Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's Not a Tumah

Actually, it really isn't a tumor. Yay!

As you probably know, for the past several months, I have been walking with the big C word in my head. As in cancer. As in, my mom might have. While the doctor who performed her first endoscopy at the beginning of this month told us that the mass in her stomach/esophagus looked "completely benign," there were no assurances until we got the biopsy results from a deeper biopsy back.

Well, that endoscopy/biopsy/sonogram was yesterday at Fairfax Hospital. It was conducted by the head of the gastroenterology department ( as my mom put it, "I'm clearly a VIP"). After poking the mass with a needle and seeing fluid come out (eeeew), the doctor determined that it was an esophageal cyst, since tumors are not filled with pus. TMI, I know, but come on, it's good news.

A biopsy was taken, and I guess I should really wait to celebrate until I know those results for sure, but this is very good news, everyone! The doctor said that since it's not a tumor, there were no plans to operate and they would just check up on the cyst every 1-2 years. Woot!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sgt. Pepper vs. Revolver

As I embark on an epic rewatch of The Beatles Anthology, I got to wondering. Where do I come down on the age-old Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band vs. Revolver debate? Which one is actually better? For a long time, it seemed that most people came down on the Sgt. Pepper side, declaring it not only the best of The Beatles' albums, but one of the best rock albums of all time. But Revolver has recently been gaining in popularity and status. So, what better way to determine this then a song by song match-up?

Taxman vs. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

While Taxman marks the beginning of George Harrison really making a hefty contribution to The Beatles catalogue, he comes off as kind of whiny. I'm so sorry that you have to give some of your millions to The Man, George, but seriously. We all hate paying taxes, blah blah blah. It does have a pretty kickin beat though. But Sgt Pepper is just....classic. From the fade-in on the audience, to Paul doing his gravely voice thing he does so well to the awesome random french horn quartet in the middle.

Winner: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Nothing beats the french horn, dude.

Eleanor Rigby
vs. With a Little Help From My Friends

Argh! A really tricky match-up, and we are only on the second song. Eleanor Rigby, with its haunting melody, depressing lyrics, and amazing string accompaniment is one of the songs you turn on when the day is dreary and you want to feel better about your own crappy life. But With a Little Help From My Friends is the song you get drunk to and sing along with your buds (like in Across the Universe). Also, this is pretty much the perfect song for Ringo (I mean, Billy Shears) other than Yellow Submarine. But more on that later.

Winner: Eleanor Rigby. If this was the Joe Crocker verison of With a Little Help...it might take it, but for the blending of classical and rock sensibilities, you gotta give it to Eleanor.

I'm Only Sleeping
vs Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

I'm a big fan of I'm Only Sleeping. Who doesn't want to just lie in bed all day and bitch at people who make noise? Also, it features George Harrison playing his guitar solo backwards and forwards. Not that I knew that until Wikipedia told me. Whatever. But Lucy...to me, it's like Willy Wonka, you know? It describes this amazing candyland and whether it's an acid trip or based on a drawing by Julian, it doesn't really matter. The tamboura and organ give it this off-kilter feeling, as do the key and meter changes. But underneath it all, Lucy is basically a nursery rhyme.

Winner: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Love You To
vs. Getting Better

Confession: I am a sucker for a good sitar. I got my friend Julie at work (who is Indian) to make me a copy of this awesome CD she has with dudes singing in Arabic with sitar and hip-hop beats. And Love You To has a really great beat and, hello, sitar. But the actual melody and song = meh. Whereas Getting Better is one of those Beatles songs that I am convinced are part of our cultural memory, that we know coming out of the womb, and that I didn't even know was a Beatles song until I was like 15. But then, I think it was also used in a Target commercial which kind of takes away from the mystique.

Winner: Getting Better. It's classic, you can't fight it.

Here, There, and Everywhere
vs. Fixing a Hole

Here, There, and Everywhere is a classic romantic song. And Paul's voice is so delicate. But Fixing a Hole is quirky in that Sgt. Pepper fashion, and it's also an ode to marijuana. Woo? And it's just so damn catchy!

Winner: Here, There, and Everywhere. Who am I to argue with Paul McCartney and George Martin who both say it is one of their favorite songs.

Yellow Submarine
vs. She's Loving Home

She's Leaving Home is classic McCartney. Sweeping melody, lovely cello in the background, sung about loss and heartache. But Yellow Submarine is....come on, Yellow Submarine! It was required in my elementary school music class that we learn this song. You have not lived until you have heard a classroom full of 10 year olds singing this son. And he lived beneath the waves, in a yellow submarine...

Winner: Yellow Submarine. Sorry, Paul. In this case, quirk and cute beats lovely.

She Said She Said
vs. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite

Hmm. Tough. She Said She Said has this insidious power of getting into my head and not leaving. Even sitting here just THINKING about the song is enough to lodge it into my cranium where it will probably remain for the rest of the weekend. Gotta love that syncopation. Mr. Kite is pretty much the quintessential Sgt. Pepper song, where on the surface it makes no sense, but when you look deeper...it still makes no sense. But, hey! It was written when John Lennon saw a circus poster, and that's cool, right? See how craaazy John Lennon is??

Winner: She Said She Said. Sorry, Mr. Kite.

Good Day Sunshine
vs. Within You Without You

Winner: Good Day Sunshine. Come on. No summer day is complete without it. Within You Without You = yawn.

And Your Bird Can Sing
vs. When I'm Sixty-Four

Oh, man. How am I supposed to decide? The harmonies in Bird rock my world. And the call and answer style is so fun to sign along with. But When I'm Sixty-Four is so great. It's cute, yes, but it also makes you want to love someone that way. Where you will take care of them even when they are old and slow and wrinkly. And it features clarinets, which is like, unheard of in a rock song. AND according to Wikipedia, it was one of the first songs Paul McCartney wrote; it was written when he was only 16.

