Saturday, December 22, 2012

2012 singles & EPs

This was a mighty fun year to be a collector...
seven inch:
  • Brendan Benson "What Kind of World"(RSD)
  • Davy Jones "Girl" (green vinyl)
  • Paul McCartney "The Christmas Song" (green vinyl)
  • The Beach Boys "That's Why God Made the Radio" 
  • Beck "I Just Started Hating Some People Today"
  • Paul McCartney "Another Day"(RSD)
  • Joey Ramone "Rock 'N Roll Is the Answer" (red vinyl) (RSD)
  • Margaret Cho & Neil Hamburger "I Drink" 
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers "Strange Man" 
  • Tom Jones "Evil" 
  • The Hives "Go Right Ahead" (RSD)
  • ten inch:
  • The Rolling Stones "Doom and Gloom" 
  • Yoko Ono/Thurston Moore/Kim Gordon "Early in the Morning" 
  • The Beach Boys "Surfin Safari" 4 song EP (RSD - Black Friday)
  • The Knack Live in Los Angeles, 1978 4 song EP (splatter-colored vinyl) (RSD)
  • twelve inch:
  • Prince "Controversy"/"Let's Work" (bootleg)
  • Beastie Boys "B-Boys in the Cut" remixes (colored vinyl) 
  • ABBA "Voulez-Vous (extended remix) (sparkly blue vinyl) (RSD)
  • WHY? "Sod In the Seed" 6 song EP 

  • (RSD = Special Record Store Day release)

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

    Top 20 Fanciest Songs of 2012

    Here is my Top 20 for the year!  It's nice to be able to say that 3/4 of this list is available on VINYL. If you'd like to listen my top 20 in old-school countdown format, check out my Fancy Podcast (click HERE).
    20. "Hell or Hallelujah" - Kiss
    19. "The Descent" - Bob Mould
    18. "Weightless" - Olivia Newton-John*
    17. "Are You Sleeping?" - Harry Nilsson
    16. "Titanic Requiem: Don't Cry Alone" - Robin Gibb*
    15. "Sod in the Seed" - WHY?
    14. "Fighting Weight" - The Honeydogs
    13. "Faith in the Heartland" - Journey (w/Arnel Pineda)*
    12. "What Goes On" - The Velvet Underground
    11. "Rock 'N Roll Is the Answer" - Joey Ramone
    10. "It" - Ziggy Marley w/Heavy D.
    9. "Isn't It Time"(single mix) - The Beach Boys
    8. "Researching the Blues" - Redd Kross
    7. "Tattoo" - Van Halen
    6. "Cut Me Some Slack" - Paul McCartney + Nirvana*
    5. "Anthem" - Ringo Starr
    4. "That's Why God Made the Radio" - The Beach Boys
    3. "Sunshine" - Shonen Knife*
    2. "Picture Me" - Susanna Hoffs*
    1. Suite: "From There to Back Again"/"Pacific Coast Highway"/"Summer's Gone" - The Beach Boys
    Notes:  *Songs marked with an asterisk (*) are currently unavailable on vinyl (to the best of my knowledge).
                **List was amended at the last minute to make room for the phenomenal "Cut Me Some Slack" by Sir Paul McCartney and the surviving members of Nirvana. 

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    For Pop

    Sending thoughts, love, & prayers to my father-in-law.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    Buddha wisdom

    "Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."


    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

    My Top 10 Fave LPs of 2012

    The most loved of 2012, according to my turntable. 
    1. That's Why God Made The Radio - The Beach Boys
    2. Researching the Blues - Redd Kross
    3. Ya Know? - Joey Ramone
    4. Eclipse (2011) - Journey
    5. A Different Kind of Truth - Van Halen
    6. The Sound of the Life of the Mind - Ben Folds Five
    7. Mumps, etc. - WHY?
    8. Silver Age - Bob Mould
    9. ¡Dos! - Green Day
    10. Monster - Kiss

    Reissues not included in this list (otherwise the Beatles Stereo Vinyl Boxset would be #1). 

