Tuesday, November 30, 2004 

Biology & dystopia

Really excellent article here on the abovementioned - anyone who gives We its rightful praise gets points from me. We read it in high school, and although I still liked 1984 and Brave New World, We was both first (1920) and better.

Oh, and Ayn Rand completely ripped it off for Anthem, only she added her own little petty twist, rendering a great work of art and thought another shallow, obvious exultation of selfishness. But you should avoid reading Rand, unless you're a masochist.

Monday, November 29, 2004 

Calling out of context

Having just checked my messages, I must ask: Who the hell in Calgary, Alberta is dialing my number and then leaving no message except the sound of hanging up?

I mean, Gord's nearer to Edmonton (I believe), and I don't think I know anyone else in the province...


"I will crush my enemies with famine and purges!"

Via Boingboing and Warren Ellis we have "This Godless Communism", an old anti-Russian comic book serial. Interesting reading to be sure, and of course rife with inaccuracies (for comic effect), but poor Marx and Hegel! Lenin and Stalin were evil bastards, to be sure, but Marx and Hegel weren't. Hell, Hegel even believed in God (if that matters to you). Especially egregious errors when it comes to those two. Kudos to the Authentic History Center for making this sort of thing available.


Poor cockroach

We all knew Qwantz is funny (right?), but did you know it can be terrifyingly disturbing?


You like the funny

The last and possibly greatest installment of I Love 199X has begun to go up. You really should check it out - a new page worth of stuff every day 'til Friday.

Sunday, November 28, 2004 

"Now And Forever" is such a great song

In other news, new journal entry up.


Holy shit dept.

I haven't said much (well, anything) about the Ukraine election thing, because there didn't seem much to say. Not sure if that's changed, but the fact that part of the country now wants to seccede deserves a link. It's like all the worst-case scenarios for the US election coming true... oh, plus poisoning.


I'll be on the couch

I loved reading this book review about men, women, parenthood, and so on and so on, but I can't say it had much to do with my life. All of these people has a lot more money (and more aspirations) than I do. Still, good read.

Friday, November 26, 2004 

$5 down the drain

I got Earth 2 very cheaply, which is why I picked it up in the first place. And I'm glad I did, because if I hadn't picked it up I would have wondered what I was missing for years to come. Turns out it was mindless tedium.

Ah well, that's what used record stores are for. I'd much rather hear Godflesh or Small Life Form if I want something that monolithic, since both are better (though entirely different).



Happy (American) Thanksgiving from the fine folks at Pathetic Inc!

Mmm. It's a tasty abomination.

Thursday, November 25, 2004 

So, yeah

Commenting is now enabled, at the request of a few people. Comment. Or not. I'll probably write something up over the weekend about it and link to it from the side.


At last

New journal entry up. I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004 

Recorded live

My review of the new Amon Tobin live disc is up.


[Incredibly foul expletive deleted]

I'm on the Chemikal Underground mailing list, unsurprisingly, and today they sent out an update. The Delgados are apparently playing a show on the 30th of November at what used to be the Camden Palace. No big deal - I just saw them recently, after all.

Only... "also playing on the night are Cass McCombs and Six By Seven".

I would kill puppies to be at that show. Goddamnit.


Oh yeah

I almost forgot: After getting some disappointing marks recently, it was so nice to get back my paper for Indian Philosophy with an A+ written on the front; The note said "An excellent essay - subtle, sophisticated, comprehensive and well written."

Yes, I am bragging. Why do you ask?

Monday, November 22, 2004 

Misleading t-shirts

I love the Delgados (and read Stewart's entry about John Peel), but their shirts are slightly tough to wear. Why? Well, the first shirt I got has a cross on it and the words "Hate the Delgados", which I know refers to a band and an album but has gotten me some strange looks. The second (which is apparently no longer available) just says "pro delgado" across the front. Which, again, I know means a band, but apparantly delgado means "skinny" in Spanish.

So I've got two shirts that might seem to others like an advertisement for religious fanaticism and a more international version of "no fat chicks", worse luck.


Urgent & Key dept.

Go read this article on plagiarism at the New Yorker. I had to stop myself from audibly exclaiming "fuck yeah!" at a few points.



Excellent interview with historian and author Timothy Garton Ash at the Boston Globe. The best part is when Ash mentions being baffled by a book called "Does God Have A Plan For America?". It goes as follows:

IDEAS: Of course, it was an Englishman who gave us that idea.

GARTON ASH: Oh? Which one?

IDEAS: Well, you go back to the Puritans and John Winthrop.

GARTON ASH: The Puritans, oh, yes, the City on a Hill! But that was the 17th century, and we're now in the 21st.


