East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

99 Lives

Most of these are actually from 2007 but whatever. If you want a copy of this (or if you still want a copy of last year's, um, if I forgot to send it to you then), give me your address and I'll send you a CD.

1. Robyn & Kleerup, "With Every Heartbeat"
2. Randy Newman, "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country"
3. Mavis Staples, "I'll Be Rested"
4. William Parker, "Morning Mantra"
5. Against Me!, "Thrash Unreal"
6. Lil Wayne, "I'm Me"
7. Nellie McKay, "Identity Theft"
8. Be Your Own Pet, "The Kelly Affair"
9. Ne-Yo, "Mad"
10. Hot Stylz ft. Yung Joc, "Lookin Boy"
11. Nas, "N.I.*.*.E.R. (The Slave and the Master)"
12. Peter, Bjorn & John, "Objects of My Affection"
13. T.I. & Jay-Z ft. Kanye West & Lil Wayne, "Swagga Like Us"
14. Britney Spears, "Piece of Me"
15. Tabu Ley Rochereau, "Karibou Ya Bintou"
16. The Go! Team, "Grip Like a Vice"
17. Dear Jayne, "Rain"
18. Gui Boratto, "Beautiful Life"
19. Colombiafrica: The Mystic Orcestra, "Sambangole/Tres Golpes Na' Mas"
20. Alicia Keys, "Teenage Love Affair"
21. Kronos Quartet, "Golijov: Tenebrae 1"
22. Mavis Staples, "My Own Eyes"
23. No Age, "Brain Burner"
24. The Roy Campbell Ensemble, "Akhenaten (Amenophis, Amenhotep IV)"
25. Kalima Pierre, "Olingi na sala boni"
26. Kate Nash, "Skeleton Song"
27. Erykah Badu, "The Cell"
28. Franco, "Mamou (Tu Vois!)"
29. Kate Nash, "Mariella"
30. Annie, "Songs Remind Me of You"
31. Randy Newman, "A Piece of the Pie"
32. Taylor Swift, "Love Story"
33. TV on the Radio, "Lover's Day"
34. Lil Wayne ft. Robin Thicke, "Tie My Hands"
35. MGMT, "Time to Pretend"
36. TV on the Radio, "Red Dress"
37. DragonForce, "Through the Fire and Flames"
38. Taio Cruz ft. Luciana, "Come On Girl"
39. Juvelen, "Don't Mess"
40. Be My Own Pet, "Heart Throb"
41. Nik Bärtsch's Ronin, "Modul 36"
42. Jean Grae, "My Story"
43. Alphabeat, "Fascination"
44. David Torn, "Miss Place, the Mist"
45. Yo La Tengo, "Daphnia"
46. James McMurtry, "Ruins of the Realm"
47. Toumast, "Ikalane Walegh"
48. Okkervil River, "Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe"
49. Easy Star All Stars ft. Toots, "Let Down"
50. Lloyd ft. Lil Wayne, "Girls Around the World"
51. Vampire Weekend, "M79"
52. Les Savy Fav, "The Year Before the Year 2000"
53. Robert Forster, "Let Your Light In, Babe"
54. Blow-Up, "John Travolta"
55. Randy Newman, "Harps and Angels"
56. Los Hijos del Sol, "Si Me Quieres"
57. Les Amazones de Guinee, "Deni Wana"
58. Report Suspicious Activity, "Destroy All Evidence"
59. Big Boi ft. Andre 3000 & Raekwon, "Royal Flush"
60. Ne-Yo, "Closer"
61. Fats Waller, "Star Dust"
62. Fieldwork, "Ghost Time"
63. Matias Aguayo, "Minimal (DJ Koze mix)"
64. The Roots ft. Wale & Chrisette Michele, "Rising Up"
65. Lil Wayne, "A Milli"
66. The Go! Team, "Titanic Vandalism"
67. Silvia Blanco, "Barübana Yagien"
68. Nas ft. Keri Hilson, "Hero"
69. The-Dream ft. Rihanna, "Livin' a Lie"
70. Conor Oberst, "I Don't Want to Die (in the Hospital)"
71. Pink, "So What"
72. Lil Wayne, "Dough Is What I Got"
73. Justice, "DVNO (Radio edit)"
74. Girl Talk, "What It's All About"
75. Vampire Weekend, "One (Blake's Got a New Face)"
76. The National, "Fake Empire"
77. Southern All Stars, "I Am Your Singer"
78. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, "More News from Nowhere"
79. Steinski, "It's Up to You (Television mix)"
80. Miley Cyrus, "See You Again (remix)"
81. The Mountain Goats, "So Desperate"
82. Conor Oberst, "Milk Thistle"
83. DJ Khaled ft. Akon, T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Birdman & Lil Wayne, "We Takin' Over"
84. Franz Ferdinand, "All My Friends"
85. Amy LaVere, "Pointless Drinking"
86. Mystery Jets, "Two Doors Down"
87. Soulja Boy Tell'em, "Crank That (Soulja Boy)"
88. Ne-Yo, "So You Can Cry"
89. TV on the Radio, "Family Tree"
90. Mark Ronson ft. Santogold, "Pretty Green"
91. Horoya Band National, "Karan-Gbegne"
92. Mavis Staples, "Eyes on the Prize"
93. Wire, "One of Us"
94. Girl Talk, "Like This"
95. Lily Allen, "Knock 'em Out"
96. Estelle ft. Kanye West, "American Boy"
97. Raphael Saadiq ft. the Infamous Young Spodie & the Rebirth Brass Band, "Big Easy"
98. Sugababes, "About You Now"
99. Flo Rida ft. T-Pain, "Low"