    Best of 2012: Qtr IV

    20. "Wait A Minute" - The Hives
    19. "Dear Old America" - Heart
    18. "Station" - thenewno2 w/Holly Martin
    17. "Stray Heart" - Green Day
    16. "Kernersville" - A Fragile Tomorrow*
    15. "Practice Makes Perfect" - Blondie*
    14. "Dream Baby Dream (four tet remix)" - The Cherry Thing
    13. "New York City" - Joey Ramone
    12. "Randy Scouse Git" - Micky Dolenz*
    11. "This Will Be Our Year" - Susanna Hoffs*
    10. "Doom & Gloom" - The Rolling Stones
    9. "Jonathan's Hope" - WHY?
    8. "Winter Blues" - Redd Kross
    7. "Michael Praytor, Five Years Later" - Ben Folds Five
    6. "Weightless" - Olivia Newton-John*
    5. "Rock and Roll Love Affair" - Prince
    4. "Let Yourself Go" - Green Day
    3. "City of Hope" - Journey
    2. "Cut Me Some Slack" - Paul McCartney + Nirvana*
    1. "Isn't It Time (single mix)" - The Beach Boys
    *currently not available on vinyl, as far as I know.

    Sunday, December 09, 2012

    Look through my window

    I'm gonna hafta shovel at least some of it at some point.

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    The Who at Target Center, Minneapolis 11.27.2012

    Well, another band to check off my bucket list. I started dabbling in The Who in junior high, around the same time that I was discovering old records by the Stones. I saw The Kids Are Alright at the Northtown Cinema in 1979, and from that point on remained a marginal Who fan, but for some reason never bothered to see them in concert until yesterday.
    The Who at Target Center in Minneapolis (photo by Pioneer Press)
    The tickets for last night's show went on sale quite a while ago (I want to say it was in the spring), and since I typically dislike arena shows and hate large ticket prices I went for the cheap seats. When we got to the Target Center last night we learned that our seats had been upgraded from upper to lower level (score!), because the show was not a Sell Out (obligatory pun). It was the Twin Cities' loss -- The Who did an incredible show last night.

    For me, last night's concert was a super sweet icing on the Quadrophenia cake that I've been eating for the past few months. In September I bought the 2011 vinyl re-issue of the legendary LP (which cost more than my concert ticket!), and it soon became one of my most played records of the year. I've owned a hand-me-down copy of the record for years, along with the soundtrack to the film that I bought when it was first released, but for some reason this was the year for me to finally dig deep into its contents. To see the album performed in its entirety last night after listening to it for months was surreal; I'd been living with this music and now here it was in front of me being performed live, and beautifully at that.
    Roger Daltrey (photo by Pioneer Press)
    The show's multi-media content was phenomenal, showing vintage clips of the band as well as historical photos and relevant period footage (adding a very nice context to the story). Roger Daltrey, who recently finished a solo Tommy tour, was in much finer voice than I was expecting, and Pete Townshend appeared very relaxed and confident throughout the night. Unexpected highlights: 1) a highly charged, isolated bass track (and video footage) of Entwistle playing "5.15", accompanied by the incredible Zak Starkey on live drums, and 2) perfectly synced vocals from Keith Moon (with video) on "Bell Boy".  John & Keith were fully woven into the performance by way of the musical themes and footage on multiple screens. An appropriate tribute, but also a simply necessary inclusion of half of the band that created this fantastic music.

    Following Quadrophenia there were band introductions, and then a quick blast through a half-dozen classics: "Who Are You", "Behind Blue Eyes", "Pinball Wizard", "Baba O'Reily", "Won't Get Fooled Again", and ending with only Pete and Roger onstage for the acoustic (and intimate) "Tea and Theatre".

    And with that they were off. A fantastic night, and for me, very possibly, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see one of rock's biggest bands.

