Monday, May 29, 2006

New Record Day XI

Here's what's coming out this week that I think is notable:

  • Celtic Frost, Monotheist
  • Les Claypool, Of Whales and Woe
  • The Epoxies, Synthesized
  • Junior Varsity, Great Compromise
  • Morbid Angel, Altars of Madness

What records are you going to pick up this week?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Cassettes on My Floor

An exercise in indexing:

Cannonball Adderley, "Beginnings" (copy); All, "Allroy's Revenge;" Grayson Babcock, "Florida 1990" (copy); Bach, "Goldberg Variations (Aria and 30 Variations);" Basie and Zoot/Count Basie and Maynard Ferguson, "Big Band Scene '65" (copy); The Best of Newport in New York Vol. I (copy); The Best of Newport in New York Vol. II (copy); Dave Brubeck, "Time Further Out," "Time Out," and "Gone with the Wind" (copy); "Cannonball and Coltrane"/Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley (copy); Rev. Robert L. Cedar, Congregational Church, June 27, 1982; John Coltrane, "Giant Steps" and "My Favorite Things" (copy); John Coltrane, "A Love Supreme," "Live at Birdland," and "...and Johnny Hartman" (copy); Chick Corea, "Bliss" and "Before Forever" (copy); Chick Corea, "Friends" (copy); Chick Corea, "Walkman Jazz;" The Chick Corea Electric Band; Chick Corea Electric Band, "Eye of the Beholder;" >James Dapogny's Chicago Jazz Band, "For Real;" Miles Davis, "Bitches Brew" (copy); The Drifters, "Golden Hits;" Fully Celebrated Orchestra, "Live on Television;" Fully Celebrated Orchestra, "The Pursuit of Happiness;" Errol Garner, "Long Ago and Far Away;" Heath's Jazz Show: Feb. 10, 1994 (two tapes); Heath's Jazz Show: Feb. 24, 1994 (two tapes); Herman's Hermits "Greatest Hits;" Johnny Horton, "The Singing American;" Jodie Fosters Army, "Untitled/Mad Garden;" Ramsey Lewis Trio, "The In Crowd;" Branford Marsalis, "Random Abstract;" Branford Marsalis, "Renaissance;" Branford Marsalis, "Romances for Saxophone;" Branford Marsalis, "Trio Jeepy;" Branford Marsalis Quartet, "Crazy People Music;" Branford Marsalis Trio, "The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born;" Wynton Marsalis, "The Majesty of the Blues;" Wynton Marsalis, "Marsalis Standard Time Vol. I;" Wynton Marsalis, "Standard Time Vol. 3: The Resolution of Romance;" Metallica, "Kill 'Em All;" Eugene Mirman (copy); Modern Jazz Quartet/Thelonius Monk mix tape; Modern Jazz Quartet, "Europe in Concert" (copy); The Modern Jazz Quartet, "The Last Concert" (copy); Modern Jazz Quartet, "Longing for the Continent;" The Modern Jazz Quartet and Guests, "Third Stream Music;" Thelonius Monk, "Standards;" "Thelonius Monk's Greatest Hits;" The Thelonius Monk Quartet, "Monk's Dream;" Charlie Parker, "Bird: The Savoy Recordings" (copy); Charlie Parker, "Vol. 4: Round Midnight;" Red Book Dusties 45 mix; Sonny Rollins, "Saxophone Colossus and More" (copy); The Shadow Vol. II; The Shadow Vol. III; Timo Shanko, "Solo;" Joe Sibol, "Horoscope;" Will Simmons, "In So Many Words;" Spyro Gyra, "Point of View;" The Best of Art Tatum; Tchaikovsky/Mussorgsky/Rimsky-Korsakov/Borodin; The Wynona Riders, "Is Anybody Here?: Live in Mobile, Alabama;" The Yellowjackets, "The Spin."

Comics and Correspondence III

I also had a letter of comment published in the August 22, 2003, issue of Comics Buyer's Guide (#1553):

Chris Juricich's letter of comment in CBG #1551 raises an interesting issue that will probably be debated long after I'm gone.

