Confessions of a Sabres Hockey Addict

Hi, my name is chris, and i’m a sabres fan. This is my 25th year of following them, and there’s no end in sight. Sometimes … sometimes, I feel like I *need* to walk away. you know … for my sanity, right? And I’ve tried. i tell myself every year, “i will *not* re-order the CI package this time. NO. I will save that money and put it towards a family vacation. Or my girls’ college fund. Or … or SOMEthing!” But no. Every year, I get recharged the $170 to follow a team I literally have dyed in my blood. If you cut me open, I bleed blue and gold. For a period, I bled red and black, but not anymore.

And really, isn’t every game like a little mini-vacation? A very stressful, anxiety-ridden vacation, where the kids are in the back seat beating on each other and screaming “MOM! SHE TOUCHED ME!” “DAD!! I WANT A CHEESEBURGER!!!” “ARE WE THERE YET?!” I want to tell them that yes–we’re there! we’ve reached the promised land! we have arrived at nirvana. But the reality is so much colder and darker than anything I want to tell them. They’re young. They do not need to be subjected to this ….. THIS!

The part that worries me the most is that they’re already there. They already have little jerseys. they already know Miller, Roy, Stafford, Vanek, Pominville … all by number. My daughter wants a picture of Roy, bless her gargantuan heart. They get exicted when the Sabres are ahead, and they know daddy is “sad” when they lose.

I mean … it’s just a game, right? It’s just a bunch of people getting paid to play with sticks and a puck. In the end, it doesn’t *really* matter … right?

Right …?

My name is Chris, and I’m a Sabres addict.

So Long, 2011

In all honesty, I’m glad to be leaving this one behind. It’s been a pretty bummer year–especially the last couple of months. But that horse is dead, so I’m not going to beat it anymore. I am MOST EXCITEDLY looking forward to 2012 for any number of reasons. Some great music coming out this year–most notably Rush’s “Clockwork Angels” is due to come out at some point. The first single (Caravan) was released forever ago, along with the “B” track “BU2B.” Cannot wait for the new music.

Also, we’re taking a cross-country trip that’s going to last for 3 weeks. THAT is going to be a lot of fun. Lots of pics, lots of blogging. WHOO!!

But most of all, I’m just excited to be where I am–loving family, great friends, excellent job. I cannot ask for more.

Happy new year, everyone. May your 2012 be the most excellent as possible!

Happy Almost New Year!

Well, December was an incredibly disappointing blogging month. Actually, November and December were incredibly depressing months in general–holidays notwithstanding. I’ll say this much: without the love of family and friends, we would have never survived the ordeal we’ve been put through for the last 2 years. However, we’ve emerged somewhat victorious (depending on your definition), and we are *really* ready to get to 2012 and move on with our collective life.

I think the same could be said for this blog. It’s ready to evolve. Don’t get me wrong–the blog will remain and I will be posting a lot more frequently (“Right. Famous last words there, Hoss.”) Yes, I know I’ve been off for a while now. I apologize. Truth be told, I … just couldn’t. Not from a lack of time, or a lack of desire. I wanted to write! I just … there’s been this huge block, and I couldn’t shake it.

I write this blog for me to share with you. Initially, I thought it would only be about music. And for the most part, that will remain true. There are too many good artists out there making a LOT of great music to ignore. There are also great music apps that are simply mind-bending in their capacity. The Animoog for iPhone is a perfect example. I picked this up the other day, and I’ve been playing with it off and on ever since. More on than off, at that. Anyway, my point is that there are a lot of great things about music that I enjoy and like writing about … but that’s just one part of me.

