Friday, August 12, 2005

"Another Caucasian, Gary..."

Open thread... just try to not go "over the line." This isn't 'Nam, Smokey, there are rules.

"The Blues Brothers" Screening at The Virgina

I shouldn't have to get the crowbar out to pry you from the computer chair to see this one.

For a measely $5 you can hop in your Bluesmobile and go watch one of the funniest movies ever in the beautiful Virgina Theatre tonight at 7PM or Saturday at either 1PM or 7PM (Don't rely on your broken Timex digital watch, either). Hell, hide out under the chairs after the first viewing with your bucket o' corn and soda and get the best seats for the second showing the hard way. Or...

Perhaps you could get yourself a "Motherloade" burger at Farren's and then, avoiding the Illinois Nazis, walk down to the theatre. Or wait til after the movie and walk over to Tracks. If you like, get the incredible Crab Cake sandwhich. Oh, and the cheese-potato wheels are awesome... those have to be your side. I don't think they offer a whole fried chicken, but they can get you a chicken sandwich and a Coke without all the song and dance.

And since it's Friday, you may as well have a drink (careful, as that Night Train is a mean wine). Might I suggest Mike n' Molly's? Sit out in the garden like a bunch of us bloggers did, or enjoy the cozy atmosphere (and the White Sox game) inside. It's a win/win. They offer many kinds of music on the jukebox, but no country or western.

Wake up Saturday before 11AM and grab the breakfast special at Sam's Cafe. And forget the dry white toast, as the hotcakes are too good to pass up. Then head over to Exile around the corner and pick up a new record to soundrack your summer's end or maybe a used Sega Genesis (It's the best in town, and Jeff will throw in the black buttons for free!). Grab a drink at Cafe Kopi and sit out at West Side Park, and before you know it... 12:30PM rolls around and it's time to get tickets to the 1PM showing of The Blues Brothers.

Maybe a little more comfortable than hiding out under the theatre chairs over-night...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Gin and Taco's "Drinking in CU" reviews

This is not a new article, but it's damn funny.

Gin and Tacos presents "Drinking in CU."

I'd love to see some updated reviews for the new bars downtown, too...

Blagojevich Signs Anti-Smoking/Tatoo Age Bill

Well, the Guvna signed a bill that will allow every IL community the right to ban smoking in restaurants and bars. Needless to say, it's a sensitive topic in CU. Champaign of Blogs fave local columnist, Seth Fein, and anti-smoking zealots in the CUSFA traded barbs publicly on this one for a few weeks in the Buzz this spring (Seth's take 1 & take 2, CUSFA take 1 & take 2). There's no consensus. I'd be willing to guess that the 50 or so local bars and their tax dollars will do some talking here, but who knows. I guess there are always beer gardens?

Blago also put a halt to any teen tattooing when he vetoed a bill that would have lowered the IL tattoo age to 18 from 21. However, the piercing age remains unchanged (?). I don't really understand why those 3 measley years make a damn bit of difference. The Guvna said, "As a parent, I don't want my daughters to rush to get tattoos on their 18th birthdays." Hmm, well thanks for playing the role of absentee father AND guvna for the state, Blago. See you at Gibson's.

Downtown Champaign Hotel Development

This isn't exactly the freshest story, but I've not seen it discussed at all, which surprised me.

The News-Gazette reported on July 27th about the proposal One Main Development is offering to the Champaign City Council in September. A 100 to 120 room hotel with retail and commercial space going under the name Two Church would be located on the block between Neil and Randolph streets and Church and Hill streets. The project has to be approved by the city, as it would be occupying two city owned parking lots as part of the site.

Cynthia E. Faullin, Director of Development at One Main, was on the WCIA Morning Show with Jennifer Hendricks about two weeks ago discussing the project as well. She noted that this building would be around 250,000 square feet in size (dwarfing the 134,000 sq. ft. One Main building), and that there would be 65 to 100 condominiums and a 400- to 500-vehicle parking deck built to offset the spaces that the new structure would occupy. Thankfully, the parking deck would be built first.

According to both Faullin and Cody Sokolski, the tentative timetable for the building project is to break ground next spring. Projected time to completion would be about a year. Investors in the project would be Sokolski, Mike Royse, Mary Ann Royse, the Nieto Group and Mike Kulas.

Any thoughts? I'm interested to see the eventual floor plan for this place. I'm also curious as to what businesses will occupy the retail, as the emphasis on One Main has been local businesses.

Show of the Week - Eclectic Theory @ White Horse

Local rock outfit, Eclectic Theory are getting ready to wrap up a summer residency at the White Horse Inn this Friday, August 11th at 10PM.

The band has been around since 2003, and have developed a good following with their up-tempo, blues-infused folk rock. The generous group has a number of their songs available for free to download, so definitely give them a listen. Summer's going to be over before you know it... come down and grab a $.75 cent Old Style draft and enjoy a fun show in the beer garden.

Eclectic Theory: (L-R) Matt, Pete, Scott, Steve

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A Blogger Bash Review - Not For the Faint Of Ears!

It was a good turn-out for the first ever CU Blogosphere Meet-Up, even if some of the more vociferous among us (IP, Varble) didn't show up. LBOTP didn't make it either. But a roll call of those who did:

Scibal Terror
It's Matt's World
Lone Tree on the Prairie (aka Prairie Biker)
The Ravings of John C. A. Bambenek
Exploding Aardvark
Jason Barickman ( contributing writer
Edna Million
Swag Blog
The Champaign of Blogs

Needless to say, having WILL and WCIA show up did NOT change the fact that we were all going to sit around and drink. It was funny that the media people were expecting some heated political banter. My favorite comment from those proceedings comes from Scribal Terror...

