March 26, 2007

sometimes i wish i had a farm

Now that I've been working and living at home for almost a year, when people ask me, "What's new?" The answer is usually, "Nothing." But recently there has been some pretty major new stuff.

Due to some crazy issues that I won't go into detail about here, the company I work for had an immediate vacancy for an editor/writer at our one paper in McHenry County. (Sorry for being vague about stuff. I just know how well these blogs show up on Google search results and I don't want to get myself in trouble.) So they decided to assign me to that position temporarily while they look for a permanent replacement.

For a week now, I've been splitting time between my normal work in North Riverside and this other office up north. It's pretty interesting. Basically when I go there, I'm in an office all by myself. It's a much different atmosphere than what I've been doing. Instead of just writing stories on the towns I cover, I have to dummy pages and organize a columnist and a freelance reporter.

There are also several technical issues. The office computer up there isn't on the same server as all of the other offices. So when I need to do work in our editorial program, I have to access the network through a VPN client. But when I do that, I can't use the internet. They've also been using a web-based email account as their main email, and no one knows the password.

Hopefully things will return to normal soon. Typically, I'm a person that likes a little bit of variety in life. But all these changes and trying to figure out how to do all this stuff on the fly has been really stressful.

A Method - TV on the Radio

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March 1, 2007

on an island in the sun

Everybody's heard of the desert island list right? It's the list of albums you'd want to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island. So here are my ten desert island discs:

1. The Beatles 1

I love The Beatles and I can't imagine going the rest of my life without ever hearing one of their songs. It may be a cop out to chose a greatest hits album, but when it comes to The Beatles, I'm more attached to individual songs than any one specific album.

2. Ben Folds Ben Folds Live

Ok, so I'm copping out again. When I was trying to figure out whether to chose a Ben Folds album or a Ben Folds Five album, I figured this would offer the best of both worlds. Sure, I might miss the album versions, but this way I can hear "Brick" and "The Luckiest" while stranded. Also, "One Down" is a nice treat that I wouldn't be able to hear anywhere else. And when I get tried of being stranded on a desert island, I can pop on this album and be mentally transported back to my 20th birthday when, fresh off a visit to the orthopedist for my busted knee, I saw Mr. Folds rock out at Foellinger Auditorium.

3. Weezer Weezer (The Blue Album)

I've been listening to this album since I was 10 years old and I've never gotten sick of it. I could probably listen to it once a day, every day and not get sick of it. That's a pretty good thing if you're trapped on a desert island with only 10 albums to listen to. I give brief consideration to Pinkerton, but I just had to go with the original. If island fever started getting me down, I know I could cheer myself up by belting out "Say It Ain't So."

4. Simon & Garfunkel Greatest Hits

What can I say about this album? It's been a part of my life as long as I've know what music is. I think I can probably trace my love of acoustic guitar and rich harmonies back to listening to this album on the record player as a kid. I couldn't live without it.

5. Green Day Dookie

Most of the music that I've grown to love during my teens and twenties is an extension of listening to this album starting around fifth grade. Green Day has made a lot of great music since then, and I'm not the kind of person who always thinks a band's early stuff is better, but I wouldn't want to have to give up listening to songs like "When I Come Around."

6. Alkaline Trio From Here to Infirmary

It's was tough selecting just one Trio album. Some of my favorite individual songs are on Goddamnit! and Maybe I'll Catch Fire (it would especially suck to not hear "Fuck You Aurora," "Sorry About That," "San Francisco" or "Radio" anymore), but top to bottom, this is probably their strongest album. I like every song on it, so I wouldn't feel like this slot was wasted.

7. Saves the Day Stay What You Are

This wasn't nearly as hard as choosing one Alkaline Trio album. As much as I love Through Being Cool and the I'm Sorry I'm Leaving EP, neither of them match the level of this album. This is an album that I almost have to listen to from beginning to end once I press play, so it definitely makes the list.

8. Death Cab for Cutie Transatlanticism

This was nearly impossible, and I'm still not sure I made the right decision. Not only did I have to choose between this album and The Photo Album and Plans, I also had to weigh The Postal Service's Give Up. I knew I'd need to hear Ben Gibbard's voice, so one of these albums had to make the cut. Part of me is still arguing that I should have chosen The Photo Album, but I'm comfortable with this choice. "The Sound of Settling," "Title and Registration," "Passenger Seat," "A Lack of Color," how could I do without?

9. They Might Be Giants Flood

I had Lucky Boys Confusion's Growing Out of It in this slot, but I realized that I just need They Might Be Giants. Of all the music they've done, this is the one album I don't think I could live without. It may seem like an odd choice to some, but TMBG has been with me for a long time.

10. U2 The Joshua Tree

The hardest choice I had to make for this list was choosing between this album and Achtung Baby. I could have almost included both on the list, but when you have only ten albums to choose from, you can't let on band take up two slots. It was almost a coin toss. And I almost went with the new 18 Singles or one of the Best of _ - _ albums, but I had to chose this. It's the core of what makes the band what it is.

NOTE: I thought about including self-made mix CDs of certain bands, but I decided that would be cheating, and limited myself to actual releases put out by the groups.

NOTE 2: These are in no particular order.

Gnarls Barkley - "Smiley Faces"

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