Monday, December 30, 2013

In with the arguably new

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve.  I'm not making any resolutions.  I don't do that.  Instead I adopt New Year's guiding principles.  So they don't get kept or broken.  Rather, I make my case to the board.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Elderberry Saturday Random Ten

An older gentleman accosted - maybe not the right word but a good-sounding one - me outside a grocery store tonight.  We'd met before a few times at a branch library.  He started telling me about the renovations they did at the central library, as well as their Civil War film series.  We chatted for a few things before his bus came and I went onto my next errand.  Older people seem more liable to start a conversation out of the blue with someone they don't really know.  As long as you don't get too morbid or political, it's not a bad habit.

1. Ladytron - Fighting in Built Up Areas
2. Taj Mahal - Fishin' Blues
3. R.E.M. - 9-9
4. Nat King Cole - Mona Lisa
5. They Might Be Giants - Let Your Hair Hang Down
6. Nellie McKay - Long and Lazy River
7. Imperial Teen - Out From Inside*
8. Morphine - Candy
9. Joni Mitchell - Coyote
10. Amy Winehouse - Intro/Stronger Than Me

*Sure I risk typecasting myself as an indie pop fan with so many choices like this, but I'm beyond caring.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A draining experience

So my bathtub has been blocked up pretty bad this week.  A few causes for this.  There was a drain protector when I moved in, but it tended to float around away from the drain whenever the water level rose, which was rather counter to the point.

Pouring hot water down the drain worked once, last weekend, for a couple of days.  Then it didn't.  Mixing vinegar and baking soda and pouring that down the drain didn't have any noticeable effect.  Finally what I did was get a plunger, once of those new accordion style plungers.  It took some doing and some waiting, but finally I was graced with an empty tub again.  And then replaced the strainer which, knock on wood, should put the problem behind me.

Anyway, thank you for your patience.  Saturday Random Ten this week.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Delicate flowers

The above is from the 1953 film The Blue Gardenia, directed by Fritz Lang. Of course it's a beautiful song performed by Nat King Cole, and yes, that's Raymond Burr at the table. Don't get too attached to him. He's a sleazy bachelor who brings the lady - played by Anne Baxter - back to his absurdly huge bachelor pad under false pretenses while she's drunk off her ass. Pretty much an attempted date rape ensues, he's dead the next morning, and she flees with big gaps in her memory. For Lang, who of course gave us M, this is a relatively light feature. It's not as harrowing and paranoid as classic noir could be. Still, there's grit under the glamour.

Southern has two roommates: a savvy model played by Ann Sothern and a goofball played by Jeff Donnell (a woman.) This makes her the least fun of the women as well as the lead, but she deals with it pretty well. The movie's secret weapon, though, is George Reeves. He's the police captain searching for the "Blue Gardenia killer", and he buffaloes through with a mixture of bonhomie and threat. He would go on to be the most avuncular of the live action Supermen, but he was imposing, physically and otherwise.

Monday, December 23, 2013

I catch the paperboy...

Two types of quark are in play here: strange and charm. This is a very nice little film. I'ts got a subtle doubling of effect, where you can see the materials Milo is made out of, just as they were before being pressed into anthropomorphism. And then of course you can also see the boy.

Anyway, please enjoy.

milo from Mike Brauner on Vimeo.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Edited Friday Random Ten

It's probably a good thing that this blog doesn't reflect all the false starts, the things I thought I was going to write about but for one reason or another abandoned.  It would just make things impossible to manage.  If/when the internet turns telepathic, there's gonna be some dull stuff.

1. Yo La Tengo - Black Flowers
2. Gogol Bordello - Sally
3. Dinah Washington - My Ideal
4. R.E.M. - Shaking Through
5. Roxy Music - Still Falls the Rain
6. Nellie McKay - Yodel
7. Amy Winehouse - You Sent Me Flying
8. Ladytron - All the Way*
9. Imperial Teen - Last to Know
10. Morphine - All Wrong

If I stop doing the FR10, there's another music-based feature I've thought about doing, and this is a prime candidate.  As well as an amazing song.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A little bit of the fruit

While everyone knows Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby," - or perhaps more accurately, Madonna's version and the mind-boggling array of covers that followed - Pearl Bailey's "5lb Box of Money" may be the materialistic Christmas song that really lasts. It helps that while Bailey was actually quite attractive in her youth, she doesn't lean on the sexy in the song, going more for self-effacing humor. That makes it easier for those of us who aren't hot chicks to identify with.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Shaver's war journal

Day 1: Saturday
Hacked my chin up pretty bad.  Crusted over.  Soon forgot about it.

Day 2: Sunday
Razor fell on exact same spot, opening the wound.  Hurt like a bitch.  Eventually re-scabbed.

Day 3: Monday
Didn't shave, both because of time restrictions and I don't need the heartbreak.

Day 4: Tuesday
To be determined

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Meet your neighbors

I just started reading High Rise today.  It's a pretty well known dystopian science fiction novel, written by J.G. Ballard in 1975.  The novel concerns a forty story high rise - hence the title - that serves as not only a living space but potentially the entire social world for its tenants.  As in, why ever leave?  But there are downsides to having such a closed-off society.

The book starts in media res - or perhaps after all the action; like I said, I just started - with the protagonist chowing down on someone's dog.  So yes, I am aware that this is an interesting choice of Holiday reading.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Random Ten with bells on

There was a work holiday party this week. Specifically for the department I work for, as opposed to the whole agency. The unusual thing is that I work off-site - another guy and me - as far as the rest of the department is concerned. Not parsecs away, but another building owned by the agency. So for some of the others, the ones who used to be closer neighbors, it was a nice little reunion. For others, it was like a visit from St. Nick's elves.

1. They Might Be Giants - Celebration
2/ Jimmy Smith - I'm Just a Lucky So-and-So
3. Talk Talk - Today
4. The Bird and the Bee - What's in the Middle
5. Amy Winehouse - October
6, The White Stripes - Cannon
7. Joni Mitchell - Furry Sings the Blues
8. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Night Rally
9. Ladytron - Whitelightgenerator
10. Pink Martini featuring Meow Meow - I'm Waiting for You

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The guest of honor

Two times in as many days they've told us that the Big One is coming, the snowstorm that's going to bury us. Hasn't quite worked out like that. Sunday night going into Monday we got snow mixed with rain, but the latter predominated so much that no snow was left over by Monday lunchtime. Today we've got some accumulation, but very shallow and basically only on patches of greass. Don't get me wrong, though. We've definitely crossed into some wintry patterns. Just not the way it's been cracked up to be.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

In various nutshells

For all the cameras out there - public and private - it doesn't seem more people are really looking, really seeing what's around them than before. Probably not many fewer are either. It's just that there's an imbalance.

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This photographer, Lisa Kereszi, does seem to have it on the ball. Her compositions capture both beauty and decay - the latter in the natural sense, not necessarily the gothy ones. These pictures don't have a lot of people in them, but you can picture a human element.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Friday Random Ten going into Saturday

Yeah, this one is a hybrid as I was transcribing song titles onto paper on Friday but forgot to put them up on the blog until today.  Oh well.

It's the first FR10 of December and a couple of weeks after the time when I start leaving the water out.  That is, in the summer and the warmer parts of fall and spring, you can keep water in the fridge and it will be refreshing cold but not so cold it hurts to drink it, or at least not for long.  After a certain point in the year that process just takes too long, so you adjust.

1. Rasputina - Remnants of Percy Bass
2. Yo La Tengo - Point and Shoot
3. Morphine - In Spite of Me
4. They Might Be Giants - Dog Walker
5. Ladytron - Soft Power
6. New Pornographers - Silver Jenny Dollar
7. Sarah Vaughan - You Hit the Spot
8. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Death Cab for Cutie
9. Gogol Bordello - Sally
10. Nellie McKay - The Downlow

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Don't worry, not all posts will be like this

This is, you know, kind of obvious? Just about all of us have heard guys finishing declarative sentences with a high rising terminal? Even if it's more embarrassing for them than it is for girls? We're talking mostly younger men and teenage boys? But sometimes men in their forties and fifties too? So it's just kind of a stereotype we've projected onto the opposite sex?

Also? I've heard the Frank Zappa/Moon Unit Zappa song "Valley Girl"? There's hardly any uptalk in it? Maybe the headline is a little misleading?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Which way? This way!

Still not doing a really ambitious post, but what are you gonna do?

These kinetic sculptures by Lin Emery are quite something. They strike me as quite playful. Whether the process of making them was playful I don't know, but the movement of the objects appears as a kind of play.

Incidentally, this is the better of two videos I found with the same subject and similar images. The other was on Vimeo and its musical backing was... unfortunate

Monday, December 2, 2013

Now that's beat!

Oh dear.  I'm so tired, I can't think of anything funny to say.  Now would not be an ideal time to face a firing squad.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Enwreathed Saturday Random Ten

On my way out today I saw the building's housekeeper.  I met her before I moved in but our paths hadn't really crossed since then.  I let her know that I liked the Christmas wreath she put on the side door.  It is a nice touch.

