$Texas, Me Myself and Ty, Music



We ain’t mad, tho.

It was a hell of a trip — the kind that involves roadside assistance from a tire shop in a town you’ve never heard of.

But while we were in the City of Austin, nothing went wrong.

In fact, everything went right, starting with the free parking right by the venue.

I had been psyched about seeing Kate Nash perform since I heard about the show, but I had been psyched about the IDEA of seeing Kate Nash perform since 2008, so I was packed with nervous energy.

We grabbed some food from a food truck (It was Austin, after all) and then went into the Mohawk to watch the opening act and check out the scene.

It’s worth noting that Kate Nash and I had exchanged tweets in the weeks leading up to this concert. It’s a bit difficult for even me to take that sentence seriously, since just a few years ago I thought Twitter was utterly ridiculous, but suspend that cynicism for a moment and fanboy with me.

An icon of mine — who I have celebrated for years; whose music has led me to laugh, cry and (once) to write extensively long prose on Andy Griffith — was actively responding to me in 140 characters or less. Continue reading

It's in the vault, Journalism, Me Myself and Ty, Music

Ten Eleven Twelve

Today is a day I’ve been looking forward to for about 11 years.

I remember being in the 8th grade and writing an interesting date. Maybe it was Feb. 2, 2002, maybe it was 7th grade and it was March 2, 2001. I don’t feel like looking it up, because the important thing is, whatever date it was led me to think of all the cool dates I had to look forward to as this century was getting started.

9/9/09, 10/10/10, then 11/11/11 and finally 12/12/12.

I realized that would be the end for the repeaters, so I tried to put together an ascending date, one that counted up and immediately realized that one of them, Oct. 11, 2012, would be my 25th birthday.

I had no idea then that by now I would spend that day writing for a living at a newspaper, driving (driving!?) my convertible Mustang across town to meet a friend for a lunch/interview, listening loud to an artist with a dollar sign in her name and cursing like crazy, wearing a tie (how do you even tie one!?) with a pirate ship on it and an Oriole tie pin, because goddammit, it might be October but the Orioles are playing on your birthday and as soon as you get done watching the vice presidential debate (boring!) you’re going to go to a bar (drinking is a sin!) with your friends and watch the game.

I’m in love all right. With my crazy beautiful life.

That’s who I am. And I plan to do my best Ty Johnson impersonation today.

So take a second to enjoy my birthday. Write the date down just so you can say you did. By my 8th-grade figuring, today, Nov. 12 of next year and Dec. 13, 2014 are the only ones like this for a while.

And none of those are even my birthday.



Me Myself and Ty, Music

Music Monday: Childish Gambino

My coolness barometer, aka Allison, forced me to listen to this album by insisting on driving places a few times (apparently she was sick of listening to my Goo Goo Dolls CD which was stuck in my car).

Eventually she wore me down to where there were songs I liked, and I asked her to burn me a copy. Listening through the album, I discovered the final track had an incredible final portion that was essentially raw spoken word poetry. It begins about three minutes in, as I remember.

The language he uses is so elementary, but so detailed. Anyone who has ever ridden a bus at night knows exactly what he’s talking about.

The words aren’t particularly enlightening, but what they invoke are images just as raw as the emotions that 13-year-old felt 15 years ago. I especially like the line about summer camp’s end meaning the end of summer, no matter what the calendar says.

This album is full of awesome songs, so you should definitely check out some other tracks, especially Bonfire.


muSic Saturday – The Lost Level

Draft created in August. Now available for your perusal!


Apologies to readers who followed my Music Monday posts with zeal when I was naming my holy trinity of dark-haired lyricists, but never completed the trio.

After naming Vanessa Carlton and Kate Nash as the first two inductees, a combination of occupationitis and proper timing prevented me from finishing the awards.

Proper timing happened last week.

Opening for the Goo Goo Dolls at a concert at the Raleigh Amphitheatre was some band named Parachute…but sandwiched between that band and the Goo was a starlet who I haven’t been able to listen to without thinking about Emerald Isle and Dairy Queen since 2004.

