Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sextodecimo of the Dragon  

It's the year of the Dragon and this is my soundtrack for it (well, at least the first half). I feel like I'm cheating a little bit by putting three tracks straight from the Soundtrack of the film Drive here, but consider it props to one of the best soundtracks of the year that was disqualified from being nominated for an Oscar simply because the Academy doesn't understand contemporary electronic composition. The phrase "The Academy" always seems like a stand-in for the standard quo. You can picture a cadre of decrepit old men, of broken bodies and dusty minds, sitting arm in arm, locked in opposition to the new. It's as if they were the progenitors of saying, "Young people today! Their clothes are outrageous and their music is stupid." I'd like to thank the Academy for reminding me of the resilience of stubbornness.

Download the playlist here (97 MB) - if you're using iTunes, import the playlist which is included as an XML file.

Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller of Sleigh Bells. Okay, so I only included this picture because how great Alexis Krauss looks. Read the New York Times Magazine article before their meteoric rise.

Track List

Bonus Track: Mother and Son - Nichols & May
Limehouse Blues - Charlie Byrd
Sweet City Woman - Stampeders
Best Love (feat. Paul McCartney) - Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers
La Mer (El Mar) - Julio Iglesias
Tease Me - Lianne La Havas
Memphis - Joe Jackson
Sleep of the Just - The Costello Show Feat. The Attractions
Mood Indigo - Duke Ellington
Cub (Keep Shelly in Athens remix) - Solar Bears
Same Dream China - Gold Panda
Little Fluffy Clouds - The Orb
Tick of the Clock - The Chromatics
Under Your Spell - Desire Under
A Real Hero - College (Featuring Electric Youth)
Comeback Kid - Sleigh Bells
Midnight City - M83

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Friday, February 10, 2012

On the Cusp of Something 

Firstly, let me say that it was a gorgeous day. Clear sky overhead and beautifully bright, sunny, and warm. It felt more like an invigorating Spring day – like school was out, kind of day. Unbelievable for the second week of February. Secondly, I have had far worse days. Still, this day did not start nor did it end like a champion. I awoke with my customary quick but satisfying breakfast and then immediately discovered the fifth dead mouse I've found in less than six weeks. To be clear, I found it dead in a trap I set, so I guess I was asking for that. If you don't like disposing of dead bodies, then don't set traps, as the ancient Roman expression goes (I think or maybe that was a Russell Crowe movie?)
“…like a baby chimp just emptied a diaper load à la Jackson Pollock all over your kitchen.”
The day was never going to be a winner at any rate. I had a dentist appointment to drill out an old filling because an x-ray of a rear bicuspid had shown decay behind it, so I had that to look forward to. After a hectic work day (clicking and typing through a modest lunch at my desk, as per usual), I set off thinking, well at least I get a bike ride out of this (on a nicer bike, on another bike yesterday, my chain broke, only the second time in some 30 years I've had that particular malady). Mind you, on the way to the dentist's, I passed an accident; one car had t-boned another. The ambulance was loading someone and the fire and police departments had closed the intersection. Clearly somebody was having a much worse day than me. That cheered me up a little.

One hour of mouth-wide-open later, a small woman had drilled a hole in my head and patched it dutifully telling me that hopefully we had avoided a root canal. In fact, in her opinion, it should be fine (as long as I flossed. Sorry sister, I'm not flossing tonight) because the nerve casing seems to have receded from calcification, due to my age. Great. I'm staring down 44, I've packed on some weight, lost some hair (more than some), but because my nerve endings are calcifying I might be able to avoid expensive and painful dental procedures. Rotting teeth always feels like an old person thing.

By the time I got home, I was starving but in no mood to eat (half of my face was still frozen) so I decided I'd make my new go-to quick recipe; black bean soup.

Black Bean Soup

    Dice and cook an onion (red preferred)
    Add minced garlic
    Add a can of black beans, 1/2 tablespoon of chilli powder (plus some other chillies if you like), add salt and pepper to taste
    Add 2 cups of soup stock (I use miso paste for everything because it's so simple)
    Simmer for 15 minutes
    Remove about half of the soup into a blender. Purée. Add back to remaining soup.
    Finish with juice of a lime
    Garnish with yogurt or sour cream and coriander.
    At most this takes 20-25 minutes, including chopping time and is a great hearty soup.

I transferred the soup to the blender thinking this soup will cure what ails me. Blender cap on, blender plugged in, go.

In an explosion of hot soup, my day was punctuated. My hand was scalded, and puréed soup was running down the cupboards and over the counter. If you can't imagine what sprayed black bean soup looks like, let me enlighten you. It looks like a baby chimp just emptied a diaper load à la Jackson Pollock all over your kitchen. Yeah. Fecal Abstract Expressionism. The really weird thing was the lid never came off the blender. All that soup had essentially squirted through the necessary yet very small air holes in the lid (where the little cap comes off for adding more liquid INTO the blender). Dumbfounded I cleaned up the mess, salvaged what was left and retired to the couch. As a topper, when I was doing the dishes, I dropped the tea towel into the full sink. I had to dry the dishes with cloth table napkins. All of this left me thinking, Hu-effing-rrah. After broken bike chains, dead mice, dental drillings and soup volcanoes, tomorrow has to be better. Plus, it is Friday after all. As a wise man once said, "Wake me when it's quittin' time."

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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Seen in January

Pina, image via YAM Mag

I think I saw more films in the first week of January than I did over the entire month of December and I still missed ones I wanted to see (Hugo, Tintin, Shame etc.) I watched movies from Video on Demand, on a plane and in a hotel so I think a lot of these titles were seen as much by convenience than by choice. Whatever the reasons here is what I saw.
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