Friday, July 31, 2009

New Comix

I want to read all three of the comix mentioned in this NYTimes review:

THE HUNTER. Adapted and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER? Written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Andy Kubert

ASTERIOS POLYP. Written and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli

It's just too bad they're so damned expensive.

I'm Not Sure Why I Care So Much, but...

Bronson Arroyo has an extremely plausible theory why Ortiz tested positive for PEDs. This would also explain why Ortiz seems so befuddled as to why he tested positive.

Take Back the Beep

I've always thought this, but never cared enough to type anything up about the extra annoying blurbs you have to sit through when leaving messages for people on their cell phones. The "leaving numeric page or press 1 for more options" spheil. Well, David Pogue spells out what's happening, how to disable them (if possible), and details why they won't go away:

In 2007, I spoke at an international cellular conference in Italy. The big buzzword was ARPU–Average Revenue Per User. The seminars all had titles like, “Maximizing ARPU In a Digital Age.” And yes, several attendees (cell executives) admitted to me, point-blank, that the voicemail instructions exist primarily to make you use up airtime, thereby maximizing ARPU.
Right now, the carriers continue to enjoy their billion-dollar scam only because we’re not organized enough to do anything about it. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

It's like the absurd ATM fees that people pay in order to get access to THEIR money. So insane.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Church Set List - Listen, Learn and Love

Set List from The Church's show in Foxborough on July 2nd, 2009. (Has it really been almost a month? ye gods!) Click on the links to see YouTube videos of the songs. Some are from this tour, some from the olde days, but almost all have bad sound quality. So be it. For those of you who don't think The Church rock out, check out the You Took or
Tantalized videos, then talk to me.

Day 5
North South East and West
After Everything Now This
I’m Almost With you
Deadman’s Hand
You Took
Under the Milky Way. You should know this song already.


Space Savior
. This song grabbed me live, but leaves me cold the more I listen to it. Is it trying too hard?
Hotel Womb (skip ahead 30 min or so).
Madness guitar rock jam medley look the fuck out. Wow. These guys send the crowd home on a high note.

I'll have more about this show in a little bit. Sufficeith to say for now that if I had to program a church concert, it would be very similar to this, but perhaps with Fading Away and Ripple, and Comedown.

Ortiz - Innocent until proven guilty

I've had enough of my heroes go down in flames in my short lifetime... does Ortiz really need to as well?

But just read this quote. Does this sound like a guilty guy? You never know, but i'm reserving my judgment until this plays itself out. Until then, my son will continue go to sleep in his Ortiz shirt.

Bella Update

So Bella tore her ACL and is looking at surgery and extended rehab. If she were any older, uncomfortable questions about doing the surgery might arise, but she's a young five and her brother (and upcoming sibling) want their Bella around. So posts may continue to be infrequent for a while as I help her out.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Goldman Sacks FAIL

So hot on the heels of Matt Taibbi's eye-opening Goldman Sacks expose - "Inside the Great American Bubble Machine" is essential reading - comes the news that GS is exponentially exposing itself to MORE risk, leading the way back into the darkness.

Why is this happening? Is everyone insane?

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Best Man Speech

For those of you that are interested, my speech from Chad and Kate's wedding on Saturday:

Hello everyone! For those of you that don’t know, I’m Todd, Chad’s older brother. I came first, so I’m supposed to be the older and wiser one, but I think that Chad’s asking me to speak today is proof that he’s an uncommonly smart person himself.

I’d like to thank you all for coming to Chad and Kate’s big day. I’d also like to thank John and Beecher for the terrific reception. Everything looks great, and the food has been fantastic. And what a turnout! I’m amazed how far people will come for free food and booze!

So Chad was the best man at my wedding and will tell you that that means that I finally admitted that he’s the “best man”. And I’m big enough to admit that’s true! Chad is the best. He’s the best at introducing friends and family to terms like “beat it, nerd” and “you’re AP lit”. He’s the best at playing loud Reggae music at any time of the day or night. And he’s the best competitor that you’ll ever meet. To this day he’s still trying to prove that he’s taller than me by standing on tiptoes in photographs. Just so you know, i've let it slide for today.