At first, I always envisioned “frissonic” as being a blog, maybe even a recognizable one in the music blogging community. The more I use the name for logins and such, I myself identifying more and more who I am beyond the music writer. I love photography. I love taking pictures and making HDR pics. I also like movies. I like dining out. I like working on my house. There are a lot of facets to me that go beyond music. I want to start sharing those experiences as well. I’m still in the idea development phase of rolling out a new … something. Not sure what it’s going to be yet. I like a lot of aspects of my friend’s blog, where she picks a theme a day and sticks to it weekly, but there are things I dislike about it too–like feeling like I’m tied to writing about books on Monday, or a movie review on Wednesday … or Thursday House Fixing Tip day. I want to write what I want to write, WHEN I want to write it, ya know? But then again, I look at her site and its success, and I think she has the right idea. I don’t know. I have to believe that there’s a happy medium in there somewhere.
Anyway, my point is this: There will be a new feel to the site after the new year. I will be expanding my writing from just music to more about me and my interests in all their various facets. Won’t that be exciting? 🙂

iTunes Match and SongKick Awesomeness

Discovered something wicked awesome about the iPhone SongKick app the other day. After I updated iTunes to the newest version and got iTunes Match up and running, I checked out SongKick to see if one of my favorite artists would be stopping by any time soon. Sadly, no–she is not, but that’s okay. A new CD is in the works, and that’s even better news!

However, I started playing around with some of SongKick’s options. As you’ll recall, along the bottom, there are 4 options:

  • Concerts
  • Locations
  • Artists
  • Settings

I tapped Artists, thinking that it would only pull up a list of the artists that actually had a digital presence on my iPhone. Not so! The list is comprised OF EVERY ARTIST I HAVE IN THE CLOUD. 25000+ mp3s, probably at least 2500 artists … and I can find out if/when any of them are coming at any given time from the SongKick app. THAT is wicked awesome.

Just from scrolling through the list, I can see that Abigail Washburn, Alela Diane, Ani DiFranco, Apocalyptica, ATB, and Azam Ali are all on tour, and that’s just a sampling of the As! Very, very, VERY cool!

And Once Again …

I’m happy to report that I’m back. The mother of all technical glitches with WordPress software and Godaddy hosting kept me from being able to access my own admin side of things, but thanks to some serious help from a sweet gal at Godaddy, the Phoenix has risen from the ashes and is ready to fly once again.

At least until the next crash. However, even if my WordPress software does go belly up again, this time I’m better prepared to know how to handle it. Learned a lot about database backup, Godaddy navigation/tips/tricks,

So, yah. I have about 5 dozen things I could write on, all of which I hope to address over the coming month. November looks to be a promising blogging month. Learned some new writing techniques that I think are going to help take this blog to the next level, but hey, if not, really I just do this for fun and self-entertainment. If others along the way are entertained, all the better. But for now, I’m content to write about music for the sheer love of it.

 

iPhone 4S IS OFFICIAL

First and foremost, it shoots 1080p video. For me, that is absolutely HUGE. For all the concerts my wife and I attend, this is big. BIG. BIIIIIG! Not to mention the overall quality of the camera is vastly improved over the 4. This might be a good enough reason to buy the 4S instead of waiting for the 5. i’m still trying to justify a reason. If it comes in a 64GB model, i’m almost definitely in.

Looks like data speeds have gotten a big bump as well. The “theoretical maximum” is 14.4MBPs, as opposed to the 4’s 7.2MBPs. Hmm. Not sure that’s exactly a deal-swinger for me.

Still holding my breath to see if the 5 is announced in any way. Doesn’t have to be released today, or even this month or year, but it has to be soon.

iCloud Goes Live 12 October

THIS is the news I’ve been waiting for! I can’t wait to implement this little ditty. Even at $25 a year for iTunes to match my library and upload the list to its cloud server … that’s just awesome.

Photos, videos, music … everything can be pushed to all your iOS devices. If I take a picture on my camera, it can be cloud-pushed to my wife’s phone, or our iPod Touch, or any other iOS device we use under the same username. That’s awesome. If my wife downloads the new They Might Be Giants CD, it will automatically be cloud-pushed to my phone and iPod Touch.

