10 December 2009

Best of 2009 Mix

Favorite Tunes of 2009*

* Most of these tracks were released in 2009. There's a few on here from last year that didn't make it onto the '08 mix.

At the bottom of this post you can click "Read More" for a link to buy (most of) these songs on iTunes. You can also get a lot of them on eMusic.
  1. Intro: The Xx
    I love the way this track builds, slows down, and picks back up. It just grooves. The xx have made a simple instrumental that's very satisfying. It could be an intro to a film, a sports team, or just the intro to your day - pulling out of the driveway.

    If you like this track, check out "VCR" which has vocals.

  2. Both Ends Burning: Come on Gang (08)

    See gush-fest from earlier this year about Come on Gang.

  3. Iamundernodisguise: School of Seven Bells
    Etheral and a little spooky - just my kind of tune.

    It makes great music for a video about giant, calving glaciers (skip to 8 min 22 sec).

  4. Fresher In My Kicks: Dyme Def
    Whether you rocked the Air Jordans or LA Gear with the dual-colored gills - anyone who went to public school in the 80's can appreciate what this track has to say.

  5. So Human:Lady Sovereign
    British rapper chick samples The Cure. Catchy yeah, yeah's in the chorus. What more do you want?

  6. Collect Call: Metric
    This isn't Metric's first appearance on a "best of" mix and I'm sure it won't be the last. Year after year this Canadian band puts out great albums. They're also great live. Help I'm Alive is definitely the single off their 2009 album Fantasies, but I really like the subtlety of Collect call.

  7. Great Expectations: The Gaslight Anthem (another 2008)
    I must have listened to this song 500 times this year. It reminds me of the Bruce Springsteen-esque rock I grew up with in the 80s. This track starts rocking right out of the gate and I think the lyrics are great:

    They burned down the diner where I always used to find her
    - licking young boys blood from her claws.
    And I learned about the blues from this kitten I knew
    Her hair was raven, her arms like a tomb.

  8. Now We Can See: The Thermals
    There's nothing really groundbreaking about this tune from Portland trio: The Thermals, but I can't really slight them for consistently putting out instantly catchy-as-shit pop-punk songs.

  9. Daylight: Matt & Kim
    What would a Megan mix be without a song from an adorable male/female duo? I don't think Kim sings on this one, but like Mates of State and The Submarines... I bet she's playing that cute keyboard riff.

    and in the daylight we can hitchhike to Maine
    I hope that someday I'll see without these frame
    and in the daylight I don't pick up my phone
    cause in the daylight anywhere feels like home

  10. Something to Prove: The Redwood Plan
    Every Megan mix must also include some kind of feminist tune. Here is my favorite for 2009 with the amazing Leslie Wood (formerly of Ms. Led).

    I have to be honest: this song is almost too empowering. I listen to it and kind of feel like a slacker because I don't have something to tear down (give it one more try - yeah)!

  11. Born on a Day the Sun Didn't Rise: Black Moth Super Rainbow
    This is dreamy little pop song will most likely find its way into being an add for a cell phone. As you listen, imagine black and white photos of people co-mingling with brightly-colored hand-drawn animation. At the end... the HTC logo.

  12. Hi-808: Blue Scholars
    My favorite hip-hop group puts it down for Hawaii (area code 808)! Sab'z and Geo escape the snow of Seattle to film in Oahu (rockin' swap meat T's no doubt). Check out the 808 love.

  13. The Town: Macklemore
    Macklemore puts it down for the town, the 206ness and Seattle hip hop then and now. Even if you're not a Seattle hip-hop follower, this song will speak to anyone who loves their local music scene.

  14. Listened On: Lightening Dust
    The Lightning Dust are a duo from B.C. Their songs are folky and spooky. This one is my favorite so far, but I'm looking forward to digesting the album more. It's the kind of music I feel I can't fully appreciate in southern California.

