1. Various, Sky Girl – Compiled by DJ Sundae and Julien Dechery (Efficient Space, 2016)
2. Tomorrow the Rain Will Fall Upwards, Wreck His Days (Blackest Ever Black, 2016)
3. The Kinks, Face to Face (Pye Records, 1966)
4. The American Friend, dir. Wim Wenders (1977)
5. Mr. Robot, dir. Sam Esmail (2016)
6. Various, Last House on Dead End Street (Vombis, 2016)
7. Prodigals: Stories, Greg Jackson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016)
8. Tito Puente, The Complete 78s (Fania Records, 2010)
9. David West, Peace or Love (Tough Love, 2016)
10. A steady rotation of hot tracks by Young Thug, Rae Sremmurd, and Beyonce.
I read a bunch this weekend, while falling asleep, while almost napping on Saturday, while waking up in the middle of the night. I read news articles, discogs prices, and books. One book was a thriller ebook page turner downloaded on my phone called The Detective & the Pipe Girl by Michael Craven. It was a standard mystery novel, predictable and addicting to read.
I’m also reading The Art of Crueltyby Maggie Nelson. She writes about art, violence, and the ways violence occurs through art in people’s lives. She asks questions that are the obvious ones to ask, which surprisingly are the least often asked versions that people analyze when writing about violence. Her work is much more compelling than studies about violence and the media (what does that mean exactly?) because she writes about art works both contemporary and not so recent, popular culture, and current events. Reading her essays at the same time as devouring a neo-noir mystery gets complicated.
For example the detective narrates an entire about how he learned to fight. There are repetitive instances of meeting women for the sake of meeting women, who are barely described as more than “beautiful” or “sexy”. Often the main character is not the person doing the most sexist, ridiculous actions, however the narrator is doing all the telling. A sideline character is described by the narrator as always seeking out women. It’s the main description of his character. The narrator also repeatedly states rhetorically “Do you know a person like this? You know a person like this”. The whole “it is what it is” approach works at first then gets frustrating because things rarely are what they are, especially in cliched detective books.
Part of me wishes that every mystery paperback novel came with an essay from Nelson’s examination of violence. I paused more than once and wondered why I was still reading the detective book with it’s distorted views. Addiction to mindless violence on the page? Does it make me feel good about how a narrator presents his survival methods as “total commitment” and some father issues?
Anyway, thinking about all the above along with other things I enjoy, like listening to music. Sometimes I like the intensity of musicians like Vatican Shadow, who transfers current wars’ events into a rager of electronic music. Maybe these are better things to analyze than a quick action mystery read. Even if seeing blasting music is something completely different than reading a book. Wow, is that what has happened to me? Writing about reading books whilst falling asleep, instead of making it out to seeing live spectacles of loudness? Though I’m still reading The Art of Cruelty so insert a stay tuned message here.
Friday was my last day of FMLA leave. I was thinking about these life things and wanted to post something reflective, in a looking back style. Instead I enjoyed the day and didn’t post anything. On my leave, I learned to put away my phone and computer when I’m with the kids. I’m still learning how to do that better, like when Zelda is falling asleep and I’m checking my phone next to her bed. I need to stop doing that. Anyway, here is what I’m missing today.
Missing Trudie. I miss many things about being at home. Cleaning spit up. Hearing Gertrude squeal. Watching her get taller and taller, telling her about that, and her liking standing up tall. Saying, Yeah milk drinking!, after she drinks milk and watching her grin while milk dribbles out of her mouth. Taking away her teething toys after a couple of minutes when she gets mad at them. Watching her watch things like a crazy orange blooming plant, an oak tree, some bugs. Feeling a breeze outside and seeing Trudie look around at the wind. Even trying to get Trudie to fall asleep, which was really hard for me, is something I miss, swinging her endlessly in a car seat.
Missing playing records almost whenever, even to help with sleeping. Slowing down AFX records to make them play longer. Finding out Trudie likes moody, scarier sounding music instead of bangin’ tracks. Listening to country.
Things I will not miss. Not much. Except the unpaid leave part. Having no maternity/paternity/parental leave sucks.
Here is a picture of Trudie, though I’m still not sure about posting pics of my kids online. So there are also some eyes off center on the picture.
Chart of Interest
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
Stone Quackers by Ben Jones on FXX
Young Skins: Stories by Colin Barrett
The Glass City/Golden Garden – Pender Street Steppers (Mood Hut)
Al Dobson Jr – Rye Lane Versions (Rhythm Section International)
Hunting Lodge – Will (Dais Records)
Frontier Ballads – Pete Seeger (Folkways)
John Wiese – Deviate From Balance (Gilgongo Records)
Le FabShop’s 3d print designs (Youmagine, Thingiverse, etc.)
Days with Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel
Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
All the reading and re-reading of Frog and Toad books with my daughter is fun, humorous, and – unsurprisingly – psychedelic feeling. It makes the process of eating a melting paleta way more fun than I thought possible. All the Frog and Toad tales are still making heavy resonations with A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I finished the book months ago and yet cannot stop thinking about it.
All these things are separate and connected to my everyday life as a dad, team-member with my wife, maker of happenings, and librarian. I should and will talk more about all those things another time. Life.
We just moved into a house. We also just bought the house. We love it so far, even with the expanding tower of cardboardium taking over many rooms. The cardboard will shrink, the dust will settle. For now, boxes everywhere.
I need to charge my phone, gotta contact the water company, research the vintage stove market/vintage stove repair scene. Also share some music. Share some updates about teen services at my library branch (teen jobs roundtable! iPad podcasts!). All that might happen in this space. Til then here’s what’s playing in nearly every format. All my records are still boxed up, and I listened to them til the end of moving.