Friday, February 04, 2005

Random Tidings, Interregnum Times

A jumble of things going on with me right about now, the beginnings and ends of eras converging.

In the meantime, here’s a quick run-down of:

What I’m Reading

How to Win Friends and Influence People – by Dale Carnegie

This book, as Olde School as non-fiction comes as it was first published in 1937, is the stuff. I’m only into the second chapter, but it’s incredibly incisive stuff: simple anecdotes that illustrate simple yet powerful principles. Don’t criticize. Everyone wants to feel important. Cool stuff.

High Fidelity – by Nick Hornby

I read a sci-fi short story by Hornby called “Otherwise Pandemonium” a few years back that absolutely blew my socks off, about a kid who buys a used VCR that begins to show him the future. It was one of those oh-my-God-I-wish-I-wrote-that things, and in took place in Berkeley, a place I called home for a few years! Bloody Brits…

And of course I knew that he wrote the books that spawned the films High Fidelity, which is great and gets better on subsequent viewings, and About A Boy, which I only found to be fair. (In Mexico I learned that the Spanish translation of the film was called Un Gran Chico – this didn’t do much to increase my digging of the film.)

High Fidelity the book is great, and had the weird effect of increasing my admiration for the film version. It’s one of those great and rare instances of book and film version working marvelously. Having first watched the film, I found the book to wonderfully flesh out the characters and story, all in charming, subtle British tones that were abandoned for Crass Americana in the movie.

For anyone who’s not aware, it’s the story of a guy, Rob, who owns a record shop and has a tendency to bail on relationships before they bail on him. The fun is all in the self-absorbed self-abuse, the modern rules of attraction and dating, and a complete over-the-top obsession with music. Good stuff all around.

What I’m Watching

The Wire – Season One and The Shield – Season One

I watched and enjoyed the first four episodes of each via Netflix. Then there was a serious Netflix snafu that is still not resolved which I don’t really want to talk about as it makes my UTK (Urge to Kill) rise dramatically. The Wire, especially, is automatically one of the better shows I have ever seen. It’s story of drug dealers and cops in Baltimore strays so far away from cliché that you almost want to pinch yourself at the level of realism. Great stories, great characters, great direction, great writing. Just great. Oh, The Shield is turning out to be a lot more fun than I thought: gritty, dirty cops, political motives and racial politics. It’s just no Wire. Nothing is or was.

The Apprentice – Season Three

Yeah, I like it and I still watch it. Why? Probably because the contestants want to win unlike any reality show out there. It’s also about surviving and winning and people and New York. Trump is hat headed and overblown buffoon, but he’s dynamite at selling product. This time around we had the “Book Smart” team, those who have graduated from college up against the “Street Smart” folk, those who only have a high school degree. The trick: the street people keep it real rich. They’re worth three times that of the Bookies (and thus call their team Net Worth, Inc.) and are so far making their more degreed chums look… dumb. The brutish loudmouth and the guitar-playing lounge lizard marketing dude have already been fired, but there’s still time to join the fun.

What I’m Listening To

Nirvana – With the Lights Out – Box Set

I love this box set. It’s meaningful and interesting and revealing of perhaps the best rock band of my generation. I’ll do a full review at some point.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – “On Mercury”

What an absolutely marvelous and pleasantly surprising Latin-ska-melodic hybrid tune. I’ve got to give it to the Chiles: they’re continuing to mature and seem to get better and better as they go. This is the kind of band that you would have thought would have crashed and burned around 1995, you know? I must have listened to this song about 20 times this week, and I could easily go another round or two. Great and effortless sounding tune: this is music.

My Grand Idea of the Week

Frontman of Blues / White Funk Revival Band

This is the evil result of now having the iPod hooked up in the car. I’ve been driving way more than usual lately, and therefore have time to extrapolate delusions of fantastic grandeur. I also love to sing in the car, so there you go.

I want to wear like a late-era Jim Morrison beard (which I kinda have) and vague hippy-military garb on stage, with dark funky police type glasses (which I also kinda have). We’d do bluesy revival renditions of such great tunes as “War,” by Edwin Starr, and the showstopper would be “I Just Want to Celebrate,” by Rare Earth. I can just see it…

Maybe we’d be called Brass Tacks or American Glory Sunshine Band or something.

Of course, I have about one to two of these ideas every week. Alas… so goes my interregnum.


Adam Shpall said...

Sounds good but I'm sure it has already been done-ashpall

Eric Berlin said...

Yeah, of course it's been done, that's why it's called revival, brotha!

By the way, add this song to the list:

House - Brother Meat