Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vote for GrassRoot Soccer in the American Express Members Project


GrassRootSoccer is my favorite charity and one that I've watched grow, first over tea with Bette Clark during my time with the soccer team at ND and then from afar, as my life has moved out of Indiana.

Many of you know how much I love Bobby Clark, coach of the men's soccer team at ND. Prior to coaching in the US, Bobby took his family to Zimbabwe, where he coached a professional team. Those years have left a lasting effect on his family and some of his future soccer players, who've worked in the country upon graduating.

Bobby first came to the States to coach at Dartmouth, where his son Tommy also played, before he beginning med school. During his intern year in pediatric residency, Tommy developed the concept of HIV education in Africa through the advocacy of professional soccer players. He formalized the concept and traveled with a few members of his board in the fall of 2002, before kicking off the program the following January.

You may recognize one of the co-founders, Ethan Zohn, as a past Survivor winner. He put his winnings into this program and has brought a celebrity face to the foundation, after playing and coaching professionally in Zimbabwe.

I've loved what they've done in bringing AIDS education to Africa through the teachings of professional soccer players, who are the kids's sports idols. I'll admit that working in sports sometimes turns into too much of a focus on player salaries and sponsorship dollars, so I love to see such a great community outreach program on such a vital issue.

Check out GrassRoot Soccer and vote through the member project.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jessi's Reading 9.16.8


FBF, me and Amy delight in some crabs in the touristy part of Baltimore.  
Fortunately, FBF handles all shellfish for me and Amy is my epicurious dinting partner.  

I've been known for making declarations to my closest friends that if they don't watch my latest television discovery, then we can't be friends.*  The Wire is the final recommendation from my friends who have been telling me to watch for the last year and a half (yes, we were a bit late to the show).  HBO just won't give it to me On Demand, nor have the DVDs become available at the library.  I might have to break down and buy it soon, though.  

Wire creator David Simon discusses "the escalating breakdown of urban society across the US" in his Guardian piece.  It's a pretty solid article (PT even gave it his seal of approval) covering the problems permeating from the actions of politicians and the fact that journalists in the city are not covering the issues, while instead focusing on fluff, prize pieces, nor does anyone try to do anything about the situation.  Recently, USC Law hosted a discussion with Simon and USC Media & Religion Annenberg Knight Chair, Diane Wilson.  As with the series, I still have to watch the whole thing, but had to share it for all my Wire friends.



A Brit invented the iPod in 1979!  (We love Britons almost as much as we love Canadians.)  And in other Apple news, I am a big fan of the genius playlist.  It's so smart, it made me realize that I might have a little bit of a sad problem right now--I pick out a song and then 43% of the playlist songs make me cry.  Once again, I'm saving psychiatrist money, but burning through my minutes when I have to talk to favorite fake older brothers, Woody and Eric, about my problems.  (Note to Jody:  On a good note, this is helping in finally making a full Sad, Sad Songs that Make You Cry cd .  I think Benny stole the original.  Why does everyone steal my best mix tapes???)

On to more exciting things--origami!  There was a time in college when I made Dawn teach me origami, although I'm afraid that I inadvertently agreed to make 1,000 cranes when she gets married.  The good news is that Ellen, Setta and I had lots of cranes to keep us company in LaFortune during our "study" sessions.  If I had NetFlix, I could make some fantastic creations out of my old sleeves.  But we all know that I might be further behind Kelly when it comes to watching movies.  


Some other things that I love are Democrats and photography.  Jill Greenberg was hired to shoot a "hero" photo of John McCain for the cover of The Atlantic.  Before the shoot was over, she had the senator step in front of a strobe light, producing horror movie style shadows behind him.  Greenberg has fully accepted that she'll be audited if he's elected, as she's published these photos on her website (click on names, then go to john mccain), complete with captions and photoshopped effects.  (Go Democrat friends, go!)

Because we love The Guardian, I had to share this one, as well.  It seems that Britons (I still love your accents, even if I'm about to pick on you) disregard certain grooming measures...or at least this "serious" journalist does.  He did help explain why I go for the moody, rocker in tight jeans, even if his legs might be a third the size of mine.  (Have you seen my calves in heels?  They're fantastic.  I just won't ever be able to wear those skinny jeans.)

