Thursday, May 31, 2007

Happy burt-day!

It's Oliver's 2nd birthday today. I'll talk more later, but i thoght I'd just let y'all know.

He got lots of cool presents - a little baby doll (complete with fun diapers!), books...

One of these things (all the cool kids have one)...

But the absolute coolest birthday present was his birthday balloon. Because what's more fun than a balloon?

Wait. What about ... two balloons?!

The second one is mine. (My birthday was last week. Amazingly, it's still inflated.)

Happy birthday, little man.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Battles - Atlas (taken from the forthcoming album Mirrored)

Killer track. Crank it up, and scare the cats and the neighbors.

The guys in this band are all veterans of various left-field rock bands (Don Caballero, Lynx, Helmet). The drummer's a complete badass. Check out the video for Tonto, where one musician plays keyboard and guitar at the same time, slamming down guitar chords with one hand a la Stanley Jordan.

I found a few tracks by Battles online, and no one can agree on terms to describe their music. A short selection: mathy electro, noise, math rock, noodled, rock, electronica/dance, unclassifiable. The last one works best for me. They operate in their own world, in their own universe (as this video seems to symbolize).

This is the song I can't get out of my head this week. Like the video in "The Ring," I pass it on to you. Enjoy.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Accidental Tourist (Interlude 2)

"We don't know what happened to him."

"Well, did he leave any signs of a struggle? Did anyone see blood or torn clothing?

"No," Sayid signed, a little less patiently than usual. "No struggle. No sign of anything - of Sawyer, of his companions, or of the van. They just vanished."

Taylor tapped Sayid on the shoulder. This was apparently a habit of his, and not one that Sayid found pleasant.

"Is this how you run all your meetings?" Taylor stage-whispered, causing a few people to glare at him.

"Should we start a search party?" asked Desmond. "I'll lend a hand. Shouldn't leave them out there, y'know."

"A search party would be futile," said Sayid. "We have no idea where they are. We don't know if the Others took them. For all we know, they ... fell down a hole. Into a tiger trap. or it's another anomaly of the island."

"Well, we still should ..."

Taylor stepped forward then, his hands outstretched. "All right, now I've had just enough of this. Obviously, you people are starved for some semblance of order. You don't show any respect for this man, Shaheed, who is trying to act as your leader, and you don't even have the decency to raise your hand when you ask a question." Turning to Sayid, he winked and said, "let me see if I can whip these people into shape for you. Don't worry - I'm a Town Selectman. I'm experienced at these matters."

"Sayid, who is this guy?"

"Ah. Now that is a point of information. You're out of order, but I'll accept the question. My name is Taylor Doose, and I'm a businessman and political figure of some stature back in my home stateside."

"He was ... in the place where our people vanished," Sayid interjected. "But he's harmless. He's not one of the Others. He just appeared, as far as we can tell."

People began shouting. "How can you know that?"

"Ben said he wasn't one of the Others!"

"We can't prove that he's who he says he is!"

Taylor held up his hands, trying to restore order. "People, people. I'm happy to answer questions, but only one at a time. You simply must show some level of decorum."

Desmond signaled Sayid and the two began whispering hurriedly while Taylor attempted to prove his innocence. "No, no guns. I can't even shoot a gun. Who are these Other people, anyway, and why are they waving guns at you?"

"I believe we have a solution to part of our struggle," Sayid declared. "We may not be able to find Sawyer and our other friends yet, but we can prove if this man is on our side."

"Well, excellent." Taylor showed visible relief - the crowd had begun encircling him in a way he found uncomfortable. "Name the job, I'll do it."

"This'll be easy. Simply go out to the fence and back," Desmond explained, his voice soothing as a lullaby. "A short walk in the woods."

"A walk?" Taylor was perplexed. "You want me to take a walk? Well, fine. Do I get a merit badge when I'm finished?" He chuckled loudly and waited for the crowd to join him. No one did.

"So ... where's this fence?"

