Wednesday, July 28, 2004

links, punctuation, and merkins, of course

Like so many online, I am drawn to the spectacle that is American politics. As a Canadian, these things interest me far more than they should. For instance, why is it that practically every week I know most of the news that concerns the top 10 conservative idiots? When did I become one of Atrios' more regular readers? Why have I developed a morbid fascination with how many coalition soldiers have been killed in Iraq (this goes beyond my minor number fetish)? Do you too keep up with the blogging of Tom Tomorrow (if you don't, definitely read his archived comics)? This reading comes at the expense of reading more interesting things, unless I spend way too much time online. Frell, I even play/watch way too many flash games. And how did I forget this, of all things, when making these links the first time?! If you have got past level 22, let me know.

When I was thinking of what exactly Whoopi's joke about Bush might have been, the words "Animated Merkin" popped into my head. And I laughed! I don't know if anyone else has come up with this, and I am certainly not going to google for it, but if you know of anything, or are willing to look at a lot of unrelated merkin websites, let me know.

In other news, I discovered while reading Karen Elizabeth Gordon's The Well-Tempered Sentence, that you don't need to use a question mark following a rhetorical question. She also agrees with me (and Lynne Truss;  warning: questionable punctuation game) about the proper placement of punctuation as concerns quotation marks. And even though

Hmm. I saved this as a draft yesterday, no, the day before (umm, no), but apparently something got lost. I have no idea what I was going to write after that. Oh well. Hmm, I have a vague memory of leaving the entry unfinished like that, believing that I couldn't forget what came next. This memory may well be just one of those false beliefs the brain generates to make reality easier.
I'd link to something brain-y and psychological/neurological, but you know all about that, right? Well, there are a lot of false beliefs people have about the brain and consciousness. Do I really want to get into it? I don't feel like playing a flash game, so maybe I will.
First though, I will eat supper. Yes, I know that it is 10:40, but I am making a mix tape for work using songs I like from all my old CMJ CDs. Time consuming, listening to so many okay songs. So far I've only collected Elliott Smith, the Eels, and Amon Tobin.
And like, this is a week later. That brain stuff is going to have to wait. Why do I not post more often? cause I suck? do I care?
If you care about the line-up of the mix tape, email me. I finished it today, and called it Days of Sadness and Medication. There is some stuff on there I am totally unfamiliar with, but kinda like.  Who are "Essex Green", and "My Favorite"? I guess I'll learn in a few days, thanks to, your personal radio station (audioscrobbler fans should get excited, but not too much).
-Starcat, uneasy without U.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

A beef with the CBC (and French movies)

