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Archive for February, 2008

I love going to concerts. There’s nothing like seeing the artists you love performing their songs right in front of you. And one of the best parts of going to concerts is audience participation. When the artists reach out to the audience, connect with them, and get them involved in the music.

There are many parts of Ben Folds’ concert album, Ben Folds Live, that bring a smile to my face. There is one specific section of it that is downright magical…it is his performance of “Army.” The song itself is enough fun as it is on the studio album, but the performance of it on Ben Folds Live is awesome. Well, first of all, the studio version of “Army,” recorded with the band Ben Folds Five, is all sorts of fun and has horns, drums, xylophone, the works. But all of the material on the live album is just Folds and a piano — no backing band or anything. So, being limited to just the piano, he thought it would be a great idea to split the audience up and turn them into a “bitchin’ horns section.” One half is turned into saxophones and the other into trumpets…and everyone performs brilliantly. I envy that audience every time I listen to the song.

You need two tracks from the recording to get this experience. Towards the end of “Narcolepsy” — which is a pretty good, somewhat quiet tune — you hear Folds splitting up the audience and setting everything up for his performance of “Army.” So it is essential you have both tracks for this. With that, I leave you with the songs of the day.

Songs of the Day:

Ben Folds – “Narcolepsy”
Ben Folds – “Army” / (album link)

Bonus:
Ben Folds Five – “Army” / (album link)

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This is yet another video-posting…another one recycled from someone else’s blog. I don’t have as much time these days as I usually do so you’ll have to excuse the laziness.

Remember back when Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey made a song together called “One Sweet Day” that was played on radio stations at least 50 times a day at its peak popularity? Back then, I was a kid who didn’t buy CD’s (I think tapes were still widely used too), had no internet, and didn’t have MTV. So I didn’t even know the title of the song for a while. But I’d hear it all the time, and I understood the chorus as:

…And I know eventually we’ll be together…ONCE WE’RE DEAD!
(instead of “one sweet day”)

In the context of the song it totally makes sense! And that’s how I understood it and sang along with it as. I think it was a very excusable mistake.

The point is, it’s very easy to misinterpret song lyrics — people do it all the time. But while my error was one line of the song, I’ve never seen it done with virtually every line of a song. Someone decided to write out the misinterpreted lyrics of Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” and make it into a video, complete with visual aids:

.

Don’t watch the video anymore. I discovered it has greatly and rapidly diminishing returns. Well, looking up the lyrics is probably to blame…I couldn’t help it.

Looks like I’m back to posting a youtube video with every post now too. I’ve just recently started stealing whatever people have posted on their blog. Yeah, it might be lazy, but it means I don’t have to work as hard…yeah….haha (But seriously, don’t you hate it when those spam blogs do it?)

I found this video on Yoshke’s blog. He used a much more…racy line of the lyrics for his post though.

Song of the Day:

Wilco – “Misunderstood” / (album link)

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I know Valentine’s Day has already come and gone…but this was just too good not to post. I found the following clip on Berg Loves Pizza, a great music blog, and I decided to steal it and post it here:

That little boy is a future Ernest Hemingway! Or at least a future Nicholas Sparks. (Hey Kristiane! The boy’s name is Max!) I can’t think of any modern love poets…post-modern writers are too depressed by our thoroughly empty and depraved world to be writing useless love poems…or they find some super-depressing thing about love, and the world in general, to underscore with the poem. (I love modern/post-modern literature by the way. Seriously.)

According to the youtube description, this was an ad for Indigo, a Canadian bookstore chain, and their “Love of Reading” program (and, of course, to sell its books). I don’t know about you, but showing me this ad in grade school would’ve been more effective than telling me that “Reading is Funnnn-damental” or that I should “Read to Achieve.” Reading will help you get the ladies, yo!

(Note: I’d like to point out how big of a bitch inconsiderate the teacher was for reading that letter out loud. And what kind of a classroom full of kids doesn’t scream, laugh, and ridicule after a letter like that is read? Unless…the vocabulary and writing just went right over their heads…and what would that say about the success of Indigo’s “Love of Reading” program? Should I just enjoy the ad for what it is?)

