Today on NPR's All Things Considered, they premiered the first single off the new Spoon album Transference. The track is titled "Written in Reverse," and in typical Spoon fashion it's a tasty cut that is a bass and piano driven stunner, using the guitar more as a texturing device for the other instruments. Of course, you also have Britt Daniel's increasingly bluesy vocals, especially highlighted as he yelps "I'm not standing here...no I'm not standing here" towards the 2:45 mark. Incredible.
The NPR commentator stated he's gotten hold of Transference already and stated that it may be the best album yet. If this track is any indicator, he's probably right. Don't miss All Things Considered this week if only for that track.
- Moose's Tooth with Darren, Colver and Eric
- An Education at Fireweed with Katherina and Kerstin
- Thanksgiving! Lots of football, food, and family!
- Friendsgiving at Gen's place (along with a viewing of the Christmas classic Prancer)
- Working a crazy Black Friday event (lots of talking to customers while being semi-conscious from being sleep deprived)
- Snow City with Joanne, Kyle and Jessi (Pier 49 Scramble = best thing ever)
- Taking a crash course on Karl Kerschl's The Abominable Charles Christopher
- Dinner and tons of ring toss at Snow Goose with Chris and Eric
- Crush with Chris, Eric, Emily and Katherina
- Ridiculousness aplenty at Emily's with Chris, Eric and Katherina
- Two days of Middle Way Cafe avocado breakfast burritos (mmmm)
- Tons and tons of writing (about comics and Ludacris mostly)
- The Colver family house warming party (with complimentary airplane rides!)
- Ballin' at the AK Club with Colver
Saturday was a great example of this, as I had a brilliantly care free day, mostly based around eating delicious foods, drinking impossibly tasty scotches (so long as it is cut with coke - I'm only so classy) and high class craft beers, and hanging out with my best friends. We played beer pong, gave each other airplane rides, sangalong to Michael Jackson, had hysterical moments of zen featuring girls playing video games, and shared the gift of cream cheese laden hot dogs. That the evening closed with myself falling asleep on a friends couch as we talked about life and how ridiculous it can be was but the icing on the cake.
I know it's not exactly kosher for someone to drone on and on about things of this sort, but sometimes it's impossible to not want to. Ain't life grand? It really seems to be, and has been perpetually for quite some time. Let's hope it stays like that. I'm a firm believer in the concept of life being what you make of it, so I find this to be a very likely scenario.
Most importantly, I'm thankful for my family, my friends and all the new ones that have been coming about lately, and my wonderful friend Ryan Sobolik's continued domination of the scourge that is known as Leukemia. He was faced with as difficult a turn in life as any person I know and he and his wife Sarah's perpetual victories have been an inspiration to us all. Love you buddy!
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, once again.
First off, I have an update on my potential new writing gig. It turns out I will be writing for the Play section of the Anchorage Daily News after all as a freelancer, and my first assignment will likely be previewing Ludacris' upcoming show. For a person who really started writing again because of my incessant need to over share, actually being paid to do so is quite surreal. Quite literally, I am a journalist now. Or I suppose I will be once I actually get paid for it.
Second off, I have an update on Joanne, Cate, Lorna and I's weight loss campaign called Shamefest 2009. While I got off to a rather inauspicious start, as I a ballooned four pounds in the first week, I have since responded with vigor and tenacity. Every week I've either stayed flat or I've lost weight, dropping from my second week weight of 221 down to 207 at this point. Not only that, but I'm back to running sub 6 minute single miles while my endurance is up as well (1.5 miles in 9 minutes and forty six seconds) and I've gotten my strength near pre-Europe levels.
It turns out when you go to Europe for a month and only walk from place to place and eat tons of food, you don't lose a lot of weight, and it makes you really not want to work out upon your return. It's taken me that long to get back on the horse, so to speak. Throw in the fact that I've now added the stellar Group Centergy class taught by my friend Stephanie to my repertoire, and even my flexibility and core strength have improved dramatically.
So yeah...it's been a pretty quality couple months for me. I'm really looking forward to keeping all of this going as I move along as well. Assuming I don't rediscover my passionate love of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and become illiterate over night, I should be fairly safe.
