Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Barely a Metric for Pressure

The good news is that I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to make the Davidoff Magnum cigarettes I got in Dubai last for almost 10 days. Ignore the fact that I’m still smoking way too much these days, and that I had to intersperse one of the most pristine cigarettes manufactured with crap Swedish Marlboros, likely manufactured in Korea. Davidoff Magnums are heavenly. I dare say, even better than Camel Wides. So I swing, sometimes within the hour from some of the best tobacco one can smoke to some of the worst.

And that is the general mood too. Around February, spring was knocking on the door, we got our first extension and a few big projects were rolling around and I was transitioning into my current role. Then it was July...all of the sudden it seems. The current role has the ups and downs I was warned, and prepared for. I can normally handle such well, with my stoic and annoying abstraction of everything. But now I’m seeing it reflected in my mood day to day.

My usual barometer for my mood is the music I’m listening to. Back in February, I got the Stone Jack Jones album "Bluefolk,” but as good as it was, its bluesy, Armageddon drenched, Appalachian flavored country wasn’t what the jet streams were calling for. Now they are. But my stoicism is still there.

Today at the dinner table while talking about what the lot of the world is talking about, and how it may affect us here, we had trouble recalling the last time there was an incident in Kabul. (For Kabul, it’s been nearly two weeks, though the South, by some measures is getting better (less total killing/fighting reported), and others, getting worse (Taliban took over two small towns).) I’m not sure if that is stoicism, on the part of all four of us sitting at the table, or just simple desensitization, on the part of all four of us sitting at the table. Either way, we quickly started talking about how the chicken that night was particularly good.

So back to the barometer, as the other end of it is that the summer crop of songs is coming out. It looks like it will be a good season. So when I get tired of the foreboding (with odd tinges of hope though...go check out ‘Vivid’) Stone Jack Jones, I’m all about Lily Allen and her new single “Smile.” Via p-fork, I found out about it a few weeks ago. And they put up a full album review, which paints a good picture. Sadly, iTunes only has the above-mentioned single's EP.

So I’m down to only one more pack of Magnums, and I’m probably wearing out 'Smile' and 'Vivid'. Maybe whats going on proximately and distantly will settle down too. Though there seems to be no causation between my smoking habits, the music I listen too and/or life outside Kabul, there may be a correlation.

I’ll have to keep an eye on those barometers.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Back to, But Not Into, The Swing of Things

Got back to Kabul today. But feel completely out of the loop. The quick trip to Dubai was good, cause I really didn't do anything noteworthy at all: went to restaurants, smoked shisha, read, watched movies, sat by the pool, etc... Though, I think it just made the dislocation worse. Kept up with work there, but in coming back I feel completely out of the loop. And it was basically 48 hours that I wasn't here for.

But I did get to decompress, and sleep, and laize about. So the energy level should be back up for a bit, and will hopefully last me through to the end of August.

Work is largely the same. Though my affection for it had, or has changed. In the least my attitude towards it has changed. I'm giving it the 'it's not you, it's me' line these days. Maybe me and work can get back to the way we were before now that I've had this little break.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

(Car) Bombs Bursting In Air

Happy 4th everyone.

I thought I was gonna miss out on the fireworks. It's been a running tradition for nearly 10 years for a group of us high school friends to have a BBQ/Picnic, and then go watch the fireworks from the Mall. I obviously am missing that this year. Hello to all of you, wish I was there.

But fear not, I got to at least hear some explosions. Seems like the Taliban felt like commemorating the 4th as well. Though their explosives don't have that neat multi-color star effect. Maybe we'll at least get the ISAF to launch some tracers tonight or something.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A Wisdom of Sorts or of Sorting

It could just as likely be tinnitus too. Because this next band has, as one of my former housemates used to say, "that annoying indie tinny sound." Upon saying such, and after yelling at me to turn the shit off, he would usually follow on with an explitive and command them to: 1) get decent recording equipment, or 2) learn to tune their insturments properly, or 3) stop letting tone-deaf singers join the band--and on the especially prideful occasion, I'd get him to say all three.

So this is for you Brown Bear: The Cold War Kids.

I've been sitting on them for a while. At first I dug them a lot. Then they seemed like good recyclers of many of the current crop of indie-stars (especially the NYC New Wave/Garage Rock/Blues-Soul crews). But now I'm settled to liking them a lot again. Once again, a provisio on the singing voice. So you got there sound.

If I were you, I'd start here, with "Hospital Beds", and then move on to here, with "The Soloist in the Living Room." Their website has two other downloads. Otherwise, they seem inaccessable from remote locations.

**But I found some more Cold War Kids songs. Here they are. A thank you to So Much Silence for posting the songs from a KEXP set.