Image Slider

The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa

| On
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
by Elizabeth Stuckey-French #31

This is a short story collection by someone from the Iowa Writer's Workshop, which I gather is a big deal since it is mentioned a LOT on the dust jacket. I was unsure at first what to make of this collection. It is covering the same modern-suburban-malaise arena that a lot of people write in - but a lot of people don't write in it very well which sort of brings the whole genre down. Oh, look - another depressed mother of 3 living in Indiana with unfulfilled dreams and a husband who doesn't understand her. BUT, E. S-F is an excellent writer (as I am sure she would be thrilled to be called by a self-indulgent, punctuation-abusing blogger). Despite my reservations I have found myself thinking about at least three of the twelve stories at odd times during the day, so I am going to call it a success. (for me. I am not so deluded as to think that this is an objective measure of success. Would that it were!) I did find myself wondering how Kelly Link would handle similar material, (my guess is more zombies) but that may be because her new book is waiting for me at the library.


| On
Monday, August 29, 2005
I've been waiting to post this poem until I found the ideal photo of a watermelon. I have no photo, but I do feel the need to get this out there before watermelon season is past. (It is raining today and reminding me of the mortality of summer). Anyway - I love this poem, and Charles Simic.

by Charles Simic

Green Budhhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.

I love the off-balanceness of this poem. It starts off all benevolent and green and Buddha-peaceful, and ends with spitting out teeth (which makes me think of a fight). All of this in four lines! And I don't even know what to make of eating the smile, except it is slightly sinister and unexpected. (and perfect).

miscellaneous with color

| On
Sunday, August 28, 2005
reach for the sky

This is the first day of the new week -the new week in which I will try to actually do the things I've been meaning to do, which includes updating this blog. So, to get myself caught up, here are a few things that have been on my mind:

LiveWire! - I went to see this on 8/17 because a) it is fun, and b) Thomas Lauderdale and China Forbes of Pink Martini were going to be guests. It was and they were. TL revealed himself to be a History/English major to which my sister and I were all "me too!" (quietly). He went to Harvard (we did not, so we remained quiet, quietly). It was fun to hear him geeking out about what where people chose to go at the end of the Oregon trail meant. There was bonus fun when he inadvertently insulted 9/10ths of the state. He did gamely try to dig himself out, - if that isn't enough for the people of Medford to forgive him, I think the music should be. Marc Acito also made a return performance (I had seen him at the very first LiveWire I ever attended - back in April for Wordstock). This time there was singing from Pippin (!!!) as he celebrated the arrival of his book in paperback. He is very entertaining, and I need to read that book. They also had as a guest documentarian Irene Taylor who is making a sci-fi action thriller (ok, ok, a documentary) about growing up with deaf parents who decided later in life to get cochlear implants. We saw about a 20 minute trailer, and it looks like it will be really good. Her parents were both there. Pink Martini ties into this because they threw a big benefit to help her get enough money to make her movie.

Next up in random catch-up: First 10 Songs Played by my iPod on Random Right After Updating

1. I'm Afraid of Americans - David Bowie: I would be too if Trent Reznor were chasing me around in a menacing (or in fact, any) fashion

2. The Blower's Daughter- Damien Rice: this was the song that I thought I didn't like when it was on rotation on VH1. It was too *something* (earnest? b/w?). Very probably it wasn't a Boy Band or something catchy and shiny. I find I like it much better when Damien Rice is singing directly into my ears. It's still not my favorite song on that CD, but there is something about an Irish hippie singing "I cant take my eyes/mind off of you." Oh! Damn. I just realized that this was the song that they based all of the ad campaigns for the movie Closer around. Well, anyway. [I did not see closer because although I love Clive Owen, Jude Law, and Natalie Portman (and do not despise J. Roberts) it looked like precisely the kind of movie I didn't want to see - so I didn't.]

3. La Misma Cancion - Ozolmatli : this is very jaunty and sounds very much like it could be playing in someone's backyard party. (accordion!)

4. Prophet - Jude : Jude is one of those high-singing guys that I really like. He's a good songwriter, and then his voice just blows me away. This one is bitter (that's his great gift - he has this voice like an angel and sings bitter, bitter, bitter - at least on this album. Or, I should say, at least on this song). He's going to be here in a couple of weeks. If tickets are cheap (and lucky for me but sadly for Jude they probably will be), I should go. I think this is part of his love/hate song cycle for Los Angeles.

