Category Archives: the shell

Projected & Considered


So here I am again. I’ve made a non-career of throwing myself at the wall and nothing sticking. But on occasions such as this, the first day of a year, I am taken by the idea of a start. Not so much a change mind you, I have been feeling too set in my ways to con myself into believing that one again. But for some reason I am still empathic to the idea of starting anew. But with deference to the past, of course

I have not bothered to look back at the posts before this one. Often it is this process of reflection on blogging past that stops the process dead in its tracks. What was I going to do? Why did it not happen or who didn’t care; more monuments to blockage and discouragement.
Imagine my surprise when I chose images at random from my stockpile of compulsively collected clips and found I had used all those images several times before! So much for being original!


There is a bit of double standard on the original. Sterne’s Tristram Shandy & Stein’s Tender Buttons are two works written so long ago that you’d think that the techniques employed there would be old hat by now. Nope, they still mark the outskirts, the places where no one but English Majors go. Brackage and Deren took film to the extremes of abstraction and everyone is still pretty much watching conventional narratives. And for the sake of brevity I will neglect the endless explorers of music who sawed away tonality and melody to sculpt sound. When we talk about something original, aren’t we looking for that thing we identify despite efforts by the artistic to obscure?

Believe when I say I am part of this condition as much as anyone else. I make the efforts to push along the edges of my own self confinement but these attempts are simple excursions, day trips to the outliers of the common experience. In recent years, I have built up these limitations on these expansive journeys into the unknown. It’s not the right time to watch this movie or book because I am tired or unprepared for the challenges that something singular will have on my comfortable niche. I often find that the internet has created this sense of over-curation, that nothing is approachable on its own but must be swallowed along with its connected commentary. The irony of modern times is that availability has blown out my ability to choose. Do I have time to give myself over to a book that takes six months to read or a movie that is over two hours?

This is not a desire to return to a point in the past. I doubt I have an insight to select a golden age or still point from which clarity could be achieved. I also do not see it as a complaint. I don’t think that it is a worthwhile means to gain pity. And really anything pity can buy is not much worth owning. Instead this observation is about delineating the shape of a condition for easy recognition. For only when can you see something is there any chance of doing anything about it. The trick is how to know what has past without getting tangled up in the processing of old information.

I had thought for a moment I would seriously just make this blog about how I never write blog posts. Especially since I have inexhaustible things to say about the process of not doing something. Procrastination is like dark matter, a theoretical miasma. I have tried all manner of guidelines to ignite the fires, to get over this sense of being on the verge of gettin’ it on. My blogging was very sparse last year. I imagine that it will still be like this for a while longer. I am still in the midst of finding a way of naturally creating content which does not feel like ambulance chasing the zeitgeist. It has its advantages in terms of visits BUT this was never supposed to that type of thing.


So what I will attempt to do is make TSFI more integrated with my other social media. Twitter and Letterboxd are my primary sources of writing on the web. And to be honest they have more to do with settling within the strictures created by someone else then some idea I’ve had about this type of writing experience. Despite this, I would also like to finish up The Secret Singularity posts I had begun last year and will continue to do that more for myself than anyone else. They are about me trying to work out the contours of a very large maze of terms and contradictions. I am hoping that this will eventually lead to something that frames my posts here. I would like it to encapsulate all my interests as I cycle through them instead of a banging on one of them so I become known as an authority on basketweaving or whatever. I am looking to create a dialog that crosscuts and reflects my interests. I am not trying to be a tastemaker but somebody who can describe what this feast tastes like.
So that’s it for now. Let’s see what happens. This was written with a minimum of edits and with the spirit of getting it done in full effect.



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The Secret Singularity – On The Verge

Often when I want to write about some pop culture/art object that I enjoy, I find it difficult to separate the experience from the thing. While I think it is a fool’s errand to try, I find myself trying to do it again. The deepness of the connection to certain items is hard to ignore. We all want for our favorite things to also be culturally vital


The truth of the matter is a vast majority of things are actually only significant to a subset of people. The first impulse when confronted with the “totem” of another “tribe” seems to be one of dismissal if not recognition. Personally harboring so many interests, I have to set some aside to pick them up later. The advantage in being obsessive on one particular thing, like Star Wars for example , is that a majority of your ever-shrinking leisure time is consumed by that one thing, the only thing that really speaks to you. I want to say that I envy that person’s dedication but I’ll be honest. Without variety, I don’t think I could be excited in anything. Contrast invigorates me.

