Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Living Thing

I hate it when I want to like something and I just can't. I know I should love coleslaw considering I am from the South, but after years of trying it and trying it and trying it, I just gave up. Nothing was going to make me like it. Unfortunately, I am sitting here listening to the new cd from Peter Bjorn & John, Living Thing, and I am in the same quandary. I loved their last cd Writer's Block, which contained the ubiquitous anthem "Young Folks." Who could fail to resist the charms of that sparkling single? So when I saw their new cd was to be released I was very excited. That, coupled with the first single "Nothing to Worry About" which is just as fun as "Young Folks," I had very high expectations. Unfortunately, I am left staring at a huge plate of coleslaw.

In the interim between this cd and Writer's Block, PB&J have released solo albums, produced everyone in the Swedish/Nordic universe including Lykke Li, and have ??? been hanging out with Kanye West and lots of other rap/hip hop artists. You can tell instantly the Kanye influence on the album. It is like they have been listening to 808s and Heartbreak nonstop for months. The first song off the cd is "The Feeling" which is all tinny drum machines, hand claps, and voice percussion; not an attention grabber that is for sure. Things pick up after with "It Don't Move Me" which has a more upbeat tempo and better melody. The Kanye influence comes back for "Just The Past" with its muted drum machines and minimalist keyboards, but sounds much better than the opening song.

Finally, four songs in, PB&J kick it back up with first single "Nothing to Worry About." In my opinion, it is even better than "Young Folks." Has a slippery bass line and hand clap beats, with a singalong chorus. Even the video is fun and bouncy. It is definitely in my top ten singles of the year so far.

After this song I was hopeful that the cd would pick up and be as fun as Writer's Block, however, the rest of the cd seems like a lot of sketches that were not developed into full blown songs. There are a lot of interesting beats, synth patches, and other musical elements, however, none of them coalesce into anything coherent. It is almost like a Swedish Bobby McFerrin album; too many voices as percussion. It reaches a nadir on "Lay It Down" with the not clever lyrics: "Hey, shut the fuck up boy/you are starting to piss me off" which goes on ad infinitum.

I have listened to the cd over 20 times, and like the coleslaw, it is just not sitting well with me. Unlike the coleslaw though, I do not intend on giving it another a shot. It is just not worth it in the long run. I can only hope the end of the month will bring me some better returns, with new releases from the Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode.

Monday, March 30, 2009

End of First Quarter

Why does time speed up the older you get? Jeez. I can't believe April is on Wednesday and I am fast approaching my one year anniversary of being laid off. Never in a million years did I think that our economy would be this bad or that I would still not have a permanent job. I am just grateful for the contract work that I have been able to get. Funny, this project was only supposed to last 6 weeks and now we're going on 8 months. Of course, all good things have to come to an end, and we are apparently done with all the first tier review of documents. Luckily, the client has begrudgingly allowed two of us to remain on second tier review and I have been selected to continue on. So, hopefully I will have several more weeks of gainful employment.

It was an odd week and weekend last week. I had food poisoning on Tuesday and was basically out of commission for two days. Plus, in addition to being sick it rained for four days straight. I don't think we saw the sun until late Sunday afternoon. We are grateful for the rain because last year we hardly had any, but four days straight can be very depressing. Apparently Lake Lanier, which is the source of most of Atlanta's water, is almost back up to normal levels. We can only hope that this continues. We get tired of the constant water restrictions and brown lawns.

I am continuing to date a new guy. It has been awhile since I have dated someone where the interest/attraction is pretty much equal. I can't begin to describe how nice it is not to have to do all the work in a relationship. Unfortunately, after our date on Friday night, he ended up getting food poisoning as well. We seem to think it was the salad he ate. Anyway, it has really put him out of commission, even worse so than me. I feel so bad for him. I have tried to be there for him, but I think he is, like me, a patient who likes to be left alone. So I am trying to give him some more space. I can only hope he gets to feeling better. He dislikes doctors and taking medicine, so he is basically just riding it out. I can't say I enjoy doctors or medicine too much, so I understand how he feels.

