Tag Archives: music

Getting ready for my teaching debut

I’ve spent a majority of the last two days sprawled out on my living room floor and standing at my ironing board surrounded by so many four-pointed orange scraps from the 120 circles of fabric I’ve been cutting out for my craft class. I may have watched more TV in the past few days than I have in a long time. I didn’t even go outside today. Hopefully all of my cutting, ironing, pinning, and packing will pay off on Thursday when I teach a group of forty adults how to make fabric pumpkins as part of the Tustin Library Craft Guild’s free craft program. I’m super nervous. On top of that, CLA ’11 is fast approaching and I will need to save some energy for that. So last night, I tried to de-stress. I put on some Lucero and made my new favorite meal, Chickpea Picatta from Post Punk Kitchen. Tonight, I inexplicably watched a 19 Kids and Counting marathon. And that is that.

For something so beige, it was sure flavorful.

Wordless Wednesday: Books and Records

via Apartment Therapy: Philip & Leona’s Wide Open Loft

Tuesday Tunes: The Ettes – Wicked Will

Yesterday’s post was kind of a downer. I’d always rather praise than complain. Since I’ve been wanting to rave about this album to people for a couple weeks, I thought I’d do so from here. This means there will be a new Tuesday category: Tuesday Tunes.

The Ettes are a three-piece group from Nashville. Their fourth LP, Wicked Will, was released earlier this month and it will kick your ass. I’ve been pissing off my neighbors on the daily with this album.

Lo-fi garage rock + 60’s girl group style + punk grit. RIYL: Black Keys, The White Stripes, Murder by Death, Patsy Cline.

Listen to “Excuse”:

 

Highlight tracks:

  • Excuse
  • My Heart
  • One By One
  • The Worst There Is

Tech Tuesday: MP3s and the Sony/PIAS Warehouse Fire

I want to say this first: as I type, there has been one death as a result of the London riots that are still taking place. This is a real tragedy. Any loss of human life is a real tragedy.

Sometime last night, a fire destroyed the Sony/PIAS distribution warehouse as a result of the riots. Many independent record labels lost their stock of CDs and vinyl. For some, it could mean months of no physical record sales. But there’s something really easy we can do to help: buy MP3s. Digital sales will help to soften the blow. You get music you like in return.

You can find a list of labels affected by the PIAS fire here.

There are some very talented artists on these labels. Perhaps you’ve heard of them?

The Strokes, Albert Hammond Jr., Julian Casablancas, Gogol Bordello, Belle & Sebastian, Bjork, Joanna Newsom, PJ Harvey, The Hold Steady, STARS, !!!, TV on the Radio, Andrew Bird, Chuck Ragan (of Hot Water Music), Fake Problems, Bedouin Soundclash (one of their lyrics is tattooed on my left wrist), Dustin Kensrue (of Thrice), Thrice, Yim Yames (Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Monsters of Folk, both of whom are on Rough Trade), Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, School of Seven Bells…and so many more.

And just so you know I’m not on some soapbox doing nothing about this myself, I spent some of my hard-earned Chuck E. Cheese money on Gogol Bordello’s latest album Trans-Continental Hustle.

Meatless Monday: Golden Lentil Soup

How was your weekend? Mine was exhausting! On Friday I took my 6- and 9-year-old cousins and their neighbor friend to Chuck E. Cheese for the afternoon. We ate pizza and I let them run wild while I finished reading The Help. Shortly after bringing them home my aunt relieved me of my duties and I went to my grandma’s house for our regular Friday night dinner. After dinner I rushed off to meet my cousin Shannon to see Crazy Stupid Love. It was lighthearted and cute, which was exactly what I needed that night.

On Saturday night I said goodbye to RX Bandits, the band that had the biggest influence on me as a teenager and opened me up to all kinds of different music genres. They played the second-to-last show of their farewell tour at the Glass House in Pomona with Zechs Marquise (they were really good) and The Hot Toddies (we missed them, unfortunately). Almost all of my friends who also grew up with their music were there so it was a sentimental night. And in addition to their playing most of my favorites, Matt Embree covered one of my favorite Sam Cooke songs. My ears are happy forever!

