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Muxtape 2

"When New York Was New York"

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A random selection from my archive:



Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives


My Wishlist

Moment of Zen


Moment of Zen (inspired by Tim's Koans)

Courtesy of Timmay

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    Friday, July 29, 2005

    Crate & Simone

    It's been an awfully long time since Simone made an appearance here. But if you're curious, she's alive and well, and crazy as ever. Happy Friday everyone!

    Thursday, July 28, 2005

    Blogger's block

    Sometimes the posts come easily. Other times it's like squeezing pomegranate juice from a winnebago. Thank goodness this isn't my livelihood.

    Monday, July 25, 2005

    Tracks of the Week: Girth

    Skinny Puppy "The Centre Bullet" - On my drive home last Friday, I hit a lot of traffic a few miles from my exit. It was sudden and unexpected because 1) the traffic began halfway down a hill so you couldn't see it until you were over the crest, and 2) it was on a stretch of highway that rarely sees a backup. As I braked, I checked the rearview to be sure the car behind me was paying attention too, as well as the car behind him, and the car behind her, and the car behind him, and so on. However, the driver five cars back wasn't paying attention so very much; he swerved, skidded, and careened into the median barracade harder than a turbo-charged hockey check against the boards. All the cars immediately behind me were OK, and so was I despite feeling a bit rattled. This track was playing on the stereo. Buy It.

    Herbie Hancock "Wiggle-Waggle" - Hey hey hey! Who was first to sign the Declaration of Independence? HERBIE Hancock. He also ventured into the wonderful world of jazz funk with the 1969 release Fat Albert. The tracks are centered around the soundtrack music he wrote for Bill Cosby's Fat Albert cartoon show. Funky funky with the hippin' and the hoppin' and the bippin' and the boppin'. Buy It.

    Saturday, July 23, 2005

    IDJ, and maybe you can too

    It doesn't have pitch control - but ding dang! - won't the Numark IDJ be the coolest kid on the block when it arrives this fall. The greatest thing about it is the size. Look how tiny it is! It has some great computer connectivity options too. Now all I need is a second iPod. Hmm...

    Friday, July 22, 2005

    What I've been diggin': Five things

    I love seeing blog posts where someone just randomly lists out a handful of things they've really been impressed with lately. It's a fun way of learning about new things or reminding you to check out something you've been meaning to. Case in point, the pen I wrote about this month. I saw it on someone's blog and decided to hunt it down.

    So in the spirit of sharing unsolicited recommendations about random items, here's my list:

    Trader Joe's Barbecue Sauce: This is not the fancy chipotle style. Nor is it the super-rific double-lutz apricot chalk marinade. This is the basic, garden-variety barbidee-barbique sauce. And it's wonderful. Perfect balance of sweet, smokey, and spicey. Great for grillin'!

    Vonage: Bring on the Voice-over-IP! I mentioned we switched to VoIP for our home line last month. It's working out beautifully. I'm very happy with this $15/month service. It has so many neat features including the ability to email an attached .wav file when a voicemail comes in. You can even have up to five other numbers ring when the Vonage phone rings too. Why haven't all broadband users switched to VoIP?

    Origins Skin Diver: This active charcoal body wash is awesome. It's a cool jet black color (but lathers normally) so it doesn't make me feel like I'm using a girly product. But yes, I am raving about body wash. While I'm at it, I might as well also say that it smells heavenly -- a wonderful combination of clove, lavender, sage, spearmint and wintergreen.

    Westinghouse Four-Slice Waffle Maker: Pancakes are so 2004. I'm all about the waffles now. I had some delicious homemade waffles while visiting Tim in Arizona last March. So I figured with our new apartment's additional countertop space we could benefit from a waffle maker. I don't think I'll ever make pancakes again. Waffles are just too easy and delicious. This particular machine has its own "crisp" setting if you like them a bit crispier. And it actually beeps at you when it's ready to cook, and again when it's done. What could be simpler than that?

    Iced coffee: Not the Dunkin' Donuts. Not the Starbucks. Lately I've been really enjoying the independent coffee shop variety, specifically Moose Tracks in Leominster and The Bean Scene in Millbury. Actually I've been going to the latter so often that I barely get in a "hello" before they start making a medium ½-caf iced coffee with soy. Now isn't that sassy?

    So BBQ up some iced coffee-flavored body wash in your waffle maker while talking on the phone, and have a great weekend.

    Thursday, July 21, 2005

    How to clean those pesky gravy stains

    With summer comes lots of fun outdoor time, but also the perils of accidents and stains. A wind-blown paper plate of baked beans at a neighborhood picnic. A skinned knee and grass-stained shoes at a pick-up softball game. A strategically dropped bird poop on the shoulder.

    How do you get out these ugly stains? Simple. Consult the Cleaning and Stain Removal website. Not the most glamorous stop on the web, but certainly a big help at times.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2005

    Need to generate something?

    Thought so.

