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Well, I might as well hop on the YouTube music video bandwagon and start posting some videos from the vaults.

So, here's Orange Juice, the band that was disco-post-punk about 25 years before disco-post-punk became cool, in a live performance of  "Falling And Laughing".

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This week's Tuesday poem, by Austrian poet Peter Handke, is occasioned by my 33rd birthday.  You may recognize it from the excellent Wim Wenders film, Der Himmel über Berlin (aka Wings Of Desire).

Song Of Childhood
by Peter Handke

When the child was a child
It walked with its arms swinging,
wanted the brook to be a river,
the river to be a torrent,
and this puddle to be the sea.

When the child was a child,
it didn’t know that it was a child,
everything was soulful,
and all souls were one.

When the child was a child,
it had no opinion about anything,
had no habits,
it often sat cross-legged,
took off running,
had a cowlick in its hair,
and made no faces when photographed.

When the child was a child,
It was the time for these questions:
Why am I me, and why not you?
Why am I here, and why not there?
When did time begin, and where does space end?
Is life under the sun not just a dream?
Is what I see and hear and smell
not just an illusion of a world before the world?
Given the facts of evil and people.
does evil really exist?
How can it be that I, who I am,
didn’t exist before I came to be,
and that, someday, I, who I am,
will no longer be who I am?

When the child was a child,
It choked on spinach, on peas, on rice pudding,
and on steamed cauliflower,
and eats all of those now, and not just because it has to.

When the child was a child,
it awoke once in a strange bed,
and now does so again and again.
Many people, then, seemed beautiful,
and now only a few do, by sheer luck.

It had visualized a clear image of Paradise,
and now can at most guess,
could not conceive of nothingness,
and shudders today at the thought.

When the child was a child,
It played with enthusiasm,
and, now, has just as much excitement as then,
but only when it concerns its work.

When the child was a child,
It was enough for it to eat an apple, … bread,
And so it is even now.

When the child was a child,
Berries filled its hand as only berries do,
and do even now,
Fresh walnuts made its tongue raw,
and do even now,
it had, on every mountaintop,
the longing for a higher mountain yet,
and in every city,
the longing for an even greater city,
and that is still so,
It reached for cherries in topmost branches of trees
with an elation it still has today,
has a shyness in front of strangers,
and has that even now.
It awaited the first snow,
And waits that way even now.

When the child was a child,
It threw a stick like a lance against a tree,
And it quivers there still today.


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Birthday planning is running apace.  Final plans for the mellow moon-festival outing are set - we'll see the moon festival from 7-9pm on Sunday, followed by drinks/dessert at Capitol Brasserie.  I've e-mailed most of you who are in Austin, but leave me a comment if I've forgotten you and we'll get you set up.

The other party is proving a difficult task to complete, and may have to be postponed, but for now I'm remaining optimistic and forecasting a surreal fantasia for Saturday, October 14th.

Finally, I just have to rant about the state of online inviting.  There are so many great "2.0" apps out there for things like photos (flickr), life-management (43things), media consumption (allconsuming), etc.  I just cannot believe no one has risen to give Evite the smackdown.  There are many sites in closed beta, but nothing decent that I can actually use.  And Evite seems to no longer have the nifty feature they once had where you could print a paper invitation with a code people could use to add themselves to the list.  What the hell?  Why discontinue that?  It's precisely what I need...a URL I can post everywhere on other social networking sites, and hand out on paper invitations, but still collect RSVPs all in one place.  Grrrr.

So, my apologies for using Evite for this.  I've been trying for 3 days to get a PHP/MySQL solution working on my domain, but there have been a hundred tiny obstacles and my ISP has been very little help.  In an ideal world, you would have been presented with something far more sophisticated, cool, and friendly.
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This week's poem selection is inspired by a combination of the following:

1) McKee's numerological glossing on [profile] phylomath's recent review of Alinea,

2) [personal profile] greycat's impending adoption of a Japanese bobtail cat, and

3) My recent work on assembling a mix called "The Nymph's Reply To The Passionate Lloyd Cole", which is a collection of songs that do the same sort of cultural call-and-response that Sir Walter Raleigh's "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" did in 1600.

