I'm in the midst of getting ready to go record a new EP with a band, and it's my first time recording with this group, despite having been playing with them for close to a year now. (I joined the group just after they had recorded their last LP, you see.)
The production schedule has been much, much faster than any album on which I've previously worked. We will likely have been rehearsing the songs for only about a month, which is a fraction of the time I had rehearsed with other bands prior to hitting the official we're-paying-for-studio-time Record button.
I really enjoy the pace. It makes me lock down the songs in a basic way, which I'll probably add to later for live performance, but that's okay. That makes the live show a bit different.
I don't know what my previous bands were thinking about, dragging our feet so long to record.
Rookie, you know, the "website for teenage girls", apparently has a feature called "Ask a Grown Man". Here we see Paul Rudd, Grown Man, answering questions. I find this charming! Why?
- The name of the feature amuses.
- Rudd, at least, appears to be treating the questions seriously (and attempting to give good advice).
- The utter typicality of the questions themselves
Although I am not a grown man, and although Flippanter has not asked me anything directly, I will give him the following good advice: read all of these, then don't do any of them.
I don't remember the good explanation, but there is one.
Chris Y. passes along the top five regrets of people who are dying. They spout glib self-help bullshit and then die of embarrassment. But seriously, choose to be happy. Now. Go.
Let's play Skymall! Here are the rules:
1. You have to pick an item you would actually want to own, and link to it.
2. You have to play, because it's my birthday.
I'll go first.
This litter box:
Has the Komen/Planned Parenthood dustup come up here yet? I went looking for a good summary of exactly what happened, and this Q&A from NPR seems good. Is there anything else to add?
My ongoing reaction to the story is bafflement at why the Komen Foundation would take an action that's likely to lead to worse health-care outcomes, piled on top of frustration that continued ignorance about the work done at Planned Parenthood allows demagogues to thrive and mislead.
While I'd never heard of Lana Del Rey before she came up in comments recently regarding her performance on SNL and the subsequent thingamablah regarding her authenticity, I found this article to be an interesting take on the subject.
They were mad that she was maybe a rich girl, and she was maybe faking being a struggling singer-songwriter: "The class thing--you don't hear this in the States that much," says rock critic Chuck Eddy, author of the recently released book Rock and Roll Always Forgets, who also writes for Spin and Rolling Stone. "But at this time, the United States is probably losing its delusion about us being a classless society. I don't know if this has anything to do with that or not." Besides, he doesn't understand why people object to her supposedly rich roots: "It seems like there's always been trust-fund babies in indie rock. What else would they do? It's not like there are trust-fund babies making heavy metal or country."
And the indie-rock and hipster community bristled at the thought that it was being callously marketed to.
"If somebody thought her music was great, and then they found out, 'Oh, she's being marketed'--like other indie acts are not marketed--they suddenly find out that she's marketed or she had a different image or that people are complaining about her rich dad, and that they don't like her music, that's utter bullshit," Eddy says. "If her music is good, it's good." (For the record, he doesn't like it much either.)
"What happens is that people hate feeling like idiots," says Johnston.
"Stupid people do judge musical acts if they write their own songs," he says. "Incredibly low-life idiots do judge music that way. Smart people judge music by the music. You know, pop acts for decades and lots of rock acts haven't written their own songs, so are they good or not? It doesn't mean anything. It just doesn't. It just seems so dumb, I'm amazed that people are still arguing about it."
I will say it's rather ungentlemanly to refer to "stupid people" when you're trying to make a point that's otherwise valid.
This morning at 6am I was graced with the following realization: The name of the baseball team, the Bad News Bears, is a pun. The bears…ers of bad news. See? How droll.
I have yet to have an epiphany concerning why I was thinking about the Bad News Bears at 6am.
Question: The health care mandate is a mandate to have health care, not to buy health care, right? Because there are plenty of situations where the person doesn't have to buy health insurance to be covered. But what various cases are contesting is that you can't force people to buy something, right? Because we compel people to follow all sorts of laws.
Therefore, if the buying is struck down, would the government be compelled to offer a free option, without ever having to pass a public option through congress?
Obviously this is coasting on the power of wishful thinking, and obviously I could go google the damn thing.
