Probably the best thing we did in Portland was to buy two little moleskin notebooks and use them to write out wedding and honeymoon memories. On our first full day in town we sat in a coffee shop, handing the notebook back and forth as we wrote about tissues and dancing and surprises from the wedding. On the flights home from Portland to Dallas to Charleston we did the same exchange, but with a honeymoon-focused moleskin.
I know I'm a little late (by, like, 3 years) to the This American Life (Mutual?) Admiration Society, but I just want to note that after rediscovering the show while driving back from the St. Louis airport after the wedding, I'm obsessed. Ira Glass is now my co-pilot, bringing sanity and wit as I design pages and write stories.
I've combed heftily through the archives as I toil late nights on things like special football tabs (hence the tonight's 5:52 CDT 6:52 EDT, whatever, timestamp), but I'm still convinced that the best show is the very one I happened to find on that fateful afternoon on KWMU as I drove I-44: "Pro Se". Specifically the first act from Jon Ronson (maybe my favorite contributor, from what I've heard.
Bought the Ira Glass book, too, mainly for Michael Lewis (of whose works I found a pretty extensive archive), but all of the pieces are great. So basically, I'm all in now.
How is it that you allowed me to miss this boat in college?
Somehow I ended up reading about melee weapons on Wikipedia. It started with potato guns (not melee) and t-shirt cannons (not weapons) and went from there. The most appealing melee tool I found was the sjambok, a traditional African cattle prod made from the thick hide of the hippopotamus. It bears some resemblance to a street-legal hardwood staff one Zach H. used to carry in Hillsdale, except that the sjambok is flexible, like a whip (sadly, it was also used to oppress humans under apartheid in South Africa.)
On Amazon, I found the Cold Steel Sjambok, a synthetic model available in 42" and 54" varieties. Here's a demonstration:
Surprisingly, this video has not diminished my desire to own a sjambok for home defense.
I should warn you, however, that a Czech product reviewer by the name of Bartok Kinski said his sjambok failed to protect him from a pack of wolves in the wilderness. He posted the same negative review four times. At first I thought he was out of line for posting an identical review multiple times, but maybe he was just bragging about surviving not one, but four wolf attacks?
This summer was the first time since 2006 that I had slept nights in a first-floor bedroom. My bedrooms at the Beat, Sad Bear, and Factory were all second floor lookouts in a formidable fortress of safety. But I spent this June and July in a first-floor bedroom in the State House, a 109-year-old four-bedroom home on a calmer street. This fostered paranoia.
So I was bulls-eyeing wamp rats in my T-16 back home... when Vanessa confessed that she had never seen Star Wars. Not ever.
We've borrowed it from her uncle and just finished Episode IV: A New Hope. She's enjoying the bad acting, the special (as in short bus) effects, and Harrison's sexy one-liners, not to mention his one-striper pants.
Let me lay this out for you all: Luke is knocked unconscious. The Sandpeople are rooting through his convertible. Suddenly, a strange noise emanates from a hooded figure who seems about to lose his balance on the rocky terrain. The Sandpeople hoot and flee. The figure bends over Luke, feels Luke's temples, then removes his hood... And it was here that Vanessa blurted out a very remarkable discovery:
Anyway, here's a general list of good 2009 albums. What'd I miss? -Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion (On track to be my favorite of the year when all is said and done, only one contender so far.) -Dinosaur Jr., Farm (Just got it but they still sound awesome, two listens in.) -Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca (Overrated. He's trying to hard to be David Byrne and thinks his band are the Talking Heads. They aren't. The female singers can get annoying, too. Like in this song. A shame, because I love the off-putting video.) -Franz Ferdinand, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand (Still love them, no matter how much they sound like cartoon dance music.) -Grizzly Bear, Veckatimist (Thought this would bore me, but I was wrong. It has some punch that I didn't expect.) -Jarvis Cocker, Further Complications (Witty and British. Kind of grating, actually. Too bad, I expected more.) -Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Has anyone not heard this yet? It is imperative that you do so. Right now it's this or Animal Collective.) -Sonic Youth, The Eternal (A Sonic Youth Album. They actually sing and harmonize, sorta, above the crazy guitars. Not the best, but still pretty good...) -Thermals, Now We Can See (Still feel the same way as I did when I bought it: excellent.) -Wavves, Wavves (All you need to see, really: So Bored (official? with this guy, I can't tell) music video.) -YYYs, It's Blitz (I feel like we've debated this before, but I don't remember where. The firs three songs are as good as any they've put together. Then the middle five songs are virtually indistinguishable from one another in my mind. Then the last two songs close well. But I get bored before then. Sorry.)
Finally: Polvo. They aren't new (mid-90s guitar rock who just reunited). But listen to Polvo. They have a new album, apparently. Listen.