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We saw Mates of State last night at the Annex; it's our fourth time seeing them, including the show at which we first met. Before their set, Emily went up to the stage to tell Kori, the keyboardist/singer, how we'd met and ask if they would dedicate a song to us -- and she did! Emily picked "Whiner's Bio", and it was the fourth or so song of their set.

When they talked about us, they asked us to point ourselves out, and then had us come up on stage and dance during the song. This was OK, except I kind of wanted to digicam that song, and I couldn't really do it while dancing. I did get her intro, though -- 10MB MPEG video here. Later on, everybody kept asking us if we were the two that met at the show, and some guy wanted to buy us beers. So now we're famous.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Around Madison ... Music ... Permalink ...
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for reasons, both physical and personal, the band has decided to make next thursday, september 29th at Schuba's the final Troubled Hubble show. it's been an amazing journey for all of us over the last six years, and we're so thankful to all of our friends and family for supporting us along the way, not to mention all the amazing friends and fans we've met all over the country. you have no idea how much we'll miss seeing you!

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Music ... Permalink ...
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"I bet it makes you laugh/watching me work so hard to reach you."

Halfway through Somebody's Miracle, the second album of the glossy, radio pop reinvention of Liz Phair's career, the first single opens with that couplet and kicks off the most telling, depressing series of three songs I've heard in years.

I've written about Liz Phair's tranformation from an honest-to-god indie rock artiste to a top 40 commodity before, but the character of Somebody's Miracle (due out in October, but on the P2P networks already) is something different than the work-for-hire party girl mania of 2003's self-titled paradigm shift. It was clear before that Phair was forcibly wedging her own songwriting style into line with what the people from the Matrix (Avril Lavigne, Lillix, um... Pink, I think) were trying to do; the results were awkward, for the most part. But on Somebody's Miracle, she appears to have jettisonned the fake-y obvious approach of the Matrix for the genuine obvious approach of Sheryl Crow. Her songs are generally more melancholy than those of Liz Phair, but no more interesting; if anything, they're blander.

Click to read more

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Music ... Permalink




Last week, I reread the Warren Ellis Forum thread about planes hitting the World Trade Center. I considering excerpting snippets of it for humorous effect here -- mainly the predictions that came tragically true and the ones that were way off the mark ("I don't there's anyone for us to go to war with.") -- but ultimately decided that weeding out the "Are you OK?" and "I'm so glad you're OK!" posts would be too much work.

Instead, a selection of out-of-context things I've written in e-mails over the last few years.

Nov. 19, 2002
"I'm thinking about dropping irony in favor of futurism as a worldview but I don't think I'm ready yet. Part of me still thinks romanticism has some merit and a bigger part wants to stick with the security blanket of irony. Also, I'm not fully forward-looking enough for futurism. I've been thinking a lot about documentary filmmaking lately, which is hardly futurist."

Ha ha ha ha ha; fuck futurism. (It's worth noting that the entire message that comes from is soaking in irony from start to finish.)

Jan. 5, 2003
"You should try grad school. It's impossible to fail. You can decide, for weeks at a time, that the whole thing is stupid and pointless and you won't participate anymore and they'll still give you A's."

I stand by this 100%.

Feb. 2, 2003
"And also, there's a shortcut to scoring all kinds of class participation points -- all you have to do is question why the topic at hand matters. Most doctoral types will be dumbfounded and you look like a total theoretical genius."

Probably I'll need to delete this post when I go out on the job market.

Mar. 5, 2003
"Does the Bible forbid pre-marital lip contact now? I mean, OK, I guess I could reasonably see not having sex first, even though that's also completely silly, if you're hyper-religious or just somehow not into it or whatever. But kissing? Presumably you're going to kiss your spouse fairly often. What if they suck at it? How can you look into your new partner's eyes and say, 'Baby, you know I love you and nothing could ever change that, but what the hell are you trying to do with your tongue? I mean, is that some kind of wave or something? Help me out, here.'"

And then later...

Mar. 5, 2003
"OK, so Texas does have at least one redeeming quality."

Are these statements connected? You be the judge.

Mar. 20, 2003
"She said she decided not to bring up ninjas, superheroes or porn this time. I asked her what kind of guys did she think she was meeting if they didn't like ninjas, superheroes or porn. ... Idiots have popular singles bars in which to meet other idiots. What do we get?"

This one worked out in the long run.

Mar. 20, 2003
"As for falling in love, I don't know. I equate the anxiety to not knowing if your friends at school are still your friends when summer vacation rolls around. It's an insane amount of giving with no expectation of return. The cynic in me thinks it's probably an unnatural state based on a highly pervasive mental condition. The romantic in me agrees but doesn't care."

So did this one, as it turned out.

Apr. 10, 2003
"Trying to give everyone hickeys was maybe a tad more eccentric than usual, but still mostly reasonable."


Apr. 28, 2003
"We found a big tin full of antique soap down in the basement -- I suggested that maybe there's a burgeoning market for ancient soaps on eBay."

There's not.

Sep. 22, 2003
"Empirical evidence can be found to show many things but I don't think mere empirical evidence will turn Pinocchio into a real boy, and that's what it feels like Barton is getting at."

Yeah! Take that, Barton!

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
The World at Large ... Permalink ...
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Here's what happened.

Emily called me this morning from the Wednesday market in Milwaukee. She said there was a flock of pigeons poking around some old popcorn and that one of the pigeons was, in fact, a yellow and green parakeet. A few hours later she called me again to tell me we had a new bird; some lady had managed to toss a sweater over the bird, which then squirmed out and flew up to Emily's arm.

It looks pretty young to me, and/or a little beat up. I can't tell if it's male or female, but it seems pretty OK around people and the other birds. We have named it Pigeon.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Around Madison ... Permalink ...
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I finally got all my new equipment integrated into the network, and have gotten my black and white film (yes, film) pictures from Vegas scanned and uploaded to Flickr. Color film shots still to come.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
The World at Large ... Permalink




I've just added a list of upcoming events on interest in the Madison area (courtesy of Upcoming.org and Greg Knauss), which I hope will make those of you in crappier cities jealous. Also, it will help me remember what I need to get tickets for, etc.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Administration ... Permalink




Quoth Russert:

Second-guessing is easy, but it is also, I think, a requirement of those in a free society to challenge their government, when the primary function of the government is to protect its citizens and they haven't been protected.

I suspect fewer Republicans than Timmy thinks would agree with this, but it is, indeed, the central tenet of representative democracy.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




I have never taken seriously the various movements to impeach George Bush, either as policy or politics, for several reasons. The main one is that I think President Dick Cheney, as official rather than shadow President, would be even worse than Bush. I no longer believe this to be the case.

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

I believe that Cheney, for all his many faults, understands better how to implement a democratic tyranny than Bush does, and would never be quite so incompetent, nor stupid enough to so overtly betray that incompetence. Cheney would not be surrounded by concentric filters to keep scary information away from him until the last minute. Cheney would have been able to understand on Saturday what was about to happen, rather than spending an additional four days reading The Pet Goat playing guitar and eating cake.

It's time for us all to understand that dangerous incompetence is worse than dangerous competence every time. Even if it takes until 2007, which would potentially allow Cheney to reign for close to a full decade, Bush must be removed for our own safety. Whatever comes next -- be it the big one in San Francisco, more massive blackouts in the northeast, a midwest shock freeze or a major terrorist attack -- we are not ready, and we never will be with Bush as President.

[LATE UPDATE: Turns out Cheney stayed on his vacation at least through Wednesday as well. Still, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" has kind of a "If the President does it it's not illegal" ring to it.]

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink