Friday, August 29, 2008

Hopeless? Hope more.

When Clinton was President, I didn't worry much about our country. A lot of that can be chalked up to youth and inexperience and general apathy, but there was more to it than that. Our basic civil rights weren't in constant jeopardy. Our economy was strong. Higher education was looked at as something everyone should strive for and could achieve. And, I didn't worry because it seemed like the world generally liked us.

Cut to now, eight years after Clinton. Eight long years of Bush and his ilk. I thought the first four years were bad, but then half the American population disappointed me again and voted him back in for four more years of power. Bush's reign looks at renewable energy sources as the stuff of hippies, higher education as elitist and the Bill of Rights (except for the Second Amendment) as toilet paper. They've nurtured a culture of fear and that fear has become a curtain behind which Bush and his cronies are rolling around on piles of cash. Worse than that, though, is the way America now looks to the rest of the world. We're bullies. We're greedy. We're stupid. We're assholes.

Last night, I watched Barack Obama give a speech that echoes my feelings about the current administration, the direction it has taken our country and the place where we can and should be in the future. For the first time in ages, I felt inspired and hopeful and really believe that this man is exactly what America needs at this moment in our history.

Personally, I don't just want him to be our next President, I need him to be our next President. I can't take another four years of feeling like the America I love is degrading into something that doesn't make me proud. I can't take another four years of the status quo and backward thinking. If McCain is elected, I couldn't take knowing that over half of the people in my country thought that his ideas and policies - which are Bush's ideas and policies - are the best thing for the United States of America right now. And if you don't think that McCain's agenda isn't right in step with the Bush Administration, think again.

There will be those who say that McCain isn't a Bush/GOP puppet - he's got the Straight Talk Express, after all! Oh, really? Seem's the Straight Talk Express has derailed and taken McCain's ability to think for himself with it. Case in point:

McCain's Prickly TIME Interview

Published on Time Magazine's Web site yesterday, this interview does nothing for McCain, other than show the world that he's not the straight-talking man he was even a year ago. Here's an excerpt:
What do you want voters to know coming out of the Republican Convention — about you, about your candidacy?
I'm prepared to be President of the United States, and I'll put my country first.

There's a theme that recurs in your books and your speeches, both about putting country first but also about honor. I wonder if you could define honor for us?
Read it in my books.

I've read your books.
No, I'm not going to define it.

But honor in politics?
I defined it in five books. Read my books.

[Your] campaign today is more disciplined, more traditional, more aggressive. From your point of view, why the change?
I will do as much as we possibly can do to provide as much access to the press as possible.

But beyond the press, sir, just in terms of ...
I think we're running a fine campaign, and this is where we are.

Do you miss the old way of doing it?
I don't know what you're talking about.

Really? Come on, Senator.
I'll provide as much access as possible ...

The entire interview is an excellent read and very insightful regarding the state of affairs with McCain's campaign at this point.

As much as I want Obama to be our next President, I'm not getting my hopes up too much. My faith in American voters flew out the window four years ago, and I don't think it would surprise me to see ignorance prevail again. This is especially true given McCain's choice for a running mate - Sarah Palin, a 44 year-old conservative Christian woman governor from Alaska. She's young, she's conservative, she's devoutly Christian, she's anti-abortion, she's pro-ANWR drilling and, most importantly, she's a she.

I'll admit, demographically, Palin's a perfect choice for McCain's running mate, which is a little scary - the voters who are scared to vote for a black man will think themselves enlightened beings by voting for a woman. Then there will be those pro-Hillary feminists who for whatever reason (*cough* racisim *cough*) can't get themselves to vote for Obama, so they'll jump ship to McCain's dinghy which is now co-piloted by God and a woman. Those people will say it's his inexperience they aren't keen to, which I think is sort of a cop-out excuse.  Political experience is not the same thing as understanding or wisdom. It is but one element of what makes a good President, and other elements are equally important. It is in that spirit that I refuse to get too excited over Obama until the last vote is counted.

Even still...

... a girl can hope.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Good things come in small packages.

