i'm not doing a good job of housekeeping... so. sentencelessness is hereby retired. thanks for watching.

2010 tournament of books [books]

the morning news' 2010 tournament of books is underway and full up with things i want to read - the anthologist vs. everything ravaged, everything burned in a first round matchup!?! - and buffered with a few compulsory hype titles and big names (wolf hall, the help, the lacuna). this year kottke and andrew w.k. are among the judges. the tournament progresses with one duel per day, and each pairing has a good discussion of the titles. the whole thing is sponsored by powell's, who are offering 30% off books in the tournament.

unrest in bangkok. hope they stay away from the airports at least until tuesday.


dark dark dark [music]

dark dark dark are a hybird of musicians from new york, new orleans and minneapolis, including the magnificent lead vocalist and piano and accordion artist nona marie invie, supported by the vocals and multi-instrumentist marshall lacount (banjo, piano, clarinet), two choir singers, jonathan kaiser on cello, and multi-instrumentalist water mcclements (piano, trumpet and accordion), plus the talents of drummer brett bullion and bassist todd chandler. (irc)
LINK: listen to the new dark dark dark ep bright bright bright


morgan blair [paint]

morgan blair paints neon geometry spliced with memories. the colors alone could be future (or past) american apparel prints, but don't quote me on that - i don't live in america.


fang island [video]

mondays don't do it for me. never have. today fang island earned a smile or two. these dudes do a whole lot of stuff, and i'm still trying to sort it out without listing a half dozen half-accurate band comparisons. mostly they have fun without spending money on their music videos. i'll admit that this video might be easier to like after having taught some wacky kids. just in case this one doesn't explode your dirigible, here are a number of other, thoroughly enjoyable fang island videos. try 'em.


ride, rise, roar [movie]

david byrne is out to prove that seniors can do great things when they stay active. but seriously, if you aren't sick of byrne from this or that, then you should look into this documentary of his rather elaborate most recent tour.


gorillaz [music]

snoop dogg says 'crackalackin' early on in the new gorillaz album. crackalackin gets you every time, but you don't have to admit it, and i know you think damen albarn can shake and bake. so get crackalackin and listen to the album over at npr already. [see what i did there? crackalackin 3 - 4 times.]

planet war [photography]


avatar [movie]

we saw avatar last night.
the future fought the past and nature won.
i hope that's how it always is.


camilo jose vergara [photography]

i photograph the ruins of urban america. ruins are open, vulnerable, and evocative. as building fragments, they invite us to imagine how they were before their demise. - camilo jose vergara
invincible cities is an interactive database of urban decay photography by camilo jose vergara. it is astounding.

real good experiment [video]

in line with trying to sort through my [eventual?] career ideas, i've been doing a lot of media delving of late. i found 'the real good experiment'. kick it to hell as snooty designer kitsch and high-priced niche bombing if you must, but hell, it's a really interesting media fragment, and really well made. p.s. no, you probably can't afford anything made by blu dot (something to do with that niche i mentioned).


listening party [music // milwaukee // friends]

milwaukee's brimming over with these uppity do-it-yourselfers. you know the ones. with the one speed bikes, lop-sided haircuts and secretly expensive jeans. don't get me started on the girls, what with their knitting needles and pin-up tattoos. i'm halfway to a tizzy already. i love those fucking kids and i miss them like mad.

milwaukee kids have always got something cooking. this time it's listening party, nick and andy's new record label. if the phrase "limited edition, numbered, high quality vinyl pressings" gives you a boner - or even a halfer - then get out your $9 art pen and your moleskine and take note. if you're unsure about what the hell you just read, head over to the listening party's homepage to listen to a track from the new decibully record world travels fast. and read up on a forthcoming release from minneapolis' lookbook. then do the right thing and buy a record.

yesterday was dramatic, today is ok [photography]

mauriah, pack a bag, we're going to mumbai.

goddamn. yesterday was dramatic, today is ok was named one of the best photoblogs out for good reason. click; drool on your boots.

p.s. sentencelessness now has 200 posts. thanks for watching.


don't call it a cooking rut, but it'd been a while since we wowed ourselves in the kitchen until m riffed on this recipe and put together an excellent zucchini/squash hash(?) last night. highly recommended. m says use basil and oregano in place of parsley. and i say if you don't live in a scanty, mostly vegan kitchen like ours, use a bit of butter if you've got it laying around. we ate it with a hearty rice, but it would be good tossed with pasta as well.


patti smith [books // music]

patti smith's new memoir of legendary village friendships (especially her and mapplethorpe), just kids, is out now, and i almost can't remember winter. so here's "february snow" by patti.
It is the immutable hour. The still, somnolent hour of God. The snow is falling and aroused by dream I slip into my coat and enter the last breath of night. Not a bit of wind, not a bird upon the branch to greet me. Only the mute thrum of flakes upon my face covering everything- shoulders, sky, the path before me with the color of snow. And I am reminded of the hair of certain men - of the silky strands of de Kooning; of Sandburg, Frost, and the beard of Whitman.

The moon arrays the field - a wide pallium of white velvet-I do not wish to cross and mar with my step. So I stand for a long time looking down at my faithful boots and my long, dove-colored coat. I have always loved a good coat, and my preoccupation with a sleeve or the detail of a vent can carry me away.

I remember wearing this same coat the night Andy Warhol died. It was February. Snow was falling and I was walking very fast. As I passed a small churchyard surrounded by an iron gate I realized I was chanting a prayer to the beat of my feet. I hurried on. I was due at the recording studio and I was late, for I had been talking to Robert. He called, in great distress, to tell me Andy was dead.
"He wasn't supposed to die," he cried out, somewhat desperately, somewhat petulant, like a spoiled child. I could hear other thoughts racing between us.
"neither are you"
"neither am I"
I could hear him hearing me. We didn't say anything. We hung up reluctantly.
"I am with you."
"I am with you."

