kv0925: (Gromit Reading)

Toad the Wet Sprocket! Not everyone's cup of tea, I suppose, but I'm definitely a fan. I discovered them when their Coil album came out in the late 90s--I loved that record, so I went back to their earlier stuff and loved that too. And then they basically broke up, which made me sad. But then they got back together and put out a (fantastic) new album a couple years ago, and I was thrilled to see them on the roster for the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival this year. Hermione likes them too and was interested in coming, but the timing was bad so I ended up going alone. Just as well, I doubt she'd have wanted to stay for 2 sets like I did. Great shows!

A few more pics:
Clicky! )
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Oh, and let me share this for those of you who might enjoy it too. :)

I've been a DJ Shadow fan for years, ever since a guy I worked with in the early aughts turned me on to him. This song is from his latest album, and I loved it as soon as I heard it. The video just came out a few weeks ago, and ever since then I typically give it a spin at least once a day, it's just so.. yeah. At the office I particularly like the line, "I don't work for free, I am barely giving a f--k away."

Oh, NSFW language, obviously. And if you just hate hip-hop/rap, probably not for you either. Though the video really is awesome. :)

kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
It's going to be a slow and quiet day here at the office, methinks, so I may as well do this year-in-review thing.

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
The first things that come to mind are travel-related: I went to Canada (and Niagara Falls!) for the first time, and to New York City. And we saw a bunch of new stuff on our trip to Maine and New Hampshire, and our drive up to the Carolinas. Otherwise.. nope, pretty normal year, can't think of any other big firsts.

2. Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I generally resolve to be more creative, and to eat better and exercise more. I would say I was a pretty big failure on all fronts, though I did at least attempt to get into a routine of jogging once or twice a week. That's fallen apart, though, so I will try to re-dedicate myself to that, and to the creativity thing as well.

Cut! )

Ho Ho Ho.

Dec. 23rd, 2015 09:35 am
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Wow, hard to believe it's already almost Christmas, already almost a new year! Let me say upfront, from this agnostic to you and yours, a very Merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate. And if you celebrate nothing, then Happy Wednesday. :)

I've been a poor LJ citizen lately, I fear. I've kept up to date with my flist, but I haven't been commenting much, and posting hardly at all myself. I intend to get better. But I'm contemplating going into the new year by paring my flist down to just those of you with whom I feel I've made a real connection. It's not that I dislike reading anyone on my list, not at all. But if I find myself refraining from commenting because I feel too much like a stranger, maybe it's better to go, you know? Just thinking out loud.

So Christmas.. Like I said, I consider myself agnostic, actually leaning fairly heavily towards atheist, at least in terms of any sort of sentient, anthropomorphic deity watching us all masturbate. But I still dig Christmas. I like the trappings and sights and sounds of the season, I like the warm-hearted spirit it still occasionally brings (in between churlish bouts of the manufactured War On Christmas, anyway), and I've always liked the notion of celebrating the winter solstice--the darkest day of the year, and the beginning of our collective trek back into the light. Plus these days it's fun to play Santa for the kids, of course.

But it feels like a very low-key holiday this year, almost an afterthought. I suspect the weather has much to do with that. It's been unseasonably warm all fall, with the exception of one cool day and two cool nights last week. For Christmas Day we're expecting highs around 85F, feeling more like 91F. It's hard to feel Christmas-y whilst sweating, as I'm sure my my Aussie friends can attest! We seem to be right there with you this year.

Gift-wise this year feels a bit light, too, nothing huge to report. The girls typically ask for just one or two main things, and leave the rest up to us as surprises. Hermione asked for a rock tumbler and a particular LEGO set, Hallie really didn't come up with anything special to request, and Amy makes up for that with a veritable laundry list, though she's never satisfied anyway. :) I got Heather a few smallish things I know she wants or will like, and she bought herself something as her main present. Pretty much the same for me too--she's gotten me a couple things, but my main gift I bought for myself. Not as much fun, but at least we know we're getting things we'll like. :)

I've realized this year that grammatically speaking, my favorite Christmas carol is "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen." Most people leave the comma out, but I think it's important. The gentlemen aren't necessarily merry themselves, but the narrator is wishing them to be rested merry, if that makes sense. And the lyrics have a nice wordsmithy lilt as well. "From God our Heavenly Father a blessed angel came, and unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same." I just like that wording, for some reason. Yes, I know I'm a bad atheist. :)

Family-wise, we're going over to see my Mom on Boxing Day (not that that's a thing here), and planning to meet up with my Dad for lunch and a walk somewhere the following day. And then I took next Monday off from work, mainly to relax and do nothing before coming back. Though that's usually a very quiet and stress-free week at the office anyway, which I always enjoy.

