Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I need to sleep for a week

1. Yesterday Lucy demanded her first manicure. Actually she asked for "nail goulash," but I think we both knew she meant polish. I think I might have finally figured out a way to keep her from moving.

2. Henry came home from school today and he had apparently refused to finish (or even start) all of his math class work, a small coloring book, and his Weekly Reader activities. So we spent an hour and 45 minutes on homework today. Every time Lucy made the slightest noise while she played with her toys, he plugged his ears and said, "I can't take all this noise!" (Usually when he does homework she gets right in our faces and demands things like juice and lollipops, so today she was actually being really, really good.)

3. He goes to see the Buffalo Philharmonic with the entire first grade in Thursday (what could go wrong there, right?), so if I don't post for awhile just assume I've finally taken the plunge and gotten myself a sensory deprivation chamber.

4. I've got a new review up at Venus. Check it.

Now playing: The Helio Sequence - broken_afternoon

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thoughts About Vampire Weekend.

Required reading: The VenusZine review (not mine)
Required prereq listening: Graceland -- one of my favorite records of all time. (Christ, it just occurred to me that there are people who will think of Elvis' home before they think of Paul Simon's record).

1. Their name is about the worst mismatch for their sound that I have ever encountered.

2. They confirm that I chose to attend the wrong Ivy League School. But I have that thought about five times a day. I sincerely hope that it is not the last thing I think when I die.

3. Their music conjures up what I thought college would be like, but wasn't, straight out of The Preppy Handbook . If this is khaki-core (Matt Siblo, did you coin this term? Google seems to think so), then I say bring me more, and get me a Bloody Mary while you are at it. The music is so upbeat without being vapid and the band generates this feeling of happiness. It kind of makes me ache inside.

4. My current favorite track is "Oxford Comma" -- I feel like a giddy school girl, "who gives a fuck about an Oxford Comma?" It's like they are singing to me. Would that I were 15 years younger...

5. This is a record that sounds pretty good to me now, but I suspect that in two months I will be completely unable to listen to it, which is right around the time Cary will start to think it's great.

Vampire Weekend - "Oxford Comma"

P.S. This is my 200th post.

According to Stereogum, they also played at Other Music today:

Sadly my day did not include running out to any in-store performances of up-and-coming indie rockers, but I did go out and buy some eggs.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Yet another long weekend in more ways than one...

1. Lucy has had a cold for the last several days, complaining that her throat and her stomach hurt. She spent most of yesterday on the couch staring at episodes of Sponge Bob with glassy eyes.

2. Cary also spent the latter half of the day in bed because he injured himself moving all his furniture to his new office last weekend. He went to urgent care because he was so uncomfortable, and the doctor there told him that he essentially has an abdominal hernia, though it is not large enough to "concern a surgeon." Cary seems a little better though, because he just left for work.

3. When I woke up the morning I thought the house seemed freezing, and guess what, it was! Our thermostat's batteries had given out during the night, a night where I think it got down to about 3 degrees. When I put in fresh batteries I learned that it was only 52 degrees in the house. But I am really grateful that it was a simple fix like that, and the heat is currently cranked, so we should warm up in no time.

4. I've got a new Trouser Press entry up for Feist. I think this was the first time I have ever written about anyone whose popularity was skyrocketing (iPod commercial, Grammy nominations, numerous mainstream TV appearances) while I wrote.

Now playing: Feist - When I Was A Young Girl (Live)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

And now for 2008 ...

I just remembered that Head Like a Kite, the Seattle-based duo that released my second favorite record of 2006 (and the best random promo I have ever received), is releasing a new record this April. I don't foresee ever removing this record from my iPod because I don't think I could ever get tired of listening to it.

The new Sons and Daughters, This Gift, sounds promising if the KEXP podcast is any indication. I'm also pretty curious about the next Man Man album, also arriving in April. And then there's that Breeders record which I face with say 80% dread (Bam Thwok?) and 20% hope.

Now playing: Head Like A Kite - Pour Me A Drink!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Like Lazarus

my iPod is risen! I think my battery problem stemmed from having left it in the car overnight. It seems fine now. I did also learn that I cannot replace my own battery because it is a Nano and the battery is soldered to the motherboard. Indeed.