Last one for the night

So I've just heard Joanna Newsom for the first time, "Sprout And The Bean" to be specific.

I don't care about her voice (I was neither charmed nor put off), and although the harp is nice I don't really care about it either; I just kept waiting for it to get interesting.

It didn't.



I'm finished the paper now (well, the first draft, anyway) and I'm listening to my unsorted MP3s. Shock of the night: The Tim McGraw/Nelly collaberation "Over And Over" is actually really good.

I know! It's crazy. Very low key, but very nice. Nelly is much less annoying than usual.

Sunday, November 21, 2004 

Brief thought while writing a paper on porn

Both the Killers' "Mr. Brightside" (sixth best single of 2004) and Jens Lekman's "Black Cab" (you can download it at the link, and you should) are rather shockingly appropriate for how I felt at various points during my first two years at university. And of course there's something universal about both those emotions that I'm sure I'll feel again (especially the latter; we've all had parties where we've just brought the room down), so it's not like I like either less. But part of me wishes I'd had these songs back then - of course, one didn't exist and I don't think the other did (and I wouldn't have heard it then anyway).

Part of me, though, thinks it for the best; how much more insufferable would I have been with musical reinforcement?


(This is why it's my favorite record of 2004)

Jens Lekman's "If You Ever Need A Stranger (To Sing At Your Wedding)" just damn near made me cry. Specifically, the part at the end where that beautiful, unimaginably sad wordless female vocal starts and he oh so quietly sings "And oh, it's just like a whirlwind". It easily rivals anything on 69 Love Songs in terms of heart-tugging beauty (and really, off the top of my head, only "All My Little Words" and "Asleep And Dreaming" really come close).

And of course, the next song is just as good although entirely different; "Sylvia" is disturbing enough just glossed at some sort of break up song ("Don't shed no useless tears / Oh Sylvia, no one would care in a hundred years"), and once you listen closely and see that Lekman is singing as someone who either has or is fantasizing about having kidnapped either a queen or princess, it's even more so:

"No-one will ever forget your name
They'll look after your grave
But it's not the same, you say
Oh it's just you and me, Sylvia"

And of course it's still beautiful. And of course the next song, "The Cold Swedish Winter", is just as good and just as entirely different. I doubt it'll be on many others' lists, but album of the year for me.


"In Defense of Internment"

A rather loathsome book gets a thorough and deserved going over here.

Saturday, November 20, 2004 

Surprise surprise

Guess what - most of academia doesn't like relativism any more than the rest of us. It's more complicated than all that (basically; some things are relative, but nobody really says "oh, everything's relative" in the way they are caricatured to do), but the article explains it very well. Can we stop dragging Derrida's corpse around the walls of Troy now?

Thursday, November 18, 2004 

Too good?

Looks like all those doubts Superman occasionally has about his effects on humanity might have something to them. Or not, it's only one study. Still, this is interesting.



Why is it that the Walkmen's "The Rat" is my second-favorite single of the year, and yet I have no particular desire to hear Bows & Arrows? I wouldn't deliberately avoid the album, and it's entirely possible I'd enjoy it thoroughly, but something about "The Rat"'s greatness seems self-contained. Bows & Arrows wouldn't take away from it, it just seems kind of... superfluous.


Trust me on this one

Anyone who wants to hear some really great music should get themselves over to the Stypod (get it?) today. I picked three songs, and while two of them are from big bands (REM/Radiohead) and mostly just in response to other pieces on Stylus recently, you have to hear Jens Lekman's "Tram #7 To Heaven". Just trust me on this one.

Jer, I'm looking at you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004 

You say that like it's a bad thing

Point taken.


Looks more like Marlene Dietrich to me

The headline says it all: "Woman blessed by the holy toast".


Never, never, land

Those that know me will be unsurprised that I thoroughly enjoyed Anthony Lane on JM Barrie and by extension Finding Neverland.


Sometimes I forget things

A journal entry went up yesterday afternoon, but I was all "durr" and forgot to mention it here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004 

The internet is awesome

Rag on Babel Fish all you want, but I just had a conversation in Spanish with a guy on Soulseek. And I'm unilingual, sadly. That's pretty cool.


The forgotten Band Aids

Not only is this post on NYLPM a hilarious look back and all the "other" xmas charity singles, but Tom has promised to donate a pound to charity each time it gets linked. Hard not to take him up on it, since I was going to link it anyway...