  15. You Push, I'll Go: Baby Dayliner
    Something else I really love: handclaps. Oh yeah. I put this one on at work sometimes and do a little office chair dance. Click the song name to hear the full track - KEXP's song of the day.

  16. So Far Around the Bend: The National
    This song came out as part of the Dark Was The Night compilation (benefiting is the Red Hot Organization - remember those?). I love this band. This song doesn't show it off so much, but their drummer is really fantastic. 4AD 4-ever.

  17. Pistols: Throw Me the Statue
    There's an art to nonsensical lyrics. It can't be just blather like, "refrigerator show time epileptic heartbeat ... just doesn't do anything for ya." It's got to be something you feel cool singing along with. Kristin Hersh is amazing at this type of songwriting.

    Pistols is a catchy tune that strings together oblique words and phrases in an interesting way. I got the album though and, a little goes a long way.

  18. Love Lies Bleeding: The Ettes
    A critic I was reading described The Ettes as girly garage rock. It's something I only needed a small taste of, but I dig their sound.

  19. Oh Paris!: Dent May and His Magnificent Ukulele
    Dent May owes a lot to Jonathan Richman, but he does some nice things with a ukulele.

  20. Heavy Water/I'd Rather be Sleeping: Grouper
    A space-y song from a Portland band with a dreamy-sounding singer. Perfect background music for when you're crafting your novel or screenplay.

  21. Settler: Balmorhea
    This mix tells the story of the year that was. I discovered it earlier in the year and saved it - unsure why this bright piano tune attracted my attention. Several months later, it was the perfect accompaniment to the whale section of my Alaska re-cap video. To hear/see it, skip to 1 min 20 sec.

17 November 2009

What Storm Troopers Do on Their Day Off

The guy who created What Storm Troopers Do on Their Day Off is awesome.

Not only are his ideas very imaginative, they're really well-shot. This is totally worth checking out even if you're not a Star Wars nut.

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18 October 2009

Make and Share a Mixtape at Mixpod.com

Remember Muxtape (RIP)? Well now there's something kinda like it but better. Over at Mixpod.com you can make a playlist and add it to your blog, Facebook, whateve's. They have different players, but I decided to go with the old school tape for my mix (don't think I'll choose it again, but more on that later).

You don't have to upload songs to Mixpod - somehow they have them all in a giant online library. I was surprised that they had all but one of my fairly "indie" picks.

How to describe this mix? It's stuff I started listening to in summer that I just can't get enough of...

Music Playlist at MixPod.com

The only downside to this player is I can't figure out how to skip to the next track (there are five in all) without click through to Mixpod. There are other player formats available that show all the tracks, so, guess I'll pick one o' those next time.

To listen to the other tracks, click "Get Tracks." Underneath the cassette tape.

Here are all five songs in the playlist:

1. Intro: The Xx
- great song for cruising in your '95 Mirage (rain or shine)

2. Pistols: Throw Me the Statue
- I could only find a live version of this one. It's got thoughtful but semi-nonsensical lyrics like Her Space Holiday or Death Cab but it also grooves. Seek it out.

3. Pregnant Women Are Smug: Garfunkel and Oates
- to call them the Female Flight of the Conchords doesn't do them justice, but it gives you an idea. Check out these hilarious and talented ladies.

Daylight: Matt and Kim
- yeah, I know I'm late to this party... still spinnin' it tho.

Hi-808: Blue Scholars
- my favorite Seattle hip-hop group gives us the straight dope on life in Hawai'i

6. You Push, I'll Go: Baby Dayliner
- This is the song they didn't have. Click the link to check 'er out at KEXP. This is a great one for rising and shining... even if you have to be at work by 7am like I do. By a half-mile in I'm doing a little driver's seat dance. Can't help it.

20 September 2009

One Street. One Name. What's So Wrong With That?

It's been awhile since we had a good old fashioned rant about Orange County. The temp is about 100 degrees here and I'm feeling good and agitated.

So why not?

First let me say that there's something all of you in the northwest take for granted: your streets don't change names.

