Seven Songs

Posted on June 5th, 2008 in quote

[This is only my side of a conversation, and may make more sense if you visit the original discussion on Whitechapel.]
YOU CHEAT, MADAM

I certainly do, sir. But I also WIN.

[Comments are closed, but you may respond in the Whitechapel thread.]

Seven Songs

Posted on June 5th, 2008 in entry

I don’t write about music — I listen to it, but I’m not equipped with the proper vocabulary to tell you what I’m hearing. Where a music connoisseur would say “Oh, that’s some pop-infused thingama with deep shades of post-progressive somethingorother” I’m just going to say “Oh, hey, it’s got a good beat and I can dance to it.” Like when I taste wine I say “Yum” or “Ick” — never catch me going on about the woody notes or hint of cheese. But Warren says he wants me to meme along, so blame him.

Let’s see, what am I doing?

“List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.”

So:

“They Do Not Come Knocking There Anymore” - Natural Snow Buildings
I have no idea where I got this one — I don’t have the rest of the album or any recollection of downloading it. It’s still very chilly here at night, and it’s hard to remember it’s already June. In the early still-dark mornings, here, the foghorns are louder than any music I’m playing. It’s very easy for me to lose track of the music in a room — it hovers on the edge of my consciousness and keeps my fingers moving, but if I’m not sitting back and just listening I don’t always know what’s playing. This track is just harsh enough to cut through work-fugue and catch my attention. If I loop it, I realize how much the beginning sounds like an orchestra pit having difficulty tuning up in the next room — but at about the six minute mark it shifts to a train leaving the station. Dunno. There’s something about the slow march of layer on layer of dying notes that makes me keep it on list, yet. I don’t see it lasting on rotation into summer.

“Momentary Drowning” - Young Coyotes
Another one I’ve got no idea where came from. It’s the precise opposite of the previous track, a stomp and call that doesn’t care if it’s in tune, because what does it matter? I’m not fond of the primary vocals on this one, but the beat, the claps, how can you say no to that? I do not think this one plays if you aren’t close enough to the water to have the scent of salt in the air — it’s got a definite beach band flavor (beyond the mention of waves in lyric, I mean).

“Black Cat” - Ladytron
Pretty sure it was McKelvie that told me there was new Ladytron, and this is the first track I heard. It’s…. well it’s Ladytron. It’s good, it’s a little defiant, with that “I’m pretty but I’ll cut you” undertone you expect. It’s older, somehow — the sound is tighter and deeper than earlier tracks, maybe the word I’m looking for is matured, or maybe, hell, maybe it’s that I’m older, who knows?

“Dance Dance Dance” - Lykke Li
&
“Heels on Fire” - Sargasso Trio

Got both of these off Warren, actually, and they’re one after the other on the playlist because one segues into the next no matter which order you play them in. (Which amuses me, as I don’t know that you’d see one act opening for the other, ever. But they’ve both got that same pitterpatter beat.) They’re just two ridiculously spinny little numbers that put a bounce in my step when I’m walking to market. Very much morning and afternoon music — if they come up late at night they’re a little too loud for the room.

“The Beat That My Heart Skipped” - Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip
I don’t know who the hell I got this one off of… Gillen or Kitten, maybe? It’s from last year, but it didn’t get much rotation during the winter. This is one of the rare songs on my list that makes me listen to the lyrics — something between the repetition and force on each word draws my conscious attention. The beat’s what I want it to be — just strong enough to make me nod, just fast enough to match my walk or the turn of a wheel, just loud enough to bring up my pulse rate a little.

“Take this Waltz” - Leonard Cohen
This one is very old, but it comes out every spring. I don’t know why. It sounds like spring - blue sunlight on budding leaves, damp earth in the chilly morning. It’s the waltzing strings, the soft swells that always seem to rise just as a spring breeze lifts a strand of my hair to my cheek. It’s sweet, and a little bitter (like much Cohen, and everything in my herb garden).

