Saturday, August 26, 2006

Since I got a new job and cashed out my vacation time at my old gig, I have been gorging on (new, not thrift shop *shock*) clothes, dinners out with my baby, and MUSIC! Yes, I put some away for a rainy day too, my love.

So, I bought a horizontal stripey dark grey/light grey V-neck sweater, a vertical stripey grey wool/black mesh skirt, various tank tops for layering in fatigue (desert and jungle!) colors, olive and black long-sleeve tees for Autumn, skully socks, and more wool capris. Hot DAMN, I love me some wool cropped pants. And I am going to say it -- I will never stop wearing them. Yes, I know I said practically the same thing in college about 4 inch platform creeperesque shoes and boots (I think my exact words were, "I will never wear anything else"), but I was much more goth then than goth-lite like now and didn't have a real job. And I still wear "those shoes which are unacceptable for work," just not daily and usually only when coupled with, you guessed it...cropped wool pants. Cropped wool pants that, mind you, can also be worn with "those shoes which are more acceptable for work" and make me look positively office-friendly. Versatility is a trend in my obsessions. See, I'm growing. Irony intended.

Blah blah clothes, okay, anyway, I was long overdue for my monthly trip to Amoeba Music, in part because I've been buying vinyl like mad and making more frequent trips to Saturn Records which was also fulfilling my pledge to spend my money in Oakland rather than Berkeley. But Saturn doesn't carry enough in the realm of CDs, and with "free money" (oh, Talitha's gonna beat me for saying that!) I usually end up being a tad responsible with my gorging and replacing the old with the new. So, I picked up The Chills' Submarine Bells on CD to replace my long lost cassette of this joyous record, Nation of Ulysses' 13-Point Program to Destroy America on vinyl to replace a recorded tape from Dominic of yore, and The Cramps' Bad Music for Bad People to replace a tape I lost in high school.

I've had The Cramps and Nation of Ulysses on the mind lately because I was recently introduced to a new band, The Horrors, which I swear sound just like these two bands had a baby. I wasn't so impressed with the spawn, but the parentage is impeccable, and so made me long to be able to plug them properly into my modern musical life again.

Oh, and I also bought the mentioned-a-post-or-two-ago Beirut debut album, as well as multiple sundries from the used clearance CD bins -- which by the way are really quite good at Amoeba for replacement of said wonky tapes of tapes and long-lost CDs, and just to try out new stuff somewhat risk free.

Also picked up the new Sonic Youth album, Rather Ripped. Very nice. I am really amazed at how fresh Sonic Youth sounds with every record released, yet they maintain a signature sound too that is, in a word that will make some sniff in my general direction with musical conceit, comforting. It is a comfort that is supremely satisfying because it fulfills a wish to hear them at their finest (for me, Daydream Nation) but still allows them room for play. Don't tell me that you don't feel it too. I'm sure it has a lot to do with Kim and Thurston's unique vocal styles. But most importantly, I think it is also that they fully own their sound, and that they are rawking first and foremost for the enjoyment of rawk's sake. You cannot go wrong with that combination.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I'm fascinated by the continued proliferation of the ironic moustache/aviators look. When I'm not thinking about serious things like the state of our planet, like when I'm waiting for a table with my pint outside my friendly neighborhood Lanesplitter, I feel strangely transfixed yet also despondent when I see not merely one, but more than say, five, young whippersnappers with what looks like mange as a haircut and said moustache and shades, riding ten-speeds in a cavalcade of too-small t-shirts and ultra low rise highwater pants. It's getting almost as bad as the Vulcan haircut from a few years ago, and that was baaaaaaaaaad.

Check it, yo -- this is the only time that an ironic moustache and aviator shades looks cool. And this is the only person who can wear a vulcan hairdo and not look silly.

Kids these days. At least lose the mange. You gotta reeesssspek.


Very stoked on the Lady Sovereign/Eurythmics mashup I heard today. Get it here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I am really impressed with Amnesty International's bus stop ad campaign currently going on in Europe. I think these photos will speak louder than any words I can write. We need this in America.

