The Onion On My Internet Belt

Well, it’s been a week full of parental things. Kiddo needs orthodontics. He is also in his first stage production tonight (6 minutes total run time, no lines for him). I think your minds are fecund enough to look into the future to see that both of these previous statements contain multitudes (of obligations).

I’ve found my mind wandering lately to fantasy, specifically, table top gaming. My gaming group dissolved some time ago due to issues on many fronts and it bothers me that the campaign never came to resolution. Part of me wants to start again, or start over, or however it is apt to describe revisiting ideas that have yet to be seen by others but swim around in my imagination. I’m sure it wouldn’t work this time around either. My penchant for exposition is in many ways unhelpful (and time consuming as I wrote all my own campaign materials) and I have never been invited to other groups as a player so there aren’t many avenues left to pursue. I miss gaming and the gathering of friends associated with it, but all stories have an arc and perhaps that arc has reached its conclusion and it is time to close the book and put it on the shelf so that I can catch glimpse of the spine once in a while and smile vaguely to myself.

Since it is now technically spring, here is a flower picture from the archives.

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A lily from the Como Conservatory in St Paul, MN.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… originally mixed the week of 3.3.17

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

Song – Artist – Album
Groovy Feeling (Screwball) – Fluke – Progressive History XXX (Disc 3).
Bigger Than Prince (Hot Since 82 Remix) – Green Velvet – Bigger Than Prince single.
ET (Peplab Classic Treat Mix) – Peplab – Sister Bliss Presents Nightmoves.
Shogun (Do You Remember) [Trusty Djembe Dub] – Mark Knight & Funkagenda – Mark Knight Presents Toolroom Knights.
Fishy Sounds (Radio Mix) – DJ Jackie Christie – Beautiful Day.
Addicted to Bass (Differentgear Remix) – Puretone – Gusto Collection 12.
Music (Groove Armada 12” Mix) – Madonna – Music [Single].
Peaceblaster ’08 (Captain Crunk Remix) – STS9 – Peaceblaster (The New Orleans Make It Right Remixes).

I’ve written and deleted an unusually large amount of material for this post today. Seems that I can’t either land on a topic or flesh one out that doesn’t just dribble out into show gazing. As such I’m opting for a bullet point approach. (These read as rhetorical, but if you want to respond via whatever method works for you, they don’t have to be):
-At what point in one’s life does the realization that magical things aren’t going to happen set in? Does that make a person cynical necessarily?
-I’ve been really lucky in getting to meet people in real life that I befriended on the internet. On a rough count, I’ve met a dozen people and all have been pretty cool. This never ceases to amaze me.
-The more I think about it, the more strongly I think I would end a friendship over politics right now. I brook no racists.
– The greatest life skill is actively picking up after yourself.
-I’ve been more and more actively wondering what the world will be like once we get over cars.

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There is no worth in this.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… originally mixed the week of 2.24.17

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

Song – Artist – Album
I’m a Wanderer – Pitch Black – Remixes & Rarities.
Music Makers – Synkro – Music Makers single.
Giving Up The Ghost – DJ Shadow – The Private Press.
Flying Foxes – Moby – Play: The B-Sides.
Zeros and Ones (Aphex Twin Reconstruction) – Jesus Jones – 26 Mixes For Cash.
Ghost Hardware – Burial – Untrue.
Soho – Various – The World Is Gone.
Ruthless – Amon Tobin – Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.
Chrono – DJ Hidden – The Later After.
Prime Minister – Thunderball – Ambassadors of Style.
Childish – Dinky – Anemik.

In college, I read Maxine Hong Kingston’s book “No Name Woman”, which was 20 years ago so please forgive any inaccuracy this following description may have. In the opening chapter, the narrator recounts a story her mother told her growing up. In the story an aunt or cousin gave birth out of wedlock and was thereby cast out of her village (more specifically, the villagers dressed in masks and ransacked her family’s house). The woman then threw herself and her newborn child into the village well. The narrator’s mother never names this woman. It is a powerful chapter and I would encourage you to read it if you haven’t. Denying someone a name is a powerful act. I think about this chapter a lot lately as social media has moved to addressing a certain person simply as “45” now. I approve.

Speaking of twenty years ago…

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That’s October 1995, by the way.