- 2012 with Cate (epic in its terribleness - review coming later)
- Trying Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop with Stephanie for the first time (delicious!)
- Coaching a BlackBerry training class for work
- GREEK NIGHT! (lamb/falafel/wine and lots of ridiculousness)
- Going out on the town with everyone (so much dancing)
- Middle Way breakfast with Joanne and Eric
- Getting some writing done
- Helping Emily set up her new place
- Watching Goodbye Lenin! with Stephanie and Gen (amidst popcorn wars)
Joanne and I have had a legendary friendship. We've been inseparable for basically the past 11 months and after my good friends Colver and Lorna's wedding, I decided it was time to take that to the next level. That night I texted her and proposed marriage and she accepted. Of course it wouldn't be happening until we were 35 assuming I never met anyone better, but it was a proposal all the same.
Then our ridiculousness sped up the timeline, as we quickly realized being fake married on Facebook would be a hilarious idea. Predictably it turned out incredibly well, as the announcement of our nupitals resulted in an avalanche of text messages and status update comments like the world of Facebook has never seen. It was ridiculous. You would think I just changed my status to "deceased" or something. Things of that nature are sort of Joanne and I's business, and business, my friends, is good.
Like all relationships between star crossed non-lovers though there have been trials and tribulations. One evening she annoyed me and I quickly divorced her, leading to us having a heartfelt embrace at trivia night that week as we discovered we couldn't live without one another. And by hearfelt embrace, I mean she said "it actually makes me sad that we got divorced." and I responded with "I guess we can get "remarried"?" and then we hugged, and by couldn't live without one another I mean we realized it was more funny to have us listed as married.
Strangely enough though, my fictitious wife and I are one of the only purely platonic, simultaneously single, opposite sex pairs I've ever heard of. It's amazing, although I do wish she would hog less of my bed. I guess in some regards it is like a real marriage then.
This past weekend I was departing Middle Way Cafe after scarfing down another of their tasty avocado breakfast burritos when a stranger stopped me.
Me (wondering who the hell would be named such a thing): Ummm....
Guy: It's me, DJ Encyclopedia Brown
Me (realizing this is a Twitter friend): Oh...hey there.
Guy: Your name is David right? I'm Spencer.
Me: Oh yeah, Spencer Shroyer right? From the ADN?
Guy: Yeah...let me give you a business card.
Of course, I'm perplexed. Why am I getting a business card? This was a similar situation to a few years back while on a ferry to Victoria, British Columbia when a really intense looking man with a shaved head came up to my car, knocked on the window and said "Are you Shaft?" and turned out to be someone I played Counter-Strike with. Except far less creepy and much cooler. Why was it cooler?
Well, it turns out I may possibly end up writing for the Anchorage Daily News as a freelancer. I'd be writing about music and pop culture, which is pretty much my thing. I have not actually been officially added on as a freelancer yet and it only would pay a minimal amount per piece I write, but I felt I needed to share. If I do get hired on, I'll have to learn how to write. That part is problematic, at best.
Hopefully I become the Bill Simmons of the ADN, as my friend Erik suggested. I really cannot imagine something I could want more than that. Okay...there are a few things (the ability to fly, a golden ticket that allowed me to get on any airplane first class, a debit card with infinity dollars on it, other things that will go unrevealed) I'd want more, but this is better because it's real.
To help continue our recent influx of musical talent to Alaska (which have included shows in the past two months from Iron & Wine, The Hold Steady, and Ghostland Observatory), now the illustrious indie rock group known as Cold War Kids will be visiting the Great White North on February 4th for one of Bear Tooth's classic First Tap events.
While I highly doubt I will enjoy them as much as Ghostland (saw them at Sasquatch 2008, they're good but they don't really blow minds like Ghostland does), I can say that there may have never been a better band to pair with a First Tap event. I've frequently described their style of music as "dangerous" and "boozy," and really, you aren't going to get a more boozy locale than the Bear Tooth on a First Tap night. Even bars look at them and say "wow...that's a lot of drinking." I think they'll be a major hit here, and I really can't wait.
