Sunday, May 27, 2007

1,000 Profile Views!

To whoever viewed my profile - thanks for bringing it to 1,000 hits.

I got my test results back - and actually wound up going to the emergency room again yesterday because I felt like I was having an anxiety attack, but my chest felt like it was collapsing and the doctor said it may be a heart attack.

Once again, anxiety.

This is nuts. I'm a bit stressed at work, but nothing that's par for the course. I did get it after having two cups of coffee at the Blue Line and then grabbing bloody mary at one of the neighborhood dive bars. The doctors said my heart enzymes were a bit on the high side, but they came back normal. Other stuff was fine across the board: heart beat in the low 90s, EEG fine and blood pressure at 120 over 79. I went home and watched a few episodes of The Wire and felt the occasional "fear" come on every now and then.

So, I start today on a clean slate. My usual routine of eating breakfast at the Radial, reading the New York Times at The Meeting Place, browsing books at the Antiquarium has been replaced by a weird series of baby steps:
Make breakfast at home: check
Take a bag of garbage to the dumpster: check
Get in the car and get some fuel: check

Hopefully work my way back up to catching a show at The Meeting Room this week (for some reason, going to loud, rambunctious shows doesn't seem to trigger any anxiety-related attacks).


Friday, May 25, 2007

Holiday list

At least a good part of the weekend is going to be spent at work, maybe hit up a bbq on Sunday.
I'm sure a lot of you probably know about this Web site, but it never hurts to pass it along: - if for the only reason, the site is great at alerting which sites are streaming upcoming releases for no charge. The latest offerings included the Battles and the National's latest. Have a good weekend -

Daily iPod list:
"Graduation Day" - Kanye West **
"Heartbeat" - Wire ****
"50 Ft. Queenie" - PJ Harvey ****
"Our Last Night" - Los Lobos ***
"Halo" - Depressed Mode ****
"Low" - Cracker ****
"If You Could Read My Mind" - Johnny Cash ****
"Hunter" - Bjork *****
"Ramble On" - Led Zep *****
"Think About Me (single version)" - Fleetwood Mac ***
"Happy" - Rolling Stones *****
"B4U" - Mercy Rule ****
"Sugar Babe" - Bob Dylan *****
"Me and a Gun" - Tori Amos *****
"Dark City" - ELO **
"Solitary Man" - Johnny Cash ****

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

From the 'Fire to the Ambulance

Any weekend that begins with The Arcade Fire at the Chicago Theatre, takes a detour to the emergency room via ambulance the next day and ends with The Hold Steady at the Sokol Underground has to rank up with one of the most memorable weekends in my life.

First off - The Arcade Fire at the Chicago Theatre - Friday, May 18
The theatre itself is amazing. For local readers, I would only describe it as The Rococo Theatre in a far more lush setting. Two-ton chandeliers, renaissance-style paintings on the ceiling. The band loves playing in churches, but there was plenty of religion going on. Starting with a grainy photo of a salt of the Earth preacher (it looked like it was taken from the film Jesus Camp), the band went into the title track of their excellent follow-up to Funeral, Neon Bible. Highlights are too numerous to count, but seeing Richard Reed Parry furiously bang a drum at the front of the stage in perfect synchronicity with drummer Jeremy Gara and seeing virtually the entire theater go into a jumping fit with the rousing set closer "Rebellion" were well worth the eight-hour trip.

The next day I grabbed a steak at this decent steakhouse in downtown Chicago. After nibbling on a decent cut of rib eye, my heart started racing. I only had two cups of coffee during the day while I was record store browsing with a few friends. No big deal. I went outside, saying I had to take a call - and used a few deep breathing techniques I picked up when I enrolled in this super cheap yoga class. Still didn't help. I wasn't agitated or anything, but when you're in that situation, stuff goes through your head. I kept thinking of Chris Ayers' repeated hypochondriac visits to his doctor in his book War Reporting for Cowards and the Flaming Lips' song "Mr. Ambulance Driver" kept running through my head. I thought of my dad dying of a heart attack at the age of 43. I got back to the hotel - after a one-hour ride, and my heart was still racing. We were outside of the city limits of Chicago and had no idea where a hospital was. Finally, I told my friend to call an ambulance. I'm dreading the bill for this - but at that point, I could think of no other option. There was no way to stop my heart from racing. After a few hours in the ER and an IV drip, I was sent home.

