It’s one more random than 10!
This is the weekend before one of the biggest weekends we’ve had since Libby was born. We’re probably bidding on a house this weekend. Tuesday is the release of The Lovely Becky’s lovely The Countess. On Friday we close on our U.P. house, and it looks like this time it will be for reals.
The biggest is of course TLB’s book. The finished copies came a couple weeks ago, and I was filled with so much pride in my wife as we took the final version out of the box. She worked so hard on The Countess, and to see that hard work finally realized in a beautifully designed book filled me with a lot of happiness for her.
That’s one of the unheralded parts of marriage. You get to cheer for someone, to share their thrills, to make their happiness your happiness. Becky wrote a great book, which was made into a great looking book, and now it will hopefully have great success. I get to share all that with her.
Some of you can, too. She has a reading at the Sultzer Regional Library in Chicago on October 12 at 7:00 pm, and another in Milwaukee on October 16 at 2:00 p.m. at Boswell Book Company. Plus my dear wife is going to be on WGN on Tuesday at 11:30, getting interviewed at 11:30 am for the mid-day news. And all this comes after she got interviewed by Reuters last week. All that’s left is for her to pick out a new husband after she officially becomes a big deal.
As for me, I’m slowly revising my novel and, while the progress has been held up by things like cleaning crawl spaces, I’ve got 40 pretty solid pages, which is about 35 more solid pages than I’ve ever had, and I can feel myself slowly picking up steam again. The first part of the book is about 120 pages, and when I have that revised, I might be ready to send it out. I’m both excited and scared shitless by that prospect. But writing wouldn’t be fun without that combination of feelings.
1) “Carolina,” Josh Rouse. One of the things I like about having a big music collection is that I can get surprised when I’m randomly listening to it. I make a point to listen to everything at least once, but I had a period where I acquired more than I could keep up with. This is one of those acquisitions. So it’s nice when this bit of countrified pop pops up and gives me a very pleasant three minutes of enjoyment.
2) “1977,” The Clash. I know things have been bad in the last part of the ‘aughts, but as bad as the economy got, I don’t think the whole experience holds a candle to the late seventies. The late seventies sucked. There may be a lot of people who feel that our country is headed for the toilet, but in 1977, it felt like we were already looking up from the bottom of the bowl, and would have given anything to be back to the point of being held above it. The one upside was the malaise-rage salad of that decade fed great songs like this one.
3) “Hard to Explain,” The Strokes. I can’t listen to them without thinking of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog describing them as The Monkees with a drinking problem.
4) “Where Do I Begin,” The Chemical Brothers. The electronica equivalent of the power ballad, only instead of holding lighters in the air, we raise our glow sticks. I mean all of the preceding as a compliment, as I think this is a damn fine song.
5) “Congratulations,” Juliana Hatfield. This has MTV Buzz Bin production written all over it, and strangely I find mid-90s alternative (and mid-90s electronica for that matter) sounds more dated than 80s alternative, maybe because 80s alternative is currently the recycled style du jour right now (I’m looking at you, Killers). But this manages to surpass the legions of soft-loud-soft-loud Teen Spirit ripoffs that made 90s alternative both mainstream and eventually boring. I dig the crunch and the little obsessively dark lyrics. No video, which is too bad.
6) “Rock N Roll Singer,” Mark Kozelek. His acoustic cover of the classic AC/DC song, which transforms Bon Scott from the best dick-joke lyricist in rock history to something resembling a folky poet. Context is everything. Although this cover leaves off my favorite line from the song, “they wanted me to become a doctor or a lawyer-man.” Lawyer-man sounds so much cooler than just a lawyer.
7) “If I Can’t Change Your Mind,” Sugar. I guess alternative is here to stay on this week’s Random 11. I know it’s my mind attempting to superimpose order on random coincidence, but I love when I believe the iPod is really thinking, looking for patterns and maybe even reading what I’m writing and going, “oh, hey, what about adding Bob Mould to the Buzz Bin discussion?” Of course, while that would be cool, it could also be the start of the slippery slope toward self-aware AI that decides to enslave humanity under a radioactive cloud of sentient titanium-alloy tyranny.
8) “Everlong,” Foo Fighters. I rest my case. Of course, the iPod knows it can distract me from the Techno Tribulation End Days by selecting the best Foo Fighters song ever and one of the best songs from the 90s. I never tire of hearing this, especially the big rock finish after the quiet middle.
9) “So This Is Love?” Van Halen. An underrated track from an overrated band. I really don’t like even much of the classic Van Halen tracks much. Too overplayed, too oversexed, too undercooked, too underproduced. This, however, is a nice change of pace for them, a grooving track that still captures their strong points.
10) “Open All Night,” Bruce Springsteen. I think “open all night” may be the defining characteristic of modern America. You can drive around at any hour of the night and be confident you can get gas for your car and food for your belly. Even more, it’s become a greater expectation that you can find help at any hour of the day. I know if I need to call a company to ask about my account or discuss my service or whatever, I’m surprised if their customer service isn’t open 24/7. I think that’s kind of sad, even if I still expect it. Everyone deserves downtime, and more importantly, I think downtime is good for all of us.
11) “Poised and Ready,” Brendan Benson. You can never go wrong heading into a weekend with some nice power pop. Plus, I think TLB and I are poised and ready. We’re finally going to get closure on the U.P.—not that it was something awful, because it had a lot of nice moments. But we’re ready to move on. TLB is ready to move on after the mixed experience of her first book. And I’m ready to move on from being a wannabe writer to being an actual one, even if that involves getting the door slammed in my face, because that means I at least have something to reject.
Have a great weekend, and I hope I’ll see some of you at the readings this week!