Negativity and hope, locked in an eternal struggle featuring titty twisters.

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In alphabetical order, 2019 releases:

  • Battles, Juice B Crypts— The band's down to two members now.  Bleepier.  Vocal collaborations like Gloss Drop.
  • Andrew Bird, My Finest Work Yet— He's not kidding.  He keeps getting better.
  • Ioanna Gika, Thalassa— She had a guest appearance on Stumptown, where she played an amazing cover of "One Thing Leads to Another", so i looked her up and yeah, sold.
  • The Joy Formidable, Y Falŵn Drom— The band reissued their debut mini-album A Balloon Called Moaning for its 10th anniversary, but also recorded new versions of the songs with Welsh lyrics.
  • Juan Luis Guerra 4.40, Literal— He remains a force, so very good at what he does, and barely looks like he's aged since he came across my cultural radar 30 years ago.
  • Mdou Moctar, Ilana: The Creator— Tuareg Nigerien rock.  Recommendation from a friend, another instant buy.
  • The New Pornographers, In the Morse Code of Brake Lights— Another TNP album without Dan Bejar, which is fine by me.  Doesn't feel as good as its predecessor.
  • Rodrigo y Gabriela, Mettavolution— Fabulous.  They stretch by adding more multi-track work, electric guitar, and vocals.  Their arrangement of Pink Floyd's "Echoes" is epic.
  • Takénobu, Conclusion— Nick Ogawa is joined now on violin by his fiancée Kathryn Koch; here, they re-record some older tracks and add new ones.  They're great together.
  • Tool, Fear Inoculum— It's good but... the tracks lack separation.  The overall feel is too similar.  And their ultra-deluxe CD packaging ($45, if you can find it) feels like a cash grab from their legion of slavering fans (i bought the MP3 album).

There was also Sleater-Kinney's The Center Won't Hold, but it was super disappointing and, alas, prophetic.

12/24 '19 3 Comments
I didn't buy any specific music this year -- I have Amazon's Unlimited deal. But thanks for your list, it's still quite difficult to find new, good music.
How do you discover new music? Is it mostly recommendations from friends, or any music blogs/critics you like?

I wanna grab the new Andrew Bird but haven't yet. I keep meaning to-- I love him. Very happy to hear it's wonderful!
I used to discover it via Pandora (e.g., Takénobu is a Pandora discovery), but it hasn't been too good at that for the last couple of years. It's possible it might still work if i flush out my up/down thumbs.
rone 12/25 '19

Did you ever eagerly await an album by a favorite musician that was such a disappointment that not only did it sour you on subsequent releases, but also caused you to more skeptically analyze their previous work, as you wonder if you ever really liked it as much as you thought you did?

11/28 '19 9 Comments
Oh yes. Who's the culprit this time?
Thomas Boutell 11/28 '19
In chronological order, from most recent, Sleater-Kinney, Toadies, Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire. In general, they survive, but it's still a shock.
rone 11/29 '19
The Center Won’t Hold is so bad it made Janet quit. :super sad face:
Wow. I had not read that. Just wow.
yeah, that is some bullshit. one of the 3 or 4 greatest living rock drummers and they run her out of the group. idiots.
CM Adams 12/12 '19
Weezer? The Pixies?
Never liked Weezer, Pixies have been uneven forever.
rone 11/29 '19
the most recent Vampire Weekend album did this for me.
CM Adams 12/12 '19

Two dogs are better.

We picked Mila up in December and she's a goofball with a short attention span.  We love our very cute and talented Staffords.

10/3 '19 6 Comments
Those look like some Very. Good. Dogs. :)
Anne Mollo 10/3 '19
ARGH they are so CUTE. Good doggie dogs.
I love bull breed dogs. And these two are super cute. Bonus!
Ray Conrad 10/5 '19
This is a lovely development.
Thomas Boutell 10/6 '19
Helllloooooooo derrrrrrgs!

One does not simply listen to music.  Sure, you can listen to a whole album at a time, old-school, or just throw everything into the shuffle blender, but the vicissitudes of statistics lead to things getting neglected.  In addition, one wants to listen to new stuff, and listen to it more often in order to become familiar with it. How to balance listening to neglected stuff with the need to listen to new stuff more often?

After various attempts that were eventually unsatisfying, i developed a Fibonacci-based approach; songs are added to a list according to how many times they've been played, and each list has a backoff value where a song isn't allowed to show up until it has been Fn days since it was last played. These lists are aggregated into a master list. Another list is created for songs above a minimum number of plays that have not been played for a number of days that is larger than the largest value from the previous lists. The value varies in an attempt to balance the amount of tracks in the latter list with those of the former aggregated list.

As it stands now, I have lists for tracks played up to 11 times, aggregated in the ‘lessthan12’ playlist, which itself is bound to the ’Not Recently Played’ playlist in ‘listen’. I recently ran through the entire playlist, so I am back to playing my entire catalog on shuffle, in order to allow the lists to repopulate.

9/13 '19 4 Comments
Thomas Boutell 9/13 '19
MY BRANE HURTS this is a beautiful concept.
Except I'm just sorting iTunes by number of plays, and also by Date Last Played. Why haven't I listened to this song since 2015?? Or 2016? Even though I apparently like it?? Listened to two new albums today after listening to a bunch of old things the past few days. Entertainment is HARD.
Elena Gaillard 11/26 '19
Yeah, that was my first iteration.

Right now i'm limiting "listen" to when "lessthan12" is at least 5% of my total checked tracks. In the meantime, i've set up "ld50" which is about 50% of my tracks by "not played in the last x days", where x is currently 55.
rone 11/26 '19

I was going to take my old Huffy mountain bike to the local shop to get a tune-up, as i hadn't ridden it in 4 years and i've been itching to get back on the horse since GBS.  As we walked past our neighbor's house, he mentioned that he had a road bike he wanted to sell.  I'd wanted to move on from the Huffy, because it's heavy and i'm just not as strong as i used to be, so i ended up buying his bike pretty much on the spot, putting the Huffy back in the Garage of Doom, and taking the new bike to the shop instead.

I picked it up today and rode it for the first time.  It'll take a little while to get used to the new handlebars, but the main obstacle is keeping my head raised, which causes my neck muscles to quickly get very sore. This will no doubt be the primary topic when i next see my physical therapist (whom i started to see recently for fine-tuning my remaining minor issues, mainly my shoulders).

7/28 '19 3 Comments
Have you read Ilana’s posts over on Dreamwidth about her new electric bike?

Yay for physical therapy! Paul has had problems biking for similar strain/discomfort reasons. He’s been seeing a PT whose combination of tissue manipulation, dry needling, and strengthening exercises has transformed Paul’s neck.
Anne Mollo 7/28 '19
I've not, although i have been thinking about getting one. If i were to have a commute again, i'd consider it strongly.
rone 7/28 '19
New Bike Feeling is such a good feeling.

Hey, Brexit's not going all right
Hey, Brexit's not going all right
What's that floating in the Thames fog?
It's that bellend, Jacob Rees-Mogg

I believe in Mr. Grieve
Bercow's yelling out, "ORDER!"
Northern Ireland's got no border

I believe in Mr. Grieve
Do we have another division? Yup
Do we have another division?

Lalalala, lalalala
Lalalala, lalalala
Got Gove, got Corbyn
Got even ol' Boris Johnson

I believe in Mr. Grieve
Do we have another division? Yup
Do we have another division?
Do we have another division?

May can cry, May can mope
But can she swing for a third vote?
Oh, I believe
In Mr. Grieve
Hey, Brexit's not going all right
Hey, Brexit's not going all right

4/4 '19 1 Comment
Nice. I can hear Frank singing this version.

Ever since the notion of "inbox zero" floated across my attention, i've been perplexed by the mania it attracts.  Maybe 15, or even 10, years ago, it was a bit of a challenge to keep up, but these days, most of my email is either spam or commercial.  The former is shipped off to a processing folder, and the latter is either autosorted or unsubscribed.  The time it takes me to deal with is minimal.  It's never occurred to me to brag about inbox zero because i'm there every day.

Then something like this article pops up and i'm just stunned.  2700 messages in a month?  What on earth are you doing?  People just give up?  Maybe i'm just special, or maybe people just hate me and ignore me.

1/10 '19 1 Comment
Cards Against Humanity dude sez: "I think as people understand the idea of Inbox Zero now, it’s a total disaster. I don’t see how anyone could run a business or make a living as a freelancer or do any kind of meaningful work by replying to every email in their inbox all the time so that it’s always empty."

But "replying to every email in their inbox all the time" is not what I understand "inbox zero" to mean. I understand it to mean that your goal is to keep the number of unprocessed e-mail messages in your inbox at zero (or as close to it as is practicable). And it's definitely not something you have to keep actively doing 24/7. Processing an e-mail message means to do one of the following:

- delete unread
- read and then delete
- read, optionally reply, and then file away out of the inbox [*]

Then there's always going to be some stuff you don't want to deal with, so you leave it unprocessed (read or leave unread, but in any event you don't act immediately to remove it from the inbox), but the idea is that this number is very small.

