It’s got it all: atheism, spirituality, god, scifi, and good music!! Hulu’s got the first four eps up right now (and it doesn’t keep them forever), so go catch up. It’s too smart and too well written to stay on the air for long.
It’s the story of Kings David and Saul transposed into a country that looks like present-day America. It’s smart, sometimes funny, and often reminds me of Dune with it’s spiritual overtones (the King has been selected by a nebulous God, only to be usurped by the next King by the same God). Each ep gives me another song that I want to get (including one by Liszt). The characters are sympathetic and real, even the minor ones; the issues that they have are painful and don’t feel contrived.
This is a new generation of scifi—it’s not utopian or dystopian. It’s just other. And awesome.
One of the many reasons I don’t post with my IRL name here (I won’t say “real”, since xJane is just as real in many ways) is because I am attempting to manage my image. In our internet age, I still find it to be very important to not ruffle feathers in a public way (so that I can find a job, even with a company I may not agree with) while at the same time ruffle feathers (feather-ruffling is something most people need more of).
Accordingly, I can say that I am not embarrassed about anything on my Facebook page. (Except, perhaps, who my “friends” are, but that cannot be avoided in many cases.)
Here are some recent articles I found interesting about Facebook: the first (hat tip to @greaterumbrage) is the humorous Facebook survival guide for adults. A great way of explaining “the Facebook” to people who ask. In fact, I may just send this around to some people I know…
Linked to in that article are two more of interest (to me, at least, and enough so that I want to share):
A discussion of “Facebook drunkfail”, also a humorous take on the subject (please please please Google “Kevin Colvin”, regardless of whether or not you click on and read that link, and read the first page that comes up. I think John bought me a drink from him once at the Edison…). A serious subject, though, and the major reason I (a) post here as xJane and (b) carefully edit my FB page (and (c) have two Twitter accounts).
Finally, this was probably in the news but I missed it because I live in a hole right now (luckily, a fact of life I’m used to), but Obama’s speechwriter committed a Facebook drunkfail that made it farther than Facebook. Here’s one woman’s take on it—one that I happen to agree with.
(I thought about posting links to these on my Facebook page but decided that was too meta for me…)
Texas is reviewing its science standards, specifically with the desire to remove them altogether. Skepchick has a great discussion of exactly what this means, but here’s the short version:
Now: what you can do:
Just to drive home the point that we need to actually educate our children, not just indoctrinate them, here is a recent BBC documentary (in 6 10-minute segments) about a 13-year old girl, Deborah, who lives on her parents’ farm with some of her 10 brothers and sisters (the ones who haven’t yet left home to spread the Good News.
Deborah and her siblings have been home schooled and rarely leave the compound. When she does, it’s to give tracts out to her peers while they’re waiting for the bus. Her oldest brother has moved out and is working toward a chef’s degree. Deborah leaves home to go visit him in the fourth segment.
The whole thing is worth a watch, even though it’s long. My favorite part (besides the general creepiness and the “omg, it’s my sisters!”-ness of it) is that her brother is specifically turned off by flirting women. I can’t wait for the follow up documentary after that one hits.
I’ve been listening to this recently and it’s kept me going as law school ties me up in its basement, feeding me only bread and water, and negotiating a ransom exchange with my
family husband. I keep getting the feeling that the majority of my family would like me to settle down and start having children, rather than dicking around with this law school rigamarole. My parents seem entirely nonplussed by it and most of my sisters are just baffled by the fact that I might want it. So I feel like it’s an uphill battle, not just in the classroom, but on the couches of my family and in conversations with them.
Enter this song. I remember hearing this as a kid and identifying with the need to “get out” of something, of being trapped in an insular community (in this case, not a “town” but a religion, a family, and a path of life that included marriage and children and nothing else).
To spend my life here
Is more than I can do
I know somewhere down the road
My dreams will come true
And so they are.
If I stay here forever,
What will I have to show?
But if I make it over?
Well, then everyone will know!
not a huge surprise, I suppose…
RT @pizzocalabro RT @consumerist: Identifying Yourself As A Lesbian Gets You Banned On XBOX Live : http://tinyurl.com/cc48g8
I’ve been wanting to share something from this genre with you guys, but it’s hard to find the vids online. This is Eurobeat, which is often Italians singing in English for a Japanese market. Quite the international trip—and it is a trip, in all sense of the word. Night of Fire is one of the most popular, having been remade many times, including into (my favorite) “Christmas of Fire”. Eurobeat would be called Happy Hardcore in Germany and is most often found on classic (as opposed to American) DDR, a dancing game played with your feet, or Parapara, a dancing game played with your hands.
