Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Settling in and Christmas

We're all getting used to our new routines in the new house -- we being me, Liz, and Lucy. Lucy is doing well, but she has been, uh, medicated -- doggie prozac to make the adjustment period easier. I finally unpacked and shelved the vinyl and CDs -- six boxes of CDs. We're now down to just a few more boxes to unpack. So far though, everything is going really well, and we're really happy in the new house.

Christmas was fun. We got a tree a week before Christmas -- first time in about 3 yrs. Strung the lights, hung the ornaments. Marty, Joanna, and their kids came over on Sunday (Xmas eve day), and we walked over to Tastee Diner (Silver Spring version) for some breakfast. That was fun -- haven't seen Declan and Rosie in what feels like years.

On Christmas day we had our families over for a successful first gathering in our new place. Liz went all out and cooked up some tastee fritattas, plus we had ham and fruit salad. Seemed like everyone had a good time, and we were glad everyone could make it.

Liz always gets the best presents for me: guitars, mp3 players... this year she got me a Roku Soundbridge, which I got set up tonight. This thing rocks. Basically, if you have a wireless router set up, the Soundbridge can hook up to your PC (or whereever you have your music files stored) and play them through your stereo without any wires. And it sounds great! I have the computer set up in the basement now, and the stereo is in the living room on the first floor, so I can play digital files over my stereo very easily. The next big project will have to be transferring all my vinyl to digital so I can stream it over the Soundbridge... I won't project a deadline for that one.

Amir and Elaine also came over for dinner on Friday night which was nice. Always nice to be able to have friends over. After dinner we chilled, and then Amir, Greg, and I went and checked out the Quarry House in SS. Def a spot to return to -- good jukebox, good vibe.

Anyway, future house stuff on horizon includes putting up some towel racks, maybe purchasing a rug for the basement, deciding where to hang the framed prints... I think that's enough for now. Oh yea, maybe some painting. And I gotta buy a snow shovel before it's too late.

Friday, December 08, 2006

New House: One week in

So, it's now been one week since we moved into our new house. We're loving the house -- the extra space, the kitchen, the yard, the 'hood -- but we're still surrounded by boxes. Judging by our last move, it may take a while before everything finds a home, but it's okay. The worst is over!

Some quick observations about our new 'hood... it feels colder than the city (not sure if that's because it is actually a lot colder outside now than it has been); the sounds of sirens and helicopters have been replaced by the stray train horn -- fine by us; and it is generally much quieter, which is slightly strange, but I think we'll get used to it. :-)

Monday, December 04, 2006

PLEASE scoop your pooh.

PLEASE scoop your pooh.
Originally uploaded by IntangibleArts.
Thought this was funny. Made me think variously of our dog Lucy (because she has a stuffed Pooh just like this one) and Steve Shook (because he dressed like a giant Pooh one Halloween).

Saturday, November 25, 2006


It's beautiful outside (sunny and 60 degrees), it's a four-day weekend (Thanksgiving), but we're surrounded by boxes and spending most of our time indoors. Gotta be done. We're moving this Friday. Moving sucks, but we've made some good packing progress so far. Luckily we did a big purge the last time we moved, and our condo is not that big so we think we can get things done pretty easily. In less than a week we'll be in our new house... wild!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rip It Up and Start Again

The other night I went to go see J. Forte's band play, J. Forte and the Secret Pop Band, at Galaxy Hut. It was a good time, and I got to see a bunch of the "TR+" crew (people I used to work w/ at TR and their various significant others and the whole extended TR family!). The opening band was Greg Shook's new band, The breakUps, who did a bunch of 60s garage rock style r-n-r (complete w/ nice covers). J and the SP band put on a good show w/ all his new stuff -- good tunes! I always enjoy an earful of some secret pop.

Anyway, Steve Shook and I were talking after the show about the book, Rip It Up and Start Again, which is a new-ish book about the post punk scene from roughly '78-'83. I finished reading the book about month ago, and after talking about it with Steve I started thinking about it again. Even though I'm not into a lot of the bands that were covered in the book (Throbbing Gristle, Swell Maps, Pere Ubu, Slits, Scitti Polliti, all the Rough Trade stuff, etc), I found it to be a really good read -- very informative, well written, well researched. And even though I didn't like or wasn't familiar w/ the bulk of the bands written about, I was still interested in a lot of the ideas behind the music they created and the scenes that drove those ideas. Of course, the book covered stuff that I did and/or still do like to varying degrees -- PiL, Specials and all 2-Tone, Aztec Camera, Joy Division, New Order, Talking Heads -- so that was enough to keep me reading. The "social history" aspect of it though was pretty interesting since I really had no idea what was behind a lot of those scenes (the book focuses mostly on the UK stuff). Bottom line: I'd recommend this book to anyone who's at all interested in that time period of music.

