Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Best of 2009??

I've been slowly compiling my best of 2009 playlist, both for my year-end show on Between the Bars and also for a mixed-cd I plan to make for my friends as a holiday gift. (People still listen to cds, right?)

In preparation, I've been scouring the best-of annual lists from music industry folks, like Pitchfork, KCRW, KEXP, and NPR's "All Songs Considered." What I discovered, sadly, was there so much amazing music released this year that completely passed me by.

Have you heard of Fanfarlo? I just heard of them. They're fantastic.

I love the All Songs podcast and really enjoyed their end of the year roundup. Lots of music I hadn't heard yet, lots of witty banter between their panel of music critics. Read and listen at their blog and the podcast.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My grandmother actually wrote this in a baby Jesus themed Christmas card


Things Grandma heard about her beautiful granddaughter Katie in 2009:

- Katie & T are no longer an item (Grandma pouted - she liked T).
- Katie has new boyfriend (Grandma pouted - too soon after T).
- Katie and new friend decided they were not for each other (Grandma glad - wants Katie to go on with education).
- Katie going to Korea to give paper on her work (Grandma doesn't understand her goal but is very proud and worried she'll get back O.K.)
- Katie back - Did well - Good trip - Made new friends - Grandma proud but doesn't have her address and phone no. to tell her.
- Katie will not be with family this Christmas
- Grandma will not be with family this Christmas
- Grandma sends Katie money to make her Christmas special and asks her to thank Baby Jesus for all her blessings.
- Grandma loves Katie much - and will be praying for her everyday - wants her to buy something "fun & foolish" just for Katie from Grandma.

I love my Grandmother's sense of history and use of the third person. I can't believe she's still giving me guilt-trips about T. It's been three years. But I still got a check for $100! Grandma's rule!

I really don't like wearing dresses.

But if I did, I would shop at Mod Cloth. "Helloooo all you pretty things!"

From A Softer World.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I really enjoyed this article on the Communicatrix blog, about "burrowing time." What she describes as "the in-between, unplugged, unmoored time Between Big Goals, where things are stewing and churning and sorting themselves out. The wandering in the desert years."

It occurred to me that perhaps I don't appreciate down-time as much as I should. That it's okay to spend time alone, at home, and nest. That even when I'm doing nothing, something is happening, something is being rejuvenated. I went on a long car trip last month and realized how amazing it was to have several hours alone in my car with my thoughts. There's just something about that forced alone time I really needed. Yes so much of the last year I've been going out of my way to avoid it.

A good friend of mine said, sometimes you need to be alone to make space for something (or someone) new.

...Hitler, apparently...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Exploding Dog

Another web comic I love: Exploding Dog. He draws single-panes based on reader-submitted titles. So simple and remarkable.

The "lazer eyes" ones are my favorites, for obvious reasons.
- That seems reasonable.
- I'm ready to jump.
- Lazer eyes is alone tonight.
- I want to make it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

OK Go ahead.

I love this video for OK Go's "WTF." The singer kinda reminds me of someone... is it Damon Albarn from Blur? Okay. Yeah. I'll just go out on a limb and say he's "my type."

This is the same band that did that amazing synchronized dancing on treadmills video. Also, the original backyard dance routine that made them a Youtube senstation. They're originally from Chicago!

Thanks again Doobybrain for the heads-up.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A year in words

The most commonly used words on my Twitter the past the year...

# night - # tonight - # life - # time - # home - # beer - # love - # song - # radio - # coffee - # feel - # awesome - # kcsb - # friends - # music - # amazing - # research - # getting - # party - # lunch

...Sums up the last year pretty nicely. You can make your own tweet cloud here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Songs that will remind me of late summer 2009

I got into these bands after I saw them at Fuck Yeah Festival (FYF) in September. They're some of my favorite songs/albums/bands of the year, although only one of them was technically released in 2009.

No Age
"Eraser" from their 2008 album Nouns on Sub Pop
with an awesome intro by Craig Ferguson

Crystal Antlers "Andrew" from their 2009 album Tentacles on Touch and Go Records

Black Lips "Katrina" from 2007's Good Bad Not Evil on Vice Records

Monday, October 26, 2009

On babies and being awesome

From one of my twitter peeps, I heard of this amazing blog called My Parents Were Awesome. It's concept is very simple. An ongoing collection of photos submitted by random folks of their parents when they were young. Fashion recycled so many times that it's hard to tell if they're vintage 70's 80's people or just hipsters. Maybe they look just as they were at the time -- young couples.