Apparently, I’ve also been tasked with passing the disease on. Well, joke’s on you Warren — no one reads my blog, so your dirty little game dead-ends here. Although, I suppose I could throw it up on Whitechapel. At least there it would be contained. We’ll see. That’s probably cheating. But I might not care.

Oh, come on…

Posted on June 5th, 2008 in entry

See, I smiled when Warren Ellis got tagged by that Seven Songs Meme, because the man’s got excellent taste in music. But after he tagged six great people (including Matt Fraction, Keiron Gillen, and Wil Wheaton) he apparently went blank on a seventh and picked me. He may just be trying to kill me, because he’s a bastard.

I’ll get to this, um, I don’t know. Later.

The Hauntological Congress

Posted on June 3rd, 2008 in quote

[This is only my side of a conversation, and may make more sense if you visit the original discussion on Whitechapel.]
Sonic hauntology does enforce attention. It does enforce concentration.

… I would have had no idea, which may be why I’m so far off on a lot of my musings, here. Apartment dwelling, grown up latch-key kid, me. I grew up in empty houses with the television on in one room and the radio on in another — a clock wrapped in a hot-water bottle, basically. My clock radio plays me to sleep, volumes up to wake me in the morning, and I’ve generally got a playlist going all the hours in between. I get a brief adrenaline spike when my iPod battery dies when I’m out. The only time I haven’t got music at some volume is when I’m with someone else, and focussed on them. All sound, especially music, is ambient to me unless I’ve consciously stopped doing everything else to just listen (usually a new track, or when I need to cycle my brain). The only sound that enforces my attention is absolute silence.

[Comments are closed, but you may respond in the Whitechapel thread.]

Terraforming Mars and so forth

Posted on June 3rd, 2008 in quote

[This is only my side of a conversation, and may make more sense if you visit the original discussion on Whitechapel.]
Main problem seems to be that we’re not looking for new places to ship our poor folks, exiles, undesirables, and criminals anymore. </sarcasm>

Seriously though, the socio-economics of the US — no matter how much it might suck for the UK folks getting paid in USD — make it very hard to make a case for sending hundreds (thousands) of settlers into space. I mean, most scenarios we’re talking about here — setting up a system where in twenty years a small camp of scientists go up to research to see if we can send ten or so more people in another twenty years, in the hopes that in fifty years we could set up a little area where maybe fifty whole scientists could possibly start thinking about bringing up their families, too… Where’s the _drive_ there? Hell, I don’t wanna fund that shit, either. And I fucking LOVE space.

We used to, let’s face it, fund preliminary expeditions to see if there was anything useful there, and then fling thousands of people at the wall in the hopes that 1% of them would survive and make someplace hospitable. And when we couldn’t find volunteers, we sent prisoners.

Lemme clarify: I’m not advocating emptying out prison system into space. That’s more than a little problematic on several levels, morality aside.

But until we’ve got enough people clamouring to move up there — some reason other than “maybe we should think about expanding, possibly, y’know” — until we give folks some reason to gather up the slightest bit of what they own, kiss their extended families goodbye forever, and fucking set forth to tame the wild planet against all odds, knowing that one in five will die within a year, and they’re gonna need to just keep breeding until they STICK… we’re not getting to Mars. You don’t settle a new frontier by making it comfortable _first_. You go, and you beat the fuck out of it, and you tell it I BLED ON IT, I LIVE HERE NOW, and you dare it to argue.

[Comments are closed, but you may respond in the Whitechapel thread.]

