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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Sound and The Fury

Book #52 on my reading list this year was William Faulkner's Southern Gothic classic The Sound and The Fury.

A mind-warp of a novel, reading The Sound and The Fury is certainly not for the light-hearted. It's a book that needs to be read, re-read, and studied in detail if one hopes to comprehend its depths. It's the kind of novel that English-lit students spend years trying to unravel. In other words, if you're picking it up for a quick read you're likely to find it a bit overwhelming (I know I did). If you can stick it out though it really is quite an amazing piece of art.

Summary
Hypertext version
Cliff Notes

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Photos Galore

I just posted a bunch o' photos from recent trips to the Flickr. You can check some of 'em out here:

Silver Springs
Savannah
Fort Pulaski
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' House
Raleigh

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy 2nd Blog-o-versary to me

My blog is now two years old and counting. 38,000 hits + 600 posts = neato. Thanks for reading ya'll.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmhoff

It was a big hit last year, so here he is again....ladies and gentlemen....the Hoff

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Friday, December 22, 2006

2006 Top 10 Music

Everyone else is doing it, so here we go. All in all a pretty weak year for new tunes.


Top 10 Albums of 2006

10.

Long Winters
Putting the Days to Bed


9.

Centro-matic
Fort Recovery


8.

Bob Dylan
Modern Times


7.

Eef Barzelay
Bitter Honey


6.

The Thermals
The Body, The Blood, The Machine


5.

M. Ward
Post-War


4.

Scott H. Biram
Graveyard Shift


3.

Damien Jurado
And Now That I'm In Your Shadow


2.

Now It's Overhead
Dark Light Daybreak

1.

Band of Horses
Everything All The Time

Just Missed
Drive-By Truckers - A Blessing and a Curse, Mountain Goats - Get Lonely, Sonic Youth -Rather Ripped, The Decemberists - The Crane Wife, Oakley Hall - Gypsum Strings, Black Angels - Passover, Scott Miller - Citation, Damien Rice - 9, Frank Black - Fast Man Raider Man, Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

Best Live Albums
Jeff Tweedy - Sunken Treasure, Wilco - Kicking Television

Best Retrospective
McLusky - McLuskyism

Best Live Shows I Saw This Year
Band of Horses at The Showbox
Jeff Tweedy at The Moore
Okkervil River at ACL
The Thermals at Easy Street

Most Disappointing Album of the Year
Drive-By Truckers - A Blessing and a Curse

Most Disappointing Live Show of the Year
Ryan Adams at The Moore

Previously
2005 Year End List

2004 Year End List

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Chronicles

Book #51 of my 2006 list was Bob Dylan's Chronicles.

Written in a stream of consciousness style reminiscent of Kerouac and the Beats, Dylan's Chronicles provides a fascinating though obfuscated view into the life of the man, the myth, the legend.

Dylan's chronicles appear to be modelled after his idol Woody Guthrie's autobiography Bound For Glory. Dylan's description of Guthrie's book could just as easily be applied to his own:

"I went through it from cover to cover like a hurricane, totally focused on every word, and the book sang out to me like the radio. Guthrie writes like the whirlwind and you get tripped out on the sound of the words alone. Pick up the book anywhere, turn to any page and he hits the ground running."


Metacritic Reviews

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

8,000 Tracks Scrobbed

I'm up to 8,000 tracks on Last.FM now! Here are my Top 25 most-listened to artists of all-time so far. No big surprises, though there are a few folks on here I wouldn't have guessed I listened to so much (Beck, Death Cab For Cutie...).

Probably the most interesting thing about my listening habits is that my listening curve appears to be flatter than what I see for most users. Looks like I listen to a wider variety of stuff with infrequent repeats whereas most users appear to listen to a smaller amount of stuff over and over again. There's probably some kind of psychology to that but I'm too lazy to think about it right now.

