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13 posts from December 2010

And a long jacket...

It is now time for the 2010 Primetime TV Kappy Awards! Huzzah! Huzzah! So heat up your TV dinner, grab the remote control, and kick back the recliner.

Last year, I started by listing all the shows we've watched to give you some basis by which we can justify giving these awards. The list this year is no shorter, let's just leave it at that. Typing them all in here would only depress me.

On to the awards...


Continue reading "And a long jacket..." »

Remember to never forget...

Welcome to the final Snippet Wednesday of 2010!

Janelle-archandroid-cover-300x300 The worst thing about creating "Best Of" lists is when you forget something you didn't want to forget. A year or two ago (I don't remember when it came out), I left off The White Stripes' Icky Thump from my albums of the year list.

This year, I forgot Janelle Monae's brilliant The ArchAndroid. I freakin' loved that album, but forgot it because I didn't see it listed in the 2010 album release list on Wikipedia. And, yet, there it is under May 18. I don't know how I missed it. Suffice it to say, The ArchAndroid would've fared very well on my list. Easily top 5, maybe even as high as number 3. So if you are looking for something funky, check her out. Worth it. Trust me.


Continue reading "Remember to never forget..." »

This is how it starts...

It's that time of the year! Time for my annual Best Of lists.

Actually, it's been that time for several days now and my lazy butt is finally getting around to typing things up. I just hope I get through all three lists before the new year starts. I really don't have a whole heckuva lot of time, do I?

Well, I'm starting things off with the Kapgar Top 10 Albums of 2010. In reverse order from 10 to 1, we have:

O03907c22ou 10. School of Seven Bells - Disconnect From Desire
I have a thing for ethereal, almost haunted sounds in my music. I think it all stems back to a longtime love of Bjork and it was downhill from there. I'm not saying that School of Seven Bells is Bjork-like, but they are both kinda "out there" as it were and I sometimes find myself struggling to find the proper mood to be in to fully enjoy this album. But when I'm there, look out. I just love how refined their sound is and then the one-two attack of twin sisters, Claudia and Alehandra Deheza on vocals add something you rarely hear in any band. Definitely worth a listen.
Track It - "Camarilla" and "Dust Devil"

N83829bbk43 9. LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening
James Murphy, the mastermind behind LCD Soundsystem, proves that even the most unhip guy can surprise you. Seriously, check the dude out some time. You may not believe he's responsible for the electronic beats that have been released on the four albums that mark this career. I've been into LCD for a few albums now, thanks to my buddy Eric, and my love only gets deeper with this latest album.
Track It - "Drunk Girls" and "You Wanted a Hit"

O19455ysnsi 8. Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles - The Grand Bounce
Nat was sending me lyrics for the Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt and she had a line from a song on this album to which she added the note "my album of the summer." I replied back saying that I'd never heard of him. She was shocked. And thus began my education. Gord Downie is the frontman of The Tragically Hip, a band I do know (I swear!), that is currently on hiatus. Although this is basically the same lineup as his regular solo band, Coke Machine Glow (a fantastic band name, BTW), he is now using the name The Country of Miracles. Dunno why. But what I do know is that this album is NOT available in either the iTunes Store or the Amazon MP3 Store and that is both tragic and unhip. I had to resort to alternative means to obtain it and I'm glad I did. To miss out on this album is wrong.
Track It - "Gone" and "Moon Over Glenora"

N98495qfizu 7. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
Big Boi, one half of OutKast, releases his first full solo effort under one heckuvan interesting title. But, despite any headscratching you may do over the title, it's worth it. He spins a fantastic rhyme and proves that he's just as good without Andre 3000 as he is with him. Bear in mind, this is not the sort of album you want to spin around your parents. Me thinks this is the sort of album that Tipper Gore had in mind when she conceived of those God-forsaken Parental Advisory labels. Many people are raving about Eminem or Kanye West having the hip-hop album of the year. Clearly these people have not listened to Big Boi.
Track It - "Back Up Plan" and "Tangerine"

