Thursday, December 30, 2010

Brent's List of Books He Read in 2010

  1. The Awakening - Kate Chopin - This is about a lady who realizes her life is lousy and drowns herself in Mexico.  It's about self-loathing, and I like that.
  2. O Pioneers!  Willa Cather - This book was a real disappointment.  It skipped over all the hardship pioneers stories, and turned into a story about love or something.  I don't remember. 
  3. Sean Payton Book - Sean Payton did not try very hard on this book.
  4. Drew Brees Book - Drew Brees tried maybe a little too hard on this book. 
  5. Jeff Duncan Book - This was the best of the Saints Superbowl Books - which isn't saying much. 
  6. Grapes of Wrath - America was not a very nice place in the 30's.  Hardship and dirt.  It was all hardship and dirt.
  7. The Boy Detective Fails - Chuck's favorite book - or one of them.  It's a pretty cute Encyclopedia Brown style mystery, except EB is grown up.  And his life is very sad.
  8. Huckleberry Finn - It's been a while since I finished this, and I honestly can't remember if this was better than I thought it would be or worse. I think I thought it was silly.
  9. The Falling Man - I have almost no memory of this book.  It's kind of about 9/11, and it's a novel. 
  10. Zeitoun - Best book I read this year.  1930's America was a walk in the park compared to New Orleans, Post-Katrina.
  11. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I am reading this now.  I have no idea why.  It's not even going that fast.  And the girl with the dragon tattoo is barely in it.  The majority of the story is about this douchebag cheeseball journalist.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

de facto 2010 new years resolutions

Here's what my new year's resolutions should have been for 2010.

1. Spend a lot of money. I don't know what happened with this, but I am supposedly making more money than I ever have before, yet my bank account continually creeps lower and lower. I'm tempted to put all the blame on my having to pay for my anti-depressants this year (rather than getting samples), but that's probably wishful thinking.

2. Put a lot of work into projects that end up going nowhere. This mostly applies to work, where time after time, a proposal that I have been assigned to and have worked on just kind of gets dropped.

3. Gain weight. See recent holiday pictures.

4. Ignore stated 2010 new years resolutions. I believe my goals for the new year were to do something creative once a month, kiss a woman, and ride my bike more. 0 for three.

Okay, those are the big ones. I'll add more if I think of them.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Brent's 50 Favorite Songs of 2010

There a slew of repeats here, which either means that I didn't do a very good job listening to a wide variety of music (I feel like I did), or that there just wasn't that much good stuff (I feel like there wasn't).  I limited my picks to music actually owned by me.  Which is why that B.O.B. song about airplanes didn't make it.  I love that song.  Why can't we act like airplanes are shooting stars, people?  I could really use a wish right now.

1. Rill Rill - Sleigh Bells - Treats

2. All Delighted People - Sufjan Stevens - All Delighted People EP

3. Taxi Cab - Vampire Weekend - Contra

4. Fuck You - Cee Lo Green - The Lady Killer

5. To Old Friends and New - Titus Andronicus - The Monitor

6. Dark Fantasy - Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

7. Bloodbuzz Ohio - The National - High Violet

8. The Ghost Who Walks - Karen Elson - Karen Elson

9. The Mermaid Parade - Phosphorescent - Here's to Taking It Easy

10. Infinity Guitars - Sleigh Bells - Treats

11. You Wanted A Hit - LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening

12. It - Dr. Dog - Shame Shame

13. Excuses - The Morning Benders - Big Echo

14. Everlasting Light - The Black Keys - Brothers

15. Half Light II (No Celebration) - The Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

16. Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks - The National - High Violet

17. Tell 'Em - Sleigh Bells - Treats

18. These Days - The Black Keys - Brothers

19. Soundtrack To The End - Communist Daughter - Soundtrack To The End

20. John the Determinist - Jeremy Messersmith - The Reluctant Graveyard

21. Obscene Queen Bee - Flashy Python - Skin and Bones

22. Heaven Can Wait - Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM

23. I Remember - Yeasayer - Odd Blood

24. I Didn’t See It Coming - Belle & Sebastian - Write About Love

25. Theme from "Cheers" - Titus Andronicus - The Monitor

26. Queen Black Acid - Menomena - Mines

27. Crash Years - The New Pornographers - Together

28. Riot Rhythm - Sleigh Bells - Treats

29. What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way) - Wolf Parade - Expo 86

30. Runaway - The National - High Violet

31. Shame, Shame - Dr. Dog - Shame Shame

32. Sinister Kid - The Black Keys - Brothers

33. Valkyrie In The Roller Disco - The New Pornographers - Together

34. Mornin' Time - Woods - At Echo Lake

35. We Don't Want Your Body - Stars - The Five Ghosts

36. Run the Heart - Sleigh Bells - Treats

37. Not The Kid - Communist Daughter - Soundtrack To The End

38. Slippery When Wet - The Acorn - No Ghost

39. Wasted Hours - The Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

40. Le Chat Du Café Des Artistes - Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM

41. Write About Love - Belle & Sebastian - Write About Love

42. Never Give You Up - The Black Keys - Brothers

43. Moves - The New Pornographers - Together

44. Giving Up The Gun - Vampire Weekend - Contra

45. Long Way Home - Mates Of State - Crushes

46. In the Sun - She & Him - Volume Two

47. It's Hard to Be Humble (When You're from Alabama) - Phosphorescent - Here's to Taking It Easy

48. Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk - The New Pornographers - Together

49. Taos - Menomena - Mines

50. Let the Record Go - The Mynabirds - What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I don't get it.

So here's my topic sentence for this blog post: everybody says that Doctor Strangelove, Hard Day's Night, and Annie Hall are good movies, but they could not be more wrong.

I watched all three of these movies for the first time this year and was not impressed by any of them. All three were on the Time Magazine list of best movies and for the life of me, I can't imagine why. Of the three, I suppose Annie Hall has the strongest argument. It has a perspective, that at the time was probably fairly unique. It's just not very funny. I think maybe Hard Day's Night is on there just because people really like the Beatles, especially in their youthful, insouciant years. The movie seems to just be like an episode of the monkees tv show, a program that, incidentally, I have never in fact seen. And finally Doctor Strangelove, as mentioned before on this blog, that movie is just straight up for assholes.

