blogs t r e t c h

between a roux and a bechamel

Monday, March 31, 2008

...some vague reference to touching a black man's radio

So... this movie is a joke, right? I assume it has to be, based on the presence of Jackie Chan and those really terrible wigs. But the trailers and all seem to be quite ernest. So...

ZOMG, Chris Cooley Has A Blog!

There was a post up on Mr Irrelevant that summed up the awesomeness of this development quite nicely, but it seems to have disappeared. Anyhow, Captain Chaos is blogging. Just think on that for a second. This is amazing news. And here I thought the text from a coworker on Saturday saying he was sitting next to Cooley at Clydes was the best #47 news I'd hear all week. I wish I'd found this out about 2.5 hours ago when I was still guest editing DCist (which is what I did all day today, what with Sommer being on vacation and all. Heather and I did a very good job with 18 posts today, thank you very much!).

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Delicious Dinner

I just finished a truly wonderful meal. It was certainly the longest road I've ever taken to grilled cheese & tomato soup, but totally worth it. The soup and sandwich recipes were from The Kitchen Sink, and the salad from Serious Eats. Here are my minimal adjustments to the recipes:
  • Go easy on the red pepper flakes on the soup — mine was a little too spicy.
  • I used shredded cheese and instead of just sharp cheddar (white), I made a 50/50 combination of cheddar and mozzarella.
  • And because I'm not sure what a can of chipotle peppers is, I used a combination of roasted red peppers and green chilies in their stead for the spicy sandwich spread.
  • I also used a roasted garlic loaf of bread instead of sour dough, and used much thicker slices than the flat bread that's pictured on the recipe's photos. (In fact, the 3/4" size slices that the recipe actually calls for.)
Pictures of the results are up on flickr, but they don't do it justice. It was heavenly. There was a chorus of yummy noises from all mouths fed throughout the duration of the meal. Maybe next time I'll use some of the food photography tips Catherine linked to.

Found: Old Shopping List

I wonder what I was preparing for?
  • pens
  • champaign
  • fruit
  • gum
  • kisses
  • leis
  • lotion
  • wrapping paper
  • balloons

Friday, March 28, 2008

Let's say you worked in PR. Your job is to drum up attention for whoever you represent. Let's say you're representing a band. You know what would be a really good way to accomplish your tasks? To repeatedly screw over a local blog in the city said band is from. This marks the second month in a row that a certain local alt country front woman, who may or may not have played to a sold out crowd at the Black Cat last night and whose first name rhymes with "pow", was supposed to be part of our Three Stars feature at DCist. And, for the second month in a row, her PR team (or maybe sounds-like-pow herself, I don't know) has failed to follow through. Last month we were asking for a phoner. As we did again this month. Finally, after about a bajillion exchanges, the PR rep asked for questions via email. We sent them. Last week. And for some reason, here it is, Friday, and we still have nothing to show for it. We're all busy people, but sending in a few responses via email takes almost no time. Good work alienating people that could have given you free publicity, guys.

But on a happier note, go check out the Three Stars I did with the Black & White Jacksons.

Very insightful, Today Show

"So, when someone's choking, your first instinct is to panic. What should you really do?"

"If someone is choking, the first thing you should do is help them."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fewer. That should say "Fewer Humans."


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday Food Blogging

Why is every dessert recipe I'm gravitating towards lately dependent on bananas? Yes, they're delicious. And nutritious. Nature's perfect food! But as I shuffled recipes around this weekend planning what to make for a dinner party this week, every single one in the final running was nana-based: classic banana pudding, caramel walnut upside down banana cake, banana cupcakes with dulce de leche & chocolate butter cream, banana layer cake with cream cheese frosting... I know these thoughts make the G queasy and Capps run for an epi-pen, but mmmmmm, nanas!

Also: last night, as my culinary energies were focused on prepping for cooking for the Top Chef viewing audience at the flophouse tonight, my actual dinner had to be easy, quick and made of things I already had in my kitchen. I put on my, what would I have done in college? thinking cap, and made a pan of 7 layer dip for dinner. (Which I re-purposed for this morning as part of a breakfast burrito.) Later, talking to Gavin who was in the same predicament, I talked him into making hot dogs and macaroni for dinner. A favorite of the kids I used to babysit in high school, it's the cheapest and easiest meal in the whole world. As I spend so much of my time and energy perfecting fancy dishes and trying new methods, sometimes it's fun to go back to completely muss & fuss-free staples on a college kid's budget.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spencer Pratt: Advice Columnist

No, seriously. He's dishing out gems such as:

Hatred stems from jealousy at some point. If people aren't hating on you, they don't care, and if they don't care, that means you're not doing anything right. I love my haters. I don't hate them back at all. You can turn so many haters around once they meet you. I'm like, "Thanks, I get it, I'm an idiot," and they're like, "Woo! He's an idiot! He's so cool!" I flipped a couple haters at Benihana just last night.