Sometimes, especially with technology, bigger isn't better. Case in point, my new toy:

The Acer Aspire One has an 8.9 inch screen, runs Windows XP, has a 120 gig hard drive, a gig of memory, and weighs in at an ultra-portable 2.2 pounds. The moment I saw this little beauty in the MicroCenter ad today, I was more than intrigued. After a bit of research and some hands-on experience after work, I was sold.

Is this something I need? Probably not, but it's hella cool and actually pretty inexpensive, so there you go. It's an excellent Web browsing device, and will be perfect to take on our travels this Fall.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Let me entertain you.

Finding out about a new band or album that can potentially become a new favorite is one of life's many pleasures, like discovering a TV show you really love, or a new restaurant you can't wait to get back to. I've been on a mission as of late to broaden my musical horizons and with that in mind, I present to you a few of the CDs I've been listening to recently:

Hotel Lights - Firecracker People
Darren Jessee, former Ben Folds Five drummer and co-songwriter, formed Hotel Lights in 2005 as a way to put out there the kind of music he always wanted to write. Sort of alt-country, very relaxed, mellow, lots of guitars and synth. I think someone described it as atmospheric, which makes perfect sense. The whole album feels familiar and comfortable, like a front porch on a still, quiet late-summer day, with Elliott Smith hiding in the bushes.

M. Ward - End of Amnesia

Sort of hard to describe - think a little Tom Waits, a little Nick Drake, mixed with some really cool sound effects and the occasional slide guitar. It's laid back and cool, but smart and clever, too. I've listened to this one before bed the last couple of nights and have slept really, really well. There's a timeless quality to this album, and it sort of feels like I'm listening in on someone's dreams from the past or the future.

Ludo - You're Awful, I Love You
Guilty pleasure here. It's not the greatest album in the world, but there are enough theatrical moments to keep me listening. "Love Me Dead" is probably the best track, but the others are nice, brainless ear candy with an overly-dramatic emo slant. I'm a sucker for theatrical with a dark twist, hence my affection for My Chemical Romance. Ludo tries really hard to fit in that niche, and does a respectable job, but sometimes the lyrics are almost too clever, as if the band is a little too pleased with itself. If you can get past the forced wit, it's a decent listen. As I said, guilty pleasure.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

It was a weekend of new shoes and free food. Oh, and some friends got married.

On Friday night we headed out to Yard House to find the place absolutely packed. No worries, though - after a short 15 minute wait we were seated and a short time later, we were filling the hungry void. I learned a valuable lesson on this visit: I don't like ales. Give me a stout, a porter, darn-near anything with wheat in the name, and I'll probably like it. I do not, however, like many of the ales I've tried. And now I know. After dinner, we hit up the Nike outlet and I bought my first pair of decent sneaks in years.

On Saturday, Mr. Awesome and I paid our yearly respects to future college graduates by volunteering to help them set up their computers to connect in the residence halls. We are saintly, I know.

Saturday night, we headed out south to celebrate the marriage of our friends Chris and Heather, who are, as I type this, most likely floating around one of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes on a houseboat. Their reception was memorable for many reasons, not least of which was the homemade disco ball put together using a punching bag and a car battery. Congratulations, Chris and Heather! Thanks for the great party and for feeding us on a Saturday night. And thanks for all the booze. And the chocolate covered sunflower seeds. Who knew those were so delicious?

Sunday I ventured north to take my dad to lunch at one of Bethany, Missouri's premier dining establishments, the Toot Toot. They have a buffet, and lots of old dudes in trucker hats. Apparently, they have good prime rib on Saturday nights. On Sunday afternoons, they have old dudes with trucker hats and gravy.

As hard as it was to surpass the greatness that is a meal at the Toot Toot, Sunday evening proved to be a true competitor as Mr. Awesome and I were guinea pigs for the Anderson's first foray into the glorious world of smoked meats. My friends, I'm telling you I've never enjoyed a piece of meat so much in all my life (that's what she said). Brisket and chicken were accompanied by grilled corn(s) and yummy fruit salad. It was all washed down with a viewing of Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. Aside from much grossness and not enough Neil Patrick Harris, I laughed much and enjoyed it. For your drooling pleasure, I present a picture of the smoked brisket:

Monday, Monday brings us the first day of classes and frantic students and instructors and literally hundreds of phone calls, which we all tried to handle as best we can. I must say, though - it is truly astonishing to me that an 18 year-old college student doesn't know what a laptop power supply is. "Is that the blue cord?" Um, it's the one that plugs into the wall, genius.

