Monday, July 31, 2006

on a vacation far away

Man oh man. It is really freaking hot outside (my weather widget says a high of 100º today and tomorrow, but it tends to overstate things slightly). Today it's no big deal because I don't have to go into court, but tomorrow I'm going to have to choose my biz cas carefully. Yikes.

I had a minor freakout this morning when I logged into the OCI bidding system and saw that I had no scheduled interviews. I thought, "omg! My summer job survey didn't go through! I somehow failed to rank my bids, even though I'm fairly sure that's not possible! I'm screwed I'm screwed I'm screwed" and immediately called the Career Center... only to discover that in one of their multitudinous emails they changed the date we receive our bids from Monday at 9 am to Wednesday, time TBA.

Oh. Well, then.

So, I don't get my OCI results today. I don't get the results of my class bids, either, though I'm a little less concerned about that (apparantly the bidding software needs more tweaking and practice runs before they run it for real--no comment about what higher-priority projects the programmers might have been squandering their summer on thus far). What I do get is a day of busting my ass to get my presentation for my summer class in order--hard to believe the final class is Wednesday. I'm also planning on hitting up Superman Returns this evening at long last w/ the Boy, who is safely home and re-established in his apartment (the subletter left the place in nice condition! it's a miracle!). He was a good sport and came with me to see Pirates of the Caribbean II on Saturday, though I don't think I'll trick him into seeing PotC III whenever it arrives, as he kind of hated it. I thought it was fun, but a) toooo long (how many Kraken fight scenes do we really need?) and b) way too "middle movie of a trilogy," in that NOTHING was resolved at the end in favor of a cliffhanger for the third part. You had two and a half hours, but you couldn't wrap up a plot line or two? Sheesh. Still, I do love me some Depp (Orlando's bloom is starting to fade somewhat (and I swear I didn't intend that statement to be punny, but punny it is)), and Keira Knightley's character kicks major ass. I'm glad to see a female lead who doesn't just eek and scream and let the boys rescue her, but rather wields sword(s) and kills baddies all by her lonesome. Awesome.

Anyway, back to work. I'm trying hard not to get all adrenaline-y about anything else happening this week--maybe lunch would help. I've never been able to understand people who forget to eat when they're under stress, but I've suddenly turned into that person. Blarg.

Friday, July 28, 2006

building-towered foresight

It's been at least, oh, a couple of weeks since I gushed about my boys, and since I've decided to list them as an interest on my resume (hey, it might make a difference), now's as good a time as any to spread the love on this video:

Those lucky recipients of my Love mix cd have already heard the audio track, but it's great to see them actually perform it. I'd like to see the whole Unplugged session, actually... too bad I was too young to know better back when it aired on MTV (1991?).

I'm excited about the IRS re-release, if only for the second disc of raritites/DVD that's coming out along with it (as far as the first disc is concerned, I'm a fan and I've already got 'em). Both these and the new Carbon Leaf album (Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat) will be available on Sept. 12, and you can rest assured my calendar is marked.

The big question is, Michael, Mike, and Peter: will you tour behind this re-release? I kind of doubt it, but I'd love to be pleasantly surprised...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

we're breaking you down

Quickie post because I'm back to ranking firms for OCI, and it's a pain in my ass. On the plus side, I'm doing so wirelessly--go me! My apartment has tumbled unceremoniously into the 21st century! However, my PowerBook is refusing to allow me to log onto my secure network via WEP, but my wireless cards for my 2 PCs aren't advanced enough to handle WPA, so I'm in a bit of a bind in terms of getting all my beasts of technological burden online. I'll fuss with it some more once this maddening week is over (ranking OCI firms *and* bidding for classes all at once? the administration wants us to kill ourselves, I think)--the solution is, of course, to get my beloved tawny gypsy mac to cooperate with the WEP key, but I tried and tried and tried last night, and nothing doing. Anyone with any suggestions can feel free to chime in, or just smile and nod if all this is too tech-y (heaven knows I didn't know the first thing about any of this 24 hours ago).

