Thursday, March 29, 2007

(I wanna) call it love

This will be my last post for a week or so, as Christine is coming to visit from LA and it looks like she's bringing the sun with her--hooray! But I have to write about the fabulous show we went to on Monday night. Sondre Lerche and The Faces Down played at the Crocodile Cafe, the first time he's headlined Seattle since 2004. (In between he opened for Elvis Costello at the Paramount, but it was just him and his guitar.) I have a soft spot for Sondre because Larry took me to that 2004 show on our first date. So of course I would love him just for being a part of our history, but in addition to that he is one of the best pop singers playing nowadays. His music is so catchy, the rhythm is tight, there are interesting little twists and turns in each song, and did I mention the brilliant lyrics? Like these: Just like in that old movie about Carlotta's spell /I feel obsessed like Scottie felt/ minus the drama and the fraud /I hope I got to get into her way /Out of my way. Truly, he's fantastic.

Now, Sondre's albums are great on their own, but nothing can really compare to seeing him live--especially when he plays with The Faces Down. Morten (bass), Kato (guitar) and Ole (drums) are the most entertaining band I've seen recently. Maybe those Norwegians know something the rest of us don't, because the 4 of them together had soooo much fun onstage Monday night that it was contagious. I found myself grinning like an idiot through most of the show because it was just so fun to watch their antics. They weren't even antics, really; you could just tell they were having a good time. It's refreshing to see a band so lacking in pretension. That's not to say they don't take their music seriously, because they're all obviously very accomplished on their respective instruments. During Monday's show we were treated to several mini jam sessions within individual songs, which is often the best part of going to see live music. You won't hear anything like that just by putting a CD in the stereo. It was especially fascinating to hear them, after having jammed for a few minutes, bring it back around and return to the song. Lots of bands do this, but few do it so well.

We missed the opening act, but I really liked the second singer
Willy Mason. He's got a Johnny Cash, Mason Jennings kind of sound and his voice is really quite hypnotic. I felt bad for him because he was sick, but in my opinion it just added to his charm because it enhanced the bluesy, scratchy quality of his voice. I'm definitely going to be adding his album to our collection.

Interestingly enough given my last post, Sondre's playing The Waiting Room in Omaha tonight. Seriously, when did Omaha get so cool?

Update: The Omaha show has been cancelled because they're stuck in a snowstorm. See, this is why I live on the west coast.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Somewhere in middle America

Today's NY Times Travel magazine has an article about Omaha, where I spent many of my formative years. It's funny how it never felt like home when I lived there, but now the longer I'm gone the more nostalgic I become about it. I get especially nostalgic when Larry and I start looking at real estate and realize that for the price of a teeny-tiny home in Fremont we could practically have a mansion in Omaha. Then again, I always say that the catch is that we'd have to live there. This article, however, reminded me of all the wonderful things Omaha has to offer, and it's got me longing to go visit. I just don't think I could live in the midwest again after living next to the ocean for so many years, and I'll take a rainy Seattle winter over a snowy Nebraska winter anyday. But for a long weekend in late spring or early fall, Omaha could be a great destination.

In case you're visiting anytime soon, here are a few of my favorite Omaha locales:

Old Market in downtown Omaha--I could (and did) spend hours sifting through old sheet music at Antiquarium, which is still my favorite used book store anywhere. I also like Ted & Wally's, The Diner, The Underground, and Retro Recycle (although the incense can be a bit much). Christine and I used to eat at Spaghetti Works in the Old Market on a very regular basis. Mmm, spumoni!

Also in the Old Market: Delice European Bakery. I love their chocolate mousse in its own edible chocolate cup, and the fresh fruit tartlets. I also recommend any of their savory pastries for lunch. Yum!

Catch a movie at Dundee Theatre, the very last single-screen movie theater in Omaha. It really is the best.

I love thrift shopping on 24th Street, and at the 84th Street Goodwill. The thrift stores in both Omaha and Lincoln are awesome--not overshopped or overpriced, and you can find great vintage pieces. Although maybe I shouldn't be sharing this information...

See a show at
Sokol Hall. Sadly, I wasn't cool enough to know about the great acts that come to Sokol when I was younger, but if I lived there now it would definitely be on my list of favorites. Just a few of their upcoming shows are (local talent) Tilly and the Wall, Aqueduct and Tapes 'N Tapes.

If I think of anything else, I'll add it. If there's anything you think I missed, let me know!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

One of my least favorite things (canine edition)

I love dogs. I plan to have a dog or two someday. What I do not love is the person who, every week on trash day AFTER the trash has been picked up, leaves their stinky dog poo in our empty trash can. It's gotten to the point where I wait for the garbage truck to come, then go out immediately after the trash has been picked up to put the can away before they can strike again. But sometimes I forget, or have to be gone for a while, and then I come home to that stealthily dropped plastic bag in the bottom of my trash can and get angry all over again. I know I'm crossing the line into crotchety-old-man territory, and will soon be angrily waving my morning paper at the neighbor kids while wearing a bathrobe over my white t-shirt, plaid shorts and sandals with socks, but I can't help myself. Other people's dog poo is just gross.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

You call this spring?!?

Sunday was the most perfect kind of spring day--sunny and beautiful, with just enough breeze that you're comfortable, but warm enough to drive with the windows down and wear shorts to play tennis at the park.

