Monday, June 30, 2008

Amy, Amy, Amy...

"Troubled singer Amy Winehouse will not face an investigation after she appeared to throw a punch at a member of the audience at the end of her Glastonbury Festival set, police said.

"The Camden-based singer climbed down to the pit in front of the Pyramid stage, at Worthy Farm, in Pilton, Somerset, to meet fans during set closer Rehab, and scuffled with an unseen reveller." (link)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Music Special, June 27

"Ara Batur" - Sigur Ros
More than slightly enchanting, a wee bit haunting, and all chill. Zane popped this on, earlier this week. I was blown away.

"Geraldine" - Glasvegas
Reminiscent of the old (read: relevant) U2, think a diet Achtung Baby. When not trying too hard, it succeeds well enough. Good night-driving track.

"The Harder They Come" - Jimmy Cliff
One part of me wants to dislike this song, purely because it's so damn basic. The other part can't stop bobbing its head, tapping its feet, and singing along. I've kicked the metal "modesty skirt" under my desk at least six times while writing this.

"Shut Up And Let Me Go" - The Ting Tings
A shameless rip off of just about every White Stripes video ever made. Just as infectious. No way I could listen to a whole album of this - but a track at a time? Well suuuure.

"I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked" - Ida Maria
Honestly, the title alone should be enough. Just think about Cyndi Lauper fronting the Ramones, and playing on the roof of that building at the end of 10 Things I Hate About You.

"Mona Lisa" - Nat King Cole
One of my all time, top-5 favorite songs, by one of my all time, top-5 favorite singers.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

One Of Those Mornings

Clearly, if I'm feeling like this:

I should have just stayed home, for a little of this:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Quality of Life Index, June 25

Random call from other MIT department, asking about interest in a new, exciting opportunity with their group. (+3)

Potential interview with PhD program at Harvard, for purely academic purposes. (+4)

Unabashed, uninvited,  renewed fascination with Facebook. Ability to locate virtually anyone, almost instantly, is intoxicatingly attractive. Time well spent. Productivity suffers. (even)

Finished Fargo Rock City, started The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Both make me want to write more. Hopefully, both incite action. Change, affected. (+2)

Maui Coffee Co. morning brew & office coffee maker combination. (+5)

Favorite acoustic guitar in desperate need of setup & new strings. Checking account in desperate need of additional disposable income to finance setup & new strings. (-3)

Looming threat of (again) having to move. (-5)

This Week's Total: (+6)
Last Week's Total: (+42)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

26" Wheel of Death

Let's talk about something that makes me absolutely nucking futs: people who ride their bicycles on the sidewalk. If you are one of these people, be forewarned. 

We supposedly have a deal with each other. You bicyclists, and we pedestrians. You, the bane of the road - and we, the crosswalk's burden. Today - you have violated the terms of the agreement.
This morning, while I walked from car to desk, one of you came about an inch shy of clipping my leg with a 26" wheel of death. This makes me angry. This makes me wish I could walk down the street with a bag full of screwdrivers, and stick them in folks' spokes as they whisk by. This makes me feel like I did the first time I heard Appetite - 'like breaking things'.  

Seriously - this is Cambridge. There are painted-on bike lanes on BOTH sides of the street. BOTH SIDES! There is no reason to ride your sloppy pink cruiser down the sidewalk, cutting a swath through proponents of good old fashioned bipedal transportation. If you're too much a wuss to ride your bike on the road, take the T. If you don't want to do that - why don't you just put on your helmet and walk in the bike lane. What's that? The bike lane isn't for walking? Go fucking figure.

Tomorrow, I'm packing a quiver of flatheads. Watch your spokes, suckas.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday Funnies

Haven't done a news post in a while:

Man Auctions Self -
"When Ian Usher's partner of 12 years left him broken-hearted, he decided the best way to move forward was to auction off his whole life...From Sunday, June 22 for one week, the Australian's life is up for sale on eBay with the package including his $405,000 three-bedroom house in Perth, a trial for his job at a rug store, his car, motorbike, clothes and even friends"

Chinese South Africans Are Black -
"A high court in South Africa ruled on Wednesday that Chinese-South Africans will be reclassified as “black,” a term that includes black Africans, Indians and others who were subject to discrimination under apartheid. As a result of this ruling, ethnically Chinese citizens will be able to benefit from government affirmative action policies aimed at undoing the effects of apartheid.

