Thursday, March 20, 2008

When day and night get even

Happy vernal equinox!

For your listening pleasure, I've collected 6 songs that remind me of spring for various and sometimes undefinable reasons.

Drive-by Truckers - A Ghost to Most

The Delays - Long Time Coming

Annuals - Fair

Jimmy Barret - New Love

Old 97s - Friends Forever

Rilo Kiley - Spectacular Views

Friday, March 14, 2008

Trouble in the heartland

Every once in a while, we here at TDS like to have arbitrary theme days. It's lots of fun.

I named today Bruce Springsteen Day, for no good reason other than my love for the Boss. And in the interest of sharing some Bruce-themed goodness with you (yes, all four of you), I've collected a few songs for your listening pleasure.

Follow the links to files--we don't have direct downloading capability, because we are cheap.

First we have my all-time favorite song: "Badlands." This one is best listened to in the car, turned up loud, singing along for all you're worth. You might also want to thump out the beat on your steering wheel. I do.

Next up, a bit of interesting comparison. "Thunder Road" is another favorite of mine, so I was thrilled when a friend posted this next song in another forum a few days ago: "Wings for Wheels," live from 1975, is an early version of what would eventually become "Thunder Road." Some of the elements are the same, but some are quite different, and I find myself loving this song almost as much as the classic it would become.

And of course, I have to give you my favorite cover of "Thunder Road," Tori Amos' abbreviated live version.

The Boss has undoubtedly had an influence on many musicians in the past 30+ years. Very recently, I've seen more than one review comparing current artists' work to his early sounds. One instance in which I think this is very apparent (and I mean that in a good way) is Josh Ritter, particularly the song "Wolves." He certainly has his own voice, his own imagery, his own stories to tell; the sound references Springsteen without ripping him off. Homage, I suppose you could call it.


NPR has a whole page of Bruce Springsteen related articles.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Let's go, Thrashers!

After coming off of a very emotional roller coaster of a season (dominating the Southeast Division for majority of the season, coming up as the Division champions, only to be mercilessly swept in the playoffs by the damn-dirty-Sean-Avery-having New York Rangers), 2008 started just as dramatically, but for the worse. The preseason was quiet enough with a few wins by some of our promising up-and-comers. It was so promising that kids like Brian Little, drafted in 2006, made the starting roster. Then the games started to matter, and the Thrashers dropped six games straight, causing coach Bob Hartly to be fired. GM Don Waddell took over behind the bench, and it was as if the first six games never happened. The Thrashers went 11 and 4 in their first run with Waddell.

History would show that the Thrashers are a spotty team at best, making heroic and inspiring runs, followed by confusing, and often frustrating losing streaks. They have been a come-from-behind team and a give-up-the-lead team. Now, with a scant 14 games left in the regular season, the Thrashers have seemingly given up. It was bad enough when they hit the 6-game-skid mark again, but they then surpassed it, losing their 8th game to Division rivals, the Carolina Hurricanes. The game was important if they wanted to stay competitive in the race for the playoffs. Hold the Canes at 73 points while simultaneously taking those 2 points, making the slow march closer, shortening the gap. Fat chance. The Thrashers fell, yet again, 6-3. But when your goalies are facing 37 shots on goal because your defense doesn’t know what the hell its job is, how do you stand a chance? You don’t.

This goes back to the deal Don Waddell made at the trade deadline. We dumped a high paid sniper and a second decent forward for two promising young forwards and a great prospect. Okay, fair enough, but why? Why, I ask? WHERE IS THE RETURN? It’s not like this shots-on-goal issue is a new problem. It’s been the same every season, and I’m starting to mold my own theories. Unless you can get superstar defensemen like Zdeno Chara or Chris Chelios, your trades aren’t going to make the headlines. Is that what it is, Donny? Do you like to see you face on Because that’s the only way your deadline deal makes sense to me, buddy. We didn’t need any more offense. You fix the defense, get the puck in the other zone for more than 5 minutes a period, and you’ll start to create scoring chances for your kids. We have Mark mother-f*cking Recchi, we have Ilya on-his-way-to-50-goals Kovalchuk, and Bryan Little, and 1st rounder Jimmy Slater, who, in my humble opinion, would create many, many more scoring chances if given better linemates and defensive help.

The Thrashers are pretty much out of the playoff race at this point. They are the 28th team in a 30 team league, and it’s embarrassing. They've won a total of 15 games in regulation. They've been out shot, out scored, and out hit in most games this season. This, right here? This is me calling for the head of Don Waddell. The man has had a decade to make this team a contender, and he has failed. He had some moments, I mean, he did draft Ilya, Kari, Bryan. He did make the deal for Hossa in the first place all those years ago. He is not without a few successes, but overall, this team will never contend for the Stanley Cup as long as he is the one deciding their future.

