Thursday, October 30, 2008

I wish there were much to report. Visiting New York the other week was very helpful, both in fixing in my mind where we will probably live (Queens, probably around Woodside) and how it will go (financially, who knows, but in terms of the wheres and whats, it should be fine). Most of the trip was spent with Angela, as it should have been. Much of the time I'm able to put out of mind how much I miss A, but it's very different actually being with her--a lot of that sort of ambient longing hit me at once during one evening, and it was fine, if inconvenient. The rest was nice, too, especially the late meals I used to unwind. New York keeps me awake even longer than normal. One of them inspired this piece, though that wasn't my favorite. My favorite, as always, was at Sarge's: cole slaw and pickles, chicken matzoh ball soup, No. 3 comination sandwich, pastrami and corned beef on rye with Russian dressing and slaw, chocolate pudding for dessert, Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray. This is, I think, my deathbed meal.

I've gotten so in the habit of working on my laptop and killing downtime playing Wordscraper with one of the board set-ups I've made that I forget to turn everything off and just read. But I've got a couple book reviews due so that helps remind me. I'm enjoying them, too, which is a relief, since little goes by slower than reading a book you don't really like but have to finish because you're writing about it. I will probably start pitching a few of those soon as well.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Two weekends ago I attended the Decibel Festival in Seattle. I had a great time even when the music was iffy, but there’s one story I wanted to write down in addition to the straighter review I contributed to. On Friday night, upstairs at Sole Repair, some friends and I were talking and looking over the balcony to survey the crowd; as Eric noted on Line Out, a couple cops came in, lightly mocked the dancing going on, and went on their way. But an entrance right before the police officers’ also caught our eye: a fellow with a Bluetooth in his ear and various pieces in mismatching patterns on his body. Soon the earpiece was gone, but to us the fellow’s name was Bluetooth. Our little knot began joking about precisely what he might have for sale on this fine evening full of chemical indulgers.

Cut to later. It’s near the end of headliner Jeff Samuel’s set, and I’m feeling great, standing in the same spot upstairs, dancing a little, talking with another friend to my left. “This is terrific,” I say loudly at one point. To my right, as it turns out, is Bluetooth. “Yeah?” he says, a bit maniacally. “Well, I wish a whole bunch of cocaine would just fall down from the ceiling on everybody!” Because I was feeling good and take things literally, I said something along the lines of, “But everyone’s sweating. It would stick to everyone. That would be gross.” He paid me little mind, logically enough, and headed downstairs again.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Been a while since I made a year-so-far list. This is a provisional Top 40 Tracks for the third quarter, i.e. July through September--as in when I heard them, not necessarily when they came out. It’s cheating a little because a few tracks represent albums I never got around to selecting something from for the last go-round. (Tracks, not singles--though a number are, of course, singles.) No idea how it’ll look against 4Q--except to say that so far 4Q has raised the temperature for the three before it, even if some of its best albums are represented here. Not its best, though: for reasons far too nit-picky to go into here, Ne-Yo will have to wait for next time.

