Now is the time of year that everyone makes lists.
Here are a few from the brains behind Hijinks on Snort:

Quirky Music I have Purchased and Enjoyed in the Past Year:

*Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man, Out of Season. A side project from the singer of Portishead and the bass player of Talk Talk. It's kind of like Portishead, but not.

*Wig In A Box. A tribute album to benefit the group that runs Harvey Milk school in NYC. This is pretty excellent, though the Yoko Ono track made the dog howl.

* Tori Amos, Strange Little Girls. For different reasons, also Scarlet's Walk. It took me a couple of years to get into Tori Amos's cover album, but damn, I'm glad I did! Still, I'm happy that she put out a studio album this year.

* The Sounds, Living in America. A new-New Wave band from Sweden. What else do I have to say?

* Cat Power, You Are Free. Cat Power rocks, even if my pal Janet calls her work ennervating.

* Soundtrack, Princess and the Warrior. This album was made by the same people responsible for Run Lola Run. It's like the chill version of that soundtrack, the kind of music that spins out a party really well.

* Verve's highly successful Remixed albums. And for that matter, their Unmixed companions. I hope that these will generate new interest in jazz, though I suspect that they're just candy for hipsters who've already discovered the sublime nature of Nina Simone and her contemporaries.

* Morelenbaum 2/Sakamoto's Live Album. Their studio album is pretty awesome, but I really love the immediacy of their second album. Also, I love bossa nova, and it's hard to find non-cheesy efforts in that genre.

Other music that's really floated my boat in 2003:

*Coldplay, but who didn't listen to them this year?


*Everything But The Girl's rarities and b-side collection. Even though a lot of those tapes could have stayed on the shelf, the remixes are superb.

*Fantastic Plastic Machine. The perfect japanese pop to rock out to on my little minidisc player while taking public transportation.

*Miss Nina Simone.

*Dave Brubeck. I bought both Red Hot and Cool and Time In this year. Wow.

*Liz Phair. Some people say she's sold out, and her single's everywhere. It's still a good album.

*The White Stripes. I'm not really into "The" groups, with the exception of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Sounds, and The White Stripes. I'm not sure if there's any commonality between them, other than the "the". Oh, and they all rock.


Why Schott's Original Miscellany is Possibly the Best Book Ever

that's hyperbole, of course, but it's pretty damn nifty!

I rented this slim tome by Ben Schott from my local bibliotheque. It was the best use of seventy-five cents on my part in a long time. The book, which I suppose falls under the category of non-fiction, contains numerous facts and trivia. Par example: a table of James Bond films, including the actor playing Bond, the villain, Bond girl and actress, as well as the Bond-mobile. A list of nine Q words without Us (very good for scrabble!). A very complex chart listing many facts about US presidents, including their party affiliation, astrological sign, salary, age at which they took office, whether or not they had red hair or won a Nobel Prize (not really an either/or, but so far, there's np cross-over between the groups), et cetera. I'm also enamored of the sampling of final words from the National Spelling Bee. Some of them seem pedestrian, like lyseum and kamikazi, but that's probably why they don't have twenty-somethings in the bee! My grade school had some sort of screening process as clandestine as the election of the popes. Despite being an excellent speller, I was never allowed to participate in the school bee. I digress. The list of Liz Taylor's husbands, in chronological order, is also amusing. I strongly recommend Schott's. It is clearly worth the $14.95 publisher's recommended retail price.


Last week, as I was driving down the Dan Ryan, I saw an amazing sight. There was a 12' aluminum ladder skidding diagonally across the lanes of traffic, with a sheet of angry sparks. The attendant noise of metal scraping concrete was like the hiss of a great angry snake. I swerved and managed to avoid it. I've no idea where the ladder came from, but it cut across my consciousness as boldly as it cut across the six lanes of traffic. It happens that I am afraid of ladders, but this is the first that frightened me in a horizontal position. What could this errant ladder mean?

I was also bitten by a dog this weekend and had an allergy attack during the middle of the matinee (of a one act show). Other than that, I am fine. The bite is a flesh wound. The allergy attack has passed. I quite unwisely chose to get ripped the same evening of the onset of the attack. It was the worst hangover I've had in a long time. Some lessons must be learned through experience. Never put your body through withdrawal when it is already on the offensive.

The allergic reaction was entirely my fault. And I do know better than to eat foods to which I am allergic. I ate at a noodle shop last Saturday and ordered a dish that had a preponderance of carrots heaped atop it. Unexpectedly. As much as I tried to eat around it, I probably had a couple of tablespoons' worth of carrot. Despite all those allergy shots that were inflicted upon me as a child, I cannot eat even that much.

Yesterday was bookended by piss. I awoke to the sound of a dog pissing very near to the bed where I lay and went to bed very shortly after my elderly cat decided to urinate all over one of my merino sweaters. He's very sneaky. He perpetrated this crime while pretending to peer intently into a nearby stack of LPs. Misdirection is key to that little trick, as it is in ventriloquism. There were also all sorts of snafus with the video equipment as I was trying to finish a project.

