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October 28, 2008

the sweet snob

Some of you have told me that you really like the music reviews here on the tinyblog, and it's become a big part of what I've been doing. So big, in fact, that it kind of eclipsed the daily storytelling that the tinyblog was originally about.

So, I finally decided to do what I've wanted to do for a long time and take the plunge. I started a brand new blog to put all of my music and film reviews, and it's called The Sweet Snob:

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Please head over and subscribe! It's the new way people read blogs now people.

To LJ users, sorry, but I'm not going to be able to create an LJ mirror of that one. I'm not sure if you're a non-paid user if you can put regular blogs on your friend's page, but consider using a feed reader like Google Reader, if you have a gmail account, you already have it. It's just like a friends page for your non-lj blogs.

Now, the tinyblog will go back to being about my photos, my life, my stories... you know, me me me.

February 29, 2008

vampire weekend - vampire weekend

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Now that I'm in the stride of Vampire Weekend's debut album: Vampire Weekend, I can listen to it almost ceaselessly, kind of like many people can Paul Simon's Graceland, which is practically this album's spiritual father.

In Graceland, though, Paul Simon hired a bunch of African musicians to accompany his band. Vampire Weekend's percussionist, Chris Tomson, does a great job of African pop drumming all by himself.

It's not really African music though, any more than The Police was really reggae music. (Vampire Weekend's song "The Kids Don't Stand a Chance" could easily be a Police song, if The Police could write such smart, snappy lyrics.)

It is good though, if all pop music were like this, I would listen to more pop music. I almost wanted to dislike it, since I got the impression it was some kind of teeny bopper sensation. It's pretty difficult to dislike, though. Even though I figured it was going to be arrogant college kids overstating the importance of their own worldview, eventually I realized that they make fun of it as much as they explain it.

Can you really hate a band that writes a song ("I Stand Corrected") about sincerely admitting a mistake? When it all comes down, it's just a sweet, smart album with fine musicianship that makes you want to just leave it in the CD player again after it's done.

February 20, 2008

late to the odb game

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Of course people have been lauding this album for a dozen years, dirty is long dead, and there's a rap on the new Wu-Tang album lamenting his death (shoulda taken it easy on the Tramadol and coke, dirty), but for me it's a sudden revelation.

For those who have no idea who Russell Tyrone Jones aka. Ol' Dirty Bastard aka. Ol' Dirty Doggie aka. Dirt McGirt aka. Sweet Baby Jesus aka. Freeloading Rusty aka. a bunch of other things even is, he is one of the rappers of the famous Wu-Tang Clan, one of the most famous rap groups of all kinds.

I've heard him rap before, on Wu Tang albums, but it wasn't until I really started listening to Return to the 36 Chambers that I really got the idea of the explosion of madness he really creates.

Method Man, another Wu Tang rapper, once said that Dirty's style had "no father", but I have to disagree. There is a clear father to his style in the crazy howling and singing of Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Even if you're not familiar with Hawkins you've probably at least heard his insane version of "I Put A Spell on You". He sings the standard and deconstructs it into a raw series of howls and growls.

Dirty keeps this tradition, but adds his own strange rapping into the mix. His subject matter is often sexual or mildly, playfully violent, but more often is just his own strange free association on any topic. But no line is ever just spoken straightforwardly. Dirty keeps you guessing with sudden changes of tone, volume and delivery.

In any one song he alternately gurgles, growls, sings like a drunkard, howls in surprise as if the situation he's rapping about is totally new to him, shouts, whispers, makes up new words, does impromptu scat... in short... it's never boring.

That aside, the album itself is great. He sets the tone by pretending to introduce himself on stage, as Russell Jones trying to fauningly introduce Ol' Dirty Bastard, showering him with compliments, but then at the last second forgetting his name and instead introducing James Brown. Finally he remembers who he's introducing, and finally finishes with "I love that guy!"

Then, he takes the stage as ODB himself and begins what sounds like it's going to be a touching ballad with a confessional gone wrong, talking about a girl who gave him gonorrhea twice that he knew for ten minutes. He begins to sing his horrible crooner song about oral sex, and then finally says, "Just kidding, listen to the album, because it's bangin'"

And it is bangin'. RZA is the producer and does it in a simple, amazingly mellow way. ODB clowns and sings in a way that sounds accidental, but with a few repeat listens it's clear that his strange patter and singing is pretty crafted.

Such a strange, confusing, beautiful album. If you ever liked it, give it another listen.

February 6, 2008

i invoked this emily cover into being

Wasn't I just bitching that there wasn't any real Joanna Newsom cover from her Ys album? Well, there you go... somebody actually did a real produced recording of a Newsom cover, of the song Emily.

Pretty good, I must say... although I wish he would have kept more of the song's natural quirkiness in. He makes it almost as close to like a regular indie rock song as he possibly can, which is kind of cool, but sometimes he misses out on some easy opportunities to bring up the intensity a notch in the way Joanna does so effortlessly.

It's still an amazing song, and I hope some people can listen to it and vibe with it in a way that they wouldn't otherwise be able to because they just can't get over Newsom's voice.

January 30, 2008

a joanna newsom appeal

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God knows I've gingerly put Joanna Newsom's unreal masterpiece of an album into the hands of many. A couple have totally felt it, but many more have not. Its often the sound of her voice that's the challenge. It's challenging, to be sure, and there's no use talking about it anymore.

I almost hoped that someone would do a magnificent cover of a Ys song I could use to demonstrate the astoundingness of her storytelling and wordplay, but alas, when people cover her, they generally attack the shorter, more coverable songs on Milk-Eyed Mender: Some guy does a pretty good job of The Sprout and the Bean, Some guy does a passable and kinda sweet job of Sadie, and the band Final Fantasy does a cool electronic / violin version of Peach, Plum, Pear.

I pulled out the album the other day and just dove in right at its middle act, at Sawdust and Diamonds. It's such a pleasurable part of the album, and it occurred to me that maybe new or reluctant listeners should try this, skipping the enthusiastic Emily and the over played and over discussed Monkey and Bear.

The story that begins with Sawdust and ends with the final howls of Cosmia is a story all its own. And people... oh ye of little patience, it's not like she's writing music for Mensa members only. Sure there's the little Shakespeare reference here and there, but this is not James Joyce.

It is genuinely sweet and funny, and as you listen to it a few times, just let its little phrases, jokes and turns of phrase come to you in tiny bits. It's more accessible than it first appears. C'mon... Give Joanna Newsom another chance. She's worth it.


Note: I did found an aussie singing this kind of sweet Emily and this somewhat more talented performer doing a fairly impressive cover of Sawdust and Diamonds. These really illustrate how difficult it is to adapt and perform these songs.

January 18, 2008

prkr - the felt city

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I finally decided to buy the CD at the coffee shop counter that was created by one of my everyday baristas at Fremont Coffee. I hoped it didn't suck too badly, because then I'd have to think of something nice to say about it and then never speak of it again. Parker's a sweet-faced guy and I hoped it wasn't so.

Well, thank god it didn't turn out like that. Parker's album (as Prkr), The Felt City, is way better than I expected. Even more impressive is that Prkr made the album in 29 days as a part of the RPM challenge. It could have just been some gentle guitar music, but Parker nests the guitar sounds in his many layers of intricate polyrhythms and crunchy, Matmos-y electronic music.

This mix of real instruments and electronic music, along with themes of human warmth in the face of the coldness of the world, easily reminds me of some Radiohead, including their current and lovely In Rainbows. The other thing The Felt City evokes is The Postal Service, but thankfully Prkr isn't trying to be as completely precious as Ben Gibbons Gibbard. The singing, the lyrics, and the sonic landscapes, are tougher, rougher, and warmer than The Postal Service.

My favorite song is the joyful and clever opener, “G.P.S. Kids.” Of course Prkr wouldn't be the first person to poke fun at these kids today, but you can tell he actually considers himself one of them, liable to "text me your sex / let's see how close we can physically get / and check just how accurate the G.P.S. is".

In “Personnel" and "Intelligensia,” Prkr droningly lists the things you'll encounter as you walk through The Felt City: "Convention centers, escalators, skyscrapers, infiltrators, perpetrators..." among other things. Prkr maps out an impersonal city, darkly referring to plastic flesh and biotech. It's pretty clear that The Felt City is grounded in the real city of Seattle. In the one instrumental track, the throbbing, undulating "Let's Make Out", Parker uses humming, soft choral tones to make his case. Along with “G.P.S. Kids,” Prkr shows that even in the midst of all these skyscrapers there's still room to be sexy and human.

In the song, "Digital Vestiges", Prkr sighingly notices that "When we look close with our microscopes we can see the formulas of life / Does it blow your mind when you find that we are coded in binary / Everything we value so greatly is made the same as machinery." But it's okay... Prkr thinks you should make out anyway.

January 15, 2008

2007 - music I'm still chewing on

There's a lot of great music (like Jens Lekman) that I never quite got to in time to rank among my favorites, but I'm continuing to listen to albums that were pretty damn good. Here's a little roundup:

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White Williams - Smoke
Totally strange cover with girls smoking from a hookah and crying rainbow wax tears. Evidently Joe Williams saw some girl at a party who's boyfriend had just broken up with her. She was bawling her head off, but kept stopping to take hits of weed from this big hookah. He thought that was hilarious and made it into the concept of the album. It's kinda like a mellow T. Rex album with a lot of cool sonic experiments going on. It's classic rock at heart but has a prog rock face. It really is sweet and listenable and I find myself hearing something new and pleasing at every listen. The main misstep? Who really needed to cover "I Want Candy" again? Ugh. I hate that song.

Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
A goddamn solid album that hit a lot of people's lists. Kinda like an old school Elton John / Billy Joel kinda modern rock scene with smart lyrics. There was only one slot for a band like this on the list and basically The National won the day. It shouldn't diminish that this is a damn enjoyable album.

Amon Tobin - Foley Room
I love Amon Tobin, and am glad to see him do a new album that's not a video game soundtrack. There's some great stuff in here. I especially like the track "Esther's", but it's not the kind of excellence of his best.

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Burial - Untrue
I never even heard of the dub step genre, but some people are calling this their favorite album of the whole year, so I had to hear it. Turns out the guy who does Burial is totally anonymous and no one knows who it is. Anyway, the music is pretty damn cool... it's like a scratchy urban electronic music. I underestimated it, even so, for a long time, and I have to say the last half of the album is what I love. "Etched Headplate" is one of the most impressive and subtle sonic landscapes I heard all year.

Robert Plant / Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
Who would have guessed? This is a beautiful album and more than just a VH1 cash-in. I have a feeling this will end up being a lot of hipsters' secret love.

Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
Tough, vicious cocaine rapping over fresh Neptune beats. Why listen? Good rhymes, good beats. Momma, I'm so sorry, I'm so obnoxious: got two hot rocks in my pocket. It's bratty, amoral, conflicted and kinda fucked up. That's what makes it good rap.

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Avett Brothers - Emotionalism
Amazing emotional bluegrass-inspired music. If the whole album were as good as it's 4 best tracks it would have been a shoe-in. "The Weight of Lies" is just amazing:

Disappear from your hometown
go and find the people that you know
show them all of your good parts
leave town when the bad ones start to show
Go and wed a woman,
a pretty girl that you never met
Make sure she knows you love her well
but don't make any other promises.

I've thought that very same thought before myself.

Wow, I have more of these than I thought. I may have to do one more roundup. Plus, I keep working through other people's 2007 lists. It's like gold!

I'm ready for 2008 albums anytime!

January 8, 2008

jens lekman - night falls over kortadela

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Isn't he dreamy, folks? Let's hear it for Jens Lekman. This man is tough as nails. Okay, he's not. He's a Swedish 25 year old with a face I want to pinch.

He thinks he's God's gift to women of course, but you know, he probably is. That's a hell of a baritone. And some musical swells that have me fit to cry. I mean, who can sing a cold-ass song like, "I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You" (seriously, that's brutal) and make it sound... actually kind of romantic?

This was released in 2007! Why didn't I hear about it? Oh, I did. A bunch of people said it was good. I was busy. And who wants to listen to some feeb named Jens Lekman anyway?

Edit: I forgot to say the first time. "A Postcard to Nina", and "Kanske Ar Jag Kar I Dig" are really the songs that prove the album. So if you happen to work in the same building as me and are on my ITunes share then you can totally consider yourself lucky.

Edit2: I forgot to say the second time, that it's pronounced more like "yense" than "jenz". I wasn't sure but he actually says it in "A Postcard to Nina".

December 26, 2007

other good best music of 2007 lists

The New York Times list is shockingly similar to my own.

No one actually picked the Metacritic list... it's just aggregated from scores of other reviews, like Metacritic itself. I am totally a Metacritic snob and check them for almost every single movie or album I'm interested in.

The Gorilla vs. Bear list is cool, and has some stuff I have to check out.

Paste magazine sure liked The National. You know, it's a great damn album, but it's just not dangerous enough to be #1. Well, like Feist is...

I think Stylus magazine shut down right after posting their best of list. Too bad, I like stylus.

But, they ultimately lost out to the shocking online musical erudition and snobbiness that is Pitchfork Media. See their list on display, and I'm sure it will take me most of the year to work through the stuff of their picks I haven't read yet. It took me until just a few months ago to get through most of last year's list.

Update: Didn't mean to miss the local and lovely Abbey's end of year album list.

December 21, 2007

the best of 2007: feist - the reminder

#01: Feist - The Reminder

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No album affected me musically and emotionally more than this one, and it came out in May. I was fresh from an emotional breakup, my little sister was coming out of a cloistered retreat after three years and I was professionally frustrated.

I was already starting to really love Feist when this album came out. I started listening to Open Season, her remixes album, and hearing her sing so beautifully on the Kings of Convenience's Riot on an Empty Street. Finally I got her real album Let It Die and it broke my heart a good 40 or 50 times. I was going through some romantic nonsense and it just poked the wound so lovingly I couldn't help but want more.

Then, The Reminder came out, was released at Starbucks, had the songs My Moon, My Man and 1234 featured in every commercial on the planet, and suddenly Feist was this VH1 soft hit machine who had sold out in every possible way.

I'm here to tell you why I don't care, why I love Feist, and why I think The Reminder was the best album all year.

To me, Feist is one of the finest vocalists of modern pop music. She's like the Bill Evans of vocals. Bill Evans is a jazz pianist. But, he's not all experimental and exciting like Theloneous Monk. His piano playing is so gentle, that if you're not paying attention, it sounds like he's playing the most generic of lounge music. It's background music. It's elevator music. But, people who listen closer hear something so passionate and exciting. Bill Evans plays like he doesn't care if you're there or not, and within his form of gentle piano music, he makes an entire expressive world.

Feist is like that... although she can be thrilling even on first listen. Take a song on Reminder, for instance, like Limit to your Love. This is the pinnacle of the album, in my opinion. She plays guitar sexily in perfect accord with the longing in her song. She hits vocal heights and croons softly in the same song. She accuses and pleads. She sounds like she's coming to the realization that "I can't read your smile, it should be written on your face, I'm pieceing it together, there's something out of place." while the song actually wears on.

Even though there's songs like My Moon, My Man, which was made to be a Zune commercial (but it really a hell of a song, and has a great video of its own), there's a totally uncompromising song like the very next one on the album "The Park" where she sings, almost a capella, with only birds chirping in the background, in a song almost like "Nothing Compares 2 U", chastising herself for walking back through the park, because she walked back through the park. She thought she saw her lover there, but of course it wasn't him, of course "it's not him who would come, cross the sea to surprise you, not him who would know, where in London to find you".

To me, The Reminder is almost perfect. It's the incredible blend of her singing, songwriting and guitar playing. If she made a million dollars from Starbucks and the Zune, great. If she puts out another album even half this good, then she's forgiven as far as I'm concerned.

(stay tuned for more 2007 music stuff)

best of 2007 #02: of montreal - hissing fauna, are you the destroyer?

#02: Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?

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With a name like that, it's got to be good, right?

Of Montreal has been around for awhile, and has recorded a stunning 13 albums and EP's since they started recording in 1997. Kevin Barnes is their androgynous front man, and while he sounds like, so TOTALLY ghey, he's actually straight per him, and this album is about the implosion and aftermath of his breakup with his partner and baby momma. That doesn't stop him from totally getting made up so he looks fabulous and occasionally performing live in the nude.

His earlier work is some pretty clever storytelling stuff. A little too literal and precious for my tastes. I really started liking them when he kind of struck off on his own and recorded The Sunlandic Twins and Satanic Panic in the Attic. These songs were a little more sharply produced, catchy, bitchy, hook laden, and the kind of music you could get a nun to shake her bootie to. All of it pointed to a pretty enjoyable snack of a band until this year, when suddenly Kevin Barnes drops his atomic bomb in the form of Hissing Fauna.

There's some baby cooing, some gentle firecrackers, and Kevin Barnes launches into sort of a the Beatles-on-crack instrumentation and songs questioning family, god, and his own sanity. And manages to make really a hell of an album doing it.

Like the reverse kaleidoscope (black in the center, colors on the outside) on the cover of the album, Kevin walks us through every mood of loneliness from the elation of freedom, from turning every head in the joint, to being too lazy to burn down a church but wishing he could, to locking himself in an apartment for days. He says it so plainly it's almost like teenage poetry.

But... he makes such a lyrical and musical rollercoaster ride of it, I can't help but be pulled along by it. It's a great way to integrate electronic music, rock and pop music and still make something adventurous and operatic out of it.

I can see this album being too peppy for some... too uneven for others... too poppy for others... too dark for still some others. But for me I gotta break this one out every once in a while, and be fully bitchy and heartbroken, singing along:

I guess it would be nice
To give my heart to a god
But which one do i choose?
Oh, the church is filled with losers
Psycho or confused
I just want to hold the divine
In my hand and forget
all of the beauty's wasted.

All the way until he reminds us that, "Physics makes us all it's bitches."

December 20, 2007

best of 2007 #03: beirut - the flying club cup

#03: Beirut - The Flying Club Cup

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The music is sort of like Romanian carnival music. There's fiddles, accordians, an elaborate, moody party going on. And then Zach weaves his effortless spell over it all, twisting his voice into songs that make you want to put your arm around your best friends and drink deeply from a dark and musty bottle of booze. It's music to lay in bed to. It's music to howl at the moon to. It's Beirut.

The very young and lovely voiced Zach Condon said about the band name:


One of the reasons I named the band after that city was the fact that it’s seen a lot of conflict. It’s not a political position. I worried about that from the beginning. But it was such a catchy name. I mean, if things go down that are truly horrible, I’ll change it. But not now. It’s still a good analogy for my music. I haven’t been to Beirut, but I imagine it as this chic urban city surrounded by the ancient Muslim world. The place where things collide.

Zach is a really young guy, and you can feel him still finding his footing as a songmaster, but he's getting there. It's almost like he has the passion and showmanship of a young Tom Waits, back when he used to sing, and not just growl. (Have it be noted, I love Tom, growly or otherwise.)