In 2011, my hope is to be less disillusioned. Oh and I just ched the Time list again and Annie Hall isn't on there. That's a good sign.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Just so I don't forget....

I want to make sure I get this down somewhere.  It was the funniest thing I heard all year.  Around Thanksgiving, Chelsey asked Chuck how the cooking was going over at his house.  He and my dad had been preparing for Thanksgiving most of the day, and Chuck's house has a very small kitchen. 

Chuck thought about it, and said something to the effect of:

 "Well, you know me and dad, we're just two big old bears trying to stay out eachother's way."

I realize this wont sound funny for anyone that wasn't there, but it was hilarious at the time. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wreck of the Brentmond Fitzkoster

So in order to control an over-the-top perspiration problem, I have given up coffee.  The days that followed this decision have been marked with an amazing headache, the sensitivity of a little Koster boy, and the dumbness of a dumb stupid dummy.  I just spent two hours trying to write something that should have taken me 45 minutes.  This is mostly due to the wombat attacking the inside of my skull, but it's also due to the fact that I can barely put two words together that make any kind of sense at all. 

I had no idea I was this addicted to coffee.  But because I'm so spacy, I'm not entirely convinced that it's all due to the coffee.  I have also failed to bring a breakfast with me to work each day this week.  And I have noticed that eating kind of makes this headache go away, but I don't have it together enough to check this hypothesis, because I never seem to have any food with me. 

I also seem to be nursing a tiny little addiction to Alka-Seltzer Cold Medicine, which is another reason I can't say this is all caffeine related.  I drink a glass of it before I go to be each night, even though I barely have a cold at this point.  But I keep doing so, because in my daze-filled existence, it seems like the thing to do.  Like if I don't, I might not get a good sleep.  And I need a good sleep, because I feel so out of it.  And so on.

This could be the beginning of the end. 

I have also been super-sensitive at work.  I have essentially convinced myself that everyone I work with hates me, but that's okay, because I hate them too, and even though no one is saying anything about this shared hatred, it's there.  Believe me.  It's there.  I also hate the guy who edited my last story for my sportswriting job.  He told me that my "lede" didn't make any sense.  Well guess what, Dickface?  I didn't know "lede" was spelled that way.  I reread it, it was a shitty lede.  But I'm a little fucked up right now, so maybe you could be a little more....(you see where this is going.)

Fuck you coffee.  Fuck you, and you fucking face.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas 2010

So as part of the yearly clusterfuck that is our holiday planning, Nancy evidently had a conversation with our Aunt Jeannie about the fact that our grandma was going to be alone this year for christmas. This "alone" assessment was reflective of the facts that Brent and Chelsey will be going to Kearney, NE and that Nance and Jerr may be going to Dallas for Christmas. What am I doing you ask? Funny thing. I'm staying here so that Helen Frances won't be "alone" for Christmas.

The "alone" comment could have been just a poor choice of words on either my grandma's or aunt jeannie's part; however, it does kind of make me wonder why I'm sticking around, rather than doing whatever the hell I want for Christmas (visiting Wendy and family).

Brent thought this would make a good blog. I was worried that I didn't know how to write-it without coming off self pitying. So when you read this, try not to picture me really whiney about it, but rather really mad and tough.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm in the Internet! On a plane!

So I am on my way to visit my friends in Atlanta, and Google Chrome has generously made the wifi free on all Air Tran flights as a holiday gesture.  How nice.  Sadly, I don't have much to do on the internet, and the signal is not strong enough to stream off of netflix, but who gives a fuck?  I'm on the internet.  I could bring up porn right now if I wanted.  This is great.

This is as good a time as any for me to give some holiday updates.

  1. Chelsey completed her capstone yesterday and passed with flying colors.  This means she will actually graduate with her masters on December 17th.  I am so proud of her.  As someone who would rather swallow a bucket of toilet bowl cleaner than go back to school, I am amazed that anyone goes back.  And seeing how difficult this has been at times for Chelsey, I could not be more happy for her - for for us and all the big-time money we are going to start seeing flow into the Kosterpelding bank accounts.
  2. I'm almost done with Grapes of Wrath, and I can tell it's not going to end in a very uplifting place.  Things just seem to be getting worse and worse.  Today they had to leave the place with the hot water to make a go at some peach orchard.  This can't be good.  After this I move on to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I assume to be less taxing on my soul.
  3. I have acquired presents for almost everyone on my list.  But at what expense?  I'll tell you what expense: the expense of Chelsey and my xmas cards.  We are WAY behind.  And I wanted to print up cute ones off the internet this year, but we haven't taken any pictures yet.  Dammit.
  4. I have launched a new workout regment called "Brent goes to work early and works out in the new Goodwill gym, then showers, then puts on work clothes."  We are working on a shorter name.  I like this new plan because I end up being the first person in the building from time to time, which means I get to turn off the alarm.  That makes me feel important.  I also like it because no one else is around, and I don't have to worrry about accidentally farting when I work out.  The biggest drawback is that I keep forgetting to bring a change of socks and underwear.  Lots of free balling it and wearing no socks around the workplace. 
Oh - it looks like I have to get off.  Free airplane internet is the greatest!

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Holiday Plan So Far

So I am trying to get the most out of my holidays this year.  This is what the plan looks like so far:

1) Finish Grapes of Wrath so I can start reading those "Girl Who Blah Blah Blah" books.  2010 has been a big year for me in the reading department.  I can think of no better way to end it, than to read some chain of popular fiction.  I've never done that before.  It's time.

2) Bake.  Last year my baking turned out horrible.  The peanut butter squares tasted weird.  It was a mess.  This year I plan on being more fastidious in my planning and implementation of treats.  It's going to be a whole new Brent and Chelsey treat spectacular.

3) Buy gifts early.  I vow to not go anywhere near a busy mall in December.  I'm also thinking about getting all my gifts at Sears.  Sears is great.  They cater to the old.  You know, children get older.  I'm getting older too. 

