Books


10

1. Getting my socks blown off by Yjastros, the Albuquerque-based, internationally acclaimed (and preemenent in America) Flamenco Repertory Company.

Dancing so fierce you'll dream of tigers and pumas.

Dancing so fierce you'll dream of tigers and pumas.

Seriousy, if you ever get the chance to see their artisitc director, Joaquin Encinias, dance, take it. He will mesmerize and enthrall you. And the rest of them won’t exactly fall down on the job, either.

2. Drinking coffee

This is a picture of the interior of my chest.

This is a picture of the interior of my chest.

Dear Satellite and Winnings Coffee Company: You are both welcome for your respective profit margins. It was my pleasure.

3. Going to Austin, TX.

I have no idea who these Hipsters are, but they fairly accuratly depict my feelings about Austin.

I have no idea who these Hipsters are, but they fairly accuratly depict my feelings about Austin.

Highlights include The LBJ Presidential Library and Museum and Redbud Lake.

Lowlights (blacklights?) include Lone Star Beer and The Sun.

4. Doing a lot of Vintage Shopping in Austin, TX.

Me, in my new Vintage Texan duds

Me, in my new Vintage Texan duds

If you go, definetly check out New Bohemia (and adjacent New Brohemia) in the fashionable South Congress neighborhood (also known as SoCo if you’re an alcoholic [read: Texan]), as well as Cream Vintage on Guadalupe St. boarding the Campus of the University of Texas (I am told this stretch of Guadalupe St. is known as “The Drag” by fashionable “Longhorn” students and “Locals”. For what it’s worth, I think “The Drag” is a really poor choice of title for any part of a city that is supposed to have fun things to do on it).

Both establishments (as well as their many fellows) are surprisingly affordable with a smashing selection. Very cool stuff.

5. Being surprised by the existance of something cool in Texas outside of Austin (in Amarillo, of all places).

The 806

The 806

The 806 is, from what I can tell, the only coffee shop/vegetarian eatery in the city of Amarillo. They have really quite fantastic coffee as well as incredibly tolerable food, though my nachos did take about 19 hours to cook. The only knock against this place, really, is that you have to pay for water (sort of understandable, given what West Texas looks like). But overall, a definite gem in the rough. They even have art! On the walls! In West Texas!

6. Not being in Texas.

Overall, I think a positive choice given the alternative.

7.  Watching a lot of Harvey Birdman

Harvey Birdman, in a moment of agony.

Harvey Birdman, in a moment of agony.

Best program on Adult Swim ever. Bar none.

(Except for Cowboy Bebop, of course. Also, Metalocalypse is a close second. A very, very close second.)

[Squidbillies is terrible.]

8. Reading a biography of the 32nd American President.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Nations first "Balla-dent"

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Nations first "Balla-dent"

I continue to chug along of Conrad Black’s exceptional and truly epic Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Champion of Freedom. Weighing in at over 1100 pages, this tomb is one of the most incisive, wide-ranging, detailed and thought provoking Historical works I have ever read. Not only does it provide a vivid portrait of the man himself (both laudatory and critical, in turn), but also the unprecedented events he presided over and confronted, and descriptions of just about every human being ever involved in those events. Fantastic, fantastic stuff.

9. Seeing world renowned improv and sketch comedy in Albuquerque

The Pajama Men

The Pajama Men

The Pajama Men (Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez) have received plaudits from such diverse sources as The Chicago Tribune, The Albuquerque Alibi, The Scotsman (of Edinburgh), and The London Times and awards from just about every fringe festival worth mentioning in the UK, Canada and Australia. And they’re currently premiering a new show, in Albuquerque, at the Q-Staff Theater. Oh, and it’s freaking hilarious.

Check these guys out, they’re gonna be superstars.

10. Watching a lot of Baseball

"Awww, Snap!"

"Awww, Snap!"

Let’s go Red Sox, let’s go.

(I lead a successful life.)

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number-10

1. “Antiquarians say we are, — and — and we have an old seal, and a very old silver spoon, round in the bowl, like a little laddle, with a rambling lion on the handle, and a castle over him.”

2. Moreover, her affection iself was less fire then radience, and, with regard to the other sex, when he ceased to belive he ceased to follow: contrasting in this with many impressionable natures, who remain senuously infatuated with what they intellectually despise.

3. Left to his own reflections, Abraham soon grew drowsy.

4. They followed the road with a knowledge that they were soaring along in a supporting medium, possessed of original and profound thoughts, themselves and surrounding nature forming an organism of which all the parts harmoniously and jotusly interpenetrated each other.

5. The wheat-rick shrank lower, and the straw-rick grew higher, and the corn-stacks were carted away.

6. “…But you can raise up dreams with your music, and drive all such horrid fancies away!”

7. The struggles and wrangles of the lads for her hand in a jig were an excitement to her no more; and when they became fierce she rebuked them.

8. There are counterpoises and compensations in life; and the event which had made of her a social warning had also for the moment made her the most interesting personage in the village to many.

9. “O-O-O!”

10. Izz spoke with a magnanimous abandonment of herself to the situation; she could not be — no women with a hear bigger than a hazel-nut could be — antagonistic to Tess in her presence, the influence which she exercised over those of ehr own sex being of a warmth and strength quite unusual, curiously overpowering the less worthy feminine feelings of spite and rivalry.

We’ve been posting a lot about media. For a brief break, how about some clothing?