One street. One name. That's how it should be. That's how God wants it. It's natural. Normal.

It isn't until you move to the vanity plate capitol of the US where every cookie-cutter community wants to distinguish itself from the others that these name-changing streets are not only prevalent but tolerated!

People in Beaverton feel my pain. Is it Canyon Road? Hwy 8? The TV Hwy? WTF, right?

Now imagine if that kind of thing happened all over town...

Irvine Blvd Becomes Trabuco Road

A map of Lake Forest, CA where Trabuco turns into Irvine Blvd

But wait there's more!

Here's a road called Moulton Parkway changing its name to Irvine Center Drive. There's no good reason to change the name of this road and even less reason to change the name to "Irvine" something when there's already an Irvine-named road a few miles away.

Moulton Parkway becomes Irvine Center Drive

A map of Orange County, CA showing where Moulton turns into Irvine Center DriveWhoever planned Orange County had a two-year-old draw the maps. The roads twist and turn: changing from an east-west to north-south and then back again.

I guess in a planned community it's more important to design tasteful shopping plazas than make it easy for people to locate said tasteful shopping plaza.

Without google maps I'd never be able to go anywhere besides work and home. I would have made a wrong turn years ago and ended up either in Mexico or Arizona.

Here's the worst road of them all...

We have a road that changes its name three times as it passes from Mission Viejo to Aliso Viejo and into Laguna Woods. ARGH!

Oso Parkway becomes Pacific Park Drive

A map of Orange County, CA showing where Oso turns into Pacific Park
Pacific Park becomes Glenwood Drive

A map of South Orange County showing where Pacific Park turns into Greenwood

Oso / Pacific Park / Glenwood is a main thoroughfare. It's like if 33rd changed names* as it crossed from Alberta to Hollywood, then Hollywood to Laurelhurst.

* (too bad Cesear Chavez Blvd is taken)

The real kicker is: the damn thing used to be called "Oso" from beginning to end. As new communities sprung up, the "city" planners for each one wanted to unique-ify one of their main roads.

If they ever invent a machine that can send me back in time, I'm going to find those stupid planners and stop them (ala Terminator 2). Even Governator Schwarzenegger won't be able to stop me!

17 September 2009

My Friend Molly's Adventures in Korea

My friend Molly was adopted from Korea when she was a wee baby. She's over there right now to find out more about her birth mother. Read about her adventures and see her great photos!

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Napa Sonoma

After five years living in California I still hadn't made it to Napa / Sonoma.

Temecula and Santa Barbara are a lot closer... Napa is kinda the valley that started it all, right?

Oh heck, what do I know? I just drink the stuff!

So, Napa is one valley and Sonoma is another. There are sixty-seven wineries in Sonoma and probably that same number (or more in Napa). They're about a fifteen minute drive apart.

September is harvest season (also known as crush). The vines are heavy with berries and it's very scenic.

grapes in Napa Sonoma during crush september 2009
It's hard to know where to begin on winery row. There are loads of different maps that the wineries pay top dollar to be listed in. So instead I turned to Yelp. Through yelp I found some fun, off the beaten path wineries and learned a lot about how one website can drive a ton of business.

My favorite stop was Cuvaison. It's across the way from a really big, commercial winery that was not my, errr, cup of pinot. By contrast, Cuvaison is solar-powered, small and they really take the time make the tasting experience fun and informative.

On this trip I learned a lot of things about wine. I also learned that there are white wines out there that I like: namely Cuvaison's Chardonnay. It also helped that our tasting person had a real passion for wine and was such a sweetheart. I asked if it was okay to taste some of the grapes so she went out and got a few.

Pinot Noir and grapes at Cuvaison Winery in Sonoma
Here are the pinot noir grapes with a bottle of wine that, two or so years from now, those grapes will become! Supposedly the smaller the grape, the better. They want a small skin-to-juice ratio because the skins provide a lot of flavor. The pinot grapes tasted pretty good, actually. I'd eat 'em!

