Quick little update on well ... everything I feel like writing about. First, I am thinking of bringing back my round-up of things I read around the internet on a daily basis. I may need to tweak it a little bit, to make it easier to post so many links ... but that was fun to do, and I think I am finally in a good work-flow place that I can spare a few minutes to put that together when the timing is right.
I updated my avatar on the site ... the new James Bond movie (which, if you've known or followed me around these parts for any length of time, you know I am a huge fan of) is coming out in November and I am pretty damn excited about. Quantum of Solace was a bit of a let-down coming off of Casino Royale, but that was for a reason. I have my collection of Bond movies out, and I think I may start marathoning through all of them soon to get ready. Something about a good beer, cold weather, a fire, and James Bond that just makes the winter start to look like my favorite time of the year.
While we're on things I like -- Tweetbot for Mac was released yesterday. If you have a Mac, spend a good amount of time on Twitter, then this is kind of a no-brainer. Sure, it's more expensive than most apps (for a reason) -- but it's the best twitter experience on the desktop I've had. I love it.
And, while we're on the topic of things I really like -- I had a fantastic customer service experience with Klipsch the other day, and I feel the need to point out when a company really does the right thing for their customers. The left speaker went out in my headphones somehow, I am not sure why or how, and after a quick email exchange -- they are replacing them. Painlessly. It's so rare that I have an experience where I feel like the company cares, and is helping, that I really needed to take some time to show the love. Great products, great customer service, great sound.
OK ... on to other stuff: I have no idea when APv3 will be launched. I believe it's still being optimized to handle our traffic and scale, and when I have updates on that I will let you know. Um, sorry. It sucks. Trust me. It's the single most important thing I've ever done online, and I want it launched and perfect and to take over the damn music world with it. But, for the moment, we're kinda just waiting. I will keep you updated with anything I hear. At this point, I have other changes that will need to be made seeing as that site is using the old twitter icon and doesn't have the apdot.net URL shortener built in. Blaaaaaaaaaaarg.
(Just got told I type really loudly by the girlfriend. While she's playing the violin, next to her ear ... she can hear me type ... that doesn't bode well for my fingers smashing the keyboard.)
Ahh, and I guess I haven't really mentioned that on here ... but yeah, I am dating a musician. A classically trained doctoral candidate insanely talented violinist by the name of Hannah. Which, if you are friends with me on Facebook I'm sure you know since a bunch of adorable(?) pictures and things get posted there all the time. Um, she rules. Haha, seriously. It's without a doubt the best relationship I have ever been in ... and I've never felt so supported, loved, and optimistic about the future. After the shit that happened in the past 5 years, it's everything I really never thought I could have - or ever thought I deserved. And yet, here I am ... smiling ... happy ... and extremely excited about the future. It's been a while since I've been able to say that. Plus, I get to learn all about this insane music stuff that I would have had no idea about. And I get my ass kicked in music debates. While she's slowly expanding my tastes, I think I'm rubbing off on her a little as well. And then there's the stuff where we can meet in the middle (so good). So, pardon me being stupidly mushy on twitter or facebook or instagram or wherever. I feel like the world has been opened and for the first time certain words, feelings, and emotions make sense. A lot of the bullshit I put up with in the past ... just makes me roll my eyes.
Recently my music listening habits have been kind of on the hip-hop side of things. That new P.O.S album is so damn good that it's kind of taken over everything else. If you haven't checked it out yet ... do it. Get it. It's fantastic. The new Anberlin, Further Seems Forever, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have also been getting a lot of spins. I also absolutely enjoy the new Muse album that everyone had me convinced I was going to hate. Welp, I don't ... I think it's great. One of those "yeah, they went in a whole new direction and I fucking love it" kind of albums. Go into it with an open mind. It's got some great tunes. Oh, and if you're looking for something poppy the Walk the Moon album has a Neon Trees/Fall Out Boy hybrid thing going on that's a lot of fun.
I'm now completely moved in to my new place downtown PDX. Getting out of the suburbs was one of the best decisions I've ever made. The transition is still being made - and there's a lot of learning about pretty much a new lifestyle - but it's been fantastic. Love being in the city. Love my new place. Love being able to decorate it how I want, have it set up the way my OCD brain wants, and live life on a day to day basis completely in the moment. It's been extremely relaxing, fun, and I'm just really enjoying my new surroundings. I don't know if the city life is really what everyone wants (and let's be real, it's a little different in Portland), but so far I can attest to it being one of the better decisions I've made in the past few years. Definitely the right environment for me right now.
