An Endless Night, Silver Star Spangled

Assuming the sign of a stellar show is wanting to hear more as soon as you walk out the door, Nick Cave was one screaming success. When I got home I couldn't help but stay up and search youtube for good vids and juicy tidbits on his personal life. What can I say, even with that hair and stache he is a damn sexy man. He's got moves. Here's a hodgepodge, in no particular order as you will see....

The top is Henry Lee, from Murder Ballads ('96), and here's an excellent live version. What I never knew (or knew before the early-onset-alzheimers) was that Nick and PJ were a couple, and their break-up was the catalyst for The Boatman's Call ('97). Now that I know (or remember), it makes perfect sense... Here's "Into My Arms" and "People Ain't No Good" from Boatman's Call.

And here's the spookier sounds of Let Love In ('94) with "Do You Love Me?" and "Red Right Hand," live and not live.

From No More Shall We Part ('01), here's a live cut of "Love Letter" and a video (that I'm LOVING) for "Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow." Look, there's Jarvis Cocker! I'd kill for Nick to come perform in an office conference room and get all the stuffed shirts to cut a rug. What a badass idea for a video, no?

Another favorite from 1990's The Good Son is The Ship Song, and here's the video version with a funny interview intro on why he didn't approve of the execution. Bad hair day.


A lady up in Canada was recently compelled to complain to IKEA about a photo in its catalogue, which -thanks to some Freudian shadows- makes a dog's leg look like a giant human penis. While it's pathetic anyone would give a damn about the phallic mirage, IKEA's response is hilarious ~ They've assured customers it's only a leg ("See, see, the bulbous formation is actually a doggy knee. Swear!") while urging them to focus on all the cool products for sale instead of the giant dong.

p.s. Wikipedia's "penis" page is NSFW! What? This post required exhaustive research.


"Gone are the Days of Rainbows...

...gone are the nights of swinging from the stars."

In anticipation of seeing Mr. Cave and his Bad Seeds tonight (exciting!), here's an old favorite, "Straight to You." Sorry, the vid's scary, but I love this song with all its grandiose drama, befitting the most broken-hearted and weak ~

This is the time of our great undoing
Heaven has denied us its kingdom
The saints are drunk and howling at the moon
The chariots of angels are colliding
Well, I'll run, babe, I'll come running
Straight to you…

If you've ever felt that inexplicable draw toward another while knowing something's off yet you just can't keep yourself from going back 'cause it feels so good (for a moment), you can probably relate.


Caption: huh?

Can someone please explain to me why Chicagoans insist on piling on needless layers of clothing at even the itsby bitsy teeny weeniest sign of cooler weather? We're talking a 10 degree dip here, ladies. Even when the high still nears 80, if the morning is brisk you can count on seeing many a girl donned in absurd garb like scarves, jeans-tucked-into knee-boots, wool caps (no joke!) and leather jackets or long coats. We're talkin' *all*of*the*above*on*one*person, not just a scattered smattering. My friend swears she saw someone already sporting a puffy coat. I want to find that girl and throw paint on her. It makes no sense, but so help me I want to do it.

I get that most Chicagoans own an inordinate amount of cool winter gear. I get that, but I daresay we will all have plenty of time to show it off. As in EIGHT months. No need to jump the gun, eager beavers. I'm just sayin'.

Two-Faced Book



Victory for Annabel Bonney!

A little sumfin in celebration of the coolest clawless cat both sides the Mississippi returning to chez GTA today in finest of feline form. Welcome home to Annabelly Bonney!


This is not one. But... if it should inspire anyone to cook a haiku up, do share. That would make me happier than my dog with a french fry, which I can confidently say is happier than a bird with one.


Today I Learned

1. When one form of mass transit goes gangbusters awry, forms B (bus) and C (taxi) go down the tubes with it;

2. It takes 45 minutes for me to walk from my apartment to work;

3. It's a lovely day outside. 45 minutes of walking coupled with said lovely day equals plenty of time to work up some ole fashioned down home perspiration and lots of it;

4. Secret deodorant should be taken down for legal misrepresentation in a class-action lawsuit. (Any other class members out there?);

5. On even the most unbreathable of fabrics, a bold-on-navy pattern compassionately hides unseemly sweat; and

6. The most well-worn suede sandal flats still give blisters when one is on a mission.

And it's not even 10:00 a.m.


