Monday, March 29, 2010

sit by me

on the back of the previous post, here's an experiment in music uploading over at this page.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

old favourites

yesterday i got listening to Lies Damned Lies. i had an email exchange with Chris and that often makes me think of LDL as it's a shared love.

the album, the human dress is a good place to start. it's nice to be rediscovering it. it's good to be reminded of just how beautiful Steve Butler's voice is...
i've rarely held back in expressing how much i don't resonate with what's called "contemporary Christian music". that in large part the fault of this band. because they were an early love and not much else could compare.

my top tracks currently going around the virtual turntable in the form of a playlist:

from the human dress:
* sit by me
* the human dress (lyrics by william blake)
* the next life
* free of the fear - from lamentations (great album for Lent)
* i'd make it up - from after virtue
* one time - from flying kites
* at the centre - from the last place on the map

and i'm adding there you were from steve butler's solo album lovecomedown because it made my eyes prick with very particular kind of tears to read these words on the sleeve insert yesterday...

when i could not be persuaded 
when i could not find my way
and the last thing i wanted to hear was
'you never should say never"
i came round the corner and there you were

dunno where they are these days, maybe on the face book, maybe disbanded, closed up shop, maybe just unplugged and still playing in a living room somewhere. the original websites are closed, and i can't see how you can get hold of their stuff but there's still a very out of date LDL myspace site here
steve stockman has a 2007 review of one of their living room gigs here. it really was that good. but it seems after that night they dropped off the face of the web.

oh well.

more later on other matters entirely, but for now, Happy St Patrick's Day. i'm wearing green but entirely unintentionally. it was late morning when it was pointed out to me it was the 17th.

here's to coming round corners...


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

so we might look outside our tiny mind boxes

just picked this up on the daily bulletin.
gotta be a contender for speech of the week.

the geeks will inherit the earth,


the award winning interview on CNN is available here:

Monday, March 15, 2010

recommended reading

as planned, i completed Maus - A Survivor's Tale ( I: My Father Bleeds History) and then immediately picked up Maus II (And Here My Troubles Began) and read it through in one sitting.

brilliant. harsh. moving. difficult. compelling.
and highly recommended. i'm encouraging a certain professor to get it on his curriculum for the next school year. details for the 'Complete Edition' available here. alternatively, support your local comics store.  

"Then you think it's admirable to survive. Does that mean it's not admirable to not survive?"

"Whoosh. I - I think I see what you mean. It's as if life equals winning so death equals losing."

"Yes. Life always takes the side of life, and somehow the victims are blamed. But it wasn't the best people who survived, nor did the best ones die. It was random." 
        - Maus II, Chapter 2: Auschwitz (Time Flies)  p.45.


together apart

ah, the best laid plans... Yesterday, Joel's flight out of Dublin was delayed by over 6 hours leading to an unplanned overnight stay in Chicago in an airport hotel courtesy of American Airlines. he's hopefully flying back to Nashville as i type. he has a class starting in an hour. he's either got a stand-by ticket for the first flight out this morning or he's now frustratedly stuck waiting for the next. or indeed the next. i'm starting to see the value of having a mobile phone. (neither of us do.)

[UPDATED: he not only got a seat on the 7am flight, it landed 10 minutes early, he got his luggage and then a cab, showed the driver some back street short cuts to avoid rush hour traffic, reached the classroom with seconds to spare and delivered his first lecture on time. at 0910. most people (i.e. me) would have believed it impossible and gone ahead and just cancelled class. Joel is not most people.]

all to say, after an early start yesterday we found ourselves hanging out in Dublin airport for the morning and chose smiles over tears, grateful for an extra bit of time together. lots of nice chat ensued.

our plan is that he'll will be back here at the end of May. and we're hoping to have all of June and July and a good bit of August together with a brief gap in the middle when he'll likely be taking a research trip to Germany. i'm still trying to decide if i'm going to join him there. i'll be right of the middle of writing my thesis. the opportunity is pretty tempting if it didn't interrupt my work flow. but that seems like a big ask. that said, i'm exploring a text that is deeply concerned with Nazism. we visited Kilmainham Gaol on Saturday and it proved unexpectedly but delightfully helpful to find myself in the very kind of architecture that inspired Foucault's theories. (i'll be drawing on his ideas of the internalised surveillance of the Panopticon in the thesis.) it brought the theory to life. the same might be true of going to Germany. so i have to think that through.

regardless, i'm so looking forward to the summer. this past week was nothing short of lovely. with a load of grading to do, Joel had to work while he was here and I cooked and made copious pots of tea. in the summer the tables will be turned and Joel's plan is to keep me fed and watered, and create a space where i don't need to think about anything but my writing. 
it's been lovely having a week where i didn't feel any sense of dislocation. it was blissful and we relished the togetherness and the foretaste of the summer to come.

