Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Music

The Big A here. Today is the last day of the year, so what better time to review the year in music? With props to friends who've done this already here and here, I thought I'd post my own take on the music of 2007.

The first list is the 25 most played songs on my ipod that were added after December 15, 2006. Why that date, you ask? I usually scour various publications year-end lists (Pitchfork, The Onion, even Rolling Stone) sometime each December, and I usually find some great stuff from that year that I didn't already know about. And then it becomes part of my soundtrack for the following year, even though it was released the previous year. Obviously, thos songs from ealier in the year are going to have a higher play count, so it is not an exact science. And there are some things on here that I'm not super proud of (I'm looking at you, Regina Spektor!)

Song, Artist (play count)
25. "Young Folks" Peter, Bjorn, and John (23)
24. "Young Bride" Midlake (23)
23. "Myriad Harbour" New Pornographers (24)
22. "Wig in a Box" Hedwig & the Angry Inch (24)
21. "The Underdog" Spoon (25)
20. " Woke Up New" Mountain Goats (25)
19. "See You at the Lights" 1990s (26)
18. "You Blanks" Portistatic (26)
17. "Right Moves" Josh Ritter (26)
16. "To the Dogs or Whoever" Josh Ritter (26)
15. "Carborro" Schooner (27)
14. "Be Easy" Ghostface Killah (feat. Trife) (27)
13. "Country Caravan" Blitzen Trapper (27)
12. "Paris 2004" Peter, Bjorn, and John (28)
11. "Mama Won't You Keep The Castles in the Air and Burning?" Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (28)
10. "Hate It Here" Wilco (29)
9. "Irreplaceable" Beyonce (29)
8. "If Looks Could Kill" Camera Obscura (31)
7. "Say it All" Sondre Lerche (33)
6. " Trains and Parades" Schooner (33)
5. "We Used to Vacation" Cold War Kids (33)
4. "Read My Mind" The Killers (34)
3. "When You Were Young" The Killers (34)
2. "Fidelity" Regina Spektor (35)
1. "Stuntin' Like My Daddy" Birdman & Lil' Wayne (36)

The next list is my (slightly) revised top ten of 2007. Here goes:

10. "Ode to LRC" Band of Horses
9. "Patty Lee" Les Savvy Fav
8. "We Used to Vacation" Cold War Kids
7. "Myriad Harbour" The New Pornographers
6. "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" Bruce Springsteen
5. "The Underdog" Spoon
4. "Carrboro" Schooner
3. "See You at the Lights" 1990s
2. "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You" Black Kids
1. "Right Moves" Josh Ritter

Sunday, December 30, 2007

CNN sucks

This is not groundbreaking, but I continue to get more and more frustrated with CNN. They spent weeks covering Anna Nicole's death....but when it comes to Benazir Bhutto's death, their coverage is minimal (note that I linked to the BBC's coverage).

Then, there was this summer when CNN broke away from coverage of John Negraponte resigning to show Paris Hilton go back to jail. Important!!

And, just today, there was this descriptor of the year that was 2007: "In 2007, the need to know the dirty secrets of celebrities drowned out the real headlines." Um, isn't that your fault CNN?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

We got it!

It looks like the house is ours. It's not 100% done, but we've come to an agreement on price plus they are throwing in the swing on the sun porch! Do we drive a hard bargain or what?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holy Crap!

We made an offer on a house in Indy (Broad Ripple to be exact)! Isn't it cute? I hope it works out! We'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Traveling east and then east some more

Andy and I are about to head to Indiana and then North Carolina for Christmas. We're going to try to post at least once or twice while we're gone, but we make no guarantees. In the meantime, a few random items.

1) We confirmed today that you can buy growlers of Manny's at Luna Park Cafe. For those of you who don't know Manny's, I am sure that we will devote at least one 'what we will miss most about Seattle' post to this "darn tasty beer." Growlers of Manny's are normally only available at the Georgetown Brewery, which has limited hours (9 am to noon on Saturdays!). Luna Park, on the other hand, is open from 7 am until 9 or 10 pm every day! Plus, Luna Park is tasty in its own right and has breakfast all day.

2) Pitchfork has released its lists of the top 50 albums of 2007 and the top 100 tracks of 2007. Andy has been pouring over them and may blog more about these at a later date. His initial reaction: the top two songs "seem questionable."

3) Kentucky lost again. I should have sympathy with Carolina's (and to a lessor extent Indiana's) recent troubles, but it's Kentucky, so I don't.

Holiday Pets

It's Christmas time---that means pictures of our pets and their gifts.

Ramona opening her new bone.
And what's this?

Yup, it's true. Ramona finally has her own dog-pod. Thanks Shawn and Heather!

Sydney looking pleased by our tree.
And, finally, Mr. R, wearing his Hanukkah gift.

