Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Random Ten: The Proof is in the Pudding

What? I like pudding.

"We had the $240 - we had to have the pudding."

And now you know the state of my mind. 

Ooooh. Brilliant, no?

1. "Stratford-on-Guy" - Liz Phair
2. "Bled White" - Elliott Smith
3. "The Man Who Sold The World" - Nirvana 
4. "Team" - Bon Iver 
5. "One Week" - Barenaked Ladies 
6. "The General Specific" - Band of Horses
7. "Whisper Grass" - Elbow
8. "No One Else" - Weezer
9. "Politik" - Coldplay
10. "It's Not Up To You" - Bjork


11. "Invincible" - Muse


12. "$240 Worth of Pudding" - Barry and Levon

Awwww, yeah.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ye Gods, the hair! The HAIR!

Thanks to the inestimable Mr. Scalzi and his latest Reader Request Week post, I now have Howard Jones's "No One Is To Blame" running on an infinte loop in my head. I like the song - absolutely loved it when I was 11, to be sure, and I think it's held up reasonably well to the years - but there's only so much of the inoffensive Brit's dulcet tones I can take before yea, verily, I doth descend into madness.

So: what's the solution?

(And don't say "More Cowbell!" Because I'm pretty sure that joke jumped the shark about four years ago, now.)

Here's the solution: get the song out of my head and into yours! So, have some, friends, and revel in the glory of Howard Jones in his prime.

Wow. That hair, man. That's just something else. Luckily, that style abortion ended with Reagan, et. al. 

(Photo cribbed from Amanda Marcotte's flickr stream; taken on day one of this year's SXSW festival in Austin, I believe.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Random Ten: "Read, dammit!" Edition

First, an addendum to yesterday's You Must Read These post. These are also books you must read. Because I said so, dammit!

Winterbirth and Bloodheir by Brian Ruckley - books 1 & 2, respectively, of Ruckley's The Godless World trilogy. This is classic epic fantasy, in the mold of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. Magic is at a minimum here, though it has its place. Plus, militant religious fanatics bent on domination! This is one of the better series in epic fantasy in recent years, a solid bit of storytelling with a complex, fully-realized world and some characters that you can actually get behind. I'm anxiously awaiting the trilogy's conclusion, Fall of Thanes, which will be published in May, 2009.

The Darkness That Comes Before; The Warrior ProphetThe Thousand-Fold Thought by R. Scott Bakker - comprising The Prince of Nothing trilogy, Bakker's epic fantasy series is simply the best fantasy going. Yes, better than GRRM. Way better than Jordan. This series is what every epic fantasy should strive to emulate. Well-written, deftly-plotted, world-building that's almost daunting (and definitely envy-inducing), brutal and beautiful and painful and joyous, The Prince of Nothing books spin a dark tale of one man, the ultimate trickster, who arrives from the North and manages to finagle his way into the ultimate position of power, through manipulation and a preternatural understanding of human nature. And he doesn't care who he ruins along the way, who he kills or betrays, for he is on a mission. And that mission: save the world from the rising of the No-God. Yeah, I read these a while ago, but I'm thinking I need to re-read them again soon. I'm sure there's a ton I missed on the first go-round.

Okay, I'm sure there are more I'm forgetting, but the music, she calls. Onto the list!

1. "True Dreams of Wichita" - Soul Coughing
2. "I've Got Your Number" - Elbow
3. "We Might As Well Be Strangers" - Keane
4. "Fuck and Run" - Liz Phair
5. "Nude" - Radiohead
6. "Lost!" - Coldplay
7. "Buddy Holly" - Weezer
8. "Seal the Bulkheads" - Richard Gibbs (Battlestar Galactica (2003) soundtrack)
9. "One Of These Things First" - Nick Drake
10. "Cold Water" - Damien Rice

Yes. Yes, I think I like that list, and would like to subscribe to its newsletter. But what about the bonus?

11. "Such Great Heights" - The Postal Service

Not bad, not bad at all. I think my musical self-worth has been mildly assuaged for the week.

Cue Gordon Ramsey: "Video."


Thursday, March 26, 2009

You must read these. NOW.

Twiddling my thumbs, waiting for code to build and automated unit tests to run. Time to issue a decree to all denizens of Limboland!

And it is thus: read more.

I read. A lot. Not as much as The Wife, granted, who can sit down and polish off a decent-sized book (200-300 pages, say) in a single day if she has the time (new Taltos books from Brust seems to garner this attention, in particular), but I'd say I go through, on average, 2-3 books of fiction a month. Sometimes it's more, sometimes less - it all depends on the books currently in the queue.

My bent, naturally (as I am the Viscount of Nerd), is toward the more speculative of the fictive arts. F&SF, as the kids call it. Though I've been known to read other genre fiction - I will happily gobble up anything and everything from Stephen King, for example, and have a soft spot for Ludlum and even Clancy, Jebus save me - and have even occasionally dabbled in what is often referred to as "literature", or as I like to call it (in my head, where no one else can here, except for that one guy) "fiction with a high-falutin' accent", speculative fiction is my one true fictive love.

(Wow. Now that, friends, is a tortured sentence. I was going to edit it, but I thought I'd leave it up there as a shining example of how, exactly, not to write with the English. Also: lazy.)

Anyway: I am a reader. I wish for you would be too. Please to have some of my tasty recommendations from recently-read pile!

Anathem by Neal Stephenson - or as I privately refer to it, The Geeks Shall (Maybe) Inherit the (Not) Earth. You wouldn't know it from the first 150 pages or so, but this is probably one of NS's most "straightforward" science fiction books. Though "straightforward" means something totally different when NS is involved, I'll grant you that. This book is dense and large and intimidating, but it's well worth the effort. You'll find the first third or so a tough slog, and may even want to chuck the fucking thing across the room at points, but stick with it. If, for nothing else, the sheer beauty of world building done right.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - I read this about 6 months ago, so it's not really in my recently-read pile any more, but damn if this book didn't stick with me. It's one of the strangest, human, touching and tragic love stories I've ever read. Extremely well-written, to boot. Read it. Read it now!

Ghostwritten by David Mitchell - more a series of interconnected short stories than a proper novel, this is still an engrossing read. Mitchell pulls off the nifty trick of telling all of the stories in the first person and somehow giving each narrator, reliable or otherwise, their own distinct voices. It ends a little unsatisfactorily, but that's my only beef. Heh. Beef.

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett - first-timer Brett has come up with a unique take on the classic high/epic fantasy milieu: what if demons rose from the ground every night, all night, and the only way to not get killed was to be behind a series of protective wards, sigils of a lost magic, and that even those wards might fail and you're toast? What would that world be like? This is actually my current read, and I'm about halfway through. Thoroughly enjoying it. Brutal in just the right amount, with characters that I actually kind of care about (my main beef with most epic fantasy). Suckiness: it's brand new, and book 1 of a series. So there's that.

Okay: unit tests done. Time to check in. And check out! Ha!

Go: read, dammit.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Random Ten: "Quack Me Up Before You Quack-Quack" Edition

The quacking has resumed. For most of the week, there was no quacking, as the president of my organization was out of the office. Until today, that is. She's back, with her infernal laptop, and the damnable quack quack quack has, much to my dismay, re-entered my work life.

So: what to do? I know! Let's FRT - quack-style!

Quack. "Such Great Quacks" - Iron & Wine
Quack. "Quackless" - Soul Coughing
Quack. "Tired of Quack" - Weezer
Quack. "Window Quacks" - Band of Horses
Quack. "What A Good Quack" - Barenaked Ladies
Quack. "Motion Picture Soundquack" - Radiohead
Quack. "You Can Do Better Than Quack" - Death Cab for Cutie
Quack. "Street Quack (Fade Out)" - Radiohead
Quack. "Viva la Quack" - Coldplay
Quack. "Dickquack" - Kate Nash

My my: what a quacking list. But what's the bonus quack?

Extra Quack. "U-Quack" - Pixies

Brilliant. I went to school near U-Quack, so this song is near-and-dear ("In the sleepy West / of the woody East / lives a Valley full / full of Pioneer...")

(But sweet merciful Daffy, they got old and fat, didn't they? Yowza.)

Until next time, kids: keep your feet on the quack, but keep reaching for the quacks.

God help me.

Friday, March 13, 2009

You gotta be quacking quacking me

He looks so innocent, doesn't he? Not evil at all. And yet, his is the very heart of darkness...

Because I know the vast and awesome readership of Limboland demands it, an update to the whole quacking cellphone nonsense...

So, it turns out that it's not a cellphone's ringer that's set to quack - it's an Outlook new mail notification sound. That's why it's constantly going off. Worse, the person who is responsible for unleashing this torrent of anatine hullabaloo on my workplace is none other than the president and founder of the organization, whose office just happens to be two doors down from mine.

Seriously. And she gets a metric fuckload of email.

What to do? Can't rightly march into her office, yank the laptop from her desk and send it plunging into the river, to live (and die) amongst the ducks whose call the infernal machine apes at every new electronic message arrival. I doubt even complaining about it would do anything - she probably thinks it's cute.

Grrr. And also: argh.

People. Meh.

Friday Random Ten: "It's Friday, Time to Blog" edition

Boy, sometimes I sure wish I'd get off my lazy butt and do some blog entries about other stuff, rather than just doing these FRTs.

But then I settle down and let the warm, fuzzy glow of the TV wash over me, and everything's okay again.

Oh, TV. When have you ever done me wrong?


1. "Islands on the Coast" - Band of Horses
2. "Cannonball" - Damien Rice
3. "We Looked Like Giants" - Death Cab for Cutie
4. "Bullets' - Augustana
5. "Midnight Show" - The Killers
6. "X&Y" - Coldplay
7. "Rusted Wheel" - Silversun Pickups
8. "Polaris" - Jimmy Eat World
9. "Heaven Forbid" - The Fray
10. "Monkey Gone to Heaven" - Pixies

Not bad, not bad. Let's see what's behind door number 11, shall we...?

11. "The General Specific" - Band of Horses

Oh, the dreaded band repeat in the bonus! So sorry - thanks for playing, we have some lovely parting gifts for you. Johnny, tell 'em what they've won!

Thanks for stopping by, folks! We'll see you next time on Friday Random Ten!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Random Ten: Mailbox Orange Aquatic Edition

Yes, friends, it's Friday again. And you know what that means! Indeed, time to open up my soul - or at least my music library - to all and sundry. "Why do I do this?" you ask. That's a great question.


(What? That's a great answer!)

So, without further ado, let the humiliation - er, I mean, the list begin!

1. "The Ice Is Getting Thinner" - Death Cab for Cutie
Z. "For Emma" - Bon Iver
Maroon. "Johnny Sunshine" - Liz Phair
Pie. "Take a Bow" - Muse
-99. "Black Star" - Radiohead
6. "A is for Asthma" - Kate Nash
23. "23" - Jimmy Eat World
Aston Villa FC. "The Beatiful Occupation" - Travis
C#. "Heirloom" - Bjork
10. "Sunshine" - Keane

Bonus bonus bonus!

Flapjacks. "A Message" - Coldplay

Feh. Coldplay it is. Have some. Have some now!


(Did you get this week's theme? Huh? Well, well, aren't you the observant one, my plucky little shellfish!)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Random Ten: 25 Random Things - "City of Delusion" edition

Following on a meme that's been there and back again, saw the movie and hated the ending but then saw the movie again... I give unto you the not-annoying-at-all-not-in-the-slightest "Friday 25 Random Things About Me" list! (Clicken the linken for what the hell it all means)

Yes! List!

1. What do your friends say about you?
"No. 13 Baby" - Pixies

2. How would your coworkers describe you?
"Ribcage" - Elbow

3. How would you describe yourself?
"Cannonball" - Damien Rice

4. What do you like in a romantic partner?
"Too Long Awake" - Idlewild

5. How do you feel today?
"We Never Change" - Coldplay

6. What is your life's purpose?
"Cath..." - Death Cab for Cutie

7. What is your motto?
"Reunion" - Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard (Gladiator soundtrack)

8. What do you think about the most?
"Isobel" - Bjork

9. What are you going to do on your next vacation?
"One Week" - Barenaked Ladies

10. What do you think of your first love/date?
"An Echo, A Stain" - Bjork (zing!)

11. What is your life story?
"Getchoo" - Weezer

12. What did you do yesterday?
"Dead Wrong" - The Fray

13. What do you think of when you see the person you like/love?
"Brian Wilson" - Barenaked Ladies

14. What describes your wedding?
"Goodbye, Baby" - Richard Gibbs (Battlestar Galactica miniseries soundtrack)

15. What will they play at your funeral?
"I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You" - Colin Hay

16. What is your obsession?
"Sentimental Guy" - Ben Folds

17. What is your biggest fear?
"Midnight Show" - The Killers

18. What is your biggest secret?
"Fix You" - Coldplay

19. What is your biggest turn-on?
"Pink Triangle" - Weezer (lesbians, FTW!)

20. How do you describe your friends?
"Futures" - Jimmy Eat World

21. What would you do with a million dollars?
"Can't Stop Now" - Keane

22. What is your opinion of sex?
"Amsterdam" - Coldplay

23. What is your biggest regret?
"Wasteland" - Augustana (actually, I think Song of Susannah was the worst of the Dark Tower books - hey, now!)

