Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Our aspirations are wrapped up in books..." -Belle & Sebastian

So here it comes, with out further ado: My long promised essay/review about Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising.

In order for me to write about this book intelligently I have to tell where I was in read it the first time.

I was in sixth grade, which was my 11th year (critical for reasons to be talked about later). My parents were divorced and I had just spent a year living in Kentucky with my grandfather. I moved back to my hometown in New Mexico and felt like an outsider. A girl that I knew named Sarah Howell (I think that was her name, she moved on to Nebraska and I don't think I ever saw her again) recommended that I read The Dark Is Rising while I was at a book fair at school.

I did not tear through it. I bought the first one started reading it, put it down, started reading it again, put it down, then towards the end of sixth grad I hit a period where I felt so alone that my only solace was this book.

The book is about eleven year old Will Stanton who discovers on his eleventh birthday that he is the last of the Old Ones, servants of the Light who wage constant battle against the Dark. The story is many things, but first and foremost it is a great representation of what it feels like to be on the verge of young adulthood. I think that I started puberty when I was nine or ten and by the time I was eleven I had grown three inches, lost all my baby teeth and started wanting to be in love for the first time. I related very well to Will Stanton's constant battle of self definition.

One of the great recurring themes in the book is Will's coming to terms with the fact that he is immortal so while he feels like an eleven year old boy he is in fact ageless. There are confrontations throughout the book where Will has to come to terms with his agelessness. And there are times when he draws on this limitless knowledge that he has. He knows things about his home in Buckinghamshire because he has lived through them in previous times.

Along those lines, the thing that Susan Cooper's book did for me is to shape my desire for knowledge about history. I can remember reading a chapter where Will acquires one of the Six Signs on a road called Tramps' Alley. During confrontation with a witch named Maggie, The Walker and Will we learn that the road is actually a road of great power, one of the Old Ways and was actually known as Oldway Lane. This is a device that some English authors employ very well and it always intrigues me.

England is a country that has always seemed ageless to me, one of the side effects of this book, and I love it when writers try to evoke that agelessness in their stories. Recently a Neil Gaiman story called Neverwhere did it for me. This was the first though.

There are other things that I love about the whole series of "Dark is Rising" books. Principally there is the delicate weaving of Arthurian Legend into the overarching story line, but there is also a healthy dose of paganism in the stories. Things like oak, fire, water and stone are given a place of special importance in the story and I remember loving the thought that there is something else driving the world.

Second on my list of things that I loved is Merriman Lyon, he enters the story as the oldest of the Old Ones and he is both caring and callous, he is dangerous, powerful, and distinctly not human. His actions are other worldly. Someone who is jaded by the ability to jump randomly back and forth in time at his will. But he is not all powerful. He still has limitations and that is where the story draws in the aspirations of an eleven year old boy. During the year that I lived with my grandfather I developed a real sense of what a young man is capable of doing. And I imagined Will's quest as being something that only a young man could accomplish. Someone who wasn't jaded.

I am hesitant to talk to much about the specifics about the story, because I think that a reader would draw different things from each situations so I will close with this.

The thing that Susan Cooper's books did was make me want to be willing to see the world in a different light. To see a significance to a murder of crows or the name of a street or town. It showed me that there is meaning to things and that with a little imagination you can find it.

If you haven't read the books, start with The Dark is Rising. It is a wonderful story. It holds up and I would put its age limits at 11 to ageless.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"...And I'm working undercover for the man." -They Might Be Giants

Lupo's, the concert venue that is across the street from my apartment building, is hosting "The Academy is..." tonight and the crowd outside is really hilarious.

It is all girls aged 17-19. Most of them are wearing jeans and vintage t-shirts (when I say vintage though I don't mean a t-shirt featuring Belly or Galaxie 500 or whatever on it, I mean a t-shirt that someone bought at Abercrombie or American Eagle that looks like it is five or ten years old. Most of them have pony tails and dark eye shadow and when the band came out to unload some of their equipment they let out a scream of delight.

Which got me thinking...