Walking. I suddenly felt very happy. It was a beautiful evening. Cold and clean. The snow, which had been falling lightly, now fell with great force. I wrapped my coat about me. I was in my fifth month and the baby moved inside me.

"It's snow, little baby, snow."

It was warm and glowing in the studio. Richard, beloved pianist, left his post to make me coffee. The musicians assembled. It was our last night recording till the baby came. My husband said a few words about Andy. Then we made ready and performed the song - a structured, improvised spirited argument-talking communion. In the center of it I held the image of a swan - pale and sounding - a trumpeter swan.

We were pleased with our work. Everyone said good-bye and a few remained. Hearn, our percussionist, sat crosslegged on the floor with some rare uncommon instruments resembling Moroccan pie plates. Richard sat at the keyboards. My husband played guitar. I left them there, in desert twilight, and slipped outside into the New York night. The snow had ceased falling and it seemed like the whole of the city, in remembrance, had been covered in an undisturbed layer of snow - white and fleeting as Warhol's hair.

Some months later Robert was commissioned to photograph Andy's house. He disliked interiors but agreed, saying, "If I'm going to do one it might just as well be his - at least he was a genius."

Robert, entering a dressing closet, found to his surprise rows of white wigs, some of human hair, some doll's hair, and all evoking the shy radiance of their master. So much so that Robert imagined if he were to photograph one against his black drop, in his meticulous light, that he would have a true portrait of the artist with all his soft black humor entwined in that wonderful hair - like the wild threads of a fairy godmother.

Everything dissipates, commingles with dawn. First Andy died. Then Robert. And then, quite suddenly without a word, Richard followed. It is time, I think, to walk across the field. The snow falling very fast fills my steps. No one will know I passed over. For there is none but a shroud of snow stained in memory, graced with mourning light.
[from interview magazine, 1992]
DOWNLOAD: patti smith - my generation (live cover) [mp3]


2009: my year in books [books]

i'm not really big on year-end lists, but i had a pretty decent reading year in 2009 and a good portion of this blog has been devoted to books. so here's a cursory rundown of my year in books.

total books read: 30 [18 novels, 9 non-fiction, 5 re-reads]

best book: red dust by ma jian

worst book: the judgment by chart korbjitti
* read this for our new book club. it's a thai novel, and, to be fair, the translation is likely not great, but neither is the story.

longest: don quixote (928 pp), 2666 (891 pp)
* both are noteworthy, doorstop-like books. both very good, too.

shortest: here is new york (58 pp)
* excellent treatise on new york. stands up today. highly recommended.

thirty books is a pretty good run for me, i'm not a fast reader. best book was pretty clearly red dust simply because of how much of a sucker i've become for travel lit, but others that deserve honorable mention include 2666, chronic city (j. lethem) and fictions (borges). befriend me on goodreads if you're over there.


nabiis + ftc alchemy [bikes]

this is pretty. my favorite taipei roaddogs, the nabiis crew, have partnered with for the city - sf via taipei - and have got new double-butted chro-maly frames coming out very soon. more specifics when i get them, but they should be reasonably priced and sturdy. hawk was doing his best to crush the prototype frame, but it did nothing but take those beatings day in and day out. i know i want one. you might remember nabiis from earlier friderday and bin lan hustle posts.

LINKS: nabiis' flickr // more frame shots on fhai's flickr


365 [photography]

i've been a little light on the material here in recent months. two jobs and distraction and wah wah wah. m and i got to talking, and it feels like we haven't been doing a good job of making note of our lives in bangkok, and want to get better at it. therefore, we're going to engage in one of these eponymous 365 day photo efforts. ideally each photo will have a little backstory. follow it here. and don't you quit on sentencelessness just yet, cause she ain't quittin' on you.


merry christmas

dec 24: i just got off the elevator with a japanese neighbor who said to me, "so. how are you this today?" this today. since that moment i've been recounting my day. cursed the alarm clock but smiled that m - who always has to get up first - got to stay in bed. wore the same polo shirt as eighty other people. drank lukewarm cocoa on an eighty-five degree day. got sprayed with silly string. wore two party hats at one time to the tremendous amusement of one hundred some nine year olds. ate a new mysterious food - white coconut jelly shaped like a duck. ate altogether too much food. remembered that i don't hate my day job, and, in fact, that i think that nine year olds can be pretty great. christmas shopped. rode two different trains. fell asleep reading don quixote. daydreamed about wisconsin. rode the bus two times. got takeaway and busted the guy's balls about adding a service charge. bought candy to fill a stocking. trudged home. began finding notes stashed all around, recounting the magic in the shared moments of the past year. smiled. (i'm not yet done with those last two.)

hm. this today has been a far cry from bad or normal. but i have been caught off guard. christmas sneaks up with no snow. holidays reveal the charming, graceful parts of people that are too often covered over with the verdigris of this and that. i've had moments of clarity that cut through the incessant bossa nova christmas songs, and i wonder if maybe i'm believing in things. my dad sent me a christmassy book that arrived last night out of the blue and it lingered in my thoughts this today as one of my favorite gestures by anybody in a long time. m is sneakliy reminding me of moments as i fumble about the place.

if i had to say, i guess i'd go with sneaky; this today has been sneaky. and this today is christmas eve. so merry sneaky christmas. i miss all of your far away faces.