Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I read 3 books in February (Company; Black Brillion; The Brief History of the Dead). I purchased 3 books (Black Brillion; The Brief History of the Dead; The Ha-Ha).

I purchased 7 CDs (The Gun Album; Alligator; The Loon; Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not; Live at Town Hall; The Believer), one of which was a DVD/CD combo (That Striped Sunlight Sound).

I read 14 short stories.

I read 2 trade paperbacks (Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous; Powers: Psychotic), both of which were also purchased this month.

I watched 1 DVD (Serenity) and 2 DVD box sets (Veronica Mars Season 1; Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1). I also finished another DVD box set (The Simpsons Season 1) and am about halfway through yet another one (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2).

I watched every new episode of 6 TV shows (How I Met Your Mother; 24; Gilmore Girls; Lost; The Office; Justice League Unlimited).

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Today is a virtual record release party for Rhett Miller's new solo album, The Believer. You can head over to his MySpace site to check it out. It comes out this Tuesday.

I found out from my brother that the band he used to live with - Higgins - saw their album, Dear Higgins, released this past Tuesday. I still haven't been able to find it for purchase anywhere online but you can go here for a couple of tracks. Much of this was recorded while my brother was around and I met the guys a couple years ago. Good guys and good music.

Earlier this week I read about a new album from Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs. The whole album is covers from the 60s and they have a couple of them up for a listen.

I will finally be purchasing my first Centro-Matic album on Mar. 7, when their Fort Recovery comes out. You can click over to Misra's website and find the stream for the whole album to find out why Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers loves the band.

And while you're wandering all over the net for new music, head on over to Merge to stream Destroyer's Rubies, which came out this week. I didn't get a chance to pick it up but after listening to it I think I'll have to in the near future.

Late last week my parents asked if the three of us wanted to go to Chicago to go to the Berghoff before it closed. The Berghoff is a Chicago institution, a German restaurant that has been around since 1898, and it is now in its very last days - it closes on Feb. 28. I hadn't been there in almost 15 years but when I was young and we had family come in from out of town we would inevitably go down to Chicago and do the Sears Tower or the Museum of Science and Industry and we would go and eat at the Berghoff. It was always a treat - they had great homemade root beer and creamed spinach and great multi-grain bread and apple strudel for dessert. So naturally I was up for trying to go one last time, especially since Jill and Grant had never been there.

Our plan was to get there for a late lunch, figuring the line wouldn't be too bad (and I wanted to get to the sale at the comics shop before we left). We arrived in Chicago a little bit after 2:00 and by the time we parked and walked the couple blocks to the restaurant it was close to 2:30. There was a line. Now that wouldn't have been so bad but for the fact it was about 3 degrees. Still, we settled in and the line was moving fairly quickly. Jill and Grant made liberal use of the Walgreen's across the street to stay warm and at one point the three of us hit a nearby Starbucks for hot chocolate. It didn't take terribly long for us to get close to the door; however, the security came out and said it would be about an hour and forty minutes before the line moved again. Yeah right, we thought. An hour later in the freezing cold we were started to believe him. After some debate, I was sent to locate another possible eating place - my parents had just about had enough. I wandered around and didn't find anything suitable until maybe 10 minutes into my sojourn (into the wind!). I headed back to report and saw my parents waving across the street to Jill and Grant - someone had come out and said everyone would be inside in 5 minutes and seated within 20. It took closer to 15 to get in but then maybe 10 minutes to get seated. By this time our late lunch had turned into an early dinner but we were inside and on our way to warming up.

And here's the good news - the food was just as good as I remembered. We ordered a grilled marinated portabello for an appetizer and I had a bite of my dad's creamed herring appetizer. For dinner I had wiener schnitzel, German fried potatoes, and their fabulous creamed spinach. Dessert was apple strudel of course. And I washed it all down with two mugs of the best root beer ever.

