My M-F Home Thursday, Sep 30 2010 

*That’s “Monday through Friday,” peeps, not “Mother [Effing].” Well … occasionally both. I work in the Chicago Board of Trade, also known as The “CBOT” or, simply, “The Board.” You may remember it from such films as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Dark Knight. Check it out:

It’s an icon in the Windy City. A National Historic Landmark. It defines the Southern barrier of the Loop. It was once the tallest building in the city. There’s a bar on the first floor that neglects to put mixers in any of its cocktails. It is also 80 years old. As are some of the grizzled floor traders (not my company’s business) that work within its walls.  These men, with whom I share an elevator every day, are driven by sweat, years of tobacco abuse, and greed-fueled adrenaline. Gordon Gekko is nowhere to be found. This is down-and-dirty bartering and the man with the loudest voice (and tallest genes) often wins.

But I digress. Part of the “charm” that comes with working in a relative fossil of a building is similar to what a home-owner faces in a pre-war fixer-upper. Sometimes, no matter what you clean, pretty up, and modernize, old problems seep in. And run deep. (more…)

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Wednesday-Night Dinner – Potato Pizza? Wednesday, Sep 29 2010 

In case you haven’t noticed (and by “you,” I mean my cousin and the two others of you who may stumble across this drivel every month or so), I haven’t decided what I want to do with my minuscule corner of the Internet.  Is it a blog about musical observations?  A pop-culture blog?  A  food blog?  An antics blog?  It’s really just my “self” blog, which is to say a random lottery of meaningless observations.  I’m a jill of all trades, master of none.  And this is perhaps why I haven’t been terribly devoted.  Well, that, and a job that is constantly in flux, a freelance gig, an ever-failing determination to work out, two book clubs, and travel in 8 of the last 10 weeks.

Phew.

So tonight I had nothing going on after work (save an encouraging visit to eye doctor – another 10 years until I’ll need bifocals – yay?) and thought I’d try my hands at “homemade” pizza. My friends Nic & Cam downstate inspired me with their delicious-looking pictures on the Book of Face.  I didn’t make the crust … or the sauce … but I must still say, not a bad effort for a Wednesday night. Here was my experience, thrilling as it may be. (more…)

Lyric Quiz Friday, Number 392 Friday, Sep 24 2010 

Happy Fall, everyone. How quickly time marches on.

Got answers? Send them my way.

Friday Lyric Quiz – #392

1. “And I discovered that my castles stand, upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand” (late 00s)

2. “Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day, and head back to the Milky Way” (early 00s)

3. “Here we go, here we go, satellite radio, y’all getting hit with (boom, boom)” (late 00s) (more…)

From Treasure to Trash: My Prized CD Collection Thursday, Sep 23 2010 

Oh, how I miss you. Sort of.

Mr. Glib and I are nearing the end of a large-scale construction project. On our end, one of our responsibilities was unloading a pre-fab storage shed and sifting through everything before re-loading everything into a permanent storage structure. It was fun re-discovering high-school yearbooks, old photographs, and that Bundt pan I never could locate. Also re-opened? The proverbial Pandora’s box containing the ghosts of music past: 2-1/2 cardboard boxes full of compact discs. (Oddly enough, Aerosmith’s Pandora’s Box isn’t among my discs).

When I was in college, nothing in the tangible realm was more important to me than my CD collection.  Moving into the dorm, apartment, or sorority house each August, I would mount my CD racks on the wall and unload my collection – alphabetically of course – before I’d even make my bed or dust off my puffy-painted picture frames. Step two to every move-in was hooking up the CD player (and dual-cassette deck). A great portion of my allowance went toward CDs – new and used, popular and fringe. God, how I loved diving into a new set of liner notes and the feel of ripping off the cellophane and peeling off those annoying stickers. Remember when CDs used to come packaged in long rectangular cardboard boxes? Well, I used them as decorations.  I may still have the back side of Ugly Kid Joe’s “America’s Least Wanted” tucked in a folder somewhere. (more…)

Lyric Quiz Friday – #391 Friday, Sep 17 2010 

Friday Lyriz Quiz

The modern-day musical landscape, my friends, is a sad one. As one of my friends once said, it didn’t take that long to move from “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” (Beatles) to “I Wanna F*ck You” (Akon).  Chivalry and romance have flown the coop. Do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips.

