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Satan's Onion - fifteen jugglers, five believers
all dressed like men
satan_s_onion
So I had an opportunity to watch Hamlet on Masterpiece Theater tonight.

I didn't. I watched SCTV on DVD instead, because all my taste is in my mouth and I have no appreciation whatever for high culture =P . (I suppose I could just read it if I really cared to, on account of I have one of my grandfather's teaching copies of the complete works of Shakespeare. I don't get to enjoy David Tennant hammin'* it up if I just read it, but oh well.)

Anyway. SCTV is actually pretty damned great, thanks in no small part to its extremely solid cast. And Dave Thomas. ...Okay, that was mean. He's a fine Mackenzie brother, and he's the only cast member who could pull off a convincing English (and Scots!) accent. Speaking of the Mackenzies, I'd only ever known Rick Moranis from the Ghostbusters films, Strange Brew and Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (which is actually a really stupid title now that I've had to type it out). I've been watching SCTV on DVD for a while now, and I'm still pleasantly surprised by just how much more he could do. Also, absolutely nobody does "hilariously sad drunk" better than Joe Flaherty. Just watch a few of those "5 Neat Guys" bits where he's screwing up the simplest choreography and blinking blearily at everything. And those examples are just off the top of my head: there's also sterling work from John Candy, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Eugene Levy--everyone on this show is more or less at the top of their game.

I also like the way the show occasionally throws something completely strange at the viewer: Farm Film Report, What Fits Into Russia, and possibly the best dog food commercial ever barely scratch the surface of the marvelously strange things you might see in a given episode. (That dog food commercial in particular never fails to crack me up.)

So seriously. I recommend you go check out some SCTV while I restrain myself from finishing off this post with a slew of quotes and references like a dork. (It gets more difficult by the minute, really it does.)

*Hamlettin'? No but really, during the few minutes I caught, Timey-Wimey Tennant left the scenery full of toothmarks.

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Current Location: the greater Melonville area

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satan_s_onion
I'm listening to it for the first time since high school. Can something be really great and just a tiny bit pretentious at the same time? Or is that just what Pink Floyd does best? At any rate, I can see why I liked this album so much in high school. Dark Side of the Moon: Still pretty great.

Speaking of things I experienced in high school, and things that may or may not be pretentious: Am I weird for disliking The Catcher in the Rye? Because when I read it in school I fucking loathed Holden Caulfield. I thought he represented the epitome of some of the worst things about adolescence, and when I read it I was an adolescent. He's experienced one trauma in his life--and, mind you, he has the cash and time to wander aimlessly around New York City, ruminating on it and a metric ass-ton of other things I could never bring myself to give a toss about, so he's comfortable in just about every other way possible--and suddenly he thinks he's an urban prophet. He spends pretty much the whole book, if I remember it correctly, thinking to himself here-a-phony, there-a-phony, everyone-is-such-a-phony and he's, like, the only one who really gets it, man, who really understands it all. (Holden understands and feels things beyond the rest of us mere mortals on account of his unimaginable inner torment, don'cha know.) Also, if I recall correctly, there were also lots of italics slapped on every other word like this which irritates me on several levels, not least because it makes everything Holden thinks and does feel sickeningly overwrought.

Now, if I missed something big about this book--like, if all this was intentional, and the reader really is meant to despise Holden--then I take it all back, and J.D. Salinger was a genius. If not, well, Holden Caulfield is going to stay at the top of my list of Fictional Characters I Wish I Could Punch in the Face.

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Current Location: wandering around New York City, thinkin deeply about phonies
Current Mood: quixotic quixotic

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satan_s_onion
February 15th is Cheap Candy and Flowers Day!

I'm kind of looking forward to that one.
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satan_s_onion
  • I'm not dead!
  • I got an iPod Nano for Christmas, and several new albums
  • ...which included The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, the first Bob Dylan album I'm not all that impressed with.
In which I blather on about my new stuff.Collapse )

...Man, I talk an awful lot about music on my LJ.

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Current Location: big brass bed

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satan_s_onion
You know what you should all go do?
  1. Go get a copy of Bob Dylan's Christmas In The Heart. If you don't want to do that, I think you can preview each track on Amazon.
  2. Listen to him sing "Adeste Fideles".
  3. Marvel at the fact that yes, that is Bob Dylan singing in fuckin' Latin.
  4. Ell oh ell, possibly eye arr ell.
Seriously, that track alone was worth the cost of the whole damn CD for me. So it's absolutely delightful that this album comes with a whole suite of "hurts so good" songs, like "Must Be Santa". I'll definitely put this on while wrapping gifts. This is possibly the first time I've enjoyed Christmas carols in any way in years.

