Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Down with Wilco…Again

Posted in Uncategorized on 27 May 07 by mikevc

wilco.jpgI picked up the new Wilco CD at Target yesterday.  I had already heard it thanks to the fact that their Web site was offering visitors the chance to listen to the whole thing for free.  That was such a cool thing to do I felt obliged to buy it.  As it turns out, I find myself quite fond of it.  I rank it right up there with Being There.  I know that according to music snobs and critics, I am supposed to say that Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is a work of genius and that A Ghost is Born is a further exploration of that genius or something equally laudatory and hagiographic.

I might grant you that.  I remember reading an essay on Henry James that applies to my feelings about Wilco.  I am paraphrasing here (I tried to find the essay but could not) but it said something like just because we recognize something as genius it does not mean it is enjoyable to read.  While I appreciate YHF and AGIB, I love Being There.   From the opening “Misunderstood”   to the rocking “Monday” to “I Got You” and “Outtasite (Outta Mind)” and its sister “Outta Site (Outta Mind)”,  it is just a great album.   And I know it would make the critics laugh but I also am a big fan of A.M.  These albums–and Summerteeth to a lesser extent–are why I first became a fan of Wilco after the disappointing end of Uncle Tupelo.

Their latest sounds to me like the Tweedy (post-rehab) of old maturing and I love it.

An aside: IMHO the best post-Tupelo stuff has come not from Wilco or Son Volt but from Jay Farrar’s (always the better songwriter qua songwriter) solo stuff.  Listen to “Dent County” or Stone, Steel, & Bright Lights and tell me I’m wrong.

Another aside: Will we (music geeks) ever be able to talk about what these two guys produce without bringing up the other?

Death of a DAP

Posted in music, rambling, Uncategorized on 26 May 07 by mikevc

My long-time companion and faithful friend of several years met an untimely end last night.  Through numerous iPods and higher capacity players, I always had my faithful red 512 mb Creative Labs Zen player.  Last night, after I cleared all the music to add more, it kept saying that it was full though nothing was on it.  I tried on all of our computers: No luck.  So, I have retired it.

Which means I need a new, cheap DAP.  Though I love and have owned and sold on eBay something like 15 iPods, I am hesitant to allow that to become my sole player.  My reasoning?  One day, I will start running again (soon, one hopes).  I intend to do said running (actually, walking is more realistic given my present condition) late at night.  Somehow, I am uncomfortable going out at night with a $300 gadget strapped to my arm.  For a while, my solution was the iPod Shuffle, but–like with everything I own seemingly–I opted to sell it on eBay.  Enter the Creative Stone.  This little guy is the equivalent of the shuffle in that there is no display.  The big difference: the price.  I just paid $29.99 for this at Circuit City (or as Jonah called it when he was a bit wee-er “Clown Town” because he thought I said “Circus City” and he remembered it as…you get it).  I am quite happy with it thus far.

All of this has me musing on music players and how our needs have changed in ten years.  In the mid-90s, I ran obsessively, usually 6 to 10 miles a day.  At that time, I was extremely content to use a trusty Sony Sports Walkman.  It fit perfectly in my hand.  Now, who can imagine exercising with such a gargantuan device?  And, carrying it?  Please, I need to invest more money in a armband or other device to secure it to my body?  Plus, when I ran, I would listen to one or two CDs on an audio tape.  I remember a six month period where all I listened to was one tape w/ Superchunk’s Here’s Where the Strings Come In on one side and Bruce Springsteen’s The Ghost of Tom Joad on the other (Remember sides?  Or, did that concept die w/ the CD).    I would flip it depending on my mood.  Now, we can’t possibly function with any device that holds less than the equivalent of 25 CDs and that is the bottom rung of storage.  I mock this, but looking into my iTunes account I see I have over 15,000 songs.  When will I ever have the time () to listen to them all.

So, I guess the point here, is just that our needs/desires seem to change markedly with technology.  It is not so much “necessity” that drives invention by the urge to improve upon existing limitations.  This point was made quite well w/ an abundance of great examples in Petrosi’s highly entertaining and informative The Evolution of Useful Things

The Perils of Encouraging Spouses to Read Blogs

Posted in Uncategorized on 25 May 07 by mikevc

I complained to mi esposa that she never read my blog.  Bad move!  In response to my complaints, she sat down and read the whole thing at her next computer sitting.  In the process she couldn’t help but notice mentions of CD and T-shirt purchase not discussed with her.  Ooops!! I forgot about those!!

Oh well, at least she doesn’t know about the kayak or the motorcycle!