    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    Beatles Live in Japan


    So a few months ago I took the plunge and started a music podcast, cleverly titled "Jeff's Fancy Podcast" (what else would I call it?). This coming Tuesday's (11/27/12) podcast will be my 25th, which feels like a milestone.  I've enjoyed this podcast thing quite a bit. Posting my Tuesday podcast has become another of my weekly rituals. Having rituals built into the week is important for me since they establish some normalcy and discipline into my weekly routine, which helps to keeps me on track during this PhD completion process.
    If you've not yet tuned in to my podcast, I hope that you take the time to check it out. Listen while you're at work or doing mundane stuff around the house. You can also listen from your mobile device via (just search for "Jeff's Fancy Podcast")! The tentative podcast schedule for the coming weeks:
    Tues 11/27 - #25: Special WHOcast (in honor of Tuesday night's Who concert in Mpls)
    Tues 12/4   - #26: Countdown of the Top 10 fanciest songs of 2012 Quarter IV
    Tues 12/11 - #27: Countdown of selections from the Top 10 fanciest LPs of 2012
    Tues 12/18 - #28: Countdown of the Top 20 fanciest songs of 2012
    Tues 12/25 - #29: Special countdown of Jeff's 10 Fave Christmas records
    To those of you who have already been listening, THANK YOU for tuning in!  Rock on...


    Monday, November 19, 2012

    11.15.2012: "An Evening with The Monkees", State Theatre, Minneapolis MN

    I don't usually wait so long before posting my thoughts following a concert. I'm not sure why I've waited four days to get this one started - it could be all of the other things I've got going on at the moment - but, here goes...
    photo by Tina Curtis
    Last Thursday was my first Monkees concert experience that included Mike Nesmith. It was very exciting to see Nez, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork play together on stage, since the three of them were basically the instrumental nucleus of The Monkees from the time they began playing live concerts in 1967. They were also the core of the band's sound on their iconic third album, Headquarters, which celebrated its 45th anniversary this year, and was a focal point of this year's 12-date tour.

    From the opening notes of "You Told Me" (played by Nesmith on a replica of the 12-string Gretch he played in the 60's), that Monkees garage folk-rock sound was immediate and unmistakable. This was the Monkees, old-school style: Nesmith on guitar, Tork on banjo, and Dolenz on drums. Throughout the Headquarters portion of the show Peter switched between banjo, bass, keyboards, and guitar. On "For Pete's Sake" Mike played organ, just as he did on the record. For me the highlight of seeing the band playing these songs was that they often faced each other, as I imagine they would during rehearsal. It was an intimate glimpse into how the trio worked together as a unit, and it was exciting to watch.
    Mike, Micky, and Peter: The Monkees (photo via City Pages)
    I resist using the word "bittersweet" in reference to this show, because it's been used in almost every write-up I've seen, but it seems to be the most appropriate word to describe the thrill of seeing Mike with the sadness of the obvious absence of Davy Jones, who died unexpectedly last February of a heart attack. This is where I have the most trouble putting my thoughts about Thursday's experience into words. It's not as if I missed the songs Davy typically sang in concert: "Valleri", "A Little Bit Me...", "I Wanna Be Free",  "Girl" (which was always preceded by a Brady Bunch story), and even "Daydream Believer" were all songs I'd seen him perform so many times that they'd become opportunities in the show for me to go to the restroom or the merchandise table. Davy was the heartthrob of the group, and his songs (at least in concert) tended to cater to that role.

    What Davy contributed most, I think, to The Monkees' live performances was his enthusiasm and spirit. No matter who was at center stage, Davy's energy kept the show electric. He was in many respects the glue that held everything together, whether he was simply playing acoustic guitar or banging the tambourine, he had an intuitive gift for knowing how to pace the show. I also noticed the absence of his harmonies. Even with this tour's addition of Micky's wonderfully talented sister Coco on vocals and percussion, I noticed spots on songs where Davy's back-up vocals, often sang in close harmony with Peter, were clearly absent. Peter's voice rang clear as a bell, but it simply sounded different without Davy in the mix. I found myself at times singing Davy's parts just so it would sound right in my head.

    To give Davy's band mates proper credit, they did honor him more than once in the show via the video content, as well as through a singalong of "Daydream Believer", before which Micky explained that the song no longer belongs to The Monkees; it now belongs to the fans. The audience took the lead on Davy's biggest Monkees hit, and there was barely a dry eye in the joint.  Yet, as sad as it was, it felt very much like a celebration of Jones' life and legacy, and I'm sure for some folks in the State Theatre it was an opportunity for some much needed healing. It was an unexpectedly powerful moment in the show.

