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Living in Chicago, by way of Dayton, OH and Havertown, PA. Contact me at atozpod@gmail.com.



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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Redefining nothing to do with music

I'm from Philadelphia. I'm 32-years old. The last time a team (in one of the four major sports) from Philadelphia won a championship I was 7.

I don't really remember it. I remember some moments from that team, but I don't really remember the moment when the buzzer went off right after Maurice Cheeks dunked the ball to seal the Sixers sweep of the Lakers.

What I do remember are the losses that have come since...

1983 - Phillies lose the World Series 4-1 to Baltimore. Game 5 ends as I'm in the back of the family station wagon driving past (now-defunct) Manoa Lanes.
1987 - I was in bed listening to the game on the radio as the Flyers lost game 7 to Edmonton.
1993 - I was in my friend Pete's basement by myself (Pete had left for college and I was babysitting his little brother) when Mitch Williams gave up the Joe Carter homer.
1997 - I lived at 58 Woodland and watched the Flyers get swept by that team from Detroit by myself in the comfort of Ken's living room chair. I woke up the day after game 3 still in that chair surrounded by the remains from a Bud Light 12-pack. After the sweep was done, I wore all black (in mourning) for the next 3 days.
2001- In Chicago I watched the 76ers lose 4-1 to the Lakers. This wasn't actually that disappointing because it was not unexpected.
2005 - Super Bowl XXXIX. It was my freaking birthday (ok fine, 2 days after) and both my sisters came to town to visit and watch the game and STILL, that wasn't enough to prevent another crushing Philadelphia loss.

For the purpose of brevity I'm skipping 1988-90 & 2001-2003 (Eagles), 1995, 96, 2000, or 2004 (Flyers), 2005-2007 (Phillies) or 1984, 85 (Sixers)... all teams that had the talent to get there, but didn't even reach the finals of their respective sports.

This has nothing to do with the music. So why write it? It has something to do with me, and at the heart of it, that is what this whole project is about... the music taking me back to where I was "then."

All those lines of lamentation above? They're about where I was then. Each of every one of those disappointments stayed with me... and that's what makes where I am now all the more special.

Tonight, at long last, Philadelphia (still my home town even if I'm not there anymore) has a championship team again. 25 years have passed since the Sixers win. 100 seasons since the last time Philadelphia was the champion. And now, October 29th, 2008, the Phillies have won the World Series and finally (Phinally!) I know and can appreciate the feeling of victory.

If sports aren't your thing, I understand why this might not mean anything to you. But sports are my thing... have been as long as I can remember. So tonight, to finally win... was fantastic.

It got a little dusty here. I didn't weap (even though I half expected to) but there were some happy tears. It was a great feeling. GREAT! To be on the winning end after so long... felt like it meant something. So tonight, I'd like to thank all those teams who didn't quite make it, for making me appreciate this all the more. Thanks to The Wife for sticking with me through all the post-loss grumpiness and to my sister for being here to watch the game with me (the Alicia curse is over!) I'd also like to thank all the folks who reached out to send a congrats my way. I think everyone who did understands what joy and relief this night was for me.

I knew how big a moment it was when I got my very first post-game call. It was Kristin, my high school girlfriend. (We're still friends now, so this wasn't total out of the bluesville) The fact that she was on the phone 3 minutes after the game was over to share the cheers with me reminded me of how long it had been since this particular team (the 1993 Phils (we were still dating in 1993!)) had last had a chance. No matter how long it is, the people you share(d) the moments with will always be there with you. So I share this little moment with all of you.

We did it!

2008 Philadelphia Phillies - World Series Champions!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

from I Saw Three Ships to I Want to be a Hulkamaniac

Day 853, Session 142:
Monday October 20th - Driving back from the burbs after attending The Wife's school's homecoming game.
First song: I Saw Three Ships by Barenaked Ladies
Last full song: I Want to be a Hulkamaniac by Hulk Hogan and The Wrestling Boot Band
Progress: 2141-2162 of 6137
Total Songs Heard: 1819

"Why?" you may ask. "Why on earth do you have a song by Hulk Hogan in your collection?"

