Friday, July 29, 2005

Things I could do but won't ....

I really need to do something worthwhile. Before I die. Y'know, so I don't die without having done something worthwhile and all.

The folks over at The Reader Sucks gave me a fine idea to perform the same sort of service for Triangle residents ... only mine would be called "The Independent Sucks" and it would, of course, be about The Independent and not the Chicago Reader. The endeaver would be worthwhile because The Independent sucks far worse than The Reader ever has. See, even though The Reader is home to horrid, heinous things like movie reviewer Jonathan Rosenbaum (or, as we used to call him, Rozenputz or Rosenshitz), at least one could look forward to loathing him every week. In The Independent, there's not even anyone worth hating. Seriously--the rag has absolutely no personality whatsoever. It's rare that I can even make it all the way through a headline, that's how boring it is. And because it's written by the squishy people for the squishy people, it's completely predictable. You can bet every viewpoint will be slightly left-of-center (enough to be "hip") but not so left that it could possibly offend anyone the Indy's advertisers might want as a customer. (And remember kids, every viewpoint is equally valid, even the totally shitty and wrongheaded ones!)

So dedicating a few moments each week writing encomiums (encomia?) to the suckiness of our local weekly would be heroic. Alas, I'm no hero. I tried making myself read The Indy this week and failed. I try every week, and usually find myself paging ahead to the place in the classifieds where Independent Animal Rescue puts pictures of the dogs and cats they have available. Seriously, it's the most exciting thing about that paper.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hot hot hot

It was over 100 F here yesterday (the home thermometer said 103 when I got home from work yesterday.) It's supposed to be scorching again today, with ozone alerts and all. So I'm listening to temperature-appropriate music right now: Yerba Buena's new album Island Life. I hope it shows up in WXDU's mailbox ...

Meanwhile, they keep the air conditioning in this building blasting so hard I'm freezing my ass off.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Stumbling along the cutting edge ....

So I finally got my iTunes credits from salon.com, and I'm trying not to spend them all at once. But I just found something I absolutely could not resist: Nortec Collective's Tijuana Sessions, Vol. 3. It's making me extremely happy right this minute. I mean ... OK, I really do try not to swear all the damn time but this album is fucking great. Goddamn fucking great.

But a neat thing I just realized is that technically, the release date on this album is tomorrow. I feel so cool, so ahead of the curve ... if it were hip to be hip anymore I'd feel hip, but since we've already established that hip is not hip anymore, I feel like whatever is the new hip.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Almost but not quite halfway there ....

Last night Georg, (the other) Lisa and I met at the Charming English Cottage of Death to practice our expelliarmus and impedimenta spells. Y'know, just in case we run into any Death Eaters ... I think there are several where I work. We also discussed Harry Potter theories & possibilities (Half Blood Prince is the cliff-hanginest Potter yet ... with good reason, of course, since the next book is the last). I had done a little reading online and was able to entertain them with a Ron=Dumbledore theory I came across (it's been shot down by none other than J.K. Rowling herself, alas. But it's a fun one nontheless.)

I'm currently fascinated with figuring out what the deal is with Snape now. That's exactly what Rowling intended with this book, of course. I feel so manipulated. Anyway, it gives me something to think about while painting the house.

Speaking of which, I'm starting to get a little tired of painting. Just a little. I didn't realize before we started how long it takes to do a good job painting lap-board siding. Lots of corners and crevices, and don't forget all the edges where it meets the trim. Mr. Pants thinks I'm too slow, but I think if we're going to go to all this trouble it should look really damn good when we're done. I'm already bugged by a few little places where I didn't get the color/trim line perfectly straight ...

Friday, July 22, 2005

More Harry ....

So after reading a re-reading the latest Harry Potter, I've got more questions, doubts, etc. (Anyone fancy sharing HP musings over beer ... say Saturday evening?) Anyway, I've never been enough of a "fan" of anything to go to any fan sites or forums on the internets, but today I did. I had to see what other people were thinking about certain things (oh, y'know, R.A.B., Severus Snape, yada yada yada ...) Anyway, I came across one very interesting theory (technically, what follows is a spoiler, but if you haven't read far enough it will actually mean nothing to you): Harry is a horcrux. Now I've already thought about it and discarded it, for reasons I'll be happy to explain over beer. But I thought it would make a great T-shirt slogan nonetheless.

UPDATE: Wow, some these Harry Potter fans could kick some Trekkie ass when it comes to being obsessed.