"He throws his jawbone out front as if it were fashioned out of impenetrable iron, "

"...holding onto the microphone with hands ringed by golden baubles that have the design of graduating class rings, but are likely heirlooms from some ancient familial heroics, as those are the kinds of things that one gets the impression that the young man cherishes in life and holds dear."

I'm no stranger to romanticizing Hamil/ton Leit/hauser. But between my adoration and my knowledge of the guy, I cannot for the life of me figure out what possessed this Daytrotter writer to pen the On the Road of all things Ham. I get the stylistic link to the Leonard Cohen songs the band recorded (which, are great), but "overblown" doesn't seem to cover it. Not to mention — where's the rest of the band in this article? I don't want to poo-poo fellow Walkmen lovers, but I couldn't help but wonder what kind of spell this guy was under when writing this post. Anyhow, go listen to the LC covers, they're pretty fantastic.

Oh, also. The drawing accompanying the article is hilariously opposed to everything I've ever encountered about HL's personality. Prim and quiet he is not. Or, maybe this guy caught the band on a particularly scholarly day and I've only seen them drunk. Whatever.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Obama Doctrine

Obama sees this as more than a global charity program; it is the anvil against which he can bring down the hammer on al-Qaeda. "He took many of the [counterinsurgency] principles -- the paradoxes, like how sometimes you're less secure the more force is used -- and looked at it from a more strategic perspective," Sewall says. "His policies deal with root causes but do not misconstrue root causes as a simple fix. He recognizes that you need to pursue a parallel anti-terrorism [course] in its traditional form along with this transformed approach to foreign policy."

My good friend Spencer Ackerman has written a definitive piece on why Obama should be president. Foreign policy will be the central subject of the upcoming election. As it should. And in my humble opinion, anyone who reads this article would be hard pressed to make an argument for McCain.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Most Eggcelent

Happy Easter, internet! In the words of Tyler, young jeezy is rizzen! While many years ago, Easter consisted of frilly dresses, white gloves, hats, tights and poppels, now it consists of decorating eggs with lots of bloggers. Here are my three creations (a smurf, a bunny and a chick). Thanks for the delicious brunch and wholesome fun, Tom & Emily! Now I'm off to eat amazing amounts of food at my mom's house. Here's wishing you all lots of egg-shaped candy.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Other bloggers said it better

I was going to write about this "urbane tomboy" crap today, but the AV Club Hater pretty much sums up my exact thoughts.

I didn't know that not being a lesbian while not wearing a dress is a trend, but that's why I read: to learn. Apparently, though, sometimes these Urbane Tomboys (UTs) wear dresses. So what defines them? Um, basically everything. And at the same time nothing. This is a trend I can get behind: basic human existence.

You're an UT if you sometimes wear make-up, but also if you sometimes leave the house bare-faced; if you wear sneakers, but sometimes dress up. In short: if you're alive.

Also: Carrie Brownstein's post (on her always wonderful Monitor Mix blog for NPR) about what it means to review a record is the perfect expression of something I've been thinking about a long time. In the almost three years I've been editing the music section at DCist, I've never really enjoyed writing album reviews. For this reason. I think concert reviews are a different animal — it's a retelling of an experience that's physical, auditory, personal, social. There are a lot of things to talk about. The context of that show won't change on re-listening. I can't go to that exact same show again two years from now and compare my first experience to the second.

With an album, you're just trying to somehow articulate your relationship with this thing that someone's created. Because of the way blogs and all that work, you're writing about your first, immediate reaction. You could listen to something for an assignment, be wild about it, write a raving review, then forget that album ever existed. Or, be unimpressed, pick it up again a year later, and love the living hell out of it. Both happen. A lot. That's why I wrestle so much over naming my favorite bands and albums. They're not constant (except for you, my beloved home team of Spoon, The Walkmen, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Prince). But my god, just putting my iPod on shuffle is a dangerous act. I'm constantly encountering things I was completely, stutteringly, madly in love with just two or three years ago that I now find annoying, messy and impossible to listen to.

