Thursday, December 21, 2006

Shake hands with Santa Claus

I urge you to visit Larry's blog and read the transcript of his IM interview with Santa. I think the North Pole elves would disagree that Christmas is "the most wonderful time of the year."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A few of my favorite things, holiday edition

wrapping presents
fun winter coats
over the top light displays
holiday specials on TV
jazz hands

Top Ten Albums of 2006

It's officially list-making start things off, here are my ten favorite albums (plus a few more) of 2006.

1. The Crane Wife, The Decemberists
2. Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Neko Case
3. Rabbit Fur Coat, Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins
4. Duper Sessions, Sondre Lerche and The Faces Down Quartet

5. The Life Pursuit, Belle and Sebastian
6. Naturally, Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings
7. Supply and Demand, Amos Lee
8. Math and Physics Club, Math and Physics Club
9. Robbers and Cowards, Cold War Kids
10. Begin to Hope, Regina Spektor

Honorable Mentions:
Let's Get Out Of This Country, Camera Obscura
Show Your Bones, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Alright, Still, Lily Allen
Putting The Days To Bed, The Long Winters

Friday, December 15, 2006

Seems like it's rainin' all the time...

This year has definitely been the craziest, weather-wise, since I moved to Seattle 5 years ago. Last night our basement flooded from the torrential downpour of rain, and the lights flickered all night because it was so windy. Still, we were lucky: our cable and electricity stayed on all night. The biggest inconvenience (aside from icky muddy towels and sore backs from mopping) is that we didn't get our paper. Not because the carrier didn't deliver it, but because the power is out at the press, so they can't print. Crazy. Today the weather is so much calmer that it makes the storm seem like it was a bad dream. If things keep up, it will actually be warmer when we're on the east coast next week than it is here.

So I haven't written yet about the Decemberists' show, and now I also have to write about the KEXP benefit show we went to last Sunday. First, the Decemberists. I was so excited to see Colin and the gang that I was practically jumping up and down when they started to come onstage. There was a HUGE, beautiful backdrop with an illustration of a Japanese village, complete with a crane flying away (with a perfect blood spot on one wing, just like the album cover). In front of the backdrop were 8 very large red lanterns hanging over the band. It was one of the prettiest stage sets I've seen at the Paramount. They started the set with The Crane Wife, Pt. 3--the first song on the new album and my current favorite song. I was giddy. Colin had a cold which seemed to get worse as he went on, and they actually wound up cancelling their Vancouver shows to make sure he didn't damage his voice. But the show was fantastic nonetheless. You could tell that Colin was annoyed about his voice not doing what he wanted, but it didn't matter. If I want to hear the songs performed perfectly, I can listen to the album. The live concert is about what happens in the moment, so I was really pleased when he finally let loose on The Landlord's Daughter and just went with it. I know a lot of people were annoyed that the show was relatively short (because Colin's voice was shot), but I was just happy they didn't cancel altogether. I had been looking forward to the concert for 2 months, and it totally lived up to my expectations. I just can't say enough good things about The Decemberists, and I will most definitely be seeing them when they come to Seattle again.

Sunday we went to the KEXP benefit show at Neumo's. The line-up was:
Cold War Kids
The Junior Boys
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
My favorite group by far was Cold War Kids. These guys are just fabulous--they are so much fun to watch and you can tell that they're having fun too. They use lots of complex rhythms and catchy melodies, but their presentation is so haphazard; it's almost as if they just woke up, hopped onstage and threw a song together. Love it! I highly recommend that you check out their album Robbers and Cowards. The Junior Boys were good, but the mixing was so out of balance that the bass was killing our ears. We had to move off to the side of the stage just to avoid being in pain from it. Ted Leo was lots of fun too; not totally my genre, but he can win anyone over with his energy (plus he's REALLY good at what he does, so just from that perspective you have to like him). By the time his set finished we were all pretty tired; we stuck around for the first 3 songs from Juno, then made it to the frites place right before they closed. Frites are truly the best ending for any evening, especially one spent with good friends and good music.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Who could say no to that face?

Yesterday Stuff On My Cat hosted one of the cutest wedding proposals ever. I also had fun skimming through the 700+(!) comments, including a few from folks who take complete strangers' love lives waaay too seriously. I mean, come on, if you're proposing on a well known web site, you're probably pretty sure she's going to say yes. For that matter, I would think most people wait to propose until they're sure the other person will say yes. But I digress. What I really should say is congratulations, Jeff and Heather (and Fredrique)!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Not including raked stages or Wagner

I read this interesting and excellently titled tidbit in today's New York Times, about the opera Larry and I will be seeing in January:

The Dangers of Opera

Company members of the
Metropolitan Opera were sickened after being exposed to a shipment of costumes, including shoes, from China less than a month before the premiere of “The First Emperor,” a $3 million new production composed by Tan Dun and directed by Zhang Yimou. At least one backstage worker was hospitalized, apparently with an allergic reaction made worse by an existing ailment, said Elena Park, a Met spokeswoman. Ms. Park said other company members, costume shop workers and chorus members also had reactions, but she did not know how many people were stricken. The problematic costumes, confined to one of several shipments, were cleaned and the shoes replaced. “We don’t know the cause,” Ms. Park said. Samples of the costumes, elaborate designs created by Emi Wada, were sent to a laboratory for testing. The mysterious condition did not delay rehearsals, Ms. Park said, and the opera is scheduled to open as planned on Dec. 21. DANIEL J. WAKIN

Obviously, this could have been a serious problem and it's very fortunate that only one person became ill. But while I don't want to make light of the issue, I'm rather intrigued by the first sentence. Company members "were sickened after being exposed to a shipment of costumes, including shoes..." Is there some important chemical or toxin that would more likely be found in the shoes as opposed to the rest of the shipment? Was it necessary to include this extra detail so that the reader would be prepared to read later on that the shoes had been replaced? Was Mr. Wakin trying to fulfill a word count requirement? Or, and I think I may have something here, maybe he's on a personal mission to use the word "shoes" as much as possible in his writings. I'll have to investigate further--stay tuned!