Friday, December 10
sonth of mondays
so, what's been going on? i still don't have a job, and i'm still not that upset about it. but maybe i will soon - i went to a temp agency the other day (one which was recommended by ruben, with whom i lunched on monday), and they will try to find something for me to do. and tower still say they're going to get back to me, although i'm not all that optimistic. last time i was there to check in, i bought a $5 dvd of three "cary grant classics." the one tara and i watched last night, amazing adventure, was definitely very silly. but i mostly bought it for his girl friday anyway. i still get cary grant and clark gable's names confused, does that happen to you? but i know which one is which.
i also saw sideways recently, last thursday in fact, also with tara, at the ritz at around 12:30 in the afternoon. i enjoyed it very much - it was undoubtably well-made, well-shot, well-acted, etc (although i have a hard time judging acting in film, especially) - but it made me realize that it's been a long time since i've seen a new movie that's really blown me away. i mean, this is supposed to be one of the best films of the year, and it may well be the best one i've seen (can't think of anything that particularly needs to go on that list - before sunset maybe, but it's a flawed movie for sure), but there's not really anything that amazing about it. as the movie goes on, it pushes more and more at line between realistic-yet-appealingly-unusual and implausible, and i think it finally crosses it toward the end, which may or may not be a strike against it.
that was also the day i walked to dave's house, listening to the murs album (which i realized is like the streets' except he can actually rap) and radical connecter, to make food and play bridge with louisa and various others. eve and dave maseri (sp?) made a bet involving a rubik's cube. the bridge was low key but it was good to be playing again; hopefully this can become a somewhat regular thing. made even more enjoyable by a couple of dark and stormys. i ended up crashing (actually, that was my plan all along), hanging around the next morning waiting for dave to return from running with laurel - he never did, but i listened to laurie anderson, made some leftovers, and read 1968, and eventually took a train out to swat.
i thought maybe dave mcc could help me sodder my busted dwl-122, but he didn't think he could hack it. but i did get online in mccabe (since i brought my computer all that way), although i spent most of the time downloading and not blogging or writing a review of blanket music. those internet things were an added incentive to my usual reasons to go out there - people, you know. i noticed, with some chagrin, that i'd been away on 'trips' pretty much every weekend for a month: to swat, new york (and swat), and new jersey, and now swat again. that's probably cheating as a way to circumvent the monotony that's supposed to develop and make me more inspired to figure out jobs and stuff. hence the chagrin, i guess. also, it means not doing weekend things in philly. but i will do some this weekend - anyway, i have no plans to leave the city - tomorrow night i'm going to see patti smith and then go dancing at l'etage. not sure about tonight.
it was a good weekend to be out at swat, because it was the one with all the performances. i saw dance concert on friday and enjoyed it more than usual on the whole - though i still can't deal with the kathak pieces. the best was unquestionably the first tap piece. ladeva has gotten some crazy stuff up on that stage, but she more than outdid herself this time. the stage was set up as an oversize child's bedroom, complete with a full-size bed, huge stuffed animals, big blocks, and dancers strewn all over the place dressed as various dolls (raggedy ann, classic clown in full face, martha as what exactly? with long blue wig and striped knee-highs.) music-box lullaby plays, and deva waddles onstage in pigtails, reindeer slippers, and outlandishly embellished white pajamas (with a face on the back), sucking her thumb and clutching an oversized stuffed bunny, and proceeds through a five-minute widdle-kid voice monologue, addressed to various animals and toys, about how she's going to wear her tap shoes to bed (they were hidden inside the slippers) and she wishes her dolls could dance too. (which of course they do after she gets into bed and says goodnight to teddy.) i think you get the idea. it was amazing.
