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Monthly Archives: January 2012

#MusicMonday: “Trip To Your Heart” – Britney Spears

This is a little embarrassing. Let me try to explain.

I’ve been really into synthesizer pop lately, because Studio Krisis has come into possession of a new synth and it’s not a language I speak fluently.

I am also working my way through roughly 1,700 songs from 2011 that I acquired in December.

Okay, enough excuses: this post is really about a Britney Spears song. I think it is awesome.

There, I’ve said it.

Two weeks ago E and I were lounging in our hotel room in Las Vegas between adventures when this came on my iPod. I looked up from my book. “This is really good,” I said. E nodded behind her book. When the song began to wind down I reached beside me and clicked back to the beginning without looking at the title or artist.

After two listens I picked up my iPod, curious to know who the singer was. It had a sort of UK pop sound to it, but also reminded me of the electric lounge of The Bird and The Bee or even The Cardigans.

Imagine my surprise to discover the singer: Britney Spears.

Let’s be clear here – I love pop music, but I do not like Britney Spears. In fact, 2011′s Femme Fatale is the only LP of hers I even own (mostly because we dance to a couple of the songs in Zumba).

This is mostly because she generally does not sing very well on record, and if you don’t sing well and you don’t write your own songs I don’t really get the point of you existing as an artist. At that point your face is just an ad campaign for someone else’s beats.

“Trip To Your Heart” disproves that theory, to a degree. She sounds lovely on it in a higher register I didn’t even know she had. Sure, she probably has a super-computer’s worth of digital processing tuning her up. She always has that, yet many of her other vocals still sound like hell.

Britney or not, if you like dreamy synth-pop with a good beat, this song is for you.

What I Tweeted, 2012-01-29 Edition

My tweets of the last week:

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What I Tweeted, 2012-01-22 Edition

My tweets of the last week:

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What Happens In Vegas…

Scene: Yesterday at the Las Vegas airport, just after 9am PT.

I am scheduled to rehearse with Arcati Crisis in approximately six hours. E and I have just been deplaned. I texted Gina an update on my flight.

This is our actual text message conversation, unabridged.

Peter:  Our plane is delayed due to a bad smell. Will text you upon arrival. I still might be home in time.

Gina: Bad smell like a rotting carcass, or like an “OMG PLANE CRASH” kind of bad smell?

G: I don’t know what the latter would smell like. Fuel?

P: I suspect a dirty sock has been sucked into the air circulation system. We have been grounded due to a dirty sock.

G: Probably placed there by an angry flight attendant.

P: They keep beckoning the attendants back into the plane for a “sniff test.” I do not think “sniff” is a technical acronym. I believe they are actually testing our safety with their finely trained noses.

G: That’s amazing. “Flight attendants: it is time for you to sniff once again. This is what we’ve been training for all of our lives.”

G: If there was a chemist there, they’d make sure people were wafting.

P: Do you think I should go over and explain wafting to them? They seem very pleasant. Maybe they are lifelong learners who would appreciate the knowledge.

G: Well, I suppose wafting would only be useful if they are looking to stick their noses into bottles or cans of questionable materials. If there is an exhaust pipe somewhere with a dirty sock in it, I guess that counts.

G: It is my opinion that they should have hired people who walk around in lab coats with the airline emblem on them to do the sniffing … to add legitimacy to the whole thing. Nothing says “legitimate” like a lab coat.

P: Maybe they have the lab coats in the overhead bin with the sample oxygen mask. Maybe SNIF stands for “sensing nefarious intrusive fragrances.” They serve many roles, flight attendants.

G: It’s true. Perhaps they just ran out of miniature liquor bottles and they’re trying to come up with how to handle the passengers without them.

An hour passes.

P: Now we cannot reenter the plane to retrieve our luggage. I will be secretly thrilled if the bad smell is actually toxic.

G: Wow, you still haven’t taken off yet? Are they going to put you on another plane?

P: No. We are relocating Arcati Crisis to Las Vegas. We will be staying in the executive suit of The Flamingo. We will be alternates for Donnie & Marie.

G: This all sounds completely reasonable and appropriate.

G: Of course we would be staying at The Flamingo. This would only be more sensical if we were staying in a suite next to a penthouse filled with Elvises.

G: Elvi? I don’t know.

P: Oh, it gets better.

P: There are paramedics with a stretcher waiting in the jetway. Except, everyone from the flight is seated out here at the gate.

G: I am guessing they found an alien life form in there. You might actually be living out Terror at 30,000 Feet … but … at sea level and not trapped in a plane … and without William Shatner. So, not nearly as dynamic or exciting.

G: It occurs to me that the presence of William Shatner in any form at this point would improve your situation.

Several minutes later…

P: They just took a single large bag out of the plane on the stretcher.

G: Oh my god. There is a human head in it, isn’t there?!?

P: Or a small E.B.E.

[That's Extraterrestrial Biological Entity, for those of you who did not watch The X-Files.]

G: I think this entire conversation will be making it’s way onto my blog.

P: Yes, mine too. Clearly.

G: So, rehearsal’s off, then?

Epilogue, three hours later … around when rehearsal was set to begin.

G: Have you made your way onto a plane yet.

P: No.

G: Oy. Did you find out any fabulous details about the Mysterious Odor?

P: No further information. I was told by an airline rep that I was “very nice,” so clearly they are trying to cover something up.

G: Intrigue!

P: This is an actual message I just heard on the overhead: “We want to let you know this flight does not have running water, which means you will not have coffee service, or be able to flush the toilets.”

P: Then, after a brief pause: “We jut want to clarify – you will be able to use the toilets, but will be unable to flush them or wash your hands.”

G: Wow… just wow. Purell for all!

E and I touched down in Philly just after 10pm. Our plane smelled lovely and did have running water.

Leaving Las Vegas

Circus Circus

I did not have many must-do items on our itinerary. Just one, really.

Circus Circus.

I am a huge fan of Hunter S. Thompson and Gonzo Journalism, and one of my favorite books is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Many of the locations from the book have since been demolished or converted into something new, yet two significant ones remained: The Flamingo and Circus Circus.

As luck would have it, we were staying at The Flamingo – the scene of Thompson’s freak-out trip and his attorney’s accosting of a hapless maid turned informer. I gleefully read these passages to E, who shook her head in a mixture of bemusement and disgust.

The other intact monument to the book is Circus Circus, a casino complete with its own trapeze act and merry-go-round bar. Since the casino is farther north on the strip, it wasn’t somewhere we would idly walk past. We had to plan a day around it.