As for the meaning of The Flying Club Cup, I'll leave that to Zach to explain as well:

Back in the early 1900s...there used to be this hot air balloon festival in Paris--[the album's] titled after that and after this very bizarre 1910 photo I found [by Leon Gimpel]. It's one of the first color photos ever made, at the World's Fair, and it...shows all these ancient hot air balloons about to take off in the middle of Paris. I just thought it was the most surreal image I'd seen in a long time.

best of 2007 #04: panda bear - person pitch

#04: Panda Bear - Person Pitch

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I tried to explain Person Pitch to someone for the first time like this: Imagine some gentle percussion and train sounds, with an echoey Beach Boys' Brian Wilson voice in the background.

Then I played it for the person and they nodded, "That was a pretty good description."

Well, it's a pretty good description so you have some point of reference, but it doesn't really describe the cornucopia of sounds you're going to get when you decide to dig into this one.

There isn't another album musically like it released this year. There's albums lower on the top ten that I've listened to far more, but I don't think listenability is the highest order. I think there's some kind of (beauty + invention) equation that's important.

My favorite song is probably still "Take Pills". He says, "I don't want for us to take pills anymore (not that it's bad)." over and over again. Then, there's a watery rush and he explains why:

Take one day at a time
Anything more really hurts your mind
Only one thing at a time
Everything else you can leave behind
I don't want for us to
Take pills
Anymore
Not that its bad
I don't want for us to take pills
Because we're stronger
And we don't need them

Imagine that with a bunch of harmonies and elevator dings, hand claps, hoots and maybe some tambourine and you get the general idea.

It sounds weird, and it is. Panda Bear is kind of a side project of people in Animal Collective, another band in the 'freak folk' realm, but where I find Animal Collective goes over the line of what's coherent and friendly, Panda Bear seems to make it all one unified whole. It teeters to the edge of noise sometimes, but mostly succeeds in being a both exciting and experimental album AND being a tender and real expression you can listen to with other people and not alienate them. It's a strange little jewel of an album, and it's my friend.

December 19, 2007

best of 2007 #05: radiohead - in rainbows

#05: Radiohead - In Rainbows

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I hardly even feel qualified to review this album. It's been done elsewhere much better. The stylus review, the pitchfork review (where they joke about choosing your own rating), everyone's weighed in, and I'm just not a big enough Radiohead fan to place it so confidently in their pantheon. Most of the people reviewing it thing it's a great, humble return to form for the band that make OK Computer, but then lost their way with Kid A and Thom Yorke's solo album and their electronic noise noodling.

They say it's a vital, passionate, assured album by the band at the top of their powers. I agree. No one would be foolish enough to keep this off a top ten list for the year. I've probably listened to it more times than all of their other albums before. As an outsider, I'll say it... it sounds like they quit whining long enough to make the lovely music they're capable of.

Most of the way through the first song on the album, 15 Steps, some kids shout "YAY!" in the background, and I totally knew how they felt. It's a rousing start, and the first time I heard the third song, Nude, I knew I was in for something good. Suddenly I see what all the rabid fans were talking about all along.

Plus, they made the record industry quake in their boots, and that can't be bad.

December 18, 2007

best of 2007 #07: the national - boxer

#07: The National - Boxer

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Okay, I'm always going to be tempted to call them The Nationals, or American Mary, which they almost called themselves back in 2001.When I first heard this album I thought it was pretty boring. I thought their 2003 album, Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers was way more inspiring.

It has grown on me, though. I'll admit, my top 4 songs carry the whole album, but those songs are great! This guy reminds me vocally of The Magnetic Fields, but without so much of the debauch sexual brokenness. The National is so much more Springsteenlike: political, a little defeated, pretty damn rockin'. By the time they shout, accusingly: "You get mistaken for strangers by your own friends!", I'm hooked.

One of the songs I love is "Racing Like a Pro" and I just read the great Seattle music blog "Sound on the Sound" where I read that she and many of her readers made the same mistake I did. For days I had this in my head: "Your mind is racing like a pronoun." I thought for days about what such a lyric might mean, so impressed by it. Like, which pronoun? Did pronouns race? But no, that's not The National's style. The girl in the song's mind is racing like a pro, now. Oh god, that was a million years ago.

Note: Just found out Abbey at Sound on the Sound is a girl. Who knew?!

best of 2007 #08: amy winehouse - back to black

#08: Amy Winehouse - Back to Black

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There is just no doubt that Amy Winehouse is a tremendous talent. I think that her bizarre life and substance abuse have somehow sullied her musical legacy in some people's eyes, but that's like saying Billie Holliday's musical legacy is somehow sullied because of her personal problems, and that's absurd. And yes, I think they approach being in the same league.

Amy is a songwriter and vocalist of the highest order. Her dark vision of the world matches her life, and it's as if a motown great of the 60's was transported to the present. If Amy survives her vices and personal problems and keeps making music like this, she will undoubtedly be considered one of the greatest pop female vocalists of all times. I tend to like Neko Case's less universal, more symbolic style of songwriting, but they are both very similar to me in terms of being the female vocalists that I'll chastise kids for not knowing about when I'm 60.

I did like Rehab and You Know I'm No Good when they came out, but the songs that I just find amazing these days are Me and Mr. Jones and Tears Dry on Their Own.

She shares a band with the similarly spectacular Sharon Jones (the Dap-Kings) and their new albums are remarkably comparable. I didn't hear Sharon's new album until pretty recently so it hasn't had as much time to grow on me, but to me, Sharon Jones fell short of the almost explosive brilliance of the best of Amy Winehouse. Maybe another dozen listens will change my mind. I don't care, I'm glad music like this is getting made today. This is a dirty, dirty, beautiful album.

If you already love this album, she just finally released her first album, Frank, in the US. It's no Back to Black, but it's still awesome

December 17, 2007

best of 2007 #09: minus the bear - planet of ice

#09: Minus the Bear - Planet of Ice

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The only person I know who was into Minus the Bear before this album doesn't like this album. She says it sounds like "something you'd hear on the END", basically generic alterna-rock. I listened to one of their older albums and it sounds just as much like it would fit in there.

In spite of that, I love this album and can't get enough of it. I have to admit, part of that is because it's so blandly listenable. The lyrics are poetic and evoke some sort of strange medieval journey. They've been compared to older prog rock like Rush or Yes, but I like how much less cheesy it is. There's some amazing guitar work, and the whole thing has a bit of an epic feel, but they don't do any 13 minute solos or anything. It just keeps moving and I feel a little twinge of regret when the journey is over and have to decide if I just want to play it again or not.

The vocalist, Jake Snyder, has a damn fine voice, and just keeps it easygoing and a little mysterious. I don't know what these songs are about exactly and he seems to like it that way.

They're local boys, and when this album was released, they did the record release party at the laserama here in Seattle with a little custom laser show. I remember thinking that was cool when it came out, but now that I'm into the album I'm kicking myself that I didn't get to see it. The Planet of Ice Laser Show would have been awesome.

best of 2007 #10: mos def - tru3 magic

#10: Mos Def - Tru3 Magic

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Normally I hate songs like There is a Way, for just the reason Mos Def says at the beginning of the song, "This song only has four lyrics," but then he says why he would make such a song, "but this is what we really need to be singing right now." The lyrics, in case you were curious are:

There is a way, no matter what they say
and
Don't give up, don't give in.

He sings it like he means it. Just like the Beatles Let It Be where they sing those words probably 50 times. They make every time count. I tried to sing it in karaoke one time and let me tell you, it's harder than it sounds.

I had given up on Mos Def a little, although I always loved his voice, probably one of the straight-up loveliest in hip-hop. But Mos Def is a smart guy and I shouldn't have written him off. Almost everyone I gave music to this year (who likes hip hop) came back to me later and said: hey, I really liked the Mos Def.

It's not too hard to see why, because this album MOVES. His rhymes are good, his singing is amazing, and he zigs where a lot of hip hop zags. Not too much hip hop is so pretty and still makes you think. He stumbles a little in songs like Thug is a Drug, but makes up for it in great songs like Sun, Moon & Stars, and his Liquid Swords tribute Crime and Medicine. It's hilarious to hear him crooning softly GZA's impaired slogan, "To snort cocaine, and act insane" so sweet and regretfully.

Oh, and the 3 is because it's his 3rd album. I like the minimal packaging too... a soft plastic case with no paper, just the CD. Pretty damn good album, but it's at #10 for a reason. On the whole it's not a masterpiece, the whole album doesn't quite rise above the sum of its parts. Still, Undeniable and Sun, Moon and Stars is going in my permanent party rocking list.

December 16, 2007

passage

I was strangely moved by the odd little game Passage. It's an abstract little game about life, death and partnership, written by a guy named Jason Rohrer.

What I find amazing is that one would write such a game, and then, as he says on his about page... not show it to his wife!

You can do a fair amount of exploration in the game, but it ends after five minutes... when you die of old age.

I love games that are abstract and primarily allow for exploration. Probably the most amazing to date is Knytt. I never quite got the last piece in Knytt, so I never "won". I did get to explore a beautiful world and hear some cool music though. It's nice to go be Knytt for awhile. In writing this blog post I just realized there was a sequel. Ooooh.

December 9, 2007

the sauce

layercake.jpg

Considering there has to be some kind of incredible reason for me to buy a wine over $20, I would not consider myself a wine connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination. To me it's just something nice to drink by itself and I've never been good at noticing a wine pairs particularly well with food. I don't even like to drink alcohol with food. I like coke. I know, I'm a philistine. If I order a beer before I eat at a restaurant I'll usually stop drinking it when my food comes.

