Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Hobby Alert

Just thought I'd update you with what i'm doing lately when not sleeping or laying in bed trying to sleep, because, as I've said before, why have a blog if you can't talk about your interests as if people actually cared. Unless you don't actually have a blog, your friend does, and then makes you write for it and then adjusts the formatting and removes your references to sodomy.

Anyway, getting back on track, my interest in lists and all things census-related has brought me to to trying to figure out Google data, and while I haven't really found what I'm looking for, Webtrends is a decent approximation for now. It's an easy way to browse search terms that have spiked recently. Today's search terms are pretty lame, due to the dumb Boston/World Series thing, though the inner high-schooler in me grudgingly moved her finger and clicked on cheerleader trampled, original pledge of allegiance, and dropout factories.

Yesterday was a winner with anarchic hand syndrome, patricide, and shipoopi all making it to the top 5.

On an awkwardly personal note, my grumpiness subsided with subsequent refill of psychotropics, thanks for asking.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Again, I Hate Titles

I've been meaning to post for a while but have also been in a terrible mood, and wanted to shield you from all that. But after shouting like a million obscenities at my printer (my roommate's printer - all my stuff is actually my roommate's), I figure I may as well take it public and list some things I hate:

1. That sound babies make when they're unhappy. You know that sound, it's like a mix between a squeal and a shriek and it's impossible to ignore.

2. Cockroaches. I've told you about my cockroach phobia and where it come from, and if I haven't you can ask someone else. It involves a foam mattress, a bottle of raid, some pot and the most roach infested apartment in history. In Sydney, obviously.

3. Sydney, Australia. For sucking when it claims to be so good.

4. Those people who stop in front of you when you are trying to walk on the sidewalk.

5. Boston accents. Actually, everything about Boston.

6. Window's Vista. Because it's annoying and I have to reformat my computer to get rid of it and, I don't know, that sounds like a pain in the ass.

7. The Spin Doctors. Possibly the worst band in history.

I am so bored of this list and I haven't even scratched the surface. On the plus side, If these were the only things that made me unhappy, life would be pretty sweet. So I'll just leave it and pretend that's the case.

What are you going to be for Halloween?

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I've been wondering about Toronto ever since I learned urban philosopher Jane Jacobs forsook her beloved New York to move there in 1968. Now I find out some crazy jugendlicher has been tagging walls around Corktown "Gustav Mahler?" Sign me up!

Friday, October 12, 2007

15 Step

I’ve heard In Rainbows about five times now, enough to know I like it, but too soon for any definitive statements. (Sorry, Alice. Sorry, Thom.) Meantime, I thought I’d hold you with a quick description of the first track “15 Step” which so far strikes me as one of the best on the album and lends itself well to the sort of "evidence gathering" that was supposed to be happening here from day one.

As usual, I haven’t paid much attention to lyrics, but the title makes a sort of musical sense when you consider the piece is in 5/4 meter. (If you were in music school and an incredible nerd, you might make up a 15 step dance and feel confident you were staying in time. Most other pop songs, in 3/4 or 4/4, would require a 12 or 16 step - just fyi.)

Anyway, the piece opens in this awkward meter with annoyingly trebly drums to match. Yorke’s voice when it enters provides relief and contrast. His melody, somewhat unusual for this band, is blues-based, and he delivers it in a smooth croon that reminds me of a young Michael Jackson.

It’s a stark introduction – just Yorke and drums – but the ear doesn’t miss much as the vocal melody traces chords and implies its own harmony. That said, it’s another relief when the guitars come in after two cycles, fleshing out the harmony and providing more smooth textures in contrast to the drums.

With the guitar in, and a few measures later a deep melodic bass, the melody intensifies and you think you’ve arrived at the chorus. Could be, but then it lasts longer than the purported verse and you never get it exactly the same way twice. Like a lot of great Radiohead songs (“2+2 = 5” and “Paranoid Android” come immediately to mind) “15 Step” moves in a straight line rather than cyclically.

The rest of the song rides the chorus-like groove with a few cool touches along the way: a group of kids (see above) whooping as the beat snaps back around, a sudden reverb blur as Yorke intones “15 Step,” a melodic swell during a breakdown which I still can’t place as vocals or synth.

The lyrics from what little I gather are classic Yorke ready-mades: “cat get your tongue,” “won’t take my eyes off the ball again,” “reel me out and cut the string.” Yorke, as always, seems to have a lot on his mind, but I think sound usually trumps sense in these songs. (Perhaps the most movingly delivered line: “etcetera, etcetera.”)

In any event, it's a great one. The textures have beautiful contrast, the vocal performance is as good as any Yorke has given, and the odd meter feels entirely natural as I do my weird dance. Have you heard it yet? Thoughts?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pedal Pointers

I'm not generally interested in music written to demonstrate technical principles, but a recent assignment to compose a piece making use of "pedal points" has been a lot of fun. There's a good, long explanation of pedals (sometimes also known as pivot tones) at Wiki, but a more rough definition might just be "a note held over from one chord to another." If we were to switch from a C-chord (C-E-G) to a G chord (G-B-D), say, the note G would be our pivot (or the only note that shows up in both chords).

When pedals are used frequently, they give music a sort of droning, static quality, and make transitions between chords fluid. (Power chords, used frequently by novice guitarists, can sound choppy because they don't make use of pedals. See "Iron Man.")

In any event, rather than bore you with theory, I figured I'd give you a few favorite examples. The first is "Everything in Its Right Place," from Radiohead's Kid A, released in 2000. You can hear the pedal in the keyboard introduction: it's the highest note repeated in each of the three-chord series.

The second piece is by Chopin: Prelude no. 15 from 1839. It's been nicknamed the "Raindrop" prelude because of a series of steadily repeated eighth notes, supposedly inspired by rain beating on the roof of the composer's home (with George Sand) in Majorca. It's these "raindrops" - gentle, then stormy, then gentle again - which are the pedal points here. Try to ignore the guy's facial expressions; they're pretty raunch.

Finally, there's "French Disko," a Stereolab single from 1993. The pedal here chimes out from the guitar during the step-wise moving chords of the verse. The back-up singer (the lovely Mary Hanson, who died in a bicycle accident in 2002) also reinforces it.

Hope that was reasonably clear. If not, just enjoy the music!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New Modest Mouse Video - "Little Motel"


Apparently Jake mistook my absence as his cue to turn this into a Radiohead fanboy site. I half expect naked photos of Jonny Greenwood to appear in his next post.

