- Good morning. Today I will apparently be earning my masters degree in hearing people talk about stuff they have no right to spout off about. #
- @savymarie_ Be strong, & know that there is a community around the world that supports you in your actions and cares about your well-being. #
- Rape victim held in contempt of court for tweeting names of attackers who shared photos of her assault after plea deal. http://t.co/qixMEJkV #
- Good morning! #
- @brimil Well, not where YOU are, but I'll take the sentiment :) in reply to brimil #
- @dgoodman_nbd Ah, but what sort of adjective does it deserve? in reply to DGoodman_NBD #
- @dgoodman_nbd Acceptable Morning! in reply to DGoodman_NBD #
- I said "See You Next Tuesday," and here we are… on Tuesday… and I'm seeing you. #
- Good morning! After a night of chores, I'm happy to wake up to a tidy house. What was the first thing to make you smile today? #
Archives for July 2012
- @djwaldow @JustinKownacki No one missed this. Encouraging people to be assholes does not make him higher level art…it makes him lead asshole in reply to djwaldow #
- @MissGinaMartino About time :) #
- @djwaldow @JustinKownacki I read it in full. in reply to djwaldow #
- @amanda_nan Scars on 45. Haven't turned it off yet this week. Like a sexy hybrid of Snow Patrol and Arcati Crisis. in reply to amanda_nan #
- @ericsmithrocks I want the one on the right SO BAD. in reply to ericsmithrocks #
- @aworldgoesnova @polymwac Loved seeing you on the dance floor! in reply to aworldgoesnova #
- Ongoing @Marvel sexism: Storm a "blaster" on Avengers Alliance? She's one of your longest-running leaders; she does not just shoot lightning #
- @alexirvine Plus I always think of Ms. Marvel as a scrapper given that Rogue stole all that crazy strength from her, but in games she blasts in reply to alexirvine #
- @alexirvine But in specific, Storm has hundreds of issues of team leadership to her credit, and the blasts don't even originate from her. in reply to alexirvine #
- @alexirvine Loving the story, devious social sharing/spending hooks, the multiple roles for each character, & Kitty Pryde: Agent of SHIELD! #
- Channeling @EricSmithRocks to get all my writing and SM posts done on Sunday night so I can be an awesome socialite rock star all week long. #
- @ericsmithrocks @nedroid hahaha, that’s totally what my writing process is like, only with pizza alternated with mugs full of ice cream. in reply to ericsmithrocks #
- @alexcmurphy Give it a moment; everyone at work has been rhapsodizing about it despite the bad reviews. in reply to alexcmurphy #
- @alexcmurphy I could not look away from Studio 60. It was so riveting, even at its most overbearing. in reply to alexcmurphy #
- @allieharch So transfixing (both him and the show)! in reply to allieharch #
- Good morning! Still feeling positive from my @TheColorRun adventure yesterday. What part of your weekend will you bring with you to Monday? #
Last month I was not allowed to sing for two entire weeks.
It was terrifying.
I blame Adele. Late last year she was infamously put out of commission due to surgery to remove a polyp on her vocal cord that had hemorrhaged. Symptoms can include a hoarse-sounding voice, vocal fatigue, or a reduction in range.
I don’t sing as well as Adele, but I’m willing to bet I sing just as much, between my three bands and various elevator serenades. After several years of peak vocals that were rangy and in-tune, for the past few months my voice just felt sore. I didn’t know how else to explain it. It didn’t come simply from being loud, or even just from singing. It was tired, and singing around the pain was starting to sound bad. My highs and lows weren’t as strong, and I was not as in-tune on harmonies.
Thus, a trip to my ENT, which resulted in such fun escapades as sticking a camera down my nose to watch my vocal cords while I sang.
(It really was fun! I had a special playlist of songs to sing for my follow-up appointment, but I didn’t have a long enough camera-down-my-nose set to get through them all.)
The camera revealed not nodes or polyps (hooray!), but a massive bruise on my left vocal cord. It honestly looked like someone had punched it! And, well, I had been punching it a lot – at rehearsals, in meetings, and screaming at the Garbage concert. Still, it wasn’t nodes or polyps (hooray!), so I would not need any surgery. Probably. It depended on the nature of the bruise – which was the kind of thing that could lead to nodes (boo!).
What I did need was vocal rest. “Tell me about your bands’ schedules,” my doctor asked me. I thought she wanted to come out to a show, but really she was trying to find a window for me to keep my mouth shut for over a week – ideally two.