Also, I believe that not knowing spelling (even words you just read repeatedly in a Harry Potter book) or elementary sentence structure is a prerequisite to posting in a fan forum.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

This just in ...

Hey kids: It's not hip to be hip anymore. Halleluiah. I hope this means all the guys who still have them will shave off those stupid "soul patch" beards now. For the past ... oh it's been at least five years now, whenever I've seen one, my first thought has been "ooo, you're so edgy and individual ... just like everybody else."

A long post to make up for days and days of neglect ...

I feel compelled to start by saying something along the lines of why I haven't posted a blog entry since ... oh, whenever it was. I've been busy. Busy doing very blogworthy things ... well sort of what passes for blogworthy here at CBOP. But by now the blogworthy things have piled up, unblogged, to the point where I don't even know where I should begin or whether I should just skip them completely and move on.

For example, I went to see Charlie and The Chocolate Factory Friday afternoon (Mr. Pants and I both skived out of work early for it). I could write you a little review of the movie ... I liked it, despite a few flaws. For example, like Wordnerdy I didn't find the Willy-Wonka's-dad backstory terribly compelling. I suppose it was thrown in to explain why Wonka is weird and loves candy, but it wasn't necessary. Unlike Wordnerdy, however, I loved the over-the-top Oompa loompa dance numbers. I believe that all dance numbers should be over-the top--the more the better! Dance numbers are a bit surreal by their very nature--who (besides me) breaks into song and dance in the course of a day? So I say make 'em big and stylized! I thought the use of one guy (Deep Roy) playing all the Oompa Loompas added a brilliant freakiness to their scenes. I think he was my favorite character. Mr. Pants had issues with Johnny Depp's riffing a little on Michael Jackson in his Wonka portrayal, but I thought it made sense. Wonka's a freak. He's a bit off-putting. Are you going to regret bringing your children to him? What is up with that man? All in all, the whole movie was just plain fun to watch, except ...

... perhaps I could write a little rant (OK, not my first on this topic ...) about the damn little baby sitting right behind us loudly vocalizing his entire range of primitive baby emotions through the entire movie. (Warning: if you think that people with babies are a special class of citizen and should be revered and awarded special privileges for their astounding and miraculous ability to pop out offspring, please stop reading and go away.) PEOPLE! Taking a baby to a movie theater is a supremely anti-social act. C'mon, anyone who's ever been near a baby knows that they are incapable of being quiet for the duration of a movie. Taking something you know will make loud, unpredictable and uncontrollable noises into a room where quiet is essential is selfish and rude and demonstrates a complete disregard for one's fellow human beings. In our case, the mother of the loud little larva finally decided, about 10 minutes before the movie ended, to remove it from the premises. I hope that woman did not enjoy her theater-going experience, because she seriously diminished mine.

(Mr. Pants feels that since we went to a 4:30 pm show, we should expect to have our movie experience ruined by inconsiderate people and their spawn and therefore we have no right to complain. I disagree. I think it's just as abhorrent to ruin the experience of your fellow movie-goers at 4:30 pm as it is at 9:30 pm. I think Mr. Pants is soft on the babies-in-theaters question.)

I could also say a few words about funerals, because I had to go to one for my departed co-worker on Sunday. I don't want a funeral when I die. I don't want my body to be all made up with a fake expression of peace and repose and put out in an box for the express purpose of trying to make people cry. I don't see a need for a service because there will be no praying--I really hate that part of funerals (not as much as I hate it when functions and meetings in my place of employment are kicked off with a prayer, but I digress ...). My surviving family members should not be forced to endure a receiving line where people come by and feel they need to hug them or say something to them (at a particular time when it's very hard to know what to say). The receiving line was the worst part of my dad's funeral. When I die people should just use it as an excuse to have a party and drink a lot.

And of course, perhaps the most noteworthy event of this weekend, at least for some of us, was the release of Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. I didn't go to the Midnight Madness thingie at the Regulator because it was at midnight. That's prime sleepin' time, my friends! I finally got my copy after dinner on Saturday night, and I was finally able to finish it Monday after work (I'm now re-reading it.) It would be too much work for me to expound on my entire range of thought about the book, and besides I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't read it yet. (I have already spoiled it for Mr. Pants--he has no intention of ever reading any of them, but he has seen the movies so far, so he has a vague idea of who everyone is.) But I do want to say something I've been wondering about all along: So what's the deal with Slytherin House? It seems that the whole purpose of it is to turn out Death Eaters ... seems a little contrary to the whole purpose of Hogwarts, doesn't it? I know that good needs evil, particularly in literature, but the whole setup strains my suspension of disbelief a bit. It seems a bit foolish to take all the nasty kids, sons and daughters of known Death Eaters and other meanies, and put them all together in the same house at school so they can form their little alliances and feed off of each other's evilness. Without Slytherin House and its denizens there wouldn't be much to any of the Harry Potter books, I know, but it still makes me stop and wonder every time I read one.

