Monday, May 31, 2010

Sasquatch Daily Blog: Day 2!

Phew, day two is complete! Can’t believe we still have one more day left. Yesterday was a little different than the first since it was more focused around hopping stage to stage checking out up-and-coming bands, at least for the beginning of the day. And I’d say, considering the intensity of day #1, we look pretty good as we sat down to catch Caribou:

IMG_2201 IMG_2202 Caribou was good, and I checked out Dinosaur Feathers, who I think has some potential. The first big one of the day was Local Natives, and judging by the crowd, everyone else thought they were the first big one too. They put on an amazing show and I think that of all the “small bands” we saw that this is the one who will be on the main stage in coming years.

IMG_2204

Wanna know something even cooler? I found the lead singer chilling in the lawn a few hours later!

IMG_2220 Holly got her hip-hop fix in with the performance by Kid Cudi, which left Holly down in the thick of the main stage crowd and Seth, Anna, and I chilling on the lawn watching as a dance party swarmed in around us!

I took a quick nap during tUnE-yArDs (weird) and then caught a sound-problem riddled Freelance Whales concert. I love those guys, so it was sad to watch them get all flustered. Buuuut, by the time they broke into “Generator ^ Second Floor”, they were in full form.

Holly brought out the pickle again too.

IMG_2235 IMG_2236

The day really started to crank when I had the pleasure of watching my all-time favorite song—“All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem—in concert from only a few feet away. What a show. I knew they had a good live reputation, but my word. Very, very good. It was a crazy dance party that never stopped, and when they saved my favorite song for the end, I was sent out happy.

IMG_2238 IMG_2239

I had to laugh because by the end of LCD Soundsystem I was essentially in the front row. The next band on the docket was Pavement, and they are SUPPOSEDLY a big deal, but I gladly gave away my spot. I just don’t get Pavement. They are not good. Feel free to disagree.

Still no shortage on fine looking weirdos this year either! Here' are the two top shots from yesterday, the latter taken at a Public Enemy (yes, Flavor Flav!!!!) show.

IMG_2242 IMG_2248

The final show of the day wasn’t as much a personal favorite like LCD Soundsystem, but you can’t touch Massive Attack when it comes to putting on a straight-up performance. It was something else. The lights, the sounds, the guest stars…it was crazy. Massive Attack is probably worth $70 just on their own. Still, much like the end of the day before, here’s what we ended up looking like:

IMG_2255 Nothing was stopping us from getting some food though, and although Taco Bell and Wendy’s proved to be bad at being open late, Jack in the Box was ready to give us “Big Cheese”.

IMG_2262 Today’s agenda: Passion Pit, She & Him (Zooey Deschanel!), Band of Horses, and MGMT!!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sasquatch Daily Blog: Day 1!

Wow, what a day. I just woke up and I feel like I got hit by a bus. And that was just day #1! Two more days to go. But what a great day #1!!!

IMG_2097 IMG_2098 IMG_2102

Started off the morning with a little delicious breakfast with Holly, Seth, and Anna at a place that’s been open since 1892. Then we headed out to Sasquatch, where a local Portland band crashed the scene and played an impromptu, free concert while we waited in line. This is why I love festivals.

The first few bands weren’t all that special. The first bunch that played included Dawes, Laura Marling, and Morning Teleportation. Morning Teleportation was interesting just to watch the crowd that it drew:

IMG_2109 One of the bigger conflicts of the day was early on, with Mumford & Sons vs. Minus the Bear, so I left Holly at Mumford & Sons and left to see Minus the Bear after just two songs.

IMG_2129 IMG_2132

Oh, and Holly found a guy with a hamburger on his shirt and decided that he was missing a pickle.

IMG_2119This would be just one of the many pictures that Holly would take with people because of how they were dressed (I guess I did too…). Some samples!

IMG_2121 IMG_2143

IMG_2163

One cool feature at the Sasquatch Festival is the autograph booth, which allows you to meet and greet your favorite artists. Who would have that just two weeks after I wrote a review on my blog about how good The National’s new album was that I would actually be able to tell them how good their album was and thank them for making my commute in May awesome. I also got this picture with the lead singer!

IMG_2135The best part of the day was still getting to watch on my very favorite bands of all time—The Hold Steady—from the front row. And it turned out to be the most amazing show ever. I was front and center with my t-shirt on rocking with other diehard fans of The Hold Steady. The concert was so exhilarating it ended with high fives and bro hugs.  

