20 June 2007

A post in which I will not use the Q word.

Last time, I linked a few videos from Yellow Machinegun, and mentioned the day-long wandering that led me to them. From there, I chanced upon eX-Girl. To say this band is "different" is like saying that China is "inhabited". Here they are introducing themselves to an audience.

This video (sorry, no song title given) defies concise description, incorporating noise, prog-rock, and some performance art that makes me think of the B-52's back in the day.

Hettakorii No Ottokotou is a shifting five and a half minute operatic number that sometimes reminded me of the late 1970's, and sometimes just messed with my brain.

Tofu Song is an acapella number that begins as a sort of fugue, then sounds like people doing science fiction sound effects with their mouth, then goes back to sounding classical.

Here's one last clip wherein they wear inflatable chicken heads and play in a rainstorm. Having typed that, I have the sense that somewhere, someone has just won, and someone has just lost, a wager made late one night after heavier-then-usual drinking.

18 June 2007

Is there an exorcist in the house?

A few days back, or maybe a couple of weeks (damn fugue states!), I was following a trail of Eurobeat videos, and somehow discovered Yellow Machinegun. The first video is "Heartache". Something just seems wrong here. They look happy (too happy) and smiling in a way that I've seen my students do. In fact, there's a shy girl in one of my classes that looks remarkably like that bass player/singer. I was thinking it would be more pop sunshine happiness music, and then the smile was gone and that demoniacally-possessed voice comes out of her mouth.

Next up is "Spicy Spiky" which I haven't heard the likes of since 1986. Back then, girls wouldn't even attend shows where this kind of music was playing. The audience was exclusively composed of 20-something men with A.D.D.

"Vanish Your Being" and "Climb" continue the same under-two-minute vein, and make me think seriously about buying a skateboard (disembodied voices in the dark corner of the room are saying "you'll put your eye out" as I type that).

06 June 2007

I don't have too much to say this afternoon, but I've now spent so much time staring at Polar Clock that I felt compelled to link to it here, so that anyone who chances on this page in the unforeseen future will click on the broken link and curse under their breath.

I just finished reading the second issue of Steampunk Magazine. I'm still undecided what I think of the phenomenon of steampunk. Is it a reaction to the reality of near-pervasive computing and networking? Is it just that devotees of such an idea could only find each other on the web? Or did the net plant the notion in most of those people's heads?

So, for about a week now, I've had occasional, severely painful muscle spasms at the back of my skull and neck. Sweetheart brought some traditional medicine home. It looks like about a tablespoon of gravel in an envelope, but I swallow it with tea, and not only do the spasms go away, but I'm left in an incredibly good mood (whether that's because the agony is relieved or my chemistry is re-balanced remains undetermined as of this writing). So I was telling one of my colleagues about this stuff, in the context of him explaining that the medicine someone gave him for his headcold has an amphetamine-licious effect. He pointed out that one of the early symptoms of SARS is stiffness in the neck and muscle spasms. I needed another envelope of gravel as soon as I returned home.

04 June 2007

The Lost

This afternoon, I had a terrible headache, so instead of going to watch the tug-of-war as planned, I came home to rest. But, I can't just rest. That would waste valuable at-home-undisturbed time. So I started sorting through the bookmarks, particularly the folders labeled with dates, because those are from moments when I had to leave suddenly, and just opted to "bookmark all tabs" and sort out what I was doing at a later time.

So, I have no idea how some of those things came to be open at the same time, or what stream of consciousness I was fly fishing in, but there were a few worthwhile links. The only one I feel like sharing today is this article by William Gibson. He discusses "regooding" of places he has previously known and loved. I'm wondering now what it is that gives that feeling of being part of a place. Not that usual "hometown pride" schmaltzy bullshit, but a deeper feeling that a place is special. A small city where I used to live has fought to try and preserve that vibe, but as quickly as a Wal-Mart will taint it, so will attempts to institutionalize or codify it. You can't zone cool. You can't even really ask people where it is in their town. They always steer you away from the skuzzy, hole-in-the-wall looking place to yet another god-damned T.G.I. McAppleGarden (only because they honestly believe that you would be offended if they suggested Hooters). Thus, you are barred from the real place. You are isolated on the other side of the "here" glass. You are part of the stream of motorists, consumers, travelers, and passers-by, separate from the reality of the place and the people who live in it.

I'll go one step further, and say that this same thing happened to Second Life. At this time last year, it felt much more like a community. Lately, it feels more like an abandoned advertising laboratory. Empty buildings full of virtual merchandise for sale (sometimes on broken display devices) and occasionally, you find someone atop a ladder with a message saying how much virtual money they're getting for acting like they're washing the windows. Aimless wandering is hampered by exclusionary landowners.

Probably, the best thing to do is make a note of such places and times in your diary, and then you can reminisce about them after the small town where you went to college gets Disneyfied, the secluded lane where you took your first date is bulldozed to make way for a strip mall, and the park where you used to take your children is invisible behind a row of billboards and an expressway clover-leaf. Joys are fleeting and soon lost forever, but you can count on some asshole trying to sell it back to you after he ruins it.