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Oh, it's been a year since I updated, but now I'm leaving May. 24th, 2007 @ 08:43 pm
Party at my folks' house both Friday and Saturday for me to go bye bye Ann Arbor, hello LA.

I'll try to remember to send out some emails, but frankly, I've been so harried that I don't know who I've invited and who I haven't. I ran into a dude from the newspaper a couple days ago and was like, you're coming right, and he was like, wha-huh? I thought he was one of the first folks I invited, but apparently not. I made a list, but I wasn't good at following it in order, and I didn't always mark things off.

Anyway, if you read this, you're likely invited and know my email or phone number and address and will hit me up, yo.

I'm the new Opinions editor May. 6th, 2006 @ 06:53 pm
Look, I know I'm a liberal and that you hate me because I want homosexual atheists to have abortions while getting married in YOUR CHURCH. But when you argue that men are better at math and women are better at language, don't make me edit out a million different pronoun/possessive errors. It's "who's" for "who is," and "whose" for "owns." Jesus, girl, if your brain makes you so much better at language than I am, how come I have to edit out your million fucking redundancies and errors? And then you don't respond when I tell you to rewrite it because I'm a liberal? Fuck you!
(Also, fuck you other girl who I don't have an ideological difference with who just wrote stupid shit.)

Easter Apr. 15th, 2006 @ 03:19 pm
So, Amy calls me downstairs because she thinks she's found this horrible rodent death or something. There's loose fur, and a body that's not moving, all half buried in our garden. I get down there, and it looks like half a chipmunk submerged in the dirt. I can't get the body out with the rake (the rake is how Amy found it), so I grab a shovel. A delicate heave, and all of the sudden there's four baby rabbits squirming around. Apparently, the middle of our garden was where some dumb bunny chose for a warren. We ended up pushing 'em all back together (without touching them as much as possible) and then covering 'em up again with leaves. Cute but kinda creepy, I just hope they don't die.

I'm a porn star Apr. 14th, 2006 @ 12:52 pm
I'm in the shower, and I'm gonna put some conditioner in my beard after washing it. The conditioner's been left upside down, and I musta been squeezing it or something because as soon as I pop the little thing in the cap, it shoots out a tablespoon of white creamy conditioner across my face and chest.
Current Mood: sexy

Guitarzan. Apr. 3rd, 2006 @ 01:45 pm
In a musical update, my efforts at learning guitar have paid off, big time. I can now play any song that consists of sloppily moving between chords A and D on an out-of-tune accoustic guitar. I know there are other chords, but these ones are mine. Any suggestions for a third chord that I may play, thus making me a punk rock GAWD? Or songs that are only D and A? For some reason DDADDAA doesn't sound nearly as rockin' as I had hoped. Perhaps I need an electric guitar to make it sound awesome. (If suggesting more chords, please make them the easiest ones. I eschew all complicated chordery as emblimatic of classic rock's bloated nature. Learn F? Why, I might as well record a Yes album at Conservatory! I'm punk rock all the way!)

In other news, that pants-rending noise that I heard while moving my parents' new freezer to their basement (I was lifting with my knees AND my back)? Yes, actually the sound of the front of my crotch rending. SPOILER ALERT— If I go commando, one whole testicle hangs out. Anyone have handy crotch patching lifehacks?
Other entries
» Arrrrrgh!
This is why I hate trying to work for the Echo. They fuck my lede, and cut chunks out of a story that was dead-on wordcount. Why would a history of recording on walkmen and answering machines (history from about eight years ago) make "one" wonder how Berman would recount his life? That doesn't make any fucking sense. And why cut the origin of the name? The phrasing is broken up to seem more retarded, subordinate clauses have their dominant clauses lopped off. Christ, I need to stab these motherfuckers.

The story, as submitted, follows:

Telling the story of the Silver Jews makes you wonder how David Berman, the main actor behind the Silver Jews, feels about hearing it again.
Usually, the narrative goes something like this: Berman, Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich knew each other from school at the University of Virginia. They moved to New York, Malkmus and Berman got jobs as art museum guards, and they started performing noisy, improvised songs (often recording them by playing for people’s answering machines). They named themselves the Silver Jews as an homage to the Silver Apples, the Silver Beatles and the slang term for blonde jews.
Occassionally, the notion that the Silver Jews is/was a Pavement side project surfaced (as Malkmus fronted Pavement, and Nastanovich drummed for both bands, as did Steve West), especially as Pavement blew up. On the one hand, this led to many people picking up Jews albums who might not have otherwise. On the other hand, it’s always been Berman’s baby. Luckily, Berman was no Gore Vidal to begrudge success.

That success helped attract Drag City records, whose founder met Berman at a Pavement show. A few ultra lo-fi releases followed, recorded on a walkman. Berman got accepted in a graduate writing program at the University of Massachusetts and had that rare thing among grad students— plenty of time to write both poetry and new songs. He also found musical compatriots in members of the Scud Mountain Boys and New Radiant Storm King, giving the resultant album a country-rock hybrid flavor.

Flash forward a couple of years, past a few great American records on Drag City, a courtship and marriage to Cassie Berman, an acclaimed collection of poetry titled “Actual Air,” and a stint rehab emerging into the land of “club soda unbridled.”

