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Saturday, January 28, 2006

 

Picks from '05, Slightly Belated

my favorite albums of the year:

Standouts:

Wolf Parade - Apologies
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - st
Mountaingoats - Sunset Tree
New Pornographers - Twin Cinema


Stuff I like a little less, but which is still very strong:

Decemberists - Piquaresque (this was my number in the summer, but it didn't hold up all that well)
Iron & Wine (Woman King)
Bloc Party - Silent Alarm (the remix by various bands is also worth a few listens)
Antony and the Johnsons - I am a Bird Now
Broken Social Scene - st
S. Malkmus - Face the Truth
Jose Gonzales - Veneer
LCD Soundsystem - st
Of Montreal - Sunlandic Twins (I've always thought these guys were only good in small doses, but this album changes that for me)
Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (maybe this should be higher, but I didn't have 40 hrs. of spare time to devote to its complete digestion. maybe the album should be shorter.)
Vitalic - OK Cowboy (my ear for techno is unrefined, be advised)

I also listen to more than my share of rap/hip hop so here are a few from this year:
Lil' Wayne - Tha Carter II ("Stop bein' rapper racist" he's southern, get over it)
Cam'ron - Purple Haze
The Game - Documentary
Common - Be

Kanye's new one is OK, but not the masterpiece it has been hailed as.


Older bands I've first heard this year:
The Feelies - Crazy Rythems
The Stranglers - Greatest Hits - '77-'90
Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire - The Swimming Hour


I've liked some other stuff which could be thrown into some random catagory but I'm too lazy to do that, so I'm just going to acknowledge it here. I've also strongly disliked some albums which, prior to their release I was hopeful for. And, as usually, there is too much to listen to and not enough time, so let's hear what really important albums I might have missed and should be listening to. Go '06!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

 

Visions of St. Louis

Two things happened to me recently. As a result of boredom and an existential funk I've been reading a lot and thinking about how I should be writing so that any skills I was developing during college, or skills which I once possessed would not be irreversably lost. It goes without saying I should also write to combat boredom. The second thing, resulting directly from thing A, is that I was re-reading the blog for both posting trends (in the interest of possibly starting where we left off, until digital evidence reminded me that our blog is the epitome of randomness) and for shits. I subsequently came across my "Visions of X" post in which I reminisced about Rope-a-Dope and it made me think about volume I of our camping expidition in St. Louis, the jagged memories of which will be elaborated upon.

After a near death experience right outside of St. Louis proper caused by a man stopping and exiting his pickup truck in the midst of speeding traffic, literally in the middle of the right-hand lane, to retrace his last 100 yards by foot for something he dropped out of his window (possibly a cell phone), we walked around the city for a while, hand a couple drinks and a good time, veered in the direction of a campground which we had picked more or less at random, based only on its location to us at the time and to the road we planned on taking the next day. This method of decision-making was our habbit and never failed to excede our expectations as far as I recall. After stopping for some goods at probably the dirtiest "grocery store" I'd ever seen (first time I'd seen certain parts of pigs being sold for human consumption, displayed in the cooler next to the hotdogs we were buying), which store was also chosen at random, we headed toward the grounds for some old-fashioned fun. We had one bag of grass, one handle of vodka, a 30-pack of some sort of beer I'd never heard of, 12 hotdogs with rolls and condiments, 12 eggs, many pages of newspaper and lighter fluid, two pocket knives, two acoustic guitars, some miscelaneous goods and a tent. Admittedly our stash paled in comparision to Raul Duke's, but it was sufficient for three good ol' boys like ourselves.

I once had a dream in which I was walking in a field and was suddenly acosted by countless mosquitoes in clouds so thick that I could not, no matter how hard I flailed, keep them out of my eyes, ears and mouth. I snapped out of that dream quickly enough, however this campsite was real-life, as far as I can tell, and the swarming mosquitoes were in huge clouds, ominous and dense. Or maybe it just felt like that because we had recently gotten high, but I remember being adament about trips into and out of the tent being kept to a minimum, and that the act of entering or exiting the tent itself being done as quickly as humanly possible in order to minimize the tent's mosquito intake. After I changed into pants and a hoodie about as quickly as Clark Kent changes into Superman, after the fire was built to pyromaniacal standards and only after I had a few beers in me did the mosquito situation seem to lull.

