Let me join others in congratulating Kriston on his new blog for the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eye Level.
I read something shocking in “No Logo” last night. So shocking that I can’t believe it. From google book search:
“These crisp royal blue and kelly green boxes snap together like pieces of Lego (the new kind that can only make one thing: the model fire station or spaceship helpfully pictured on the box)." Emphasis mine.Please correct me if I am wrong, but is Ms. Klein saying that the lego pieces in new sets can only be used to build the model in that set? Can this be true?
I loved Lego growing up, particularly the Castle series. I remember having a box filled with blocks that I would use to build towns, forests, castles, etc. I think the animated Robin Hood movie really hit me at a deep emotional level. As everyone knows, legos were great because you could use them to build whatever you wanted/imagined.
I can’t find anything to confirm this allegation, but looking a lot of the current Lego models seem to fit the description. Here is the “Death Star” from Star Wars. The pieces look fairly specific, but it is difficult to determine if those pieces can be used to build anything other than the "Death Star." I can't link to any images of old sets, but you can find them here. It looks like Lego has turned into Puzz3D
It makes sense why Lego would change their pieces. A kid could look at a new set and figure out how to build it with his own pieces and Legos wouldn't get any money. I don't want to romantize Lego too much, but it was a great toy. But it is a shame that what made it great wasn't profitable enough.
Around this time of year, I always feel a little bad for those of the Jewish faith. I find Christmas oppressive, and I am a Christian. That being said, take a look at this Bat Mitzvah. Christians have nothing on this. But I must say, I am more than a little disappointed to hear that 50 Cent didn't perform very well. Of all people he should appreciate a bulletproof vest manufacturer.
UPDATE 11/30/05: Pictures!
I was alerted that the comments were not working on the site after I changed templates. Well, I didn't know how to fix it, so I have gone back to the old design, hopefully temporarily. I am hoping to figure out the problem later, but for now comment away.
According to tickle, my signature city is New York! Was my hatred for that city really a deep seeded hatred for myself? How could I have been so blind for so long? God bless you tickle, without your insight and highly scientific tests, lord knows how long this charade would have continued.
In other news, there are 4 people in my office right now.
"I'm done with acoustic guitar, balladeering, I'm done with acoustic groove. Acoustic groove sucks so bad," moans the boyish singer-songwriter. "I've sucked the flavor out of it."This quote is from John Mayer talking about his past two albums, taken from this article. Apparently he wants to do more blues stuff while “tailoring it to a pop audience.”
If this isn’t enough to send shivers down your spine, then I don’t know what is.
UPDATE: The more I think about it, the more I believe that John Mayer doing blues music should be classified as a hate crime.
It looks like my Ipod battery is finally dying. It goes from full charge to empty in about 1-1.5 hours. I knew this day would come. Does anyone know of a good Ipod battery replacement service? I really don’t want Tommy to take it apart and try to fix it on his own.
To commemorate the death of my first Ipod battery, I thought that I would list the 25 songs that it played the most.
25) “Favorite Thing” by the Replacements
24) “Safe and Sorry” by the Medications
23) “San Diego Serenade” by Tom Waits
22) “Try Me” by James Brown, off the Live at the Apollo album
21) “A Shot in the Arm” by Wilco
20) “Staring at the Sun” by TV on the Radio
19) “Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?” by Ted Leo
18) “How Far Am I From Canaan?” by Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers
17) “Just for You” by Sam Cooke
16) “The Trial of the Century” by the French Kicks
15) “I Would Die 4 U” by Prince
14) “Obstacle 1" by Interpol
13) “Ambulance” by TV on the Radio
12) “That’s Where It’s At” by Sam Cooke
11) “Rebellion (Lies)” by Arcade Fire
10) “Wet Work” by Q and not U
9) “Wonderful People” by Q and not U
8) “Let Down” by Radiohead
7) “Indian Summer” by Pedro the Lion
6) “My City of Ruins” by Bruce Springsteen
5) “ELT” by Wilco
4) “Letters to Elise” by the Cure
3) “One Mic” by Nas
2) “Bring It On Home To Me” by Sam Cooke
1) “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” by the Postal Service
Some songs benefitted from being on the Ipod early, like “The Distric Sleeps Alone Tonight” for example. There are some artists not represented due to the number of quality albums they have released, Elvis Costello and John Hiatt come to mind. But all in all, I don’t think this is a bad list. Other than that, enjoy you day off jerks.
