Friday, September 18, 2009

"Never Really Understood a Man's Jewelry"

When I was a young man (5th, 6th grade) I was deeply into jewelry. I'm not talking about a thick rope of braided gold, or glittering diamond rings. I'm talking about shitty pewter rings and pendants where a pewter claw gripped some sort of eye or orb, or orb that was an eye.

I don't recall how I fell into the personal ornamentation trap, or what it was intended to affirm/display/explore. I know that county fairs had a lot to do with feeding the habit; so did the Kmart jewelry counter. We're talking low quality pewter, and worse, here- the kind of rings where the silver flakes off and you're essentially wearing a brittle band of graphite. I think I may have rocked multiple rings, possibly even multiple rings per finger, but that could be me making myself more ridiculous retroactively.

As for the necklaces and pendants, they were usually some matte black, stretchy plastic with a tiny, oh-so-fragile twist of metal masquerading as a clasp. There was usually a flat-backed bird talon, one claw delicately extended like an aristocrat sipping champagne. It was entirely possible that a serious blue orb, placid and inscrutable, might peer forth from within the razor-sharp grip.

I do think I had at least one iridescent crystal pendant. I may be conflating that with the pewter fantasy figurines I possessed, because I know I had at least one minotaur wielding a crystal-topped staff. Even if it was just a hard-plastic eye, though, the impact of that talon resting on a scrawny chest wearing a Bodyglove Man shirt, centered between spindly little legs and a luxurious curly rat tail- I'm sure it was magical. I know the rings were eye-catching, because I remember returning to Casper, where I'd spent most of my elementary years, and popping by my old school to see all the people I used to hang out with. One of them immediately asked me about my girlfriend, presuming that would be the only reason any young man would wear a ring. It was a grim realization for me, and I abandoned all of my bling that night.

Then, approximately ten or so years later, I became extremely emo and took to wearing shoelaces around my wrists.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Short and Potentially Unqualified Discussion of the VMAs

I think it's VMAs? Maybe MTV VMAs? I don't know. I haven't given a shit about MTV, or its awards show, since the Smashing Pumpkins were promoting Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I feel so ancient when I think about MTV, because I gripe about how MTV used to show music videos, but they'd all but stopped by the time I was in high school. My brother, six years younger than me, never really experienced an MTV that showed actual musical content. I suppose he had compensatory access to a slew of other channels, like MTV 2-Googleplex, Fuse, and BET. But since we're from Wyoming, we didn't actually have access to any of that, and I'm pretty sure by the time he lived in Colorado (and my parents put down for fancy cable) all of those channels were pretty much identical to MTV, albeit with theme-appropriate palette swaps.

The current excitement eating up the web would be completely opaque to me if not for my girlfriend, who has cable, a television on which to watch it, and reliable internet connectivity and cellphone batteries with which to communicate important things which occur to me. I'm talking, of course, about Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift's acceptance speech. Please note, my gentle readers, I really wanted to call that link something else. I wanted to make some clever reference to another time when someone interrupted someone else while they were accepting an award for something. But I don't watch award shows. I don't care about awards for most things, and I instinctively mistrust the entire voting block concept which exists to dole these prizes out. Spike TV started a video game awards show, and I clocked out. Call me when there's a gala event to hand out prizes for most compelling homebrew campaign and best use of a fighter encounter power.

Those are Dungeons and Dragons references, intended to give you a firm grounding in my level of pop-culture integration.