Do they still publish Tean Beat magazine? I know that when I was growing up if you ever made it into a girls room in high school there was a chance that you were going to be competing against Kirk Cameron, NKOTB, River Phoenix, the guys from 21 Jumpstreet, and maybe, just maybe Christian Slater.

I remember these gigantic posters that so daunting as a young guy, I mean, Christ, Jordan Knight was really imposing when his face was four feet tall.

And then, I was thinking about these little Emo bands (like these guys playing tonight, Fall Out Boy, Panic At The Disco and the rest) and I was wondering what the fuck they are told by their agents when they go on these shoots. Does their agent come call them up and lie about it. Or does he honestly say to them, "Alright guys, today we are going to be going down to the studio of Bop and Tiger Beat and they are going to do a photo shoot. Try to look alluring... It means mysteriously attractive... you know what just put on some of your chick jeans and one of those origami ball t-shirts and let's go. Fuck, I wish I never saw Jerry Maguire."

Anyway the silver lining to this is that tonight when I get out of work and walk home the streets will be teaming with teenage girls hopped up on Red Bull and Dr. Pepper.

Other news: I will be finished with The Dark is Rising tonight so look back tomorrow for my favorite things about the book. I am keeping a little notebook about it. It will be grand.

Friday, October 26, 2007

"What I need is a song to make love to." - Deep Blue Something

Hold on stop the presses. Did I honestly just reference a Deep Blue Something lyric as a title? Yes. Yes I did. And folks I am not proud. But here is the thing. I, along with the friends and family of the cast, was one of the 20 people who saw Bloodrayne. But I digress.

When I get into funky moods (which I am coming out of by the way) I listen to a lot of silly romantic music. Yesterday I was listening to George Harrison's "Breath Away From Heaven" and I made the bold claim to a girl named Elizabeth that works at Taqueria Pacifica that that song was won of the prettiest songs in the world and that if you didn't like it, or at least admit it was pretty, then you were a soulless wretch and I didn't want to know you; furthermore, I also made the claim that if I was going to be making a playlist to accompany a night of love making with my dream girl then this song would be on the my shortlist for that playlist.

She howled with laughter and then we decided all the bands that couldn't go on the list. Foreigner, Journey, Mariah Carey, Paula Abdul and about another five or six. We made an exception of "Cold Hearted Snake"; which states, that if you are a girl and you are taking your dream lover from behind with a strap-on then "Cold Hearted Snake" is acceptable.

So anyway I started thinking about other songs to put on this playlist and, while I will not claim that this is a complete list, it is a good start towards a broader over arching list. Some of the choices are melodic, some are lyrical, and some are harmonic--John Popper is not on the list--but the thing to keep in mind is that they are good songs for one reason or another.

So without further ado, the list:

  1. Dean and Britta -- "Say Goodnight"
  2. The Guillemots -- "Annie, Let's Not Wait"
  3. Ludwig van Beethoven -- "Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor. 'Moonlight'"
  4. George Harrison -- "Breath Away From Heaven"
  5. Pete Townsend -- "Let My Love Open the Door"
  6. Keith Whitley -- "Don't Close Your Eyes"
  7. They Might Be Giants -- "She's an Angel"
  8. Sam Cooke -- "You Send Me"
  9. The Beach Boys -- "Wouldn't It Be Nice"
  10. Chris Isaak -- "Two Hearts"
  11. Maurice Ravel -- "Bolero"

That is a pretty good start I think. And it has a little something for everyone, even my friends Josh and Rachel, who for some reason like music that is on the exact opposite of the spectrum from each other. He likes shoe gazing, indie rock, and post punk; she like country. Luckily they like each other so yeah love trumps all.

Now this is not an exhaustive list--I mean obviously it is eleven tracks. Shit I could have put five Sam Cooke songs on there alone. So if you have anything that I missed let me know. Send in your response and why.

Last thing, I should probably apologize for Bolero, but I can't. If you have seen Blake Edwards' "10" than you probably of sex when you hear this song too. And yes it is cliche, but it is a great song, so it made the list.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Nobody knows the wreck of the soul the way you do..." New Pornographers, Challengers

What a night last night. HOLY COW! Where to start? Well yesterday I worked, which, you know, is work. Not awesome.