Monday evening found us eating boiled shrimp and relaxing on the deck. The weather is beautiful, which is sort of weird since August in KC is notoriously awful. Maybe the Chinese finally figured out how to manipulate weather, and they're feeling generous to us Midwesterners.

Today will probably be another hectic day, but such is farm life.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Real vs. Fake

Rolling Stone has a terrific interview with Ben Folds about his leaked version of Way To Normal and how it compares to the real version we'll hear in September.
"I may be on crack, but I think if that was half the real record, it'd be good," he adds. "Everyone I know keeps wanting to put it in and play it. We're all not honest these days about the way we listen to music. It all has to have context. I think some people hate it because they were told it was a joke. In the end people got free songs and we had something to do on July 11."

He says the fake songs were all recorded on one night in Dublin. That's talent, people.

Personally, I really like the fake songs, and hope to hear at least some of them in concert this October. I'm avoiding the real versions until the record hits the stores on September 30th. That date can't come soon enough!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I read 4chan so you don't have to.

I'm going to admit something to you that will either skew or solidify your impression of me. Then again, it will probably make no difference one way or another, because you won't know what I'm talking about. Anyway, my confession is this: Sometimes I read 4chan (don't click that link - read the disclaimer below)... and I like it. In fact, I find much of what goes on there quite hilarious. Now, I'm talking about the tame places, people - the Interests section, the Creative section, that sort of stuff.  I don't venture into the other arenas because frankly, you can't unsee what has been seen and there's not enough brain bleach or unicorn chasers in the world to get some of that stuff out of your head.

DISCLAIMER: 4chan is not safe for work. It's probably not safe for home, either. I don't recommend you go to 4chan. You probably won't like what you find there. It will make your head hurt until you figure out what's going on (if you ever figure it out at all). 4chan is not for the faint of heart, nor the tender of spirit.

However... as I said, I go there sometimes, and find hidden gems of genius, which is why I'm posting about 4chan tonight. Some god-like epicure posted a recipe that I will have to try sometime when I'm craving something chocolaty:
Two Minute Brownies

4 tbsp flour
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp oil

stick it all in a coffee mug

microwave for a minute and a half


Some brave souls tested it out and found it to be pretty good. Recommendations included mixing the stuff really well, adding a bit more sugar, adding chocolate chips, and whatever you do, don't use olive oil or the brownies will be full of fail.

If you try this, let me know how it turns out and I'll do the same.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I hate Mondays.


We're backing out of a parking space at Planet Sub on Main St. today. We're almost out of the spot, shifted into drive to move forward, and we noticed an enormous Lexus SUV backing out of the handicapped spot behind us. We lay on the horn for what seemed like an eternity to no avail - the SUV smacked right into the side of our beloved Prius, causing an ugly dent right above the wheel well. We'd managed to drive it for over a year and half without so much as a door ding. I am not pleased.

We pull back into our space, and I get out of the car. I head over to the SUV who has pulled back into the handicapped spot to find two teenage boys getting out of the car. They're obviously not handicapped, and have no handicapped plate or placard. Nice. "I'm going to need your insurance information," I say, and head back to my car to assess the damage and start taking pictures.

About 2-3 minutes pass, and one of the boys says that his mom is on the way. He apparently doesn't have any insurance information. I nod at him and say, "alright."

Mr. Awesome is by this time on the phone with our insurance agent, who tells us that because the accident happened on private property, we'd need to walk it in to the police station.

About another 5-7 minutes pass, and the mom shows up in an Audi and parks in another handicapped space. Again, no handicapped plate or placard. I see where her son gets it. She gets out of her car and I ask her for their insurance information. Rather than give it to me, she says that the police are on their way. She goes on to say that this is private property and her niece was in an accident on private property and the insurance agencies would probably say it was no one's fault. I make a mental "whatever" note -this was definitely her son's fault.

The police arrive and tell us that they came because someone (the mother) called in a report of a disturbance in regards to an accident. The woman told the police we were arguing with her kid in order to get the police to come on site. I'm baffled.

