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Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

We were the pop kids.

I just finished listening to the Pet Shop Boys “The Parlophone Years” documentary/mixtape presentation at the BBC. It’s quite good and the interview bits run the expected gamut from informative to amusing to introspective, and you get bits and pieces of songs from nearly the entirety of their career. (They left EMI/Parlophone shortly before releasing their 2013 album, Electric.)

There are three main musical acts at the core of my library. Genesis (and most of its solo offshoots), Midnight Oil, and the Pet Shop Boys. Of those, only one remains active. What this documentary program reminded me of is that for basically my entire music-purchasing life I’ve been fortunate enough to get a new PSB record every so often, and nearly every time I’ve found something to enjoy about the new record. That’s a thirty-year-plus run of superb songcraft.

“Opportunities.” “Suburbia.” “It’s a sin.” “Left to my own devices.” “Always on my mind.” “Domino dancing.” “How can you expect to be taken seriously?” “So hard.” “Being boring.” “I wouldn’t normally do this kind of thing.” “Single.” “Yesterday, when I was mad.” “Closer to heaven.” “Integral.” “The Sodom and Gomorrah Show.” “Pandemonium.” “Did you see me coming?” “Love etc.” “Leaving.” “The pop kids.”

And that’s just selections you can hear bits of in the program linked above, to say nothing of, let’s say, “The end of the world” or “The Theatre” or “Metamorphosis” or “Up against it” or “To step aside” (look, Bilingual is an amazing album, okay?) or “Minimal” or “Twentieth Century” and so forth.

I feel like I’ve reconnected just a bit with one of the key threads woven into the fabric of my conscious life. Not a bad way to spend part of a day off, yeah? Yeah.

Mastodon-and-on-and-on

I’m back in the fediverse again. This time I’m not running my own instance. Though I tried. Boy did I try. I tried using the Docker method of building a Mastodon instance, which back when I was running the old ‘frell.co’ site was the preferred method (which of course I didn’t use when I built ‘frell.co’, ha ha). Oh, apparently that’s old hat and doesn’t really work anymore, great! I tried using the new official install instructions and… that didn’t work either. I gave up. (Which is a shame because I hoped to use a great domain name for it. Ah well. I’ll figure out something else to do with ‘earworm.me’ eventually.)

So I’m using someone else’s instance. We’ll see how it goes.

I’m still most active on Twitter but with every passing month it becomes more of a dumpster fire so having an exit strategy in place seems like a good idea. Here’s hoping it all pans out.

I felt like doing some home improvement…

I’m on the last day of my little stay-at-home vacation, and to make sure I don’t waste the entire day with video games and cartoons I set myself a few tasks. As of now? Two down, two to go.

The first completed task was to trim down a couple of songs. First up was Filter’s “Miss Blue.” The CD for the Title of Record album has one of those “secret tracks” but they stupidly made it part of “Miss Blue,” only after six minutes of silence. Even worse, the “track” is stupid anyway. So I cut all that dead weight out. Then, The HU Band’s “Wolf Totem” as released originally on Bandcamp (it’s gone now that they have a record deal and an album release forthcoming) has a lot of nearly-silent padding at the start and finish. With my edited versions saved to the library, that’ll prevent long quiet stretches during random playlist action.

Anyway. I just completed my second task as well.

The doors to my bedroom, yes, that’s a plural because for some odd reason the designers decided that this room needs one full door and one half-sized door across the entrance, have a bad habit of rattling around when closed. I usually just wedge something into the gap between them to prevent the banging noises. This morning I went one better: Felt strips and double-sided tape to create padding right where it’s needed.

Felt padding at the top of the doorway for the half-door.

Felt padding in the catch.

Felt padding at the bottom of the half-door.

It ain’t fancy, but so far it seems to be doing the job. I can close both doors with a minimum of noise (which I’m sure the downstairs neighbors will appreciate) and when closed, they don’t rattle.

Interdependence Day

If I’m going to celebrate anything about today, it’s the continuation of an experiment.