But these songs talk of a simpler romantic act – the kiss.  All titles have the word “kiss,” or some variation, included.

Got answers? Send them my way.

Friday Lyric Quiz – #391

1. “Sometimes I forget what I`m doing, I don`t forget what I want… I want” (early 80s)

2. “Had a few beers, getting high, sitting, watching the time go by” (late 80s)

3. “Does he love me I want to know, how can I tell If he loves me so” (mid-60s and early 90s)

4. “People, you can never change the way they feel, better let them do just what they will” (late 80s)

5. “Women, not girls rule my world I said they rule my world” (mid-80s)

6. “She’s gone to heaven, so I got to be good” (mid-60s and late 90s)

7. “Cinderella said to Snow White, ‘How does love get so off course?'” (late 90s)

8. “They want you to be Jesus, now go down on one knee, but they want their money back of you’re alive at thirty-three” (mid-90s)

9. “Then he asked me to be his bride … and always be right by his side” (early 60s)

10.Shouldn’t I have this, shouldn’t I have this, shouldn’t I have all of this?” (early 90s)

Answers: Friday Lyric Quiz – #390

1. “You stand in the line just to hit a new low. You’re faking a smile with the coffee to go” (mid-00s)
Bad Day, Daniel Powter

2. “All you’ve got is this moment; twenty-first century’s yesterday” (late 80s)
Need You Tonight, INXS

3. “My lashes are dry, purple teardrops I cry. It don’t have a price, loving you is cherry pie” (late 00s)
Paparazzi, Lady Gaga

4. “Said my get up and go musta got up and went” (mid-70s)
Sweet Emotion, Aerosmith

5. “He smiles politely back at you, you stare politely right on through” (mid-00s)
How to Save a Life, The Fray

6. “I’m just roaming for the moment, sleazing my back yard so don’t get…” (mid-90s)
When I Come Around, Green Day

7. “Got motion, restrained emotion. Been driving, Detroit leaning” (early 80s)
Brass in Pocket (I’m Special) – The Pretenders

8. “Or am I origami? Folded up and just pretend” (late 90s)
Inside Out – Eve 6

9. “I know it’s hard to keep an open heart, when even friends seem out to harm you” (early 90s)
November Rain – Guns n’ Roses

10. “Don’t project, don’t connect, protect. Don’t expect, suggest” (early 90s)
Numb – U2

Nine years ago. Sunday, Sep 12 2010 

Yesterday, I read a handful of recollections from 9-11-01. The heroes.  The fortunate ones who, for whatever twist of perverse fate, narrowly avoided tragedy by being out of work that day.  Those who lost someone or someones. So I thought I would capture my story on the 21st-century equivalent of paper.

Fair warning: my story is boring. I was safely in the Midwest, as were all of my family members (except for those who were in the Deep South).  The friends of mine that were in New York or D.C. were out of harm’s way and quickly able to communicate via email. And yet, I remember my personal minutiae of that day as though it were nine hours ago.

Two months prior, I had moved five hours west from Cincinnati to St. Louis.  I was still having doubts about said move. It wasn’t for family or for a boy or even for a job; I was in fact keeping my same job and telecommuting from five hours away. I had just wanted to return to my roots and my dear old friends.

My dear old friends, while dear, were also at a different life point.  I, single, had an apartment in the city.  They, married, had homes in the suburbs.  They had husbands and bigger jobs and priorities that often didn’t include me, which was understandable. But my understanding of this didn’t exactly keep me from being lonely.  I had recently met a group of single, city-based girlfriends, but we weren’t exactly close just yet.  I was also very casually dating a guy I’d met at a bar at around 2:30 a.m. (when everyone does their best date-screening).  He was polite and generous and sweet and I didn’t care about him one bit.

