Tuesday, January 29, 2008

album reviews

look at me updating all the time!

I have to do these album reviews, so I thought maybe I could put a few up here, of the albums that I like (I don't have the heart to put the bad reviews up). As you will see, they are brief and I don't spend much time on making them flow. We'll see how this goes--these might be the only ones I ever put up. Links to Myspace, where you can hear songs.

Some Velvet Morning; Silence Will Kill You
Genre: Rock
RhythmBank Entertainment 2007
Good production quality and straight-ahead rock sound give this debut album a major-label sound. It's actually catchy in a way I never found The Killers or Franz Ferdinand (to whom they compare themselves) to be. One reason I chose it was I thought it might be the namesake of the Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood song, but the sound bears no resemblance whatsoever to that style. Despite misled expectations, I was pleasantly surprised by the whole album. It's a London-based band, but the sound is definitely influenced by American rock. All the songs are energetic. The musicians are talented, and I was most impressed with the (male) singer's voice--there's a pitch-perfect passion put behind a lot of the lyrics, remninscient of U2 throughout the years. Similarities to The Police are fleeting and only on a few tracks. There are definitely a few stand-out tracks, but the songs in between aren't just filler.

Sibylle Baier ; Colour Green
Genre: Folk
Orange Twin 2006
Because of its history, I don't know whether "instant classic" or "lost classic" is the most appropriate label for this album. It was recorded in the 70's, but wasn't released until more recently. It was popular with music bloggers, and songs still show up with some regularity on online mixes. The first time I heard "Forget About," it was one of those moments where the rest of the world stopped, and there was nothing but the sadness of the song. And then, when it was over, it was one of those moments of "what was THAT?" And I wondered how I'd lived my life up till then without knowing that song. I also had this feeling at age 14 over Nick Drake, so if that's not your style, it's probably not for you. But I suspect, even though the songs don't have the complexity, or the spot-on lyrics of Drake, that there is a certain universality in the gentleness of her voice, the quality of which I hate to liken to Nico, but it is similar on some tracks (think Nico, if she wrote her own songs and sang on key). I think English is her second language, and some of the lyrics don't quite make sense, but even the most nonsensical still, in tandem with the music, somehow convey the overall intention of the song. The mood of the entire album is pretty sedate, as it's just her soft voice and a sometimes out-of-tune Spanish guitar (except for the strings on "Give Me a Smile"), but some of the songs are more uplifting than others. Like Nick Drake, I think there's an understated hope hidden in even the most dark-sounding tracks. This album, so the story goes, was part of a process of overcoming a deep depression. You can hear the darkness, but if you listen closely, you can hear the coming out of it, too.

Monday, January 28, 2008

sarks, shmoon, and bulats

TV: I realized I could save a lot of time by reading the recaplets of Heroes rather than actually watching the whole episodes. The reviewer has the decency to mention, even in the miniature recaps, when Peter takes his shirt off. The only thing I really miss out on is Hiro being adorable, and seeing Alias's Sark as a bad-guy again. Nothing major. I just kept watching stuff because the Netflix account that I'm using seemed to let me watch infinity hours. It was like a shmoo! I got nothing done! My own personal economy and util-assessments failed horrendously! Anyway, I could write some about how I felt about the show. Basically, I was disappointed because I'd been "saving" it for so long, and I thought it was too scattered to hold together well.

Music: Everyone who blogged about this singer-songwriter seemed to have a crush on her. I scoffed at them! But now I am one of them. How can you watch this video without wanting to put on a skeleton suit and dance around and be her BFF?

basia bulat, "In the Night":

Sunday, January 27, 2008

i am legend

they don't make it clear from the promotional materials, but I am Legend suuuucks! Granted, I don't like zombie movies, but this one was particularly bad. A boring zombie movie? Yes, it is possible. A zombie movie that adds even less to the genre than most zombie movies? Also, surprisingly, possible.

Friday, January 25, 2008

all the heroes; all the shakespearos

I just watched the first episode of Heroes, the show that includes people who can fly, teleport, and have a separate, living reflection in the mirror, all genetically. Before this stage of human evolution, I hope the species becomes more resistant to cancer and diabetes, too. Because what's the fun of flying if you can't enjoy a big piece of cake afterwards?

Tomorrow it will finally stop raining, I heard.

Random Doctor Who quote, from the Shakespeare Code:
[after landing in 1599]
Martha Jones: But are we safe? I mean, can we move around and stuff?
The Doctor: Of course we can. Why not?
Martha Jones: It's like in those films: If you step on a butterfly, you change the future of the human race.
The Doctor: Then, don't step on any butterflies. What have butterflies ever done to you?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

'to get rid of this god-awful feeling'

Psychology is going well, I guess. The readings are interesting (Jung and Freud so far). But I feel sick inside.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Glad to know we weren't the only ones who felt ill afterwards.

Friday, January 18, 2008

my condo

Did anyone ever wonder what my condo looks like? Well, I created a Flickr account because I'm trying to sublet for the summer (ad here, if you know anyone interested).

Here's a link directly to the pictures. They're not great pictures, just thought I'd get some use out of them.