"In 2006, the Chinese Association of South Africa sued the government, claiming that its members were being discriminated against because they were being treated as whites and thus failed to qualify for business contracts and job promotions reserved for victims of apartheid. The association successfully argued that, since Chinese-South Africans had been treated unequally under apartheid, they should be reclassified in order to redress wrongs of the past."

Sarcasm Is An Evolutionary Survival Skill -
"Neurophysiologists at the University of California have recently discovered that sarcasm plays an important part in human social interaction. Subsequently, people who don’t get sarcasm may have some damage in their parahippocampal gyrus, located in the right brain, which means that they are unable to respond in socially appropriate ways. Hmm, perhaps this explains why some Americans don’t get sarcasm? Any Americans who were offended by the previous statement may need to question their evolutionary survival skills." (link)

Mouse In A Bottle -
"A manager at German-owned discount chain Lidl was sentenced by a Greek court Thursday to 10 months in prison after a customer found a mouse in his beer bottle..."

Today Is Take Your Dog To Work Day -
"According to the Take Your Dog to Work Day website, the celebration has been around since 1999. Its primary sponsor appears to be Pet Sitters International, the "world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, representing nearly 8,000 independent professional pet-sitting businesses in the United States, Canada and abroad." (link)

See you in the funny pages...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Music Special, June 20

"Re-Rewind" - Artful Dodger, featuring Craig David
A throwback from a little while back. Craig David's greatest work was definitely with the original Artful Dodger lineup.

"Woman Trouble" - Artful Dodger, featuring Robbie Craig
What's that? I can't have two tracks from the same track-layer? I say thee nay. Two-step is just that good.

"Ace Of Spades" - Motorhead
Possibly the best example of blatant bad-assery to assert itself in the past several years. And yes, the possible (un)irony of this track preceding the next, is not lost.
Wonderful use of spandex, primal example of guitar heroics, astonishingly catchy - what more do you want from kitschy UK pop?
Sometimes the right sample and the right rapper combine for magically tasty and delicious excellence. This is one of those times. Try not to tap your foot and bob your head.

Special Sauce:
"Summer Madness" - Kool & The Gang
Long before DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince moderately butchered this track, folks were rolling back convertible tops, and leaning way back in car seats, while this played.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Quality of Life Index, June 18

15 guys in Green and White (+15)

"...and the arena was about to get loud. It was the kind of loud you just don't hear in L.A." (+10)

The Boston Celtics win the 2008 NBA Finals. (+17)

Everything else (even)

This Week's Total:  (+42)
Last Week's Total: (-5)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Tuesday Tribute

On the way to work this morning, I was listening to one of my favorite albums of all time: Euphoria Morning. In particular, track 3 (Preaching the End of the World). This prompted the following:

  • singing along at the top of my lungs while cruising Mass Ave at 7:30 am
  • crazy looks from crazy onlookers
  • the desire to pay tribute to the most unique voice in rock since Axl Rose

I became a fan of Chris Cornell back when Soundgarden released the album Superunknown. I recall early Saturday mornings, the record on repeat, absolutely refusing to turn the volume down. Like Chuck Klosterman's epic account of hearing Appetite for the first time, I was smitten. Besotted, even. Cornell sounded like a veritable breakout for a choirboy whose musical exploits were grounded firmly in the throes of Vaughan Williams, Mendelssohn, and Bach (not this one). While my appreciation for these folks has grown over the years, to a twelve year old singing mass six days a week, tracks like Spoonman felt like sweet release.

Chris Cornell, I salute you.

Embedded below is a track off a side project of his (the eponymous Temple of the Dog - arguably his best work ever)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Music Special, June 13

"Propane Nightmares" - Pendulum
Could easily be featured as the opening or end credits of a Robert Rodriguez movie. Having visions now, of six-guns and brass poles. Moving on...

"No Substitute Love" - Estelle
If En Vogue was still around, and was a solo act, it would sound like this. Great rhythm for a lazy, hot summer night. Also - best take yet on a George Michael beat.

"Bodysnatchers" - Radiohead
We're almost back to the good 'ol days, here. I've missed you, Thom & Gang. Link goes to a live version from Bonnaroo. 

"Dance Wiv Me" - Dizzee Rascal
I don't know what I like most about this track: the fact that Dizzee sounds like ancient Wu-Tang, or the fact that Calvin Harris lends the hook.

