Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010: The Year We Make Contact Paper 

Best Junk from 2010:

The boy:
No pacifier, no naps, big boy bed, attending overnights, really into Legos.
Everything is working out as I have foreseen.

Drinking coffee in the mornings, and occasionally enjoying red wine (in the evenings).

This year she found someone's iPhone and (out of the goodness of her heart)
used her super sleuth powers to find the owner. The grateful owner of the phone was the manager
of a hip downtown clothing store who let her pick out an item of her choice from the shop.

Excellent at her job, a quick wit and a loving mother.
We'll stop there, but I could go on.

Saw the Avett Brothers do a free show at Borders and it was a really good time.
"I am a breathing time machine/I'll take you all for a ride."

Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game.
He did. You know it.

There is a really terrific mini-golf course up North in Glen Arbor that is rustic, clever and amazing.
A nice, interesting multi-level course in the trees around the river and cats on the course. A 4-year old's dream.

This gif of The Hulk:
Don't make me angry Mr. McGhee

Hank had a great time playing baseball in Ypsi this summer.
"Play Ball!"

My friend Robert Rasmussen started playing some really inspired Hit Parade Pop from the '40s and '50s under the name The Starlights.
It is amazing to hear and fun to see for a number of reasons.

I drove to a place called Disneyworld where I drank real beers in fake Germany, went to the Haunted Mansion with a fearless boy who then battled against Darth Vader (and won).
The Force was strong with this one.

I really liked watching Adam Everett and Will Rhymes play for the Tigers this year.
Neither of them really were great players (Everett kinda stunk up the joint) but they both seemed to have a real love of the game which goes a million miles for me.

I finally saw My Morning Jacket at the Greek Theater in L.A. with my old Tower Records pal Mary Parkis.
It was the first time I ever heard the song "Wonderful" which is now one of my faves.

We introduced Hank to Star Wars this year. It is going swimmingly.
We've only watched Star Wars and Empire so far (plus some Clone Wars stuff he's stumbled across). We're taking it really slowly.

I finally traveled to other countries besides Canada: Germany (twice), Japan, Korea and The Netherlands.
Traveling for work is difficult for me, but I have to say that Amsterdam was an amazing place that I look forward to visiting again.

This photo of Bill Bonds:

I really like Katy Perry.
Certainly not her music, since I can honestly say I don't think I've ever heard her sing a note. Ferreals.

Michigan bars and restaurants went Smoke Free this year.
I can go out and not need to leave my clothes in the hobo burn bin on my way home! Yay!

I had a life-changing sandwich from here which was a little deli in Amsterdam.
It was cheese, some kind of ham, butter and bread. Holy shit. I don't know what made it so good but it was like liquid gold being poured into my soul.

I finally picked up a much-needed GPS unit (a TomTom XL 340-S Live if you're curious) and it does everything I need it to.
The "Lane Assist" feature is worth its weight in gold for oft-lost nitwits like myself.

Bulleit Bourbon and Maker's 46 both spent some time on my liver this year.
The brownest of the browns.

I went on a business trip where I visited the headquarters of Apple, Google and Facebook in the same 48 hours.
I called it "Mr. Nerd's Wild Ride"

I started baking my own bread this year.
I'm still not really satisfied with the outcome, but I love the process.

Some baby girls were borned (and some boys).
Natalie, Sabine, (Oliver, Rhodes).

I spent some time up North in a cabin in the woods for a lost weekend of beer in cans and loud music. It was kinda like Weekend at Bernies except all of us were limp and unresponsive.
"You're about 20 minutes out"
"The bass bridge broke. We think it was because of the humanidiot"
Unavailable rope swing
"Somebody Get Me a Doctor"
Polynesian Red-Haired Kid
Melodica jams
"Surprise Buttsecks"
"Sea of Broners"
"Yacht Rock"
That mini-keg of Newcastle down on the beach.
All of those bees in the clover next to the beach.
Brian's Hat
"It involved being wet, I'll tell you that."
Showing up to check out.

Say yes to Michigan

Teh Intarwebs

FRESH POTS! tells a sad manic tale of Dave Grohl who really really loves coffee.
Shouting "FRESH POTS!" at the tops of our lungs has become a catchphrase both at home and at work.

The Selvedge Yard is a site that blows my mind. The guy picks a topic and then finds a bunch of great photos around that topic. It's like This American Life but with pictures and fashion and rock and roll land hot rods.
I tried to emulate his style in a couple of posts this year and found out it was a lot of hard work.

Badass Digest should be in everyone's "quick links" bookmark file or RSS reader. Sci-Fi movies, babes, nerdy junk, comic books, beer. Y'know, if you're into that stuff. takes awful clip art and weird Victorian woodcuts and puts goofy sayings on them.