after that, inertia took us to the most inscrutable and unfunny vertigogo show i've ever seen (sorry guys.) and briefly to olde club (that makes 4/4 for me this semester), where the band (honorary title?) were competent but not interesting enough to stay for. good couscous though. i ended up staying through saturday night as well, mostly because of other things falling through little by little throughout the day, so i got to see the senior company production of godot, well-retitled autumn summer winter winter, which i liked. it would have been cool if they'd made more use of the (externally-imposed) changes (it was reset in a bar, but that didn't seem to mean anything), but the new gender stuff was good. the new names were not good, but that doesn't really matter i suppose. as usual, it's hard for me to assess the acting, especially because i know all these people - there were only some times when i was able to forget that (which is one criterion), but there were at least a number when i was impressed by the differences they were able to create between their characters and themselves (which is another). but it is definitely a very excellent piece of dramatic writing.
one of the main objectives of the weekend was to spend time with rob, and i did a lot of that. in addition to the various performances, i accompanied him to trader joe's, where he stocked up for the winter, i fell asleep while he watched league of extraordinary gentlement on friday (but i caught enough of it to enjoy the cute premise), and we went out with nicole and justin to panera and the new cold stone creamery, which i recommend ("birthday cake remix" is one of the more intense things i've tasted in a while.) most notable, maybe, was hanging out in dave mcc's room saturday night, listening to the police and paul simon on his new turntable, and talking about post-joanna in a way their mental states didn't really allow to approach coherence very much.
that's a pattern - i feel like i've been spending a fair amount of time with people who are in variously altered states of consciousness. like dj on sunday, the morning (nope, afternoon) after 1/2-1/3 of a bottle of bourbon, not really drunk or hung-over, he said, but like some parts of his brain were working and others were just not, in a way that amused him considerably. it amused me too, but probably not as much. we had brunch (or at least food) at pico de gallo, where the menu is a considerable source of amusement in itself. then to laurel's to fare her well for a few months. there, quite unexpectedly, i acquired my missing-presumed-dead recopy of living in clip, as well as a toque. we stopped by louisa's (oh, right - the whole point of this weekend had been to play more bridge, at her inspiration, but her toothache, lack of phone charger, and other things, got in the way) but still no dice. but had a very pleasant and leisurely meal at kingdom with alyssa, speaking of the past in many ways, a sense of stability. and i didn't see the pixies, but i almost might have.
i didn't intend for this entry to be so chronological and narrative, i think that's probably making it pretty boring. i just wanted to write more or less without premeditation about various things that have happened in the interim between entries. well, i'll try to wrap it up with less recourse to chronology. the two major things left to talk about, i think, are music and gabe.
i've been listening to some things i downloaded over aol instant messenger from dave moore - specifically, albums by annie, m.i.a./diplo, the animal collective, and a couple more, eps by the arcade fire and belle and sebastian, and a whole mess of singles, in various genres, that came out in 2004. prior to this, i had not used a.i.m. at all since high school, i'm pretty sure, and i hadn't done much downloading in years. as you may know, it's not so much that i'm opposed to this kind of filesharing activity for moral reasons as that a) i'm just an object fetishist for the cds themselves, with artwork and dimensionality and everything, and b) i'm very wary of the rate my collection would increase at if i allowed myself to acquire albums as easily as is possible with computers and mp3s. although i have no intention of abandoning that stance, i have gradually been coming to understand how a wholly mp3-based relationship to ones music collection makes sense on a day-to-day basis, which makes me feel both less (because i can identify more readily with the impulse) and more (because i'm still personally resistant) like a luddite. anyway, there's some irony to the fact that the day i broke my habit and downloaded a copy of im (my possibly decade-old account was still ready and waiting for me to log on again), strictly so as to receive file transfers from both dave and dusted, i also purchased a long-lacking cd changer for my stereo, from uhuru - and, almost immediately, returned it once i realized only one channel was working.