We finally arrived on day four of five, fresh from our arial adventures atop the Stratosphere. Circus Circus looked exactly how I pictured it – a low dilapidated facade dominated by an eery neon clown.

Circus Circus is now a children’s amusement park.

I don’t know what else to say, really. The merry-go-round bar that Thompson mercilessly ejected his attorney from now serves pretzels and sorbet, and the acrobat show is a purely family-friendly affair with no rabid wolverines in sight.

I thought the Circus Circus revelation was pretty much the final nail in the coffin of this trip for me. It represents the ultimate disappointment of Las Vegas. Everything here is an illusion or a faded recollection. Everything needs the night air and a neon facade to brighten the corners of an otherwise dismal and callous place.

(Then my travel companions brought a bottle of champagne on a roller coaster and we had a major dance party to an 80s cover band, which helped reduce the Circus Circus disappointment to merely an amusing sidebar to the best day of our trip.)

(I still don’t like it here.)

 

A Taste of Vegas @ Mesa Grill

The food of Las Vegas is at once awful and awesome, sometimes within the same meal. It is an unhealthy mecca of artery-busting delights.

Yesterday I had the best bite of food I have ever bitten in my life. It was the Rough Cut Tuna Nachos at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill.

I don’t know if I can properly describe the experience to you. The rarest of rare tuna that almost melted on my tongue, dotted with capers and drizzled with reductions of chilis, avocados, and mangos, served on bite-sized puffed corn chips.

I thoughtlessly stuffed my first serving into my mouth and then halted, closing my eyes and sighing deeply as the flavor of it seeped into my tastebuds.

After that, my eating was much more measured. Each chip had to be perfectly arrayed with the correct blend of flavors, less I wind up with a sub-optimal bite of food. Each time I involuntarily closed my eyes once the taste hit my tongue. The experience was downright sensual.

The dish was $16, and included enough raw cubes of tuna for two. I would have gladly swiped my credit card for a $16 charge for every bite.

We will be going back to Mesa Grill.

PS: They also serve Cosmopolitan‘s #1 Must-Drink cocktail: The Cactus Pear Margarita, as pictured above. It was every bit as good of a bright pink drink as that distinction implies (and I don’t even like tequila).

PPS: Actually, we didn’t have a single thing that was less than amazing in the entire meal. Highly recommended.

Vegas is for the birds

girls at your door

The Las Vegas strip is a relative joy to walk, day or night. Both sides of the street are a wide promenade of adult playground lined with fake classical sculpture, walk-up bars, and slot machines as close to the sidewalk as legally allowed. The sidewalk is filled with milling drunks, bachelorettes, and people dressed as Mickey Mouse and Sponge Bob while double-fisting 40s.

(There is no open container law in Las Vegas. Or, rather, if there is a law, it is one that allows open containers. The next casino over sells drinks in massive containers shaped like miniature Eiffel Towers.)

(There is a strong possibility you will see a picture of me wielding one in the near future.)

Every ten feet of promenade there are hucksters. At first I assumed they must be trying to pull people into different casinos or parties. No. There are 100-foot-tall billboards of Celine Dion for that.

They are hucking girls. Girls delivered right to your room. That is the gist I have been able to discern without actually taking one of their flyers.

That doesn’t surprise or offend me in the least. The disturbing part is the manner of hucking. I do not think they can actually say anything about the girls or what the girls are legally allowed to do with you in the state of Nevada. As a result, the group of silent hucksters are uniformed in neon-colored shirts crammed with text explaining their service model.

Even more prominent, they whip their fistfuls of flyers to and fro, creating a viscerally disturbing smacking sound. Like some pornographic echolocation, they begin to aim the smacking at you from a distance of about ten feet, and if you make even the slightest visual acknowledgement of their existence they will know. Even a sidelong glance at the color of their neon shirt.

Then they are upon you.

The closest I have come to pumping money (or anything else) into their business model was when a particular copse of the silent, smacking hucksters was accompanied by a sole verbalizing huckster.

He was hucking their neon shirts in every possible color.

high hot pressure

The airplane was a pressure-cooker.

I felt like some sort of crock pot meal in my window seat, gradually stripping off layers of clothing and carry-ons and pressing my arms against the cool metal of the seat dividers. My window onto to the southern sun with was hot to the touch, even with the plastic shade snapped shut. The radiating heat made me feel as though I would brown beneath my v-neck t-shirt.

Our flight was absolutely full with an interesting cross-section of people. Golfers, gamblers, bachelorette parties. A cheerful murmur rose from the collective when we first boarded. Now it was much quieter. Everyone was wilting and dozing.

I hadn’t said anything to E, as she was deep in conversation about javascript with the web developer seated beside her. I let my head nod to one side, half exhausted, half in a meditative trance.

Eventually, E turned to me and said, “it is too warm in here.”

“Yes, I know,” I replied, roused. “Feel my window. It’s hot.”

“I’d rather not. I’m already quite warm.”

“You can have my blower, if you need it,” I said, gesturing up to the tiny air-expelling port in the ceiling above us. I could not feel the slightest drift of the breeze it was supposedly blowing onto my face.

“I already took it.”

“While I was asleep?” I exclaimed.

“Yes.” Well, that would explain why I could not feel the breeze.

“What if I needed that air?”

“Clearly you didn’t.”

We’ve been very aligned this entire time. In Philadelphia, plenty of disagreements – all trivial, mind you, but differences of opinion. Outside of it, we react to all things as one. Things that would fall below most people’s threshold of notice, like poorly phrased directional signage or a particularly cool piece of luggage in a crowd. It’s as if our minds are tethered together, having the same reactions at the same time. One massive game of Jinx! You Owe Me a Coke, except for we do not drink soda.

The last 45 minutes of the flight were a sheer test of endurance. I was so hot I thought I might explode in a seizure of thrashing and cursing. I decided I had to accept the heat rather than resist it. I cracked my plastic window frame an inch and pressed my eye up to the crevice, watching the mountains below us turn from black to brown to sandy foothills until my face couldn’t beat the warmth any longer.

We were relieved to step off of the plane, and were greeted with slot machines all of ten feet from our gate exit.

“Play a slot?” I asked E. “They’re pennies.”

“No.”

“Me neither.” I replied.

travel exhausts me

He sang me songs. Classics. The bands were new to me. Boston, Kansas, America, Europe, Asia.

[Hedwig stops Tommy from playing]

Travel exhausts me.

I do not enjoy travel.

Actually, I can think of some travel I have at least nominally enjoyed. It’s more that I don’t like the idea of traveling – interrupting my daily routine to pack up a limited amount of my possessions to go some other place that won’t be as comfortable or entertaining as my own home and be expected to do the same boring things as all of the other tourists staying there.

