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Friday, December 31, 2004

ok i broke down and bought an ipod mini with my christmas cashola (thanks shirley!). i've had my car stereos stolen more times than i can count (ed note: 4x if you don't count the 2x you've had your cars stolen outright) and it made me sick to think of buying anything that i couldn't take out of the car with me. i also lasted about as long as anyone can on fm radio and cassette tapes. cassette tapes! shame, shame. so, yes, i bought an ipod. and it really is just as slick as the cult of ipod suggests. i only have one complaint. it is a total pain in the ass to transfer your music *from* the ipod to iTunes. you essentially have to make your ipod a hard disk (which is easy) and manually copy the music files onto it from one computer and then manually copy them onto the other computer (which is a pain). i mean, it's not that hard, but it is this extra step any time you want to share music from office to home or vice versa (which i do a lot). so c'mon apple. that's retarded. is there another workaround i'm missing?

and before anyone suggests purchasing a cheaper dell dj or some other cheap mp3 player or starts trashing the ipod, i was squarely in your camp as recently as a month ago. but here's the truth. the ipod blows them away in most respects (size, user friendliness, design) and itunes is not nearly as bloated as musicmatch. i've run both on my home and office computers and i don't get nearly the problems with iTunes. but yeah, if you want to save 20 bucks or you have something against apple, then stick to your guns.

posted at 9:25 AM | link | (0) comments

Thursday, December 30, 2004

update on our friend joe rank

merry christmas rank family.

if you want to help:

If you would like to contribute to the 'extreme makeover,' you can send a check made out to First House Inc. (a nonprofit set up for the project) addressed to Bo Busby, Hill Partners, 2800 Industrial Terrace, Austin, TX 78758. Busby has raised 60 percent of his goal of $50,000. Any donations not used on the house will go into a college fund for the Rank children.

posted at 9:52 AM | link | (1) comments

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

got this book for christmas. looks good.

posted at 11:50 PM | link | (1) comments

via metafilter: lest you thought good criticism heaved its last breath several decades ago, anthony lane of the new yorker shows us how you pan a goddawful movie:

"Just occasionally, something slips through - a thin shudder of monstrosity, enough to remind us of what it means to be afraid. And so it came about, this week, that I gazed at a black screen and saw words so calamitous that they might have been written in my own blood: 'Screenplay by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Joel Schumacher.'"

man, i would have never thought this sort of thing could get made let alone watched. be afraid. be very afraid.

posted at 8:01 PM | link | (649) comments

whoa. susan sontag is dead. i had no idea she was 71. of course, i also didn't know she had cancer for 30 years. and i haven't read any of her books or essays. but still, that's whoa-worthy, right?

posted at 1:42 PM | link | (2241) comments

Monday, December 27, 2004

interesting updates on 2004 MN4, a "near-earth" asteroid. good news: possibility of impact is slight enough to be insignificant. bad news: we're not nearly ready for anything like this. worse news: who cares about asteroids. the earth shifts a few feet underwater and 11,000 45,000 people die.

posted at 11:20 PM | link | (0) comments

william's christmas presents

a plastic turtle. this was, not surprisingly, his favorite gift.

some sort of plastic gun that shoots nerf missiles. this was 2nd favorite gift which he promptly lost.

a power ranger somethinganother from kyle. probably his 3rd favorite gift. kyle really knows how to pick 'em. and kyle's gifts usually last past the two week cut-off period for some reason. we still have the gumby/pokey dolls from like a year and a half ago.

a national geographic remote control triceretops which sucked up six batteries and still didn't work. national geo-suck-iphic.

$20 bill

a power rangers dinothunder costume (to which he happily exclaimed "merry christmas austin!" austin's his cousin who got an identical suit).

a g.i. joe jet. this thing is gi-normous and has fifty pieces that fall off at different times. i got a case of crackhead when i was looking for it. walked into toy joy (ed. note: yes, toy joy) and asked if they had a g.i. joe jet. girl with twelve piercings and platinum-dye job looks at me like i just strangled her cat. "," was all she said. right when i asked it, i knew, but i was committed. i may as well have asked if they had any ku klux klan dolls.

a cat. a real live cat. i know. it's hard to believe, but lonanne's brother has a bazillion cats up in bruceville/eddy and they offered one of theirs. it's a girl and the boys named it sparks. at first i thought this was after the caffienated beer beverage i made such a big deal about, but it turns out that sparks is the last name of this girl on thomas' soccer team. for all you people sniggering and placing bets on how long this cat will last, stop. right now. you're all going to hell if this cat gets run over.