A police officer asks for our side of the story and we tell him. Then he asks for the kid's version, and the kid says that we were backing out at the same time and hit each other. The passenger in the kid's car says, "We heard the horn for about a second. Like this: BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP." He beeps for longer than a second. The kid fails to mention that our car was stopped, and he hit us. Lovely. It's pretty obvious that he's lying, based on the damage. The side of our car is banged up, the back corner bumper of theirs is dented. Ergo, their back bumper hit our side. End of story.

The police officer gives us a police report that has insurance info on it and we head back to work. Our car has an ugly dent and scrape and because the accident occurred on private property, the police can't find anyone at fault - the insurance companies will have to hash that one out.

I get back to my office and call their insurance company to file a claim. The insurance company has no record of the policy number from the police report - they say their policy numbers have more letters and numbers than what I gave them. They have no record of the address from the report. They don't have a policy for the name of the kid listed in the report. Lovely again.

I call the police department to ask if we can get the name of the mother from the scene, since she's probably the one listed on the policy and the insurance company could use that to find the policy. The woman I spoke with said that they don't have to record the name of policy holders, and if the mother gave the officer wrong information, there's nothing they could do. Her exact words were, "People lie all the time. Everyone lies. If we chase down and lock up everyone who lied in this country, we wouldn't have enough room in the prisons." Bottom line is that there's nothing they can do. All together now: lovely.

I call the phone number for the kid listed in the police report, and luckily reach the mother, who still doesn't tell me her name. She says the officer must not have written everything down correctly. She says she's in the process of moving, and she's not in her car, so she doesn't have the insurance policy information with her. In the background, I hear a man ask, "Well, what does she want?" apparently in reference to me. The mother says she'll call me back in about 20 minutes with the information.

In the mean time, I manage to find out the name of the mother. I call their insurance company back and file a claim. The mother apparently hadn't reported anything yet. I give the company my information and they say they'll have a claims associate call me within a day or so to get more information.

I call my insurance company, and give them the information they need in order to file my own claim. They tell me not to have them submit it unless it looks like the other company won't work with us. I won't know until I speak to a claims associate.

The mother still hasn't called me back, three hours later.

This sucks. We were not at fault, and the  lying handicapped-space parking family will probably get off without any penalty, while our rates will go up and we'll be out our Prius for several days while it gets repaired. And the week is just getting started.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lazy Sunday.

Woke up and got to "take my waking slow," which is one of the many reasons I love weekends. Savored my morning coffee to the last drop.

Picked up "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro at the bookstore after a hiatus of sorts. I'm enjoying it immensely. One of those other-worldly type stories that's set in this world.

Brunch today - smoked salmon sliders at Houlihan's. They were delicious.

Cleaned out the bedroom closet and organized the remains. More satisfying than I imagined it would be.

Bought a crate cover for Roy's crate. Now Finny can't stare strongly at him from her crate. I think it was starting to make him batty.

Boiled shrimp for dinner. This was the first time we've ventured into the cook-your-own-shellfish realm. It was a successful trip and we'll return soon.

Last week I discovered a peach tree in the yard of an abandoned house down the street. At that time, I picked at peach and brought it home to ripen. After dinner tonight, the peach was ripe enough to eat and it was the best peach I've ever tasted. Tonight, I went back with a bag hoping to bring more home, but was almost thwarted in my efforts in that all of the low hanging fruit was gone. Not one to be discouraged by such things, I leapt up and grabbed ahold of some of the higher branches, shaking the hell out of them until the fruit came tumbling off the tree. I managed to get about a dozen good peaches this way, and will be slicing them up for various uses tomorrow.

And now, I'm sitting on my deck, with my laptop and Mr. Awesome and Roy and Finny enjoying a beautiful, breezy August night. I don't know why we've never sat out here like this before. I can't imagine a better place to be on a lazy Sunday.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The way we were.

A timeline of Internet memes.

I got first useful computer after I graduated high school in 1994, back when the Web was still relatively unknown. At the time, I had a job as a computer lab assistant, so I had many hours to search out all I could online. Yahoo was actually useful back then, when a browsable list of categories was possible because there wasn't much to categorize.