While I've read comics since I've been able to read -- I'm 30 now -- and, while I've also collected comics, edited and published comics (all small-press), and even reviewed comics (mostly minis and self-published items), I've long been loath to "deal" comics. I've not once "speculated" on a given issue. And I leave free comics on the train and in public as part of the Free-Range Comic Book Project.

Selling comics (moreso on the con circuit than in a retail setting, perhaps) -- and publishing comics, arguably -- more often than not leads to the burnout Juricich details. And I find that I maintain my wonder and fascination in the storytelling medium by reading comics. The reviews I do are to alert others to little-known comics I adore as a reader. But the callousness and distance Juricich describes occurs because of ongoing exposure to the frustrating economics of comics, I'd wager.

As soon as you begin valuing a given issue as an asset possessing a return on investment, as soon as you begin determining what to publish -- or create -- based on what the mainstream market will bear, the wonder fades. Your motivation changes. You change.

I get a similar sense in "mainstream" comics journalism. Wizard appeals to younger fans and collectors, almost as Beckett does to card collectors. The Comics Journal aims at older, more thoughtful, perhaps literary comics readers in spite of its largely publisher-centric nature. CBG caters to an even older crowd, one that seems to comprise retailers and dealers, as well as hardcore, long-time collectors. And Comics & Games Retailer, well, the title says it all.

I read them all for different reasons, but I recently resubscribed to CBG for a couple of reasons. Oh, So? is one. As long as CBG supports ongoing reader-driven conversations about comics-related issues offline, I'm a fan. Two: Picks and Previews. Not enough people review comics. We get news, we get hype, but thoughtful commentary written by readers -- much less readers who are named and photographed -- is in short supply in print. And, lastly, Fred Hembeck. May he ever proudly wave! Like Scott Saavedra of the fanzine Comic Book Heaven, Hembeck is a creator who absolutely loves comics. As a reader.

So here's to the comics readers. Here's to the people who read comics, think about comics, talk about comics, and care about comics. Here's to the creators who make comics they need and want to make personally, not comics they have to make to make a living. And here's to the publishers and editors who shepherd challenging comics that pique interest, push buttons, and surprise.

God, I love reading comics. It's sad that some people forget how to.

To the archives with you, back issue!

Comics and Correspondence II

In tidying up my living room today, I came across the October 2003 issue of Comics & Games Retailer, in which I have a letter of comment published. In order to safely relegate it to the archives, here is that letter:

Don Allen's Quest for Success column in the September 2003 issue of Comics & Games Retailer raises an interesting issue. Is it true that made-for-trade-paperback storylines shoot monthly sales in the foot? Or is it true that the traditional periodical pamphlet format is increasingly ill-suited for the evolutionary emergence of longer-form storytelling?

I'd argue the latter.

Unless you publish comics featuring iconic, perennial characters with deeply involved and convoluted continuity that requires recapping what has come before for newcomers and return readers (a la the panties and capes cabal), monthly pamphlets make less and less sense. In fact, they make little sense at all.

Stories that are written to be longer-form books -- comic books, not graphic novels that collect a pamphlet-driven story arc, per se -- are unwisely released in periodical form. Too often, the monthly sales, if they decrease over time, spell the premature demise of the longer storyline and its resulting book. Think Alan Moore's 1963. When will that "lost issue" be published? Where's the 1963 trade paperback? Or consider Warren Ellis' recent work. Releasing Orbiter as a book makes sense. Serializing Strange Kisses, Stranger Kisses, Strange Killings, Strangle Klezmer, and whatever else makes less sense.

