Saturday, April 30, 2005

So. I'm buying lunch today. I'm waiting in line amidst all these other solitary workers dreary and silent on their lunch hour. A few people, in a single group, are making all the noise: talking on their cellphones, chattering, and yelling things.

I look up at the big menu on the ceiling. trying to decide what kind of combo I want and I want to add or subtract, when I notice it. It's like a shiver of cold on a hot night. There is a misplaced apostphere. Below the TOPPINGS AND SAUCE corner is a hastily assembelled sign that reads: EXTRA MEANS' EXTRA MONEY

I look around, wondering if anyone else notices. Is that what all the noise is about? But, no; it's just me. And I'm afraid. Of the error. Of what's happenning to me? Of some sort of infection from the lost little mark into me and my work. (I'm working on a book!)

I have to get closer to the menu to order. I don't want to. I feel the power of the stupid mistake. I know exactly why it is stupid. And, of course, I know exactly where the elegant little line should be.

I didn't always. Throughout my whole life, puncutation has confused me. It's a little bit like math and I hate math. There are just too many possibilites. A period, a comma, a semicolon... a colon? I like three. (Three is the perfect number, in case you didn't know.) Once you try to figure out comma position on a compound sentence the size of a paragraph with multiple subjects and description, you'd know why sometimes I wish I could just fucking ignore it.

But, then, I read a book. A small book with a stupid title and some corny jokes. Some examples, some British humor, some history of punctutation, and some real educational skills opened up the world of the little marks and thingamjigs to something basic and iniutiative that I could understand. (In case you don't know what I'm talking about: Eats, Shoots and Leaves)

As I approached the counter, hungry and unsetelled, I reached my hand up to the menu, pointed at the spot where the apostphere belonged, and touched it, once. A little line.

Friday, April 22, 2005

This new [blank] album is the best fucking thing I've heard in years. And the new album by The [Blanks] is even better! And I can't wait to hear the new [blank] album. Great year for music!

Florida sucks. I miss San Francisco.

Via Chris and Tim.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Huge props to Shawn Libman, Esquire, for passing the Florida Bar Exam, cementing her position as a lawyer in a prominent downtown Miami law firm.

Now, what a super smart lawyer is doing dating a loser wordsmith like me can probably be credited to stress or bad judgement.

Or blind love.


Friday, April 15, 2005

New Stuff on the Old Playlist:

The National - Alligator. This is my album of the week. With the tried and true simple rock band formula of a) strong vocalist (sounds kinda like Morrissey but straight), b) good counterpointing guitars and percussion (sounding like the best Stone Temple Pilots), and c) simple but memorable lyrics, this unpretentious little album shines. It hits all the right notes, worms its way into your memory with catchy hooks, and doesn't overstay its welcome. Bravo, The National.

Dogs Die In Hot Cars - Please Describe Yourself. Okay, this is what this oddly named band sounds like: A ska band, sad and disillusioned after the end of their favorite movement, wanders into a carnival, drops some acid, and gets overtaken by the lush colors and harmonies present. They lose their horn section in the ensuing chaos of the night (the three dazed members get absorbed into the carnival, being mistaken for freaks), and the now smaller band finds a new, pyschadelic, sound in the indie rock vein. Their songs are like that game at the carnival where you throw a little steel donut onto a sea of bottlecaps and hope for the best, as such, their songs fail more than they suceed, but when they work, when the dozen different elements actually gel to form a coherent melody, the result is fun and full of creativity - if not originality. If I didn't know better, I'd say they were perfect California pop.

Stars - Set Yourself on Fire. A lot of people loved Stars' previous album, Heart. I thought it kinda sucked. And I tried to like it. During my Broken Social Scene frenzy of 2003, I grabbed anything related to them. And I saw Stars perform, unimpressively, before a BSS show. So, when this new album began getting heaps of praise and airplay at my favorite radio station ever,, I thought to myself, "Oh no, not again." And then weeks later, finally downloaded the fucker. And I so fucking glad I did. This is one of the most interesting albums of the year. I feel like I need a few more months to fully "get" it, but I what I hear in it now is an aggressive attack on indie pop, as much as BSS's You Forgot It In People was an attack on mainstream pop. The main difference between the two is precedent and the ever important musical question, "What can I get away with it?" Like Dogs Die in Hot Cars, a lot of the songs don't work, but that is a testament to their will, to their desire to try new things, and be as creative as they can. Another fine record to the add to the growing list of Montreal brilliance.

Bloc Party - Silent Alarm. Alright, people, listen up. These guys are not that great! They're good. There are moments of awesomeness, truly inspired flourishes and lyrics. There are fun beats and fascinating song arrangement. But to hear some websites and magazines talk these days, you'd think these guys were the new Arcade Fire. Well, they're not. Trust me. I'm not going to pull the whole "they sound like these other guys from twenty years ago too much" card (cause I hate when people do that to my favorite bands), I'll just ask to chill out a little on the Bloc Party fellatio. 2005 has so far been a great year for music and there's a lot more albums coming out, so why focus all your energy on one good (but not brilliant) album. K?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

For Shawn:

Bloc Party - This Modern Love

To be lost in the forest
To be cut adrift
You've been trying to reach me
You bought me a book
To be lost in the forest
To be cut adrift
I've been paid
I've been paid

Don't get offended
If I seem absent minded
Just keep telling me facts
And keep making me smile
Don't get offended
If I seem absent minded
I get tongue-tied

Baby, you've got to be more discerning
I've known never known what's good for me
I will be yours

I'll pay for you anytime

You told me you wanted to eat up my sadness
Well jump on, enjoy, you can gorge away
You told me you wanted to eat up my sadness
Jump right on

Baby, you've got to be more discerning
I've known never known what's good for me
Baby, you've got to be more demanding
I will be yours

What are you holding out for?
What's always in the way?
Why so damn absent-minded?
Why so scared of romance?