So I am experimenting with new blog designs. This new boring one is temporary. Hopefully something better will be coming later.
Also, interestingly enough blogger's spell check doesn't think that blog is a word, they seem to think that bloc would be a better fit. I guess that is why their designs all suck.
Let me apologize for random, incoherent, nature of this post. My editor demanded a raise so I had to fire him, but judging from the previous content he wasn’t doing a very good job anyway.
As some of you know, I was an economics major in college. There are many reasons why I chose this major, most of them less than honorable, but the main reason was because I was good at it. For some reason, economics just stuck in my head.
I was at the campus bar one night in my junior year and ended up talking to one of my professors. I spent most the discussion in a drunken rant about the fact that calling economics a “social science” demeaned the word science and that the whole discipline was crap. This is the benefit of going to a small liberal arts school. Fortunately, he was also drunk and probably didn’t remember the argument, or at least never held it against me.
I went to the Redskins game last Sunday. One of the advantages of going to see a sporting event live was that you didn’t get to see commercials. I know that there are always sponsorships, etc. at games, but now Dan Synder has actual commercials play on the big screen during time outs/any break in play. At least at home, you can change the channel, maybe see what is happening in another game, but in the stadium you are trapped. I didn’t really notice this at the first game that I went to this season, but it really bothered me on Sunday. These constant breaks and pleas for your attention turn the game into a series of vignettes, rather than a coherent story. It is also possible that my disgust for the Redskins play bled over into disgust about the whole experience.
While the Redskins are the Washington sports team, I found this ramrod of advertising very un-Washington. Without getting into a debate about which is better, one thing that Washington clearly has over New York is a lack of billboards and public advertising. While not completely free, advertising in public space is very rare, less than any other city that I have been in.
For example, when my band use to play in New York a lot, we would drive from school, and after crossing the GW Bridge proceed down to Chelsea along the Henry Hudson Parkway. I remember a huge screen, like an lcd television thing, off the parkway near the Chelsea Piers that showed commercials. It was just hypnotic, this huge glowing thing was impossible to avoid while driving. I figured that it was placed there by a secret cabal of Body Shops and Car Insurers to increase accidents and drive up premiums in the city.
We just don’t have that sort of thing in DC, probably because most of the buildings are owned by the Government, National Park Service, or the Smithsonian. That is why you occasionally see the driving billboards around, but not very frequently. I think that I passed one billboard on my walk to work this morning, and it was poorly maintained. The fact that you can still see advertisements for “K Street” produced by George Clooney on telephones speaks to the lack of an organized public advertising push in the District.
I say all of this because I just started reading “No Logo” by Naomi Klein last night and wanted to reveal a clear bias I already have towards agreeing with it.
Then I see this on Lifehacker. Apparently, Adbusters is sponsoring a “Buy Nothing Day” this coming Black Friday. Well, I am going to participate. Granted, I wasn’t going to go shopping on that day anyway because I am not insane/masochistic, and I have to work. But now I get to not shop for political reasons! My hope is that this feeling of self satisfaction will make working on Friday easier to stomach.
Lifehacker is telling me that I can get a free blog using Wordpress software and their domain, i.e. dccharles.wordpress.com. Has anyone used wordpress before? And if so, is it better? I must confess that I don't really like blogger a whole lot. I don't hate it to the point of paying for something else, but if there is a free alternative that is better then sign me up.
In other news, I came across this link in the thead at Lifehacker that tells you how to remove the nav bar from your blogger page. Notice that I don't have mine anymore. I just thought I should pass this little bit of wisdom along.
Alright, I get the point I had a terrible name for a fish. My only regret is that my lapse in judgement is recorded for all to see. I decided to name my fish Cleo just because I like the name. The rest of you can go to hell.
p.s. I was thinking about naming the fish Tommy or Darren, but I wanted people to like it.
