Monday, January 31, 2005

Two nights ago, Alex, Loren, and I attempted to write/practice the music to another Art Project song. I felt really strongly about the theories behind it, and I'll maintain the component parts were solid. When combined it all went horribly awry and sounded like utter shit. I kind of don't know where it all went wrong, although I'm placing most of the blame on my shitty guitar line. (Part of the idea was that I'd write a guitar line and perform it... And although I said earlier that the component parts were strong, and people were all "it's kind of Pixies-ish" and understood that it was meant to be angular and dissonant it really was the weakest element...) Deterred? Yeah, kind of, but... I don't know, I stand by a lot of it and hopefully the whole thing will be completed by the end of the week. The fact that I am an idea guy and the Art Project is an idea band I think gives us an edge over other ventures headed up by non-idea people.

Also to be completed by the end of the week: Short story I'm writing now, (current title is For Those Who Lived It) some kind of essay for my Saturday class, One Hundred Years Of Solitude, and maybe maybe Camus' The Plague. Got a hundred pages of Marquez to finish tomorrow and then I'll enter Camus country, but that book is considerably thicker than The Stranger.

February 24th is Mt. Eerie and The Evens (Ian Mackaye's new band) at Eagles Hall for $5.

Oh and the YACHT dude what did The Blow Poor Aim EP much beloved around these parts will be doing her next full-length too, and it'll be called Hit Factory or somesuch wacky thing. And apparently the next Sleater-Kinney record will sound different from their other stuff. It's their Sub Pop debut and produced by Dave Fridmann. The Low Sub Pop debut that Dave Fridmann produced is kind of alright.

Here at headquarters we are excited by the leaks of the new Prefuse 73 and Books albums. If I end up talking to Phil Elvrum at that show I will either encourage him to collaborate with the Books or just tell him my weird logic comedy bit about how I imagine live shows with Bill Gates in his band on weather-controlling device. None of these things will go over well probably but if we don't try to ingratiate ourselves to people based on little more than how nice it would be were we in their good graces, there would be no more human reproduction.

And now you're all "well sure Brian I suppose that that is technically true but that is talking about male-female interaction, and does not really apply to nerd-musician interaction at all really" and then I guess I have to be like "well shit shit I guess it's ego and the constant urge to be validated but do I go to your work and slap the dick out of your mouth?" and then you walk away shocked at the completely unnecessary rage that you provoked, but hey you know what: if any of you were prostitutes I probably would slap the dick out of your mouth and say "HEY! You're better than that, you don't have to suck cock for money" and you'd be all "Wow asshole, way to run my life, I don't come to your work/house and slap the dick out of your mouth" and then I'd be offended, because I mean fuck, I was just trying to show some concern, and I don't see how that makes me a whore.

It is late in the evening, in case you couldn't tell. Oh and if I talk to Ian MacKaye I will talk to him about the bands Horses and Flowers, formed by dudes who used to be in Black Eyes. I will do this because I imagine many people have already asked about the next Fugazi record and if he heard the new Soft Pink Truth record and if so what did he think of the Minor Threat cover, but who asks about Black Eyes? No one, probably, but that could be me thinking my thoughts are special thoughts when they are in fact not special thoughts.

Luckily for these people I probably will not end up talking to them, but will instead sit around making jokes about the other people at the show who I don't know with the small circle of people at the show that I do know.

Oh boy sleep, that's where I'm a viking, and by viking, I of course mean "person who has sex."

Goddamn right this is a character assassination just because I usually am just all "records I downloaded for free and didn't pay for weren't very good" doesn't mean I can't let loose with the vaguely comedic self-loathing when 3 AM rolls around.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

More tales of bad roommate interaction, or, how to tell if someone is useless.

They say things like "I don't judge someone by their opinions."

They have bad, poorly-thought-out political opinions, esp. the kind that lead to not voting in favor of advocating anarchy.

They hate The Daily Show, and enjoy the comedy stylings of Denis Leary.

When asked who their favorite member of the Wu-Tang Clan is, they become confused and say "I'm not familiar with that group." This is a question, by the way, of which most answers would be acceptable. "Method Man" is really the only wrong answer that someone might actually say. Even joke answers are acceptable, even if they are only made out of not knowing what you're talking about.

