Monday, December 29, 2008


Happy New Year and Holidays to all. I hope everyone had a great 2008

I traveled a lot for work in 2008. My Top 10 Cities Visited (I could be going to most of them again in 2009, so if you have any tips on restaurants/things to do in any of them, please let me know in the comments)

Tie-1) Washington DC: This was my first visit since 1988, my first visit without chaperones…and with….pubes? Just an unbelievably fun and easily accessible city. I cannot wait to return in 2009.

Tie-1) Los Angeles: My first non-LAX-stopover LA visit since 1987. I drove all over the place and know that I didn’t scratch the surface of what I could have done. I did see my Mets slaughter the Dodgers at Dodger stadium. I also almost became the newest person to plow through the Santa Monica Wednesday farmer’s market. Thank goodness for the parking meter car that stopped me.

3) Austin: I think this city is kind of overrated, but I still enjoyed it. Strangely, I was in DC the week before the election and in Austin the week before SXSW, so I missed the action each time. I saw one good weird band in Austin within the sea of probably 20-25 Stevie Ray Vaughn wannabes simultaneously populating 6th street. It looks like a fun place, but not anything different from, say, Beale Street or Nashville’s Broadway/2nd avenue. Maybe there’s an Austin experience I’m missing. I’m annoyed by the “Keep Austin Weird” t-shorts…is it really weird if you have to tell people on a t-shirt? I still enjoyed it….it just wasn’t the orgasmic experience most people lead you to expect.

4) Phoenix/Tempe: Memorable for my hotel room in Tempe that had all mirrored walls. Creepy….fun!

5) Fargo, ND: I didn’t get the full Fargo experience (which I kind of fear…), but I did get to hear the accents.

6) El Paso: I was lucky to be traveling with a Mexico City policeman, and ate some excellent Mexican food there per his recommendation.

7) Bismarck, ND: Home of the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame You really have to experience it in person. The website doesn’t do it justice. I mean, you can also see all of those people’s pictures….on a wall…right there in the airport…..for free!

8) The NW Chicago suburbs (Schaumburg, Hoffman Estes, Barrington): Best Buy, Target, Starbucks, Chili’s, Caribou, Books a Million, repeat.

9) Juarez, Mexico: I didn’t see much there except where our jobs went. Warehouse after warehouse after factory after corporate office.

10) Detroit: The cosmic nemesis of Juarez. Both places look identical, except the factories and warehouses in Detroit were run down and empty.

Favorite albums of 2008 (Daniel J and I share more than just names…)

Deerhoof: Offend Maggie

Beck: Modern Guilt

The Walkmen: You & Me

My Morning Jacket: Evil Urges

Crooked Fingers: Forfeit / Fortune

Pavement: brighten the Corners reissue

Not released in 2008, but I heard it for the first time in 2008 and enjoyed

New Pornographers: Electric Version

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: Hearts of Oak

A.C. Newman: The Slow Wonder

Curtis Mayfield: Superfly

-Daniel D


Daniel said...

Nice list man. What is it that you do for work?

You're right about our shared taste in music. Even your not-new-in-2008's are some of my favorites especially the Ted Leo and AC Newman albums.

I also agree with your Keep Austin Weird sentiment. In fact I'm currently wearing a t-shirt that pokes fun at the notion. It says "Keep Abilene Boring" from Monk's coffee shop in Abilene, TX. Stick it to the man! Er, yah...

Thomas McMahon IV said...

My favorite part of Austin when I visited was the running trails along the river. Nothin' weird about that. On second thought, though, the seemingly endless stream of bats flying out from under one of the bridges at sundown is one of the weirder things I've seen.

Paul said...

Going to DC in May, Dan. You'll have to share some tips w/ me as it's been at least 15 years since I've been there. I still hope to make it to Nashville sometime in the spring . . . we'll see.

Re: Electric Version. The 1-2 punch of "From Blown Speakers" and "The Laws Have Changed" is hard to beat. This was the album I listened to when I found out I passed the bar. Pure energy, baby.