1. Matias Aguayo, “Minimal (DJ Koze Mix)” (Kompakt)
2. Lil’ Wayne, “A Milli” (Cash Money)
3. Cole Medina, “Love You Inside Out (The Pinches Mix)” (MP3)
4. M.I.A., “Bucky Done Gun (Billion Dollar DJs Remix for Kicks)” (MP3)
5. SIS, “Trompeta” (Sei Es Drum)
6. Hercules and Love Affair, “Athene” (DFA)
7. Timberlee, “Heels” (MP3)
8. The Hold Steady, “Constructive Summer” (Vagrant)
9. Stereolab, “Chemical Chords” (4AD)
10. The Roots, “75 Bars (Black's Reconstruction)” (Geffen)
11. Robin Thicke ft. Mary J Blige and Wale, “Magic (Mark Ronson Remix)” (Interscope)
12. Raphael Saadiq, “Staying In Love” (Columbia)
13. Rex the Dog, “Gecko” (Hundehaus)
14. Hot Chip, “One Pure Thought (Supermayer Remix)” (EMI)
15. Alphabeat, “Boyfriend (Pete Hammond Remix)” (EMI)
16. Fucked Up, “No Epiphany” (Matador)
17. Estelle ft. Kanye West, “American Boy” (Capitol)
18. Alex Moulton, “Out Of Phase” (Expansion Team)
19. Tobi Neumann, Onur Ozer, Sensitiva, “Mimosa” (Cadenza)
20. Elephant Man, “No Tikkle” (MP3)
21. DJ Fakts One ft. Little Brother, “Grown Folks” (Green Streets)
22. Red Snapper, “Lagos Creepers” (Lo)
23. Quiet Village, “Pacific Rhythm” (K7)
24. Flying Lotus, “GNG BNG” (Warp)
25. Girl Talk, “Set It Off” (Illegal Art)
26. The Dead Science, “Throne Of Blood (The Jump Off)” (Constellation)
27. David Byrne and Brian Eno, “Strange Overtones” (Everything That Happens)
28. Kish Mauve, “Lose Control (Fred Falke Remix)” (MP3)
29. caUSE co-MOTION!, “I Lie Awake” (Slumberland)
30. A1 Bassline, “My Baby” (Meal Deal)
31. Benga, “E Trips” (Tempa)
32. Arno Cost, Norman Doray, “Apocalypse (Sebastien Leger Remix)” (C2)
33. Tricky, “Past Mistake” (Domino)
34. Rndm, “Wakefield” (Dial)
35. Noze, “Ethiopo” (Get Physical)
36. Dizzee Rascal ft. Calvin Harris & Chrome, “Dance Wiv Me (Agent X Mix)” (Dirtee Stank)
37. Menya, “Ripe” (
38. The Per Eckbo Orchestra, “Kodo Verano” (Oslo)
39. Bob Dylan, “Dreamin' Of You” (Columbia)
40. Pompelmoessap, “1946 In Memory” (LesIzmo:r)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

I know some of my extended relatives sometimes look at this blog, so if any of you guys are reading this, please, whatever else you do with your leisure income (and assuming you've got some, since that's not always a guarantee these days), go out and get Ne-Yo's Year of the Gentleman. It's the best album of the year, sure, but it's also the kind of album my aunts, uncles, cousins, and mom who like music will fall flat down over, just like I have: it's all I've wanted to listen to for the past three weeks, and it just gets better and deeper with repetition. Bob, James (and B), Maria, Lorie, Tera, Marissa, and of course (especially) Cathy: trust me on this one, and I hope to see you at Christmas.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Something I've been noticing about the visual aspect of blogging is that those that intersperse writing and illustration heavily and effectively might be a kind of perceptual bridge from comics. The way most blogging formats work is a wide column surrounded by shorter ones of links, which we don't pay attention to. When you break up text with a well placed photo, you're getting the same kind of interplay as you do in with comics, but you're getting them at a slower pace, with the straightforwardness of text, which keeps you moving forward, rather than the distractions of the comics page--when you look at comics, your eye is going all over, on the newspaper page to other strips, in a book to other panels. Think of the way a blog page would look transferred to a comics page: lots of wide areas of text followed by paneled illustrations of varying size and shape. It wouldn't work well at all: hand lettering looks like it belongs in captions and word balloons, not as a substitute for typesetting, which is what I, at least, think of as "real" when I think of reading large volumes of words. (I've never read Cometbus.) Pretty much by accident, or at least trial and error, blogging is becoming its own visual medium. Maybe I should pitch Taschen a book.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

RD: Being largely a writer for print, what is your stance on blogs?

AP: I read a ton of blogs, every day. I think the onus is really on print magazines to step up the game. They’ve got to do stuff blogs can’t or won’t or don’t want to do – long, thoughtfully researched articles with lots of access that take months to write – in order to stay alive. But they just keep printing…lists.

(God don't I fucking know it tonight.)