Then I went to a concert. WHICH RULED!

I have a friend named Mauro who is a coworker of mine. He is a super funny guy, very witty and we have gotten into the habit of swapping music back and forth. So he, Lovely Wife and I went to Boston to go and see The New Pornographers. But let me back up, here is the excerpt of the email exchange between he and I when we set up the play date.

On Oct 4, 2007, at 8:06 AM, I wrote:

I don't know if you are interested, but New Pornographers are in Boston on Tuesday the 23rd (we have no show that night). If you are interested I could pick up some tickets to the show. If you aren't interested I will get them for myself and pick up a concert shirt for you. But it will be the lamest one possible.

Let me know tonight if you are interested.


On Oct 4, 2007, at 10:45 AM, he wrote:
On Yes, yes, yes. Fuck yes! Get me a ticket. Where are they playing?

Now you understand the enthusiasm behind the participants. (And let me say that I would have followed through on the lame shirt promise. I would have hand delivered the stupidest looking shirt ever, and I would have done it with pride and a smile. So it is a good thing he came along.)

We met up for lunch at a restaurant in East Providence and then drove, the three of us, up to Boston for the show.

The venue was Roxy, which is about as awesome a concert hall as can be had. Really personal, I think at any point I could have reached out and touched Neko Case (but there might have been a restraining order if I had). Doors opened at about seven o'clock and my first thought was that we would be the oldest people there: we weren't, not even close as it turned out.

While we waited in line at the door there was this kid--nineteen or so--behind us who was really quite an enthusiastic youth. Very interested in Indie/Prog rock and willing to listen to other people talk about it. We had a fun little discussion about the way music blew up in the late 80's and early 90's and how after years of shit suddenly bands like Flaming Lips, Yo La Tengo, Belly, Throwing Muses, Zumpano, and Destroyer were lighting up the music scene. But it wasn't limited to those bands in the Indie genre, Hip-hop, Grunge, Rock & Roll were all changing the way we listened to music and it was a great time to be young. And this kid was eating it up. At one point I think we geeked out and started talking about our favorite TMBG songs and I can't remember exactly how he phrased it but the young kid said that we lived through the previous Indie period and knew so much. I couldn't tell if I wanted to punch him or hug him.

The show started at 7:30 with a band out of DC called Benjy Ferree. I actually can't tell if it is a band or a guy with a back up band but whatever. They were a great first act. Great energy, the lead singer was really motivated to putting on a great show--as I learned later, he is an actor so that explains why they have such a good show, theatrically. They also have a female drummer which is one of my favorite things. Don't know why but it is. They got about 45 minutes, struck their own stuff and really did a great job of rocking out. I don't know how I would describe their music, but Southern comes to mind. Not like Lynard Skynard though. Definitely not Freedom Rock. More like something you would have a Mint Julip party to. There is a cello in the band, the lead guitarist is well versed in bluegrass roots and they pulled the show off fantastically. The first thing I did when I got home was add them to my myspace page. Which says something, because I have an intense dislike for Myspace. I am listening to their album right now and I will freely admit, I am a fan, I would see them again in a minute if they came back through town.

Now in the gap between shows this curly haired kid and his trashed special lady friend came barreling through the crowd. Both of them were pretty drunk and when they finally settled it was right in the middle of me and my group of friends. So here is my proof of my age this week. When I was twenty-five I would have been pissed and let it ruin the night, I probably would have found an opportunity to sneak an elbow into kidney and would have felt vindicated. However, I didn't, as it turned out, have to do anything. When the kid settled with hysterical girlfriend, Mauro said very plainatively, "Well. That was lame." (Notice the lack of exclamation point. That is not a typo. It was said with the same enthusiasm that someone would order split pea soup.) Drunky O'Drunkihan turned around and started joking, but we are short, we needed to get closer. Mauro looked him up and down and confirmed that they guy was in fact not tall but that barging through a crowd of people, beer sloshing to and fro, hysterical girlfriend in tow, is, in fact, still lame, regardless of your vertical stature. So the kid asked if moving to the right would be okay. Mauro seemed to think that was a good idea. So they moved up in front of Nicky, who bless her heart had to keep the girl propped up with her forearm. At one point the girl turned around to me and said, through squinted eyes a beer lolling around in her hand, "I'm not trashed!" (see the exclamation point. She pointed at me, and was really defensive about it, ergo, exclamation). I looked at her, not really knowing what to make of it, and said, "Uh... okay. Cool." Unbeknownst to me Mauro and Nicky had just gotten finished talking about the girls state. I liked it better when I thought that they turned around apropos of nothing and defended herself.

