Monday, March 26, 2007

Funeral for the Album?

Apparently (according to the NYTimes) no one listens to Albums anymore what with the iTunes and the ability to create your own playlists. More importantly, no one is buying them. The record industry is not happy about this. They don't seem to be happy about anything these days. They have started to sign acts to 2 song deals. Kinda like the old days of 45 records and B-sides, only there are no B-sides here - only hits or misses.

I have thought a bit about the difference between a greatest hits album / compilation and buying an album with a hit on it. Most times all you want are the songs that you know you are going to like. The rest of the album is pretty mediocre.

But sometimes an artist will sneak one by you - gem, something really special. And sometimes an artist puts out a really really solid album or even an amazing album. The kind of album where every track is strong. Where you just have to listen to the whole thing from start to finish - to do otherwise would be a crime. Sometimes you get a really amazing and cohesive album in which every song a part of the story or a piece of the picture.

After I bought "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (on Cassette) I was afraid to buy any other albums by Elton John because GYBR was soooo good. Every track was stunning. How could anything else live up to this?

Obviously there's the Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club"

Other great albums:
(Entirely subjective and unscientific list that demonstrates my age and level of shlocky cheesiness.)

The Counting Crows' "August and Everything After" is just gorgeous.
Joni Mitchell's album "Blue."
Marc Cohn's self-titled first album.
The Shin's "Chutes Too Narrow."
Tracy Chapman's self titled first album.
Peter Gabriel (1980), "So," "Us"
Tori Amos "Little Earthquakes"
U2 "Joshua Tree"
Sting "Nothing Like the Sun"
Pearl Jam "Ten"
Enya "Watermark"
Yes "90125"
Fleetwood Mac "Rumours"
Green Day "Dookie"
Indigo Girls - for me they have done this four times:
The self titled, "Nomads Indians Saints," "Swamp Ophelia," and " Rites of Passage"

Mentioned today by DG on his LJ - Paul Simon "Graceland"

To that I would add his album "Hearts and Bones"
And maybe, Michael Jackson's "Thriller"

This is the tip of the iceberg. I know I have overlooked a lot here. What are your favs?

My hope is that reports of the death of the album are premature. That there are artists in popular music with the talent, the vision, and the ambition to reach beyond the 3 minute song. To conceive of the album as more than a collection of songs. To conceive of the album as having potential as a form worth exploring. And that there is an audience of listeners hungry for what they have to offer.

the co-opting of counterculture

Increasing numbers of Americans bought products like Volkswagens and, later, much more expensive Volvos "to demonstrate that they were wise to the game" and, ironically, "to express their revulsion with the artifice and conformity of consumerism."[from Thomas Frank, The Conquest of Cool] In this way, Madison Avenue cleverly made the values of the counterculture accessible and acceptable to middle America, and then pressed them into the service of consumerism.

- Giles Slade "Made to Break"

This he wrote in reference to the marketing campaign that led to the rise in popularity of the Volksvagen Beetle in the 60's.

This seems to happen over and over again. There is genius in marketing and capitalism in its ability to take symbols and imagery of whatever revolution might be happening and use them to sell you stuff like t-shirts and computers, deodorant and cigarettes. I wonder if those who struggle to change the world and the way that people think about it find themselves in an ongoing struggle to continually create new images and labels and words and symbols to race ahead of the ad copy or find themselves trying to fight fire with fire using the very same techniques to spread their word for their own purposes.


I suspect that my fascination with a book about the history of planned obsolescence is proof positive that I have grown up to be exceptionally dull. Literally, this book has caused me to miss my subway transfer on the way to work in the morning.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

All those lines and circles

Riding the train late at night when I am tired I notice things that I might not normally. I set by a man today who couldn't read. He was sitting there with a magazine and he was staring at each page but his eyes didn't move across like reading. He stared at the center of the page. He stared at the page on the right and then at the page on the left and then turned to the previous page. He did this a few times. The expression on his face was so lost. And I really really wanted to sit down next to him and ask him what he was reading about and whether he found it interesting and then got through with a pen and circle all of the words that he recognized and have him sound out the ones that he didn't. Pick a sentence and go through it together slowly.

But I didn't because maybe I'm wrong. If I was wrong that would be insulting. And if I was right confronting him like that would be really really embarrassing. And really the truth of every person's story is beyond anything that I could imagine for them.

In this case I would really like to be wrong. I could go on about literacy. I will save that for a later date - in the near future, promise.

Seeing that man holding the magazine hurt my heart. I shut my book and hugged it close to me, closed my eyes and tried to fall asleep. If I didn't, I would have been staring at him which wouldn't help either.

LJL has declared that 2007 is a year of completion. There are things that I have left unfinished. And now that I have laid stakes to New York soil, maybe it's time that I turn my attention to them.

Friday, March 23, 2007

this post is half-baked: Sometimes I do wonder ...

"[Vance] Packard saw the hypermaterialism of American consumer culture as a compensation offered by successful capitalists to the middle and lower classes, whose postindustrial jobs were becoming increasingly meaningless. Motivated by greed born of advertising, Americans conspired with market researchers to transform themselves into 'voracious, wasteful, compulsive consumers.'"

- Giles Slade from "Made To Break"


Don't get me wrong, I am as happy to have a J-O-B as the next working slob. And working can offer certain rewards and satisfactions beyond matters financial.

But some days I think that this is a job that a stick could do. Certainly i try to do it with friendliness, humor and panache, but seriously, a few versions of Microsoft Office from now - this job will cease to exist.

