January 29, 2009

"Outlaw Pete"

Listening to Springsteen's latest CD; not bad, not bad at all, with elements of each of his last two albums, so there's thoughtful seriousness and there's simple good times. There's also just plain silliness: "Surprise, Surprise" ?!?!?!? If he sings this crap at halftime I'm pulling Born to Run out of its frame and replacing it with Elephunk.

Top 10 Albums*

  1. Abbey Road The Beatles
  2. Avalon Sunset Van Morrison
  3. The Best of... Earth, Wind & Fire**
  4. The Memphis Record Elvis Presley
  5. Tunnel of Love Bruce Springsteen
  6. The Miseducation of... Lauryn Hill
  7. Pleased to Meet Me The Replacements
  8. New Miserable Experience Gin Blossoms
  9. Music for the Morning After Pete Yorn
  10. The Vegetarians of Love Bob Geldof

*based more on my listening habits and taste than on any critical evaluation

**quite possibly the first album I ever bought; if not, it was 2nd after The Commodores Greatest Hits

January 25, 2009

January 23, 2009

Ima gonna be a Teacher!

I start my student teaching in February, and, surprise surprise, feel the urge to share with my 2 friends and countless strangers via the internet my thoughts and pearls of wisdom on how I can save the entire field of education, one third grader at a time.

So please come over here and follow my adventures. Or lay down odds on how soon I'll get pegged with an eraser.

Ideas and suggestions, including a new title, always welcome!

update: changed the title, and accidentally on purpose changed the address too (sorry. probably lost both my loyal readers)...

January 22, 2009

Do "FaceBook Anonymous" meetings have virtual donuts?

"Hello, my name is (your name here)*, and I am addicted to FaceBook."

Okay, so I'm not really addicted addicted, as in I cannot possibly stop. I could stop, any time I wanted. It's just that these multitudes of names, names of every person in my high school class, names of every person I worked with (oh wait, did I fire that guy?) and the names of every girl I ever had a crush on (hey, just thought of another one!), keep appearing in my head like a giant phone book being constantly flipped open to the various letters and scanned for any names I recognize.

I think at this point I'm just making up names, combining vague recollections of several people into one, and wondering why no one replies to my "Hey, remember me?" request for Friendship. I have found a couple of people I know, or knew, and want to keep our relationship in the past tense. And I have found a few ex-girlfriends that I don't want to bother, I want to let them try to move on with their lives, so I'll simply check their profile and stare at the screen for a few minutes... or so... every day. Twice. An hour. But that's not really "cyber-stalking" or whatever that latest FBI federal injunction paperwork said. Whatever. (just kidding, Stargirl)

Besides, I have other addictions, more real-world addictions, as evident by my ever-expanding pants size. And I have had other computer-related obsessions, so I know they all fade away eventually, and soon I can emerge from the stupor, shower and shave, re-introduce myself to the family, and move on with my life. Age of Empires (I can still hear the music in my head). Scrabbulous. Napster. LibraryThing (Yes, honey, I most certainly DO need every single book in the entire house stacked around my desk, by author, genre, ISBN number, and publication date!). Blogger.

Anyway, when you do get a "be my friend" beg request from me at 2:30 in the morning (I know, I know, you're checking on your stocks and only accidentally accessed your FB account) -- just ignore me.

*are we done with the anonymity, the faux cool or nonsensical user names? I kind of like the 1970's CB radio vibe from all the identity-masking screen names... Roger, RubberDuck34219, over and out!

January 20, 2009

President Barack Obama invades my mind at 2am...

I don't know if it's the 6pm Rockstar or the 9am Coronation, but my mind is racing and I cannot sleep. It's after midnight and that muse with insomnia has inspired some thoughts. She did not guarantee coherence though, but when the sun comes up tomorrow a lot of editing will be due...

When was the last time you were excited about, much less arranged your schedule to watch, a Presidential Inauguration?

When was the last time you were excited about a President?

...you looked forward to a speech?
...we were ONE nation -- under God, under stress, under-achieving, yet understanding we are stronger and better when we are together.*
...a President was not just on 50 magazine covers on the shelves, but also t-shirts without rude puns, games and puzzles, children's picture books? Cereal aisle, make room for the best selling Wheaties box of all time...
When was the last time I used paper and pen to write more words than a grocery list?

Why do we deify the man (my bad: The Man) before he even gets to sit as his new desk? Our adoration and anticipation is unlike our usual pop culture driven manner, to raise someone high in order to sit back and watch the spectacularly crushing and devastating fall -- usually on YouTube. No, we really, really, want Barack Obama to stay on that pedestal. We want and need him to exceed our expectations, if that's even possible, for him to pin our hopes high and then hold us up so we can actually reach them. Americans thrive on confidence, on momentum that carries through a tough stretch in the schedule. Obama is going to need those People magazine-able basketball abs and broad shoulders, because he may age quicker and deeper than any President -- the weight on his heart, his brow, his carry-a-nation back will gray his hair and line his face before our hope-filled eyes.

