Thursday, April 08, 2004

Before I forget, here's me on Cee-Lo and the Liars. I'm pretty happy with how both of these turned out.

I have zero attention span right now. That's mostly because tomorrow I go on my first vacation in one million years; Bridget and I are going to be spending the next week and a half in Olympia/Seattle/Portland/Vancouver/the town where they filmed Twin Peaks. And I'm going to the EMP Pop Conference, which should be ridiculous. I am crazy amped to the point where I don't much like sitting still, and I cannot wait to get out of work today. So if I don't post at all next week, that's why, although it's not like I post every day anyway. And if you live in the Pacific Northwest and feel like letting me know what's really good out there, get at me.

For the week of 4/9/04:
Top 10 People

1 - Jonathan Lethem. Lethem is absolutely one of my favorite writers, and he utterly redeems himself for the relative meh-factor of the second half of Fortress of Soltitude and the Da Capo thing he edited with "Super Goat Man", the mind-bendingly great short story he had in last week's New Yorker. Seek this thing out if you can; it's one of the best short stories I've ever read, no joke. And he's got a book of them things coming out later this year, so look out.

2 - Michel Gondry. I know it's kinda weak to list the same dude two weeks in a row, but I just got done watching the videos on side A of the Gondry DVD, and holy shit that guy is amazing. If you're not paying close attention, a video like the Chemical Brothers' "Star Guitar" or the Foo Fighters' "Everlong" (I think that's what it's called) seem kinda boring, but when you actually sit and invest yourself in them, they become amazing, hilarious, occasional moving, and generally just stunning. Gondry's videos for Bjork's "Bachelorette" and the White Stripes' "The Hardest Button to Button", neither of which I'd ever seen, just slammed me with wave upon wave of delight. Also, the "Mad World" video, which isn't on the DVD, is the shit. I'm hesitant to say it, but this guy is probably better than Spike Jonze.

3 - Ben Wallace. This guy is killing it. Dude looks like he escaped from a 70s funk album cover, and he eats up offense like Twix. Earlier this week, he held the division-leading Pacers to 61 points; they never even looked like they had a chance. The Pistons are now my favorite Eastern Conference team, and it would make me immensely happy if he wrecked Shaq or Duncan in the finals.

4 - George Saunders. Saunders is one of my favorite writers, and if you've read Pastoralia you know why. Saunders teaches at Syracuse, but I never took any of his classes (they filled up quickly) or even exchanged more than a couple of words with him. I am so not good at talking to people I admire. But Wallace's interview with Ben Marcus (a writer I can't stand) in the March Believer is stupid tight; it makes me think of any number of awesome conversations I could have had with him but didn't. Check this out: "I thought: that voice of Hemingway's can't function in a Wal-Mart, on Christmas Even, when you have an STD and your uncle is drunk and trying to buy an O-Jays record to give to his new girlfriend, a speed-freak waitress. Hence the constant necessity for new voices."

5 - Cam'ron. Dude is crazy! Have you seen this? He's working with scientists to patent a new color! He and the Dipset are having a massive cross-country race! He's switching from pink to purple! Dude is insane!

6 - Carrie Brownstein. My favorite member of my favorite band is totally moderating one of the panels at the EMP joint. She's smart too!

7 - Dikembe Motumbo. Motumbo still has some juice left in him! Half an hour of game time, 14 rebounds, and three blocks in the Knicks' shellacking of the Bulls last night. I feel all warm and fuzzy when I hear about old basketball heroes straight-up refusing to gracefully bow out. I got that same feeling when Charles Oakley popped up out of nowhere, looking all cantankerous in the Rockets' billionth loss to the asshole Lakers. You know and I know that Oakley should get better than a 10-day deal. That is effed up.

8 - Too Short. "Burn Rubber" is Too Short's "99 Problems", a perfect example of an old master taking an unforgiving old school blat-blat beat and dripping steely-eyed menace all over it (see also: Nas - "Get Down" from God's Son).

9 - Selma Blair. She was in Hellboy, but I like her anyway, and that says something. Hellboy was ass. Actually, it wasn't terrible; it was better than Secret Window, but not as good as The Passion, and not even within sight of Starsky & Hutch. Guillermo del Toro needs to step his comic book movie game up.

10 - Melissa Leo. 21 Grams wasn't really all that good, but she was great in it. And she was Detective Kay Howard on Homicide, the greatest TV show ever, so she automatically gets her propers. And plus I can't think of anyone else for number 10. Seriously, I saw 21 Grams like three weeks ago; I shouldn't even be thinking of it right now. I just cannot think right now. Three and a half hours before my vacation, punks!