Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Surfing’ Category

[LISTENED TO: Summer 2017] Danger Goes Berserk

After how much we loved Brixton Brothers Books 1 through 3 we were excited to get to Book #4 (which appears to be the final book since it has been six years, despite what was hinted at in the end).

However, there is no audio book!  No Arte Johnson guiding us through the mysteries of these teenage sleuths.  No one to say Rick (pause) Jerk.

Gasp.

So we did the next best thing.  S. read it to us on a long car ride.  This is second best because it’s exhausting for S. to read out loud for that long and to have the constant complaints of “can you turn it up” which makes me laugh every time one of the kids says it.

It was great to be involved with Steve Brixton and his chum Dana once again.

The detectives are back (in Steve’s hilarious new office) and there are two cases to look into.  One is about surfing.

The other is about… gym shorts.

Someone has been stealing Brody Owen’s gym shorts.  Brody even paid Steve to take the case.  But Steve doesn’t want to take it.  Both because it’s stupid and because he’s got more important, bigger cases to deal with. (more…)

Read Full Post »

1965 SOUNDTRACK: TIME FOR THREE-Tiny Desk Concert #291 (July 27, 2013).

time for 3Time for Three are a string trio who play many types of music.  There are two violinists Zachary De Pue and Nick Kendall with a double bassist Ranaan Meyerand.  And over the course of their three songs (all original) they play classical, jazz, bluegrass and just about everything in between.

“Banjo Love,” features two contrary violin solos which get support from Meyer’s expressively propulsive bass.  It opens with the two guys strumming the violins before breaking into some lovely bowed playing.  Both violinists switch off solos (the blond player is a bit faster and more “showoffy” (but great)).  There’s even a bit of a bass solo after which the three guys all make a big grunt before continuing to the end of the song.

They say they are honored to be on the Tiny Desk series and compliment them on their new offices.

“Sundays” is a slow piece that features lots interesting bass parts behind the slow violin melodies.

They have funny stories about the origins of their songs.  “Don Don” is so named because the baseline goes don… don.  This has more of a bluegrass fiddle feel than a classical feel.  It’s super fast and fun with perfect slides and solos to really keep the song moving.

The notes say that they wished the guys played more, and I do too.  Interestingly I see that they have covered Daft Punk and Kanye West, so I guess they’re up for just about anything.

[READ: December 8, 2015] The Complete Peanuts 1965-1966

A whole bunch of ideas that I think of as BIG PEANUTS ideas come along in this book.  May of 1965 introduced the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm and Snoopy’s desire to meet his siblings.   In July of 1965 we get the first instance of snoopy at the typewriter writing “it was a dark and stormy night.”  We see Charlie Brown refer to the tree as a “kite eating tree” for the first time.  In July 1965 it’s the first time I can recall seeing the phrase “jelly bread.”  It’s the first appearance of Snoopy as Beau, the World War 1 flying ace (Oct 1965).  And in September 1966 we get the first appearance of Peppermint Patty!

The pop culture references seem to have dimmed somewhat too, although in January 1965, Linus cries “Annette Funicello has grown up!”

The “Happiness is” quotes are fewer, although Lucy squeezes Snoopy and says “Felicitas est parvus canis calidus,” which is Latin for “Happiness is a Warm Puppy.”   Of course later when he kisses her she freaks out “get some disinfectant, get some iodine” and he says “next time I’ll bite her on the leg.”

Linus’ blanket also takes on a mind of its own in March 1965 actually hissing at and attacking Lucy. (more…)

Read Full Post »

47_2_(1) SOUNDTRACK: MARY MARGARET O’HARA-Christmas E.P. (1991)

marymarMary Margaret O’Hara is a fascinating recluse.  She released a cool, weird  album in 1988 then did nothing for three years when she released this Christmas EP.  Since then she hasn’t really released anything (except for a soundtrack).

O’Hara’s voice is her most notable feature (she warbles and swoons and is almost otherworldly–sometimes crazily so).  She is the backing shrieker in Morrissey’s “November Spawned a Monster.”  So one expects a pretty weird Christmas album from her.

