Thursday, December 31, 2009


i haven't felt so much like describing in detail what went down these past ten years, but i think i've captured the general idea: during this decade, i realized i was creative.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

smarter people would have hidden

i still think it's time to review things. in reviewing the year, i would say most of my experiences were forgettable. i didn't go on any huge trips. i lived in two different apartments, one of which i had lived in before. i went to a lot of concerts. trying to pick the best, all i can remember right now is that m. ward was awesome. i tried not to spend my days crawling as deep into the earth as i could without losing my way.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

this year in literature

since i find the end of the year to be an excellent time for reflection, it is certainly and definitely probable that i will have to review what has happened in this past year.

so now we come to literature, a topic on which i have much to say and all of it definitively bold in flavor. i probably did not read a single book in the year 2009 that was published in the year 2009. as such, i find it necessary to fabricate a number of books for this segment.

the blueberry triumph
by rolanda smelting

i found most scenes in this novel to be emotional, but in the way that attending a premier of your roommate's film is emotional when he was most likely left out of the end credits because he stole the director's necktie. you keep wanting something important to happen, or at least to get the sense of a possibility something will happen. instead, you find yourself sliding in and out of lucidity as you either slept too long or ate more than one bag of something that looks like shrimp if swedish fish were shaped like crustaceans.

everyone in the future wears foam watches
by lalliopreten delbn

most of my favorite books have several distinct themes. i often find it useful to read critical essays on the books before digesting the original text, because that way i know what not to think. in the end,,,however, it is most likely that i end up concluding there were more themes that the original critics missed, and in the case of this book, i detected at least three more than the zero i had read in the material that prepared me for the novel itself. ghostly images embedded in cathode ray tubes. nighttime grooming habits of security guards. the texture of ribbed cotton. when ideas like this inform a novel not just in form but in content, i am almost immediately able to abandon my idea of what to expect and give myself completely to the author. in fact, i send my sincere congratulations to delbn for convincing me that i need to get back in the habit of preparing for all possibilities. not to give too much away, but there aren't a lot of people in the future.

by lart rob

rob has become one of my favorite authors simply by defying my expectations. specifically, he boldly refuses to do anything that strikes me as impressive, and that is what has won me over so completely to his style of prose. i have a great deal of affection for authors with certain aesthetic features to their work, but rob has the daring to write in a way that seemingly fits in with every experience in any person's life. his refusal to bow to conventions of literary elitism allows him to cleverly explore situations familiar to many of his readers. rather than puzzling over our experiences because they are presented in a way that reflects our lives from a different angle, we puzzle because we see nothing at all unusual. in rob's fictional world, we become the author and our lives become literature. this is a book you put down, only to fall more completely into its fiction, struggling forever to find your way back.

Friday, December 25, 2009

the gift of folk

my gift to one of my parents this year was the monsters of folk album. for one thing, there is some great music there. people don't always know about stuff they would totally like if they had a chance to hear it. then there's the fact that i wanted to give some books as well, and my plan to include copies of post-war, conor oberst and possibly veckatimest or actor wouldn't have worked. of course the last two aren't connected to monsters of folk, but for a great album that's connected to a lot of other good stuff, that worked.

my wishes regarding music releases mostly came true. let's take a look at what the results were. keep in mind that i am bound by convention to stick to the improvised order of my original list.

air - new album seems decent; have not heard it; hoping i can figure a way into the concert (conflicts with a class i want to take)

kings of convenience - have heard 'boat behind' and loved it; working to acquire the album

rhett miller - (the only one i actually knew was coming out) shocked by the critical reception; bought the album and skipped the concert, which reverses the usual pattern. good stuff.

the shins - no album. shed members; unfortunately one of them was not eric johnson (but see below...)

voxtrot - no album. i refuse to recommend again the earnest but appealing single that no one should ever recommend to anyone.

calexico - no album, and my real gaffe as i had not realized one came out in '08.

neko case - own the album, hear it's the queue

fionn regan - *electric* album out feb 2010; heard one single and hated hated hated it. not because of what it is but what it isn't. so yes, this is a super mini reduced tiny version of what dylan's fans felt like when he went electric. so the career path is still on track.

nedelle and thom - no album; that was wishful thinking.

the postmarks - hear the album is good; probable long term acquisition.

fruit bats - supposedly their best. eric johnson still has time for his own band, which is nice. missed the tour and was too cheap to buy this.

the elected - no album.

kruder & dorfmeister - no album; 2nd complete fantasy.

zero 7 - enjoyable, but a small disappointment. staying power unknown.

explosions in the sky - no album.

loch lomond - an ep. have not heard it. (is this a push?)

excluding rhett (insider info), loch lomond (not sure what to do about an ep), and the genie in a bottle selections, i was six for twelve. that's thrilling, considering this was a spontaneous thing. air and zero 7 were totally due, yes, but so were the elected. trying again for 2010 at some point. no research allowed, other than checking through my library. i seriously can't remember all of these people. five artists i can remember: jens lekman, st. vincent, beirut, wolf parade, (at this point i am thinking hard to remember anyone) john vanderslice.

in my longish thinking for #4, there were literally two artists who came to mind before vanderslice: broken social scene; feist. i couldn't count them because i own 1 album by those two combined. so preview-wise for '10: #1 on the list: jens lekman. i'll put wolf parade and feist on there too, though i suspect those are bad choices based on chronological discography. can i cross wolf parade off? krug and mercer have way too many other projects and i am fairly certain this one had an album in 08 or even 09. that seems like a mega-dumb choice. now i'm stuck predicting instead of just wishing, but the facts are that i feel a little bit excited about getting half of last year's picks.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

an exchange

oh, we have chocolate. it's a necessity these days. most of the pilgrims wouldn't dare go without their own supply, and thus we end up with the excess. it piles up.

turkeys. carrot peelings. the occasional bag of flour. more and more piles to separate. organizational patterns begin to break. let everyone have their pick, and deal with the aftermath.

Monday, December 21, 2009

it's really just all in the soil

let's say you have an orchard. just a couple of trees, maybe five, but a collection of trees that grows the most delicious fruit in existence. so you think carefully about what you might do with these trees. perhaps you should be looking for seeds. if there's fruit there has to be seeds. could you plant more of these trees in case the originals die? or maybe you're worried that the fruit from the orchard will run out, that your trees have perhaps already used up half their good years and you'll soon run out of fruit all together. but perhaps you're wondering why no one is coming to uproot your trees in the middle of the night, or simply cut them down out of pure jealousy and eat the last few precious fruits themselves. so you consider building a larger fence around the trees, and then you wonder if maybe the problem is just that you'll always love your own fruit more than anything else.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

coming soon to a city or two

we are two days away from holiday travel adventure part one! i am looking forward to some incredible adventures. if you want to get in on the fun, check out the following recipe:

holiday travel adventure

mix one part surprisingly long vacation with two parts roundtrip airfare. car or bus travel will also do for those who own cars and buses. sprinkle with random packing advice (for instance: the neighbors will probably call the police if they see you on your skateboard). fold in several parts online shopping, and let stand for one hour. top with two parts carry-on luggage, three parts figuring out how to bring along textbooks, and four parts not bringing musical instruments so they will not be destroyed by approved security staff.

oh yeah, and a real nasty shout-out to whoever from tsa opened the bottle of vanilla in my luggage then let it leak all over my stuff. you know what? i can't even guarantee you didn't actually pour it on my stuff, government bully. that was a great christmas gift last year, people. you stink. oh, sorry, i mean, you made all my stuff stink--and then apparently someone else from tsa opened my bag again because of the smell. come on. you're not even doing yourselves any favors with your little sabotage.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

have not been hungry all day

this morning, i ate two large pancakes. between the pancakes were two cinnamon rolls, two slices of danish, a frosted filled donut, and a generous amount of whipped cream. this was topped with original flavor syrup, chocolate syrup, more whipped cream, bran flakes, and a cream cheese-frosted carrot cake muffin.

while i ate this, i took a phone call and someone put another half a pancake on the pile without me knowing. overall, the concoction was tasty, although the raspberry danish did not go well with everything else.

i have one more donut which i have no immediate need to eat.