One point that the author makes is that there has never been a more diverse, creative, fast-evolving, anything-goes period in pop music history. Interesting idea, I think, and thinking about it in an objective way, I might have to agree. Even though I don't like most of the stuff that came out then that would be considered post punk, the author, Simon Reynolds, really conveys his enthusiasm for what was happening then, in terms of capturing the spirit and mindset of the bands. For example, dub and reggae was a big influence on most of the music that came directly after the Pistols broke up. Then things progressed from there incorporating all sorts of styles and ideas -- dance music (disco), industrial, goth, ska, electronic, ultra produced pop music.

Anyway, it prompted me to complete my Post Punk Chronicles collection (on Rhino) by buying the CD I was missing from the three CD series, Scared to Dance. Can't say I love it, but I'm happy that I now know, for example, what the Pop Group sounds like -- bloody 'orrible! But there's some cool stuff on it, like Killing Joke and Echo & the Bunnymen.

So, check out the link to Simon Reynolds's site, and also I found a site called Post Punk Junk which has mp3s of old post punk stuff (and beyond) and, of course, junk.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Closed. Settled. Bought.

It's now ours! Today we settled on a new house in Silver Spring. Now if we can sell our condo... We won't be moving until December, which I'm sure will be on us in no time. Because of our change in location, I've added some links on the left to some blogs about Silver Spring. So in addition to obsessively reading about new developments in DC, I can now do the same for SS. Sweet.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Battle of The Album Covers

Pretty cool -- and violent and slightly obscene and weird -- animated video of album covers battling.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Virgin Festival, Sept 23: done

Almost a month later, I'm posting about the Virgin Festival that Liz and I went to at Pimlico Racetrack in Baltimore.

Here are a few pictures, and I've also posted a short video clip of the Who. The video clip is kinda big (11 MB), so be patient if you download it.

We had a good time at the show, and for us, the highlight was the Who. I'm not sure if I can do a festival again though -- we were there for 8 hours about, and that wasn't even the entire festival. So, here's the rundown...

We got there around noon, and Kasabian was playing the main stage. As Liz can tell you, I was very anxious to get there when it started because I didn't want to miss anything. But everything worked out, and we walked in a few mins after it started.

Once we got in, we went to go check out the Drive-By Truckers, who had just started on the second stage. And by this time we had hooked up with Ali, Stephen, et al. Stephen came over to watch the Truckers with us. They played a good set of tough, redneck rock. At one point, they had three guitars and a lap steel guitar. It was a pretty full sound! They also played "Daddy's Cup" from the Dirty South album, which at this point is my fave song by them. Their final song was a cover of the Jim Carroll Band's "People Who Died" which they performed pretty faithfully.

Next, Wolfmother played on the main stage, which we listened to while we grabbed some food. The key word there is "listened" because on the main stage you could not really make out the band so much on the stage. They were tiny. Wolfmother seemed okay -- mix of heavy Zeppelin and Black Sabbath stuff with Robert Plant styled vocals over the top. During the Wolfmother set we hooked up with Travis and Rosana who had just come in.

Liz and I went over to the second stage after Wolfmother to watch the New Pornographers. We caught about a third of their set because we went back to the main stage for the Raconteurs. The NPs were good as always -- we've seen 'em a few times -- but one disappointment was that Neko Case was not with them this time.

The Raconteurs was actually very good. Not that I was expecting them not to be, but I guess I wasn't sure what to expect. They sounded really good, Jack White appeared to be a little pumped up (physically that is), and they played pretty much the whole album plus maybe one or two songs not on the album -- maybe b-sides or something.

We stuck around the main stage after that to see Gnarls Barkley who were a lot of fun. That "Crazy" song is crazy-catchy. They came out wearing Roman costumes and introduced themselves as "this evening's entertainment: Chariots of Fire!" Glad we caught them.

The Who was next, and I felt like a 15-yr old waiting for them to come on. I've never seen 'em. As a matter of fact, when I was in high school, Bill and I had tickets to go see them, when Kenney Jones was still in the band. But I got myself grounded, and of course could not go to the show! That sucked. So, even though this was maybe *a* version of the Who, they were great. The line up was Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend; and Zak Starkey (Ringo's son) was on drums, Simon Townshend (Pete's son) on second guitar, and Pino Palladino on bass. They did almost all the "hits": My Generation, Baba O'Riley, Won't Get Fooled Again, etc, plus they did one new song (I think it was only one) -- they have a new album out called "Endless Wire". They played for almost 1.5 hrs.