Anyway, I'd love to talk about HP some more with folks, but it would be most fun if there were beer involved ...

Oh yeah, and the house still needs a lot of painting ...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Of sadness and joy ...

A guy I work with, whom I liked very much, died last night. His wife tried to wake him up this morning only to discover that he was in The Big Sleep. He was only 51 or 52; they don't know what killed him yet but my guess is heart attack. The last time I saw him alive he was standing outside of my boss's office, and I pretended I was going to punch his arm really hard as I walked by. He was such a good sport--I could call him a pain in the ass (which was true) and he would laugh and agree and call me a pain in the ass (which is true). I didn't always see him every day, so today just feels like one of the days when our paths didn't intersect. Everyone seems to be dealing with it by not talking about him. If we did one of us (me) would probably start crying. Oops, I'm getting misty right this minute ...

To divert my attention from this source of sadness, I've paid a few visits to a newfound source of joy: The Best Of Craigslist*. (Maybe I'm a loser and the last netizen to have discoverd this source of intentional and unintentional humor? I dunno ...) Oh the poetry of To My Farty Boss And His Bowels, This is a True Story Swear to God-36 and For Chrissakes, Can I Eat a F#%*ing Taco in Peace?. It really made me feel better.


*I must access it through a local list, such as the Washington, DC, list, because going through the main one makes most of the links verboten by the surf nazi software. Why? Because people talk about sex and naughty body parts, I guess.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ooh, I forgot to mention ...

Did I say I'll be on the air (88.7 fm or wxdu.org) tonight from 8-10 pm? Did I mention that I'm thinking of doing a special "Spotlight on Dressy Bessy" show? I'm thinking of it ... seriously! You don't believe me?

It sounds great until the DJ starts talking

So my week of Too Much Radio(tm) has been alleviated somewhat by the lovely Lisa (i.e. the other Lisa), who will be your host for Mondo Mundo this Saturday from 1-3 pm. I will most likely use that time to paint, so I will tune in while I work.

In other news, unlike Rakka and Steve Almond (aka "Candy Freak"), I must see Tim Burton's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. I must! I must! Daddy, I want an Oompa Loompa, too! There's no way I'm missing a Tim Burton/Johnny Depp interpretation of that book, even if the first movie kicked ass--does that one mean this one can't kick ass, too?. Why can't I love two Willy Wonkas, anyway? Will Gene Wilder get upset if I like Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka? (That's assuming I like this movie--the Onion AV Club had a lukewarm review of it.)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Radio week

So a month or two ago I was asked to host a "Jazz Patrol" show on WXDU (Mondays 6-8 pm, different DJ every time.) I tried to beg off, calling myself a "jazz philistine." (The problem is that "jazz" is such a broad genre, and it encompasses cheesy, syrupy, overproduced marshmallow-fluff music and skronky annoying crap along with the decent stuff, so it's just easier to say "I don't know anything about jazz" that to go on a rant about how much there is to hate about so much of what gets called "jazz.") But she was desperate, so I offered to do a show of world music that's kinda jazzy, an idea she seemed to like. She offered me some dates, I said "how about July 11?" and then I heard no confirmation. So I guess I'm on the air tonight from 6-8 pm eastern, 88.7 if you're local, wxdu.org if your not. I have not planned out my show, but I can think of a bunch of stuff sitting on the world music shelves at the station that should work. So tune in, maybe, if you feel like it.

Also, Mr. Gomez has finished his Beginner 2 agility course, so I'll be back to my regular show time, Wednesdays from 8-10 pm, and this Wednesday is my turn. Then to top it all all, it's also my turn again to to the Mondo Mundo show this Saturday. (I'm trying to give that one away to a fellow dj who was interested in doing a Tex-Mex show.)

Friday, July 08, 2005

So as a result of my surprise finish in the Salon playlist thingie, I'm going to get a $30 gift certificate to iTunes. I have not yet received this good thing, but I've already overcommitted it. If used to buy individual songs, the gift certificate will net me 30.3 songs; used to buy albums I can get three, assuming they are priced at the standard $9.99 iTunes price. I have my eyes on way more than 30 individual songs or three albums, how do I narrow it down? It could take weeks for me to decide ...

