If you follow me on Twitter (and if not, well…) you know that for the past few weeks I’ve been trying to conquer decades of sedentary lifestyle by way of the Couch to 5K iPhone app. It’s been working out very well so far!
One thing I have yet to do is consciously plan out a playlist to correspond to the cycles of walking and running that are a key to the Couch to 5K program. Well, on Thursday I will be running the final day of week 4, nearing the halfway point (what??!!) in the program, so it’s time to remedy that situation.
Here then is my Couch to 5K week 4 playlist, for your consideration:
One More Robot / Sympathy 3000-21
The Flaming Lips
Smells Like Teen Spirit
And I Love Her
My Morning Jacket
Pigs on the Wing (Part One)
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Clearly I focused primarily on the timing and general mood of the songs when programming this playlist, giving… well… absolutely no consideration whatsoever to the transitions between the songs. But I think it will still be successful. It helps me a lot when running to focus on the music and to think, “OK… I run until the end of this song.”
And yes, when I get to running for the entire time, I will have a song for that. I have 14 songs in the library on my iPhone that are over 20 minutes long.
In a rare bout of overabundant creativity (or inadequate self-restraint), I have finished not one but two CDs for the RPM Challenge. They’re available now on CD from Kunaki.
The first project, Unnatural Disasters, is a more traditional album of 9 tracks in styles running from straight-ahead rock to prog rock to Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis electric jazz to electronica, and running a little over 36 minutes. The music could serve as a soundtrack for a world tour of the strange places I’ve written about in my blog.
Also unnatural but less of a disaster, the second project, a single 38-minute track, is a piece of minimalist electronica with a structure based on the composition of a technetium atom. It is, appropriately enough, entitled Technetium. Up close, the music is ever-changing, yet on a large scale it is completely static; it doesn’t really go anywhere, but it also never precisely repeats in its entire 936 measures. It went from concept to completed album in about 6 hours, which is the half-life of technetium’s least-stable isotope.
You can learn more about the two projects, and listen to streaming versions of all tracks from the albums, by clicking on their respective covers to the right.
As is usually the case, I’m probably the last sentient being in the known universe to discover this, but anyway… I was in the mood to find some new wallpapers today. (I’m running OSXplanet on my Mac desktop but I needed something new for when I’m running Windows… and the ones that come with XP leave a lot to be desired, such as the proper resolution for my widescreen laptop display.)
On January 16, President Bush warned, “Time is running out. At some point in time, the United States’ patience will run out. In the name of peace, if he does not disarm, I will lead a coalition of the willing to disarm Saddam Hussein.”
(As an aside, when performing a Google search to get that quote right, I found that, according to CNN, Bush also said time was running out for Afghanistan to hand over Osama Bin Laden on October 6, 2001. Al Gore said time was running out for ballot recounts in Florida on November 30, 2000. And we all know how far those idle threats got both of them. OK, sure, we bombed the hell out of Afghanistan and deposed the Taliban. But we’re still playing “Where’s Waldo?” with Osama, and the promise of the “liberation” and “democratization” of Afghanistan is little more than a cruel joke. Meanwhile, Al Gore went on a Ben and Jerry’s binge and wimped out on even trying to get elected again.)
“In the name of peace” we’ll start a war. I am reminded of President Merkin Muffley‘s desperate cry, “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the war room!”
Anyway, I’m not here to criticize the President. (Really! I mean it!) I agree, time is running out. Saddam Hussein has some serious questions to answer. Does Iraq have chemical or biological weapons? Has Iraq illegally imported weapons technology and raw materials? Is Iraq developing nuclear weapons?
Does Saddam dye his hair, or is that a toupée?
Of course, some of these questions carry more weight, a greater sense of ominous foreboding, than others. But all have merit, in their own way.
I mean, look at the guy! Look at those jowls! He’s 68, for cryin’ out loud! The only 68-year-olds I’ve seen with hair that black were Ronald Reagan and Bob Barker! And even Bob Barker eventually realized the Just for Men wasn’t fooling anyone!
(Another aside: Is it just me, or does Saddam somewhat resemble George Orwell’s description of Big Brother in 1984: “The enormous face [because of constantly seeing it on posters he always thought of it as being a metre wide], with its heavy black moustache and the eyes that followed you to and fro….”)
You know, I’m very reluctant to get into the kind of grandiose moralizing President Bush seems to slip into with ease. The word “evil” crosses his lips far more vigorously, enthusiastically, and frequently than it does my own. And so I must ask, is Saddam really evil? OK, he lets Iraqi children in desperate need of medical attention die in crowded hallways of dingy, dilapidated hospitals. Sure, he summarily executes underlings who merely whisper the slightest hint of dissent. Yes, he beats down all opposition, stages fake “spontaneous” demonstrations by the people in his honor, and builds glorious palaces with grand entrance halls with poetry expounding upon his greatness written on their walls in foot-high gilded letters. If you’re inclined to use a word like “evil,” I guess maybe Saddam fits the bill.
But I think, by and large, the world (at least, places where right-wing talk radio and extreme right-wing talk radio do not constitute the range of public discourse) has moved beyond the simplistic moral dualism that can accommodate an absolutist concept like “evil.” Pinky-finger-to-lower-lip, six-years-in-evil-medical-school, hold-the-world-hostage-for-one-million-dollars, sharks-with-frickin’-laser-beams-attached-to-their-heads EVIL!!! Come on… today the very notion of “evil” is a bumbling caricature of the already exaggerated action movie villain!
Sure Saddam is a sadistic bastard. But maybe he just doesn’t have the proper outlets for his frustrations. Seems to me, he’s merely feeling the creeping malaise of old age, the icy breath of the Grim Reaper on the nape of his neck.
So what’s an aging dictator facing his mortality to do? Those ho-hum, down-in-the-dumps, life-gotcha-down, rainy-day blues are easy enough to fix. A little nip here, a little tuck there, a visit to Sy Sperling, a red convertible Porsche and a trophy wife 40 years his junior, and Saddam’ll be feeling like he’s a young, invincible dictator again!
Maybe deep down, he really is just jealous of America after all! Let’s give him exile over here, and he can take over as CEO of a major corporation. I hear there are a few job openings….
OK, all of that said, I really do think Saddam’s a dangerous sort — a menace to the international community who needs to be dealt with unflinchingly and unanimously by the United Nations. If “evil” really does exist, then he’s just this side of “evil” from the likes of Stalin and Hitler. But I also think that it would be prudent, now and in the future, for us as Americans to question our leaders a bit more about their full motivations for going to war against Iraq, and about some of the nagging issues of the timing involved and its relevance to other matters, both foreign and domestic. America’s still a country where we have the freedom to raise a stink if we don’t like how things are being done. And that’s something worth fighting for!