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Current Location: home for Christmas
Current Mood: oh wow

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satan_s_onion
It is magnificent. Not that I doubted the Flaming Lips--not after I got that digital EP, at any rate--but Embryonic is just amazing. I've heard the Flaming Lips do sad, and I've heard them do optimistic and somewhat whimsical, and I've even heard them do "rargh, rargh, we are angry at George W. Bush", but this is the first time I really heard them do something so...tense. Like the AV Club review mentioned, the whole album builds up tension excellently, and even the moments of release are just there to carry you along to the next tension. It's taut as a wire and kind of discordant and loud and weird and philosophically-minded and grand, and at its best, it quite simply fucking rocks. I especially dig "Watching the Planets", "Worm Mountain", "Convinced of the Hex", "Aquarius Sabotage", "Silver Trembling Hands", "See The Leaves", "The Ego's Last Stand"...shit, I love more or less the whole album. (Although I'm not sure if I can take "If" as seriously as I imagine I ought, because of Wayne Coyne's falsetto. It can get kind of silly on the "People are evil, it's true" bits.)

Sorry for not saying anything earlier.

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Current Location: beneath the Machine
Current Mood: I can be a frog!
Current Music: The Flaming Lips: "Worm Mountain"

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satan_s_onion
By the way--the Bob Dylan albums I have now (since Highway 61 Revisited) are Blood on the Tracks, Desire, World Gone Wrong and his latest, Together Through Life. (Even got the nice nifty deluxe edition with extras and a poster 'n' stuff.) I gave in and listened to Blood on the Tracks, but which should I listen to next? 

Poll #1484399 Which of these should I listen to next?

Which of these Bob Dylan albums should I try next?

Give Desire a spin.
3(100.0%)
Naw, try World Gone Wrong.
0(0.0%)
Why not go with Together Through Life?
0(0.0%)

More importantly: Where do I go from here? For one thing, I've been contemplating picking up his Christmas album, for three reasons:
  1. I've heard it is hilariously terribad (in a way that suggests he's in on the joke)
  2. The proceeds go to charity
  3. Did I mention it's supposed to be delightfully awful? That could be a powerful draw for me.
But beyond that--where should I head? What new aspects of Bob Dylan should I seek out?

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Current Location: the Heart of Gold
Current Mood: indescribable indescribable
Current Music: Super Metroid stuff from OCRemix

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satan_s_onion
Yes, this is that article I said I'd write weeks ago. Only...in the interim I've gotten several new Bob Dylan albums. I tried to hold off on listening to them until I'd gotten done with this article, because part of the fun is sharing my reactions with the big wide Internet (and both the people who actually read this), but a couple of weeks ago...I gave in, and started listening to Blood on the Tracks. I'll do another article about it, but in a few words: I've never heard anything like it, and it's wonderful. It seems like a wild departure from the albums I've heard so far, even by the standards of Bob Dylan, whose sound can change pretty wildly, it seems, from album to album.

So. Highway 61 Revisited.Collapse )

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Current Location: from a Buick 6
Current Mood: the Tombstone Blues

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satan_s_onion
Oh, Highway 61 Revisited. Two four six seven tracks in and I already <3 you so much. So very much. So far I've been blown the fuck away by every album of his I've bought so far (on CD; haven't sufficiently investigated my two albums on vinyl). I think that with careful planning I can keep up that string of epiphanies for a very long time yet =P .

God, if I was fourteen I'd be drawing hearts and flowers and little butterflies around Bob Dylan's name in all my notebooks.

Also, according to Entertainment Weekly, the Flaming Lips' Embryonic appears to be due out on 13 October. I squealed a little when I learned that. ...Well, okay, not out loud, but I did on the inside.

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Current Mood: Approximately. Er.

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satan_s_onion
great layout, or best layout ever?

I did do a lot of messing around with the color scheme from the original. Might yet mess around with it some more, I dunno.

In my Journey Through the Works of Bob Dylan, Part the Umpteenth: It's either gonna be Highway 61 Revisited or Blood on the Tracks next, I think. Might even go nosing around in thrift shops for some vinyl copies, too, just for fun. I prefer CDs and such for convenience, but I do have a turntable set up and what I like to think is a moderately respectable collection of records. (My mother even gave me her copy of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. I shall treasure it always.)