They express anger at the idea of inside jokes, even when faced with things that aren't inside jokes so much as they are conversational prompts, i.e. "Who's your favorite member of the Wu-Tang Clan?"

They don't get jokes, even of the non-inside variety. Except, I suppose, those that Denis Leary make.

Denis fucking Leary.

Also: fucking Megadeath.

They say "this doesn't look like meat" when looking at falafel.

They talk about TV and how to watch it is American, or something.

Most of what they say doesn't really make any sense but seems like something someone dumb would say. This is the most golden of all rules in terms of judging someone as useless. If you need a concrete example of what I mean by this, think "I don't judge someone by their opinions."
There is a new roommate living with us. He is a total goddamn mook.

"He spilled barbecue sauce in the kitchen, and really, I think that's just a metaphor for the whole situation, him living here."- Loren

"DRAGONBALL Z IS THE WORST SHIT EVER" - Alex, on AIM, later said by Loren in real life.

"Is college life like Animal House?"- The Mook, to Alex.

He wants to make the drum kit bigger. We're not sure whether or not he listens to Hoobastank, but we haven't ruled out that that could definitely happen.

He makes me uncomfortable, a sentiment that other people echoed, but was kind of undefined. The kind of uncomfortable you shouldn't have in your own home. All the esoterica and layers of irony that I take for granted that my roommates will understand I can't talk about for fear of having to explain. Kind of the same thing I felt when I lived with my parents, but worse because now there's other people around that I actually want to talk to.

He is dumb. "Dyslexic means backwards" he says, referring to Mega Man controls, after he said they were dyslexic.

He asked if people were into medieval reenactments in such a way that suggested that he is into them.

He saw that we had a Twin Peaks boxset and talked about it in terms of being an old show on ABC he never got into, rather than even kind of suggesting he knows who David Lynch is.

He writes screenplays, a fact which makes me think of the fictional Donald Kaufman rather than my "I'd like to write and direct my own films but I don't know how to direct" stance. He has a collection of Dragonball Z tapes, in case that wasn't made clear earlier.

This is an unpleasant development and we all want him to leave. Goddamn, there's enough drama as is without passive-aggressiveness thrown in. I desperately want to just be able to turn into that loud obnoxious self I get yelled at for being just so I can make it clear that we don't like him and don't want him around because we don't feel like we can be ourselves around him. Until then maybe people will pee/ejaculate into his shampoo.

There was a time where I had to define the term "mook" for Loren. When I did this, I came to the conclusion that mooks are the bane of my existence. Now Loren knows all too well the precise meaning of the word.

In other better news, Alex got on Netflix. That'll be rad.

Although, watching things that are funny/weird around people who don't get them? That is hell. It's fucking hell and I'm going to have to ignore it's the hell I'm living in right now.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

So, this post is going to come off as nerdy, as it's about comics. But, if you view it as a metaphor for life, the implications are staggering.

Went to the comic shop today. I'd been planning that the next time I'd go would be two weeks from now. I'd pick up the last issues of three comics, then walk out, and not return for a year. Disengage from the medium, and the culture that surrounds it. Stop seeking out things that are new that I might like but probably won't. Wash my brain out. The culture surrounding comics is fairly disgusting, and from the outside it just seems nerdy, but from the inside it seems psychologically damaged. So to get away from all that... Ah. It would also save me some money. Which I could use, you know, to pay off student loans, and not be in debt until I die.

But I went today, and added some things to my pull list for the future.

And really, this is an idea that's been in my mind for a while, but it seemed like the near future would be the only clean break for the foreseeable future.

So, why?

Obviously, sometimes it's pleasurable. Sometimes the actual work is fucking amazing, life-changing stuff. Not frequently. It's frequently disappointing, but the same can be said for music or movies or whatever. It's fucking insane to do what I was thinking about doing, because it's a medium like any other, and it would be absurd to go without music or movies for a year.

Granted, the thing with music and movies is that to disengage from them would be to disengage from pretty much all conversation with friends. Music and movies make up the majority of my conversation, and this blog. No one I hang out with on a regular basis reads comics though, so it's not like that'd be an issue there.

