catch-all catch-up

Things I’m enthusiastic about:

1. Growing a beard.

I am working on a “playoff beard.” I haven’t shaved since I turned in my thesis, and don’t plan to until the day of my defense (next Tuesday). I’ve never gone this long without shaving before, and I’ve just reached the point where itchiness gives way to gentle fuzziness, food lands in it, and the wind blows through it. Instead of a bunch of hairs collecting on my face, it’s become a separate facial entity. New experiences!

2. Last night’s Lost. We’ve gone beyond the point of needing the show to fill in every little question we might have, but when they do let us in on secrets like why Miles demanded 3.2 million to help Ben in Season 4, we still appreciate it. It’s not a waste of time because the mysteries and the characters are finally aligned. Many feel like the show is about the battle between free will and destiny, but as the time travel storyline points out, this is simply a matter of perspective. Learning how our characters develop their perspectives is a pretty enriching experience.

3. New music! Loving two albums in particular right now: Jewellery by Micachu and the Shapes, and Bitte Orca by The Dirty Projectors. The first has its lineage in british independent post-punk (Swell Maps are an obvious point of inspiration), but the noisiness is deceptive. Every piece of every song is vital. This is my favorite pop record this year. Bitte Orca still needs to be digested a little bit. I love the nod to Nico in “two doves” and feel like the arrangements on every song sparkle with life. If their previous two albums were marked by, respectively, lackadaisical creativity and exuberant slightness, here they’ve managed to combine the good qualities while excising the bad. Nothing as poppy as “Knotty Pine,” their song with David Byrne on the Dark Was The Night, compilation, but what is?

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