This week I received a care package from my friend Barbara that was full of items from our college days and the time just shortly thereafter. It was an amazing box to receive. Items therein contained: Show posters from First Ave, old posters for my radio show, program guides for the college radio station we both worked at, a stack of bumper stickers, and a couple things written by me and even about me. It is always a mixed bag to have such a clear window on to your past self, part sentimental journey, part threnody.

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The KUMM 89.7 FM Fall 1995 Program Guide, art by Barbara Minken.

 

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The KUMM FM Winter 1996 Program Schedule in its full 11×14 glory.

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The Winter 1997 program guide for 89.7 FM with an added music review by yours truly. I think the headline is from Barbara. I often wrote things like this to fill unattended column inches in the University Register.

The newly acquired music worthy of comment this week: Underworld’s limited edition “Born Slippy” twelve-inch 45 rpm single and the Raider’s of the Lost Ark soundtrack.
-With the release of a second Trainspotting movie, Underworld has revisited their massive hit “Born Slippy” from the first film with the “Long Slow Slippy” remix. They didn’t do the original song any favors. Same song it was 20 years ago but slowed down about 10%. That is literally it. The B side is called “Eventually But” and is in the vein of “Blueski” or “Stagger”. This purchase was a good reminder that limited edition collector items are often a suckers game for completionists.
-Decided it was time to pick up some more non-Star Wars John Williams. The Raider’s soundtrack is solid end to end. Highly enjoyable and totally worth it.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… originally mixed the week of 2.17.17

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

Song – Artist – Album
First Rays of the New Soma Sunrise (Calmer Remix) – STS9-Peaceblaster (The New Orleans Make It Right Remixes).
On A Clear Day – P.M. Dawn – Of The Heart, Of The Soul And Of The Cross.
Salva Mea (Radio Edit) – Faithless – Renaissance 3D.
Get Thy Bearings – Bonobo – Late Night Tales: Bonobo.
See (Beacon Remix) – Tycho & Beacon – See Remixes single.
Montezuma’s Revenge – Rocket Empire – Om 14.
You Forget A Thousand Things – Tangerine Dream & DJ Shadow – The Music of Grand Theft Auto V.
Set Back – Fluke – Risotto.
Back/Shecomes – Massive Attack – Singles 90/98 [Disc 11].
The Weight Of Darkening Skies – Ulrich Schnauss – A Long Way To Fall.
My Lover’s Gone – Dido – No Angel.
Disappear – Phutureprimitive – Kinetik.

I’ve been thinking about erosion this week. The eroding of freedom, of friendships, of desire…

One of the reasons I’ve been so aware of the shifting sands is email. There are three people who have died still in my email contacts, a literal dozen who have left the institution I work at, and another dozen for people that I considered friends but I haven’t communicated with in at least a year, if not several years (knowing how unaware of actual time passing I am). Not going to lie to you; Each of these knocks little chips off my heart. I’m not very good at closing doors.

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Shadow Falls in St Paul, MN. Erosion in action.

Been working through a playlist on my ipod called “General Rotation”. Built for the express purpose of being “all the really good stuff that I can play without worrying who will hear it”, it’s 3800 songs long and I’ve been listening specifically to the songs with the fewest number of plays.

I remember the first time I saw the video for Dire Strait’s “Skateaway”. This memory was a bolt from the blue just yesterday as the song came up in “General Rotation”. It was a late winter afternoon in a house overlooking Dorothy Mary Park. The end of the video, the band is in silhouette, a threesome now on this album, with Pick Withers on his way out. Even though the house was full of my friend’s family and an ill-settled schnauzer, the only thing that existed was that video.

Some tracks from Nine Inch Nail’s “The Fragile” also came up. I know immediately that album is more than 17 years old because the first time I listened to it was in a parking lot at the Copacabana Apartments off Duluth Street in Golden Valley where my now wife was living at the time. That album holds up very well, perhaps better than his other works before then. It is also the album that both captures his past and future in one go.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… originally mixed the week of 2.10.17

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

Song – Artist – Album
Wookie – Paul Thomas – Toolroom Knights 3.0.
Beluga – Embliss – Enchanted EP.
Anylane – Daniele Valle & Emma Clarke – From Beatport.com.
Surface Scan – Spektre – Renaissance: Masters Series James Zabiela.
Southpaw (Fluke’s Glassjaw Remix) – Fluke & Trisco – Southpaw single.
Hijacked (Audiojack Remix) – Johnny Fiasco – Hijacked EP.
Unpredictable Sunday – Matzak – Bring Me the Moon.
Memory Lane Refund (Acid Retraxion Mix) – Mugwamp – Renaissance: Masters Series Dave Seaman.
The Book (Magik Johnson Tribal NZ) – Salt City Orchestra & Magik Johnson – The Book.

