Say Cheese

Storm Stories

Tonight at 8pm, the Weather Channel will be airing a new edition of their show, "Storm Stories," focusing on the Baltimore Water Taxi Accident. From what I understand, a good portion of the show will focus on my friend, Corinne, and her fiance, Andrew.

I've set my Tivo to record the program, but I'm undecided at this point on whether I'll actually watch it. I'm a little scared of what I might see and what wounds the show will open up. There's a lot I don't know about the accident, and I almost prefer it that way.

Really, though, the point of this post was just to let my ten loyal readers know about the show, in case they have any interest in watching it.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 08/09/2004 || link

Please Don't Be Any of These People

Questionable Content presents four types of annoying concert-goers...

Posted by Mr. Eff on 08/05/2004 || link

Alton Gets It

A lot of people have been going nuts over the "obesity problem" in the United States. The Department of Health and Human Services wants Medicare to start paying for people's diets and some other people want to sue every fast food joint out of existence. A recent film, "Supersize Me," rode this new hysteria to box office success. My favorite culinary expert, Alton Brown, had a few thoughts about the film and the role of fast food restaurants in our current obsesity "epidemic."

I'm happy to say that Alton gets it. He understands (although he's a little more anti-corporate than I would like). Listen to him well, my friends. Now go and feed yourselves and your loved ones.

In other food news, how about a burger? If you are really hungry, try the 6lb burger from Denny's Beer Barrel Pub in Pennsylvania. For those of you who don't know: Yes! Eating a 6lb burger will help you to become obese. You've been warned.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 08/04/2004 || link

Dirty On Purpose

My secret, snobby, music-self dreams occasionally of seeing a band long before they make it big, so that later on, when everyone is buying their cds, I can say, "I saw them in a smokey little room with only 30 other people way back in the day!" Yeah, I'm silly, vain and geeky, but I'm just being honest here. The band I saw tonight, Dirty On Purpose, will hopefully make it big someday and fulfill my geeky dream.

I went to see them for two reasons. One, it was a five dollar show. Two, the free track of theirs on Pitchforkmedia sounded interesting. I'm really glad I went.

They seem to be a little young, and lord knows they are a bit derivative, but for a small, unknown band, they write some pretty good songs. They remind me a little of some of the mid-nineties alternative bands like the Smashing Pumpkins, "Pablo Honey" era Radiohead, or even Hum.

Employing keyboards, bass, two guitars and drums, they put more layering into their music than I'd normally expect from a band playing the backstage at the Black Cat. Three members of the band trade off vocal duties, with occasional, dreamy harmonies floating over their sometimes quiet, sometimes frenetic guitarwork. In their live show, their drummer dominates their sound. Although he overplays a bit at times, he really drives the band forward, giving them more of a backbone and a lot more energy than what comes across in their recorded work.

I dig them quite a bit. Check them out if they hit your town. If you like the sample I linked to above, think about buying one of their EPs. They aren't going to blow away anyone yet, or be proclaimed rock-saviors (thank god), but they're definitely worth paying attention to. Rock on.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 08/04/2004 || link

Mp3Blogs

Some people in this world love music as much, if not more, than I do. They, like me, also enjoy recommending the music they love to the world. But unlike me, they don't just recommend it. They also provide high quality mp3 samples of the music. This new blog genre that is sweeping the globe has been oh-so-creatively named, Mp3Blogging.

Most of these folks are honest music fans, so they encourage their readers to buy the cds of the artists they post about. So far, the recording industry has kept quiet about this music sharing and I'm hoping they continue to turn a blind eye to it. (Obviously, it's not really legal in any way, shape, or form)

Now for the places you, my intrepid reader, should visit, I'd recommend starting with some classmates of mine from college over at Music (For Robots). They have pretty eclectic tastes but you'll mostly find funk, hip-hop, industrial, metal, indie rock, and once in a while, a children's tune. Good stuff, most definitely.

To get an idea of the sheer number of sites out there, check out the Mp3Blogs Aggregator. It collects RSS feeds from all over. I recommend using it to help you identify places you might want to visit regularly.

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited by this new development in the music world. I really hope this catches on and eventually becomes a legal promotional model. There's a lot of good music being made right now and most of it will not be found on the radio or on TV. Do a little searching and I KNOW you will be pleasantly surprised. Lastly, rock on.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 07/22/2004 || link

Inexplicable Objects

Over at Metafilter, I found a neat link to the Inexplicable Object of the Week Archives, which has provided me with a funny and welcome distraction this Friday afternoon. Go check it out.

Some of my favorites include Cthulhu Pez, Music to Live By, an angry rant, and the most righteous, Disco Snoopy Colorforms!

Good times, my friends. Good times.

I have a bunch of serious things to post about, but alas, you, my five loyal readers, will have to wait until later this weekend.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 07/16/2004 || link

War on Pornography

One summer, I was paid to look at porn sites all day long. Believe me, it was not as glamorous as you might think. But the moral here is that I know porn...I know it well. I also know that I need to do my part in the War on Pornography.