I’m working my way toward fifty years of age and I don’t have a lot of what one could call “patriotism” left. The country’s a mess, its ideals under attack from without and especially within, by the rich and the powerful and the willfully ignorant, by those who are gaming the system to the breaking point so they can win ongoing perpetual rule and control. But the ideals stated at the start of it all still mean something. Maybe I’m naive to hold onto that belief. So be it.

If I’m going to celebrate anything, it’s those ideals.

Not for the troops, because as soon as we decide that a uniform and a weapon automatically make a person superior then we have ceded a level of personal responsibility, but for the kind of people who choose to take up arms specifically for the cause of protecting those who cannot protect themselves. Not for the flag, because crass symbolism has become just another wedge to divide us, but for the kind of people who see the flag as a reminder of the importance of those naive ideals that started this whole grand experiment off in the first place. Not for the history, because boy howdy is this country’s history full of greed and corruption and outright evil swathed in lies meant to convey respectability and holy purpose, but for the future that I hope we still have the chance to make together, a more inclusive and honest and understanding future for everyone.

Not for independence, but for the hope of interdependence.

Shinji’s Harem

I’m led to understand by some folks on Twitter that Netflix’s new translation for Neon Genesis Evangelion changes one particular line from one particular character, and what this tells me is that the folks behind Netflix’s new translation are blissfully unaware that NGE is, at least in part, a harem anime.

I mean.

Shinji collects three of the four more prominent haremette types over the course of the show.

1) The tsundere. Obviously this is Asuka.

2) The cipher. Obviously this is Rei.

3) The childhood friend. This role is basically left un-filled.

and

4) The vamp. Obviously this is Kaoru.

At least one of the three is honest and direct about their feelings, right? (Somebody in that benighted band of broken children might as well be, and guess who that ends up being.)

Passing The Days, June 2019 Edition

My life itself isn’t anything to write about, as it’s really just “eat sleep work lather rinse repeat” for the most part. I decided to share a bit of how I spend my leisure time lately, though…

Reading

  • I finished Martha Wells’ “Murderbot diaries” novella series (starting point: All Systems Red). I cannot recommend it highly enough if you’re at all into Sci-Fi style adventure heavily seasoned with snarky commentary and a few musings on the place of non-human sentient beings in a mostly-human society.
  • I… keep trying to finish Cat Valente’s Space Opera. I see rave reviews and while I get why people love it, I suspect it’s better for folks who can handle audiobooks as the writing style is clearly meant to be read aloud. It’s a love letter to Douglas Adams as much as it’s anything else, and I can’t deny the craft. It’s just… a bit too much. I can get through a chapter at a go, then I have to walk away from it for a while. Weeks, sometimes.

Playing

  • I dabbled in Warframe and Diablo III on and off this past few months, and that’s about it on the PC side.
  • My phone has AFK Arena, Pokemon Go, and Egg Inc installed, only one of which takes very much time on any given day.
  • My (new) tablet runs Valkyrie Connect and King’s Raid, both “gacha” style games, as well as the superb match-3 game, Gems of War. I can also recommend mobile version of the Ascension deck-building game.

Watching

  • We just started the new Aggretsuko season (so far so good) and after that we’re probably going to tackle Good Omens.
  • I took Kyla to see the new Godzilla movie in the theater for her birthday and bought her the Blu-Ray of Shin Godzilla, so we’re having a grand kaiju-loving time, indeed. (We enjoyed both, quite a lot.)
  • Also in the theater, we saw Captain Marvel (loved it) and Avengers: Endgame (not so much).
  • The only anime this season I’ve cared about at all is the Fruits Basket redo, which has been a delight thus far. Everything else has left me cold.

Listening

  • I delved into the back-catalogs of Mono Inc (2013’s Nimmermehr) and Assemblage 23 (2004’s Storm) and so far I’m pleased with both purchases. I don’t expect to go much further back, however. I like where each act is headed, musically speaking, more than I’m interested in where they’ve been.
  • I finally broke down and forked over a lot of money for Yuki Kajiura’s Fiction II which… was not as good as I’d hoped. Sigh.

And that’s about that, entertainment-wise. If I forgot something, hey, that’s fodder for another post…

 

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