"My Bat Lightning Heart...

...wants to fly away."

Today's Earworm du Jour popped up in shuffle this morning and has a video that's about as cool as the song itself... It's Bat for Lashes doing "What's A Girl To Do?"


Cotton Pickin' Budget

Speak o' the devil (home), last week's 20x200 pick reminds me a bit of it too. This one is in Mississippi ("Cotton Field, Mississippi" by Shuli Hallak), but there are lots of cotton fields in NC. I only ever passed them in my car, but they always fascinated me... how it is that cotton pops out of a plant like that is beyond me. Not quite as beyond me as how it is a plane stays up in the air, but beyond me all the same. I really wanted to buy one of these (and last I checked there were almost 100 left!), but I'm trying to control myself. Isn't it so pretty how the fluff of the cotton mirrors the fluff of the clouds? I shall admire it from afar...

"The Most Tender Place in My Heart..."

... is for strangers."

I love that line. I'm not sayin' it's right, but I like it.

The Hideout Block Party did not dissapoint. I heard a Canadian band I'd never heard before, called Black Mountain. They might be a bit too "jammy" for my taste, but the lead singer was bad-ass. She just stood there subtly swaying and nodding her head to the beat, occassionally belting out some gorgeous icey-cool vocals. Cross Janis Joplin with Mazzy Star, and throw in a few warbles. I could do without the warbles, personally, but she earned 'em. My easily-distracted-by-unimportant-things-side also loved that she had no waist yet still wore a waist-cinching dress. But I digress.

Neko Case was the headliner and sounded great once the soundguys got their GeeDee heads out of their arses (not 'til SIX songs in after she'd already played one of my FAVORITES). There's a sound guy out there who needs to be shot. Okay, fine, maybe he just needs to be canned, but the piper needs to be paid. If you've never seen Neko live, you really must. Just like a songbird, she sounds just as beautiful live (when some amateur doesn't fuck it up), and she's a hoot to boot. Here she is at a different concert asking guys to stop wearing girly pants, a sentiment I wholeheartedly share. Stop making us stare at your mooseknuckles, damnit! You know you do it too. Tight pants are man's answer to plunging necklines. They want us to look, I'm sure of it.

Thanks to gg for her fashion commiseration (I ponder if "What Not to Wear" could take on an entire city?) and for reminding me of the deliciousness of a North Carolina hot dog. I had a couple bites despite myself, and boy do slaw and chili do a dog good. Even though I rarely partook back in NC, I had to agree with gg that it tasted like home. Thanks to B for the ticket, and for fearlessly shedding a tear or two at the sound of a pretty voice. I mean, after a few brews. We know, it was just the beer talkin'.

Biking to and fro the show was almost as fun as the show itself.... except for when some assholes shined a flashlight in my face to scream at me that I should be wearing a helmet, and "helmets save lives!" I'm well aware, Brothers Helpful. Thank you kindly, BUT (a) my head is too big. (b) it was hot. and (c) if you're so concerned about my well-being, why are you screaming in my face and blinding me with your flashlight?? Of course I didn't say a word. I just put on my best poker face, pedaled fiercely onward, and pretended not to see or hear a thing (no, not a peep).



I do declare that my week and a half of work hell is hereby over. Silent applause in my head. Phewee, that was exhausting. Brain hurts. Apparently it's out of shape along with the rest of me (did I mention my gym is now not set to open until mid-October?). Le sigh.

Now it's time to enjoy the utterly deeeelightful weekend that Chicago has served up special just for us. Merci, Chicago. It's nice and sunny toasty out there, a midsummer day in late September. Perfecto for an evening of music c/o the Hideout Block Party. Cheers!

A Divine Chanson

...by The Divine Comedy. This is a Lady of a Certain Age. One of their many gems. Oh how I'd covet the chance to see Neil Hannon live, but it's not too often he plays in the states. Cryin' shame. This will have to suffice for now.

