Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best songs of 2008

Here they are, my top 20 favorite songs that came out this year:

1. The Walkmen - In The New Year This links to a great video from Juan's basement
2. Estelle - American Boy
3. Damien Jurado - Gillian Was a Horse Click for an mp3
4. Fleet Foxes - He Doesn't Know Why
5. Mariah Carey - Touch My Body
6. Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal Click for an mp3 of Dirty Mittens covering this song
7. Dirty Mittens - Time Forgiver Great video of this song
8. Bon Iver - Flume
9. Ben Folds - You Don't Know Me
10. Damien Jurado - Sheets
11. Against Me! featuring Tegan Quin - Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart
12. Fredrik - Alina's Place mp3, via Stereogum
13. Hello Seahorse! Won't Say Anything Mp3
14. Kanye West - Love Lockdown
15. Kings of Leon - Sex is on Fire
16. My Morning Jacket - Touch Me (I'm Going to Scream) Part II video from Black Cab Sessions
17. Dirty Mittens - The Dock
18. Ra Ra Riot - Dying is Fine
19. Vampire Weekend - I Stand Corrected
20. Rhianna - Disturbia

and one to grow on -- Deer Tick - Ashamed NPR Stream

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Soundtrack of 2008

These are my favorite songs from 2008 that did NOT come out in 2008 (that's a whole other list entirely). Most of these are the sounds of loss, but near the end of the year, things pepped up a whole lot:

Menomena - Wet and Rusting
Tegan and Sara - I Know, I Know, I Know
Tegan and Sara - Where Does the Good Go?
Heart - Alone (I never really cared until I met you)
Robert Plant and Allison Krauss - Your Long Journey
Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love
Walkmen - The Rat (When I used to go out / I knew everyone I saw / Now I go out alone, if I go out at all)
Frankie Lymon - Why Do Fools Fall in Love? (DC bicycle guy ooh wah ooh wah)
Big Punisher - Still Not a Player
Dashboard Confessional - Stolen
Fela Kuti - No Agreement, Part II (Nigeria!)
Tegan and Sara - Living Room (my favorite running song)
Josh Ritter - To the Dogs or Whoever (It was fun learning all the lyrics)
Damien Jurado - Texas to Ohio
Liz Phair - Ant in Alaska
Yo-Yo Ma - Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major
Arcade Fire - Wake Up
DeVotchKa - We're Leaving
Grizzly Bear - Knife
The Hold Steady - Killer Parties
The Kinks - This Time Tomorrow (One of the best days of the year was with Quentin, listening to this song)
LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends (The sound of growing older)
Lucinda Williams - Metal Firecracker
M.I.A. - Paper Planes
Ryan Adams - Nuclear (The first night I knew I'd be okay, with Quentin, hearing "Give Me an Answer" and knowing I didn't need one anymore. I had it in me all along)
Timbaland - Oh, Timbaland (After everything, I finally danced)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas night

Inside was packed. Outside was in the '70s:


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Best albums 2008

Normally I make a list of my top 10 or 15 favorite albums of the year, but this year, there really weren't that many I loved. Still, here's my list:

1. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
2. The Walkmen - You & Me
3. The Dirty Mittens - Pinky Swear
4. Matthew and the Arrogant Sea - Family Family Family Meets the Magic Christian
5. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
6. Damien Jurado - Caught in the Trees
7. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
8. DevotchKa - A Mad and Faithful Telling
9. Fredrik - Na Na NI

Friday, December 26, 2008


When we were kids, the only vacations we took were to Louisiana. It's a 13-hour drive from Savannah, Georgia to Monroe, Louisiana, but I always knew the trip was nearly over when we passed over this bridge. I always thought it was so magical. Driving it over today, I still did. EDIT: The black bridge to the side is one my mother's grandfather helped build. It was the old bridge. I've never been over it, though.




Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Old Dark Hymns

From Dallas a few nights ago, my cousin's band Telegraph Canyon plays "Old Dark Hymns." It's one of my favorite songs of theirs:

Old Dark Hymns from Casey Parks on Vimeo.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Denton nights

concerts in Denton, Texas:




Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008 Lists: Purchases

I love the end of the year, with all of its best of the year lists. I always make a few lists of my own, so here's my first:

Top Ten Purchases of 2008

1. / 2. Camera and Video camera -- These, seriously, changed my life. My pictures became better, I learned new ways to tell stories. Much of my year has revolved around these two purchases. They really have made life so different and wonderful.

3. Plane ticket to Central America -- Quentin and I took a two-week vacation to Costa Rica and Nicaragua in May, and it was so much fun. I went seeking some healing from heartbreak, which I didn't get, but I learned more Spanish, saw monkeys and a pig on a leash, got to know my Q even better, ate so much good food and played on the beach. Easily one of the best experiences of the year.

4. Bruce Springsteen ticket -- Again, with Quentin. We were in the pit, so close to Springsteen. It was so loud I couldn't even hear it, but I could see Bruce. Q and I drank too much beer and basically jumped up and down hugging the whole concert long. I'll never forget it.

5. Final Cut Pro -- video-editing software that taught me all sorts of new skills

6. Breakfast, Oct. 1, Byways -- I ate exactly two bites, but I had the best first kiss ever at 7:45 in the morning. What a great date that has led to something wonderful

7. Ticket to Fort Worth, August -- I danced with my mom to "I Kissed a Girl" then the whole family stayed out till 4:30 in the morning, dancing at a hip-hop club. The next day, I made a podcast of how my parents got married and learned a lot about their lives as teenagers.

8. Fat Tire(s), winter, the E-room -- Every Monday night meant the L-word with my girls. The waitress memorized all our favorite beers, and I solved the mystery of the magnetic girl with all the different ladies.

9. Air Jordan's -- Every time I wear my awesome high-top Nikes, somebody compliments me nearly to the point of drooling. They're a real crowd-pleaser.

10. New Yorker subscription -- My favorite thing to do on the weekends in the summer was sit on my fire escape drinking a smoothie after a run, reading the whole New Yorker. I wouldn't have made it through the summer without it. The best stories in journalism.

Dallas Nights, the forgotten piece

another picture of my cousin, Adrienne, from our trip out to Dallas the other night:


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dallas Nights

family style:




Cooking 5-year-old, part II

Here's my Story on the 5-year-old chef

It was on the front page! That's only my fourth front page story ever at two years' at the Oregonian

Friday, December 19, 2008

Best songs 08: "My Life"

The Game, featuring Lil Wayne:

(Strangely, it wasn't a great year for rap. I didn't even like Nas' album! But, thankfully, the Game sounds just like him, only his album is good!)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dining with Deeter

Keeping with cooking shows, here is episode One of my brother's new recipe vlog (I make a cameo appearance):

Dining with Deeter: Sinful Sorbet Shake from Casey Parks on Vimeo.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Secret potions of food

I'm working on a story about a 5-year-old chef with a cooking show:


Watch his show; it's the cutest thing you'll ever see I promise: Big Kitchen with Food

Do you still love me Blondie?

From October, Matthew and the Arrogant Sea playing in Fort Worth, Texas:

Matthew and the Arrogant Sea from Casey Parks on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What counts

Catie had her elementary school kids use scrolls to write numbers as high as they could go. One girl got to 91!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008






Am I the only one freaked out by the USPS's holiday stamp this year?


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Best songs 08: Dance Dance Dance

a live version of Lykke Li's song, featuring Bon Iver

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

In the box

night before Thanksgiving,






Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Charles in Charge


When my brother and I were in high school, we called each other Charles. We started doing it after we saw that movie the Ice Storm. There were siblings in there who called each other Charles. Later, I called him teensy and he called me weency. Now it's TNC and WNC-IA. I miss him a whole lot.

He's thinking about moving to the West Coast one day. I am still searching for a home, though I'm sure I'll be in Portland for a while because of my job. If he came here, though, I really could start building a home. I really want a life that is near him. I also want a life that includes a good paper and good stories. That said, I have an idea for a story that I am totally excited about. I'm going to keep it to myself for now, just in case it doesn't work out.