Remember, and do not forget. It happens. Not here, but now.

See the rest of the campaign here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Electric Dragon 80000V may be the most badass movie that I have never seen. I feel like I already got my theater ticket price worth just from reading this:

Reptile investigator Dragon Eye Morrison has possessed high-voltage superpowers ever since a childhood accident at a power station. With megawatts of power coursing through his body, he discharges his surplus energy by playing high voltage rock 'n' roll with his electric guitar. He spends his days looking for lost lizards in the alleyways of Tokyo, and his nights fighting the reptilian part of his brain that is making him increasingly violent. A shadowy figure named Thunderbolt Buddha soon surfaces and begins following Dragon Eye about town. A former TV repairman turned super-villain, Thunderbolt Buddha uses his high-powered love of technological devices to aid in his evil plans. Powered-up to the max in his electrical body suit, the two finally come face to face in an all out electrified rock 'n' roll battle for the supremacy of Tokyo.


Speaking of Japan, eavesdropped in Norikonoko, for your consideration:

Cute little girl with index finger glued to upper lip: "Mommy, my finger is still stinky."
Mommy (in best Charlie Brown adult sounding voice): "whawhawhawha, wha wha, wha wha wha."
Girl: "Really? But I touched poo."
Mommy: "whawhawha whawha, wha, whawhawha wha wha"
Girl, finger still firmly in place: "I don't like it."


NP: Beirut, Gulag Orkestar. Coming highly recommended by indie-rock young'ns and the odd quirky rockstar old enough to be my daddy, Beirut is a 20 year old kid from Albuquerque, New Mexico who plays music (with the help of other talented like-minded folks from bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, among others) that is redolent with old world charm. And while the lyrics are just so-so, he delivers them with a voice that is penetrating yet not heavy-handed. I do love the ukelele too. It is an impressive, yet very short, debut record for someone so young.

And just because he heavily utilizes accordian and violin, and I am stubborn, I am going to forgo the traditional Eastern European music comparison and just say instead that it is quite melodic, romantic, and rustic. Okay, and I suppose, perhaps, it is not unlike vodka and a warm fire built on the onset of bitter cold whilst waiting for the knock on the door from the tax collector, or the Czech infantry, or a beautiful girl whose smile makes your heart sing.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Attended the benefit for Devon tonight. He was shot in the back of the head during a home invasion, and although he was in a coma and only 10 percent of people survive this type of injury, he is now up and talking and in a rehabilatation center now. It is truly amazing.

Such a beautiful turnout of folks who came by to support Devon's recovery, his girlfriend, and each other, and to buy raffle tickets and beer from Acme Bar --who was donating 100 percent of their Trumer Pils sales to the fund, on top of a percentage of the rest of the bar. Trumer keg was dry before eleven! $6000 worth of tattoo time from various artists in the East Bay and San Francisco was donated for the raffle, as well as various gift items from local shops -- most worth over $100. There's already been close to $8,000 raised for his recovery fund.

I am also just so humbled in my own life too by the love and support that is being gathered and offered and spread amongst his friends and loved ones, and the knowledge that energy and spirit has got to be affecting his recovery. People can visit him now too, so that stimulation will only help speed his healing.

I've been focusing way too much energy on things that just don't matter at all, and hearing about Devon registered but was so shocking that I think it made me go into a sort of mental block, and I chose to focus even more on the things that would maybe take me away from the horror of it. Tonight really sobered me up. Life is full of trifles, but we don't have to concern ourselves with it. We make choices. Life is really all about love.

To make a donation:

Devon Get Better Fund
c/o Sacred Tattoo
707 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94607

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Tagged by The Choff today, here goes:

1. What is a book that changed your life?

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude. The book that inspired me to shed my years of self-imposed scientific and nonfiction reading habits and escorted me firmly back to the glorious and untidy meandering path that leads to the other side of LIFE again. Beautiful book.