Monday, November 15, 2004 

The Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf effect

Way to go, guys. Believe it or not, I'd love to find out that prayer has an actual demonstrable effect on something like in vitro fertilization. If it's true it's true, and it'd be nice to have it proved either way. But when you get guys like this Daniel Wirth falsifying reports (that were published by Columbia University, fer chrissakes!), not only have you misled a whole mess of people (interesting to see he's behind similarly spurious and refuted studies claiming the efficacy of "Noncontact Therapeutic Touch"), but you've made the case for proving (or disproving) this sort of thing just that much harder. No matter how you feel about this sort of issue, falsifying this sort of thing is utterly reprehensible.


Meme! Meeeeeeeeme!

[Got this one from John Scalzi.]

1. Open up the music player on your computer (if you have one -- the music player, I mean. Clearly you have a computer, because otherwise you couldn't read this).

2. Set it to play your entire music collection.

3. Hit the "shuffle" command.

4. Tell us the title of the next ten songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarrassing. That's right, no skipping that Carpenters tune that will totally destroy your hip credibility. It's time for total musical honesty. You can put the list in the comment thread, or write it up in your blog or Journal and then post a link in the comments.

5. I'm adding something; if you get the same artist twice, you may skip the second (or third, or etc.) occurances. You don't have to, but since randomness could mean you end up with a list of ten song with five artists, you can if you'd like.

Also, like John I find this fun enough I'm going to twenty.

01. Johnny Cash - "I See A Darkness"
02. Belle & Sebastian - "Stay Loose"
03. And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - "Mistakes And Regrets"
04. British Sea Power - "Apologies To Insect Life"
05. Joey Ramone - "1969"
06. Runrig - "Meadhan Oidhche Air An Acairseid"
07. David Bowie - "Move On"
08. Olivia Tremor Control - "Jumping Fences"
09. Castaways - "Liar Liar"
10. Gentleman Reg - "To Have Regrets"
11. Scannerfunk - "Speechless"
12. Rushmore Soundtrack - "Kite Flying Society"
13. Radiohead - "Big Ideas (Don't Get Any)"
14. The Moldy Peaches - "Anyone Else But You"
15. Massive Attack - "Angel"
16. Martin Rev - "Baby Oh Baby"
17. The Orb - "Brain Damage/Eclipse (Orb Mix)"
18. Groop Dogdrill - "Sour Milk"
19. Plumtree - "Let's Hope There's A Heaven"
20. Kompressor - "You Will Call Me Kompressor"

Ah, from Johnny Cash covering Will Oldham to Kompressor destroying Paul Simon in twenty easy steps...


Brain go "poot"

So, yeah, the paper's going well, despite my truly marathon efforts at procrastination yesterday (and, shamefully, today). Journal tomorrow, but at least this thing's going in on time!

I wish I could stop staring at this screen. So tired...

Sunday, November 14, 2004 

The Floating World: Jo Jo's Jacket

And in a funny way, the shaving of my, uh, head has been a liberation from, uh, a lot of, uh, stupid vanities really. Uh, it has simplified everything for me, it has opened a lot of doors maybe.
Yul Brynner

I'm not what you think I am
I'm the King of Siam

Stephen Malkmus

I shaved my head this Wednesday, for a bunch of reasons. Part of it is just that it's my normal hair cut, and has been as long as I've had clippers. I can do it by myself if necessry (although another person certainly makes it easier, as with so many things in life), it doesn't take very long, and it's cheap. That $20 clipper has paid for itself a multitude of times over.

This time, though, I really shaved my head. Usually I use one of the attachments that come with the clipper and leave the illusion of hair. But I was having a bad week and felt like shaving it all off, for whatever obscure reason.

I didn't go the Yul Brynner route, since actually shaving down to the skin would require a manual razor, something I don't possess, and that's a pain in the ass anyway. It's going to grow back no matter what, and I don't feel like shaving my head every day. That would be annoying. But I did use the clipper without an attachment, and the result is that now, four days later, I'm still pretty hairless.

But Brynner's point is valid. The two mental images that occur to me when I see someone with a shaved head, when I looked in the mirror after finishing up, are petty thug and Buddhist monk. There's something ascetic about it, even if like me you've never cared about your hair. It's kind of nice to know you don't need to worry about it for a while, even if a shaved head is a surprisingly attention-getting thing. It's not the hairstyle most likely to attract weird comments (my brother occasionally has a mohawk, and that's in the running), but you do get some. Which is weird.

And, of course, I'm balding. Which is annoying. Oh, I wouldn't care if I was bald as a cue ball (that'd be kind of nice, actually), it's being balding that's a pain in the ass. My hair should really stop this "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" crap. My mom used to comment when I was little that my hair grew like a weed, it was in near constant need of cutting. Now, at 23, you can tell I'm balding two days after I shave my head (or at least I can, but I know what I'm looking for).