Next up was Emma Pollock. Emma hails from Glasgow, Scotland (*Sigh* they talk so pretty in Scotland) and it seems, according to her website, that getting over here was a harrowing experience. They were almost sans a drummer. When Emma came on stage, I have to admit that my first thought was, "Oh Great," with plenty of sarcasm. YOu have to have seen her. Black sun dress, longish hair, nymph-y face and a black stockins with keds. I didn't expect her to be as spectacular as she was. She reminded me of Juliana Hatfield or Tanya Donnelly. Totally amazing performance. Great voice, great songs, and she ruled. There was one point where she stopped to share an amusing anecdote (god I felt 95 as I wrote that phrase) about her experience at a live show on a local radio station and a couple of groups around me (Drunky and the Trainwreck in particular) started extolling the virtue of her... Irishness. I swear sometimes I hate Americans. I was reminded of that sketch that Mike Myers used to do about "If it's not Scottish it's crap!" One of my favorites. Anyway I am digressing here. Go out and buy this album or hunt her down and find a show, you won't be disappointed. She was spectacular.

Now the main event. Wow!

You have to understand that The New Pornographers are probably my currently most played band. Three just totally bang-up, top-notch musicians; Neko Case, A.C. Newman, and Dan Bejar; and four or five great musicians; Kathryn Calder, John Collins, Todd Fancey, Kurt Dahle; who take the stage as a group and then... just kick ass. I don't even have the words to describe them. But I will say this. Go Places which is track nine on the new album might be favorite song of the last five years. And hearing it live was really really moving. I feel like a big dumb kid because I can't say enough about how awesome the show was. Carl Newman might be crazy, he might be a genius, it might be both. Neko Case could sing the 'G' pages of the yellow book and make it sound sexy. Dan Bejar sang a song on stage holding a Corona, and a shaker that was shaped like an Orange and he had my attention through the entire duration of the song. I am a guy that will forget what the fuck I am saying as I am saying it. Ask my friends they will tell you it is true. And this band had my undivided attention for 2 hours.

Challengers might be the best album of the year, it might be the best album of the last five years. I don't know. I will leave it to you. I will tell you that if you like music, like I like music, you should go and see The New Pornographers. You won't be disappointed, not one bit.

The only downside to the night was that when we got back to the car there was a forty dollar parking ticket on the windshield. Drats. Stupid resident parking.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

"Won't you take me to, Funky Town."

Something about the seasons in New England sets me in a weird funk around this time of year. I don't know if it is the weather change or the pressure systems that move up from the left overs of Hurricane Season in Florida, but something sends me into fits of melancholy every year right at this time. And it is starting to freak me out.

I have spent the entire morning slouching in a chair reading a book, and listening to the new Radiohead album.

I agreed to pay seven pounds for it. Which is a US equivalent of around fifteen dollars. Here's why. I want to reward the experiment. The reason that music is expensive is because it is easy to steal and people take advantage of that. But the issue for me is that if everybody paid a little bit the music would become less expensive. Anyway, this isn't a soapbox kind of day for me. I know that I have friends who think that music should be free but they are wrong. I am convinced that an artist has the right to make some money for his art, so I agree to pay for it.

Anyway In Rainbows is a great album. I really like it. Couldn't be happier, best seven quid I have ever spent, it even beats my London Monopoly board.

