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media can teach us

Posted on 01.01.2017 at 23:13
Listening to: Joanna Newsom "Have One on Me"
"You need to eat, just like you need to listen to music," Joanna Newsom told Arthur magazine in 2006, right around the release of Ys. "[B]ut it never feels good if you do it like that. So I am trying to set my life up in a way where I don’t have to listen to music anyway other than putting on a record and sitting and listening."

I've been listening to a lot of Joanna Newsom's music recently. Today I finally started diving into her third album, Have One on Me, which is the length of three "normal" albums. It definitely demands the attention that she mentions in the quote above.

The thing that really struck me about this quote, though, was how listening to albums this way is similar to, say, reading a book. This might not be true for everyone, but I personally can't concentrate on reading a book if there's a lot of background noise or things going on around me that divert my attention. As a result, I usually need to read in a controlled environment so I can give whatever book I'm reading the attention I think it deserves.

Should we think of music the same way? I think we should, and I sometimes do. I still remember my stepsister telling me a few years ago how surprised she was that I sometimes just listen to music without doing anything else, like writing a paper or working out or cleaning. However, these days I listen to music more passively than actively, whether it's at work or while riding my bike. It's hard in this age of distraction to clear your schedule and mind to focus on a task like listening to a new album - even harder when the album is two hours long like Have One on Me. Even now, I'm listening to it in the background as I write this. But similar to how it's more enjoyable to have a three-course meal at a great restaurant with a close dinner companion than it is to shovel oatmeal into your mouth before work while checking email on your phone, music can be (and often is) more enjoyable when it's the focal point rather than a background noise.

This episode of Breaking Bad that I watched today, "Say My Name," made me think even more than I normally do about the big What's the Point of Anything question.

Breaking Bad season 5 spoilersCollapse )

I stated typing this a few weeks ago. Might as well include it here without amending it:

I got a new job at WGBH as a programming coordinator; I started a month ago. My bosses decide what shows air on WGBH and all the other channels we run (like WGBX and The World), and I input their decisions into a database that goes out to a bunch of different people with their own responsibilities (printing a program guide, posting the schedules online).

It's almost 2017 and I am 29.

Sam couldn't wait to get back home. He had been catering at the mean woman's house all day and just wanted to sit down on his couch, crack open a beer, and watch the Yankees game he saved on TiVo. Finally, the party guests were all gone and all he had left to do was pack up the leftovers.

"What did I say?!"

Sam looked up to find the woman shouting at him, steam coming out of her ears. "Put the cheese in separate bags! When was the last time you heard of gruyere touching brie? You make me sick."

She stormed off. Sam sighed. It was going to be awhile yet.

Gilman Guy 1x05 - Dean is creepy

Posted on 12.05.2015 at 13:46
Listening to: Linear Downfall - Ghost on My Wall | Powered by Last.fm

Rory jumped out of her seat. She turned around and saw the dimpled boy from her old school smiling at her.

"Dean? What are you doing here? I'm on my way to Chilton."

"I know. Sorry! I was walking to school and saw you getting on the bus, and I... wanted to say hi."

"So you followed me onto the bus? You thought that was a good idea?"

Dean's smile faltered. "Well, I..."

"And then you thought it was a good idea to sit behind me and lean in close and say 'Hey'? What gives you the right to invade my personal space like that?"

Dean panicked. "I'm sorry, Rory! I just haven't seen you in a while and got excited. Maybe I got carried away."

"You think?" Rory sighed. "I barely know you! And forget about how creepy you're being. Do you know what would happen if I was the one following you onto a bus? People would think I was desperate. But because you're a guy, I'm supposed to think it's cute. Well, it's not! Now leave, please!"

Dean walked off the bus, dejected.

Gilman Guy 1x04 - The Great Scrunchie Debate of 2000

Posted on 11.28.2015 at 18:58
Listening to: Justin Timberlake - Suit & Tie | Powered by Last.fm
The debate reached its second hour to the dismay of all but two parents, who fought on.

"The kids already have to adhere to such a strict uniform," said Lorelai. "They should be able to accessorize and show a little bit of individuality."

"But plaid scrunchies?" protested the other parent, dressed well in his suit and tie. "Your daughter is already wearing sneakers to school! What more could you want? Besides, the Chilton dress code is clear: navy blue scrunchies only."