The Hauntological Congress

Posted on June 3rd, 2008 in quote

[This is only my side of a conversation, and may make more sense if you visit the original discussion on Whitechapel.]
Wandering around ruined islands, surrounded by infinite oceans and the slow creaks and groans of deteriorating machines, piecing together a mysterious world that no longer works

This. It’s odd, much of the talk of stuff that isn’t strictly music on this thread (my own comments included) are pretty much just describing Ambient of some fashion — but no one’s coming right out and saying ambient, not as a huge, sweeping generalization at least. A lot of the ambient out there, it’s very… god, what’s the word, it _moves_, at least. It’s the sound of things making noise. It’s the breath of the world, whatever world that is. Even the crackle-hiss layered on a lot of tracks I wouldn’t necessarily call under the Hauntology umbrella, well that’s a sound of life layered on, too, even when it elicits the past.

Warren’s got a line in Dok that, if I recall correctly, came out of an earlier work — paraphrasing ’cause it’s not right on me at hand — about going to the graveyard and listening to the sticky sussurus of decomposition, and about standing up higher and listening to the world resonating with its own stark mediocrity.

(Which probably had nothing to do with hauntology in either context. But it’s two really hard and lovely lines, isn’t it?)

To point, though, if you unlayer anything by Burial, fuck if it’s not just little ten second cries of every mediocre musak-wail of the past thirty years, isn’t it? Without the heartbeat in the background, and the sound of bubble thin walls straining outward while the world drowns, it may as well be any little love-diddy, and little singalong pop keen, any refined-and-looped feel-sound in an Audi commercial. Just tossing the beat-layer on top really just pulls it up to an Audi-Hybrid commercial. Lookit, there’s a car racing along an open road, with “Loving you” playing in the sunlight. It’s the sticky sussurus — (you know why that line stays with me? Because it _aches_. It’s hummingbird wings dipped in hot wax and straining in painful death.) — of meat falling off the bones of the world that makes Burial haunted. It’s not the creepy filtered voices (or every boy-band tune would qualify), it’s not the beat, it’s not the words, it’s not even the occasional creak of machinery — it’s that dripping, sticky sound that the music plays fast around for fear of getting caught, spreading decay. Not so much the music in the next room, but the fear that by observing (hearing) the music in the next room, we’ve alerted it to our presence and the decay has spread. Y’know, maybe. I’ll bet there are real words for all of what I just said there.

[Comments are closed, but you may respond in the Whitechapel thread.]

The DOKTOR SLEEPLESS Plasma Globe Bust

Posted on June 3rd, 2008 in quote

[This is only my side of a conversation, and may make more sense if you visit the original discussion on Whitechapel.]
Wouldn’t that have to be TWO plasma globes?

I wasn’t going to say it. I was going to ignore it and leave the thread on track. I said to myself “Self, don’t you dare link the musical telsa coils what arc between two great glowing globes, and we’ll all be all right.” I did not, apparently, cc you on that internal memo.

[Comments are closed, but you may respond in the Whitechapel thread.]

Science fiction karma

Posted on June 2nd, 2008 in quote

[This is only my side of a conversation, and may make more sense if you visit the original discussion on Whitechapel.]
Hope you’re enjoying them…

YES.

[Comments are closed, but you may respond in the Whitechapel thread.]

Flash Magazine/Flipbook Software?

Posted on May 31st, 2008 in quote

[This is only my side of a conversation, and may make more sense if you visit the original discussion on Whitechapel.]
Oh! Actually — would slideshare work? It’s dead simple, but hitting the right or left half of the screen flips the pages.
[Comments are closed, but you may respond in the Whitechapel thread.]

Flash Magazine/Flipbook Software?

Posted on May 31st, 2008 in quote

[This is only my side of a conversation, and may make more sense if you visit the original discussion on Whitechapel.]
If you don’t care about the branding bit at the bottom, you can put one together in a few minutes with the thing we’re running all our widgets on: sprout .
[Comments are closed, but you may respond in the Whitechapel thread.]

links for 2020-05-30

Posted on May 30th, 2008 in outbound links

  • Will attempt to begin actually blogging links…

FREAKANGELS Episode 0015

Posted on May 30th, 2008 in quote

[This is only my side of a conversation, and may make more sense if you visit the original discussion on Whitechapel.]
G’morning, Whitechapel. Here’s your FREAKANGELS. (Ooh, the little window looks particularly lovely this week, doesn’t it?)

