“I got a rock.”

I hope I don’t have to explain that line if you’re my age or younger, but if you need it:

Check out the rest of it, of course. And happy Halloween. Final thoughts on the remaining two propositions plus discussion of more local positions and candidates over the weekend.

It was a great day for photos

This first one was taken while over on the other side of campus in the early morning, coming back from the medical plaza. A couple of minutes later I took this one:

And much later in the day, coming home from work:

Gotta say again, the iPhone can really take some good shots if you know how to work with it…

In the OC Weekly, my review of Larkin Grimm’s new album

Really, really love Larkin Grimm, great songwriter and performer, and her first album for Young God Records, Parplar, is easily a standout of the year for me. To quote from my review:

Totaling 15 songs, Parplar, recorded with the assistance of [Young God boss Michael] Gira and a number of guest performers, is still straight-up Grimm, with the opening song’s beautifully performed first lyric, “Who told you you’re going to be all right?/They were wrong,” setting the unsettled tone. This isn’t winsome never-neverland, but a cascade of fractured emotions and wit.

You can find her on Myspace here — check her out!

Reviewing the 2008 November California propositions — Prop 10


Umbrella yes-vote site.

Umbrella no-vote site.

From one billionaire sponsor of a proposition to another — but T. Boone Pickens works in different realms than Henry Nicholas III, thankfully.

On the face of it it’s almost like I’m getting past propositions reheated up at this point — alternative energy! transportation issues! bonds! So there’s something that feels a bit deadening right about now — maybe I’d feel differently approaching it if I had looked at it first of the twelve, I’m not sure.

A friend of mine put it to me this way, though:

i think that while undoubtedly SOME money will go into t. boone’s pocket, it could be a small price to pay for millions of dollars in research, subsidies for end-users, etc. right now i’m a “yes” voter, but i wish there was a “yes, but…” option.

I’m with that, but from a different angle, namely my current concern about bonds and budget and less the lining of T. Boone’s wallet. As it stands, I see nothing about his general approach that is somehow self-contradictory, as has been alleged — if someone who has grown rich off a resource is thinking, “Hmm, looks like it’s time to diversify for the long term,” then why be surprised if he tries to do so and seeks to swing public opinion his way? Whether or not you like that approach, of course, is another matter.

Ultimately, I’m deciding on this one the same way I’m deciding on 1 — while I’m not entirely thrilled with it all, I do think there is some sort of sense in investing for the future here, and this has more potential and interest to me. Further, there doesn’t seem to be the internecine environmental warfare going on here than with 7, at least on first blush.

A conditional but ultimately hopeful YES.

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Reviewing the 2008 November California propositions — Prop 9


Umbrella yes-vote site.

Umbrella no-vote site.

As the election draws nearer and as I, frankly, feel a bit more tired, I admit I’m not as inclined to give these last few propositions as good a going over as they deserve. Which they do deserve, don’t get me wrong — but there’s almost a tendency to fully drift into autopilot at this point, and I can’t imagine I’m not alone. I think a lot of people aren’t so much waiting to get to Election Day but the day *after* Election Day.

So that said, this reflection on Prop 9, and the three remaining propositions to follow, will be somewhat swift — in this case, Prop 9 tackles one of those endless issues, crime and punishment. Having already suggested no votes for both 5 and 6, I’m pretty much inclined to go that route 9 as well.

Part of the reason why, I admit, is somewhat perverse — namely, the identity of the man who sponsored it (as well as 6, I now realize, which is even more hilarious in retrospect). Former Broadcom head Henry Nicholas III is, as they put it, a character — which is a kind way of noting that a guy who has been arrested for various drug, fraud and sex charges seems like an unlikely person to be sponsoring a victims’ rights law. But hey, that’s life for you.

That said, his reasons are deeply felt — his sister was murdered by an ex-boyfriend of hers back in the early eighties, and whatever else he’s done himself, anyone who couldn’t think that he has reasons to feel outraged still after all these years has a heart of stone. Yet I tend to agree more with the people arguing against 9 as this sounding like gilding the lily, and like 6 relying on emotion overriding more practical considerations. It’s a rhetorical difference, I admit, but in reviewing the arguments and rebuttals on the official site for the proposition, the fact that the no forces took a very cool, level headed line against the ALL CAPS APPROACH was appreciated.

But rhetoric isn’t enough, of course. In the end, this strikes me, especially in the wake of problematic laws like the Three Strikes effort, as overreaction, a focus that is so driven one way only that it introduces more problems than it solves. And, once again, it places demands on a state budget at just the wrong time in its fiscal history.

A flat NO.

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“Joe, where are you? Where is Joe? Is Joe here with us today?’’


“Joe’s with us today!’’ Mr. McCain hollered at a cold outdoor rally at Defiance Junior High School. “Joe, where are you? Where is Joe? Is Joe here with us today?’’


“Joe, I thought you were here today,’’ Mr. McCain continued, with dimmed enthusiasm.

Still nothing. The crowd murmured.