Read on for more wine info to wow your friends with at parties...

So, it's crush time which means they have viniculturists and interns working like crazy to identify when the grapes are right for picking. When the sugar content is just right, it's time to pick the grapes. Sometimes they start picking at 3 am because the grapes shouldn't have another day in the sun.

The grapes are then processed (see image above). This involves sorting out rocks and bugs and other foreign objects. The grapes are then pressed and juice and skins go into a big steel tank. The winemaker then adds a fermenting agent. Some wineries ferment their wine in steel the whole time, some switch to oak barrels.

The facility we visited had up to five ton steel tanks where the grapes would sit for about a week. The expert said they could get six tons of grapes in one day, but that was above average. Six tons!

There are some interesting differences between winemaking in the U.S. versus the old country. These are some comments you can drop at a cocktail party to sound like a super-smart wine snob.

Typically, Europeans select wine by the vineyard - not the grape. Whereas Americas ask for a Chardonnay or a Merlot, a European would not. Instead you would ask for a Robert Mondavi or a Beringer.

We also differ in the way the wine is made. In the U.S. they leave grapes on the vine longer - giving them a higher sugar content, but we don't spend as much time aging the wine. The Europeans pick sooner, but age longer. The extended aging smooths the wine and balances the brightness of picking the grapes earlier.

One last factoid: one of the vintners mentioned they are discontinuing their Merlot because demand has declined. The country's taste has changed - mainly because of the movie Sideways. I asked other winemakers and they said the same thing. Lucky for this Oregon girl, I've always had an appreciation for Pinot!

31 August 2009

Alaska Video!

I finally finished it!

Please view it in full screen mode. To do this, click the four arrows in the bottom right corner - it's the icon to the left of the Vimeo logo - next to the blue bars.

Also, don't forget to turn your speakers on. The sound didn't synch up quite like I'd hoped, but, I spent a lot of time picking out the tunes. Hope you like it!

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30 August 2009

The Cruise Ship Experience

If you'd asked me ten years ago, "would you like to go on a cruise?" I would have said, "hello no!" Followed by, "... wait, is it free?"

In all seriousness - I've never had any interest in experiencing McMexico or McCaribbean. Giving up quality time in a country in exchange for a boat full of Americans (and their ill-behaved children) sounds like torture.

Alaska is a different story...

The most beautiful parts of the 49th state can only be seen by boat. There's really nothing like seeing a glacier that's a quarter-mile wide filling your range of vision. Sure, you can cruise glacier bay on a smaller boat, but there's no afternoon tea on those boats.

So, with it being a recession year and all (I got a balcony cabin for almost half-price) I figured, why not? I hope after viewing my Alaska video (about 11 min) you'll see why its worth braving the hordes of "newlywed, overfed, and almost dead."

To be completely honest, the cruise experience wasn't as bad as I expected. The food was great, the scenery was amazing and it was nice to see so many things and only unpack once.

So, perhaps you're wondering:

Megan, you get motion sick watching iMAX movies, how can you go on a cruise?

Well, the answer is drugs. Yes, my friends, sometimes drugs are the answer. In this case I took 1/2 a Bonine every day. I tried going off it one day but started feeling pukey-y so I took a Triptone (which can make you feel better even if you're already sick) and had a nice, long nap.

Here are some cruise ship myths I've debunked:

MYTH: Cruise ships are full of old people.

It's 85% old people.

MYTH: You have to get dressed up every night.
You can eat on the Lido deck and not dress up.
That said: all meals are included, so, why eat at the buffet when you can have a three course meal in the dining room? Even I'll put on a sweater and a necklace for that.

MYTH: Don't try to bring your own booze, they'll take it away.
Holland America allows passengers to bring wine and champagne in your luggage. After you're underway it's a different story. If you buy booze in port, they take it away when you get back on board and give it back at the end of the trip.

