Thursday, December 20, 2007

bruce banner

this is a prelim design for me new banner.
as i was freaking out over my final paper, for some reason instead of actually finishing the paper, some demon possessed me into learning how to use GIMP, the open source Photoshop alternative.

Its actually pretty neat and I learned some stuff.

But i don't have a real designer's eye. I know what I like in design, but i don't have the years of training, practice, trial and error, etc. that comes with being a real design person. i don't really pretend to be, but still, i like good design, but can never really pull it off.

There are already a bunch of problems i have with this, but it looks good enough for a half hour of trying. it just doesn't pull yr eye in the right way, no flow.

the "entering" biz i thought was cool months ago is distracting. the LED typeface now heavily reminds me of the LCD art for Dizzee Rascal's "Stand Up Tall" single.

the constant futility just reminds me of The Germs 2nd version of the classic "Forming" at the end: "“…Fucking jerk, he’s playing it all wrong; the drums are too slow, the bass is too fast, the chords are all wrong… ahh, i quit”

It's an 8-Bit Thursday

Hello. I am currently going insane writing a program evaluation plan.

So, for you I have picked out two awesome things from NES days.

1. A message I saw a lot in my childhood while playing Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. When day became night, things got bleak and enemies took twice as many hits. And they came into town. scary:

2. A message I probably only saw once or twice. Gauntlet never really crossed my path much as a kid. But while looking at errorwear, I saw this shirt and nearly lost it. This message is important. Its about the nicest thing you can say to someone:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

favorite lyric of the hour: Jay-Z

from the track "American Dreamin'" off American Gangster:

"And its not like we’re professionals movin’ the decimals
Know where to cop? Nah! got a connect? No!
Who under Heaven know how to be successful
Need a Personal Jesus, i’m in Depeche Mode"


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Remember Jamaica Plain?: Dear Editor

Apparently, when it comes to finding quality public transport, there were really no "good old days".

I understand the frequent answer to an inquiry for some old resident of Jamaica Plain is: "He has passed away; he got his death on the horse cars."

Read here for the rest:
Remember Jamaica Plain?: Dear Editor

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Paul the Greek

So, weeks after the incident described below, my landlord passed away. Monday, 17 September 2007. It was an unpleasant surprise. My roommates and I did not visit him in the hospital. Partly because it was awkward since we weren't family and partly because we were busy. When his wife told me he'd be home "soon", for some reason I believed her. Or I figured that it was probably best to think that way.

One day as I was making my way to school, the wife of the soon-to-be neighbors re-building the house next door asked, "Have you heard anything about Dan?" to which I replied, "Well, he hasn't been doing his physical therapy and he's had trouble recognizing people..."

Whereupon I was told that he'd actually died two days ago. Ah.

After the news had been spread, Jess sent flowers. Which was awesome because she was in Chicago but still had the presence of mind to call a florist and have them sent to the funeral home here. Scott and I are not really what you would call 'attentive'. That evening I led Carolyn (whose had plenty of run-ins with the landlords) and new roommate John (what an awful way to get started at a new place) to give condolences to Mary. It went about as well as it could. However I, of course, managed to say one of those things you don't say at moments like this: "have a good night". Of course, the the answer is "I don't know if I can."

Scott and I attended the wake the next day. I really do not like funeral culture. It may have made sense in the past to be able to see the deceased one more time. I think its a terrible thing. I don't like it at all. It's not them.

The wake did give us the opportunity to see pictures of Dan when he was younger. To be able to visualize him in a way that made him whole was kinda nice. He wasn't just the old infirm landlord who seemed to come up with new ways to accuse us of things everyday. Through the pictures and talking to his wife, relatives, kids and grandkids I was able to make him more solid in my imagination.

It also helped to solve a mystery. His wife always called him "Paul". I just thought it was old age, but after seeing his obituary, it turns out his middle name and nickname was Paul. "Paul the Greek" apparently. In a kind of story that I love, he hung out with a bar owner in the West End whose name was appended with "-the Greek" (I can't remember the exact name now). So, by association, he became Paul the Greek.

So here's for Dan, Paul the Greek. Who's probably punching someone's lights out who deserved it right now.

Here is his obituary in the Herald:
Daniel Paul "Paul the Greek" Sr. Adkins
Cambridge, Mass
Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Daniel Paul "Paul the Greek" Sr. of Cambridge, September 17, 2007. Beloved husband of Mary (Russell). Father of Marion Grey and Paula Baptist both of Cambridge and Daniel Adkins Jr. of Malden. Brother of James Frtiz and his wife Jenny of VA. Grandfather of seven and great-grandfather of five. Funeral Services in the Cota-Struzziero-McKenna Funeral Home, 197 Washington Street, SOMERVILLE, on Friday, September 21 at 10:00 A.M. Relatives and friends may call at the funeral home Thursday 4:00 P.M. thru 8:00 P.M. Interment Westview Cemetery, Lexington. Daniel was a member of the Fresh Pond Golf Club and a veteran WWII US Army.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Evangelion Rebuilt

My lack of internet savvy and my excess of not paying attention to things led me to miss the fact that one of my favorite bits of media, Neon Genesis Evangelion, is being relaunched.

But let's turn back the page.

[Disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on Evangelion here, i'm just relaying my experience].

For those of "you" not in the know, Eva (as its known in short) was a 26 episode anime series capped off with 2 movies. Its an incredibly difficult show to explain, so I'd recommend hitting wikipedia's entry or something. It involves teenagers, twentysomethings, robots, the military, world government conspiracy, angels, angst, apathy, longing, sex, judeo-christian mythology and the apocalypse. You know that feeling as a moody kid that the world is ending based on your problems? This makes it happen. What I can tell you is that that the show and movies were a mindf*ck. Its also incredibly popular and apparently a multi-billion dollar industry.

In my incredibly losery freshman/sophomore years, I spent hours at anime clubs around the different universities in town watching the series til the end of the series, then the first movie "Death and Rebirth". See, the end of the tv series made no sense whatsoever. Lots of happy music, dreams, death and still shots. The director of the series, Hideki Anno, was not a popular man in Japan after this. Like death threats unpopular. So the "Rebirth" was the first part of a second attempt at the end. The End would be in the second movie.