Anyway, right after I shave my head there's usually a few days where random passers by in the street will look at my like I'm about to pull them into an alley and mug them. Which is ridiculous, but that was the sort of mood I was in.

I've got a bald head
My name is Yul Brynner
And I am a famous movie star
Perhaps you saw me in Westworld
I acted like a robotic cowboy

"Jo Jo's Jacket" is a piece of quasi-dada so impressive, so massively fun, it nearly describes depiction. Especially if you watch the video, which is surreal beyond belief. I'm not sure why Malkmus decided to write a song half about Brynner, but I'm glad he did (and after all, this is from an album with songs about being kidnapped by pirates, a romance between a college student and an older slacker, the Trojan War and having to work up in the Arctic, among other things). But it's only half about the star of Westworld, the other part's about, well... you tell me:

Stay inside on Christmas Day
And make believe that you are my candy cane
You said, "I'm not that type,
No I'm not sweet"
And I don't own the rights to your life

I'm also not sure why he staffed the chorus with such exuberant yelps instead of words, but that's a decision I rarely have a problem with. And then of course there's the ending, where Malkmus briefly channels Dylan ("That's alright ma, I'm only bleeding) before the whole track tips over into another demonstration that good ol' SM is actually a really entertaining guitarist. It's not that the end bit is good and the rest bad, but when it goes from silly to serious so quickly it's kind of striking. It's a great song, and from a really good album that I think ranks up there with his work in Pavement (but, oddly, I have no desire to listen to Pig Lib, which I have yet to hear).

Everything from toy guns that spark to flesh colored Christs that glow in the dark

So why write about the two together? No real reason, really, just that right after shaving my head I spent a night on Domino's site watching their videos (check out "Distortions", and "Circle Of Fifths" is pretty cool too) and ran into "Jo Jo's Jacket", a song I'd loved for a while, and the Brynner quote that plays at the start struck me as absurdly appropriate. Not everything has hidden depths.



Ol' Dirty Bastard is dead. I'd be lying if I didn't admit I'm shocked at how sad that makes me. Only 35, and possibly pulling his life back together again.

I wonder if they'll let me play Nigga Please at work today?


"Justify Your Existence" times a thousand

Anthony Miccio plays "Under Pressure" to a bunch of aliens, saves humanity. Good choice.

Saturday, November 13, 2004 


Methinks BBC Online has this story up just for the headline. Awesome.

Friday, November 12, 2004 

I like "Master Yoshi", myself.

Unfortunately there's no links to individual strips, but you have to go check out the archive at Perry Bible Fellowship. Surreal as all hell, it's by turns disturbing, depressing, morbidly funny, sweet, hopeful and just plain weird. Read it.


"Fuck it, dude. Let's go bowling."

The latest installment of I Love 1998 is even more worth your time than the others; the Big Lebowski segment, "Nick Southall’s Infamous Rant on the Ill Effects of Dawson’s Creek" and the part on Starbucks are all priceless.


I don't ever want to know

My review of the Dears' live album is up at Stylus; considering I only submitted it last night, that's some pretty impressive turnaround.


The Floating World: Porno

[Note: This actually went up at the journal on Wednesday, but Blogger was being tetchy and I forgot to put this over here when it stopped.]

1. Fatigue
So I'm walking down Gordon Street, 9 am Saturday morning, bone-deep tired. I haven't slept in 24 hours, and while I know people who can do that, I can't. As was customary I'd passed out for twenty minutes on the Greyhound home, fortuitously waking up just before I had to get off. Again. The walk home was maybe five minutes, but it seemed like hours.

One of the things I like about Clinic, completely separate from their sound, is the lyrics. Or rather, I like that I don't know what the lyrics are, most of the time. Ade Blackburn has, as I've said before, one of my favorite voices ever, but it sure isn't designed for comprehensibility. Slurring and hissing and mewling and sliding all over the place, it's an awesome instrument, but leaves you in doubt as to whether he's actually singing in English. (His speaking voice is perfectly normal, if a little softer and quieter than most, I should add) It doesn't exactly help that on some songs, he's not; a favorite is "The Second Line", with its incredibly catchy refrain of "Diggi-diggi de-mah-mah-non".

"Porno" possesses its rather unfortunate and misleading name because at the beginning of the track and again midway through, Blackburn moans. I wouldn't say it is particularly sensual or arousing (there's a reason it's called "Porno" and not "Sex"; and in context with the rest of the song, the hint of loneliness already present in the sound is only magnified), but it certainly does sound quasi-orgasmic. The song has already started with papery, hollow drums and Brian Campbell's bass, a forlorn little mellotron off in the distance, when Blackburn starts. Live he just has the same posture as during their other songs, eyes squeezed shut, tendons on his neck jutting out. Both hands are, I hasten to add, clearly visible. There's something slightly disturbing out hearing so private-sounding a noise from a man in a surgeon's garb ten feet away from you.