Speaking of work, I'm waiting to hear about my raise for the new year. I know my boss has the info in hand, he just hangs on to it until we can get together to discuss. Oh well. I don't expect it to be a big bump, it usually isn't. And with the merger hanging over all our heads, I wonder if they're being especially conservative this year anyway. Still a lot of uncertainty about all that, though it's looking like the merger is likely to be approved. Next year should be interesting on the work front, though whether 'interesting' will mean good changes or bad is very much up in the air.

The Steam Winter Sale is underway! That's bad. I should take a lesson from the fact that I need to look up most games on the various bundle sites to see whether I already own them or not. If I have no idea what's in my collection, that might be a clue that it's big enough. :)

Got a few photoshoots coming up, family things. And today I'm meeting a co-worker for lunch to discuss shooting her wedding next summer. I'm not especially excited about it, I must say--the guy she's marrying is also an employee here, and not someone I've ever been very fond of. But the lady is nice enough, and we can certainly use the money, so..

Okay, enough for now, I guess. I do hope everyone has a great holiday, and makes some lasting and fond memories. That's what it's all about, anyway. Thanks for being a part of my LJ experience. :)

And here, have my favorite version of the aforementioned carol. Not sure why it repeats a bit at the end, ignore that. :)

kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
I've been a fan of this guy since I saw his erstwhile bluegrass band, The Steeldrivers, play at the Grand Old Opry. I've posted some of their tunes here before. Anyway, I just love the man's voice, and he's a damn fine songwriter too. This is a gorgeously simple tune I recently discovered, and it is going straight onto my repertoire of solo acoustic guitar songs I'd like to have at my disposal for impromptu performance. :) Though I can hardly do his vocal justice.


Jun. 4th, 2015 03:52 pm
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Today's dragging, for some reason. There's work I could and probably should be doing, but.. just not feeling like it. There's nothing pressing, anyway. Kinda nice to have a slow day, but I'm ready for it to be over!

Home stuff.. this past weekend we noticed the A/C was on but not cold. June in Florida, that's Bad News. Usually it's just a clogged condensation drain pipe, easy enough to fix, but that didn't seem to be the problem. So I futzed around with it for a bit, and I don't think I actually did anything, but it started working again after a bit. I think something electrical got confused, so just turning the breaker off and back on (which I did while troubleshooting) must have reset it. Easy enough!

The pool pump, though.. I mentioned the leak in my last post, as well as my attempt to fix it with a new insert in the pump housing. Somehow I botched that, so now there's a bigger hole but the insert is still loose and the leak is even worse. Go me! Replacing the pump housing would cost a couple hundred bucks (more if I get someone out to do the work), so I have one more thing to try before I take that step. I ordered some binary acrylic plastic stuff--it's a powder that mixes with an activating liquid, and the mixture then progresses from liquid to paste to putty to hard plastic in the course of 15 minutes or so, and it even sets underwater. So I'm hoping I can use that to get the insert to get a good grip, and/or just entirely plug the hole and re-drill for the insert. I'm not entirely hopeful it will work, frankly, but it's worth a try. I'd really rather not have to re-plumb the whole pump, I'm not great with that sort of work.

I can't get used to how quiet my office is now. For the past 8 years or so, I've had this huge PC next to me--I needed it to run a bunch of automated data jobs and whatnot, plus it functioned as a file server for all my documents and whatnot since it has a RAID setup. But it's old, and was getting pretty clunky, and our IT people have been on me to decommission it since it's too old to upgrade the OS and they're phasing out any machines with XP that can't be upgraded to Win7. So finally this week I found a home for the few automated jobs I still needed to have run, and shut it down. I didn't realize how used to its rather-loud fan I'd gotten! It's eerily quiet in here now. I guess that's good, though.

Seemed like there was something else I've been meaning to post about, but now I can't think of it. So have a song instead!