So, this week's selection is a reply of sorts: "Wild Gratitude", by Edward Hirsch. The poem it replies to is a well-anthologized excerpt from Christopher Smart's Jubilate Agno.  Smart was institutionalized in the 18th century for attempting to carry out his public mission of praying in every single one of London's multitude of streets.  While behind the walls of Bethnal Green, he wrote the Jubilate, a devotional poem of course, but also a passionate celebration of the intricate details of life.  In the course of the poem, Smart celebrates everything from the mystical power of numbers and letters ("For One is perfect and good being at unity in himself.") to the nobility of postal workers and the unique characteristics of all insect and animal species ("Let Giddalti rejoice with the Mocking-bird, who takes off the notes of the Aviary and reserves his own."), to a delightfully personal sense of humor ("For there is a traveling for the glory of God without going to Italy or France."). 

As a love poem to the whole of creation, it has few equals.

You can find the entire text of Jubilate Agno here, but I'm going to quote only the part Hirsch is most directly replying to...

For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffry
by Christopher Smart

And that brings us round at last to the actual poem of the day...

Wild Gratitude
by Edward Hirsch

Tonight when I knelt down next to our cat, Zooey,
And put my fingers into her clean cat's mouth,
And rubbed her swollen belly that will never know kittens,
And watched her wriggle onto her side, pawing the air,
And listened to her solemn little squeals of delight,
I was thinking about the poet, Christopher Smart,
Who wanted to kneel down and pray without ceasing
In every one of the splintered London streets,

And was locked away in the madhouse at St. Luke's,
With his sad religious mania, and his wild gratitude,
And his grave prayers for the other lunatics,
And his great love for his speckled cat, Jeoffry.
All day today—August 13, 1983—I remembered how
Christopher Smart blessed this same day in August, 1759,
For its calm bravery and ordinary good conscience.

This was the day that he blessed the Postmaster General
"And all conveyancers of letters" for their warm humanity,
And the gardeners for their private benevolence
And intricate knowledge of the language of flowers,
And the milkmen for their universal human kindness.
This morning I understood that he loved to hear—
As I have heard—the soft clink of milk bottles
On the rickety stairs in the early morning,

And how terrible it must have seemed
When even this small pleasure was denied him.
But it wasn't until tonight when I knelt down
And slipped my hand into Zooey's waggling mouth
That I remembered how he'd called Jeoffry "the servant
Of the Living God duly and daily serving Him,"
And for the first time understood what it meant.
Because it wasn't until I saw my own cat

Whine and roll over on her fluffy back
That I realized how gratefully he had watched
Jeoffry fetch and carry his wooden cork
Across the grass in the wet garden, patiently
Jumping over a high stick, calmly sharpening
His claws on the woodpile, rubbing his nose
Against the nose of another cat, stretching, or
Slowly stalking his traditional enemy, the mouse,
A rodent, "a creature of great personal valour,"
And then dallying so much that his enemy escaped.

And only then did I understand
It is Jeoffry—and every creature like him—
Who can teach us how to praise—purring
In their own language,
Wreathing themselves in the living fire.

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In the interest of having more excuses / digital guilt-trips to prod me into posting here, I'm starting a new posting series.  Every Tuesday I'll post a poem, beginning this week with a lovely poem by French Surrealist Robert Desnos. 

The Landscape
by Robert Desnos

I dreamt of loving. The dream remains, but love
is no longer those lilacs and roses whose breath
filled the broad woods, where the sail of a flame
lay at the end of each arrow-straight path.

I dreamt of loving. The dream remains, but love
is no longer that storm whose white nerve sparked
the castle towers, or left the mind unrhymed,
or flared an instant, just where the road forked.

It is the star struck under my heel in the night.
It is the word no book on earth defines.
It is the foam on the wave, the cloud in the sky.

As they age, all things grow rigid and bright.
The streets fall nameless, and the knots untie.
Now, with this landscape, I fix; I shine.

(Translated from the French by Don Paterson)

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This year I'm planning dual-option festivities for my birthday, and I wanted to give ample warning so you can save the dates.

For My Mellower Friends: O-tsukimi, the traditional Japanese moon festival.  It's Sunday, October 8, from 7-9pm at the Taniguchi Japanese Garden in Zilker Park.  Lots of paper lanterns, beautiful kimonos, and a full moon.  Afterward, we'll repair to an as-yet-undetermined location for desserts/drinks. Photos here.

For Those Who Don't Mind Small Crowds:  A surrealist birthday party on Saturday, October 14, circa 9pm to ???.  Unlike my last surrealism party - which wasn't a failure, but was very low-key - this one will somewhat emphasize the party aspect over the hardcore surrealism aspect.  Venue yet to be determined, DJ yet to be determined, but I can promise Sharpie tattoos by Alex, a live performance by the Bill Gates Dance Explosion, and lots of random merriment.  Costumes and/or affected personas encouraged, but not required.  This will be a great time to try on that sexy Bavarian accent you've been itching to perfect, or wear that fish costume you wore at Halloween 3 years ago, this time while riding a bicycle.

