Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Long Post...take your time!

It has been a while since I posted. Much has happened, but I have not been fully inspired to write anything. Sometimes you just gotta write something.

First off...RADIOHEAD!

Most of you will not fully appreciate the above video. This was a concert that I had hoped to see for many years. I first listened to Radiohead in high school when "Creep" became popular. I bought Pablo Honey. Though it was okay. Basically ignored the next two albums until a college roommate convinced me that OK Computer was one of the best albums ever recorded. I borrowed it, and he never got it back. I listened to it sparsely as well, at first, enjoying it superficially. Somehow, though, I got hold of The Bends, and I was hooked completely. "High and Dry," I recognized somehow. But I just loved the musicality. I was in Nashville at the time I listened to it the most, and that was a time when I discovered the importance of rhythm guitar. At least, good rhythm guitar. And I contend that The Bends has some of the best rhythm guitar ever. Off of this album, "The Bends" is perhaps my favorite song. That's the song in the video above. But I could have an inner debate for quite a while about my favorite Radiohead song.

Among Radiohead fans, there are the "Bends" allegiant, and there are the "OK Computer" allegiant--each fans typically declares one of the two as their best. I'm a "Bends" guy. So is my cousin Blair (who was next to me at the concert and acquired the tickets from a guy named Franklin). More people are "OK Computer" people, I think. Certainly the following albums are great (Kid A, Amnesiac, Hail to the Thief, and In Rainbows), but a clear diversion from their previous albums to more inaccessable to the masses, but innovative, progressive, and artistic. In my world, I want the musicians to be a bit weird or unusual, especially in their approach to writing. But not so much as to alienate the fans. I understand it's all subjective. But Radiohead seem to write such tremendous "art" songs, creating transcendent moods with music, taking pop instruments and creating chords and sounds that stretch the mind and acoustic palate.

(Geez, I'm really flowing here.) All of this to say, it was a great moment for me. They have been quite influential in my playing. You can hear it when I play guitar. I bought a Fender Telecaster because Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead guitar player) played one. I bought a Small Stone Phaser (a guitar special effect) because he used one. As I mentioned earlier, their rhythm guitar style inspired me and changed my approach to playing. Just listen to "My Iron Lung" to hear what I'm talking about--I still love it and it inspires me. Listen to the special effects in the intro, then listen to the chords under the verses. Then this song also shows off Thom Yorke's voice. "Bones"--the simplicity of the guitars in the verse, then the octave jumps mixed with blues during the chorus; Thom's vocals--perhaps the most dynamic, and a very inventive melody. (Note: I'm very effusive with my compliments...must be the coffee.) I could probably over-analyze all of their songs. And most of you aren't interested. So I'll end with a summary statement: favorite band, finally saw them live, great show.

...Since my last posting, the Royals have been no-hit by Jon Lester of the Red Sox, had a 12 game losing streak, and now have won only 3 of their last 19 games, nestling them in
last place in the AL Central. Fortunately, they're in a battle for last with Detroit, whose fans must be even more disappointed. The Royals have a knack for making opposing pitchers look like Cy Young candidates, with some suggesting teams should give a slumping pitcher a start against the Royals to break a slump. I've seen Sidney Ponson look like a magician. Went to my first game when the Twins were in town, and the Royals lack of hitting made Kevin Slowey (who?) look like a stud. They've also sent their best young hitter to the minors because of a lack of production. This really is a talented young team in many ways. Except for hitting, it appears. Their pitching staff has done well, often performing at a winning or first-place level. But too often, they lose close games, especially on the nights when the pitching struggles. They're doing well against the monstrous Yankees, especially Jose Guillen even in a loss yesterday. Right now, they're down 6-3, but they still look competitive. I'll keep watching.

...What would you bury yourself in? Maybe we should ask this instead of, "What would you have written on your tombstone?"

...Chalk these up to something I thought of as a kid and am amazed to see come to fruition. I'd love to try it out.

...aaaaand the Royals have lost now, 6-3.