5. Ash and Alice - Mary Timony: This is from The Golden Dove, which I liked a lot at first, but now I think it is more of a winter album (is that dumb, or what?) Anyway - I think this one may be taking a hiatus from the old iPod. OK, it is definitely coming off as it has a big space of nothing at the end and then (the part I am sorry to loose) some crazy electric guitar medieval-ish part.

6. California - Phantom Planet - theme song to The OC!!! May it return to its season one glory and may last season with its ill conceived plot "developments" turn out to be a horrible dream. I think it was a combination of moving it to fall (if there was ever a perfect Summer Series, this was it) and the sophmore whattayacallit thingie. BUT, back to the song - this is great for scrunching up your face into a sincere almost but not quite emo shape and bellowing "Califooooooooooornia, here we caaaaaaaaaaaahhooooooooooooooome."

7. Blinuet - Zoot Sims: this is the kind of thing that random is so good at! I got this song from the Rushmore soundtrack. It couldn't be more different from the rest of this list so far, but it is perfect. Wheeee! (I wish my name were cool like Zoot Sims. Or Lefty Frizzell.)

8. Who Loves the Sun - the Velvet Underground - another soundtrack hit. I realize I don't know much about the Velvet Underground at all (except that I'm certain Velvet Revolver is somehow trying to cash in on the name). I do like this song, but have the feeling it is atypical. (how I know that when I couldn't name another one of their songs, I don't know).

9. Somebody to Love - George Michael: with Queen! George gets really into this, which I think is pretty awesome. It was probably just a huge thrill to play with Queen. (No insult intended to Andrew Ridgely or Shirley and Pepsi intended).

10. Don't Go Breakin' My Heart - from Ella Enchanted. Anne Hathaway and Jesse McCartney. She's no Kiki Dee (!!! another name to go along with Zoot and Lefty), but it is a fun version. That whole soundtrack is pretty fun except I think the Kelly Clarkson version of Respect doesn't fit at all.

I am going to go to bed and read the one last short story left in my book and think good thoughts for New Orleans. Category 5 - I can't even imagine.

Bollywood Confidential

| On
Friday, August 26, 2005
by Sonia Singh #30

Dude! I was beginning to think I wasn't going to make it to 50 books by the end of the year, but I think it's going to work out after all. hooray!

But about Bollywood Confidential - I just happened to read this the same week I watched Bride and Prejudice (more on that later - it had some good parts, but boy, it had problems! I think the main problem was that it was not 6 hours long like the A&E P&P), and what do you know - that movie is mentioned in this book. Anyway, this is light and fun and has a list of the author's top 10 Bollywood favorites in the back.

It is sort of a romance, but not really - it is more about Raveena (the main character) just getting her shit together. In order to do that, she flys to Mumbai and accepts a part in a movie titled Taj Mahal 3000...Unleashed! That title alone made it worth reading for me. Bollywood Confidential is not deep or particularly thoughtful, but I really like Raveena. Singh has created a lovely and varied cast of characters, - all of whom appear more or less organically - unlike certain secondary charactes in other books. ::cough:: Time off for Good Behavior ::cough:: (I know I should let it alone, but the Smart Bitches just gave that book a a really good grade that I don't think it earned it, so it is on my mind. A straight up B or B- I wouldn't quibble with).

Now that I think of it, Bollywood Confidential is very much in line with Briget Jones's Diary, except probably a little bit shorter and with less sex, swearing, and diary entries. And in India. OK - maybe not just like BJD, but reminiscent of without seeming like a shameless copy.

a week with no update is like ... last week, actually

| On
Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I can't believe I haven't updated this thing in a week-plus. Hmmmm. I think I got hung up on books or concerts or something (poor me!) - so I'll just get on with it.