stand off pilgrim

The personal affirmation element found in pop culture/art objects is severely underestimated. Most people are drawn to items which overtly express their personal values. The confusion between an actor and a role or author and a character are good examples of this association. It seems to be that no matter how much we are told that media does not drive behavior, we look to the book and record collections of famous and infamous people to be indicators of identity. Personality is ephemeral yet objects are not is a hard thing to parse. To be truthful this common confusion is discomforting to me. I think while our choices in entertainment or art do say things about us, we are the final arbiters. We are more that what we own and less than what we dream.


Though it is only in our actions that we exist in this world, the way that our imagination threads through our daily lives is striking. Often it is the one thing which keeps alive if not always safe or successful. There is a resonance in our choices, the ways we wile our time and the characters we chose to fixate upon does indicate something. I am just not sure that a majority of people are very good at valuation.

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Angry Energies – A Micro-Comp

More curating for the disinterested and disaffected!

A good clip that gives off that Old Gray Whistle Test vibe. It is strange for me to attach faces to this music. Miss the f bomb in the second to last verse. I can be silly like that sometimes.

If you don’t get The Clash, you won’t get me. London Calling is masterpiece of an album. This song sums up much I am feeling these days. Occasionally amazes me that they mention the capital of the state where I live. Often doubt that I actually heard them sing it.

A bit too much Ministry than my top tier favorite Killing Joke songs but, the message has been on my mind a lot. I am sure that will thrill those who business it is to read blogs. Reading blogs all day? Now there’s an easy job.

The best times of my life were in the 90s. Not saying it was a golden age. I don’t mind taking a mental day trip away from the free floating awfulness that is the aughts. The use of this song in The Rules of Attraction sticks with me for some reason.

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A Study in Orange

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Comic Strip Presents Striking Hollywood Satire

This and other funny films can be found on –

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Grounds for The Jitters?

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Fugue Sounds – Honorable Mentions

The methods of how people approach music and my own getting older has made the idea of viewing the best in music on a yearly basis to be old fashioned. As you drift out of the “free money” demographic, it becomes unlikely that you can keep up without being a paid media critic/blogger.

Another element of selection, besides the year criteria, is how can you choose an album that you have just got to be the best of year? It seems to me that you have to live with it for at least month before you claim it as the best. Impact is key yet you really have to live with a piece of music before judging it. This element will become harder or more obvious as we have to spread our dollar and attention thinner and thinner.

Enough quantifying, here’s more music that made my year

Hype has the opposite effect on me. However Kurt Vile‘s connection to The War on Drugs made me take the leap.I must admit that I was not immediately taken with Smoke Ring for My Halo. And yet the hooks dug in quick. Its spin on psych flecked folk rock manages to be both sleepy and taut. If I got into earlier it would place higher.

Last year, I decided to figure out what all this Kinks talk was about. And I finally made contact with Muswell Hillbillies this summer. What took me so long? The interaction between British and American styles creates a perfect backdrop for Ray Davies’cynicism and humorously defiant lyrics. Deserves its classic status.

Loudin Wainwright III is an acquired taste. His voice, his tact on folk rock, and his sense of humor is not for everyone. I am at a loss to place this in the continuum of 70s singer-songwriters. Slanting towards early Prine or possibly a really cynical/sarcastic Chapin, I guess. Unique.

The Great Destroyer was my entry point into the discography of Low.The album contains multitudes: the trio offers variety. The ability to be expansive while maintaining an identity is not an easy feat. A bittersweet (or just plain bitter)strand runs through the lyrics. I think anyone who enjoys good 90s indie should give it a listen. A depressed Mid-Western Yo La Tengo? (Too inside?)

For me, LiarsSisterworld cemented the band’s reputation in my mind. The art/noise rock here is wonderfully balanced between menace and humor. They have outstripped their influences and turned into an adjective. Adventurous yet swinging!

February update – The final part of Fugue Sounds never happened. In short, listen to Califone – they are fantastic! And spin a Jesus and Mary Chain album every once and awhile. They are also fantastic. Expand by digging back as much as by keeping up. Keep the dream alive, folks.

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