1. The New Pornograohers - Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk
2. The Bird and the Bee - Love Letter to Japan
3. Jimmy Smith - But Beautiful
4. Joni Mitchell - Song for Sharon
5. Marvin Gaye - Right On
6. They Might Be Giants - When Will You Die
7. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - I'm Bored
8. Pink Martini - Je Ne T'aime Plus
9. Edith Piaf - J'm'en Fous Pas Mal
10. R.E.M. - Laughing

Friday, November 29, 2013

Young 'uns

Abbie Hoffman famously said "Never trust anyone over 30."  In his later years he revised it as "Never trust anyone under 30."  That he was being facetious both times is something you'd hope that history will pick up on, but you never know.

In any case, my own version is "Never tell anyone under 30 that you don't have a cell phone."  I don't have any great desire to order kids off my lawn.  It's a simple matter of personal preference and being, at this juncture, able to choose.  But I think if a lot of younger people hear that you walk around phoneless they'll expect you to go into a jeremiad about the modern world and all its electronic evils.

Tonight I picked up one of the last editions of The Onion, which is http://www.jsonline.com/news/the-onion-to-cease-print-editions-b99137985z1-231144331.html">ceasing print publication, essentially because the papers are given away free and they want to increase the ad value of the website, which would be nice if they'd come out and say instead of talking like the self-important slicksters that they should instead be making fun of.  But anyway, a cashier at CVS saw it in my hand and said she loved the Onion.  I agreed and said I'd miss the print edition, for the reason that even though I knew about the website I rarely found time to go there.  (This is true.  For some reason I'm much better about visiting its sister site the AV Club, despite its recent and hideous layout makeover.)  She told me about an app that you can download so that you can read Onion articles at lunch.  Pretty much irrelevant to me but I appreciated the attempt to be helpful and thanked her.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Scenes from bachelor life

Once in a pinch a little back...  To start from the beginning, I was planning to make tacos.  For flavoring I like to use salsa rather than taco sauce.  Was out of it, didn't have time to go to the supermarket, and the store I was looking in didn't have any salsa or taco sauce.  They did have A1 steak sauce, though.  That turned out to be no kind of substitute.  Tangy was the wrong kind of spicy.

Through trial and error, though, I later found that steak sauce works quite well as a ketchup substitute for French fries.

This may or may not be relevant information for your (US) Thanksgiving.  I'm just putting it out there.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Java jive

The advertisemtn shown here is so nonsensical to me. "100% barista. 0% attitude."? How often do you get too much attitude from a barista. Sure, everyone gets bad or rude service somewhere. But I can count on the fingers of one hand all the times I've been mistreated by coffee shop counter help.

Reasons are various. Starbucks seems to have an impressive training program, but I've generally been pleased with the level of service at smaller chains and independents too. Part of it, of course, is that baristas are dependent on tips and don't want to alienate tippers. But also the nature of the job is that it's a social exchange. People whose exchanges with customers tend toward the negative don't last long.

I suppose it might be true that if you got a machine, even a Yuppiestein like this one, you could save money by not going out for espresso anymore. But I'd submit that the hanging-out opportunity makes the shops a net positive.

No, I think I know the target demographic here. It's people who have such a high need for deference that any human behavior at all on the part of those serving them seems like an imposition. Meet America's aristocracy, and those who aspire toward it.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Road trauma Friday Random Ten

(As Google and DuckDuckGo show rare solidarity in their Doctor Who doodles.)

I know a guy who was riding his bicycle years ago, got thrown from it in a collision with a car, went under the car, and was pinned under it until the driver opened their door.  The driver then took off when they realized it was their fault.  You can still sort of see the scars, but he's pretty well adjusted.  I could easily see this event leading to never leaving your house, or to reckless vigilantism.

1. Morphine - I'm Free Now
2. Brian Eno - Here Come the Warm Jets
3. Beck - Emergency Exit
4. Rasputina - Hunter's Kiss
5. The Bird and the Bee - My Love
6. Joni Mitchell - Amelia
7. Chic - I Want Your Love
8. The White Stripes - Suzy Lee
9. Metric - Artificial Nocturne
10. Johnny Mathis - When Sunny Gets Blue

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Friendly song

Not even that much of a deadhead, but this song is really pretty and fun. I hope that even if Jerry Garcia went to Heaven the Devil still gets a chance to write stuff on his Facebook wall.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Big fun

This is so weird.  I'm used to big city mayors keeping it together, more or less.

Sure, Marion Barry smoked crack, but he was basically your average urban mechanic Democrat, only with a few different hobbies.  Plus, when he came back and got elected again, didn't he promise to cut down?

Rudy Giuliani maintained the façade of a happy home life through most of his two terms.  He also didn't embrace the nastier philosophies of the pre-Tea Republican party until he was out of Gracie Mansion and running for president.  Deep down he probably doesn't believe in anything.

And those guys are down here in the US of A.  Everybody thinks of Canada as the sensible and polite little brother.  Even me, and I was born there.

So, like, what the fuck?  Rob Ford is such a strange mixture of right wing whack job and personal hot mess.  But apparently he still has a lot of support.  Is this whole thing a sitcom pitch that got out of control?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Under the hood

I have to admit that while I knew about prepared piano, bowed piano is a new one on me. It's intriguing, though. Especially in the way you can have all those people playing one instrument, while doing different things.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Permian record Friday Random Ten

The Permian Era was a time of strange giant amphibians, including the snakelike aistopoda.  The dominant reptiles were mammal-like, unlike the proto-birds (a.k.a. dinosaurs) that took over in the Triassic.  And of course all of this ended badly.  The end-Permian extinction was the closest to date that life on Earth has come to being eliminated.  Meaning those of us whose distant ancestors survived are pretty fortunate.

1. Gogol Bordello - Underdog World Strike
2. Pink Martini - Ich Dich Liebe
3. The Bird and the Bee - Birthday
4. Beck - Farewell Ride
5. Talk Talk - Dum Dum Girl
6. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - When the Other Foot Drops, Uncle
7. They Might Be Giants - Old Pine Box
8. Jimmy Smith - I Didn't Know What Time It Was
9. Roxy Music - Trash
10. Yo La Tengo - Sometimes I Don't Get You

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The child who did not grow up to be a comedian, or at least not a good one

Q::  Knock-knock.
A: Who's there?
Q: Orange you glad I didn't say banana?
A: (pause) What?
Q: Crap.  Let me come in again.

Will be back to blogging again soon.  Didn't want the url to get cold.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Some stuff

Sort of a little bit messed my knee up today.  The immediate cause was shifting around on a crowded bus, but I think it was primed to get hurt.  Anyway, I was glad I had a jar of Mineral Ice at home.  That stuff is quite effective on these little annoying aches and pains.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Anatomical Saturday Random Ten

This evening I was reading a book* that mentioned somebody losing his leg above the knee in a war.  It occurred to me that this would be kind of a cool thing: that is, losing your leg above the knee but keeping your leg below the knee.  You'd sort of be hovering above your shin, which goes everywere you go, pretty much.  Of course this misunderstanding only lasted a fraction of a second, but it was amusing in a way that I'd probably be wise not to share.

1. Pink Martini featuring Phyllis Diller** - Smile
2. The Bird and the Bee - Meteor
3. Talk Talk - I Believe in You
4. Gogol Bordello - Not a Crime
5. Yo La Tengo - I Should Have Known Better
6. Jimmy Smith - Little Girl Blue
7. Rasputina - Clipped
8. Metric - Breathing Underwater
9. Taj Mahal - Oh Susanna
10. The New Pornographers - Valkyrie in the Roller Disco

* Life: A User's Manual by Georges Perec, which is sort of a novel and sort of not
** !

Friday, November 8, 2013

If seen

Approach the letter D with extreme caution.

The Alphabet 2 from n9ve on Vimeo.

Forgot to include, well, anything before. Saturday Random Ten is coming up.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kiddo

At the time people thought I had deliberately chosen a bad example of Matisse's work out of malice. This is quite untrue. I thought it was a key picture then and still do. Critics are always talking about this and that influence on Matisse's work. Well, the influence on Matisse when he painted this work was his children, who had just started to draw. Their naive drawings fascinated him and completely changed his style. Nobody realizes this, and yet it's one of the keys to Matisse.

Pablo Picasso

One of the books I'm reading now is Jonathan Fineberg's the Innocent Eye: Children's Art and the Modern Artist. It's got some great pictures and some illuminating new detail on how artists have learned from children, their own and others. Matisse, as mentioned above, was one. Fauvism, of which he was the grandaddy, had a lot to do with going color happy in a childlike way. And in the early 20th century Kandinsky and his then-girlfriend Gabriele Munter had a gallery where they actually exhibited children's paintings and drawings, alongside their own and their friends'. (This was before most people had refridgerators, as such.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ma

Over the past couple of years I've started to suspect that my eyesight might be suffering a little.  Not too bad but enough so that I might need a little help.  So recently when my work changed to a new health provider and I found out I could sign up for a plan that gave me basically the same coverage for less, I decided to use the savings to sign up for vision care.  Haven't seen an optometrist yet, or for that matter picked one out, but I decided to look up eyeglasses online just to prep.  Now I see glasses ads on all sorts of pages. 

