It's casual Friday; why am I wearing pants?

I've been sleeping pretty badly lately and waking up in a semi-coma about every day, which may explain why it's casual Friday at my office and I DON'T HAVE FRICKING BLUE JEANS ON. I live for casual Fridays, people. I LOVE wearing blue jeans to work. I thought it was Thursday this morning, and while that would normally be cause for celebration, the joy of having the weekend arrive one mental day earlier is severely tempered by the fact that MY LEGS ARE NOT SHROUDED IN 100% COTTON RIGHT NOW. Goddammit.

On another note, Jenny and I are meeting friends for dinner for the first time in a while, so that should be cool. I'll take the camera and post the results tomorrow.


Five Perfect Albums®

Inspired by Gabe's list of favorite TV shows, and not being a real TV junkie myself, I thought I'd offer up my list of five Perfect Albums®.

First, a definition. To be a Perfect Album®, a record must meet the following three criteria:

1. It must be able to be played completely through without ever having to hit the FFW button. It must not contain any "filler" songs that take up space between the good songs on the album.

2. It must be considered in its entirety, and it must be cohesive (i.e., all of the songs must fit together sonically, yet not sound exactly alike).

3. You must still be able to hear nuances you've never heard before even after the 1,000,000th listen. (For example, put on headphones, turn up the volume, and concentrate on the individual instruments, and I guarantee you that you'll hear something on "Back in Black" that you never did on the FM dial.)

Now without further ado, five Perfect Albums®:

1. Back in Black: AC/DC
Released in 1980, less than a year after their first lead singer, Bon Scott, got drunk, fell asleep in a car, and froze to death, "Back in Black" made AC/DC megastars. But while you may have heard "You Shook Me All Night Long" eight billion times on the radio, EVERY SINGLE SONG on this album is a classic. The riff from "Have a Drink on Me" is possibly the coolest guitar riff ever produced by human hands. If you haven't listened to this entire album, do yourself a favor and go buy it RIGHT NOW.

2. All the Nations Airports: Archers of Loaf
Nobody knows who the Archers of Loaf are except my friend Jason and me. They should. These guys came out of Chapel Hill, NC and created the most original, catchy, utterly cool music I've heard in the last 15 years. On "All the Nation's Airports," the band hit its zenith, coming together to form an album that drips with guitar lines so intertwined that when Jason and I saw them in concert in San Francisco on this tour, we couldn't tell which guitarist was playing what. And we were standing in the front row, WATCHING THEIR HANDS. Immensely cool album.

3. Sticky Fingers: The Rolling Stones
Mick Taylor. Does that name ring a bell for you? If it doesn't, you're not aware of the most talented lead guitarist the Stones ever had, and the guy who makes this brilliant guitarfest of an album possible. His lead work on "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'" sets the bar for every "jam" that came afterwards.

4. New York: Lou Reed
Make no mistake, Lou Reed's catalog is sketchy. Like Neil Young, he follows his own creative muse, and he has done some incredibly bad albums--and some incredibly brilliant ones. This one is my favorite. It's a straight-up rock and roll album that's stripped down to the bare minimums and perfectly gets across the feels, smells, and image of New York City. Put it in and you won't turn it off until it's done.

5. Bossanova: The Pixies
Often overlooked, this album, IMHO, is the best one the band ever made. Although it's pretty much all Black Francis (Kim Deal was losing the power struggle for songwriting and vocals by this point), the album takes on a hard-edged, yet weirdly fantasy-like feel that all fits together perfectly. Joey Santiago's playing on this album is the best he's ever done with the band. "Rock Music." "Dig for Fire." "Havalina." Awesome.

This isn't a complete list, and I welcome your suggestions for YOUR perfect albums.

Keep rockin'.



Originally uploaded by Xose.
This summer Jenny and I went out to Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland for a weekend, and on the way we passed Burkettsville, MD, which was the setting of The Blair Witch Project. That got us thinking about the movie, so Jenny put it on our Netflix list when we got home.

We have an inordinately long Netflix queue, so the movie just arrived yesterday, and we watched it again last night.

Anyone who tells you that this movie isn't scary is either lying or has never been alone in the woods at night.

I'm not talking about being in a crowded camping area or state park at night, I'm talking about 2 a.m. in the open woods, miles away from anyone (you hope) and anything (you REALLY hope).

It's easy to sit here in the light of day in a comfy office and pooh-pooh the idea of the woods being scary, but when you can only see about 50 feet into the pitch black darkness and it's so quiet that you can hear EVERY SINGLE twig snapping in a 100 yard radius around your what-now-seems-completely defenseless campsite (with only about 2mm of nylon rip-stop between you and the encroaching claws and fangs of god-knows-what), it's pretty effing scary.

I wish all scary movies could stir up that kind of primal fear....


Our parents are the best.

My Mom and Dad drove 6+ hours on Friday to clean, scrape out a (literally) crappy wax toilet ring and replace a toilet, and generally work super hard on someone else's house. In return, they wouldn't even let me buy them a half of a tank of gas for the ride home.

Jenny's parents are paying for the recarpeting our great room, and we know that they would be up here if they could.

I don't know what we did to deserve such great, supportive parents, but I do know that Jenny and I are the luckiest people alive to have such fantastic, generous, loving people as our own personal support group. Thanks Moms and Dads, we love you more than we can say!

Checking 'em off!

New baseboards in front bedroom: check!
[Note: We couldn't use a miter saw for the angles, because due to house settling, the rooms weren't square. So we had to cope out the outline of the opposing baseboard, which took a little longer, but looks nice. Now I can paint the room!]

Clean kitchen and contact paper cupboards: check!
[Note: Thanks Mom!!!!! You're the best!]

New toilet in upstairs bathroom: check!
[Note: Poop is nasty. So is the old, poop-encrusted wax ring under an old toilet. Yuk!]

Next big project: removing the old, pinhole leaky copper pipes and replacing with new, dripless PVC.