Anyway, I know at least one of my readers is freshly-bar-exam'd, so Gossipgirl, congratulations on surviving! I hope you're getting good and hammered right now. I ran into a (formerly-) 3L friend of mine on her lunch break from the Bar today and her only words of wisdom were for me to drop out of school now, because "It sucks. Seriously. It SUCKS." Good advice, I'm sure, but it's too late now for me, I'm afraid.

Oh, and for those of you keeping track, the six weeks in London conclude this Friday and the Boy is coming home. hooray! We're seeing Guster/Ray Lamontagne/Rogue Wave to celebrate (pleasepleaseplease let his plane arrive on time), but it's only the beginning of a very concert-rich two months, including TMBG, the Cardigans, the aforementioned Mr. Stevens, Keane/Razorlight, hopefully Girlyman, and others I'm sure I'm forgetting. With the Decemberists and the Long Winters both coming to town later on (November?), this fall promises to be as rich a concert season as last fall was.

edited to add: apparantly the Cardigans tour is cancelled for BUDGET reasons. Good thing Ticketmaster gets to keep my service charges so I have the pleasure of paying for the privilege not to see the concert. *sigh*

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

all things go

Does anyone else get the occasional addiction to songs?

It's been awhile since this has happened to me, but I woke up this morning (after two snoozes) to the most miraculous song on the clock radio. Instead of shutting it off I let it play, and as it unfolded, I realized it had to be Sufjan, and I also realized that I'd only listened to Illinois a little bit, very casually, last fall, even though all signs pointed to my loving this album. So I fired up iTunes, hit play on "Chicago"... and I haven't been able to stop. All day. I've listened to the whole album since, really listened (which is good, since I'm seeing him in September), and while it's not entirely so miraculous as this song, I finally get it.

Plus, I have to admit, after almost a year of living here, I'm starting to feel a little proprietary toward Chicago. Susan Werner played a song this past weekend about staying on "your side of town," rattling off such landmarks as Grand Avenue, the river, the pier, the lake, the brownstones, and even though she didn't say "Chicago," I knew what she was singing about. She apparantly lives here now, which surprises me a little because I feel like I should've seen her in concert by now. Anyway, I've become attached to Chicago, so the fact that this song (in whatever opaque way) pays homage to the city that I now call home is icing on an already outstanding six minutes of music. I may be a little late in embracing you wholeheartedly, Sufjan, but I'm here now. I always liked the idea of you, really, but now I have more than ephemera to go on.

And, Chicagoans, if your own clock radio isn't set to WXRT, it should be. I've woken up to Driver 8, Busting Up a Starbucks, Penny Lane (if it's a Sunday and they're doing Breakfast with the Beatles), etc, and I swear it makes my whole day better when the first aural assault of the morning is something I'm inclined to enjoy.

Monday, July 24, 2006

life may never be as sweet again

This is going to be a mish-mash post, because I've been gone ages and ages, a long long time in Intarweb Hours (in actuality, four days) and have much to catch up. First and foremost: Vote for Foxy! She's one of the finalists in the Stuff on My Cat first anniversary contest, and while she's probably not going to win, I'd feel better knowing she has more than, well, zero percent of the vote. Plus, my beautiful pretty kitty has been featured on a nationally reknown cat website! If only her party hat were a little larger... and if only another cat a few photos down hadn't had the same idea, only with Malibu. And you KNOW how I feel about Malibu. Ick. Anyway, the voting closes Tuesday night, so vote now!