Also, bravo to Bear Tooth for bringing another high quality band that actually has legit buzz about them. While you did manage to fit Clinton Fearon (back for the millionth time), Lyrics Born (back again as well), and Rusted Root (another return visit) in between the Kids and Ghostland, in a paraphrasing of Jack Nicholson's character in Mars Attacks, that's still two out of five and that ain't bad. Keep it up Alaska. Maybe you'll keep me around a little longer if you keep me entertained.
Tickets go on sale Monday, November 23rd. Don't miss your opportunity to support good music in Alaska.
Vampire Weekend made one of my top 20 favorite albums of this past decade, as their self titled debut was a modern day Graceland filled with ska rhythms and unforgiving hooks. On January 11th, they will be releasing their follow up album titled Contra. While I'm excited, the first track off that album (titled "Horchata") did not really blow me away and actually made me sit back and reassess my expectations. Somewhat predictably they unveiled the first single off the album today and it once again moved my expectations to possibly unreachable levels. Check it out yourself and see what you think. I had to take down my link, but I'm sure you'll find it plenty easy to find if you simply search "Vampire Weekend Cousins Hype Machine." It's already at the tip top of my most highly anticipated albums list for 2010.
You look and think "pretty." I look and think "cold."
Dear Mother Nature,
It seems as if we have this conversation every year, yet inexplicably I must contact you anyways. While you did give us a surprising grace period that left us snowless and without bitter cold into November, you've since returned with a vengeance. If it weren't for the timely acquisition of toasty gloves to warm my hands through these harsh times, I don't even know if I'd be able to survive the winter. On the same shopping trip in which I acquired these gloves, I nearly picked up a hat to warm my head that would have made me look like a 1920's newsboy.
Such is the desperate place you put me in.
Gone are the fleeting thoughts of a balmy winter, in which I could simply grit my teeth and insist I wasn't cold (I would be) and ignore the fact winter was upon us (it would have been). They've since been replaced with thoughts of vacationing in such summery meccas as Edmonton (Canada, for gods sake!) and New York City. Alas, they are not exactly Miami themselves, but compared to the Great White North they're a veritable paradise.
Perhaps that's why our favorite holidays are situated as they are. What else could make winter salvageable besides those days that best allow us convivial experiences? Sure, you may suggest that these holidays are positioned as such because of some really old guy's birthday and to give thanks for the good things in your life, but I don't buy into your bait and switch. You're trying to make us forget it's cold, aren't you?
Sneaky, but not sneaky enough.
It is what it is. We've been through this before and I'm sure we'll go through it again next year. If you could do me one favor though, let's see if we can make it abnormally warm (I'm thinking 72 degrees) on January 17th. That would be one heck of a birthday present. Let's just ignore the fact that it would be absolute pandemonium for driving and run with it.
- Closing the week without having to go in for jury duty once
- A particularly delicious home cooked meal of tofu pad thai
- Big movie night at my place (with many, many guests)
- Breakfast at Snow City with Stephanie, Olivia and JT
- Awesome day at Kaladi Brothers with Brandon, Cate and Eric
- Downtown early evening shenanigans with Eric and Cate
- Catching the fantastic and brutal (for one guy) Pacquiao/Cotto fight
- Delicious breakfast at Middle Way (with complimentary potential job offer!)
- Kaladi day with Cate, Eric and Gary Busey
- Basketball with Colver
- People over for Patriots game that ended...tragically
1. It's cold as hell out
2. It's expensive to party
3. Removes (most) opportunities for me to embarass myself
4. There is so much to do without going out!
Staying in solves the first three problems, it allows me to follow through on reason 3, and it opens up the extremely underrated concept of doing things on Saturday and Sunday without feeling like death (oh not feeling like death, how I adore you). There is one additional caveat: it allows me to get to know new friends better.
It seems like every six to nine months (or about when Cate will be quitting a job), my group has a bit of a refresh of people. Every Friend Season (as I will be calling them now), my group loses two to three people yet seemingly replaces them without skipping a beat. This weekend, I had ample opportunity to hang out with great new friends like Stephanie, Gen, Katherina, Kerstin, Olivia, and Eric (not to mention the immortal Gary Busey), and it was a wonderful time. I really enjoy our new batch of friends, and it's perfect timing heading into The-Season-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. It seems as if plans for elaborate parties (ranging from Snuggie Parties to classy dress parties and beyond) are being proposed at a frenetic pace, leading me to grin with delight at the sheer prospect.