Any other older siblings in the room will know what it’s like to watch your younger brother grow up. In one respect, he’ll always be the little guy tagging along after you, asking if he can play, stealing your stuff, annoying you on car trips… but one day you look up and realize that not only is he your equal, but in some ways he’s your better! How does that happen? How does Chad – the high-school party animal – become the one who I turn to about computer advice, or talk to about investment strategies? I don’t know quite how he did it, but he sure turned out okay!

And he must have turned out okay if he was able to land this lovely woman sitting next to him. Kate, I honestly couldn’t be happier that you’re finally making an honest man of Chad. Although it’s funny to think about the coincidences around your union. Here we are in Central New York where you went to High School with Chad’s cousin Anya before you ever dreamed of meeting Chad. Your parents go to the same boat club as our aunt and uncle, and your family lives right down the road from ours. I mean, I’d like to welcome you to the family, but you’ve known some of them longer then you’ve known Chad! But welcome to the family anyways, and thank you for making my brother so happy.

And so, as the older brother, it’s always been my job to dispense practical advice that is – at best – ignored. So here it is. I’ve been married for six years now, and I can tell you that as much as my beautiful wife Kelly and I love each other, and as much as we respect and complement each other, marriage is a lot of work. Fortunately, it’s good work! It’s finding time at the end of a busy day to kiss each other and rub each other’s backs. It’s making sure that the small details don’t go unnoticed. It’s making sure that you still hold open the doors for her, and surprising each other with a favorite meal on a random Wednesday night. But most importantly, while a happy marriage may be at least 80 percent good luck in finding the right person at the right time, the rest of it is trust. Trust each other and you can’t go wrong.

And with that, please join me in raising your glasses to Chad and Kate:
May you be friends to each other as only lovers can; and may you love each other as only best friends can. And may I someday see you gray, and combing your grandchildren’s hair. I love you both. Cheers!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Mysterious Power of the Brain

SciFi writer Edward Willett points out that a recent study

... seems to indicate that we can understand other people’s experiences because we carry a model of how human brains work within our own brain, not because we’ve necessarily shared similar experiences.

And concludes:

There’s an old adage to “write what you know,” and yet writers—especially science fiction writers—often write about things they could never possibly experience, and readers are quite capable of understanding and enjoying those impossible experiences.

It's all about empathy, baby!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mark your calendars!

August 4th is the date Pynchon's Inherent Vice will be released. I'll be out at Tatnuck if anyone wants to join me...

The Poor Pup

Bella hasn't been putting weight on her hind leg for over a week now. The vet suspects that she may have torn a tendon, and we're bringing her for sedation and X-rays on Monday. If the worse comes to pass, she'll need to have major surgery sometime soon.

It doesn't help that she was four pounds overweight. Between the treats we were giving her and Hunter dropping food on the floor, she was being loved to death.

Here's hoping all goes well!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

White Noise as just that

I can't say I disagree with this reader's assessment of Don Delillo's White Noise, although I did find parts of it entertaining and insightful. Overall, though, it's not as good of a book as people make it out to be. Certainly it's not as good as his Libra, Mao II, Underworld trilogy, which may be some of the best books I've ever read.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public."

- Winston Churchill

Sunday, July 12, 2009

We Don't Get Everything, but Some People Do

Stephen Douglas Mahoney makes an excellent point about Against the Day:
Pynchon's so-called pretension has a point: the point is "that's life".  We don’t get everything, but some people do.  The fact that some people get quaternions, while others might get the West Ham United references, and others still might get the musical speak, etc. mirrors the conversations of our day.  You can get as many or as few of these stories as you do, but you are still in the story.
I've often felt this, but could never articulate it. Pynchon aims to present a picture of the world - both real and imagined - in all of its absurd complexity. It contains too much because life contains too much. Pynchon's genius is to - occasionally - find form to all this "too much", most famously in Gravity's Rainbow.

