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Podcast #82

Went up a few days ago. Loads of great music.

1. Will Currie & The Country French: Railroad, Awake, You Sleepers!on File Under: Music
2. Gauntlet Hair: Top Bunk, Gauntlet Hair on Dead Oceans
3. Richard Swift: Whitman, Walt Wolfman on Secretly Canadian
4. My Brightest Diamond: Reaching Through to the Other Side, All Things Will Unwind on Asthmatic Kitty
5. Brown Shoe: Colt Rider, The Gift Horse, self-released 
6. Library Voices: Generation Handclap, Summer of Lust on Dine Alone Records
7. T.W. Walsh: Make It Rhyme, Songs of Pain and Leisure on Graveface
8. Class Actress: Keep You, Rapprocher on Carpark Records
9. Sandro Perri: Love and Light, Impossible Spaces on Constellation Records
10. Deer Tick: Miss K, Divine Providence on Partisan Records
11. Spectrals: Big Baby, Bad Penny on Wichita Recordings
12. Real Estate: It's Real, Days on Domino Record Co.
13. A Classic Education: Baby, It's Fine, Call It Blazing on Lefse
14. Andrew Bird: Hospital, Norman on Mom+Pop Records
15. The Beets: Doing as I Do, Let the Poison Out on Hardly Art
16. Turf War: Cheers to the Years, Years of Living Dangerously on Old Flame Records
17. Gospel Music: This Town Doesn't Have Enough Bars for Both of Us,How to Get to Heaven from Jacksonville, FL on Kill Rock Stars
18. Twerps: Dreamin', Twerps on Underwater Peoples
19. Still Corners: Cuckoo, Creatures of an Hour on Sub Pop
20. Kathryn Calder: Who Are You?, Bright and Vivid on File Under: Music
21. Sun Hotel: Talks, Gifts EP, self-released

The folks are a tad hipstery in this video, but the song is catchy, so I can forgive, though I'm not sure how I feel about the line "They say what you are what you read / Well, you can be Coupland / And I'll be Murakami."

They're called The Beets. I couldn't not include them.

Great new song from Deer Tick. They were on Letterman last week. It makes me happy to know that they're making it big: I really liked their first album (I reviewed it for the site), so it's been fun to watch their career take off.

Fun new song from Kathryn Calder (of the New Pornographers).

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I've become one of those people

I was watching the first three episodes of the new season of Bored to Death tonight and in it, Ted Danson's character now owns a gourmet restaurant. And they seem to serve coffee in french presses. BUT THEY LEAVE THE COFFEE IN THE PRESSES. Like, just sitting there. For, like, ever. They have waiters bustling around with french presses full of coffee.




Writer's Block: It’s about to get hairy

Do you like beards, goatees or mustaches? Why or why not?


Podcast #81

A few days late getting the tracklist up, but I was out of town for the long weekend, so I'm just catching up on my customary first-of-the-month sorts of posts.

This month is another good month for music, so as before, I'm starting with quite a few more tracks than I'll keep (this time around it was 26 -- next time it will be at least 27) and whittling down until I get the best ones.

1. Oberhofer: Gotta Go, Gotta Go/Mahwun 7" on White Iris
2. Cuff the Duke: Count on Me, Morning Comes on Paper Bag Records
3. Crooked Fingers: Typhoon, Breaks in the Armor on Merge
4. Talkdemonic: Revival, Ruins on Glacial Pace Recordings
5. Dreamers of the Ghetto: Tethers, Enemy/Lover on Temporary Residence Limited
6. PAPA: I Am the Lion King, A Good Woman Is Hard to Find EP on Hit City U.S.A./Psychedelic Judaism
7. Comet Gain: And Arcade From the Warm Rain That Falls, Howl of the Lonely Crowd on Fortuna Pop
8. The Morning Clouds: The Wrong Things, Wasted Youth Blues EP on Lefse Records
9. Rachael Yamagata: Starlight, Chesapeake on Frankenfish Records
10. Loney Dear: My Heart, Hall Music on Polyvinyl
11. Icebird: Going and Going. And Going, The Abandoned Lullaby on RJ's Electrical Connections
12. John Wesley Harding: Sing Your Own Song, The Sound of His Own Voice on Yep Roc Records
13. The Asteroid Shop: Dandelion, The Asteroid Shop on The Council
14. Siskiyou: Twigs and Stones, Keep Away the Dead on Constellation Records
15. Exitmusic: The Sea, From Silence EP on Secretly Canadian
16. Masters of the Hemisphere: Belushi, Maybe These Are the Breakson Kindercore
17. Future Islands: Balance, On the Water on Thrill Jockey
18. Cosmo Jarvis: She Doesn't Mind, Is the World Strange or Am I Strange? on The End Records
19. The Moth and the Mirror: Lights in the Sky, Honestly, This Worldon Olive Grove Records
20. Color Radio: Quiet House, Architects on Mapless Records
21. Zola Jeus: Vessel, Conatus on Sacred Bones

Some stuff to whet your aural appetite:

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What are your favorite song lyrics, and why?

Two Writer's Block entries in a row (in as many days). Huh.

Well, as I've noted (or at least I think I have -- I know I've told this to people in person, though not sure if I've shared it here), I hear music first and lyrics much, much much later. Like sometimes even DECADES later. Not kidding. A classic example of this is that while I loved Automatic For the People when it came out and it quickly became my favorite R.E.M. album and I know the songs pretty well, it wasn't until I heard William S. Burroughs's cover of "Star Me Kitten" back in, like, 2005 (so a good 13 years after the album came out) that I recognized the chorus I'd heard hundreds of times is "Fuck me, kitten."

As such, the lyrics really have to stand out for me to first recognize them and then remember them (so it's no surprise that the lyrics that stand out to me are from people with reedier voices: They Might Be Giants, Bob Dylan, The Mountain Goats).

That said, it would be hard for me to isolate like all-time favorite lyrics or anything, so I'll just stick with some lyrics that I feel are remarkable:

"The most remarkable thing about you standing in the doorway / Is that it's you / And that you're standing in the doorway" ("Going to Georgia," The Mountain Goats, Zopilote Machine)

There's an elegance about the rawness and simplicity of this sentiment. It expresses a truth that skirts a cliché without saying too much. There is something almost unspeakably wonderful about the presence and being of a lover: "you are you, and what's more, you're here with me and that's astounding."

Writer's Block: Desert island

List three books that have changed your life:

This list probably isn't too surprising to anyone who's friends with me. Least of all the first entry:

1. Moby-Dick: this fundamentally altered my academic interests and thus was a formative book for the direction of my life ca. 2001-2007. I've also read it eight times -- the most of any, like, non-children's book.
2. Infinite Jest: perhaps the first big, difficult book I ever tackled, but rereading it, it proved itself valuable on a very real, very human level. I know it's an intimidating book in terms of size, but it's one of the most touching, human books I've ever read, and it'll likely be reread at least a few more times in my life.
3. Ulysses: reading this was a project -- the first of its kind since I left academia; it was reassuring to know that the part of my brain I honed in grad school is still present and can still be as sharp and critical as it used to be. Also, when I think of things that I feel are insurmountable, I remember: "Dude. You read the shit out of Ulysses. What can't you do?

It's no surprise, either, that these are my three favorite books of all time.

Podcast #80

And here's the podcast for 9/15 (available now for streaming from the website and should be up soon on iTunes). Another large batch of music in my initial pass (31 tracks) that I whittled down to the 21 best. A ton of good stuff in here:

1. Dum Dum Girls: Bedroom Eyes, Only in Dreams on Sub Pop
2. Elba: From a Sinking Ship, Elba, self-released
3. The Workhouse: The Whistler, The Coldroom Sessions on Hungry Audio
4. Sóley: I'll Drown, We Sink on Morr Musico
5. Veronica Falls: Come on Over, Veronica Falls on Slumberland
6. Yukon Blonde: Fire, Fire/Water EP on Nevado Records
7. Nurses: Fever Dreams, Dracula on Dead Oceans
8. Halloween Alaska: Dance By Accident, All the Night Calls Came In on Amble Down
9. Megafaun: State/Meant, Megafaun on Hometapes
10. Big Troubles: Misery, Romantic Comedy on Slumberland
11. Waters: For the One, Out in the Light on TBD Records
12. Elliot Brood: If I Get Old, Days Into Years on Paper Bag Records
13. Dan Mangan: Oh Fortune, Oh Fortune on Arts and Crafts
14. Young Man: Nothing, Ideas of Distance on Frenchkiss Records
15. Mekons: Space in Your Face, Ancient & Modern on Sin Record Label
16. The Gift: Race Is Long, Explode on La Foilie
17. Jens Lekman: An Argument with Myself, An Argument With Myself EP on Secretly Canadian
18. Caroline Smith & The Good Night Sleeps: Scholarships, Little Wind, self-released
19. Gem Club: Breakers, Breakers on Hardly Art
20. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: Same Mistake, Hysterical, self-released
21. Apparat: Ash/Black Veil, The Devil's Walk on Mute

Dum Dum Girls. They've never sounded better. Love love love this track. Couldn't not start the podcast with this one. Plus: bedroom eyes. Rad.

Some kinda rootsy-rocky stuff from the frozen tundra to our north. Nice close male harmonies.