    Monday, July 18, 2005

    Tracks of the Week: Past

    U.N.K.L.E. "The Time Has Come (If You Find The Earth Boring - U.N.K.L.E. mix)" - Last week's tracks were such a hit, that I decided to stick with a similar theme for this week. I'm spotlighting a couple tracks that I loved to play in college, but haven't revisited in a long time. It's good to reflect on the past. Dan Quayle put it best when he said: "It's a question of whether we're going to go forward into the future, or past to the back." Well Danny Boy, we're going past to the back and I think you're going to love this one. And how. Out of print.

    Autechre "Flutter" - The dynamic duo from Sheffield England turned one or two heads with a 1994 EP entitled Anti. It was meant to be a protest against the British "Criminal Justice Bill," which outlawed gatherings where music with repetitive beats were played (an anti "rave" bill basically). The cheeky monkeys in Autechre included a sticker on the CD case which read:

    Warning: 'Lost' and 'Djarum' contain repetitive beats. We advise you not to play these tracks if the Criminal Justice Bill becomes law. 'Flutter' has been programmed in such a way that no bars contain identical beats and can therefore be played at 45 or 33 revolutions under the proposed law. However, we advise DJs to have a lawyer and musicologist present at all times to confirm the non repetitive nature of the music in the event of police harrasment. Important: By breaking this seal, you accept full responsibility for any consequential action resulting from the products use, as playing the music contained within these recordings may be interpreted as oppostion to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill.
    Out of print.

    Friday, July 15, 2005

    The Internet Archive now has Plan 9 From Outer Space available for free download. Heralded as the worst movie ever, it features Bela Lugosi's final role before he died. Actually he passed away during the production and they had to get a stand-in for his role: the producer's wife's chiropractor, who looked nothing like Bela, was several inches taller, and had to hold a cape in front of his face during all his scenes in order to block the inconsistency. So yeah, now you're starting to understand why Plan 9 is the worst movie ever. Thank you Mr. Ed Wood.

    I rented it from Netflix last year, and UGH, I got through it all but not before I wanted to jump out a window. Happy viewing!

    Thursday, July 14, 2005

    And we have a winner!

    Kristin won with her answer: Danvers. That's where we adopted Simone.

    Kristin, I'll be in touch soon with details about your Flickr Pro account (but don't you already have one?) To everyone else, thanks for playing. Better luck next time. As a consolation prize you get this lovely sunset photo I took from our apartment window earlier this month.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Free Fluff for Flickr Fans

    OK, it's not exactly fluff. I actually have one more free 1-year Flickr Pro account to give away (value $24.99). And I just realized that the offer expires this Friday! Basil got one back in April, but I have another to offer up. Let's see: the first person to get this question correct in the comments wins the Flickr Pro account:

    Our cat Simone was rescued from the streets and put in a shelter before we adopted her. What town was the shelter in?

    Hint #1: It's a town on the North Shore in Massachusetts.

    Hint #2: The shelter has since been closed by the town due to alleged poor conditions for the cats. (It did smell pretty bad.) It's a shame though, where did all those other cats go?

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    Fun with product giveaways

    Chris just told me about Papa John's Blackberry 7100G giveaway. All you need to do is add any Papa John's side item and two 20-oz. beverages to your online order, and *BooM* you've got yourself a new wireless handheld.

    Is this a bizarre pairing or what? So this spurned me on to think of other stupid combinations (while procrastinating from work, naturally):

    For a limited time, add on a free sailboat with your purchase of any of our new pepper steak subs at D'Angelos.

    This month only, take advantage of our 'Own Your Own Pony' offer by renting a 2nd video at Blockbuster.

    While supplies last, get your own civil war cannon with a purchase of 10 (ten) postage stamps.

    During July, get a free trip to Uranus with the purchase of any Target brand bath tissue.

    Become the king of a South Pacific island with every purchase of a 20 (twenty) oz. bottle of 7-Up.

    Get a free gold tooth implant with the purchase of any 40 (forty) oz. bottle of premium malt liquor.

    Try our new Dunkin Donuts chai and redeem your receipt for a date with a leprechaun.

    Anyone have any other bright ideas?

    Love sushi? Love candy?

    Then Koo-ki Sushi may be for you. Every piece is hand made out of fine chocolate and other fun treats to resemble real sushi pieces. They look delicious!

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    Tracks of the Week: Shuffle

    Mouse on Mars "X-Flies" - Shuffling songs on an mp3 player can be a wonderful thing. For me, it recently unearthed a couple songs that I haven't heard since my days at WRBC 91.5 FM in Lewiston, Maine (hence the theme for this week's tracks). I loved playing this song on my 12am-3am shift which I think was during short term junior year. It's a sublime little track to groove to late at night. Buy It.

    Bowery Electric "Words" - Another great song to chill out to late at night. I feel like this album (Beat) got buried during the "trip hop" craze. Shame. It's a fantastic album and definitely worth a new listen. I think it aged well due to its simplicity. This track is representative of the rest of the album. If you enjoy this, you'll be quickly nodding off to tracks 2-11. Buy It.