 But it’s actually fairly conventional and I have to admit a bit dull.  “Blue Christmas” is just too slow for me.  O Hara’s voice doesn’t have any oomph here.  The cheesy violin solo doesn’t help either.  “Silent Night” is, I feel, too pretty of a song for O’Hara’s voice which wobbles in weird ways for this track.  “What Are You Doing New Years Eve?” suffers from the same as everything else on this disc–it’s too slow and languid.  I know this song can be wistful, but I need this to be faster.  “Christmas Evermore” fares the best on this disc because it isn’t familiar (to me).  The music is a bit more uptempo (if still eccentric).  And you don’t have other version to compare it to.

So, overall this proves to be a somewhat disappointing EP.

[READ: December 5, 2014] McSweeney’s 47

I love McSweeney’s issues that come in boxes with lots of little booklets.  It somehow makes it more fun to read the stories when they are in little booklets with individual covers.  In this instance, all of the booklets look basically the same–ten different cool pencil (and red) drawings on the cover done by Carson Murdach and a red back cover.  The outer slipcase art is by Jason Polan.

There are ten booklets.  One has a few letters and the rest are short stories.  There’s even a surprise in here–the very exciting discovery of two lost Shirley Jackson stories.  But there’s also the slightly disappointing realization that two of the books contain excerpts from McSweeney’s books (which I already own).

LETTERS: (more…)

Read Full Post »

10SOUNDTRACK: FATHER JOHN MISTY-Fear Fun (2012).

fjmI can’t get over how much I’ve been enjoying this album for the last two years.  Father John Misty is J Tillman from Fleet Foxes.

This disc is a gentle folk album with vaguely country leanings.  The arrangements are spare and yet the verses and choruses are so great to sing along to. “Funtimes in Babylon” has this infectious chorus: “I would like to abuse my lungs, smoke everything in sight with every girl I’ve ever loved.  Ride around the wreckage on a horse knee deep in mud.  Look out, Hollywood, here I come.”  “Nancy from Now On” has a great propulsive chorus with oohs and tinkling bells and pianos and Misty’s engaging falsetto.

I was introduced to this album by “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” which opens with the super catchy line, “Jeeeeesus Christ, girl.”  I love the big crashing drum sound he has here.  “I’m Writing a Novel” is a fun romp, with the great line “I’m writing a novel because it’s never been done before.”  “O I Long to Feel Your Arms Around Me” introduces a great organ sound.  It’s a full song at only 2 and a half minutes.

“Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2” opens with a slide guitar and turns into a stomping song with more Ooohs and a great chorus.  “Only Son of the Ladiesman” has a great chorus with the fun couple: “I’m a steady hand, I’m a Dodgers fan.”  “This is Sally Hatchet” has cool guitar blasts and a great bridge.

“Well You Can Do It Without Me” is a countrified 2 minute stomper.  “Tee Pees 1-12” is a big stompin’ honkey tonk song with fiddles and slide guitar.  The disc ends with “Everyman Needs a Companion” a slow ballad with a great piano melody and a fun to sing along with verse and chorus.

I love the lyrics on this album, especially the song “Now I’m Learning to Love the War” a slow ballad with a great story:

Try not to think so much about
The truly staggering amount of oil that it takes to make a record
All the shipping, the vinyl, the cellophane lining, the high gloss
The tape and the gear

Try not to become too consumed
With what’s a criminal volume of oil that it takes to paint a portrait
The acrylic, the varnish, aluminum tubes filled with latex
The solvents and dye

Lets just call this what it is
The gentler side of mankind’s death wish
When it’s my time to go
Gonna leave behind things that won’t decompose

In addition to all of the great music on here, the CD packaging is fantastic with that great cover, done in a cardboard gatefold sleeve including two huge books full of words and drawings and lyrics and everything.  I’m really looking forward to his next release.

[READ: September 14, 2014] Grantland #10

Despite my being in the middle of reading several other things, I was looking for a short article to read the other night and grabbed my Grantland 10.  And, of course, once I started, I couldn’t stop. I put everything else on hold and blasted through this issue.

