Monday, June 27, 2005
... already in progress.
Yeah, yeah, sorry about the semi-silence. Been earning my keep, workin' for the man, you know how it goes. Probably the longest I've gone between posts in a couple years. Summertime slack.
The first official summer weekend, and we spent Saturday at a friend's place on a Winthrop beach out in East Boston. The ocean was calm, allowing Nina to take her first-ever full-on Atlantic swim. She's usually scared off by waves before she gets too deep, but not this time, although the frigid water temps kept the rest of us on the sand. The ocean breeze made the high-90s bearable, and we walked off an amazing bbq by exploring Deer (used-to-be-an) Island.
You wouldn't imagine the home of Boston's main wastewater treatment facility as a beautiful place to be... but was it ever. No nasty odor, just an overwhelming mix of wildflowers, salt-water smells, and a small bonfire on the beach. Even the regular whoosh of approaching planes couldn't dampen the mood... if anything, they probably help keep the crowds down. If you've never seen Boston from a Deer Island overlook, you should take the quick 15-minute drive from downtown, 90 east to 1A north past Logan airport, right on 145 and you're there. Public parking, paved pathways, and perfect views. More photos in this flickr set here.
Oh, and those massive white ovals I always called the 'Cadbury Poo Eggs' are actually called 'Digester Eggs', which sounds marginally better.
Sunday was entirely different, as I hid out from the heat in our air conditioned Allston pad. A day for working out, watching the Sox sweep the Phillies, catching up on correspondence, lotsa laundry, and a little studying as I get ready for my upcoming exam. Plus, y'know, this poor neglected blog needed some attention. I squeezed enough summer out of Saturday... Sunday was for stayin' in.
Before I (finally) get to my next long-delayed mp3 posting (live tracks from NYC's Dirty On Purpose and Boston's Tom Thumb & the Latter Day Saints), I figured I'd do a quick link purge to clear off the decks...
(oh, and to any of you who found me through Boston.com's new list of area blogs and podcasts... well, I apologize in advance.)
There Glastonbury Goes: This year's Glastonbury Festival finished up yesterday, but the BBC has made random clips available over here. Fairly high-quality, well-mixed video from The Futureheads (doing Decent Days and Nights), Bloc Party (playing The Pioneers), Doves, Interpol ('NYC'), the return of The La's (you can guess which one), and more.
National Public Bloc Party: There's probably not a Bloc Party fan online that doesn't already know about this entire live set shared up by NPR, of all places. One very long mp3 of their DC show a couple weeks back. The mix is marginal at best... too-loud drums and weak guitars really suck the energy out of some tracks, along with backing vocals that startlingly overtake singer Kele Okereke at times. Bloc Party's sound is such a delicate balancing act, it takes a perfect mix to come close to hitting me like their album does. That NPR set just makes me want to quickly queue up 'Silent Alarm' again.
Pega Luno: Last Bloc Party reference, I swear: Have you not yet heard Death From Above 1979 covering BP's 'Luno'? It's well worth a listen over at DFA1979's MySpace page.
Some Form Of Flattery: In reading about Nike ripping off Dischord Record's iconic Minor Threat album design, I discovered The Knockoff Project, which collects "album cover spoofs, goofs, tributes, send ups, near misses, and coincidences". Very cool to find a couple of friends' bands in there, including the cover of a Stand GT 7'' that I own (and it's Nils counterpart) and an Anchormen album alongside it's original inspiration. Some of the listed designs I never knew were variations on existing work.
All these collected tributes might make you think that Nike's 'appropriation' of Dischord's imagery isn't such a big deal. But when it's a (relatively) unknown band paying tribute to a well-known one, it's one thing... when it's a multi-national corporation with a history of labor abuses ripping off a label that is the antithesis of everything they stand for? Well, that's another. [update: Nike apologizes, withdraws ads. How 'bout that?]
