Friday, May 21, 2010

Rain, Cold, Sera Cahoone

Walked into my fave coffee shop for my late afternoon dose and the barista was playing Sera Cahoone.  I'd chosen The Jam for my bus ride up the hill (see title for reasons why I opted for the bus over my usual walk) but had removed the headphones to place my coffee order.  "Oh.  Sera Cahoone is perfect for a day like today."  "Yeah, really comforting, isn't she?"  "Yeah."  Out the door, hot coffee in one hand, spinning the iPod list to Cahoone, "play all" as I walked the rest of the way home.  In the door, turn on iTunes laptop, choose Cahoone catalog--two albums--and select the repeat function.  Six hours later... still listening.

Melancholy, a little twang (some songs include harmonica and banjo!), slightly reedy alto voice mixed with some smokiness, bit o minor keys (I think), plaintive, achy.

Totally fitting for the weather, my mood.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


So, the first book that I pick up to read as a free, newly minted Master (this is never going to get old.  I'm going to irritate friends and family to no end with this one...), was a book recommended to me by a woman that I met during my internship.  She had recently graduated from the archives program at Western Washington University and is volunteering while she looks for a job.  She is interested in history.  She is interested in archives.  She reads.  She, as of a few weeks ago, was reading a book called The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova.  She suggested that if I like history, archives, reading and vampires that I would almost certainly love this page turner of a debut novel.  Anticipating my approaching academic freedom, I put a hold on this book at the library.  It arrives just as I am finishing my last week of school.  (Ha.  Last week.  Last week was last week.  Still can hardly believe it so I have to keep reminding myself.)

I start this 600 and something page book a couple of days ago.  By the end of the first paragraph I am already irritated.  You know that forced, or put on pseudo-European sounding formality of speech that writers use when they want to convey a sense of old world in a relatively contemporary character?  An American raised mostly in a diplomatic/academic environment, based in some quaint Western European village and traveling to cities, large and small, throughout her formative years?  Well, that's the tone of this book.  And it doesn't change as the voice of the narrator changes.  This worldly--but naturally shy, bright, attractive and resourceful--young woman is supposedly retelling stories that her father told her.  His stories are supposedly told in his voice and then shift to her account of how, when and why he recounts the events of his life... his mysterious and foreboding life.  I guess.  But it all just sounds like that fake, arch, I'm writing like a scholar would speak narration/description/tone/voice.  BIG YAWN.  Plus, it constantly reminds me of that other supremely irritating novel that caused such a big flurry of conspiracy theories, spin offs, History Channel/Secrets of the insert religious sect/secret society here shows.  O, and a movie and another book/movie.  (I read it to see what the big hubbub was all about.  I felt like I was constantly being patronized as the reader, like I was not cultured enough or smart enough to truly appreciate that author's breadth of world history/art/travel/experiential knowledge.  O, brother.)

After 75 pages of "GET ON WITH IT, ALREADY!", knowing that there were more than 500 to go, I realized that I was going to have to do a little interwebs research to see if this was going to be worth the slogging.  First review I read was the trusted New York Times.  Janet Maslin pretty much summed up my feelings and, by way of her concise prose, gave me permission to just put the thing down and move onto the other book that I got from the library that I've wanted to read since it was published, last year--T. C. Boyle's The Women.  I am going to open the cover on that as soon as I finish up this post.  Others, however, adored this book and simply couldn't put it down.  Even Maslin acknowledges that there are, occasionally, some jolts of excitement within the story.  I'll never know what they are, however, because I don't want to spend the next week trudging through various creaky, Eastern European villages in search of this Dracula character for one or two "BOO!" rewards.

Now that I don't have homework, I can also go back to listening to the good ole' turntable in a nice, pay attention type way.  This afternoon's listening pleasures:
The Human League--Dare (ahem, gate fold cover.)
Prince--Purple Rain

Thursday, May 13, 2010

There were tears.

