Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Big Apple

I am typing this blog post to you, loyal reader, from my brand new MacBook Pro. I'm feeling highly relevant and hallucinating that my bedroom in Downers Grove is actually a hip coffee shop in Chicago, that I'm surrounded by women (all using Macs), and mixing songs that will be released on my band's new record, which will get a 9.0+ on Pitchfork, the review being that much easier to read and re-blog on my sleek new MacBook Pro. There's a St. Vincent collaboration in the works.

Not sure if I can still be friends with all of you. Can you keep up with my new lifestyle? Though the music I'm importing onto my new MacBook Pro is the same old stuff from my desktop, something feels new and exciting about it. Suddenly, my Allister collection is cool again. That ska from high school sounds eerily like forward-thinking French electronica. I put my pictures on the harddrive; I don't remember wearing a scarf in them. When did Godard take over my Netflix queue? Hey, what's your favorite Godard?

In other words, friends, this brand spanking new MacBook Pro has changed my life. The sun set on Downers Grove tonight, but the sun didn't set on my dreams, my desires, and my drive to be the best Apple user that I can be.

The old is out. The new is in. The old profile was prohibitive. I couldn't possibly move an artist to the top.

I've turned over a new leaf. Will you join me?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My week in media: Mar. 12-19

As a youngster, Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies, and Videotape popped out at me from the Blockbuster (RIP) shelves with its title and evocative cover. I was afraid of it, and I knew I wanted to see it, but because of BB's family-friendly policies, I couldn't.

S, L, & V came out at a weird time (1989). I was too young for it then, and when I turned 17, it wasn't even on my radar. American Pie and There's Something About Mary must have warped my poor mind w/r/t films about sex/ masturbation/ relationships; I don't think I would have appreciated S, L, & V, even though it's more f'd-up.

With his movie, Soderbergh ushered in the 1990s indie film craze and stoked the careers of Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher, and James Spader (who kills it). Connections abound; when I look at my DVD shelf, I see tons of movies influenced by it: One Hour Photo, Closer, Short Cuts, Punch-Drunk Love, and especially American Beauty. In American Beauty, Ricky (Wes Bentley) films Jane (Thora Birch) undressing in her bedroom for him. He zooms in on her face when she exposes her breasts, and while I used to think that his superhuman restraint and dedication to capturing her face was wholly original, I now know that motherfucker was aping Graham (Spader) from Sex, Lies, and Videotape.

(The still-succinct Wiki [but who knows for how long] does a tremendous job at articulating why I'm so fascinated with R.B., and one can apply the content found there to Tommy Wiseau/ Sea of Treasures/ etc., if one is feeling so-inclined.)

Drinking: Firestone Walker Double Jack IPA

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My week in media: Mar. 6-12

A new job with unprecedented downtime means I tear through books like a demon. Am I demon? Evidently so, as I've recently finished David Foster Wallace's Girl With Curious Hair and Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son. Neat ride! Let's do it again!

The stories in Girl w/ C.H. have celebrity characters like Alex Trebek and L.B. Johnson behaving in imaginative and probably uncharacteristic ways, and it is funny. The last piece, "Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way," is a difficult exploration of meta-fiction and other stuff I don't pretend to understand, but the premise of staging a huge McDonald's commercial in Collision, IL and the characters inability to get there from the airport struck me and will certainly compel me to create bogus locations. Actually, Collision is a lot like Varna, IL, which is real and spectacular. The Pale King drops next month on April 15, tax day. Makes sense, except this year tax day is  April 18. My knowing that brings this blog post pretty much full-circle, wouldn't you agree?

The characters in Jesus' Son couldn't be more different. They are joes and janes with serious substance-abuse problems. These stories are gritty and sometimes terse, but Johnson drops awe-inspiring metaphors and similes on just about every page. A suffocating and uncomfortable collection, the last story, "Beverly Home," offers a brief respite from the gloom by taking us to Arizona, but things get all twisted, and we're left only seeing gray. 

I just ripped a record called Baby I'm-a Want You by Bread. Pray 4 me. 

Drinking: Stone Double Bastard Ale   

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My week in media: Feb. 28 - Mar. 6

A family friend is paying me to convert his records to mp3s, upload them to his iPod, and archive them on a flashdrive. While I could track down the CDs or download the files from the net, I've decided to rip most of these common 70s/80s rock and pop records myself. Not sure why I'm doing it. Perhaps I'm an aural masochist. Perhaps I don't want to attract too much attention to my IP by downloading many gigs of music in a short time span. Or perhaps, there's something more to it entirely. With this project, I can analyze musicians I've written off unfairly, think about genres and musical progression in the past 40  years, and maybe find a diamond in the rough. Hasn't happened yet, but I've saved some hopeful slabs for last.

Something had to be in the water in the 1970s causing song titles to be bad. Here is an imaginary album with my least-favorite (or most-favorite) song titles from the project.

1. Minstrel Gigolo - Christopher Cross
2. Give it All You Got, But Slowly - Chuck Mangione
3. 49 Bye-Byes - Crosby, Stills & Nash
4. Dreams of the Everyday Housewife - Glen Campbell
5. Winelight - Grover Washington Jr.
6. Hand Your Heart to the Wind - John Stewart
7. Have You Never Been Mellow - Olivia Newton-John
8. Fanny (Be Tender With My Love) - Bee Gees
9. (Love Me Like Music) I'll Be Your Song - Heart

When I'm not listening to old-people music, I listen to this Rihanna song.