It was a shitty day, with the exception of an evening spent at the theatre. I went to see Man From Nebraska with the OFW group. It was breathtaking. The director of OFW stars in the show. I'd seen him onstage before, years ago, but was amazed by his skill. I am so glad that I managed to make it, as I had contemplated calling the box office to release my ticket and sleeping instead. There are few things, in my opinion, that are better than sleep, and this was one of them. Then I went home and slept in my own bed. Ah, bliss. Now, if I can train my mother not to pound on my bedroom door like the Chicago Police... She "knocked" on it this morning to awaken me and my entire body jumped from the bed like a startled fish and just hung there for a moment.

I paid a visit to one of my favorite bookstores in Chicago today. I qualify that because my favorite bookstore remains Prairie Lights. They just aren't in walking distance anymore. Just as my favorite record store is a thousand miles away. I went in to pick up a copy of Sense and Sensibility and ended up buying a tribute album to Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It is, as the post-it sign in the store said, amazing. The source material is pretty incredible to begin with, but the covers are fabulously funny and moving. For example, Sleater-Kinney and Fred Schneider (aka the man from the B-52s) performing "Angry Inch" or Steven Colbert's "Ladies and Gentlemen". Yoko Ono's "Exquisite Corpse" made the dog growl, but he's generally cranky. Cranky enough to bite me and wake me up with his pissing. The album is to benefit the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which runs the Harvey Milk school in NYC. I highly recommend it.

Tonight is my first show night without a show call in a long time. It hasn't really sunken in that my show has closed, but as I told one of my friends this afternoon, I suspect that it may this evening. It can be very hard when that evening rolls around, as one gets the itch to go somewhere around call time, that feeling of a forgotten obligation. So, I'm rocking out to Hedwig and waiting for Lewis.


I've done nothing of consequence all week. It's shameful, my ability to sleep all day. Actually, I've managed to finish my xmas shopping and wrap nearly all the gifts. Not too shabby, considering there have been years where people have been in danger of receiving gifts purchased at the 7-11 on the way there. And I've made great progress on the everyday cardigan. Because I knit it everyday. It's at approximately 90% completion. That is to say, the sleeves, back, and right front are finished, and the left front about 75%. That does not include blocking (ugh), assembly, or the dreaded button bands and collar. I've never done button holes before, so this should be an educational experience.
So, I'm beginning to think of the next big thing. I was planning to make the Norwegian turtleneck, but am really not in favor of that neckline at the moment. I'd much rather make it as a v-neck, but cannot even begin to start on the alterations necessary to the pattern. Still, I'd like to make a raglan sleeved colorblock sweater next.
The day that I decided to take advantage of Netflix's free trial offer, I received several coupons from the local video store. Hmm. Am still undecided in this matter. A less that satisfactory search of their site revealed that they don't have An Awfully Big Adventure (one of my top ten backstage films) or A Midwinter's Tale. MT is available on Amazon.com, but Adventure seems elusive. It used to be on Bravo, usually late at night, with some frequency, but that sort of programming has been rejected in favor of all-gay all-the-time. Sigh.


My show has been extended another week. Again. I always get sick around the time that we get the closing notice on a show. We've gotten ours three times. I'm sick and I'm tired. I'm tired of being sick. I found myself using "Ricola" as a verb the other day, and I hate the sort of grammatical sloppiness that demonstrates.
I've officially finished my xmas shopping for the season. Now, I must gather enough boxes of appropriate size in which to wrap the fabulously diverse gifts that I purchased and made this year. Only two of the objects could go commando under wrapping paper, being already packaged in boxes. Perhaps I've said too much.
I rented Dogma last night from the amazingly crappy video store. As I said to my mother, while standing in the middle of the store, the only thing that recommends that place is its proximity to our house. I have got to join Netflix. They don't really have any foreign films and have sold off a lot of older things that I enjoy, such as Parapluies de Cherbourg and A Midwinter's Tale. And forget trying to get the Tricolor Trilogy there anymore. Anyway... Dogma was a great laugh. I love intelligent commentary on organized religion. Surprisingly sharp.
My pinky hurts, possibly from too many NY Times Xword puzzles and knitting in front of the television. I've finished the back of my cardigan and began one of the front panels. I quickly tired of it. I'm also working on a pair of socks for myself (a bit of a novelty these days), for a bit of gauge relief. The socks are striped. I seem to make striped ones almost exclusively. It is my goal to take all of the ends of my self-striping sock yarns and mix them together in one pair of socks. The effect would be unique, certainly. I re-read the Harry Potter books this past week and noted many references to socks that I'd missed the first time round. Nothing as great as Pablo Neruda's poem, but still amusing in a nerdy fashion.
I'm listening to an old Tori Amos cd, From the Choirgirl Hotel. This was inspired by my purchase of her new album, Tales of a Librarian. It's a greatest hits compilation with some new material. I was primarily interested in the new material, as I own all of her albums. I gave it a spin during sound check at work and thought, I already own these albums. Some of the selections seem arbitrary, but I suppose that is always the case with compilation cds. There will always be favorites that are omitted. Not bad, really, but I prefer the original albums. I may make my own compilation, what with all the free time I'll have after my show closes. That's a scary thought.

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