I remember these memes going back to the Trojan Room Coffee Pot. I remember thinking this was the coolest idea ever. A short time after I discovered it, someone put their rabbit cage on a Web cam, and the rest is history. Some other highlights of early online life:

  • One of my guilty pleasures in the mid 90's was the now-defunct Spot. The Spot was a Web site about a group of people living in a house and all the soap-opera stuff that happened to them. Think of it as a cross between Melrose Place and reality TV, only with some crazy clowns in bathtubs thrown in every once in a while.

  • When the Jelly Belly site first launched, the first 50 visitors to their page every morning got a free sample of Jelly Bellys. The race to be the first was intense. Eventually the traffic became too much for them and they cut that shit out fast.

  • In my lab assistant days, I had some creepy guy ask me how to use Usenet use to find binary files, and how to put the files together. Why would he want to do that? For a class project? Nope - Porn has always been readily available online, it just used to take a brain to find it and and even bigger brain to view it. I told him he'd need to help himself, so to speak.

Back in my day, we didn't have no high-speed broadband. Nooooo. We had to dial in and hope all the modems weren't busy. It took all day to do damn near anything. And when we did get a Web site to load, it was full of random blinking shit that at that time was the coolest thing we'd ever seen.

I wish I had a copy of my first Web page. It was awesome in its lameness. I think it had a single grainy picture of me centered on the page in a table with raised borders. There were rainbow colored bars involved. And maybe some spherical bullets next to links to places like The Spot and Yahoo.

I wonder what the Web will look like in another 10 years? Will flickr and google and youtube become obsolete? Will I look back on this blog and think it's as lame as the page I made in 1995? We'll see.

Must see TV

Girls Gone Wilde - this would be my new favorite tv show.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

New meme.

Zombie Rhymes. What do vegetarian zombies like to eat? GRAAAAAAAAAAAINS.

I can't drive 55! Will 60 work?

About a year and a half ago, we bought a Prius. This has turned out to be the single best purchase we've ever made, and that includes the really awesome set of pasta dishes we bought on sale at Sam's Club about 10 years ago for $5 and still use almost every day.

The Prius has an 11 gallon gas tank (give or take - I think the exact specs say 11.9, but the gas bladder is collapsible and the general consensus is that a fill-up will take you just over 10 gallons, which has been our experience), which is psychologically rewarding in that when I fill up my tank I don't generally pay over $40. The better mileage we get, the less we have to stop and fill up. So we generally have to fill up about once every 10 - 12 days.

For a long while after we bought the Prius, our gas mileage hovered somewhere between 43 and 47 MPG, depending on the type of driving we did. The hybrid motor seems to do best in city conditions and stop-and-go traffic, since it can use the batteries more. Therefore, we typically get better mileage when driving in the city than we do on the highway.

Over the past few months, however, we've been trying to drive smarter - coast to stop lights and down hills, let the terrain help propel the vehicle rather than the gas pedal and, hardest of all - we've tried to slow down on the highway.

Driving 55 MPG on the highway saves gas. Period. Some really stupid people out there probably still "reason" that if they drive 70, they'll get to their destination faster, and won't be on the road as long, so they'll save gas, right? Wrong-o. A 2005 article in the San Francisco Chronicle puts it this way:
For every mile per hour faster than 55 mph, fuel economy drops by about 1 percent, said Jason Mark, clean vehicles program director for the Union of Concerned Scientists. The drop-off increases at a greater rate after 65 mph. The faster you go, the faster the fuel goes.
[Mark] figures that a commuter making a 30-mile drive to work at 65 mph instead of 75 mph would save about 30 cents in fuel costs per day -- or $150 a year -- and spend just 3 1/2 minutes more daily on the road.

But driving 55 has it's drawbacks. It takes longer to get places, for one. Then there's the people who get right up on your bumper like they want to drive right over you. Or the assholes in the SUVs and trucks who gun it past to make some sort of point. I laugh at the gunners - you just wasted money to try to piss me off. It didn't work. You happy now?

Since we used to drive about 65-70, we've been trying to pull that back to 58-60. And I think it's working.

We got 50.4 MPG on our last tank of gas - almost 500 miles - while running the air conditioner non-stop because it was so fracking hot outside.

