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What Would People Think?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Weekend Plans

Tonight, we plan on hanging out at a Bed and Breakfast for a change of pace. It's called Hiker Hostel.

I do wish its name didn't remind me of a series of bad movies I have no intention of seeing but whose basic plot I already know. So.....um, if you can't reach me by Monday, call the authorities.

Actually, this place looks very nice and I'm excited about it. Continuing to celebrate Christy's birthday by hiking 'n stuff. She gets a whole weekend b/c she's Christy.

Jacob and Wilhelm

1. So for two out of the three times I've wished Christy "happy birthday" on this blog - the first comment I've received has been the same. Jacob Grier: "Hey, you didn't wish ME a happy birthday" or some variant thereof. (See here and here.) Just because he and Christy were apparently born on the same day, he seems to think he deserves such congratulations on the day internationally recognized as Christy's birthday. Imagine the nerve!

Just kidding, dude. Happy belated birthday. I'll look into that flower thing....but what do you think the people at Cato will say?

2. Ever heard of the Wilhelm Scream? See, apparently a fair number of sound people in Hollywood are simply uncreative. Either that or they really, really love inside jokes. There's this one scream sound effect recorded in 1951 which has been used in more than 175 films, from Westerns to Star Wars to Lord of the Rings. We don't normally notice a throwaway scream in movies because we are paying attention to something else, but when a bunch of scenes using the same scream are strung together - as in this YouTube video - the results are oddly funny. And just so you don't think this was all made up by some YouTuber editing old movies, here's Roger Ebert describing the scream.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Christy's Birthday

Today, the world celebrates 26 years of Christina Marie Resnick Stark's presence. (And 11 months of her living with that extra last name.) Or, if you're pro-life, 26 years and 9 months of her presence.

[Yes, I told that lame joke for Mike's birthday. But the beauty of lameness is it can be repeated because....hey, it's already lame. There's no danger of repitition ruining it.]

I promised last year that Christy and I would never spend her birthday apart again. Luckily I haven't been sent to Zimbabwe as Mike predicted. However, I'm currently in my office on lunch break and Christy's in hers.

This is a situation that will soon be remedied. I'm planning on surprising her in her office this afternoon. I've got some flowers in a pot which she can put on her desk to remember the moment. If her office-mates are game, I might try to get them to sing Happy Birthday. Then...well, then I don't really have a plan. Whatever Christy wants to do. Maybe pottery painting and Italian food. Maybe swimming. I guess we'll find out!

And I can type this confident that I'm not ruining it for her. Because she never reads my blog! (At least, not unless I point it out to her.)

So, wish me luck. And wish Christy a happy birthday because I will eventually point out this blog post to her.

P.S. I already bought her a cooking class. Yes, yes I know that sounds like a selfish gift since I clearly benefit from it....but trust me it's what she wanted.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sentences President Bush Actually SHOULD Commute

I don't normally link to the libertarian Cato Institute - despite the fact that one of my dear friends works there - because....well, I fundamentally disagree with libertarians about the proper role of government in society.

But when they're right, they're right. Cato's blog lists a couple unjustly harsh sentences that the President actually should commute, instead of just granting favors to his political cronies.

[Hat Tip: Barzelay....back among the land of the blogging?]

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Why The White Stripes Rock So Much

So this morning I've been stuck in my apartment because 55,000 people decided to take a little jog down our street on the 4th of July.

So what to do but sit around and glory in the new White Stripes album? Icky Thump is everything I could want and have come to expect from Jack and Meg White - unpredictable, wildly creative, increasingly complex, and filled (even at its most angst-filled moments) with the joy of creation. (Speaking of the joy of creation, see Ratatouille.)

It got me thinking....what is it that I love so much about the Stripes? Why did I choose my wedding colors (I now confess to myself) to match the White Stripes' color scheme? Why did I recently refer to Jack White as "the greatest human being living"? Why do I fantasize about getting Meg White to drum for my college roommates' band, Unexpectedly Sober? What is the secret of the White Stripes' greatness?

First off, I think it all starts with Meg. Yes, I know Jack is the creative genius of the group. (His work with The Raconteurs and producing Loretta Lynn's album prove that.) Some have criticized Meg for her simplistic drumming or even suggested she should be kicked out of the band. Those who make such suggestions are the dumbest creatures on the planet, and I include particularly dumb amoeba in that statement. The simplicity of her drumming is the point. It anchors the music.

You see, the White Stripes are all about taking the basic elements of rock, country, and blues.....breaking them down, and putting them back together again in new and interesting ways. Their first album was very simplistic - just guitars and drums, very basic riffs, screechy vocals, and not much else. If I wasn't already a fan by the time I bought the album, I wouldn't have liked it. But with each successive album, they've taken that spine of simple blues rock and reached out in new, interesting, and increasingly complex directions. The trick is to take Jack's wild creativity and rein it in. The simplicity of Meg's drumming, combined with the rigid formality of the band's formula, allows Jack's creativity to ooze out in new and interesting ways.

Of course the other element is that Jack White is a freakin' genius, melding together elements of rock, country, blues, punk, and pop like so many Legos. He's the guy who came up with the concept of the band. He's the one with all those hyperactive freakouts during concerts. (I keep thinking of the Raconteurs's "Broken Boy Soldier" and the way he screams "the boy....THE BOY".....you have to have been there.) He writes songs about Citizen Kane, lost love, the first day of school, Rita Hayworth, yard sales, the paranoia fame causes, and whatever the hell "Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine" is about. I never know what the next song will contain and I LOVE that.

It also helps that they put all their energy into their concerts. Jack wandering around the stage playing a plethora of different instruments like a hyperactive child let loose in a toy store. Meg bashing away at those drums like they teased her in middle school....and yet looking like she's falling asleep. I've been to two White Stripes concerts and I'm seriously contemplating seeing them again at Austin City Limits. Every single time I've been impressed at how two people can kick an entire audience's ass. I leave their concerts exhilarated and exhausted.

So, it's all about (1) Meg's drumming, (2) Jack's creativity, (3) the energy and unpredictability. Well, I'm glad to see my powers of analysis can break the greatest band of the first decade of the 21st century down to a 3-part list.

So.............................how have you been doing? What's up in your life? Feel free to ignore the entire White Stripes analysis and just tell me about your life. Or tell me why I'm wrong/right about something.

Just comment.