IMG_2147 IMG_2152 IMG_2160

Oh, and that alien guy from earlier? He crowd surfs too.

IMG_2156

Also caught performances from Broken Social Scene (I’ve put “World Sick” on here before), The Middle East, and a little bit of Vampire Weekend and Nada Surf. Then the sun set, and headliner began.

IMG_2165 IMG_2180 IMG_2181

The headliner for the night was My Morning Jacket, and they were amazing. Those guys know what they are doing. Holly was starting to feel like she was going to fall over, so we caught the second half of the show on the lawn while Seth and Anna finished off the show in the main area.

IMG_2189By the end of the day, this is how we felt. And this is how I still feel…

IMG_2192  Which makes this video, taken as we exited and walked by the, uh, “interesting” Deadmau5 concert, even more amusing…

And that was just Day #1! Now on to Day #2!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sasquatch or Bust: A Sasquatch Festival TravelBlog!!!

Gooooooood morning everyone!!! So today is the big day. But if you followed my facebook status updates yesterday (of course you did!) then you’ll know it was no picnic getting here. It all started with my Saturn Ion refusing to start in the Walmart parking lot. After getting jumped by my Squadron Commander (who was randomly there shopping as well), the car seemed okay, but I lost faith in it getting us to Sasquatch. Only problem is that my other car—the Isuzu Rodeo—currently had duct tape and cling wrap over the back window. Not exactly 6 hour drive material.

So one stop on the side of the freeway to remove cling wrap and one Boise Airport rental car later, we were on our way.

IMG_2084 (Holly points out the duck tape holding up her window)

We stopped for Chinese food at the best Chinese food place in the world, according to its name:

IMG_2089 We drove and drove and drove that Hyundai Elantra and now here we are, Ellensburg, Washington, where they shape towels into elephants and leave them on our beds.

IMG_2096 We’ll be going to breakfast here soon and then hitting up the festival. I’m basically like a little kid on Christmas morning right now.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Obama and the Oil Spill…and Various Other Linkage

Peggy Noonan writes a fantastic article for the Wall Street Journal, which you can read here. I think it’s worth the read. To summarize it, though, it basically makes the point about how much of a disaster the oil spill is for the Obama Administration without slipping into partisan comparisons to Bush. Fact is, neither of them have been handled well. Rather than sit around and blame this on individual incompetence on either Bush’s or Obama’s parts, I think the real takeaway is this quote:

“I wonder if the president knows what a disaster this is not only for him but for his political assumptions. His philosophy is that it is appropriate for the federal government to occupy a more burly, significant and powerful place in America—confronting its problems of need, injustice, inequality. But in a way, and inevitably, this is always boiled down to a promise: "Trust us here in Washington, we will prove worthy of your trust." Then the oil spill came and government could not do the job, could not meet need, in fact seemed faraway and incapable: "We pay so much for the government and it can't cap an undersea oil well!"”

Ah, the federal government. You see, there’s an underlying philosophical difference between liberalism and conservatism. Liberalism taxes you more, but takes care of you better. It takes the onus of you and puts it on the government. Don’t worry, the liberals say, we’ll take care of you. We’ll make it fair and equitable and everyone will be okay. This would be fine—in theory—if it ever seemed to work. Now the American people are supposed to trust that even a pro-government administration can’t do any better with an oil spill than Bush did with Katrina? This is damaging to Obama because Obama was part of the anti-Bush, the-government-isn’t-doing-enough crowd.

Time will tell what this does for Obama politically, but a president that is so high on governmental assistance cannot fail at governmental assistance.

Noonan ends her article with a warning for any Republican that tries to take advantage of this situation. After all, Bush blew it too. But the point is not pro-Democrat or pro-Republican, it’s this:

“But Republicans should beware, and even mute their mischief. We're in the middle of an actual disaster. When they win back the presidency, they'll probably get the big California earthquake. And they'll probably blow it. Because, ironically enough, of a hard core of truth within their own philosophy: when you ask a government far away in Washington to handle everything, it will handle nothing well.”

----------------------

Staying on the political front, an interesting article about the financial crisis in Greece and across Europe, and the unsustainability of a massive welfare state.

----------------------

Even as I head out for a vacation of my own over Memorial Day, Oliver North reminds us what Memorial Day is really for.

----------------------

Song recommendation this week comes from small up-and-coming indie band Avi Buffalo. It’s called “What’s In It For?”.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Five Things I Don’t Like!!!

Positive. Enthusiastic. Optimistic. These are typical terms that are often applied to me. Ah, but let it not be said that things don’t bother me! On the contrary, here are five things that chafe my soul:

1) Snide Comments

These are the kind of comments that add absolutely nothing except for negativity to a situation. They are often thrown around the end of the table at meetings, the back of the classroom, or whispered in the side of groups of people. They are always whispered in that sort of way so that it’s supposed to sound quiet, but it’s always juuust loud enough so that everyone can hear. The goal is typically to make someone in the room feel like crap, and this is usually the sole goal.

2) Anti-corporatism

Man, Walmart, is, like, so bad maaaan. They have greed. Evil corporate greed, right? While certainly some companies operate unethically at times, the idea that every company is somehow evil is spread rampantly in convos and in the media. Yet the same people who blast “evil corporations” are the same people who bemoan the demise of the economy. In the future, let’s focus on the actual unethical behavior by corporations. THAT is the bad part. The very fact that a company makes money (and provides jobs, by the way, and supports the economy, by the way, and brings tax revenue, by the way) does not make that company evil.

3) Feigned Authenticity in Music

Here’s a phrase that you’ll hear on shows like American Idol a lot: “Ya know, I just was wishing you’d have made that feel a little more authentic.” Wait, what? Fake authenticity is an oxymoron. The commercial pop industry is built upon writing pre-fabricated songs, dishing them out to Good Looking Pop Star X, and them asking them to make it “feel” authentic. You want authentic music? Try music where the artist performing the song is authentic because they WROTE the song.

4) Wishful Thinking vs. Theology

Theology is a touchy subject, and the centuries of scholars, theologians, and philosophers will attest that it is highly difficult to figure out. Picking something and sticking with it is one approach. Spending a lifetime searching is another. One thing that doesn’t really work, though? It’s called wishful thinking. It usually starts with something wishy-washy like “Well, I like to believe…”. Well that’s just dandy. “I like to believe that Hell doesn’t exist. But Heaven does. And all people go there. Oh, Hitler you say? No, he doesn’t go there.” Well then where does he go? Nowhere? “Well, only good people go there”. Who decides who’s good or bad? “I dunno, but that’s how I prefer to think about it".” Congrats.

5) Overused Clich├ęs Designed to Allow All Behavior

“I’m just being real, man” = I’m allowed to say whatever jerk thing I want to say because being an honest jerk is sooo much better than a cordial person who holds their tongue.

“I’m just sayin’” = I have just said a terribly inflammatory thing but don’t want to act like it was a big deal

“No offense…” = Here comes an offensive statement

and, why not, 6) Sweet Pickles. A pickle that is not sour just seems wrong…

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Music Review: Minus the Bear - “Omni”

OMNI

★★ 

Listening to Minus the Bear’s stellar album, Planet of Ice, a few minutes ago I was suddenly struck by exactly how much better it was than Omni. I then spent a few minutes trying to figure out why. Most noticeably, Planet of Ice created a cohesive mood. The mood was dark, cold, and desperate. Even the album art had glaciers and mountains. The vocals matched and accentuated the mood. Everything about Planet of Ice was great, and I ended up ranking it my #17 album of the decade.

Well that just ain’t fair is it? When you’re being compared to what was, in my mind, one of the best offerings over a 10 year period, you basically lose before you start. So let’s be fair here. Omni isn’t as good as Planet of Ice, but it’s not exactly bad either.

The best track of the bunch is right up front, the pulsating and refreshingly sunny sounding “My Time”. Minus the Bear have always meshed synth and guitar work perfectly. On “My Time” their synth sounds better than it ever has. From their the tracks just don’t follow suit. “Secret Country” is the best of the rest, pounding out a resounding anthemic chorus. There’s also decent showings from “Excuses”, “Hold Me Down”, and “Into the Mirror”, the latter which does the best to create a dark mood that Minus the Bear are so adept at creating.

However, it’s hard to notice that some of the freewheeling spunk is gone. It’s anyone’s guess as to why. Gone are song titles like “This Ain’t a Surfin’ Movie” and “Dr L’Ling”. There’s nary a quotable lyric on the album. The sound is still there, however, and Minus the Bear are still one of the best sounding bands in alternative rock today. If you’re new to Minus the Bear, go grab Planet of Ice or Menos del Oso. However, if you are already fan, it’s still not a bad addition to the collection.

New Album Review: LCD Soundsystem - “This is Happening”

tumblr_l03spy7D2G1qzv6gbo1_500

★★ 

“Yeah, you wanted it smart
But honestly I'm not smart
No, honestly we're never smart
We fake it, fake it all the time”

-LCD Soundsystem “You Wanted a Hit”

James Murphy is one of the more interesting figures in music right now. Mostly this is because he is 40 years old, looks completely normal, and somehow ends up as a critical darling labeled as super-cool all while never seeming to know what exactly super-cool is. Back in 2002 he released the most lyrically amusing song on Earth, a romp through all things indie, pretentious, self-deprecating, and one-upping called “Losing My Edge”. The nearly 8 minute masterpiece sums up everything you need to know about LCD Soundsystem. First, that they are primarily a “dance punk” outfit. Second, that lyrically it doesn’t get much better. And third, that Murphy delivers his verbal masterpieces in such a way that can do nothing but bring a smile to your face. Ever met someone so musically pretentious (hopefully not me…) that they automatically hate anything you like and like anything you hate? “I heard you have a compilation of every good song ever done by anybody” he yelps, and “I hear everybody that you know is more relevant than everybody that I know” he announces. The beauty is that he is, in a way, criticizing a lot of the same group of people that would come to admire him.

Alright. Now let’s get real about how I really feel about LCD Soundsystem, because the honest truth is that there’s not a bigger hit-or-miss band out there for me. Across three albums I have “one-starred” ten tracks, which is nearly a third of the songs. This whole “dance punk” thing doesn’t really speak to me. The songs are long and are probably more fit to be played loudly at a party. There’s a flipside, though, and that’s the fact that when LCD Soundsystem is on, they are on. On second album, Sound of Silver, LCD Soundsystem wrote my favorite song of all time (right now), “All My Friends”, and immediately followed it up with another five-star in “Someone Great”. I dare say it’s the best two consecutive tracks of all time.

Their newest album, This is Happening, finds them dropping their most consistently good back-to-front album yet, but it also find them lacking anything quite in the “epic” category. There are certainly some monster tracks here that will get themselves repeated listens. Opener “Dance Yrself Clean” starts hushed with Murphy lamenting awful friends (“Talking like a jerk/except you are an actual jerk”) before absolutely bursting into one of the best windows-down-speakers-turned-high hits for the summer. The middle meat of the record—back to back tracks “All I Want” and “I Can Change”—bring sensitivity to the game. Murphy evens displays some vocal chops on “I Can Change”, hitting a soft falsetto and showing the same pop-ish sensibilities he displayed on the superb Sound of Silver tracks. Elsewhere “Pow Pow” shows Murphy good ol’ lyrical charms in action again, with him nonchalantly remarking that “Because I have stayed home and have learned a little more about my neighborhood, which is important/You know, there's a lot of good places to eat”.

There are places, like on both previous LCD Soundsystem albums (“Get Innocuous!”, “Beat Connection”, etc.) where the dance punk focuses quite a bit more on dance, and this is where I get lost. I’m thusly not a fan of “One Touch”, “Somebody Call Me”, or “You Wanted a Hit”. The musical construction is tight, and I don’t disparage the talent level of any of these songs. Any fan of the genre would probably like them quite well, but I doubt most of would.

Having the expectation that there would be another “All My Friends” or “Someone Great” would naturally lead to disappointment, but there are still some solid winning tracks here. Any album with “Dance Yrself Clean”, “All I Want”, and “I Can Change” on it will be a good addition to one’s collection.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Countdown to Sasquatch Festival 2010 – The Big Preview

 

Now exactly one week from the weekend that I’ve been waiting for since, well, exactly one year ago. There are many things I’m excited about, but reading this made me very happy:

“Times of sun and clouds. Highs in the mid 70s and lows in the low 50s.”

(Below, left to right: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform, Holly hangs with Blind Pilot, I chill on the lawn, and I meet the Doves lead singer)

Last year it was between 90-100 the whole time. I missed Grizzly Bear because we were so exhausted that we hung out in the comedy tent watching God’s Pottery instead. That, readers, is one of my life’s biggest regrets. Didn’t know it at the time, because Grizzly Bear wasn’t one of my favorite bands yet. But by the end of the year I hade christened Grizzly Bear’s “Veckatimest” the best album of 2009.

This year we plan to use our experience from last year to help this year’s be even better. Here’s how:

  1. Staying in a hotel. Yup. Sure, this may be anti-festival, but the thrill of camping out and getting no sleep while everyone parties outside your tent is quickly lost. This year we plan on getting more sleep.
  2. Bringing nothing that can melt. Not even trail mix with M&Ms.
  3. Changes of clothes. Desert climates make it so that short sleeves and short are necessary in the day but jeans and jacket work better at night.

Aaaaaaaand, because I love lists, here’s some lists!

Five Bands I’m Most Pumped About:

  1. The Hold Steady
  2. Band of Horses
  3. Minus the Bear
  4. My Morning Jacket
  5. LCD Soundsystem

Smaller Bands I Can’t Wait to See Live

  1. Freelance Whales
  2. Local Natives
  3. The xx
  4. Dirty Projectors
  5. Portugal. The Man

Worst Scheduling Conflicts

  1. The National vs. The Hold Steady
  2. Freelance Whales vs. The xx
  3. MGMT vs. The New Pornographers
  4. Mumford & Sons vs. Minus the Bear
  5. Vampire Weekend vs. Nada Surf

Five-Star Songs I Could Potentially See

  1. Band of Horses - “Funeral”, “Detlef Schrempf”, “Ode to LRC”, “No One’s Gonna Love You”, and “Window Blues”
  2. The Hold Steady - “First Night
  3. LCD Soundsystem - “All My Friends” and “Someone Great” (Special note…I believe “All My Friends” probably holds my current title of “favorite song”)
  4. MGMT - “Time to Pretend
  5. Nada Surf - “See These Bones
  6. Passion Pit - “Sleepyhead

Five Other Things That Will Be Awesome

  1. She & Him is fronted by the angel that is actress/indie musician Zooey Deschanel. I will be front row, probably.
  2. I get a second chance to see Passion Pit after they conflicted with Silversun Pickups last year.
  3. Seeing Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” at night
  4. Getting to see The Hold Steady live as my fandom of them is right at its peak
  5. Going not only with my wife this year, but also with my awesome sister-in-law Anna and her rocking-husband/groomsman-quality-friend Seth.

I plan on keeping a nightly blog if time permits!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Album Review: The National – “High Violet”

the-national_high-violet 

★★★★

It’s probably safe to say that the lead singer of The National has a voice that’s difficult to get used to. Usually people say this about those who sing poorly or go with the high, nasally style. That’s not the case at all with Matt Berninger. Berninger’s “problem” is that he sings in a distinctive deep baritone. It’s off-putting at first, perhaps only because it’s not typical. Face it, you hear plenty of tenors. Most male leads’ range falls somewhere between high and very high. However, take a few listens to High Violet, adjust, and recognize it as another worthy addition to what’s shaping up to be the best music year in a good while.

The music here is lush. Resting behind the seemingly straightforward alt rock moodiness is a deep soundscape full of details that seem to emerge more and more with each listen. On the album’s second track, “Sorrow”, there’s the soft background piano and smooth flow of the cymbal. The music makes this song, providing it with a perfect night-driving swiftness as it bursts into the “oooooh aaaaaahs” towards the back end.

Lyrically is where The National thrive, however, although no one would argue that without the music the lyrics would be a waste of time. But The National come to songwriting with such an approachability. This approachability is brought about by their ability to seem, well, so normal. Have you ever noticed that country singers always have wives and kids and home life problems, while rock singers are usually singing about their latest freewheeling escapades? Not The National. They have families. They have wives. They have insecurities about their families and their wives. They get depressed, but it seems more real because they get depressed about normal things. With The National, “normal” is a strength. On “Afraid of Everyone” they write “With my kid on my shoulders I try/Not to hurt anybody I like”, tackling insecurity in fatherhood. On “Conversation 16” they sing “I’ll try to be more romantic…I was less than amazing”, tackling insecurity as a husband as well. Oh sure, I could sit here and accuse The National of being wimps, but I’d rather compliment them on their normalcy. Unlike a lot of lead singers in music I’m not promiscuous and I’ve never done drugs. So hello The National, it’s nice to relate.