We could be posting about that awesome Caribou show at Bowery Ballroom on Saturday or the last perfect beach day of the summer or Sunset Rubdown last night. All music and/or sunshine related. But that doesn't seem to be happening,

Here's what I have to say about the matter: The results for Google query "pull a Radiohead" has leapt from somewhere around 186 late Monday night to 418 (and counting) today. Let's hope this is a reversible trend, as I find the phrase almost as distasteful as that guy who doesn't realize it's not funny when you yell "Freebird!" at a concert. Embarrassing.

It's now up to 926. If only the stock market was this predictable.

Here We Go

First impressions of complex music are usually pretty useless. Still, wanted to jot down a few notes if only to see how things develop:

01) Album delivered on-time, no downloading glitches
02) No jaw-dropping departures
03) They've been listening to reggae
04) In Rainbows: nothing to do with gay lib
05) Yorke's voice: still wonderful
06) "Faust Arp": they've been listening to Nick Drake
07) Phil Selway (drums): stiff or tasteful?
08) They've been listening to Krautrock (see 7)
09) Guitars: delicate or lifeless?
10) "Videotape": better solo (see clip below)?

More later, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Okay, YouTube. But check this: live version of the last song on In Rainbows.

The way he shakes his head as he plays the opening chords, weirdly off pulse, makes me wonder what the recording will be like. (The audible toe-tapping toward the end, also on a slightly different pulse, might be another clue.) Skittering polyrhythms? Here's hoping.

Enough now. I will not write about this band or album for at least an hour.

In Waiting

Just paid $10 or the iTunes equivalent of full-price for In Rainbows, out in a matter of hours. My rationale:

a) Pay-what-you-will seems like a good idea and we ought to support it. If Radiohead gets paid, other bands should follow.

b) I expect I'll listen a lot. Why stint?

c) When you don't know about pricing, imitate an established model.

d) I have this feeling Thom's wandering eye will somehow fall on my order - one of millions, yes, but I have this hunch. He'll smile or twitch or do whatever it is Thom Yorke does to express pleasure, and he'll be moved to phone. (He has my info now - am I the only one this pleases?) "You're worth it, Tommy," I'll say coolly, the new album playing softly in the background. "Thanks for the music."

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Taste: Get Some

Such was my response to the ugly poll below and the weirdly enraging salad I had with lunch. What is it with New York City chain-grocery produce? Sometimes it feels more conceptual than edible. I know this isn’t news, but Lord, this pepper: enormous, firm, a beautiful glossy red, but utterly, utterly tasteless. Does a person really need to go to farmers' markets to get produce that tastes of this earth (and not some unsubtle marketing firm)? I have a new understanding of ranch dressing. . .

Friday, October 5, 2007

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Rainbows Redux

The Times Music section devotes its lead story today to a survey of East Village hipsters asked what they'll pay for In Rainbows. It's an interesting question, but the piece almost entirely fails to address how people arrive at their figures.

One guy says he'll give $5 or, weirdly, $8, depending on his next pay check; another will give $5 because Radiohead "already have plenty of money." Beyond this, we get very few justifications.

As I consider what I'm willing to pay, I realize the issues are fairly complex. For instance, doesn't it seem unfair to go with the guy above who values labor based on the economic status of the worker? Should we pay people less just because they're rich? (Shouldn't taxes account for this already?) Or conversely, should we pay less just because we're not?

It's also unclear how the cost of production (equipment, manpower, time, etc.) should factor into our decision. (And why do I suddenly sound like a Marxist?) Should a piece for orchestra go for more than one for solo guitar? Should we pay more for an album that took two years to produce rather than two weeks?

Finally, should we consider quality? If the album is great, as I expect it will be, should we pay top dollar? If it's crap and we only listen a few times, can we justify taking it for free?

Alice, commenters, what are you thinking? How do you handle these questions in other, comparable situations - at pay-what-you-will cultural institutions, say, or when they pass around the hat at a rock show? How does this mesh with your feelings on other issues - taxation, for instance, or the obligations of pharmaceutical companies to the world's poor? What would you do in an ideal world? What will you do in this one?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Dollars & Cents

It feels a bit ungrateful to quibble with Radiohead's pay-what-you-will release scheme for the upcoming In Rainbows, but did anyone else notice that to get all the music you have to drop around 80 bucks for a deluxe "discbox" (including two LPs I would guess the majority of consumers will never play)?

I'm all for artists getting paid and I suppose it's cool Radiohead still has an appreciation for LP culture and collectors in general. But if they're trying to be so egalitarian, save energy, subvert capitalist norms, why force us to pay so much to get all the songs? (I have no problem paying extra for art which can't really be had in a low-cost digital equivalent.)

I'm not sure. Perhaps the band isn't trying to be political, but just responding realistically to the MP3 age. After all, they've never shied from elaborate and expensive releases in the past; and maybe this isn't so much about saving us money as presenting more diverse options for spending it. (Have any economists chimed in? Will Radiohead make any money on this deal?)

Also, I suppose one could argue at least they're doing something, and that from a band who commands such market power it's all the more meaningful. Still, I think of this bit of ham-handedness off Amnesiac and feel a bit confused:

"We are the dollars and cents and the pounds and pence
And the mark and the yen, and yeah
We’re gonna crack your little souls
We’re gonna crack your little souls"

I'll take Fugazi over Radiohead for DIY credibility any day. But for better or worse, when it comes time to listen, ethical considerations quickly fall away. One week to go, folks. . . just one week to go!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Am Testing a New Feature

Which means you can watch this commercial for a tv show that no longer exists except in the hearts of its fans. Of which I am one. Aw.

Tell me, did this take a long time to load? If not, I am going to have fun with this feature.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

'Tis a Gift

I'm just sitting here in front of the computer thinking about simplicity and how good it is with regards to book covers (see: one, two, three, four), album covers (see: one, two, three, four), and music in general (see: Oh, you know. It's called rock 'n roll.)

What do you think? Are these even simple? Or good? Because now I'm questioning the whole thing and getting all "whoa, what is simple, what is good, etc."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

To The Three Boroughs

I am back in New York and have lived in 3 boroughs in the past month, and I may as well use it as an excuse to make Jake happy and write something here. Though each neighborhood I lived in isn't necessarily indicative of the entire borough, I think some generalizing could work here. So here are my thoughts:

Jackson Heights, Queens - Definitely the sleepiest of the three. I got lost trying to find the subway on the first day, which lost points for the whole borough. What is the deal with the numbered roads and avenues and streets all intersecting? And the numbers go up to down? I don't know, but i don't like it. I think the big selling point of this neighborhood is it has great Indian food. I don't like Indian food. Minus two. No place to get out of the house and read (ie. coffee shop, community garden, etc.). Minus three. Plus one for the people I was staying with, who were good company and fed me dinner almost every night. They also taught their cat tricks like fetch and shake, which was very amusing. Overall score: -2.

Lower East Side, Manhattan - Okay, so because I used to live here I settled in quite comfortably. Perhaps too comfortably, according to my brother. Good places to get out and read: Tompkins square park, plenty of coffee places (Roasting Plant on Orchard for the best coffee, though not ideal for sitting around for long periods of time), Bagel Zone, Sugar Sweet Sunshine (cupcakes). Plus I could get my tofu cream cheese at Russ and Daughter's. Annoying drunk bridge and tunnelers on weekends, annoying drunk new yorkers on weekdays, generally too loud at night/early morning, shish kabob guy who yells every night at like 3am. Cold as ice American Apparel employees always around. Also, for some reason the guy who lives on the benches outside American Apparel makes me uncomfortable now. I don't know why, he's perfectly nice, it's just sometimes I don't want to say "hi," but I have to or else i'm being rude and he will call me on it. Generally when I walk by him I'm either tired or in a hurry, and I rarely feel like talking to anyone really, even if it's just a quick nod and hello.

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn (billed as Prospect Heights on Craigslist. It's not.) - I guess I'm a Brooklyn person. I like the wider streets with less foot traffic, and the occasional tree and nice looking brownstones but with more activity going on than in Queens. Lots of families and people hanging out on their stoops, which reminds me of summer, one of my favorite things. Plus for lots of bargain stores (I got a towel today for 5 bucks. I don't even know how much towels normally cost, and it's a weird orange color, but still, I needed one and that seems cheap.) Minus for the fried chicken place on every corner, for the selfish reason that when I'm hungry and walk by one I sort of wish I ate meat because it would be convenient and it smells pretty good, but then I feel grossed out. Minus for some disturbing conversations on the street including this one woman today saying "so i hit her. just in time for the case worker to come...such an inconvenience." Plus for the big room I have, and plus for my nice-seeming roommates. Minus for always being the only white person on the street because I don't like standing out in a crowd. Minus also for the 1 to 3 comments per block (assuming people are on it, and I am totally not exaggerating) I receive based on the fact that I'm a girl. As previously mentioned I don't generally like unsolicited attention and fake pleasantries. Maybe it's partially my fault for always making eye contact with people, but one time I got yelled at for not making eye contact (this was a long time ago, in San Francisco I think) and now I just do it automatically. This didn't annoy me at first but now it does because, though the comments aren't menacing, they do (in my opinion) have something to do with demonstrating a power imbalance. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this one. Overall, still my preferred neighborhood. If you have a place in the Bronx or whatever the fifth borough is (Staten Island? Is it Staten Island?), I need a place to live from the 27th to the 1st....

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Just So You Know

1. We are still alive.
2. I doubt Jake is still listening to that same Smog album.

Confirmation on both of these items, Jacob?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Few Things Jake Can Post About

How to make a piñata
10 of his top favorite things he likes about alice
Gerard Grisey
Steve Malkmus
Lester Bangs
Least favorite band name
His recent trip to California
Thoughts on "To Catch a Predator"
Which headphones he would buy if he was buying headphones?
Hearing loss in people born after 1979
The death penalty
The radio
Brief history of the 6 day war (حرب الأيام الستةة; מלחמת ששת הימים)
Most annoying piece of music ever
Favorite gay indie rockers
Who likes female musicians?
Favorite bill put before the current 110th U.S. Congress
Short story ideas
The ethics of dairy
Songs about milk
Songs with his name in them

Friday, August 3, 2007

Bad Brains, Revisited.


Okay, has anyone else heard the name Bad Brains come up several times in the past year and brushed it aside each time thinking, "yeah, they say it's Bad Brains, but they probably mean some crappy reunion thing with some random guy on vocals doing a bunch of reggae?" Does anyone else feel really stupid for ignoring the fact that one of the best bands on earth released an album over a month ago, or has played a spate of live shows recently with all four original members?

The two of us that make up Gathering Evidence have never claimed to be on top of anything or particularly up to date when we talk about music. We don't scour the web for the hottest new thing or even let you know when bands we like are playing in your town before they actually play (Mae Shi, Brooklyn, last night.) But still. I am getting all worked up, not because I have been neglecting Bad Brains for the last month (or year,) but for the past ten years.

You might relate when I say sometimes there are moments when I am listening to a piece of music and think this band/musician/song/album/etc. is perfect in every way. I'll remember something like that for a period of time and then file it away while I start looking for other things that make me feel like that. For a short period of time in high school I was totally in love with Bad Brains. It seemed hard to imagine anything better than 4 black guys into jazz and reggae and prog rock playing hardcore punk with random dub intervals. Even cooler to think they started in the late seventies, before the Clash released Sandinista! (the only other album I'd heard of that attempted to mix genres like that), and before Minor Threat (often cited as the originators of hardcore) even existed.

Turns out it is still hard to imagine it. That and the fact that they are all incredibly skilled musicians -- something that's not actually all that common in a lot of punk rock -- makes them all the more impressive. Most obvious, I guess, are H.R.'s vocals. He sings so fast it can be hard to differentiate lyrics from total gibberish, but he's got some serious range. In the video up there for "Pay to Cum" he sings the verse "I came to know with now dismay/ That in this world we all must pay/ Pay to write, pay to play/ Pay to cum, pay to fight" in under three seconds and then gets almost soul-y with the chorus "And all in time/ With just our minds/ We soon will find/ What's left behind." Mad props. But his brother, Earl Hudson, is probably just as proficient on drums. Same goes for Dr. Know's guitar-playing and Darryl Jenifer's bass. They're a really tight band.

So I am excited to get the chance to hear the new album, Build a Nation, which, incidentally, was produced by Adam Yauch (MCA) of the Beastie Boys. I probably won't blog about that, though.

Note to Jake: Go here. Wait to load. Fast forward to about 2:50. Repeat as necessary.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Shame On You

Yeah, all of you, but mostly you, Jacob Wunsch. I know you read music blogs. I know you check out Pitchfork on a regular basis. You are supposed to do these things not just for your own interest, but so I don't have to. Why no mention of Dan Deacon? Is it because he's unattractive (Jake prefers attractive people, hence his frequent interaction with me?) He got on the Pitchfork best new music list back in May. I haven't bothered to read the review, but I hear Spiderman of the Rings got an 8.7 or something. Did you keep this information from me because he is annoying after more than one listen?

I've decided that maybe more reviews should be done upon the very first impression of particular piece of music. None of this "I think I'll play it a few more times to see if it holds up" business. Because isn't that first experience valid too, even if the music doesn't turn out to be destined for heavy ipod rotation? I have a good time listening to a new album, it can be really fun, especially if it sounds something like Spiderman of the Rings.

I want to be more impressionable. I will change my profile pic to that of Frank Ramos to show my solidarity with Dan Deacon fans.

So, I could be wrong, but I think Dan Deacon is a genius. "The Crystal Cat," "Okie Dokie," and "Snake Mistakes" make me feel lucky to be living in the 21st century. Though I can appreciate ye olde timey things like record players, typewriters and monocles, you will rarely hear me badmouthing anything that pulls us a little further out of the dark ages. So when someone gets his masters in electro-acoustic and computer music composition he gets points in my book.
Dan Deacon's music's not all haphazard college like you might expect, either. He just likes to use technology to his advantage. Here's a nice interactive video of how Dan Deacon works. Though the vocoder might be one of the more annoying instruments out there (think that stupid Cher song that goes "do you believe...",) it looks pretty fun to use. So does the other stuff, actually. Jake? Want to go to some flea markets?

Please view this unpopular but extremely enjoyable (in my opinion) youtube video of the song "The Crystal Cat." Warning: this may trigger seizures.


Seeing him play is supposed to be like hanging out at a giant dance party with him in the middle of everything. It's unfortunate that the next time he plays in New York will be at the infamous Webster Hall, opening for Girl Talk. Maybe he'll set up somewhere other than the stage?

September 6th - Seattle, WA @ The Vera Project
September 7th - Portland, OR @ Holocene
September 8th - Chicago, IL @ The Hideout Block Party (5 pm)
September 8th - Chicago, IL @ AV-Aerie (2000 W. Fulton) (8pm)
September 12th - Toronto, ON @ The Phoenix*
September 15th - New York, NY @ Webster Hall*
September 17th - Philadelphia, PA @ Starlite Ballroom*
September 20th - Charlottesville, VA @ Satellite Ballroom*
September 21st - Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel*
September 22nd - Atlanta, GA @ MJQ Concourse*
September 23rd - Hattiesburg, MS @ Thirsty Hippo
September 24th - Houston, TX @ Walters on Washington
September 25th - Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
September 27th - San Diego, CA @ Epicentre*
September 28th - Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex*
September 29th - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore*
October 4th - Oberlin, OH @ Dionysus Disco
October 5th - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue*
October 6th - Iowa City, IA @ The Picador*
October 11th - St. Louis, MO @ The Billiken Club
October 12th - Grinnell, IA @ Grinnell University Gardner Lounge
October 19th - Bennington, VT @ Bennington University
October 20th - Alfred, NY @ Alfred University
*=opening for Girl Talk

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What You've All Been Waiting For.

Not The Post, but A Post. You'll take what you can get, right?

I have placed Jacob on a plane back to the right side of the country, so am now free to sit at my computer for hours on end, unencumbered by voices saying things like "let's get some cold-brew coffee," or "don't you think we should jump into the Pacific Ocean right now even though it is so cold to make your bones ache? Even though someone got attacked by a great white in this very spot a couple of days ago?"

Remember the bloody foot photo I alluded to several weeks ago? Finally got the film developed. This is what happens when you step on a nail sticking out of an old piece of wood behind the chicken coop and then hobble down a small hill to get inside and then realize you should probably go upstairs and get your camera before washing everything off in the shower:

Included in photo above: flip-flop glistening with sticky blood, plastic bag I put around my foot when walking upstairs to find the camera, and a nice looking footprint. Below: Awesome.

In case you were wondering, the people developing your film do totally look at your photos. I went to pick these up yesterday and the guy at the counter said, "Was that real blood on someone's foot? 'Cos, man, that's a lot of blood."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I have, like, no earthly idea what you're talking about

Dubya tackles copyright law (via Rambler):

Q. Mr. President, music is one of our largest exports the country has. Currently, every country in the world — except China, Iran, North Korea, Rwanda and the United States — pay a statutory royalty to the performing artists for radio and television air play. Would your administration consider changing our laws to align it with the rest of the world?

THE PRESIDENT: Help. (Laughter.) Maybe you’ve never had a President say this — I have, like, no earthly idea what you’re talking about. (Laughter and applause.) Sounds like we’re keeping interesting company, you know? (Laughter.)

Look, I’ll give you the old classic: contact my office, will you? (Laughter.) I really don’t — I’m totally out of my lane. I like listening to country music, if that helps. (Laughter.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Old French Guy

I know some of you have been to Zucco, the French Diner on Orchard St. in the L.E.S. So tell me, friends, is this not a picture of Zucco's dad?

I found the photo on The Sartorialist, a site about, well, fashion. Uncharacteristic maybe, but this find made it worthwhile as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, if you've never been to the French Diner, it comes highly recommended. In fact, it's what made Ben and me want to move to the L.E.S. in the first place.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

More Tours

Everyone's favorite Australian's, the Lucksmiths, are finally returning to the U.S.
So far the only dates I can find are as follows:

Sept. 23rd at Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, CA
Sept. 24th at Crocodile Cafe, Seattle, WA
Sept. 27th at T.T. and the Bear's Place, Cambridge, MA
Sept. 28th at the Knitting Factory, NY, NY
Oct. 4th at Emo's Lounge, Austin, TX

Tours, Tours

Here's a question. Does anyone else find this as strange as I do? Interpol and Liars at Madison Square Gardens? Maybe it's not so weird, actually (I can flip-flop just like that.) Jake says he doesn't see why Liars and Interpol are placed into the same category. It makes some sort of sense to me. They're both what every 18 year old guy wants to be, right? The guitars are loud. I love guitars. It is said that white people like guitars. You might argue that Liars are more about drums. Well, you're probably right, but do you think they're complaining about playing Madison Square Gardens? Wait, I lost the point.