And when I look around I see a lot of other people who stand around with their eyes glazed over for the very same reason. The other day I was at the grocery store checkout aisle and right as it was my turn to check out, the girl behind the counter said that she had to use the restroom and needed someone to replace her. As she rushed off the manager said, "Now, don't fall in!"

The manager turned to me and said that the last time this particular girl had needed to use the restroom, she had vanished for over an hour. And when they tracked her down she was hanging out in the back room of the store chatting with the boys. the manager went on to complain that she had this problem with so many of the checkout girls. They were talking on the cell phone and ignored the customers. They were always taking long breaks. She had to send a lot of them home early during the day because they were not getting any work done.

I can't say as I blame any of them. Swiping barcodes across a laser, calling for price checks, making change and putting things in bags does not sound like my idea of challenging, meaningful work either. And I image that we customers are a pain to deal with.

I run in to people all the time who are bored stiff by their jobs who probably have talents and passions and ambitions that are not realized in the thing they do to make money. A lot of people.

Y'know, You gotta pay rent, you gotta buy food, you gotta pay those taxes and the electric/internet bill. You gotta pay that credit card bill from all the purchases that you made of all that goofy stuff that you want and think that you can't live without.

You end up in jobs that try very hard to standardize you and everything that you do so that you are replaceable and your work has the kind of blandness, anonymity, and interchangeability that allows others to take your work and fit it into any framework.

And that standardization enforced through bureaucracy might over time evolve from being something that you do for a 1/3 of the day to something that becomes an intrinsic part of you.

PJ used to shake his fist and say in a tiny voice: "The Man is keeping me down, I should live rent free." We thought that this statement was hilarious. And now I do wonder - there is so much effort put into making things faster, making them cheaper, and more efficient, making them better and more functional. Could we make things that made our work more interesting?

Like how about a numeric pad that you could use to tap out numbers with your feet?

Or Nerf launchers that you can use to send messages to co-workers?

Or a scooter lane in the hallway at work? (helmets required of course.)

I am actually the wrong person to be coming up with this stuff. My idea of fun is blogging. And I really like NPR.
=P

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Do they?

The RM went on a baking spree last week and as a result there was a new carton of eggs in the fridge. It was one of those fancy plastic cartons of fancy eggs.

Pricey, Cage Free, Organic, Brown Shelled, Fresh, Grade AA, Large, Omega 3 supplemented, clearly from the mountains where the best chickens thrive.

And the company tag line is: "Happy chickens lay better eggs."

Cute. They like their chickens.

I lift the top of the carton there a little profile of:

chicken of the month


Estelle, a happy chicken.

chickpick


And there's more.

laying egg since


They seem to really like their chickens. Which is good for someone in the chicken and egg business. I certainly was taken with Horizon's happy cow marketing, although I have since heard that the cows there may not be nearly as happy as I imagined. In the case of these chickens ... I am feeling a bit uncomfortable knowing that much about those that I am buying eggs from.

It just makes me think of how lots of food represents digested potential. Eggs are potential chickens. Grains are potential grasses. Fruits are potential trees. Nuts - same deal. Seeds are potential plants. Tubers and roots are plant parts that can beget more plants.

I might was well be wearing a giant sign on my chest that says: I eat babies.

I suppose the way to avoid baby eating would be to eat celery stalks, aspartame, milk based products (that is if it's okay to take milk from baby cows), and of course eating adult animals.

But really unless you photosynthesize you're going to end up eating something that was alive and a baby at one time in its life.

Yeah. Bon appetit.

Vah-vah-vah-vaaaaaaaahhhh

Susan Sarandon playing Annie Savoy in a little movie called "Bull Durham" which has had an unnatural influence on my life quoted William Blake from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell saying: "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom."

A statement which is surely not true but I took very much to heart today and went back to the Laughing Lotus for another yoga class. I figured if CKE could spend 6-8 hours in a day doing yoga, I could do two classes in two days. Despite feeling tired and sore all over. Every minute of today I discovered a new muscle that was not happy about the fact that I did yoga yesterday.

Went back, signed in, and walked into the wrong class. Instead of the Yoga Basics class I had wandered into the Lotus Flow 2 class which is a Vinyasa class - more motion and breathing. More strenuous poses and transitions. The instructor smiled and said that parking myself in her class and rolling out the mat was an auspicious thing and that I should stay and try it.

So I did. Out of my element, huffing and sweating, trying to keep up. There were people doing these crazy binds and beautiful transitions. Wow. At one point we were on the mat doing the alligator pose. I was pretty tired by this point and the song "Purple Rain" by Prince came over the sound system as I was reaching and lifting my limbs off the mat. And when I came to rest periodically from the pose I pressed my whole body into the mat and felt a passionate love for the floor - this deep, intense appreciation for a solid surface on which to rest my forehead.

It was "ridikerus" as The South would say.

And now I am unspeakably sore. I don't think I'll do another class at the Lotus until next week. I am debating as to whether to have that class be Basic or Lotus Flow.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Oooooommmmm

Went to a yoga class today. My fifth yoga class in NYC and my fourth studio. It's been a very long time. My body feels unfamiliar to me in yoga practice. There are twinges and tugs in different places. Like my body has been storing different kinds of tension and unfamiliar energies in unexpected places.

At some point during the motion, the breathing and the sweating it occurred to me that I have missed this connection with my body, my yoga body. And I have missed being in a warm friendly yoga environment.

the Laughing Lotus Yoga Center

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

This post is really too long to read, y'know?

