imagined personal hell. The friend went on to suggest to me that I make a list of the things I wanted in my life as a way to order my thoughts, see my goals, and figure out how to get to where I want to be. I haven't made that list yet, but I will...primarily because it's the right thing to do, but, on another level, I don't want to let this friend down. People who care don't offer advice for the sake of hearing themselves talk. They do so because on some level they are invested in you and they want to see you in a better place. It's my job to hear (and, perhaps more importantly, understand) what's being said. You have to take what's offered to you and apply it in an effort to improve yourself.

To that friend, thank you. And to everyone who is a friend to someone else, don't ever underestimate the power that your consideration, guidance, and support can have.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Song

Sometimes you come across a piece of music that just FLOORS you. Maybe it's due to circumstances you're going through, or maybe the tune congers a long forgotten memory, the face of a long lost friend or a stolen moment with a former lover. Perhaps, while lost in your own little world, you find yourself setting this song into the soundtrack of your life. Whatever it is, there's something rather catholic in the realization that someone you'll almost certainly never know can verbalize feelings so intensely personal to you.

With that, and not tipping my hand at all as to which of the above categories I might fall in to, here are the lyrics to Wilco's "One By One":

One by one the teardrops fall as I write you
One by one my words come falling on the page
One by one my dreams are fading in the twilight
One by one my schemes are fading fast away

One by one the flowers fading in my garden
One by one the leaves are falling from the trees
One by one my hopes are vanished in the clouds clear
One by one like snowflakes melting in the breeze

One by one my hair is turning gray
One by one my dreams are fading fast away
One by one I read your letters over
One by one I lay them all away

One by one the days are slipping up behind you
One by one the sweetest days of life go by
One by one the moments stealing out behind you
One by one she'll come and find not you or I

One by one I hear the soft words that you whispered
One by one I feel your kisses soft and sweet
One by one I hope you'll say the words to marry
One by one to one by one forever be

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Currently in Heavy Rotation on the iPod

Warm in the Wake's Gold Dust Trail EP.

The National's Boxer.

A couple of early release tracks from Ryan Adams' Easy Tiger.

Cold War Kids' Robbers and Cowards. This album has one of my favorite recent singles, "Hang Me Up to Dry", and you can see the video for it below.

And...lots of stuff by these guys. The fact that I just discovered "California Stars" a few weeks ago is something of a minor tragedy. I should be going to my first Wilco show in August and can't wait.

As The City Turns

First we had the Gav fessing up to bedding his campaign manager's wife and entering rehab for alcohol addiction. Now, we're in the midst of the, "Oh no! Ed Jew!" residency scandal. But yesterday, Sup. Chris Daly upped the bracket with thinly veiled accusations of cocaine use by Mayor Newsom.

Seriously, what the fuck is going on? How can one city government be this utterly in disarray?

SFist has more on Daly's comments. A Chronicle editorial argues that Daly should be censured.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Everything's Not Lost

It should be readily apparent to to any functional observer of our culture that we live in particularly vapid times. The biggest story in the most recent news cycle was easily Paris Hilton's prison soap opera. That's why it was so nice to read the remarks given by Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, at Stanford University's commencement exercises this past weekend. Money quote:
There are so many other ways to lead a successful and meaningful life that are not denominated by money or fame. Adult life begins in a child's imagination, and we've relinquished that imagination to the marketplace.

Of course, I'm not forgetting that politicians can also be famous, but it is interesting how our political process grows more like the entertainment industry each year. When a successful guest appearance on the Colbert Report becomes more important than passing legislation, democracy gets scary. No wonder Hollywood considers politics "show business for ugly people."

Everything now is entertainment. And the purpose of this omnipresent commercial entertainment is to sell us something. American culture has mostly become one vast infomercial.

I have a reccurring nightmare. I am in Rome visiting the Sistine Chapel. I look up at Michelangelo's incomparable fresco of the "Creation of Man." I see God stretching out his arm to touch the reclining Adam's finger. And then I notice in the other hand Adam is holding a Diet Pepsi.