So you never know.  Well, someone does.

PS I have no idea why this post has the header "Ma."  Thought I picked something else, but the URL would always be the same even if I did a header change, so whatever.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The hot new sounds of the Friday Random Ten

A little while ago I started noticing that late at night I would hear random metal clanks.  A little distressing in that when you're trying to get to sleep it doesn't help when you start wondering who or what is... hitting things with a lead pipe?  Dragging bicycle parts?  The list could go on and on.  But eventually I realized that there was a platform outside my window made of metal bars.  I think it's for plants.  It wouldn't make much of a fire escape because it doesn't lead anywhere.  But anyway trees also grow near it, and when it's windy their branches hit it.  Once I figured that out it didn't bother me anymore.  Context helps.

1. Nellie McKay - There You Are In Me
2. Dinah Washington - My Ideal
3. The New Pornographers - Your Hands (Together)
4. Pink Martini - What'll I do
5. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - My Pink Half of the Drainpipe
6. Beck - Rental Car
7. Squirrel Nut Zippers - Bad Businessman
8. The White Stripes - Astro
9. They Might Be Giants - Replicant
10. Metric - Lost Kitten

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Behind the mask

Now here's something you may have noticed today.  I went to a coffee shop (ABP) today, which was of course Halloween. One of the baristas had a witch hat and some creative makeup.  Another had black cat ears, fairly cheap and easy retail stuff.  A third had what looked like devil horns, but she had painted cat whiskers on her face, maybe to avoid offending anyone.

That was the girls.  The guys weren't into it, apparently.  Well one guy had an army uniform on, but it looked like he might actually be a reservist so that wouldn't actually be a costume.  If you're going to dress as a soldier go for something outlandish like 19th century cavalry officer.

It just seems to me that one of the few perks to working in retail is the permission to be a goof now and then.  Why not take advantage of it just because you have a Y chromosome?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ah good, the lights are still on

Logging into Blogger looks different now but seems to work the same as it did before.  Which is good, I guess.  Anyway, I'll be doing stuff soon, including responding to comments here.  Keep Kool with the Gang!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The New Yorker

Lou Reed was reputed to be an absolute nightmare of an interview, more than Dylan at his worst. Actually "reputed" isn't the word. We have evidence. And obviously this sucked if you were a journalist assigned to talk to him, or if you just wanted to do so. But he might have legitimately thought that he gave enough in the studio and onstage, that there was no more after that. And as you can see and hear here (Hear hear!) he did give an awful lot.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

It's not just the music that's loud in this Friday Random Ten

Well as it happens my cold is pretty much gone.  What's left is a tickle in my throat that can potentially cause coughing jags any time of day or night.  Is this more annoying to me or to people around me?  It's a tossup.

1. Talk Talk - My Foolish Friend
2. R.E.M. - Sitting Still
3. The Bird and the Bee - Witch
4. Love - The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This
5. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Equestrian Statue
6. Gogol Bordello - Start Wearing Purple*
7. Nellie McKay featuring Cyndi Lauper - Beecharmer
8. Taj Mahal - Take a Giant Leap
9. Morphine - Candy
10. Dinah Washington - Invitation

* Strippers love this song.  Googling "start wearing purple burlesque" brings a ton of video results.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Warning: Demonstration in first paragraph

This is the first new post in a few days or is that a few nights because between one thing and another and one thing always does seem to go between two other things doesn't it?  But yes between one thing and another I've found myself for the past several days too drowsy and muddle-headed during the peak or is that peek no actually I'm pretty convinced that it's peak blogging hours too tired and uninspired at that time to do any actual blogging so I made the choice to just get a relatively early bedtime in order to get up on time for work which worked out if you'll pardon the expression which regardless of pardoning or choosing not to forgive it's there now and there's nothing anyone can do about it so we might as well move on but anyway the choice to say screw it and go to bed instead did at least ensure that I'd get to work on time substantially early on at least one day and that's good not that I'm usually late but well work is like a never-ending suspense movie in that sense.

Whew.

One thing I've discovered recently is the value of energetic half-assed writing.  Something like you see above, say, with run-on sentences and maybe a repetition here and there and also here (ha).  It makes writing sessions more fun and at least for me can make them more productive too.  If I try to go in a regular A then B then C route odds are I'll run out of steam no matter what kind of setup I give myself.  If I make a mess, like the artist who sketches in big strokes with the arm always straight, that means freedom.  It means that a 1000 word per night output goes from being barely conceivable to fairly trivial, although most of this initial burst won't be usable as is.  More than that, though, it means that in the middle of one of those broken sentences or poorly-planned paragraphs I might find some new direction to go in, more interesting than what I'd thought of at first.

Anyway, my process continues to evolve and this has grown to be part of it. 

The non-blogging over the past several days is true, of course.  That's part of the reason for no FR10 today.  Probably another Saturday Random 10 tomorrow.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Musing

It's a funny thing, because I say it is.  Shakespeare passed away before Ben Jonson.  At the time Jonson was more considered a major writer. The balance tipped in Shaleseare's favor in a big way during the 19th cnentury.  Now the Bard is praised and Jonson is domestic and forgotten.  Yet there's that whole authorship question, as silly as it might be.  Everyone knoss who Will Shakespeare is, and thousands refuse to believe he wrote anything. 

I wonder if there's a lot of teasing that goes on in  the afterlife over things like this.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Natural sound FX Saturday Random Ten

There are crickets chirping outside.  I don't remember telling a joke, but if I did it obviously bombed.

1. Edith Piaf - Mariage
2. Dinah Washington - I'll Close My Eyes
3. Arcade Fire - Ocean of Noise
4. Morphine - Buena
5. Nellie McKay - I Will Be There
6. Lou Rawls - Your Good Thing (Is About to End)
7. Yo La Tengo - Black Flowers
8. Metric - Breathing Underwater
9. Radiohead - Knives Out
10. Bonzo Doo-Dah Dog Band - Piggy Bank Love

Friday, October 18, 2013

The T.O.

Did not get around to posting anything last night.  Sort of hoped to.  Yesterday was the birthday of one of my faithful readers and all.

I've been a little waylaid by some kind of autumn sickness.  For now let's call it a cold, as it certainly feels like one.  Which is kind of a curveball, thinking you have allergies and dealing accordingly and suddenly you have something heavier.  Good news is once I'm over this, history suggests the allergies won't bother me as much either.

No FR10 today.  I'll see if I can pull one together for Saturday.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Conservative agonitstes

This writer is a conservative trying to expose the failings of the conservative media in its relations with the Tea Party and other populists. To be honest it's kind of hard to tell who he's talking to.

Perhaps because, having nodded along with Limbaugh for eight years, it would be a blow to confront the fact that all along you were also blind to Bush's excesses, and your blind partisan loyalty played a part in enabling all you presently decry

Simply put, if conservatives have a problem, Limbaugh isn't it. Oh, he's probably hurt or at least de-motivated his side's debating skills, because he's taught his listeners that you can win an argument by not having anyone there to disagree with you. But that was always part of the culture, and Friedersdorf's complaint is more connected with misinformation. And in that respect Limbaugh figured out the market, but didn't create it. The mass of conservatives want to hear that they're winning all the time. That they're on the verge of final and absolute victory, which apparently exists. That's the commonality between believing that Bush was an epoch-making president ten years ago and that a government shutdown would work out great for the shutter downers today. Yes there may be inconsistencies between these beliefs, but they serve the same demographic. No surprise, then, that some are making money off both messages.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Great Tourist

We had a three day weekend here in RI.  Meaning, for example, that garbage pickup will be tomorrow morning where most weeks it would have been this morning.  The 3dw is because Columbus Day was Saturday and they still needed a holiday for it.  I'm curious as to whether Columbus Day is as big a deal in the rest of the country.  I suspect it's not in most of it.  The Italian thing seems to make him sort of a local celebrity here.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Oddling

It occurred to me recently that I hadn't been to Waterfire during the summer at all.  Not a biggie, but generally I like to see it at once during the year.  So I went downtown before sunset, spent a little time reading, then writing, in one of our city's many fine Starbuckses.  After it was dark I went to the river, and by this time the fires had been set. 

One of the side attractions was a living statue.  A living statue is not, to the best of my knowledge, an actual statue come to life.  Rather, it's a performer who stands still for an extended period of time, and then makes swift and/or subtle movements.  This one was dressed as a gargoyle, with long, demonic fingers.  Does make quite an impression when something looking like that starts moving.  I mean, I think it's kind of hard, getting harder, to get people's attention out in the street.  Our garoyle demon boy did the trick.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Odd thought or the (Fri)day (Random Ten)

Is it possible to think like a spider? Do spiders have thoughts that are compatible with human consciousness?  Or do they mostly just count their leg joints?  The questions just popped into my head unbidden.  I need to sleep.  I'm going to put them off until it's light out again.

1. Yo La Tengo - Beanbag Chair
2. R.E.M. - Perfect Circle
3. Gogol Bordello - Think Locally, Fuck Globally
4. The Bird and the Bee - Ray Gun
5. Roxy Music - Angel Eyes
6, Love - A House Is Not a Hotel
7. Morphine - Cure for Pain
8. Metric (featuring Lou Reed) - Wanderlust
9. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Highway Chile
10. Dinah Washington - For All We Know

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Near-weekend funniness

Duncan Carson at Cap City Comedy Club, 5/20/13 from Duncan Carson on Vimeo.