So, as simplistic as this wine probably is, goddamn it's about as tasty a wine as I've had. I mean, I've had some pretty good wine but I can just sip or slam this stuff. It tastes like blueberry deliciousness and it's not Boone's Farm simple or anything. Yum. It's Layer Cake 2006 Shiraz. Lots of people love it, but this guy about had an apoplexy over the marketing campaign (note he hadn't tried the wine).

I'm more of a beer lover usually, but this fall it's been all about the wines. Mostly because I don't like those sweetsy winter style ales. I prefer the clean, crisp spring beers. The one that's out right now that I'm loving, I've only seen in 22oz. bottles but it was a pleasant surprise. I love Descutes Brewery but still was stunned at how much of a beer I like this Hop Trip IPA. It's clean and hoppy and just oh so drinkable. It comes close to being as perfect as the Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA in pure yumminess. On their website they call it "the session beer for beer geeks" and I think both Hop Trip and the 60 minute fall into that category.

I did discover the amazing taps of Seattle's Brouwer's this week where they oh my god have Rasputin Imperial Stout on nitro (basically that means "like guinness", only this beer is a lot more hard core than Guinness).

I did also have the Corsendock X-Mas 2007 beer. Belgians and winter seasonals aren't really my thing, but I have to admit I was impressed. The Corsendock Abbey Pale was a little more to my liking.

Whoo. Who knew I was such a lush! I could have written about beer for another page or so. Here's to the sauce!

March 26, 2006

ramblings and reviews of good things

Flapart

Okay, this is a damned cool idea: Flapart, slightly disturbing dustjackets that you put over books you're reading. My suggestions:

  • I Love Nosy People: How to get people who are interested in what book you're reading on the bus into your bathtub.
  • Fuck, Yes!: A Guide to the Happy Acceptance of Everything (oh wait, this is a real book. and a good one!
  • Readings to Dampen Acute Psychosis: Calming the storm
  • Negros: Why they're bad.
  • Whitey: Conclusively the devil.
  • George W. Bush: Secretly a Hero
  • The Monkees: Greatest band that ever lived
  • Human Flesh: Tasty or Taboo?

Girl Singers

The new Neko Case is out. I didn't like it at first, but now it's starting to grow on me. That chick is pretty damn cool. My favorite songs are John Saw That Number (I love it when she gets biblical) and That Teenage Feeling. That teenage feeling has been kinda inspirational for me lately. I've been holding out for that teenage feeling. The illustration in the liner notes is killer, too. It depicts a huge cartoonish semi that says "I Love You" on it. It's all distorted and the drive train is conspicuously snapped. Sounds familiar. As usual the Pitchfork review has something good to say.

The real surprise, however, is a new release from a new friend Brenda Belcher. I met her at Zan's birthday party but couldn't really hear her songs. She called me a few days later and said, "Hey computer guy, can you help me twiddle some pixels for my album cover?" I told her to sure, come over.

We got those pixels whipped into shape, and I earned myself one of her CD's when she got them printed. Preparing to be polite, I popped it into the CD player a few days later and was surprised to hear some really wonderful songwriting. It's sort of like a more personal, less political and bombastic Joni Mitchell.

In my favorite song so far on the album she says, "Bring over that smile of yours and let me drink it in, gotta find a tupperware or something to save it in." For some reason this has been just what I've been in the mood for and it has been heavy on the ol' playlist, along with rap songs I'm memorizing for my upcoming birthday party (details to follow).

There's no public way to get Brenda's CD right now (we need to make you a website, honey!) but when I asked her if I could distribute her music she said, amazingly:

as for my distribution policy, i was afraid i would have to start thinking about that! knowing that i cannot, nor do i care to, enforce a strict no-copy policy, I will just encourage people who want to support my work to give me a modest donation to offset the cost of production. If they are satisfied with a burned disk, a few dollars is fine. Or I will take orders for new cd's at $5 a piece.

So, I feel quite comfortable offering an mp3 of her song here on the tinyblog. If you're interested in hearing more, you can contact Brenda via me for the time being. Here is:

Brenda Belcher - Love in our Pockets (a 4 meg mp3)

Girls in General

Interesting. Mettlesome. Seem to have a completely different set of cultural values amongst themselves than men, that has a completely orthogonal communication scheme with men. Amazing equipment and movement that keeps ya' coming back for more. Juiciness. Review ranges from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars DOG (depending on girl).

Andy and Alissa's Wedding Spread

The smoked gouda was a little weak but otherwise outstanding. Chicken, pork ribs, shrimp, crab legs, and an excellent smoked salmon served with cream cheese and capers. Wonderful pineapple slices. All ably served by the Kent Embassy Suite's staff.

I love you Andy and Alissa...check the photos! How the hell did I end up without any wedding cake?

January 8, 2005

real life horror movie

I had a couple of beers before I went, but I was still surprised that my body was shaken with sobs more than once while I watched Hotel Rwanda, again even when I walked out on the sidewalk. I looked at the faces around me...I think it shook everyone in the theater up.

I wasn't sure when I planned to go if I should be more worried because it would be too polished, or that that there would be too many graphic scenes of people getting hacked up with machetes. Turns out it was a fairly good balance. They kept it to a real human movie, without descending completely into the utter madness it must have been like.

I knew a little about what happened. When I got a little interested about what's happening in Darfour (I even wrote a little about it in the Wikipedia), and read about parallels to Rwanda, I read a little about it. Almost a million Rwandans were killed by organized militia, and even ordinary neighbors. Most of the killing was done with a machete.

The Wikipedia has a small article about it in their history of Rwanda section, and Human Rights Watch has an excellent book online for free that goes into great detail.

In 1994, right around the time Kurt Cobain blew his brains out in his Seattle home (I was drinking coffee at a Rockford, IL Denny's that day, I never heard anything about Rwanda), all hell broke loose in Rwanda and a man named Paul Rusesabagina, a manager at a four-star hotel in Rwanda, wheedled, negotiated, bribed and intimidated and somehow managed to keep the over 1200 people who came to the hotel as refugees from being slaughtered.

Regardless of its importance (which to me, is considerable) it is an excellent movie. It's a movie about Africa, a movie about racism (in more ways than would be obvious) and a movie about humanity at it's truly best and truly worst. Don Cheadle handled himself pretty damn well, and it's pretty cool to see even a dramatization of something like this.

It hurts me to think that what happened, which is like the worst horror movie ever, that came alive for these people, is still basically happening in other parts of this "civilized" world.

January 4, 2005

saltcellar

saltcellar

A friend of mine runs a truly punk rock blog over at Saltcellar. He plays blog chess, does blog tourette's syndrome, and attracts weird 16 year old livejournal girls in his comments (who he is unnerringly friendly to). Mah man takes the livejournal to it's highest artform.

December 8, 2004

okay dad, i'll keep writing movie reviews...

...as long as you promise to never call me "The Ebert of the Web" again. Do we have a deal?

Tonight I saw a beautiful movie and I'm partially glad and partially very sad that Loverzan wasn't here to see it with me. You see, it's one of the best sequels I've ever seen, and it's about love, and we saw the first movie together. So perhaps you can see how that would be beautiful and also heartbreaking. But too heartbreaking. So I saw it alone. I hope she sees it too.

I saw a review in The Stranger when it came out...a good review. If I remember correctly, the cynical Seattle paper, The Stranger, said to do yourself a favor and go rent the the original movie, Before Sunrise, and then go out and see the Sequel, Before Sunset. That made me remember the first movie and knit my brow in surprise. They made a sequel to that movie?

Okay, now this sounds terrible, but it's a movie about a character played by Ethan Hawke (hey, keep reading!) hanging out all evening with some unknown but extremely cute french lady. All night they walk the streets of France and talk about love and philosophy and sort of try to act cool and give each other a hard time, but can't be blind to the fact that they have some serious feelings for each other. He's leaving in the morning, and after their whirlwind night of love, they make a romantic pact not to exchange numbers, but just to meet at the train station in six months, and that's it.

That's it. They just talk about philosophy all night (they don't even show the sex) and then he goes home. And yet I guess I give up all guy cred I ever had when I say that this movie is truly better than all the Terminator movies in the world. Some of the dialog was cheesy, but something was said, and I wasn't sure what.

So I missed Before Sunset it theaters (cause, you know, whatever) but it just came out on video and I decided to get it. For old times sake or something. And unbelievably it surpassed the original. It's not like they're the two best movies I've ever seen, far from it. But the first movie had something truly special and honest about it, and somehow Richard Linklater (co-writer and director of both movies) manages to go ten years in the future, take it all up one notch, and deepen his presentation.

Near the end of the movie (which I will not reveal) he is noodling about in her apartment, and she's making some tea, and he wanders over to her CD player. He looks through the stacks and just puts something on, without a word. I laughed...that's just what I'd do. Then the first strains of music come on and it's Nina Simone and I think, holy shit, that's really what I'd do. And then he says, "I can't believe I missed her in concert. I can't believe she's gone." Then I thought, Get Out Of My Head Richard Linklater!

But that's why I realized I liked both movies. Because even though both movies have dialog that's a little contrived at times, they both felt like a true portrait of two smart people who didn't really believe in love, but nevertheless were falling in love. Bantering, trying to one up each other, but only tenderly, taking it back, making innuendos and then pretending like it was a joke, acting like it's no big deal when they both know it is, trying to get every moment to count, taking it to the last moment when they can possibly be together...sublime.

