Saturday, December 13, 2008

The re-return

So, trying to get back to the blogging thing. And not because I feel some sort of compulsion to exhibit my life, which I do, of course. That complusion is getting deeper and spreading farther afield. I'm facebooking now, and I just started twittering or tweeting or whatever the hell you call it. The point is I'm writing again. Right now, I'm absolutely murdering Mythic Structures, my novel, but I'll get into that over on access the process, one of my other blogs.
Now that I've been at this for awhile (admittedly all of my blogs have been in hibernation for quite some time), it occurs to me that it might've made more sense to make all my blogs one, and just have different sections for each of the overarching topics. One of these days I'll get around to reviving ye' olde' html skills, and doing a total redesign and get rid of the, not awful but just overused and so overseen, templates blogger offers up.
The point I was going for was that I'm back, baby, and better than ever. Well, I will be. I think.
I am going to start posting video and audio. All self-generated stuff though, no links to the outside world. That is one thing this blog will always be is intensely and almost exclusively self-referential cause I'm just that egomaniacal. I really am.
Okay, so, good to be back.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Papa Bear and RockNRolla

I saw Bill O'Rielly on the Daily Show last night, and Jon Stewart made him look unintelligent. Well, really he made himself sound unintelligent by repeatedly calling Stewart names while Stewart was just laying the tracks right across. Both him and Colbert are really hitting on all cylinders. Colbert's interviews are devastatingly funny, ironic, and pitch perfect, even as both shows interview period is way too short. Stewart, at least, ought to get half hour for interviews. I can understand why they wouldn't want to stretch the main show. Bringing a half hour comedy show to an hour is a lot, but honestly just let stewart interview for another half. Maybe break up the interview with a bit 3/4 of the way through.

Really the best thing to do would be to combine it with The report and make the whole thing half hour longer, so they both get 15 extra minutes to interview. Maybe 10 for Colbert and 20 for Stewart. It must require an incredible amount of concentration for Colbert to due those interviews. The technique is amazingly executed. When that show first came out, I thought it was hilarious, but that it couldn't last. It didn't occur to me that Colbert might perfect his character after several years on the air. I missed the middle years, but I've come back to the shows streaming though comedy central's website. Bitingly funny. Really good stuff.

Anyway, I started this entry about a month ago and never came back and finished, so I don't really have much to say about RockNRolla except it was thin. The story was pretty weak. The characters were flat, and the color tones kinda' clashed at times, and the rest of the time they were just kinda' drab. Still somewhat entertaining though. And now that I think about it, it was one of those movies were you come out feeling like a badass. I remember leaving the film and walking down by the bar where the first scene of The noir movie in Mythic Structures happens, and I had that look in my eye like I had just figured out the secret meaning of life, and maybe, just maybe, I might let you in on it if you ask me reaallly nicely. That was how I was feeling afterwords.
So, I guess as far as a results oriented look at the film, it kicked ass.

Monday, September 15, 2008

critical opinion

I went to see Burn After Reading the other day. I fully admit I went in wanting to love it and ready to defend it. I get so sick of the how often the Coen Bros. get dissed by the critics. I absolutely don't get it.
Now, I'll admit Burn is a mess. It's all over the place, but I liked that. I like the fact that there's no central protagonist. I also like the fact that you don't really like any of the characters too much. There is no one to root for in this film. When did it become manditory that we have to root for someone? Does film really have to be simply a vicarious experience where we are unchallenged because the protagonist is morally blameless? And does not having this experience mean the movie has to be serious?
These are questions that come out of a lot of Coen films. Now here's the rub. Everyone seems to think that because there's a heavy screwball element to Coen films (with really only two exceptions [blood simple and No Country For Old Men]) this means these films are shallow or lacking in substance. Even Country was often derided as an empty metaphor. I would say that is an amazingly simplistic and shallow interpretation of some very insightful and bitingly critical films.
Coen characters are not real characters. They're archetypes, many times quintessentially American archetypes, and the way these characters interact with each other and the real world holds an incredible amount of insight into the American experience. I won't go too far on this, but Burn has a lot of deep criticism about American's obssession with fitness as a means toward not health but looking good, the erosion of civil liberties and the government's increasing insistence on spying on the American people, and the list goes on. J.K. Simmons asked at the end of the film "What did we learn from all this? Well, not to do it again I guess. Whatever it was." I'm paraphrasing here. The line is right on target as we move closer to the presidential elections, and for many superficial reasons the choice of a pretty, inexperienced woman as a VP candidate who taps into Republican myths of womanhood seems to have pushed McCain into the lead. Really, did we not learn anything from the Bush presidency? Not to do it again, I guess. Whatever that was.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The MPAA and a lack of perspective

I've been watching some pre-production code films, namely a great Greta Garbo 'biopic' of the Queen of Sweden, Queen Christina, and the Barbara Stanwyck vehicle, Babyface. Babyface was a central movie in the move by Will Hays to try and get more teeth into the production code, and the resulting process really took a lot of the nuance and complication out of a medium that was already running short on subltly. Ironcially, the discussion of Nietzschean philosophy that was forced cut from the film by censorship boards is actually itself a common misreading of Nietzsche's work, The Will to Power, completely missing the nuance of a very complicated philosophical tome.

Anyway, it occurred to me just now that this may be a huge part of the reason that reactionary politics is so fond of a manichean worldview of us vs. them, good vs. evil. It's embedded in the films we watch, especially commercial Westerns, War films, and Action/adventure stuff. Obviously, that's not uniformly true, and the recent Dark Night films at least partially explore a more complex psychology. It is true that mainstream films still greatly reflect the tenets of the code that a film's sympathies must never be with an antihero or a criminal. The resulting films were never allowed to explore the undercurrents of criminality or sexuality with any real depth without running afoul of the Hays Office.

I do believe that American sexuality has long been perverted by the pruriant standards of the code, and that the vastly huge pornography industry is a result of a failure to really have an open and honest dialogue through art about sex. That may be stretching things a little, but I also feel that films' cut and dried approach to morality gives people a skewed conception of the complications naturally inherent in human life. It's certainly a part of the problem. Couple that with a Television and internet based culture where attention spans are brief and context is rarely sought or provided, and you get the insanity of modern American politics.

It's really a shame, and the thing is, I believe the Production Code may be at the root of a lot of our trouble seeing and understanding complexity. I don't know that you have all those John Wayne movies if Wilder, Hawks, Lubitsch and the rest had to contend with such a regressive process of censorship. I guess I'm overreaching a little, but I do feel like the artistic history of film was warped in a very unhealthy way by the overt censorship of the Hays office, the precursor to the modern MPAA rating system.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

'apropos of nothing'

I really hate excessive or unnecessary narration in films. Or the kind of slapdash narration that Allen uses in Vicki Cristina Barcelona. As an easy way to cobble together a movie it works, but in the end it just superficially masks the fact that the movie is skattershot.

I had my car towed yesterday because I parked on the wrong side of the road during street cleaning hours, and I didn't notice until I was trying to leave for work at 4 am. Of course, the tow yard didn't open until seven at which point I would already be three hours late, and I will have to drop a sawbuck to get it out . I'm currently fuming about all of this.

It took me years of journalling before the process became complicated and a responsibility. It took barely six months for the same thing to happen with blogging.

How is it possible that the Rays and the Cubs are tied with the best records in baseball? That is both exciting and frustrating at the same time.

I really like the set design for Gene Kelly's character's apartment in An American in Paris, but I still have trouble with the excessively melodramaticness of the writing and acting in musicals. I wonder what Brecht/Weil stuff is like live? I'd really like to find out someday.

I don't know if I'll start blogging again. If I can get back this kind of feel without this kind of structure, I might just.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Perfect writing & perfect despair

I've had two unique book reading experiences in the last week or so. Firstly, I've always heard or read about people's experience of reading a book that felt like it was 'written about them' or 'just for them' or whatever, and I've always thought: wow, that sounds cool. I've never had the experience myself until I read Haruki Murakami's first novel, Hear the Wind Sing. Actually, it's more along the lines of a novella, but I did. I felt like it was written just for me, as if he had me in his head when he wrote it. Obviously, I know that isn't the case, but still, it just gives you this mild electric shiver the whole time yr reading. It was a marvelously eerie feeling all in all, which has been a continuing theme of 'The summer of Murakami'.
Concurrently, I was reading his most recent novel, After Dark, and I was thinking the whole time, hey, it only seems mediocre in comparison to his other novels. It still had trademark Murakami wierdness, insight, and when the characters get to talking its way offkey and interesting, but it just wasn't all the way there. Like he was coasting through this one. This was how I felt right up until the 2nd to last paragragh in the book, when the themes from all of his books suddenly clicked in my head, and the book transformed into this exciting distillation of wierdness into a coherent metaphysics of the odd. If I hadn't've read so many of his other novels I don't think it would have happened like that, but I have, so it did. I've never had a book completely transform itself in the waning moments like that. It was highly awesome.
I also finished Norwegian Wood just two days ago, and it hit me hard. Suddenly I felt like I had been disattached from the universe and was just floating in some interliminal state whereby I couldn't actually interact or engage with the world around me for the entire day. I was just watching without being a part of anything. It was not the response I would've expected. It's a sad story for sure, but this was something different. I just felt like I was no longer in the game or even a part of the game. I'm failing miserably in my attempt to explain this feeling because it was a strange one, undoubtedly, but oh, well. I'm now into Kafka on the Shore and Pinball, 1973. Absolutely, utterly obsessed with Marukami.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Oh how I love to dance!

Firstly, the word of the day over at is harridan, which means a worn out strumpet, a vixenish woman, or a hag. Apparently harridan is a pretty harsh term, and it really doesn't sound like one at all. It sounds more like someone who shops at Nordstorms, although there might be some overlap there. I bet you could totally get away with calling someone that and have it come off like a complement. 'I can't believe you do all yr shopping at Nordstorms. You are such a harridan!'
Okay, enough of that. I went to see Rilo Kiley last night, and it was fan-frickin'-tastic (it's funny that in my real life self I swear like a sailor, but I'm always reticent to do it on the internet), and apparently at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, which I have to say is a name that's growing on me, they don't know the meaning of the words measured pour. I ordered a Seven and ginger-ale, and I got this plastic cup full of whiskey with a small splash of ginger-ale on the top. I'm thinking to myself after Thao with The Get Down, Stay Down who had this really excellent kind of indie-rock, hawaiian slack key mix going on that I should get a drink from a different bartender because I really didn't want to get that drunk. So, I go to the bar on the other side of the concert hall, which has been really tastefully redesigned since ten years ago when it was The Strand and was a total pit, to order a drink and it's the same deal. I have no idea how they can stay in business selling drinks like that, but they've won my heart, also the show was phenomenal. Jenny Lewis is just totally bewitching and bitchin' all in the same breath, and the rest of the band's pretty durn good too.
Anyway, at some stage I'll get back into form with The Dancing Fool and talk about the show as a show, but I was just trying to tell the story about how I had this total eureka moment about ten minutes before Rilo Kiley came on about how identity is such a distributed property of the brain that it conflicts within itself and maybe that has a lot to do with the emotional response to things that seem to be outside of the dominant aspects of our identity. I'm pacing around in a corner furiously trying to work this all out to some satisfactory degree, and all I got to was a quickly scribbled note about the overlapping functions of reentrant mapping in the creation of consciousness before Rilo came out, which was actually okay cause I was super-amped up from the adrenaline rush of exciting ideas and got instantly into the music, but I still can't quite get a grasp on what the whole thing means. I don't think I'm smart enough.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Elastic interactive

I had one of those connective moments this morning, when two disparate ideas coalesce. I'll try to elaborate on it and see if there's anything there. It was really just a flash, and I haven't worked through all the implications. I read a study some few years ago in which these researchers took fMRI's (brainscans) of people who considered themselves Republicans or Democrats while they were reading quotes from the opposing sides major candidate. I believe this was '00, so it would've been Bush and Gore. The scans showed that there was major activation in the limbic system, which is the emotional center of the brain. The basic conclusion was that we respond emotionally to the opposing side before even rationally deconstructing what they've said.
I know I have this experience when I read Jeff Jacoby, the token conservative on the Boston Globe's editorial page. When I see he's written something, I have this moment of slight venomous emotion before I've read the piece. I've emotionally started to salivate at the thought of his bullshit. Sometimes he does make good points, other times I'm all ready to write a letter to the editor myself. Of course, that never actually happens, but you get the idea.
That's not the point. A few months back I read this piece somewhere on the internet about music criticism or somesuch, and this guy was writing about how our personality shapes how we approach music. It's like what we identify with as our thing and what we identify as the other is the starting point for how we appreciate music.
It kind of hit me this morning that this is the same type of phenomenon, so that because we've identified some band as hip or as a sell-out or whatever is going to emotionally influence how we rationally break down the aesthetics of the sound. Obviously, postmodernism has long brought into question what rational really means, and neuroscience is showing us that the postmodern idea is really true. There exists no purely rational thought, and the emotional signals won't even necessarily show up in our consciousness as feelings or anything. They might just be electrical signals in the brain that warp the thinking process and keep us from truly apreciating a band or music or a film or whatever.
Now also there are limits to this. It's not that Bush and Gore are objectively both right, and the opposing sides just don't see what's the what. True also in the realms of art, but it's just good to realize that there is more going on underneath the thoughts of 'this shit sucks' or whatever than just a pure opinion. I guess that was all kind of obvious. Identity shapes our likes and dislikes, but the idea that it might also be behind denying or over enthusing I think is relevant. I was trying to get farther into that, but I'm just not feeling it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The catch up, catch all post, or I think the feeling is returning to my head

Sometimes sleepwalking is good. I don't say that lightly, as it seems to be a common afliction of the modern world. That said, the past month was one I just had to get through. I don't want to get into all that involved. Let's just say that it's done. I'm on the other side looking back across, and it's time to get back to work, writing, and resume all requisite mental processes.
First and foremost in my thinking and excitement had been Haruki Murakami. I read his novel Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World a while back, and was just absolutely bowled over. It was brilliance incarnate. I cannot be effusive enough with my praise for the bizarreness and originality of that piece of work, so when I got my casheesh from the gov't I splurged on a whole slew of his books. I even spent sixty bucks for used copies of his first two novels, which weren't published internationally but were published in English for in-house Japanese consumption. I had to scour the internet to find copies for less than four hundred dollars a pop. I'm can not wait to get these, as they aren't in my hot little hands just yet. I have read his third novel, The wild Sheep Chase, and it's sequel Dance, Dance, Dance in the past week, and they are absolutely absurd. His books are so disjointed and angular, his perspective such a hardboiled right angle, his phraseology so killingly odd (who thinks to compare an airplane to a beetle?). He's reminded me that grammar laws were meant to be broken if the effect is legit. He inhabits this strange world that lies just between naturalism and non-naturalism. There's so much in his work that is brutally and emotionally very real, and yet there's just all kinds of wierd things happening. It's just the greatest. I will read everything he's ever written by the end of the summer.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Oh, where did you go, Wong?

It was my sound and serious intention to take a hiatus from blogging for at least 30 days for several reasons. Maybe I'll elaborate on them over at access the process, since that feels like the better forum, but in my nostalgic rereading of my own earlier posts here, I realized that I'd talked in depth about my love for Wong Kar-Wai and yet had not mentioned his most recent film, My Blueberry Nights. For one thing, it's always unpleasant to watch one of yr idols stumble and get jumbled up. Who wants to reflect on that? Still there were some redeemingly interesting features to Blueberry, so I'll try to focus on them.
It seems there comes a time in all great filmmaker's careers when they've taken their current style to the limit, and need to break free. For examples see the Coen's Ladykillers, Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou, maybe Tarantino's Kill Bill stuff, whatever. This generalization has it's limits, but there does always feel like there's a film that hits the wall. Blueberry might have been that film, but there are too many other factors (first english language film, Lawrence Block as a writing partner, an actual pre-established script) to really say that Wong hit his wall and now has to film a new direction.
The main critiques out there of the film are that Norah Jones was tepid and Jude Law is way too handsome to've pined so long over some girl he knew for a few days. I think that's bull. To me the problem was the connection/poetic collision wasn't established well at all in those early scenes between the two of them. The writing seemed lacking, and for this I blame Block just because I refuse to believe that Kar-Wai is in any way fallible. Those early scenes felt like they were much too hum-drum for any kind of long term pining to've been set into effect like that first scene from Days of Being Wild sets up. There's no poetic beauty, just chit-chat, and this really does sink the film as a whole.
That doesn't mean there wasn't some seriously good shiite as well. David Strathairn and Rachel Wiesz: see this movie just for the thirty or so minutes that they inhabit the film. It's intense and powerful and gives the glint of what this movie could have been, and Chan Marshall's momentary passing was just fab. Natalie Portman is also fun and wild, but for a card player like myself that stuff does not play. It just annoyed me and took me out of the proceedings. Again, here I blame Block for trying to inject a commercially exploitable element into Wong's usual dense atmospherics. It was too theatrical.
So, having said all that the use of musical jump-cuts is, as far as I know, totally revolutionary and never before tried. It doesn't quite work for this film, but I think that's more a result of the aforementioned problems than the idea itself. It could be used to sound (no pun intended) and powerful effect,'s certainly not clear to me just how. I do hope Wong will try again will try to bring that particular technique to bear in future films, as it's an alluring idea for a new way to use music in film.
I won't say much and certainly nothing specific about the ending, except to say that it felt tacked on and so not in the Kar-Wai vein, mostly because of my first comments moreso than I'm just by nature maudlin. I hope that was elliptical enough not to give anything away.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Neil Diamond blows the save

Imagine, if you will, this scenario. It's the bottom of sixth inning and somehow the home team has cobbled together a close game with a pitcher on three days rest. Sickness and injury has ravaged the line up, and several triple A call-ups are in the game. The top of the order is coming around, and its time to get the crowd back into the game. Who do you turn to? If this is Red Sox nation, there's no question. It has to be...Neil frickin' Diamond (Warning: baseball rant now in progress).
So what happens? Pedroia pops out. Papi takes a walk, and then arguably the hottest hitter in baseball, the league leader as of that moment in RBI's and homers, stands in. How do we hype him up? Black Betty by Ram Jam. That is just sad, and what is the result? Manny hits into an innning ending double play, and the bats go silent. Timlin gives up another solo homer in the ninth. The Sox hot streak comes to an end, and as I write they've now lost four straight. Great work DJ.
On the serious tip, music is arguably one of the most important tools at the disposal of the home team. It gets the crowd into the game. It can get the players hyped, but here's the thing. Those guys play 162 games a year. Do you really think Manny Ramirez gets ramped up on the 8,236th hearing of Black Betty? I kind of doubt it. If anything, he should stand in to Mind Terrorist by Public Enemy. Admittedly, this isn't really a song. It's just weird scratches and noises with Flavor Flav shouting 'base for your face' for a minute, but I still think it's perfect. How about Kanye's Good Morning? That song's got some umph to it. It really gives you a lift, or if it's got to be classic rock, how about Immigrant Song?
I'm just spitballing here, and probably I've put way too much thought into this. It just frustrated me. I'm sitting there while the whole stadium dances and sings along to 'Sweet Caroline', and I was just embarassed and a little upset. Nobody even noticed Pedrioa pop out. They were just waiting for the song to come back with the chorus so they could sing along, 'So good, so good, so good'. I'm all for dancing and singing like idiots, but we all come to Fenway for a reason. What was it now? Oh right, baseball.
Last word on the subject: The music should complement and bolster the players, mess with the opposing pitcher, and rally the team, not pander to the drunken mob. Let's work on this people.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I'm gonna expand on a comment I made over at the lovely and talented Golfwidow's blog because I don't think I really got to what I was trying to say in the short space of a comment mostly because I was fumbling around with the point and had to think about it for awhile before it became clear to me where I was going with what I said. She asked if her readers considered curry a comfort food.
To me there's a difference between food I crave and food that give me comfort. I crave lots of food. I crave smoked salmon every time I go to the grocery store, and I crave Inari all the time. I want ice cream every time I go to my parents house, and sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night craving fried okra. I get a lot of cravings, but there indulgence rarely comforts me. Sometimes I feel worse. Sometimes I just feel full, but for me comfort is a much more elusive proposition.
Today, for example, I lost a good chunk of money playing cards, and as a result I was craving a cigarette something fierce. I was comforted by the fact that I didn't have one. It's rarely such a direct one to one exchange, but I think that kind of illustrates the point I'm trying to make rather aptly.
The comforting aspect of food, for me, is heavily situational depending as much on circumstances and mood as on the content of the food to be consumed. I'm comforted when I cook a nice meal for friends or family, and we communally enjoy that food. I'm comforted when I eat things that I know I should over and against the ones I crave that I know I shouldn't have or have too much of. I'm comforted by a large heaping bowl of pasta on a rainy night with candles and Thelonious Monk and maybe a nice glass of Chianti. The world feels right in those times, and for a brief moment I'll be comforted.

