I was going to begin this long-overdue post with a verbose description of the difficulties of keeping a weblog like this: the busier a person is, the less time he has to write, and the larger the pile of experiences to write about becomes. I have opted instead for the succinct description you have just read, which still has not prevented this from being my longest post to date. There’s tons to talk about, and I’ve cleverly split topics into paragraphs, so it’ll be easy to skip ahead when you get bored. I hope to someday abandon this binge-and-purge approach and just write about one thing at a time, but for now I want my readers to feel justified in having to wait over a month for new reading material, so get comfortable:
My roommates and I moved from Conshohocken to South Philadelphia. The move was unpleasant for the usual reasons, exacerbated in this case by a number of special circumstances. First, I lived in Conshohocken for two years—by far my longest residency outside my parents’ house—which, despite my best efforts to the contrary, resulted in a significant accumulation of crap. Second was the two-week lease-overlap move buffer we had, forcing my procrastinatory tendencies to extend the moving process over several days by pecking daintily at the scattered falderal rather than efficiently consolidating and transporting everything in one day. Third: we are incipient tenants in a brand-new apartment in a building that has not been inhabited in fifteen years. This apparently makes the installation of services such as telephone and broadband internet painfully difficult above and beyond the respective service-providers’ established, seemingly willful ineptitude.
We are among the pioneers in our neighborhood’s nascent gentrification process, a distinction which was initially very intimidating to me. My anxiety didn’t take long to dissipate, since our presence is not outwardly resented by (or particularly interesting to) our neighbors, and those with whom I’ve spoken have in fact been very friendly. So, while it’s advisable to always remain cautious, I don’t feel especially unsafe. How I feel about being one of the neighborhood’s gentrifying ingredients is unclear this early in the process.
Caste guilt aside, so far, I really love living in the city. I am riding my bike everywhere. For instance, tonight I rode to and from the First Unitarian Church to see Melt-Banana, whose engrossing, skin-blistering noisepunk is still ringing in my ears.
Some news in the lives of some of my closest friends: Mary Gomb has announced that she will be getting married this fall. Jason Santa Maria and Kevin Cornell were invited to lend their exceptional design skills to the Summer 2003 issue of Born Magazine, which launched last week. Kevin was also recently interviewed by the media mongrel site Tastes Like Chicken. Kimlan Nguyen recently made her Sock Monkey Drawer available to the public, where the fruits of her delightful handcraft can be purchased.
The new Mogwai album, Happy Songs for Happy People, has grown on me quite a bit since my initial, somewhat disappointed first listen. Combining the spare dynamics of their earlier efforts with the more lush arrangements of Rock Action (Happy Songs’ predecessor and my favorite Mogwai album), this record bears the odd distinction of playing like a “Best Of” album made up of entirely new material. Now, if only something could be done about the horrific album art and overtly ironic title…
Another album which has grown on me is Tomahawk’s Mit Gas, which is arguably the most compelling Mike Patton product since Mr. Bungle’s California was released four years ago. As good as Mit Gas is, though, its best elements are often reminiscent of Faith No More’s unexpected accessibility or Mr. Bungle’s genre-crossing oddity, and it seems like either of those bands would probably have made a better record with their respective pieces of the Mit Gas puzzle. In short, Mit Gas is miles beyond Tomahawk’s self-titled debut, and a solid album in its own right, but I still wish Patton would quit sowing his wild oats and get back down to business with the Mr. Bungle fellas.