Friday, November 30, 2007

Come On Snow

It's started, but we're not quite there yet. Here's an image from the webcam looking down the line of the Pine Creek Chair up at Bogus Basin. It's sunny up there, above the ocean of clouds blanketing the city. Gorgeous. Can't wait to hit that mountain.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Practice New Year's Eve Party

To all-a-y'all out here in the BID, there's a big party this weekend that you should not miss. It's a fundraiser for Boise Community Radio, and this time the funds are for something very specific: To get us on the air!

That's right. We've filed out application, and all that stands between us and turning this internet-only affair into a full-blown presence on your FM dial is the technicality of an approval from the FCC and a pile of dough.

This is a Practice New Year's Eve Party. We'll have live music from locals The Universal, The Invasion, and more, as well as DJs spinning between sets. I'll likely have a set later in the evening, around 11-12ish, of seminal 90s indie rock, techno, and IDM. Plus, every hour on the hour, we'll do a countdown and ball drop, closing another decade and moving to the next, all the way up to the Oughts.

Come on down and rock out or get yr dance on with us. It was a blast last year, and it should be even better this year.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Burial ~ Untrue

The second full-length release from Burial, called Untrue, is an intriguing and affecting affair. Dark, somewhat hyper and frantic, and infused with a foreboding and dread that is hard to put a finger on, this is the stuff of creepy lucid dreams or long half-awake subway rides.

In "Near Dark," an altered female voice intones over and over "I can't take my eyes off you," spread and filtered over a quick and skittery beat, surrounded by echoing tones and shifting reverbs, creating more a feeling than a reaction, more a sense than an understanding.

This is common to the whole record: Burial creates fleeting sounds that leave lasting impressions. There are few to no identifiable melodies in these songs, and not many decipherable lyrics, but none of these are necessary to adequately internalize the music. You can't dance to it, you can't sing it in your car, but you can walk around with this stuff echoing in your head, slightly disturbed and put off, anxious to give it another spin.

Friday, November 23, 2007


It's been some years since I've cooked Thanksgiving dinner, and I wasn't about to start up again this year. Instead, Cathy and I made the rounds, stopping in at friends' and family's houses, hopping from dinner table to dinner table.

We started out at Richard and Allison's place, where we had a glass of fortified and fizzy cranberry apple cider while watching them get the first steps of dinner preparation underway.

Then we drove out Hill Road to my brother John's place for dinner #1. He's perfected his brining method, and along with some pumpkin gnocchi, two kinds of stuffing, steamed veggies, mashed potatoes, and the mandatory baker hat biscuits, this could have been his best holiday dinner yet.

At Sara's parents' house, we had some lovely wine from the Duoro valley as we stood around the kitchen island watching them go through the final prep for the meal, thickening gravy, carving the bird, filling glasses.

Then on to Chuck and Chris' place, where we spent our 5th Thanksgiving dinner with a dozen or so friends. Dueling turkeys were both fantastic, the gravy was divine, and the wine flowed freely. A great meal and a great time that lasted well into the night. So long, in fact, that Pong became a spectator sport.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Band of Horses

This five-piece, formerly three-piece, played the Neurolux on Sunday night to a sold-out house. In fact, the tickets sold out some time ago, an odd thing if you consider that the last couple times the band played here they played to a receptive and even enthusiastic but only half to two-thirds filled room.

But there's no doubt they deserved it. The new record, Cease to Begin, while not as immediately captivating as their debut, is a grower. The songs are solid, the melodies memorable, and the performances admirable, singer Ben Bridwell's voice as clear and ringing and powerful as on plastic. Still, there's something different in them, which could be traced to the departure of one founding member and the band's subsequent move to South Carolina from Seattle. There's a different feel, as if the country-infused indie rock of the debut has been turned on its head.

Anyway, the show rocked. They trounced their way through tracks off both albums about equally, shredding Is There A Ghost? as thoroughly as Funeral, The Great Salt Lake as gorgeous and fresh as Ode to the LRC. And the crowd responded. Fists raised, singing along, swaying and grasping themselves in an ecstatic musical state that usually doesn't come around on Sunday nights.

I worry that we'll see these guys less now that they're true Southern gentlemen, but if that's the cost to get shows like these, so be it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cram It

Check out the new digs:

Over the weekend, my stuff was moved from my small office to my tiny brand new cubicle space. See, being that my team is working on the "cutting edge" products, top brass thought it prudent to build a new workspace, innovative in its design and conducive to collaboration and creative thinking.

