Thursday, February 12, 2004

Listmania!

Wha, 2 posts in 1 day? W00t! Well, sometimes I like to kick it old skool (i.e. 2 weeks ago when I first started blogging and posted 2-3 times daily). Too bad this is the recurring post I know everybody hates.....5 things I'm enjoying this week:

1. Cidade de Deus (City of God) [Watch the Trailer] [Buy It]
Finally saw this with subtitles. Holy shit. I first saw it in Rio before my Portuguese was up to snuff, in a theater not so far from the actual favela that gives the film its name—I have a tendency to see controversial films in the towns where they take place, I guess. Now I'm glad I had that plot-free chance to just soak in how beautiful and horrifying the movie is, and how virtuostic—really the only way to describe it—Fernando Meirelles's directing is. And the editing, god, fucking rotary-sanded. Also, I know this sounds really snotty (as opposed to my normal attitude), but if you don't understand Portuguese you miss all these great jokes/puns that frequently lighten the dire mood of the film (most have to do with that damn chicken).

2. Diesel Sweeties [www.dieselsweeties.com]
The world's only greatest "pixellated robot romance web comic" (new strip every weekday) is not only hilarious and spot-on in its deconstruction of mid-20s indie malaise but a wonder to behold: all the characters—the horny robot, the oft-abused alt-poseur, the grandfatherly Mac, even the porn star with bowel problems—are rendered in a quite fetching ASCII/old-skool Nintendo/ATARI style. The true marker of the comic's digital age greatness, however, is that the dialogue is in "A-list" Blogger Jason Kottke's famed online font Silkscreen. Pure genius! With its convoluted soap opera relationships, DS is worth reading from the first comic, though I'm partial to recent strips about the faux vanity and self-involvedness of blogs. "Jesus helps me trick people!" (also available as a t-shirt). More on DS straight from the horse's mouth.

3. Ice Cream Floats [Recipes]
My longing for cooler than cool (ice cold!) soda fountain treats is a direct result of both a recent spate of "warmer" weather in Boston and a mid-20s indie malaise that's left me aching to return to the Norman Rockwell/Mayberry innocence of my childhood. (Ah, the 1940-50s: when Strange Fruit hanged from the trees, women knew their place or else you slapped the uppity bitches, gays were beaten up and left to die in cornfields....Those were the days.) Uh, when I was a kid, every Friday after (elementary) school I would get an orange sherbet float from the local ice cream parlor—that is, until one day my bitch mother's bitch alcoholic social climbing Harpy friend said (and I quote): "I know you're glad sherbet is fat-free, but do you know how much sugar is in it?" I wanted to reply "I know you pretend not to care that your husband is cheating on you with a man, but do you know there's surgery available for noses like yours?" Instead I just ate plain sherbet in secret at home. These days I favor Coke + vanilla ice cream (+ rum, because unemployment is like that), but occasionally I'll crave a sounds-gross-but-tastes-great "Brown Cow" (ginger ale + chocolate ice cream).

4. Shins, Chutes Too Narrow [Review]
I've been listening to this non-stop to prepare for the show tomorrow—how appropriate that I'll be seeing them during The Week of Worshipping The Beatles, whose sound The Shins get accused of/applauded for copying a lot. I know it's a cop-out to list this, as I enjoyed this long before this week, but you can't argue with greatness, nor can you help but rejoice when the Curse of the Sophomore Slump gets an ass-whuppin, especially at the hands of fey mid-20s indie malaise-riddled guitar pop. Everything that could be said about this album already has been said (not that that's stopped me before), so I'll just chut up now.

5. Zadie Smith, The Autograph Man [Review]
I'm not quite sure what the deal is with this book, but I like it—and hey, any fictional work in which an unnamed online auction site plays a major part can't possibly be anything but awesome. It's much smaller in length and scope than her debut, the sprawling White Teeth, but also much more readable. It's no epic family saga, but a slacker fable of the kind popular with the kids these days, about a wayward 27-year-old loser who's been too busy authenticating autographs to realize he has no love life, no father, and no future (<ouch> here the mid-20s indie malaise theme hits home a bit too hard). The whole shebang is structured around the Kabbalah for some reason (can an endorsement from Madonna really matter that much?), but the writing is so engrossing and so clever-without-being-pretentious (<cough>DaveEggers<cough>) that you don't even care. And remember, all you non-Anglophiles: "Zadie" rhymes with caddy, not lady.

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