This weekend our friend Charlotte, nee Michael, was in from the fair city of Charlotte with his Aunt Net from Maine. I had heard a lot about Aunt Net and what a blast she is, so I was really looking forward to meeting her. She came to Starbucks with Charlotte and Chrissie and then joined us later on for lunch at Roasters. A group of us including Dan and Ghetto, our other friend Michael, joined those three for dinner at Horseradish Grill. I had never been and was pleased to say it was very good. Our table got very lively with all the cocktails and wine flowing. There was another table of gay men sitting right behind us who were so boring, we think that we caught one of the table members motioning for us to invite him over. We denied him.

It definitely felt like a transition weekend. Sickness into health, cold/rainy into warm/sunny, winter into spring, cold and flu into allergies. I've always been rather apathetic about spring. I dislike waking up in the morning being cold and then dressing for it only to be burning up by the end of the day. And yes, I know you should dress in layers, but it is such a bother. Also, I realize that it is pretty with all the flowers blooming and everything turning green, but does it have to come with all the pollen? I can barely breathe around here and my car, and everything else is now covered in that lovely green dust.

Ok, that is my update from the weekend. Nothing too exciting I know. Just got the new Peter Bjorn and John cd to review so I am sure everyone will be waiting for that.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Non Sequiturs

Had the worst case of food poisoning I have ever had in my life this week. I have just started seeing someone and he was over at my place when it hit me and I was so embarrassed to have him see my like that so soon in the dating process. Luckily, he is a sweetheart of a guy and took care of me. He earned massive points in my book for sticking around and not heading for the hills.

I've been reading the graphic novel Watchmen in anticipation of the movie, which from the trailers looked very interesting. The back cover of the novel is plastered with rave reviews from many respected critics. I, for one, am perplexed. I find the book to be fairly pedestrian. I am not quite sure what all the fuss is about. And the majority of my friends that have seen the movie have said not to bother. I will probably heed their warnings.

We finally met for our book club to discuss Wishful Drinking, the Carrie Fisher memoir. None of us really cared for it, and expressed the feeling that it would probably be better on stage, which is apparently what she has done with it. The next book club selection was suggested by me, Beautiful Children, by Charles Bock. It got rave reviews when it came out, although it is a pretty dark subject matter. I hope I do not get ridiculed like my friend Lee did for his selection. At least my book is available in paperback.

Lyrics Rattling Around My Head

"Gather the bruised and imperfected
The cursed and the rejected
We'll take them to our ship
We'll fly away from here
We'll take away our finery
Leave this place to rust."

Kitchens of Distinction
"Cowboys and Aliens"

"All along, not so strong without these open arms
Hold on tight
All along, not that strong without these open arms
Lie beside
All along, not so strong without these open arms
Ride beside"

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

"Don't let me stop you
From doing what you want to do
You don't want to stick, trust me it's cool
Take no chance, get over you
No, no, don't let me stop you
If you want to leave, baby you can leave
Just don't pretend that you're into me
If it ain't true
No, don't let me stop you"

Kelly Clarkson
"Don't Let Me Stop You"

"As the day stops dead
At the place where we're lost
I will drug you and f**k you
Under permafrost"


"If I had a heart I could love you
if I had a voice I would sing
after the night when I wake up
I'll see what tomorrow brings"

Fever Ray
"If I Had A Heart"

"Tell you my name
F U and C K
50ft queenie
Force ten hurricane
Biggest woman
I could have ten sons
Ten gods ten queens
Ten foot and rising"

PJ Harvey
"50ft Queenie"

"When you're gone and rain starts falling
I just sit here by the phone
Don't deny me call me back
I'm so alone"

"The Girl and the Robot"

Appealing Things:

Chris F.
Key Lime Pie
Someone sweet taking care of you when you are sick
Blackberry Curve
Being able to help friends when you can
Kelly Clarkson
Fever Ray
The new season of Lost

Annoying Things:

The new Pet Shop Boys cd not being released when it was supposed to
Food poisoning
This season of American Idol. Snore.
The increase in prices for iTunes
Prospective employers who have no clue what they are looking for

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Videos of the Week

Only one new video this week. The rest I put on here for various reasons due to mood. I hope you enjoy.