24. What would you rather be doing right now?
"Bodysnatchers" - Radiohead

25. What will you post this list as?
"City of Delusion" - Muse

Hm. That was amusing, at least. I'm particularly fond of nos. 10, 15 and 19 - ah, iTunes, you really came through for me. 

Now, let's mark the passing of my first internet meme participation with this lovely video of the fine lads of Muse performing "City of Delusion" live. Enjoy.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Annoyances in the Workplace: Part X of Eleventy-Billion and Y

Photo courtesy of

Someone in my office - someone of questionable intelligence and/or sanity - has the ring tone on their cellphone set to that of a duck's quack. I shit you not: it is, literally, the sound of a duck quacking. No music, jingle-jangle or anything else. Simply this:

quack quack quack. quack quack quack.

I just noticed it today, though I think it's been subconsciously plaguing me for a few days. And whoever this person is - if I knew who it was, likely their precious mobile would be sitting at the bottom of the river that runs by my building - gets an absurd amount of phone calls. I've counted eight since I first noticed it, shortly after lunch today.

Fucking quacking as your goddamn ring tone. Seriously.

I need to invest in some good headphones.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Random Ten: It's sooooo easy

which is why these have been the only posts of late. Oh, sure, I've wanted to post about Neal Stephenson's Anathem, which I just finished, and I've got that whole "big announcement about my writing, just wait for the new year" thing which I keep putting off... but those are all, like, hard and stuff. FRTs are like Skittles. And if you don't know what I mean, then I don't know how we ever communicated.

Anyway. Maestro, ze list!

1. "Foundations" - Kate Nash
2. "Gunshy" - Liz Phair
3. "Trouble" - Coldplay
4. "Brian Wilson" - Barenaked Ladies
5. "Stable Song" - Death Cab for Cutie
6. "Late" - Ben Folds
7. "Sunday Best" - Augustana
8. "Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine" - The Killers
9. "Volcano" - Damien Rice
10. "Wisconsin" - Bon Iver

Whoa. That's not a bad list - not a great one, mind, but as I've mentioned before, I've never been cool. And I'm okay with that. (No: really!) Anyway, let's see what's behind the mystery bonus door, shall we?

11. "No Answers" - AeonSpoke

Well, hey now. I daresay this is one of the best FRTs I've ever been a part of. Here, let's make merry with an AeonSpoke video ("Emmanuel" - I couldn't find one for "No Answers"), courtesy of the fine folks over at YouTube.

Happy Friday, folks.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Random Ten: Aaaand, we're back

Oh, my, but it's been a while since last we played the legendary FRT, hasn't it? Let's us rectify the situation, post haste!

1. "No One's Gonna Love You" - Band of Horses
2. "Work" - Jimmy Eat World
3. "Everybody's Changing" - Keane
4. "In The Garage" - Weezer
5. "Pain" - Jimmy Eat World
6. "Sulk" - Radiohead
7. "Parachutes" - Coldplay
8. "Death Of An Interior Decorator" - Death Cab for Cutie
9. "Talking Bird" - Death Cab for Cutie
10. "Welcome Home" - Idlewild

And, as ever, the infamous bonus track that almost always lets me down with its inherent lameosity:

11. "Love Will Come Through" - Travis

Hardly ever disappointed by the blandness of my music collection, am I. Alas, I am not now, nor have I ever been, cool. And I'm okay with that.

Here, let's celebrate feeling good about being lame by watching this video of bland adult alternative pap!

To be fair, this is off the album Twelve Memories (2003), which has a number of ditties highly critical of Bush's America, plus a song titled "Peace the Fuck Out". So it's not totally lame, only partially so.

Huh. Defensive much?

Monday, February 02, 2009

Gobbler's Knob? Really?

Taking a break from self-imposed blog exile (read: been too damn lazy and/or busy IRL to post) to note that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Gobbler's Knob today.

Put aside the fact that this supposedly means another 6 weeks of an already stupidly-long winter. Punxsutawney Phil resides on Gobbler's Knob? Really? No: really?

I mean... damn, the jokes just write themselves, don't they?