Thursday, April 25, 2002

free stuff

The other week I got my premiums from my February contribution to WLUW’s pledge drive. Chalk one up for the college kids, as Kirsti’s subscription to TIME still has not kicked in from giving to NPR’s pledge drive nearly 8 months ago. I got three CDs, which are:

Manic Street Preachers, “This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours” -- Manic Street Preachers were supposed to be this rather firey punkish band, fueled by troubled lyricist/guitarist Richey James Edwards. In 1995 Edwards disappeared, an apparent suicide. TIMTTMY was their first full album since then. And I’m unimpressed. It’s very mainstream alt-rock, bordering at times on arena rock. So maybe I needed to experience the James era to really get the whole MSP thing. I asked this of a friend who’s way into them, and he concurred:

You are correct sir. While I still enjoy much of This Is My Truth (and it

certainly doesn't "suck" you bastard), it's definitely not characteristic

of their work as a whole. The band themselves even disowned it in retrospect,

calling much of it "a mistake." My favorite of theirs, and my fave album

all-time, is their third record--also their last w/Richey--The Holy Bible.

But be ready for a harrowing experience. The lyrics are absolutely brutal

and the music follows suit. It's the sound of a band going to war.

Definitely not easy listening. I love all their records though as I'm just

a bit partial. The first one is great--one of the most ambitious debuts

ever. Also, try 'Everything Must Go', the first album after Richey's

disappearance is extremely cathartic. Fuck, do yourself a favor and get

'em all!!

Okay, that goes on the list, but low. Somewhere after the new Wilco and Paul Westerberg CDs, Vols. 3-4 of Fantoma's Educational Archive DVDs, and the Buffy Season 2 DVDs.

John Lee Hooker - The Best of Friends

This is a 1998 compilation of collaborations from throughout the 1990s between the famous blues legend and his better-known acolytes: Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, and several others. With a roster like that it can’t not be good, especially an excellent “I Cover the Waterfront” with Booker T. Jones on organ -- but there’s something about much of it that smacks of “bunch of white guys straining to maintain blues cred” that just gnaws at me.

Henry Rollins - A Rollins in the Wry

I like this one best of the three. I imagine the former Black Flag/current Rollins Band frontman would prefer to think of this as spoken-word, but it’s essentially standup comedy, including riffs on dating and observational humor at Rite-Aid.

So 1-for-3 isn’t horrible. Better than a silly tote bag, and the premiums weren’t the point of the pledge anyway.

Monday, April 22, 2002

The big fear about the US reforming health care is that a Canadian model will mean we'll be waiting around forever for treatment. But considering I spent three hours waiting around to get 10-minute X-rays today for my followup arm visit, I say: O Canada!

And why, you may ask, didn't I speak up sooner? I did, at the 2-hour mark, but the point is, I shouldn't have had to at all. But anyway, I have x-rays that look just like the other ones, and a pain-free arm to boot, so we'll see what happens tomorrow.

So, interesting reading in the Radiology room today: the only magazines other than Radiology Today or whatever were some newsletters. One was Pallet,, the newsletter of the International Air Cargo Association of Chicago; some gun-rights newsletter by a group that was not the NRA; something by the National Taxpayers Association, and a partial letter from Jerry Falwell asking his sheep to work against a gay-rights bill. All very strange, considering last time I was there, there were a couple of Utne Readers.

Friday, April 19, 2002

What I Am Sick Of

I am sick of hearing about The Osbournes. I do not have cable. I've never seen an episode. I'm sick of The Osbournes being on the cover of every magazine we receive (okay, Ozzy has not yet graced Atlantic Monthly...yet). I'm sick of events on the episodes being relayed to me, usually in faux British accents. I'm sick of people shouting "SHARON!!!" like a crazed British Fred Flintstone.

The good thing about The Osbournes is people have finally shut up about Lord of the Rings, at least until December. But there's just a month until the incessant Star Wars jabber heats up again. Oh joy.
If you have a chance to see the re-release of 2001: A Space Odyssey that is quietly -- very quietly -- making the rounds, by all means do so.

And then you’ll never have to see it again.

I mean, no matter how big or hi-def your TV is, it won’t hold up as well as in a theatre. And you’re not likely to get that chance again any time soon, seeing as how Warner fumbled this re-release. Of course, you may have already decided that you hate this film from watching on video or TCM or whatever. And that’s fine. It is overlong and self-indulgent. Yes, you could probably read Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End twice in the time of a single screening and get the same message. But it’s still worth seeing and hating on a big screen. So shut up and eat your vegetables.