Luckily, this was the week prior to the #140Conf, which would preempt some of my standard rehearsals. Simply tacking a few extra days onto my break would get me through two weeks so we could follow-up.
I walked out of the appointment with a smile on my face. No surgery for nodes (hooray!), a set of custom-molded ear-plugs that would let my voice ring through, and two weeks of doctor-prescribed quiet time. It all sounded rather glamorous.
At least, it did up until my first conference call that afternoon. I was shouting across the room at the tiny speaker in the phone on my director’s desk. I caught myself absent-mindedly pressing a hand to my chest – a sure sign that my voice was aching. I quietly stood up and moved several seats closer to the phone. The next day E and I were driving somewhere with Garbage’s “Automatic Systematic Habit” blasting on the speakers. I joined Shirley for her pre-chorus harmony and E shushed me from the driver’s seat.
“No singing,” she said. The irony of the song’s title was not lost on me. I turned away from her to stare out of the window. It wasn’t just a matter of missing rehearsals. I had to intentionally lose my voice – treat it as if I couldn’t project beyond quiet, indoor tone.
My two week rest pressed on. I had to contain myself at author’s club, unable to joust loudly with my peers. I stopped singing people’s names in hello every day at the office. I could not venture inside the VIP event that Nan and I staffed at the #140Conf – it was too loud.
My glamorous two weeks of vocal rest sucked. My life without the full power of my voice sucked, too. Our voice is one of the things that lets us know we’re real and alive – instant feedback that we really exist. At least I could still talk at a normal volume! I thought about Adele and her months of silence, and Julie Andrews and her ruined singing voice. It could be much worse. I caught the problem early.
My return visit to the doctor and her nose-camera was all good news. The bruise was almost gone, and my cords generally looked healthier and springier than before. But there were ramifications. It was clear that my speaking was stressing me out as much (or more?) than my singing. I needed speech therapy, different allergy medication, less of certain foods, and other tweaks to my daily life.
Tonight will be my first time fronting the full, electric version of Arcati Crisis since this whole ordeal began. I’m excited and a more than a little nervous. Will I sound okay? Will the ache return? Will I have all my typical low and high notes – the four octaves of D I need to get through an AC set?
Only time will tell. The answer I do have now is something was wrong with my voice. It could have been much worse, and if I hadn’t intervened it could have grown much worse.
The morals of this story? Listen to your body. Adele was maybe singing a little too much and a little too loudly. And appreciate your health for every day you have it.
We are living in the age of the reboot.
Last week, Amazing Spider-Man relaunched the webhead’s cinematic universe while the body of the old Tobey Maguire series was still warm. There’s a new Dallas series on TV. Sherlock Holmes revisionist history movies are being released alongside a present-day version of the detective on BBC TV.
So do those older, original versions matter?
Alternate Future History
Think about your favorite TV show or series of books. It’s a serialized, ongoing story that builds with every installment and references its past. You love it. You watch every episode and buy every volume. You are a super-fan.
What if there was some prior series with the same characters and concepts, but it was not a part of the current story you love? Would you buy it? This is increasingly common in our age of reboots. If you loved the new JJ Abrams Star Trek movie – which departs from the traditional Trek timeline post-Enterprise – are the other TV series and films automatically a must-watch? What about past Spider-Man movies, original Dallas, Sherlock Holmes books, Charlie’s Angels, G.I. Joe, Inspector Gadget, or Battlestar Galactica?
Probably not. All those past series are just an alternate reality to the present ones. You don’t need to watch both.
Case Study: DC’s Crisis of Collected Editions
DC Comics is one year into their successful line-wide New 52 reboot. Now they’re faced with a major crisis: they have a huge back catalog of trade paperbacks and hardcovers that might not matter.
DC’s rich history of iconic characters stretches back to 1938. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman – these heroes emerged as pure archetypes and over many decades evolved into the rounder, more dynamic characters they are today. There are many hundreds of older issues of their exploits available to reprint and press into the hands of eager young fans of today.
Except, today’s characters are not the same people – and I don’t just mean their personalities. DC’s Crisis On Infinite Earths rebooted everyone back in 1984, making post-1984 books the equivalent of new-Trek. Some of the characters beneath the masks of Flash and Green Lantern weren’t even the same as before! Then, after many years of tweaking, DC rebooted again last fall – creating a new-new-Trek.