1. Ryan Adams
2. Damien Jurado
3. Okkervil River
4. Wilco
5. Whiskeytown
6. Townes Van Zandt
7. Uncle Tupelo
8. Drive-By Truckers
9. The Beatles
10. Neil Young
11. Frank Black
12. Bob Dylan
13. Death Cab for Cutie
14. Now It's Overhead
15. Johnny Cash
16. Beck
17. Clem Snide
18. Jeff Tweedy
19. Counting Crows
20. Son Volt
21. Steve Earle
22.Pixies
23. Modest Mouse
24. The White Stripes
25. Neutral Milk Hotel

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Friday, December 15, 2006

50 Book Challenge Cont.

Cool, Brian posted about the 50 Book Challenge over on the Seattle Weekly blog (which BTW is brilliantly titled Post Alley). His top 10 of '06 is listed as is Rachel Shimp's. I added mine as well, so checka-checka-check 'em out and get those '07 lists ready.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The 2006 50 Book Challenge

Here in all their glory are the 50 books I've read this year for my 50 book challenge!
  1. The Dirt - Motley Crue
  2. The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil - George Saunders
  3. A Man Without a Country - Kurt Vonnegut
  4. Chance - Amir Aczel
  5. McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #18 - Various
  6. Science Friction - Michael Shermer
  7. Oh the Glory of it All - Sean Wilsey
  8. Yes Man - Danny Wallace
  9. Mother Night - Kurt Vonnegut
  10. The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003 - Various
  11. All The President's Pets - Mo Rocca
  12. Survivor - Chuck Palahniuk
  13. Less Than Zero - Bret Easton Ellis
  14. Vox - Nicholson Baker
  15. Summer of '49 - David Halberstam
  16. Galapagos - Kurt Vonnegut
  17. Don't Get Too Comfortable - David Rakoff
  18. Fantasyland - Sam Walker
  19. Airships - Barry Hannah
  20. Typical - Padgett Powell
  21. From Bauhaus To Our House - Tom Wolfe
  22. Cathedral - Raymond Carver
  23. McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #5 - Various
  24. Black Hole - Charles Burns
  25. The World Is Flat - Thomas Friedman
  26. McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #19 - Various
  27. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
  28. In Persuasion Nation - George Saunders
  29. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
  30. A Woman Named Drown - Padgett Powell
  31. McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #20 - Various
  32. The Revolution Will Not Be Accessorized - Various
  33. The Rescue Artist - Edward Dolnick
  34. Veronica - Mary Gaitskill
  35. Room Full of Mirrors - Charles Cross
  36. Independence Day - Richard Ford
  37. The Littlest Hitler - Ryan Boudinot
  38. Permanent Visitors - Kevin Moffett
  39. Conservatize Me - John Moe
  40. The Dead Emcee Scrolls - Saul Williams
  41. Everyman - Philip Roth
  42. Edisto Revisited - Padgett Powell
  43. Watch Your Mouth - Daniel Handler
  44. The Stranger - Albert Camus
  45. Orphans - Charles D'Ambrosio
  46. Factotum - Charles Bukowski
  47. The Best American Comics 2006 - Various
  48. McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #21 - Various
  49. The Night in Question - Tobias Wolff
  50. A Fictional History of the United States with Huge Chunks Missing - Various

Previously: My 2005 reading list

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A Fictional History of the United States

50 book challenge complete! Book #50 was A Fictional History of the United States with Huge Chunks Missing, a collection of short stories edited by T Cooper and Adam Masbach.

In theory this collection is supposed to 'capture the spirit' of Howard Zinn's wonderful A People's History of the United States by 'speaking for the voiceless' across various points in American history. In practice I found it to be a relatively ho-hum collection of stories, very loosely bound by what looked like such an interesting premise. On the bright side David Rees' hilarious 'The Waterbury' is almost worth the price of admission alone (not bad considering it's only two pages long). Also enjoyable were stories by Felicia Luna Lemus, rapper/cartoonist Keith Knight, Thomas O'Malley, and Valerie Miner.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Jamie 1, Gears of War 0

Aw yeah. Beat Gears of War tonight. Granted it was on Casual mode and the last dude took me about one bazillion tries, but it still felt pretty sweet. Nice to see Timstro in the credits too.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Super Villain Carpool

I loves me some Robot Chicken. Here's one of my favorite clips:

Another great Cobra one is available here

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Gears of War

Picked up Gears of War yesterday for the 360. Holy crap. I'm not usually a big fan of shooter games, but this one is pretty solid. I just finished the first level last night and the Berserker at the end scared the bejesus out of me. Don't get that too often from a video game. Good stuff.

