Author Archive

“Luck and intuition, play the card with spades to start”

I just got home from seeing John Roderick’s Holiday Rendezvous. It was, as expected, awesome. My companion for the evening had never heard of one of the honored guests of the evening, the delightful Molly Lewis. As such, she’d never seen Molly Lewis’ wonderful cover of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”. I leave it here for both her edification and yours:

“So clear but so unheard”

Because it’s probably been too long since you listened to “Lazy Eye”. Probably far, far too long.

“You’ve got the words to defend / well every bias you’ve learned while being human”

Flake Music, “Spanway Hits”

Tsukuru Tazaki, Stoic

“In this dream, though, he burned with desire for a woman. It wasn’t clear who she was. She was just there. And she had a special ability to separate her body and her heart. I will give you one of them, she told Tsukuru. My body or my heart. But you can’t have both. You need to choose one or the other, right now. I’ll give the other part to someone else, she said. But Tsukuru wanted all of her. He wasn’t about to hand over one half to another man. He couldn’t stand that. If that’s how it is, he wanted to tell her, I don’t need either one. But he couldn’t say it. He was stymied, unable to go forward, unable to go back.

He woke up, his body quaking. It took a while before he understood that it had been a dream. He tore off his sweat-soaked pajamas and dried himself with a towel, but no matter how hard he wiped the sweat away, he couldn’t rid himself of that slimy feeling. And he came to a realization. Or maybe felt it intuitively. So this was jealousy. The body or the heart of the woman he loved, or maybe even both, were being wrested from him by someone else.

Jealousy– at least as far as he understood it from his dream– was the most hopeless prsion in the world. Jealousy was not a place he was forced into by someone else, but a jail in which the inmate entered voluntarily, locked the door, and threw away the key. And no another soul in the world knew he was locked inside. Of course if he wanted to escape, he could do so. The prison was, after all, his own heart. But he couldn’t make that decision. His heart was as hard as a stone wall. This was the very essence of jealousy.” – Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

I just started reading the new Murakami. It’s good so far. It’s every bit as psychological as his other books but, so far, lighter on the surrealism. I’m always impressed with the detail with which Murakami fleshes out the interior world of his characters. Only a few chapters in, and I’m starting to build an intuitive, almost empathetic understanding of the main character. This, despite the Tsukuru’s own pointed reluctance to try to understand himself or the interior world of those around him.

My one (minor) quibble is that Murakami still refuses to use 5 words where 25 will serve just as well. Sometimes his florid prose is in good service to theme or character, but just as often it seems to just pad out an otherwise compact, well-plotted scene.

I was struck, when reading the above scene, to the following:

“What, then, is the punishment of those who do not accept [their circumstances]? To be just as they are. Is one peevish because he is alone? Let him be in solitude! Is he peevish with his parents? Let him be an evil son and grieve! Is he peevish with his children? Let him be a bad father! ‘Throw him into prison.’ What sort of prison? Where he now is. For he is there against his will and where a man is against his will, that for him is a prison. Just as Socrates was not in prison, for he was there willingly.” – Epictetus, I.12.22ff.

Now it would be entirely unfair to compare Murakami to Master Epictetus, but it’s interesting to see the same Stoic idea echoed by so different an author, in such similar terms, but inflated five-fold in the interests of couching it as a character’s own profundity.

“Like a boomerang I need a repeat”

The Long Winters covering ZZ Top’s “Give Me All Your Lovin'”

“…a beautiful specimen.”

WARNING: NSFL, contains detailed shots of a recently removed human brain. It’s a fascinating study of just how fragile the most critical part of us is.

“…solely and completely to sound.”

CYMATICS: Science Vs. Music – Nigel Stanford from Nigel Stanford on Vimeo.

“CYMATICS: Science Vs. Music” by Nigel Stanford

“Yes I believe in desolation”

It’s been a damned long time since I stumbled upon a new band that I loved. I’ve loved a few new records from long-time favorite bands, some of which surprised me. And I’ve finally gotten around to listening to bands that my friends have been raving about. But it’s been quite awhile since I was blind-sided by a band that I had no idea was out there and that I fell for instantly.

Today I discovered Murder Vibes. And I did so on a complete lark. Someone on Twitter mentioned that they would be playing Barboza on 12/9. (Shameless plug: that’s just a few days after my friend Ben’s band, Ephrata, plays the same venue on 12/5. That will be an awesome show and you should all be there.)

So based on a nothing but a passing Twitter mention, I impulse-purchased “Not Alone Tonight”, the single off of their debut, self-titled record. Holy crap, but that’s a catchy tune. And one of those rare cases when I can pinpoint exactly when I was convinced to buy a record. 00:49. Apparently I’m a sucker for a tasty synth hook.

The track itself is just the right amount of New Order, the right amount of Depeche Mode, the right amount of Interpol. It hits an impressive of number of my buttons. And the rest of the record is just as good, but with a surprising amount of variety in tone and composition. (The down-tempo, drifting “Dead Girl” especially caught me by pleasant surprise.) It escapes the charge (accurately) leveled against much electronic-influenced music of repetitive nonsense by blending drum machines and synths with expressive vocals, evocative lyrics, and hooks that are infectious enough to warrant forgiveness for the rare stretches of excessive looping and vamping.

If you have anything of a soft spot for New Wave or Electronica, this record might be worth checking out. I recommend you approach it like I did. Buy the single, and if that’s to your taste, then dive right in. You’ll probably like what you find.




“The world has infinite ways to wrong us.”

“Why does it seem that my fears are forever ill-directed, that what pessimism lies in my nature leads to no true prophecy? How is it that I am always prepared for the very misfortunes I am spared? Know that the reaching tendrils of the analytical mind, even as they wrap themselves round a million problematical abstractions, leave a universe of calamity untouched. The world has infinite ways to wrong us. … Do not ask me, then, what catastrophe will reduce this sorry Earth to dust. I will be the one staring at the skies speaking of asteroidal collision as below my feet the world splits open to swallow us whole.” – Kerry Howley, Thrown

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Magic Blue Smoke

House Rules:

1.) Carry out your own dead.
2.) No opium smoking in the elevators.
3.) In Competitions, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.
4.) A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball from the same place.
4a.) Penalty one stroke.
5.) Pilsner should be in Roman type, and begin with a capital.
6.) Keep Calm and Kill It with Fire.
7.) Spammers will be fed to the Crabipede.