What wasn’t immediately evident from those #1 issues was that some characters survived more intact than others. Batman’s corner of the DC Universe? Seemingly mostly the same, even if Bruce is younger than before. Superman? Origin retold from scratch, parents now dead, never in a relationship with Lois. Wonder Woman? Major changes in the Amazonian status quo, right down to her parentage.
Which brings me to my titular question: do DC Comics Collections matter? Yes, there are the Watchmen and the Killing Joke, the indisputable evergreen classics of the comics medium that will move units regardless of if their stories still count for anything.
But what about DC Archives, their premium hardcover reprints of Golden and Silver Age comics? What about Wonder Woman #205? Action Comics #527? The 70s Green Arrow / Green Lantern series?
None of it counts in continuity, so does it matter anymore? These classic stories have little to nothing to do with the current state of my favorite heroine. They aren’t all prohibitive classics. So, is there any point in reprinting them?
(Marvel doesn’t have this problem. Aside from some isolated soft reboots of certain characters, everything still counts, all the way back to the 40s. Every issue of X-Men is acknowledged and in continuity.)
Does the alternate past matter? You decide.
I want to know what you think. Do older stories still have a place post-reboot? If you loved JJ Abrams’s Star Trek did you immediately jump back to rewatch the original series?
And, on our case study: Should DC even bother to reprint non-seminal stories of characters other than Batman if they don’t matter in current continuity?
What do you think?
It was 1999, my freshman year of college, when Fiona Apple’s When The Pawn…dropped.
I don’t know if I would have called myself a fan of Apple’s at that time. I had picked up her first album in Junior year of high school thanks to the recommendation of my computer programming teacher, and saw her twice on the tour behind it.
Though I grew to love Tidal over time, it was always a little sleepy for me at the time. I loved “Sleep to Dream” from the start, plus “Criminal” and the thrumming “Carrion,” but on the whole it was subtle for my teenage years. So I can’t tell you exactly why I picked up When the Pawn… If only I had started a blog a year earlier!
What I can tell you is that I thought – and still think – that the LP is a work of utter genius. Every song is an incredible feat of songwriting. Fiona’s voice is throaty and lush. All of the arrangements are imaginative without being over-bearing. It is a five-star effort that I still listen to front to back almost once a month.
I followed all the Extraordinary Machine drama and, as you may recall, I didn’t love the finished product. I did still love the songwriting. It was another all-genius every-time effort. That’s not easy to do twice in a row, especially on your second and third releases!
I was notably cooler in my zeal when Apple’s The Idler Wheel… was announced earlier this year. Sure, new Fiona Apple record – great! But who knows if she could keep up the genius streak or find the right sound for her songs.
(Yes, I know, advertisement, but this performance is so amazing, it’s worth it. If you’re seriously opposed, here’s another great performance on YouTube.)
I don’t know that she achieved either, but she made an arresting, challenging work of art in the process, and she is delivering similarly arresting and somewhat terrifying live shows in support of it. At the Tower Theatre Apple looked like she might shake herself right off the stage, or simply disintegrate where she stands from the sheer intensity of it all. (She also sounded haggard, which is concerning, since we’re still early into her tour, but she sounds better on the video, just a week prior.)
While many are fixated on single “Every Single Night,” I thing early leak “Anything We Want” is the pièce de résistance on this record. It’s the one song where the minimalist pounding-on-things style of found-sound production definitely doesn’t detract from a song that clearly has some intricacies built in.
My cheeks were reflecting the longest wavelength
My fan was folded up and grazing my forehead
And I kept touching my neck to guide your eye to where
I wanted you to kiss me when we find some time alone
Let’s pretend we’re eight years old playin’ hooky
I draw on the wall and you can play UFC rookie
Then we’ll grow up, take our clothes off and you remind me that
I wanted you to kiss me when we find some time alone
That’s just stunning. The very oblique seduction in the first verse is resolved by very adult tryst in the final one. Yet, in the final verse she contrasts that lust with pretending that she’s eight years old. Kids kiss, and grown-ups take their clothes off. Is the “let’s pretend” a remembrance of her own youth with a now adult lover – a flashback to more innocent flirtations? Or, should we read the “Let’s pretend… then we’ll grow up” differently – that they are so effortless and comfortable with each other that they regress to their childhood selves and grow forward in the room together, until they are adult enough that he reminds her where she wanted to be kissed hours or days before, since forgotten?
Stunning. The turn of the lyrics keeps me rapt every single time I listen to it.
