August 29, 2008

Short like NE Summer Street

Katie took the rest of the apricot jelly, wheat bread, and Goldfish to work today. I finished the Blueberry Muffin Frosted Mini Wheats and milk. Yesterday I finished a package of sandwich meat, our kalamata olives, and our last plum. We ate triple servings of ice cream.

Today I'm tackling a salmon fillet for lunch, but there are more in the freezer — and teriyaki beef kabobs too — which gives us reason to eat in before we move out. Tomorrow.

It'll be oatmeal with water for breakfast, throw Katie's clothes into boxes, wash the dishes we're using especially much in the closing days, and await the arrival of my parents. Then southeastward to Lake Zurich then Waynesboro, Va., where we'll live three houses down from the office of The News Virginian.

Departing Minneapolis is not easy to characterize as a good thing, but as the temperature begins to remind us what it was like during our first days here in late May, it becomes easier to acknowledge that if we must go, now is the time. After all, we're taking a cue from Minneapolis's shortest street — NE Summer Street, no joke — which we've passed a few times each week.

No number of recumbent bicycles, free museum nights, or walkable lake trails can keep us now. So we're leaving this City Where Everything Works. Whereas I spent a summer in Detroit amused by the various and bizarre ways in which life can be lived, and photographed, we're leaving Minneapolis filled with vague pleasantries, few photos, and little more than a scraped rear bumper and $24 parking ticket (both received yesterday), two thrift store ties, and a "Reprobate National Convention" RNC protest poster to show for the summer.

There's not much wrong with Minneapolis, which makes the move out more mysterious. When we decided to leave we confided in each other that back when we first arrived we thought we'd get jobs and stay. We did nothing to secure that stay. Now our situation is completely different but still confusing, or at least unexpected.

On the way to Virginia Katie and I wrote down what we thought The Valley would be like and what types and colors of cars our acquaintances would drive and how the office might look and which apartment we would like best. She was mostly right.

But we both thought, and now know, that The Valley will mean few bars and more time for books.

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August 28, 2008

An Ape and a Dolphin

Oh yes.

August 27, 2008

Jack, get on this

BoingBoing pointed me at the Air Guitar championships. The winner used a relatively new song by The Toadies. I'm the band's biggest fan, and I've got the awful glossy promo photo to prove it. I like the former champ.

BB also linked to an article about The Decline of 'Go-out-and-Play':
"Play," incidentally, is a mysterious activity children engage in when not compelled to spend every hour under adult supervision, taking soccer or piano lessons or practicing vocabulary words with computerized flashcards.
To make this post a real dumping ground, I'd also like to mention some recent music musings.

First, I'm sick of the sassy brat vocal stylings of so many contemporary female vocalists, like Bittersweet. However, I vote for Nikki Monninger of the Silversun Pickups as one of the best things moving forward post-Sleater-Kinney.

Also, I like Vampire Weekend regardless of hype, and think we should listen to more Born Ruffians, who are up that alley but more earthy.

And my buddy Bill is making a serious run on the Chicago music scene with Snowsera. They've played Schuba's and The Metro now, had a spot on Q101's Local 101, and just released a new E.P., for free, download-only, with artwork by Katie, on the Snowsera Myspace.

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August 24, 2008

Draplin Design Co.

First he told us why America is Fucked (graphically at least). Then he documented the Longest Yard Sale in the World. Now he brought to light a short documentary about the world's largest vinyl record collection.

I'm talking about Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co. He's got a design sense I respect, the blog I wish I had, an honest biography, and he's proud of his Michigan/Midwest roots to boot. When he uses a phrase like "haul balls" toward home, and publishes a travel map that bounces across Chicago and Michigan (like I did once, here), I feel especially kindred.

Unrelated: holy Bolt! And in the willy nilly progression to being plugged in, is anyone else wasting time with StumbleUpon? Enter your interests, lick the browser button and it finds magical sites up your alley, like Be Pollock, artpad (my sample), and The Sheep Market.

