Sunday, November 27, 2011


My computer is dead. I spent an indecent amount of money on it four years ago, wrote more than I've ever written on it, and now it's at Office Depot with an infected, irrevocable motherboard.

I never backed up. Four years' worth of photos, music, and writing will likely be retrieved from my hard-drive, but I won't know for sure until tomorrow afternoon. To top it all off, I just spent nearly an hour writing a long, involved, and to my mind quite insightful blog post about the whole experience, replete with lessons learned and a tidy ending, and just as I was finishing the final sentence, the entire document was highlighted, deleted, and the changes automatically saved. It happened so fast I couldn't even make sense of it.

It's easy to feel devastated. It's easy to loathe computers and their insidious ways. But the truth is, I'm darn grateful to be typing this on M's lap-top, which he defragmented, cleaned up, and gifted to me today. It's smaller and lighter than mine, more square, less gloss. It's already proving to have some issues (the aforementioned erasure of my blog post). Still, I've adorned it with some stickers, I'm enjoying the tight clank of the keys.

And no matter what, from now on, I'm taking the time to back it up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

They Might Be the Best Band Ever!

M started listening to them in the late 80s, charmed by their new sound and sharp lyrics. I'd like to say that I joined the 90s as a savvy music-lover myself, but I'd be lying big-time: as a newly minted fifth grader, Air Supply and Dr. Hook were spinning in my CD player. Fast forward almost two decades and I marry M, a veritable musicologist whose knowledge of chord progressions, drummers, bass lines, and album covers makes my head spin. On one of our sun-filled road trips he introduced me to the song Cowtown, an evolutionary science lesson packaged as peppy fun alternative rock. I fell hard.

So it was with great excitement that we saw They Might Be Giants at the Fillmore on Saturday night, me for the first time, M for the first time in almost 20 years!

The Fillmore, for me, has long been defined by patchouli-scented long-skirt-spinning jam bands (Dark Star, JGB, String Cheese, Greyboy Allstars) or down-home folksy swaying to the likes of Willie Nelson, Gillian Welch, and Ani Difranco. Never have I seen a show there with so much laughter and so few graying ponytails.

John cracked us up with his spiel about why people should buy their new 6-foot tall poster (This neon pink color will fade to a lovely patina, he quipped) because people don't buy records anymore. At one point, he divided the audience down the middle with a strobe light and held a chanting contest. They also had a puppet show and nick-named random audience members things like "Byzantium."

And then, of course, their delightful music, which entices all sorts of giggle and wiggle, but which also makes reference to the poetry of Wallace Stevens. Unlike, say, Dark Star, which always digresses into a tedious 45 minute rendition of Drums in Space, their show was refreshingly unpredictable and alive. They played some old favorites like Particle Man and Birdhouse in Your Soul, did a set of about 17 REALLY short songs, sang their awesome alphabet song, talked about the Occupy Wall Street movement, and played lots of new stuff, too.

Their first encore song, How Can I Sing Like a Girl?, off their latest album, embodies the kind of cultural observation and intimate honesty that make them so brilliant:

How can I sing like a girl
And not be stigmatized
By the rest of the world?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I wait the WHOLE year to carve pumpkins.

In addition to the five we had glowing on our porch last night, M and I each added our personal touch: his freaky owl picture hung above a sound machine that emanated an ominous beating heart; candles burned atop my Day of the Dead altar.

We took turns answering the doorbell and delighting in all the trick-or-treaters--the big-eyed toddlers who haven't a clue, the shy five year-olds clinging to their parents' legs, the ecstatic packs of pre-pubescent girls, the awkward adolescent boys with their giant pillowcases and embarrassed grins, and my favorite, the old man dressed like Obi-Wan Kenobi.