New Year’s Resolutions

In keeping with last year’s resolution to begin enjoying olives (which I accomplished!), this year, I’m planning to learn which olives I like, rather than just blindly trying them all. Also, Kelly and I have started that hundred pushups challenge, since we are both upper-body weaklings.

My three other resolutions: prune my RSS feeds down to about 200, collect everyone’s correct contact information, and keep track of all the books I read and movies I watch. As for the last one, here’s the list so far:

The Zenith Angle by Bruce Sterling.
If… (Lindsay Anderson, 1968)
The Luzhin Defence (Marlene Gorris, 2000)
Bobby (Emilio Estevez) Sucked!
Generation Kill (the 2008 Simon/Burns HBO Series)

    No Love Lost

    John Schafer had a nice, long interview with Anton Corbijn yesterday about his new Ian Curtis biopic Closer. Apparently, and I wasn’t aware of this, Corbijn’s cred with the Joy Division crew is incredibly legit– wait, he took THAT photo?wow. Plus, he moved from Holland to England because of Unknown Pleasures. All I ever did because of Unknown Pleasures was explain a tshirt to other 8th graders.

    The audio clip they played during the interview restored the goosebumps I got when I saw the trailer at Film Forum a couple weeks back, before we saw Turturro’s Romance and Cigarettes. The trailer had me transfixed and dying to see the movie, then I looked over at Kelly for her to mirror and vaildate my feelings, and she was all “eh, want some M&Ms?”.” Ouch. I’m gonna make her see it with me.

    Incidentally, it’s been a very Joy Division/Factory recent past– the anniversary new balances, RIP Tony Wilson, the Factory graphic design book (so cool it has a podcast, the Hacienda desginer’s Hacienda-like tire stores, and now this article referenced in the SoundCheck interview that I had to track down and read.

    Another Obsessive Look at My LPs

    A 2-minute video of my record collection, in its current organizational scheme (doubles included):

    Most of you know that I have an obsession with visualizing/organizing/understanding my record collection. I probably spend more time thinking about these things than I do actually playing the records (except for the ones by Squeeze [who are apparently reuniting!] and Pylon).

    Anyway, a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to weed my collection to make some space in our tiny apartment. In order to know what I could lose, I needed to organize things first. As they were, my LPs were not intentionally organized. Mostly they were just in chunks based on my use of them or how they came in boxes back to Brooklyn in August. The last intentional organization of my records took place when we moved to Austin in 2002, when I packed them up according to color and arranged them that way upon arrival.

    I managed to weed out a few hundred discs– many of them unplayable, total crap (even by my standards), or just uninteresting (even by my standards). Now the whole collection is down to under 2000. (If anyone’s interested, the weeded LPs are still hanging around the apartment.) After I got everything roughly organized by blurry genres (with many exceptions), I decided a stop motion video of each LP could serve several purposes:

    So, I set up shop in our breakfast nook with my iSight camera, two reading lamps and piles and piles of records. I learned a lot about the collection through the process, and found many, many problems with my current organizational scheme. You can see all of that in the video.

    I wasn’t shooting for high production values, and figure I can make things nicer when I get access to a Final Cut Pro Station. To make the video, I used Frame Thief and MPEG StreamClip (take that Quicktime Pro!). Sorry the discs drift around a little, but it was definitely a quantity-over-quality issue. Managing the glare was difficult, but I wasn’t interested in removing each LP from its plastic sleeve– that would have doubled the man-hours at least.

    The good news is, now I have photos of each of the records in my collection. Watching all of the strange rhythms and effects of seeing them all at 15-frames-per-second got me thinking about subsets of records to string together like this. Perhaps future Record Jumbles could be based on this.

    Once I add metadata to them, though, then the real fun starts. I only wish I had 1) an automated means for doing that (I do have lots of the info in a spreadsheet, but it’s incomplete and old) and 2) a way to integrate it all with my digital/CD music collection.

    So, the game. I realize the fact that you can download the video and watch it frame-by-frame makes this easier that it could be, but, some questions about the collection/trivia:

      Quiz Questions:

    • Name four LPs of which I have 2 copies, but the second instance of which appear upside-down.
    • How many die-cut LP sleeves are in my collection, and what albums are they (not counting center-hole cut outs).
    • One album cover contains a picture of Lawrence Fishburne. Which is it?
    • Which two LPs have the promotional 45rpms that accompanied them stuffed in the front of the plastic sleeve?
    • Discussion Questions:

    • What is the worst record I have? The best?
    • What are the strangest juxtapositions of genre/artist/album?
    • What artists am I way too interested in?

    I hope someone else is willing to do this… I could watch these all day long.

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    We are all Quincy Punks

    So, now that we’ve moved closer to downtown, we end up walking to the Drafthouse almost every week. I apologize for constantly raving about it, but there seems to be no end in sight, especially since they’re opening a new location on Lamar.

    Last night we went to Quincy Punk night ($1 Monday!), to see another homemade documentary entitled I was a Teenage Quincy Punk, comprised of the punk rock Quincy episode ("Next Stop, Nowhere") in its entirety, the punk rock episode of "CHiPs" (starring activitystory favorite William Forsythe as Trasher, the lead singer of Pain), a clip from the episode of Square Pegs where DEVO played Muffy’s bat-mitzvah (in which M. Mothersbaugh plays my current obsession, the Suzuki Omnichord), and an episode of some awesome-looking 1978 Don Rickles sitcom called CPO Sharkey co-starring the Dictators.

    It was all very funny, and the crowd was lively, yelling at the screen and making jokes.  Everyone was hysterically astonished by how much the man misunderstood punk rock.

    The weird thing was, and this might be blasphemy, but I thought the depictions were pretty accurate.  I mean, they were clearly characatures, but no more so than Quincy is a characature of a medical examiner or Ponch a cop.  It was more a vibe of, "oh, like a punk would really have their hair that long in the back," or "Look at that ridiculous eye-makeup. A real punk would never have eye-makeup like that." But otherwise: nihilism? check. clothes? check. boredom, absurdism, and vandalism? check check check. The music even sounded pretty accurate and there were  suggestions of political activism and veganism which I thought were very generous (of course, I might have just misinterpreted the brief glimpses at diet and squalor we got).  On top of that, the fattish bit-part CHiPs cop even offered a thoughtful, fair description of punk culture and demonstrated slam dancing in a positive light.

    But, of course, I was a young punk in the late 80s/early 90s and most of my early visual conception of punk came from Valley Girl, Suburbia, Urrgh! A Music War (lots of mixed messages there), the FEAR performance on Saturday Night Live, and (I think) one of the Police Academy movies. Do any of you remember seeing any of that stuff? Did you think that the TV depictions of punk went against what you thought it was all about, or did you just feel like a badass because the vile subculture you chose to identify yourself was being legitimized?

    I think it was the latter for me for sure.  I wish I could watch a Doogie Howser or a Full House with concurrent punk me thinking I’m shaking up the squares.  Even just some plain old footage of me and my friends going to shows at Common Ground and the Easy St Theatre in Dallas. I’d love to put a laugh-track on that.

    I think that I’d have the same reaction to that as I did to the Quincy Punk Episode, but who knows.  I just wonder if I’m capable of taking myself that seriously anymore (though, posts like this where I ruminate on my identity my be evidence that I am). Sorry. 

    Oscar Orchestra Miscue

    Did anyone else notice that the orchestra at the Oscars accidently played the theme to Designing Women when Jamie Foxx won his oscar?  They must have been totally embarrased.

    It’s a shame, though, that the ladies got snubbed again this year.

    WordPress Adapted from: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.