    Friday, July 08, 2005

    Tracks of the Week Archive

    These days you can't take two steps without tripping over a podcast. Thanks to the enthusiasm of bloggers and the pervasiveness of iTunes, podcasting is quickly leaking into the mainstream media. Need a quick rundown on podcasting? Here you go.

    Wouldn't it be cool if this post announced a Nervous Music podcast? Maybe someday, but not today, folks. I'd love to put together my own podcast though. It would probably take the shape of a themed radio show, maybe even a DJ mix if I was feeling ambitious. What a great chance to relive the glory days of college radio! The format could be even weirder and wilder than what I was capable of serving up ten years ago.

    So anyway: You aim for the stars and sometimes you hit the roof. I've decided to be lazy and not jumpstart a podcasting venture. Rather I've just thrown together a small archive for all the Tracks of the Week thus far. You can find it in the "Listening" section on the left.

    As expected, the actual mp3s aren't available because the rule still stands about hosting them for just a week. But if you feel like browsing, you can still catch quick reviews and "Buy It" links if you're hankerin' for some new music. Despite a crazy summer, I'm able to continue with the new tracks. Let's hope I can keep it up. Or maybe you just want me to cut it out, because it's all nervous music, and that's fine too.

    Thursday, July 07, 2005

    Jazz. Holy crap!

    Sometimes I get on some crazy music kicks. It's like I get stuck in this fabulous rut of listening to the same artist for days at a time. My current rut is with Dave Holland, who could very well be the hardest working musician in the jazz world these days. (OK, I guess you could argue Wynton Marsalis too.)

    I have a handful of Dave Holland's albums, mostly the more recent stuff since the late 90s, and it's all absolutely wonderful. Tim recommended Holland's double live Extended Play: Live at Birdland and I'm glad he did because it blew me away.

    I just love the reviews this album gets on Amazon. Check out the titles of the reviews: "One of the greatest live recordings ever. Period.", "Staring In Disbelief At Your Stereo", and my personal favorite: "holy crap!"

    You may not be a fan of jazz, but you gotta check this stuff out. This track isn't from the double live album. It's from his newest release Overtime -- another one of his big band outings. Fabulous!

    Bonus Track of the Week: Dave Holland Quintet "Ario"

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    Google Maps Transparencies

    For the umpteenth time, a Google technology (or in this case, a tool built using Google's new Maps API) is mentioned here.

    But this is too darn cool to pass up. The Google Maps Transparencies is a neat application that combines both the map view and the satellite view into a unique experience.

    Let's geek out for a moment, shall we?

    What's geekier than reading through 181 Hello World programs?

    Losing a day to the Google command line prompt.

    Monday, July 04, 2005

    Tracks of the Week: Today

    Sebastien Tellier "La Ritournelle" - Another track from Superpitcher's Today mix? Yup. I heard this song on my commute last Friday (great morning show on ZBC), and realized, hey, this is a terrific track too. It closes out the mix quite nicely. Call it "elegant, sweeping chamber pop." Buy It.

    Yo La Tengo "Today is the Day" - The Hoboken trio return to form on this song from their 2003 EP of the same name. Back are the squeeling guitars and noisy pop of their earlier output. YLT always seem to pack in quality EPs with remixes and covers between albums. Their 2003 full-length Summer Sun was beautiful, don't get me wrong. It had a gentler version of this song. But I just love when they rock out. Buy It.

    Friday, July 01, 2005

    Computer people, you know what I'm talking about

    I just spent the better part of forever trying to debug a simple little online questionnaire. I could not, for the life of me, determine why it was erroring. It kept throwing the good ol' HTTP 500 - Internal server error. Even with "Friendly HTTP error messages" turned off, it was still greeting me with the classic "Errors occurred." Thanks ASP.

    Banging my forehead on the keyboard didn't help. Actually it hurt.

    But I bring you good news. Moments ago, I finally discovered the problem.

    It was this: _

    A missing underscore. Wunderbar. I'm not a rookie to this kind of mistake. Plenty of keystrokes have rendered my workdays useless in the past. The ampersand, the comma, the quotation mark. All enemies of the web developer from time to time. But they couldn't take me down today. Nope. I was resilient. And I'm safe, until the next character eludes my grasp. Who has two thumbs and can submit the questionnaire now? This guy.

    First pens, now paper

    I recently retired a moleskine notebook because I ran out of pages. I used it to keep track of the music side of my life:

    random notes about neat records I've been wanting to check out

    ideas for new Tracks of the Week

    lists of albums to compile for mp3 discs for friends

    interesting upcoming shows culled from The Weekly Dig and ZBC's Concert Report (although I never make it to any of them)

    ideas for song transitions for DJ mixes (although I never make any of those either)

    and random thoughts that I felt like jotting down, like incomplete blog ideas related to music

    I picked up another moleskine and now I'm wondering what I should use it for. Here's an interesting list of uses on 43FoldersWiki. They discuss everything from metadata to using the accordian for storing your Amazon wishlist (with the help of The Pocket Wisherman).

    Using my first moleskine for music worked out pretty well I must say. So maybe it's time for more music ideas in volume two. Wicka-wicka.