N82274ny504 6. The National - High Violet
The first time I heard the deeply resonant vocals of Matt Berninger, I was sold. I went out and got both High Violet and The Boxer and both have been on heavy rotation ever since. When mixed with the master musicianship of the rest of the band, you've got a fantastic collection of songs that will shake you to the core.
Track It - "Bloodbuzz Ohio" and "Anyone's Ghost"

N40618a7xat 5. Spoon - Transference
One of the things I've learned about music from my friend Eric is that I should just trust him. Sometimes, he'll share an album or band with me that just doesn't catch right away, but, eventually, I will find something about them that just "takes" and I'll suddenly develop a love that I can't shake. Such is the case with Spoon. I've listened to albums from this band for years and, not to say I didn't like them, but I just never really cared much. And I really cannot explain why I felt this way. Then came Transference and my entire opinion of the band changed entirely. Now I'm listening to their library with a renewed appreciation that sadly should have happened some time ago. Oh well, better late than never.
Track It - "The Mystery Zone" and "I Saw the Light"

O32282n15ak 4. Matt & Kim - Sidewalks
And on the flip side of the coin are those bands that are recommended to you by a friend that you just take to like a moth to a flame. Matt & Kim were recommended to me in early 2009 by Dave of Blogography around the release of Grand. Damn. With Kim Schifino providing the power thump behind Matt Johnson's keyboards and vocals, we, the listeners, are blessed with seemingly simple indie power pop sounds that are catchy as hell and will wind up played over and over again.
Track It - "Block After Block" and "Where You're Coming From"

N94057mp3jn 3. Robyn - Body Talk, pts. 1-3
Yes, that Robyn. The same Swedish pop princess that released "Do You Know (What it Takes)" and "Show Me Love" is back with a three-part album released throughout 2010 that, while maintaining a strong pop foundation, has greater edge and is much more risque lyrically. I knew of Robyn back in the day and can't say I cared too much when Eric said she had new music coming out and would be playing at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Then I listened to Body Talk, pt. 1 and saw her live and now I'm in lust. Fantastic rhythms and well crafted beat that you can't help but dance to.
Track It - "Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do" and "Dancehall Queen"

N52015fr3ki 2. Mumford & Sons - Sign No More
I've developed a great love for folksy, bluegrassy sounds lately. I'm not sure where or how the interest developed, but it did. So when Marty wrote his review of this album a couple months ago, my interest was piqued. Great stuff. And, honestly, I think I'll let his review do the talking.
Track It - "Little Lion Man" and "Dust Bowl Dance"

1. Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
You remember what I said way back when in my recap of Spoon's Transference about just trusting what Eric says? Yeah, here's another one of those bands. He's been sharing Sufjan Stevens' music with me for years, including the popularly and critically lauded Come On Feel the Illinoise, and I just wasn't interested. Not in the slightest. Then I listened, with heightened trepidation, when he sent me The Age of Adz. Guess what? It clicked. And in a big way. And I'm going back and listening to his old stuff and enjoying it like I never could have before. Why? Who really knows. But this album is just rocking my iPod and iPhone of late and I couldn't be happier.
Track It - "Futile Devices" and "I Walked"

And you?

Open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur...

Time for the start of the final week of the Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt! I'm actually kinda relieved. I've been having trouble keeping up with it. Oh well.

First, the drawing for the winner of the $10 gift card from way back in week two!

After running some numbers over at, the winner is Nat!

Don't forget to check out all the photos in the Flickr Group.

Second, here are my photos incorporating the third week's lyrics:

"The wind comes in at the end of the day,
watchin' the trees and the leaves and the pieces blow away."
--Annie Automatic, "Something Sacred (acoustic)," iTunes Single

"I gotta tell you folks, he wasn't wearin no clothes.
He musta rubbed a whole gallon of Crisco oil from his back down to his toes."
--Ben Folds, "Bizarre Christmas Incident," Ben Folds Live

Snowy Scarecrow
"Well I stumbled upon your secret place safe in the trees you had tears on your face.
Wrestling with your desires frozen strangers stealing your fires.
The message hit my mind."
--Heart, "Dog and Butterfly," Dog and Butterfly

Third, the week four challenge lyrics:

Nat's lyric-
"You know I keep your fingerprints in a pink folder in the middle of my table.
You’re the tall kingdom I surround; think I better follow you around"
--The National, "Brainy," Boxer

Odie's lyric-
"The whole wide world was upside down.
The streets of town were paved with stars."
--Manhattan Transfer, "A Nightingale Sang in Barkley Square"

My lyric-
"We love the all the all of you.
Our lands are green and skies are blue.
Now all in all we're just like you.
We love the all of you."
--Spacehog, "In the Meantime," Resident Alien

Have fun! And remember, this final week runs through Monday, January 3, 2010 to give you a few extra days to recover from your New Year's celebrating and then post incriminating photos.