This post comes out of sitting at home in a stupor trying to remember what the hell happened to me over the last week+ besides feeding a serious cereal craving. Bowl after bowl after bowl of crispix and life cereal were consumed in this week.


Friday
My plan was to go see two shows in Williamsburg. One that Acid Canyon was playing at the Luna Lounge and another that Chairlift was playing at The Galapagos Art Space. But I did not get my act together until it was too late to catch Acid Canyon's set so I opted to meet up with co-workers for dinner at the Waverly Diner. It was crowded and noisy and fun. Afterwards some of us went to a bar called the Slaughtered Lamb for a drink. The Slaughtered Lamb has a basement that is decked out like a dungeon with skeletons displayed behind bars all over the place. We played pool on a table with no cue ball in a room that smelled like a backed up toilet. TBW kicked our asses roundly at pool. I think having long fingers helps to steady the cue. The place was rocking out to 80's music. It was the second time that The South, IRN, and TBW and I have been out to a place that was busting the 80's music.

Truth be told I am a little offended by this. Don't get me wrong there's a lot to love about the 80's but there are amazing songs that have been written since then and there are all kinds of starving artists that are worthy of our attention creating music that ought to be the soundtrack of our lives in this particular slice of life.

After that drink The South and I took the train to Willie-B and got ourselves to the show. The Galapagos Art Space is this groovy four space place that has tons of event apparently happening all the time. As you walk in the front room has a significant section of the floor cut out and devoted to a reflecting pool. As you walk in there is a bar in the back with the exposed brick post industrial look. A nice touch to that is that there are tiny candle holders spaced pretty close together and attached to the wall behind the bar and the opposite side. Giving the whole place a warm cosy industrial feel. On stage as we came in were the Bridesmaids. We barely heard half of one song, sadly.

Then Chairlift. The sound was kind of fuzzy and unbalanced. I curbed an impulse to walk back there and tell the sound guy how to do his job. As a former sound girl I recall how annoying that is. Still to see them was delightful and fun. The South would later refer to them as the Postal Service. Which I can see but would disagree with due to the lack of sequenced beats and the presence of the strummy guitar.

After Chairlift's set the South and I had an argument about whether The Pixies were a way underground underground band (The South's opinion) or a band that achieved moderate commercial success (I remember that them getting some radio play while I was in college). We did an unsophisticated poll of those around us. No one was sure. But they had all heard the song "Where is my mind." Which The South said didn't count as it was in the movie "Fight Club." Whatev, try telling the Pixies that.

We also decided that we needed to buy CD's (merch victims, are we). They were very nice kids who for a brief moment mistook us for a band as we were standing next to a stack of free promotional CD's.

Then the Hylozoists from Canada. They are a rock chamber music outfit that plays instrumental music featuring xylophones (vibraphones?). They have the usual full rock band line up along with two drum kits, a violinist, and a keyboard player. I was told by one of the members that their numbers can inflate up even higher. I think there were 15-18 of them on the album. It was the music of the spheres the kind of thing you would hear during a dream where you visit Jupiter and float through its gassy clouds.
I bought the CD.

Then a band from called Pink Noise known to The South as Sonic Youth part II. He was very much digging them. I felt that they were very good at their angsty sludgy serious rock thing but somehow they sounded kind of conventional compared to the rest of the lineup. He went up after their set to get an CD.

The closing band was X-Wife from Portugal. They were the Portuguese Killers. Having been awake for 25 hours and playing their second gig of the day, they didn't seem all that happy to be there. The lead singer in particular seemed very unhappy with his vocals. And when the room is empty and the band is cranky the best thing to do is rock out on the dance floor.

The DJ's that spun between sets that evening were pretty fun too. DJ Oil, DJ Toby Rascal and DJ Gerald.

It was 3am when we got out of there. The South and I went to Oasis and had food. They will put beet salad and pickles in your kabob pita there. It was yum.
And then the L train ride back to Manhattan and again crashed Chez Du Sud. I was too tired to anything. Y'know? The South apparently made it through "the night" in one piece, but got sick in the morning. Poor fella.


Saturday
I had a big bowl of noodles with Beef broth at a Vietnamese place. It was delightful. Bought a headband on the streets on the way to the subway. The vendor kept speaking with me in Mandarin, which I can't speak. I said the few things that I can: Good. Sorry. Korean person. Thank you. Good-bye.

Came home and despite my best intentions didn't make it out to S's birthday party. Instead I watched "Logan's Run" with the RM. We laughed at the stupid costumes and were slightly shocked at some of its futuristic raciness. I even took a shower and made motions intended to get me out of the house but found that my ass was lodged into the floor of the living room. I was not going to make it.


Sunday
I took a Chinatown bus to Philly. Slept and listened to music and spilled a leaky BLT all over myself. Met up with e23 and went to the Art Museum to see the Silk Road Dance Company perform. Lots of colorful embroidered costumes and dances that seemed like a combination of what CKE would often demonstrate for me from Belly Dance class and a variety of motions and figures that re-enact daily tasks and celebrate life. Making silk, gathering the harvest, the blooming of tulip with the coming of spring, the expression of flirty mystery. The occasion for this was to celebrate Noruz - the Persian New Year.

The dancing confirmed to me that I need to take some Belly Dance classes or a Persian Dance class to work on my flirting skills. It occurred to me that maybe the Pussycat Dolls should consider learning on of the routines. Just to mix things up a little.

e23 gave me a tour of the city and we walked back to the home of his mother (!?) to hang out. I got to meet his mother and step father. (?!) We got groceries and made a spinach quiche and we tried to make a fruit pie with out tapioca. Good luck with that. At this point I had lost track of time and missed the last bus back and stayed the night in Philly.