So there’s the backdrop.  I was up early in my second bedroom-slash-office, hard at work writing about investment strategies. As was the custom at my old company, an email preceded by two asterisks (**) simply meant “the subject is all there is to the email; no need to open the mail.”  Around 8:50, an email comes from our CEO: “**AA plane has flown into the World Trade Center”  Oh-kay.  Horrific pilot error, everyone thought.  American Airlines stock will plummet.  My God.  The poor passengers.  Unsettled, I continue to work.

Fifteen minutes later: “**A second plane has flown into the World Trade Center.”  What the f*ck. No idea what’s going on in my office hours away but I had to get to a television.  Jogged out to my living room; phone begins to ring.  It’s my best friend, one of those for whom I’d moved to St. Louis, inquiring about whether our close Brooklyn-based friend worked in or near the WTC.  We didn’t think so.

Ignoring my computer, I sit with phone to my head and television on.  The towers collapse. I decide I need to get the f*ck out of my apartment. Not for fear, but for human, non-digital interaction.

I drove my car on a beautiful early-fall day to a local pub, Tom’s Bar and Grill. Bellied up to the bar.  Ate a taco salad.  One beer and several ice teas. Chatted for 3-4 hours with those who had come to do the same.  Mostly middle-aged men.  One bankruptcy lawyer and his friend.  These were my new best friends, and I knew I’d never see them again.  The guy I was halfway dating (who, my middle-aged friends advised me, needed dumping based solely on my obvious apathy) called me from his business trip to the West Coast and said he’d be on a flight home the next day.  Had he even been paying attention to the news, I thought? He ended up stranded for three more days before renting a car and driving cross-country.

My home the afternoon of 9/11

My home the afternoon of 9/11

I didn’t work for the rest of the week as the stock markets were closed. I cleaned and shopped and cooked. I called everyone that meant anything to me, no matter if they lived in Cincinnati or Tennessee or California.  I wore red white and blue topped by my ex-boyfriend’s Yankees cap that had an embellished American flag. People looked at me sympathetically as though I were a legitimate New York resident on vacation in the heartland. I felt like a poseur.

I felt shaken and sad and terrified but strangely alive and inspired by the patriotism that swelled universally. Everyone exchanged those sad smiles like you do at funerals. The restaurants and parks were full of people appreciating the company of loved ones. Revenge wasn’t even on the table; solidarity and survival were paramount.

Writing this, I’m almost sadder on September 12, 2010 than I was on September 12, 2001. The palpable sense of hope that rose up from such tragedy has been completely eradicated in such a relatively short time.  Divided we fall, people.

Lyric Quiz Friday – Number 390 Friday, Sep 10 2010 

Friday Lyriz Quiz

Happy Friday, everyone!  The pop-music world bid a sad farewell to one of its own this week.  Rich Cronin, the frontman and primary songwriter for LFO (“Lyte Funky Ones”) lost his battle with leukemia. The former Jennifer Love Hewitt victim … I mean, paramour wasn’t as succesful as a Timberlake, for example, but “Every Other Time” is one catchy song, and “Summergirls” will go down in history as having some of the most nonsensical (yet memorable) rhymes of all time. Hope Abercrombie royalties made you comfortable in your final years, Rich.  Rest in peace.

This week’s theme is no theme. The pattern emerges.

Got answers? Send them my way.

Friday Lyric Quiz – #390

1. “You stand in the line just to hit a new low. You’re faking a smile with the coffee to go” (mid-00s)

2. “All you’ve got is this moment; twenty-first century’s yesterday” (late 80s)

3. “My lashes are dry, purple teardrops I cry. It don’t have a price, loving you is cherry pie” (late 00s)

4. “Said my get up and go musta got up and went” (mid-70s)

5. “He smiles politely back at you, you stare politely right on through” (mid-00s)

6. “I’m just roaming for the moment, sleazing my back yard so don’t get…” (mid-90s)

7. “Got motion, restrained emotion. Been driving, Detroit leaning” (early 80s)

8. “Or am I origami? Folded up and just pretend” (late 90s)

9. “I know it’s hard to keep an open heart, when even friends seem out to harm you” (early 90s)

10. “Don’t project, don’t connect, protect. Don’t expect, suggest” (early 90s)