But to be more practical while still cool, I'll end by mentioning PicLens. It's a Firefox add-on that will change the way you look at videos and photos online (even Facebook or Flickr). In short, the site grabs all the images or videos on a site, throws them into a three-dimensional space and allows you to move around intuitively, enlarging and shrinking things and exploring.

Edit: There is considerable controversy about that Pollock link above. Turns out, it may be totally stolen Flash coding. Search "stamen" or "manetas" to learn more.

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August 23, 2008

School Begins

Well, school begins on Monday. I have 25 copies of my syllabus and a bunch of index cards in my briefcase ready to go, and at 7:30 the magic happens.

I read a Chinese novel from about the 14th century this summer called "Outlaws of the Marsh." It is the story of 108 upstanding individuals who one-by-one and for various reasons are driven from society and forced to join a band of outlaws. This in many ways reminded me of Koon (perhaps in an overly sentimental fashion). The outlaws are eventually pardoned by the Emperor after the imperial forces are unable to defeat them. The outlaws join the imperial forces and stay together to fight successfully against foreign armies. But, when they are sent against other rebels within the Song kingdom, they are killed off one-by-one. They are defeated when they battle against those representing what they once were. The few who survive are later killed off by the wiles of other imperial ministers. It is a great novel. I just hope I haven't joined the imperial forces.

August 20, 2008

Worst websites ever

There's a website called Web Pages That Suck, which, according to them, teaches good web design by looking at bad web design. Simple enough. I found it when looking for something to compare this website to. Still can't quite find anything that compares. You'd think a fairly established major league baseball player would have a website in which the flash pictures did not show up on the other tabs you're using. And maybe that a major league outfielder would use a font other than "Sand." Or is that "Chalkboard"? Or even the font that shall not be named? Either way...Christ. I already hated this guy for having the "Sizemore syndrome" among female Astro fans. But this is unforgivable.

At least he gave me more bad websites to make fun of. I mean, seriously...can anyone make sense of this?

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August 17, 2008

Musical Equations: Songs that sound the same

from Julie R.:
The Clash "Straight to Hell" = M.I.A. "Paper Planes"
from Tony:
opening of "Sunny Afternoon" = opening of "The Beast and Dragon, Adored"
from Jack:
chorus of "Just What I Needed" = chorus of "Requiem for O.M.M. 2"

The bassline to Radiohead's "All I Need" = the entire song of Boards of Canada's "ROYGBIV"

Intro to Wolf Parade's "Shine A Light" = The Beatles "Get Back"
From Chase:
Cat Stevens "Father and Son" = Flaming Lips "Fight Test"
The Cure opening of "In Between Days" = opening of Wilco "Pot Kettle Black"
For sickening fun: Beach Boys "Sloop John B" = Glen Campbell "Rhinestone Cowboy"
From Econ:
intentional quoting: Belle & Sebastian, "I'm a Cuckoo" = Thin Lizzy, "The Boys Are Back in Town"

The Strokes, opening of "Last Nite" = Robert Pollard, opening of "Dancing Girls and Dancing Men"

Jens Lekman, "You Are the Light" ("It's so beautiful..." 2:30) = Of Montreal, "Disconnect the Dots" ("It's so beautiful..." 0:41)
(times above refer to actual song, not YouTube videos)
more to come...e-mail more finds + links to gonzalezreports (at) gmail (dot) com


August 14, 2008


Please watch my summer video project:

Turn your speakers on for these club throws and catches by Nick Laffey and Tony Gonzalez. Filmed in Minneapolis, and mostly at night, it's a t-shirt montage mostly about music. They're neverthriving.

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August 13, 2008

Adbusters, you said it!

Thanks to Silliman for linking up this Adbusters story on hipsters.

I think I've been trying to say what they said ever since Napoleon Dynamite made me angry. I tried, meekly, in this post.