Jake, you also say you don't get Interpol at all, or why people think they're good. I like them. I think they're good. Maybe not mind-blowing or anything. Not as good as Liars. But they have guitars, remember? And some decent hooks. And they are very good grey day music. I maintain that maybe you are just jealous. Quit reading this stupid blog entry and make some music already, okay?

Another thing: Since when are they on Capitol Records? Didn't they listen to my rant about major labels? I saw Carlos on the subway the other day and he had this big fat expensive watch on. Just you wait, friend. They will suck you dry, and your fancy watch too.

On a related note, you can now start preparing your wallets for the two weeks surrounding my birthday (I left out the Webster Hall shows for the obvious reason that that place makes me unhappy):

Gruff Rhys (Hiro Ballroom 9/21, Union Hall 9/22)
The Lucksmiths (Knitting Factory, 9/28)
Akron/Family (Bowery Ballroom, 9/30)
Mountain Goats (Bowery Ballroom, 10/1; Studio B, 10/2)
Caribou (Bowery Ballroom, 10/6)
Sunset Rubdown (Bowery Ballroom, 10/8 & 10/9)

I'm afraid I'm too lazy to list the dates in other cities. Sorry about that. This is just a list to remind me of what I'm doing in the fall. Kind of like how wish lists on amazon are only to remind you which books you want to check out at the library.

Speaking of Gross

Tell me if this isn't the scariest thing that could ever happen: Five squirming fly larvae pulled from man’s head.

He got injected with bot fly eggs when he was bitten by a mosquito in Central America. Bot flies lay their eggs on mosquitoes; the mosquitoes then transfer the eggs to a host where they mature until they're ready to come out (20 to 60 days!) So you could have bugs crawling under your skin for a while.

Here is a video of a botfly larvae being removed from a girl's neck. She said it didn't hurt, but apparently these things can be really painful, traveling from one part of the body to the next.

Sick. They have hooks to hold on.

Three Things

First of all: Jake, why didn't you tell us of this rival poop blog? (warning: gross) You link to it with no mention of its toilet talk?

Here is some news: I saw Transformers tonight. Sometimes these things happen without my knowing how. What is not news is that it sucked so horribly. That's right. It was horrible at sucking. It sucked so much that it didn't even know how to suck. (I have clearly taken too many headache pills.) I can't even go into all the reasons it was so bad, but here are a few:

1. Every time someone (robotic-car-person or human) opened his or her mouth I was forced to curl up into a fetal position. In all seriousness. It was very embarrassing.
2. Trying to be an adult version of a kid's toy which begot an 80's cartoon is impossible.
3. I don't care how old a pair of glasses are, complex maps that show up on holographic screens are not imprinted on them because an evil robot alien gazed upon them with his laser eyes.
4. Hoover did not build the Hoover dam.
5. Shameless product placement.
6. Too long.

At least the autobots looked cool when they transformed...

Here is a totally un-funny drawing about headaches:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fake July

You may notice that we have a disproportionate number of posts about the Mae Shi. This is not because we are obsessed with the Mae Shi. I'm not, at least. Not sure about Jake. Anyway, this is only tangentially related, and I'll show you how in a minute.

Last night I was in my car, driving somewhere (we do this a lot in California), and listening to KFJC. It's one of the most worthwhile stations I know of, even though it gets boring sometimes since you pretty much NEVER hear anything you've ever heard before. They played a song by the Gowns, and I made sure to pay particular attention since the announcer mentioned it included members of the Mae Shi. Gowns sound absolutely nothing like the Mae Shi, in case you were wondering, or in case you wanted me to say that name again. Maybe we should just name this blog "Gathering Evidence About the Mae Shi."

Here is a graphical representation of how the people in Gowns are related to other projects. Sorry, it is hard to read. I suggest clicking on the image:

Gowns are more whispering, less screaming than the Mae Shi. Luckily, they also use synthesizers occasionally. But not in an obvious way. This would make sense, as Ezra's dad pretty much invented the synthesizer. No shit! Check this Youtube video. That is all sort of besides the point because I think the Gowns are more folky than electronic-y.

I "acquired" the Gown's album, Red State, immediately upon returning home to further investigate. I love the internet. I say this everyday; that is how much I love it.

I think the first song on Red State kind of sucks. It's called "Fargo," as in North Dakota, and is that talk-singing that many people can't pull off well because it's sort of intimate in a bad way and reminds me of bad acting. It sounds to me like Erika Anderson (who is one third of the band) doing a bad impression of Kim Gordon reading a poem with a bit of music in the background. But don't worry, that song is short enough and then the rest of the songs come and you might like those ones better. I did.

I can't find a link to any of the songs I want you to hear, so maybe you should just go to their myspace page if you're interested.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

George Melly

Lovely obit of the flamboyant English jazzman and writer George Melly in this week's Economist. This is the first I've heard of Melly, but will nonetheless mourn the loss of a man who, among other things, saw in deafness "Surrealist word-games in which question and answer were unrelated, or only incidentally and wonderfully so: 'What is reason? A cloud eaten by the moon.'"

Incidentally, the other English "trad jazz" musician mentioned in the article, Humphrey Lyttelton, now 85, leads the horns on Radiohead's amazing "Life in a Glasshouse" (2001).

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Words in the Way

New York Times classical reporting, never great, seemed particularly bad this week with this carping piece on, no kidding, liner notes from an album released in March 2005.

I hate pretentious writing as much as the author, and let's face it, modern classical inspires a lot of it but a) is a composer responsible for what's written about his music b) is there anything so confusing in the examples Holland cites and c) is the classical music beat so slow we actually need to make space for an article like this?

Also, if, as Holland writes, words get in the way, what of the music? The single paragraph at the end, tackling the apparently all-important issue of sound, doesn't give us many clues.

I'll blog more on Dalbavie and the spectral movement over the next few weeks. Contrary to what Holland may think, the music does say something new and is also unusually accessible, even sensuous.

Meantime, if you're interested, check this excellent post on Gerard Grisey's "Talea," a spectral classic if there is such a thing and one of my favorite pieces of music, period.

Monday, July 9, 2007

I Feel Like I've Been Duped

I recently joined Facebook and I am just sitting here wondering why. It's true that I got two invitations to join in the past week, have been mildly interested in catching up with a few friends of mine who I would have a hard time contacting otherwise, and the format seems to be better than the other social-networking sites I've seen (used, and dismissed). Facebook has some applications which link up with some of my favorite online time-wasters (last.fm and stumbleupon, to name a few.) But once I've reconnected with people (and have their e-mail, address, phone, etc.) I can see them in the real world, or at least contact them in a more private setting. Why bother logging into a site everyday just to talk to your friends? Doesn't that seem like an unecessary step?