had a very nice 24 hours up north too. Joel loved meeting the tuesday crew and we had a very lovely time with Shirley and fam and we were blessed to stay with Jayne. all in all - brilliant trip with very enjoyable train journeys there and back.

this is my second reading week without classes. i did actually end up doing some work last week while Joel graded, despite giving myself permission to do none. that said, reading Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics and reading Spiegelman's Maus feels like the best kind of work. today i plan to finish both. and it was a pleasure for us both to work in one another's company. 

we had some nice little trips into the city, and my parentals took us out for a very amazing dinner to officially mark and celebrate our engagement at one of my favourite restaurants. and Joel got to meet my step-sister and one of my step-brothers. so it was all full of bonding and getting to know the neighbourhood.

the rest of this week will be spent getting my library in order, creating some kind of draft work plan for the next 11 weeks and also working on one of several papers due in over the spring/summer. which means getting back to some theoretical reading and analysis. (with a copy of From Hell sitting on the coffee table waiting to be read, that's all going to take some discipline.) but i do hope to also spend some time on some thesis related art work.

right, better get some reading done...

be well. 


Monday, March 08, 2010

"our tiny skull-sized kingdoms"

the sun is shining outside, i've just re-aubergined my hair and Joel is sitting at the coffee table marking exam papers for a while before we head into the city for the afternoon.

waiting for the water to heat so i can take a quick shower, i've been browsing through my google reader and this caught my eye...


naturally, intrigued. i took the bait. so glad i did. this is an extract from a 2005 commencement speech at kenyon college by the late David Foster Wallace. breathtaking. 


other things i've been liking of late...

eve ensler's thoughts on emotions and girls developing in this conversation with author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) - i'm running this in the background and Joel's downed tools and is engrossed... 

"people who can say 'scud missiles' and 'plutonium' and 'war' and have no problem with that... they were horrified by the word vagina"
neil gaiman's latest post from a very nice hotel room in holywood. we got this morning's  Oscar news from his twitter feed and i smiled at the thought of him skipping the after-parties to hang out with king-of-the-geeks john hodgman.

'Lucy'. on radiolab. i've listened 3 times. and cried each time. can't recommend this enough. very provocative.
House on Loon Lake from This American Life. take the phone off the hook. pour some tea. put your feet up. enjoy.

Padraig's poetry website. brilliant. of course.

Robert Wright on Speaking of Faith.


some people came earlier, others will turn up later, but everyone's invited...

right, time to get ready and show my partner in crime the town. 

p.s. here's the ring for those gals who'd been asking for a pic... 

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

things i'm liking

i'm becoming more in love with Vimeo by the day. The Sandpit was a favourite of the past week. i often find the world is a much more balanced place seen through their lens than via the news. same goes for Astronomy Cast. i love falling asleep to this podcast. (especially as i've been avoiding the film talk due to spoiler warnings on several films.) the astronomy cast conversations have a lovely tone to them. it's full of awe and mystery and mindbending ideas. this show is ideally suited and (in some sense made) for folks with limited astronomy knowledge and is always pretty entertaining.

i'm also growing to love the respectful troll free conversations going on at Ta-nehisi Coates' blog at The Atlantic. (warning: contains very 'adult' humour and language this week.) and the Olympics. oh Canada. you did well. and i really want a pair of those red maple leaf on the palm mittens. the boston globe big picture, which i also love, has some amazing photos from the games.

these things been increasingly valuable to me these past couple of weeks in which i've been battling anxiety that keeps creeping up on me and whacking me on the back of the head.
i knew i'd have to work very hard some days to feel calm while living long distance from my partner and with a wait of unknown duration and bureaucratic process to go through to be with him. it was probably hormonal but this past week has been challenging in that regard.
i'm not living in gmt at the moment. i typically only go to sleep 3 hours before Joel does, yet he's living 6 timezones behind me. that's not good. doesn't help me feel like i'm living in one place and encourages my sense of dislocation. so we're working on making some adjustments so i get to sleep earlier.

it's March. i count the 1st as the first day of spring. and right on cue the sun was warming my windows so much that the air feels warmer as one nears the glass than colder.

the gorgeous soundtrack to The Sandpit was created by a "music and sound initiative" called Human. in trying to find out more about the track, which i haven't yet, i found this great short film called Zach (you'll see it in a selection of films at that link).
putting the men into menarche*, it's a quietly quirky and provocative exploration of pubescent experience and gender.

*my favourite bit of word play this week.

there's a new venture called Mapping Our Rights here. worth checking out if you're in the US and concerned about reproductive justice and/or LGBT equality. you can see how your state fairs.

something i'm sorry i'm missing: iain archer is heading to Nashville next week for the Belfast-Nashville Songwriters' festival. details here.

right, have a very important paper for school to be completed today. roll on Saturday and a week of wall-to-wall surround sound technicolour 3D dr-of-darkness immersion. but enjoying today for it's own sake. right here. right now.

here's some nice musical accompaniment to the day.