As Victor Hugo once said, "winter is on my head but eternal spring is in my heart." Such is the curative power of good friends, providing me an eternal spring during my least favorite time of the year. Now if we could just get rid of this ridiculous five degree weather, teh rest of me could feel something resembling eternal spring as well. C'est la vie, Alaska.
Last time on my Multiversity Comics update, we'd just had our biggest visitor day ever because of a Twitter list Matt had come up with. That was an extremely exciting day, one where Gil, Matt and myself could hardly believe what was happening perpetually. Since then, things have settled down a bit, but not for a lack of excitement. In recent weeks, we've added a new writer in fellow Alaskan and Boscos patron Brandon Burpee. Not only that, but we've had a slew of exciting interviews start coming down the path, as I've interviewed personal favorites like Jonathan Hickman, Fred Van Lente, and Francis Manapul. That's not even the tip of the iceberg. In coming weeks we have interviews with industry giants and newer and highly lauded creators alike, such as:
- Brian Michael Bendis (essentially today's version of Stan Lee, the architect of Marvel Comics)
- Filip Sablik (Publisher of Top Cow Productions, one of the biggest companies in the industry)
- Joshua Dysart (acclaimed writer of Unknown Soldier and BPRD)
- David Petersen (Eisner Award winner best known for his work Mouse Guard)
- David Gallaher (Eisner Award winner best known for High Noon)
If that wasn't exciting enough, we've started to get a good amount of press to help legitimize our venture even more so. The most exciting spotlight for me was when one of my favorite creators, Brian Wood of DMZ and Local fame, was emailed my review for the new issue of DMZ and promptly made a post on his forum discussing my review and what others opinions are of my thoughts. To think that I'm not just an outsider looking in but part of a site that seemingly is drawing the interest of all of those people I've idolized for forever is very exciting indeed. Of course, I can't ignore the fact that all of the interest in our site is earning me pretty sweet perks ("hello there package from
Possibly the coolest news of all though I've saved for last. I had been planning on going to the Emerald City ComiCon this year in Seattle, and now it appears that not only will I be attending, but I will be attending as a bonafide member of the press. Press pass and all, getting me into the events for free and into panels and the like automatically. To a huge dork like me whose aspirations for writing never really extended far out of endlessly ranting on this here blog (thank you all for reading it), it's pretty damn exciting. Yet, I do want to note that the more I write there the less time I have to write here. I'll still post plenty because it's my personal version of crack, but perhaps not as often as I have in the past. Still, follow my exploits at Multiversity Comics, and watch us grow into the next big comic site. Or not. Who knows, really? All I know is it's good to know reading comics for so long has started to pay off for me as a writer/person.
This man looks like I will very soon
From time to time, I will take a class at the gym that just seems wildly inappropriate for me. Example: back in February of this year when I took my first (and only) spin class. These random voyages into the world of fitness seemingly always turn out well for me, yet an invite into my friend Stephanie's Group Centergy class seemed like a positively bad idea for my body. In case you don't actually know me, I am about as flexible as Frankenstein's Monster, although thankfully I am not green and I do not choke women while kissing them. In my imagination, that lumbering beast doesn't seem the type to excel in a class that fuses yoga, pilates, and Tai Chi into one hellacious mega mix of stretchy exercises, so in my mind, nor would I be.
Yet I went anyways, partially to expand my horizons and partially because I told Stephanie I would. Regardless of the fleeting thoughts of torn muscles and inadvertently harming fellow yogi's, I would persevere. Somewhat predictably, just like I experienced with the spin class before, it ended up really not being that bad. In fact, I would describe it as a greatly enjoyable experience. Everything was fresh and new, and made me feel looser and more lucid than I had in forever. I felt light as a feather, and not because of some sort of pharmaceutical reason (which is always preferable, I'd say). Plus, the class was frequently hilarious to yours truly as I would find myself turning myself into a starfish (that's right) or something of that sort while trying to maintain my balance without obviously falling out of the pose (this went only so well, as I think those aware of mystic north were also quite aware of my overt awkwardness), and then catch myself in the mirror or look at Stephanie and then start grinning uncontrollably because of what I looked like or how I knew I looked.