But, you know, I do know people who read comics, and I meet them, and... It's a good thing to share. It's a small hobby, and there's a certain degree of something there. The small insular attitude is one of the things that disgusts me, but when you meet someone who's down, that's a great moment. And it happens in Olympia. Plus, there's the discussion and the criticism online, which, again: FREQUENTLY HORRIBLE, but is also home to many a smart and funny person.

The reason I wanted to disengage is because it's, in many ways, too much fucking effort to engage to a full level, a level greater than I'm currently at. There's a lot of masterworks to read, and if you want to do that, it's really fucking expensive. Then there's the steady stream of that which gets hype, and to engage that, is really fucking expensive. And to attempt to be on the forefront of something and find out about something and spread the word... That takes money as well. And it takes time. It takes a fuckload of time.

But to disengage from any kind of anything because what you want to do is engage it more than you easily can is fucking nonsense, completely counter-intuitive. And yeah, to engage it is to let it damage you, to put wrinkles on your brain that you'd rather not have. But you fucking deal, because otherwise, what the fuck are you doing?

I'm writing this with a bravado that I don't really have. Part of me regrets that I could've made a clean break. A lot of the work is boring and the spending money on work that's boring blows. This is just the part of my brain that is thinking logically trying to convince the other part of my brain that is also thinking logically. One part's romantic while the other is cynical, but both are functioning properly. There are no misfires. There's work in the future that will inevitably be worth reading, just as there has been in the past. (Not the recent past, which is really the issue... The last time I was really excited by comics was the summer) To ignore it would be to say "fuck you, happiness!" in favor of, you know, mental health. Like mental health has ever been a friend of mine. It hasn't.

Fuck mental health.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

My wisdom teeth are coming in at an angle. I don't remember what the dentist had to say when he looked at my x-rays. I remember it not cohering in my mind, and it seemed like they might have been speaking to soon. The plan was for them to be removed over Christmas break, but I would've had to have made the appointment before then, which I didn't know until I brought it up to my mom, and so, the teeth remain. The angle they're coming in at doesn't impact my other teeth, but it does scrape against my mouth.

The nearest oral surgeon is in Bellevue. I can't get there, probably. Alex went in for his teeth not too long ago, it seemed pretty shitty. They gave him weak drugs then insisted they were strong. I can't swallow a pill because I am nine. Every time I tell this to people, they try to tell me how to swallow a pill. I know how to do it in theory. But: Maybe if I were to go, they would give me liquid painkiller? I know of only one liquid painkiller. It is very strong. Still: I can't get to the dentist, so it's a moot point.

Damns but I need to buy some things. Books, for one. Clothing, for another. A wallet. A can opener. The griddle I bought in September is warped.

Halfway through One Hundred Years Of Solitude. I am bothered by lack of themes of any tangibility, besides reoccuring traits in family, which is really not the most interesting thesis. The style's competent, there's a lot of characters. I don't know how I feel about it. I wish there were things going on thematically that I cared about.

Last night I worked out the story I'm writing currently, all the way through until the end, so the plot can actually do what I want to put forth. The teacher I'm having this contract with will probably not enjoy it... Protagonists are young people and they go around doing young people things.

Philadelphia football team's going to the Super Bowl. I doubt they will win. But I am rooting for them. I won't watch though. Unless. The Super Bowl can just be an excuse to eat buffalo wings and drink. Then other people will be down. The Oscars didn't nominate Eternal Sunshine for anything of note, and the categories it's nominated for it won't win. The only thing I like that will win any Oscars will be The Incredibles. The Oscars are shit. They don't get their own paragraph because I think of them much in the same way I think of the Super Bowl. I know that Oscar parties exist, but I don't know what they're like like I know what Super Bowl parties are like. I figure there's less beer and more wine. I imagine everyone just sits around being old and boring. Year-end best-of lists are better than awards because there's a smaller probability of being full of shit. And year-end best-of lists are always TOTALLY FULL OF SHIT.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Hotmail expanded it's mailbox size not too long ago, so now it is absurdly big. I tend not to delete things as is, and this encourages that policy. I haven't deleted the e-mail exchanges I had with my last professor, in order to remind myself of what a truly evil fucker he was. Of course, the stuff I wrote, the amusing stuff, is gone. And his evil fucker stuff... It's like the banality of evil kind of thing. I'm not saying he's the kind of guy who'd vote for Hitler, because he is liberal. So with his liberalism established, I think that he might be the kind of guy who'd join a cult and allow his daughter to be raped by the cult leader. Either way, his e-mails, which were incredibly unhelpful and pretty much always bullshit, remain undeleted. You know, for laughs. Sooner or later I'm going to come across those again and delete them, because why dwell on that shit? But for now, they remain undeleted. It's an inevitability that they will be gone someday, when I decide to improve my life and become a better person.

