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Desert Solitaire
by Edward Abbey

Take Offs And Landings

Rilo Kiley
Take Offs And Landings

Take Offs And Landings
For a few weeks this summer, I was (along with everyone else with any imagination) scared shitless of flying. By nature of having a job and needing to do pesky things like pay my rent, a certain amount of air travel was nonetheless necessary. But all of the reason in the world couldn’t keep me from a bit of white-knuckled grasping of the airplane armrests.
And then I saw Rilo Kiley open for Superchunk at the Black Cat, and it was all made clear for me. Here were two bands, both of whom had a suspicious number of songs about fear of flying on their most recent albums. And my over-active imagination raced yet again. Did Rilo Kiley know about the terrorist activity in America when they wrote Take Offs And Landings? Were the concert promoters involved in some sort of vast rock-and-roll conspiracy when they booked a song like “Out On The Wing” with a song like “Plane Crash In C”? It certainly is suggestive, wouldn’t you say?
Oh, but about the album — the phrase “absolutely fucking brilliant” is one that comes to mind. One would truly need to have a heart of stone to have a suicidal vendetta against a country that could produce a band as sweet as Rilo Kiley. I propose that rather then dropping bombs on future terrorist states, we instead drop cassette singles of “Pictures of Success”. That should be enough to convince future terrorists not to blow up any more planes. Well, at least not until they made absolutely sure that no members of Rilo Kiley were on board.
As for me, I’m still walking everywhere from now on. Short of someone planting a sneaker bomb in my closet, I figure that’s pretty safe. Unfortunately, I’m planning a summer vacation to New Mexico, so I need to get started. Ciao.

Go Forth

Les Savy Fav
Go Forth

Go Forth
It’s been difficult for me to write a review for Go Forth. It’s kind of like when your girlfriend asks you if you like her new shoes — there really isn’t much that you can say without getting into trouble. You might love them, you might hate them, or you might be completely indifferent, but no matter what response you offer, it’s not quite going to capture the complexity of what you mean to say, just because you happen to be in love with the shoe’s wearer, and so any attempt at objectivity is doomed to be swaddled in layers of context. Except that Les Savy Fav aren’t technically my girlfriend, even though it sometimes feels like it.
All of which means to say that I’ve been obsessed by this band for a couple of years, so it’s difficult for me to say how good this album is. If I don’t like it, is it because my expectations have been set so high? If I love it, is it only because the album happens to be by my favorite band? You see the dilemma.
So, at the risk of having the new pair of shoes thrown in my face, I cautiously say that this album is pretty good. At times it’s great. Except maybe not quite as great as The Cat and the Cobra. Except that The Cat and the Cobra is so good that it makes me cry myself to sleep every night. And sometimes Go Forth does, too. Songs like “Reprobate’s Resume” and “Adopduction” make me think that I should cut my ears off and mail them to the band as some sort of offering. Except that I don’t know if the band would want them. And it would make my girlfriend mad, because then she couldn’t ask me about things like shoes. Not that she ever asks me about shoes, anyway. But some day she might.
*Sigh*…
Should you get this album? Yes, of course. Will you listen to it many times each day for several weeks? Yes, if your constitution is sturdy enough. Do I think those shoes make you look fat?
Sorry — I’m a bit busy listening to Go Forth right now. Ask me again later.

Dead Turkeys

Well, another Turkey Day has come and gone. This one saw the McViking family on a disc golf outing to an otherwise deserted course, and then back to the ranch for whiskey and wiffleball. Once the ball became too difficult to see, a rousing game of wiffle-alien-head followed. Oddly, very few injuries were sustained by any of the participants. I attribute this mostly to the fact that one of the wifflers was not an immediate family member, and thus unfamiliar with the keep-playing-until-somebody-cries rule.

Virtual Light

Virtual Light
William Gibson

Virtual Light
When I was a bit younger, nothing pleased me more than to save up a couple of bucks, so that I could walk to the nearest gas station and blow my hard earned savings on candy and soda. Long-term investment was not a concept that interested me as a ten-year-old. (Even as a twenty-five-year-old, it holds little interest, actually.) I was more keen on gnawing down as much candy as my two dollars could afford. It tasted good, it never really filled me up, and I didn’t really care.
Virtual Light works something like that. It’s cheap, it’s yummy, but it won’t fill you up. The gist of it is this: It’s the future, some good people piss some bad people off, and then spend a couple hundred pages running away from the bad people in creative ways. Along the way, they get to play with some high-tech gadgets that don’t actually exist yet, and to travel through a post-corporate-apocalypse San Francisco that almost exists. And that’s about it. I kind of get the feeling that the plot and characters are just incidental vehicles for Gibson to showcase the setting and the gadgets.
In summary, Virtual Light is to geeks what Monday Night Football probably is to jocks: a good enough excuse to spend an evening on the couch, but not one that’s likely to leave a lasting impression on one’s life. Which doesn’t make it any less fun, just less important.