Answers: Friday Lyric Quiz – #389

1. “So if you don’t rate, just overcompensate, at least you’ll know you can always go on Ricki Lake” (late 90s)
Pretty Fly (For a White Guy), The Offspring

2. “New mother picks up and suckles her son. Senior citizens, wish they were young” (early 70s)
Nights in White Satin, The Moody Blues

3. “So if you go away, I know that I will follow. ’Cause there’s a place inside my heart that tells me, ‘hold out’” (late 80s)
Wait, White Lion

4. “And if you go chasing rabbits and you know you’re going to fall” (late 60s)
White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane

5. “Hey, little sister, who’s your superman, hey, little sister, who’s the one you want?” (early 80s)
White Wedding, Billy Idol

6. “Pay your toll, sell your soul, pound for pound it costs more than gold” (mid-80s)
White Lines (Don’t Do It), Grandmaster Flash

7. “You said no strings, could secure you at the station. Platform ticket, restless diesels goodbye windows” (late 60s)
White Room, Cream

8. “Don’t wanna hear about it. Every single one’s got a story to tell. Everyone knows about it. From the Queen of England to the hounds of hell” (early 00s)
Seven Nation Army, The White Stripes

9. “And she’s so pretty, and she’s so sure, maybe I’m more clever than a girl like her”(mid-00s)
White Houses, Vanessa Carlton

10. “Can’t keep you home, you`re messing around, my best friend told me you’re the best lick in town” (late 80s)
Once Bitten, Twice Shy, Great White

Lyric Quiz Friday – Number 389 Friday, Sep 3 2010 

Friday Lyriz QuizLabor Day weekend is upon us, my friends. The unofficial end of summer – where did it all go?  After nearly 400 quizzes, the pickings are slim when it comes to themes.  So what is associated with Labor Day?  Barbecues.  Turns out, not a whole lot of songs featuring “hamburgers” or “hot dogs,” save “Jack and Diane.”  What about summer? Just did that one.  Wearing white, or the lack thereof? Ding ding ding.

Ergo, all of today’s songs either have “white” in the title or in the artist name.  As in White Zombie.  Not as in Pat Boone, the whitest man alive.

Got answers? Send them my way.

Friday Lyric Quiz – #389

1. “So if you don`t rate, just overcompensate, at least you’ll know you can always go on Ricki Lake” (late 90s)

2. “New mother picks up and suckles her son. Senior citizens, wish they were young” (early 70s)

3. “So if you go away, I know that I will follow. ’Cause there’s a place inside my heart that tells me, ‘hold out’” (late 80s)

4. “And if you go chasing rabbits and you know you’re going to fall” (late 60s)

5. “Hey, little sister, who’s your superman, hey, little sister, who’s the one you want?” (early 80s)

6. “Pay your toll, sell your soul, pound for pound it costs more than gold” (mid-80s)

7. “You said no strings, could secure you at the station. Platform ticket, restless diesels goodbye windows” (late 60s)

8. “Don’t wanna hear about it. Every single ones got a story to tell. Everyone knows about it. From the Queen of England to the hounds of hell” (early 00s)

9. “And she’s so pretty, and she’s so sure, maybe I’m more clever than a girl like her”(mid-00s)

10. “Can’t keep you home, you`re messing around, my best friend told me you’re the best lick in town” (late 80s)

Answers: Friday Lyric Quiz – #388

1. “Six foot tall, came without a warning so I had to shoot him dead” (late 00s)
Wake-Up Call, Maroon 5

2. “As God has shown us, by turning stone to bread, and so we all must lend a helping hand” (mid-80s)
We Are the World, USA for Africa

3. “I just fell, don`t know why, something`s there, we can’t deny” (late 80s)
Lost In Your Eyes, Debbie Gibson

4. “Yeah, we’re running a little bit hot tonight.  I can barely see the road from the heat coming off it” (mid-80s)
Panama, Van Halen

5. “I was so lost back then but with a little help from my friend, I found the light in the tunnel at the end.” (late 00s)
Smile, Lily Allen

6. “Me and your daughter, got a special thang goin’ on, you say it’s puppy love, we say it’s full grown” (early 00s)
Ms. Jackson, Outkast

