Bay Weekend

January 17th, 2008

We went for a tour of Anchor Brewing the other day. Pretty good SF beer! It’s a good San Francisco activity because it’s free and they give you samples at the end. We had to buy the tattoos. Well, I didn’t, but others did and I benefitted. Anchor is in Potrero Hill, near where my roommate goes to school and one of my favorite places to see music in the city. 

Actually, all in all it turned into a pretty standard Bay weekend. That night I had pizza with friends at Lanesplitter, a neighborhood place. Saturday we drove out to Mount Diablo, although that kind of flopped due to chilly winds, fog, and unforeseen gate and parking charges. Out in the Mission Saturday night. I worked Sunday morning, went for a walk and cleaned up the house a little bit. With some cooking thrown in on the side.

Finally, I found a nice and old picture of Miss Mouse and myself (nice being relative): 

 Happy weekend again! I’m making an effort to post and I have some ideas percolating…

(The Story of) Stuff

January 8th, 2008

Got 20 minutes? Okay, good, go watch The Story of Stuff. Come on, you’re either avoiding doing something you should actually do or screwing around. You won’t spend those 20 minutes doing anything that’s really a better use of your time.

I’ve always had a lot of stuff. I may even be guilty of being kind of a (shhhhh) pack rat. I’m not sure which side of the family that originates on, but I have my guesses…

Recently, at 23 years old and one year and some change into a cross country move, I’ve found myself looking around my apartment and wondering where all this stuff came from. I mean, let’s be honest. When I moved here it was in my Honda Civic, accompanied by two friends, camping gear, their stuff, and well… whatever space was left contained my stuff. Mostly clothing, I think. I remember unpacking the day I moved in to our apartment. I didn’t have any furniture yet, and the objects more or less amounted to some framed pictures and LPs from Goodwill in Kalamazoo (a spring break 2006 project by my roommate and myself) and a few books and CDs I cart around everywhere with me. I pulled them out of my backpack (one of only three or four bags) and spread them around the room on the floor, leaning against the wall so it looked a little less weird and empty. In the spirit of full disclosure, I did have my mom send a few boxes of things once I moved in, but it just wasn’t that much (was it mom?). We got our furniture for under $100 thanks to a friend, local thrift stores, and the wonderful (and dry) streets of Berkeley.

I’m trying to figure out why I have all of this stuff and what I’m going to do with it. That’s why I find The Story of Stuff so interesting. I’m questioning where it all comes from and why I keep it in the first place. This film puts into perspective the fact that I really am asking valid questions, whatever made me think about it in the first place.

When it comes to stuff, I think my biggest downfalls are books, CDs, and innumerable little papers that come from this or that inane event. The most irritating stuff is related to electronic devices. So many objects that all require different chargers and hundreds of little cords. And of course every item comes packaged with every cord, even though I usually only need one of them. That and the stuff that “might come in handy some day.”

So, New Year’s resolutions? I think my first one is learning to acquire and retain less stuff, and to cycle on the stuff I don’t want consciously and responsibly.

Back to the Bay

January 6th, 2008

So, I realize that I promised a post soon and didn’t write a post soon.

I’m back on the West Coast after a very good trip home-for-the-holidays. I’m still in the midst of appreciating the differences between the two places. Since I got back to the Bay, there have been some enormous rain storms. Our apartment has two sets of windows looking out from the kitchen and living room, and the hurricane-force winds were blowing rain at them in such a way that the kitchen flooded Friday morning. In California, windows, like Driver’s Ed classes, are not designed with precipitation in mind. In reality I didn’t realize how strong the storms were until someone asked if I was alive (joking) and I started to read the articles. I did notice that it was raining a lot. And I heard that we’re getting more rain this week than we did in all of 2007. Here’s my only picture – leaving work Friday, driving west on the 880 in Oakland:

Also, I heard thunder for the first time since moving here on Saturday morning! One long, loud rumble. Wow! And all of that on top of the great blizzard we had in Ann Arbor on New Year’s Eve:

Since coming back to California, I’ve worked two days, visited a bar we hadn’t explored before (lame), visited our favorite neighborhood bar, gone to Amoeba Music (Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew Spirit If… and Sleater-Kinney‘s closing album The Woods), done an art project, and gone grocery shopping. Not bad. Here’s what I made:

It’s the earring rack in the bottom right hand corner. I made it from a used picture frame and window screening. I used thumbtacks to attach the screen to the frame – I may try to improve on that at some point. But in the mean time this will help keep my earrings from getting more beat up than they are. I have a couple more similar projects in mind.