I want to believe Fiona Apple is healthy and happy at the moment – a recent giggling and quite normal appearance on Jimmy Fallon supports the theory. If she keeps laughing and living and releasing strong work, I’d say it was one of the best concerts I’ve seen in my life, and The Idler Wheel… is a brave experiment by a singer with a still-unbroken streak of excellence – even if it’s never the excellent we expect from her.
Some of my favorite tweets of the last week:
Social Media is a beautiful thing. So many of the awesome parts of my life are related to the people I’ve met here. #
I’m getting better at knowing when to ask for help. Yes, I can do anything I set my mind to, but sometimes my way is longer and costlier. ;) #
What else did I say in 140 characters or less? See below for the whole mess of it.
Today I ran Philadelphia’s inaugural Color Run with my friend and fellow blogger @AllieHarch. It was my first 5k, and the biggest Color Run in the world to date!
The Color Run is an awesome 5k that makes running fun and accessible for athletes of all levels – even someone like me who hates running. While a wave of “tough” runs add obstacles and challenges to their courses, The Color Run marks your route with clouds of primary and secondary colors and celebrates your finish with the best rainbow-colored 8am dance party you’ll ever attend.
Despite almost backing out at 10pm last night, I am so very happy I followed through. I feel awesome from the exercise, and covered my smile quotient for the week. The thrill that went through the crowd as we approached either color zone was incredible, and the party at the end was actually fun!
Sound like your kind of event? There are Color Runs all over the world! If you decide do do one, here are some tips for your from someone who just ran his first race (and who also happens to work to produce one of the largest races in the country).
1. Be prepared.
If you drive to the run, pack a fresh change of clothes (sneakers, too!) and two sheets or towels – one to lay your shirt on to dry, and another for the seat of your car.
If you don’t drive, at least pack a small gym towel or kerchief in your running sack.
For the race itself, keep your phone and keys in a plastic bag. Even if they’re stain-proof, you don’t want the paste of sweat and color-dust on them.
2. Do the (first) wave.
If you want to make the most of the post-race party and the rest of your day, line up early.
We lined up at 6:30am and we were in the first wave to cross the start line at 7am, with no delay. Waves were still releasing when we finished! That gave us plenty of time to take photos and party without it being too crowded.
3. Run, don’t race.
As 5k events go, I did not get the impression that this was one where you should strive to set a personal record. For one, you’ll miss out on getting blasted with color on the course! While I certainly ran enough to make it challenging, the people having the most fun were with groups of friends laughing with each other and meeting new people.
4. Avert your eyes.
Well, maybe not avert, but cover them up with a cool pair of shades! Judging from the artillery fire of pinks and purples on my glasses, they were the right way to go. You’ll be squinting and wincing constantly without them.
5. Breath easy.
I found it a little challenging to breath in the 30 seconds after each color zone – it’s as if a bag of colorful flour exploded in your kitchen!
If you think this will bother you, just buy a cheap, disposable dust mask at the drug store to wear in the color zones until the dust clears. Don’t worry, there is plenty of clear space between them to breath freely.
6. Colors run, wet sets.
Sweating through my shirt seemed to set the colors, and encouraged them to bleed into each other, creating a muddy mess where orange met green. Similarly, my sweatiest body parts attracted/absorbed the most color.
If you really want a distinctly colored splatter on your commemorative shirt, wear a tank top beneath your shirt to slow down the colors from running.
7. Use your head(band).
Going along with that last one, you really don’t want sweat on your face and in your eyes at this event. Make use of the freebie sweatband and/or wear a bandanna.
8. A colorful party.
You can only accumulate so much color on the course itself. If you really want to become a rainbow you need to locate the party at your finish line, where they continue to dispense color packets like Pez while everyone dances. Even if you’re not up for a dance party, the festive environment is unique and very photogenic.
9. The brush-off.
Resist the urge to rinse off your face at the finish or advance immediately to scrubbing when you return home. Your first pass at your face should be a gentle brushing off using facial tissue or a makeup pad. Then, try dabs of olive oil rather than water.
I have sensitive skin and huge, hungry pores, but this tactic kept my face free and clear post-race.
10. Color within the lines.
If you rely on your face, hands, or other bare body part for work or play, consider protecting them from the end-of-run color. Despite dedicated scrubbing of my hands, I’m afraid to play guitar or read graphic novels – my two big Sunday pastimes!
In retrospect, I might have appreciated a set of rubber gloves to wear at the party.