This modern love breaks me
This modern love wastes me

Monday, April 11, 2005

Old Women Have Music War

I feel a story inspiration coming.

Well, August and Kevin, you guys were right. Deadwood is THE SHIT. What a fascinating show. Just when I think HBO can't impress me more, they do. They hire the best location scouts and set designers in the business. Carnvale recreates dustbowl, Depression-era, middle America while Deadwood brings to life a town in perfect detail from over a hundred years ago. Everything feels authentic (except maybe the profanity). And the characters! Oh man, this small army of characters has so much life and dimension. And the dialogue! Some of the best TV words I've ever heard. Seriously. These characters talk way smarter than they should, but whatever. Some of the words that come out of Al's mouth are just genius. And Billock's deadpan eyes are scary. A wonderfully faceted protagonist.

Each character has their own appeal but some stand out. It's great to see Brad Dourif get some work as Doc Cochran. He was the best thing to happen to Voyager as the Betazoid traitor and deviously scary in The Two Towers. And the guy who plays E.B. Farnum has done so much great work as a character actor that watching him consistently, especially when he talks to himself, is a gift to us as viewers!

Over the weekend, I gobbled up the first seven hours. A dizzying rollercoaster ride. And such balls! To kill your best character and unleash a plague barely before your feet are off the ground as a show. This show really is a creative apex for HBO. It's got the nuanced characters of The Wire, the creativity and scope of Carnivale, and the body count of Oz. What more could you want?

Friday, April 08, 2005

Recently Read:

Animal Crackers (stories) by Hannah Tinti. The comparisons to Aimee Bender in the blurbs drew my attention. They're far far different writers and at first, I was skeptical of Tinti's mainstream-style, voice, and subject matter. She may reference the weird every once in a while but make no mistake, this is different literary fic-material. And yet, it won me over! There's only a handful of stories in this little book but they all have a lot of dimension and personality. Her prose is more sharp and witty than it is lazy (my main problem with most mainstream lit) and that is a definite plus. Recommended.

If Andy Warhol Had A Girlfriend by Alison Pace. I bought this book while I was in New York at the NY Art Expo. It's about a girl who works in an art gallery for a big artist and travels the world with him. I thought it would be fun and relate-able and some sections were. Most, though, revolved around the excruciatingly predictable dating life of the main character. Descriptions of foreign cities felt like she was looking at photographs at Barnes and Noble and overall the prose was limp and boring (the most vile sin!) It's a light, easy, read, perfect (i would think) for sitting on the beach on a calm Saturday afternoon; if you're into that type of thing. Forgettable.

So Yesterday by Scott Westerfield. This is so my type of book. This is the stuff I wish I was reading when I was teenager (instead of innumerable Star Wars and Star Trek novels). This book had an extreme amount of fun packed under two hundred pages, likeable characters, fun, fast, action sequences and a hilarious enclosed vocabulary. It reminded me of my high school days - or more likely, my dreams of what my high school days should have been. A great ride.

Right now, I'm reading Philip Roth's classic Portnoy's Complaint based off the recommendation of a former teacher of mine. It's a perverse and hilarious, a joyous combination. Enjoying it a lot.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

You know, ever since I started working, I've had more time than ever to catch up on blogs. (Is that wrong? Am I a bad person?) Expect my blogroll to be updated soon.

Also, the new Beck album makes me happy.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Ah, South Park. Just when I thought you weren't relevant anymore and about an inch away from diving into Simpsons-unable-to-bow-out-gracefully-territory, you come out with a hilarious socially relevant episode that only you could do.

This week's episode, "Best Friends Forever," basically goes like this: Cartman wants, desperately, passionately, to have a PSP, but he doesn't get one. Kenny gets one, though, and becomes ensconced in a game called Heaven vs. Hell. He plays for weeks without a stop until he gets to Level 60... when he gets hit by a truck and dies.

In Heaven, St. Peter informs him that Heaven is in serious danger of attack from the orcs of Mord..uh, Hell. The only one who can stop them is Kenny and a special golden PSP. Quote, "Basically, you're Keanu Reeves." Down in Hell, our favorite homosexual demon, Satan, is building up his army but upon findng out "they have a Keanu Reeves" wants to abolish the whole thing. He is convinced otherwise and launches an attack on Heaven.

Kenny and the angels get ready for battle. When, suddenly, Kenny disappears. Flashback to Earth. Kenny in a hospital bed, surrounded by doctors and his parents. The doctors inform his parents that he is in a permanent vegetative state and is being kept alive by a feeding tube.

When Cartman finds out that Kenny is being kept alive and therefore without the possibility of getting his PSP, he goes to the Colorado Supreme Court and asks them to order a removal of Kenny's feeding tube. The Court is initially skeptical but Cartman insists he knows what Kenny would want. He is, after all, his "B.F.F." Kenny's feeding tube is removed. But Kyle and Stan are outraged. They know Cartman is just after Kenny's PSP so they come up with a wonderful idea. "Let's inform the media!"

You can figure out what happens next on your own. Or watch the episode. It's hilarious.

What is most impressive about the episode, not the least the speed at which they wrote and produced it, but the extreme postmodernism of the whole thing. From the frenzy to get a PSP, to the Last Starfighter references, the Matrix, the Lord of the Rings, Terry Schiavo, this episode sprayed the pop culture all over the place and it was a joy to watch. Usually South Park is enclosed in its crass little world, even last week's "Die Hippie Die" was classic South Park (hippies overrun the town, start a massive music festival, and the only one who can stop them is Cartman, of course), but when they branch out and touch on exterior issues, it's brilliant. Still!