Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Decadent & Depraved

I'm adding Rumplo to the linkies bar, because who DOESN'T like t-shirts?
I'm back in Montreal now, for a few days- I have to go down to New York on Thursday for an internship interview on Friday. I really hope to get this one, although I'm not going to mention it, because Christ knows that I don't need to get to an interview and have them whip out a printout of some blog entry I did where I use the word "fuckshit." Except I guess this journal thing is connected to Facebook, which itself has my name...and has pictures of me at varying degrees of intoxication, etc. Jesus, now I'm all freaked out, going through photos of me on Facebook to see if there's anything incriminating. Nothing yet except the terrible admission that, once, I drank a bottle of Budweiser. Oh, and I used the word "cumcatcher". Jesus Christ.
Speaking of journals, however, I have a huge hankering for this, a neat little five-year diary thing. Because nothing would cheer me up more than flipping through a tiny book about how sad I am and have been for the past five years.
Other bizarre, interesting things I have found/been linked to:

Okay, ignore the stupid bullshit that comes out of their mouths when they're not singing, but you have to admit that the Freak Folk people look like they're having a real fun time, which is more than I can say for myself. I mean, I get that they're ridiculous, but I'd rather be ridiculous than bored so bring it on.

Again, ignore the front page and start peeking around this novel, which is free on the internet but doesn't suck as much as one would assume, given that. It's certainly got more of a sense of humour than Kornwolf, and people think that thing's the Second Coming.
I know I've already mentioned the All's Fair in Love & Chickfactor compilation, which I got when I was, what, 15? 16? And which I listened to religiously. The best track has to be Gilmore Tamny's "Simple & Fragrant", and I decided that I would look into this musician a bit more. Cut to a few hours later, I've basically been internet stalking Gilmore Tamny. There's the Matador interview, where she talks about her band the Yips, who don't even have a bio page on the Matador website anymore.
Short interlude- 1996, jesus h. christ. Nineteen Ninety Six. Do you remember when it was 1996? Say it with me, allow the syllables to drop off your tongue. When I think about past years, I never actually think about what I was doing at the time (probably nothing interesting, I was 10), but what it would be like if I was my current age at that time. Man, that would have been awesome! I wish it was 1996.
ANYWAY. There's also a Chickfactor interview from 1997 (1997 JESUS CHRIST! A year ripe with possibilities!), and some short fiction, and stuff about her 'zine Wiglet and band The Yips. Que interesante, if you're a stalker, like me.
In between those last two sentences, my computer shut down and I got really pissed and sad and took a shower and shaved. So I sort of lost the thread. Sorry.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

What I Dig

Oh, man, talk about coming out of the past- I found an unlabeled CD in my old room tonight and popped it in when going to see Sam Dough. It's so strange to hear a mix CD that I made only a few years ago, only to find that I've forgotten a lot of the bands. I had totally forgotten about an awesome live Yo La Tengo cover of the Sneaker's "What I Dig." In addition, while trying to find the original "What I Dig," I stumbled across the complete playlists for my old Barnard radio show, The Ids Are Alright- no archived MP3s anymore, but at least I'm spared my own crappy, halting radio voice.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Lonesome Death of William F. Buckley

I think my favorite moment in William F. Buckley Jr.'s life was when he called Gore Vidal a queer and threatened to punch him in the face on national television. Growing up reading the National Review, I still have sort of a small spot of love for someone as blantantly elitist and divorced from the reality of everyday Americans- he never seemed to realize how growing up rich and going to prep school and Yale probably didn't entitle him to speak about the majority of Americans. Although I'm not sure if he really cared about the majority of Americans, having countered accusations of racism when he said that blacks should be denied the vote by announcing that he didn't believe uneducated Americans of ANY race should be allowed to vote. In any case, I liked his vocabulary, up to the point where it became a cudgel to beat people who hadn't been to prep school, and his impish sense of humor. At least his evil wasn't banal.
The last few years, I saw him a few times on Fox News (which is always playing whenever I get home) and he looked like hell. He was having a hard time speaking, and an even harder time articulating why he was supporting the Bush Administration; I don't think he knew. I think, on a certain level, he realized that the last 20 years of conservatism was hollow at its core, simply a ladder for people that he must have considered beneath him to grasp their way up to undeserved riches. And he had helped them. I like to think that, every night, he heard Bush's dulcet tones, running his beloved English language through a damn mangle. Poor, poor William F. Buckley- you could have done so much, if you'd just been a little bit smarter.

Moments Later

Also, if you search YouTube for "Half-Japanese", get prepared to be doused in Rivers Cuomo's wank liquid.