Oh, and another reminder, after this week, an overall winner will be chosen to receive the $75 gift certificate from The only way to win is to play!

Rockin' around the Christmas tree...

Welcome to Snippet Wednesday: The Christmas Edition! Does this mean all Snippets will be Christmas themed? Well, er, no. Oh well.

I'm not entirely sure where I came across this article. Knowing me, it likely came from Twitter. But, anyway, Wired's Geekdad wrote about the top 10 movie plot holes you probably never noticed before. Pretty interesting. Although I'm not necessarily sure I would agree with #1. As Yoda points out in The Return of the Jedi, "there is another." So clearly he has thought it through contrary to what the author of this article claims.

How many of you are fans of the TV game show Cash Cab? So am I when I actually get to watch it. But, ideally, I now have a better chance of actually participating. How? They're starting a Chicago edition! And, thanks to the fine folks at Chicagoist, I now know what I should be looking for if I want to play. For anyone interested, you'll be looking for a Toyota Sienna that is marked as part of the Yellow Cab fleet. The number on the minivan is 4472TX and the license plate is L53 5925. As a note, if you and I happen to converge on the cab at the same time on the streets of Chicago, I will take you down. Happy holidays!

A judge has denied former Illinois Governor George Ryan's request to be allowed out of prison to be at the bedside of his ailing wife. And, you know what? I totally agree with the judge. I feel bad that his wife is dying, but he chose to make the mistakes that led to him serving time in prison. I'm sorry, but you have to pay the piper. There are plenty of inmates, past and present, that have ailing spouses and other relatives. Should we just let them all out? No. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, you're my hero. Thank you for not caving to sentimentality and for sticking to the letter of the law.

Die-HardMy boss asked me to bring in some Christmas-related DVDs to work. Being the movie nut I am, I was more than happy to oblige. What films did I bring in? Let's see... National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Elf, Love Actually, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Grumpy Old Men, and, one of the finest Christmas films ever, Die Hard!  My coworkers thought I was nuts to consider Die Hard a Christmas movie, but it so totally is! I was told that it is only tangentially Christmas because it happened to be set in the holiday season. But it's a very festive flick! As some of my Tweeps pointed out, it's got holiday music, it's main setting is a holiday party in the Nakatomi Towers, it's very family oriented in that John McClain is trying to protect his family from terrorists and reporters, and he even places a very holiday-centric Santa hat on the head of a dead terrorist before sending him off in an elevator. How much more festive can you get?

My blogger/Twitter buddy @amanda234 sent me a copy of her Wintry Mix 2010 CD. Damn, she's got some great taste in music! Katie and I have to work on our mix CDs for a Christmas exchange this weekend, but I'm almost tempted to just steal Amanda's and claim it's mine. Wait... damn! So much for that idea.

Adios peeps. Got the Lillymonster here for a few days and I think she needs to pee.

And still the photograph showed signs not wasted...

Week two has come and gone and I've got a few things to accomplish here today.

First, I need to draw a winner from week one of the contest. The winner, who will be chosen randomly from all those who entered, will receive a $10 iTunes giftcard.

And the winner, as determined by, is #5, or in this case, Kevin Spencer! I will e-mail you the $10 iTunes code just as soon as I've picked it up. Cool, man?

Second, I must present my own entries for week two. Here you go...

I decree that it's wrong that I can't just make this a single word and put it anywhere I want on the damn game board. #stupidrules
"Because the plot thickens every day
And the pieces of my puzzle keep crumblin' away
But I know, there's a picture beneath."
--Faith No More, "Falling to Pieces," The Real Thing

Technically, this doesn't really count since it's a screen capture off my iPhone as opposed to an actual photograph. But it does kinda fit and, since I'm not allowing myself to win the drawings, it doesn't really matter, does it?