7. “All you want is a whole lotta money, all the rest is just jive and honey” (early 80s)
I’ve Done Everything For You, Rick Springfield

8. “Sometimes I’m tired, sometimes I’m shot, sometimes I don’t know how much more I’ve got” (early 90s)
I Go to Extremes, Billy Joel

9. “Oleanders. growing outside her door – soon they’re gonna be in bloom up in Annandale” (early 70s)
My Old School, Steely Dan

10. “If I’m with friends and we should meet, just pass me by, don’t even speak” (mid-80s)
Part-Time Lover, Stevie Wonder

Today on Pandora: Counting Crows, BNL, Journey… Thursday, Sep 2 2010 

I recently switched jobs and am heading up my own department.  Which is to say, I’m the only member and don’t have people sitting that close to me.  Good for productivity, and it also means I can jam out a little bit when not actively focused on writing something brilliant.

While I prefer some things about streaming-music-site Slacker, I’ve been giving Pandora a chance lately for variety.  Throughout the work day, I have banal thoughts about the music to which I’m listening. And as having my Twitter feed up at the office would be painfully obvious, I’ve tucked away my thoughts to record them here.

Today’s station:

Based off of the song “We Are the Normal,” with the variety addition of the artist Hanson. We are the Hanson.

Today’s commentary:

Live, Lighting Crashes. Okay, this is the musical equivalent of a shaggy-dog joke.  I suffer through it for six-plus minutes, all building up to that part at the end I sort of love, when Ed Kowalczyk really rocks it up a notch, taking an extra octave or two.  “Oh, I feel it coming ba-ack a-GAIN…. YEAH-EAH-EAH.”  But you can’t just fast-forward to this spot.  You must slog uphill through the lower-register sadness and the placenta talk.

Journey, Don’t Stop Believin. Dear Lord, this song, with the Laguna Beach and the The Sopranos and the Glee. Will it never end.  Apparently not, and apparently it jives with GGD and Hanson.  Catchy as hell?  Certainly. Strangely inspiring?  Yes.  Crowd please?  Hell to the of course. But the lyrics?  Make NO sense. You think it’s a song about a small-town girl and a city boy.  But then it’s all streetlights, people, and never-ending movies.  Oh-oh-OH!  And don’t stop believing in what?  Finding true love in a smokey room?  Getting the f*ck out of Detroit?  No one knows.

Barenaked Ladies, One Week.  Before Pat Monohan rhymed “soul sister” with “Mr. Mister” (but around the same time he rhymed “alligators” and “carburetors”), these chubby lads from Canada DOMINATED at the nonsensical-rhyme game.  “Watching X-Files with no lights on, we’re dans la maison …. Like Harrison Ford I’m getting Frantic, like Sting I’m tantric.”  And etc. Another song that makes no sense at all.  But it was their easily their biggest-ever hit. Figures.

Counting Crows, Mr. Jones. Speaking of nonsensical rhymes. This bad boy of mid-90s goodness doesn’t rhyme at all. Think about it.  It’s a stream of consciousness, potentially drug-induced rambling.  While it is clean, it isn’t neat. And this makes me like it more than I did when it first came out and I was pretending I knew all the lyrics while standing in a soon-to-be-out-of-the-closet Chi Phi’s room with two sorority sisters who were much bigger Crows fans than I.  ANYWAY.

One Headlight, The Wallflowers. “This place is cold, feels like Independence Day.” This song is pretty and well-crafted, Jakob, but this lyric is problematic.  You and the boys are from the U.S. – Southern California, no less – so I imagine your “Independence Day” is, like mine, on July 4.  When it is never very f*cking cold.  Unless you mean a figurative independence, a la Martina McBride, in which case – lame! – and then why do you bolster the analogy with a “parade” reference.

The Ataris, Boys of Summer. My friend Taylor said recently that he likes the swap of “Deadhead sticker” to “Black Flag sticker.”  I feel one one hand like it is trying to hard.  On the other, it’s swapping a dirty-hippie reference for a dirty-punk-rock one.  Which I guess I can appreciate.  A little bit.