The Extravagancies of Raw, Unbridled Power

I am not one to engage in the, how do you say it, ‘shout outs‘ — it’s not really my forte, not really part of my idiom. For one thing, I associate the very idea with hip-hop MCs who carry within their larynxes a magnitude and precision of verbal swagger that contrasts rather starkly with my own humble, laid back approach to vocalization. The shoe does not so much fit, is my point.

But, what the hell, one has to live a little. And I am bursting with pride — preening, really — at the discovery that among the misfit gang of social rejects with whom I spend time on Metafilter’s official double secret unofficial IRC server, there at least two


two readers of THIS VERY SITE.

Fame, friends. Fortune. And everything that goes with it, and I thank you all.

Specifically, stynxno! v! And, okay, the rest of you tortfeasing jackasses of #tapes.

Laurie Anderson, samplee

Listening to an RJD2 collection called In Rare Form, and there’s a track on it (“Kill ‘Em All Remix”) that seems to be sampling the Laurie Anderson track “O Superman.”

It’s just for a few seconds, maybe two thirds of the way through the track: a repetative, synth-y pulse of sound fading in and then out again, “ah ah ah ah ah ah…”

“O Superman” is one of my favorite recordings — the whole song is composed of Laurie’s voice, accompanied by vocodered harmonies thereof and a couple touches of synth arpeggios. And a simple, unchanging cantus through it all — her vocodered voice singing, saying, laughing a single sound again and again for the whole eight minutes of the song. “Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah…”

To have it turn up out of the blue, worked into a very different sort of song, is a pleasure.

Fortune Favors the Inconsequential

There’s an unofficial, no-money football pool in the office. It’s not something I’ve taken any real interest in — though I bear no ill will toward sports, I’m not what you would call a sports fan, and if anything sometimes find myself a tad overwhelmed by the enthusiasms of those around me.

So it’s odd, from the first, that I even submitted picks to last week’s penultimate round of regular season games. I was talked into playing just for the novel juxtaposition of giggles with shits, essentially, and so I rattled off my decisions, along with my preposterous justifications, to my departmental lead. And that was that.

Turns out I was the only one to get four out of four correct.

So that I can provide legitimate football fans the chance to be properly horrified by the manner of this serendipity, here are the reasons I chose the teams I chose, as best as I can recall from last Thursday:

New England had to, by all reason, beat New York — it’s bigger! Larger pool of indigenous talent! Clearly. Seattle is bound to beat Indianapolis as it is closer to Portland and, besides, Indianapolis has been paying too much attention to car racing, right? What about Buffalo beating Cincinnati? Let me ask you this: have you ever heard of someone fleeing from a charging Cincinnati? No. No you have not.

Finally, Kansas City has to beat San Diego. Why? Kansas City. KC. Morphological similarity to RC. Royal Crown Cola. Arguably the best cola ever made. But — and this is important, so listen up — but aside from the profound beverage implications (aside from? superceding!), one must consider that my departmental supervisor is from San Diego. It would chafe him to see his hometown team lose, and thus they must.

I must be on to something. Next stop, Vegas, coke habit, mounting debt, and the loss of a couple kneecaps.

Huffin’ 9 to 5

I’m reading Foundations of Linguistics right now — cheap find at Powell’s, and covering a lot of ground on the basic areas of linguistic study (as of 1974, at least), so it’s working out.

But I just came across an odd sentence. This is amidst a discussion of sociolinguistics, talking about the various social subdomains in which language use changes. Here’s the quote:

Some attention has been given to the special vocabularies of professional groups, including musicians, criminals, drug addicts, and the military.

Drug addicts are a professional group? The idea seems right — drug culture certainly has its own shibboleths and idioms and modes, and drug production/sales/distribution is arguably a professional domain — but why the phrase “drug addicts”?

Sloppy editing, perhaps; or a touch of editorialization (drug professionals must no doubt be addicts as well? Addicts must be not only patrons but also agents of the drug trade?). Or this could be an alternate technical use of “professional” that accounts for a different set of activities than what I think of in the general commercial/entreprenurial sense.

