April 19th, 2003


Duncan Thaw.

Because I'm a bit of a dork, I can't hear the words Spring Thaw without thinking of Duncan Thaw, the main character in Alasdair Gray's Lanark, which is one of my favorite books. Not because it's the best thing I've ever read, mind you, but because of the physical book itself. It was printed in four volumes, numbered 3, 1, 2, and 4, and as with all Gray books, the overall design is also Gray's, from the end-papers right through to tiny drawings and other marginalia. It's a beautiful thing.

Anyhow, about the nearby Thaw. The host hotel cannot possibly be worth what they're charging participants, especially as the "special discount price" was more expensive than what it cost if you booked through Expedia as part of your airline ticket package, but I digress. It's a bland 1970s kind of building right down to the flimsy aluminium frame windows. Wait a second, this isn't supposed to be a hotel review.

Uh, OK. So, I went to Ikea this morning and bought a monster of a king size bed at Ikea, one that is so Danish modern circa 1962 that it is damn near spectacularly ugly. It should however go great with the new house, and, more importantly, will be better than that awful fucking bed that's in this shabby apartment. [I'm not up at 4 in the morning just because I'm jetlagged, but also because the bed sucks so hard.] That took about twenty minutes - they're so much better at customer service up here in Seattle it's not even funny. When I think about the Emeryville store, I get hives. Anyhow, finished up with that and took off for the Best Western to hook up with chrisglass. BTW, that means "hang out with", not "engage in hot sweaty man-sex" or whatever you think it did. And on the way over, Brian called me, which was an extra added bonus. So, I spent the day in the company of two handsome, intelligent, friendly Bears touring some of Seattle's lesser known sights. That is, I mostly got lost because I have no fucking clue where I am in this city at this point in time. I've only lived here for about a week total, and I'd be hard pressed to show anyone from out of town the sights. As a result, I first headed over to Magnolia thinking that I might find this café I vaguely remember from going over to Steve May's old house about six years back. I found Magnolia, but not the café. I also saw a v. amusing sign that mordo obviously came across as well - thankfully, Matt got a picture of it, because we couldn't get a camera out in time. Thanks Matt!

Once in Magnolia, we went to some Thai place. I had the single worst Thai red curry I've ever had - it was nothing like a Thai red curry except that it was obviously not chicken fried steak. Too much sugar, not very spicy, bad non-jasmine rice. Great company though!

From there I kind of angled eastward, managing somehow to totally screw up getting on the freeway east to Redmond - I was so thrilled by the prospect of using the express lanes, I didn't know that if you did that, you couldn't get on the 520 east to Redmond. Whoops. So... we had a quick, horribly misguided tour of the University of Washington campus. I couldn't even find their museum with the Pacific Northwest indigenous art. Still, the conversation was going so well that I don't think anyone really noticed the lack of actual sights to see.

Eventually, I dragged them up to see the new house [still fabulous, still impossible to see the view without actually being in the house, can't wait to move in!!!]. Then, it was over to the Microsoft Museum where this lurvely picture was taken:

That's Brian trying to give me rabbit ears. Chris was elsewhere at the time, trying I believe to take a good picture of the IE scripting error I managed to invoke as if by magic on the "Test your Microsoft IQ" console. Whoops! Oh, and there was a stupid typo on the Microsoft corporate art collection information board: they referred to their Silicon Valley campus as being in "Mt. View", not "Mountain View". Eeeeediots! That stuff pisses me off. Nothing like slipping up on the details. Anyhow. Went upstairs to the store where Mr. Glass bought some T-shirts or something. I resisted the urge to stock up on software, which was easy because I'm not yet an employee, and as a result have no purchasing authority in that store.

From there, I drove by Building 119, my future home away from home, and through campus to pass by Dan's office and give them a general sense of the place. ***YAWN*** Then, we just hung out at our crap apartment for a few hours shooting the breeze. Oh, and we stopped by the espresso bar at the Albertson's by the new house. Good coffee, surprisingly, and I'm 20% of the way done to a free cup!!! ***YAWN***

Long story short, eventually we dragged our sorry asses to an Official Spring Thaw Event, which was cold bad pizza with congealed grease in a crowded, stuffy room with a bunch of other fat hairy guys. This was actually OK. I also had the pleasure of finally meeting funkybearmartin, whose voice sounded entirely different than what I was led to expect. I think he may have been surprised by the surprising disconnect between my online persona and my actual person, which I found v. amusing. After pizza-ing for a bit, we walked up the street to C. C. Attle's, a place I have now decided I do not care for, at least not when overcrowded with drunk Bears who have no sense of personal space. Then again, any sense of personal space is automatically voided by the sheer fact that the fire marshal would have a seizure if s/he had seen how many people were jammed in there. Yeowch! So I left fairly quickly, went home, and fell asleep. Dan stayed out until much later, though: he surprised me by turning up in a taxi just as I was waking up around 4 AM. Yeowch!