Stuff No One Told Me is a site by a guy who does single-panel cartoons about the stuff he's figuring out. It's a little bit like Ziggy (if Ziggy didn't make me want to kill people).
This one sticks with me.

Selleck Waterfall Sandwich
We were all already thinking it...

White Whine lists things that white people complain about.
Like this: "uuugh. The Fullbright application does not provide enough space for all of my academic honors received."

I've really been enjoying Marc Maron's WTF Podcast.
He really gets into the science of comedy and gets some comedians to really talk about what is going on in their heads.


This Grooveshark Playlist has my best tunes from 2010.
You can just play them all for free without giving anybody your credit card number or even your e-mail address.

Weathervanes by Freelance Whales
Far and away my favorite album of the year. Perfectly crafted weird sweet indie pop. I listened to it one billion times and look forward to the next time I hear it.

Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons
Somewhere between a dim London pub and the stages that U2 toured on before The Unforgettable Fire lies this album. Brash with fire and pathos. Really beautiful and pint-worthy.

Contra by Vampire Weekend
Not as revolutionary as their first album but a handful of solid jams are on there.

Heaven is Whenever by the Hold Steady
"There was that whole weird thing with the horses"

The Big To-Do by Drive-By Truckers
"'Which one is the birthday boy?' she said, 'I ain't got all night.'"

Stuck on Nothing by Free Energy
The album gets a bit samey, but the sunny Boston-eque lead-off single was my jam of the summer.

American Slang by Gaslight Anthem
Take equal parts Springsteen, Clash and Social Distortion. Shake well and pour into an old beer can.

I Speak Because I Can by Laura Marling
This album reminds me of side 2 of Led Zeppelin III or if Nick Drake did a summer internship with Joni Mitchell. Folky and acerbic, very mist-soaked and peat-mossy.

Infinite Arms by Band of Horses
This one was really a grower. Eventually the song "Older" ran through my head constantly.

Permalight by Rogue Wave
Still sweet and well-constructed, just like all other Rogue Wave albums.

Gorilla Manor by Local Natives
My cool boss turned me on to these guys. Indie smarts like Metric or Band of Horses, Hints of 80s smart pop (almost Men at Work or Talk Talk), Anthemic fist-pumping choruses and Sonic noodliness ("Kid-A"-era Radiohead)...something for everyone.

This year I noticed that Alex Avila's walk-on music is "I Got Mine" by The Black Keys.

I got uncomfortably fascinated by Cee-Lo's "Fuck You"

Also, Some of my favorite music has started showing up in commercials on TV:
Matt Pond PA shilling Starbucks
Hem shilling Liberty Mutual
Feelance Whales shill Twitter
The Ghost of Nick Drake would certainly use AT&T just like in this commercial.


According to Tivo, my favorite shows are Scooby-Doo, Marvel Super Hero Squad and Yo Gabba Gabba. This is pretty much right.
I also watched a very few other shows.

Mad Men
Wonderfully depressing and crushingly beautiful each week.

30 Rock
Still the funny.

OK, so every night PJ and I take turns putting the boy to bed. The other person usually puts away a thousand Legos or Playmobil knights/pirates and whatever else is roaming around the living room. Usually I will put on the Letterman from last night (if the musical guest was good) or Tosh.0. For those who are not aware, it is pretty much the same thing as Web Junk 20 with Patrice O'Neal that used to be on VH1. It is pretty much just a half-hour of funny YouTube videos hosted by a frat boy who makes fun of them. Quite possibly the perfect background ha-ha for putting away Legos.

The lady who lives in my house really likes Fringe & Castle, both of which I have watched occasionally and enjoyed.
Both seem like quality entertainment.

Lost occupied my eyeballs.
To be honest, I can't really really remember what happened in those last episodes. I remember a church and being vaguely disappointed and/or disinterested.

The Detroit Tigers played a lot of Baseball on my TV this year.
Bless You Boys.

The Cinema:

Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?)
I think I can say this was my favorite movie of the year. It has everything. After watching it, I thought it was a really great *movie* (not just a documentary). There was a troubled childhood, an absent father, a gifted artist, quick success, questionable career choices, partying with the Beatles and Keith Moon, repeating the mistakes of his own childhood as a father, the meet cute in a candy store, a love story, reconciliation with his estranged-ish son, a sad ending...Just a great story which just happened to be true (and have a killer soundtrack).

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Streamed this on The Netflix. I have no idea why Hollyweird is re-making this movie with *celebrities* since they already got it right.

The Claw!
Toy Story 3
Saw it with The Boy. The whole "Mr. Tortilla Head" scene was Rickles comedy gold.

That's amazing Jeremy
Date Night
Just as funny: These outtake clips from some lady named Oprah's show.

two towers
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Big fan of the book, thought this was pretty good.

The Time Traveler's Wife
Big fan of the book, thought this was pretty good.