It’s almost June (canyoubelieveitaaaaawheredidMaygo?) — how’d we all do this month?

[Comments are closed, but you may respond in the Whitechapel thread.]

The Hauntological Congress

Posted on May 30th, 2008 in quote

[This is only my side of a conversation, and may make more sense if you visit the original discussion on Whitechapel.]
I’m just thinking that limiting ‘hauntology’ to ‘the past haunting the present’ deprives this clever little concept of its nuance and overarching ’spectrality’ as applied to culture/history/et cetera.

It just hit quiet here, and there are a few foghorns outside (there will be more in the morning), and shuffle just spun up Tom Waits — Tom, who has always been able to summon somewhere with effortless ease. His somewhere is often a yellow-lit place, with horns or railroads nearby, the wrong side of several tracks, a little rough and tumble, but they melt the snow with the salt of the earth. But that’s not hauntology — those places are still very much alive, still there, no dustier than they were 20 or fifty years ago, no risk of being forgotten just yet. Escaped, maybe, but not killed.

But places can die, of course. When I was a girl the west coast was a wonderland of nearly abandoned beach towns and used-to-be amusement parks, shards of boardwalks and dark circles where carousels used to sit being sandswept to grey as rust-rigor set in. Broken horses in closed shop windows with glass eyes glazing over as the magic shriveled in the cold sun. Places that were supposed to be Hope-On-The-Sea — where money was pumped in earnest because everyone would flock to them forever. And before Disney bought a few of them and the rest were lost, you could drive a few hours anywhere and hit ghost-towns — bleached, long-abandoned gold-dreams hardening to black iron and bone. Where pyrite and witch-loads tricked settlers into blood and starvation. There was a soundtrack to both desert and shore, the wind calling the beat of horses real or fantastic, the crying of metal against metal, the water or sand roaring a bass-line so loud you couldn’t hear it anymore.

That informs my feelings for hauntology — even though much of what’s out there now summons city streets, rain, and dying music scenes I never met — because I grew up in a country-state that’s kept alive only by the water we imagine to be real, and as soon as place is neglected it shakes off all sign that humans ever touched it, leaving bleached alien artifacts, maybe a cowskull, maybe a seashell, or maybe nothing at all if you blink or look away. The world has always been full of ghosts, and just a moment off the beaten track would find them.

If I’d grown up somewhere else (and sometimes I did) I’d have swamp haints and weeping vines, alien abductions and crop circles, or crack houses and urban blight to recall (and sometimes I do). Sometimes places were supposed to be, but didn’t. The world is full of ghosts.

What’s beautiful about the sounds of else-maybe-dead-but-forget-me-not is, to me, that sometimes it is only three rooms away, even in the middle of the day, even in the middle of the city, even with the crush of people around to swear they hear it too. It’s a mass-hallucination, a shared memory of something that never could have happened, a misheard lyric that always comes out the same, a paranormal event caught on tape, for once and forever. The world has always been full of ghosts, but now everyone sees them, always knew they were there, and rewrite old logs to lie the fact that they weren’t there yesterday and we weren’t expecting them tomorrow.

So many are in mourning for tomorrows we were promised and never found, as many as say “do you remember when?” with a sigh, as many as say “if only”. I don’t think ghosts need, by their nature, to be from the past or the future, particularly — they need only not be expected here and now to be haunting.

[Comments are closed, but you may respond in the Whitechapel thread.]