Writing album reviews is hard, and not always very valuable. I can tell you that the drumming's sparse, the guitar's melodic and the singer's voice is gravely, and then what? I'll probably try to draw some comparisons. Describe my emotional reactions to the album. Put it in some sort of context of current music. Frame it within the autobiographies of the people who made it, and their contemporaries. But none of that means as much as you listening to the album yourself and deciding whether or not it gets to you. Don't get me wrong — I read a lot of album reviews. And take a lot of advice from them about whether or not to give something a listen. And how else would we ever find out about new bands if it weren't for people out there liking them and spreading the gospel? I have no conclusion here. I'll continue to review albums and read reviews. I just related to that post quite a bit. I guess the lesson is: always include MP3s with album reviews?

By the Locks of Riggins, Season 3 Is a Go!

"It's happening. I'm not supposed to say anything. We're not supposed to say anything. But it is happening. I want you to know."

E!'s Kristin has the best news ever. FNL season 3: totes gonna happen.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hippity Hop

I've never been that crazy about Cadbury Creme Eggs. There's just too overwhelming. But the idea of them inside a muffin? That I might be able to get behind. I think the muffin might cut the ooey-gooey-sweetness just enough. Perhaps I'll give them a whirl this weekend. I don't know if they'll top the Easter cupcakes I made last year, but we'll see.

Tilly and the Interview

I exchagned a few words with Tilly and the Wall lead singer Kianna Alarid before their show tonight at the Rock & Roll Hotel. The results are up at DCist. Usually, the answers I get to questions sent over email are... less than inspiring. I was impressed that she actually took the time to put some thought into her responses.

The Future of Bringing Salads To Work

As I'm enjoying my aforementioned steak salad for lunch, I realized that I haven't blogged about the amazing container it's in. I bring salads into work in my Salad Blaster Bowl, a contraption my mom included in my stocking last Christmas. The genius is that you put the salad ingredients in the bowl part, and the dressing in the lid. When you're ready to eat, you pop the button on top, shooting the dressing out over your salad. That way it doesn't get mushy all day! And you don't have to mess around with multiple containers. In addition to no mush, no mess salad, you also get the added fun of pushing a Trouble-esque button and shaking something around! I seriously love this thing.

I realize this is all sell-out, commercialized, materialist crap,

but the 7th grader inside of me still thinks these might be kind of awesome.

Various thoughts, mostly about food

I was crazy productive this morning. I made my bed, cleaned my bathroom, mopped my kitchen, made coffee, oatmeal, and a steak salad* (for lunch), put away dishes, took out trash, uploaded pictures... I was on top of my game. But now it feels like it's about noon already. Between now and Pi(e) Night (!!), to which I'll be bringing Shepherd's Pie because I'm not much of a baker, I've got a jam-packed work day that will try it's best to wear me out and drag me down. But I must prevail -- it's pie night!

*Why are chicken salad and tuna salad code for "with mayonnaise," but steak salad just means a garden salad with steak on top?

Also, I made delicious tacos last night. As what I just wrote would indicate, they were delicious.

Monday, March 17, 2008

What makes multivitamins gendered?

I recently ran out of multivitamins. When I went to re-up my supplies (which I wasted no time on, because everyone I know is crawling with sickness these days), the Target brand women's multivitamins were on sale. I thought, hey, why not. I'm a woman. Sign me up! Then, for the past two weeks, I've been feeling all nauseated after my morning pill-swallowing party. Then I thought back and remembered why I haven't been taking vitamins special for femmiladygrrrls all this time. Because they've always made me sick. A couple years ago, I actually thought I was knocked up for a few scary days, because I was throwing up every morning. Switched back to non-gendered multivitamins, and presto! No more sickness (and, ya know, no baby).

So my question is this: what are they adding to my lady vitamin? And why does my stomach hate it so much? Googling just gives me a vast selection of lady vitamins to buy. But what is it that's making me feel queasy?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Scroll Down for Punch Line

Scroll down. To the color selections. Yarn with a sense of humor!

Why am I looking at yarn websites you ask?

