Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Dark Side of National Bring Your Daughter to Work Day

So I read online that the fourth Thursday in April is National Bring Your Daughter to Work Day, while other parts of the innertubes claim that the day has morphed into Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

When I think of this day, I can't help but think of the implications--or actually just one implication in particular.

Imagine that you take your daughter to work on that day, and your boss asks you to step into his office.  You do.  He is there with his daughter, and he is frowning.  His daughter is frowning as well.  Take a seat, he says.  You do.  As he begins speaking, you quickly realize that this day is more special that you had imagined.  Your daughter, a bit slow on the uptake, looks at you with inquiring eyes.

"Are you being fired, Daddy?" she asks.

Okay, this is strange, unfortunate, and morbid, but here's my real question, which is even more strange, unfortunate, and morbid: If the purpose of the day is to give your daughters--your daughter and your boss's daughter--the full experience of a day at work, then shouldn't his daughter fire your daughter too?

A corollary to this implied rule is that if Daddy works at Micky D's, then his daughter better come home smelling like the Fry-o-Later.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Brief Post about How Busy I Am

Things are insanely busy these days, which basically means that my days are busy, and I am insane.

I am gearing up for my last month in the United Arab Emirates before the semester is finished.  Near the end of June, I will be giving a two-day presentation on Business Law to some Emirati dudes for a nice chunk of change, in return for which I will have to endure another insanely busy month.

After that, I will get to enjoy the benefit of being back in the States.  I will also get to enjoy a long-deserved period of unemployment.  I don't want to find a job immediately, but I also don't want to go a year without working.  It is a porridge situation, but I forget which folk tale the porridge is in.  Three bears?  Did the big bad wolf come and blow their house in?  No, those were pigs.

Why are there so many instances of threes in folk tales anyway?  Three pigs, three bears.  Are they just trying to confuse us?

A quick search leads to two wikipedia-based observations, one of which says that the "Rule of Three is a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, and more effective than other numbers of things."

Huh.  Never knew that.  I guess that's why so many jokes start off with lines like "A priest, a nun, and a rabbi walk into a bar."

The other thing I read was a phrase: "omne trium perfectum," which means that "everything that comes in threes is perfect, or, every set of three is complete."

So, folklore and jokes use the rule of three . . . as do threesomes.  Duh!

Who knew that the number three was such a powerful number?

Hugh Hefner, I suppose.

In other news, the music releases for the month of May have been very, very good, from the National to Daft Punk to a variety of other good albums, I really can't wait to give them a listen.  Without music, I don't think I could be anything but miserable.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Name I Will Register Under If PokerStars Ever Comes Back


It's not especially excellent or funny; it's just the right choice.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Album Capsules--No Joy

Got a bunch of albums downloaded recently that I haven't had time to listen to, and today is the first day of relaxation that I've had in a while.  Things get hectic when you're getting ready to stop working abroad and return home.  The university's human resources department has a bunch of hurdles to leap through.  Then you've got to sell all of your shit.  Those things alone would make things busy enough, but now this semester has become my busiest, with by far the most work.  But enough whining . . .

No Joy

Wait to Pleasure


If you're a fan of My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Lush, or any other major shoegaze band, or if you're a fan of noise pop, or if you like music that gives you a reason to feel miserable, or if you just like to weep for no reason at all--say, in the pasta aisle at the local grocery store--then you'll probably enjoy this album.  Hello, reverb.  Welcome, distortion.  Atop this ocean of sound, you can occasionally try to make out a word or two of Jasamine White-Glutz and Laura Lloyd's vocals.  "Prodigy," below, is the closest thing to a pop song that you'll find on this album.  This is the kind of insecure, morose album that doesn't seem to mind being background music.  I like it.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Field Trip

I've been very busy these last couple weeks.  Part of my busy-ness culminated in a field trip for female UAE students.  The point of the field trip was to visit the Dubai Financial Market, which was the UAE equivalent of visiting the New York Stock Exchange.  It turns out that the UAE version is far more boring and nothing at all like you'd think it would be--unless you imagine that it would involve a couple dozen Arabic dudes sitting on sofas and staring at stock quotes on a gigantic flat-screen TV.

The part that took so much effort was getting the female students off of the university grounds in the first place.  As you are probably aware, female students--even female university students--are kept on university grounds that are surrounded by walls.  So that they can't escape.  So naturally, these women look for any excuse they can to go on a field trip.

