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Wednesday, August 20th, 2003
9:15a - netherworld
Various meandering topics I am going to stick together in one entry, and I won't even try to pretend that there's any unifying theme.


I have had about ten thousand bucks' worth of dental work done in the last year and a half. Mostly because I was so bad at taking care of them before this. Now I feel like I'm hyper-aware of what's going on in there. I can practically feel the food breaking down and dissolving what little teeth mass I have left. Oh man, time to go brush again.

It kind of puts a crimp in my normal eating style. Most people seem to go "Oh look, it's mealtime!" and procure X amount of calories, and eat it all right then and there, despite the fact that they are likely full halfway through. I'm not falling into that trap. Most of the time I just graze a little bit. No matter how hungry I might feel, half a handful of carrots or a sandwich or something is usually enough to make me feel not-hungry again, so I'll stop there. Of course that means I really should brush after every session. So a lot of times I'll try to hold off, not wanting to mess up my nice clean teeth. I haven't really worked this out yet.

If my dentist has her way, she's not nearly done yet. She wants me to get braces! I had them when I was a kid and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. My orthodontist was a sadist. He thought nothing of leaving sharp inch-long wires sticking out that tore the hell out of the inside of my cheeks. I'd be chewing along and realize that my cheek wasn't moving right, and ... oh yeah, it's once again impaled on a dental wire. So I'd blow air into my cheek to inflate it and I could actually hear the wire going "toong!" as it sprung out of my flesh. Fun!

These days I'm not such a wimp that going to the dentist is going to cause psychic scars like it did back then. For one thing, I'm not the least bit afraid to yell and scream if they do me wrong. There's one assistant at that office who still won't look me in the eye after the reaming I gave her about a year ago. And she hasn't had her hands in my mouth since then. Mysteriously, I always seem to end up with one of the other assistants. Hmm, I wonder how that happened. Okay, at least part of that reaming was really directed at that sadistic orthodontist from my teens, since I didn't have the strength to yell at the time. Eh.

I have to admit, my bite is atrocious, and I really should do what she wants and get braces. But I probably won't.


I don't like the impression I left of that situation at all. On the whole it was a very positive experience. I got to write some of the k00l35+ k0dx0r5 of my career while there. I was totally unfettered in how I chose to solve any particular problem, they just told me what needed to be done and let me have at it. In my experience that's practically unheard of. Most bosses are control freaks, they decide how a problem will be solved before they even tell you about it, then expect you to do it exactly the way they would, or else.

If you've been really serious for a long time about some boyfriend or girlfriend, there is no way in hell it's going to be over all at once. The chyx0r I dated the longest being a perfect example. It was TWO YEARS after we'd "broken up" and if neither of us was dating anybody at the moment ... ooops, how did we end up in bed like this? Didn't I say I'd never do this again last time? Didn't she? Sometimes it would happen even if one of us was dating somebody. Hey, I'm not proud of it, I'm just saying.

I have discovered that, if you're important to a company, the same thing will happen. It's not over all at once. This was the second time such a thing happened to me in a job situation. They occasionally needed updates to the call processing programs I wrote for them and I was happy to do it. Those were my babies we're talking about! I funded myself learning BeOS by working part-time for that company, which was slowly sinking, because its founder didn't care anymore.

I was lucky to get out when I did. Another guy who didn't take the hint is in the process of suing them for back wages. It's gone on for years and he hasn't gotten anything out of them yet. If I were him I'd quit now. You'd have to be talking about an awfully big pile of money for it to be worth the stress of a lawsuit.


GAAAAH, not THAT again. Yes, I'm afraid so.

I tried really hard to quit. I thought getting the play count up to ten would be a good stopping point. Then I started in on Autechre, because I had a new CD of theirs laying around that I hadn't listened to yet. But it was so WRONG. My GOD, it's totally airless and heartless! Utterly lacking in warmth! Who could live on a diet of that unsatisfying stuff? So, back to the Stereolab.

"ABC Music" is nifty-keen. I can't believe I almost didn't buy it, because it's not a studio recording. It has what live records are supposed to have over studio records, namely, immediacy and presence, without the stuff that is so lousy that it generally stops me from buying live records, like sloppy playing, poor acoustics, drunken stupid crowds, and cliched "Hello, Cleveland!" stage banter. I'm way too cool for that nonsense.

Right at the moment I'm listening to "First of the Microbe Hunters," another semi-obscurity I ordered after I got obsessed with them. It's probably not any better than any of their other records, but it's new to me, so it sounds sparkling and bright. I had to listen to it ten times in a row to catch it up with everything else in the playlist and that was a pleasurable experience.

If you want to see exactly how wigged out music reviewers can get, try reading some Stereolab reviews. Here's my favorite so far. NME froths at the mouth over "Cobra and Phases Group":

Well, you have to admit they're good at what they do. But then so was Hitler.


So, after scaling new heights up their own self-satisfied arses, Stereolab now make lame, impotent test-card muzak for muzos. And this album is a sexless, emotionless, witless, cripplingly self-indulgent, pompously self-satisfied, intellectually hollow, achingly pretentious, stultifyingly bland, spiritually bereft, ideologically bankrupt, aesthetically repugnant, culturally pointless, musically sterile heap of shit. Roll on the revolution.

Whoa! I know you are, but what am I? Drink your soup before it clots, Mister Bad-Tempered NME Reviewer!

I know where this is leading. One day soon I will wake up and I'll be so sick of Stereolab that I will not be able to listen to their records again for years. You'd think I'd learn. I tried that gnod thing political_punk was talking about and it turned up ten bands in a row that I am already very familiar with.

All told, I think I've had better luck listening to erika.net. It can be very tedious at times, but one night I heard a calypso version of Kraftwerk's "Trans Europe Express," one of the most inspired covers ever. By an outfit called Señor Coconut. I read about it online and Kraftwerk themselves are said to be taken with them.

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