And Jen14221 is totally right - I computed days per dollar not dollars per day, so the true cost per day if my iPod had died would have been 36 cents a day, which is so much more reasonable. Thank god my life does not depend on my ability to do arithmetic. I would be so dead.

Something else has risen up too -- it's my 2007 top ten! (Because January 14th '08 is seriously the last possible day I could have done this, and anyone who knows anything does it before Pitchfork anyway).

It turns out there were only five records I liked enough to include:

1. Of Montreal -- Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
2. Jens Lekman -- Night Falls Over Kortedala
3. LCD Soundsystem -- Sound of Silver
4. St. Vincent -- Marry Me
5. Menomena -- Friend and Foe

It wasn't like there wasn't a lot of good music to listen to in 2007, but like my pal Mr. Parnell over at "SLE," a lot of it didn't reach my expectations.

MIA, Band of Horses, Arcade Fire, Voxtrot, White Stripes, Fiery Furnaces, Rilo Kiley, Mary Timony, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah -- I paid money for all of your CDs and they weren't half as interesting as catching Ghostland Observatory on Austin City Limits or listening to Prinzhorn Dance School rip off the Fall better than anyone else in recent memory. I don't think I have recovered yet from the Feist record either, but that isn't really her fault.

!!!, Life Without Buildings and the Shins were legitimate also-rans, but those records don't have the staying power that my top five did.

I also have to mention that my favorite Metric album of all time Grow Up and Blow Away technically came out this year, but since it dates back to like 2001 I can't really put it on my list. Ditto that remix record by The Blow -- I liked it, but it was hardly new. And the Datarock record fits in that category too, sort of.

Now playing: Of Montreal - Cato as Pun

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ich Habe Genug

A while back the lovely Auntlyh tagged me for a book meme, which I'm finally getting around to doing.

I don't read as much as I used to (i.e. before I had kids) but I do have a couple of things going. Yesterday I read The Principles of Uncertainty, the wonderful book by illustrator and New York Times columnist Maira Kalman. I read it in one day because it's a picture book for grown ups! (Take heed parents of young ones, you need not read only sleep manuals any longer.) It was a Christmas gift from my mother. Originally the book had appeared in installments on the New York Times website, behind the (now defunct) Times Select firewall, so I was excited to have a chance to finally read it.

According to the meme I am supposed to quote the fifth sentence on page 161. Alas, I have but one sentence to quote, "The pinky pink paté that totally wipes out the last vestige of malaise."

This was a great book, like a trip through Kalman's lovely mind -- cluttered and concerned. My favorite quote is from page 197:

On the wall was a dress that I embroidered. It said "Ich Habe Genug." Which is a Bach Cantata. Which I once thought meant "I've had it, I can't take anymore, give me a break." But I was wrong. It means "I have enough." And that is utterly true.

I love how the simple misreading of "I've had enough" turns into "I have enough." Can I be allowed to feel both at once?

I'm not tagging anyone. I know some of you out there do like to read, so if this interests you, please feel free to carry on.

Now playing: The Shins - Pressed In A Book

Friday, January 11, 2008

My iPod, R.I.P.

Today I went into the gym, got ready to start listening to some Ghostland Observatory, only to find my iPod was totally dead. It's not really broken; it just needs a new battery.

I have had my iPod for a mere 695 days. At a cost of $250.00 that breaks down to $2.78 per day. That is a pricey habit. But guess what, I'm going to find a way to keep the fix going.

My mom's iPod gave out at almost exactly the same point in its life. She did some research and learned that if you return your iPod to Apple for a new battery they charge $59 and send you a different iPod back to you in its place. So she went here and bought a battery replacement kit, then she and my dad changed the battery themselves, and it worked like new.

I may well do the same. I will keep you all posted. But for now let me say that being forced to listen to the gym's choice in music, and overhear other people's conversations may well be worth $2.78 a day.

Now playing: Ghostland Observatory - Piano Man

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I've been busy...

During the afternoon of the 31st I took Lucy to a birthday party at a neighbor's house where I child I never met before required me to shepherd her to the toilet so she could vomit. She then informed me that "she had been at the doctor's that morning because she had been throwing up."

When we got home I left my keys in the front door until I needed them 24 hours later. Convenient.

And it took me an extra day to post these shenanigans.

Happy New Year!