Ok, so with that I am going to go listen to this album and attack the never ending black hole I call email.
"I will not wait to love as best as I can. We thought we were young and that there would be time to love well sometime in the future. This is a terrible way to think. It is no way to live, to wait to love." - Dave Eggers (What is the What)
I don't think I've hidden my admiration for Dave Eggers on this blog, but this is one of those quotes that I keep coming back to time and time again. Late nights when I'm laying in my bed alone, I can see these words rotating around my brain. The more I think about it, the more I feel just arrogant enough to add to it. I mean, should the 29 year old divorcee really be talking about love and relationships? Well, at the very least I know what fails. I know what it's like to try and force something out of a misguided attempt at sacrificing your entire happiness to try and make someone else happy. I know that in a relationship you shouldn't feel like you're the one putting in all the effort, or the only one willing to fight for it.
If you love someone, tell them. Act like it. If you give everything to someone and they don't give back? Get the fuck out. If you're worried about holding back and a lack of reciprocation? You're with the wrong person. If you want something in a relationship, ask for it. If that's what you're looking for - find the person willing to give it. And do the same in return. If you love them, and your partner wants something -- try to give it. Be willing to say yes. Try. Always try. Don't hold back. Give the love you want to receive.
So ... that extremely long article about PunkNews/Buzzmedia just showed up on my inbox, and while with something like this I'd usually spend three or four hours dissecting the entire thing and pointing out the many, many, flaws ... I'd actually just like to say one thing: I feel extremely bad that Aubin, PunkNews, and Buzz-Media are getting tossed under the bus for something that was MY idea. Not some giant corporation plotting to take over the world or anything like that. Little 'ol me, sitting in my office and trying to think of the best way to collaborate with a bunch of sites that I respect and put together a better service, a better product, for everyone. It's really that simple ... I'd rather work with PunkNews.org than against them. We're all better working together. So, I brought up the idea to everyone -- and we thought we could do some Captain Planet like shit and "with our powers combined..." try and dramatically change the idea of "competition" in the alternative music webblog sphere. Simple. Far less nefarious than painted.
And it kinda sucks that so many words can be written about this entire thing when no one even reached out to talk to me about it. Take that post with a giant, giant grain of salt -- it misses the mark on many levels. But ... seriously ... why not just ask me? It's not like I'm hidden away or anything.
What I love about TV shows are that they're in small little packages. A movie is a commitment. You have to sit down and be invested for two hours. With a TV show, you can sit back and just enjoy it in the background, when you have time, and for a smaller amount of time.
Anyway, this blog was just to point out one of the coolest websites for keeping up to date with your favorite shows ... it's called ShowRSS, and does basically exactly what the name implies. You can select the shows you want to track, add them to "your shows," and then spit out an RSS feed that updates with the torrent links whenever the new episode hits the air. Now, just for the record -- I also end up buying all of these on DVD/Blu-Ray when they come out, and watch older episodes on Netflix as well. If I love a show, I support it so that it can continue to get made. However, traditional TV just doesn't work for me in my schedule ... so, this is the method I currently use. Figured I'd share the site.
Also, if you're curious what I watch (I dunno why you would be, but maybe you'll find something new to love):
1) Breaking Bad
2) Downton Abby
3) Game of Thrones
4) Happy Endings
5) How I Met Your Mother **
6) It's Always Sunny in Philly
8) Mad Men
9) Modern Family
10) Parks and Recreation
12) The Newsroom
I am also currently getting in to Dr. Who, cause the girlfriend got me hooked. I am, however, starting from the beginning and so I'm only in the second season at the moment. Also, if you've never checked out some of the older shows like: Arrested Development, The Wire, The West Wing, Veronica Mars, early seasons of The Office, Friends, The Pretender, and The Sopranos ... um, you should?
** This show needs to get back on track or it's going to get the boot like The Office did.
It took me about four listens for this one really click with me. I wasn't sure what I was expecting ... and I think having really enjoyed Brandon Flower's solo album, I was more prepared. My first instinct was that it was good, not great -- but it's been growing on me with every single spin. Lyrically there's some stuff I really like (the "thief stole your heart" line totally reminds me of Brian Fallon), and some stuff that makes me double-take (that cell phone line). At times I miss some of the more energetic songs from the band's catalog ... but by my third listen I was ready to take this album for what it is and with that I've ended up really liking it. I'm still kinda stuck in that "I like this" phase, and it hasn't come over to the "I love it" yet.