Liberty Street Cartel
Youth in Revolt
I know that street! That's not a bakery in real life! Why is that a cafe?!?!?1 This was filmed in Ann Arbor! I live there! In that same town!!!1! etc.

All of the other shit I watched:
Big Fan - sad
How to Train Your Dragon - meh
Clash of the Titans - bluh
The A-Team - chuckled
The Karate Will Smith's Kid - meh
Cyrus - oof
Salt - blurgh
Tangled - cute
Grown-Ups - I always laugh at David Spade movies because he reminds me so much of Paul Kahlenberg when we worked at the record store.
The Other Guys - oof
Burn After Reading - disappointing
Terminator: Salvation - disappointing
Night at the Museum 2 - big fan of Amy Adams' pants in that movie.
Sherlock Holmes - disappointing
Knight and Day - yurrrgh
Whip It - In the credits: "Derby Track Technician - Spencer Milton" That's my brother, motherscratchers. Don't make no mistake
District 9 - ok
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - fuuuuuck when will this thing end?
2012 - exactly what I hoped for
Inglourious Basterds - disappointing
Angels & Demons - fine
The Hangover - hyar

Book Learnin':

Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
Beyond fun. Recommended for anybody who likes history or braaaains.

The Girl Who had a Dragon Tattoo or Played With Fire and then Kicked The Hornet's Nest by that Swedish guy
Along the lines of a Michael Crichton or a Dan Brown. Entertaining.

Her Fearful Symmetry by the lady who wrote Time Traveler's Wife
Addams' Family-style mysterious and spooky.

JPod by Douglas Coupland
Hit some right notes.

The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway
Elaborate post-apocalypse sci-fi. Mad Max meets the Magnificent Seven plus Fight Club. Y'know, like that.

The Light of Other Days by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
Wormholes and Time Travel. My kinda thing.

Bad Juju

This year our 15-year old gross cat Galaga passed on into the catnip field in the sky.
He was old and gross and forgot how to care for hisself, but he was still a sweet little kitty.

Ernie Harwell & Sparky Anderson are playing catch in outer space.
Outer space is where you go when you die. Say hi to our cat, guys.

I put on my funeral suit too many times this year.
Dislike button.

I went on a business trip to Asia that put me on 10 airplanes in 6 days or something redonkulous like that.
As we were flying into O'Hare on the way back after being on the plane for 13 hours, it was so windy we had to swoop in and make a couple attempts at landing. The only way I kept myself from not vomiting or weeping was by imagining my shoes and socks were off and I was pinching green grass with my toes. I have no idea where this image came from but it soothed me and made me not die.

My washing machine died right before I needed to leave town for a week, my garage door opener and then my garage door crapped out, I needed some work done on my siding and then I needed a new roof.
Home Improvement 2010.

Alex Chilton Died
I am certainly not the world's first, biggest or [anything] Big Star fan, but I am truly sorry that Alex Chilton died.

On my business trip in Korea I was a bit jetlagged. I went with several of my co-workers to a customer meeting to visit with the largest consumer electronics manufacturer in Korea, but first we stopped for lunch. The place was a bit crowded with businessmen, and one large table was occupied by only two gentlemen. They had been drinking and were very jolly, and when the waitress asked them to move to a smaller table so we could be seated, they obliged. So we sat down, ate good lunch and then realized we were running a bit late so we grabbed our jackets and left. When we got to the customer's offices, we had to offer up any laptops, phones, and devices to be monitored so we wouldn't steal any corporate secrets. I was looking through my pockets when to my surprise I found an address book. When I looked inside, all of the info was written in Korean. I slowly looked down and realized I was wearing two different suit jackets. My regular suit jacket, and then a second blue jacket with large gold buttons on it.

I cannot express in words the confusion one feels when they look down and see that they are wearing two sportcoats, and the one on the outside is one you've never seen before. As I was looking down it was exactly like a movie scene where the foreground zooms closer and the background recedes away as everything slows down and my voice says "Whhhooooaaaahhh....whooooose jjaaaaaccckkkkeeettt iiizzzz thhhiiiiisss????" in molasses slo-mo.

It took a while for me to figure it out, but what had happened is that when the gentlemen at the restaurant had moved seats for us to sit down, one of them had left his jacket on the chair. When we got up in our rush to get to our meeting, I reached around to the chair behind me and grabbed the jacket that was there, slipping it on over my own without noticing. One of our guys who spoke Korean had to confirm with the restaurant (the guy was pretty pissed off that I stole his jacket) and we had to drive the jacket back over asap. I can only take solace in the fact that this was a learning experience and that if I ever wake up to find myself on another planet or I've grown a third arm from my forehead, I have had the training to deal with the surprise.

Remember when Michael Scott from The Office did this? Same thing.

The record books say Armando Galaraga didn't pitch a perfect game.
I know, right?