Barack Obama has more hyperbole draped over him than bunting on the Capital, but how soon will it fade? We don't want him to fail. But we don't need him to be FDR + JFK = Lincoln with good looks and the black vote, we just need him to stay the (true) course, to maintain our national values, as insanely diverse and diametrically opposed as some of them they may seem. We need him to hold us to our "that's what makes America great" creed: work hard, move forward, look out for each other, take pride. We need him to uphold our ideas even if everything doesn't turn around overnight, from worst-to-first in a Cinderella story first 100 days. Our nation needs to be lead so it can stop focusing on our failures (don't just blame Bush: he was ours, so his are ours, and always will be) and prime our attention on present and future successes. We have always followed our leaders closely, in that when they looked back over their shoulders we were right there, breathing the same air.

Moses. The Saviour. The Change. The Dream Fulfilled. There have been more capital letters used in describing and defining Obama then when listing Michael's Jordan's MVPs,** which is appropriate, given the hoops, the Chicago, the age****, and the iconic smile connecting the two. In more ways than one Barack Obama can become our first Presidential "superstar" -- while Clinton played the pop star, bringing a sense of cool to the White House lacking since, and decidedly, generationally, different than, the Kennedy reign, Obama has the Jordan-esque swagger, the detached, confident cool that can lead his team not just through the tough times but through all opposition to the trophy presentation. But never forget, he is a politician. And a damn good great one, so far, to get where he is, when he is, causing the cynic in me to temper the blind faith. Please, Mr. President, no cigars. Or interns. Or attempts to save the world for Jesus and Oil Conglomerates by eliminating a tyrannical dictator and his democracy-threatening weapons.

Mr. Obama, the words to describe why I am scribbling at 2am***** and eagerly anticipating your Presidency can be read as trite, generic, even devoid of real meaning. But you and I can still use these words and lend them the weight they need to stand out in our bleak, strained world, the credence required to be heard above the din of all other words and be repeated by an exponentially increasing collection of voices: Hope. Change. Together.

*In 2001 of course: The country at its most shocked and grievous, President Bush at his most Presidential, all bonded in a singular, searing moment.
** Five. So 5 x 3, plus 6 in the Finals... why am I doing the math, it's a metaphor!***
*** Simile?
**** The President is only 2 years older than MJ. But is 2 years younger than expatriate ex-King of Pop MJ, who is 50!
***** ...and typing, not very well i'm sure, at 3:21. goodnight.

January 19, 2009

dry rice chex?

Oh lordy, I hope not --

My professors seem to be leaving a lot out...

Jerry Seinfeld used to teach High School History?

Maybe I'll switch to being a History teacher -- looks easy!

ay yi yi... part of the blame as to why I'm so far behind on homework-- these books accidentally fell into the boys' backpack at the library. What's a responsible parent to do, but make sure my children are not exposed to inappropriate reading material?

Rock On is an account of a music-loving advertising dude getting to work for a major record label, and finding it's not all his rock 'n roll fantasy thought it would be... funny, great insights on business/corporate world, and the commercial aspect of music. Did I mention funny?

Michael Chabon (Kavelier & Clay, Wonder Boys) is one of my favorite authors. Maps and Legends is essays and commentaries, a bit autobiographical, touching on comic books, parents, marriage, Jewish-ness, and of course, gollems. Much recommended, and as with his Gentlemen on the Road I did read with one hand holding the book and one hand thumbing through the dictionary...

When You Are Engulfed in Flames is up to Sedaris' usual funny-ness, the part about being too sick to move getting me banished to the couch one night... He is no longer struggling to find himself or make it in the world, so these stories are more middle-aged, full of travel and domestic life; he does revisit childhood and his family, which is still a goldmine...

January 17, 2009

Dread, part 3

As I sit here typing this instead of my final case study (unstarted, due in 4 days) I do get that ol' familiar "sense of doom" -- but been there, done that, haven't gotten too much done in my life that wasn't put off 'til the last minute and up against a deadline.

So it's something different this time. It's something heavier, deeper, something that keeps getting turned away from. But just like that preposition at the end of the sentence, it's THERE; I can't ignore it, I can't move on. I've always taken pride in myself as a shallow person -- easy going, no drama, let it roll off my back and the sun'll come up tomorrow....

Maybe it's impending mortality. Maybe it's the other side of mortality. Maybe it's one of my mother's premonitions, the extra sense passed down and yet dormant all these years. I've had periods of my life filled with the fear of terrible things happening; everyone's wondered if an ex-spouse would die in a car crash, haven't they? No?

Hmmm.... Or this just a bit too much to share in cyberspace? Should I knock on wood or spectaclestesticleswallet&watch ? Have I doomed myself, or others, by confessing my sense of dread? Should I let sleeping dogs lie, or in this case, dieing dogs sleep?

should I learn how to spell "dieing"? that never looks right...