I had Dan Mangan in my podcast last year and his new stuff is just as good (I like this song better than "Road Regrets," which is what I had in the podcast last time). Singer-songwritery stuff, but in a good way.

Nice and kinda echoey. Reminds me a little of Raveonettes.

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Podcast #79 (delayed)

So #79 was the one from 9/1, but because of some website shenanigans, it didn't go up immediately and I had a busy and tiring week. #80 is up as well, though neither have made it to iTunes, so I've poked the website owner about it and this should be resolved somewhat soon. I'll post about the newer one later this afternoon to avoid boring you all too much.


Here's what I played in #79. September (and October as well) have been insane for new music. I'm finding so much that I've (at least temporarily) extended my podcast from an hour-ish to an hour and a half-ish (going from 16 to 21 songs). But I usually start with many more than that. I think the 9/1 podcast had something like 26 or 27 songs that I whittled down to 21? The 9/15 had *31* songs, from which I culled the 21 best. I'm already pretty picky about what I like, so stuff tends to be pretty decent to make the first cut -- the stuff that's left is pretty much all good (subjectively, of course).

1. Mates of State: Maracas, Mountaintops on Barsuk
2. Howling Bells: The Loudest Engine, The Loudest Engine on Cooking Vinyl
3. Argyle Johansen: Percocet Blues, Inner Demo(n)s EP, self-released
4. The Golden Seals: The Year Things Fell Apart, Increase the Sweetness on Zunior
5. Girls: Vomit, Father, Son, Holy Ghost on True Panther
6. Regina: Jos Et Sä Soita, Soita Mulle on Friendly Fire
7. Cuckoo Chaos: Just Ride It, Woman EP on Lefse Records
8. Lotus: The Surf, Lotus on SCI Fidelity
9. Toro Y Moi: Saturday Love, Freaking Out EP on Carpark
10. Ladytron: White Elephant, Gravity the Seducer on Nettwerk
11. Wild Flag: Romance, Wild Flag on Merge Records
12. Milagres: Glowing Mouth, Glowing Mouth on Kill Rock Stars
13. St. Vincent: Surgeon, Strange Mercy on 4AD
14. Shimmering Stars: I'm Gonna Try, Violent Hearts on Hardly Art
15. Neon Indian: Fallout, Era Extraña on Static Tongues
16. The Front Bottoms: Maps, The Front Bottoms on Bar/None
17. The Handcuffs: Miss You on Tuesday, Waiting for the Robot on OOFL Records
18. Gabriel Miller Phillips: Star-Crossed, One for the Crow, self-released
19. Memoryhouse: Modern, Normal, The Years EP on Sub Pop
20. Peter Wolf Crier: Right Away, Garden of Arms on Jagjaguwar
21. Wooden Shjips: Lazy Bones, West on Thrill Jockey

All right. Here are the obligatory teaser videos to get your ear's appetite whetted:

Mates of State can do no wrong in my book. I fell in love with them when I saw them play the music accompanying a live performance of a This American Life show here in Seattle. Also, there's something unbearably cute about a husband and wife duo making music (cf. also Yo La Tengo). I imagine that has to be all sorts of fun.

I can't speak Finnish, so I have no idea what they're singing, though Google suggests that the title translates to "If You Don't Call." Very poppy and catchy. This one caught me almost immediately.

St. Vincent is also alway good. I like where she takes this song toward the end.

Lots of good neo-garage sound going on here. Love the fuzz guitar.

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A new relationship

So, I know I've been a bit quiet lately, and I'm sorry. Work has been really busy (I worked nearly 50 hours this week) and I've often just been too tired to post.

Another big factor in my busyness, though, is due to a decision I made a few weeks ago. Making this decision was one of the best things I've ever done, and it has turned one of the relationships in my life which had been, until recently, just sort of friendly and fun—though always very warm—into something deeper and more involved than I had previously known it could be. What was a friendship has suddenly taken a surprising turn for the torrid, and my acquaintanceship has turned into full-blown passionate love affair.

I guess you could say I'm pretty infatuated.


August media consumption

August was a bit of a slower month, media-wise. Though I'm not sure I can account for what I did with my time otherwise. I guess having a slightly more active social life? I don't know. I also got back into Books With Just Words And Not Also Having Pictures, but did so in my characteristic haphazard, short-attention-span way (such that I am currently legitimately in the middle of 5 or 6 books).


1. Owly: The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer, by Andy Runton: The first in an adorable series of books from Top Shelf aimed primarily at kids, but drawn with such tenderness that adults can enjoy them too. Owly is a meek, shy owl who tries very hard to be nice and good and do the right things. E.g., in the first story, he helps a worm stranded after a storm find his way back home to his family. Excellent children's books

2. Owly: Just a Little Bit Blue, by Andy Runton: This was also good. Perhaps my favorite.

3. Owly: Flying Lessons, by Andy Runton: This had a lot to recommend it too: poor Owly is a mostly flightless Owl, but is taught how to glide by a flying squirrel who is initially afraid of Owly, since he thinks of owls as predators.

4. Preacher: Until the End of the World, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon: Violent and disgusting and fun.

5. Preacher: Proud Americans, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon: More of the same

6. The Affected Provincial's Companion, Vol. 1, by Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy: This was bathroom reading (I like books that you can read small bits of in the bathroom, so books of essays or dictionaries or the like). It's a guide to being a dandy. Moderately amusing.


1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes: This was utterly disappointing. Technically impressive, mind you. The computer animation was fantastic. But that's just money. Throw enough money at a movie and you can make it look great. The story just plain sucked. Now, mind you, I'm coming at this from the point of view of somebody who's familiar with the mythology of the original Planet of the Apes franchise. And Rise is the reboot of the story told in Conquest (namely: here's how Earth became the PotA). I'll toss this behind a cut in case there's anybody out there all that concerned with spoilers about either movie. You wimps.Collapse )

2. 30 Minutes or Less: This was a lot of stupid fun. Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari work well together. Quite funny.

3. The Trip: The miniseries, not the movie. I loved it just as much, if not more than, the movie. There was one small scene that they cut out of the miniseries which changes how you perceive Rob Brydon's character in the movie. I can see why they did it, and I kind of like the movie version of Rob Brydon more than the miniseries version because of it. But you get more of Brydon and Coogan playing off each other in the miniseries, which is really what the thing is all about.

4. Shadows: Eh. It was ok. I don't think I'm much of a fan of cinema verité. It was kind of boring.

5. Faces: Same thing (well, same director, too). Seymour Cassell was great, but I have an inordinate fondness for him because of how well he played Bert Fischer in Rushmore.

6. The Italian Job: I finally saw the original (I'd seen the remake years ago). A lot of fun, but the gratuitous cruelty to cars (especially when they took the backhoe to that Aston Martin) was ghastly. Also, he was only supposed to blow the bloody doors off (I may have watched this because of The Trip, you see).

7. The Ten: Had this in my Netflix queue for a while. Pretty funny. Ten quick interlaced shorts about the ten commandments with a lot of alumni from The State (written/directed by David Wain and Kevin Marion, so of course a lot of The State would be in it -- 9 of the 11 show up in at least a cameo role, if not more) and Paul Rudd and Winona Ryder and a ton of other talent. It was fun and a good movie to watch while eating lunch.

8. Lost in America: Cute. Perhaps still relevant today. The older he gets, the more my friend redbaker looks and sounds like Albert Brooks. It's uncanny.

9. Scarface: The original. Not the Pacino remake. It was ok. I've never seen the Pacino remake, so I can't make any comparisons.

10. Missing: Spacek and Lemmon are great in this, Lemmon especially (but what wasn't he great in?). This should probably be better known than it is, since it reveals pretty plainly (and, as later turned out, not altogether inaccurately) the role which the United States government played in aiding the military coup in Chile in 1973.

11. Hannah and Her Sisters: Woody Allen is a director I try to keep liking and failing at doing so. Except with Annie Hall and this movie. I thought this movie was great, and it was probably because there was comparatively little Woody Allen in it (as his character's relationship is only 1/3 of the movie). If you saw me go on a Bach kick the other night on Facebook, it was due to this movie.

12. Craig Ferguson: Does This Need to Be Said?: Blech. I like Craig Ferguson. But I did not like this comedy show. It was mostly jokes about celebrities, which (even though the special is only a year or so old) already feels dated. Celebrity jokes are, like, the lowest form of comedy. They're dated almost as soon as they're written. Good comedy should be funny no matter when you see/hear/read the joke.

13. The Conversation: I thought I would like this more than I did. Hackman is great and Harrison Ford is unnervingly sinister. I just wasn't as engaged as I wanted to be. I guess I was expecting more espionage and less psychological drama.

14. MASH: I'd seen this years ago and felt I needed to rewatch it. Still great.

15. Limelight: Very touching movie. Also has the added bonus of being the sole movie in which Chaplin and Buster Keaton performed together (and their scene is worth the entire movie).

16. Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story: Watched this because it's sort of the predecessor to The Trip (insofar as both Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play "Steve Coogan" and "Rob Brydon" in it). A lot of fun. I need to rewatch it with the audio commentary on (and then send the DVD back to Netflix -- I've been a bit slow on the DVD front, Netflix-wise these past three or four months).

17. Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story: This was a documentary on PBS that documents the same phenomenon in Episode 73 of This American Life, even using the same guy (and his father), along with other song-poem producers. Really fascinating stuff: highlights a complete subculture that very few people are aware of.

