YARGH! Perhaps this will be the year of MISSED concerts

Snow Patrol, OK GO, and Silversun Pickups all at the same venue? No problem! Except both nights sold out before I even heard about it. I debated about the Philly show, but I was just too lazy.

Well, what about the Klaxons? That show should rock. Too bad it sold out before I heard about it.

Hey, maybe Robyn Hitchcock is touring again – I stupidly missed him at Maxwell’s last year, and I am dying to see him live. Alright, two nights at the Knitting Factory! Of course, that would have been more useful if I found out more than 50 minutes before the second night.

I completely missed out on the 5 nights of Arcade Fire in February, but I know they’ll be hitting New York City for their full tour. And tickets don’t go on sale until 10 AM March 30th… Aw crap. I even knew about that in advance, but was stuck in my car at the time. Even the Philly show was sold out. But now they’ve added a third NYC show – at Radio City Music Hall! And it’s already sold out…

I can’t miss out on three nights of the Cold War Kids in April or three nights of Beirut in May, can I? Well, if they’re all sold out already I can…

So I’m like 1 for 20 so far this year. That’s a great average. At this point I’ve got to list my MUST SEE shows and order tickets ASAP:

4/6 – Low @ Webster Hall ($20) – Saw them last year, but would love to see them again.
4/14 – The French Kicks @ Maxwell’s ($12) – Can I really make it after the wedding?
4/14 – Calla & Dirty on Purpose @ Bowery Ballroom ($15) – Not sure if I can make either, but now I’ve got a tough choice.
4/17 – Art Brut @ Bowery Ballroom ($16) – My sister says they are awesome live.
4/19 – Balkan Beat Box & Golem ($15) – Alright, now I’m just getting overly ambitious.
4/25 – Faithless @ Webster Hall ($35) – The price is a little steep, but I’ve been needing a good techno show.
4/28 – Dean & Britta @ Maxwell’s ($15) – Luna was always amazing at Maxwell’s.
4/29 – Yo La Tengo @ Webster Hall ($25) – It’s been too long…
5/1 & 5/2 – Peter, Bjorn & John @ Webster Hall ($20) – I wish the new album would hit eMusic.
5/5 – Brightblack Morning Mountain @ Mercury Lounge ($13) – This could be absolutely mesmerizing or dull as all get out.
5/5 – Ted Leo + the Pharmacists @ Webster Hall ($19) – Probably a better bet this night.
5/8 – Blonde Redhead @ Webster Hall ($22) – These guys are just crazy.
5/10 – Sloan @ Maxwell’s ($20) – No way am I missing this one!
5/13 – The Album Leaf @ Bowery Ballroom ($15) – Saw them open for Sigur Ros years ago.
5/28 & 5/29 – The National @ Bowery Ballroom ($18) – Two nights are already sold out. I’ve been listening to them like crazy lately.
5/29 & 5/30 The Bravery @ Irving Plaza ($20) – Do I risk their next album not being a sophomore slump?
6/8 – Joss Stone & Common @ Summerstage ($37.50) – On sale tomorrow morning…
6/15 – Voxtrot @ Webster Hall ($18) – I wish they had more music out.
7/24 – John Mayer & Ben Folds @ PNC Bank Arts Center – I got sick and missed the show Lisa and I had tickets for. But with Ben Freakin’ Folds there, how can I miss?
8/5 – The Police @ Giants Stadium – Holy carp! I’ve already got tickets!
8/9 – Daft Punk @ Coney Island ($47.50) – That’s a lot of money, but did you see their performance at Coachella last year? LEGENDARY!

Alright, that’s way too many then I expected. The MUST SEES are Sloan, Yo La Tengo, Joss Stone, and (obviously) The Police. We’ll see how many others I can actually make it to. If you’re interested in any of them, let me know. Companionship makes it much easier to be an indie geek.

What’s your poison

For my second round of “I’m trying to live a cheaper and healthier life” I present the age old question, what the hell do you drink? I’m serious. I’m terrible at keeping myself hydrated. You would think that’s a basic skill for survival. You don’t hear people complaining that they just don’t get enough air during the day. But I have chapped lips and dry skin on a regular basis because it will take me hours to figure out that I haven’t had anything to drink in awhile.

So I’ve been working more and more at drinking regularly throughout the day. Once I realized that downing an entire six-pack of Amstel Light at work would be frowned upon (“Hey, it’s light beer!”), I decided to move towards something less… alcoholic. But this made me realize that options for liquid refreshment can be very limited.

