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pointy love

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Friday, September 29, 2006

I just have a feeling I'm going to be taking a lot of pointy roof pictures in the next couple of months. There are a lot of them in my neighborhood, and they have been calling out to me lately. (does that sound crazy? it's not like they're calling my NAME or anything...)

this is a kind of place holder post with picture while I collect my Andrew Bird thoughts. Some I can share with you now: 1) if you have the opportunity to see him live, you should -- I promise it will be dynamic in one way or another 2) Cass McCombs (opening act) is not a girl! Cass McCombs is three DUDES. One of whom we dubbed Lanky Sparkles, which if it isn't his real name, it should be. 3) Andrew Bird ... sigh. He almost threw down with someone in the audience who was heckling his love of ancient Scythia. There is so much to love RIGHT THERE that it will take me a couple of days to make it form comprehensible sentences.

passengers in handbasket fight back

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I don't know about you, but when times are grim (and it's pretty grim on planet earth right now) and things seem bleak, I look around and try to find something -- anything -- to cast a little light, to be a beacon of hope.

Recently two seemingly unrelated things floated up in front of my eyes and held out a little encouragement for humanity.

First of all, and I never thought I would be saying this, huzzah for Walmart! We live in a country where a lot of people have to make a choice between FOOD and the medicine that keeps them alive. This is such a repugnant notion to me -- we are the richest nation on earth, yet many of our citizens are either cutting pills in half or forgoing them altogether so they can, you know, pay rent and EAT. How people can get their panties in a twist over swearing on television and movies when this kind of real obscenity is going on all around them, I'll never understand. Anyway, Walmart has taken the bold step of using its not inconsiderable bullying buying power, for GOOD. They are rolling out a program for four dollar generic prescriptions. That's 4 dollars for a month's supply -- currently that price is anywhere between 10 and 30 dollars. To people on a limited fixed income, this is HUGE. The program will also be available to the uninsured. And in another little spot of sunshine (and in the spirit of capitalist competition), Target is following suit.

In oddly related news, Harvard has ceased its early admissions program. I don't have a full understanding of how it worked, but it seemed to give a leg up to those who already had a leg up (the wealthy), while putting those prospective students who required financial assistance at a disadvantage. Princeton quickly did the same.

I know as good news goes it's not much, but these days I'll take what I can find. What caught my eye with these examples is the pairing. Walmart:Target Harvard:Princeton -- all powerhouses in their respective fields (discount shopping and elite education), all putting the brakes on situations that were spinning wildly out of control.

It's an illustration of doing something, instead of just letting circumstances roll right over you. I'm not saying that any of these companies or institutions aren't also acting in their own self-interest, for they most certainly are. (after all, Walmart got a huzzah from me! I'm sure that was their ultimate goal.) But, I think it's a good reminder that thinking you can either only do good for others, or you can only do good for yourself is a false dichotomy.

Anyway, it's weird times when THE MAN is fighting THE MAN, but when the result is something more equitable, I'll take it.

In much happier and completely unrelated news, here is a charming interview with my favorite pusher of fake facts, John Hodgman.

indian summer mix

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Monday, September 25, 2006
portland september sky
This mix has taken a lot of trial and error. At least 10 songs were in the mix at one point that have now been removed, and it's still a mess! But there comes a point where you just have to go with it. I was having many internal debates on whether I should split it up into Indian Summer: hammock songs and Indian Summer: windows down to divide the rockers from the more gentle tunes, but in the end I realized that was just a copout so I wouldn't have to decide! So I reminded myself that just because a song isn't right for a particular mix, it doesn't mean that it's not a good song! (I have got to do something about this rampant anthropomorphism. The song's feelings aren't going to be hurt, yet I still feel bad. I'll always love you, Genius of Love!!!)

1. The Sinking Game -- Marit Larsen: I like this song so much! It is jolly but serious, happy and hopeful, silly yet sincere. And I think there might be a singing saw in it. There's definitely that old-timey piano/banjo thing going on that always reminds me of some 70's musical set in the 1890's. Anyway, it's aces. I've been listening to it a lot, and even when it is diametrically opposed to my mood it doesn't piss me off! (that's a real test to pass, let me tell you.)

2. Rock And Roll Girl -- The Icicles: "me and my guitar/ baby we'll go far" This is one of those "follow your dreams" songs, which can be annoying, but this one is not! It's got a retro organ 60's girl singer indie rock vibe. "I'm going to go where the music is/ going to hang with the rock and roll kids/ I'm going to walk down the street/ and boys will throw flowers at my feet"

3. Sunshine -- Milkshake: I'll admit, this is obnoxiously, relentlessly cheerful. but it provides me with the opportunity to sing doot doot doot doot/ doot doot doot doot dooo yeah, so I'm not complaining. "I've got a big bottle of sunshine/ mix it up with a bowl full of daydreams/ pour it into a suitcase full of laughter that I found/ you won't find me sitting around" Actually, this is a good reminder song that sitting around on your ass is not really the path to happiness. I need this reminder wired to some sort of chair buzzer.

