Monday, December 10, 2007

Caren Explains the Best Songs of 2007 that are Made for TV Moments

Continuing the Best Songs of 2007 series... these are the songs that would fit convincingly into the drama or delight of ABC Primetime TV shows, like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Brothers and Sisters."

In some cases, these artists have indeed had their music incorporated into TV shows, but I like to think my mix is better.

"Lay Your Head Down," Keren Ann
"Ain't No Reason," Brett Dennen
"I Wanna Marry You All Over Again," Derek Webb
"Your Rocky Spine," Great Lake Swimmers
"The Way I Am," Ingrid Michaelson
"Better Man," James Morrison
"The National Side," Romantica
"You Might Walk Away," Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter
"Sweetie," Josh Rouse
"The New Love Song," Joshua James
"You Again," Kate Havnevik
"Kite Song," Rosie Thomas
"We Got Love," Ryan Shaw
"Now, Now," St. Vincent
"Falling in Love in a Coffee Shop," Landon Pigg
"Scar that Never Heals," Jeremy Fisher
"Take Your Leaving Slow," Sanders Bohlke

And here's where you can buy them on iTunes... (Facebook readers need to visit the full blog post for the links)

Next time, 2007 Volume 4: As Heard on the Blogs...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Caren Explains the neighborhood

My new neighborhood is a strange but wonderful place. There are plenty of old houses -- some renovated, some in need of renovation -- and beautiful trees that have been growing for years and years. There is an ugly cinderblock building, though, across the street from our loft. It is painted forest green and has been the target of some graffiiti artists as of late. It is especially unfortunate because the graffiti is ridiculous and not in any way artistic. For example, someone wrote about Gaelic breasts? Huh? But luckily the graffiti seems to be contained to that corner, including a STOP sign that someone altered so that it reads "STOP Punishing Yourself."

Our loft is above a yoga studio and for some reason that yoga studio makes a lot of noise. Loud music, bongo drums, chanting. One night it was so loud that I went down to find the source of the commotion and discovered a naked yoga class in process. Yikes.

The sidewalks here are crooked but get a lot of foot traffic. This morning there were people passing through to go to the salon, the yoga studio and the bakery. Most of them were wearing scarves and winter hats, which makes sense since it is December. But it is 70 degrees outside. December outfits do not need to be wintery if it is summery outside.

My roommates and I sometimes see a man walking up and down the street in the mornings. We thought he was homeless but it turns out he actually owns a large but undeveloped plot of land around the block. He sleeps there at night and does construction work in the daylight from what we can tell. He carries his shoes over his shoulder sometimes and seems to be very shy, because my roommate tries to talk to him and he doesn't say anything in reply. If we were in trouble, I bet he would save us. He could be our Boo Radley.

Kitty likes to go on the back deck and watch the trains go by. She has never tried to venture away from the deck, and only once has she gone out the front door. She was too scared to go any further than the doormat.

One of the coffee shops down the street serves Superman ice cream, which is my favorite flavor simply because it is red, yellow and blue. In reality, I think its just vanilla ice cream with food coloring, but I like that It turns your tongue different colors. I will order this type of ice cream until I am in my 90s.

And though I can't find the source, I know that one of my neighbors runs a delicious-smelling bakery out of his or her house. I don't know how that sweet brownie aroma travels so far, but it is terribly tempting and terribly frustrating not to know where it is coming from.

Just another day in the neighborhood...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Caren Explains the Best Songs of 2007, Volume 2

"I'm sorry that people are so jealous of me. But I can't help it that I'm popular."

And now we begin the next playlist of songs that hit the masses this year...

2007 Volume 2: It's Not My Fault I'm So Popular

"Grace Kelly," Mika
"Radio Nowhere," Bruce Springsteen
"Bubbly," Colbie Caillat
"Umbrella (feat. Jay-Z)," Rihanna
"New Shoes," Paolo Nutini
"You Know I'm No Good," Amy Winehouse
"Apologize (feat. OneRepublic)," Timbaland
"First Time," Lifehouse
"Extraordinary," Mandy Moore
"Hey There Delilah," Plain White T's
"Makes Me Wonder," Maroon 5
"The Story," Brandi Carlile
"Stronger," Kanye West
"Girlfriend," Avril Lavigne
"D.A.N.C.E.," Justice

Also, if it weren't so long and annoying to listen to, I would have included "This is Why I'm Hot"... instead, I will leave you with this amazing link from Village Voice and its accompanying diagram, because we all know I love diagrams.

Next up... 2007 Volume 3: Perfect for ABC Primetime TV

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Caren Explains the Best Songs of 2007

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! It's the end of the year! Wait... it's the end of the year? Where did it go?!

Well, in that case, that means its time for my 100 Favorite Songs of the Year. Yes, 100. No more, no less.

Some ground rules and disclaimers for my list:

1. There shall be no "repeat artists" unless an artist had projects under different names this year (ex. Josh Rouse recorded under "Josh Rouse" and "She's Spanish, I'm American" this year, so that counts as two artists ... "Kanye West" and "Mr. West" is one in the same)
2. If a song was released in 2006 but got popular in 2007, it doesn't count. We're only going on release dates here or else there will be lawlessness, and lawlessness means anarchy and there will be no anarchy on my blog!
3. I like what I like, and I'm sorry if you disagree. You are welcome to petition in the comments section here or on Facebook.
4. These 100 songs will be broken into six playlists: Best of the Best, It's Not My Fault I'm So Popular, Perfect for ABC Primetime TV, As Heard on the Blogs, My Mom Says I'm a Catch and Obscurity to Impress Your Friends
5. Each playlist will be made available via iTunes and posted for you, but in some cases, songs will not be available for sale on iTunes... because of this, I will try to provide links whenever possible to the hard-to-find or more obscure songs.

I will begin by sharing "2007 Volume 1: Best of the Best"... these are, in my humble but more informed opinion, the best songs of the year, in no particular order...

Blonde Redhead - 23
Wilco - Either Way
Fionn Regan - Be Good or Be Gone
I'm From Barcelona - We're From Barcelona
Josh Ritter - The Temptation of Adam
Avett Brothers - Die Die Die
Loney, Dear - I Am John
Dashboard - Modest Mouse
Ryan Adams - Two
Feist - 1234
Bright Eyes - Four Winds
The Arcarde Fire - Intervention
Bloc Party - Waiting for the 7.18
Radiohead - Nude
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - Falling Slowly
The White Stripes - Icky Thump
M.I.A. - Jimmy
The National - Start a War
The New Pornographers - My Rights Versus Yours
Iron & Wine - Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car
Joseph Arthur & the Lonely Astronauts - Chicago
Band of Horses - No One's Gonna Love You
Andrew Bird - Scythian Empires

The best lyrics goes to Josh Ritter from "The Temptation of Adam"...

"We passed the time with crosswords that she thought to bring inside/ 'What five letters spell apocalypse?' she asked me / I won her over saying, 'W.W.I.I.I.' / She smiled and we both knew that she misjudged me."

Tomorrow, I explain: 2007 Volume 2: It's Not My Fault I'm So Popular

Monday, October 22, 2007

Caren Explains Where She Has Been

So I went MIA for awhile, which even my mother was quick to point out. But I'm alive. Since last we met, I traveled to Austin, Denver, DC, New York and I am soon-to-be-in Durham.

Hours of sleep I've logged: few

Friends I've missed: everyone

Concerts I've caught since last we met: 40

The Decemberists
Ryan Shaw
Joseph Arthur & the Lonely Astronauts
Manchester Orchestra
Kevin Devine
Peter & the Wolf
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Golden Bear
Brent Keith
Ben Lee
Bob Dylan
Patterson Hood
Ghostland Observatory
My Morning Jacket
Andrew Bird
Fionn Regan
Apples in Stereo
Morning State
Tyler James
Andy Davis
The Booze
VHS or Beta
Winter Sounds
The Drownout
Homer Hiccolm & the Rocketboys
The Black Kids
Air Traffic
Tacks the Boy Disaster
American Babies
Harlem Shakes
Hallelujah the Hills
The New Frontiers
Chase Pagan

I'm exhausted just typing that... if you want to know about any of them, let me know... I have plenty to talk about.

Here is a cool set-list that Jason snagged from Wilco's taping of Austin City Limits, and gave to me. Good friends are nice to have.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Caren Explains: Bureaucracy at Its Best

My insurace coverage lapsed over the summer. I called the county Tax Commissioner's office to make sure they knew I had new coverage and to see if there was a fee. There was not one on record.

Then I moved counties and changed my address.

In some bizarre chain of events, the county mailed an insurace fee notice to my new address, but the postman delivered it to my old address, despite a very clearly written address... this happened twice.

Then I got my "Suspension of Vehicle Registration" notice, meaning I can't drive my car until it is paid.

So I call the Tax Commissioner's office of my new county. This is when I find out that I must do the following things to get my car registration back:

1) Pay a fee for moving to a new county (one mile from my old apartment)
2) Pay the vehicle registration fee for my lapsed insurance coverage (four months ago)
3) Get an emissions inspection, even though I had one completed less than a year ago (in case my car emits different fumes in one county versus another?)
4) Pay the sum of the fees in person (a few hundred dollars, not $25 as the suspension notice said)

Here is a Catch-22 for you... if my vehicle is suspended and I am not supposed to drive it, how am I supposed to get it to an emissions inspector? My suspension states that "operation of a vehicle with a suspended or revoked registration is a misdemeanor and may result in the impoundment of the vehicle by law enforcement if discovered."

Isn't the government then requiring I break the law in order to abide by the law?

That confirms it... I need to move to a city where I don't need a car.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Caren Explains: Kitty Dances to Music

Lauren and I are loading up her new iPod shuffle before she goes to France. As we started testing songs, Kitty ran up to the loft to weigh in with her opinions. Here is the play-by-play:

Fergie - "London Bridge"
This send Kitty flying up the stairs! She sat next to us and bopped her head along... she especially likes the "EXPLICIT" version... she's a big girl, afterall...

Kanye West - "Stronger"
Kitty threw up her paw in appreciation. Peace.

Peter Bjorn & John - "Young Folks"
Tapped her tail, seemed otherwise indifferent

Paul McCartney - "Dance Tonight"
Kitty had the same reaction I did: What the heck is this?! Paul McCartney?! Oh, well, I guess I like it... yeah, I'll dance... then she ran around the room poking her nose in everything with new enthusiasm and gusto.

Sufjan Stevens - "Come On! Feel the Illinoise"
Kitty seemed indifferent to Sufjan, too... maybe it just made her feel extra pensive... or sleepy... oh, if cat's could talk...


Monday, August 27, 2007

Caren Explains: Swedes Please!

Don't let my surname fool you: I come from a strong line of Scandinavians. To confuse things more, my mother is almost entirely of Scandinavian descent and yet she is an Irish citizen, while my father, who is of mostly Irish heritage, will never be able to achieve this status. If my mother moved to Ireland, my father would have to get a J1 visa to work at her B&B.

But ANYWAY... I'm partial to Scandinavians, particularly Swedes, particularly Swedes who make indie rock music.

There's a fun blog called Swedes Please that keeps track of the latest Swedes to arrive on the rock scene. I particularly like their IKEA-inspired t-shirt:

Most of my favorite CDs of the year have come from Sweden. I've been tracking this at in Part One and Part Two of "The Year of the Swedes vs Year of the De(e/a)rs" debate. Here's the short list:

Loney, Dear: Loney Noir
Download: "I Am John" (my favorite song of the year) courtesy of BrooklynVegan

Shout Out Louds: Our Ill Wills (out 9/11/07)
Download: "Tonight I Have to Leave It" courtesy of

Peter, Bjorn & John: Writer's Block
Download: "Young Folks" courtesy of Yellow Stereo

Jose Gonzalez: In Our Nature (out 9/26/07)
Download: "Down the Line" courtesy of The Glorious Hum

Jens Lekman: Night Falls Over Kortedala (out 10/09/07)
Download "Friday Night at the Drive In Bingo" courtesy of Stereogum

Tobias Froberg: Somewhere In the City
(Can't find a sample for you)

I'm From Barcelona: Let Me Introduce You to My Friends
Thank you to You Ain't No Picasso for turning me onto this band back in late 2005, well before they even had a MySpace page. And thank you to the band for sending me an I'm From Barcelona kazoo. Here's the terrific video for the catchy single... and that's how big the band is, btw...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Caren Explains: Kitty's Taste in Music

I moved to Candler Park this past weekend and will be watching Lauren's cat, Kitty, while Lauren is working in France.

Kitty is very confused about what is going on because Lauren is still here, but I have taken over Lauren's room.

Kitty is coming around, though. Today she sat on my bed and listened to me play music. When she didn't like something or got bored, she got up and left. When she heard something she liked, she came running back. I told her that, like it or not, I was going to judge her based on her musical selections.

Here is what I now know about Kitty's taste in music...

Wilco, especially Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
The Hold Steady
Yo La Tengo

Michael Jackson
I'm From Barcelona
High School Musical soundtrack

Kitty is such a hipster...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Caren Explains: Moving and IKEA

I am moving on Saturday. This is a stressful process because I am also working two jobs, volunteering, etc.

As I prepare to move, I am trying to visualize my new room and am reminded of IKEA. I love visiting their store because you can almost "place house" in it, that is, if you don't get lost in its maze-like layout... Looking for a postmodern family room? Here's 688 sq feet of neo-eclectic living! Or how about an eco-friendly kitchen? Try out the recyclable chairs in the showroom!

But my IKEA filing cabinet at work is broken, reminding me that IKEA might be cheap, but their products are a pain to put together. It took 4.467 hours to build it, when really I should've bought a pre-assembled one from Staples for $40 more.

Here is a great piece from Esquire illustrating this conundrum:

Monday, August 06, 2007

Caren Explains: Clap Your Hands Say G. Love

Back from Chicago, where we hosted "Paste Presents: Live in Chicago!" featuring unannounced performances from OurStage star, Haunt (who I liked a lot), Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and G. Love at a small venue.

Ounsworth invited Elvis Perkins out for the performance and the two put on a unique acoustic show, which I especially appreciated, having seen both artists play multiple shows already. Ounsworth has such a recognizable voice (well, to anyone who knows CYHSY) and it was interesting to hear it away from the normal CYHSY sound.

The rest of CYHSY was supposed to arrive later for a full band, acoustic set, but travel problems prevented that.

G. Love took the stage last, for an acoustic set of his own. I made it upstairs from Door duties in time to hear "Cold Beverages," my fav of his songs.

Perhaps the most intense moment of the night was taking on not just one, but both, of my superiors at Guitar Hero II... unfortunately only 8 songs were available from the menu so all of my hours of practicing "Sweet Child O'Mine" were useless...

Here's a picture I took from backstage at the show (with my camera phone, so please forgive quality):

... and the writing on the bathroom wall:

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Caren Explains: Escalator Etiquette

The British are good at many things, like tea, cricket and "football," for starters. When I was living in London I quickly learned that another thing the British have mastered is Escalator Etiquette. This is a foreign concept to most Americans, particularly those frequenting Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.

What is Escalator Etiquette?

I don't know if there is a formal definition. Here's what I consider proper rules of the game, though, from my observations and experiences:

1) Stationary on the Right; Fast Movers on the Left

If you are not going to walk/run up or down the escalator, you should stand on the right side , leaving a left lane for people in a hurry. In actuality, hurrying up or down an escalator saves only seconds, not minutes, of your time, but sometimes that is the difference between catching and missing a train or subway car or airport shuttle, so clear the way. This rule applies to personal belongings, too... don't leave your things on the left... keep them close to your body and close to the right side of the escalator, or else I think it completely acceptable for someone to push them aside.

2) Leave one 'step' between you and the person in front of you

This seems simple enough. Personal space is a necessity. Don't crowd the person in front of you unless it is impossible to do so. You wouldn't want someone all up in your business, would you? Right? Right.

3) High-step it like a marching band.