Let's move on to bullets for the rest of it:
  • Oh, dear. This breaks my heart. You were so, so cute in Empire Records, and I was one of five of us who watched Freakylinks. I swear, I'm generally pretty generous about body image--so what if a star puts on a few pounds? But see, you were really cute. And now... you're Paul Giamatti. Please, please, please, fix it.
  • Did anyone catch Fountains of Wayne last weekend? I just watched my tape, and while I'm miffed they got short shrift (those credits started with 5 minutes left in the hour, and their "half" didn't begin till the 32-minute mark), the editing was pretty sharp. It's amazing how big they make those studio audiences look, when in actuality, they... aren't. My cable reception's not great, so maybe those of you blessed with digital cable can pick faces out of the shadows a little better, but it's really hard to see me--and I actually know where to look. Short of watching the show with you and pointing me out, you're not likely to notice. My national television debut will have to wait, I suppose.
  • My face is really freaking sunburned. I can feel the basal cell carcinoma forming now, not to mention the additional wrinkles for which I've now laid the groundwork. I know better, I do, but after being cold and wet for much of the prior 36 hours, the Sunday afternoon sun just felt SO good... warm and dry... yeah. My nose is actually lightly blistered. I'm an idiot, and I know better. However...
  • ...does having a sunburn make you more approachable? Because the guy at the airport gate in Albany tried to flirt with me, BOTH sets of old security men at the Dirksen building struck up conversations today, and some dude sitting next to me at Panera started talking to me about how healthy my salad looked. NOTHING has changed about me or my routine, so I can only assume that my sunburn makes me look less pale/withdrawn and more friendly or open (or, at the very least, "outdoorsy"). All I know is that in a couple days, when my nose (and scalp, oh god... I swear it's not dandruff, but it's gonna look like hell) starts peeling, I'm not gonna be so cute. Enjoy it now, fellas.

So, that about covers it, I suppose. Oh, yeah, and my little trip? Wonderful. Expect to hear more about Winterpills soon, a new musical find whose CD is currently en route to Ohio because it remained in my mother's purse after I left (*grumble*). I love the new location, for the most part, and it was great seeing my extended FRFF-family again. And, as predicted, the torrential rains, mud, and chilly late-night drizzle have already faded into memory, and all I can remember are the friends, the sunshine, and the songs drifting over the hillside and up into the atmosphere.

And oh, the stars. I'd forgotten how brightly they shine when you're not trapped within skyscrapers and asphalt. It's good to know they're still there, a reminder that there are things much, much greater than me out there. Puts all the little stuff into a bit of much-needed perspective.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

keep it to yourself

I just saw a guy walking down the street listening to a CD player. Whoa, dude. Must be anachronism day, eh?

Anyway. What I'm really here to post about is a reminder of this:

Fountains of Wayne on PBS's SoundStage this Thursday, July 20!
If you're in the Chicago area, it's on at 9pm. If you're not, check the SoundStage website for your local listings, as it's nationally syndicated. And don't forget to look for an ecstatic redhead in the hoi polloi who, on Oct. 11, 2005, made a pilgrimage north to WTTW HQ to be a part of the LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE OMG and who has had to wait until now to see the final product of that evening.

And no, the All-American Rejects were not there that night. Yes, Fountains of Wayne taped enough songs to fill their very own hour-long broadcast. Yes, I'm disappointed that they don't get the whole hour to themselves. But hopefully we'll get something other than three different renditions of "Stacy's Mom" (which is how many times they ran through it in an attempt to get a clean take).

Oh, and FYI: I'm going to be out of town this weekend, so it might be quiet 'round these parts. I recommend getting outside and enjoying the weather, as this monstrous heat is supposed to break by Saturday (hooray!).

Monday, July 17, 2006

i'm just chasing time again

ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh CI.

I finally got down to proverbial brass tacks today and started figuring out what firms I might want to bid on and where in the list I might want to rank them, and after a couple of hours it gave me the same damn headache that the editing portion of the journal competition did so many weeks ago. It's SO HARD to figure out--and honestly, when it comes down to it, I'm just going to get a random assortment anyway, so I shouldn't be stressing so much. But there are a couple firms I'm starting to discover that I'm really interested in, so I guess I rank those high and hope the rest of it sorts itself out?

I've actually ranked *a* firm, though. Hooray! One out of fifty bids used! I'm almost there!

Anyway, the other source of joy in my life, bidding for fall semester classes, goes live in, well, a matter of hours now that it's after midnight. Here, too, I'm unsure, because it seems like most of the classes I'm interested in don't fill up... but I'm not positive. And if I lowball all my bids, what exactly am I saving my points for in the spring? Gah. I don't think I'm doing the ITA (er, "Introduction to Trial Advocacy," for my non-law-school pals) package this fall, and that's probably where a lot of 2L points are headed... but I'm not sure if I either want to a) wait and do the package fall of '07, or b) abandon the package (and the extra stress, frustration, and 3.5 additional credits it provides) in favor of a DIY-ITA "package" cobbled together from its disparate parts.