Helium Fail
"The favored march up over the hill in some fools parade.
Shoutin' victory for the righteous, but there ain't much here but graves."
--Bruce Springsteen, "Gypsy Biker," Magic

Needle Light
"Cables that carry the life to the cities we build.
Threads that link diamonds of life to the satanic mills."
--Yes, "Machine Messiah," Drama

Third, and lastly, here are the lyrics for week 3...

My lyric-
"The wind comes in at the end of the day,
watchin' the trees and the leaves and the pieces blow away."
--Annie Automatic, "Something Sacred (acoustic)," iTunes Single

Nat's lyric-
"I gotta tell you folks, he wasn't wearin no clothes.
He musta rubbed a whole gallon of Crisco oil from his back down to his toes."
--Ben Folds, "Bizarre Christmas Incident," Ben Folds Live

Odie's lyric-
"Well I stumbled upon your secret place safe in the trees you had tears on your face.
Wrestling with your desires frozen strangers stealing your fires. the message hit my mind."
--Heart, "Dog and Butterfly," Dog and Butterfly

Have some fun!

Resolution slips away again...

Well, the first week of the Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt has come and gone and, so far, I'm the only person who has submitted photos. I'm hoping it wasn't too tough. My interpretations are pretty loose as you'll see below. I'll let you see if you can figure them out.

Photo365 Day 332: Mary Joseph
"You say it's your birthday, well it's my birthday too, yeah.
You say it's your birthday, we're gonna have a good time.
I'm glad it's your birthday, happy birthday to you."
--The Beatles, "Birthday", The White Album

Po Rappa
"Through my research I have found all it takes
To keep the chickens laying eggs
Is opera or Gershwin played at low volumes on dad's old radio."
--Christine Fellows, "Spinster's Almanac", Nevertheless

Naper at Night
"Don't your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won't snow and the sun won't shine
It's hard to tell the night time from the day."
--The Eagles, "Desperado", Desperado

Feel free to go ahead and post your photos for week one through tomorrow, Monday, December 13 at midnight.

But you can also go ahead and work on the lyrics for week two as well. They are...

My lyric-
"Because the plot thickens every day
And the pieces of my puzzle keep crumblin' away
But I know, there's a picture beneath."
--Faith No More, "Falling to Pieces," The Real Thing

Nat's lyric-
"The favored march up over the hill in some fools parade.
Shoutin' victory for the righteous, but there ain't much here but graves."
--Bruce Springsteen, "Gypsy Biker," Magic

Odie's lyric-
"Cables that carry the life to the cities we build.
Threads that link diamonds of life to the satanic mills."
--Yes, "Machine Messiah," Drama

Have at it, folks.

You're a sweet sweet girl, but it's a cruel cruel world...

SWKatie I'd like you to meet someone. Her name is Katie.

She's not someone I've ever met and I doubt we ever will and, yet, I feel a strong kinship with her.


Well, she's a Star Wars fan. She loves those characters and adventures that take place in a galaxy far, far away.

No, that's not the only reason. She's been the target of bullying as a result of her love of Star Wars.

It seems some short-sighted little boys at her school think that Star Wars is the exclusive domain of humans with Y chromosomes. So, when they saw little Katie bring her Star Wars water bottle to school, they let her know their feelings. I'm not sure if any physical bullying occurred. But, in many cases, emotional and verbal bullying is just as, if not worse, than physical bullying. I know firsthand.

Throughout my childhood and early teen years, I was the victim of all three.

I was physically bullied because I was the tallest kid in a K-6 school when I was only in fourth grade. Kids thought that to prove their mettle, they had to beat up on me. And that they did. Until I learned to appropriately defend myself (thank you to my Kenpo senseis and my parents for help with that one).

I was verbally bullied when I would express my love and appreciation of certain musicians or movies or TV shows or toys by having pictures in my locker or wearing T-shirts or talking about them. If these bullies in my school didn't also like them, then I wasn't allowed to. Heck, even if they did like them, they often didn't want to share and I still wasn't allowed.