There's always the talk about how the Prius isn't a good value because the price you pay for it vs. the savings in gas doesn't even out. I hate math, so I'm not going to run any numbers. What I do know is that I hate to put gas in the car, and I really hate putting over $80 worth in every 5-7 days (like we have to do with our Jeep Cherokee, which is why it gets driven about once a month). Forty dollars every 10-12 days vs. eighty dollars every 5-7 days seems like a pretty good deal to me. I also love the keyless entry and start, the navigation system, the back-up camera, and all the other bells and whistles that I smile about every day.

I'm not trying to get you to rush out and buy a Prius by any means. But I was so happy with our last tank of gas that I just had to tell someone. Who better than you? :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Order Up!

I have a friend who works as a server in the KC area. She's told tales that would make your skin crawl - awful customers, knife-throwing chefs, drunken management - all apparently pretty typical occurrences in the wonderful world of waiting.

It is she I think of when I read Waiter Rant, and it was she I thought of last night when I went to see the Waiter unmasked at the Plaza branch of the Kansas City Public Library.

I'd never been in the Plaza library building. I'd gotten close when eating lunch at The Mixx or Bo Lings, but last night was the first time I'd been inside. What a beautiful place it is. I'm used to the Mid-Continent Public Libraries of the Northland - drab, one story jobs with little to no personality and zero welcoming vibe. But the Plaza library is so different and inviting and almost inspirational, in a way. It's a place that seems to beckon readers of all types and welcome exploration.

The speaking space was just as beautiful. I expected a bunch of plastic chairs arranged haphazardly around a decrepit podium, the smell of musty books filling my nose and making me stifle sneezes. Instead, there are dedicated auditoriums with comfortable seats, large windows, pleasing lighting and great views of the stage.

There was a good turnout for the Waiter's talk. He just recently came out, so to speak, by revealing his identity in the New York Post. So, I can sleep with a clear conscience when I tell you that the Waiter's name is Steve Dublanica. Here's a picture:

Meesha (from who's blog I found out about this event - thank you!) mentions today that his mental image of the Waiter didn't mesh with the actual version of the Waiter. I totally understand, and hate it when that happens. A couple of months ago, I found a YouTube video of the voice cast of Family Guy recording scenes. It shocked me to no end to find out that Cleveland is voiced by a skinny white guy. I don't know if I'll ever recover. I don't know who I pictured as the Waiter, but it wasn't this guy. This guy looks like a friend's next-door neighbor, the guy who shows up unannounced to hang out and drink your beer because the wife won't let him keep it in his own fridge.

I think this was one of the Waiter's first public speaking engagements, and he seemed a bit nervous at first. Lots of lip-smacking, referring to his notes and lines that sounded like a prepared essay. But once he spoke for a bit, and especially during the Q&A session, he seemed to relax more.

Speaking of the Q&A session... I've never been to an event like this before, so maybe this happens all the time... but what's with all the crazies? I mean, one woman asked a question that seemed more like a story than a question, and she wouldn't shut up to let him answer. Another lady asked (in way too many confusing words) why the waitress she had the other night served her burnt chicken. Like this guy knows all servers everywhere and would take her complaint to the waiter God. And then there was the guy who asked if the Waiter had a good publicist because his friend the screenwriter wrote a movie and couldn't get any media attention. WTF? Where do these people come from? Do most events like this attract the crazy parade, or was the Waiter just lucky?

But most of the questions were good ones, and he answered them graciously. Although, I have to say that it seems almost too perfect that the only person who ever confronted him about his blog before he revealed his identity was... Russell Crowe? Seriously? I dunno about that one.

Reading Waiter Rant and hearing the Waiter speak reminds me to be the best restaurant customer I can be. We tip well, we are polite, we order off the menu, we only expect to be treated like regular customers at places where were are regular customers and generally behave as if we are guests in the server's home, which, in a way, we are. As with anything, treat others as you would like to be treated and good things will come.

By the way - my friend the server was supposed to meet us at the library last night for this event, but was so tired after she got off work that her quick nap turned into an hours-long sleep. Being a server ain't easy, folks. Be good to them.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My morning and afternoon Buzz...

