A Frolic of My Own

Jazz, Books, Macs, Food, and Life Outside the Academy

Blogging from Cleveland Park, DC

iJunkman at hotmail dot com

Pages Written
in 2004 = 3

April 30, 2003
Isn't the New York Times use of drop capitals on their web page the height of pretension? Inevitably the image loads after the texts, so articles start like this:

"ASHINGTON, April 30 ? President Bush will speak ...

"ll wars are popular for the first 30 days," wrote the historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr...."

"hris Borgen, a former New York City police detective who was a news reporter on WCBS-TV in New York ..."

I've been having problems with my internet connection for the last few days. It appears to be working now, but we'll see how long that lasts.

April 29, 2003
Last night I could feel the insomnia approaching. Before this year, I've never suffered from sleeplessness, but this year I spend one night every week or two staring at the alarm clock until four or five in the morning. I've learned to recognize the signs. By eight o'clock I'm edgy and don't want to sit still. I obsess about tasks I have to complete and problems that might arise.

On the advise of my wife, I decided to fight it off with exercise last night. Around nine I went to gym and hit the tread mill at top speed, and then the rowing machine, and the then climbers. All of this accompanied by Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True, which I think we can all agree is the greatest rock album ever. In the end, it actually worked. I slept through the night.

April 27, 2003
It's a perfect day in Charlottesville, and I've been out running all around town instead of blogging. Also, the little time I can spare from dissertating and searching for a job has been focused more on tyring to get a handle on HTML. I've got big plans for this site. That's right, just you wait. Pretty damn soon I'll work out what exactly CSS does, and then Frolic will be nothing but razzle dazzle. And when that happens, you can tell your friends, "Yeah, I used to read Frolic back when it was nothing more than a few words on a crappy default Blogger template."

April 26, 2003
Housekeeping note: The banner ads are gone.

Not much traffic on your Blog? Friends won't return your e-mail? All your snail mail has "O% APR" printed on the envelope? Call a payphone, and find a friend anywhere in the world. This site offers a directory for numbers across the globe. Hurry before the payphones are all removed.

April 25, 2003
Housekeeping note: I've added a few links and moved the advertisements for the tools to the bottom of the page.

Fassbinder has nothing on Ulrich Haarburste. Proving that the web can still uncover dark corners of the world, Ulrich has posted a triptych of fantasy encounters with Roy Orbison that all end with the late rocker wraped in "cling-film."

Roy Orbison in his impenatrable dark shades. A talking Volkswagen Jetta that eats worms. A rock star conference in Essen. And kilometers and kilometers of "miraculous" cling-film.

It would be almost charming in its celebration of Roy and saran wrap, if it wasn't so deeply disturbing.

April 24, 2003
Another night of not sleeping. Too much coffee. Too many thoughts.

Over the course of six years in graduate school, the subject I spend most of the day thinking about has grown increasingly more restricted. Literature. Spanish literature. Renaissance and Baroque Spanish literature. Baroque Spanish literature. Baroque Spanish theater. Baroque Spanish allegorical theater.

Now that I'm almost at the end of the dissertation, I can't stop thinking about all the other essays and stories I want to write. All the books I want to read. All the things I want to think about that have nothing to do with Baroque Spanish allegorical theater.

Housekeeping note: I've managed to add a BlogRoll. I'll try to have links by the weekend.

April 23, 2003
Holy shit!!!

Internet ads just went from annoying to downright scary. This was attached to a message sent from the free Yahoo mail service.

"Is the UN a precursor of the One World government prophesized in the Bible?"

"Could the Antichrist be alive now? If so, how can he be identified so he does not deceive us?"

"Are ATM's and other revolutions in global banking foretelling of the Mark of the Beast?"

I don't know, because a subscription to the Left Behind Prophecy Club costs $29.95. You know the world is about to end, but you refuse to spread the word without a cash payment. Don't you think you might be one of the souls left behind with the rest of us heathens?

Yesterday, the NYT ran a front page article on the war against Spam. The co-founder of the spaming firm they interviewed was "a former producer with Geraldo Rivera." Is there some kind of vast conspiracy of sleaze in this country?

April 22, 2003
You know the kind of fatigue that makes your whole body ache, and no quantity of Advil will make you feel any better? Yeah, that's how I felt pretty much all day. I took a little nap, though, and I'm felling much better.

I'm in a mad dash to finish this damn dissertation. Last night, I couldn't sleep, so I snuck into my office and pounded out a few paragraphs. This morning, after a five hours of sleep I got up at 6:30 to start writing again. If I can finish the introduction by the end of the week, then I should be done with a full draft before we move to Washington on the 10th. I'll keep you posted (Ed.---And who the hell is this "you" exactly?)