Lynnea: OK
so i knit
and there's a yarn I want to show you
me: ha, ok
Lynnea: so just roll with it
you'll get it

Now, obviously, this started discussion across several IM boxes. The G informed me that there really is a berry named marion. An actual fruit. Some light googling told us, though, that if you're talking about the fruit, it should be one word -- marionberry. So the yarn company is still being funny. But, then The G dug a little deeper and discovered:

'Marion' (marketed as "Marionberry") is an important cultivar and is from a cross between 'Chehalem' and 'Olallie' (commonly called "olallieberry") berries. It is claimed to "capture the best attributes of both berries and yields an aromatic bouquet and an intense blackberry flavor".[5]. The Marionberry was introduced by G.F. Waldo with USDA-ARS in Corvallis, Oregon in 1956. Adapted to western Oregon, the Marionberry is named after Marion County, Oregon, in which it was tested extensively.

Quoth The G: "this means... the MAN CAME FIRST. rad."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Backtrack Weekend

I'm finally watching SNL from this weekend, and Vampire Weekend's performance. Which was good! Except... did anybody else get the feeling that the string section was not miced? It was pretty clear that the "strings" were coming from the keyboards, right?

Also, the keyboardist has taken Chuck from Gossip Girl's fashion sense as too much of a guidepost. That scarf was not ok.

Also: Amy Poehler can do no wrong. That Project Runway Christian impression was the best thing ever.

Yakety Yak

I largely agree with Ezra's take on phone calls. As I stated in his comments. It shouldn't feel awkward when you talk on the phone to somebody that you talk to via other outlets. It should be pretty easy, actually. And a preferable way to maintain relationships with people. But after thinking about it all day, I have a couple of additional thoughts:
  • I mainly use phone calls to keep up with people I don't see in person very often. If I am on my way to see you in a bar, I'm not going to call you to tell you that. I'm going to send a text saying I'll be there in 10 minutes. But if you're, say, my best friend who lives in Boston, I want phone calls to be the crux of our relationships. Emails are for planning trips and confirming details. Phone calls are for making sure you're still connected to each other's lives. And I still have phone dates with people that live around here and I do see, like Jenna and Sam. Because they're my friends and I like to talk to them.
  • Because I do think of conversations as more involved, attention-requiring things than emails or texts, I won't answer my phone if I'm busy or not in the mood to talk. I've been asked before, "why do you even have a cell phone if you never answer it?"
  • All the better to call you back with, my dear. Like Ezra, I let my voicemail box fill up pretty badly. I'll see that you called, and call you back. Voicemails are good if real information is being relayed. But I know that if something were actually urgent, the people that call me to inform me of these things (my dad, Meagan) wouldn't just leave one voicemail. They'd call every possible phone number they could think of for me, 4 times each. And everyone outside of those two people would probably just send me a follow up text.
  • One thing I think a lot about in this age of constant communication, is that I don't like being always available. That's another reason I don't answer my phone very often. It's ok to be out of touch for a few hours while you go interact with people in real life. Or take a nap. Or whatever. I don't like that cell phones have driven people to think that if you don't pick up/write back immediately, you're bleeding to death on the bathroom floor. But I guess that's a separate topic.
  • All this isn't to say that I don't appreciate texting/twittering/IMing/emailing. I do. I love them all. Dearly. And do them all. All day long. I wouldn't have been able to retain half of my relationships the way that I have if IMing during college and now, work, weren't an option. And it certainly makes communicating across great distances a lot easier (for cost and time zone reasons).
  • But, phone calls should not be a thing of the past. One of the most important lessons by boss taught me is that while efficient and good for a lot of things, email isn't personal. Things can escalate into jabbing and being terse really easily over email. 9 times out of 10, if you just pick up the phone to talk about that document you just sent, rather than sending 20 emails back and forth over why the font at the top is green and why you chose the word "quick," the whole thing will get cleared up with more good will, and in a hell of a lot less time.
  • Not to mention that there's a lot more to communication than just words. Voices, pauses, breath, inflection. Hearing my friend say she's "fine" in a certain tone could have a whole different meaning than if she just wrote it in am email.
  • I'm babbling now. Call me if you want to discuss.

Most Meta Internet Video Ever


I suppose the word (is it a word?) could have a place in some criticisms (I guess?), but I'm just not clear on what this Daytrotter reviewer is getting at in this review of Kings of Leon's Because of the Times. It just seems like an excuse to say "barfier":

Not content with their Southern-fried pigeonhole, they’ve expanded into the already mentioned sonic signifiers they almost have no business dabbling in, not to mention the fact that they’ve also committed themselves to revisiting some of the barfier corners of U2 and Sting’s back catalogs (on, say, “True Love Way” and “Arizona” respectively), and goddamn if they don’t make it work for them.