Also: The drumkit in my living room is a terrible hellbeast. Drums are not very interesting in general, but rock drumming, in isolation, without any kind of polyrhythms or time changes or any kind of anything... Hoo, it is wearing. And loud. Loud as fuck and dull as grass growing. There are also sometimes songs that are played. Better in theory because it's not drum solos, but the same set of six (?) songs gets practiced every day. They are not very good songs. They are dull like drum solos, but with more going on.

God, but my Saturday class is shit. Fuck. My independent contract remains brilliant in theory but slow-going in practice. I wrote a thing about the John Barth book. I still need to do more fiction, but I am stalled and lacking in new ideas.
This is probably mean-spirited and in poor taste, but you knew that coming in. It's funny to talk to someone who should be healthier than you because they are a vegan and do yoga and whatnot, but they aren't, because they've taken so many downers that poo no longer flumes out their asspipe.

In other news: Don't you hate when you order a book off and it's mostly fine except that one short story is all done up with annotations and marginalia, written in ink? Probably not, because I'm the only one who is bothered by such things. But man, that was disappointing.

Speaking of disappointing: I read Leo Tolstoy's Death Of Ivan Ilyich for Saturday class. In a word: Shit. Granted, "shit" is a bit harsh for most things, but I was just summarizing up in one word. A more long-winded response would be to call it dull. It's not very good.

A copy of Don DeLillo's Underworld arrived in my mail today. That book is large.

I ordered a copy of Lifter Puller's Soft Rock off I guess I really like that band.

Oh: Erin Tustin read and enjoyed some short stories I sent her. Oh sure, she's a "friend of mine" and as such she's "biased." Look, I'm not saying my stories are "good." I'm saying that her words of praise made me feel good on the inside, although to call it praise might be a bit hyperbolic.

Oh oh oh: People I was in AP English with in high school, before I got kicked out! Remember when that teacher-bitch-lady taught us advanced tricky literary terminology she told us would be on the AP test? And everybody had to learn them and it was a real pain-in-the-ass? And then the words totally weren't on the test at all? Yeah, remember that? Well: Said teacher lady was pronouncing at least one of those words WRONG. The word in question is "synecdoche," and it's not pronounced in a way that even kind of brings to mind a feminine hygiene project. It's pronouned "sin-ek-duh-kee." Jesus fuck, did we have some dumbass English teachers at that school. I mean, some of the other teachers were alright, I guess. But the English ones were pretty goddamn terrible. Because I mean: They speak English. In retrospect, the fact that they were such horrible fascists regarding literature and its interpretation doesn't strike me as being nearly as bad as their inability to speak the language, their misuse and mispronunciation of words. Oh, and that they were fascists about that. That pisses me off too. You know, when I think about it, which is blessedly kind of rare. Granted, at college I had a teacher who insisted on multiple occasions that the idea of having sound health refers to one's ability to cross a sound of water.

