Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Published: "Review: J Dilla tribute at Jazz Kitchen" in NUVO Newsweekly


[Editor's Note: The following is also being posted on the Anderton Leaf Photography blog.]

My story, "Review: J Dilla tribute at Jazz Kitchen", which covered a featured performance by Black Milk on March 23, was published in the current edition of NUVO Newsweekly. The print edition will be on newsstands until April 6, but the digital edition will be still be available, along with a slide show of pictures courtesy of Anderton Leaf Photography. You can also see the rest of the photos on Flickr.

Top 10 Podcasts: #2 Radiolab


[Editor's Note: The following is the latest in a series covering my top 10 podcasts and my favorite episodes from each. Here's what we know so far:
#2 - Radiolab
#3 - This American Life
#4 - Real Time With Bill Maher
#5 - Doug Loves Movies
#6 - Savage Love Podcast
#7 - Freakonomics Radio
#8 - The Moth Podcast
#9 - The Ricky Gervais Podcast
#10 - Fresh Air with Terry Gross]


What I'm about to reveal is kind of embarrassing to admit.
I consider myself a learned individual, an intellectual and someone who generally tries to stay informed on the prescient matters of the day. But if I'm being completely honest, I very nearly exclusively get all my information about the discipline of science from one source: Radiolab.
In my younger days I used to say that I wanted to be a scientist. This is back when I thought the work consisted mostly of pouring steaming, brightly colored liquids into vials and holding them over Bunsen burners until some exciting reaction took place.
Then I found out how much math was actually involved. And then I turned eight and re-focused my interests.
But Radiolab is a pure joy to listen to. It reminds me of what I loved about science in the first place: the joy of discovery. I don't start an episode unless I'm sure I can finish it in one sitting. The production is lush, spastic and high-quality. There is never truly a bad episode. I love the way it makes me think of tired concepts in a new way.

Essential Listening

There's really no bad place to start with Radiolab. I like the hour-long episodes as opposed to the shorts, but that's just because I want it to keep going and going. One of my personal favorites is the episode "Placebo" in which hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich basically blew my mind with the revelation that the effects for any drug you could ever take are already locked inside our brains, all that's missing is the impetus (the drug, or in this case, the placebo) to release those chemicals. Or what about the episode "Parasites" which contains the story of a man who intentionally infected himself with intestinal parasites to cure his asthma -- and it worked? (He now sells his own "home-grown" parasites to others with similar conditions.) Or how about the episode "The (Multi) Universe(s)" in which they explore the theory that there are parallel universes happening besides our own?
Point is, if you're not listening, you're doing yourself a disservice. Few other pieces of media have changed my perspective on the nature of the universe as much as Radiolab.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Published: "Five Indy mayors talk growth, Unigov, SB 590" in NUVO Newsweekly


My story covering the March 11 panel of the past five mayors of Indianapolis at the University of Indianapolis, entitled "Five Indy mayors talk growth, Unigov, SB 590", was published in the digital edition of NUVO Newsweekly on March 14. It can still be found on their website.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hotmail, you've betrayed me for the last time


"How do you tell someone it's over? You send them a notarized letter, right? Well, what if the recipient is your notary?"
- Angela Martin,
The Office

I never thought I'd feel such nostalgia for a website. When I first signed onto Hotmail I was still in junior high school. My parents were still married. I had never kissed a girl. The internet in all its sleazy glory was still a completely new idea to me. When I set up my first Hotmail account because the very concept of electronic mail itself as still a foreign concept. I marveled at the idea of sending out an instant letter to anyone else in the world with an account -- and for free, no less. I liked the idea so much that I even carried two address, one personal and other professional.
I carried the Hotmail banner through every stage of my life between then and now. Since then, I've graduated both high school and college, gotten married, lived abroad, moved cross-country and back, changed careers and experienced the general ebb and flow of late childhood and early adulthood. All the while there was Hotmail, steadfast as ever.
Until today.
I started noticing a few years ago that my Junk E-mail folder was growing in confidence and size. It started with a few messages every now and again, but I just emptied the folder and moved on with my life. Then the messages began spilling over into my inbox, with ever-sneakier titles. The spam informing me of hot dates with non-existent people, cures for diseases I wasn't afflicted with and quotes on refinancing for homes I've never owned was easy enough to weed out. But then came the messages disguised as links sent from friends.
And then the party was over.
My Hotmail address, both personal and professional, have been hacked and I have no idea how to stop it other than to abandon ship. It's crushing to think that my contacts no longer trust messages sent from me and therein lies the fundamental flaw of Hotmail to begin with: I got what I paid for, which was nothing. These castles made of electronic sand have been washed into the sea and I'm filled with conflicting emotions. On the one hand I'm furious that someone took the time out of their day to develop a program that would commandeer my inbox and the inboxes of all my friends for no apparent reason. I'm sad that I have to shut down my accounts that I've had so long. I feel foolish that I feel either of those.
So goodbye, Hotmail, we've had quite a time. I've been hired for jobs and quit them with your help. I've received romantic notes and breakup letters through your inbox. And now it's time to sign off.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Top 10 Podcasts: #3 This American Life


[Editor's Note: The following is the latest in a series covering my top 10 podcasts and my favorite episodes from each. Here's what we know so far:
#3 - This American Life
#4 - Real Time With Bill Maher
#5 - Doug Loves Movies
#6 - Savage Love Podcast
#7 - Freakonomics Radio
#8 - The Moth Podcast
#9 - The Ricky Gervais Podcast
#10 - Fresh Air with Terry Gross]


What else is there to say about This American Life that hasn't already been said? It's simply one of the finest radio shows to ever grace the airwaves. The storytelling chops on display every week are unmatched. I listened to This American Life on the local NPR station every Sunday with my parents before the concept of a podcast as we know it today had been conceived. It introduced me to some of my favorite authors including Sarah Vowell and David Sedaris. There are episodes that transcend the format and stretch the bounds of what a podcast can be.

