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Archive for August, 2006

The Night Chicago Died

Okay, so Chicago didn’t die.  But kudos to you if you remember that song.  Anyway, I’m in a picture-posting mood, so here are some random pictures from our trip to Chicago.

View of the skyline from the Shedd Aquarium/Field Museum.  I love the saturated colors in this one.  It was cloudy almost the entire time that we were there, but I didn’t mind since it kept the heat at bay – helpful when you are walking absolutely everywhere.

Sometimes I have no idea why I take pictures.  Again, I just really liked the colors in this one – greens against browns with a little bit of blue sky (some of the only blue sky we saw during our stay).  And I love the great old “Tip-Top-Tap” sign perched on top.  I wish Houston had better preservation laws and took an active interest in its architecture and history.  Anyway…

I think my father still owns that phone on the far right.  Courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry.

Another pic courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry.  Seriously?  If you’re a huge dork like me, you have to visit this museum if you go to Chicago.  So much fun.  Bit of advice: don’t take the El.  Because then you’ll have to walk about 80 blocks through some really scary parts of town on the south side to get there.  And then you’ll have to catch a cab back to the El station and your cab driver will be from Swaziland and he (a) won’t speak English and (b) won’t know what the “El” is.  So you’ll have to direct him for 80 blocks using only hand signals.

That aside, what a fantastic little model of Seattle they’ve built…in the middle of a museum in Chicago.  Yeah.

Okay, last pic from the Museum.  Real pig or highly-lifelike plastic pig?  Your move, holy man.

The only plus side to walking all the way from the El station to the Museum is that you get to pass through the truly gorgeous University of Chicago campus.  When Richard says that he feels like he’s back in England for a minute, that means something.  And apparently, that something is that England has gotten really hot and crime-ridden.

I don’t know about “Interactive Toys in 1793.”  These are pretty much the same toys I played with when I was a kid in the 80s.  Kids these days are spoiled little assholes.  Sticks and frogs are as good as it gets, man.

Chicago Board of Trade.  Not much to say about this one…  It’s a Board.  Where people Trade.

View from…where else?  The Sears Tower.

Little known fact:  Harry Caray’s bottom half was made entirely of small, malformed lesser human beings.  Embarassment over his affliction led Harry to a lifetime of announcing, where he could discreetly hide his freakish lower legs behind a desk and microphone.  When in public, Harry relied upon enormous prank glasses to attract attention away from his deformity.

Last but not least, John Malkovich was kind enough to join us on a pleasure cruise around the lake.  That isn’t annoyance you see on his face from having me repeatedly take his picture while trying to be inobtrusive (which you all know is impossible for me), that’s annoyance at the fact that the I.T. department at his office didn’t get him a computer nearly as cool as mine.  He’s right pissed about it.

Okay…Chicago in a nutshell.  Hope you enjoyed.

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New stuff, new stuff…  Haven’t posted anything about music in a while and I’m feeling teh music juice today.

First up – Girlyman.  Very surprising band from San Francisco.  Couldn’t find any clips on YouTube or any of those other viral video websites, but Girlyman does, luckily, have a Myspace page (like every other person on the planet these days):  http://www.myspace.com/girlymanband.  They’re a difficult group to categorize, but I think their site gives a pretty apt description with “acoustic harmony-driven genderbent pop.”  No kidding.  So, yeah – I realize that doesn’t sound incredibly appealing to most people, so I’ll do the old free-association bit:  quasi-bluegrass, soulful, simple, story-telling.  Unfortunately, their two best songs (in my most awesome opinion) aren’t on their website:  “Viola” and “Kittery Tide,” although “This Is Me” is pretty damn good AND resides on their site for now.  Do yourself a favor and at least check out their website.  Or do the independent record label industry a favor and buy their albums Little Star or Remember Who I Am.  It’s truly great music.

Second – Peloton.  Still no damn videos on YouTube!  Anyway, they also have a Myspace page:  http://www.myspace.com/pelotonmusic.  I’m feeling a bit lazy today and my descriptive skills are equally indolent, so I’m going to let this review from the San Fransisco Bay Guardian describe Peloton:

Peloton’s self-titled EP is a classy, sassy, and altogether addictive affair of hook-laden atmospheric pop rock. Miyako Ueki’s catchy keyboard melodies and Brian Jackson’s soft, sensitive vocal style are like spoonfuls of sugar that allow the subtly sarcastic lyrics to go down with ease. Standout tracks include “Out of Mind” and “Static Line.”

