June 2004 Archives

The Cure

June 29, 2004

The Cure is the name of The Cure's latest international mega-release. Debuting today and breaking all records (surely some record, maybe best opening day for a 25+ year old alternative college band from southern England?). Well, I suppose that all remains to be seen. Anyway, I am now happily in possession of this newest album from my favorite band in the whole wide world.

And it is good.

Lyrically, Robert doesn't seem to cover any new ground. But apart from singing about being over the hill, he's not been able to do much new in the last decade plus. And that's okay with me. Its not like he can riff on politics and stir up the fanbase. He writes poetry about love, and it still sounds good in my ears.

Now, there are plenty of reviews on the web, and I don't want to bore you by repeating what they have to say. Go read them if you're inclined. And let me add the following: it never lags. It never pulls away, drifting into pop oblivion. In fact it is extremely present thanks to the production style. The psychedelic guitars are in good use, the keyboards are subdued, and the percussion is front and center. My main complaint about Bloodflowers was that it never rocked, even the purposefully-bombastic Watching Me Fall was at pretty much the same pace as the rest of the album. Not to say this album has a fast beat, but it does rock.

It sounds live. Very reminiscient of the the Trilogy DVD, which performances I rate very highly. Yes, I'm a junkie, but my wife's not quite a Smith and company junkie, and she's pretty impressed by it too (Trilogy, that is). By the way, I just restarted the record after my first complete listen through.

This is going to get a lot of listening from me. Usually if I say that a new piece by an old band might actually broaden its audience, I don't necessarily mean that as a good thing. But there is nothing remotely shlocky or shmaltzy here. And despite sharing a producer, it doesn't sound like Limp Bizkit. And I think it will attract a few new souls.

This review is more worthy of Wild Mood Swings than The Cure. But I'm trying to have a conversation here, so I'm okay with that. Its not like I'm writing up policies and procedures at work or getting paid by Rolling Stone. Overall I would say that old-school Cure fans who can get past 1983 should like this. It has elements of 1983 (Pornography, that is), and reminds me of certain tracks from Kiss Me and Wish most particularly, especially the b-sides from the latter. Somewhere in the middle was a track whose attitude, though not necessarily atmosphere, strongly evoked live recordings of Disintegration's Prayers for Rain. So go out and buy it already! $10 at Best Buy.

Raison D'etre

June 24, 2004

So why the blog all the sudden? After hinting at it for years, I've finally decided to take the plunge. Rather than bore you with drawn out prose extolling the virtues of blogging and all that…

  • I enjoy writing and communicating, and this is a good way of practicing.
  • Tania and I are moving to St. Paul, Minnesota in mid August, and this might be a helpful way of keeping up with various friends back here in Texas (and those who have spread out already).
  • To share thoughts, on occasion, on topics I'm passionate about. i.e. the Bahá'í Faith, the interfaith movement, science, environmentalist, open source software, etc.
  • Just to challenge myself, see if I can do really keep up for a little while .
  • And to periodically entertain friends and family alike, or, rather, to share with them newly discovered ways of entertaining oneself on the web =). And in that spirit... Keep the Drunk From Falling.
  • I've been writing and editing for the web since 1995, and this site has been alive since 1998. But I've never had a consistent way of letting people know what's going on, what projects I'm working on (for the couple of people that might be interested), etc.
  • Because Friendster is slow as molasses.

I hope this doesn't look like an ego fest, and more importantly, that it is in actuality not. I'm not expecting to garner a fan-base of thousands; I'll accept a small handful or even none. Its the writing, and the friends who stop by and offer their own thoughts and comments, that matters to me. Now the immediate danger is that I spend too much time on it! (That would be one reason I've held off for so long).

So please enjoy, and expect a couple of updates per week on average.

Of Loss and Hope

June 21, 2004

[Note - design will be changing soon]

Perhaps tomorrow or another day soon I shall extol with melodrama on the virtues of blogging and my sudden embrace (see #7) of the medium. But not this day. This day I shall speak of loss and of hope.

I am by nature a stoic. Thus it is not often that I shed a few tears twice in 24 hours.

1

The first occasion was in melancholic memory of my father's mother, who passed away yesterday morning. Grief for her was not the cause—rather a sadness that the world should be deprived of such a soul. Even this sadness is not one to last, for death is but nature. She was one who lived as the est Christian woman she could be—a friend to all, dispensing wisdom, advice, life skills, perhaps a few too many stories…

She was a Southerner through and through, growing up in East Texas. Her father as a county judge helped build one of the first schools in Texas for African American children. She had more than the usual number of black friends and acquaintances, yet never batted her eye at the fact that she used to employ a black housekeeper whom she refused to invite to her son's wedding. We never could break her from the habit of calling African Americans "nigras," which in her mind was quite a different word from that one of which you are now thinking.

She was the first of her family to receive a college degree. She worked as a teacher, a social worker, a chemist (during The War). She was very talented, and quite proud of her accomplishments and those of her family. She took in extended family as her own kith, and for the last few years held her body together through sheer will as she awaited the next big family event. In such a way she triumphed over illnesses to reach four weddings (nearly attended a fifth one month ago) and had the bounty of meeting two healthy great-grandchildren.

But finally her body had seen enough. She had been at peace with death for many years, and I always believed her when she said that she did not fear death. She had an unshakeable faith in her Methodist creed, a faith that certainly would have filled her last moments before slipping away just as it had filled her life.

Now at 88 she has finally rejoined her husband, 19 years deceased. Happy father's day, Granddaddy—Grandma's here to see you.

2

This morning history was made as SpaceShipOne left the atmosphere, floating 400 ft. beyond the internationally-recognized boundary of space. It was a triumphant moment that, as I watched the White Knight soar into the troposphere, brought a few tears of joy and amazement to momentarily cloud my eyes.

If you've not watched a film clip of the event, do so. And think about all it may signify. This isn't the beginning of cheap and ubiquitous space flight—Ruttan's ship isn't capable of anything truly commercial beyond a few joy rides. Nevertheless this was an awe inspiring event, one that I hope and believe augurs a bright few decades ahead of us.

I don't know what I expect of NASA in years to come, but these bold engineers and explorers have fanned the sparks left in my soul by The Jetsons, Luke Skywalker, and Ray Bradbury. Do you grok me?

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