Friday, February 24, 2006

iPod's Random Shots

Today being Friday and all:

Monkey Wrench - Foo Fighters
Hal-An-Tow - Oyster Band
You've Got a Friend - James Taylor*
It Started With a Kiss - Paul Kelly
The Road to Hell (Part 1) - Chris Rea**
Let it Ride - Ryan Adams & the Cardinals
The Cover of the Rolling Stone - Dr. Hook
Ramble On - Led Zeppelin
Southern Man - Neil Young
Sodajerk - Buffalo Tom

* In high school I was in the band, and our sister program was choir. That program had a jazz choir, which would have better been called MOR choir, complete with white girls who danced about as well as Steve Martin in The Jerk. I still remember them butchering this song, including these strange little sideways chopping motions with the hand, from chest height working down to waist height, all on the beat with the words "Winter, Spring, Summer of Fall." And yet I still like the song.

** This is a frustrating thing about the shuffle feature, since really, Part 1 should have been followed by Part 2.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Music You Should Be Listening To

Four great albums as of late, and only one purchased in, like, a real music store. That would be Smart Kid by the Clumsy Lovers, great fun and smart writing:

There is no finer love, no genuiner love, no more diviner love, then clumsy love
This is not minor love, not wine her dine her love, not fine designer love, this is clumsy love
No it's not shriner love, not pick up liner love, not I me miner love, not porcupiner love
It's not moonshiner love, not Calvin Kleiner love, not alkaliner love, this is clumsy love

The other three albums were all downloaded via iTunes: Sarah Harmer's remarkable I'm a Mountain, the great Beth Orton's Comfort of Strangers (a nice return to form for her), and Picaresque by the Decembrists, which needs to be heard, since it's so damn hard to describe.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Award Info

Two nomination forms are now out. The Aurora Awards form is here in PDF. The Locus Poll is here.

The Locus Poll has a drop-down menu which includes, in the Short Story category, "Mayfly," the story written by Peter Watts and me. That story and also "Summer's Humans" are eligible in the Best Short-Form Work in English category in the Auroras. The book where "Summer's Humans" first appeared, Wasps at the Speed of Sound, is also eligible for Best Long-Form Work in English. Oh, and "The Day Michael Visited Happy Lake," written by my closest friend Matt Walker for the anthology Fantastic Companions, is also eligible for the short-form award. Elaine Chen's magnificent cover for my book makes her eligible for Artistic Achievement, and On Spec is eligible in Best Work in English (Other).

If anyone is interested in nominating one of these but hasn't read it, let me know and I can fire off a copy via email.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Music to Be Very Cold By

Today's Random Ten:

The Goodman - Kate Rusby
Why Does It Always Rain On Me? - Travis
You've Got a Friend - James Taylor
I Love Everybody - Lyle Lovett
Have You Ever Seen the Rain? - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Auberge - Chris Rea
Sent By Angels - Arc Angels
Graceland - Paul Simon
The Finest Kind - Stephen Fearing
Travelin' Band - Creedence Clearwater Revival

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Smart Business Model

If you ran a records management and storage company and you moved to a new location, wouldn't it make sense to do a change of address with the post office so your mail could follow you? I smell irony in the air, I do.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Time for Friday's Random Ten

Especially since I missed last week, having forgotten and all.

The Valley Road - Bruce Hornsby with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Rose of Cimarron - Poco
The Battle of Evermore - Led Zeppelin
Speed of Sound - Coldplay
Fairytale of New York - The Pogues with Kristy MacColl
Give Blood - Pete Townshend
Real Fine Love - John Hiatt
Hey Jude - The Beatles
Synchronicity II - The Police
Little Kings - Paul Kelly

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Dem Bones

While working the other day, I looked down the street and for several seconds was sure that I saw the skeleton of a dinosaur lying at the side of the road. Looking closer (and dammit, I wish I'd had a camera), I saw that it was a pile of snow, pushed up by a grader so it looked like a ridge along a spine. What played the real trick on the eyes was that the sun was shining through a fence, and the shadows played along the side of the "body" like a rib cage. Another chunk of snow served nicely as a head at the end of a long neck.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Trouble in Islam

All the anger and threats coming from the Muslim world these days are over a series of editorial cartoons that have run in European publications. Of course, Jews haven't rioted over depictions of their own in the Arab press. Yes, this is somewhat disingenuous, in that Mohammed can be blasphemed a little more easily than your average Jew. After all, images of Mohammed are not permitted, much less images of him wearing a bomb as a turban.

However, there are parts of the Muslim world (including areas of India) where pictures of the Prophet appear in children's books and other sources. And really, when you think about it, nobody actually knows what Mohammed looked like. How easy would it have been to point to these cartoons and say, "Gee, what a bunch of losers, not knowing what they're talking about and drawing this pathetic caricature of an Arab"?

Not easy enough, obviously. Much more sensible to threaten, to shoot guns into the air, and to break out the latest styles of bandanas and masks.

Music to Stroll Around By

Today's Random Ten:

Psycho Killer - Talking Heads (live version)
Advice for the Young at Heart - Tears For Fears
Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
Medley Four: Feed the Birds/Whistle While You Work/I'm Wishing/Cruella de Ville/Dumbo and Timothy* - Garth Hudson/NRBQ/The Replacements/Bill Frisell/Wayne Horvitz
Bring Me a Boat - Kate Rusby
The Kid is Hot Tonite** - Loverboy
Twin Cinema - The New Pornographers
Out of the Window - Violent Femmes
Courage (For Hugh MacLennan) - The Tragically Hip
Breaking Us In Two - Joe Jackson

*From the Disney compilation Stay Awake, there are several interesting medleys like this, plus some stand alone songs. Great album.
**In my defense, today was Red Leather Pants and Bandana Day at work.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Five of My Weird Habits

Walter over at Angel Station posted his own and then put out a sort of generic tag, so I thought I'd take it and run. Understand that because I have Tourette's Syndrome (a very minor form), I'm prone to all sorts of funny little tics and habits. It's finding the right ones to list that's tough.

1. When I walk up or down stairs, I always have to start on my right foot. Coming down, the last step always has to be with my left foot, so that the main floor is started with my right. The exception to this is when I take a new set of stairs where there are so many I can't count them as I approach. I have other right/left balance issues, but that's a biggie.

2. When I play goal in soccer (more often than I'd like, since our keeper has been sidelined much of the indoor season, and I'm the backup), whenever an opponent approaches from the wing, I have to reach out and tap the post to know where I am. Even thought I know damn well where I am and how far away that post is.

3. I like to snap my toes, the big one and the next one, on both feet at the same time. They don't snap like my fingers, obviously.

4. When I take a photo of something out in the natural world, I take a moment to say "Thank you." Not to anyone in particular, but just for the opportunity to see and keep a special moment.

5. When I make toast I have to regularly pop it up and flip it, upside-down and facing the other way from where it was the last time. It doesn't matter how good the toaster is; I do this two to four times, more if I'm feeling somewhat antsy.

So now I'm supposed to tag 5 others? Hmm. Jena, Elaine, Bill, Randy, and Suze.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bigger News Than I Have to Offer

Friend and compatriot Holly Phillips has emailed to tell me that she (due to her book, In the Palace of Repose) has been nominated for the Crawford Award, to be given by IAFA at this year's conference in Florida. If you haven't read this book yet, all I can say is, Get on it!

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