We saw Kevin Drew play at The Fillmore in November and it was a great show. Kevin Drew even referenced Ann Arbor. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks played a show at the Great American Music Hall two days before I left for Michigan. The drummer from Sleater-Kinney is now playing with him and she rocks pretty hard. I’m more disappointed that I’ll likely never see Sleater-Kinney play. My roommate and myself were called out hardcore on being from Michigan during that show… Another post for another day.

More of everything later…

December 14th, 2007

I know I owe a post. I promise I’ll write one soon! This is an experiment after all. In the meantime, sometimes I feel this would come in handy… you know, when dealing with neanderthals, as my mom likes to call them?

Anyone reading yet?

December 5th, 2007

The current title, “How are things on the West Coast?” theoretically won’t last, but in the meantime I should give credit where it’s due. I recently got the newest Interpol album Our Love To Admire, and that’s a line that stuck out to me for obvious reasons. I’m enjoying the album, despite middling to “suck” reviews from friends.

I went to a good show last Friday. Some Bay Area bands played a house show in Berkeley. We saw the Botticellis, Trainwreck Riders (second time this fall), and Kapowski (friends of a friend). All around it was a pretty great show, and it had been a while since I’d been to a traditional basement-centric house party, so that was fun and… nostalgic? However, that basement was way too nice (read: clean and dry) to compare to the ones in Kalamazoo. If basement parties are a phenomenon unfamiliar to you (bp3g?), feel free to ask and I can elaborate… Really, people-watching might be one of the best parts of going to shows.

I promise every post won’t be this music oriented, although it’s going to keep going that way this time. But keep reading, it might still be interesting since it’s not about a specific sound or band.

I was hopping around the iTunes music store after work today, in an attempt to check out some music I’ve been thinking and or hearing about lately. Suddenly, I realized that iTunes does something that really gets on my nerves. Have you noticed the “iTunes Essentials” and other pre-fabbed collections on the music store? If you haven’t, I’m sure one will pop up on any search you run. The one that triggered my annoyance today was titled “’00 Indie Rock”.

First of all, the aughts aren’t over yet, so aren’t you jumping the gun on that one just a little, iTunes?

Second of all, half the bands included aren’t terribly indie in the sense of being underground at this point. Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite bands are on there.

And third, here’s what most irritates me about the pre-fab music ed phenomenon. Whatever happened to discovering music for yourself? Why do we need iTunes to teach us about worthwhile music? Maybe I’m too old, relatively speaking, but I think what made me fall in love with music was the sense of being the first person to hear a song every time I discovered a new band. Even though I knew this wasn’t the case. All those bands and songs I either discovered on my own or on a friend’s stereo. I’m happy for the artists who grow to be well known on their own merit, and I certainly don’t want to shut people out of a music scene for sake of keeping it in the family, but it’s a lot different to be bombarded with 37 “Essential songs” from a genre that’s still developing. You don’t actually get to know an artist that way.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, iTunes has de-DIYed the DIY indie ethic to a pretty extreme degree by taking away the DIY experience of educating yourself about music. And some poor teenagers somewhere might be missing out on a defining experience of teenager-hood.

Something I Saw Today But Don’t Understand

December 4th, 2007

Look at this. Can anyone explain it to me? If it weren’t such an ugly, bad design I would want one… but it is.

Oh yeah, this is just an experiment, so you’ll have to wait and see if it lasts. New design and more later.