NPR and Jonathan Coulton.

I was going to write this past week about my travels to Israel, but I got slammed with a project that ate my head and digested it from Monday to Friday until I was a crispy frayed exoskeleton of myself. I was so busy I didn’t even get a chance to check my emails all week. Brutal, I tell you. But the project got done and went nicely and all is hunky-dory, so now I can return to the world of the living and tell you about my recent activities. And I’m editing my Israel photos to share with you as well, so there will be a plethora of posting in the next few days. Rejoice, three readers, rejoice!

I drove my parents to the airport on Saturday so they could fly out to California, and on the way back I listened to their radio. My dad has two stations in his presents: WQXR, the classical music station, and NPR, the… NPR station. On Saturday WQXR plays opera all afternoon, which I really don’t care for at all, so I listened to NPR. I realized something that I’ve been fighting for a long time. I don’t like NPR. I want to like NPR, I really do, it’s just they’re just such drowse-inducing intellectuals, I crave to listen to all of Eminem’s albums back to back afterwards. Traffic was backed up so I got to listen for two and a half hours. Because Albert Hofmann had just died (the inventor of LSD), they played an hour of psychedelic music, all of which I could name in the first two beats (yay me!) The songs were: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Magic Carpet Ride, Purple Haze, White Rabbit, and White Room. The DJ talked about his magic mushroom trip where he discovered the meaning of life in his vomit, and that was all fine. Then came on All Things Considered. Here’s where NPR proved themselves (once again) to be the most grating thing on earth. Andrea Seabrook did a ten-minute piece on the tomato salmonella outbreak where she interviewed… her mother. And they chatted about tomatoes being a pivotal part of their lives. For ten minutes. In those voices that they speak in. These voices. I wanted to shoot myself. Patton Oswalt (my most favorite comedian in the whole wide world) does a thing about NPR on his DVD, Feelin’ Kinda Patton, that is just BRILLIANT. Rent the DVD if you can. It’s about fifteen minutes in. He sums up my response far better than I can.

Addendum: I found a clip of the Patton Oswalt NPR thing on the YouTubes! Hurray!

On Saturday evening I went into the city to see Jonathan Coulton with B. and his wife D. and their son K. It was in the Highline Ballroom in the Meatpacking District, which is one of my least visited parts of Manhattan for three reasons: One, even though they hose down the sidewalks, you can still smell the rotting blood faintly in the air; Two, it’s become very trendy so everyone is young and hip and thin and I feel like a troll doll with fluffy orange hair whose ass is impaled on a fifth-grader’s pencil, and; Three, there are cobblestones all over. I am super-clumsy and I fall down on plain old asphalt, so I suppose on cobblestones I fall down, shatter and then burst into flames or something. But I like Jonathan Coulton very much, so I braved the hipsters and meat-funk and cobbles and somehow made it to our dinner destination, and I’m glad I did, because it was phenomenal. Really. It’s called Highline, and it’s a Thai fusion restaurant. The decor was lovely, the food was delicious and plentiful and not expensive, the iced tea with lychees was nummy, the waitresses were nice and friendly, it was just great. I also recommend that if you go there, go early, because we went at 5:00 and by the time we left, it was half-full. One can only imagine how packed it gets at 8:00. It’s on Washington Street between 13th Street and Little 12th.
Then we went to the concert. I don’t much care for live music (uncomfortable chairs, loud, etc.) but this had to be one of the best concerts ever. Really. Everyone had a good time: the audience, the performers, everybody was just thrilled to be there. The opening act (Paul and Storm) performed for about an hour and were amazing and funny, and then Jonathan performed for a hour and a bit and was terrific as well. He had eight people performing behind him playing ukeleles (the Kristen Shirts Ukelele Army, I believe they were called) and at one point they also played kazoos. And you could sit at tables and have dessert items and no one stood and blocked your view, a fantabulous time was had by all.
If you are a geek, especially a computer programmer/video game player geek, you must discover Jonathan Coulton. Here are some of his finest works:

http://www.jonathancoulton.com/primer/listen/

I recommend “Code Monkey”, “I Crush Everything” (I found out at the concert it is a song about a squid who hates himself, which might be the greatest idea for a song in history), and “Mandlebrot Set”. They don’t have my favorite song there, “I Feel Fantastic”, but you can buy his music on his website, you don’t even have to brush your hair or interact with other humans. Bonus!

Major shout out to one of my newest readers, J. George, who is on bed rest for the next bunch of weeks due to ultra-uber-pregnant with twins. Good luck J. and enjoy this nice quiet time to yourself.

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