Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jay: Favorite American Idol Contestant So Far

"Jim Morrison” dude who can sing Freddie Mercury probably better than any prior contestant.

Also… love the rocker nurse, Amanda is it?  She does have to beware of one-note, but then people thought that was a problem for Daughtry.

The two alleged ringers I know of offhand got through readily enough, and one of them was pimped (that is, “shamelessly promoted” Hillary, Bill) all out of proportion by the judges.

We had dead dad girl pegged for top 12, and shockingly she didn’t make the cut.

Live in car dude needs to shape up and stop being 18.  Glad they let him through, to see what happens, but…

03:04 PM | MusicTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Jay: Odd

For me to find music more distracting than focusing.

Actually, I think I need to revert to headphones and maybe change the music mix.  With headphones it more properly separates me from the world and carries me to the zone.


Oops, almost hit power button on the black UPS the computer plugs into, rather than the black speakers.  That’d be fun.

And again I wish manufacturers made headphone cords longer and the interface of jacks and plugs more robust.

04:02 PM | GeekeryMusic • (0) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jay: She’s a Future Geek, Future Geek

03:06 PM | KidsPicturesMusic • (0) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Jay: Dan Fogelberg

So he died the other day, way too young, of prostate cancer.  Which reminds me of the fun I sometimes poke at people who think it’s prostrate, which I guess would make it the genuflecting gland or something.

Interesting history, me and Dan Fogelberg.  Because I am easygoing and incapable of staying angry or holding a grudge, it’s not so long ago that I finally forgave people like him for participating in the misguided, to use a polite term, “no nukes” album project some 25 years or so ago.  Bombs?  No, power.

That being fresh didn’t make it any less cool that I almost got to meet him once, way back then.  I stayed at a house in Maine near his.  The kids there offered to take me to meet him, but found he was away at the time, so no dice.

It also never stopped me from loving some of his music, especially Same Old Lang Syne, which is an all time favorite of mine.  I told Deb I thought he chose an interesting time to die, since it’s the time of year when that song receives a ton of extra airplay due to its New Year’s and Christmas associations.  She was amused with my “chose” phrasing.

A counter example is Cat Stevens.  After the Salman Rushdie thing, to this day I refuse to listen to Cat Stevens if I have a choice.  I change stations if one of his songs starts to play.  How long ago was that?  Been a while.

Anyway, I was sad to see the news.  Fogelberg struck me as a nice and talented guy, and it’s not like opposing an environmentally and economically energy option is overtly supporting death to anyone the way coming out in favor of a madman’s crazy religious death decree is.

02:28 PM | MusicNews • (0) CommentsPermalink

Friday, December 07, 2007

Jay: Sweet Yule Music

Jenelle has a good post on how it is possible to love Christmas trappings and even the inspiringly religious tunes, yet not believe.

05:22 PM | MusicTotally Random • (0) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Jay: The Clark Brothers

Are clearly the band The Powers That Be behind Next Great American Band want to have win.  They were so outrageously bad tonight it was painful, yet the judges waxed orgasmic again.  Last week it struck me there might be an agenda.  This week is hard to explain otherwise.

Every song is not a skeletal hymn of what it could have been, or a heartfelt plea for salvation to your imaginary friend from another dimension.  Who wants musical Dementors?


Anyway, so sad Tres Bien is gone.  I am likely to buy whatever they put out when they sign and cut an album.  They were arguably best last week, but apparently the demographics were unkind.

Goofily named Dot Dot Dot won’t win but keeps improving.

Who told the luminescent kids of doom they could be arguably second best performance this week?

Oh well.  Nothing else is on Friday nights.

03:15 AM | MusicTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Jay: Anyone Know

How to get crayon safely off the business side of a music CD?

The other day I retrieved a couple Christmas CDs from the floor, where Valerie had been playing with them and had one spilling out of its case.  I have no idea where or how she got them, but they may have been ones I had at the office and brought home.  Which still means she went to some real effort to obtain them.

Just now I went to rip them on the Vista machine, where I have an “xmas” playlist (it astonishes me the words that Firefox doesn’t have in its dictionary - especially being modern Firefox and not, say, Word 97) already, and since I never got around to converting those to MP3, and found them ruined with crayon.  Presumably; I haven’t tried reading them.  I find it hard to believe they would read cleanly enough.