But anyay, don't let that put you off. The rest of the song continues on in the same doomily restrained fashion, but it quickly becomes clear once Blackburn starts actually singing that it is a thing of stranger and sadder beauty than you might think.

On my walk home, brain under a blizzard of sleep, random snatches of Clinic lyrics doppler through my mind, achieving almost talismanic qualities. I get some of the words wrong, of course, because I don't know what they're supposed to be and my mind fills in the blanks in a way that might make sense. "Got it to get and get it over and got it to get and get it low", "Mother mother mother don’t be gauche", "The best is left here between us and the best is left here you know" and a long passage from "Porno":

Places, I'm stuck in places
Success, complacent
Stuck off
I'm bored I'm bored I'm bored wake up

2. Aside: Elton John
The finest lines Elton John has ever come up with are not, in my opinion, anything from his heyday, although I'm certainly not knocking his output from then. Instead it is from a song the video of which remains one of Robert F. Downey Jr.'s best performances, so perfectly married to its song and one of the best videos of the decade:

I want a love that don't mean a thing
And that's the love I want
I want love

They're pretty successful just on the screen, the push and pull between naked need and casual dismissal, between a man's idea of what love is and the actual, inferior/superior reality clearly evident. But as so much else with music, you really need to hear them be sung, hear the delivery John gives them.

It's not a very showy performance, John never breaks down or sobs out a line or something like that; he sounds tired, and hopeful, and uncertain. It's not very showy, but it is very human.

3. Performance
It turns out, to my complete unsurprise, that I'm slightly off about the passage from "Porno". The first two lines I have right, the third maybe, and the fourth definitely starts with "I'm bored I'm bored I'm bored", but then what starts out sounding like "wake up" only winds up being the first half of a word or phrase. I can't tell what it might be. But you get the idea in any case; this is a song of utter alienation (again, "Porno", not "Sex" and certainly not "Love"). He's not just stuck in a place he doesn't want to be, he's "stuck in places". Which is irresolvable; where can one go and not be in a place? Existence drags heavy on the washed out drums and slogging tempo of "Porno".

But again, you have to hear it. It's an amazing song, something I knew but didn't know until I saw it live. It delineates possibly the nadir of human existence, without ever telling any sort of story (but those moans, again, in context seem so despairing of human contact), but it's not hopeless. The mere fact of the song's existence proves thatl I don't particularly believe that Blackburn or anyone else in Clinic lived through this sort of thing, and it's not as if the song will put you into a funk if you listen to it. But music needs to reflect all these things, all facets of human life.

4. Aside: Movies
The best line from Lost In Translation is "You're not hopeless". And the best line from Big Fish is "It doesn't always make sense and most of it never happened...but that's what kind of story this is."


Go me

So I've managed to get this new template (thanks, Blogger Templates, even if you haven't updated in a long time) up and running all by my lonesome. It didn't even take that long. I think the new template is pretty cool, but we'll see how long it lasts. Expect minor tinkering the next week or so. Or not.

Thursday, November 11, 2004 

Dulce et Decorum est

Remembrance Day is such and important and serious occasion it almost feels disrespectful to talk about it on a blog (new medium jitters - it'll pass in a year or two). I hope everybody had a moment or two of silence today; I know I didn't turn on any music for about two hours, which sounds trivial if you don't know me.

"In Flanders Fields" is a fine piece of work, but to me it doesn't sum up today as well as Wilfred Owen's best known work. Lest we forget.

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

8 October 1917 - March, 1918


Fuck the FCC

"Cole – the head of Citadel Communications, a company that owns three ABC affiliates – said the FCC wouldn't promise not to punish his stations."

"Stone said the FCC would not clarify if Saving Private Ryan now violates the indecency standards."

Okay, what? How Orwellian is that? We may or may not punish you if you air this movie, but we won't tell you until you air it and we then you'll only find out when we do or do not punish you.

Story here.


Soft claims

Apparantly some scientists have taken a look at "Intelligent Design" theory (read: Creationism in a shiny new suit) on purely scientific grounds, and find that it comes up lacking. I am shocked, shocked, etc.

I'm with Kierkegaard on this one; whether God exists and whether God created the world, etc, etc, etc is simply unprovable (in either direction) by rational thought. I wish people would quit trying.


Elites, my ass

A bit harsh, maybe, but I can see their point.