You are of course welcome to come to both if you're so inclined. 

I'll have a website up soon to collect RSVPs; for now, just mark your calendar.
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Last weekend I went to the annual John Cage birthday concert (one of many reasons to love Austin), and I came away with a refreshed interest in chance-driven musical improvisation. 

For several years now I've fantasized about pulling together an ongoing performance series based on John Zorn's game-piece Cobra.  As it turns out, Austin now has a group devoted to this task: the Austin Cobra Players.  After a recent hiatus, they're regrouping for some new performances, so I requested an invite to sit in and was given the go-ahead and access to their collection of the rules. 

I won't link the rules here because the rules are a guarded semi-secret amongst musicians who play the game.  It's a tradition with this piece for the audience to be oblivious to the methods of its construction.  I can tell you, though, that it bears a significant resemblance to the elaborate systems of hand-body gestures used by baseball teams, with some elements of guerilla warfare thrown in to keep everyone off-balance.  Anyway, it should provide a fun environment with lots of musical freedom, which is something I'd really appreciate right now.

Anyway, here's the part of interest to fans of 1000 Blank White Cards: The founder of the Austin Cobra Players is also the creator of a piece called Raw Shack.  The score is a set of 50 cards with different instructions, and these cards are displayed to musicians throughout the piece by a prompter.  Some of them give very explicitly musical instructions - "Funk in G, with choking iguana", "Mozart, age 4", "Eric Dolphy and Stevie Wonder have a picnic" - while others are very much open to interpretation - "one of you is a communist...", "Dinosaur Toothache", "Great Moments In Literature", etc.  How much fun is the notion of performing a dinosaur toothache?!

The truly awesome part is this: the piece is open-source.  Performers are free to create cards and add them to the score.  So in theory, you could play the whole thing as a musical game of 1kbwc, with everyone creating cards before the show, then they're shuffled into the deck and drawn at random.  Nifty!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to jamming with these noisy weirdos in the near future - I'll let you all know as the performances draw nigh.

In other music news,  I haven't been recording much lately, but the new DJ controller is on its way from Spain, and [profile] minimalrobot and I will probably soon be doing another DJ set at FactoryPeople.

the 50 cards
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By way of [profile] hujhax, this meme lets you make me cool enough to hang out with you by guiding my cultural consumption.  After this, maybe you'll actually return my calls!

Please recommend to me (taking into account what you know about my personal tastes):

-a film
-a book
-a CD
-a restaurant
-a food
-a beverage (non-alcoholic)
-an alcoholic beverage
-a play
-a poem
-a person I don't know
-a blog or webcomic
-an activity.

Then repost the meme, and I'll also recommend stuff to you.
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By way of [personal profile] hangingfire, here's a music meme.  Someone provides you with a letter, and you list 5 to 10 songs whose titles start with said letter, and little blurb  on why you chose them.   Here's my list for the letter H.  Let me know if you'd like to play, and I'll give you a letter.

1) How It Shone - Pierce Turner -- Turner is without a doubt one of the most underappreciated Irish musicians on the planet.  By the time his solo career began, he was living as an expatriate in New York City, but his 1986 debut album It's Only A Long Way Across is a burbling, brilliant celebration of his County Wexford homeland.  It marries traditional Irish folk-ballad conventions with elements of new wave, electropop, and modernist minimal classical a la Phillip Glass.  In fact, Glass produced much of the album, including this track, which features Turner's soaring vocals and poetic lyrics celebrating the light of a Wexford sun shining on the water.   (Any of my friends who are into Elvis Costello,  Black 47, Luka Bloom, or anything of that ilk should go mad for this song.  I'm lookinq squarely at you, [personal profile] hangingfire and [profile] shadyglenn.)

2) Heartbreak Hotel - John Cale -- Elvis may have made this song famous, but it took John Cale to actually make it heartbreaking.  In his skillful hands, it becomes almost disturbingly mordant; dark, slow, and angst-ridden.  The studio version features all sorts of musique concrete sound effects collaged into the mix to amp up the creepiness and sense of utter dislocation, but I prefer the naked emotion of the voice-and-piano live version from Fragments of a Rainy Season.

