Thursday, November 29, 2001
The father of one of my students called me the other day to find out what kind of computer he should buy. This is both flattering and strange.
Pete Yorn's Musicforthemorningafter
has really been growing on me lately. I listened to it three times straight on the drive to New York last week. Sure, Mike was sleeping and I didn't want to take my hands off the wheel to grab a new CD from the box in the back seat, but I didn't get sick of it.
Wednesday, November 28, 2001
Well, the John Berry concert was interesting. You can read my "official" review here. Unofficially, I felt like a Jew at a Christmas concert. Sure, the guy sings well, but it just felt too churchy, and some people really got into the whole religious bit, holding their arms up during the more traditional songs and yelling "Amen!" every time Berry gave his whole Jesus-is-my-savior routine. Funniest part of the night: I kind of recognized the last song he did, but just to be sure, I turned to the guy next to me, who was reviewing the show for a paper in Grand Rapids, and said, "You're going to think I'm an idiot, but I'm not. I'm just Jewish. Was he just singing the Lord's Prayer?"
Long day tired sleep now.
Tuesday, November 27, 2001
I have to review a John Berry concert in an hour or so. He's a country-western singer, and the show he's doing tonight has a Christmas theme. You'd think the local paper wouldn't want a Jew reviewing a Christmas show. Whatever.
I was just down by the theatre where he's playing to pick up some dinner at the Middle Eastern place next door. There was already a small crowd outside. Apparently, John Berry had just passed by, and they were all excited because they got autographs, and he took pictures with them and chatted them up a little. The show is sold out, and judging from the group gathered outside the theatre, I think it might have a Ricky Martin atmosphere, except instead of a Latino guy with good hips, there's a big twangy guy with a cowboy hat, and instead of screaming teenage girls, there are screaming middle-aged women. (I probably can't write that in my review, though.)
Monday, November 26, 2001
After hours and hours in my car driving through traffic on the 80 in Ohio, we finally made it back last night. More holiday travelers on the road? I concur. But still, the trip home was fun, and as I had hoped, there was a ton of food, especially seafood. On Saturday night I even had a big plate of squid. Oh baby.
Saw a very cool movie today: Man With the Movie Camera
, a 1929 silent Russian film that offers a real slice-of-life feel through terrific images and the effort needed to capture them. The DVD contains the movie with a new score by the Alloy Orchestra; the music is great. I even caught some of the students in our class rocking out to it.
Tuesday, November 20, 2001
I'm off to NY for a few days to visit the family and get some good eating in. Dude, there are like no good Thai places in Kalamazoo, and the best place to get sushi around here is the supermarket! And don't even get me started on the pizza. Oh yeah, and I think there might be some food on Thanksgiving too. Anyway, back Monday.
Monday, November 19, 2001
Lots of times I mistakenly type qqq instead of www. I'm sure other people do this as well, since the q and the w keys are right next to each other. So today I was thinking that we could start a whole new round of websites that start with qqq instead of www. Imagine how many hits you'd get if you owned a domain like qqq.amazon.com!
Saturday, November 17, 2001
Today is cleaning day! I'm having a bunch of people over for dinner tomorrow. We're having turkey, soda, and pie. I hope no bad people show up.
My weird and strangely overcompetent number memory: I always remember that November 17 is the birthday of this guy I used to have a thing for when I was 16. This was ten years ago, I haven't talked to him in about nine and a half, and I still remember. That is disturbing. I think he's 30 today, and I don't find 30 to be old anymore. That is also disturbing.
Friday, November 16, 2001
I'm on the tail end of a 24-hour flu-type thing. Still woozy, but much better than last night, when I was all achy and totally craving Jell-O.
Cool film: "Depth Solitude," available on this Short 2 DVD. It's a six-minute piece about an isolated pool cleaner. The story is interesting enough (if a bit disturbing), but the images are incredible. I don't know if the DVD is worth buying, but "Depth Solitude" is definitely worth a look.