More People Dying

"Couldn't You Wait" was a song by Silkworm that was on some old Matador Records sampler ("What's Up Matador"*, I just pulled my copy off of my shelf- it's missing the first disc, the one with the song on it, dammit) I picked up for a few dollars at a used record store in Bloomington, Indiana, when my brother and sister were at IU (not the good used record store, the really, really shitty one). The spring break before I went to RISD and then to New York, I spent a few days in Bloomington sleeping on their couch and wandering around the crappy college shops, buying a pair of old Wranglers at a thrift store (I later ended up working, in Louisville and for a short period of time, for the woman who at that point was managing said thrift store, which I think was over a place that produced truly awful burritos). Anyway, I brought "Couldn't You Wait" with me to Rhode Island and listened to it over and over again, eventually ordering their out-of-print album "Firewater" off of eBay and putting the song on every mix CD I made that summer. But Firewater never caught my ear the way that "Couldn't You Wait" did, and when my computer crashed and I lost all of my music, I basically forgot about them.
But tonight! I got linked to MINMAE, a pretty cool Portland band whose sound reminded me a lot of that one song, on that one compilation, and so I decided to check in to see how they were doing.
Of course, they've been doing tragically. Michael Dahlquist, one of the members of the band, was killed with two other friends and musicians when a 23-year old attempted to kill herself by crashing her car into theirs, succeeding only in killing everyone in the other car. Obviously, I have no connection with anyone involved in this, and it happened in 2005 (I came as soon as I heard what happened all those years ago!), but this sort of thing always makes me want to lie down and weep. I'm reripping my copy of "Firewater" right now.
I'm alright, in Kentucky. Dealing with family stuff, buying a banjo, sleeping a lot. Driving around, because I don't really know if I'll be seeing anyone this break. Bought the new Joe Manning EP (my friends Busse, Molly and I are 3 of the top 5 "Joe Manning" listeners on last.fm), which has but two songs that aren't on his Myspace page, but whatever. Always a joy to support Joe Manning. Watched the '74 Great Gatsby film with my mom, was startled by how by the book it is. In any case, go to the Minmae mp3 page and get you some musics.
Oh! One more thing- drove out Dixie Highway today to look at some banjos, was once again terrified and confused by the place I live in. Man, how can a concrete statuary place sell pickaninny statues in neighborhoods with black people living in them? Drove by a Mr. Gatti's pizza place with Bible trivia questions on the outside board. Also, I realized why February in Kentucky is sort of depressing, although not like Montreal- because we're in a valley, clouds just congregate overhead, so it's just grey all winter. Cold as it is in New York and Montreal, clear, sunny (and even colder!) days are pretty common. Here, the sky is a bruise for months.
Kristin grabbed me an advance reader's copy of Chip Kidd's "The Learners", the sequel to "The Cheese Monkeys", the book which made me want to be a graphic designer and thus started me down the road to ruin. When Kidd was signing my copy of his monograph of work, I told him this, and he asked how it was going; after I told him that I dropped out of Parsons and was inbetween schools, he sighed and suggested that "drinking helps." But, yes, the Learners is really good. I've been sort of embarrassed by my adolescent "Cheese Monkeys" obsession, but it's just written so damn well.
Reminder to self- buy Half Japanese album, write post talking about being in New York. Start writing posts again.

*Here's a fun exercise- what are the compilations that have really altered your listening tastes? Looking through the liner booklet here, I see that this is where I found out about Helium ("Pat's Trick" is on here, which I later got on "The Dirt of Luck"), Bettie Serveert ("Tomboy"), Cat Power ("Nude as the News")and several bands where I'm not sure if I was listening to them yet (I think I bought the Yo La Tengo "Night Falls in Hoboken" album a few years before?), as well as bands that I should have been listening to (how was I not immediately struck by Guided by Voices? I had them IN MY HANDS!). I'm also not sure whether I enjoyed the song by Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, but I liked their name so much it became lodged in my brainfruits for years hence.
Maybe next week I'll do the Chickfactor "All's Fair in Love and Chickfactor" compilation, bought in Chicago along with a used copy of that Belle & Sebastian box of EPs (before they were all rereleased in that Barman thing) a few hours before a Badly Drawn Boy show.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Got Back the Plague

So exhausted, but still here.
Today was the STEPS bake sale, for which I made Triple Chocolate Espresso Bean Cookies, following my custom of pouring hooch onto desserts (see below for recipe) by pouring espresso beans into cookies. I also made some vegan cookies with flax meal in them, which are on the post-punk kitchen website. After getting too little sleep (after too many broken, highly-caffeinated cookies)I headed down to school, running into Lily where we were setting up. All in all, we made more money than I had assumed- here's hoping that we make even more at the Ghostbusters showing tomorrow.
In other, extremely exciting news, Lily got BoingBoing'd! If, like Lily, you refuse to look at BoingBoing, basically a dude named Xander found Lily's piece while researching mushrooms for a fiction piece he was doing, found it awesome and sent it in. The BoingBoing comments are hilariously off-base, assuming that Lily's piece is a screed against genetically engineered foodstuffs.
In more universal news, the vârcolac devoured the moon tonight.
I'm adding my high school associate Caleb's journal to the side bar; I think this project in particular is effin' awesome.
Sending out internship applications, writing cover letters. Hating self.