When I See This...

I hear this.


Earworm du Semaine

I was recently reminded of this lovely song by The Decemberists, The Engine Driver (Thanks, D)... Since then I keep going back to its calming effects.

Calm is good right now. As opposed to work, which is presently en fuego. Today I'm taking/leading my first plaintiff's deposition . So I hear, my oh-so-critical boss is going to sit in on it (the bloody hoorah!), and anyone who knows me knows that such a presence will shoot my already high anxiety straight out the G.D. roof. Oh wells. As someecards recently reminded me, "When work feels overwhelming, remember that you're going to die." Is it wrong that I find peace in that?


There's a Mouse in the House and There's No Doubt About It

I interrupt the intermission to post this pic in honor of Uneasy in the Bigeasy. I'd venture to say it's because of pics like these (and mental pics of mice be-pawing themselves on sticky traps) that, faced with the torturous alternative, UITB might rather let the little bugger squat in her place or allow him to return there after an overnight in Hotel de Vermin. Here's looking at you...



Now that I've had the chance to sweep many a cobweb outta my noggin, and the upcoming work week will be one of hair pulling, coffee chugging, eye crossing, carpal tunneling, nail biting and teeth grinding, I hereby impose a brief intermission upon myself to take care of bidness (the kind that pays the bills. barely.). Go grab a beverage or two, make a phone call, have a smoke, relieve your bladder. I'll return with more blatherings, ganderings and banterings of the useless variety by week's end....

If not sooner, as I do reserve the right to revoke said intermission without warning or notice in the name of my sanity.

Before I Go

How did I go this long without knowing how awesome the turkey vulture is? I can't wait for Animal Review to give it a grade.

Renegade Crafts

Here ends my rainy Saturday. Now I’m just waiting for Noah to paddle his ark by my window. I can hardly imagine the ruckus my dog would make then, but judging from what he does when we pass a horse and carriage downtown (mass hysteria), it'd be sumfin for "the rockstar's" record books.

Despite the nonstop downpour, D and I headed down the street to check out the Renegade Craft Fair. He picked up a couple clever tees, and I got awful tempted but am kinda proud to say I resisted. I’m testing my recently re-found efforts to figure why it is I’m so constantly short on clams (and actually do something about it this time, yeah, thas right). Since I had my tri-annual burst-into-one-minute-of-ugly-ass-tears about it earlier in the day, seems to be as good a time as any to give it another go.

Even though I didn’t buy anything, the weather failed to cooperate, and my so-called raincoat soaks water in instead of repelling it, the craft fair was really neato. I was reminded of how many great (though not always particularly nice) independent artists are out there making really cool shit. I’m keeping my booklet of crafters handy and am determined to turn to it next time I’m on the search for the perfect gift. Here’s hoping I've got a little more green to spare by then….


No Thoughtful Title

Perhaps when one is most merited. I just wanted to write how sad I am to have just discovered that yesterday one of my favorite contemporary authors, David Foster Wallace, committed suicide at the young age of 46. He was a hysterically brilliant writer, and his "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" had a particularly lasting impact on me. He made me laugh. He made me think. He made me wonder what it would feel like to have such talent. What can I say but how awful it is.

A quote from an early David Foster Wallace interview (c/o veryshortlist.com):

"We all suffer alone in the real world.... True empathy's impossible. But if a piece of fiction can allow us imaginatively to identify with a character's pain, we might then also more easily conceive of others identifying with our own. This is nourishing, redemptive; we become less alone inside. It might just be that simple."

Premature Nostalgia

I love this time of night in Chicago. This is summer evening down the pub when getting pubgrub and a drink outside with the dawg is still delightfully possible. It's also when each window of every downtown building reflects this same light back onto the city. It so happens the top level of the parking garage at the new Dominick's on Chicago Ave. has a surprisingly great view of the windows' reflections. You might not think of a grocery parking lot as a prime picturesque spot in town, but don't knock it... Killjoys.

Now that signs of the impending weather shift are showing face, I'm already feeling a little nostalgiac about these nights.