All in all though it was a great time though. I came out of the class unscathed (along with my fellow classmates) with a whole new appreciation of things of this sort. I'd always looked at it from a distance as something that would be good for me, yet I never tried it for some unknown reason. Now that I have, I feel confident in the likelihood of me trying it again in the near future...like next week.
This isn't even the full collection
As I've mentioned a number of times on this blog, I am kind of addicted to comic books. I think the sequential art medium is an extremely underrated one and one that can realize creator's imaginations as well as any other medium out there, if not better. Having an addiction of that sort leads to absolutely disgusting collections of comics though, and as a person who is also a slave to organization (at least in terms of things of that sort), I have to reorganize my comics every single year.
Through the years, it's gotten easier and easier. If my memory serves me correctly, the first time I organized them all with help from my mom, it took an entire weekend. An entire weekend of hell, to be exact. Last year, with the assistance of my mom once again as well as my sister Bobbie, we drastically reduced that time down to just one day. Incredibly enough though, with all three of us now savvy veterans we managed to finish it all up in just around five hours this time around. That's exceptional work, and it definitely helped that I put in some time before turning my friends into indentured servants who helped bag and board before hand, but we truly thoroughly dominated this task.
Of course, there was still time for plenty of fun, most of which was derived from the misundertanding or complete fabrication of comic titles by my sister and mom. Examples: DC's title The Brave and the Bold somewhat unsurprisingly became "The Bold and the Beautiful", Sub-Mariner: The Depths was now Sub Mariner, but pronounced like a pitcher who solely pitches submarine style, and the concept of company wide events like Dark Reign completely dominated all other thoughts ("Why is this stack so high? Oh god...is this a stack of just Dark Reign comics?!"). The funny thing about dealing with comics with people who aren't very familiar with the industry is that you instantly realize how realize some of the things you read are ("Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers"...really).
That's okay though, I'm fine with being ridiculous. I sleep better for it. We also had the excitement of unearthing some forgotten gems (like some awesome relics from our time at the 1997 Orlando Mega Con) and there is always the bonus of looking through old comics and feeling fleeting rushes of nostalgia. When you've been collecting as long as I have and have a memory like mine that is so based around effortlessly pairing real life events with pop culture (waiting at my brother's hockey practice wasn't just that...it was Gloria Estefan and Larry Hama/Mark Texeira's run on Wolverine in the 90's), seeing an old comic cover is like looking through an old family photo album. File that one under weird but true.
No less, I'm glad we've managed to perfect this science. Not that I didn't have fun during those epic multi-day ventures into the world of comics, but condensing the organization of 29 long boxes (roughly 9,000 comics) into five hours is pretty damn astounding if you ask me. Can't wait for next year. I bet we can do it even faster!
Recently, Alaska has had a rash of good concerts. That this statement means we've had three in two months that were good is sad, but in comparison to what we normally get it's an embarassment of riches (what do I have to look forward to the rest of the year, concert wise? Lyrics Born, Three 6 Mafia, and Clinton Fearon - shoot me in the face) as The Hold Steady, Iron and Wine, and now Ghostland Observatory have come up to Alaska. Somewhat predictably, Ghostland also ended up being far and away the most fun of the three, as it was not only one of the best dance parties I've ever been to (perhaps even better than when I saw Girl Talk), but the best First Tap I've ever been to at Bear Tooth.
Given that it was a Bear Tooth show, we were subjected to bad openers. This time, they started up with a pair of DJ sets, the first of whom I missed entirely (evidently he basically played Justice's album Cross) and the second I just wish I missed, as he was effectively playing Bass Nectar and Daft Punk from what I understand (as in the exact mixes). Whatever it was, he was a simply terrible DJ.
