Archive for the 'program notes' Category

Bad Sex is back!

I’m so excited for the annual Bad Sex Awards put out the Literary Review. The nominated passages included famous and non-famous writers.  (See contending passages here) My favorite previous contender was Zadie Smith’s deliberately awful sex scene on On Beauty. Leaves with that “Urgh, I wanted this to happen?” aftertaste.

I think the biggest crime I’ve seen in these passages are the strong vein over-thinking, the sense of, “yes, I did do the reading and, in fact, decided to regurgitate it here!” That’s not the place for it! Nobody feels like a friggin’ seismograph during sex. It’s nice that you saw a seismograph in that museum, but it has no place during this moment in your novel.

Maybe it’s one of the side-effects of academia’s increasing shadow over the world of novel writing. Or it’s just an aesthetic misfortune in general human thinking in the too-much-information age. We learn all these fun things and stuff them into our stories. Fair enough. But if you can recognize your weakness and curb it, please do so.

The Philip Roth entry is pretty bad, but from what I can tell from the synopsis of The Humbling, the entire book seems like it could’ve been up for this contest. However the entries from Richard Milward and Paul Theroux give it some stiff competition turgid competition throbbing competition pulsating… uh, they might win.

God, the word choice in some of these just makes me want to heave.

I’ve had to write sex scenes before, and I never like doing it because I’m so afraid that it’ll turn out like these. I think the best think to do is a. try not to compare sex to something really far-fetched b. firmly decide whether the reader should be attracted or repulsed/ strategically map out how to do this and  c. try not be clever. (Don’t believe the movies, no one’s clever in bed…if everything’s going properly.)

Fumble by Architecture in Helsinki


Best Sequence of Pictures

Camilla Parker- Bowles- Windsor (?) has a deceptively easy looking job. Visiting factories, schools and other such places while wearing a big smile should be easy, but on one trip to a nursery school, the Duchess of Cornwall accidentally ass-checks a kid in the head, then she tries to turn on some Christmas lights by pulling this ancient-looking rope, and the darn thing breaks.

It’s OK, honey. I definitely make the third picture face on a daily basis.

F**k Was I by Jenny Owen Youngs

Oprah’s calling it a day in 2011

No way! I thought she’s be around forever! (Unrealistic, I know, but that’s just how it felt.) It’s just the 2009 pattern of stuff that you’d thought would go on into perpetuum  ending.

This is quite a long headsup, though. I hope the next year and heavy change leading up to it isn’t an extended and remixed dirge. I remember when the headmistress of my high school retired after an eon there, and there was a long, celebratory funeral march to the retirement Mass. It seemed like the whole year was dedicated to the one, simple act of leaving. It cast a shadow over everything (including my class’ graduation, which kind of pissed us off). If that’s how I felt about the headmistress’ retirement from a Catholic school, imagine how crap it is for me when the retirement is for friggin’ OPRAH. She’s like the headmistress of television. And that school in South Africa, but I digress…

I’m not one for extended goodbyes of this sort. Hopefully, I won’t be in the US for this footage. I was there for Michael Jackson, Ronald Reagan, all that good stuff. I can’t do it again.

Grindin’ My Way (Frank Sinatra vs. Clipse) by Team Canada

Well, dang, Brooke Magnanti’s dad

Quick followup from yesterday:

Apparently, Brook Magnanti’s dad blames his own affinity for prostitutes (150 of ’em) as a factor in Brooke’s decision in joining the profession. I don’t know if things are as simple as all that. Maybe there is something in our minds that links personal inhibitions with parental behavior. Or, maybe, it was an arbitrary choice. I really don’t know.

I wonder if he’ll regret making this revelation. It seems a bit attention seeking. A little Michael Lohan-ish, if you ask me. But we’ll see how he feels the morning after.

The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance by Vampire Weekend vs. Miike Snow

You have a roommate, Brooke Magnanti, don’t bring them home!

Belle de Jour came out on Sunday! And she has a … PhD?

This is a bit unnerving for those of us who are still in school. Is this what’ll I’ll have to do to get funding as a student in the UK? 300 per hour sounds lovely, but I don’t think this job is for everyone. (Neither does Brooke.) Besides, I only write about prostitution…

I’ve been in love with this song from Flight of the Conchords for this past month, so this should come as no surprise:

You Don’t Have to be a Prostitute by Flight of the Conchords


The Entire Country is Raining


Apparently, it’s rainy/hurricane force winds weekend in the UK. The entire UK. There’s nowhere to run!