Still, the title gets me. My parents WERE awesome. Once were. Long ago. Like awesome only happens when you're young. And once you're a parent, you become old and boring and no longer awesome. I think about my parents and wonder, were they awesome? Did they experience awesomeness then one day decide, That's enough, let's procreate? When my parents were my age they'd already been married for several years with a baby boy. Maybe that's when their lives stopped and became all about the kids.

I'm not saying all parents are lame. What I am saying is at 30 years old, I am still single, still in school, and still have anxiety dreams about my mother. That's not exactly what I want to be when I grow up. Not even close.

- - - - -

I went to a big nitride semiconductor conference in Korea last week. During our trip, one of my co-workers starting teasing me about being 30 and still single. But being away from home for a while gave me some perspective, and I realized several things:
  1. I'm not doing that bad.
  2. There is life after grad school.
  3. There is life outside of Santa Barbara.
It's hard to imagine grad school ever ends. I never liked the idea of leaving SB. Work hasn't exactly been my passion in life, so giving up my life and friends here always seemed like too big of sacrifice. But what I realized this week is this-- Work's the best thing I got going for me. I traveled this far to get a PhD, I might as well see where it leads. Maybe love, marriage and children will come eventually. Whatever road I'm on, maybe it's a little longer yet.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I managed to escape the 90's without owning a Dave Matthews Band album. Did you?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Graduate life.

As of today, I have officially advanced to PhD candidacy. Which means I'm officially an old grad student. Starting my fifth and last year, my thesis is looming. If I were a guy, I would be planning to if not already sporting a beard.

PhD Comics always gets it so right. I totally did this to a younger grad student this week:

Right now I'm in the midst of a post-qualifier exam, pre-thesis slump. I had some great results early this summer, but the past few weeks I've been sitting on my hands waiting for some of our machines to go back online. In the meantime I've been really lazy, organizing my desk, halfheartedly putting Powerpoint slides together for a conference in Korea next month.

Random semi-work related randomness: I decided a few weeks ago that I should learn Japanese.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What I learned this week

1. Sometimes it's better to just stop talking and enjoy an uncomfortable silence.

2. I'm no longer allowed to get down on my life under any of the following conditions: I'm tired, hungry, hungover, it's Monday, I'm possibly PMSing, and/or I don't feel like going into work. In those situations, I always feel bad about myself, but they are all temporary.

3. There's not much a good weekend can't fix.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


They said to write a list. Your wants and dreams, whatever you're looking for. Somehow it needs to exist in the physical realm, so you put it on paper like a letter to the universe.

That's the whole trick, to define it. "What I really want." And then wait patiently, with your eyes open, so you recognize it when it finally comes. Maybe this step takes a long time. The universe has it's ways.

But when it comes, that thing you wanted, you're ready. And it's amazing. You want to write the universe a thank-you note. You take a picture of yourself a dirty mirror instead, like a memento in case you ever forget.

"Yes, I can be happy. I never thought I would, but I am. Please remember. It happened. I don't care if it doesn't last, the important thing is it exists. This is what it looks like." *click*

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'm digging The Papercuts

I heard of The Papercuts through Stereogum, and instantly loved the song "Future Primitive." They're from San Fran, their new album "You Can Have What You Want" is great. I've played it on my show a few times. I'd file it under nuevo shoegazer -slash- dream pop, along the lines of Beach House, who are also really great.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I love Twitter. I made my account public because my friends kept telling me I had "good Tweets." Real-life friends on Twitter can be great, don't get me wrong. But it has potential for so much more. As Stephen Colbert writes, "140 characters or less is the soul of wit." There's nothing better than a one-liner, and of all the social networking sites, Twitter is the best medium.

An article of 50 Funny People You Should Be Following On Twitter.

I follow these guys too:
  • indefensible Radiohead are proof that white people can even take the fun out of being rock stars.
  • fireland Dear Gramma, thank you so much for the Tonka truck. It is very fun! Sorry it took me 30 years to write back. Is Heaven scary? Love, Jiggy
  • TheRobotDevil Oops, I crapped my pants #shartweek
There have been several anti-Twitter segments on Conan O'Brien that are pretty funny, called "Twitter Tracker." They make fun of celebrity Twitters. No one cares what you had for lunch, Ashton Kutcher!

There's been about 5 "Twitter Tracker" segements, you can watch at The Tonight Show page on Hulu.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I'm bored

The least interesting man in the world from XKCD

When I was a teenager and complained about being bored, my mom would say "You're only bored because you're boring!" Insult disguised as idiom. I can always turn to it when I have some down-time and no plans. I'm bored. What's wrong with me? Oh right, I'm boring. Damn.

Truth is, I often I worry that I actually am.