I came back to Omaha - thinking "all of my relocation money has evaporated faster than John McCain's credibility." I was still lightheaded from the experience, the hellishly boring drive through Iowa and general lack of sleep. But there was still one more show to see: The Hold Steady.

Summoning up my reserves, I went and was treated to an equally life-affirming set from the Minneapolis-turned New York pilsner poets. The Heartless Bastards performed a great, solid, bluesy opening set that made me want to check them out if they ever get to The Waiting Room. The show itself took on the feel of a baseball game: lots of jerseys, kids tailgating from their cars and a whole lot of screaming. Craig Finn was in full rock star mode, waving his hands around, spilling fables that would make Mike Skinner of the Streets envious. The band played most of Boys and Girls in America, but my personal favorites came from "Cattle and the Creeping Things" and "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" from their near-flawless Separation Sunday. The band closed with "Killer Parties." Surrounded with 300 or so-odd folks (with the gray haired population proudly representin' even though Monday was a workday), I kept thinking of another incident where my heart would start racing uncontrollably again. But if I was to drop at the concert, I could proudly say "The Hold Steady almost killed me."

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Early weekend

Getting all my stuff ready before I catch The Arcade Fire in Chicago. Then gun it back to Omaha to catch The Hold Steady at Sokol. I'm still not enthused at The Hold Steady's last album, but I'm excited to see them.

iPod shuffle list for the day (haven't had one of these in ages)

"Bucky Done Gun" - M.I.A. *****
"Four Leaf Clover" - Old 97's ****
"Loss Adjuster (Exerpt pt. 2)" - Jarvis Cocker ** (basically an intro song)
"Muzzle" - Smashing Pumpkins ****
"You Don't" - Tricky ***
"Natural Blues" - Moby *****
"Stay Up Late" - Talking Heads ****
"(Just Like We) Breakdown" - Hot Chip ***
"Hateful" - The Clash *****
"The Levee's Gonna Break" - Bob Dylan ****
"The First Time" - u2 ****
"Reaction" - The Appleseed Cast ***
"Bullet Proof" - Moorcheeba ****
"Kreuzberg" - Bloc Party ***
"N.W.O." - Ministry *****
"Feelin' It" - Jay-Z feat. Mecca ****
"Dreams" - TV on the Radio ****
"You, Baby" - The Mamas and the Papas ***
"Give My Love to Rose" - Johnny Cash ***
"Tremor Christ" - Pearl Jam ***
"Melt Your Heart" - Jenny Lewis ***
"F**k Up Beats" - The Chemical Brothers ***
"Motorolla Scalatron" - Stereolab ***
"My Weakness" - Moby ***
"Tribulations" - LCD Soundsystem ***
"One Tree Hill" - u2 *****
"Trouble (Eve of Destruction)" - Blackalicious ***
"Say Anything" - Aimee Mann ****
"Black Cowboys" - Bruce Springsteen ***
"Hallowed Be Thy Name" - Iron Maiden ****
"Superman" - Eminem ***
"Priest's Knees" - Destroyer ****

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

"Hard People Shatter" - RIP Kate Webb

Sadly, I didn't hear a thing about Kate Webb until I heard a segment on "As it Happens" as I was driving home today. Virtually all of her life in journalism was the stuff of legend.

First off - as anyone who has been on can attest - it's nearly impossible to find a journalism job without a journalism degree. Webb started out with a philosophy degree and ended up taking a reporter job - despite not knowing shorthand. She dove into the job and ended up cleaning out her savings (or damn near close to clearing it out) to pay to go to Saigon to cover the war.

She was captured by North Vietnamese soldiers during the war and was assumed to be killed during combat. There even was a bullet-ridden body that was close enough to resemble her to merit a funeral and an obit in the New York Times.

When she was released, she continued covering world events, up to the first Gulf War.


Interesting Discovery Saturday...

I was at the Dundee Cork and Bottle to grab an early afternoon beer when I saw the following book resting near the wine selections...

I'm fairly sure that book has since been lifted from that establishment. May not be my favorite album from Pearl Jam, but it does have some gems - and I know there are some fans who think the album is the band at their creative peak.

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