    The artistic triumph of the night, in my opinion, was not the Headquarters performances, but rather a segment dedicated to all of the songs from the band's 1968 film HEAD.  For me, this was the first time I got to see Mike sing "Circle Sky" in concert, in addition to "As We Go Along", which Micky sang beautifully.  Micky also performed "Porpoise Song" with more heart than I'd ever seen at previous shows. He even stepped behind the drums for the song's climactic ending, which I've never seen them do before. The absolute best performance of the night, I thought, was a scorching version of Peter's "Long Title: Do I Have To do This All Over Again?".  The band just kicked into high gear for that song, and even Mike (who could occasionally be seen expressionless on his side of the stage) seemed to be enjoying himself.
    The 2012 merchandise table (photo via City Pages)
    The show concluded with "Listen to the Band" (during which Micky introduced the members of the band, which currently includes Michael's son Christian Nesmith), followed by the always awesome "Pleasant Valley Sunday". Overall, an incredible night filled with a great mixture of tunes (roughly two-thirds of which were written by the band themselves). At least a half-dozen songs, including "Daily Nightly" and "Tapioca Tundra", were ones I'd never seen in concert before, and it was worth the $80 price tag if only to hear those songs. Here's the night's complete setlist, along with songwriting credits to show just how many Monkee originals were performed:
    • Last Train to Clarksville (Boyce/Hart)
    • Papa Gene's Blues (Nesmith)
    • Your Auntie Grizelda (Boyce/Hart)
    • She (Boyce/Hart)
    • Sweet Young Thing (Nesmith/Goffin/King)
    • I'm a Believer (Diamond)
    • (I'm not your) Steppin' Stone (Boyce/Hart)
    • I Wanna Be Free (video tribute to Davy)
    • You Told Me (Nesmith)
    • Sunny Girlfriend (Nesmith)
    • You Just May Be the One (Nesmith)
    • Mary, Mary (Nesmith)
    • The Girl I Knew Somewhere (Nesmith)
    • For Pete's Sake (Tork/Richards)
    • Early Morning Blues and Greens (sung by Peter) (Hildebrand)
    • Randy Scouse Git (Dolenz)
    • Daily Nightly (Nesmith)
    • Tapioca Tundra (Nesmith)
    • Goin' Down (Hildebrand/Dolenz/Jones/Nesmith/Tork)
    • HEAD set:
      • Porpoise Song (Goffin/King)
      • Daddy's Song (Nilsson) (video performance from the film, with Davy's vocal plus instrumental backing from the live band) 
      • Can You Dig It? (Tork)
      • As We Go Along (Goffin/King)
      • Circle Sky (Nesmith)
      • Long Title: Do I Have To do This All Over Again? (Tork)
    • Video montage/tribute to Davy, followed by "Daydream Believer"(Stewart)
    • What Am I Doing Hangin' Round? (Martin-Murphy)
    • Listen to the Band (Nesmith)
    • Pleasant Valley Sunday (Goffin/King)
    ...reminding you as always to Save the Texas Prairie Chicken!
    What comes next for The Monkees is anybody's guess. Personally I would love to see them write and record a follow-up to 1996's Justus (which was released on vinyl for the first time just last month). Musically they all have their chops fully intact. Peter's voice is as good as ever, and Micky's has actually gotten better with age. Mike Nesmith remains a tremendous talent, and you could tell at the show that the others still take cues from him, despite his fifteen year absence. Ultimately, only The Monkees themselves can decide whether this tour serves as a farewell or the beginning of a new chapter in their uniquely interesting history.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    In all her glory...

