Category: Lisa Brown

Rock Band Wishlist

My phone has no ringtones and I’ve never owned a CD I didn’t rip, but the record industry has finally found a way to get even me to pay for songs I already own: Rock Band. At least the downloadable tracks have the value-add of being interactive at multiple levels. What they do not have, sadly, is a way to cater exclusively to my taste. Until now!

I put these together working on the three-songs-per-band model they’ve established on Live so far, and basically within the creators’ bent toward three- or four-piece groups and a fairly narrow definition of “rock.” Also with the fact that I don’t really know anything about music before 1998.


  • “Brand New Baby”
  • “Closing Time” (well, I mean, come on)
  • “Get a Grip”

Queen, although I know these are all impossible for one reason or another:

  • “Bohemian Rhapsody”
  • “Under Pressure”
  • “Killer Queen”

Jimmy Eat World:

  • “Lucky Denver Mint”
  • “Sweetness”
  • “Nightdrive”

Barenaked Ladies (man, this is hard):

  • “Brian Wilson (live)”
  • “Too Little Too Late”
  • “Maybe You’re Right”

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists:

  • “Me and Mia”
  • “Counting Down the Hours”
  • “La Costa Brava”

I know there are already a million Foo Fighters songs, but still:

  • “Everlong”
  • “Breakout”
  • “All My Life”

The New Pornographers:

  • “Mass Romantic”
  • “Letter from an Occupant”
  • “Sing Me Spanish Techno”

And, finally, U2 (yeah, I know they’re working on it):

  • “Desire”
  • “Mysterious Ways”
  • “If God Will Send His Angels”

I invite you to eviscerate me in commentary, or post your own wishlists. Maria, for example: Prince? Lisa: TMBG? Someone: Beck or the Decemberists?

Update 1432 hrs: Andy suggests replacing “Sing Me Spanish Techno” with “The Bleeding Hearts Show,” and offers a Tragically Hip three-pack:

  • “New Orleans Is Sinking”
  • “38 Years Old”
  • “Fireworks”

And Ken, inevitably, has a list with a lot more depth than mine:


  • “Canned Heat”
  • “Alright”
  • “Black Capricorn Day”

Smashing Pumpkins:

  • “Cherub Rock”
  • “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”
  • “Today”

Guns N Roses:

  • “Welcome to the Jungle”
  • “Live and Let Die”
  • “Nighttrain”

Pearl Jam:

  • “Life Wasted”
  • “Alive”
  • “Rearviewmirror”

Talking Heads:

  • “Psycho Killer”
  • “Uh Oh, Love Comes to Town”
  • “Take Me to the River”

Beck (most doesn’t translate well to guitar, bass and drums):

  • “Loser”
  • “E-Pro”
  • “The New Pollution”


  • “Don’t You Evah”
  • “I Turn My Camera On”
  • “Sister Jack”

Jimi Hendrix:

  • “Spanish Castle Magic”
  • “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)”
  • “Fire”

Pink Floyd:

  • “Comfortably Numb”
  • “Money”
  • “Arnold Layne”


  • “Smoke Two Joints”
  • “Santeria”
  • “Pawn Shop”

And single songs:

  • The Dandy Warhols – “Bohemian Like You”
  • TV on the Radio – “Wolf Like Me”
  • !!! – “Must Be the Moon”
  • Arctic Monkeys – “I’ll Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”
  • Styx – “Renegade”

And Scott put up a list for Bryan Scary and the Shredding Tears, who would be insanely fun (and REALLY HARD) to play in RB–not impossible, either, as Harmonix has been pretty good to indie rock:

  • Flight of the Knife
  • Imitation of the Sky
  • Son of Stab

Will says the logo makes him think of pickle jelly. I suggested he think of jalapeño jelly instead

At Lisa’s persistent instigation, Will, Kyle and I drove up to Pittsburgh on Friday to jam on games for the One Laptop Per Child Project. We actually got to handle some of the XO prototypes, which are even smaller than I expected, but also pretty neat.

We didn’t win, but we did create a complete game, albeit one that only fully worked four hours after the judging round. We also had a lot of fun, and not a lot of sleep. Some of the other projects looked great, and the winner was really polished–I have no doubt it will end up as part of the standard XO package.

I feel bad about the way the game turned out, because all the delays and problems were due entirely to my inexperience in the required tools (Python and Pygame). On the other hand, I’ve been mumbling about needing to learn Python for four years now, and now I have! Mumbled. I mean, learned.

The game (“Caketown”) lacks a lot of things (an intro, an outro, more than two levels, etc) but I’m going to post it anyway so you can hear Kyle’s fantastic music and see Will’s amazing art. What you don’t get to see is Lisa’s work as project coordinator, colorist and, now, one of the few living experts on how to install software on the XO.

