Friends only -

I'll be taking this journal friends only. If anyone is aware of a quick and easy method to select all entries and mark them as such, let me know.

Richard Applegate, where are you?

When I was much younger, my mother ran a talent agency. Pretty small time, but one of the things that set her apart was her willingness to accept new talent. We got reams of submissions, and I grew up reading the TV and movie scripts of aspiring writers from all over the world, bringing the best of it to her attention.

Although it was a strictly literary agency, sometimes people failed to read the fine print and sent us their demo CDs. Most of them were about as awful as you'd expect - but one of them stood out.

Richard Applegate's Urban Primitive is one of my favorite albums of all time. It was released under the label Media Orphan, which had to be his own. It is dense, haunting, cinematic modern jazz, featuring electric pianos and synthesizers. It is by turns raucous and discordant, or wily and playful. There's a tango, there's a piece that sounds like something from Rugrats - there's even a little baroque-style minuet (on the synthesizer - pretty).

One song features a broken-calliope sound, and makes me think of wandering around a carnival midway at 1 am, poking around in places I shouldn't be, quietly so as not to wake the buskers. I kind of want to give it to my circus friends, so they can use it in a project. Then if he finds out and sues, at least we would know where to find him.

See, so far as I can tell, Richard Applegate has fallen off the planet. A couple ebay sellers are offering Urban Primitive ("Rare!"). Also, it seems he released another album (his sophomore effort?) in 1996. Both discs are available via a library in South Carolina. I don't know what I have to do to get a membership, but I'm going to start making calls - possibly as soon as tomorrow. I would be over-fucking-joyed to get my hands on more of his music.

Seriously. It is now almost 2009. I received this album in the mail in 1993 or 1994, making it a part of my steady rotation for 15 years. My relationship with this music is almost old enough to drive. It's not lyrical - it's one of those things that's great to throw on while painting (as I often did in high school) or in the morning after a long party fraught with psychedellics, when you want something atmospheric and *just weird enough*. I realize it's a little odd and not for everybody (as evidenced by Mr. Applegate's near-total absence from any music scene I can find), but it's an indelible part of me. When I found my missing CD case at my family home today, i was relieved to find Urban Primitive tucked in there. Thankful, even.

Richard Applegate, if you ever Google yourself and find this page, I want you to know that I am probably your biggest fan. Leave a comment. If you are on the west coast, we are totally getting coffee.


Now that the election cycle has ended:

Aside from the obvious (we actually have this awesome guy for our president? You mean we get to keep him?), there's a couple things I'm happy about:

- The (possible?) return of John McCain, senior Senator from Arizona. The campaign was messy and ugly at the end, and it's easy to forget McCain's track record. He has consistently demonstrated himself willing to build consensus with Democratic colleagues. As a resident of CA, immigration reform is a topic dear to my heart, and he has shown real leadership in that regard. I hope to see a reappearance of the pro-choice Mac, now that he is no longer compelled to pander at the fringy, extremist christianist Republican "base." He was a good guy, and if he had won the Republican party's nomination in 2000, it's quite possible I would have voted for him then. I think he's genuinely embarrassed by the nastiness spewed in his name. At the end of the day, John McCain is as good a public servant as anyone else in the Senate, and better than many. I hope we get him back intact.

- The fact that, though a few more seats were gained, the Democratic party does NOT hold a supermajority in the Senate. In 2006, the Democratic party enjoyed healthy gains, largely in response to public outrage at the war in Iraq and other malfeasances of the incumbent administration. Instead of checking executive power, the Democratic congress has stood by silently while spying telcoms were granted immunity from prosecution,  more "emergency funding" has been approved for the Iraq war, and our government at large has dodged culpability for disgusting human rights violations. The Democrats in the "do nothing" congress have not yet demonstrated that they are capable of pulling up their Big Boy Pants and doing real legislative work. In the event of a supermajority, I could easily forsee an abuse of privilege and a failure to vet new policy carefully.

Barack Obama has the potential to cultivate consensus in a very divided nation. He's at his best when he appeals to our reason. He's cool, level-headed, and gives no quarter to knee-jerk freak-outs or witch hunts. Also, he's a good listener as opposed to an ideologue. I think the development of new policy will be facilitated by honest and respectful debate in years to come, which is why I'm glad the deck hasn't been stacked with 60 Democratic yes-men. I think the President-Elect is at his best when he is called to reflect upon, and make an argument for, his beliefs. Certainly, there are more opportunities to win support when a conservative minority feels as though they are being truly heard, as opposed to drowned out.

That's why I feel so optimistic right now. There are several areas where I simply do not agree with Barack Obama (FISA, gay marriage and ethanol funding, for example). But unlike any other politician in my lifetime, I think this guy actually makes a point of listening to people he disagrees with.

Also, recall: one of the reasons we saw a surplus at the end of the Clinton administration is because the new Republican congressional majority put the kabosh on a lot of spending. Checks and balances people. They're part of what makes us such a special fucking snowflake. 


(no subject)

The prompt was,

"Write a poem that contains the phrase 'George, he's gone now."

New challenges daily at www.rockcookiebottom.com

George, he's gone now.
I never heard the door slam
and there wasn't a note on the counter
the way there usually is when he's
at the store, or running errands.

To be honest, It's probably
my fault.
Harsh words were exchanged last night.
But they seemed to be borne on the
I thought that's the way most parents
were talking to their children.

He's probably at the bar.
Or maybe he's with That Girl.
The one with the Nose Ring.
Possibly both. Who knows anymore?

All I know is, his ass needs to get
a job
and soon.
Even with the foreclosure freeze,
I'm not sure we'll be able to
keep making payments after
90 days.

Not when your unemployment
is about to expire
and my Rheumatoid is considered
A Prior Condition.

Christalmighty George
he's Your Son;
why don't You say
for once?

(no subject)


I don't know. 3/4 of the scores are marginal, at 10% +/- 2% (My N was 88%)

It just seems to me that the questions are highly context dependent. Often, I was only able to give a decisive answer after parsing the question based upon effectively arbitrary interpretation.

And I have far, far more to say about other kinds of psychometric testing, never you fear ;)

Let's just put it this way: as a matter of principle, I don't take seriously any test I'm not allowed to study for.