The plus side: the Trial Ad class in the spring is taught by a judge! The neg side: if I'm seriously thinking about pursuing litigation, shouldn't I be sucking it up and taking the class that immerses you in it, hands-on (and that's rumored to be "such a good experience," though I've yet to come across anyone who actually liked it)?

eh. Forget it. It's late, I'm tired, and none of this really matters right now. Just musing out loud, or out-typed, or whatever. Hope your respective Sundays were filled with more delightful matters than these.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

our aspirations are wrapped up in books

This will be short, as it's late and I need to get some rest for class tomorrow...

...but I just got my copy of Blindness in the mail today from Amazon Marketplace, and I need to get crackin' on reading it for our merry little summer book club. However, as I'm thumbing to the front to put a bookmark on the first page, I notice writing on the inside cover:


This is the best book I've ever read.
I hope you enjoy it too.
Merry Christmas,

And suddenly I feel like a trespasser in a book I haven't even started yet. Who are these two--how are they connected? Relatives? Friends? And does Karol know that the best book she's ever read, a personalized gift to Tiffany, is now on ^k^'s desk on a humid July night, when Christmas is so far away as to be almost a meaningless term?

More personally, did I know on December 24, 2003, on the eve of my flight to Las Vegas for a week, that a transaction was occuring somewhere else on the globe that would ultimately wind up putting this book in my hands?

I know Billy Collins said it better, and there are certainly no egg salad stains, but the binding on this book isn't even cracked. Did Tiffany bother to read it at all? Maybe Tiffany and Karol had a tremendous falling out on Boxing Day, or maybe--gasp!--Tiffany HERSELF went blind shortly after the commencement of 2004 and now has to get all of her literature through audiobook, or possibly Braille.

Poor Tiffany. Poor Karol.

But hey--thanks for the glowing review of the book. I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

we're still fighting it

In the "...are you serious? I just told you that, a moment ago" department:

Reuters has decided to release an article on "grups". Which is great, I guess, for the three people who didn't know about this phenomenon before and could possibly care, but COME ON. Stereogum had their indie yuppie contest back in April 2005, and even Newsweek--late to the party--ran an article about grups/indie yups last January. (I know this because I just threw said article away... today. Have I mentioned that I subscribe to too many magazines?)

Anyway, we got it. There are 30-40 somethings who used to be "Gen X" and are progressively middle-aging, but still love the music, fashion and lifestyle they enjoyed in the '90s. Great. Any future articles should be presented as sociological studies, NOT freaking "news." Sheesh.

And as long as I'm on a tear (*growls*), the "new" Spin magazine sucks.

Yeah, I'm a little behind the ball on this one (see above post about subscribing to too many magazines). I'd heard about the editorial overhaul, and I could see by the FLASHY GEE WHIZ bombast on the cover that things weren't quite the same. But hoo, boy, is it awful inside. A sex column? Do we need a sex column in a music magazine? And gone are the couple of in-depth music reviews in the back in favor of a "capsule" review style. Here, for instance, is Jon Dolan's capsule for the Twilight Singers' Powder Burns:

"Greg Dulli has 'a dick for a brain,' or so he once sang in his '90s band Afghan Whigs. And on the fourth offering from his Los Angeles crew the Twilight Singers, cocaine-cranked punk-rock R&B gives scary emotional power to similarly rakish soul-baring. When his drama-king croon hits its mark, only the cruel of heart could resist letting him have his day."


No, seriously. If anyone can explain what that last sentence means, you deserve a cookie. A cocaine-cranked punk-rock R&B cookie, even. (But not you, Brad Renfro. I refuse to enable your addiction.) Hell, it's obvious the "dick for a brain" line is there purely for shock value, because, again, wha? Just shut up, Spin. I'm SO sorry my subscription doesn't run out till next April, but you can bet I won't be renewing. I already subscribe to one Blender (and that lost a lot of its luster once it stopped running its Monthly Crossword Contest, to be perfectly frank). I did just renew my subscription to Rolling Stone, but I have considerably more faith in that magazine. For one, it has miles more street cred, and its National Affairs articles are usually incredibly well-done. The 1,000th Issue Collector's Volume was pretty awesome, too. I think I'll let the other two music mags go, when their time comes. And Jane, you're not off the hook, either. I'm so sick of new editors breezing in and destroying a perfectly good magazine with their concept of "vision." Bah.

