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Printed Material
I finished Doctrow’s “Eastern Standard Tribe” tonight, after setting it down a few weeks ago and picking it back up last night. This was a good story, although the ending was a bit sudden (much like “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom”). Feel free to buy or download one or the other, and thank the Creative Commons people. Crap — that reminds me I totally dropped the ball on an email conversation I was having with one of their head tech people (re: DocBook-XML versions of the licenses). Mental note: remember to write back tomorrow.

I also finished Lewis Carroll’s “Hunting of the Snark” tonight. Generally, I am not a fan of stuff written in verse. For instance, I skimmed most of the Lord of the Rings songs/poems both times I read it. That is not exactly an option when a story consisting entirely of thirty pages of ABAB quatrains. This was a fun, light read with nifty illustrations. Next: Phantasmagoria.

I also finished a few more chapters in one of the first time home-buyer books I have. The more I read, the more freaked out I get.

I picked up a 3-disc compilation of Gary Numan from iTunes last week, Disconn3ction, but I am not sure why. Well, yes, I guess I do know why–I had a bunch of partial albums and was tired of the incompleteness of my collection. It is quite good–two discs of A and B sides, followed by one disc of live stuff. Unfortunately, it still is missing a number of good songs that I have to figure out what to do about: purchase more albums, purchase piecemeal, or download piecemeal? The few remaining are not really worth the album price, but not having full albums is sort of a pet peeve.

I also picked up a Beggar’s Banquet 2-disc set of Gary Numan cover songs…because I could not get enough of his music?! I do not know why. I just did. (I will not go into detail about whether “picked up” involved monetary transactions or law bending.) Additionally, I got a few cover songs I heard on RadioIO 80s. Let us look at individual songs, shall we? Agreed.

An Pierle’s “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” – This is a very nice Tori Amos-esque piano and vocal cover of the song. It is a bit mellow at times, a bit frantic at times, but adds some new life/twists to a nice song.
Marilyn Manson’s “Down in the Park” – Somebody kill me. Please. Please! Holy fuck, this is bad. The nice thing about “Down in the Park” is that the lyrics are very police-state, gestapo, scary (“hey, look, there’s a rape machine; I’ll go outside if it looks the other way”), yet the song is kind of mellow and other-worldly. Mr. Manson sung it like a grungy, electronic, police-state song, thereby losing a lot of the subtlety.
Jimi Tenor’s “Down in the Park” – This takes the opposite end of the spectrum of Brian Warner’s version. It starts with the music played in a circus-like calliope, with the happy sounds of children and families in the background. This is sheer brilliance! When you start with a song that starts out mentioning “kill-by-numbers” with such an overdose of happy-happy-joy-joy saccharin, the sinister becomes ever more sinister.
Republica’s “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” – I had completely forgotten Republica exists. A decent cover, making me want to grab more Republica.
Sukia’s “Me! I Disconnect From You!” – A nice, refreshing twist on the song. It sort of emphasizes the electronic disconnect (with the beeps of phones and various electronics). Okay, really, I am a sucker for making music out of phone sounds since Kraftwerk and Information Society. I cannot give an unbiased review. Rock!
Foo Fighter’s “Down in the Park” – This is the KROQ-itizing of the song. (For those not in SoCal, this is the local “alternative” station that played Gary Numan back when “alternative” was “alternative to the mainstream” and now just churns out Infinity Broadcasting/Clearchannel musical bile.) Everything you would expect from a mid-to-late 90’s mainstream (“no, really, we are alternative!”) version.
Christian Death’s “Down in the Park” – Again. Somebody kill me. I was never really a big fan of Christian Death (yeah, my uber-gothy-gothy friends are screaming “blasphemy” …or something?… right now). Bored now.
An in unrelated covers…
My Favorite’s cover of Bowie’s “Modern Love” – Awesome! I love it as much as, if not more than, the original version!
The Hippo’s “Always Something There To Remind Me” – Good. Not great. Good. It will certainly stay in my shuffle, but I do not think I will explicitly choose to listen to it.
The rest deserve mention for being okay–not excellent, but not deletable material either: The Swans’ “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Ivy’s “Let’s go to Bed,” Gruesome Twosome’s “Hallucination Generation” (actually, this was quite good–better than the original), Shades Apart’s “Tainted Love,” Mest’s “I Melt With You,” Snake River Conspiracy’s “How Soon is Now?”

There you go. More reviews than you cared to read. Legally buy your music (when available…otherwise, well….)

In Other News
I have been an apostrophe nazi recently. The lady who wrote Eats, Shoots & Leaves was on NPR a month or two ago, and she had some good comments. Her book is on my wish list, for the next time I wander over to Powell’s. For instance, a lot of people get in the mindset that they have two different sets of writing style: one for formal stuff and one for internet/SMS/email/chat settings. This way leads to madness! …or at least bad punctuation, spelling, and grammar. While I, personally, tend to take a few liberties with writing style (being a bit less formal than I should, making liberal use of parenthetical clauses, as well as the occasional sentence fragment or starting that previous sentence with ellipses), I am very aware of the rules. It has recently become a huge pet peeve when people cant properly use apostrophe’s [sic]. i am also not a big fan of people thinking they are e.e.cummings but, fortunately, i have not seen that recently. So yes, part of the grammar thing may be the pot calling the kettle black. The apostrophes, on the other hand, I am very aware of and always use properly (in fact, I tend to even shy away from using contractions), so it hits some sort of button in me when people cant figure out they’re apostrophes [sic]. Please learn Strongbad’s apostrophe song and the Bob the Angry Flower guide. K?Thx!

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