People of the Future: Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

For your consideration, periodically I like to share some of my favorite oldies that I worry may slip through the cracks and be forgotten.

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Breaking Up: A Mix

A friend of mine is going through the slow process of breaking up with his girlfriend.  From what I understand of the situation, it’s kind of like both of them realize it’s over, but neither of them wants to be the one to pull the plug.  So instead it’s like pulling off a bandaid in slow motion.

Anyway, I’m pretty useless in this situation because I’ve never had a big sad breakup or anything.  Instead, I decided to make a special break up mix, just for my friend!  Except I haven’t actually told him about it because it feels weird?  And I’m not sure he’d be interested in listening to it?  And then he’d feel obligated?  And it would just be one more thing on his plate right now to feel bad about, that he didn’t listen to the mix I made him?

So unless it comes up naturally in conversation (or I suppose he reads this blog), I decided to post the track list here.  I themed the mix around the Kubler-Ross grief model, ’cause that’s how I roll.

Stage 1: Denial

  1. “The Chapter In Your Life Entitled San Francisco,” The Lucksmiths
  2. “Second Chance,” Liam Finn

Stage 2: Anger

  1. “Fuck This Shit,” Belle & Sebastian
  2. “Going Fishing,” The Phoenix Foundation
  3. “Change the Locks,” Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  4. “It’s Different for Girls,” Joe Jackson

Stage 3: Bargaining

  1. “High and Dry,” Radiohead
  2. “Come Pick Me Up,” Ryan Adams

Stage 4: Depression

  1. “Big Heartbreak,” The Rosebuds
  2. “Hate It Here,” Wilco

Stage 5: Acceptance

  1. “Over and Done,” 7 Worlds Collide
  2. “Find the River,” R.E.M.

The whole thing ends with a hidden track that I want to tell you about SOOOOO badly because it is a familiar song that will bring a bittersweet smile to your face, but then it wouldn’t be hidden, would it?

A couple of the songs were difficult to place.  “Second Chance” strikes me more as a song about being bewildered than in denial.  “Going Fishing” definitely sounds upset about something toward the end, but every time I try to listen to the lyrics they elude me.  And it turns out “Come Pick Me Up” encompasses every one of these feelings, right down to acceptance.  I moved it around several times before settling on bargaining.

Do you absolutely have to hear this totally awesome mix?  Super!  I want you to hear it!  Leave a comment, say something on twitter, whatever.  I will provide you with a place where you can download the mix, complete with totally rad hidden track.

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At the edge of the continent

Fort Funston, San Francisco, CA May 22, 2010

This message was not paid for the San Francisco Tourism Board, but it should have been.

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How to Knit a Super Collider

I started knitting about two years ago.  There’s an uninteresting story about how I taught myself the basic stitches a few years before that that I always feel obligated to mention, but really, I started knitting about two years ago, just before my second son was born.  Don’t believe me?

One of the first things I ever knit on top of the second person I ever made.

Anyway, so I’ve been knitting since then, and it’s been a lot of fun but you know something?  Turns out knitting is a lot of work.  There’s a lot to remember, there’s increases and decreases and yarn overs, and your fingers sometimes ache, and omgyoucouldgetcarpaltunnel, and have *you* ever tried to read a knitting chart?  I knit, and I don’t even understand them.  Do you know what to do when you drop a stitch?  Can you keep track of 17 different colors of yarn at once?  All those little old ladies out there churning out ugly Christmas sweaters?  ARE INSANELY TALENTED AND YOU SHOULD BOW DOWN BEFORE THEM OR AT LEAST REHEAT THEIR COFFEE SO THEY DON’T HAVE TO BREAK THEIR CONCENTRATION BY GETTING UP.

This is my latest project. It's pretty.

People love to admire knitting and say things like “Oh, I wish I could do that” or “Oh, I would never have the patience!”  And I, like many knitters, will say something wishy-washy in return like “Oh, sure you could!  It’s easy!”

People.  IT IS NOT EASY.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not the super collider or something, but case in point:  that pretty pink scarf I’m working on?   I’m no knitting n00b, but I calculate I am knitting its lace pattern about one inch per hour.  It will measure approximately 60 inches by the time I am done.  For the math-challenged among you, that means I should be done just in time for this super collider to destroy us all.  (Undaunted? pattern and rav link.)

My other current knitting project

But knitting IS easy.  All you need to learn is a knit and purl (which is just a knit backwards), and you’re on your way.  There are honestly only two stitches in all of knitting.  The wide variation and versatility of knitwear comes in what you do with them.  BUT.