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some poems I liked this year, part 2

Takashi Hiraide (tr. Sawako Nakayasu), For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut 43
The spider is genius. The celerity which moves — leading the air mass — the atmosphere level that falls higher than the clouds connecting the seasons. The spider is genius. The brilliance descending omnidirectionally is not a gravity-evading parachute, but striates the entire sky, guiding drops of light towards the ground. And it just lowers itself down along the way. How can there be such transparent bones — bones that flood over, even as they break. And plus he is a seed. With endurance and imagination as nourishment, the scheme is rather null. Sorcery is rather null. A light-handed evil which admits no glory, not even your own. The spider is simply genius.

Sean O'Brien, Song: Habeas Corpus
Oh lock me in the deepest jail
And throw away the key.
The nation's desperate to be saved
From 'elements' like me.
There's none so blind,
We think you'll find
As those who cannot see.

Heh, kidding of course, that's a terrible poem.

Lynn Pedersen, "How to Speak Nineteeth Century"
Forget about the nomenclature
of the moon: lunar impact craters, rilles; your voice
translated into fiber optics or beamed pinpoint to pinpoint
on the planet. Here, all words are spoken to someone's face.
Earth. Seeds. Thresher. Plow. Timber'd.

- from New England Review (2008) 29:1

Juliana Spahr, "Gentle Now, Don't Add to Heartache"
(this is the poem of the decade or something)
We came into the world at the edge of a stream.

The stream had no name but it began from a spring and
flowed down a hill into the Scioto that then flowed into
the Ohio that then flowed into the Mississippi that
then flowed into the Gulf of Mexico.

The stream was a part of us and we were a part of the
stream and we were thus part of the rivers and thus part
of the gulfs and the oceans.

And we began to learn the stream.

Krisztina Tóth, "Rainy Summer" (tr. Kevin Nolan)
A sentence grew the deepest scar, no memory
below the sweet-skinned sleep said wake now, wake now
sentence, tracking wordless searing hatred
spinning in the flesh and wanting none—
no pause or rest or passing come to birth
a soundless sentence spoke by no one, none to hear,
sounds the cardial nightclock out of time
in empty gravelled courtyards sounds the chained-up dog,
the sentence pulsing like the sea within a scuttled hull
glistens in the berries of a dream to murmur wake now, wake now,
the shoreless stormcry carried off by blinding waters,
the measured tambour threading sea to moon

Susan Wheeler, "The Debtor in the Convex Mirror"
The painter in the mirror wants privacy, not this call that invades
the reading of a book. Your own looked out at us, but mine, Massys—
disingenuous, masquerading, stressed and damp—doesn’t; weightier
things on his mind he’s got not. But he only pretends to absorption.
It’s we who discern the privacy he wants, we who can see
what he lacks. It’s as though we’re instructed to trust the lender,
his own fix being more, well, sequestered.
The last century mined focus as a notion, and even here in Manhattan,
a delirium of sorts swabbing its streets,
we tread with the intensity of hounds,
plugged into our earpiece conjointments, or collecting loose change
off of cuffs. Massys’ grimace under-dramatizes our lot.

Sources. Some of these are from the anthology American Poets in the 21st Century, as fair a flyover look at the field as you could hope for. Other tips come from the Third Factory poll, Jordan Davis's list, and Jonathan Mayhew's 9000 poetry book project. I sort of keep track of who's winning the prizes, and while this occasionally turns up something otherwise under my radar like the Brathwaite, more often the gongs go to the likes of O'Brien. Well, there are worse injustices in the world: the loss of habeas corpus, for instance.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Some poems I liked this year, part 1

Jasper Bernes, "Two Walts (Whitman Contra Disney)"
It's a small world after all, after the relief-deep wells barf up their prisoners,
after the exhaustion of credible souces, empiricism's
expiration date, a flash of rich, ferocious prose and eroded roses.

