I'm a fighter, not a lover.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Tonight: Josh Rouse at Joe's Pub

Heading to Joe's Pub tonight to see one of my very favorite musicians, Josh Rouse. I've never seen him play before (he had a bad habit of not passing through Salt Lake City in the couple of years that I was there), so I really can't express how excited I am. It's the second night of a two-night stint and while I would have enjoyed two nights chock-full of J Ro, I thought that seemed a little groupy-ish.

Word is, he'll be rocking the acoustic sans band and testing out new material for his forthcoming release, Subtitulos, a documentation of his new life as a Spaniard.

MusicSnobbery has a review of last night's show with some photos, but--as someone who doesn't make it through a week without a Josh Rouse record or three--it was difficult to get through it. Perhaps I'm just being a MusicSnob, but then again, it seems like Rich on the Josh Rouse forum agreed...

Hear some stuff at MySpace.com/JoshRouse.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tonight: Colin Meloy, Laura Veirs @ Townhall

Colin Meloy, appearing at Townhall, 1.26.2006

Tonight, I'm off to Colin Meloy (solo) and Laura Veirs at Town Hall. (Front row seats!)

Laura Veirs, appearing at Townhall, 1.26.2006

Elsewhere: Back in November, So Much Silence posted some live Laura Veirs MP3s.

This is not 25: an IM sent to Jess

I accidentally just typed "tits" on a word doc

and started laughing


seriously, what's wrong with me?

This is not 25.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Oh no! It's poop again!

For those of you who have a sense of humor like mine (years past junior high, still affected by a good fart joke), you'll appreciate Matt's newish blog: Daily Droppings.

Where else are you going to find digestive descriptions that use lovely analogies like "splattering the bowl like paint whipped off a brush."?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Leo the legend

At my last job in Utah at a marketing agency of sorts, I had the privilege of working with one of the most delightfully eccentric people I've ever known: Leo. I've considered posting about him in the past, but as I was just telling a friend about him this weekend, the legend is fresh in my mind.

Leo is a couple of years my senior and like me, has a degree in journalism. He was hired for the same position that I was (interactive copywriter), but at the time, had no marketing experience. He proved to be a good writer and have a firm grasp of the English language, but was not entirely apt with client criticism and pushiness.

Leo fun facts:
-He's small in stature and bone-thin.
- Despite living in a desert climate, he carried a large umbrella wherever he went.
- Leo prefers more classic headwear than that of the contemporary young man. His favorite, as pictured, remains the fedora.
- Leo didn't drive--a feat for a town as geographically large as Salt Lake--and was at the mercy of a fairly poor bus system, often arriving at work full hours before anyone else.
- Leo got his first job, with the Salt Lake Tribune, by insulting a managing editor and telling him that his paper was full of errors. When the editor didn't believe him, Leo began correcting the newspaper by hand everyday and sending it to the editor until he was hired on to the copy desk.
- Leo is obsessed with the idea of the American hobo and in some ways tried to emulate that great character. Specifically, Leo would never tell us what his weekend plans were on a Friday, but would come in Monday with stories of great adventure--a last minute trip to Vegas for a go at the craps table; a secret desert party that he heard of while hopping Greyhounds for fun and talking to characters with one-word names; etc.

I miss having Leo in my life.
Anyway, the work was divided up as follows: I handled the big client and Leo was responsible for all of the little clients. My client was demanding, more so than it should have been, and often made poor decisions leaving me feeling distressed. On the rare occasion that Leo would have to fill in for me, he would say something like "I don't know how you do that everyday" and would appear visibly stricken from the dealings with the client.

When I left the company, I got this email from my friend Mark a couple of weeks later. I can't say I was surprised.

By the way, you are missing out on major drama here at good old Company Name. After two weeks of teetering, Leo cracked yesterday. He started writing copy straight from The Shining, then had a two hour meeting with the Creative Director, then took his dictionary and went home, muttering "If you don't see me tomorrow, you'll never see me again". Today he didn't come in to work, so the Creative Director made me go to Leo's apartment with him and make sure he was alive. He didn't answer, and when we got back there was an e-mail from Leo saying he was quitting and moving to San Diego. Oh, also yesterday he wrote a four page ramble about being a hobo. I am not making that up. So now we have zero copywriters, but I'm not allowed to tell anyone that Leo quit, and everyone is asking me what to do about copy like I know or even care.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Maine, Oz Skier, CHU1, etc.

