hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
I have spent most of the weekend on the road, because I've made my way up to my mother's house to help her out with a wide variety of projects. Amongst the shed-building and other renovation, I took the opportunity to fulfill a long-held ambition: LEONARD COHEN IN CONCERT. Fuck yeah!

I am not a concert-goer, usually, and I am not a music fanboy, but, dude. LEONARD COHEN. To give you an idea of the depth of my feeling, I miss the days when I could tell people that my favorite song was Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and have them *not know what the fuck I was talking about.* I missed Cohen's tour for "The Future." That was his last tour. It was *fifteen years ago,* people. I was in *high school.* I have been kicking myself ever since.

No more! Not about this, anyway. I saw him at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD, and he was in terrific form. Cohen's starting to show his age -- particularly in his hands; his wrists are frighteningly old-man skinny -- but by gum he brought it. It was a classy, comfortable, leisurely show. The venue had advised that Mr. Cohen would take the stage promptly at 7:30 PM, and maybe he actually started around five minutes after that. No opening act; the concert ran for at least three hours, counting one intermission of maybe twenty minutes. He had a good bunch of bandmates and vocalists: Neil Larsen (keyboards), Roscoe Beck (bass/backing vocals/music direction), Javier Mas (guitar) Bob Metzger (guitar), Dino Soldo (sax/harmonica/backing vocals), and Rafael Gayol (percussion) provided the instrumentation, while the main backing vocals were provided by Cohen's longtime collaborator Sharon Robinson, along with the Webb Sisters (Hattie and Charlie). I've really enjoyed Robinson's work on Cohen's albums, so getting to see her sing with him in person was a real treat. (Among other credits, she co-wrote "Everybody Knows.") The band got plenty of opportunities to showcase their abilities, as Cohen set a leisurely pace, particularly early in the show, and there were plenty of instrumental solos. The second half of the show picked up in pace and intensity, and it was a great payoff.

A couple of notes: 1) I want an animated .gif icon of Leonard Cohen's old white man dancing skillz, because they were totally adorable; 2) Cohen likes to go down on his knees often while he's singing, so his area of the stage was covered with nice rugs. I may be mistaken, because I was a way off and the best look I got at the rugs was on the video monitors, but I could swear that at least one of them was a Qom.

Never done a concert write-up before; hopefully those friends of mine who're in bandom will let me know if this is the approved way of doing this.

The set list! )
hradzka: (cameron's head)
Kevin Kelly has an awesome article on Amish use of technology:

I visited one retrofit workshop run by a strict Mennonite. Marlin was a short beardless man (no beards for the Mennonites). He uses a horse and buggy, has no phone, but electricity runs in the shop behind his home. They use electricity to make pneumatic parts. Like most of his community, his kids work along side him. A few of his boys use a propane powered fork lift with metal wheels (no rubber so you can't drive it on the road) to cart around stacks of heavy metal as they manufacture very precise milled metal parts for pneumatic motors and for kerosene cooking stoves, an Amish favorite. The tolerances needed are a thousand of an inch. So a few years ago they installed a massive, $400,000 computer-controlled milling (CNC) machine in his backyard, behind the horse stable. This massive half-million dollar tool is about the dimensions of a delivery truck. It is operated by his 14-year old daughter, in a bonnet. With this computer controlled machine she makes parts for grid-free horse and buggy living.
hradzka: (wonder woman 2)
via [livejournal.com profile] lavendertattoo, I give you Ukranian. Fighting. Women.

French photojournalist Guillaume Herbaut spent some time with an unusual and tough group of 150 Ukrainian women who call themselves “Asgarda.” These women live in the Carpathian Mountains and follow a rigorous routine of fighting and boxing, often with medieval weaponry.

The women idolize Yulia Tymoshenko, the icon of the Orange Revolution and leader of the Ukrainian Fatherland party.


(I empathize with them, as I also, er, idolize Yulia Tymoshenko, for reasons that are entirely above-board and intellectual.)

English Russia did a post on them here, with lots of Herbaut's photos. (You can also see Herbaut's pics on photoshelter here.) Question: greatest thing ever, or greatest thing ever?

Also: they have bad-ass haircuts.

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hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
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A POEM EVERY DAY

The collected poems from my descent into madness year spent writing daily poems are now available from Lulu as the cheapest 330-page book they would let me make ($16.20). If that's too pricey, you can also get it from Lulu as a free download, or just click on the "a poem every day" tag to read them here. But if you did buy one, that'd be awesome.

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