Some knitting is so easy IT ACTUALLY BECOMES A CHALLENGE.  That rainbow of colors up there?  Is one of the simplest knitting patterns–if you could even call it a pattern–of all time.  Literally, knitpurlknitpurlknitpurlknitpurl until you run out of yarn.  I haven’t calculated, but I can probably knit it about a million times faster than that pink lace scarf.  And yet, I have been working on it since NOVEMBER.  The problem is the pattern is so simple I can’t knit it for more than 20 minutes at a time.  I know the colors make it look complicated, and that’s part of its appeal, and it makes all you non-knitters pee your pants in awe.  But in reality, the yarn is doing all the work.  (Short version: You take two self-striping yarns and alternate yarns every two rows.  If you don’t knit, you’re probably thinking you’d rather build a super collider, but you will have to take my word for it.  Like, if you are a physicist, it’s like if you drop a pound of lead and a pound of feathers from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which one will fall faster?  BASICS.)

Anyway, the thing is, it’s so fucking simple, it makes me want to pull my hair out.  It bores me before I even pick it up.  Only the pretty colors keep me going.  Knitting an entire scarf is a test of ENDURANCE, people.  If you’re not careful, you could go crazy or wind up with a half-finished scarf mocking your inability to finish what you’ve started.  Your loved ones will roll their eyes at you!  YOU CAN’T EVEN FINISH A SCARF.

So my point, however poorly made, is that knitting is not easy, not hard, mind-numbingly simple, and frighteningly difficult ALL AT ONCE.  (Fit that in your super collider!)  If it was crazy complicated, it never would have become as popular and widespread as it has (how many super colliders have you built???  and your grandma?), nor would people have been doing it for as long as they have.  And stupid people do it all the time (though for the record, they probably do it very poorly and/or they choose bad colors).  So yes, you *could* learn to do it, if you “had the time” or “had the patience.”  But you don’t, which is my other point.  Your loss.  You almost had something RAD to brag about.

More yarn for me!!

P.S. Are you disappointed this post did not contain a pattern for a super collider?  Me too.

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The First Awesome Thing I Did This Summer

Guys!!  The First Awesome Thing I Did This Summer was barely even something I DID, but something that HAPPENED to me.  That’s right — I don’t even have to go the awesome:  the awesome is coming to me.

I am the mammal you adore

Last week Blog on the Tracks had a little giveaway of The Phoenix Foundation’s new album Buffalo — ON LIMITED PRESSING VINYL.  Srsly, guys, they only made 300 of those bad boys.  And now #111 is on its way across the beautiful Pacific to me.  I think for two reasons:  (1) I told the adorable story of how I made my brother-in-law go meet Samuel Flynn Scott and Luke Buda at Amoeba in San Francisco several years ago when I couldn’t make it.  (We were living in another state!)  They signed copies of their solo albums just for me, which gives me a little tickle every time I see them, even if autographs are silly and pointless.

And (2) because two of the commenters said he should give it to me!  Granted, one of them was not so much a fan of TPF and “after all the Americans gave us Rap & George Bush its the least NZ could do to return the favour.”  Ahem.  But hey!  A vote is a vote, right?

(For the record, I did not vote for George W. Bush either time, and uh, well, I don’t actually think rap is a scourge, if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it, but like George Bush,  it’s also got nothing to do with me, so.)

If you haven’t heard The Phoenix Foundation before, here is the video for their incredibly catchy new song “Buffalo,” which is cute because they don’t have buffalo in New Zealand, otherwise they might have known that they are land mammals.  I will forgive them though because I myself know very little about sheep.

And here is the video for the song that made me fall in love with them however many years ago, “Going Fishing.”  If you saw Eagle Vs. Shark, you may already be familiar with this song!  (WIN!)

All of which is to say:  Thank you sincerely, Blog on the Tracks, for starting my summer (your winter!) off on the right foot, with total awesomeness from one of my favorite bands.  You dear reader can buy Buffalo from any number of retail outlets on your summer (their winter!) vacation to New Zealand or order the cd online from (which is what I did).

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Howdy kids

So I was washing the dishes about five minutes ago, and I thought to myself, “I should start another blog.” But not just any blog! What the world needs is a blog started in total earnestness with ABSOLUTELY ZERO PLANNING which quickly becomes a series of posts spread weeks apart with titles like, “So I should totally post more often” and “I haven’t updated this recently because it turns out my life is infinitely more pedestrian than I first thought.”

This is going to be RAD … for about five more minutes. Stick around, if you don’t have somewhere else to be.

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