This morning it's sunny, but it's 33 degrees outside and there's frost on all of the cars.

Is the Fremont troll punishing us for Missy's impertinence last fall?

Monday, March 19, 2007

I still remember

Okay, it's a week late, but here's the Bloc Party review:

The evening kicked off with Seattle pop duo
Smoosh, who were fabulous as always. Their music just makes me happy, and Chloe can really rock out on the drums. I was a little sad because we arrived in the middle of their set after dinner at Dahlia Lounge (we could have skipped dessert to make it on time, but how can you go to Dahlia and not have their doughnuts?) Fortunately we saw them last fall at the 826 benefit, and since we live here I'm sure we'll get to see them again before the year is over. Up next was Final Fantasy, the name Canadian singer Owen Pallett gives his solo project. He played violin (extremely well) and a little Casio keyboard and sang, while a cute girl made movies on an old-school overhead projector using different colored and cut-out transparencies (just like high school!). I loved it. My favorite movie started with a transparency that had a black and white drawing of a winding path that went over a lake; there was a giant tree that cut through the middle. As the song went on, she put different colors of perfectly cut-out transparency over each part of the drawing until it was all colored in. Then she had a transparency with a drawing of a little man that she floated over the original drawing so it looked like he was walking down the path. It probably doesn't sound as cool as it actually was, but the overall effect was incredibly charming. I should also mention that Owen has a lovely voice, and that his new album is called I Poo Clouds. I'd love to hear the back story behind that title...

Seattle was the first stop on
Bloc Party's US tour to promote their new album, and they put on an amazing opening night show. If I were 10 years younger, I would have been down front dancing, but as it was we enjoyed watching the kiddies go crazy from our seats off to the side. (I know I'm still young, but since it was an all-ages show I felt really old next to all the little 15 I just hate standing for 3-4 hours straight at shows nowadays, so I certainly feel old.) But I digress! Bloc Party's songs combine serious lyrics about modern day London with these incredibly catchy beats. The music was brilliant, their energy level was through the roof, and they looked good onstage.

About halfway through it became clear that the best part of the show for me was watching Russell, and of course Russell's hair. (see pictures below) I had just seen a similar haircut in a Prada ad earlier that day and was totally in love with it. It's the kind of cut that is soooo cool but looks good on noone but the model, you know? But! It looked completely natural on Russell. He was just adorable. I just wanted to give him a hug, he was so cute. I'll stop now since I'm starting to sound like a stalker, but seriously--the hair!!! Anyways, it was Russell's 26th birthday on Sunday, so at one point between songs Kele got the whole crowd to sing Happy Birthday to him; it was a sweet gesture and of course we all sang along. That kind of collective energy is what makes going to live shows so much fun--you just don't have experiences like that sitting at home on your couch! So if Bloc Party is coming to your town, get thee to the box office today and pick up your tickets. It's well worth it, plus you'll get to see Russell's hair for yourself. And you do not want to miss that.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Addendum to AFoMFT, late edition

Just got home from the Bloc Party show and my official new favorite thing is...

Russell's hair!

(photo by Jenna Decker; see more of her work here.)

(photo by Juliette Robert; see more of her work

I'll post a full review of the show tomorrow, but in the meantime, how cute is Russell's hair???!!??!?

Friday, March 09, 2007

A few of my favorite things, early daylight savings time edition

NPR made a great point yesterday: if we now only have standard time 5 months out of the year, can it really be called "standard" time? Hm. But on with the list...

Swedish pop music
pink champagne
pushmepullyou design
having Fridays off!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The extremely early bird does not get the worm.

We're having a yard sale tomorrow to raise money for my good friend Christine and have put out quite a bit of publicity in the papers and online. The sale will be from 9-4, and I specified no early birds, but another friend who is experienced in yard sales warned me that they would show up anyways. Well, I guess she was right. An elderly gentleman just rang our doorbell asking if he could come in and see the books that we would be selling tomorrow. When I said no, he asked if he could come back tonight. I said no again. Then he asked if he could come at 7 tomorrow morning and played the age card to gain sympathy (he's 75). I finally said he could come at 8 and hang around until I get the books set up. Which I know is unfair to the people who will come at 9, and I feel a little bad about that, but I just did't feel like arguing with him. On the bright side, it's nice to know that at least one person will be coming to the sale tomorrow!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Shameless plug for my fabulous mechanic

If you live in Seattle and are looking for a good mechanic, may I suggest Dr. Don's Automotive in Ballard? They are just awesome. Honest, helpful and downright friendly.


This morning I dropped my car off for an oil change, then took the bus home. On the bus I witnessed something that nobody should ever have to see: public grooming. A man sitting nearby was using a fingernail clipper to trim his chin hairs. On the bus!!!

After a few seconds of appalled staring, I regained my sense of politeness and thereafter stuck to furtive glances in his direction to see if he could possibly be doing what I thought he was doing. (He was.) He appeared to be using the reflection from the bus window for a mirror, as he pulled his chin skin taut with one hand and clipped with the other. Blech. I mean, we all know that natural light is the best light for facial grooming, but come on! Doing it in public is just unnecessary and wrong. I've had this image seared into my corneas for the past hour, so hopefully posting this will clear my brain, much like passing along an earworm helps get it out of your head...