Generally speaking, I find the idea of homeschooling abhorrent, (and for reasons besides the whole social skill thing) especially for kids in their later years, because there's no way the parents know that much (especially when you take into account all the narrow-mindedness and biases that accompanies most parents who make such a decision, whether it be fundamentalist Christianity or hippie bullshit). There's a reason why high school teachers are so niche-oriented: because no one retains all that information. Still, the idea of taking your kids out of school for a subject you know better than their teachers is tempting.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I just finished reading John Barth's End Of The Road. I'll be writing some piece of criticism on it for class, but as of right now: Holy living fuck, that was great. The characters are all really unlikeable, but they felt real to me. Yeah, I'll write more elsewhere, but let me state now that it's a really good book, I only mention that the characters are unlikeable bastards as a caveat for a recommendation. And it starts off a little bit slow before it gets going. Still. I finished it in less than twenty-four hours. First novel I've done that with since The Catcher In The Rye, maybe. Partly that's the schedule I'm on, I decided to wrap it up, and it's not a very long book, and I'm probably forgetting something... Now that I think about it I think I had to read Their Eyes Were Watching God really quickly for class. Still. When it gets going, it goes, and when it ends, it breaks fucking teeth. I thought Barth got lumped in with the post-modernists, but that's... It's a novel in the classic mold, really. Whatever. I'll write criticism later... Probably tomorrow, actually.

I also finished Gilbert Hernandez' Palomar today. Lot of characters in that one, and once Beto gets into his idiom, when he did Poison River, things take on levels of density and each panel starts telegraphing more than my brain can process when there's that many characters involved. Other people call it a masterpiece. I think I'd like it more if I were smarter and could process all the information being thrown at me. I guess it peaks with the Duck Feet/Human Diastrophism stories. It's a lot to process.

And the next thing on my self-assigned reading list is 100 Years Of Solitude, which has a ton of characters too, but they're identified by name rather than drawings, and there's a chart and the beginning, so maybe I'll be able to work it out. Before that though, is Tolstoy's Death Of Ivan Ilyich, for the class I take on Saturdays. Plus trying to write coherent praise for The End Of The Road. I don't know who I'd recommend it to, really. As I read it, it struck me that Alex might dig it. But that's it. Mainly I'll just say that I really liked it, and go on the record as that being my opinion.

Monday, January 17, 2005

I just finished Murakami's Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End Of The World. I can't say I enjoyed it too much, although the fact that I read it quickly says something about it's quality. It's more of a genre piece than I usually read, splitting its time between cyberpunk and fantasy. My interest in these genres is kind of nonexistent. This isn't to say that's all there is, and the other stuff that is there is what I found myself more attached to. Although at the same time: Some of those things are themes that are at least kind of addressed in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Well, one theme is shared: Split worlds and fictional realities. It's explored more in Hard-Boiled Wonderland, but more vaguely defined in Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I can't really recommend it. Which is weird: I expected to like it more, as the more weird and fantastic elements in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle are what I responded to. Although perhaps I was responding to the contrast and dichotomy of that with the reality presented in that novel. I don't know how I'd respond to a piece like Norwegian Wood, which is supposedly completely grounded and goes for being emotionally affecting rather than being a novel of ideas. I might get around to reading that at some point. For now, my flirtation with Murakami is over, although Wind-Up Bird Chronicle remains really fucking good.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

I've got myself an independent contract. I've got to do a lot of writing, essentially. Thirty pages of fiction, twenty pages of criticism. By the end of the quarter. This will be tricky. I'm also reading some books. I finished Franz Kafka's Amerika. It would be better if it were finished. There's fragments that Kafka wrote which aren't included in my printing. If they're in other editions, I'll be kind of pissed. The Trial wasn't finished either, but The Trial's incomplete fragments cohere and don't leave out major events. Amerika is a little bit funnier towards the end, but a lot less compelling on the whole. It's acceptable if you like Kafka. I can't quite recommend it.

Hey, the new Caribou record leaked. Caribou is what Manitoba is called now that he's been sued by the frontman of an old punk band who has not released any albums under a name that even included the word Manitoba. The worst thing about the record is that it's coming out under the name Caribou. Which would probably be the case even if the album didn't totally kick ass. Wow. Dan Snaith said this album wouldn't have the whole indie vibe of Up In Flames, but it totally does. There's also a hip-hop influence and a krautrock influence, yes, but mainly... It's pretty indie. It all coheres into one sound, though. Or at least a coherent vibe throughout. It is kind of great. It's a little less psych-pop, I suppose, but my roommate Thor still said that Manitoba was one of the most psychedelic things he'd ever heard. I hope for a Caribou/Animal Collective collaboration at some point. Anyway: The album's called The Milk Of Human Kindness. Two of my roommates plan to buy it on vinyl the day as soon as it becomes available. I plan to buy it, and any accompanying singles/EPs once I'm in a place that's not Olympia.

