Monday, September 24, 2007

This one is for Indiana! A Real Life Fab Five

I haven't posted in forever and my reasons are more than many -- let's just put it this way: Traveling as much as I do these days has killed my blogging time. Between prepping for classes and all the things that go with running a huge lecture course (there is a lot to it as some of you know) and going back to Ohio just about every weekend, there just is no time. In fact, I am about to go to sleep and I have just enough in me to ask the one question that has been bugging me all week: Why is Kanye obsessed with Daft Punk?

Ok, there is more than that... so let's give you a real life fab five...

1) Bill Simmons - The BS Report - In what has become a reoccurring theme in my recent life is the sudden change that my media diet has witnessed. I gave up premium cable when I moved out of my house and into Katie's and basically all cable when I moved to Bloomington one week later. All of my CDs are in Ohio as are all of my DVDs... as for LPs forget it. Also, because I have no free time, movies are not much of an option. So I have adapted to all mobile, digital driven media, which has meant lots of podcasts. The best new podcast I have encountered so far is Bill Simmons BS report, which is distributed through ESPN. Basically it is an obsessed reporter who has spent a fair share of his time on the coasts and, as a result, has coastal concerns: Red Sox V Yankees (he is pro "Chowda Power"), NBA Basketball (say what you want, but the Midwest is obsessed with Football and college hoops) and the Hollywood set (he hangs with Jimmy Kimmel, for whom he worked for a while at the beginning of Kimmel's late night talk show and Kimmel's friend Adam Carolla of Man Show fame). And because Kimmel is able to traverse the terrain with relative ease he gets the likes of David Stern, Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Carolla and Kimmel to discuss everything from John "The Beast" Mugabe to bad movie ideas. Simmons relaxes into his obsessions with the confidence of a man who has accepted, for better or worse, that to be concerned with NFL point spreads on a Wednesday is kind of silly, a little bit pathetic, and somehow charmingly American.

2) SOMA Cafe - It's eccentric, it's got hipster written all over it, it's not corporate and it's got a great couch and a plastic King Kong in a Television turned Aquarium. Bloomington at its best.

3) Ditching Word, Killing Office - Consider it my new project: To avoid all things Microsoft Office. I recently adopted Scrivener as my composition platform for long-term research projects and committed myself to Pages for everyday composition and finally, I feel free. My contempt from Word runs deep into the 1990s when, because of incompatibility, I was forced to give up usage of WordPerfect so I could, no pun intended, stay on the same page as my colleagues and share word processing docs. So with the debut of iWork in 2005 I became enthralled with the possibility of finally getting a solid Word Processor (I never liked AppleWorks that much). Then Writely (now GoogleDocs) showed up in my life and now Scrivener and, well, I am almost Microsoft free. Once I learn how to use Numbers I may be able to leave Office behind and be pledge my allegiance solely to the Empire of Jobs...

4) The White Stripes - Icky Thump - So far this is, hands down, my favorite rock record of the year. The title track alone warrants consideration for "catchiest single of the year". You want hooks, Jack's got em. You want blues breakdowns and some of the weird ass analog synths, look no further. You want "la la las", you get those as well, and all before track two where Jack and Meg convince you that you don't know what love is... you really don't by the way. And then you get more slacker cum garage revival cum zeppelin/pixie goodness and, well, the only other record that has made me nod my head as much in the last 12 months is Girl Talk's "Night Ripper". In other words, it has a great beat and I can dance to a lot of it, so I give it a 92.

5) The Tibetan Cultural Center- His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be speaking here in Bloomington in the next month and the Tibetan Cultural Center, where His Holiness' brother lives, will receive a the Dalai Lama in grand fashion. If you have ever wondered what Tibetans were like or what Tibetan Buddhism is about, this is the place to start. First and foremost the TCC is one of the most inviting places anyone could ever visit. I have been there twice already and plan to go back this weekend, hopefully to do some work and meditation. When my Fiance' and I visited a few weeks ago, we were greeted by the Arjia Rinpoche, which we only learned later was a real honor. He talked to us about butter sculptures, sand mandalas and invited us to lunch. It was a truly wonderful and hard to describe. It's a special place, the kind that could host both HHDL and Muhammad Ali in an address regarding the need for peace...

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