You’ve always got the ol’ standby of water. Sure, it quenches your thirst and by definition it has to have some hydrating effects, right? But it can just get so boring. The things got what, 3 atoms per molecule? What’s up with that? You’d think after all these millennia they might have improved it with a little more than your typical fluoride injections and lead deposits. But no, I’m still paying a premium for the classic H-2-the-O…

There’s iced tea – but something tells me trying to sun brew in my server room will cause at least a minor disaster. The vending machine is filled with soda – but Lisa Simpson ruined that for us… Seriously, what is there to drink anymore?

At home I got on this mega cranberry juice. Fortunately you can buy that in just about any flavor but… well… cranberry juice. I think they do make it like that now, but in order to drink it I cut it with some seltzer water. Yup, just fill a glass to the brim with seltzer, and a few drops of cranberry will do it for you. But all that mixing of drinks is bound to make a mess of my desk. So now I find myself splitting time between aspartame water from Target and Vitamin Water – which sounds much healthier but costs a lot more. What’s a semi-adult to do?

I miss my youth of drinking a gallon of whole milk a day and maybe some purple stuff late in the afternoon. I blame Sunny D for all of my woes…

You get what you pay for

The wife and I had one of those typical “Blah blah we’re broke blah blah” talks the other night. Alright, we’re not actually broke, but thanks to the wonderful tax department here in sunny Essex County (remind me to send them a fruit basket or something) as well as my somewhat capricious youth (did I really drink that much in Hoboken?) things are pretty tight around here. Aside from the usual bank robbery plans we’ve been coming up with other ways to cut down on expenses.

One of the big ones is food. I mean, seriously, do we really need to eat EVERY day? There’s probably some stupid report that says we do, but imagine the time AND money you could save… Back in the real world, however, we have a bad habit of eating out. Not so much at night these days, but for lunch. The problem is that the Wife (perhaps I should capitalize to make it more formal) is as lazy as I am when planning ahead – at least for meals. Typically we have to be so hungry that all energy has drained from our bodies and we can barely slither off the couch to the kitchen before we’ll start planning “what’s for dinner”. So imagine how successful we are when thinking up lunches before work…

Now, I think I had a totally different point when I began to write this post, and wouldn’t you know the darn thing got me all confused. My point was that I am willing to try to save money when it comes to eating, but only if it is helping me eat better – not cheaper. As you all know, I bear just an ever so slight affection for Whole Foods. Alright, if we could afford it I might just quit my job and work as a stock boy so that I could be there all the time! Regardless, the most common complaint about them is the price of the food. And while I agree that it is overall pricier than most supermarkets my question is, so what?

Sure, I’ll look for cheaper alternatives in some cases, but I’ll pay the extra dollar or so to have eggs from cage-free chickens or produce that hasn’t been sitting around for days or fresh chicken sausages that are healthier and tastier or organic milk that doesn’t make me fart so much doesn’t bother my stomach like regular milk… You get my point. I’m getting more into this whole kick of “you get what you pay for”, because I’ve realized that sometimes you have to pay a premium if you want quality goods. And what better time to spend that premium than on something as vital to your life and health as food.

Suddenly this post is sounding like a really bad advice column. But to tie it back in with the second paragraph, we’ve actually started buying groceries that can be formed in one shape or another for easy transport to work for consumption. Believe it or not (and this will shock anyone related to me reading this) I currently have a bag containing ham, cheese, and lettuce wrapped in a bread-like substance waiting for me in the fridge. No, it’s not a sandwich (it’s a roll-up!), but it’s darn close. And the thing is, we still bought quality food stuffs to put it together. I may not be eating at Panera everyday, but that doesn’t mean I have to switch to eating processed meat by-products on bleached bread just to save money…

Holy crap, I think I tied all of my points together! Go me!


Alright, I know most of you guys already hang on every little post by CuteOverload as though it were spilling from a bottle of 18 year old Macallan… wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, just in case you missed these two posts, I give you the most heartbreakingly adorable videos known to man:

If you don’t exclaim “OMG!!!” at least 3 times while watching these clips, then I must presume thy heart be made of the blackest coal…

Tab clearance 2007-03-23

Let’s start with a roundup of kottke links and see what else we got:

Alright, I swear, no more links from kottke for today!

And although I’m trying to avoid politics on this site, I was impressed to read Brian Wood’s take on the generic “Do you support the troops” question. Khaleed’s take is even more in line with my own feelings, as my answer has clearly changed after the last year or so as I’ve re-evaluated the situation. For those of you who would balk at a contrary response, I have a little story. A student at the school my wife teaches at joined one of the branches of the military (I forget which one, and don’t really care) so he could head out to Iraq. His goal wasn’t to “save freedom” or “promote democracy”. No, he wanted to become a sniper so that he could kill people. So I ask you, do you support him?