It's not just me

"This threefold characterization of the nature of the world and all it contains-sorrowful, transient, and soulless- is frequently repeated in Buddhist literature, and without fully grasping its truth no being has any chance of salvation."-Theodore de Bary (Ed.); The Buddhist Tradition in India, China, and Japan

It's always comforting in my times of Existential crisis to know that there's a whole religion based on what I'm feeling. I think that's why I've always felt right at home with Buddhist thought. Not only does the philosophy of the big B teach inclusion, moderation, and meditiation, but also the realization of sorrow. It's the first step towards enlightenment. I love it. I'm like three steps away from enlightenment.

All kidding aside, I think that this is a crucial component of Buddhist thought that seems to be left out in the New age spirituality of our Western world that takes a lot of its cues from Eastern thought and especially Buddhism. Meditation and yoga are all the rage, and there are solid health reasons for that, if also hipness and image reasons that leave a bad taste.

There's just something about the whole New Age thing, to be ridiculously vague and general about it, that gives me shivers. It feels wrong and off and like a false positive, but I love the real deal. Old school Buddhist writings or even just new school non-western stuff feels more honest. I could never put my finger on what was missing until the other day when I read that line. It really seems like a lot of new age stuff dilutes out this important element of the philosophy for a feel-good good time. Once again, I'm working on vibes here, so take that for what it's worth.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Strangeness we dare not speak of

It's all well and good to play up yr own eccentricities as delightful, exciting excursions from the world of normal. I am not by any extent of the imagination trying to encourage or even define what the world of normal might be, but that does not negate the fact that there are extremes from which we clearly know we'd like to get a return ticket.
I used to have these two really good quotes from Zappa and HST about what it meant to be a freak tacked up over my desk. Zappa said something to the effect that being a freak meant you were being an individual, and Hunter voiced a variation on the catch-22 theme, in that being a freak in America meant you were not in all actuality a total lunatic.
While that may be an amusing yet profoundly true sentiment from America's favorite speed freak, it does not dilute the fact that crazy is not always fun, which brings me to my current insomniac state where I am forced to get out of bed and come write this nonsense as a way to appease the never ending string of sentences that are in a no holds barred street race through my brain. I don't think this will be successful, but it felt more productive than just tossing and turning.
I'm tired. I want to sleep for just six straight hours without the assistance of alcohol. I would like just a tiny slice of normal pie for breakfast tomorrow and not my normal slice of brain wierdness. I would like to not find that when I wake up tomorrow the very existence of my bed or my glasses or anything makes me frustrated and callow. I would like to feel satisfied that this idea that has been knocking around my head for the past week is not total manic planning, and that I might just be capable of getting it together. I would like all those things, and yet I know I will get none of them.
I don't want to leave off on such a blue note or even so pedantically, but somehow I feel insufferably incompetent at writing just now and the lack of confidence is dulling my mind. Let me just say that I love the Big Apple Circus, you know the one without the animals. It's awesome.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Do people see themselves?

I was watching the documentary The King of Kong the other day, and it inspired me to do some soul searching. That is probably not the most obvious response to a documentary about video games, but who wants to be obvious anyway?
The irrelevantly obvious question for most of us is, who would possibly put their life basically on hold to play early 80ies video games competitively? There's no money involved; it's just for the thrill of the kill screen: a screen where, once you've gone through all the levels a certain insane number of times, you just inexplicably die. At one point, there's an arcade full of people watching as Steve Weibe makes it to this screen in Donkey Kong, and...wait for it, wait for it...little mario spins around and falls off the screen. That's it.
Okay, so huge swaths of American and world culture love video games and play them obsessively. I think this is nuts, but I'm sure there are those who would consider it nuts to have spent roughly 27% of a life in reading books. I guess that makes us even.
Regardless, I was not inspired to reconsider my obssessive book reading. That was not what I gleaned from this oddly compelling documentary. It was the behavior of Billy Mitchell, the guy who had held the best Donkey Kong score for some twenty years. The whole movie he's kind of lurking around doing shady stuff. He won't ever sit down and play Weibe head to head but just sort of insinuates that he thinks Weibe is somehow a cheat.
Here's my question. Does this guy realize what an jerk-off he's being? I mean, does he know and not care or does he know and still can't stop himself or does he legitimately think he's a good and still cool guy with his awful blow-dried 80ies haircut and cheap theatrics?
I've wondered this often, like whenever I used see Dick Cheney being interviewed. Does he realize he's the manifestation of evil, or does he just think he's doing what's best for the American people? Actually those two things aren't by necessity mutually exclusive without taking a rather more than common long view, so we'll leave off on that.
Billy Mitchell made me wonder about myself. I don't think people dislike me, or that they think I'm a dick. I think they realize I'm moody and introspective and sometimes just want to be left the hell alone, but I wonder now. If this guy, who is so obviously a jerk, could maybe even think he was just too cool for school, what about myself?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Brain wierdness and an NPR factoid

First, an NPR factoid: The torch relay was first instituted by the Nazi's for the 1936 Olympic games. Take from that what you will.

And now to the brain wierdness: My precious sleep needs have been severely disrupted for the past two days by brain wierdness. Two days ago, as I was in that floating intrastate between sleep and the attempts to quell the thoughts of no great importance that attend (for me) the curled up in bed safely heading towards dreamland, a bit of brain wierdness jarred me out of the floatingness of the in between because it was just so odd it caught my attention and brought me back into all the way conscious state. My brain, as I take no responsibility for those semi-conscious ramblings, was in the midst of a conversation between two sled dogs on the Iditarod who were alternating between cattily gossiping about what a bitch the lead dog was, the necessity of a multicolored scarf in any good dogsled ensemble, and the relative merits of whipping.

That was all kind of wierd and enough to shake me back into awakeness and subsequently cut into the few hours I was hoping to get that night, but last night's brain wierdness far outwierded the sleddog convo. Last night, I was performing and narrating a neurosurgical operation on myself to remove a tumor from my brain. I was jarred into awakeness at the point when I had my skull cracked open and in an imaginative image in my head a blood red pulsating brain with a bright yellow tumor was about to be removed. My brain narration was telling me that, "This tumor is just another example of how Sam the Sham can infect with his infectious wit, so be careful in the future."

Needles to say this shook me back into full wakefulness, and yet another precious hour of sleep was lost to brain wierdness.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

You can quote it

I just thought I'd share a few...because I don't feel like saying anything myself.

"There are two kinds of poets: the good poets, who at a certain point destroy their bad poems and go off to run guns in Africa, and the bad poets, who publish theirs and keep writing more until they die."-Umberto Eco; The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

I finished this book a few weeks ago, and it goes out with a whimper, which was actually in a nice counterpoint to Ian McEwan's Saturday, which went out with a bang. I'm also glad to find that a Semiotics professor is happy to go wild in the fields of commafication.

a partial quote: "as well as the more sinister organizations like Sakurakai (the Cherry Blossom Society)"-Niall Ferguson; The War of the World: Twentieth Century Conflict and the Descent of the West.

Just a piece that stuck out from an other wise low key chapter on the militarization of Japanese society prior to WWII. I couldn't get over the fact that The Cherry Blossom Society was one of the more sinister organizations.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Politicians, sigh

If I hear Ted Kennedy say Blood and Treasure one more time, I will seek him out and smack him in the head. How is it helping anything being trite about all the death and billions of dollars this war has cost? Answer: It is not. Please, stop now.

When John Kerry says there's no daylight between John McCain and George Bush, it reminds me both how much I absolutely hate political shorthand and that John Kerry is still not cool.

And the winner of today's most frickin' sleezeballish politico: the bay state's own Gov. Deval Patrick. It turns out that while a signature piece of legislation that Patrick backed was going down in legislative flames, our man Deval was in NYC finalizing a book deal that will not only have him working on this book while still governor (on nights and weekends he claims) but also going on an extensive book tour during his last year in office. His spokepeople have claimed that it won't interfere. All of this is bad enough in and of itself, but they had some excerpts from his proposal for the deal in the Globe today. It was awful; the type of cheap self help gabage that makes you laugh, and I'd be laughing if this man was not actually a Gov'ner. The title: A Reason to Believe: Lessons in Leadership and Life. That's just sad. It really is.

