free music. yes. free!

I have no idea who State Radio is, but any time someone is willing to offer up three free albums, you can bet your sweet ass that I'll gladly not only visit, but click on all three links.

Here's hoping they don't suck.


she doesn't really know what to do with him

I got another birfday package in the mail today. One of the gifts was a present for the R-dog. A squeaky toy in the form of a bust of the jackass who currently holds the highest office in our nation.

She carried it around the house for a bit. Then squeaked it some. Then took it outside to torment the neighbor's puppies. Now it's laying in the hallway, appropriately enough, face down.

Usually she destroys the squeaky toys within moments of acquisition, but this one, this one may hang around a bit. I think she senses that it's special.

Also, said package did include a present for me—a 2007 Atlas of the good ol' U S of A. My old one from 2003 has, really, seen it's last days. Plus, I have to imagine that some of the information is erroneous and will one day lead me astray. But now, I don't have to worry about that. For I have a brand-spankin' new, fully-updated, and highly accurate (one would hope) edition.

And on a final note, PBS is airing a live Death Cab for Cutie show that probably played an age ago, as it's mostly songs from Transatlanticism. Which is awesome. 'Cause that's by far their best album.


music your ears want you to listen to

One of my friends got me the new Rilo Kiley album, Under the Blacklight for my birfday. I'd read some terrible reviews, so I was a little nervous about listening to it and I plugged it in this morning with trepidation in my heart. Please, please be good, I thought to myself has I tentatively pressed 'play'.

Rilo Kiley is one of my favorite bands of all time, so I was excited when I learned that they were releasing a new album this month (almost as excited as the new Iron & Wine coming out in Sept). When I read the first bad review, I shrugged it off, thinking that the critic had no idea what they were talking about. Then I read another. And another and I started to grow worried.

After listening to it non-stop pretty much the entire day, I feel pretty sure in my opinion.

It pretty much fuckin' rocks. Now, I understand why some people might not like it, because it surely isn't signature RK. They've made a definite departure in their normal sound. But, really, not all that much if you think about it. On Rabbit Fur Coat, Jenny and the Watson Twins started a sort of 60s R&B tribute mixed with Jenny's alt country leanings. Well, Jenny has carried it over into the latest offering from RK. The lyrics are still fantastically awesome only now, they've gone way more electronic-y, dance-y, pop-y. And, I have to say that I, for one, think they were pretty successful. But I always like it when a band decides to experiment a little. I loved REM's Monster even though the rest of the world thought it was the worse thing that had ever been recorded. That's probably because I'm a fairly firm believer in the 'you won't ever be successful without taking a few calculated risks' philosophy of life. Sometimes the risk is an utter failure, and sometimes it's a resounding success. In my opinion, Under the Blacklight falls most definitely in the latter camp.

Key tracks: Silver Lining, Breakin Up, 15, Give a Little Love


the most important day of the year

Well, as someone alluded to, today is the big day. My birthday. The day of my birth. There's the first hint of fall in the air—I'm currently wearing a sweatshirt, all the windows are open and a nice cool breeze is circulating joyfully throughout my house.

I think I'm gonna celebrate by getting some work done. Exciting, I know. Try to contain yourself.


music your ears want you to listen to

This week: The Stars' new album, In Our Bedroom After the War.

Imagine if Michael Jackson, Morrisey and Belly all got together and had a weird, Siamese triplet, three-headed baby and you'd just start to scratch the surface on what a freaky, unusual trip this album takes you on. It's been on repeat since I downloaded it last week and I just can't decide what to think about it. Part of me thinks I should feel guilty about liking it, the other part just enjoys rocking out to it. Not all of the songs are solid, but the ones that are...well, I'll just say that one of the songs I listened to on repeat for the entire hour and half long commute from Denver to Fort Collins yesterday.

Some of the songs sound like cheesy mainstream pop, all Maroon 5 style and other songs sound like the best indie rock you've ever heard in your life. Thus, the conundrum. I've chosen, wisely, to ignore the guilty pleasure aspect of it all and just focus on the songs that really kick ass.

If you like a mix of awesome drum beats, electronic melodies, expert harmonies and fantastic lyrics, then this is the album that will make your entire year.

Key tracks: Bitches in Tokyo, The Night Starts Here, Today Will be Better, I Swear


camping and climbing, or just camping.

I spent most of the weekend at Vedauwoo with Ann and Dylan, or Dyl-ann as Doug likes to call them. Ostensibly we went up to climb, but it ended up being more of a camping weekend as we only got one climb in on Saturday. See, it went like this: we drove up on Friday to spend the night, so we could get up early on Saturday and hit the rocks. Well, we did get up early, but we didn't get moving until kind of late.