As I was talking to my mother last night she said:
“I just think that it is great that you got a fish. Other than rock and roll, beer, and cigarettes what are you committed to? Now you are committed to a living thing.”I really think that quote should stand on its own.
In other fish related news, I am thinking about naming my fish Aoide the muse of song, but I am not quite sure how to pronounce it. While I realize that this might be one of the more pretentious things that I have done, no small feat, I do like the name and it is my fish. Also, it has the added benefit of being a female name which I believe is a step towards what my mother is implying.
I couple of weeks ago, I noted that some people were coming to this site looking for chords to a Bow Wow song. They were linked to a post where I say that I don’t think that said song shouldn't be played at all.
Well, now I have gotten some hits for “redemption song chords rhythm.” That little string will take you to this post where I say:
“Also, people who play ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and ‘Redemption Song’ on the guitar, particularly at parties or camp outs, need to be shot.”
I apologized to the person search for Bow Wow, I figure anyone using Bow Wow as inspiration is going to have it tough enough anyway. But the person searching for the chords to “Redemption Song” really needs to hear the truth.
I am currently working two jobs. On Wednesdays I leave my job at a law office, walk home, change, and get in the car and drive to my other job as a waiter. Usually I make it to the restaurant at about 6:20 or so.
I managed to leave the office a little early, got back to my apartment, changed and got in the car. There was nothing unusual about the trip down 9th Street, until I crossed Constitution. It was then that I realized that traffic in the 9th Street tunnel was backed up the light. In fact, I believe that my car was in the crosswalk when the light changed to red. Once you cross Constitution you are stuck, there is no other way to avoid the 9th Street tunnel.
Quickly, I resigned myself to the traffic and called my restaurant to tell my manager that I was going to be late.
The 9th Street tunnel has three lanes, the left lane goes to 295, the middle lane goes to Maryland Ave. (I believe but I don’t really remember), and the right lane goes to 395 south. When I said that traffic was backed up to the light on Constitution, I meant the right lane, my lane, was backed up, the other two were clear and moving fine.
At about 20 minutes after crossing Constitution I see the first car move to the middle lane to drive past the traffic. Now, I had assumed that some of the people who have been driving past me were planning on joining my lane right before the exit, but now I had visual evidence of the crime.
It is right about now that the anger starts to build. I just don't understand the mind set that allows a person to do this. How can a person look at traffic and decide that they are too important to wait through it? Do they have souls? Do they think that they are clever, as if no one else realized that the lane to the left was moving faster?
One of my old bosses use to say that the lowest circle of Hell is reserved for these people. I spent the next 10 minutes or so picturing what their torment would be like. I envisioned them trapped in a car with the air conditioning broken with Rush's "Tom Sawyer" playing endlessly. The on ramp to Heaven just a 1/4 mile away, but no matter how fast they drive, Heaven is always 1/4 mile away. But this vision left me unsatisfied, ironic punishment is great and all, but I wanted lava, fire, and imps poking eyeballs. I wanted unimaginable torment.
So I don't know if it was the blatant disregard for their fellow man, the fact that I was going to my second job of the day, or that a lot of people speeding by me could afford to choose the color of their car and no one chose purple, but I decided that no one was going to merge in front of me. This was my mission, this was where I was going to make my stand.
At this point I still can't see the exit, and no one is trying to merge in front of me, so I decide to start practicing. For my plan to be successful I need to allow as little space as possible between my car and the car in front of me. Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does traffic.
I finally get around the bend to see the exit and I am shocked. Some of the people who have been speeding ahead are trying to get into the right lane, but are doing it too soon for their compatriots. People are moving another lane to the left to get ahead of people who have already broken the bounds of decency. Three lanes of traffic trying to get into one exit lane.
While watching the display of vulgarity before me I realize that I have to re-double my efforts and focus. I realize that to acomplish my goal I can't focus on the blue car in front of me, I have to look to the brake lights in the next car in front. I can't react to movement, I must anticipate it.
Soon the first car, a white SUV, attempts cut in front of me, but quickly abandons his quest. I suspect he realized what I already knew, that I would rear-end the blue car in front of me before I would let him in. A car manages to get in front of the blue car the driver of the car starts honking and gesturing wildly. I feel a little less insane.