It's a pretty good review of an album I really love, but I keep finding myself wondering if a friend said, "I bet you can't work the word "barfier" into your next review. I bet you ten bucks!"

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hey kids!

I'm back from the wilds of Charlotte, NC. It was a great trip. Started with beautiful driving weather and a pit stop in Richmond to see Tyler on Thursday, then a cyclone of wedding activity following. Manicures, a bridesmaid's tea, rehearsal and the ensuing dinner, an evening out at a really nice place called Sonoma in Charlotte, hours of preparation before the main event, a gorgeous ceremony, a wonderful reception, a brunch, a quick meet up with Diana along the highway, a long drive home (well, longish -- it's supposed to take almost 7 hours, and I made it in 5.5 -- perhaps I drive too fast), and a gluttonous dinner with my dad last night. I am exhausted. Becky is married. Beth is under a few feet of snow in Ohio. I could make this a much longer and more deserving post about all the beautiful, fun, really great, perfectly planned and warm and welcoming things Becky & Erik and the Schappses and Lindhals did for us all, but I am really sleepy. And hungry. Full photo record here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Get Your Serve On

For the second year in a row, DCist is recruiting a team for Servathon. Last year I was part of our crew that helped to repaint Hine Junior High. It was great to make some time to help other people out; all throughout high school and college, I spent a lot of time volunteering for different organizations. In my old age, I hardly ever make myself find the time. (I guess I "volunteer" for DCist, and put in many many hours to that, but, music blogging isn't filling any significant community needs.) Anyway, having at least one Saturday a year on the books to make a contribution to the world rather than enjoy my hangover on the couch is a pretty great thing. If you'd like to participate on May 3, you can join Team DCist. All it takes is $20 and a day of your time. Or, if you can't make it but would still like to contribute, you can also donate money to our team.

In other DCist news, Exposed starts this Friday! I'll be out of town for Ms. Kinlein's wedding, but if it's anything like last year, it will be quite the event. The photos will be on display at Civilian Art Projects for a week or so past the opening, so even if you can't make it Friday you should try and get out there at some point. Take a look at some of the winning work if you need any convincing.

You won't believe how slash my slashes are for a woman my age

Catherine: amanda if i ever send an outlook invitation to you to have a three/some, please ignore it

That was the tail end of an IM conversation where I told Catherine about what I overheard at Mexical Blues last night. I'll repost the tale here. This would be an entire week's worth-entry into DCist's Overheard In D.C. feature. Heavy slashing ahead.

I was waiting for Sommer at a restaurant, and they put me right next to these two women. The first thing I notice is, they're wasted. Then I get a serious vibe, so I was like ok, lesb/ian first date. But as I sat and waited, and eavesdropped, I realized that one was married, and inviting the other to have a three/some with her and her husband. ("gary's totally fine with watching us enjoy ourselves if you're not comfortable with all three of us", etc.), so I keep listening. And pretending to read and re-read my menu. This restaurant — it's really small. I was less than a foot from both of them the whole time, and there was no attempt whatsoever to lower voices or be discrete. They're holding hands at the table, talking about how impressed with each others' b00bs they're gonna be.

I'm thinking, my god, this conversation was MADE UP by a DUDE. They were talking about ,for example, how should it start? Then they go into this long discussion of how they love kis/sing, and what kind of kis/sing they like. And what the progression of this thing would be — start with the ladies kis/sing, then the ladies having s/ex, and the husband joining in if she was comfortable. They continued to be wasted and reiterate parts of the conversation. Culminating in, "so, can i put you down for Friday?", and the other one saying, "so, Friday — you're going to have S/EX with gary and I? I have to ask. Just to be sure."

(at this point in the telling to CatAn, she said, "i would just like to say one big OMG right now, then i don't have to type it anymore.")

So they've decided on Friday. They're talking about how much they just want to kiss each other right now, but they're gonna wait. Then, to really seal the deal, the non-married woman sends the married woman an outlook invitation. To their thre/esome. That's when I realize, based on a couple non-sex-related statements, that they're COWORKERS. They were all, "nothing's gonna change! no matter what happens!" Right. Of course. There's no reason that would make things awkward. And, how did you even breech this subject to begin with?

That is the less-detailed version of the story of my unintentional exposure to thre/esome event planning. Be careful what you talk about in restaurants, guys.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The blaga continues

The Charlotte Allen fall out continues. Yesterday, DCist covered the WaPo's Outlook section editor's response. In summation: it was tongue in cheek, meant to provoke discussion, and successful. And, frankly, John Pomfret's (the Outlook section editor) explanation, in the form of responses to emails he received, is complete b.s. If this had actually been an article about the iconization and sexualization of a candidate, which is what he says they were pitched, it might have been interesting. That's not what this article was. Yet they still chose to publish it. And any investigation into Charlotte Allen's credentials shows that she is: a) not a satirist, but a very serious anti-feminist, and b) not a psychologist, a sociologist, or any other kind of professional armed with the skills to support the arguments she so clumsily made. If the Post wanted to cover this side of the election, they should have chosen someone who was actually qualified to do it.

Today, they've begun posting letters they received in response to the post. The first of which is a glowing approval. And all are posted under the headline, "Barack Obama and the Female Vote." A list of a few of the things wrong with that:
  • The actual article had nothing really to do with Barack Obama and the Female Vote. Beatlemania and Obamamania were mentioned in the intro, then forgotten in a litany of crap. This is not what the article was about, so responses to Charlotte Allen shouldn't be disguised as such.
  • There is no official response from the actual editor.
  • I know that the Post got much more strongly worded, careful critiques of the article than the ones they're publishing. I know this because I wrote one, and so did several people I know. They're posting a smattering of soundbites that don't do justice to the uproar this article caused.
  • The article garnered over 1,000 comments, 900 of which questioned why the Post published this piece. The Post hasn't officially answered that question.

Consternating Brushes with Technology

This morning, I was laying in bed, oversleeping and repeatedly hitting snooze, when my phone rang. My house phone. My land line. Assuming it was my dad, the only person who calls me at home in the morning, I groggily answered. I was greeted with a robotic female voice alerting me that she was Call Intercept, and someone was trying to get through to me. Then, I heard a recording of my good friend Tony saying his name. Tony's voice is pretty unmistakable, so I accepted the call and began dreading a morning trip to the courthouse to put up bail money or something of that nature. Then, after a confusing moment of connectivity, a different male voice picked up. One I don't know. I, in all my sleepy confusion, said, "Hello?" He said, "Hi, I'm trying to call my cell phone?" Then I said, "Hello?" again, and we did that whole thing a few times before he said, "I think I dialed the wrong number, bye." So I call Tony, and he is equally still sleeping and confused by the whole thing, and not in jail. So this morning I did a little light googling. Call Intercept is a Verizon service -- that neither Tony nor I have. Tony did switch to Verizon 2 days ago, so maybe some technical wires got crossed. But! He doesn't have my land line number in his phone. So basically, this whole thing makes no sense and I want to go back to bed.

It reminds me of the time in college that I tried to call Gavin's cell phone. At that exact same time, his mom was trying to call him too. Rather than connect either of us to Gavin's phone, somehow we ended up talking to each other. I don't think this whole system is as sophisticated as we usually assume it to be.

Federal Reserve Collective @ Iota

Last night Sommer and I went to check out the CD release show for These United States at Iota. The show was part of the Federal Reserve collective's monthly show at the club, which was an added bonus as it turns out. FR is a group of local musicians -- from the bands These United States, Vandaveer, Kitty Hawk, Revival, Rose and a few others -- who play together and share bandmates and write together and it's a whole mess of alt country, folky goodness. The First Monday shows let a bunch of different people take the stage and play 3 or 4 songs, while the roving cast of FR musicians join them on stage for different songs. They play new material, stuff they don't usually play live, covers -- it's more like sitting in on a rehearsal or a family get together than a traditional, polished show. But the results are just great. The ring leaders seem to be TUS' Jesse Elliot, Vandaveer's Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose, a woman who I haven't heard before but am now quite enamored with.

Last night we got great performances from (among others), Laura Burhenn, Brandon Butler, Josh Read, Roofwalkers, Rose, TUS and my new obsession, John Bustine. Oh my gosh guys, John Bustine! He sang the most honest, original love songs I've heard in quite some time. They were completely free of any cliche or artifice. It's not surprising that he could write songs like that, since he and his gorgeous red-headed girlfriend gave off that air of being just completely, totally and unflappably into each other. Or at least, that's what I gathered from seeing them across the room a couple times.