One household management tip I heard years ago is to touch your incoming postal mail once. That is, you pick it up; open or toss it in the recycling bin; and "process" the mail you keep right away. Magazines to the living room, Christmas cards to the mantle, bills to the area of the house where you sit down and write your checks and lick your stamps every couple of weeks. (As I say, years ago.) This way, you don't get piles of unsorted mail lying around the house, and you don't miss bills. I've moved this idea to my inbox and it does me OK, except for the interminable e-mail lists I've gotten myself subscribed to.

For interminable e-mail lists, I like to let a day's worth sit unread and then go through them all at once. (I prefer that to getting a daily auto-digest.)

I'll wrap up with a new grand internet tradition. Tired: sharing SAT scores. Wired: sharing your inbox zero status. I'm at inbox 11, with 7 unread topics.

[*] You know who's figured out how to manage avalanches of e-mail? Microsoft. I've found Outlook to be a great solution when I've been an a role where I'm getting dozens of messages per day.
Michele Grant 1/10 '19

There's so little music i want to see live and most of it happens 60-90 minutes away so when it's on a weeknight i'm too old to want to endure the commute there in rush hour and back when it's midnight and i'm exhausted.

10/25 '18 22 Comments
Hi. I'm old, too. [shares a bottle of gummy vitamins]
Anne Mollo 10/25 '18
Gummy fiber is the best old person invention yet!
Karen Kuhl 10/27 '18
Hi, I'm old too. I used to like going to plays damn near every night of the week. Now I don't like doing anything on any night of the week.

By the way, I saw someone pretending to be you the other day. Check out the license plate frame on this Tesla.
Lindsay Harris Friel 10/25 '18edited
Impostor syndrome always means something different when it comes to me.
rone 10/25 '18
Part of the benefit of moving into the downtown queer neighbourhood is walkable access to music events ... that start too late on weeknights for me to consider going to.
Dawn Keenan 10/25 '18
Hi, I'm old but I still manage to take dance classes every night of the week because dancing is invigorating, and if I didn't I'd be stiff and creaky all day instead of just in the morning.
Huck Kennedy 10/25 '18
Well hello there! [holds opera glasses up to rheumy eyes looking for posts newer than 2015]
Anne Mollo 10/25 '18
And is he still as excited about his Q?
Karen Kuhl 10/27 '18
There's been a new development, Karen. I have a dance couple friend named Bill and Susie. Susie used to be in the Q Club with me, but then she got a new car and it didn't get a Q, so she got kicked out of the club. Meanwhile her husband Bill, who used to be on the outside looking in, got a new car, and it did have a Q! So Bill replaced Susie.

Then Bill got *another* new car, a Tesla. It remains to be seen if it will get a Q, but even if it doesn't, Bill will remain in the club until the lease on his previous new car (which does have a Q) runs out.

Bill and Susie voted for Trump, but I still love them anyway. If I were to dump everyone who voted for Trump I would lose half my dance friends. Such is life in Orange County.
Huck Kennedy 10/27 '18
Huck Kennedy 10/27 '18edited
Bill and Susie are adorable. I'm glad you kept them anyway, too. I'd lose my dad and several surprising people. It was a polarizing election.
Karen Kuhl 10/27 '18
For what it's worth, I was too old for Bay Area rush hour back in my 30s.
Anne Mollo 10/25 '18
Promoters in my city finally woke up and now book bands from 7-10pm every Friday night. It's packed with people who have money to spend on music. Weird, right?
I know! It's only at one venue, but it is paaacked with people every Friday night. It's called #LiveMusicForEarlyBirds (or as I see it, "Live Music For Sane People," or perhaps "Live Music For People Over 40") and we loooovez playing it.
We keep talking about hitting local jazz events at various lounges and eateries, but... old.
rone 10/26 '18
I always say the hardest part about doing any activity is putting your shoes on. Once I'm there I'm usually happy... but convincing myself to actually go and not punk out is harder every day.

I am a homebody now... and in honesty, I am a bedbody. We pretty much never leave the bed unless we absolutely have to.
I'm more than a tiny bit relieved to hear that I'm not the only bedbody. We are not seen, so not known about, but I believe there are many of us, for various reasons. XOXO
Karen Kuhl 10/27 '18
When I am anyplace other than bed, I count down the minutes until I can be in bed. BED!
really?!??! where? ... down here in Dover there are 7pm-10pm live music options on Wednesday and Thursday nights. . . but I'm usually stumped on Friday.
Ursula Sadiq 10/29 '18