Friday, March 26, 2010

Dance Dance Reloaded

For a clever title that ingeniously combines a whole series of movies and a video game into just 3 words, look above. For a continuation of last post's delightful discussion of dance music, look below.

As I mentioned last entry, I've been hearing some dance music on the radio lately. Unfortunately, the dance music I hear on the radio tends more toward house and less toward the trance that I prefer, and – much worse – seems limited to insipid lyrics about one very limited subject. Why is it that every dance song that makes it onto the pop charts has to be about dancing—Hey, dance music! Get over yourself!

Two songs that are big now are "Evacuate the DANCE floor" [capitalization my own] by Cascada, and "TiK ToK" by Ke$ha [capitalization her own], which is an unflattering account of her clubbing habits. Add that to the fact that Ke$ha has annoying voice and an annoying habit of using symbols for letters and capitalizing in inappropriate places, and you have a recipe for disappointment.

Lady Gaga does somewhat better. Of her four dance hits of which I'm aware, three of them have nothing to do with dancing, and one of them is a personal favorite of mine. But the other one? "Just Dance"? Come on, Lady! Buck the trends a little! I thought you liked to live on the wild side!

Anyway, since the pop charts won't allow me to get my dance on to anything but self-congratulatory tales of girls going clubbing or behaving badly or usually both, I'm forced to search elsewhere for my kinesthetic fix.

Did you know that on Monday, I went to my first concert ever? I'm not talking about the kind where you sit in an auditorium and sedately page through your program. I'm talking about the kind where you stand in a room with flashing lights and cheering humans, and dance around while the bass thumps through your feet!

After 26 years of living, I have finally arrived!

The concert was a performance by VNV Nation, which is described variously as "Industrial," "Synthpop," "Futurepop," and "Electronic Body Music"—or, by those who wisely choose not to classify the unclassifiable, "Electronic." Technically, theirs is not "dance" music, but at the concert, there was still a whole lot of dancing going on. Top that off with a delightful LED light show and lyrics that had nothing to do with the music, or DJ's, or the dance floor, or the club, and everything to do with...well, actually I don't know, because I wasn't paying attention. But I hear tell the lyrics are thoughtful and smart. Which wins them points in my book, should I ever choose to drag my attention away from the spine-tingling synthesized basslines and actually listen to the words.

All in all, it was a good choice for my debut into the world of contemporary concert-going, and a good way to forget the agony of idiotic party girls "trying to get a little bit t...i...p...s...y..."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dance Dance

Yesterday morning, inspired by hearing two dance songs back-to-back on the radio, I had the brilliant idea to devote an entire blog post to my favorite genre of music! That's right--lounge! ......... Haha, that was funny, wasn't it!? Hahaha!

Okay, sorry, I'm just having trouble finding a good lead-in. Let me try again.

I recently renewed my subscription to eMusic. It seems like a pretty good deal--24 DRM-free mp3's  for 12 dollars. But eMusic caters to obscure artists and minor labels, and thus doesn't have any of the music that you already know you want, and you have to use all your downloads within a month! The 30-second samples that they provide are wholly inadequate for helping you decide if you like a song enough to spend 50¢ on it.

Case in point: once upon a time, when I had some free downloads--they might have been from eMusic, or maybe some other source, I blew one of them on a track that I'd never heard before (except the 30-second sample) but had a promising name: "Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss."

Excuse me while I digress for a moment. Being a fanatic about both dance music and linguistics, I spend more time than your average Joe thinking about the proper verbalization and transliteration of the classic sound of electronic dance music. Thanks to Pandora, I now have a name for this sound: a "four-on-the floor drum beat (four quarter-note kick drums per measure, usually associated with an upbeat high-hat)." Unfortunately, I still don't have a word for the sound itself. Ever since I first heard it spoken (at summer camp, when one of my fellow counselors decided to sing a verse of a song "techno style"), I've been spelling it in my mind, "Nn-tsuh, nn-tsuh, nn-tsuh." Recently, browsing eMusic in a futile attempt to use up my remaining 17 downloads, I saw an editorial that introduced itself and the entire genre of electronic music with the phrase, "Oonce. Oonce. Oonce. Oonce." Which I guess is a fair way of spelling it.

But apparently you should not trust the people who spell it "Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss," because their song about it is boring. So boring, in fact, that after downloading it, I deleted it from my computer--something I never do. Even the most boring of songs, once on my hard drive, get relegated to a public folder where they may, perchance, enrich the lives of others who might like them better than I do. But not Uhn Tiss. It is gone forever. Except on YouTube.

I think I'm not done talking about this subject. But I labored long and hard over this post, and I'm tired of writing. I shall take a break. And listen to some lounge. Haahaha!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


The punctuation mark as a design element: It's a phenomenon I've been watching curiously over the years, and I decided it was finally time for me to try my hand.

My punctuation mark of choice is the asterisk, because the curly brace is overused, the exclamation point is overwrought, and the ellipsis was already appropriated by the person who denied me the opportunity to register Technically, an asterisk is not a punctuation mark...but it is used semantically in written material, and everything I do must be star-spangled (see this blog's subtitle), so I figure it's good enough.

When I set out on my mission to use an asterisk, I had to think about all the different ways this character can be rendered and find the perfect one for my needs. Should I choose round-edged and splashy, or crisp and geometric? More difficult to decide on: Five arms or six?

Take a look at all the different asterisks we have to choose from--Below is a sampling of commonly used fonts and the asterisks that come with them:
samples of asterisks from different fonts
I was overwhelmed with so many choices! Eventually, I went with Gill Sans. I wish I had chosen Perpetua.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Your sea of stupidity bears an uncanny resemblance to rancid milk.

The nice thing about this blog is that people actually read it. Unlike signs that I hang up to communicate with others when I'm not there, it functions as more than just an apparent decoration. This blog has an almost-captive audience. And because of said virtue, I'm going to use it as the means by which I vent all my angst at the parade of morons who make my life difficult.

Because the morons won't listen to me, you'll just have to do it instead. Thank you. Your sacrifice will not go unappreciated.

Today's topic: Basic sanitation in the workplace and respect of your fellow workers.

Let's imagine for a second that you work in a grocery store. And in the course of your daily duties at the store, you run across a product that is unsellable due to damage or spoilage or expiry. Being the conscientious employee that you are, you remove the product from the shelf. But you can't just throw it away, because the store needs to make sure its demise is properly documented in order to maintain an accurate inventory. But since the store doesn't trust just any old employee with its inventory, it has designated a holding area (a few shelves and a crate) where this and other sub-par products can repose until such time as a  properly trained and authorized employee is able to catalog and dispose of them.

So, when you, non-properly-trained-and-authorized peon that you are, remove some offending item from the shelf, what do you do with it? The obvious answer is, it depends on what the item is. If it's a small carton of yogurt, you place it in the bottom of the crate. If it's a gallon of milk, you hurl it on top with great force, to ensure that it crushes the small carton of yogurt and splatters its contents everywhere. If it's already leaking, so much the better! That way, you can carefully arrange it leak-side-down and let it work its magic all over the area one drop at a time.

Now come on. I'll grant you, maybe you're too illiterate to read the signs all around the designated area that said, "No leaking items," (and I'll grant that if you are new to the business, you might never have seen them, since I removed them after they got covered with splattered yogurt after months of being ignored) but are you also totally lacking in common sense and empathy? When you remove a container from the shelf because it's leaking all over the place and it can't be sold, do you think it magically stops leaking when it hits the holding area? Do you know who is the trained and authorized employee that has to slosh around in the mess you leave? It's me! Why are you doing such a thing to me!?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ode to Dude

Another term that has passed its prime but still warms my philological heart: The bomb diggety! This phrase should be used, but used with care. I see great potential for its use in adding comedic effect.
When you need a generic interjection to express some sort of amazement, surprise, distaste, etc., what do you say? Zoinks? Jinkies? Holy smokes? My interjection of choice these days is "Dude!" And though I not too long ago jumped on the Dude wagon, I'm glad I did. It has brought joy into my life.

How long has "dude" been around? According to Etymology Online, it was used in the late 1800's to describe a city slicker, and by a century later, surfer culture had turned it into a generic word for a male person. Based solely on my own perceptions, I believe that "dude" came into use as an interjection sometime in the late 90's, and enjoyed the height of its popularity when it played a seminal role in the classic film, "Dude, Where's My Car?"

Of course, at that time, I was way too uptight and snooty to use such a bohemian slang term, and although I warmed up to it as the years went by, its popularity with the general public slipped just as its popularity in my own mind increased. It got to a point where all I really wanted was to holler, "Dude!" but had to settle for words like "Wow," and "Boy," since I considered my word of choice passé.

All that has changed. Thanks to the relatively recent acquisition of a few friends who use "dude" in everyday conversation, I now feel confident enough to proudly exclaim this four-letter word for all sorts of situations requiring a little verbal punch. Occasionally I even use it to address a male, in such exchanges as:
"Hey, girl!" "Hey, dude!"

This concludes my happy tale of linguistic liberation. Dude, you rock my socks.