One last piece of news, I had promised, ages ago, a comprehensive review of one of my favorite books ever, Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising, and it should be up tonight or tomorrow. I am finishing up the book today and will have my review of the movie and book up simultaneously.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

"It’s just a bad movie, where there’s no crying" --Okkervil River

I just had the misfortune of watching The Seeker:The Dark is Rising.

As I have mentioned many times Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series is probably my favorite children's literature of all time. It blends together so many great aspects of being a child and that weird time when you turn 10 or 11 and how everything changes in your life.

The story is about a boy who is the last of the Old Ones, who are servants of the Light. They battle against the Dark. I am rereading the books now, because I wanted to be up on it when I went to the movie.

Now before I begin my review of this movie it is really important to point out that I am completely capable of separating a movie and a book. The Bourne series of movies and books are great examples of how you can take a book, deconstruct it, and then reconstruct it so that you have the essence of the book. The guys responsible for Bourne did a superb job of this. They managed to keep the angst and the fear of waking up and not knowing who you are and translate it into something that is a little more relevant. (The Bourne novels deal with the hunting of an assassin name Carlos the Jackal, who was active during the 1970's.)

The Seeker, managed to completely butcher my favorite book to the point where it was almost unwatchable.

First they took the primary characters and made them American, but living in Britain. BOO! Bad form guys. The charm of the story was that this was a normal boy who had been in the community for ages. His father was normal, a jeweler, and he came from a large family. The Seeker added a new element to the story and that was the strange folks in a strange land aspect of it.

Now I am going to lay out the things that aggravated me the most in no particular order.

1. Will Stanton. In the movie Will is 14, in the book he is 11. There is a difference; it may seem like a small difference but the difference in me when I was 10 and 14 was HUGE! At 14 I had a little more self confidence, a lot more knowledge about the world at large and I was befuddled by girls (which I will bring up later). At 10 I was... innocent I suppose. This story is about innocence. The fact that he is American versus British is something else entirely.

2. Merriman Lyon. I love Ian McShane. I think he is a wonderful actor. I am questioning the selection of his agent on this one. The portrayal of Merriman was abusive. In the book you get the sense that he is the most powerful person on the planet, wise beyond comprehension, and caring to the point of detriment. But he is not a push-over. He is the leader, in some capacity, of the Old Ones and to that end has to make tough decisions. One of the most heart-breaking scenes in the book involves the betrayal of his leige man. What the movie did was completely marginalize him. They made him one of four good fighters. But the movie clearly had Lady Greythorne as the figure head of the party, she was the stately, composed, wise one, who at one point has to make Merriman understand about the angst of young Will. It stripped the character of his nobility.

3. Maggie Barnes. In the book Maggie is not some mystery girl that Will idolizes. She is a villain from the start. I don't know if they needed a token pretty girl in the movie to appeal to people but it was pretty unnecessary.

4. The Rider. Bravo to Chris Ecclestone for bringing The Rider to life. What an incredible actor who pulls of creepy and disarming at the same time.

5. Family. This is a big one. In the book Will is the youngest of the family. He doesn't have a ridiculous foil of a twin brother. It is true that there was a brother named Tom, but the story line is that he was the first of the children and died after three days. Not some bull crap about a twin brother... blech... sorry I had to throw up in my mouth. The movie has this running subplot where Will's father is a physicist who was once writing a paper on the battles of Light and Dark. And then whoops, one of my babies got kidnapped and we never found him. It makes for an interesting plot device later in the movie; but also one that is contrived and poorly executed.

6. Americana. I don't know why Hollywood felt compelled to Americanize this movie but it killed it for me. When I read these books I was 13 or 14 and traveling cross country for my great-grandmothers 90th birthday. These books built a vision of the British Isles that I have carried in my head since then. Names like Cornwall and Wales still make me think of faeries, magic and mysticism. The book took a story about a young british boy and made him approachable to me. It helped globalize the world for me. With a young American Will, they have taken this movie into an us against them world. The villains and assistant heros are now both British and the noble American stands alone. I know I am reaching on this, but The Dark is Rising didn't need it.