Haven't had enough pets yet? Check out Mortimer's blog. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of meeting Mortimer, he's of the feline variety.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My Body is a Cage

Pitchfork recently posted their top 50 videos of 2007. I've watched many of them and they are all pretty entertaining. The top two are both solid and should be watched. One of them features Zach Galifianakis of the short lived, but outstanding Late World with Zach on VH1. He and Will Oldham are doing an alternative video for Kanye West's "Can't Tell Me Nothin." The top video I can't even explain, it will just have to stand on its own. Follow the link and scroll to the bottom for the the top two videos.

Top 50 Videos, #10-1

Now the one that has stuck with me the most of the ones I've watched is a fan video that somebody put together for The Arcade Fire's "My Body is a Cage." It uses footage from Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West, which is an amazing work of film, especially if you are into westerns. Watch this video and you'll likely want to watch the movie, though it does kind of spoil the end...

This song is pretty good, too, even though I haven't quite manged to get into Arcade Fire's new album, Neon Bible. It sort of reminds me of the Doors in the sense that it takes itself so seriously that I end up kind of wanting to make fun of it. While "My Body is a Cage" clearly takes itself too seriously, it is also a very good song. And coupled with this video, it is certifiably bad-assed.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bad Band Names

The Onion AV Club released a list of The Worst Band Names of 2007.

Andy and I have spent hours debating the merits of various band names, once during a particularly boring set by The Secret Machines, whose name was better than their live preformance (at least on that night). One of my favorite band names is still Built to Spill. It's clever without being gimicky.

Starting a band but having trouble thinking of a band name? Try the band name maker! If Sydney were starting a band, she could name it "Sydney Gizmo Of The Assuming Gateway," whereas Ramona might choose "Ramona Hamburger." Thanks, band name maker!

Wondering the origins of a band's name? Check here or here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I defy you to disagree with me on this...

The best game show ever is Let's Make a Deal. I admit it---every time this show comes on the Game Show Network, I watch it. I am incredibly entertained by the prizes from the 1960s and 1970s. I love they gave away things like $100 worth of grape juice or frozen meals or contemporary fashion from a store in Dallas. It's great when Monty Hall has to pass the microphone back and forth with pitchman Jay Stewart (could they really not afford a second microphone?). The real prizes definitely amuse me more than the gag prizes, though it is fun to see the look on contestants faces when they win a giant tricycle or a herd of goats. And it doesn't end until there are a few quick deals---$100 for a hard boiled egg! Plus, intellectuals like to ponder the choices made on the show. I am glad they haven't brought it back because it wouldn't be the same, but I am considering checking out the dvd game.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pay that man his money!

If you have seen the movie Rounders (1998), you no doubt remember John Malkovich as Teddy KGB, the Oreo cookie eating, underground poker-playing, Russian loan shark. The other day I stumbled on Teddy KGB's blog, and it is pretty entertaining. His dog, Stalin, looks a lot like Ramona. I spent a particularly long time on the Soundboard.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A rout and a heartbreaker

E here.

Time for some talk about basketball. IU gave Kentucky the smack down yesterday...without their starting backcourt (including freshman phenom Eric Gordan) even playing. It was pretty embarassing for Kentucky, which is pretty much what we wanted. Plus, it was nice to see Indiana freshman Jordan Crawford outshine (and outscore) his older brother, Kentucky senior Joe Crawford. I also like new Kentucky head coach, Billy Gillespe's take on the game: "They whipped us in every aspect and did it with a short-handed team, and I don't take to that very well. I thought we did a few things a little bit better, but you couldn't tell that unless you know what you're looking for."

We only got to see the second half of that game because we were attending the Washington - Pittsburgh game. In case you didn't see highlights, the game ended with a last second drive by point guard Justin Dentman, a bucket, and a long review. When the ball went in, everyone stood up, cheered, thinking UW had pulled off the last second upset of #9 Pittsburgh. Then, the long review by the officiating crew...the basket didn't count...what a heart breaker.

So, now UW is 4 and 4, with all of their losses coming to good teams, 3 of 4 of whom are ranked. But it's frustrating. There were some good things that came out of the game; senior Ryan Appleby was back in his first game of the season. He's lights out from 3, and continues to improve his defense, which was nonexistent his sophomore year. Jon Brockman had his requisite double double, and senior transfer Tim Morris had a good game. Which is good because they have a tough road ahead of them in the Pac Ten. There are some things that worry me, mainly sophomore forward, Quincy Pondextor. He's showed promise in some games, but he's also looked awful in other games. Yesterday, it was the latter. He looked completely lost the entire first half and wasn't much better in the second. He seemed like he was playing hungover on an hour of sleep. The thing that really got me was that Coach Romar left him in. I have always liked Lorenzo Romar, partly I admit because I think he looks like a koala. He's certainly had success at UW. But he missed the tournament last year, even with (underutilized?) touted freshman Spencer Hawes (who randomly watched the movie 3:10 to Yuma at the same theater as us). His coaching decisions yesterday (and on many other days...) brought more questions. It really seemed to us that taking Quincy out in the first half was the obvious decision, and arguably could have even won the game for them. He didn't score in the first half and seemed like a liability on the court. I am really rooting for the Huskies and Romar. Even after we move, I think I will continue to follow and pull for this team.

