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Monday, January 24, 2005

Back On The Chain Gang

Added a review for Grace Jones' Nightclubbing to the "Music" section of the site.

Today I went looking for a phone cord so I can connect to the internet in my room from the living room, which is about fifteen meters away. I wasn't successful, but I was successful in buying the following albums:

The Pretenders, Learning to Crawl

Fleetwood Mac, Fleetwood Mac

Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin'

Learning to Crawl was the purchase I was most dubious about going through with. I was familiar with many of the songs on the album, but was unsure whether or not it was an actual album, a compilation, or some kind of bastardized European-press with versions of songs that were discarded from various recording sessions. I listened to it before I bought it, and was happy with the sound quality and the songs, but was still unsure if there was another Pretenders album that I should get first. However, this album was only $9.99 NZ (about $7.50 US), so I figured if it was a loss I'd just charge it to the game and move on. As it is, it's great, and I'm glad I got it.

I'm reading Jonathan Franzen's collection of essays, How to be Alone, and finding it good, but something that is probably unhealthy to read all at once. Franzen is the archetypal liberal intellectual, and although I find his analysis to be generally pretty sound, after awhile, it just sounds like whining1.

At one point, he talks about how he's thrown out his TV because "time spent watching it is time that I wasn't reading." He goes on to talk about how he wrote his first two books on a typewriter, how there was something gratifying about writing on "half-broken machinery," not owning a CD player, and still using a rotary phone. To me, this sounds like someone who just wants to make things difficult for themselves.

However, I think he's a really good writer, and he clearly cares a great deal about integrity, meaning, and the maintenance of the social novel.



1To Franzen's credit, he seems to know this, and makes fun of overly-analytical, bleeding heart ways in The Corrections.

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