Friday, September 28, 2012

Mystery of the missing blogger, posed

I'm still here.  Or I'm back.  One of the two.  I just haven't had much of an opportunity to update here, due to having some of the most aggravating experiences of my life happen this week.  More about those soon.

No FR10 this week, although it may make a return in the coming week.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fall classic Friday Random Ten

At work we had our annual end-of-the-summer parking lot party.  The "end" part was pretty apparent.  It was pleasant in terms of weather.  The feel of autumn was on things.

Anyway, it was nice to see people.  We're spread out over a few locations, so there are a lot of people you might not see face to face on a regular basis.

1. Roxy Music - The Thrill of It All
2. Simon & Garfunkel - Blessed
3. The Bird and the Bee - What's In the Middle
4. Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five - West End Blues
5. Soul Coughing - Supra Genius
6. The Beautiful South - From Under the Covers
7. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Remember
8. The XX - VCR
9. Lower Dens - Brains
10. Pink Martini - Over the Valley

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The little people

I'd never heard of Colombian artist Yosman Botero. His work lookx pretty fascinating, though. A lot of it has to do with the clear plastic casings that his works are housed in. That is, they could very easily be a neutral frame. But they become part of the picture, changing it. In short, it looks like you've got little people messing about in there. How is that not cool?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The all-nighter

Okay, so that squirrel problem that I mentioned a while ago.  It turned out to be not so much a temporary thing.  For a couple of weeks now I've been hearing somethign move around in the walls.  What's bad is that this happens very late at night, wakes me up (despite my being a pretty heavy sleeper in general) and keeps me up for some time after.  OTC sleeping pills don't really help.  Waking up when an invasive creature is rooting around near you isn't insomnia, it's survival instinct.

Yesterday evening I met someone I know at Starbucks.  I was feeling kind of burnt and I told her about the situation.  She said it sounded like mice or rats and gave me some tips on telltale signs for when they've been in your room.  I looked around and didn't find any smoking guns.  But I still was edgy about the prospect of trying to sleep through the night.  So the plan I formulated was to take a little catnap or two in the evening, stay up for the rest of the night proper, and catch a little shuteye around 5 a.m.  If you think this plan has some obvious drawbacks you're right, but I was determined to try it out.

One thing I did in order to stay up was a lot of walking.  Which was kind of interesting.  This is Providence and not New York, but the city never entirely sleeps.  It gets slow at late hours, but if you wait around long enough you see something going on.  Being on Thayer St at one you'd hardly know it was after hours.  Young adults are out schmoozing everywhere, a lot of bars and restaurants are still open, and the stores that are closed are so brightly lit that you might not notice.  Around my neighborhood about three I saw trucks come in for deliveries.  So there's action everywhere, even when the crickets get too tired to chirp.

This morning I told the landlord about the rodent problem, having accepted that it just wouldn't end on its own, or at least not while I was still able to function.  He said he's pretty sure it's squirrels who found their way in through a hole in the roof.  Apparently this is something that's happened before.  It's also apparent that I'm the only one who said anything about it.  Why this should be I don't know.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Snakey Saturday Random Ten

Didn't do a post last night, but I watched Preston Sturges' The Lady Eve then.  Knowing that the production codes were in full swing makes it hard to believe this got released.  If you take a shot for every plausibly deniable sexual reference you'll end up in the emergency room.  Enjoyable, though.  Probably the first time I've ever thought, "Thank God for William Demarest."

1. The White Stripes - The Hardest Button to Button
2. Kat Edmonson - What Else Can I Do?
3. Sarah Vaughan - You Hit the Spot
4. Roxy Music - All I Want Is You
5. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Hey Joe
6. Fleetwood Mac - Storms
7. Pink Martini - Sunday Table
8. David Bowie - Ashes to Ashes
9. Lower Dens - Lion In Winter Pt. 2
10. Joni Mitchell - Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire*

*If heroin feels like Joni sounds in this song, I see the appeal.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The rent is too damn high!

The Tenant is a very strange film taken from a very strange book. The book kind of determines it, but not entirely. I read the novel (novalla really) for this book club I'm part of. After we talked about the book, then we saw the movie. There was some debate over whether Roman Polanski is the only European in the movie. He's not. Most of the cast is French. Their lines are dubbed into very American-sounding English. Except that Melvyn Douglas and Shelley Winters are in it, and they speak US-English despite their characters being French. So it looks like Polanski himself was jumping between languages depending on who else was in the scene.

Then there's the main character going nuts. That part's very vivid.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Who votes there?