4. F.N.T. -- Semisonic: Power poppy! (secret code: F.N.T. Stands for Fascinating New Thing) despite this being adamantly catchy (you will AGREE, or your ears will be removed), I had some philosophical issues with it initially since the whole push of the song seemed to be that the girl being sung to was only fascinating as long as she was NEW. But then they redeem themselves by the end. I'm surprised, you've never been told before/ that you're priceless, yeah you're precious/ even when you are not new and then the best part "la lala la la la la la la la / la la la la la..."

5. The Ballroom Blitz -- The Sweet: according to King Dork, this song is from the greatest album of all time, (Desolation Boulevard) with The Sweet being the second greatest band of all time. When this song is playing I'm not convinced he's wrong. This is so perfect for driving around in the car it's not even funny. "all right, fellas, let's goooooo!"

6. Metaphor -- Sparks: Ha ha ha! This song makes me laugh EVERY TIME. I think it is because it always cracks me up when guys sing in high voices pretending to be girls. "chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig metaphors/ use them wisely, use them well/and you'll never know the hell of loneliness" . Such good advice! "don't don't don't don't mix them!"

7. Oh! -- Casper & the Cookies: The first of two songs by this name. Also, a handy contrast in the use of candy metaphor to the next song. Anyway, this song uses a lot of candy, kid's games, and jumping rhymes but they turn them on their head to be kinda sexy and suggestive, like all good candy songs do! By the time they get to the end with the "say say my name/ come out and play with me/ and bring your (??? )/ beneath my apple tree/ slide down my rainbow/ into my cellar door/ and we'll be jolly friends forever more (more! more!)" it doesn't sound so innocent, even though the words themselves read like the Toys R Us catalog or the Big Book of Jump Rope Rhymes. Ooh -- check it out -- you can get it at 3hive for FREE.

8. Candyman -- Christina Aguilera: This song, on the other hand... I included it because it is hella-catchy and I like the 40's big horns sound and prefer xtina singing more poppy songs (opposed to her power ballads). But she completely misses the joy of the candy metaphor! She can't resist over explaining! "he's a sweet talkin', sugar coated candyman" Sure, that sounds fine and like it works with the candy song genre, but then she gets into the whole " he's a one-stop, got me hot, makin' all the panties drop" section and I shake my head at her! Panty dropping! Where's the double entendre fun in that? Please. It's barely a single entendre! I won't even get into the mental picture painted by "he dances like sugar cane" except to say that sugar cane is not noted for its grace, sexiness, or fleet footwork.

9. Gold Digger -- Kanye West: This song is problematic. It's a guilty pleasure for me and I don't even believe in guilty pleasures! ( If it brings you joy and you're not hurting anyone, why feel bad, is my theory.) EXCEPT, when the whole booty-shaking foundation of your song is a lifted Ray Charles groove. EXCEPT when the thesis of your song is about a girl who screws around for money (in a lifestyle way, rather than an hourly way). I know, I know, it's not like Kanye is exactly rolling in my circle, but the whole Gold Digger philosophy is completely foreign to me. I find this song so compelling AND repulsive, I thought I would be wise to examine it a little closer. Speaking of examining it, the video was great! It's just Kanye in a white suit with girls in live remakes of old girlie magazine covers. It was cheeky and fun without being the usual grody rap/porno grind. And I think that sort of summarizes why this song works -- despite being about a social climbing hoochie who " my best friend say used to fuck with Usher", there's a sweet core. "I don't care what y'all say/ I still love her". I know, I know! It's an assault to feminism and independent women everywhere. But somehow they have bypassed my logic centers with that insidious beat, and I've even found singing "we want pre-nups YEAH!" to be strangely satisfying. I KNOW!

10. Oh! -- Sleater-Kinney : The second Oh! song!! I have already stated multiple times on this blog how much I like this song, but I think I can risk it one more time: I really like this song. A lot. In addition to totally rocking (as sleater-kinney is wont to do) with an addictive oh oh oh oh singalong bit, it is also a very sweet love song. "Nobody lingers like (your hands on my heart)/ Nobody figures like (you figure me out)/ I would be lying if (I didn't say to you)/ No one comes close (don't worry you got it!)"

11. Dancing With Myself -- Nouvelle Vague: Wheeeee! This cover is so fun. I could probably make a mix of covers of just this song -- but of all the ones I've heard, this may be my favorite. (it could also go on a mix where the phrase "sink a drink" is used. does anyone know -- is that a particularly british term? I think I've only heard it in songs by british singers.) I really enjoy the way she sings the word "Tokyo" it's sort of "tokeyoho" which feels vaguely piratical while still keeping with the whole breezy sophistication of the Nouvelle Vague sound.