The Damnwells are a band out of Brooklyn that I came across several years ago--I found their stuff a little hit-and-miss, but the tracks I liked I liked a lot, and the rest grew on me. Unfortunately I discovered them right as they were breaking up! But they got back together to record a new album recently, and it's pretty solid. This is the first song I heard from it, which remains one of my favorites.

Hope everyone is having a good day! Finally almost time to go home!


Oct. 2nd, 2014 01:17 pm
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Warning: Hair Metal Ahead.

As is my occasional wont, I'd like to share a couple tunes from a band I've been digging lately. This time around it's not a new or even current band!

I spent a good chunk of my adolescence listening to hair bands--you know, Mötley Crüe, Tesla, Warrant, Ratt, that sort of thing. And I considered myself fairly well-versed in the genre. But a band that somehow managed to slip under my radar was Giant. These days in the car I often flip to Sirius/XM's Hair Nation channel, so I heard a couple Giant tunes there and was like, who are these guys? I checked out their albums, and it's pretty decent stuff, if a little on the pop-metal side of the genre--House of Lords is probably the band I'd most compare them to. I'd have loved it even more when I was 16, but better late than never, right?

The lead singer/guitarist was a guy named Dann Huff, and I actually WAS vaguely familiar with him. Before Giant, he was in a Christian rock band called Whiteheart, to whom I was introduced by a high school friend who was into that genre. Ah, memories.

Anyway, here's a small taste, if you're into this sort of stuff.

And the requisite power ballad:

kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
I've been digging this song lately:

And I had Amy grooving to it and singing along with the chorus too. Of course, she asked why he was saying "burn the bridge so there's no way back," and it's kinda difficult to explain figures of speech to toddlers. Anyway, I think there's a rock fan in that little girl, I must encourage this. :)

As for the band, I'm looking forward to the album, which comes out next month. For those not familiar, the vocalist/bassist is Doug Pinnick (who I think looks and sounds pretty good for 64 years old), whose best-known band is King's X, of whom I've long been a fan. He's had a few solo and side projects of varying quality, but this one sounds pretty good if you like groovy, bluesy, riff-based rock. The drummer and guitarist are brothers, though I'm not familiar with them otherwise. Anyway, good stuff.

It's a slow day at work so I decided to go ahead and try the iOS 8 upgrade on my phone. I had to uninstall a bunch of apps to make room, hopefully it's worth it. It popped up a Terms and Conditions page for me to either Agree or Disagree with, and the page was completely blank. So I hope I didn't agree to sacrifice my firstborn or something, and I also hope that's not an ill omen of glitchiness. We shall see.

Speaking of work, yesterday I was told that I could bill the company for the cost of me getting a new passport, so I can participate in the next round of Canada trips. Nice! The trips themselves don't sound at all fun, as I mentioned before, but surely I can make it so if I work in some free time. And passports aren't that cheap ($140 for the book and card), so getting mine knocked out for free sounds like a nice opportunity. Maybe we can go ahead get Heather's renewed at the same time, that way we can have that taken care of if we want to plan a Canada vacation next year. I think the kids don't need passports if we cross the border by car, which would most likely be the plan. Prince Edward Island is where the wife really wants to go, so we'd probably fly to Maine and drive across to explore New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Fun!

Okay, back to work. Or the iOS upgrade, which looks to be about 70% done. Fingers crossed!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Kind of a slow week at work. Can't complain, though. A few colleagues were drafted to go to Canada for a couple days, but I couldn't since I don't currently have a valid passport. I'd be disappointed, but the work-related stuff for the trip sounds awful. Boring, tedious, and largely overnight. I'd prefer my first trip to Canada to be a little more exciting!

Been digging these guys lately--Roadkill Ghost Choir, a band from Deland, a smallish city about 30 miles from where I currently sit. They're apparently starting to get some wider recognition, and just put out their first LP. I like the style. This one's from their 2012 EP.

Stopped by a thrift store on my way back from St. Petersburg earlier this week. I was mainly looking for a little desktop stereo system per my last entry on music for the girls. Struck out on that, but I did find a nice felt fedora for Hallie's Indiana Jones costume, and I also spotted a bike exactly like Hermione's. She rides a 20" which she's just about too tall for, so we were thinking to find her a 24" and give her 20" to Hallie, who's too tall for her 16". But 24" bikes are hard to find and Hermione hates change. So I said what the heck and grabbed the 20" for Hallie, so now they have matching bikes. Only $10, and in pretty good shape, so that was a nice find. I might run out to a nearby thrift store today to look for a little stereo.