Monday
I caught the 7:30am bus back to NYC. The Chinatown bus makes a stop right near my office. *whee* So I got out and dragged my carcass into work. It was a day without joy. I went home and fell asleep on the couch for 4 hours with my laptop closed and clutched to my chest and then crawled into bed for more sleep.


Tuesday
I was almost as dead as Monday.

Wednesday

I had dinner with my Cuz. He was wrestling with the question of school or work. We had vietnamese food (Different Vietnamese place) and chatted about stuff. On the way home he decided in favor of school. I am so pleased for him.

I downloaded Mozilla and I am using it now as I write this post. Having a web browser with tabs rocks my socks. I considered trying to figure out which celebrities I resemble on MyHeritage.com but I got weirded out by the part of their terms and conditions where they say that for any content that you upload to their site you grant them the right to use for whatever they want.

Meanwhile wordpress.com says in their terms and conditions that they will use your content to promote your blog.

Maybe by this time next year my computer will be running 100% opensource and I will be one of those internet utopians that I barely understand right now.


Thursday
I had tea with LJL. She was trying to get me to articulate and identify some goals in my life but I was evasive as always. I love that she does not seem to give up on me despite this.

After work I went to a farewell dinner for a co-worker who is leaving Big Scienceville for a really neato nonprofit job helping people in poor villages in Peru. Which is so groovy. She's, like, really really cool. And it was interesting talking to her about her life in New York and how it has shaped who she is and about this new chapter of her life. She says that life in New York has given her the confidence to face anything. Perhaps it will do the same for me. Who knows.

I ate a third of a cow and evaded a night of Karaoke in favor of meeting up with RBe, DBe, and He. Two vegans and a pesca-vegetarian dug into a plate of Ethopian food while I sat there, made exceptionally awkward conversation and tried not to belch cow fumes or moo loudly in their presence. Turns out we share little in common. Besides sitting on the opposite side of the meat eating divide it turns out that they (two of them) are anti-bubble tea, whilst I am pro. Could it be that these two facts are deal breakers in this social circle? Don't know. What I do know is that "they all moved away from me on the bench, there ..." We all came out into the rain to which I said, "Yes!' while others said, "Eww!"

More likely it was me, not them. Wasn't in the most convivial of moods.

Friday
Hung out again with LJL. We had sushi in the Village and had a few drinks at a place with a 3 drink maxiumum. No joke. There is the magic number at which they will stop serving you alcohol. During the course of the evening she made a point that only resonated with me later. She asked me what I want, what are my goals. And I can only articulate them in the vaguest of ways. I would define a good life for me as a life that is useful and a life that is meaningful. I try to tell myself that it will happen someday - that perhaps it is happening right now and I just don't realize it. I try to tell myself a lot of things. I am a glass-half-empty kind of girl struggling to think my way into seeing things in a glass-half full way.

At this point she asked me what I believe in. She said that believing in something would help me accomplish what I want. And the next day I realized that she had hit at the core of my problem. Something so obvious that I am amazed that I never saw it before. You have to believe in something to live a meaningful life. Your life is meaningful when lived in accordance with and as an expression of what you believe.

So me not believing or at least not knowing what it is that I believe in ... of course I feel lost and I don't know what it is that I should be doing. I can't bring myself to believe. I don't know what I believe and that is key to the equation. LJL, she is very wise, y'know?


Saturday
The RM and I got decked out in green clothing, green makeup, and green hair coloring, and went to the St. Patrick's Day Parade. There are two things of note about the Parade: lots of white people and men in skirts.

Two other things: lots of police officers marching and lots of fire fighters as well. It was strangely emotional seeing all of those uniforms marching along. Especially the fire fighters. Added to that there are some really handsome men in the FDNY. Wow.

It was cold and we stood on packed chunks of snow to get a better view of the parade. At some point who should walk by us exiting the parade? None other than Mayor Bloomberg. Small world, no? He walked right by me. I could have reached out and patted his head. I imagine that his body guards would have taken me down for that but I could have.

We had this conversation on the train ride up about whether the presence of policemen made us feel safe. The RM feels safer when there is a uniformed officer around. Me, I guess I feel a little uncomfortable with individuals in authority who might shoot you for running away from them (depending on the laws of the state). Why would I run away from them? I don't know? Maybe a yellow jacket gets caught in my sweatshirt or something. Maybe the movie "Crash" just made too much of an impression on me. The conversation was pretty serious and we missed our agreed upon parade stop and opted for one near the end of the parade.

We went to a pub that was super packed. We were crushed like sardines in there and accidentally got two beers at once. So we drank our beers double fisted and received amny a compliment from the crowd around us. Then on to another one and then another one. Where we stayed because we paid a $10 cover to get in there. I danced with a couple of fellas. One of them called me "shady" I have no idea why. (Did my hand graze by his wallet or something in the midst of turn or something?) The other was probably my age. (Momentous moment of momentousness) The RM chatted with this older Irish couple who were visiting the States. I think in the end all of us ended up chatting with the Irish couple. The best part of that was when the DJ started to play some Motown and then some Neil Diamond ... they got up and tore it up on the dance floor. Drunk kids came out of the woodwork to dance with the cute old Irish couple. It was strangely wholesome.

Along the way we met up with CKE's cousin CP who once studied to be a priest and now lives a life deeply influenced by Ayn Rand. This fact leaves me a bit speechless. It is rare to meet a serious and full blown objectivist after the age of 25. Although recently, I think that I have run into more than one of them. He actually told me that he doesn't believe in non-profits because actions that are not based in self-interest are fruitless. Actions taken to make others happy will not bring you happiness. They are bad.

