Monday, October 17, 2011

My Farewell Concert

If you are having a hard time at work, here are a few songs to sing really loud and dramatically (possibly while picturing your boss squirming with shame at his own incompetence).

The Silver Fox!:

Flaco Jimenez on the accordian!:

And for when you want to shout obscenities to a very catchy tune!:

Nothing like a good kiss off song.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What He Said

For the first time ever, I own me a cell phone. Had to have a number to put on my resume, so any potential employers can get ahold of me at any time.

I'm considering this song for my ring tone.

Too obvious?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Suburban Malaise

Revolutionary RoadRevolutionary Road by Richard Yates

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just got the DVD of the first season of Mad Men, and the timing is odd. The show and this book seem to have a lot in common. It's about a young couple in the '50s, living in Connecticut and he works in Manhattan. The book has the same sort of underlying feeling of menace as the show. The same anxieties are apparent in the characters. The experience of WWII looms. The uncomfortable gender roles chafe everyone.

The central couple in the book seem to match Don and Betty Draper in outward charm and attractiveness, but their self-delusions run very deep. They seem to have drifted into a suburban lifestyle, despite their (outward, at least) contempt for it. They are often enumerating the ways that they are different than their neighbors, to make it clear (to themselves, at least) how they are more worldly or less conventional. They are desperate for something meaningful, but can't admit to their desperation. Their inability to be honest with themselves or anybody else means they are not likable characters, but they are pitiable. It's a fairly depressing read.

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A Familiar Place

Downtown Owl: A NovelDowntown Owl: A Novel by Chuck Klosterman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is amazing. I wasn't sure what to expect from fiction and Klosterman. I read Fargo Rock City and I'd faulted him for an Aspergers-like lack of empathy in that book.

But he is certainly aware of the people in his hometown. (I assume this is mostly drawn from his childhood, since it's about a small town in North Dakota.) He nailed it. We spend most of our time with three characters, and they are all authentic and believable. As are all the supporting characters. His descriptions could have been of the town where I grew up, and many of his observations felt like things I'd thought before. It'd be interesting to hear what a reader without that background would think of the story -- whether it would be just as compelling for them.

I especially liked his theme of the "universal" knowledge of a small community. His characters are always describing the history or character of some person, place, or thing, and saying, "Everybody knows this." He even compares what "everybody knows" to Orwell's 1984 and the idea of the thought police. A high schooler wonders how Orwell's world of everyone being forced to think the same thing was different from living in Owl, North Dakota. Good times!

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