neko case [music]

go to npr and stream the forthcoming neko case record, middle cyclone.


elizabeth weinberg [photography]

from her twitter profile:
* Name: elizabeth weinberg
* Location: brooklyn
* Web:
* Bio: go outside!
DOWNLOAD: do your own thing

postcards [real mail]

DOWNLOAD: jens lekman - postcard to nina (live with narration) [mp3]
DOWNLOAD: the walkmen - postcards from tiny islands [mp3]


avett brothers [music]

aside from the fact that this avett brothers cover rolls so naturally that if you didn't know e street from sesame street you might think the boss had covered them, i was struck by no less than two memories of the best times ever by listening to this song. if you don't know him, dan dufek is this rangy urban cowboy-type i used to ramble around with. usually, after we were too pissed up to shoot any more pool, danny would sing impassioned versions of born to run in any mangy milwaukee tap with a speaker and a microphone. the boss always takes me back to those neon lights. and from way back, this song will forever remind me of these guys and county stadium. thanks to j bear for the heads up.
LINK: first time around


a russian poem (or two) [photography // writing]


Darling, you think it's love, it's just a midnight journey.
Best are the dales and rivers removed by force,
as from the next compartment throttles "Oh, stop it, Bernie,"
yet the rhythm of those paroxysms is exactly yours.
Hook to the meat! Brush to the red-brick dentures,
alias cigars, smokeless like a driven nail!
Here the works are fewer than monkey wrenches,
and the phones are whining, dwarfed by to-no-avail.
Bark, then, with joy at Clancy, Fitzgibbon, Miller.
Dogs and block letters care how misfortune spells.
Still, you can tell yourself in the john by the spat-at mirror,
slamming the flush and emerging with clean lapels.
Only the liquid furniture cradles the dwindling figure.
Man shouldn't grow in size once he's been portrayed.
Look: what's been left behind is about as meager
as what remains ahead. Hence the horizon's blade.

I threw my arms about those shoulders...

I threw my arms about those shoulders, glancing
at what emerged behind that back,
and saw a chair pushed slightly forward,
merging now with the lighted wall.
The lamp glared too bright to show
the shabby furniture to some advantage,
and that is why sofa of brown leather
shone a sort of yellow in a corner.
The table looked bare, the parquet glossy,
the stove quite dark, and in a dusty frame
a landscape did not stir. Only the sideboard
seemed to me to have some animation.
But a moth flitted round the room,
causing my arrested glance to shift;
and if at any time a ghost had lived here,
he now was gone, abandoning this house.
words: brodsky // pictures: sarfati


kowloon walled city [places]

tuesday is constant mania, so i'll leave the text to better-informed sources. i first became interested in kowloon walled city last fall when i had to make a visa run to hong kong. here's the quick noise on KWC:
kowloon walled city was the most densely populated place on earth before it was destroyed in 1993 and turned into a park. at its peak, the “city” had 50,000 inhabitants on 0.026 km² area of land (that, according to wikipedia, is equal to about 1,900,000 people per square kilometer). in contrast, manhattan has a population density of 25,849/km².
click the pics above to chase links. here are my photos from that hong kong run.


dark was the night [music]

i'm filing this one under 'you probably already know this, but hey what the heck?' dark was the night is a double cd/triple vinyl produced by aaron and bryce dressner of the national to benefit the red hot organization – an international charity dedicated to raising money and awareness for hiv and aids through popular culture. all 31 tracks are previously unreleased and it's chock full of bands you already love, so try out the three tracks in the player on the right, and then do the right thing and support the cause (available as mp3s via itunes and amazon).

MMI VII [bikes]

it's coming(!). click for info.

adward [photography // bikes]

adward is a photography student in taipei. much of his work centers around documenting the genius and hijinks of the nabiis cycling crew, but in between he finds time for hazy landscapes and urban minutia. he took my photo once. click the photos.


john cowper powys // bookride [writing // books // BABL]

what a history of human excesses a second-hand book-shop is! as you 'browse' there– personally i can't abide that word, for to my mind book-lovers are more like hawks and vultures than sheep, but of course if its use encourages poor devils to glance through books that they have no hope of buying, long may the word remain!–you seem to grow aware what a miracle it was when second-hand book-shops were first invented. women prefer libraries, free or otherwise, but it too often happens that the books an ordinary man wants are on the 'forbidden shelves'. but there is no censorship in a second-hand book-shop. every good bookseller is a multiple-personality, containing all the extremes of human feeling. he is an ascetic hermit, he is an erotic immoralist, he is a papist, he is a quaker, he is a communist, he is an anarchist, he is a savage iconoclast, he is a passionate worshipper of idols. though books, as milton says, may be the embalming of mighty spirits, they are also the resurrection of rebellious, reactionary, fantastical and wicked spirits! in books dwell all the demons and all the angels of the human mind. [continue // part 2]

bookride is a blog dedicated to the noble pursuit of book collecting and all of the peculiar quirks thereof. not only do they offer thoughts and statistics on used and rare books, but they also often post various verbiage on books and book buying as a culture. the excerpt above is appropriated from an essay by "that gigantic mythopoeic literary volcano" john cowper powys.


tweed run // adam scott [photography // bikes]

adam scott's photography makes last month's tweed run in london look even more fetching. and you didn't think that possible. click for more.


just a reminder.

made in thailand [music]

*disclaimer: appreciating that this blog is not a personal journal, and considering the difficulty i'm having trying to encompass the experiences i had on this trip, this will be my last post on anything vacation-related. if you're curious about the rest of the trip, by all means send me a message.