12. God Knows (You Gotta Give To Get) -- El Perro Del Mar: -- this was from this year's music issue of The Believer, and it is So Great! It's very brian-wilson-girl-groupish and has the always good to remember message, you've gotta give to get/ you've got to give to get back. Let's all be more generous!

13. Mushaboom -- Feist: I was trying to think why I like this song so much, and beyond the obvious pleasure in singing shaboom shaboom a whole bunch, there is a sweetly domestic quality that appeals to me. She talks about putting in a garden! Nobody gardens in pop music! "planted lilacs and buttercups/ ooh ooh oooh " (warning: stealth window rattler)

14. Put Your Records On -- Corinne Bailey Rae: Is it wrong that I am charmed that the initials for this song are PYRO? I didn't think so! I had been hearing this song here and there, and it was okay, but not really ENTHRALLING me, but then one day I happened to have the tv on and saw the video. The images in combination with the song completely won me over. It was filmed on location in South Africa featuring a bunch of girls on bicycles and kites and tall grass and mountains... it was just so breezy, laid back and summer perfect that I had to have it. As it turns out, the song holds up without the visuals! "maybe sometimes we feel afraid, but it's alright" It's just sort of gently reassuring. "when are you going to realize you don't have to try any longer/ do what you want to" (also stealth window rattler)

15. She Said She Said -- Mark Mulcahy: A lot of times Beatle covers just irritate me with their blatant and overt wrongness. Wrong Sauce doesn't even BEGIN to describe how wrong many of them are. But this one works for me. Maybe because of the really sneaky snakey bass line and the handclaps (my kryptonite)? Anyway, this came off of the recent Mojo Beatles 101 magazine CD.

16. Britney's Silver Can -- James Kochalka Superstar: From the man who brought the world one of my mix CD staples: Monkey Vs. Robot! (I defy you to not enjoy chanting R-O-B-O-T!) The Britney song has evolved for me as I've been listening to it. At first I thought it was just a kind of jokey at Britney's expense, but it is actually quite sympathetic with the particular kind of loneliness that her level of celebrity brings. This poignancy does not in any way take away from the pleasure of singing along with "justin timberlake/ justin timberlake/ justin timberlaayaayaake/ (jus-tin tiiimber-laaaaaaake)" , which you get to do for about two minutes!

King Dork

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006
by Frank Portman #28

I enjoyed this book so much it has been difficult for me to figure out how to write about it. I've been putting it off for MONTHS, and now I've had to go back to look around for things I half-remembered and wanted to check on and ended up reading a lot of it again. It's that kind of book.

Question: As a woman in my thirties, should I be concerned that I found King Dork, a Young Adult novel written in the first person voice of a fourteen year old boy, and considered by some to be a quintessentially "guy's book," to be so entirely relatable and one of the best novels I've read in a long time?
Answer: No. Good is good, and this IS REALLY GOOD. It probably doesn't hurt that it hits a lot of your quirk buttons, though.

Question: oh, really?? I don't suppose you mean my innate good taste and appreciation for a well-written and engaging story.
Answer: You know what I mean!

Question: do you have to make me sound like some sort of pervert? can't you just answer the question?
Answer: Well, since you brought it up, I will mention that this book is sexually frank and forthright, sometimes raunchy but not skeevy. But you probably think you're talking about the music, the mystery, the mods, the brilliantly drawn characters, the keen observation of high-school hell, the obsession with vocabulary....

Question: That's more like it!
Answer: that's not a question.

Question: Just shut it, will you?
Answer: I know it doesn't cost anything to post this, but don't you think you could make better use of your resources?

Question: Who's asking the questions around here?
Answer: ...

Question: Is the answer provided to the question "what is the best rock band of all time?"
Answer: yes.

Question: The 15th best rock band of all time?
Answer: yes.

Question: Did you find Tom Henderson (aka King Dork, aka Chi-Mo), our narrator, to be self-aware to an unbelievable degree?
Answer: No. He IS highly self-aware, and in lesser hands it would seem like a total bullshit author self-insertion, but he's ... I don't know. I bought it. He was breaking my heart and cracking me up simultaneously on just about every page, but all in a way that seemed believably fourteen.

Question: Did it remind you a little of Freaks and Geeks ?
Answer: at first, mainly because there is a Sam in both of them and both the book and the series are dealing with being completely socially unfit in high-school. And the army jacket, oddly. But other than that they separated pretty quickly in my mind (while both remaining excellent).

