Wednesday, December 31, 2008

yeah, but i did get the address already

let's say you run a website that hosts party invitations. why would you schedule maintenance for new year's eve? it's a holiday. that involves a lot of parties.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

who even cares

things i would like to see in 2009, with little regard for whether it's time:

new albums from:

kings of convenience
rhett miller
(ok, i do actually know he's recording next month but i don't care about the album, i just want to hear the songs live, since even his solo material works in concert)
the shins
neko case
fionn regan
(i'd like about 3 albums from patience is important. he's a good reason skipping the next 20 years of life might be worth it just to get 20 years of music all at once)
nedelle and thom
(probably never happening, but come on, please?)
the postmarks
(will happen at some point, similar feel to the above, and probably the more talented group)
fruit bats
(i should add that i don't want the shins record to sound a thing like this one and that i want this one to be awesome and i want to know why the shins had to steal eric johnson because it's not like they needed the help)
the elected
(nick never seems to sing very good songs for rilo kiley, so...)
kruder & dorfmeister
(never happening i'm sure, but i guarantee they'd provide some interesting material)
zero 7
(they might be better off without jose gonzalez' help this time around, like um, er, he's really good but maybe they did have to branch out)
explosions in the sky
(one of those 'you want to hear something as good as them, it has to be them' groups)
loch lomond
(plus national tour with 9 musicians and a ton of instruments; maybe they could bring adam selzer b/c i'm not even asking for a norfolk & western record)


a novel by douglas trevor
adam langer novel not about nyc or chicago
cormac mccarthy writes something tragic and peaceful
jt leroy writes a novel about office politics
joshua ferris manages to release two novels and a short story collection, about any subject he chooses, really
a michael lewis novel and a nonfiction book about the music industry
nick horby novel, set in paris and beirut, about journalism students, with fictionalized book reviews (of real books) interspersed in the text
a chimamanda ngozi adichie novel set in the middle east
a blog by andrew keen, but only for ironic value
michael frayn novel about a scottish america's cup sailor
another gabe hudson story collection
malcolm gladwell authors a novel based on a short story by al gore, vividly detailing the life of a sudanese pirate.

is it wrong to want these things? i just want more great writing, and to learn a few things about parts of the world i've never seen.

go 2009!

albums that came out this year

i can't really say i bought much music that was released in 2008. did that jens lekman album even come out this year? the new thievery corporation left the least impact, for me, of any album they've released since i started listening. i heard 'the mirror conspiracy' first, but that is such a crucial release it would have been a certain revelation to anyone taken in by their first disc. i did get the privilege of listening to 'the richest man in babylon' when it came out, and being wowed both by the musical developments and the bold expression of the duo's politics. i had 'the cosmic game' pegged as the letdown album, especially with the sorts of collaborators they brought in, but it managed to find new sonic territory while wisely branching into higher energy levels. the guys kept it real by abandoning the transcendentally cool territory they'd layed out so perfectly in 'mirror conspiracy.' other downtempo artists have failed to achieve that first step - finding the art of cool - and my frustration with the genre as a whole helped lead me away from regular listening as 2005 wound to a close. back for a taste of the latest release in 2008, i was impressed by a couple of tracks but found the album to be only a modest pleasure to hear. it might be that i'm more of an americana/folkish listener these days, so cheers to all who got more out of the new disc.

i never bought 'blame it on gravity,' because i take in the old 97s live and almost exclusively live, but from the tour, it seems like there are some decent songs there. i look forward to hearing them when they've been around the block a few dozen times.

i thought jennifer o'connor's latest, 'here with me,' was a total treat, despite her lack of artistic development on this record. for her next release, she may need to branch out a bit more, or figure out a way to do the same thing but make it sound new. at this point in her career, laboring in obscurity, i don't think it matters that the record spins nicely along where her amazing 2006 release left off. there's plenty of room for her to grow her audience just by getting in front of people; i personally would welcome more of the same. that's probably the key - she remains core to my listening fancies, and thus in my book she can get away with repeating herself. after all, when you go to an amazing concert, all you want sometimes is to be able to come back and bask in that exact sound for as long as possible. it's also easier to hold territory that provides a solid grounding. o'connor's emotive edgy storytelling is easier to repeat successfully than the quiet bliss of 'mirror conspiracy.' i think rob and eric of thievery corporation wouldn't have wanted to stay put if they'd had the chance; their globe-trotting musical journey has to be a rush. it might not be as exciting, but i think they'd have something to say, musically, about a trip back to the states and a few long winters of joe pass and bill evans. they could always mix in old friend jobim and find some fascinating new possibilities. maybe even jean-michel jarre; i'm not sure they've really covered his turf either.