As an organizing principle in my life, I don't like to carry stuff. Bags bump against you when you walk; my arms are weak and puny; you go slower.
Jammies likes to be very prepared and doesn't trust that anyone else will show up prepared.
I wouldn't say this is a contentious issue in our relationship, but it comes up more than you might think.
There's been a lot of talk about union protections for teachers meaning that it takes an incredibly exorbitant amount of time to fire a teacher with tenure, and how school management can't be expected to run the schools effectively unless they can do whatever they want without any process. Today's NYT has an anecdote demonstrating how a slow administrative process can be gamed by school management to allow teachers to be arbitrarily disciplined for extended periods of time.
The story is about a baseball coach who was accused, a year ago, of committing a recruiting violation. He was first informed that he was suspended from coaching for a year without any hearing. When he appealed the suspension, he waited for an arbitration to be scheduled, and was told at the arbitration that he couldn't appeal, because a hearing hadn't been held yet. His case got bounced back for a hearing; the PSAL then took six weeks to issue a decision confirming the suspension, and now, a year after this began, he's still waiting for an arbitration to review that decision.
This is one anecdote, but it illustrates how bureaucratic delay in teacher discipline can be as much a tool allowing management to discipline teachers without accountability, as it is a protection for teachers. The schools can't stop paying a teacher until the disciplinary process is complete, but they can do anything else to them; the wasted money is no injury to the unaccountable administrators. I don't have a solution, but it should be understood that inefficiency in a system that only allows discipline for cause is under management control, and can often serve management ends.
I was all excited to post about this article and how much it delighted me that the usual stodgy WaPo chose to run an article on the day of the Sunshine State's GOP primary with the basic gist, "Ahhh! Florida has been invaded by a bunch of no-good snakes!"
In particular, I wanted to excerpt this part:
The snakes are literally fighting with alligators to sit atop the swamp's food chain. In October, a 16-foot python was found resting after devouring a deer.
And this part:
The reptile trade is a $2 billion business in the United States, according to the Humane Society. About 11 million reptiles were kept as pets in 2005, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. More reptiles are imported here than anywhere else in the world.
And this part:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service predicted that a new generations of Burmese pythons on the edge of their non-native range can adapt and "expand to colder climates."
But then I discovered, in playing catch-up on my comment reading, that not only did heebie and Moby already mention this story, but to make matters even worse, you guys went and had a lively and entertaining discussion all about snakes. That was really rude, guys, and I'm disappointed.
In any event, I suppose you could still use this thread to talk about the primary. Or Florida. Or some more stuff about snakes. Or really whatever you want to, let's be honest.
So, should I go to this, you know, for old times' sake, or something?
A reader writes in:
Given the recent requests for ATM material, it seemed only fair to provide procrastination fodder for my imaginary friends. Here is my teenage relationship drama:
About 5 years ago, I met someone in an academic field that intersects somewhat with my own. Professionally he is thought to be quite brilliant, but he is also (surprise surprise) personally quite chilly & off-putting. But for some reason he took an immediate shine to me &, as we kept running into each other at conferences, we got to know each other pretty well. Late one night after a conference dinner, I was haranguing him for being obnoxious to people & suddenly found myself of the receiving end of an unexpected intimacy: hearing about a childhood endured in a posh boarding school where he was abused for years, about his apparent incapacity to connect with other people, & about how his own feelings for me made him want to learn to live in a different way.
Part of me knew that getting romantically involved with someone with no friends, & no apparent sign of normal human feeling, was a terrible idea. Maybe I was flattered to have such a person suddenly announcing that they felt things for me they hadn't thought themselves capable of; I don't think so, though. I remember being suspicious & slow to believe him; I remember asking a lot of careful questions.
But I have never felt anything like I felt in those first years: a sure strong sense of rightness and connection that seemed utterly unbreakable.
Until eighteen months ago, when he suffered some mysterious psychological trauma he has refused to discuss. (We live in separate cities, although we have managed to spend an enormous amount of time together.) He was in a deeply depressive state I couldn't get him to treat or open up about for an entire year, & now that he is starting to "recover" he has become the person he was before: he is identifying again as someone who neither has nor wants friends; he rejects, often angrily, intimate questions, as though these are an unwelcome intrusion; he has been crueller to me for responding with concern & kindness than I ever would have thought possible. I have asked him repeatedly about all those promises and assurances he gave me in the early days of our relationship, & his responses have grown increasingly frosty.
