so this is my favorite jam of the year, "Great Salt Lake" by Band of Horses. I like the video too. It makes me want to buy a pickup and go play softball. Thanks to some guy with a shitty blog (get it!!) for turning me onto them.


My Big Road Trip, Part 3

So I realized I haven't written the rest of my big road trip that I took this summer - driving from DC to San Francisco. I've written the first and second entries so far, and now we're going from Omaha to the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota.

Leaving Omaha pretty early, we continued to see tons of signs for something called Wall Drug. We'd seen them in Missouri (I think) but as we went west, they get more frequent. They're all pretty weird, some say "Free Ice Water!" some say "as seen in USA Today" or some other random newspaper, some say "There's a sign for it in Kenya", and on and on and on. I've never seen so many signs for anything in my life. About lunch time we decided to stop in Mitchell, SD.

Wall Drug Ice Water
Originally uploaded by tiffibunny.
We were trying to avoid chain food on the trip, and we found this little wood building with a gravel parking lot in the town, maybe the size of two vans, that sold burgers and shakes and the like. The place seemed like a real local place, folks were coming in and talking about local news and stuff. And for some reason, there was a signed photo of the stars of Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place on the wall that said something like "thanks for the great food." I have no idea what they were all doing up in a little town in South Dakota, but that was pretty funny. The peanut butter milkshake was tasty, I wish I remembered the name of the place.

The Corn Palace!
Originally uploaded by bp1101.
The other main highlight of Mitchell is the Corn Palace, a pretty wild building - this big auditorium which is decorated in murals made only of different kinds of dried corn. The corn isn't dyed or anything, it's all brown and yellow, and they usually change the design every year. However, because of a big drought, they hadn't changed the mural in awhile. It was still pretty interesting, however. A nice tourist trap.

As we drove west, it gradually got drier and less green. However, the radio stations stayed basically the same - we heard the exact same songs from state to state, and not just hit songs - random album cuts by 70s bands, hits from the early 90s we'd never heard, over and over, and so on. It just showed how much the radio monopolies make everything the same, there was zero variety, whether on classic rock stations or on top 40 type stuff.

Eventually we got to the turnoff for the Badlands. I wasn't really sure what to expect, other than some inhospitable land. The landscape was unlike nothing I'd seen - these striated dirt cliffs with different colored stripes, layered on top of each other. All the formations were caused by erosion, the area used to be the bottom of a sea. It went on and on, completely dry and without much foliage. That played tricks on the eyes - it was extremely difficult to tell if something was 20 feet away or a few miles, like this photo. These cliffs are only about 50 feet tall. And I'd see people out on ridges that looked miles away, but they were clearly much closer. It was strange and hard to describe. It made for some great photos, and I wish I hadn't lost my camera (more on that in the San Francisco post to come - a cliffhanger!).

Badlands Nationalpark
Originally uploaded by Dracs.
You start out on top of a plateau, and there are some nice hikes, we went around the spires and saw a rattlesnake. It smelled really nice too, like pine and wildflowers. We then drove down into the valley, where the park gift shop is, and I got my stamp for my National Parks book. The drive out of the park was equally grand - different colored cliffs, more spires, twisty roads that open up to crazy vistas of layered sand. The only radio station we could pick up was a Native American station (maybe this one) playing chants and drumming, which was really neat and added to the atmosphere.

After leaving the Badlands we came into Wall, SD, which is maybe 45 minutes from the park. Liz and I finally convinced Adam to go to Wall Drug - it was like the dad saying "ok, kids." He gave us ten minutes. I was thinking the place was just going to be a kiosk that sold bumper stickers, a big practical joke on all the tourists, but it's actually an enormous, ridiculous place. There are tons of different rooms - one with western leather stuff, one with just coffee mugs, and so on.

Wall Drug!
Originally uploaded by mexican 2000.
We missed the giant animals, the huge cafe, and some other stuff. This one gives the idea though, the place is really enormous - an entire city block. The bumper stickers were free, which is cool, but we never did get to the famous free ice water or 5 cent coffee. According to the corny history of the place that was the big selling point when they built it back in the day. Everybody who worked there was young, European, and friendly. It was kinda funny thinking of a bunch of European kids partying in a small town in South Dakota. I guess they came here to work and such, which is pretty neat. I'd do that.

On from here we went to Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park, which included buffalo surrounding the car. But you'll have to tune into the next episode for that one.



Color Lights
Originally uploaded by ??????.
So I was thinking how we have to put all of our electronics to sleep now - the iPod, cell phone, electric razor, laptop, and so on recharge at night just like we do. My room is full of little colored lights at night - red, green, orange, yellow. Sometimes it's sort of neat looking, but it also makes me think of how much we rely on batteries and electricity, often for stuff we never used to - phones, razors and toothdbrushes, for example. I wonder if that'll be some kind of movement - unplugging yourself.


so here's my new concert list. not much going on really.

Wed Jan 03 The Nunchucks, Five Four, The Faboulous Funky, Once Okay Twice $ 8 - DC9 - my ex roomie is in Five Four, and Nunchucks sounds like a funny name

THUR JAN 4- VCR, THE POINTS $7 backstage 9:00 - Black Cat - VCR is a Richmond band I hear good things about

SAT. JAN. 20 The Dears w/ Annuals $15.00 - 930 Club - the Dears are a cool moody Canadian band. i saw them in Philly, good stuff

FRI MAR 16- SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM, SECRET CHIEFS 3 $13 mainstage 9:00 - Black Cat - great band name

SUN APR 1- DO MAKE SAY THINK $10 backstage 9:00 - Black Cat - mellow


so here's something useful for those of us flying home for the holidays:

this dude is awesome


Robbers on High Street playing on thurs

Robbers on High Street
Originally uploaded by slambang.
so the guy in the previous post apologized here and at the DCist post, which was cool of him.

But I also learned that Robbers on High Street are playing Thursday at the Rock and Roll Hotel, I like them. They're pretty straight forward, solid indie rock, a little like Spoon I suppose. Just well done rock songs. I've seen them a bunch of times. they're playing with Office, who are getting some hype, but have the worst name, because it's impossible to Google.

The new Robbers on High Street stuff is good, and I have all the old stuff, which is also good.


so i saw this on DCist, which really pissed me off. This band, Norfolk & Western, were playing at DC9. I was thinking of going, but thankfully couldn't, because they seem like a bunch of morons. Here's the quote from their tour diary
Washington DC proved to be a less pleasant experience for all of us. DC is not the safest city in the world to begin with, and according to my sources, the club we played at was located in a particularly bad area. The guy running sound at the club was hands down the worst soundman any of us have ever worked with. He obviously didn’t give a flying fuck about making it sound good and actually alternated between seeming annoyed and laughing at us when we demanded unreasonable things like, oh, turning the microphones on, or turning down the bass. During Corrina’s set, Joe looked like he was either going to kill somebody or cry. After the show, as we were loading out our equipment, our van was surrounded by what I can only assume were six or seven gang members complete with bandanas and masks over their faces. They just stood there, staring at us shoving thousands of dollars worth of equipment into the van piece by piece. A couple of them even leaned up against the van, casually smoking cigarettes. Corrina got pissed off and said, “You guys want some of this shit?” to which one of them replied, “Fuck yeah, I want some of this shit. I’ve got thirty years, bitch.” They didn’t leave, even after all of the gear had been loaded into the van. I’ve never been so happy to leave a city in my life.

The icing on the cake? We got paid twelve dollars for the gig.
Fuck you. First off, "DC is not the safest city to begin with" is bullshit. DC still has the Marion Barry murder capitol reputation with some people, which has been wrong for years. I've lived in DC for 8 years and never had a problem - as I always tell people who say "Oh! Isn't DC dangerous?", the only really dangerous parts are the places you'd never go to. There are muggings and that sort of thing (though I don't think I know anybody who's been mugged), but that happens in most cities. "and according to my sources, the club we played at was located in a particularly bad area" - are you fucking kidding me? I guess a particularly bad area means $800,000 houses, like the ones right around the corner from DC9 on T St (I looked it up on DC's website). Your sources obviously haven't come to DC in 10 years, or are from some college town or something. There are a few dumpy looking places around the club, but that hardly equates to a dangerous neighborhood. Did he expect the club was going to be in the middle of a bunch of hoity toity houses in Georgetown or something? Furthermore, I've been to a lot of shows at DC9 and have never seen any "gang members." I think people always want to say they've been to a dangerous place, like whoever this guy's sources were. This guy needs to get a grip and skip DC next time. I'm not going to see them.


so this video is pretty cool, and the song actually sounds pretty cool - it sounds like an indie band I'd like or something.

you have to click it, even though it looks like it's broken