Rico's Not-So-Suave: When Six Feet Under's producers were trying to pick 'hip' bands to contribute to this season's soundtrack, I'd imagine The Arcade Fire was the first and easiest choice ('Funerals', anyone?). The newly recorded song, called 'Cold Wind', is now up on iTunes, and you cheap-types might be able to grab it over at The Daily Refill. Oh, and is anyone else thoroughly unimpressed with the new season of 6FU? Feels like they're just spinning their wheels on over-tread ground. Somebody needs to shake that show up.
Digital Miss: Also finally up on iTunes? Miss Mary's new album, 'Ready 2 Pop'. Details over at M@'s. You can also get a free mp3 of the song 'The Rain' over at Amazon.
Erin who? Ida know. : I'm not at all familiar with Erin McKeown, but I saw that she's got my much-loved Ida opening up a few dates on her tour, which hits Boston's Paradise this Wednesday. Unfortunately, Ida won't be on that date, but Hem will. Coincidentally, my friend Neil Cleary (who's put out couple really great records of his own) is playing drums in McKeown's band, so I'll be there to bear witness, and hear what Erin's all about.
Oh, and in case you missed it, The Brain has a 38 minute quicktime video with interviews and live clips of Ida playing at the Boston MFA back in February. What a stellar show that was.
Double Nickels on the Screen: Finally, I'll get a chance to see the Minutemen documentary 'We Jam Econo' when it comes to town in July. From the website:
"Rocket Fuel Films is proud to present 'We Jam Econo � The Story Of The Minutemen'. This feature length documentary chronicles the ground breaking, early 80�s punk rock band from their humble beginnings in the harbor town of San Pedro, CA to their tragic and untimely demise when lead signer and guitarist D. Boon was killed in a van accident in December of 1985.It'll be at Cambridge's Brattle Theater on July 7th, and starts a short run at the Coolidge the day after.
Idiots Rule: My UK friend Steve started doing indie-slanted Podcasts with a pal, so check out their first installment of Idiot Radio, along with a bunch more 'casts linked from Bonfire Radio. Some great music to be found over there.
Reclusive Syd: I probably couldn't care less that Pink Floyd is reuniting, but it did get me wondering whatever happened to Floyd-founder and disturbed songwriting genius Syd Barrett. Well, this article answers that. Sort of.
New Worlds: I'll be seeing War of the Worlds because of the Spielberg factor, and to see lots of stuff go all explodey, but it'll be despite my deepening discomfort with Crazyman Cruise.
If you're Cruise-averse, but want to see a new version of the H.G. Wells tale, check out Dark Horse's excellent online WOTW graphic adaptation, written by Ian Edginton and drawn by D'Israeli. It's unfolding 12 pages per week, with 24 already posted.
Country Time?: There's long been talk of Greg Rucka's excellent spy-comic, Queen & Country, making it's way to the movies, and here's the supposed latest. For clarity, Rucka himself provides more details on his forum, including a brief mention of the status (or lack thereof) of his Whiteout comics and Atticus Kodiak novels becoming films. Fingers crossed for all of 'em.
September 'Boys': Having read just about everything Neil Gaiman has ever written, whether it be in comic book (Sandman), novel (American Gods), or short story form, I'm very much looking forward to his next novel 'Anansi Boys'. He'll be hitting the road upon its release in late September, with a signing stop in Boston on Friday, September 23rd at the Harvard Book Store.
Make Your Own Myth: My next personal computer project: Build my own PC-based digital video recorder using the MythTV program. It runs on Linux, and the guys over at SYSTM show you how it's done in their second online episode. No subscription fees, and the ability to record HDTV content (which TiVo sadly still can't do). Just requires enough money and time to build the box from scratch. As much as I love my TiVo, I'm always game for getting kinda geeky.
Netflix Statistix: Attention fellow Netflix subscribers... this is kinda cool. If you're logged into your Netflix account, visit this page and send yourself an email of your complete rental history. It's interesting to look at in and of itself, but here's what you can do with it: Go here and follow the instructions. If you upload a text file containing the results, you can find out exactly how much Netflix has been 'throttling' you, meaning how many times have they received one of your movies but waited until the next day or so to mail it out. Apparantly there's some hubbub about an increasing amount of this going on, although I've personally never noticed. According to that site, 9% of my movies have been throttled, and I've rented 258 DVDs over 49 months. That works out to about 5 discs per month, which sounds about right. How do your stats look?