Also, while I'm hawking sublets, my friend in Phoenix is looking to sublet her house during the Superbowl (or has that already happened?). Anyway, if you or anyone you know is interested, here's the link for that.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

19: the edge of reason

one thing that makes me never want to write blogs again is reading my old blogs. it's horrendous reading things you wrote when you were 19! it should be banned! this is the same thing with old diaries and things so the fact that other people have read the writing makes it all the worse. what's the point of writing if i never want to re-read it? that's not the point of a diary! at the same time, i want to remember things (note: i've made a new playlist on iTunes, songs of forgetting and remembrance), and my brain cannot be relied on for anything except -that time i dropped the milk in the cafeteria and everyone laughed-. (insert your own humiliating memory that you should long since have forgotten)

but then i thought: what if i'd done something truly terrible when i was 19? i know people do important things when they're 19 (in college, we had a whole list of these people, because we were 18 and gearing up for our big year, but right now all i can remember is that lauren bacall and julia roberts made their big-screen debuts at 19, and that's just okay, but nothing you can really aspire to), but they also do embarassing things. for instance, what if had named myself something silly, like 'the edge,' and was still stuck with that name at the age of 45? now that would be a truly terrible legacy of being a teenager.
Wow. I've never had to work so hard to work. See:

1) I want obsessively not to finalize this stupid paper I've been working on for a month. I should just get it over with, right? No, procrastination continually scrambles to find a foothold on anything and pull me away from what I should be doing.

2) And what a thing it has found foothold in! It is a constant, unsuccessul talking-to my mind is getting. My mind says "No, find the breakdown of energy use by sector," and I answer "No! I want to find Doctor Who blogs! And folk music blogs!" See, I'm having twin obsessive compulsive urges in the positive. Matched with the first obsessive-compulsive urge in the negative, it's a miracle I'm so close to finally finishing ("finishing") this project. This will be the third time I've finished this project.

So. If music blogs hadn't just come out with their Best of 2007 lists. If Doctor Who weren't hilariously transparent in his commitment issues (and in this incarnation, played by an actor that I know has a Scottish accent, underneath his Doctor Who talk). If I had any interest at this point in the year-long course I'm signed up for on Russian transportation policy. If I could get this one song out of my head and could at least temporarily stop trolling the music blogs! Then maybe this report would be top-notch, and done.

Ohhh....there' so much else I want to say, that I've been thinking about writing about. I realize that a few years ago (even before this blog regenerated into it's current form. Not unlike Doctor Who. Shut up, me!) I suddenly became really self-conscious about my writing style, and I find it hard to write. Even in the privacy of my own home journal. This is really an inhibition for blogging day-to-day (or month-to-month in my case currently). Also, the cats don't say much entertaining, and the only social interactions I've had since returning last week were at work and school. This is not an excuse for my month at home--my family said plenty entertaining. But the truth is I can't be bothered to figure out how to translate the humor of it. Tell me, does this work? We were all at the sushi bar:

Lilbrudder: Sis, do you want another crawfish roll?
Me: Um, not...no. Mom, do you want one?
Mom: Did you not like them?
Me: Not really, I don't know, they were okay.
[I turn to my other side to get plate from bro to pass to mom. Find him staring at me.]
Me: What?
Me: What??
Lilbrudder: I'm trying to think of some way to make fun of you for not liking the crawfish rolls.
[Mom and I wait with bated breath]
[bro still making steady, weird eye-contact]
Lilbrudder: Dork.


I know it's probably annoying to some of you (especially given my current email phobia) to not have any idea what I'm actually doing with my life. But then it also seems like such a boring thing to update. So, here's what I'll be doing for this semester, mostly likely: 3 courses at LBJ (econ, psychology of management, transportation policy and GHG emissions. blah), 1 course at ACC (GIS systems), 1 kickboxing class, applying for summer internships (India or DC or New Orleans), getting ready for a May course in India (i.e. trying to rent out my condo, store my stuff). And, oh, safe to say, watching Doctor Who, and I would assume also Torchwood, the spinoff.

See, when I get to this type of updating, I have to delete sentences like "I watered my plants both today, AND yesterday!" But it's true that I did water my plants both today and yesterday. And the day before. What's sad about that is they are very, very, very clearly dead. Like, if I touch them, they crumble to dust. Me watering the plants is not unlike this story of the family dog who dug up the family cat and cleaned it off in the night to sleep next to it. Poor thing, my neighbors think, watching me water away, she doesn't understand the difference between alive and dead.

Monday, January 07, 2008

THIS should provide adequate sustenance for the Dr. Who marathon

  • For $7.95, I got TC Surf N Skate, the old Nintendo game. I was always so jealous of my friends and cousin who had this game. Now I can play it all I want!

  • There is some sort of football game tomorrow, here in New Orleans! For some reason, I'm wearing a bedazzled purple/orange tiger T-shirt! And I've put off my drive back to Austin one more day. How do these things happen?

