Friday, May 30, 2014

"Another one bites the dust" Friday Random Ten

There's a relatively high turnover where I work.  It varies, but at some point after a couple of years a lot of people relocate themselves.  I'm one of the vets, actually.  One work friend had his last day today.  He's leaving the state and going into teaching.  Which is a recipe for interesting times.  I wish him the best.

1. Brian Eno - Zawinul/Lava
2. Neil Young - Sedan Delivery
3. Arcade Fire - Flashbulb Eyes
4. Beck - Blackbird Chain
5. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - Happy Talk
6. Neko Case - John Saw That Number
7. Lower Dens - Brains
8. R.E.M. - Green Grow the Rushes
9. Amy Winehouse - Know You Now
10. St. Vincent - Every Tear Disappears

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fine distinctions

Thursday.  It's Thursday.  The end of Thursday.  Not Friday.

That is, if I start thinking it's Friday night now, I'll think it's Saturday tomorrow.  And atsa no godd a-boss.  I need to go into work tomorrow.  Or at least make sure someone matching my general description does.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Toil and trouble

Is this a made-up memory?  I'm pretty sure it has some validity.  When I was a kid I remember seeing archival reruns of the Ernie Kovacs show.  One of his shows ended with a musical number where either a keyboard or some kind of percussion instrument sent out a plethora of bubbles that basically took over the set.  Wild times.

At any rate, I suspect the creator of the Nairobi Trio would be down with this instrument.  So might Doctor Seuss.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Meteorological Saturday Random Ten

I was waiting for the bus tonight and a guy comes along* and asks, "Why's it gotta rain?"  Which it was doing.  There are, of course, answers to that question, good ones.  Maybe not answers he was in the mood to hear.  Anyway, his girl came along and hopefully distracted him from dissatisfactions with the local weather pattern.
* Apologies for the sudden change in tense.  Sounded right.

1. Dirty Projectors - Remade Horizon
2. Beck - Morning
3. The Bird and the Bee - Ray Gun
4. Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)
5. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - Happy Talk
6. Neko Case - Maybe Sparrow
7. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Watch Your Step
8. The Beastie Boys - Tripple Trouble
9. Reading Rainbow - I See Light
10. Mose Allison - Fool's Paradise

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fun in bed

Last night I got a somewhat late bedtime to begin with, certainly for a weeknight.  So it was a little annoying that after I went to bed and relaxed just about enough to go to sleep, there was this noise keeping me up.  Hard to describe, somewhere between a hum and rustling.  Except soon I realized something: It wasn't keeping me up exactly.  I was somewhere between wakefulness and sleep.

A hypnagogic state, that is. 

The sound could have been entirely within my head or it could have been hypersensitivity to the fridge humming.  Either way, I woke myself up and it stopped.  So then I could actually get to sleep.

It's kind of an unsettling experience. yes.  But it's also kind of cool.  I was fortunate in not undergoing anything potentially traumatic like sleep paralysis.  Hypnagogia complements my writerly side as well.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Hello out there!  Up there?  Just wanted to let you know I'm doing fine, I think.  Should probably make up a to-do list sometime soon, though.  I think there are things I've been meaning to do lately that I haven't gotten around to.  Or I've done them and they've gotten undone, which is Sysiphean.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Have Fear

In a simpler time James Brown & His Famous Flames or Huey Lewis & the News wove a series of place names into a song like "Night Train" or "The Heart of Rock and Roll," embedding a shout-out to fans listening on radios "all over the world," a tradition which obviously  originated in more personalized onstage salutes, as well as stage props like the place-name-stickered guitar case.  (Chuck Berry made a career of such songs.  The obverse of this love-of-localities is the generic joke of the lead singer so befuddled about destinations in the course of a long tour that he hails the wrong city.  "We love you Minneap - uh, Detroit!"

Several 1978 Talking Heads shows in the US heartland opened with "Big Country": Wouldn't live here, thank you very much, now here's our act.  Call this having the courage of your convictions.  "Cities," a year later, can't yet be troubled to make too sincere a retraction.

That's from Jonathan Lethem's book on Talking Heads' Fear of Music.  A short book, yes, but a whole book.  It's part of Continuum Books' 33 1/3 series (where your supposed to see a little 1 over a little 3, but blogger layout doesn't support that) where writers and in some cases musicians do a close reading of various albums.

From a music appreciation standpoint it's unnecessary.  I mean, my ears are pretty much all I need in order to appreciate Talking Heads.  On the other hand, music isn't just music but what it does to you.  And what it does to other people.  So there is something to be gained from hearing someone else's feedback, maybe.  And Lethem, who I've already enjoyed as a novelist, certainly seems keyed up about the project.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

And so...

And so, the weekend draws to an end.  Tomorrow is Monday.  For a working person, the only sensible approach is to come at the day, paws outstrretched, a sense of avid curiosity as to what  the day will bring.

Well, perhaps "avid" will have to wait until after I've had my coffee.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Grateful recipient's Friday Random Ten

Got a couple of packages in the mail this week.  Not from an enterprising connection in Cali, if curious readers were wondering.  But I'll be unveiling said packages this weekend, one of relaxation and, I'd like to think, gratitude.

