Grab Some Popcorn

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

I wasn’t thrilled with the stills I got shooting the On the Bike series, so I took some inspiration from Chase Jarvis and threw all 128 frames into a video:

My video skills are pretty lacking, though I suppose I could just tell you the abrupt ending is a nod to the Sopranos. I exported the photos as 480px JPGs from Aperture, added a last frame with credits, and loaded the image sequence into QuickTime Pro.

Finding the music was an interesting exercise; I went looking for music licensed under Creative Commons and found Jamendo. A few songs by Convey had good strong openings; I settled on a 12-second clip from View from Above.

Super Captcha

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

My trusty steedREI released a playlist of downloadable MP3s for the upcoming skiing and snowboarding season. In order to download each song, though, you have to pass a captcha - a captcha that’s animated with shifting position and colors - which is a bit of a challenge even if you are a human!

It seems a bit overkill to have a captcha here in the first place. The site itself is a Flash monstrosity that few robots or crawlers would be able to parse, and the the songs are free downloads anyway. The only justification I can see is conservation of bandwidth, though given the number of sponsor logos, I don’t imagine this is a cash strapped operation.

Bug Songs

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

You meet some interesting people traveling, or rather, Chandra does since she’s a bit more outgoing. Coming back from Rocky Mountain one day, we pulled in next to the very colorful Bug Songs van. It turned out the guy sitting on the porch was Tom, who does his program of bug songs for kids across the country. In one of those fortunate turns of events, he had been working for a pest-control company looking to educate people on what they do, and bug songs was born.

The songs themselves are pretty entertaining - bugs sing about their lives in tunes ranging from punk rock to a little Johnny Cash. It made for a fun soundtrack driving through the radio-less mountains of Colorado.

iTunes Knows!

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

iTunes has apparently figured out I’m obsessed with photography; it recommended these two songs today:


The former is a stylish tune that was actually used in a Nip/Tuck promo. I wonder what else it will recommend now?

Listen to the Lyrics

Friday, July 20th, 2007

Since I often have my iPod on as background while in the car or at home, I don’t really listen to the lyrics often enough. A few recent downloads seem particulary appropriate to blogging and life in general:

Snow Partol - Hands Open

But my tongue still misbehaves and it
keeps digging my own grave

It’s not as easy as willing it all to be right
Gotta be more than hoping it’s right

Anna Nalick - Breathe (2 AM)

Cause you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable,
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table.

2 AM and I’m still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to

It’s only 1 AM, but this post has been rattling around in my head for a few days and I was just tossing and turning anyway…

Radio’s Almost Dead

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Talking with my brother and his friends during Birthdays in Blacksburg made me realize radio is quickly getting killed off by multiple assailants. For me, it’s an iPod full of music, for others, it’s the falling price and expanding options for satellite radio.

That said, I still do tune into regular old terrestrial radio occasionally, particularly for a bit of variety during long drives. It’s still good for discovering new, and surprisingly appropriate music.

While driving back from Virginia and idly thinking about my dating situation, I heard Fountain of Wayne’s Someone To Love, which I later tracked down using Google and iTunes. The lyrics handily explain why I seem to have so much trouble meeting people:

He calls his mom, says he's doing fine
She's got somebody on the other line
Puts Coldplay on, pours a glass of wine
Curls up with a book about organized crime

Beth McKenzie got the job of her dreams
Retouching photos for a magazine aimed at teens
It's Thursday night she should be out on the scene
But she's sitting at home watching "The King of Queens" 

Don't give out, don't give up
One of these nights you might find someone to love

And you're not the only one who's lonely

Would You Rather Have a Drank or a Funky Cold Medina?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

I heard Tone Loc’s Funky Cold Medina on the radio this morning and got to thinking about how much the quality of music has changed. Chasing women and alcohol are eternal themes, but there’s an ocean of difference between Funky Cold Medina and T-Pain’s current hit Buy You a Drank. For one, the latter doesn’t even attempt to form complete sentences:

Imma Buy You A Drank
Theen Imma Take You Home With Me
I Got Money In The Bank
Shawty Whachu Think Bout That
Find Me In The Grey Cadillac
We In The Bed Like
Ooh Ooh Ohh, Ooh Ooh
We In The Bed Like
Ooh Ooh Ooh, Ooh Ooh

Compare that with this old-school prose:

this brother told me a secret
on how to get more chicks
put a little medina in your glass
and the girls'll come real quick
it's better than any alcohol
or afrodesiac
a couple of sips of this love potion and she'll be on your lap

As my college roommate Aaron would say, “It’s from a time when music actually told a story.” Sometimes, I miss those days…

Music Pie Chart

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

I was checking out my disk usage with JDiskReport and stumbled across an interesting way to look at your music:

Music pie chart

(The unlabeled purple wedge is The Rolling Stones.)

iTunes Hits and Misses

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

One of the great things about iTunes is the ability to buy the single odd track from an album that really catches you. Except when they make it only available as part of a complete album.

I gave up gaming long before video cards and gaming systems hit stratospheric prices, but the recent ad for Gears of War really grabbed me. It’s the music; a sparse rendition of “Mad World” from Donnie Darko (per ars technica). Available on iTunes, but only as part of the complete soundtrack. I passed, but many others didn’t- it was the #7 album on iTunes this week!

Sometimes, the full albums are worth it, though; I did buy Foo Fighter’s Skin and Bones. It’s all acoustic renderings of their songs, and perhaps a sign of maturing musical taste that this sort of thing is more appealing to me. The album also includes a “digital booklet”, aka liner notes. In an age of downloaded music, it is nice to flip through artwork and candid photos from recording sessions.

Local Music at Laurelthrist

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

On the advice of a Portland local, I checked out some local music and beer at Laurelthirst. It’s a real neighborhood place with a regular roster of bands and patrons. Monday night was the Kung Pao Chickens playing some enjoyable “gypsy jazz” which got a number of people up for some swing-style dancing.

The tables were outfitted with boxes of Trivial Pursuit cards for passing the time waiting for food and in between music sets. Noshing on turkey chili nachos and sipping a Free Range Red while enjoying some live music was a nice way to pass the evening. Getting back afterwards tested my mass transit skills a bit, but I’m starting to get the hang of it.