7. Last I am curious and nervous to see how they come up with the incorporate the last of the books into movies, if they do that. They have changed the anchor of the story so drastically that I am afraid it will require more radical departure.

Anyway. The movie itself wasn't actually that bad, but my advice is that if you loved the stories, don't see the movie. If you go to the movie and see it and love it, maybe you will like the books I don't know? but I know that I find it impossible to separate the two and it is a giant black mark against an otherwise three star movie.

Final rating. Two stars. And they do nothing, they just sit there pissed off that they have to rate this movie.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

"Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, domo...domo"

I have had the pleasure (such as it is) to have Styx racing through my brain for two solid days.

I was working as one of the hosts for a convention of business innovators that took place in Providence. The conference was called the BIF-3, or Business Innovation Summit.

Now I am going to just come right out and say this. I hate conventions, as a rule of thumb I would rather be picking pumpkins or standing around leaning against a wall; however, the BIF summit is very interesting, because they don't spend an inordinate amount of time talking about returns on equity, profit margins, "cap-ex" budgets or any other kind of meaningless shit that talking heads say when they want to obfuscate that they make money and don't really understand why. The point of the conference is to talk about their experiences innovating their respective fields and what they did to become leaders or how they handled difficulties in their businesses.

But that is not the point of the this post, it is a qualifier to tell you where I was when I was hit this thought that I am going to lay out for you.

I think that certain segments of humanity are much closer to being cyborg than we might perceive. For two days I watched people plugged into all manner of blue-tooth, cell phone, mobile laptop computing gizmo that has been invented, and some that probably aren't on the market yet.

I had to look-up the word cyborg just to remind myself what the actual definition was and I was a little shocked. I was mostly amazed that the definitions listed in the link provide no mention of the level of integration; simply, that it mentions that someone for whom physiological processes are aided or enhanced by technological means.

So I am going to join the growing bandwagon and say that we--the royal, all-encompassing we--are cyborgs.

I come to this conclusion using communication as my physiological process of choice. I think, although have no proof, that most anthropologists would put homo-sapiens' ability to communicate as one of the principal factors in our rapid ascent to the being dominant species on the planet, and when I look at the way we communicate with each other the proof seems to be beyond denial.

Cell phones have become ubiquitous in the United States; so much so that even middle school students have them in prodigious quantities. They are everywhere; at the mall, at the dentist, at the conference I was working, in the movies (much to my chagrin) and at the bus stop. But they aren't limited to vocal communication anymore either; look at the growing dominance of text messages, phone email applications, and instant messaging.

Just this morning I was able to text message my friend Adam who lives in Chicago to find out who the stop-time animator behind Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts was; Ray Harryhausen, but he didn't know, I had to call a friend in New York. It is amazing that I can send an instant thought, no matter how banal, to someone who lives a thousand miles away.

But it doesn't stop with cell phones and text messages. MMO Games, like World of Warcraft, represent a different class of this same phenomenon. Except that it is worse. With an MMO not only do you allow technology to be your voice (as with a cell phone) you are also allowing it to be the medium for your physique and personality as well. I know whole groups of people for whom WoW is more than a hobby. They measure time spent playing the game in days per week because it is just easier, and they have two versions of their personality that they live; they have an on-line self and real world self and they are often very very very different.

Even as I sit here typing out this blog post I am amazed at the number of people that may (or may not) read it. Technology has completely, unalterably changed the way we communicate with each other. I remember a time at work when our voice mail and computers were down and one of the portfolio managers I worked with started to have a first rate freak-out attack. It was sort of funny watching fifty year old man having a temper tantrum, and he asked, with all earnestness, "What are we going to do with the voicemail out? How am I supposed to know who called?"

We handed him a blank notebook and a pen.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

"Fish heads, fish heads, eat them up. Yum!"

Barnes and Barnes, folks. Little known factoid. I am convinced that Bill "Game Over Man" Paxton was in the video for Fish Heads.