so now i am better-equipped for the onslaught of year-end lists which has already begun. (dusted's begins next week; i'm still not sure whether or not i'm contributing. but they did run my daedelus review, as you might have seen. i still want to apply at stylus, and i will as soon as i get around to writing about blanket music. part of the problem is that i've unexpectedly begun to kind of like the album, which was not in the plan.) still not sure about this singles business. i mean, it's a good way to be inclusive and avoid rockism, but the parameters are not very well defined. couldn't we just pick songs? i guess that's even worse. apart from kanye (and jay-z [happy birthday btw] and, i guess, modest m. and franz f.), i had next to no overt interaction with "mainstream" pop stuff this year; it's really weird to encounter the stuff in this contextless way. some things i had certainly heard (presumably from spring paces parties?) - kevin lyttle's "turn me on" for instance, and christina milian's "dip it low", both of which i like a lot - but was unaware they were from this year. i'd never heard ms. milian's name, but oh my god "i could be that woman" is an amazing pop song, and i'm really confused about why it hasn't blown up to the point of making everyone sick of it, unless it has and i'm just really out of it. can someone tell me about this? am i wrong that it's brilliant? nevermind annie. also, is this shapeshifters thing an old disco cover/remix, and if so why is it a big deal? who are the freeform five? i have more questions, but i'll ask them some other time.
okay, and gabe. i have been spending a lot of time with him. actually, i've only seen him five times in my life. (where times=days.) i'll lose count soon, i promise. well, soon it will start sounding less impressive. but it does seem like we're unusually close friends for such a short amount of time. the first two times you know about. the third was when i went over to his place last wednesday, bearing my new accordion, met his cousin joe, played a little bit of music (a song that he'd just written which we recorded and which later showed up at my house on a cd labelled 'ross's mystery disc), then headed out in search of a dwl-122 (failure), bizarrely ran into pretty much the only other he knows in philly, whose name i first thought was sen, like chihiro, but is probably sin (or cyn?). we all went to tampopo, and then back to gabe's for pregame and b-52s (the band). i had a caramel porter, which was like candy beer. the khyber upstairs b/c her "friend" was spinning - also there we met a man man man. it was all jolly (at least when they played "fool's gold" and we tried dancing), but gabe was impassioned and upset walking home. he came over and we finished the frangipane. so that was a good long time.
time four was tuesday, when we went to the italian market and then the temping agency together. no, wait, actually we didn't, because it was too late by the time we figured out what was going on, and we couldn't get our resumes printed. but we did drive out to swat, where i djed for angela's small craft warnings/end of classes party. it was fun; as usual i played more "safe" well-known stuff than i might have liked, but that is what people like. subtlety doesn't always go over well (hence "99 problems" "without me" "darts of pleasure" is a crowd-pleasing set, and the milian thing, but they dribble off with "high come down") "heartbeat" twice, radioinactive's "moving truck" (good), "miracle drug." i can't remember many transitions, but there was some good beatmatching, (though it would probably be easier if i had some sense of bpm going in.) "chewing gum" > "car wash" is fairly perfect/obvious. "1999">"wanna be your lover". i opened with "neighborhood 1" when nobody was there, but much later on (after several requests!) dropped "rebellion" and it was suitably massive. and ended with "headlights." i was dancing with joanna (to what? not peaches) and a lift series turned into a dip that i hadn't anticipated and we lost control and fell kind of spectacularly, and i dirtied my knee. after the party, we visited with angie and robbie to say hello and sober up a little.
on wednesday we did do the temping thing. it was not in itself boring - it was amusing, silly computer and i.q. tests, picking "skills" for the online application out of a poorly indexed list of 2000+ that was almost impossible to scroll through (left with alphabetical, i chose "audio systems," "composing correspondence", and "cooking", but not "bonding rubber to metal" or "bending"), and then signing and dating, signing and dating - but it was a little taste of boring. that took a while, because then it was evening, and we took a little break and then went to dj's for roommate food, including fufu(!) and clean-up scrabble. blah di blah.
one thing that only hit me recently is that i've been interacting with positively zero adults these days. nobody that i come into regular contact with any more is past their twenties; even when i was working. in college at least there were profs, but it was supposed to change after that. maybe it does odd things to my perspective.
so, i didn't necessarily intend to write about everything that i've done since my last post, but i more or less have. it's probably not that interesting to read, and i haven't been trying to be writerly or anything. i'm really just writing for posterity, so i can look back later when i wonder what the hell i was doing with my life around this period. it's a good question.
pictures are more entertaining, no? i'll try to get some new pictures up soon, but in the meantime if you haven't seen these, why not take a look? there might be one of you!