It's the weekend already. Almost. Thanks to a couple of post-MLK vacation days, I rocked a two-day work week.

After enjoying the Sufjan show, Jess and I got real friendly with my car's bucket seating as we drove from Brooklyn to Bethel, Maine. The plan, two days of skiing and visiting some old friends, particularly Sherb, Jamie, and Jamie's little one, Sophia.

Unfortunately, we missed the antics of Oz Skier Dave by mere hours at the very condo we were staying at -- Sherb's Carriage House Unit #1 (CHU1). Ozzy has accepted a position in Boulder, CO, with Freeskier magazine and seems to think that means he can truly make an ass of himself in each of the New England states on his way out.

Oz Skier acting very domesticated after several beers at CHU1.

Despite missing the shenanigans, a good time was had. It's a fine place, Bethel, with good people. Pictured below is one of those good persons, one of the newest. I believe the intention of this photo was to demonstrate that at 5 months, she has much more hair than I do. (Note: I am 307 months.)

I really don't even know how to explain this photo.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Sufjan Stevens @ Allen Room (Jazz at Lincoln Center)

Saturday (1.14.2006), I witnessed something very special: a pretty remarkable hour of music from Sufjan Stevens and co. at the Allen Room.

The Allen Room is the disconnected, satellite venue for the Lincoln Center's Jazz at Lincoln Center. Located on the fifth floor of the Time Warner Center, it is a space worth celebrating in and of itself. It's comfortable, even vast for its 500-seat capacity, with incredible acoustics. What truly sets it apart is a fifty-or-so-foot window, immediately behind the stage, opening up on to Columbus Circle and Central Park.

I saw Sufjan Stevens and the Illinoisemakers in Salt Lake when they toured for Illinois. It was in a sweatbox of a brick club called the Lofi Cafe, full to fire capacity despite the incredible heat. The show was fun, full of high-energy performances and state cheers and left me satisfied. Saturday's performance was nothing like that.

I saw the earlier of the two shows on Saturday. Immediately from the initial strings of "Casmir Pulaski Day," the opening song, through the hour-long performance, it was clear that we as an audience were in for something incredible. Stevens appeared nervous, which was endearing. There were no pom-poms or uniforms with a large embroidered "I." Instead, just pure musicianship.

Amidst the rumors of Stevens abandoning his quest to document each of the 50 states through song; with all the hype of mainstream media promoting his 2005 release with overwhelming zeal; while he somehow became an American household name; he and an army of musicians (15 in all, I believe) played beautifully. Though the concert featured cuts from Illinois predominantly, favorites from Seven Swans and Michigan found their way into the set. Nearly every song was re-worked or expanded upon, offering an alternate composition complete with a sound far richer than the recorded versions. Sometimes, it was like hearing a favorite song for the first time. It was lovely.

Read more at The Village Indian and The Times.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The roommate cast of characters continues

At least this time, it's just a weekend housemate.

The dozens of (well, dozen, anyway) Finding DMo regulars will remember my roommate woes from Salt Lake. The situation grew to be so comical, that it really became less woeful, and more like something to look forward to. What will he do next?

Well, there's a new chapter in the DMo book of wacky people he's lived with.

This weekend, I met the girl who shares our floor in the Snobox. With Adam still out of town, I brought Jess to Vermont for the weekend. We rolled in fairly late to find our new housemate drunk. By herself. She proceeded to take us round and read various signage off the walls aloud to us. (Note: I'd already been to the house three or four times. Also note: I can read.)

Luckily, I had parked rather poorly and was able to flee the scene under the guise of digging my car from a snow bank, leaving Jess to fend for herself. Eventually, Jess came out to help with the car—or rather, to escape the wackiness.

"Dude. She showed me her collages."
"Oh no."


