That is a left over shot from my trip last week. Those are the dark typhoon clouds being broken apart by the sunny skies. Pretty dramatic sky if you ask me. I thought it was appropriate considering the storms that happened in Tokyo today. And a shout out goes to my family as well. They had their chimney attacked by some lightning over the weekend. Glad everybody is ok, in spite of not following your kids advice.
Also left over from my trip is a report on the books I read. Along with that...I'd like to start a snack report. This will be a import edition. I am not sure why, but I see some weird candy coming from America. The normal good stuff; Skittles, Take Five, Reese's...those are impossible to find. But strangely named candy, I can find that shit. Let's get to it. Books first!
Mark Haddon's book A Spot of Bother was the book I blew through over my long weekend. I bought it in spite of what it said on the back cover. It sounded a bit too depressing. But I loved his first book so much, I would read anything by him. And this book did not disappoint in the least. Wonderfully well written characters, not one of them is perfect or the good/bad guy. It is the story of a family. And as we all know, families never run all smooth. All anyone can do is to try to hold themselves together and help each other when they can. This story will make you feel attached to these flawed characters from beginning to end.
As you know, I love me some LEGO. As soon as I saw these Candy Blox, I had to buy them. I thought it would be cool if you could actually play with them. I was picturing hard, clear candy. Similar to Jolly Ranchers. From their website:
"Assorted fruit flavors blocks. These tasty treats look like real legos the only difference is after your done playing with them you can go ahead and eat them."
Here is what I found when I opened the bag.
What a rip-off. They say you can build stuff. How? By stacking them? These stupid sugary things don't fit together! You can't build anything! The packaging is a big, fat, stupid...
Back to the books.
I don't read a ton of hardcover books. There is the weight in my bag issue plus the expense over here in Japan. This one I picked up last year when I was visiting my family. It took me almost a year to get to it. Not sure why. I really like China Miéville. I have enjoyed all of his books, except for the first. (Not even going to link to it, if you are dieing to know, YOU do the research!) Iron Council might be my fav by him. It is sci-fi: with weird monsters, slightly altered technology, and all set in a far and sometimes mystical land. Thankfully, most of it is not concerned with the strangeness and by and large, the characters are freaked out by the strangeness along with the reader. It is much more concerned with friendship, political upheaval, and what people will do when they believe in something. He does some really cool things with language and doesn't leave you in the dark for too long. It does have a slow first 2 chapters, but after that, I couldn't wait to find out how it was going to end. Super, super book. Any sci-fi fan should read add his name to their list of authors and pick up this soon. Click HERE for an interesting short piece about him. He even explains his name!
Getting hungry for a snack? Here you go.
I bought these on the name alone. I remember my Mom shouting a hundred times that I had to move my clodhoppers from in front of the back door. (Even then I had shoe issues!) Let's see what they same the meaning of this word is:
1. A clumsy, coarse person; a bumpkin.
2. A big heavy shoe.
Yikes! I hope she meant #2. I never understood why she used that word though. Whatever, it stuck in my head for good. To run into this strangely named snack in Japan of all places was quite a surprise. And..they were not have bad. A bit dry, not moist like I was thinking. But not nearly the lie that the stupid Candy Blox perpetrated. Damn them! No, these Clodhoppers were alright.
Books! Books! And more books!
This was purchased in a blind leap. Yes, it was on the NYT best seller list, but so what. I had never heard of it. AND...it was by a female author, which is rare for me. But, I loved the cover and the back cover write-up was interesting. So...how did this blind leap end you ask? Special Topics in Calamity Physics is simply amazing. Marisha Pessl is clearly way smarter than the rest of us. This book needs to be read by all people who like to read good books: fascinating & lovable lead protagonist, unbearable coming of age moments, frenemies, bizarre dad, a deep & unpredictable plot and a very clever ending. It also includes one of the best descriptions of a character ever. The girl is talking about her Dad and how he hates to be "informed" of things he already knows. This is one of my pet peeves. Calling it a pet peeve makes it sound cute. I really hate it. I have to fight myself not to tell people, "Yeah...I already knew that!" (In a bitchy tone, of course.) I often lose the fight. Ok, the book is great and you should read it now. It is safe for Moms too, not too violent or gross at all.
Yes, these are not that strange, I know. But...of all the snacks in the US, how in the world do these make it over to Japan. What is the criteria? Who decides? Do they take suggestions? This find did bring back a flood of memories of the huge green boxes that would be devoured way to quickly by JB and I. They are still the same: sticky, sweet, and chewy. After I finished the small bag, I felt a bit sick. How did I eve eat so many of these little guys?
Let's see what the library has for us this time.