4) Listen to music.  I have a lot of albums to consider before the end of the year lists.  I'm hoping to combine this with items 1 and 5.

5) Figure out a workout schedule.  Now that I can't run outside, I don't know what to do.

6) Make cocktails.  I think maybe I haven't tried enough types of drinks.  What's in a rusty nail?  I should find out.

7) Finish the model that Chuck and I started back in August or whatever.  Fuck that model.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Trying To Do Thanksgiving

Man that hot dog costume turned out good.  I haven't written in a while, and I have some time to kill until Boardwalk Empire.  Since I last checked in, Chuck and I went to North Carolina to visit Mom and Dad and take Dad to a Saints game.   The trip turned out pretty darn good.  High points included watching old movies and slides.  Low points mostly had to do with Chuck blowing it from time to time.  He just kept making the wrong moves.  Also, on the way back from Charlotte, my dad told Chuck and I an assortment of stories from his youth.  After two or three, it became clear that he was just stealing themes and concepts from John Denver lyrics and turning them into a childhood.  Which was fine.  But I could see right through him.

Then I got back and Chelsey and I attended our first Nebraska game together the following week.  The Nebraska game was fun, except when we were walking in I got a little claustrophobic and asked Chelsey to stop touching me.  This was not well received.  I find that as I get older, I get weirder and weirder around crowds (and in general).  I hate being stuck in traffic  I hate being stuck in big crowds.  I hate all that stuff.  It makes me want to chew my arm off or something.  But once we got into the game I was fine, and Chelsey forgave me, and we had a nice time.

The next day Chuck and I went to a Creighton basketball game.  When we got to our seats, some lady was sitting in the seats and told Chuck that they were planning on spreading out for the game, and that we could sit elsewhere.  I hated this, but excepted it, because I didn't want to be mean about her stupid "I've made a decision that is totally going to put you out" ways.  Then I guess she changed her mind, and her and her daughter went to sit with her family.  The rest of the game is spent dodging the balloons of her two toddler daughters, and trying to act like I'm not annoyed by her kids.  Eventually her and her family end up coming into our row, going back to their row.  Splitting between the two rows, and finally both parents end up in our row, with the two toddlers unaccompanied and sitting in front of Chuck and I.   This last part made no sense to me.  Both Chuck and I wanted to kill the entire family.

Lastly, I believe Thanksgiving will go down like this this year:  Mom and Dad in town.  Dinner at our house.  Saints game on that night.  Many pies.  Grandma in.  Grandma out.  Lots of crockpots.  I hope it goes ok.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trying To Do Halloween

Last year I bought a hotdog costume, vowing that I would finally start participating in a holiday that I have always kind of hated.  I did this for one reason:  Because my wife really likes it.  And I figure that she cheers for the Saints.  The least I can do is dress like a wiener.

So last year the costume showed up all wrinkly, and I couldn't do anything about it.  So it looked pretty shitty.  It has no form to it, so it just kind of hung there.

Note the filled in head.  That was all saggy last year.

This year I made some changes.

While watching the worst season finale to Project Runway ever, I sewed in a bunch of stuffing in key areas.  No one was more surprised than me to see that said changes actually worked.  Particularly on the head part.  I stuffed the shoulders too, but unfortunately the extra head stuffing negated the shoulder stuffing.  Fashion is so hard.

Note the puffy shoulders, and Chelsey's sexy gun.  

I also wrapped foil around the bottom portion of me, and called myself a Ballpark Frank.  This appeared to amuse no one but me.  And the foil kept falling off the first time I wore it, but I got it securely attached, and I think, if nothing else, it appeared confusing.  So there's that.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday.  It went like this. 
  • Wake up late.  Snuggle with the wife.
  • Go eat country fried steak and egg breakfast at Lisa's Radial Cafe.
  • Look at art at the Joselyn Museum.
  • Go to work.
  • Get a Saints snuggie and a bunch of other cool crap from my coworkers.
  • Work all day on the company newsletter.
  • Go home.
  • Play with the dog.
  • Drink a Manhatten.
  • Wife come home.
  • Pick up brother on way to nursing home.
  • Get Popeye's and a birthday cake on the way.
  • Receive abuse from brother and wife about cake selection.
  • Arrive at nursing home.
  • Open presents that I had already opened and rewrapped earlier in the week.
  • Eat cake.  The cake was fine.
  • Go to bar. 
  • Play pool.
  • Get beat by brother.
  • Go home.
  • Watch Glee.
  • Go to bed.
It was one of the best birthdays I have ever had. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

That was so funny.

Several weeks back Brent and I tried to come up with a list of our top five funniest movies. The impetus for our list was our disgust with the American Film Institutes's list of the funniest movies of all time. Our list is probably not so good either, but at least it actually has some funny movies on it.

1. Raising Arizona

2. Rushmore

3. Bad Santa

4. Anchorman

5. Big Trouble in Little China

We rounded out another five in no particular order, in which we both able to put a movie on the list without the other's approval. Brent's singular vote was for Sean of the Dead. Mine was for Young Frankenstein. The other three were Airplane, Tommy Boy and The Three Amigos.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Office Dumbness and a Nice Picture

Yesterday all of the executive staff at my office got together and decided that those of us in cubicles (none of the them are in cubicles) need to not trash up our cubicles by putting anything on top of our outer walls.  Not really a big deal.  Just kind of funny considering that their offices are decorated in such a lame fashion.  From diecast replicas of sportscars, to framed pictures of badass cars they used to drive, to any number of golf trophies.

So we got to thinking about what a shame it was that we could no longer put our huge trophies all over our cubicles, which led to one of my employees googling this:

Large trophies.  Definitely.  But the real pleasure for me in this picture is the agitated man in the front row, and the man in mustard yellow trying to calm him down.  There's also the two champs:  one of which looks like a young Jean Claude Van Damme, and the other who looks like a plumber. 