Reading quotes about bores inspires me:
  • A bore is a man who, when you ask him how he is, tells you. ~Bert Leston Taylor
  • Bore: A man who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company. ~Gian Vincenzo Gravina
  • Some people are so boring that they make you waste an entire day in five minutes. ~Jules Renard
  • Everyone is a bore to someone. That is unimportant. The thing to avoid is being a bore to oneself. ~Gerald Brenan
  • Life is intrinsically, well, boring and dangerous at the same time. At any given moment the floor may open up. Of course, it almost never does; that's what makes it so boring. - Edward Gorey
  • The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. ~Dorothy Parker

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Top track this week

"Folding Chair" by Regina Spektor

Off her new album "Far". There's a few great songs on it, but a few terrible ones (check out the lyrics to Wallet - so stupid).

Friday, August 7, 2009

A year without thinking

When I think back over the past year, a few memorable scenes flash by. Not necessarily good ones. If my life were a movie, the past year would best be described as a montage. I got really drunk. I cried. I cut my hair. I moved. I worked. I got drunk. I cried. I worked. I took a trip. I got drunk. I cried... Small scenes blend together over a musical soundtrack, the passing of time merely implied.

I'm not exactly sure what happened to July for example. I really wanted this summer to be a good summer and make up for the misery of the last two, but it hasn't exactly lived up.

I'm waiting for the song to end. When this sad montage fades to black and the real story begins.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thanks, Internet.

I enjoyed this CNet article "10 Songs the Web Brought Back".

Here's a summary:
10. Weezer - "Say It Ain't So" due to the popularity of "Pork and Beans" and Guitar Hero
9. A-Ha - "Take On Me" thanks to the literal video version
8. Blue Oyster Cult - "Don't Fear The Reaper" thanks to SNL's more cowbell skit
7. The Knife's "Heartbeat" thanks to Jose Gonzalez
6. Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta" thanks to College Humor's lip sync video (which I'd never seen)

Lip Dub - Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger from amandalynferri on Vimeo.

5. Rush - "YYZ" thanks to Guitar Hero
4. Journey's - "Don't Stop Believing"
3. Hall & Oats - "You Make My Dreams" due to the video mashup with keyboard cat
2. Europe's "The Final Countdown" thanks to Arrested Development
1. Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" - RICKROLL!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Big Bang Theory

I always loved Big Bang Theory. It's like XCCD made into a cheesy network sitcom.

The friendship algorithm:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Fruit Bats

I'm digging the new Fruit Bats album, "Ruminant Band" on Sub Pop. File it under indie folk pop, with a small touch of southern classic rock.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

NPR's best of the first half of 2009

According to NPR's "All Songs Considered" this is the best of the year so far

Best songs: (Listen to these tracks on their blog)
1. "My Girls" Animal Collective
2. "Two Weeks" Grizzly Bear
3. "Blood Bank" Bon Iver
4. "The Rake's Song" The Decemberists
5. "Lisztomania" Phoenix
6. "Zero" Yeah Yeah Yeahs
7. "This Tornado Loves You" Neko Case
8. "Sleepyhead" Passion Pit
9. "Laughing With" Regina Spektor
10. "The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid" The Decemberists

Best Albums:
1. Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective
2. The Hazards of Love by The Decemberists
3. Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear
4. Middle Cyclone by Neko Case
5. Wilco (The Album) by Wilco
6. Noble Beast by Andrew Bird
7. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix
8. It's Blitz! by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
9. Dark Was The Night by Various Artists
10. Bitte Orca by Dirty Projectors

I'm feeling pretty good because I own nearly all of these albums (thanks, KCSB!) My votes were for Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Phoenix, Passion Pit, and "Dark was the Night" so I'm glad they all made the list. The other albums are really good, too. I like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs but am pretty sure they crossed over to "alternative" radio. And I always felt bad about it, but I kinda can't stand The Decemberists. It's his voice.

#1 Song - Animal Collective's "My Girls" from Merriweather Post Pavilion

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I head about Craig Damrauer's New Math site from my friend in DC

When I was three years old, about the time my younger sister was born, I had an invisible friend named Jessica. We spent a lot of time playing together and I got very demanding when my family wouldn't take her seriously. My mom still remembers how I forced her to set a plate for Jessica when we all sat down for dinner.

I've moved four times since Jessica, very different times in my life, very different sets of visible, real-life friends. Right now, I'm lucky to have a lot of close friends in Santa Barbara. The really real kind of friends, who still like me even when I'm at my worst.

I always assumed friendships have an expiration date, that at some point you outgrow each other. Now I'm not so sure.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lonesome George

He's in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "the rarest living creature."

Lonesome George is the last known individual of the Pinta Island Tortoise, a subspecies of tortoise native to the Galápagos Islands. He's supposedly 100 years old. He was discovered in 1971, and since has lived in Galapagos National Park under the care of scientists. For years, there were many unsuccessful attempts to get him to reproduce with similar subspecies female tortoises. This week it was reported that Lonesome George, the loneliest creature in the world, may finally become a father.

If he can do it, maybe there's hope for me and Brenda Morgenstern after all.


I started watching "Rhoda" on Hulu this week. It's really good! Julie Kavner is precious as Rhoda's sister Brenda. She out-Rhoda's Valerie Harper's Mary Tyler Moore-era Rhoda. With even lower self-esteem and more self-deprecating humor. I can't get enough.
. . . .
Rhoda: We're not talking about love, we're talking about sex.
Brenda: Please! *covering ears* I don't want to hear they're not the same thing! I'm still getting over the 'what fun it is to be a woman' hoax. (pause) Are you still upset?
Rhoda: Yeah.
Brenda: Then let's eat something.
. . . .
Rhoda: Why am I always waiting for him to drop in on me? Why can't I drop in on him?
Brenda: Yeah, I was thinking of dropping in on some guy the other night.
Rhoda: Yeah? Why didn't you?
Brenda: I didn't know anybody.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Albert Eintstein quotes

Art and science of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one's own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
Perception of time
People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
Compassion for the Earth
A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
My all-time favorites
Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

On being small

I found this animated elephant image on my harddrive, a remnant of some late night Wikipedia binge. The images was taken by Eadweard Muybridge in the late 1800's, using a photographic technique that predated motion picture film.

I keep waiting for the elephant to stop.

Lately I move in tiny circles between home, the lab, the bar, and the radio station. I have this urge to live a bigger life but I'm not sure what that looks like yet. Maybe I need to be like the elephant, and keep walking a little longer in one direction.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'm a fan!

Staten Island's P.S. 22 Fifth Grade Chorus are amazing. Check out their blog.

"I'll Be Your Mirror" by Velvet Underground + Nico

I also recommend their versions of:
- "Seaweed Song" by Passion Pit
- "Joga" originally by Bjork
- "Pictures of You" originally by The Cure

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sarah Haskins makes me LOL

Sarah Haskins hosts a hilarious segment called "Target Women" on some show called infoMania. Each episode pokes fun at the way marketers advertise for women. I crack up every time.

In her own words: I think they're trying to toe a very fine line between seeming "with it" in terms of modern female roles and responsibilities while trying to do the tricky dance of selling us products that are related to much more traditional things: cleaning, cooking for your family, being a wifey… Hard to do both and not seem insane or ridiculous.

Yogurt ads

Lots more here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I think my dream job is in radio. For reals.

I'm listening to these podcasts a lot lately.

The Moth
15 minute stories read aloud without notes. Great for car trips or walks.

The Moth, a not-for-profit storytelling organization, was founded in New York in 1997 by poet and novelist George Dawes Green, who wanted to recreate in New York the feeling of sultry summer evenings on his native St. Simon's Island, Georgia, where he and a small circle of friends would gather to spin spellbinding tales on his friend Wanda's porch.

All Songs Considered
30 minute show dedicated to new music and reviews. Lots of great recommendations.

Every week, host Bob Boilen and producer Robin Hilton listen to hundreds of new albums to find the artists or songs worth getting excited about, whether it's the latest Swedish pop band, a hip hop artist going ambient, or a singer-songwriter with a twisted new take on love. Sometimes, artists and music critics are invited to have a turns as guest DJ during the 30 minute program.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Poetry about broken hearts

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (Sonnet XLIII)
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.


I May After Leaving You Walk Quickly or Even Run
by Matthea Harvey

Rain fell in a post-romantic way.
Heads in the planets, toes tucked
under carpets, that’s how we got our bodies
through. The translator made the sign
for twenty horses backing away from
a lump of sugar. Yes, you.
When I said did you want me
I meant me in the general sense.
The drink we drank was cordial.
In a spoon, the ceiling fan whirled.
The Old World smoked in the fireplace.
Glum was the woman in the ostrich feather hat.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Art resembles life.

It's so true it's not even funny.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

These guys

I love sketch comedy and I'm loving Jake & Amir. I think I have a thing for high-strung Jewish guys. I can't decide if I like Amir or Jake better?

They are Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld, two mid-20s guys who live in NYC and write/star in a number of short comedy videos on CollegeHumor. I came across their videos yesterday and I'm IN LOVE. Classic comedy duo: the straight-guy versus the annoying-weirdo. In an office environment.

Here are some of my favorites.

People getting hurt is funny.

Dating Coach - Part 1
"Who's wearing the backwards hat?"

Dating Coach - Part 2
"I was trying to be a fern to your salad sandwich."

Jake and Amir and Catan
"I'm having a hard time figuring out which one of these are houses and which are candies."

Snack Attack
Amir gets a cookie and a slap in the face.

You can subscribe to their podcast on their website. They're also on Facebook!

Monday, June 8, 2009

PhD humor

I love Jorge Cham's Piled Higher & Deeper comic.

The Origin Of The Theses

Thesis submission, Parts 1 through 3

The importance of being unhappy

Read this in The Happiness Project:
Feeling bad is a sign that it’s time for action. Change is often painful; unpleasant, disruptive; exhausting; scary. Unhappiness can act as the goad to get you to push through those barriers. It can push you to switch jobs, get out of a relationship, move, change your habits, change your behavior, change the world. You can start meditating, start running, start a non-profit, start a garden. Everyone’s happiness project is unique, and the approach that you take to address your unhappiness is unique.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Fun Fact: Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize for his work on quantum mechanics and the photoelectric effect, NOT for his theory of relativity.

I still don't understand relativity. But I've studied a lot of quantum physics. If someone asked me to define quantum physics, I'd say "very, very small things behave in REALLY WEIRD WAYS."

Einstein helped realize that light is comprised of tiny, massless, particles called photons. This video does a pretty good job explaining the particle-wave duality of electrons (and photons) and the uncertainty principle, some of basic principes of quantum theory.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Books. (The band.)

I might love The Books more than actual books.

They're two guys from NYC/Massachusetts, one plays the cello and the other guitar and bass, heavily embellished by quirky sampling, sound effects, and spoken word. It's stripped down and eccentric and at times plain weird. But also haunting. They get under my skin the same ways Jose Gonzalez and Nina Nastasia do.

Wikipedia describes The Books as a mix of acoustic, folk, electronic and aleatoric.
Aleatoric music (from the Latin word alea, meaning "dice") is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance, and/or some primary element of a composed work's realization is left to the determination of its performer. The term is most often associated with procedures in which the chance element involves a relatively limited number of possibilities. --Wiki

"Smells Like Content" from Lost and Safe
(watch it in full size, it's amazing!)

"Twelve Fold Chain" (live) from Lost and Safe

"Take Time"
from The Lemon of Pink

I love and recommend 2005's "Lost and Safe" and 2003's "The Lemon of Pink," both on TomLab Records. They self-released an EP in 2006 and a DVD of videos in 2007. I'm looking forward to a new album from them soon. *fingers crossed*

Monday, May 25, 2009

Every DJ wants to date a musician

I kind of have a crush on Shugo Tokumaru.

I imagine he has a rad Tokyo apartment filled with colored LED lights and toy robots, and that we'd fit in each others clothes.

I discovered him last week at one of my LJ communities, Indie Exchange. I'm really digging what I've heard so far. I'd describe it as quirky indie folk electronica. Like Psapp and Devendra Banhart had a baby and he was Japanese and beautiful.

Shugo Tokumaru - Rum Hee - off his new EP, Rum Hee

I also like:
Clocca - from his 2007/2008 album "Exit"
Green Rain - from his 2007/2008 album "Exit"

He has a new album coming out this year, keep your eyes out.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Stranglers

The Stranglers weren't exactly punk. In a pinch, I would call them post-punk, but that's not entirely accurate since they were around the same time punk got started in mid/late 1970s. Some might call them proto-punk or pre-punk since their sound closely resembled punk and punk predecessors like The Doors, The Velvet Underground and Iggy Pop. Did they inspire punk or were they inspired by punk? Does it matter? The Stranglers somehow in the middle of of it all. Not before, not after. Perhaps the best word for that is punk-adjacent.

"Nice and Sleazy" performed on Top of the Pops in 1978.

Dear Universe, I've decided that because the lead guitarist/vocalist of The Stranglers is hot, it is yet another affirmation that my future husband is British. Your friend, Kate

See also:
Get A Grip On Yourself (1977)
Peaches (live, 1978)
Golden Brown (1981)
Strange Little Girl (written in 1974, released in 1982)

Saturday, May 16, 2009


One of my post-breakup, post-30th-birthday commitments to myself is to be more stylish, so I started reading street-fashion blogs and am getting really inspired. See:, Facehunter, Style Scout. I also discovered Polyvore, which is an online app that lets you put outfits together using images of clothes from online stores. For my first project, I'm creating outfits inspired album covers.

Goldfrapp's "Black Cherry"
Black Cherry
via Polyvore

Camera Obscura's "Underachievers Please Try Harder"
underachievers please try harder
via Polyvore

Definitely in right now: giant nerd glasses, black tights, hippie dresses with high waists, mixing genres i.e. hippie + punk.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What the kids are listening to these days

This stuff's pretty brand spankin, from the new releases shelf of KCSB.

Now, Now Every Children
Boy/girl band from Minneapolis. So cute!

"Friends With My Sister" from Cars

Indie electro from Portland! I love these guys, ironic nerd glasses and all. They do rad cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" on their latest album. I had trouble finding videos of theirs because there's another band of the same name, a female pop-punk band from Belgium.

"Medicine" from Jupiter

Kaki King
She's a pretty prolific guitar player. Her first two albums were instrumental & acoustic, but lately she's playing other instruments as well as singing. This is off her newest album. It's a hit! I can smell it!

"Pull Me Out Alive" from Dreaming of Revenge

here's a "making of" the video

Mika Miko
Girl group from LA! Totally rock! Gotta love the onesies!

"Wild Boar" from We Be Xuxa

Monday, May 4, 2009

Being Scandanavian helps.

I kind of want to BE Annie. Adorable Norwegian electropop artist with indie cred? Yes, please.

"Bubble Gum" from 2004's Anniemal.
Yeah the lyrics are pretty little ridiculous. If I can't be her, I want to be her backup dancer.

"I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me" from 2009's Don't Stop.
The official video is way better. Sorry, I can't embed it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My job makes me socially retarded. It's medically proven.

I was reading about social anxiety on Wikipedia and came across this fun fact.

Erethism or erethism mercurialis is a symptom complex of mercury poisoning, presenting with excessive shyness, timidity and social phobia. This was common among hat makers of old England who used mercury to stabilize the wool in a process called felting. The phrase mad as a hatter is likely a reference to mercury poisoning. The character the Mad Hatter in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland is often believed to be an example of someone suffering from erethism.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I didn't expect Easter Sunday to mean anything this year. I'm not religious at all. In previous years I used it as an excuse to throw an ironic dinner party (ie, 'Jesus is a Zombie Party' of 2007). This year, my family was spending the weekend at my brother's house in North Carolina and I had no plans whatsoever.

Easter morning I was tired and slightly hungover from going out the night before. I was laying in bed unsure what to do with my day and suddenly I was overwhelmed with this awful feeling and it took me a moment to recognize what it was. I was lonely.

The loneliness seemed so sudden, out of nowhere. I sat in my room for a long time, listening to music a little too loud. I smiled at myself when this song came on and I realized that, at thirty years old, I still identify with Smiths lyrics and still default to being a hermit.


I've decided to force myself out of the house more. Something always happens, never quite as I imagined, but usually good. That's the magic of serendipity. Happy, unexpected things. Like taking myself out to breakfast that Easter morning and deciding to get a meal "for here" instead of "to go." And sitting alone by the window, sipping coffee, suddenly inspired to write poems about birds on the back of my grocery list. And then glancing out the window and spotting old friends walking down the sidewalk. And then running outside to invite them to sit with me. You can't plan these kinds of things. You just show up and let them happen.

I bought myself a raspberry Charlotte and a new journal to celebrate my non-denominational it-just-so-happens-to-be-Easter resurrection. I glued my bird poems on page one and ate the Charlotte in bed with a fork.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I went to a show all by myself tonight because of this song.

My friend Todd sent me this song. He said, "I could totally see this happening to you."

How cute is this?
Freezepop's "Duct Tape My Heart"

I was feeling sad and lonely

and my heart was torn in two
I went out to see a show
that's the night that I met you

You're so dreamy, you're so sweet
swept completely off my feet
You duct-taped my heart back together
I think that this could last
I know that this will last forever
you duct-taped my heart back together

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Day, New Time, New Name

I changed the name of my radioshow to "Between The Bars."
Wednesdays 10pm-12am, starting April 15th.
Listen online or on the radio at 91.9fm.

I'm alternating weeks with "Tragic Carpet Ride" so if you don't find me, tune in the following week.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

That summer bookended by British hip hop

I spent the summer of 2004 at the University of Minnesota as part of an undergraduate research program. I drove from San Luis Obispo to Minneapolis in June, and then back again in August, both times listening to these two albums over and over. They still remind me of that summer, as does minor league baseball, Mt. Rushmore, and nanowires.

"Could Well Be In"
from The Streets "A Grand Don't Come for Free"

And yeah, I'm a little in love with Mike Skinner.

from Dizzee Rascal's "Showtime"

This video is effing adorable. I love the puppet police brutality at about one minute in.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

More social networking.

I discovered, today, which is basically Twitter only with songs. You "blip" a song and your friends & followers can click and listen to it instantly. I set up a profile as Katebot.