Friday, December 26, 2008

use your resources wisely

i have something that most people might not, which is a large collection of albums i own and have not yet listened to. yesterday seemed an appropriate time to raid that stash, so i rewarded myself with a listen to something brand new. i'd heard a lot of the songs live, of course, but now there's an enticing new selection on the portable device for whatever mood convinces me to seek out the brand new.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

keep trying

i was telling my parents how their new place could use a hoop in the driveway, and besides the fact that it makes little sense to oblige me when i live hundreds of miles away, it turns out there's a rule against it. i also don't see a rock wall in the basement. at least they didn't say they were getting an indoor pool or anything. the Christmas tree, though, looks great.

Monday, December 22, 2008


spending sixteen dollars to mail something overnight seems bad, but maybe not when i paid more than that to get it printed. buying six boxes of cookies seems ridiculous until you...yeah, it's ridiculous. i haven't eaten six boxes of cookies outside of work in the past year. is that weird? i have developed distinct patterns of things i will eat at the office but not at home. that's all busted now.

it's funny being back in my neighborhood and seeing how different things look now that i've been away for 3 years. i used to have such a hard time with grocery shopping, but my perspective is completely different now. there's one store 2 subway stops away, and that is so much more convenient than just about anything i've done recently as far as shopping goes.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

missed opportunities

a modest blanket of snow fell friday, slowing the city and disrupting my travel plans but failing to ruin anything significant. i spent the evening at the airport waiting with friends who hoped their luck was better than my own. everyone made it out but me, and only the weather-induced pitfalls of my journey to the airport prevented me from making it out on my flight, which took off on time. a few hours later, the remaining flights were cancelled. having lost the purpose of my evening, i was buoyed by the modest hopes of friends that their journeys would end by midnight.

my own journey was far from fruitless. i discovered that wheeled luggage rolls well through small amounts of snow, but drags heavily in even an inch and a half. transportation officials can misguide you, shuttle buses don't always appear, and stubbornly pressing forward to join waiting crowds is not always a poor choice. i found that a modest suitcase can quickly reach fifty pounds in heft, and that sometimes it's better to just check a bag even if you might not get it back for several days. i found myself surprisingly happy to return to the unheated apartment and unroll my sleeping bag for one more night. on saturday, i learned that we'd actually done our landlord a disservice by not complaining; he could have fixed the heat on thursday morning and been free to enjoy his weekend. i don't mind having missed the chance to play in the still-falling snow, when it was nothing but beautiful. instead of standing in wonder at the flakes that melted on my sweater, i played my snow games in the slush, the puddles and drifts that lulled the city to somnolence with their momentary power. i slept soundly in the warmth of the sleeping bag, preparing for a new day with flights that would fear no weather.

Monday, December 15, 2008

from the notepad

music that sounded good last week:

husky rescue

club 8

the american analog set

jenn grant

one of those items really doesn't fit with the others, to the extent that it makes me feel a bit ridiculous. that's the beauty of lists.

Friday, December 12, 2008

we are cold and indescriminate

sometimes it is not worth caring about things. if i stopped caring about having new clothes to wear, i might have some extra savings in the bank. if I managed to avoid reading ill-conceived books by people with lousy ideas, i might have time to catch up on the past three years of alumni magazines. if I stopped caring about how loud the to king clock was, i might be asleep right now.

since there is nothing better to do, i will reveal something trivial and hitherto unknown. if i could see a concert by one musical act i have seen live in the past three years, i would choose to see feist again. there are a couple reasons for that choice. i've only been to one concert of hers, it was phenomenal, and the gap between what you get from her live show and from her recorded material is huge. she's the opposite of the magic numbers, who seemed overmatched on stage but have recorded decent stuff. i don't mean to take anything away from feist as a recording artist, because the studio tracks are well done. they aren't lacking except in comparison to the live performance i witnessed. i should add that the magic numbers may have suffered somewhat because of a lousy venue. the worst neko case show i saw was in the same place, and that was honestly a fairly unexciting show as well. she's been great the other two times i have heard her live. so it's possible the magic numbers have had better shows elsewhere.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

fear nothing

my revolutions
-hari kunzru

this has to have been one of those books i grabbed because i liked the cover. yes, i have not given up on that habit. they're easy to show off; people with good taste will just think you have stylish books, and people who are into books probably still won't have read them.

this was one of the more suspenseful books i've read, and it did a great job of revealing both the past and the present gruadually, which helped heighten the anticipation. the stories that unfold are: a sixties activist's journey into radicalism, and his struggles in the present to face his hidden past. it's set in britain, and a few landmark events are historical, while most are probably not.


i am making cookies with millet

i am clearcutting the forest outside

i am making sure it's okay to be afraid of people

i am shopping for honeycombed seating

i am wrapping all my belongings in clear tape

i harbor an overwhelming disdain for people who use combination locks

i do not understand what you are trying to convey

i would like a side of fries with my omelet

excuse me while i paint stripes on my neckties.

last week, i sold my best work to some guy jj saunders