Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tester!

Here we go.
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I got a new phone!

It takes pictures. And I supposedly can update them straight to the blog. Let's see.
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Monday, January 17, 2011

Goodbye Car. Hello Car. (Now with a Picture)

In the past two days, Chelsey and I have miraculously turned a red 1997 Plymouth Breeze into a gold 2004 Honda CR-V.  That's right.  We now own a gold car.  I can't wait to put a fleur de lis in the window. 

I would now like to publicly recognize the Breeze for all its years of service.  You've been a good car, and despite your sissy name, you were very tough.  You kept my wife safe on many trips to Kearney, and you never failed to start, no matter how cold it got.  You also had a gigantic windshield.  Just massive. 

I asked Chelsey if she had a name for you, and she said she sometimes called you Old Bessy.  That's a good name for a car, and you earned it.  We will miss you Bessy.  And I feel really dumb for not thinking until right now that you had the same name as my favorite team's quarterback.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kent and Brent's Annual List De Magnifico

In case anyone is interested in seeing the post that Kent and I put together each year, giving our combined ranking of songs/albums, click here.

I think you will find that we pretty much only agreed on the Black Keys, The National, Vampire Weekend, and Sleigh Bells.  Which is to say it was a pretty lame year for music.  But whatever.  We can always get out our Antlers album from last year when we feel blue about it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

the downward slope

So last night I was making spaghetti and was going to use some alfredo sauce from a jar. I decided I wanted to jazz up the sauce though. I remembered that among the random gifts Angelique gave me for Christmas was a bottle of merlot that with a label on it honoring the 25 years of existence of the Werner Trucking Company. So I opened the wine and added it to my sauce. I know nothing about wine but I figured that if I didn't do something with the wine it was going to go bad on me. So I decided to drink it (not all of it, just some) and was about to pour myself some when I remembered that I had a diet 7-up in my bag. Hello, homemade wine spritzer. So I decided to combine the two. To be fancy I opened up the cabinets above the stove to get a wine glass. Well the door was opened my eyes were drawn not to grandma's crystal finery, but rather a stack of paper A&W Rootbeer cups, another random gift from Angelique. Well when was I going to be able to drink out those again? So long story short, during the national championship game I ended up drinking two cups of merlot/diet 7-up in paper A&W cups, just waiting for the production crew of C.O.P.S. to show up. Now for the surprise ending, the two drinks mixed were really awful. I'm not sure the wine was well served by the lemon-lime zip. So that's my story. I'm going to try to get it together. Real soon.

Hello 2005

You were so great....



I heard this song while I was running today. I hadn't heard it in a long time. It reminds me of the Park Wild House, and Chelsey and Chuck and I doing dumb shit together.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Brent's Favorite Albums of 2010

11) Sufjan Stevens - All Delighted People EP 
Sufjan Stevens put out this EP, and then he put out an electronic LP.  Everyone loves the electronic one.  I don't get it.  This EP is the best thing Sufjan Stevens has ever done.  Maybe I should now offer up that I don't really care for Sufjan Stevens.  But this is a collection of needlessly long songs that still somehow won me over.  How did he do it?  I don't know.  The title track is particularly good.  Anyone who wonders what Simon and Grafunkel's "Sound of Silence" would be like if it was spread out over a start-and-stop over-orchestrated eleven minute song.  Wonder no more.

Best Song:  All Delighted People (Original Version)

10) Phosphorescent - Here's to Taking It Easy. 

This is a band that I have always listened to once, and put down.  I never really gave them a shot.  But this album is a) perfectly named, and b) really beautiful.  It's just standard alt-country fare, and the lead singer sounds like a wiener.  But they do what they do very well.  And I like to listen to them while I do my dishes. And look out the window. And dream about what I'm going to do when Chelsey gets out of jail.

Best Song:  The Mermaid Parade

9) Vampire Weekend - Contra

This should probably be higher, but it's no longer summer, and I am only able to appreciate Vampire Weekend in the sun.  This was my favorite car album. Driving around, listening to "Run", or "I Think Ur a Contra" were some of the best moments of my summer.  My one regret is that I never got to listen to them on a beach this year.  Actually I have two regrets.  I wish "Holiday" had not been co-opted by Tommy Hilfigger, or whoever the fuck that is with the car and the table and the driving dog.  I hate the people in those ads.  I hate the people in all ads that have to do with name bands that one could find in a department store.  What fantasy are you selling?  There's a polo ad on right now that is just so dumb.  There's a recession, and it's about this douchebag who plays polo, and yachts and all this rich shit.  Fuck you, polo guy, there's double digit unemployment.  We would all like to burn your boat to the ground and eat you.  Well, maybe not all of us.