I remember going to Jamaica twice as a pre-teen with my mother and a family friend. Paradise, swimming, beaches – right?

I brought an entire suitcase of books. It’s not as if I didn’t enjoy the beauty of it or swim or go on the beach. I was disenchanted by all of the other children running around. At age 10 I thought I was actually 40. I wanted to lay around tanning, reading books, and drinking virgin daiquiris.

I remember at one point the Children’s Activities Coordinator stalked over to me at the poolside to interrupt my reading of a rather thick book and demanded I act like an actual child and play some sort of game that involved eating bananas and acting like an actual child.

In my memory of the event, I tried in vain to wave the coordinator off until, finally, my mother leaned over from the next chair.

“Do you see that book my son is reading?” My mother asked.

“Yes. Why is he reading books in Jamaica?” She said this as if customs should have confiscated anything with pages while we were still in the airport. “We have many fun activities for him.”

“He likes reading books.” My mother replied, flatly.

“He can’t possibly be enjoying reading a book of that length. He should be with other children his own age.”

(“I don’t like them,” I may have interjected.)

My mother leaned in a bit closer to the woman. “Listen, hon.” (I may have grinned a bit, as this was always an indication she was about to put someone on blast.) “My son likes reading books. Long books. This is the fourth book he’s read in Jamaica. We’ve been here for three days. The books are several years above his suggested reading level. And he likes them. Unless you want to tell us more about the educational value of your banana eating contest, I think that’s the last we’ll need to hear about your ‘activities.’”

That was the last I saw of Children’s Activities Coordinator.

As an adult I feel much the same way about vacations. I want to use them as a chance to do something I love that I would never have the time or inclination to do in the midst of my daily routine. Reading, writing, working on new songs, learning new things – mixed in with some local sights and delights. Vacations I have enjoyed – LA, Paris, St. Louis, Vermont – have all managed to strike that balance. Others, not so much.

We are leaving for Las Vegas in the morning. I have tried to do everything within my power to avoid my disinclination to travel, yet I still find myself disappointed that I am about to spend money and time to visit another place when I could just spend it in my house.

We’ll see how I feel about that once I am on the strip.

secret gourmets and undead dreams

We got home late last night from having a minor dinner party with some friends.

The dinner party surprised me. It turns out that in addition to being a terrific actress, natural marketer, and one of my favorite dance partners, our friend Gina-O (i.e., not BFF Gina, but a different, second Gina with a nearly identical last name) is an amazing gourmet cook and furniture refinisher.

How did I not know this about her after knowing her for nearly five years? This is someone I absolutely gravitate to whenever we’re out with a group of people, and I am just learning these major facts about her.

Another thing to chalk up to my self-centeredness? Or is it entirely possible that other seeming extroverts don’t wear their entire lives on their sleeves.

(I only do it on my blog.)

I do not do late on weeknights anymore, unless it is for a show and I have the motivating energy of rock to keep me propped upright. I was so unbelievably tired that I think I may have intentionally driven over the speed limit for the first time on my way home in an effort to get into our bed that much more quickly.

E woke up crying in the middle of the night, which made me wake up and hug her in response. She was quite inconsolable, but said it was just a bad dream, and we were both super-exhausted, so we fell right back to sleep.

As I was fishing through my sock drawer this morning, I looked back over my shoulder at her as she stretched across the bed like a cat.

“So, the crying. What was that about?” I asked her.

“I told you, it was a bad dream,” she replied.

“Like, a depressing dream?”

“It was kind of an post-apocalyptic scenario. With two different kinds of undead battling for supremacy. Like 12 Monkeys meets Walking Dead. And I was the leader of the one tribe!”

“That actually sounds like an awesome dream.”

“Then I died at the end. Well, actually, I was dead already, so I regained my humanity. But it was still tragic.”

“Did you win?”

“Unclear. It was more of a set-up for a sequel.”

“Ah.”

Crying in her sleep about leading her tribe of undead to an uncertain truce only to become a martyr … until the sequel to her dream is optioned for production, anyway.

My wife, ladies and gentleman.

Top 12 X-Men Collections of 2011 – New Material

Uncanny X-Men issue #534.1, from Uncanny X-Men: Breaking Point

Today I bring you a list of the best collections of new X-Men material released in 2011, which collect stories originally published over the last 18 months of comics.

Occasionally I wonder if comic collecting as an adult is merely a shameless attempt at recapturing our youth now that we have the budget to appreciate it properly – especially as I and many other fans (let’s be honest) fetishize premiere format reprints of the comics we coveted as a kids. (Last week’s post covered the best of those from 2011.)

Is there anything to this hobby other than rewarding our inner teenage geeks?

If there’s an answer to be found in X-Men comics, it must be on this list. These are the twelve new X-Men stories that captured my imagination like those old issues I still obsess over, and I categorize “the wonder of feeling like a kid again” separately from “trying to recapture youthful feelings with a dose of well-preserved nostalgia.” Read more…

xXx

5. Uncanny X-Force: Apocalypse Solution
Collects Uncanny X-Force #1-4 & material from Wolverine: The Road to Hell

A team of 90s-popular hyper-killers plus a parody of a 90s hyper-killer sounds very … 90s. Right?

Wrong, when they are in the hands of breakout star writer of 2011, Rick Remender. Wolverine is deadly and deadpan, Psylocke and Archangel are both believably in love and reluctant to pull a trigger, Deadpool is simultaneously hilarious and murderous, and Fantomex is like Robert Downey Jr. playing James Bond playing Deadpool as a Frenchman. This opening arc fires on all cylinders and Jerome Opena’s art is beyond gorgeous. (Read my original review.)

Also available in paperback. If you like this, pick up the following arc, Deathlok Nation.

xXx

4. Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine
Collects the six-issue limited series. 

Even more Wolverine? And how did this book get on here when I claim to dislike Jason Aaron?

As it turns out, Aaron is at his best when he’s at his most zany, which is maybe why I don’t enjoy him on straight Wolverine books. With Peter Parker as his narrator, a nonsensical cross-time caper as his backdrop, and the best-ever take on a classic scenery-chewing X-villain from artist Adam Kubert, he finds sure success. This book is madcap, requires little or no prior knowledge, and is repeatedly worthy of an actual LOL.