I read the Adbusters story just a few hours after attending an American Apparel t-shirt fashion show event that was serving free PBR. No joke. Cool t-shirts + music sounded good to me, but I ended up confused by the mix of gritty styles and flashy/colorful hip hop sneakers. Lately it has been dicey every time Katie and I find an event listing that seems up our alley.

We just keep running into annoying art and sunglasses.

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August 12, 2008

New Story, Need Feedback

Hey everyone, or anyone who has the time:

I have a new short story (about 3,000 words) posted on my harveyfiction blog, which is linked on The Sad Bear.
I wrote it for the Missouri Review, which sent me some very positive feedback along with their rejection letter for my last story I sent around. I think one problem might have been the length of my last story, so this one is shorter.
Anyway, it's kind of an important story to me at this point, seeing as how I sort of feel that I have a chance, and the Missouri Review is a pretty great literary magazine. I would greatly appreciate any comments you could leave about your reaction to the story before I send it out.
Such as: what is your overall reaction? how do you like the title? is it convincing as a narrative and does it hold your interest and does it make sense? is the grammer well...I mean good? are the sentences nice sounding and effective? etc etc...
I'd really appreciate any and all help on this.

baseball songs

I think Blender Magazine is really bad. I'm receiving free issues and tearing out snippets of 50 words, here and there, worth reading.

Despite sucking, they pointed me to The Baseball Project, Volume One: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails, with some apparently awesome songs about Jack McDowell and "Ted Fucking Williams."

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August 11, 2008

Koon, 1977


August 10, 2008

Holy (Orw)ell

Edit: Are you guys reading this!?

From the folks at BoingBoing, we get this tip: Orwell's diary entries will be going up on a daily basis at a blog starting August 9. Here's the blog, aka RSS this shit: LINK.

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August 7, 2008

Hot chicken!

Somewhen between her turning 22, us turning cosmopolitan (dinner at Cue, The Government Inspector at the Guthrie) and the purchase of a necklace by Jaime Fisher at Gallery 360 for her wedding dress, we got into a wine-induced rhythm of future talk.

Could be Waynesboro, Virginia, perhaps Mongtomery, Alabama.

Long story short: I finally told her that I'm willing to follow, especially if it means I get to vend peanuts at a ballpark. And I warned her to stop throwing out suggestions like, "how about we pick a city [always Seattle when we talk], go there, and then find something."

She makes me silly saying things like that. Same too, but more giddy, when she asks to come along to Neverthriving meetings to work on club passing take-aways.

Until the future, we're sticking with the cosmopolitan + bike riding life (she rode for the first time in 9 years the other night).

Various culture:
+ Weisman Art Museum New Deal art by Gerome Kamrowski and Dewey Albinson (nice trees).
+ Of Montreal covers other bands: downloads
+ Hot Off the Press show, especially Roberta Allen
+ Musical saw feature and video.

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August 5, 2008

Rock and Roll Professionals

When the rock & roll professionals roll into town you know they're well paid
(You got it)
They'll meet you and they'll greet you and then after the show someone will get laid
(You got it)
Press the flesh and maybe they will make nice
(You got it)
Press the flesh, but only for the right price
-Local H, "Rock and Roll Professionals" (featuring Josh Homme, singing the "you got it" parts
My first post at Bugs and Cranks is now up. It might suck. I have no real editor. And it turns out that I actually get paid for this, from ad revenues. I doubt it's that much. But we'll see.

So does this mean I'm a professional writer?

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August 4, 2008


Tuesday night, the loudest band I have seen live will appear on Letterman to promote their new album, Songs in A&E. Our crowd should appreciate the Dirtbombs' backing vocals on the seething "Yeah Yeah".

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August 3, 2008

Telling stories

Storytelling has been on my mind a lot throughout the past week. Here are some things I've been following you should check out.

+ The High-Stress Police Beat
+ The Art of Collecting Stories (TED video) and its corresponding project, We Feel Fine.
+ "Go Ask Your Father" on This American Life (the prologue is super-good).
+ A trucker who takes photos as he travels the country with his dog.

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