QotD: In Heavy Rotation

What albums are in heavy rotation for you right now?

It's the moody, brooding guy show for me at present — Paul Weller's "Heliocentric," Several of The Smiths' joints including "Louder Than Bombs," The Lucksmiths "Naturaliste," and Robyn Hitchcock's Bob Dylan covers, with some Jerry Reed thrown in to keep this truck on the road.

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A Call For Memories – 90's Videos From The Jukebox Channel

The full context, or what "video on demand" used to mean:

Back before the days of the series of tubes we call the internet, there was a channel called The Jukebox Network, or the Jukebox Channel, or at some point, "The Box". You could call up and use your touch-tone phone to request videos from their catalog. I'm not sure if it's just that videos were extremely corny in the 90's, or that America had bad taste, or a little bit of both, but the selection of videos you saw on these channels would probably not be what music executives would have chosen. But hey, it's what the people wanted. If you squint, you can see the roots of del.icio.us/popular and digg in this. To give you a sense of what you'd see on it, this Cool Chip and Chuck Chillout video was in heavy rotation for many months:

I seem to remember "Yo Mama's on Crack Rock" as another very popular jam.

Now the request: If you remember "The Box" and find any other corny videos online from that era, send their URLs my way. I'd love to make a playlist of them. Or if such a thing already exists online, point me in the right direction.

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QotD: Howdy Neighbor!

How well do you know your next-door neighbors?

My block is pretty tight. In fact, one or two of my neighbors might be Extraface readers. I knowingly let some of them siphon bits from my Wi-Fi network.

A few months ago when I was heading out for an LA trip early in the morning, my car wouldn't start. My neighbor across the street happened to be awake to hear me trying to get the starter to turn over, and was kind enough to take me to the dog boarding place to drop off Toofis and then to the airport, all at a moment's notice. it all worked out, and I would have most likely missed my flight otherwise.

I walk Toofis on the same route every morning, and it's become part of the ritual to chat with whoever is out in their yard, to find out the latest neighborhood gossip. That's how I first learned that Evander Holyfield's dad lives in my neighborhood, and that the city was coming to trim trees off of power lines a few days ago. And one of my favorite things to do when I get home from work is put my things away, grab Toofis and a beer, and sit outside on the curb unwinding with whoever's around.

We're going through a bit of a transition right now, as three families have sold or are in the process of selling and moving to bigger houses further out from the heart of the neighborhood. It seems to happen around the time they have their second kid.

When I first moved in i was known as "neighbor dave" for a while but now it's just Dave.

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QotD: The Best Part of Waking Up…

What's your morning beverage of choice?  Coffee, tea, juice?  Homemade or store-bought?

I make coffee at home. I grind the beans at the store — one fewer countertop gadget to worry about. I wastefully usually only drink a cup or two from the pot I brew at home, but make 4-6 cups because it tastes better that way. Often my travel thermos gets trapped at work, so there's no way to get the additional 2-3 cups of hot liquid to the office. So then I buy more coffee at my local (usually Joe's) on the way to work.

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QotD: Check the Mailbox!

What magazines do you subscribe to, and why?

The "and why" part of this is weird.
I get:

  • The Believer – McSweeney's's's's excellent magazine. I read it cover to cover. It's not quite as too-clever-for-its-own-good as your average McSweeneys product. Contains things that are good to learn about. The music issue is always grand.
  • London Review of Books – Great publication, and has good non-book-reviews too — like essays and diary entries. Sometimes I fear I enjoy book reviews more than books. i have discovered many books I've gone on to read through the LRB. I also prefer to get my political commentary via the occasional LRB essay on politics and news. When the stack gets too high, I take a few of them with me on business trips and polish them off. I'm trying to be disciplined and chuck (recycle, relax) them when I'm done reading them.
  • Wine Spectator (embarassing, but it was a gift)
  • Rolling Stone (which I do not read, but was free)
  • Stop Smiling (ok, I don't subscribe to this yet but I plan to) – a recent find. I need to give it another issue before I decide if I like it enough to become a subscriber. What I read had some great interview, including a Ricky Gervais one I referenced in this very space.
  • ReadyMade – I used to read it for project ideas. I'm now considering unsubscribing; it's gotten too lifestyly lately.
  • Chocolate Cake Monthly – Dad is great.

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Lining up shoes by the fireplace

"10/15/2005

I like to line up my shoes in front to of the fireplace."

A couple of good friends gave me a really nice blank journal last year. Although I write alot online, I've never been good at keeping a traditional "my inner thoughts" style paper journal. I did a fair bit of that growing up, and was never really happy with the result.

I'm a huge fan of Alan Bennett and all of his diarism and personal essay writing (not to mention his teleplays and the London Review of Books). I first ran into his stuff when I was living in London, and my roommate bought the audiobooks of his diaries. He gets it done, in a way I appreciate both as a failed practicioner and as a reader. It's as much in his choice of subject matter as it is in his writing style. He's good with ordinary details, the mechanics of storytelling, the personal — writing about regular things so that they matter to people other than himself without puffing everything up with false importance.

When I received the blank journal from my friends, I thought about how I could write more like Alan Bennett. I even thought about writing Alan Bennett to ask for some simple guidance on writing a worthwhile diary. I poked around for essays or books he's written on the subject, but couldn't find anything. I thought and thought and thought, and the only thing that felt write-worthy to me was the sentence you see at the top of the entry.

"I like to line up my shoes in front to of the fireplace."

And that's all that's in there, nearly a year later.

I was having a run-down, foul mood mess of a Sunday night tonight, and I noticed three pairs of shoes in disarray on my otherwise tidy living room floor. I'm the opposite of a neat freak and shoes in disarray would not normally register as troubling, but I just happened to have finished a rare weekend devoted to cleaning and home improvement. It wasn't that the shoes looked messy; I just felt like they needed to be put somewhere. Without thinking about what or why I carefully placed the shoes side-by-side at the fireplace, and felt some small but significant relief. Only after I stepped back and looked at them did I remember the sentence in the journal.

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