It's like a girl you're dating and you know you're probably gonna end up falling in love with her, but you're not quite sure. You're maybe waiting to see if anything pops up that takes it one way or the other. That's where I'm at with this album. I keep finding a way to put it into my regular rotation, but I'm also not sure if we're going all the way yet or not ...
Whenever someone says "oh, I like all kinds of music except hip-hop" I usually follow with saying they need to check out P.O.S.'s "Never Better." It's the kind of album that is more punk than most of the skinny jeaned pop-punk models could hope to be ... full of attitude, a gritty exterior, and if that doesn't open your mind to hip-hop a little bit, there's no hope for you.
That recommendation still stands by the way -- if you've never jumped into this genre, get "Never Better" tonight, turn it up, and come talk to me tomorrow. You're welcome.
Well, the rapper is back on October 23rd with his latest, "We Don't Even Live Here" -- and after a complete spin through I've got another recommendation for you: go pre-order this thing right now. It's so good it makes me laugh. In a weird way the first two tracks released, which also lead the album, may be the worst ones on the entire disc. That's scary. What I love about this album is that it keeps you guessing through each track. Nothing ever ends quite where you think it will, the beats are never quite what you'd expect, and the lyrics hold absolutely nothing back. Songs shift in the middle, guest appearances enhance and don't detract, and I would be shocked if "Where We Land" doesn't end up becoming the kind of song everyone's talking about by the end of the year. One of those "must hear" kind of things. Yeah, can't recommend this one enough.
Don't write off anything just because of the genre -- you could be missing out on your next obsession.
"For example, I don't care if anyone reads what I write here. I'm writing to satisfy myself first and foremost. If others read it and benefit from it, fantastic — that's a welcome side effect. If I worry about who is reading, why they're reading, or if anyone is even reading at all, I'd be too paralyzed to write! That'd be the least productive outcome of all." - Jeff Atwood
I've had a lot of people over the years ask me why I write what I write in my blog. I've had people tell me I'm too forward, that I'm too emotional, that I'm too ________. And well, the truth is that maybe I am. But at the end of the day, that's just who I am. When I write here, it's an outlet for things I want to say ... for me more than anything.
When I moved into the new place (sick of moving updates yet?) I decided it was time to upgrade the speakers that had been powering my office for the past few years. After asking around on twitter and reading a bunch of reviews, I decided to pick up the Klipsch ProMedia speakers ... so far I'm more than impressed. The sound is clear, crisp, and loud. Good lows, modular control over the bass, and crisp highs. Currently listening to MuteMath's Armistice and it sounds phenomenal. I'll update this post if there's ever any problem, but as of right now, for the size and (relative) price -- I'm very pleased. Would recommend.
The idea is to have the new place set up so that from any room I can access my iTunes library and Rdio. One more room to go.
This is going to be the album that dominates my midnights in about four months. There's something about the lush instrumentation and flushed out layers that makes me think many an indie-couple are going to be making sweet, thick rimmed glasses, love to this album. If you get someone pregnant while listening to this, you're basically required to make sure that you put an "x" in their name somewhere.
I'm embargoed on mentioning the album title (think it's out there anyway) or any track titles, but I see nothing about not being able to write about the music itself ... so, until I get yelled at to shut up, I'm gonna do just that. Now, in order to avoid the wraith of the insane All Time Low fans (again), I'll just say that I wasn't the biggest fan of "Dirty Work." Um, I'm powering through making any more comments on that one. I will however say that the new "totally not mentioning the album title" album returns back to what I enjoyed about the band in their previous releases. It's a pop (heavy on the pop) punk album. Now, take this as a compliment -- but I think this album is what a lot of fans wanted after Boys Like Girls' first album. Catchy pop-punk with simple lyrics about growing up and having fun. If you liked "Nothing Personal" or "So Wrong, It's Right" - I feel like this is what you were looking for. If you never liked the band before, I doubt at this point they're going to convince you to all of a sudden become a fan. But, if you're going to check out one song ... you need to check out the tune with Jason Vena (formerly of Acceptance) because it's easily the best song the band's ever written and makes me want a new Acceptance album as badly as it makes me wanna just put that track on repeat.