Allen's mainstream super-hero suggestions -- Marvel's Tsunami and the origin of the Fantastic Four -- are bad examples. Both were published by a company built on the monthly pamphlet format -- one, while it was establishing it. But, if you consider the recent illustrated novel Blankets by Craig Thompson (Top Shelf), which was not serialized -- or even Highwater Books' recent Marc Bell and Mat Brinkman collections, which draw on multiple small publications released over the course of four years or more -- it's clear that neither book will suffer from the material's prior publication -- or that peope skipped Brinkman's delightfully disturbing self-published short-run minicomics or Bell's appearances in various publications waiting for the collections. Instead, the books will sell better than any individual photocopied mini or edition of Exclaim! magazine -- in large part because of the fan (read: reader) base both creators established over time.

Similarly, Allen citing Dave Sim and Cerebus strikes me as ironic, especially given Sim's letter in the same issue. If Sim wanted to publish only books, he could. But, even though I'm not privy to his sales numbers over time, I'd wager dollars to doughnuts that the serialized issues do well enough on their own -- and that they help promote the phonebooks, which would probably not sell as well, were Sim not so consistent.

What's the solution? Save longer-form stories for book format. Market those to bookstores as well as comics shops. Serialize story arcs better suited to periodical publication. Market those to newsstands and comics shops. Or, as exemplified by Jason Little, creator of Shutterbug Follies (Doubleday), serialize online. His periodic Web publishing only helped the sales of his book, I bet. Especially given the story's acceleration, I doubt some people stopped reading online knowing the book had been accepted by a publisher. Instead, we kept reading and sighed in relief when the book was released and we could read it in one sitting. I expect the same sign in relief when Chester Brown's Louis Riel is collected. (It will be, right?)

Besides, I, for one, won't be surprised when Joey Manley and Modern Tales begin to publish books. That will be a banner day, indeed.

P.S. Sidenote to Sim: If you do decide to publish Cerebus hardcovers, print short runs and charge up the nose. And, yes, a phonebook of lettercols -- or multiple books -- dating back to the beginning would be welcome.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

From the in Box: Supply My Soundtrack!

I love my friends. Media Dietician Daigo Fujiwara says:

You have to check out my favorite punk band from Japan. They are called the Blue Hearts. That symbolizes my highschool years. I can temporalily put them up on my server for you to download.

And he did. Thank you, Daigo.

From the in Box: Supply My Soundtrack!

Media Dietician Alan Topelson says:

A Mexican songwriter you should check out: Julieta Venegas. All her stuff is available on iTunes. Her singles have been catchy. Also, a Spanish band that's hit big in the Spanish-speaking universe that I like is La Oreja de Van Gogh. Their last album is one of my faves, upbeat and super catchy. They have a new album I'm still chewing over, and I think I like it a lot, too.

Downloading. Keep 'em coming. Goal: An iPod full of non-English new music.

From the in Box: Supply My Soundtrack!

Media Dietician Hiroyasu Ichikawa recommends the pianist Hiromi Uehara.

Listen up, the world is playing.

I just downloaded Uehara's new Telarc release "Spiral."

Supply My Soundtrack!

This afternoon, I became extremely frustrated that most of the music I listen to is from North America or western Europe -- and in English. So I started to scour the Net -- and iTunes -- for tips on tunes from other countries in their native languages. It's relatively easy to learn about modern music around the world online. It's also relatively difficult to find freely downloadable MP3's of said music online.

So: Today's Media Dietician challenge. If you live in a "foreign" country -- or know a lot about popular music from same -- please send me song files or CD-R's. I will provide a mailing address upon request and reciprocate with a trade mix. Help me add to what I found today: French pop (Camille), German hip hop (Pal One), and Japanese post rock (Margaret Drawers).

I'll sure appreciate it! And foreign bands and labels -- consider offering your wares via iTunes or Myspace so it's easier to track down local -- and local language (I'm less interested in global music in English) -- tuneage. I will also trade cheaply available American CDs as trade for any local CDs sent in by Media Dieticians.

Let the swap commence!

Music to My Ears LXIX

I just made an iMix based on the music mentioned in Jay McInerney's novel Bright Lights, Big City.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

People I Like

A recent list of people I appreciate.

Agree or disagree?


