WATCH: “Routine,” the most depressing song ever

Back in June Ronnie and I attended a show at the Wiltern by one of my favorite new artists, the former frontman of the band Porcupine Tree (and many other musical projects), Steven Wilson.

His solo albums are scarily good, and his most recent, Hand. Cannot. Erase., is one of the best albums I’ve heard in the last few years.

One song in particular stood out. “Routine” is written from the point of view of a wife and mother trying to survive an unimaginable tragedy, the loss of her husband and two children.

In the show, Wilson explained how much beauty there is in melancholy, and how he doesn’t “do happy music” because only sad music makes him happy. He related the story of when he sent “Routine” to his manager, his manager replied that it was the most depressing song Wilson had ever written, a fact which made Wilson very happy.

But most affecting was the animated video Wilson had a friend produce to go with the song, to be shown on the big screen during the concert. It was nearly impossible for anyone watching to keep their emotions in check once the point of the song became clear.

Wilson has finally publicly released the video. Here it is. I dare to watch and not get the feels.

By the way, here’s a video taken at the Wiltern show, with Wilson’s introduction.

Cats on balconies

Here are a couple of cat-on-balcony photos for you to enjoy.

Lionheart probably misses the old place. There was no balcony per se, but the front door led to a small courtyard and he practically had run of the whole building.

At the new place, he’s not allowed to run free. The place is too big, it’s not allowed, and Glendale has some coyotes hanging around. But that’s not stopping Lionheart from perching on the rail and surveying his new kingdom.

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Update on the new place

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Rumors of the existence of a floor were confirmed yesterday – floor sighted. And more of it may exist than previously believed.

Couch assembled after a herculean effort. Blessings were asked of the great god Ikea and were apparently granted. Assembly surprisingly did not require more than an average number of whispered (because of laryngitis) expletives. A desk may be next.

Coffee maker and coffee found, but not sugar. The coffee gods are obviously unconcerned with the fact that I am of British stock and am not permitted by international law to drink unsweetened coffee or tea. Fortunately, this is Glendale north of the 134 and probably 5 or 6 Starbucks can be sighted from the roof.

Thing learned: Dust allergy can cause laryngitis, sparing neighbors my expertise in connecting disparate expletives in new and exciting ways, albeit unappreciated by the literary community.

Other thing learned: Jumbo means the same thing as extra large when it comes to litter box liners.

Other other thing learned: Lionheart has an extra large, jumbo size litter box. He is obviously overcompensating for some other perceived shortcoming.

Moving sucks

Junk. I have so much junk. A lot of it is easy to part with, but some of it is personal stuff and I stop and think, “Oh, I should keep this.” But then I think, “For what? What good does it do me now? What good will it do when I’m gone? Who’s going to want this after I’m dead? It won’t mean anything.”

I mean, it’s not like I’m going to write Beethoven’s Ninth or anything. There won’t be a cottage industry in things I owned and people won’t be trying to find my burial site. I’m not a primate, baby, I’m a dinosaur. No evolutionary improvements are going to come soaring from my bones, that’s for sure.

And in my head I’m hearing the song, “The rocks, in time, compress your blood to oil, your flesh to coal. Enrich the soil, not everybody’s goal.”

Where did all those big dreams go?

The Martian

The Martian reminds me of a time when America dreamt big.

It’s not that we don’t have some marvelous dreamers now, but there was a time when we knew we had huge problems — war, racial discord, civil unrest, the threat of nuclear annihilation, hunger — and yet we somehow found the time and the will to send human beings to the Moon. We planned those Moon trips before we even knew how to put spacecraft into orbit, dock, and a hundred other things required for a trip to our nearest astronomical neighbor. We didn’t even know how to keep men alive that long in that environment.

But we did it anyway.

Yes, I concede part of that vision was borne out of embarrassment, embarrassment that the evil commies had managed to get a man up there first. But you know, there’s nothing wrong with that. And yes, part of the advances made in the space program was to make sure that we could lob nukes to Moscow with rockets because they obviously had the capability of lobbing some back, but we still got a pretty damn big dream out of it — landing humans on the Moon and returning them safely to the earth. Not once, but several times. And not just several times, but enough times that we got bored with it.

Would that we could do things like that again. There’s nothing stopping us but a lack of will. It’s not about money and it’s not about our earthbound problems because we had those then too. It’s just a lack of will. That’s all.

I hope before I die America finds its “Let’s see what’s out there!” attitude again.

First impressions review: The Martian

In space, no one can hear you kvetch.

For lovers of the book: Almost everything is here though some of Watney’s funniest asides have been cut for running time. However, this being a movie, Damon is able to sell some of the comic commentary just by looking at the camera, something not possible in the book. A great feel-good film with a surprising bit of emotion in the climax. A few extra crises Watney faced are cut from the book, but understandable given the film’s over 2-hour running time. It’s well worth the ticket price and the 3D really adds to the beauty of the Martian vistas. A+ for getting people interested in space again.