In spite of a surprise birthday cake and a couple of beers, we got up about 7a on Saturday, but were all feeling a little lazy, so we didn't actually get our packs on until about 9.5a. Then we wandered around, looking at the rocks, trying to decide what we wanted to climb. Eventually, we landed on Baobob Tree, 5.8+ on Little John's Tower. Even though there were three of us, we decided that because it was only two pitches we could handle it. Usually, multipitches are out when you have an odd number of folks, 'cause it's a logistic and time-management nightmare. The first pitch of Baobob was AWESOME. Nice flakes, nice traverse halfway up and a really wide ledge to belay from for the second pitch. The second pitch, for me anyway, was HARD. A sustained, vertical, steep crack that didn't have much on the face to use so all hand-jam all the time. Which I'm not good at. In fact, I suck at it. Therefore, I struggled. A lot. And tweaked something in my forearm. But eventually, I made it up it. To the relief of everyone involved.

Once we'd finished lunch, it decided it was going to rain again, so we headed back to camp and took naps. Then dinner and more beer.

Then, this morning, because Ann ripped off half her toenail on a walk the night before, and I was feeling some pressure to come back and get some work done, we decided not to try and climb today and instead headed out after we'd woken up a bit. So, even though we didn't get much climbing accomplished, we did have a really pleasant weekend and I got a nice early birthday celebration.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so for visual evidence, you'll have to head over to cyberhobo. Oh, and the R-dog went with us this weekend and actually did alright. On past trips, she'd decided that she didn't like the idea of me going up a rockface attached to a rope, so she'd launch herself at the wall. Whining and barking the whole time. Well, this time, she just dug herself a little hole underneath a shady rock and seemed perfectly content. Even when I disappeared from view. I don't know what switch flipped in her brain, but whatever it is, I like it. It may mean she gets to go more often.


a dream come true

So, you know how a few months ago I became enamored with these? Well, yesterday while I was out galavanting around, I saw one for sale. Right?! Can Joe Schmoe just up and sell a Bobcat? I guess so. Damn, I wish I was flush right now, 'cause that Bobcat would be mine. Think about what I could do with it.


i'm mad at you steve jobs

Yesterday I had to go down to Boulder to meet with a new client (that still sounds weird to say), so I figured I'd just swing into the Apple store to, you know, just check things out. I mean, I was right there and all, it wouldn't hurt to just stop in.

I came this close to buying a new computer. But at the last minute, I decided to just upgrade my operating system to OS X.4 (I was on OS X.1 or something), so $129 vs $299999999999.00

So, I loaded up the new OS and now my computer is freaking out. I can't get it to stop.

It's not very often that I get upset with my little 'puter or Apple for that matter, but right now, I could punch Steve Jobs right between his beady little eyes. 'Cause, you know, I didn't do anything wrong. I'm sure of it. Plus, it's always better to blame someone else for your woes, rather than accept the culpability yourself.

Looks like I may be headed back to the Apple store.


i guess you can call it climbing

Yesterday I joined the gang up at Vedauwoo for some climbing at Lower Blair. Most of the day was filled with this:

But some of it was filled with this:
And this:

My day was kind of lazy also. I only completed 2.5 climbs, but it was nice to be outside, hanging out with friends.



So, I woke up today, went for a run and then came back and took the dogs for a walk. While doing said walking, I realized that I had no idea what day it was. And then I panicked a little thinking that maybe I'd put the trash out on the wrong night. But other people had their trash out, right? Maybe there was a change in the schedule of which I was unaware? Oh shit. What day is it? I really have no idea. And I'm supposed to meet the prospective client for lunch on Thursday. Is it Thursday? Is it Wednesday? Jesus. I. Don't. Know. Crap.

When we arrived back at the domicile, I opened up my computer so I could find out the answer.

I think this is what comes from not having any structure.


one's kinda cute. the other? not so much.

So I'm dogsitting Gus this week and sitting here looking at him and the R-dog while they're sleeping. One is passing really obnoxious, room-clearing gas out of her buttal region and the other is wagging his tail really, really hard. And grunting a little.

music your ears want you to listen to

I'm a little late in talking about this album, but like they always say better late than pregnant.

I've been listening to Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga for about a month now and I still can't get enough. Melodically, it's a lot more lush, and instrumentally it's a lot more varied than any other Spoon album I've ever listened to. I've never really listened to Spoon for the lyrics, I mean, songs that are about someone's dad's shirt just don't really stimulate the ol' noggin. Despite the lowest common denominator of the words, Spoon is usually still a really great music-listening experience and Ga Ga most definitely does not disappoint.