These are the following steps that were required to allow the women to leave the campus:

1.  Get approval from Dubai Financial Market (DFM)

2.  Give DFM contact info to the university

3.  Request permission from the university to go on the field trip (the permission request involves a lot of information which basically boils things down to one question: "If things get screwed up, who is the university going to fire?"  The answer: "Me.  Fire me.")
4.  The university took two weeks to approve the field trip.  During this period, I had to kiss major ass.  Finally, the field trip was approved.

5.  Even though it has been approved, I now need to convince the people at the gate that the university has approved the field trip.  This step has been known to kill many field trips.

6.  Once we are through the gate, we need to have a bus.  This is more complicated than it sounds.  We can order a bus.  That's easy.  The bus people can send an email that reads: "Bus confirmed."  Neither of these steps has any meaning.  All that matters is making enough phone calls and complaining to enough people so that a bus driver actually shows up, so that we can pile on board.

7.  The bus driver will have no clue where we are going.  And because the women are never allowed to leave the campus, they have no clue where we are going either.

Step 7 leads to the beginning of our field trip.  The Club President, upon finding out that our bus driver--who was missing all of his upper teeth in the front--had no clue where he was going, called DFM, got a rep, and handed the phone to the driver.  As the toothless driver took the Club President's phone, his own phone started ringing . . . and he answered it.  We approached a roundabout in a bus being driven by a toothless guy with a phone on each ear and steering with his elbows.

And of course, the ladies are so excited to be outside the university that they're making a ruckus on the bus, clapping their hands, singing, and laughing all at once, making me realize that I had 90 minutes of near-screaming static to look forward to.

The rest of the trip was not quite as exciting or interesting.  We arrived at DFM to sit through a 20 minute powerpoint presentation by a Low Talker.  (Everyone kept leaning forward, straining to hear him.)

After the presentation, we checked out the trading floor, which was boring.

Then we had the following options for lunch.  The university does not trust its students, so we had three options:

1.  Food from the local gas station, which I alone would collect the money and buy, while the students stayed behind in the bus.

2.  Go to Zayed University.

3.  Go to HCT University.

Yes, the students were leaving their university on a field trip where they would eventually eat lunch . . . at another university.  We chose Zayed.

Zayed was fine.  There were plenty of food options.  But once again, these students were so excited about being on a field trip that they had a glazed look in their eyes.  I would speak, but their ears were hearing absolutely nothing.

Instead, they wandered around, having their pictures taken next to everything.  Next to posters.  Next to trees.

Eventually, a student asked me, "Sir, may I take a picture with you?"

And I made the mistake of saying, "Yes."

How could I have made such a rookie maneuver?  Soon they were all lined up and I was their newest photo prop.

Anyhoo, once that was all finished, we were supposed to meet to get back on the bus, except one student was missing.

The students all thought that this situation was no big deal, or else it was something to joke about.

Finally, I said, "You know, this isn't important to you.  I understand that.  But if I leave our university with 19 female students, and then I return to our university with 18 female students, then I might as well just drive to the airport, because I am fired."

Their eyes brightened at that realization.  I could see the dots connecting behind their eyes.  Yes, they were thinking, he's right.  If he loses one of us, he's finished.

They all reached for their cell phones simultaneously and phone-flooded the missing student till she showed up.

Back on the bus.  Back to university.  Then back home, whereupon I slept for 11 hours.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

2013 Music So Far

Just a quick update and summary.  All new additions in the last month or so are in bold.

I keep noticing music reviewers who are claiming that 2013 is the best year for music in quite a long time.  I hope it keeps up.

The Knife--Shaking the Habitual (94/100)

Koze--Amygdala (90/100)

Youth Lagoon--Wondrous Bughouse (88/100)

Foxygen--We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (88/100)

My Bloody Valentine--MBV (87/100)

Yo La Tengo--Fade (85/100)

Kurt Vile--Wakin' on a Pretty Daze (84/100)

Atoms for Peace--Amok (84/100)

Devendra Banhart--Mala (83/100)

Matmos--The Marriage of True Minds (83/100)

Wooden Wand--Blood Oaths of the New Blues (83/100)

Waxahatchee--Cerulean Salt (83/100)

Rhye--Woman (82/100)

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds--Push the Sky Away (82/100)

The Haxan Cloak--Excavation (82/100)

Autechre--Exai (82/100)

Nosaj Thing--Home (81/100)

Grouper--The Man Who Died in His Boat (81/100)

The James Hunter Six--Minute by Minute (81/100)

David Bowie--The Next Day (81/100)

Mogwai--Les Revenants (81/100)

Parquet Courts--Light Up Gold (80/100)

Steve Mason--Monkey Minds in the Devil's Time (80/100)

Jim James--Regions of Light and Sound of God (80/100)

Iceage--You're Nothing (79/100)

Indians--Somewhere Else (79/100)

Mountains--Centralia (78/100)

Bilal--A Love Surreal (78/100)

Local Natives--Hummingbird (78/100)

Autre Ne Veut--Anxiety (77/100)

Phoenix--Bankrupt! (77/100)

Ex Cops--True Hallucinations (77/100)

Toro Y Moi--Anything in Return (77/100)

Low--The Invisible Way (77/100)

Broadcast--Berberian Sound Studio (74/100)

Night Beds--Country Sleep (74/100)

Johnny Marr--The Messenger (73/100)

Josh Ritter--The Beast in Its Tracks (73/100)

Justin Timberlake--The 20/20 Experience (72/100)

The Men--New Moon (72/100)

Young Galaxy--Ultramarine (72/100)

A$AP Rocky--Long.Live.A$AP (72/100)


Foals--Holy Fire (71/100)

California X--California X (70/100)

Chvrches--Recover EP (70/100)

Bonobo--The North Borders (70/100)

Four Tet--0181 (70/100)

Suede--Bloodsport (69/100)

Phosphorescent--Muchacho (68/100)

The Flaming Lips--The Terror (68/100)

Pantha du Prince & The Bell Laboratory--Elements of Light (67/100)

Widowspeak--Almanac (67/100)

Jacco Gardner--Cabinet of Curiosities (66/100)

Frightened Rabbit--Pedestrian Verse (66/100)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs--Mosquito (65/100)

Sally Shapiro--Somewhere Else (64/100)

James Blake--Overgrown (64/100)

Suuns--Images Du Futur (64/100)

Chelsea Light Moving--Chelsea Light Moving (64/100)

Brokeback--Brokeback and the Black Rock (57/100)

Various Artists--Trance (Motion Picture Soundtrack) (56/100)

Clinic--Free Reign II (48/100)

Everything Everything--Arc (46/100)

Depeche Mode--Delta Machine (29/100)

Jamie Lindell--Jamie Lindell (16/100)

The Strokes--Comedown Machine (7/100)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Album Capsules--Three More New Albums




This French band really took off with their last release, 2009's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.  After that kind of success, almost anything that Phoenix released afterwards was bound to be a bit of a letdown.  There's nothing here as catchy, enthusiastic, or memorable as their last album, but the songs are still fairly solid.  If you don't have anything by these guys, though, Bankrupt! is not the place to start.  That would be like introducing yourself to Pink Floyd by listening to A Momentary Lapse of Reason.  Here's "Entertainment."

*      *      *

The James Hunter Six

Minute by Minute


This album is a fun collection of retro soul that evokes--as points out--Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, and Bobby Bland.  Really fun stuff.  If you like "Drop on Me" (below), then I can't see how you won't like the album.  I also like it because it adds a little more variety to my music collection.

*      *      *

Young Galaxy



Slick, sunny electronic pop music.  The album seems to be overwhelmed by the opening track, "Pretty Boy," which seems far superior the other tracks on the album.  So even if you like that song--and I'm not sure that I do--you still might not like the album.  It's a good collection of songs nevertheless.  At its best, it creates a wistful, uplifting mood.  At its worst, it's forgettable.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Why I Was Banned from 2+2

Grrouchie asked why I was banned from 2p2 once upon a time.

It's been a while, so I'm not exactly sure, but I'm pretty sure that this is the story:

I was banned because some guy started a thread where he was basically asking for cash (without really asking for cash).  Trying to inspire pity in a really ham-handed way, he said that he was on the verge of sticking his head in the oven.

I made a comment like: "Make sure it's a gas oven.  Otherwise you'll just end up burning your ears."

Then I clicked "Send" with pride.

Giving suicide advice = Lifetime ban

Friday, May 3, 2013

Interesting Day for Quincy

If you're interested in checking out some new music, I made a post earlier today--the post right before this one--where I mentioned four new albums, at least one of them worth checking out.

Also, because I finally had some free time, I figured I would check out the Quincy Capers blog and maybe add a chapter.

I added that chapter, number 35, which basically means that there are 15 to go.  This one is mostly about Quincy playing poker in the limit tournament at the WSOP.

After I was done, I checked the stats for that blog.  Basically, my stats for that blog amounted to about 1,000 total views since I started the thing in February.

So it sort of blew my mind when I saw that the total view were 990.

That didn't seem right.  After all, I was sure that I had more than a thousand views.

I don't know what happened next.  Life intervened.  Anyway, I was away from the computer for a few minutes.  When I came back I saw that same number again . . . 990.  And I knew it wasn't right.

So I clicked refresh, and the new number was 1,074.

And that didn't seem right either.

Then I realized that these were the page views for today.

Somehow, today I got more page views on my Quincy Capers blog than I had received for the last three months combined?

It didn't take much effort to find the culprit.

It's amazing how many people frequent that site.

This has happened to me exactly two times in the past, yet never to this degree.  What will happen tomorrow is that the page views will return to normal.  And my blogger stats will forever remember the day of The Spike--where readers came, skimmed, and dismissed.

Album Capsules--Several New Albums

This will be a longer post than usual.  I've been pretty busy the last couple weeks, and I expect May to be even more busy, but luckily I have some relaxation time this weekend.  I got so caught up in Constanza'ing basketball that the new albums had really started piling up.  And some of them are quite good.  Here are four of them.

Kurt Vile

Wakin' on a Pretty Daze


This mellow rock album is unexpectedly good.  On first listen, you get the feeling that these songs were just tossed together.  The more you play it, the more you notice how strong a mood he creates.  An early April release date seems like a solid choice, because this is the perfect album to play on a lazy summer car ride.  Kurt Vile doesn't restrict himself to typical 3-4 minute pop-song length either.  You'll be surprised at how many songs feel a bit longer than usual--only to realize that they're almost touching on the ten-minute mark, like "Wakin' on a Pretty Day" (below).  Really good album--the kind that you want to replay as soon as it has finished.

*      *      *

The Haxan Cloak



How can I say this?  This experimental album is an exploration into what happens to us after we die.  If Excavation comes anywhere close to the truth, then our afterlife is going to be filled with anxiety, surprise, and random bursts of horror.  The second track is carried along by an electronic heartbeat, but since we're already dead, this must be our mind thinking of it from habit's sake.  Dark stuff.  As puts it, "'Creeping' and 'funereal' [are terms that are] not just accurate, they're complimentary."  Bobby Krlic, the man who is Haxan Cloak, wanted to make an album that would flip your shit, and he did just that.  It's music that you'll only play a couple times a year, when you get into the weird mood that Excavation requires.  You know, the weird mood that has forgotten just how horrible the afterlife might possibly be.

*      *      *


The North Borders


This is the fifth studio album by Simon Green as Bonobo.  He's been making ambient downbeat electronica for twelve years now.  His career reminds me of the law of diminishing returns.  How many examples can you think of an artist who starts off with a so-so first album, improves on the second, makes his breakthrough on the third or fourth, and then by the fifth or sixth has either plateau'd or else has clearly declined?  That's what I think of when I play The North Borders.  It's a skilled album, without surprising or impressing the listener.  If you like downtempo electronic music, you'll play it.  But it'll rarely be your first--or second, or third--choice.  Better albums by Bonono, if you're curious, are Dial "M" for Monkey and Black Sands.  "Cirrus," probably the best song on The North Borders, is below.

*      *      *

Yeah Yeah Yeahs



The music is better than the album cover, which isn't saying much, considering the fact that this is the shittiest album cover I've seen in a long time.  You know what I really miss from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs?  Their earliest songs that sounded rough and edgy and gave you everything you wanted to hear from a garage punk band--songs like "Bang," which start off:

Bang, bang, bang, the bigger the better

and led into this chorus:

As a fuck, son, you sucked.  As a fuck, son, you sucked.  As a fuck, son, you sucked.  As a fuck, son, you sucked.  The purpose of the song was nothing more or less than to insult the lead singer's former lover.  It was thrilling to hear Karen O sing so derisively.  Anyhoo, this album has 1/4th of their earlier energy, which happens to be just enough to create "Sacrilege," by far the best song on the album and just about the only one worth multiple replays.  But no, this isn't a garage punk band anymore.