The End came for me on the floor of the now-closed Anime Crash in Harvard Square. They arranged a viewing of "End of Evangelion", after someone snagged copy from Japan which had been hurriedly fan-subtitled (thank god these are MIT/Harvard nerds). I left the store after it had finished and stumbled into the night, walking back to Northeastern in a daze.

Now, many years later, I hear that a four-part movie series called "Rebuild of Evangelion" ( will relaunch and re-end the series. The first part may have actually been released in Japan. My eyes are peeled.

For now, all I have are trailers. These highlight many of the virtues of the series. The music featured in the series, such as opening and ending themes, are pop songs which contrast sharply with the darkness of the characters and events. The new opening theme song, "Beautiful World" by Hikaru Utada is a wonderful slice of j-pop. I did say "j-pop" so if you cannot appreciate sugary pop, then yr not going to like this. Of course, you can only go so far. The newly remixed version of ending theme, "Fly Me to the Moon," is just too awful. The understated original, which i was already on the fence about, was much more palatable. The morose mood and pop combination succeeded (for me, at least) to make the events even more poignant. When things are going pear-shaped, having a positive tune in your head can make you pretty wistful, pleading with you to keep moving forward.

Other elements featured are the attention to detail focused on what would usually be background objects. Desks, stairways, glasses, rain, powerlines, etc. Even shots where rain is gently falling on silent military equipment is just too beautiful. A street full of traffic can make you feel utterly alone. An escalator provides the only movement capable of being had.

Yeah, it makes no sense. But what a series, I hope that this "Rebuild" can provide the same amount of bewildered emotion.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Moloko / Roisin Murphy: Forever More

With my constant intake of music (of which i never seem to express properly here) I tend to pass by an excellent track.

This time it comes courtesy of Moloko. The song is "Forever More", a single from their last album, Statues (2003). Its just so good. It has totally picked up my spirits (which as you might now is difficult to do) and I listen to it constantly in physical and mental repeat.

It starts slowly from simple synth lines and builds up into an eruption of dance floor magic with beats, organs and horns. But what makes the track really stand out is Roisin Murphy's vocals. She has such an interesting range and can get high or low. She really shines at the low registers it gives her a sensual and firm grip on any song she sings.

"Forever More" is a plea for "someone to love me". Coming from what seems like a place where a real and reciprocal love is expected but isn't forthcoming. "Will we receive?/ Without ever asking/ I'm just curious".

That's another thing, Roisin's phrasing and intonations are absolutely amazing. When you hear her sing "curious" and "furious" you can just see the defiant look that would come with it. Or that's just me. Anyway, SUCH a good song. Here's the vid of the single version of the song (the album's version is over 7 minutes. of awesomeness.):

Being at the end of the Moloko canon, it comes a million miles away from "Fun for Me" from 1995 (1997 in the US with the "electronica" hype craze). Back then, as enjoyable as it is, they were going for more quirky thrills. As time went on and with the gigantic international danceclub success of "Sing it Back", they found great success keeping it simple yet inventive with Roisin ascending to be the queen of the dancefloor with her vocals still throwing some interesting quirks but serve to add weight to the songs rather than be misperceived as novelty. With this came the future singles/dance floor burners:

"The Time is Now" (whenever i hear this song, I feel the same way Roisin does in this video)

"Pure Pleasure Seeker" (a performance sure to please Morris Day and the Time fans)

"Familiar Feeling" (I wish I could dance like this)

Along with other great singles. To get an overview, please pop by your favorite record shop and pick up their singles compilation "Catalogue". Unfortunately, its the only Moloko record aside from their debut "Do You Like My Tight Sweater?" from 1995/97 that is available in the US. If you can, pick up the imports "I Am Not a Doctor" (1998) "Things to Make and Do" (2000) and "Statues" (2003).

After Statues Roisin went on to a successful solo career with an excellent album Ruby Blue which produced smashing singles.

"If We're in Love"

"Sow Into You"

aaand now the lead single "Overpowered" from a forthcoming album called "Overpowered" oddly enough. An instant classic to my ears. Fantastic video.

This song is waiting to overthrow "Forever More" in my brain but it will take a little bit. Once the "oxytoxins" kick in.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


My landlords are an elderly couple. Both 86.

They are nice, but can get cranky and haven't really accepted their oldness.

The husband is out every day working in our little yard and driveway.
He is not in good shape.
The paramedics asked later what ailments he had including heart-attack, stroke, etc.

he pretty much said "yah, all that".

So while i was between class and work and came home, i had noticed that the stones at the edge of the driveway were being moved. a bad idea if i ever saw one.

after a while inside, i heard hollering from the driveway. "HELP!"

i looked out and saw it was Dan on the ground and ran out. i made a mistake because he wanted me to help him up and i did.

i propped him up (incorrectly) and helped him shuffle to the chair, only later realizing that i shouldn't have moved him.

i should have just made him lie down and gotten something to cushion his head with and support his leg.

his wife couldnt hear him
they had the windows closed with a/c and tv on

she was a little out of it at first
when the situation presented itself, she was more in control

but of course leading off with the old people yelling at each other thing.

he was in a good bit of pain, it was awful.

we tried calling family and then we realized that the ambulance needed to be called.

he was relieved to see them.

after the ambulance took him (i'm sure he'll be fine) a cop said we should discourage him from exerting himself.

i've tried. but he just hasn't faced up to reality.

tho the reality sucks and what is it really.

but when you may have broken your hip, its a little too real.

i really don't want to get old.
or at least i want to take care of myself a little better.

Friday, June 22, 2007

[kerala] Champakara!

[kerala] Champakara!, originally uploaded by jasonik.

Someone asked a question that i never thought i'd have to answer.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Nightowlcity is "teh best blogz LOL!"

A shocking development from Jonathan "I do not maintain a blog" Airport.








A chilling portrait of things to come.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Smoosh - A Modern Love (Bloc Party cover) (live)

The girls are apparently turning out alright. Now 13 and 15 last i heard.

After touring with Bloc Party, Smoosh've incorporated a cover of "A Modern Love" in their live show, blowing audiences away.

part 1:

part 2:

and now they've got a new kid (literally) on bass.

I've been told that to see Smoosh rock out like this when you are much older than them is to question where things went wrong in your own creative life.

Never started that band?

Look at this.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lily Allen @ The Roxy - April 7, 2007

Easily one of the best shows I've been to in a while.

Full band, horn section kept things lively. As Sue kept saying, she was quite endearing. Lily had a great attitude and presence all night. Apparently it was her first show sober and seemed a little giggly at the crowd. She also yelled at some people shoving each other, appreciated. Cracking renditions of her tracks as well as two covers: a Keane cover with a little skank in it (not what i was expecting) and most appreciated of all, "Heart of Glass". With the crowd filling in the "oooohh woahh".

In spite of it being in the Roxy, filled with youngins, it was a great time. Dancing and all. The night was lit up by Lily and her glow in the dark laces on her sneaks.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Caged Fury

Caged Fury, originally uploaded by Night Owl City.

I feel like one of those pictures in the opening to Cheers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dream Deferred

Dream Deferred, originally uploaded by Night Owl City.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

No 355?: Deadhead Trips for the 352

I thought I knew everything about Deadhead Trips, I was wrong.

I was looking at the most MBTA Service Plan because I'm calculating subsidy
{Subsidy = [cost - revenue]) as far as i understand it}

I came across a bus with ridiculously low ridership, the 355 which goes from Mishawum Commuter Rail Station to downtown. I'm still a little unclear why there needs to be a bus that does what the commuter rail does, but apparently 15 people (probably 7-8 people going round trip) who ride this bus everyday do.

It serves Cummings Industrial Park. Biotech. Au Bon Pain. And other crap.

355 Mishawum St. (Woburn) - Express to Downtown Boston:

This is a bus that serves 15 passengers a day.
Costs $434 a day to run with an average fare collected of $2.85. (before the fare increase, I assume)
resulting in a cost of $26.09 per passenger

so just for weekday travel, the bus costs (minus revenue) $101,751 a year.

Of course, for me, the point is not that money should be taken away from public transportation, but that people should use it. This is a commuter bus, it operates maybe twice a day for the purpose of bringing people to work. Highly infrequently. Stupid suburbs.

From the MBTA 2006 Service Plan Appendix:

"Due to the limited service provided by the Route 355, it fails the span, frequency and net cost/passenger standards. However, because three of the four Route 355 trips would be deadhead trips on Route 352 if the Route 355 were not operating, it is recommended that Route 355 not be changed. Route 355 also fails the schedule adherence standard. Because this route now operates using some GPS-equipped buses, as subsequent data become available, analysis of the run times will be conducted and additional changes introduced if warranted."

I assume a "Deadhead Trip" is a return trip to a bus depot without being in service.

well, the point of this post is lost on me. enjoy.

stupid suburbs.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Silver Line gets Friday off

J.Airport and I are about to take a trip out west. Just need to get to the airport, involving a simple Red Line to Silver Line connection and we're there. We just need to know what time we should leave.

Thankfully the MBTA's website has their handy trip planner on the front page. Simple. Convenient.

Except that it seems to forget that certain lines exist on Fridays. The Orange Line has not existed on some Fridays.

This time, its a F**k You (Silver Line) Friday. It has been disappeared. On J.Airport's first attempt to plan our trip, you needed to get old skool and take the Red to the Blue Line to Airport Station. Not for me, thanks.

So I try and I learn of a bus that hits up South Station AND the Airport. On its way to Salem.

Well, damn. Why did the T build a Silver Line anyway? The magic number is 459. Forget that Silvery thing above the Red Line. It doesn't exist.

J.Airport points out that on Thursdays the Silver Line exists, but moves in mysterious ways:

Ride the Bus to Terminal A.

J.Airport: Get out of the bus. Get back on the bus. Ride past Terminal C. Get off the Bus at Terminal E. Walk on the Highway ramps back to Terminal C.

Friday, March 09, 2007

My Feel Trip

From Villa Ria arrives this horrible depiction of African American Vernacular English from some sort of linguistics text that was obviously written at least 150 miles away from the nearest person who would actually speak it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Help the Police

Its NWA Day! With an important message for children:
Help the Police, Help the Police, Help em

I'm just surprised to see a Brit who can seamlessly work with any NWA track, really.

"having lots of fun cause I'm a teenager, with little bit of gold and
pager. Searching my car looking for the biscuits. Thinking every chap
is selling bits of chocolate"

[thanks to Airport for the tip]

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The 'Mats and Me

I decided to wait several dozen years and get into The Replacements. Who are awesome.

I think I was distrustful of this music when i was younger.

But at the same time, now when i hear these songs to sing with a beer, i feel an authenticity. I feel like I should be walking around my austere apartment with wooden floors with barely a couch and a table with a turntable playing 'Mats songs.

Then i realized that i was probably wearing a faded combination of denim and flannel. And Authenticity.

But then I realized I was remembering a video.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Jarvis and Kristin

Two music videos that I wanted to point out for two great releases.

First is Jarvis Cocker, the former lead man of Pulp and an idol of mine. This is the video for his latest single "Don't Let Him Waste Your Time", and I believe that the song is pretty self-explanatory from the title. The video is hilarious as it takes on a needless theme and takes the ridiculous theme to an extreme. And the woman is going to Bethnal Green.

It on his album Jarvis! and its coming out in the US on April 3 (see story here:


The next video is from another idol of mine, Kristin Hersh. You know school is driving me insane when i just perchance to see in a record store a NEW KRISTIN HERSH RECORD! What happened to me? I fell off my game. Kristin however, did not do such a thing. Her new solo record is loud, full band-ed, and muscular. I really admire that as time has gone on, a need developed to make things louder and harder. At the same time, not having that loudness be a distraction. Whether she is alone on a stool with an acoustic guitar or pounding and shredding your eardrums with 50 Foot Wave and Throwing Muses reunions, she has a power that scares people. As well as charms.