I didn't really care all that much for Gimme Fiction, but with Ga Ga Spoon is back in true, rare, awesome form. Even though it really does have an amazingly stupid title.

Key tracks: The Underdog, You Got Yr Cherry Bomb and Finer Feelings


the palace

Dylan and I decided to head up the Poudre Canyon today to see if the river was low enough for us to make our first sojourn of the year over to The Palace. Luckily, it was. So we forded the river without any mishaps and then went up the trail a little to what Dylan calls his 'favorite warm-up'. I have no idea what the name of it is, largely because there aren't any definitive guidebooks of the area, but Dylan says it's a 5.9. He led it and then I followed him up. It was really nice. Slow and thoughtful with handholds exactly where you needed 'em. Then we moved a couple of routes over to a 5.10b that Dylan had been eyeing last year. He got about halfway up and it started to rain. So, we sat where we were for a bit until he decided he should come back down to wait for the rock to dry. After a bit, he took a towel with him to dry off the holds and went back up and finished. I think mostly so he could get the gear he left. Then I decided to see if I could do it on TR. Turns out, no. I couldn't. But the rain started again in earnest with some thunder and lightning to back it up, so after I fell off the start the fourth or fifth time, we gave up and headed back home.

For the past couple of years, every time we drive through Laporte and see the Swing Station, we say, 'We should stop there and try out this chili dawg thing they got goin' on.' The Swing Station, you see, has a sign out front advertising said dawg on their menu. Let me just try to paint this picture for you, the Swing Station does not look like someplace you want to really go in and partake of their cuisine. It's a dive. A dump. And kind of, no, really, seedy. It's a bar. A bar that caters to the honkey tonk crowd. Which I'm totally down with. A place that is probably a really great place to see a local honkey tonk band, but maybe someplace you don't really want to put their serving utensils in your mouth.

So, today as we get close to Laporte, Dylan says, 'You know what I think would be perfect today?' Then a pause. And then the most glorious thing he could've said ever, 'I think it's time to stop at the Swing Station.' 'For a chili dawg?!' I asked, glee in my voice. 'Yep,' was his reply.

So we did, and it was, how can I say this, AWESOME! It was everything I expected and more. And, so far, the aftermath isn't even really that awful. I'll let you know if I wake up tomorrow with stomach cramps and vomiting. But so far, so good.

As we were exiting the Swing Station, Dylan said, 'You know, this place smells like they compounded the smell of every single bar I've ever been in my life and put it all in this one place.' It's true. It really is.


a day of sport climbing

Despite the dire predictions of torrential rain to come, Colin, Laura and I decided to head up to the Ironclads to do a little sport climbing. Trying very desperately to ignore the rednecks who were roaring around on their dirtbikes and shooting off some kind of guns—practice for the Redneck Diatholon we believe—we started off on Shaking Hands with the Pope, 5.7 on Mount Boner. Which, almost a year ago, was my very first lead ever. I led it again today after Colin and Laura had a go at it and, apparently my skills have improved somewhat, as it was a lot easier this time. All feet and pretty balance-y, it remains a pretty fun ride.

Then we moved down to Poacher's Rock where Colin led Poached Earth, 5.10b. Laura and I decided we would rather just TR this one which was a good thing seeing as how I fell on it. Just once though. We moved down the line to Five Finger Discount, 5.9 which all three of us led. A zig-zaggy route with nice feet and hand holds, but still pretty thoughtful.

For our last climb of the day, we got on Ripoff Ranger, 5.9- which, according to the guidebook promised to be a jugfest. I had a lot of problems with this one, mainly because I just couldn't figure out the crux. I finally decided to move over to the left and climb the arete and it went a lot more smoothly. It was pretty juggy though.

It was nice to take a break from all of the trad, multipitches, the weather was nice and cool, and it didn't even bother to rain on us.


the cold sweats

So, you know how you decide to make a major change in your life and then a few days later you start having major doubts? Well, that's me the past few days. I was starting to think that I'd have to sell everything I own and find a nice, roomy cardboard box to sleep in, and then, this morning I got a couple of gigs. One's kinda cool, but I don't think it pays anything—doing a couple of illustrations for a music blog. And the other is most definitely a paying job, but it kinda sucks butt—I'll just say the words, 'Power Point' which should tell you everything you need to know. However, the sucky one could definitely lead to more work as the client is local and used to be a client of my former employer's. But I didn't steal her, swear. She contacted me.

So, a little bit of a rocky start, but maybe things are smoothing out a little.