And so all of my loves and hates are the same with this issue.  I never know how anything they talk about nearly a year ago turned out, which stinks.  And yet I get so wrapped up in the writing that I don’t care.  I’m not sure what it is about the writing for Grantland that i enjoy so much.  It is casual but knowledgeable.  Often funny but not obnoxiously silly. And I suppose that now I feel like I’m in on all of the secret stuff they talk about so I’m part of the club.  I fear that if I were to ever go to the website I would get sucked into a black hole and never emerge.

I often wonder how they choose what goes into the book.  This issue has some new writers and the surprising absence of some regulars.  I wonder what went on there.  And as always, the book could use some editing and maybe actually listing the urls of the links that were once in the online version.  But I think I’m talking to deaf ears on that one.

This issue covers October-December 2013 (that’s ten-twelve months ago!  Some of this stuff feels ancient!)

(more…)

Read Full Post »

waterSOUNDTRACK: TRACY SILVERMAN-Tiny Desk Concert #368 (June 28, 2014).

Ttracyracy Silverman is an electronic violinist. In addition to playing the violin, he uses loops to build his sound (I love how many people are using loops these days).  Not only that, he has created his own violin–a six string with frets on the three low strings.  (It’s also shaped more like a guitar than a violin). He gets an incredible breadth of sound out of it (and he is an amazing violinist as well).

He plays three tracks. The first is “Matisse: La Danse,” which really shows off the breadth of his instrument and the effects that he uses.

The second piece he introduces by saying how much he loves listening to NPR and composer BJ Liederman.  So for the second song, which he calls “Sonata No. 4, Opus 37 “All Notes Considered”” he uses pieces of the themes from All Things Considered and Morning Edition.  It’s at once familiar and new, and it’s quite pretty.  He then takes a video of the studio for his Facebook feed.

The final song “Axis And Orbits/Mojo Perpetuo” opens with a trippy pizzicato section, which sounds echoey and almost underwater.  As that section loops, he plays slow, long bowed notes that seems to bring you into outer space.  By the end, after some interesting scratchy guitar-like sounds, he moves into a much faster solo section which really shows of his chops.

I’d never heard of Silverman before but I was pretty impressed with his technique and technology.  It’s a pretty wild ride of music–such diversity and unexpected sounds our of a simple (or not) violin.

[READ: July 5, 2014] Water Baby

I recognized the art from Ross Campbell immediately.  He writes and draws Wet Moon and I find his style (he draws women who are very powerful and very sexual) arresting and confrontational.  This book almost seems like it doesn’t belong at Minx, which tended to skew a little younger.  Even though these girls prove to be younger than I thought, their dress (or lack of—there’s a lot of underwear and tight shirts) is quite risqué (although it proves to be less explicit that Wet Moon).

The story itself was rather unexpected as well.  Brody is a surfer girl. She has cool punky hair and a rocking bod.  But in the first few pages, she is out on the water when she is attacked by a shark and loses a leg.  When she wakes up her best friend Louisa is there, taking care of her.  Since Brody’s mom is working full time, she asks if she can stay with Louisa —the answer is yes, and Louisa becomes an essential part of Brody’s life.  Many of Campbell’s stories focus on the young people, rather than the parents.

Brody soon learns to use a prosthetic leg (and crutches when necessary), but she can’t stop dreaming about the shark (which gets bigger in her dreams and sometimes has legs or comes through walls—it’s pretty terrifying).

Brody gets a call from Jake, and old boyfriend.  Brody hates Jake now and even says she’s off of boys for good.  But he shows up anyhow—he’s blond and hot and maybe a little stupid.  Stupid or not he is a total mooch and he asks to crash with them for a few days.  Jake is clearly crushing on Brody, but he is also making moves on Louisa (who has bigger boobs and tighter shirts).  He even brings a third girl over to fool around with (which freaks out everyone else in the house). But it’s not until the girls wake up one morning to see that Jake has thrown up all over their house that they evict him—which means an immediate drive to Rochester NY. (more…)

Read Full Post »

  9SOUNDTRACK: UNIVORE-“Vampire” (2013).

univoreI never watch the ads that come before Youtube videos.  But this came on as an ad and I was utterly mesmerized by it.