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Accidental Tourist - Part Three

"Hey, mom."

"Hey. What's shaking, kid?"

"Um, well, nothing, thank goodness. No major fault lines run through New Haven, happily."

"Well, you learn something new about seismology every day."

"That was my motto for a month in 8th grade."


"Yeah, but then I moved on to volcanos."

"Ah, yes, I remember that. It was your natural disaster phase."

"Yep. What was I after that?"

"Um ... Emily Dickinson."

"Right. Logical."

"Hope is an earthquake with feathers."

"I'm not sure that's accurate, but points for trying. Hey, listen. Where do I get a tiny listening device."



"Still here. I think you have me confused with your other daughter, Veronica Mars."

"Come again?"

"Mom, why would I know anything about bugs?"

"See, you know the right terms for them! Bugs! See, where would I know things like that?"

"Every detective show from the last thirty years?"

"Seriously, you don't know some place I can get a ... whaddaya call it ... a bug in the next two hours?"

A heavy sigh.

"Okay. Lane picked up one this one time to spy on her mom."

"You're kidding!"

"No," Rory continued. "It was just one time. She was convinced it was a defensive move - she thought her mother was secretly eavesdropping on her, and wanted to bug her mother so she could prove it. Still not sure what she would have done with the evidence, it's not like you can bust someone for spying if you're spying on them to find out."

"I think they covered that in the Patriot Act."

"Whatever. Anyway, Lane used it once, heard way too much of her mother singing 'Blessed Assurance" and hid it away. But you know Lane - she never throws anything away if it could be useful somewhere down the line."

"Will she let me borrow it?"

"I'll give her a call," Rory offered.

Lorelai teased,"on your two-way wrist radio!"

"Actually, I'll probably just use the old standby cell phone."


"But I'll tell you it's on my utility belt, if it'll make you feel better."

~ ~ ~

He had forgotten how a simple hot shower could

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The ReacTable


It's the ReacTable. It's the future of music. Bjork is using one of these bad babies on her current tour.

More details on how the thing works here.

There's a rave about her Coachella performance, featuring the ReacTable, on boingboing here.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Nod

He's a confidence man. He is all smiles and reassurance, eager to convince you that the choices you make are correct. He looks you right in the eyes with his big brown eyes, which shimmer with charisma.

And then he unleashes his most effective weapon - he gives you the nod. And you are putty in his tiny hands.

You might not be sure that you are correct in your decision. Should I give him my watch to play with? Should he be trusted with a pen and a notebook of blank paper? Will he act responsibly if I put an adult-size fork in his hand? Should I really let him climb up on the kitchen chairs?

But he nods. He smiles. He knows you're unsure, and he's leaning in now, pressing his advantage. "Mine?" he asks, coyly, as if he already knows the answer.

"Mine?" He looks up into your eyes.

And then - he gives you the nod.

Resistance is futile. The two-year-old has outmaneuvered you once again.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Accidental Tourist - Part Two

Lorelai walked into the kitchen to find Sookie pacing, her face contorted in thought.

"You okay there, Sookie?"

"Lorelai! Thank God." Sookie pulled her over to the counter. "I gotta talk this out with you. Someone's got to have an idea around here. No offense!" She shouted out to the crew, who all kept their heads down.

"What's the problem, hon?"

"Fruitcake. Fruitcake is the problem."

"Well, that'd be a first," Lorelai muttered.

"It's like ... it's the Gordian knot of cooking. It's a formula, it's a pattern, a series of steps, and you can't mess with any of those steps without unraveling the whole dadblamed thing!" Sookie’s hands flew to illustrate unraveling, and Lorelai flinched in spite of herself.

"Okay. So ... what does any of that mean?"

"That means it's Christmas, and I have to work up some of my magic! I've got to do something special for the season - everyone's expecting it.”

“So … egg nog?”

“Already done it.”

“Christmas ham.”

“Christmas ham, Christmas turkey, Christmas cookies, pfeffernusse…”


“I needed something new. I decided this year that it was going to be fruitcake..."