So we left after that. Yea, we skipped both the Red Hot Chili Peppers and/or the Flaming Lips who were simultaneously the last bands to play. By the time the Who was done, it was around 8:00 or so, we were both pretty wiped out and knew we had about an hour's drive to get home. Plus I wasn't all that keen to see the Chili Peppers and I don't really know the Flaming Lips stuff. I think they may be one of those bands that I want to like more than I actually do. Made it an easy decision to head home.

Monday, October 02, 2006

DC Baseball

Here are a few things I thought were interesting that have to do with the new stadium construction and development in the area in SW around the stadium site.

First, you can watch the stadium being built via this webcam pointed at the construction site.

Second, this site ( does a very thorough job of documenting through pics n posts the latest on the development. And it was created by someone who went to BCC! Although I think she graduated before me.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Isaac in DC, 2006

Here are some pictures from my nephew Isaac's visit to DC in August 2006.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Guitar tabs shut down!

Apparently, all guitar tab sites have been shut down due to pending lawsuits from ... the suits, maaan. Kinda sucks because I've used them often. But apparently, you can still find stuff on either usenet newsgroups and

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Trip to the National Building Museum

Liz and I recently went to the National Building Museum. It was my first time there. The building itself is very cool -- amazing space inside. We took in two different exhibits. The first was an exhibit on eco-friendly houses and building materials. It was actually very cool. I was skeptical about it, thinking it would be just a bunch of solar panels and stuff like that. But it was actually interesting and the materials they recommended -- recycled stuff mostly -- were actually pretty nice looking. Turns out the counter tops in our condo are eco-approved material called Richlite. They used the same counter tops in the demo house in the exhibit. Richlite makes counter tops out of paper mixed with resin. It's sustainable because it's made out of paper. That's right, we're green.

The other exhibit was about a Frank Lloyd Wright apartment/office tower, the Price Tower, in Oklahoma. That was pretty good too. I'd count myself as a FLW fan, although a fairly unknowledgable fan. Anyway, it was a good day trip, good city thing to do, and a beautiful day too.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Raconteurs with Lou Reed

This is a pretty great clip from the MTV VMA 2006 of the Raconteurs and Lou Reed doing White Light/White Heat by the Velvet Underground.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Check out one harDCore (and one hardcore) related item that has popped up. The first is a cell phone-delivered tour of DC punk rock sites... Pretty cool idea: you send a text a message and then get a "guided" tour via text messages on yr phone about each building/place on the tour. They have 10 (?) tours in DC covering different neighborhoods. Also, go to follow the links in the post below to the site to see videos of interviews w/ the hardDCore elders. Pretty cool. I drive by the old Wilson Center everyday while going to/coming home from work. Here's the info as posted on

And while reading the comments in that post, I saw a link to an upcoming movie about the national hardcore scene called American Hardcore (from Sony Picture Classics!?). This looks pretty interesting, although I hope they have some good old footage.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Virgin Fest

We got our tix for the Virgin Festival in the mail this past weekend. I'm actually pretty stoked to go... it was a pretty pricey ticket, but the line up looks pretty solid. And even The Who is gonna be there! Didn't they have at least 6 or 7 farewell tours?? Sarcasm aside, I've never seen 'em, and even though Keith Moon and John Entwhistle are dead, I'm looking forward to it. Can't say I'm all that excited for the Chili Peppers tho. We may bolt before they come on to beat the traffic.

But with the New Pornographers, Drive By Truckers, and Raconteurs there, it should be fun. I'm also kinda interested to see/hear Gnarls Barkley, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and Kasabian. Plus it sounds like a bunch of other people we know will be going, including a few from work, Travis & Rosana, and the Shooks. At least we won't be the only oldsters in the crowd...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

New pictures

Fourth of July pics from the Columbia picnic, from James's BBQ, and from the fireworks in Columbia Heights.

Pics from a visit to Liz's mom's house with our nephew Braeden and our neice Abigail. They might look a little dark because the camera was inadvertently set to the "Twilight" setting.

Pics from our vacation on the shores of Delaware at Rehoboth Beach.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

X and Rollins Band

Greg, Pete, and I went to go see Rollins Band and X (Riverboat Gamblers opened -- we missed 'em) last night at the 9:30. Good show. X was great, I thought, and better than the last time I saw 'em. They were tight, played great songs, and looked to be enjoying themselves a lot. Two small complaints: John Doe's comments about DC and the sound. It always gets a bit old whenever someone comes to town and then all they can do it make comments about the government and politics, like nothing else is going on around here. The sound was a bit shoddy I thought -- guitars and vocals could've been higher in the mix. But hey, maybe I'm just losing my hearing. Aside from that, they rocked.

