Saturday, December 30, 2006

Top Ten of 2006

As per Rrthur's request, herewith in no particular order the albums I listened to the most in 2006. Best? Maybe not, but here's what stuck in my craw. Anyone else out there care to pass on their favorites? (yeah, I'm looking at YOU Xmastime/Tim/Roger/Pat!)

1. Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
2. Roseanne Cash - Black Cadillac
3. Archie Bronson Outfit - Derdang Derdang
4. Priestess - Hello Master
5. Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
6. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat
7. Cat Power - The Greatest
8. Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
9. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
10. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - Cold Roses (2005)
Late adds:
11. Twilight Singers - Powder Burns
12. Beth Orton - Comfort of Strangers

Monday, December 25, 2006

I Went Back to Ohio

I'm at my mom's house (i.e. the only family house I ever remember living in) in Dayton, OH for TWELVE DAYS helping her pack and clean out the place before she moves to her brand-new, smaller home about a mile away. It's a good thing for everyone, but there's so much wrapped up in this house that is completely intertwined with who our family is that I'm a tiny bit wistful. I haven't lived here in 20 years, but details and stories are flooding back that I forgot about, with most of them really making me smile.

Everything moves along pretty well, even in lieu of my mother's serious OCD issues and the fact that she's lived here for 37 years. Then I stumble across some ephemera that has been stored in a box here for god knows how long, and it stops me cold for an hour while I fall into the memory pit.

I found my Dad's Army discharge papers; his resume from 1959; the real estate listing for this house ($44,500 in 1970); a worksheet from 3rd grade where I asked Jesus to help me "not be so bossy" (still waiting an answer on that prayer, apparently); horseback riding ribbons; my recruitment letters for college volleyball teams; pictures of Iggy Pop from 1987 at Hara Arena; a flyer looking to recruit a girl singer for my band; and almost best of all, the ticket stub from the day Pete Rose hit recordbreaking hit #4,192 at Riverfront: September 11, 1985, and my parents and I were sitting right behind the dugout...

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Because I am a book dork, I am completely fascinated by the New York Public Library, most especially the Main Library on 5th/42nd. I love the fact that the stacks of books at the main library run all beneath Bryant Park. I love the pneumatic tube system that whisks away the paper with your book request, issues you a number, which you then exchange when your books show up about 10 minutes later on the other side of the desks. I love the main reading room, where I sometimes have gone to do some half-baked research, just so I can sit in that cavernous, hallowed room with the wood tables and green-shaded lamps. I love the two lions, Patience and Fortitude that sit guard on 5th Avenue. The historical exhibits they have upstairs are always book and paper based, and incredibly interesting. And I don't really like Ghostbusters, but I even like the fact that some it was filmed there.

A tour is available of the stacks one time a year with a $40 contribution as a "Friend of the Library". See some pix of the miles of stacks beneath the park here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dubious Facial Scanning for Fun

You can take a full face shot of yourself, and compare it to famous folks via this site to see who you look like.

I do not, by the way, look like Katie Couric. Or that chick from the crap Terrence Malick Pocahontas movie that came out last year.

Two Things I Want to Avoid in the Future

1) Being in the room when anything I love dies, be it family/friend/animal.

2) Telling a dear friend that someone they love has died (see: Heather's Dad on Tuesday morning; Craig Falbe in 1998).

Urgh. It's always so hard losing someone important, even beyond the ways it breaks you down like you never imagined. Everything becomes Before vs. After. Alas, the only way to make death easier is to go right directly through all the shit just to get the other side where you might smile again.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Eatin' Out - Kasadela

647 E. 11th Street@Ave C
I met the Espresso Curmudgeon and his lovely finance, Miss P, here last week after numerous failed attempts this fall to get together and have some sake.

Kasadela is what's known in Japan as an izakaya, sort of a casual Japanese gastropub where a lot of small snacks are offered along with larger, inexpensive main courses to customers sampling sakes. Kasadela serves up sakes in the traditional cold style, offering four different portion sizes, whole bottles, or on draft.