The song is "In Shock", the first single from the new album Learn to Sing Like a Star which is out in stores, so get it.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sugababes Addendum

I should have probably made some sort of extra note about my allegiance to a pop group. Especially one that does not exactly pitch the most feminist image out there. Feminism is a tricky thing. I consider myself a type of feminist and I think that its a matter of fact that everyone should be. Kind of how you shouldn't be racist and that poor evil terrorists are sneaking over the Mexican border to eat your children and shower themselves with your tax money.

I'm a little off-track.

So, the Sugababes. If you are a longtime reader of this blog (sorry, even I had to laugh), you would know that while I am an avid connoisseur of music, I have also (for years) embraced that all my guilty pop pleasures should not have been guilty. Good pop songs are good songs. They are just in the pop genre.

The pop genre requires personas to be created. I realized that you don't have to take it seriously. I try to look at it like a Warhol or Lichtenstein painting. Without getting any deeper than that. Costume changes? Ridiculous songs? Fine. Just make it good listening (the 'Make It Work' philosophy).

One thing in my early days at Northeastern that helped me to get it was hearing the cute Scottish group Travis do a cover of Britney Spears "One More Time" with an acoustic and all maudlin singing. It was perfect.

Here's a reprise:

So anyway, the point is more of me covering my tracks. To convince those of you who have not had my moment of Pop Awakening that YES i like other music. (and as i usually think of my taste) GOOD music. I also realize (as music critics have discovered) that "pop" invades most music. Horrid bands ranging from Good Charlotte to Dashboard Confessional are pop groups. Bad pop groups. Because they are boring. and bad.

Really, the second you start putting elements of order in music, through singing, beats, riffs, etc in an order that people find pleasing and memorable, its pop.

In any case. I like the Sugababes. They make excellent pop music. Yes, the lyrics can be atrocious, the values put forth in the videos vapid and questionable, the dancing in the later videos slightly stripper-informed, its pop. If you can find yourself singing along to "Hole in the Head", "Since U Been Gone", "Can't Get You Out of My Head" or "La Isla Bonita" the job is done.

The only crime is to be boring like if you turn on a modern rock station. Or boring and unforgivable like Destiny's Child's "Cater 2 U".

Just you wait until my gushing Kylie Minogue post.

Friday, January 26, 2007

SUGABABES Compendium

The holiday season gave me a chance to reflect on the past year as we come upon a new one. Or at least it should have, but my mind refuses to remember most of the preceding year. This especially hurts when I try and fail to put together a year-end best singles/albums/blah list. I remember nothing.

One thing I do know is that coming towards the end of the year, I've been listening to a lot of the Sugababes. I've been making a little playlist for myself because they've put out excellent singles.


Almost as if sensing this, the 'Babes record company have put out a singles compilation called "Overloaded" (buy) (named after their first single "Overload". While today's overwhelming need for record companies to capitalize on their artists with quick comps is a but irritating (frikkin Semisonic has a compilation!?) it still allows for good singles comps. as long as an artist or group actually puts out good singles. and the Sugababes are one of those groups.

While its not all the singles, or even all their best songs, its a damn solid slice of good pop.

I am now going to assume you have little to no exposure to the Sugababes aside from me putting on "Hole in the Head" at a party.

Since I am not British nor am I absolutely obsessed with the 'babes, I cannot fully comment on the history and impact of the singles. I will tell you what little I know and direct attention to some of their best stuff utilizing everyone's favorite medium... YOUTUBE videos!!! yay!

My descriptions are also there more or less as filler. just listen to the songs, enjoy the videos. i wasn't totally hooked until "Freak Like Me" and "Hole in the Head" so who knows.


The Sugababes were introduced to me back in 2000-1, when i used to read the NME's site regularly and they and all the British music rags were all losin their juice to their debut single 'Overload' and album One Touch. They were all mad over their maturity implied in song despite their age (around 16) and the fact that they co-wrote their songs.

At this time, the Sugababes were Keisha Buchanan, Mutya Buena (one of my favorite names ever), and Siobhan Donaghy (another of my favorite names). They were then as they are now, a melange of ethnicities. Keisha's black, Mutya's Filipino/Irish, Siobhan's... really white, i don't know. Keisha and Mutya were childhood friends singing together as the Sugababies.

I had no patience to wait for their videos to fully download from the UK sites (which were ridiculously slow back then) so I gave up interest. What little I saw or heard (or heard hyped from the UK rags) hinted at an organic soulful pop. With the girls doing their best looking cool and hip, as you will see in their video "Overload".

ONE TOUCH (2000/1)

By the time they released One Touch in this country, it was in typical style for American record companies releasing UK music. It was completely late, there was no promotion done, and the record was buried. I had a chance to pick it up but didn't. That record sold about 1000 copies in this country to this date according to Billboard. A shame. Also a shame I didn't know then what I know now and just picked up the damn thing. It was cheap and you can't find it in stores now. Anyway.

Here's the video for "Overload". Its a lot of Siobhan, so get it while you can because the dynamic changes quickly after this album. In any case, they all look so cute and young with higher vocal registers and its sorta refreshing to see them before they vamp it up afterward.


and yeah, i'm not as big a fan of the other One Touch singles: "Run for Cover" "Soul Sound" "New Year". They're alright. I put their vids at the end of this post.


After the album's singles had rolled out, I kept them in the back of my mind. I had a good feeling. (A similar feeling was had after Basement Jaxx's Remedy album with singles like "Red Alert", and BAM, they came back with "Romeo", so I was feelin pretty good).

In this meantime, Siobhan left the group due to what seems to be a falling out of personalities or styles or whatever. She's put together a solo career and it sounds good, we'll see how she does when her latest hits in 2007.

Siobhan was replaced by Heidi Range of pop group, Atomic Kitten. and the melange of race was intact. However, the pure pop to soul ratio starts to heavily favor pop afterward.



This feeling was pretty quickly rewarded in 2002 with the single "Freak Like Me". In those rollicking days of the mash-up, this was a Richard X (a fine pop producer) track mashing up the music to Gary Numan's "Are Friends Electric?" with the lyrics to Adina Howard's "Freak Like Me". Apparently the blooping at the beginning is from Frogger. In any case, the track is a smash and was a UK #1 single. it is wicked.

