Saturday, June 24, 2006

Birthday Redux

Saturday birthdays are better than Tuesday birthdays so here we are in the second round of paying homage to my [barely concealed] inner-princess. Let the fawning begin!

I have before me, in addition to my trusty laptop, a pile of goodies lovingly selected from my Amazon wishlist and then purchased in brick and mortar stores in order to ensure that no bargains were obtained and our economy would suffer none because of me, and my 43 years on earth. To amuse me for the day, and beyond I hope, I have:

CDs: Broken Boy Soldier by The Raconteurs. I've seen a lot of reviews that sounded good for this one. I tried to not read too many of them, just enough to make me curious---they've been hailed as kind of an old-school rock and roll band; a 2006 super band doing 1978 kind of rock. I'm listening to the first track right now and it has a definite appeal: driving rhythm, simple lyrical structure, frequent chorus refrain, easy to make bridge... so far so good. I don't know about you guys but there hasn't been much in the rock world to make me happy since Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam all conceded the charts to the likes of Oasis and the flipping Counting Crows. Could we PLEASE have some legitimate rock and roll?

These are the Vistas by The Bad Plus. I've been through this once already this morning and its got a lot to grab attention. First, I'm a major fan of the jazz trio; its perhaps my favorite ensemble format (although a good soloist from time to time is nice). TBP are smart and talented, I think. On the first run-through I think I liked "1972 Bronze Medalist" but perhaps most for its major-key relief from the chaotic and mournful tracks preceding it. Among those, I like their take on "Smells Like Teen Spirit" but I found myself wondering how much I would have enjoyed it if I had not had Nirvana's lyrics running through my head. I do think they captured quite poignantly the angst and despair.

Jibaro by Miguel Zenon. This is kind of a risky selection for me (what a ridiculous thing to say). I mostly don't have any affinity for latin jazz and mostly dislike the alto sax. But I was completely knocked out by Zenon when we saw him with the SFJAZZ Collective in April so what the hell. Maybe I'll be surprised; that's what I'd like.

Songbook by Nick Hornby. I have to acknowledge the bit of serendipity that brought this to my attention.... Drew asked me about A Long Way Down after mentioning it last Saturday; in following up on his question, I discovered this book by Hornby. Its Hornby's reflections on 31 songs that are intensely meaningful to him---it has been described as "a diary in mix-tape form" although I question that analogy---in the tiny snippet I've read already Hornby says this really bold thing,
"One can only presume that the people who say that their very favorite record of all time reminds them of their honeymoon in Corsica, or of their family Chihuahua, don't actually like music very much. I wanted mostly to write about what it was in these songs that made me love them, not what I brought to them."
Can't wait to read more.

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. This was recommended to me by a fellow public health zealot and it sounds very intriguing.

I find myself now at this interesting point. I think I'm going to have to make a decision about what my true intentions are vis a vis music and literature. For many years I had been incubating ideas for a novel of historical fiction that I intended to write in my retirement. It was going to be set during the 1918 influenza pandemic. So much has been published recently about that epidemic now that I doubt I'd find much new to do with it given my particular fascination for the laboratory and community dynamics. So I'd been reorienting my plan toward a book on pop culture, particularly music, at the individual and societal levels. But now I think that Nick Hornby may have scooped me on that front. Maybe I'll just start writing knitting software --- although I recently purchased Sweater Wizard so maybe there's not much left there, either.

Hustle and Flow 'cuz you know, its hard out here for a pimp.
The Producers
I can't wait to see these two so if today ends up being rainy, I'm going to watch both. These are kind of ironic concurrent selections, dontcha think?

And finally, because no gift giving occassion is complete without a cool new toy, I have a new bluetooth wireless headset charging up. Asia has had this particular model for a while, she likes it. I got to play with it a little last weekend and it seemed infinitely better than the cheap-o model I had purchased several months ago (and promptly abandoned).

So---I think I'll get some time at the pool today to listen to new music and read new books and then watch a movie before Rob and I catch a quick dinner out. Its shaping up to be a wonderful day.

Rob went shopping...
So Rob was at our local "Dutch Market"--- a retail food outlet owned and run by an Amish community from Lancaster PA--- shopping for a birthday pie for me. While there, the 17year old boy behind the counter, clearly not on Rumspringa, remarked to a co-worker that a particular departing patron was "that mother-f*cker I was telling you about". Well. I never! How other-worldly is that?


Anonymous said...



Melissa said...

Happy birthday (again, still....) :)

The new format looks good. I love the pictures!