Here we are standing at or near the end of another week. I'm reminding myself "near" so that my body doesn't get tricked into thinking it can sleep in tomorrow.

And I'm putting this comedy bit I just found up here because the guy's funny (from the first audience scolding) and actually speaks pretty intelligently.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Trouble comes to a head

I thought that maybe I might have - yes I see the redundancy, it's for emphasis - blogged about something, anything last night.  Then again I was thinking of that when I was half-asleep, so it's not too surprising I didn't follow through.

This past Sunday I went out grocery shopping.  At the supermarket I stood behind an older guy with no hair at his temples and very loose hair on his scalp.  Loose, I mean, in that you could easily slide a ballpoint pen under it.  There's a lesson here.  If you respond to your receding hairline by shaving your head, you've crossed the rubicon.  No use wearing a toupee then, it will just look foolish.  Full wig maybe, but it won't fool anyone.  Just adjust to your new life as a chrome dome.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

... and see all the people

Static Gathering from Michael Ditchburn on Vimeo.

This is an installation that was done recently in the English countryside, in Thaxted, Essex. I love that it's calming if only because of the bucolic surroundings, yet could also be quite unsettling because the figures are realistic in some ways, yet stylized half out of existence. For me the ideal audience would seem to be hikers or cyclists who hadn't been told this was an art project.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Indian Summer Friday Random Ten

We're in that period, that "warmer than expected, even if you did sort of expect it" part of the fall. The real thing will be happening pretty soon. Which is a'ight. We'll be seeing leaves turn. And by that logic, seeing terns leave, although they're welcome to stay if I have anything to say about it.


1. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Trouser Press*
2. Beck - Broken Drum
3. Rasputina - Hunter's Kiss
4. Gogol Bordello - Santa Marinella
5. Metric - Youth Without Youth
6 Jimmy Smith - Memories of You
7. Neko Case - The Next Time You Say Forever
8. The Bird and the Bee - Baby
9. Yo La Tengo - The Race Is On Again
10. Dinah Washington - This Bitter Earth

* With then-bassist and token Yank Jason Druckman on spoken word vocal.  Just learned about him recently.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Soaking in It

Okay, here's an amusing juxtaposition. Once and possibly future Senator Scott Brown says this:

Speaking to reporters Monday night outside a function hall, where Brown addressed Republicans at a fund-raiser for local candidates, he criticized Shaheen for raising the specter of a matchup between the two in a recent campaign e-mail. The fund-raiser was closed to the media.

"I think it's shameful for her to do that, for one, because I'm not a declared candidate," Brown said. "I think she should be addressing the government shutdown problem."

But it turns out this happened a few years back.

Of course even without his hypocrisy being exposed, it's a little hard to see what he's bitching about. The e-mail said that it was maybe possible he'd be running against Shaheen. When asked directly he says "I dunno." So basically they're in agreement. But without the words "shameful", "disgraceful", and "inexcusable", political discourse would be filled with a lot of ums and ahs.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

better lie low

This strikes me as a pretty great song to hear just before bedtime, despite weird lyrical content that turns disturbing if you think about it. Actually, partly because of that.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fee line Friday Random Ten

Dewpite its reputation, I'd never seen Bringing Up Baby before tonight. It very much is worth watching. Howard Hawks was such the man's man that if he was going to direct a romantic comedy, he'd damn well have a real live jungle cat on-set. There's also an impressive level of surface hostility here. Cary Grant's character starts off as easily dominated by everyone, but for some reason Katherine Hepburn makes him snap.

1. Rasputina - A Quitter*

2. Chic - My Feet Keep Dancing

3. Talk Talk - Today

4. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - No Action

5. R.E.M. - Laughing

6. Beck - Scarecrow

7. Brian Eno - Needles In the Camel's Eye

8. Gogol Bordello - Undestructable

9. Neko Case - Magpie to the Morning

10. Jimmy Smith - While We're Young

* Plus hidden track

Thursday, September 26, 2013

*sigh*

I don't want to boycott Barilla. I really don't. They make fine angel hair pasta at a reasonable price. And I'm not really big on boycotting to begin with. If they're CEO had been ambushed with a question and reacted badly, I might let it go. But this reads like going out of your way to be an idiot, and I just can't sympathize.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Little things hitting each other

Here's something I just found out about today.

It's Jim Henson's test pilot for a series based on The Wizard of Id. And of course that's his unmistakable voice as the Wizard himself.Now it must be said that most of the jokes here don't really land. For that it's possible to blame the source. While Id could be fitfully amusing, Johnny Hart's best work before his fundamentalist breakdown was in B.C.. Still, while Henson and his compatriots can't make this hilarious, his innate craft shows. The simple, illustrative set, the business with the moving placards. This was a puppet show as it was meant to be presented. He just had to keep looking for his ideal project.

Monday, September 23, 2013

blonde joke

Q:  Why did the blonde spend two hours staring at a carton of orange juice?
A:  Because it was the control in a mircrobiology experiment.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Personal maintenance Friday Random Ten

So, this morning I didn't have time to shave, or at least not if I was going to make it to work by the time I wanted to.  I chose punctuality over appearance in this case.  Then later when I went to brush my teeth, I saw that somehow I didn't have a toothbrush with me, leaving me with mossy teeth for the duration of the workday.  The combination of things brought me down maybe a little, not catastrophically.  When I got home the first thing I did was brush my teeth.  That and the cinnamon latte I had a little later were very restorative.

1. Neko Case - People Got a Lotta Nerve
2. David Bowie - Heat
3. Beck - Missing
4. Roxy Music - Manifesto
5. Gogol Bordello - I Would Never Wanna Be Young Again*
6. Brian Eno - On Some Faraway Beach
7. The White Stripes - St James Infirmary Blues
8. Arcade Fire - The Well and the Lighthouse
9. Sarah Vaughan - Ain't Misbehavin'
10. Metric - Clone

* Sheer awesome

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Another reason to ♥ NY

Well, there's alternative comedy and then there's this. Most of the people who stop in - okay I could be wrong on this - probably haven't played with dolls in a long time, if they ever did. Nonetheless, you can now perform comedy for them.

"The whole point is just kind of to have everybody experience this silly, silly environment and take a break from the intensity of New York City and the intensity of being an adult with responsibilities," Firestone explained. "There's a lot of painful and uncomfortable things in the world, and this is really the stupidest thing you can do with your day."

I actually do see the therapeutic value of this taking childish things back out of the drawer. And I have to hand it to someone who gets an idea like this, which never would have occurred to me.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lighten up, kids

Don't know if you remember it, but there's a scene in Gremlins where Phoebe Cates' character talks about why she hates Christmas, a tragic but grimly funny story. It comes as kind of a WTF moment, but I remember appreciating it on that level. That kind of weird left-field move bespeaks a confidence that big budget movies don't usually have. So I find it telling that the author of this little piece hates it so much. I suspect she's fallen under the fashionable view that everything in a story - be it a movie, a novel, or what have you - has to advance the plot. But while plot may be a big part of the story, it's not the whole story. If it were, why watch movies in the first place when you could save time by reading their synopses on Wikipedia?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Taughtology

This column defends - within the context of the upcoming Boston mayoral race - the association of politicians with union members. Oberal it's a good point, and I'm glad someone is publicly making it. But there's a "but" coming. Abraham stops to castigate the firefighters' and teacher's unions, the kind of unions its fashionable to dislike. In the latter's case, she writes, "Leaders of the Boston Teacher's Union, who are not fans of Walsh and haven'e endorsed anyone yet, do an injustice to dedicated educators by opposing changes that could transform many schools.

There's nothing really more specific here, so it's a little hard to get into. But there's an assumption here that measures opposed by teacher's unions would be a big boon to kids and schools, and that the representatives have only selfish and/or reactionary motives for opposing them. Selfish motives may play a part somewhere - they usually do - but I see on reason to assume the changes would be good. Educational reform needs more debate than it's getting, not less.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cool-off Saturday Random Ten

Ah yes.  Now we're reaching the part of the year where there is a marked contrast between daytime temperature and nighttime.  A lot of days anyway.  Good idea to dress in layers. [/PSA]

1. Neko Case - The Pharaohs
2. The Bird and the Bee - Lifespan of a Fly
3. Yo La Tengo - I Should Have Known Better
4. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - I'm Bored
5. Talk Talk - Happiness Is Easy
6. Lou Rawls - On Broadway
7. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Night Rally
8. R.E.M. - Catapult
9. Metric - Speed the Collapse
10. Nat King Cole - Non Dementicar

Roundup, of sorts

Thsi week will see a Saturday Random Ten, rather than a true FR10.  The important thing is, it will be just as fresh and delicious as ever.