Hey, if you go see it and are like...holy shit that was boring...then I'm sorry, I'm a girlie man, what can I say? Chin up, I'll bet they're going to make a IMAX 3D Terminator 4. where some really fuckin' cool robots get blown up by the new kung-fu matrix T-1 Billion and the shards spin and fly towards you and it looks like they're going to drip robot blood RIGHT ON YOU! I'll go see it with you.

December 7, 2004

what i think of every movie playing in seattle right now

  • after the sunset - total schlock
  • alexander - no way...not even as camp
  • alfie - no, but i can appreciate jude law
  • bridget jones sequel - no way
  • callas forever - maybe too art house
  • christmas with the kranks - never
  • closer - no way..and not just cause julie roberts is in it
  • eruption of mt st helens imax - saw it...old school, kinda boring, but good
  • finding neverland - never would have thought of it, but it won some award just now so I'm a little curious
  • garden state - saw it...kinda like a slick movie version of college radio, like REM or something. actually good though.
  • i heart huccabees - saw it, pretty darn good for what it was
  • into the deep IMAX 3d - saw it...liked it! freaky huge starfish!
  • kinsey - I'd probably see it
  • motorcycle diaries - sure, I'd see it
  • napolean dynamite - saw it, liked it..mostly just for enternainment...the is definately the kind of movie I like as entertainment...dorky, funny in a smart way, tries to do something new
  • national treasure - no way
  • overnight - twould be a guilty pleasure
  • polar express - god no..creepy pablum
  • ray - saw it...pretty hollywoody, but good enough to keep me entertained and teach me about the context of ray charles music so I liked it
  • sex is comedy - nah, probly not
  • shall we dance - no on the whole richard gere thing...he's doubly creepy cause he's tibetan buddhist. plus I think this was a remake of a japanese movie that's supposed to be way better
  • shaun of the dead - saw it...it had it's lame moments aplenty, but genuinely and seriously funny on the whole
  • sky captain and the world of tomorrow - saw it, good just for the technical feat it is (mostly digital sets and props, but live actors)
  • spongebob - probly wouldn't see it unless a friend really wanted to see it with me
  • team america - saw it, was disappointed...was expecting south park movie level brilliance, definatley wasn't here
  • the incredibles: - seen it, liked it..good as entertainment, and even as cinema on some level
  • What the #$*! Do We Know!? - too ramtha
Sorry I didn't make all the movies links to Rotten Tomatoes or the Internet Movie Database or something. It was enough trouble just to format it. Just go to those sites and cut and paste them into the search window for me. Thanks.

December 6, 2004

i love movies

My dad said he'd like to see me do some movie reviews, which I haven't really done on the tinyblog. So here's my two movie reviews. One is for Terminator 3, a fine movie with the governor of California as the robotic savior of humanity, and the other is Japon (Japan in Spanish) that has absolutely nothing to do with Japan.

I saw The Terminator on video and I think it was one of the first graphic rated R thrillers I ever saw. It was exciting and sort of funny in a weird way, and it had an outstanding, tense soundtrack and did a lot with a low budget. I didn't know who James Cameron was, and I didn't know who anybody was but Arnold of course, and I went Arnold crazy. I saw all his movies with all their snappy post-kill quips.

But Terminator was the best, and it allowed James Cameron to become the incredible hollywood ho-bag he is today (I can hardly wait for Aliens of the Deep (2005)). T2 wasn't too horrible, but it was definately James Cameron in full Titanic glory, with all the glossiness that is modern big cinema. It had, like, emotions, and character redemption and a teen-beat cover model character and a budget that would seriously choke a horse. He made back every dollar though. No more "being an emotionless villain" crap, this time Arnold had to be a hero. I loved that movie when it came out, but the huge budget and even huger plot holes it introduced really didn't quite do the movie right.

So Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, wasn't really directed by James...he had a writing credit though. I think the technical term is he "phoned it in". But, to it's credit, it had a bunch of no-name actors, and a fairly low budget (compared to T2) and really had the grittiness of the original. It's amazing Arnold deigned to show up...I guess he's really the ultimate ho-bag, and he ended up getting paid for free campaign material. (Ah don't care if he's Austrian, a man who can blow shit up like that is an honorary American in my book! Make that man president!)

Oh yeah, the movie. Okay so the plot holes get bigger, but they also sort of go back to the spirit of the first movie. It really feels more apocolyptic. So it was kinda enjoyable, and it was cool to see something that was started in the first movie come to fruition. I mean, they totally set this up to continue as maybe a TV miniseries, or a bunch of direct-to-video throwoffs...of John Connor endlessly waging war in the future. I hope that wasn't a spoiler. Do spoilers even matter for movies like this?

Okay, and one big complaint is John Connor...could he have been a bigger wuss? His mom supposedly trained him in all these military arts and he rides a motorcycle at 80 on a twisty road and makes all kinds of dumb civilian moves. He really could have been a stronger character. The very young Ed Furlong obviously did a much superior job, even at 14 or however old he was.

So it's clear I have kind of a love/hate relationship with this movie or more accurately like/disdain, and that's okay. I'm glad my man Nate had the courage to pick it up at the video store and I'm glad I watched it. If you didn't watch the other two, fer chrissakes, don't start now. But if you did watch the other two, then you should obviously watch this one too.

Was I gonna review a whole 'nuther one? I have to go to bed. Maybe tomorrow.

September 22, 2004

mr. sammler's planet - book review

After so many nights chugging away at it, I finally just finished probably one of the best books I've ever read, Mr. Sammler's Planet, by Saul Bellow. When I realized this was a book about a Jewish holocaust survivor, that won the Nobel prize for literature, I rolled my eyes a little and prepared for it to be laid on thick. But this book is a real look at what it means to be a human being, and Bellow writes with an amazing amount of humility for the obviously brilliant writer that he is.

The main character is a bit of a grumpy old man, and often very little action happens between his musings, but actual action does happen, and when it does it really seems like it fits. When he finally gets to his Auschwitz recollections, he does so with detached reality, and you don't feel like he's making a play for your emotional attention.

Maybe this book is not everyone's style, so if not, at least check out a few quotes I found amazing.

"Eisen, separate them," he said. "He's been choked enough. The police will come, and then there will be arrests. And I must go. To stand here is crazy. Please. Just take the camera. Take it. That will stop this."

Then, handsome Eisen, shrugging, grinning, making a crooked movement of his shoulders, working them free from the tight denim, stepped away from Sammler as if he were doing an amusing thing at his special request. He drew up the sleeve of his right arm. The dark hairs were thick. Then shortening his grip on the cords of the baize bag he swung it very wide, swung with full force and struck the pickpocket on the side of the face. It was a hard blow. The glasses flew. The hat. Feffer was not immediately freed. The man seemed to rest on him. Obviously stunned. Eisen was a laborer, a foundry worker. He had the strength not only of his trade but also of madness. There was something limitless, unbounded, about the way he squared off, took the man's measure, a kind of sturdy viciousness. Everything went into that blow, discipline, murderousness, everything. What have I done! This is much worse! This is the worst thing yet. Sammler thought Eisen had crushed the man's face. And now he was just about to hit him again, with his medallions. The black man took his hands from Feffer and was turning. His lips came away from his teeth. Eisen had gashed his skin and the cheek was bleeding and swelling. Eisen clinked his weights from his wrist, spread his legs. "He'll kill that cocksucker!" someone in the crowd said.

"Don't hit him, Eisen. I never said that. I tell you no!" said Sammler.

But the bag of weights was speeding from the other side, very wide but accurate. It struck more heavily than before and knocked the man down. He did not drop. He lowered himself as though he had decided to lie in the street. The blood ran in points on his cheek. The terrible metal had cut him through the baize.

Eisen now heaved his weapon back over his shoulder, prepared to slam it down on the man's skull. Sammler seized his arm and twisted him away. "You'll murder him. Do you want to beat out his brains?"

"You said, Father-in-law!"

They quarreled in Russian before the crowd.

"You said I had to do something. You said you had to go. I must do something. So I did."

I didn't say hit him with these damned irons. I didn't say to hit him at all. You're crazy, Eisen, crazy enough to murder him."

The pickpocket had tried to brace himself on his elbows. His body now rested on his doubled arms. He bled thickly on the asphalt.

"I am horrified!" Sammler said.

Eisen, still handsome, curly, still with the smile, though now panting, and the peculiar set of his toeless feet, seemed amused at Sammler's ludicrous inconsistency. He said, "You can't hit a man like that just once. When you hit him, you must really hit him. Otherwise he'll kill you. You know. We both fought in the war. You were a Partisan. You had a gun. So don't you know?" His laughter, his logic, laughing and reasoning at Sammler's absurdities, made him repeat until he stuttered. "If inin. No? If outout. Yes? No? So answer."

It was the reasoning that sank Sammler's heart completely. "Where is Feffer?" he said, and turned away.


She crossed her legs on a chair too fragile to accommodate her thighs, too straight for her hips. She opened her purse for a cigarette, and Sammler offered a light. She loved his manners. The smoke came from her nose, and she looked at him, when she was in good form, cheerfully, with a touch of slyness. The beautiful maiden. He was the old hermit. When she became hearty with him and laughed, she turned out to have a big mouth, and a large tongue. Inside the elegant woman he saw a coarse one. The lips were red, the tongue was often pale. That tongue, a woman's tongueevidently it played an astonishing part in her free, luxurious life.