Jellyfish Tee from Amongst Friends

Jellyfish Tee from Amongst Friends

Amongst Friends from the NYC has most of their fall line on sale, bringing them down to could-reasonably-pick-these-up-on-a-lark range. I like their tee-shirts, especially the jellyfish; also check out this bangin cordouroy fedora.

On the other hand, if you do want to drop more than your rent on some shirts, check out the Black Buoy. I’m partial to the black tee-shirts myself, especially if I feel the need to have a shirt that goes to my knees. There’s a bunch of keen non-shirt stuff available as well. Don’t miss the Death Pits.

While I find them rather overbranded for my personal taste, Fundamentally Unstable has some solid designs that may appeal to those of you who prefer displaying the moniker FU to all and sundry. Just don’t add an S in the middle.

Snake and Horse Tee from 1AEON

Snake and Horse Tee from 1AEON

On the other hand, there do exist shirts that I like AND are affordable – enter 1AEON. Really great designs based off of nature and guns (two ancient lovers indeed), for boys and girls. Mostly shirts, but also some accessories and tote bags. Also, weird masks and metal bands.

Howling On The Wind Tee at Bonbi Forest

Howling On The Wind Tee at Bonbi Forest

I also can never shut up about Bonbi Forest. Just block out some time to browse everything.

Finally, if you ever want to get me a gift, browse through the industrial jewelry at No Form Design. I love pretty much everything. Especially this hinge cuff (which reminds me I need to make my handcuff watch at some point…)

I hope you’re able to get some swell clothing for the warmer weather, if it ever comes…happy March, everyone.

Just a few quick suggestions from a recent trip Nathan and I made (as well as a couple old favorites):

Motley

Super rad little boutique down in the South End (On Tremont Street). Mostly men’s clothing, though a couple things for the ladies as well. The highlight of this place is definitely the t-shirts– they have a full rack of kickin’ designs, and as an added bonus, when we went everything was on sale. Also a great variety of bags, both messenger and otherwise, for that special someone on your list who needs to carry something. They (because how could they not?) also had a great selection of funky little accessories (Stocking stuffer, anyone?). Pricey, but not any more so then similar stores.

Black Ink

Super nifty little “cool shit” design shop with locations in Harvard Square and Beacon Hill. It’s difficult to really describe the merchandise here aside from to say that if you want a whole lot of interesting, design things in one place, this is that place. Great for little knick-knacks, as well as semi-ironic gifts for your semi-ironic friends. They also have a ton of Tin TIn related items, from very nice watches to t-shirts to posters. As a side note, the Black Ink also has a link the Museum of Useful Things, which apparently has ceased to exist as a non-digital entity, but where you can continue to spend some digital cash. Speaking of cash (both digital and the paper variety), you will spend a lot of it if you shop here and buy more then one or two things. The problem is that you’ll want to do just that.

Planet Records

One of the very few record stores in Boston that is not either Newbury Comics or CD Spins, off of Harvard Square on JFK St. They have a ton of cds and records in a very small space, and a fairly comprehensive collection (though, of course, typical used record store rules apply. Which is to say, the only stuff they have is that which other people apparently do not…). The best thing about this place is the wicked cheap prices, you can get most any cd for under ten dollars, and the records are an even better bargain. They were also selling little packs of 5 cd’s wrapped up in white paper for 1$ (and I believe 7 records for 1$). Of course, you can’t see which cd’s it is that your buying, if your in the mood for a little bit of excitement, they’re fun at the very least.

Lame Duck Books

My absolute favorite book store in the world. Off of Mass Ave. just south of Harvard Square, they have an absolutely world class selection of books in English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, and a few others to boot. If you are ignore the fact that it’s a recession, these guys carry first edition copies of books by authors such as (in case you might have heard of them) James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Friedrick Nietzsche– you get the idea. Oh, and did I mention most of those first editions are signed? The best part is that the proprietor (a truly fabulous individual) is always eager to show off the collection, so even if you don’t have an extra 20 grand in your pocket, you can still check out some of the most incredible books you will ever see. Of course, they have a great selection of used books of sightly less scholarly interest, but still, don’t walk in if your not willing to drop at least $50 on a book. For the bibliophile in your life, the one who will love you forever after you get them something from this gem.

Magpie

One of my favorite places in Davis Square, they have one of the better collections of the aforementioned “cool shit” in town. Of particular note are the great t-shirts (for both men and the ladies), some awesome posters and postcards of Davis Square and Greater Boston, and these super cool blank journals that are made out of re-purposed library books. They’ve got lots of great little things, and most won’t quite break the bank (though, they will, of course, come closer to that then you’d like).

So there’s a few little ideas to get you started heading into the last shopping weekend before the holidays.  I’ll be finishing up back here in Albuquerque though, so expect a South Western version of the previous post (or something like it) in the soon.

You need to read this book.

That isn’t a suggestion. It needs to happen. Soon.

Not because it’s the story of a family of Dominicans and their unlucky streak (here, played by the ominous Fuku. And not because it has more references to Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Comic Books then you can shake a stick at. Not because it’s funnier then any other book you’ve read this year, or more tragic, or more exhilarating. Not even because it makes you think.

Because it’s good. Straight up, no question about it good. This isn’t the kind of book that’s so dense with meaning that you walk away with it having to write a book report in your head (though, if you wanted to, you could). This is the kind of book that means something because it means something, and it doesn’t need your permission to do it either.

No compromises, no holds barred, mind blowing, genre debasing, enervating, passionate, and a few other cleaver hyperboles as well: I repeat again, you need to read this book.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Buy it, read it, love it, pass it on to the next person you see.

Clear enough?