Friday, May 18, 2012

New job update

That's about right.

Carry on.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Regional champs: Gardewine gets game winner to fall with 3.5 seconds left

Daily News
EFFINGHAM — Nick Gardewine didn’t want to go out on a losing note on his home floor.

With 3.5 seconds left in the Class 3A Effingham Regional championship game and the score tied at 48, the Effingham senior had a clear lane and an eye on a title. He drove in, attracting two Charleston defenders who chased him to the hole before getting a soft finger roll to go through the basket.

“It was basically what coach drew up,” Gardewine said. “He told me to get the ball and drive to the hole. He told everybody to spot up, and they cleared the lane for me. My teammates did a great job.”

Gardewine’s athletic move proved to be the game-winner when Charleston’s TJ Bell couldn’t handle the long inbounds pass, and the Hearts topped Charleston 50-48 Friday night to win their own Class 3A regional title — their third in five years. They’ll take on defending Class 3A runners-up Centralia in the Class 3A Carbondale Sectional Tuesday night. The teams have split a pair of meetings this year.

Gardewine scored 11 points — including seven in the fourth quarter — to help lead the Hearts to victory.

“This is awesome,” said Hearts senior guard Curran Walsh, who scored a team-high 18 points, including a key 3-pointer early in the fourth to give the Hearts a boost. “Beating our Apollo (Conference) rivals here on our home floor, it’s our senior year. It’s definitely awesome. The fans were into it. This might be the loudest crowd we’ve ever had.”

More after the jump:

Friday, March 02, 2012

COLUMN: Hornets have lots to be proud of

Daily News
NORMAL — Courtney Myers placed her fingertips on the ball carefully, not wanting to smudge the signatures. Her eyes still a bit red from tears, she still smiled when holding the ball. It meant something more to her — to the team — than just the names of the Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City girls that wrote on it in blue and gold ink.

CHBC’s run of area — and state — basketball dominance has meant more to the four communities that participate in the co-op than just wins and losses.

“It’s made the communities grow together,” the CHBC senior said following her team’s heartbreaking loss in the state title game Saturday. “It’s been pretty awesome.”

Sure, there were more than a few tears following the loss to Aquin. And that’s OK. It takes getting that far — being good — to make it hurt that much.

More after the jump:

The past two months

I wrote some things I like these past few months.

I got to follow one of our girls basketball teams to state. Unfortunately, they lost in the title game.

I also wrote about a foreign exchange student. She's from Slovakia and is really good.

There's also a column I wrote about the state basketball team that didn't make it on our website. I will post it on this blog because I thought it was good.

So. Yeah. Sports. Fun!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

"When I'm driving I found I'm dreaming": A Winter Mix

We have not had any significant snowfall to speak of here in the state of Not Chicago, leaving the cleared corn and soy bean fields looking even sadder and more barren than they would with white stuff covering them. In that sense, the "cover" to this mix I have created is not exactly accurate. But it is a piece by Grant Wood called "January" (which, as of this writing, is only four days gone), so it is a little early to be making predictions.

That said, the scenery is a little bleaker than usual — overcast skies, trees with nothing covering the branches, chilly but not chilly enough to create ice when it rains. It's really an extended fall without the pretty colors to look at.

Hence why this mix has two modes: Loud guitars with fuzz pedals or loud guitar that sound weird. (And also some offputting rap music thrown in there for good measure.) It's not sad bastard music like my last two mixes. It's just abrasive — much like my Midwestern winter.

Download it right here, if you wish.

"When I'm driving I found I'm dreaming": A Winter Mix
1. "Get Away" - Yuck
2. "Hack The Sides Away" - Chavez
3. "An Echo From The Hosts That Profess Infinitum" - Shabazz Palaces
4. "Nosferatu Man" - Slint
5. "Sleeper Hold" - No Age
6. "Bones" - Male Bonding
7. "Unforgettable Season" - Cut Copy
8. "Sour Times" - Portishead
9. "Strange Ways" - Madvillain
10. "Seagull" - Ride
11. "Now You Know" - Afghan Wigs
12. "4th Chamber" - GZA
13. "Futura" - Battles
14. "Future Crimes" - Wild Flag
15. "Black and Brown" - Danny Brown and Black Milk
16. "Ghost Town" - Kurt Vile

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Power Rankings — Wu-Tang Solo Albums

I have recently taken up the (so difficult, I know) task of re-listening to every single Wu-Tang Clan solo debut album at least once.

