Thursday, April 28, 2005

Weddings, Afternoons, and Paul Rucker

Currently playing: III-Paul Rucker (released album, but nfs, for whatever reason).
Smells like sunshine, don't it? I spent this afternoon (Thursday) speaking with an old friend from my days in Pittsburgh, Kavita. She's getting married about a year from now, to a Providence speechwriter/pizza tosser turned med student. They're having a hybrid Catholic/South Indian wedding. I already asked the brazenly gauche question: is the Indian version like in Monsoon Wedding? Answer: no, that is North Indian, and the ceremonies are quite different. She was the only person that I look back and feel was missing from our ceremony 4 years ago (don't even get me into a conversation about who should have been left off the invitation list).

Now playing: Spanish Root - D'angelo
In my ideal world, weddings would be like amped up dinner parties - ritual, food, friends, toasts, a raising of the spirits. Having witnessed and heard about others' weddings since our date, I am coming to realize that this is not a common phenomenon. It's hard to tread the thin line of serious ritual and uplifting celebration, particularly when so much cultural baggage is built into the details of the Western wedding ceremony.

Now playing: She's My Baby - Fats Domino
I'm bringing all of this up as Stephen's wedding is right around the corner, but also as this is the season for these things, this kind of attitude is one I'd like to foster for the next few months. Having Drew and Alex in town kicked off this feeling. It's close to the solstice and so our energy level is at its height. We try to create stories in the summer that sustain us through winter. It's weddings, beach trips, frisbee in the park, playing music together in fields. NOT watching cable - not cocooning. :)

Now playing: Beautifully Absurd - Prince Paul featuring Ellington Felton and K'Alyn
Leaving one of the other Blind Shoemakers' houses last night, I talked with the uke player about having an artichoke party - dipping the leaves in butter, scraping off the meat with our teeth. Feel free to invite yourself. I hope to see all of you many times in the next few months with as many serious celebrations as we can muster.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Sleepless in Seattle

Up last night until 4am after feeling a combo of irkedness and exhilaration - the former from dipshits at work, the latter from the Blind Shoemakers, or whatever we're calling our ragtag band of oddball musicians that show up Wednesday nights to drink wine, eat rice, and sing Beefheartian spirituals. For some reason, I thought that catching up on blogs would calm me down. I find that reading blogs tends to set back my ability to process information or feel at ease. Information now has a lower overload threshold, and in our apocalyptic? just another day? times, I feel needy for it in the same way Stephen does for cable.

Currently reading:
Brad DeLong (former undersecretary of the Treasury during Clinton administration)
Get Religion (what it sounds like: coherent analysis of religion in the press)
Scobleizer (Microsoft kool-aid drinker with a mind to improve the technology, or at least the marketing)
Mark A. R. Kleiman (public policy professor at UCLA)
Free Republic (a behind the scenes look at who the press thinks steers our elections, the self-satisfied red-staters)
along with liberal helpings of Kos and Yglesias.

Then there's the MP3 blogs. I have over 24 hours of music downloaded at this point. It's a nervous habit at this point, like picking my nose. These things are better than anything Napster could have come up with. I could care less about podcasting - these blogs are great because they act as a filter for the matrix of music hiding in the wires. Quality rather than quantity. There's a review of everything posted, and they graciously pull down tracks 7-10 days later. Much of it is unreleased, like the Diplo "Favela on Blast" mix of Brazilian mash-up MCs, and 95% of my acquisitions I love, unlike the catalogs of Napster addicts I've observed. I won't give you a list, as I tend to wander aimlessly via sidebar nav links, but a good start is Greensboro-based Honey, Where You Been So Long or Dakar-based Benn loxo du taccu.

Here it is 1am, and I'm listening to a download of Bigga Bush's (Rockers Hifi) recent online radio mix. Samba, dub/dancehall, string-laden old skool, and nu-jazz beats (currently sounding like a remix of Mia Doi Todd's Manzanita). I'm never going to sleep again.

PS - I almost forgot - on the subject of MP3 blogs, M.Matos of the Village Voice/Seattle Weekly recently gave a paper at the EMP pop conference on the evolution of the Apache break/sample in hip-hop. Oliver Wang responds with a somewhat extensive posting of Apache-based tunes.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Visitors and Guests

In response to my complaints of guilt paralysis and the dread of energy draining apologies about blogging and email replies, a friend said, "don't apologize." So I won't.

now playing: Karmacoma - Massive Attack (no joke!)

I worked off a lack of response to an email from Drew about my planned MP3 player purchase by hosting he and his partner Alex for the weekend, and whipping up a comfort dinner of beef stew, mashed potatoes, and pineapple upside-down cake from a new recipe. This after a long walkabout (7 or 8 miles) in Ballard, taking in Sunset Hill, Golden Gardens, Market Street, and 17th Ave. My doggies were whupped. I've really missed hosting folks for short/long weekends, mooch tours, etc., so consider yourself invited.

now playing: unknown Nigerian Rap - unknown artist

Andrew brought along a promo cdcast that Jeff Chang (Quannum) handed out in Chicago at a reading for his latest book, "Can't Stop, Won't Stop." An
excerpt:

It didn't start so well. Clive played some dancehall tunes, ones guaranteed to rock any yard dance. Like any proud DJ, he wanted to stamp his personality onto his playlist. But this was the Bronx. They wanted the breaks. So, like any good DJ, he gave the people what they wanted, and dropped some soul and funk bombs. Now they were packing the room. There was a new energy. DJ Kool Herc took the mic and carried the crowd higher.