Combine in mixer bowl:
1(18.5-oz.) pkg. butter golden cake mix
1(3.75-oz.) pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup light rum
1/2 cup water
4 eggs
Beat 2 or 3 minutes
STIR IN: 1/2 cup chopped nuts ( I used pecan crunched up pieces)
Pour into a greased and floured bundt or tube cake pan
BAKE in 325% oven 55 minutes. Pour Glaze (below) over cake while hot.
Allow to cool 30 minutes in pan, then remove from pan.


Combine in saucepan:
1/4 cup rum
1/2 cup butter (one stick)
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
Boil 2 or 3 minutes.

It is delicious and DRUNKY.

Monday, February 18, 2008

He Was a Friend of Mine

Man I didn't write nothin' in my ding dang blog for days! Why not? Because I was busy! Goin' to potlucks (I made cornbread with hot and sweet peppers in there, and coconut rice with scallions and mushrooms and lime-braised cashews- all pretty tasty!) and keggers and slow dance parties! Oh, also, before that I had papers and finals, but that's why I had to party extra hard this weekend. I feel pretty good about everything, especially the cooking. Also, I made a hat that has headphones built into it. Hooray!
Right now I'm listening to Dave Van Ronk & Ramblin' Jack Elliot's "St. James Infirmary," which is especially good- I've gotten interested in DVR since I realized that he basically looks like me. The good thing is is that I'm guaranteed to look like this before I die:

What else is new...still reading Kentucky Ham, and I've sort of written a song for the band about it. Going to New York and Kentucky next week, which promises to be awesome.
Oh! The slow dance party! It was at Cagibi and pretty awesome and I've got a dancecard with all of the songs listed- so I'm going to post the videos below, you can pretend to have been me, tonight.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Moments Later

Oh, shits! Lily and John got the new, awesome issue of STEPS up, including my piece on the Pope Lick Monster. What that monster is, is, of course, explained inside. The next thing I do, I swear to god, will NOT be about Kentucky.

Mad Dogs & Englishmen

Why is it so difficult to find a copy of Umeki Miyoshi's "Japanese Farewell Song"? You know, the one that goes, "The time has come for us to say sayonara", followed by predictably Oriental (in the Said sense) tones? You know, it was in "M*A*S*H"! Soulseek fails me, songerize as well, and youtube just gives me anime like whoaaa. All I can find is Martin Denny's crap-ass exotica xylophone version.
Up late studying for my Sociology of Literature course, which, given the extensive attention paid to how ridiculously difficult it is to be a published author, and how absolutely mindshittingly insane it would be to suppose that one could support oneself, might be called the Sociology of Watching Your Pathetic Dreams Die. Whatever, whatEVER. By definition, any creative field is going to attract more people than can support themselves in it. Also, most of those people are probably assholes. By being someone who can actually talk to people and be relatively pleasant, I'm already way ahead of, say, Joseph Conrad. But I don't think I'm enough on my own. I've decided to push the friendly, go-nuts aspects of my personality. I've decided to become...the Eugene Hütz of literature.

Man, who is gonna say no to ME?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Nothing Wrong With Old Kentucky

I don't mention a lot that I'm originally from Kentucky, at least not here, although that is literally all I write about in STEPS, and a lot of the blogs on the side are Kentucky ones. One of them, Crow's Nest, which I found through Bejeezus Magazine (always cite your sources, kids!), had a recent post that made me really jealous, starring perennial Kentucky crush-ee Joe Manning. I used to work with Joe a while back, he plays lap steel and guitar (and writes ridiculously good music on them) and mixes a mean Bloody Mary. He also has the most luxuriant of all of the post-Will Oldham Louisville beards, thereby winning the Kentuckiana trifecta of music, liquor and facial hair, making him what mommas should encourage their babies to grow up to be instead of cowboys. His first(?) album, which I lost when my computer just totally ate shit and died, was recorded in a tunnel in Cherokee Park, and you can hear the crickets of summer in the background the entire time. You can also hear the cop that rousted him, but in any case, very good stuff.
As long as we're dropping mad MySpace music linx, check out these guys, who I found through this animated thing from Mr. Chen.
Sunday night, all of a sudden, it felt like someone had grabbed my back muscles and pulled. I took a shower and went to sleep, hoping that it would go away. INSTEAD, I woke up unable to move or even roll over without whimpering in pain. It was AWESOME. After throwing on clothes and occasionally falling down from pain, I went on a really long bus ride to a medical clinic that refused to take my Johnny American insurance and instead demanded $200 in cash. I called bullshit on that and instead bought some over the counter muscle relaxers and got on with my damn day. It feels better, but occasionally my back clinches like a fist. I really need a damn vacation.

The Shrieking of Innumerable Gibbons

I spent half of today in major back pain. Tomorrow, tomorrow.