Sean Taylor RIP

I’ve trying to think of something to write about the death of the Redskins’ Sean Taylor, but the words have been eluding me. He’s not in my Monkeysphere, and isn’t as meaningful personally as Douglas Adams, but it’s hit me. Finally, someone wrote in to my favorite football writer’s blog with his take here

He was the one player on defense, more than anyone else, who represented a real hope for change, for greatness, for unlimited possibilities, for many great things to come. That is not to say that his death is just about football, certainly not, but to us as fans of a team that is what we lost. In some ways it is similar to what the players lost, though the future that was taken from them is more personal in that they lost a friend, someone they saw every day, someone they expected to see in the locker room and expected to talk to when they came back from Tampa. That is the future they lost.

Tori Amos – A Clavier

I’ve been on a Tori Amos kick. I got her A Piano collection recently, and listening to it before her show reminded me that her b-sides are not the lesser work – sometimes they’re better than the album cuts. I got interested in finding the ones I didn’t have, as well as eliminating some of the studio albums when the collection had most of the tracks. I tracked down used copies of the singles on or iTunes, and found the really old stuff in other places (some things I already had). I had no idea how much was out there – Y Kant Tori Read was a necessity, but I filled up a whole CD before I got there (unlike the collection, I prefer going chronologically). I did not include tracks from Strange Little Girls, Scarlet’s Walk, The Beekeeper or American Doll Posse. Only a handful of tracks on the collection were from Scarlet’s Walk or The Beekeeper, and Strange Little Girls and American Doll Posse weren’t represented at all (all covers and came out afterwards). Anyway, here’s the track list of my new collection – it runs 1 disc longer than the original:

Disc 1 – Ellen
Piano Improv – Wedding Performance, Spring 1978 (with Rev. Edison Amos presiding)
You Needed Me
You Light Up My Life
We’ve Only Just Begun
Baltimore – 1979 single
Walking With You
It’s A Happy Day – 1979 single
Keep On Trying – Ellen Amos reel-to-reel demos, 1980
Rubies And Gold
Just Ellen
Standing There
Someone To Lay Down Beside Me
Lonely Parade – 1985 demos
I Don’t Know How To Leave You
Trail Of Tears
Looking For El Dorado
Car Full Of Boys – 1987 demo
When I Was Dreaming – 1988 demo for Al Stewart
Distant Storm – 1988 Tess Makes Good – China O’Brien soundtrack

Disc 2 – Y Kant and Earthquakes
The Big Picture – Y Kant Tori Read 1988
Cool On Your Island
Fire On The Side
Floating City
Heart Attack At 23
On The Boundary
You Go To My Head
Etienne Trilogy
Ode To The Banana King – Silent All These Years 1992
Song for Eric
Humpty Dumpty – China 1992
Angie – Crucify 1992
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Thank You

Disc 3 – Pink and Pele
Ring My Bell – Ruby Trax Compilation 1992
Sarah Sylvia Cynthia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out – Speaking of Christmas and Other Things 1992
The Happy Worker – Toys soundtrack 1992
The Wrong Band – Under the Pink 1994
Space Dog
All The Girls Hate Her – God 1994
Over It
A Case Of You – Cornflake Girl 1994
If 6 Was 9
Strange Fruit
Butterfly – Higher Learning soundtrack 1995
Losing My Religion
Down By The Seaside – Encomium (with Robert Plant) 1995
Professional Widow – Boys for Pele 1996
Muhammad My Friend
Hey Jupiter

Disc 4 – Pele and Choirgirl
Way Down – Boys for Pele 1996
Little Amsterdam
Not The Red Baron
Agent Orange
In The Springtime Of His Voodoo
Graveyard – Caught a Lite Sneeze 1996
That’s What I Like Mick (The Sandwich Song)
Samurai – Talula 1996
Sister Named Desire
Amazing Grace/’Til The Chicken
London Girls
Talula (BT’s tornado mix) – Twister soundtrack 1996
Blue Skies – BT’s Ima 1996
Finn – Great Expectations soundtrack 1997
Paradiso Perduto
Black-Dove (January) – From The Choirgirl Hotel 1998

Disc 5 – Choirgirl, Venus and Girls
Raspberry Swirl – From The Choirgirl Hotel 1998
Liquid Diamonds
She’s Your Cocaine
Northern Lad
Pandora’s Aquarium
Do It Again – Spark 1998
Purple People (Christmas In Space)
Juárez – To Venus And Back 1999
Riot Poof
Spring Haze
Carnival – Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack 2000
After All – Strange Little Girl 2001
Only Women Bleed
Me And You – Hand Of Fate soundtrack 2001
Operation Peter Pan – A Sorta Fairytale 2002