My reply was that a good deed is done for the doer. When a good deed is done with the expectation of praise or recognition there will be disappointment. But I think in many cases having the opportunity to give is in itself an immense gift. If for no other reason that the way it makes you realize how much you have and can open a place of gratitude for that. Some of those who set out to save the world are probably trying to save themselves in the process.

For me the evening ended with a bowl of Korean noodle soup and late night train ride home. I did not puke on a red head or any other type of person.

Sunday

I brimmed with good intentions. Intentions to seek adventure in the city. I made it out of the house to get a big bowl of cheese grits. And then I crawled back into bed and passed out again. The best part of Sunday was discovering that I had a big bag of tater tots in the freezer. That's right it was not a dream. I actually did go out and buy them at some point. And then I forgot and started craving them all over again.

At last, my tater tots have come along
My fried then baked potato cravings are over
And life is like a song.

To Ze, With Love

The South remarked before embarking on his journey home that I have not posted anything in an eon. I have heard that an eon is the amount of time that it would take you to take feather and brush away every particle of the himalayan mountains resulting in a flat area at sea level. At least, that's how I heard it.

Y'all know that I bear great love for The Show with Ze Frank. When Ze Frank started doing the Show he said that he would do it for exactly a year. Five days a week for one year. That year came to a close this past Friday. *sniff* And I have wanted to put together a list of some of my favorite episodes of the show.

Me being obsessive.

Some have the formal titles. Some have titles of my making. I am hoping that the archive does not disappear tomorrow. That would make me cranky after putting this list together. They are in nostly chronological order.

5-15-06 Hindsight is 20-20
5-16-06 The Earth Sandwich
6-06-06 Adult
6-21-06 Institutional Recourse
7-05-06 hot dog, culture
7-07-06 gerrymandering
7-10-06 (the girls do it all the time part)
7-11-06 Where the fuck do ideas come from
7-14-06 Ugly myspace and the means of artistic production
7-21-06 Youtube terms and conditions

7-27-06 YouTube and Copyright
7-28-06 Complicated? Just start playin' with it
8-08-06 the 100th episode
8-10-06 "Now, the way I see it, you can't have terrorism without the terror."
8-11-06 Terrorism, Chimeras, and ReallyReady.org
8-15-06 Baseball
8-17-06 Illness Communication Exaggeration Curve
8-25-06 Pluto
8-28-06 Information
9-14-06 non lethal weapons domestically

9-19-06 make someone happy
9-25-06 Battle of "The Show"'s
10-10-06 narrated show
11-02-06 Endorse Your Fruit
11-28-06 new perspective - Braingasms and That makes me think of
12-06-06 study then sleep
12-13-06 Running Through Syrup
12-19-06 Baseline
1-02-07 Champagne Fairies
1-08-07 melancholy

1-09-07 how to make lasagna
1-18-07 you missed
1-22-07 Beans
1-31-07 80 percent
2-05-07 waves
2-06-07 mean by mean
2-07-07 pro-cra
2-13-07 "The concept was cool-Make the earth spikey" LOAI
2-15-07 appreciation
2-20-07 adjective noun

2-22-07 couldabin
2-28-07 ray
3-01-07 euripides
3-08-07 the debt
3-12-07 bittersweet
3-14-07 a bit heavy
3-15-07 loyalty
3-17-07 the last one

12-20-06 MomVee's fav about the true meaning of Xmas



Favorite Zefrank Quotes:

"believe it or not making out is just one of many things you can do with another person." from 7-26-06

"And remember, be yourself. Unless you're an asshole." from 8-21.06

"Not all science is about makin' dough and gettin' chicks." from 6-20-06

"Edwards seen here welcoming the kittens of heaven" from 4-09-07

The favorite quotes of others
There's a whole favorite show project on the zefrank wiki that I am too shy to participate in.

I never got to the point where I became an active member of that community. I lurked on the forums and I visited the ORG once. But I never took part in the groovy community that was built around this project. Just never quite got there.

Still, for five days a week for a year. It was a part of my day. And I will miss it.
I hope that whatever expressions of awesomeness that Ze moves on to I get to witness at least a few of them.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

good news is in the eye of the beholder

The guy who used to be mine just called to let me know that he met someone and that he is engaged to be married.

When I found out that we were broken up, I started wishing that he would get hit by a bus.
And then I calmed down and we got back in touch and became friendly. In that way that you are not exactly friends but more like you share a bond created out of surviving the same war.

He is the guy who sent me a text that made me cry this past New Year's Eve. I was riding the train above ground and listening Prince wail his version of the song "When U Were Mine" when I got the text. That was when it occurred to me then that maybe I have not moved as far along as I thought.

He is the only guy who has ever asked me to marry him. He didn't mean it. And when he asked I knew he didn't mean it ... but he did ask. And I did say yes.

It was a piece of crap ring with a blue flower and a wire that hung a yellow butterfly over it. It was fragile and lovely.
I broke the thing in about two weeks. First the butterfly, then the flower, then the whole ring. Prescient.

He asked if I would come to the wedding.
I said no.

Attending the weddings of your ex-boyfriends while dateless (Done it three times) is the absolute pits.

Unless Ze Frank sweeps me off my feet in the next few weeks, declaring his undying love, and agrees to be my date to the thing - I think I will take a pass on my ex-boyfriend's wedding.