And Sadie’s the one who sobbed when I lectured… yeah, that’s a good word for it, lectured… them about not ruining music CDs, when I doubt she’d ever do such a thing.  Valerie was probably too far removed from the act for it to register.  Sigh…

One of them was a freebie, at least, in the form of all instrumental stuff from AT&T years ago.  The other was a gift from my brother a few years ago.

Meanwhile, I setup the kids at the kitchen table with paper, chalk, crayon stubs, and colored pencils.  They mothed me while I tried to find a sharpener, since Sadie lost both of hers by virtue of being allowed to use them herself.  Then they mothed me again now, which is why they were so handy for scolding.  Sadie has been crouched right next to me, drawing with the unlikely crude surface of my soft-sided briefcase under her paper.  Well, except now she’s squeezed beside me, rubbing my right shoulder, drawing at the desk.  Valerie just wandered back in and thrust one of her shoes at me.  Again.  Then tried to squeeze into a millimeter of space beside Sadie, then tried to touch the Vista computer, which is a sensitive thing right now after she shut it down via the keyboard yesterday.  Sadie is drawing portraits of each of us, one per page, narrating as she goes, mimicking me when I show her how to draw something.  It’s so cute!  She draws glasses on Deb and big curls on Valerie.  I’ll have to take pictures of today’s work.  Or scan them.  I’ve been photographing her art regularly to capture some of it for posterity.

Speaking of which, not only will Sadie get art supplies for Christmas, but also she’s the easy one otherwise.  For instance, she’s old enough for Candyland.  I noticed in Benny’s they had a Dora themed version.  Not sure about that, and didn’t they modify the original a few years back so it doesn’t emphasize food or winning?  Valerie I am not so sure of, besides that she’s stopped eating everything so she could have Play-Doh now, which would probably go over big.  Otherwise she’s pretty easy in a random kid stuff sort of way.

What I’d love to do is make them a widget device they can play with, that has buttons, switches, cords, connectors, plugs, LED lights, and maybe sounds.  Even without getting fancy, I could probably do something out of wood and dead computer parts and a few Radio Shack or junk drawer items, enough to tickle the gadget fascination.

Sadie just ended a long narrative I less than half listened to and couldn’t comprehend with “paper airplane” and requested I make one.  Made a couple for her (and Val, but she’s a bit young to appreciate them) yesterday and apparently it left a big impression.

Apparently the CDs in question were up on a high shelf, out of reach of the kids.  Which brings to mind the half hour attempt the girls made to break into the locked file cabinet the other day, mentioned in a previous post…

03:11 PM | ArtKidsMusicTotally Random • (2) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Jay: Well That Sucks

Next Great American Band was not surprising, but was disappointing.  I really enjoyed Cliff Wagner.

Worst of this week?  Light of Doom and Clark Brothers, IMHO.  When the judges praised the latter to an unnatural degree, I remarked sarcastically that no, they don’t have an agenda at all.

02:29 AM | MusicTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jay: Timely Next Great American Band Thoughts

Friday’s Next Great American Band was a shocker.  Franklin Bridge was a victim of demographics in the voting, much as Light of Doom was clearly a beneficiary.  Tween girls have to be burning up the lines voting for the pretty little boys who actually managed to impress me this week.

Franklin Bridge was extremely popular from what I could tell of the buzz.  While not entirely my thing, I consider them extremely talented and marketable.  I’d be shocked not to find them signed by someone after the show’s run ends.  I would, from a business perspective.

When it came down to them and Tres Bien, much as I like Tres Bien, I was certain they were gone.  So were they, based on their shocked reaction and their classy nod toward the other band.

That makes it especially cool that Tres Bien was hands down best of the week, much as Cliff Wagner was the previous week.  I was reminded of early Stones or perhaps The Who.

The Clark Brothers were meh this week, to me, in a way I perhaps can’t define well.  I thought the choice of song was foolish, and the singing reminded me of my brother when he is so-so trying too hard and not using his own voice as he should.