Also available in paperback. If you like this, you need to pre-order Aaron’s forthcoming Wolverine & The X-Men, Vol. 1 ASAP.

xXx

3. X-Men: Age of X & X-Men Legacy: Aftermath
Collects Age of X: Alpha, New Mutants #22-24,  X-Men Legacy #245-247, and Age of X: Universe 1-2 & #242-244 and #248-249

Early previews of Age of X left fans a little cold – another alternate reality with twisted versions of our heroes? Leave it to Mike Carey, departing this month after a 70+ issue run on X-Men Legacy, to surprise us all by turning in a subtle, slow-burning alternate reality tale. Age of X is a quality mystery story that gets deep into the psychology of all of our favorite X-Men, plus features delectable art from rising star Clay Mann.

To fully appreciate the deft, self-contained world of Age of X, you also need the strong Aftermath, which bookends Age of X with a pair of significant stories that both benefit from and add depth to to the mysteriously twisted alternative world. Throughout, Rogue (and, to a lesser extent, Magneto) is star of the show. (Read my original AOX and Aftermath reviews.)

Both Age of X and Aftermath are available for pre-order in paperback. If you like the actual-reality of Aftermath, try X-Men Legacy: Emplate (HC or TPB). If you like the alternate-reality of Age of X, pre-order the massive forthcoming Age of Apocalypse Omnibus.

xXx

2. New Mutants: Fall of the New Mutants
Collects New Mutants #15-21.

Since it’s 2009 debut New Mutants has been a fun read, but its first year of issues read like an overflow pan for plots too periphery for Uncanny X-Men to deal with. Here the book not only gets its own unique story, but it is a gripping, daunting action-adventure with high stakes that stretch all the way back the Inferno saga of the 1980s!

Spider-Man writer Zeb Wells nails the characterization of the entire team (even oft-ignored Karma!) and Leonard Kirk draws engaging comic art without the fussy overly-detailed photo-reference of his peers. Together, they plunge the team into one of their most desperate positions (and that is saying a lot for this group of characters!), which makes the shocking resolution even more satisfying! (Read my original review.)

This directly precedes Age of X (above), and should absolutely be read beforehand if you plan to pick up both. Also available in paperback. If you like this, try X-Infernus (HC or TPB) or New Mutants: The Return of Legion (HC or TPB) – both of which are key setup for this arc.

xXx

1. Uncanny X-Force: The Dark Angel Saga: Book 1 (& 2!)
Collects Uncanny X-Force #8-13 (& 14-18 or 19)

Do not be surprised when every year-end X-Men list names this as the storyline of the year. Or decade. Or “ever, since Dark Phoenix.” Writer Rick Remender finds layers in his kill-squad of Deadpool, Psylocke, and Fantomex that never existed before and somehow finds a way to make Wolverine not the main character, all while crafting Angel into the best villain the X-Men have faced in years (decades?) (since Dark Phoenix?).

Yet, this Saga isn’t all endless piles of over-dramatic continuity porn – it starts off with two killer one-shot issues before beginning its sickening ascent up a rollercoaster of plot that pays off with insane loop-to-loops in the forthcoming Book 2. Together they form the story named by a vast majority of X-Men fans – including your author – as the best of 2011.

Plus: the original Dark X-Man, Jean Grey … but not how you might have expected. 

Just trust me on this one. Both Book 1 and Book 2 are available for pre-order in paperback. If you like this, read The Dark Phoenix Saga (duh).

xXx

Whew! That’s a lot of X-Men comics! For my fellow fans – do you agree? What 2011 new releases have I left off that no true X-Fan should be without? Leave a comment with your reasoning!

I’ll get back to my collections-of-the-week series soon, but first I’ll be back next week with a preview of the best upcoming collections announced for 2012 in both new and reprinted material.

tuesday morning brain

Scene: 8 o’clock in the morning, I am rounding my neighbor’s inordinantly large front yard in my business clothes and running sneakers, en route to my trolley.

Thoughts as follows:

This walk is boring.

Their yard is too big. It adds at least a tenth of a mile to my walk to work. That’s, like, a minute. I wish I could cut through their yard instead of going around it.

This is taking forever. I wonder if they would mind if I cut across their yard. That seems like the sort of thing you should maybe ask permission before doing. I could just try once, to see if they say anything.

Who would want a front yard this big, anyhow? It’s not good for anything. It’s not as if you would have a picnic out here for all of the neighborhood to see.

Do you know what would make this better? Music. I could listen to a third of a song while walking around this yard. Or, I could sing a song. It’s a little early for that.

It would be great if I had some way of playing a song right now. Like, if I had a device with me that did that – a portable music player of some kind. And headphones. That would be ideal.

Finally, the damned yard is over.

Oh, shit, I left my iPod on the hall table.

(I glance back over my shoulder at the expanse of the neighbor’s yard.)

Their yard is too big.

In case you ever wondered, this is how my brain actually works.

Defending Our Ride on CBSLocal Philly!

E and I are sharing a slice of Internet Fame today courtesy of CBSLocal Philly via their auto correspondent @MikeyIl (who you may recall from my epic interview with him last summer).

Shot by MikeyIl for CBS Local.

My only prior auto-related run-in with Mikey was when he drove me to a concert in a pimped out ride he had on loan for a week to write up for a blog. Many months ago, Mikey put out the call for Philly residents with cars they really loved that were less than five years old. Feeling pretty strongly about the utility of our Toyota Matrix, E and I volunteer and wound up with an interview and photo shoot with our car! It’s our first shared press!

You can read the entire interview and see Mikey’s photos at CBSLocal Philly. As a bonus, here are a few exchanges from our interview that got wound up on the cutting room floor:

DYR: Does your car have an nickname?

E: I’m leaning towards Molly, though after Molly Weasley or Molly Bloom, I’m not sure.

 

DYR: Where did you get your car from? What/where was the dealer?

P: I didn’t even have my license when we bought the car, so a big test for us was if the dealer would actually talk to Elise about car stuff. I didn’t even know which side the gas pedal was on – I was there solely to haggle. I actually staged a walk-out mid-conversation at one dealer who didn’t seem as though he was actually listening to what Elise was saying.

Locally we work with Ardmore Toyota. Except, if you’re me, you sometimes call Toyota of Ardmore OKLAHOMA … which would explain why everyone answered with southern accents for a whole week that one time.

 

DYR: What’s your favorite or worst part of your commute?

E: I’ve driven it to work a few times. My favorite part is when I can first see the skyscrapers, and my least favorite part is when the radio cuts out in the parking garage. :)

P: I commuted to work once all summer. It was about five minutes shorter than my SEPTA commute but, unlike the El, I was not afraid of catching syphilis during the ride.