Another year of concerts begins

Last night marked my first concert of this rapidly aging new year. A few years ago, live music had become a rather rare occurrence for me. Gone were the days of random Friday night appearances at Maxwell’s to check out bands. No more semi-monthly runs into NYC to catch a hot new act. For awhile it was just picking up tickets for the latest Pearl Jam concert and watching the rest of the musical world pass me by.

Thankfully a couple friends helped pull me out of that funk, and over the last year and a half I saw plenty of awesome shows. To kick off things off this year I met up with my sister Maureen over at the beautiful Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Jersey City to catch the first night of The Decemberists’ tour. For some reason I put off really listening to this band, but once The Crane Wife came out, I just couldn’t ignore them anymore. Not only are they brilliant with their complex songwriting and conceptual themes, but they are fun and completely lacking the pretentiousness you might expect from such music. And that shows up most in their live performance.

The opening act, My Brightest Diamond, had some real highlights (most noticeably Shara Worden’s exquisite vocals) as well as the occasional meanderings that you come to expect from a good (but not great) opening act. I’ve been meaning to check them out after seeing her perform with Sufjan Stevens, and this was a decent introduction. But there was no way for her to compete with the main act. Not that this is a competition… which is good, because they would have lost…

Anywho, I just can’t say enough good things about The Decemberists these days. Unlike so many of the recent indie sensations, they seem to be improving with each release. That’s not to say that their old material was weak – on the contrary, I downloaded their first two albums from eMusic after already getting the last two and am enjoying them. Still, it’s undeniable how much they seem to have grown with The Crane Wife.

To give you a sense of the show, here’s a clip from the fall:

That was a great opener, but it was a couple songs later when they played “The Infanta” that the audience was brought to their feet. Colin Meloy (and Chris Funk) has a great stage presence and really gets into it with the audience. You can’t help but feel like they are just as excited to be playing the music for you as you are to hear them play it. My point is, if you haven’t checked them out yet, do it. And if you’re thinking about going to see them live, do it.

And to answer Jess’s question, apparently their bandwagon isn’t quite full yet. Last night (and tonight) didn’t sell out. Thankfully New Yorkers are too snobbish to take a 15 minute train ride to see a great show because it’s in Jersey… No problem by me – we picked up some good seats about 15 minutes before the show.

Greatest promotion ever

You all know that today is free iced coffee day at Dunkin’ Donuts, right? All day long, just walk right into a Double D and get yourself a free 16 oz. iced coffee. It’s in celebration of the first day of Spring or something. In reality it’s just to thumb their noses at Starbucks who only did it for like 2 hours.

Now why is this the greatest promotion ever? BECAUSE IT”S 31 FRICKIN” DEGREES OUTSIDE! WHO WANTS ICED COFFEE TODAY?!?!

Regardless, I already got mine. I asked for caramel, but she gave me amaretto instead. That’s fine by me as it’s good, too. Besides, I’ll just go back and get a free caramel one later. And maybe a hazelnut one later. Who cares, they’re free! And if they recognize me at this one, there’s like 10 others within a 2 mile radius. I have to imagine that someone is running a contest to see how many Dunkin’ Donuts you can hit up in one day…

Tab Apocalypse

I managed to screw up my sessions yesterday despite my cool setup in Firefox and closed over 20 tabs that I was checking out and possibly linking…

Oh well, there’s too much crap on the Internet anyway. There is at least one link that I can’t forget – this weekend zefrank posted the final episode of the show. I wish I had watched it more regularly, because it was one of the best executed ideas on this wacky thing called the Internet. At least the archive will remain for those who want to go through it.

I never even thought to check before, but it turns out that zefrank does maintain a blog. I was very excited to subscribe, only to be confronted with a partial feed (i.e. the entire entries do not show). What’s even more bizarre is that his entires are only little snippets to begin with! So I have to click out of Google Reader to go to his page to read the last few words. That’s just silly.

I’ve recently just been unsubscribing from sites that use partial feeds (The Sneeze and finslippy are two examples) because it interrupts the flow of reading. If you really want me to visit your site, make the content good enough that I’ll feel compelled to comment or give me some other added reason to click through. If you really need the advertising revenue, just throw one on at the end of the feed anyway – that doesn’t bother me at all. But I skip reading half of those entries anyway because I never get around to reading it at the site itself. So either way, you’re losing me as a reader.

Bad start

This morning I was woken by the phone. Lisa answered it, but I decided to get up anyway. While she spoke to her friend, I checked my e-mail and found a message from my sister. Her father-in-law passed away. Lisa then told me that it was a good friend of hers calling because her father was killed in an accident yesterday. That is not the way to begin a morning.

So yeah, I’m a tad distracted…