People seem to post publicly on these sites: "on the wall" on facebook; "comments" in myspace; and, to a certain extent, "testimonials" on friendster. Why not just send them a private message if you want to say something like "great to hear from you" or "meet you at Starbucks in 10?" This sort of thing sets my insecurity radar off and frankly, annoys me. Communicating with people in a public forum when you could be doing so in private seems to go hand-in-hand with the need to show others (your friends, your ex, strangers who might want to meet or date you) how many friends you have and how much fun you're having with them. Does anyone really care? Do they care about your photos, your list of favorite movies, who your friends are and where they live?

But, yeah, someone does care, and that person is you. Or, in this case, me. Embarrassing as it is to admit, there is something very satisfying in the ability to look at a page that basically sums up who and what is important to you. I think everyone likes sorting and categorizing things, even if those things are our friends. From what I can tell, being able to visualize the abstract helps us, as humans, (only smart relative to other animals, not too impressive if you ask me) to understand our situation better. It's something that winds up making us feel secure and, well, satisfied.

So every time someone adds me as a friend (um, not like this has happened a lot) something goes off in my brain which makes me feel good. This may just be the honeymoon phase, but I like thinking that I can have all my friends in one place. That's something that wouldn't be possible in real life and, also, a pretty brilliant marketing scheme. The only reason I'd want the friends I stay in touch with regularly to join the site is to satisfy that need to categorize, but that's probably enough to get me to send the invite email that's set up for you when you join (no, I didn't send it to Jake, so I guess I've got some boundaries. I talk to him enough already, plus he'd just bring my cool factor down.)

I know I'll lose interest in this facebook thing in a few weeks (a few minutes if the feeling I've got after picking all this apart is any indicator), but will all that staring at my profile in between be bad for me? Will it make me more self-centered, or is the fact that I got there in the first place already an indicator of that? Not to mention, after I leave, my profile will stay up. That leads to a whole other issue regarding the willing surrender of privacy, doesn't it?

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Sound of Revolution

Though I'm sure you were as glad as I to have done with toilet talk, this comment, just added to an old post, should not go without readers. Writes "anonymous":
I'm glad this has been brought up because as it so happens I work at the same fancy law firm as the poster. Moreover, I work on the same floor and ergo use the same bathroom, and while I am not a lawyer, I admit that it's entirely possible that one of those noisy shitters could have been me.For a long time I agreed with the poster's position on noisy shitting. The sounds are as quirky as they are unpredictable, and like all things unknown in this world, we are quick to fear them. This need not be. I assure you, noisy shitting need not be embarrassing, and in due time, noisy shitting in the hidden presence of others can be a liberating, enjoyable experience.The
Anonymous Law Firm (henceforth known as ALF) provides the most serene,
civilized, and proper interactions known in New York City. Any service that
is performed by anyone for anyone must be accompanied with a "thanks," regardless of how inane or thankless the job may have been. Often, these "thanks" are communicated in single line e-mails between colleagues. For example, you might get an e-mail with the subject line "Thank," and the body reading "You." Complex hierarchies are established to provide easy to navigate routes for complaints, commendations, and inquiries. No consideration is left unconsidered. No minute or hour goes by unbilled. In this castle of perfect stone, nothing can subvert the sterility like the sound of feces being propelled through one's anus by the winds of sulphur. From behind the vanilla swing doors of a bathroom stall, anyone can subject the most feckless and elitist corporate evil-doer to the sounds of "embarrassment." Doing so can provide the shitter with immense joy. Just think: minutes ago Partner X was listening to a verdict from distinguished Judge Y. Now, he's listening to Halal chicken and rice from Thursday. Sucker.The truth is this: know your audience. It is important at ALF to not subject those on the same level, or worse, a lower level, to your sounds. However, should someone above you be in the bathroom (you can tell by their shoes), do not stall! From within that stall, you must go, and go violently, and loudly, and proudly. For every blast is the sound of revolution. Every blast is the echo of those poor souls who came before. Every blast is a devilish fist wave in the face of subjugation. So, dear poster, fellow user of the 24th floor bathroom, fear not the sounds of fury, for they sound not against you, but for you.
Oh, to write as well as one's readers. . .

Här kommer Pippi Långstrump

I wish I could say my recent absence has been for some valid reason, like bathing in the glory of our democratic independent state, but actually it's just because I rediscovered Worms Armageddon and am playing it like a total geek. I allow myself this simple pleasure, however, because it's one of only two games I like to play (the other being the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series, because Tony Hawk is a serious genius. Obviously).

Anyway, in between napalm strikes I looked up Pippi Longstocking (as you do) and noticed something sort of interesting. Here is a video of the theme song to the original Swedish series (later turned into 4 poorly dubbed English language movies):


It's sort of good, right? I mean, once you get over the semi-annoying child actor singing (which is actually really catchy and I kind of like, though it keeps me from falling asleep), it's kind of hip. Turns out the music was done by a famous (at least in Sweden) jazz musician called Jan Johansson. I'm not exactly sure how this works out, because he died (prematurely) in 1968 and the show started in 1969, but I'm not going to go through the whole rigmarole of researching that aspect. Instead I just downloaded two of his albums, Jazz på Svenska and Jazz på Ryska , which are his versions of Swedish and Russian folk songs, and I think they're pretty nice.

I don't listen to jazz; mostly because I don't know how or where to start, but also because when I think of jazz I think of those weird moments in David Lynch films where someone is playing the saxophone under blue lights and I don't know what's going on, nor do I like the sounds of the saxophone. From what I can tell, Jan Johansson's jazz is non-saxophone related and I can see why people like it. Jazz på Svenska (which means Jazz in Sweden as you probably could have guessed) is fairly minimalist -- just piano and bass. It's smart, and sounds complex and simple at the same time. You can picture what the old folk songs would have sounded like with other instruments because he takes care of all that with only the piano. Anyway, lucky you, I just found a video on youtube. Listen for yourself:


P.S. Pippi Longstocking was really cool because she had a horse that lived in the house and her dad was a pirate who left her home alone and she didn't go to school. Not to mention she had super-human power, a besides-the-point character strength. Basically my total hero. Also she apparently really loved coffee, an awesome attribute for a kid.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Holding Steady in Brooklyn

Too much time and ego means you search your own name on Google and turn up gems like this.

