Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Everything Bad Is Good

I'm reading this right now. Dear Husband complains that I never read nonfiction. So I checked out nonfiction. I have a dozen books on various TV shows and philosophy. Didn't know there were series like that, books with easily digestible bits of popcultural goodness and a dollop of Socrates and Lacan.

This book I picked up because I like the contrarian view that TV and video games are good for you because the complexity forces particular kinds of thought processes that are beneficial (there are two "becauses" in that sentence but I just can't deal). God knows TV is a lot better than the One Day at a Time and Love Boat that I grew up with. I don't have a lot of experience with video games, but I worked my way through Myst (remember that?), and it was HARD. I remember drawing a friggin map of the subway, for pete's sake. I took notes.

I also don't think our ability to socialize will be degraded by Facebook, or that we will all forget how to spell because of texting. I don't worry about e-books usurping printed books. Speaking of that, I wonder if anyone boo-hooed the loss of illuminated manuscripts when the printing press arrived. Because of the printing press, hardly anyone knows how to write entire books of intricate calligraphy and decorative marginalia.

But now I'm off to watch some TV.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Musician of the Week: Andrew Bird

I had heard of Andrew Bird at some point when I was reading about Owen Pallett. I had never bothered investigating until I recently heard a song on Pandora called Imitosis. Sort of jazzy, a little folksy, a dash of something else. As so often happens, once I started paying attention I ran across mention of him quite a lot. I even found out that he was playing in town later this month. I love this video, the colorful bejeweled mechanical insects, and Bird himself, looking like he escaped from the local college's department of mathematics.

And then there's the impressively titled "A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left."

He seems to specialize in odd titles. Here's one called "Fake Palindromes." No idea what the connection is, but I keep thinking I hear a sitar.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

A Night at the Opera

Dear Husband. Those gold cords and tassel? He graduated with Distinction.
This past weekend Dear Husband graduated with his Master’s degree. See, here’s a photo of him in his gown. He looks adorable. As an aside, I don’t understand the hoods on these gowns. It came with some incomprehensible instructions about how to fold it so the colors show. And the hood is vestigial - imagine someone actually pulling it over their head. The doctoral gown looks so much easier to deal with, and it comes with a jaunty little squishy velvet cap you can actually wear. Not that I want to encourage Dear Husband to get a Ph.D. He says he’s bored now that he doesn’t have school, so I encouraged him to take up knitting. 

As part of the Grand Celebration his mom and one of his brothers came to town, and we even stayed in a hotel close to the graduation site. The girls really liked that, because kids love staying in hotels, whereas adults tend to think of what they would find if they had a black light. 

Dear Husband’s brother, hereafter referred to as Cool Hip Brother (CHB), offered to take us out to some clubs. I haven’t been to a club since 1988, I think, and I usually went to somewhat sceevy gay clubs that played the Smiths nonstop, wearing questionable clothes I found at Goodwill. Everyone danced around as if they were removing cobwebs from the rafters and tried to maintain an expression of general disdain. You're never going to hear a Smith’s song these days, unless it’s sampled.

CHB with DramaQueen and Firecracker
CHB is one of those People Who Know People. I always wanted to tag along with someone like that. The first place we went you had to go up an elevator and through some walkways and you were blindfolded for part of the journey. Just kidding. This wasn’t a club, really. More of a glorified bar. Actually, I think it looked like someone had turned off the lights in a giant corporate boardroom, with all the employees still there. The men were in suits. Suits. But CHB gave his name to someone, who passed it along to someone, who swiftly descended upon CHB to talk about whatever People Who Know People talk about. I was fascinated with the couples sitting near us. They all looked pretty bored, even the woman trying to give her date a lap dance. The lap dance struck me as a bit tacky, but the bar served really good mojitos. CHB seemed a little surprised that I stuck to mojitos, which makes me wonder if I’m out of the cool drink loop and ordered something that is just so hopelessly last decade.

But the best part is next, because we went to Opera, a nightclub that looks like - an opera! At least inside. A huge crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling and the ceiling and some part of the architecture that I don’t know the name of are painted with cute little rococo medallion's and gold flourishes. Anyway, a really popular house dance dj/producer called Alesso was playing (or dj-ing or officiating or whatever) so the place was packed and there was a line down the block. We didn’t have to wait in the line because CHB  said something to a guy with a clipboard and earpiece, and we walked right in. I was very impressed and felt all Hollywood. 

Opera. That blurry mess at the bottom is a crowd of people.
I had been worried about dressing wrong and looking out of place and way old, but it didn’t really matter. I think I may have been invisible, which was fine with me. There was so much cigarette smoke you could practically walk on it, and now and then billowing streams of dry ice smoke blasted across the space. Alesso was doing his thing, which was a pretty awesome thing I have to admit. I gather there’s a particular flow to house music, a buildup (crowd recognizes song; much jumping up and down), breakdown (crowd teeters on silence), climax (and the crowd goes wild!).  Just like sex! The climax part included lots of flashing lights - which was the only time you could actually see anything on the floor. Otherwise most of the illumination came from the multicolored light sticks people waved around. We stayed up in the balconies, where you could actually move. Which I did. I probably looked epileptic, but since most everyone looked ridiculous anyway (to the side a circle of drunk guys had carved out some space to practice clogging, I think, or perhaps Irish step dancing), I was okay with that. And really, that kind of music gets in your head and manipulates you if you let it, and I’m not sure why you wouldn’t let it. 

Alesso. I'm too cool and Swedish to have a last name.