 
Oh, and this non-sequitur:

P: Elise is the best car-packing Tetris player I’ve ever known. She can make anything fit into anything.

#MusicMonday: “Safe & Sound” – Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars

This weekend I was up late writing, and turned on the film of A Hard Day’s Night in the background to keep me awake and alert.

It kept me more than that. It’s a funny movie that unleashes a stone cold classic Beatles song every six or seven minutes.

Beatles or Bieber?

As my gaze drifted up to the screen again and again I noticed the fans. The film is full of them. While everyone from businessmen to make-up artists treat the fab four as a commodity, the fans who are screaming their heads off are invariably teens of both ages, and slightly older young women.

I think about today, and who that same demographic of fans is screaming for. I’m sure a few artists come to mind, yes? I’ve sampled them all, but I wondered – would I be willing or able to recognize if they were producing music even a fraction as beautiful and groundbreaking as The Beatles’?

I think so.

Case and point, I typically assume Taylor Swift songs are going to be fizzy pop affairs with obscenely catchy chorus hooks. Not that there is anything wrong with that – hell, I aspire to it. I listened to “Safe & Sound” from The Hunger Games soundtrack expecting more of the same. I got something other than I was expecting. I’m certainly not comparing it to The Beatles, but “Safe & Sound” is an amazing song. Fitting, that it comes from the movie of a book I nearly wrote off as Popular YA Fluff and wound up devouring.

The song is so beautifully organic, with production that makes it sound as though Taylor and The Civil Wars are sitting right beside you as it plays. Notice the imperfect guitar plucking, sometimes evoking buzz from the edge of a fret.

There are a couple of bits of pure magic here. The endlessly-repeated, never-resolved simple melody hook, that turns into a canon in the middle of the song. The eerie, almost spooky underneath harmony from The Civil Wars. How the song hints heavily at an impending major crescendo with an increasing artillery of percussion and then never actually arrives there. As Jacob pointed out to me, how the menace of the arrangement belies the title. And, finally, how it absolutely sounds as though it could come from within the world of The Hunger Games.

It’s a great song, and I hope you still gave it a chance after you saw it was by Taylor Swift.

(Thanks to Jacob, my personal hero of snark, for turning me on to this song!)

Who will I be in 2012?

Eight years ago (!) I made three blanket resolutions that I have hung on to nearly every week of my life since them.

Clearly, they work well for me and do not need any changing.

Hell, they could work for anyone – watch what you spend, watch what you eat, and spend your time wisely.

Doing all three of them doesn’t yield any specific sort of result, but you wind up with plenty of extra money, energy, and time – the three things we’re always wishing for.

It’s deciding what to do with all that extra capacity in your life that is the tricky part.

It’s easy to see the benefit of hindsight. 2009 was a year of saving up my life. 2010 was a year of spending it. 2011 was a year of enjoying it. I saved for the house, rehearsed the hell out of the bands, and worked my butt off for a promotion, spent my cache of effort, and then reaped the rewards.

As 2012 stretches out empty in front of us, I find myself wondering - what else do I want? You can’t live your whole life off of the royalty check of one cool thing you did, once upon a time. That’s how reality TV stars are born. It’s a land of diminishing returns.

If you didn’t get everything you wanted in 2011, I hope you know what it is and how you’re going to get it in 2012.

If you’re happy with who and where you are right now, I hope you find yourself ready and willing to want something new.

As for me, at the beginning of a new year I am always looking forward to becoming a better version of myself.

I will let you know as soon as I figure out who he is.

 

Crushing On: Okabashi Shoes

When I joined a gym early in 2011 I had one major concern.

Okay, two, but everyone looks silly at points while doing yoga, so I got over that one pretty fast.

No, my major worry was the showers. Really it was an array of several related worries. A bouquet, if you will.

Meet my new gym enablers. I love them.

After a year of gym-going I was able to sublimate OCD Godzilla for long enough to be seen mostly nude by other human beings not on the internet, use gym-supplied towels without breaking into hives, and bypass my typically lengthy shampoo regimen while still feeling clean. Yet, nothing can disengage my genetic heritage of being skeeved out by stuff, and there is nothing more skeevy than the floor of a four-by-four square stall that has sweaty naked men coming and going from it all day.

For some people, a turn-on. For me, skeevy.

It came down to my feet. I am notoriously sensitive about the idea that feet are meant to touch the ground, which other stuff has touched, and thus might be dirty. I was the child that needed to be carried directly from the ocean to the beach towel, so no offensive sand could stick to my tiny toes. Wearing flip flops anywhere but the poolside was (confession: still is) absolutely verboten, less the edge of my heel slip from their rubberized surface to touch the ground in a parking lot or grocery store freezer aisle or any other location where I might catch a deadly foot plague.

Wow, who knew it would feel so good to type that all out?

Back to the gym. Even after I got over all of my other shower hangups, I could not let any part of my feel touch the shower stall. “Of course,” you say, “I wouldn’t either.” Yet, my autopodomysophobia extended to the flip flops. Would they not also become riddled with disease over time due to their contact with the shower stall floor, spreading to infect not only my feet, but my entire gym bag?

For most people this image conveys the idea of a relaxing vacation. For me, it conveys the idea of OCD heart attack. This may explain why I have not been on a beach for over 10 years.

This spawned lengthy, philosophical conversations with my co-workers about what they did with their shower shoes. No explanation was enough for me. I slowly tapered down my gym-going, as on every freshly-showered return to my desk I could do nothing but worry about my feet, which surely had contracted a fungus from my flip flops.

And chlamydia.

And the plague.

I decided I needed a pair of flip flops that could be put in the washer, or dishwasher, or microwave, or some other disinfecting appliance short of the furnace.

Enter my good (also OCD) friend Mary and her suggestion of Okabashi shoes.

These Okabashi people know all about the concept of shower OCD. Their flip flips are molded from just one or two pieces of injected molded microplast, which means there are few nooks and crannies for dirt and chlamydia to infest. They are treated with an anti-microbial agent, which means less fear today and more super-germs in our apocalyptic future. Plus, Made in the USA!

Most importantly: they are completely waterproof and dishwasher safe!

Three days and $20 later, I had a pair of Okabashi shower shoes that are completely impervious to all possibly gym shower floor related phobias and concerns. And, if I get concerned I can just spray them down or put them in the dishwasher.

Problem solved! I have literally been to the gym twice as much since I acquired the new shoes. That’s even better than a New Year’s Resolution!