Wednesday, November 14, 2001
There are four Frank Lloyd Wright homes in Kalamazoo; I got to spend about an hour inside of one today. It was very horizontal, very dark, and very cool, probably because it is so unlike a typical American home. There are a lot of little things inside to look at and check out, most of which are neat architectural details that you just don't see anywhere else. The walls and floors are concrete brick, so it had a dank smell, but the ceiling and trim were made of wood (mahogany, which I learned from the second link), and the furniture was all original FLW design. The house also has a stunning and enormous fireplace that doubles as a small indoor goldfish puddle (according to rumor). The people I was there with weren't sure they could live there. While I think the idiosyncrasies would take some getting used to, I'd move in without a second thought. If I could. You know.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the sudden popular usage of the term "ground zero." In this past Sunday's New York Times magazine, William Safire addressed this issue in his weekly column in considerably more detail and with much more background than I ever could. Then again, I haven't memorized the OED.
Tuesday, November 13, 2001
It's been a busy day, I haven't had more than five minutes to myself, and I'm about ready to go to bed, but I did want to write about something that's been bugging me all day. I've read in several places and heard on several television reports that yesterday's plane crash occurred in a New York City suburb. This is false. The plane crashed in Queens, which is one of the five boroughs of New York City, the other four being Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. When most non-New Yorkers think of New York, they usually think of Manhattan, but that's only part of it. Queens is not a suburb, and I'm kind of disappointed that our nation's media doesn't realize this. I mean, tell a guy from Brooklyn that he lives in the suburbs, and you won't count to five before getting punched in the nose (and probably hearing something along the lines of, "Suburb, my ass!").
Okay. I feel better now. That is all. Good night.
Monday, November 12, 2001
More scraping at open sores: Another plane. I know it's Veteran's Day, and I know lots of people think it's another attack, but I think it's just a sad, sad coincidence.
Finally watched Hitchcock's The Birds
today. I remember starting to watch it when I was a kid and then being told by my mom to turn it off because I'd get nightmares. I don't think I'll have bad dreams tonight, but I was outside earlier and I jumped a little when a bird flew by and squaked.
Sunday, November 11, 2001
In the few minutes I had to myself this weekend, I watched Startup.com, a documentary about the rapid rise and inevitable fall of the internet startup govWORKS.com. I thought it was good, but I also thought it was like scraping at an open sore. All this happened only a year or two ago, and while it's one thing to watch a documentary about something that happened a decade ago and think, "Man, that was dumb," it's quite another to watch one about something that just happened and regard it with the same negative feelings. It's just too raw. These things need to stew for a while, I think. But there it is -- made and available for viewing, and it's decent. A small quibble: I got really annoyed by the smug satisfaction that govWORKS.com CEO and co-founder Kaleil Isaza Tuzman got every time he introduced himself using his full name. He just had this look on his face like, "My name's cooler than yours." Sure, maybe, but Christ, stop gloating about it and make your company run right.
Cool idea: The Virtual Wall, a hypertext Vietnam Memorial. You click on a name and get a photo and brief bio of a soldier killed in the Vietnam conflict. It's a nice partner to the memorial, but I don't think anything like this could ever replace the wall in DC. If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about.
Thursday, November 8, 2001
I just found out today that I don't have to work tomorrow. Alright! My co-workers and I were exchanging woohoos when we found out, but then realized it probably wasn't a good idea to be doing it in front of the students. Still, woohoo! Free day!
Added a neat self-portrait shot to the photo page. I usually don't like how I look in pictures, but I like this one.
Wednesday, November 7, 2001
There's a link to the new Star Wars trailer on the Apple site. I watched it, and it kind of sucks. It all looks like the previous four movies, the trailer really tells you nothing, and what's with all the heavy breathing? Toss in the title (Attack of the Clones? What the hell is that?), and I'm pretty sure I'll skip this one.