posted at 9:45 PM | link | (0) comments

Friday, December 24, 2004

lest you think i spend all my time updating this blog and avoiding writing (ed. note: you'd be right!) here's a first draft of a shorter short story i've been working on.

merry christmas.

posted at 10:32 AM | link | (0) comments

Thursday, December 23, 2004

ok, scratch 40 oz. to freedom. i have to agree with dave (below). it's probably my least favorite popular sublime song. how's that for a qualification? (ed. note: yeah, so?) favorite sublime song? santeria probably. or garden grove. i like that song and i don't hear a lot of people requesting it. that's when i stand around listening for people to request music which is never. well, once.

first up: good ol' boys by waylon jennings.

i was sitting in the living room of this friend, jeff somethinganother. jeff. jeffrey. i can see him, but i can't remember his last name. he was a slightly pudgy kid and his mom made incredible chocolate chip cookies. the dukes of hazard came on and it was the first time i ever saw the tv show b/c we didn't have a television at the time. long story short, my parents threw it out when i was around 7 or 8 and we didn't get one again until i was in junior high. i mean they dumped it on the street. the idiot box, my dad called it. i cried for days. i have a lot of cultural tv moments (like fonzie jumping the shark) that i missed and had to wait till college to get educated about. so we're sitting in the living room playing with hot wheels on the carpet and jeff starts singing the theme song out loud. i felt embarressed for him, even at 8 years old. or possibly that was a normal feeling for me. he's just belting the song out while his parents sit in their recliners smiling. i felt like i was being inducted into a cult. his dad had these shiny snake skin boots and i still remember the smell of them in their living room. needless to say the show blew my mind. later i told my parents about it and they never let me go over to jeff's house again. he was probably the most decent and honest kid i knew. his mom was beautiful and kind. his dad had those snake skin boots. and they sang this song every week. i still imagine them in that living room, jeff on the floor with his hot wheels. his mom blowing off some cookies for us. and his dad sitting back in his laz-e boy, smiling the biggest smile i've ever seen. i get chills thinking about it.

the other night we were over at little jenny's longhorn saloon on burnet and the band started playing the song. lonanne and i got up and danced to it. i nearly fucking cried. seriously. ah waylon. ah jeff. or jeffrey.

posted at 10:06 PM | link | (6037) comments

now that my ladder's gone
i must lie down where all the ladders start
in the foul rag and bone shop of the heart

-william butler yeats

posted at 10:05 PM | link | (0) comments

interesting debunking of several assisted suicide myths.

not sure i buy all of the critiques here. for starters, i think the appeal to individual autonomy over the government is quite strong in the sense that it's my body, my life, etc. folks respond to that whether it be abortion or other issues that might seem morally suspect in a different light (i.e. if it's not your body, then shove it). but it's interesting to note how doctors receive a sort of mandate and responsibility once these things become laws. i can imagine the malpractice suits now.

- hey, you didn't kill me like i asked you too.

- well, you weren't really dying.

- so?

posted at 10:19 AM | link | (0) comments

we've arrived. hilarity ensues.

posted at 10:09 AM | link | (0) comments

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

i realize i'm probably late to the party on this one, but you should check out ray lamontagne. the guy is a former shoe factory worker who seems to be channeling otis redding by way of crosby, stills & nash. or just stills. fuck crosby and nash. he's got the whiff of making up for lost time. i'm always a sucker for that.

posted at 9:29 AM | link | (711) comments

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

idea for blog

short musical biographies. like this. the memories a certain song suggests.

first up: 40 oz. to freedom

posted at 2:27 PM | link | (2) comments

Monday, December 20, 2004

alice's conversation with thomas about the following entry in a journal-type book he received for christmas:

entry: "if i were a star i would...sell my cds for $2 and avoid crazy people."

alice: so you'd sell your cds for cheap and avoid crazy people?
thomas: yep. you know they shot one of the beatles?

posted at 10:51 AM | link | (2) comments

something to celebrate.

the return of the Oxford American Magazine with essays by Hannah, Portis, et al.

pick it up.

posted at 8:56 AM | link | (0) comments

Thursday, December 16, 2004

conversations with thomas while wearing rob's heavy winter coat:

thomas: does city rob have head lice?
me: i don't think so.
thomas: well, you better hope not because you're wearing his jacket.
me: i'm 98% sure rob doesn't have head lice.
thomas: there's a lot of numbers after 98.

posted at 1:29 AM | link | (0) comments

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

rob's show in LA: a date with you in los angeles. collaborations with marguerite phillips.

that first picture is hot.

posted at 3:56 PM | link | (0) comments

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

i still can't believe this.

posted at 9:09 AM | link | (0) comments

Sunday, December 12, 2004

- i'd recommend james hand to anyone who likes classic country. carlos told me about him a long time ago, but we only recently (fri.) got around to seeing him at the broken spoke. he sings like a broke-down whiskey angel.