Dot Dot Dot was at their best this week and they’ve grown on me to the point where I have to say I like them.  The dude can sing, and it might matter less for him the genre than for the others there.  The look and antics aren’t necessary, except for marketing and proclaiming their expected audience.  The talent is there.  In fact, I can’t see any remaining band, or any remaining after Rocket and The Muggs, not being marketable in some reasonable form.  Denver may be “corporate,” for instance, but they could make a good living performing.  In fact, they are Taylor Hicks-like in their appeal as a potentially compelling live show in a modest sized venue.

Who will go next week?  On the merits of being stellar this week, maybe not Tres Bien.  Someone will probably be a combined victim of demographics and their own not-as-good this week.  Clark Brothers?  Cliff Wagner?  Both still adequate to good, but given that the youngsters were both better than before and clearly riding the crest of the youth vote tsunami, they have to be called safe.  Dot Dot Dot apparently benefits from the demographics too.  Call them safe.  I was surprised how well Denver did.  If that was demographics, and their performance, which I liked, didn’t hurt them, they may be surprisingly safe.  Six Wire is too good, too favored, and too sexy to be in danger.  Who does that leave?  Clark Brothers, Cliff Wagner and Tres Bien.  On strength of performance, It should come down to Cliff Wagner or Clark Brothers.  However, it could come down to one of them versus Tres Bien.  I love Cliff Wagner, but if I had to deduce who goes I would probably name them based on voting patterns and performances.  It should be the Clark Brothers who go.  They’ll Carrie on regardless, after all, but they’re almost too niche even compared to others, and they don’t have enough other appeal.

04:47 PM | MusicTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Jay: Next Great American Band

I was much more pleased with this week’s results.  The Muggs and Rocket were who I expected and wanted to go home, and as Dicko said, it was death by lead singer.  I disagree that the talking back wasn’t a factor, if people reacted like us.  The sad thing is that the Muggs were an early favorite for us.  Their lead looks distractingly like John Sebastian.  I wouldn’t even have minded if Rocket and Light of Doom went home and they got another week.  I kind of liked The Likes of You and would have preferred to see them stay last week over a couple of the other bands.

This is a show I ought to be live blogging or taking notes on, as we have a lot to say to each other even as the people are performing.  If I had written my remarks last week and the week before, it would have involved a surprising number of comparisons, mainly good, to my brother.  A couple of the original songs sounded like he wrote them.  A singer or two sounded like him.  I believe it was the lead of the Muggs, when he was singing badly, who sounded like my brother when he used to try too hard to sound like someone else, rather than himself, in his own range.

Cliff Wagner was hands down the best of the eight this week, but the rest were awfully close.  I wouldn’t go out and look to buy bluegrass, but I’ve always found it fairly compelling when hearing it unplanned. 

We love Tres Bien, very Raspberries (down to the lead resembling Eric Carmen), but they are in danger.  I’d sign them and find a way to market them.  Perhaps it’s time for a comeback of that sound.

The Clark Brothers weren’t so good this week, but may be able to coast a week on how good they have been and their fan base. 

Denver and the Mile High Orchestra were good, but are likely to be in the next pair to go.  He is their weak link for no definable reason except maybe youth and a lack of gravitas one might expect in the type of band.  Overall, I like them a lot.  I’d be happy to go see them in person, and maybe that is a problem; they are an in-person band.

The lead singer of Sixwire has “it” and they are arguably the band to beat.

The kids are kids, but with a future beyond novelty.  Light of Doom (the best name) disturbs me by looking like a bunch of cute little girls.  Right now they’re a novelty, but man can they play, and they have conviction.  They might drift over into harder rock than I might normally like, but they have talent and I would expect to see them on the charts in a few years.  If I were a producer, I might even sign them now before someone else could, put out a “while waiting for them to grow” album, then try to hit big in a few years with them.

Franklin Bridge hadn’t grabbed me the way they’ve grabbed so many to become one of the bands to beat.  Not my taste.  However, I recognize that they are good, and that there is a market for them, so I’d sign them if it were my decision.  This is the first week I’ve seriously liked them, covering Billy Joel, except for the part where the singer screamed.  He has a nice voice.  In some respects they could be a revival band the way Tres Bien would be.