We were insane for doing that in single digit weather but I know I'll never forget the last time I got to eat at the Berghoff. It was worth it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I'm going to be a DJ. In a couple of weeks, I will be starting my very own show on our local Valparaiso radio station, WVLP. It's a low power station and only reaches about 5 miles out from the center of town but I will rock those 5 miles! I'll be playing a mix of music, basically the stuff I talk about here...your indie rock and power pop and alt. country and Springsteen and so on and so forth. It's been a dream of mine for a long time to be able to have my own show where I could program it myself (I went to Columbia College in 1993 to work on becoming a DJ and quickly stopped when I realized the jobs where you wouldn't be force fed a playlist were few and far between and highly coveted) and I'm very excited about it.

I went on a gift card shopping spree this evening, hitting both Barnes & Noble and Best Buy. I used up my cards for the former and managed to leave about $17 on the latter. The haul? 1 book (Kevin Brockmeier's new novel, The Brief History of the Dead); 1 CD (The National's Alligator, recommended by LTR); and 1 DVD (the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Veronica Mars got me in the mood for my favorite show about a spunky blond uncovering secrets amidst the hell of high school). I'm excited about all of that too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Joss Whedon - Well, I always heart him but lately it's for the one/two punch of Serenity and the visual companion. I got both for Christmas and read the book, which contains the script and background info, right before watching the movie on DVD (Jill and I saw it in the theater when it came out). It's a really good movie and if it's the last we ever get of the "Firefly" universe...I'm happy.

TV shows on DVD - My son and I finally finished The Simpsons Season 7. I realized that I didn't see a number of those eps when they originally aired because I saw bits that were cut out in syndication. They were cooking that year with the appearance of Homer's mom, a spring break road trip by Bart and his friends, the very cool look at all the characters in "22 Short Films About Springfield," and so much more. Then I spent the past week watching Veronica Mars Season 1 as fast as I possibly could. It's easily one of the best shows on TV, with that perfect mix of humor and drama with interesting stories intercut with emotional stories all wrapped up in an overarching secret murder investigation. I cried a couple times watching the last episode. Now I can't wait until they start rerunning season 2 eps (or the DVD comes out).

New music (or new to me) - I mentioned the Jenny Lewis (with the Watson Twins) album in passing but I'd like to reiterate how good it is. She's got that great voice and the album frames it very well with a country feel. Got around to getting The Long Winters EP, Ultimatum, from last year. Good stuff, especially the title tracks. The new Minus Five is solid, as is The Go-Betweens live DVD/CD.

Books - The new Max Barry novel, Company, is pretty good. It's another satire of the business world from him but it takes things to an exteme level and the character work is stronger than in his previous novel (Jennifer Government).

Sunday, February 12, 2006



Thursday, February 02, 2006


I wandered over to Best Buy today, thinking I would pick up "Bubble." That's the new project from Steven Soderbergh that is being released in a variety of formats at the same time; it's an idea I find interesting and something to support. I was dismayed to find it offered at $22.99 - and that was the sale price. No way am I going to pay that much money for an unknown quantity. If it were priced around $15...but it's not. So I will be passing. Guess I'll have to toss it in my wife's Netflix queue at some point.

Two great things about "My Name Is Earl" tonight - guest star Adam Goldberg as an annoying would-be suicide and "Ain't No Easy Way" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on the soundtrack (Howl is a good album, people).

I mentioned Godland: Hello, Cosmic! the other day. It's a comic heavily influenced by Jack Kirby with big machinery and cosmic concepts and dynamic art and coloring. The villains are a bit more interesting than the hero and his family - Basil Cronus, a skeleton head floating in a jar on top of his torso who is an addict, comes to mind - but the overall concept is decent and I was sufficiently entertained enough to make me consider getting volume two when it rolls around.

I can't get enough of those two songs from The Raconteurs, especially "Store Bought Bones." Thinking I might need to pick up some of The Greenhornes in the near future. I seem to remember my brother recommending them a while back (Theron, you reading? Confirm?).

Also can't get enough of the Jenny Lewis album; I should put up a proper review in the near future. Company is interesting so far. I'm almost through The Simpsons Season 7. After reading the "Serenity" script I'm ready to watch the movie again (for the first time on DVD)...maybe this weekend.

Super Bowl predictions, anyone?