Sunday, October 25, 2009

Billy Corgan

So, I was watching my DVD of Smashing Pumpkins videos yesterday while I was cleaning my room and I was thinking about Billy Corgan's ego.

I have a very special place in my heart for the Smashing Pumpkins. They were the band that I wrote lyrics for on my notebook in school. And the thing that's always kind of bugged me has been all the stories about BC's control-freak, egotistical attitude.

And then I realized that I feel the exact same way about Kanye West. I think he is so talented, but his actions in the media always make me SO embarrassed.

And I guess the thing is that there can be a difference between an artist's personality and the music they make.

Which, I suppose is what I'm always saying about Michael Jackson. He made some really great music, regardless of what he was doing in his personal life. It doesn't excuse anything he did, but I feel like I can enjoy the songs....

Anyways, back to Billy and Kanye. I'm thinking that maybe I like music that comes from egotistical Chicagoans. Which brings me to my question: Is Jeff Tweedy egotistical? If he is, then I may need to get a hold of some Wilco, ASAP.

In other news, Billy Corgan (as Smashing Pumpkins) is going to release 44 songs for free as 11 4-song EP's. FOR FREE. And it starts around Halloween. Then I guess they're going to release the whole thing as a box set. The album is going to be called Teargarden by Kaleidyscope.

Which is SUCH a Billy Corgan title. :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Silence!!!!; or The Return of My Desperately and Hysterically Laughing Until I Cry

So, "How I Met Your Mother" started again tonight. This season it's an hour earlier (Mondays at 8 on CBS), so we watched half of it live, having caught up to it on the DVR by skipping commercials. And it's just as good as ever. I love this freaking show and I would heartily recommend it to you. It is consistently original in how the episodes unfold and that is something I have loved from the very first episode.

We also watched the series premieres of Bored to Death (Sundays at 9:30 on HBO) and Accidentally on Purpose (Mondays at 8:30 on CBS).

Bored to Death could be a very hilarious and wonderful show. It was a very good premiere with lots of good lines and a compelling and almost believable plot. Jason Schwartzmann is really good as he usually tends to be. We'll see how it goes next week.

Accidentally on Purpose was only ok. This is kind of the caliber I expect from a Series Premiere. The jokes are ALMOST there, but not quite. The one complaint I had was with Ashley Jensen. She's a Scottish actress who should have been really funny, but her delivery was just awful. It was like "setup setup setup JOOOOOOOOKE" constantly. Every time she had a line. And so I'm ready to wish her off the show. But then I remember another actor who delivered his lines in a similar manner at the start of the series. Matthew Perry from Friends. And he went on to revolutionize, for me at least, the idea of how a joke could be delivered. So who knows? Maybe I'll pull for Ms. Jensen to get her act together (I was going to laugh at my own little joke, but then I realized that that's exactly what that phrase is ABOUT).


In conclusion, really excited about TV starting this season! HIMYM is back! Woohoo!!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hold on to your hats; or, 20 minutes of Distraction

Alright everyone. Here's my first go at a podcast. I'm not going to fuss with doing the whole iTunes thing yet, but I do have another episode in mind and I hope that you will send any suggestions about what I could improve upon, what you like, or what you'd like to hear in the future!

My First Podcast

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009


So, I have this microphone. And this software program named Audacity. Well, I suppose the program isn't NAMED Audacity. That's like saying my name is "Human".....


If I record my voice and have some songs in between stretches of me talking about things, and then I save it to a file sharing site and post it on here, is that a podcast?

How do you get it to show up on iTunes?

What are the legalities involved with playing songs on a podcast (What can I get away with?)

I think I would be interested in doing something like this, but I need more info...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Why I Bought a LOT of Apple Shampoo when I was slightly younger than I am now....

So. Here we are. Nearing the end of August. Still no new computer for me, but I did go back to my old job. For 150% more money, and at an hourly rate (which means OVERTIME counts again! woo!). It's a "Temporary" employment status, which means that either the company or I can say "Hey, um, tomorrow, James isn't going to be working here anymore." It would be weird for me to speak about myself in the third-person like that, but not beyond the realm of possibility....