This picture has it all.  Is the man upset about the trophies being too big?  Too small?  Is he mad he didn't get a coat?  Why did they invite him in the picture?  Surely he was upset when they called him up.  I could go on and on.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Running and Listening to music

So I have been running over lunch.  It's been very tough sledding for me, as it's uncharacteristically warrm this October.  The only thing that gets me through is fixating on the lyrics of the music I am listening to as I run.  In doing so, I have made the following shocking discoveries:

1) The Lady Gaga Song Paparazzi is not about her stalking the paparazzi to become famous, as I previously thought.  It is in fact about her stalking some dude.  This will forever be disappointing to me.  I thought that the idea of Lady Gaga stalking the paparazzi sounded pretty cool.  The other way around, it's kinda okay.

2) Promiscuous Girl by Nelly Furtado is not, in fact, about a Promiscuous Girl.  It's about a girl who is teasing a guy by acting promiscuous, but has no intention of getting down.  Bah!  I hate this.  I always thought that was Nelly Furtado's slutty song.  Shoot.

3) The Party Punch by Oh No, Oh My is actually about a fist punch at a party.  Not a punch that is served in the name of refreshment at a party. 

4) Some People Got a Lot of Nerve by Neko Case is about nature, but it's also about bad relationship people being bad because that's all they know how to be.  I always thought it was just a "respect the viciousness of nature" song.

5) Paper Planes by M.I.A.  I always thought is ended saying Sum Sum Summer Summer Murder, Summer Murder Murder.  When in fact it is Some some some a some I murder.  Some a some I let go.  I had no idea.

These are things I am learning over lunch. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Concert Review: Local Natives

In my continuing series of going to shows that I am not wild about, I saw the Local Natives last night with Chelsey and Chuck.  They were both excited for the show.  I was confused as to why I had agreed to come along too.  They have one song I really like.  It's called Airplanes.  And, thank christ, they played it.  Then we left right after.

The problems with the show were as follows:

  1. It was packed.  Which was strange on many fronts.  You never know how popular a band is, but I guess off all the bands I have listened to in the past couple of years, I don't have any idea why this one is as popular as it is.  We actually had to wait in line to get into the venue.  Which we did not do.  We had a pre-show drink instead - nice thinking Chelsey.  The show was full of college kids who seemed to have none of the space issues I carry around with me wherever I go.  This was not a problem for me, but it did rub Chelsey the wrong way.  For a portion of the evening she was refusing to move her feet, no matter how much the douchebag college kids crowded her.  This was entertaining.  Chelsey was just entertaining in general.  She then started calling everyone who tried to walk in between us "bitches" right after they went by.  I thought this was a great idea.  It's something I hope sticks.  And spreads.  Mind you, she didn't say it to them.  She would just casually say it to me and we would share a knowing nod agreement. 
  2. This is a band that sounds like Fleet Foxes to me.  I can't stand that band.  But it certainly accounts for why so many people were there.  As everyone loves Fleet Foxes too - which I also do not understand.  But they tried to kind of ramp of their sound for the live show.  I felt like this was a mixed bag of success and failure.  But then, I mostly wanted to go home throughout the concert.
  3. These 8 million college kids with no spatial issues also knew all the words to the songs.  Normally this is something I like.  But the songs were so not sing-along worthy in my opinion.  So I found that whole thing distressing as well. 
  4. The hairstyles of the band proved to be a thorough survey of hipster poseurism.  This was distracting.  But whatever. 
So there you go.  I really need to start going to see bands that I like. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Everybody's Fine

Last night Chelsey and I watched this movie.  In the first 5 minutes it was very clear to me that this would be a horribly sad movie.  It did not disappoint. 

Robert DeNiro plays the father of this family whose mother just died.  He's been largely uncommunicative with his kids his whole life, and now that she's gone he decides he better pick up where his wife left off in that department. Then the heartbreak ensues.  None of his kids feel comfortable around him.  No one tells him anything about their life.  So on and so forth.

Let me first say, this wasn't a great movie.  The story wasn't all that hot.  But it hit many of the right notes along the way.  Specifically, it did a fine job of depicting a shattered family in a way that didn't knock you over the head.  It broke my heart.  Too much of seeing my own dad  in the DeNiro character.  Trying to make up for years of disinterest.  Not being any good at it. Made me appreciate how little he would have left in his life if my mom dies before him. 

Apparently this is a wide open nerve in the psyche of Brent Koster, as all the movies that make me want to cry (Field of Dreams, Millions, Joy Luck Club) center on fucked up or scarred parent/kid relationships.  Continued proof that I am not an adult. 


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Concert Review: Menomena/Titus Andronicus

So I have decided to start reviewing concerts, so that I can remember which concerts I have seen in what years.  Starting now.

In the past two weeks I have seen Titus Andronicus and Menomena.  Both are bands that I like a little bit, but others I know like a lot.  Both have albums I have tried to get into, but I have only made it into the entry way on each. 

So here we go. 
Titus Andronicus - My first impression of Titus Andronicus is that they sing the sentiments I felt in college.  They do it really well, and their music is really good.  But their earnestness about how they are losers and their lives are a waste just don't resonate in me when I listen to their albums.  I was hoping the live show would be different.  Sadly, it was not.  Still enjoyable.  The sound was good.  But I would give it a B- overall.  Also a band called Free Energy opened up for them and sounded like a Bruce Springsteen cover band, circa 1986.  Which was weird.  But I have thought about them a few times afterwards. I wonder if I should get their cd.

Menomena - My friend Kent loves this band.  Chelsey loves this band.  I love one song by this band.  It's called Rotten Hell, and it was one of my favorite songs of 2007.  I sat there all night waiting to hear it. They never played it.  Those fuckers.  Which was a shame, because the rest of the concert was actually pretty good.  And the two openers weren't without their charms either.  Suckers were frantic, and good when they weren't trying to be discordant.  Tu Fawning was a nice band too, but they also had sound problems.  Maybe the sound guy was just a doof. 