The compound word of the day: petty-mean-spirited. Use it in a sentence.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Not Angry Anymore

"she taught me how to wage cold war with quiet charm
but i just want to walk through my life unarmed.
to accept, and just get by like my father learned to do,
but without all the acceptance of getting by that got my father through

i just want you to understand that i know what all the fighting was for
and i just want you to understand that i'm not angry anymore.
no, i'm not angry anymore."
-
Ani DiFranco


My subconscious runs circles around me mocking me out of the corner of my mind.
2005 was a bitterly hard, traumatic and torturous year. I was glad to see it go. But it cast a long shadow and left wounds that were tender and scars slow to heal.

At some point in 2006 I realized that I was incredibly angry and so bitter. I realized that I hated someone. Really for the first time in my life I hated someone in a deep and utterly engrossing way. Any reminder would set me off. And there were any number of reminders that I could not help but run into.

I couldn't bring myself to forgive this person. I could barely stand to lay eyes on this person's friends. I was holding tight to the pain. I could not let go. And I realized that this hurt no one but me. But there it was. I knew that it impeded my life and my growth, even my capacity to love. And I stayed there for months and months. I didn't have anywhere constructive to put it.

And just this week I realized that a weight lifted off of me and somewhere in the midst of moving here and trying to make heads or tails of the working world and this nutty city - I let go. I don't know when it happened. But I had to move here to do it. My heart seems to have healed back crooked. The hinges don't open as widely or as easily as they used to. And I don't think I have entirely moved forward.

But I don't actively wish this person harm anymore which is a positive step. And I think I owe New York a debt of gratitude for that.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Closing Time

The laudromat that the RM and I frequent has closed its doors. They have finally gone out of business. I think we all knew that it was coming. Every time I went in there W was yelling at me that different washers were broken. Some wouldn't run hot, others wouldn't run cold. In others the water smelled ... swampy.

There were very few dryers that were working. There were 9, then 7, then 5. Sometimes there were fewer. Sometimes it seemed like the dryers would only work if W was the one who turned the handle.

Sometimes it seemed like she was the only one who could get the door slammed tight enough so that the washer would start.

So I guess it was time. Though, I have grown so accustomed to W that I don't know what it will be like laundering with out her.

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day. I fact that I would not have known had it not been for kenyc who has taken it upon himself to celebrate this day with gusto.

There are apparently events happening all over the world in observance. And you can surf over and find one happening near you.

If you are currently chained to your internet connection you could mosey over to Amnesty International's website and get involved in the Women's Human Rights & Stop Violence Against Women Campaign.

The action that I received today is a campaign to urge the US government to ratify the UN Conventions on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). It is a treaty that has been ratified by over 182 countries. To date the United States is not one of them. Which is disappointing.

You might think that signing a piece of paper that says you believe in something is not that important. But I would beg to differ. What do you think the Declaration of Independence was?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

machines that travel through time

Well, not exactly. At least not yet. But in the brief time that I have been blogging I have seen bloggers close up shop and take down their sites. Really cool sites vanish forever. The less romantic term for this emphemerality is link rot.

I can actually sift through my own blog and see instances of rot. Pictures disappear. Site become riddled with broken links and outdated information. They are retired and then deleted. News stories transition from being free content to being part of an archive you must pay for.

And I admit there are some blogs and pages that I miss. Which is why I was psyched to find that the internet archive has something they like to call the Way Back Machine.

At points its coverage is spotty. Hey, it ain't easy trying to archive the whole internet and yes, at points it suffers from link rot as well. There are pages listed that can't be found. But where listed many of the pages exist and with their links of the time in tact and also archived. Interestingly, when I search for my old blog I find that before me, someone else, Meghan the Lizard Queen had a blog with the same url. It was entitled: "Confessions to a Certain Spongecake."

One blog dies and another is born with the same url.

Sometimes I wonder how long I will do this. And now after a whirl on the Wayback Machine I wonder what this site will be like when it is reborn after I am done.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Love Autopsy

Friday, G came in on the redeye from SF and arrived at my door around 6:40am. *yawn* We met up in the pm and had dinner at Il Baggato a place that we managed to revist on instinct and accident just like the last time. And then we had drinks with her friends and the friends of her friends on the empty West side of town. It was interesting to see her with one of her classmates being all engineer-like. She’s gettin’ to be all growed up. I was impressed. And it is always good to see G.

On Saturday I lazed around the house. Slept late. Went to the Library. Ran a few errands. And then the RM and I went into the city to meet up with The South. The plan was to sit on his roof and drink beers by the light of the lunar eclipse.

Due to my inability to measure time and a powerful craving for dumplings, we missed watching the moon go into total eclipse but did see the tail end of the moon coming out of it. It was cold up there. But it was cool nonetheless to watch a partially darkened moon gradually become a full moon over the course of an hour plus over beers on a chilly March evening. And the view, otherwise, was spectacular.

Then we came in a watched part of the movie "Footloose" on cable in the kitchen. As an adolescent, I watched that movie ... four or five times in the theater. I was dismayed to find that it's a dorkier and goofier movie than I remember. Additionally, I don't remember it being so violent. But there it is. Still, my favorite scene in the movie is where Kevin Bacon is teaching his buddy how to dance. Love that scene. We all mocked the movie over beers and dumplings. I think there might have been a little dancing at some point in the kitchen there. I think tried to demonstrate the “cabbage patch”.

And then I dragged everyone to a show. 'cause it feels like forever since last I saw a live band. The destination was Sin-e and the band to see was Flying. Mike, the drummer, is also a coffee jock at a favorite haunt of the RM and I. We were late and missed Flying, we also missed Robert Stillman’s Horses, but decided to stay for the rest of the lineup:

The Subjects, The End of the World, and Luke Temple.