You might recognize the game from it's ubiquitous "Mad World" trailer which has been featured all over the place lately (originally by Tears For Fears, the cover version of the song here is by Gary Jules. It was also featured in Donnie Darko)

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Gators Are Hungry

Some good quotes coming out of the Gator camp today after the news that the Gators will open as 7.5 point dogs to the Buckeyes. Personally I think the lack of respect could be a good thing. It worked wonders for Texas last year (anyone remember how everyone was ready to anoit USC as the best team in college football history before the game even started?...sound familiar?). Gotta love the hunger, I credit it to the Urban effect.
"For some reason, people don't like us very much, but I don't think we're going to have problems responding to it because it's been like that all year. Why change things up? We don't want to go in being the top dog and who everyone thinks is going to win...Every week we're supposed to lose,it just seems like we never get any respect, and we love that." -- Brandon Siler
"We kind of laugh at it because all season, basically no one's given us a chance. Tennessee was better, LSU was better and we're always going to be underdogs no matter where we play." -- Percy Harvin

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Reckless Bacon Champs!

Reggie Brown's sweet 40-yrd touchdown reception in the 4th quarter of tonight's Monday Night Football game secured a victory for my fantasy football team this week and propelled me to the Reckless Bacon regular season championship with an 11-2 record. Reggie was my first pick (it's a semi-keeper league), so it was only fitting for him to make the title clinching catch.

Between this and the Gators going to the National Championship this has been about as good a football year as it can get for me.

Cigarette State

If you ever get a chance to see Robbie Fulks live you gotta go. You won't regret it. It's been awhile since I've seen him and it's YouTube Monday so here's a video of him playing "Cigarette State" on Corporate Country Sucks, a TV show in Chicago.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

The Night In Question

Book #49 of my '06 reading list was short story master Tobias Wolff's The Night in Question. An all-around solid collection of stories, the stand-outs for me were "The Chain", "Smorgasbord" and the excellent "Bullet in the Brain".

I originally picked this one up few years ago after seeing a wonderful short film adaptation of "Bullet in the Brain" at Bumbershoot. Wish I had a link to the film to share as it really was well worth seeing.

Salon review
NY Times Review


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Sunday, December 03, 2006

S-E-C!, S-E-C!, S-E-C!!!

Go Gators! Bring on Ohio State.

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

McSweeney's #21

Book #48 on my reading list this year was McSweeney's #21.

This issue is meat-and-potatoes McSweeney's with a renewed focus on great writing. The result is one of the finest collections of stories that McSweeney's has ever put out. Just about every story is a winner, but some of my favorites were works by Roddy Doyle, Rajesh Parameswaran, Arthur Bradford, Holly Tavel, Greg Ames, and yet another great contribution by Kevin Moffett. The standout for me though is the closing story, a historical fiction piece by Joyce Carol Oates titled 'Grandpa Clemens & Angelfish 1906' (loosely based on accounts of Samuel Clemens latter years).

Between stories are photocopies of fascinating and sometimes hilarious letters sent to Ray Charles. The letters in the book as well as many more which weren't included can be found on the Letters To Ray website.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

The Best American Comics

Book #47 of my '06 reading list was The Best American Comics 2006. I picked this one up at a UBookstore reading which I previously blogged about here.

There's a pretty good mix of styles and artists in the book, but some of my favorites were Joe Sacco's superb "Complacency Kills" and comics by Anders Nilsen, Lilli Carre, Justin Hall, Jesse Reklaw and of course Robert Crumb.


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