3652 Days Later

I couldn’t sleep last night. I stayed up until about 1:30, scouring the net for September 11 videos–memorials, tributes, commentaries … anything I could click on. The effect was reflection on my memories of September 11, 2001.

It wasn’t until the night of September 12 that I realized just how petrified and scared I was. I feared for my family’s, friends’ and neighbors’ safety. I feared for the children I didn’t even have yet. I feared what kind of world they would be brought into. I shook with a fear that I had never known was possible. The more I thought about it, the more enraged I became at not knowing how to control my situation. I had always had some element of understanding and control of any surroundings. This feeling of utter helplessness was completely foreign to me.

I wrote an open letter to the terrorists in a journal entry about a week later. In it, I specifically called out that their attempt at striking fear and terror in at least my heart and mind as fleeting and over. I refused to modify my way of life to accommodate a modicum of fear.

My brother and I made a pact with our wives that, if there had been a draft, we would have gotten them situated, and we would have gone off to fight.

10 years later, I stare in the face of evil and rededicate myself to never letting that feeling overcome me again. I know how to handle the fear and confusion. In fact, the fear and confusion are gone. In their place, I find a renewed sense of purpose as an American citizen with each passing day.

As my buddy Russ put on his Facebook wall, “Terrorists can kiss my Mormon @$$.” Yes, terrorists. You may. You can kiss my ass because I allow you. But that is all I allow you to do. You will not frighten me. You will not disrupt my way of life. You can try to knock over our buildings; you can attempt to blow up our Navy ships. You will *NEVER* break our will. We’ve already beaten you because WE are the United States of America. WE defend truth and right. WE fight for freedom and liberty. WE provide nations the security and peace they deserve as human beings. And we do this in the name of our God.

YOU CANNOT WIN. We choose freedom over tyranny. We will find you. We will fight you. And we will win. Always.

Never forget.

Weekend Music Ripping, Part 2

To be fair, I’m just glad I posted something. I totally miss writing on a daily basis. I wish this were my full-time job, but alas–actual work gets in the way. However, actual work pays pretty damn well, so I’m not complaining. Especially when I’m working overtime. 🙂

Anyway, to continue the last post’s theme, I still have a stack of CDs to rip. So, backing up, I believe I mentioned that I had won a few eBay auctions a couple of months ago. The one auction “only” had about 50 CDs in it. The list read like a who’s who of current straight-up rock bands: AFI, Panic! at the Disco, Good Charlotte … bands that I’m familiar with in name, but not really musically. Seem like a lot of radio bands. Guess we’ll find out.

Here’s what I plan on working through today and tomorrow:

  • Unwritten Law – Self Titled
  • Panic! at the Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out
  • The Zutons – WHoo Killed … The Zutons
  • Converge – You Fail Me
  • Emme Packer – Dirty Street
  • Emme Packer – Better Luck Next Time
  • Liz Janes – Poison and Snakes
  • Todd Stedman – Burn
  • Liars Academy – No News Is Good News
  • Jennifer Gentle – Valende
  • Good Charlotte – Good Morning Revival

And of course, wife wants to watch “Psyche.” I can support that! More ripping later.

Concert Review: Death Cab for Cutie with Frightened Rabbit

I know, I know … I’m late. I’m just glad to be writing again. Blugh to the last few weeks, I say. BLUGH!

Having said that, yah. Those guys know how to put on an incredible show. I had heard that they outperform themselves from CD to stage, but man … I wasn’t expecting that. Just to keep the element of surprise as high as possible, I refused to check out any of their concert vids on YouTube. I’m glad I did. I’m also glad I made my own.

Frightened Rabbit is one of the best opening bands I’ve seen in a long, long time. They were almost as good as Death Cab. Not being as familiar with them as I would like, I can’t tell you all the songs they performed, but I know this: every one that they played was amazing. Scott Hutchinson was, in a word, intense. At one point, Gordon Hutchinson–drummer and brother to Scott, screwed up. It was pretty funny. I have vids to post of their set as well, just haven’t done it yet. Anyway, their set was awesome and too short. I’ll figure out the names and post them tonight, probably.

As for Death Cab, well … let’s just say that we’ll see them again. And again. And again … and again. If they play here, we’re going. It was that good. Being way stage right was not at all a let-down, although it made it difficult to get the whole band in the frame at any given time unless Chris wandered over toward the middle, which he did quite a bit, so that was nice. They opened with one of my favorite jams of all time, “I Will Possess Your Heart.” The radio edit does absolutely nothing to justify the CD or live performance. Nick’s simple but rythmic bass line is trance-inducing. Mix that with the piano, guitars and drums, and the result is the perfect mood-setter for what would be an atmospheric evening.