Hmm, what else is going on.. not much, really. I see a nice fall cold front is cooling things off elsewhere in the country, but we're still mired in the sticky 90Fs here. At least the tropical storm season has been pretty sedate so far. I see a new area of disturbed weather popped up right off the coast and might make for a rainy couple days, though.

Bah, enough blather. I hope you are all well and having a fine week. :)
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
My children, especially. :) I started writing this as a comment to a post by [livejournal.com profile] redqueenofevil, but decided I'd like to make it a post and throw it open to more potential input.

I REALLY want my kids to be huge music fans, like I was and am. I so vividly remember being fairly young, spending hours with my finger on the pause button of the tape deck to record favorite songs from FM radio, then taking the time to transcribe the lyrics, making mix tapes (especially once I got my first cd player and started a cd collection), eventually learning to play stuff on the guitar... good times, so formative and seminal for me. And that was then! It's such a different world now, where you can listen to pretty much whatever you want, whenever you want, and get deliberately exposed to new stuff as often as you like as well instead of just waiting for things catch your ear on the radio. It's a fantastic time to be a fan of music, so I hope they take advantage, you know?

But so far, though they like music, they don't really listen to it on their own. There's music when we're in the car, but not too much around the house most of the time. And in the car we listen to things the wife and I both enjoy, which mainly means 70s-80s AOR, some modern pop/rock, and country. I lean towards some heavier stuff personally, so I typically give them some 80s hair metal when I take them places alone--I had Amy headbanging to some Metallica the other day. :) But in general, music is background for them, not really a focus, you know? I'll hear them singing a melody from something we've listened to, or singing along to something on the radio sometimes, and I know some songs that they consider favorites (Hermione likes Steve Perry's "Oh Sherrie"--NICE), but I wouldn't say they know much about particular artists and how music works in terms of albums and singles and all that. I have a few small mp3 players that they play with now and then, and Hermione has her tablet that she could use to play music. But they don't, really. And Hermione in particular--she's such a sensitive person, I think music could speak to her so strongly, and help her deal with some of her darker emotions. It's a tool I want them all to have, you know?

So I guess this is a question I'm asking: What might be a good way to get them more into enjoying and learning about recorded music? Maybe getting a little desktop stereo system for their bedroom so they can put on some tunes while they play in there? Maybe giving them lessons, for want of a better term, on classic and modern music and artists and albums? My wife is doing a great job with their practical education (we homeschool, for the benefit of anyone who wasn't aware), and she absolutely considers musical education crucial in terms of learning to read music and play an instrument. But for me consumption is a huge part of the creative process, you know? If you want to write well, read much and widely--if you want to be a musician, immerse yourself in other folks' music. Maybe it's just that they don't realize they have the ability to listen to music whenever they want.

Anyway, just one of the areas of their development I need to take more responsibility for, since I'm a lot more into it than the wife is. Gotta step this stuff up. :)
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
I dunno, NashVegas.. it's a thing around here.

So it's Thursday night, conference is all wrapped up, and I just got home from a Grand Ole Opry Country Classics show at the Ryman Auditorium, the Mother Church of Country Music. It was a pretty good show! Larry Gatlin was the host, and he was pretty awesome--funny guy, seemed quite down-to-earth too, which is nice. The headlining act, I suppose you'd say, was the Oak Ridge Boys, whom I've seen at Opry shows before. Not bad. There were a couple standout performers, though--a guy named Chris Janson who gave a very energetic and well-done few songs, and an 18-year-old girl named Mary Sarah who had quite a good set of pipes. It was actually her debut performance on an Opry show, or at least at the Ryman. Apparently she was discovered on YouTube by the aforementioned Oak Ridge Boys, so they've been helping her along. Anyway, good show as always. If you like country music, I guess. I feel the need to clarify I don't JUST listen to country, lest I sound like a total hick with no musical taste. But I do enjoy a lot of it, especially the classic stuff I grew up on.

I was going to recap the trip so far, but I'll save it for the inevitable photo recap post. :) Or posts plural; I've had more free time than expected and I'm near a lot of good stuff downtown, so I've been taking scads of photos this week. It'll take me forever to edit them, but it's all good fun. And tomorrow is my free day (until I head to the airport, anyway) so I'll be taking more! I'm excited.

