Monday, December 3, 2012

Return to the Island of the Go Go's

I am an unapologetic Go Go's fan.  As much as they hated each other, they made some great pop in the '80s.  It was a lot of fun seeing 'em (minus only their previous bassist) in New York in October, especially the energy they've still got.  The ladies know their brand.

The two I got were the opening number, This Town, and the excellent Head Over Heels.  Sorry the latter cuts off at the battery died right there.

The Magnetic Fields at Sixth and I

This is the first of what I hope will be a number of "catch-up" posts to close out the year, since I haven't been the most nurturing of this little blog.  Let me know what y'all think, hmm?

First up is my third time seeing The Magnetic Fields live, this time at the Sixth and I Synagogue.  I'd never been there, but what a great place for an intimate show like this.  I almost want to just post some of the banter between Claudia and Stephen, but you'll have to make due with "All My Little Words" and "Busby Berkeley Dreams."

The video quality isn't the greatest, but the sound comes through pretty well.Each of the shows with these guys has been excellent.  As much as I like their recorded material, I find them much better live.  They always play acoustic, I think because Stephen's hearing problem makes electric not workable.  You can see him covering his ear when the crowd applauds too loudly.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

R.I.P. Truman

This is Truman.  Some of you know him as T-Paw or the Welsh Rocket.  He passed away yesterday about 5:00, just short of 12-1/2 years old.  He hadn't been his old hyperkinetic self the past few months as he lost the use of his back legs because of a degenerative spinal condition.  More recently, another issue came up about which I'll spare you the details, but made it so that he wasn't having a whole lot of fun anymore.

A dog was always going to be the first addition to my first home, purchased in early 2000.  Dogs are great for us introverts with mild social anxiety, especially the fact that they don't make you have conversations and always want to hang out with you.  And Truman was a typical corgi: stubborn, friendly, very active, talkative, and smarter than at least a couple people I've met.  It was hard to tire him out and, like all corgis I know, he was never, ever, done eating.

He had a full resume for a dog, including:

  • Served over 12 years as symbiotic vacuum cleaner for all the food I dropped on the floor.  Maybe I finally need to learn how to use a mop now. 
  • Certified as intermediate-level guard dog.  No doubt he would alert you to intruders, but he'd most likely want to play with them once they got in.
  • Overcame puppyhood addiction to chewing socks and tissues through hypnosis.
  • Played volleyball with balloons.  I just wish I had video of him nosing it up in the air, waiting for it to come down, and hitting it again until it got stuck somewhere.
  • Killed a chipmunk and a mouse in my old house in Fargo.  The mouse screamed.  It was pretty strange.
  • Knew the difference between "speak" (one short bark) and "talk" (low growling).
He put up with a lot of moving on my part too, including being away from me for most of 2008 while I worked around the country on the Obama campaign.  And he was always disappointed that working dogs never seem to win at Westminster.

On the other hand, he had no sense of space around him.  Anyone who took Truman for a walk knows that he would immediately dart inches in front of you and then get upset with you when tripped over him.  And let's be honest, he did more than his share of peeing on the carpet and getting into the garbage can.  That said, he enthusiastically liked just about everybody, and I didn't exactly provide him with a meadow and  all the sheep he wanted to herd did I?

In the end, he was a very good boy.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Who would've thought seeing The Avengers this evening would get me to end my 10-month posting drought?  Folks, it was that good.  Such a Joss Whedon movie, which in this case is a very good thing.  His dialogue is always at the very least funny and clever, and here it was also in service of a reasonably smart plot, some fabulous action, and a bit more complexity than one usually gets from this sort of fare.  Speaking of which, my brain compels me to place this in some larger context, which is very hard to do right after seeing something, but I'll give it a shot with my All-Time Top 5 Superhero Movies (one film per franchise, mmkay?):

5. X2: X-Men United - First Class was also very good, but this was the best of the lot.  I love origin stories, but some franchises get a lot better when they have room to spread out and give the characters more interesting decisions to make.

4. The Incredibles - I wonder if there's an American filmmaker more criminally unknown than Brad Bird.  Every film the dude has made - Iron Giant, Ratatouille, and the latest Mission Impossible - has been exceptional.  This one was genuinely funny, a kinetic blast, and a welcome jab at the idea of being mediocre to fit in.

3. Spiderman 2: That last part goes double here.  It was a real treat to see the identity reveals in here - both to the subway car full of strangers and to Mary Jane - that we don't usually get to see, even if it didn't leave as many interesting things to do in the pretty boring third film.

2. The Avengers - So much fun.  Just see it.

1. The Dark Knight - A dark, complex plot that forces the good and the innocent to continually make impossible moral decisions, and maybe the best villain portrayal in film history.  It's going to be hard to top this one, which I say in spite of the somewhat disappointing wrap-up of the Harvey Dent story line.  Can't wait to see the last one this July.

What say you?