1. Reading Rainbow - Prism Eyes
2. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - Never Will I Marry
3. Radiohead - Pyramid Song
4. New Order - Leave Me Alone
5. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Luxembourg
6. Amy Winehouse - Fuck Me Pumps
7. Brian Eno - Over Fire Island
8. Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)
9. Lower Dens - Alphabet Song
10. Neko Case - Hold On, Hold On

There, managed to do the list in Compose rather than HTML mode, which makes for better layout.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Just because

In a burst of inspiration - and I can see how this song could inspire him - the artist AJ Smith made a whole bunch of drawings - not all of them strictly SFW - based on Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited."  He then formed them into what he calls a "limited animation Roger Ramjet style video."  I don't have much experience with Roger Ramjet.  This, though, is very cool.  Not sure why the promoter is drawn to look like Woody Allen, though.  Guess it could be called casting against type.
Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisted Cartoon video by ajsmith1234

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

You say zbogov and I say zdravo

"Zdravo" and "zbogov" are Serbian for "hello" and "goodbye" respectively, you see.  Once you master that z sound at the beginning before the other consonants they fairly roll off the tongue.

Serbian and Croatian culture, as at-odds-to-put-it-mildly as they have been, both fascinate me.  I think it's because the peoples have lived in a fairly small patch of land back in Europe, but have an expansive history.  Interestingly my half-sisters are part Croatian, which is cool for them.

There's a guy with a YouTube account who seems to have a pretty good grasp of Serbian pronunciation.  Unfortunately he also thinks he's funny, which is why I'm not putting the videos up here.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Couple of different things

Ever been to a Middle Eastern-themed cafe.  Say one with Moroccan cuisine and decor.  Some also offer hookahs to smoke.  And you get the feeling that a lot of those who go for the hookah are in the mood to do bong hits but don't have any cannabis at the moment so they're going the placebo route.

Mind, I have no problem with this at all.  I just can't help noticing/speculating.

This is indeed cute.  Not what I picture when I hear "arctic fox", though.  I'd have just thought they were foxes that happened to be white, not little black dog/badger things.

Super Cute Arctic Fox Cubs from For 91 Days Travel Blog on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Some thoughts grafted onto the Saturday Random Ten

So yeah, the whole Shoot First/Stand Your Ground movement has not stcuck me as a good thing. The verdict in the Trayvon Martin case was depressing. If anything, the Jordan Davis case was even worse. By most standards, Michael Dunn just straight up murdered Davis, plus he's shown violent behaviors and symptoms of psychopathy before and after. Yet he was only convicted at all because he shot at the retreating car afterwards.

This blog post lists some other dismaying cases. The one pleasant surprise is that there are no abusive comments on it, which have become pretty standard in online discussions of the topic. I'm not sure if the Sleuthsayers people have cut comments, or if a mystery writer group blog has enough of an air of toughness to keep bullies at bay.

Anyway, the music:

1. Cannonball Adderley - Unit 7

2. Beck - Country Down

3. Brian Eno - Sombre Reptiles

4. Fairport Convention - Book Song

5. Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch

6. Neil Young - Powderfinger

7. Morphine - Sheila

8. Reading Rainbow - I See Light

9. Lower Dens - Candy

10. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - In a Mellow Tone

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Going whole hog

The Three Billy Pigs from Nik Palmer on Vimeo.

This seems to be a lovely bit of interdisciplinary children's theatre. I especially like the comedy business they work out of the Big Bad Wolf.

The "Three Billy Pigs" title is apparently a combo of The Three Little Pigs and Billy Goats Gruff. At first I thought it might be a short form of "hillbilly." Not sure if that's a word in broad usage in the UK. There is a banjo in the show.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Washed up

Arriving at the laundromat today I found the lights off, the first sign of fun. Most of the washers weren't working, so I had to wait 10-15 minutes to put my colors in.  Used the first open washer I could find for whites.  Maybe half the driers were functioning.  Most of them were in use, but the attendant helped me find a couple and I was okay except I didn't have time to do any folding before I left.

Had to feel bad for her.  She's responsible for laundry that's dropped off as well, which was taking her longer because the bigger machines were out of commission.  This started on Saturday.  The electrician was due on Tuesday morning, but was still a no-show when I left.  The owner apparently feels that waiting around for the right guy is a good business strategy despite the number of customers who get turned away, a judgment I honestly have to question.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A little fight left

Over at McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Susan Schorn has a pretty extensive arvhive for her "Bitchslap" column. This is a blessing. She's a self-defense instructor, and her sub-byline mentions that "she's been hit in the head more than most McSweeney's columnists. Her takes on fighting, violence, and sparring (which aren't all the same thing) are very informative and personal.

This one is a pretty good test case as to whether you'll like her style.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Random Ten in the Age of Aquarius

A few posts ago, I mentioned the way my bathtub was acting up again.  This got a suggestion - and you know who you are, dahlink - that I call the landlord and ask them to send a plumber over.  The reason I didn't do this in the first place was that the problem was pretty simple in terms of what to do.  One little part had to be replaced.  While not the handiest of people, I'm 90% sure I had the knowledge to do the replacement myself, maybe with a little trial and error thrown in.

The thing is, the faceplate was held in by two screws, and one of them was so rusted and stripped it wouldn't budge.  This  takes specialized tools to get rid of, and nothing I bought did the trick.  So I had/was acquiring the know-how, but was stymied by the equipment.

Short version?  I wound up calling the landlord after all.  My pride isn't too hurt, and my feet are grateful.

1. Laurie Anderson - Born, Never Asked
2. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - You'll Never be a Man
3. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - Save Your Love for Me
4. The Cramps - Surfin' Bird
5. R.E.M. - Old Man Kensey
6. Taj Mahal - Johnny Too Bad
7. Morphine - All Wrong
8. The Clash - (White Man In) The Hammersmith Palais
9. Lower Dens - Lion in Winter, Pt 2
10. Jimi Hendrix Experience - Hey Joe