JPod was a decent book. I wanted to tell Douglas Coupland, yeah, I get it. He was using so many tricks, strategies, literary games, and played with the text so many different ways, I just wanted to tell him to relax. I get that living in the age of Google is quite a trip. Got it. Can we move on. What I have loved about his writing is the relationships between the characters and how they interact in the world. That was here in this book too, but it seemed secondary. Read this if you love Coupland, if you don't, skip it. I will not stop reading him, but I was a bit let down by this one. Great cover though.
You still hungry? Ok, one more snack. But, then you have to brush your teeth!
Again...it was all about the name on this one. I mean, could you walk out of a store without buying some Hanky Panky. (No link to the candy, way too much crap to filter through.) What does the intertube say about the meaning of this word. I have an idea about what it means to me. But, let the web tell us.
1. mischievous behaviour
2. sexual intercourse, especially if illicit
3. A debaucherous act; a sexual act that is considered inappropriate.
Huh, I was two-thirds right. I guess I knew the first meaning too, but come on. Who uses it like that? Your Grandma? Your Great Aunt? Hanky panky means straight up s-e-x. Besides the name of this snack...I don't have too much to say. It was pretty good. The quality of the chocolate left a bit to be desired. But, that's life.
I saved you a spot in the reading corner. Come sit next to me.
Another book bought for the cover. I bought this book ages ago too. I was always putting other books in front of it. But, I finally read Oh the Glory Of It All . And it was really good. It the true life coming of age story of Sean Wilsey. The first part, recounting briefly the story of some of his ancestors...you would make you think this rich kid had it made. Not even close. The story is heart wrenching at times. And the last chapter or two should read at home, not in public. Fair warning.
Wow. That is enough about that. A Japanese edition of "We got snacks now" is in the works. But as for now, my sweet tooth hurts and so do my eyes. Let's talk about something else.
Remember when I talked about the Uniqlo store UT. Click HERE for a refresher. I finally was able to pick one.
I bought it thinking the red would match my new Asics. But, when I put them next to each other...no good. The red of the shirt was too orange. I still like the design a lot though. Pretty simple and clean.
It was close, but sadly, they are mismatched. So, I played with the purple instead. I am happy I could find a second choice. And, to be honest, I think I like it.
#1 & 2. This week lets start with some nastiness from the ATL. I give you Crime Mob. (I may not be the first to give them to you...but...I give them to you none-the-less.) Sit back and relax...if you can, and watch the video for "Knuck if You Buck"
My City Sis was onto these nice kids way before me. (I'm sure many people were.) Click HERE for their latest track. She described them as kids that are likely to murder you and then go get a pizza. I find this an apt description. Whatever their disposition on homicide, they sure can put together a bad ass song. Oh...before we go to far, how about an explanation of the title.
1. To want to fight if someone offends you; preparing to fight if someone steps to you
2. A phrase used to express the intent of violence, literally translated as "knuckle up if you're buck wild".
How I came to discover them is by a remix. Not just any remix. Without a doubt, one of the best remixes I have ever heard. It combines cruck, grime, dubstep, and plain and simple badassness. It is by DJ/Rupture. I have been onto his stuff for a long time. Always interesting and worth your time. For the amazing and remix, click HERE. [via Sellbesting & Negrophonic]
The rest I have for you are longer mixes, not tracks. You can decide if this is a good or bad thing.
#3. The first long mix is by The Captain. The 50 minute mix is "All Around NY". It is a fun, high tempo mix. Full of nice reworkings of cruck, baile funkc, and general techie dancyness. If you were at a club with this mix coming out the speakers, your ass would be dancing. Watch out for the late middle section...it will get you dancing at your desk. This is just before a nice mellow finish. A solid mix. [via Dirty Down]
# 4. This is a take no prisoners, beat you to death as quickly as possible mix. The beating you are about to receive is made possible by Herve. He did a mix for the BBC. They give a DJ 21 minutes to impress. Here is his "21 Minutes to Know". Notable minutes:
* Minute 5 - for the deep beat and the whistle.
* Minute 7 - for the clean bouncing head nodding beat.
* Minute 11 - for the nasty acid break down.
* Minute 17 - for the smooth transition from the dark beat to the bright songstress and then back again.
Surley 21 minutes of your time well spent. Enjoy. [via Electric Zoo]
That is all for this week. Stay tuned next week for a large non-sneaker purchase.
ps. Whithout a doubt, all the musicians I write about have a MySpace page. But I think MySpace is the fucking worst and I hate it with every fiber of my being. It is a slow loading, music pushing, eye-bleeding, worthless, ugly in the extreme mess. I could go on and on...but I don't want to waste your time. And yes, I do have a page, but it is only cause I am too lazy to take that shit down.