Here it is as a Windows executable, in zip or gzip form (I recommend unzipping to C:\Caketown\). If you’re not running Windows, you can have the gzipped source and data, but you’ll need Python and Pygame installed to use it. You could also wait a little while, as I really do want to put together a finished and more coherent version with code that will not, when read, summon Nyarlathotep (the Crawling Chaos).

Weird footnote: unexpectedly, I recognized and got to meet a couple of people I knew or knew of from Internet (Bryan Cash and Tom Murphy). And they were both kind of startled / scared! But somebody did that to me once so it’s only fair.

I’m 25

I have a camera for a face.

I made brownie pie and we ate Spinelli’s. DC and Beth got me a book and a bunch of great Actors Theatre stuff, and Yale got me some stuff he found in his car, and he, Ken, Kyle, Scott, Lisa, Monica, Mom, Ian, Maria’s family and especially Maria got me a present I would never have let myself buy: a real camera.

Thanks, ballers.

David Flora requested restaurant recommendations of me for a nice, sit-down, dress-up dinner with his family. Lisa had already plugged the Mayan Gypsy, which I could only second, but I tagged in a few of the other places Maria and I have come to regard with naked hunger in the past couple years. I’ve never done a broad-spectrum restaurant writeup before, so I’m stealing my letter back; if you are in Louisville looking for great food, these places will not do you wrong.

The Gypsy has my highest recommendation, especially the dish which is either called the “Tierra y Mar” or the “Beef and Shrimp Diablo,” depending on the day, with the beef cooked medium rare. It is god-food. Be sure to order the fried plantains, and Maria recommends the sangria if you’re drinking.

I also had some fantastic food (baked provolone, fresh bread and a steak) at Palermo on Bardstown, which is one of Evan’s favorite restaurants–you may want to ask him about it, since I’ve only been there once. Lilly’s, also on Bardstown, is fantastic, but dinner there will cost you a shit ton (lunch is more affordable). Palermo is Argentinian, I think, with a lot of spicy pasta; Lilly’s is a kind of combination of French and Kentuckian (eg duck spring rolls and chicken pot pie).

If you want something simple like really good barbecue, the best onion rings in the world and microbrewed beer, there’s the Bluegrass Brewing Company (BBC) on Fourth Street–did you go with us last time you were in town? I can also recommend Third Avenue Cafe in Old Louisville, which has imaginative sandwiches and sweet potato french fries, Trivial Pursuit cards on the tables, and Elvis.

My personal favorite restaurant in Louisville is North End Cafe on Frankfort, which has a little of everything; its specialty is tapas (Spanish-style appetizers), of which you can get three or four and make a meal for three people–the baby back ribs are amazing. They also have salmon, half a roast chicken, cheeseburgers, etc.

Oh, and you know about Lynn’s Paradise Cafe on Barret, right? It’s… different. Breakfast is their specialty, as is being very brightly colored. Maybe not the place for a nice dinner, but atmospheric and fun.

You’ll definitely want to make a reservation ahead of time at any of these except maybe BBC and Third Avenue, and maybe there too, for a Friday. Also, next time you’re in town alone and want to try something farther afield, remind me and Maria to take you to Saffron’s, Safier, Maido, Le Relais or Ramsi’s Cafe on the World (have you been to Ramsi’s? Everybody’s been to Ramsi’s…).

Ian has been and gone, leaving giggles and makeouts in his wake. Thank you very, very much to Deb Core, Sumana Harihareswara, Joan Wood, Sharon Calhoun, Lisa Brown, Scott Stauble, Kyle Neumann, Angel Brooks, Ken Moore, Monica Willett, Sean Hoban, and especially Maria, whose idea this was in the first place. You guys are the champions of friendship!

On Halloween, I had the privilege of yelling at children during Lisa’s family’s Haunted Yard. It was awesome! They’ve been doing it for years, differently every time, and they claim that this one was their last–Lisa’s parents are selling that house. Fortunately, her sister-in-law Mary Beth captured the Haunted Yard experience on digitized video!

Night Vision Cam Power Activate! (32Mb)

Watch the upper right of the screen toward the end, when they’re getting their candy–the man chasing the children until they cry is the legendary Ken Moore. It’s not often Ken has the chance to show off that particular talent. The Haunted Yard was to Ken as World War II to Churchill.

I make a very convincing Nazi

Lisa posted it way first, the how-fast-can-we-make-a-photocomic version (my estimate: five minutes in toto). I am a sneaky person who had the advantage of the original raw files to work with, so here’s mine, an hour and a half of work later:

Raiders of the Lost Ark in Three Panels


"Let's see...  where did I leave that Ark of the Covenant?"

"Ah, just the Ark of the Covenant I was looking for."


Lisa has invented a Euro-Japanese pastry, by which I mean that she learned how to cook nikuman dumplings and then replaced the meat with Nutella.

I am not normally a huge fan of Nutella, but damn. Damn.

No, I mean DAMN.