Link credit goes to Radley.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 07/09/2004 || link

Songs for the Impatient

Do you hate songs that just drag on and on and on for like, three minutes or more? Do you need to constantly hear something different to keep you from getting bored? If so, check out 100 Tunes for the Easily Bored.

A guy, with the attention span of a goldfish, found 100 short songs that would fit on a cd (an impressive feat). It's an ecletic mix ranging from Public Enemy to the Dead Kennedys. Although I haven't given it a listen yet (as he's provided all of the songs in one 96 meg download), it's definitely a neat concept, if I must say so myself.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 07/08/2004 || link

A Touch of Evil!

I've never heard a good argument for why we still circumcise male babies. I know some boys are born with foreskin that is malformed and restrictive, but that condition calls for corrective surgery, not the complete removal of the foreskin.

Circumcision is still in practice for no other reason, really, than for the selfish reasons of the parents. They want to make the boy like the father, to make the boy like a lot of the other boys he'll grow up with, to make it easier for the boy to keep himself clean, etc. There are some religions that call for the procedure as well, but frankly, we've abandoned plenty of outdated and barbaric religious practices over the years, and this one needs to go.

But ultimately, circumcision steals from a man the chance to experience sexual pleasure the way he was meant to, which I find rather sad and which I think trumps all other considerations.

Now, with my bias clearly established, one can understand why I find this device horrifying. Ugh. They even give a demonstration. Granted, this little piece of technology is supposed to be an improvement on older methods, but it still looks like an implement of torture, conjured up by modern day Spanish Inquisitors. Evil, I say; just evil.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 07/08/2004 || link

Lift Your Hands Up and Shout!

Well, since I'm hoping not to read my post about Corinne every time my page loads, I'll just give you all (all five of you) a quick update concerning my list of irrational fears. The list has been shortened by one.

You see, I can dance. Well, I always knew I could dance. The real news here is that my paralyzing fear of dancing has become a manageable fear. I can will my feet to get me on the dance floor and unclench my muscles enough to find the rhythm. I don't know how to describe how exciting that is for me. I woke up the morning after my breakthrough dancing experience feeling giddy.

Also, you'll notice over on the left that the different "For the moment..." types are now linked. Click on the link to see a list of everything I've posted there for that given type...if you happen to care.

Lastly, what are you doing to save the environment (NSFW)?

Posted by Mr. Eff on 07/07/2004 || link

Self Indulgence Continued...

So, I know I said that I wouldn't post anything else about Corinne, but I can't help myself. Tomorrow would have been her 27th birthday, and to say that I'm not still filled with sorrow over her passing would be a gross mischaracterization of the truth. If I believed in God, I would wish her well in her supposed afterlife and I'm sure she would be well. She's gone though and all I can say is that, for those of us still living, it...well, it fucking sucks (I don't mind cussing because, to tell you the truth, she had the mouth of a sailor).

I keep trying to work up the...strength/courage/will power...to write a fitting memorial to her, but I just can't seem to get past the first line. In the great, grand scheme of things, she was a small fish in this gigantic ocean we're living in. Most of you would never have felt the ripples she would have caused in her life. She wasn't a saint. She wasn't perfect. She wasn't necessarily destined for great things. Not everyone is supposed to change the world though. But she changed a lot of the people she met in her life. I know she changed me...

and I was changed for the better, I think.

So, all I really wanted to say was that tomorrow, July 1, would have been Corinne's 27th birthday. I miss her.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 06/30/2004 || link

Just a Few Things

Well, I'm sick again, so there is no chance of me writing out something long, focused and coherent. So instead, I'll write something short, choppy, and scattered.

-- I had the pleasure of seeing the Beastie Boys play the 9:30 Club. They were fan-freaking-tastic! If you want to jump around and get sweaty with a bunch of people you don't know, while periodically getting booted in the head by crowd surfers (oooh, I hatessss them), go see the Beasties. If that doesn't sound appealing, at least read this interview. It's high comedy.

-- If you are a New Pornographers fan (and even enjoy the songs where Neko Case isn't singing), go check out the solo album by A.C. Newman. It's quality. Especially check out "Miracle Drug" and "35 in Shade" as they are the catchiest and most rocking tunes on the disc.

-- I have a gmail account now. It's nice. The interface is elegant and it's speedy. I'll make use of it someday. It is NOT the second coming, though. Chill people. It's email.

-- I was watching "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" last night, and while marveling at how much they distorted the original story, I heard one of the characters refer to the bad guy's "weapons of destruction." I then thought to myself, what other kind of weapons are there? (I know, probably not an original thought...I'm sick, leave me alone!)

-- I revived my desktop computer and have a speedy new cd burner in it. I'm in mix making mode, so if you've been good enough to read this far, and would like a mix cd of some sort, drop me an email.