From the In Box: On Being Phoney

Brett Warnock just emailed me to say that, telco mergers aside, we should speak out against eliminating network neutrality.

I agree.

On Being Phoney

I recently "upgraded" from my old Cingular service and phone -- nee AT&T Wireless (At least they forwarded the URL; check that out!), pre-merger -- to the new and "proper" Cingular service to change my plan and get a new, "more feature-rich" phone. So far, it's been nothing but trouble.

For one, apparently no one can send me SMS messages. I was able to have my girlfriend, who's on another network, send me one -- one! -- but since that single message, three separate friends (including her) have been unable to SMS me. Bothersome. We like to SMS.

Two, I used to be able to easily email pictures taken with my phone to Flickr. It turns out that that is no longer the case. Because Cingular sends pictures as "multimedia messages," I'm guessing that they're not image files and that I'll have to find a workaround or hack.

And three, which kind of makes sense, my girlfriend, who's on another network (remember?), can't forward me voicemails. That's less worrisome but indicative of the larger ill.

What's worrisome is that the phone rep I dealt with when deciding to pursue this upgrade persuaded me that there'd be little or any feature loss with the changeover. Similarly, the plan seemed more competitive in terms of price and data options. I've yet to be able to access the Net via this phone.

What's more worrisome is that this is a "merger." Apparently, telco mergers are merely acquisitions of customer bases with the intent to either maintain one set of no-longer-supported features and plans -- or "upgrade" them to already-existing and non-complementary or -comparative programs. Kind of like magazines buying the subscriber lists of defunct magazines and sending them the "new" title -- as Sci-Fi Magazine recently did with Cinescape (per Brett Warnock's letter, albeit largely positive, in the June issue of Sci-Fi).

Having called Cingular's closed-for-the-day support line and posted to their online forums, I'm hopeful for a solution -- but if any Media Dieticians can offer insights and ideas, I'll be thankful. That's better than hopeful.

I want to get SMS's. And I want to email Flickr pictures from my phone.

Help me, Cingular.

To Be on TV, or Not to Be

Thanks to an email from Mahesh Grossman at the Authors Team, I just learned about the following resource:

Want to be on national TV?

The first step is to know who to talk to.

The best directory/database of top shows is Harrison's Guide to the Top National TV Talk & Interviews Shows, which contains key contacts and "how to get booked" info on 259 top shows including Oprah, Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Larry King Live, Bloomberg TV and more.

It's more than just a directory. It also gives you invaluable info on what producers are looking for.

Steve is raising the price after 5 pm Eastern this Thursday, May 25, so order your copy now.

I don't have a copy, so I can't vouch for or vet this 100%, but it might be a useful tool!

Option Watch

Tell me there's not a book and/or a movie in this fellow's story. Holy cow.

Poetry, Alive

Media Dietician Ken Gordon recently turned me onto a new "totally insane Web project" called Quickmuse, an improvisational poetry Web site that appears extremely progressive and promising.

We take well-known poets (Robert Pinsky, Paul Muldoon, Marge Piercy), throw them a provocative quote, and give them 15 minutes to write something. Our special Quickmuse technology -- we call it the Poematic -- captures the poem as it emerges, second by second, onto the Net.

The first two outings, by Muldoon and Thylias Moss, read extremely well. It'll take me awhile to get used to the countdown feature -- you can read the poem as it was written, side by side with a clock ticking down from 15 minutes -- but on the whole, what a neat idea!

Ken expands on some of the ideas behind the project in a recent piece for Poets & Writers magazine. Make with the clicky. And if you know any poets who might be interested, I'm sure you could introduce them to Ken -- and Quickmuse.

New Record Day X

Here's what's coming out this week that I think is notable:

  • The Ditty Bops, Moon Over the Freeway
  • Mission of Burma, Obliterati
  • Old Crow Medicine Show, Down Home Girl EP
  • John Zorn, Moonchild

What records are you going to pick up this week?

Update: Mission of Burma is downloading as we speak, so to speak.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Irrational Public Radio

I am not an NPR listener.