Watched Wait Until Dark earlier tonight.  It's a clever and creepy little movie, matching Audrey Hepburn who is perfect in that she initially seems too wimpy to even watch this movie, much less star in it; with Alan Arkin, who's not a loveable rebel this time so much as a demon escaped from Hell.  Something tells me that if this story were filmed today it would be done a lot more ham-handedly.  In fact it's basically already happened.  Panic Room, from about ten years ago, is basically the same movie screamed through a megaphone.

Also read Mrs Pargeter's Plot, by Simon Brett, this week.  Mrs Pargeter is the widow of a smooth criminal, and thereby an unusual detective story heroine.  Rather pleasantlyskewed, in this novel.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Composing, decomposing, whatever

I finished a rough draft today, using "finish" and "draft" in the loosest senses of the words.  Actually the main goal was just to corral a few thousand words, like around 7,000, which is what I've got.  It's almost entirely incoherent.  What I'm hoping is that I can pick up a few threads and maybe, just maybe turn them into something interesting.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Emmett

emmett kelly - Caught sweeping up the light from Walter Patrick Smith, AIA LEED A on Vimeo.

I'm actually finding that sweeping can be relaxing, given a good broom and dustpan and a clear objective. Of course that's sweeping dust. Light may be another story.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Random Ten: Complete with petty annoyances

Well, I wish I could recommend the services of AbeBooks, but at present I don't think I can.  Early-mid last week I ordered a book from them, hoping to have it read for the book club meeting I have this coming Tuesday.  Not only have I not gotten it, but looking at the confirmation email, it's not due to get here until September 26.  That exceeds the 7-21 days shipping speed they promise in the first place.  In the second place, 21 days might be acceptable for long overseas deliveries, but not otherwise.  The dealer is in Florida, I'm in Rhode Island, and there's no way it takes anything a month to get from there to here.

Anyway, I obviously won't have the book read by Tuesday.  Time to get on with my life, I guess.


1. The White Stripes - Do
2. Love - Bummer in the Summer
3.  Chic - What About Me
4. Rasputina - Thimble Island
5. Edith Piaf - Celine
6. Radiohead - Morning Bell (Amnesiac)
7. The Bird and the Bee - You're a Cad
8. Yo La Tengo - The Story of Yo La Tengo
9. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Purple Haze
10. Neko Case - Don't Forget Me

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Coming soon!

... Something else. (No, really. I have an idea, I'm just too sleepy to carry it out.)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Penguins (gentoo)

Close encounter with Gentoo Penguin in Antarctica from Lens Travel Photography on Vimeo.

It's a hope of mine that populations never hit such a crisis point that we're tempted to colonize Antarctica. There's a meditative quality to this rocky and grey shoreline. I'm not sure it would remain long after coming in contact with civilization.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Change of pace Friday Random Ten

Tomorrow I'm hanging out with a friend who's having a birthday and some other old friends. There's something called the Rhythm and Roots Festival, going on a little further south in the state. So tomorrow I won't be having a leisurely late morning/early afternoon breakfast or taking a trip to the library to pick up an order, which are things I enjoy doing and will happily get back to next weekend. But routines shouldn't be absolute.

1. R.E.M. - Talk About the Passion
2. Yo La Tengo - Point and Shoot
3. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Jazz: Delicious Hot, Disgusting Cold
4. Metric - The Void
5. Roxy Music - Stronger Through the Years
6. Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
7. Pink Martini - New Amsterdam
8. The White Stripes - Broken Bricks
9. They Might Be Giants - 9 Secret Steps
10. Nat King Cole - Non Dementicar

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It's only cos he couldn't think of a punch line

My thoughts on what if anything to blog about are all over the place. In the mean time I might need a placeholder. This should do nicely.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rites of autumn

Fall is coming.  Which means that allergies are starting to rear their ugly heads again.  Which means it's time for that fun ritual of finding out which antihistamines are more drowse-inducing than the others.  If you're having a hard time staying vertical and can't feel your fingertips, you might want to save this one for nighttime use.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mise en abyme

When I was a kid I remember reading a Gold Key Star Trek comic, the story entitled "The Voodoo Planet." Kirk and his crew appeared on a depopulated planet marked by exact replicas of Earth landmarks. The title indicates that these landmarks were meant to link up to their Terran originals in some baleful way, but that part I don't really remember. As cheesy as the story might have been, the eerie desolation - and yet balance - of the pictures appealed to me.

And that story came back to me as I looked over this photoessay on the replica of Paris in Tianducheng, Paris. It's fascinating, and while town probably wasn't planned as some conceptual art commentary on the importance of context, it could have been. Because China isn't France, so a semi-abandoned Paris in the middle of it is almost bound to become its own thing. And if this Tiandu-Paris ever does pick up its own population, that will be another difference.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Frontiers: Friday Random Ten On Saturday

Hi again.  Yes, this is  Friday Random Ten and not Saturday Random Ten because I heard all the songs on Friday, it's just that forgetfulness/sleepiness put the transfer off untul now.  Not something I aim for, but...

Also watched Major Dundee last night.  It's a Sam Peckinpah Western with a mostly subdued Charlton Heston as a Union officer going after Apache raiders, and a less-subdued Richard Harris as a Confederate prisoner assisting him for his men's freedom.  It's longish (2 and a quarter) as a lot of Westerns are.  It's fun, though.  Partly because the motley army raised - Union soldiers, Rebs, freed blacks, some renegade Apache, etc - are definitely not a serene rainbow coalition.  Good performances also by James Coburn, Brock Peters, RG Armstrong, and a mostly comic relief Jim Hutton.  Anyway, it was a good capper to what had been a long, sort of frustrating day to that point.


1. R.E.M. - Sitting Still
2. Yo La Tengo - Watch Out for Me Ronnie
3. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - No Action
4. Metric - Dreams So Real
5. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Hello Mabel
6. Brian Eno - Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch
7. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Red House
8. Edith Piaf - Les Trois Cloches
9. TV on the Radio - DLZ
10. Lou Rawls - Street Corner Hustler's Blues/World of Trouble

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dome's day

When I was a kid geodesic domes were what the future was going to look like. Thus far that hasn't happened, and it's hard to know what to feel about that. I mean, it's not like I really got attached to them. Seeing this team put a couple up is invigorating, though.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Loss leader

Something I like to do here every now and then is put up a poem I like.  The reasons why it has to be one I like should be obvious.  Anyway, this is a classic exemplar of the villanelle, a form I have a great deal of fondness for.

                           

One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day.  Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and nnames and where it was you meant
to travel.  None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch.  And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went. 
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones.  And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

It's a fairly popular poem, and I think it can be misunderstood.  The speaker isn't bulletproof. If you listen the tone is philosophical, not blithe.  It doesn't deny the anxiety resulting from loss. It speaks of trying to channel it.  (Write it!)

Then again in texture, in mood, it's not a heavy poem either.  It achieves lightness in a paradoxical way.  Which is an admission I'll never really be able to explain it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bet you say that to all the girls

For more info on what she's talking about, see here.

I actually went to a seminar once where the instructor told us about this technique. To be fair, it was one among others. Still, though, he did confer on it a certain validity. I couldn't get into it, though. If negging works for you then, best case scenario, you become a psychologically abusive boyfriend. I just wasn't ready to commit to the abusive boyfriend lifestyle.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Random Ten: Observed

One thing about taking DVDs out from the library: you stand a good chance of missing one episode at least just because it's ruinced.  Hate to think what that reveals about my fellow patrons.
  

1. Patsy Cline - True Love
2. Chic - Everybody Dance (Clap Your hands)
3. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - No Action
4. Radiohead - Hunting Bears
5. Yo La Tengo - Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind
6. R.E.M. - We Walk
7. Brian Eno - Dragging Me Backwards
8. Roxy Music - Trash
9. David Bowie - If You Can See Me
10. Sarah Vaughan - Can't Get Out of This Mood
  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sonnet fail

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Nah.
~William Shakespeare on one of his less inspired days.

Actually I do plan to do another poetry post soon.  I didn't get to it tonight because I was distracted by installing a new phone.  (The answering machine I'd been using since 2000 or so was falling apart, and it seemed more efficient to have the phone and ans machine combined at this point.)  So, something to look forward to there.

Monday, August 12, 2013

2 thoughts

1: I just took out the garbage a few minutes ago.  When I threw the bag into the dumpster I heard something scurry out from behind it.  Looked down, sure enough there was a skunk walking among us.  Obviously I gave it a wide birth while I was on my way back in, because obviously I didn't want to get sprayed.  (They can also bite, if you really annoy them.)  One good thing about the new place, though, is that there's enough room out back to get stuff done regardless.  At my previous residence I saw a skunk near the trash cans one winter night and immediately made a u-turn.

