Saturday, February 28, 2009

25 THINGS




1. I will probably never read Moby Dick (Or The Shipping News or anything by Patrick O'Brien) because anything related to the lore of the sea or seafaring puts me right to sleep. All that lowering the mizzenmasts and raising the rigging and swabbing the cabin boy, who cares? I mean, I like to be on a boat, but being on a train or a streetcar is nice too, I don't need to read in exhaustive detail how they are maintained.

2. I'm a third generation non-believer on both sides, so we don't actually eat our young, in case you were wondering.

3. Green peppers are evil! And they smell bad! So stop telling me they have no taste or smell (as if that's a recommendation anyway).

4. The only person I ever wrote a fan letter to was Pauline Kael. She sent me a really nice reply which I still have somewhere.

5. I've never owned a car, but I've helped change a flat tire and been to the impound lot twice. Good times!

6. First concert at First Avenue: Robyn Hitchcock, the Element of Light tour.

7. Although I'm very, very clumsy, I've never broken any bone. I've torn a ligament, sprained a toe, put my back out several times, and there have been innumerable cuts and scrapes and bruises.

8. I don't understand people who like bands for the lyrics. I like music for the music, that's why it's called music. If you are in a band and lyrics are your main thing, write a book of poetry instead! I still won't buy it, but I'll be saved the analysis of your profundity by music critics who are relieved not to have to write about how something sounds because it's sooo hard. Good lyrics can elevate a band from good to great, but good is not the same as pretentious.

9. In college, I had a TRS-80 Model 100 laptop computer. It could hold one 10-page paper in its memory, but you could save files on an attached tape deck.

10. Movies I've seen at least 3 times (not the same list as best movies, but there is some overlap): Shoot The Piano Player, Bedazzled (1967), Metropolitan, Valley Girl, Better Off Dead, The Warriors, 36 Chambers of Shaolin, Branded To Kill, Full Contact (1993), The Shop Around The Corner, Sunset Boulevard, Sweet Smell of Success, The World Of Henry Orient, Jackie Brown, Chinese Super Ninjas, Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill!, The Man In The White Suit, Meet Me in St. Louis.

11. Worst movie I've seen more than once: The King Of Hearts. It was playing at two parties I've attended.

12. One pet peeve: those who lump homeopathy with the folk remedies of women, peasants, non-Europeans, and others disregarded by the medical establishment. It was conceived by a white, middle-class European doctor who believed that water has a memory. You know what? It doesn't.

13. I would much rather have a new computer than valuable jewelry. I wear costume jewelry--adornment should be fun, and worrying that something might steal your jewelry because it would pay their rent for the month is no fun. In the olden days, when women couldn't own property or have a bank account and were barred from most professions, jewelry was the only thing they could own and their only backup plan for hard times. Being all obsessed about it now seems like a creepy throwback. Also, see #7 above.

14. Same goes for flowers. Paying for flowers that are just going to die in a couple of days? What a waste! Books and chocolate are what say love to me, as my sweetie knows.

15. When I was in junior high, I memorized Jabberwocky, but I only remember parts of it now.

16. Although Battlestar Galactica depicts genius scientists in the future accepting the theory of the subconscious that mainstream psychology has currently abandoned (also smoking: still cool!), I doubt that there is a little box in my brain with all my memories in perfect order if I could just access it. Plus, there are plenty of memories that I would repress if that were possible, so I conclude that Dr. Freud is full of hooey.

17. I don't care about the Oscars, except that it's nice if a more obscure indie or foreign film gets some notice. I might watch parts of it if they have a good host, and I tear up when they show all the people who died that year.

18. Watching too many old movies at a young age gave me a bias against beards and mustaches on my men. Stubble is OK though.

19. If I get an earworm, I sing The Colonel Bogey March in my head until it goes away.

20. I made a 5-minute claymation movie for my sixth-grade science fair. It featured a dinosaur and a magic hat that made the wearer disappear.

21. I used to have a portable record player which played records on their sides. I had it hooked up to a boom box in college. Finally, the needle died and the Sony customer service representative laughed at me when I asked if I could purchase a replacement.

22. I still sometimes miss my old college DJ gig, although I wasn't any good at it. I satisfy this urge by making mix cds. It used to be mix tapes, and it could be online playlists in the future (although as an art major, I enjoy the packaging, which streaming doesn't really satisfy, plus it makes a lousy present.)

23. I like to mend clothes whenever possible with my limited sewing skills. The only place I'm a little extravagant with clothes is shoes, but for practical reasons. Shoes help you get where you want to go, so they have to be well-made, or your feet will suffer for it. If they are pricey because they are well-made (not because they are designer), they'll last longer and save you money in the long run. Cheap, badly made shoes can't be mended because they are held together with cheap glue. I just got rid of some winter boots that finally started falling apart after 10 years of constant winter wear, and my Doc Martin oxfords are about 15 years old and still going strong. Support your local shoe repairer!