I didn’t even know what it was for.  Turns out that Univore is a band and “Vampire” is one of their songs.  The 1 minute ad video was actually the whole thing.

It’s got a simple buzzy synthesized riff, backing vocalists singing “Oh yea” when appropriate and an occasional deep voiced man saying “vampire.”  The video is of an older gentleman (who a little research suggests is Marco Casale) dressed like a vampire running around a small green space on a campus.  The whole video looks like it took 15 minutes to film.  It is weird and wonderful.

I still know nothing about Univore, which may be for the better, but I did enjoy this video.

[READ: April 6, 2014] Grantland #9

I’m surprised that there aren’t better cover images online for these books.  For #8 i had to use one with a big flash in the middle of it and this one is the illustration from the Grantland website.  The books are quite pretty so why uses these pale imitations?

So this issue proved to be a lot better about weird typos and “we just took this from the web and pasted it and never bothered to check to see if there was anything weird” problems.  So thanks for at least running it through Spellcheck.  The only other thing left is to either remove the lines that talk about attached links/images if they are not there or to include the url or make up a tiny url (but that would be actual work!).  Oh, and please make sure all of the footnotes are included.

I have given up on ever finding out how these things turned out several months after the fact–I’ll just happily live in ignorance of reality there.

This issue was taken from during basketball’s downtime which was a nice change (even though the still managed to talk about basketball).  There was more pop culture and some wonderful articles about team nicknames and mascots–something I absolutely love.  So this is one of my favorite issues overall.  (more…)

Read Full Post »

[WATCHED: October 11, 2013] Pearl Jam interviews

lightning bowlToday is the release date for Pearl jam’s new album, Lightning Bolt. I have heard two songs from it (the fast and furious “Mind Your Manners” and the gorgeous “Sirens”) and I’m quite excited to hear the whole thing.  For the release of the album, Pearl Jam has decided to do some interviews.  But not with the usual suspects.  Rather, they have done four exclusive interviews with surfer Mark Richards, NFL player Steve Gleason, all around awesome lady Carrie Brownstein and director Judd Apatow.

The Mark Richards interview is available in excerpted form here.  I’m not sure how long the whole interview is.  But from the edited down video, we see that he interviewed all five of them for a bit (and then Stone, Jeff and Mike) and then Eddie.  A surfer seems like a reasonable person t ask them about their music and they clearly feel very comfortable with him.  (The video above is about 5 minutes). (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: SPARE THE ROCK, SPOIL THE CHILD PODCAST (2005-present).

Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child started as a small radio show in Massachusetts and is now syndicated to whomever wants it.

In browsing their playlists, I see a wonderful selection of tunes for kids (and adults).  There is a definite They Might Be Giants connection (I gather they did the theme song).  But in between bands like Deedle Deedle Dees, Trout Fishing in America and Wee Hairy Beasties, they also play Superchunk (“Hyper Enough”), NoMeansNo (“Joy”) The Beastie Boys (“Intergalactic”) and Firewater (!) (“Ponzi’s Revenge).  These are songs that any kid would love and the fit in very well with some of the more energetic music featured in the rest of the show.

You can see their blog site here.  You can listen to the archives (and subscribe) here.

[READ: November 5, 2012] The Flying Beaver Brothers and The Evil Penguin Plan 

I stumbled upon this book at the library.  I’m always looking for books for the kids, and this graphic novel seemed great for Clark to read before bed.  It turned out that Sarah really liked it and so did Tabitha and now so did I.

