It’s one more random than 10!
We’re closing on the U.P. House today. No more phantom cat pee. No more royal douchebags. No more 200-inch snowstorms. No more flight delays because the wheels of the plane are frozen to the tarmac.
I spent a good part of this summer feeling sorry for myself about the house—the collapse of the first sale, the low, low price of the second sale, the delay in selling it forcing us to move in with The Lovely Becky’s parents. Then we started looking around at what happened to the Chicago market, where it’s not unusual to see houses that lost six figures worth of value and still can’t find buyers. Suddenly taking six months to sell and getting a check (even a small one) seems like a blessing. I guess the definition of “lucky” lost a lot of its value if we’re considered in its bracket.
We’ve also put an offer on a place and hope to be back to our indie-label status in December. The upside for us is that the housing crash opened up a lot more possibilities for us. We’re in fact buying a place in John Hughes country, the sort of North Shore area that has a reputation as a breeding ground for privileged buttwipes who would serve as the rich antagonist against a less privileged buttwipe such as myself. Even though our particular neighborhood is not ostentatious, I had a bit of a dilemma in coming to terms with my eagerness to live in this area. Would I become more of a privileged buttwipe? Was I already carrying the privileged buttwipe gene, genetic code that might go viral should I acquire a certain level of equity? But as we went through our inspection yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of how much I dug the house and the neighborhood and the location relative to the rest of the city. I can see TLB and I growing old and Libby growing up quite happy here, to the point where it won’t surprise me my next piece of real estate will be one of Chicago’s many fine Polish cemeteries. That’s worth a little buttwipe risk.
If you ever catch me wearing an ascot, however, you have permission to run me over. On to the tunes....
1) “VCR,” The xx. A 2009 release that would have easily made my best-of 2009 list had I heard it before 2010. This entire album is fantastic: quiet, moody, hopeful, lonely, romantic...all packaged in something that sounds familiar yet (to me) feels refreshingly original.
2) “Silence Kit,” Pavement. I notice that our blog group seems to have slowed a bit. Most of us have been at this for at least a few years, and I do think it’s harder now to keep at it. Blogging feels like a relationship. After the honeymoon where it all feels new and exciting and you’re eager to try as many positions as possible, you settle into a routine. Routines can be a bit of a drag, and this blog has dragged in the last few months (at least) because I’ve had my hands full with life beyond these virtual walls. So the thought of quitting has popped up from time to time.
Yet, every time, I come back to one thing: I like the routine. The routine gives me comfort. And I still find thrilling sparks of energy from it, maybe not as frequently as I once did, but enough to leave me wanting more. Doing this for five years has also made me a vastly better writer than I was before I started blogging. It’s not a coincidence that, after fifteen years of unfinished futility, I got to the end of a novel draft in less than two years.
And, of course, there are the blogging relationships, the in-jokes and comments and kidding that I enjoy even more than my own writing. I don’t want to lose that, so I hope that our blogging group doesn’t break up. But if we do, we should definitely reform in a few years and cash in. We can start by blogging at New York’s Summerstage.
3) “Help, I’m Alive,” Metric. Speaking of blog groups, it was fantastic to meet Von along with Jennifer and Grizzled this week. There is nothing like enjoying the company of online friends, and then find out they are even better in person.
4) “Blankest Year,” Nada Surf. Just a great, go-to Friday song. Makes me happy, gets my foot tapping, doesn’t require a lot of thought yet doesn’t seem dumb.
5) “Rebellion (Lies),” Arcade Fire. I was a bit shocked when their latest album hit number one. Then I hear this and realize I shouldn’t be, because Arcade Fire know how to create indie arena rock meant to be played loud to a stadium or fairground full of people.
6) “Girls,” Beastie Boys. The newer, serious Beastie Boys may technically be better, but it’s not nearly as entertaining.
7) “Living Well Is the Best Revenge,” R.E.M. I know the murmur of Murmur and the other early R.E.M. records is a great part of their charm. But when I hear the loud, vibrant songs on Accelerate, I kind of wish they would go back and record some of those songs like this—a greatest hits revisited and turned to 11, or at least 8.
8) “Stupid Thing,” Aimee Mann. I know the meaning would not be at all appropriate, but I would love to make a Sarah Palin video set to this.
9) “Your Head Is on Fire,” Broken Bells. I don’t know if it’s getting older or being distracted or a quality control issue, but I’m finding 2010 to be a downer year for music. There was a lot of stuff I thought I’d really love, like this—The Shins merged with Danger Mouse, the hippest of hop for white people like me—and yet I’m feeling slightly meh. I’m almost at the point where I’m going to give a disc three listens. If it doesn’t happen by then, it’s not going to.
10) “Summertime,” The Sundays. It’s always sad when you notice the shortening of the days. I’ll be cruising through the summer, feeling energized by having light well into prime-time hours, until one day it’s six o’clock and I have to take my sunglasses off so I can see the road.
11) “Highway to Hell,” AC/DC. Damnation has never sounded so appealing to me. I am also seriously missing my big, bad computer speakers (packed away) because it is a crime to not shake the foundations when this song comes on.
Have a great weekend.