"All people would hear is his voice coming out from the speakers," Cindy says. "And we didn't have no money for a strobe light. So what we had was this guy named Mike. When Herc would say, 'Okay, Mike! Mike with the lights!', Mike flicked the light switch. He got paid for that."

The cdcast (I don't know what else to call it, a combo of music mix and documentary voiceover) showcased some classic dub and dancehall along with early 80s hiphop I didn't recognize (at least on first listen). Lots of great music and opening our home to guests. Always greater dividends than effort expended.

now playing: Coppers - Dr. Israel with Rancid

In completely unrelated news, I just finished reading Alice Walkers' Temple of My Familiar. Best book I've read since Pamuk's Black Book in 2002. Please check it out when you're done with your current reading selection. Magical realism without being psychedelic.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Literary Fortunes

Here: Click it!

and here is my favorite:
Diplomacy is saying 'Nice doggy'
until you can find a rock.
Lucky # 1,9,20,29,40,43
Will Rogers

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Management Training, Anyone?

(Following Lillian's format)

I've been looking around for work for the past few weeks. Now that I'm done (I found a nice meaty project where I can walk to the main office, only have to cross the bridge for meetings, and will work primarily at home) I wanted to share five unbelievable things that people said to me as I sat in their guest chairs while they scribbled notes on my resume.

5. Oh, I never meet my deadlines. I'm always totally scrambling at the last minute. (Way to set an example, team lead!)

4. Our team never completes anything on time. Seems like they always move the target right at the end and we're tied up until Thanksgiving. (Your upper management rules!)

3. This is the worst building I've ever worked in. We all say that the feng shui here is totally messed up. Look at it, it's all pointy and slanty and bad. (I can hardly wait to spend 8 hours a day here!)

2. I like to do spot checks on my employee's work so I can see what they're up to. Also, I like to keep them close where I can see them. (It's nice that we're all grown-up professionals that trust each other to do their jobs, isn't it?)

And the #1 interview busting remark:

1. I can't promise I won't micromanage you. (Wow. I'm speechless!)

As an aside, I understand that you might not have a lot of time to read my resume, and also, that many resumes do not tell you what that person has done. Mine, however, is quite specific on what I've done and what I know how to do. If you point to my resume and ask "Tell me about what you did at XYZ Co.", that is an excellent indicator that you have not read my resume. In which case, why are you interviewing me?

Also, can anyone please elaborate on the thinking behind those "Tell me about a time..." and "How do you respond to..." and "Give me three words that describe..." questions. Because during my entire working life, I have never, ever, ever been asked to do any of those things.

I didn't used to hate looking for work.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

AFA tells me this...

Just got this from the virulant American Family Association. It's a list of liberal agenda items - I've added some context to their list:

Here is the agenda the liberals want to achieve. They want Senators to filibuster any judicial nominee who will not support this agenda.
  1. Approval of homosexual marriage (or just not killing or wounding or discriminating against homosexuals)
  2. Legalizing euthanasia (or just letting folks determine whether or not they want to be kept alive with medical intervention)
  3. Banning prayer in school (or being non-demoninational about it, recognize other religions, etc.)
  4. Banning the public display of the Ten Commandments (or adding displays for other religions in the U.S.)
  5. Banning the Pledge of Allegiancen (I didn't sign up for this...)
  6. Basing our laws on the laws of other nations (didn't sign up for this)
  7. Maintaining abortion on demand (yup, got me there)
  8. Forcing the Boy Scouts and similar organizations (including churches) to place homosexuals in positions of leadership (dear lord)
  9. Complete protection for all kinds of pornography (um...)
  10. Creating hate crimes laws to punish those who believe homosexuality is wrong (if they kill people)
  11. Denigrating Christianity to a secondary status (that there is a perspective issue)
  12. Making secularism the only legitimate religion (that's an ox, you moron)

Anybody got anything to add?

Saturday, April 02, 2005

I only want to see you praying in the papal reign/Papal reign, papal reign

I don't mean to sneer at catholicism or the pontiff but rather at the media coverage.

"Is the mood any different in St. Peter's Square?" Yeah, everybody was sad but now they're doing The Wave.

"We're going to continue looking at the pope, particularly his relationship to the Catholic church." As opposed to what, his relationship to General Motors?

I realize that these folks are having to make-do on an ad-lib basis...they are going live and they have to fill that air with something, anything. But they babble on and on and people get annoyed and then journalists wonder, yet again "why aren't we appreciated???"

In more important news, go Illinois!