Coral Bracho, "Water's Lubricious Edges" (tr. Forrest Gander)
Water of jellyfish,
lacteal, sinuous water,
water of lubricious borders; glassy thickness--Deliquescence
in delectable contours. Water--sumptuous water
of involution, of langour
alternative translation

Kamau Brathwaite, "Kumina"
on the first day
of yr death it is quiet it is dormant like a doormat
no one-foot touch its welcome. its dust on the floor
is not disturb nor are the sleeping spirits of this house

i sit here in this chair trying to unravel Time so that it wouldn't happen twine

Jordan Davis, "Dust"
If you start to imagine
You feel the magnetic fields
The colander and the aluminum
Are in the lower cabinet on the right

This is gravity coming for us

Peter Gizzi, "Untitled Amherst Specter"
a sound of open ground having been taken

now a silver wisp winking on the roof

silver imp waving from a long shaft ago

I am a leaf storm night

I have seen the long file of mule trains and metal

the cavalry

these sounds we live within speaking to you now

sir, I was a soldier in these woods

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ten favourite comics of the year

10. Ruben Bolling, Tom the Dancing Bug

9. Emily Horne & Joey Comeau, A Softer World

8. Chris Onstad, Achewood

7. Ryan North, Dinosaur Comics

6. Gary Trudeau, Doonesbury

5. David Malki, Wondermark!

4. Randall Monroe, xkcd

3. Darby Conley, Get Fuzzy

2. Kate Beaton

1. Dorothy Gambrell, Cat and Girl/Donation Derby

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Ten favourite wrestling matches of the year, part 3

3. Kenta Kobashi & Yoshihiro Takayama vs Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama, NOAH, December 2nd 2007
It's about the personalities. Kobashi is god of wrestling, and is making his return after beating cancer. Misawa is ex-god of wrestling, who was kind of annoyed at having to play god again while his successor was out. Akiyama is the wannabe god who never quite made it and has a chip on his shoulder as a result. And Takayama is the guy who was repeatedly punched in the face by Don Frye. This has more of a big match feeling than anything else this year, and now that Kobashi is out again with an unrelated injury, this set of personalities may work at the same level again.

Part 2
Part 3

2. Blue Panther vs Villano V, CMLL mask vs mask 2/3 falls, September 19th
Never does there feel like there's more at stake than in a mascara contra mascara match. If you follow lucha libre, you'll already know the result was one of the most shocking ever; if you don't, well, trust me on this.

Second fall
Third fall

1. Nigel McGuinness vs Austin Aries, ROH Rising Above, December 29th 2007
Realists, fantasists: seems everyone agrees on this one. Stiff, thrilling and memorable.

Part 2
Part 3

Worst match: Triple H vs Koslov, WWE Survivor Series: only reddeming feature is Edge's beard
Best women's match: pick one of the Gail Kim-Awesome Kong bouts. Stereotyping for fun and profit!
Best non-fake match: Miguel Torres vs Yoshiro Maeda, WEC 34

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ten favourite wrestling matches of the year, part 2

6. Chris Jericho vs Shawn Michaels, WWE No Mercy ladder match, October 5th
It's really not that hard to innovate within even the simplest, most seemingly played-out forms, like the sonnet. But it take both talent and discipline to make the innovations meaningful by respecting the conventions you're not subverting, or what's a form for? There'll never be a ladder match that subverts the form like Berrigan's Marilyn Monroe sonnet, but I find this as satisfying.

5. Bryan Danielson vs Tyler Black, ROH New Horizons, July 26th
4. Nigel McGuinness vs Tyler Black, ROH Take No Prisoners, March 16th

Black, though deservedly the breakout star of 2008, still has his limitations: occasionally ineffectual spinny offense and shaky match structure. These problems are solved against McGuinness with a simple storyline: Black as the underdog in survival mode. Against Danielson, the problems are made irrelevant, because Danielson's just that good.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Ten favourite wrestling matches of the year, part 1

10. Yuki Ishikawa vs Carl Greco, BattlArts, June 1st
Yes, there are schools of wrestling criticism. Let's call the principal axis of disagreement fantasy-realism. Ishikawa and Greco are as far as you can go to the "realism" end, so much so that they disrupt wrestling's usual ideal narrative build to a conclusion. Instead, the logic is moment-to-moment: one submission attempt leads to another. It's not quite Ashberian, though: there are only a finite number of rope breaks (some of which are conceded). And there's a winner.

9. Ric Flair vs Shawn Michaels, WWE Wrestlemania XXIV, March 30th
The realists are not going to give you the benefit of the doubt: they want to see you hurt. The fantasists will suspend their belief as long as you can excite or move them. This is a match for fantasists: whiffed moves are sprinkled throughout, but if you can get past that, you get two masters of character going at it one last time. Flair plays the old GOAT who knows he should hang up his boots, but hubris prevents him; Michaels plays the GOAT in waiting who knows his hero needs to be bumped off. As tragedy, it's basic; but for a wrestling tragedy to be fictional for once is especially cathartic.

Part 2
Part 3

8. Samoa Joe vs Kurt Angle, TNA Lockdown, April 13th
Now the realist-fantasist distinction is getting confused. There are a ton of MMA spots, but it soon becomes clear that they're worked into a typical American pro big match structure. Or: we're gonna need another axis.

Part 2

7. Jimmy Jacobs vs B.J. Whitmer, IWA Mid-South I Quit match, March 1st
A more familiar form of realism: the guys make it look like they're really hurting each other by really hurting each other. Not to be confused with the Jacobs-Whitmer no-rope barbed wire match: there's sick, and then there's sick.

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