So, I admit I am very late to jump on this bandwagon. When it comes to all things TV, I generally am. My roommate can attest to that; as far as she knows, my viewing habits live and die with syndicated Seinfeld and baseball.

And then there's Arrested Development.

I'm not even in the current season. Jess and I are methodically catching up. It's hysterical. Maybe the funniest show ever.

Please, Showtime, pick up the show. Then, I would happily watch you without wondering why we pay extra for you. And maybe the show could even stop parodying itself.

Friday, January 06, 2006

How to raise a writer

David has always been good with words. He wrote his first story, Dan the Dinosaur, in grade one; a tale of love, loss and betrayal—or rather, a kid dinosaur's amusement park visit with his dinosaur parents, typeset in crayon.

That's the first paragraph of an "About" page on my (sadly un-updated) freelance site. It's true enough. I started playing with words at a young age. By second grade, I had Mrs. Chute's class workshopping short fiction. And while I no longer have any imagination whatsoever and haven't invented a plot more detailed than a white lie in years, it's my job to organize words. To play with them, like Legos or puzzle pieces, and build something on a page, or rather, on screen. Therefore, I feel it necessary to respond to Holly Hanke's "How to raise a child who loves to write" piece on MSN.

Take a moment to read it, and then let's dissect this mofo.

How to raise a child who writes

Writing doesn't come naturally to children. In fact, according to Publisher's Weekly, 40% of American eight year-olds can't even read on their own. How is writing going to come naturally to children then? Imagination, maybe, but I'm pretty sure that's out, too.

Keep the pressure on
To raise a writer, give your child every opportunity to face defeat, disappointment and constant judgment. Your goal at this stage is to prepare your preschooler for a life of incessant criticism often delivered through cutthroat passive aggression. Better yet, your goal should be to direct your preschooler toward math or science.

Don't experiment with antiquated writing tools
Seriously, by the year 2000, there probably won't even be an alphabet any more. Why let your preschooler play with crayons when she's due to have a microchip installed into her brain in just a few short years? If you must offer her a writing tool, provide her with an overly priced notebook computer of some sort, preferably a Mac so that she can start down the road of unearned elitism early. If nothing else, providing your preschooler with a computer early should ensure strong typing skills. This way, when she realizes 20 years from now that a degree in iambic pentameter may not prove all that lucrative, she'll make a fine personal assistant for someone who studied math or science.

Don't experiment with surfaces
See above. Your child should be using a keyboard, not an Etch-a-Sketch. Also, if you're child uses one of the obsolete writing tools to "experiment" on the surface of the computer monitor, put her up for adoption. She will probably grow up to be a "mixed-medium" artist, the only thing worse than a writer.

Model good writing habits
Young children are copycats. If you want your preschooler to grow up to be a writer, show them good writing. If he's not reading the Times on a daily basis and doesn't have Shakespeare's sonnets committed to memory by age 3, it's already too late. If he meets these criterion, point out that journalists, even for the nation's leading newspaper, are incredibly underpaid and under-appreciated. It may also be worth mentioning that 500 years worth of creative writers have been unsuccessfully measuring themselves against a man who made boys act as girls in his plays, and, by some accounts, died a virgin. Either way, buy your kid a chemistry set and point him toward science or math.

Use the computer
No shit.

Be dismissive
Turn away everything your child produces—even if it's good. (Don't worry, it won't be.) Remind your preschooler that Kerouac would write for hours, take his work and burn it without so much as reading it. He did this every day for a month leading up to beginning a new novel. Then say something like, "And yet, you hand me this. THIS! I wouldn't wipe my ass with this." It's really for the best. Otherwise, years later when workshopping her latest short short fiction piece, she may have a nervous breakdown in realizing that her readers didn't fully grasp the subtleties and complexities of a supporting character within the one-page document. Better yet, dismiss this idea of writing all together and raise your child to be an accountant.