Sunday 8/14 - Pink Martini at the Zoo - this was such a different zoo concert experience from Chris Isaak*. We went with M and CR - they were in line ahead of us and got a good spot on the lawn! Huzzah! Not only that, the people all around us were not Magnitude 1 Yuppie Asshats (hooray) which went a long way to making the show even better. In short, Pink Martini is a swinging fun time and if you have the opportunity to see them, you probably should. Although I will have to respectfully disagree with Thomas Lauderdale that Sneakin' Out is the best band in Portland. Vigorously disagree. a lot. But that was more than made up for by Pink Martini itself (vibraphone!!!) - they're a 12/13 piece band and really together, if that makes any sense. I like that China Forbes (the fabulous singer) is a functioning member of the band and not just some showcase hothouse flower that floats in front of the rest of them when singing and floats away when she's not. She goes back by the percussion, or grabs the tambourine, or does something when she's not singing. I also loved that the Japanese Consul General for Portland was a very special guest (he played flute on Hang On, Little Tomato). Not just a special guest, but one that TL, at least, was excited to have on stage. In the same category (well, she's really in a category all her own) was Mrs. Doris Bloom, who is 84 and used to sing with Bing Crosby. She stole the show with her spangly black top, hot-pink satin pants, and a stirring rendition of Copacabana. But despite all of the fun special guests, the fact that the peacock flew into the tree again (it must be his bedtime), it is Pink Martini themselves that make it all happen. They are definitely the soundtrack to the imaginary. sophisticated starts-in -the-afternoon-but-goes-all-night party in my head.
In short - Pink Martini = 2 thumbs up, in every language they sing in (unless 2 thumbs up is rude in that language). They are the sort of band that when touring Europe would definitely stop in Hav after Istanbul but before Vladivostock.

Chasing Shakesepares by Sarah Smith #29

All the blurbs, all the reviews compare this book to Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time and A.S. Byatt's Possession. For once, the blurbs don't lie! I liked both of those other books, and I really liked this one. I've read her other excellent series - well, it's kind of a series - starting with The Vanished Child, followed by The Knowledge of Water (both of which I LOVED), and rounded out by A Citizen of the Country, which I just couldn't get into for whatever reason.

Anyway - just like Daughter of Time, Smith takes an idea that is largely dismissed as being ridiculous (in this instance that Shakespeare of Stratford isn't really Shakespeare who wrote the plays - that the writer was really the Earl of Oxford), and dammit if she doesn't make me all tingly with the possibility of it all by the end. It was thrilling in the way that scholarly research can be thrilling - following an idea down a rabbit hole and seeing where it goes. Although in this instance all I had to do was turn the pages. And they just kept turning and turning. I had some, well, they're not really issues, but more questions about some character-driven things, but over all I really loved this book.

* I just want to note that the CI concert was fantastic, where we had the bad luck to put our chairs was not. It was a great show, nonetheless.

what is lacking...let's change it

| On
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
You know what the world needs more of? Fun, is what.

FUN. Here's some fun stuff:

1.a return to CRAFTS and making ART (if you find that fun). Check these patterns out here at Sublime Stitching Only three bucks per pattern! I don't even know where to start. Don't forget to look at the gallery.

2. The CD Baby Flavors page. They have suggestions for every mood, including: Long Drives/Road trips; Depressed? Stay Depressed; Sick of All Normal Music; Everyday is Halloween; Unrequited Lovesongs; Top Down, Radio On, Summer Rules; Burn! Destroy! Rage!; Music To Play when Life Just Sucks (If this isn't self-explanatory, then go back to your planet.). On the same page there are also suggestions for Types of Music (Hillbilly Party Music; Seedy Circus on the Wrong Side of Town; Beatle Babies, Unashamed; Best Pub Music) and so on. Check it out.

3. I've linked to this before, but it remains fun. They Fight Crime! Just the thing for if you are stuck in a story and don't know where to go. For example, my random example was as follows: He's a benighted native American filmmaker from the Mississippi delta. She's a provocative red-haired doctor married to the Mob. They fight crime! Refresh for more fun

4. shopping! Check out this cool shop. They specialized in independent art & design

5. Flickr Random - pulling from the vast database of public photos, completely at random. Sure you might get some boring ones, but you might stumble on something fantastic. Check it out.

6. extra special fun bonus item: The Human Clock. You've probably already seen it at least once, but look again! They are always getting new pictures, and the guy who runs it is from Portland which makes me happy.