Most, if not all, of the people who know me, some well, are surprised. Let's say, dismayed. Borderline distraught. Because I am the prototypical and stereotypical NPR listener.

It's not that I don't like NPR. I do. A lot. In fact, I love the very idea of NPR. I am, after all, a borderline socialist. Yet I never, ever listen to national public radio -- which represents three things I believe in and love whole heartedly. How come?

I'm not often in positions where NPR makes sense. When I wake up in the morning and shower -- the one time during which I listen to the radio as such (not online; I listen to online radio at other times) -- I want music, energetic music. Not talk, not news, not views. I read several newspapers every day during my time on the train, so I don't need radio for news. And because I don't drive to work, I don't have the luxury of drive time with the radio, during which I would listen to NPR -- or books on tape, something else I just don't do. (For different reasons. I also love the idea of books on tape, but outside of the great courses or old-time radio MP3's, I've yet to delve into audio books.)

I also associate NPR with a very specific time of my life. During the summer of 1991 (as well as other successive short periods), I worked for the Milton Courier, a weekly newspaper in southern Wisconsin with a circulation of less than 4,000 (shout out: Doug Welch!), as an intern.

As an intern for the small-town weekly, I wrote stories, edited stories, copy edited stories, took photos, developed photos, wrote captions for my and other photos, designed ads, wrote ads, laid out papers using a waxer (!!!), took papers off the press, loaded papers in the van, delivered papers to vendors, and collected unsold papers from those self-same vendors.

While down in the deep-dark basement, chock full of mouldering piles of the tabloid's back issues, of the Courier's offices, developing said film, I could listen to one of two things: NPR on the tape-playing radio or Harry Chapin cassettes (Doug's fave). I listened to both, in great abundance. Of the two, I tired of NPR, but not of Chapin's music. (Even though I did have a negative reaction to Chapin for awhile, just as I did the pancakes I cooked at Camp Indian Trails.)

What's the diff?

NPR is timely. Chapin is timeless. And one, more than the other, fit into my broader interest of music -- while, as a fledgling media dietician, I was enamored by current events and commentary, but not radio outside of music.

(Regardless, I still consider both in the light of unhealthy photographic development chemicals, many to this day unknown -- and doused on my hands and poured down an ill-designed sick sink. Both NPR and Harry Chapin will always be associated with somewhat-conscious local environmental pollution because of the Courier's photo-chemical sink setup.)

For the last hour, at the behest of my newly formal and totally awesome girlfriend, I listened to what I thought was NPR. It wasn't "This American Life," but it was WNYC-FM, and I was taken back in time -- and rhyme -- because of Net radio.

Do you listen to NPR? How come? And how so?

Nervy, Pervy XXIX

Do you want your loved one to be portrayed as a pin-up girl a la the bathing beauties illustrated by the likes of Gil Elvgren? Now you can.

Forget the sidewalk caricaturists and the calligraphic name pictures involving orchids you can get on Times Square, enlist one Thomas Caggiano, who, in a small ad in a recent issue of New York magazine, suggests that you should "let him turn you into a timeless pinup."

I suppose it's better than letting a skeezy photog shoot your wife in her altogether.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Magazine Me LX

Have I mentioned how much I'm looking forward to this new magazine?

I have? Well, have I pointed you to the Wall Street Journal writeup on it?

'Til Tuesday, Media Dieticians. Get thee to a newsstand.

Update: The mag actually debuts next Tuesday. Call me: bit champer!

Remix Master Mic II

The International Fund for Animal Welfare is holding a contest in which participants are encouraged to remix a whale song.

Join the likes of Johanna Fateman from Le Tigre, and your remix will be judged by a panel including Wayne Kramer.

[Via AdLand]

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

What Kind of Person Reads Media Diet?

Apparently, Village Voice reporters do. From Media Dietician Zoe:

Thanks for putting us on your blog- just got an email from a village voice reporter who saw the post. ( we haven't had a story from them yet)

Who knows what might happen?

