November 24, 2011

United States of Documentaries

Thanks to The Projector, I found this United States of Documentaries, a list compiled by POV on PBS. It lists one documentary movie for every state of the Union.

I've seen only seven of the 51 and have liked every single one. I'm planning on adding all the rest to my Netflix. I would also like to go through and document each one I see (as I see them). So look for that, if I ever get motivated enough to do it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

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November 22, 2011

Music Video Post

In case anyone was interested, there were a couple of music videos released this week that I've run across. I liked both of them.

"The Shrine / An Argument" // Fleet Foxes

Also, Peter Bjorn and John released their newest video for a song on their recent album, Gimme Some. They decided to premiere it via Pop Matters (whose site design looks a bit like a drugstore site, in my opinion).

"Dig A Little Deeper" // Peter Bjorn & John

Also of note, our buddy Bill Arteaga, of Ampersand Posture, has released a new song. Check it:

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Four Years


So there's been some interest expressed in learning how people find their way to this little internet oasis, the keywords they use and some of the Sad Bear pages they haunt. Alright. We can do that:

Popular Search Terms That Lead People Here:
* sad bear
* bare bellies
* belly shirts for women
* christ the redeemer rio de janeiro structured [sic] by lightning
* royal orchard castle afton
* comic sans it's getting louder
* map of meth
* world's crookedest street
* feist third man records video
* blue mustache dye
* hippo butt
* hippopotamus ass
* sexy girls bare midriff in jeans
* lost in the supermarket meaning
* the very sad bear psychology
* different types of scrabble tiles

Popular Sad Bear Pages:
01. Conservative T-Shirt Industry Must Die
02. Navigating in an Indie World
03. Wendy Peffercorn
04. Feist Plays Third Man Records
05. Grades and Ramps

Other Figures:
* 9% of our visitors stay for an hour or more o_O
* Most of our hits come from the Midwest. A few from Europe visit regularly.
* 95% of people find us through Google. 2% via Yahoo. 3% via Bing.


November 21, 2011

Movies we hated

In the short time we've lived in Nashville, we've overhauled about half of our list of least favorite movies (a loose mental list in written form below for the first time). We've seen a few gems too, like "Bill Cunningham's New York." But many weeks, it's felt like neither of us deserves the privilege of choosing the movie. In approximate order, the worst of the worst listed first:

Memory Keeper's Daughter
Arsenic & Old Lace
Benny and Joon
I've Loved You So Long
The Host
The Shipping News
Is Anybody There? (fell asleep x3)
Nights in Rodanthe
Happy Feet
Grumpy Old Men

Dishonorable mentions:
Morning Glory, No Impact Man, Ghost World, Shattered Glass, Sideways, Sex and the City 2, All the Pretty Horses, The Russian Ark, Valentine's Day, Biutiful.

If you have a worst films list, please leave it in the comments. And we dare you to defend any of these.


November 19, 2011

Katie's books debut at Parnassus bookstore in Nashville

Nashville's newest independent bookstore opened this week with fanfare and big promise. Everyone is reporting on this, from The Tennessean to The New York Times (page A1, no less) and the alt-weeklies in there too.

This is especially cool because Katie's handmade books are for sale at Parnassus. Right near the checkout area, her books occupy one full shelf in a wooden display case. The store was packed during the grand opening, but the books should catch attention during normal hours. You'll notice in the photo that Katie included her golden "bling" notebook among the offerings. There are also some re-purposed blue suede journals.

Katie made the Parnassus connection at one of our favorite events (to date) in Nashville: Handmade & Bound, the city's first ever book arts festival. There were many awesome artists there (see a post about it here). But Katie's books must have stood out, luring Parnassus over to our table.

Hopefully we'll known soon how her books are being received. If today's grand opening is any indication, there will be many eyeballs on those books.

As always, Katie writes about her books at

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November 16, 2011

Ricky Gervais to host Golden Globes again

In celebration of that news (via Gawker):

I don't know if it's possible for him to equal that performance, but here's to hoping.


A nice time in Vancouver

There's a singular reason why I'm concerned with the demise of the modern bookstore (and especially used bookstores). It's this:

I stumbled upon this thank you card in a book I found at The Book Nook in Mattoon, Ill.

(As a side note, if you want to know why used bookstores keep closing, visit this place: It's awesome. The first time I went in there I wasn't expecting much, because it's this little dumpy building in downtown Mattoon (which is Charleston's dumpy next-door neighbor without the state university). But they have a huge selection and everything there costs $5. Literally everything, including the big hardback collected works of Shakespeare I bought along with the book where someone had stashed this trinket. Both $5. As was a perfect-condition Chuck Klosterman book and a hardcover version of the Bob Dylan Chronicles Vol. 1.)

It's green and says "thank you" on the front in flowery little stationary font. The sticky side of the envelope is glued permanently to the card. It's addressed to Cheryl.

Your Thoughtfulness is Greatly Appreciated

Thank you for letting me read the book. It was really pretty good. I finished it while we were in Vancouver. We had a nice time. Still working on getting everyone back to east coast time. Hope all is well. Everyone here sends their best.
Try finding that in an eBook. I hung it up on the fridge.


November 14, 2011


Few actors can match Stellan Skarsgard for pure presence. I want to nominate him for best supporting actor just for sitting there, and then give him the win for standing up.

Of course, the Swedish seem to exude presence from their pores. Odo Proudfoot was pouring drinks, and I half expected to see the Malfoys sitting at one of the tables.

And then there's Lykke Li. She's one of those people who employs a significant amount of natural dancing ability in looking vaguely ridiculous (see: Samuel Heisman, only without the "vaguely" part).

The real question: what's the Skarsgard-Li relationship? Husband-wife? (no ring) Lovers? Father-daughter?

November 8, 2011

The Spirit of Journalism circa 1940

Found this during my regular perusing of my reader:


November 7, 2011

Post-Finale Withdrawal

Ever since the season finale for Breaking Bad came and went, I've been going through withdrawal. I tried to replace the void with The Wonder Years, but it wasn't the medicine I needed. Going after Deadwood next, I think.

In the meantime, while we wait patiently for season five to begin, I wanted to share this clip from the show. One of the best aspects of this show is that the creators really run with their senses of humor, not to mention, their willingness to use showtime to play out a little sideline montage like this:

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November 6, 2011

Feist plays Third Man Records in Nashville

Feist might be my favorite guitarist. And her Nashville show tonight, announced just a day in advance, jumped immediately to the top of Katie's favorite concert list.

I'd been obsessively listening to the new "Metals" album this week, finally getting into it, but I had no idea what was about to happen. I noticed a tweet around 6:30 p.m. from someone selling two tickets to her sold-out show. At that moment, I was thinking the person was referring to tomorrow's Atlanta show, 4 hours away. I hadn't heard about her late-breaking decision to play Nashville. Great luck! Ever since we saw Andrew Bird two winters ago in Richmond, we'd had Feist at No. 1 on our must-see list.

The show did not disappoint. Her crew absolutely stomped through most of her new songs on "Metals," including an epic rendition of "Undiscovered First," with Feist jerking around her guitar and the backup singers playing out a dramatic, synchronized tambourine routine. I've come to consider "Anti-Pioneer" a favorite, and decided tonight that I would happily listen to the opening notes on repeat forever (be warned, Grooveshark's "Anti-Pioneer" is falsely labeled).

One of the reasons I mention Andrew Bird is that he and Feist go to wild and wonderful places with their songs when performing live. Tonight, for example, she performed an initially unrecognizable version of "Mushaboom," and a jangly rocking version of "I Feel It All," in which the drumming actually brought to mind some old live clips of Neutral Milk Hotel.

Small note: the big sounds and backing vocals of "Commotion" were not cheesy live.

I'd also briefly mention that the set was interrupted (said harshly) partway through to allow a local fella to belt out some neo-soul song. Feist masterfully followed the wannabe barn burner -- taking back the show -- with "Comfort Me," a song that begins as an acoustic solo and mounts to a thunderous peak.

Here's an incomplete setlist (updated x3):

Undiscovered First
How Come You Never Go There
Comfort Me
The Bad In Each Other
My Moon, My Man
I Feel It All
When The Circle Married the Line
Caught A Long Wind
Get It Wrong, Get It Right
Cicadas and Gulls
Let It Die (slow dancing encouraged)

And here's The New York Times profile/review of "Metals."

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November 5, 2011


Google Reader is dead. Long live Google Reader.

At least it's dead when it comes to sharing items, which was one of the primary functions for me. The sharing options transformed it into a tight-knit, and effective information sharing community. A place for swapping animated .GIFS, silly news, and serious journalism updates. Now it's just a utilitarian tool for keeping track of my internet habits. It kind of sucks.

My initial rage at the integration of Reader into the now cemetery-like Google+ died down about 24 hours after the change. But I feel my friends and I are going through the withdrawal stages. Seriously, I've had so many run-ins this week where I excitedly went to share an item, only to realize the buttons to do so have vanished. The really important things I posted to Facebook, which only made me feel kind of dirty -- that's not how I want to use Facebook. And Google+ sharing lacks the simple, intuitive functionality that I prefer.

So I'm resolved to feel this way:


Actually, that image is from a fun and recurring graphic series that's popped up in my Google Reader over the past few days. I love it. I would have loved to share it with you sooner. Sry 2 say, it's not my fault.

Regardless, the world moves on and I must adapt. Perhaps this means more posts for this blog, a sliver of optimism I can pull from the fallout of this mess. Here are some other items I found interesting:

Photobucket Nicholson Baker, William Safire and ... Me?
Photobucket Is this the future of punctuation!?
Photobucket Justin Bieber's (probably fake) Baby's Mama
Photobucket Vonnegut and All His Complexity
Photobucket The SMiLE Sessions

They aren't all serious shares, after all, it's kind of tough to care that much about the Bieber news (and the ever-pissy Andy Rooney death news didn't make the cut). But still, it was that mix of silly!stupid and serious shares that made going to Reader multiple times a day so much fun. For a couple of days Google was dead to me. Then I realized the middle ground, that unlike other social networking websites, Google kept the same look for years. I appreciate that, and I'll weigh that when considering my loyalty to Google (not that loyalty even matters when it comes to Google, it's fingerprints are on everything I touch).

The landscape changes, I suppose. And now that we're in this post-apocalyptic, post-Reader world, where sharing items lives in the black market of random emails and annoying Facebook spam, my mind turns to this response:


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November 4, 2011


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.

01. JACK -- "Ted Fucking Williams", The Baseball Project
02. CHASE -- "Apathy", Mikal Cronin
03. ECON -- "The Outdoor Type", The Lemonheads
04. EVAN -- "Knife Chase", Tom Waits
05. OATESS -- "Sing Me Spanish Techno", The New Pornographers
06. MARK -- "RE:Definition", Black Star

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