Friday, December 30, 2005

more bile

I was going to rant and rave about reading again, after coming across an article on Yahoo News about the "best books of 2005." After saying "did anyone really read all the way through the novel that won the National Book Award?" in their introduction, in a snide reference to William T. Vollmann's Europe Central. The anonymous author submits said book as the "most overrated book of 2005," saying "Upon receiving the National Book Award for fiction, Vollmann said of his 800-page opus of intertwined stories about World War II: "I'm very happy it's over, and I don't have to think about it anymore." So are we (and we didn't get past page 200)." Sorry dipshit, but perhaps if you'd put a little effort into reading a novel that expects you to contribute something other than just showing up and running your eyes over the page and a little less time reading about 30-year-old women trying to find a sensitive man™ with a BIG WALLET, you'd be better off and be more qualified to critique literature. They did manage to choose Joan Didion's National Book Award-winning The Year of Magical Thinking as their book of the year, but it's about a woman suffering, so that's probably the attraction. I WAS going to rant about this, but then I realized the story was from USA Today and not a real news source, so it didn't really matter.

However, I find this problem indicative of the general anti-intellectual thinking that's currently running rampant in our society. Actually READ an 800-page novel about World War II? Puh-LEEZ. I don't want to have to put THOUGHT into what I'm reading. That's why I read People, USA Today, and the Red Eye.

Urge to kill...rising...

So anyway, how about this. In 2006, read a real book. Something artsy. Something real. Something with some depth and thought and craft and artistry in it. I know this sounds pretentious, but for the love of all that's holy, I'm sick of people being voluntarily stupid. Hey look, I read Stephen King and Harry Potter too, and I enjoy the hell out of them, but there's more to life than that. I'll be posting a list of really, truly great books here in the next week or so. Do yourself a favor and read one.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Alright, I've been keeping my ranting and raving on here to a minimum, but I discovered something this morning that's got me seriously pissed off. (which I refuse to link to) has started a lighthearted parody campaign of the American Library Association's "Read" posters. You know the ones--they feature celebrities endorsing not books, but the act of reading in and of itself. has started a "Don't Read" series of advertisements, featuring people holding headphones. I realize that this is lighthearted and intended to be amusing, but what kind of bullshit message is "Don't Read"? I honestly don't care that two of their top-selling downloads are Brave New World and The Canterbury Tales. If you can't be bothered to actually read those books, then you haven't read them. "I listened to it." Screw you, pal. Is it really worth $100 to download some guy reading "ulysses" just so you can say you "read" it? If you really want to have the experience of that book, you really, really have to read it.

Hey, if you want to download the latest John Grisham formulaic piece of shit drivel, go right ahead. But if you can't be bothered to sit down and read, maybe you should re-organize your priorities. Turn off whatever bullshit "reality" television show you're watching, sit down, and read, for fuck's sake. What's really nauseating is people who argue that "listening is just the same as reading because you have to constantly pay attention." Bullshit. Reading is interactive. You imagine the setting, the characters, the voices. Listening is like a radio play, which, while cool in and of itself (The Shadow, anyone?), it's NOT reading. It's better than television, I suppose, but it's NOT reading.

I realize I'm taking this WAY too seriously and I should probably just relax, but I read for a living, I read for pleasure, I read to READ. I've never dabbled in audiobooks, and if is going to tell people not to read, but to be a passive receptor of culture and genius (or, in the case of whatever flavor-of-the-month name-brand book-factory-author they're touting as the new whatever, drivel)? Screw 'em.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

better of 2005 list

my top 14 records of 2005 (in alphabetical order so as not to show favoritism):

Arco Flute Foundation--"Everything After Everything After The Bomb Is Sci-Fi"
Chris Brokaw--"Incredible Love"
Cerberus Shoal--"The Land We All Believe In"
The Evens--"The Evens"
Death Vessel--"Stay Close"
Growing--"His Return"
Anders Parker--"The Wounded Astronaut"
Real Live Tigers--"There Is A Story That Sleeps Inside Us"
Micah Blue Smaldone--"Hither and Thither"
White Rainbow--"ZOME"
Windy & Carl--"The Dream House/Dedications to Flea"
Zapruder Point--"It's Always The Quiet Ones"

i can see for miles

4 1/2-year-old glasses

new, super-awesome glasses

"are you trying to tell me that I can dodge bullets?"

So I have new glasses. Since I got them, I've felt like I'm looking through binoculars. awesome. they have magnetic stick-on sunglasses. totally, totally sweet.

house show went great. very well-received and the other bands were wonderful. sorry I haven't posted much lately, I've been incredibly busy.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

they're here

I hope to have copies sometime soon, and they'll be available through me as well as through Zac. I'm really excited for this. Zac's been a huge supporter of my stuff and never ceases to amaze me.

brief reminder: house show tonight with Cains&Abels, Real Live Tigers, and Milwaukee's Partisan. 8PM at the Spooky Graveyard (3049 W Fullerton). Bring fruit.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

winter in the city

the gag around here goes that the people who originally settled Chicago liked the crime and poverty of New York, but thought it just wasn't cold enough. that's certainly playing out this week, with single-digit temperatures. yee-haw. being of hearty Maine stock, it's not bothering me much, but that doesn't mean I can't still complain about it.

Saw Cains&Abels with Real Live Tigers over the weekend and somehow wrangled an opening spot for a house show featuring those two bands this coming Saturday. Weird. Most of my equipment is still in Ken's basement, but I have a few ideas...

Got a message on myspace from Zac saying things were almost ready to go with Fold Your Wings, but for some reason myspace didn't let me know I had the message for about three weeks. So, um, sorry 'bout that delayed response, Zac. The rest of you shouldn't have much longer to wait for some new mitronic transmissions, so rest easy.
eXTReMe Tracker