Family time.

My sister is 23-almost-24, and I’m in the middle of 21. And we’re giggling uncontrollably in the sixth row of a very staid audience at St. Charles Community College’s honor student induction ceremony. Middle-aged mothers and their well-behaved 9-year-olds in Sunday best eye us nervously. Disapprovingly. We’re under-dressed and we’re loud.

Next to me, Dad (49-almost-50), bites back his shared chuckles to look at us seriously as the honorees file into the auditorium. Three pairs of laugh-happy blue eyes meet. “OK,” he says in stern Dad-voice. “Behave yourselves now. Put your game faces on.”

And so we do. For a second. Until the long-haired kid struts by in leather pants, Dad nudges me with his knee, and we dissolve again.

The Greatest Dancer I’ve Ever Met: A Love Story.

“This would be the perfect way to die!” he slurred, the exhale on each syllable wafting an overpowering hops smell over the group.

“Die dancing? Yeeeeah,” I called back.

“Suicide by dance,” he confirmed.


Forty-five minutes to last call, but thankfully the DJ at the bar launched right into his dance mix after Saturday’s semi-professional burlesque show.*  Friends eyed each other for the unnecessary confirmation that, yes, of course we were staying to dance, and we slipped into the crowd.

I’ll dance to just about anything (exception, probably, would be “Clair de Lune”…or Celine Dion), but only certain artists get me really enthusiastic. Gaga, Girl Talk, Passion Pit, White Stripes’ “Fell in Love with a Girl,” Miley. So when the Biggie remix of “Party in the USA” started, I took a break from the usual awkward swaying to jump up and down. In mid-air, I’m almost knocked over by by an extra-tall stranger moving into my dance bubble. He smells like he took a bath in a tub of PBR (the special that night), he’s grinning hugely (a nice smile, if you’re into the possibly maniacal), and he looks at me and shouts “MILEY! Can we dance!?”

“Yeeeeah, sure,” I shout back, looking around at the equally confused girls I’m with.

“Awesome! I love dancing! I like your style!” Then he does a kind of side kick move and jostles me around a little.

Then we talk about the perfect mid-Miley demise.

Then we put our hands up, ’cause they’re playing our song. He has an extra move to add to the chorus, joining his hands and gently waving them  like a shadow puppet bird while M sings “Butterflies fly away.” I’m delighted. He adds more kicks and spins and bumps while I wiggle around, as much avoiding being trampled as dancing with him. I’m looking to my friends for confirmation that this guy is indeed awesome, while our name-unknown new friend belts out the lyrics to the next song. And so we just go with it and move like him.

Then he stumbles away — hopefully to his own friends who would make sure he didn’t pass out in the snow on the walk home.

There’s something about dancing with people who just don’t care. Like at last fall’s Round Barn festival or that time we threw confetti around the ATO basement. Usually I — most people — try to dance but get stuck on how this looks and what the people on the periphery are thinking. It’s good to find (or be found by) the crazy (wasted) people who can teach us not to give a shit and let go for a song or two.

So thanks really tall, dark-haired guy at the bar on Saturday. I like your style, too.

*And let’s just say I now know what I’m doing with my life if this journalism thing doesn’t work out…

Truth universally acknowledged.

Hair looks awful the day you get it cut. Too blunt, too smooth, too light. Uncomfortable.

Today, I looked in the mirror when I got home from the cheapest salon in town, said aloud, “I look like Anton Chigurh,” and immediately threw the mess in a ponytail.

Two-and-a-half weeks later hair comes off much better.

Maybe not this bad -- but close.


I crossed the street to my car quickly, late for work again and wary of the pickup truck rumbling up the hill toward me.

“Hey,” the guy in the driver’s seat called as he pulled up next to me and I opened the door to my car. “I got your steak here.”

Stunned. “You…have my steaks?” I clarified.

“Yup.” He jerked a thumb at the back of the truck, which was weighed down with a freezer marked simply Iowa Steaks. “Want some?”

“Ahhh, no thanks,” I grinned.

“Well, alright,” he said, and sped off.

Super-gigantic music post.

1. Avett Brothers show on Tuesday. Wrote a review, drank beer out of a straw, saw an old friend after a six-month hiatus. He’s still an asshole. They were amazing:

2. Next up: Thom Yorke’s side project, Atoms for Peace, in Chicago April 10 and 11 — probably not going to happen, though.  Flaming Lips/Minus the Bear/the Dead Weather/White Rabbits in KC at the end of April. Of Montreal in Columbia May 26 FOR FREE. Leslie Hall? Portugal the Man? I don’t even know…

3. Leslie Hall. Or, the reason I should have gone to Iowa State. Hilarious.

4. Lady Gaga “Telephone.”

5. Certain Chairlift songs. “Bruises,” “Evident Utensil,” “Make Your Mind Up.” Singer channels Karen O on the chorus:

6. La Blogotheque. A site that records some amazing musicians (Bon Iver, Beirut, Sigur Ros, St. Vincent) playing the sidewalks, cafes and alleys of Paris and sometimes speaking French.

7. The Hood Internet. Love love love mashups for dancing. They do it well, and their mixtapes are download-able for free. Love love love free things.

8. In rotation: new New Young Pony Club and Gorillaz for review, Dean’s winter mix (still — and especially Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros “Home”), Tegan and Sara “Alligator,” lots and lots of happy springtime dance songs, and most nights, Iron & Wine.