Question: Can you give me that quote, you know the one where Tom is being all insightful, wise, curious, yearning, fourteen and FUNNY all in one paragraph?
Answer:Well, there are certainly lots of those, but I think this one fits the bill. It's on p.133 where he is wondering what "sweet, ordinary boyfriend-girlfriend things" might be with Fiona. (or Fake Fiona):
"I only mention it because I have this idea, a dream, really, that part of what it would mean is that the boyfriend is in this little club with the girlfriend where when one is hurt or troubled or being assailed by the cruelties of the world, the other decides not to be on the side of the world, but to join forces with the other member of the club against the world, even if it is frowned upon, even if it's a doomed scenario, even if the world is definitely gonna win. Like you're allies. The last remnant of your people. A Sex Alliance Against Society. But maybe I have it all wrong. It does sound like a quaint, far-fetched idea, now that I've put it in words. And also overly dramatic, if something can be o. d. and q. at the same time."

Question: is there a glossary, and if so, is it hilarious?
Answer: yes and yes!

Question: Why are you so stingy? Can't you see I was totally hinting around for an example?
Answer: It's not like you're subtle.

Question: Look, will you give me an example or not?
Answer: okay. But don't be expecting everything to go your way because I capitulated on this one thing.

Question: ... am I having this argument with MYSELF?
Answer: ::sigh:: you don't want to know. Here is your glossary entry:

normal (nor-MAL): lacking in taste, compassion, understanding, kindness, and ordinary human decency.

ditty bopped (9.12)

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Sunday, September 17, 2006
Pre-Show Dilemmas: Illness, Almost -Missed, Traffic and The Wrong Shoes

+ This evening started with some troubles. Martina really wanted to come along (she even had a ticket!), but her stomach said "not so fast, missy!" Blondie was a near miss -- she called to report that there was only a 50% chance that she would make it from her last job of the day to the venue in time. (fortunately, she did make it!) Bec had to fight traffic to come get me instead of the leisurely drive directly from work. My dilemma was wardrobe oriented: would I figure out how to reconcile the aqua fishnets and really great pleated navy silk skirt (goodwill, 7 bucks!) with my new jacket in time? Alas, NO. Shoes were the deal breaker (in addition to the creeping notion that maybe it was too much blue and I was starting to look like Violet Beauregarde apres gum), so I resorted to dressing for rock show 101 (jeans, etc.), even though this wasn't really a rock show. As it turns out, it didn't really matter and my feet were in a perfect state of comfort.

Venue Matters: Don't Take My Seat, Or There Will Be Glaring

+ I see lots of shows at the Aladdin, and through trial and error I have found my very much preferred spot to sit (for open seating shows, which I think every single show there is). I will say that it's in the balcony, but I won't say more than that on the off-chance that someone who does not already go to shows with me reads this and STEALS MY SPOT. I would then be forced to sit right behind these seat stealers and probably huff and sigh in a loud and annoyed fashion, and maybe bore through the backs of their heads with my Glare of Hate. I don't use it very often, so it is potent and you WILL have bald spots in the shape of my eyes, so don't even try it.

The Crowd: Certain Things Make Much More Sense Now

Crowd breakdown:

85% Lesbitarians and Middle-Schoolers.
15% Other
it was a really happy crowd, which is always fun. I didn't realize that the Ditty Bops had such a huge lesbian following, but now having seen the show (and their photo galleries) it does not seem too surprising. Ditto the middle-schoolers.

Misc: It's Not a Crisis, It's the Glorious Melding of Inner and Outer Grooviness

Blondie has added some fabulous funky edges to her already stylish self. She jokes around that she is having a midlife crisis, but I personally believe that she is approaching appearance ideal: the outside reflects the inside. (These deep thoughts brought about by a particularly interesting pair of boots.)

The Opening Act: How Sweet is Too Sweet?

Datri Bean was the opener. It was just Datri at the keyboard, and a drummer on a very small set of drums (with only brushes). I liked her stuff, although I think I would like her better in smaller doses. She was very sweet. (Like sweet tea, which she sang about.) She reminds me of a somewhat more whimsical down-home Norah Jones, although I liked her better than I like NJ. The sweetness was just a little much all in one shot. If there had been someone coming on every third song and performing a thrashy-trashy two minute punk rock number, I would have been more engaged.

I was inclined to like her because she came out in a blue t-shirt, a giant red petticoat (as skirt) and red and white striped tights. (I have an irrational weakness for red and blue together like this.) She sang songs about being lazy, lazy sundays, food, rain, booze, love, being in lazy and in love, swinging on the porch, tamales, etc. So, you know, good stuff! But it reminded me a bit of the Green Girl Studios, (a button and charm co.) which I also find adorable, but I wish that they had a little vampire mermaid charm or something to contrast with the cute a bit. Blondie got the Bean CD, maybe she'll let me listen to it and I can reassess. Overall, I would say she was a great match with the Bops, and I am just cranky.

Ditty Bops
Originally uploaded by Bike-junkie
Boptastic: There Was a Skeleton and a Prop Suitcase!

