Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The IT Crowd

The second season of The IT Crowd started in Britain last Friday, with an episode called The Work Outing. Through the magic of the Internet, Jean, Renee and I watched it this evening. I was 'worried' that there might be a sophomore slump, but I needn't have been concerned. Viewing the episode for all three of us went something like this:

Silence ... chuckle ... laugh ... silence ... chuckle ... laugh ... laugh ... guffaw ... gasp, "oh my god, back it up, play that again!", hysterical laughter, hysterical laughter, repeat...

Looking forward to episode two.

By the way, Channel 4, how about an NTSC DVD boxed set of Season One, so I can buy it (and buy it for friends, and...). I can't really play the PAL, Region 2, Boxed Set sold on your website.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Giant Steps Indeed

Early this week I had to go in for a root planing at my dentist. Unpleasant business, and it left me feeling worn and a bit depressed. So come Friday I decided to treat myself, and I picked up a copy of Giant Steps by John Coltrane. I mentioned it earlier when talking about my acquisition of some Thelonius Monk albums. Well, I'm surely gonna get a lot of mileage out of this album.

What I've discovered while listening to these three albums is that I don't recognize individual numbers as such. I do recognize some of the signature works, but mostly, I enjoy these compositions as uplifting but unobtrusive background music, while I work (or read more recreationally). In any case, they are a welcome addition to my library.


Thanks again to Tom, who arranged this most excellent outing. Yesterday, Renee and I met with Tom, his mom, and Adam Goetz (one of them Washington furriners from up North) outside of the Keller Auditorium, to watch Spamalot. And boy was it lots of fun! I'm afraid that the poor woman sitting in front of me in the balcony was made deaf by my bellowing laughter. Anyway, this week's banner photo is of Renee waiting patiently in her seat for the musical to begin.

Afterwards, we drove across the Willamette River to dine at the Widmer Gasthaus. Renee had the chicken pot pie, and I had the chili. Yummers!

This marks Milestone One on the journey to the end of Renee's Summer Vacation. Milestone Two, the final milestone, will be next weekend, when we engage in the endurance competition of the full three-day Kumoricon. I'll try to get a snap or two at that shindig as well.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Way back in my college days I listened to a lot of different genres of music. For instance, I listened to a lot of jazz. Mostly Latin and jazz fusion. Lots of Passport, Weather Report, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, some Ramsey Lewis. By some stretches, Frank Zappa and John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu Orchestra) fit the jazz label as well. I still have a handful of that music in my collection, but most of it didn't survive the transition from LP to CD.

I dipped my toe into the jazz waters recently when I grabbed some Bix Biederbecke music for Jean. I've been listening too, and it's great music. Now, with my remaining 'August' allotment from eMusic, I decided to branch out once again. Not in any systematic way, but taking an almost random stab into the huge corpus of jazz history, I've grabbed two new (old) albums:

Brilliant Corners
Monk's Music

Both by Thelonious Monk. I'm not ready to comment in any depth, but I've been playing them on heavy rotation, and they make for great contemplative music, as in, for instance, deep programming sessions. I'd like to get Giant Steps, by John Coltrane, but it's not on eMusic, so I'll have to grab it from iTunes or via a traditional CD. Later...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Kristin Hersh

If you search my site for Throwing Muses or Kristin Hersh (sometimes mispellled by yours truly as Kristen), you'll find a number of mentions, unequivocally positive. I first heard Throwing Muses in two albums that I bought based on reviews I read in Factsheet Five. I first saw Throwing Muses in Cleveland, decades ago. I've been a fan, however casually, ever since. And now, as I mentioned in a recent post, I've bought Golden Ocean, by Kristin's new band 50 Foot Wave.

So what do I find in the comment queue today, but a message from Billy O'Connell ("Throwing Management") pointing me to an EP by 50 Foot Wave called, appropriately enough, Free Music ("please share this music in any and every way you see fit. ")!

Well, over the years, I've bought vinyl and CDs from the whole Throwing Muses dynasty. By Throwing Muses, I originally bought the vinyl for their untitled album that I called Green, due to the cover and the song Green on that album. I also bought The Fat Skier, House Tornado and Hunkpapa in vinyl editions. When those wore out, I bought their CD equivalents, along with The Real Ramona. eMusic.com has the 2003 eponymous album, so I'll be picking it up eventually.

I can't remember what all solo Kristin Hersh albums I bought over the years, but the only one to survive is the CD Hips and Makers.

So in any case, between earlier purchases and future planned purchases, I don't feel guilty accepting a little charity here. Thanks, Billy!


Finally, Garo is done. Sort of a souped-up Power Rangers/Kamen Rider type of show, with lots of CGI, and a typical heroic plot with lots of monsters and knights. I was actually quite pleased with the development of the story and characters, and while I had misgivings about the finale, they wrapped it up in a satisfactory manner.

Now I'm looking around for the Garo Special: Beast of the White Night.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

New Music

I started downloading songs as part of my new subscription to eMusic (after the free trial period, which I mentioned earlier). The first couple of albums consist of:

Bix Beiderbecke and the Chicago Cornets

which I got mainly for Jean, who's a big Bix fan, but I'll be listening to it as well.

For my own itch, I got

Golden Ocean - 50 Foot Wave

which is Kristin Hersch's new-ish rock band (less arty than Throwing Muses, much harder than most of her solo work). It's pretty funny hearing her harsh, gutteral singing, after so many years of her dulcet voice. Love it either way.

I'm also enjoying a new mash-up album (not eMusic sourced):

Forgotten Hits, compiled by Simon Iddol

and exploring the music of Tilly and the Wall, specifically I'm evaluating Bottoms of Barrels. I'm particularly fond of Bad Education.


I forgot to mention some neat single songs I've gotten recently: Back in Your Head - Tegan and Sara (Salon Audiofile), Open Your Heart - Lavender Diamond (eMusic) and Star Witness - Neko Case (Pitchfork Media freebie).