I can’t wait for this service to go live. WHOO!

They Day of Reckoning is Upon Us

For months, we’ve heard the rumors. “2 phones?”  “World phone?” “Upgrades?” In about 4+ hours, we’ll have answers. At 10 am Pacific time, Apple is holding a media event to discuss their future products. Supposedly up on the docket:

  • Announcement of at least 1 new phone, or as many as 3: 4S, 5, and possible low-cost iPhone.
  • Demonstration of iOS 5
  • The way ahead for ipods and other hardware
  • Possibly more iCloud discussion

That is in no particular order, but those are the major discussion points for today, unless I’m mis-reading about 5 different sites.

I’ve already made up my mind that I will not buy the iPhone 4S. I’m waiting for the 5. If they announce that today, fantastic. I’ll be excited to get my hands all over it. If they only announce the 4S, I will happily bide my time with my 4 until such time that the 5 is released.

Problem: One of the latest rumors I’ve seen circulating is that the 5 is going to be exclusive to Sprint. Currently, I’m with AT&T. This is not an issue because, quite frankly, I’m not at all an AT&T fan and will gladly jump ship when the 5 sets sail.

If you’ve been living under a rock and are not familiar with the reasons to upgrade to even the 4S, allow me to list them here for you. These are culled from sites like tuaw.com, cultofmac.com, and 9to5mac.com.

  • A5 dual processor (by comparison, the 4 uses the A4 processor, and the 3GS uses a 600 MHZ processor).
  • 8 MP camera with larger lens and sensor (should greatly improve low-light images so they don’t look so grainy and crappy)
  • POSSIBLE larger screen. Could be as large as 4.44″. Considering the 4 sports a 3.5″ screen, that is a HUGE upgrade!
  • iOS 5. The list for the upgrades on this is long and ridiculous, but they are AWESOME. My favorite is the iOS wireless updating. No longer do I have to tether my device to my desktop take my device to an Apple or AT&T store to be upgraded! It will all be done over the air. THAT is fantastic news.
  • 16GB, 32GB AND *dum da da DUUUUM!* 64GB models!!

That’s the short of it. I can’t wait to see what Apple has up their sleeve today. I couldn’t sleep from anticipation.

Happy Apple Day everyone.

Google Music vs. Apple iCloud

So, you were asking about what the benefit is to using Apple’s match vs. Google Music. I think I have a pretty good list of pros and cons. Being the pseudo-Apple-Fanboi that  I’ve been accused of being in the past, I’ll list the pros and cons of Apple first.

PROS

  • Cost. At $25 a year for unlimited cloud storage, I’ll take that.
  • Match. Doesn’t matter what low bit-rate your file is in: if Apple finds a match, your song is automatically converted to 44Khz/256kbps. Now … if your file is 320Kbps/48000Khz, I don’t know what they do. I imagine your song would be down-converted on their server, but then again, it’s just a match—it’s not like your file on your computer is going to be downgraded, just whatever Apple can match.
  • Unlimited storage. Seriously. I guess they can do that because they’re really just maintaining a database of what songs you “own.” One song can be proliferated to thousands of users since it’s just matching the actual song file to what’s loaded in your database.

CONS

  • User experience. This, in my mind, is THE BIGGEST drawback. You don’t stream your tunes to any device. In order to use them, you have to have them physically on your device. In my mind, that’s not actual cloud service. Cloud storage, sure, but not actual use. If I’m in the middle of Yellowstone, and I have a real jones-on to listen to Cranes’ Loved  CD and I don’t have it on my phone already, I have to open iTunes and download it. Free to do so, sure, but it’s still not playing FROM the cloud.
  • Device storage size still does matter. If your collection is 500GB (which isn’t surprising by any stretch), and your phone/device holds a maximum of 64-160GB, HOW can you have access to your entire collection at any one time? Simple answer: you can’t. You get to pick and choose what you want to listen to. Even then, if you grow bored with what’s on your phone, you have to delete what you currently have to make way for the new material you want to download. Currently, in iOS iTunes, you CANNOT delete songs from your device without connecting to desktop iTunes. Lame. Very, very lame. This will change when iOS 5 is released, though as of whatever iOS 5 beta release was current as of June 2011, you could only delete one track at a time. Boo. I would hope that the option to delete an album at a time will be integrated in future betas or the final release.