A Fistful of Rain

| On
Monday, August 15, 2005
by Greg Rucka #27

I read about this book somewhere (helpful, no?) - wherever I read it said this was a mystery by a guy who seemed to know Portland and write it well. Sounds good, I thought. Actually, I thought 'we'll see about that!'
I've read another series mystery that is set in Portland (the Claire Montrose mysteries by April Henry) and they are not so great. I liked the first one well enough, I read the second one and likely will never read another. Her Portland bears only superficial resemblance to the city I live in - a few place names are the same, a few lame PNW stereotypes (oh, look! It's plaid. It's fir trees. It's roses. It's recycling.), and that's about it. Those books remind me of the stuff in airport gift shops - the same crap you find everywhere else, but with a local slogan or icon slapped on the top. It wouldn't bother me as much if I didn't know better.
Back to Greg Rucka. His Portland, I recognize. Not only are the neighborhoods familiar (his protagonist lives not far from where I do), but the spirit of the city - the off-center, kind of isolated, kind of weird, ingrained loopiness and smugness that permeates the whole town - is on display as well. This book is written first person through the eyes of Mim Bracca - famous rock guitarist who is now in the middle of some strange, bad stuff. I know nothing about being a rock-star, but his Portland was true enough that I believe him about the rock-star stuff and the cop/mystery stuff. Not that it has to be true, of course, but it is believable. And even though he's writing first person, he manages to get in just enough exposition without my (fairly tuned) exposition-meter going into the red. A Fistful of Rain is a pretty intense thriller. If you want to curl up with a mystery solved by a cat or a magic recipe, this is not the book for you!

Take The Cannoli [Stories from the New World] by Sarah Vowell #28

Another series of essays from my favorite cranky/thoughtful writer. Unlike The Partly Cloudy Patriot, these are not primarily political or historical essays - but of course since she thinks about these things a lot, it comes up. My favorites were These Little Town Blues, Ixnay on the My Way, American Goth, Drive Through Please, Thanks for the Memorex, Chelsea Girl, and Shooting Dad. Oooh -and the ones about her grudge match with Andrew Jackson, and the Disney World one. Really - they are all good. If you haven't read it yet, you should.

And the crowd goes wild

| On
Sunday, August 14, 2005

And the crowd goes wild
Originally uploaded by jasmine008.
Five Dollars Well Spent

The Decemberists/ Violent Femmes concert at The Bite of Oregon- This was an insanely good deal - 5 dollars to get in (and that was good all day), and you could watch as much live music as you felt like. When my sister and I came in there was a jazz ensemble playing the Belleville Rendezvous from the movie The Triplets of Belleville, and I took that to be a good sign for things to come. I was right!

Decemberists hi-lights - 1) half moon in a purple sky with Canada Geese flying in formation overhead. I don't remember which song it was, but I do know that it was much cooler than some F-18 fighter-pilot stunt. 2)practicing screaming like one is being eaten by a whale (for the audience participation section of The Mariner's Revenge Song). To hear what it sounded like when they did this at the 9:30 club in D.C, go here to All Songs Considered and give it a listen. It took our crowd at least two tries to sound even remotely convincing.
3) the Screaming Narrators - they cracked me up. They screamed (at the top of their lungs) answers to every rhetorical question, commentary, and more. Example:
Colin Meloy: We're going to do one more song for you
Colin Meloy: Scream like you're being eaten by a whale
SCREAMING NARRATORS: (no doubt thinking they'd died and gone to heaven) AAAAAAAARGHHHHHH MY EAR!!!!!! MY EYEBALL!!!!!

I found this amusing, but they were not screaming directly in *my* ear. A friend was not that lucky and had a much less benevolent opinion of the Screaming Narrators.

anyway - here's a set list that I got from the Decemberists message board, so one could recreate at least the order of the show at home. (you will have to supply your own screaming narration):

Leslie Anne Levine
We Both Go Down Together
The Infanta
The Soldiering Life
The Sporting Life
Legionnaire's Lament
Los Angeles, I'm Yours
Grace Cathedral Hill
Billy Liar
Engine Driver
On The Bus Mall
Sixteen Military Wives
I Was Meant For The Stage
Mariner's Revenge Song

After the break from the Decemberists, the Femmes started getting their stuff on stage. People started getting a little more aggressive with their need to get to the front. The show was great, but the people in the audience were less great. I would have taken the screaming narrators back in a second if it meant I didn't have to look at the ass-tattoo of the girl the Hippie Dancer decided HAD to ride on his shoulders for Blister in the Sun, or have to be standing right next to the Incredible Backpack Bitch who lived to spin around and jab me with her luggage. Those things (and the tremendous amount of pot smoke) made the show a little less enjoyable for me.
But what made it MOST enjoyable was that the band sounded great (they even had a horn section with them!), they were clearly having a good time, and the audience seemed to be having a good time too. I liked that they brought on guests that were in the previous acts - Pat Macdonald came on for at least one song, and Petra Hayden (of the Decemberists) was on at least twice.