(PS: The shoes run slightly small, I would consider estimating up one half size.)

artistic explorers

In the rush of rehearsals and shows this fall, I flagged this quote in the hope I would later have the time to give it some deeper thought:

Every artist has an obligation to be a kind of researcher, whether its within the technical/formal aspects of their medium, the boundaries they push, or for the cultural knowledge they are producing.

Artwork by Kelsey Halliday Johnson.

The quote comes from an interview with visual artist Kelsey Halliday Johnson (via Maria’s tumblr), and it identifies why I am so obsessed not only with consuming art, but also by the process of creating art.

One of my major fascinations with comic books is the ridiculous range of people and objects that the artists must render – some of which are not even remotely based in reality. Ever since I started reading comics I have wanted to be able to draw, but even if I could draw figures or houses or cars how would I know how to draw dinosaurs or doomsday devices or dimensional gates?

Of course, that challenge faces a whole range of designers and artists – it’s not limited to drawing fantastical fights between superheroes. Does an architect know their history enough to design an addition to a Tudor Revival home?

Similarly, when I write songs I am drawing on the sonic vocabulary of every song I have ever heard before. That’s not to say I am plagiarizing. It’s more like a game of memory. That’s how Aural Training works – you learn to remember intervals, rhythms, and notes by memorizing other works that include them.

When I hear a song for the first time, whether it’s mine or someone else’s, I think, “that little melodic leap is from Juliana Hatfield; the quick chord change is David Bowie.”  My ability to hear those snippets evaporates over time as the song becomes its own gestalt; I’ve taken to jotting down the little earwigs when I first write something new so I can fondly recall them years down the line.

Can I write a song with parts I’ve never heard before? Yes. Would it come to me as easily without thousands of other songs on my brain – a lifetime of sonic research. Probably not.

Halliday Johnson’s entire interview is fascinating, I suggest you give it a read.

anything but a.m.

This is an actual thing. Or at least, an actual thing in development. I would consider buying it, but I think there would be a lot of commensurate psychological trauma involved with waking up every morning. Of course, that is a good motivator.

I remember clearly the abject horror that child Peter had at waking up early in the morning.

I would do anything to delay the inevitable. Play dead. Let my body go limp so that it could not be dragged out of bed. Agree to relocate to a chair or couch and then promptly go back to sleep.

When all else failed, I would plead. Ten more minutes. Five, even. Any stay of execution to stand between me and a fully waking state.

I'll admit a certain affection for waking up every morning to the banshee screams of Ms. Love before dawn. Given the choice, I think that's what I'd still be doing.

I look back and wonder how I ever got myself to high school on time, let alone every day. It’s the same way I look back at sophomore year of college and wonder how I stayed alive when all I remember consuming was vodka and chicken cheesesteaks.

My attitude towards waking up has improved as an adult. Slightly. I don’t like sleeping late, per se. I can even be up ultra-early to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for a special event.

Still, my preference is for my alarm to begin ringing in the form of some terrifying, unignorable noise an hour or two before I have to set foot on the ground. That gives me some time to come to terms with the psychological ramifications of waking up.

E is not so much a fan of this arrangement. We’ve negotiated it down to a normal alarm ring within 45 minutes of actual waking.

I don’t know that I will ever be able to delight in dawn. I hear there are some people who are in the gym by the time the sun comes up.

Still, there is some satisfaction to starting a day early – if only in that I’ll manage to squeeze in so much more of my life than if I had woken up an hour or two later.

breaking the painful cycle

I have mentioned my dermatological struggles in the past on the blog. While the potential disintegration of my epidermis seems to have been staved off at the moment, my skin-care needs are (ridiculously) one of the major worrying factors about my health care and costs.

Yesterday, one of my favorite Twitter friend, @JerseyShoreJen, mentioned she had booked another media appearance from her recent EdOp on Eczema. Being a fellow lifelong battler of it and its fiendish cohorts, I congratulated her and asked her to share her article from the NYT Health Section – “The Painful Cycle of Eczema.”

In the bathroom, I try not to dwell too long at the sight of myself in the mirror before patting my skin dry and slathering it with lotion. I wrap bandages over the raw and weeping patches in the crooks of my elbows — a stopgap, really, since the bandages will soak through in several hours. I take Benadryl to calm the itching, and ibuprofen to temper the swelling and pain, before heading to meetings in an antihistamine haze. I hope no one stares, but they do.

I wore long sleeves and pants to school, even on the hottest, most humid days. … When I passed through puberty and still had outbreaks, I viewed my eczema as a character flaw, something I brought on myself for not being perfect.

After I read her story, Jen and I got into rapid-fire exchange on Twitter, gushing over our challenges and successes with our conditions. Though my collection of problems do not manifest as violently as Jen’s, I see so much of myself in her story. I never once wore pants to gym. I’ve ruined pillowcases and sheets when my medications have bleached out their color. When I have an outbreak I worry that people will stare and judge in meetings.

There’s not an immediate happy ending here – Jen and I are both continuing our respective struggles and our treatments. However, the silver lining is the connection that Jen created, and the relief I felt in talking to someone who relates to what I’m going through.

Jen writes at Down The Shore With Jen.

From the Beginning: Bruce Springsteen – Greetings From Asbury Park

I never owned a Bruce Springsteen album as a kid. All I know about him are his cartoonishly overblown 70s and 80s hit singles. I thought it would be fun to experience his records in the original order to try to understand why so many people in my life love his music.

Bruce Springsteen – Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.
released January 3, 1973

Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. is Bruce Springsteen marking his journey from teen punk to struggling adult. It captures that very moment where a young man looks past the haze of his dreams to realize he may never escape the gravity of his small town. Even in that instant he knows that soon his recognition will fade as he, too, becomes a part of the unchanging scenery that surrounds him.

It is a bleak place to live. Welcome to Asbury Park.

There is desperation here as Springsteen tries to record the true faces of the icons of his youth – a series of greasy burn-outs and painted ladies – before he joins their sad chorus. ”Blinded by the Light” is both the beginning and the end of the story. It functions as a Rosetta Stone for the record. A hopscotching bass line leaps between crazed blasts of saxophone and Bruce’s non-stop artillery of lyrics as he wonders if it’s worth it to be hobbled by the simple pleasures that surround him.

If the album was merely a time capsule of a long-since extinct mainstreet USA it would be a pleasant artifact. It is more than that thanks to the musical savvy of this nascent version of  Springsteen. He fuses the sounds of his contemporaries into something kinetic and occasionally terrifying. He rambles and yowls squeakily like Dylan, treads Van Morrison’s more soulful take on folk (especially on “Spirit In the Night”), and matches Don McLean’s obsessive need to paint every corner of a story with words.