And in a final sad note, David Foster Wallace killed himself this weekend.  I have yet to read his prolific novel, Infinite Jest, yet I recognized a few of his articles as I read through the obits and discussions on my usual sites.  The Blue linked to his commencement address at Kenyon in 2005.^  While it definitely matched my mood, his thoughts on the fact that we are trapped in a banal, routine circle of work and a little bit of rushed free time certainly rang true and amazingly, I've been throwing the lesson of the story into my life today, which might be the only way to control my sometimes overwhelming anger.  Slate's obit, titled Infinitely Sad, suggested reading Wallace's report from Maine's Lobster Festival,which only reaffirmed by decision that I was right in never wanting to eat lobster again.  He leaves behind a wife and 6 years of grateful students.

*(You should be watching Mad Men, Flight of the Conchords, Arrested Development, Always Sunny, and Weeds.   Oh, and maybe Dexter.)

^And yes, I continue to read strong commencement speeches, because our commencement speech at ND was a position speech by some senator who was hoping for some press.  We are still angry about this.  

P.S.  I'm fully reclaiming the oxford comma.  This is quite different from when Mary tried to reclaim the c word in college.  A movement that I judged strange, but now I completely adore the c word, while i hate 4 words that begin with p, one that begins with m, and a phrase that begins with m.

Listen:  
Pedro the Lion - Bad Diary Days | Zs

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Thought It Would Be Impossible - Jody (and Lauren) Accomplish Double Concert Night!

Is it just me or does the Railroad Earth lead singer remind you of Sean Penn?


A few months ago, I got an email from Railroad Earth with their upcoming tour dates. They were hitting the TLA in Philly on a Friday night, Sept 5. I was pumped, as these guys are my current favorite band. A few days later, my listener-supported radio station, XPN, was listing their upcoming shows – My Morning Jacket, who I have been dying to see, was coming to town. I was even more pumped. Then they said it was a Friday night. Even better. Wrong. Friday, Sept 5. How am I supposed to choose??


Well, hippie concert friend Lauren and I did some math. MMJ kicked off at 7:30 at Festival Pier. RRE had a 9 start time at the TLA, a ten minute cab ride away. We reasoned that if MMJ has no opener, while RRE had one, we may, just may, be able to pull it off. 4 tickets, 2 to each show were purchased and Double Concert Bonanza was on. The Blog was giddy with excitement.


Sept 5 came up and the entire East Coast was preparing for Hurricane Hannah. Philly’s Friday night weather forecast was rain, lots of it. First cab ride dropped us off at Festival Pier at 7:34 and MMJ rolled onto stage at 7:39. Lauren and I were pumped – this early start must bode well for Double Concert Bonanza. Most people reasoned that the early start was due to the impending storms. MMJ rocked, once I stopped focusing on how much hair they all have, along with how much screaming they do. They played most (possibly all) of their new album, Evil Urges, mixed in with some older tunes like Gideon and What a Wonderful Man. We had a decent spot nearly center-stage but moved back toward the outside in anticipation of it starting to rain and having to bolt for a cab. Plus, we found some friends with an iPhone, who were tracking the Phillies game.  We left during Highly Suspicious in the encore, as it was starting to rain and our friends at RRE told us to hurry up. Luckily, XPN was broadcasting live, so we caught the reminder of the show from the cab ride. I was bummed to have missed One Big Holiday, but overall, it was an awesome show. I can’t wait to see these guys again, hopefully not on the same night as another show and not at Bonnaroo after being awake for 48 hours.


We got to the TLA during RRE’s second song, so we grabbed some beers and found our friends on the dance floor.  I love seeing RRE at an indoor venue. The energy always seems to be really high, people are dancing all over the place, and the music always rocks. These guys also played a majority of their new album, Amen Corner (the studio album does not do this band justice, you must find some live tracks or better yet, go see them – Emily would love them). The first set was great and after a short break, they came back out and just tore it up (I can’t seem to find the setlist online anywhere, maybe The Blog’s editor can work some magic.  Editor's Note:  I'm not that good). They just kept playing; even the encore went on forever. The show didn’t end until after 1am, at which point we went for pizza and home to bed, because Sept 6 was kick-off for the Irish. Overall, I was quite happy with the decision to go for two and overjoyed at how well the entire evening went. I think we all had visions of us missing most of either show. Go check these bands out – happy listening!