I can't post about Indiana and UW without saying something about Carolina. They are 7 and 0 and the number 1 team in the country in both major polls. They are also off until next weekend.

Friday, December 7, 2007

IU / UK Saturday

It's the most wonderful time of the year...and I don't mean Christmas. It's the time of year when college football mercifully goes on hiatus for a month or so and college basketball begins to take a more prominent place in our sports psyche. And perhaps the most important college basketball game each December is the annual border war between Indiana and Kentucky. Alas, this year I won't get to watch it, as we are attending the Washington-Pittsburgh basketball game here in Seattle (go dawgs!). But in the spirit of the rivalry I'm posting this gem of a video from some proud Kentucky students.

We all remember SNL's digital short masterpiece Lazy Sunday. You probably saw some of the responses to it as well. There was the adequate west coast version, as well as the insanely well done Lazy Muncie. Well some kids down in Lexington decided to do Lazy Tuesday. Maybe they did it this bad on purpose because they thought it was funny, but that sounds pretty advanced for Kentucky, where education pays. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Great Big L

Many of you know that a couple of summers ago I decided to listen to every song on my ipod in alphabetical order. Why I attempted this I don't know, though some of the advantages of listening to music that way are discussed below. Anyway, I didn't make it all the way through...I think I got bored sometime in the Ks. So when we got to Hawaii, I decided to start back up again with L. So for our whole trip and about a week after, all I listened to were songs that start with the letter L.

One of the nice things about this is that you get to try to guess what song is going to be next. This almost never happens successfully, but it is surprisingly entertaining. For example, when "Long-Forgotten Fairy Tale" by the Magnetic Fields came up, I predicted the next song would be "Long, Long, Long" by the Beatles. However, Long with a hyphen comes before long with no hyphen, so next was "Long Black Veil" by Johnny Cash. Then came "Long Hot Summer" (Hendrix) and "Long Live the Dead Guy" (Johnny Socko). And next was..."Long Long Time" by Schooner?? The Beatles song is long with a comma at th end, so it didn't come for another 11 songs, and that's not exactly the best song to be waiting around to hear.

This method also exposes some weaknesses of the music collection. Sometimes songs are on there more than once for various reasons. More importantly, a good song that you think of that could be coming up ends up not being on the ipod. The most glaring examples of this were "Liar" by Rollins Band and "Little Red Corvette" by Prince. I've since corrected the Rollins problem, and I may be able to get some Prince from my sister at when I'm home for Christmas. Now here are some stats from the L section of my ipod.

A total of 463 songs, just over 25 hours worth of music.
First song: "L.A." by Eliot Smith. Last song: "Lyric" by Zwan.

Top 3 Words starting with L that start song titles:
1. Love (or some form of the word) -- 59 songs.
2. Let (or Let's) --34 songs.
3. Little -- 32 songs.

Top 5 most played songs starting with L:
1. "Losing My Hair" by Crimea
2. "Little Fern" by Portistatic
3. "Little House of Savages" by The Walkmen
4. "Letter From an Occupant" by The New Pornographers
5. "Let's Get Out of This Country" by Camera Obscura

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Return of the Green Fairy

Andy here with two very unrelated thoughts. First, the 15th ranked Indiana basketball team defeated Southern Illinois last night 64-51. Southern Illinois was previously 80-3 at home in over the last several seasons. This is a huge win for the Hoosiers, as they may not even have another opportunity for this big of a road win this season. Beating a ranked opponent on that team's home floor says a lot about this team, and makes me very optimistic for the rest of the year. There is a tune up at home tomorrow against Tennessee St., then the annual rivalry game against Kentucky is on Saturday. I expect double digit victories in both games. To see Kentucky's prized freshman Patrick Patterson pick his nose and eat it, click here.

In other news, I'm not sure how I missed this, but absinthe is now (sort of) legal in the United States again. I've had absinthe on a couple of occasions (thanks to unnamed sources), and it is not as hallucinogenic as big brother would have liked you to believe over the past 100 years, but it is certainly different kind of buzz than regular drinking. It also tastes really horrible, at least if you don't like licorice. Here's Time Magazine's take on the return of the Green Fairy.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Snow and Hawaii (but not snow in Hawaii)

Elizabeth here.

First of all, we got a few inches of snow today! Ramona enjoyed romping around.
Onto my last post about Hawaii. We spent one day driving the Road to Hana. Hana is a small town with only a few business establishments, but the curvy road there is littered with:
spectacular views,
waterfall pools,
interesting trees,

and 1 taco stand with delicious Kalua pig tacos and steamed breadfruit
(and espresso if you need it).

Hawaii definitely lives up the hype. It's pretty much absurd how beautiful it is there. Even though we are moving east, we are going to have to figure out ways to go back. I am ready for a trip to the Big Island---I want to see an active volcano!