I'm a fan of the Church of Lazlo show on 96.5... and am so happy to read this today:
Lazlo, Afentra and Slimfast, who convene The Church of Lazlo every afternoon on Entercom alterna-twins KNDD (107.7 The End)/Seattle and KRBZ (96.5 The Buzz)/Kansas City, are heading back to KC.

You may recall that Lazlo stepped down from the PD post at The End just a few weeks ago, and Mike Kaplan is transferring in from Entercom/New Orleans to replace him as PD -- but will soon need a new afternoon show.

"I'll start looking for a replacement when I get in place on Aug. 4," Kaplan tells R&R.

Source here.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Way To Normal (and Nashville, Louisville, Detroit and a bunch ofother places)

Ah, yes. It's been a Ben Folds morning, what with all the trip planning we've been up to lately.

September takes us to Nashville, TN for a show with the Nashville Symphony.

October will see us in:

Louisville, KY - another symphony show
Detroit, MI
Chicago, IL
Green Bay, WI
St. Louis, MO
Kirksville, MO
and finally, Kansas City, MO.

That's a whole lotta driving, but totally worth it for something we enjoy so much.

Track listing:

Hiroshima (B B B Benny Hits His Head)
Dr. Yang
The Frown
You Don’t Know Me (featuring Regina Spektor)
Before Cologne
Errant Dog
Free Coffee
Bitch Went Nuts
Kylie from Connecticut

Friday, August 1, 2008

Let your friends know you care about them.

I got an e-mail a yesterday from a high school friend that I haven't talked to in a while. She wanted to let me know that a girl we went to junior high with and were close to then was in the hospital getting treatment for cancer, and that the prognosis doesn't look good.

Ah, where to begin...

The last time I saw Robin was in maybe 9th grade. All through junior high we were fairly close. She was the first person I snuck out of my house with, the first person I exchanged those "best friends" necklaces with, the one I spilled my guts to when I thought I was in love with a boy in 6th grade (and 7th grade, and 8th grade). I remember a lot of laughter, and some fights, and some crying, and some more laughter. The scent of Debbie Gibson's Exclamation is forever tied to Robin in my mind.

Somewhere around 9th grade, Robin's family moved away (her family was interesting - they were into Civil War reinactments, and her father was into taxedermy, the product of which filled her parents' bedroom and creeped me out to no end) to a small southern Missouri town and I never spoke to her again. I heard she got pregnant either while in or shortly after high school and got married, but other than that, we completely lost touch. I don't even know her married last name.

And now she's in a hospital fairly close to my house getting chemo that might not work.

There's a Beth Nielsen Chapman song that keeps running through my head:

My oh my, time sure flies
I like what you've done to your hair
I've been fine, yeah, these boys are mine
That must be your little girl there
Some friendships grow distant with time
And it's no wonder, Emily, so much can change
We're too far to visit, too busy to write
But a closeness between us remains

Best friends are made through smiles and tears
And sometimes that fades over miles and years
But I knew right away when I saw you again
Emily, we'll always be friends

I still sing now and then
Mostly at weddings for friends
And I just bet you still get
A yearning to paint now and then
They tore down our whole street
Now there's a bank where the house was we shared back in school
Remember we both have each other to thank
For all the boyfriends we're not married to

Best friends are made through smiles and tears
And sometimes that fades over miles and years
But I knew right away when I saw you again
Emily, we'll always be friends

Stay as you are and you'll go far
You signed my yearbook
Don't forget me when you're a big star
We can't stay, it's getting late
And they said not to let you get tired
We'll just be up the street
The number's right here by your side
Oh no it's no trouble
I don't want to hear how all this changes my plans
I'll see you tomorrow
Call me tonight, Emmy, please let me do what I can

Best friends are made through smiles and tears
And sometimes that fades over miles and years
But I knew right away when I saw you again
Emily, we'll always be friends

Robin was my best friend.

Part of me wants to run to her bedside and let her know I still remember her and think of her often and even love her for what she represented in my life at a time when I didn't know what a real girl friend was like (I was the only girl in my 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes). But I haven't seen or spoken to her in almost 20 years and I can't help but think a reunion at this time would be a little awkward, and maybe even selfish.

So I don't know what to do, other than think good thoughts for her and her family. Please do the same.