So we got cubes. And now we've got all the space and air and feng shui that was available to Julie the Time-Life operator. Almost.

Funny that everyone who's come to check the new space out is struck silent before offering sympathy or condolences.

I'll try and keep tabs here on how my Dilbertification affects my psyche or current level of job satisfaction. I have a pretty good idea how this will go, but I'll try to stay open minded.

If only I could turn around without banging my leg or head on something...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Candidate Test

I've taken a couple of these things, but none of them really had a depth of question that would suggest solid results. This one was a bit better than the others, and though I don't really know who this Alan Auguston person is, and I'd have hoped for a better ranking for Colbert, the rest of it seems pretty reasonable to me.

If I can't have the ideal, I'll take Barack. Link to the test below.

2008 President Selector


1. Theoretical Ideal Candidate (100 %)

2. Barack Obama (76 %)

3. Alan Augustson (campaign suspended) (76 %)

4. Dennis Kucinich (70 %)

5. Joseph Biden (67 %)

6. Christopher Dodd (67 %)

7. Hillary Clinton (67 %)

8. John Edwards (66 %)

9. Wesley Clark (not running, endorsed Clinton) (64 %)

10. Al Gore (not announced) (63 %)

11. Michael Bloomberg (says he will not run) (56 %)

12. Mike Gravel (55 %)

13. Bill Richardson (52 %)

14. Ron Paul (43 %)

15. Elaine Brown (36 %)

16. Kent McManigal (campaign suspended) (36 %)

17. Mike Huckabee (32 %)

18. Rudolph Giuliani (28 %)

19. John McCain (27 %)

20. Tommy Thompson (withdrawn, endorsed Giuliani) (23 %)

21. Mitt Romney (22 %)

22. Alan Keyes (20 %)

23. Fred Thompson (18 %)

24. Chuck Hagel (not running) (16 %)

25. Jim Gilmore (withdrawn) (16 %)

26. Sam Brownback (withdrawn, endorsed McCain) (15 %)

27. Tom Tancredo (15 %)

28. Newt Gingrich (says he will not run) (13 %)

29. Duncan Hunter (12 %)

30. Stephen Colbert (campaign ended) (6 %)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I know who the guy on the right is. That's Ian MacKaye of legendary DC band Fugazi. He's also half of The Evens, a great new guitar-drums duo.

But who's that goof with him?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Camera Phone Sunrise

These things are always so much more impressive in person.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Weekend in November

It's been yet another amazingly lovely fall weekend here in Boise. A weekend of hanging out, taking it easy, and dogs.

Outside right now it's chilly and sunny, the leaves are carpeting the sidewalks and streets, and every sprinkle of rain brings the anticipation of snow. We've had a couple dustings so far, but nothing that's stuck.

This has been a weekend in slow motion, sort of, easing into it with a day working at home, then lingering over dinner Friday night after the ride. Yesterday was spent on errands and projects around the house, walking the dogs, hanging out. Today I got a ride in, a short windy road ride, I hung a cuckoo clock, I made breakfast. Now we sit in a coffee shop, reading and typing, drinking coffee and watching the sun drop and the shadows get long. It's 4:30 and I can already feel it sliding toward evening.

We're watching Woody, our friend James' yellow lab, for about a week or so. He's a great dog, as labby as lab could be, and it's a pleasure to have him around. But having a third dog around always reminds me that there is such a thing as too much dog. It's nice for a while, but I can't imagine living with more dog than we have already. Still and all, he's such a good dog it's fun to have him in the house.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lit Up

It's been a long while since I've strapped on the helmet light and rode trail in the dark. I'd forgotten just how intense and invigorating an experience it is.

Varner and I went out and rode 3 Bears around 6pm last night. Wonderful ride. The air was a bit chilly but out of the wind, as we seemed to be everywhere but at the bottom, it was perfect riding weather.

The long climb up was enjoyable until we hit the Bears themselves, and when David climbed away from me a bit I found myself alone in my little circle of light and remembered, too, that riding in the dark sometimes creeps me out a bit. The coyote whoops surrounding us didn't relieve that sense, but it was really cool to hear so close.