On a personal note, the convergance of sickness and busyness equals busickness. There is nothing like basting yr cold in the juices of sleep deprivation.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ole, Posole and grant me one storaay

I found an unbelievable easy and awesome recipe for posole a few months back, and I now cook it at every turn. It's so simple, and yet it makes me feel whole and at peace with the universe to delve into the starchy goodness that is hominy. I can't even begin to express how deep my love for hominy is. It's as deep as that trench in the ocean that's really frickin' deep, and as wide as the widest of widths. How witty?
I'm feeling storytellish today, and not a little foolish: but in the reveling way, not the hangdog way.
I used to cook soup for a coffee shop in Memphis for a several months. This coffee shop, The Map Room, was the center of my social universe for the first year I lived in Memphis. This was 1998, and the indierock thing hadn't yet become so unbearably ironically hip, at least for me. The whole thing was very new to me anyway. I listened to a weird eclecticism of Motown, hardcore, and reggae, with a little early Elton John thrown in for whatever measure when I was a teen, and I didn't know anything about anything. I was more obliviously self-conscious then than I am now, and that's really saying something.
Anyway, downtown Memphis at that time, was a admixture of touristy Beale St., gov't stuff, and semi-abandoned buildings that you could rent for a song. I knew many people living in huge apartments with jury rigged bathrooms, kitchens, and light fixtures for 200 bucks a month. You could live the real bohemian life in that place, and several did. 1998 was probably the pinnacle of that and soon after things started to gentrify. It was only a few months after I moved there that the Parrallax Theatre, which was home to some twenty drifters and various characters, got shut down. They would throw huge parties every weekend with bands and whatnot for a few bucks to make rent. It was one giant indiestyle rent party, until of course they all got evicted for being generally crazy, noisemakingly obnoxious. It was all in the spirit of fun, but try to tell a landlord that.
Okay, so I've gotten away from my story here. Let's resume:
Every morning I would come home from work usually around five in the morning (graveyard, all the way), and start cooking soup. Sometimes I would have to traipse off to the grocery store, which in Memphis are all 24/7 operations but also at that time all the way out in Midtown. It was a gas: collecting soup recipes where ever I could, trying out new ones, always having to quintuple the serving sizes to make five gallons. That's right I would make five gallons of soup a morning.
Through the winter months it really was just a lot of fun. Generally big batches of beany concoctions got thrown together fairly easily. I could sit and drink a quiet glass of wine with John Coltrane or Miles, and eventually watch Martha Stewart as I was putting the finishing seasonings into the mix. I had a spice collection that you would not believe. It was the pride of my kitchen.
Then I would head over to the spot to bring in my wares and drink beers with the early morning coffee crowd. It was a tremendously good time.
As the spring became the unbearable heat of Memphis summertime and cold vegetable soups became the thing, the project started to sour. Chopping five gallons worth of veggies is not a little bit crappy, I can tell you. No more sipping lightly at the broth with my glass of wine, it turned into a dicefest, and I admittedly gained great skill with the knife. Still, one tired morning, as I chopped the eighty-seven thousandth tomatoe for a gigantic batch of Gaspacho at the speed of light: PHLAMM! Off went a huge chunk of my thumb, and my blood and flesh got all mixed up with tiny pieces of tomato.
That was about the end. After that, given that I had then sacrificed the nerve endings in my thumb for my craft, I lost the feel for the whole thing. It just wasn't the same, and when I was offered a job mentoring kids for an arts program for the summer, I jumped at it. Still one of the greatest compliments I've ever recieved came at the hands of one of my soups. After cooking up a batch consisting of Great Northern Beans (one of the greats of the bean world) and ham hocks among other unremembered things, someone told me that the soup tasted like the woods behind their grandmother's house (a grandmother who lived in rural Tennessee). I have never been so proud.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Just my imagination, once again

I've already built a shrine in my imagination to the new Gnarls Barkley album. It involves Andre the Giant in a green and purple fedora and a black leather trenchcoat doing the moonwalk around a large Oaken table where the Buddha, Shiva, Jesus, and Zeus are all playing a no holds barred game of pinochle on the back of a red and yellow striped flying zebra as she flies through a reverse wormhole into a New York City speakeasy in 1926. Needless to say, the album is pretty durn good.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sean Penn is just plainly talented

I was watching, nay I had to stop watching the film The Assassination of Richard Nixon last night because it was just too much for me. The first time I became aware that Sean Penn was a pretty talented actor was maybe Dead Man Walking, and certainly looking across the scope of his career from Fast Times at Ridgemont High (written by the then young Cameron Crowe) through Dead Man, 21 Grams, Mystic River, All the King's Men, etc., in all these movies he's pretty frickin' awesome. No question. One of my only memories of Saturday afternoon television is him beating the crap out of a couple of other prisoners with a pillowcase full of RC Cola. That is all I can remember from that film, whatever it was.
All of this is well and good, he's an actor par excellance, but his performance in The Assassination of Richard Nixon is something else entirely. He's both subtle and not subtle all at the same time. How do you do that? As the movie builds towards the assassination attempt and his life falls apart their was a growing feeling of helplessness from the depths, and when he finally fully breaks down after recieving divorce papers, I just had to stop. I couldn't go any further. I was seriously afraid that my life would be irrevocably broken if I continued watching this film. I was really effected massively by the beauty of this masterfully uncomfortable performance.
Now given the fact that I'm a big fan of existential films in general this is really saying something. I loved Fellini's La Strada, Ozu's Tokyo Twilight, and most recently the film Control. None of which did I have to stop watching. I made it all the way with all of them, although I had to take Tokyo Twilight in small doses over the course of a week.
So, am I recommending this film? Yes and No. If you're not hypersensitively emotional, then I'd say get into it. It's an amazing performance in a pretty well written and certainly well concieved film, but if like me you can be maybe a little too deeply effected by films or novels, then I would say think twice. It's unbelievably powerful stuff, although admittedly I have no idea how it ends.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I've got dreams...

I just had a dream that a riot of Simpson's characters destroyed Connie Chung's Disney restaurant, and to get her revenge she engineered the marriage of Oprah Winfrey (sic?) and Bob Dole at the very sight, which unleashed some kind of potent alien force that was then wreaking havoc on the greater Orlando area, in cartoon form of course. Bart was trying to use the dead carcass of a wildebeast to somehow destroy the wedding alien in a frenzy of panic and destruction. I woke up with the words, "I can't think of the Winfrey-Dole wedding without wanting to tell the community at large to go suck it" running through my head.
That was an odd one, but it never fails when I nap that I wake up in the middle of a REM cycle and get some wierd dream remembrances. I need to nap more often.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Electric shocks, just running some stats.

This past weekend, I got to spend some time with one of my favorite people, let's call him Flagstaff (moreso because I like making up pseudonyms than any need on his part for anonymity or nonesuch), and even though he was deathly ill, he still managed to be hilarious and insightful, as per usual. Just as an example of Flagstaff's uniquely laughable nature, Saturday night he woke up feeling feverish and awful, and the way he determined that while his fever was bad it was not hospital bad was by running through some statistics in his head: national literacy rates, local D.C. literacy rates, etc. As long as he could run them without problems there was no need to go to the hospital.
This revelation the next morning led to a story about when he was in India and got a horrible intestinal virus and was given an antibiotic that has been banned in the United States and was his only option. He then, to judge his soundness of mind, created a string of ten numbers, which while remaining intact provided him with the much needed evidence that his brain wasn't going through the spin cyle of bad drugs. That's why he's one of my favorite people in the known universe.
So, we were talking about how I've joined the Ipod generation just recently, which we all felt was overdue but still in time, and Flagstaff busts out the story about when his girlfriend's (let's call her Montpelier [yes, the theme for today is state capitals]) brother (he can be Santa Fe) gave Flagstaff his old Ipod. Apparently, he was bopping out to some tunage on the metro (D.C.'s subway system), when he got an inner ear shock like a moth at a purple zapper party. He jumped around in full spazzout and yanked the earbuds out consequently making himself look very foolish in a crowded subway. I have a wonderful image of this in my head as we speak. I knew I wouldn't be able to write that as funny as he told it, but I tried (maybe just a little too hard there, purple zapper party). His assessment: God wants him to pay more attention when he's reading, so he's not allowed to have an Ipod. I think he's right.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A rambling rant and some considered observations

Wow, Eliot Spitzer, I did not see that coming. How did you think that was gonna go unnoticed? Eighty G's going to shady places by a high placed public official. You made yr name as the Attorney General of New York by going after financial malfeasance on the NYSE, and somehow you thought that no one would notice all the money you were paying escorts'r'us. Who beat the crap out of you with the stupid stick?
So, besides the utter stupidity of this move, I'm supremely curious how this whole thing happened. At what point during his storied carrier did Eliot Spitzer start frequenting courtesans? Was it after he got married or before? Did he feel wracked with guilt? How did this affect the way he went after law breakers? I don't want to simplify the psychology here, but was it this guilt at his own culpability in an anarchic kind of lifestyle that was behind his status as a 'steamroller'? I'm just very curious about how he led this double life that's obviously been going on for a long time. You don't just hire a 4 thousand dollar painted woman on a whim. You work up to that slowly over time and destruction.
Now I'm certainly not one to moralize, and I won't other than to say that it's just a shame. Eliot Spitzer was one of the few people in positions of power that really wanted to hold the business community accountable for all their greedy, money-grubbing insanity, and now he's gone because he was a complete dipshit. It's just a shame.
I am also clearly not a very good judge of character. I saw Spitzer on Charlie Rose several years ago and thought to myself, "this is a very sharp and well put together individual". When I heard that he had used some less than scrupulous tactics against political opponents, I thought "these romours must be overblown, Eliot Spitzer isn't that kind of guy." Now it turns out that he was stepping out on his wife with a woman of the painted veils, which doesn't actually say anything about all the rest. I just did not see that one coming.
It also occurred to me when I heard that Samatha Power had to quit the Obama campaign that this was another case of idiocy. Now, Samatha Power is a Pulitzer Prize winning Harvard professor and former journalist, how could she possibly have thought that anything she might say to a journalist could ever be off the record. Even I know that's not going to happen, and I'm arguably not too smart about these things. Again this is a shame. Samantha Power is really insightful and seems to understand foriegn relations in a very meaningful way, but she is now out of the Obama inner circle and any chance of being in his White House should such a thing happen. I'm a little bummed about this, but whatever.
It just goes to show you how easy it is to say or do something dumb when everything you do and say is watched and recorded.