3) How Can I Apply? - Trash Can Sinatras -- It's a wallflower's love song, plan and simple.  In my estimation, it's the number one gem on TCS's difficult-to-find third album A Happy Pocket.  It reminds me of all those times (so common in adolescence, but naturally a few of them follow you into adulthood) when the depth of your yearning far exceeds the height of your courage.

4) Happiness Is Easy - Talk Talk -- This song is one of the most nuanced, thoughtfully ambiguous considerations of modern spirituality I've ever heard in song.  Talk Talk gets name-dropped a lot these days, and credited with being a major influence in the development of post-rock.  Meanwhile, the complex philosophical/theological perspectives  of Mark Hollis's lyrics tend to get overlooked.  One moment he's asking "Spirit, how long?" in a song titled I Believe In You, while the next he's saying "Our decline goes on / But your pride won't heed it / It's the same old song / I don't believe you" in another song titled I Don't Believe In You.  And here in Happiness Is Easy, he shoulders an all-too-timely ironic doubt: "It wrecks me / how they justify / their acts of war / they assemble, they pray".  And when the children's choir (yes, really) comes in singing
Joy be written on the earth
And the sky above
Jesus star that shines so bright
Gather us in love's both satire, and sincerity, all of a piece.

5) Here Comes A City - The Go-Betweens -- This urgent rocker reminds me of late-night trips into New York City on the New Jersey Transit.  Insistent rhythmic motion, and an endless movie of urban village backwaters.

6) Heaven - Talking Heads -- I like the Stop Making Sense version for the beautiful vocal harmonies.  Despite the name, I think this one is more personal than theological - it's about escaping the unending eventfulness of your own life.  Which, when you're as famous as Talking Heads were at the time, can be more than a little hectic and stressful.  You'd soon get to thinking that "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens", where kisses start over again as soon as they're over and the band is always playing your favorite song.

7) Humoresque - Art Tatum --  Tatum is to jazz piano what Glenn Gould was to classical piano.  And frankly, that's selling him short.  A lot of you reading this have passed through the swing-dancing scene, but chances are you've never heard a Tatum track.  What he did to songs is beyond swing, beyond bebop, beyond anything you can package up neatly in a genre.  His musical imagination is completely unfettered...these aren't songs anyone could dance to, because they knock you right off of your feet.  Here, he takes a classical tune by Dvorak and explodes it into a kaleidoscope of possible harmonies, possible melodies, possible emotions.  There are a dozen recordings of him playing this song, but any one of them will be brilliant.  Take your pick.

8) Hobart Paving - Saint Etienne -- Reminds me of coming out of a club in DC (or any big city) at 3am.  The streets are still wet from a 2am thunderstorm, and the streets and sidewalks are empty.  You miss the last train, so you walk home alone through a city that feels almost too big, yet somehow comforting.  If I had to put this song into one word, it would be "consolation", but if you allow me more than one, I'd say "a very lonely sort of consolation".

9) "Heroes" - David Bowie -- Everyone knows this song.  Almost everyone knows it was recorded in his brilliant "Berlin period" when he was living there and working with Brian Eno.  I'm not sure everyone really knows just how "Berlin" this song is, though.  It's a cross-border, Cold War love song.  It's a love crushed by societal forces stronger than the fragile hearts of two people.  It's kissing at the checkpoint and knowing you'll never meet again..."heroes / just for one day".  In a way, I think it's the best kind of love song, because even when it's hard, even when it's impossible, love is sweet, and yes, even heroic. 
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Last night, on my way to meet a friend at Dog & Duck, I happened to drive past the Texas Chili Parlor (where QT is filming his new movie) and in the process saw the most awesome flashing lightboard traffic warning ever:




Sadly, the rain apparatus wasn't running as I drove by, but it was huge and impressive.   On my way home, I caught a glimpse of it in operation, but alas, I didn't get the chance to drive through it.
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...especially you, [personal profile] hangingfire.   Go read this interesting article by Momus on the cute little Japanese knitted dolls called amigurumi.  Chortle at the tongue-in-cheek social commentary.  Then Google away and find out how to make one.  You know you want to.

p.s. Here's one pattern source to get you started: Roxycraft
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So I spent the weekend in Port Aransas on a bachelor-party deep-sea fishing trip for a friend at work.  It was mostly a weekend of failed plans and last-minute workarounds, with the original early-morning launch for Saturday getting abruptly cancelled, and then a just-as-abrupt rescheduling for a late-night outing Saturday night. 