Incidentally, the first thing I ever played on it was a single of Lay Lady Lay with Peggy Day on the B-side. And once I found a Goodwill with a massive selection of Bob Dylan records--perhaps someone had gotten tired of theirs. I find it hard to imagine at the moment, but theoretically that isn't impossible. Guess which ones I picked up from that? If you guessed "she completely overlooked the really awesome ones and went for Nashville Skyline and At Budokan* like an utter, utter dork", you guessed correctly. And now I'm kind of kicking myself that I didn't grab what I definitely remember was a vinyl copy of Blood on the Tracks...

*My only defense was that double albums were being sold at the same rate as single albums, so I thought I was getting a deal.

Current Mood: still Dylan-y, with some Lips
Current Music: Bob Dylan - Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35

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satan_s_onion
...for once.

It's weird, I know, but I'm just not really feeling it with Transmissions from the Satellite Heart. I kind of like "She Don't Use Jelly", but...all the other Flaming Lips albums that I've heard (except At War with the Mystics, which was still a different experience than this) grab my enthusiasm right away. It's as though I fall powerfully in love with each album in a different way. I'm still just friends with Transmissions... at this point, which is unusual.

Maybe it's because I've been absolutely head over heels for Bob Dylan--and Blonde on Blonde in particular--for the last few weeks now. I dunno exactly what it is that's a lie, I could make several very good arguments for why this is, actually; but if I wrote songs, I'd badly want them to be like these. (Well, with a heaping helping of Flaming Lips in them too. Folk-rock/blues about robots and spaceships? I assume a lot of other people have already beaten me to the subgenre, but I kind of want to hear it now.)

Except.

I can't bring myself to like "Just Like A Woman" very much. (Synaesthetically, it's a dusty old bloodstain-red in my mind's eye. Not too pleasant.) I think it's my internet-acquired Feminism Sense (it's like Spider-Sense! Only not as much fun.) that tells me that something about that song is, well, a touch colder than the rest, icier, less forgiving. Am I weird for thinking that?

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Current Location: Stuck Inside of Mobile...
Current Mood: with the Memphis Blues (again)
Current Music: The Flaming Lips: "Bad Days [Aurally Excited Version]"

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satan_s_onion
this guy named Bob Dylan, I dunno if anyone knows his work, apparently he's been around a while. His music's rather good, actually.

A few months back, I think, it was chickenbrutus who recommended I try Blonde on Blonde as a suitable entry point into the work of Bob Dylan. So of course I got Bringing It All Back Home instead. My justification for this is something along the lines of: 
  1. It was about three dollars cheaper than Blonde on Blonde. (1a: I am a cheapskate. This is mainly because I seldom have much discretionary cash, but still.)
  2. I already like "Subterranean Homesick Blues".
  3. ...?
  4. See 1 and 2
So, yeah. It's quite a great album, and I like it. If that doesn't sound like a particularly in-depth review, bear in mind that the album is a little over forty years old and the singer/songwriter behind it is just this side of legendary. I don't really think there's anything I can say. In fact, I'm fairly sure there's no opinion I could offer that wasn't the subject of some vastly more intelligent person's review, or deconstruction, or in-depth lyrical analysis.

A couple of quick 'n' shallow observations: 
  • Compared to the original, the much more popular cover version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" kind of sucks. Possibly this is because the original feels (is?) longer, and also because I'm actually paying attention to the lyrics now.
  • He's not that bad a singer--on this album, at any rate. (The album's from 1965.)

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Current Location: spacetime
Current Mood: "Quixotic"? That's not a mood!
Current Music: ...

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satan_s_onion
So my mother was out shopping at Wal-Mart, and sees a young lady outside the entrance with a box of kittens. One of them followed her home. He's all black--my mother has a particular weakness for all-black cats--and almost criminally adorable. Just braggin'.

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satan_s_onion

...my adventures in writing about At War with the Mystics while listening to it for the very first time.Collapse )

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satan_s_onion
So I ordered At War with the Mystics a few days ago over the intertubes--it was shipping from Pennsylvania but it showed up today, which pleases me quite a bit. I haven't yet listened to it--I'll probably do that as soon as I've posted this--but I did have a look at the lyrics. I have a feeling that those will be the area in which the album stumbles the most. Just a hunch.
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satan_s_onion
Maybe I should've grabbed that copy of Bad I saw at Hastings (the hipster-douchebag superstore) yesterday.

Wait, what am I saying? I'm much happier with Clouds Taste Metallic and Flood.