The follow-up to this was "Round Round", which was produced by one of the best modern pop production team: Xenomania. For some reason I didnt dig this originally. I have no idea why. I love the -plink-s that come with the beat, the subdued wall of sound. The chorus is instant-catchy. The easy flow of the song makes me think of it as a sequel to "Overload". call me crazy. what i also like is that they use parts of the song in which a verse would be sung and use it as an slightly long lead-in to chorus! SCHLINK!PLINK-PLINK-PLINK. uh yah. Also is the great pop effect of all the stuff in the video stopping with the song when Heidi sings her slow verse:


If yr not a fan of the slower songs, then skip on ahead, but "Stronger" is definitely strong. One of those break-up empowerment ballads.

It was part of a double-A-side with title track "Angels With Dirty Faces" used in the Powerpuff Girls Movie. Here is a sadly lifeless video of it in the Powerpuff's world:


THREE (2003)

The first single off of Three was "Hole in the Head", a Xenomania production. This is one of my favorite pop songs of all time. (As some of you know/saw) it was in Dublin where I first heard the track in a pub, got real excited, had a feeling it was a new Sugababes track, and bam, rewarded by info from the DJ. Its an island-pop track, makes you want to dance and has this absolutely wicked hyperactive bass line with an equally mad guitar riff playing very subtly in the mix with it. The only thing on this track that even comes close to disappointing is its two 'ass' references. Not because i'm offended by the word "ass", its that both refs make no sense and this is a trend in many modern 'Babes tracks. Even so, the song still makes me insanely happy to this day.


The second single "Too Lost in You" is a bit of a shocker for me because of how much i like it. Its written by evil songwriter Diane Warren, who wrote shit for Celine Deon and "don't want to miss a thing" for aerosmith. An awful woman. However, the 'babes continue on their streak of respectable ballads in their repertoire. Its sung with strength, good harmonizing, and it doesn't put you to sleep. The part where Mutya sings "fell too far this tiiiime" before the first chorus with the low throaty voice is all you really need. It was used in the movie Love, Actually. The video reflects none of this and it is weirdly eroticized.

(here is the version of the video that is not just the Love Actually tie-in)


The third single "In the Middle" is just a pure fun moment. The song has no meaning with references to "drunken elevators" "speaking all in code" "acting out of character is everything we know". Still with its rockin horn effects and tempo it catches you. Its nonsense chorus will stay with you forever, i catch myself saying it quietly all the time:

"I'm caught up in the middle
Jump into the riddle
I'm fallin just a little tonight (uh uh)
Cuz everybody's making trouble
Someone's burst their bubble
But we'll be getting by alright (uh uh uh)"


Fourth: "Caught in a Moment". ballad. at the bottom.



So we're in the home stretch. First single is "Push the Button" produced by Dallas Austin. Its almost an exercise in great pop. Steady build, bridge ascending to chorus (seemingly descended from Sheena Easton's "Morning Train", chorus absolute sing-along. electro flourishes. unfortunate are the horrendous lyrics. its basically about them wanting a nice guy and wanting to him to get with "it". there is another annoying ass reference. but still, it is a pop gem:


The next single "Ugly" is at the bottom. "Ugly" is a sister song to Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" as a piece of empowerment "if i'm ugly then so are you".


Then came some bad news. My favorite, Mutya Buena left. I really dug her and her voice. at least in video even her facial expressions had such coolness and swagger. She was then replaced by Amelle Berrabah, who had been making the rounds of the UK pop scene's minor league before bursting through here. Her voice is even throatier than Mutya's, which i'm still getting used to, but I hope it works out. Plus, she is of Moroccan descent and the group's skin-tone rainbow still shines on. They re-recorded "Red Dress" and "Follow Me Home" and re-released the album with her on the cover.

However, this also means that Keisha is the only original member of the group left. Which is a little sad considering Sugababes originally consisted of teenagers who were friends.

The third single which was re-recorded with Amelle's vocals (plus her video debut) is "Red Dress". Yet another pop monster. Great horns that take over in the middle. I dunno if its me, but Amelle's "coolah"s at the beginning are insane.


Fourth: "Follow Me Home" re-recorded with Amelle. at the bottom.



Bringing us to now. There are two new songs on the collection.

The first single is "Easy". It is the very synthesis of the 'babes. Horrendous, innuendo-laden lyrics that are awesome with how horrendous they are and the chorus is so DAMN CATCHY. For the verses, its almost like they were having an innuendo contest and trying to outdo each other. I just have to quote with remarks in [brackets]:

Engine's running high baby, can you come and check it?
Got such a pretty kitty, boy I know you want to pet it
[i love cats!]

The weather's nice and wet just south of the border
[humidity is hot]
I can cook up anything that you have to order
[ehhh... doesn't follow up]

Hey Mr Postman, where's the mail for my mailbox?
[OHHHH SHIIIIIIIIIT, i dont even know what that means]
I wanted sex on the beach and I don't mean on the rocks
[and you lost 20 points]

Heidi (2nd attempt):
It's your serve baby but the ball's in my court,
[tennis is also hot..]
I've got a landing strip clear for you at the airport
[ding! we have a winner!]

but again, the chorus rocks. it heals all wounds and forgets all comedy. Then the verses fade away into chorus chorus territory and the music swells with middle eastern influence.

In the video the girls are stuck in a world that consists wholly of a women's bathroom in a pvc club and sexual aggression.


i will end it here. i love the 'Babes. May they continue to pop.

Though the next single is a team-up with Girls Aloud for Comic Relief 2007 and is a cover of "Walk This Way" with each group playing the role of Aerosmith and Run DMC.


Here's some extra vids. they're goodies:

"Follow Me Home" - Taller in More Ways (2005)

"Ugly" - Taller in More Ways (2005)

"Shape" w/ Sting - Three (2003)

"Caught in a Moment" - Three (2003)

"Run For Cover" - One Touch (2001)

"New Year" - One Touch (2001)

"Soul Sound" - One Touch (2001)


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Spam Poetry for Jan 37, 1953

I'm always fascinated by the spam of today. It's definitely not the spam of 1995. There are wonderful names and fascinating stories. Though, the graphics are as bad as 1995.

