Monday, March 27, 2006

Ha! I'm NOT alone!

Since about 80% of this article went unread after I downloaded it, I'll point you to the 20% that made me feel better about myself. Really I think half my gripe with podcasts is the word "podcast" itself. Don't fall for the hipstercast bloggercast buzzcast hype, kids! Remember! Not once has television ever a) given you a broad or b) been casted at you by a broad. (And if "b" ever has held true, it was probably a nasty fight, and I'm sorry for bringing up bad memories.)

That said, Edward Champion recently interviewed William T. Vollmann. Kazuo Ishiguro recently appeared on the Guardian Book Club. And David Foster Wallace was recently aurally-spotted on Bookworm. It's a veritable cornucopia of audio of my current Important White Male Writer Obsessions. (I figure Ishiguro is British enough to count, eh?) If someone coughs up a J-Franz interview in which he says he's on my way to my apartment right now to hand me the manuscript of his next book--to discuss a few points with me--I'd probably love you the only way a man can love someone through the Internet without using his credit card. (Links! I mean links to your blog! Sicko.)

Also speaking of Ishiguro there's a couple of other bits of audio I've been digging up recently that I need to figure out how to save for posterity. And by posterity I mean, that day when I'm going to stop jamming to tunes and get down to listening to very important literary audio things.

Speaking of tunes, I still owe Maureen a list of songs that have held my attention recently. It's so amazingly hard to do that, to pick some arbitrarily finite number of songs, especially if I'm going to say something brilliant about them, something that will make you as a reader instantly go give bands money so they'll keep making music for me. (That said I'd like it if someone would give Autolux a billion dollars so they could play in my living room. That would be sweet. Same deal for A Cricket in Times Square. Buy me a second living room. Or just a bigger living room. Also, Laetitia Sadier. I mean, she should be in my living room. I've downshifted back to normal Stereolab listening rates recently but my God whenever Fab Four Suture comes up in the playlist I go into immediate French-rock love spasms. Yeah.)

Also, isn't the current test-name for Maureen's blog genius? Note the impartiality I wear on my sleeve. (On a shirt I'm not actually wearing, but.) Sadly, due to unforeseen (saddening) circumstances, I won't be able to make the reading at Mac's Backs on Thursday (which means no sword-fighting with Austin, so he'll hopefully keep his hands and recap it for Team Blogland). You should go though anyways because I'm certain it will be awesome.

To close out with a couple random things before I disappear for maybe a week (or more) (because sometimes, life calls in the bills): While I intend to read Don Quixote this year, and while the idea of combining the reading with a deathmarch tickles my fancy, the timing on the Don Quixote Deathmarch is sadly not right for me, so I'm going to have to wait a while and go it alone, though I do salute those who partake in this endeavor; Jane Dark has an interesting take on V for Vendetta (which yours truly did like and was sort of surprised by the "subversiveness" of it, but was more surprised by how sad it made me that something as weakly "subversive" as this movie was was somehow surprising); Yay!!!--I mean come on, I'm way more likely to go buy two paperbacks than one hardcover anyday, nevermind whether I might wind up spending more total; and finally, did I say hells yeah to this judgment yet? If not: Hells yeah! No no, I mean it. Hells yeah.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

With a name like Darby, I'd have to be cute

Cute like a dog, that is. (Via MetaxuCafe.)

(In any case that photo does sort of symbolically represent how I feel about my own writing lately. It's like, wow, hey, this is nice. I'm actually making writing again. Tangible enough for me to rest my chin on it. But there's not really enough to make a full-blown pillow out of it though, so.)

(Placeholder posts like this to continue until I get some free time. To make real posts. Right.)

(Also by the way, I know you want me to be your friend, right?)

(While I'm at it: yes, the bulk of this entire post is its own asides.)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Old lit bloggers don't die, they just...well, yeah they do, eventually, but they live on in our minds thanks to the paganesque notion of immortality

I'm...I'm not quite dead yet!

I am, maybe, though, a little bit obsessed.

(I recently read When We Were Orphans. Loved it. Missed half of what I should have caught, though. Dur. I'm about to start re-reading Never Let Me Go. Then, I think it's time, the time has come: time to re-tackle The Unconsoled. Oy!)


Also, quick shout-outs to those who have left some recent comments:

Denny: Leave all-year warmth? What the HUH? Crazy talk.

L Lee Lowe: I have not read Michel Faber. But, I will! Thanks for the suggestion!

Arethusa: Oo! Yeah, I'd been wondering recently if Ishiguro did things other than novels. I need to check that out, definitely.

Also, some fun recent convo at Working With Words. (I secretly get nervous when I find out someone's actually listening to the things I say, and that people might actually read books I suggest. I feel like I suddenly have credibility, but before I get to figure out what to do with it, it's already on the line. Yikes!)

(Also, speaking of credibility: I recently outed myself in a comment at Jen's site. Yeah, I'm that awesome.)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Buh duh wuh HUH?

Eh? Wha?

Dear Cleveland: here's something you could steal and make way so much more better.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Three things I want you to know; the third sounds a lot weirder than it actually is

1. I'm about 180 pages into Kazuo Ishiguro's When We Were Orphans, and, yes, it's true: I've developed a tremendously huge crush on Ishiguro's brain. Call it a braincrush.

2. I'm on about Day Nine of being Way Over The Top Obsessed with the band Stereolab, and, yes, it's true: I've developed a tremendously huge crush on lead singer Laetitia Sadier. Call it a Frenchcrush.

3. If Ishiguro and Sadier got together and made a baby, and then sent that baby back in time, so that it was sort of like the baby was actually born in 1978, making that baby about my age? I would marry that baby, today, with all my post-ironic heart.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Two things I want you to know

1. I don't care what certain lesser reviews have to say--I mean seriously, Rolling Stone referring to anybody as "coasting"? Get out. When's the last time they've been relevant? And no, Almost Famous doesn't count--because the truth is this: the new Stereolab CD, Fab Four Suture, is great. Mad great. Mad crazy great, no doubt.

2. I promise blog posts longer than a couple sentences sometime in the next month. I got plans. There's gonna be this faucet, see. And when I turn it, it's gonna flow. Flow with water, and lots of it. With the water being a metaphorical representation of the cool, refreshing, thirst-quenching taste of my ideas and words. The faucet won't be a metaphor, though. It'll just be a faucet. I'm really don't know how it's going to work, but I'm pretty sure it won't involved awful mixed metaphor jokes.

A blogpost only Noah Cicero and Tao Lin could love

Why does Fearless Leader want to make the Baby Jesus cry?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Speaking of David Foster Wallace, David Foster Wallace is Speaking

In conjunction with my previously having linked to an audio interview with author Mary Gaitskill, I mentioned my general state of being not-so-into podcasts. I did eventually listen to the Bookworm interview with Gaitskill. Both which and who I liked, and was made at least momentarily glad for all this technology stuff.

So imagine my surprise when several weeks passed and, after I'd completely forgotten that I'd put the podcast feed into iTunes, I noticed that the Bookworm interview that had most recently been downloaded to my computer was with...David Foster Wallace! And this after the generally accepted belief that one must ritually sacrifice real human babies to DFW's agent to get even a napkin from DFW that had once dried his sweat. Not that I've actually listened to the interview yet, since I've been too busy listening to Stereolab's entire catalog on repeat for the last week straight. It's just sort of pomoically comforting to know that I'm carrying around David Foster Wallace's voice in my pocket when I'm doing the hipster shuffle down mainstreet.

iThere's iSome text interviews out there, iToo, if iYou're iNot into the iWhole iAudio iThing.

Let's hope for less of the same, and more of the rock

Not only does Tod Goldberg root out the fucktards, he also drops the occasional dose of Intriguing Industry Insider Perspective. The moral of the story? Don't know what to expect.

One of those days

Certainly, the greatest music review ever.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

An open letter to the Getting Things Done cult

Dear Getting Things Done cult,

Uh, what? Are you kidding me? People, it's called a "notebook". Look it up.

Someone who thinks you've jumped the shark

TDAOC Reading Tips #1

When in doubt: read some Kazuo Ishiguro.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Uh oh--competition on the high seas of the piratic bloggery. Quick, somebody get me a poop deck

Back in November, Maureen McHugh and Dan Chaon and Kelly Link gave a reading at Mac's Backs on Coventry. But you knew that already, because you're a very loyal, terribly dedicated, hell, some might go so far as to say "freaky stalkerish" TDAOC reader. Or not. Being the sort of blogger I am, my follow-up blog post was really more of a blog sneeze.

As it turns out, I wasn't the only blogger in the room that night. Austin Kleon, whose blog I discovered randomly today, was also there. His write-up totally kicks my write-up's ass. Why? Hand-drawn pictures, that's why. Plus, Austin brings us the night's money quote: "I heard one of the audience members say, 'Oh, God, it's like the royalty of Cleveland writing here tonight...'"