What does it mean that I forgot to mention Dot Dot Dot, who we call the ellipsis, even though they were the best they’ve ever been last night?  I can see a market for them.  In fact, there is no remaining band that I can’t see having a career, even if it’s “corporate,” mainly live, small venue, niche, or whatever.  They’re all good and they all want it.

The member of Tres Bien with the dark hair and sideburns looks like someone, too, the way the lead looks like Eric Carmen.  I know it’s someone in a band, probably from way back, but I can’t place who.  Ditto for one of the other guys in the Muggs, with the long reddish hair.  Maybe one of the members of the Grass Roots?

Current favorites: Cliff Wagner and the Old #7, Sixwire, and Tres Bien.

03:36 PM | MusicTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Jay: Unbiced

When Bo Bice put out his first album after Idol, I coined the word “biced” for what was done to him: Overproduction to the point of ruining the music and limiting sales.

I got Deb his new album for her birthday.  Based on a single listen, some of which I missed, it’s a vast improvement, and is exactly what we had expected of Bo in the first place.  Rock.  Southern rock.  Shaken, not stirred.  The real thing, this time.

Oddly enough, it stuck me in places as a cross between Taylor Hicks and Chris Daughtry, perhaps with a little Bucky Covington thrown in.  Taylor’s album was better than his sales would imply, and it makes sense that two guys from the same area would remind me of each other.  Of course, Taylor’s album hasn’t held up as well and grown on me the way Daughtry’s has, and I’d put my ranking of them something like Daughtry, Pickler, Covington, and then Hicks.  (If “Daughtry” is added to a spell checker, shouldn’t the spell checking algorithm be able to grasp “Daughtry’s” as the same word rendered possessive?  Spell checkers ought to be more adaptive that way.  And I am still not sure I appreciate having Firefox check my spelling.) I would have to listen to Bo’s new one more before I could rank it against those.  His first would be at the bottom; pleasant enough, but indistinct and unmemorable.

03:02 PM | Music • (0) CommentsPermalink

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Deb: Add Everclear the list of bands Henry seems to like.  Not surprising, as I played So Much for the Afterglow quite a bit when I was pregnant with him.  Makes a great soundtrack for neurotic cleaning, which really is the only kind I ever do…

10:13 PM | KidsMusic • (0) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jay: Gummi Worms

Just for giggles, I recently brought home a 99 cent bag of gummi worms from CVS.

Sadie is now obsessed with gummi worms.  Apparently they were Best Thing Ever.  She’d settle for gummi bears, which she also liked.  Valerie liked both of them too, but more in the normal “hey, something sweet and different to eat.”

So.  If you were ever to contemplate getting Sadie a treat, there you go.  Heck, Santa may have to remember it as a stocking stuffer idea.

On an unrelated note, Henry is laying here on the floor so he might be able to sleep.  Sadie has been waking him every time he’s almost out.  A song by Kellie Pickler came on (Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You, to be exact) and he didn’t seem to know quite what to make of it.  It starts off slow and he seemed happier when it broke into a bigger sound.  I thought it might be too loud - the infamous MP3 variability - or too shrill combined with loud, but perhaps it was just the low key country sounding start.  On the other hand, it was immediately followed by the song she did for her rogue mother, more mellow overall, and he seemed okay with that (until just this second).  He’s so funny.  I do need to turn it down though, as the goal is sleep and it’s fairly loud.  Earlier I found myself missing the feel of isolation provided by wearing headphones, which I haven’t done since I started using the Vista machine as a musicbox while I work at the Windows 2000 machine.  (He seriously dislikes Look Through Any Window by The Hollies!)

Okay, back to work.  I turned it down and fast forwarded to Spinning Wheel by Blood, Sweat and Tears.  He seems much happier.

05:18 PM | Food & CookingGeekeryKidsMusic • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: No Birthdays (and the Amusing Miscellany Implicit in Posts So Titled)

Not until Friday.  In fact, there are seven birthday-free days during the remainder of this month, as compared with only eight birthdayless days in all of November, even though I count eighteen birthdays remaining this month.  Cluster much?  Looks like forty-six of them in November, including those of dead people or that I otherwise might not mention here.

On an unrelated note that seeing the name Billy reminded me of, the night before last I dreamed at some length a conversation with a slightly older version of my nephew Billy, discussing construction work he was doing and loving.  I don’t remember the words, but I’m amazed how vividly I was seeing him standing before me.

