Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mmmmm, dessert island

I mean desert island.

So I decided I'd try my hand at doing the twenty desert island albums. So these are, in alphabetical order, the albums that I would take with me if I had to leave right now (I suppose iPods render all this unnecessary, but whatevs, it's hypothetical). I'm going to try to remember to do this again in a year without looking at this list, and see what stays and what goes.

Chet Baker, My Funny Valentine
Beach Boys, Pet Sounds
The Beatles, Revolver
Belle & Sebastian, Tigermilk
Björk, Post
Blur, Parklife
Jeff Buckley, Grace
Depeche Mode, Violator
The Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs
Steve Miller Band, Greatest Hits '74-'78
Múm, Finally We Are No One
Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Joanna Newsom, The Milk-Eyed Mender
Pet Shop Boys, Introspective
The Pixies, Doolittle
Pulp, Different Class
Radiohead, OK Computer
REM, Automatic for the People
Simon & Garfunkel, Greatest Hits
Velvet Underground, Velvet Underground

Looking at them after I've typed them out, I realize what I privileged: the eclectic--69 love songs, parklife, revolver, etc., coherently sad albums--pet sounds, automatic for the people, in the aeroplane over the sea, grace, OK computer, etc., and those-albums-I-can't-live-without-for-some-reason-or-another-so-don't-judge-me.

So this was a fun and interesting process, to guess what you'll never get sick of. Considering Introspective has never left rotation since its 1988 release (and yes I was listening to it in 1988[!!!]), Violator since 1990, and Automatic for the People since 1992, those definitely have the staying power they need for those long sunny days under swaying palm trees. I took some risks on some newbies, so we'll see how they fare.

I'd like to see other people's lists, because I somehow think this list gives a little insight to my headspace (I'm so not kidding about the Steve Miller Band, for example). Post them as a reply to my post?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

song of the day

Even though I went to see Belle and Sebastian last night, the song of the day is not one of theirs. It is a song written by one of my students from New York:

You make me sick
and I wanna punch
you in the neck
and if you had a neck
to punch you in I would

Those sentiments are ringing true for me today. She had a version in Spanish too, but I didn't learn that one.

But back to Belle and Sebastian! There aren't many bands whom I would more than about twenty bucks to see; moreover there are even fewer bands whom I'd see at the SF design center, a venue much better suited to gun shows than live music. But they worked it. They sang a fabulous mix of oldies and newies, they dance spastically, they sang "Piazza, New York Catcher" (their song about wandering around SF), and in true Bruce Springsteen style, they invited a girl on the stage to dance with them for one song. What an over the top rock star move. I loved it.

Monday, March 13, 2006

random thoughts vaguely scatalogical

At my job I have to share a bathroom with the museum visitors. This leads to lots of weird observations on how young boys encouter tampon machines, how mothers ask their children if they would like to dry their hands "with paper or with wind," and how mothers implore their children to use the bathroom once they drag 'em in there. Or at least "try." Was there seriously a time in my life when going to the bathroom was a chore? When did the shift happen when I got reasonable/pragmatic about such things? I wonder.

Friday, March 10, 2006


A wise man named Cleary said to me yesterday that the good thing about going to readings it that it makes you want to write, and I had to say ah, yes, this is good and true, because sometimes in the face of the million billion readings I go to, I forget this. And the last reading I went to, which was at the superfantastic Club Waziema, featured a pantoum about a zombie fight by one Jacob Evans. I was quite taken with it, and so I said, hey. I could try my hand at the pantoum. Moreover, I can write it in an excel spreadsheet with formulae to fill in the lines. It was a really neat thing to see the poem getting constrainder and constraineder as I was writing it, and the last stanza writes itself! Which isn't to say I didn't backsolve for the one I wanted...but here's what I came up with. v. 1.0 anyway.

high altitude

the pretty and the pointy, simultaneous.
the slightest effort might sew in your side a stitch--
concentrating on breathing, on the fact that
deep lakes don't freeze.

the slightest effort might sew in your side a stitch
out of wispy air pulled taut.
deep lakes don't freeze;
a vaporous sailboat navigates the bay,

out of wispy air pulled taut--
i'll call it a fjord because of the scandanavian castle.
a vaporous sailboat navigates the bay
past it, sitting derelict on the sandbar.

i'll call it a fjord because of the scandanavian castle,
and you just need to get
past it, sitting derelict on the sandbar.
all the water bottles crushed themselves on the way back down.

and you just need to get
concentrating on breathing, on the fact that
all the water bottles crushed themselves on the way back down.
the pretty and the pointy, simultaneous.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

go team go

So I'm really glad that Malcolm Gladwell's blogging. I have a big brain crush on his New Yorker essays about ketchup and pitbulls and Ron Popeil. I also love his hair and his Canadianness. And after his announcement today that he's been interviewed on, I also love that he loves sports.

There's something intriguing to me about the intellectual man who also loves sports. I can't quite pinpoint why. There's something downright snobby about people who eschew sports altogether, as if this thing that ties practically all cultures together is somehow lowbrow. And I don't think it has to do with disliking competition--I'm an extremeley noncompetitive person and I still like sports. I think it's maybe also something that people who like sports a lot are also like people who like music and movies a lot--their brains are filled with various awesomely useless top ten lists and sundry trivia. Those are my kind of people. If you make lists and collect trivia about your passion, as long as it's not about bearbating or cockfighting or something, you're probably my kind of person.

I guess it also has to do with the fact that I like sports. Mostly in the abstract. I had some years of serious card collecting and box score reading in the late eighties/early nineties, but now I'm mostly just a general fan of a good game/match of my choice sports, which mainly include but are not limited to baseball and tennis.

So I guess the point of this is read Malcom Gladwell's blog.