And yeah, I'm still looking for jobs, though it is decidedly harder to do when it's not the ONLY thing I'm doing. But I'm still relatively optimistic.

Now. Apple Shampoo. Are you dying of curiosity at such an idiosyncratic post title!??! Well, here comes the answer all up in your face!

I'm going to go see Blink-182 with my sister in October. She'll be 15 1/2ish then and so, you might be saying "Aw, what a good big brother, indulging his kid sister's whimsical pop-punk fluff." But you would be wrong to say something like that. Dead wrong. This was my idea. I've seen Blink something like 4 or 5 times in my life and was fairly saddened to learn that they were going on indefinite hiatus. But that also means I was fairly pleased, excited, even, to learn that they were getting back together, putting out a new single, going on tour, and releasing an album. I got into Blink when I was 15 or 16 and I still really enjoy listening to the inappropriate jokes and fast, simple pop-punk.

"But James," you're probably saying, "what the HELL does that have to do with Apple Shampoo? And why do you keep capitalizing the A and the S in Apple Shampoo? It's probably a Blink-182 song, right? A favorite song of theirs that you've never gotten to hear them play live? If that's it, then I don't know if I can continue reading this 'blog' of yours."

If you're saying that, then....well, I'd like to thank you for stopping by and I hope you'll check out my list of blogs that are a lot better than mine :)

Yes, Apple Shampoo is Track 9 on Dude Ranch and it is one of my favorite songs that they have released and I've NEVER seen them perform it live....well, that, I know of. See, the first time I saw them, I wasn't familiar with any of their stuff. Which worries me, because that would have been the time when they were MOST likely to play it. I don't anticipate that they'll bust it out this tour, either, but hey, Less Than Jake played "Scott Farcas" this summer. Anything could happen.

There's a lot more that I could say about Blink-182 and the show that's coming up, and maybe I will sometime soon, but not tonight. If you're still reading, you've already read enough about this topic for tonight. I'm not going to get greedy.

But I do have some more stuff I want to talk about. And that's all I want to say tonight. I still need to talk about Alan Wilkis's new EP which is funky and danceable and just fantastic. And I still need to talk about The Dimes who are so chill I can hardly believe it, AND they have a John Lennon cover on their EP, but both of those will have to wait.

Goodnight, or good morning.....or good afternoon.....or.......Happy Noon.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Where Have I Been?

Well, I haven't been getting much exercise in since I last posted.

That's mostly because I lost my job. They called me in, said there was not enough work and that they were letting me go. Seems kind of fishy that, as far as I have been able to ascertain, I was one of only three people let go. But regardless of any unspoken motives, I have a paper saying that I'm awesome and that I was leaving in good standing. So I've been trying not to dwell on any paranoia that comes with this sort of thing.

I'm trying to treat this as an opportunity to get a better-paying, less-frustrating job that doesn't feel like a sinking ship. (I did get to dodge the bullet of having to be present for the apparently excruciating audit that they went through a week after I left. They knew it was coming and everything, it's just that only a couple of people were actually preparing for it. So I'm glad that I didn't have to go through that!)

(Perhaps that last parenthetical bit should have gotten its own un-parenthetical paragraph...)

So, yeah. If you know of any jobs in the DC/Metro area that a chemist with laboratory experience would be good at, let me know!

Also, if you are in the music industry and you want to pay someone, like, $50,000 a year to go to shows and write about them, let me know, too. I can do that. If you need a writing sample, I'm going to Warped Tour on the 14th, so I could whip something up about that.

I have a couple of songs that bands have sent me that I want to post, but I'm going to save that for another post when we can all focus on the sheer funkiness of the one and the quiet reflection of the other. Intrigued? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Exercise. Who needs it?