  • Oh no!! How DO these things happen? I'm on the second-to-last episode of the first season of Dr. Who (the 2005 incarnation). It's the strangest show I've ever seen! I don't think it's a really good show (maybe it is--it's hard to tell from the middle of a marathon), but I do love it. The premise, basically, is this: a magical man (think Q from Star Trek, but less powerful, and disarmable because most of his abilities come from a phone box called the TARDIS. for real) appears out of no where and takes average joes and janes on adventures through time and space with him because he's lonely. Short of that, there are no rules whatsoever to the kind of adventures they can have. I haven't seen the previous series and movies, so I don't know to what extent the campiness of this one is self-referential. But I can see where obsession might flourish.
  • (Incidentally, the man in the background is a bisexual con artist who pretends to be a US soldier during WWII; he fancies both Rose and the doctor)

  • Speaking of flourishing, so my own horrifying green-slime alien experience unfolded over the past few weeks. It involved my family's Kentwood water dispenser. I asked each of them separately "Don't you think this tastes weird?" and got agreement only from my brother, who always thinks Kentwood tastes weird. I thought I was going crazy. Then we disassembled layers one and two of the cooler, and I saw green slime all inside it! But mom continued to deny that there was anything wrong with the inside of the cooler! It also smelled like death, but mom has no sense of smell, so I can't blame that on the conspiracy. Anyway, it turned out I was right all along, and I saved us all from something dastardly! I'm just like The Doctor!

Friday, January 04, 2008

mad men

oh, in addition to reading children's books, I've watched Smallville and Mad Men a lot. Mad Men is great!! And yesterday while on a walk, mom and I saw one of the actors!

Last night I played pool. Badly. Each game took about an hour and a half. Most of our cheers for each other were "Nice! That one almost went in!" and "Wow! That was so close!" For a while we pretended we were secretly really good, and were only playing like that because we were going to hustle some people. But no one came to the back room and said "Care to make this interesting?" as we had planned in our heads. One guy came back and said "Who's winning?" right when we were tied. I was trying to think of a way to say "I don't think who's winning is an indicator of skill level" when L knocked a solid into a side pocket and I yelled "I'm winning!"

Later, in the corner, what I had thought was a wasps nest turned out to be a cone of chalk. I covered my hands in it and yelled "L! Look what I found!" then when she asked what it was I yelled "I don't know! Chalk I guess!" I was being careful not to touch anything. Later during my turn, I heard her back in the chalk corner and she suddenly yelled "I don't like it, I don't like it!" When I turned around, there were white handprints on the wall, like Hiroshima, and L looked very unhappy.

Here is my new favorite joke:
A cowboy walks into a bar and orders a whisky. As the barman's pouring it the cowboy looks about him. 'Where is everybody?' he says. 'Gone to the hanging,' says the barman. 'Hanging?' says the cowboy. 'Who they hanging?'
'Brownpaper Pete,' replies the barman.
'Brownpaper Pete? Why do they call him that?'
'Well,' says the barman. 'His hat's made of brown paper, his shirt's made of brown paper, his jacket's made of brown paper and his trousers are made of brown paper.'
'Really?' says the cowboy. 'What they hanging him for?'

Thursday, January 03, 2008

update! on my blog!

no actual updates have materialized for some time. But while I've been doing stuff out here in the real world, I've composed several updates in my head. I just can't remember them long enough to write them down. And when I do remember, it turns out they're not that interesting. Story of my blog.

Here are two things I've seen while on extended stay in New Orleans:

-Brangelina's hot pink placeholder neighborhood in the 9th ward, where environmentally friendly homes can be sponsored and rebuilt. It was actually really neat. Here is a link. Oh, Brad Pitt, I bet that hat cost more than $500! And your eyebrows are so sincere! If I donate $500, can I have your cute hat?

-Galactic at Tipitina's on New Years Eve, with Mr. Lif, and two brothers from Jurassic 5! It is now one of my all-time favorite live shows. I managed to have a hangover with just 1.5 drinks. They were champaigne. The hangover is still in effect (48 hours later). But the music was fantastic!

Then in Mississippi, I spent a long weekend reading children's books, and putting puzzles together, and playing GoldenEye on N64 with my brother. I've completely regressed, and it's great! But then the last night with my mom, we watched Agatha Christie and drank cognac, so acting like I was 72 for one night averaged out the rest of the time okay.

For Christmas: I got robots. Skippy and Cornpone.

(click play for audio effect of next paragraph:)

Today: Mom and I organized all the Christmas decorations before putting them away. This involved careful sorting of the ornaments, many of which have been unused for years. There is no way to describe the terror I felt. Sometimes the ornaments filled me with nostalgia. Sometimes horror: a loose angel's wing (where was its angel?); Jack Frost's face rubbed off leaving just a blank dummy looking in through the window at you; a sinister-looking Santa. Sometimes I would just hold up an ornament with a quizzical look on my face until mom noticed me and took it from my hands to throw away (a walnut crowned with tiny tinsel? A tiny gold foil candelabra the size of my pinky fingernail? Where do these things come from?) Finding a motheaten red bird ornament, with Mika's "Over my Shoulder" playing the background, became the most beautiful moment we could have hoped for, given the materials.