Want a mention? Plant a post idea. It's that simple.

(Regardless of what happens, it's hella flattering that folks from the Voice are reading me. I read you. Hello!)

Podcast of Thousands III

I have also been informed that the Comics Interpreter now offers a podcast. From editor Robert Young:

Therein discussed: Demagogues, assholes, Bollywood comics, Mike Diana, CLAMP, Art School Confidential, and further tales from the entrails of our unloved artform. Respite from the rants and the ramblings courtesy of assorted musical interludes and the occasional snippet of film dialogue. A full 55-minutes of blackmarket entertainment. Enjoy.

It can only be good. Extra credit for using the word "therein"!

Author, Author

Last night, after a reading at BookCourt, Caitlin and I grabbed some food to eat before joining a group of writers hanging out at Boat. Meeting the new people -- and our conversations -- reminded me why I enjoy hanging out with writerly types -- read: writers -- so much. Among the writers I met:

Wonderful people, all. You should buy -- and read -- their books.

Products I Love XIX

Via UPS today, I received my Buddha Machine from Forced Exposure. It's no iPod, but it is a tidy little item of technological wonderment.

Featuring nine ambient loops composed by FM3, the device could not be simpler in its design. There's an on dial that also controls the volume, an earphone jack, a DC power jack, and a toggle switch that -- if moved back and forth -- will take you through the nine loops.

The music is minimalist, as was expected, and some loops are better than others. But I was pleased that there are more urgent, driving loops -- useful when pushing through on a project -- as well as sleepy, subtle sounds.

But the highlight for me is the packaging. The Machine comes in a small box printed entirely in Chinese, and the box itself is light and inexpensive. But the real deal maker in my opinion is the cheapness of the speaker. Most loops, if you have the volume turned up at all, push the limits of the speaker's clean sound. That results in transistor radio-like static, hum, and fuzz -- which only adds to the otherwordly nature of the sounds emitted.

Providing a soundtrack from a parallel plane, the Buddha Machine is a dreamy device. I'm sure I'll burn through the included AA batteries (also printed in Chinese) in no time flat.

New Record Day IX

Here's what's coming out this week that I think is notable:

  • Belle & Sebastian, Latenighttales
  • Radio 4, Enemies Like This
  • Dan Zanes, Catch That Train

What records are you going to pick up this week?

Update: I snagged Clem Snide's "Suburban Field Recordings Vol. 2," which actually came out May 2.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Editorial Surreality

Bono will edit tomorrow's edition of the Independent.

Podcast of Thousands II

My friends Craig and Jon have started a new podcast: Monkey School. Their inaugural outing features 13 songs by the likes of the Buzzcocks, Tender Trap, and Bloodshot Bill. Check it out!

Monday, May 08, 2006

New Record Day VIII

Here's what's coming out this week that I think is notable:

  • Danielson, Ships
  • KMFDM, Ruckzuck
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium

Another slow week. What records are you going to pick up this week?

Update: I got Roy Nathanson's "Sotto Voce" -- wonderful.

Public Art and Protest

Late last month, a friend of mine, Zoe Cohen, invited me to the opening for her Brooklyn College MFA Thesis Exhibition last week. I wasn't able to attend, and it's unfortunate, as the show has attracted no little public attention, protest -- and activisn. Here's what happened:

  • April 23: Opening reception email transmitted
  • May 3: Opening reception is held
  • May 4: The exhibit is shut down: "This show was presented in the Brooklyn War Memorial, a public building administrated by the New York Parks Department. The Brooklyn Parks commissioner received a complaint about the sexual nature of a few of the art works in this show, and made an abrupt and un-announced decision to have the locks changed on the doors to the gallery, and to close down the show the day after the opening."
  • May 6: Participating artists organize to call for the show to reopen, and a protest is held at the memorial
  • May 7: The artists issue a public statement and announce that they plan to meet with Brooklyn College Provost Roberta S. Matthews the morning of May 8 (this morning), and that they have reached out to President Christoph M. Kimmich and NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian R. Benepe, as well as Mayor Bloomberg

More as this develops. Be sure to check out the ongoing action blog.