As you might imagine with a free-form kind of show like this, it went a little late. By the time TUS took the stage, it was past 11:30. Around midnight I turned into a pumpkin and went home, so I didn't see their full set. Which is a shame, because I love those guys. The crazy talented Tom Hnatow (who doesn't love a pedal steel?), Jesse Elliot and the violin/mandolin player whose name I can't find anywhere online, were joined by a roving cast of members of other bands. At one point there were 9 people on stage. I'm sure the rest of the show was really great too.

Oh! And this one guy -- Rob I believe? -- played drums and various other instruments with almost all of the lineups, and he was awesome. I don't know what band he properly belongs to, though.

In summation: You should all go to see the Federal Reserve, first Mondays of the month. And you should all go see any of the bands mentioned up there wherever else they play, especially Rose and John Bustine.

Update: I forgot to mention my favorite part of the show! Thanks DC Rock Club for reminding me. Josh Read performed a version of Leonard Cohen's "Halleluja", and requested the everyone there in the club sing along with the chorus. If you know that song, you know that it's emotive enough to make the Grinch's heart grow three sizes, so hearing a full chorus of concert goers sing "Halleluja" over and over was pretty magical.

Update 2: Also, I forgot to talk about what bothered me at the show. No, none of the music. Just your standardly rude D.C.-area crowd yammering through sets. Presumably, everyone there knew that they were attending an evening of quiet folk rock. Presumably, everyone there of their own volition wanted to actually hear that music and be respectful of the people playing it. Presumably, I'm an idiot for thinking that. The people playing asked several times for people to quiet down, which they would for a moment or two. But why do people have to be so damn rude? There was a perpetual back track of conversation to every act that played last night. Inexcusable.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I've gotten some strange comments on Flickr pictures before

But these made me nearly spit out the mouthful of Nerds I was eating. Because sometimes my diet is more like that of an 11 year old's. Anyway, back to the original subject. These aren't necessarily creepy, but is there an expected response? And, do we think that this person is, in fact, 11 years old? Maybe I should offer them a handful of Nerds. But, in answer to your question buc, yes, I do love cats, thanks for asking! And, though I do find them and most animals delightful, I think I prefer opposable thumbs to licking my own ass clean.

OK Urban Outfitters, What Gives?

These shirts. I do not understand them. First of all, nobody that weighs more than 120 pounds could possibly pull one of these things off. Or, pull one on, as it were. And negating the option of a bra, let's slice that down to a cool, slight and (likely) 14-year-old 110 lbs max. And that's probably pushing it.

And don't even get me started on this. Belly shirts were an evil, evil part of the early 90s that I hope never to see again. This tunic top thing we've had going lately, it's good! Let's keep the tunics alive!

But, I do applaud your Walkmen-inspired shorts.

You've probably all already seen this, but

If you haven't read the drivel Charlotte Allen wrote for yesterday's Washington Post, take a look (if you're in the mood for a lot of anger). Feministing (and every other blog in the known world) has been covering it very closely. The article, titled, "We Scream, We Swoon. How Dumb Can We Get?" is about why women are so dumb. Seriously. That's the whole thing. That, and lamenting why we insist on trying to be smart when we should just make lovely homes and be tender to children and men. While the whole misogynistic women thing is a school of thought that I don't understand, I'm aware that it exists. I don't get it. But, if you must, go nuts, self-loathing-ladies! I just can't believe that the Post would actually print such a thing. After receiving loads of angry letters to the editor (mine among them), they thought that diluting the teaser headline a bit would make everything better. So now we've gone from being stupid to just acting stupid. Thanks, WaPo! That fixes everything.

I should have included some of these links at first, but, follow the bouncing ball of outrage around the web. Ezra sums up exactly why the Post shouldn't have published the piece:
The author is not a neuroscientist nor even a psychologist. She's a provocateur, and a professional anti-feminist, and the editors at the Post were so enamored by the brashness of her argument that they gave no thought to either its truth or her familiarity with the relevant research. This is an article in which intelligence is compared, I shit you not, by comparing head sizes and driving records. It would be laughable if it were sitting on the reject pile. Instead, it's shameful, and the Post owes its readers an apology. Not, I hasten to add, because the thesis was so daring and our tender sensibilities must be soothed. But because the work was so shoddy and the author so poorly chosen. An op-ed page can only exist so long as the reader can trust the paper's judgment in assignments. That's what this piece calls into question.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I can't not blog this

Beth: we missed you
we'll be together next weekend [smile]
can you bring my underwear?