My friend Ryan and me at an RXB show in 2005. I've been going to their Southern California shows for nine years!

Sunday was a little more relaxing. I met a librarian friend briefly in the afternoon and then went to the Gypsy Den for book club to discuss The Irregulars (which I could not bring myself to finish).

So that was my weekend!

For this installment of Meatless Monday, I made Zov’s Golden Lentil Soup. I tried to do it all in the crock pot, but it didn’t work out quite as well as I’d hoped. Next time I’ll just stick to making it all at once like I usually do. In any case, I highly recommend this recipe. You probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry. It’s vegan, totally fat free, flavorful, and makes great leftovers.

Look! Pita wings! Golden lentil snitch soup!

Tech Tuesday: The Dangers of Spotify

Last week I read an article in the Harvard Business Review titled “Why I’m Not Going Near Spotify (and Why You Shouldn’t Either).” My first thought was, “shuuuutuuuuup. Quit being so dramatic!” But it was early in the morning when I saw that title pop up on my phone’s Twitter feed. After some coffee (and listening to Cults on Spotify for a few minutes), I decided to hear Mr. James Allworth* out.

Look at all them musics...

Allworth posits that Spotify’s likely to pull a bait-and-switch move on subscribers, just like Netflix did recently, and increase their subscription fees. I don’t disagree – this seems possible, especially when they beat out other competition, like Netflix did. He says the danger in this lies in the way we consume music versus the way we consume movies/TV.

Think about it. It is relatively rare to own a movie or TV series that you sit through and watch multiple times. Sure, there are some classics where that’s the case, but most people watch a video once and that’s it. Music is not like this. The same songs get listened to time and time again. We build playlists (custom CDs or even mix tapes, if you’re old enough) around them. It’s the very reason most people don’t just listen to the radio. They want to own their favorite songs and albums so they can play them when they want. Understanding this — that we consume audio in a fundamentally different way from video — is critical to understanding why, from a consumer point of view, paying a monthly rental fee is a risky way of obtaining music.

Reading the article, I breathed a sigh of relief as he seemed to be targeting his argument at people who are already paying for their subscription (I have a Free account: unlimited streaming with ads, but not offline/mobile, and I am perfectly satisfied with that). He does make an excellent point. And that point became ever more excellent yesterday as I realized how terrible I’d feel without the music “library” I’ve built up.

I don’t stream music that I already own. It’s pointless. Instead, I’ve built a library of hours’ and hours’ worth of music: 32 public playlists alone, full of music that I would buy if I had the money and music that I want to listen to but probably wouldn’t spend money on. The allure is that it’s THERE at my fingertips when I want it. If Spotify wanted to charge me, that allure would be gone. My music would be gone. I’d go back to listening to singles on YouTube. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but it’s like sitting in coach when you sat in first class the flight before. And I’m in no financial position to be making any upgrades.

Anyway, I thought Allworth made an excellent point, and I’d like to add that the danger exists for Free account holders, too. I think I should wean myself off of Spotify a little. It’s going to be hard – I’m a voracious music consumer – but it’ll be worth it if the bait-and-switch does happen.

*Doesn’t he just SOUND like a Fellow at Harvard Business School? ALLWORTH!

Happy

This has been on my mind the past couple of weeks: when I was a sophomore in college, my Interpersonal Communication professor veered from his lecture to teach our class a simple and powerful life lesson that has stuck with me for years: “Other people can’t make you happy. Only you can make you happy.”

Take this to heart. Make your own happiness, or it will be much harder to turn your life around when you are unhappy.

Today I loved:

+ waking up early again + reassuring discussions with my internship supervisor + sprouted wheat and raisin rolls with cream cheese + extra coffee (now I know why IT people love it so much) + reading and eavesdropping at my favorite coffee place + pear ginger iced tea + almost being done with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets + summer nights on my patio with wine + “Wreckage” – Jolie Holland + rose colored fingernails