The Universal (instrumental) by Blur

The world has turned and left me–

–in the UK, fortunately. I had three week UK visa drama and temporary deportation. Yum. So for those of you looking to get into the UK for study in January/February:

First, get a good visa expediter. i,e. A good one should properly vet your materials and help you out. Mine (TDS in NYC) did not. They were horrible, don’t use them. I got more help from the A Briggs website than I did from the morons I was working with. Also, when you select a service, double check that they are on your consulates approved list of couriers. As I later found out, mine was not. So be careful.

Secondly, get the following:

1. Bank statements showing 5,400 GBP. If your parents are backing you up with their bank statements, be prepared to add on
a. A letter of support, signed by all parents involved.
b. A long form of your birth certificate, showing both parents’ names. If you’re adopted, use whatever forms are involved for that.

2. Transcripts from the schools listed on your visa letter. If anything’s not in English, get it translated. My Amherst diploma’s in Latin and my last post-grad school was in Holland, so I had fun with this one. Again, no one told me.

3. Fresh biometrics: These expire within two weeks, so work to get everything through quickly, or else you need to apply again.

4. Appendix 8 of the UK visa form. (My expediter didn’t even tell me I needed this. Neither did the particular UK BA site I used.)

5. Online application, not paper. You make the biometric appointment through the online application. The paper is only good in the UK, and that’s for a reapply.

6. Passport with enough blank pages. You can always add pages through a competent service

7. Passport photos. Take more than the recommended two. The consulate ended up botching my initial visa, so they

8. Visa letter, preferably with a recent date (ask your school)

Hopefully, this is useful to someone. If anyone can suggest anything new, I’m more than happy to add it to the list and keep updating.

The World Has Turned And Left Me Here (Weezer Cover) by Bit Shifter


MTV Video Music Awards Show

I returned to this blog was too late  to comment on Kanye West while the VMAs were still fresh. But I will say this: if Joe Wilson shut down the keyboard cat shop the week before, this Muppet mashup is a great substitute for playing off Kanye.

Don’t even get me started on Lil Mama’s foolishness.

Gold Mahna Mahna (Kanye West Vs. The Muppets)


I’ve been teaching ESL to children, finishing my thesis, getting certified to teach ESL to adults, preparing an epic move to Scotland– oh, fuck my excuses. There are none. I’m sorry. Here, have some awesome Passion Pix remixes. On the house. The freshly re-entered house.

Sleepyhead by Passion Pit (Run Toto Tun Cover)

Sleepyhead by Passion Pit (The Knocks remixes)



It’s too late to do an MJ RIP post. And I’m still a bit jetlagged. And overdue on an E-603 shoutout. But I’m going to Scotland next year! Whoopie! And I got work in Pennsylvania! Yay! And I’m a bit busy at the moment being somebody’s….

Girlfriend by Phoenix

It’s Been Too Long

Sorry all. I’ll be back soon, with updates.

Monday Guilty Pleasure: What Hiatus?


I’m going to Scotland tomorrow. More to come…

I’m Not Alone (Radio Edit) by Calvin Harris

Monday Guilty Pleasure: Listening to Scandinavian Pop Music When You’re Well

view from Hooigracht

There was a twenty minute snow shower this morning. I was able to snap this photo from my window. Doesn’t this look like Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree’s slender Dutch cousin? It’s huge!

I’m feeling a lot better since last week.  Nothing like having your glands back. For now.

New Röyksopp here. It’s so lovely; I can’t wait for the new album on March 23.

Happy Up Here by Röyksopp

Happy Up Here (Datasette remix) by Röyksopp

Music from Warm Places II

britain, snow, umbrella

One of my professors is snowed in over in Britain. I got my face exfoliated by an ice shower while biking yesterday. Too much coldness everywhere!

Now that my glands have retracted back into my throat (at least temporarily) let’s have some Haitian  salsa:

Pa Koute Konsey by Haitiando

As promised: The Bike Mortuary

fiets fout fiets weg

So this building used to be a hospital and was there was a mortuary in the basement. That mortuary is now the bike shelter. Freaky! I half expect David from Six Feet Under to pop out from around the corner. Or Dexter. Any Michael C. Hall character would be at home down here.

Continue reading ‘As promised: The Bike Mortuary’

January 2022
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