Monday, July 30, 2007

In case anybody actually reads this and has been wondering where I've been, I had a bit of a strange coupla weeks. When I mention that to people, they always want to know which flavor of strange... well, it's been a veritable Neapolitan of good weird, bad weird, and just plain weird weird.

The good: on Friday the 21st of July my niece was born. My sister actually went into the hospital Thursday morning to have labor induced (due to blood pressure issues), but didn't begin labor until the following evening. The labor itself lasted all of 20 minutes. I haven't met said kin-larva yet, and have been playing phone tag with my sister since last Tuesday, but will get a chance on Wednesday.

The bad: well... women. Do I really need to say more? I guess if you know me I can say it was yet another variation on the usual theme. You've heard the same story a dozen times or so, with a new cast each time. If we learn anything from our mistakes, I am once again reminded, it is that we never learn from our mistakes.

In short: when an intimidatingly attractive, frighteningly intelligent woman gifted with a wicked sense of humor starts flirting with
me, rather than dithering and wondering what it all means, if possibly I'm imagining it (and, in this case, everybody else there to see it was imagining it as well), I need to take advantage of the situation. Terror that I'll screw it up horrifically, while entirely warranted, does not change the fact that the ol' deer-in-headlights routine precludes failure and success in equal measure. How many times have I learned this without actually learning from it?

[TMI excised]

So I distracted myself with scotch and Harry Potter. On their own, the heartache and the reading would not have kept me up all night. Combined they kept me up 'til 7 AM. And so that night at work I was distracted and zombified. Screwed up sleep schedule lead to meal skipping, which combined to lead to further levels of weird cognitive/emotional states.

Monday and Tuesday I spent cocooning, finishing up
Deathly Hallows (on p. 733 of which something happens which I've been expecting and anticipating for five full books, after which everything else felt painfully anticlimactic) leaving the house only for Gestures practice.

The weird: Wednesday night I went in to work, only to learn that the espresso machine, our mighty Marzocco, was on the fritz. So I spent the night manning the counter, waiting for the electrician, holding a flashlight for the electrician... finally the machine came back up, just in time for me to clean it. Except that once I'd gotten 2 out of 3 group heads cleaned and shut down, word of its resurrection somehow got loose and I ended up with an evening's worth of frustrated espresso-desire erupting at once.

Also good: Saturday night wedding party/mini-reception for some former housemates, at which I saw several people I hadn't seen in too long. Let's see if I can keep the lines of communication up this time...

Also also good: for whatever reason, writing this kinda stuff down (thereby subjecting you to it. You, my poor defenseless reading public, who never did anything to deserve such ill-treatment) seems to exorcise it in a way. So your putting up with my wallowing allows me to wallow a bit less. Your suffering is not in vain.

Saturday, July 14, 2007
In the alley behind the home, investigators found the intruder's empty crystal wine glass on the ground, unbroken.

What I did forget to mention about yesterday's delightful Friday the 13th is that some crazy person ran a red light and almost ran me over. After I yelled at him and went on my way, he apparently made a U-turn and followed me. He caught up to me at the next light and proceeded to yell at me for yelling at him for running a red light and almost killing me.

Gotta love DC.

For example, this unbelievable story, which left me with almost the exact same look of disbelief on my face as this story, though for very different reasons (plus the former didn't have me reading the story through gaps in my fingers, hands over my eyes like a kid watching a horror movie). Chateau Malescot St-Exupéry sales should go through the roof in the area now. Or whatever the robber was on. And the next time I think the crowd at the Black Cat is a load of twits, I'll have some perspective to fall back on.
Speaking of my theoretical circles...

nonono, I was about to say something incredibly catty about people I don't/barely know. If I did that this would be... what? a 'blog or sumpin'?

Instead I'll say that today was very annoying. Beyond annoying, a coworker went to grab a pint glass and it EXPLODED. Apparently it was stacked hot from the dishwasher, and the pressure difference as it cooled... well, you watched Mr. Wizard right? Glass everywhere, tiny shards. Glass shards in the guy's hair. Literally exploded. So when I realized it was Friday the 13th everything just made sense.

OKOK, off to bed now. Tomorrow to face the espresso craving hordes.

Of course, I have to suspect that in the circles I run/skulk in the real true actual Song of Summer 2007 is LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends."

I always feel weird listening to that song... what with my bizarro social anxiety, I've gone and lost touch with 99.9999987% of the people I've considered friends over the course of my life. Reduce the span to the last six years or so and the figure goes down to something like 98%.