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Current Mood: indescribable indescribable

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satan_s_onion
and fewer are likely to care, but I have to say it to someone, somehow: My God, Mother 3 is a perfect game. (More video games need benevolent mystical immortal drag queens. It's a fact.) Mind you, at the point in the game I've reached--I'm not finished with it yet, but I suspect I'm close--it's also an incredibly sad game, but even when it's sad it's beautiful. It's probably the most wonderful game ever made that's never, ever, ever, ever, ever going to be translated and released officially by Nintendo of America. Ever. Not with the mushroom trip in it, it won't. And the drag queens too, come to think of it. Professional minders of other people's business would have public aneurysms on the news over both of those things and more, especially because it appears, on the surface, to be a lot more whimsical and silly than it actually is. (Not that it it's devoid of whimsy, but there're some downright depressing things going on right underneath all the silliness that a hurried glance might not capture.)

Mother 3: Pretty much all the great things about EarthBound, but with even better music. And that's saying a lot. It also has benevolent mystical immortal drag queens, which is neat.

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Current Location: Tazmily Village

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satan_s_onion
I saw this subject line in my email inbox a few minutes ago:

This will make her wet instantly

And I thought: "Just tip a bucket of water over her head, that'll do it."

And then I remembered: Oh, that's probably sexual, isn't it? Silly me.

In completely unrelated news: Fred Armisen's Barack Obama. It's not the way he looks that I find off. It's just that he keeps his voice too high. I know he can do it properly--I've heard him do it really well once, right after the election I think--but most of the time he appears to just use his normal voice with an Obama-like cadence. And it doesn't sound quite right.

Also, I don't think Andy Samberg is very funny.
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satan_s_onion
So I'm listening to Ticket to the Moon: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra, Volume Two. A small part of me wonders if I ought to be embarrassed to admit it, but...screw it. It's just so damned catchy. Jeff Lynne sure can craft some ear candy. (It's one reason why he's my default userpic.)

It also reminds me of Reason the Umpteenth why I hate Twilight The Shitty Book: Now I can't quite keep my memory of Twilight the shitty book out of my memory of "Twilight" the delightfully cheesy ELO tune. Why does Stephenie Meyer and her juvenile not-vampire vampire wish fulfillment have to ruin everything?

Also, I've been reading more stuff by Carl Sagan--I finally, finally tracked down a copy of The Demon-Haunted World--and a couple of books by Stephen Jay Gould. I thought The Mismeasure of Man was fascinating, even if the factor analysis part is very hard to follow, and I'm working on a collection of his essays. He must've had the most thumbed-through thesaurus in science. I like that.

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Current Location: Destination Unknown
Current Mood: So Serious
Current Music: Go on, guess.

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satan_s_onion
I've only gotten to around Chapter III or so, but the thought has occurred to me: If this and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen are a fair representative sample of Alan Moore's work, then Alan Moore's work is kind of...rapey.

It's possible it's just me. I'm no expert; all I've ever read on feminism--and most of what I know about comics--I got off the interwebs. One of the first places I started reading about feminist theory 'n' stuff is at a messageboard that discusses both feminism and superhero comics/graphic novels. At that board I absorbed an awful lot, including the tendencies of many comics writers to toss around rapes, near-rapes, and murders-with-a-heapin'-side-order-of-rape for their female characters as if they're worried they'll spoil if they don't use them up. And I'm thinking: Hey, even though Mina Murray wasn't a complete fuckwit, which is nice to see, wasn't she both implied-pseudo-raped by Dracula and assaulted, almost indecently, by the Invisible Man? And right off the bat in Watchmen you learn about the Comedian--well, there's one definite sexual assault of his that the reader gets to learn about, and I think it's implied that he's done a whole lot more that just isn't touched upon. Rape (or almost-rape) and major characters seem to come together rather frequently--at any rate, more frequently than I've seen in other genres and other media.

Maybe I just don't know enough about comics; maybe I'm being oversensitive, or writing this too soon. Maybe it's no more prevalent in these books than it is anywhere else. (From what I've read, it's sort of an industry-wide problem, treating female characters terribly and characterizing them terribly.) Goodness knows that when it's not rapey, this stuff is pretty good. And I'm not trying to demonize Alan Moore or his work, or ascribe worse motives to him and his writing than he actually has (and exploring the dark side of human nature, if these books I've read are any indicator, is kind of a big thing of his). I'd also be the first to acknowledge that I've only ever dipped my toe into superhero comics, partly because of the whole "women in stupidly skimpy costumes being turned into fap fantasies for the maladjusted" image, but also because continuity in these shared universes seems pretty unhealthily ingrown (I suspect I'd need a month-long tutorial class on any given character before I could confidently walk into Barnes and Noble and buy a trade paperback). But viscerally, it still doesn't feel quite right.

Absolutely none of this is about to put me off finishing Watchmen, mind you, but still. Problems with how they relate to women: mainstream US superhero comics haz them, I think.

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