The Ditty Bops are doing their tour via bicycle! This is an interesting and notable way to travel, and they are raising money for charity... but I have also got to tell you, they were pretty tired by the time they rode to pdx! (although that could just be end of tour exhaustion, I suppose.) The stage set up was fun. On the left there was a flat panel painted and cut out to look like a pagoda -- almost like a puppet show stage. Behind this was the keyboard. Straight back (behind the Bops) was a larger panel that had their name and a big piece of art by Abby (the Quiet Bop/ Straight Man). To the right of the back panel was a skeleton! (take that Colin Meloy who tours with only a skull!) I don't remember anything particularly to the right of that, except for the area where the guy who played violin (fiddle? which is correct in this instance?) and lapsteel guitar sat/stood/sang. In the very front was a pedestal with a suitcase on it. Suitcase = full of props! The Bops came out looking exactly as they do in the picture above (since that picture was taken at our show). The first thing I thought is "Vaudeville!" and right after that I thought "Vaudeville scene in Singin' In The Rain!" Here's a picture... see what I mean? I guess they have different stage outfits that they wear as they see fit. (According to pictures I saw on Flickr, they had a Wizard of Oz theme in Kansas City, for example. Cops and Robbers, Pirates, Hula, Ghouls, and Underwear would seem to be alternate (and fun!) themes) Anyway, Abby, the Straight Man/ Quiet Bop stood on the right side of the stage with her really big guitar. Amanda (Vivacious Bop), stood to the left (in front of the props!) with her mandolin, which she occasionally switched with a washboard thing that she wore around her neck. The only other musicians with them were the keyboard/accordion player and the violin/lapsteel guitar player. They had a pretty big sound, considering.

There is a lot I like about the Ditty Bops. I like that they are well-versed with and love this era of music and style of singing. I like the harmonies, I LOVE how playful they are and how they don't seem to take themselves too seriously, but are still serious about the music. There isn't anything that I particularly don't like, except to say that for me it felt a little samey after an hour. It could have just been the order of the set, or that I was not familiar with a lot of their newer songs (I only have the first album), or that I was just tired... but I fell asleep! TWICE! (to be fair it did get kind of warm upstairs and they happened to be doing two sort of quiet songs in a row, probably to save Amanda's voice which was starting to go. And it was more of a really long blink than a nap... but still.)

All and all, I had a great time! There was audience participation (another reason to love the balcony), there was a viking helmet and a really sharp and evil-looking fake knife used to pop balloons, and much, much more. I am so glad that we decided to go! Eleven dollars isn't a lot of money for that much entertainment these days, and I would say we more than got our money's worth.

The Trouble With Poetry and other poems

| On
Saturday, September 16, 2006
by Billy Collins #27

I don't know how I came to get this book from the library. Maybe I read an interview with him online? Maybe somebody said "hey, that Billy Collins... you should check him out"? Who knows. It's been so long now I can't quite remember, but I do know it was after I determined I should be reading more poetry. This is all to say that I was aware of him, (poet laureate 2001-2003 , founder of the useful and wonderful Poetry 180) but hadn't really read him. (I am frightfully unread, it's true. I just pick and poke my way through the stacks and shelves and reviews looking for the next obsessive rabbit hole to fall into. It works pretty well from a personal satisfaction standpoint, but not so well for having a really solid foundation in things that everyone has read. So, if the question is "have you ever read XYZ?" my answer will probably be either "no" or "not yet," or maybe the classic deer in the headlights stare while I try to figure out if I've even heard of it.)

Anyway, back to Billy Collins, who does not deserve to be stuck in a blog post with a bunch of self-obsessed literary excuse-making, but that's the nature of blogging (and also the nature of me writing after midnight!), so here we are.

A word that comes up a lot when reading about Collins is "accessible," which is certainly true, but... talk about damning with faint praise. He should receive bold praise! He IS accessible, he DOES use "simple, understandable language" (thank you USA Today for that succinct bit of criticism), but he is also wickedly smart and insightful with a dry, sly sense of humor. Which isn't to say that it's all hahaha the poet laughs at you, mortal. He's able to combine all those threads (the wise-ass thread, the beloved thread, angry thread, etc.) with sadness and vulnerability in a way that is so human and relatable. And good.

I recommend listening to either (or both!) of his CDs. He sounds, I found, just like I thought he should, although before I heard him I had no idea how that would be. (It will all make sense after you hear him, trust me.)

Here's another quote (from the back of the book -- I'm really doing my homework on this one): "It is difficult not to be charmed by Collins, and that in itself is a remarkable literary accomplishment." The New York Review of Books

It was hard to pick which poem to put in this post -- there are others I liked better, but they were long and it's late, so I chose this one (which I also quite like):

On Not Finding You at Home

Usually you appear at the front door
when you hear my steps on the gravel,
but today the door was closed,
not a wisp of pale smoke from the chimney.