Remember when your parents were very weary of taking you on an escalator because your kiddie shoelaces might get caught in the groves? Well, just because you've moved on to better shoes and better coordination skills doesn't mean you should forget these warnings. I saw someone fly off the end of an escalator the other day because she was dragging her feet. Don't go airborne: high-step it, people.

4) Don't take pictures from the top of the escalator.

I'm not sure why tourists like to take pictures of people coming up escalators, but it slows up traffic. If you're going to take a picture, take it while you're on the escalator, not when you're at the top, because then you're going to cause a bottleneck, and we all know that escalators wait for no one.

This is for the betterment of our society. Trust me.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Caren Explains: Dancing to Daft Punk

One huge oversight on my part when gearing up for Lollapalooza was Daft Punk.

The French duo is one of the most popular and successful electronic acts ever to grace the Earth. They made house music that you know and love, even if you don't know that you know and love Daft Punk songs. Kanye West loves them so much he's sampled them in his new single, "Stronger." Etc etc etc.

I caught the set by LCD Soundsystem before Daft Punk, which was pretty killer to see, especially since James Murphy looks nothing like he sounds. They performed "Daft Punk is Playing at My House," which Murphy noted was interesting, but not ironic.

Daft Punk has rarely been seen out of costume, not since the mid 90s anyway.

Lollapalooza became a big dance party when they took the stage atop a pyramid-like structure. It was a frenzy, really. Everyone sang along to "One More Time," celebrating as they should. White Boy Dancing was acceptable for this limited time only. The man next to me was dancing like a gorilla screaming, "I'M FROM BARCELONA!", while two girls in front of me were decked out as if they were going clubbing.

Here's some great video from YouTube... watch it and be amazed by the light displays... (Facebook Note readers, go to the original post)

Opening, courtesy of tacvbo

"Technologic," courtesy of Shoegazzzer

"Face to Face," courtesy of Shoegazzzzer

Encore, courtesy of wrightaliesin

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Caren Explains: Lollapalooza

By the time this post gets time-stamped, I'll be in Chicago for Lollapalooza.

According to Merriam-Webster...

lol·la·pa·loo·za, Pronunciation: "lä-l&-p&-'lü-z&"
Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
Definition: one that is extraordinarily impressive; also: an outstanding example

Most anyone who keeps up with pop culture knows Lollapalooza to be one of the summer's best and biggest music festivals.

The first Lollapalooza was a traveling festival organized in 1991 by Perry Farrell (then of Jane's Addiction, now of Satellite Party). It died in 1997, was reincarnated in 2003, then died again. The fine folks at Capitol Sports & Entertainment (now C3 Presents) brought it back to life in 2005 in its present format - a weekend festival in Chicago's Grant Park.

I'm pretty pumped for Chicago, seeing old friends, tons of music, etc, though I am exhausted from recent traveling binges and lack of sleep.

Bands I've Never Seen and Look Forward to Seeing in My One Day at Lolla:
I'm From Barcelona
The Fratellis
Ryan Shaw

Bands I've Seen Too Many Times But Will Gladly See Again:
Colour Revolt
The Polyphonic Spree
The Rapture

And I must not forget the real reason for my trip! Paste Presents: Live in Chicago! party... secret line-up, intimate venue, OurStage bands and Guitar Hero on stage... stay tuned for pictures.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Caren Explains: Life as a Simpsons Avatar

In college I was kicked out of my Visual Culture class by my professor because I had never seen a full episode of The Simpsons.

"Are you American?!" he asked, completely flabbergasted.
"Are you Amish?"
"Get out of my class," he snarled. "Don't come back until you've watched an episode."

I thought he was kidding, until the guy next to me whispered, "I think you should go now...."

I still loved that professor, and I'll probably see The Simpsons Movie regardless of my lack of Simpsons knowledge, especially since I've now worked myself into the movie using the Create Your Simpsons Avatar tool.

What is an "avatar"?

According to Wikipedia: "An avatar (abbreviations include AV, ava, avie, avy, avi, avvie, and avvy) is an Internet user's representation of himself or herself, whether in the form of a three-dimensional model used in computer games,[1] a two-dimensional icon (picture) used on Internet forums and other communities,[2][3] or a text construct found on early systems such as MUDs."

So here's what I'd look like in Springfield:

As you can see, I am wearing many of my signature styles... red Gianni Bini shoes, Aviator sunglasses, jeans... my t-shirt even has a rubber duck on it... I'd probably hang out at Moe's a lot... not too bad, Simpsons Avatar tool.

You can make yourself or anyone else you know into a character, too, at brilliant marketing, brilliant fun...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Caren Explains: 3D Glasses

I got a direct mail marketing solicitation today. To view it, I was asked to put on 3D glasses that were included in the envelope. It was weird and trippy.

My earliest memory of 3D glasses comes from "Muppets Take Manhattan"... Scooter finds a job managing a movie theater, where "The Attack of the Killer Fish" is playing in 3D. The Swedish Chef is throwing popcorn in the air, offering a 3D expereince of his own. Boomerang fish-thrower starts throwing fish at the screen and they fly back around and hit the audience members who are wearing 3D glasses.

Today I wondered: How do 3D glasses work?

An answer from

"In order to see things in 3D each eye must see a slightly different picture. This is done in the real world by your eyes being spaced apart so each eye has its own slightly different view. The brain then puts the two pictures together to form one 3D image that has depth to it.

Anaglyphic [ana·glyph·ic /"a-n&-'gli-fik/] adjective: a stereoscopic motion or still picture in which the right component of a composite image usually red in color is superposed on the left component in a contrasting color to produce a three-dimensional effect when viewed through correspondingly colored filters in the form of spectacles.

The mode of 3D presentation you are most familiar with are the paper glasses with red and blue lenses. The technology behind 3D, or stereoscopic, movies is actually pretty simple. They simply recreate the way humans see normally.

Since your eyes are about two inches apart, they see the same picture from slightly different angles. Your brain then correlates these two images in order to gauge distance."

I wonder if I could make 3D glasses into this month's fashion trend...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Caren Explains: Insomniatic

From the liner notes of Aly & AJ's new album, "Insomniatic," which just arrived... and I quote:

"I N S O M N I A T I C
New Word Previously Undefined... Until Now

in-som-ne-a-tik / in-'sam-nE-&-tic / adj. [L. fr. insomnis
sleepless, fr. in- + somnus sleep --- more at SOMNOLOENT] (ca. 2007)

1. the statge of mind where one becomes addicted to the deprivation of sleep caused by an epic revelation of joy

Huh?? Addicted to sleeplessness because of a happy epiphany? That's the quickest way to cranky that I know... let's see how long that joy lasts... probably about as long as I listened to the album...

MTV addicts might recognize Aly & AJ from Super Sweet 16: The Movie. Their new single "Potential Breakup Song" is available on Radio Disney... clearly I am not a member of the target audience, nor is Bill, who said he would "Head Jolt" me if I ever reminded him of that song ever again...

Tomorrow I will explain: Head Jolt.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Life After Potter

So I lied about it taking me 6 months to read Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows... try 12 hours.

Kretz, Mary and I made a midnight run to Kroger, after a yard party and after Decatur's bookstore and Barnes & Noble were sold out of books... the lines at Kroger were ridiculous, 30+ people per register (and I live in a punk-hipster neighborhood, so seeing all these adults clutching Harry Potter books was amusing). The man in front of me had Harry Potter and a bottle of wine ("To appease my wife, who doesn't know I left the house to get this...," he explained).

I was pretty right about some of my predictions in the previous post, very wrong about others.

So now that it's over, I must say: "Way to go, J.K... you're like the Hank Aaron of children's fantasy fiction... a Barry Bonds will probably come along some day and jack up your epilogue, but we know where it all started...."

Check out this CRAZY post that Ashley made for us, after a long lunch at Brick Store... Six Degrees of Harry Bacon...

And Leila had some cool videos up on her page... check 'em out!

This is another I found on YouTube. Take a trip down memory lane with NSync.

"It Makes Me Ill..." video smash-up

Facebook users, load the original post for embedded video.

Friday, July 20, 2007

In One Muggle's Opinion...

Happy Day Before Harry Potter Day!
(Unless you're Harry Potter, because I think Harry is going to die when the book is released tonight).