- thomas to waitress who asks him what he wants to be when he grows up: "i want to be an author." watch out dad. he recently worked half the day on a title for a new short story. so far it is tentatively titled "chum's biggest wildest wackiest weirdest..." it's about a raccoon who lives in the hole of a tree and later gets shot out of a rocket over mt. everest.

- rob turned us on to spark's, which is caffeinated malt liquor. you're wired to the gills and buzzing at the same time. possible side effects: stomach cancer.

- perhaps relatedly, we fell off the dancefloor at don's depot, providing plenty of entertainment. an old lady picked me up off the ground. "are you ok?" she asked me. lonanne couldn't stop laughing. later, she told me it was ok. we fell down, she said.

- rob's show went well, although perhaps not as well-attended as he would've liked. the paintings are solid and look great in the space. the night prior we went to see the andy goldworthy opening with bearden and laura at the amoa. it wasn't bad, but his stuff isn't great. i think it's more clever than anything else. perhaps technically astonishing. or weird. but no balls. still, it was packed. the world's upside down.

- this has been one crazy week; hectic, frenetic, sleep-lacking, etc., but still i've managed to finally finish our final form/theory paper this evening. barring a D/F on the paper and an incomplete in the class, i'm officially done with my first semester. hopefully, next semester will allow more time for writing as opposed to reading hundreds of pages of french literary theorists. i think form/theory is the boot camp of the program. i've had several second and third year students tell me it's the hardest class by far. debra's a demanding teacher. the program is a very writing-centric program with heavy emphasis on the fiction and less on the theory. so i guess they figure if you only have to take one serious theory class, it better be a bitch.

- lonanne's dad's real dad, elbert, passed away. she didn't know him that well. he raised bill till about seven or eight and then didn't see him again until he graduated high school. the story i always heard was that elbert beat bill so bad one time, they didn't think he'd ever walk again. true story. the doctor told bill's mother, laverne, to get him out of there if she wanted him to live. so she did. they moved to groom where she met and married spot culver, another hard man who could fill up a book with abuses. i don't bring up the beating to spoil the memory of a dead man, the father of my wife's father. i bring it up because bill never did. i bring it up because bill eventually forgave this man who nearly killed him and then abandoned him for the better part of his life. he never spoke a sour word about him and when he finally did have a family of his own, he treated elbert with respect and love. i bring it up because even though i only met elbert once, i knew his son and i married his granddaughter. and you'd be hard-pressed to find two better people on any part of this christ-haunted planet. i bring it up, finally, because even in the cruelest cuts, the coldest places, the weakest hearts, there's always a second chance.

posted at 9:18 PM | link | (0) comments

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is my favoriate christmas song. it has to be the saddest title for a christmas song. almost sarcastic and bitter with the "yourself" and "little" stuck in to subvert an otherwise sincere line. each verse follows this trajectory of (yes i've been reading too much Burke) juxtapositions. it's this, but then that too. it seems to be balancing this disillusion and world-weariness with a forthright hope. the song tells us "next year our troubles will be miles away" then backs away from these reassurances ("if the Fates allow"), then offers up the single most depressing christmas lyric of all time ("until then we'll have to muddle through somehow") which was later changed to "hang a shining star upon the highest bow" for obvious reasons. you can't have christina aguilla singing about muddling through. the song seems to be saying things ain't great, hell, they're downright sad, and who knows what the future holds, but still, we gotta try. a bad santa theme song if there ever was one. of course it pulls on the heart strings, but so did bad santa in the end. the consolations of form. people have a right to be consoled. in fact, this is more inspired than a dozen white christmases and it never fails to make me cry or at least tear up.

here are the original lyrics.

Have yourself a merry little christmas,
Let your heart be light.
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight.

Have yourself a merry little christmas,
Make the yuletide gay.
Next year all our troubles will be miles away.

Once again as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who were dear to us,
Will be near to us once more.

