Tuesday, May 29, 2007

An Interview With Hannah

After reading Grant Miller’s interview on this site, Hannah of Newly Indonesian decided she wanted us to spread some interview love her way. Read on to hear her thoughts on the ugly Midwest, autistic slaughterhouses, and stabing Richard Brautigan in the heart with a steak knife. If anyone would like some interview love from Hannah or one of us here at Transmissions From Wintermute, let us know in the comments.

Next in the interview series, Benjamin Rosenbaum.

as a preface, here’s a live Pixies bootleg and a couple of Brautigan poems from The Pill Versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, all stuff which Hannah helped turn me onto in college.

Hey - The Pixies

From the sixth show of the reunion warm-up tour, recorded 4.28.04 in Eugene Oregon. Behind Frank Black you can hear every hipster in Eugene, and me, singing along.

'Star-Spangled' Nails
You've got
some "Star-Spangled"
in your coffin, kid.
That's what
they've done for you,

Xerox Candy Bar
you're just a copy
of all the candy bars
I've ever eaten.

You are very well versed in music and were briefly a music major in college. Who would win in a fight between Steve Reich and Philip Glass (optional follow-up: what if Philip Glass had a wooden spear)?

I wouldn't call myself well-versed in music so much as hyper-tuned to the few bands/musicians that I really love while ignoring the rest of the music world, but from the little that I know about those two guys, I'd have to say Philip Glass. Not because I like his music better. I don't. But Philip Glass, I think, relies on repetition to drive his listeners slightly crazy. When you listen to Philip Glass, you feel like you're in an alternate, robotic universe where things go on forever and at the same time if they go on one second longer you're going to scream. Making people feel like that is dangerous. Steve Reich captures reality very well (especially in 'City Life I-IV), but what's more potentially lethal, reflecting reality precisely or making people feel insane? Exactly. After Glass added 13 more minutes of identical 'Ahh-eee-ooo's' to the 14 minutes he had already, and Reich lay writhing and insane on the ground, the wooden spear would only be a nail in the coffin.

On your recent visit to Madison, you were debating between moving to Chicago or back to the town of our Alma Mater, Boulder. Now Boulder has officially won out. Why do you hate the midwest, a.k.a., America (optional follow up: Why do you love terrorism)?

Weather and landscapes. What a boring answer. I chose nicer weather and landscapes over actually knowing people in the location, which is never a smart choice, as I've found! Too late though, I got a good job and I'm staying here for probably at least two years. I hate the Midwest because it's flat and brown and humid and freezing in turns, and smelly, and every June Lake Michigan sends thousands of pounds of dead fish to shore right in Chicago, and this year is the 17-year locust cycle, and there's no nature except for cornfields and if you want to rock climb you have to drive 4 hours to Devil's Lake, and if you happen to want to day trip out of Chicago, too bad, because all there is for hours surrounding is depressing suburbs. I love Chicago because it has excellent food and a wonderful variety of people, but that just can't beat out all of the above. And that is coming from someone for whom food is life. I hope that the CIA ends up having to read my entire journal because of that last sentence in your question. No really, I do. I just love the idea of some agent sitting at work being forced to read about Indonesian post office employees and strange tropical ailments and tales of stubborn schoolchildren and people who hit on other people by being racist.

You are a very avid reader, even more so that DJ, making you the most avid reader I know. What was your favorite of everything you've read in the last six months and why?

Animals In Translation by Temple Grandin. It's by an autistic woman who, among other things, designs humane slaughterhouses for a living. Her theory is that since both autistic people and animals think in pictures, she is able to see their environment through their eyes and design everything so they're happy and calm right up until the end. It's difficult to explain the subject matter to people without them looking at you like, 'are you saying autistic people are like animals?' but what she's getting at is more complicated than that. There are all sorts of anecdotes and insights in there that make your brain turn completely around for a split second. Those low metal slats they put across the roads to keep cows in pasture? Cows' hooves can't fit through there. That's not why they don't walk right across. The reason they don't walk across is because a cow's vision is such that the contrast of color makes the slats look like a straight drop-off into the abyss. That's a bad example of an anecdote that makes your brain turn completely around. But as avid of a reader as I am, information goes straight through my brain and out my ears. While I'm reading, I am enthralled and tuned out to the world, but when I put the book down it's gone. So maybe DJ should still hold the title.

It's your birthday and you have a magical dinner party, to which you can invite 3 nonfictional people, living or dead. The catch; at the end of the night you have to stab one of them in the heart with a steak knife. Who are your choices. Please elaborate.

Richard Brautigan (if your previous question had included books I've read ever, one of his would definitely have beaten out Animals in Translation, if it were not immediately usurped by something by Paul Krassner or The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down [see how I'm insiduously slipping more books in under the radar despite your only asking me about one?]), Ze Frank (of zefrank.com, and zefrank.com/theshow), and Sylvia Plath. The first two get to come because they have wildly unique worldviews not only in writing, but in speech, and have the capability to transform moods, or entire perspectives, in seconds. Sylvia Plath is there so that when she hears these two speak, it changes her life. If you've ever read The Bell Jar, I'm sure you would use your magical dinner party - or anything within your power - to cheer her up too. And I guess I could use some worldview-shaking as well. Since Brautigan and Plath are already dead, I'd stab one of them. Brautigan, I guess. He committed suicide even WITH his brilliant perspective, so I expect that if I brought him back to life he'd be angry and want to go back to his grave.

You've met most of my cobloggers several times, with the sad exception of Laz (because I think you two would be bestest friends, if it wasn't for the damn Pacific). Who do you think could do more clap-pushups, me or OMGIMike?

Politeness dictates that I say you. Also, though politeness does not dictate that I am allowed to say that I don't remember what OMGIMike looks like, I'm going to say it anyway, because it's the truth. [Mike looks buff, and would actually win...for the record. -ED]



Blogger Laz said...

I think you could both do maybe 2 clap-pushups each. Maybe. Actually, how about you guys just do it, so we can find out once and for all. Come on....

May 29, 2007 12:09 PM  
Blogger Mazur said...

Any place, any time.

May 29, 2007 10:33 PM  
Blogger Grant Miller said...

She raises a good point about Chicago. I've never been to Boulder. But I've heard good things.

May 29, 2007 10:54 PM  
Blogger DJ said...

You don't remember Mike the gigantic body builder? Well he's the one you dream about if that clears anything up.
Also, I don't really read all that much. I probably spend more time reading about books than actually reading them.

May 30, 2007 8:44 PM  
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