In one muggle's opinion (and I haven't read any of the spoilers, so this is just my completely random guesstimation and no one should freak out upon reading this) here is who I think will perish in Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows...

- Harry Potter will turn out to be a horcrux, and will have to die so Voldemort dies, fulfilling the prophecy
- Hagrid, who has been loyal to Harry and hasn't had his chance to shine and save the day
- One of the Weasleys (maybe Momma Weasley, to tug at our hearts? Or Percy, who sold-out to the Ministry?)
- Belatrix, who's had it comin for a long time...
- Mr. Malfoy
- Lupin

Other thoughts: Neville will go on to be the Herbology professor at Hogwarts; Draco will turn against the Dark Side and have some confrontation with his ol' man; the creepy house elf will be a central figure in the book; Hermione and Ron live to tell the tales of their brave friend, Harry Potter; Peter Pettigrew will attempt to redeem himself; Snape gets to keep working in Defense Against the Dark Arts and maybe smile once... just once.

I'm not a super super fan (in fact, it will probably take me 6 months to get through the book) but I like the idea of the series because its success indicates that 1) imagination thrills adults and kids alike, and 2) print isn't dead (yet).

New York Times and Baltimore Sun released their reviews on Thursday, despite the fact that the book isn't out yet... boy, did that make some people angry... check out what the Bloomsbury's representatives said about the leak ... could this mean another Red Coat invasion and Revolutionary War II???

"I solemly swear that I am up to no good,"

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Day I Joined Dunder Mifflin

Recently I've been having a lot of dreams related to The Office. And by a lot of dreams, I mean 7 - 10. Most of them revolve around Jim Halpert and the actor who plays him. So far I've met him in an elevator, on an airplane and in Central Park.

Last night was the most ridiculous dream I've had yet. It went like this:

I was planning on quitting my job and going to school at NYU, but before I made the jump, I wanted to test out the program. As part of the program, we were required to consult at a real company. I was chosen to be a consultant at Dunder Mifflin's New York office, which was pretty swanky. The desks were all constructed from dark cherry-colored wood. Everyone sat facing the same direction, much like a classroom (in fact, it looked a lot like my college classrooms in business school).

It seems Dunder Mifflin had consolidated yet again, merging the Scranton branch with the New York branch (which also served as corporate headquarters). I was there with three other NYU students to help the company identify corporate communication problems associated with the merger.

I was very nervous because 1) I wasn't actually an NYU student, 2) I have no experience in corporate consulting, and 3) I'd heard that Jim Halpert was quite a stud and I would likely be distracted by this.

But like a good businesswoman, I tackled the problem at hand. I quickly found out that, with the merger, Dwight Schrute had been fired. Karin, Jim and Pam were invited to join the New York branch, taking their love-triangle with them. This was the first matter I was asked to investigate. But I knew that they weren't going to share their feelings with me, a not-even-student. I'd have to be sneaky.

Some interesting things happened that day, though, that prevented anyone from doing work. Dwight stormed into the offices with Gareth Keenan, his British counterpart. They demanded to see Michael Scott! I overheard a conversation in which Michael blamed "Corporate" for the decision, so Dwight marched on to the President's office and demanded to see him. The President was out to lunch.

During all of this, Jim decided he didn't want to work at Dunder Mifflin anymore. He just got up and left his desk, but took all the pencils with him -- nothing else. I freaked out, realizing that I couldn't consult on this project if the subjects of my research were not there!

My non-classmates from NYU reminded me that I wasn't a student, though, so I could leave, too. So I did. This worked out pretty well because I hadn't told my bosses that I was quitting my job to go to school. Now I wouldn't have to....

Imagine what I'd be dreaming if I watched Sci-Fi TV shows like Heroes or Battlestar Galatica. Scary, right?

Here's a great new video mash-up for The Office...


Friday, June 29, 2007

The Polyphonic Spree Makes Me Smile

I'm going to make a list of bands you should see before you die. Let's start now:

- The Flaming Lips
- Arcade Fire
- My Morning Jacket
- Polyphonic Spree

I saw Polyphonic Spree on Wednesday for the third time and this was the best show yet... maybe because it was inside and I wasn't running around behind the scenes, unlike the previous two times. There was this great energy in the crowd that compensated for the lack of bodies (ED: What is wrong with you, Atlanta?! This is a great band! Where were you??). I couldn't help but smile throughout the whole thing, watching so many people get involved in the music.

The show opened with a Powerpoint projection on a huge strip of red cloth. The lyrics to John Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth" appeared on the cloth with the song playing along. Then Tim DeLaugher, frontman of the Spree, cut the cloth and revealed the stage with 20-something band members ready to play.

The encore went on and on and on -- it even included a cover of Nirvana's "Lithium," from their EP Wait. There was confetti, streamers, black army uniforms, flowing white robes.

The orchestral arrangements are pretty spectacular and the CDs don't capture the awe-factor... especially once you see all of those musicians crammed onto one stage, interacting with one another.

Here's a video from the showcase I worked on at SXSW:

And an awesome one of "Light & Day":

(Facebook readers, you have to go to the "Original Post" to see the embedded video)

Free Eric Volz - Update

I've previously mentioned the case of Doris Jimenez, a young woman who was violently murdered in Nicaragua in 2007, and Eric Volz, the 28-year-old American wrongfully convicted of that murder.

This is an update from the Free Eric Volz team, including a letter that Eric wrote from prison.


June 29, 2007 - day #220 for Eric

Eric wrote this letter about current prison conditions over 2 months ago. The information remains true and the delay in posting it is one more example of the difficulties he experiences getting correspondence out.

Status of the Appeal: at this point there is no official news on a time frame for the Appellate Court's review of Eric's case. We are extremely frustrated with the complete lack of communication from the court. Each day there is no news is another day in which Eric languishes in the conditions he describes below. Recently, prison officials have refused to allow access to Eric's legal defense attorney and to friends bringing him food.

Continue to send Eric your thoughts, meditations and prayers for his stamina, health and safety.

Eric's letters, part 3:

Prison Conditions

This seems to be a topic of great interest to most people. Almost every letter says something like, "I can't imagine what it's like in that prison." I will share what I can, but I also need people to know that it is a very delicate and sensitive situation.

I will start by saying that the conditions here are really shitty!! The authorities lack sufficient resources and subsequently face a wide variety of problems and we, the prisoners, pay the price.

We have had no water pressure from the artesian wells for about 10 days. Water is brought in by buckets filled in the yard from hose faucets. There are less than 10 slow faucets to provide water for over 2,500 inmates. Do the math and shake your head in disbelief as I am. The water shortage has been caused by the well pump burning up due to power outages (an issue in and of itself). The authorities have informed us that the pump should be repaired in the next couple of days, but in the meantime it isn't pretty.

No one gets good sleep here. The noise is traumatic. Its like being in an industrial factory with metal doors slamming, 5 or more different kinds of music at full blast at the same time, and crazy inmates screaming at 4:30am just to be jerks and wake people up. At times it drives you nuts. I have been driven to the point where I have to sit down in my cell, cover my ears, and focus on my breathing just to keep it together.

There is also the heat which makes you constantly sweaty and sticky. I fall asleep and wake up in pools of sweat. Most prisoners have insomnia and can't sleep without pills. I have resisted the temptation.

The food is not enough. The prison provides a cup of beans, a cup of rice, coffee, sometimes green bananas or a small bread bun. The food comes at lunch and sometimes again in the afternoon. It is not uncommon to find cockroaches and fingernails in the rice. My eating schedule has been very abnormal and extremely stressful on my body. When the courts delayed my appeal I got really sick. I spent two weeks in bed. Yesterday the doctor diagnosed me with gastritis and intestinal parasites for which I'm taking meds. My whole abdominal area aches - it's freaky being ill like this in prison.

I experience tension with many prisoners here. The Nicaraguan press has created an image of me as a privileged gringo from the elite who thought he was above the law and could get out by paying bribes, which of course is not true. Many make reference to Doris' mother's absurd allegation that I offered her $1 million to drop the charges - which again is not true.