More like Dr. Strange- dumb, if you want my opinion

So I finally watched Dr. Strangelove. Why do people really like that movie? I have nothing against Peter Sellers. I generally like Stanley Kubrick movies, but that movie just isn't terribly funny. Maybe it hasn't aged well or relatedly, you kind had to watch when it came out. Anyway, long story short - famous movie, very disappointing.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Really Very Small

My first week with a DVR has been a failure.  It's great having one.  For all the reasons I thought it would be great to have one.  But the laissez faire attitude that I assumed would accompany my DVR has not shown up.  It seems like everyone I know who has a DVR plays it really cool about seeing a show when it plays for the first time.  They DVR it, and plan on watching it when they have some free time.  I cannot shake my old ways.  I want to watch shit as soon as possible.  And I keep using it like I did when we first got our VCR when I was a kid.  I record anything that I might possibly want to watch again.  (I have not watched any of it again). 

I'm afraid COX may take it away for being so stupid. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Wendy!

Thank you for turning me on to berets when I was a kid.    And thank you for posing me in a picture with you and Chuck with said beret.  And thank you for giving that picture to mom and dad.  And thank you for taking such a fine picture that it has been proudly displayed for every guest I have ever brought to their house.  And thank you for all the ridicule I have received ever since.

Seventh graders aren't emotionally equipped to make a beret decision, Wendy.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Please don't get the wrong idea.

I am not trying to be morbid, but I have found my perfect funeral song and I just want to make sure I communicate it to someone so that nothing gets missed later. Perhaps I need to work this request into the final will and testament that I don't have. Anyway here's the song, which some of you may have heard before, and again, not depressed, just trying to plan for the distant future.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A change at the top of the order

I have some lists to share. The reason for this is twofold: this weekend I finally saw A Prophet, thought by many to be the finest movie of 2009, and last week I came to the realization that my favorite book ever has changed. As you all may know, I am intractably a list guy. I am embarrassed by this. It seems somewhat shameful to so desperately need to order and quantify one's artistic experiences.

I've often heard people say that those with chaotic lives will seek to rigidly organize small spheres of their lives so as to impose a measure of their own will in the world. I'm not sure how the whole hoarding phenomenon fits into this explanation, but maybe some people tend to jerk the wheel in the other direction. Regardless, I'm not sure why I like lists, but heaven forgive me, I do seem to derive a disproportionately large amount of pleasure from being able to put numbers next to things.

Favorite Novels.
1. The Boy Detective Fails - Joe Meno
2. The Winter of Our Discontent - John Steinbeck
3. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
4. East of Eden - John Steinbeck
5. Henderson the Rain King - Saul Bellow

Favorite Movies of 2009
1. Where the Wild Things Are
2. The Messenger
3. The White Ribbon
4. A Prophet
5. Coraline

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Possible Birthday Gift Ideas for Wendy

1) A high quality disco ball, to make up for the crappy one she had when we lived in Logansport.
2) A framed, handwritten apology for peeing on her in my sleep when I was a kid.
3) Tomato/zuchini basket
4) Photo of Chuck dressed like Jesus, giving the a-okay sign.
5) Same photo, but with Chelsey dressed as Joan from Mad Men.
6) Same photo but with me dressed like a hot dog.
7) Rights to the following url's:
8) Record a version of 99 Problems by Jay-Z, but change the refrain from "99 problems, but a bitch aint one",  to "99 problems and I'm forty one."
10) Hire fat magician.  Send to house.        

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

girls rock.

Here is what I've noticed this summer -- bands with the world Girls in it are almost always good. Girls. Vivian Girls. Dum Dum Girls. You see? Bells do pretty well too, plus deer. But girls. What does it mean?

Brent, you were right about The Slow Club. Thanks.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Summer Hits!

A lot of people ask me, "Brent, what songs move your heart this summer?"  I'm sick of answering.  Here's a list.


This is hands down my favorite song of the summer.  It makes me feel cool. 


I like to make up words to this song while I shower.  It's written in such a way that my made up lyrics fit perfectly.  The only other songwriter who does this is Dave Berman of the Silver Jews.


My favorite new album National song.  I can listen to this on repeat over and over.



I finally found an song on this album I liked as much as stuff off Sounds of Silver.  It's long too.  So you can listen to it on your way accross town.


You seem to believe you belong to somebody else.


I heard this song, and I said to myself, "Well the Black Keys have finally made an album for Brent."  Then I heard the rest of the album.  Then I heard this song again, and decided to go to their concert.  It's this Monday evening, outside, in 97 degree heat.  Excellent.


It is because of Dr. Dog that I feel like I could maybe be a Crosby, Stills and Nash fan someday.  God help me.


I had to pick between this and Flash Delirium.  To my great surprise, I picked this.


2009 song.  Don't care. 


Just came out. Don't care.

That's it!  I have a list of other songs here:

In the Sun - She & Him
King of the Beach - Wavves
One - Yeasayer
Le Chat Du Cafe Artistes - Charlotte Gainsberg
I'm a Pilot - Fanfarlo
Obscene Queen Bee - Flashy Python
Take It Easy - Hush Arbors
Speechless - Lady Gaga
Excuses - Morning Bender
Riot Rhythm - Sleigh Bells

Okay.  That's really it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Swimming Understood Through a Thanksgiving Lesson

Here's why I am enjoying swimming more this year.  My typical swimming experience is as follows.  Go to the pool  enjoy the water.  Get out.  Slather on sun block so that I don't burn my fare fare skin.  Worry about this for the duration I am out of the pool.  Get back in the pool, washing off all sunblock.  Repeat. 

I have finally outsmarted this with a simple too.  The t-shirt.  For some reason, I have always felt I needed to be shirtless poolside.  Like the cumulative 5 hours I was going to spend sunbathing on pool days in the summer was going to somehow address the farmers tan I have every year - despite the fact I was slathering on said sunblock.  How dumb. 

This feels exactly like when I figured out that I could finally enjoy Thanksgiving dinner by mashing all the food together.  There was nothing that said I had to enjoy the turkey by itself.  Yet every year I would eat all the food by itself, loving the potatoes and dressing, and hating the turkey.  Then one year I blended it all up.  Eureka.  I suddenly got the appeal of Thanksgiving.  Even turkey can be enjoyed in that format.