I often wonder if Gordon Gano gets tired of singing songs he wrote while in high school. Maybe he does, but it has got to be some kind of thrill to know that your art makes so many people SO HAPPY. I mean, people went NUTS when they played Kiss Off for the encore. The Femmes really seem to come from the humanist end of the 'here's my inner pain' spectrum. I love them.

Roadside Potter Reading

| On
Sunday, August 14, 2005

Roadside Potter Reading
Originally uploaded by saltoricco.

Saltoricco, who took this picture, says in his caption that this was at about 2am.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling - #26 - either it's already been said, or I don't want to say it because I know a couple of people who might read this haven't read the book yet. So... that Harry Potter. Some phenomenon, right? Actually, that brings up my conflicting HP feelings. On the one hand, every word is not gold, people! There are big long boring parts, (especially in the one before this one - oh, lordy) there are some really facile characterizations, blah blah blah. JKR did NOT invent the children's fantasy novel, nor is she the only thing holding civilization back from being completely illiterate.

On the other hand - take a look at the picture along with this post. I love this picture - I relate to this picture. Not for HP, but for other books when I was that age. I couldn't wait to rip into them. She's giving that to kids. Huzzah! And she's never said that she's the only thing holding civilization back from being completely illiterate. That's the spin of the jackhole media looking for some new angle on how the earth is doomed. I've read interviews with JKR and she seems like a lovely person. So, my new motto is to love the playa, hate the game. I like the HP books because they entertain me, and because they really entertain and enrapture their target audience. In closing, let me say "yay books!"

PS: I also really like the buzz that comes around a new release ... everyone waiting, parties at midnight, etc. It makes me think it must sort of be like when people were waiting for a new installment of their favorite serial novel.

PPS: I also really wish that they had waited to film the movies until the series was finished. I know JKR has categorically stated that the movies make no difference in the books, yet...
Perhaps I am too cynical.

is it any wonder I love them?

| On
Friday, August 12, 2005
Dressed like British Invasion-era rockers, and churning through a tight set of soda pop rock, OK Go was the first band up on Sunday, and managed to draw a decent crowd despite scorching heat and early-morning apathy. Those who showed up were rewarded with a tour of the band's debut album, and treated to an early snip of some of the tracks coming up on the soon-to-be-released sophomore disc. Judging from the songs debuted at Lolla, the band will have no problem living up to the giddy hooks of their original offering.

from here. Seriously, I love it all --British Invasion-era rockers, soda pop rock, giddy hooks. Scorching heat and early-morning apathy are not as great, but come on.

Apple Blossom (a springtime mix)

| On
Thursday, August 11, 2005
It's not spamming if it's all to my own blog, right? hee. I made this mix back in March or April and it passed its probationary period because I still like it. This time around I tried to put a link with most of the songs - maybe just info, maybe a link to the song.

Picture Book - the Kinks - I will admit that I heard this in that HP commercial. I could tell it was the Kinks, but I didn't know which song, which album. Fortunately my not-so-extensive searching led me immediately to The Kinks Are The Village Green Society which is all around excellent. And has this song on it. Woo! pictures of your mama from a long time ago

Sing For Me - the Fiery Furnaces I love this - it is all tinkly Liberace-style piano and then some epic sea-faring story over the top. It (of course) sounds better than I make it sound. The waves were pounding the dock; the pillars creak and growl. /The shoreman loading up the stock; the gulls were crying foul./
Sing for me, my daughter, sing for me.
Fiery Furnaces fan site.

Waltz - Fiona Apple Free Fiona! I really love this song, which I have already gushed on at length about before. No I don't believe in the wasting of time/ but I don't believe that I'm wasting mine I wonder if the neighbors got a calliope instead of a woodchipper what my charmed to annoyed ratio would be over time. hmmmm. Maybe it would be better if I made *them* ask that question.

God Slick - Hank Words pretty much fail me for this song. It is completely off the wall, but completely joyful sounding even though it comes from an album called "How to Prosper in the Coming Bad Years" I've got a rubicon/ I've got a rubicon (hey baby, come on come on). They've got a bunch of songs (including this one) available at their website. I think I got this song from fluxblog, although Spoilt Victorian Child has a bit on them as well.

Mostly Untitled - Oliver Ignatius - I love this crazy nasal song! I think I got this over at Music (for robots). when he lets you down/ darlin' I'll be around/ and I'll want you. I especially love the Beatle-y harmonies at the end.