But the stories... Either they are from a book or perhaps warnings from a war-torn post-apocalyptic world of which the only functioning economy is based on selling cheap viagra over the internet.

From: "Mehalia Bluitt"
To: "Ruadha Easter"
Re: endway hoopl
"to the concert site. There was a grove of trees here that were serving

Hello, Tremearne, are you there?
How I wish you were in charge next door rather than that hairy
Let me tell you it was like suicidesville around here when we heard
science building. Do you know about it?
In the science building. So it must be gone too.
the wall have no idea that we watch them closely and I wish it to
have indicated you might be able to track the artifact in this
Such rhythm and beauty! he said.
back to the ground.
of the most ancient data bases, the lyric written in a long-lost"

From: "Fiachna Alewine"
To: "Jaume Eady"
Re: my stockyar
" Sit, he commanded. Behind us was a clank and rattle, a hiss of

looking for something in the pool, and have to work very very hard
They were nattily., dressed in camouflaged uniforms and steel helmets,
looking at the sky. When we were ready to go, Svinjar himself came
that same afternoon.
I know that now-and it wont wash. We would have been a lot better
these has been developed right outside the Pentagon. They call
Tremearne shook his head. No idea. Looks like a wall, thats all.
Paradise. A rusty, chipped old fedha will do . . .
passed me he dropped something small into my lap. I waited a minute"

From: "Nekane Milam"
To: "Izz Lookabaugh"
Re: my undergraduat
"and stepped aside as the door opened. A chubby, bearded youth came in

examination. Floyd had dug a small flute out of his pack and played a
The blade slashed out to slit my throat.
struggle by one of your lot who did nothing to help.
Ive nothing to say . . .
The guard stationed there lowered his gun and pointed it at my belt
if you see anything-anything at all.
Keeping me going, aint that a bitch!
miserable or dead. Besides, the military is no place for a groom man.
with all of us playing it. Then they animated a computer-generated
Bang-on, Jim, he said in a low voice. The story is trying to tell"

From: "Elmo Helbig"
To: "Gweneth Littleton"
Re: my minif
"asked for and I modified everything in the machine shop. It was
the bottom?
It was. The next day an anorexic and pallid young man was brought to

last black-robed Fundamentaloid crawled over the horizon, the trampled
back of my chair because Aidas voice whispered in my ear.
What if there were settlers here-only they were hidden away
position to choose. I executed a quick leap back to the entrance door,
Its not a matter of liking or not liking it, she said reading my
and I will see what I can do.
planet named Ochaye, which is perhaps galaxy-famous for its other
to some pretty luxurious, although still red brick, quarters. He"

From: "Zeta Pavon"
To: "Blaanid Goode"
Re: my orderfor
"oon as possible. This is what will happen. You will be taken to a

When his master commanded the ambulatory war-machine clanked and
prosper by utilizing their energy in a more positive manner. It was a
Dont shoot-I want him alive. For the moment.
garbage world.
nice day it was. Bite your tongue she used to say.
Itchy foot, itchy foot, itchy foot itch!
Two seconds. Weapons swinging on all sides. My best defense was to
consternation among them when they discover how things have changed
before she mentioned the gig."

From: "Benson Twombly"
To: "Jillie Nesby"
Re: meda = telephotograph
" I did. Mumbling through mouthfuls of breakfast.
old. He rummaged deeper in the box, then looked around with a childish

thirty-day poison beginning to bubble and seethe in my bloodstream.
enthusiasm we played two more numbers before I called a break.
And with a million credits in the bank you can buy lawyers, live the
Do that and Ill bet that eventually we get into some kind of
down well with the troops. They were still cheering when there was a
nutcases planting century-old bombs.
in probing further. The door opened and our guide reappeared.
The thing stopped barking and spoke. Just want to report that I am
What good will you do me-if the trial will be after my execution?"

From: "Tullia Dodrill"
To: "Hamza Belmonte"
Re: Besseme = profligat
" Jim-not sweetie. And why did you call me that?
could see now that a wicked scar slashed across his face and the

decision is up to you.
tell me-do you write your own lyrics . . . ?
antique side. They dragged in arm-thick Cables, antique-looking,
Svinjars laughter sounded clearly. He was rocking in his chair,
Stand here, Indefatigable ordered, then joined Dreadnought and sat
filed in, each carrying a folding chair size=2>pointing. Pretty crude and crummy, I thought, but spoke not my
nuts in case they want to come back for seconds. Then rest up until
they were arranging around the platform; there were even a few flowers"

From: Darin Mcdaniel
Subject: Are of Seat
"kind, the former less. Thus there is a reference here to an external counting, one is prior to two, and two to three, and thus injustice will also be a quality: neither quantity, nor relation, difficult to remove, or indeed remain throughout life. For in the same
not called sweet because it is affected in a specific way, nor is this particular attitudes, but attitude is itself a relative term. To reference to something else, for we mean a knowledge of something. But perceived and a body in which perception takes place. Now if that
blindness a privative, but to possess sight is not equivalent to is not derived from that of any quality; for lob those capacities have of my own, and in the meanwhile to walk by the porters side, and put predicated; for it is those, as we proved, in the case of which
truly three than another set. Again, one period of time is not said to justice is the contrary of injustice and justice is a quality, made in the case of certain secondary substances. With regard to the constitution of every appropriate subject. For when a thing has
Besides these senses of the word, there is a fourth. That which is of the perceptible; by the perceptible, that which is apprehended by property of that subject, as heat is of fire. For it is possible and this appears to be the most remote meaning of the term, for by the
intermediate between these contraries may very well be present in by the term slave we mean the slave of a master, by the term subjects which belong to the same species or genus. Disease and health being blind, both would be predicated of the same subject; but
by certain permanent and lasting affections, are called affective Instances of discrete quantities are number and speech; of access of shame, might be a result of a mans natural temperament, said to be constitutionally pale. He is said rather to have been
be applicable properly to injustice. So it is with all other are called experts because we possess knowledge in some particular it is in the case of those opposites only, which are opposite in the in virtue of the fact that the latter is greater than others of its
It may be questioned whether it is true that no substance is own head for a crime with the news of which the country rang. To-day I many relative terms. We did say that habits and dispositions were also is explained by its relation to its opposite, knowledge. For
prior to two. For if two exists, it follows directly that possible to know their essential character definitely, but it does not relative, as seems to be the case, or whether exception is to be"

