Monday, February 28, 2005

Light Snow, Light Reading

There's just enough snow to be a pain in the ass, but no more. Another bullshit Baltimore weather freak out for nothing.

Meaty magazines are a good pick for a day like this. When you're just waiting and watching for the snow to stop or melt or do whatever the hell it's going to do.

Just in today: the new Believer, Esopus 3 (comes with a CD! always a plus), The Rejected Quarterly. And there's also the new Practice Apartment!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Friday Review - The Creep

This week, Lauren read Twinkle Twinkle by Kaori Ekuni:
"By far, my favorite of the year. Shoko and Mutsuki entered their first year of marriage as a sham. Mutsuki is gay and Shoko is emotionally unstable, unable to open up to another person in love. What begins as a false marriage changes with the influence of Kon, Mutsuki's lover. Throughout the story Kon becomes a more important part of the their lives. It's a story about learning to love and share with a person, to have a marriage even if there will never be any sex. By the end Kon, Shoko and Mutsuki find true love and commitment in a very unconventional relationship.

A beautiful and fun book that you should all read."


Rachel read Ouija Interview #3: Naomi by Sarah Becan:
"The third in a series of comics documenting Ouija Board interviews. Totally cute, totally creepy.

The last time I touched a Ouija Board was in Massachusetts, too. What's up Mass? You got a lot of talky dead."


Benn read Apocalypse Nerd #1 by Peter Bagge:
"If you're a fan of post-apocalyptic tales like DAWN OF THE DEAD or NIGHT OF THE COMET, Bagge's new comic about a couple of guys in the Pacific Northwest who discover the world is ending is not only a treat, but it provides the ultimate canvas for the artist to explore his Libertarian inclinations (which work better here than in some of his other comics). While the art for the main story looks as if it was originally inked in anticipation of coloring that never happened (where once Bagge indulged in cross-hatching and zip-a-tone, now it's just computery half-tones), the back up 'Founding Father Stories' (about US Presidents) shows Bagge in full cross-hatching glory."

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Closing Early

Yup. Might as well. Closing at 6pm tonight.

There's not even 2 inches of snow out there, but you know how Baltimorons drive.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Do What You Love And The Money Will Come

Or do you just end up hating what you once loved?

After I quit freelancing (and working in a lab), I learned to love photography again.

Will Kottke still love blogging if he's doing it for a living? I mean, would you? I mean, look at me. I hate books. I'm totally kidding.

We're No California

We had a little earthquake this morning here in Maryland.

George Kispert, principal of Northeast High School, was observing a math class at the time of the tremor. He said he assumed it was someone moving furniture.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Friday Review - Bizarro, I Love You, Bizarro

This week Lauren read Krachmacher by Jim Campbell:
"3 stories in one fabulous book. In this comic we meet Marianne, a college student that feels isolated, even within her group of friends. There's a quick story in the middle of an old man that saves the world from robots. Short and sweet. The last story is about a man and pork roast. This leads to my favorite panel: Pork Roast leaning against a brick wall smoking a cigarette, looking very tough.

The stories are great but the art is spectacular. The colors are amazing, the feel is very realistic. This is one to pick up."


Rachel read So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld:
"There's something about getting sick that makes me want to regress a bit, and reading a YA novel was just the thing to keep my snot clogged head distracted from itself.

This ain't no Judy Blume, nor is it like my favorite YA author Paul Zindel. Not too juvie-centric, not too angsty, and filled with interesting trivia as well as abstract concepts.

It's like a combination of the Tipping Point and Pattern Recognition for the Hot Topic set. And for some reason I kept thinking of Jet Set Radio, too. Maybe because I was sick."


Benn read Bizarro World by Various:
"If companies like DC and Marvel want to save their collapsing sooperhero empires, instead of relegating talent like this to a book that exists outside their universes, they need to let these alternative comics creators (and members of Soul Coughing and writers of the Daily Show and hipster comedians like Patton Oswalt) run amok in continuity. By far, some of the best superhero comic art I've seen in ages (much better than what passes in mainstream comics), and fresh and interesting takes on classic characters."