if you get to thailand any time in the fairly near future, keep an eye out for waifish grifters in nirvana and metallica t-shirts. you won't be long in looking. i can't say what, but something's got apathy and headbanging back in vogue in southeast asia. we first noticed the trend on our train ride from sungai kolok to hat yai - a few straggly teens in ragged 501s lounging at train stops and loitering on street corners - but the trend was true all the way to chiang mai. in koh phi phi we saw it get live.

the energy of koh phi phi, despite feeling at first ambiguous, is unmistakably omnipresent. the already small island feels all the more condensed because the majority of the livable area is a tiny isthmus that connects the mountains on either side. reflecting the necessary concentration, the streets teem with people at most hours and music, smells, and vacationers pour out of open store fronts in chaotic intervals. when evening descends on koh phi phi, the energy begins to coagulate, and it doesn't take long to realize that this is a place where growing-ups come for an E-induced latter day spring break. as the low pulses of house music begin to creep from the beach inland, bars begin filling with sunburned merrymakers swilling from buckets in which you mix your own fun. amid all this, i found myself drawn to the contrast of sounds and fluttering activity of one small alley where we found made in thailand - an all-thai four piece - ripping through a spot-on cover of ride the lightning. despite the reasonably early hour, the open-air bar, rolling stoned, was packed with an already-drunk, enthusiastically rowdy crowd rollicking in the revived youth of every nirvana and rage against the machine riff. made in thailand were mesmerizingly on point, and the crowd was fun galore. we stayed for the whole set.


angkor wat [places]

a foggy sense of trespassing accompanies investigation of the majesty and mystery of angkor wat's weathered beauty. the feeling i got standing on the sandblasted thresholds of so many long-abandoned miracles of human craft was something akin to equal parts A) being alone in a stranger's house, B) stepping into an exhibit at the museum of natural history, and C) being the first kid on the block to discover the rusted out oldsmobile in the creek down by the cemetery. after so many years of being told not to touch anything while being paraded around to appreciate history, art, and religion, it felt only natural to approach these ruins with a sense of apprehension. and despite being freely invited to poke our heads into so many nooks and crannies, it did feel somehow wrong that we should be traipsing in and out of these retired holies with such abandon. to that end, i found it both interesting and painfully frustrating to observe the ways in which people from different cultures approached and did or didn't revere the temples, but that's some cultural/anthro/socio blither to be had elsewhere. also on that tip, m put to words another feeling that had been puzzling me in those musty shadows: that despite all the visitors to angkor, it is rare that you don't feel mostly alone. with so many antechambers and interior rooms, there is always some marvel that you are allowed to find and appreciate - at least for a few seconds - without the shadow of some hawaiian-print-clad auteur looming.

my holga [photography]

days before our trip, i received word that my pocket camera was officially kaput. as luck and timing would have it, m arrived with a holga as my christmas gift. despite that a great number of photos from the early part of the trip didn't turn out, we still got some great shots from the holga. click the photo above. thanks to jeff for some light editing help.



mauriah and i have only just returned from wanderings in malaysia, thailand, and cambodia. the following few posts will focus on parts of the trip; most of our pictures are here and here, and i'll be adding more soon (depending on when you get to this post). for now, here are some incomplete thoughts and notes that might otherwise not get mentioned in later posts.

- i will forever travel by train as often as it is a reasonable option for meeting my time and distance needs. standing, sitting, and sleeping while bumping through too-bright dusty afternoons was the best possible way to appreciate the landscape and people of these countries. if we had simply flown from singapore to kuala lumpur or phuket, for instance, we would never have known that - given the region - turbans, burqas, and cowboy hats are all perfectly acceptable forms of headwear in malaysia. nor would we have had any idea that due to recent political unrest in thailand, all trains are patrolled by uniformed guards carrying fully automatic weapons. nor would we have had the chance to wave to so many smiling kids, or be reminded of so many one-player childhood games, like racing the train on your bike.

- thailand is all it's cracked up to be. the sands are soft, the food is spicy, the pace of life (not including bangkok) is languid and smiling, and the islands rise in photoshopped greens and grays out of cellophane blue water. each island seems radiate its own mood. we stayed on pleasantly deserted koh lanta and touristy but singularly picaresque koh phi phi. chiang mai, in the north of thailand, is surely among the greatest cities in the world for wanderers. the local people are friendly and knowledgeable, and every turn of a corner offers temples, bookshops, shrines, and cafes, and the city limits never feel more than a 15 minute walk. many thanks to gabor for playing host and tourguide.

- despite all the words i could lay waste to lauding cambodia, there is no doing it justice. cambodia is a place that i would love to live - the style of living is simple, the mood is amiable, the food is fresh and delicious, and it is bike-friendly. the prevalence of reds, browns, oranges, umbers, saffrons and the like in the local color spectrum are all the more prevalent for their placement. palaces and temples gleam red, yellow, and gold; monks are draped in bright orange; the dust of unpaved roads varies between brick red and sienna; so many citrus fruits and curries of all hues. two of my favorite moments in cambodia were being invited to play in a local soccer match and seeing freshly slain hogs ferried on the back of motorbikes. how am i supposed to convey to you the baffled, happy moment in which, pedaling away from angkor wat in the late afternoon, we were overtaken by a handful of motorbikes each with between one and three full grown hogs on the back?

ask me about all this stuff the next time i see you, it'll sound better over a beer.


square america [photography]

all too often i stay up when stuffy old conventional thinking says i should be mostly supine and placidly catatonic. i don't know why, but it usually reveals something wonderful. in this case, the chance to look hopefully for cast-off photos of my teenage aunts in poodle skirts, my post-vietnam uncles smoking a reefer behind someone's garage, and other extant photos of my then-hippie dad at the tepee he lived in for a summer over at square america was glib accompaniment to the songs in my head.

back from vacation

i'm still getting my bearings, more soon...