kexp countdown

If you’re stuck at work today, keep focused by pulling on those headphones and listening to KEXP Seattle right now. They’re running down the best of 2003, and it’s a very solid selection so far. (As I type, they’re around No. 60; the last few songs have included faves Clem Snide, the Rapture, Mojave 3, and Beulah.)
If I don’t see you before then, have a glorious new year, peoples.

random sick links

Hope you all had a delicious holiday. A few links dredged up in the last week or so (some in the last 72 hours of oft-bedridden intestinal distress — praise be for wireless networking and a new Powerbook):
Don’t worry: Your cell phone won’t blow up any gas stations.
The political impact of Plan B going OTC.
Diary of a Dean-o-Phobe, an ongoing critique of Howard Dean by the frightened Jon Chait.
Um, $3.5 million for!? Now, I have a special place in my heart for DailyCandy, since they gave me a nice writeup last year for the CD Mix of the Month Club. But I repeat: um, $3.5 million?!? (That said, that web site has some serious power. The day I got mentioned in their email newsletter, I got over 18,000 hits. When this site was mentioned in the lead story of the New York Times’ Circuits section, I got barely 2,000.)
– Not sure how I missed this one during the California recall, but Nao Bustamante, sister to Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, is a San Fran performance artist whose most controversial work (“Indigurrito”) featured her fastening a “burrito to her loins and call[ing] for white men to come up on stage, take a bite out of the burrito and absolve themselves of 500 years of the white man’s guilt.”
A panel discussion on the year in books, featuring valued readers Maud Newton and Jessa Crispin.
Great Forbes piece on how the Wright brothers managed to screw up inventing a little ol’ thing we like to call flight.
– If you’ve ever thought about having your own web site, 1and1 is offering three free years of hosting if you sign up before Jan. 21. Yes, three free years — no catches that I can see. While it’s not the absolute most full-featured account possible (only one MySQL database allowed, fr’instance), it’s certainly good enough for the vast majority of people. Plus, with their cut rate on domain registry, you can have for a total annual cost of $6. It’s hard to beat that. I’ve grabbed an account and moved a couple of my domains to 1and1’s servers — no complaints yet.

strom, indie mp3s, dplan

Great story by the WaPo reporter who’s been chasing the story about Strom Thurmond’s black daughter for 23 years. Quite a tale of devotion. Please shoot me if I’m still chasing the same stories in 2026 I am today.
Want some fine MP3s of recent indie rock shows? How about:
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, March 28 in Rotterdam
Calexico, October 19 in Denver
The Dismemberment Plan, June 12 in Seattle
My Morning Jacket, October 3 in Denver
Sound quality’s quite good on all of them — grab them quick before they’re gone. If there’s even a small corner of your brain that considers 1971-era Allman Brothers a triumph of rock history, be sure to get the My Morning Jacket. I’ve been grooving quite regularly to their last album, which is pretty tremendous southern space rock. The D-Plan’s also worth grabbing, if only for the trad set closer (“OK Joke’s Over”), which in this performance turns into a 15-minute medley of Seattle rock’s greatest hits (Nirvana and Pearl Jam, sure, but also Postal Service, Elliott Smith, Screaming Trees, Alice in Chains, Soundgarten, and Temple of the damned Dog), with disorienting guest yelling from white-boy rappers Gold Chains and Cex.
By the way, if you haven’t seen it, Gold Chains’ public-transit-themed video for “I Come From San Francisco” is strangely…compelling.

dead kids story, spree/slideshow

In case you needed proof that I am in fact back at work, here’s my story from Saturday’s front page, about four dead kids. I hate stories about dead kids, but at least this was the best kind of dead-kids story — the kind where my co-bylines (Matt and Jason) do all the reporting and I do all the writing. No need to talk to grieving relatives that way.
Had some busy evenings of late. Had dinner with Erica Wednesday, then went to the DFWblogs holiday party. Thursday hung out with some coworkers. Friday went to the Polyphonic Spree holiday spectacular at the Lakewood with Leia, Gary, and Tina. Finally, went to see Shattered Glass and have sushi with a coworker Saturday. Whew.
About Friday: The Spree was (were?) tremendous, even better than the last time I saw them. Truly, an experience not to be missed when they come to your town. Of particular note was the 6- or 7-months pregnant young lady in the chorus, who shook her moneymaker like she was mixing paint. (Leia: “That poor kid’s going to have shaken baby syndrome before it’s even born.”)
Unfortunately, the Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players were off their game. Papa Jason seemed to lose his grasp of reality at one point (throwing down his guitar in a rage that seemed more Travis Bickle than Pete Townshend), and the slideshows were kinda sketchy. I think that they’re teetering close to Behind the Music territory.
In other news, it’s 70 degrees in Dallas. Take that, northerners.
Great story in today’s NYT about the 91-year-old who writes the alumni notes column for Princeton’s class of 1933.

mefloquine sucks

I took my last malaria pill today. (The doc said I needed to take them for four weeks after returning from the malarial region — in my case, Zambia.)
So I can finally say: Good riddance!
I was taking mefloquine (brand name Larium), which is the same stuff I took when I went to rural China in 1999. It didn’t bother me then, but this time I really saw what they mean about it causing “neuropsychiatric adverse events.” According to one study (Overbosch et al., 2001), 42 percent of people studied reported “adverse events” after taking mefloquine. Those were “neuropsychiatric adverse events” for 29 percent of patients, and 19 percent rated those NAEs as either moderate or severe.
In other words, mefloquine makes you crazy.
It certainly messed with my head. I took the pill once a week, on Wednesdays. Every Thursday I was slightly insane: depressed, angry, bitter, snippy, and on a hair trigger. You didn’t want to meet me on a Thursday. I could never sleep on a Thursday night. Then every Friday I was fine again — for another week.
The effects lessened as the pill-popping went on, so don’t be afraid to talk to me tomorrow — I won’t bite! But still, it’s good to get all that evil out of my system.

dean and yale history

After his foreign policy address, Howard Dean was asked about his inexperience in dealing with international issues. His answer: He’s well prepared because he studied “under what I consider to be the best history department in the United States, at Yale University.”
While, as a Yale history major myself, I applaud his Eli loyalty, that may just be the weakest response imaginable. (Particularly since George W. Bush was his Yale classmate at the time and a history major himself.)
While we’re discussing Yale and people affilated with the word “dean,” I was sad to learn that Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead is leaving New Haven to become president of Duke. Brodhead is a truly great guy; I interviewed him a few times for the college paper and got to know him a bit when I was on his student advisory committee.
Unfortunately, now that he’s a Dookie, I will have to root vociferously against his athletic teams, since I’ve been a Carolina fan for almost 20 years. Of course, that’s primarily because of yet another “dean”-affiliated person, Dean Smith.

john kain’s dead

There’s this education researcher I’ve always admired — he seemed like a really smart guy who was doing very interesting work. But he never returned my calls.
Turns out he died earlier this year. I suppose that’s a good excuse for not returning my calls.