From: vatican
Subject: Have as Constitute
"aised her face and recognised me; seemed to hesitate, and then came on Are we not to have our walk to-day either? so I faltered. Deed, and I thought you knew me better. I have not behaved quite well wanting to go away and be forgotten; and my father will have guided his
to dwell more upon the first than upon the second, and to be more least I could do is just to hold my tongue, which was what I intended again, I wish you could see into my heart, I cried. You would read before him from the door. This was so done I thought on purpose that
step pass overhead, and saw her on the stair. This she descended very You have no right to speak to me like that, said I. What have I would just mint to her I was in some kind of a danger; a weemenfolk my mouth. She had left behind at her departure all that she had ever
that I should call you so for the last time. I have done the best that she wore often at her neck, I observed there was a corner neatly cut to supply me, and I thought I would have burst like a man at the bottom I took this for a hint that I was to be going also, and got up;
are respected; I will make the same my business, as I have all through. I am caring less and less about this man James, said Alan. Theres I slept little and ill. Long ere it was day, I had slipped from beside most admire in it. But the point, my worthy fellow, is sometimes in a
least I could do is just to hold my tongue, which was what I intended did at times; I think he was so false all through that he scarce knew Catriona, said I, I am in a very painful situation; or rather, so we five wounds. But the loss of him is that the mans boss.
the interval quite still; but she had a look that I cannot put a name the girl once more left to herself. She greeted me on my admission heard tell of a lassie like this one of yours. The way that you tell again, I wish you could see into my heart, I cried. You would read
mans fine presence and great ways went together pretty harmoniously. the deil, or James More either. During this absence, the time was to to be in some concern upon his daughters health, which I believe was was surprised to see James More accept it. It was plain he had had a
blow. It was a hint that was more contemptuous than a command, and I Catriona, I cried, gazing on her hard, is it a mistake again? Am I Catriona again, because tears and weakness were ready in my heart, and been placed in an unfair position; if she had deceived herself and me,
But if that was like to be my part, I found that at least I was not already besought my forbearance, any excess of pressure must have For it was of course in my own rooms that I found them, when I came to"
beautiful painful prose.

Our poetry selection? here:

"A curly and cool store against the farm break."
"static wrong road. static ston ten.
payment slope block source. ten select go
message open twelve sit."
"tell better couple deep four offered second including threat know french find flights"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The #1 Public Policy Question Answered

(thanks to Andy for the NYT link)

Where's the money?

More specifically, where's $1.2 trillion of it?

Its helping the Bush administration save face in an unwinnable war.

The New York Times has a piece (here) outlining the cost of the war and its future costs compared to what it could have bought us otherwise. Its pretty tame on that "otherwise". However, even if yr all about 9-11 and the avoidance of another, even following the 9-11 Commission's recommendations amounts to pocket change.

However, since the Pentagon is about the only "Big Government" people think their tax dollars should go to, its meaningless.

Perhaps if you funded a Universal Health Care bill and called it: "The Fighting Terrorists, Gays and Immigrants Bill" we could get something accomplished.

Monday, January 15, 2007

No Easy Way Out

My roommates are watching Rocky IV.

In it is the terribilific song "No Easy Way Out" by Robert Tepper.

He is a one-hit wonder from Bayonne, NJ. That is hard.

Here is his video:

This man cannot be categorized. Except by Wikipedia which has him in several categories, such as: '1965 births', 'American singer-songwriters', 'Living people', 'New Jersey Musicians' (!), and 'Rocky Music'.

What is also amazing is how easy it was to write music in the 80s.

I wanted to say that this song was the bastard child of every Bon Jovi non-ballad from the 80s, in particular "you give love a bad name" and the bridge and chorus to Talk Talk's "It's My Life". But i feel that this sullies Talk Talk in an unnecessary way, considering there are a million songs from the 80s similar to today's subject.

Find them, rock out to their melodic and infectious rock chorus. Understand why during the 80s on sitcoms, the goofy teenagers who sang and danced and valued hairspray always said they wanted to be "rock star"s rather than the more apt term "pop star".

speaking of the 80s, as you know it was both a great time for me (lots of friends and outdoors) and a difficult one (racism, needless assholes). dealing with how rather meaningless and hairsprayed the culture in my 80s suburban NJ childhood was. it made me a little afraid:

i always felt my doom being precipitated by everyone in this video. the final march to end me happening similarly to 0:18 - 0:20 and 0:59 - 1:02 in this video.

one particularly bright bulb on youtube had this to say in response to Bon Jovi's 'Living on a Prayer': "I <3 this song but not as much as My Chemical Romances I'm not Okay."


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Public Tranportation Holiday

airport emptiness

I feel like a fool.

Over the Xmas break, i had a ridiculous amount of ideas to fill up this space.

Can't remember for the life of me.

This is why a notepad and pen are important.

I'm sure Edward R. Murrow kept one for ideas in his blog.

Consisting of the wall to the lobby of his building.

Which he would scrawl upon late at night. Cigarette in hand.

There's one thing i do remember:

I had an excellent Public Transportation Holiday!

Yes. I took the Red Line to South Station, no waits.

no one stared at me with suspicion.*

*(Since 9-11, i'm always sensitive about how i am perceived on public transit. i had some run-ins with the jerk who ran the shuttle bus to work in that time period. that and the ongoing stories of brown asian/middle eastern people being discriminated against for existing. glad i didnt take the plane. i would've had to walk from Hartford after an emergency landing).

Jumped on the Amtrak. Got a ride home from good old dad, so that maybe didn't count.

But after that. I got schedule-wise on the bus when i'd visit the city.

You see, the 167 is a NJ Transit bus that stops near my home. It goes from Harrington Park (which i have no conception of) to NYC Port Authority Bus Terminal (a glowing picture of humanity if there ever was one).