So K has finally started reading these brilliant books over in London; she describes it this way:

I've read the City Watch Trilogy, which is like Homicide at Hogwarts with a script by Douglas Adams

I think that's brilliant. And just about right. In the search for specific books to recommend to her I found a pretty awesome quiz - turns out I'm undead! I love Reg, so I'm more than happy with it.

Discworld: Which Ankh-Morpork City Watch Character are YOU?

brought to you by Quizilla

Edit: Also, read this short story. Utterly brilliant. The site it's on is quite good.



So Nick has furnished me some Embrace MP3s (the jury is still out, but I definitely don't hate them or anything). "Flaming Red Hair" is quite good, but I can't get over how much the chorus vocal sounds like David Byrne.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 


It takes fifteen minutes, give or take a few seconds, of hacking at my hair with my electric clipper to shave my head by myself. Seems like longer, though.



For once We Are The World isn't shit. All three are quite good, although I have a soft spot for Tom Breihan's description of "Run" at the end. Kudos to him and Joel Ebner.



Sorry about the lack of updates. Today was okay, then it really sucked, then it got a little better. I don't want to talk about it.

Monday, November 08, 2004 


New journal entry up. I should be asleep by now.


Sometimes I feel like...

My review of the excellent new Six By Seven album is up at Stylus.

Sunday, November 07, 2004 

Good news

Saskatchewan is now the seventh province in Canada to allow gay marriage.


Seriously, pay attention

Those last two posts are probably/hopefully the most important ones I'll make all year. One just for information (both because we're not American and even if so, the election's over), but the other one especially. So please go read the links.


Fucking Terrifying

Also, you want scary vis a vis the American Government? Check out what Scalia and Thomas will do with the Supreme Court.

I knew those motherfuckers were evil, but repealing Miranda? Are they insane?


Digital rights are still rights

This is very, very important

Hey, all you Canadian citizens that read this: Go here and read. Please. It's not very long.

Back? Okay, now if that worries you as much as it does me, please go here and sign the petition, and use the information in the BoingBoing post and sample letter here to send some email. Send it to your MP, to the committee, and to Liza Frulla, the head of the committee. Address can be found through the BoingBoing post (look for a link near the end).

I'm a Canadian and I vote and I plan on making my voice heard on this, and I hope the rest of you do too.



I knew it. I just hadn't seen any numbers. Since I believe the whole electoral college thing is ridiculous and should be tossed out, this doesn't make that much of a difference to me, but one wonders if you applied to the same techniques nationwide how fast that 3.5 million lead would shrink...



So it's getting on into November, and I'm trying to whip my end of year choices into shape. Here's a peek at what I think my lists might look like, top tens only and in alphabetical order (because there's always last minute shuffling)

Clinic – Winchester Cathedral (Domino)
The Delgados – Universal Audio (Chemikal Underground)
The Futureheads - The Futureheads (679)
Green Day – American Idiot (Reprise)
The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives (Polydor)
Jens Lekman – When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog (Sonic Unyon/Secretly Canadian)
My Chemical Romance – Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge (Reprise)
Oneida - Secret Wars (Jagjaguwar/Three Gut)
Six By Seven – 04 (Saturday Night Sunday Morning)
Zeebee - Chemistry (Angelika Koehlermann)

(with the At Dusk record hovering around the top ten, looking for a way in)

Big & Rich – “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)”
Ciara feat. Petey Pablo – “Goodies”
Destiny's Child - "Lose My Breath"
Franz Ferdinand – “Take Me Out”
The Hives - "Walk Idiot Walk"
The Killers - "Mr. Brightside"
N.O.R.E. feat. Tego Calderon, Nina Sky, Gemstar & Big Mato – “Oye Mi Canto”
Six By Seven – “Ready For You Now”
Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell – “Drop It Like It’s Hot”
Snow Patrol – “Run”

(in this case, it's "Y Control" that's hovering at the perimeter)

Subject to change without notice, of course.

Saturday, November 06, 2004 

The return of evil bill

I'm back, and approaching total mental and physically collapse as I haven't slept in 24 hours, but the recorder worked. My interview with Ade is safely on my computer, in double. More later today, or maybe tomorrow.

Friday, November 05, 2004 

Utterly terrifying

No, nothing political. It's just that, well, Visa increased my credit limit.


Thursday, November 04, 2004 


I'll try to have this be my last post on the matter for a while, but, well, it's important. Sidney Blumenthal on the election.


President's Acceptance Speech Inviting the 55 Million America-Haters Who Voted Against God to Bend Over and Take It Like a Prison Bitch

[I'm on the mailing list for Whitehouse.org, and this is their latest dispatch]

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thank you all for coming. We had a long night – and a great night. (Applause.) And now, just hours later, here I am already addressing a beautiful crowd of paranoid, fist-pumping, soon-to-be tax-exempt gazillionaires. (Applause.) Yes, as I look around I see that there are finally no self-loathing Negroes in front or behind me, which can only mean one thing: the election is OVER! (Applause.)