"Don't Hold Back" - The Potbelleez
Likely the single best night-driving song to have come out since the advent of night-driving. Or at least since Appetite

Half-Priced Throwback:
"Return To Me" - Dean Martin
Sing it, Dean-o.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tomatoes & Eggs

Thanks to E for the following example of our collective grammatical woes:

(reprinted without any permission at all)

Really - today it was either going to be about American shit/non-sensical grammar or this story from the BBC about human ovulation (photos described as "fascinating", people).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Quality of Life Index, June 11

Phoenix lander having issues dealing with clumpy Martian soil. NASA develops quick fix. Nuke it. (+2)

Celtics lose game 3 of the NBA Finals to the Lakers, guaranteeing a game 5, this weekend. Paul Pierce plays like high-schooler. Kobe plays like a beast let loose from its cage. Bostonians are conflicted. Faith denied or faith to be rewarded? (-1)

Apple announces new iPhone 3G. To upgrade, or not to upgrade: that is the question: whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of [faster internet speeds], or take arms against [slower internet speeds], and by [upgrading], end them? ( far)

Edith Bowman out on maternity leave for a month (!?!). Filling in for the time is Nihal. Also-ran Brit makes me long for cheerful Scot. (-3)

The weather, the last three days. (-4) : The weather, today. (+1) : The weather, together. (-3)

This week's total: (-5)
Last week's total: (-3)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

That's Us Out There

In Astronomical news - akin to the seminal Earthrise photo from back in the day, submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society is the following, snapped by a spacecraft orbiting Mars:

That's us out there. (high res here)

Monday, June 09, 2008

A Monday Reflection

On most Mondays, I feel like this:

This Monday in particular, while set upon by the crushing reality of my existence, I feel less and less like the following is even a remote possibility:

That is all. I am calm like a bomb.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday Music Special, June 6

"Let's Dance To Joy Division" - The Wombats
Great UK pop. Now free on iTunes. Go and get it now, before it sells out.

"The Rip" - Portishead
Beth Gibbons' voice may be starting to waver a bit, but this track reeks of classic Portishead. Drive down the highway in slow motion & give this a listen.

"You Give Me Something" - James Morrison
Morrison is not be the second coming of Elliot Smith, but as UK singer-songwriters go, he's not all bad. Light vocals & acoustic guitar make for a pretty chill track, great to ignore while reading something brilliant.

"You And Me Song" - The Wannadies
Toby Maguire should have this playing behind him at all times. And if not him, then how about Jake Gyllenhaal?

"Brainstorm" - Arctic Monkeys
Press play. Turn it up. Rinse. Repeat.


"Leggy Blonde" - Flight Of The Conchords (featuring Murray)
Without a doubt the funniest show around, right now. This track features guest vocals by the band's manager extraordinaire. 

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Quality of Life Index, June 5

Harvard Commencement causes parking row in the Square (-3)

J.K Rowling to deliver address at Harvard Commencement. Geeky pop culture's penetration into mainstream almost complete. Live webcast means I can watch from 'work'.  (+3)

Muhammad Yunus to deliver Commencement address at MIT, tomorrow. Due to lacing ticket & inability to pass through metal detectors, will watch from Building 3 windows. (+3)

The weather. (-2)

Barack Obama gets the Democratic ticket. See yesterday's post. (even)

Glitch in communications delays Phoenix digging mission. Geeks are going to flock back to Megan Fox soon. (-4)

This week's total: (-3)
Last week's total: (+7)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Don't Go Deval

Today I was planning to write about pants. But then Senator Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination. That's right. It's a no-holds barred, all-out McCain/Obama slugfest for the foreseeable future. 

While this is an important moment in American history, and while this election is the first time in my life that neither a Bush, nor Clinton will be in the White House, I still have the irksome cynicism of a Bostonian (nay, Cantibrigian) .

Without pledging my allegiance to one or the other, I say to John McCain: don't start back-talking now. Stand your ground. To Senator Obama, I offer the following advice: Don't Go Deval

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wicked Cool

"Magnetic fields are invisible, at least usually. But Scientists from NASA's Space Sciences Laboratory have made them visible as "animated photographs," using sound-controlled CGI and 3D compositing. It makes the fields, as explained by the scientists, dance in an absolutely gorgeous movie called Magnetic Movie. You don't want to miss this one, which is the coolest video that you'll see all week, guaranteed. You can't argue with a combo of beautiful effects and amazing science."

If you don't think the old fashioned still photo is cool enough, check out the animated one:

(via Gizmodo)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Monday Strikes Back

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the work-week. Yah. This pretty much sums it up.