With this in mind, Against the Day isabsolutely fascinating.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pynchon as Steampunker?

An interesting analysis, if you're into that kind of thing. Contains lots of good AtD quotes, reminding me that I need to pick up the book again one of these years...

Lessons in the Obvious

I'm shocked - shocked! - that Bush's surveillance program was both more invasive and illegal then previously suspected.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I bust on the Republicans a lot around here, so it's only fair to do the same when Obama does something stoopid and awful and sickening.

Holding innocent people without trial. How has it come to this?

Somewhere Anywhere

So the Church concert that I attended last week reignited my obsession with them, and i've been listening to and reading about their music all week.

One thing that I find fascinating is that Somewhere Anywhere - the album that Kilbey and Willson-Piper recorded themselves in order to fulfill their contractual-obligation to Artista - is general regarded by many to be a piece of crap. (I can't find where I read this recently.)

The strange thing is that the music on it is pretty good! Sure, there some stinkers (the less said about "Business Woman" and "Eastern" the better), but it's an adventurous album, full with six minute droning guitars, ostanito bass, and Kilbey's sureal wordplay. "Day of the Dead" is a big highlight, "Loveblind" ain't bad, and "Angelica" is a run rave up, even if just to hear Kilbey try to sound like Roger Daltry.

Put it this way, it's not a NYC Ghosts and Flowers debacle by any stretch of the imagination. Pick it up with an open mind and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Nip Watch Ctd.

As I noted here, there's a lot of discarded nips at a deserted section of my street. Today I picked up six nips (all Stoli Vodka), a plastic hip flask, and two energy drink cans.

On the positive side, all of this rain has sprouted an amazing amount of fungus everywhere. Indian Pipe - one of my favorite fungi - is everywhere!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Things that make me happy

The high-pitched guitar line in Sonic Youth's Walkin Blue. Rocking and beautiful at the same time.

Everything we see is clear!

Hunter in the News

During an impromptu tour of one of the local farms, a reporter from the Holliston Reporter took a sweet shot of Hunter in the corn (scroll down).

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Quote of the Day

On the way to crush the revolution
Wilderness and its burning bush
The enemy seeks our dissolution
All he needs is a little push
And we've all known hurt
And we're all gonna find it here in this dirt

Empire's got you by the balls
And war keeps drawing near
And it's pulling you
Pulling you back here

Deadmans Hand - The Church

Fireworks music

Is it just me or did the Boston Pops fireworks show not really involve the, you know, Boston Pops? All that country music was just weird (and horrifically bad).

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ah... tonight arrives...

This has been a pretty crappy week. Rain nonstop, I've already put in a 40 hour week, including a client call last night that lasted until 11:00 PM... but it's all good because The Church are in town (well... in some corporate club in Foxborough at least. Should I wear my Bills gear to the Patriots Place?).

As I touched upon the other day, MWP sez that "[our music] needs you to come to our party." I'm game, i'm prepped, and i'm so there. I only wish that someone else was on the same trip I was on so that I could share the experience...

I'll post a synopsis / review of the show as soon as I can. Until then, pick up Untitled #23.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Trance Frogs

Continuing on the theme of electronica animals from the other day, I note that The Orb's "Hamlet of Kings (Alternate Version)" track -- off of the expanded version of Cydonia (not their best album, BTW) -- sets up its initial groove off of a series of bullfrog croaks.

It's a neat concept, and one that nicely sets off the mellow groove that follows, but the track as a whole just never takes off, quite possiblly because by the end of the song the poor frogs have been abandoned in favor of keyboard washes and old skool electronic noodling.

However, I eagerly await the next frog groove with high hopes that we can get some sort of sun-beaten lazy summer pond groove going!