2: I remember I was in college during the first World Trade Center attack.  You know, the one with the truck full of explosives that didn't actually do what it set out to do.  Not just in college, I was also on the school paper.  A story occurred to me regarding possible upticks in actions against people of Middle Eastern descent.  I thought getting some white supremacists on the record might lead to a good - or at least attention getting story - and I considered going undercover.  Bad, bad idea in retrospect, and it's good that it died from inertia.  While I'm fairly stoical about a lot of things, expressions of hatred do visibly get under my skin.  Also even though I'm entirely of Protestant British Isles heritage, some byplay of genetics has left me looking faintly Jewish.  Like both Jews and antisemites have noticed this.  So I wasn't going to cut it as a fake neo-Nazi.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday Random Ten: Musin' on a Saturday afternoon, evening, etc

I eat breakfast relatively late on Saturday, at a nearby restaurant/diner I like.  It does give me the "opportunity", though, to listen to top 40 radio.  Now even at the top-of-the-charts level, I don't think all contemporary music is crap.  I haven't grown old in that way yet.  But it does offend me to find that people like Ryan Seacrest are dj's now.  A dj is supposed to be a desperate idealist/possible drug casualty with deep passions and feverish tastes, not a network talking head who "likes" what he's told to like.

Since the '96 telecommunications act, I've seen radio be taken over by megaconglomerates and subsequently shrink.  The number of formats has become ever fewer and ever stricter.  The influence of the medium has shrunk as well.  When/if people still buy music, they're sometimes influenced by blogs and other press, sometimes by what plays in the background of TV shows.  The number of people taking musical cues from radio has plummeted.  This is sad, but also funny.  By making the investment in multiple radio stations around the country, the corporations have made them less of a wise investment.
     

1. Neko Case - Vengeance Is Sleeping*
2. Yo La Tengo - The Room Got Heavy
3. Arcade Fire - No Cars Go
4. Diana Krall - I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry
5. TV on the Radio - Halfway Home
6. Chic - Real People
7. Sarah Vaughan - Ain't Misbehaving
8. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Third Stone From the Sun
9. Radiohead - Like Spinning Plates
10. Martin Denny - Caravan
     
*

Friday, August 9, 2013

Land of dodgy enchantment

Hi-ho, there.  Taking the "Friday" out of Friday Random Ten this week.  Had to refresh the playlist, and didn't get around to it last night.  Saturday it is!

Tonight I watched Ace in the Hole.  I've liked-to-loved most Billy Wilder movies I've seen (Some Like, Apartment, etc) but hadn't seen this one.  It's depressing in terms of plot and maybe a little overcooked, but it certainly makes an impression.  Kirk Douglas is really on fire in this, too.

Also I'm pretty sure it's actually shot on location in New Mexico.  A lot of the exteriors are, at least.  And that is some amazing landscape, between the cubist desert and the cliff-dwellings that are some of the earliest signs of human life in the Americas.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A dose of steampunk cool

The Search Engine from Melissa Wright on Vimeo.

I find this quite beautiful and well done. The title "search engine" is given something of a more concrete nature than we usually see with it. If I read it right it's got a happy ending too.

Be back soon.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A friend in need's a friend indeed

Here's an interesting blog post.  It has to do with placebo buttons.  These are just what they sound like: fake peyote buttons you press to give you something to do, but that don't do anything in themselves.
 

Computers and timers now control the lights at many intersections, but at one time little buttons at crosswalks allowed people to trigger the signal change. Those buttons are mostly all disabled now, but the task of replacing or removing all of them was so great most cities just left them up. You still press them though, because the light eventually changes.
In an investigation by ABC news in 2010, only one functioning crosswalk button could be found in Austin, Texas; Gainsville, Fla.; and Syracuse, NY.
The city deactivated most of the pedestrian buttons long ago with the emergence of computer-controlled traffic signals, even as an unwitting public continued to push on, according to city Department of Transportation officials. More than 2,500 of the 3,250 walk buttons that still exist function essentially as mechanical placebos, city figures show. Any benefit from them is only imagined.
- New York Times, 2004
   
The thing to note is that as far as traffic lights go, I already knew this.  I've heard much the same thing through other sources.

And yet I still press the buttons.  Even at crossings where the light never changes from "Don't Walk" to "Walk" I'll keep hitting it in blatantly false hope.  (I live near one of those, by the way.  Technically I can't cross the street to get home without jaywalking.)  So yes, I guess you do have to grasp at straws sometimes in order not to feel helpless.

Door close buttons on elevators are a different subject.  I never press those in the first place, because if the door closes on someone trying to get on I don't want to be blamed.
   

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Random Ten on the road movie

I just watched Five Easy Pieces tonight.  A little frustrating in that there are a few times when the dialogue is almost impossible to make out, largely in the first third of the movie.  But wow.  It's a great film, and the complaint is a small one.  Hollywood would only finance t these kinds of plot-light, character driven films for a few more years.  The "kind of a prick" approach to writing an antihero isn't as popular as the "kind of a prick, but he carries four guns everywhere he goes.  Still mayor.

EDIT Okay, I have no idea what I meant by "Still mayor."  Seems to have been the product of general grogginess.  Point is, while Bobby Dupea is an antihero, neither the "anti" nor the "hero" part is action oriented in the way that would survive into the age of blockbusters.
1. L'Attirail - Suite en Solde
2. Edith Piaf - Adieu Mon Coeur
3. The Beatles - Glass Onion
4. Martin Denny - Taboo
5. Roxy Music - Dance Away
6. TV on the Radio - Crying
7. Arcade Fire - Black Mirror
8. Radiohead - I Might Be Wrong
9. The New Pornographers - All the Old Showstoppers
10. Nat King Cole - Our Love is Here to Stay

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Now I lay me down to sleep...

I really hope that no one wakes me up at 4:30 or quarter to five by calling me repeatedly from a gas station phone, only hanging up when I finally answer. Because if that shit happens twho nights/mornings in a row, someone is getting hurt, somehow.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Old babies

Motherhood a few centuries back wasn't that different from what it is now, except for the staggeringly greater chance that your baby would die in infancy. That's my takeaway. Okay, it's kind of a big "except." But still, it's interesting to see how far back the roots of modern parenting styles go. Even further than this, I would wager in a lot of cases.

The painting at the top of the linked article looks insane to me. I've never seen one waking baby who looked that calm, never mind two. The artist took some heavy liberties there.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday Random Ten au naturel

As I walked home tonight I found out the World Naked Bike Ride was riding through the neighborhood. Two different groups I saw.  Good for them, I guess?  It's not really something I can get excited about either way, so I'm not going to gawk.  Which officially is how I think they prefer it.

Hope they bring talc in case of seat rash, anyway.

< blockquote>
1. Roxy Music - Still Falls the Rain
2. Rasputina - My Orphanage
3. Arcade Fire - Ocean of Noise
4. Yo La Tengo - Mr. Tough
5. Brian Eno - Driving Me Backwards
6. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - No Action
7. Andre Cluytens + Philharmonia Orchestra - Marche Au Suplice (from Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz)
8. R.E.M. - Catapult
9. Radiohead - Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors
10. The Beatles - Don't Pass Me By

Dose of funny

Hoping to do a Saturday Random Ten later on. Yesterday I forgot my iPod in a jacket I didn't bring to work. Which was all right otherwise.

Semi-randomly came across this. I read a description of a George Carlin appearance on Carol Burnett, but this is apparently a different one. (The writer described him as clean-shaven and still with a crew cut, which isn't true here.) Obviously he's in his "work clean" mode here, and he can pull it off. Watch for the George Wallace joke near the end.

PS, will answer comments later. Need to get cleaned up and go eat something now.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Where we ask the questions that perhaps shouldn't be answered

So there's this recipe book, apparently...

All sorts of practical questions arise. Like, how are you supposed to have enough to cook with? Do you save it? It's not something I've ever considered the possibility of going bad. Never really had reason to think of it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

England stings

"You are very cynical, Herr Cornelius. I am tempted to believe that Ragnarok is almost with us.

"That's an odd thing for a Christian minister to say."

"I am more than that — I am a Scandinavian Lutheran. I have no doubt of the truths inheren in our old pagan mythology."

"I am a British atheist and I share your opinion."

Right now I'm reading The Final Programme, the first of Michael Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius books. A few years back I read The Condition of Muzak, which ended the quartet of novels. (Moorcock has since returned to the character and his environs in several shorter works.) It's an interesting vision: a swinging Byronic hero in a Marvel Comics version of then-contemporary (1960s) London. What I admire most is that Moore moves onto or sticks with whatever stimulates his mind at the moment. He breaks all the rules "How to Write Fiction" authors set out.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Title: TBD; Header: You're looking at it

I'm working on a story now.  Not sure what I'll have when I'm finished.  Something, hopefully.  The thread can be hard to start and easy to lose.  I'm working a few tricks to make sure that doesn't happen.

There will be a lot of pink, I'm pretty sure.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Rewound Friday Random Ten

Watched another movie tonight.  This time I popped it in at the start of dinner, rather than waiting until after dinner.  Still, whenever I start I'm going to fast-forward through trailers and ads.  Life's too short.

The movie itself, Source Code, was pretty good.  Definitely well-acted, even if the dialogue did creak here and there.

1. Johnny Mathis - All the Time
2. Love - Live and Let Live
3. Chic - Real People
4. R.E.M. - Radio Free Europe
5. Radiohead - Morning Bell/Amnesiac
6. The Magnetic Fields - Desert Island
7. TV on the Radio - Love Dog
8. They Might Be Giants - Stone Cold Coup d'Etat
9. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Piggy Bank Love
10. Sarah Vaughan - East of the Sun (And West of the Moon)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

brrrright idea

Last night I went to a Starbucks and fou nd myself sitting over a cooling vent. Now keep in mind that yesterday was a real scorcher, as is expected for the entire week.  So yes, they'd be expected to crank the AC.  I wondered if they weren't overdoing it a little.