Sidenote: To see how a real writer lives, not of the copywriting variety, but a real, living, breathing, beret-wearing young adult fiction writer about to be published (again), swing by Sara Zarr's site.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

DMo in a Nutshell

People seem to like to talk to me about three things:

1. Music

2. Skiing

3. iPods

Does that sum up my existence?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


When I was a boy, out of sheer boredom and frustratingly copasetic childhoods, the neighborhood kids and I would invent brilliant ways to harm ourselves. Some favorites included climbing to the top of a tall gravel pit, walking to its edge and playing King of the Mountain. Another good one: holding races down a large hill on Pinedale Avenue; our vehicles being old red wagons or plastic childhood cars we'd severely outgrown; loosening the wheels or otherwise altering the integrity of our shabby vehicles to make it a bit more interesting.

My favorite of these activities was a game aptly entitled "Stick."

Stick was brilliant in its simplicity and fairness. And it never ended; it could be started up again at a moment's notice.

How to play:
Pick up an item, let's say a stick. Choose someone. Yell "stick" and then mightily throw that stick at said person. Fun ensues.

The game is not limited just to its namesake. Oh, no. Anything is legal—so long as you follow the one rule, which is, simply, to give the person about to be struck with the object fair warning. So, if you picked up a book, scream "book!" If it's a television set, "TV!" A whole baked ham, "ham!" (Side note: I once threw a ham at my sister and while I followed the regulations of Stick, she was not at all happy about it.)

Why is Stick fair, you ask? Because there's always a warning. And it's specific. While you may not have time to react to the dead mouse that's being thrown at you, at least you know what you're in for. Violators of the one rule would be subject to having the whole of the neighborhood ganging up on them, Van Buren Boys-style.

Consider all of the times in adulthood when you've been blindsided with something. Wouldn't life be nicer if it were more like Stick?
-If a bad driver bellowed "car accident!" immediately before hitting your vehicle?
-If your boss walked into the office shouting "Shitty mood!"?
-If the bathroom walls echoed "no TP!" before your ass hit the seat?

I think so.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

2005: Music to my ears

This is hardly an MP3 blog. Some might argue, this is hardly a blog at all. And I'm no longer associated with a cool independent radio station, so I have no right to offer a top ten list or best of recommendations when it comes to the records of 2005. (Heck, even when I was associated with said station and asked to make such a list for the previous year, I was too non-committal to trim the list to ten entries.)

With no musical authority whatsoever, why bother compiling a laundry list then? It's a requisite to maintain a free Blogger account with Google.

So, buy these records. Or don't. This is no "Best of 2005," but they are my favorites and have taken up permanent residence on my iPod.

Acid House Kings, Sing Along With the Acid House Kings
Andrew Bird, The Mysterious Production of Eggs
Beck, Guero
Belle & Sebastian, Push Barman to Open Old Wounds
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
Bright Eyes, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, S/T
Devendra Banhart, Cripple Crow
Dr. Dog, S/T
Emiliana Torrini, Fisherman's Woman
Final Fantasy, Has a Good Home
Frank Black, Honeycomb
Harlan T. Bobo, Too much love
Iron and Wine|Calexico, In the Reins
John Vanderslice, Pixel Revolt
Jose Gonzalez, Veneer
Josh Rouse, Nashville
Laura Veirs, Year of Meteors
LCD Soundsystem, S/T
Lou Barlow, Emoh
M. Ward, Transistor Radio
My Morning Jacket, Z
Okkervil River, Black Sheep Boy
Portastatic, Bright Ideas
Richard Swift, The Novelist/Walking Without Effort
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, Cold Roses
Shout Out Louds, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff
Sigur Ros, Takk
Silver Jews, Tanglewood Numbers
Spoon, Gimme Fiction
Stephen Malkmus, Face the Truth
Sufjan Stevens, Illinois
The Boy Least Likely To, The Best Party Ever
The Decemberists, Picaresque
The Free Design, The Now Sound Redesigned
The National, Alligator
The Rosebuds, Birds Make Good Neighbors
Various Artists, Verve Remixed 3
Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary

Here's what the experts have to say:
Tiny Mix Tapes
Studio Moustache
In House Radio
Pitchfork Media

My favorite music blog appears to be too cool for school when it comes to posting a best of list.