A few more cars attempt to get in front of me, but come to the same realization as the white SUV. I feel good as I come to the exit, I am clearly not a person to be messed with. The lanes start to split, I have suceeded!
But then...a Diplomat cab comes up on my left. I stay close to the bumper of the car in front of me, but the cab driver keeps pushing forward. The lanes have split but he presses on! When the lane divides there is a section of pavement that is not lane, it is marked to indicate that cars shouldn't be driving on it, but this cab driver expresses as little regard for the law as he does for common decency, and continues on. He is pressing on when he has clearly lost. But we are back out in the rain and the lane markers are tough to distinguish. It becomes confusing as to where the lane. I am hugging the right marker, while his car occupies less and less of the shoulder. I am pushing forward and then...
Defeat. I don't know how, but he got in front of me. After all the turning and confusion, the positioning and posturing, the Diplomat cab is in front of me. I imagine some sadistic smile on the bastard’s face. Rather than the champion of the right lane and all that is good in the world, my impotency is laid bare for all to see. He spent 2 minutes to accomplish what I did in 45. Actually he had done better, he was in front of me. After all of my determination and practice, I was beaten.
photo by Tommy
I held off on naming him until the weekend was over, mainly to see if he would make it till Monday. I figured that if I named him, then I would get too attached and have to have a funeral if he died and so on. But it looks like he will be with us for a while, so it is time to give him a name.
This is where you all come in. I have been struggling to find the appropriate name, and nothing has really struck me. Tommy suggested that I ask the wisdom of the internet for help. I must confess to a little trepidation, none of you have to live with a fish with a stupid name and are thus more likely to suggest something stupid. That being said, I am asking for suggestions for names. My only request is that no one mention anything having to do with Butter or Stick or combinations thereof. I love the Butterstick thing, and I have a shirt, but that is more of a panda name anyway.
As a side note, when I told my mother that I purchased a fish she said, and I am paraphrasing: “Well there is a commitment.” I really don’t know what to make of that statement.
Last night I joined Kriston and Aaron at the Warehouse Next Door to see The Apes play with Modey Lemon, Big Bear, and a band whose name I didn’t catch. Given that nothing else was memorable about their set, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I missed the name.
This was my first time at the Warehouse Next Door, and I really like the space. It is small, clean, all ages (I believe), and non-smoking (for those who care). Also, they have a small bar that serves Schaefer for $2.00 a can. I understand that this is not the greatest beer, but at $2.00 it is far from undrinkable, like say Utica Club. It is like the Grog, if the Grog was run competently and cared about music.
I was really impressed with Big Bear. They were energetic, tight, and loud. I mean LOUD, my ears are still ringing in fact. Side note, another quality the Warehouse shares with the Grog is that you should really bring your earplugs with you when you go. I can’t come up with a good analogy to describe them. I think they might be considered “Math Rock” though I don’t really have enough familiarity with the term to say. What really impressed me was how well they managed to play their lines together and show a lot of emotion and intensity on stage.
The less that is said about the next band the better.
Modey Lemon played next. They were good, a lot of energy, but frankly I was still reeling from Big Bear’s set.
The Apes then closed the show. With Q and not U disbanded, The Apes are quickly becoming my new favorite DC Band. This was my second time seeing them, and they don’t disappoint. They are energetic, loud, and fun. I have been rewriting this review for about an hour, and I think the problem is that while these bands to intellectual things, it is irrelevant to intellectualize their performance. I am use to talking about chord structures, time signatures, and the like, but these things are really don’t matter to this performance. It is something that just needs to be experienced, and I find that very refreshing. I can get stuck in my own head from time to time, particularly about music, and The Apes just jolt me awake, violently almost.
So my suggestion is that if Big Bear or The Apes are coming to a town near you, go. Just go and stand up close and let the volume and rhythm wash over you. Ideally stand where the bass drum is really pounding in your chest. And while I can’t really convince you, or tell you, to like either band, I can remind you to bring your earplugs.
