March 30th, 2006



"Nifty", huh? Maybe it's because I grew up in the Cold War and all, but the idea of putting in latitude and longitude data for my place with a command "set icbm" just creeps me out!

What the fuck is Brendan babbling about? See HERE.

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One last one for March ...

Did you ever have a professor who just rubbed you the wrong way? Somebody who, while they may have known their shit and was an effective teacher, just constantly made you want to bitchslap them? That was the vibe I was getting from the author of the current book.

The New Archaeology and the Ancient Maya is really more about Jeremy A. Sabloff's views about "The New Archaeology" than the Maya. Sure, the book discusses the Maya (they are, after all, the subject of his fieldwork), but I got the feeling that the Maya were just the excuse for pushing Sabloff's style of archaeological research in this book. He reminds me of the MBAs spewing out of the business schools back in the 80's, hellbent to implement their new models and not interested in what had proven effective before they arrived on the scene.

This is not to say that the book is without value, it provides an interesting comparison between "old archaeology", which concentrated almost exclusively on the "major works" of a culture (or, as the author puts it "of the Elite"), versus the supposed "new archaeology" which seems more like anthropological forensics operating within a context that has more than whiff of tacit Marxist paradigms. Again, I am reminded of many an argument in college with Leftist friends about what constituted "culture" and how the tangible arts helped define that. Now, it's not that Sabloff is explicitly saying that the pyramids and palaces don't matter, but he seems more interested in the stuff that fell between the cracks in peasant hovels.

Thanks, no doubt, to this being part of the Scientific American Library, the book is beautifully illustrated, especially with a collection of really remarkable photos (many shot just on the edge of storms, most with amazing skies) which give a fresh perspective to many familiar ruins! I was also amused to find in one photo what would appear to be the "source" of the "Jungle Ruin" hole in Sierra's classic 3-D Ultra Minigolf game ... a side temple off of the main plaza at Tikal!

Anyway, this isn't a bad book, just preachy (or maybe it's just pushing my buttons) ... but with lots of interesting bits and pieces and pretty pictures to look at. If you didn't know much about the Maya, I wouldn't recommend starting off with this one, but if you've built up some context in which to place Sabloff's theories, it's a decent addition to your library. And, hey ... Amazon's new/used vendors have a "very good" copy for 50¢ ... the photography alone is worth that (plus the $3.49 shipping)!

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Today ...

The strangest thing happened today. I sort of "took the day off", having run out of job leads, and not gotten new ones until noonish. I ended up running some errands, dropping a box off at the post office and running downtown to see if I could find this one shoe type in my size at one of the PayLess stores in the Loop and on Michigan Avenue.

Anyway, as I was leaving the Post Office I suddenly realized that I was in a real good mood! I mean, that never happens ... I go through life in such a dark morbid funk 99.99% of the time that it was remarkable to suddenly feel all "up" and stuff. Now, it may have been the weather (heck, it's still in the mid-60's at nearly 9pm), but I was amazed to find myself not depressed, feeling doomed, in a silent murderous rage, etc.!

I figured I should make a note of it, because I really can't remember the last time I felt that way.

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New music ...

The Wife had gotten me a BestBuy gift certificate for Valentine's Day, and I'd been meaning to get up there for weeks (I needed a new CD rack, and they had one that was just about what I was looking for). Anyway, yesterday I was running a bit late after my second interview, so I opted to just take the bus on up to pick up Daughter #2 and then head on from there to BestBuy. I got the CD rack, a mini boombox to replace one The Girls have had that isn't working, and still had enough left over on the card to pick up some music.

One thing I got was Bob Mould's Body of Song, which I've been listening to since then. Mould (formerly of Hüsker Dü) announced that he's given up "hard rock" and the songs here certainly don't roar like they used to, but it's still recognizably his work. While no Black Sheets of Rain, this new Body of Song is quite engaging, and not the disappointment that I had somewhat feared. Speaking of things Hüsker Dü, I saw something about Grant Hart sitting in with Bob Mould at some stop on a tour ... it would be so cool if those two could collaborate again (heck, it would be cool if Hart had his shit together again, he's supposedly recording an album due out this year, while his last one came out in 1999!).

Anyway, the other stuff I got (all on sale, yet) was the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's Howl (with its cool retro cover), the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Show Your Bones, and a special BestBuy-exclusive edition of Rammstein's Rosenrot which includes a concert DVD. I'll probably comment on those once I get around to listening to 'em (I typically put a CD in the desktop stereo and play it over and over again until I get sick of it ... I'm probably on about play #8 through the Mould CD at this point).

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