Monday, September 15, 2008

this is a call

better than new clothes, better than a full belly, better than a hammock a fresh perspective...and that's what i'm seeking.
i'm recruiting you all to turn me onto something...a book, a song, a speech, a picture, a movie, an idea...anything that will challenge me to see things differently.

bring it,


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

a sad realization and some leftovers

first comes the sad realization regarding my most recent post...

after some review, i very clearly see the "hey-you-kids-get-out-of-my-yardishness" (to borrow a phrase from Rob) of the post and am thoroughly disgusted at how much of a miserable old fart i must have recently become. the kicker is that, despite knowing how much my post makes me come across as the stuck-in-the-past/all-of-today's-music-sounds-the-same-to-me musical curmudgeon, i still hold fast to my beliefs...thus further solidifying my ever increasing distance from "hip." going out immediately to buy orthopedic shoes and pants with elastic waistbands.

and now the leftovers...

sometimes i see things that strike me as funny or peculiar or noteworthy and i somehow record them for later reference here and, for lack of a substantive post based on their own merits, they're leftovers. the first of such is a funny new site i stumbled across which is great for wasting a bit of time. check out to see pictures of people who, as the name would suggest, totally look like someone or something else. if you see a pair who belong on this site, make the correlation and send it in and they'll likely post it. i've compiled some highlights:

continuing with the surplus...i was in blockbuster the other day and happened across these: the one on the right is about a girl who is basically forced into indentured servitude by the police and wields a yo-yo with a martial-arts flair to fight crime and the one on the left...well...what else is there to say?

and my last bit of detritus is a new way i've found to recycle my old media and get media that i want for very cheap. it's called swaptree and the site offers the service of cataloging items that you have and items that you want and then matching the two users to arrange a trade. the only thing you pay is the cost to ship your old stuff to whoever the user is that wants it. the site even provides an interface through which you can print trackable shipping labels if you have a credit card and a printer capable of labels. i know there are other online services of the ilk (please let me know if you know about any of them) but this one is very easy to use and i've had great results so far.

stay tuned for the next collection of castaways from the island of misfit blog ideas.

always looking for future flotsam,


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

as good as it gets

to piggy-back on bullet point #9 of my "music = life" post: "the joy of finding and listening to a long-lost record/cd/tape...," i'd like to wax rhapsodic about recently doing just that. in the process of a little seasonal storage-unit jockeying, i ran across a cache of old cassettes and have spent the past few days bathing myself in the reminiscent joy of some of the best music ever made.

now i know everyone doesn't share my taste in music and that there will be some strong dissent, but it's my contention that mainstream radio was at it's most exciting in the early to mid '90's. while it's true that artists who released major, unquestionably influential albums during the 80's (the cure, REM, violent femmes, the smiths, the pixies, u2, the police, radiohead, sonic youth, etc.) paved the way for bands of the following decades, the speed of musical progress and the envelope-pushing breakthrough artists of the early-mid 90's had not been seen before and has not been touched since.

i was a young teen during that time and developing my own musical appetites and, driven by a lack of money to buy new music on my own, i'd record hours of radio for later consumption. it was one of these tapes that i recently unearthed and when i listen to it, i still feel a little jolt of electrical excitement that i felt back then. in one 90 minute sampling of "104.7 "The Buzz" - Richmond's New Rock Alternative!," (now, tragically, an Urban Gospel station) i'm treated to tracks by the cranberries, folk implosion, lisa loeb, soundgarden, bush, pearl jam, nirvana, stone temple pilots, nine inch nails, and the lemonheads. for real, folks, how much more exciting can mainstream radio get than that?

the 90's also brought us some of the best in hate-the-world-suicide-rock like "bullet with butterfly wings" by the smashing pumpkins. how can you ignore lyrics like "the world is a vampire" and the enduring anthemic line, "despite all my rage, i am still just a rat in a cage":

too juicy a lyric not to include here is another pumpkins gem from the song "zero"

"emptiness is loneliness, and
loneliness is cleanliness, and
cleanliness is godliness, and
god is empty just like me
intoxicated with the madness,
i'm in love with my sadness"

while the radio was bursting with new life, the music video was starting it's rise to ultimate popularity and artists were finding new ways to express their music. enter: (the wonderfully disturbing) "sober" by tool:

brings a tear to the eye. dysfunctional perfection.

the 90's ushered in a new kind of music and a new breed of musicians that seemed edgier, angrier, and less pretentious than the drivel that floods the mainstream airwaves these days. until alternative rises again to dominate the fm frequencies, satellite radio and my homemade archives will have to keep the tunes flowing.

other very honorable mentions i'd hate not to be represented here: pavement, rancid, third eye blind, hole, live, oasis, alice in chains, jane's addiction, collective soul, weezer, rage against the machine, and tons of others!

still rockin' out,


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

when it's in your bones

if you don't regularly equate music with life then this post probably won't resonate quite as strongly as with those of you who do but, whatever the depth of your relationship with music, it's universally undeniable that notes, chords, harmonies, and melodies enrich our lives in ways *few other things can.

i'd like to take a minute just to celebrate some of the experiences that i'm sure every true music-lover can relate to:

- sitting in your car after reaching destination to catch the end of a song on the radio
- deeply lamenting the warbly death of a favorite cassette
- spending hours carefully assembling the perfect mixed tape (or cd)
- listening to the carefully assembled tape that someone mixed just for you
- reveling in the staticky radio frequency battle station have when you're driving out of the range of one and entering the range of the other
- buying a back-up copy of a favorite or rare cd/record (just in case)
- hearing a song that you're sure must have been written for you and only you
- listening through headphones and devouring the intricacies you miss (fingers sliding down strings, coughs, inadvertently deadened notes, laughs) with more diffuse speakers
- the joy of finding and listening to a long-lost record/cd/tape and intuitively knowing exactly what song comes next
- the music making you cry
- hearing new music for the first time
- the extreme joy of finding the long-lost selection you though was gone forever
- putting obscure sound clips (like snippits from german language tutorial cd's or lines from movie scores/soundtracks) on mixes
- hearing a song and remembering precisely every detail of a place/time/person/thing you experienced when that song was playing
- learning the REAL lyrics and realizing what a dolt you've been for years :-)
- knowing the whole album. every word. every note. every breath. every pause. every crackle. everything.
- pulling over or slowing down because your radio reception is fading and you know you'll be in a dead spot soon but you REALLY want to hear the song
- singing along...loudly (if you can't sing well, sing loud!)
- waiting for days with a blank tape in the recorder waiting to hear the first notes of a song so you can sprint to the stereo and hit the record button
- finding a great used CD
- the arrival of a long awaited album
- traveling much longer to get to a show than the show actually lasted
- learning a new tune/lick/riff/technique
- being caught obliviously ROCKING OUT in your car by another motorist and the awkward smile that follows
- being in awe of a performer's killer abilities
- lusting after an instrument you can't yet afford
- hearing a cover version and fucking HATING it
- hearing a cover and loving it
- "discovering" a life-changing band or song

and the mother of them all....


(my belief...and trust me, it's been sorely tested, is that any live music is better than no live least they're trying)

those are just a few of the MANY reasons why music = life and are things we music-lovers share across time and space. if you also agree that music = life, please share some of the other experiences that you believe all of us music slaves share.

in the meantime,

~thorns is rocking out thoroughly!

*the PG version of the "few other things" noted above: freshly ground almond butter, campfires, and my grandmother's fried apples and biscuits