In college, my roommate played these games and so, consequently, did I. With one major difference: she was good at them. I still love listening to Eurobeat and have a startling number of tracks in my iTunes. Including Captain Fantastic (not the Elton John version), Sex Crime, and I Wanna Be Fat (a song which is just as explicit as Sex Crime—and if you didn’t click on that link, those Brazilian guys are priceless, watch the guy on the right at the end, he’s whoa into it).
Parapara is kinda like Japanese line dancing, in that it’s only cool if lots of people are doing it. It’s really fun to do and really hard to learn (at least, I find it hard). This might give you a better idea of what it’s like without the creepy weird Sex Crime guys. The lyrics range from nonsensical to offensive and manage to hit everything in between. This is what it looks like when only one person is doing it—kinda like they just need help. This is why you do it in groups, so you don’t get committed on sight.
And so, without further ado: Night of Fire, as covered by a large mostly naked Japanese guy and four thin and equally clothed Japanese girls:
SFW, your coworkers will merely think you’re weird.
And watch this vid. An MoF favorite singer and an MoF favorite cause: Regina Spektor and No On H8. Do this before V day and enjoy your partnership on Valentine’s Day guilt-free (and full of hope).
Let’s dedicate this Valentine’s Day to love.
My husband and I don’t have any one “our” song, but anything by Burlap to Cashmere, Train or Vertical Horizon reminds me of him. This is one that especially reminds me of when we first met & fell in love. What are your favorite love songs (not necessarily songs about love but songs that remind you of the ones you love)?
My favorite part: “You have one wing, and/I have another”—like, together we can fly, although separately we just kinda look funny.
I did not know anything about Credence Clearwater Revival (or “CCR” as they are affectionately known) until I took a road trip a few years ago with my sister. We had, as the only CDs that were acceptable to all members of the van (my sister, her husband, myself, and their 4 children), two CCR greatest hits albums and one album which we only ever listened to one song from. We drove to Seattle. And then back. With only this music.
And it was awesome. Unlike the U2 album that sustained my class and I for 2 weeks in Africa, I can actually listen to CCR songs. When I do, I am immediately transported back into that 15 passenger van, singing at the top of my lungs along with lyrics that were iffy.
Part of what we did while listening to CCR (over and over and over) was speculate on what the lyrics were and what they might mean (“let the midnight special shine it’s ever loving light on me”?!). It would be another 3 years before my sister and I discovered that “chooglin” is the sound that an original VW bug makes. My sister still calls me to ask what certain lyrics are (since I know how to use teh Intarwebs); most recently, we discussed the meaning of “I went down Virginia, Seekin’ shelter from the storm. Caught up in the fable, I watched the tower grow.” Our conclusion? Drugs. (Interestingly, that video appears to have been beset by the selfsame cause that inflicted the lyrics.)
But, oddball lyrics aside (“a giant doing cartwheels, a statue wearin’ high heels”), I love singing along to these at the top of my lungs. This is not my favorite, but it’s hard to choose one. And it’s one with good memories of trying to figure out what the lines were…
It’s like a gospel song—you can’t help singing along, whether or not you know the lyrics (whether or not it’s even possible to). It comes from deep in CCR’s soul & returns to deep inside yours, forces you to tap your feet, crank the volume, and all of a sudden you’re seeing Miss Rosie (piece of paper in her hand) and doin’ right in Texas. Maybe even clapping; or at least wailing on your air drums.
(My favorite lyrics are “down on the corner, out in the street, livin’ in a boat house’ll play ya, give a nipple, grab your feet!” that song includes “rooster hits the wacko”, something about “a nutface”, and “the devil’s only zoo”. Seriously, listen to that song and see if you can discern English in it!)
Let there be no mistake: I ♥ Phil Collins. I sat through the whole of Tarzan for him. And Genesis’ Land of Confusion is a classic among classics. Disturbed’s version, however, manages to meet the challenge of Collins’ historic talent while at the same time making it their own. While the Gensis version is suitable for a call to arms to make the world a better place, the Disturbed version brings out the darker elements, making it a reminder of what a horrible place the world is.
My generation will put it right!