In fact it's a habit that forms for much of the summer.  Carry around a jacket outside, only wear it once you get inside.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Meanwhile, in the Sunshine State

In itself, somewhat perfunctory. I had been expecting this verdict for a while. Just casually following the news of the trial, you could tell things weren't going well for the prosecution. Zimmerman's lawyers were presumably not cheap, and say what you will, they earned their fees.

Mark O’Mara, one of Mr. Zimmerman’s lawyers, said, “George Zimmerman was never guilty of anything except firing the gun in self-defense.”

This case rankles, and it's going to rankle for some time. Strangely enough, O'Mara's comment hints at why. Zimmerman's self defense claim rested on allegations against Trayvon Martin. In effect, the defense managed to convict Martin posthumously. Legally that's no more true than it is of any other successful self-defense claim. In reality, though, people will see the record that the killer was acquitted because the victim was about to beat him to death, and they'll judge accordingly. This despite the paucity of physical evidence on this point and the fact that Zimmerman was never called on to swear to it in court.

The other reason this story won't go away is, of course, race. And that remains one of the great unsettleds of life in this country. But another thing about following this case is that if you read anything about it online, you see the comment sections that go along with the story. And nearly every comment section I've seen on Martin-related stories has had comments that not only support George Zimmerman, but which express schadenfreude at Martin's fate. Need it ba asked if reactions would be the same if a white boy visiting his father had been killed? Apparently yes, it needs be.

Also I feel like I should link to this, which well expresses some things that need to be said.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Guns, dames, & the Friday Random Ten

Just saw the movie Road House. Not the Patrick Swayze movie, although may he rest in peace. This one was from 1948, with Ida Lupino as a night club singer/pianist who falls for the manager (Cornel Wilde) when the owner (Richard Widmark) assumed she was his girl. Lupino's very good,and rhw movie takes an interesting, low key approach to the noir genre. It's like a series of more-or-less uncomfortable situations, slowly building up, only exploding at the end. Though Widmark is nuts, of course.

1. R.E.M. - Pilgrimage
2. Love - Alone Again Or
3. Roxy Music - Cry, Cry, Cry
4. TV on the Radio - Shout Me Out
5. Chic - Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)
6. Radiohead - Dollars & Cents
7. The Magnetic Fields - In My Secret Place
8. The Beautiful South - Have You Ever Been Away
9. Rasputina - Gingerbread Coffin
10. Art Blakey - Moanin'

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fairly good news

Right call. Walmart is pretty close to its dream of owning entire megalopolises and having all the citizens take the surname "Walmart", a la Jennifer Government. So I'm glad Washington is opting to remain a real city for now.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Just the rabbits, ma'am

I feel sort of bad only putting a half-minute of this animation up, because it just establishes the look and feel. That's all there is, though. I'll have to remind myself to look out for this animator as she completes the project. Anyway, the stop-motion turntable is something else.

focus teaser from matusevich maria on Vimeo.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tidbit

I will be responding to comments soon.  This has the disadvantage of being one of those blog posts I do when I should already be in bed.

Wanted to share this, though.  At lunch today I was doing the crossword and incidentally, through solving other clues, I filled in three squares with "LUX."  That was the whole answer, so I looked at the clue.  It was "Interior of the Cramps."  I was happy to be vindicated in my answers, and also that the auhtor remembered old Erick Purkhiser.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday Random Ten: A Heated List

Nothing like the day after a major holiday when the temperature is in the 90s with a "feels like" factor of 100 or more.  Huge number of people staying home or returning home ASAP.  Somehow I managed to keep busy at work.

1. Chic - Good Times
2. XTC - In Loving Memory of a Name
3. David Bowie - Valentine's Day
4. Rasputina - Our Lies
5. They Might Be Giants - Circular Karate Chop
6. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Look Out There's a Monster Coming
7. Radiohead - You and Whose Army
8. Arcade Fire - Windowsill
9. Love - Andmoreagain
10. Martin Denny - The Enchanted Isle

Thursday, July 4, 2013

"America" is MIA

I was intending to put Prince's song "America" up in celebration of Independence Day.  It's kind of a polarizing song, even among his fans.  Some don't like him getting preachy and political, while others are rubbed the wrong way by the song's sort of conservative tone.  I've always found it fascinating, in part because of the tension between the lyrics and the music.

To post it, though, I'd pretty much need a video.  Not an official music video, or even necessarily something with moving images.  Just something I could embed in the place where a video would go.  And as far as I can tell there's none online for that song.

It always surprises me these days when something isn't on the Internet.  We've just been conditioned to expect everything will be.  Inconvenience aside, maybe I should be relieved.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Non-combatant

Today at the place where I volunteer the lady who's been supervising me the last couple of weeks (I kind of float from place to place) set up a computer and left me to it.  When she was gone, a guy said she was trying to get credit for my work and called her something that rhymes with "stunt."

I don't really care about profanity in the workplace, in general.  Nor am I going to assume the fellow is a sexist just from that.  There's not enough to go on.  From the context it's plausible he was trying to help me.

Thing is, though, even when I'm a paid employee I avoid office politics like the plague.  Going into work every day with the predisposition that some people are allies and others are enemies?  Don't really need that.  Yes if someone fucks me over personally or does something over the line - and this is important, if I know about it for sure - then yes, that will affect my attitude toward them.  But this is not a situation to be embraced.

Really I try to approach all of life like that.  The universe isn't helped by me having an opinion about every little thing.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

status

I'm dazed.  Not confused, though.  So Robert Plant has one up on me.

Next blog post will be in July.  Crazy, man.

Friday, June 28, 2013

End-of-fiscal-year Friday Random Ten

I happen to have a job where you get to know things like that.  Actually it ends Sunday, but not as many places are open, then.  At my work there's an odd mix of frantic activity in some areas (because of the fiscal calendar) and almost nothing in others (becuase of widesptread vacations).

1. The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Humanoid Boogie
2. Grizzly Bear - I Live With You
3. Depeche Mode - Nothing
4. Edith Piaf - Qu'as-Tu Fait John
5. Martin Denny - Hypnotique
6. Nat King Cole - Don't Get Around Much Anymore
7. Rasputina - Sweetwater Kill
8. The New Pornographers - The Spirit of Giving
9. David Bowie - How Does the Grass Grow?
10. Patsy Cline - Strange

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Division

A few weeks back a couple of friends and I were talking and the subject of comic strips came up.  They both had really fond memories of Bloom County.  Which, nothing against it, but usually seemed to me to be trying too hard.  I didn't say that, but I told them I was a big fan of Calvin and Hobbes.  Man, you could hear crickets chirping.

It could be just that by the time C&H was being published they figured they were too old for kiddie strips, while I wasn't as long as they were really well done.  But I prefer to think the world is divided into Team Penguin and Team Tiger.  That way I know where I stand.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Just saying hi

Before too much time passes, I juste wanted to say "What's up?"

Apparently so did Cthulhu. Nice to hear from him.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Vengeful Saturday Random Ten

Last night I watched Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.  First DVD seen in new apartment, woo-hoo!  It wasn't quite up to the standards of Oldboy, but that's not because it doesn't reach the same heights.  It's just the matter of the last twenty minutes or so dragging.  Still pretty thrilling and worth seeing.

1. The Bonzo Doo-Dah Dog Band - Postcard
2. Martin Denny - Oro (God of Vengeance)
3. David Bowie - (You Will) Set the World on Fire
4. T. Rex - Sound Pit
5. Nat King Cole - The Very Thought of You
6. Arcade Fire - Keep the Car Running
7. They Might Be Giants - Black Ops
8. Chic - Rebels Are We
9. Art Blakey - Moon River
10. Love - The Daily Planet

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Couples night

Here's an interesting review of the history of marriage. Or you could say "histories", as it's rather non-linear.

The relatively recent trend of state-recognized marriage has nothing to do with the idea of marriage as “natural” union under God and human nature. As Columbia University history professor Steven Mintz puts it: “Whenever people talk about traditional marriage or traditional families, historians throw up their hands. We say, ‘When and where?’” There is no such thing as “traditional marriage.” Different societies in different times have had very different marriage traditions.

But historically, until the Protestant Reformation, most European states didn’t recognize the marriages of anyone without assets—about 85 percent of the population. God may have created Adam and Eve, but the state only cared about ownership of the Garden of Eden.

In a lot of these instances the church - whatever church that might be - took up the slack for the majority of marriages. But the role of religious institutions hasn't been consistent either. So the idea of whether and how our ancestors were wed is complex and in some cases subjective.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Presenting...


Xenia Rubinos covers Talking Heads

An interesting take on the song. Honors the spirit if playing fast and loose with the letter. I can see David Byrne liking this a lot.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Been Grimm: It's clobberin' time!

Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm collected a lot of stories, not just the dozen or so that are best known. This is one of them, and it's fairly harrowing. It doesn't take much - any - elaboration to see "Fitcher's Bird" as a story of rape and domestic violence. What's more, it posits these things as horrible crimes that merit and will ultimately bring forth a severe punishment. Which doesn't sound like much, except... The story has its origiins in a time when women were considered the property of their husbands.

