Thursday, June 01, 2006

Barbri Blues Vol. 1 

I put vol. 1 up there because I can only assume this is going to be a fairly long series.

It's now 10 in the morning. I just got back to my house. "But Tbag," you might ask, "don't you have Barbri this morning?" Yes...yes I do. But I'm not there. "Bad Tbag," you might admonish me, "bad Tbag for skipping Barbri lectures!" But, you see, I'm going to the afternoon lecture today. "Lazy Tbag, switching times to get more sleep in the morning!" Nope. I was up at 7:30 like usual this morning.

Guess where I was.

Trying to find printer paper! Doesn't that sound fun? Now why would I be out looking for printer paper (in a neighborhood I don't know very well yet) at 8:30 this morning when I'm supposed to be headed to my Barbri lecture? I'll tell you why. Because Barbri sucks sweaty donkey balls - that's why.

You see, we had our first graded assigment yesterday - a simulated torts essay. And we had the option of turning it in by e-mail last night or by hard copy today. Well, the movers ate my printer paper, so I was all geared up to turn it in via e-mail last night. I finished yanking made-up torts from betwixt my asscheeks and slapping them into a word document. Then, because the directions I hadn't yet read mandated that the essay be typed directly into my e-mail (no attachments allowed they screamed, italicized and bolded just like that!) I had to re-type the whole fucking thing into my gmail window. So once that delightful little torture was over and I'd been forced to actually read the excement I'd just created and stare in the mirror of my answer to see just how retarded I am and just how painfully this test is going to sodomize me, I finally typed the email address Barbri gave me next to the "to:" field and hit the send button. But look! Suddenly I have new mail from some guy called "MAILER-DAEMON" over at the Barbri office! Man...that's some quick grading!

But no. Mailer-daemon was not my grader. It was Barbri's email server telling me that Barbri sucks sweaty donkey balls. Their server overloaded. So there I am, at 11:00 p.m., trying, with every email account I've ever opened, to turn in my assignment. And here I am, at 10:14 a.m., having discovered that Rite Aids in California have both a liquor aisle and printer paper, getting ready to go turn in an essay that I've printed in blue ink because after all the shit I've waded through in the last 14 or so hours, it turns out my black ink cartridge is empty.

Fuck you Barbri. Fuck you very much.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

New (Old) Jazz 

This post is going to be way shorter than the topic merits, but I can only justify so much procrastination.

On my way back from Barbri today, I finally pressed play on my CD player to see what I'd left in there as I rolled into town almost a week ago. It was Nicola Conte's "Other Directions." The album is bossa flavored, but not as overtly so as his other offerings, and brings up a musical movement I've been meaning to mention.

Nu-jazz is a label that's been tossed about a lot since the late nineties when "Acid Jazz" lost it's edgy flavor and turned into noodly, watered-down nonsense (for the most part). I don't like most "nu-jazz" - but there is a strain of the genre that I love. I've heard people say stuff like "new jazz" - without the faux ravey "nu" spelling. It basically eschews the hard-boiled fusion inspired antics of the acid jazz phenomenon and with a return to classic compositions and styles. Conte's early bossa-lite compositions are an example. His first album, Jet Sounds, has some decent stuff, but it's definitely nu-jazz with a "nu." But the Italian producer/dj's newer "Other Directions" is something else. It's new jazz. The compositions are sharp and precise, but he leaves room for displays of virtuosity from his instrumentalists - harking back to classic standards of the late 50s and early 60s before the bop and later fusion movements spiked the punch. Note that "Other Directions" appears on Blue Note, not Conte's usual home, Italian label Schema.

So Italy has made an appearance, if a borderline martini-sipping, watered down, jet-set one. Where's the real action at? Scandanavia. I've gotta stop wasting time here, but go check out The Five Corners Quintet's newish album, "Chasin' the Jazz Gone By" on Ricky Tick. Also highly recommended is the dance-floor friendly, often latin-beat-driven deliciousness of the Jazzinvaders new album "Up and Out!" on Social Beats. That outfit is led by precussionist and drummer Phil Martin who I understand is something of a legend in Dutch jazz circles. Well, I caned the single to death and the album sampler is a new staple in my bag. I've gotta get the album on CD so I can rock it in the car, too. There couldn't be better sunny weather with the windows down danceable jazz goodness.

Gotta get back to work.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Los Angeles Radio 

One of the things that's made this move easier that I didn't anticipate is the quality of Los Angeles radio. Don't get me wrong, the commercial stations are just as retarded as they've become all over the country, but the public radio in Los Angeles is awesome, with much greater variety than a market like Austin.

This post is by no means meant to put down or belittle KUT or KOOP in Austin, both of which provide great programming and community services. But there are just more options in L.A., and the greater number of options includes a greater diversity and depth of programming.

For example, I've fallen back in love with KCRW. I'd argue that it's the best radio station in the country. The music programming is phenomenal, and they provide news updates and NPR programming at just the right times of day and night.

But what if you need to know, right now, some bit of news. Let's say, by way of a personal example, whether Lay and Skilling managed to squirm off the hook. But you missed the initial broadcast. No problem. Just hit your pre-programmed memory button for KPCC. As far as I can tell, this station is NPR-style news (i.e., not editorial but really, honestly news) pretty much all the time. Local, national, international - you name it. From headlines to in depth reporting, it's a great resource.

That's just scratching the surface. There's loads of public radio here and most of it is great. There's a station that is like KPFT in Houston, but I can't remember it's call letters. It has progressive/leftist content like Democracy Now and the like pretty much round the clock. Need that jazz or blues fix from well-versed djs playing classics and left-of-center gems? Check out KJazz (KKJZ).

Well, you get the idea.

Now I'm a music snob and a music junkie. But I haven't put on a CD in my car since I arrived in the city a week ago. That should be enough to tell you how great - and consistently great - public radio is around these parts. If you don't believe me, most of the stations broadcast online - check 'em out.

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