In addition, the majority of the prison population has a very negative image of the US and associates me accordingly. My cell is referred to as the US Embassy and prisoners joke by coming to the door asking for a Visa. I can't help but laugh. The other day I was being escorted down the hall and a kid shouted from his gallery door, "Hey Bush!" It wasn't a directly negative comment to me, but it speaks to the underlying story of our unfortunate reputation in the international consciousness. I walked on thinking, "If only he knew that he's got me all wrong. I am more than a gringo. If only he knew that my grandparents were Mexican and their first language was Spanish. If only he knew that I'm proud of my Latino heritage and I love his country. If only he knew so many other things . . . maybe he would have said, 'What's up, bro!' instead."

Encounters like this happen frequently and I'm aware that most of the people who surround me here don't understand me; or likely will they ever. There will always be tension. I have learned the only way to stay out of trouble is become completely independent.

My cell has become my castle. In it I study, read, write, stretch and rest. I have decided that I don't have time for anything else. A rumor going around is that I read each of my books six times before I move on to the next - where do these guys come up with this stuff?

Another related question I'm asked is about the danger in my present situation. I will say that all prisons are dangerous. I would be lying if I said that the relevance of my case has not generated enemies; it has. The warden is concerned for my safety and has made certain exceptions with the security regiment that reflect that. I will say that I am as safe as I can be in the given situation - but there is no guarantee.

I have come to terms with my reality and feel it is reasonable for everyone to prepare for the worst. I know that is heavy, trust me I can't believe I'm actually writing it, but it is an accurate reflection of my situation. I share this because people want to know what I'm going through and I want to be honest. I don't want to be an alarmist, nor do I want people to dwell in
fear for me. I believe I will be okay no matter what because I know myself and I know who my God is, and because of that no one can touch me. No matter what, I walk away victorious.

With love,

Eric V.


If anything, this case has reminded me that the world is a very broken, messy place, and that life is not fair. But God willing, it can be just. Pray for justice in this case and help take action by contacting your senators and congressional representatives. Too many Americans (myself included!) neglect the right and responsibility to speak out and practice the democratic principles we are lucky to have.

And I'll step off my soapbox now...

For more information on the case, visit

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bonnaroo Recap

Returned from Bonnaroo late Sunday night. While there I discovered allergies I didn't know I had. I also brought back some souveniers! A few t-shirts, lots of empty water bottles, pictures, stories and half a pound of dust now lining my bathtub.

Read about my journey on the Paste Magazine blog:
A Girl's Eye View of Bonnaroo
A Girl and Her Guitar Hero Favorites at Bonnaroo
A Girl's Camera View of Bonnaroo

Interviews will be coming soon on the podcast. Here's a shot from our interview with The Annuals, who have a set of mouse tattoos inked on different body parts...

Other things I did not write about because they were fan-girl moments:

- Meeting Wayne Coyne (thanks Jay!) who is much taller than I thought
- Saying hello to John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin under the impression that he was John from Widespread Panic (whoops! at least I stayed calm!)
- Watching an 11-year-old girl named Sarah introduce her boyfriend, John Michael, to her daddy at a Fazoli's off I-24... so precious!


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Let's have a Tea Partay....

Flaxy and I put "MoCo" on the map; I even put it on t-shirts. And we made this hand symbol...

For those of you who are unfamiliar with MoCo, parts of it are pretty dang preppy. Lots of private prep schools, fancy cars, lawyers, country clubs, high school golf teams.... You get the picture.

So I had a good laugh when I saw the viral Smirnoff Raw Tea video making fun of those things I know so well. It's an old campaign but I only recently found it on YouTube, thanks to Carlyn. I then found the official Prepsta Guide. It reminds prepstas that it's important that people know where you come from. Then it suggests that there's no better way to up your street cred than to throw some simple signs around... like a gang symbol for Bethesda? Ha.

Play on prepsta. Try not to vomit on your leather loafters.

(If you're reading on Facebook, go here for video).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Great Lake Swimmers, Eleni Mandell and misheard lyrics

It's another concert-filled week, which I will finish off with a trip to Bonnaroo. Hooray!

Tony of Toronto-based band Great Lake Swimmers stopped by the offices last night to record for the podcast. It was good he came, because I have a hard time believing Canada is a real place. Everything I ever mail there gets lost, never to be seen again. Blame Canada? Why, yes... I do.

Jared, Brit, Ashley and I got to sit-in for the recording since we were the only ones left at closing time. If that was always a reward, I'd work late more often.

Tony played solo acoustic versions of "Your Rocky Spine," "There Is a Light," and "Backstage With the Modern Dancers." His singing voice was loud and clear, but it still sounded like he was whispering, which makes the songs even more delicate. Pretty amazing. Great Lake Swimmers deserve the praise they've received.

Went to the full show later that night at The Earl. Eleni Mandell opened to a large crowd. Reminded me of when I saw Camera Obscura and had a "Wow, why didn't someone make me listen to this dreamy album sooner?!" moment. She and her band put on a great show. I'm now listening to the album to make up for lost time. Here some of it here.

Great Lake Swimmers closed. They played a song I had never heard before called "Moving Pictures Silent Films," off their self-titled 2005 release. At first I thought the lyrics to the chorus were: "Where have you been, and what have you done? I've been under the ground, eating critters from this old book I found under the ground" which would have been weird in a Six Feet Under kinda-way. Luckily for everyone else I am just an idiot with bad hearing. The real lyrics are:

Where have you been
And what have you done?
I've been under the ground
Reading prayers
From this old book I found
Under the ground.

Oops. Not as bad as the six years that I thought the lyrics to "Mrs. Robinson" were "And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson / She's a slut / And more than you would know...." 'Whoa whoa whoa' is right.

But back to Great Lake Swimmers. So they were playing "Moving Pictures Silent Films" and there was a couple standing in front of me. The woman had her hand on her man's back in a comforting, reassuring way. It felt like a scene in a movie, even though I didn't know the title of the song involved films. Perhaps I'll make it a scene in my movie, which Matt Ward has forced me to start working on again. Thanks, Matt -- I need people like you to help me see my projects through.

Tonight's concert: The National (!!!!!!!!)
Stay tuned...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Justice and the News, or Lack Thereof

Let's just state the obvious: House arrest for Paris Hilton is like a glorified vacation.

When I was sick as a kid, I'd have to stay in the house for days at a time. I loved it. I could watch Price Is Right, soaps and Lifetime movies. I could have homecooked food instead of cafeteria food. So minus the sick part, it was pretty fantastic.

How is putting Paris back at home punishment? She's got a 4 bedroom pad in LA and a fitted ankle bracelet to track her... she'll probably Bedazzle the dang thing.

I hate to feed the machine by talking about this, but it makes me angry that I even know about the case. Let's review some of the real news that should be getting attention...
- G8 Summit
- Immigration bill
- War in Iraq
- Putin's stance on missles
- Twisters in the Midwest

And then there is the case of Eric Volz, the 28-year-old American magazine publisher who is imprisoned in Nicaragua for a murder he did not commit. Read through the evidence (or lack there of) in the case and keep Eric in your thoughts and prayers. His case makes Hilton's case look even more ridiculous.

I don't know why I'm surprised by all this. Our major news outlets abdicated their responsibility to report on real news long ago. For example, my father was interviewed by CNN a few months ago and all they used was a three-second soundbyte that was so out of context that it spun the whole story the way they wanted.

All I want for Christmas is for my cable package to include BBC International...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

This Fire Is Outta Control

Georgia is on FIRE! Atlanta is covered in smoke! You know what that means...

The Yankees are coming!!!!!

(Er, wait a minute... I'm a Yankee...)

But the smoke is terrible. It's like having your face really close to a BBQ grill when someone is cooking crappy cuts of meat. I can't imagine how bad it is down south, where the fires originated. The poor residents down there...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Vacation Deals - Urgent Memo

We get a lot of SPAM faxes here, so Jared and I would like to try our hand at creating one. We will SPAM the world on our own. How's this for a deal!? [Addendum: In case my humor is not obvious, no, we are not really SPAMMING the world. This is meant as social commentary]


To: All Corporate Employees
From: Human Resources Department
Re: Employee Vacation Time
Reply to: 1-800-FAX-SPAM


Dear Staff,

This is the last chance that all employees have access to our company vacation packages at the wholesale rate (you save nearly $3000 per couple). These vacation slots are almost full and will be filled on a first come first serve basis.