Apple has announced a special press event this Friday, which they promise will be "music to your ears." Oh that Steve Jobs, he's so clever. Looks like the Apple download service will be launching. Perhaps we'll also see some updates to iTunes.

April 21, 2003
Just wanted to point out that Frolic now offers comments. If anyone is actually reading this, now they can offer their own opinions.

(Yeah, I know that the formatting is messed up. Haven't figured that out yet.)

April 20, 2003

Happy Easter

In the spirit of the season, Rhino Records has restaged Great Moments in Rock and Roll History using marsmellow Peeps.

My plans for the holiday? Mow the yard, send out e-mails related to the job search, and write a few cover letters. Andy and Cynthia have invited me over for dinner (Andrea can't take time out from studying), and I'm looking forward to hearing about the house they just bought in Shreveport. Advance word is that the front door is red. A good or bad thing? I'll know more tonight.

Yesterday was devoted to moving. More trash was collected. More furniture given away. More books packed in boxes.

April 19, 2003
Is this art? He says it is, but it seems more like a clever prank. Finding out that any word can be bought on Google, he paid for a few common terms and posted poetry in the ad boxes Google returns when you search the word.

The best part is that Google has priced every word known according to how frequently its searched. Yes, "sex" is expensive, and so is "free." Always satisfying to learn that literarlly everything has a price. This reminds me of when I discovered tat you could trade futures on the weather and bet on the date when Bush would launch the war.

April 18, 2003
Have you seen this Pepsi ad? Carmen becomes a tragic tale about a boy dropping his can of Pepsi. It drives me crazy. It reminds of those tapes you could get for your answering machine with "wacky" lyrics set to, say, Bethoven's Fifth. Please hum along:

Nobody's home, nobody's home....

I not offended by the bowderlerizing of a classic. If you know me (and if you don't, I can't imagine why the hell you would bother to read this blog), I lean more towards jazz. Besides, I'm hip to the whole post-modern thing. Appropriate, parody, and outright steal for all I care. I think the ineptness drives me crazy.

I'm sure that Buz Luhrmann and his La Boheme for the masses are to blame. I hold Buz personally responsible.


Turns out Spike Lee is personally responsible. It's part of Pepsi's multicultural campaign.

Here is an adoring article from Ad Week.

I had a close encounter with the animal kingdom today. A raccoon wandered into the yard, stumbled over to the storage shed, and collapsed. Loud noises couldn't rouse him. He showed no fear of my species.

It looked like he was near death, so I called animal control. They assumed he had distemper, since he displayed all the symptoms. As soon as the net came out to capture him, though, he came back to life. After the animal control officer chased him around the shed a few time, the raccoon ran up the tree. I guess he won.

Score: Animal kingdom 1; Humans 0.

April 17, 2003
Now we know why Cheney hardly every shows his face, he's been dead since 2001:

No, this is not some photoshop joke. CNN accidentally posted some obits of elderly--but still living--politicos, such as Cheney, Reagan, and Castro. Luckily, The Smoking Gun managed to pick them up before CNN pulled them.

I promise, I won't say another word about obits for at least another week.

April 16, 2003
I seem to have a lunch meeting everyday. I almost feel important. Today, I met with Lara to help her clean up translations of 17th c. testimonies for canonization proceedings. I know, it sounds dry, but that's the kind of thing we do here in the academy. Really tricky stuff, since the people recording the testimony leave out both antecedents and punctuation.

Continuing my obsession with the dead, I point you to Dead Rock Stars Club. "Rock" and "star" are interpreted freely, since everyone from polka players to cruise ship backing musicians are included. They do seem to use a strict definition of "dead," though. A few examples:

Luis Gonzales - Died 1-1-2003 - Perforated bleeding ulcer ( Jazz ) Born 11-23-1979 in Seattle, WA, U.S. - Bassist - Was a member of The Roosevelt High School Jazz Band touring Mexico and Europe and played with a band on a Columbia River cruise ship, The Queen Of The West.

Jennie Woodd (Jennie Napua Hanaiali'i Woodd) - Died 1-5-2003 in Kahului, Maui, Hawaii ( Singer - Dancer ) Born 4-3-1912 in Waikele on O'ahu - (She wrote, "Hale'iwa Hula") Worked with The Ray Kinney Group and Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom.