There is no way to know what happened that night, nor would it be possible to order said events chronologically, but we started to get severely drunk. This much is sure. At some point at least one guitar was played and then left on the ground in the dark. Whether or not Trent's guitar was broken in St. Louis has been hotly debated. We do in fact have video evidence of the guitar in question laying on the ground. Why it was there is anybody's guess. Now, someone may or may not have been stumbling drunkenly through the dark, may or may not have not seen the guitar, may or may not have tripped over the guitar, which may or may not have broken the neck of the guitar, and it may or may not have been Jeff White. It is believed that only God knows the truth, but given the evidence here on Earth, we were all partially to blame, it seems.

Again, I'm not sure what happened next (or previously?) but we ended up a good way down the road from our tent to smoke our next joint. The reasons for this venture cannot be recalled at this time. Sitting next to the hedgeline of a wooded area and occasionally diving into the longer grass to avoid the glare of the ranger's headlights (ah!, maybe we were down there because we were making too much noise and became paranoid) we smoked until I became completely retarded. If I had known it was possible to shit one's pants as a result of total retardation (inside joke), I probably would have thought I was going to shit my pants. Anyway, we talked about God knows what for Lord knows how long until we stumbled back to the campsite. Somewhere in the mix we lost the bag, though, which was pretty fat still considering we'd just bought it two days prior. Back to the hedge, retracing our steps, stumbling, diving into foliage to aviod headlights, etc., but no sack in sight. We gave up soon after, retiring with all available quickness into the tent. Out comes the video camera to record whatever drunked dialogue we thought we might have and, like someone was playing a prank, out flies the bag. Apparently Trent hid the bad in the case with the video camera for safety. "Smart thinking!" I yelled. "That way they get my camera and our weed." And who forgets not only where the weed was, but completely forgets that he hid it not 45 min. ago?

But like I said, we got slightly belligerent, hence the chaotic nature of these memories revisited. This is all probably very boring to you, but I assure you I am having an excellent, very un-boring time writing this right now (11pm friday night...what are the cool kids doing?). I can also assure you that it was fun at the time. If I remembered more specifics I'd love to bore you further with them. Sadly I can conjure only a few other fragments from which I could not create a coherent, contextualized sentence. But it must have been a Saturday night back there in St. Louis because as we drove away from our first successful camping trip of the journey, leaving a small mess, no money for the campsite and smelling like fire, I can't remember hearing, in my life, a more fitting song as Lou Reed sang to us about the ambiguous beauty of Sunday Morning.

 

jeff and mike's space/time

Jef Whi3: i was just reading the blog and you blogged about smelly tony playing magic in the break room of delta
Jef Whi3: lol
mike0200: hahah
mike0200: yeah
mike0200: it isnt as funny unless you know him
mike0200: you didnt have the pleasure of talking to him either
mike0200: hes actually wierded than he looks
mike0200: which seems impossible
Jef Whi3: i can believe that im pretty sure
Jef Whi3: i dont think you guys saw this last night, but after he bowled ball one on a particular frame, i think he was trying to calculate something about his score
mike0200: haha
mike0200: no i didnt
Jef Whi3: so he closed his eyes, looked at the sky and started waving his hands wildly like he was doing math in the air
Jef Whi3: and i'm quite sure he never figured anything out, but rather he once saw someone do something like that
mike0200: hahaha
Jef Whi3: maybe in a movie
mike0200: he honestly reminds me of someone from a movie
Jef Whi3: he's too wierd to be a real-life person
Jef Whi3: he's part of my thesis that i've been unconscious, in a dreamlike state perhaps, for about the last month
mike0200: haha
Jef Whi3: when you arent doing anything life doesnt seem real
mike0200: you forget alot
mike0200: like i dont know what i did last week
mike0200: there like arent any markers to note the passage of time
mike0200: if that makes sense
Jef Whi3: ive come to really like doing things like catering or for instance helping my neighbor bring a huge couch from his basement to his garage because it feels like i accomplished something
Jef Whi3: yeah, that makes sense. time moves unusually quickly even though the moments seem slow
mike0200: blog it yo
Jef Whi3: we should just post this aim convo
mike0200: write about some space time differential
mike0200: hahamike0200: do it
Jef Whi3: ok
mike0200: im going to get ice cream with some seventeen year olds

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