...really? First, Hollywood people can be so weird, and it baffles me that anyone would listen to their opinions in regards to politics or anything worthwhile besides art, fashion, music and other creative ventures. Second, when is Clay Aiken gonna tell everyone he's gay? Seems like he's treating us like sleuths, like ET with the Reese's pieces, giving us clues like little bits of candy. Just say it! Third, does the fact that she artificially inseminated indicate one or both of them just hate sex? Or heterosexual sex? What can be made of it??

...Thanks for reading. So here's an update, in case you're interested. I finish residency in December. Have been looking at jobs in OKC, the Dallas area, and in Austin. All of which are tempting for their own different reasons. I'm ready to leave KC--just needing a change of scenery.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Show Month

Two least one more to go.

Maybe you have one too--a checklist of things you want to do in life. Some of mine are trivial, others garden-variety, all ultimately personal. This week I've made a strikingly rapid assault on this checklist, having seen two bands I love, and one coming this weekend.

It began Tuesday with The Police...

Great show!! One that you just enjoy and soak in the pleasure of seeing this tumultous trio play the songs from childhood, remembering how I never thought I would have the chance because these guys have a history of not getting along and on-stage fights. They played every song I wanted to hear, except for Synchronicity II, but I'm not complaining. Andy Summers looks every bit of 65, but can still play. Made me think how fun it might be to be the old guy in a band with young, highly-talented players and eventually make it big. A guy can dream, right? A surprising thing was the average age of the crowd. Prior to the show, I speculated average age being thirty, but I would say most were 40 or older. Lots of grey hair there. All in all, great show. My first visit to the new Sprint Center here in KC, which I watched being built from the ground up from my nearby apartment.

And then Wednesday night, Wilco....

This is the second time I've seen them. This time was better than the last show. This one was an outdoor show in Lawrence, KS--a great college, somewhat bohemian, town. They played several songs from Being There--the CD that introduced me to them--which made me very happy. Last time at the Uptown, they essentially played the new songs from Sky Blue Sky and selections from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Ghost is Born. My personal favorites were "Say You Miss Me," "Misunderstood"--which is much better and easier to appreciate live, "Handshake Drugs," and they played "California Stars" from the Mermaid Avenue album with Billy Bragg--one of the great leisure songs. And, its lyrics are written by Woody Guthrie. The whole album was an interesting project, profiled in a documentary that you should rent.

Next....Radiohead...the topper!...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Picher, A-Rod, iPhone

If you're a Yankee hater, here is more fuel for your fire. This guy can't catch a break. I don't think many other players actually like or respect this guy--maybe as a player, not a person. But he's not all bad. My guess is that he's one of those players/people who just doesn't connect well with people. Such a stud athlete, people always wanted to be his friend until he became an adult. Now the people who want to be his friend, he cannot trust--just people who want something for free. Anyway...

I should move to Israel. I'd be envied. Really, the iPhone is the coolest thing. I'm not a gadget guy. And this is such a smart machine. It's my first iPod, of which I have become one of the iPod drones in the world, arriving at work with the earbuds in place. Zoned out. I find it is a crutch for the introvert side of me that really doesn't like things like elevator small talk, forced hallway smiles, and talk about the weather. But I realize the bleakness of a world full of people lost in their iPods--I think of a New York train or Chicago street.

You may have heard of the tornados that hit northeastern Oklahoma a few days ago, killing 6 in the small town of Picher, Oklahoma. What you may not know is that this was perhaps the knockout blow to this old mining town. Because of lead mining, Picher was born. And now, because of lead mining, Picher is dying. The government, after acknowledging the environmental disaster in Tar Creek, is buying out residents homes in an effort to displace them from an unsafe living. This story has been profiled in many places. Notably, I happened to read this article days before the tornado hit. A picture or two says a thousand words. Here is a video featuring a resident of Picher and former miner. (Plus, those of you unfamiliar with the nuances of the modern day Oklahoma accent, you can hear it in the narrators' voices in those features) Another article from over a year ago. There's even a documentary about the small town. This is a sentimental story, not that I have ever been to Picher, but I have driven through so many of these small towns in Oklahoma and Texas. And to think the people were unknowingly exposed to so much lead, but yet the town was sustained by the industry and worked dutifully to support the American industrial machine. So now you can fully understand the story behind the story of the tornados this week--that they struck perhaps the final blow to Picher, OK.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May 6, 2008

