iDevice Stuff

So, hmm. Somehow, I’ve amassed an iPod 160GB, iPhone 4 32GB, and now I have an iPod Touch 2nd gen 16GB. Not sure how this happened. It’s nice to have another touch device, but … it’s only a 2nd gen, and I’m not sure how well it’s handling iOS 4.2.1.

On my iPod, I have some of my music–mostly new stuff, but there’s a healthy mix of older stuff too. My iPhone holds ALL new stuff–that’s it. iPod Touch … nothing, but that’s just because I just got it. I think eventually it will house just apps–games that my kids can play, games I can play … stuff like that. Things that don’t require an internet connection because the best I can do is run wi-fi, which is great if I’m at home or in a wi-fi area (which at work  I am not, so that can automatically rule out apps like Pandora, Audiogalaxy, etc).

Very disappointed with having little to no service at work. Supposedly, we’re moving locations in a few weeks, so hopefully that’ll provide an opportunity to get better signal reception, but I doubt it. I swear these walls are made of lead.

Anyway, it’s nice having all these devices, but what I’d really like is one device where I can store ALL my music and ALL my apps (which are significant in number) on one device. The newest iPod Touch houses 64GB. My iPod Classic 160GB houses about half my music at best. And I’m only going to be collecting more, so … come on. I don’t need the thing to be “the thinnest” or “the slickest.” I *just* want something to keep all my music in onep place, other than my desktop hard drives.

Someday …

Review: Nataly Dawn – (Her Earlier Stuff)

I imagine this is how it must have been for a music addict in the 30s, 40s, and 50s –discovering that one voice on the radio that you immediately recognize as being that unique and that perfect. Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday … and now we can add Nataly Dawn to the list of classic crooners.

I fell down the Pomplamoose well after catching some vids of theirs on YouTube–specifically “Centrifuge.” Just an amazing video by an incredible band. Of course, the inevitable web-searching began to find out where they frequent online. I quickly found their Facebook page and their Twitter account. Well, ha ha. Guess what. Nataly AND Jack each not only have their own Twitter accounts, but they each also have their own incredible solo material. Nataly has a less extensive discography than does Jack, but that’s fine–give her time!

This CD was released in 2009, so I’m sure there probably a bunch of other reviews out there, but whatever. I like it, so I’m reviewing it.

If there’s one thing to be said about her voice, it’s that it is as intoxicating as the most potent wine. Like caviar for your tastebuds or a Renoir for your eyes, Nataly’s voice is pure exquisiteness. Gentle, mild, and addicting.

For the most part, Nataly sticks with her guitar, though there are some songs where the music branches out into other instruments. “Waking Up” finds her playing a piano (or at least a keyboard). “Hope,” with Ben Burdick, uses bass and harmonicas. “Save Me” uses a menagerie of instruments and is utterly haunting … I think mostly in part to the bass, which has this semi-eerie quality to it. You can hear the classical guitars dueling as well. At least they sound like nylon strings. I could be wrong. The deep, rumbings of Mr. Burdick also had a meloncholiness to the song.

“My Hands Burn” is an acapella tune that employs multiple tracks for Nataly to harmonize with herself. The effect is beautiful. To be fair, she does this on a lot of her tracks (and in Pomplamoose as well). I like it, though I imagine it’d be hard to reproduce the harmonics in a concert setting. 🙂

Stand-out tracks.

“A Happy Song” – Love that it sound like it was recorded on a tape recorder. This recording method is employed on a lot of the tracks, but this is the first one on the CD where you notice it. And she used the word “endoscopies”!! You HAVE to love that. “you can be whatever you want to be. i will be on your side. and when we’re having endoscopies and gumming our jello, we’ll survive. there;s not much to this fixation. feels like vacation. if only real life could be this fun.” 

“Save Me” is A haunting tune that shows the span of how much we rely on others to comfort us. Some slightly religious overtones … maybe I’m reaching here, but it sounds like it. There are other religious nods throughout the CD, but this one is more … covert? for wont of a better term?

“Baise M’encore” is a musical interpretation of French poet Louise Labe’s 16th century sonnet “Baise m’encor, rebaise-moi et baise.” I don’t know if it’s a cover or not, but her execution of the language would have you believe that she is a Parisian native (and of course there’s a good reason for this, ha ha).

The Right Decision – I like it because I’ve struggled with a lot of these similar “escapes.” I’ve found some work better than others–definitely not the drugs. I don’t mean that as a “wink wink, nudge nudge.” I really mean it. I don’t see drug use as a viable escape, but I will never judge anyone for not wanting TO escape and turning to drugs to do so. Sometimes, life can be just that insanely difficult; who am I to criticize someone for wanting to feel better and “escape”?

Well, listen … (ha ha! Get it? See what I did there?!) this is definitely one for the CD shelf–digital or otherwise. I don’t know if you can actually order a physical CD, but I would sure love this sitting on my shelf. As it is, I’ve purchased it from iTunes, and I’m happy with that. Whatever you do, just GET THIS CD!!