I will be posting Blip song of the day on my regular Twitter account, DeeJayKate.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I am officially recommending

Vetiver's "Tight Knit"

Vetiver is one of those bands who've been around for a few years but I never really gave them a fair listen. Like, if someone asked me "Have you heard of Vetiver?" I'd say "I've heard of them, but I haven't heard them." I got a copy of their new album from the station last week and have been playing it nonstop. Seriously amazing, pretty, indie-folk.

Here's a silly video for one of their more upbeat tracks...


Grizzly Bear's "Veckatimest"

I want to move to Brooklyn and marry Grizzly Bear. A friend sent me a copy of their newest album last week and it blows me away. So pretty and good.

Here's them performing track #2 on Letterman a few months back. Jesus, can they be more perfect?


Neko Case's "Middle Cyclone"

I can't get enough Neko. This is her third solo album. I'm not yet convinced I'll love it as much as 2006's "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood," but perhaps it's just a matter of time.

Here's a little making-of...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Blog is word

I'm totally obsessed with my Google Reader. I'm subscribed to enough RSS feeds to require separating them into the following categories:
  • Research (work-related technical journals)
  • Comics (17 total! So many!)
  • Artsy (poetry, photography)
  • Humor
  • Life (food, fashion, happiness)
  • Music (I have 246 unread articles this week, mostly Pitchfork.)

Some recent additions to my feed:

Garfield minus Garfield

Fuck You Penguin
Hey Baby Flamingo, where did you get those giant ass legs, THE OVERSIZED LEG DEPARTMENT.

Printmatic's blog "More Music, Less Bullshit"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

February 20, 1979

My 30th birthday was amazing. I'm so grateful for all my friends who came to Vegas to help celebrate. I felt so loved.

IMG taken by the lovely Bonzai Aphrodite

My therapist told me to use my birthday as an excuse to reflect on my life: where it is, where it's going. I was stuck at home with a chest cold last week trying to reflect on things and really struggling to find something positive. There's nothing like an illness to make you feel worse about yourself.

I keep waiting for the lightbulb. Something to click. My friends keep telling me "You are amazing! If only you realized how amazing you are! We're going to keep saying it until you believe it!"

Depression is hard. I can't sit back and wait for the right words to snap me out of it. The only thing that will work is HARD WORK. If I want things to be different, I need to force myself to do things differently. Action precedes motivation, or so they say.

Right now the only thing that makes sense is to throw myself into research work for a while.

And I could possibly benefit from a wardrobe update. I swear I have socks that are eight years old. I'm 30. I deserve new socks.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My mom is the cutest

For Valentines Day she sent me:
- little teddy bear valentine, signed "mommy"
- 4-pack of strawberry shortcake highlighters
- spices for a make-your-own spicy dip mix
- 3 quarter-yards of zebra stripe fabric
- KCSB bumper sticker

For my 30th birthday she sent me:
- birthday card in hot pink and houndstooth
- "the essential vegetarian cookbook"
- set of green pillowcases
- green cotton jammies
- pair of slippers

Friday, February 13, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009


Sometimes I feel like Bonnie Parker waiting for Clyde Barrow to come and whisk me away.

Someone told me today "You have to know where you are to know where you're going." The idea is that in order to change, I need a really clear picture of who I am right now. How did I get this way? What do I need to change?

Every journey needs a point A. Every transformation needs a flabby BEFORE picture.

Other quotes:

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
- Mohandas Gandhi

Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.
— Benjamin Disraeli

Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning & you think, I’m not going to make it, But you laugh inside remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.
- Charles Bukowski

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happiness is a sad song.

I've read enough about happiness to know that having a passion is the key to a happy existence. So for a long time I lamented I had no passions and was destined to a sad, meaningless life. Then one day it hit me. Music is my passion. It seemed too obvious. Yet it's the one thing I can always turn to, obsess over, get lost in. In the past several months I've been trying to embrace it. I got more involved with the radio station, started reading music blogs, started writing my own pseudo-music blog.

Last weekend I DJed for the first time in public.

It took place at a coffee-shop my friend works at. We didn't advertise so there weren't many people there, mostly friends. I called it a "listening party." My only equipment was my laptop and the house speakers. I put together the playlist ahead of time so I didn't have a lot to do once I got there besides plug it in and let it play. I think people were a little disappointed that I didn't actually "spin records." Who does that anymore?

I don't mean to downplay it. It was fun. I'd do it again. I'd love for it to be the start of something bigger. Yes, that's exciting. And yes, that makes me happy.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What do I do without you?

In 2006, Paste Magazine listed John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats as one of the top 100 living songwriters. I was initially surprised that a rather-unknown indie guy made the list, but then I had to agree. Every time I listen to one of his albums I find a new favorite.

Here's the latest one, an amazing song about a break-up. (I swear I'm not dwelling on it!)

