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Music & Hell
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It's been a while since I've talked about music here. I've been listening to some new (new to me, anyway) stuff lately, and have especially enjoyed Damien Rice's O, the new Modest Mouse album (Good News for People Who Like Bad News), some Grandaddy, a little Wilco, The Postal Service (Give Up) and Death Cab for Cutie (Transatlanticism). I've also been listening to some neglected old favorites: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Soul Coughing, Bloodhound Gang, Offspring, Faith No More, etc. I'd post a playlist, but I've got one that's about 200 songs long that I've been shuffling through for the past week -- it's nice, because it always plays something I like a lot and generally find conducive to writing, but it's about twelve hours of music, so it doesn't get repetitive, as I do not commonly spend twelve hours at the computer, and I mostly listen to music while I'm writing/doing layout/etc. Of all the above, I most highly recommend the new Modest Mouse; it may be their best album yet, and certainly contains some of their best individual songs of all time. Though there are a couple of Postal Service tunes I like nearly as much.

Friday Heather and I went out to dinner at Barney's (mmm, burgers), then to the Parkway Theater to see Hellboy. The movie was fun, with good use of special effects (they can finally make convincing Lovecraftian monsters! That don't look like they're made of rubber!), and some really cool stuff -- Abe Sapien looked wonderful, as did the crazy wind-up Nazi assassin. In retrospect there were lots of things about the plot that didn't make much sense, and there were a couple of wince-worthy overly-earnest moments of dialogue that jarred the film's overall tone, but that aside, it was most enjoyable. And, hey, we saw it at the Parkway, so we were sitting on a couch watching the big screen, so how bad can it be?

Saturday Heather and I cleaned house, and I wrote about 1500 words of the new story, which I hope to finish today. Susan came over in the afternoon, and we hung out for a few hours. Our housemates were having a party, so we spent some time in the backyard with them, drinking and chatting, but then it got chilly so we three retreated up to the living room (where I continued drinking; I'm a bit hungover today, but water and coffee seem to be rehydrating me). Pleasant, low-key socializing. I don't mind going to parties much when they happen in my backyard, and I can leave just by going up a flight of stairs!

I finished The Charnel Prince yesterday, and will write a review of it this week. It avoids many common middle-of-a-trilogy problems, and continues in the uncompromising spirit of The Briar King, with the line between good and evil made even more ambiguous (and at times even irrelevant). Good stuff. Now I'm reading Phases of the Moon to review. It's Robert Silverberg's big six-decade career retrospective, and there are some absolutely awesome stories here, most of which I've read before, including stories that had a big impact on me when I was younger, like "Passengers," "Warm Man," "To See the Invisible Man," "Born with the Dead," and "Sailing to Byzantium." It's clear to me why he became a grandmaster. These are some of the best short stories ever written. There are introductions to each decade and each story, and they're fascinating, too.

The Jane Austen Book Club and The Speed of Dark are patiently waiting their turns to be read, and I'll get to them soon.

Good music playing. A pile of books I'm eager to read. Writing a cool new story. A clean house. Food in the fridge. A wonderful girlfriend. A beautiful Sunday stretched out before me. Oh, yes. I'm happy.

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