Not bad. When we're driving into the city from Bergenfield, it takes about 15-20 minutes.

But the 167 has its moods.

Before I got schedule-wise, it could either take you there quickly or take the amount of time it takes to go from Boston to Providence just to make the seemingly small trip across the river. It would go down through Washington St in my town which magically transforms into Teaneck Road, heads down that forever, stopping along the way. Heads to the NJ Turnpike, which made you think you were on your way, but no. It would get on and off the turnpike and stop at office parks and parking lots. At some points seemingly going backwards. Then a little more turnpike, and you can see the city clearly in the skyline. You think yr almost there. Then it gets off the highway to wind through Union City and take the back way into the Lincoln Tunnel. I don't know how familiar you are with the Port Authority, but it is not the place that makes you feel as if your long journey was worth it.

Don't even get me started on the 167Q route that goes onto Queen Anne Rd through Teaneck and looks like its going to get onto the Turnpike and then goes even further down Teaneck Rd than you ever thought was possible and even then STILL makes every stop imaginable, with the bus at standing room, some jerk working on his laptop and coughing next to you for an hour.

But this holiday weekend, i was hooked on a drug.

It was called 167X: Teaneck Armory Express.

It was a bus that seemingly came at random before. It would go through my town, acting like normal, up to the border with Teaneck, where there is a gigantic armory. Many people would get on there. We would then proceed down Teaneck Road and there would be NO MORE STOPS! It would get onto the highway and get the F out to the Lincoln Tunnel and boom. Glorious Port Authority.

I wanted to create a song to glorify the 167X: Teaneck Armory Express. It would be based on Kraftwerk's 'Trans Europe Express'. It wouldn't even require much lyrical change.

Teaneck Armory Express
Teaneck Armory Express
Teaneck Armory Express
Teaneck Armory Express


Teaneck Armory Express
Teaneck Armory Express
Teaneck Armory Express
Teaneck Armory Express


Rendezvous on Broadway
Leave Bergenfield in the morning on T.A.E.
Teaneck Armory Express
Teaneck Armory Express
Teaneck Armory Express
Teaneck Armory Express


In the Port Authority we sit in a late-night cafe
Straight connection, T.A.E.
Teaneck Armory Express
Teaneck Armory Express
Teaneck Armory Express
Teaneck Armory Express


From stop to station
back to New York City
Meet Iggy Pop and David Bowie
Teaneck Armory Express
Teaneck Armory Express
Teaneck Armory Express
Teaneck Armory Express


Anyhow, this was the case on the two days hanging out in NYC with Ria. Good bus, good subway karma. Hardly any waiting. Even for the Brooklyn Shuttle between the poorly linked Brooklyn routes of the Q and the A/C.

Ria drives the train

Even the Air Train was smooth.

airtrain opening

Topping the list of Public Transportation Holiday was the first time I'd ever ridden on the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Considering how much its griped about, I thought it would be on a level worse than our MBTA Commuter Rail. Basically benches nailed to the floor of a storage container.

How wrong I was.

LIRR Jamaica

It was the paragon of what a suburban rail network should be. The station i entered the system, Jamaica, was ultra informative. It had MONITORS to TELL YOU WHEN THE TRAIN IS COMING. In Massachusetts, we are told that this technology does not exist or is impossible to create. Perhaps in another hundred years maybe. These "monitors" even said if the train was peak or off-peak so as to make even that possibly confusing bit of information more clear. In MBTAland, we have photocopied pieces of paper taped to things in the subway to make the fares make some sense.

And the cars of the LIRR train I took to Penn Station were NEW and CLEAN. Had COMFORTABLE SEATS. Displays and clear announcements that told you WHERE THE TRAIN IS GOING and WHAT STATION IS NEXT. It was like EUROPE! I even had a choice of whether to take this train or an EXPRESS.

I apologize for the writing in bold. In case some person at the MBTA is reading, i wanted to make things even more clear. But if politicians, the mass media, millions of people can't make the MBTA pull its head out of its ass, a poorly visited blog can hardly make a difference. But i still TRY.

Still. It was a glorious Public Transportation Holiday.

I took the bus from Bergenfield (unfortunately, the only one that fit my schedule was the hellish 167Q: Queen Anne Road / Union City) to the PABT. I did not take the subway as i find it a little silly in good weather to take the train the few blocks from 42nd to 34th and Penn Station.

Amtrak to Boston - South Station. Red Line to Central. I am home. I don't know why this is so hard for this country to figure out and not be scared of. I DID NOT DRIVE. scary.


After a flash New Years Eve party at Sue and Vanessa's

Rat Pack

I went with Carolyn to her central Mass homeland.

Carolyn and I in the fields

on the Commuter Rail. Though we needed to get picked up at Fitchburg and drive 45 minutes, it was sort of unavoidable. Perhaps one day the Commuter Rail will be closer, but that is not this day.

I was to return alone. There was a weird guy who got on the train at Fitchburg with me. He followed whatever I was doing. We had to get on the end of the train. But how far back? I guessed. I was wrong. The guy follows me.

By the time we arrived at Porter Square, where I get off for the Red Line, I was a little confused. Because this is the MBTA/MBCR Commuter Rail, there are hardly any announcements and none that are audible. The conductors occasionally yell out and ask who's getting off at the next station. This is because if no one answers and no one is at the station, the train can just speed by, which it did on occasion. To help matters, the cars all have windows that are seemingly made of plastic milk cartons that have been scratched out so that you can almost see whats outside in the daytime. But at night, Massachusetts is pitch dark. Stations are the same, though there is a red blob where the LCD sign may say any amount of information like what day it is and what time, but no other usable information.

We arrived at Porter, which I only discerned by the amount of people getting up and the amount of time that had passed since we stopped at Brandeis and gone through the nameless stations (apparently people in places like Waltham, Waverly and Belmont are psychically connected to their stations).

The man was confused as I got up to leave. He mumbled something about Boston and I was confused. I told him that I was getting off here at Porter and that he could stay on the train and go to North Station. He was relieved at the news. I Red Lined it home.

i hope this wasn't bewildering and confusing like the MBTA fare increase and not as boring as the 167Q.