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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

Monday, March 24, 2008

Gary Louris

Preachin' to the choir music recommendation of the day: Gary Louris' new disc Vagabonds. If you're a Jayhawks fan I'm sure you've already picked this one up (right?). If you're not a Jayhawks fan you've already been missing out for 23 years so I doubt this random post'll change your mind.

Anyways, if you are on the fence for some reason though perhaps this sweet tunage will win you over:

Be sure to pick it up at your favorite local indie music store (remember those?) to get the all acoustic bonus disc.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Prince Fielder: Vegetarian

Just saw that Prince Fielder is now a vegetarian! Welcome to the good squad Prince, we needed a power-hitting first baseman! Any guesses on what book he read that made him switch? For me it was The Jungle that did the trick.


BTW, if you can't tell I'm pining for opening day and some real baseball news.

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Secretary

Film #14 was Secretary.

My NetFlix rating: 3 stars
Jamie says: My two favorite MG's, Maggie Gyllenhaal & Mary Gaitskill
RIYL: Twisted indie films


Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Eagle vs. Shark

Lucky film #13 this year was Eagle vs. Shark.

My NetFlix rating: 3 stars
Jamie says: Napolean Dynamite meets Flight of the Conchords meets Amelie, only not quite as awesome as that sounds.
RIYL: New Zealand, dudes in wheelchairs getting punched, Jermaine


Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Shopgirl

Film #12 this year was Shopgirl.

My NetFlix rating: 3 stars
Jamie says: About as average as a film can be. Not good, not bad, just 100% average, which is pretty durn disappointing when you consider the cast.
RIYL: Claire Danes...nuff said


Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Y: The Last Man, Volume 1: Unmanned

Book #11 on my reading list was Y: The Last Man, Volume 1: Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra.

Just starting to get into this series (9 more to go) but if the first one is any indiciation it looks like it's gonna be pretty sweet. Slogging through the library queues may be a challenge but hopefully it'll be worth the wait. If all goes well I might even finish it before the movie comes out.

Y on Wikipedia (don't tell me how it ends...)

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2008 Reading List - Books #1-10

Here are the first ten books of my '08 50 book challenge:


  1. The Best American Non-Required Reading 2007* - Various
  2. This Is Your Brain on Music - Daniel Levitin
  3. Hellfire* - Nick Tosches
  4. The Nimrod Flipout - Etgar Keret
  5. Shortcomings* - Adrian Tomine
  6. McSweeney's #25 - Various
  7. Kafka - R. Crumb & David Mairowitz
  8. The Worst Hard Time* - Timothy Egan
  9. The Fermata - Nicholson Baker
  10. The Call of the Weird - Louis Theroux

* = Highly recommended

Previously: My 2007 reading list, My 2006 reading list

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The Call of the Weird

Book #10 was The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures by Louis Theroux.

In Call of the Weird Theroux revisits former subjects of his weekly BBC documentary Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends. The titles of some of the episodes should give you a good idea of what you're getting into: UFOs, Porn, Swingers, Wrestling, Gangsta Rap, Televangelists and Religious Cults, Head For The Hills, Infomercials, Black Nationalism, Demolition Derby, Off-Off Broadway, Hypnosis, Body Building, etc. Some of the stories are interesting and he meets some interesting people (including Ike Turner!) but on the whole it feels like a retread of several other books, eg. US Guys.

Washington Post review
International Herald Tribune review

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The Fermata

Book #9 on my reading list was Nicholson Baker's controversial novel The Fermata.

What would you do if you could stop time? If you're Arno Strine you'd take advantage of your powers to oogle naked women. That's the basic premise of The Fermata, but Baker's keen writing skills fortunately save the book from being the trashy dime novel it sounds like. Tough to describe, but Mary Gaitskill puts is well:

"The book is bursting with sex and beauty, wound together profoundly and pornographically. It is bountifully Rabelaisian and intensely refined ... I have never read anything quite like it ... Misogynists will definitely not like The Fermata; there is not one iota of violence towards or contempt for women in this book ... Wildly exhilarating and confirming ... The Fermata should be celebrated."

Salon Interview
Entertainment Weekly review


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Thursday, March 13, 2008

2008 Mariners Commercials

W00t! The new M's commercials are out and as funny as they've been in a long time. Me gusto the mustaches.


Previously
2007
2006

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Michael Clayton

Film #11 this year was Michael Clayton.

My NetFlix rating: 3.5 stars
Jamie says: George Clooney makes a much more believeable lawyer than football player. Oh, he's playing a football player now too? Never mind...
RIYL: Lawyer movies


Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Lust, Caution

Film #10 this year was the new Ang Lee joint Lust, Caution.

My NetFlix rating: 3.5 stars
Jamie says: About half an hour too long, but otherwise an enjoyable understated espionage thriller.
RIYL: Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon, Curse of the Golden Flower , The Good Shepherd


Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Short Cuts

Film #9 this year was Robert Altman's ensemble classic Short Cuts.

My NetFlix rating: 4 stars
Jamie says: Great acting, but this would be a must see anyways since it's based on Raymond Carver characters...of course you could just cut out the middle man and read the books instead
RIYL: The Anniversary Party, Magnolia, American Beauty

Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Semi-Pro

Been almost a month since my last film post as I've been watching a lot of old Dexter episodes. Anywho, film #8 for me this year was Will Ferrell's Semi-Pro.

My NetFlix rating: 3 stars
Jamie says: Premise is funnier than the film. Still some funny parts (it is Will Ferrell after all) but I'd wait for it on DVD. On the bright side it's got Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts....and Rob Corrdry with hair.
RIYL: Um, don't you already know that every movie Will Ferrell makes is the same...you either like him or you don't

Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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The Worst Hard Time

Book #8 was Seattleite Timothy Egan's National Book Award winning The Worst Hard Time.

A harrowing history of the Dust Bowl as told by those who lived through it. Egan elegantly weaves first-hand stories with historical context, explaining along the way the series of events that lead to one of the greatest ecological disasters ever. The writing is lucid and the stories are heartbreaking, but it's the incredible, terrifying storms that steal the show. If it were a horror film we'd dismiss the 'black blizzards' as too ridiculously over-the-top, but instead we're left to ponder the reality of the difficulties these people faced every day. Can you imagine spending weeks on end bunkering down in your house, draping wet sheets over your windows in an attempt to keep as much dust as you can out? And who's ever heard of dust pneumonia? Hard times indeed.

NPR Story and excerpt
Dust Bowl photos

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