There's currently a bat flying around in my basement, and neither Mike nor I can find it. Great. I am so pissed off at my landlords right now. We asked them back in June to please take care of this bat problem. They had some guy come over and look around, but they never actually did anything to prevent bats from coming in and flapping around. There are also other repairs that need to be done on the house that we were told would be done over the summer and never were. We're good tenants, we take care of the house, and we pay our rent on time, so I'm mad that we get ignored when things need fixing. I really want to call them now and wake them up and have them come over and find this stupid bat.
Tuesday, November 6, 2001
Ever have one of those songs that you hear only once but you can't stop singing? Sure you have. Lately, the one I've been humming is Still Climbing Mountains by Blue Highway. I heard it on the way back from a gig in Grand Rapids on Thursday, and it's been in my head since. It's kind of this country-ish/bluegrassy tune, and it's astoundingly cheesy, but there's a free mp3 at Amazon, so I can just download it and play it on repeat until I'm sick of it. So much better than buying the CD!
Yesterday someone found a "mysterious package" in downtown Kalamazoo. The local cops blocked off surrounding streets and the bomb squad was called in to destroy it. Now they think it was just some kind of chip that goes into a medical device (there's a hospital down the street), but because it was in a "suspicious looking" envelope with lots of padding, no one would touch it. I guess you can't be too careful. But after they opened up the streets, they forgot to switch the stoplights back on for a good 15 or 20 minutes. And of course, this happened right as I was driving to the gym, so I got to drive through three major intersections during the city's 15-20 minute rush hour ("rush hour") with no working lights and no cops directing traffic. I think all of the drivers around me were on their cell phones to the police station telling them to put the damn stoplights back on. It's a good thing that package was just a false alarm, because my confidence in the local police when it comes to handling a real emergency is sorely lacking right now.
Monday, November 5, 2001
I know this probably makes me a bad American, and I'm pretty sure it makes me a bad New Yorker, but I am so glad the Yankees didn't win the World Series. Yeah, I'm from New York, and yeah, the Yankees are America's team, or something like that, and yeah, New York got a nasty hit two months ago and it'd be good for the city's morale if their team won big, but as a Mets fan, I can't be happy about anything that benefits the Yankees. It just makes me feel like a big traitor. So woohoo Diamondbacks.
Something else that probably signals me out as a bad American: I think I'm the only one on my block who doesn't have either a printout of an American flag taped up in my front window or a giant Kmart-purchased American flag flapping down from the roof of my porch. So I don't wave a flag. I've got a car payment, a nasty CD-buying habit, a love of discount bookstores, and a thing for soft wool sweaters, especially now that it's getting cold out. I figure I'm helping out the American economy, which I think is just as good as waving a flag, if not better.
(I need to play these little justification games with myself. Otherwise, I start feeling like I need to go out and get a flag. People around here already suspect I might be from the Middle East.)
Sunday, November 4, 2001
More on Old School: oldschool.net seems to be some skateboard philosophy website, oldschool.org belongs to an arts group in Delray Beach, Florida, and oldschool.tv can be yours for the obnoxious rape-your-wallet price of $700 a year. Yeesh.
Saturday, November 3, 2001
I think the coolest email address ever would be firstname.lastname@example.org. Actually, it's the domain that's cool; the handle could be anything. An antique foods producer has www.oldschool.com, but I think oldschool.edu is cooler, since it has the .edu suffix, meaning that it's an actual school. And of course, it shouldn't be confused with newschool.edu, which is the domain name of a real institution of higher learning.
Ifs, Ands & Butts's list of sodas in glass bottles: My favorite names are Alien Ale Punch, Kickapoo Joy Juice Soda, Brainalizer, and Rat Bastard Root Beer. "Yeah, gimme a bottle of Rat Bastard, ya rat bastard." It's too easy.
Thursday, November 1, 2001
I think I'm becoming more and more allergic to cats. I used to have a cat, but that was a few years ago. Last night I was in the presence of one, and I felt my throat start to close up.
Shakes, Bars can help obese people lose weight. Ummm...sure, I guess, but I think eating less and exercising more might also help too.