I'll leave the key implications of Kanye's latest act (apparently this is a habitual thing for him?), professional and social, to E! and VH1 and, presumably, MTV (do they air programming that isn't some sort of reality program or something involving Puck?) (Apologies if Puck is dead.). I will, however, say this: As an erudite and articulate mulatto gentleman, it saddens me to see Kanye do this embarassing thing. I liked having a high-profile, articulate and entertaining hip-hop artist- someone who, at least at one point in his career, had the sensibility to apologize for discussing "money, hoes, and rims again". I wasn't taken in by Slow Jams or Through the Wire when they first dropped, but when I actually took the time to listen to the first album (courtesy of my much more plugged-in younger brother) I found a lot to love. I've consistently found Kanye's work more engaging and entertaining than nearly any other mainstream rapper- by which I mean no offense to the other artists I really enjoy and perhaps should consider mainstream. However, the album sales and publicity Kanye enjoys just don't seem to be available to Atmosphere, Astronautalis, Lupe Fiasco, Black Prez, Del the Funkee Homosapien, Hieroglyphics, or Aesop Rock. I could have continued waggling my indie cred but it was wearying to Google every name to ensure I was spelling it correctly- independent and alternative hip-hop loves to play with the organization of letters!

So Kanye was out there, and I felt like he was doing it for the thinkers, at least in some way. By contrast, I have almost zero personal stock in Taylor Swift. Despite being from Wyoming, I don't listen to a lot of country. I was impressed to learn that Taylor is actually from Wyomissing, and the puns therein write themselves. I do think the young woman has a deliciously vulpine cast to her face, which is a good thing- but I always felt guilty thinking that until about a month ago when I realized that Taylor is almost 20 years old, and thus it's not a sin to find her attractive. I watched a video she had posted on MySpace (about five minutes before the aforementioned revelation, note) and was entertained. And I realized (or decided, depending on how much you want to credit my opinions) that part of her popularity is sourced in her writing Emo music for young women. But that's the size of this paragraph to the preceding one.

All that said, shame on Kanye. I can't fall down on him as hard as the majority of internet pundits probably will, because I can sort of glimpse where he might possibly be coming from with the whole stunt. As a black entertainer operating at that high level of visibility, any time another black entertainer is passed over, especially an august member of the industry known for her own innovations, it probably rankles. Unfortunately, rushing a stage is never a solution. It didn't work for Gamecock and it doesn't work here. It only draws attention to the immaturity of the act, not the deep and intractable societal schisms and feelings of inequality which may or may not have spurred the act.

But what I think is the most unfortunate consequence of the show's events is that much, much more attention will be focused on Kanye's treatment of Taylor than Beyonce's grace and tact regarding the same.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Opposite of a German Yes

I finally got out to see 9. I felt that not seeing it on opening night was something of a personal betrayal- this is a movie I've been so excited to see that I wept every time I saw the trailer while at the theater for other movies. The flick was pretty great; the fights were all exciting and very conscious of the environments where they occurred. The backstory which girds the plot is interesting without being especially important, so even though you don't get much of it until the middle and tail end of the film that doesn't really matter. It was short, but I'll probably rent or buy it when it hits on DVD.


The ending to the movie feels like a "bad ending." I don't mean that it is an ending which is bad, or necessarily poorly done. I can see some logic in why events resolve in the manner which they do. However, the way things resolve seems unfair, less-than-ideal in a fashion which isn't dramatically appropriate. Based on the world created, and what we know of the characters (and see demonstrated from the very beginning!) and the item they have obtained, a much more satisfying resolution seemed to be completely within reason.

People who play video games, particularly Japanese Role Playing Games, are probably familiar with the concept of the bad ending. It's a specter which hangs over the player's head the entire game. Every decision you make, every enemy you face, every item you do or do not find- all of these things have an effect on which ending you're handed. Some games, like Kingdom Hearts, simply demand that you collect an innumerable quantity of items/experiences in order to obtain a superior ending. Some games, like Final Fantasy X-2, not only demand you obtain perfect game completion but that you also know when to push X and whistle, a context-sensitive action which has no relation to any other use of that button in the rest of the game.

But when I finished 9, which was a great movie overall, the game it most brought to mind was Parasite Eve 2. The Parasite Eve series, based on a Japanese novel that also spawned a movie, forces us to confront the question of what the hell mitochondria is doing, all hidden up in our cells. The first game suggested that it was just waiting for an evil opera singer to unleash it, at which point it turned parrots into flesh-rending monsters, and did something similar to every other animal, only worse.

