My lack of posting is the result of 2/3 parts sick and 1/3 laziness. Usually, it's 100 percent laziness, but not this time. I actually have something to blame.
In the meantime, I did plenty of blog reading.
I Guess I'm Floating made me aware of the hot music blog news that My Old Kentucky Blog plagarized the Wikipedia Radiohead entry. Apparently, Idolator and Gerard vs. Bear called the author out on it and the music blog hype machine world gasped. I find it kind of funny that there are such huge music nerds out there that they know when Radiohead copy has been plagarized. I guess some people have memorized everything written about that band. Nerds.
We Shot JR has a well-written article about the Dallas music scene and some exciting new activity brewing under the radar (by the way, I just plagarized that line). The story is as long as most New Yorker pieces, so you might want to print it out and read it while waiting in the doctor's office.
Stonedranger says in the article, "Simply put, getting any kind of attention for doing anything new, different or even just quality is going to be a challenge around here for quite a while." This begs me to ask the question: To what level of attention do you think is warranted?
Let's take a band that We Shot JR likes as an example. Notes from the Underground is a good band, and sure, they warrant the attention given them so far, but if soccer moms starting driving down from Plano to see them because the Dallas Observer/Dallas Morning News/Fort Worth Star Telegram decided to write about them every week and praise their glories, how long do you think it would take for the people into the "underground" scene to stop coming to their shows? Probably a nano-second. Then some of those fans would start a new band, a new scene, and a new complaint that no one is paying any attention to them. I am in no way wise, but this is pretty elementary to see: That what isn't popular now, will be popular in a few months, just to be overtaken by something new over and over and over again.
In the end, it's a good article. Go read it. Please.
1) I may or may not have been infected with Salmonella bacteria in the last week. If it wasn't that, then it was some other bacterial infection that made me want to really get to know my toilet personally for five days.
2) At the risk of sounding like Seinfeld, I have to ask this: What is up with elderly people and their toenails? When they get older, do they lose the desire to trim them? Or are their nails so strong and their muscle strength so weak that they're unable to cut them?
No longer will you be able to buy gas in such places as Brooklyn, Staten Island, Philadelphia, Hartford or Jamaica, N.Y., on my dime. I hope you had as much fun stealing almost $300 from me as I had filling out several sheets of paperwork to get it back.
"The SASS stands for 'Short Attention Span System,' because no song in Gimarc's new format will last longer than two minutes--no, not even 'Stairway to Heaven.' Imagine your favorite song reduced to verse-chorus-verse-adios. No dickin'-around guitar solos. No wankin'-off drum solos. No nothing except the meat of the song, shorn of the gristle. In and out. Wham and bam."
As a fan of short songs, I'm curious if this idea would work. As a musician, though, I'm also concerned about the manipulation of my "art."
Still, listening to it, the format sounds fantastic.
For years, I've heard from friends and critics that this movie is great, outstanding, excellent (and several other hype words). Eric received the movie via Netflix last week, and I decided to finally watch what was supposed to be one of the best movies ever made.
Apparently, I didn't see it. What I saw was a whiny and pretentious film with four highly unlikeable main characters. On top of that was stilted writing and technical film making mistakes.
The story revolves around four recent U.S. East Coast college graduates trying to figure out what they're going to do with the rest of their lives. Maybe if I watched it right out of college, I may have enjoyed and identified with it more. However, a great film shouldn't relate to only a small cross section of society. It should appeal to everyone, no matter age, income or race.
If others that read this blog have seen this movie and have a different opinion, I'd love to read them. But in the meantime, I guess this is just another example of hype overlapping quality.
Stonedranger over at We Shot JR nicely summed up how I've been feeling recently about music.
"I've lately developed a bad habit: I tend to discount many of the things I see on MP3 blogs simply because they are, um, on MP3 blogs. At first I thought that it was just because rock music has been sucking lately, but then I realized that it is logical to feel a bit skeptical when you're dealing with a thousand mini NMEs telling you about the next band to 'save rock,' only to find out that, um, they aren't going to."
I think my problem with music lately is that I'm tired of visiting Web sites and opening up magazines and reading about the same bands over and over again. I'm sick and tired of hearing how so-and-so band is great and everyone should listen to them. I'm frustrated with listening to new bands and discovering that they're really nothing new. It's gotten to the point where I almost long for the days of pre-Internet, when radio executives chose what was good for the masses to hear--some kind of filter to separate the good from the bad.
