Archive for Music


[ music | U2 – Freedom for My People ]

Communication is key to a free society, and instrumental in helping a people liberate themselves. Radio helped win World War II. Television and helped bring down the Berlin Wall, and the Iron curtain. Right now, the Internet is helping the people of Iran try to take back their country. The Iranian government is cracking down on all forms of communications media, such as TV and the Internet, but the people aren’t taking it lying down. In America, many people think of Iran as a nation that hates the US, but that’s not true. Just like in other countries, Afghanistan, Cuba, North Korea, etc., extremists seized the government and that’s all we hear. The people of Iran are people just like you and me who want to have their own peaceful lives. And right now they’re fighting an obviously slanted election.

Amazingly, Twitter is a huge part of it. I scoffed at Twitter at first, then I started to use it, and now I can see it’s merely a new method of leveraging the world wide nature of the Internet with the local nature of telephones and mobile devices. Twitter is helping the Iranian people circumvent their oppressive government’s crackdown on communications, and helping organize protests as they fight for their freedom.

If it sounds grandiose and over the top, think of it this way, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Today’s pen is electronic. And it reaches far more people than paper ever could.

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Seven things you don’t care about

[ music | Dido – Me ]

Blame Daniel Glazman, it’s his fault. 😉

  1. Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

Let the self indulgence begin!

  1. Building on Dan’s medical theme
    • As a child I had some severe migraine headaches. They’d last for days, and I’d just sleep the whole time, but they’d also be accompanied by incredibly high fevers above 105°F. I’m told by doctors it’s a miracle it didn’t cause any brain damage.  I’m told by friends it most certainly did.
    • In 2006 I got to enjoy the agony of gallstones. I mentioned that, and the subsequent removal of said gall bladder. I have a rather high tolerance for pain, you see. My major attack in October had been increasing in discomfort and pain for about 18 hours before I finally went to the ER. I thought it was bad gas or indigestion. This had happened twice before and passed long before it felt this bad. I was crossing the street, and nearly passed out, so I grabbed a cab home and called 911 (I was still caring for my mother at home and wanted her in the ambulance with me so she didn’t worry, here’s why). Turns out I had developed acute pancreatitis and was in shock. Apparently shooting pains throughout your abdomen is a bad sign, and you should get help. Lesson learned!
  2. I used to run a Mozilla news site called Mozilla News. It’s gone now, the domain lapsed, but you can read our old stuff via Internet Archive. I broke some news a time or two that some people weren’t happy about, but over all, I think we did a lot of good for the community. Also, we had the first animated favicon ever.
  3. I was engaged once.
  4. I got to meet and shake hands with Bill Clinton during his 1996 campaign. He came to Pittsburgh in August and had a rally in the Sewall Center at Robert Morris College (now Robert Morris University). Amazing guy.
  5. My first computer was a TRS 80 Model 100 (I had the printer too!). I loved that computer. It was very light and incredibly portable, ran on 4 AA batteries, and had a built in 300 baud modem. Once I bought the modem cable and started checking out local BBSes, my entire world changed forever. I bought a second one, cut off one modular connector and attached alligator clips, and went phreaking. Some of the best times of my life.
  6. About a decade or so ago, I got hit by my own car. I was at a motel and someone tried to steal my car. I heard it start up, ran out, and stood in the middle of the parking lot. He drove right into me, and I rolled up the hood, over the windshield, and off the side. I hurt my back, but no broken bones or cuts.
  7. I’m a published author. I’ve been published in a couple poetry reviews, a technical book, and most recently tech-edited a book for Wiley, HTML, XHTML, and CSS: Your visual blueprint. I’m also about 170+ pages into a novel, but that’s another story. (Get it? Another STORY? Ha-ha! (that one’s for dolske))

So, now I need to harass seven other people about this.

  1. Justin Dolske because he’s a punny guy.
  2. Chris Thomas because he’s a really smart guy.
  3. Josh Soref because he’s a genuinely nice guy.
  4. Jeff Walden because is hard to find.
  5. J. Boriss because I’m still looking for Natasha.
  6. Sean Umphlet who is a good guy and will not give you up nor let you down.
  7. Tim De Pauw who is my favorite waffle (and a good musician).


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Don’t fake it.

[ music | Badly Drawn Boy – Say It Again ]

The imminently talented (and cute as a button, redheaded) Neko Case was interviewed by Pitchfork back in April, I just now found it thanks to fak3r. In the interview she goes off on the rampant cheating of both artists and audiences by the prolific use of pitch-shifting and autotuning in modern pop.

Now, frankly, I think modern pop is crap anyway, but the point here is rather than actually working on their vocals, the artsts are both being cheated, and cheating their audience, by letting producers tweak the recordings with the equivalent of sonic Photoshop. Why is this cheating? Because these singers aren’t writing their material to start with, the lest they could do is actually learn to perform it, but they don’t. And you can hear the difference. It’s no longer even anything close to art, it’s just artificial. In the course of my life so far I have spent incredibly amounts of time practicing my singing, and it shows. I remember in high school I worked for weeks just to hit a single note in a song for an audition rather than change the key. And it paid off. I was a better performer for it.