The bands were all very different but each rocked out in their own way. The End of the World was an indie rock band in the classic sense and that thing they do, they do really well. I was waiting for the big rocker to blast out from their setlist. I was left hanging. Still, they were in fine form.

The Subjects were alternately angular and melodic, cute and scrappy, and a little bit odd, with a charming creeky voiced singer who phrases and then yowls. I say this understanding that these are not really juxtapositions. I laughed during their first number which was all about the group la-la’s, was charmed and then entirely won over at some point from the second song on. There is something beautiful about the way the chords change in their songs, I found myself remarking on it to no one in particular, frequently.

Added to their curious musical mayhem they had a device on stage that they called: The Electric Rainbow Machine. It was a propeller device with colored lights running along each blade, when spinning, it transformed into a circular rainbow explosion.

Luke Temple was one long lush lullaby. As if a high crooner had spent a few years immersed in flamenco and chansons and emerged ready to start a band with no drum kit. It could lull me into deep sleep and dreams about marshmallow mattresses with big bounce.

The crowd was gorgeous. The women of New York declare that at 31 degrees it is time to wear those cute summer tops again. A personal annoyance of my evening came in the form of the girl with sharp elbows standing to my left. I am sure that she referred to me as that thick short annoying girl that was in the way to her right.

A friendly girl who might just be the biggest Subjects fan on the planet turned to me and said "This is the best therapy that money can buy" while getting her groove on.

For me, a therapeutic rock show would be a different kind of music but to each her own.

The South got a button and a poster, I bought a CD, and the RM met someone really nice.

I would like to point out here that all of the acts that performed that night were Brooklyn bands. Represent!

After a whole day of playing phone and text tag I didn’t manage to meet up with G. Such is how it goes. Meeting up with your friends is doable. Meeting up with your friends, their friends, friends of your friends, and friends of their friends is well nigh impossible. There is always someone who will make the whole thing too difficult and intractable. That person is frequently, me.

Sadly, I got to a point in the night where I could party no more. Promises of late night drinks, exciting new locales, and hotel pool parties could not keep me going. I could not even navigate the late night subway system and TS was kind enough to let me crash Chez du Sud after a super greasy slice of pie.

The next morning was flooded with righteous sunshine and gorgeousness. And I departed Chez du Sud to step into it. I wandered through his new neighb (or as G would say his new hood): Chinatown. Walking back towards the train I passed by a Mahayana Buddhist temple and decided to stop in.

It was decorated red and gold and yellow. Incense wafts through the area, there is a long table of elder Chinese folks chanting, and a string of people coming through with offerings of oranges and other food for the buddah and the ancestors. They bowed and kneeled and prayed. There is an enormous Buddah statue in the back of the room serene and seated. I walked over to one of the red folding chairs against the wall to the left and sat down taking it all in. The chanting was strange and beautiful and soothing. Though I entered the temple empty handed and clueless I felt somehow welcome.

You can get a fortune with a dollar donation mine read:
"Probability of success: Excellent
May the sick be healed and the hungry fed.
May the chained be freed and the lonely wed.
By great leaders may the nation be led.
And on sensible grounds may we all tread."

Whatever that means.

After a bit I walked out and wandered around part of Chinatown. There was a man fixing shoes outside and an old woman playing a traditional stringed instrument. I passed salons where you can get your hair cut for $17 and get your hair permed for $60. Many vendors were out hawking pajamas and produce, trinkets and gadgets.

I bought a bag of grapes and meandered on across town and caught the train home. Met up with G and went to J and her fiancee A's house for some brunch. They have a lovely place in Brooklyn, and a pushy, friendly puppy, and were most hospitable.

After frantically looking to flag a cab with G and then seeing her ride off to the airport suddenly I was alone on the streets of Brooklyn with a little time on my hands. So I bought a coat on sale in the color aubergine (aka: eggplant) and then curled up at home with a comic book that I checked out from the library

The RM came back from her second weekend adventure and the two of us went to see went to see "Music and Lyrics”. We have been talking about seeing it since like forever and were happy to catch it while still in the theaters. And it was cheesey, hilarious, romantic and delightful.

The song "Pop Goes My Heart" is going to be the soundtrack to my life for many days to come. I am sure of it.

It occurs to me now that culturally my weekend was an inverted cheese sandwich with a piece of bread between two pieces of cheese.
Cheesy 80’s (footloose), Current Indie (the Sin-e show), and Cheesy 80’s nostalgia. But in a good way.

*** update ***

And for those who were looking for something very specific and had the patience to scan all the way down to here, Dude, I miss Olga too. And it's possible that I have them in the wrong key b/c my geetar is out of tune.

part A (repeat many times)
G A Bm D
transition (you are gold...)
G A F#

chorus
G A D Bm
G A (just can't...)


And parts of the other one.
in the wrong key

part A
A F#m A F#m
D E D E

Chr
A F#m D A

the change?
E D (E maybe?)

... and stuff

Outro
E D E D A (this part I can't vouch for)
A F#m

Now go fake your way through it.
As for you title seekers, sorry I can't help ya.

*addition on Jan 6, 2008*

Since there are a number of people who have come here and walked away disappointed I'd like to offer you googleheads a little something purely for educational purposes. In the wrong key.