A turtle called dark genius

I just discovered the most incredible ancient chinese philosopher. This guy, zhuangzi, is at least ten levels of amazing. I got three of 'em, but I'm sure there were more that I didn't pick up on. His self-titled (I love that, like it's his first solo album or something) book is filled with daoist influenced philosophy, but all of it's captured in these really surreal stories. Here's just a little sample of the cool that is zhuangzi:

"The morning mushroom does not know the waxing and waning of the moon, and the Hui-cricket does not know spring and fall. This is because they are short lived. South of Chu there is a turtle called Dark Genius, which counts five hundred years as a single spring and five hundred years as a single fall. In high antiquity there was a tree called Big Spring, which counted eight thousand years as a single spring and eight thousand years as a single fall. Nowadays, only eight-hundred-year-old Peng Zu is famous, and everyone compares themselved to him. Isn't it sad?"- Zhuangzi; Zhuangzi

Now that I write this I realize there are better qoutes, but I just loved the turtle called Dark Genius and the fact that the old man is famous for being old. Isn't it sad?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Neurosociology or Social Neurology

So I wrote the following for a sociology paper the other day:

"The human mind processes experiences in terms of contrast. Comparison is a systemic part of the way we understand the world, and novel experiences because they are by their very nature highly contastive then become more accentuated. It is in this process that our collective consciousness tends to continually grade status in terms of novelty. The newness of a field of study or of undertaking tends to affect the way we view its importance and so its relative economic value. The relation of opposite, this systemic force of the human brain, also plies spectrumal understanding into more rigid categorization. The outcomes of these processes when not recognized and overcome are a continuing devaluation of the more ancient aspects of human endeavor."-Me; Hope, Status, Achievement: Classic Problems of the American Dream (Deferred).

Yes, I'm like a proud papa when it comes to my scholastic prose, but then again I've been writing them for over ten years now, so I ought to be at least okay by now, but that's another story. And, yes, spectrumal is not technically a word, but if I don't get outside the bounds of dictionary sanctioned signifiers at least once a paper, I just don't feel like I'm doing my job.
Anyway, it struck me while I was proofreading this material that this was essentially neurosociology. The understanding of social forces and contexts through the functions and design of the human brain seemed like it would be what neurosociology should be all about. I didn't actually know if the field existed, but I've studied neuroeconomics and neuropychology, so why not neurosociology. I hit up the old wiki for some answers just a second ago, and they claim that neurosociology is the study of how the internal functions of a brain require social interaction for the robust expression of various of these functions (see mirror neurons).
To me that seems like it should be classified as social neuroscience: the social aspects of neurological development. What I've written seems to be a more accurately termed neurosociology, but the article did say the article needed to be wikified (I love that), so maybe I'll do some more outside research to see what the academic community has to say on the subject.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I was editing an old blog entry from access the process, and I couldn't decide if whether was the proper spelling. It seemed wrong, but I couldn't remember, so I hit up to look it up. When I typed in wether, it turns out that this actually means a castrated sheep. Also today's word of the day is inchoate, which isn't that exciting but still okay. Yesterday's was gewgaw, which is pretty awesome. I love the dictionary, but not as much as I love the thesaurus. I wonder if I would love a rhyming dictionary. I bet I would.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Meanderings and the Next Generation of ballet

I just finished reading the Hobbit, which is the first of the Tolkien books I've ever read. I found the tone to be more in line with the style of Hobbittown than the films. Now I haven't read the LOTR trilogy, and it seems like there's got to be a shift in the next three books tonally; I just noticed there was enough of a stylistic difference between what I got from the films and what I got from this book that I thought I should comment. Still, wonderful book, and I'm definitely at some point going to go all the way with Tolkien.
I'm about two-thirds of the way through Ian McEwan's Saturday, and the way he puts this clear-eyed analysis in the brain of the main character but yet doesn't allow that character to express this stuff outside of his head is masterful. I love it, and it's so true to life. His daughter is a celebrated poet whose first book of poems is being published and is mostly about her affairs with various men. It's titled, My Saucy Bark. How awesome is that name? I frickin' love it, and he even includes some of her poetry, which is well constructed and well analyzed. McEwan is amazingly knowledgeable on so many fronts that he can give it to his characters. I love the uneasiness Henry (our hero) has about his daughter's poetry.
As for Umberto Eco's The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, I'm also about two-thirds done after misplacing the book for about two weeks under a pile of papers. I got back at it last night, and he's going out from his search through his past back into the present, which is exciting. The middle section of the sorting out the lost past is wonderfully multi-media and includes all these pictures of the books and comics and so-forth that he finds in the attic of his grandfather's house. There's also some poetry here. There was this really fantasmo quote that I wanted to include, but it'll have to wait 'cause I left the book at work. It had something to do with giving up poetry to be a gunrunner.
I also got restarted on The World at War, which is a piece of historical Non-fiction: a wonderfully considered and well-researched account of the waning of the Western empires. Niall Ferguson does such an incredible job of putting together the relevant info and moving deftly from the historical to the sociological. It's just a great piece of non-fiction.

Oh, and Erykah Badu's new album, New Amerykah Part. 1 (4th World War): Badudabulous and even Badupendous (okay that one didn't work, but Badutastic seemed tired and I wanted one more). Apparently she's already recorded the next one, and it's called N.A. pt. 2 (Return of Ankh). I just can't wait.

So, I went to see what was being billed as The Next Generation of Ballet last night, and I thought I'd include it here with a bunch of other stuff so that I didn't get too formal in my analysis. I did think the whole thing was quite impressive. Professional ballet dancers have amazing technique, and the choreography had such a keen sense of a kind of moving tableaux at moments that I would intake a sharp breath with the wonderment. There was a piece set to a Phillip Glass (I feel like song is the wrong word here) number/movement, which started with a chinese influenced samisen-like orchestration and then moved into more trad. modern classical stuff. This was the main and longest piece including a set change where the main dancers came forward of the curtain to dance while the change took place. Amazing stuff: fifty or sixy dancers with about eight primary dancers, some really killer imagery and great diagetic sense.
Still I have to make some mild yet sharp critiques of the whole thing. The technical virtuosity of the ballet can at times sideline the passion and the feeling, which might be valuable main attractions. It feels like at times the non-technically challenging movements are rushed through to get back to the virtuosity, which I feel is a mistake. Also it was clear that the choreographers were trying to move beyond the confines of the language of ballet movement, and there were definitely some successes there; there was a fluidity of movement that would show up on occasion that felt new and not a part of the trad. ballet dance palette (of course I'm not in any way an expert, I'm just going on vibes here). Still, this was just the first step in a project of opening the doors of possibility. There are miles to go before we sleep. Anyway...
So, I know that I have a tendency to blow off hyper-linking this blog in any way, which is semi-intentional and semi-lazy. In one sense, I do feel like there's too much information at our fingertips, and the value of knowledge is somehow denigrated by the fact that it's so readily available and no longer has to be sought out as much or fought for as much as in the old days (I think that makes me old if I talk about the old days). On the other hand, it's really just a rationalization for my laziness. Maybe I'll go back through and suss out some links someday. Yeah, and the Democrats are gonna suss out the soaring national debt (I really like the word suss [and also brackets]).

Monday, March 3, 2008


I just read the script of Tarantino's DeathProof last night from the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse double feature this past year. It still kills me that the movie didn't click with the American film-going audience. I'm all about breaking out of traditional percieved artistic media boundaries, and I was hoping this was gonna be the beginning of something bigger. Tarantino said in a interview that he would be happy to make grindhouseesque stuff for the rest of his life and that they might try to make the fake previews that seque from Planet Terror into Death Proof into Grindhouse 2, but I'm guessing that whole project's been shelved based on the returns they got on the first go round. Going with the dimishing returns of sequels (altough this certainly breaks out of the trad. concept of sequelation), it wouldn't be smart money betting on a next installment, which is just a shame. Personally, I really enjoyed both films, and thought the whole thing was just a raving, Bschter-schlocking good time. I can see how film-goers might get a little antsy though, as the whole thing clocked in at like three and a half hours. As someone who has on many occasions spent an entire day at the moviehouse going from one movie to the next to the next to the next, I've got no problems with length. It's all about the quality for me, and Grindhouse gave me no pause, which is strange because I'm not into Roger Corman or Dario Argento or much of the source stuff. I did like Vanishing Point and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry though. I dig on some car chases, but I'm getting away from myself here.
The criticisms of Deathproof tended to be that Tarantino is indulging himself too much, that the wandering dialogue was way over the top, and that he should've tightened up. I can see how that makes sense within the context of a 2 in 1 movie experience that they were trying to build, but otherwise I disagree. I thought that both films could've been tightened, and maybe that might've been worthwhile in so much as there really needed to be an intermission (w/ the let's all go to the lobby song which I think was actually from slightly before the grindhouse era, but whatever), but I think in their stand alone form, which apparently is how they're being packaged now probably as a means to try and recoup expenses and turn the whole project into a prosperous one, they could've both been given a chance to stretch their legs a little more. I for one love Tarantino's writing. I think he's not just witty, but much like Mamet's early stage work, really captured the cadences of actual speech, if from specific social groupings. Think about it. What is it that's so great about Pulp Fiction? Those conversations between Jules and Vincent about foot massages and travelling in Europe, Vincent's awkard date with Mia, Fabienne and Butch talking about their future; then there's still all the violence and craziness inflected stuff too. He takes a language of real people and then puts it through the pulp grinder. I for one, dig it.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Two seemingly unrelated things that leave me disquieted

I was errantly reading a co-worker's copy of The Wall Street Journal at work the other day, and I saw two articles that caught my attention and gave me pause. The first...actually the second but less upsetting was a short article on Ryan Seacrest. As it turns out, not only is he a busy mofo, but he's one business savy mothertrucker as well. Here's the skinny. Seacrest has syndicated his morning LA radio show. Not only does he own and produce the show, but he's also selling the ad time himself, instead of the usual arraignment wherein the distributer sells ad time and sucks up more casheesh. So, you gotta give him props for that, but here's what caught my eye in the article, this comment: "Ryan Seacrest is one of the most commercially viable, advertiser-friendly personalities in Radio today." What the? I'm sorry, and I generally try to make at least the most minimal effort to avoid snarkish behavior, but Ryan Seacrest is a tool. His faux-happy smile and his painted on personality irk the shit out of me (and I rarely swear in print [but I am feeling quite at the edge today]). He really rubs me the wrong way, and essentially he is a tool, as in tool of the corporate powers that be. This is what kills me; people lap it up like puppy dogs. Seriously, middle America pick up on the ugly vibrations already.