Maurice Gibb (Maurice Ernest Gibb) - Died 1-12-2003 in Miami Beach, FL, U.S. - A digestive condition called´┐Ż ischemic enteropathy ( Pop - Rock - Disco ) Born 12-22-1949 in Isle of Man, England - Played bass and keyboard and was a singer - (He did,"Railroad" and "Hold Her In Your Hand") - He was one of The Bee Gees (They did, "Stayin' Alive" and "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart") - He produced Tin Tin - Worked with Les Harvey and Ringo Starr - He was at one time married to Lulu - The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee.

Stephen Greenblatt wanted to speak with the dead, but I'm happy just to read their obits. Still thinking about why all this is interesting. Perhaps I'll write an essay about obits. Once I finish the diss, though.

April 15, 2003
Spring continues in Virginia. Thank God!

Yesterday I had lunch with Kate, the director of development for the art museum here at the university. She had some leads for people in the arts in the DC area. Some will involve calling people out of the blue, so a new phase in the networking has begun.

We met at Michael's Bistro, which is where I'm meeting Tim today to talk about university development. Since I was at Michael's Sunday night to hear Ellen play Irish music, that makes three nights in a row. Feels a little like my first year in Charlottesville, when I was a Michael's regular.

In case you haven't seen it, here is a slide show from the BBC of the destruction to the National Museum of Baghdad.

April 14, 2003
Good morning everyone. Just answered 158 questions on a government form. Perhaps that will get me a job.

April 13, 2003
The sun is shining. Birds are singing. Flowers are blooming. Yes, it's a beautiful spring day in central Virginia, and I'm locked in my cluttered office combing through four years worth of notes on 17th century religious allegory.

I made a donut run this morning to Donut Connection. An average donut, I suppose, but better than the deep fried lead served at Krispy Kream.

The Guardian posted an amusing article on film titles. Here's the official teaser:

Which Woody Allen film was nearly named Me and My Goy? Just what is a Reservoir Dog? And what one-word Hemingway title could the studios never use? Philip French asks if a movie's name can affect its success.

The author notes the moment when titles moved from the descriptive ("John sneezes") to the grandiose ("Intolerance").

April 12, 2003
Rumors are circulating that Apple might buy Universal Music. It's hard to imagine how that would change Apple, but I suspect Steve Jobs knows what he's doing. I can't afford an iPod, but I've been able to play with one on a few occasion. An impressive machine. That bodes well, I think, since it shows that Apple understands music. Let's hope.

Universal already owns eMusic, which I think is the best download service available. Would eMusic be folded into a larger service? Would it survive as the service for independent labels? Who knows.

April 11, 2003
Last night was the annual black tie gala for the Raven Society here at UVa. $20 buys you a pretty good banquet meal, an open bar, wine, port, and cigars. Needless to say, I drank a bit too much. Surprised to see ashtrays on every table for smoking the cigars. Guess the Ravens have that much pull. I sat next to Jackie, who landed a job in the Religious Studies department at a small college in Columbus, Ohio. She just returned from a trip to Columbus and reported that three-bedroom houses could be had for a $400 a month mortgage payment.

Ben Ratliff had an obit on the pianist Jutta Hipp today in the Times. I'd never heard of her, which isn't surprising since she only released three long out of print albums. A strange life, though. She gave up playing and became a seamstress.

I used to be a regular reader of obits in college, but I haven't followed them as much recently.

April 09, 2003
Here is a pricture of Otis to see if I can get images onto this site:

The revisions of the chapter are done. Just sent the file off to my advisor. Now I'm celebrating by finishing off a bag of Utz Kettle Classics Salt and Malt Vinegar chips (sorry, this great flavor not featured on the web site). I guess folks from the Northeast probably have a nostalgic reaction for Utz and its pie faced mascot. I never saw them until I moved out this way. Until recently, I thought of Utz as a low end brand. Then again, maybe it is.

Just finished lunch and I'm about half way through the revision to the final chapter. Assuming I can muster a little focus, I should be done by the end of the day. That will leave me time enough to put together one more job application tonight.

Matthew just came by to take more books off my hands.

I need to find something more to say in this blog. Andrea forwarded me a link to the Onion article on Bush sizing up Spain for a possible invasion. That's my recommended reading for the day.

April 07, 2003
I spent the morning reviewing the first draft of the final chapter of the dissertation. What I thought was crap turned out to be not too bad. Hopefully I can finish the revisions to that chapter by Wednesday, begin the introduction Thursday, and have a full draft by next week.

Now it's time to spend a few hours writing cover letters. I feel like I'm doing all the right things to get a job, but every gloomy New York Times op-ed on the economy makes me think I'm doomed to working retail. Perhaps I should be reading the Wall Street Journal instead.

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