We sampled a variety of excellent snacks, including shishito (flash fried sweet pepper), tebasaki (amazing Japanese chicken wings), beef tataki w/green apple and watercress, and kushiage (grilled chicken skewers).

While I was waiting for Mike and P., the servers at the bar were friendly and personable. After we were seated, the service became somewhat overly solicitious, constantly interrupting to take our order before we were even ready, and a conspicuous pushing of the most expensive 'winter special' sakes on the draft menu. That said, it was a lovely way to spend the first truly cold evening of winter, with reasonable prices being the final plus. I will definitely return.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

For Jen!

...because I told her I'd take pictures after I called her on my super shopping high. And, well, for me to brag about some fabulous new shoes! I scored today at the Sigerson Morrison warehouse sale, scooting out of there after waiting an hour in line with 4 pairs of shoes only costing me $280 when they normally would have gone for about $1500. We all know I am not a shopper by nature, but boy, do I love a deal AND a designer that makes cute shoes for girls with ginormous feet!

Photos below. Note Baxter's help.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Roundup

It's been a busy couple of weeks, with Thanksgiving the pinnacle of fun, and my body finally flaming out in a bout of the flu for most of last week. Thanksgiving found myself and about 24 others including Heater, Haas, Millicent, Liza, Kaplan, Kristin, Ruben, and a cast of Franklin Street characters eating 3 deep fried turkeys and drinking ourselves goofy on corn liquor at The-closed-for-the-night Queen's Hideaway. Truly a Thanksgiving for the record books, adding another chapter to holidays past including the year Roger left before dinner; the year Jen only ate mashed potatoes and wine for dinner and had to go to bed at 8; the year APB danced to the Pixies in my bedroom in her lovely slate blue teddy; the year Eric M brought a stranger he had met at the bus stop only hours earlier for dinner; and the year the DJ who played too much reggae at UPB the night before showed up with Scott in the form of the lovely Tony Miamone and carved the turkey like a pro...Ah, how I love Thankgiving! Easily my favorite holiday and the one I most prefer to spend with friends.

I saw a ton of music in November, including Dylan and the Raconteurs at Nassau Coliseum. It was awfully weird to be in such a large venue with restrictions and sets straight out of "Almost Famous", only this show was complete with NOBODY backstage visiting the Raconteur boys but Kaplan and myself. Dylan's voice is wonderfully raspy in his later years, but his songs were rearranged into midtempo waltzes that were so boring as to be almost unidentifiable (until the choruses came in), so much that we cut out a mere 45 minutes into it to instead try to have dinner at Luger's. Dylan or steak?? Almost a tough choice.

The Twilight Singers at Warsaw were another big highlight of the past few weeks. I hadn't seen Dulli onstage in about 5 years or so, and truly wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. It was brilliant, and the wall of noise from the band made me nostalgic for those amazing Afghan Whigs Ohio shows of 15 years ago, when music made by my friends changed life on a daily basis, and the Whigs created some of the soundtrack to those times. I realized listening to such a familiar voice and sound how intrinsically their music was a part of what formed me. The vocals added by Mark Lanegan were haunting, and the version of Live With Me/In the Pines between him and Dulli keeps playing in my head. It was great to also briefly see the omnipresent Scotty H. for the first time in 6 years (last seen at the the Cooperstown Hall of Fame induction for Tony Perez), managing just one more tour...

The Hold Steady record "Boys and Girls in America" is playing non-stop in my head and IPod since Will gave it to me 10 days ago claiming it as the "Best Record of the Year." I can't disagree -- it's a joyous burst of classic rock hooks, sing-along choruses and memorable images in the vein of Bruce's "Born to Run" or the Replacements' "Tim". I had a bad attitude about this Williamsburg-based band, thinking they were simply another group of overly ironic indie rockers, but was wrong wrong WRONG! We'll see if it holds up for months of listening but for now, almost every song on the album has become a favorite for at least a day or two.

To crib an lyric from them, I'd like to think I am ALWAYS golden with barlight and beer.

The Jenny Lewis solo record is really good, too.