If she goes, he goes...

Not that this is an admission of guilt, or anything close to premeditation, but if The Wife ever goes missing there will be one clear sign that points to me as the guilty party: if that damn cat is nowhere to be found, I did it.

2-for-1 deal, buy 1-get 1 whacked at no extra charge -- whatever coupon I can find or deal offered on craig's list, if it includes disposing of a crap-droppin', couch-barfin', window-lickin', dandruff fur-sheddin' lazy fat ass of a cat, I'm reaching for the checkbook.

January 14, 2009

Dread, part 2

Maybe it's all the Unborn or Bloody Valentine ads that seem to be all over the TV lately, or the inverse relationship between the closer I get to looking for a job and the amount of imminent budget cuts, layoffs and school closings, or the weight of so many procrastinated assignments due next week...

But still...

January 12, 2009

Doom, Disaster, or just Misfortune?

Pittsburgh 35, Chargers 24

Ok, maybe that was it. I'm not an "end of the season, end of the world" kinda guy, so as far as unfortunate events that one is certainly survivable. Overcome-able. Shrug off-able.

But what if that wasn't "it"?

"It" being the sense of impending bad coming my way. Just an anticipation, like knowing the doorbell is about to ring right before it does, or heading for the kitchen right before the timer goes off. Don't know if it's a big bad or a little bad, a personal bad or global bad, but it's out there, waiting for me, getting ready for me....

January 5, 2009

all-time top 10

Here's the one that needs a little editing... and yeah, the easy choice is kick Hall & Oates to the curb, but don't pretend you didn't groove to those sweet harmonies back in the day!

    1. "Ticket To Ride" The Beatles (1965)
    2. "The Letter" The Box Tops (1967)
    3. "Can't Find My Way Home" Blind Faith (1969)
    4. "She's Gone" Hall & Oates (1973)
    5. "Samba Pa' Ti" Santana (1974)
    6. "Jungleland" Bruce Springsteen (1975)
    7. "Telephone Line" ELO (1979)
    8. "Bad" U2 (1984)
    9. "Skyway" Replacements (1987)
    10. "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over" Lenny Kravitz (2000)
    11. "The Middle" Jimmy Eat World (2001)
    12. "Maybe Tomorrow" Stereophonics (2003)

uh-oh... no Tom Petty? no Van Morrison? Angie Stone? Gonna have to work on this list...

January 4, 2009

my musical obsession

I tell the boys, more times than they care to hear I'm sure, If you're going to do something, do it right -- that's my justification for spending gazigllions of hours the past few weeks obsessing over my iTunes. My "problem" (as my iTherapist insists I call it) started when I began putting songs into decade playlists -- the 60's, 80's, etc. -- and noticing the years listed for many songs didn't match the original release date of the song/album, but were for the remastered re-issue, or the greatest hits album, or whatever. But that simply will not do, so I had to go through and change the dates, which involved a lot of research on that bastion of reliable knowledge, Wikipedia, and various other music-related sites to cross check and verify information. On the one hand I felt like I was wasting a ton of time and energy, on the other hand I convinced myself it was necessary for historical accuracy and good research practice for future educational endeavors...

And since it is the turn of the years and time for "best of" lists, I put together a few of my own Top 10 collections -- trouble is I can't count, and need to make some cuts to actually have 10 songs on my top 10 lists...

Top 10 Songs of 2008 (really not in any particular order)

  1. "See These Bones" Nada Surf
  2. "Dig, Lazerus, Dig" Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  3. "Troublemaker" Weezer
  4. "Gravedigger" Willie Nelson
  5. "Viva La Vida" Coldplay
  6. "Alligator" Foxboro Hot Tubs
  7. "Dirty City" Steve Winwood featuring Eric Clapton
  8. "I Will Possess Your Heart" Death Cab for Cutie
  9. "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?" She & Him
  10. "27 Jennifers" Mike Doughty

some of those might be from '07, but I can be a little slow to pick up on things... any you like that I missed and need to give a listen to? Let me know...


I'm seriously considering chucking this hunk of plastic and wires off the roof -- computers, who needs 'em? I tried joining the Luddites, but couldn't find their website...

But no, I'm back, back in the saddle again -- got the new hard drive (see: "The Crash of '08"), stayed up into the wee hours replacing, organizing, refining all that was lost in the crash, starting with the top priorities of all priorities: iTunes!

Homework? Bills? Christmas shopping? Puh-leeze! gotta get those playlists and album cover art just perfect, or nothing else in this world matters much...

So of course after getting everything set up I download some vital HP update and the whole deal freezes and refuses to do anything except let me attempt to repair it the wrong way, resulting in a 100% resetting back to the beginning, as in when I first took this thing out of its box -- a nice message popped up "Congratulations on your new purchase!" So I started all over yet again...