Saturday, April 28 2001
John rolled in a little later this morning than expected. While at Farley's, he'd been aghast to discover that Farley's own sister (actually, she's his step sister and shares none of his gnomish genes) lives only a half hour away from him. Why had John had to drive an hour to care for Farley in this his hour of tonsillectomized need when his sister couldn't be bothered (or coerced into) into doing so, at least not on a Friday night. Still, John thought Farley's step sister was kind of cute, so he hung out a little longer at Farley's than he'd originally planned. John was amused to notice that every time the step sister was around, Farley would exaggerate the fucked-up retarded quality of his voice, perhaps to gain additional sympathy from someone he knew to be more unsuspecting than John.
For most of the day I worked on installing the little odds and ends that make any good computer worth having.
In general I was on the lookout to install only the best software available for any given task. By best, I mean narrowly-focused on a given task. I've decided I will not install any more bloatware like Windows Media Player or RealPlayer.
So, based on the recommendations of my readership, I installed WinAmp as my MP3 player. With WinAmp, I also installed the G-Force visualization plugin, having read a very positive review of it at Feed. The guy who wrote G-Force is something of a God-fearing electronic music fan (G-Force stands for "God-Force"), but he sure writes a mean visualization plugin. After I had it installed and running (and after tuning into a trance-centered WinAmp web-radio station, which, unlike RealPlayer stations, started playing immediately), I just sat there staring at my screen in awe. Even after reading the Feed article I hadn't expected to be quite this impressed, but suddenly I found myself wondering, who needs LSD when you can have this? It was so good in fact that I wondered if perhaps there might be pending legislation on Capitol Hill to criminalize it.
The G-Force visualizations were so impressive that I decided to install them on the downstairs computer as well. I left G-Force running full screen as WinAmp cycled through the downstairs MP3 collection (which is particularly rich in Thievery Corporation and, thanks to UK's own Frank Fenten, obscure British electronica). When John and Fernando came home from a run, Fernando immediately proclaimed the need for us to throw a party, based on the G-Force visualizations alone. Fernando is always suggesting that we throw parties, but every time we do the parties are lame. Not many people show up and the chicks who come (always friends of Fernando or Maria) are usually catty, superficial and unattractive schtevettes.
Last night while a hostage to social convention at Farley's place, John had watched a movie called Dancer in the Dark starring the enigmatic Björk as an increasingly blind Czech immigrant scraping together all she can to buy surgery for her son, who suffers from the same genetic vision troubles as she. It turns out the movie is actually a musical, but a good fraction of it goes by before anyone bursts into song. And when they do, and this might be a first for a musical, it isn't cheesy and it doesn't, you know, suck. The colors become vivid and Björk does what she does best, whimsically dancing around and singing with the same voice she uses when she talks. These scenes are presented as though they are part of her imagination and thus contribute to (instead of detract from) the mood that is being carefully cultivated. Interestingly, the first indication that Björk is about to burst into glorious song is usually some industrial rhythm, such as the clanking of a steel press or the sound of a train crossing a trestle. I especially like that one tune she sings with what's his face, the one with these lines:
Have you been to China, have you seen the Great Wall?
All walls are great if the roof doesn't fall.
I never really had any strong feelings about Björk one way or the other until I heard that song back in the fall on KCRW.
John is utterly enchanted by Björk. He finds her irresistibly cute. "She looks kind of retarded, and I like it," he says.
John's sister Maria was already there and Chun arrived later. Concerning the movie, Chun asked, "Who directed it?" "A fucking genius!" John proclaimed. I don't know if I liked it quite as much as John did, but I have to concur that it was a really a excellent flick.
So then I downloaded some Björk using Napster and played it with the G-Force visualizations and we all sat around gaping in awe at our shared hallucinations. I think I'm going to have to get some sort of video card so we can watch the visualizations on the television screen too.
After Maria left, Chun, John and I went to a place called Liquid Kitty down on Pico near Barrington. It was a cozy darkly-lit place and there was no cover charge and, John was delighted to note, no one was dancing. Because of the state we happened to be in, we saved a lot of money on drinks. Due mostly to artificially inflated serotonin levels, I was outrageously outgoing, sitting down between random groups of strangers and introducing myself. One girl told me I looked like I was coked out because I was gnashing my jaw so much.
A cab ride later, we were back in the living room listening to and dancing music and watching G-Force visualizations. Later we were all on the red velvet couch getting unusually cozy with one another (in the way people do when they drink lots of bottled water on a Saturday night).
After Chun and John went off to bed together, I realized that the G-Force visualizations for one song look perfectly appropriate for another song, even when the song you're actually hearing isn't the one affecting the G-Force visualization. This got me to thinking, perhaps this visualization thing is a complete fraud.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
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