[G]Figuring out you and me
is [C]like doing a [D]love autopsy
[G]They could operate all day long
and [C]never figure out [D]what went wrong
[C]love [G]autopsy [C]love [G]autopsy
[C]ah [G]ah [C]ah [D]ah
what went [G]wrong

Should I stay or should I go

I have been wrestling with a decision for several weeks. To stay in New York or take a job in Boston? I have a whole post written during the throes of my personal agony which it seems silly to post now. Now that I think of it there is a whole episode of the first season of “Felicity” that was devoted to this question as well. For different reasons of course.

Somewhere over the last month or two I fell in love with this place. I don't know what happened. I just know that it did. PS sighs when I tell her this and says that it's a clear case of stockholm syndrome.

I called everyone I know to talk to them about it. I asked everyone who called me about it. And finally last Thursday night I came to a decision. I almost backed out the next day but with a pep talk from the RM, I steeled myself, walked into the office and told them that I wanted to stay in New York.

Up to now I have been letting myself drift on the currents allowing them to take me wherever they may. Bending to the will of fate and the demands of others. But on Friday I planted my feet on the ground and made a decision. One decision. New York. I am not passing through. I am here.

I promise myself that it is the first of many decisions. Now is as good a time as any. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Friday, March 02, 2007

refuse from reading "the Cluetrain Manifesto"

It's a book about the internet written back in 2000. It's not a technical books about coding or routing or what have you. Rather, it is a romantic meditation on how the internet changes the market and business and how the internet changes the world. In parts the language and the vision is quite beautiful. Cutting, funny, poetic, even.


"The problem, of course, is that life is anti-formulaic, anti-institutional ... Life can't be shrink-wrapped, caged, dissected, analyzed, or owned. Life is free." - Christopher locke

"Imagine a world where everyone was constantly learning, a world where what you wondered was more interesting than what you knew, and curiosity counted for more than certain knowledge. Imagine a world where what you gave away was more valuable than what you held back, where joy was not a dirty word, where play was not forbidden after your eleventh birthday. Imagine a world in which the business of business was to imagine worlds people might actually want to live in someday. Imagine a world created by the people, for the people not perishing from the earth forever." -Christopher Locke


"TechnoLatin takes perfectly meaningful words and empties them ...Today we no longer make chips, circuit boards, computers, monitors, or printers. We don't even make products. Instead we make solutions, ...

Equally vague and common are platform, open, environment, and support when used as a verb. A veterinarian using TechnoLatin might say that a dog serves as a platform for sniffing, is an open environment for fleas, and that it supports barking.

This isn't language. It's camouflage" - Doc Searls


The way David Weinberg sees it, the Web is different from the internet. The web is documents, hyperlinks, and the human voice. The internet was merely okay. When the web was added to it that's when things really started to cook.


Seven years after this book was first published, I wonder to what degree their dreams and predictions have become a reality. As far as I can tell corporations are as they ever were. We just spend more time at work in front of computers.

What happened to this revolution? Does the fight continue?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ain't no cure for the uncertain of copyright violation blues

Recently I made up my very first knock, knock joke:

Knock, knock
-Who's there?
Olive.
-Olive, who?
Olive the leaves are brown.

I posted it on that online dating site I've been lurking on and someone left me a knock knock joke as a comment:

Knock, knock
-Who's there?
Andy.
-Andy who?
Andy sky is grey.

Which I found to be pure genius. And in thinking about these two knock knock jokes in juxtaposition I thought of a third:

Knock, knock
-Who's there?
Ivan.
-Ivan, who?
Ivan for a walk.

So heady with the thrill of authorship and group inspiration I tried to propose a project on the ORG based on this exchange. Except that I don't know what I am doing on the ORG. I thought I could post text and invite other ORG members to post their own knock knock jokes. And apparently the project section is all about the sharing of photos, video, and audio. There doesn't seem to be a way to share snippets of text.

Errr...

Ok. So, I recorded myself saying all three of these knock knocks. I sang the last line of each one. Adjusted the amplification levels, Converted the file to MP3 and ... well that's where I got kinda stuck.

Uhhh...

See ... if you want to upload and share a movie you can do it at YouTube. If you want to upload and share a photo you can do it at Flickr or Photobucket or something.

If you want to upload and share an MP3 ... there's not obvious place to do it. I mean, you can put your stuff up on myspace and play it on their player. You can put your stuff up on purevolume and play it on their player.

I had a thought, maybe I could upload it to a yahoo briefcase and link to there. No such luck. If you want to upload a file to yahoo briefcase you can for free. If the darn thing will recognize you file. Yahoo briefcase doesn't like knock knock jokes.
And if you want to share your files publicly, you have to pay for that privilege.

So I turned to the google oracle to see what she might tell me.

Boomp3.com? I must guarantee that I am not violating a copyright by throwing audio of myself telling knock knock jokes.

Which got me thinking about the fact that i do not have a lawyer on retainer in case I get slapped with an injunction for telling knock knock jokes.

mp3-host.com? Same thing.

Archive.org and www.ourmedia.org? You need to put it up there with a creative commons license.

And frankly I don't know if I am able to post someone else's knock knock joke without permission.
I don't know if a series of knock knock jokes that are lousy puns based "California Dreamin" by the Mamas and the Papas is kosher from an intellectual property point of view.

*sigh*

What I mean to say is that I am
too miserly
too cowardly
too neurotic
and too lazy to post 27 second piece of incredibly dorky audio.

******edit**********

In case you are not the sort to read the comments. This is a correction: JD Lasica was kind enough to stop by and set me straight.

"Feel free to post it at ourmedia.org. We've never required a Creative Commons license -- you can choose any variation of copyright you want, including full copyright."

Straight from one of the founders, my friends.