Who the hell do I imagine is actually reading this thing?
Friday, July 13, 2007

Nathan Rabin over at the AV Club takes a break from his endlessly entertaining My Year of Flops project to wonder about this year's Song of Summer. The comments section -- typically raucous, typically mixed between insightful and tossed-off annoying -- then questions the last-Summer supremacy of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," which makes me a bit sad. As I may or may not have mentioned here previously, "Crazy" marks the only time in recent memory that my musical tastes lined up with the Zeitgeist, the only time I've been riding down Rhode Island Ave with a song in my head, only to hear it from the windows of passing cars.

Up until then my Songs of Summer, if I had them at all, were much more personal and esoteric. One Summer ('94? '95?) it was Mark Robinson's Olympic Death Squad's "This is Riot Gear," which was on heavy rotation on WNUR so I'd hear it on my drive home from the summer job at the Waukegan switch factory. The following(?) year my song was something by His Name is Alive, the name of which escapes me (it was on the "Scraping the Pavement" 4AD promotional tape, back in the days before record companies were willing to admit that CDs were cheap enough to serve as free-giveaway media, which I got (gratis, natch) at a Lush concert-- this will come back unexpectedly, btw).

In any case, there seems to be a three-way race between Amy Winehouse's "Rehab," which may get my vote if only because it gets played at work enough to make it seem ubiquitous to me; Rihanna's "Umbrella," which gets points because I was walking to the mailbox last week and heard a neighborhood teenager threatening his fragile performative masculinity by absentmindedly singing "ellah-ellah-ellah-ey-ey-ey-oh-oh-oh," as well as for having a 2-step remix; and Avril Lavigne's universally panned even by kneejerk contrarian AV Club commenters "Girlfriend."

The last of the three is the only one I haven't heard, although it is where things get really (for which read "actually"?) interesting...

I've been avoiding the whole "Girlfriend" plagiarism controversy, largely because having an opinion on it would require listening to the song. But all the talk of "Hey (Hey) You (You)" piqued my interest, because it sounded very familiar, especially in the context of girlfriends, especially in the context of wanting to be. And yet I'd never heard of the Rubinoos, nor heard their allegedly plagiarized song. At least I'm pretty sure I hadn't...

And then there it was. I fired up my iTunes and found the song I had in mind: "I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend," performed by Lush (toldja!). This is an MP3 I got back in the wild west days of musical filesharing, when you could type up a band name and find all kinds of obscurities (bootlegs and b-sides, like Art Brut's little brother listens to) and never really looked too far into. I had assumed it was just one of Lush's gloriously poppy handclappy late-period gems, after they decided to go easy on the fx pedals and let the songs stand on their own (see also "500" and "Ladykillers").

I'd never even imagined the possibility that the song was a transgendered cover.

But now I can't stop listening to it. This would be a good one for a clever DJ to pull out and blow a few minds-- peppy, topical and subversively anti-poptimist.
Apparently this was a b-side on the "Ladykillers" single, so get digging! And just a moment of geek/rhapsody: the way the SINGLE GUITAR NOTE introduces the bridge! It gets me every time.

Could it be I've discovered my personal Song of Summer, 2007, and that it's a ten-year-old cover of a thirty-year-old song? Maybe, or maybe it's something of the new Art Brut or Spoon albums...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Been drinking Counter Culture's Dolok Sanggul Sumatra Lintong (the spell checker just had an aneurysm) for the last week or so. Sumatran Mandheling used to be my favorite coffee, back before I'd ever heard of single origin or third wave, back before I learned to look down my nose at the bitter watery stuff so many shops dare call espresso, before I ever tasted Ethiopian or Kenyan or Rwandan... I'd drink Mandheling whenever it was available: rich and earthy, "a true coffee lover's coffee" always somewhere in the description. The Cafe (RIP?) had it for their french roast, which is one of the reasons I frequented there even before they hired me.

The Dolok Sanggul is the kind of coffee that makes me wish I had a better refined palate, so's I could explain exactly why I like it so much. Possibly it's the classic Sumatran qualities in a purer form, plus the unexpected brightness. As it is all I can do is take a sip, roll it around, smile, swallow, and say "DAMN that's good!" to anyone there to listen (the table, the newspaper, the cat...)

Filing this one with the Red Mountain on my raindrops on roses list...

Powered by Blogger