Parasite Eve 2 picks up where the first game leaves off, but eventually enters this strange other plot whereby people are being turned into hideous monsters. Your character, the same woman from the first game, is now a professional monster hunter, thanks in large part to the fact that her sentient mitochondria work with her, rendering her immune to the effects of evil mitochondria and letting her do neat things like heal herself and set people on fire through command of their mitochondria.


It's a great game. But the ending scenario is brutal. If you complete the game in a haphazard, imperfect fashion, you get an ending where things are resolved, but you are also shot with a gun from space. Certain people have died, certain people just don't show up, certain shits hit certain fans. You do get a fancy gun, though your final boss battle doesn't leave much room for anything that doesn't fire rockets. Regardless of the ending that you secure, you're given the option of starting the game over, carrying some of your advancement points from your previous completion (which can be exchanged for purchases, letting you buy both unique equipment and scrolls that let you learn the highest level powers in the game). This obviously makes the replay easier, increasing your chances of getting more kills and dying less.

However, it doesn't really help you to get the good ending. No, to get the good ending you have to accomplish a number of seemingly unimportant or random tasks, including:
-Answering the phone whenever it is ringing (you are in a motel) and checking your messages whenever you aren't answering the phone. If you don't do this you won't know that a man is coming to visit.
-Saving a dog which is barking at a King-Kong sized corpulent man-monster with flamethrower breath. You save the dog only through killing the monster really, really quickly; otherwise he kills the dog.
-Following the dog when it is barking later. If I recall correctly, this leads you to the water tower.
-Climbing the water tower to find the man who came to visit, who is being vigorously exsanguinated by flying human infants with huge mosquito nose cones. Note that these are not the worst human infants in the game; that title is reserved for the human infants which just explode when you come near them, taking anywhere between a quarter and two-thirds of your life.
-Running back through a certain area, during a timed mission, rather than just leaving. You could just leave, mission successfully completed; but you have to run back and do...something.
-Don't forget the phone! I distinctly remember a section where the phone which is ringing is doing so in a room filling with poisonous gas; you are being tasked with escorting a little girl out of a secret military base, they are gassing you, and there's a phone to answer. You must answer the phone.

If you complete all of these, plus myriad other, extremely counter-intuitive or invisible tasks, you get the good ending. I think a man comes and kisses you, and possibly you don't have to get shot by the gun from space.

But this is, I promise, an article about 9. My point is that, while watching 9 I felt that I was doing everything right. I was seated in my chair, did not have my feet up on the back of the chair in front of me, and had my cellphone powered off. I was not chewing loudly or engaging in sex acts. I did my part. But when the ending happened, with its spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler, I felt that I had somehow failed in my movie watching duties. All of the elements for a much more satisfactory ending were available.

Maybe I missed a phone call.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Blues Name is Longblog Seth

I just stood in my living room, wearing boxers and a bathrobe, and played an ebon harmonica for some quantity of time. I honestly don't know how long I was in there, but based on the progress downloading a Joystiq Podcast I think it was about thirty minutes (I have slow wireless access). I would like to state for the record that I do not know how to play the harmonica. I have a rudimentary comprehension of its general construction, which I am capable of putting into the most clumsy of practices. I know that when I expel or draw air through the left side of a properly upright harmonica, it will produce sounds of a lower register. I understand that, generally, I want to grip the harmonica in one hand, with my thumb along the bottom and my fingers resting along the top, while my other hand sweeps around from the back of the instrument to form a tight cup, its fingers pointing toward my vulnerable eyes. I understand that opening my hands when held thusly will alter the sounds produced, and that a different alteration occurs if I open my hands toward the ceiling as opposed to the floor. I know how to block certain holes with my tongue in order to produce chords.

Succinctly, I know what someone is supposed to do with a harmonica; I just don't know what I'm doing. I don't know how to play any instrument. I don't know how to read sheet music. I don't know how to recognize notes, or sharps. I don't know what the hell a sharp is- and please understand I have read definitions multiple times. The crucial "real" musical education which many children receive is something I skipped, in order to pursue anything that wasn't music, while in middle school. The joke ended up being firmly on me because the elective option which I selected in lieu of joining band actually included a few weeks of choir; I never comprehended how the school thought this was a sensible decision. They very clearly presented the elective track (which included other classes ranging from German to Home Economics to "Study Skills") as something to do if you didn't want to experience all of the coolness and glory which would be your triumphant reward for selecting band. I picked it largely because this was how the school presented the options; they actually made everyone go to band for a week before the choice was even proffered. Small though they may have been, I cherished my little rebellions. At least, until I found out I'd signed up for choir.

I never particularly regretted not taking band while in middle school. It seemed intensely competitive to me, and in general I'm not a person of competition (many, if not all, of the people who know me would disagree with this statement). Once I had sidestepped the experience, it never seemed particularly feasible to jump back in. By high school it was a safe assumption that anyone in band had been there for three years prior to hitting 9th grade, and with my perception of the competitive elements it seemed pointless to pursue an instrument when I couldn't possibly compete with their experience and exposure. I never nursed the fantasy of being a musical prodigy, probably because it had been impressed upon me so early that I was an intellectual prodigy of some vaguely defined quality- the two seemed mutually exclusive. This is also a large part of the reason I never tried out for any sport, though the other two contributing factors to that decision were Screech and Steve Urkel. A similar principle kept me from jumping into any Art classes, though I loved and love to draw; that was compounded by the majority of the Art and Shop departments being taught by a single family which hated me, personally, with the fury of a thousand inexplicable and kind of sad suns.

I don't know when I came to realize that I regretted my lack of, and hungered for, musical training. I suppose it happened at some point in college, amidst all the other personal exploration and growth I underwent there. Even still, I maintained my innate distaste for mainstream behavior, so I refused to pick up a guitar- that's what shy, emotional fellows do in college, and it helps them to woo women. I pushed through my college years with the noble and somewhat ridiculous aspiration to avoid any of the affectations which I perceived guys donned to secure the attentions of the ladies. I wanted any woman who fell for me to fall for the real Seth, not the string-strumming seducer cradling a wooden phallic symbol. That plan worked out wonderfully.

Still, somehow I ended up with a few harmonicas including the beautiful Blackbird, with its leather case, that I was playing tonight. I also had a few instructional CDs which seemed very legitimate, and I would sit in my room the summer after my junior year, attempting to practice. I say attempting because, while I have absolute faith in the efficacy of the instructional program, I approached learning music entirely wrong. I never progressed past the third or fourth track (so maybe 12 minutes into the CD) because I never felt I had truly "gotten" the lesson. I had no clue what to listen for, meaning that what I played never sounded like what the man on the cd played. I also didn't understand proper harmonica care and know that I boiled one of my harmonicas vigorously several times before learning that's a bad thing to do (I was worried about...I don't know, killer mold?).

I liked to carry a harmonica on me anyway, though, because the mere act of screwing around on it brought a light-headed joy, which may have been oxygen deprivation. Between starting to play "the harp" in 2004 and this writing, however, effectively no one has ever heard me play. I qualify that because my roommate that first summer once commented that he had heard me practicing, at which point I stopped practicing at home. I also once drunkenly brought my harmonica into an early morning jam session in my fraternity, and was promptly but politely asked to leave. It was seriously that bad; other drunk people were able to recognize my utter lack of ability and found it so discordant they asked me to stop playing. I think we had all just finished taking body shots off the belly of a young woman that I'm not sure any of us knew, but even within that setting, my harmonica was too bad to share.

The other reason I qualify the statement that no one has heard me play is because I used to wander around the small Indiana town where I went to college, late at night, playing my harmonica. I'd walk past campus, through a few residential neighborhoods, and up onto the main drag that ran past the grocers' and the fast-food joints and the Walmart. I did this fairly often, sometimes wearing headphones and sometimes not, and I just played. Looking back now that strikes me as an immensely college thing to do, and I envy the young Seth who somehow constructed a sense of self which allowed him to be too embarrassed to practice, but confident enough to play while wandering the late night streets.

Since graduating from college, I've perhaps touched a harmonica four or five times; when I first moved out to Minnesota after school I did try practicing again, and even carried a harmonica with me as I had in school. I never felt comfortable enough in Minnesota to play it, but I was once at a bar during a concert and the lead singer called out his need for a harmonica- a need I was able to satisfy. That felt pretty great, and I enjoyed feeling like a fellow musician for a few seconds. I also enjoyed playing tonight, in an empty one-bedroom house, with walls thick enough that I'm reasonably sure none of my neighbors could hear.

Monday, September 7, 2009

This is a Typical Example of My Thoughts Before Bed

What's a more impressive threat: Reducing someone to a smoking ruin or leaving nothing but a smoldering crater?

The latter is a vast representation of destruction, but the former is a visual record of the damage you did. Think about some famous ruins, like the Colosseum. The Colosseum is a big deal because it's still standing, but it's a bigger deal because there's only enough left to hint at the grandeur it once possessed. From an objective perspective, it (and in fact most ruins) looks like shit. However, it's dramatic shit. When I think of ruins, I think of that- something which was large or grand or unique enough, once, to make an impression but now looks like shit. If it's still impressive now, it's all the more impressive for having its grandeur despite its markedly reduced state. I will make a Baldwin Brothers joke now, or at least acknowledge the space where one might fit. I don't know if people in their mid-20s are supposed to make Baldwin Brothers jokes; they've seemingly settled into their respective lifestyles, be they reality shows, self parodies, extremely successful comedies, or being beloved for playing an asshole cowboy in outer space (and not actually a Baldwin brother). The whole cachet of the Baldwin Brothers joke, once so unassailable, has crumbled to its foundations in the present day. Like a ruin.

That's what makes ruins work. If you think about them long enough, you can usually reconstruct their unmarred state, at least mentally. Once you do, the comparison between the two lends weight to both the earlier magnificence and the current squalor. It's even more impressive once you consider the effort it took to construct the conceptually unblemished edifice in the first place; the resources, hours of work, and even lives. Combined with the ruin's current state, this serves to reinforce how fickle and merciless time and fate can be.

Contrast that with a smoldering crater. Name a smoldering crater. I'll wait.

Tough, isn't it? The Grand Canyon is a big (admittedly non-smoldering) hole, but does anyone think about what used to be there? What might have existed there? Are people losing sleep over that, or selling scale recreations of the Arizona that might have been without its major tourist attraction? Craters leave no real frame of reference, just an absence, and that means they fail to be real to us.

After all, the biggest smoking crater, the largest example of something completely undone, is probably Atlantis. How many Russell Crowe movies feature that?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I Told an Untruth

So, I lied to you, gentle and hypothetical readers. Last night, after I finished my post, I didn't go to bed. I actually just kept watching videos on YouTube, while refreshing my blog in an attempt to GET the post to upload to the internet. Specifically, I kept watching Leona Naess's "Leave Your Boyfriends Behind" over and over and over. Now, I dont actually have any number of boyfriends; I do have a girlfriend, but no desire to leave her behind- in fact, given that we're attending separate graduate schools I'd actually prefer to draw her closer. The music video seems like it could be filmed where I'm living now, and cast entirely by going to the student center. The whole experience is foreign to me because the focus is a group of attractive, happy, dress-wearing women who wear hats and ride bicycles to fun parties where a man has a guitar. I have NO experience with that. I have experience with attractive women (or at least WOMAN- see for reference my mention of a girlfriend above), and I have seen bicycles and dresses and in fact own several hats. But the entire experience presented in the video seems simultaneously completely plausible and completely impossible to me. My college experience didn't include women, in the general sense; it was an all-male school, so women occurred either as professors, girlfriends (and I did NOT have one at that point [where "point" is all but about four months of the four years I was in college {where "four months" is a generous exaggeration that requires a very creative definition of the word "girlfriend"}] or entities which existed during parties on the weekend. They did not ride their bikes there, and they almost never wore dresses; or even took particular effort to dress up.

This video also features a man in a hat, with glasses, spinning a pretty redhead as they dance. The man is somewhat swarthy and has stubble; his crooked trucker's cap is green. I am currently both swarthy and bestubbled; as I am STILL the proud owner of a Mickey's Fine Malt Liquor cap, I feel that I could have been this young man. In fact, as the "young man" in question is quite possibly older than me, it's possible I still could be. That's immaterial to my point, however- and I do have one, or even several!

My point is that I was not this young man in college, and I did not go to parties where well-dressed young people (who had ridden bikes) enjoyed acoustic guitar music and fancy dancing. The parties I attended involved rap music- not hip-hop, mind. The parties I attended involved T-Pain or Lil John suggesting that one thrust toward the window, and then perhaps the wall, until perspiration occurred. I was also not this young man after college; there were no bikes, and social activity seemed to revolve entirely around various bars. I participated in a drinking league, quarterbacking my team to an impressive third-place finish. I played a lot of Big Buck Hunter. I regularly purchased drinks for the various bartenders, because they were my friends. On those occasions where a subset of the bar population including me made their way back to someone's apartment, things were usually so hazy that I'm not sure anyone could have recognized a guitar if it were presented, let alone play them.

I was not this young man, and I did not know this young man. While I knew, and know, many wonderful young women, few of them are the regular dress wearing type, and almost none enjoy hats. Bikes are also not in high demand. Had I not moved to Santa Fe a few weeks ago I would probably have posited that the people featured in this music video simply don't exist- now I realize that they not only exist, they all appear to live here.

But the point I'm attempting to reach, having reached my point about the fellow in the hat, is that despite being completely outside of my experience, the video somehow manages to make me nostalgic. It makes me nostalgic for a young adulthood that I never actually experienced; and furthermore, as someone content to sit at home and type entries for a website, am not attempting to go out and experience. It's nothing that's ever been a part of my life, but as I watch these cheery, oddly dressed people gyrate about an apartment my heart does a little lurch and stumble, and I find myself wistfully thinking "Ah, those were good times."

What's even STRANGER (should I increase the font size for that strange? I've used the word so much I feel like I need to kick things up a notch) is that all of my positive associations with "Leave Your Boyfriends Behind" really have nothing to do with the video. They were set months before I ever saw the video, which I only sought out because work had stopped playing the cd and I suddenly realized I missed the song. In fact, I didn't even register this particular song the first forty or so times I heard it, because Barnes and Noble had it on rotation and I worked there five days a week. An eight hour shift usually meant that you heard any given cd at least four times, but what was strange was how the cds seemed to always play more often than they should. This is to say that I would hear a song, and then when I next heard the song would feel as though I had just heard it. It wasn't a continuous sense of deja vu; I didn't feel as though I was trapped in this torturous, endless loop. I don't even know that I felt that way about songs I particularly liked, or particularly hated. It just...happened.

For me, the hook is a product of two factors. One is Leona's vocal delivery, which manages to be simultaneously wistful and self-satisfied. The way she purrs out the end of each word conveys a certain self-aware regret, particularly in light of lyrics suggesting that she and her friends perpetually defy societal expectations. Those same lyrics celebrate the very lifestyle she recognizes is questionable, and the decisions that quite likely lead to a number of regret-filled mornings. The song's chorus proposes that we all leave our significant others and traipse into the night, where we will consume copious amounts of alcohol and stay up far too late. It's as though she manages to conjure the actual voice that spurred me to go out and drink too much (though, as previously noted, I was leaving no girlfriend behind at the time); the voice that managed to acknowledge the near-certainty of a hangover and an exhausted morning, but somehow turn that into a great idea.

The real killer, though, is the chorus in the latter part of the song, when a steadily increasing number of people sing along with Leona while the music gradually fades away to nothing- just like people join in with a favorite/popular/extant song playing at a bar or party. Although the video conveys this message quite effectively, it's the vocals themselves that really sell the concept. The backup singers aren't in tune, or even unison, but they make up for this with volume and exuberance. If you listen closely at the very end of the song, when the music has fully faded but the chorus continues, some of the signers actually muddle the words! Adjusting magazines in a relatively quiet bookstore, and then hearing what amounts to the 4am close to a packed yet intimate party, was jarring. And, again, I don't even have experiences with the kind of party this represents! I just feel like I do, because of the song.

The only conclusion I can draw from all of this is that Leaona Naess is some sort of dimension-spanning siren, and she manages to recollect an existence that I recognize because some OTHER Seth, in an Elsetime, very much enjoyed it. Is enjoying it. Somewhere, a Seth is twirling a redhead in a dress on his bike in a guitar-playing man's apartment...and all I got was this lousy trucker's hat.

And a girlfriend- I should probably make note of that.


It's been a full and fruitful night, featuring (in no particular order): Runes, Chuang Tzu, royksopp, breaking out the Chinese brush and ink set from Gordon R. Dickson's estate sale that I've had for three or so years and never used before tonight, peppermint tea, a conversation about the University of Wyoming/Texas game, being comforted by a plastic cow, red ink-stained hands, a screaming cat, a garbage truck outside my house at 2:25am (possibly assaulting the cat), a dog barking (in approval of the cat's situation or support for its struggle, presumably), green tea, tremendous personal revelations, learning what eco-friendly home cleaning products can get red ink off of skin and hardwood floors, and at least one sneeze.

Also, the creation of this web-based communication forum.

I don't yet know to what purpose I'll drive this shiny fellow, but I titled it as I did with an eye toward clearing out some of the monologues which would otherwise bulge and grow inside my skull- much like a potato left too long in a cupboard- until a tendril snakes out of my left nostril and I'm explaining to some stranger why the new World of Warcraft expansion is going to utterly rewrite the game.

But that's all for later; now that the champagne's been shattered against the hull, my hope is to slump into slumber. I actually wanted to slump into slumber prior to this, but in a fairly common ritual inspired by Ray, I asked Google if there was anything else I should do online before I went to bed. Google, in turn, led me to this. After watching that, I didn't trust myself to go to sleep, or at least didn't want to experience the nightmare visions that said sleep was likely to contain. I'm listening to The Airborne Toxic Event's "Sometime Around Midnight" now, mostly to get that video out of my head. If I'd just been hearing the song, sleep would be no longer in coming than is warranted by the aforementioned canine-feline-automotive death battle occurring outside. However, the video (I promise I won't push you to watch it anymore; honest) had a lot of the same qualities present in Japanese horror films, and they proved equally disturbing in a Nordic context. Stop-motion, jerkily animated women using unconventional forms of locomotion, obscure objects suddenly the focus of a shot, close-ups of animals doing stuff that would be innocuous if you weren't zoomed in on a portion of their anatomy. Royksopp also chose to add a duck hanging from a ceiling and milk pouring out of a woman's pants, though, which may actually give the video a slight edge in the Department of Disconcertion.

Still, the time it took me to write all this (I cheated and wrote the preceding paragraph's latter half first) was sufficient to listen to "Sometime Around Midnight" about four times, and thus my head is now filled with soaring strings and the vision of a young Billy Bragg, drunk and lonely, that the song inspires. So long as I don't proofread this, then, I should be fine!