That was the summer I burned Michelle Branch’s CD for Stacy and we listened to it to and from the beach what seemed like every weekend…along with Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, but Blink 182 doesn’t qualify as a dark-haired lyricist.

Those songs transcend time for me…and apparently she just dropped a new album “Loud Music,” so when I walked into the amphitheatre and Michelle was singing from Hotel Paper it almost outshone Iris.

For the other members of the trio? See Kate Nash and Vanessa Carlton.

Me Myself and Ty, Music

Music Monday: Movie Monday

So when the greatest movie ever comes on, it takes me places.

Sometimes I’m on 16th Street in Denver, Colo where I first saw the movie with Stacy Ellis in the thralls of young love in between our adventures that ranged from the Pepsi Center to Coors Field to Elitch Gardens. That was the beginning of a relationship that lasted years and a friendship that (off and on) still ranks up there among the elite.

Other times I’m with all of my friends in the Brig. It’s Saturday night and it doesn’t matter if SNL was great or a shitty rerun, Anchorman is about to save the day.

Or we’re at the Ferry, my post-RA location where me performing a Super Mario Brothers speed run must have pre-empted me putting the DVD in. (My best time is in the eight-minute range)

Or we’re at Farrell Manor down in Oak Island and no one could decide on a movie so I made an executive decision.

Regardless of what memories the movie evokes, it’s always a foreshadowing of amazing times to come when I hear the opening lines from the narrator followed by this song:

The sound quality/volume is a little off, but I kind of like the idea that it’s on vinyl.

Me Myself and Ty, Music

My last field trip/Music Monday

Editor’s note: This post was postmarked Nov. 9. I blame Newman.

So to take you back to one of my more confusing posts (here) the dinner for my grant-funded history class was Sunday, Nov. 7.

This meant, for the first time since 8th grade, I was going on a field trip!

This meant my classmates and I had to be in Davidson at 5 p.m. Because it’s a three-hour drive, this means we left at 2 p.m. Because the dinner agenda let out after 8, it pretty much meant my entire Sunday was shot.

Sunday..that day when you worry about Monday and relax a little bit and get yourself semi-pysched up to drag yourself through another week…yep mine was gone all for the sake of the rule of law from a historical perspective.

I was afraid I would end up in the professormobile…two of my professors were picking up a third from Duke…but luckily I hopped into the car with my peers.

Understand that this course I’m in is a 2 hour and 45 minute snooze fest every Wednesday and the job I appointed for myself was to keep everyone awake. This is how you end up seeing so many Boy Meets World references in my Tweets…it was such a long class.

But outside of that classroom, I realized the people in the seminar with me were actual real people! Imagine that…a three-hour car ride peppered with references to Disney Channel Original Movies (Cadet Kelly for example) and the recognition that we all were thinking the exact same thing during every second of every too-long class led me to thinking that this was the best waste of a Sunday ever.

But then we got to the dinner, where a lecturer was supposed to give us a special presentation and this is where I learned more about me and my future than any number of advisers and counselors could teach me.

First, the dinner was awesome. I drank more merlot than ever bef…well I drank a lot of merlot, especially considering I was across the table from my professor…though I found he’s also a bit of a wino too.

So I downed some wine to dull my senses before the lecture…it wasn’t hard since I hadn’t had anything all day…and then came the introduction.

This woman was a dynamo. Here’s her biodata from a symposium in 2006:
Leia Castañeda is a doctoral student in the SJD program at Harvard University. After completing her law degree at Ateneo de Manila University, achieving the highest score on the Philippines’ national bar exam, and working for a leading Manila law firm, she completed an LLM at Harvard University, specializing in legal history, before moving on to the SJD doctoral program there. She is the author of “The Origins of Philippine Judicial Review, 1900-1935,” Ateneo Law Journal (2001); “Making Sense of Marbury,” Ateneo Law Journal (2001); “From Merit to Disclosure Regulation: The Shifting Bases of Philippine Securities Law,” Ateneo Law Journal (1998); “Philippine Elections: The Right to Political Participation in an Elite Democracy,” Ateneo Law Journal (1997) and, “From Prerogative to Prohibition: Article 2(4) as Customary International Law in Nicaragua v. United States of America,” Ateneo Law Journal (1994).