Karin Dreijer Andersson is one half of Swedish electronic act The Knife. She has released a solo project under the moniker Fever Ray. This is the first video from the release called "If I Had A Heart." The song is ominous and foreboding and is matched perfectly with this eerie and creepy video.

I was never a huge Mazzy Star fan. I always thought their music teetered on the edge of insignificance. This was the only song of theirs that really touched me and it is probably one of my top ten songs of all time. Her voice is just perfect and the haunting guitar echoes the pain she is feeling.

Not the best song Boards of Canada have ever done, but man the video is striking.

One of my favorite bands from the 90s. This song is a great driving song. Wonderful chorus.

I posted this song on my Facebook page as a wonderful springtime song. Well, musically, yes it is. But after listening to the lyrics again, it is actually a pretty depressing song. Ooops. Oh well, just listen to the music.

Massive Attack are definitely in my top five bands of all time, and their cd Blue Lines is firmly ensconced in my all time favorite cds. This is an amazing song that just never seems to age.

Jane's Addiction are going on tour with NIN this spring and summer. I am not sure if they will be able to reproduce the intensity of their live performances from back in the day, I am sure interested in finding out. Here is a old recording of a live performance of the ferocious Three Days.

The rumor mill was churning last week about a proposed Stone Roses reunion. Of course it was a complete sham. Sigh. I saw them at the Midtown Music Festival in Atlanta on their first tour and actual first concert here in America. It was plagued by horrible sound and they walked off the stage about four songs into their set. The band broke up shortly thereafter. They never reached the heights of their first cd which is a complete classic. This is a wonderful song; very druggy and trippy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


A funny obsession I have every year is a search for the perfect "summer" cd: a cd that I can play at full blast with the car windows down, that just makes me feel alive and in a good mood. Because we cannot control when cds are released, there never seems to be a perfect coordination between a great "summer" cd and a release date around summertime. Although it is a little early for summer, and with the Pet Shop Boys cd not released here yet (humph!), I think we have a good candidate for said cd.

Junior is the third release from Norwegian electronica act Royksopp. Their first cd Melody A.M. was a bubbly rush of percolating percussion, squelchy bass lines, and twinkly synths. It was the perfect remedy for a cold day. For their follow up, The Understanding, Royksopp got a case of the George Michaels and decided they wanted to be taken "seriously" and upped the goth and gloom. It was such a startling departure from their signature sound that it created a collective "huh?" from their fans. The cd itself wasn't horrible, but it just lacked the spark that made Melody A.M. such a wonderful surprise.

Royksopp returns to form with Junior. It takes the frothiness of the first cd and pairs it with the more striking musicality of the follow up and strikes the right balance this time. Again, Royksopp is flawless in their choice of collaborators. Using Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife/Fever Ray, Robyn, Lykke Li, and frequent chanteuse Anneli Drecker of Bel Canto. Robyn hits the ball out of the park with her song "The Girl and The Robot." Under a driving Moroder-esque beat, Robyn sings about her lover who is just going through the motions, leaving her cold and alone. When the chorus hits, you are completely under her spell. Karin Dreijer Andersson brings her odd vocal inflections and studio effects to two brilliant songs, the dance floor barn burner "This Must Be It," and the goth pop electro of "Tricky Tricky." Lykke lends her fragile voice to the haunting "Miss It So Much," and Ms. Drecker coos over three tracks, the highlight being "You Don't Have A Clue," her voice climbing higher and higher into the stratosphere.