    The Beatles Stereo Vinyl Box Set

    New Beatles vinyl on's 100 bestseller list

    As of 11:28 a.m.:
    • #1. The Beatles Stereo Vinyl Box Set
    • 5.  Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
    • 6.  The Beatles (White Album)
    • 10. Abbey Road
    • 12. Revolver
    • 14. Rubber Soul
    • 15. Magical Mystery Tour
    • 16. Let It Be
    • 33. Help!
    • 46. Past Masters vol 1 & 2
    • 55. Please Please Me
    • 68. Beatles For Sale
    • 69. A Hard Day's Night
    • 77. With The Beatles

    Beatles Day

    ROLL UP...
    That's right, I've named it. Today is officially (according to me) Beatles Day, at least in our house (and numerous homes across this great land). Today in NYC, Los Angeles, Santa Monica & Hollywood, double-decker Beatle Buses are serving as mobile "Pop-Up Shops", allowing folks on the street the opportunity to buy the newly remastered Beatles catalog on fancy deluxe 180g audiophile VINYL. How groovy is that?
    The Beatles Stereo Vinyl Box Set, 11.13.2012
    Although I've got plenty of writing I am hoping to do today, I am currently way too amped up to do anything but wait for the FedEx truck. It's out there on the streets, somewhere nearby, with MY Beatles Box Set on it. I feel like I may just a) piss myself, b) crap my pants, c) see my heart jump straight out my throat, or d) all of the above. I haven't opened a brand new Beatles album since Abbey Road, which is the only original Beatles LP to have remained in print in the U.S. over the past few years. Today I get to marvel at fourteen new Beatles LPs at the same time. It's a milestone day in the life of a nerdy vinyl Beatles fan.

    Look through my window

    A frosty Minneapolis morning...
    The view looking out from our front porch

    Monday, October 29, 2012

    Tentative Top 10 LPs of 2012

    These are likely the ten that will make up my "Top 10" of the year. The Beach Boys & Redd Kross have a pretty firm hold on #s 1 & 2, respectively. Numbers 3-10 remain in a state of flux...

    Thursday, October 18, 2012

    A Crohnie's Life

    Today was Remicade infusion day. I receive the medication every seven weeks to help control my Crohn's disease. At one point this morning I had a needle in each arm: one for the IV, and the other for a lab draw.
    I learned that today's infusion was my 80th (I started the medication in 1999). Although there are some side effects, and I still have my bad days with the disease, I could not be more grateful for this life-saving medication AND for the healthcare that pays for it. I don't know if I'd be alive today without this particular treatment, which costs around $4,000 a pop.

    Monday, October 15, 2012


    Is lethargia even a word? If not it should be.

    Lately I feel like I'm sleeping, or engaging in some subset of sleep (napping, resting, recharging, etc) more than I am being active or even awake. It's frustrating because I've got academic writing that's staring me down. Of course my internal "good vs evil" chatter is ongoing, debating whether I am so tired because I want an excuse not to write, or whether I am legitimately fatigued.

    As a Crohnie I definitely have a history with fatigue. Seems lately I'm either blogging or tweeting about it 3-5 times a week. It helps to put it out there, because I do get the occasional response from a fellow Crohnie who is battling the same issues. It's interesting to me that I've been able to accept the idea of living with a chronic illness, owning that I am a person who has this disease, and yet I struggle to fully accept the impact of various symptoms. I carry tremendous guilt at times, that I am unable to crank out page after page of writing like some of my fellow PhD students. Productivity for me tends to occur when I recognize that my energy level is high enough to engage in the process of writing. If I miss that window of opportunity I play the waiting game and hope that another burst of energy hits me again soon.

    And yet there's always a silver lining, right? For me I believe that it's this disease, oddly enough, that is pushing me to complete this program. I know that once I do finish the sense of satisfaction will be all the more pronounced knowing I prevailed over the obstacles that failed to knock me down (or at least keep me down).

    Thanks for reading. As I stated earlier, it helps to write this stuff down. If it resonates with even 1 or 2 people out in the blogosphere, all the better.

    Hope this finds you all happy and healthy!


    More 2012 instagram

    From earlier this year...
    Just after learning I'd passed my written prelims.
    Puppy Bowl 2012

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

    Saturday, October 13, 2012

    2012 in Instagram

    Thought I'd post some of my fave snaps from this year. I've really become a fan of the lo-fi photo format. Here's a few of mine from January '12...
    Taken just after completing my written prelims.