I'm still in a little bit of shock.  Maybe denial?  I just turned in my last assignment, ever, as an MLIS grad student.  I keep staring at the computer screen as if I expect something to happen--say, for instance, a hand to reach out with a roll of paper tied with red velvet ribbon and a computer recorded voice exclaiming only as a computer-generated voice can, "Congratulations.  You have completed your degree requirements."  Or maybe no hand, no diploma (because I assume the rolled up paper was a diploma) and just a voice saying "You still owe UWM 0.40 cents and until we have that, you cannot graduate."  I do, apparently, owe 40 cents, and in order to pay that I have to also pay a $6.00 service fee if I use an electronic payment.  I am not paying this.  I don't even know how it's possible to owe 40 cents.  Tomorrow I am calling the Bursar's office and either getting it removed or telling them that I'll send a check for the amount in order to avoid this so called convenience fee.  (Hold it.  Is there somewhere in here that I can blame Ticketmaster for this?  Were there "convenience fees" before Ticketripoff got in the game?  I wonder...)

But the denial.  I can't believe that starting tomorrow--heck, starting right now--I won't have any assignments due, readings to complete, discussions to participate in... nothin'.  Sunday morning, when I wake up, start the water for coffee and head downstairs to retrieve my Times I'll be able to read the entire paper if I want to.  No need to impose a time limit on myself in order to ensure that I get started on the week's class readings.  I CAN EVEN DO THE CROSSWORD!!!!

This will take some getting used to.

(Notice I said "as an MLIS grad student;" one never knows if I may return for some more o' that expensive book learnin' at a later date.  A much later date.)

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Ticketmaster is the d-E-V-I-L!!!!

This is not news.  Anyone who has ever had to purchase a ticket from the grossness that is Ticketmaster knows how frustrating it is to not know the real total of your purchase until you've hit the "confirm purchase" button.  Knows how infuriating it is to pay a "convenience charge," and that by the time the transaction is completed you've paid 1/2 the cost of the original ticket price in Ticketmaster's web of profit that has nothing to do with anything other than greed.  AND, the venues that you think are above using this corporation as the producer/vendor/dEVIL are not and you're at their mercy unless you decide to never ever see some bands play again.  AND, AND, AND it's more pervasive than just huge arena shows.  Some of these venues are the smaller kind.  The kind that I am much more likely to frequent.  Stinkerheads.

So this morning I caved and bought my The National/Okkervil River ticket for a September show at Marymoor Park, despite not really having the money for it.  But, like Yeasayer, I know that if I don't go to this show I will forever be kicking myself and be haunted by thoughts of having Cheap Tricked me out of seeing this fantastic band again.  (I don't care that they are getting more and more popular.  I am happy for them.)  And who needs that kind of regret?

Have I explained this Cheap Trick thing yet?  I feel like maybe I have.  But just as a refresher:

Main Entry: Cheap Trick

Pronunciation\ˈchēp\ \ˈtrik\
Function: verb
Etymology: Cheap Trick is an American rock band from Rockford, Illinois, formed in 1974. The band consists of members Robin Zander (lead vocals,rhythm guitar), Rick Nielsen (lead guitarbacking vocals), Tom Petersson (electric bassbacking vocals), and Bun E. Carlos (drums,percussion).  On more than one occasion, Shawn (former boyfriend and current friend of Linnet) and Linnet (former girlfriend and current friend of Shawn) noticed that Cheap Trick would be playing at a local music venue and put off buying tickets on the assumption that they'd just get them day of show.  They were wrong.  
1: To miss out on an event or purchase of a desired object due to laziness, reluctance/waffling, or the assumption that said event will not sell out or said object will be of no interest to anyone else thus affording you all the time in the world to buy the object or a ticket to the event in question only to find out that the event/object is sold out.

Damn!  I Cheap Tricked Yeasayer at Neumos because I waited until February to get my ticket for their April show.

Sure wish I hadn't Cheap Tricked that used Replacements album at Wall of Sound.  I just didn't have the money and I thought I'd find it again. (I didn't really.  I would never Cheap Trick a used Replacements album.  They are so rare...)