You see, this cheats the audience too, because on tour these performers are just lip-synching to recordings, they’re not actually singing, because they can’t do it without the help of post-production. They didn’t put in the sweat-equity to be able to actually do the material justice, they faked it, and can’t back it up. So when you go to see a show, you’re being stiffed because you’re not getting what your’e paying for, you’re just paying to see them fake it for two hours.

And other artists who have put in the time and energy to better themselves get shafted because it no longer takes talent to break into the business, it just takes good marketing. And who wants to invest in creating a new brand when the old one can just be repackaged and autotuned into shape again?

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Depeche Mode – Precious

[ music | Depeche Mode – Precious ]

I have it, and it’s awesome.

This has an awesome sound, you can hear a lot of Violator influence in it again, and if you heard the “Enjoy the Silence 04” remix you can hear the influence from that too. It’s a lot cleaner like Violator and less dirty/distorted like SOFAD and subsequent albums. Now, I LOVED SOFAD, Ultra was great, and Exciter was good, but neither lived up to SOFAD. It’s good to hear the older sound back though. I can’t wait for the full album.

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Imogen Heap

[ music | Imogen Heap – Hide and Seek ]

I just can not keep from sharing this. Imogen Heap is absolutely the most brilliant artist I’ve found in a long time. She’s like the best of Tori Amos fused with the best of Depeche Mode, with a little bit of suger stirred in for good measure. The latest album, Speak for Yourself, is just astoundingly awesome. I can not give it high enough marks. The track “Hide and Seek” is the best use of gang voices and a vocoder in history, bar none. The fact they also use Antares Auto-Tune in this track does not bother me at all, because they use the effect brilliantly, unlike the nerve-grating “Believe” by Cher a few years back. Check out I Megaphone too, it’s almost as good, but still a 9. If you’re a completist, check out the band Frou Frou for more of her. Incredible.

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Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.

[ music | Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith and Devotion ]

It was a really crappy day most of the day. Once my obligations were taken care of, I came back, sat down, read some email, and opened up Photoshop. The greatest program of all time, even eclipsing my beloved Mozilla. Then I decided to spin up Depeche Mode’s “Songs of Faith and Devotion”. Oh god, this is exactly what I needed. It’s got the same black sensuality of “Violator” but with a much rougher sound, not nearly as polished and clean sounding. Tonight this is what soothes this savage breast. Delicious.

And with DM putting out a new album and tour this fall, I can grab a few DM shirts while I’m at the concert. The last DM concerts I went to were in ’92 or ’93 (or around there). They swung through Pittsburgh once in the summer, but added a second date in that November, both of which I attended. I sadly have neither shirt after all these years, just a few photos. Come hell or high water, I’ll be at the Boston shows if I have to sell a kidney.

You can help me get there and help Reboot My Life too. 😉

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Frank Sinatra’s Successor

[ music | Michael Buble – How Sweet It Is ]

I’m telling you people, you must buy this album, Michael Buble – It’s Time. This is guy is amazing. He’s got the same kick that Frank had, with a smooth soulful voice that melts into whatever style or emotion of song he’s singing. This guy’s going places.

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From the NES of my heart

[ music | The Postal Service – Nothing Better ]

Somehow, a mind blowingly cool band has completely escaped my attention. This band is The Postal Service Click To Buy. One of my best friends has smacked me in the head with a shovel, and on the end of this shovel is this band’s album “Give Up”. It’s core indie-rock infused with synthpop instrumentation, samples ripped straight from the old 8-bit Nintendo, moody atmospheres, “Pet Shop Boys” styled lyrics, and “They Might Be Giants” vocals. Really awesome stuff. I just can’t figure out how the hell I missed this. Don’t make the same mistake.

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Music and Emotion…

Wow. Ok, I finally found my long lost CD of Heather Nova’s Oyster. I bought this album back in high school after hearing “Walk This World” once. A lot like how my Tori Amos fandom began. Well, I haven’t been able to listen to this album since 1999 when I misplaced it. I forgot how emotionally raw this album is. Dear god, it’s like this woman found some magic lantern and wished for a direct pipe to the brain via sound, and uses this pipe to send 50,000 volts (carrying at least 100 amperes) of pure, unfiltered, unavoidably narcotic emotion directly into your amygdala. Or maybe this is just tapping into what I put into it as a teenager. I always have been some deep running waters. Scares the hell out of me sometimes. Anyway, I’m sitting here as it flows from track to track, so high on some tracks I’m literally dizzy; so low on others that there is an elephant on my chest; so incredibly tortured on some that I want to scream out so this icy hand will stop squeezing my heart. I actually had to pause the album because my heart was racing and skipping beats.

I haven’t felt like this in years. It’s magnificent to feel so tortured again. I’ve been dead for far too long.

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[04:26] * jX is currently spinning: Nelly Furtado - Saturdays
[04:26] <jX> See, this is why I know I'm right in going back to arts. this song turns me into a fyrating retard.
[04:26] <jX> You can't fake that.
[04:26] <jX> yes, that's right, FYRATING.
[04:27] <jX> It's like Ray Charles, but standing, and without any kind of piano anywhere near by.
[04:27] * MightyMu can't handle the fyrating!
[04:28] * jX spins around like the bee girl in the "No Rain" video.

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