I am sure that you have read a lot about Sony Music’s business practices recently. If not, here are some links, but the gist is that cds purchased from Sony Music install software on your computer that is both hidden and hard to remove. This software allows hackers to use your computer to do all sorts of nasty stuff.
Well on top of this little public relations nightmare, the EFF has translated Sony’s End User License Agreement (EULA). And while it is tempting to decry how horrible some of the provisions in it are, like that you have to delete all of your mp3s if the corresponding cd gets stolen, I am not going to do that. No, I am feeling like a “glass is half full” kinda guy today, so instead I am going to highlight what I think is great about this EULA.
According to the EFF, “The EULA only gives you the right to put copies on a ‘personal home computer system owned by you.’” This means that you cannot copy mp3s of your Sony cds onto your work computer. At first blush this seems pretty horrible, but let me ask you to not think about yourself for once. This also means that your co-workers are not allowed to put copies of their Sony cds on their work computers.
For example, that the co-worker who insists on listening to say, Celine Dion, is violating the EULA. So what are you gonna do? Drop a dime on said co-worker, “Your heart is going on to jail bitch!” As a fine upstanding member of society, it pains you to see such flagrant violations of the law, and you are not going to stand for it any more. Lets see how the guy who listens to John Secada does in the prison yard. Personally, I have always thought it a crime to listen to John Mayer, and now I can do something about it.
This is a great day for music fans everywhere. Kudos to Sony for moving us closer to never having to listen to their music again.
There is this band, Coheed and Cambria, and they are awesome! While I have only heard one song, "The Suffering", and it is starting to grow on me, but the quality of their music has little to do with how fantastic they are. But to be sure, they rock, hard. You can go to their website and download their new video if you don't believe me.
Where to begin? The title of their current album is:
"Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness."
While you may think that that title is a little ostentatious, that is only because you are not aware of all the information conveyed in that title. First you should know that they are writing a five part rock opera, centered around the characters "Coheed" and "Cambria." So we know from the album title, that this is the first volume of the fourth part of the opera. They have previously released "The Second Stage Turbine Blade," presumably the second part, and "In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3," clearly the third part. Unfortunately no other parts exist yet, in album form.
Know you may be wondering, "Album form? What other form could there be?" Well, what about comic books? The lead singer writes, and has released, a couple of comic books to accompany the music, with one comic book spanning about, and this is the best part, one or two songs! Seriously, I defy you to name another band who could fill a comic book with only a single song, aside from "A Quick One While He's Away" or "Bohemian Rhapsody." You can read the synopsis of the story so far here. Let me implore you to stop reading this post, and go over to the synopsis. For example, Cambria seems to represent "The Knowledge." Yes, that is capital K, the one, the only, Knowledge. I don't know what that Knowledge is, but I am sure that it rocks. Frankly, I feel ashamed for even concerning myself with R Kelly.
I will be honest, I thought that the love-child of Kiss and L Ron Hubbard would be evil, but I was wrong. I understand that this is not a cult/religion yet, but with a five part rock opera, and one album only representing a single volume of one part, this band is clearly not lacking in ambition. In fact, my current religion has been having its own problems recently, if Coheed and Cambria can find some way to bring Andrew WK and The Darkness into the fold, then I will abandon my job, hell even my identity, and go follow the rock.
I am really starting to worry about where the "Trapped in the Closet" drama is going. While, I loved the first 5 chapters, the next 7 are really stretching the limits of absurdity. You can read the synopsis here, from Wikipedia. All I will say is that a midget is involved.
I think that it is becoming increasingly clear that R Kelly didn't really plan out what was going to happen, and is continuing based on the early success. According to Pitchfork, he has completed 22 chapters. This implies that there will be more than 22 chapters. Frankly, I just don't know how he can keep this up. I mean, his opera/musical uses fewer melodies than an Andrew Lloyd Webber production.
You should be listening to Wolf Parade. Their new album, "Apologies to the Queen Mary," is that good. You can go here to download some songs if you don't believe me.
Rather that write a bunch of things like "This album is complex, yet subtle" or "improves with each listen," or try to come up with some elaborate metaphors, I decided that I would just point out a few of my favorite moments from the album.
