Monthly Archives: January 2008

Coachella 2008 lineup

I’m a little late blogging this, but the Coachella 2008 lineup has been announced. However, is it just me or is the lineup weaker this year? Or maybe I’m just getting old and don’t know who the cool bands are anymore. (There are certainly a lot of unknown-to-me names on the list.) I may skip it this year and just catch Stars on whatever tour date is closest to wherever I happen to be in April. (I’ve been on a major Stars kick lately—partly their new album from last year and partly a new appreciation of Heart, on which several songs are more relevant than they used to be. They put on an amazing show the one time I saw them live, which was two years ago.)
Last year, when all the high-profile Coachella reunions were announced, I declared at the lunch table that My Bloody Valentine should reunite for Coachella 2008. Then they did reunite last year, and they were rumored to be playing Coachella, but they’re not on the list so it looks like I don’t get my wish.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted a video so here’s “Elevator Love Letter” by Stars, from Heart. (Set Yourself on Fire remains their best album, however.)

Two movie reviews

I saw two good movies recently and should blog about them while it’s still timely:
Juno: About the unplanned pregnancy of the title character, the obvious point of comparison is to Knocked Up. Knocked Up is funnier, but Juno has better writing, (much) better characterization, more heart, less sexism, more Arrested Development alums, and more Belle & Sebastian songs on the soundtrack. So I have to say of the two films I prefer Juno.
Cloverfield: The marketing campaign is clever, but I had no reason to expect that the film would live up to it. Fortunately J.J. Abrams comes through here and makes a terrific monster movie. It does a good job of keeping the tension high throughout, and the camcorder conceit works well at bringing a sense of immediacy (also potentially nausea, although I personally didn’t get motion-sick). Tyler Cowen’s review is pretty accurate, although I’m not sure I buy that there’s a deep message here about kids these days. However, the characters are definitely intended to be irritating; I think this is fairly common in movies of this type, so that the characters can either experience personal growth over the course of the disaster or get fed to the monster to the satisfaction of the audience. Anyway, if you like Godzilla-type movies, or even just disaster films, definitely see it.

Iowa caucuses

I haven’t been blogging politics lately but let me just say that I’m pleased with the outcome of the Democratic caucuses in Iowa. Obama and Edwards are both candidates I really like and I’m happy to see them do well at the expense of Hillary Clinton, whom I don’t like very much. (However, she’d still be vastly better than any of the Republican alternatives.) I think Edwards is unlikely to win the nomination at this point but I hope Obama can maintain his lead in the coming primaries.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, the idea of a President Mike Huckabee is terrifying but since I don’t think he can win the general election I’m not too worried. Better that he win the primaries rather than someone more electable but also scary like McCain. Personally I’m hoping for a Mitt Romney nomination, since he’s not only the least-bad Republican in the field (still pretty bad) but would get trounced in the general election when the evangelicals stay home rather than vote for a Mormon.

C++ Bleg

I learned C back in high school but never got around to C++, since it was never something I needed for my physics studies. However, many of the jobs I’ve been applying for list C++ proficiency as strongly preferred (if not required), so now seems like a good time to learn something about it. Can anyone recommend a book on the subject? Or is reading a book the wrong way to approach the problem? I should note that as an undergrad I was familiar with C and had done a bit of object-oriented programming in Java, but I haven’t used either very much since.

2008 iPod divination

It’s January 1, and time for the traditional consultation with the iPod oracle regarding the new year. Drawing ten songs at random and interpreting them as in a Celtic Cross tarot reading (key here), I get,

  1. The Covering: Belle & Sebastian, “Judy and the Dream of Horses”

  2. The Crossing: Junior Boys, “In the Morning”
  3. The Crown: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Fancy”
  4. The Root: Guided By Voices, “Kicker of Elves”
  5. The Past: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, “Better Dead Than Lead”
  6. The Future: Bloc Party, “Pioneers”
  7. The Questioner: Stars, “Window Bird”
  8. The House: Bloc Party, “Where Is Home?”
  9. The Inside: Arcade Fire, “The Well and the Lighthouse”
  10. The Outcome: The Hold Steady, “How A Resurrection Really Feels”

Wow. I don’t think any commentary is needed here. Sometimes it’s just too obvious…