Essential Listening

My only real complaint about This American Life are the episodes where a single depressing topic is covered for the entirety of the run time. (Not unlike Fresh Air With Terry Gross.) The show never stops being engaging, but some topics are frankly more fun to think about than others. Overall, the program never stops firing on all cylinders, though. The show has begun to expand into current events journalism over the last few years and shows like Episode 355, "The Giant Pool of Money" are amazing. They've also had some staggeringly great live episodes like Episode 357, "Return to the Scene of the Crime." For my money one of the best episodes ever is Episode 396, "#1 Party School".

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Published: "Review: Kemps, Astro Fang at Rock Lobster " in NUVO Newsweekly


On February 14, my story "Review: Kemps, Astro Fang at Rock Lobster " was published in NUVO Newsweekly. The show featured The Kemps, Astro Fang and John Rambo and Vietnam Wars at Rock Lobster in Indianapolis. The article is still available in the digital edition and photos from our photography business, Anderton Leaf Photography, can be found on our Flickr account.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Top 10 Podcasts: #4 Real Time With Bill Maher


[Editor's Note: The following is the latest in a series covering my top 10 podcasts and my favorite episodes from each. Here's what we know so far:
#4 - Real Time With Bill Maher
#5 - Doug Loves Movies
#6 - Savage Love Podcast
#7 - Freakonomics Radio
#8 - The Moth Podcast
#9 - The Ricky Gervais Podcast
#10 - Fresh Air with Terry Gross]


Bill Maher has become one of my ideological heroes over the last few years. This is in no small part to his HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher. His voice represents one of the few liberals who are completely unapologetic about basing their strident arguments on facts. Not only does Maher say what everyone else should be saying long before most even think about it, he is also hilarious. Added to that, Maher makes an effort to include conservative and moderate panelists.

Essential Listening

Now, here's the problems I have with this podcast: The audio version is often intentionally chopped up by editing. Some jokes are completely cut out and only the sudden, uproarious laughter presumably in response to it. I believe that since this is on HBO, a pay cable channel, that I am being punished for not paying for the video version. I can't really argue with this logic since I haven't shelled out one cent for any of these podcasts, but it is rather jarring since it only happens every other time or so.
Also, sight gags are at least 20 percent of the fun here and the audio version leaves little clue about what is on screen that is provoking such an action. Episodes such as when Zach Galifianakis smoked a joint during the debate over Proposition 19 in California I only heard the audience whoop with disbelief.



If you want to know where to start with the show, any show in either the lead up to the 2008 presidential election or immediately after the Honeymoon with Obama was over. Maher first fully supports the president and then takes him to task for not being all he's been promised.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Published: "Review: Punk Rock Night (Jan. 22)" in NUVO Newsweekly


[Editor's Note: The following is being cross posted to the blog for our photography business, Anderton Leaf Photography.]

On January 25, my article, "Review: Punk Rock Night (Jan. 22)", which covered a show featuring Elky Summers, Neon Love Life and John Rambo and the Vietnam Wars at the Melody Inn's Punk Rock Night was published in NUVO Newsweekly. You can still read it in the digital edition. Additionally, photos from that show can found on the Flickr feed for Anderton Leaf Photography.

Top 10 Podcasts: #5 Doug Loves Movies


[Editor's Note: The following is the latest in a series covering my top 10 podcasts and my favorite episodes from each. Here's what we know so far:
#5 - Doug Loves Movies
#6 - Savage Love Podcast
#7 - Freakonomics Radio
#8 - The Moth Podcast
#9 - The Ricky Gervais Podcast
#10 - Fresh Air with Terry Gross]


I have a rule when it comes to Doug Loves Movies: I only listen to it when I am within the confines of my apartment complex. I intentionally do not listen to it while driving. I believe this is the only way to truly enjoy Doug Loves Movies. The effect of listening to it is the audio equivalent of a contact high. You could go about your day in the world and attempt to pay attention, but you'd miss half the fun.

Essential Listening

I too loves movies so I never really get tired of the premise of Doug Benson and a few other funny people getting incredibly high and talking about film.
The Leonard Maltin Game, a semi-complicated game best described as Name That Tune but for movies, ends every show. Doug plays the host of the game, giving three different categories players can choose from. Each category contains three movies, identified only by their year of release. Players then bid in descending order about how many names they can guess the name of the movie in question. Doug uses the Leonard Maltin iPhone app to provide snippets from the review and the number of stars as clues. The bidding ends when the player who's turn it is asks the last player who bid to "Name That Movie." Doug then reads the agreed-upon number of actor names, from lowest-billed to highest. (For extra credit players can even say zero names or negative names, which means that not only do they have to name the title of the movie, but they also have to name that number of actors from the top down in the order that they were billed.)
Every episode is a blast, but when Leonard Maltin himself plays the Leonard Maltin Game and can't name that movie based on the clues that he himself wrote, the space-time continuum is reshaped into a Möbius strip.
The snake eats its own tail.