The descent, once I got used to going downhill with these lights on again, was fantastic, very focused, skimming the sandy surface and trying to keep my vision trained out ahead, not on that shadow of the front wheel, not on the big rocks and loose rubble that pop into the light and demand attention.

David took a tumble on the Buck Trail, soon after I took the lead, but it was a flatland affair and other than a scraped arm and being a bit shaken up there was no damage. It was a real kick descending for so long into the sea of lights in the city below us. Great views, and the perfect trails for it.

I'm gonna have to try to do this more often.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

New on the Range

UPDATE: Apparently, there are technical difficulties down at the studio. Sorry, for anyone's trying to listen. It woulda been good, too.

Howdy peeps. Tune in to Range Life on Friday for a whole mess of wonderful new music.

I've been busy in hunter-gatherer mode lately, and I've come up with some juicy morsels. Perhaps most exciting of all, We Are Wolves have released a new record, called Total Magique, and it's as raucous and fun as you'd hope.

I've also grabbed the new one from Yeasayer, called All Hour Cymbals, and it's an interesting piece of music, leaning from indie rock into that weird space between Animal Collective style freak folk and something a bit more subdued and psychedelic.

I've also got a new old CD from Manual, an electronic artist formerly of the Morr Music roster, the debuts from HEALTH and A Place to Bury Strangers, and the solo debut from Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene fame.

A recent trip to Other Music in NYC left me with some shit-hot tracks as well, and I'll keep spinning selections from a dynamite Morr Music comp, a collection of DFA remixes, and a crazy-ass electronic long-form composition by Nobekazu Takemura called Sign. Great stuff. And keep an ear out for a classic of classics in electronic jams from Underworld. Raise your arms, duff duff!

Also newish: Radiohead, Beirut, Stars of the Lid, Eddie Vedder, Les Savy Fav, and so much more. Check in, won't you?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My Uncle Bob

I believe everyone should have an Uncle Bob. It seems most people do, actually, which is a good thing. I've been lucky enough in life to have two of them, one on each side of the family.

Recently, though, I lost one of them, my Uncle Bob Hess, from the north side of Chicago. He was a great guy, and though I haven't been able to see him or my Aunt Dottie much since I bolted Illinois for Texas and now Idaho, I'm finding that I miss him.

Uncle Bob was my closest uncle growing up. We spent all major holidays together, as well as birthdays, family milestones religious and otherwise, and every single Christmas Eve I can remember during my childhood, switching off years between his place in Chicago and ours in the suburbs. I have vivid memories of falling asleep in the car on the way home, every single year, watching the city lights slide past through the blackness outside the car windows. His daughter, my cousin Kim, spent summers with us through middle school and high school. He was the oldest of four sons; my dad the youngest.

I find it frustrating to try and fail at remembering stories or specific profound events revolving around my Uncle Bob. But then, I have no shortage of images and memories involving him, and in fact most recollections of holidays or parties have him smiling in the background. He was a presence, a happy and calm being in the room who always called me and my brothers Butch or Tiger, and we loved it. His answer to any impatient kid question of When can we open presents? or When's dinner? or When can we have dessert? was a patient "After while." That says a lot about my Uncle Bob. Nothing was so important that it couldn't wait until after the football game or after one last cup of coffee or just to wait, to wait until the extended family unit was ready to move on to the next item on the day's unspoken schedule.

I flew to Chicago last weekend for my Uncle Bob's funeral. It was wonderful to see everyone, if a bit disorienting, to be transported back from my life in Boise to the midst of all these people who I hadn't seen for so long, to suddenly be in the middle of one of these gigantic family gatherings, surrounded by cousins and aunts and uncles and family friends and my Godfather (Bob's son), but to not have Uncle Bob there, the quiet patriarch at the center of it all. I'm glad I went, but I feel changed because of it. Older. And I feel more distinctly now being separated from family by miles.

My Uncle Bob was an anchor to my family and my past. He was a constant, a benevolent human being who was a truly good guy. And in a world lacking in good guys, his loss is that much more profound.

Uncle Bob, you are missed. I hope to see you again. After while.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Down Time

Hello out there.

Again I've been remiss in putting the things here that I want to put here. It's been a rough couple weeks, including a short-notice trip to Chicago last weekend for the funeral of my Uncle Bob. More on that later.

I'm working on finishing up the New York tale, and there's lots more to say beyond that. So check back. I'll get it together.