    Tuesday, October 09, 2012

    Happy Birthday J.O.L.

    As I type this my head is stuffed from allergies so my mind isn't exactly clear, but this day often puts me into a reflective state, which is what compels me to write. The impact that John Lennon had on my youth, and ultimately who I am today, is immeasurable.

    I was in fifth grade when I was officially bitten by the Beatle bug. I couldn't get enough; fortunately there was such a huge catalog (it seemed like a bottomless barrel at the time) of music for me to dig into. The more I read about the band and their lives the more I became fascinated with John & Yoko and their foray into activism and the fight for equality. Whenever I trace my own roots as an activist I am brought back to my early Beatle days.

    So many different areas of my life have been touched by John, Yoko, and The Beatles. My decision to pursue a career in higher education was largely based on my belief that college campuses are a place where social change often begins. In this messed up world I figured higher education is a place where I could possibly contribute to solutions more than simply becoming part of the problem. Over the years I've learned it's not quite that simple, but the idealist in me still believes in the power of the people (particularly young people) to change the world.

    Today I am filled with gratitude for John Lennon's life, short as it was. In my pre-and-early teen years when life at school felt very dangerous for kids like me (scrawny, quiet, perceived by some fellow students to be gay), my safe zones were my bedroom and the record store. As I've grown older and gained more perspective on my past the more I've grown to believe that music, particularly that of The Beatles (collectively and solo) saved my life. It got me through the toughest times when I had no hope for the future. What got me through each day was the anticipation of getting home and putting records on the turntable.

    So today I intend to celebrate John's life rather than mourn his untimely passing. I feel part of a much larger community of individuals whose lives were similarly impacted by John and his musical partners. Thanks for everything, John. I hope you know just how great your stamp on the world really was.

    Thanks for reading.
    PEACE. xxxooo Jeff

    Sunday, September 30, 2012

    2012 Best of Quarter III

    This quarter's Top 20 (July-Aug-Sept) is a hearty one, in that it's too long for one CD.  It's also worth noting that a whopping SEVEN of these songs are not on vinyl (marked with an asterisk*). Shocking, I know. I remain hopeful that Shonen Knife's terrific new record will eventually get a vinyl release. Julian Lennon's new vinyl is not out yet, but it's coming.
    20. "These Are Conditions" - Pajama Club
    19. "Cashback" - The Cherry Thing
    18. "Listen" - Donovan*
    17. "Fanatic" - Heart
    16. "Hell or Hallelujah" - KISS
    15. "B-boys in the Cut (dj more in the store mix)" - Beastie Boys
    14. "Long Progression" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
    13. "Will You Marry Me (live)" - Jellyfish
    12. "Summer Daze" - Susanna Hoffs*
    11. "White Light"- George Michael*
    10. "Sod in the Seed" - WHY?
    9. "The Descent" - Bob Mould
    8. "Pop Tune" - Shonen Knife*
    7. "Guess It Was Me" - Julian Lennon
    6. "(Here On This) Lonely Night" - The Knack
    5. "Stay Away from Downtown" - Redd Kross
    4. "Picture Me" - Susanna Hoffs*
    3. "Sunshine" - Shonen Knife*
    2. "Faith In the Heartland" - Journey*
    1.  Suite: "From There to Back Again"/"Pacific Coast Highway"/"Summer's Gone" - The Beach Boys

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Olivia Newton-John @ Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis 9.24.2012

    I'm pretty sure this is the complete setlist. It was a great show (especially considering our tix were free!):

    • "Have You Never Been Mellow"
    • "A Little More Love"
    • "Sam"
    • "Xanadu"
    • "Magic"
    • "Suddenly"
    • Country Medley: "If Not for You", "Let Me Be There", "Please Mr. Please", "Country Roads", "Jolene", "If You Love Me (Let Me Know)"
    • "Physical"
    • "Boats Against the Current"
    • "Suspended in Time"
    • "Shaking You"
    • "Weightless" (new song)
    • "Not Gonna Give Into It"
    • "You're the One That I Want"
    • "Hopelessly Devoted to You"
    • "Summer Nights"
    • "We Go Together"
    • "Grace and Gratitude"
    • "I Honestly Love You"


    So I started blogging here seven years ago this week (9/29/05 was my first post).  I'm trying to think of the original impetus behind this blog space; I think it was mostly a place where I could write about the records I was buying in increasing numbers. Seven years later the compact disc is a dying format, and vinyl, along with my vinyl collection, is still growing.