I suppose I should be reading more books, anyway. Or my little Time magazine, or whatever it's called.

hit me with those laser beams

Against my better judgment, I watched the World Series of Pop Culture again this evening.

I don't know if they commited the same promo gaffe as yesterday; I muted the tv and checked my email during the final commercial break. Fool me once, shame on, shame on you... you fool me, you can't get fooled again!!!11


ANYhow, "Zoolander" was an answer tonight, which, yay (in response to a Star Couples question about which 2001 film has both Ben Stiller and his real-life wife Christine Taylor). I tend to pick a team to root for, just to keep things interesting, and Cheetarah has been my only pick thus far who's actually advanced, so go team! In the second matchup I was gunning for Sexual Chocolate because they were comprised of attorneys (gots to keep it in the profession, natch). But in the final round, the last-dude-standing on their team gave this horrendous sarcastic eye roll after he missed a Child Actor question about which star, in 2000, was arrested at age 18 for attempting to steal a boat--but had forgotten to untie it from the dock. The answer was Brad Renfro, and while I don't necessarily remember this particular anecdote, I know he's gotten into a bad way in the years since Tom and Huck (and I'll never forget the girl several rows behind us in the theater who whistled every time he came onscreen).

Anyway, my point--and I have one--is, DUDE. Come on. Don't act like Brad Renfro is so "out there" that nobody could've answered it. You're on a TRIVIA SHOW, for heaven's sake. You are SUPPOSED to know dumb stuff like this. If you don't, YOU look bad, not the question, not the announcer, not even poor, incarcerated, coke-addled Brad Renfro--YOU. So get off your high horse already. (Which, I suppose, you have, since you LOST. Don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.)

Perhaps if this show gets me so annoyed I should refrain from watching future episodes...

In unrelated news, Cinnamon Honey Bunches of Oats might be my new favorite cereal (displacing previous fave Special K with Yogurt & Berries). Try a box from your friendly neighborhood grocer next time you stop in. It's better than Brad Renfro on coke! Or Sexual Chocolate!

Monday, July 10, 2006

he sings the songs that remind him of the better times

Ok, so I'm watching the first episode of the World Series of Pop Culture. And it's relatively amusing, though I'm not sure it's thrilling enough to keep my attention for many (or any?) future episodes. But you know what's dumb, VH1?

What's dumb is raising the suspense, saying "Will Laurie make a comeback and bring her team to victory? Stay tuned!" and then first thing on the commercial break, announce the next episode by saying "Velvet Rope Revolution and PDX 503 advance to the quarterfinals! Who will win?"

...which, in effect, means no, Laurie does not, in fact, make a comeback, and leaves me highly disinclined to watch the rest of your commercials (or the finale of the show). Idiots. I would write your PR department a strongly worded letter, but I don't think I can bring myself to care that strongly. *rolls eyes*

edited to add: holy craaaaaap the new sbemail is funny...

with just a cat and a book by her side

I've been looking at kittie porn again.

*sigh* which I mean I hit with a search for "birman cat," then gaze fondly at the results and wish fervently that I could have a Foxy-twin of my very own. My apartment allows cats (though I'd probably have to pay more in rent), but I'd just feel bad leaving an animal alone all day. TWO cats are better than one, so the little furry friend isn't by herself all the time, but that just makes the issue twice as complicated. Plus I don't know for sure whether I'll be in Chicago next summer, and vacations are harder when you have a pet, not to mention the fact that I've got a glorified studio and as much as I love the good parts of pet ownership (warmth, cuddling, companionship), I'm not sure I'm really ready for the bad (cat hair, clawed furniture, chewed plants, did I mention cat hair?).

