some birds are funny when they talk








Stuck in my Head
"Kiss Me Harder" by Bertine Zetlitz
"Hot" by Avril
"Brain Problem Situation" by They Might Be Giants

Now Reading
Number 9 Dream by David Mitchell
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

Recently Finished
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Mad Tony and Me by Carl Hoffman
Sweet Soul Music by Peter Guaralnick
This Must Be The Place: Adventures of Talking Heads in the 20th Century by David Bowman
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Movies Lately
4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days
Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts
Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour
2 Days in Paris
United 93
The Savages
The Bourne Ultimatum
Sweeney Todd
The Departed
What Would Jesus Buy?
Ghost World
I'm Not There
She's The Man
Lars and the Real Girl
Romance and Cigarettes
No Country for Old Men
Into the Wild
I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With
Across the Universe

Shows Lately
Damo Suzuki/Stinking Lizaveta @ Mill Creek
Death and the Maiden @ Curio
Devon Sproule/Carsie Blanton/Devin Greenwood/John Francis @ Tin Angel
Assassins @ The Arden
Oakley Hall and the Teeth @ Johnny Brendas
Isabella and Flamingo/Winnebago and Map Me and Gatz and Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven and Sonic Dances and Strawberry Farm and The Emperor Jones and No Dice and Hearts of Man and Principles of Uncertainty and Isabella and BATCH and Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's 20th Century and Car and Sports Trilogy and Explanatorium and Wandering Alice and Must Don't Whip Um and Festival of Lies and A Room of Ones Own and Recitatif @ the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival/Philly Fringe
Martha Graham Cracker and Eliot Levin and Kilo etc. @ the Fringe Cabaret
Lullatone and Teletextile @ Boulder Coffee [Rochester]
TV Sound @ the M Room
Aretha Franklin @ East Dell, Fairmount Pk.
Romeo + Juliet in Clark Park
Daft Punk @ Red Rocks
Spoon @ Rockefeller Park
Ponytail at Pony Pants' House
Mirah/Benjy Ferree @ the 1UC
Tortoise @ World Cafe Live
Hall & Oates...ish
"Nuclear Dreams" - Mascher Dance Group, x2
The Four of Us @ 1812
Machines Machines Machines Machines Machines Machines Machines by Rainpan whatever
Mascher Dance Group/Nathaniel Bartlett
Cornelius @ TLA
Sloan @ World Cafe
In Fluxxxx
Slavic Soul Party!/Red Heart the Ticker @ I-House
the Fantasticks @ Mum
Peter Bjork + Jorn/Fujiya + Miyagi @ fkaTLA
John Vanderslice @ Johnny Brendas
The Books & Todd Reynolds @ 1UC
Into the Woods @ LPAC
The Fishbowl @ the Frear
Caroline, or, Change @ the Arden
Low & Loney, Dear. @ 1UC

Thursday, July 29

asheville public library now. which by the way has signs posted about not bringing firearms inside. ben says they (fafsa) sent him his pin, which is a load off his headache. now we're trying to find some white gas, and then we will begin our adventures on the parkway. the plan such as it has developed so far is to start out going south tonight to camp (we're starting sort of in the middle.) then backtrack after a morning hike, explore asheville a little, and hike in the craggy gardens north of here. maybe mt. mitchell on saturday. we'll see.

i'm thinking we will split our time roughly 50/50 driving and hiking, maybe a little more hiking overall. i like this idea of driving as a leisure activity. and it has more or less been that way, even today on the mostly unimpressive I-40, which is as suburban and strippy as anywhere else in the country. in the passenger's seat i read and listen to music and look at the scenery. driving i do the latter two and i'm new enough to it that it's a small thrill still. and the parkway will be a good thing to have on my driving resume.

yesterday afternoon we played in carrboro, "the SoHo of the south," which is full of thrift stores, good cheap mexican joints, and used book shops, which meant we had to go to borders to get what we really wanted (an up-to-date guidebook.) and we were back in the evening for the opening night (or maybe the pre-opening night?) of the merge15fest at local 506 ("music. bar.") which was awesome! (a 9, said ben, would have been a 10 if the crowd had danced, already. at least they were into it.)

first, unassuming, self-depping loo barlow, with travel stickers on his guitar, played a short sweet set of songs he didn't want certain people to hear (an old "very mean" song about a good friend, and a risqueish one implicitly about cheating on his wife, or wanting to) and then one about a kitty. he was quiet and nice. and then. we were in the very front (nobody wanted to be in front?) so we had an excellent vantage point to watch as the next band set up, one member after another taking the stage with more and more instruments, unintentionally but very effectively building our anticipation, at least. the arcade fire, who i'm pretty sure most of the audience had never heard, had everyone amped to rock and roll in about ten seconds flat. and then stopped. because the bassist broke a string. but fortunately they started again after a little while. i won't tell you much about the music, except that it was great and fun and dancy and rocking and interesting, and they all changed instruments a little too much for the sake of putting on a smooth show, but whatever. and they were cute.

and then, the headlining event (or something): merge karaoke. which meant, they had copies of the entire merge catalog, and mics to sing along, and if the lyrics were printed in the booklet you could read them. ben and i did "let's pretend we're bunny rabbits" and got a good response. i introduced myself to christina, the merge publicist who i know from many e-mail exchanges, because i recognized her from her picture in the indy weekly. she was just a giddy bundle of drunken energy, ridiculously excited to meet me/us, and talk about bears and audiences and "i love sending you cds!" then she and richard (the tall guy from arcade fire who looks like ben e-c and/or napoleon dynamite) did karaoke of that lambchop song with the "ooh-ooh" chorus. they didn't know any of the words but they got that chorus right on. better still, win and regine (also from the band - regine being the crazy vampy keyboard-drums-accordion player) got up and did "born on a train," with guitar and tambourine and dancing. also some guys who work at merge did all of "king of carrot flowers" which was pretty funny.

so. that's north carolina, for now. i also want to mention lika, ben's friend who was, as advertised, generous to a fault with her house and her food and patience for our hours. fortunately ben almost balances her out. and even though i had a cold and/or allergies coming on when we arrived, somehow her five or so cats didn't make it worse and i was perfectly fine the next day.