But for now, time to wind down and turn in. I hope everyone is having a great week--the weekend is almost here!


Feb. 3rd, 2014 01:30 pm
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)

Funny, just this morning I was thinking of checking in on various musical groups and artists I like to see if they're working on anything new. Nickel Creek probably would not have been on that list since I figured them to be over and done, so I was a bit surprised to come across this--a new song from a forthcoming new album! Not bad, nice to hear them together again. Oooohhh, and they'll be playing the Ryman around when I'll be at that conference in Nashville. It's the day after the conference wraps up, but maybe I can extend the visit by a day or two. Hmmmm..

I am still struggling with the cold I had last week! My nose is still a bit leaky (though not as bad as it was), and the goop is very stubbornly clinging to my throat. I closed my office door so as not to drive everyone crazy with the incessant coughing and throat-clearing attempts. Not that any of it is doing any good. Bah.

One bright spot, I went ahead and applied for the credit card I wanted to get for business travel--we usually fly Southwest, and they're doing the deal where you can get 50,000 reward points for getting the credit card. I would have done it before, but the card has a $99 annual fee and that's always been a dealbreaker. But I was approved to get the company to foot the bill, so I was just waiting until my next round of trips were coming up to pull the trigger. I used to have crappy credit, so every time I apply for credit I still have that sensation of doubt. But obviously my credit has gotten a lot better, because they approved me right away and the credit limit was much higher than I expected to boot (not that I ever expect to run it up that high). So there's that.

Now I think I'll run out and get a new 13mm wrench. Sounds exciting, right?
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
So the time has come to close the door on 2013 and stride boldly into a fresh new year. I dunno, I always feel that warm thrill of hope in my chest thinking about a whole new year out there to explore. And I always have high hopes going into it. Typically I set a few goals for myself, and I just reviewed what I posted this time last year to see how I did. And I have to say, the answer is not too well. To wit:

I wanted to do regular date nights with the wife and more solo time with the girls. RESULT: one date night with the wife, and a handful of solo excursions with one or more kids. Definitely need to refocus here, time's a-wastin.
I wanted to be more positive overall, and not allow myself to wallow in negativity too much. RESULT: I guess I did okay here, I can't recall any major funks. Still, worth keeping in mind.
I wanted to be a bit more conscientious about my health, particularly about what I consume and the exercise I get. RESULT: Yeah, notsomuch. If anything, I got into the bad habit of drinking MORE soda, not less. And exercise was sporadic at best.
And as always, I wanted to be more creative, to produce less and consume more. RESULT: Um, next question please? I guess I did okay photographically, but I didn't really take anything--photography, musicality, writing, whatever--to the next level, and I feel I spent waaay too much time sitting here at the computer wasting time on social media, Reddit, etc. Big fail.

And really, these are what I want to focus and re-focus on for the new year as well, because they are the things that matter most to me: being creative, being active, being as good a person and husband and father as I can. But I think I need to get a little more specific, so here are some quantifiable goals for 2014, the better by which to mark my progress.

-At least once per month, do something alone with one or more of the girls.
-Write and record at least 3 new songs.
-Learn to play and sing at least 10 cover tunes, enough to put on a short impromptu solo show with an acoustic guitar.
-Get back to learning piano. And finish restoring the damn piano while you're at it.
-Pick 5 photographic skills to learn or improve (e.g., posing subjects, macro, astro, off-camera lighting, long-exposure).
-Keep track of books read/movies watched (LJ is a fine place for this).
-Limit soda intake to one per day; that stuff will kill you.
-At least twice per week, get some good exercise: hike, jog, bike, kayak, something!
-In conjunction with the above, spend less time on your rear at the PC and more time exploring the outdoors.
-A good way to spend more time outdoors and with the kids: geocaching! Get active and find at least 50 caches this year.
-Get the photo biz going strong again: at least one paid gig per month on average, and 4 weddings at full price.

And I think that's pretty good to be getting on with for the New Year. :)

Even though I didn't do so well with my goals for the past year, it was still a pretty decent trip 'round the sun. No big lifestyle changes, but there were some high points. Seeing the Pacific for the first time, our New England family vacation, some of my other business trips, all good times. Getting rid of 2 cars and the scooter and replacing them with a car I actually adore and am proud of, that was a nice development. Work continued just fine, everyone was generally healthy, there remains lots to appreciate about my life. And I should spend more time doing just that.