So back to swimming.  Now that I have figured out the shirt thing, days at the pool are much less stressful. Having already hit the age of not giving a shit what I look like with my shirt off, I have come to realize that I also don't care what I look like with my shirt on, at a pool full of shirtless wonders.  And most importantly, the sun burn issue is finally a non-factor. 

I would also like to end this with a little something my coworker Erin said this summer.  It's very true.  It sounds like something a grandparent or parent told her, but she says she just made it up. 

"No matter how you look at a pool, there is always someone who looks worse than you." 

I have checked.  And this is very true. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

WJZ - Day 2 and 3


Day 2 involved the children's museum and the Amazing pizza machine.  And based on Wendy's pictures some quality time at Chuck's/Grandma's house.

Here's what we learned:

The Children's Museum Has a Contraption that Consumes Jude and Zoe

Again, I wasn't there, but apparently this thing grabbed hold of the kids and didn't let go. 


Chuck's House is Full of Crap

I have no idea what's going on here, but I do know Jude and Zoe really liked Birdy, Chuck's dog.  And apparently they enjoyed his wide variety of knick knacks. 

Knick Knacks

The Amazing Pizza Machine is Awesome

My grandma made fun of fat people and Jude and Zoe found a machine that was paying big in the ticket department.  Jude ended up with over 1000 tickets.  Zoe had over 200.  They were overjoyed.



Day 3 involved the Zoo, Putt Putt golf, manicures, and Steak Dinners.  Oh and Wendy had a weird face rash thing. Notables:

The Zoo Can Break Your Heart

I don't think anyone had this experience while at the zoo, but it's good to bear in mind all the same.  We saw lots of animals and ate ice cream.

Move it, Fatty.

Omaha Steak Houses are Dark and Creepy

On the way to the steak house, Jude peppered Chuck and I with questions about nuclear weapons and general world annihilation topics.  Kids!

Steak and Shirley Temples
Then we went home.  There was a Day 4 too, but it was all too brief.  We did get in some quality card playing, and posed for family pictures. 

I'm on one knee.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

WJZ - Day 1

Here's how the Wendy and kids visit is going so far. 

Dancing - There has been a lot of it.  Zoe is a very good dancer and she is very willing to share her gift with the world.

Picking Out Food - It turns out it's more difficult for a 90-year-old to pick out her food than it is for Jude and Zoe.  This is something I have always wondered about.  Grandma is also fussier about her food.  To me, this means that grandma is further away from the beginning/end of life than Jude and Zoe are.  Obvioulsy they are moving in opposite directions.  Which means, +/- a year, Grandma is going to live <6 more years.  Which isn't really news at all. 

Margaritas - In a game-changing move, Wendy ordered margaritas with dinner.  This opened the door for three more people to change their order to magaritas as well.  Well played, Wendy. 

Grandma is Going to Get Crabbier - I will express it like this:  Grandma's crabbiness now < Grandma's crabbiness in two days.  This is a no brainer.  She has already expressed some bewilderment as to whose car is taking her places.  This will only get worse.  And possibly more entertaining. 

Cheese Dip - Great cheese dip.  Good job, Chuck. 

Overall a solid start.  Many big events on the horizon.  Amazing Pizza Machine tonight.  It's going to be off the hook.  Zoo tomorrow.  Kick ass.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Look!  I turned this into a post!

WEDNESDAY we get to town, hang out with Helen, maybe swim at the hotel a while, go out to dinner.

THURSDAY we do kids' museum in the morning, meet with Hel after for lunch and what have you, afternoon with her, dinner at Amazing Pizza Machine.

FRIDAY we do zoo as early as possible, meet up with Hel after for lunch, afternoon to early evening for air exploration/manicures, dinner out.

SATURDAY we pack up and probably hang out at Hel's before we hit the road -- maybe an early lunch out.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wiener Race 2010

It all started with an article.  Or was it an add?  Whatever it was, Chelsey found it in the Thursday newspaper while we were at Jazz on the Green. 

"This Saturday!  Wiener Races in Syracuse, Nebraska in honor of GermanFest."

We jumped to attention.  Wiener dogs?  We have a wiener dog!  We love wiener dogs.  There was a phone number.  Chelsey called it, hoping for a message that offered more details.  She got more than she bargained for...

A very nice lady answered the phone at 8:30pm, and told Chelsey that we would have no problem entering our dog Deuce at this later juncture.  She told us where to get the registration form.  That was all we needed. We were going to Syracuse!

Chelsey called the vet and got any up-to-date list of Deuce's shots.  I made some slight alterations to my previous Saturday plans - running in a 5k.  We trimmed up Deuce's Saints jersey, making the necessary adjustments for him to run super fast.  I brought up some wiener racing videos on youtube. They made Deuce bark.

The next day, Chelsey picked me up from a post 5k breakfast, and we were off.  Chuck was there too.  We made our way to Syracuse.  The drive mostly consisted of two-lane highways.  Chelsey was at the wheel and everything was looking good.

Until we hit the construction.  We are already cutting it close.  Would this push us over the ledge of lateness?  We sat and waited to be escorted across the aforementioned construction, while the gentleman behind us got out of his car, lit up a cigarette and talked up the construction worker holding the stop sign.

We got moving again, and made it to town with plenty of time to spare.  There were wiener dogs everywhere.  Small ones.  Big ones, white ones, black ones, skinny ones, fat ones.  It was so great.  All these little wieners, walking the street in peace and harmony.  No barking.  Just wieners.

We killed an hour, waiting for the race.  As Deuce's heat grew near, we could feel the tension rising.  Deuce started pysching out other dogs.  He actually snapped at a dog that wasn't even in his weight group.  (Deuce was a "Little Smokie." The dog in question was a "Brat.") Chelsey defused things by looking for another dog to adopt.

We handed the camera to Chuck, giving him all too brief instructions on how to shoot video.  A decision that would cost us in the long run.

Finally our heat was called to the starting block.  I took in Deuce, and put him in the first lane.  We walked up to meet Chelsey, who would be standing at the end of the lane.  We made the connection. It was all clear.  Deuce knew Chelsey was at the end of the race.  He would go meet her as quickly as possible.  We would win the race.  I would throw Deuce in the air.  We would would drink beer out of a boot.