Many of us regretted that abruptness, and learned that cramming shrimp tacos fresh off the grill just before going on a boat is not such a good idea unless one is actually wanting to serve as a human chum-bucket.  Luckily, I continued my streak of never being seasick, but the misery of the others did take some of the shine off the trip.

The weekend did have its highlights, though.  In particular, the eerie clearness of the water when the fishing boat anchored for the last time that night, just downwind of an abandoned oil platform.  The shiny needlefish darting near the surface reflected the light from the boat beautifully.

And even cooler was standing in the surf Friday night, turning toward shore, and seeing a lovely black-on-black tableau that looked like the cover of the Cocteau Twins' The Pink Opaque.
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I haven't read anything at all about the new Pirates movie, no reviews and no blogs, so if this seems unoriginal to you, chalk it up to the innately obvious nature of what I am about to reveal, because I discovered it without any outside assistance.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest *IS* The Empire Strikes Back.

Kudos to the casting team, though.  They tapped several of my favorite character actors, including Bill Nighy as Davy Jones, Stellan Skarsgard as Bootstrap Bill, Mackenzie Cross (Gareth from The Office!) reprising as the surprisingly literate Ragetti, and of course the return of Jack Davenport (Steve from Coupling!) as Norrington.

All of the above gave performances well worth my matinee $6, notwithstanding my annoyance problems with the third act.  So in spite of myself, I'll be looking forward to the third installment.
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So, here's a bunch of cover art from albums I've listened to recently.  I was bored, so I even went so far as to organize each row around a theme, with each theme suggested somehow by the last cover on the previous row.  I think the rule of the meme was albums you've listened to in the last two weeks, but I fudged that a little to make the themes's more like the past month.  Anyway, you can amuse yourself by figuring out the themes, although most of them are pretty obvious.

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OK, comedy first.  [profile] la_directora posted one of my favorite funny bits of MINI marketing, so that inspired me to unleash a pile of funny links I've collected while waiting for the MINI to arrive.  A couple of these are borderline Not Safe For Work, so I'll label those NSFW.

1) MINI Canada - Their cheeky new site for spring has a barbershop quartet theme.  Sounds really sedate and boring, eh?  Well, just listen to the songs and you will be busting a gut with laughter.  I especially recommend "Cheetahs Are Pussies" (the Cooper S song) and "Burn Rubber And Skin" (the Cooper S Convertible song).  Because "straps are bull$#!t"

2) MINI Canada's site from this past winter (NSFW for sexual themes) - MINI Canada had a hilarious dominatrix-themed site all winter long. 
Take your time clicking around through all the different icons...there are some really funny bits.

3) MINI ad: Space   (NSFW for sexual themes) - "Wow, there IS a lot of room in here"

4) This guy is really, really, REALLY good at parallel parking.

5) MINI ad: Two Best Friends  Well, they do say the MINI has "bulldog stance".

6) MINI convertible ad: Jump - When you open this, first click the "Success" link on the left to see the final ad.  Then wince as you watch the other links and the many, many failed attempts.  Actually, this is not especially funny in any sort of typical American sense of the word "funny", but if you appreciate wry, black British humour you might get a few chuckles out of it.  In any event, the final video is spectacular.

OK, on to the MINI update:

After seeing and driving the MINI in person, it is quite apparent that she wants to be a girl-a scrappy, tomboyish girl, but a girl nonetheless.  So calling her "Folgore" was right out the window.  So I went with Fio...the engineer sidekick from Porco Rosso.  She's gutsy, tomboyish, cute, and she kicks ass, which pretty well fits the car exactly.

Given the overall Italian flair of my British motorcar, I've been told the Japanese license plates might be a bit out of tune, so here's the updated short list of MINI license plate ideas:

TWEE MF (suggested by Bruce)

I still have 2 weeks until the standard plates arrive and I'll be able to swap them for new ones, so by all means feel free to persuade me to choose your favorite.
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Tomorrow, I shall pick up my shiny new MINI from the dealership.

Next, the agony of having to wait 1200 miles before getting to fully exploit the supercharged speed-demon lurking within. Nothing over 4500's going to be a tough couple of weeks.

Surprisingly, despite my calling around for a zillion different quotes on insurance, the best deal I can get is from State Farm. Apparently they're one of those rare companies where customer loyalty really does still count for something...I've been on State Farm since I was 16, and you rack up a pretty nice renewal discount over the years.