I do. I just went out in my exercise shorts (which were purchased about 5 or 6 years ago and got about 2 wearings), new shoes, and Less Than Jake t-shirt to run/walk to get some much needed exercise. It was mostly walking though. I tried to kep the pace brisk even when I was walking, but man, I am tired and sore and just pathetic!

Why the sudden interest in exercise? Well, we've ordered ourselves a treadmill and it comes on Friday and I am ten pounds over the weight limit. Now, I'm not a HUGE guy, but I'm very tall and I'm certainly not skinny. And well, yeah, I need to lose some weight before I can start using the exercise equipment. Sigh. I'm trying to make the best of it, but I'm WAY out of shape. I was one of those guys who relied on his metabolism to stay on the skinnier side, but then the metabolism slowed down, but the habits didn't. So that's happening.

And so is this! I got a track from this Maryland band McTwist. I gave it a listen and I was VERY impressed. They're touring around the area right now and I would suggest you check them out. If you want an inadequate comparison, this song reminded me at first of Jimmie's Chicken Shack (specifically "Do Right") if it was sung by the lead singer of Better Than Ezra. Take a listen for yourself! If you like it, go to their Myspace and listen to more and check out their tour dates!

McTwist - Prizefighter from Amateur Hour

McTwist's Myspace Page

You know, when I get around to making a playlist to exercise to, I bet this song will be on it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Yet another reason I love Radiohead.

So, I'm listening to my songs that begin with L in alphabetical order (as part of my quest to do my entire library that way) and Radiohead's "Like Spinning Plates" comes on. Now, I know that it's composed from the song "I Will" which would be released later on Hail to the Thief being played backwards, but I couldn't think of that at the time. So I'm looking at the information about it and well, let me paste in what I read that gave me goosebumps of thrilledness!

[There's a line in the song about "living in Cloud-Cuckoo-land]
"The hidden booklet found underneath the CD tray of Kid A has a page that references the above lyrics, 'Cloud cuckoo land'."


Sure enough, I go to my copy of Kid A (which conveniently happens to be within arm's reach of where I sit) and pry open the CD tray. There it is. Lying there like a hidden treasure that has been waiting nine years for me to discover it. It's a booklet full of weird Radiohead-y goodness and I am just so happy :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Three things!

1. There are still several spots left on the mix CD I'm making. Don't be shy :) It's going to be fun! I've used my random integer generator (well it's not mine, but I use it when I need random numbers) to generate my two letters. Should I tell you what they are? ;-)

2. So, apparently, Bob Dylan is going to be releasing an album on April 28th (in America) called Together Through Life. Awesome :) Modern Times was so good and I'm hoping this is just as awesome. It seems like it just randomly showed up, though. I kind of like that though, it's like a nice little surprise.

3. Warped Tour this year. I'm pretty sure my sister doesn't read this (or know about it), so I feel confident that I won't be giving anything away if I spill the beans on here. It's my sister's 15th birthday on 4/1 and I thought it would be a fun gift to give her tickets to her first Warped Tour (and really first concert). So that's the plan. So, here is a list of the bands scheduled to play that I'm excited to see (of course the list of dates that these bands are playing hasn't been posted yet, so it might be that some of the following won't be there at our venue.

*Bad Religion
*Big D and the Kids Table (I've actually only heard a couple of songs by these guys, but I like what I hear and hey, it's a nice Boston ska band, what more can you ask for?)
*Bouncing Souls
*Escape the Fate (a buddy of mine just turned me on to these guys. The song "We Won't Back Down" is one of my current jams (and I would post it here, but I'm typing from my bedroom and the portable hard drive is in my office. If you can't find it, email me and I'll see that you get it)
*Flogging Molly
*Less than Jake (they WILL play "Scott Farcas Takes it On the Chin" this time or I swear to God, they'll regret it. No, I'm not making a threat. It's just that this will be like the 5th or 6th time seeing them and they've NEVER played it and I REALLY want them to!)
*Streetlight Manifesto
*The Ataris

The other thing is, unless they've changed the way they do it, they pick the schedule for each venue the morning of the show, so it could be that there are conflicts that will prevent me from seeing some of those. Also, my sister has bands that she wants to see that aren't listed above. So I'm hoping to get a good post out of this. And some good sibling bonding :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Still Plenty of Room on the Mix...Plus a Moz Request!