We’re not just making promises
That we know we’ll never keep.
is even more sobering when you realize that Genesis is probably just about a generation before Disturbed and their version exactly 20 years younger than the original.
I could go on about all the wonderful lyrics in this one, so I shall merely instruct you to close your eyes & listen to the poetry of Mike Rutherford through the grating, pained voice of David Draiman.
Jane Doe is standing up to the social stigma attached to having been raped and the attendant indignities she discovered were involved in attempting to report it. In Japan. Although it is both a different culture and legal system, I don’t think there’s any culture that deals with rape without social stigma or the indignities involved in reporting it. Her refusal to be silent and her desire to bring national and international attention to the situation in Japan may help us all look with criticism at our own cultures.
On being a quiet feminist. (Something I’ve never understood, but I have heard the arguments that Kevin espouses and been incensed by them myself.)
Bad advertising. Or, sex sells.
Our story begins at the Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles’ Silverlake District. There are thousands of galleries in SoCal, but CatGirl and I love this one because it showcases some of our favorite artists, “low-brow” creators often featured in the likes of Juxtapoz (which William Gibson apparently reads to cure writer’s block). When we visited for the Amy Sol exhibit in June, we met the curator, Andrew, who was very kind and generous to us and especially supportive of CatGirl’s artist aspirations.
Flash forward to December 29th: I yelped a little Ethiopian dive, just off U-street in DC. We were tired of the National Mall–only so much Church of the U.S. a group of pilgrims can take before needing a taste of something different. We were sponging up the last bits of chicken wat and spicy lentils with our flat bread when a friendly couple sat down at the table next to us. When their food arrived, I realized that I hadn’t captured an image of our meal. Obsessive chronicler that I am, I asked them if I could take a picture of their spread. She asked me if I was going to blog it. A kindred spirit, I thought. I may flickr it, I said. I’m mind on fire. We parted.
January 3rd, in Manhattan. Again, we were museumed out. It was possible to get Van Gogh fatigue. Who knew? I viewed my flickr updates, and there was a comment from a haiku575, thanking me for taking her picture at the Ethiopian Restaurant. I checked out her profile and photostream, and not only was she from New York, but she had an eye for Awesome: Street art, flash mobs, an abandoned prison. I sent haiku575 a flickr mail, asking for advice on how to see the City through her eyes. We committed to roam bookstores in Lower Manhattan and set off for a bakery I yelped in SoHo.
The Grandaisy Bakery was heaven manifest in wheat form. Bellies full and brains caffeinated, we began wandering. While Jana and the kids were oohing and ahing in LittleMisMatched, I stepped outside to wander down the block and check my email. There was a response from haiku575. Her recommendations began: “SoHo is a great place to wander. You can start out at Wooster and Spring and move on from there.” I looked up, and this is what I saw:
I’m still blown away by the serendipity of it. How many street corners does NYC have? We spent some time seeking out and capturing street art between the encroaching boutiques and fashionable chain stores. Following a street address provided by haiku575, I walked up to a non-descript steel door and pushed one of the buttons. The door latch clicked, and I opened it, revealing a poorly lit concrete corridor. The kids were worried: Dad, what are we doing? What is this place, really? I led them up the narrow staircase, and finally up to Walter de Maria’s Earth Room. It’s very easy to describe the installation but not the experience. There we met the amiable Bill, the self-described “Keeper of the Earth.” His job is to curate the exhibit, raking it once per week, buzzing in visitors, and reading Thoreau:
The next day we met up with our friends Amy and Logan for brunch in Brooklyn, hipster capital of the world (I felt much more at home there than in most places in OC). Again, following haiku575′s advice, we visited the Ad Hoc Gallery. In addition to having way more fun and inspiration exploring a combined gallery-installation than we did in just about any place in the Met or the Smithsonian, we chatted for a bit with the curator, and learned that the Ad Hoc Gallery was curating a show in Thinkspace this month, called From the Streets of Brooklyn.
As a skeptic, it’s difficult for me to insert any kind of grand cosmological meaning in the unlikely serendipity of these connections we made, but I can appreciate them. As each line is drawn between two seemingly random dots, a link is made and significance given where none existed before. This is the magic of the social web, of Yelp, of Flickr, of FaceBook, of WordPress, to increase our ability and propensity to connect people and places and ideas. There’s something miraculous about that.
Special thanks to haiku575 for adding a little magic to our time in NYC.