Built For Speed - Stray Cats - Rockabilly car song. Here I come in my '57, she's a real low rider/ paint perfection/ with her custom engine painted black with flames/ ain't nobody gonna call that hot rod tame/ wooo oooh hooo hoo oooh oooh hoo hoo (can you appreciate the lengths I go to? I am sitting here rewinding the iPod so I can count ooooh's) This song has stand up bass, and sass! You're my hot roddin' mama and you're really built for speed This is a good one for singing along with the oooh oooh's.

Sweepstakes Prize - Mirah - I heard this one on 3hive and made a friend go get it too. It is a very sweet song from a girl to her sweetheart. Everybody sees a funny look in our eyes/ because we already know we won the sweepstakes prize. It is all squeaky early 90's acoustic guitar at the start, but it builds and sounds classic and fresh at the same time. Bonus: 3hive has four of her songs!

Sally's Song - London After Midnight Another cover from Copy, right? which is an mp3 blog devoted to covers. This song maintains the mournful wheezy hurdy gurdy sound of the original. In fact, it sounds just about exactly like the original except it is a dude singing instead of poor Sally The Doll. I like it a lot.

Well, Alright - Buddy Holly I am pretty sure I got this over at Spoilt Victorian Child, which is a great and ecclectic mp3 blog. The Buddy Holly worked well with the acoustic guitar AND the rockabilly. Plus I think Buddy Holly is awesome and often overlooked and dismissed because everybody knows a few of his songs. (which are freaking great).

Indefinitely - Old 97's - Old 97's I love thee! the redwoods and the oak trees and the double yellow lines/ although they're in perfect symmetry, they keep imperfect time./ I don't mean no/ I don't mean maybe/ I'm in definitely, I'm in definitelyyyyyy I like the word play and all around general playfulness in this song. And then there's the crazy marimba or whatever that is in the background. woo! I am an increasingly unreasonable Old 97's fangirl. time is going to tell your little secrets to me...

glowworm - Apples in Stereo - this CD (Fun Trick Noisemaker) was one of my finds at the library CD sale. I love this song! So jaunty, so lalalaful. I read on the internet that "this is the happiest music ever! you cannot be in a bad mood when you listen to the Apples In Stereo." and I agree!!

She don't use jelly - Flaming Lips This song sounds like it comes from outer space, so it is the perfect song to follow Glowworm (which ends with a spacey radio bit). I like this song because it allows me to sing loudly and tunelessly along with words like Vaseline, Tangerines, Magazines, etc. And if I turn it up loud enough (it sounds best that way) nobody can even tell. I know a girl who reminds me of Cher/ she's always changing the color of her hair/ but she don't use nothing that you buy at the store/ she likes her hair to be real orange/ she uses Tangerines, Tangerines, Taaangerines, Taaaaaaaaaaaaangerines

Us Amazonians - Kirsty MacColl this comes off of the excellent Tropical Brainstorm CD. It's very tropical, and I'll admit I was charmed by the idea of the song protagonist clubbing a guy over the head and dragging him back to her hut. Us Amazonian's make out all right, but we want something to hold in the forest at night

Sister Kate - The Ditty Bops - this is a great old old-timey song (opposed to some of the great NEW old-timey songs there on the Ditty Bops CD). It's fun. So is their website. Who can resist the call to shake it like a bowl of jelly on a plate? Not me, not you, not Beyonce.

You Are Never Nice To Me - BR5-49 This BR5-49 came off of the CD titled Big Backyard Beat Show, which should help indicate its twangy nature. You're the purtiest thing I've ever seen/ but you are never nice to me I have determined that I am pretty much a sucker for a stand up bass, plus this song is just lots of fun. And goes well with Built for Speed

I Saw A Cop - Jill Sobule I kind of put this on for my sister because she likes to drive fast. Also, it is handclap-happy...and is that cowbell I hear? Why, yes, I think it is. Plus lyrics like she shot me with her radar gun/ she looked like Angie Dickenson make it hard to resist. Jill Sobule should be more popular. Her website has mp3's and some good content, but is not the easiest to navigate. Patience leads to rewards, is all I'm saying!

Give Me some Money - Gories - Hee hee! This one makes me laugh and laugh. It is a Spinal Tap cover. Actually, a cover of one of the pre-Tap bands from the movie. Hilarious. Surprisingly fun and garagey. Don't get me wrong/ Try gettin' me right. / your face is OK, but your purse is too tight (give me some money)/ I'm looking for pound notes, loose change, blank checks, anything (give me some money)/ give me some money hee hee hee.

