You know how there's always that one song or album that sums up a time in your life, maybe just a few months, but you hear it and you're back there? It may seem overly Proustian, but I've spent a fair amount of time looking back at my past through my music collection.
So, imagine my joy when the artist alert on iTunes came through to tell me that Nikki Sudden and Jacobites "Robespierre's Velvet Basement" has been rereleased.
I'm listening to it right now and damned if I'm not floating through Berlin, circa 1986, twenty-two years old, cold and lonely, hair cropped short, scared and cynical and so thin...
For some reason there are now 27 cuts on this disk, so clearly there has been some kind of previously unreleased action going on. The first 13 make up the record that I played over and over again for months on end, but I just bought 'em all. Let's see if I can manage to bliss myself right back to that little cold-water flat in Kreuzberg.
"We invent nothing. We exploit. We recognize opportunity," [Barry Diller] declared.
"The diamond age is upon us," Hemley said.
Wow, Neal Stephenson got it right, apparently. One of my favorite of his books, despite the dodgy ending (which, like his previous couple of books didn't end well at all, really), the book is full of fun little Stephenson touches (the hero is director of the office of "Bespoke Technology"--a word I had only heard before in the context of tailors), and a nice central social core. Still a bit too much in the thrall of Sterling and Gibson, it was the last basic sci-fi-like book he would write, in that it is built around a single central idea, that technology is neither good nor bad in isolation, but rather its effects on human development are dependent on social and cultural tensions.
Maybe I have Stephenson on the brain as I try to find some time to finish his Baroque Cycle. As a sucker for the history and politics of science (having taken several courses with Donna Haraway on the subject in school), I'm digging the idea of the books a bit more than the books themselves. But every time I decide to stop reading, something else grabs me. And it fits one of my key guidelines for selecting reading material these days--it's not something I would or could ever write myself.
And now I need to find some time to read Case Histories.
So, the LitBlog Co-op, whose mission I support and applaud (getting people to read books they don't hear about in the mainstream press--books like the kind I write, which so far aren't even in the non-mainstream--or any--publishing world), is uniting behind a single title, to see how much suck they have in the blogosphere.
The book is "Case Histories" by Kate Atkinson.
Personally, I plan to buy and read the book. While I would normally put up an Amazon associates link here and try and make a little money, instead I suggest you buy through Powell's (30% off) and support the LitBloggers (and the best bookstore in the whole world, which is unfairly located in Portland and not L.A.) And when I finish the book I will post a review and everything.
The Huffington Post is on-line, wherein Arriana Huffington lets famous people blog about things they care about. Now, I really like Arriana Huffington, and I'm gonna read the whole site, but how come the first thing I read, Hillary Rosen attempting to show how "plugged in" she is just shows that she doesn't know how to RTFM?
This isn't blogging, it's the equivalent of an NPR commentary. Yawn.
There is no comment link on her post, so here's my Help Desk response to her:
Glad to hear you like your new iPod, especially the leather case. Excellent use of the word "rip" in your review. Unfortunately, you missed the whole point of what ripping means. It means to convert the file format on your CD to a standard (and much smaller) file format such as MP3 or AAC to be stored on the iPod. Any file that is already in MP3 format (like from any other music download site) can easily be added to your iPod, just drag the file into iTunes and sync your device.
In the future I suggest you ask your kids to do this for you. Or that nice nerdy kid from IT.
UPDATE: Just read further into the archives and Richard Bradley (another blogger on the site) calls her out for her article, too.
Now, if only that had comments and trackback I could let him know I saw his piece.
by James Joyce
Most people are convinced that you don't make any sense, but compared to what else you could say, what you're saying now makes tons of sense. What people do understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced people that you are at once brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content to wander around aimlessly, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. What you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you additional fame. When no one is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero.
Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.
I have to say that obsessiveness like this is truly wonderful and yet baffling to me. I just can't imagine the dedication it would take to do something like this. Of course, some folks I know don't know how I manage to stay focused on a piece long enough for it to become a novel, so...
June said she felt a bit like a champion poodle. So what if they had a typo on the sign? (It's supposed to be a "Casual Contemporary Garden", but Causal works, too.) I'll be updating her site with pictures of the garden this week, I hope. It will be open at the Arboretum all this week, hopefully until Mother's day, if the plants last.
Check it out.
There are peacocks everywhere at the Arboretum, and it's egg-laying season, apparently. One peahen has laid an egg in June's display garden.
Wonder how long a peacock egg takes to hatch? The garden will be dismantled next week...