I'm the paralegal with awkward grammar; Alice, the musician's assistant in pink (!?) scarf. I don't think either of us were too thankful to be there.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Quartet with Catheter

If you can pull yourself away from toilet talk for a few minutes, check out this short essay on Morton Feldman's long String Quartet No. 2, written by one of the musicians who premiered it. Topping six hours, the piece creates problems for performers on all sorts of levels (not least - managing body fluids) but this one was surprising:

"Another big challenge, perhaps less obvious, is the act of playing very quietly. It actually requires much more physical energy to do less than more. Playing a virtuoso concerto that requires great technical agility is actually less physically demanding then playing softly, because we are accustomed to being in motion, not still. Downshifting both the speed and pressure of the bow goes against many years of training."

Using electronic instruments, where volume shifts are easily accomplished with knobs and pedals, I sometimes forget how tough it is to play quietly. But it is incredibly difficult: one tends to slow down, miss notes, lose pitch consistency.
Really curious to hear the piece now - and trying to imagine how one feels after six hours of repetitive music. This guy seemed to like it. Might try myself and report back. If you're in New York and curious, you need not commit.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Anti-Crap Sound

I was thinking about Jake's post this afternoon and wondering if there is some totally impractical way of reducing bathroom noise. It doesn't take much wondering to realize there is, and here's what I'm thinking: phase cancellation devices in bathroom stalls.

You've heard of those noise-canceling headphones, right? Well, those work on the principle that two sound waves that are out-of-phase with each other will cancel out. The closer they are to 180 degrees out-of-phase, the closer to silence the result is. It's like when you're in the tub and the water is getting cold so you run more hot water in and you start pushing it towards the back of the tub and it makes this wave back and forth but then eventually the waves sync up and flatten out and you can't seem to get the bath water in the back of the tub as warm as the water under the spigot.

So, what if MCW could go into the stall and flip a switch that was calibrated to the specific sound waves he emits during number two's? Maybe his sound waves have a frequency of 80Hz with an amplitude about 72 dB and a wavelength of about 4.3m. The machine would just reproduce those waves out of phase.

My whole theory breaks down, though, because it's not a constant sound he's making; it's intermittent, and probably random. Now, I may have absolutely no idea when I'm talking about (and I don't) but wouldn't that mean when no noise is coming from MCW there is a noise coming from the phase-shifter, and that noise sounds very much like MCW taking a dump? So then it'd only get quiet when he actually is pooping, and then you get to the point where which is more embarrassing?

Here is a photo of the graph I tried to draw when thinking about all this:

Crap Sound

I work at a fancy law firm and as one would expect the office is pretty tasteful. The lighting is mostly fluorescent, but tinted so it doesn’t look cold or strain the eyes. There’s expensive art up the walls (including some drawings by Sol Lewitt and Warhol), the air temperature is perfectly modulated, and office doors are thick so talking and other sound doesn’t escape into the halls.

In general, things are clean and quiet and, to me, anyway, pleasingly impersonal. So why, then, nearly every time I go to the bathroom, do I have to hear some uptight lawyer taking a noisy shit? It’s disgusting, humiliating for dumper and dumped-on alike, and totally out of place in the otherwise straitlaced corporate environment.

If I'm feeling gassy and sense someone else is in the bathroom, I usually flush a few times to block the sound. I thought this was known as a "courtesy flush," but I was mistaken. Turns out people are more concerned about smell than sound.

Since this is a waste of water, and no one else seems to do it anyway, I'd like to propose another solution: white noise generators. We have music and other camouflaging sound in almost every sphere of life – is there any reason we need to preserve silence in bathrooms? Would any of you mind a small box on the wall gentle whoosh as you go about your business?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Momma's Girls

You know those people who say things like, "my mom is so great, she is my best friend?"

Well, I hate those people. Are they really serious? Or too lame to have real friends?

That is why this NY Times article almost made me throw up. Am I sensitive or is there something really wrong with calling your mother 4 times a day. . . when you're 30 years old?

Yes, I'm sure there's something to be said for open communication, but do you get the feeling that our generation (those of us in our 20's and early 30's) refuse to grow up and there's someting inherently unhealthy about that? I mean, how many people do you know who've lived at their parents house (sometimes on numerous occasions) after their college years, or use their parent's credit card for groceries every once in a while? Okay, maybe that's just me. But do you think Mom and Dad were fucking around thinking about going to grad school on their parent's dime when they were 26? Hell no, they were taking care of their three kids and putting money into their 401K.

I think those of us who have a ton of support from the parents into our early adulthood are lucky, and I'm happy to have a lot more opportunities available to me than my mother had. But I can't escape the feeling that I'm getting away with something I shouldn't. And it certainly doesn't keep me from hating those losers that call up their mom every time they produce a successful bowel movement.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Spiders, Pumpkins, Whatever. Titles are Stupid.

On my way home from yesterday's shopping spree, I heard the new Smashing Pumpkins single, 'Tarantula' on the radio. Apparently the band's back together (no brooding James Iha, though), have a new album (Zeitgeist, out July 10), and are touring it this summer. Not just touring it, maybe beating a dead horse with it? Turns out the Smashing Pumpkins are playing eleven (sold out) shows at the Fillmore in July. Incredible.

I listened to the song ('Tarantula,' remember? We are talking about 'Tarantula') with no particular expectations; I've always been fairly indifferent to this band. Yeah, I'll admit they were pretty decent, good even, but I was never bowled over by them. Jake was, and perhaps he can explain why. I was pretty much too into Oasis in the 90's to notice anything that wasn't regularly covered in the British music magazines.

That might explain my first reaction to 'Tarantula,' which was, "It's like an Oasis song, but in 2007." Now, I know Oasis are still making music in 2007 (actually, I don't know that, but I assume they are), but does anyone care? I'm not going to say their stuff is bad, not at all, I still listen to "Definitely Maybe" every once in a while. But it's the 21st century now. Shouldn't things in the music world have progressed beyond a guy with a whiny voice (read: Billy and Liam) intoning lame lyrics (Billy: "I wanna be there when you're happy/ I wanna love you when you're sad;" Liam: "Maybe you're gonna be the one that saves me/ 'cos after all, you're my Wonderwall." Uhuh) with a really predictable music structure? Where's the music revolution I've been waiting for? Because this stuff is boring. Not necessarily bad, but boring to be sure.