Okay, so now that I've insulted yr average Joe and Jane America, let me turn the table and get at the other article and the sophisticated set because this is really foul and made me very, very upset when I read it. Now as preface, let me say that I get the whole runway fashion as shock and art over and against actual practical clothing, and I say fine, what the #$^% ever. It's yr world, go to town, but here's where I have to get up on my soap box and say shame, shame know yr name. Apparently this 15 yr old girl, Ali Micheal was the 'it' model of '07, but she couldn't get arrested this year because she gained 5 pounds. If you see the before and after pictures (and I'm sorry but you'll just have to get them from the journal because as of right now this is not a multi-media blog [maybe at some future date, but right now it's all about the rant]), you'll see that she goes from anemic looking to normal looking, and in the runway fashion world there can be no greater crime for a model. The designers all said that her legs were "too plump" AKA not stick-like, and apparently when questioned about this Issey Miyake just kept repeating that she was "just not suitable for our clothes."
She basically says that she knew she was giving up a supermodel career by not starving herself, but she saw so many of her peers making themselves sick, and she wanted to be, you know...healthy. This gets my righteous anger really flowing. This girl was 15, and she has to sacrifice her career for her health. What is wrong with this industry? What is wrong with you people? Jimmy Pihet, spokesman for the Federation Francaise de la Coutoure, makes the outrageous claim that "models aren't role models for young girls...actresses play that role." What fucking universe are you living in pal, because it's not this one? If this asshole, thinks that there aren't girls all over the western world messing themselves up with bulimia, anorexia, and general body dismorphic disorder because of him and his sickened industry of artistic dilentantes then he is a fool and like Seacrest, a total fucking tool.
I'm just too angry to work the connection between these two articles because I do think there is a connection, if tenuous and a bit of a stretch. I think you probably have an intuitive grasp of what I'm getting at here, and we'll just have to leave it at that. On a side note, this was all pretty harsh and swearific, but I felt the material warranted strong language. In a lot of ways that reflects my current mood moreso than anything, but that doesn't negate anything I've said. I do at times admire the art of fashion, but many other times I think the whole project is utterly ridiculous. Of course, the same could be said of me, so I'm sure the feeling would be mutual.
Anyway, here are links to the articles, and you can decide for yrself:

Wasn't Skinny Supposed to Be Out of Fashion by Christina Binkley
Next Up for Mr. Seacrst: Peddling Ads for Radio by Sarah McBride

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Naomi Watts' brain has been replaced by my parents' dead kitten, Leo, and she is peeking out from underneath Naomi's checkered fedora. The Queen's golf tournament is going badly, and this obnoxious man keeps telling me that I need to quit smoking. Somehow all my cigarettes have been smooshed into the bottom of one, and it's raining. My friends have been drinking, and their beer bottles are lined up in the nook of the tree by the 8th hole. The water trap is a lake, and I have to take a rowboat over to meet them. Still we have garbage detail, and the obnoxious man won't stop hounding me. The Queen seems to be afraid to take a good swing, and her flaming red ballgown is hindering her abilities. I told her to swing away, but she just smiles wanly and continues her little hacks. I'm back in the boat on the lake, and now I need a drink. All the beer is gone. What in the hell happened to Naomi's brain? We're very concerned.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mos, Michel, and Fats Waller

This movie Be Kind, Rewind, it was not without it's faults. The writing was a little flat at times, and the Jack Black Schtick has gotten a little stale if you ask me. The whole thing kind of reels on it's way through the early narrative movement, but once it finds its feet, it hits the grounding running with a cheshire grin that never left my face from that moment on. The first sweded film begins the wonderful lo-fi, mash-up hilarity. The happy amusement just compounds as the process becomes more communal and inclusive, and still this movie has so much to say that is meaningful in the national discourse about modernity, race, capitalism, community. It is wonderful to be able to laugh and feel the warm glow of goodness exemplified. It is a joyful presence in the world that this film brings.
Gondry's imaginatively brilliant production design makes this film a new brand of movie experience, and he brings us into a kind of film-making process that would make Cocteau proud. He encloses us in a world of smiling bizarrity that is so unique to his films but which has been realized in the most strikingly profound way here. The sets and his characteristically bizarrely simplistic special effects are the main characters here, and yet they complement and underscore the actors without overpowering them. The blend is so well met that you just delight in the whole thing.
I must also say something about the performances of Melonie Diaz and Mos Def. Certainly Mos's Mike is an extension of his work as Ford Prefect much in the same way that Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow was an extension of his work as HST, but Def actually builds on his earlier characterization and gives it a new depth, whereas Depp seems to turn his Hunter character into a caricature. This is quite the feat for such an unseasoned actor in a movie that without his grounding might easily have spun out of control. The balance of poignancy and inanity was very delicate with this piece, and it is his work that makes that balancing act so incredibly, heartwarmingly fulfilling.
Melonie Diaz's Alma plays counterpoint to Mike's brilliance and nervousness and Jerry's over the top hamming in such a way that it really does provide a kind of alacrity to the film that is also crucial in building toward the necessary balance. She gives her character such humour, charm, steadfastness, and warmth. It is just an exquisite performance, and is another piece of the mad, mad puzzle that was this wonderful film.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Taken By Trees and British printmaking

There's a exhibition at the MFA right now called Rythms of Modern Life: British Prints 1914-1939 which sounds right up my alley. Since Taken By Trees is playing there tonight, I think I'm gonna hit them up here in a minute. I haven't seen any music or been to a museum for what seems like eons, so that'll be good, and The Drive-By Truckers are coming through town in a couple of months, which'll kick arse. I seem to have lapsed into a rather dulling style here today, and just don't have much aching sensibility about getting out of it. Hopefully art and music can help.

Friday, February 22, 2008

miscellany and a snow day

So I've been slogging through this week. Just going through the motions pretty much. It's a tough spot, but these things happen. It can't always be magical fabulosicity, but it's just a comedown sometimes.
I started watching the first season of Friday Night Lights for no apparent reason, and I was pretty impressed. The show should by all accounting suck. It's a take off on a successful movie that starts with a ridiculously cliched storyline. The star quarterback gets paralyzed in the first game of the season, and the shy back-up comes on to throw a hail-mary, game-winning pass. The writing is passable, but not mindstoppingly great. What makes this show is the incredible acting. The whole cast turn in some flooring stuff. They really make the material live so palpably. This is also enabled by the cinema verite style of filming, which has become a cornerstone of the ongoing television renaissance, and the production design. They really get past a spotty premise with the grace of gritty performances.

In the movie department, I'm psyched to go see Be Kind, Rewind this weekend. I'm such a fan of Michel Gondry. His stuff with Charlie Kaufman is top-notch. I do feel like his style was maybe a little off for Human Nature, and I would have liked to see what Kaufman would have done with it. The story goes that Gondry came up with the kernel of the idea for Eternal Sunshine and gave it to Kaufman, who was writing Adaptation at the time. Kaufman had already written Human Nature and wanted to direct it himself at some later date. Gondry apparently convinced Charlie to let him direct it, and the rest is history. Gondry's brand of fairytaleism just seems to work against this film, but Sunshine is, of course, just great and so luminous. Anyway, on a related note, it will be interesting to see Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut with Synecdoche, NY hopefully coming soon to a theatre near me. I see in IMDB that it's in post-production, so we'll keep our fingers crossed that it gets out there. It sounds wild, but anyway. I can't wait to go see Be Kind tomorrow. I am such a fan of Mos Def. His performance in Monster's Ball was some understated brilliance all the way. Obviously, the Hitchhiker stuff was great too. He really walks away with that film.
Anyway, here is a slight description of the film from Wesley Morris's review in the Boston Globe today. "If Bill Cosby and Jerry Lewis had made a Richard Pryor-Gene Wilder comedy by Hasbro, it'd go something like this. I'll have 'Bustin' Loose,' super-sweded, please." How awesome does that sound.

So, I can't decide if I should go see Super Furry Animals or Victoria Bergsman tomorrow night. Both intrigue me, and I would kinda' like to see what shows at the MFA are like, but I would also like to rock out a little bit. We'll see.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I wanted to get a quick revision of previous statements about Ian McEwan's novel, Saturday. I wasn't by any stretch overly critical of the book, but I had laid some faint praise on him in comparision to Umberto Eco's The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. As I've now moved farther along in both books, I see that McEwan's is better than I first grasped, and Eco has made just a minor misstep.
While I was quite drawn in by the surreality that Eco started with, he quickly shifts away from that style for good reason. He's creating a transition for a man who is coming back to consciousness after a heartattack, and it's well done to be sure. The one point I have is that he moves too quickly and a little stiltedly away from the characters surrounding Yambo's life (our hero) to the meat of the book, which is his sifting through the books and music from his childhood as he tries to regain his lost memory. It's a wonderful idea, but the conceit of it comes out with the drastic shift away from anyone but the relics of his lost past. Otherwise, the book is so far marvelously conceived, and it is such a brilliant narrative thruline. Following him try and discern what of these magazines, books, music, etc. was he drawn to and when and how is really good stuff, so I'm just talking about the slightest of bumps in the road here.
As to McEwan and Saturday, I now see clearer what he was doing, which makes the book vastly more intriguing and captivating. His style is to contrast the mundanity of this man's life on this one particular day with really deep insights that get flung off at random times in a very prosaic way. His style reflects these shifts but in a naturally fluid way, so you just get blindsided by these really perceptive moments. It has hints of Hemingway; how he used to just floor you with this offhanded comment about how people are that was so true and penetrating. Stylistically they have very different approaches, but this one little thing that is so crucial to the power of both their writings is really becoming evident in McEwan in a way that wasn't when I first wrote about him.