“All right,’’ Mr. McCain said, realizing that Joe was nowhere to be found. “Well, you’re all the Joe the Plumbers!”

Somehow, it says it all.

And you can watch for yourself:

More California proposition thoughts later today.

Me, a camera, an interviewer and Nine Inch Nails

So the context for this photo, taken on Tuesday night — I heard from Brendan at Metal Edge that a small film company in the UK, Prism, was doing a DVD documentary on Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor and industrial music, having been commissioned by another firm to do so. I was intrigued and passed on my name, and soon Alec from Prism, who you can see there in shot, and I were talking online. After reading a positive review of Prism’s Iron Maiden/NWOBHM documentary by fellow ILX denizen/music writer Adrien Begrand I took that as a strong vote of confidence and our plans were set for Tuesday night filming.

Alec came down with his cameraman Pete (who took this photo — thanks again!) as part of the series of interviews they were doing throughout America, including Canada — turns out they’d barely had any proper food in a bit due to all the plane flights and running around so I directed them over to Taco Mesa first so we could have a good meal (and in their case, some actually good SoCal Mexican food for the first time).

Then it was back to the apartment for setting things up and filming — you can’t see the full setup in this shot but it was elaborate and quite imaginative given the circumstances. Since by default these kind of shoots mean working in a number of different environments, it’s no surprise that Alec and Pete had not only the equipment but the patience and time to work out best camera angles, lighting and so forth. Reminded me again how I really lack the patience for such work, I admit, so I was happy to let them do it!

Now, I’m under no illusions regarding all the filming we did — I’m one of many people, there’ll be a lot of editing, and if just a few comments pop up in the final product, that’ll be great. But it was good fun being asked to do something which I admit I love doing — going on about music a hell of a lot, in great detail — and since I’ve been a fan of NIN all these years, why not? I talked about concert stories, mass media contexts, the history of ‘industrial’ as a genre (I tried to emphasize a key point, namely that there is no way to describe said genre, and that it was in ways the success of NIN and Pretty Hate Machine in particular that fully codified a mainstream sense of what it was supposed to be, which Reznor’s essentially been kicking against ever since).

This went nearly up until midnight — I admit I was tired but Alec and Pete, jet-lagged to hell and back, were even more wiped — and they headed up north to carry on from there. Great folks! We idly talked over possibilities of future documentary appearances too at Alec’s suggestion — so we’ll see!

I’ll post details about the DVD when it’s available.

Monday morning at work

Taken on the fly off my iPhone. Go figure! But the mood was there and it came out right…

On a non-political note, one of the greatest bands in the world releases a new album today

Yay hyperbole! Though sorry about the small image size:

13 Dream

Gave a listen to the Cure‘s 4:13 Dream last night for the first time — as I’ll be writing about it for an upcoming issue of Plan B, I’ll just say that I was pleasantly surprised. Not that I was thinking it would be a bad album, but instead of it being simply okay, say, it was quite stellar — it helped that the singles, which tended to sound all right enough individually (though “Freakshow” is flat-out great), actually worked better heard in the flow of the album itself. Starting and ending on the strong notes of “Underneath the Stars” and “It’s Over” didn’t hurt!

So yeah, snag this here. Meantime the Quietus has got a couple of fun pieces up worth checking out:

John Doran’s negative review (always good to get different opinions, and John’s a Cure fan of long standing)

John creates a Cure mixtape, with explanations

Reviewing the 2008 November California propositions — Prop 8


Umbrella yes-vote site.

Umbrella no-vote site.

The big one.

I could say a lot. But a few months back, after the California Supreme Court decision, I already said a few things, and to avoid repeating myself, I will leave it at quoting myself twice. First, as I linked in that piece in May, a reminder of my overall political thoughts, specifically this:

…if, as I’ve said before, the American experience is an experiment that has never been guaranteed of success, then my feeling at heart is that I vote and act to ensure that the least possible damage is done on the widest possible scale, no matter how many decades certain standards have been in play (and often precisely because those standards have been in play — it is still less than a hundred years since something seemingly so patently obvious now, the right for women to vote, was confirmed nationwide). Things must be done to improve the general lot, of that I have a firm belief — even as I feel one must be rigorous in ensuring those actions done to improve it are carried out to the best possibility there is.

I then added this in May:

I see this as the continuing experiment at work, and as I tried to note in my comment on women’s suffrage, we have been down this road before, where something seemingly inconceivable became standard. Legalizing gay marriage improves the general lot by further extending the principle of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ to all — as the complexity of society is more and more recognized, then that means that extension must be further applied to the full. I think this principle as applied to this issue is going to be further recognized and understood with time. Fully accepted by all? I do not foresee that in the slightest, but I do not see the clock being turned back — as I read briefly in a story somewhere over the last few days, if you had asked the question of gay marriage in, say, 1960, the idea would have barely made any sense to anyone whatsoever. By 2060, by and large, people will wonder what the fuss was about.

Perhaps I was too optimistic at the time I wrote that. Nonetheless, my conclusions remain as they are.

I vote a simple, flat NO.

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