I peered into a window
but there was nothing but a table with a comb,
some yellow flowers in a glass of water
and dark shadows in the corners of the room.

I stood for a while under the big tree
and listened to the wind and the birds,
your wind and your birds,
your dark green woods beyond the clearing.

This is not what it is like to be you,
I realized as a few of your magnificent clouds
flew over the rooftop.
It is just me thinking about being you.

And before I headed back down the hill,
I walked in a circle around your house,
making an invisible line
which you would have to cross before dark.

frankenpost's monster

| On
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Welcome to Wednesday's Frankenpost. Stitched and stapled together to chase you across an ice floe. Or link to fun stuff:

++This was the quote of the day on my google home page yesterday and I thought it was a good one.
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
~ Voltaire

++ Improv Everywhere -- I have an improv dilemma. A lot of improv makes me itchy because it is either just not funny or verges on the mean in ways that are uncomfortable for me to watch. (humiliation comedies are not my favorite.) On the other hand, a lot of my favorite comedians (Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris, etc.) come out of an improv background. I have watched several of the Improv Everywhere missions and they seem to fall on the joyful side of the improv line for me. This recent one makes me laugh because it is so simple, but it got so many people involved in a non-mean way. Having been to a couple of baseball games, I can say that people watching/assisting like this would have been a welcome respite! Other fun ones (viewable through the first link) are Best Gig Ever, No Pants, Romantic Comedy Cab, Cell Phone Symphony, Circle Line Tours, and my so-far favorite of all time Look Up More.

++Bored in your hotel room? It never need happen again! (my favorite on this page is probably the Niagara Falls Hotel Bed Falling. It's so synchronized!)

To Catch a Thief -- I watched this Monday night. It was a VHS copy from the library, so it was full-screen, which was irksome, but even so, it was technicolor, cary grant-suave, grace kelly-cool, edith head costume-wearing, cat burglaring, south of france (and some studio swimming pool)-located, caper-having FUN! And not a little cheesetastic (fireworks love scene, I'm thinking of you). I don't know that I would call it a thriller as there was remarkably little suspense, but who cares? (see list of assets above, see also: Cary Grant. again.) Besides, Portland totally got a disparaging shout out! Woo hoo! (Cary Grant's fake identity was a "lumberman from Portland, Oregon." In their favor, they pronounced Oregon correctly, in the against column, while trying to determine if CG was who he said he was, Francie asked him to name 10 deciduous trees from the PNW. Deciduous! As if anyone made their fortune in timber from deciduous trees. What are they teaching in these fictional european finishing schools, anyway?)

++ oh, iTunes! -- apple introduced a new version of itunes (7.0) which includes gapless playback, fetching album art, an easy way to back up your music library, a thing that will tell you how many times you've skipped a song while playing (I think this will be interesting info), and much, much more I'm sure. I haven't downloaded it yet because I am always a little slow with updates (and I JUST GOT USED TO 6.whatever!) but I think I will have to do it today. They also introduced brand new iPods, nanos, and shuffles. (so pretty!)

++okay Rockstar watch and post: as we begin, I think Toby should win for the following reasons:

Dilanna -- too crazy/ too much drama (fun for TV, less fun when screaming and throwing champagne bottles on the bus)

Magni -- I like him, but don't find him a very compelling stage presence. And as Martina has pointed out, he's not as easy for the brain-trust of Supernova to push around.

Lukas -- the Sad Clown from Hooters, Canada. Plus Jason Newstead thinks he sings like there's a little gnome in his throat "restricting his power" or some other critique I am not sufficiently musical to decipher.

although I think Toby should win, I think they are going to give it to the little sad clown. Evs.

8:25 -- Magni is gone and Lukas is torturing the Verve. Also, he is totally wearing grandma sunglasses. Bah. He's going to win, isn't he?

8:38 -- NOOOO! Toby's going home. Damn that little Lukas throat gnome. I think Lukas and Dilanna should have to have a knife fight to determine who wins.

8:40 -- ooh, sad music, and Gilby has to adjust his wig so we must go to commercial. and I'm sorry, this isn't even the biggest decision of the DAY, let alone "the biggest decision of the summer."

8:45 -- I think Tommy Lee is crying behind his sunglasses. Poor noodle. And they pick the SAD CLOWN. Quelle Suprise! Was the fix in from the beginning? does it matter? They deserve each other.

you know better now than ever before.

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Monday, September 11, 2006
Today has been strange. I find myself unpredictably weepy. Not overcome with ragged-hearted ruination, but welling up at the slightest provocation -- sort of like a not very deep but free-bleeding scrape with a bandage that won't stay put. Since I'm pretty much by myself today, this is okay. I go about my business crying or not crying and I don't have to worry about explaining it to anyone. (I am not trying to lay all of this at the feet of the anniversary of 9/11, although I do think collective sorrow has more of an effect than people realize.)