But look at those pictures! Who doesn't love a Birman? With their denim-blue eyes and their cute little Zoolander expressions--it's like they were born doing Blue Steel. I fully intend on populating my dwelling with cats someday (and a Birman or two will assuredly be amongst them), but my crazy cat lady-ship will have to wait a few more years, unfortunately.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

the sun still shines in the summertime

Lo, I have tasted Chicago, and it was good.

Precisely which tastes have I enjoyed at the Taste of Chicago this week?
  • Chocolate-covered strawberry and mini chocolate frozen banana (after all, there's always money in the banana stand)

  • Toasted ravioli with marinara sauce

  • Vegetarian pav bhaji (cauliflower, peas, eggplant, tomatoes) with "bread" (hamburger bun, no joke)

  • Flan

  • Big-ass juicy sweet watermelon wedge x 2 (no upset tummy or anything! I can eat watermelon again! w0000t!)

  • Jerk chicken with rice and beans

  • A bite of a sweet potato biscuit

  • Mango rice pudding with dried cranberries

  • Frozen SoCo lime slurpee

  • Potato pierogies with applesauce

  • Grilled chopped lime chicken salad

  • Rainbow ice cream (cherry vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, pistacio, orange sherbert)

  • Eli's Cheesecake with strawberries

(What will I be doing all next week, and the week after, and the week after that? WORKING OUT, dear God.)

Anyway, I really, really wasn't at the Taste for the food, crazy as that sounds. I swear. Monday, it was for fireworks (and they were right overhead! and then we got to leave Grant Park with a million other people! that part kinda sucked!).

Tuesday, it was for Mike Doughty, who was really great--lotsa Haughty Melodic stuff. He's fantastic live, but I'd love to see him play for a longer set. These festival shows never keep the acts onstage long enough for my taste. (Oh, and he didn't play I Hear the Bells, the jerk.)

And today? I went for Fountains of Wayne and Liz Phair. And I got there at 1:45, and I got a "ticket" that gave me premier access to seating, and I was FRONT FREAKING ROW. Awesome awesome awesome. World Party was the first act--they were quite good, and I'm surprised I wasn't familiar with them. Mandolin/fiddle folk-pop, and the lead singer looked like a grayer, British version of friend Matt (is that really just saying that the guy looks like Tim Curry? hmm). FoW played a Welcome Interstate Managers-heavy set, which I guess is to be expected (Bought for a Song, Bright Future in Sales, Mexican Wine (yay, it's been in my head every time in the past week that I've thought about the concert), Stacy's Mom, Hackensack, Hey Julie). The self-titled debut had a strong showing, though (Radiation Vibe (yay yay yay), Leave the Biker, Sink to the Bottom). They played Maureen off of Out-of-State Plates, but only one freaking song off of my much-beloved Utopia Parkway, though it was the highly appropriate It Must Be Summer. (Guess if I want to hear Troubled Times, I need to stay home and fire up iTunes. *sigh*) Anyway, I've been wanting to see an honest-to-goodness real FoW show since the Soundstage taping last October, and now I can say that I have.

Oh, and you'll be reminded again, but Fountains of Wayne's PBS Soundstage performance will be on July 20. Check your local listings, as I believe it's nationally syndicated.

I stuck around for Liz Phair, and she was a surprisingly charismatic performer. Also, I'm bummed I never got around to importing Whip-Smart or Whitechocolatespaceegg into iTunes, because she played several songs off of each that I recognized (NOT Polyester Bride, though, which makes me sad, AND I can't stay home and fire up iTunes to hear it. *pouts*). She closed with the one-two punch of Why Can't I and Fuck and Run, the latter of which made for some amusing ASL by the signer onstage. I'd see her again in an instant, though--totally rocking, very laid back, and lots of fun.

Also, perhaps the best part of both Mike Doughty and the FoW/Liz Phair combo is that I wound up at the shows with friends of mine who really weren't coming along because they were fans of the acts, but who walked away from the shows suitably impressed/entertained. Maybe I of all people shouldn't be surprised when people have justified faith in my choice of music, but it's still nice for some positive reinforcement now and again.

Anyway. Time to fish around on TV for some late-nite Law & Order or X-Files reruns. That's right, fellas--it must be summer, because the days are so freaking long, especially when you fall asleep on your sofa watching cable...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

everybody said to say 'hi'

I'm cultivating a lot of not-so-useful skills. Not only am I a first-rate spotter of Yalies on cable (per Supermarj), but I've also got my spidey music sense trained on cable commercials, as well. Project Runway Season 3 promos are employing Mellowdrone's "Oh My," which would be great exposure for them, I think, if anyone knew who it was. Likewise, Bleu's "Get Up" is enjoying second life in Chili's new promotion for individualized burger toppings. I need to get that song into iTunes so I can recreate 2003's Singles/B-sides in playlist form.

What can I say? It's a gift... and a curse.


Friday, July 07, 2006

might sound crazy but it ain't no lie

Interesting Wired article about the evolution of the "hit" and mass culture--and how, very possibly, N*Sync's record for top-selling album with No Strings Attached back in 2000 might never be broken. I personally think it's funny how just after the "diamond" album award was created (ten million records sold), the shifting sands of the music industry made it an impossible feat to reach. (Suckers!)

they said it was a weather balloon

So, I'm watching an old episode of X-Files on TNT. I'm not sure I've even seen any since it went off the air... but off the top of my head, here are a couple observations:

1) David Duchovny? SO hot.

2) Huge ancient cell phones? SO funny.

3) Mulder and Scully? SO GOOD TOGETHER.

Honestly. She was going off about some scientific REM-stage sleep disorder and he immediately countered with an illustrated history text describing succubi, and it's exactly the rapport that made this show so great. They're both intense but in complementary ways, and I really think I like the old episodes better, when the tension was there between them but before all the silly sap about her having his baby (right? I can barely remember now) and them ending up together, blah blah. It really was a terrific TV series, and one of the few that my mom loved passionately that didn't get cancelled right away (see Twin Peaks, Eerie Indiana, American Gothic, etc etc--she really did have the kiss of death there for awhile. It must have left her, though, or Hope and Faith wouldn't still be on the air).

Anyway. I've been known to dabble in sci-fi/fantasy/horror genre entertainment, and this series really hit all three (though I could have done with a little less conspiracy-theorizing from time to time). Maybe I'll stay up and watch the next episode coming on...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

a verse, and a verse, and refrain

Hi, reader. Happy Independence Day.

Some of you out there already know why the Fourth of July is so important to me, but for the rest of you, a bit of background might be in order. Fifteen years ago today I had a pretty terrible bike accident that resulted in three broken limbs, including a fractured growth plate above my left knee that stopped growing. Ten years ago this summer, I had a corrective lengthening device placed on my left leg to try to regain some of my lost growth. It wasn’t entirely successful, so I’m still a little uneven. I compensate for it fairly well, though every now and again someone will ask me why I’m limping when the truth of the matter is that I didn’t even notice that I was. I wrote a really great message on the 10-year anniversary of my accident, and re-reading it, I can’t help but feel that the me of five years ago was a little more put together than the me of today.

To be fair, in July 2001 the tragedies of September 11 were still two months away—the biggest crises in my life were my lengthy German assignments for summer school class and spotty dial-up internet access in my sublet. I had Future Plans and Post-College Aspirations, but I still had plenty of time in which to sort things out. Heck, I wasn’t even 20 years old yet. Now, at not-quite-25, I have OCI bids to evaluate and rank, my entire future career to sort out (to some short-term extent, at least), and a procrastinatory streak a mile wide to fight in getting all of this done. My 19-year-old self was SO convinced that she could do absolutely anything she set her mind to. My 24-year-old self is not so persuaded, as some things (standardized test scores, assigned professors, forced grading curves) cannot be changed no matter how stubbornly committed you are. I’m a little more cynical, a little more pragmatic, a little less naïve about how the world works nowadays, and that’s sort of a shame, but it’s also inevitable with the passage of time, I suppose.

I do wish, though, for a little more freedom: freedom from self-doubt, from bad habits, from unpleasant people, from injustice. (Maybe I should’ve picked a different profession.)