The Bloc Party full-length's alright. They're a band that's like Gang Of Four in 2oo5 but not shitty like those other bands that people compare to Gang Of Four for no apparent reason. When I say this, I am saying that they are better than Franz Ferdinand, which is to say I'm saying nothing at all. The album's alright.

I watched Hard Eight again tonight. That's a fine film. I'd forgotten a lot of it. I like P.T. Anderson a lot. Got in an argument with roommates about whether you can be said to like P.T. Anderson and not like Magnolia. For now, I'm maintaining no, on the basis that I feel that Magnolia is the most P.T. Anderson of all the films he's made. It's long, so it's just more P.T. Anderson. It's ambitious in scope, and it's personal to the film-maker. Granted, if someone said the clever line "I like P.T. Anderson a lot, but I don't like Robert Altman, hence I don't like Magnolia," I might not concede my point but I would laugh at that joke because it is clever.

I'm also listening to M.I.A. which I like okay, although it's not the kind of thing I get into. Music's like pop-hip-hop vaguely in the vein of Missy Elliott or something but she's British and skinny. (In many ways I am probably downplaying my enjoyment of the record when I say shit like that. I like the record but I'm not going apeshit over it, shall we say, because it's not in a genre I respond to in a way that I go apeshit over.) But: I did go over to her website,, and her art is pretty fucking cool. Graffitti type stuff and leftist politics and... It looks cool and some of it's offensive. Bundles of dynamite are a reoccuring image. The video for the single... I haven't seen all of it yet. She dances to a background of animated imagery that ties together explosions and spraypaint, graffitti stencils of tanks, and mushroom clouds forming black power fists. So... interesting.

Also: I bought The Believer issue with the DVD and the art profiles... Some of those L.A. artists are rather cool and make me regret that I never went to any of the art openings in Philadelphia. The DVD is pretty solid as well. Money kind of well-spent, although the Raymond Pettibon interview is kind of a letdown. I like art, and I wish I knew more about it, had my finger on the pulse. The only thing I can say in my defense is that no one else knows anything about modern art either. (the good kind... The kind that looks cool and isn't avant-garde and conceptual. Is it reductive and over-simplifying to say that stuff is crap and boring? Yes, yes it is, but at the same time: Fuck man, I can come up with concepts and ideas. That's not very hard. I've done it: If anyone wants to give me gallery space and pay me I'll show them to you. I can't draw things with any degree of competency. This is the kind of argument I base around phrases like "fuck John Cage." Fuck John Cage.) Evie said she had a friend in art-school whose work comes off like show flyers, and although meant in at least a kind of degrading way: That's not a bad vibe to working off of. This is not to say that painting isn't awesome either, but... Sadly the last few paintings I've seen by people I know, including my brother, were leaving me flat. Still: these paintings weren't made by professionals. I don't know. Familiarity breeds contempt. There's a lot of art out there I'm not familar with. I like things that look cool, and that's my basic description of what I want out of art because I am five years old. (I also like leftist politics and extremist imagery if that makes me seem somewhat more discerning. Which, really, it shouldn't, because art should probably be judged more on aesthetic grounds than ideological ones... This is the kind of argument I base around phrases like "fuck punk rock.")

I am rambling like shit. I have class tomorrow. Do people still read this anymore? Did everyone give up once I realized that my life was boring and I just started talking about books, movies, and music instead?

I am sleepy and I'm mainly talking for the theoretical enjoyment of a nonexistent audience. Goodnight.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Woke up hot and thirsty slightly before 5 AM. I've got class at 9 on a Saturday...

I didn't post what was going on with school, did I?

I didn't get in. I might be kind of fucked. I'm going to try to take a Saturday class for four credits. This isn't enough for financial aid and housing, so I'm going to try to get an independent contract for anywhere from 4-16. I don't know if that'll work because it's late in the game. Maybe I'll be fucked and maybe things will work out okay.