    Like the decline in CD sales, my blog posts here have also seen a sharp decline (as you can see in the blog archive in the sidebar on the right). The primary reason for this is probably Tumblr, to which I post daily, even if it's mostly instagram pics (of records - no surprise). Another reason for my lack of activity here is life itself.  As I approach the dissertation stage of my Ph.D. program, spare time seems more precious, and the last thing I want to do sometimes is write (as much as I enjoy writing).

    So it's 5:00 a.m. in Minneapolis, and I'm reflecting on just how different life is today than it was seven years ago. The best part of this whole blogging journey has been the nifty friendships I've made over the years with fellow like-minded vinyl geeks from CA, OH, NY, WA, and across the globe.  Even if I never meet any of you in person, I'm grateful for the contact that we've had over the years, and continue to have today.

    I don't intend on shutting this fancy space down any time soon. I expect that at some point it will feel like the right time to write that one final post and close out this blogspot chapter. Until then you'll continue to see ramblings or photos from me every so often. Thanks to YOU, the readers, who have taken time out of your lives to read my often mindless rants and even occasionally leave comments. I hope this finds you all happy and well!

    Onward & forward & upward, etc.

    your pal,

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    2 more cents on the MN Marriage Amendment

    A repost of a little something I posted on facebook late last night...

    Had a chat w my brother & husband tonight about the upcoming MN marriage amendment. I'm painfully aware that many non LGBT Minnesotans have NO idea the rights that they can take for granted, rights that my husband and I are barred from by state law. This amendment would not change those laws, so frankly it makes no sense to me. Of course we ARE legally married in another state, and yet we have to lie on our tax forms and check the box marked "single". That's pretty much the opposite of equality.

    I'm sure some people grow tired of me using fb for my soapbox on this issue. My mom (rest her soul) once told me I was flaunting my gayness by talking about injustice all the time. Although it hurt to hear her say that, I knew that she couldn't understand what it was like for Leo and myself. She never had to fight for the things the LGBTQ communities are up against every day. My mom was a loving and thoughtful person, and she loved Leo like a son. Had I never come out and shared my relationship with the family she may not have experienced this change of heart towards gay people.

    This is why I need to be visible every day, wearing my "VOTE NO" and "FCKH8" attire. I need to talk with my colleagues and friends about what my husband and I did over the weekend. I need to let people see how boring and normal we are at home. I need to not censor myself in social media when talking about my life partner to whom I am legally wed. I can't worry about whether it gives other people the willies to read about two dudes shacking up. I can choose to have compassion for those that hate or don't understand, and hope that by seeing more committed couples like us they, like my mom, may eventually experience a change of heart.

    Thank you to all of our friends who already get it. You help to remind us that hearts ARE changing, and as allies you are helping to make this change possible.

    XXXOOO Jeff.

    Monday, September 10, 2012

    Invisible Illness Awareness Week, Sept 10-14

    Happy Invisible Illness Awareness Week!

    No, I wasn't being sarcastic when I typed "happy" at the front of that sentence. Of course I also didn't mean, "Woo-hoo, look at me! I have a chronic illness that people can't see, and yet it affects most aspects of my life, very often in severely negative ways. Time for a fiesta!"

    Although I can't speak for everyone out there who lives with an invisible illness, I can say that for me this week is largely about allowing myself to take a good look at my own illness, the simple fact that it's there, and the various roles that this illness plays in my daily life (and it is daily, whether I'm feeling sick or not). - where this week's virtual conference is happening!
    My illness, in case this is your first visit to my blog (in which case, welcome!), is Crohn's Disease. Crohn's is an auto-immune disease, meaning my immune system instinctively attacks what it believes to be "the enemy" (for lack of a better term), which is my digestive system. In simpler terms, I've got a bad gut. The ramifications of active Crohn's are many: decreased absorption of essential nutrients, abdominal pain, fever, lack of appetite, night sweats, constant & frequent diarrhea, weight loss, depression, and anxiety (to name a few).