Of course, Royksopp show they are just as interesting without their collaborators. First single "Happy Up Here" is a bouncy, bold song with a killer melody and a toe-tapping beat. The video is pretty amazing as well, set in Tokyo with a real life Space Invaders theme. And they also show they are more than Air/Daft Punk/M83 imitators with several instrumental tracks that equal if not surpass their colleagues, reaching a high point with "Royksopp Forever," which travels from a somber string and down tempo percussive beginning to a startling key change sending the song swirling in a orchestral frenzy.

It is rare that a cd grabs me from the beginning and can keep my attention over a long period of time. Royksopp have returned to their roots as a fun, musically adventurous act who understands their strengths and plays to them. I look forward to a nice, long, hot summer with the windows down with this music pounding out of my speakers.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I've Loved You So Long

The opening shot shows a woman smoking in an airport lounge. She seems lost in herself, her eyes barely alive staring into nothingness, cigarette smoke trailing from her fingertips. This is our first introduction to Juliette, masterfully portrayed by Kristen Scott Thomas, acting and speaking in flawless French. We are familiar with Ms. Scott Thomas portraying witty, urbane Englishwomen, so it comes as a shock to see her willing to look so plain and so haunted.

I won't give out any spoilers, but the basic plot of the movie is about Juliette recently being released from prison where she was incarcerated for 15 years for killing her son. The reasons why she committed the crime are not given, at least for a long time. Juliette, who has been shunned by her friends and most of her family, is taken in by her younger sister, Lea, who tries to restablish the close bond the sisters had while growing up. Lea, a college literature professor, has her own family now, a husband who is very wary of having Juliette in his house, two adopted Vietnamese daughters, and a father-in-law who has suffered a stroke and cannot speak, but who sits in his room all day reading books.

Not a lot happens in the movie in the way of plot. The movie essentially is a document of Juliette's tenative steps back into a normal life. The director focuses on basically the mundane, day-to-day existence of Juliette: her meetings with her odd parole officer, her attempts to get a job, her small steps in getting to know her sister and family members again. It is a quiet film, and thankfully, not melodramatic for the most part.

The movie, altough ostensibly about Juliette's imprisonment and how even outside of prison she is still imprisoned by her thoughts, her memories, her family, and even society, is also about how everyone is trapped in the prisons of their own making. Juliette's sister is trapped in her position at the university and her belief that she must make her family work as a unit; Lea's father-in-law is trapped in the prison of his mind, unable to communicate with words and spending his days enveloped in his books; and even Juliette's parole officer is trapped in his existence at the police station and kept from his children by his ex-wife, always dreaming of a trip to the Orinoco rover basin that he will never see.

There are some frustrating aspects to the film that are worth mentioning. The director does not have a keen sense of pacing. Many scenes go on far too long or not long enough, and a key scene at a crowded dinner table where a dinner guest grills Juliette about where she has been for the past 15 years lacks proper set up and context. And, to be honest, I thought that the ending scene where the sisters confront each other over the reasons behind the killing was far too pat. It wrapped everything up too quickly and nicely. I think there would have been a much more emotionally satisfying ending to have the family accept Juliette for who she is rather than because she gave a plausible for reason for her crime.

But those are minor quibbles about the film. The actors are uniformly wonderful, and Ms. Scott Thomas is riveting. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her perfomance and was wrongfully omitted during the Oscar nominations. You feel every emotion she is going through just by looking at her expressions and body language. She inhabits the character like a second skin. Sometimes I don't think American directors understand how to use Ms. Scott Thomas properly. She never fails to make an impression in her films, and, in my humble opinion, should be regarded in the same breathe as Meryl Streep.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Videos Of The Week

There wasn't any new music or new videos that came out this week that have caught my attention, so I decided to revisit some older videos/songs that were rumbling around in my memory:

One of my all-time favorite Interpol songs. They never released it as a single, but it was always the moody opening song on their last tour. It has a simple, haunting opening, and builds to a very emotional climax. It sends shivers down my spine whenever Paul Banks sings "I felt you so much today." This video is from a performance at the London Astoria.

Gorgeous song from Dead Can Dance. Lisa Gerrard's voice is otherworldly. If I was able to choose a song to accompany me to the next life, this song would be it.

Amazing song about a relationship disintegrating from jealousy and infidelity. She hauntingly sings "I love you less, now that I know you." The video is pure simplicity. A stark, black backdrop with various people's faces illuminated. Each person slowly starts crying. It is impossible to watch this video without feeling deep emotions.

Curve are absolutely one of my favorite shoegazer bands. They ferociously attacked their guitars and turned the drum machines up to pummel. Led by Toni Halliday, one of the most gorgeous women in music, they were a phenomenal live act. Pure sex and aggression.

Amazing DJ collective from Australia. Their one release, Since I Left You, is practically perfect in every way possible. This song is a combination of about 100 different samples, each one distinct but creating a marvelous whole. The video is brilliant and completely hysterical.

Monday, March 16, 2009


The new Facebook layout is seriously horrible. It is a jumble of incoherent babble that seems like a knee-jerk reaction to some perceived threat from Twitter. I have never seen such an intense reaction to this colossal blunder. There has been no positive feedback to the change at all. It is as if the powers that be at FB did no market research whatsoever.

I am currently on a contract job that will end once all of the documents we have been given are reviewed. There is one woman on our project who consistently increases the amount of documents she reviews even though she knows our project is about to end. We are assuming she does not enjoy receiving a paycheck.

When it rains it pours. I have not had a date in weeks, and then out of the woodwork come several offers at once. I feel rather special at the moment.

I was up for a job as General Counsel with a company and did not get it. Hard to say whether I am disappointed or not. Would have been nice to have a real job again, but not quite sure I was the best fit for the position. Will just have to continue looking for something else.

Lyrics Rattling Around My Head:

"The glow you see on my face, you do have something to do with
Fear starts creeping up when you have so much to lose
Your love wait you while you're cheating
Lighting strikes you when you're moving

Don't let me wonder away
I love you less now that I know you
Don't let the dress trick you
I love you less now that I know you."

Blonde Redhead
The Dress

"Horses in my dreams
Like waves, like the sea
On the tracks of a train
Set myself free again.

I have pulled myself clear."

PJ Harvey
Horses In My Dreams

"I tried to read between the lines, that you gave me.
I tried to be all that you never had before.

Don't let the last words I say to you be I'm sorry.
Don't wait too long til my heart fails, and so you can't find me."

Lake Trout
Last Words

"Show me the dirt pile
And I will pray that the soul can take
Three stowaways
And you vanish with no guile
And I will not pay
But the soul can wait
I felt you so much today."

Pioneer to the Falls

"A little rain's going to keep on falling on me
I'm going to keep on calling to you.

I'm on fire
Beside you
I'm on fire."

The Chameleons

Appealing Things

My friend Jeff's cabin in Blue Ridge
Australian wines
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (tv show)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Red velvet cupcakes from Maddie Cakes
Chili in cold weather
23 Envelope
Brothers Quay

Annoying Things

Looking for another contract job when so many other attorneys have just been laid off and are flooding the market
AIG executives receiving bonuses

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's Blitz

Sorry for all the music based posts this week. It's just been the kind of week where I just haven't been in the mood to discuss myself. Too much going on. Would rather stick to things that are outside me for the moment.

This week saw the release of the latest cd from New York scenesters Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Where their first cd Fever To Tell can be viewed as the raucous, booze and drug fueled beginning of a night out, and the second cd Show Your Bones as the apex of the evening, the new cd It's Blitz is squarely in the comedown phase, where you wake up in the aftermath surveying the wreckage.

Instead of the bluesy, effects laden guitar squall we have come to associate with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, this release shows different colors right off the bat with the one-two punch of "Zero" and "Heads Will Roll" with muted synths, and Moroder-esque basslines. Like Bloc Party and Asobi Seksu, the band has chosen to adopt a more electronic approach. It works like the latest Bloc Party cd, and shows off a softer side to the band without bringing any of the band's flaws to the forefront, unlike the new Asobi Seksu cd.