Maxwell Eaton III has written several different children’s books, like The Adventures of Max and Pinky which we loved, and Two Dumb Ducks, which was okay.  But we loved The Flying Beaver Brothers.  The brothers are Ace and Bub.  Ace loves adventure!  (The opening sequence is awesome!).  You can see his surfboard by the door and everything.  Bub, on the other hand, would much rather simply nap.  But it is time for the annual island surfing contest and Ace stands a good chance of winning, that is, if the huge beaver, Bruce, doesn’t get in their way (he wouldn’t be plotting something nefarious would he?). (more…)

Read Full Post »

After enjoying yet another article from Outside, I figured it was time to subscribe, you know, give the magazine makers some money for their work.

I decided to wait for three issues to offer a verdict because the first two were really disappointing.  Subscriptions run $2 an issue with a list price of $7.  I haven’t really talked about subscription prices of other magazines before but this one is quite high.  It’s staggeringly high for the amount of ads that are in the magazine, too.  They have a half a dozen advertorials which look like articles (which I hate) and all those personals in the back.  Plus the mag is littered with ads for gear (which I know gear people love but still  it should impact the price of the magazine.  Sheesh).

So the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past were personal stories (from the likes of Wells Tower, etc).  They are extended pieces by reasonably famous authors and they have a great voice.  In the issues I’ve received so far, the feature stories have been the 50 Best Jobs and Are You Tough Enough?  That Jobs one seems like a fun article and indeed the places they chose were interesting.   Although this was more of a fluff piece than a real article–no one is getting a job looking at these companies–certainly not just because they read about it here.  Also, note that none of the companies are East of the Mississippi.  There’s also later article on adventure seeking entrepreneurs.  Yawn.  I gather that the Are You Tough enough type of article is the real meat and potatoes of the magazine, with headlines like “Eat Like a Champion” and “Surfing Monster Waves,” the actual target audience for this magazine must be slim indeed.  I know it’s not me. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: MY MORNING JACKET-“Our World” (2011).

This song comes from the The Green Album, the grown- up-bands-cover-the-Muppets album.  I can’t remember if I knew this song to begin with or if I have just listened to this record enough that it sounds so familiar.

Although MMJ have been getting into some crazy electronic and heavy music as of late, this is a very mellow song.  It opens with a banjo!  And while more instruments come in, it stays pretty true to what you’d think the Muppets would sing.

(Aha, thanks internet.  It appeared in Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas).   It’s a really pretty song (Paul Williams knew his way around a ballad, huh?) and this is a very nice cover.

[READ: April 16, 2011] Babymouse: Beach Babe

This the third Babymouse book opens with Babymouse dreaming (of course).  But this time she’s dreaming of surfing!  And she can hang ten (and other surfing lingo) with the best of them.  Until a card says “Too Terrible to See.”  But when she wakes up she has wonderful news…it’s the last day of school!

We also see, to my understanding, the first real encounter with Squeak, Babymouse’s little brother.  When Babymouse runs for the bus, Squeak follows her calling out her name.  She tells him to go home and we see poor Squeak by the side of the road, looking dejected.

But we’re soon back at school, and during the film strip, Babymouse imagines she is the Little Mermaid.  But when she wakes up, the bell rings and school’s out for the summer!

When her parents tell them they’re going on vacation, she has an instant flashback to their terrible vacation last year (and the lack of “facilities” at the camp ground).  But this vacation is going to be different–they’re going to the beach!  And she is super excited…until the drive takes for-

ev-

er.

There’s even a surprising dream sequence about all the trees that she sees on the way down.

When they finally arrive, there’s all the usual beach fun and danger (sunburn!) and Babymouse gets to try her hand at surfing like in her dreams.

It was right around this time that I guessed that the beach that Matthew Holm was drawing was at the Jersey Shore.  And indeed, it is.  The end credits say that the Holms used to vacation at the Jersey Shore.

The book ends with that other classic childhood trauma–having a younger sibling and getting tired of playing with him or her on vacation.  When Babymouse complains about Squeak once too often, he takes it very personally.  And suddenly the story becomes a little frightening and quite touching.

For a snarky series, this one is surprisingly moving.  I wonder if having this book third helped establish that sensitive side of Babymouse (which seems to be missing in later books).  Good for you Babymouse!

Read Full Post »