I was emotionally bullied by being told what I could and could not do, what I could and could not like, who I could and could not be, and being told that I just wasn't good enough.

Katie, you're not alone out there. It happens to just about all of us whether we admit it or not.

But, I'm also here to tell you that you will get through it and you will be a better person as a result of it. Make not of how these bullies are treating you. Listen to what they say and watch what they do. And then make yourself a promise that you will never treat other people the same way that they are treating you. If you can do that, then you have won. You will be a much better and much stronger person.

And, by the way, don't ever let them or anyone tell you what you can't do or can't be or can't like. Us Star Wars fans welcome you to the club with open arms. The idea that there are girls out there that love and know Star Wars and it's universe of diverse characters as much as us boys is just plain awesome.

So keep on being you and don't ever be anyone else.

In honor of you and of anyone else suffering at the hands of bullying, I'm wearing a Star Wars T-shirt to today.

Pride, my friends. Pride.

Wouldn't you like to get away...

Welcome to another edition of Snippet Wednesday... a question edition!

This past Saturday, after the 5K, the four of us came back to our house to cool off and change clothes and all that jazz. While flipping through the channels on the TV, we found a pair of episodes of Cheers! And, to boot, both were episodes featuring Coach! As much as I liked Woody, nothing could quite compare to Coach. He was awesome. He made the show. I forgot how much I missed both him and this show. The problem is that I don't really want to bother with the DVDs. Too many sets to purchase. What I would love is a network that airs nothing but Cheers episodes back to back to back. Oh, and another that plays episodes of Quantum Leap! Yeah! My two heaven networks.

So my question to you is, if you could have a network program nothing but episodes of a show of your choosing, what show would it be?

Wendt In one of the episodes I watched of Cheers, Norm (George Wendt) received news that a medical test he underwent turned out negative, or is it positive? Well, whichever meant he didn't have a problem. After receiving the news, he decided to leave his life behind and set sail to Bora Bora. It was always a dream of his to sail the South Pacific and now, after gaining another lease on life, he decided to just do it. I think I would work the vineyards of Italy. Hmm.

Question #2: If you could drop everything and leave it all behind to start a new life anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I was just flipping through headlines on my news homepage and saw something about a new Leonardo DiCaprio film in which his love interest will be played by a guy named Armie Hammer. Really? That's his name? And his parents thought that it would be a good thing to call their child Armie Hammer? I feel like I should pry open his mouth and stuff him in my fridge to keep things fresh.

What's the most unfortunate name you've heard, whether an IRL ("In Real Life") person or someone in the news or a celebrity, etc?

I'm torn about this new movie The Fighter with Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Amy Adams. It's about a guy chasing his dream of being a professional boxer. Or, at least, that's what I get from the trailer. I kinda want to see it and I kinda don't. It might wind up being a game time decision if Katie and I see it or not. I never wanted to be a boxer, but I wouldn't have minded being another type of athlete. I think being a speed skater or even a hockey player. Something about cruising along at ridiculously high speeds and the wind blowing past you and the world becoming a blur.


To get on the bus that takes me to you...

It's time for the first week of the Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt!

You know the rules. If you don't remember, check them out in the main post. Please remember to post links to your photographs in this post, not the main announcement post.

Here are your lyrics for the week:

My lyric -
"You say it's your birthday, well it's my birthday too, yeah.
You say it's your birthday, we're gonna have a good time.
I'm glad it's your birthday, happy birthday to you."
--The Beatles, "Birthday", The White Album

Nat's lyric -
"Through my research I have found all it takes
To keep the chickens laying eggs
Is opera or Gershwin played at low volumes on dad's old radio."
--Christine Fellows, "Spinster's Almanac", Nevertheless

Odie's lyric -
"Don't your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won't snow and the sun won't shine
It's hard to tell the night time from the day."
--The Eagles, "Desperado", Desperado

Knock yourselves out!

I don't usually like to do a TUA on a Scavenger Hunt challenge, but I do have to post a quick photo.

And if you need help with what the picture means, check out this post and this post.

