Pop Culture Tuesday

My paper in in the mail, and I am happy to be rid of it. I was so far down the rabbit hole that I don't even know if it was good, but it was 34 pages long so I hope I at least pass or at least half of the class did worse than me.

Now, I'm focusing on reading several books and catching up with what's going on in the world. For school, I'm still reading The Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela's autobiography. This is a phenomenal book--he's a clear, concise, and engaging writer, and the insight into South African history, something I haven't really studies, is totally fascinating. It really makes me realize how ethnocentric all my social studies education was, except for this cool teacher I had in 9th grade who showed us slide of him going an staying with Masai. I'm also reading some technical books about research,which aren't as boring as one might think. Learning about how survey research is done allows me to analyze polls and articles about research that are in magazines or the paper to see if their results are credible. I swear, it's not as nerdy as one would think. The final book I'm reading is a review copy of The Future of Nature, a collection of essays about the natural world and humanity's relationship with it. I'm very excited about this book, because 1) I love getting advance copies in the mail--it makes me feel like a big time reviewer or something and 2)there are some big names who contributed to the book: Wendell Berry, Bill McKibben, to drop a few. I'm aiming to review it on Saturday for Green Options.

Chris and I have been listening to a ton of new discs since we went to Euclid Records for his birthday to pick up some stuff, and we stopped at Vintage Vinyl yesterday while we were in the Loop. The new State Radio, Year of the Crow came in the mail today--I haven't had a chance to listen to it fully yet (although I'm listening to it right now), but it seems like typical SR--political lyrics with ska and punk overtones, with a little reggae every now and again. They're playing at the Bluebird on Olive on October 17. You should go.

I also got the new Iron and Wine, The Shepard's Dog, which has the shhhh vocals of every other Iron and Wine but is more uptempo and has more energy; this is not a record of lullabies. I highly recommend it, particularly if you are a fan of his other work. I took a minor gamble on two new-to-me bands: Architecture in Helsinki and their latest Places Like This, and Northern State, with their latests Can I Keep This Pen? I found out about Architecture in Helsinki from one of my trusted new-music sources, Paste Magazine, and their single, the primal "Heart It Races" caught my ear. I'm not going to lie: this is different than anything else I usually listen to, but it's growing on me. It kind of reminds me of Polyphonic Spree. They're playing all kinds of random instruments like xylophones and glockenspiels, lots of handclaps,etc. Northern State can be summed up in just a few words: white girl rap. Love it. Ad Rock from the Beastie Boys produced two of the tracks, and the lyrics are hilarious. I heard about them from a Pop Candy podcast where Whitney Matheson interviewed Hesta Prynn from the group. Whitney is my guru for all things pop, and as of last night when I got the disc, Northern State has not disappointed.

Finally, if you are in the market for a bike, but aren't really sure how to go about getting a good one that fits your needs, I highly recommend checking out Paul at Recycled Cycles. Dude runs a bike shop out of his house in UCity, and Chris just bought a practically new bike from him last night. He knows what he is talking about, and can help you find what you need. I e-mailed him last week with what Chris was looking for and our price range, and by the weekend he had something for me that is going to work out. Check out his website to find out more. Used bikes can be a great deal, since a lot of people buy new bikes, hardly ride them, then sell them. Chris is getting a Kona that has been ridden about four times, and we're going to save about $200 by buying it from Paul.

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