"First of all," I reply, "Let's not forget The Wrestling Boot Band. Second, I like professional wrestling and grew up at least a little bit of a Hulkamaniac."

That being said, I find this particular song terrifying. Between The Hulkster's faux-rap and the mindless drone of the background singers, I feel like the point of this song is to indoctrinate me into the cult of Hulk. On the plus side, I hear membership privileges include your very own tear away yellow muscle shirt. On the minus, at this point Hulk Hogan is frightening. The fact that I believe Hulk Hogan to be the type of guy who would try to lead a cult only scares me more. (This fear did not stop me from watching the first episode of Hulk Hogan's celebrity wrestling reality show. It was awful. (Also, I was disappointed Tiffany (yes the 80's pop star) was eliminated and I'll probably watch it again.))

Give this a listen if for no other reason than to have a good laugh:
I Want to be a Hulkamaniac - Hulk Hogan and the Wrestling Boot Band

(If that doesn't succeed in inducting you into the cult of Hulk, try this to the Batman theme: "nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, Hulk-ster.")

Now from the better music department I bring you this song from friend of the blog Josh Joplin:
I Shall See - Josh Joplin

I feature this particular song for 3 reasons:
1) I love that it sounds like something that would have been recorded in the 1960's.
II) Josh and Garrison Starr (you may remember them from this) have announced that they will now be performing together as Among The Oak & Ash. This is great news for fans of both singers as they're great individual musicians and when I saw them in Chicago they showed a fantastic chemistry when they shared the stage. A new album is in the works and I'm sure I mention it here once I have more information. For now, you can hear streaming versions of 4 songs on their new web page.
C) The heretofore unheard from Australian contingent has checked in. Emma is another big Josh Joplin fan who, like me, has spent a lot of time trying to track down the first two Josh Joplin Band cds. Per her request I've made my early Josh stuff available for a limited time here. I also encourage you to check out Emma's site, Imaginary Dinosaur. I learned quite a lot about crabs there.

Have good weekends everybody. If you get a chance, please send some good thoughts the way of the Philadelphia Phillies. My hometown has gone 100 consecutive seasons in the 4 major sports without getting to celebrate a title. In the words of Marty from Delaware,
"Boston did it. The White Sox did it. Why can't us? Why can't us?!?"

Why Can't Us?

Friday, October 17, 2008

from I Love Rocky Road to I Saw Mommy...

Day 844, Session 141:
Saturday October 11th - Driving back from the burbs after attending The Wife's school's homecoming game.
First song: I Love Rocky Road by "Weird Al" Yankovic
Last full song: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by Jimmy McGriff
Progress: 2121-2140 of 6137
Total Songs Heard: 1797

It's been a while, but a song had to be deleted. While I enjoy Sarah McLachlan I find I Love You to be over wrought in its emotionality. I don't hate the song, but what I do hate is techno music... and what I especially hate is a 9-minute techno remix of a song that I already found kind of grating to listen to. I Love You (Techno Remix) - deleted! (Sorry Kerstin, I know there was a very specific reason you included it in that mix cd you gave me that one time, but I was never going to listen to it again.)

For posterity's sake, I'm linking the song here. I couldn't even make it through the whole thing. Can you?

I Love You (Remix) - Sarah McLachlan

I just don't understand techno remixes, but as we drove back from the game my sister and I figured out where they must have come from. Here's our theory... club djs used to spin music much like radio djs. I mean sure they worked some transitions between songs, but otherwise every 2.5 to 4 minutes they had to change the record. Then one time, some dj was playing a song when the needle skipped right in the middle of an instrumental section. The dj was busy hitting on someone when the skipping started so it took him two minutes to even notice the song was skipping. When he did notice, he discovered that the people in the club simply didn't care that the same 8 second clip of music had been playing over and over again for the last 2 minutes, they were still dancing. Eureka! Why be forced to switch songs every 3 minutes when, with a few strategically applied record scratches, you can stretch that 3 minute song out to 10 minutes?