Oh, I also caught up on Doctor Who. And watched the other shows that are in season right now (Wilfred, Children's Hospital, Breaking Bad, No Reservations, Louie, Torchwood, Weeds, Curb Your Enthusiasm) as well as more Netlflixy shows (MI-5, Top Gear, Black Adder).

Media, yay.

Only 8 months late

Since I'm heading down to Steilacoom tomorrow to play with THE NEW PUPPY (which, if you're friend with me on Facebook, you've already seen pictures of), I wanted to clear off my camera (like, real camera -- well, real miniature pocket-camera but with more megapixels than my iPhone and since I'm just going to be taking pictures of a puppy, it's not like I need anything fancy). And that was the camera I used when I was in Saint John last December and January and it still had all of those pictures on it, which I never got around to doing anything with (mostly because I got an iPhone shortly after I came back, so the utility of the small camera that fit in my pocket was lost, since I just started taking pictures of everything with my iPhone).


I finally uploaded them all (which you'll have seen if you follow me on G+). But if not, you can see them here: https://picasaweb.google.com/111253170068339118804/SaintJohn

You'll be able to see just how shitty the call center was that I was training.


I really don't like Prairie Home Companion, but I do rather like The Writer's Almanac, and I subscribe to the mailing list, though I only read it from time to time.

Today's (well, tomorrow's for me) episode features a poem that takes place in a prison on an island visible from my parents' house:

(The prison is visible too, not just the island. The prison closed in April. It used to be that you could see the prison especially well at night because they kept it lit up. I didn't pay attention when I was back at their place on the Fourth to see if it was still lit up or not. I imagine not.)

Not really relevant to anything, but it caught my attention.

Ok, that was easier than I thought

All it took to get me into my headphones was the promise of Stephen Malkmus covering The Replacements' "I Will Dare".



So, I came to the café to root through the ~700 blog posts and tweets that have amassed in my RSS reader this week to gather music for future podcasts. And right now, I'm just about finished setting up: coffee is acquired, computer is plugged in, headphones are ready to go. While I was doing this, they played "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and I was happy.

But then they followed that with "You Still Believe In Me." And now they're playing "That's Not Me."

Yeah, they're playing Pet Sounds, which, if you've been paying attention is my favorite album of all time. And I'm tempted to keep listening, when I should be doing podcasty things.


Mastermind, Inspector, Healer, Protector

So a night or two again several of us (I think it was me and matrygg and max_ambiguity and owl_of_minerva, and if there were others I apologize for forgetting you) were in our regular haunt at Turntable.fm and discussing (like you do) the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment.

This got kind of long, but I found it interesting. Maybe you will too. There's even a poll at the end for you to vote in, because HOORAY VOTING FOR THINGS!Collapse )


Adventures in self-promotion

So, last time around with the podcast, I decided to tweet about each band/artist I played in a series of tweets with links to the podcast. What I didn't think of (and I can't account for why I didn't think of it) was to tag those with Twitter accounts. So, this time, I did exactly that (as those of you who follow me on Twitter saw). Here are (thus far) the results of this experiment in self-promotion:

Not bad! For about 5 minutes of extra work (finding the relevant Twitter account names), I got a link to my podcast broadcast to another 4394 people aside from the 400+ people who already know/follow me on FB/Twitter/G+.

It'll be interesting to see if this tactic increases listeners/subscriptions.

Podcast #78: Live and Long

I couldn't help myself. I had 23 songs going into my whittling phase of the podcast and I was only able to get it down to 21 songs (one was easy, since I had two songs from the new Stephen Malkmus album, so I went with the one with the gratuitous dirty words). That left 22, and I really only felt "meh" about one of them. So, 21 gave me a nice even number: four sets of five songs (as opposed to the three I have been doing) and one to finish. Wound up being about 90 minutes long, but I think it's worth it. And I don't think the people who listen will mind having 20-30 more minutes of music. Anyhow, here's what you'll find in this one:

1. Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks: Senator, Mirror Traffic on Matador
2. Braid: The Right Time, Closer to Closed EP on Polyvinyl Records
3. Hercules and Love Affair: Painted Eyes, Blue Songs on Moshi Moshi
4. Cabin Dogs: Twilight, Midnight Trail, self-released
5. I Break Horses: Hearts, Hearts on Bella Union
6. Luke Temple: Ophelia, Don't Act Like You Don't Care on Western Vinyl
7. The Moor: Warm Winter, The Moor on Dilettante
8. Hotel Lights: Falling Down, Girl Graffiti on Bar/None
9. Balam Acab: Oh Why, Wander/Wonder on Tri Angle Records
10. Ganglians: Jungle, Still Living on Lefse Records
11. Big Eyes: Pretend to Care, Hard Life on Don Giovanni
12. The Chocolate Horse: Escape All Responsibility, Beasts on Stable Records
13. Zee Avi: Small Window, Ghostbird on Universal
14. Active Child: Hanging On, You Are All I See on Vagrant
15. Mirror Mirror: Interiors, Interiors on RVNG Intl.
16. Male Bonding: Bones, Endless Now on Sub Pop
17. The Lions: Groove (Scene #1), Iconoclastic Motion Picture Soundtrack/Pub Songs and Sing-a-Longs, self-released
18. Case Studies: The Eagle, or the Serpent, The World Is Just a Shape to Fill the Night on Sacred Bones
19. Stephin Merritt: Forever and a Day, Obscurities on Merge
20. Devon Williams: Your Sympathy, Euphoria on Slumberland
21. Vieo Abiungo: Treading Water, And the World Is Still Yawning on Lost Tribe

So much great stuff. Hard to do a good representative sample, but I'll try.

Because I couldn't NOT play this song. You too will soon know, if you do not already, what the senator wants.

Love this song too. Rootsy with the thump and pulse of zydeco.

You could drown in this song, it's so watery. Slow to develop and it's about halfway through the song before the bass and drums kick in, but that's ok. Not even sure what to call it, genre-wise. Electronic, for sure, but that's just the method, not really anything descriptive. Give it a shot, especially if this stuff sounds like it's generally out of your comfort zone. It's a very calming song.

Jangly power pop with guitars that sound straight out of early-90s-era Britpop and a chorus that sounds like it could have been written by Mike Viola or Jon Brion or The Apples in Stereo (but that could be because his voice reminds me of Robert Schneider).

I could have included so much more as previews, you guys. I'm really proud of this one.

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Moar condos

So, I live in Ballard (linked to the Wikipedia article which has a decent account of Ballard's history and annexation), and over the past few years, there's been a boom in condo-building. The most recent batch of condos (or condo projects, as some haven't even begun yet) have been at the cost of beloved local institutions, like The Sunset Bowl (leaving Seattle north of the ship canal sans bowling alley) and (strangely enough) the local Denny's, which people wanted preserved for its being an exemplar of Googie architecture (the move to save it failed, and it too was torn down to make room for condos).

The one I've disliked the most, though, was the one I was reminded of walking to where I'm currently drinking coffee and writing this: the old Ballard Branch Library. It was built in 1963 to replace the Ballard Carnegie Library (built by the joint support of the citizens of Ballard and Andrew Carnegie in, like, 1904, if I recall correctly—itself a beautiful old building) and was shuttered in 2005 when it was replaced by the new über-modern Ballard Library (like, the thing is so green it hurts—the thing has a "green roof" fer chrissakes).

Anyhow, the old library (which is cool-looking, I think: it has that cozy feeling of buildings built in the mid-sixties that populate the memories of my youth—one-story, rambler type affairs with walls built from a random assortment of stones) used to be, like, one of my favorite bookstores in Seattle. Abraxus Books (which I think still has a store in Lower Queen Anne) kept the interior the same and just set up shop to turn a library into a bookstore (adding couches, rugs and book without call-numbers). It was awesome to walk down the stacks and shop for books: it was like you got to check out the books FOREVER.

And now it's gone to make room for more stupid condos. :(


Coffee coffee coffee coffee

So, when I've talked about the coffee shop I go to and the barista who makes my coffee, this is who I've been talking about and the technique he uses:

Dude's got me spoiled. I'm currently contemplating and pricing gear to start doing pourovers for home coffee consumption (which is practically nil these days, since I drink most of my coffee at work, where it's free, but given that I've been working from home with some regularity, I kind of want to step up my game some and maybe drink coffee on the weekends). Since I don't drink coffee at home all that often, I don't really buy it. But if I could get a good pourover setup, that would change things, I think.

Like, I'm getting seriously obsessed about this now, staying up late at night and reading reviews of equipment and debating whether I want to get, like, a temperature-controlled electric kettle or just a decent thermometer. And then figuring out a decent kitchen scale. And maybe a new water filter (like, maybe an attachment for my sink faucet).

Unfortunately, Cole the Fancy Magic Coffee Man no longer works at my neighborhood coffee shop. :( I'll probably lurk on his Twitter periodically over the next few months to see where he lands. In the meantime, I may do a little more exploring coffee-wise (though I have found a rather nice place a few miles away that serves Stumptown and Intelligentsia AND has a vintage Clover (i.e., pre-2008, when Starbucks bought them out)).

Still, though, I remain quasi-obsessed for the moment at learning to brew the perfect cup of coffee at home.


Does anyone else do this?

Sometimes when I'm brushing my teeth with my Sonicare toothbrush, I hum along to it, treating it like a drone on a bagpipe. Or, if I'm not feeling in the mood for a melody, I'll just hum intervals along with it. My favorites are:

1) Perfect fifth
2) Perfect fourth
3) Major third
4) Minor third
5) Minor second
6) Leading tone
7) Quarter-step (or less) above or below the tone of the toothbrush (I like to imagine the the interference patterns generated are blasting away even more plaque and other assorted dental nasties).

Sometimes if I'm feeling saucy, I'll hum a tritone.

My inner consumer whore is crying

So, I noticed a really awesome tea-kettle on the most recent (and ante-penultimate) episode of Good Eats. It has a pair of rockets on a ring around the top part. And when the water boils, the rockets spin around the kettle. WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!


So I google "rocket tea kettle" and do a little poking around and I find out that I CANNOT HAVE ONE. Because they are no longer made and nobody's selling them online. And even if they were, they'd be, like, $300-$700.


You can find pictures and more information on them here. THIS IS A SAD DAY FOR ME.

Ok, so two episodes in

And this is how I rank the ponies:

1. Twilight Sparkle (she's a slightly misanthropic, anti-social nerd, so I think she'll stay up at the top of the list)
2. Pinkie Pie (perhaps slightly annoying, but I like her enthusiasm and logorrhea)
3. Fluttershy (into music, also likes being alone)
4. Rainbow Dash (talented, but kind of a dick)
5. Rarity (superficial, but kind)
6. Applejack (kinda boring)

Signal Boost: Return of the DDoS

Originally posted by deathpixie at Signal Boost: Return of the DDoS
For those wanting to know more about the recent DDoS attacks, yes, it looks like it was the Russian government trying to shut down the dissidents again.

As I said last time, while it's frustrating not to have access, LJ is a lot more than a social network platform. From the article:

"LiveJournal isn’t just a social network. It’s also a platform for organizing civic action. Dozens of network projects and groups mobilize people to solve specific problems — from defending the rights of political prisoners to saving endangered historic architecture in Moscow."

So while I know many are considering the move over to Dreamwidth and other such sites, supporting LJ is a way we can help support those who use it for more than a writing/roleplaying/social venue.

Also, as a FYI, LJ is giving paid users effected by the outage two weeks of paid time as compensation.

Podcast #77 is now up

I had a good time making this podcast. By the time I was done looking for music this past weekend, I already had 40 (!) tracks from artists with stuff coming out in August. I split that in half, giving myself 20 tracks to choose from for this podcast and at least 20 in the next one (as I'm sure I'll find a few more that I want to potentially play in the 8/15 podcast in the next few weeks).

Often as I'm listening to songs when I have more than I want to use (I'm pretty happy with 16 tracks right now, and much more than the 60-75 minutes I do every podcast is probably pushing it, if I'm not pushing it already), I usually have a decently easy time of whittling things down. I'll hear a track and as I figure out where it's going to go in a set, I'll put "(eh)" or "(eh?)" next to it (signaling: "go ahead and dump this" and "you might think about dumping this," respectively).

This time, it was harder for me to make those calls. There were one or two songs that were easy to cut, but the others were harder.

Don't despair, however, since all that means is that the 16 I kept I'm all excited about, which is good for you, the listener. At least if your taste in music matches up with mine.

Enough words. Tracklist!

1. Boston Spaceships: Christmas Girl, Let It Beard on Guided By Voices, Inc.
2. The War on Drugs: Baby Missiles, Slave Ambient on Secretly Canadian
3. Prophets & Kings: Die to Rest, Prophets & Kings, self-released
4. Armand Margjeka: Momma, Margo-Margo, self-released
5. Sleeping Bag: Slime, Sleeping Bag on Joyful Noise
6. Fool's Gold: Street Clothes, Leave No Trace on IAMSOUND
7. Fruit Bats: Tangie and Ray, Tripper on Sub Pop
8. The Great Book of John: Let Me Slide, The Great Book of John on Communicating Vessels
9. Jim Ward: Broken Songs, Quiet In the Valley, On the Shores The End Begins & The Electric Six on Tembloroso Recordings
10. Letting Up Despite Great Faults: Teenage Tide, Paper Crush EP on Old Flame Records
11. Mister Heavenly: Pineapple Girl, Out of Love on Sub Pop
12. Gold Leaves: The Ornament, The Ornament on Hardly Art
13. Blood Orange: Sutphin Boulevard, Coastal Grooves on Domino
14. Mode Moderne: Real Goths, Real Goths 7" on Light Organ
15. Collections of Colonies of Bees: Lawn, Giving on Hometapes
16. Teen Daze: The Harvest, A Silent Planet EP on Waaga

And here are some standout tracks from this time:


All I do is consume media

So in the month of July, I ...


1. The Influencing Machine, by Brooke Gladstone and Josh Neufeld:
 I think I  heard about this on the radio, and it sounded interesting, so I bought it. Pretty good. If you like Brooke Gladstone's NPR program (On the Media), you'd probably like it. A very level-headed take on the state of the media these days (namely, it's pretty much the same as it ever was and that there are biases we should be more afraid of than partisan biases, like the bias toward sensationalism and the status quo)..
2. The Masochists, by Nick Bertozzi: Three short comics about people with rough lives who are hurting. Kinda brutal. Picked it up for $1 at the Friends of the Library book sale. Pretty good, but, yeah, brutal.
3. Harvey, by Hervé Bouchard and Janice Nadeau: Another sad comic about a boy whose father dies and then he becomes invisible.
4. Sshhhh!, by Jason: I went on a bit of a Jason binge this month. I knew about him, but hadn't really read him. Good stuff, though highly stylized and idiosyncratic (the same sorts of creature-people/characters inhabit all of his work. A good story told entirely without words.
5. Tell Me Something, by Jason: Another good story, told mostly in silence. A love story.
6. You Can't Get There From Here, by Jason: The story of two mad scientist assistants and the creations of the mad scientists. Also good.
7. Meow, Baby!, by Jason: A series of shorts starring his usual cast of characters (bird, dog, Frankenstein monster, skeleton, Elvis). One can never escape one's own nature, is what it seems to tell me.
8. The Living and the Dead, by Jason: Love and zombies. Boy meets girl, zombies attack. Also good. I wouldn't keep reading him if I didn't like this stuff.
9. The Left Bank Gang, by Jason: Perhaps my favorite one. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Joyce pull a heist in 1920s Paris. Gertrude Stein, Hadley Hemingway and others show up.
10. I Am Going to Be Small, by Jeffrey Brown: Short comics by Jeffrey Brown. Love him, but I wouldn't start with this one were I you and not having read him before.
11. Funny Misshapen Body, by Jeffrey Brown: Refreshing, since it's a novel-length autobiographical narrative that is more concerned with Brown's life (illness, education, being an up-and-coming artist). Really good.
12. I Want Everything to Be Okay, by Carrie McNinch: MOAR AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL COMICS. This one about a woman's struggle with her own alcoholism, taking the form of a comic diary with one entry per day for an entire year.
13. Paying for It, by Chester Brown: REALLY interesting. But potentially off-putting. This is another autobiographical book and it's about Brown's life as a john. Yes, a frequenter of prostitutes (well, right now he has an exclusive monogamous relationship with one prostitute, but it's still the normal pay-for-play arrangement). And he has some very strong feelings about the subject. Like, he doesn't believe in love. He believes in decriminalizing prostitution, though not regulating it (and given what he says on the matter, I think I feel the same way, though that is an opinion formed solely by the evidence he presents, as I've not really done any research on the subject). His friend Seth (another cartoonist) calls him a robot. I can see how he'd arrive at that opinion. Regardless, it's a very eye-opening read.
14. House, by Josh Simmons: Picked this up on a whim at the Fantagraphics sale. Another wordless comic about three teenagers exploring an abandoned house. Kinda scary.
15. Robot Dreams, by Sara Varon: A kids' book about a dog and his robot friend, but a pretty poignant story about friendship and the tragedy of circumstance.
16. Preacher: Gone toTexas, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon: Just started this series and it's all right. Gorey and campy. Plus the idea of God as the antagonist tickles my little atheist heart.


1. The Trip: Fucking amazing. Like, SO good. I mean, Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan are good enough on their own, but together they make magic. The movie is by turns funny and touching. It's distilled from the six episode series, which I have yet to watch (nor have I seen Tristram Shandy: both will come soon), but worth seeing on its own.
2. Conan O'Brian Can't Stop: Went to see this because it got good reviews (a documentary about Conan's time between shows, when he was touring with his live show). It was interesting to see the man emerge behind the comedy every once in a while.
3. Mishima:  A Life in Four Chapters:  Gorgeous. Both in the visuals and in the music (some of Glass's best work). The juxtaposition of Mishima's life with stylized reenactments of his own work is really interesting.
4. Fanny and Alexander: I keep trying to like Ingmar Bergman. But I keep failing to do so. The movie was WAY too long (and granted, it was originally a miniseries), but there was a lot that could have been cut. It was pretty boring. 
5. M: I liked this one, though the final note rang a little hollow with me.
6. Richard III: Really didn't like this. I know I should have, because it's a classic and it's Laurence Olivier and all that, but I just couldn't get into it. I mean, it's novel and all to have a play told from the point of view of the bad guy, but it was all just ponderous acting and silly hats and boredom.
7. Playtime: LOVED this. Hard to explain, unless you've seen it, but the film is watching life go from cold and confined to warm and open. And the character in it is apparently one of the inspirations for Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean.
8. The Wages of Fear: Another very good movie with a young Yves Montand. Transporting nitroglycerine to an oil fire in rickety trucks on a shitty road. Definition of a Thriller.
9. Tokyo Story: Slow and didn't really hold my attention. 
10. Samurai Rebellion: Good. Not as good as Kurosawa's samurai films, but good nevertheless.
11. The Passion of Joan of Arc: LIked it more than I  thought I would. If you're a filmmaker and you want to know about shooting faces, you probably watch this movie. Maria Falconetti is simply haunting. You could play a drinking game where you take a drink every time she blinks:  you would emerge pretty much sober.
12. The Battle of Algiers: Very interesting and timely now in our current geopolitical environment (insurgency, terrorism, etc.).
13. Tokyo Drifter: Very fun to watch style-wise, but I had trouble following the story and the various characters' motivations.
14. The Rules of the Game:  Blah. I'm getting tired of black and white movies about rich adulterers.
15. Umberto D.: Awesome. Very touching. The final scene with his dog was heartbreaking and wonderful.
16. Tout va Bien: This was all right. A bit contrived (though I've not seen any other Godard films), but interesting. Wasn't quite sure what the message was supposed to be and the narrative device felt a bit clunky.
17. Smiles of a Summer Night: Why do I keep torturing myself with Bergman? I'm not even sure I finished this one. So I've now seen four Ingmar Bergman films and I haven't liked any of them (yes, even, The Seventh Seal). Anyone have any suggestions? I'm about ready to just give up on him as a director.
18. Picnic at Hanging Rock: Certainly different. Could've done more to hold my attention, though. 
19. The Earrings of Madame de ...: Another one I don't think I finished. ENOUGH  WITH  THE  RICH  PEOPLE  HAVING  AFFAIRS.  THIS  SHIT ISN'T  INTERESTING, EUROPEAN  FILMMAKERS  OF  THE  PAST.
20. Midnight Run: A break from my Criterion marathon. Really liked this. Charles Grodin and Robert DeNiro were great. I was at first overjoyed to see there were three sequels, but then dismayed to see they were made-for-tv movies with a completely different cast. 
21. My Cousin Vinny: I don't know why I  hadn't seen this before, but I did so at the urging of max_ambiguity  and knut_hamson. Joe Pesci played what could have been a really cheesy role with a surprising amount of depth. And Marisa Tomei was a lot of fun as well.
22. Body Heat: Oh man. What a great, hot neo-noir cheeseball flick. The opening 20 minutes or so of dialogue is worth the rest of the movie, which is a pretty good noir story.
23. Sid &  Nancy: Eh. I'm of two minds: Gary Oldman is a fantastic actor. He completely loses himself inside a role like few other actors do (like, I had to be reminded that he was playing characters in The Fifth Element and the new Batman movies, because the name "Gary Oldman" didn't come to mind—with Commissioner Gordon especially. When I realized it was him, it was a pretty "holy shit" moment for me). So there's that. But there's also that I don't find Sid Vicious to be all that remarkable a person, much less musician. I think he was an unfortunate kid who got caught up in some forces much larger than himself. And I guess I can appreciate the movie for that aspect of it: I just don't find him or Nancy Spungen all that interesting.
24. Witness for the Prosecution: Wow. What a lot of fun. The only way this would have been better is if the whole thing was just Charles Laughton verbally abusing people for two hours. This might also be the first time I've seen Marlene Dietrich in a movie, because all of a sudden Madeleine Kahn's character of Lili Von Shtupp in Blazing Saddles made sense in a way she never had made sense before. And goddamn, is her rhotacism distracting.
25/26. Torchwood Seasons 2 and 3: I know there's a contingent of people who pooh-pooh the first two seasons of Torchwood, but I rather liked them (and of course Season 3 was great).
27/28. Doctor Who Seasons 4 (and intra4/5 specials) and 5: So, Matt Smith is a good Doctor, but David Tennant was a GREAT Doctor. There are certain aspects of the Matt Smith Doctor I like (like his absent-mindedness and his general glee about all things), but Tennant's Doctor speaks to me more personally.
That is all for now.


So I splurged and bought myself a new toy last week: a new 15" MacBook Pro -- the low end model, but with the RAM upgraded to 8GB rather than the standard 4GB, since for the work I do on it (audio work) needs memory more than it needs a faster processor. My nearly 5-year-old Macbook's fan died and I figured that since I was planning on getting a new computer this year that this was a good enough time as any.

I could already feel the massive difference in speed booting up iTunes (something that would take 10 minutes or so on the old computer, which now takes under 30 seconds: no small feat for a 600+ GB music library on an external drive), but doing my podcast right now is where I really feel it.

The old computer would really slow down doing podcast work (and this is where the memory comes in): I'm usually mixing down 24 separate tracks into one audio file, and that's pretty memory-intensive. Before, where I'd need to give it a few seconds to think and spin its fancy beach-ball-of-thinking, now it's zippy. And I just put the first track into place and everything played normally (whereas before it would often have a false start where the audio was choppy and I'd need to stop and start again).

There are few joys as sweet as a new computer being all fast and perky.
But this is the perfect (dare I say only) background for one's iPhone:


What I heard on the radio on my drive in

Looks like John in the Morning was having a 90s flashback sort of morning. Other songs played on either side of my drive included tracks by Massive Attack, Suzanne Vega, Portishead, Edwyn Collins, Beastie Boys, Teenage Fanclub, Suede, The Afghan Whigs, Garbage, The Cure, Julianna Hatfield, Veruca Salt, Elastica, Oasis, Blur, New Order, Catherine Wheel, Pavement, Guided by Voices, Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, Porno for Pyros, The The, Sugar, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Dinosaur Jr., The Sundays, Mazzy Star, Frank Black, The Breeders, Throwing Muses, Belly , Liz Phair, Morphine, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, The Verve, U2, REM, Nirvana, Buffalo Tom and he just got done playing Sinead O'Connor.

I think he's set a date range of, like, 1989 to 1995 and isn't leaving it.



New podcast is online

My new podcast is up. Hurrah, hurroo. This one is notable because it's one of the few that features nary a band I've ever heard of before (for those who don't know/have forgotten, my method for finding music is to subscribe to a crapload of RSS feeds on music blogs and about once a week do a few hour marathon session of reading through them, listening to dozens of songs and downloading the ones that strike my fancy [I'd estimate about a 25% keep rate]). 
Well, I suppose that's not ENTIRELY true, since Release the Sunbird is a side project from the lead guy in Rogue Wave, whom I've at least heard of (though with whom I am not really at all familiar). Oh, and I heard some caller in to a local radio show mention Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs as being the best band from Ellensburg since The Screaming Trees (though this is Ellensburg we're talking about here, so it's not like there's a lot of competition. Still, hadn't heard anything by them before finding their track online.

Regardless, I was left at this juncture with 20 songs to choose from, so I was able to jettison 4 that weren't quite as good as the rest, so the remainder are—I assure you—Grade A Awesome Music, even if you've never heard of them before (since there's a decent chance that if I've never heard of them, you haven't either). Promise. Don't be afraid.

1. Cuckoo Chaos: Jesus Flag American Fish, Jesus Flag American Fish 7" on Lefse Records
2. EDM: Stereo/Video, Night People on Western Vinyl
3. Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs: Alone in this Together, Alone in this Together on Local 638 Records
4. Meredith Bragg: Birds of North America, Nest on The Kora Records
5. Roadside Graves: Love Me More, We Can Take Care of Ourselves on Autumn Tone
6. Strong Killings: Annals of Animals, Strong Killings on Don't Stop Believin'
7. Umpire: Green Light District, Now We're Active on Hidden Shoal Recordings
8. Sun Airway: Wild Palms, Wild Palms 7" on Dead Oceans
9. Washed Out: You and I, Within and Without on Sub Pop/Weird World
10. Debbie Neigher: Evergreens, Debbie Neigher, self-released
11. Fair Ohs: Summer Lake, Everything Is Dancing on Lefse Records
12. Soft Metals: Psychic Driving, Soft Metals on Captured Tracks
13 .Little Horn: Bridges Break, Twelve on Whale Heart Records
14. Release the Sunbird: Always Like the Son, Come Back to Us on Brushfire Records
15. Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground: World's Entire, Introducing Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground on Suburban Records
16. Inc.: Swear, 3 EP on 4AD

So, let's see. A decent sampling of the goods here:

It is late and I am exhausted, thus I'll let you figure out what the above songs sound like and put my customary linky-dinks down here:

Stream/download: http://onlinerock.com/partners/podcasts.shtml
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Hey ladies!


Read/Watched June 2001 Edition

Man, reading and I just weren't into it this month. June kinda got away from me in that respect. Here's all I read:

1. Put the Book Back on the Shelf, by Various Artists: A series of short comics based on/inspired by Belle and Sebastian songs. I saw it at Half Price Books and I picked it up on a whim. About what you'd expect from such a venture: some good, some not so good.
2. White Shades of Pale, by Christian Lander: Picked this one up at the Friends of the Library booksale. It's from the guy who runs the Stuff White People Like website. Total bathroom reading material.
3. Miniature Sulk, by Jeffrey Brown: a series of short comics, chronicling things that go wrong in Jeffrey's life.
4. Little Things, by Jeffrey Brown: similar, but longer form and somewhat narrative in scope as it goes (roughly) chronologically, ending with his current situation (wife and kid). I really like Jeffrey Brown, though he may not be everyone's cup of tea as he can tend toward the cutesy and twee from time to time.

There are other books I'm in the middle of, and perhaps I'll finish one or two of the longer ones by the end of next month.

Movies was another matter, and may explain the anemic list above:

1. John Oliver: Terrifying Times: A solid comedy set from John Oliver.
2. Patton Oswalt: No Reason to Complain: Patton Oswalt is never not funny.
3. Pickpocket: Pretty much just a rehashing of Crime and Punishment, but not quite as tortured. The pickpocketing techniques were pretty cool to watch.
4. Wild Strawberries: I think the only other Bergman film I've watched is The Seventh Seal, which I didn't really like very much. I liked this better than that, but wasn't blown away or anything.
5. Hidden Fortress: Kurosawa, on the other hand, can do no wrong in my book. Loved this movie. It was fun to see what George Lucas lifted from it for his Star Wars movies (and while everyone makes a big deal about the things he put in A New Hope, I think that two elements from The Phantom Menace were lifted from this as well: the princess switcheroo and that Qui-Gon Jinn looks JUST like Rokurota Makabe).
6. Mala Noche: Gus Van Sant's first movie. I liked it, though it portrays gays as a bit predatory, even though the guy is essentially harmless.
7. L'Avventura: It was ok. I get what Antonioni was doing: I just didn't find the story all that interesting.
8. Overlord: This was pretty good. From what I understand, it's been unavailable on DVD for a while. WWII movie that's pretty highly stylized. Filmed in the mid-70s, but done with vintage equipment and film to give it an older look. About half of the film is footage from the war itself, spliced in between shots of the actors.
9. General Idi Amin Dada: As far as Amin was concerned, this was propaganda for his government, but he didn't see the cut that Schroeder eventually released. Interesting in a banality-of-evil sort of way. Like, it's surprising how easy it would be to like the guy. He cracks jokes all the time, smiles easily and just seems friendly. There's one scene with his cabinet, though, that's positively chilling, where you can see that he's serious about killing people to quash dissent.
10. Elevator to the Gallows: A decent crime movie.
11. Le Corbeau: This was ok as well, but not terribly gripping.
12. Sisters: Pretty creepy, and lots of fake blood.
13. Sanjuro: Awesome. I liked it about as much as Yojimbo (which is my absolute favorite Kurosawa movie). Mifune is such a badass.
14. My Life as a Dog: Touching. I can see why it got awards. Also, I am embarrassed to note that I didn't recognize "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" in Swedish.
15. Suspiria: Very pretty to look at, but a shitty story.
16. The God Who Wasn't There: I think I'd seen this before. I was hoping for more history and it wound up being more just atheist propaganda. And not that I have anything against that (for about a year—and I'm serious about this—falling asleep, I was compelled to listen to lectures by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Dan Dennett, P.Z. Myers, Sam Harris, A.C. Grayling, Michael Shermer, or really any other skeptical voice I could find: like I had several tabs to atheist/skeptic video blogs permanently open for ease of finding them); it just wasn't what I was hoping for.
17. The Living Wake: Really cool. Picked it out because it has Jesse Eisenberg, and I really like him and support him in his quest to become the anti-Michael Cera (even if he doesn't know this is what he's doing). It's available for free on Hulu. I'm not entirely sure how to describe it. Black comedy works, I suppose, but it's also an absurdist comedy and has a few musical numbers. I think people who like The American Astronaut will like this movie.
18. Mean Streets: This was very good. Pretty much the anti-Godfather (and it came out the year after that movie, so that might have even informed Scorcese's filmmaking, though I don't know one way or the other). Keitel and DeNiro are, of course, fantastic. What I loved about the movie was how different it was from other mafia movies: the gangsters are small and petty, their schemes not terribly elaborate, the whole thing rather disorganized.
19. Monsoon Wedding: This was good too, though my favorite storyline (there are about 4 different stories going on through the entire wedding party) was the romance between the wedding planner and the maid. Perhaps the most interesting thing was all of the code-switching (between Hindi and English) going on.
20. Without Love: A great Hepburn/Tracy movie. The more I see of Katharine Hepburn, the more I admire her.
21. Woman of the Year: Not quite as good as Without Love, but still pretty good. The kitchen scene is great.
22. Bridesmaids: Really, really funny. I was very happy to see a bunch of funny women doing this sort of movie (and not leaving everything to the dudes). I was also very happy to see Kritsen Wiig get the starring role, since she so often winds up playing second fiddle to others or is relegated to performing SNL-types of characters. Also, to my immense joy, Chris O'Dowd was the love interest! I had not known this going in, and I almost made a noise in the theater when I saw him. If the name means nothing to you, then one of two things is true: you either haven't watched The IT Crowd or you weren't paying attention during the credits of The IT Crowd. About the only things I wished were different are that I wanted Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper to have more screen time, as they are both very funny. Still, it was a lot of fun.
23. The Hangover 2: About what you'd expect. I have to go support my doppelganger in whatever movies he's in.
24. Doctor Who Season 2: Allons-y!
25. Doctor Who Season 3: Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff! This season was the one that convinced me to bump it from 4 stars to 5 stars in Netflix.
26. Torchwood Season 1: EVERYBODY IS SO SAD AND TRAGIC, GUIZE. Still, this is fun. I described it to a friend who was wondering if she should watch it as like Doctor Who if it were a police procedural with less time travel and more tears.

Getting ahead of the ball!

Podcast #75 is up on iTunes (and the website is updated. Whee! Here's the setlist for this one:

1. The Fruit Tree Foundation: I Forgot the Fall, First Edition on Chemikal Underground
2. Celestial Shore: Place Aux Dames, Place Aux Dames 7" on Double Denim Records
3. Quiet Lights: Engine Down, The Big Fear EP on Old Flame Records
4. Blithe Field: Crushing, Two Hearted on Waaga Records
5. Memory Tapes: Today Is Our Life, Player Piano on Carpark/Something in Construction
6. Crystal Antlers: Two-Way Mirror, Crystal Antlers on Recreation LTD
7. Handsome Furs: What About Us, Sound Kapital on Sub Pop
8. The Express: Nobody Knows, The Express, self-released
9. Circuit des Yeux: 3311, Portrait on De Stijl
10. Superhumanoids: Mikelah, Mikelah 7" on White Iris
11. Eleanor Friedberger: My Mistakes, Last Summer on Merge Records
12. Pure X: Twisted Mirror, Pleasure on Acéphale
13. Gardens & Villa: Black Hills, Gardens & Villa on Secretly Canadian
14. Bon Iver: Calgary, Bon Iver on 4AD
15. Youth Lagoon: Cannons, The Year of Hibernation on Juno Beach Records
16. Clams Casino: Gorilla, Rainforest EP on Tri Angle

A taste of the goods:

Half of the Fiery Furnaces. Good song. Nice, powerful bass-driven chorus.

A nice chilled-out track.

Some wimp rock from Justin Vernon. Weird video.

Electronic badassery.

Stream/download: http://www.onlinerock.com/partners/podcasts.shtml
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Subtitles for Torchwood.

Torchwood: It Never Ends Well
Torchwood: Because Happy Endings Are for Losers
Torchwood: Sponsored by Kleenex™
Torchwood: Everybody Dies
Torchwood: Happiness Is Fleeting

Don't get me wrong. I'm enjoying the show, and about to engage in a marathon through Seasons 2 and 3 so I can be caught up for the start of Season 4 this Friday. But I will be utterly flabbergasted if an episode has a happy ending (and, spoiler-whore that I am, I already know how Seasons 2 and 3 end, so I know it won't be there if such a thing ever occurs).


Louie, Louie, Louie, Louie

Louie is back on FX for its second season and I caught the first episode a few days ago and am mighty happy about it. The second one is sitting in my DVR queue now and I'll likely watch it as I eat lunch.

Louis C.K. has been pretty much a viral phenomenon in the popular comedic consciousness (see the widely Youtubed clip of an interview on Conan from years ago which is now titled "Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy"):

And he's been in the background for years, serving as a writer for a lot of comedy shows (Letterman, Conan, Dana Carvey, Chris Rock, Robert Smigel), and doing comedy specials and the occasional movie (he wrote Pootie Tang and has had bit acting parts in a number of movies and shows). But he's really a comedian's comedian: those who take their comedy seriously love him, but he's not an instantly recognized face or name. He's sort of like Zach Galifianakis was before Zach Galifianakis was everywhere: insanely talented and creative, but no huge mainstream commercial success.

I'm hoping Louie can do that for him, because it really has the chance to. I've talked about the show before, but I'll do so again because it bears repeating.

It weaves together his standup bits (performed in front of a real audience, though sometimes that audience is coached to have specific reactions, or specific audience members to say things for the purpose of the show's plot) with his experiences as a single, divorced dad of two girls (aged 5 and 9). And while you might think that given how he talks about his kids in his standup act that their relationship would be modeled after some standard television trope of father-child dynamics. But it's not. In the first scene with his kids, his five-year-old announces matter-of-factly while he's brushing her teeth that she likes staying with her mother better. And the scene is played both for the child's naïve honesty as well as Louis's human reaction: he's obviously a bit sad, but recognizes that he's just dealing with a child who can't understand the implications of what she's saying.

Later, after a cooking pastiche where it's clear that he's trying very hard to be a good father (he puts a lot of effort and care into the food preparation), he gives his nine-year-old a "mango pop" (having carved much of the mango off its stone on either side of it, he sticks a fork in the remaining bit, Popsicle-style and hands it to her as she's doing her homework). His five-year-old later confronts him in the kitchen and does the five-year-old thing about fairness. So he gives her the standard "Life isn't fair" speech that we all got numerous times from our own parents in similar situations. Then he goes even further and tells her: "The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough.” 

And this is a comedy, folks. He moves deftly from a cute laugh to a very serious and heartfelt idea about justice in a few quick moves. Of course, he finally caves and lets her have a treat (but not before telling her to share with her sister, thus both satisfying the five-year-old's demands for equality while maintaining the inequality that drove the girl to initiate the conversation). While his comedy may highlight the absurdities and frustrations at being a parent, the show presents these alongside what underlies his humor: namely that he loves being a father and loves his daughters immensely.

I posted his interview from The Daily Show on Facebook last week, and if you haven't seen it, you should. It had me laughing so hard I was crying (and Jon Stewart was in a similar state: while Jon can usually maintain his standard repartée with his guests, at several points, all he could do was to squeeze out "Stop, stop" between giggles, as Louis just kept going and going). And they give away one of the jokes of the first episode (namely that a lot hinges around a long fart), but what they don't mention is that the entire situation leading up to that moment is not really all that funny at all. It's serious and harried and Louis is faced with difficult decisions. I won't spoil it by saying too much more, for those who haven't seen the show, but it's  great sequence both for its comedy as well as its humanity.

And I suppose that's what makes the show tick: it's a very human comedy that very rarely feels contrived. It's driven equally by humor and sincerity, and it's not to be missed.

I keep getting to these late

Podcast #74's been online at iTunes for about a week now. Here's what you'll find:

1. Liam Finn: The Struggle, FOMO on Yep Roc
2. Bearstronaut: Roger Was a Dancer, Satisfied Violence, self-released
3. Bobby: Sore Spores, Bobby on Partisan Records
4. Vetiver: Can't You Tell, The Errant Charm on Sub Pop
5. JEFF The Brotherhood: Diamond Way, We Are the Champions on Infinity Cat Records
6. Junior Boys: EP, It's All True on Domino
7. Niki and the Dove: The Fox, The Fox single on Sub Pop
8. Thee Oh Sees: I Need Seed, Castlemania on In The Red
9. Brice Randall Bickford: Songstress, Brice Randall Bickford on Trekky Records
10. Paleo: Holly Would, Fruit of the Spirit on Partisan Records
11. YACHT: Dystopia, Shangri-La on DFA Records
12. Painted Palms: All of Us, Canopy on Secretly Canadian
13. John Gold: Baby, It's Your Life, A Flower In Your Head on Vagrant Records
14. Marissa Nadler: The Sun Always Reminds Me of You, Marissa Nadler on Box of Cedar
15. The Chain Gang of 1974: Undercover, Wayward Fire on Modern Art
16. Cassettes Won't Listen: The Echoes, EVINSPACEY on Daylight Curfew

And this is what it sounds like:


Not entirely sure how to classify this. Dance music maybe? Darkwave? Synthpop? I don't know. Good stuff, though I'm a sucker for synths. Make sure to hang around until at least 1'39", even if it's not necessarily your thing, as the chorus really kicks in there.

Vetiver is always good. Kind of an qausi electronic/psychedelic/folk thing going on. Hard to categorize and that's how I like it.

Some upbeat lo-fi freak folk from Paleo, who was the guy who did the whole song diary thing, recording a new song every day for a year a few years ago.

Not even going to try to put the Painted Palms track into a genre, though it's poppy, synthy, vaguely psychy. Indulges a bit in the whole hazy, washed over sound that's been all the rage for the past few years, but it still sounds good.

Stream/download: http://onlinerock.com/partners/podcasts.shtml (not there yet -- I'll have to bug the website owner as #73 isn't there yet either)
Subscribe: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/onlinerock-podcast/id281576502 (it is, however, there, which is how I figure out when to post these updates)


Finally doing it.

Costco had 2TB external drives on sale for $99, so I picked one up and I'm backing up my music library (currently I have it sitting on its own, sans backup, on a 1TB external drive). For the past few days I've been struggling a bit because everything I'd try (dragging and dropping, using Disk Utility to copy one disk to the other, trying the functionality of a program called SuperDuper [which is reputed to be very good at this sort of thing]) ended hours later in something hanging, so I'd have to reformat the 2TB and try again. These sorts of things appear to be not uncommon in doing large (~700 GB) backups.

This morning I thought "Surely there must be some way to do this from the command line," and found rsync. So I started that around 7 hours ago and I've just now gotten into the Ls (LCD Soundsystem is what's currently copying over). Love this little program.

The nice things: so even though it did hang (somewhere in Joy Division), all I had to do was:

  1. 1. Stop the program (ctrl-C)
  2. 2. Unplug the hard drive (because it had even stopped responding to things in the Finder
  3. 3. Plug it back in.
  4. 4. Run rsync again.

Part of the functionality of the program is to check to see what already exists and only back up the things from the source environment that aren't in the target environment. Meaning that when I reran the command (which was dirt simple:
rsync -av Volumes/Radio\ KCUF/ Volumes/Untitled/
-- the -av is telling it to run in archive mode [which preserves things like file permissions] and to run in verbose mode [i.e., tell me what you're doing: this manifests itself in just a scrolling list of what files are copied]; Radio KCUF is my music hard drive and Untitled is the backup drive that I'll name later), it started back up where it needed to start back up again, and not from the very beginning (overwriting files that were already there).

No idea why this hangs every 6 or 7 hours or so. Could be screwy music files. Could be that my old computer (it's nearing 5 years old) is just crapping out. Could be that it's because I'm running both drives through a USB hub. Could be a bad cable. Could be a bad drive. I'm mostly concerned with getting the data copied over successfully, after which, I'll take the drive for some test runs (randomly picking out files and listening to them, leaving it mounted for days and seeing if it will spin up when I open it up in the Finder). If it's a bad drive, I've already done the warranty process with the manufacturer, so I could just get a new one.



So apparently my disbelief can be successfully be suspended with respect to rifts in time in Torchwood, but I get all critical when a Roman soldier who falls through that rift mispronounces his Latin.

And then when Owen makes a reference to House I go into overdrive. To wit:

If House exists in this universe, so does Hugh Laurie. If Hugh Laurie exists, then so does A Bit of Fry and Laurie and Stephen Fry. If Stephen Fry exists, so does QI. If QI, exists, so does David Mitchell, who has appeared on it 17 times. And if David Mitchell exists, so does Would I Lie to You, where he's a permanent team captain. And on Episode 1-02 of Would I Lie to You, one of Lee Mack's team was John Barrowman, star of Torchwood.


Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Film people!

A friend of mine (and of owl_of_minerva's) has been tasked with teaching a course on Subjectivity in Film, even though it's not at all his field. He had the following ideas: "Zizek on Lacan and Hitchcock comes to mind, some Laura Mulvey and Kaja Silverman," but then wasn't sure what else.

Any ideas?

Guys, I just about shit myself




That is all.


Podcast #73

I keep forgetting to post about the podcast from a few weeks ago, even though it's been live on iTunes about that long. Anyhow.

1. The Rosebuds: Woods, Loud Planes Fly Low on Merge Records
2. Seapony:  Blue Star, Go With Me on Hardly Art
3. Idiot Glee: Let's Get Down Together, Paddywhack on Moshi Moshi
4. Mini Mansions: Kiddie Hypnogogia, Mini Mansions on Rekords Rekords/Domino
5. My Morning Jacket: Circuital, Circuital on ATO 
6. Kids on a Crime Spree: Sweet Tooth, We Love You So Bad EP on Slumberland
7. EMA: Milkman, Past Life Martyred Saints on Souterrain Transmissions
8. Minus the Bear: Hold Me Down, Hold Me Down EP, self released
9. Mike Bloom: Til It's Over, King of Circles on Little Record Company
10. Night Moves: Horses, Colored Emotions on Afternoon Records
11. The Black Lips: Modern Art, Arabia Mountain on Vice Records
12. The Poison Control Center: Torpedoes on Tuesday, Stranger Ballet on Afternoon Records
13. Ford & Lopatin: Emergency Room, Channel Pressure on Software
14. The Ladybug Transistor: Clutching Stems, Clutching Stems on Merge Records
15. Fucked Up: The Other Shoe, David Comes to Life on Matador
16. Holy Other: Touch, With U EP on Tri Angle

Good stuff this time around (as always, duh).


My Morning Jacket is never not great.

Ford & Lopatin bring the synthesizer-love.

If you like Belle & Sebastian, you will probably like The Ladybug Transistor

Minus the Bear: for those of you who like math-rock (though they seem to have toned it down a bit in recent years -- they've also bearded up a bit, so maybe there's a correlation there).

Stream/download (though it's not up there as of this posting): http://onlinerock.com/partners/podcasts.shtml
Subscribe: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/onlinerock-podcast/id281576502


Just started watching Torchwood

And does Jack Harkness always wear both a belt and suspenders?

If so, how gauche.


The shame of being mammalian

I'm never quite sure how to feel when, toward the end of a haircut, the stylist pulls down my shirt collar in back and trims whatever neck/back hair happens to be there.


So, WAY late to this party

But I'm only now starting to watch the second season of the Doctor Who reboot, and I just saw the Sarah Jane/K-9 episode. And I've determined that K-9 is the greatest TV dog ever. Is he going to show up in further episodes in the reboot, or do I have to go back to the Tom Baker era to see more of him?


I've made a habit recently of coming to a local coffee shop that has, like, the most intense barista of all time. Like, this guy loves his coffee. For reals. We'll talk coffee for, like, 5-10 minutes every time I come in. The guy even practices his technique at home to get the perfect pourover (varying temperature, ratio of water to coffee, steeping time, how much to stir, etc.). He even recently got a little machine that will analyze the dissolved solids in parts per million that he can hook up to his computer so he can fine tune even more. Dude's seriously geeky about his coffee.

They also have a wide selection of single-source coffees, so the pourovers are always fantastic. A few weeks ago they had some Ethiopian beans in their espresso hopper, and the resulting cup was so sweet and tasting of blueberries, that I would have forced my few non-coffee drinking friends to try it for the sheer novelty.

Allie Brosh (of Hyperbole and a Half fame) also loves this place and even has an espresso blend named for her. But that's of secondary importance (though still cool).

This is all to say that for those of you who make it out here, this is where we will go for coffee.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.


Media Consumed, May 2011 edition


1. 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth, by Matthew Inman: The first book from the The Oatmeal. I was in an internetty mood after reading the Cyanide and Happiness book the month before, and also getting the next book. As to be expected, this has stuff not to be found on the website. Fun stuff. You should check out his website if you've not done so yet. Also, he's from Seattle (and lives very near me), so he's extra-cool.
2. The Internet Is a Playground, by David Thorne:
A collection from 27b/6, another very funny website (which you probably know from his bit about the lost cat ["Missing Missy"] or his attempt to remit payment with a drawing of a spider). As above, it has stuff not found on the website. Another good, fast read.
3. American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang:
I believe that knut_hamson  recommended this to me. I liked it, especially how all three stories came together in the end.
4. Bone: Tall Tales, by Jeff Smith, with Tom Sniegoski:
Not as good as Bone proper, but all right. More for kids than the original.
5. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, by Scott McCloud:
I kept seeing this around in all my comic reading, so I finally read it. A very cool book that gives a bit of a vocabulary and framework to talk about comics. I should probably read his other book, Reinventing Comics.
6. Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up, by John Allen Paulos:
A little book (like, small in size, as well as just short). Not as mathy as I would have hoped, especially not around the Ontological Argument, which always seems to me to be a lot of hand-waving. Good bathroom reading at least.
7. Lust: Kinky Online Personal Ads from Seattle's The Stranger, adapted by Ellen Forney:
Another bathroom book. Ellen Forney, a Seattle artist, is commissioned by The Stranger (our alt-weekly, and home of Dan Savage) to illustrate personal ads every week. Moderately entertaining, though more a book to dip in and out of than read straight through.
8. The Compleat Moonshadow, John Marc DeMatteis and Jon J. Muth:
Recommended by a friend here in Seattle when she heard I was reading lots of graphic novels. An interesting story (named, though this is not called out in the story, for the Cat Stevens song), and I liked it, though it didn't really stand out for me. The character of Ira was pretty great, though. Engrossing enough story. Also, this marks the first Marvel series I've read, I think (though only nominally, since the edition I read was reissued by Vertigo).
9. Epileptic, by David B.:
Really good. Autobiographical French graphic novel about the author's epileptic brother and how the family deals with it. Highly stylized. For those of you who do Disability Studies, I'd highly recommend it.
10. Clumsy, by Jeffrey Brown:
The first in the Girlfriend Trilogy. I'd seen lots of Brown comics in Half Price Books before, but I wasn't terribly interested after looking at the art and seeing that it was somewhat amateurish. Then I came across this one and saw that Chris Ware had good things to say about it (and Brown), so I figured I'd give him a shot. As you'll see, I was glad that I did. All of the books (save the next one) are fairly similar: autobiographical comics about the ups and downs of Brown's love life in his 20s. Somehwat crudely drawn, but told with a tenderness. Very good stuff, though definitely not for kids as it's pretty frank, sexually.
11. Be a Man, by Jeffrey Brown:
A "corrective" of sorts to Clumsy, wherein Brown revisits episodes from his first book and reimagines them in more stereotypically "manly" ways (e.g., the conversation he has with the girlfriend in Clumsy where he tells her that she's his second sexual partner changed to one where he tells her she's in the "four digit territory"). Short and funny. Almost necessary as a corrective so you don't think he's a humorless pussy.
12. The Prisoner:Shattered Visage, by Dean Motter and Mark Askwith:
I had higher hopes for this. It was an authorized sequel to the TV series (which is pretty incredible, if you've not seen it). Falls way short. :(
13. Plane Insanity: A Flight Attendant's Tales of Sex, Rage and Queasiness at 30,000 Feet, by Elliott Hester
: This is only the second book I've read on the Kindle (a hand-me-down from my dad). Meh. I read it because I downloaded anything that seemed like it might be halfway decent from the things he'd already bought before he deregistered it. I was also on a plane when I read it, which felt like the appropriate place. It was so-so. I also still don't like reading on the Kindle.
14. Unlikely, or, How I Lost My Virginity, by Jeffrey Brown: See above.
15. An Easy Intimacy, by Jeffrey Brown: 
See above.
16. Every Girl Is the End of the World For Me, by Jeffrey Brown: 
See above. I want to read more all of his stuff.
17. Jokes and the Unconscious, Daphne Gottlieb and Diane DiMassa: 
Pretty good. A story (fictional, no less) of a woman whose father dies of cancer and who then goes to work in the hospital he worked and died in (he was a doctor). Also of interest to those who do Disability Studies.
18. Rose, by Jeff Smith and Charles Vess:
A good prequel to the Bone series. Fleshes things out a bit more, though it's a bit short.
19. Torso, by Brian MIchael Bendis and Marc Andreyko: 
True crime novel about Elliot Ness and The Cleveland Torso Murderer. Pretty great, though it had a few spelling mistakes that distracted me. Would make a fantastic movie (and great anti-hero followup to The Untouchables). It was in pre-production for a while a few years ago, but was ultimately canceled and the rights were returned to Bendis. I think they should give it another shot.


1. Sophie's Choice: I don't typically like Holocaust movies, but this one was pretty great. I probably liked it because it showed the Holocaust as not a purely Jewish tragedy. Plus Kevin Kline was great and Meryl Streep was amazing. The scene literally drove me to tears. That doesn't happen very often. I may actually have to read the book now.
2. Easy Rider: This was ok. I wasn't all that enthused about it. I probably would have been had I seen it in 1968.
3. Eddie Izzard: Live from Wembley: Solid comedy.
4. Wet Hot American Summer: A lot of fun. Starts off and you think it's going to just be a spoof, but it gets WAY weird. Christopher Meloni is fantastic in it (as are all of The State alumni). Also, Janeane Garofalo and David Hyde Pierce have to be the most awkward movie couple ever.
5. Clockers: Very good. As I watched it, I thought "Gee, this feels a lot like The Wire." I was completely unsurprised to learn that Richard Price (the guy who wrote the book and movie) had written for The Wire.
6. A Bit of Fry and Laurie: Love this so much. The last season is a bit meh, with the forced guest stars, but it still has some good jokes. The first three, though, are comedy gold. Like, unquestionably the best thing in British sketch comedy since MPFC. If you've not seen the series and you claim to be a fan of comedy, I call your fandom into question. Soupy twist!
7. Herb and Dorothy: A cute documentary about a cute little old couple (literally—they're both eensy) who have amassed a HUGE collection of modern art on the cheap over the past 40-50 years.
8. Sherlock, Series 1: So good. Looking forward to the second series this fall. Only three 90 minute episodes, so it's like three movies, which is fun. Also, Martin Freeman as Watson! Got me reading the actual ACD Sherlock (which I've not read before, apart from Hound of the Baskervilles).
9. Control Al Delete: Meh. Mildly entertaining period comedy (said period being 1999-Y2K). The main character grows bored with porn and winds up drilling holes in his computer, and then fucking the holes in his computer. I've just about summarized the movie for you.
10. Dog Bites Man: Watched all 9 episodes of the show. Pretty brilliant idea: four comedians masquerade as a news team and catch people unaware. Like Tha Ali G Show meets The Daily Show. Zach Galifianakis is the producer. Very funny. Interesting to see what people will do or say for a news crew.
11. The Guild (Seasons 1-4): Pretty much because I wanted to ogle Felicia Day. Mission accomplished.
12. La Jetée: I saw this and I was like "Hey, Terry Gilliam totally ripped this off for 12 Monkeys!" Then I read that it was a remake of this movie. I like this movie better. It's also way shorter.

I also finished Season 5 of Bones, so I just have Season 6 to go (I imagine I'll watch that sometime this summer so I can be ready for Season 7 when it starts later in the year).

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Unlettered Ishmael

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