Springtime, summertime

It's frosty cold here in Atlanta, after a lovely warm weekend, and so of course I'm daydreaming about spring. Spring in Georgia is this weird thing, almost nonexistent--the temperature goes 50, 60, 60, 90, usually in the space of a couple weeks. The 60 degree days are our spring. I love them for what they represent, all the promises of summer mostly without the unbearable heat and sweat. Those 60 degree days start me dreaming.

I always tell myself that this spring, this summer, will be the best one ever, I'll do all the stuff I always mean to do, have more fun than I've ever had, get more tan and drink more beer and party harder and worry less. It's hard to live up to; spring and summer now ain't like when we were in college. But I still try, every single year. I plan and plan and write down ideas and come up with crazy trips to take and party themes and spring-related music to listen to and books to read.

The best summer I ever had, actually, was the summer right after I graduated from college. I worked at the theatre in residence on campus, lived in a basement apartment a little ways north. Days at the theatre meant hanging out with friends, working in between long conversations and jokes and lots of silly things found on the internet. Getting off work before dark meant walking through the woods on campus, basking in the last bits of daylight, waiting for the show to end and everyone else to get done working. Then we'd spend our nights in the dorm parking lots, playing guitar and singing along, drinking more than we should've, getting into any kind of trouble we could think of. Weekends meant cookouts and trips to the lake to swim. I got tan and I got happy and I'm still trying to beat those three months.

The best springs were those college springs, especially when I lived on the third floor of the dorm that faced the woods. I slept with my window open, woke up to birds chirping, went to sleep to the sounds of frat boys partying on Greek Row. I sat out on the roof under our windows and read for class, soaked up the strengthening springtime sun. I watched shirtless boys play ultimate frisbee on the quad between classes. I laid down in the grass and felt like I had all the time in the world to enjoy these things.

Lots of stuff is different now, but better, I think. Jenny and I have office jobs and we live in an apartment surrounded by kudzu and pine trees. We have dogs, and a lake to walk them around, and a huge back porch to drink beer on. I'm going to miss those impromptu parking lot parties, but instead we have roadtrips and beach houses--though not enough musician friends.

This spring I'll walk my dog a lot (and maybe hopefully housebreak him so I don't have to clean up so much pee). This spring I'll go to North Carolina to see some hockey, to Alabama to see some country music. I'll make plans, get ready for an all-out, throw-down kind of summer. I'm still working on squeezing in as much fun as humanly possible--and getting a tan. A tan would be nice.

What we didn't tell you in our introduction is that Alex and I are married. Not married married, just hetero-life-partners married. Now, I have noticed a trend among the other married couples I know (real and hetero-life). Each couple has one planner and one go-along-er. After reading Alex's blog, you could probably guess which one she is.

So what does that mean for my spring plans in the south? Mostly, it means that I'll do whatever she puts on our wall calendar that we plan to buy imminently. Volunteer Jam in Alabama, AthFest in Athens, trips to Lake Lanier. These are things that I know will happen. They will happen because Alex will plan them, and I will get in the car.

Now, there are two varieties of go-along-ers. There are those who merely follow the planner, and only dream of making their own plans, and there are those who actually make their own plans. I am the former. What this means is that I have a few ideas of my own, but I have no illusions as to how probable their follow-through will be.

  1. Georgia Shakespeare opening nights -- there are three. Three chances to get dolled up and show some of my favorite people how much I've matured over the past 5 years. Three chances to reinvent what those opening nights mean to me. Three chances to catch up with old friends.
  2. Alex and I have a palatial back porch (for an apartment). Sitting on the porch in the dead of summer, listening to Otis Redding and Van Morrison, drinking cold Abita Purple Haze with our dogs lying (quietly) at our feet. This is my dream.
  3. A few weeks ago I went to Lake Sinclair with my main man and a few of his friends. We assumed 65+ degree, sunny, calm weather. We got 50ish and wind. Riding or rocking on a pontoon boat, fishing, enjoying my time as the only girl among good ol' southern boys, basking in rays of sunshine, belting David Allen Coe (the non-racists, non-sexist albums) and Willie Nelson. Possibly with a dog at my feet, again. Wrapping my sunburned skin with light cloth as the sun goes down, watching the bonfire in the back yard, and making s'mores.
  4. Road-tripping with people I love to a beach house in a crusty town, cooking in breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a combination of all three, eating ribs from Pineapple Willy's, seafood from just about anywhere, telling ghost stories or gossip stories, playing truth or dare, and drinking just because we can.

Barbecues, parties, sunburns, good beer, good friends, best friends, country music, classic rock, family dogs, road trips, bare feet. This is the summer I hope for.

Spring will be spent trying to train my dog.