HDMI *IS* a Requirement

My wife has “signed off” on the purchase of an Xbox 360 Kinect. Being the semi-somewhat-half-frugal guy that i am (I believe that constitutes 1/8th frugal), I decided to shop around on some of the local classifieds. To my surprise, someone was looking to unload theirs for $60. I shot him a text with some generic questions: Does it have HDMI out? How big is the hard drive? Does it have wireless?

He explained that it did NOT have a hard drive, but that wasn’t a deal-breaker for me. 250GB hard drives can be had for about $20, so whatever. However, he very clearly stated that it did indeed have HDMI out. “SOLD! I can meet you at such and such place at x time.”

We met at the agreed upon location, and I handed over the cash while he handed me the box. “Hey … umm, where’s the HDMI out on this?”

“OH! ha ha … it’s my buddy’s box. Let me ask him.” He leaned into the car and asked about the HDMI. The guy driving muttered something about not having HDMI, but what did it matter? “Yah … sorry guys. That’s a deal-breaker. I need HDMI out.”

They handed me back my $60, and I drove off. Not a minute later they call and say, “Hey, ya know … my buddy brought this all the way up here for you to buy, and he doesn’t want it … would you take it for $40?”

“Well, no … it still doesn’t have HDMI out, and that’s what I’m interested in. I have a HUGE TV that runs 1080p … I don’t want a box that isn’t HD.”

“OH! Yah, well, hey … I have a huge TV too and it looks GREAT! It’s all just a signal man.”

“Yes … but the signal coming out of THAT box isn’t in high def, or it would have an HDMI out.”

*silence on the other end*

“So …. you don’t want it?”

“No thanks, but thanks for offering all the same.” *click*

It just infuriated me that a) they  lied to get me to buy it, b) act all pissy when they call back and ask me to buy it anyway, and I tell them no. I want HDMI out; I’m GETTING HDMI out. Period. How hard is that to understand? Seriously.

Oh well. The search continues.

10 FREE CDs To Download

A buddy of mine on Facebook pointed me to this link:

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-free-mp3-albums-download-sound-sunday-35/

I’ve been listening to and downloading stuff like crazy. So far, I’d say my favorite has been the chill BrainStorm Operations material. Well over 50 mp3s, split over a few different albums, some of which are actually complete. This stuff is so chill that it’d seriously cause even Flea to mellow out. Might not be so great for a RHCP show, but he’d be one well-rested little bass player.

That got me wondering if maybe there are other “10-free-mp3-albums-download-sound-sunday-X” pages. Sure enough, substitute X for any number 1 through 34 and you’ll get a whole new page of new stuff to nab.

You’re welcome. 🙂

Emily Browning: The Next Scarlett Johannson?

A buddy of mine on Facebook posted that he went to go see “Sucker Punch” the other night. I’ve been wanting to see it since the trailers started popping up a few months ago. It looks like it’s all eye candy, which I’m okay with. According to my buddy, the plot has more holes than the Utah I-15 in February, but as far as visuals go, it’s amazing.

However, the real story coming out of the movie isn’t even the movie itself. Emily Browning–the very same who played Violet in “Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events” movie–has a couple of singles on the soundtrack, and … yah. “Smouldering” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

If you’re not familiar with Scarlett Johannson, check out “Lost inTranslation,” “The Island,” “The Prestige,” or “The Black Dahlia.” She’s a pretty good actress. This is just my opinion, of course, but for as good an actress as she is, her vocal chops far surpass her acting skills. Her CD Anywhere I Lay My Head is a must-have. She will soothe your ravaged day with her silky voice and mellow, moody music.

However, this post is not about Scarlett; it is ALL about Emily Browning and her potential for a career beyond acting.

On the “Sucker Punch” soundtrack, she has two songs of her own, and one as a featured performer on Yoav’s track, “Where Is My Mind?” ( a great Pixies cover). Her two tracks–“Asleep” and “Sweet Dreams” (Eurythmics cover)–really showcase her vocal capabilities: smooth, quiet, polished, refined, dark, brooding and like I said earlier, smouldering.

Here’s the song:

I’m extremely excited to see what, if anything, she does with her musical career. Again, just my opinion, but really–she should pursue it ardently cuz she has a LOT of potential …

Can’t See Straigh

Seriously. That’s it. I’m seriously having to type ths with my eyes closed rightnow cuz it hurts to have them open. If This looks all jumbled and crap, that’s because it is. 🙂

Death of the iPhone

Well, okay … not in the “Death of the iPod Classic” sense. Really, it’s just the death of my iPhone. Tragic, yes–but not on a corporate scale.

So I got in the car, threw my iPod on the docking cable, and listened to some Tool coming in to work this morning. I didn’t think anything of it cuz I knew I could come in to work and throw my phone on the USB cable and charge it. Well, ha ha … no love from the USB port. “Hmm … that’s odd.” So I tried a different USB port. No luck. Tried the iPod on the same cable. LOVE! YAY! So it’s not the cable. So, now we’re back to “Booooo.”

I ran out to the car to test the phone on the docking cable. Worked fine. Started charging, so I figured it must just be the USB cable. So I ran down the cube farm and found someone with an iPod cable. “Hey, can I borrow your cable?”

“Umm … sure.”