Apple Blossom - The White Stripes Jack White has a knack. He can sing things that someone else could try and I would be rolling my eyes forever. But not him. Ahem. Anyway - Lots of girls walk around in tears/ but that's not for you/ you've been looking all around for years/ for someone to tell your troubles to./ Come and sit with me and talk awhile/ let me see your pretty little smile/ put your troubles in a little pile/ and I will sort 'em out for you. It sounds like it could be an old song that they resurrected, but that's sort of the White Stripes' magic touch.

Girigiri Surf Rider - Halcali Mostly in Japanese - relentlessly cheerful and vaguely surf-y. (it's happy, but not like the bone happy that Glowworm is - if I had a headache, this song might make me kill someone. But without a headache is it super fun!) It causes much chair dancing. I think I got this one off of Fluxblog.

crankometer set on 8 and rising

| On
Thursday, August 11, 2005
1. Excel - I used to be at least moderately skillful. I spent I don't know how many hours tonight trying to recreate something that I have done in the past. I know I did it, because the evidence was right there, mocking me. And before anyone suggests that I just copy my worksheet and erase the data - - just don't. I think I shall save the rest of what I was trying to do for tomorrow, because right now I just want to smash the program (but not my precious computer) into eighteen million tiny pieces, put each of the pieces under something heavy and/or unpleasant and smash it with a hammer into eighteen million more pieces, or possibly powder. Then put the powder in the drink of my enemies and let them deal with it.
2. this goddamned mess.
3. !!!!!!
4. Why would anybody try to cover Bill Withers' Ain't No Sunshine? I mean, if one was going to do a klezmer version or something, fine - but why do a straight up do-over? Stop it, whoever you are! And also - how did you get on my ipod? Why were you sent here to torment me with your wrongness? DIE, vile besmircher!!! delete, delete, delete!
5. I don't really have a five. I think 1-4 are quite enough to handle right before going to bed.

Dogtown and Z-Boys

| On
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
I just watched the documentary Dogtown and Z-boys, which is a history of the Zephyr skating team and how they went from surfing to revolutionizing the sport of skateboarding. Wow. My first impressions: color, movement, tribe, transitions, water, concrete, sunny, seedy, art, athleticism, drive, and the freedom of doing something for the pure joy of it. I really liked the look and the styling of the film, but what I think I liked the most was the sense that I was looking at a turning point - the moment when things changed from more of the same to something completely new. It doesn't matter that I'm no jock, and would in fact crack my head like a cantaloupe 3 seconds after entering an emptied out swimming pool on a skateboard. It is still interesting and exciting.

I specifically loved the use of 70's color - the sun, the water, the hot sky, orange t-shirts - it all read as long endless summer at the beach. There was a tremendous amount of movie footage in addition to still photos from the time, which helped with the sense of momentum. I also liked the glimpse of history of the Venice/Santa Monica area (up to 1975, anyway). The sense of place was STRONG. Locals only, indeed. Another cool thing was the black & white/ color reversals - stuff from the present was in black and white, stuff from the past was in glorious color.

I read some other reviews that accused the film of being overly self-important (Stacy Peralta, the director, was one of the Z-boys) but I don't agree. Roger Ebert said it was similar to a WWII veteran thinking the whole war centered around his platoon. This seems like a weird charge to make. First of all, there is something to be said for a small scene like that being examined from the inside. Sure, you aren't getting an impartial 3rd party POV, but on the other hand there's no way those guys would have talked to someone else the same way they talked to one of their own. Secondly, so what if they are? Let Ken Burns come along in 15 years and make a ponderous overview of the history of skateboarding - until then I'll content myself with this I-was-there account.


| On
Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Originally uploaded by lizhurley.
Time for a shot of color, and here it is!

recent reading:

| On
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Gloom Cookie vol. 1 by Serena Valentino #24

Gloomcookie! I found this while browsing the graphic novel section of my local library. I'd seen it mentioned here and there, and thought I would give it a whirl. It is a lot of gothy fun - PLUS there is an enchanted carnival, and I am all over those these days. It starts off not very heavy on story - it is more like a series of character sketches: the fey goth boy, the misunderstood goth princess, the evil hell-bitch wicked queen, the girl who looks sweet, the guy named Vermillion, and so on. But as the book develops, these character sketches start knitting themselves into a larger story. I will definitely keep my eye out for further issues. I decree it charming and delightful.