So two quick things and then I'm off to work.

1. There is still PLENTY of space on the mix cd if you were interested in contributing some letters (see the previous post if you're wondering what I'm talking about) so don't be shy! Email me some letters :)

2. If anyone is in possession of the Morrissey songs "Tommorrow" and/or "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get," and would let me have them, I think we could make some sort of quid pro quo arrangement. Email me if you're interested. This is for that collection I'm making of #1 Billboard Hot Modern Rock Songs that I mentioned a while back.

UPDATE: I have now gotten the Morrissey songs that I needed :)


Actually, I have one more thing. What concerts are people excited about this summer? I had planned on taking my sister (15) to her first Warped Tour, but it may be that the scheduling isn't going to work out. Any cool tours going around the U.S.? Any Festival type events in the Virginia/Maryland area this summer? Let me know :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mix CD Idea (A contest of sorts...)

Hi. It's been a while. Do I always start my posts that way? It seems so.

I've been thinking about something that one of my best friends did like 2.5 years ago over on LiveJournal. He basically asked people for a random pair of letters and he took that pair of letters and sent them a song that he thought they would like. I sent him TS and he sent me a great Carbon Leaf song called "Texas Stars"! Get it?

So what I propose is something like that. With a few slight twists. I'm going to make a mix CD. Based entirely on reader letter submissions. Ok, I might contribute my own, or I might not. I don't know yet. But anyways, then I'd send you the mix CD as a thank you for contributing! Here's what I'd like you to do:

Email me at with the following things:

1. Your name (I might already know you, but I might not!)
2. A letter or two or three that you want your song to start with
3. A mailing address for where you'd like your copy sent

Using the first 15 submissions I get, I'll make a mix!

I think this could be really fun! Let's see what we can come up with!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

When I win the Lottery

1. I will quit the job that I have tolerated because it provides a paycheck and experience that I can hopefully use elsewhere. Screw that. I'm going to live off my luck for a little bit.

2. I will tell my wife that she absolutely has the option to also quit her job. She may not take me up on it, though. I think she gets a lot more intangible rewards from her job.

3. Give some of the money to my Father-in-Law to invest. I know that lottery money isn't there forever. I understand that. So maybe he can help me perpetuate it a little.

4. Travel. I'm going to do some extensive travelling. Both inside and outside America. There are lots of places I've never been to and there are lots of places that I want to go back to. Maybe I can also do a CP Nation visiting trip! It could be like The Muppet Movie. Whoever wanted to join the journey would be more than welcome. All they'd need to bring would be a good Road Trip Mix. Because, let's face it, even the wealthiest person in the world can't hear everything. Some things are beyond wealth and I think musical exploration is one of those. Ok. So maybe The CP Nation Muppet-Movie-Style Visitation Road Trip should be #5

5. The CP Nation Muppet-Movie-Style Visitation Road Trip.

6. After I've gotten my fill of travel, we'll settle down and get started on having little ADD babies running around un-alphabetizing my CD's. And while we do that...

7. I'M GONNA START A RADIO STATION. This would be an absolute dream come true. I don't think I'd mess with the FCC so it would be an Internet Radio station. That means all you beautiful people could do some DJ work if you wanted. :) Who's in? What's your show on the radio station gonna be? Also, on the radio station, I'm going to buy the broadcast rights to the Casey Kasem American Top 40 countdowns and maybe the Festive Fifties. I think it would be so fun to broadcast some old countdowns like that.