Rollins Band was cool. I was never that into them that much when they were current, but watching Henry Rollins perform is pretty wild. The guy is just intense. He means it (man). I was a pretty big Black Flag fan... well, before stuff like My War, but I never really got into Rollins Band, so it was interesting to see them. It was their original line up too, same as X. The music was pretty good, but man was it LOUD. The bass drum was so loud, all of my clothes were vibrating. Had to stuff some napkins in my ears. Gotta remember to bring/use earplugs more often! Interesting thing: there was an old couple sitting up in the balcony where performers wait and watch other bands perform. We were wondering if they were Henry's parents?? He is a local guy... Dunno. During Rollins' set, Exene from X came through the crowd to go backstage and had her hands covering her ears! A little bit funny. Guess she wasn't into it.

The show was also *very* punctual, which I appreciate when I have to go to work the next day. Rollins: on at 9pm on the nose. X: on at 10:30. Show over before midnight, home by midnight, buzzing and ringing.

Monday, August 14, 2006


I've been using the Firefox browser at home for a little while now, and I checked out some of the extensions you can get for the browser. One of the ones I've tried is called StumbleUpon, and it's pretty addictive. It suggests Web sites that you might like based on categories that you select when you sign up. Yea, you have to sign up, but it's free and a pretty cool service, I think.

Firefox has a set up where you install a toolbar in your browser and then you can just click the Stumble button and you be redirected to a random site that has been rated as one you'll like by other people (ie, tagged).

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

OK GO Treadmill Dance

This is pretty impressive if you ask me.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Second place in contest

A few months back, I entered a contest on to try to ID as many musicians in two TV commercials as possible. Well, turns out I tied 2 other people for second place! So I won a 4GB Nano (etched w/ "From your friends at" on the back...) plus a free one year subscription to the site. Pretty cool, I must say. I got my Nano just in time to take it to beach but only put a few podcasts on it for Liz. She loves NPR. Thanks!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Hold Steady - Your Little Hoodrat Friend

Check out this video from Hold Steady...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Vacation time!

We're heading down to Rehoboth on Friday for a week. Really looking forward to it -- sun, beach, beer, relaxin', a little golf perhaps. Hope to have some pics posted after we get back.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

New post, old pics

I've uploaded some pics from earlier in the year from a few trips/events.

Here are pics from Shelley's college graduation from Ohio Wesleyan.

Here are pics from our trip to Las Vegas.

Here are pics from Joe's visit to DC.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Geekin' out w/ my music collection

So as Liz is fully aware, I've been working on entering all my music into a database for the last, oh, year/year and a half. This includes all vinyl (12" and 7") plus CDs and MP3 albums (but not all random MP3s). This has been a big undertaking, and now I am finally done! The software I used is called CATraxx, and it made things really easy -- it pulled CD info from the CDDB, downloaded artwork (when available). And it is a full-on database so I could add track names, credits (songwriters, producers, band members, etc) -- all good info. So with a few clicks I can see all the Johnny Cash covers I have. Or I can see all credits attributed to Elvis Costello, for example. Cool stuff.

I used a lot to find original artists for covers that I wasn't sure of. I also used Yahoo and Google to find some of the more obscure artwork that CATraxx couldn't find. So, since everyone is now frothy with excitement, I've posted the PDFs of the full collection. I had to break it up into 2 separate PDFs -- one for all various artists and one for all but V/A. Oh, and the first one is a fairly big file too. There are definitely some embarrassing moments in the collection...

No V/A here (PDF 18 MB)
V/A here (PDF 2.5 MB)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Catching up

My idea here is to replace the News page on my site with this blog. So, in order to synch up the two sites (and in the future I will merge them, I hope) I am posting here the info that last appeared on the News section as of 04/08/06. Here goes:

Photos, video, etc. from the Pogues show 3/10/06, 9:30 Club, DC here.

The latest excitement: Dena and Greg had their baby son, Mason Gregory Fisher, on February 7, 2006. Exciting stuff! There are pictures here.

Otherwise some other new stuff... the Pogues reunion show was a lot of fun. Liz got a promotion which she definitely deserves. And, we've planned a trip to Las Vegas in May.

This past month was also a busy show month (aside from the Pogues). I went to see the Hellacopters (Black Cat), Arctic Monkeys (9:30), and Yeah Yeah Yeahs (9:30).

My Hit List (what I'm digging at the moment)
Some new CD purchases/gifts:

Some other stuff...

Monday, July 10, 2006

I am blogger...

...Hear me type! I've joined the blogging world with this new Fish Tank blog. I'm going to use this to take the place of the News section of Using a blog to post updates about what Liz and I are up to is much easier than updating the regular site. So, we'll see how it works out, and I'll probably make some tweaks along the way, but... here 'tis!