When was the last time you have seen a featured guest on David Letterman or Jay Leno who isn't trying to sell you something? A new movie, a new TV show, a new book, or a new vote?

Don't get me wrong. I love entertainment, and I love the free market. I have a Stanford MBA and spent 15 years in the food industry. I adore my big-screen TV. The productivity and efficiency of the free market is beyond dispute. It has created a society of unprecedented prosperity.

But we must remember that the marketplace does only one thing—it puts a price on everything.

The role of culture, however, must go beyond economics. It is not focused on the price of things, but on their value. And, above all, culture should tell us what is beyond price, including what does not belong in the marketplace. A culture should also provide some cogent view of the good life beyond mass accumulation. In this respect, our culture is failing us.

As the kewl kidz say, read the whole thing.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Weekend highlights

-Running into my sister in line at Cobb's Comedy Club while walking to Golden Boy from Kennedy's
-Eating at aforementioned Golden Boy
-House party for the North Beach Festival
-OK GO on Youtube

Thursday, June 14, 2007

From the"Bad Idea Department" (the first entry in an ongoing series)

Waking up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym just isn't a fucking smart thing to do.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New Changes EP

My favorite recent act out of Chicago has a new EP of unreleased material out. Dope.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Overheard...at a Polk St. Starbucks

Barista #1: "You know what sounds good right now?"
Barista #2: (Shakes head in a disinterested fashion)
Barista #1: "Wendy's chicken nuggets."
Barista #2: (Scrunches face in abject horror)
Barista #1: "Those are like the best chicken nuggets evar!"
Barista #2: "You know, all chicken nuggets sound unappealing."
Barista #1: "Why?"
Barista #2: "Well, because...chickens don't have nuggets...well, some do. They're called roosters and you don't want to eat those nuggets. But you do know what sounds good?"
Barista #1: "What?"
Barista #2: "Buffalo wings with hot sauce from Polkers."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

ATL Wedding: The Main Event

I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say this was probably the most lavish wedding I've ever been to. Rumor has it that the floral centerpieces at the dinner ran $50K. I initially thought the whole weekend was going to be in the $150k range. Upon further examination, I think this was in the $500k range. Highlights:

  • The martini bar (made of ice)
  • The man packing and rolling cigars on site (we think he was a real Cuban)
  • The fact that the well bourbon was...Maker's Mark
  • The black opera singer at the ceremony who looked like Len Elmore
  • The sliders and lamb chops that served as apps that could have served as dinner by themselves.
  • The cake that was almost as tall as I am

Saturday, June 09, 2007

ATL Wedding: Day 1

The rehearsal dinner at Trois last night...WOW. There was a menu, but it was more for reference than for anything else...we had steak, and chicken, and seafood...AND gnooci. Duck fat fries. Fried green tomatoes. Zounds. My heart, it is clogged. And that's not even mentioning the cocktail hour before the sit down dinner...or the three deserts as well...peanut butter cup cake, strawberry shortcake and amazing ice cream.

Breakfast today...cheap, and I had grits and biscuits with perfectly sweetened tea. Sometimes, the South ain't half bad.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Atlanta bound tomorrow morning for the last wedding...of this quarter.

Hope to resume regular posting soon. The last few weeks have been a roller coaster...work, friends, life...a change of scenery will be welcome.

Just downloaded the new Ryan Adams single, "Two". The song and the setting sun right now are doing me good. Adams' lyrics can be devastatingly simple, such as they are in this song:

"I'm fractured from the fall
and I want to go home
It takes two when it used to take one
It takes two when it used to take only one

Well my money's no good
When I'm up to no good
No good ever comes from it all
I got a really good heart
I just can't catch a break
If I could I'd treat you like
like you wanted me to
I promise"

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Union Street Fair 2007!

Heading out the door to get it going it a few, but a quick mini-review of last night's Arcade Fire show at the Greek. Good energy, amazing band (many of them play multiple instruments and trade off between songs) and the highlights of the evening were a raucous version of "Power Out" that transitioned into "Rebellion (Lies)" and the closer for the night, a huge, crowd pleasing sing along to "Wake Up". Not even the fog in Berkeley could keep that song from soaring.