To her first meeting with Wharton Horricker, she had come running uptown from East Village. Something she couldn't get out of. She had used no grass that night, only whisky, she said. Grass didn't turn her on as she best liked turning on. Four telephone calls she made to Wharton from a crowded joint. He said he had to get his sleep; it was after 1 a.m.; he was a crank about sleep, health. Finally she burst in on him with a big kiss. She cried, "We're going to fuck all night!" But first she said she had to have a bath. Because she had been longing all evening with him. "Oh, a woman is a skunk. So many odors, Uncle," she said. Taking off everything, but overlooking the tights she fell into the tub. Wharton was astonished and sat on the commode in his dressing gown while she, so ruddy with whisky, soaped her breasts. Sammler knew quite well how the breasts must look. Little, after all, was concealed by her low-cut dresses. So she soaped and rinsed, and the wet tights with joyful difficulty were removed, and she was let to the bed by the hand. Or did the leading. For Horricker walked behind her and kissed her on the neck and shoulders. She cried, "Oh!" and was mounted.

Mr. Sammler was supposed to listen benevolently to all kinds of intimate reports.


"His life had nearly been taken. He had seen life taken. He had taken it himself. He knew it was one of the luxuries. No wonder princes had so long reserved the right to murder with impunity. At the very bottom of society there was also a kind of impunity, because no one cared what happened. Under that dark brutal mass blood crimes were often disregarded. And at the very top, the ancient immunities of kings and nobles.

[]

"And for the middle part of society there was envy and worship of this power to kill. How those middle-class Sorels and Maurrases adored it -- the hand that gripped the knife with authority. How they loved the man strong enough to take blood guilt on himself. For them an elite must prove itself in this ability to murder. For such a people a saint must be understood as one who was equal in spirit to the fiery twisting twisting of crime in the inmost fibers of his heart. The superman testing himself with an ax, crushing the skulls of old women. The Knight of Faith, capable of cutting the throat of Isaac upon God's altar. And now the idea that one could recover, or establish, one's identity by killing, becoming equal thus to any, equal to the greatest. A man among men knows how to murder. A patrician. The middle class had formed no independent standards of honor. This it had no resistance to the glamour of killers. The middle class, having failed to create a spiritual life of its own, investing everything in material expansion, faced disaster."

There was more...there were so many quotes from this book I wanted to share, but I guess if you're interested you'll just read it.

August 9, 2001

what's new pussycat

A big, stupendous, totally biased review of What's New Pussycat? that will take you two days to read.

This is likely to be one of the least objective reviews I have ever written about anything? Why, because Shauna is a friend of mine. How much of a friend can you be with someone who couldn't even fly to see you for less than $800? Pretty close friends, amazingly enough. Especially amazing since I haven't even seen a photo of her taken in her adult life. Who knows, if she didn't live in Canberra, the capitol of Australia, we could be married by now.

Our friendship has enriched me in a multitude of ways. For instance, now I can make such authentic Australian exclamations as, "Don't just sit there like a stunned mullet," or "ooh er!" or "he's a shonky fuckwit". From her I learned the very idea of blogging, as I came across her site on the lovely, but now defunct Astounding Websites. Eventually she even came to host the tinyblog. In addition she has helped while away countless hours at my boring graveyard job with her dulcet tones.

Shauna tells stories about her life. And they are funny. Ok, they're not all funny. Sometimes they're heart rending, but more often than not, they still manage to be funny.

But Shauna doesn't want to be funny. Evidently being funny doesn't do much for winning the Nobel prize for literature or at least becoming some kind of meme-creating A-lister. I'm not sure which she would like more, but something where the lead singers of Radiohead and Gomez would come and give her hot kisses while groping her arse is the main aim, I think.

Well, funny might not be good enough for Shauna, but it's good enough for me. Unlike the other reviews I've done, I had already read Shauna's blog in its entirety before I sat down to review it. Besides, it's a sweet kinda funny, a tender kind of funny, a self-effacing kind of funny. Shauna doesn't realize that to tell a heartbreaking story like it's funny is a gift, and a rare one. She doesn't understand because she is a pretty insecure cat (read: ignored on ICQ, and step away from the site stats, missy).

Consequently, she doesn't realize that she had created quite a little body of work since May 2000, when she created her weblog. It's a fair amount to read, and I'm going to suggest that you read all of my picks. So I'm just going to leave this post up top for a few days, and you can take your time and get to know Shauna, her dog Harry, and her sister Rhiannon. While you're there, don't forget to pay homage to the evil Mr. Guestbook.

suing cadbury
supermarket epic
where I place on the foodchain
taking a roman holiday
if only life were more like ICQ
don't dis the beegees
clean your ball regularly
wank once a day
the intoxicating mix of expensive shampoo and the crappy FM radio station
dad told me that the mechanic must be "a shonky fuckwit"
advantages of having bountiful breasts
if you could talk to one person, living or dead.
then came jilly, willy, milly, dilly, lily, and willy nilly.
Nooo! Stereo!
we have to steal something!
a bunch of vacuous bitches

and last, but not least, the quintessential Pussycat Post:
ooh er, angry redhead!

Enjoy. I insist.

August 8, 2001

shellyweb

The warp and weft of ShellyWeb

Oh dear. Shelly and I have had the biggest struggle with her archives. I've been meaning to review her for about a month now, and trying to make it so there were unique links on all of her posts, as I love to compile a "tinyblog favorites" to go with a review. Finally, she got all of the archives on her old HTML posts working, and then today, when I went to read her, suddenly the newer archives weren't working.

So, I thought, can I write a good review without a best-of, from memory? I think I can.

When I first happened upon the ShellyWeb, (one of Melissa's picks, by the way) she had a layout that included a picture of herself that made it look like she was about 16. That, combined with a searingly sincere missive to love and her current boyfriend, made me think she was 16, and I instantly put her on my sidebar as a delicious little guilty pleasure.

As time went on, however, I found that Shelly is not 16. She's a mom with a preteen daughter from a tragic relationship, and she's older than me.

She has the taste of life on her tongue and it comes out in her posts. She's a moody cat, and you will often find her either in heaven or hell. So, it's hot pain and hot pleasure every day. She aches so thoroughly and loves so hard it makes me love and ache just to read her. I hope that man really loves her, because you can tell her heart is really in it...in everything.

Oh, I did get one absolute link to work, to a favorite early story:

douche walls

Enjoy! Salud, Shelly.

July 19, 2001

sanity check

Sanity Check. You know you need one.

Sometimes, when people talk about someone being "not normal", I say loudly, "Show me the normal person!"

I am beginning to realize that I may have found her in Sanity Check's Karen, the grounding presence in my web life. After hearing about intraglobal romance, exciting new web projects, and a million funny childhood anecdotes, all presented with the guile of a 4 year old trying to get attention at another kid's birthday party (and that's just the tinyblog!), I am so darn happy to land at the comforting home of Sanity Check.

With it's simple icy masthead, clean as a whistle design, and the most even tempered posts this side of the Mississippi, I feel as if I have entered a new plane of normalcy. It's so compelling it's as if the normalcy scale had been recalibrated.

I present for you here, the Sanity Check scale of experience, sorted numerically from ordinary to RACY:

1. paid the visa bill
2. installed netscape 6.0
3. downloaded christmas music
4. ate two bowls of chocolate ice cream
5. messed around on the net all night
6. got addicted to online boggle
7. signed a one year lease
8. went indoor rock climbing
9. has a new favorite drink
10. read bust magazine

I seem to remember something about Karen's plans to go to an orgy-themed office party as well, which would make an easy 11, but alas I coudn't find the post.

Enjoy the sanity!

July 17, 2001

a pie in the sky

How to find a Pie in the Sky

Unlike the tinyblog, Pie in the Sky is not much about it's author, Melissa. True, the story of her blog from beginning to current takes us through her Law School finals, graduation, first job in law, and travails of the bar exam, but this is just the parmesan cheese on the pop cultural spaghetti that is Pie in the Sky.

Pie in the sky always seemed to me to be about culture on the largest scale and commentary about how it affects us. For the first time, this most recent Friday the 13th, Melissa refrained from posting for a whole day! Each and every other day is packed with several snippets of political and news commentary, light sports commentary, and especially media commentary.

Notes about upcoming and current movies, books, and music became such a big part of Pie in the Sky, that eventually Melissa couldn't contain it and spawned the quite foxy Culture Vulture to hold the runoff. Which brings me to my personal favorite thing about Pie in the Sky, it's prolific showcasing of other blogs.

Melissa seems to produce a list of at least two dozen blogs a month that are worth a good look or two at the very least. Now that Pie in the Sky seems to produce quite a flow of traffic (as I can see in the referral logs whenever she links to me) I really appreciate the hits she funnels to lesser known, and often brand new blogs, as well as the opportunity to see some new talent without having to wade through the steaming cesspool that is a "recently updated list".

Pie in the Sky is like a satisfying little light snack everyday, wrapped in a pretty neat little package. Her design, although hardly breathtaking on first view, is well designed down to the tiniest detail. It's classy and simple, with neat little touches like the fact that the unique link for each post has a little clever title. I will also commend her for having one of the neatest little sidebars in blogging.

Here's a few posts I really liked:

fear of getting flying, stinging insects tangled in hair
we can charge people to watch the commercial for our commercial
visions of Maverick and Iceman playing volleyball dancing in my head

and also worth reading is her "legal disclaimer" for Meeting of the Minds (see the sidebar, right at the top).

enjoy...glad to be back!

June 18, 2001

orbyn.com

The ickle and decadent Robyn of Orbyn.com, in pictures!

