August 2005 Archives

the "Gabrielle Tapes"

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Hey, look, it's an actual MP3 post!

As a lot of you know, one of my favorite songwriters is Grace Braun, who performs both under her own name and with her rock band D.Q.E. (I've put out a couple of her albums.) Grace has been pretty fascinated by Nick Drake for a few years--she recorded two of his songs on I'm Your Girl--and a year or two ago she started getting into Jackson C. Frank, too. (The connection, besides basic temperament, is that Drake recorded Frank's "Blues Run the Game." Want to hear it? Look here.)

So a couple of weeks ago I was delighted to discover in my mailbox a new Grace Braun CD-R, The Gabrielle Tapes--Grace and a five-piece acoustic band doing two of Frank's songs, seven of Drake's, and four Braun originals. It's a benefit for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance; I'm not sure how much it costs, but you can write to trodglen [at-sign-goes-here] if you'd like to order one.

And, by permission of the artist (thank you!), here's one of Grace's original songs from The Gabrielle Tapes: "Broken Lilies". Gorgeous.

I'm heading off to the desert in a few days, so you may not be seeing much here for a bit.

you can live out in a tent

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Just finished Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince. Oblique spoilers follow.

1) One of the things I like a lot about the series is that it set up the formula with the first two volumes, and has proceeded to follow it a little less with each successive volume; I am very pleased to see that she's thrown it entirely out the window for the final volume. (Well, there'll be a visit to the Dursleys. But at least no Quidditch match, and it's a little less likely that Dumbledore will be explaining the plot to Harry 40 pages before the end.)

2) Wizards reach "maturity" at 17, I see. Convenient for the structure of the series. But what does that say about their age of consent, Vulgarweed?

3) I can't read about Tonks without picturing Kelso Jacks in my head (this is probably only funny if you know her).

4) Spent most of the book thinking the identity of the HBP was rather obvious, and of course was surprised by who it turned out to be--but a) hasn't Rowling done the "mysterious helpful book" plot already, and b) wouldn't you think Harry'd be a little more suspicious of it?

5) I have no quibbles with who gets paired up with whom; I just find all of the romances in this volume totally unconvincing.

6) Snape is now by far my favorite character in the series. And the big scene near the end made me think of J.L. Borges' "Three Versions of Judas"... if what Harry has to do with the Magic Flav-R-Aid seems painful, Severus has it way worse. (...I hope. But I can't imagine it'd be otherwise.)

Unrelatedly: am hopping, boiling, Ed Anger-level mad about something that won't be public until early next week, but if you get irritable vibes from me between now and the release of the steam, it's not about you.

the cloven canoe

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I recently read a quote to the effect that in order to do well in the world, you have to have any two out of the following three attributes: being a total genius, being the nicest person in the world, and being on time. (I think somebody actually said that about the comics industry, but it's generalizable.) Having been batting zero for three lately, I've been spending the last couple of weeks catching up on scheduled and unscheduled work, and also whining a lot. And declining some jobs, which is curiously tough for me to do. Haven't been on dry land since pre-baby, but I'd gotten used enough to feeling at least a little silt beneath my feet that it was alarming to realize that I was in nothing but water.

Finally, yesterday afternoon, I turned in my last outstanding piece until at least next Wednesday, which is why I'm currently lying in a comfortable chair on the porch of my mom's place in upstate New York, eating blueberries and preparing to read about a half-blood prince, as well as plotting a couple of little projects for this year's Burning Man (one of them involves orange yarn, sunblock and a secret society; another one involves a modified version of the Myers-Briggs test and a five-pound bag of Smarties).

But here are some of the things I've been working on that have gone online already:

An op-ed in Newsday about CBGB's troubles.

A longish review of Carla Speed McNeil's Finder: The Rescuers, from Salon.

A comparison-shopping piece about sunscreen, from Slate.

A review of The Complete Motown Singles, vol. 2: 1962, from Seattle Weekly.

Unrelatedly, but it's been stuck in my head: At a wedding a week or two ago, I met a woman who had a large, kind of awesome tattoo on her arm of Catwoman and Batgirl having a costume-tearing scratch-fight (drawn in an Eric Stanton-type style), and complimented her on it. "Oh, good," she said, "at least you know who they are. Yesterday this guy said 'Why do you have two Catwomans on your arm?' I told him 'actually, one of them's Batgirl.' 'Ahhh,' he said, 'I don't know anything about Spider-Man.' Well, obviously you don't!"