Happy In Bag

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 In the Bag

2008 can't conclude fast enough. It was overloaded with personal misery and financial ruin. But wait! It wasn't a complete disaster. In fact, I had some great times during the past year. Here's a partial list of the good stuff.

*I was on crutches when the year began. I now walk freely without pain.

*It seems like a dream nine months later, but I visited Great Britain in March. (I befriended these hearty, beer-guzzling chaps at ten in the morning on St. Patrick's Day.) I also hiked in the Rockies and swam with dolphins in the Pacific.

*I really didn't mind getting laid off from a dead-end job. I co-founded a company that has limitless potential.

*I witnessed over 250 individual live music performances in 2008. My couch misses me.

*The athletics department of the University of Kansas brought me enormous pleasure. A national championship in men's basketball was complimented by a victory in the Orange Bowl.

*This blog thing remains fun. Winning the Pitch's "Music Blog of the Year" awards for Plastic Sax and There Stands the Glass was really nice. And get this- not once did I peek at my stat counters in 2008. Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Geek Collapse

I'm a sore loser.

A couple pals encouraged me to participate in Robert Moore's Monday evening music trivia contest at the Record Bar. I boasted that it wouldn't be fair- I'd almost certainly dominate the proceedings.

I know music. I even get paid to write about it. The potential for humiliation, consequently, was enormous. Additionally, Moore specializes in British indie rock of the '80s. That's not my strongest area.

Entered as a one-man team under the Quick Snap banner, I started strong by identifying Pere Ubu. But I missed questions about The Wolfgang Press and Supergrass. The horror! That didn't prevent me from taunting multi-player teams, shamelessly celebrating each of my correct answers and loudly objecting to a couple of Moore's absurdly esoteric questions.

I was in second place at the break. I asked a friend to rush to the bar to assure Quick Snap's victory.

We bet all but one point on the final Jeopardy-style question. "Name the lyric on DJ John Peel's tombstone." I'd forgotten the answer.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stuff I Like

I'm more Eminem than Ira Glass. That's according to a quiz in Stuff White People Like. A snarky family member gave me the book on Christmas. I'm plenty "white" enough to understand the gags, but I'm too geeky, middle-class and self-absorbed to serve as a poster boy for the author's favorite themes. Only a handful of items apply directly to me. As Meesha has pointed out, I'm obsessed with "Black Music That Black People Don't Listen To Anymore". I also love the Wrigley Field experience. The success of this concept and that of a local blogger so inspired me that I've started work on potential knock-off books. Yet when I share my hilarious material for Stuff Black People Like, Stuff Poor People Like and Stuff Mrs. Bridge Likes with associates, they're not the least bit amused. It must be because they're white.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I'm no different than many guys. Acquiring gifts for the December holidays is a nightmarish proposition. Because I enter most retail outlets only once a year, I'm left befuddled and oblivious to what constitutes a good or appropriate present. I frequently collapse into retailers' display chairs and sofas. All I want for Christmas is new shoelaces for my snow boots.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sound the Hypocrisy Siren

Maybe I should quit drinking. The shenanigans of my peers Friday night have forced me to reconsider my deep appreciation of beer. I wasn't imbibing. They were. One pal fell down. Another's boorish behavior caused him to be booted from the bar. A third associate made a mildly objectionable racial insinuation. I was also disappointed to discover that a former coworker had fallen off the wagon. These are my people. Here's my message to them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Going Stag

I'm questioning my judgment this morning. After spending a thoroughly satisfying evening at Waldo Pizza last night, I wonder why I bother going anywhere else. I'm ashamed to admit that it'd been about a year since my last visit. The owner and I have a shared history; he's a great guy. The food is delicious and the selection of microbrews and imported beers might be the most compelling in Kansas City. More importantly, I discovered that the joint offers cans of Stag for $1.25 each.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ayo Technology

I recently encountered a cache of old computer discs in a remote corner of my basement. Although my handwriting was scrawled across many of the items, I scarcely recall using this outdated format. Did I really manage magazine layout with the aid of these flimsy discs? It serves as a valuable reminder that the giants of today- from Apple to Microsoft- could easily become the Tandys of tomorrow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rabbit Redux

An unintended consequence of my chipmunk eradication and squirrel relocation programs is that my yard has been transformed into a miniature version of Watership Down. Their predilection for eating flowers aside, I haven't been bothered by the population explosion of rabbits. At least, that is, until the first snow fell a couple days ago. I hadn't realized that the buggers urinate like sailors.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I sometimes allow myself to believe that I'm a wise man. At the conclusion of each grieving process I'm entirely certain that I'll never again take the splendor and grace of ordinary daily life for granted. The delusion never lasts too long. Only when fresh disaster strikes someone I love do I realize that I had once again succumbed to a posture of complacent ingratitude.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Bad Little Tree

I know a man who detests cedar trees as much as I loathe squirrels. In his mind, they're insidious trash hell-bent on destroying his property. I thought of him as I hacked away at a red cedar last weekend. Members of the Kansas City WildLands organization directed hikers to potential Christmas trees at Shawnee Mission Park. It's a great concept- cedars are cleared and budget-minded revelers get a fresh tree.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I Kneed Help

I discovered the wondrous warming qualities of scarves late in life. I had no idea what I'd been missing. Now that my neck and mouth are shielded from Old Man Winter, another part of my anatomy demands attention. My knees ache when exposed to frigid temperatures. Is there any respectable way for a man to keep his creaky joints warm during brisk winter walks?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Like a Phoenix

Although a band had yet to set up, I was delighted to knock back a Pale Ale at the Phoenix last Friday night. The jazz venue- an increasingly endangered species in Kansas City- has reopened. The 8th Street tavern was doing solid business. Alas, I was one of the youngest people in the room. EDIT: (I'd link to the Phoenix's site, but none exists.) A reader came to the rescue: The Phoenix Jazz Club.