Now that CotC is done, apart from normal details like cleaning up the Gmail account and handing over the keys to the next host, I have to work on my resume that I mentioned in that post.  I had prepended the summary and am pleased that Deb, having not seen it before, thought it sounded good except for possibly one bit of awkward wording.  Hey, I wonder if any other English words feature the sequence “wkw” in them.  I was also thinking it might be an interesting exercise to create the ultimate brief resume, in which each position gets a single sentence of readable, unconfusing length.  Of course, I have excellent descriptions for some of the older stuff.  It’s the new stuff that’s hard.  As Deb noted, XTreme covers 11 years and massive changes, even if parts didn’t involve me that much or overlapped other work.

The goal is for there to be an online resume that is as unabridged as these things get, even if in Word that would make it a five page document, or even if it does what Word can’t and links to more detail.  From there I ought to be able to trim down and focus more than one variant, be it emphasizing technology or an angle on that, management, or even writing.

That’s the initial thing today, even as I still drink my coffee and wonder what the screaming is on the other side of the door from me.  The current toughest thing about closing the door is that my floor is one of Henry’s favorite places to hang out, especially if the music is going.  If it’s not, he’ll look up at the shelf where the speakers are like “hey, I can’t hear anything!” Last night he seemed unhappy to be on the floor with one ear on the sleeping bag, twisting and squirming and being happy if I held him on my lap where he could hear better.  He’ll cry during the pause between tracks, or if the apparent pause is long because of a slow build at the beginning of a song.

I have never seen a baby so obsessed with music.  He’s also usually even happier if I’m singing along.  He likes rock better than mellow stuff, in general, and definitely big sounds better than thin sounds.  He seems to be fond of the Beatles, Queen, the Eagles (but he hated Witchy Woman), Foreigner, the Doors, Badfinger… though it can be hard to say exactly.  He liked the one Boston song I know he’s heard, except it was Foreplay/Long Time and he didn’t like the slow build or the changeover when it goes quiet.  He also loves the Baby Beethoven video that is also a big favorite with both of the girls.

Anyway, this wasn’t supposed to be long.  When I tire of working on the resume, or decide it can’t wait any longer, I also need to go to the old office for more stuff if possible, and to the store.  Preferably to BJ’s, if not exclusively, because we’re running out of all the right things; wipes, paper towels, cheese, butter (which is back to being less at BJ’s, unless it went up there, too), hamburger, peanut butter if we just go ahead and get creamy (they don’t carry 2-pack giant jars of crunchy Jif, darn them), and I forget what else.  Batteries, probably.  Everything larger than AA or AAA seems to have evaporated, and it’s time for the baby to have the baby gym that uses C batteries, if the girls don’t break it first, now that it’s out of hiding.  Eggs, and milk naturally, while I am there.  Their eggs are much better than Hannaford’s.  The truck needs gas, too, so when Deb takes Henry to the doctor tomorrow morning she isn’t cursing me.

Okay, coffee and to work for real now…

01:38 PM | BirthdaysBloggingBusinessFood & CookingHumorKidsMoneyMusicTotally Random • (0) CommentsPermalink

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Jay: The Doors

Henry seems to love music and have definite opinions about what he prefers.  He can be soothed by my singing or humming to him to a degree I don’t recall with the girls.

Not only does he love laying on the floor of my office, but it’s even better if I have random tunes playing.  Today Deb noticed he was grooving on Touch Me, by The Doors.

So tonight, after she took him in his first shower, which he loved, I fetched him from Deb, dried and dressed him, and brought him in here with me.  After a while he got restless laying on the floor, so I grabbed him on the idea I’d fire up a YouTube music video he could see and hear on my lap.  I saw Light My Fire, The Doors again, in my bookmarks, so I fired it up.  He was entranced.

Oddly, he seemed to like when I sang along better than when I stopped, during the vocal parts.  Luckily Jim Morrison is a surprisingly close matche for my voice.  He may only be the baby, but I cringe if I sound particularly bad.

Anyway, it might be too early to tell, but it seems he might have a thing for The Doors the way Sadie had a thing for Boston.

12:30 AM | KidsMusic • (1) CommentsPermalink
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