Today I’ve got something different for you: A guest post! My friend Kara and I have been talking music via twitter for years. When I posted my recent mixes of strange things I had come across in the previous year, Kara asked to chime in and I was glad to hear her thoughts. So, without any further ado…

Stuck in a Post-punk Rut
By Kara Martinez Bachman

I’ve been following Cory on social media for many years. Throughout those years, he’s always impressed me with his interest in–and passion for–music. Whether he’s sharing Twitter photos of the vinyl he’s spinning that day or blogging his latest music playlist, Cory stands out in my mind as a real music aficionado.

Recently, one of his blog posts caused me to ponder my music tastes of late, and truly realize how as each year passes, I become more and more resistant to new music. Cory impresses me with his willingness to stretch his tastes into various genres, and with the breadth of his collection, spanning from pop to classical.

He made me ask the question: why am I so set in my ways?

I, too, still own some of my old vinyl. I’d made the dire mistake of selling most of it off for a quarter apiece sometime in the late ‘90s (Why? WHY?), but I’ve still got a hundred or so of the old records that were either too obscure or too unpopular for the garage sale bargain-shoppers to snag (oh yes indeed, they went after my Prince and U2 with a vengeance).

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When I recently spent some time sorting through and reading the liner notes on the old albums of thirty years ago, I was struck by how little my tastes have changed over the years. Back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, I’d always loved what was on college radio — XTC, Siouxie and the Banshees, The Cure. Now it’s called “post-punk,” but of course, back then, we just called it “good.”

I’m not sure what attracted me. I could relate to the sometimes tech-infused melancholy of Dark Wave, and loved the aesthetic of the British New Wave and New Romantic movements. I enjoyed the popular and sometimes-maligned stuff (Duran Duran, Depeche Mode) as well as the lesser known aspects that lurked at the edges, at least here in the U.S. (think Echo and the Bunnymen, Aztec Camera).

As I looked over these old records, I realized how little has changed. I don’t have the time to listen to music much anymore. As a writer, I can’t work with the background distraction of music. But when I do, the playlist is sure to be from the more calming side of the old Dark Wave genre: Cocteau Twins. The Cure. New Order. Perhaps some Morrissey tossed in for good measure.

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Unlike Cory–who has obviously stayed open over the years to a wide-ranging, eclectic playlist–anything “new” on my playlist somehow hearkens back to the same styles I used to love.

For instance, I’ll listen to Muse, which often has a symphonic post-punk sound and sometimes reminds me of Queen. I’ve enjoyed The Killers, which — let’s be honest — may as well be The Cure had Robert Smith been born into Mormonism. In perhaps the weirdest of the recent choices, I’ve got music by Adam Lambert, who at times feels like a fun throwback to the over-the-top pop years of the 1980s. Likewise, I actually like a few songs by Pink. But sadly, that’s the extent of my interest in this decade’s music.

In every case, I find my tastes looking back in a straight trajectory to the late 1980s. Never looking forward, and rarely glancing to the side. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate jazz and blues more, but I’m for the most part an old fogie. Kinda closed, and jealous of those who can stretch themselves into the nooks and crannies of music instead of always walking down the same exact aisle.

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I wish it weren’t so. I wish I could embrace the new, or, at least, the “new to me.” But I’m set in my ways. I’m like the older people we grew up with, who tuned into the “golden oldies” stations that reminded them of sock hops. Except for me, the sock hops would be all-ages local punk shows, or high school dances where everybody flooded the floor when “Don’t You Forget About Me” came on.

I’m not ashamed of my penchant for nostalgia, but recognize its limitations. I wish my playlist were more inclusive. A little more like Cory’s.

Kara Martinez Bachman is author of the new humor essay collection, Kissing the Crisis: Field Notes on Foul-Mouthed Babies, Disenchanted Women and Careening into Middle Age published by Quill Driver Books. Her work has been heard on NPR radio and has appeared in dozens of publications, including The Writer, Funny Times, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Find out more by visiting Karamartinezbachman.com.