Galactica Rising: Was psyched to see a commercial last night for the soon-to-start second season of Battlestar Galactica (the best sci-fi on tv right now), and it reminded me about this new official video blog that takes you behind the scenes. Good stuff. Don't forget about creator Ron Moore's blog while you're there. I'm sure he'll be updating, and posting new podcasts, once the season gets going on July 15th.
Boba Sings Bass: Oh. My. The Star Wars Musical Edition: Trilogy is coming to Boston. Yes, the MIT Musical Theater Guild present their musical interpretation of all three original movies on November 11th-13th and 17th-19th, 2005. As you've heard said, "I've got a baaaad feeling about this." But I'll probably still go. I mean, how often do you get to see that?!
Yes, It's Really So Strange: And if you thought a Star Wars musical was freaky, how about one featuring the music of... The Smiths? Take a bow, indeed.
Survey Says: Hey, if you're a blogger and haven't yet taken the oft-linked MIT Blog Survey, set aside a few minutes and check a bunch of boxes. They categorize your answers and show you where you place at the end, so you do actually get a little somethin' for your time. Just in case you need some selfish motivation.
Gimme Crime Fiction: I just finished up a fantastic crime fiction novel called 'Prince of Thieves' (about the bank robbing traditions of Charlestown) and while looking for more info on author Chuck Hogan, I stumbled across this handy Crime Fiction Blog. I'm always looking for new stuff to read, and that looks like a pretty good resource to plug in my RSS reader.
Strangely, as I was reading the chapters that had the main characters knocking over an armored car, a real-life armored car robbery-attempt was taking place in Boston's North End. And where was one of the suspects caught? Yup, in Charlestown.
On The List: Imagine my happy shock to flip a page of the latest Entertainment Weekly and find AiT/PlanetLar comic main-man Larry Young on their 2005 Must List. There's not a more deserving publisher out there, as the guy doesn't just spend his time making better comics, but Making. Comics. Better. And also making must-lists. Props to EW for noticing.
Beware of Burning Birds: I'm kind of a sucker for a solid Cameron Crowe flick (and I'm not looking at you, Vanilla Sky... blech), and my dad raised me on a partial diet of early-era Elton, so this extended preview of Crowe's upcoming Elizabethtown hit me just right. Great cast, although I do think this mega-trailer showed a bit too much. So keep that in mind before you go clickin'.
Google's Ad-Non-Sense: You may notice that I recently threw some relatively tame Google-related ads in the left column over there in order to help me out with my hosting costs. And cha-ching, I've even made about three whole bucks in the past month. Click 'em if you're so inclined.
Was the commercial plunge worth it, though? I'm pretty ad-averse, and have never done such a thing in the five or so years since I started this site. I think they're pretty unobtrusive (and sometimes good for a laugh), but there's an unexpected catch to signing up for Google Adsense: I'm getting spammed. Like, a lot. Y'see, I've never used my gmail address for online forms, so I've hardly gotten any junk sent to that mailbox in the many months I've had it. When I signed up for Adsense, though, I used that addy... and almost immediately I started getting tons of spam. Could be coincidence, but I'm doubting. Fortunately Gmail's spam-filters grab it all (which they should. 'cuz if anyone knows it's spam, it'd be the place responsible for spreading it), so I can keep it out of sight, but how incredibly weak of Google. I mean, I'm generally a Google fan, but that is not cool.
Set Your TiVo: The flat-out fantastic documentary Same Sex America makes its television debut tonight on Showtime at 8pm. It follows seven couples and their stories as Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, and it really impacted me when I saw it at the Independent Film Festival of Boston a couple months back. For more airdates and a trailer, check here.
Alright, this post is overblown and I'm headin' home. I'm skipping a good proofread, so forgive the typos. A music post tomorrow, I promise...
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
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