Ben’s voice is as pure in concert as it is on studio recordings. Chris’s is the same. These guys were spot on the whole night. What floors me is just how humble they are. After “Heart,” Ben addressed the crowd, introducing them as “Death Cab for Cutie from Seattle Washington.” Like we didn’t know, right? But how unassuming is that?! “Hi, we’re Death Cab … we’re pretty damn big ya know, but hey–maybe there are some people out there who haven’t heard of us. So, yah–we’re from the Seattle area. Thanks for coming to the show!” That just blew my mind. I mean, you don’t see many bands of their stature saying stuff like that. It’s just … cool. I love a good, humble, grateful band. Especially one that puts as much effort into their music as they do. And they put A LOT into everything. I thought I’d find myself just watching Chris and Ben all night. Ha. I found myself watching Nick and Jason just as much. How could I *not*?! It was a trip down mesmerizing lane, and the road was twisty, bendy, and hilly. LOVED it.

The set list was one of the most diverse I’ve ever seen. They played songs from every CD, including some EPs. Here’s the entire list.

  • I will Possess Your Heart
  • Crooked Teeth
  • Why You’d Want To Live Here
  • Photobooth
  • Doors Unlocked and Open
  • Long Division
  • Grapevine Fires
  • Codes and Keys
  • Summer Skin
  • I Will Follow You into the Dark
  • 405
  • You Are a Tourist
  • A Movie Script Ending
  • Underneath the Sycamore
  • Soul Meets Body
  • Title and Registration
  • Cath
  • We Looked Like Giants
  • Sound of Settling
  • Title Track
  • Pictures in an Exhibition
  • Stay Young Go Dancing
  • Transatlanticism

One of my favorite songs is “We Looked Like Giants.” Here it is:

See what I mean?! They’re amazing live!! I mean, their studio material is amazing too, but their live performances … WOW.

If they come to your part of the world, catch ’em. You will NOT be disappointed.

Kickstarter Project: Ghost Town Jenny

Well, as is so often the case with life, I’m just  now getting back into the writing mode again. Well … okay, blogging mode. I’ve been writing non-stop for the last several months, the bulk of which has been the last two months or so, but that was all work related and not music writing. Now that I have free time again, I’m going to be ramping this up a lot.

One of the things I had been writing about towards the end of June/beginning of July was various Kickstarter projects that I was hoping would get funded. So far, all of them have! However, I’ve also been tracking and funding other projects, such as Ghost Town Jenny. This is the musical child of Kim Kylland out of San Francisco (where a LOT of good music seems to be coming from lately!). She is trying to get to Iceland to perform a show at the Iceland Airwaves music festival. Great music! I love the electronic sound mixed with her ethereal vocals. Her new CD comes out in October, which coincides with the festival.

Anyway, I highly recommend checking out her Kickstarter project. She has lots of great backing rewards at various levels. I opted for the new CD and DVD of the Iceland show. Check it out!

Spotify Lands in USA Tomorrow!

Breaking news on Engadget: Spotify will be available in the US as of tomorrow.

Like I said in my last post about Spotify, I’ll give it a shot. I’m a little more excited about this than I thought I would be, but … this is pretty cool. Guess we’ll see what happens, right?

Vika Yermolyeva–Need I Say More?

The other day, I was playing around on YouTube, looking at old Metallica vids. As per the usual, there was a slew of crap vids that made their way in to the sidebar “If you like this video, then you’ll like …” list of other videos that just happened to have a Metallica metatag. One video ended up being pretty cool. In fact, it was jaw-dropping. Wanna see it? Cuz … seriously, it’s untouchable.

So there it is. If you go to her website, you will be further stunned at just how prolific her repetoire is. She covers everything from Depeche Mode to Opeth. Her version of Tool’s “Sober” is unbelievable.

My favorite part of her YouTube vids is that she has a running clock in the background. Not so much to track the length of the video, but to show you that it’s not edited. Everything is done in one take. At least as far as I can see, it is. That’s pretty cool. Amazing, even.

Anyway, check her out. I wish she had some purchaseable CDs, but all the music on her site is free, so that’s nice. She also has a PayPal donation page. Her goal is to get a band together and make a CD, which I cannot wait to hear.

Thank You, NASA

Lit up with anticipation
We arrive at the launching site
The sky is still dark, nearing dawn
On the Florida coastline

Circling choppers slash the night
With roving searchlight beams
This magic day when super-science
Mingles with the bright stuff of dreams

Floodlit in the hazy distance
The star of this unearthly show
Venting vapours, like the breath
Of a sleeping white dragon

Crackling speakers, voices tense
Resume the final count
All systems check, T minus nine
As the sun and the drama start to mount

The air is charged
A humid, motionless mass
The crowds and the cameras,
The cars full of spectators pass
Excitement so thick you could cut it with a knife
Technology…high, on the leading edge of life

The earth beneath us starts to tremble
With the spreading of a low black cloud
A thunderous roar shakes the air
Like the whole world exploding

Scorching blast of golden fire
As it slowly leaves the ground
Tears away with a mighty force
The air is shattered by the awesome sound

Like a pillar of cloud
The smoke lingers high in the air
In fascination
With the eyes of the world
We stare…

These are the lyrics to Rush’s “Countdown” from their Signals album. They were fortunate enough to attend the first shuttle launch in 1981.