The last few days have caught me feeling uncharacteristically melancholy anyway. Is it because summer is ending? (Melancholy, the new HOT look for fall!) It's probably a confluence of things. I've been missing my dad -- he's been dead for 10 years. I just passed the 5 year anniversary of leaving a job that made me cry almost every day (which is, I assure you, No Way To Live), but I have been in career-limbo since then. I'm at a weird nebulous point (can a point be nebulous?) in my life where it's less a matter of choosing which of two roads to go down, but wondering why I'm standing in the bottom of a swimming pool instead of at a nice clear crossroad. I realize this is not an uncommon condition, and my inner optimist tells me that it is a moment ripe with opportunity rather than imminent disaster. Every now and then sadness and uncertainty get kicked up to the top and make me a temporary mess, but they'll settle down again. My inner optimist doesn't protect against the odd weepy day, but then she probably shouldn't. (Sometimes I think My Optimism is a serious mental defect, but I also think those who always favor probability over possibility are missing out. But I digress...)

[note to self: when it is time to move from random weeping to random pogoing, switching from from Neko Case to the Buzzcocks helps a lot.]

The title of this post comes from a gift my mom gave me for my birthday a couple of years ago. It's called The Book of Answers, which is kind of like a book-form Magic 8 Ball, except it has more advice than just "better not tell you now," although I think that's in there as well. The idea is that you think of your closed-ended question, run your thumbs along the edge of the pages until it feels right and flip it open. I did it today (don't know why) and this is the answer it gave me. Like all the best fortune cookie messages or horoscopes, it could mean anything, nothing, or just what it says. Of course you know better now than ever before! Each minute alive gives you a little more information, right? sigh. The most helpful responses I have ever gotten were probably "be patient," or "take a chance," believe it or not.

gleneden saturday

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

This stretch of gleneden beach is turning into one of my favorite places to visit. Bec, Martina and I drove down on Saturday, and despite predictions of everything from rain to a little less rain, the weather was almost perfect.

I really liked how this picture turned out -- I had forgotten about the umbrella, but I love how it sort of pops out of the mist.

(there were other pictures taken that day that make me laugh and laugh, but I am too fearful to put them on the internet, as the parties involved have a vigorous sense of vengeance and digital cameras.)

my rockstar headache

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Thursday, September 07, 2006
I have a headache. At first I thought it was because I forgot to eat very much today (so unlike me), then I thought it was because I was squinting at the computer too much... millions of exederin later, I realized that it is because it is going to freaking rain and my sinuses are rebelling. As special weather-predictive powers go, this one sucks. There's not a lot I can do about it since the freaking meth-heads have RUINED sudafed! The active (effective) ingredient is now illegal in Oregon/Washington, and who knows where else. Dammit! why couldn't they cook their drugs out of viagra or something?! You know there would be a reasonable replacement on the market within a matter of minutes if that were the case.

Now that I'm all grumpy and riled up, let's get to Rockstar: Supernova. It is a pretty stupid show, but strangely compelling.
Things I do not understand:
*why Lukas, the "sad clown from Hooters, Canada" is so popular

* what the deal is with Gilby Clark? He has the most pedestrian taste. (translation: we never agree. Whenever I hate a performance, he can "really feel it, man.") The only redeeming gilby moment I can think of is when he told that Jill girl that he thought using him as some sort of stripper prop when he played onstage with her was "cheap." ha ha!

*I was also going to bitch about Dave Navarro (I had a whole thing going in my head the other day when I was out walking about how in a David contest, David Bowie would win every time! Even though he judged the "walk off" in Zoolander, it was hilariously self-deprecating, whereas Dave Navarro hosts a reality "rock" show, which is uncool by definition.) But then Dave N. had to go and be all charming and articulate on his blog, so I will set the bitching aside for now.

other stuff:
* Dilana and Lukas are the ones who are the most naked in their ambition. How I have determined this was going to be part of my 7 part self-help/identify naked-rockstar-ambition lecture tour, but I will share it anyway because I am so generous, particularly with my crackpot theories. Whenever one of the contestants is performing, Storm, Magni, and Toby are always rocking along and being supportive. Dilana and Lukas are staring rays of pure hate unless the performance is tanking -- then they look bored/relieved. (but eyeball rays of pure hate still look pretty funny coming from behind the sad clown makeup. sorry Lukas. I think I have developed emo intolerance, and I'm taking it out on you.)

* Tonight they sent Storm home-- I don't think she would have been a good fit with the band, but I think she should have made the final four! She really got the best of the situation though -- they all felt so guilty for cutting her that she got the sweetest deal -- they have all pledged to play with HER, and she won't have to sing their silly songs!