There have been enough flashes of his former self to keep me hopeful he would come back; but it often feels like the person I was in a relationship with suddenly died, leaving his ghost on the scene to nastily mock my grief. I have never felt such coldness in my life, & I am terrified for him as well as in excruciating pain myself. It feels utterly intolerable; I am reeling & fixated on someone who seems to have withdrawn emotionally altogether. And I have no idea what has happened. so now I feel utterly stuck. I know I need to move on emotionally, but I have no idea how. Suggestions?
[Insert pysedo-pseudonym here]
Heebie's take after the jump
Ooof, Pseudie, that sounds just awful. I'm so sorry.
Ok, here's your plan:
1. Diagnose yourself - are you merely heartbroken(!), or actually depressed? Because the rest of my suggestions won't work if you're clinically depressed. Get ye to a therapist or pharmacist or both.
2. Assuming you're basically intact but heartbroken: your task is two-fold: to be extraordinarily self-disciplined and to reward yourself. By self-disciplined, I mean New Year's style resolutions, except planned out meticulously so that you'll stick to them.
3. Design your self-discipline program. Eg: exactly which days and which times will you do what exercise? Which days will you do grocery shopping and cooking, instead of letting the fridge dwindle and eating like crap? At what time will you wake up? What are the elements in your life that are essential for you to be a little Benjamin Franklin? Your task is to keep yourself busy and virtuous.
4. What are your vices? Dumb magazines, new technology, the finest cognac? You need to spend money on yourself, on a scheduled basis, and this is a treat that is only allowed while you're heartbroken. Once you're back on your feet, this treat ends. You're pampering yourself in a very structured way.
5. Finally, the human connection. It sounds like you know this is ending. End it. No more contact with him. (I'm really sorry - it sounds like there used to be something really powerful there.)
Instead, elevate a friend to someone to lean on and pour your heart out to them. Have a regular dinner with them. Have a drink or two and share yourself. You need regular, close, human contact.
To a degree, we at Unfogged can help. If you want, we can check in with you now and then over the next few weeks and see how you're holding up.
Ok, so this is not the most exciting ATM ever, but since you said you're n a drought maybe the bar is temporarily lower and it'll be posted. The thing is I have the possibility of moving to the U.S. this summer for two years to do a master's degree on a fully funded scholarship. I already have a master's so a second one is not likely to add much to my value on the job market, but I could use a change of scenery.
I'm at the point where I intend to base my decision wether to stay or to go (and in that case, where to) solely on what I can reasonably expect my day-to-day life to be like in the cities I might end up in: Austin, TX; College Park, MD; Ithaca, NY; or Pittsburgh, PA. Obviously a lot of it will be attending lectures and seminars and whatnot, but perhaps mineshafters from those parts might want to share a little about what life is like for them there, what their favorite/least favorite thing about their city is, or just what possibilities they know to exist around there in terms of the arts, general leisure, activities, sports, places if interest, general walkability/cycleability of the city, etc?
Austin is great! Come be with us. It's not walkable whatsoever, although students can live walking distance to school and do fine with a bike. The weather is beautiful from October to May. Everyone is super pleased with themselves for living in such an enviromentally conscious, liberal city, with a big hipster fashion twang. The music scene is amazing. The cultural scene is pretty outstanding. There is lots of surrounding nature outdoorsy places to explore. Pretty natural springs to swim in. Great restaurants, especially Tex-Mex and regular-Mex, and barbecue. You can get out of town and visit conservative Texas pretty easily, if you need a contrast. Plus the Unfogged meet-ups are notoriously more fun than anywhere else.
Confidential to the author: Dear lurker, I do not know if you are actually a lurker, because the email bounced back when I replied to you. Your inbox might be exceeding its capacity.
I played music tonight at a frat party that ended early (1:23 AM to be exact), because some kid got too drunk, incurring police and rescue-squad presence. He's fine. Probably had his stomach pumped and will have an awkward conversation with his parents tomorrow morning when he wakes up in a hospital.
It should be abundantly clear that I feel very uncomfortable taking money from the fraternity system. I can't see what good it does nowadays.