Monday, May 2, 2016

Brief Notes from March and April

This one's for Sam.  

Music Man
Back in April I was introduced to "Take Off Your Sunglasses" by Ezra Furman and the Harpoons on TBTL only to find out that was released way back in 2008. But I didn't care, playing it on repeat constantly, and it quickly landed a place on my Top 25 Most Played playlist (to be fair, my iPod is only a couple of years old). It's a Dylan-esque jam—or maybe that's just the harmonica. And despite it's age and winter scene (ski resort in Colorado), it might just my end up on my playlist this summer.
Then in early April, Glen Weldon on PCHH introduced me to "Hugs Not Drugs (Or Both)" by Brendan Maclean. This one quickly went straight to the top of my Top 25 playlist, and will definitely be a summer banger this year. (For me at least. I imagine one day soon it will be played during a club scene on a zeitgeist-y show and get more than 26,000 views.) Also, this party!

On the last day of April, I bought my first ever Weezer record, their new "White Album." I have been playing it in my car and already having a great time. I'm enjoying the sunny SoCal, guitar-driven 90s rock vibes—and it might just become my go-to summer album. "Jacked Up" is currently my favorite track.

Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet
In which our book club continues to be better than your book club. On that first warm, sunny Sunday of April, we got Baskin-Robbins ice cream and went to the park to discuss how problematic The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Albee is. Forgetting my parasol, I also got sunburned. And then we went to Desert Edge for refreshment. Later that month we met for an extracurricular night at the ballet, because I had never been. Ballet West's The Nijinsky Revolution featured three modern interpretations of short ballets originally choreographed by Nijinsky: "Afternoon of a Faun" (L'après-midi d'un faune), "Games" (Jeux), and "The Rite of Spring" (Le Sacre du printemps). "Faun" was lovely as was "Games" (whose ménage à trois earned the production a viewer discretion advisory. Ballet, so scandalous!), but "Rite of Spring" was breathtaking! I can almost understand why it caused a riot upon it's premiere. Forgetting my hand fan, I was so warm and dehydrated that by the time we had repaired to Gourmandise I was willing to murder a server for a carafe of water. We returned the next night as volunteers at the VIP room (which is how we scored free tickets in the first place), and afterward were paid in leftover food and, more importantly, wine. Our current book selection is Gulliver's Travels which I keep avoiding as it bores me to tears.  

This year the PLA conference was held in Denver, and since I live nearby, I thought I'd go. I did not realize that Denver is actually kind of fa-a-ar. (A 500+ mile road-trip is also the best time to discover that your cruise control does not work.) By the time I got to Denver, I was having a full-on allergy attack, so naturally I overdosed on ALL the allergy medicines, which in addition to all the extra caffeine I had consumed on the drive resulted in a lot of head pain. Lillian and I shared a hotel room, and since we're not particularly adventurous, we mostly hung out at the convention center and our hotel room. But we did visit the Denver public library and the indie bookstore, Tattered Cover, and really what else is there? I attended such conference sessions as Booklist's Book Buzz, Nonfiction: Top 5 of the Top 5, Shhhh! Don't Tell My Mom, From Reading to Learning, and Out at the Library among others. But I was mostly there for the swag, from Tyrion tote bags to free books (I picked up about 18 ARCs). The opening speaker was Anderson Cooper and the closing speaker was Tig Notaro (both having new books published by Harper Collins), so that was pretty cool too.  

I don't have a lot of nerd cred, but as someone who enjoys various aspects of certain pop culture endeavors, and as geek culture has largely been subsumed within pop culture... I think I lost the thread of that sentence. Anyway, I've spent a lot of time with superheroes lately. It started with Glen Weldon's excellent biography of Batman, The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture. It's a largely breezy, yet comprehensive history of 70+ years of Batman's various incarnations, and though I'm not sure it totally succeeds as a treatise on nerd culture, it's quite good. As I'm in luvst with Chris Evans' Captain America (as Mindy says, "Obviously you would marry Captain America. You don't need an app to tell you that."), I rewatched both Captain America and both Avengers films in preparation for Civil War. I also read Mark Millar's 7-issue crossover series Civil War, wherein I learned how many Marvel superheroes I don't know. Told you I'm not a nerd (besides I'm more a DC kind of guy anyway). Speaking of DC, us graphic novel librarians at Davis County are trying to figure out which Wonder Woman book(s) to obtain. So I checked out a couple from the U's library (I highly recommend having access to multiple libraries). Grant Morrison's new Wonder Woman: Earth One has problems with both cohesive storytelling and the male gaze. The one-shot Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia (in which she fights Batman!) is a far superior comic, but it's also a somewhat limited snapshot of Wonder Woman (side note: The Kindly Ones are always terrifying).  

"You Didn't Notice My Awesome Flirting Techniques of Never Speaking to You?" 
I may or may not have a flirtation happening with a certain latte boy, and so Mallory Ortberg has very helpfully compiled a list of flirtatious responses. I highly relate.  

A Game of Spoilers 
In April I finished the fifth (and so far final) book in the Song of Ice and Fire saga which I started back in March. This makes it both the longest entry in the series and the shortest amount of time it's taken me to finish one of these monsters (with the possible exception of the first book). Also, I have been enjoying the current sixth season courtesy of my aunt's HBO Go account (Thanks, Sharee!). The first episode was excellent with the exception of the Sand Snakes. The second episode was slower, setting up various arcs, but the two big moments were Ramsay (at his most dastardly) and Jon Snow (at his only mostly dead)! 

Well that's all for now, folks!

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