Books I’ve read, week fourteen

23. Scars
Writer: Warren Ellis Artist: Jacen Burrows
Another disturbing tale. Warren Ellis is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and I’m looking forward to reading his first novel (also in the reading pile). I love his takes on superheroes and gonzo types, but when he goes for the throat, he doesn’t hold back. This story of a cop already devastated by tragedy facing the worst that humans can do is nearly unbearable, but unfortunately based in fact. B-

A well deserved prize

The Washington Post (that rag I read cover to cover every day) won 6 Pulitzers today, and besides the usual suspects, Gene Weingarten won one. It was for his Washington Post Magazine story on whether or not people really stop and sniff the flowers by seeing how many people paid attention to violinist Joshua Bell playing for change at a Metro subway stop.

It was quoted around the world and made into sermons. It’s my favorite article from the Magazine and certainly one of Gene’s best ideas. It helps to explain why I don’t just pay attention to big names in music, I’ll try just about anything – you never know where you’ll find quality. It’s a funny article, but also moving.

If you’ve already read the magazine article, you should look at it online to see the accompanying video, or go here to hear the whole performance. And here’s Dave Barry on the honor.

Edited to add: Gene’s speech at the announcement (about 6:08 in).

Overindulgence (sun, comics, dogs)

Saturday was a great lazy day. The sun was shining, and after I made breakfast, started soaking beans for dinner and did some auction prep, I had nothing that needed doing. So I took advantage of the nice day, and spent hours on the deck, listening to CDs and reading the newspaper and two months of comics. I usually spend about a max of two hours reading out there and don’t use sunscreen, so it didn’t occur to me to use it. I needed it, as now I’ve got some sunburn – some on my arms, but mostly on my knees and lower legs (thank goodness for aloe). I made a ham and bean soup for dinner while I watched some South Park. After dinner Jill was studying for a test, and I’d read so much I didn’t feel like reading, so I watched The Lion King (we’re going to see the musical in August) and did some more auction prep.

Today it was cooler and rainy, but I didn’t want to go out (other than taking Illa out, of course). I started another auction and finished one from last week, which took most of the early afternoon. We took Illa with us over to my mom’s in the evening for my dad’s birthday. Illa and her dog, Tati, had a good time playing while I started the grill for the steaks. We had a good meal and a fun evening, but at the end we tried to have the dogs together in the living room. Neither of them is very socialized with other dogs and kept trying to play with each other. Mom and I finally got them settled, but it took a lot of energy holding them back. We left not long after that, as I was tired and Jill still had some studying to do.

Gary Louris at the State Theatre

I headed over to the State Theatre last night with Linda. She was interested in seeing Todd Wright playing with Chelsea Lee (as he often does these days, she’s an up and comer) while I couldn’t resist going to see Gary Louris (from The Jayhawks). It was a cool, rainy night and I wasn’t looking forward to parking blocks away and walking over, but Linda had good parking karma and managed to get a spot in the lot, so we walked in with a good 10 minutes to spare. The place wasn’t that crowded, and we even found a couple tables unoccupied ($10 minimum each to sit there, but that isn’t a problem for me at a place with Magic Hat #9 on draft).

Chelsea came out with Todd, and they did a good short set. The strongest original was “Til Morning Comes”, showcased both of them. Their highlight was a cover of “Here Comes The Rain Again”. Chelsea did an admirable Annie Lennox impression, but Todd was the standout, using loops to create a wall of sound, even singing into his guitar pickup (at first I thought he was trying to play with his teeth). We went out afterwards and chatted with them, Daniel Brindley and Chelsea’s folks. Vetiver was playing second and backing Gary up. I’d listened to some of their stuff and liked it ok, so I made sure to catch the last half of their set – not bad, but I’m not sure I’d go see them headline.

Gary Louris

Gary came out next, and quickly established that it doesn’t matter who he’s playing with (which also included Jim Boquist on slide), he makes it sound like The Jayhawks – and that’s a good thing. I like his new album, but it works better live with Jayhawks songs mixed in. “Vagabonds” and “She Only Calls Me On Sundays” were new standouts, but classic tracks like “Waiting For The Sun” and “Save It For A Rainy Day” got big crowd responses, especially since ex-Jayhawk Stephen McCarthy joined in on the latter song. For the encore Gary came out solo, playing other greats “Angelyne” and “Settled Down Like Rain”. But it wouldn’t be a classic without one of the greatest songs of all time, “Blue“, with the whole band – those harmonies get me every time.

Books I’ve read, week thirteen

18. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Writer: John Berendt
I’d seen the movie years ago, but hadn’t read the book, and felt it was an appropriate thing to read by the pool in Savannah. Fast moving fiction/non-fiction blend. B-

19. Requiem (Star Trek:New Frontier: Book 9)
20. Renaissance (Star Trek:New Frontier: Book 10)
21. Restoration (Star Trek:New Frontier: Book 11)
Writer: Peter David
I started reading the Star Trek:New Frontier series last year (well, rereading the first four, then continuing on), nice for traveling since they’re paperbacks. Set within the universe we all know, but with a new crew and ship, Peter David shows a sure hand at mixing elements known and unknown, with his usual humor. B

22. The Damnation Game
Writer: Clive Barker
Downright disturbing, and unlike similar Stephen King novels no one to really root for, and a downbeat ending. Barker gets better later, but I won’t be picking this up again. C

Rickroll Day

Instead of a sophisticated prank like Google’s, had all of their videos on their home page commit a Rickroll. In related news, here’s Rick’s thoughts on the phenomenon:

If this had happened around some kind of rock song, with a lyric that really meant something — a Bruce Springsteen, “God bless America” … or an anti-something kind of song, I could kind of understand that,” Astley said. “But for something as, and I don’t mean to belittle it, because I still think it’s a great pop song, but it’s a pop song; do you know what I mean? It doesn’t have any kind of weight behind it, as such. But maybe that’s the irony of it.

Also, check out these fine ThinkGeek April Fool’s items:
Defendius Labyrinth Security Lock
Betamax to HD-DVD Converter