Today at lunch, I met this 11-year-old named Jason who told me, "I know you things you probably don't." Like how the Universe was made (Big Bang) or what is floating above my head (that one he couldn't explain. "I see things other people don't. My imagination just grows and grows.") Then he gave me a tootsie roll.

Best songs 08: Won't Say Anything

This is by a Mexican group, Hello Seahorse. It's called Won't Say Anything. It is so cute!


Or, download it HERE!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My stuff: Adrienne

Click a thumbnail to see a larger image.

Adrienne explains
Items start on top row, l-r, then down

1. We found this in the backyard of a house we were renting. When we moved, we had to load it on a dolly. It's so heavy, but I think it's so beautiful.

2. My favorite food

3. Cushaw squash, the first food I ever grew from a seed

4. Centromatic, my favorite band

5. Aggie -- it's better for the soil than a tiller

6. Cowboy boots -- A friend gave them to me, already broken in.

7. My favorite picture. That's my grandparents with my aunt

8. My first picture with my husband. For years, we kept it in our car, but it was getting weathered.

9. My grandparents' original wedding set. My grandpa bought it at Montgomery Wards, and it had a 75-year-warranty. They've been married 58 years now, ane he always jokes about how the warranty is almost up.

10. my favorite earrings -- I got them on my first road trip by myself. I spent 40 hours on a bus and went to Montana.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Remnants II

The night the meteor fell, we wrapped ourselves in blankets. The parking lot below us rode cold; we rolled around on it, listening to Tori Amos and watching the sky fall.

The world loomed so large then, but I thought the whole of it was right there. Later, we'd sprawl: local maps stretching into distant cartographies.

[You asked if I could her you silently screaming from a hill. I can now.]

Monday, November 17, 2008

Best songs 08: Time Forgiver

The end of the year is coming, and I'll be sharing my favorite songs of the year. First up: The Dirty Mittens. I love nearly every song on their Pinky Swear EP, but I'm picking Time Forgiver. Since they're a local band, I'm only going to stream it. But I'll add an mp3 of their cover of White Winter Hymnal, which they were offering up for free:

Click here to download White Winter Hymnal cover

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Love is all

My brother -- not gay -- drove to Dallas all by himself to protest Proposition 8. Here he is:


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Catastrophe Girl

I keep getting myself into trouble this week. First, I dropped a bot of boiling water on my foot, leaving myself with second degree burns, disgusting blisters, and a need to wear my girlfriend's Crocs (only one Croc really). Then, today, I got into a car accident. Only the guy is undocumented and has no driver's license or insurance!

Two weeks ago I outfitted myself with new brakes and a master cylinder. Today, I'll buy myself a new bumper, side mirror and some detailing to the dented up side of my car:


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


from Texas, two of my favorite people:


Saturday, November 8, 2008

My stuff: Chris Johnson

Click a thumbnail to see a larger image. Chris Johnson, lead singer of Telegraph Canyon (and my cousin), showcases his stuff

Chris explains
Items start on top row, l-r, then down

1. My favorite record -- It taught me patience. I hated it for a year.

2. Red Rider BB gun; I've had it all my life

3. My first guitar --It was my dad's in the '70s. When I was 12, I took it out from underneath his bed, and I've had it ever since.

4. I traveled two hours a way to get this, and then loaded it into my house all by myself. The guy said it didn't work, but then I opened it, replaced a tube and now it does. It's my spooky organ.

5. Hookah -- My cousin brought this back from Iraq. It's the best thing that came out of going to war with Iraq.

6. Headphones help you hear things you'd otherwise never know are there.

7. I call this the house capo. I always lose it, but it finds its way back to me. It's my favorite.

8. Frida -- She was a stray. We put up posters everywhere, and no one claimed her. Now she's ours.

9. This hat used to have a stupid patch on it. I had wanted a Louisiana patch with a pelican on it for 12 years. My wife Adrienne found it for me on eBay. I sewed it on myself.

10. Jitterbug -- I caught a really big fish with it. It goes on top of the water and a bunch of noise.