Disc 6 – Scarlet and beyond
Mountain – Scarlet’s Web download 2002
Angels – Tales of a Librarian 2003
You Belong To Me – Mona Lisa Smile soundtrack 2003
Murder He Says
Ruby Through The Looking Glass – Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures 2004
Bug A Martini
Apollo’s Frock
Indian Summer
Garlands – The Beekeeper DVD 2005
My Posse Can Do – American Doll Posse DVD 2007
Miracle – American Doll Posse iTunes pre-order edition 2007
Drive All Night – American Doll Posse Borders edition 2007

Thanksgiving weekend

Thursday Jill had the kitchen prep to do as she’d volunteered to make mashed rutabaga and mashed turnip for Thanksgiving. I got up, took Illa for a long walk, then got ready. We met Mom at East Falls Church Metro, and she decided she wanted to drive over to Dad’s. We got there around 2:30, and I took 5 minutes to enjoy the nice warm weather on his dock before I went inside and started helping with dinner. My sister Sharon had invited a friend of hers and a family from El Salvador (whom we didn’t know what to expect from, but they were fine), and they were all out on the boardwalk while we finished getting dinner ready. We had quite a spread, turkey with all the trimmings, green beans, fruit salad with a vinaigrette, rolls and olives. We had 5 pies for dessert, and decided not to crack open the store bought ones (sweet potato and pumpkin), which left us with Mom’s pies: pecan, apple and pumpkin. I had some of the pecan and apple, very tasty as usual.

While we ate, the rain had come and brought a cold front, so we didn’t go outside (Dad’s deck was torn up as he was replacing it). Sharon and her crew had to leave as the family had later plans, and we didn’t stay much longer, as both Mom and Jill had to work the next day. We had a crazy dog when we came home, and I played with him a while and watched TV and Jill went to bed.

Friday I had to get up somewhat early and walk Illa over to the vet for some blood work and vaccines (most scheduled, but I found a tick on him several days back). That was a fun time in the waiting room, as he tried to get to every other dog and cat there (and he was mesmerized by the yowls of a cat being treated). I headed out after we got back home, then tried some of the Black Friday madness, didn’t find what I was looking for at Circuit City or Best Buy, but did hit the motherload of beer at Total Wine. I went to the googleplex to watch Beowulf, then hit Safeway to pick up another turkey (no leftovers from Dad’s) then fed some friends cats who were away. I made a lasagna for dinner while watching TV. After dinner Jill went to sleep (had a very long day), and I read and watched more TV.

Saturday I slept in, made breakfast, then started brining the turkey. We cuddled on the couch while watching Weird Al shows (yes, we’re strange), then Jill went out and I rinsed off the turkey and started roasting it with the 2 hour recipe (I know the brining called for an hour per pound, but it also said too little is better than too much) and made stuffing. I took a break while Jill mashed the potatoes, then came back when it was done and added the stuffing (if it can’t cook with it in, it can still keep warm with it in), then Jill made gravy. I got everything ready, then we dug in. Honestly, it was better than Thursday – the turkey had crisp skin but still was nice and juicy, and the stuffing was just how I liked it. Jill was done, but I stayed up a little longer reading.

Sunday I got up and Illa wanted to head out, so we did. I was surprised it was nice enough to go out in just a tshirt, so after we got back I swept off the deck and raked the leaves in the front before I made breakfast and had it on the deck. After the disappointing football game, I went online for a bit before grilling kielbasa for dinner and making spinach and a mustard sauce. Fair amount of TV watched this weekend, including a fair amount of South Park and Drawn Together (I hadn’t watched them in several seasons, but I’ve got time with the strike), finishing off my TV shows, Team America:World Police, and tonight I started Hogfather, which is good so far (I really like Michelle Dockery as Susan).

I. Have. Watched. Beowulf!

I’m not a big theater fan, but I am a Neil Gaiman follower, so I wanted to see the new film he cowrote. And I was pleased a friend liked it, so I was pumped to see it. Jill didn’t want to see it, so when I had yesterday off and she didn’t, I headed to the theater.

Now I’m no fan of the theater – I knew regular tix were $10, but $8 for a matinee? Plus $2.50 for 3D? Yet another reason I wait for most flicks to hit DVD or HBO (BTW, Eragon, which I also watched yesterday, was only worth watching at home). But I will say that watching a big action movie on the big screen in 3d was pretty cool.

The animation has progressed from the last film made that way, and I found that it didn’t matter, as it was most important the characters integrated with what ordinarily would always be CG (the dragon in Beowulf was much more real to me than the dragon in Eragon). From what I remembered from high school, the story was basically the same, but the motivation for Beowulf’s actions was easier to understand. And the action sequences were great, particularly the last one vs. the dragon.

The 3D integrated very well, mostly it seemed used during shot positions that could have been different. A couple times it was focused on, but never to the detriment of the story. And it was nice to see the trailer for Coraline in 3D (I’m really looking forward to that, not so much this).

Overall, I enjoyed it (but I really liked Stardust, too, so your mileage may vary).

Anansi Boys adaptation

The adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys for radio on BBC World Service is up until Saturday here. I just listened to it – it’s only an hour and abridged, but still keeps much of the flavour of the novel.