I don't generally buy from iTunes (I've bought one album and one individual song in the past). Certain ethical arguments aside, I think it's a potential slippery slope, financially. I mean it's just too easy--listen to a sample, click click ... next thing you know you've spent a huge wad of money you could have used for food, rent, retirement or a cool vacation in Ecuador. I mean music is essential, but if you're like me and you have a history of accidentally spending too much money on stuff at the drop of a hat, you've got to practice draconian anti-spending self-discipline. So no iTunes for me! Unless of course someone gives me a gift certificate, in which case W00T!, whatever that means.

But back to the decision part of it. Should I get three albums or build myself a kickass 30-song playlist? Or maybe one or two albums and a 10-song playlist? Wow, I could blow almost the entire 30 bucks on various versions of the song "Perfidia" alone (I have an inexplicable love for that song ... ) Or I could get all music that begins with the letter M: Motown, mariachi, merengue, Menudo, Missy Elliot, Mel Tormé ...

Apparently I've got time, because Salon doesn't seem to be in a big hurry to actually give me the gift certificate.

In an unrelated matter, I have to try and remember to watch E! News Live tonight at 7 pm. I have a fascinated obsession with Scientology (in the same way that I'm fascinated by serial killers), and they are supposed to have in interview with Katie Holmes where she talks about her conversion to the cult that makes Mormons look normal.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

It's shite, I tell you ....

OK, I'm now really pissed off at Gmail for the first time, because every time I try to access it my browswer goes into a spaz. It may not be Gmail, though--it's possible that the culprit is the "Surf Control" software that a certain chowderhead bureaucrat decreed should be installed on our network. I think this because the browser's little little status bar flickers between "connecting to mail.google.com" and "Surf Control-Checking URL." If it continues I'm going to go complain to the nice foks in IS, because they may have the power to help me.

At any rate, to revisit a topic I mentioned last week, I got yet another request from another person wanting to use some of my photos in books. This time it's someone putting together a series of tomes for design students. It sounded cool to me, and he was up front about the fact that he could not offer a fee but if they used 20 of my photos they could offer free book. So far he's interested in 12. I'm going to let him.

So that made me rethink the earlier request to use my photos, and I realized that because I didn't really give a crap about the two photos the woman wanted to use, why not just let her use them? I mean, what the hell ... I only even posted them to Flickr for the enjoyment of a few people--the ones present at the time and a few of their friends and aquaintances. Why not just let them be useful to someone? It's not as if I'm sitting on a goldmine by protecting those photos from use.

Sarah had asked in a comment whether this little event has caused me to rethink the Creative Commons licensing of my pix. Not really--I'm still a big believer in encouraging art for art's sake and sharing stuff for non-commercial purposes. I think if I seriously thought I was going to make a living off my photos I might rethink that, but I've got this day job so I can just do the photography thing for the joy it brings me.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

It's good to get away ...

watching
So we went to visit Sassafrass (she's our boat) in Oriental this weekend. Well, actually I should say Whortonsville, because about a month ago Mr. Pants moved her to a new marina. It was a great move--the new marina is such a pretty place and the people are really nice. The dockmaster had a pig pickin' on Sunday, which was fun even though we don't eat pig--there was plenty of non-meat food and beer.

I had thought about not going--I was having house-painting anxiety and felt like I should use the three day weekend to paint. So I told Mr. Pants to just leave without me on Saturday morning, which he happily did because he had no desire to paint. So I started painting, and then I was thinking about sitting on the water, drinking a beer, maybe reading a book or just staring off into the distance, and I regretted staying home. Then Mr. Pants called and said that a friend of ours had moved her houseboat to our marina, and then I really wanted to go. So I washed up my brushes, tossed some stuff into a bag and headed down east with my little dog in the back seat. I'm really glad I did. Now I'm in a hurry to get the house finished so I can go back down again soon.

Friday, July 01, 2005

'XDU rules the world!

A fellow WXDU deejay got his fab playlist published in Salon! (Ya gotta watch an ad, y'know ...). WXDU rules the world ... sort of--right now the transmitter, or linky thingie to the transmitter or something-or-other, is non-functioning, so we're only on webcast right now. I keep pushing the button every time I get in my car hoping to find WXDU back up, but all I'm getting is the Jesus station in Snow Hill that shares our frequency ... it scares me.