So I wonder. Is this a case of the folk tale acting as a kind of folk conscience? And how many more such cases are there?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

In memoriam

A guy I worked with died this past week.  It was a kick in the head because he was so young, only in his early 30s.  It's shaken everybody, really.

I genuinely liked the man.  Which means I don't have to fake anything.  It also sucks, for obvious reasons.  But there's nothing you can do to change it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Corvid Friday Random Ten

Haven't seen crows as much in the past few weeks..  It just strikes me because I hear a bird singing now.  Hope the little black-feathered guys are all right.

1. Art Blakey - Minor's Holiday
2. Martin Denny - My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii
3. Sly & the Family Stone - Never Do Your Woman Wrong
4.  Grizzly Bear - Fine For Now
5. T. Rex - Change
6. Love - The Red Telephone
7. Depeche Mode - I Want You
8. Arcade Fire - Black Wave/Bad Vibrations
9. David Bowie - The Next Day
10. Nat King Cole - Our Love Is Here to Stay

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Weird June

It's raining now, and it seems like it's been raining day and night for the past few days, although there have actually been a few hours when it wasn't. It's also impressively cold for the time of year. Like, I'm wearing a cardigan right now and I'm not running any fans.

It's the first time in years this time of year hasn't felt like Summer.

Other stuff coming tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Shock absorber

The Neko Milgram experiment, in which the majority of subjects proved willing to apply massive, even fatal jolts to confederates as long as they had moral permission, has disturbed and depressed many people over the years. The results, however, may have been misinterpreted.

Gina Perry, for her book, Behind the Shock Machine, traced as many participants in the Milgram experiment as she could, and re-examined the notes of the experiment. Milgram claimed that seventy-five percent of the participants believed in the reality of the experiment, but Perry puts the number at about half. The change makes a big difference in the results. The people who didn't buy that they were actually shocking people were far more willing to increase the intensity of the shocks. They wanted to know how far the experimenters would go in the ruse, while the experimenters were wondering the same thing about them. Those that believed that they were shocking people were much more likely to keep the shocks down low. While Perry still thinks about a third of the people would crank up the shocks even if they believed, that's a big drop in overall percentage.

This actually stands to reason. If I were a subject in the experiment, my thinking would go thus: The researcher is legally responsible for whatever goes on here. Obviously, he'll be in deep shit if someone he's experimenting on dies. He'd be stupid to let me harm or kill that person. Ergo, if he's telling me to ignore that person's cries for mercy, something else must be going on here.

Not sure what I'd do after I reached that conclusion.

Now does that mean that people are good? Not necessarily. In truth "Are people good?" seems to me to be a uselessly vague question. But it's nice to know there aren't quite that many Jack-Lint-in-Brazil types.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Friday Random Ten... wait five minutes

Last weekend (Friday/Saturday) when I was packing up and moving, we had dog days of August weather, hitting the 90s.  Fast forward a week to yesterday and it felt like we were still fighting our way out of winter, which had something to do with the ever-intensifying rainstorm.  Today was nice, about what you'd expect for late spring or mild summer.  Of course even that took some adjustment.  My first instinct because of yesterday was to wear a heavier jacket.

1. TV on the Radio - Dancing Choose
2. Johnny Mathis - When Sunny Gets Blue
3.  Depeche Mode - Little 15
4. Bonzo Doo-Dah Dog Band - Trouser Press
5. Arcade Fire - Ocean of Noise
6. Fol Chen - Cable TV
7. Sly & the Family Stone - Higher
8. Brian Eno - Blank Frank
9. Edith Piaf - Le Chant du Pirate
10. Jessie Hill - Ooh Poo Pah Doo

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Finicky 'n' awake

Okay, so I'm still working on pulling the new place together.  It will take some work.  Some of that has to be at night.  Allergy season is kind of a problem in that respect, since a lot of allergy meds have a noticeable knockout effect.  So a lot of the time it's best to put up with the sniffles, at least until it's actually time for bed.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Not liking these odds

It's not necessarily one of the huge problems facing us today, but bookmakers accepting bets on TV castings seems ethically suspect to me. Two things to keep in mind here, on different levels. Theoretically, any actor still living could be the next Doctor. (Those not living would need some strong motivation.) In reality, however, the final choice will come down to whoever auditions the best and/or says yes when the producer calls. And assuming auditions are going on/have happened, the general public doesn't know who was involved. Plus in fantasy casting almost everyone goes for big stars, whereas Doctor Who has generally gravitated to non-stars. (Tom Baker would have been huge if Nicholas and Alexandra had been the world-conquering epic it was supposed to be. It wasn't.) So all this bookmaking seems to be like betting that the next heavyweight champion will be a big guy you saw on the street who may or may not be a prizefighter, but probably isn't.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

How'd they do that?

I've made the move.  Still have a lot of unpacking/cleaning/maintenance to do.  Since my old pillows were totally worn out, I left them behind and bought a new pair today.  (Note to new readers: These are actual pillows for a bed.  I am not in the adult entertainment industry.)

I just stumbled over some music by this band Hooded Fang this weekend.  I don't know anything about them other than that they're Canadian, which seems to fit. Here they are green-screening themselves out of existence.

Highway Steam from Sturdy Films on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Omen of summer

I was talking to a friend earlier today and she said, "People wanted it warm." We both kind of agreed it was a "be careful what you wish for" kind of deal. It's muggy and humid, and just a few hours of this leaves you pretty sluggish.

Anyway, we're at or near the end of another month.  Not too exciting blogwise.  I should be posting more regularly again in June, once I'm past a couple of things that have already been mentioned.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Public libraries, much like the Post Office, are beset by questions like "Does anyone use that?", "Isn't print dead?" and "Doesn't private for-profit enterprise do everything better?" And while those are all good test questions with intricate answers, the askers tend to get self-satisfied and leave the room before anyone else even starts to answer.

There are also stretches - without any NGOs or foundations to help run a libraray. This seems especially true in the red states, which are also of course the places most resistant to taxation for public projects.

Which is to say that Mellow Pages seems like a great idea. I mean, it's cool in New York, but it may well turn out to be necessary in other places.

Like the name, too. Has a certain Zap Comix air.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A few days now

I'm steeling myself for the trauma of moving.  Why trauma?  It's not that far.  It's not a bad place.  And I have at least one friend helping me.  It's just the one of those things that I'll like looking back on more than I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Hollowe-out Friday Random Ten

It's a sort of interesting experience, living in a place where heavy construction is going on.  Neighbors within the building have been bailing.  I think there are about half a dozen occupied roomis in the building.  All sorts of things have been ripped out of the empty rooms: stoves, sinks.  I'm not sure I'd repeat the experience, but it is an experience.

1. Lou Rawls - See You When I Git There
2. Love - Live and Let Live
3. Grizzly Bear - All We Ask
4. T. Rex - Sound Pit
5. Patti Smith Group - Elegie
6. They Might Be Giants - Icky
7. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
8. Los Campesinos! - There Are Listed Buildings
9. Edith Piaf - Las Amants de Paris
10. Art Blakey - Dat Dere

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What's funny today?

This is a comedian (comedienne if you prefer) I hadn't been familiar with before this past weekend.  Ms Jackson does have a certain elan, though.  The "rent is due" is a precious little detail.

Glitchin'

Yesterday I was at work and spent half the day with my computer basically useless because most things require it to be connected to the main network, and my connection was out.  I thought at first that someone else would complain, but at some point I found out that I was the only one with a problem.

Today I was doing laundry.  I loaded clothes and money into one of the washers.  When I went back to check on it about 20 minutes later, I found that the laundry was sitting in soapy water.  The washer had filled, and then done nothing else.  The attendant said he had never seen anything like that happen before.

I guess why have regular bad luck when you can have X-Files bad luck?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Oddly familiar/Familiarly odd Saturday Random Ten

It's a little bit mortifying to see people you think you know, go up to greet them, and find a stranger staring at you like you're a lunatic.  Conversely it's a pleasant surprise to be unsure you know the person and then to find out they are the right one.  In this case it was a guy I hang out with frequently anyway, but still...

1. David Bowie - The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
2. T. Rex - Change
3/ Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks
4. Sarah Vaughan - Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year
5. Edith Piaf - C'est Merveilleux
6. Ladytron - Tomorrow
7. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
8. Brian Eno - Baby's On Fire
9. The Bonzo Dog Band - Equestrian Statue
10. Sly & the Family Stone - We Love All

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How to get something from nothing (sometimes)

Recently I found myself with, effectively, writer's block.  I had an idea, but couldn't come up with anything leading from it.  In effect the idea was just a bunch of words sitting there mocking me, or at least that's what it seemed like.

I got through it by going back and thinking about, and trying to put down on paper, what had interested me about the subject in the first place.  And also writing down my anxiety about having writer's block, plus a bunch of stuff implied by that.  Lo and behold, I started getting more ideas after that.

It's kind of like having stomach flu or something.  Once you lean over and puke your guts out, you feel amazingly better.