Friday, November 30, 2018

Song of the Day: "The Man Who Has Everything"

Chance the Rapper's earnestness overcomes the somewhat laconic beat on this new track.

I will be hugely disappointed if it turns out this was all some act.

Song: "The Man Who Has Everything"
Artist: Chance the Rapper

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Quote of the Day (a few days ago): Demonstrate for Us Please Edition

"To clarify, the type of deterrent they used is OC pepper spray — it’s literally water, pepper, with a small amount of alcohol for evaporation purposes. It’s natural, you could actually put it on your nachos and eat it."--Ron Colburn, President of the Border Patrol Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation created to support the families of Border Patrol agents killed in the line of duty
Other things that are also natural: arsenic (it's in apple seeds); solanine (a poison found in potatoes, eggplants, and tomatoes); phytohaemagglutinin (no, for real, it's a toxin present in kidney beans); radon; chlorine. All perfectly natural.

I hope Colburn puts any of these (or even just the OC pepper spray) on his nachos and eats it to demonstrate just how much these powerfully evil yet also weak and sickly migrants don't have anything to complain about. 

Migrants seeking asylum: they're like gay weddings x gluten x kneeling during the national anthem.

Song of the Day: "Girl Goin' Nowhere"

The almost-title track to Ashley McBryde's Girl Going Nowhere album hits the right mood for the morning. It's got the spare sadness of a Gillian Welch song, but with something of an innocence to her voice.

McBryde's album is #48 on Paste's Top 50 albums of 2018, one spot above Blood Orange, who I'm certain will be on my top albums list when I finish it, like next April.

Song: "Girl Goin' Nowhere"
Artist: Ashley McBryde

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

R.I.P. Diane

I heard that a former co-worker/friend of 20+ years passed away earlier this month. I think I met her sometime in 1997, and I managed her a bit in 1998 and 1999. Managing her was easy enough; she was very good at her job: detail oriented and conscientious.

She was fiercely independent and a serious loner. The old storage room that became her office—no window/view, completely private with the door closed—would have disappointed most people. I would have enjoyed it, but I already had a small office (with a bad-ass view of Mt. Hood). She filled the shelves with rocks she'd collect during her various forays hiking and camping.

She was a rockhound, an avid camper (she taught me what a yurt is), and a fan of old cemeteries. She would make rubbings of tombstones while I would see movies on the weekends.

At one point, when planning a 2-week road/camping trip she planned through Utah and Colorado, the contrast in our respective philosophies came clear. I thought a reasonable price for a hotel room was $125 a night, while she thought $50 a night was a lot. Lately, I'd put a reasonable price closer to $85 a night, but the economy was better for me 20 years ago (pre-mortgage, post-car payment).

Our paths split when the company downsized and she used outplacement services that directed her toward getting a master's degree in library science. She was a quantitative thinker and described the library sciences calling as being a way for her to connect people with information. I've borrowed some of that phrasing to describe myself. Helping people make sense of their data is something I think I do well.

I managed to lure her back to the company for a while. There was a broader role that I thought she would fill nicely: designing research she could do; analyzing data she could do easily; and reporting on the findings, which would end up being the challenge. We worked very closely on a large segmentation project that started strangely (an unknown field partner was behaving super sketchy and folks on my team didn't want to act on that, thinking I was overreacting). It was rough, awkward, thankless when it happened, but I thought of the project recently and consider the end results to be one of the best examples of that kind of project that I've ever done.

But the client's everchanging demands for the report visuals drove me and Diane crazy. I left the office and went to a movie one day, just to try to maintain my sanity.

When Lee won the lottery and I told him I'd drive him to Salem, it had to be after 10:30 because I promised Diane I would meet her to teach her how to do something. I didn't want to leave her hanging (Lee also had a work thing he had to do, despite being an instant millionaire). She was the first person not living with me to hear the news. It changed how we talked about documenting our projects from "in the case so and so gets hit by a bus" to "in the case so and so wins the lottery." Glass half full... or glass totally full.

I helped her get the 2 biggest raises of her career. Back in 1999, I remarked that if she made less than a certain amount, she was being underpaid. She was critical to several projects at the time and after 2 hours she worked up the nerve to walk into the corner office and as for a $10,000 salary increase. The man in the corner office didn't flinch when he said "done" right away. She really was being underpaid (clearly).

The second time was when I lured her back, another big step up in her salary.

I made her some tapes for her road trip/camping trip. I don't remember everything, but I know she liked Garbage (the first 2 albums), and she loved Syd Straw (Surprise and War and Peace). I think Freedy Johnston was in the mix, and his shows here and in Salem this weekend are strangely serendipitous.

When she splurged and get Netflix she came to me asking for recommendations because the options were overwhelming. I told her to just watch Arrested Development seasons 1 through 3 (it was before season 4 happened). She thanked me for a great recommendation and not providing a massive list.

Normally I would react to losing a friend by regretting how little communication we'd had recently, or wondering if I had anything I didn't say to her. Strangely, I feel good about our limited communication: it's the amount we wanted, occasional and meaningful when it happened, but nothing forced. I know I connected her with aspects of pop culture that she treasured, and she taught me about life off the grid. We respected each other's contributions, and I would still pick her for my "kickball team" (where a kickball team was really a group of coworkers I'd want to work with)... if she were still available.

I don't know the details but understand that she ended her life. I don't begrudge her that and hope her family is at peace with her choice. I'm reminded of a Stephen Foster song that Syd Straw covered on Surprise:
Let us pause in life’s pleasures and count its many tears
While we all sup sorrow with the poor:
There’s a song that will linger forever in our ears;
Oh! Hard Times, come again no more.

Rest in peace my friend.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Song of the Day: "Ever Again"

Robyn's Honey album earned glowing reviews (on par with her 2010 release Body Talk). I didn't find much to endear me to Body Talk, but at least the new album has a track that embodies the best of Cyndi Lauper, Work Drugs, and Carly Rae Jepson.

That it's the last track on the album may or may not be meaningful.

Song: "Ever Again"
Artist: Robyn

Sunday, November 25, 2018


A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relations is The 1975's follow-up to I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, the 2016 album that charmed the fuck out of me. Apparently, this, the third release for the band, was supposed to complete a trilogy, but there's a fourth album queued up for release early next year (it was recorded during the same sessions).

This track is unabashed pop music, and you know how I like that.

Artist: The 1975