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Muxtape 2

"When New York Was New York"

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Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives


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Moment of Zen


Moment of Zen (inspired by Tim's Koans)

Courtesy of Timmay

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    Monday, May 28, 2007

    Musical masterpieces

    Last week, I hung out with my friend Chris and we were having fun playing music that we loved in college. We chatted about more recent bands too. Chris mentioned that the first Clap Your Hands Say Yeah album was a masterpiece in his eyes. And that got me thinking. What albums do I consider a masterpiece?

    To me, a masterpiece would have to be an album that transcends being merely a set of really great songs. It has to have that unique combination of: 1) having a stunning collection of songs, 2) being likely ahead of its time, and 3) being possibly a genre-defining release. But I'm not sure if this definition quite cuts it. There's something more. The album can't be simply a personal favorite. It should be identified by others for its signficance. In order to receive the highest of high accolades and be called a "masterpiece," I think it needs to be validated by others too.

    I, along with others, consider these to be masterpieces:

    Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation
    My Bloody Valentine: Loveless
    Tom Waits: Rain Dogs
    Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures
    John Coltrane: A Love Supreme
    DJ Shadow: Entroducing
    Marvin Gaye: What's Going On
    Miles Davis: Kind of Blue
    Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians
    Can: Tago Mago

    Man, alive. What a weird list. So would these be my desert island discs? Hmm, well it wouldn't be a terrible start.

    Sunday, May 27, 2007

    El Guaco

    This weekend is the unofficial start of summer, which means that our grill cover will be spending lots of time hanging over our deck railing. Last night was our first full BBQ dinner of the season - thai ginger chicken, grilled corn on the cob, and skewered peppers, onions and mushrooms.

    But we started the night with our first-ever attempt at homemade guacamole. And it was fantastic. Here's the super-easy recipe to make your own.

    1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted
    2 tsp fresh lime juice
    2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
    1/4 cup finely chopped red onions
    2 cloves garlic, finely minced
    1 serrano chili, seeded, chopped
    1/4 tsp salt

    1. Mash up avocado with a fork.
    2. Add lime juice.
    3. Add all other ingredients and mix, mash and blend well with your fork.
    4. Serve.

    It's simple and a great way to spend time while you wait for your grill to pre-heat.

    Sunday, May 20, 2007

    Hey kids! Big Ben, Wagamama!

    We just returned from a brilliant holiday in London. It was a very nice break from work and celebration of Alyssa's completion of her school year. The weather could've been nicer, but meh, can't complain. The occasional rain showers and threatening skies didn't stop us from seeing and doing a lot. And eating a lot.

    Despite England's reputation for sub-par cuisine, we ate some awesome food. We never did get fish 'n chips because we mostly opted for Asian meals. We had some tremendously good Burmese, Malaysian, Japanese, Thai, and Middle Eastern though. I can't wait for Wagamama to make its mark on this side of the pond. The first one stateside just opened a few weeks ago in Fanueil Hall. I'm sure more will be popping up shortly if the Boston one succeeds.

    The "hop on, hop off" bus tour was a fun way to start our week, plus we took advantage of the free Thames cruise you get with the bus ticket. The Tate Modern was an enlightening way to spend an afternoon. I'm a big fan of twentieth century art so it was fun to come face to face with works by Duchamp, Dali, Warhol, and a room filled with massive dark red and black Rothkos. The Rothko room was definitely a highlight for me.

    The Tower of London was interesting -- the White Tower being the best part. We didn't go inside Westminster, St. Paul's or Buckingham Palace; nor did we take a ride on the London Eye, but we saw them all and took photos.

    Speaking of which, it was fun to post photos in real-time from my phone. I know a few of you saw them in (almost) real-time too and commented on a few. Sorry for the shoddy quality of some of the uploads. I blame that on the not-so stellar quality of the connection I had. Now that we're home I'm working on uploading the rest, so watch for those if you're interested. Click through for the set.

    Saturday, May 05, 2007

    The Underrated Sophomore

    The first Portishead album, Dummy, is a masterpiece from the 1990s. But not much attention was paid to their self-titled sophomore effort. It's a hazy, captivating listen. Plus you can't beat an album that samples its own albums, like:

    Portishead "Cowboys"
    Portishead "Mourning Air"

    It's always fun to rediscover old favorites. Have you rediscovered any fun albums lately?

    Tuesday, May 01, 2007

    Next time I'll mow straighter lines

    There's something awfully grown-up about mowing your own lawn. Last year, we hired a high school kid to come by. So today was the first time doing it myself. A big thank you to the person who invented the concept of self-propel.