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"

Seven

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,
JEFF

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).
InvisibleIllnessConference.com - 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,
JEFF

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 :)