Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mirror And Water Gazing

Took advantage of my tenuous employment's post-Christmas used bargains to bring home Atlanta-based guitarist Kaki King's 2004 mostly acoustic outing Legs To Make Us Longer. I've been getting into her intricate work lately, although a lot of it has been her live electrical performances on youtube, especially her instrumental stuff. I'm feeling a lot more instrumental these days (I suppose that could be taken in many ways). Lyrics, more than ever before, have been buggin' the beejezus outta me. I don't care if Vladimir Nabokov wrote "Livin' La Vida Loca", sometimes it's all I can do to not cringe my eyeballs out of my sockets when I'm being subjected to someone else's inane patter. Kind of like you people reading this blog! Whoop-whoop!

Oh, speaking of inane patter... mah Chrismus gifts, let me show U them! Ones that don't involve new underpants from mother, that is.

Joe bought me two Hollywood Babylon-ish type of books, to go with the gift card for more books (that man knows me so well), probably because he's seen me picking up and re-reading Kenneth Anger's original Hollywood Babylon recently when I am trying to rock myself to sleep at night. Actually I read it more because of Anger's notoriously witty prose, while Parrish is a little less, um, florid I suppose. But it's interesting, or at least the book of scandals is so far, which is where I am now. Joe is borrowing the book of death to read while things are slow at his job. Look at us, adorable lil' gossipmongers we.

From my parents, a certain travelogue theme begins to take shape (oh who am I kidding, these were all on my Amazon wish list) The Aquariums Of Pyongyang: Ten Years In The North Korean Gulag, the story of Kang Chol-Hwan's harrowing experiences as a child growing up in a North Korean concentration camp. Apparently a book so detailed President George W. Bush and his advisers met with Chol-Hwan in 2005 for his help in understanding the particulars of human rights violations under the regime of Kim Jong-il. Sounds just right for reading immediately after all those lurid Hollywood scandals. Talk about human rights violations.

Plus two graphic novels: A gorgeous hardback, cloth-spine edition of Joe Sacco's classic Palestine, which I have never read before until now. Depicting Sacco's two months spent in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, I've already flipped through the first ten pages and I'm gobsmacked. I love his clean lines and use of black and white (kind of my own style) but his dialogue is ripping good stuff. Witty and heartbreaking at the same time. Who needs Kenneth Anger?

And I can't stop riding that Guy Delisle train (yeah I bet he likes hearing that), especially since I devoured Shenzhen: A Travelogue From China in one sitting on the night of Christmas Day. Delisle seems to recall a lousy time spent in this small, dull, industrial southern city doing what he always does, managing Asian animation studios that are outsourced for French television -- but like his book of North Korea and Burma, he focuses on the little things, like the food, the strange but pleasant people, and the overall exotic ambiance that takes the edge off the culture shock. Another fantastically funny endeavor. This man needs to write and draw about every place he's ever been. If anything, at least just for me (wink wink, toot-toot train a-comin' ;) ).

Also I can't forget I Have Fun Everywhere I Go: Savage Tales Of Pot, Porn, Punk Rock, Pro-Wrestling, Talking Apes, Evil Bosses, Dirty Blues, American Heroes, And The Most Notorious Magazines In The World by former High Times editor Mike Edison. I still can't believe I managed to talk my mother into buying this for me. Then again she has no idea what High Times is and I won't tell her if you won't. Funny enough, this was a recommendation from Lisa "Suckdog" Carver. Isn't it amazing how Myspace brings us all together like that?

Mother also more than comes through finding a vendor who wasn't stocked out of L'Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Moisturizing Fluid, since I've been trying to get it all year to no avail. I have a bit of a weakness for skin cremes and I heard that this stuff was remarkable, but after two days of application this goop is even less absorbent than any of the cheap stuff you get at Bath & Body Works. Feels almost like an invisible face mask, stiffening your skin, and I could even scratch some of it off with a fingernail. It takes hours to absorb, or maybe it just evaporates eventually, I can't tell. It really does feel more like a sunscreen, which in essence it is, and with the 20 SPF I'll probably just save it for when I'm doing more outdoorsy events. But hey, Christmas is for experimentation on another man's dime. Happy Holidays, everyone!


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