Please review the vacation detail:

Duration: 6 week, $23 pppn
Destination: Cancun, Mexico
Dates: Open dated valid for 1 YEAR

Included in Package:

FREE ocean view
Corporate meal plan (we recommend the best dining establishes)
Children play in the sand for free
Unlimited non-motor water sports (FREE swimming)
No-wait taxi line
Authentic Mexican workers speak to you in Spanish - no extra cost
Salt-included on all margaritas (do not burn the hotel down)


-- Notice --
The information contained in this meesage is CONFIDENTIAL which is why we've faxed it to you. To no longer receive these requested promotions in the future, please call your local HR director who probably requested these promotions for you.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hipster Haikus Return; Shoes Die

On Gianni Bini shoes...

Broke my favorite shoes
While dancing at MJQ
Good-bye, Power Pumps.

On Brit Pop Night...

My black clutch smells like
A room full of cigarettes.
Where is my Febreeze?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Books for Summer?

For the 5th summer in a row I am attempting to get through Catch-22, one of the most critically acclaimed fiction novels of the 20th century. Problem is this: there are a heckuva lot of characters and long, ridiculous sentences, so when I put it down for awhile I forget what I've read. But I finally got through the chapter about Major Major Major Major and couldn't stop laughing.

I used to read a lot. In 4th grade our teacher, Mrs. Austin, held a reading competition for us. For every five books you read, you got a star, cut out of construction paper and marked with your name. The stars hung from the ceiling of our portable classroom. Each time you earned a star, it was stapled to your previously-earned stars until a little chain formed. Well, I didn't have a lot of friends in 4th grade, but I had a lot of time. Therefore it follows:

(Free Time)^2 - Friends + Competitive Spirit = Lots of Reading Stars

I earned so many stars, in fact, that my teacher stopped giving me stars. I should also credit my reading spree to being a member of the Babysitters Club Book Club. Each month I received three new Babysitters Club books, which I read immediately (Claudia Kishi was my favorite character because we shared the same initials).

These days, though, I hardly read (though I did recently complete Audacity of Hope for our defunct Tuesday Night Pub Club Book Club). Please suggest some good books here. I'll begin the list.

Books I've Been Meaning to Read Because They Were Recommended
- The World is Flat, Tom Firedman (suggested by BFF Andy)
- The DaVinci Code, Dan Brown (suggested by almost everyone I know)
- Divided America: The Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics Earl Black and Merle Black (suggested by Merle Black, my former professor)
... others??

Monday, May 14, 2007

On the phone with Paul McCartney

Here are my career goals thus far:

5. Get my work in AdAge, Mediaweek & Brandweek
4. Plan a festival
3. Book Beck for a concert
2. Grow Paste to readership of 1,000,000 (currently halfway there!)
And the #1 goal of my career...
1. Interview Paul McCartney

Today I got very close to that #1 goal.

Paste writer and friend, Brent Dey, interviewed Sir Paul for our upcoming "Can Rock Save the World?" issue and he let me sit in on the phone interview and help prep him. Unfortunatly, I didn't get to talk to Sir Paul, but I listened to the interview in live-time.

Paul talked about being a "veggie," why carnivores are hurting the earth, and which song his three-year-old likes to dance to. He also sang to us as Johnny Cash -- "I keep a close watch on this heart of mine...."

One day I will write a nice piece on Paul McCartney and The Beatles and why their legacy lasts. I'm best suited to write this because by the time I was born The Beatles were no more. John was dead, Ringo was The Conductor on Thomas the Tank Engine, and Michael Jackson had collaborated with Paul. Yet I grew up with the Beatles much like my parents did. At 12-years-old, I dove into their discography and history, and in doing so learned about Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, the concept album, the 60s, LSD, psychodelic rock, protests (by John Lennon, against John Lennon), and love. "Love is all you need." "And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make." "PS - I Love You."

It's probably for the best that I haven't accomplished my #1 career goal by the age of 23. Then I'd have to retire, and I don't have a retirement plan in place yet. Also, according to my "People I'd Like to Meet" on MySpace, I want to meet Paul the Beatle and Paul the Apostle. If I'd met the first Paul, I'd have to depart this life to meet the later Paul, and I'm not ready for that yet... I'm a very "To-Do List" oriented person.

I might also have interviewed Paul much like this:

Chris Farley and Sir Paul McCartney

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Friday, May 11, 2007

John Krasinski plays with Ben Gibbard in DC

Today we have a guest blogger, Stephanie Flax (aka Flaxy), who along with Carlyn made me cry last night. Why? Because I got this text message from them:

From: Flaxy
Sent: 5/11/07, 12:03 AM

Carlyn also left a voice message: "I had to call because John Krasinski is here with Ben Gibbard."

So it seems I missed my date with destiny, Death Cab, DC, and John Krasinski. Here's a post from Flaxy the super-fan:

John Krasinski, photo by Carlyn Madden via camera phone

I graduated from college a year ago, but based upon my current sleep schedule you'd think I was enjoying retirement. Therefore, it took quite a bit of energy for me to get up and go to the 9:30 club last night for the SECOND of two Johnathan Rice/Ben Gibbard shows. Despite the fact that I will promptly be crashing at my desk somewhere around 2:30 pm, my overall assessment is…


Thanks to some high school connections of mine, Carlyn and I were perfectly situated on the right side of the stage, 30 feet from the performers, and directly behind some drunk, obnoxious frat boys.

So here's how the night ran down…Johnathan Rice, an extremely pleasant performer, came out and played for about 30 minutes. He made sure to comment on, and shush (!) the frat boys, thus adding to his appeal.

Then Ben Gibbard appeared in all of his hipster glory. Carlyn comments that he resembles Dwight Shroot, which is ironic considering the episode of The Office entitled "Beach Day" had aired no more than a couple of hours prior to the show. Ben is an extremely talented fellow, and a definite crowd pleaser. For the 18-year old couple making out in front of us, he made sure to play "Soul Meets Body."

The 9:30 Club website said that we would also be witnessing an appearance from David Bazan (a la Pedro the Lion). You can then imagine our shock and (extremely pleasant) surprise when instead John Krasinski, aka Jim from The Office, appeared to joke around on stage with Ben!!!

While Carlyn and I were actively trying not to faint out of pure love for this man, he manages to sneak off to the upper-balcony area. This made it extremely difficult to focus on the remainder of the amazing Ben performance because we were too busy watching John's every move. I was trying to decipher his beer of choice (Stella Artois, Carlyn claims). However, Ben definitely wowed us, and scored major "coolness points" when he too commented on the rowdy audience.

The night was topped off when Carlyn approached Johnathan Rice, who was perched on a security stool right next to her. He then came over and chatted with the both of us and kind of awkwardly danced behind Carlyn.

All in all, I give last night a major gold star!

Well written, Flaxy. You can guest blog anytime. You and Carlyn both.

I miss DC,

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Chatting It Up: Arcade Fire, Spiderman, Ben Gibbard

I recently discovered that it is fun to repurpose IM/GChat conversations on blogs. Maybe not if you aren't involved in the chat. But observe this nine-person chat about The Arcade Fire show in Atlanta, and the one about how Evil Spider-man looks like Conor Oberst.

I'll continue this trend by posting a typical Caren-Carlyn conversation, saved from last week and now posted on the night of the Ben Gibbard concert in DC. Appropriate given the context. This is why we are our favorite GChatters.

Caren: I saw a guy with a hulk hogan-type mustache that rivals Brandon Flowers' as coolest
Carlyn: I love mustaches!
Caren: i know! u'd love this guy!
Carlyn: probably would, not too many mustaches in dc. which is sad
Carlyn: fyi - you know the black cat has hit it big when it's mentioned on GILMORE GIRLS
Caren: WHAT?!?
Carlyn: yes my friend. as i was watching gilmore girls last night (shh, don't tell paste)
Caren: we watch too. our editors LOVE it. and they're dudes. what was the context of it?
Carlyn: the husband of the asian chick is going on tour with a band named Vaporub, or something like that and they're going to hit NYC and DC, places like ___, the 9:30 club and the Black Cat. and sheelu and i were like... waaah?
Caren: hah! love it!