Unsurprisingly, Liquid Swords is still ranked No. 1, mostly due to an all-star starting lineup (of well-known hits) as well as an extremely deep bench. Every single track, even a relativity unknown deep cut like "Hell's Wind Staff/Killa Hills 10304, sounds ominous yet inviting — the sonic equivalent of a kick in the teeth from Shogun Assassin while under some heavy drug-induced coma.

Only Built 4 Cuban Linx is No. 2 because I don't like Raekwon's flow quite as much as I like GZA's, and I also prefer weird pseudo-sci-fi underworld aspects of Liquid Swords to the whole "Let's rip off Scarface!" concept behind Cuban Linx. Really, though, the top two are a matter of preference.

What is non-negotiable, however, is Tical. The beats sound like RZA created them underwater, then dumped beer on his mixing board juuuuust in case. Also, Meth's flow is horrible (slow and sluggish) and he sounds high the whole time. This is not always a drawback in rap music (or even on Meth's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) verses), but in this case it just makes the entire record feel sloppy and incomplete.

Here's the whole list. Judge for yourself.

Also, this is the solo debuts albums only... If you were to take the entire Wu-Tang solo oeuvre Ghostface wins by a landslide, no questions asked. But competitively, Iroman sucks.

And, technically, Liquid Swords isn't GZA's debut but it's his first put out after the Wu-Tang got big and entirely produced by RZA, so it counts.)

1. GZA - Liquid Swords
2. Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
3. Ol' Dirty Bastard - Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version
4. Ghostface Killah - Ironman
5. RZA - Bobby Digital in Stereo
6. Inspectah Deck - Uncontrolled Substance
7. Masta Killa - No Said Date
8. U-God - Golden Arms Redemption
9. Method Man - Tical

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Unreal Is Here: Fall Mix 2011

Those of my readers that live in the more Southerly states (i.e., the ones that have no seasons) may be laughing at me when it is December and I am essentially scraping glass off my car's windshield after an ice storm, but there's really no better season than the fall in a flyover state.

Recently I had to drive to a teeny town in west-central Illinois to cover, of all things, a soccer game. This meant meandering on state highways through cornfields and small towns with brick European style downtowns, and also wide places in the road with wood and stone Old-Western style "downtowns".*

*Never go to Van Brandenburg, Ill. If you blink, you'd miss it, and also be slapped with a $100 speeding ticket for blinking.

I don't say this so that you might pity me (although, I did hurt my back while carrying around a camera on the sidelines). I say it because it might be the most enjoyable drive I have made this year.

It rained the entire way. I never once got on the interstate, instead opting to look at the colors of the country. Well, the colors that were left. It had been so windy that many of the leaves skipped the transformation stage altogether and just flew off branches in waves.

I was listening to this fall mix I just made. (Mark always has good ideas about these things and made me want to make one of my own.) It's sad bastard music, maybe, but it's autumnal. Autumn is a sad bastard time of year. It makes you think — mostly about how cold it's going to be in a short amount of time and why didn't you spend more time outside and what the hell happened in the ALCS and what am I still doing here with myself?

Hopefully that's a good thing and not a bad thing. If you'd like to see for yourself, you can download said mix here. I don't think it's as good as Mark's (which you should go find here) but it works for my current Midwestern mood.

1. "Tractor Rape Chain" - Guided By Voices
2. "Route" - Son Volt
3. "Trans Canada" - The Constantines
4. "In The Morning" - Junior Boys
5. "Should Have Taken Acid With You" - Neon Indian
6. "Cause = Time" - Broken Social Scene
7. "Age Of Consent" - New Order
8. "Vapour Trail" - Ride
9. "The Boy In The Bubble" - Paul Simon
10. "Everyday Is Like Sunday" - Morrissey
11. "Going To Acapulco" - Bob Dylan & The Band
12. "Unreal Is Here" - Chavez
13. "Ice Hockey Hair" - Super Furry Animals
14. "These Days" - R.E.M.
15. "Feel The Pain" - Dinosaur Jr.