Best Song:  Taxi Cab

8) Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM

More remarkable than the fact that I like this album is the fact that Beck produced it, and I like this album.  I haven't like anything Beck has done in like 8 years.  I just assumed he was lousy now.  But this album is a) terrific, and b) sounds like Beck produced it.  He's all over it.  And CG is very smouldery on it.  This album  is really sexy, and it sounds like it was carefully made.  What more can you ask for?

Best Song:  Heaven Can Wait (featuring Beck!!)

7) She & Him:  Volume Two

Not as good as their first album, but still very charming.  I like music that sounds like its from AM radio, and I feel like S&H know this, and cater to my likings.  They put little touches in their songs that make them feel worn in.  I feel confident they are just robbing Phil Spector and Burt Bacharach blind in the process.  But I don't care.  We also saw them in concert this summer, and they sound EXACTLY how they sound on their album.  EXACTLY.  It was actually a little creepy.

Best Song:  Me and You

6) Wolf Parade:  Expo 86

First let's start with the name.  Excellent album name.  Ok.  Moving on.  I love Wolf Parade, which I think is the only reason it's so high on this list.  Because I just kept giving it chance after chance.  And now it's paying me off by tricking me into thinking every song on here is awesome.  This literally happened sometime last week.  Before then, I would just go to sleep on it.  Now I can pretty much put on any song and be happy.  So I guess you can say that I have lost touch with this album.  And I wouldn't disagree with you.  But I think it's good? Oh - and it sounds like typical WP.  Hard driving.  Singer is neurotic and  insane.  Wait, now the other guy is signing.  Oh. He's insane too.  And so on.

Best Song:  All the song are about the same level of good.  Here. Try this one:  Yulia

5) Dr. Dog:  Shame, Shame

I was listening to this album today, and wondering about whether my enjoyment of it said anything bad about me.  I still haven't come to any conclusions.  I don't think they sound like anyone else I listen to, but they also just kind of sound like hippy rehash music from the 60's.  And I don't like any music like that.  I think the reason they appeal to me is their delivery.  They just sound rough when they record, which gives their little songs a certain good-time quality.  They also use multiple singers.  I am a big fan of that. 

Best Song:  It

4) The Black Keys:  Brothers

The Black Keys finally made an album that doesn't bore me.  They did so by expanding their sound a little, and maybe being a little less hard hitting.  I very much appreciate this.  I realize that it was probably not a popular move with a great many of their fans, and I thank them for thinking of me this year.  Also, I saw them live this year, and they were incredible.  Even for someone who doesn't really give a crap about them, it was worthwhile.

Best Song:  Everlasting Love

3) New Pornographers:  Together

There is something unsinkable about this band.  They make really great pop songs, and they have been doing it for years.  The usual problem is that they try to cram too many of their ideas into one album, and many times their idea of a new idea, as just a couple clicks away from the last good idea they had.  They also usually have too much of the Destroyer guy on there.  But this time they pared things down a little, and low and behold, the Destroyer guy actually put a song on that works with the rest of the album (he also has one that doesn't really work - but it's a start).  It was great to get a good album from them, and even better to have that album looked over by everyone but me.  In your face everyone.

Best Song:  Valkyrie In The Roller Disco

2) The National:  High Violet

I'm not ranking this number one, because it's really just more of the same for a band that never really takes a wrong step in my view.  I love listening to a new National album, because a) I relate to the sentiments so much, and b) because their songs manage to be about things without ever spelling them out.  They do a great job of splitting the difference between growing up and fitting in, despite still feeling like a misanthrope.

Best Song:  Bloodbuzz Ohio

1) Sleigh Bells - Treats

This is a complete no brainer.  It is the only album I liked from the very first time I heard it.  It reminds me of Crystal Castles (who by the way made a lousy record this year), from a couple of years ago.  I don't understand why more people aren't doing this.  Find a girl who writes nonsensical lyrics.  Pair her with a dude who likes to fuck around with sound and noise.  Set them loose.  How hard is it?  There should be one of these bands in every city?  Maybe Chelsey and I could start one....

