Saturday, September 20, 2008

Why? @ the MFA in Boston, or The Hardest Working Band (Members) in the Industry.

I had the good fortune to get tickets to the Why? show at the Museum of Fine Arts last night. As usual, I had only thought about getting tickets but never did; friend Joe ended up being double-booked for the night so he gave Mo and I his. I'm so glad he did.

We were completely blown away, but also inspired by the performance. These four guys made the layered and convoluted magic of the last two Why? records into convincing indie rock show, getting the kids to stand up and dance despite the tame surroundings of the Remis Auditorium at the MFA.

The subtext of this post's title concerns a majority of the visual appeal of this band on stage. Drummer Josiah Wolf and muli-tasker Doug McDiarmid bookended the stage, juggling parts like expert circus performers. The studio tracks are pretty dense with instrumentation, and these two handle the lion's share of it when translating the songs live. Wolf manages a xylophone (and, at one point, bass), backing vocals, and drums simultaneously, while McDiarmid hunkers down behind the fender rhodes to cover multiple parts on keys, percussion, vocals, and guitar. They looked like pro's without looking like professionals. More like expert craftsmen.

Mo and I left the show with our heads buzzing. Seeing these four people so comfortable and so successful in their art made us think about the effort we do (or or rather don't) put into our own respective creative endeavors. We'll be starting our New Year's resolutions early this year. We're determined to not look back at our lives and wish we did more; we're convinced the members of Why? won't.

During the set, young people started to get up and stand in the aisles, but were kind enough not to get in front and make it harder for the more timid (seated) in the crowd to see. When they left the stage, though, we all stood and yelled for more and the crowd moved down to the front, massing around the stage. I thought that the MFA staff might throw a fit, but for all their zeal, the masses were respectful. Just a lot of people jazzed about the show.

When the band came out for their encore, they were clearly pleased with the development - smiles all around. It was one of those great moments where the crowd is moved by the band and the band is moved by the crowd. I've missed Why? other times when they've come through town, but I will never again.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Not dead, just busy...

As the title implies, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth or been devoured
by rats. The intensity of my work spiked severely in the past few weeks, so I've
been loath to even look my computer when I get home (or do ANYTHING for that matter).

Thankfully, I've been able to take a week off so I'm in a much better place right
now. Here's a quick recap of things I've wanted to write about:

1. Bike Day
We had a "Bike Day" a few Sundays ago. I indulged in the therapeutic properties of meaninglessly tedious and unnecessary hand labor. Namely, hand polishing old ball bearings from the gummy bottom bracket of an old three-speed we have. Sure they're cheap to buy new and the old ones are pitted, but I found it strangely calming to sit there and individually polish them of the (probably) decades-old grease.

The day was not without surprises. Can you guess where I found these things?

If you said the bottom bracket of the aforementioned three-speed I'd be a little freaked out, however accurate you might be. No lie, I found a dead earwig, dead wasp, and sunflower seeds when I cracked this baby open.

Also learned on that day - the secret to disassembling cotter-pin style cranks is hammering the shit out of them. Seemed rather barbaric as a means of servicing a bike, but it worked.

More when my pictures are uploaded

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Garden grows

Mo decided to plant our vegetables in the front yard this year, and it was a great decision. This little space has exploded with tomatoes, basil, and even soybeans. Homemade edamame rules, as does the other fruits (vegetables, and flowers) of our labor.

All picked on one afternoon. Today I took even more. This plant has pretty much exploded, taking up most of the real estate in our little front yard plot. It's as tall as Mo, a couple feet across, and bursting with fruit that's almost sweet as candy. Sunny days punctuated by summer storms have accelerated the process; soon the take will exceed our ability to eat and the excess will have to be given to friends and coworkers. Mostly we eat them like little snacks or throw them on salads. I've been trying to think of other recipes, the front-runners of which are pasta tossed with halved fresh cherry tomatoes, basil (also from the garden), and roasted garlic, or grilling them on a skewer with tofu marinated in balsamic vinegar and rosemary (which grows in back). I'll have to come up with more if we're to eat all that we grow - a welcome challenge.



There's more to come...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

New look, Manny traded, and water on Mars.

Not necessarily in that order. The blog needed a serious makeover, and I think this is a minor improvement. I'm not terribly confident in my design selections, but that tomato photo is nice.

As for Manny - I don't know or follow baseball regularly enough to earn myself a right to an opinion on the manner, but I was hoping he wouldn't be traded. For a guy whose interest in baseball only goes back a year or two, he was an entertaining and unorthodox figure in an otherwise stodgy sport. UPDATE: all that being said, Manny's replacement certainly had a auspicious start.

Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing is a woman after my own heart. In response to the amazing news that the Phoenix Mars Lander confirmed the presence of water on mars she wrote, "The future is pretty terrific, you know? And it's here."

Damn Straight.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Afropop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange - Mix

Mo and I caught this documentary tonight as we ate dinner, and were really touched by it.

The Afro Pop series seems to focus on the lives of Africans and pop culture. This profile of two young women, both DJ's in the hip-hop scene of South Africa is fascinating. I was reminded of the Style Wars documentary, especially when one of the girls' parents were expressing their lack of comprehension about her graffiti-style sketches.

The filmmakers, young Africans themselves, do a great job of just being with their subjects, both parents and children. Check your local PBS station to see if it's playing.

Muffin sunday

We usually put a little more effort into our Sunday breakfasts. The aging apples in the fridge didn't look appetizing as is, but they were a great excuse to make Spiced Apple Walnut Muffins (minus the walnuts) from Vegan Planet. The luxury of investing some time in a meal is a weekend treat for us, and a bright Sunday morning always seems like a good time to make a mess in the kitchen and bake something tasty.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Been thinking about starting this thing up again, after reading my boy Chris' blog for a while.

For your Saturday enjoyment:

It's a nice day. Go outside.