The Demise of ManCorp.
If you never been, you wouldn't understand. If you had been there, It lives on forever.


Thanks Innernets and those involved with my life.

Comments: 1
Monday, December 20, 2010

Cleanin' Up 


Workin' on my Best/Worst of 2010 list.
See you later.


Thanks Steve

Comments: 0
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

alamo, chapeau, renault. 

An incredible image of The Majestic Theater in Detroit in 1909.

Magic Stick

Do yourself a favor and check out the hi-res version.


I've been chuckling at Wistream which is a curated feed of comedian twitter tweet twoots. Some examples:

I guess when a restaurant's sign is made from cut-up magazine pages taped to the wall, the diarrhea is redundant.

I must finally be using Photoshop right because it keeps crashing.

The weather outside is frightful, the writers in here quite spiteful, but since we've no place to go, alamo, chapeau, renault.

The only time I do lunges is when someone drops an earring and I'm obliged to pretend to look

If you drink the juice at the bottom of a cole slaw container and nobody is there to see it, does it still make a sound? The answer is yes.

Last line from my movie pitch: "And then, over the hill, there are unicorns as far as the eye can see. CREDITS."


The Map of Metal fukking rulez:

none more black

Fully explorable with playlists of each genre.


You may remember a billion years ago when MTV was playing videos, but now you have to go to this site called to see the cutting edge videos
Plus: Occasional bewbs.


10 Mind-Blowing Easter Eggs hidden in Famous Albums.
I remember finding the secret booklet in "Kid A" and I was all like "Whoa"


"I can eat two wieners" - Pee Wee Herman on The Gong Show in 1976.


Nerdy: Inside the Netflix shipping hub:
I have to admit that the organized calisthenics reminded me of Mr. Burns trying to get the Nuclear Power Plant workers to exercise:

"Raise your right huck, aerate.
Raise you left huck, aerate.
I want to see more Teddy Roosevelts and less Franklin Roosevelts!


Thanks David
Thanks Steve

Comments: 0
Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Santa's Stuck In Rehab, Yeah He Ain't Gonna Show 

Xmas '10

My pal Brian got it into his brain to write a couple of solid holiday songs and record them for our ears.


He calls the band "Television City" and so far it seems to be mostly him writing and playing guitars, and then calling in a bunch of favors from friends who will gladly spend an afternoon in the studio making music.

On "313 Santa" you will hear Steve Bekkala: drums & bells; Dave Feeny: piano & organ; Kristin Von Bernthal: harmony vocals; Brian Raleigh: vocals, guitar & bass

On "The Night Johnny Thunders Saved Christmas" you will hear Steve Bekkala: drums; Kristin Von Bernthal: harmony vocals; Garret Bielaniec: lead & rhythm guitar; Zac Johnson: harmony vocals & handclaps; Eric Kelly: harmony vocals; Kevin Krzyzanski: bass; Dave Feeny: Piano; Brian Raleigh: vocals & guitars


The Goog can now translate into beatbox (if you take a bunch of nonsense syllables and translate them from German into German).
So watch the fuck out, Biz Markie


This is an amazing video done all in the typography of the lyrics.
Lots of great brand fonts and logos to tie into the context of the words.
Warning: The tune is happy but the subject matter is a bit of a downer


"Best Albums Of 2010" lists are popping up, but this one from Flavorwire tells you how you should interpret/stereotype peoples' top picks:

Vampire Weekend, Contra
That one frat dude who’s always trying to get his brothers to come out to a show with him.

MGMT, Congratulations
People who get the joke five minutes later, once you’ve moved on to a new topic.

M.I.A., Maya
People who won’t stop telling you shit you already know about WikiLeaks.

Kings of Leon, Come Around Sundown
Guys who have always wanted to wear a leather jacket but somehow can’t summon the chutzpah to buy one.

The Black Keys, Brothers
Whiskey drinkers.

Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest
Record store clerks who try to give you unwanted recommendations.



This poster laying out where the Mad Men characters would be in a D&D game made me chuckle:

Chaotic Neutral


A buddy of mine sent me this photo of a celebrity and while I instantly recognized something about the guy, couldn't place it.
There is a certain truthiness about his eyes.


No reason.


Overheard at Greenfield Village Museum gift shop this weekend:

Mom strollering a little girl with no pants on - "Do you sell pants here?"
Clerk - "No we do not."
Mom [after being deep in thought] - " you have a Lost & Found?"

I had a couple of questions:
1) What happened to make it so that the little girl's current pants were un-usable?
      1a) I don't actually want to know the answer to this one.
2) How likely is it that there will be a "lost" pair of pants in the lost and found?
3) Would any of those pairs of pants fit me? If so, I have a new strategery about getting new pants.


mystery machinations

Oh Velma...

Thanks David
Thanks Goody
Thanks Rob
Thanks Kevin

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