Archive for November, 2007

Twitter Updates for 2007-11-30

Friday, November 30th, 2007
  • it’s only 10:30 but i’m already having a no-good very bad day. rethinking this whole “being awake” thing. #

Twitter Updates for 2007-11-24

Saturday, November 24th, 2007
  • standing in line at Baja Burrito behind Craig Wiseman #

Even Google can’t make your turkey cook faster

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

I’m so amused by the numbers of top searches in Google today that have to do with preparing a turkey. People, if you’re just now starting to wonder about how to cook it, it’s probably a good idea just to join me and Karsten at Baja Fresh.

Twitter Updates for 2007-11-20

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007
  • non-matching test results make my brain hurt. is a or b the better option? how will i ever know? gah! #

What constitutes a kickass song?

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

I’ve got a playlist on my iPod called Kickass Songs. I’m listening to it right now. Right now what’s playing is “Guarded by Monkeys” by Cracker. And I just listened to “Cowboy” by Kid Rock, but I’m wondering what for you constitutes a kickass song? There are so many other ones that are on here — lets see, “Dirty Laundry,” “Hard to Handle,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Sweet Emotion.” listen

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Hey, I’m testing out…

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Hey, I’m testing out posting to the blog from Jott. Let’s see if this works. If so, it could be a real time saver while I’m driving home on my long commute. listen

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It’s finally soup weather

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

I know they say not to blog about what you ate for lunch, but Karsten and I just shared the soup Jon made and gave me to sample. It was great!

And I had to write about this because I want to tell you, dear reader, about the cute name Jon gave his soup.

“Armagarden.”

I did it!

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

I finally managed to pull up the blinds in the morning without scaring all the birds away from the feeders.

Normally the cats are looking at me like “gee, thanks, dumbass.” Now they’re entranced by the dozens and dozens of birds on the ground and on the feeders.

Hey, it’s the little things.

Cross-medium inspiration

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

I’ve been getting creatively inspired a lot lately. I already talked about going to hear the Peter Plagens lecture at the Frist and how creatively inspiring that was, but then on Thursday night we went to the Société Anonyme show at the Frist with Brad and Jed, and Brad spent a good chunk of time explaining why “Tu m’” was, as he put it, the Rosetta Stone of modern art. So I listened and I looked hard at it, and I saw it. And I kept coming back to it as I circled the exhibit. I’d look at other pieces, the Mondrians and the Miros, and then I’d make my way back in front of the Duchamp piece that did begin to feel like the punchline to the whole show.

All day Friday, I kept thinking back to that piece. I’d be working on the budget at work, and I’d think about the genius of using a tool to say I don’t want to use this tool anymore. And I’d think about the shadows from the bottle brush, and how much there is going on in just that part of the work alone, not even to mention the rest of the composition.

I’m not a painter or any other kind of visual artist; I’m a writer. And lyrics are my primary medium. But looking at visual art can inspire me in ways music doesn’t reach. (I bet Randy at Ethos totally gets what I mean here.) It’s like rewiring my brain; all the lights seem brighter and the circuits seem faster. And I see dimensions of things I’d been blind to.

Whether that translates into more and better songwriting, I have yet to see. I’m writing here and there, but nothing yet has screamed epiphany. But even if it’s not about that, even if the net effect is just to reset my powers of observation and make me live a little more in the moment, hey, that’s powerful stuff, I’ll take it.

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Thanks, Josh Ritter, for getting me ready for Monday

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

Monday is the anniversary of my dad’s death, again. It was a reflective time for me last year and it’s looking like it will be the same this year.

I can tell because last night we went to see Josh Ritter (whom Jae has been talking about for years but I’m just catching up). There was a song he played with lyrics that said “tell me I got here at the right time” and it was bittersweet and melancholy and painted a picture of loving someone through illness, and it got me thinking about the process of caring for my dad while he was sick and the acceptance I had to come to about the possibility that in one of my trips back to Nashville, I would not be there when he died. And that’s basically how it worked out in the end — Karsten and I had just made it back to Chicago that evening and decided not to go by my parents’ house until the next morning since it was already pretty late. And my dad died that night.

Sometimes the loss hurts more because I know I could have seen him alive one more time, but more often I know I was there at the right times all the previous times.

Anyway, it’s funny how once you’re reminded of something difficult, you can see connections in the loosest ways. So all through the rest of Josh Ritter’s set, I was primed to reflect on all kinds of loss, but especially my dad. And then he played “Kathleen,” which is one of the few songs of his I knew before last night, and I like it but it’s a tough one for me, because it so heavily references the Irish standard “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen” and that’s one of the songs my dad used to sing when he was a nightclub performer and is the source of my name. Of course, Ritter’s song goes off in a different direction, but I think if you carry the connection over and think about his song in the context of its heritage, it makes his song even more intriguing. The Irish song is a plea to that song’s Kathleen to hold out hope in the narrator, to recognize that he sees she is unhappy and that he can once again bring her the happiness that she has lost. The Ritter song is a plea to its Kathleen to place some hope in the narrator, to recognize that he appreciates her and can see her clearly and can make her happy even if it’s just for one night. Each song is a kind of begging, but from nearly opposite ends of the lifecycle of a relationship — and, you could even say, nearly opposite ends of life itself.

Anyway, I thought about that while he was playing the song, but I was also just washed away in grief every time I heard the line “I’ll be the one to drive you home, Kathleen.”

And yet I walked away from the show feeling hopeful, and creatively inspired. I think there’s another post about that I need to write, because there are other factors at work there, but I definitely took away ideas from listening to Ritter’s brutal and beautiful honesty, and I intend to use them.