"But what if they match their uniform?" asked Lorelai. The man opened his mouth to respond, but she continued. "I mean... what if they match them better?" She took the skirt she borrowed from Rory out of her bag and put it next to the scrunchie on the table. "See? They match perfectly. And coordination means sophistication."

The man stared at the scrunchie and skirt. They both had the same plaid pattern of navy blue, white, and gray. He begrudgingly admitted to himself that they did match perfectly.

He looked down and noticed the white pocket square in his breast pocket. The man began wearing pocket squares when he started working at the law firm 20 years ago, and though most of his coworkers found them frivolous, he never left home without one. He loved that little peek of color that emphasized the shade of his tie or, today, his crisp white shirt. It made him feel confident and, yes, sophisticated. Without knowing it, Lorelai had appealed to his innermost self.

The man sighed. "Fine. The scrunchie stays. We'll change the dress code."

The other parents, who abstained from the vote long ago, rolled their eyes and left to go home.

Gilman Guy 1x03 - Michel hates swans

Posted on 11.28.2015 at 12:32
Listening to: Lorna - Sounds We Hear | Powered by Last.fm
It was a picturesque day at the Luxembourg Gardens. The flora was sun-dappled and vibrant. Michel ran ahead of his parents, who only had to quicken their gait slightly to keep up with his little legs. He loved coming to the gardens to explore, and his parents were thrilled whenever they could spend time outside with their son.

Michel spotted a blur of white ahead and stopped running. A band of swans beckoned in the distance, their bodies floating in a pond.

Michel's grandmother gave him a picture book of animals for his birthday last year, and while he loved all the different creatures, he always went back to the page with the swans. He found them beautiful and majestic, their white feathers pure as snow. He had never seen any swans in person before and, naturally, wanted to get a closer look. He continued running, but a little faster now, his parents losing ground.

At the pond's edge, closer than ever before to his favorite animal, Michel remembered the piece of baguette in his pants pocket. He was saving it for a snack, but of course! The swans would love it! He reached out, bread in hand.

The swans approached faster than Michel anticipated. They traveled as direct as a bullet toward his outreached hand. Up close, Michel thought the swans actually looked kind of scary, their orange and black faces almost alien. He kept his nerve, but his hand began to tremble.

Sensing weakness, the swans all struck at the same time, competing for the piece of bread. Of course, there was only enough bread for one swan. One of the slower swans bit down hard - not on bread, but on a human hand.

In the years that followed, Michel refused to go back to the gardens with his parents. His picture book gathered dust.

Gilman Guy 1x02 - Lorelai is patriotic

Posted on 11.22.2015 at 22:46
"Welcome to the White House, Ms. Gilmore."

Lorelai couldn't believe it. First the President's chief of staff stays at the Independence Inn, then he gushes to her about how great the service was, and now this! Bringing her to meet the leader of the free world was an elaborate way to say thank you, but why not play along? Besides, she figured Rory would love the Smithsonian.

"President Clinton! Wow, it's an honor. I'm a big fan despite all the... you know."

"It's quite alright, ma'am. Those days are behind us. Why don't you take a seat and get comfortable?"

Lorelai, beaming, sat down opposite the President. But before she could utter a word...

"Why don't you take off your coat? It gets pretty warm in here."

Lorelai's face fell. "I can't."

"I insist. Please, let me take it for you."

Sensing there was no way out, Lorelai turned around and loosened the coat, letting it slide off her shoulders. The President then took the coat, revealing Lorelai's outfit: jorts and an American flag tank top.

"Laundry day," Lorelai explained, blushing red, white, and blue.

Gilman Guy 1x01 - Rory likes to read

Posted on 11.22.2015 at 11:23
"Excuse me?" asked an unfamiliar voice.

Rory looked up to see a boy holding her favorite pen, a metal red Montblanc that was just the right weight, a gift from her grandparents. How could she let that out of her sight?

"What are you doing with my pen?"

"I found it! It must have fallen out of your bag. You've got a lot of stuff in there."

"Oh. Thanks." She grabbed the pen from him and put it back in her bag and started off. "I have to go."

"Wait a second. Can I ask you something?"