I was also surprised to see, or to be reminded, that 2001 is rated G, this from the man whose next film was A Clockwork Orange. Suprising in terms of content -- in the opening Dawn of Man sequence, an ape gets beaten to death with a bone (I’m sure many a term paper has been written on how the the first gift of the Monolith is to teach us how to kill more efficiently), and just because most G-rated films are clearly aimed at a kiddie audience. I think The Straight Story and The Rookie are the only exceptions in the last 10 years, maybe more.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Yesterday (as I write, Monday is still “yesterday” for another 10 minutes) was Patriot’s Day, and as Kirsti and I work for a company whose HQ is in Copley Square, site of the Boston Marathon finish line, we had the day off. It was also tax day, so I suppose it was appropriate that we spend the Kirsti wanted to make another run to IKEA. We were just there the weekend before, but that was with Mom and Donna, and we looked rather silly cramming four people and their assorted housewares into a Prizm.

So we, or rather, Kirsti, got some small stuff and six--count’em, six--tall-ass CD shelves. I took this opportunity to go to Gameworks for a couple of hours, and I had the place almost all to myself. There’s this game, Police 911, that senses your motions so that when you crouch or duck, your character does the same. Tres cool, but hell on your thighs. After playing for about 15 minutes, I had trouble going up or down stairs for a little bit, and I’m still feeling it in my legs. So I figure I need to get one of these. I’d use it more than the NordicTrak, that’s for damn sure. But I can just see it now: “Broke his arm curling...blew out a knee playing video games.”

Speaking of arcades, Pinball Pete’s in Ann Arbor is one of the best I’ve been to. They don’t have Police 911 or my other current fave, The Grid, but they do have a great selection of vintage stuff: Tron! Track & Field *and* HyperSport! And best of all, a sit-down Spy Hunter! They just need Cobra Command to be,well, my dream rec room, circa 1985.

I just got back from a test screening of a new film. My friends and I liked it very much, and felt it was pretty much the way it needed to be, particularly the ending which, from the questions on the questionnaire, had been a problem earlier on. In the interest of honoring the secrecy agreement I signed: This is the followup to an acclaimed director’s big hit. It stars a couple of household names, one of whom is playing a much different role than this person has led us to expect. I think this film will do quite well.

But I didn’t spend two freakin’ weeks at the movies. I’ve spent most of that preparing for TRASHionals, entertaining houseguests for a weekend, preparing for said visit, and doing taxes. TRASHionals went well, apparently. Not many complaints about questions (yet), and despite some delays things seemed to run well (and overall, we finished five minutes ahead of time, including a lengthy award ceremony). I was dubbed protest czar, apparently due to having missed a meeting. I was asked about three questions, one of which we ended up going to the Web right there to adjudicate (we were correct). We/I also overruled the other two, which turned out to be the right calls: “Payless Shoes” or Payless Shoe Store” are not acceptable equivalents to “Payless ShoeSource,” and “BMG” is an arm of Bertelsmann AG (the answer sought), but is not an equivalent answer based on what was already read.

Took a side trip to Casino Windsor Friday night with some of the BU folks past and present. Lot of skanks there. The minimum age is 19, but I swear there were some trashy-looking 14-year-olds working the casino floor. But anyway, I ended up losing (to the casino, not the skanks) US$64. That was enough to make me skip a chance to recoup at the MGM in Detroit.

Monday, April 1, 2002

Greg Sorenson Controls A Very Very Tiny Universe, Albeit Briefly

Mwahahahaaa...I was the phantom Stanford voter. Initially I voted about five times after Mark announced his poll. Once I saw someone was trying to sway voting toward Texas, I stuffed the box with enough votes to give the Tree a modest edge. Then once I saw Matt, currently a Bay Area resident, deny being the voter, I went all out. If you hit the "vote" button multiple times in a certain rhythm just as the host was being contacted, it would tally multiple votes. So it was a quick matter to register a few hundred new votes in just a minute or two without having to go back to the voting page after each vote.

My reasons? Mostly to foment intrigue among five or so people. But also, Stanford was the least objectionable of the teams that made Mark's cut. Being a Yankee, UNC and Kentucky are out. As a Minnesotan (but not a Gopher fan by any means) I couldn't back Iowa, and am surprised Mark would even consider a team that produced Acie Earl. I dislike orange (never mind that I frequently wear a ratty Flyers sweater I picked up for $5), so Texas is out. Which left Arizona and Stanford, and I chose solely on the basis of the Tree alone. Personally I would have chosen Maryland, for no good reason, certainly for no reason having to do with ACF. Probably because the Terrapins are a mascot as equally ridiculous as "Terriers."