Noche Flamenca

"If we do not relate the brutality, repression, hunger, fear, menace, inferiority, resistance, and secrecy, then we shall not find the reality of cante is a storm of exasperation and grief." --Felix Grande

Instead of actually sleeping last night I went to see a performance of Flamenco music and dancing at the Cutler Majestic. It was quite the spectacle. I've been saying for some time that I wanted to see some kind of performative dance, and I finally got that chance last night. Ye gods and little fishes, what mind-blowing intensity these cats got to. I was overwhelmed by the emotionality of the experience and left to wander the Boston Common in catastrophic windforce not noticing at all because of that wildly beauteous music and dance culture that is known as Flamenco.
They started the performance with a reinterpretation of Henrik Ibsen's play The Lady From The Sea which amazingly encapsulated the difficulties of marriage and sentimental lost love in song and dance. The piece starts with Soledad Barrio, who founded Noche Flamenca with her husband Martin Santangelo, alone on the stage moving only to the sounds of the ocean with prisms of color sweeping across her body. Her movements are much like the sea itself, flowing and powerful. Soon the rest of the troupe joins her, and then there is the drabness of married life, the draw of a lover appearing out of the recesses of the past, and the choice all made live in movement and song.
While the company is made up of three dancers and they generally held the spotlight, the guitarists and singers are just as central to the performance. The frenetic fingerpicking style that is Flamenco guitar work, is just unstoppably awe-inspiring. Miguel Perez Garcia's guitar solo toward the middle of the performance was the unquestionable work of a master craftsman, and his ruthless trilling fingerwork overlaid with such a longingly sad melodic line was something to behold.
And the singing, oh there are no adjectives to describe the tones of ulullating sadness that Manuel Gago and Emilio Florido achieve. The tragic melancholy these men achieve with the mere sound of their voices was heartbreaking work of staggering genius, to cop a line from Dave Eggers (minus the ironic intention). At one point, just before Barrio's solo in the second act I could have sworn I was in Morocco listening to the Muezzin's call to prayer just for the briefest instant. It was all so moving I almost died. Admittedly, I'm highly susceptible to such things, but still...It was all so much beauty.
Just a quick word on the dancing because I'm getting way too formal here; the Flamenco dance style is focused mostly on the use of stomping as a way to create the rythm of the music with flourishes of the hands to accompany, and it was quite something to witness the hypersonic doubletime they achieved simply by stamping around. It was truely wild, and Soledad Barrio was the most. She achieves a synchronicity of flourish and stomp that just blew me away. I can't say enough about how all the way rad these cats are. The audience filled with the shouts of 'ole' throughout, and it was well deserved.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Just a little bit farther

I just had to write some more about Wong kar-Wai because his work is so utterly brilliant that it literally hurts. He has so brought poetic realism into the modern age. The writing from all his movies has an ephemeral quality to it but with undercurrents of the crush of reality and hopeless love. It really reminds me of Jacques Prevert's work on Les Enfants du Paradis, which is itself the quintessentially poetically real film and also just freakin' amazing. The story and conversations from Chungking Express bring longing and lovelorn waiting to astonishing life in a way that makes you ache for the kind of almost missed connection that Tony Leung and Faye Wong might almost maybe have found, and how mind-blowing is Leung in all his Kar-Waian characterizations. From the sadly discarded lover in Happy Together to the hip 60ies style man about town in 2046, he is always spot on wonderful to watch. You always root for him.
I should also say something about Ziyi Zhang who is also brilliantly sibilant in 2046, but just clearly an incredible emerging talent. If you compare her work in 46 to her portrayal of Sayuri in Memoirs of a Geisha, you see such a sweeping range that you can imagine this woman being capable of just about anything. She is quickly becoming a peer of my all time favorite actress Gena Rowlands, which in my mind is the highest complement I could bestow.
But Kar-Wai, his films enfold each other in that way that the best filmmakers can do: reliving and breathing new life into the concepts and feelings that are closest to their hearts without retreading or becoming repetitive. And how freakin' fantasmo is it that he has a character from one of his earlier films return several films later to talk about how her life has changed and been affected by that earlier experience of love lost. That to me is the mark of a genius. You see it most comparitively apt in the work of David Lynch, and these two are on equal grounds with that ability. Kar-Wai also takes the many of the cinematic ideas of Goddard and the new wave and brings them to bear in a way that is wholly inventive and to my mind much more effective and affecting. His use of jump cuts in In the Mood for Love far surpasses anything Goddard could even concieve of doing. Admittedly I don't have much love for the pretensious genius of Goddard, but I really believe that Kar-Wai brings a much defter touch to the process of alienation that Goddard was striving for and to a much more devestating effect. While there is certainly different intentions and purposes involved and an argument can be made for a more qualitative usefulness in Goddard's possible intentions, I think that Kar-Wai builds from a Confucian approach that personalizes the meanings of social interaction in a way that could be a foundational element in the creation of a better way to live in the world with the people we meet and exist with. Okay, so I got out there a little bit and may not be making too much sense at this stage, but I just think the geniusity of this man is worth shouting from the hilltops. Release My Blueberry Nights for the love of all that's holy, please (so,I see over at the IMDB that a limited release is set for April of this year. Thank the heavens for small favors and hope to be within the limit of this release because I personally gaurantee you won't want yr money or yr time back).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

entropic forces always tugging @ my brainstem

The inevitability of entropy in social life, is it so? I like to think that we can make some forward progression, the infinite chain of being and all that, but sometimes it just feels like we're constantly pulled back into the mireishness of our early mistakes, if we were so inclined to make such. Maybe it's not a generalizable problem; maybe it's just me. It's the sluffle schuffle, one step forward and two steps back, clap yr hands, and don't have no heart attack. Oh, yeah, oh yeah. Uggamamoggamagoomalalipalistaliapatopitopita, eh?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Days of Being Wild

Wong Kar-Wai may just be the most brilliant filmmaker in existence's long tirade. That may be just an insignificantly tiny stretch of the truth, but I think the oh so incredibly mild exaggeration is well worth the man that auteured my all time top favorite film for the moment 2046. No, I don't really play favorites, as I said once or twice, but if I did, I would probably go with this. His films are jarring collisions of poetic realism, hard-boiled style pulp characters, and that brutal unrequitedness that accompanies all of Kar-Wai's manifestations of love. Perhaps it's the shear amount of time and work that his characters have to put into their love if they want it to bear fruit that I adore about his films, and the fact that even then most times it doesn't work out all happily ever after. Yet his films still all leave me with a sense of the absolute value of love even when they don't end Cinderella style. His beautiful lilting writing brings great blissful worry to my mind, and I'm always left in a wistfully beatific state through my thorough indulgence in the modern cinema's great poet.
The lushness of the Kar-Wai/Chris Doyle color pallete is also one of the ongoing happinesses of the cinematic experience. Watching the shift from the muted luxuriance of the early films to the fierce elegance of their current work has been a true discovery of the heart for me. That In the Mood for Love might be the most masterful use of color ever is only mildly over the top hyperbole. It's just so freaking beautiful, it makes me well up with tears of joy. All the way, ride!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Overlooked in the race for rankings

As I've said I think the end of the year listing and ranking process for film and music is more than just a little pedantic and silly, but whatever. People are going to do what they're going to do regardless of how my non-entity self feels about the whole thing. It just occurred to me though that there were two really solid movies that came out last year that deserved to be on at least one list. If they aren't on any other, which would be a crime, they're gonna be on my list of two movies in no specific order that I really liked and felt were overlooked by the people who matter aka everyone other than me. Well, I do matter to myself, so I guess that's not really true. Whatever, you get the general rambling idea.

Numero uno: Romance and Cigarettes.

How people can go on about how wonderful that shiite of a remake Hairspray was and not think this musical was way, way better, I can't even fathom. Just because this movie doesn't end with the happiest of happy endings, doesn't mean it's not a feel good movie. The spirit of silliness that inhabits this film is in some ways mythic, dare I say it. It was an amazing fable about the travails of modern life, in a kind of comedic counter-point to Black Snake Moan, which I'm fairly sure also came out toward the beginning of the year and has also been overlooked in the rush to give out awards to all the same people and movies. I don't begrudge those people who win and get all the media attention, but I do wish the mainstream media would pay attention to off the radar stuff that may seem complicated to release or defies simple categorization. I'll admit that Moan was a tough one, but I would bet substantial money that Romance & Cigarettes could have turned a monster profit if the distributers would have gotten in on the game instead of being completely afraid of original material that isn't surrounded by the so-called buzz.