But as she stepped up to the podium that she could barely see over, she took a deep breath and began her lecture/talk/discussion/essay that would forever set me apart from overachieving smart people.

She read the entire paper to us. She was lucky someone taught her to take the time to look up from her sheet every now and then to make faux-eye contact with the audience, because otherwise I’m sure everyone would have left.

Well, except for the Davidson people. It quickly became a drinking game for me…I took a sip of wine every time a Davidson person acted like a tool. (Their professor accounted for half of my glass). They laughed at things that weren’t funny, as historians do, and asked questions that were truly lectures with question marks at the end…as in:

I feel like the impact France had in the American Revolution is very much downplayed in more contemporary works, including textbooks at the high school level, as well as in more modern mediums ranging from film to television and this has somehow allowed the American psyche to forget the international relationship we have with the French, allowing an anti-French sentiment to settle in and displacing what could be our most trusted ally in Europe in the forefront of popular opinion in the states…don’t you?

That’s what happens when everyone wants to teach…you can’t have a question and answer session with history majors without getting a lashing from those who have stuck their noses in so many books they feel like they’ve actually been to the Phillippines…

But back to the speaker: she lost us. She had no control over the room and never ever tried to teach us anything…it was one, long sentence with periods thrown in for good measure (and so she could breathe).

So while I sat there taking sips every time my Davidson classmates giggled or spoke, I reminded myself what sets me apart from people like her.

Besides 1.25 grade points, world traveling experience, a few doctorates and a full-time job…I like to create connections with people.

When I tell stories, I’m almost forceful in how I try to make the listener connect with what I’m saying…and maybe, just maybe that will be enough to set me apart in the workforce.

So after the epiphany I immediately began to…you know what I did…I drank more wine and grabbed a couple extra bottles on my way out.

Riding high on our wine buzz, we piled back into the car and my new best friend Andrew plugged his iPod in.

This next portion of the story can best be explained through these links:
Now 3
Now 5
Now 8
Because I know you’re curious now…they’re up to 36.

Interspersed between our audio trips down memory lane were “pit stops” that Andrew and I commissioned…mostly so we could buy whatever the cheapest alcoholic beverages were (this…twice…painful, but the best bang for our bucks) and chugging them in the parking lot before continuing the mobile dance party.

And so, to sum up, it’s the little things (cheap alcohol, music from way back) in life that get us through.


This story felt so much like this song, I decided it was my Music Monday choice.

The song was originally two songs, one by Paul (the middle) and one by John (the bookends).

The two were meshed together, and this happy sounding song about day-to-day life was sandwiched between John’s sarcastic, dreary view of day-to-day life. It’s awesome.

One more note, and probably the most fascinating thing about this song: the weird part that separates the middle from the two bookends that sounds like an entire orchestra just doing whatever the hell they feel like is just that.

They marked the beginning and end notes on the music sheet and drew a squiggly line between the two. It was up to each individual musician how he or she arrived at the final note, so long as they hit it on time and on key.

And that, my friends, is how you shatter the world of music.


Music Monday – Vanessa Carlton

The honor of being the first inductee into the Ty Johnson holy trinity of dark-haired lyricists belongs to Vanessa Carlton.

You likely know her as the “Thousand Miles” singer, but as I mentioned before, piano-infused pop music is a weakness of mine.

This means that in a CD-driven world (early 2000s) I bought her album “Be Not Nobody” and proceeded to memorize every song on it, including Ordinary Day.

I just stumbled through Wikipedia and learned that Ordinary Day actually charted in the U.S., but that wasn’t on any radio stations I was listening to.

I just really like her strains and the simplicity of the song. It’s just a piano and a voice. Plus it’s kind of an uplifting tune that’s fun to belt really loudly in the car.