With "The Moon is Down," Further Seems Forever helped usher in a new wave of heart-on-your-sleeve emotional rock -- 11 years later the band's most famous line-up returns. We may have missed them, but they haven't missed a beat. Only time will tell if after another decade this album will hold up as a classic in this music scene, but one thing is for sure: right now, in 2012, this is the kind of album plenty of other bands have been trying to make for 10 years. "Penny Black" is the soundtrack that could spawn another wave of kids picking up guitars and screaming their hearts into garages across the country.
Sitting here listening to the bow slide over the strings, I can hear the fingernails scrape against the metal and it pulls from me emotions I thought I had long since buried. Every note pushes a feeling from within that I wish my tongue had the capability of expressing. I doubt I'll ever be clever enough to write anything that rivals the way you can make your instrument sing. But, this is what I needed, this is where I feel safe. This is where I can escape my own head, where I can see color reemerge in my black and white future, and where I - for a moment - can feel the fear of vulnerability dissipate.
Yet, never completely.
It's still there, it's still in the back of my mind ... hovering like a cancer. Stalking the recesses of my brain. How do I let myself go when I know where that could lead me? How do I even begin to open up that part of me?
I'm sure I'm not the only one that has this vision of walking into an airport, pointing at the board, and just going somewhere and not coming back. Just walking into a new world, a new life, and leaving everything else behind. An inbox would fill, the tweets would cease, and the facebook page would slow to a crawl ... but I'd feel free. The world would keep turning. I'd feel released from the chains of everything I have become, everything I am, and everything I struggle not to be. Truth is I don't know if much would really change. Stresses would return. Hearts would still break. But for a split second I would feel as though the slate was clean. For a moment I'd feel reborn. I could go somewhere where my name isn't associated with a stitched-up heart; I could start new ... pick a name that google's search doesn't want to finish with "is a douchebag." Maybe I could be someone that doesn't deserve that.
I'm struggling. I really am. And the only thing I really know how to do is write. It's the therapy when nothing else works. It's the constant I have. I can go back and look at past entries and remember when I've felt this same way ... and I know that this too shall pass. But then I start clicking "next" and realize that these same words have painted this blog far too many times.
I just can't square this circle.
What if I'm wrong? What if I'm wrong about what I wanted? What if I'm wrong about my expectations? What if ... I hate those two words and every time I type them. I hate the taste they put in my mouth and the way I can't erase them. I feel like so many people think they have me so pegged out ... that they know what they're going to get, that they think I'm a toy they can just wind-up and not worry about ... that I'll always be there and come through in a pinch. I'm the reliable one. The one with the answer for how to make it better, fix it, or save the day. I feel like I can't have an off day, a bad day, or need someone. I keep skinning myself to clothe the rest ... and it's left me cold, bruised, and and no closer to the answers I so desperately seek. Your life is just starting, I was broken when you found me.
I'm marching up to your gates today, to throw my lonely soul away. 'Cause I don't need it, you can take it back.
I'm sitting on my balcony, three beers and two albums in. I'm staring at a half-burned streetlight. I see a couple locked in some version of an embrace on the corner. I so badly want to believe in truth and that love is real. I can't shake the hot wind across my face -- I can't shake the voice in my head begging for a sign. Anything. I look up, I can't see the stars. Wrong sign.
I'm fumbling for the volume button -- I know when I get like this I just need to turn it up. I need to drown out my own thoughts. Come on, just give me what I need ... just sing the words I am dying to hear.
The car alarm is ringing over the sound of her voice in my ears -- solution? Clearly "Oh. Hi." needs to be louder. I need this Cacie, whatcha got for me tonight?
Some would say I've started wearing my heart too plain on my sleeve. I'd say take it or leave it.
The bass is in my chest now. That's what I was looking for. There's proof something can still live there. I need to know I can still feel something.
If this doesn't do it -- just slap a toe tag on me. The couple's embrace ends. Without words I can't tell if they're staying together or breaking up. This snapshot of their life reveals nothing. This moment remains unremarkable.
The drums hit the back of my ear drums now. I can see him kiss her. There's a moment of hesitation in her head tilt ... love? Regret? Don't they always go hand in hand?
Funny how the first date and the last parallel so closely. The tension. The awkward touching. That moment when you know you have to part ...
Maybe, I'm projecting. Find that thread to pull and we can watch it unravel.
That fucking piano keeps my blood pumping. And of course there'd be a violin weaving into the background. Of course.
Maybe that's the sign. Maybe I just want it to be.