Anyway. Lovely Wife and I were out on Saturday before I had to go to work. We were walking down by the Mosshasuk River here in Providence and, as she mentioned, we got to watch a shit load of fish die. It was freaky. The best part about it, for me, was that they were dying just before this big installation art piece called Waterfire was about to get going.

Waterfire is/are (I am not really sure about the agreement on this one, is Waterfire the whole event, and therefore singular; or is each individual instance a water fire in and of itself and then plural? My grammar class is running away with my life.) this series of floating barbeque pits that sit on the river in Providence and during the fall they put wood in them and light them on fire and then people walk along the river, buy overpriced concessions and listen to music. I hate it.

But it isn't the installation itself that I can't stand. It is everything else. I actually think that the sight of waterfire itself is really lovely, but there is this whole other event that goes along with it.

I hate it most of all because of what the site looks like afterwards. IT LOOKS LIKE A FUCKING TORNADO ROCKED IT! But not an Oklahoma Twister, or a Kansas Oz Special. No! It looks like a giant capitalistic, money-grubbing, entrepreneurial whirlwind of greed (okay maybe that is a bit heavy handed) took hold and shook the shit out of the city.

But the saddest part is that the river has this shimmering patina of oil and lighter fluid and petrol from the boats and I have a really hard time swallowing the dichotomy of people going out to enjoy the night air with such wreckless disregard for the next day.

I suppose that WaterFire is really a giant metaphor for us all though. The overwhelming message I get is, "Don't worry about tomorrow, because isn't right now, very very pretty?"


On a positive note I have finished five days of Marlowe at this point. All in a row. Some of the segments I like more than others. Some of them are rushed and some of them could use a little more fleshing out; the office scene on part three comes to mind immediately. The exercise, however, isn't wasted on me. One of the things that is happening is that I am setting aside time to write and that can't be a bad thing.

Last thing I will say tonight (for a couple of days but keep checking in on Marlowe, and let me know what you think.

I am going to see The New Pornographers at the end of the month and I didn't think I could be more excited. Then I heard three albums from two bands. The first band, Bishop Allen, has two albums which might be two of the best I have listened to from start to finish. They are called Broken String and Charm School. It is a great cohesive intelligent album. If you don't own it and you like Okkervil River and/or The Decemberists and The Shins, then buy one of the albums right away. The other band is called Sea Wolf and the album is called Leaves in the River. Again, really great stuff from start to finish. Own it, embrace it, call it George.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

"What'll be revealed today when we peer into the great unknown..."

Today's title is from The Laws Have Changed by The New Pornographers. Who are coming to my area at the end of the month and I am really quite psyched about it.

But that is not the point of the post today. I have changed (again!) the purpose of my other blog called Marlowe's Sketchpad because I am not using it. I think that in nearly I year I have posted about 6 things on it. Which is absurd and sad.

So here is what is going to happen. I have crap running through my head nearly constantly about things I see or experience when I run around town. Sometimes they make it into my little moleskine book and sit there to rot until I find them later and try to remember what the hell I was doing when I decided to write, "A redhead who seems ten years older than she is," (for example).

So now I have a character named Marlowe. He lives in a world very similar to this one and he has experiences that may or may not be similar to mine. One thing is for certain, his love of watches mirrors mine, however his disposable income allows him to indulge in that love, mine does not. Outside of that, Marlowe and I have almsot nothing in common. If Marlowe has a bad day, I don't want people who know me to wonder what is going on in my life.

Anyway. This is going to be an ongoing experiment for me. As some of you know I have started taking some writing courses through Writer's Digest Online Workshops and my hope is that this will also be a place to sit and put to practice that which I am learning.

I would appreciate comments from anybody who has them, any suggestions on what Marlowe should be doing will be given serious consideration, but I will promise you that he will never masturbate or fornicate in the blog, so save your time and don't suggest it.

One of the other things that I am prone to doing with my writing is to write like I speak, which is to say filled with expletives, and since I am trying to break myself of that filthy habit I will also be trying to write curse free. Yikes!

Anyway stay tuned and find out more about Marlowe and what he is up to where he is going and who he meets. I am going to attempt to update daily by midnight eastern time.