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2.27.2006Three Years Blog
Today marks my third continuous year as a Blogger. I really wasn't sure if I'd be interested in keeping at it this long, but it looks like I have.
I usually have at least 2 offline sketchbooks/notebooks going, but there's something different about keeping this public, digital one. I like typing without it being email, the friction-less ability to quickly cast an idea onto the web, the personal archive of my ideas in an easily browseable format.
I wish Blogger had categories, so I could have some statistics on what I've written about most -- my brain's perceptual slavery to quantifying with numbers. I wish I wrote longer, more substantial posts more often; I wish I wrote more about the world from my perspective, the story no one else can tell - instead of so many random links and one-liners. But I guess that's part of the fun, that it can be any and all of those things.
I think Kottke gets it right with a different format for things he's just linking to and longer posts. But I also admire to no end a blog like Izzlepfaff, which is always stories, almost always hilarious, and never just lazy links or quotes. Do we define our blogs, or do they help define us?
I'll commemorate the 36-month-a-versary with a two week trip to Ireland, in which there will be complete silence here and, as usual, I plan to come back with very little of interest that I'll actually take the time to say. Three years - why start changing now?
2.26.2006Die Cutie, Die
I've been overdosing on the band Death Cab for Cutie lately, particularly their last album Transatlanticism, and am just now watching their tour film Sleep Well, Drive Carefully. It proves that my faith in their brilliance has not been misplaced.
Lest you doubt this for yourselves, observe: they play the song "Why You'd Want to Live Here*" which is a blastingly accurate depiction of what's wrong with Los Angeles, at a show in L.A. The front-row audience -- I kid you not -- is just standing there numb, not even mouthing the words. There's some sporadic clapping, but not enough to fill the room, and probably just because they rocked out near the end. Then Gibbard says, with great mock sincerity, "I hope you guys didn't take that personally. It's just a love song." Classic.
In the extras is a three-song semi-acoustic set that's great. My favorite sounds of theirs is the quieter stuff with pianos and harmonies, strange background noises; not that the rockers aren't great too, but something about his voice over soothing layered noise that does it for me. It's shot in b&w, but kind of shaky handheld. If it's fan footage that's one thing, but if it was the documentary crew, for god's sake use a tripod.
I was hoping to see "Blacking Out the Friction" and "Passenger Seat", but sadly no. Ah well. More interviews would have been cool, but I'm weird like that -- hell, I even submitted a request to Charile Rose last week to have them on, cuz I'd like to hear anyone with song names like "Prove My Hypothesis" talk about being musicians for an hour.
Still on deck, and this is really great for me, is their latest album Plans. I've heard it just a time or two thus far, but plan to freaking kill it in the studio when I get back from Ireland.* Bonus: it's even got the word entropic in it's lyrics.
2.15.2006I'll Take Windows As A Mac App
So the Mac running Windows idea continues to get more interesting with the possibility of emulating it on "native" Intel hardware using some tricks to work around incompatibilities like the BIOS and device drivers. This seems to have far more potential to shift the landscape than just dual-booting for geeks. If it can run with similar stability (ha!) and speed (likely) as we're accustomed to, that'd be the ticket. Some even suggest that it would increase Apple's market share:"All the borderline cases where people aren't sure about a Macintosh because of their requirements for Windows applications and games will all of sudden be more willing to accept the Mac."
Coincidentally enough, that's me!
2.14.2006Great Band = Funny Blog
"Nick has this idea that someone needs to start a new sitcom starring Jennifer Aniston called 'Friend'. "
~ Death Cab For Cutie site
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day."
~ Emerson: Self-Reliance
2.10.2006Digital Distribution Makes Better Music
Finally the economics of the music industry start favoring the bands that can put out consistently good music:"'I have to ask my artists to make better records... I need at least four singles. We lost a lot of fans over the years because we gave people average albums, with one or two singles and the rest of the album was trash.'"
~ Talent manager Michael "Blue" Williams
The beast deserves to starve to death so it can be reborn as something else.
Hey, I've been kottke'd! That's how it's done - just gotta be accidentally 8 hours ahead of the New Music Tuesdays email blast.
A variation on Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle applies to bureaucratic systems:
Bureaucracies can know:
a) What they are doing
b) Why they're doing it
c) Both at once
2.07.2006Billions and Billions
For all my carping and whining, the fkrs at Apple sure know how to market: iTMS Billion Songs Countdown. The cascading column of album covers with the live counter are awesome.
Now, I'm not saying it's gonna happen, but I'd have to revise some of my previous criticisms if I scored the grand prize*: an iMac, 10 iPods and a $10,000 gift card. That's a lot of songs.* No purchase necessary to win; limited to 25 entries per day
2.06.2006Fonder and Blonder
Today I'd like to address a sad oversight: the general lack of appreciation for the fine album The Bottle & Fresh Horses by the late, great Refreshments. Granted, 1997 was long ago, but I keep coming back to this album and loving it more each time. If there's a bone in your future corpse that likes the rock and roll music, it'll rattle for this one. Really. It's juvenile and honest and heroic in all the right ways, and almost never fails to make me air-guitar through the solos in each song.
It's also one of those albums where I can't listen to only one song; each one suggests how fun it'd be to hear more and I usually just cue up the whole damn thing.
I think The Refreshments get knocked because Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy, their major label debut, was an overproduced, too-poppy version of it's phenomenal indie precursor Wheelie. Since the original went out of print and is a rare find, Fizzy's relative success helped the general public file them under teenie-bopper rock and then largely ignore Bottle & Horses. The tragedy here is that it, their 2nd major album, went back to their strengths, has great songwriting and enough of their original gritiness to be great.
Surely my love of this band stems in part from my year in their hometown of Tempe, AZ at the height of their powers. Ah... man I loved 1995. Wheelie was the classic local recordstore discovery, back when the WWW was still too new to be really useful for finding music and you actually had to go to a store to seek out new stuff. It was playing over the house speakers at the shop right around the corner from the art building and within about 5 minutes I thought "who the hell is this?!" Sold! Naturally, the punkish young woman behind the counter sneered at me when I asked "who the hell is this?!", since in her world they'd probably jumped the shark 15 minutes earlier.
The band split from their label and each other after the release of Bottle & Horses, but happily one half went on to form Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, who've retained some of the same good stuff_____.
"Who said absence makes the heart grow fonder?*"
Early Retirement: "Retirement forces you to stop thinking that it is your job that holds you back. For most people the depressing truth is that they aren't that organized, disciplined, or motivated."
I've been thinking about perfect songs lately, and this one is just stuck in my head today - Clarity, by Jimmy Eat World.
It rocks, it rolls, and it's peppered with astoundingly good lyrics:
Say what I know you'll say and say it through your teeth.
Now in the deep and down, I don't know how but I know I want out.
Pull one excuse from another.
And with pride keep every failure in.
And with pride hold on to your thinking.