"Actually, the radio guy said they were having technical problems they would have to resolve before they could air any of our interviews, and I said, Oh, you must have to take all the fucks out, and Prairie Biker said if you take all the fucks out there won't be any bloggers left."

There was not a shortage of colorful commentary.

Another highlight was when the WILL guy tried to use not-so-subtle tricks to get me to reveal my name. I was like, well, some call me Anon Y. Mous, or just Anon, or my readers might know me as greymatter. The WILL guy and I hit it off anyways, because he's a huge Big Lebowski fan, and a big Office Space fan. And he's a baseball guy (Cubs) so, we were pals by the end of the night. But alas, I was elusive in providing an interview.

All in all, it was a fun night, and I think I can speak for Hey...Listen, Bambenek, Prairie Biker, and Swag when I say that it was unfortunate that PB's picture phone didn't have a flash! No word on any actual "illegal dumping," however.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Office Space - Special Edition details!

November 1st is the release date for the long overdue Office Space - Special Edition. I'm guessing they upped the pieces of flair. It's reported that this edition will have an anamorphic widescreen transfer, deleted scenes, a documentary, and audio commentary from Mike Judge.

Seriously, if you've not seen this late '90s cult classic, run to That's Rentertainment or Exile On Main St. and rent it. You will laugh.

This site's a good one for that Lumbergh fix. (FYI, Gary Cole (Lumbergh) attended ISU)

Also, find out which Office Space Character you are.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Digging through The Hub...

I definitely enjoyed the new piece from Don Gerard, "Acoustic Blog." Good to have you back in the pages again, Don! A nice article about a baseball fan growing up, and watching the neighborhood kids grow-up with it, as well. They may not be the "Niblets," but The Tornados have quite a nice tradition going.

Another nice addition is "The Grapevine." A lot of these stories wouldn't have enough legs to be full-page articles, but as a collection of local information, it's awesome. Both communities and campustown get attention and let the public in on developments in progress. Well worth a read.

Chuck Koplinski has it right about The Dukes of Hazzard, Curtis Orchard, and the so-called "Hollywood Slump." Can anyone else imagine a CU paper without Chuck? I can't.

Josh Kessler turns in an enjoyable read about cross-over performers, and the obligatory take on WILL was solid.

There are a few things I'd shake-up, but otherwise, this paper is getting better. Take my word for it and pick up a copy!

The NCAA Native American Imagery Thing

There's a few hundred posts and articles about this already, but I wonder how much different it would be if the Chief were done away with, and the word "fighting" was removed, and the teams were just "The Illini." No frightening imagery, no flare ups over the mascot, no harmful sounding adjectives. Just the Illini name kept as a tribute. The orange "I" in the middle of a circle of blue as the logo. No chief dances at half time, just a band and dance routine, with the alma mater song. Seems simple enough to me. Is it possible that the Illini tribe and the UofI could live with something like this? I'm not pro or anti chief. I support the teams because they are the state school of my home state, and because that's who I grew up rooting for. Those things aren't going to change just because a mascot or a team name does.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Yahoo! Audio Search - Worth Investigation

This may be old news to some, but I discovered that Yahoo! has an audio search in beta.

One thing that's interesting is that it acts as a meta search for the big music downloading sites (iTunes, MSN, Rhapsody, etc.), so that you can see which one has the song for the cheapest and in what format. That's definitely great information. It also turns up results for sites hosting mp3's or other sites for free, but with massively mixed results. That in and of itself isn't a gigantic find, but I've found some great sites hosting things like a 1974 Pink Floyd concert at Wembley Stadium. Of course, that show came to my attention from a search for Radiohead. It took some searching, but it's been well worth it, IMO. Happy hunting!

"Sunday, Sunday here again..."

Just relaxing on a sunny Sunday morning and listening to a bunch of Blur songs. The band only has had one hit stateside, "Song 2," but for those interested in a sort of modern take on Kinks style British rock (mixed with a hint of Stone Roses), Blur is for you.

My favorite record of theirs is "Modern Life Is Rubbish." This record was a bit of a struggle to make. XTC's producer Andy Partridge was originally slated to produce the album, but they didn't hit it off, so Stephen Street (producer of The Smiths, and Blur's first record, Leisure) was brought in. However, Food Records rejected their first submission of the record. The label was pushing for a hit, which sent them back to the studio for two more songs even after the record was finished. These songs, fortunately, were well worth it for the band, as "For Tomorrow" was a hit in the U.K., and "Chemical World" was a minor underground hit in the U.S. (and is one of my favorite Blur songs). Even after all of this, their American label, SBK, asked them to rerecord the album with Butch Vig. The band flatly refused, and the album was released in May in the U.K., with an autumn release in the U.S. It charted at #15 in the UK, and is seen as the forefather of the Britpop emergence in the mid-'90's (including Blur's own Parklife album).

Blur are on a hiatus of sorts these days, with Graham Coxon doing solo albums and Damon Albarn singing with Gorillaz. It's rumored that an album could come together in '06, but I'm not holding my breath. Their last record, Think Tank, was released in 2003.

Blur: (L to R) Alex, Graham, Damon, Dave

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