Blog abandoned!!

OK, not really. However, it would appear that life sometimes involves several non-blog related aspects. Weird. Here are some highlights of the past 19 days:

1) Chicago.
Kari and I made the our 3rd trip to Chi-town shortly after this blog was abandoned. We checked out Second City (good stuff) and went to the Field Museum to see the ever-famous dinosaur bones of the T. Rex known as Sue (above). I didn't take this photo, but it reminded me of one I took with my camera phone...thanks to Pam and J for their hospitality while we were in town! The bagels Pam mentions on her blog are as good as she says they are...

2. Fantasy baseball.
I'm pleased to announce that I have been named GM of an imaginary baseball team. I don't think I've been into baseball since Ken Griffey Jr. (above) was a rookie (and to further hammer that point home, I'll mention Griffey just started his 20th year). He's also the only Red that ended up on my team through the draft in Paul's league. I'm hoping to keep tabs on him in a feature I like to call "Ken Griffey is on my Fantasy Baseball Team" on omgreds.com (where I admit my contributions have been mighty sad). Soon, I promise, soon - maybe when I stop obsessing over my team (anyone know of an up-and-coming 3rd baseman?).

Anyone who knows me realizes my obsession with my team so far is very against character. And really, beyond what's happening with my players, I have no idea what's going on in MLB as a whole (and yeah, I know that makes it seem more sad). But what can I say? It's like a giant video game that updates almost daily. I'm hooked...until my team ends up in the basement.

3. Music

It's an unusually slow year for music. Typically the March/April/May months are key for releases (who wouldn't want to be poised as the soundtrack for the summer), but not much to report. New releases by Tapes 'n Tapes and Gnarls Barkley have received unfairly middling reviews (both are excellent) and a quick glance at Metacritic shows the no clear standouts among critics. My one critic-based decision was Atlas Sound, the side-project (it's all about the side projects this year) of Deerhunter's Bradford Cox. I like Deerhunter, so I figured I'd like Atlas Sound (I was right!), but it probably wouldn't be very interesting for people who like things such as "rhythm" and "songs." Those people have such high standards!

Other early highlights include R.E.M. (which I've mentioned), The Raveonettes, Goldfrapp, The Raconteurs and the Flight of the Conchords (though that's basically a rundown of stuff from last year's TV show).

4. Coming soon: The Police...and Elvis Costello...live!
At the beginning of the month, Kari and I are venturing to Columbus to see the Police (Elvis Costello is opening the show). This is the first "reunion show" I've seen (though I wish I could've seen the Pixies tour). Here's hoping they live up to Stewart Copeland's standards!


Up next on the reading list...

I always think that I'm going to finally stop reading about music and then something like this comes out. For further proof that it's required reading, check out Liz Phair's excellent review in the NY Times Book Review...


This will apparently be happening to US Bank arena on June 13. With Muppets!


Kari In Spin, Part Two!

Around a month ago, I mentioned Kari's inclusion in Spin magazine, telling us all what's cool in Cincinnati. Not only is Kari's excellent interview with former Pixie/former Amp/current Breeder Kim Deal included in April's issue, Kari shows up on the contributor's page (page 16, right above Michael Azerrad, whose authoritative indie rock book Our Band Could Be Your Life was reviewed on this blog...last year sometime...I think? Nonetheless, impressive company!).

So pick up a copy! I've got two myself. It's the one with R.E.M. on the cover. Just a side note - R.E.M.'s latest, Accelerate, is actually one of my favorite albums so far this year. I know - I'm surprised too.

Ronson Vs. Call of Duty 4

Video games. Ever since the days of Intellivision (Astrosmash) and Nintendo (Punchout and Super Mario Bros.), I've been hooked and I can't really explain why this obsession hasn't been in decline with age. This weekend alone I spent far too much time playing XBox and a bit on my newly acquired (third) Playstation 2 (thanks, Rich). Today I wasted about 3 hours playing this game called "The Getaway" that was probably made in 2004 and still I was strangely hooked on blowing people away and stealing their cars. Nice. Like I said, if I thought about it more, I'd probably be concerned. And I even like playing games that I suck at, which brings us to the latest Ronson vs.: Ronson Vs. Call of Duty 4.

The battle: Shoot 'em up games aren't my forte. Most people who aren't addicted to video games know about the Call of Duty series from The Office episode where the entire Stamford branch stops working, shuts off the lights and intensely plays CoD (you can watch that segment here). My role in that clip would be that of clueless Jim ("I'm just killin' Germans any way I can"). My most impressive match-up to date was a legendary battle with Gina, but against my other XBox junkies Paul and Dan, I'm a giant, bumbling bullseye.

This weekend, we played again and Dan (quickly stepping up to ranks of CoD Master) outmatched my usual strategy of just finding the biggest gun and spraying bullets at my opponent. In fact, he was able to find new ways to destroy me, like calling in an air strike, getting a big massive helicopter to do his dirty work and I believe he even made my soldier's stomach explode using mind bullets. It was ugly I tell ya.

Winner: Call of Duty 4 in a total ass-kicking. After this particularly humiliating loss I vowed (or was it more of a whine?) never to play again. Yeah right, I'm sure I'll hold to that. The lure of spraying bullets with a big gun is just too strong. Thank the video game-playing gods I'm good at NBA 2K8 or I don't know what I'd do.