From that day forward bars that also feature dancing became awesome for people who like dancing but absolute hell for people who like music. And that, my friends, is why I will never go 'clubbing.' I don't like my dance music techno-y, I like my dance music funky. (The idea of me dancing to this song is actually terrifying, but the song is still great.)

I Need More Love - Robert Randolph & The Family Band

Finally, thanks a lot Robot Chicken. Now I can't hear I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus without thinking of this:

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

from I Lost On Jeopardy to I Love Paris

Day 835, Session 140:
Thursday October 2nd - Driving home from a job interview.
First song: I Lost On Jeopardy by "Weird Al" Yankovic
Last full song: I Love Paris by Jack Constanzo
Progress: 2162-2168 of 6112
Total Songs Heard: 1777

First of all: Hooray! Job Interview! I think it went well and the place
with which I interviewed would be a good fit. I'm keeping my fingers crossed (well, not now so much, typing with crossed fingers = hard.)

The other good news is that it's only a 7 song drive. Of course I probably wouldn't drive much, parking around Chicago is expensive.

I Love N.Y.E.
- Badly Drawn Boy

Great little instrumental from a great little movie, "About A Boy," which is based on the Nick Hornby book. If you haven't seen the movie or read the book, I recommend you do both.

New Year's Eve isn't really a big deal for me, so I was pretty surprised when I sat here thinking about it to realize that I can remember what I was doing each New Year's Eve since 1997 (not coincidentally the first one with The Wife.)

1997/8 - Celebrate back in Philly with Mike, Kristin, and Kerstin. The Wife and I had been dating for a little over 2 months. Meeting my high school friends and Philly family on the trip was a pretty big deal. She passed with flying colors. I have photos from this N.Y.E. that, if I ever bought a scanner, would be sure to amuse the people who were there.
1998/9 - Just me and The Wife in her parents basement in C-bus. We watched a movie, I fell asleep be
fore the ball dropped.
1999/2000 - The big millennium! The Wife and I went out to dinner, and then joined an in progress party at the BOX (my college house.) A loud and fun way to say goodbye to the good ole 1900s.
2000/1 - In Chicago at The Wife's apartment. Just me, her, and her roommate hanging out watching Dick Clark. Kinda lame, er... I mean, quiet.
2002/3 - The Wife and I threw a party at our favorite apartment in Chicago. The Wife made a ton of lasagna and it was delicious. After 'celebrating' (here being code for drinking) all night, Kaylor joined me at 6am as I ran out
into the streets of Chicago and berated the sun for 2002 being such a shitty year. This was probably a great start to the year for some of my neighbors as they were awoken at 6 in the morning by the lunatic yellings of a crazy person. Probably the last year in which I was able to actually party all the way through to 6 the next morning.
2003/4 - The Wife and I threw another party at another, not as good apartment. Kaylor (middle,) Jay & Mel, Liz & John (right,) Kate & Ryno, Chip, and Mace were all there. For some reason, my hair was blondish and Jon, John, and I thought it best to welcome 2004 with grimaces on our faces.
2004/5 - The party was at Kaylor's this time. We had dinner and played board games and watched various balls drop.
2005/6 - Maybe this year was at Kaylor's place. Either way I guess I was lying about remembering every year since either 04/05 or 05/06 escapes me.
2006/7 -
The Wife and I celebrated alone at our new home. She had a glass of champagne and fell asleep. I finished the rest of the bottle and watched Garrison Keilor's Central Time Zone New Year's show. This may be the N.Y.E. where I officially became old. I do remember having a great champagne buzz.
2007/8 - The Wife and I were in Vegas with the family. We rung in Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zone New Years at the same blackjack table at our local Lake Las Vegas casino. I drank champagne from a fountain and actually won some money.

Now if I can just get back to work soon, I won't have to spend N.Y.E. 2008/9 yelling at the sun again.

(You may have noticed that I skipped N.Y.E. 2001/2... there's a story there for another day.)