2. What is a book you've read more than once?

Oy, trashy novel alert. Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth. My friend and lab partner in high school senior chemistry was always reading this book -- when I say always I mean always. All semester long he just kept re-reading it. I asked him about it, and he went out and bought me a copy.

I took Art History my first semester in college, and was fascinated by the move from basilica to romanesque to gothic cathedrals. I also began this book mid-fascination. Class struggles, intrigue, murder, betrayal and lies of the most foul imaginable, art appreciation, damsels in distress, damsels kicking ass, knights, witches, wicked priests, and revenge, yo -- you cannot go wrong. Plus I retained all my knowledge about gothic architecture from salivating over this book all semester long. Historical romance at its very best.

That long-ago chemistry partner is now a mason. Fancy that.

3. What is a book you'd want with you on a desert island?

SAS Survival Handbook.

Hey, there might be a nuclear war on my desert island!

4. What is a book that made you giddy?

Rikki Ducornet's The Stain. Gorgeous storytelling -- a bawdy, fantastical, black fairy tale. The best description of the players in this book has to be, "sadistic nuns, scatology, butchered animals, monkish rapists, and Satan." And amongst all this mayhem is our heroine, Charlotte, condemned to deal with this woeful cast of characters simply because she has a furry birthmark in the shape of a rabbit.

Runner-up: Nina Fitzpatrick's The Loves of Faustyna. A cloud in the shape of buttocks appears over the city of Krakow, and everyone believes the world is coming to an end. Enchanting, hilarious, yet dark story of Faustyna's navigation of her lovelife and Communist politics in Poland.

5. What is a book that made you sad?

Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking. I cried so often while reading this book, and actually had to put it down many times because I became nauseated with grief. What we as humans are capable of doing to each other is sometimes beyond comprehension, but Ms. Chang reveals it in all of its tragic reality. I was deeply saddened but strangely not shocked when I found out Ms. Chang had committed suicide. I hope she finally found peace.

6. What is a book you wish had been written?

The History and Timeline of the Fossilized Remains of the Combustible Engine.

7. What is a book you wish had never been written?

The Da Vinci Code. Damn you Dan Brown! Daaaaammmmnnnnnn yoooouuuuuuuuu!

8. What is a book you're currently reading?

James Meek's The People's Act of Love. I was out the chute with this when it first came out, and then I put it down for ages and just picked it up again. Like the best Russian novels, only written by a Brit -- bleak, desolate, sardonic, but with a glimmer of beauty that makes the cold core seem almost inviting. The last battle of the Hussars will bring you to your knees.

9. What is one book you've been meaning to read?

Georges Bernanos' Mouchette. And of course my annual attempt at Franz Kafka's The Castle.

10. Now tag five bloggers.

Oh man, do I even know 5 bloggers? Do 5 bloggers even read my ramble?

Alright, don't hate me, y'all, share with me which books shaped you: Bunny, The Casual-T, Bradly, Andrea (girl, you can throw some Bowie in there somewhere), and just because I am crazy that way (and I need a 5th blogger, even though his "news" isn't really a blog -- c'mon, gimme a break here!), David J.

Yes, if you can believe it, I would love it if David, (like you, my 4 other sweet bloggerati), read my blog. And yes, I recognize there is infinitely more chance in hell that the bots at The Hype Machine read my mp3-less blog and post their answers in Esperanto, but whatever. A fangirl can dare to dream. As Ruby Rhod says...dzzzzz-zzzzt!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Oy vey.

I just got a taste of two leaked Decemberists tracks from their new album, their first after signing with Capitol Records, due out on October 3rd -- "O, Valencia" and "Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)." I found them whilst on The Hype Machine, and the blogger who posted them said get 'em while you can before he gets the cease and desist. FYI, they are gone already, but if you want to hear them you know how to contact me. Back off, RIAA.