After five or six listens I’m struck that there just aren’t any weak tracks here. I’d happily listen to the “worst” track on the album, whichever one that might be. On “Terrible Love” a tired sounding Berninger wails over a moving build-up of guitars, piano, pulsating drums, and keyboard that he “Can’t fall asleep/without a little help/It takes a while/to settle down”. On “Anyone’s Ghost” The National write “Go out at night with your headphones on, again” and create the perfect moody backdrop before shrugging “You said I came close/as close as anyone’s come”. On “Lemonworld” he sings “I gave my heart to the Army/the only sentimental thing I could think of” on a song, best as I and others on the web can tell, that is about a disaffected kid returning to the city from the war with no idea what to do (“So happy I was invited/give me a reason to get out of the city” and “Too tired to drive anyway, anyway right now”). The best of the bunch, at least today since I seem to change my mind every other day, is probably the amazing “Bloodbuzz Ohio”, where even financials trials don’t escape Berninger when he drops the smart lyric “I still owe money/to the money/to the money I owe” over a soaring mix of drums, horns, and guitars.

The strong songs just don’t stop coming on this album. “England” and “Runaway” slow the tempo down, but do it beautifully and movingly. On “England” the horns and the strings in particular make it musically the most pleasant of the bunch. Just watch the live video below and be amazed by a band that brings the strings, horns, and piano on stage instead of some pre-recorded track. It makes the lovely instrumentation even lovelier. Second to “England” is “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks”, which takes an otherwise downtrodden mood and turns it hopeful, swarming upwards with strings.

On High Violet, The National move from mere decent indie rock band to holding a full force place on my “favorite bands” list. Previously known just for being that-band-with-the-low-voice-and-that-song-Fake-Empire-that-I-like, The National have earned a promotion with an album full of amazing song after amazing song. This kind of consistency, instrumentation, emotional depth, and, yes, normalcy is such a rare, rare thing in music today.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thoughts on a Boise State Graduation and Other Thoughts on Other Things

A big congrats to my little sister for graduating college this past weekend! Pretty cool to see. Couple observations from the Boise State University ceremony:

1) Only one Fiesta Bowl reference. I think the over/under was probably three references, so props to the Boise State faculty and administration for doing a better job than the folks who run the local Walmart that plays the Fiesta Bowl on repeat when it comes to not slamming the Boise State-Oklahoma game down the world’s throat.

2) Where do they find professional linguists? The two they had announcing names deserve major kudos. I don’t think they messed up a single name, and one girl from India had five long, complicated names.

3) At some point Boise State will have to end there attachment to saying every. single. name. They said almost 2000 names.

4) During the reception my wife started tapping me on the elbow repeating “cute girl cute girl cute girl”. I confusedly turned to see a really cute girl walking by. Nothing confuses a man more than how he’s supposed to react when his wife tells him to check a girl out…

-------------

It’s going to take me a little while to get some of these music reviews out. Why? Because May has been the greatest music month of my life. I already have The Hold Steady, Minus the Bear, The New Pornographers, The National, and Broken Social Scene. LCD Soundsystem and Band of Horses were released today. I’ve never in my life had this many favorite bands release albums in a single month.

--------------

Revision to my Mountain Home Guide! Never, ever take out-of-town visitors through the first or third exits. The only freeway exit suitable for guests is the second exit. If you come through the first exit you see a long line of auto shops and train tracks. The third exit is even worse. At least with exit #2 you get the eateries, the stores, and some churches.

--------------

Jay-Z has a “new” song where a British guy sings Alphaville’s “Forever Young” in the background. The “Forever Young” refrain is clearly the best part of the song. Am I the only one who gets annoyed when hip-hop artists just rap over good 80’s songs and collect the checks?

--------------

Anyone who didn’t see 88 year old Betty White host Saturday Night Live needs to start perusing the web for the clips. Her monologue rant against facebook was classic stuff. I can’t embed it, but here’s a link:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/147966/saturday-night-live-betty-white-monologue

------------

Song recommendation for the road! Great one from The National called “Afraid of Everyone”.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Derek’s Guide to Living in Mountain Home

I believe that I am officially now a veteran of the city of Mountain Home, Idaho. Surely I don’t compare the to the folks who’ve lived here their entire lives, but as far as military goes I’ve put some time in. Heck, I’ve got order to move, so I must’ve been here long enough, right? With that said I submit a list of 10 things that can serve as a guide to living in the soon-to-be metropolis of Mountain Home, Idaho.