What happened instead shocked us all.  The lady said "go!"  All the dogs took off.  Deuce just sat there.  Then he milled around a little, sniffing along the way.  Finally, he found a friendly lady next to the race cage, and started licking her hand.  Race over.  We were the losers.

We decided that since we didn't leave, we didn't need to drink beer out of a boot.  We piled into the car.  On the way out of town, we asked Chuck about the video.  Turns out those filming instructions were a bit too brief.  Nothing on the camera. 

But we did get the chance to get some really cute pictures of Deuce on the way home.  For most of the ride he had this huge smile on his face.  A smile that said to us "I really did great on that race." 

No you didn't Deuce.  No you didn't. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Brent's elbuzzard 1/2 Year Music Post

Every year around this time, Kent and I swap email about how crappy the music is that year. Then by the year’s end, we manage to like 20 or so albums enough to make our lists that no one reads. This year is no different. Except this year, I vow to give up on more music earlier. Here is my list of keepers and throw awayers.

Keepers (in alphabetical order)

Broken Bells – Nothing wrong with this album. But it’s not that great either. But it’s not that bad.

Charlotte Gainsbourg – I have finally embraced this album all the way. It has three or four high points. The rest is just okay.

The National – More of the same from the National. Songs about my lame life. Really good.

She & Him – Sweet music. Really good production. I’m in love with both members.

Sleigh Bells – This has most of my favorite summer songs thus far. Loud crashy cheerleader music. It’s not new, but it’s nice to get a new spin on it.

Surfer Blood – Dave, I think maybe you would like this. It reminds me of the 90’s but maybe not the 90’s that you liked the best. But still worth trying.

Titus Andronicus – I like this album, but I feel like its akin to eating way more food than one should. It just wears me out. Still waiting for it to click.

Vampire Weekend – The rest of my favorite summer songs are on this cd.

Throw Awayers

Beach House – Dear Beach House, You make really boring music. Signed, Brent.

Caribou – Dear Caribou, I don’t understand what you are trying to do. But I see that others do. So there you go.

Gil Scott Heron – Dear Gil-Scott Heron, Even if you were the coolest person ever, there would still be no reason to make this music. No reason.

Gorillaz – Dear Gorillaz, Good for you.

Janelle Monae – Dear Janelle, Kent made fun of me when I wanted to listen to you. Kent was right. Thanks for that.

Roky Erickson & Okkervil River – Dear Roky, Thanks for making an album that puts a permanent blemish on the careers of Okkervill River. I’m not sure they could have done it themselves.

Okay. All done. There are still plenty of cds that are still under consideration for the year-end awards. So don’t give up, Ruby Suns and Morning Benders.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hot times in O Town

So then, when you know what's up with you, post here about when you're on vacation, what you'd like to do/host, and good ideas about sneaking out of Crown Pointe without anyone noticing.

I've got this so far:
1. Brent -- 1 to 1 1/2 days vacation, wants to do zoo, spacey museum, possibly cookout
2. Chuck -- ?? vacation, wants us to visit him at work, will provide weird dog so we won't get homesick
3. Chelsey -- 0 vacation, wants to do nails, loves only outdoor pools b/c they make her more beautiful

All are welcome at our room/pool/old-peopled good times.

Just go ahead and update here, and I'll try to come up with a schedule. Brent, I hope your magic email trick works on this one.

What are we going to do?

So last week I found out Wendy and the twins are coming in town at the end of July.  Which begs the question, of what sort of good times can we get into while she is in town.   Here is my list of ideas, assuming we can get them away from Grandma's apartment:

1) Zoo - new Madagascar exhibit. What?
2) Ice Cream - everyone loves ice cream?
3) Indoor Swimming - I hear their hotel has a pool.  Possibly indoors.
4) Outdoor Swimming - Pirate Cove - in Council Bluffs - priced just high enough to keep the riff raff out.
5) Amazing Pizza Machine - buffet. games. go carts. good times.  all under one roof.
6) Punch Chuck in the gnads.
7) Drive into the country - leave grandma out there.  debate about whether we want to go back and get her. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fathers Day Gift Buying Guide

This weekend is fathers day. This being the case, I thought I should really get on the stick and get my dad his present.  So I knew what I wanted to get him: a Saints Superbowl shirt because I am trying to force my fandom on the rest of my family this year, through ugly Saints-themed tshirts.

So I went online to pick out a shirt, and found the one I wanted, but it was only like 15 bucks. So I thought I would get him some sporty shorts, as he just joined a gym for the first time in his life. Okay – so I get the shirt and the shorts, and I get to the shipping part, and it says it could take anywhere between 4 days and 14 days to get there. This makes me mad.

So I do what I do whenever something gets me mad on the internet. I go to zappos. I have now scrapped the saints shirt gift, and am looking just for athletic shorts. I figure, I can get him some shorts, and support my favorite online vendor ever, and all will be well.  So I am looking at all their athletic shorts, and I don’t see anything that I feel good about. People in my family do not appreciate $30 name brand athletic shorts, and that’s all zappos has. So I then think that perhaps I could buy him a pair of shoes – although I think at that point I was just shopping for myself. I then see these shoes that I now have an uncontrollable urge to buy.

I have given up on my dad completely.  I am just trying to stave the little voices in my head that keep telling me I should have these, despite the fact I have absolutely no need to buy another pair of running shoes.

Those things are badass.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tendon Sick

Here's a terrific development from my moment of achievement two weeks ago.  The extra wear and tear of thirteen miles seems to have somehow injured my achilles tendon.  Now whenever I do anything the slightest bit physical - like say, dig up a garden, I get an intense pain in my achilles tendon.  We're talking about pain that would be akin to someone kicking me in the achilles tendon with a sledge hammer.  I realize that one cannot kick with a sledgehammer, but that's how it feels.  I looked it up on webmd.  It sounds like achilles tendinitis.  It's common for middle aged men, who have recently increased their running distance. So my great achievement has really just become a friendly reminder of how old I am.  Great.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It Is Finished

I successfully ran 13.1 miles this past Sunday at the Lincoln Marathon.  This is longer than I ever thought I could run, and my body continues to remind me that it was a horrible idea.  Here is my review of the weekend.