TJHTODHL honorable mention #2: Regina Spektor

Sonja suggested Spektor to me when she learned of how much I loved Kate Nash. The two have very similar musical styles, but I wasn’t buying it…until I became the editor of Technician.

My managing editor, Ana, was the DJ of our shared office, so I was submitted to her music often and one of the songs I fell in love with was Fidelity, mostly due again to the simplicity of the song.

It became an audio sanctuary for me during rough nights. Sometimes I needed only to call out “Ana, play me a song” and Fidelity would fill the room in seconds. It soothed my head and allowed me to collect my thoughts…I don’t think I ever accomplished anything while that song was playing, but I also never murdered a writer/editor/designer during that song either, so that’s a plus.


Music Monday – Kate Nash

Kate Nash is the most recent addition to the Ty Johnson holy trinity of dark-haired lyricists. The other two will be announced in following posts. (Hint: Sara Bareilles is an honorable mention, mostly because of her cover of one of my all-time favorite songs).

I discovered Kate back when Conan still had his show (Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Jan. 15, 2008 She performed this song) though it really doesn’t seem that long ago.

Call it an obsession with the piano, (Fur Elise is the most sensual song ever composed) but I just fell in love.

To date, her album, Made of Bricks, is the only album I’ve ever purchased on iTunes, meaning after my hard drive crashed about a month ago, I couldn’t reclaim the files because I couldn’t remember my password or whatever.

Anyway, I found different means of reclaiming my Nash collection and came across Habanera, which wasn’t on my album but was so effing awesome I’ve been listening to it over and over.

Now, following my epic weekend which should be discussed in a future post, I’ve rekindled my love for Kate and am considering buying her album…again.

For a self-professing pirate to purchase any music, let alone consider purchasing it again, should say something: give Kate Nash a listen!


I also highly recommend Rikki’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” cover from last week’s Music Monday post. I do a lot of driving on Mondays, so I’ve begun using my new-fangled phone to listen to her posts en route to class/work on Mondays and last week’s was definitely sing-a-long friendly…except for the demon part…that’s best to just listen to.

Anyway, here’s her most recent Music Monday post. I’ll let you know if it’s worth it or not after my class commute.

UPDATE: The audio quality of YouTube punk rock playing out of a phone through a cassette deck adapter to my car speakers was poor, but it’s definitely worth the 90 seconds it takes to listen to it. The Germs found a way to get an inordinate amount of notes and noises in that minute and a half.


Music Monday

In homage* to my friend Rikki’s blog, Go Go Internets Ranger, I present you today with the first of hopefully many Monday posts concerning music.

*Here, homage means taking someone’s amazing idea, kind of sourcing them for it and then tweaking it to your own taste.

Regardless, what it should amount to is that between her blog (which I will link to weekly in endless homage) and mine, maybe readers or people who stumble across my blog will be exposed to a couple of listen-worthy songs that have some sort of meaning to those who posted them.

And so, I present my first Music Monday post:

The first time I remember hearing this song was in Richard’s Suburban somewhere in the North Carolina mountains. We were riding to or from the Nantahala River where we rafted and committed legendary acts of debauchery and skinny-dipping.

I was in the passenger seat while Richard drove and Jessica and Farrell were in the back seat and the song just kept coming on. It was someone’s iPod or CD or something, but I know I heard that song at least four times, amplifying its repetitive chorus to the point where I couldn’t get it out of my head (or remember any other words to it).

Fast-forward to this summer in New Orleans. While Richard, Stacy and I waited for their karaoke debuts (Richard did Chicken-Fried, Stacy Tik-Tok) the song came on again, this time with its music video, and *GASP* lyrics!

So I did my best to memorize as many rhyming pop culture names as possible and had thought about it off and on until this morning on my way to Garner when it came on again.

Oh yeah! And I saw the Office episode last week when Ryan started the fire…so that makes it even more newsworthy. It’s amazing how much funnier that episode was after I knew what song Dwight was singing…