Earlier today, Senator Kerry called me to admit that he is a pansy-assed loser. He was very gracious. And so was I. Hell, I even held my hand over the receiver so he couldn't hear me cracking up over all the fruity liberal garbage he was spouting about "healing" and "uniting" the people. (Laughter.)

Oh – I didn't say that, did I?

Because... umm... I don't want to be a divider, I want to be a divider. Wait. Damn. I done pooped that up, too. Take two, dudes. I don't want to be a pussy uniter. I want to be a divider. (Applause.) Good Lord Almighty it feels so dang good to finally be able to say that in public. I ain't running again, so I don't have to say anymore of that bullcrap that you have to say to get elected – like, "Jeb, tear up them nigra ballots, boy!" I kid. No, seriously, the only type of uniting I'm going to be doing is when Democrats curl their Jockeys to their ankles and bend on over! YEE-HAW!

Now, don't get me wrong here: sure, I'll follow this dumb tradition of Presidents saying nice stuff about the same lousy fucker who just tried to stab me in the back. Because so what if my entire political career was built on exploiting wedge issues to inflame and polarize our electorate? By giving some lip service to "unity" today, I'll be able to play the victim next year when Democrats balk over my nominating a KKK grand wizard to the Supreme Court. (Applause.)

So yeah, on the record, Senator JFK Masshole was an admirable, honorable candidate. Off the record, that babbling killjoy tried to sell a story that would put the dead to sleep. I mean, Jesus Christ, where'd that boy study Presidential politics? My marketing whizzes sold the right story, and the little people bought it. That story was "Once upon a time... George W. Bush killed the Bogey Man, then made everyone rich. The end."

I'd like to thank the following folks for enabling my megalomania and understanding how my bloodlust and decorative Christian morals can coexist in a world where truth adapts to my omnipotence – and not visa versy. Thanks first to my wife, who proves every day that Zoloft-laced Smirnoff Ice gimlets can indeed drown out the screams of thousands of Islamiac babies I done pan-fried because they got caught between my divine wrath and Paul Wolfowitz's funny-lookin', but nonetheless lethal little cock.

Thanks also to my twins for bringing in the bimbo, girls-gone-wild, and Young Stepford Wife, and "I've had an abortion but I draw the line at you having one" votes. And thanks to Karl, Karen, Ken, Matthew, and Mark for making Josef Goebbels, Joe McCarthy and Lee Atwater squeal with joy in the bowels of hell. It's too bad history has a pernickety habit of eventually peeling off the duds of the liars, the charlatans, or wolves in Good Samaritan's clothing. Otherwise, you guys would be memorialized with marble statues perched atop pyramids built from the bones of Iraqi civilians and terminally ill oldsters too poor to enjoy the luxury of treating their worthless clogged arteries with bottle of generic aspirin.

But most of all, I'd like to thank every scared shitless, emotionally impotent suburbanite who bought my empty promises of an America based on compassion, Christian mercy, and bashing the shit out of those disgusting faggots! (Applause.)

As I stand before you today, tripping my balls off with power, I promise you three things: I will abolish the income tax, and institute a flat tax that unburdens the rich of paying their fair share and forces white trash to pay an extra 12% for baby formula, Kraft mac and cheese, and Parliament menthols. I promise to privatize Social Security by creating a vast Federal Mutual Fund run by my compadres in regulation free Houston and filling the financial gap between now and the distant future with leprechaun gold. And finally, I promise to hunt Osama Bin Laden down... and shake his hand.

In closing, before I get down to the hard work of bleeding money from social programs in order to underwrite the McJesus Industry, re-segregating the public school system, gang-banging Mother Earth for short-term profit, convincing blue collar labor monkeys that their tax cuts aren't just Band-Aids on a slit throat, and most of all, feeding the Southern Military Welfare State more tax dollars by inventing more Middle Eastern meat-grinders, I wanted to give a little shout-out to all the 48 percent of Americans who supported Senator Droopy McGook-Killa:

I formally invite all of you to commence unquestioning worship of yours truly. If, on the other hand, you nice sodomites in Jew York, San Fag Crisco, and Mick-cago got diaper rash from my holy mandate (and super-sexy popular vote), please, by all means, move your chickenshit asses to Canada, or France, or some atoll in the South Pacific. Because, let's face it, the Democratic Party is the party of scaredy-cat cowards, and crybabies. A party where the broads shave thrice daily, and the men got cunt lips. So run for the border my friends... the GOP and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thank you, and God Bless George W. Bush's America!