Robyn says on her about page:

Orbyn.com, however, was never meant to be much more than an interactive favourites folder.
And this is true to some extent. Orbyn is peppered with links, little commentary, chat transcripts (some of which are funny, more of which you had to be there) and the normal stuff you find on your average weblog. Plus, she possibly has a life, and isn't quite as committed to weblogging as others. Thus, updates are sporadic.

But then she also says:

I built this website on rock and roll.
Which is apparently true, because there's definately enough here for me to come back and she what she's doing day after day. Robyn is a sassy and dramatic lass, and the first weblogger I know of officially dubbed ickle.

She frequently inlines pouty photos of herself, and doesn't take herself too seriously. Hence, her self-portrayal as Bjork. She also puts her performing art background to use in order to masterfully portray a range of human emotions...once, even, by request.

Here are some of Robyn's gems:

the sabrina the teenage witch way of cutting-and-pasting
the correct response to a wolf-whistle
thank you!
no really, thank you! (the real story)
I hate technology (deluxe version)

Enjoy!

June 16, 2001

a word about blog you!

Ed Champion over at Blog You! finally noticed the tinyblog review thing and sent me a really nice, sincere Email explaining what they were trying to do at Blog You! and all that, and then wrote a snotty little side bar linking me in typical Blog You! form. I guess they're like Howard Stern, who insists that his public persona doesn't have anything to do with what they do in real life. They also said they would review the tinyblog when they got around to it. I wait with baited breath.

In any case, I thought I would just say a coupla things since I'm really the one who invited comparison between my reviews, and theirs. For one thing, after having spent a bunch more time looking at Blog You! I can tell you that I now understand the joke a little better, and am glad the site exists (for which I'm sure Tom and Ed are breathing a great sigh of relief).

However, Ed's explination that Blog You! is a poking fun at the form of a weblog, and sort of debunking it as a sacred medium (in his Email, which I am mostly paraphrasing) doesn't quite fly with me. He said that it's sort of "part of the joke" that they don't read any weblog very thoroughly, but then says that, hey, if they pulled any punches, then it would fall into the same insipid trap as any other blog *cough*.

I guess I'm just sensitive, but the idea of it not mattering whos feelings are hurt in the noble pursuit of truth just seems awfully suspect for two guys who use a "donald sutherland" rating system. I guess it just cheesed me when they reviewed Shauna so superficially, when I feel like if they would have read any ten posts they wouldn't have had to pull any punches to see that her weblog is one of the funniest and most unpretentious on the planet.

Granted, there's over 100,000 weblogs on Blogger alone, and certainly a lot of Ego. I don't deny that the form could be poked fun at... but I'm one for going easy on the little guy. I'm also one for giving credit where credit is due. Blogging is a diificult thing to do with pinache day in and day out. Somtimes 5 or 10 posts in a row are going to be average, but if 60% or so of a blog's posts are really good, I consider that outstanding. I'm sure that I could find weblogs that I could really give a hard time, but for the most part, I LIKE blogs, and the ones I'm reviewing (the ones on my sidebar, although I'm starting to get a handful of requests) are blogs I really love. I don't see any sort of betrayal of truth by pointing out the best of a blog, eh?

Blog You!'s intention is to seperate the wheat from the chaff, and so is mine.

June 14, 2001

not.so.soft

Make some time for not.so.soft!

Her name is Meg. She's a newmeejahoor living in London. Hey...didn't I already write some kind of review of not.so.soft?

Yeah, I did. And it's 4:37am, and I've been reading Meg's weblog IN IT'S ENTIRETY for at least four hours now. My brain needs defragging, much like megs. Meg tells really good stories...and really interesting things happen to her. It's a good combination. So, I realized that Meg's blog needs to speak for itself. So I need you to pencil in some time for Meg. Really. So, if you come up with:

- Only a moment: read "6 questions"
- A few minutes: read "mamma crackwhore" and "tricking the magician"
- A lunch break: read all of the **** stories
- A while: read all of the following links
- A long, boring day at work: read all of the links and the 3 long stories linked at the bottom of meg's page, then go read The Onion. It's funny.
- Several weeks: read meg's entire blog, go read every review at Blog You! and write me an email telling me how many times you laughed (and tell me what you think of their review of meg), and then go get a milkshake, and then think about how nice it is to have a big wet sweet first kiss in the front seat of your car on a fine yet rather chilly wednesday evening after eating yummy fish and chips and tromping around Alki Beach for hours, go wank, go be nice to someone who's homeless, learn Shamatha meditation, and then go read The Onion. It's funny.

**** big liverpudlian mamma crackwhore and her bitch
**** a dog's name
at least she didn't think it was toilet paper!
anagrams of notsosoft
**** 6 questions
Who's in the house? I'm in the house!
M*A*S*H, the family heirloom
blackmailed!
I have spat in this pint!
I tried to train my cat, bob.
I know th' feeling
**** tricking the magician
brain has reached total capacity
meg monitor alert
defrag my brain
if you want me to pimp you out...
**** I suggest hurling it across the room
don't do it, don't fall in love
**** no beans!
the elusive mallard

Enjoy!

June 13, 2001

miss fancy pants

Miss Fancy Pants is a two.

Emily's numerological info nails her as a two, which says, among other things, "Twos try to retain control over their lives by using their strong emotional intelligence to anticipate and meet (comply to) the needs of others. By making themselves indispensible, Twos feel that they can assure themselves a place in others' lives."

How accurate, I thought, as I read her weblog...or what there is of it since her redesign, only since March. Most of her posts are as one of two. Her weblog seems to be primarily in relation to those around her, and includes many excellent links to the writing of others, or to her collaborative projects (which I'm not reviewing here). They are of particular interest to people in her demographic, a young and intelligent suburban girl. Her sweet little bio tells it pretty well.

In addition, she is a stellar web designer, and her CSS skills are to be truly honored. Everywhere you look on her relatively extensive site is good, solid, well-implemented design.

Speaking of the rest of the site, it is worth mentioning. She has a little photo blog on her sidebar which is very cool, and she has a storytelling section, that is worth looking at. My favorite of that section is this cool story about Peter Pan.

It struck me particularly funny her dismay at search requests invloving pants, which are honestly pretty darn tame...that girl needs to take a look at some truly disturbing search requests some time. I myself get a lot of requests for boys' armpits, armwrestling girls, and recently, plaster casted ladies.

Just remember, she's got a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel. I really liked these posts:

grandiose plans
he came back a different man

Enjoy!

June 12, 2001

lukelog

Lukelog isn't ugly...

Luke overwhelmed me by sheer volume. I had to take random, almost Nielsen-like samplings of his blog in order to put together a complete picture. For Luke Martin, housemate of Meg, of not.so.soft, blogging is truly a way of life. I believe that Luke considers it to be his solemn duty.

Luke takes full advantage of his Londonite status, and catches all of the most amazing and obscure shows, movies, and internet sites, and reports back to us from his culture bunker. Frequently! There's something grounding about reading Luke's first thing in the morning (for me, anyway) post. The way he does it is really in the traditional(?!?) style of a weblog...short frequent posts that record one's travels through the world wide web. Keep in mind that the lukelog is also a relatively adult place. A surprising majority of his links are blocked by my corporate firewall. Way to go, Luke!

His first post even mentions the state of being tiny. And witness the power of his almighty, all-encompassing side bar. More blogs than you can shake a stick at.

Here's some of my favorite posts by Captain Fez:

TRANSMUTE!
Luke Martin, power house of contemporary Western thought
haiku movie reviews
meg thinks I'm a little slut
does this make microsoft my bitch?
booya, grandma, booya

Enjoy!

June 9, 2001

harrumph

What's it all about at Harrumph?

It took me a few days to really wrap my brain around how to write a review for the nearly iconic blog Harrumph. I considered both skipping it, and taking it off of my sidebar so I wouldn't have to review it. But the I would miss out on Heather Champ's pretty little pictures, and a certain kind of dialogue that I have grown accustomed to.

One reason I was intimidated is that heather's archives are huge. Harrumph has been through three major incarnations: the original hand-coded pages, starting in January 2000 (!), her regular blogger pages, and then, more recently her "one post to a page" marvels. I didn't start reading until November of last year so I had a lot of Miss Champ to catch up on.

I feel a bit awkward offering actual criticism in these reviews, but to be fair I must say that much of Heather's day to day writing, as I have experienced it, is a little tepid. There's quite a bit of reference to her web friends and family, and many posts on the sweet mundanities of life, as in many blogs. It does get a little old at times. The redeeming quality to all of it, is it's clearly, as she states in her tagline "all about love, baby!" despite the somewhat gruff sounding domain name.

When Heather's blog works the best, is when she's combining her words with her visual ideas, because they are goddamn brilliant. Heather's visual presentation has only gotten better over time, culminating (so far) in her current layout. It features her now trademark dual-font masthead, and every day a short series of photos, often of the same object. As an amatuer photographer, I personally think it is fucking genius what she does with that pencam.

That's right, every post. If nothing else, Heather does the footwork, and that's what I most respect her for. She puts in the work every time to make each day's post look like a million dollars, and it does. Not to mention that she has her finger in a lot of other pies. She at least partially runs the former FOJM (friends of jezebel's mirror) now The Mirror Project, and she just seems to be at least peripherally involved in just about everything cool happening on the web. In addition, next to Kottke, I wonder if perhaps she is one of the most sidebar-ed blogs on the planet?

Also, I found very sweet her mild penis obsession. (1) (2) (3)

To her credit, her writing does sometimes surprise and delight, and I was happy to discover many gems in her sizable archives. Here are some of them:

this is your brain on camp songs
miss fiddle twiddle pick bang
got e. coli?
e. coli public service message
I punch the monkey
eulogy for her mom
heather champ is a potty mouth
oh caramello

June 6, 2001

dollarshort.org

Exactly one dollarshort.org.

