Thursday, December 30, 2010

Two Mixes That I Promised I'd Post But Then Never Did

Shut up.

From April/May 2010: "Country Noir"
Inspired by all that 'True Blood' I was watching and some new pearl-button flannel shirts at the time, not to mention some unseasonably warm Seattle weather.

"Dirty Boots" - Sonic Youth
"Killing Him" - Amy LaVere
"Son of a Preacher Man" - Dusty Springfield
"Be Gone" - Brand New
"The Heavens" - The Raveonettes
"Jack Killed Mom" - Jenny Lewis
"Bad Things" - Jace Everett
"Strong Enough" - Sheryl Crow
"Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" - Nancy Sinatra
"Hurt [cover]" - Johnny Cash
"Fallin'" - Connie Francis
"Come Undone" - Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan
"Acid Tongue" - Jenny Lewis
"Lust" - The Raveonettes
"Chick Habit" - April March
"Kill! Kill! Kill!" - The Pierces
"Time is a Train" - Amy LaVere

From Novemeber 2010: Rainy City @ Night
Inspired by partying way too much on weeknights and in the rain.
"Cities in Dust" - Junkie XL
"Kids" - Sleigh Bells
"Bitch" - The Plasticines
"Oh, Cherie" - New Young Pony Club
"You Can Count on Me" - Panda Bear
"Crystalized" - The XX
"Suicide Blonde" - The Weepies
"Checkered Floor" - Silversun Pickups
"Star Power [acoustic 2009 version]" - Sonic Youth
"Very Loud" - Shout Out Louds
"Month of May" - Arcade Fire
"Fashion Party" - Das Racist
"Call Your Girlfriend" - Robyn
"Hoeing Weeds Sowing Seeds" - The Russian Futurists
"We End up Together" - The New Pornographers
"At the Indie Disco" - The Divine Comedy
"Elephant Shell" - Tokyo Police Club
"Body" - The Servant
"Gonna Be Sick!" - The Do
"Come on, let's talk about our feelings" - Fight Like Apes
"Height of Summer" - The Knife

What's this aboot?

Josh and I just got back last night from an amazing 2-day trip to Victoria up in Canada. His grandmother (an amazing, nurturing, kind and classically classy broad by the name of Janice) surprised us with the trip on Christmas day. She truly is a remarkable woman. Her husband passed away this past year, and Josh took it really hard as the man was a very important father-figure in his life and present right from the start. You couldn't tell much that it's effected how she lives, though. She's active in her church, in her neighborhood, and she walks everywhere. She has an amazing perspective on life that's contagious when you're around her. It was so nice to just not worry about schedules, or fitting in life with work, or pace when she was with on this trip with us.

We took the ferry from Port Angeles, WA up to Victoria at 7am in the bitter cold, but just the ferry ride alone was spectacular. Having never been on any sort of water craft other than a little speedboat on a lake, I was blown away by the experience. I've always been fascinated and petrified of the ocean in equal parts; looking out at the gray vastness between WA and the city of Victoria I was struck by how small one could easily feel. I do think that experiences like that are needed to gain perspective. It's very easy to be very "me" focused in today's update-my-current-status culture, so being pitted against nature if only for the briefest of times does wonders for the mind and soul. I found myself very calm on that boat, holding on to Josh and staring out at the churning waters.

Victoria as a city reminds me a lot of San Francisco; they know that tourists drive their economy. The architecture is beautiful and is well maintained, the streets are clean, and there is little evidence of crime or major city-centric issues even when you walk a dozen blocks from all the major tourist attractions. We stayed at a hotel on Johnson just a few blocks walking distance from the major shopping districts and were a 5 minute drive from the water front, the famous Empress Hotel, and that bitchin' looking Parliament building.

Side-Bar: What is it with Canadians and their shoes?! We must've seen fifty shoe stores in the area right around the hotel. The "mall" was mostly shoe stores as well. It became a joke for our little group that maybe there is a massive, nation-wide shoe fetish? I've also noticed that when Cnaadians come down here to stay at the hotel it's always to shop no matter what time of the year it is and it's almost always for shoes. WTFrak? Anybody have any insight into this?

On Day One we walked around the downtown parts of the city, relaxed, and then went up to Buchart Gardens for a few hours. That place was incredible. I'm now at the age where I can appreciate walking around for long hours looking at trees and flowers, despite the fact that the ten year old whom lives deep inside my psyche was mocking me the whole time and wanting to watch re-runs of the 90s X-Men cartoon instead. Janice treated us to dinner at their amazing restaurant where I had salmon that didn't suck, which is hard to do when not cooking it myself. The service was great and the wine was awesome. We took several-thousand pictures there so when she gets them off her camera and on to the internets I may post some here.

Day Two was spent at the BC Museum of Natural History and wandering around the Empress pretending we were guests and going in places we weren't supposed to (why yes, the tea room does look quite nice and I do feel under-dressed for it with my 4-day unshaven look and my ratty-ass Cons...). The Museum was neat; they had a really great display that was sort of a "behind the scenes into science" thing but I'll describe mostly as dead shit in jars--Which is amazing and a little Lovecraftian.

Weird shit I noticed about Canada that fits the stereotype(s):

1)They apologize. A LOT.
I don't think I've ever heard that many parents apologizing to their kids as they discipline them before. "No, Hannah, it's too cold and I already told you you can't take your coat off. Sorry." I personally think adding on that little "sorry" all the time would sound so condescending that I'd want to murder everyone in Canada after about a week...

"No, I'M soh-ry."

2)Bryan Adams is a big fucking deal.
So are Alanis and Michael Buble. Seriously, I heard Alanis three separate times on various radio/shopping mall areas. And not new Alanis; classic Alanis. I was also convinced that if I herd Michael Buble's new single again I could successfully karaoke it.

3)Canadian men are either very outdoorsy/masculine or very foppish and waxed.
Thus my slender, tight jeans yet quite bearded look drew looks of confusion (amusement?) from the various ladies working at coffee shops and gay dudes hanging out around the gay bar down the street. "Who is this amalgamation of twink and straight-acting guy?! My SENSES ARE SHATTERED!!!!!"

All in all it was a silly, fun trip and a got to go on a boat. Great success! Now it's back to America so I can work my ass off and eat cheese and watch Sarah Palin be a dummy on television. God love this country.

"You'll make me work; so we can work to work it out.
And I promise you, kid, I give so much more than I get.
I just haven't met you, yet!"

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Okay, so, really quick; I have to say something about the film "Exit through the Gift Shop."

I don't think a lot of people (by which I mean the handful of critical reviews I read by Googling it and reading the first 3 pages of user reviews on Netflix after I had watched the film) "got" that it was poking fun at and questioning the way one person could take someone else's art--Especially someone else's art which was already using someone else's art--And make it their own (or try to). Street artist/counter-culture tee profiteer Banksy put it best: "He (the artist known as Mr. Brain Wash) took Warhol's concept of making images in pop culture useless through reproduction and then he made them even more useless."

Essentially the film is about this fellow who sees something counter-cultural and says "Hey, I can mass-produce that and sell it!" much in the way we see Che Guevara or Audrey Hepburn on tee shirts that can be seen everywhere from Value Village to Wal-Mart. He is definitely an artist, but the film begs us to ask ourselves if he's made art for the right reasons (and if there are reasons); at what point is it not "using your own lens to make commentary using someone else's work" and instead complete and utter bullshit? I really feel like that is what the film is about.

Best moment: When L.A. proves itself to be as vapid, lame, and completely head-up-the-ass as everyone thinks that it is right there on film. I miss my home town :)

Anywho, Christmas was pretty great.

Spent a day that was 80% neat, 20% awkward with Josh's extended family. It was nice to be around people with his last name that don't think our love is one-way ticket to hell (or at least aren't so obvious about it). I could go on and on about the people there, the stuff we ate (Jello with 3 distinct layers and an "ancient family secret ingredient" being the third layer), and my thoughts on how the whole family dynamic of his clan and their feelings about us is totally fucked up, but I will respect his wishes and keep my mouth shut and my fingers in my pockets instead of typing about it here. I've probably already said too much.

I got some very cool items, including this interesting piece of art by James Jean entitled "Rift" which you can get an idea of here or by watching this video . . .

As you can see, it's pretty fucking sweet.

We also got a Nintendo Wii! I could gush, but you'd get bored, so all that I'll say is that it's candy apple red and celebrates the birth of our Mushroom Kingdom's Lord and Saviour, Mario. Like my relatives in Rhode Island would say, it's gaaaaaaaaaawjus!

I don't have any regrets about this Christmas, other than that as always I wish I could've gotten more for more people. The thing is, I feel pretty damn good about what I was able to get and that everyone I value in my life received some form of my appreciation for their kindness and friendship. Whether it was in presents or drinking my booze, I'm truly one of those rich men with the friends and not so much the moneys that we're supposed to emulate because of that parable; which is nice.

Speaking of James Jean, I finished the fourteenth TPB of Fables entitled 'Witches' the other night. Overall I enjoyed it (I think Mr. Willingham is at his best when setting up arcs and laying the ground structure or when writing shorter, prose-y tales and charming vignettes), even if I didn't care for the baseball two-parter at the end. I've so many questions because of my trade-waiting! Will Rose Red ever get out of bed? Will the Blue Fairy kick some ass? Whom will stand up to Mr. Dark? Will Ozma and Stinky the Badger face off for control of Nu-Fabletown?! If you've never read the series, I'm sure I sound balls-out crazy. But then that's your loss, I suppose.

Some other things of note: DADT has been repealed which is awesome. Men and women with much more intelligent and much more eloquent thoughts on the matter have already said much, so I'll simply say "thank you" to those whom helped rid our country of this backwards-thinking law and given us one more step towards true equality.

And my friend Ally's mother passed away last week just before the holidays. She's in a much better place, and I'm glad that Alli O and I got to see her before all of this happened, but there are some definite, ah, issues that I've been dealing with ever since all of this began. I know it's not my place to speak about what her death means to me right now, so I'll wait to post my feelings and thoughts about the whole thing for another day.

Right now, I have my cat and I have my coffee with Bailey's. And the world feels sort of peaceful.

"What could I do? What could I do?
I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
And I came away with a different point of view."