Thankfully, the band, contrary to all the internet rumors, have not abandoned the guitar completely. Every song contains a guitar part, however, instead of it being the integral focus, it more often appears as part of a texture or counterpoint to all the washes of synths and electronic percussion. For example, on standout song "Soft Shock" it starts as a little staccato riff and gets more and more insistent as the song progresses. Karen O's voice is so gentle and fragile, cooing the lines "Louder, lips speak louder, better back together/Still it's a sharp shock to your soft side."

In a song that will likely draw the most comparisons to their signature song "Maps," "Skeletons" has a light, airy, almost beatless cadence. Karen O appears to be singing about a relationship starting to end and she has no more energy left to make things work. She hauntingly sings "Wait, don't cry/Love, don't go/Love, don't cry/Skeleton me."

Although the cd is very lowkey in comparision with their previous output, it is not to say that they have done away with their wilder, more barnburning numbers. Karen lets loose her caterwaul on the tracks "Dull Life" and "Shame and Fortune." These tracks almost serve to represent a last gasp effort to keep the booze and drug-filled evening going. Each has snarling guitars and sneering vocals that build and build. Of course, the evening has run its course and the songs return to the themes of regret and resignation. In "Runaway," Karen sings about a relationship she regrets ending..."Run, run, run away/Lost, lost, lost my mind/Want you to stay/Want you to be my prize. The cd ends on a light, tremulous note with the song "Little Shadow," with Karen sweetly singing, "Little shadow, little shadow/To the night, will you follow me?" Calmly, the evening ends, and sleep begins. Until the next night appears, and new adventures arise.

I was struck at first how different, at least musically, this release was. And I was not particularly a fan of it at first. Over many listens, the music and lyrics become clearer and you see that Yeah Yeah Yeahs really have everything under control and you get a sense of story and of purpose. This is one of the best releases of the year so far. Give it many listens and get wrapped up in a band at the height of its power.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Videos of the Week

Here are some videos that have been grabbing my attention lately:

One of my favorite songs from last year. There is something wonderful about Hercules and Love Affair. Their music seems like it is from yesterday but completely current. Plus Andy Butler is such a cutie. Of course, I do have a small thing for redheads.

Royksopp's first cd was constantly on my playlist. It was effortless downtempo dance music. They attempted to jazz things up with diminishing returns on their second release. Based on this new song and video it looks like they are returning to a more streamlined sound. I for one am pleased to see it. This video is a lot of fun; a real-life space invaders!

Peter Bjorn and John were ubiquitous a couple of years ago with "Young Folks." One of the catchiest songs in recent memory. Here is the video for their new song which is just as catchy and has a bizarre Japanese shot video.

Video edited with clips from the Muppet Show. It's amazing how so much of it actually matches up with the song. If I am ever in a bad mood, I put this video on. Just puts you in a great mood.

Japan started out in the late 70s as a sleazy glam punk band then morphed into a sophisticated new romantic outfit. They influenced almost all of the "haircut" bands of the 80s including Duran Duran and ABC. In fact, Nick Rhodes owes major royalties to David Sylvian for copying his look in sum total. This is a great funky song with a killer bass line.

Three videos from my favorite female act these days, Roisin Murphy. She is gorgeous, has a quirky fashion sense, a great voice, and is just willing to put herself out there. I just love this woman to death, and I will go to my grave making sure everyone else figures it out as well.

All I Ever Wanted

I am accused by many people of having a, shall we say, bizarre taste in music. Yes, I will admit that I lean towards music that is on the edges of bizarre, but I happen to like what I like. That does not mean, however, that I do not enjoy some pop music. Take Kelly Clarkson for example. I just like her. Maybe it is because she has a great personality and just has an amazing voice. There is just something about her that I cannot not like (sorry for the double negative).

I was probably one of the few people who actually liked her last cd My December. Yes, it was darker and less commercial than her previous two cds, but there was a nice bit of honesty associated with it, and it was refreshing. Here new cd is a return to the more "popular" Kelly, but it is still pretty good. It's a little more produced than I would normal care for, but it highlights her voice very well. I just hope that she finds a way to combine the popular Kelly with the more spirited, individual Kelly. Once she gets there, I think she will start making truly excellent music.

She comes out of the gate with her guns blazing on single "My Life Would Suck Without You." Although it is a basically a facsimile of "Since U Been Gone" it is stll a pretty good song. Following close behind is the Katy Perry penned "I Do Not Hook Up" which is a good one/two punch into her first ballad "Crazy." Again, this song shows that Kelly has one of the strongest voices in the business.

The rest of the album swings between these blasts of pop fury and lower key balladry. My favorites include "If I Can't Have You" a New Order rush of electro-punk pop; "Impossible" which starts off almost in Yeah Yeah Yeahs territory with a staccato guitar line, until it builds into a mid-tempo piano ballad with another typical strong vocal performance; and "Tip Of My Tongue" an extra track on the deluxe edition which is a nice Timbaland/Neptunes-esque track.

I would definitely give the effort a solid B. I hope she can really find her true voice on her next album and not make something that seems so made by committee. But I think her voice and personality are too strong for her to remain a passive participant in her own career.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Non Sequiturs

This was going to be a solo post about the new U2 cd, but I have been so disappointed with it, I don't really want to even expend that much energy on it. So today's post is just another Non-Sequiturs post. Indulge me. Please.

The new U2 cd No Line On The Horizon came out on Tuesday. It has received probably the most bizarre set of reviews for any cd I have seen. A glance at metacritic.com shows that critics have given the cd anything from masterpiece status down to tragic mistake of biblical proportions. Mine lies somewhere in the middle, leaning more to the mistake side. I have listened to the cd over 20 times in the past 3 days and it is unfortunately a very forgettable cd. There is a lack of originality to the songs, which all seem cribbed from earlier, better songs. The last song finally began with an ambient interlude that caught my attention, and then I realized it was a sample from the Brian Eno/Harold Budd cd The Pearl. I was so pissed because it just seemed so lazy. A sample? Really? From the producer of the cd. Eno, have you no shame?

I am really enjoying the new season of Lost. It is so convoluted and confusing, yet it all seems to make sense to me.

My parents got me kitchenware for Christmas. Normally, I would not be overly excited about it, but I am really enjoying the bagel guillotine. Makes life much simpler in the morning when I am rushing around trying to get out the door to work.

Just got word on Monday that there will be no more documents loaded on this project I am working on, so by the end of March I will need to find another contract position or a full time job. Neither one is very easy to get at the moment. I haven't reached panic stage yet, which is good. Just have to do what I can and not worry about it. I can conceivably last for up to 6 months without a job (before completely depleting my savings), so I am not terrified, but I would rather not have to dip into it if at all possible.

Weird cat behavior, which I guess is rather redundant. I have a custom made bedspread that is a dark brown. The underneath is a soft white cotton material. If I am in bed and I have the covers half-pulled down where the white is showing, my cat will stand on the brown material as close to the white as possible, but will never venture over to the white side. I have tested it on several occasions and it is the same every time. Even if I grab her and put her on the white side, she will immediately leave. She is a calico cat, so my only theory is that she feels she is too exposed on the white material and cannot "hide." That is my only theory. I know it is not a brilliant one.

I haven't had a real vacation in over 5 years. An actual vacation meaning I went somewhere for a week or more. I have taken time off, but haven't actually gone anywhere. Now that I am in a position where I cannot afford to travel, I really feel depressed that I didn't take advantage of traveling when I could.

I hate having a cold. I have had a horrible one all week, and it has been miserable. I am a good patient though. When I am sick I am very quiet and don't like to be disturbed.