I'm still trying to decide on a cool license plate. The design of the MINI is such that it really calls attention to the license plate, and in fact the front end isn't really designed with American-style plates in mind, so anywhere you put it it looks a little odd. So, if it's going to be conspicuous, I decided I'm springing for a personalized plate.

Current contenders:
CHIBI (Japanese for "mini", more or less),
O CHIBI (in case CHIBI is taken, basically Japanese for "exceptionally mini"),
ROSSO (Italian for "red", also alludes to the Miyazaki film Porco Rosso),
P ROSSO (slightly more obvious allusion to same film),
CT HNTR (allusion to the Anime City Hunter--honestly, I'm not this much of an otaku...I just want something that isn't bloody obvious and annoying--in which a sort of freelance assassin/detective roars around Tokyo in his Mini kicking ass and wooing women.)

I'm leaning toward CHIBI or O CHIBI, myself, but feel free to offer your opinions or other suggestions.
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Here's my tentative plan for Wednesday, in case you're wanting to stalk me:

8pm - Luminous Orange @ Habana Calle
(Angry Robot also listed Cue, but they're local, so I'm going with the Japanese group that might never come here again. Sweden's The Envelopes also sounded cool, but this seemed even cooler)

9pm - Voxtrot @ Emo's
(ok, they're local, too, but they're excellent and I didn't have anything else I wanted to see at 9pm)

10pm - New Pornographers @ Stubb's, or Annie @ Eternal at 10:30, or Field Music @ Emo's
(classic SXSW dilemma - I'd rather see Annie, but going would make it tough to get in for Belle & Sebastian @ 11 @ Stubb's, so I'll probably hang around Emo's for most of Field Music, then go to Stubb's around 10:20 to guarantee admission by 11 and maybe catch the tail end of New Pornographers)

11pm - Belle & Sebastian @ Stubb's
(Beth Orton has day shows, so Belle & Sebastian wins)

1am - Mogwai @ Stubb's
(You can't go wrong with Scots at SXSW. Consistently good, those Scottish folk.)
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Originally uploaded by PorcoRosso.
So I've been a little behind schedule on the MINI updates. The Liberty (circled in red on the map) has been at sea for several days now, and recently docked in New York Harbor to unload the MINIs bound for points northeast.

Liberty the ship, wave hello to Liberty the big green lady with a torch!

By now, the Liberty should be on her way southward along the coast to Charleston, SC, where my MINI will be unloaded on the 17th.

Here's to safe sailing!
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Waitin' for the boat
Originally uploaded by PorcoRosso.

The MINI is now finished and sitting at the Southampton docks, waiting to board the slow boat to North America. Just one small problem...the boat doesn't come until March 4th. Looks like MINI production has increased to the point where cars no longer go out on the first available boat. So right now it's sitting on the Southampton docks (as seen here...thanks again, Google Earth!), impatiently tapping its 17" alloy foot.

According to the projected voyage schedule from the good people of Walhenius Wilhelmsen, it will disembark in Charleston, SC on March 18. After that, it should take another week or so to reach the dealer and be prepped and upgraded with my chosen dealer options.

Be sure to click the photos and zoom in on the massive collection of MINIs sitting on the dock. That could well be the twee-est auto image EVER.


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Originally uploaded by PorcoRosso.
For those of you who think I'm taking the whole MINI process a little too seriously, bear in mind two things:

1) This is the first time ever that I'm buying precisely the car I want.

2) They encourage this sort of thing themselves, with their marketing and even with the cheeky online tracking pages. Note the goofy birth metaphor in today's page from order tracking:

Your MINI has been scheduled for production and will begin to move through the "birth canal" at our Oxford plant, one of the most modern and advanced production facilities in all of Europe. With our extremely rigorous quality control standards in place, you should rest well knowing that your baby is in the best of hands.

Yes, as of Friday, the MINI was scheduled for production, and as of today it's IN production with a scheduled completion (birth) date of February 26.

One thing I've learned thus far, and I mention this for any of you who may consider a future MINI purchase: the automated phone hotline is much more detailed and up-to-date than the webpage. The webpage didn't reflect the change to Scheduled status until today, and it makes no further distinction between Scheduled For and In Production. Trust the phone line, that's my advice.

Now, I could be really obsessive and get even more detail by pestering a live phone representative - other bloggers have done so, but I'm not going to go there. So this should be the last MINI update for a while until the 26th. Then things will get really geeky as I bust out the satellite tracking of my MINI on its seaborne journey.

You have to love the Internets for stuff like this.
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