Wow.  Classy AND sassy.  So you know it’s good.  And it’s got your daily dose of subtle sarcasm.

But, hey – I’ve gotta support Texans who are going out there and creating music that’s different and new.  And, uh, Japanese people who are doing the same thing with said Texans.  But mostly Texans.  Not that I hate the Japanese.  Anyway…

Third – and these might be my favorite of the day…I don’t know.  It’s a tough decision.  Las Rubias del Norte.  And they have a video up at YouTube!  The reason that Las Rubias might be my favorite?  They’re classically-trained vocalists who met while performing in the New York Choral Society together and who tossed all that boring choir shit aside to make some gorgeous Cuban/Mexican music together.  There will always be dullard sopranos to fill the seats of any choral society, but who else is going to take Mozart’s “Confutatis” (from his famous Requiem Mass) and set it to a rumba beat?  Funeral requiems are now danceable, thanks to Las Rubias.

Another reason I like them?  If you simply heard them on the radio (which…you probably won’t, because commercial radio is the apotheosis of all that is wrong with our society…ahem), you’d probably think that you’d stumbled upon the female version of the Buena Vista Social Club or maybe an old Lydia Mendoza song.  But these girls are modern-day, white-bread New Yorkers, as their name implies (Las Rubias del Norte/The Blondes from the North).  Again, I just adore people who get out there and do something – anything – different and make it work.  Go check out their new album, Panamericana, if you get a chance.  This is great party music, laying around the house on a lazy weekend music, poolside music…whatever you dig doing, this music will probably go well with it.

Last – but not least – I want to leave you with a great clip of The Band playing two of the best songs ever recorded: “The Weight” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”  I love the new stuff, but you can’t forget about the old classics.

Drove in from Nazareth, was feelin’ ’bout half-past dead…

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P.I.M.P.

I think that by now, you all know how awesome I am.  But things just got a little more awesomer in my world…I got the sweetest new computer at work yesterday!  I know that all you poor bastards are probably insanely jealous.  So to help fan the flames of your envy, I’ve included some pictures of my new baby:

This is the laptop.  Since I have such a terribly demanding travel schedule, I.T. knows that I need something light and convenient, but still as powerful as my actual desktop computer.  It also has the added bonus of not just one, but TWO, floppy disk drives.  Does anyone else have that on their laptop?  I think not.

This is my new mouse.  All the buttons and switches you see are a complex system for manipulating the pointer.  It’s kind of difficult to learn at first, but when you’re as smart as I am (and I’m obviously operating at genius-level intelligence, or else I.T. wouldn’t give me such an awesome mouse in the first place), it only takes a couple of weeks to learn.

This is my “printer.”  The reason I’m putting “printer” in quotes is because I.T. keeps calling it a mimeograph.  I’m not sure what that means – yet.  They tell me that it’s one of those new “wireless printers,” that’s why there aren’t any cords.  And it conserves power, too!  That’s why it’s operated by hand-crank.  I complained about that at first, but it will give me a pretty good work-out.  Plus, no one else has their own “printer.”  Just yours truly.

While it’s not technically a part of my computer, I thought I’d also throw in a pic of my new adding machine.  Pretty tight, huh?  I especially like the fact that I.T. got me the special “Green and Gold” edition to honor my Baylor alumna status.  They know how incredibly prestigious Baylor is and what an amazing achievement it is to gain entrance into its hallowed halls and learn how to look down on people who aren’t exactly like you, much less graduate and receive a diploma.  Not many people accomplish that, so I feel that it’s only fitting that I reap the benefits of my impressive education for the rest of my life.

Last but not least, here’s a picture of the computer itself.  That’s my boyfriend, Horace, standing off to the left.  He comes to visit me every day, even though my boss said that it’s “inappropriate” and “disturbing.”  She is so totally jealous, it’s not even funny.

Because the computer is so powerful, it takes up an entire room.  Unfortunately, the only room that the company had available was down in the basement.  I thought I saw people cheering as I.T. moved my new equipment down there – it was probably because they’re so heartened by my awesome good fortune and hope that maybe they’ll get the same star treatment someday.  But they won’t.  I keep telling them that there’s only room for ONE star at this company, and that’s me.  That’s why I get my own room – not just my own office, my own ROOM – and this pimp-ass computer.

God, I’m so awesome.

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