The movie was actually filmed several years ago, but no one would take on distribution. So, after what I assume was years of trying to get his film released, John Turtorro, the film's writer and director, leased a movie house in New York and self-released in one theater. It got solid reviews and was picked up, finally for a run in, what I have to assume was seriously limited release. All I know is it finally came to Boston after years of waiting with anticipation for this film. I had heard about it through the IMDB way back when it was just sketchy details available for the public, and the little red filming, or post-production brackets before the film title. When I finally saw who was in it, I flipped. The cast is immacutely culled for the type of off the wall comedic irony coupled with the Vaudeville and slapstick comic stylings that would be needed to make this kind of material work. All I knew at the time was that it was a musical written and directed by Turtorro, produced by the Coens, and starring Gandolfini, Surandon, Walken, Winslet, Buscemi, Mary-louis Parker, Aida Turtorro, Mandy Moore, Bobby Canavale, and the list goes on with regonizable names all the way down the most minimal speaking parts. All of this can, of course, be gleaned from the IMDB, so I had known years in advance that this film was out there, and had even read a glowing review of how good it was at some festival. The thing had been released in other countries for quite a while before it finally saw the light of day in American moviehouses.

I have no idea what the deal was on that, but it may have been the funniest film I've ever seen. Okay, that's a little hyperbolic, but it was massively funny. In a year that saw Juno birthed to the world with total adorement and deference, this movie should have gotten just a little bit of that glory. What's that? You say that Juno was unquestionably the wittiest film of all time. You may have a point, and you certainly have a valid position from which to argue. I'm not going to argue the point, but I will say that in the first five minutes of R&C we get these gems:
"I am not a whoremaster"
"Your father's on an all beaver diet"
We also get Steve Buscemi fantasing about putting tennis balls in the tennis pro's underwear. So clearly, Juno does not have the lock on slightly inappropriate hilarity. I do believe Diablo Cody would be envious.
Anyway, the film is just supercool. Chris Walken doing a soft shoe in the rain. A full-on drag down fight between Susan Surandon and Kate Winslet. Eddie Izzard as the church organist and spurned lover. There are so many killer moments in this movie. As the old-school beat looking character with whom I had a post-film discussion said: "It just makes you love movies again." Well said, sir.

Numero dos: Control
Okay, this movie was a little tougher on the system. It was not a feel good film. It was bursting with the angst so common to top-notch creative minds. Control is the story of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division, and (spoiler alert!) it doesn't end well. Maybe one or two people know that, so I'm not giving too much away. This was ground that was somewhat covered in Micheal Winterbottom's Twenty-Four Hour Party People. The difference being this is more focused on just the Joy Division storyline, instead of the whole Factory Records rise and fall. It's all black and white, and it's pretty bleak. Even before we make it to Ian's frustrations trying to reconcile being a father and a burgeoining rockstar, the film gives us angstiness, dulling work routines, dealing with epilepsy, you get the idea. It's slow and unforgiving, but the music is a sickness. This is the reason that I have to give this movie some serious props. The actors do all the playing and singing, and that is what you hear when you see the reconstructions of live performances. I'll say that again in case you didn't get me. There is no overdubbing of the live performances. It's the actual live recordings of the actors playing the instruments and singing Joy Division's songs, and they nail it. That in and of itself is worth a look in my opinion. That and Sam Riley's spot on performance and recreation of Ian's frenetic dance style. It's all pretty intense, and the movie left me feeling brooding and introspective, but with a burning desire to get down to something of value and really break open the creative process. It also left me with a mild distrust of the surrounding world, and I looked sideways at everyone I passed on the street on my way home.

Cross over consternation

So, mostly I'm gonna talk about the Cat Power show from last night over on The Dancing fool, but I did want to just quickly rant about the whole thing a little bit here. I just sent my first ever e-mail to a journalist with a quick semi-constructed outline of my concerns about the lack of dancing in the modern world. Not that it isn't out there, but some of my favorite bands or performers to go see (i.e. anything under the monicker indie-rock, alt-country, etc) are conspicously missing any type of body rockin' on their scene. It really sucks for me, and maybe one or two other people.
I'm not going to get too far into how shitty some of the Village Voice stuff was other than to say even slightly implying that Chan Marshall might be a better performer if she didn't totally have her shit together is pretty low, especially considering were that poor girl has beeen in her life. Whatever, take the performance as it is, and comment on that, but snide remarks about her personal life are highly unnecessary. What is the great fascination with the personal lives of writers and artists anyway? Can't we just take there work on it's merits and leave the rest alone anyway?
Okay, I got farther into that than I had planned, but sometimes the underground crowd can be totally cannabalistic when one of their own actually gets some mainstream success or recognition. Arright, down boy, down. So, let me first say that some of this frustration could be avoided if places like the Orpheum in Boston, which has seats that people have a tendency to overuse in my opinion, might consider having a dancing section. I know that sounds a little silly, but people who don't want to dance get annoyed by us, and those of us who want to dance get seriously impaled on the let's all just watch phenom.
I just don't get it. I really don't. It's one of the few types of entertainment that you can really engage on a spiritual level, and people just sit there like it's a rerun of MASH. Not that you absolutely have to dance to get a spiritual or intense emotional experience from a musical performance, it can be done through passive reception, but come on right, don't we have enough passive amusements in our world and lives. It won't kill you to dance, I promise. Just try it once.
(Sorry I know that's really uptight and pretentious, but it's how I feel)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Let's get together and talk about the modern age

"All of our friends were gathered there with their pets just talking shit about how we're all so upset about the disappearing we watch it melt. It's all the good that won't come out of us, and how eventually our hands will just turn to dust if we keep shaking them, standing here on this frozen lake"-Rilo Kiley: The good That Won't Come out of Us, The Execution of All Things

I am so hooked on this band. I have an unabashed love of the female voice, and Jenny Lewis is tops in that department, so angelic and devastating, but lyrically they just blow me away sometimes. They can really hit it in so many ways: moody, playful, sorrowful, delicate. It's all so danceable and makes for a killer soundtrack for the movie of my life that has been fully enabled by the now part of my person ipod. I'm on my way to owning every album they've recorded.
Admittedly, that's not like saying I'm on my way to owning every Zappa album, a project I gave up on after I had to abandon all my vinyl in Memphis. Someday I'll reclaim them, but for now most of my Zappa and jazz resides with my friend Josh back in the 'phis. It's a bummer because I definitely get Zappa cravings, and with my newfound desire not (that's right NOT) to steal anymore music over the internet, it's hard to keep to my alloted 10 bucks a week music budget and still satisfy my burgeoning cravings for disparate musical fixes. I really do need to get back on the Zappa train. He was just so freakin' ironic way before that was the totally hip thing to do. It makes me laugh and praise.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Bloggfather

So, I've now got seven blogs going, which is insanely manic, but I'm not yet done. I'm gonna get a vblog into the action, which I'm totally psyched about. It's still in the works (i.e. I'm still too broke to buy a, but I'll get there hopefully before the summer. I do like the idea of using multiple formats to bring out different aspects of my personality, but I do think maybe I'm being a little nutzo on the whole thing. Whateva'; kiss the ring and bow to my blogmight. Oh, so silly. I really like to work over ways to combine different words with the word blog. My favorite one so far is bloggiestyle, but this is the first use I've made of it.
Anyway, I've also got a new favorite word, which is ultimately. It was a close race with essentially and the old standbys anyways and regardless, but ultimately (see how final and staid that word can be) none of them have the staying power and utility of ultimately. MMMmmmm, words!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Singing to the strangers; half scaring them to death

Wow, was I massacred last night. I got pretty good and drunk last night, which means about a half dozen cocktails for me (and that means I'm doing pretty durn good with that whole thing). While I'm generally more prone to at least desire moderation and not trumpet drunkenness, I am always in favor of wandering around improvising songs at the top of yr lungs even if it does get you some aberrant looks. I could not stop the lyrics that have been dormant in some recess of my brain for way too long. Now I've written some song lyrics recently, but that's a totally different process than just belting out whatever unadorned wierdness is flitting around those crazy neural cavities o' mine. It was just a lot of fun. I danced like a wildman to Prince, Luna, Joi, and some others, and I roamed the streets with my ipod headphones half on singing newly minted lyrics to those very same songsters' melodies. What fun, what fun, what fun is there in the streets of my mind to lose and calm the winds of rising fear...How for so long can we hold back the storm of emerging intemperance without the attendant hurricane that must follow, eh? So silly.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

From the haze of sleep

I was in the midst of one of those days yesterday when the ideas are coming so fast that it's all I can do to try and hold on and get some of them down on paper. Eventually the importance of sleep becomes preeminent over anything short of rock the casbah style stellar ideation given the fact that I have to be at work @ 4 in the AM, so I manage finally to shut down the old mainframe after many fruitless attempts and get into some sleep. The problem is when you have a day like that it just transitions (for me). I realize three hours later that I'm awake again and in the midst of some really superconscious ideational cycles. It then becomes a thing to try and catalogue any and all the stuff coming down. I woke up, actually I became aware of wisps of jarring conscious ideas seeping into my reality, as I was apparently building a band of characters for a new song cycle that I recall vaguely laying out the outlines for, but now the whole thing is just like it was in a dream, just barely there.
Still there was more material and I spent the first hour at work scribbling little notes to try and get all the ideas down so that I could try and sort through them later. It is a productive yet complicated process using the transition between sleep and wakefulness; A kind of slow burn to consciousness that requires all the faculties of concentration to maintain a connection to the ideas that are churning around in the head. It still always feels like you miss so much.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

I just have to get into a semi-rave about the above titled book by Umberto Eco. This cat has it down. The book is such a great intermix of psychology and story, and the whole thing starts out in this really surreal style that is just the tops. I've just started the book, but so far I'm heavily impressed.
I'm also reading Ian McEwan's Saturday, which also has some good neuropsych stuff as the main character is a neurosurgeon. It's quite good, with a wonderful way about it, but Eco is just blowing my doors off right now, so his solid and commendable writing seems a little formal next to the wild wonderfulness of Eco. Eco just has this amazing faculty for building this great story in a way that's so...unique.
I gotta work solidly on my ability to write about books I'm reading, if I want to get Cross-Referenced modulates really going. I haven't been able to really work that scene yet, but on Monday I'm getting internet access at my home, which I haven't had in years, so I'll be able to work on them in a place where I'm more comfortable than here in the school dungeon or in my parents living room, which was where it all began.