Songs of the Day:

Rachel Yamagata – “Letter Read” / (album link)
Lupe Fiasco – “Can You Let Me Know” / (unreleased track)
Elliott Smith – “Thirteen” / (album link)

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Whooo! Happy Valentine’s Day! Yeah…umm…now that that’s out of the way, I’m getting to my post. I spent my V-day watching game recordings of Manu Ginobili channeling His Airness while scoring 34 and 46 points in two incredibly efficient games in a row this past week. And now I’m blogging. I wish I had some chocolates and a teddy bear to keep me company.

But anyways, I feel like telling a story. This is a story I’ve told a few people already. First, let me start off by stating that Back to the Future is, in my opinion, one of the crowning achievements in the history of cinema. Okay…the inclusion of “crowning” may be debatable in that last sentence….No! That sentence is perfect just the way it is.

I watched the films in my childhood and even at that young age, I knew the third one sucked. Okay, I didn’t/don’t think it was that bad. It was all right — just a bit too lengthy and bland for a little kid. I found the second one dark and kind of scary, even though the hoverboards, self-drying jackets, and automatic-fit sneakers were very cool. But of course, the first film in the series was my, and many others’, clear-cut favorite. It has that perfect combination of fun, wonder, and excitement.

It also has this gem of a scene in it, which has Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) playing in a band at his parents’ high school prom:

“Chuck, Chuck! It’s Marvin…your cousin, Marrr-vin Berry! You know that new sound you’re lookin’ for? Well, listen to this!”

This scene made me want to become a rock star…or at least learn how to use the main instrument of the Rock Star. So, after seeing the movie several more times over and over again, as kids are wont to do, I asked my mother if I could learn to play the guitar. Being a typical Asian mother who had already succeeded in getting both of her sons started on the piano, which every good little Asian child knows how to play (I wanted very much to play the piano though, making it easier for her), playing the electric guitar and trying to become a rock star was probably the last thing on her list of things her children should learn to do. It was probably right next to “getting grades that don’t start with ‘A'” and “exhibiting rebellious behavior” on the bottom of that list. But, surprisingly, she consented quite readily to my request.

After I watched Back to the Future several more times in my excitement and anticipation, we finally made that trip to the local music store to set up what would be my first guitar lesson. I was thrilled…until my mother gave me the sad news that I was too small for a regular guitar, and that they unfortunately didn’t make guitars small enough for me. But she soon conveniently discovered that they did have multiple sizes for the violin. She made sure to mention how after a few years of violin lessons, I would be able to smoothly translate my skills to the guitar, which I would be big enough for by then — since, you know, they both have strings, making them basically the same instrument. Oh man…my mom was a clever lady.

Not knowing that most of what I heard was completely made up, I promptly signed up for violin lessons. Hey, if this was the path I had to take to being able to play “Johnny B. Goode” like Marty McFly, then so be it, right? I didn’t hate the violin or anything either.

I eventually discovered that I had been jipped and conned. They do make small guitars that little boys could learn on…and knowing how to play the violin gets you absolutely nowhere on the guitar. And what happened when I finally got “big enough” for the guitar five years later? My loving mother affectionately pointed out that I couldn’t quit because I had made her pour money into my lessons for the past handful of years, and by quiting I would be throwing away all of the money and time that was spent on the violin. So my last few years on the instrument were absolute hell until I just refused to play the thing at all.

In my later years of high school, I finally convinced my mother to let me take guitar lessons. (I needed a way to pay for the lessons.) I found a surprisingly nice acoustic guitar at Costco and set out for my first lesson… except I wasn’t aware my mom was only going to pay for the lessons under one condition: I was to learn classical guitar. No rockin’ power chords. No cool full-armed rock-star strumming. My lessons would be filled with chromatic scales and intricate finger picking sessions. After about two months of boredom, I quit. I still have the guitar though. It’s sitting in its nylon zip-up case behind my door. I haven’t even taken it out in close to two years. I don’t remember exactly when I last played it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for even getting to learn the violin. I don’t resent it…okay, I hated that instrument. (Oddly, I really like listening to the violin though.) I have since realized that my mom only wanted the best for me in my life…she just wanted it a little too much most of the time.

___________________________________________

Have you seen Knocked Up? If you haven’t, you should definitely check it out. Like now. It is amazingly hilarious. It has one of the funniest references to Back to the Future:


“I’m gonna throw you in my Deloreon, gun it to 88.”