The Hauntological Congress

Posted on May 30th, 2008 in quote

[This is only my side of a conversation, and may make more sense if you visit the original discussion on Whitechapel.]
See, I don’t want to talk about this because I’m not a 40 year old that was paying attention the whole time, but hauntology strikes me as a logical progression from, god help me, the short-lived and quickly-went-to-shit mashup phase we hit two years ago. Because I’ve spent a lot of time in cars in the middle of no-where, and you know I’ll go back to radio every time…

But when you hit just between two transmission zones, or you’re scanning for channels in the middle of two cities, in the middle of the night, you’ll sometimes hit on a mashup that’s just absolutely perfect — you’ll picket fence between two stations or a station and dead air, and suddenly you’ve got Funky Town and some revival music playing in tandem for a few miles. And sometimes it’s hilarious, it’s one of those unexpected surprises you only get once in a lifetime. And sometimes of course, it’s crap, and the mash-up scene started forcing it and they were 700 shit songs to one gem. I don’t think you can force delight.

The hauntology scene is DXing on a controlled scale (I am a NERD you just lemme natter for a second) I really think it is. It’s a signal that’s _maybe_ coming from three rooms away, but who knows? Maybe it’s four hundred miles. Maybe it’s twenty years. Maybe it’s a radio show some kid in texas recorded in his basement and the people moving into the house accidentally hit play while they were clearing shit out for a rumpus room. It doesn’t always make sense, and it’s always the middle of the night, because AM transmissions travel longer distances when the sun goes down. It’s also a lot easier to hear when the world goes quiet. It also, by its very nature, has to come over on what’s otherwise a hiss channel. i think that’s why it’s spooky, when it’s done right. Because we always kinda want to hear something, but it’s always a surprise when a signal breaks through.

(There’s something to be said for the nerd DXing on the SETI project, but that’s when I start sounding lame. Lamer.) I know it’s a bit of a stretch to apply listening for voices to recorded and dj’ed music — there’s a control on one that’s not on the other — but the end result, if every time the _listener_ gets a new album or hits a show they hear something they weren’t expecting from somewhere/when that’s familiar but they can’t immediately place, hm?

[Comments are closed, but you may respond in the Whitechapel thread.]

Allotment troubles.

Posted on May 29th, 2008 in entry



Allotment troubles.

I’ve only got a little bit of earth. End of last summer I planted impatiens for some end-of-the-year color, and had planned to use the space as an herb garden this spring.

But… Then the aloe plant took off, despite the winter and the sun AND the soil not being as sandy as it usually likes. So I seeded the oregano under a mini greenhouse, buried the garlic bulbs along the back, and put all the rest of the herbs on the windowsill inside until the weather cleared. I figured I was fine, despite the aloe taking a quarter of the box — herbs can choke themselves without too much harm.

But then one of the impatiens came back, because I forgot I can’t kill plants. So I stuck it in the corner of the box, and figured I’d still have half a bed, anyway.

But then someone left a pot with a dead plant under the box that turned out to a) not actually be dead, b) be a fucking strawberry, and c) not an ornamental as I first thought. It hasn’t got enough room, I know that, but it can hang over the side of the box if it comes to that.

And then ALL the oregano took. Thank god you can grow oregano in a thimble, because I’ve got no space to spread it out.

So… the lavender, marjoram, mint, sage, basil, and thyme are living on the window sill for good, which is a bit of a bitch because it’s fine that the marjoram’s already a foot high but the thyme’s a runner…

Yeah, those four spider-plants hiding from the sun were in the one pot in August.

And I kinda still want tomatoes.

The Mating Rituals of the Baby Velociraptor via Kelly Sue DeConnick

Thursday June, 26 2008 12:48 PM PDT

Kelly Sue posted a video:

Starring Henry Leo and Zoe B. (Not for the faint of heart.)

In my garden [7447] via Irene Kaoru

Thursday June, 26 2008 12:34 PM PDT

IreneKaoru posted a photo:

Run [7285] via Irene Kaoru

Thursday June, 26 2008 12:21 PM PDT

IreneKaoru posted a photo:

Soho.