Maggie read On Subbing by Dave:
"Dave is a punk working as a teacher's assistant in the Portland public school system in order to pay his bills. Puke, poo, paste, shaving cream and kicks to the groin are just some of the occupational hazards of being a special-ed teaching assistant. His true stories were enough to make me laugh out loud and sometimes made me really glad I decided not to become a teacher."

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Silly Devil Girls, You're Not Free Speech!

Just yesterday morning we were driving behind a pick up truck that had one of those great Coop stickers on it. The one of the nun with a boob hanging out. Benn made a comment that maybe that wasn't legal. I was like, "What? You're crazy."

But I guess you can be arrested for something like that.

Coop says:
"We're thinking of moving to Clovis, New Mexico, since they have clearly eliminated all serious crime in the city, and the police are free to waste time on stupid crap like this."

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Where Is My Mind?

There must be something in the air, besides pollen. I've lost days, due to sickness (I think it's just supermonster allergies), lost checks (in just a walk from downstairs to upstairs), lost posts (damn you, Blogger!)and there are lost shipments even though when tracked they say they were delivered. What's going on here? Where do all these lost items go?

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy VD!


Thanks for the pretty Valentine, Molly!

Did anyone lose a ring at the Mayor's Xmas Parade? Seems that someone might have accidentally (or maybe not) donated their wedding ring to the parade fund. But Tom Kerr, organizer of the parade, doesn't think it was on purpose:

Though he doesn't wear the older one anymore, he says he would never consider giving it away or selling it on eBay. Even if it didn't represent 37 mostly pretty good years with the woman he met on a Hampden sidewalk.

"Even if a marriage was over, you'd think you'd want to keep it," Tom says softly. "It couldn't have been all bad."

Which is why he's holding on to the gold band from the bucket. At least until the next parade.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

It's a Love/Hate Thing

The NYTimes mentioned that We Hate the 80s:

In Baltimore, for example, Benn Ray, the co-owner of an independent bookstore, Atomic Books, has started up a regular "I Hate the 80's" party to mock the trend.

"The 80's nostalgia was starting to roll in, and I was like, 'Wait a minute! Did you people actually listen to the same decade I did? You had eight years of Reagan. There was cocaine everywhere. There were yuppies. We were oppressed by this whole notion of baby boomers trying to cash out." At past parties, attended by people wearing parachute pants and Members Only jackets, local bands performed their most hated 80's memories on Casio keyboards, which they promptly demolished at the end of their set. "One year," he recalled, "a performer called Evil Pappy Twin played Van Halen covers on a classical Renaissance lute."


Our 5th I Hate the 80s Night coming in May!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Friday Review

This week Mike read The Replacements - Let it Be (33 1/3) by Colin Meloy:
"Colin Meloy, frontman and mastermind of the Decemberists, writes about his lifelong relationship with this Replacements album with an endearing eloquence, as he moves through the various stages of his social life and its relationship to the music he loves. Ultimately, the book is more a memoir of Meloy's time growing up in Montana than it is about Let it Be, but these accounts still manage to make clear his adoration for the album. Some of my favorite parts were his descriptions of elementary and middle school life, as he grappled for an identity amongst his peers, wanting to be a 'punk' and not a 'poser', a common trouble among those crazy kids growing up in the 80s."


Lauren read Or Else #1 by Kevin Huizenga:
"I found the art in this book to be well done. Most of the panels are not very detailed but the ones with more to them are very nice. The style reminds me of Jordan Crane.

My favorite story is 'NST '04'. It's about a guy and his girl's insomnia and has them hanging out at an all night diner with various characters. I also enjoyed the last few pages, a story called 'Jeezoh' that describes statues that are left on graves in the midwest to save the souls of babies that die. I'm looking forward to seeing more of this artist's work."


Benn read The Affected Provincial's Almanack by Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy:
"I'm a fan of the Farmer's Almanac (each year for Christmas I get one from an aunt), and long have I waited for someone to tackle and revamp the Almanac format. Eric Utne did that a bit with Cosmo Doogood's Urban Almanac, but it still had that, um, warm Utne Reader feel. Finally, fresh from the unfortunate implosion of The Philadelphia Independent comes Lord Whimsy, a dandy for today, with his very own Almanac, loaded with wonderful diagrams, illustrations and essays all relating to, that's right, the 'ancient charm' of Dandyism (which, let's face it, is what the modern hipster is - only less refined and more poorly dressed). The essays concern Dandyism vs. Foppery, vs. Bohemianism, vs. The Guy, etc. Funny, flowery, and totally written like a dandy!"

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Romper Room

Remember Romper Room? Did you know that it started here, in Baltimore?

Remember how the host would look out from behind a Magic Mirror and call out kids' names like she could actually see them? It was kind of creepy. She never called my name.

Of course, I have a real magic mirror now. My blog logs. I can see each and every one of you.

I can see you, Plano, Texas! And you Lubbock! And Tampa and Carmel and Tokyo and Woodbridge and Redding and Foster City and Fort Bragg and Cockeysville and Maple Grove and Honolulu and Rapid City and Chicago and Ellicott City and Merrick and Montreal and Barcelona and Rye and Hunt Valley and San Francisco and Private IP Address Lan and Savannah and Brooklyn and Ithica and Athens and Cherry Hill and Shanghai and Waltham and Ile-de-France and Providence and Boston and Ann Arbor and Winnipeg and somebody in Finland and Reston and...and...and...all the boys and girls who read our blog every day right here in Baltimore.

I'm glad you could share this entry with me.

And for the kids of today, Rock-N-Romp starts up in a few months, right here in Baltimore.

We Can Not Be Held Responsible

For any repercussions.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Call for Entries - Zines and Comix

Zine shows in Museums and Universities are getting to be a trend, eh?

The Minnesota Center for the Books Arts has an exhibit called Spot On: The Art of Zines and Graphic Novels, April 9th to June 25th, 2005, and they have a call for entries. Deadline is March 19th. We have fliers here at the store you can pick up with addresses and more info as well.

And closer to home, but oddly with almost the exact same dates, Philadelphia University's Design Center is putting on a zine exhibit: DIY Revolution, curated by Sean Carton.

Bathroom Movie Commentary

After going to see a movie, especially preview screenings, the best place to overhear comments are in the women's room.

Here's a sample from last night's Constantine:

2 women in their early 20s:
First Woman: I had no idea what was going on!
Second Woman: I didn't get it either. But don't let the boys know that or they'll explain it to us over and over and over!
First Woman: Yeah, I can't remember half the things he tells me about comics. I just tune it out.
Second Woman: Yeah, you have to.

2 women, maybe in their late 30s or early 40s (couldn't see them, just heard them):
First woman: I didn't get it.
Second woman: His movies don't make any sense anymore.
First woman: Keanu banked on the Matrix. He doesn't have to do anything good anymore.

One woman, in her forties, on her cell phone:
"You should see this movie I just saw...well, it's about good and evil...but not like you'd expect."

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Marlena's New Glasses


You may recall that some asshole stole Marlena's glasses a few weeks ago.

Today, a mystery person gave Marlena new glasses!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Numbers are Harsh

A few years ago, this fool walked into the store, looked around a bit, and asked me, "Have you read all of these books?"

Um, no. Yes, we're a small store, but we still have thousands of titles. There's no way I could read all of these books in my entire lifetime, let alone have read them up to now. But honestly, that was a sobering revelation. Because I am a reader. Ever since I was a kid I've always just read without a thought to an end to it, without ever thinking in practical terms of how many books there are in the world and how to find the time to read them all.

Since I'm also a book buyer, I'm searching for things other people may want to read as well as myself. Other people being mostly Benn, but still, just reading titles and author names in catalogs takes time, too. I probably read more ABOUT books than the actual books themselves.

I'm 35 years old now. I have, if I'm lucky, 2000 more books to read before I die. A pitiful amount considering that more than 2000 books come out every week in the US alone.

Though it's true that most of the books published every day aren't things I'd be interested in, it's still a tragic fact that I will never be able to read all the books that I actually WANT to read. Forget about getting a chance to go back and re-read some of them.

So what to do?


Fuck it. Just read, read as much as you can, and don't think about the numbers.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

New Burlesque


Performing at the Secret Crush Society CD Release Party last night was Trixie Little, who's got a show coming up at the Creative Alliance next Saturday. Burlesque and pie!

Don't you just love Baltimore?

Friday, February 04, 2005

Friday Review - Things You'll Want To Read - No Joke

Mike read WE3 #3 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely:
"I was completely sold on this miniseries from the very beginning. This final installment wraps up this household-pets-turned-secret-lethal-government-experiments storyline, as the three escaped animals meet up with their creators who have been sent to take them down before they reach the city and kill everybody. Morrison is able to garner sympathy for these animals who, by this point, have torn through innumerable amounts of soldiers, civilians, and drill-headed rats. Frank Quitely's pages are full of believable action and inventive layouts. All of which make for a completely succinct and fascinating story, unlike anything I've read before."

Rachel read Fears of Your Life by Michael Bernard Loggins:
"Originally published as zines, this 2 part listing of the author's fears is now a beautifully put together little hardcover. You may have heard an excerpt read on This American Life, but reading the book (the text in the author's handwriting)is more of a meditation on fear.

Some of his fears are vague ('San Franciso fears'), some are extremely specific ('fear of tall giraffe'), some are meta-fears about how he may not come up with another fear or how he may inspire fear in others (there are pages of how it upsets him when people don't want to sit next to him on the bus), but most of his fears are universal ones that we all have. I, too, fear that my television might explode if I turn it on. Sometimes you just get that fear."

Lauren read Epileptic by David B.:
"Epileptic is a memoir about David's brother who has been plagued by epileptic seizures his entire life. David's parents try many treatments for the seizures, from macrobiotic diets to surgery.

As a child, David becomes interested in samurai and draws epic battles which make up the first half of the book. As he ages he comes to understand that he sees his life as a battle; one to save his brother as well as keep himself from getting sick. I enjoyed the way that this book is written from the mind of a child. Occasionally the narrative will be 'interrupted' by a grown David. We see conversations between him and his mother that take place while he writes the book.

I found myself lingering over panels forever and going back to them later. What I enjoyed the most were David B.'s illustrations of his ghosts which are his imaginary friends as well as parts of his personality.

Epileptic is an amazing piece of art, one that I highly recommend."

Only For You, Our Loyal Blog Reader

Come by the store today to get a pass for a special screening of Constantine, Tuesday Feb 8th, 7:30pm, at White Marsh.

Yeah, it's Keanu but, dude, Sting's too old now.

One per person (each pass is good for 2 people) and only while supplies last. And you have to say that you read it on our blog.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Secret Fan Letter


You know you've made it when you're a hit with the 9 year old set.

That's probably the last time most of us were actually cool.

Unfortunately, it's not an all ages show. The Twin Six often lose their clothes. And Chester Stacey's lead singer has been known to wear tear-away pants. Then there's Trixie Little. What a show!


Update:Ok, the show IS All Ages. You lucky, lucky kids.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

MC Chris Is For the Kids


Photo by eatsdirt, from MC Chris' performance at The Onion Holiday Party from December. Not from the Ottobar show last night. Because I didn't bring my camera. Because I'm lame. I didn't even have my sidekick. But I saw a million cameraphones, digital cams and camcorders there so I know you're all passing them around so pass some to me.

MC Chris: "So do you all like hip hop? Even if it's by a black man?"

Um, there were a lot of people there. Not just for a Monday night. For any night. When we drove up after 9pm, there was a line out the door and down the block. (I seriously thought that maybe there had been a bomb scare or something and everyone had to stand outside.) I was informed that the line started at 8pm.

People knew ALL THE WORDS. Yeah. Geeks crowd surfing. MC Chris warned people, "Careful, geeks are fragile!"

I was the oldest woman there. Not the oldest person, but pretty much the oldest woman by far. Maggie assured me that she saw some women in their LATE 30s there. "But I think they were people's moms...sorry."

Second Season of Sealab 2021 will be in tomorrow!


Update: Oh, I forgot the chanting! There was a lot of, "MC Chris! MC Chris!"

And I'm not sure what sparked it but also, "Fuck DC! Fuck DC!" which was simply charming. Love the kids!