Not only that, but guitar solos embarrass me if they aren't in heavy metal songs, and 'Tarantula' is rife with them.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Harry Potter Hype

I am thinking about going to see Harry and the Potters this weekend. Not just because they are cool, and brothers, and dress like Harry Potter and sing songs like Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock and This Book is so Awesome, and you get to see little kids rocking out. It's also because the final Harry Potter book comes out in a few weeks (July 21) and I don't want to waste it by not being appropriately hyped up. It helps that Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix comes out on the 11th, too.

Here's a question, though. Do you think there's something wrong with all these adults reading kid's books? Do they make us stupider? Are we burying our heads in childhood fantasy because we're no good at being grownups?

Personally I will defend the reading of Harry Potter books, though I was initially skeptical. I'm generally pretty picky about writing style and less interested in plot. I was pleasantly surprised that these books manage to balance the two well enough for me to enjoy them. So I'm not going to feel guilty for a little indulgence. Plus books that can freak kids out enough to get them standing in line to read are awesome.

Never Too Late

Just in time for the, er, week after Pride Week, this touching story about the world's oldest tenor celebrating his 105th birthday and getting hitched to a partner of two decades.

Lovely story, but can you believe a) the usually progressive Swiss just got around to legalizing civil unions or b) anyone could contemplate sending this sweet old guy to the devil?

"Most people were happy for us," he said, "though a few promised us 15,000 years in hell."

Thoughts, MCW?

Fear and Trembling

I've had a hell of a time trying to post these past few days, so thank you, Alice, for picking up the slack, and apologies to the rest of you for having to endure her. I'll try not to let it happen again.
I know this is meant to be a music blog, or at least I'm meant to be writing about music (Alice does as she likes), but I'd like to ask more broadly - does anyone else consume art with a sort of desperate, joyless fervor because you feel you can't produce something yourself?

If so, I feel your pain - and would love to hear how you've struggled to make the transition from consumer to producer. The intention here, with this short, lazy post is to make a start - usually the hardest part for me.

Here's hoping I'll be back soon with some thoughts on music. Meantime, thanks for your patience.

World's Scariest Man Snagged at Arby's After Shooting a CO

I only wanted to post this to show his photo. Is this guy nightmare-worthy or what? This article says Curtis Allgier was out of prison on a medical visit, stole the gun from a corrections officer and proceeded to fatally shoot him. He then stole a car and raced to Arby's (possibly the trashiest eatery ever) where he bailed out at the drive-thru and was finally subdued by a customer who "did not want to be identified." Next sentence says "KUTV says the customer was Eric Fullerton." Eric to the media: "Thanks, assholes." Okay, he didn't actually say that, but I would have.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Now that I broke down and started posting I figure I will write something banal since I can't sleep at all, despite taking a whole bunch of opiates for my migraine.

Today I went shopping for my godson's (okay, is it creepy that I can find photos of him online? Technology. He is the one in the blue sweatshirt who keeps showing up in these photos, probably because he's the cutest) 6th birthday. The birthday shopping is fun for so many reasons. I can't really lose because everything that's made in America is really expensive in Australia (where he lives) and not only that, just the fact that some stupid toy is from America makes it cool (until the kid hits teenagehood and begins to despise everything that has to do with the U.S. because we are stupid and loud and are trying to take over their culture. As if we think about Australia enough to actually try to do something like that. As if lawn bowls and Vegemite would really be missed. As if that stuff didn't come from England in the first place). But anyway, whenever I go to buy kid's stuff I am incredibly impressed with how cheap it all is. I'm not sure if this is because $10 isn't like a whole year's allowance anymore or if things are cheaper now, or if my parents were total cheapskates and didn't buy us anything that didn't come from a garage sale. I mean, come on. Hungry Hungry Hippos? I spent years coveting that game. And you know how much it costs? $15. Fifteen bucks! Seriously, I would have gotten a lot more than $15 worth of enjoyment out of that beautiful plastic contraption, even though there's always one hippo that works best and it only takes about 5 minutes to figure out which one it is. You know those Nerf basketball hoops you hang on your door and the net disappears in a couple days but the orange hoop stays there for years? $3.90. Is anyone else impressed by this or was I just a deprived child? Should I be feeling sorry for myself right now? Because I kind of do.

With adulthood comes the knowledge that with $50 I can choose whatever I want in a toy store and get like 5 of them. It's awesome. If you know any kids and want to buy their love, head over to Target or something. It's fairly painless and you'll probably get like 2 friendship bracelets in return.


I had this snippy conversation with Jake yesterday saying that I refuse to post until he comes back, but I figured I would mention that it's National HIV Testing Day since that's sort of time-sensitive information. Not to be a nag or anything, but you might as well participate in this since there a plenty of places to do it for free and it only takes 10 or 20 minutes to get the results these days. Including Union Square in NYC between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Even if you're pretty much positive you don't have HIV (um. . . awkward clause), why not go anyway? It seems to me that the more people that get tested, the more commonplace the whole procedure will be. That can't be a bad thing, right? Or will that just waste resources?

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Could someone please explain this article to me? I am totally lost. How would Janet Reno go about creating a 50 track compilition album featuring Danielson and Andrew Bird? Who is the target audience for 50 songs about the history of America? So many questions.

Last time I heard the words Janet Reno and music uttered in the same breath it was in this bizarre song by (female rapper) Arquette.

Friday, June 22, 2007

I guess you shouldn't base your baby's name on how easy it will be to txt it.

Baby names that correspond to places, and their rank on a list of the top 1000 names given to kids born in the U.S. in 2006:

Savannah (30)
Sydney (34)
Brooklyn (67)
Jordan (97)
Cheyenne (171)
Dakota (191)
Paris (260)
Georgia (273)
Carolina (281)
Aurora (312)
Asia (332)
London (353)
America (458)
Phoenix (816)

Austin (41)
Jordan (46)
Dakota (172)
Trenton (192)
Zion (266)
Dallas (352)
Orlando (356)
Dayton (540)
Boston (626)
London (638)
Houston (837)
Memphis (923)

Why so many Texan ones, and why does this not surprise me at all? Also, there are more girl place names than boy and I don't really get how you determine the sex of a place name.

The Registry of Births in New Zealand denied the name "4real" recently because they don't accept names beginning with numbers. Do they accept names not beginning with numbers, but including them, I wonder?

What do you think the worst name to give a kid would be (besides Adolf Hitler or Saloth Sar, please)? Humbert Humbert? Poop? Boston??

By the way, Jacob was #1 on the boys list last year and Alice was #383 on the girls.