I went up before the race with other people from Goodwill who were also running the race.  Pre-race activities go like this.  First you get your bib and chip and everything.  Then you go to a spaghetti feed.  I picked up my stuff without incident, then proceeded to wait for others from our party to show in the lobby of Embassy Suites.  As I age, I become less and less patient with big groups - as it relates to planning.  The best number to make plans with with is 6.  After that, everyone should just go their own way.  The Goodwill Running Club does not subscribe to this point of view.  So about 10 of us attempted to eat at the Spaghetti dinner.  That meant splitting up, which I immediately thought was awesome.  While everyone tried to clear out seats near each other, I splintered off and sat with some strangers.  They were very nice, and didn't talk to me.  But the Goodwill Running Club was nice enough to find an extra seat for me, so I was called back into the fray.  The fray turned out to be okay, however, as I was a sat next to the siblings of my co-worker's wife.  I didn't know them from a hill of beans, and it was nice getting to know them a little.  Except they kept eating.  They had two full plates of pasta and salad.  I believe we sat there for 2 hours.  I did have two bomb pops while I was waiting. 

We then went back to the hotel.  It was an old Holidome, so it had a swimming pool and putt putt golf.  It felt like the sort of hotel I stayed at when I was a kid, except that this time I was drinking.  I also scored a free beer, because the bartender didn't know how to ring anything up.  I went to bed at about 10pm. 

At 5:30 I woke up and did some stretching.  I also ate this power bar thing and drank some water.  Super nervous.  Convinced we were going to get there late. 

We got to the race just as they were telling everyone to line up.  This made me very nervous, but it turns out they tell you to line up for a long time.  So we took some pictures.  Everyone from Goodwill had a blue shirt except for me.  Mine was too small.  It really accentuated my boobs, while not forgetting about my gut.  I had to fight not to wear it, as many in the Goodwill running club felt that it would be okay to wear it "just for pictures." I felt like the prospect of pictures was exactly why wearing it was a bad idea.  They didn't seem to understand.  But I had to foresight to leave it in Omaha.

There were about 6,000 people in the race, so even though the gun went off promptly at 7am, we didn't actually start for another 20 minutes.  This was really fun.  Sitting in a crowd of nervous people, full of anxiety, making small talk, asking about shirts.  Then we finally started running.  I was so nervous I had forgotten to cue up my chosen audio for the run: the local New Orleans broadcast of the Super Bowl.  I clumsily started it up while running, and set out to find my pace.

The funny thing about running with 6,000 other people is that you can literally be passing people throughout the race, and still be one of the real losers of the race.  It was crazy.  I passed so many people.  For the first 8 miles, I was constantly running by people.  I kept checking myself to make sure I wasn't running too fast, but it seemed like everything was okay.  The route of the race takes you through mostly city streets, but for a large stretch, it goes on a narrow path along a highway.  This made the passing much more difficult, but also took my mind off the fact that I had been running 7 miles, and still had 6 to go. 

Now might be a opportune time to discuss a segment of the runners that appear to only be on the course to discourage.  This is the subset who go back and forth between running and walking.  You pass them while they are walking, and moments later they pass you when they decide to run.  This is not fair.  If you are going to run, then run.  But once you have started walking, you should have to stay that way.  This is particularly frustrating when you are about to pass someone, and they start running along side you.  Sometimes faster than you.  Many people did this to me.  And I wanted to kill them all.  I also wanted to kill the people on the narrow path, who saw fit to run in large groups.  I'm all for togetherness while running (really I'm not), but it seems like there are some times where single file just makes sense.  Everyone else I loved.  There was just a really good feeling oozing all around.

So at about mile 9, I started to fade.  I had run 10 miles in the past but the prospect of having 4 more to go, made this part of the race the most trying.  It was also mostly uphill.  Chelsey and Chuck had showed up at about mile 5, and I was desperately looking for them again to give me some encouragement.  I was told that the encouragement would make a big difference, but thought it might just stir up rage for someone like me.  Not at all the case.  The constant cheering from the crowd really helped.  Complete strangers yelling "Come on Green!" (I was wearing a Green shirt) somehow made the tough times less tough.  But seeing Chuck and Chelsey were certainly the high points.  I knew I would see them again at about mile 10 or 11, and I was just holding on until them.  Finally I saw them.  I remember asking them where I was, and one of them saying mile 11.  This was of great relief to me, as I knew I had two more miles in me, but wasn't sure about three.

I basically held on the rest of the way.  Chuck showed up again at about mile 12 (Chelsey was using the restroom), and Memorial Stadium was within view.  It seemed like it took forever to get inside the stadium (as marathon runners passed me - mind you), but I made it out onto the field, and ran to the 50 yard line.

I got my medal and I was done.


Completely exhausted, and packed under the stadium with about 4,000 other exhausted people.  I grabbed some water, and attempted to find some fruit.  There was a huge line to the fruit (and oatmeal - who want oatmeal after a run?) so I just walked around.  I found another Goodwill runner and waited around for like an hour and a half to organize a picture of all of us.  I would just like to say again how much I hate big groups.

We finally left the stadium, and Chuck took us to the hotel.  I showered up, and Chelsey and I headed downtown to get some food.  The place we went to served Abita, which was a nice treat, but neither of us felt all that great.  Me because I was physically dead tired, her because she was also sleepy dead tired.  Downtown Lincoln is just lovely by the way.  Just lovely.  Chelsey drove us home after we ate, and I laid around the rest of the day.  My thighs were worthless for the next two days.

So that's the story.  I really enjoyed the running.  I hope I keep it up, but I'm nervous that the absence of a race will keep me from doing so.  I guess I will always have this race though.  I ran 13.1 miles at a rate of 10:58 per mile.  Which is really miserably slow.  But almost a minute better than when I started running miles in January.  It's pretty cool to think that I could barely run two miles back then.  And it's cool to think that I never have to do this again if I don't want.