Bonne Idée!

Reusable coffee cozies from Bliss Monkey Studio. Too cute. And green, to boot!

No more rhymes, I mean it.

Anybody wanna peanut?

Is It Wrong?

That sometimes my arm gets tired just holding the cell phone up to my ear?

Meet My Neighbor

When I came across this little sketch, I giggled and instantly thought of my neighbor, "the rockstar." Although my hood's full of aspiring "musicians," I'm pretty sure he was this artist's muse. Other than his peacocky greatest-thing-since-sliced-bread-demeanor, I don't have any good reason not to like the guy.

Well, except for the fact that every.frikin.chance.he.gets he insists my dog makes his yappy weiner dog two floors up even yappier - "Um, yeah, your dog and my dog were communicating again today." or "Your dog was saying hi to all the passerbys again today." or "Your dog sure is a big talker." Imaginary response: "Oh yeah, well you sound like a valley girl, your hair is dumb, and you're too old and your hairline too receded to rock that look." Guilty groan.

And yet. His new girlfriend is a damn button. This is the one who moved in a mere TWO days after I spotted the old (but-still-cute) girlfriend moving out whilst sobbing. Neighborhood gossip mill has it that the new chickadee's a model, and though I originally figured it must be the JC Penney variety, I officially met her tonight and am now thinking I underestimated her potential.

I'm all about attraction proving itself to be more than skin deep, but I could not comprehend why this girl paired up with my neighbor the diva. Until... she introduced herself by saying: "I haven't met you, but I sure have met your dog." Birds of a feather....

A Movie and a Song

It's a rainy weekend here in Chicago, the kind that's perfecto for staying in and watching movie after movie. Too bad I have to start working soon. Bleh. I just finished watching "Penelope," which is a really cute and colorful modern fairytale that delivers a sweet message about accepting yourself as you are, snout and all. Yeah, yeah. But, come on, we can all use those reminders here and there. Some of the best bits come from Penelope's parents, which were brilliantly cast and played by the hilarious Catherine O'Hara (a Christopher Guest regular) and Richard E. Grant (a long-lost love from "Withnail and I").

The movie ends with this infectiously pretty song by Sigur Ros, called Hoppipolla.


A Reminder


These are just two of many adorable watercolors (not all so monochromatic) available for only $18 at Amber Alexander's etsy shop. They are so cute I want to squish them. They remind me of the whimsical work of Michael Sowa, whose paintings I fell in love with after falling in love with the aesthetics of Amelie Poulain (which I now suspect was heavily influenced by the saturated green and red aesthetic of The Double Life of Veronique). Full circle.

Sensations Adrift

this pic reminds me of that long-lost feeling of swinging so high the chains *jerked* me right before the swing began its descent.

Haunted by Stockings

Does this sort of thing happen to everyone? While watching La Double Vie de Véronique, which was made back in 1991, I commented that I wanted to get a pair of the rust red tights like the ones sported by Véronique. Seemed like I hadn't often seen tights in that shade, and it looked very autumnally chic.

I made a mental note of it, but there was no need really because the very next afternoon I’m absentmindedly flipping through a J.Crew catalogue when what do I see but the precise shade of stockings I coveted plastered all over its pages. Then a day or so later I came upon this cryptic pic. I’ll take the stockings, hold the creepy carriage please. Those old-timey carriages always make me think of the one that rolled down the Odessa Steps in The Battleship Potemkin. Maybe it’s just me. Never fear letting this baby go, the precious cargo are ceramic bunnies in bowties and top hats. Fire away!

Anyhow, it’s one of those odd series of events that happens pretty often. It’s like learning a word for what you think is the first time and then suddenly seeing the word everywhere in tarnation. Or maybe it’s not like that at all.

Uncommon Vision

I finally saw The Double Life of Veronique the other night. With a so-so storyline, I don’t see it as Krzysztof Kieslowski’s best, but I liked it enough to watch it twice, and it confirmed my deep love for his vision. This image is one of my favorites from the movie, very much a signature shot that captures a certain smallness, or slowness or exquisiteness in the everyday. Sometimes I think of him as the Milan Kundera of cinema. Without the biting humor.

Although the story wasn’t quite as engaging as I thought and hoped it might be, the underlying idea that there might be another “you” or “me” living another life somewhere out there and giving us virtual company in the process had a charming way of transporting me back to my childhood. Way back when, I’d completely lose myself in those sorts of magical possibilities and all that they entailed. I wonder when I stopped entertaining myself with those fantasies, when I stopped finding so much fascination in every dark nook and cranny I passed. Kieslowski obviously never did. And thank goodness for that.


I Want One

So it's a little ornate, but in the right room (or with the proper modifications) it would be super purdy, doncha think?


Random Encounter

Ever since I found out passengers are allowed to drink beer while riding Chicago's double-decker Metra, I've wanted to take it for a spin. On the top deck. What can I say, sometimes it's the small pleasures. Even though I made that discovery about four years ago, it wasn't until four days ago that a deposition out in the burbs occasioned my first ride.

I stepped up to the platform feeling confused about ticket procedure. Did I need one? Would a cool conductor come by en route and accept cold hard cash? I decided to ask a blond kid cheerfully perched atop a newspaper stand how it worked. Instead of answering me, he insisted I stick with him - I could use his ticket, and he would get a free ride (I'd see). Awe, how sweet. And potentially delusional. The train rolled up, and figuring it had been awhile since I talked to a harmless young aspiring fratboy, I decided to take him up on his so-called offer. We sat up top (sans beer, I'm sorry to report), and the conductor came by a few minutes into the ride. True to his word, the conductor took the kid's ticket for my ride and said "I gotcha" when he flashed a badge.

He could have passed for 18, but the harmless aspiring fratboy was, in fact, a 25-year old "80% disabled" Iraqi war veteran. He was a genuinely friendly guy who humored my predictable inquiries (I'm a little ashamed but couldn't help myself). Yeah, he killed many, including an Iraqi midget wielding a grenade launcher and didn't emote one way or the other about it. Yeah, he lost many friends, but only half as many as other troops, since his troop was better prepared. The war is behind him now, and he's pretty much "set" for life with his disability check. A couple shots in the back left him physically struggling. As for the mental side... well, a few weeks back he woke up in the middle of the night outside and dressed in his soldier gear (classic PTSD). But... he has a wacky girlfriend, a pet, and plans to go back to school (on the Illinois house, just like the Metra ride).

Did I mention that his pet is a raccoon? Named "Chuckles." He laughed hard when I responded to that bit of info by playfully saying "they really did fuck you up, didn't they?" The war took his back, his friends, and some of his sanity, but he still seems to have his sense of humor.


Graffiti a la Nerdy

This cracks me up. If I gave graffiti a go, my result would probably look a lot like Edward's.

Last night I went to see a local show at The Hideout, a name-appropriate dive bar/music venue in town. I noticed that they redecorated the bathroom recently with odd stickers in different geometric shapes in seventies shades of peach, brown and yellow. Someone did not approve. Hovering eye level across from the commode was someone's judgmental scribble: "This is the ugliest bathroom I've ever seen." Below that, a devoted patron angrily responded: "Fuck you. I like it."


"That's How It Started"

This is The Walkmen with "In the New Year," off their new album, You & Me. (actually, youtube took it down, so now it's "The Rat"). Not sure if it's out yet, but here's a wee dose. I love this band.

I still remember the first time I heard The Rat. It was at the beginning of a very long and veddy veddy bad Sunday. One that started with a bike messenger "set-up" over pizza and ended with me and the messenger's formidable friend fighting over mac & cheese on GTA's pull-out sofa. Cringe. I was introduced to The Rat through the headphones of said forbidable fellow earlier in the day, and though I wasn't in the least attracted to him, I'd nevertheless go on to minorly make out with him by the end of the shameful night. Let this be a lesson to those who try to set me up.

The fact that I continue to listen to The Rat, a musical time machine straight to that icky Sunday, is a testament to just how much I like the song. Oh, and this new one ain't too shabby either.