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Showing posts from December, 2012

Start Today

If something is staring me in the face that needs to change, I'm not patient enough to wait until January 1st to take care of it. Last week, Jenny and I enjoyed spending time in Florida with her family and a few days at the beach. The hope of any vacation - no matter how short it is - is that you are relaxed while you're on it and come back to regular life with some clarity. Being at the beach last year was great for me, looking at Lake Michigan felt great earlier this year, and I certainly felt clarity while on the beach last week. I thought about things I could change in my life, and how to change them. Loosely, I've made some resolutions in the new year, but they're not the kind I want to be extremely vocal about. There's some housecleaning to do in my house as well as in my mind. I already started on some of those today, and I'm not finished with them until I say they're finished. I look forward to 2013. Lots of good stuff is on the horizon, and th

My first . . .

This week's edition is a monster. I reached out to a dozen people I interviewed this year for the column, and almost all of them got back to me via Facebook. Since it's the holiday/best-of version, it's OK that it's long. And I contributed to a year-end list for best local releases. It should come as no surprise that I praised Things of Earth once again.

The Tenacity of the Cockroach

( I briefly mentioned this in yesterday's post, but I wanted to write a separate post on Keith Phipps' departure from The A.V. Club.) When Keith broke the news on his site yesterday morning, I was surprised and saddened. I'm not one to think that one person will remain in the same job position until retirement, but the departure seemed abrupt. Especially since this was just a few days after The A.V. Club reached a pop culture milestone when it was spoofed on The Simpsons . I will remain a daily reader of the site as long as the content is worth reading. I hope Keith will land on his feet in a job that brings out the best of his talents as a writer and editor. But I can't help reflect on how much the site has meant to me under his command. He had been with The Onion for fifteen years, helping make a small section of it into a full-on epicenter of pop culture discussions. How I came to know Keith was from a very brief encounter while I was writing my first book. 

One day at a time

On my way back from Houston yesterday, I saw a sign outside of a church: "You can argue with God, you just can't win." I had a good chuckle because I agree with that sentiment. While I don't brand myself a Christian, I do have an attachment to the ideas of being hopeful, a good person, helpful towards others, and a positive-thinking person. And it's taken me a long time to understand the difference between things that are in my control (which is a small number) and the things that are not in my control (which is a very large number). I spent most of this year upset about things that happened in 2011. I couldn't shut the door on a drastic change in my personal and professional life that happened over the course of four short months. I had started 2011 in a happy relationship while I was in a band I enjoyed playing with and made the best of a hostile work environment. By the end of October last year, all three of those situations were not in my life anymore.

My first . . .

This week's edition is with Jonas from Turbo Fruits. Usually, I have my interviews scheduled, taped, and transcribed well before my Tuesday afternoon deadline. I was going to interview a different member of the band on Tuesday, but when I called him, he said he was in the hospital. He suggested that I talk to a different member of the group and I rescheduled with the publicist. My interview with Jonas finally happened last night at five, but he was afraid his call was going to drop because he saw mountains ahead on his drive. Luckily, the signal did not drop and we had a great conversation.

A year in music

If there is one word I could use to describe my life in 2012, it's rebuilding. Rebuilding in the sense of figuring out what I truly want in my personal and professional life. I thought long and hard while trying to move forward. Music, as always, kept me sane through all of this. I listened to a lot of music that was released this year -- a lot more than I had in previous years. This list reflects that, as well as a number of the shows I saw and stories/interviews that I did. The Best Records Released This Year Title Fight, Floral Green Despite the vastness of options on the Internet, I still go off of friend recommendations the most when it comes to finding out about new music. My friend Seth was highly enthusiastic about Title Fight's second record, calling them "Seaweed Jr." Upon listening to it, especially "Secret Society," I agreed, but I also added No Knife, Hum, and Lifetime to the list of obvious influences. Most of these guys are not old eno

My first . . .

This week's edition has a peculiar origin. I met Andrew at the Converge show early last month.Our mutual friend Nikki introduced us and I thought he looked like he was in a band. Turns out I was right and I asked him about any upcoming shows. He mentioned the show on the 6th, so I figured I should interview him for the week of the show.

Unanswered Prayers

Dear Garth Brooks, There was a time when you were one of the biggest entertainers in the world. Not just in country music, but you were an icon. Your name was up there on the pop charts with Yanni, Michael Jackson, Nirvana, and Celine Dion. It was all because you had that incredible run of chart-topping albums and singles starting back in 1989. As a weekly reader of the Billboard charts when I was a teenager, I was very aware of this throughout the 1990s. And I was also aware of your music even though my ears were more attuned to Nirvana, Metallica, and Green Day. Whether it was a Boy Scout trip or a family trip, I heard "Friends in Low Places," "The Dance," "The Thunder Rolls," and "Rodeo" many, many times. I even played along on one Boy Scout trip and sang along with "Friends in Low Places." Most other times I scowled, moaned, and ultimately, put up with hearing your music on endless roads. I never hated you, but your music was