I gave up on the witty, apologetic title this week (not like you guys haven't seen one or two of those before) in favor of an admission of guilt. I have excuses for why it has now been a week since my last (rather meager) post, but none of them are good and most of the start with "I" and end with "forgot." That being said, the title is sort of witty in its unwittyness if I don't say so myself.
To make up for the lack of content, I'm going to try to create some sort of super-combined-omnibus post here that covers lots of sections and lots of content all in one magnificent segment of prose and graphics. Think of it as my blog bailout bill (with the alliterations!). Unfortunately, no one will be receiving any sort of handout, other than a handout of happiness as they read the best free content on the web (stop clicking over to USC Transcribed. It was updated yesterday...this is the best content on the web RIGHT now).
Editors Note: Do click over to USC Transcibed. Read it. Enjoy. Laura is much less bitter than I am. Must be something about California in winter vs. Milwaukee in Winter.
Okay, so here we go. A blog post in four segments of varying timeliness and interest. Section number one is...
Dateline, Jan 31, 2009. Bradley Center in Milwaukee Wisconsin.
Enter: #25 ranked Georgetown Basketball Team onto the Al McGuire Court.
Coach John Thompson III: "We are so awesome. Marquette is a backwater school way out west that doesn't know the first thing about basketball."
Players: "Yeah...we rock, even though we lost to Cincinnati this week. The turn around starts now! The Golden Eagles suck!
Staging note: At this point, lower Marquette basketball team from rafters of Bradley Center. A bright glowing light shines behind them, casting them in sharp contrast to the paleness of the Georgetown Team.
Jerel McNeal: "Welcome to Milwaukee...prepare to be taken to task."
Proceed with 40 minutes of basketball, 25 of which are dominated by Marquette, ending in a 94-82 Golden Eagles win. Fans go crazy. Bradley Center is about to collapse. Marquette improves to 8-0. A certain Alaskan has his picture taken and is shown on SI.com. General goodwill prevails.
If you're keeping score in the Big East Free Spirit blog/basketball showdown, that equals Chris 1, Caroline 0
Marquette game #2 was somewhat more recent. I watched the Golden Eagles take on the Depaul Blue Demons (part deux of this year's matchup against the hapless team from Chicago) in my room last night before settling down to engage my literary passions with the always thrilling Jane Austen. Jerel McNeal continues to make a case for Big East Player of the Year (last nights line? A pedestrian 28 pts, 4 boards, 6 assists, 4 blocks, and 5 steals in 38 minutes). They team looked great at the start of the first half, jumping out to an early 29-12 lead midway through the first. The rest of the half was sloppy and Marquette only went into the locker room up 5. By the 12:00 mark of the second, I had basically stopped watching, the game was well in hand and we cruised to the 9-0 mark.
Basketball updates = done. Time for the first appearance of "Now Playing:"
Today's now playing artist is a new discovery to me. Thanks to Caroline for tuning me into the sound of Bon Iver and his mellow, acoustic, and often haunting tracks. I picked up his first album, "For Emma, Forever Ago" last week and have been listening non-stop since then.
Bon Iver just seems to be one of those artists whose music somehow wiggles its way into whatever sort of emotional space you are working with. Equal parts moving, forlorn, and wistful; it seems the Wisconsin to North Carolina back to Wisconsin transplant has produced a soundtrack to winter, heartbreak, longing, celebration, and just a general sense of introspection.
The roots of the album are something out of the 70s. Songwriter Justin Vernon leaves Raleigh, NC to take some time off at his dad's hunting cabin in northern Wisconsin. Brings guitar and old recording equipment with the intention of just fooling around. Writes lyrics and music. Record emerges. Record meets with smashing success. The Dylan-esque nature is undeniable. I also hear similarities to some of Led Zepplin's recordings done in various remote locals (castles, etc).
In my mind, this sense of location is perhaps the record's most distinguishing trait. It doesn't feel studio produced because it wasn't, or, at least, the studio work was minimal. As you listen, you can almost close your eyes and sit next to Justin as the snow falls outside, surrounded by trees, with a fire going in the stove. Overly sentimental and romantic imagery? Yes. Also true? Yes.
Tracks on "For Emma" that require a listen are "Skinny Love," "Flume," and "Re: Stacks." Bon Iver's newer EP "Blood Bank" is also worth noting as a worthy pickup. If you thought Kanye had done everything possible on an autotuner, then listen to "Woods" off the EP. I didn't think anyone could make me enjoy that sound again after "Love Lockdown" and "Heartless" took over the radio, but " Woods' " measured rounds make it worth the electronic manipulation.
First foray into music criticism done. Let me know. Do you want to see more? Less? Better? Let's see those comments.
OneLost out, and out, and out one more time