Death Cab for Cutie as legos

Carlyn: Dear Paste Magazine,
A friend and I scored tickets to Ben Gibbard's solo tour.
What are we supposed to expect?
Does he have his own songs he's going to sing? Is he breaking away from the two projects?
Am I going to have to put up with 14 year olds making out? Or do we hope they only know death cab, and not ben gibbard?
Caren: Dear Death Cab Cutie,
Ben Gibbard leads up The Postal Service side project, with Jenny Lewis. It is very techno and he may sing songs from that, including "Such Great Heights," which Iron & Wine made famous in Garden State
With David Bazan of Pedro the Lion opening, you have two lead singers on their own, so the likelihood of 14 year olds is slim to none. However, you may see other people making out, particularly when Gibbard sings "I'll Follow You Into the Dark."

Carlyn: good call
Caren: Enjoy, and who knows -- maybe you'll find a special someone to makeout with, too. Love, Paste Magazine
Carlyn: That was amazing
Caren: good. David Bazan is cool too
Carlyn: i love pedro the lion. i saw him in 2001. oh jesus
Caren: Johnathan Rice is also opening. he is A-MAZ-ING. born in the DC area, but grew up Scottish I think?
Carlyn: i don't know anything about him, so i'm excited to see him
Caren: he is actually dating Jenny Lewis i think
Carlyn: i thought you said jerry lewis, and i was like. whoa now.

Enjoy the concert tonight, Carlyn and Flaxy. I'm jealous.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Concert Poster of My Dreams

I had another rock dream with Andrew Bird AND The Shins... read about it (and see my awesome visual) here.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Too Many Concerts = Exhaustion + Good Stories

Two weeks ago I went to 5 concerts in 5 days. I don't so much remember a lot of that week because I was exhausted. Here's a recap:

Concert 1: Manchester Orchestra, with Kevin Devine and Brand New
Concert 2: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah(Carlyn, I still think that they're really Icelandic...)
Concert 3: Brandi Carlile
Concert 4: Sweetwater 420 Fest
Concert 5: Atlanta Film Festival After-Party, with Ari Hest and Tin Cup Prophette, hosted by Paste

The AFF party was awesome... who knew our office was such a cool concert venue? I'll have pictures soon.

Then I went to NYC and hoped to take a concert break... but The Frames were in town. I was disappointed that The Frames didn't make it to SXSW (they were gonna play our party, too...) but this made up for it. They played all of my favorite old songs and new material, including songs from the soundtrack to Glen's movie, Once. My favorite is "Leave." Irish men normally dance around their feelings, especially sensitive subjects. So to hear Glen belt out this raw song was especially moving.

Last night was The Arcade Freakin Fire.

When I first saw The Arcade Fire in 2005, I didn't like them too much. Not because of anything they did, but because I hadn't really gotten into their debut album, Funeral. But my buddy Nate made me go see them at ACL Festival with him. Good call, Nate. It was 115 degrees in Austin, and the band members were in sweaters and suits. They played until they collapsed on stage... even then one band member was hitting a cymbal while flat on his back. On the bus ride back to the parking lot, one fan started chanting the words to "Neighborhood #2" -- "Alexander... older brother!" -- and the whole bus joined in.

This show was just as good, but indoors where it was air conditioned. Adam and I rushed the stage when Win Butler said it was okay to do so. I jumped around and danced as long as I could stand it, but it was too crowded down there and I got a little panicked. I watched the rest of the show from the safety of my Row P seat.

Here are some pictures (all by Christiano Prado).

No other concerts planned for awhile... what's a girl to do?


Thursday, April 19, 2007

An Open Letter to Ray Ban: Sponsor Me

Dear Luxottica (owner of Ray Ban),

Audrey Hepburn did it in Rome. Tom Cruise did it (once, we think) in his underwear. Even Michael Jackson is guilty as charged.

Yes, there is no denying that by wearing Ray Ban sunglasses, these celebrities helped make Ray Ban an iconic brand. But as brand ambassadors, these celebrities -- especially the dead one -- are untouchable and irrelevant to your day-to-day consumers.

That's where I come in.

I'm a pretty cool gal, and for as long as I can remember I have only worn Aviator sunglasses. I wear them practically everywhere and for all occasions. Most people don't know that Ray Ban first brought this model to the market in 1937, but I do and I recognize you to be the market leader and authority when it comes to Aviators.

As a marketing executive, I also know that you're trying to bring the Wayfarer back, and that this push is taking up a lot of your marketing budget. I completely understand. Therefore I propose an inexpensive and effective initiative to keep you from neglecting your Avaiators:

Sponsor me.

That's right. Sponsor my life and all the things associated with it. Ray Ban will benefit from this sponsorship in the following ways:

1) Not to brag, but I am an effective guerilla marketing tool. I know a lot of important and influential people, even though they tend to have a hard time remembering me (Luke Wilson, I thought we were BFF??). Not a problem, though, because though I am hard to remember, I am ultimately impossible to forget. Consumers will never forget seeing Aviators on my smiling face. Come to think of it, maybe that's why they don't remember me when I'm not wearing the sunglasses... they don't recognize me! Which of course leads to one logical conclusion: I should never take them off. Wouldn't you like to sponsor someone who never takes of her Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses?

2) I am an accessible individual with a clean record. Unlike celebrities like Michael Jackson, I actually go out in public. Children and parents are not scared of me. I will reach your common, everyday consumer. I frequent Krogers, coffee shops, concert venues, international airports, and Brick Store Pub. I promise to tell everyone I know how much I like Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses.

3) I only take pictures in aviator sunglasses. Well, not always, but most of the time. Please see Blogger profile picture to the right, as well as this evidence:

In Italy... Austria... no, Australia... er, actually the Zoo...

... and in Austin, with some flag-waving pirates... yarrrg!

The best part of all? This sponsorship comes with a pretty cheap pricetag. All I want is some free sunglasses and $5.75 for every hour that I wear your glasses. Need be, we can forgoe the hourly rate for a pair of Wayfarers.

My faux Aviators from the thrift store keep breaking and scratching, but I know that a pair of Ray Bans will hold up like none other (look at that -- I'm already telling people how good your product is!).

So in conclusion, cheap sponsorship = great every-day exposure.

I look forward to speaking with you about this initiative, and can be reached at



PS -- It would also be a good idea to get me a bumper sticker that says "Sponsored by Ray Ban" so drivers know what's up. A t-shirt would be nice, too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pax Syndrome: Must-Read for the Ladies

This is Wikipediawesome and a must-read for my female friends. Stephen Colbert should talk about this on his show... he loves Wikipediawesome things.

Pax Syndrome

Pax Syndrome is a social-psychological condition used to describe an adult male who is emotionally dense and, though he seems harmless, is dangerous when put in relationship building scenarios with women, particularly ones that smart, attractive and accomplished. Such women are secondary victims to Pax Syndrome.

1 History
2 Symptoms
3 Causes
4 Criticism
5 Treatment


The term "Pax Syndrome" was first coined by two scholarly women in Atlanta, GA, in 2007. "Pax," meaning "peace" in Latin, describes the male's desire to be loved by everyone, particularly members of the opposite sex. Yet the "X" symbolizes mixed signals exuded by the male when it comes to his intentions with the opposite sex. He often feels the need to make peace with these women by showing them continued affection and attention. "Pax" is also the name of Angelina Jolie's newly adopted and renamed son from Vietnam. The poor child is four years old and must be very confused; so are women affected by Pax Syndrome victims.


Does your boyfriend, cousin, or friend exhibit any of the following behaviors?

--Devotes much free time to developing romantic relationship(s)?
--Develops unhealthy fantasies about marriage; becomes withdrawn when confronted with reality?
--Lies to friends and family about female companions?
--Readily and eagerly displays affection towards women but maintains stoic fear of any sexual contact?
--Spends much time and money to impress women, later bailing on the investment?
--Complains he is too "nice" to attract women?
--Displays mixed emotions toward any woman he does attract?
--Uses highly-developed intellect and deep conversations to detract attention from any of his baffling behaviors?
--Will jump into sudden relationships without changing behavior?