...At work I see many people with chronic pain problems.  And this can be the bane of my existence at times.  There are people with actual problems who, whether they recognize it or not, become drug addicted.  Some will blame the doctors for their addiction, saying that the doctors are the ones that put them on such potent drugs with their accompanying rapid withdrawal effects.  This is an interesting article I found detailing a study of demographics of chronic pain.  Of note, I found interesting the associations with level of education and the lack of availability of certain drugs in lower socioeconomic areas.

...How about a feel-good story from right here in Kansas City? I must say, however, that the attention lavished on him from celebrities may be a bit much. But he should be applauded for his efforts. Must be interesting to open up a new world with words at age 70.

...I continue to be shocked once in a while when I meet people who seem by all appearances and behavior to be like me who snort cocaine. COCAINE!! I have come to understand an educated, rational person using weed (know plenty of those), but the cocaine users have really suprised me. Maybe I shouldn't be. Maybe I'm naive. I see lots of patients who smoke crack (some of which surprise me as well, especially their nonchalance). And I see that powder is hitting the mainstream.

...For Radiohead fans, here is a great website. And I owe thanks to the overly obsessive people out there whom I can rely upon for details I love but would never really seek out.

...Finally, congratulations to my old roommate Matt Moreland and his wife Sara on the new addition to their family. They are in China right now picking up their daughter whom they have adopted, and you can follow along.

Friday, May 02, 2008

May 2, 2008

If you have a lot of time to kill, here is a compilation of the Top 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches of All Time, as collected by 50 is a lot. But they really seem to have gotten the ones I like.

So...what would you do? Watch and see what he did.

The Royals are back to their losing ways again. The pitching is doing well, but you can't have an offense that gets shut down by Sidney Ponson!! They lost 2 of 3 to the Rangers--my other team--who are the one team worse than the Royals in the AL.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April 29, 2008

To the web!...

...The newest version of Grand Theft Auto comes out today. And no matter how much my moral core prompts me to feel otherwise, I have to admit that this is a fun game to play. At least, the old ones were fun. Forgive me. Not sure I would spend the money on something like this any more, though.

...Anyone else think that now is about time to stop this thing? If I were Billy Ray, I'd say it's time to shut it all down for a bit, or you're gonna get this, this, or this. And it actually seems as if they are trying to do the child star thing right. But is there a 'right' way anyway?

...So there are apparently people who actually wanna be the body behind the horrible new OU 'mascot'. Does anybody who is a Sooner fan like the horses?

...I'm uninformed and unmotivated, politically speaking, but something just doesn't seem right. And it seems like another industry has picked up on this, too.

...An article here on athletes and smoking from (And you might notice where I've lifted my new blog style.)

...I like movies, but I don't like every movie, or even most movies, for that matter. So I like to know, if I'm going to spend the time and money on seeing one in the theater, if it is worth it. And this website is the one I've found that seems to give me good information on whether a movie is good or not. Test it and see. Look up your favorite movies on there, or the classics, and check the ratings, and you will see that it is reliable. Just saw "Juno" a couple of weeks ago, partly based on their consensus review, and thought it was great.

Welp, have a great day every one! (all three of you)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Yankees fans are ridiculous

I will leave it to Joe Posnanski, columnist for the KC Star, to express the newest level of Yankee ridiculosity.

Surf on...

-Royals took two of three from the Blue Jays. Meche loses again.

-Just a quick plug for a band from Oklahoma City, Aranda--good friends of mine that I used to sit in with on occasion. It was a huge honor/privilege to sit in with them, because of their talent for singing, Dameon's guitar ability, and song writing ability. They have a new record. If you like what you hear, buy a record! Or go see a show.

-Need a new idea for a diet? Try going to prison. Seems to be working for this guy.