DSCN1124 10) There is no shortage of Mexican joints in this town. So let me help you. The best salsa is at El Herradero. Martin’s has the largest portions. Los Pinos will give you a good lunch burrito, but it can be dry. The best taco truck is located by the car demolition place on Airbase Rd. Our neighbors owned the one by the dollar store, but that wasn’t enough to make it better. I suggest the carnitas here, but it is only served on weekends. Really want carnitas tacos on a weekday? Hit up the El Herradero Taco Express in the Chevron.

9) Think you’re stranded in the middle of the desert? (You are) You really aren’t that far away from trees. Stay north past WalMart and bend off to the city of Pine. Right as you get to the city you hit legitimate forest and mountain streams. Very pretty!

DSCN2959 DSCN2965

8) Go to Air Force Appreciation Day! You think there’s no one in this town? Think again! You’ll be shocked by how many people are there. (Side note…I hope would-be thieves don’t realize this). Not only that, but you may find proof that no community loves their Air Force quite like Mountain Home does.

DSCN2996 7) We have the tallest single structure sand dune in the United States! Isn’t that crazy/hard to believe? Well it’s true. And it’s 15 minutes away.

800px-Bruneau_sand_dunes6) Never. Never EVER eat at Golden Crown Chinese Restaurant. (Sorry owners…I’m sure you’re nice.) Here’s why. It’s very simple. Their chow mein has no noodles in it. Their egg rolls contain ground beef. Many of their dishes come with “gravy”. The dishes with familiar names taste okay, but bear no comparability to the actual dish that they are supposed to be. The other Chinese joint, Jade Palace? Serviceable at best. Save up your Chinese cravings and hit up the China Grand Buffet on Fairview in Boise. I will forever owe SrA Hernandez for this recommendation.

5) There are some great places to camp and fish around here. There are random reservoirs tucked all around that are stocked with fish. The best thing about this area though? You can camp practically anywhere. Just pull over on the side of the road and camp. Go for it. It’s awesome like that. I suggest going north up towards Anderson Reservoir for camping rather than south towards Strike Dam. Too windy down there.

camp camp2

4) Don’t go to Walmart for “fun”. It will only depress you. Yes, some people really do go on dates there. Don’t do it. That is, unless you are going to do this in Walmart:

DSCN11253) They do a decent job with parks in this town. Not all parks are created equal, though. Carl Miller park isn’t half bad, as it provides the most shade. The Basque Park is a poor excuse for a park. It’s just a lawn with an old wall. Richard Aguirre Park doesn’t bring much to the table, but at least it’s close to the swimming pool. The best park of the bunch is Legacy Park, which features a nice man-made creek and a little gazebo. Very pleasant!

2) Entertainment is not at a premium here in Mountain Home. So what ends up happening? Food. Lots of food. I’ve already touched on the Mexican joints and why you should avoid the Chinese, but you should also know that Smoky Mountain Pizza makes a mean Cajun pasta and Wingers serves delicious boneless wings if you get the “Amazing Sauce”. It also makes a nice guacamole burger. Elsewhere, Grinde’s has great desserts, and it also has so many signs throughout the place asking you to not do things that there is a comedic value (do not talk on cell phone, labels on really obvious things, etc.). I would avoid A.J.’s diner if I were you, and same goes for the sketch drive-in, although the guy who owns it seems really nice. Pizza Hut takes foreeeeever to serve things, but I think that’s all Pizza Huts. There’s also a Thai truck that people seem to like, though I didn’t. Most meal decisions center around Smoky Mountain/El Herradero/Wingers/taco truck in this household.

1) Holly says number one should “run away”, but I like to think more positively than that. The fact is that most places are what you make of them. If you’re lucky enough, like me, to work at a place where we do this

Materiel Management Flight Pictures 002 Materiel Management Flight Pictures 330 Materiel Management Flight Pictures 619 then that’s awesome for you. But if you don’t, then there’s plenty more to see. That’s if you know where to look.

My motto:

Mountain Home: It’s Not That Bad. :-D