Wednesday, November 22, 2006


JennySlash has a blog she's using for her online grad school courses and currently she's got a section she wrote on ikebana. It's very cool (and the examples that she created were awesome - unfortunately my photography of them leaves something to be desired). Go check it out here but remember, she's doing this anonymously (the Blogger part of course), so if you comment, leave the rest of her life (both real and virtual) out of it please.

Thanksgiving at the Outer Banks

JennySlash reminded me that we took this week off last year and spent Thanksgiving week at the Outer Banks - with the Nor'easter tearing things up the last couple of days, it sounded like a good thing we didn't decide to repeat. It looks like it moved through faster than expected though, so hopefully folks will have a good rest-of-the-week out there. Cindy Lee at thoughts and things has some great photos of Canada geese walking around on the "ground" in Roanoke Sound (or is that Croatan Sound? I can never keep them straight.) after the wind pushed all the water towards the mainland. Pretty cool!

Hope you're all where you're gonna be for Thanksgiving and that you have a safe and happy one!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Late Robert Altman

At first blush, you might think my favorite director would be Tim Burton or Lucas or Spielberg or Howard or maybe even Ridley Scott or the Coen Brothers or Sam Raimi. But if asked, my answer would be Bob Altman. Not that I've seen every movie of his - I doubt I've seen half of them. But when I think about movies where the directing stood out without being overly-directed, they're things like M*A*S*H and Gosford Park and The Player. In Cookie's Fortune, he got incredible performances from people as diverse as Liv Tyler and Ned Beatty and Julianne Moore's work is nothing short of miraculous. He even made me enjoy Glenn Close, a near impossibility.

We'll miss him tremendously.


Courtin' Songs

While thinking about our wedding anniversary last week, I did some looking around on Youtube for the videos that they used to play on the screens at Cagney's on DuPont Circle and between sets at the 9:30 Club when we were becoming engaged in DC. We didn't have cable (although there were more broadcast opportunities to see music vids in 1984 than there are now) but Cagney's was a regular hangout and we usually managed to get out to the 9:30 once every couple of weeks.

The songs that make us make mooshy faces at each other when they pop up on the radio are hardly yer traditional love songs. If there was anything that was "our song", it would have been either the Psychedelic Furs' Heaven or Talk Talk's It's My Life:

Other goodies I turned up were both the "banned" version and the "Body Double" version of Relax, the long version of Depeche Mode's People are People, Tears for Fears' Pale Shelter and our favorite at the time - Icicle Works' Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream):

Whatever happened to music videos, anyway?


The Three People You Meet in Hell

I'd have a hard time conceiving of two people that I could possibly care any less about - a washed-up former teen soap star and an American Idol loser with one foot still in the closet to keep from pissing off his legion of beehive-wearing middle-aged female fans who all secretly hope to get him to marry their overweight cosmetologist daughters.

Then lo and behold, there really WAS someone that I cared even less about sticking her big foot into the middle of this and outing said American Idol loser.

I've already wasted more electrons on this than it deserves.

But God help me, I think it's funny as hell!

Monday, November 20, 2006


I was bemoaning my lack of time to do good travel mixes a couple of months ago so I did something about it. I spent some time and put together song lists for an all covers disk, an all instrumental disk and an all local music disk that quickly became 2 disks without repeating bands. I actually cut the 2 local music disks and like them a lot. A whole lot. Enough that I thought - man, I should blogcast this stuff!

So I picked up a cheap microphone at Radio Shack and put together a couple of half hour NC local music blogcasts that I was pretty pleased with and went to post them when I realized that I have nowhere near enough space through Earthlink to post 55+ MB of data. I'd been thinking about getting a hosting service for some time for my photography site and for Jennyslash's art site, so that may be a solution.

So I've got a couple of questions for you guys - any interest in a weekly series of NC local music blogcasts? And any suggestions on a hosting solution? I'm looking seriously at iPower but I haven't decided. Input is most welcome!

While you're waiting for the blogcast, check out NC History Dot Com - don't know who's running it but there's a lot of good info on NC bands, particularly more recent stuff.


Comics You Should Be Reading

While the Civil War rages in Marveldom, there are a few other titles that you should do yourself a favor and give a shot.

The first is Fell, written by Warren Ellis with artwork from Ben Templesmith (is the 30 Days of Night movie EVER coming out?). I can't do it justice by describing the work, so go to the link and see the first issue online. I will say that Ellis and Image are doing something admirable - trying to do an interesting comic and sell it for a third less than the going price. It's dark (as you'd expect from Templesmith) and gives you the feeling that Fell's Snowtown is quickly going the way of Samuel Delany's Bellona.

Also in the vein of dark urban drama is DMZ from Vertigo and Brian Wood. The first issue drops you right into a war-torn Manhattan and it takes a few issues for the backstory to develop - essentially with the US military (including the National Guard) fighting a number of wars on a number of continents, the militia movement strikes from Montana without a lot of opposition and moves across the country until northern New Jersey falls to the Free States with the US Army pulled back from foreign adventuring to the other side of the East River with Manhattan in between the standoff. There's a bit of Escape from New York to it but it's a lot less campy than John Carpenter. There's also a hell of a lot of Beirut, Sarajevo, Baghdad and other formerly modern cities where people try to live some kind of life and create some order out of chaos. This is definitely my favorite comic going right now.

I'm intrigued by but a bit less enthusiastic about Testament from Douglas
Rushkoff. It intercuts biblical scenes with a modern retelling, with the elder gods looking on and trying to influence a different outcome. Lots of interesting concepts (as you'd expect from a cyberpunk and lecturer on media theory) but it doesn't work quite as well as it might have. However, it's a real different (and less female-driven) look at some of the themes in Alan Moore's Promethea. Worth a look.

All this is pretty serious stuff, so for some comic relief, there's another Warren Ellis out there that is funny as hell - Nextwave from Marvel. Made up of mostly forgotten Marvel characters like Captain Marvel (the Monica Rambeau version from late 80's Avengers), Boom-Boom from X-Force and Machine Man and a wonderfully over-the-top spoof of Nick Fury named Dirk Anger, it's all about kicking ass. And then exploding stuff. In fact, I'll quote Ellis:
"It’s an absolute distillation of the superhero genre. No plot lines, characters, emotions, nothing whatsoever. It’s people posing in the street for no good reason. It is people getting kicked, and then exploding. It is a pure comic book, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. And afterwards, they will explode."

It sounds like there's only going to be a dozen issues, so go buy it - you'll laugh. And then probably explode.