Month: October 2012

Disco Boy cover

This time I mean "cover" as in "cover tune". Disco Boy as performed by a group called Boetlek, 2002.

Over-Nite Sensation cover

That's "cover" as in "album cover", not "cover tune". This is a feature on the cover of Over-Nite Sensation, with Dave McMacken, the artist who painted it.

(And so we're clear: even though it's just two dudes discussing an album cover -- still NSFW here.)

I told the story of when my dad bought his first three Zappa CD's and let me have two of them. He never did get much into CD's as a format, and this is part of why -- he showed me this album cover and said "Look at this tiny little thing. When you buy it on vinyl, it's this big; used to be when you bought an album, you got art."

Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station

Zappa Plays Zappa. According to uploader tsaromero2008, the recording is from a show in Chicago, 2008.

I do not expect that I will wind up working in a gas station.

Tattoos of Memories and Dead Skin on Trial

Good Riddance by Green Day, as performed by Glen Campbell

You know, that was a pretty good job.

I wrote about it last year, and my final analysis remains much the same -- they treated me right. They trusted me, they didn't micromanage, they paid me fairly, and in return I kicked ass and helped them roll out Windows 7 to over a thousand users. Job well done.

And the trouble with that is that there's no need for me anymore (at least, as far as the bean counters are concerned -- as far as the guy who's got to do all the imaging and packing himself now is concerned I will be sorely missed). But so it goes -- my dad's in construction; he's spent his life doing work where he knew one day the job would be done and he'd be on to the next thing.

So I'm on to the next thing, whatever it may be -- signed up for unemployment; hope I don't have to accept it. I've got an interview tentatively lined up for next week -- a place that's closer, pays better, and is direct-hire.

And that's the good news, really -- I feel like I'm moving onward and upward. I feel like there's progress and each job's a step up from the last (with an exception or two, I suppose, but this wasn't one of them). The agency keeps submitting me for jobs, and all of them are a step up from where they've placed me in the past. I think part of that's that the economy's improving and there's more work available for a guy with my qualabilities, and part of it is that I've paid my dues and they know they can trust me wherever they put me.

I was driving home today, thinking to myself hey, that's the last time I'll have to take this 25-mile drive, and feeling pretty good about it. And on the radio? Well, not Good Riddance, but something else topical -- Hello, Goodbye.


The other flick I caught last weekend was Argo. I hadn't seen the last two movies Affleck directed, but I hear they're good, and I enjoyed this one.

Nitpicky stuff out of the way first: I thought he piled too much on at the climax. I sincerely doubt that -- minor spoiler -- the real-life Houseguests had guards speeding after them with machine guns on the tarmac.

I was also a little disappointed that they filed the serial numbers off the fictitious Argo film. In the movie, it's just a generic sci-fi B-movie -- but in real life it was a failed adaptation of Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny, with production designs by Jack Kirby. I can see why these details were changed, and they're not essential to the story of a CIA exfiltration operation masquerading as a film crew, but I love that background and have been fascinated by it since I first read about it in a 2007 Wired article. Indeed, there's currently a Kickstarter going to make a documentary about the aborted Lord of Light movie.

But those quibbles aside, Argo succeeds on its own merits. It's well-acted and suspenseful, and brings attention to a largely-unknown sequence of events that happened as part of the better-known Iranian Hostage Crisis. And it's a truly crazy story -- the kind that would be unbelievable as the premise for a fictional spy movie. Truth, as they say...

And even if it's disappointing that the likes of Kirby and Zelazny don't get their due in the movie, legendary makeup artist John Chambers (played by John Goodman) sure gets plenty of props.

All in all, Argo is recommended. I caught it at a matinee; it's not going to lose much if you wait to see it at the cheap theater or on Netflix or what-have-you. In the meantime, check out that Wired story; it's fantastic.

Green Party Candidate Arrested at Presidential Debate. Again.

So Jill Stein and running-mate Cheri Honkala were arrested outside of last night's debate.

Much the same thing happened to Ralph Nader in 2000. He sued the Commission on Presidential Debates; they settled. Back then I was naïve enough to think this was going to make a difference and this would bring down the CPD, or at least force major reforms. But nope, here we go again.

There are differences. Nader had a ticket; Stein didn't. Stein blocked traffic; Nader didn't. And I'm not sure if Stein's arrest was instigated by the CPD or if the county police acted independently. Could be that Stein and Honkala wanted to get arrested to get some press -- but even if that's the case, it's not justification for handcuffing them to a chair for eight hours, as they have alleged. That sounds to me like a wildly disproportionate response and another potential lawsuit.

Unfortunately I'm not seeing much coverage of the story, and many of the reports get details wrong -- CNN refers to the CPD as "nonpartisan" -- it's bipartisan; there's a difference -- and the Washington Post refers to Perot participating in the 1992 debates under guidelines that were not implemented until 2000.

Would sure be nice if people like Stein and Johnson and Nader and Buchanan and, yes, Perot were allowed into presidential debates. But the CPD exists for the express purpose of keeping people like them out.

The Two Lying Bastards Show, Season 14, Episode 2

All right, I missed the season premier and the All-Sidekick Special. But I caught this one.

On the whole I think Obama pulled this one out but they both did pretty well. Romney was at his best when he was criticizing Obama's record, his failures and broken promises -- and I think that speaks to the fundamental weakness of each campaign. Obama has failed to be the President he promised to be four years ago, but on the other hand, Romney is essentially running the same campaign John Kerry was eight years ago -- nobody's voting for him, they're voting against the incumbent.

Today's top story was Secretary Clinton's mea culpa on the attack in Benghazi. This was an opening for Romney; to my mind the Administration has bungled its narrative on the attack over the past few weeks, sticking to the "spontaneous attack over a YouTube video" story well after it became clear it was a coordinated terrorist strike.

Romney fucked that up.

The bit where he claimed Obama didn't refer to it as a "terrorist attack" on day one, and Crowley checked the transcript and confirmed that he had? That was the strongest audience reaction of the night, and we'll be seeing it in the highlight reel. Romney's best line of attack on foreign policy is effectively neutralized.

(The Republican talking point now appears to be that Crowley lied and Obama never used the phrase "terrorist attack". Per the transcript, the actual phrase he used was "acts of terror" -- claiming that the two phrases are not equivalent is absurd hairsplitting.)

Crowley was great, too; she gave the candidates rope when it was appropriate and reined them in when it was appropriate to do that. I only heard a bit of the first debate, but what I heard was consistent with what everyone said about Lehrer afterward: he was a moderator in name only and the debate was completely out of his control. Crowley owned it.

On the whole I'm still not happy with Obama. (And that he's got the balls to go up there and criticize Romney for supporting China in conducting surveillance on its own citizens, even as he's ramped up domestic surveillance beyond even Bush Administration levels...) I'm leaning Stein at this point. But I still prefer Obama to the alternative and hope he wins. If I were in a swing state, I might bite the bullet and vote for him -- but I'm not. There's a single poll showing Obama running within the margin of error in Arizona; the New York Times explains why it's best taken with a grain of salt (tl;dr the sample is too small and if Arizona were to go blue it would be part of a nationwide surge in Obama's favor).

All in all, a decent episode but I'm not sure it was good enough for me to stick around for the finale. Not nearly as good as the new episode of Walking Dead the other night.