June 27 – July 3, 2015

OMG, the movie Spy. It’s brilliant. It’s being neglected (by the press? by a studio that ran trailers before it was released but gave up on advertising it after its opening weekend?) but that’s OK, it’s the kind of thing that’s best enjoyed on the basis of fuzzy word-of-mouth recommendation anyway.

SO: Go see it. It’s badass and funny and Melissa McCarthy navigates the minefield of smooth + sexy + powerful + also self-doubty + sometimes clumsy + fainty at the sight of blood. She’s the action hero *and* the comic relief rolled in to one. She is a Movie Star, and writer/director Paul Feig is her #1 fan & her partner in crime.

Future references for this week: SCOTUS legalized marriage equality nationwide. Bree Newsome climbed a flagpole in Columbia, SC. Everyone stopped airing reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard.

Tuesday we ate at Bar Virgile with our friend M, and then hung around the house playing Fluxx, which is such an anti-game, inasmuch as it violently discourages any sort of strategizing, and infuriates rules people.

Thursday we saw a pretty good baseball game between the US Collegiate National team and the Cuban National team. For reasons not entirely clear to me, the US team consists entirely of freshmen & sophomores. They beat Cuba 2-0. (They had apparently no-hit the Cubans the night before in Cary.) I felt kinda bad, but not as bad as I’ll feel a year from now when the entirety of Cuba looks like Myrtle Beach.

Friday night the Cubans came back & trounced the US 5-1. And two of them defected! (Before or after the game?)

Thursday night I took a turn at WXDU’s weekly metal show. Playlist here. A mix of some old faves, new faves, and stuff that’s currently on our playlist. We’ve been adding a lot more metal to our regular playlist, which is kind of amusing to me. I doubt that many of our DJs would seriously consider playing metal during their regular shifts — it can be hard to drop into the middle of a heterogeneous set. Harder to mix than country, rock-n-roll, various world musics — due, I suppose, in part to the fact that modern “extreme” metal is pretty far removed from the blues roots of so much of the rest of that music.

Anyway. It was fun, even if I did cop out & devote the last ~45 minutes to two songs from two of my favorite albums of the past 9 months, Yob’s Clearing the Path to Ascend, and Bell Witch’s Four Phantoms.

Last night we finally made it out to see Dope. Holy shit, what a great movie. Black teen geeks in Inglewood, trying to make it out of high school & their dead-end neighborhood alive & sane. It’s dirty and funny and intense, in more or less equal amounts. Parts of it are as improbable as Scott Pilgrim vs The World; parts of it are as real as anything Spike Lee or John Singleton ever did. It’s basically equal parts Boyz N the Hood and House Party. (Intentionally so — the main characters are obsessed with 90s hip-hop, and the director has explicitly stated that he was emulating the feel of those movies.)

So yeah, go see it. We saw it at Northgate at 7:50 on a Friday night with about 12 other people. Which is too bad, because the movie would benefit from a packed & rowdy house, and because I’ll be sad when Northgate finally closes down, which seems inevitable.

June 27 – July 3, 2015

December 6-7, 2014

A lot of my thoughts over the weekend were tied up with the Eric Garner protests, both nationally and here in Durham, and I covered that in the post immediately prior to this one.

I spent Saturday afternoon working on a new streaming server for WXDU, and inadvertently learning things about Linux DBus that I didn’t know before. This, however, is because for the first time in several years, I’m reintroducing Linux into our server environment, and I’m very happy about that.

We’ll see how long that lasts. 

One driver of this shift is the fact that all of our boxes are Mac Pros, some of them fairly elderly, and the new Mac Pros (the black trashcans) aren’t really optimized for server duty. They’re heavy on GPUs and light on on-board storage.

Saturday evening we ate at Toast & then came home & engaged in the weekly halfhearted struggle to find a movie to stream. I have terrible luck when it comes to finding some obscure gem that sounds awesome, and suggesting it to M, without first checking to see if it’s streamable.

They never are.

Through some chain of circumstance we wound up watching Albert Brooks’s first movie, Real Life, which was mildly amusing in a highly self-conscious Albert Brooks kind of way. 

Sunday fit the standard pattern. 

So far in my year-end metal listening I’ve been most entertained by Abigor’s Leytmotif Luzifer:

And Lunarterial by Swallowed

<a href=“http://swallowed.bandcamp.com/album/lunarterial” data-mce-href=“http://swallowed.bandcamp.com/album/lunarterial”>Lunarterial by Swallowed</a>

December 6-7, 2014

December 3, 2014

Looking back at Twitter, it’s pretty clear that I spent the day like everyone else I know: being outraged and frustrated & demoralized by the Eric Garner grand jury decision. 

I RT a lot of people who are more articulate & more invested than I am, so maybe just go look over there for that.

On the home front, M got home from a multi-day trip to western Kentucky to deal with an aging parent. My parents are so totally on top of every aspect of their care & living situations from now until the end of time that I haven’t ever had to directly deal with this stuff – I’m peripherally aware of it, but mostly I’m peripherally aware that it’s more or less dealt with.

M’s dad isn’t quite so squared away, and thus we’re both learning things about the state of elder care in America that make me devoutly hope that I go like Ian McLagen did: Actively gigging & touring right up until a massive stroke killed him within 24 hours.

I’ve been trying to listen to a bunch of the [ostensibly best] metal released this year. So far I’m liking a lot of it in an academic way, but not really resonating with any of it. The albums that I was most anticipating didn’t really do it for me, so I’m sort of casting about at random. I mentioned the latest YOB the other day; it’s the only thing so far that has really made me feel anything.

I’ve been heartily amused by Triptykon, though, and I’m warming rapidly to Abigor. But there has been nothing that I’ve liked as much as any of the metal on my 2013 list.

December 3, 2014

December 1-2, 2014

M is out of town, so I’m getting by however I can. Had dinner at Dos Perros on Monday, because Taco Night, always, although I actually had the pork pozole, which was delicious.

I think I stayed up too late reading, but I don’t remember what. Probably Volume 1 of the Kelly Sue DeConnick run of Captain Marvel, which is full of confusing time-travel stuff, but also kickass midcentury women aviators. I’m of course so old and out-of-touch that I didn’t even realize that there was a difference between Marvel’s Captain Marvel and DC’s Captain Marvel, aka Shazam.

Work is really time-consuming and stressful right now, because I’m basically having to take on a whole new job function in addition to all the ones I already perform. Which is actually kind of fun, and gratifying (and marketable, in the long run), but like I said, time-consuming and stressful.

Today the guy I was supposed to interview bailed at the last minute, which is actually really a bummer, because I interviewed him once before & really liked him. But it cleared my calendar for essentially the whole day, which means I’m nearly caught up at this point, at least in terms of the stupid quotidian crap that was clogging my inbox.

And I had time to download a bunch of 2014 metal albums so that I can figure out whether there’s anything that came out this year that I’m going to want to listen to again. Apart from the latest YOB, which I already know is awesome.

I downloaded 7 albums this evening & I paid for five of them. Not such a bad ratio. And I only pirated the other two because I couldn’t find anywhere to pay for digital copies.

They were:

Lord Mantis
Witch Mountain

I’ll let you know on January 1st which, if any of them, made the cut.

Had dinner at Gocciolina because unlike M, I could eat there every day & not feel constrained, menu-wise. Of course I’m also the person who can happily eat lunch at the same 2-3 restaurants (or ONE restaurant, under certain circumstances, Park Diner RIP) for literally years.

December 1-2, 2014