In a nutshell, I am disappointed. The songs are catchy, poppy even -- but sadly, nothing I would keep on my radio if I had the ambition to get up and change the station. The most important question here however is where oh where are the lyrics?

I don't understand how one goes from this:

Medicating in the sun
pinched doses of laudanum
longing for the old fecund-ity of my homeland
Curses to this mirage!
A bottle of ancient Shiraz
a smattering of distant applause
is ringing in my poor ears

On the old left bank
my baby in a charabanc
riding up the width and length
of the Champs Elysees

or this:

And here in Spain I am a Spaniard
I will be buried with my marionettes
Countess and courtesan
have fallen 'neath my tender hand
when their husbands were not around

But you, my soiled teenage girlfriend
or are you furrowed like a lioness?
And we are vagabonds
We travel without seatbelts on
We live this close to death

to this:

You belong to the gang
And you say you can't break away
But in here with my hands
On my heart

And our families can agree
I'm your brother's sworn enemy
But he shouts out my love
To the stars

Even Colin Meloy's trademark nasally twang and whine in his voice has been smoothed out into a pedestrian purr.

Goo. Maybe they will grow on me. Though, I must admit, Bauhaus' two new tunes they trotted out for their summer shows with NIN hit me in the same abysmal place in my belly that these Decemberists songs do, and suffer from the same maladies -- too safe lyrics and too safe musical arrangement. For bands that are well-known for their lyrical content and instrumental interest, this is a sobering blow. And damn it if those two Bauhaus travesties have yet to grow on me either. Oh well, all we can do is wait for the new albums with hope in our hearts.

Do I ask too much? Am I overly expectant? Too unforgiving? Too hasty? Do I live I the past?

Oy vey.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I have nothing to write about as of late, so this will do nicely, right?

This is a glorious pic of David J taken at the Bauhaus Tivoli show in Utrecht on Thursday, August 10 by Rene, a bauhausmusik forum peep. A show that by all accounts was an odd departure from their normal shows because it was rife with inexplicable guitar problems that were plaguing them from the previous two shows, the setlist was practically nonexistent, and it seemed there was tension onstage -- Peter Murphy was seen coming out to move Daniel Ash's mic stand to the center and settling back in the shadows at first to sing. Apparently Bauhaus left the stage for 20 minutes and the show was announced as over, but then after much booing and throwing of plastic cups, they came out and did a stellar Bela Lugosi's Dead.

So, since the first whisper of problems on Bauhaus' second headlining night at London's Forum on August 8, the bauhausmusik forum has just been a mass of premature speculation that this was, indeed, the predicted end, and that they were breaking up. Given their history of not getting along for long as the bestest of friends, their forked musical paths, and the rumored egotrips of Mr. Ash and Mr. Murphy, people were flipping out. Now that they've followed up with a decent showing at the M'era Luna Festival in Germany Saturday, the crazy shitstorm of conjecture has simmered down a bit, and I just have to say *sigh*

Looking ever so brightly forward to the new album (Kevin was quoted as saying to fans at the Forum that the new tracks sound really good) and, of course, a new tour.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I got a new job! Interviewed last week, and was thoroughly impressed with not only the facility and services, but with the staff, who were just amazing -- kind, dedicated, compassionate. The warmth and determination I felt was so inspiring. These folks do good work, and they are growing quickly so my position will require flexibility, as well as give me room to grow. The salary and benefits are just right, and it's within bicycling distance of my apartment.

So, as you can imagine, I am more than thrilled. Goodbye government research job full of bureaucracy and politics, hello fusing my passions for health and nonprofit social justice while working in my community. Wheeeeeee!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I just found out the Decemberists will be touring this autumn on their first album with Capitol, The Crane Wife, that is being released on October 3rd.

Oy, this band is wonderful. Their lyrics and music are grand, very dreamy and peculiar and enchanting. I have every album they've produced, and their well of quirk and unique lyricism has yet to go dry.

Check out one of my favorite songs, Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect from their second album, Castaways and Cutouts, on Kill Rock Stars.