24. I'm ultra-opinionated about things, but I can't convince anyone of anything. I'm not sure it's really possible to convince someone of something, but if you can, isn't that kind of creepy and manipulative?

25. My hometown lies just below the Northern Midwestern/Southern Midwestern border, so I have a slight drawl, flat 'a' and hard 'r'. I'm rather fond of it, actually. If I moved somewhere like England where it really stood out, I'd probably emphasize it rather than modify it.


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Monday, February 16, 2009

25 ALBUMS THING

Yes, Jfro fell for one of those virtual chain letters we call memes again. This list is weighted heavily to older albums, as it is hard to tell if a recent album will be a long-term relationship or just a temporary crush.

Think of 15 albums (then add 10 because you can't just stop at 15) that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world. When you finish, tag 15 others, including me. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill. Get the idea now? Good. Tag, you're it!

Beat Happening You Turn Me On
Big Star Radio City
Roxy Music, Siren
The Buzzcocks, Singles Going Steady
The Wedding Present, Seamonsters
Elvis Costello, Trust
Fugazi, Repeater
Guided by Voices, Alien Lanes
The Jesus Lizard, Goat
Matthew Sweet, %100 Fun
The Melvins, Bullhead
The Misfits, Walk Among Us
Mission of Burma, Vs.
The Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers
Pavement, Slanted & Enchanted
Smoking Popes, Destination Failure
Kyuss, Sky Valley
Squeeze, Singles 45's & Under
Stereolab, Mars Audiac Quartet
Stiff Little Fingers, Inflammable Material
The Stooges, Funhouse
Tricky, Maxinquaye
Walt MInk, Miss Happiness
Weezer, Pinkerton
Wire, Pink Flag



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Friday, February 13, 2009

WHAT SHOULD I BUY WITH MY TAX REFUND?




The tanking of my mutual funds had one good result--mad cash for my tax refund.* After paying my property taxes for the first half of the year, I still have about $1350.** I usually like to get some sort of technology like a TV or computer, and I've narrowed it down to 6 things. Let me know what you think, faithful readers, which 2 or 3 should I go with?

IPOD TOUCH 30G ($400)
Pros: You get most of the iPhone features without the insane 2-year contract. It can access the Internet with Wi-Fi. Screen is better for playing games and watching TV than an Ipod Classic. Apps, apps, apps!
Cons: Expensive for the amount of storage you get compared to iPod Classic, and I have lots of music. Can't access Internet everywhere like iPhone. Apple will come out with a better one next week and I'll be sad.

SAMSUNG BLU-RAY PLAYER ($350)
Pros: Can finally find out what's so great about Blu-Ray. Will get the most out of my HDTV. It also has Netflix Watch Instantly.
Cons. Blu-ray will get cheaper, so I might want to wait until next year. My experiments with Netflix Watch Instantly suggest that higher-speed DSL might be in order, which would mean more monthly fees.

CENTER SPEAKER, REAR SPEAKERS & SUBWOOFER (varies, the most I'd pay would be $100 each)
Pros: My media center would be complete, and it seems a waste to have a 5.1 receiver without all the speakers to take advantage. Ability to watch movies late at night without my neighbors complaining (I have to have the sound up to hear the dialog over the soundtrack with the current system).
Cons: I might not be enough of an audiophile to hear the difference. Speakers not a "sexy" purchase.

ROKU PLAYER ($100)
Pros: Cheaper than a Blu-Ray player, and will soon have Amazon OnDemand videos in addition to Netflix Instant Watch. Supposed to be very easy to use. Viewing more Watch Instantly videos will give me more bang for my Netflix buck.
Cons: DSL might still be too slow. It only does a couple of things, and those things might be superseded by new technology (i.e. Apple TV adding Netflix Watch Instantly).

EYETV HYBRID ($125)
Pros: Like a Tivo, but without the monthly fees and you can burn to CD and edit out commercials. Exports to AppleTV. Less temptation to buy TV shows on iTunes. Will bring me closer to my dream of on demand TV when I want it. Even if I ever figure out how to program my VCR, I can't record while watching something else. Cons: There might not be enough TV to be worth it. My hard drive could get really full. Apple TV could add Hulu support or Boxee could take off, making me feel foolish.

ION USB TURNTABLE ($110)
Pros: Easy digitizing of my 300 LPs and assorted 7", 12" and EPs. No more worrying about line hum from some wire not touching metal in my complex stereo-to-computer hookup. My turntable is misbehaving, fixing or replacing it could be more expensive. Cons: If my turntable is easily fixable, it would seem like a waste. I did get some good recordings before I started having a line hum issue.

*Yes, I do plan to make charitable donations, take trips and save for emergencies. The nature of those items aren't up for discussion, so leave me alone.

**Yes, I know you're supposed to change your withholding if you get a lot of money back. I already have 2 Roth IRAs, 2 mutual funds, some stocks, a work retirement fund, and plenty in the old savings account, and no, I don't care if the government holds my money for a while. Don't judge me!