Someday soon we all will be together,
If the fates allow.
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow.
So have yourself a merry little christmas now.

Once again as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who were dear to us,
Will be near to us once more.

Someday soon we all will be together,
If the fates allow.
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow.
So have yourself a merry little christmas now.

posted at 6:52 PM | link | (0) comments

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

a cartoon starring bluford bradford sanders III. don't ask him if that's his real name mofos. he's got a guitar and he knows how to use it.

posted at 3:07 PM | link | (0) comments

Monday, December 06, 2004

the heroin of blogs. the crack cocaine of news articles.

posted at 8:46 PM | link | (1) comments

Sunday, December 05, 2004

cartoonists are like our brains

a woven bittersweet history of two similiar nothing persons

posted at 1:36 PM | link | (0) comments

Saturday, December 04, 2004

- the future will simply be lists or concatenous forms (playlists thrown next to emails, to-do's, observations, blogs, favorites, snippets). perhaps like a sped-up milan kundera novel. here's a letter. a symphony. two lovers. a revolution. a doctor. a bar. my own creeping fears. the plumbing.

- rob szot has an upcoming show at bolm studios this next saturday in austin. please stop by. with money, he says. in fact, if you know people with money, just tell them to come and you don't have to. 10% of total sales will go to the national ovarian center

- finished up one 10 page paper late for obvious reasons and now have another one due in a week. on form. using kenneth burke. i'll probably have to use the word "pedagogy" at least 10x if i want an A++. not sure i'm up for it. of course, i'll regret this academic laziness when bush has ruined the economy yet again(!) and i'm scrounging for a TA at community colleges in 3 years.

- lonanne and my stepbrother installed recess lighting in our living room as a birthday present for me. in the process we discovered black mold in the attic. or that's what doug thought it was. then the ac guy came out and told us it was mildew. this is like living with the notion that your car's transmission might need to be replaced, then finding out that you just need an oil change. house problems have plagued us recently. there was a small leak in our office and the wood is coming up. we had to replace our water heater for $800. i make good money and jeez i shouldn't complain, but i feel like we're hemorrhaging cash. everyone tells me we're lucky. i have a job, etc. this house is an extravegance in many ways. central austin. limestone. big for our neighborhood and we're close to everything. for the cost of this house, we could have a mansion in round rock. still, open wallet, insert head.

- tv on the radio. doo-wop meet punk. and psychedelic soul. i will be your ambulance if you will be my accident.

- dirtpress will publish a real live book next year with (you guessed it) my st. james story in it. i guess that's my first legitimate printed work. i'm hoping they'll let me edit all the annoying things out. tim o'brien said he re-edits entire stories when a new edition comes out. sometimes he'll find something that pisses him off right before they go to print. i feel the same way. oh god, i used "just" again.

- work is a bottomless pit of suck. sorry if you're reading this work. but you suck. i think you know it too.

- thomas has been getting headaches pretty bad. he gets to the point where he throws up. it's infrequent, but scary. we've been to the doctor and they keep saying it's allergies. allergies? they gave us some pills for him to take. they seem to be working until he gets a headache so bad he pukes all over his bed. then i want to call up the doctor and scream "allergies!???!!" into the phone. "why don't you come over and clean up the allergic reaction doc?"

posted at 10:01 AM | link | (1336) comments

abstract expressionists give up and return to representation with predictably dull results. not unlike susan sontag deciding she'd starting writing novels (the volcano lover) that made sense (i.e. nothing in the middle of the donut).

posted at 9:29 AM | link | (0) comments

Friday, December 03, 2004

the post-modern, techno-centric world encourages increasingly microcosmic and highly specialized acts of triviality in order to account for overwhelming sense of uncertainty, exhibit A

posted at 1:19 AM | link | (0) comments

good article on neoconservatism and politics in general.

In Irving Kristol’s famous definition, a neoconservative is “a liberal who has been mugged by reality.” This is to say, certain stubborn facts about the world did violence to the optimistic aspirations of postwar political liberalism. This point is important for two reasons: First, it places the here and now front and center. Upon the (in principle) universal aspirations of liberalism and upon the current goals of liberal public policy, reality impinges, sometimes decisively. The getting from here to there is not a matter simply of will or declaration; rather, it entails resistance of a kind both foreseeable and unforeseeable.

posted at 1:13 AM | link | (0) comments

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

the dire Wolfeblog (couldn't resist)

posted at 9:45 PM | link | (2) comments


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