Friday, February 27, 2009

A Little Less Naked, A Little More Sad

I have a very hard time picking favorites. If you ask me to list my top five favorite movies of all time, I won’t be able to do it, even though I consider myself an avid movie fan. At best, I’ll be able to get somewhere within the vicinity of the ballpark, but all I’ll really be doing is rambling off any film that might hit among the top 10 I’ve seen (or more realistically the top 25). I just can’t get more precise than that—partially because I take these types of lists too seriously, and partially because I jut can’t decide what I enjoy the most when it comes to the things I love.

That being said, it means a lot that I can tell you with certainty which musical artists would rank in my top two favorites of all time. I can’t say which one wins out, and as soon as you ask me who’s my third favorite, I’m once again at a loss. But the top two have been locked for some time now. So who are they? Led Zeppelin and Barenaked Ladies. Not exactly an obvious pairing, but they do both have prominent members with the surname Page. Or I guess had. And that’s why I’m writing this post. Because I found out this morning that Steven Page, co-founder and one of the lead singers and songwriters of Barenaked Ladies, has quit the group after more than 20 years.

This announcement won’t mean much to a lot of people, but it was genuinely sad for me. Truly depressing and, yes, heartbreaking. BNL is a fantastic band, both on record and on stage. Their live shows, of which I’ve be privileged to see four, were always highly entertaining. But a large part of their on-stage dynamic came from the interaction between Page and the other foremost member of the band, Ed Robertson. Their chemistry together was amazing. When they rocked, they rocked, but you could always count on being equally entertained by the non-musical side of BNL’s live shows, thanks primarily to the hilarious, unscripted banter that always took place between the two leads. I’m sad that Melanie and I broke tradition and missed them the last time they were on tour. Edison was still a newborn at the time, and we were fairly new to Atlanta and wouldn’t have had any ideas for a babysitter anyway. But it’s a bummer to realize that that was the last chance we had to see BNL as we had known and loved them. Barenaked Ladies hold a special place in my musical heart, but they have also played prominently in Melanie and my courtship and subsequent marriage. Even Little Eddie was put to sleep with BNL for several months during his first year of life. Needless to say, I am quite endeared to this band.

Fortunately, the remaining members of Barenaked Ladies are incredibly talented and I will not hesitate to buy the next album they produce, which they will begin recording in April. The nice thing about a group like BNL is that all of the members of the band are multi-talented, can play various instruments, and thus have all written and sung songs on previous CDs (with the exception of the drummer, though he has been given co-writing credits before). Their quality will not falter. I do not worry about that. But Page’s absence on their next recording will be conspicuous to me, and as such, the album will strike me as essentially incomplete. It is a time of mourning for those who love BNL as much as I do. We are all too aware that a Page is now missing from our books.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Meet My New Band

Life is horribly crazy at the moment. I’ve been grading exams all week and am just finally getting around to writing the three papers that I have due over the next few days. On top of it all, I was asked just a couple of days ago if I would speak at church tomorrow. Why not, right?

It seems the more you have to do, the harder it is to get going or keep focused. I don’t have time to write this post, which is probably why I’m writing it. And not having time to read other blogs is precisely how I came across this fun little meme. All in all, memes are the easiest posts to “write,” so I guess I’m not being completely negligent here. Anyway, this one was kind of fun. I got it from VH1’s entertainment blog, Best Week Ever, who claims to have gotten it from Facebook. By following a few simple rules, you end up “designing” an album cover—an album cover for a non-existent album of a non-existent band, of course, but that’s the fun of it.

Here’s the album cover I ended up creating. Below it are the instructions for creating your own. Have fun!

1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “Random Article” or click The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
2 - Go to "Random quotations" or click The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” or click Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4 - Use Photoshop/MS Paint or similar to put it all together.
5- Post it to your blog or what have you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow February Bikinis

Well, the cold spell is apparently over. Tallahassee is supposed to stay in the mid-70s for the remainder of the week, then cool off slightly and remain in the 60s throughout next week. I’ve taken to wearing shorts again, and we’re already utilizing the air conditioner in both our apartment and our car. For the first time in a few months, residents at our apartment complex are again using the swimming pool. And, as of two days ago, the sunbathers have returned to FSU campus.

Coming from Utah, which is culturally as well as climatologically distinct from Florida, it is somewhat amusing to see bikini-clad women strewn out on the lawn in front of the university library. You don’t get this in Utah, even in June or July, let alone February. I have to wonder if these sunbathers are even attending classes on the days when I see them. Do they just wear their swimsuits under their normal clothes, attend classes, and then strip down in between classes to lie out in the sun? I’ve yet to see a student in class wearing only a bikini top, or obviously wearing a swimsuit underneath their other clothes. Given the style of dress most students adopt in Florida, this type of thing should easily be spotted if it were happening. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me to see here, but I haven’t. Then again, I spend most of my time in graduate level philosophy classes, which is not typically the sunbathing crowd. Perhaps these sunbathing students make a special trek to campus just for the purpose of getting some sun. Admittedly, if you lived in any of the apartment complexes near campus, campus might be the most convenient place to do some sunbathing, unless you’re okay with lying out on the asphalt of a gas station parking lot.

Yes, it’s interesting living in Florida. To all my freezing friends and family in Utah, feel free to come visit!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Is That an Otter Pop in Your Pocket, or is It Just Really Friggin’ Cold Outside?

Nearly every morning, I check for the local forecast. Generally, I am trying to determine three things before heading off to school: (1) just how warm of a shirt I need to wear, (2) whether or not I need a jacket, and (3) whether or not I should take an umbrella.

Lately, the weather forecast on has been accompanied by an advertisement for Dentyne brand chewing gum. The ad is innovative in that it implements your current, local weather details into the advertisement’s verbiage. This becomes a bit absurd, however, when the ad is otherwise climatologically indifferent. This was particularly noticeable this morning, when during my 8 a.m. weather check, the temperature in Tallahassee was a bitter 16 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the frigidness of the outside air, Dentyne was bent on promoting romantic romps in the grass. In fact, Dentyne assures me that 16 degrees Fahrenheit is the perfect condition for outdoor make-out sessions. Hmmm. I remain a bit skeptical.

I thought I’d share the ad with you, so you can see for yourself. To give you the full effect, I am including the weather forecast alongside the advertisement, so you can see just how clever the folks at Dentyne take themselves to be. The ad is comprised of three consecutively displayed images; the first image informs you of your local weather, the second image suggests you should run outside in your tank top and start making out on the ground, and the third image finally reveals that this ingenious advice is coming to you from the makers of Dentyne. Because only the first two images are relevant to my complaint, those are the only two reproduced here. Anyway, take a gander:

Brilliant, eh?