In other news, I find this .gif totally mesmerizing.

So: A very Happy New Year to you all--may your 2014 be happy and healthy, and may you make it the best year you possibly can.
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
I've had it in the back of my head to start doing occasional top-10 lists of things I like. Maybe not very interesting, but it could be fun. To start, and apropos of nothing in particular, I'm going to do my top 10 favorite guitarists. I'll see if I can throw in samples along the way.

10. Kevin Browne
I'll start with the man who is probably the main reason I picked up the guitar in the first place. He was my German teacher in high school, and now and then he'd bring in his guitar and play for us (he'd write songs in German and Dutch as well as English). He's pretty awesome, such a great player and singer and a good writer too. I actually went back to my hometown a week or so ago to see him do a little show where he played his latest album in its entirety. He really just does music for the love of it, though I certainly think he's good enough to make some money doing it too. Anyway: as a guitarist, I just love that percussive style of acoustic playing, and I love his chord choices. He does some stuff I find pretty impressive technically too, and he does it while singing which I know is even tougher. :)

Cutting to save your Friends page! )
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
I dunno how much any of you care, but I enjoy sharing music here now and then, and keep meaning to make it a more regular feature--and what better time for that than Monday morning, when those of us who are slaves to the grind might need a good tune to get the day going?

So here's one I recently discovered and have been listening to a lot. Green River Ordinance are sort of a country-rock band, but definitely more on the rock side. Good songwriting and harmonies, though. And I love the percussion in this one.

Hope your Monday is a good one!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Now and then I come across a song and just can't stop listening to it. Today it's this:

The chorus especially gets me, the downward modulation of the last word of each line, just.. chills. This is the sort of song I want to write.
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Musical stuff update!

I think I mentioned that on our New England vacation earlier this year, most of our driving was done to the soundtrack of a couple of mp3 cds that I made years ago, and I was reminded that I really missed listening to Toad the Wet Sprocket. After we got back, I saw on the Net that they had reunited and recorded a new album, and were doing a Kickstarter to fund the production and distribution. NICE, thought I, I will have to get in on that! But I didn't at the time, and pretty much forgot about it until I saw on their Facebook this week that the Kickstarter was about to end, so I jumped in and contributed. They started out with a goal of $50k and ended up breaking the $250k mark, which I think is just plain awesome. I love the idea of artists who played such a big part in the soundtrack of my life--as Toad did, for a good number of years--getting some direct love (and cash!) from their fans instead of losing it to greedy record execs, you know? Anyway, this morning I got my download code for the album, New Constellation, and I've been listening to it today at work. I am very pleased to report that it is really quite good. Very Toad-like, which may seem to have been expected, but was by no means a sure thing since they'd been split up for so long. Good stuff, I am pleased. I contributed at the level to get a physical cd as well, so I'll look forward to that!

I don't make it to many concerts these days (I actually missed Toad themselves at a little show at the Hard Rock Hotel a couple weeks ago, darnit), so I always look forward to the Food & Wine Festival at EPCOT, which has a concert series that generally includes a number of artists I like--and since it's EPCOT, the wife and kids don't mind humoring me to go out there. This year's lineup has plenty of returning favorites (Night Ranger, Sister Hazel, Dennis DeYoung of Styx fame, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy) and some changes--new this year: Spin Doctors! That is outstanding, I loved those guys in their heyday so I definitely plan on seeing them. :)

Aaaand.. I guess that's about it, actually. Back to work!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Weekend was okay. We had quite a cold snap come through, so for us Florida folk it was really chilly, plus there was a stiff breeze all weekend too. Made it a bit uncomfortable outdoors most of the time! Of course, that didn't stop us--Saturday we went out to lunch and then Leu Gardens, where we met a friend for a nice (cold) stroll around the place. Sunday we headed out to Hontoon Island State Park up around Deland, which we hadn't been in years. Nice place, and we had a good little hike there (and I found a geocache!), but it was cold and we were past our usual lunch time so we didn't stay very long. The weather is warming up for the week, and I'm taking Wednesday off for a Magic Kingdom day with my girls, which I'm really looking forward to!

