Current enthusiasms

1. Wild Flag, “Romance” video

Wild Flag is Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss (formerly 2/3 of Sleater-Kinney), Mary Timony (Helium) and Rebecca Cole (The Minders). Besides being indie-rock royalty, these four women can crack you up and and kick your ass at the exact same time. The new album came out yesterday. Catch them on tour this fall if you can.


2. William Gibson, Zero History (2010)

Gibson made his name in sci-fi: thirty years ago, he famously coined the term “cyberspace” (a Wikipedia albatross if there ever was one). His current project is to bring all his futuristic, visionary prowess to telling stories about the present. This, the final volume in a sort-of trilogy Gibson began with Pattern Recognition (2003) and Spook Country (2007), is the most pleasurable, challenging thing I’ve read in a long time. Though each book in the series can be taken separately, together they form a fully-realized world that exists alongside our own. You’ve heard of political thrillers and techno-thrillers; I think Gibson is writing aesthetic thrillers. Who else could spin up-all-night, global-intrigue suspense out of “locative art,” PR firms and boutique denim?

3. Extended warranties

Last Sunday night I was up late, goofing around on the internet, when my computer screen went black. It didn’t exactly go kerplooey; it just ceased to be. The next day I took my Macbook to the Apple store. Three days later, I had it back with a new logic board, hard drive, and display. Total cost of repairs: $967. Total cost to me: $0. Moral: buy the three-year plan. Back up your shit. And don’t get too attached to your machine.

4. Growing your own

This past spring we put in what I often referred to as a quixotically large garden. It was an insane amount of work digging up the yard, putting in raised beds, building a fence enclosure, and preparing the soil. We planted onions, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, hot peppers, broccoli, kale, chard, lettuce, spinach, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatillos, asparagus, peas, lotsa herbs, and tomatoes. Boy, did we ever plant tomatoes! Now they are peaking, and it’s more than you could ever imagine coming from a backyard plot. This, my friends, is one of the great joys of life.

What’s rocking your world right now?

8 responses to “Current enthusiasms”

  1. lane says:

    omg! what a crop!… home grown tomatoes are the best.

    ours are tiny up on out roof, but still delicious.

    as to what is rocking our world… 2nd grade starts today… hooray!

  2. PB says:

    I love William Gibson and love people that know of him. Sort of divides the universe, William Gibson fans and . . . Not. I am so going to look into his newer stuff (remember the xfiles episode?) I am reading Sum, Forty Tales from the Afterlives and it is sort of blowing my mind. I am analyzing the September Vogue and thinking about fashion trends (jewel tones! Graphic black and whites!) I am still obsessed by cheap, good Malbecs. And I am listening to Gillian Welch’s new CD nonstop.

  3. Tim says:

    Currently, I’m slightly obsessed with composer Vernon Duke’s memo Passport to Paris, published in 1955 and unfortunately way out of print. (I found a copy at the Glendale library, of all places.) Born Vladimir Dukelsky in Tzarist Russia, he and his family eventually fled to the US, and he spent a lot of time in Europe in his 20s. He composed avant-ish “classical” pieces and some famous “jazz” tunes (“April in Paris,” “Autumn in New York,” “I Can’t Get Started”). Everywhere he goes it’s names, names, names, darling – in NY it’s Gershwin, in Paris it’s Diaghilev, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Braque, etc. He’s also very funny and self-deprecating, especially about his inability to get laid.

    I’m looking forward to that Wild Flag record, for sure. There have been reports of great performances from those who’ve seen them, and S-K put on one of the best shows I’ve seen.

    I’ve read much Gibson and love him. I’ve done Pattern Recognition, but not <i

  4. Tim says:

    [ack!] Spook Country, should I read them in order?

    P.S. Uh, nice tomatoes!

  5. Tim says:

    That’s “memoir”, btw.

  6. F. P. Smearcase says:

    Rocking my world: Raymond Chandler, diminished 7th chords, early autumn, Tender Mercies.

    The Wm Gibson sounds interesting (haven’t read anything else of his) and maybe I should give it a crack. The lousiest thing about aging right now, the thing that is least rocking my world, is the loss of already non-world-class powers of concentration. It’s hard to find a book that pulls me past twenty pages.

  7. Rachel says:

    PB, Gibson would love that you are thinking about fashion. One of the key plot points of the trilogy is the phenomenon of “secret brands,” particularly a fashion line called Gabriel Hounds. The clothing descriptions are rapturously detailed. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve seen a novel pay so much attention to fabric and stitching since Pamela.

    Don’t that that turn off the rest of you, though! It’s such a great series of books. Tim, some characters recur in all three novels, so it may be worth reading them in order. However, Spook Country and Zero History are particularly continuous–they are both narrated by the same two characters. If you were going to plump for just one novel, though, I’d choose the latter.

    Your memoir sounds delicious. Isn’t it close to being in the public domain…? Also, I love that you made an AbFab reference. Definitely one of my top 5 shows of all time.

    Speaking of TV, Breaking Bad should be on the list of “current enthusiasms.” Wow.

  8. swells says:

    Love the Wild Flag video!!

    Rocking my world (renewedly) is Dengue Fever, the LA band with the Cambodian frontwoman whose sound is just … so … right. I’ve been enjoying their albums for a few years now, but we saw them do an in-store last weekend that was so soulful and made me appreciate their musicianship and otherworldly rockness so much more.