"Woke Up New" from the album Get Lonely (2006)

On the morning when I woke up without you for the first time
I felt free and I felt lonely and I felt scared
And I began to talk to myself almost immediately
Not being used to being the only person there

The first time I made coffee for just myself, I made too much of it
But I drank it all just cause you hate it when I let things go to waste
And I wandered through the house like a little boy lost in the mall
And an astronaut could've seen the hunger in my eyes from space

And I sang
Oh, What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?
What do I do without you?

On the morning when I woke up without you for the first time
I was cold so I put on a sweater and I turned up the heat
And the walls began to close in and I felt so sad and frightened
I practically ran from the living room out into the street

And the wind began to blow and the trees began to pant
And the world in its cold way started coming alive
And I stood there like a business man waiting for the train
And I got ready for the future to arrive

And I sang
Oh, What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?
What do I do without you?

It's weird seeing him sing in a video. I never knew what he looked like.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This one's for the geeks and the recovering goths

When people ask what my thesis project is about, I tell them. It's about the growth and fabrication of gallium nitride laser diodes. And when they respond with a blank stare, I explain, "Have you heard of LEDs? They're kind of a glorified version of those."

I got into LEDs when I learned how they work, years ago in some introductory solid state electronics course. To me, they're pure quantum physics. Which is to say, they're magic. One ordinary electron, one single unit of electricity, in the right place at the right time suddenly transforms into a photon, a single unit of light. And the other cool thing about LEDs is they come in different colors depending what semiconductor they're made from. Gallium nitride, the semiconductor I work with, emits blue light (and violet and green in the right conditions).

I can very easily geek-out on how cool LEDs are, however, I wouldn't exactly call them my passion in life. So imagine me at work, painfully browsing through RSS feeds of technical journals, and suddenly I came across IEEE Spectrum's report on state-of-the-art LED light shows, namely Nine Inch Nails' "Lights In The Sky" tour. A technical journal writing about NIN? YES!

Say what you want about NIN, but they'll always be a guilty pleasure. Pretty Hate Machine is still one of my favorite albums. And they still put on a good show! I spent over an hour watching concert footage of theirs today and was thoroughly entertained. It actually made me appreciate big stadium rock concerts again. Plus, there's nothing better than watching music videos at work and convincing yourself, "If anyone asks, this is part of my research."

I love this video for "Only." Follow the link to watch it big in HD.

At first the band appears to be playing behind some kind of screen, and then 1 minute in, the stage explodes in dazzling layers of static. There's actually three screens, each comprised of a semitransparent grid of 90,000 LED pixels, each pixel a trio of red, green and blue LEDs. (Most people know this but red, green, and blue together make white light.) The band stood behind one LED screen and in front of another two to achieve a 3D effect.

There's more NIN footage atAsh512's Vimeo channel.

According to IEEE, several bands have used these things called Versatubes in their live shows. They're cylindrical lamps that house 36 LEDs and can be arranged in grids or arrays. There's some amazing Radiohead concert footage from their "In Rainbows" tour on TheLilBearBeeny's Youtube page.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Handpainted stoneware and other disappointments.

I was standing in my aunt's kitchen, eyeballing the tray of Christmas cookies, trying to decide which to try next. In my hesitation I glanced over at her big red butterdish, sitting innocently on the countertop. As I stood admiring the dish, suddenly I was taken back to four months ago-- you and I were still together and I was genuinely concerned about the state of our dishware.

Last August I took a trip without you to see my family. I sat at my grandmother's dining table with my mother and aunt, discussing which Polish Pottery pattern I wanted to replace the butterdish in our apartment. My mind reeled. All the women in my family have their favorite pattern. This could be my first piece in perhaps a lifetime of overly ornate collectible serving pieces. We compared patterns for several minutes but I decided to wait and ask your opinion. After all, you were part Polish. It seemed like a really important decision at that time.

Little did I know that we'd only be together for another week.

After you left, I got rid of our old dishes with the horrible pastel pattern that I hated, including the matching butterdish. I quickly forgot I ever wanted to replace it. Within weeks, my life completely changed. I now rent a room in another apartment. I go out more. I rarely cook. If I even have any, I keep my butter in the fridge, inside the door, haphazardly folded up in its wax paper wrapper. The way I used to do it, before you came along.

Sometimes I think my life has taken a giant step backward.

Sometimes I miss our old apartment more than I miss you.

There, in my aunt's kitchen, alone once again, I'm reminded of all the dish patterns I once considered.   Maybe I should buy myself that $40 Polish Pottery butterdish, anyway. Pack it away in a box somewhere. Just to have something to build my future around, some piece of the nest. Some souvenir for a home that hasn't happened yet.