In non-Rockstar: Supernova news, I cannot believe that the Village Voice fired Christgau! I thought he would be there forever. I didn't always agree with him, but he was usually pretty interesting. I hope he lands himself in an even better situation.

and to end on a perfectly random note, here are three songs from ipod happy list shuffle, heard by me today:

All The Young Dudes -- Jill Sobule and Warren Zevon: This is a fun cover. They are having such a good time that it makes ME have a good time, which is the point, right? RIGHT!

36-24-36 -- Violent Femmes: This song always makes me laugh, mostly because of "sooomething special about her personality/ soooomething special about her physiology!"

The Death of Ferdinand de Saussure -- The Magnetic Fields: the best BEST best part of this song is the single set of handclaps right in the middle. Handclap perfection. Besides, who doesn't love a good song about the start of WWI?

holiday, celebrate

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006
The library has been very accommodating in my quest to see many, many Cary Grant movies. (yet another reason to pledge my unswerving devotion to the Multnomah County Library!)

Most recently, I watched Holiday with Katharine Hepburn. This was so good, I can't even tell you! As you can see from the picture, gymnastics are involved -- I promise you will have as much fun watching the movie as it looks like they're having in this photo. It really is lovely. It's sweet without being sickening and light as a feather but oh so solid. Both of these characters are freespirited (number one groovers!) in a world full of people who are not, including his fiancee (not pictured). Not that it's all acrobatics and witty banter; there is a strong current of melancholy and almost missed opportunity, too. (Even though I knew what kind of movie it was and how these movies generally end, I was anxious that it wasn't going to work out The Right Way.)

Next up from my hold list: To Catch a Thief with Grace Kelly. I don't think I've ever seen the whole thing (I KNOW!), and it was on my mind since they just did a thing on History Detectives about the car. (was it or wasn't it the car used in the movie. result: inconclusive, but maybe! although probably not.)

you can still wear blue after labor day

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Sunday, September 03, 2006
blue blue blue

I have been trying to get my flickr pictures in some sort of order today. Not a lot of progress has been made, but I decided that since I did a red mosaic for fourth of july weekend, I would do a blue one for labor day weekend.

edit: Deadwood Season 2 thoughts (first three episodes):

modern medicine -- I'm so glad we have it! I have no doubt that in a hundred years people of the future will watch an HBO series set in the year 2006 and wince in horror at MRI's or heartburn medication or something. But man. All I'm saying is that if you're looking for something to be grateful for, be grateful you weren't alive with kidney stones at the turn of the last century.

favorite characters -- Trixie "I wish I was a tree!" (there's a way to end an argument and storm out of a room!), Sol Star, who is so much more likeable and potentially interesting (particularly doped out of his head while recovering from a gunshot) than Seth Bullock and his relentless aggressive do-goodery, and of course Al Swearengen, who is undoubtedly vile but still my favorite character on the show. Lovejoy he's not!

atmosphere -- a mix of wild frontier with the inevitable press of civilization -- a very volatile but interesting combination. As long as your tolerance for very creative cursing, filthy prospectors, double crosses, whoring, blood, man-eating pigs and lots of mud is okay, you might like this show if you don't like it already.

E. E. Cummings: Selected Poems

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Friday, September 01, 2006

edited by Richard Kennedy #26

I wasn't going to write this up now since I just did a poetry book and I read this over a month ago and you know, it could wait. But Rosie O' Donnell and the Associated Press have forced my hand, those bastards! Here's the responsible quote, which is in reference to Rosie's new job:

"it will be hard 4 me 2 not b the boss," she wrote recently in a style reminiscent of the poet e.e. cummings.

A style reminiscent of a text-messaging 9 year old, maybe! This also brings up the other Cummings issue -- capitalization. What is wrong with people? It's almost a CURSE to have some sort of unique offering in this world! Look what happens -- Andy Warhol is reduced to soup cans and people mangling "famous for fifteen minutes," and Cummings is similarly reduced to flamewars about whether his name is capitalized (it is) and people thinking that any old random bit of free-floating punctuation on the page is in "the Cummings style."

That being said, I didn't really know too much about Cummings before I picked up this collection. I was familiar with a few of his more famous poems that appear in anthologies and had come across another that I really liked, so I was on low-level-keep-my-eyes-open alert for more. Which I found while browsing the poetry aisle at my local library. It seemed like a good place to start and I wasn't disappointed.

The book is divided into categories and chronologically within those categories: A Child's World; Sweet Spontaneous Earth; The Poetry of the Eye; Portraits; Love and Its Mysteries; Achieving the Togethercolored Instant; Kitty, Mimi, Marj and Friends; The Dimensions of Being Human; Myths and Allegories; Urban Glimpses; Targets of Satire; and Endings. There is biographical information included in the introduction to each section that helps with context (not that context is necessary, I just like it). The book also features many of his sketches, since he was an artist too.

Here's one I like (found in the Sweet Spontaneous Earth section) that is not too complicated to reproduce:

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile