The Shins – “Phantom Limb”

When compiling my best of 2006 list, is it wrong of me to put an album that won’t be released until 2007? Possibly… The Shins new album would be in the top three (alongside the Maritime album and the Band of Horses album). By the time December 2007 comes around, will I forget about it entirely? Why do I think about this stuff?

Either way, my favourite song from the album , “Phantom Limb” is now streaming on the Shins Myspace page. I think that it has something to do with being super depressed about something involving a girl or maybe a bad family life? Either way, it is the perfect song for driving at night on ice covered highways, as I did last night. Few songs can evoke seasonal temperatures like this one.

Also, this picture of The Shins rules school:

November is Jazz

I always listen to Jazz in November. I don’t know why, but every November I pull out my Jazz records. After November, I rarely listen to Jazz. I think it is a pallet cleanser, and it warms me up for December, in which I pull out my extensive Christmas music collection (and I am not kidding about extensive – when December comes, taste goes right out the f#$king window).

Right now, I am writing and listening to a Miles Davis gigatorrent I downloaded (a gigatorrent is a torrent with a few dozen albums zipped into one file – I downloaded “Miles Davis 1” which comprises his first 24 albums).

When ever I am writing a lot (as I usually am in November), I like to put on some Jazz because 1) it makes writing for hours and hours and hours a little more bearable, and 2) because it doesn’t try to pull my focus like the music I normally listen to.

While I am typing this, I got the following Myspace friend request: a girl named Jazz from Mexico. Is she real (I haven’t recieved a “real” myspace friend request in over six months)? I don’t read Spanish, so who knows.

How random is that?

I’m a widow / and I’m hot to do you

Now listening to the FREE live Robert Pollard album Moon that Merge Records sent me when I pre-ordered Normal Happiness last month. The song “I’m a Widow” absolutely kills on this. Listen for yourself!

I now have 50 releases in my personal collection from Robert Pollard – including LP’s, 7″‘es, CD’s, Singles, box sets from Guided by Voices, solo albums and all the one-off side projects. Yikes.

One thing I like about ordering directly from labels is that they generally throw in freebies (Merge also sent me a cool Normal Happiness poster). Even with exchange, it tend to be a lot cheaper than buying it at HMV.


One thing I sometimes think about is that I wish I had more friends that were authors. I have one – my good friend Jeff Campbell has been writing really great Sci-Fi novels since I have known him. Which reminds me that I miss Jeff a lot. He lives in Vancouver, and I usually only talk to him once a year or so.

I have lots of artist friends, musician friends – but novelists are few and far between. I once took a stab at it – I wrote a short novella about this family living in a false room after the town that they were living in was occupied by an invading alien force – it was V meets Anne Frank, and it was as badly written as it was embarrassing. I also took a stab at writing a play and a radio-drama, to equally disastrous results.

The reason why this comes up is that November is Novel Writing Month! The idea is to produce a 50 thousand word novel from scratch in 30 days, no matter how terrible the result.

If I wasn’t in the trenches with my class work, I would be totally game to try this. Thus, my humble readers, in order to increase my cultural capital by having more novelist friends, I challenge you to write a bad novel this month. Bonus points if you are already an artist or musician (i.e. visual artist and novelist is worth three times the amount of cultural capital!).

It’s only fair, as I am providing the same to you (i.e. “my friend the sociologist says that…).

Also, I will settle for you to learn rock paper scissors 101 with me if you don’t want to write a shitty novel.

Update: the shittier the better.