When I happened to click on DollarShort via Blogger's blog of note, I assumed that it was a well established, mature blog that I simply had never happened upon, or seen on any sidebars. The design was impeccable, the writing a honed voice, and...well, it just had that consistancy and supa'star quality that one finds in blogs like Harrumph.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that DollarShort was just over 2 weeks old when I stumbled upon it fresh from blogs of note. Even now, it's only a few months old, and already represents a body of work that the Author, Mena, should be more than proud of.

It is an unfortunate reality that sometimes the most vital blogs have mediocre design, and well-established blogs with great designs and confident in their readership slip a little...their content becoming a bit Kottke-ized (the greatest repsect to this venerable blogger of course). Mena, however, is perhaps new enough not to fall into this trap.

She is a lady who wears her social dysfunction and colorful family history with pride. She is frank and unabashed with her readings, and it never comes with that "I know, I know, I'm fucked up" kind of apology. I find her style similar to the tinyblog in this way...usually one post a day, one treatment of a specific theme, very autobiographical She just tells her story and tells it well. .

I remember sitting there a little stunned as Mena calmly related how her Mom used to tell her to "pack up her barbies" before trucking her off to Las Vegas because gambling runs in the family, and her parents were too paranoid to allow her to be under the supervision of a stranger for even a moment.

In addition to the writing, there's bonuses. One of her early posts was a comic-book rendition of a hellish childhood camp experience. Her husband contibutes in his own uber-pro way as well. When Mena recalled the fun of MASH, he wrote her a special, super-snazzy version of the game. When Blogvoices went out, he wrote his own customized BlogVoices-style comment system just for her. Shit, I need a husband like that.

I had a hard time picking my favorites, (and I would read each and every one, if you haven't already) even out of only 3 months of archives. I know I'm gushing, but I look forward to reading DollarShort every day:

Mena's imaginary brother Larry
The Poseidon Adventure
Easter Fun
How about some linguini, you fat fuck?
dirty, dirty sheep
dream confusion, 15 inch bugs
crucks

June 4, 2001

clinkclank

Sleuthing out clinkclank.

If it weren't for the "voluntary simplicity" layout and refined sensibility of the posts, I would think that the author of clinkclank was a freemason. There is something inscrutably mysterious about her site.

Usually when you go to a site is has a guestbook, links to an Email address, little side projects, a name, or at least an archive and some direct links to posts. The only thing I really know about the author of clinkclank is that she's a she, she lives in San Fran, she uses Blogger, and she likes Kottke.

She posts mellow, funny, well put-together posts...but once they're gone, they're gone. There's no archives, and nothing else anywhere on the site indicating who this person is. I tried fussing with the URL and using a search engine to find something interesting, but no dice...it's just the top level index page as far as I can tell.

About a week a week ago she mentioned putting up archives, but no dice...and soon that post will have moved off the page. Catch it while you can.

the booge

Who the hell is The Booge?

Go to The Booge. Scroll all the way down to the lower left hand corner and there he is, The Booge, the cat for which the weblog is named. Incidentally, I am told that it is pronounced, (boodje) as opposed to (booj) or (boo-gey').

That's one answer. The other answer is, it's rabid Frank Zappa fan Pat Goegan, occaisionally his lovely wife Lorrie, and at least once, his infant son Ben (who clearly can't code worth shit). Ben was still a long way away from being born when Pat first began The Booge, and is now a wide eyed troublemaker some year and a half later. Much of The Booge has been the story of a young father who thinks way too much.

The Booge has gone through several redesigns, and his latest is pretty darn sharp, although as I read through his archives I realised that the right-aligned text has got to go!

Pat is a serious guy, and he's not afraid to tackle the big questions with posts bordering on novels. Whether it's rants about the environment, or explorations of the unanswerable questions of life.

In addition, Pat is serious about his weblog. I once asked for his address so I could send him something, and he refused. I thought he was joking, so I gave him a hard time about it. Finally, he consented because he didn't want me to stop reading The Booge.

As if. Because more than anything else, The Booge is about community, and The Booge is the glue that holds other weblogs together. Pat knows how to nurture a weblog and make it a part of his extended family. In addition, he's personally responsible for the life of at least one blog. Much of The Booge is communication and gentle ribbing with other weblogs. It's not unheard of for Pat to post a comment to a post to a comment he made on someone else's weblog.

In a year and a half, Pat has posted an incredible volume, here's a few of my favorites:

coming soon to a crib near you
a test, how to know if you are ready to have kids
do appliances have a soul?
now you get your food in a crappy bag
nas is suck
existential guided visualization
the blank blogger window

And, as an extra added bonus...my very own beat poem to The Booge. Enjoy.

June 2, 2001

the airman's mess

Sorting through The Airman's Mess

By the tone of The Airman's Mess, one would guess that the author, hereby known as SaigonSam, was a hard drinking grizzled old 70 year old airman with finely honed storyteller's voice.

But then one reads further and discovers that he's a 22 year old Canadian Census worker (and pilot) who still thinks that Chicken Broccoli Liguini is the ultimate cuisine to serve a prospective serious date. He describes his recent high school reunion as "Sort of like in the excellent film Grosse Pointe Blank, except I'm not John Cusack. But I do have "99 Luftballons", as does the excellent soundtrack."

The Airman's Mess is not about design. There is nothing slick about it. It's about a good, unvarnished look at the life of a young man who also happens to be a damn good storyteller. Even something as simple as poetry written on the sidewalk on his way to the grocery store becomes prosaic from Sam's keyboard.

No one is ever referred to by their real name...everyone is referred to by their imaginary radio handle: Goodbar, eGirl, Cueball, Funboy. He introduces and revisits his characters with supreme skill, low-key and never maudlin. The real emotion is always implied, rarely explicitly stated. Somehow it comes through all the more powerful as a result.

He talks about his loneliness in a way that doesn't scream out to be pitied...it's just ordinary lonliness rendered with self-compassion. One doesn't know what happened between he and eGirl, but his quiet wistfulness speaks volumes.

The Airman's Mess gets my vote as the most deeply underrated blog in the air. Don't take my word for it though, read some posts about Sam losing his wank drive, half a beer...rounded down, a blue vinyl couch and taking care of your local census worker.

May 30, 2001

accidental

A Tour of Accidental

Ahhh Julie. She is first alphabetically on my sidebar, and so she gets a review even before she has a chance to protest!

Julie has written an astounding number of posts since she began Accidental in June 2000. She goes for sheer volume. Personal anecdotes, quotes (she has a terrible habit of quoting and not revealing the source), and TV and Movie commentary and news I would say comprise the bulk of it.

She has put so much effort into her weblog, practically her whole life it seems, that it makes there a lot to like on a daily basis. Oft commented on are the mosaic-like photo mastheads she designs (you can see all the past ones on her sidebar), which are spectactular. She includes a song of the day including the song...I only wish she had an index of them somewhere. Plus, her webcam photos are often...how you say...Ghetto Fabulous. At one point, in response to many search engine requests involving the word "nude", she offered to release real nude photos of herself upon request. I think she's pulling our collective leg, though, I don't know why.

She links to every mindless web diversion everyone else does, but then again she comes up with a billion random links that no one else does.

There's probably a little too much about TV reality shows and ultra-lite news commentary for my taste...and I don't know if anyone finds one's ICQ chat transcripts as amusing as they themselves do, but to each her own.

If nothing else, Julie is an honest blogger. She's forthright about everything, from her strained relations with her Dad, to her polical views, her long distance love affair, she is nothing if not candid. Here's a favorite early post, a harbinger of things to come.

Speaking of her political views, she is every bit the young republican, which I can't help but find a little repellent. Such a bright girl shouldn't sound like a Rush Limbaugh clone!

All in all forgivable...she has a lot of soul for a young lass who's never been kissed and never got drunk. I salute her. If you read nothing else today, read some of my favorite Accidental Julie's...

(Ð) (Ð) (Ð) (Ð) (Ð) (Ð)

Oh, and like me, she likes Triscuits.

blog you? blog you! Two

blog you? blog you!

Two of my favorite blogs have been recently reviewed by Blog You!, not.so.soft (review), and What's New Pussycat (review).

It's not so much that I want to jump to the defense of my friends, but perhaps only critique the reviewing style. As I read these reviews, of blogs I have been reading regularly for months, I was struck by the offhandedness of them. It seemed that they had read a few posts on the main page, and then perhaps one or two posts in the archives. I understand that they don't have time to read a blog's entire history, but it seemed like only a few posts were commented on, and a sincere effort was not made to really sense the flavor of the weblog.

"That's no way to review a blog," I snorted. For one does not properly know a blog to but go look at it once and never return. To review a blog should be to tell someone whether it is worth putting it on one's sidebar, and visiting day after day...through bored angsty posts, stupid updates about the fam, and transcendant moments of brilliance. It should be a review of the voice!

And so, with that, I intend to put my money where my mouth is. I am going to do some critical reviews of blogs in the days to come. I think I shall start alphabetically with my sidebar...so if you don't want to be included, please let me know. Otherwise I shall sharpen my pen....hehehe. Keep in mind, however, that these are all weblogs that I truly love and read nearly every day. As such, they are likely to be partially "sunshine blown up the arse" rather than the "critical duty" of Blog You!. I will not, however, shy from the truth, and some criticism WILL be provided in every case.

If you would like your blog reviewed, you may Email me and I will consider it, but we'll see if I run out of steam by the time I exhaust my sidebar.