Lyrics In My Head

"I don't belong to you
Like you don't belong to me
So don't hold on too tightly
Let forever be

So let me know when you're lonely babe"

Roisin Murphy
Let Me Know

"A couple years went by and something happened
We gave Jed less attention
We had new inventions
We left for a convention

Jed had found our booze and drank every drop
he fizzled and popped
he rattled and knocked
and finally he just stopped."

Jed The Humanoid

"Unit three thousand twenty one is warming
Makes a humming sound - when its circuits
Duplicate emotions - and a sense of coldness detaches
As it tries to comfort your sadness"

The Flaming Lips
One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21

"Darkness falls away
Then it's only golden
Where are we today?
Somewhere near our future
So it can be saved
At least it can be reckoned
Each time we come through
Darling, you will listen"


"I don't want to swim the ocean
I don't want to fight the tide
I don't want to swim forever
When it's cold I'd like to die"

When It's Cold I'd Like To Die

Appealing Things:

David Sylvian's voice
French being spoken
Watchmen (the graphic novel; haven't seen the movie yet)
Snow falling
Snow sticking to the ground but not the streets
Getting over someone not good for you
Finding old letters tucked away in books
Wooden hangers
Nine Inch Nails/Jane's Addiction tour plans
Kristen Scott Thomas

Annoying Things

Atlantans panicking in the snow
The current job market
People who won't take their bluetooth earpieces out during dinner; unless you are Lt. Uhura, you don't need to leave it in
The parking ticket machine at work that won't give you ticket half the time unless you back in and out of the entrance twice
The parking attendant who does not care that this is annoying
The quote I received from BCBS for my healthcare when my COBRA runs out

Monday, March 2, 2009

Wishful Drinking

Sunday night was to be our regular bookclub, however, due to the snowstorm and the fact we were to travel to Stephen's house up in Cobb county, we cancelled it and decided to reschedule the club for another night. The book in question is Carrie Fisher's memoir, Wishful Drinking. I am not sure if we will reschedule the club to discuss this book, or just combine this with the next one. Because of the slim nature of the volume, I could not imagine it taking more than 10 minutes to discuss it.

I am a fan of Carrie's fictional work: Postcards From The Edge, Surrender the Pink, and Delusions of Grandma. Each is filled with wink-wink, nudge-nudge anecdotes pulled from her bizarre life, but tempered within a fictional framework which in some ways actually pulls them closer to the realm of reality. Now she has decided to lay it all out there for us. Of course, having mined the same material in fictional form, this becomes more an act of spot the reference than anything truly revealing about her life.

The book essentially becomes a catalog of all her addiction issues, and instead of leaving you at the end with a feeling that you are glad she is around to share her insights, you are left feeling rather sorry for her, and that why can't she get her act together. When the funniest thing about the book is the cover photograph, you know you are in trouble, and that the old adage is true, that you cannot judge a book by its cover.

Snow Day!

Yesterday was a nice snow day in Atlanta. Apparently we got around 2-4", which effectively sends everyone into a doomsday panic. People rush the supermarkets to stock up on bread and milk, which I have never understood as it would be much more fun with alcohol and snack foods. We never get substantial amounts of snow to require stockpiling of essential foodstuffs. The worst it has ever been in Atlanta, to my recollection, was in 1993 when a semi-blizzard blew in and shut the city down for 4 days. I usually have enough odds and ends in my place to survive for a couple of days, so I tend to just sit back and laugh at everyone.

Even worse than the food panic is the driving situation. Atlantans, on a good day, are horrible drivers, however, mix in rain and they lose all common sense. With snow or ice, they go completely batshit crazy. I have driven in snow and ice enough to know how to do it, I just choose to stay out of the way of all the other crazies. Yesterday, however, the snow was not so bad that the streets were impassable. On Saturday the temperature was around 60 degrees, so I knew the ground wasn't going to be cold enough for the snow to stick. I even ventured out around 4 pm to head over to my friend Jeff's house to play cards and video games and drink wine. Fun was had by all.

Here are a couple of other pics taken from my car on my camera phone. All in all, it was a pretty snow. Of course, it is supposed to be back up into the 60s by the end of the week.