“Thanks. Oh, erm … yah. I’m Chris by the way. Relatively new writer.”

“Good to meet you …”

“Thanks. Okay … back in a sec.”

Again, no love. Not a single port on my desktop or any of my neighbor’s desktops provided joy, happiness or rapture. I tried both my and borrowed cable.

Verdict? Genius Bar appointment at the local Apple Store. I don’t know what they’ll say, but I do have the Apple Care package, so that better pull some weight. They’re pretty good about “turning and winking” as they read over the warranty and explain what is and isn’t covered. Though even without Apple Care, this seems pretty suspect. I mean … I had the thing sitting right on my nightstand all night, and it was charging fine yesterday. I have no idea what could possibly cause spontaneous internal problems, but something had to have happened. I don’t get it.

Well, okay … now this is just weird. Just now I unplugged it and repluggd it back in, and it turns on and shows 7%. Except now the battery is still draining. I don’t know what the deal is. Something’s defective …

Anyway, I have an appointment at 2:40. We’ll see what they say.

Well THAT’S Better!

I think there are a few more things to tweak, but overall, I’m happy with this new look. Cleaner, brighter, easier on the eyes … and it took a LOT less time than I thought it would. Also, I stayed up way later than I wanted to, but whatever. Short day at work tomorrow, but it’s real date night tomorrow, so I have to get in and out by 3 and still put in an 8 hour day. Yes–that’s a short day. Don’t ask … it just is.

Anyway, hope y’all like the new look. I do! If you have suggestion though, fire ’em over through comments. Thanks!

New Look Coming Up

So, initially, I thought I’d like the white-on-black look. It’s getting old, even for me. Not to mention the fact that I’ve actually had readers comment on the eye strain it causes them, which … you know … isn’t the point of a blog to be able to actually read it?

In college, I had a professor who eschewed every form of creativity when it came to document design if it wasn’t purely “black text, white back ground, 1″ margins, san-serif heading, serif body text.” Made for very, very boring posters, flyers, or … anything.

To some small degree, there is wisdom in the blandness. The point of a blog is to read it–not obfuscate the text or, more importantly, the message. However, I do enjoy experimenting with backgrounds, text fonts and colors, etc. The current css scheme just fit well, especially with the logo.

However, I am indeed working on a redesign that should provide a much more visually appealing design. Mostly just in the colors, but there may be some other tweaks coming down the pike as well. Guess you’ll have to wait and see.

Thanks everybody for stopping by!

EDIT: I threw up a “borrowed” WordPress theme for now. It’ll suffice for now, and it’s at least more legible until I can get my new theme up and running.

Review: The Hello Strangers – Introducing Max Schmidt

You know, I have to confess: I actually feel lazy reviewing this. My San Fran blog buddy keeps spoon feeding me all these incredible bands, and of course I just lap ’em up. I am her dog, and she is my Pavlov. I swear, I’ve been conditioned. Also, I don’t mind or care.

Alas … I highly suspect I will not make it to SXSW ever. Or Coachella. Or [insert multi-day music-fest here]. Well, okay … maybe not *never*, but it’s definitely a distinct possibility. Thus it is that I will probably never see as many awesome bands as she who hails from The Bay. However, that does not mean that I will not pine for such the opportunity, for to do so would be tantamount to giving up a dream. I’m not willing to do that. So I continue to hope.

Meanwhile, those who DO get to go generously and gratuitously pass on their discoveries. Such is the case with The Hello Strangers. I have two words: Love ’em! Here’s why.

The first thing I thought of when I heard the vocals was Ani Difranco. That eventually wore off and gave way to me lapsing into a Karin Bergquist coma. The Chace sisters–Larissa and Brechyn–have been writing songs together since about 2006. They added Dave Holzwarth (bass), Kevin Shannon (guitar), and Katie O’Neil (drums) to round out their line-up in what we have in the Introducing Max Schmidt EP. Or I’m assuming it’s supposed to be an EP; there are just 6 tracks, so hopefully a full-length release is in the works.

I love the lyrics. Very Nick Cave-esque. I also love the alt-folk-country sound they have. Very reminiscent of Faun Fables, for those of you who are familiar with them. However, I *really* enjoy their vocals much, much more. Like I said–Ani Difranco and Karin Bergquist. Hard to go wrong if you sound like either of them.

One of the best tracks on the CD, in my opinion, is “Conococheague.” There’s a very western, cowboy feel to it. “I have a lover but I want another cuz he’s being chased by John boy’s brothers. I had a lover like no other, but he’s at the bottom of the Conococheague.” Interestingly enough, Conococheague Creek is located in eastern Pennsylvania. Western feel. I love it.

“Poor Dear” is beautiful and upbeat musically. Ironically, I think it’s about someone who’s been in an abusive relationship and is getting the hell out. “You laid your hand on me; why is it so hard to see by the time you light up that cigarette, I’ll be gone to Tennessee …” I dunno. Maybe I’m reading into it. I hope I am and that I’m not right. Worse, I hope it’s not based on personal experience. Tragically, we do tend to write what we know about …

Great band. I hope they put out more material soon.

 

 

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