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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

How Steve Jobs Saved My Marriage

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Ok, so the title is hyperbolic. My wife and I have been married about 2.5 years, we’ve got a boy on the way and we’re doing great. But Apple technology did help smooth over an argument once.

I think it was the Spring or Summer of last year. We were arguing about something; I don’t recall what. I’ve got an Apple TV which we often use to listen to music. At one point I stomped out to the deck in a huff.

I sat out there for a few minutes. My mood soon turned to just wanting to reconcile, but it was one of those fights that can’t blow over that quickly.

Except I had a secret weapon.

If you use this, use it sparingly. Like once or twice, ever.

I pulled out my iPhone and opened the Remote app. Then I queued up “Embraceable You,” sung by Billie Holiday. It was our first dance at our wedding.

So it started playing inside, where Kelly was. It took maybe 20 seconds for her to come out and kiss me. All was forgiven.

Not bad for a nerd, eh?

2-Month Update

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

I’ve caught some flack from some friends for not updating this blog. Honestly, I haven’t had much to write about, aside from a draft post I wrote about Kurt Cobain in Guitar Hero 5. After I wrote it, though, I didn’t care to publish it. I wasn’t saying anything interesting; I was just bitching. Anyone who has been around be since GH5’s release has heard it from me anyway, and the rest of you can guess.

Anyway, I guess I’ll just say what I’ve been up to.

I picked up a turntable about a month ago. I went through my parents’ basement and found some good records (including some that were mine), so I figured I’d pick one up. It’s got a USB output, which is handy.

So I’ve been picking up vinyl here and there. I pre-ordered the vinyl remaster & cd of Nirvana’s Bleach (that should be here mid-November). I’ve grabbed a few John Lennon records, a Marvin Gaye and some 45s from Half Price Books in Apple Valley.

Vinyl doesn’t sound particularly better to me than CDs — a lot of them sound worse due to wear, in fact. They are fun, though. Keep in mind that I’ve got a fairly large iTunes library. I’ve ripped/digitized nearly all media under our roof. DVDs, VHS, CDs, cassette tapes, photos, you name it (except books — I’m not completely insane). I’m in the process of re-ripping my CDs in a lossless format (though I’m looking for a seamless way to transcode it when syncing to my iPhone or streaming to my Apple TV). I appreciate the convenience once this media is in my library. Still, it’s fun every now and then to put a record on. And I’m planning on digitizing at least some of them (my George Carlin records in particular).

We also finished mounting our plasma and installing speakers in the ceiling. My receiver can do 7.1, but the room was wired for 5.1. I may run some more wire eventually. But it’s otherwise great for now. Great, except when Kelly is trying to sleep upstairs in our room, conveniently located directly above the living room. So it’s loud as hell up there.

Not much news on the Flapping Crane front. I was furiously working on a DVD set, but it turned out to be too hard on my right wrist. I’ve had to do a wrist brace, painkillers, wrist exercises, all that. I wanted to have something ready for November 22nd, which is five years since we launched flappingcrane.com. That’s probably not going to happen though. We’ll see.

The new website is pretty much ready to launch, though. I’m just delaying it because I know that I’ll have to spend about 3 days fixing previously-missed bugs, and my aforementioned wrist is holding it up in committee.

Finally, I’ve been itching to do something. Not sure what. Some music, some Flapping Crane stuff, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just build some shelves.

Music & Memory

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

It’s freaky how music brings you back to certain periods of your life. Movies don’t really do that for me.

I’ve been listening to all unrated songs on my work laptop. It’s a small subset of of full music collection, but it’s got some good stuff in there.

I don’t recall ever getting that weird déjà vu feeling in my early and mid-twenties. That’s probably because that’s when those associations were being developed. Still, I was listening to Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth and Nirvana in my teens, and when I was in my twenties hearing that music never took me back in time. Now it does.

The weirdest one is The Strokes’ “Room on Fire”. It’s odd because the memories are so recent. Any song I hear from that album puts me in my car driving between Eagan and the Twin Cities in late 2004 / early 2005.

Another big one is Smashing Pumpkins’ “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”. That usually puts me back to 1996-1997. Specifically in Las Cruces, NM, driving in my 1984 Buick Skylark to and from Scott’s house, where we’d often hang out, smoke cigarettes and play Magic.

Finally, the last major one I can think of is Beck’s “Sea Change”. Can you guess what one aspect of the memory associated with this is? Yep, driving in the car. This time to and from El Paso, TX from Las Cruces, NM. This was probably 2002 early 2003, after a particularly rough breakup. I would go to El Paso to buy clove cigarettes (this was me wanting to smoke, but purposely making it inconvenient). Someone had broken into my car and stolen my stereo, so I was listening to my music on a crappy little mp3 player. Listening with earbuds was probably not the safest way to drive.

I only mention all this for a couple reasons. First — WTF? Why is this happening now? Why wasn’t this happening 5 years ago? I think I know the answer to that, but it’s still weird. Second, and more troubling, is that these memories triggered because of specific music that I was listening to in the car. I don’t drive much these days — I live very close to work, and when I do drive, it’s brief. I also tend to listen to the radio. So I’m worried that I won’t have musical anchors to take me back when I’m, say, 40. I have a terrible memory, and music seems to be one of the few things that can jog it.

I take one thing back — Pearl Jam’s “Yield” was triggering that sorta déjà vu feeling as early as 5 years ago, I think. To this day, it reminds me of sometime around 1997-1999, rooming with Chris. We had a dumpy little apartment and my computer was in the kitchen. The specific memory is of modifying (I think) DikuMUD (?) to make a sort of “Poison Elves” MUD (if you know what Poison Elves was, congrats, welcome to the Nerd Club. If you know what both Poison Elves was and what a MUD is, then seek professional help). I remember adding an addiction element to the game — if your character smoked, he’d have to continue to smoke or suffer various physical consequences. I never made it public or did anything with it.

Strudel, new Feed, S3

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

“Toaster Strudel” is available at Flapping Crane’s music section. Good stuff. I use part of it for one of my ringtones.

Also, I’ve revamped the Flapping Crane RSS feed. This sucker now has MP4 videos that are good for watching on TV (with Apple TV or probably XBox 360) or on an iPhone. Haven’t tested it on other iPods. May not work on them.

Finally, I’m in the process of compressing new versions of all our old videos and uploading them to Amazon’s S3. This should allow for faster downloads.

I haven’t flipped the switch on S3 yet, and probably won’t for a while. I want to get as many vids on there as possible.

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