Oh, the words. Springsteen has so much to say that he rarely pauses to repeat a refrain. Songs like “Blinded by the Light” and “For You” threaten to smother your ears in sheer alliteration, growing increasingly absurd under their own lyrical weight. As it turns out, young Springsteen had yet to master the efficacy of a few cutting phrases, which means this LP yields no anthemic choruses in the mold of “Born to Run.”

You have to start here to get there. Springsteen had to empty his mind of an indelible image of his home town and the distractions of youth, as on “Growin’ Up.” That broader, metaphorical version of him is teased here, as on the elegiac “Mary Queen of Arkansas.” It is a ballad for a figure not entirely of the world he inhabited by day, but borne of dreams of a wider America, unseen.

I’ll confess, I don’t like the album very much, yet I can’t deny that it transports me to Asbury Park, circa 1973. I see a town shattered in the shadow of the Vietnam War, full of losers and junkies trying to achieve orbit on a fistful of dope and broken dreams. “Everyone’s drunk on main street, drunk on holy blood,” Springsteen intones on the cutting “Lost in the Flood.” He wonders about the anesthetized figures that surround him, ”Did you lose your senses in the war, did you lose them in the flood?”

Asbury Park is not a terribly cohesive album, but it paints a specific time and place. As his contemporaries transformed themselves with each record, Springsteen honed his rangy, biographical songwriting from cascades of words into a tool that could be held by anyone. He redefined the concept of folk troubadour, at points seeming to sing with the voice of America itself like Pete Seeger before him.

Is that so different than singing in the voice of his town? Could those later songs have emerged from the lips of a man who did not come of age afraid he would never escape? That tension between stay and go, settle down or explode has been with Bruce Springsteen for his entire career. It is as much as a part of him as the alleys and main drags of Asbury Park.

we’ll see how brave you are

Over the past few months I have been trading a volley of emails with the unrequited crush of my high school life.

(Alright, settle down. This is not an intellectual affair of any sort. E is totally in-the-know about this entire saga. But, as you’ll see, there is still some resonance there.)

Seriously, how cute was I back then? So cute.

Being the unrequited crush of my high school life, she was effectively and simply one of my best friends. In fact, I’d say she was the person I spent the most time with in high school after Gina. Since high school was also ground zero for establishing my taste in music, the entire half of my sonic vocabulary that I don’t share with Gina – Elliott Smith, Rufus Wainwright, Tori Amos –  I do share with her.

(This pronoun business is getting tired already. In the proud and rarely-invoked CK tradition of assigning cursory pseudonyms to former obsessions to pseudo-protect their anonymity and separate them from posts made while I was actually in some form of crush with them, we shall refer to her as “Scarlett.”)

As with all of the few people who have fallen out with me (rather than the other way around), Scarlett’s story became a little too intertwined with mine. I found myself telling everyone I knew about parts of her life that were maybe not mine to tell, either intentionally or through my songs. Except, Philly is a small place, and she eventually told me it wasn’t the kindest thing to do to a girl.

We didn’t have a fight, necessarily, but we left it there, and eventually became Facebook friends, as one does in these situations.

I am not one to harbor regrets, but I regret that. How could she have known what she was getting into by being my friend? Fifteen songs which are now sitting in mothballs in some attic crawlspace of my brain.

(Yes, I do appreciate the irony inherent in now writing about her on my blog. I suppose this is one of my fatal personality flaws.)

Our renewed contact began because, oddly enough, Scarlett has out-of-the blue discovered a love of singing. And, let me tell you, this was a girl that had no interest in singing. You know me and my constant need to turn everyone into an all-singing, all-dancing cabaret version of themselves. I tried that on her in high school, and maybe had something to do with getting her to act in a play with me, but the singing part never came.

Suddenly, in 2011 she was interested in singing and playing, so she emailed me. I suppose I am the stock person that comes to mind when anything of the sort crosses the mind of anyone who has ever met me. Which is good – +1 to personal branding!

Anyhow, we talked, and then she sent me a recording of her singing. Though untrained, she has this wildly cool voice – as well as the instincts and DNA that come from all that music we shared in high school. A few days later I sent the song back with an instrumental arrangement and a choir of ahh-ing auto-tuned Peter’s.

Things have continued like this for a while now, her sending me new songs, us talking about the mechanics of singing, me musing random musings back at her.

Last week I finished a new song I have been chipping away at for – no lie – two years. I had played it for E a few times while working on it, but when I was finally done it was past midnight and I needed to play it for real for someone so I would remember it in the morning.

I recorded a video and sent it to Scarlett. It’s the first song I can remember sending to her or playing for her for over 12 years, even though back when I first learned to play guitar it was the sort of thing I did whenever I finished anything. “Sweet Nothing,” “Other Plans,” “Touch” – all those old ones, she was one of the first people to hear them as a file shared over instant messenger.

And now, in a way, we have transported ourselves back to our instant messages of 1998, firing our volleys of thoughts and songs across the city at each other.

I want her to be the biggest indie star in Philly, because even if I stop having a crush on someone I am still in love with all of their potential.

Top 12 X-Men Collections of 2011 – Reprinted Material

Welcome to 2012 – I am still a comic book geek.

Specifically, the X-Men.

Yep. That's a lot of comic books.

Specifically, I own something like 95% of every X-Men comic book ever reprinted.

On New Years’ Eve I said to myself, “You dashingly handsome scoundrel, how can you use your obsession to aid people who like the X-Men a normal, healthy amount – unlike you?”

The answer? I will count down for you the top twelve collected editions reprinting X-Men comics originally released before 2010. There’s a vast world of thousands of X-Men comics that have been released since 1963, and not all of them are readily available to buy in book format. These reprints mean that hard-to-get, or never-before-reprinted issues can be bought in handy collections with better reproduction of the line art than original issues.

(As for new X-Men material from 2011, that will require a whole new post to cover!) Read more…

xXx

4. Uncanny X-Men Marvel Masterworks, Vol. 7 HC
Collects Uncanny X-Men #151-159, Annual 5, and Avengers Annual 10.

We’d be kidding ourselves if a new edition of UXM Marvel Masterworks didn’t make the list every year, but it’s for a good reason – these are premium quality, carefully preserved reprints of X-Men material that has rarely ever seen reprint in the past.

This edition sees the return of the amazing Dave Cockrum to art duties, and the return of the vicious Emma Frost to the rogues gallery. Plus, the X-Men return to space for the first time since Dark Phoenix, and Rogue makes her debut in the pages of the Avengers! (Not previously collected in full.)