    I admit that getting to a place where I can openly devote time to focus on my illness is not easy for me. My family of origin (God bless 'em), tended to use the age old Scandinavian strategy called "If you pretend it's not there then it doesn't exist." It's also tempting to believe that if I just quit thinking about being sick all the time then at least I'd be able to set my mind on something else, and maybe I wouldn't be so sick. Of course messages like these are not helpful, even if they do come from well-meaning people who sincerely care about us (sometimes these messages even come from ourselves).

    This week's theme song.
    The truth is, however, positive change is not possible unless we first acknowledge the fact that we have an illness. We don't have to like it, but we have to see it, name it, and own it. Only then is it possible to shape a life with some of the flexibility that's needed in order to cope from day to day. It's also helpful to remember that my ability to cope and function today may be very different from yesterday, and I won't know about tomorrow until it gets here. For me this is one of the bigger challenges, because I want stability and predictability, two things that were pretty much taken from me when I was diagnosed with this disease.

    My chosen theme song for the week (gotta have a theme song, c'mon!) is Journey's "Be Good to Yourself". I hope that all of you with an invisible illness who may be reading this DO make time to take proper care of your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. I know it's not always easy to do this, but more often than not I think we find that it's time well spent.

    xxxooo much love,

    Tuesday, September 04, 2012

    Upcoming fall VINYL releases

    • The Knack - Rock & Roll is Good For You (9/11)
    • Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballe - Barcelona (special edition) (9/11)
    • Tom Tom Club - Downtown Rockers (9/11)
    • Velvet Underground - Squeeze (reissue) (9/11)
    • Ben Folds Five - The Sound of the Life of the Mind (9/18) 
    • Hildegard Knef - 12 Versions Remixed (9/25)
    • Heart - Fanatic (10/2)
    • Why? - Mumps, etc (10/2)
    • KISS - Monster (10/9 - tentative)
    • Monkees - Justus (first time on vinyl!) (10/31)

    Sunday, September 02, 2012

    Loverboy/Pat Benatar/Journey @ MN State Fair, 9.1.2012

    I must admit, I wasn't expecting to enjoy last night's Journey concert as much as I did. I'm not sure why I felt this way - I've been a fan since the late 70's, and always felt a bit cheated that I wasn't allowed to go to see them when their 1981 Escape tour hit Minneapolis. I was happy to learn that they were coming to the fair this year, especially with Pat Benatar (who I have seen before).

    Loverboy's set was short and sweet, with no surprises (except that they sounded better than I'd anticipated). Benatar did a really solid set with only a three-piece backing band. She easily could have headlined the show.

    Journey's current singer Arnel Pineda, as you probably already know, sounds almost exactly like Steve Perry. Perhaps I was lukewarm about seeing Journey because I viewed them as more of a tribute band than the real thing, but luckily I was oh-so-wrong. Last night's concert was simply Journey 2012, and they were damn good. After the show I learned that their most recent release, Eclipse (2011), is available on double vinyl (which I ordered this morning). The next time they come to town I hope that they incorporate more of this Pineda-era material into the show. 
    The view from our seats in the Grandstand
    Journey set list, 9.1.2012:
    1. Faith in the Heartland
    2. Any Way You Want It
    3. Ask the Lonely
    4. Only the Young
    5. Who's Crying Now
    6. Faithfully
    7. Star Spangled Banner (Schon solo moment, an odd addition to the show, in my opinion)
    8. Stone in Love
    9. Lights
    10. Wheel in the Sky
    11. Escape
    12. Open Arms (preceded by extended J. Cain Piano solo)
    13. La Do Da
    14. Anytime (sung by Cain)
    15. Be Good to Yourself
    16. Don't Stop Believin' (the crowd was a bit overly-enthused about this one) 
    17. Separate Ways
    18. Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' (encore)
    I finally got an Escape tour shirt :)