Best Song:  Rill Rill
   



 

   

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Resolution Update 2011

Everyone, I have officially arrived at two resolutions for the new year...

1) I will do the dishes before I go to bed each night.

2) I will answer my phone whenever it rings this year.  This scares me to death, but what the hell.  I've been dodging phone calls for the last 15 or so years, what's one year of actually answering them.  There's no way this is going to make it past February.

Monday, January 3, 2011

6th annual books read/girls made out with list

1. Nixonland - Rick Pearstein - good non-fiction book about the late Johnson/Nixon presidency
2. Wapshot Chronicles - John Cheever
3. Red Harvest - Dashiell Hammett - noir story by the guy who wrote the maltese falcon, I think
4. Nine Stories - J.D. Salinger - I don't really get a lot out of short stories, but these were pretty damn good
5. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevsky Like Dickens for people who see the evil in the world
6. Manhood for Amateurs - Michael Chabon - interesting reflections on being a father/husband
7. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
8. Under the Net - Iris Murdoch
9. The Boy Detective Fails - Joe Meno; After reading a second time, decided it was probably my favorite book
10. Hairstyles of the Damned - less good Joe Meno book
11. Black and Blue - Tom Adelman
12. Angle of Repose - Wallage Stegner
13. Apologize, Apologize - Elizabeth Kelly, Brother/sister book club!
14. A Russian Journal - John Steinbeck
15. The Sheltering Sky - Paul Bowles
16. The Life of Edgar Sawtelle - David Wroblewski; interesting take on Hamlet set on a dog breeding farm in America in the 1960's
17. Irish Girl - Tim Johnston
18. Zeitoun - Dave Eggers, Brother's Book Club!
19. Death Comes for the Archbishop- Will Cather, much more enjoyable than I thought it would be
20. Housekeeping vs. The Dirt - Nick Hornby
21. The Garden of Last Days - Andre Dubus III
22. Man in the Dark - Paul Aster, this is the book that I have most forgotten of all the books I read this year
23. The Fifth Business - Robertson Davies
24. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
25. The Death of the Heart - Elizabeth Bowen
26. The Girl who Played with Fire - Stieg Larsson
27. Rachel and Her Children - Jonathan Kozol, sad, sad non-fiction book about homeless people in new york in the 80's. very grim.
28. St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves - Another short story collection that I like a lot
29. The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton- good, good book. almost make me want to see the movie
30. Go with Me - Castle Freedman Jr. - Indistiguishable from Man in the Dark in my memory
31. Samaritan - Richard Price
32. The Red Pony - John Steinbeck
33. Absalom, Absalom! - good, but the most difficult book I read
34. The Movie Club - David Gilmour
35. Dizzy City - Nicholas Griffith
36. The Assistant - Bernard Malamud, good, thought provoking book
37. Long Ball - Tom Adelman
38. The Call of the Wild- Jack London - I really like this book, short, about dogs, delightful
39. Entering Hades - John Leake, least enjoyable book, about a creepy austrian serial killer
40. The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison

I usually try to come up with my favorite and/or best book read. This year it was a tie in both categories among many books. I suppose the worst books were the "the girl" books, but they were both better than some of the crap I read last year. So that's good.

The Resolution

I have been having a very difficult time coming to any decent new year's resolutions this year.  I think I was so happy with mine from last year, that I need a broad departure.  So I think this year I would like to just have one.  Some super-duper halfway difficult resolution.  Here are some options:
  1. Only eat all-natural food.  I have no idea what this even means.  But I like the idea of being confined to the little "Natural Foods" section of my Hy-Vee.  I never buy anything there, so it would surely pose some challenges. 
  2. Do the dishes every night of 2011.  I hate having a cluttered kitchen, but I only do our dishes when it's obvious they need to be done.  This would not only add to my sanity, but make our tiny kitchen seem less tiny. 
  3. Organize All Our Shit - If I do this, I would really have to set up 12 goals to hit throughout the year.  There would probably be a spreadsheet involved.  And Chelsey would have to commit to being the Project Inspector, to make sure I was staying on top if it. This sounds like the most fun, and the most likely to languish.
Any input would be appreciated...