Berman describes his new album Tanglewood Numbers, in an email interview, as “assertive.” It is, and it’s also his most relaxed and even cheerful album. The humor that Berman has always brought to his tales of wayward characters is still there, but there’s both more sympathy for people trapped in ugly situations and less irony in his gaze.

With more keyboards and a fuller, warmer sound, the album feels more through composed but, says Berman, “I also wanted it to have the natural havoc that comes with the quickly assembled, even if it took six months to find it.”

There’s plenty of blunt autobiography as well, such as the third track, “K-Hole.” With more than a little press focusing on his recovery from addiction, including a frighteningly open article in Fader, Berman’s songs about substance abuse play against what has been written about his life.
“I think the record is just me adding to the information, grafting my representation of my experience onto anyone who chooses to remember it, and file it away with the other convincing data that your mind might call up to sift thru base a personal decision on,” says Berman, describing his choice to deal with the subject matter on the album.

This isn’t a depressing addiction album. “K-Hole” is followed by a cheerful “Animal Shapes,” a jaunty duet with his wife about God and clouds. And there’s far less straight alt-country than on previous albums, with the effect of the album feeling more balanced and more mature.
“Because they are separated from each other by three or four years, I look back at them as soil samples taken from the planets in the solar system of my life,” says Berman. “’Tanglewood Numbers’ is my Jupiter. What's Sufjan Stevens up to now? His second state? I'm going to start working on my Saturn later this year. Followed by the disappointing double live album Uranus.”

With titles like “Sometimes a Pony Gets Depressed,” and a well-known penchant for taking the piss to press in interviews, Berman’s description of his touring band’s sound promises a lively evening.

“The set won't even be half from the new album since we've never played the old stuff.
I think the band will sound like a barber on keys, a Polish-American stoner on drums, two sons of the nineteenth century on duel lead guitars, and a female cyborg in every bunk bed after the show,” says Berman.
» Stuck in my head!
Get the phone!
Who's it for?
Gargelor! Gargelor!
» OMG!
The latest loudly-bleeted gossip from the computer lab, after the girls left for about an hour and I had to answer some guy's question about how to print properly, is that this poxy girl's mom found her LiveJournal in which she detailed her sex toy habit and OMG! mom freaked out.

"I mean, it's just not the sort of thing that, like, I take pride in talking about with people. My sex toys. Especially not my mom."

Well, here's a tip genius-- how about giving the rest of the computer lab that courtesy.
» We've got Harpers... Maybe we should try for the Atlantic
This essay really sums up how I feel about a tremendous plurality of writing these days, and why I feel like I've retreated from fiction generally.
I know it might be reactionary in how conservative it is, and I'd hate to think that it's because I'm getting older that I might appreciate more things, but there are two traits that I really don't tend to enjoy in fiction— those pieces that try to force through a boorish vision of "this is the way things are, and I've written this to prove it," and those pieces that prize ambiguity and ornamentation as goals in and of themselves. I know that things often end up written or drawn or printed because they looked cool and tickled the fancy of whoever created them, but that doesn't necessarily do anything for me. I think for too long, I've dismissed a lot of analysis of literature because of a high school teacher who insisted that every moment of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde was planned and positioned perfectly. I remember thinking that just because there's a house with a slanted roof doesn't mean that it's an allegory for the ego-id-super ego (she'd make a triangle with her fingers, just like when Stevenson has some scene that involved a steeple).
On the other hand, I know that there really are things worth looking for in fiction, and that the things that affect me tend to be images that reflect how a character is percieving his or her surroundings, not the author. Authors are people and I give far less of a shit about them than I do a good character in service of a book. When an author sets out to tell me what they think, it's almost always far less interesting than seeing what a character would think in the same situation, especially if it's backed up by something.
» Overheard in the computer lab
While I'm again trying to supplement my linguistics class with, well, whatever I can learn on the internet in order to counteract the combination of breezy, fast teaching style and the insipid questions of my classmates, I'm treated again to the loud ramblings of our computer lab attendant.

Farbeit from me to say, hey, y'know, maybe this shouldn't be some sort of coffee klatch over people studying. Oh no, I'd much rather hear how much The Fountainhead has influenced her thinking, and how she was raised on a farm, and how (OMG) Harry Potter tickets are, like, hard to get. (To what, I'm not sure, as it's at the $1 theater...)

How much do you think I should listen to before chiming in? I don't want to be That Guy (yeah I do), but they're sooo stupid, and the older (as old as me even) bearded guy is giving these two spotty girls with more eyeliner than Robert Smith such a fucking pathetic suck-up that it's about to make me cry. The dismissive way that one of the two girls describes her boyfriend is followed immediately by the pining, wistful mention of this guy's crush on a girl with a boyfriend. Yeah, you're laying it on pretty fucking thick if innocent bystanders can't help but notice the flailing attempts.

This is why when AskMetafilter has the recurring "I'm such a nice guy... Why won't she talk to me" bullshit, my immediate thought is "You're probably a whining wuss who needs an ass beating more than a blowjob."

Christ, I need to get out of here and get a beer.
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