Rory turned around. Now that she looked at him properly, she supposed he was actually kind of cute. His long, swooping hair hid his ears and she wanted to poke his dimples. But still, she only had five minutes before French class started, and she wanted to settle in at her desk.


"Sorry, I'm Dean. I'm new here. I've seen you around campus. You seem so... focused."

Rory let out a brief laugh. "Thanks?"

Dean stammered. "I... I'm just trying to say you seem different. In a good way! I like that you can tune out everyone around you when you read outside."

"You watch me read?"

"I mean... just in front of the school. I notice you when I leave to walk home. And when I get into school in the morning. And during lunch."

Rory smiled. "I just really enjoy reading, Dean."

Eternal Sunshine of the Early Shows

Posted on 11.10.2012 at 19:09
I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind today for the first time in a while. It's still a great movie, but I think I appreciate it for other reasons now. It occurred to me that it must have been a really fun movie to make - there's so much weird shit that happens while the movie follows Joel and his memories. They use the whole process of his memories getting erased as an excuse to do weird tricks with audio, lighting, distortion, scene transitions, and so on. My favorite is when he's starting to have regrets about erasing the memories after he relives the time when Clementine reveals how insecure she is about her prettiness, and you hear the Beck song that's in the movie a few times sort of fade in and out, like it's on a radio with poor reception. Other filmmakers do weird stuff like that too, but I like that there's more of a reason for them to do that here rather than doing it just for the sake of doing it (like the 'expectations/reality' scene in 500 Days of Summer - that was kind of a cool idea, but there's not really much point to doing it).

Unrelated: Now that I'm working a 9-5 (and recently it's been 8-5) job, I find that I have less desire to go to shows, mostly because they never end until after midnight. I guess music venues are probably going to keep doing what they're doing, but it'd be nice if there were more house shows with earlier hours for those who unfortunately have a more traditional work schedule. I learned from reading Our Band Could Be Your Life that The Minutemen helped organize shows like that in their hometown of San Pedro, specifically so people who have day jobs can enjoy art without being too tired for their job the next day.

I sometimes find I want to write stuff that wouldn't fit in my paper journal or on Facebook or whatever (and I want to stop broadcasting my thoughts on Facebook and Twitter and such). Maybe I will just post them here. Or I could just talk to a friend about them, I guess.

Break-up letter to Bank of America

Posted on 09.29.2011 at 23:28
Listening to: Emperor X "Allahu Akbar"

When I first got an account with you, I was excited when I learned first-hand that I could deposit checks into my account at any of your ATMs without using one of those pesky envelopes that other banks made you use. But once I became an adult and collected my roommates' utilities and cable checks, I realized how much slower the process is with you if I want to deposit more than one check. I was starting to lose interest, but since you're everywhere I go (like a stifling girlfriend), I maintained my account for the convenience of it all.

Today, I realized you probably made that decision so you could save on the cost of fucking envelopes. That's the kind of company you are, as your announcement today to charge people $5 a month if they want to use a debit card shows.

I'm leaving you,


Writer's Block: Between the slices

Posted on 02.28.2010 at 10:35
What's your favorite sandwich? Do you make it yourself or go somewhere special to buy it? What's in it?!
Okay, Writer's Block, I'll answer your question today, if only because I love sandwiches.

I don't know where to start, really. Sandwiches have always been my favorite food probably because they're so customizable - they are easily altered based on my mood.

Growing up, my favorite homemade sandwiches were classic peanut butter and banana (or just one piece of bread with peanut butter wrapped around a full banana, like a hot dog) and ham, swiss, and pepperoni with mustard and hot sauce. The latter is an obvious precursor to my college addiction to italian subs.

Now, my favorite sandwiches are breakfast sandwiches. I love a good egg and cheese sandwich, with one kind of meat (ham, turkey, or bacon) and ketchup. However, I think my current favorite is my variation of the classic Monte Cristo. I make two pieces of french toast, and then when they're almost done cooking on the stove I put some cheese and ham, turkey, or bacon (obviously cooked) on one piece. The cheese melts and the meat heats up, I put the other piece on top, and I consume. It's the poor man's version of the Monte Cristo but it is delicious and fills me up and gives me much more energy than having, say, a bowl of cereal for breakfast.

Will someone make me a sandwich now?

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