I guess I thought I was going to blog about music criticism and stuff. I hope to write some decent pieces for the contract. There's the beginning of a piece about Lifter Puller/The Hold Steady on my computer now. I was going to type up something now about rockism and how it relates to pop/hip hop. I will simply present the facts now and not try to work them into a coherent whole: In recent months, I've seen two musical performances on Saturday Night Live by two different acts whose major singles are produced by the Neptunes. One of which was grotesque in its not-even-kinda-being-played-live-ness. Drums just don't fucking sound like that. The other was considerably more interesting visually, and deviated from the album version and was being played with real live instruments. These two acts will remain unnamed. But: the second, less artificial performance was of a song that got some critical acclaim from rock critics, while the former artist is viewed as a joke about shitty hip-hop that's overly poppy. The reason the two are unnamed is to separate the invested from the not-so-much. Really, you can work this out in your head if you even kind of want to.

Right now I'm listening to the LCD Soundsystem full-length. Long story short is that it's better than The Rapture's Echoes. When it ends I'm going back to bed.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I didn't get into the class I wanted to get into. I wasn't even wait-listed, which was something of a surprise. Apparently there was something I needed to click on in order to stay wait-listed. As it stands currently, I'm not registered for anything. And the class I want to get into isn't letting in new people. There's been some talk of a group contract for all the rejected, where we'll just ape the syllabus. The syllabus, as previously discussed, is pretty solid. However, tonight? Tonight I've been assigned a short story by Joyce Carol Oates to read, Faithless.

In high school I threw around the word "pretentious" a lot. Not as much as some of my friends, who would call Nathaniel Hawthorne pretentious. But: Joyce Carol Oates is pretty goddamned pretentious. At least she is in this short story. There's sentences like "Voice mixed with dreams, and the wind."

It's bad. It's not good. Joyce Carol Oates. Let this be a warning. Avoid her writing.

You know what is good? That Pavement Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain reissue. Hot damn. Also: Lifter Puller's Fiestas And Fiascos.

So that's music one, short stories zero.

Writing is for lllllooooooosssssseeerrrs.

The short story I'm writing now has this tendency towards internal rhyme that I wish I could avoid, but I can't. This one tries for this kind of clever denseness, and writing things that read well because of their meter ends up rhyming a large portion of the time involuntarily. It's kind of good and it's probably able to read it without thinking it's rhyming all the time, but it's there. Still. I like it more than my other stuff because it gets away from traditional short story tropes. I also like it more than my other stuff because I'm writing it right now, so there's a certain amount of freshness to it.

But I should go back to reading this terrible short story.
This is one of those scenarios where the people who care already know, and the people who don't care won't know. Will Eisner is dead. When I saw the news, I uttered the word "shit" instinctually.


Rest in peace.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Back in Olympia. I have a decent amount to talk about, kind of, in that if I had access to a computer I would've written about a ton of shit. But instead, I'll just talk about movies.

I saw House Of Flying Daggers today, with my dad. And let's just say I have no interest in seeing Hero. It's got some moments... There's a fight scene with bamboo that owns Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's fight scene with bamboo. The ending scene cuts away to a shot of soldiers that imply a BIG FIGHT on the horizon that never comes because the ending scene tells the story the director wanted to tell, and a battle between the House Of Flying D aggers and the government isn't the focus of the story... It's just the setting where all of the plot points come from. Well, not all of the plot points. Most of them. At least one comes from the love story that is, I guess, the story's plot. There's also CGI shots of daggers and arrows going through the air. No wire-fighting, though.

New year's eve I saw The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Which... it's really very good. Weird in that the reviews seem to miss the point of Wes Anderson... For fuck's sake, he's NOT ABOUT the set design. I mean, he likes it. But that's not what his stories are about, ever, and that includes this one. The most important thing about this movie, moreso than how awesome everything looks, (and it does look awesome, and if you try to hold that against the movie, you're a dick) or the artifice of moviemaking, (there's some moments that are intentionally over-the-top but I took them at face value, it's a goddamn movie and the over-the-top moments are good ones, awesome ones, tongue in cheek or no) is the characters. Which should be fucking obvious for people who've watched Wes Anderson movies before. This is another one of those movies that's an ensemble piece where every character has reasons and emotions and is sympathetic. There are also stop-motion crazy-looking crabs and seahorses. The set design is amazing. But the only way that should get in the way of your enjoyment is if it's all your paying attention to, because you're a dumb fuck. Okay, yes, movie critics: It's an easy criticism to throw at Wes, that all he cares about is art direction, especially in this movie, where the visuals are so much more intentionally spectacular. Whatever. I figure people will get over their complaints the more they watch it. The first time they watch it, they see the easy jokes and the set design. Which is a surface reading, and is really the main thing you pick up the first time through most Anderson movies. The second time the characters come through more and the smaller stuff is funnier. This is true for pretty much all of his movies, yes?

