Archive for July, 2005

A fallback career

If I ever need to switch careers, perhaps I can go into the pet-sitting business, like when I was 14. I’m currently bunny-sitting for one person, fish-sitting for another, and cat-sitting for a third. One third of the things on my to-do list for the day have to do with them or Amina.

Attic Beats launches

Attic Beats has launched.

To quote, well, me: “Attic Beats is a (somewhat) weekly podcast of music ranging from hip-hop to jazz to soul to noise to punk to reggae to international folk. Shows run 30 minutes, with the most recent four shows available at any given time. The music used is generally out-of-print or hard-to-find.”

Other random phrases I’ve used to describe it: “We draw the line, cross it, and come back again,” and “Dusty tunes, rarities, and obscurities to expand your field of reference.”

Check it out, let me know what you think. If you don’t like what you hear one week, check back again a week later for something totally different.

(Slightly off-topic, but I miss using the introduction that I used to use on my “Trancelike State” show in college: “I’m like, your intergalactic pilot on the spatial plane. Let me push you on the mood swing… sit back, and enter a… Trancelike State.”)

Site updates

Coming soon.

Coming sooner.

Already here. Congrats, Kristy and Corey! (Not technically a site update, I realize.)

The Plan to Rediscover Music

Last week I started reading Vinyl Junkies as part of my attempt to read 15 books this year. It’s been an enjoyable read, even though I knew pretty much what to expect. After all, some people look at my CDs and consider me to be an obsessive collector. But those people probably haven’t seen the boxes and boxes of records sitting in my basement, so I’m not quite sure they grasp the extent of it. I, too, am a vinyl junkie (though nowhere near the aficionado featured in this book).

As I read tales of various record collectors–ranging from R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, who forgets which songs of his appeared on which album but can tell you the full discography of the most obscure band, to Cut Chemist, the world-reknowned DJ whose collection of funk 45s is mind blowing–I started feeling something I hadn’t felt in a while: the desire to sit down and just listen to music. Particularly stuff I have stashed away in the basement.

I’ve been feeling a desire to not only listen to music while working, driving, or cleaning house, but to just sit and listen to music, perhaps with headphones, while doing nothing else. After all, can the subtleties of a Coltrane solo really be appreciated while coding PHP?

Our stereo–the one we use for home theatre, as we have a number scattered throughout the house–doesn’t have a turntable hooked up to it. As a result, the only time I really listen to my vinyl is when I’m in the basement working on music or cleaning. There’s a lot of stuff to discover, or rediscover, in my collection. Like that random Romanian folk record I bought at a library book sale or the obscure hip-hop 12″ that a Japanese collector just offered me $100 for. Or maybe that Roy Eldridge LP I picked up just because I loved the cover art. And definitely that Half Pint single that almost made me pee myself when I found it for $1 after a decade of searching.

But I wanted to go beyond just bringing a turntable upstairs to hook up to my stereo. I wanted to set aside time specifically for listening and rediscovering music. And the way I think I’m going to go about it is as follows: I’ll continue to keep my collection in the basement, but I’ll keep a selection of 10-20 LPs and singles upstairs at a time. After I finish a batch, they’ll get refiled and a new batch will be brought up. It may take a couple weeks to work through a batch, maybe a couple of months. But, however long it takes, I hope to find some new gems and get back to actually enjoying the music rather than just feeling like I’m drowning in it.

Just thought you’d like to know

I found $10 on the ground last night while walking Amina.

Holy crap

I decided to remove this entry for the time being. There are two sides to every story and we haven’t heard the other.

Ya bastard!

Huyen’s family was in town last week… it was a busy one, seeing Patton Oswalt at the State Theatre (funny as hell, especially since I’m not super-familiar with his material) one Friday and the next going to a reading by Paul Feig of his new book, Superstud (which I read in its entirety this weekend), introduced by none other than King Alex of Beguin. In between, we did lots of cooking and baking and game playing. We spent yesterday relaxing a bit and doing a little work around the house.

Yesterday we woke up at 5:30am to our smoke alarm beeping a few times and then stopping. The battery’s not dead, as I just replaced it a couple months ago and there was no smoke or fire anywhere. So that was weird.

On Saturday when I was walking Amina, I heard a kid yelling across the street to us, “Give me your dog, you bastard! You, in the green shirt and blue jean shorts! With the glasses! Ya bastard! Give me your dog, you bastard!”

The kid couldn’t have been more than six years old.

Yesterday, I was asked to write a foreword for a cookbook. At first I was like, “Holy crap!” And then I was like, “Thank you!” And then I was like, “Hell yeah, I’ll do it!” I wonder if the cover will say, “Foreword by Ryan MacMichael,” like I’d be an actual selling point or something. Huyen asked me last night, “Aren’t forewords usually written by famous people?” I said, “Yeah, and…?”

Campaigns and Elections

Apparently, the Political Bumpers project continues to get press. Campaigns & Elections magazine published a piece about the project in their May 2005 issue.

Neat.

Annoyances, part 8251

Since a blog is for pointless complaining, if nothing else, here are a few things that are annoying me at the moment:

  • People who think that a certain job is “below” them (see this for an example)
  • E-mails that have the entire note written in the subject line. If it’s more than four words, it takes just as much effort for me to open up the e-mail and read it as it would have if you just put the note in the body.
  • People who randomly pluralize things, like referring to Blockbuster as “Blockbusters.” This is akin to adding “the” to the beginning of a phrase where it doesn’t belong (ie. “Do you accept the E-Z Pass here?“).
  • Presidents of the United States whose supposed words of condolence are nothing more than blatant self-promoting “lookit all the good I’m doing!” PR fluff.

Hooray for Freecycling and Napa Valley

I may not have said it recently, but man oh man, I really like Freecycling.

Over the past year, I’ve gotten a number of random things like digital camera batteries and slightly beat up tape cases for free. Yesterday, I signed up for the Freecycle list near my work to give away some laptop docking stations (we still have a bunch, e-mail me if you want one, or more) and monitor stands. As I was signing up, I caught a glimpse of the archived messages and saw one from a day or two earlier of a woman giving away a pair of wooden cassette holders.

I only got slightly excited because in the past, I’ve either been too late in claiming the item, the case has held well less than 100 tapes, or the case is in pretty rough shape. But I e-mailed her and not only did she still have them to give away but they were both the super sweet Napa Valley 100-cassette capacity wood cases that regularly go for $25 plus $15 shipping on ebay (or, like this one, for even more). AND they were both in really good shape. I picked them up last night after work.

The reason I’m so happy with this particular find is that Napa Valley stopped making these great, sturdy cases a number of years ago. I have loads of audio cassettes, most of them home recorded or stuff that will never find its way onto CD or is long out-of-print, and I still have hundreds I need to store in something other than crates or repurposed cardboard boxes. Every time I find another holder, I’m a step closer to being able to have a uniform storage solution for my cassettes that looks good and will last until the day I’m run over by a truck.