So I leave you now with Mr. Jerome Bettis formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers...


You've got to run all day...

Race DayWell, we did it. Katie and I (and Scott and Becca) ran our first 5K today. It was the Snowflake Shuffle and let's just say I'm glad it was designated a walk/run. I don't even know what our official final time was. Somewhere around 47 minutes. Not a time I'm particularly proud of.


Starting Friday at midnight, we got hammered with snow. This may not always be a big problem. Heck, many people have run in snow without problems. But this is our first organized run. Up to this point, all we'd done is run in what are otherwise ideal conditions. Those being either a treadmill or the occasional outdoor run in which it was nice and clear. We were not at all prepared for what happened here in Geneva.

The roads were horrible. Sure, they had plowed and salted, but the last time was a couple hours before our run began. Honestly, considering the conditions, the "pace car" for the race should have been a snow plow. I'm not kidding here. It would've made total sense and would have given those plows we were seeing on the road with their blades in the "up" position some purpose.

The reason why the snow was such a problem is because I have bad ankles and my body has a tendency to overcompensate when it knows there is some kind of danger that threatens my ankles. I have a very overprotective body that I cannot control at all. It's a bodily sixth sense. So my body began to overcompensate for what were perceived to be potential slips and twists and turns and my calf began to cramp up as a result. Katie had a similar problem.

We did have fun despite the real and perceived peril and we will do it again. But I think we need more outdoor and inclement weather training before we do the Super Bowl Shuffle 5K (PDF) in February.

Here's a shot of the four of us post-race. You can tell it was immediately post-race for Katie and I by the looks on our faces.

Snowflake Shuffle 5K

More photos are available in Flickr.

So drink your gin and tonica and smoke your marijuanica...

Welcome to another fine (albeit snowy) Snippet Wednesday. I'd also like to wish a Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends out there! Shalom!

On the topic of holidays, I have to apologize to some of my family. My recent spate of non-posting led to me not wishing some happiness to my family members. Back on November 21 was my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad! And Monday was my brother's 32 birthday. Happy birthday, old man. I love you all and am sorry.

Yesterday morning, due to bad planning, I didn't get to work out. I was dragging all day long. I could've worked out in the afternoon, but I just didn't feel like it. Wow, I've become a total morning workout person. I need to do it to stay awake. Anyway, so I made up for it this morning by running. Took a completely new route through the neighborhood and kept at it despite the dusting of snow we received overnight and the biting cold outside. I ran 3.09 miles total and that final 1.09 felt incredible. If I'd had more time, I think I could've kept going another couple miles without a problem. Of course, when I actually do have the time, I never feel like keeping going. Know what I mean? Oh, and in case you're wondering why the oddball distance, that's when I happened to get back to my driveway and it also balances my total run distance in the Nike+ GPS app at 26 miles even. Yep! I've almost run a full marathon (never mind that it took 9 or 10 individual runs to get there; we won't mention that).

I Tweeted something today about some topic or other, blah, blah, blah. But it seemingly resonated with a few people as I got replies back from a couple friends that, when viewed in the mentions column of Tweetdeck, looked like this...


Yeah. I totally am. ;-) (no ego there, eh?)

In response to the retiring of both the Indiana Jones and Prince of Persia lines of LEGO sets, the company has released a whole new series called Pharaoh's Quest. Sure, they may not be 100% faithful to Egyptology, but they're pretty darn cool. You can never have too many mummies!

And for those of you who watch The Walking Dead, there is a figure in one of the sets that I think is a total brick doppelgänger for Shane. Uncanny, ain't it? Well, yanno, for being non-contoured and yellow and really small and all that.

the LEGO equivalent of Shane from The Walking Dead. Shanewalkingdead

Someone at work brought in some White Castle Sliders for their lunch. We had been talking about it before he got them and I mentioned that I haven't eaten a Slider since I was about five years old. Considering I turn 36 on Sunday, that's a helluva long time. He thought it necessary that I try one again.

Well, that box arrived and I took one whiff and realized exactly why it's been 31 years since I've had one. I call it Gag-Reflex-Inducing-Scent or Eau de Crap. My sense of smell is still struggling to recover.