If I went to these shows for the openers, well...I wouldn't go. Thankfully, Ghostland came out and blew the roof off the building. Starting up with five straight tracks off Paparazzi Lighting ("Piano Man", "Ghetto Magnet", "All You Rock and Rollers", "Vibrate", and "Sad Sad City") was a great idea, as everyone was clearly more familiar with the superior earlier album than their follow up Robotique Majestique. At this point, I was up front dancing my feet off, not really dancing with anyone in particular but always dancing with someone. Regardless of what was playing, it sounded perfect and was a massively entertaining romp for all to dance to. That they threw in a stellar laser light show and enough smoke machine action to give a fire marshall hives was just icing on the cake.
This show was the perfect example of how First Taps should be: great bands, great sound, great show. You give us those three things and I guarantee you every First Tap will sell out that fast. That we get retreads like Born and Fearon for the rest of the year is disappointing and just assures that I will not attend, but I hope someday they realize what they could accomplish by bringing up incredible bands like Ghostland up.
Plus, without bands like Ghostland, how will the guy that had a Tron suit on at the show display it in a public setting? You just don't get a lot of chances to wear that.
My campaign had supporters coming out of the wood work, with donations coming from such luminaries as Holly Golightly and Jason
This past Saturday was Halloween, and as per usual it was incredible. Halloween is pretty much my favorite holiday, and this one was extra special because it was probably my most all in Halloween ever as I really went for it on the costume front. Not that my costume was really that big of a deal, but the work I did before and for it was, as Senator David Harper turned his apartment into a glorious campaign headquarters for one evening (does that count as third person?).
The campaign rally/Halloween party was a blast for all that joined in, and I really think I earned some serious voters out of this bunch. It's good to know when November 3rd hits I can count Holly Golightly, Jason (Friday the 13th), Oscar the Grouch, Marilyn Monroe, Billy Mays, and many more out there to vote for me. I'd go into more detail, but it was your standard awesome Halloween party: drinking games, LeBomb James' (shot of Crown with a splash of Grenadine and Red Bull, after you're done throw sugar in the air ala LeBron James), awesome costumes, intense beer pong (Eric and I had an all time one on one match up), and much, much more. The only negative was that campaign central was trashed the next day, but oddly enough that led to my apartment being cleaner than it has been in forever.
Works for me.
I have to admit, now that Halloween is over, I'm a little sad I won't be referred to as "Senator" any more, but all things have their phases. Could stand to have that one last a little bit longer though. See below for pictures from the shenanigans.
My security detail: Eric and Joanne
Senator David Harper doing important things (with security)
I'm about as big of a fan of Battlestar Galactica as you can probably find. Really, I think the Ronald D. Moore's series is not only the best of the decade, but the best TV show ever. To me, every single thing about it is perfection, from the mini-series that starts it all the way to the finale (which is the best two hours of television I've ever seen).
Which is why it is so disappointing to watch the new movie that was released last week and find myself not just being bored by it, but openly disliking it. All the pieces were there: the cast back together again, frequent series writer Jane Espenson writing the script, and star/director Edward James Olmos at the director's chair. There was no reason for me to not be excited, which is perhaps why it was so disappointing.
The biggest problem with The Plan is a very simple one: half of it is old material. Not just old subject matter, but actual old scenes from the show. Not to be overly coarse, but who the hell wants to watch the exact same scenes from other episodes again? I know that it just works to show us where the new scenes fit in, but this is completely absurd. I spent nearly $30 for the Blu Ray of this, and it's effectively a rehash that introduces a new and unnecessary character and focuses primarily Brother Cavil (the ultimate villain of the series but ultimately kind of one note even though the performance by Dean Stockwell is a wonderfully devious one) and the boring Cylon Simon. Sure, we find interesting little bits out (a Simon was married and living in the fleet before he refused his Cylon assignment and committed suicide, the other Cylons though Aaron Doral sucked as much as we did) and there are some hysterical scenes between a somehow even sluttier version of Number Six and Cavil, but really, this is kind of a travesty.
Really, this doesn't shed any additional light on the series. There is very little uncovered that we were looking to uncover. In fact, you could argue that often it creates probelms with the series proper (the elephant statue and Boomer). This feels like a blatant money grab from everyone involved as what they accomplish here feels like it should either be deleted scenes on a DVD or a bonus feature. Not worth my money, and the only thing that saves it from an F is the fact that the actors involved really do give it their all and at least make sure the terribleness on screen is at least represented by good performances.
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan: D