So, now I'm up sorting my finances, completing an order for some Clonakilla wines, and wondering when I'm going to fall asleep again. I'm guessing it won't happen, but I'm surprisingly tired for someone still stuck on GMT+1.

NB: np

This week's record shopping in London was mostly a failure, which is fine by me. I wasn't in any position to spend a lot of money on CDs, so I kept my total purchases to well under $200, and that's including all the DVDs:

  • Lars von Trier, Riget

  • Two Ali G DVDs for Dan

  • Chris Morris, Brass Eye

  • The Soft Pink Truth, Do You Party?

  • Soft Cell, Monoculture [CD1, CD2]

  • Soft Cell, The Night [CD1, CD2]

  • Pet Shop Boys, London

  • Autechre, Draft 7.30

  • Björk, It's All In Your Hands DVD

  • Elv1s vs. Junkie XL, Some Annoying Song From A TV Ad That Only Cost 99p

  • Aphex Twin, 26 Mixes for Cash

  • Little Miss Trinitron, CPU Song

All in all, not very interesting. The biggest annoyance is that one of the Aphex discs is defective - it won't read the last track.

So far, my impression is that The Soft Pink Truth is the only real keeper here. It's fucking awesome. Matmos with a vastly improved sense of humor, basically. Wonderful sample usage, phat beats, etc. Worth every penny. The Little Miss Trinitron thing sucks beyond belief; the rest of it I haven't really heard yet. I did however watch the Chris Morris DVD with my parents, which was a lot of fun. He's got a new DVD coming out next week which Mom has ordered for me - go Mom! It's got all of the Jam episodes that aired on TV a few years back. Dad taped one on the family VCR for me, which contained the single most breathtaking thing I've seen on TV in 2003: a not to be believed interpretation of "Loving You" as performed by two very unlikely people. Wonderful stuff.

I made a lame attempt at finding Max Tundra stuff but it was a bust. I hadn't done my homework - forgot to write down the name of that recent comp with one of his tracks on it. And of course I probably wouldn't have done well with trying to get some of his vinyl home. He does have a new single out next week, which is of course gonna be fabulous. Can't wait to hear it!

Big Booty Bitches

Man, I totally need to get my freak on soon. It's now been over a year since I went to any kind of dance party / rave / disco / whatever. And listening to The Soft Pink Truth CD is making me wish I owned a stereo [that isn't in storage in another city twenty miles to the south] that I could turn up hella loud so that I could just bust loose and get down with my bad self. Word. But that's gonna have to wait for a while. At least the new house is so far away from the neighbors that I can realistically fantasize about playing the stereo INCREDIBLY FUCKING LOUD without resulting in the cops being called. Dan'll probably hate it but I need to get with Mark McC and work on a ridiculous stereo upgrade at some point in the future. I wonder what the acoustics are like in that house.

Grumpy! That's me!

Damn the Mamoosh for mentioning Patrick's fucked up-ness. I did a Google! search on a completely unrelated topic yesterday and I still ran into some prime gonzola:

“I am not much into the music scene to know... but one usually has to demand the attention to get it in the bear community.” - The Rev. Zachary P. Kucera, in conversation, 2002.

This was quoted as part of a fairly tedious article posted at the Bear History Project Web site. [I say it's tedious because it is: it uses a lot of "if one were" and "one would", which is certifiably tedious; it also fails to use adverbs (as opposed to adjectives) correctly, and uses the word "hegemonic" by the end of the first paragraph, which, let's face it, is way fuckin' tedious] And as is typical for muddle-headed Jesus freaks with severe personality disorders, the more I try to understand what Patrick was trying to communicate, the more bewildered I become. I just can't parse it. It's kinda like a bad Foucault manqué on crack trying to sound like they really have something important to say. I mean, think about it! What exactly is Patrick trying to say here? I have absolutely no idea.

May the article's author roast in Hell for using the phrase "in conversation," by the way. Fucking lazy, eh. And the guy is obviously a complete dildo - just check out some of the later sentences such as "Visible image is still a key factor in a band’s success and some audiences are not ready for the cut of a frontman’s trousers to be a 40” waist." Uh, yeah, whatever. Meat Loaf never could sell an album, and no one ever listened to Tad Doyle, either.

I'm gonna stop here because this isn't really worth talking about. I'm just trying not to fall asleep too early again tonight. I left tonight's Spring Thaw banquet well before it began to go home to take a nap, but that's another story.