If so, it is likely Pax Syndrome.


Although scientific studies are (so far) inconclusive, most specialists believe that Pax Syndrome is caused by an allergic reaction to extremely intelligent, beautiful, on-point women. Some studies suggest that an over-developed Machoman Gland is at fault. Others blame upbringing, particularly in loving households where mothers teach their sons to
respect women and stay far away from them, but to bring a good one home. One controversial 2007 report claims that the condition known as Pax Syndrome is really a symptom of a larger disorder--Narcissism.


Critics of Pax Syndrome have often cited two arguements against it. First, that men are allowed female friends and these female friends may in fact be misreading signals. However, as Harry once said, "Men and women can never be friends because the sex part gets in the way." Ladder Theory, a concept developed in 1994, further discredits this first arguement.

The second arguement ofted cited by Pax Syndrome critics is that many women share the same symptoms as men suffering from Pax Syndrome, and therefore it should not be a disease reserved for the male sex. Pax Syndrome researchers and advocates argue that these women really should be classified otherwise as "teases."


Pax sufferers may distance themselves from awesome women to relieve symptoms; however, 98% find that their symptoms return. Physicians specializing in Pax treatment have recently developed a 13-step program behavioral therapy program. Women affected by Pax sufferers are recommended to pick up a copy ofHe's Just Not That Into You.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just Between Friends: Conversation between Denison Witmer and Rosie Thomas

There's a great Frank Zappa quote displayed in the back hall of our office regarding rock journalism:

"... People who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read."

So when Philly-based singer/songwriter Denison Witmer and Seattle's Rosie Thomas played Paste's SXSW Party in Austin, we left the "journalism" up to the artists themselves...

You can hear these long-time friends (and collaborators) interview each other on the most recent (free) episode of the Paste Culture Club podcast. Among the questions:

- What else would you do if you weren't playing music?
- If you could be an animal, what would you be?
- What was Rosie really thinking when she went to record songs with Denison and "Suf" (Sufjan Stevens)?

It's a real treat to hear two artists talk to each other off-the-cuff as friends, with breathing room to laugh and discuss creativity, music, and caring for other people.

Get it here for free.

And speaking of Rosie Thomas, when I was in Italy I heard her song "Since You've Been Around" playing in a bakery/bar... it was comforting to hear something familiar and unexpected in a foreign place. More to come on my Italy trip soon...


Monday, April 02, 2007

Ciao from Italia, Day 1

Walking along the Arno River today, a foreign man in Pumas and a track jacket grabbed my sister's butt and said, "Hey, where you goin' -- McDonalds?"

That's when we realized... we're not in America anymore.

Sruthi and I (2/3 of the Snap Crackle Pop Trio from MoCo) traveled through the Inferno (i.e. an 85 degree Lufthansa 747) to Italy today, via Frankfurt, where we were walking-zombies and I was mistaken for a German multiple times.

Pros and Cons of International Travel on Lufthansa:

Free wine
Free Baileys and Cognac (which we passed on, thank you very much)
Ben Stiller movies
Cute baby with 'fro

No air conditioning
Broken seats that didn't recline
Cute baby who's mother changed him on the plane (poo!)
Teenager who listened to music louder than me

So all in all, not terrible... not great, definitely sweaty... and very long.

Now we are in Firenze, where my sister is studying. After some more walking-zombie moves around town, we ended up at the Duomo, where we ran into the Thorpedo herself -- Mrs. Thorpe, a huge Penn State fan who was kind enough to chaperone our high school trips to Europe. Also there was her daughter, Julie (who I used to travel with on those high school trips), and her husband. Always comforting (though baffling) to see familiar faces in foreign places.

I've tried to use as much Italian as I know (ex: "Calme!" = "Easy, tiger!"), but I really prefer using my newly-acquired French skills (ex. "C'est une voiture!" = "It is a car!"). I will also spend an entire day using a British accent as a sociology experiment... who gets harassed worse? British girls or American girls? I think I know the answer: the Indian-American I'm traveling with. (They don't know what to make of her)

Tomorrow my sister has assured us that we will walk the 490 steps to the top of the Duomo... take that, Stairmaster... we've got a nice view from here.

Ciao for now.
CK, Sruthi and the Tron

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Modest Mouse, Hold Steady, new issues of Paste

Well I wasn't going to post the May (Summer Festival Preview Issue) cover of Paste for awhile but Stereogum did, so I guess the cat is out of the bag.

Issue 32 (May 2007) of Paste

This is the first national cover for The Hold Steady, who I previously dreamt about in a very Spinal Tap-inspired dream sequence. The cover turned out a little greener than we thought it would... maybe the Georgia pollen got to it...

And now on newsstands is Issue 30 (April 2007) featuring Modest Mouse, who debuted at #1 on Billboard! Incredible. Probably the best example of a band that has been able to go very mainstream and still maintain its indie-cred... maybe Death Cab, too... but the don't have Johnny Marr playing with them and that's beyond cool.

Check out the video for Modest Mouse's first single, "Dashboard"... it makes me laugh.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Loney, Dear

I'd been told about the Scandanavian outfit Loney, Dear (aka multi-instrumentalist Emil Svanangen) a few months ago but only recently took a good listen to the album. Now I can't stop playing it. Really. It's on repeat, playing over and over and over again... my other iTunes songs are getting jealous.

It's been a good year for Scandanavia so far -- Loney, Dear, Peter Bjorn & John, Sondre Lerche, Ane Brun, Tobias Froberg, Teitur... makes me proud that I'm 1/4 Scandavian (or 3/8... it's hard to say...)

Here are the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, plus a link to listen to it (courtesy of Sub Pop)

"I Am John" (listen here) by Loney, Dear (from Loney Noir)

Johnny and I, we got lost tonight, we got carried away.
It takes someone like me to lose track like that,
To be troubled down,
Got a heart full of plans but nowhere to run.
There were seventeen dogs out to track us down
And I got some bruises and I got a scar but now,
Never gonna let you down,
And I got it wrong like I knew I would, and I told you,
Never gonna let you down,
I must never let you down,
Never gonna let you—

And everything must start from here,
In a sunshine with ease with somewhere to go,
With no sticky feeling of going wrong,
No heartbeat asking where you're gonna go.
With the trouble you wear, you want to wear it down,
You want to make something new of this but
Never gonna make it (home), never gonna make it.
Someone I want now, somewhere I want to go, and I told you,
Never gonna let you down,
Never gonna let you down,
But I will always let you down.

I said Johnny and I, we got lost tonight,
But we doubled our chances,
We've got somewhere to go.
We've got devils chasing us to hunt us down,
And we know we can't go like this from now.
I've got a feeling of you, and we danced for so long,
I want your arms around me, said
Never gonna let you down,
Was never gonna let you—
Someone I want now,
Somewhere I want to go, and I told you,
Never gonna let you down,
Never gonna let you down,
But I will always let you down.

I've got a feeling of you and we danced for so long,
I want your arms around me like lovers do,
And I'm never gonna let you down, gon' let you down,
Gon' let you down, gon' let—
I've got a feeling of you and we danced for so long,
I want your arms around me like lovers do,
And I'm never gonna let you down,
Gon' let you down,
Gon' let you down,
Gon' let you down.

Johnny and I, we got lost tonight, we got carried away.
It takes someone like me to lose track like that, to be troubled down,
Got a heart full of plans but nowhere to run.
And everything must start from here,
In a morning with ease with somewhere to go,
With no sticky feeling of going wrong,
With no heartbeats asking where you're gonna go.
I've got a feeling of you and we danced for so long,
I want your arms around me like lovers do,
And I'm never gonna let you down,
Gon' let you down,
Gon' let you down,
Gon' let you down.

I've got a feeling of you and we danced for so long,
I want your arms around me like lovers do,
And I'm never gonna let you down,
Gon' let you down,
Gon' let you down,
Gon' let you down.