That last seems unlikely, though, given the book’s general (and admirable, considering its introductory nature) restraint from the casual unremarked-upon use of technical jargon. Every novel term has been introduces IN ALL CAPS, for example. So I’m going with sloppy editing, at least until Franklin Southworth or Chander Daswani or one of the good people at The Free Press offer a better explanation.

Lyrical Brilliance

From My Morning Jacket‘s album Z, the first stanza of “Into the Woods”:

A kitten on fire
A baby in a blender
Both sound as sweet as
A night of surrender

The faint sound of whirring blades and the burbling of a baby in the background don’t hurt, either.

This album, like Broken Social Scene‘s You Forgot it in People, are staking out a new niche for me: really great albums that I really like but can’t fall in love with. Brilliant ideas here and there, really confident production choices, strong writing, but there are just so many things that I don’t really dig. I’ve fallen head over heels for worse albums. Huh.

Also, I’m listening to everything at double speed this morning. Let’s you notice things you wouldn’t notice without bending the sound of a familiar record out of shape. It’s also making me a touch jumpy: omg everything move so fast ahhhhhhhh! and such.

I’m Callin’ for Jimmy

Before I worked where I work now, there was a guy who worked here named James. Well remembered by his coworkers, nice guy, et cetera. He must not have been a complete superstar, however, because when he left the company, the company did not elect to retire his phone number. And so the number is now mine.

This fact will, I hope, sink in with the guy who lately keeps calling me several times a day looking for James. Sometimes I answer the phone and hear some awful static and then “hello, James H——?” Sometimes I answer the phone and hear some awful static and then nothing. Sometimes I just get the nothing.

I was pretty plaintive with the guy when he called yet again this morning — James used to work here, but does not, and no he is not ever going to be reachable at this number, and no I do not have his home number or any other such number, I do not know him, he left the company before I got here, this is not his number nor will it ever be his number — and I’m hoping that will sink in.

I have received two calls since then that I presume are from the same source, but both were of the silent hangup variety, so I’m counting that as progress. If an actual human gets on the line again, though, I’m escalating that shit post-haste. Yes, your supervisor, and make it snappy.

I’m guessing foreign call center, but it could be domestic with a guy who speaks with an accent. I don’t know my accents well enough to get any more specific than “east asian, not Indian British”. The whole feel of the thing suggests to me that James, wheresoever he may be, has for quite some time now declined to pay a bill.

I Dream of Commercial Advertising

Dream last night:

I’m on the set of a television commercial. Or it might have been a scene for a movie being filmed. Unclear. Let’s go with the television commercial thing.

So, in the scene, I’m sort of laying on my side. And what I’m supposed to do is, I’m jamming a clip into a large semi-automatic handgun, and then turning toward someone. But the clip? It loades into the back of the gun — I sort of break the gun at a specific point in the slide at the top and put the clip in there. Like a miniature shotgun or something.

And the clip? It’s about 5 inches long, a triangular prism, and it’s made out of rice.

We did a few takes, there were various little problems, and then a few takes in I couldn’t even figure out how to break open the gun anymore, and the rice was getting pretty floppy, and it occurred to me that this whole plan wasn’t very good and that I was probably going to get fired for not doing the scene all that well.

Which hardly seemed fair.

Shields, Ensign Flansburg!

How it works is, they start to talk:

“Sooo, Mister David–”
“You’ve got, you’ve got a couple of games lined up?”
“Well I looked at it from a couple of different angles, is what I did…”

And god knows I respect their right to talk football, but I just don’t care. I more than don’t care. I anti-care.

“…but, I mean, maybe I’m way–”
“–well I know what you–”
“–way off, but, I mean, Cleveland stinks…”

And so I grab the head phones and cue up the loudest songs on Factory Showroom and let John and John drown it out. And then curse myself for not picking an album with fewer quiet bits.