Remix Master Mic

Electronic musician Maxx Klaxon has released the submixes for the song "Internationale 2000," based on the "The Internationale," under a Creative Commons license -- and is encouraging remixers to have at it. "Download the tracks, create your own remix, and submit it by July 31, and you could win a spot on the next Maxx Klaxon release," Klaxon says in an email.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Media Diet Hero

This might be the first Media Diet Hero ever.

But let me just say that I am in love -- and I mean strong media like -- with Stephen Colbert. This guy is on fire. Love him, like him, or hate him, even if you don't think he's funny, he's certainly on the money.

Holy cow.

The media coverage of Colbert's talk at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner last weekend has been fascinating and -- embarassingly -- brought him to my true attention. I had written him off as a partisan parodist. Truthiness is, he might be the smartest political commentator we have on hand today. Not Anderson Cooper, but...

Stephen Colbert. If you haven't taken him seriously before, listen. Because thanks to the WHCA effect, more people will be doing so -- hopefully.

Thank you, Stephen Colbert.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Freelance Armstrong

This just in: After almost 10 years, the fine folks at Media Bistro are finally publishing their first book!

Margit Feury Ragland -- is that not the best name ever? -- has penned a tome titled Get a Freelance Life. At first glance, the book covers freelance writing from the proverbial soup to the metaphorical nuts. And it should be well worth your dime -- if you're a freelancer or wannabe same.

It's really great to see Media Bistro move from mixers to Web network to publishing -- and this step can only presage even bigger and better things. Kudos to all involved.

Apocalypse, Brooklyn

Last week, a recycling worker was crushed to death when he was buried in an avalance of trash dumped in a tractor trailer by a co-worker. (The man was in the trailer.) This happened at a transfer station in Greenpoint, within walking distance of my house.

Sunday, work on the roof of a police -- and ironically, fire -- station in downtown Brooklyn went awry, causing propane tanks to explode -- and propelling one onto an off-ramp of the BQE. I heard the blast while napping at a friend's house in Cobble Hill, and we saw the smoke from Smith Street.

And today, a seven-warehouse complex combusted in Greenpoint. I can still see the smoke against the beautful reds and oranges of the setting sun to the west from my kitchen window. A friend reports that her building is covered in ash, and word is that the warehouses' owner experienced a similar fire in Vinegar Hill. At least one of the sites was ripe for redevelopment. Suspicious!

I'm considering starting a Brooklyn Kickball team called the Fireballs. Who's with me?

News of Note

From the top of my head today:

  • If any Media Dieticians have an inside line on back issues of Z Channel's program guide, I'd love to obtain some.
  • The offices of Opus Dei really are at 34th and Lex. Across the street: a phone kiosk sporting a "The Da Vinci Code" advert.
  • Designing woman of the day: Dorothy Draper
  • Kudos to Johnny Damon for how he handled being booed by Red Sox fans at yesterday's game: "They don't boo bad players, they boo good players," he said.
  • Keith Richards fell out of a palm tree, climbed onto a Jet Ski, and crashed. Bump, set, spike!
  • The workers responsible for Sunday's downtown Brooklyn fireballs were found at a nearby McDonalds, with singed hair and soot-covered faces. They deserved a break that day, I suppose.

Monday, May 01, 2006

New Record Day VII

Here's what's coming out this week that I think is notable:

  • Ministry, Rio Grande Blood
  • Willie Nelson, Live from Austin, Texas

Kind of a slow week! What records are you going to pick up this week?

Update: I picked up the Fever's "In the City of Sleep." Best record I've heard in a long time. Recommended.

Draw String Theory

This Squidoo lens -- Learn to Draw -- inspired me to try to draw Mickey Mouse from memory. It's a fun exercise; try it yourself and see how close you get. It might also be fun to do this with your friends and family... I know mine made me smile.