So now Maureen McHugh and Ellen Klages are going to be giving a reading at Mac's on Thursday, March 30, at 7 pm; check the Mac's Backs monthly e-mail, kindly reposted by Jeff Hess at Have Coffee Will Write, for all the details. (Just be warned: Maureen McHugh is very intimidating. "How intimidating," you ask? She has actually intimidated cancer right out of her body. That's intimidating, right there.)

Until then, I've got to concern myself with figuring out how I'm going to one-up Austin's follow-up post. I gots reputation to protect, see. I'm thinking of learning to paint watercolor portraits before the reading. I'm sure I can squeeze an easel in down in the basement of Mac's Backs. Or maybe I'll just take the cop-out option and challenge Austin to a sword fight. Because nothing says fortifying one's Technorati rank like accidentally hacking your own limbs off.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Cat Blogging Friday

I'm going to join the litblogosphere's own Gwenda Bond and participate in Cat Blogging Friday, cuz it's still Friday somewhere, yo.

Let me introduce you to Simon...


...and Stella...


...who are not my cats. That said, they think I'm okay enough that they let me hang out with them for an afternoon last Sunday as I eased my hungover way into semi-full consciousness. I'll leave it as an exercise for you to determine who's the shy one and who's the little attention whore. Hint: Stella is definitely the little attention whore. In the good way, I mean.

(If you're desperately looking for a book connection in this post, there actually is one; I read the first hundred pages of Blue Angel that afternoon.)

Thursday, March 02, 2006, wrong story

So last year, I read Francine Prose's A Changed Man, and I wasn't all that crazy about it. Since then, I've read some of her reviews and essays, which I've generally found interesting and stimulating. I've liked them, really. Liked them enough to think maybe my reaction to her novel--I mean, not her one novel, it was actually her fourteenth, give or take?--was just a fluke thing. So, now, I've read her previous novel Blue Angel, because I think I'd heard once or ten times or howevermuch that it was better than A Changed Man and it got stuck in my head and I felt like I needed to give it a shot. So I've given it that shot, and, I guess though I still see some of the elements of her prose style that bothered me so much in A Changed Man in this book, those moments generally bothered me less in Blue Angel. For whatever reason. (Though they still did bother me, now and then. There's a certain earnestness, now and then. Like, a blatantness to the way some things are stated. And I get nervous even saying that because I worry that's where the "satire" in her novels is, and I'm just actually totally missing it. I worry a lot about this. That I'm just not getting the joke.) And overall, I think I'd want to say that I enjoyed the novel, if it weren't for the fact that I spent most of it having strong, very strong, reactions to everything Swenson, the main character, did. Or failed to do. For very long stretches of the book, all I could think was, "My God! Swenson! You fucking asshole!" And then now and then I'd find myself downshifting to think, "Aw, jeez, Swenson. You dumbass." And though there was a bit--maybe a page or two--near the climax of the book where I sort of found myself pitying him, it really didn't last, because, jeez, Swenson...what an asshole. And there you have it, the core of my feeling about this book: Francine Prose did an awesome job of making me hate the hell out of her main character. Like, clenching-my-teeth levels of hate. I'm not sure if this is the reaction she intended for me to have.

Right click, add to bookmarks

Grant Bailie--who is not Maud Newton but who may secretly be James Spader (according to the comments within that page I just linked to there, which said link you should not click if you are not prepared to participate in a frank, honest discussion of that most basic of human needs, by which I mean not James Spader but ESS EEE EKS, wink wink) but who is verifiably the author of the very fine novel Cloud 8--has started up a little thing called a "blog" which has quite possibly the best title ever. Seriously. Oh, you question me, but see if you're not tapping your foot to it in a couple hours when you've got it stuck in your head.

Also, rumor has it--and by rumor I mean me, or rather "I", which means that "has" would actually be a "have" but whatever--that, if you drop by The Erin O'Brien's Owner Manual for Human Beings, and catch Erin with her web cam on, and you click on it, you might just be able to take part in a little something called "chatting" with Erin, possibly Grant, and maybe, if you're having a bad day, a terminally uninteresting me, on such fascinating and far-flung literary topics as cigarettes, pirates, lamps, pants, and Texas. Just sayin'.

Well, that's one way to put it

"It's like eating a whole lot and going to the vomitorium." (Via.)