I know that winning the lottery is basically impossible and that "the lottery is a tax for people who are bad at math" but it's fun sometimes to fantasize. :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Discovered this Poem tonight

I really like this. It's dark, but really really beautiful.

by Mona Van Duyn
transcribed from Near Changes (Knopf 1990)

In police procedurals they are dying all over town,
the life ripped out of them, by gun, bumper, knife,
hammer, dope, etcetera, and no clues at all.
All through the book the calls come in: body found
in bed, car, street, lake, park, garage, library,
and someone goes out to look and write it down.
Death begins life's whole routine to-do
in these stories of our fellow citizens.

Nobody saw it happen, or everyone saw,
but can't remember the car. What difference does it make
when the child will never fall in love, the girl will never
have a child, the man will never see a grandchild, the old maid
will never have another cup of hot cocoa at bedtime?
Like life, the dead are dead, their conciousness,
as dear to them as mine to me, snuffed out.
What has mind to do with this, when the earth is bereaved?

I lie, with my dear ones, holding a fictive umbrella,
while around us falls the real and acid rain.
The handle grows heavier and heavier in my hand.
Unlike life, tomorrow night under the bedlamp
by a quick link of thought someone will find out why,
and the policemen and their wives and I will feel better.
But all that's toward the end of the book. Meantime, tonight,
without a clue I enter sleeep's little rehearsal.

For more info about this poet: go here
Oh, and I should say, I put the poem in italics because Greer does it. Go visit her website where she has lots of great poetry and stuff. :)

Two things you can help me figure out

Alright, so two quick things:

1.) I was looking at some stuff on Facebook last night and I ran across this site. And now the purpose of this post is different. I want to tell you all about this cool Ticket site I found, but I can't find it again. Basically, people posted concerts that were happening in their area and this site compiled them. Someone please let me know what that site is so I can talk about it. I'm sure it's not unique, but the design was pretty good.

2.) So this is going to be two things that I want my readers to answer for me. The second is this: If you blog, how do you blog with regularity. It seems to me that there are two options: The first, and this is what I try to do (with limited success), is to always be trying to come up with things to blog about and then sit down and blog about them. But the second, which I've attempted (with NO success whatsoever), would be to think of a bunch of things at once, and then write up all the blogs while the inspiration is there, but then have them post on a delay. Which works best for you? It's hard not to feel like a huge blog slacker when you see people updating with awesomem posts day after day. For examples of such blogs, see the "Better Blogs Than Mine" section on the left side of your screen.

Have a great day, everyone!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year, or, What I Didn't Talk About in 2008, (but I should have)

Hi There Everyone!

I hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season! I trust everyone checked out the Contrast Podcast 2008 Festive Fifty (or that they will now...hehe)

It's been a while since I've posted and I've really wanted to talk about a couple of bands that sent me their stuff and I never talked about them!

The first is Six Red Carpets. These guys hail from Italy and they're making music that makes me think of maybe like Coheed and Cambria or something that Maynard James Keenan would be involved with. Very trippy and very energetic. And it's your lucky day, because you can download the WHOLE ALBUM for free! Go on over to and get you some! It comes with the album and a whole bunch of extras!

Six Red Carpets - Here's To the Nightmare

And the second band is from MY area. Detox Retox is from DC and they rock. Seriously it's like Arctic Monkeys and The Hives and Talking Heads all rolled into one. They released their Hard to Swallow EP in July and I just love it. It's chock full of energy and I hope I get to see them live soon. (They'll be playing The Velvet Lounge in DC on 2/5/09 and Connies Ric-Rac in Philly on 2/27/09 if you would like to see them too!) To learn more about this band and say you knew about them right before they blew up, go here

You can get your own copy of Hard to Swallow at the following places:

A hard copy can be found here
and you can download a copy at any of your usual online markets (iTunes, eMusic, Amazon).

Detox Retox - Resurrection

So, again, I'd like to apologize to these two fine groups for the delay in getting the word out about the awesome music they're putting out and I'd also like to apologize to anyone who has come here looking for some of my silliness and been disappointed to not find anything new.

Oh, hey. If you want to get a chuckle, go here (even though you probably already know about it...)

Keep checking back here. I have some fun stuff planned for 2009.