Today was primary day. I went to the voting place a little after five. This was the first time I was asked to provide ID. The photo ID card I showed them was fairly ancient, but they accepted it without a hassle. So, that went well, I guess.

I suspect that it's arbitrary, and if the poll worker so desires they can make it a very big problem for you. Also, how did we get this law? I don't remember hearing about a big floor debate on it. One day you just go to the polls and there it is: a brand-spanking-new voter ID law

What you gotta love is how conservatives tout this as a sensible precaution that most Americans support. Yeah, such wide support, but they never put it up for a referendum. Must have slipped someone's mind.

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's not the same, Charlie Brown

Hmmm. No.

If I saw a piece of Peanuts fan art by Vicki Scott, I'm sure I'd think it was very nice. But when you start adding words and stories, it becomes a different thing. It becomes something you have to compare to the comic that ran for nearly half a century. And there's no comparison. Writing a Peanuts comic requires that you be Charles Schultz, and he was such the tortured artist that I don't think many would volunteer for that even if they could

I'd diagnose this as probably talented people who should be doing their own thing.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Critter-y Friday Random Ten

Hopefully the squirrel or whatever it is doesn't come back.

A little context:  A few nights ago I was drifting off to sleep, a little late.  All of a sudden I heard something shifting, not far away.  Some kind of animal.  It made contact with something, and the noises sounded so close that I wasn't sure it wasn't inside my apartment.  The upshot was I got even less sleep that night than I thought I would.

Same thing happened a couple of nights later, only this time I was already asleep.  And I'm a heavy sleeper, but this was too loud and close-sounding for me to sleep through.  Another rattled night.

Yesterday I came home and went to the back of the house.  As I'd started to suspect, there's a drainpipe back there.  Probably some (no longer) woodland creature ran up that, maybe getting into a crawlspace.  I also saw a table next to the house.  I moved it further away, on the theory it might be giving something a leg up in crawling around those hollow areas.

The noises stopped, whether it was from something I did or maybe somebody else complained to the landlord.  (Which was on my mind as well.)  Anyway, I wish whatever animal it was well, but somewhere else.

1. Lower Dens - Nova Anthem
2. Sonic Youth - Mariah Carey and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream
3. Neko Case - I'm an Animal
4. Joni Mitchell - See You Sometime
5. Sun Ra - Space Jazz Reverie
6. Fleetwood Mac - That's All For Everyone
7. Roxy Music - Three and Nine
8. Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five - Basin Street Blues
9. The Bird and the Bee - Lifespan of a Fly
10. Stevie Wonder - You Are the Sunshine of My Life

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Psychic killers, qu'est-ce que c'est

A book I'm reading now that I can comfortably recommend is The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits.  Of course I'm only a third of the way in, give or take, so it could become a crushing disappointment by the time the ending rolls around.  But I'm not expecting that, so barring updates...

It's about a promising young psychic named Julia Severn.  "Promising" in that she started shorting out microwaves and streetlights at a young age, and could also read the lives of strangers.  She's one of the initiates at a New Hampshire Academy nicknamed the workshop.  While here she starts to work for an esteemed psychic named Madame Ackermann, who contracts her gifts out to wealthy clients.  Unfortunately for Julia she completes one of these assignments herself while Madame Ackermann is under.  It's unfortunate for her because Ackermann is on the same vanity and vengeance level as Snow White's stepmother.  Her psychic attacks cause real physical ailments, and Julia lives an invalid's life when she moves to New York City.

Much of the novel takes place among a rarefied crowd.  I refer not to telepaths, but to a class of intellectuals residing between the upper middle class and the actual 1%.  That I think is a big part of the point.  Pecking order is very important here, and those who violate it are subject to cruel punishment.

Light reading, perhaps, but with sharp flavors.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Snapshots of the soul [/drama]

This is another artist I discovered through Booooooom! Her name is Amy Kligman and she apparently lives in Kansas City.

On her website she talks about "the tension of what appears 'normal' but is in fact slightly adjacent." The picture above speaks to that, I think. At first you may not register anything weird about it. A woman dives into a pool headfirst, as people sometimes do. But she's diving in darkness, and it's not entirely clear whether this is indoors or outdoors. Moreover, what's with all the empty chairs?

Generally my own dreams don't have really outlandish images in them, as far as I can remember. They're situations that I don't question until it's time to wake up, and then the strangeness is revealed. I like art like this, that captures that subtle twist.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What he said

Here's a short film I just kind of stumbled across in mid-surf. It's so unique I felt it deserved to be passed along. Be warned there is some bloodshed, going hand-in-hand with a lot of "WTF just happened?"

Owen Tooth - The Opening from terminalstation on Vimeo.