The album begins with "You are a Runner" and the verse is just i to V in harmonic minor. My regular reader(s?) know how much I love harmonic minor, you can tell harmonic minor because the second chord is major. This chord progression has more roots in classical music than in blues, and I think in that regard it sets an important tone for the rest of the album. This progression helps to give the song its dark driving nature. In the chorus, they move from the V down to the IV. In a standard harmonic minor, the IV would be minor (iv), but the chord works because we are use to hearing V IV progressions, particularly in rock music.
My favorite song on the album is "I'll Believe in Anything." The song begins with a guitar part playing in 6/8, or possibly 6/4, and the drums playing in 4/4 over it, or at least this is how I interpreted it. My friend, and occasional musical cohort, Aaron thinks that they are just playing in 6/8 and refusing to accent the traditional beats of 1 and 4, and instead accenting 1 3 and 5. I think a case can be made for both. Regardless, the rhythm in this section creates a wonderful tension that is then released when the drummer goes into a strict 6/8 drum beat. When you are listening, the 6/8 with 4/4 drum part occurs when the drummer is just hitting the snare, and the strict 6/8 part occurs when the cymbals come in. Most of the song works with this tension and release. Later on in the song, when the guitar just starts hitting full chords, they again change the emphasis, and the song takes on a 3/4 feel. Finally at the end, the song shifts into 4/4 and the listener gets the emotional payoff, all the tension has gone. What I really like about this song is the way they use rhythm and meter to shape the song and create dynamics, as opposed to say a quiet verse/loud chorus structure.
These are just two moments to explain why I like the album. There are plenty more examples that I could give, "Same Ghost Every Night" has a similar rhythm structure to it. Of course these chord structures and rhythm structures would be wasted if the band didn't write good melodies to go over them. Fortunately, they have well constructed melodies guaranteed to stay stuck in your head. Thank god for that, because you can have all the erudition in the world, but without a good song you are more likely to resemble another band from Canada. But let me encourage you to listen past the melody to the drums, the keyboards, and the way the all of parts interact. There are some really great moments in the instrumentation, particularly "Grounds for Divorce" and "We Built Another World."
I don't mean for any of this to be intimidating. I think the strength of this album is that while these elements of chord and rhythm structure are present, you really don't need to know anything about music theory to like these songs. At its heart "Apologies to the Queen Mary" is just a collection of really good songs, and I mean that as a good thing.
"Shamelessly misappropriated Mike Love's songs, likeness and the Beach Boys trademark, as well as the Smile album itself."
Apparently, Mr. Love feels that the 2.6 million copies of a Beach Boys compilation that were given away to promote Smile undercut the sales of Beach Boys albums, you know the ones he makes money off of.
If anything is undercutting Beach Boys sales, I think it would be Mike Love's insistence on continuing to play music, either that or this. Five day waiting period...but I'm angry now.
Some one reached this site searching for:
“let me hold you chords little bow wow chords”
I gather that this person was searching for the chords to the song “Let Me Hold You” by Little Bow Wow. Unfortunately that person was linked to this post where I say:
“from an aesthetic standpoint I don't think that “Let Me Hold You” by Bow Wow (featuring Omarion) deserves to be played at all.”
So...sorry about that. Also, not that anyone cares, but I have some more substantive posts in the works that should be out soon.
As of 3:00 today you could still get tickets to the Aerosmith/Lenny Kravitz concert tonight at the MCI Center, and fairly good ones at that.
Also, I never thought of it until know, but Aerosmith is a real stupid name. What the hell is it suppose to mean anyway? They craft the air? According to Wikipedia:
“Drummer Joey Kramer came up with the name in high school when coming up with cool band names. He liked "aero" names because of Harry Nilson's album Aeriel Ballet”
p.s. I just edited my first Wikipedia article. Because was spelled “beacause” in the above quote before I came along. You all are welcome.
So Tommy is getting an early start on his Christmas shopping, and good for him. I would like to join in the fun and suggest that all of you buy this for him.
And while Kriston is fairly godless, that doesn’t mean that he can’t get presents also, so let me suggest this.