Truthfully, though, I don't want some suit telling me what to listen to; still, I feel our society--when it comes to music--relies more on emotional criticism than intellectual criticism, that there is no longer any filter. If you look at the state of music criticism today, especially when it comes to Internet magazines and blogs, you'll notice that most every band is good (if not great) and that you should really be listening to them.
For true aesthetic appreciation there should be a balance. The best art affects your intellect and your emotions. However, bring that up to music lovers and you get pie thrown back in your face, because they claim music should be all about how it makes one feel. While the way someone feels about music is valid, it can only go so far in a true test of its lasting impression on generations of music buffs.
Okay, I'm stepping into territory that could take more hours and words than I have available right now, so I'll just end with this personal observation.
All this frustration with hype and over saturation of some bands has even leaked into my creative life. Lately, I don't feel like writing music, playing music or even going to concerts. The proliferation of music available online and around me has taken all the fun out of it.
I realize this is a phase I'm going through, but I'm having a hard time shaking it off. I'm having trouble finding the excitement of music again, and that scares me.
While I was visiting Helsinki, I saw a lot of people wearing different color jumpsuits. I kept thinking to myself, "They sure do look too young to be working in construction or lawn care or in jail."
On my last day there, I found out that students wear them as part of their degree groups on special days. For example, all the engineering students wear a certain color, all the math students wear another color, etc.
One of the guides on the trip wrote me the following email because I wanted to know what the literature or film students (both of my majors) wore.
"Hope you are feeling better. On your recent trip to Suomenlinna we discussed the jumpsuits that the students wear on some occasions and you asked about the colors of the literature and film students. Well, I'm afraid it turns out neither group uses them. The literature students seem to be more interested in reading books than partying and don't have a very active organization. The film students are too individualistic and artistic to use such a uniform dress code. However, happily the journalism students are neither busy studiers nor very individualistic, so they use yellow jumpsuits. The picture attachments shows what they look like."
I don't normally participate in the kind of surveys found online (e.g., Myspace) that ask all sorts of random (and sometimes silly) questions. Why? Maybe like how I don't sing solo at karaoke bars, I refuse to do them out of principle. Don't ask me which principle. I haven't gotten that far in my philosophy.
Still, scruffylooking's recent post about books enticed me. Since I love books, and since I'm procrastinating writing an article for work, I'll fill this one out. I'm not tagging anyone else for participation, but feel free to do your own on your own blog if you have one.
A book that changed my life
I'll admit it: Conversations with God by Neal Donald Walsh. Growing up Lutheran and going to church every week with my grandmother installed a lot of fears and beliefs that were holding me back in life. This book, a distillation of several different religious beliefs and philosophies, caused me to be more aware of life, what's going on around me, and how I'm ultimately in control of everything.
A book I've read more than once
Silk by Alessandro Baricco. This novella about a 19th-century silk merchant in France is one of the most poetic books I've ever read. I love the repetition, the quietness of the narration, and the ending. It's a book I recommend to anyone I can.
A book I would take with me if I were stuck on a desert island
The Best American Short Stories of the Century. There are enough stories in this collection to read one a day, and hopefully by the end of the book I'll have been rescued.
A book that made me laugh
Any story in any book by David Sedaris usually causes me to laugh.
A book that made me cry
No books have caused me to cry. Movies, yes. Books, no.
A book I wish I had written
Any book by Hermann Hesse. His constant theme of duality is of a great interest to me in all aspects of life.
A book I wish had never been written
I believe we can learn from all books, even if some in the world deem them to be bad. Still, I wouldn't mind having the hours back spent reading The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick.
A book I've been meaning to read
Have you seen my book collection?! I have a hundred books that I'm meaning to read. On deck, though, is Notable American Women by Ben Marcus as part of my 52 books a year project.
I'm currently reading
The Final Solution by Michael Chabon. I've read his The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and liked it. However, it's still too early in the book for me to comment on my feelings about this one.
Song of the Day Now, I'm not the biggest Sufjan Stevens fan in the world. I think that title belongs to Chris of Gorilla vs. Bear fame. Still, I admit that Stevens every now and then composes some extraordinary songs, and this song, "Sister Winter," is one of those times.
"'When women stop reading, the novel will be dead,' declared Ian McEwan in the Guardian last year. The British novelist reached this rather dire conclusion after venturing into a nearby park in an attempt to give away free novels. The result?"