Michel poked his head into the kitchen. "Lorelai, line three is for you."

"Okay. Hold that thought." She picked the phone. "Hello?"

"Is he there yet?"

"Is who there what?"

"The guy! The guy who bodysnatched Taylor!" It was Babette.

"No, I can't say I've seen any bodysnatchers around here. But hey, I'm in the kitchen, so I can check for pods while I'm here."

"Look, toots, I’m standin’ outside Luke’s. He left here about ten minutes ago, headed your way. Whatever you do, don't let your guard down, okay?" And click - she was gone.

Michel appeared again. "Now line two. And I have four messages for you when you're finished with zis one."

"Are they all about the ... what’s his face?"

He flipped through the messages. "Six blocks away ... just passed here ... don’t say I did not warn you … batten down ze hatches..."

"Okay. Look, hold my calls. Unless it's a supplier or ... someone who's not crazy."

"I will do my best, but you and I will differ on who fits your second criteria," Michel cooed.

"Go!" She pushed him toward the desk. She turned to Sookie. "I don't know what I can do here. You need ideas?"

"Yes! Inspiration, ideas, a miracle..."

"I haven't heard about Smokey Robinson booking a room this weekend, so you're stuck with me. Let's start at the beginning. What goes into your normal fruitcake? And I know that normal doesn't really apply here, but just for the sake of argument."

"Well, it's just your basic dense cake, soaked with brandy..."

"Can't go wrong there."

"And then there's the fruit."

"Like what?"

"Well, your standard candied fruit, also soaked in brandy…”

“Well, why mess with a good thing?”

“Dates, walnuts, raisins…”


Sookie nodded. “Oh, and the maraschino cherries.”


“They’re all over. Red and green.”

“Wait, stop,” Lorelai said, puzzled. “Those green things are cherries?”

Sookie looked up. “What else would they be?”

“Well, I don’t know. Pistachios?”

“Well, maybe. So what I’m trying to do is come up with a new fruit cake. Fruit cake remix!”

“Okay, so what have you got?”

Sookie’s hands tried to show excitement. “Tropical.”

“Oh.” Lorelai’s face couldn’t hide her alarm.



“Papaya. Pineapple.”


“And maybe topped with toasted coconut?”

Michel burst in. “Lorelai, I can’t put zem off anymore. Every line is people calling about ze man of mystery. He’s approaching, he’s coming zis way, he has a machete strapped to his back…”

“A machete?!”

“I may have misheard that one. But we’re under siege. Lorelai, who is zis man? What does he want? Why are you getting field reports like we are CTU and Jack Bauer is missing in the desert?”

“He’s … look, I don’t know who he is. All I know is that Taylor has suddenly disappeared – and I don’t mean he’s hiding, I mean he went poof, vanished, disappeared in a cloud of smoke and no one heard him going hi ho silver. He’s gone, this guy’s here. Luke says his name is Sawyer, but is that his first name, his last name, his secret service code name? No idea. No one knows anything about him.”


“Oh, Mrs. Kim says he’s a generous tipper.”

“Well, kudos to him, but that still tells us nothing,” Michel sneered.

“Ooh, I’ve got a plan!” Sookie burst in.

“Does it involve coconut?”

“Well, not unless you’re feeling naughty…”

Lorelai glared at Sookie. “You’re not going to even say it …”

“Well, if anyone’s going to seduce him, you’ve got the moves, sister!”

“Aw, come on now...”

“Seriously! This guy might be a threat to the town. The state. Our … whole way of life! You’d be doing a service for your country. Plus, Miss Patty says the guy smolders.” She put her hand to her chest and repeated, “Smolders.”

“Why do you assume I’d just throw myself at someone like that?”

“Well, I don’t know if you would, but I might if I were available. Could be fun.”

Lorelai’s jaw unhinged. “Um, hello. Not exactly Mata Hari here. How did I become available? Christopher and I …”

“Lorelai, come on. Christopher is a rebound. The chances of you and Chris becoming a real item is about the same as me winning the lottery.”


Outside, a bell dinged. “Hey, anyone back there?” called a drawly voice.

“Okay. Here’s the plan. I’m not seducing anyone. Michel, see what he wants.”

“What if he wants to slit my throat and drink my blood like a fiend of the night?”

“I doubt very much that is going to happen. He’s new in town, probably needs a room for the night. But stall him – get whatever info you can, where he’s from, why he’s in town, anything.”

“Perfect. I will be your shield. When you hear the blood-curdling shrieks, you can take that as a sign things are not going as planned.”

“Michel, please … just see what you can do. Thanks.”

The man was inspecting the lobby. Running his calloused fingers over the books, touching the drapes and the tables, and now he was sitting down in the best leather chair, looking like he’d rather be on the back of a Harley. His clothing was midway between ‘rebel” and “young college professor who still wants to be a student” – tight blue jeans, clean cowboy boots, and a tan suede jacket that was thankfully bare of fringe or “ZZ Top” buttons. He was handsome, Michel had to admit, in a shaggy, rakish, bad-boy way.

Michel waited at the desk for a moment before he delicately cleared his throat. The man spun, and Michel saw for the first time that he wore spectacles.

“Welcome to the Dragonfly Inn. How can I help you?” You murdering fiend.

“Well, hey there yourself. Say, what kind of a joint you running here, Pepe?”

That took Michel by surprise. “Pepe? I have not heard that before.”

“Oh, pardon me,” he said. A tiny smile appeared at the corner of his mouth. “Pepe’s just … one of those, what is it, terms of endearment. It’s a Southern thing.”

“And what does it mean?”

“Oh, I’ve never really known, it’s just one of those friendly things you call someone from Europe. It’s like, you know, buddy or something. Pal.”

“Ah. So you are from the south?”

“Yeah, ‘Bama. Alabama. You’re not, I take it.”

“Oh, no, no,” said Michel, and he flushed a little. “So … how long will you be staying with us?”

“Oh, not sure. All depends on whether I find what I’m looking for.” He laid a black Visa card down on the desk with the single word "Hanso" emblazoned in green across the top.


Michel was beaming, which was so rare as to be shocking. “He’s not a fiend of the night.”

“Well, your head is still attached to your torso, so that was reassuring,” said Lorelai.

“He doesn’t know why he’s here. He’s not a killer or a spy. He spent some time on an island, and he says he’s looking for something but he doesn’t know what it is. He will know when he finds it. He’s in 215.”

“So, what, he’s on some kind of spiritual quest?”

“it appears that way, yes.”

“Why are you all lit up?” Sookie asked, and finger-circled his face.

“He just … he called me Pepe.”

Lorelai nearly spat out the coffee she had just lifted to her mouth.


“Yes. It was quaint. He said it was a Southern expression, a term of endearment.”

Sookie and Lorelai traded glances. Then they began snickering, but tried heroically to stop.

“What? What are you not telling me?”

Lorelai composed herself. “Michel, watch a lot of cartoons growing up?”

“We watched ‘The Adventures of Tintin.’ That was the only one. We never watched those repulsive American cartoons, Punch and Jerry and the rest of them.”

“Bugs Bunny ring a bell?”


Sookie offered, “Elmer Fudd?”


“Pepe LePew?”

Michel’s eyes grew wide. “Who is this Pepe LePew?”

“Where is the guy now?” Lorelai asked cautiously.

“He went up to his room,” Michel said, his voice a bit tighter. “Who is LePew?”

“He’s a ... skunk. He was a little cartoon skunk who spoke with a French accent.”

Michel’s face tightened, blanched, reddened, and then changed an even deeper color.

Sookie added, “He wore this little beret…”

“Where are your knives?” Michel, tight-lipped, asked Sookie.


He spied a santoku knife lying on a butcher block, and lunged for it.


It took both Lorelai and Sookie to restrain him.