Okay, those are my major hypes/gripes about Apple’s cloud system for now. To date, I haven’t really had a chance to test drive Google’s music system much, but at a cap of 20,000 songs, I really don’t see where I *need* to test drive it much beyond that. Like I said, I have close to 40,000 songs. At a 20,000 song  cap, I’d need multiple accounts just to store all my music. That’s retarded. However, to Google’s credit and Apple’s discredit, Google’s service is actual streaming. Fair enough.

Anyway, I’m sold on the Apple option, if for no other reason than I have ALL my music in one cloud-based storage. And yah—truthfully, I’m not going to be interetsed in listening to all 500GB at once, so … whatever. ‘sides, I have a feeling that Apple will be offering a stremaing service soon enough.

CD Review: St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

I love days like today. New music abounds, blu-ray releases are all over the place … and I get to listen to the new St. Vincent CD. Sweet lemonade in ice form–the girl’s gone and done it again.

When last we left our ravenous NYC brunette, she had left us reeling from her at-the-time most recent release of Actor. A venerable tour de force of layered electronica and pscyho-blazing instrumentation, mixed with her searing and smoldering vocals.

2 months shy of 2.5 years have come and gone. The Packers have returned to the top of the NFL, the Bruins, Blackhawks and Penguins all won Stanely Cups, I got a new 58″ plasma TV, and I have worked in 3 different positions. In relative terms, it’s only been a short while. However, when it comes to music of Annie’s quality and talent, 2 and third years might as well seem like  an entire millenium.

Usher in the newest epoch of St. Vincent music. We may now add to her illustrious timeline a new achievment–Strange Mercy. Feel free to thank your lucky stars. Or, better yet, thank her yourself. Of course, this is just my opinion, and you’re welcome to agree or disagree, but I think this is her strongest work. Very personal, very emotionally evocative.

One of the stand-out tracks for me is “Cruel.” The juxtaposition of up-beat, dancy music with the depressing lyrics caught me really off-guard. Reminds me of 9o% of The Smiths discography. 🙂  “Hi, I’m alive. Does anyone notice? Care?” Apparently not–not even with flares waving. Yah. Upbeat music, tragic lyrics. Sad.

The next track immediately after “Cruel” is “Cheerleader.” It kind of grabs me as someone who loves her land, but is tired of trying to play the apologist. On a more “in the weeds” analysis, it also strikes me as someone who is tired of people milking tragedy for everything they can, be that sympathy, financial gain, or whatever. But musically, it’s just great. “I-I-I-I-I don’t want to be a cheerleader no more …” which repeats a couple of times. On each “I,” there’s this off-key keyboard sound that’s absolutely beautiful in its dissonance. Great.

Big fan of “Champagne Year,” too. A little more minimalist start on this track. Some bass drum samples, some synth, and Ms. St. Vincente’s sultry intoxicating vocals dangling on the edge of sadness. The track evolves into some very Sarah Fimm-style music and vocals. For anyone who’s read my take on Sarah Fimm’s music, See what I mean?

The best news about this CD release is that she’s going on tour, with a date in SLC at the Urban Lounge on October 11th. Pretty good place to catch her live. Small, intimate place, no bad seat in the place … yah. That’ll be a great show.

So yah. Time to get out and buy this. Or sit at your desk and download it from iTunes. or … from your phone ….. sheesh. Is there any place left where you can’t get new music anymore?! Well whatever your outlet of choice is, go get this immediately and improve your quality of life. GO! NOW!!

 

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