I remember watching the first shuttle launch when I was a young kid. It still is one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever seen. Today marks the last launch in NASA’s space shuttle program. As I sit here typing this, my daughters are asleep. I think, anyway. Actually, they’re probably awake. I wouldn’t know … I’m sitting in my cube at work on a typical day off, but there’s too much to do before my project can be released. But I digress.

The shuttle is on track to take off in about 45 minutes. I’m torn between racing home so I can watch this with my girls as my mom watched with me back in April 1981. Racing is starting to win out. I can always come back to work.

Yah. Gotta run. Er … drive.

Spotify Coming to the USA

This isn’t what I was referencing in yesterday’s post, but as I was perusing TUAW’s site, I noticed this little gem. I’ve heard enough about it that my curiosity is piqued. Unfortunately, due to my geographic location, their official website only shows me a “COMING SOON” and “Please enter your email addres, blah blah blah” screen. No Google links work; I’m always redirected to the same page. Annoying.

So I’m left with reading what’s on Wikipedia. How  reliable …

There are 3 versions: Free, Paid (~5 Euro) and Premium (~10 Euro). Free is what it is, but it’s an ad-based version. Again, annoying. Paid has no ads, so that’s a perk, BUT you can’t use it with your mobile device. That’s where the premium version comes in. For double the monthy subscription price, you can stream to your moble device. You can also save music for off-line use.

Lots of trending on Twitter about it coming to the USA. Trent Reznor is excited. Things I’m not sold on:

I’m fine with a subscription function to the app. What I’d also like to see is integration with MY music that I can stream to another desktop or to my mobile device. If it can do that, great. If not … hmm. Not sure how I feel about paying approximately $120 a year to stream music. For one, I listen to music mostly at work, occasionally at home. I’m fairly confident that my building is lead-lined; I can never get more than 3 bars. Normally, I get 1 or 2. Streaming is difficult at best, and normally it’s just not worth the hassle of the constant buffering and pausing. Now … for those who can get a great signal or whose company is okay with using their wi-fi access points, I’m guessing this could be a really great tool. However, I’m not one of those people.

I’ll give it a test run when it crosses the pond. Until then, I’m semi-skeptical. Up to $120 a year to stream, plus the typical .99 to download a track? AND that track will probably only be playable on Spotify software since Spotify is based around DRM. Also, they employ the Vorbis audio format. Not sold. But, like I said, I’ll give it a try.




4th of July Festivities

Yesterday was just … wow. We had so much fun. Parade with some good friends, bbq and pool party at our house, then fireworks from a location where we could see about 30 *miles* worth of fireworks. THAT was incredible. No lie, from our vantage point, we could see 10 miles north and 25 miles south. Not to mention everything between Salt Lake and the Wasatch mountains. Little colorful explosions for as far as the eyes could see.

I hope everyone had a fun, safe, awesome 4th.

I have something that I want to write about tomorrow, but it’s going to take me a day to make sure I have a predominantly cool head on my shoulders before I spout off. Otherwise, I’m going to rant and rave like a lunatic, and that won’t accomplish anything.

Kickstarter Project: Emme Packer

I love the fact that Emme Packer makes awesome music. I also love the fact that she’s local to Salt Lake. I love more the fact that she’s a local artist whose kickstarter project is now 100% funded …

for the first tier.

Ladies and gentlemen, now is the time to rise up and help support an amazing artist. She has raised the inital $1500 she was hoping for, and now she has set her sights even higher: she wants to record a new CD.

She plays beautiful music, her voice is angelic and about as soft as the hundreds of kittens that hopefully adorn her recording studio (you Kickstarter supporters know what I mean), and I’m stoked to be supporting her project. My only regret is that I don’t have more to offer right now. The point is, if I did, I would. I’d go for that $300 in-house concert. How cool would that be?

Speaking of, she has some awesome pledge rewards going on. There are digital downloads, older CDs, DVDs, concert CDs, guitars, in-house concerts, hand-drawn art, t-shirts, guitars … there’s a TON of cool stuff! I’m opting for the 4 signed CDs. I like my hardware signed … what can I say? BUT, like I said, if I had the extra $270, I’d pony up for the in-house concert in a second.

There’s a preview video on her Kickstarter page. Check out her song, and realize that she has 4 CDs of equal bliss. She wants to make a 5th, and I for one am ALL for that.

Help make her dream a reality! She’s worth the investment.


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