Fresh [7278] via Irene Kaoru

Thursday June, 26 2008 12:10 PM PDT

IreneKaoru posted a photo:

I stopped her and told her the shoes were totally fresh. She was a nice lady from England, visiting NYC to shop but I said not to bother, she already out-cooled us all.

Shoes [7260] via Irene Kaoru

Thursday June, 26 2008 12:08 PM PDT

IreneKaoru posted a photo:

Spying on 7th street.

Chicago Day 2 via Warren Ellis

Thursday June, 26 2008 12:05 PM PDT

I have to start doing press in about forty minutes. Got about five hours sleep and then just laid there in bed until noon, wondering if I’d turned into the guy from The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, only able to communicate by pressing the channel-change button on the remote. "Look how angrily he seems to mash that button when CNN Headline News comes on. Is he trying to tell us something? Look… I think he’s spelling out a sentence by flicking from MSNBC to that crappy Matthew Perry movie and back again."

Went out to dinner with William and Ariana last night at a remote and relatively ancient steakhouse, which was offering dinners-for-two for $39 to celebrate their 39th year in business. Across the road, next to the Des Plaines Chamber Of Commerce, were stores called THE BAREFOOT HAWAIIAN and REBEL’S TROPHYS (sic). The air’s like soup. I stuck my arm out of the window earlier. First, my flesh took on the consistency and moistness of crushed watermelon. And then it caught fire anyway.

American news is as bad as ever. Top stories — Washington DC residents can buy monstrous rhino-killing handguns again (CNN actually called the overturned ban "unAmerican") and some nutbag in Iowa has built his own personal levee around his floodbound house (and is nonetheless sending his wife and kid out to work across the water while he stays to guard the threshold. And fish). Penetrating reportage: "Where did all the sand for the levee come from?" "Well… I bought it."

I also think I hallucinated a show called CASH CAB, where a cab driver appears to abduct New Yorkers and ask them gameshow questions. If they get the questions right, the ceiling of the cab lights up, the cabbie gives them cash money, and they leave the cab, where local criminals are lying in wait for them because let’s face it it’s not hard to spot the Cash Cab when it’s lit up like a 70’s disco floor inside. If they fail the quiz, the Cash Cabbie dumps them on wasteground in Brooklyn in the middle of the night to get sexually assaulted and skinned. I’m pretty sure I made this show up during some early morning fugue episode. I mean, The Discovery Channel would never fund something like that. Right?

Casualty [7295] via Irene Kaoru

Thursday June, 26 2008 11:48 AM PDT

IreneKaoru posted a photo:

Must have been some impact.

He only napped for 18 minutes... via Kelly Sue DeConnick

Thursday June, 26 2008 11:41 AM PDT

Kelly Sue posted a photo:

Zoe B in HL's Space Cockpit via Kelly Sue DeConnick

Thursday June, 26 2008 11:35 AM PDT

Kelly Sue posted a photo:

Zoe B in HL's Space Cockpit via Kelly Sue DeConnick

Thursday June, 26 2008 11:35 AM PDT

Kelly Sue posted a photo:

The birds on east 8th street via Irene Kaoru

Thursday June, 26 2008 10:52 AM PDT

This is what my morning walk is usually like. I really just recorded this for the sounds. They hide so well you can’t really see them.

Extremely Bad Advice: You Goddamn Commie Terrorist via Chip Zdarsky

Thursday June, 26 2008 10:09 AM PDT

Extremely Bad Advice, Week 58. Go to hell, Girl Guides.


Your questions and angry emails are always welcome. Always.

Love,
Chip!

we call it "achiever hour" via Trixie Bedlam

Thursday June, 26 2008 09:31 AM PDT

trixiebedlam posted a photo:

jewish plates via Trixie Bedlam

Thursday June, 26 2008 09:31 AM PDT

trixiebedlam posted a photo:

whatever works via Trixie Bedlam

Thursday June, 26 2008 09:29 AM PDT

trixiebedlam posted a photo: