Saturday, April 23, 2011

GPP 047: Glass Half-Something

Grace and Paul chat about the last week, which has proven that they live in interesting times, recounting a week of illness, car crashes, bank problems, emergency room visits, and other vicissitudes of modern life.

The picture is of Paul with Veronica and Sam, taken in early 2007 when the heat was out in our apartment and Paul was developing what turned out to be an extremely painful case of herpes zoster ophthalmicus (a shingles infection involving the eye). Here he is this past week:

MP3 File

Thursday, April 14, 2011

GPP 046: Reagan's Eighth Term

An informal panel discussion on the presidency.

MP3 File

GPP 045: Guns, with Occasional Murders

On the way back from dropping Isaac off at school, Paul records another brief monologue, in which he remembers the murdered Sean Stennett.

MP3 File

Sean's obituary. Sean and I share a birthday.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

GPP 044: Your Brain on Caffeine

On the way back from dropping Isaac off at school, Paul records a chat and some ambient audio. This podcast makes some kind of an argument about ambient audio. I'll leave it to you to decide whether it is an argument for, or against.

This episode is best heard on headphones.

MP3 File

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

GPP 043: Accounting for Taste

Paul and Grace talk about their own theories of aesthetics, and what they admire and value in art.

MP3 File

Show Notes:

We mention Wild Things, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

I mention Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien, although I could not remember the title accurately.

I mention James Fallows' essay on the crash of Egypt Air Flight 990.

I'm always confusing William Langewiesche with James Fallows; it was Langewiesche who wrote the 3-part essay in the Atlantic, Unbuilding the World Trade Center. This material was later adapted into book form in American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center.

This is the 826 Valencia writing program I was trying to recall. This is the Ann Arbor Chapter. The Ann Arbor chapter's storefront is dressed up as a robot supply store, while the San Francisco chapter is fronted by a pirate supply store.

The definitive documentary about Daniel Johnston is The Devil and Daniel Johnston. I described Johnston as suffering from schizophrenia, although Wikipedia suggests bipolar disorder.

This is Daniel Johnston singing his song True Love Will Find You in the End. Here is Beck's Cover. Here is Wilco's Cover. Here is a Mates of State cover. There are plenty of others. Here is a link to a gallery that sells some of Johnston's artwork.

John Hodgman's essay can be found in More Information Than You Require under the title "How to be a Famous Minor Television Personality." A version of this essay appeared on This American Life.

Regarding Neon Genesis: Evangelion: it has been some time since I saw the original series; I can't recall for certain, but it seems likely that I watched the Perfect collection on VHS tapes. My interpretation of the ending, that the team ran out of money and assembled the final episode from outtakes and rough drafts, may not be correct; the ending may be as planned, scripted and intended. I may have gotten this idea from a friend of mine. But the ending is still controversial. Wikipedia describes the end of the storyline thusly:
In the last two episodes (the second set in 2016), Gendo and Rei initiate the Human Instrumentality Project, forcing several characters (especially Shinji) to face their doubts and fears and examine their self-worth, with sequences that "suggest animated schizophrenia" This ending was made up of flashbacks, sketchy artwork, and flashing text "over a montage of bleak visuals, that include black and white photos of desolate urban motifs such as a riderless bicycle or vacant park benches interspersed with graphic stills of the devastated Nerv headquarters in which Shinji's colleagues are seen as bloodstained bodies", and a brief interlude depicting an "alternate" Evangelion universe with the same characters but apparently in the high school comedy genre, eventually seems to depict Shinji concluding that life could be worth living and that he did not need to pilot an Eva to justify his existence; he is then surrounded by most of the cast, clapping and congratulating him. The introduction implies that this same process took place for everyone.
A more comprehensible ending to the series was created as the separate movie The End of Evangelion; I can't recall if I ever saw that. It probably says something about the series that twelve or thirteen years after watching the whole series I can remember very little about it except a few beautiful images, the sound of cicadas, and the baffling montages in the ending.

I was not able to quickly find the "trash artist" Grace might be referring to.

GPP 042: Building the Ark Debrief

In the car again, Grace and I talk about the Building the Ark program and the projects that are spinning out of it, and various other topics around urban gardening and sustainability.

MP3 File

Sunday, April 10, 2011

GPP 041: Three Short Sketches

I don't get a lot of time to work on my own original fiction, poetry, or music, but here is a small creative project. Each piece is one page long. Piece 1 started out as a blank page and a calligraphy pen while Isaac took a Hapkido lesson and I stared out the window at wet snow dumping onto Saginaw yet again. I had no idea where it was going when I began, and did not edit or correct it in any way as I went along. Piece 2 started out life in an e-mail message I wrote to Sean Hurley during a lunch break while at the Ann Arbor office of my employer; I made only a few minor changes when I transcribed it onto the page. Piece 3 was again written in one draft with the calligraphy pen, although with this one I had a vague idea of the concept at the outset. They have no titles.



Coincidentally, 41 is also about the number of minutes I was able to put into actually recording and producing the piece this morning before the crying and/or screaming kids made any more work impossible. The background sounds come from three of the "warped" presets for Logic Audio's Sculpture hybrid modeling synthesizer.

MP3 File

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

GPP 040: Mushrooms and Mayhem

A conversation with Grace at Panda House over bean curd and mushrooms. We talk about some topics of local interest: the Building the Ark program, brownfields and historic buildings in Saginaw, modern slave quarters, preservation, and the uneasy relationship between the city and the townships. From there, we branch out to the devolution of rural Michigan from forests, to farms, to prisons. Finally, we wind up talking current politics, and the situation with the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan and nuclear energy in general.

I've lowered the MP3 encoding to 160kbps to keep file sizes a little more manageable, hopefully without doing too much damage to the audio quality.

MP3 File

Although I don't really like participating in economic disaster tourism, here are some of the historic "modern slave quarters" buildings Grace and I spoke about:


View Larger Map


View Larger Map


View Larger Map

If that code doesn't work in your browser, here are some direct links:

View One

View Two

View Three

The Potter Street Station:


View Larger Map

Again, if that code above doesn't work in your browser, here's a direct link to the location.

And speaking of disaster tourism:


View Larger Map

Alternate Link.

Update: a friend of mine pointed me at these pictures of preserved historic slave quarters.