Winner: When I'm Sixty-Four. It's probably one of my favorite songs of all time, and the great thing is, it appeals to all age-groups. Old people like it, because it's about them, and young people like it because it's awesome.

For No One
vs. Lovely Rita

Nobody can appreciate a song about a meter maid as much as me, because I am the type who gets unrequited crushes on UPS guys, strangers on the bus, the grocery store bagging guy...you know, people who you see in these tiny little portions of their life. But For No One gets in your head, not in the catchy pop way, but in the "OMG this song is following me around and trying to tell me something about life."

Winner: For No One. You can get the same vibe as Rita from Lady Madonna. But there's not really another tragic tale like For No One. I mean, Eleanor Rigby is depressing (see above discussion), but For No One is about once-happy lives falling apart. That's rough. And important.

Doctor Robert
vs. Good Morning Good Morning

I'm kinda ambivalent on both of these. Doctor Robert is fun I guess, and Good Morning is interesting, but *shrug*

Winner: Doctor Robert. It's just a better rock song. And those "good mornings" get really annoying.

I Want to Tell You
vs. Sgt. Pepper (reprise)

You go, George Harrison! I Want to Tell You is cool. It's almost like...it's a long piece of taffy that stretches out and gets better and better. Does that make sense? It has a meandering, but not directionless sound, and while it gets wordy, the piano pounding in the background drives it forward. Sgt Pepper in the reprise is cool, starting in a new key and modulating back to the original (I love modulation!), but we've heard it before.

Winner: I Want to Tell You.

Got to Get You into My Life
vs. A Day in the Life

Ooooh. Tricky. Ok, so A Day in the Life has that awesome orchestral chord and crescendo smack in the middle. And I love the little snippet of Paul's song ("woke up, got out of bed, ran a comb across my head..." This song is so progressive and so different than what other people were doing. It is one of the most famous Beatles songs and is probably one of Lennon's most powerful works. Got to Get You into My Life has the horns and the hints of motown. And the sparse instrumentation at the refrain. Sometimes simple is better. But I don't think it is this time.

Winner: A Day in the Life. It's just...the Beatles, you know? It's THEM. It encapsulates everything they stood for.

And bonus point for Revolver: Tomorrow Never Knows. Because there isn't anything else on Sgt. Pepper to compare it to.

Final tally: Revolver = 9 points, Sgt. Pepper = 4.

Ok, so I guess I Revolver is better. Alert the media, folks!

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Big Lebows...er, The Big Disappointment

I really like the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. But after waiting 2.5 hours for the Dudefest to start (special showing of The Big Lebowski!) and the power blows 15 minutes into the movie, I really hated the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse.

Especially considering the management's response was "we are rescheduling for 2 weeks from now and you have to let us know RIGHT NOW if you need a refund or you won't get one and you have to wait another hour for us to run all your food and drink bills by hand."


So Doug, Tony, Tito and I are having our own Dudefest this Saturday. Which will be better because:

1) Tito's sound system rocks my world,

2) We will have a cook-out first,

3) With cupcakes for dessert,

4) We can lie around in our bathrobes, The Dude style.

Fuck it, Dude. Let's go bowling.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Another day, another engagement. Yay for Joe and Caroline! I think September 2009 sounds like a lovely time for a wedding.

You know, I never thought I would be married by the time I was 30, but I am beginning to feel like the odd man out. At brunch on Sunday with my law school friends, I had a total Bridget Jones moment:

Me: Can we please have separate checks?
Waitress: Sure, how should I split them?
Caroline and Joe: We're together.
Lori and Todd: We're together.
Moe and Brian: We're together.
Me: I'm alone.
Waitress: So, together, together, together, alone.
Me: *sigh*

And it's not like I want to be married right now. Ick. But I guess it's nice to have someone else like you.

But anyway, this is a time of celebration! So, congrats to Caroline and Joe!

Wedding Watch:

Andrea and Justin, November 2008

Lori and Todd, May 2009

Caroline and Joe, September 2008

Who will be next??

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Learnin the Lingo

Now that I am well into my late 20s (how did THAT happen?), it's important for me to try to keep up with what the kids are doing/saying/watching these days. I really don't want to become a fuddy-duddy. Although, I feel like using the term fuddy-duddy is in itself evidence that I am a big fuddy-duddy.

I've seen High School Musical and High School Musical 2, I've watched Hannah Montana, I've read the Twilight Saga, so I'm not exactly hopelessly out of date. And it seems the latest craze is internet focused and is called "rickrolling."

Haven't heard of it? Allow me to demonstrate:

OMG you gusys!!!!111!!! Here is the latest Hannah Montana video!! LOL!

And then you click on the link, and see Rick Astley and his slammin dance moves from the video for "Never Gonna Give You Up." The irony is that the people with whom this prank is most popular, were not alive or even a twinkle in their father's eye, when this song came out. But it's still wacky and weird and kinda awesome.

Here is the urban dictionary definition of rickrolled:


To post a misleading link with a subject that promises to be exciting or interesting, e.g. "World of Starcraft in-game footage!" or "Paris Hilton blows Busta Rhymes' dick" but actually turns out to be the video for Rick Astley's debut single, "Never Gonna Give You Up". A variant on the duckroll. Allegedly hilarious.

It's the "allegedly hilarious" that makes it art. Also Paris Hilton?? Ew.

Oh, and here's a link to an interview with Rick himself. I swear that's a real link btw.