Before I launch into my usual self-involved review (Vampire Weekend, with my vote for best album of the year), I feel compelled to share a bit about my parents latest visit. First off, they kicked some IKEA ass. My parents and I carried about 600 pounds of painted wood pieces into my house and voila! two days, a mild fainting spell, several forceful streams of profanity, and some impromptu marriage counseling later, a kitchen table and chairs. I couldn’t even stay in the room while they were putting this stuff together, mostly out of guilt and a strong work aversion. If it had been me on my own I would have unpacked the box, looked at the piles of wood, the millions of screws and bits, and that damn allen wrench, poured myself a large glass of bourbon, cried, and then just used the box as a table. But, they are sports, or maybe just crazily resolved. Either way, the table and chairs look great! And so sturdy! This in spite of all the extra pieces left over after the assembly. I’m afraid to look too closely in case the whole thing’s being held together by tape or gum or bitter determination.
So in between avoiding the furniture assembly and cooking large, pacifying meals, I unpacked boxes from my recent move, and as I did I collapsed them into piles which my dad would then carry down to the basement. By Day Three of our super fun weekend my dad’s good humor was beginning to slip, and the grumbling and muttering became increasingly audible and, in his defense, completely justified. I had just finished unpacking maybe 7 boxes of books when he came into the room, surveyed the piles of uncollapsed boxes, and made a kind of growling noise in his sinuses. As my dad violently descended the basements steps, his arms full of swiftly collapsed (read ‘crushed’) boxes, I turned to my mom and said “It’s no wonder I’m so high-strung.” She thought that was hilarious; my dad, not so much.
Speaking of my dad, one of his most endearing traits is his insistence on spelling out random words, usually in a well-intentioned attempt to spare my daughter some potentially (in his mind) harmful knowledge, and sometimes (inexplicably) done when she’s nowhere nearby. He invariably spells out the most harmless word in the sentence, too, just to make it even more hilarious. “Is D_ a good father to h-e-r?” The four of us are at breakfast (Dad, Mom, daughter and me) when my dad asks this. He pulled one on me at IKEA, a really long word, with my daughter 15 miles away. I was like, “Dad, why are you s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g?!!”
Life right now is a bit bleak. I had a job lined up, an 8-week contract, but the client told me after 3 days that while he knew I would do a great job, he also knew my heart wouldn’t be in it. I mean, really, who’s “heart” is in project management? If I’m willing to whore myself out as a project manager for 8 weeks to pay my rent, what’s it to him? Sheesh! He asked me to come in the following week to present my capabilities as a search engine optimizer to his team, so fingers crossed that that translates into cash money. I also have a past client who refuses to pay me, take my calls, or answer my emails. I’m weighing the pros and cons of collections versus legal action. No matter which I choose I’m screwed out of a considerable percentage of the money I busted my ass to earn.
Meanwhile, I’m not going to three really good shows in the next few weeks (Vampire Weekend, Bon Iver and Anthony & the Johnsons) because I’ve been forced to choose between feeding us and seeing live music. Normally I’d choose seeing a live show on an empty stomach, but what with the kid and all, food has to come first once in a while. It’s such a tough call, especially with Vampire Weekend. They’re playing three sold-outs shows at Terminal 5 next week, and it is k-i-l-l-i-n-g me that I can’t go to even one of them.
What a great sound, so fresh and fun and funky. Vampire Weekend’s album (called Vampire Weekend) perks up my mood no matter what is going on that day. When I first heard them they reminded me of English Beat, but upon repeated listening the sound is really their own. Lots of African influences and great beats. Even in a year that gave us a new Radiohead album, I’m giving these guys my vote for album of the year. New, fun sound, great lyrics (a song called “Oxford Comma”?! This English Lit major is in heaven), consistently good from beginning to end, Vampire Weekend deserves every glowing review they’ve gotten. Add this one to the list.
I’m putting together my End of the Year mix in the next week, featuring Vampire Weekend (naturally), Does It Offend You, Yeah?, CSS, Bon Iver, Radiohead, Jose Gonzalez, and others — my top picks for the year. Any of my readers who want a copy, just shoot me a comment and I’ll arrange to get a copy to you (well, the first 10 or so of you. I’m unemployed after all).