Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer Waning

It's the last ripe days of August. In half a week, it will be September. This time of year is so bittersweet for me.

All summer, I feel like I wait for the season to start and imagine so much time stretched out ahead of me. We'll go here and there, do this and that, live a carefree, shoeless existence for three months like every summer movie ever made. I'll be the bohemian and break from an otherwise buttoned-up, serious world. We'll feel the electricity of thunderstorms that break oppressive heat waves. We'll have a road adventure and make all kinds of discoveries. Office-work will slow down long enough for us to feel like children on school break. At least, that was the dream.

And I have one more week to make it happen.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Freeing the Music

DISCLAIMER: This post is not advocating the illegal downloading of music. I believe in supporting artists buy legally obtaining their tunes, because if they don't get paid, they become poor, they end up living in a van down by the river and then they can't afford to put out more good music. And then we all suffer. Do you want that? I dont. No. This post is simply to offer alternatives, especially for those awesome indie bands and hard to find remixes.

I'm always on the hunt for new music. I also like to give those tunes that stick in my brain like gum a permanent home on my iPod so I can learn the lyrics rather than making up what I think is being said. But, I can't always find what I want, and sometimes, I just want a song, not the whole album. Luckily, I found these great (and legal) sites that provide many terrific MP3 downloads for free. I've discovered some incredible artists this way, and have found that if I have access to a free song or two, and I like it, I will end up buying the whole album. Search MP3 downloads > free MP3s and see what comes up. New releases posted regularly.

Stereogum: An awesome blog all on its own, it also posts cool indie tracks and remixes.

RCRD LBL: "The Hottest Free Music Downloads. Served Daily." With a side of awesome.

Levi's Pioneer Sessions: Wear those jeans like a rock star while listening to free tunes.

Consequence of Sound: An outstanding music site, with "Friday Mixtape" offering unique MP3s.

Spinner: The music blog that other music blogs try to copy. With free MP3s of the Day.

These are just a few I have found to be quality. Not quite your cup of tea? Check out this listing of other available (and legal) sites. Download responsibly and enjoy.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Neighbors on TV

So...the other day I found out that a girl from my old neighborhood who was a childhood playmate is now on a reality show. I won't tell you which one because that's not relevant. But I will say, it's not one of those embarrassing shows on network TV that makes you wonder A) if these people were raised by wolves B) if their only skill in life is to belch the alphabet while naked C) if they really expect to find love on TV or (what goes through my mind the most) D) if TV producers will ever return to script writing again.

Anyway, it's weird to see someone I once "knew" on TV. I put that in quotation marks because I haven't seen her in about 20 years. I don't know her now as an adult. I also "knew" her family, who appear on the show now and then. And boy, have they changed!

Realty TV is for other people - weirdos, freaks, opportunists, kids who were severely neglected by their parents - not kids who grew up five houses away from me. I'm glad that she looks well and seems to have a good life now. At least, due to some fine editing, it appears that way.

I've known a few people who became celebrities or pseudo-celebrities...and it's all so fascinating. They had the ambition to push beyond their humble backgrounds to become something a little larger. Or maybe it was just a chance meeting, a lucky draw, an acquaintance that knew someone...that sort of thing that propels the unexpected innocent into the next big star. Or maybe it was just some crazy stage parents who couldn't say "no."

Why do I write this? I guess it's goes back to the question "where is my life going?" When I think about it, I wouldn't trade my life for anything: I have a stable job that brings respect; I relish my privacy tremendously; I like having control over what is disclosed and what is not; I have wonderful people in my life keep me grounded; and it means the world to have just a few friends who love me for who I am - warts and all - rather than a pandering crowd of sycophants. But. It would be nice, for a moment, to know what that exhilaration felt like. And to know that, at least for that brief time, you're life will never be the same.

I hope fame doesn't change my old neighbor.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hookd on Fonix

I'll admit it. I'm not the world's best speller. I'm not terrible, but I've never been a part of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, if you know what I mean. Still, it annoys the living daylights out of me when I see people who should know better make blatant spelling errors. Especially in this day and age of spell-checker, there really is no excuse.

Apparently, Jeff Deck feels the same way...only magnified by 100 times. He and his friend, Ben, traveled around the United States trying to correct spelling and grammatical errors whenever possible. Wow. A noble cause, that, but someone has a bit too much time on his hands, no? And their journey is now in book format for all to share in the obsessive compulsiveness.

I prefer the musings of "The Grammarphile" on her blog Red Pen, Inc. In her humorous rantings, she's imploring us to be more careful in our writing, especially when it's intended for public view, and to not be tolerant of such gross errors. OK, maybe that's extreme. Maybe she's just saying "Hey, you people are idiots and I'm going to make fun of you until you're embarrassed enough to do something about it." Or not. But it's still a good blog.

Then there are the people who REALLY should know better, such as:
Painting "SHCOOL" outside of a NC school
Displaying "shcool" on a sign at a FL elementary school
Misspelled inscription at Cambridge University
Misspelling "university" on university Websites

And my favorite - because you know at least one person will misspell one of these words today:
10 words you need to stop misspelling