The night before I watched The Life Aquatic, I saw The Harryhausen Chronicles, which got me psyched on stop-motion. Stop-motion's so goddamn awesome. I prefer it to CGI in terms of interaction with live-action. Harryhausen points out that one the cool things about stop-motion is that it doesn't look perfect, and this aspect is what lends a dream-like quality as it interacts with real people. Makes sense. The Harryhausen Chronicles is pretty great, a documentary about Ray Harryhausen. His work is so time-consuming, and he has all of these unfinished projects, which might be sad for him, but is amazing as a testament to the man's creative powers.

I saw Anchorman on DVD, which was pretty damn funny. I saw the uncensored version, but there's not a lot there that would've needed to be cut... One scene. I didn't get to see the bonus disc with another feature-length movie on it, but that's probably pretty great. The commentary track's kind of funny: The movie itself is rarely addressed, and the commentary features people not involved with the movie in any way. Like Lou Rawls. Awesome.

My brother also rented the SNL best of Christopher Walken, which is a weird thing to exist. The more recent seasons are kind of over-represented (cowbell sketch is one thing, other stuff is considerably weaker) but they still leave out the thing where Walken is a doctor and Will Ferrell is a patient with a badger in his ass. But there is a brilliant sketch I'd never seen before with Tim Meadows as a census-taker, which I highly recommend.

Other comedies include The Jerk, which I had never seen. Do I need to say that the Jerk is good? I don't think I do.

My brother wanted me to watch Freaked, and holy living christ is that a bad comedy. Wow. Made in 1993. The funniest part of it is Bobcat Goldthwair, doing schtick not entirely dissimilar to his character on Unhappily Ever After. Mean-spirited frat boy garbage. A character wears a Red Hot Chili Peppers shirt... My brother's current girlfriend has fond memories of watching it on USA Up All Night. I seriously can't imagine someone finding this funny. You know the episode of South Park with the title Do The Retarded Go To Hell? To find this movie funny you'd have to be both retarded and soulless. That's a twofer of going to hell.

Cannibal! The Musical is pretty funny. A lot less cannibalism than you'd expect. Actually I'm not so sure this one was funny, but I laughed at it once or twice at parts I can't remember. It's enjoyable. Unlike Freaked.

I finally saw Eraserhead, and I laughed more at Eraserhead than I did at Freaked. This is to say it got out like three small exhalations of air that were faintly laughter-like. Eraserhead isn't mind-blowing. It's very "arty." It had moments I liked. Not the best David Lynch, and probably not even important to see in terms of his overall work... Really, I think of the main body of work being everything from Blue Velvet on. Eraserhead is a long student film and Dune and The Elephant Man are done to get paid.

The Saddest Music In The World is kind of dull. It's stylistically interesting and it's got some funny moments, but at one point I looked over to see that my brother's girlfriend had fallen asleep, and that made a lot of sense to me. It's not a bad movie, but I wouldn't recommend seeing it to most people.

I watched Cinema Paradiso and didn't dig it. Although I realized in the middle of it that Evie was in France and that I had forgotten about this completely the time I called her to bitch about New Jersey. A dumb thought, but that conversation would've hit upon an obvious contrast that being in France is considerably preferable to being in one's parent's house in New Jersey.

The reasons for winter break being kind of weak will not be discussed here, for now I am back in Olympia were such things don't matter that much to me. I don't need the therapy. I figure movie reviews might actually be helpful to people.

Although: My brother's house, where I spent my second week, is unheated. Because of this, it is very cold.