John Constantine Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits by Garth Ennis/ William Simpson #25

Hellblazer is one of the comics that has been on my list to check out -- of course it is also one of those really long-running titles that make it difficult to find a place to start. I think the local paper might have had a story on the comic when the movie Constantine came out and given some pointers. That makes the most sense, since this book is the point in the Hellblazer mythology where the movie more or less picks up (keeping in mind that it moved the action from London to LA, blond comic Constantine to Keanu, etc. etc.). I enjoyed both quite a bit - they are different enough that I think they can exist in the world together without causing some sort of matter/anti-matter explosion. John Constantine is a wizard or sorcerer of some kind - I'm not sure what kind, but he has some powerful mojo despite being brokedy broke and always mooching off of friends. In this book, he finds out he is dying from lung cancer and is almost certainly headed for hell. Constantine is a bit of a charmer and a trickster, so he views death as his final challenge. I really liked the characterizations a lot. He is kind of a bastard, but a charming bastard who does care about the people he feels close to. I don't want to give too much away, so I will just say that I adored that there is a character called The Snob who turns out to be the Archangel Gabriel. heh.

other, other news

| On
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Today turned out nothing like I imagined it would, which is both OK and par for the course. Instead of diligently cleaning up the enormous mess I made working on my last project, or even doing laundry after the trip, I instead went over to Blondie's house to look at the new finish she put on some furniture and help her with some computer stuff. Then, when I surely should have come home to do the cleaning and etc. she said "come see this lamp store with me." So I did. It was the Hi-iH over on NE Alberta (which despite being very close to where I live, I never seem to get to). I liked the lamps a lot. The website doesn't really do them justice - they are more MORE than what shows in the (sort of crappy) photos. My favorite lamps were the ones with botanical or sea shapes. Some of them looked simultaneously sweet and sinister, which is not an easy combination, but they managed it.

In other news, I sent an email to the lovely A Dress A Day site, and she used what I sent her! Hooray! I may have to try more of this internet communication stuff.

In other, other news - I am mildly addicted to Flickr's new explore feature. There are some really phenomenal photographers posting to that website.

and to tie it all up with a non sequitur, I finished Harry Potter VI today. More on that later.

stuck in the orange chair

| On
Thursday, August 04, 2005
I am trapped at my desk. Busby the cat is under the chair being cute and pathetic after trauma at the vet yesterday. (the trauma was merely getting there - despite spending the first life-saving, non-stray hours of his kittenhood in a car driving from Fresno to Portland, he is not a big fan of the cat carrier OR the car ride.) So here I sit until I can't take it anymore and make him move. Maybe he'll hear a noise and leave on his own. Anyway...

I am as far on my freelance project as I can get without leaving my desk (hooray!), I am at the wrong computer to finish uploading my pictures from vacation, so I will just sit here for a moment and contemplate my Free Will Astrology horoscope. These never seem like actual horoscopes, but more like weekly riddles to ponder over the course of seven days - sort of like good advice given in long-form fortune cookie style. The last sentence of mine this week says For best results, be as dispassionate as a Buddhist monk and as brave as a drunk without actually getting drunk. It's pretty good advice. I am definitely behind in the bravery stakes, although I think I may be too dispassionate already. After my inadvertent whirlwind light house tour over the weekend I am enamored with the idea of living in a light house right on the ocean, which seems a little anti-social, even to me. It's the coastal equivalent of the Hermit Cave/Hut. (but light house living in the age of electricity, wireless internet, and tsunami alerts would be So Cool). If not a light house, at least a tower house, or a house with a very tall tower in it. On the beach. I guess I am saying that the light is optional, although I suppose it would be handy to make sure that a big ship doesn't crash into my house.

ION, Flickr has introduced a bunch of groovy new ways to find amazing pictures. Check it out.

behold the mysterious fog

| On
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Look at the mysterious fog hanging over the Trees of Mystery

this fog was right over the Trees of Mystery. Maybe they pipe it in, but I doubt it. The road you see there is Hwy 101 (California). I will have updates soon! I came home from a fun mini-vacation to a new deadline, mountains of laundry, and aproximately twelve thousand pictures to upload. Actually, I am just managing my time poorly which shouldn't surprise me any more at this point, yet it always does.