Trust the Gene Genie

Friday, March 31, 2006

Back from the Gulag Archipelago

It's been a long March, but I'm back. And here's the goal: a post everyday until I reach 1,000 hits. We're on the home stretch, baby. It's only taken like two years to hit the big K. But together, we can do it.

Work has been insane. We've had the spelling bee, a deposed college president, a handful of school districts wanting to go after bonds and, as always, weekly education pages to fill. Not to mention house guests last weekend and Becky's continuing curious condition. Sorry about the alliteration. Anyway, it's conference weekend, Claire's school has a daddy-daughter dance tomorrow and I'm out of here in 30 minutes. Things are looking up.

Onto other pop culture-y type stuff. We'll start out with updates to my two long-running features, one today, one tomorrow: Perfect Songs (you can check out the last installments here, here and here) and iPod Updates (past editions here, here, here and here). We'll take care of the iPod first.

Gigabytes used: 10.3

Number of Songs: 2267

Number of Podcasts: 3

Most random recording: "Little Whale" by the Samples. It's a 56-second song from their second studio album "No Room." It's just strange. It's half spoken/song by someone trying not to laugh. It repeats "Oh little whale" various times, imploring the marine mammal to come out and play. And then ends abruptly with "Keep swimming, mister."

Most eclectic recording: "Hotel California" by the Gypsy Kings. The crazy Spanish guitarists give their interpretation of the Eagles classic -- in Spanish -- in their famous driving, thrumming acoustic sound. It's awesome. The Spanish translation is literal, but not quite word for word. And the chorus is in heavily accented English. You'd be hard pressed to find a cooler -- while still being sincere -- cover of the song. It originally showed up Elektra's 40th anniversary double disc "Rubaiyat," which unfortunately is out of print.

Favorite recording currently (as always, this is subject to sudden change): It's a toss up between Spoon's "Everything Hits at Once" and "Me and the Bean." The songs are from their 2002 album "Girls Can Tell" and they're both brilliant. One of them might show up tomorrow in the perfect song index.

Most embarrassing recording: "Come Undone" from Duran Duran's self-titled 1994 album. It really needs no explanation. It's a chick song, there's no hiding it. But for some reason I dig it.

Number of U2 songs: 440

Number of Wade & Wanda Lindstrom songs: 12 and frankly that's 12 too many and yet they're still there in the ol' iPod.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I mock because I care

Every year I find I care less and less about the Oscars. I don't know if it's the general decline in the (perceived) quality of mainstream American movies, the fact that I'm just getting older and now care about more pertinent things in my life, or if it's because I just don't give two craps about Hollywood's oh-so-unhealthy obsession with itself and the way that it's magnified by the Oscar spectacle.

Anyway. I don't care. That's not to say I have stopped loving movies. Just ask Becky, that certainly isn't the case. We watched "Metropolitan" over the weekend and I was reminded once again why I loved Whit Stillman. And not just Whit Stillman, but the intensely high-quality sometimes independent films that just appeared as if from nowhere in the 1990s. Maybe I'm just being nostalgic. I'm probably just being nostalgic. That said, I miss the sense of discovery I had when I stumbled across "Kafka" when I was in high school. That doesn't happen anymore. And maybe that's the Information Age speaking. You don't discover anything anymore because everything's out there and instantly accessible. I mean INSTANTLY accessible. That's not to say the Internet is bad. It just kind of spoils you. And sometimes it's no fun being spoiled.

A friend, Ryan Jensen, pointed that out last year. He spent most of high school trying to get his hands on a rare U2 "Unforgettable Fire"-era B-side called "Sixty Seconds in Kingdom Come." He talked about that inimitable feeling of finally finding it in some dive, taking it home and listening to it. Last year, when U2 released their virtual box set on iTunes, it was immediately available to anyone with 99 cents. Which isn't a bad thing, it's a pretty cool tune. But man, it sure takes away the fun.

On the other hand, while reading Wonkette today, I stumbled a cross a photo of Cody Stewart, my dyed-in-the-wool, true-blue, red-state Republican at a Meet the Press event waiting in line to get his book "An Army of Davids" signed. Finding Cody on the Internet is fun. Finding a picture of him on the oh-so-liberal Web site Wonkette is nothing short of wonderfully delicious. Thank you for that, Internet.

I'm totally rambling now. There's more news to report, but I think we'll wait. This pointless drivel is good for today.

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