I wish I had something more uplifting to say, folks. I’m really sorry about that. Maybe I’ll have regained some of my limitless optimism in five years’ time. Maybe I’ll be less worried about how the leg-length discrepancy will affect my aging process. Maybe I’ll be satisfied with how I spent my 20s and eager to turn 30. Maybe I’ll have found success in my job, or at the very least, I’ll have had more concrete work experience behind me to inform my future career plans.

Right now, though, I just feel… transitional. And that’s keeping me grounded. Someday soon, maybe I can take to the skies, like those beautiful fireworks over the lake last night.

Soon. Someday. Not yet. Not quite.

Monday, July 03, 2006

throwing stones in a wishing well

The blogs are all a-twitter today with Fourth of July playlists, so I'm staking my claim to mine now, subject to change, as I'm listening to it for the first time right now and if anything seems too out of place, I'm jettisoning it:

1. Aimee Mann - 4th of July
2. John Vanderslice - June July
3. Neko Case - Star Witness
4. Eddie from Ohio - Independence, Indiana
5. The Decemberists - July, July!
6. Andy Stochansky - Miss USA
7. 2 Skinnee J's - BBQ
8. The Tragically Hip - Fireworks
9. Counting Crows - American Girls
10. Oh No! Oh My! - BBQ
11. Paul and Storm - Ten-Fingered Johnny
12. Dan Bern - New American Language
13. John Vanderslice - Plymouth Rock
14. Moby - Fireworks
15. Elvis Costello - Indoor Fireworks
16. Moxy Fruvous - Independence Day
17. Eddie from Ohio - Fifth of July
18. Elliott Smith - Independence Day

But before I switched to my ID4 playlist (is it absurd that I still use that abbreviation for this holiday a decade after the damn film was released?), I was listening to Tarkio, even though I really really need to be listening to any of a dozen other new acquisitions. Seriously, how do the music bloggers keep up? I'm literally drowning in music right now... it would be easier if I could listen to music and read, but I can't. Anyway, I was talking about Tarkio (hellooo short attention span... oh, look, a bunny!): maybe Colin Meloy has performed some kind of magic spell on me to the point where I honestly believe he can do no wrong, but I'm totally smitten with this two-cd set of his early work with his college band. The Boy commented that it "definitely isn't the Decemberists," and that's true. It reminds me a lot of early R.E.M., honestly, with a similar kind of stripped-down rock sound. But that's just it--it does rock. Significantly, in parts. And that's distinctly different from the Decemberists (whom I love with every fiber of my being, who are my current favorite band because they're as wonderful live as they are on CD, and who are trying to prove me wrong about the "rocking" thing right now with "July, July!" coming up on my playlist, but NO--I'm talking about TARKIO, damnit), who have less of a raw sound even at their most upbeat. Other parts of the Tarkio catalog would be equally at home on stage at a folk festival, replete with banjo and violin. And though Colin's lyrics aren't quite as developed as they are in his later work, there's still a lot to love, particularly for those of us who value complex turns of phrase and imagery. Anyway, my point is mostly that I hope Colin continues to make music for a long time because I find everything he's done to date utterly captivating, and unlike some of my other very very favorite artists who are either (all-but) defunct, aging themselves into pseudo-irrelevance, or just not inspiring in me the kind of passion they once did, I get the sense that this could be the beginning of a thoroughly beautiful musical relationship between him and yours truly.

At any rate, here's a funny story from The Boy, who is currently trying to find cool places to study for his exam tomorrow. And by "cool" I mean not hip, but literally chilled, as the Brits are air conditioning-phobic and his dorm room's a sauna: he went to Starbucks for an iced beverage to cool off and was prepared to pay the equivalent of $9 for a frappuccino but was told, "We are not serving cold drinks because it is too hot for ice." Too hot for ice! I am baffled, but I'm also feeling morally superior, as I sip my own grande nonfat iced mocha with just a touch of whip. Mmm. We Americans might not be culturally perfect, but at least we understand the value of a cool beverage on a hot day.

Happy almost-Fourth. Oh, and check back tomorrow--it's a big day.