1. Anytime
2. Aluminum Park
3. Off The Record
4. Evil Urges
5. Touch Me I'm Giong To Scream Pt.1
6. What A Wonderful Man
7. Two Halves
8. Golden
9. Thank You Too!
10. I'm Amazed
11. Evelyn Is Not Real
12. Sec Walkin
13. War Begun
14. Phone Went West
15. Librarian
16. Dondante
17. Gideon
18. Lay Low
19. Mahgeetah
----------
20. Worldess Chorus
21. Highly Suspicious
22. Cobra
23. Smokin From Shootin
24. Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Pt.2
25. Run Thru
26. One Big Holiday



Friday, September 12, 2008

My Love Hate Relationship with the Pool Continues


I fell in love with swimming last year around the time I left for Hawaii.  I'd never had swim lessons, but would occasionally go with some of my friends in college at night, but that always led to ravenous sessions of pizzas, french fries and whatever else Reckers would serve us after midnight.  I did it a bit in grad school, but never built up my endurance.  Things started to change when I joined the JCC...and yes, I still forget that I'm wearing my ND shirts to the gym until I get there.  

This week I swam two miles for the first time, but am back to being unmotivated Jessi.  (The pool is great to work out my problems, but I'm pretty content right now and just can't focus.) So I'm hoping that maybe this picture of Little Jessi running in joyful fear from the sprinklers will be my little motivational tool to get back into the pool.  I've come along way from my fear of water.  Either way, I love this photo.    

Oh and Mom, thanks for picking out that swimsuit.  The red and white on the side really makes my waist look trim, while keeping my fabulous hips ;)

Jessi's Reading 9.12.8

I can't sleep again, maybe it's because of this inappropriate children's slide...or probably because of something else.  at least woody knows that there's no way I'm asleep and he has no problem calling to check in on me after one a.m.  



There's a new map in town that purports to show not only where all the single men or women are, but also to split it by age demographics.  It seems that as long as I don't move to Durham, NC; Fayetteville, NC; or Montgomery, AL, there are more single men in the 25-34 age bracket than women (although our odds are much better on the West Coast, ladies.)  Sorry to my friends at Duke & UNC ;)

I hardly ever think to bring my umbrella, unless the sky is already blanketed by deep, dark clouds, which is why I own more than 5 but less than 9 umbrellas that are scattered amongst my car, office and home.  Umbrella Today seems to be my perfect solution.   You can type in your zip code to see if you should take your umbrella today.  The next page gives you the answer and let's you sign up for a morning text message on days when you will need one.  

As part of an art project, a woman named Asia, decided to send 300 letters to strangers, instead of the intended recipient.  Of course, before dropping them in the mail, she scanned them, and color coded them in order to place them online.   The project grew to 400 letters, as she realized that she was only beginning to really open up and properly write the letters as the project neared its initial close.  As someone who constantly writes letters (horribly long letters) to clear my head, but never sends them, I really liked randomly clicking on the boxes to see what letter it might produce, although with each click I kept hoping that no one would break into my gmail drafts folder or stumble upon one of my notebooks.  

And since we're less than 60 days away from elections, hopefully this article from UVA psychology professor Jonathan Haidt will finally explain why some people you know vote Republican.  I still don't understand ;)


(Thank you little brother for the introduction to Dax so long ago...such a voice to fill a night.)

How Do You Not Immediately Marry a Guy Who's Willing to Take a Bullet For You?

FBF on our first attempt at surfing...in December, of course

Evie and I went for a walk around the neighborhood tonight and somehow I started telling her about the time FBF and I were in Beverly Hills.  (Yes folks, this is the trip on which Vince Vaughn slapped my ass!)  We'd gone to a club after dinner that night and FBF was his usual celebrity spotting self, running back to tell me everytime he spotted someone new on his way to get drinks.  He's the absolute best at this.  Gun-toting Ja Rule had a table just to the left of us, but we quickly got over that fact.  We kept moving around the club and were having a solid evening.  

As we were getting ready to leave, a fight broke out in front of us and before I could do anything, Joe had suddenly thrown me up against the wall and was standing protectively in front of me.  Being my too-independent-self, I tried to move around, but he wouldn't let me go anywhere.

We went back to the house that night and it wasn't until the next morning when we woke up that he said, "Lauer, I was ready to take a bullet for you."  It seemed to be a defining moment for Joe and one that speaks to his consistent character.  Why didn't I pounce on this guy and run back to Vegas where we'd been the week before and insist that we get married?  

The funny thing is that I just got a text from him that he was in LA and would say hi to Vince for me.  I texted him back that I'd been talking about the bullet tonight and he gave me a smile with his next one..."that was the most respectable night of my life...in a west hollywood club!"

Now to just find one more guy in this world who's willing to take a bullet for me ;)

(Yes, Joe is FBF's real name and if he's going to do something so remarkable, I have to at least call him by his real name...just this once  Don't worry, this reveal isn't as big as when Carrie gets the text from John.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My friend Brett Talks Beer with Gary Vaynerchuk on WineLibraryTV!

This spring I convinced Brett to join me for an afternoon show and we started the day early at two of his favorite East Side places, Caracas for arepas and empanadas before heading to Hop Devil Grill, where I realized that when the guys at work talk about Brett's beer knowledge, they weren't kidding.  It was also around that time that Brett introduced me to Gary Vaynerchuk's Wine Library TV, who's bringing wine to the masses, not keeping it in it's elevated, pretentious state.

I was quite excited when Brett told me last month that he was guesting on the show to discuss beer.  He filmed it yesterday and a group of us were hitting refresh on the website throughout the day at work, in hopes of Brett's episode being posted.  It was put up tonight and I raced upstairs (after asking Jeremy if he wanted to watch ;) ) to watch like a proud older sister, although I think we're maybe 4 days apart and he's older.  Check Brett out below..



Brett has his own site, 10 Cent Freeze Pops, on which he occasionally teases me with new posts, but hasn't found the time to get back to writing his sports, music and pop culture tidbits.

You may also remember him from some past adventures:
(I STILL love their song, Person Place or Thing.)

Kelly (and Dommie) See Eddie Vedder in Chicago!


Photo grabbed from Bronder's flickr set...thanks!


Eddie Vedder

Liam Finn

August 21, 2008

The Auditorium Theatre

Chicago, IL


While this review is also late, I am going to blame it on the fact that this show was so incredible that it took over a week for me to fully digest the experience.  


When the Midwest dates for the East Coast leg of Eddie Vedder's solo tour were announced, we originally wanted to go Friday. The logic was that it was the last show of the tour and the second of two nights in Eddie’s home town, so we thought he would pull out all the stops.  Luckily for us, I was already committed to another show Friday night, so Thursday was our night.  Despite many problems with past ticket sales on the Pearl Jam website, we were lucky enough to get 10 Club seats for the Thursday night show without any problems.  


Since the Auditorium Theatre is less than a mile from our house, we walked to the loop and met up with Nik and Nick at Poag Mahone’s for burgers and beers before the show.  We had to pick up our tickets at will call and wanted to be sure to catch Liam Finn so we didn’t hang around for too long.  Dommie got the tickets from the will call window and immediately put them in his pocket.  In Dommie speak, this means the tickets are good and he does not want to make a scene.  In this case, that was an understatement.  We were on the orchestra pit in the second row, dead center.  Sadly, we new going in that photography was not allowed and our seats were going to be good, so I didn’t even bring the camera.  Nik has some pictures on Flickr.


In preparation for Liam Finn we watched his performance from David Letterman on YouTube.  Needless to say, I was intrigued.  The program basically described Liam (son of Neil Finn of Crowded House) as the ultimate control freak - he recorded his entire album, I’ll Be Lightning, himself without computers and with minimal engineering.  He even shot the album artwork and promotional photos.  During the first song, he smashed a finger on the edge of the drums and split it open.  After a quick whiskey break and band-aid application (complete with looped vocal accompaniment from EJ Barnes) Liam and EJ were back on track for the rest of their set.  


We bought the album a few days later and have been listening to it practically non-stop.  Liam just announced a headlining US Tour for the fall, check them out in a city near you.  For $12-$15 it’s totally worth it.


I suppose Eddie was technically on tour to support the Into The Wild soundtrack, but the solo show gave him the opportunity to play some covers, try new things, and tell stories to a smaller audience.  Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to behave in a theatre when there is just one man and a guitar on stage and the show before ours in Milwaukee was apparently pretty bad.  Luckily for us, the crowd was relatively well behaved and Eddie thanked them at the beginning along with a disclaimer mentioning that he’s in a band that some of us may have heard of, he’s been doing this for nearly 20 years, and he doesn’t need any help with the setlist from f*cking amateurs.  From there on it was relatively smooth sailing with a great selection of covers and stories to go with.


This was the site of Eddie’s first concert as a teenager in the late 70s to see Bruce Springsteen in the cheap seats.  Apparently his goal back then was to see another concert and be a little closer to the stage.  I guess that worked out pretty well for him.


The theater is beautiful, the sound is incredible, the 4th balcony is REALLY high and the seats are uncomfortable.  He checked them out earlier in the day and as the show went on (and you could tell he was enjoying himself as much as the audience) he asked permission from the folks in the back to continue.  He didn’t want them to be uncomfortable, but he would keep playing if they didn’t mind.  Clearly, they didn’t.


Before playing Hurt, he said this was a new one for him and he was borrowing it from a fellow Chicagoan.  Later fact checking revealed that Trent Reznor was born in Mercer, PA.  Dommie couldn’t find a connection to Chicago, but the song was great anyway.


A few songs later, Eddie brought out Tomas Young, a paralyzed Iraqi war vet who is the subject of the documentary Body of War and an active anti-war activist.  Tomas had a pulmonary embolism in May and is in Chicago for rehab.  Eddie and Tomas wrote No More together, so he played it earlier in the set than usual while Tomas was on stage.  It was an emotional moment for everyone, but especially for Ed.  After, he seemed to rush through some selections from Into the Wild and got back into his grove with Here’s to the State of Mississippi.  He also played Driftin’ (one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs) and a new, more mellow, version of Betterman.


In the encore, he told a very long story about meeting Ernie Banks and writing Someday We’ll go All the Way about the Cubs.  He asked for audience participation in the chorus and said he would record it and hand it out in Chicago.  Despite earlier threats of leaving if he played this song or Go Cubs Go, Dommie even sang along, saying he was thinking about the Reds, which somehow makes it OK.


They closed with Hard Sun, a great ocean backdrop, and Liam and EJ on percussion.  Liam was even taking pictures of the crowd when they left the stage.  


After the show, we walked home, pretty much in shock, repeating some form of the phrase “Wow that was pretty incredible.”


Main Set:

Walking the Cow

Trouble (Cat Stevens cover)

Ship Song (Nick Cave cover)

I Am Mine,

Hurt (Nine Inch Nails cover)

Sometimes

Man of the Hour

No More

Setting Forth

No Ceiling

Guaranteed

Far Behind

Rise Up

Here’s to the State of Mississippi

Goodbye

Driftin’

Hide Your Love Away (Beatles cover)

Betterman

Porch

Encore 1: 

Elderly Woman

Someday We‘ll Go All the Way (Cubs Song)

Helpless (Neil Young cover- w/EJ Barnes)

Society (w/ Liam Finn)

Parting Ways (w/ Liam Finn)

Arc

Encore 2: 

Hard Sun (w/ Liam Finn and EJ Barnes)


Listen:

Eddie Vedder - Hard Sun

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hey Little Blog--I'm Back!



What started as a delay in what to write after a fantastic week in July morphed into an August (mostly) away from the blog, just like my own little French summer schedule.  I may hardly remember most of the language (isn't that right, Canada?), but I do remember how the French enjoy and relax thoughout Aout.  

So what have I been up to?  I became decidedly domestic--recaulking my bathroom, taking down wallpaper and hauling off tons of clothes.  Luckily that phase of life is over.  

I crossed the 33rd state off my map and have moved ahead of FBF in the contest, although I'm waiting for him to plan a romantic getaway to some far-from-exotic state just to spite me.  Maine was a great getaway for a few days, although I've sworn off lobster for a good while now.  Shellfish are only good when you have FBF to open the crawfish for you.  

Oh and I turned 27, which still makes me the youngest amongst all my friends, yet I'm starting to feel old at work :) 

Now it's back to the regular blog stuff.  Kelly just sent in a report from Eddie Vedder's show, Jody's on a mission tonight to cover two concerts in Philly.  We hope she at least makes it to one.  And our new Vegas correspondent, Woody, is introducing the blog to a whole new world of country music and crazy tribute bands.  Tonight he covers David Allen Coe and will be racing to beat Jody to the punch.  Oh, and I still have to write up my report from that Bon Iver show.  I've already bought tickets to his show in December, but unless I get a new job, I'll be in Naples (Florida) while it's taking place.

We're off for ice cream and then back to watch the season finale of our summer addiction, SWINGTOWN!  Don't tell anyone, although we've been known to leave boring boys at the bar to race home for the show.  And yes, we do have a DVR, but they don't need to know that.