Currently I have no cable TV. This isn't really all that bad, since the only show I really watch is The Daily Show, and CTV airs that. Oh, and Jeopardy, occasionally (even now that Ken is on his 36th win; you'd think that I'd tune in more often just so I wouldn't miss that moment of pop culture that will be him losing, but no). Even when I had cable, I discovered that I was watching not much more than music videos, terrible movies (especially the really bad ones, like crack they were to me - I watched Mangler 2, twice), and commercials.
I love commercials. What's not to like, really. They are generally more arty than anything else on TV, non-linear seems to be in, I love guessing what product is being shilled (I am scarily good at this, though I have a sneaking suspicion that many of us are), and they are one of only a few mainstream outlets to hear new, good music (now that I don't have cable, maybe the only one; the two others before were the WB and the Wedge on Much). Oh, and I almost forgot about all the sexy people (how could I have forgotten about the sex?).
There are bad commercials, though, and these come in two kinds* (well, if I stopped to think about this, there are probably more, but whatever. And a special category is reserved for Mel Farr, Superstar). The first is the kind that makes you shake your head and compose a better ad on the spot. We've all done this, and it doesn't take a marketing degree to add vitality and surprise to a bland commercial (I really am thinking about changing jobs, my virtual portfolio will make you laugh, I swear).
The second kind of bad commercial I despise; it is so bad you have to change the channel when it begins, or else risk contamination. These ads are almost always local, and manage to be simultaneously boring and irritating, devoid of any creativity, and are generally insultingly terrible. Dating service commercials also fit in here, as there aren't any sexy singles waiting for my call at midnight on a Wednesday in my city, and if there are, how lame for them. Which brings me back to the start: during the Daily Show, which is on at midnight in my time zone, there are very, very terrible local ads, and I am shuddering just thinking about them. No, I won't mention them, but if you are from around here you probably know which I am talking about.
Now, when you have cable, and a bad ad comes on, changing the channel is a wonderful option; almost too wonderful for me, as I am a typical male who channel surfs rather well, and sometimes forget to come back to the show I was originally watching. When you don't have cable, you don't have this option. Yet you must still change the channels, and simply must bear the brunt of what you find. At midnight, there are only two other channels (a fourth channel just does not come in at night on the rabbit ears). They are both CBC, and one is in English, and one is in French. Which brings me to my beef:
CBC, what is up with your late night movie language policy? The following happens practically every night: On the English channel, a French movie will be playing, with subtitles; on the French channel, an English movie will be playing, dubbed into French. WTF!!
I don't have a problem with French, or with the French channel (some of my friends are French..., ha!), it's just that I don't know it that well, despite a minimal desire to learn (cause I actually do have French friends). I appreciate that CBC is playing French movies, and I love that they are subtitled, because I hate dubbing: this is beside the point. CBC programmers, why can't you put the English movie on the English channel and the French one on the French channel? Most of us have closed captioning if we want the appropriate subtitles. Or, somewhat easier, maybe: Don't dub the English movie, just subtitle it into French; this will not only preserve whatever "education" goals you had in mind, but will extend them to the realm of teaching French spelling to the anglophones.
I know return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

*You've probably heard this one, which is why it's at the bottom: There are only two kinds of people in the world, those who think there are two kinds of people, and those who don't. Whenever I hear "there are two kinds...", this automatically pops in my head, and invariably pops out of my mouth. Sometimes I sex it up by sounding like Dorothy Parker, but this works better when I am drunk.

Friday, July 09, 2004

I'm back - the music issue

I went on a music purchasing binge the last few weeks. I've drastically cut down on my liquid medication bill, so I had to waste my "extra" money on something...
Purchases include: The Apples in Stereo - Velocity of Sound; The Walkmen - Bows and Arrows; Yo La Tengo - I can hear the heart beating as one; The Clash - London Calling; The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin; Wilco - a ghost is born; and you will know us by the trail of dead - source tags and codes; Tragically Hip - In between evolution; The Cure - s/t. Some pleasures here, some disappointments. The new Hip album is one of the disappointments, there doesn't seem to be anything that immediately catches my attention, just a lot of rock sounding music. Like most albums, I'll have to give it the six listen judgement, but I'd caution people to stay away from it. The same goes for the new Cure album. There are a few good songs, but absolutely no new ground is covered, and there are no songs with that wonderful pop hook they did so well in the 80s. And Robert, can you please stop writing songs about how you feel so fucking sorry for yourself? These are the moments when you are at your most trite.
The Clash, Yo La Tengo, trail of dead, and the Lips are albums I've wanted for a while but haven't had the opportunity until now to pick up. I'm currently listening to the Walkmen. Did they have a song on a car commercial? The singer's voice sounds familiar. I first heard them on the mixed CD that came with the special music issue of the Believer. I could look it up, I suppose, but I'm too lazy right now. Okay, I looked it up, and the song was "We've been had" from Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone, the commercial for Saturn (this planet, it has rings? hmm). Apples in Stereo I picked up because they are on the Elephant 6 label, home to Neutral Milk Hotel (enough of which lately I can not get). This one is quite good, but I have not the skill to tell you what it sounds like, as "hard-edged, fuzz guitar sugary pop" is not really anywhere close.
Oh, and the new Wilco album is amazing.
Ah, sweet work-filled weekend, how will I find time to sleep?