Here are some interesting things I learned:
  • The horn is really loud. It's a bad idea to be at the bow when they blow that thing.
  • There's a mandatory lifeboat drill for all passengers on the first day.
  • Our cabin steward worked 11 hours/day with no days off.
  • The guys who run the gym love Roxette's greatest hits.
  • The cruise ship people don't mess around when it comes to hand-washing.

Seriously, the captain gave us regular reminders over the PA. There were also burly guys posted at the bottom of the gangway next to a Purell dispenser. These guys - in-no-uncertain-terms - wanted every passenger to sanitize their hands before boarding the ship after being in port.

view of glacier from Volendam Holland America cruise ship

25 August 2009


I'm back from Alaska... still working on a round-up of all the photos and a well-worded recap. I'm also working on a video. It's challenging to capture the amazing scenery of Alaska in just photos and videos, but it's better than another rant about misbehaving kids, eh?

It was a great trip overall. The highlights were
  • Glacier Bay
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Visiting a dive shop in Ketchikan
As for the cruise itself: my travel buddy described the cruise ship as, "a floating restaurant with scheduled activities." Which I think is accurate.

They were also really really fanatical about hand-washing. There was a Purell dispenser every time you turned around - two in front of every entrance to the dining room. The captain would get on the PA and remind people to "vash your handz."

We started making jokes, "If zu do not vash your handz, ve do not bring out zee vhales OR ZEE FOOD!"

Really though, it was a fun trip. I never thought I'd take a cruise, but it's the only way to see some of the most spectacular scenery mother nature has to offer.

Coming Soon...

A video recap
Photos of scenic stuff
Photos of whales
Pix from the lumberjack show

18 June 2009

My Favorite Band of 2009 (so far)

Come On Gang!

Every so often I come across a band that I like so much I can't talk about them like a normal person. I start off okay and pretty soon I sound like I'm ten talking about someone's really cool older sister.

Come On Gang is, like, this really cool band from Scotland. Their singer, she's a drummer, and when she drums she also sings and she's like really, really good and cute. I want to grow up to be just like her.*

There are two boys in the band and they play guitar and bass and it's this really driving, toe-tapping beat that's super-awesome, okay? Go get their EP off iTunes for $1.98 already!

Here is my favorite track: Both Ends Burning. I challenge you not to bob your head.

The sing off their album is called Wheels click "read more" to watch the video on you tube.

* and since this band formed at a college in 2007 she's probably ten years younger than me. D'oh!

02 June 2009

Ladies Rock Camp 2009 - the videos

I can't believe the weekend is over already! For those of you who couldn't make it to the show, here are some videos.

Check out more Ladies Rock Camp videos including "Crank Skank" and a song from Alley's band - the singer who totally channels Grace Slick.

CRANK SKANK by 2nd Hand Pussy (possibly my favorite song from camp)

"Waiting for You" by Push This Way

To find out more about the Ladies Rock Camp experience: read my write up from 2008. Or visit the Ladies Rock Camp home page - there's still one more session in 2009!

28 May 2009

At the Airport Ready to Rock

I'm using my Android phone (aka G1- The Google phone) to write from the Orange County airport. I'm headed up to PDX for Ladies Rock Camp. I went last year and it was one of THE BEST things I've ever done.

I'm playing drums again this year and I'm stoaked to try a new genre. Last year I held out for people to form a metal bamd but ended up in an "indie" band with some other leftover musicians - who turned out to be amazing people.

In 72 hours it will be all over. I'll have formed a band, written a song, rocked, and played a gig at Satyricon. Whoa!

Stay tuned for all the details...

To read about last year's exploits: type in "Ladies Rock Camp" into this blog's search box in the top right. Sorry, I can't figure out how to copy and paste a URL from the browser of this phone. Alternately you can click on the archives on the far right - click on 2008 and then April.

Last year's post includes video and an explanation of how I got the nickname "pants."

19 April 2009


Minimal? at Hoover Dam

I have to be honest: I had no idea Hoover Dam was so close to Las Vegas. It's less than a half hour away (depending on traffic).

There's a $30 tour and a $11 tour. The $11 tour was fine, you get to go 500 feet inside the dam and walk around in some of the tunnels.

What's really interesting (and scary) is how much Lake Mead has dropped. See the white band just above the water line? That's where the water level used to be.

Hoover Dam water level has dropped significantly

If you can't tell from the photo, the water has dropped about fifty feet. Keep in mind that lake meed is 120 miles long and has 550 miles of shore line. It's HUGE. This is not like Lake Oswego losing 50 feet of water.


Today you can drive across the top of the dam. Pretty soon (2010?) there will be a bridge across from the damn. Here's a photo taken from the top of Hoover Dam of the new bridge (see below).

The road across the top of the dam is only two lanes wide. Semi-trucks can't go across it so they have to use a bi-pass, and in the summer - there's a three hour wait for people who want to drive over the bridge.

new bridge at Hoover Dam

The new bridge will make it easier to see the damn and make it safer. Allowing anyone to drive across the top of the damn is kind of a security risk. Even though the new bridge may make it easier to skip the visitors center, I think it's worth sticking your head in. They do a good job of explaining how hydro-electric power works and there's some nice art deco.

03 April 2009

It's Never Too Early for an Easter Greeting

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30 March 2009

The Oregon Trail: Now for iPhone

WARNING: This is not a screen grab from the iPhone game!

I can't even begin to guess how many hours...days even...I spent playing Oregon Trail in elementary school. The best part was "rainy day recess" when I could convince a substitute teacher to let me go to the computer lab instead of playing with the other kids (FORESHADOWING!)

Anyway, turns out there are tons of other Oregon Trail fanatics out there. Well, at least enough to justify the creation of an Oregon Trail game for iPhone.

I was a little disappointed to find out that it's not the original game. Someone dolled it up with better graphics and typical video game crap like a health status bar. Oh well, it was only six bucks and it will be worth it when someone dies of dysentery.

Read the Gizmodo review (with screenshots).

My Friend's iPhone Game: Retrobots


A friend of mine made an iPhone app. It's been several months in the making and debuted on the app store over the weekend.

Find retrobots by searching for "retrobots" (all one word).
Click on the icon to read about the app / download for $2.99

If I'm remembering right - it's based on an old Apple Macintosh game.

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23 March 2009

100 Top Indie Albums of All Time

Here are the 100 Top Indie Rock Albums of All Time... as proposed by Amazon.com's music editors.

Am I a dumbass because I've never heard of #5?

I was surprised by how many new albums are on here. I'd like to see a pie chart breaking down the 80's, 90's and 00's. It's got to be at least 50% from the last five to seven years.

Rankings and the definition of "indie" aside,

They totally got it right with:
Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs
Postal Service - Give Up
Liz Phair - Exile In Guyville
Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
Broken Social Scene - You Forget It In People
Mirah - Advisory Committee
Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrjun
Bikini Kill - Pussy Whipped
Notwist - Neon Golden
Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out
TV on the Radio - Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes
Rachel's - The Sea and Bells
(I was happily surprised to see this made the list)
The New Pornographers' Mass Romantic
(at first I thought this was the wrong choice, but the more I think about it, this is the right pick)

I guess it depends on what the criteria is for "top album" but there are some albums on there I'd disagree with:

Right artist, wrong album:
Belle and Sebastian's - If You're Feeling Sinister
(Tigermilk, their first album was really the breakthrough and believe me I'm trying to be sensitive to first-album bias)
Neko Case - Furnace Room Lullaby
(Blacklisted is better from beginning to end)
The National - Alligator
(yeah, Boxer was more popular, but that's because it's a more solid album)
Pixies - Surfer Rosa
(I can see the argument for Surfer Rosa, but I would have picked Doolittle)

Where the heck is...
Throwing Muses?
Ani DiFranco?
The Mountain Goats?
... shoot, I know there are a ton I'm spacing on.

Read the complete list at Amazon.com's Chordstrike blog.

Is Obama a Socialist?

A leader of the US Socialist party says, "no," and makes some great points.

Read the complete article from the Washington Post.

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11 March 2009

Youtube mash-ups by Kuitiman

Youtube mash-ups by Kuitiman

To me, youtube is a great place to waste time and / or find horrible videos you'll never un-see. This guy, Kuitiman looks at youtube a little differently. He sees it as a massive collection of samples.

He created an audio/video mash-up of different youtube videos. It's kinda like what DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist do - but with youtube. Check it out:

Ready for another one?

Check out the complete album at thru-you.com.

22 February 2009

19 February 2009

I Guess No One Ever Said Buying A Condo Would Be Easy

I Want this Condo Deal to Be OVER

This past Tuesday was an important day. I sent over the big wire transfer for my condo... and then I heard nothing.

It's been just over two days now and no one has said, "hey we got your money" or "hey come get the keys."

I emailed my real estate agent this afternoon and asked, "sooooo, I can move in next weekend right?" and "how about them keys?"

Before I get any further into this, let me say: I had a bad feeling that this process was going all-too-smoothly.

For one thing, this condo is a short sale. This is bad because the bank has you by the balls the entire time. From the very beginning they jack with you. I put an offer in on a condo back in mid-December and they took over a month to say, "no thanks." Meanwhile the condo stays on the market while they wait for higher offers to come in.

The situation gets better: there are TWO loans on this condo. There's the mortgage and then there's some other loan with BANK OF AMERICA for $3,000. These aren't my loans, okay? I don't know where the $3,000 loan came from, but we negotiated a deal where I pay half and the bank eats the other half.

... or so I thought.

Escrow was supposed to close TOMORROW. As in: tomorrow I was supposed to get the keys and be a happy homeowner.

Apparently not.

The representative at BANK OF AMERICA who coordinated that "halfsies" deal – quit. Now the paperwork is on someone else’s desk and the bank is saying, “weeeelllll, maybe we don’t want to write off the other half of this loan.”

Dude, if I changed my mind on that deal, they’d send my ass to collections.

What other industry can get away with this transactional flip-flopping? If I agree to buy a car, and come in the next day to pick it up, the dealer can't say, "uh, the guy you bought that car from doesn't work here any more and we want to charge you more so we're going to change the price of your car."

The realtors will call BANK OF AMERICA tomorrow and try to negotiate something. At which point one of three things will happen:

#1 Escrow will close on Monday (instead of Friday)


# The bank will say “we’re going to think about it for a couple weeks.”

Which means I have to negotiate something with the apartment people (who will ream me on next month's rent) and of course reschedule the move.

Then who knows? They're probably thinking, "this chick is antsy to move, if we wait her out she'll just pay the whole thing." She can't live out of boxes forever...

Dude, this really bugs me.

18 February 2009

I Don't Think You're Ready for this Jelly

100 Days / 100 Dances / 100 Locations
(and NO that's not me dancing)

BOOMBOX from Ely Kim on Vimeo.

Ready to get some jelly? Ever wonder what a 60 lb Rice Crispie treat would look like? Thisiswhyyourefat.com

17 February 2009

Fifteenth Time's the Charm

The Final Week of Escrow

I'll be honest with you, I don't really understand escrow. I've been sitting here, twiddling my thumbs for three weeks waiting for them to say, "okay write the big check."

In the meantime I've signed stacks and stacks of paper - most of which they tried to send via overnight courier for $30 a pop. I insisted on UPS ground which gets it there at the same time for one-fifth the price.

Seriously people. This too old school for me. I know these documents are important, but the fact is: I don't get to make changes to them anyway. In the end, I have to sign. So why not do this interweb style and just have an "I Agree" check box and a "next" button.

After clicking "next" a screen would load where you put in your bank account number and it sucks all the money out of your savings account. Voila. Done. Same as escrow but in a fraction of the time.

Finally the big day has come. With four days left in escrow ...

...I wired over the down payment today. Moving day is next Saturday, so, in two weeks I will be installed in my new place. Here's what it looks like.

I plan to rip up the carpet and put in tile. That's about it right now.

A really nice lesbian couple owns it now and they did some nice upgrades. I feel bad they got foreclosed upon. They paid $145,000 more than I paid for this place (and not that long ago).

Oh, and if you're wondering what the subject line means - this is the 15th place I've lived in ten years. Mom writes my address in her address book in pencil.

09 February 2009

Things that make you go.... WTF?

I took a couple days off work last week and of course it rained the whole time. I got some quality internet surfing in and here are some odd things I found:

#1 Dining in the Dark
There's a restaurant in LA (and San Diego) called Opaque where you eat in the pitch black dark. I guess the idea is, by eating in the dark the food's taste is not obscured by how it looks.

I wonder if they let you pay in the dark? Yeah, that's three $20's.

#2 Median versus average household income

The median household income in the US is about $50,000/year
The average household income is $317,000

The average household income in California is just under $60,000 - but we're not the #1 state. I'm going to call my lawyer.

#3 Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice - Zombie edition

The blurb on this book says it includes the original text of
Austen's beloved novel with "new bone-crunching zombie action." I wonder if they try to integrate it in or if they just start a new chapter with

"... all of a sudden, a zombie bit into Mr. Darcy's jugular."

(thanks to Cary for finding this last one)

27 January 2009


Blueful is a short story . . . almost a poem . . . strewn across several websites. You'll need to devote at least five minutes of no-distraction time to fully appreciate it.

The writing isn't groundbreaking, but the methodology is. This is something I bet we'll see ripped off by some promotional firm. In the meantime, hope you'll enjoy a simple journey of discovery across the internet.

END OF POST (there is no "Read more . . .")

19 January 2009

Condo Condo Condo

As many of you know, for the last two months I've been looking at condos. When my apartment lease re'ups, my rent will increase to about $2,000/month. This is for a 2BR / 2Ba for godsakes!

Here's a slideshow of the 40+ places I've looked at:

(they all run together after awhile, eh?)

In other words, my decision to buy a place isn't motivated by a dream to have 1,000 sq. feet in a people farm to call my own. I'm doing it because a mortgage is cheaper than my damn rent. My wonderful and fantastic roommates have agreed to stay roomies with me and help me pay the mortgage. They are the most kind and generous people who have ever lived.

I'm running into a big problem though: a lot of condos are short sales. At first I thought, "sweet, I'm going to score a great deal." Unfortunately, the banks don't like FHA (first time home buyer) loans.

I put an offer in on a place this weekend - the third offer I've put in. The prior two were turned down because the bank found someone who could put 20% down (FHA only requires 3.5% down).

It's like that conundrum that new college grads get stuck with: they have no job experience and can't get any job experience because no one will hire them. Same same with being a first time homebuyer: I can' t get into a place because I can't afford a 20% down payment. I can't afford a 20% down payment because I pay all my money in rent! Arrrrgh!

Well now that I've bummed you out, here's a link to the place I'm hoping to buy. There's a virtual tour if you click "read more."

UPDATE: I put an offer in on the 21st and have started escrow, WTF? The link above doesn't work anymore because the place is off the market. Click the Read More link below to look at the virtual tour.

Take a virtual tour and keep your fingers crossed!

04 January 2009

Remember to Honk When you Drive Past Vern Fonk

I can't believe Vern Fonk has eluded me this long. His ads are GENIUS.

Check out this locally-produced gem known as "DANCE!"

Want more? Of course you do. Check out Shapoopi 2


More videos from Vern Fonk available on youtube. He spoofs The Sopranos, those annoying ads from mattress companies, some popular movies . . . but Shapoopi is the best (in my opinion).

With the ever-deflating price of home video / editing equipment, we should have a lot more homemade ads like this, don't you think?