Apres moi, le deluge

It is just pissing rain down out there, and has been steadily since I woke up (9:30 am). Perfect.



I dunno, it just seems tonight like everything's in free fall. I don't know when my inteview with Brian from Clinic is, I haven't been able to get ahold of Pete, I don't know when I'm going to be able to talk to my girl again, Hotmail isn't working (and my computer's been acting up), I've got a midterm on Friday, and Bush got re-elected. What a day. I even almost forgot my keys on top of the mail box.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004 


I guess I shouldn't have mentioned Hotmail's attempt to stave off gmail yesterday, because today my Hotmail account has been impossible to get into (and none of the normal "we're working on your account" stuff, either). Then again, I haven't said anything bad about Blogger, and I've been having trouble with them lately. But I think in that case it's just a problem of too many users.


Democracy in action

I know I don't live in America (and thank goodness), but of course the election results get to me. I'm a resident of North America, and Americans are my contemporaries, as are Canadians. But we didn't vote in Stephen Harper.

As K posted, it's more depressing that Bush won fair and square (at least it looks that way) then if he'd cheated. I have this depressing feeling that I'll live out the rest of my life with the vague feeling that I'm outnumbered, that the sane, rational, kind, decent people are outweighed by the forces of apathy, ignorance and screaming zealotry. That, in other words, the next couple of years will warp me slightly for my entire life, the same way Hunter S. Thompson's opinion on the basic decency of human beings never quite seemed to recover from Nixon. Cue the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (which happens to be on the radio at work now); only time will tell if we will get what we need.

Of course, I had a beer with supper, so maybe I'm being maudlin.


But life goes on, so...

Excellent overview of some books about WWI here. Remembrance Day is coming up; hopefully you all have your poppies.


Fuck you

Hey, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming (and possibly Iowa and New Mexico):

Blow me.



A very tiny part of me wants the second shirt on this page.

A tiny, tiny part.


I wanna be the minority

So. Green Day concert. Awesome. I even stopped by the CD truck afterwards and officially picked up American Idiot (thanks Joy!). I loved that band a lot without seeing them in concert, and now... The haters can go fuck themselves, really.

Edit: Also, Billie Joe Armstrong has a truly astounding lung capacity. That man held notes longer than Thom Yorke does.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004 

This year ain't that special

Pitchfork is taking the time today to ask their US readers to vote. Good. But if they're serious, they should do the exact same thing next election, no matter who wins this time and no matter who is running. Same for everyone else who is beating the bushes (pun intended) this year. Either it means something all the time, or it doesn't mean anything.


The pleasures of artificiality

When I do my part for our weekly singles roundup on Stylus (and I did do it for last week, but then embarrassingly forgot to email it in), I usually keep some of the MP3s around afterwards. Sometimes this isn't surprising (that I have "Goodies" or "Walk Idiot Walk" around, for example), but sometimes I give things a second chance.

I was listening to my unsorted MP3s the other night when the remix of Lloyd's "Southside" came up. I'd been on the bubble about it for a while, and had almost deleted it a few times. But now, I've made up my mind, and it may even make my top twenty for the year. Why? Because the vocoder on Lloyd's voice never, ever slips. The whole thing sounds and feels airbrushed to a ridiculous extent, every digital whimper and sigh just so; when at the end of each chorus the volume on Lloyd's "voice" rises it feels like pure artifice is rushing out of your speakers. The remix is even better because Scarface sounds like he's been airlifted in from another totally different song; there's actual ache in his voice at some points, for one, despite the fact that his rap really isn't much cop. It's the feel of the thing. And the tension between rough and smooth, "real" and "fake", is pretty compelling. I don't ever want to hear another Lloyd track again, but here at the pinnacle of Irv Gotti's craft, studio shine practically blinding you, there's something compelling.


Running scared?

So, appropos of nothing, Hotmail has expanded my inbox to 250 megs and my attachments to 20 megs (both a leap of about an order of magnitude). Methinks gmail has some people worried...

But hey, extra space is extra space. I have both Hotmail and gmail accounts, so competition is good.


Christmas came early

So while Dad was down yesterday he got me my Christmas gift; a new digital recorder, but this one with USB capability. Awesome. That Clinic (re)interview will go a lot smoother now.

Monday, November 01, 2004 

Nobody likes you

My review of American Idiot is up; I tried something different with the writing style, it's a lot more clipped. I dunno if I'll do it again, but it suited the review in this case. Also, I Love 1998 has started, it'll be running all week, and I actually participated again. But you should read it anyway.

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About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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imathers at gmail dot com

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