Last week was a bit different at work--I was in a class for 3 full days (and actually very long days at that), and then on Friday there was an exam. For those folks out there who might know what this is, it was a class on Six Sigma. That's a quality control regimen originally designed for manufacturing, but this was a version adapted to call centers, which is what I deal with. Statistical analysis and project management, that sort of thing. It was actually a lot more interesting than it sounds like it would be. :) The exam Friday was pretty intense--not hard so much as just detailed. I totally goofed up one of the exercises on the exam, but that didn't keep me from passing, so I'm now a certified yellow belt in Six Sigma. YAY. Yeah, not really. But it does look good on a resume, should it ever again come to that.

What else.. I've been on a bit of a shopping binge lately. Nothing really big, but I certainly took the photo gigs I've been booking (and my annual bonus from work, which was much improved over last year's) as excuses to get some stuff I've been wanting. I've also sold some musical gear to pay for other musical gear, which has been nice. And I finally got a Blu-Ray player! Been wanting to upgrade our old dvd player because it's really clunky, so I got a well-reviewed Sony with apps and built-in WiFi. I like it a lot, but I've found that it won't play some video files that the old one had no problem with, which seems odd to me. I expected it to play more, not less! It must not like certain encoding formats. Oh well, I'm trying to get away from discs and stream most stuff from a server anyway, so that's not really a dealbreaker. Though I may need more hard drive space before long!

As for the musical gear, I sold the Firewire PC audio interface I got last year, and with the money from that I bought a mixer with a USB output. My thought at the time was to get away from using a mixer and just run things into the I/O box instead. But I never really got it working well, and realized that I really do need a mixer of some sort, just because of how I like my stuff set up. But instead of a mixer and separate I/O box, I wanted an all-in-one, so I got a nice little Behringer mixer with USB and some built-in effects too. Not bad! I kept posting my old mixer on Craigslist and really got no serious bites, until yesterday when a guy wrote because his band's mixer blew up during a gig Saturday night (it was a Behringer, so.. uh-oh). Anyway, he had no cash but had some things he was willing to trade, so for the mixer I got an old Roland GP-8 guitar effects processor and a couple of Alesis compressors. The GP-8 was apparently pretty hot stuff back in its day (came out in 1987, when it retailed for a cool grand). It's a bit unique because most of it is still analog (everything is digital these days, of course), so it's renowned for having a full, warm tone. I'm interested to check it out this evening. Now I just need to actually get into the habit of writing and recording things, even if it's just bits of songs or sonic ideas. I have pretty much all the gear I need/want, except for one more guitar I have my eye on!

Okay, that's enough geekery and gear lust for now. Heading home to see how the kiddies are doing!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Because I am a geek who loves history in addition to loving music, I am especially tickled when the two collide. There is, after all, a long tradition at work here. Homer didn't write his epic poems to be read--he probably didn't write them down at all. They were meant to be recited, to make the stories therein part of an oral tradition. Popular music as we know it evolved from folk music, which in many cases has also served to memorialize specific people and events--oral tradition set to music, basically. Anyway, enough ethno-musicology. Here are a few songs that I think do a good job continuing the tradition.

Much of this post will be Mark Knopfler, because he's awesome, and he's done a good number of historical songs over the years, most of which are really cool. But a few favorites:

"Sailing To Philadelphia" is a conversation between Jeremiah Dixon and Charles Mason, the two English surveyors who came over to settle the boundary disputes between what are now the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Delaware. We now know it, of course, as the Mason-Dixon line, also the informal border between North and South--and that's where the word Dixie comes from.

Want more? )
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
So one thing I thought I would do on occasion is point those of you who are interested to some music I dig that you might not be familiar with. Today: The Steeldrivers.

I came across these guys at the Mother Church of Country Music, the Grand Ole Opry (though not at the Ryman Auditorium, I must admit). They're technically bluegrass, though I think they rock a little bit harder than what you might think of as bluegrass. The lead vocalist in particular, Chris Stapleton, has a nice growl that I really dig. Unfortunately he's not with the group anymore--but I see he's since started a new group called the Jompson Brothers, I'm going to have to check them out! Great singer and songwriter. Meanwhile, the Steeldrivers are releasing a new record, which I'll also have to check out.

But in the meantime, here are a few favorites if you're interested:

Sounds almost as good live as on the record--I was really impressed with them at the Opry.

Apparently Adele covered this one, on a record and in concert.

And there are some Jompson Brothers songs on YouTube--definitely more of a rock edge to this one, but I very much like it.

Please do let me know if you appreciate this sort of post, and especially if you like the tunes! :)

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