And while we’re on the topic of films, I want to mention that I finally saw Closer last week. I had been meaning to see it for a while and I just hadn’t gotten around to it. The acting really is superb. All four members of the ensemble cast brilliantly play the hell out of their characters — and brutally and throughly intertwine, tangle, and crash into each other throughout the film. I don’t mean to just pick on the youngest one but if there is a weak link, it’d be Natalie Portman, and she really only stumbles once or twice. Thinking about the film in light of today’s great holiday, I’ve actually never been more thankful of my current relationship status.

Songs of the Day:

Outkast – “Happy Valentine’s Day” / (album link)
Chuck Berry – “Johnny B. Goode” / (album link)
Damien Rice – “The Blower’s Daughter” / (album link) — Rice’s music is featured and utilized well in Closer

*****

“When this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you’re gonna see some serious shit.”

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I don’t know anyone who hasn’t seen the slick, heart-stirring, inspirational “music video” of Obama’s speech. It has all kinds of celebrities — famous, semi-famous, unknown — singing, speaking, or acting like they’re singing or speaking along to Obama’s powerful words.

The message is very general, large, sweeping, and all-encompassing — which is a smart move. You’ve got to make sure as many people as possible agree with you when it comes to campaign messages. After watching it, even though I have no idea what exactly “we can” do, I know we sure as hell can do it: .

All joking aside, it is a very effective video and for me, being a big music fan, I can’t think of a campaign message that has gotten my attention like this one. (Other than, you know, “Vote or Die.” That was the reason why I voted last time. For fear that I’d have a cap busted in my ass.)

And it looks like the Republican side doesn’t want to let this wave of music-infused motivational speeches pass them by. Senator John McCain has jumped onto the bandwagon…although the video description on the youtube page states McCain supporters came up with this idea first and Obama people stole it. This is probably old news but oh well. I’m almost never on the cutting edge or the inside of the “loop.”

I’m not a big politics person. But for the record, the candidate who I believed was the closest to being an ideal president only garnered like 5 percent of the vote in the primaries: Ron Paul, that nice old doctor from Texas.

I originally had links to Ron Paul and a few more sentences of Ron Paul gushing in this post but I decided to take them off…it looked kind of annoying… Okay, I couldn’t resist. Here is Ron Paul on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report because, well…those shows rock. And so does Ron Paul.

He couldn’t get my vote because I couldn’t vote in the Republican primary. I’m in California and there’s some rule here about me not being a Republican or….yeah…I’m not sure how it all works. But yeah…he didn’t get many votes at all. I’m still recovering from his crushing defeat. But no matter how many votes he got (or failed to get), Ron Paul did make a difference. The Political Inquirer talks about what exactly the “Ron Paul Revolution” meant. Go there and read about the education revolution that is taking place.

I’ll decide who I want to vote for in the big one within the next few months. (I’m sort of leaning towards Obama as the best of the rest. But I have a long time to decide.)

Songs of the Day:

Switchfoot – “Politicians” / (album link)
Elbow – “Leaders of the Free World” / (album link)
Mos Def – “War”
/ (album link)
The Roots – “False Media” / (album link)
The Beatles – “Revolution 1”
/ (album link)

*This will probably be the only time I will ever directly mention politics on here.

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Infiltration

The privacy, or rather, relative anonymity, of this blog has been infiltrated. Predictably, my post on the “Virtues of a Breath Mint” was the point of entry (by one of my co-workers…check the last comment). I can’t stand the possibility of the doctors, nurses, or front desk people reading this blog and telling me about it. I don’t know exactly why that would bother me, but it does. I guess it’s because I don’t really know many of these people and I’d like to keep my work relationships strictly professional, and nothing beyond that. And this blog hasn’t even been in existence that long. I don’t know how fast this stuff happens on average but I think this might be one of the quickest it’s taken. My creative and personal freedom while writing posts already feels shackled and limited. I’m brainstorming new names for my blog now. I really like this name though…It’s a Sigur Ros song (the subtitle is a quote from a Beatles song).

Songs of the Day:

Page France – “Everybody Knows” (.m4a)  / (album link)
The Strokes – “Is This It?”
/ (album link)
The Smiths – “I Know It’s Over” / (album link)
The Kinks – “I Gotta Move”
/ (album link)
A Tribe Called Quest – “Keeping It Moving” (.m4a)  / (album link)
Death Cab for Cutie – “Different Names for the Same Thing”
/ (album link)

Update:Oh whatever…I’m staying put. I like this particular little space in the blogosphere.

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