-- Lastly, I finally broke down and made a links page. It is the egress. When you get bored with me, go check out the sites on that page. I guarantee they are more interesting.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 06/27/2004 || link

Keen Music Site of the Day

A friend tipped me off to a site called Music Plasma that I wanted to share. It's essentially an archive of music groups that are associated with each other by a few different factors, most notably music style and epoch (ie. generation).

When you search for a band (or musician), it along with other related bands are mapped out in connected clusters. The distance between the band you searched for and the others shows how closely associated they are to each other musically. I hope that makes sense. If not, just go try it out and you'll see what I mean. It almost gives one the same results as Amazon's "People who bought this cd also bought..." feature, but Music Plasma is a much more appealing and interesting interface for mapping the data.

Enjoy!

Posted by Mr. Eff on 06/11/2004 || link

The Music or the Misery?

Nick Hornby posed this eternal question in his book High Fidelity.

"What came first -- the music or the misery? Did I listen to music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to music? Do all those records turn you into a melancholy person?

"People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands -- literally thousands -- of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss. The unhappiest people I know, romantically speaking, are the ones who like pop music the most; and I don't know whether pop music has caused this unhappiness, but I do know that they've been listening to sad songs longer than they've been living unhappy lives."

I was reminded of this quote today while listening to Otis Redding. It's well known by some of my friends that "These Arms of Mine" will almost instantly put me into a rather mellow, if not melancholy, mood.

Note, I chose to listen to Otis today. I physically set my iPod to play his music. I knew full well what it would do to me. What I can't figure out is whether the mood triggered the song or the song triggered the mood. What made me choose Otis?

The funny thing is, I'm generally not an unhappy person, but when a funk comes around, you can bet I'm listening to sad songs. It's entirely possible that I just notice the sad songs when I'm already sad, and am oblivious to their message when I'm feeling chipper.

It's also entirely possible that I just like being a sad sap from time to time. Like the number of licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 06/09/2004 || link

Music Based Musings

I came across an interesting list of Daily Dirt questions by way of a woman called mishie (her site is often unreachable, but definitely worth reading).

1. What genre(s) of music do you like?
Hmm. I've never been good at keeping up with the genre names. I suppose I like most types of rock (hard rock, garage rock, indie rock, punk, ska, ska-core, classic rock, folk rock, heavy metal, industrial, a little rap-rock, etc, etc, etc), some jazz, a lot of blues, 60's soul/r&b, and I'm working on becoming a knowledgable hip-hop fan.

2. How do you determine if a person has a 'good taste' in music?
Generally, if someone likes the music I like, I'll describe their taste as being good, although I don't expect (or often encounter) people that like everything that I do. Generally, I can respect anyone's taste in music as long as they meet a couple of key conditions:

1) They appreciate more than one genre (and no, not just country AND western).

2) They don't predominantly listen to one of the dreaded genres: Country, Christian rock, or bubblegum pop. I can forgive someone for listening to a little bit from those genres, but too much and I would suggest getting their hearing checked.

3. Do you let others influence what music you like and don't like?
(the question originally said: Do you base other people's liking in music, upon your own likings? which I think makes no sense)

I've never let anyone turn me off a band I had previously liked. However, I do have certain friends whose taste I respect and will readily check out any music that they suggest. For instance, my friend Jay is directly responsible for me getting into Weezer, Thanks to Gravity, Dave Matthews Band, Sublime, and G. Love and Special Sauce, just to name a few. Since I can't stand the radio and don't watch Mtv, my friends tend to be my best source for finding new music.

4. What is one of the most important things about music to you?
Hmm. It's important that the music produces some emotional response from me. If I don't feel any connection with the music, then it's useless to me. It's also important for music to be a natural and genuine expression of the artist. Anything that feels too contrived will immediately lose me.

5. Do you believe the media has changed music (ie: showing skin, lyrics, etc)? Why or why not?
In the last 50 years, the media has played a huge part in music's development (although, it's tough to say exactly what is included when talking about "the media"). The media, in a very general sense, has helped determine who gets exposure to the masses which influences the legions of imitators as well as fueling the backlash. The media has contributed directly and indirectly in shaping most of the trends in music.

So, I kind of dig music. Currently, I'm working on becoming a little more well versed in some previously unexplored areas; mainly the hip hop, reggae and African genres. This past week, especially, has been all about hip hop, as I've picked up albums by the Black Eyed Peas, The Roots, and De La Soul to add to the Outkast disc I got last fall. I plan on picking up some Tribe Called Quest and some Wu-Tang Clan stuff in the near future. If any of my lovely readers have suggestions for this hip hop newbie, please mail them. Thank you much.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 06/06/2004 || link

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For the moment...

Book: Deep Blues, by Robert Palmer

CD: Brothers, by The Black Keys

Song: "Oh My God," by Ida Maria

Link: Shut Up & Sit Down

Ramble: Just An Idea