Another Admission (and you thought Journey was bad)

Posted in Uncategorized on 22 May 07 by mikevc

Since I have already thoroughly embarrassed myself with the admission of my 20+ year love of Journey, I will go one step further.  Over the past several months, I have found myself up late at night with nothing to watch.  Somehow, in a channel flipping daze, I have repeatedly ended up watching reruns of America’s Funniest Home Videos.  I really want to stress here that this is not a one time thing; take note of “repeatedly”.  Not only that but I have found myself laughing as people fall from trees or cats turn on lights.  I wish to draw back here and say even I have the sense to find Sagat’s commentary ridiculous but…oh, there is no excuse.

One More on Concert Shirts

Posted in Uncategorized on 22 May 07 by mikevc

As I waste my lunch hour on my blog, I want to share one more thing with you.  This is a blog posting on the age of the concert tour t-shirts from blogcritics.org:

http://blogcritics.org/archives/2007/02/23/123151.php 

As I read, I thought how carefully slanted my shirt list was.  You see, for me, going to a show meant getting a shirt.  I failed to mention my Tears for Fears, Weird “Al”, Powerstation, Simple Minds, The Call, multiple Sting, Genesis, the 3/4 sleeve Hall and Oates, Paul Simon, multiple U2, Lone Justice (I fell for Maria McKee and her brand of Cow Punk at a very tender age), Cactus World News and more shirts from my earliest concert experiences courtesy of Southern Star Amphitheatre at Astroworld and the aforementioned Summit.

I opted rather to highlight the shirts from my more developed musical period when I was old enough to go to clubs.  Even with that, I left off other favorites like shirts from shows by Camper Van Beethoven, Chickasaw Mudd Puppies, The Posies, House of Freaks, Pylon, The Feelies, Bob Mould, and many more.

The point of this posting was to refer readers to the concert T-shirt posting and to stress how much the shirt was an integral part of the experience.  I apologize if I got off track.  My lunch break is over so–I promise–no more postings on concert and/or music t-shirts.

Random Thoughts on Music

Posted in Uncategorized on 15 March 07 by mikevc

I was going through some old books and found a napkin from Denny’s with writing on it.  I knew it was old since I haven’t been to a Denny’s in at least ten years.  I looked more closely and saw that it was a list of albums.  I faintly remember hanging out at the Denny’s on I-1o in Houston after a show and making lists of our top ten albums of all time.  It was interesting to see the younger me (20?) liked to listen to.   Here is the list from roughly 1992:

  1. _3 Years, 5 Months, & 2 Days in the Life of…_  by Arrested Development 
  2. _Saturday_ by The Reivers
  3. _Moondance_ by Van Morrison
  4. _Collected Works_ by Simon & Garfunkel
  5. _Urban Beaches_ by Cactus World News
  6. _Wishing Like a Mountain and Thinking Like The Sea_ by Poi Dog Pondering 
  7. _October_ by U2 
  8. _Monkey On a Chain Gang_ by House of Freaks
  9. _Graceland_ by Paul Simon
  10. _Tommy_ by the Who

So, this bizarre list, which does not jive with my memory of me at the time, got me thinking what a similar list would look like now.  I see very little overlap.  The Frames are the only artists who appear on both and that is an odd situation.  We discovered the Frames in the summer of ’92.  I never listened to them again and thought they had faded.  Recently, I saw an article in _No Depression_ and discovered that _The Frames_ were still at it.  I went to iTunes and sampled a few recent tracks and found that they had only improved and were quite possibly one of the best rock bands out there.  So, anyway, here is my list:

  1. _Decoration Day_ by Drive-By Truckers
  2. _No Depression_ by Uncle Tupelo
  3. _Burn the Maps_ by The Frames
  4. _Live at Folsom Prison_ by Johnny Cash
  5. _This Year’s Model_ by Elvis Costello
  6. _Tomorrow the Green Grass_ by The Jayhawks 
  7. _Hitchhike to Rhome_ by The Old 97s
  8. _A Man Under the Influence_ by Alejandro Escoveda
  9. _The Ghost of Tom Joad_ by Bruce Springsteen
  10. (Tie) any ten tracks by Django Rienhart or Oscar Aleman

So, there it is. 

My New Blog

Posted in Uncategorized on 26 February 07 by mikevc

As part of my job as a librarian, I need to be abreast of information trends in the virtual world.  I have played with a lot of the blog software out there and have not found a favorite.  For the next few days (or weeks or months), I will be using WordPress.  I will be posting my thoughts on many things ranging from baseball to music to books to libraries.  I hope that it will be fun for all.