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3. X-Men by Claremont/Lee Omnibus, Vol. 1 HC
Collects Uncanny X-Men #244-269Annual #13, X-Men Classic #39

Take two parts Chris Claremont, the writer of ever X-Man tale for over a decade. Add one part the savagely beautiful detailed line-art of Marc Silvestri, and one part explosive newcomer Jim Lee settling in for his first lengthy run on an ongoing title. Lee is renowned as the best comic artist of a generation, and here you can see him grow by leaps and bounds with every issue – which seems to also inspire Silvestri to improve his craft.

Many fans have whined that this is really the Anti-X-Men – the book opens with the team dissolving, and it never truly comes back together in this edition. I say, shove it. This disparate group of stories served to lead into the amazing creative crescendo of Claremont/Lee spending an unbroken year churning out classic issues before both of them jumped ship and the X-line got hijacked by constant gimmick events. (Not previously collected in full.)

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2. X-Men Omnibus, Vol. 2 HC
Collects X-Men #32-66, Avengers #53, KaZar #2-3, and Marvel Tales #30.

While Stan Lee and Jack Kirby laid the bedrock of what it meant to be a mutant, it is this volume that presaged the amazing scope and drama of the X-Men stories that would be told over the next forty years.

Here the original five start to transform from teens to team, and we get the incomparable creative pairing of Roy Thomas with Neal Adams. While this was the period that lead to the X-Men going on hiatus, on re-read you can hardly fault the adventurous plots that ensue. (Also collected in HC and TPB Marvel Masterworks.)

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What could be more classic than Classic X-Men, and more beautiful than early Jim Lee? Well, nothing. But the this next book wins just about every other award there is for X-Collections in 2011 – Most Surprising, Best Complete Saga, Most Shocking, Best Run from a Single Creative Team, Most Mammoth – the list is nearly endless.

…and, my number one collection of the year is…

1. X-Statix Omnibus
Already SOLD OUT at Amazon in just two months – try Cheap Graphic Novels or Tales of Wonder. Collects X-Force#116-129, Brotherhood #9; X-Statix #1-26; Wolverine/Doop #1-2; Dead Girl #1-5; and material from X-Men Unlimited #41, I <3 Marvel, and Nation X #4. 

X-Statix is really weird. Do not think of it as an X-Men comic, or even a Marvel superhero comic, as it relies very little on foreknowledge of either.  It is an indie comic about a deadly and incredibly popular reality television show that happens to star a team of lethal mutants with short life expectancies. There are no “villains” to speak of, though the team certainly faces ongoing challenges.

Instead, think of it as something like Reality Bites or Chasing Amy - or even Hunger Games - a self-aware piece of fiction that constantly comments on the real world culture it is woven within. It is a comic dissecting the convention of superheroes, much in the tradition of Watchmen. Except, instead of a dystopian 1984 we get a celebrity-as-reality obsessed modern day with absolutely no overarching plot.

With no villains and no major arc, you might wonder: what is this 1000+ page book even about? Sex, sexual identity, racial identity, celebrity, drugs, suicide, ethics of pharmaceuticals – you know, the same things our lives are about. It just so happens that each struggle is framed in terms of what it would mean to be a superhero struggling with that incredibly common human condition.

(Previously collected as a series of HCs and TPBs.)

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That’s my countdown! Have I left off any of your major favorite reprints of 2011? Chime in with a comment, and tune back in next week (really!)  for 2011′s top 12 collections of new material.

How to turn off post revisions in WordPress 3.3

Did you just update to WordPress 3.3 only to find that post revisions have returned even though you previously engineered some way to turn them off?

Don’t worry, I can help – but, first, some background and chatter.

Way back in 2008 WordPress added Revisions to its core features, and the feature persists today in the newly released version 3.3.

This is the amount of WP revisions I can create in a single week of editing if left unawares.

Revisions captures every published iteration of a post you are working on, so that if you republish with some minor changes you still have the prior version available to roll back to, if necessary.

This feature can be helpful if you make a lot of major changes to your work, or if you are on a multi-author blog and need to occasionally reverse someone’s edits.

It can also be detrimental, or plain old annoying.

The revisions feature nearly destroyed Crushing Krisis. Because, you see, my managing editor is an OCD Godzilla that lives inside my abdomen and due to his influence I have been known to spend my spare time making literally hundreds of tiny edits to spelling and spacing across the million-plus words of this site. Each edit I published spawned a new post number in a new post ID. My database ballooned by thousands of lines, I was using more RAM on my server, and legacy posts and pages linked by their post IDs were suddenly appearing at new permalinks!

There have been plugins to turn Revisions off, but when a new version of WP debuts sometimes those plugins don’t work right away. That’s why I am sharing the manual way to turn off Revisions.

This involves editing core WP files. You do so at your own risk. I am not a WP developer, and I cannot provide support to you if you hobble or destroy your blog. Unlike a plugin, this will not still work after a reinstall or upgrade of WP, so when you move to WP 3.3.1 you need to do it again.

Ready?

  1. In your root directory you have a file called “wp-config.php.” Save a copy of it elsewhere in case you mess things up terribly.
  2. Open wp-config.php and scroll down. At some point you should see a comment that reads “/* Stop editing */” – we will insert our new code just above that.
  3. Insert this code:
    /* Disable Revisions Feature */
    define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', false );
    If you would rather just limit the revisions that get saved, change as follows:
    /* Limit Revisions Feature (by number of revisions) */
    define('WP_POST_REVISIONS',6);
  4. While you are here, you could also choose to add a line to define how frequently you would like WP to make single autosaves of your posts, which frequently saves my ass in the case of a browser crash. That code is:
    /* Set Auto-Save Timing (in seconds) */
    define( 'AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL', 300 );
  5. Voila! Though WP will still inform you of your revision number in your posts table, it is no longer saving revisions.

Keep in mind, you do still have a number of revisions in your MySQL database, sitting around doing nothing like some vestigial appendix-like organ in your body that may or may not cause a later explosion.

(If you are me, that number of revisions is 250 in the one hour since you installed WP3.3. Yes, I literally make that many edits to CK in an hour. OCD Godzilla is a terrifying beast.)

To do away with them you simply need to delete all of the rows in your post table identified as revisions. Any time you directly edit your MySQL is potentially bad mojo, so I am not going to specifically advocate doing that. However, if you have backed up your DB and know what you are doing, visit WP Recipes for the simple one-line SQL query that will wipe out your revisions.

I hope this helped you! Personally, I get completely frantic when WP updates and one of my old plugins stops working to provide (or, in this case, block) a feature I rely on.