Monday, July 23, 2007

Good Reading

© 1998-2007 Penny Arcade, Inc.

I do not read nearly as much as I used to. I think this is the major reason for my significant decline in intelligence over the years. When I was a kid/teen, I never went anywhere without a book, and because I had no adult responsibilities to contend with, I could read as much and as often as I wished. Now, I have a job and shit to worry about that sucks up my time and leaves me catatonic, unable to to anything but sleep and drool.

Luckily, I've found some time in the last few months to start a book, and I just finished it yesterday as Little Brother performed at the free Zune concert in Union Park. (Sorry y'all, I was listening.) Orson Scott Card, you've joined my pantheon of beloved authors simply on the strength Ender's Game. This book; oh, this book. Earlier this year I had decided to up my science fiction game, as I usually find myself rereading my old favorites (I, Robot, The Martian Chronicles, Cat's Cradle, Frankenstein) over and over again, so I made a list of SF classics that I simply had to read. This book fell somewhere near the top. As ComEd's shitty customer service would have it, our electricity was shot for an entire day, and instead of having a nervous breakdown over my inability to watch cable and eat food, I picked up Ender's Game and could not put it down.

I have no intention of reviewing it here, but I will recommend it. If you are the least bit interested in intergalactic scuffles with insect-like creatures, you'll love it. If you are the least bit interested in disturbingly bright adult-children with extraordinary abilities, you'll love it. Conflicted individuals with the weight of the world on their shoulders? Yep. Power and its sickly consequences? Uh-huh. For those of you who are a bit wary of the scifi identifier, first off, you're assholes. Secondly, don't be afraid. I tend to like scifi because it deals with the big ideas and is just cloaked in space travel and futuristic technology. Like all my favorites, this book takes a damn good look at our nature and creates an arresting story that forces you to keep reading. Pick it up, even if you think you'll hate it. You'll be mush by the second chapter.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Free Stuff Rocks

The Silver Room's block party was nice. Pevin put it down, people were out and about, I saw people I know ... good stuff all around. Today, I go to a free concert in Union Park. I'm all about seeing Bilal. Free stuff rocks.

New Knit Deez blog entry.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I Got Them!

After searching high and low, and suffering the disappointment of not having small enough feet, I finally got them. Yes, like the shop-crazy lunatic I am, I did, in fact, buy them one full size smaller than I needed, but that is not the point. The point is that these pretty babies will be constricting my feet in no time. Yay me!

In other news I finally finished a project (a knitting project). Go to my other site, Knit Deez, and check out my finished Ballet Tee.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fat N' Lazy/Summer Songs

I've officially been on summer vacation for three weeks and I've done 3.5 things, four things tops. As I suspected would be the case, my days are spent sitting in the house, watching television, and eating. Yesterday, I felt picnic-y, so I made barbecue chicken, baked beans, and limeade. I followed the meal up with a blueberry cobbler and ice cream. That's the fat part, on to the lazy.

So far this summer, I've:

1. gone to get my hair done;

2. gone to my ex-job's gala; and

3. gone to day one of a friend of a friend's three-day party (completely disgusting and horrifying pictures to follow).

Actually, that's it. I've done three things in three weeks of vacation. That's pretty good, as I usually don't do shit.


I've had VH1 Soul on all day and have seen Common's summer top ten video countdown twice. I love him; he has matured and still makes good music and has fantastic skin and seems genuinely nice, but I wasn't too fond of his selection, so I decided to do a list of my own.

Atrackbrown's Favorite Summer Jams

1. It's Spring Again - Biz Markie

It's the Biz; he's hilarious, and he rocks a mean wig in the video. To signal the beginning of hot weather in Chicago, I always play this song.

2. Shorty Swing My Way - K.P. and Envyi

Admit it, people, you like this song. So what it's uber-clubby and features a rapping/singing duo that spastically dances throughout the video like there's something seriously wrong, this shit bangs! When the ambiguously black girl (?) gets to the bridge, it's all over.

3. My Boo - Ghost Town DJs

This shit just screams summer. During the summer of '96, the summer after I graduated from high school, this song was everywhere. There was this particular Chinese spot I'd go to downtown, on Wabash and Washington, and every single time, I kid you not, this song would be playing (on B96, of course). So yeah, banger status. You just wanna wash a car or catch a venereal disease from some cute, buff stranger after hearing this.

4. MVP (Summer Smooth Remix) - Big L

BIG L, REST IN PEACE!!! (screamed obnoxiously loudly) Yeah, him being dead sucks, but the song lives on. This is his least offensive song by far, not his best, but definitely very summery.

5. Stakes is High - De La Soul

At the best party I've ever been to in my life, this song was played just as my friends and I had decided that we simply could not dance any more and had decided to leave. But, just as we had almost reached the door, on comes this song, and we run back and work it out for about five more minutes. I'm also reminded of the frenzy surrounding what was De La's first album in a number of years (i'm bad with exact numbers and years and stuff), and the Native Tongues "officially [being] reinstated." There were articles in all of the major magazines: Vibe, RapPages, The Source. (I recall being in a car accident as I read the article in RapPages. Damn good article.)

6. Bucktown - Smif N' Wessun

I can't quite recall the year, but one of Chicago's stations transitioned to 106.3 one year, and, for a while, it looked like they were going to be a decent hip-hop station. Unfortunately, music starting sucking and they couldn't keep it up. While the possibility was still a possibility, this particular station played the hell out of this song, this and the next song on my list (oh, and "Regulate" by Warren G). I didn't mind at all. I was dead in the middle of my all BCC, all the time phase. Good times.

7. The World is Yours - Nas

I can still feel being a young, dumb (and in my particular case, bitter and evil) teenager, the Chicago wind whipping through my probably braided hair, my aspirations of being the greatest black, feminist MC ever still in my veins. Oh, the ridiculousness. Yeah, this song reminds me of that.

8. Can You feel It - The Fat Boys

Again, just plain summer. One year, we went to visit my aunt in Niagara Falls. My cousin, Ray, her son, took me to the city (in this case, I think this means Buffalo), fat Boys all day. I still love their songs; they're so whimsical, and fun, and descriptive of my own love of excess. Fat Boys forever! (RIP Buffy)

9. Baby, Baby, Baby - TLC

Back before I could make my own decisions and before I had a driver's license, I was beholden to the parents and their plans. Part of my dad's yearly summer plans was to go to the Ellis Annual Family Reunion in Fayetteville, NC. We'd drive down in the minivan and my brother and I would bitch and moan about having to go as if we had other, more important shit to do. Of course, when we got there we were bored as hell, that is until our wonderfully unsavory cousins would show up and agree to wreak havoc with us. We were the gang. Driving around in my cousin Jeannie's old Caddy, eating at the Waffle House, and singing the popular ditties of the time. This song was a favorite, and I can still transport myself to the exact moment that my brother, cousins and I all sang the entire tune in unison like we were auditioning for Puttin on the Hits or some shit. It was fantastic. We shortly pulled up to the Waffle House wrecked more shop on some double waffles, omelets, egg sandwiches, enhanced grits, and flavored cokes. I miss those days.

10. Let The Beat Hit 'Em - Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam

This is an Alabama memory. Very simple, really. This was the jam. My cousins and I were aspiring starlets. You do the math. Hopefully, your calculations come to country and barefoot little girls on hot Alabama nights belting their precious little hearts out.