Last Time, I Swear

•November 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

As threatened, we moved as we couldn’t put up with the limitations here . . . or my lack of knowledge . . . or both. Regardless, last time, I swear! We, that is the royal we, are here now.

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Inside vs. Outside

•November 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It is no secret that one, I am a bit of a homebody (primarily because I feel like I am away from it so much) and, two, I enjoy projects around the house.  There is usually something being done to the house inside and for most of the year some outside work in the form gardening or lawn/tree maintenance is also going on.  All well and good except when major indoor project completions conflict with major spring or fall outdoor work and that, dear readers, is what we have been dealing with at this moment.

The family room is coming to fast completion with much furnishing and whatnot going on, but the yard is also desperately calling for attention sensing that we will not have another weekend free to do it until after Turkey Day.  So here are a few things that did get done and a few that didn’t in the great effort to balance the inside with the outside.

We did manage to get the new corner TV stand together, place the new flat-screen on said stand and get the cable guy to hook up the high-def box in the family room.  However, we did not find the hour or so needed to stay on the phone to reach a real human being at Verizon so we could upgrade to the full hi-def package—oh, you wanted hi-def on more than five channels?!

We did manage to pull out the last of the greens—arugula, chard and beet greens—dig up some late planted potatoes for yummy garlic mashers to have those with a tasty pork tenderloin that had marinated all day in a bath of fresh herbs form the garden with those greens wilted with olive oil and kosher salt and local pears and apples diced over it all.  However, I didn’t get any time to research better ways to dry the remaining herbs so we don’t lose all that wonderful rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme out there in the pots. Suggestions?

I did manage to trade emails with College Roomy about the music care package he was putting together for me and I did listen to a few different discs I was considering burning for him while we made the aforementioned dinner, but alas dear friend, I still haven’t burned your discs.

We did manage to get downtown to a cool opera for children at the National Museum of the American Indian called El conejo y el coyote/The Rabbit and the Coyote but did not find time to sit down with the Artist and work on a blog post over at the family e-home (if only he would stay up later!).

We did manage to corral the majority of the 5 gazillion leaves in our backyard and the boys managed to trounce them endlessly, although unfortunately about half of those still remain in a loosely constructed pile in the backyard and the front yard is still unkempt.

We did, however, manage to purchase the new couch (otherwise known as “the pit”) for the family room, although we did not take any time to accessorize or take a part the futon we had just put together assuming we would not have a new piece of furniture so fast.

And so now, we must return to the list of all that must get done—or at least looking at, re-prioritizing and fretting over that list since, well, nothing on that list involves the things that actually take up the majority or our lives.

Fickleness Alert

•November 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Just dropping in to say that while I decided to try WordPress because I generally like the look of WP blogs and I thought perhaps it might be a good idea to get away from everything in my life being driven/owned/tracked/removed by Google, I may very well be moving this blog back to Blogger. Why? Well let’s just say WP seems a bit less than flexible.

For instance, while I like the template I am using, I wanted to jump the font a bit–perhaps because I am getting a bit older or perhaps because the font (particularly in the widgets) is DAMN SMALL! The WP answer?

You can change fonts using HTML but it’s fiddly and maybe not worth the hassle all the time but keep reading. [snip]

To change fonts globally, you would need to purchase the Custom CSS upgrade [15 bucks a year—not much but really?!] and have some knowledge of CSS in order to make the desired changes. If you’re new to CSS, there are some wonderfully helpful people to be found in the CSS Customization forum who may be able to help you out.

We cannot alter a theme to accommodate your choice of font size. Please bear in mind that if we alter a theme for you then that alters the same theme for everyone else. They probably won’t like that happening.

Really?

Pretty sure I could change font size and style easily on individual post or globally in Blogger with out spending any money or having it be “fiddly” or a hassle and I am pretty sure I was able to fiddle with the CSS at will (usually to my demise).

So listen folks–I don’t mean to seem like an old, fickle man who keeps changing things at the drop of a font, but I can tell I am on verge and thought that the only responsible thing to do was issue a warning.

Feel free to stop me.

Breaking Down Paste’s Top 50 of the Decade

•November 4, 2009 • 4 Comments

Paste’s Top 50 albums of the decade is worth checking out not as some final authoritative list, but as 50 interestng albums to consider–and you can really consider them since they are streaming them on their site.  I have doctored the list with a little color to represent albums I already have (not that many actually), albums on the list that I think will probably go on my consider to buy list, ones I suspect might interest me and albums I am quite sure I don’t care about.  Everything else (a considerable everything else) is just in the I don’t know enough about category.

Pastes Top 50 of the Decade

50 Björk – Vespertine (Elektra, 2001)
49 Libertines – Up The Bracket (Rough Trade, 2002)
48 Loretta Lynn – Van Lear Rose (Interscope, 2004)
47 Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (Domino, 2006)
46 Once – Music From The Motion Picture (Columbia, 2007)
45 Radiohead – In Rainbows (self-released, 2007)
44 The Jayhawks – Rainy Day Music (Lost Highway, 2003)
43 Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala (Secretly Canadian, 2007)
42 Jay-Z – The Blueprint (Roc-A-Fella, 2001)
41 LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver (Capitol, 2007)
40 TV on the Radio – Return To Cookie Mountain (Interscope, 2006)
39 Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (Merge, 2007)
38 Gentleman Jesse – Introducing Gentleman Jesse (Douchemaster, 2008)
37 Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days (Sub Pop, 2004)
36 Pedro The Lion – Control (Jade Tree, 2002)
35 Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino, 2009)
34 Various artists – O Brother Where Art Thou? (Mercury, 2001)
33 Coldplay – A Rush Of Blood To The Head (Capitol, 2002)
32 The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (Warner Bros., 2002)
31 Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism (Barsuk, 2003)
30 Damien Rice – O (Vector, 2003)
29 Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar, 2008)
28 Paul Westerberg – Folker (Vagrant, 2004)
27 Drive-By Truckers – Decoration Day (New West, 2003)
26 Over the Rhine – Ohio (2004)
25 Sigur Rós – Med ud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust (XL, 2008)
24 The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow (Sub Pop, 2003)
23 Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker (Bloodshot, 2000)
22 The Decemberists – The Crane Wife (Capitol, 2006)
21 Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (XL, 2008)
20 The National – Boxer (Beggars Banquet, 2007)
19 Beck – Sea Change (Interscope, 2002)
18 Amy Winehouse – Back To Black (Universal Republic, 2007)
17 Kanye West – The College Dropout (Roc-A-Fella, 2004)
16 Rufus Wainwright – Want One (Dreamworks, 2003)
15 Patty Griffin – 1000 Kisses (ATO, 2002)
14 The Strokes – Is This It (RCA, 2001)
13 Josh Ritter – The Animal Years (V2, 2006)
12 Spoon –
Kill the Moonlight (Merge, 2002)
11 The Hold Steady – Boys And Girls In America (Vagrant, 2006)
10 M.I.A. – Arular (Interscope, 2005)
09 The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You (Columbia/American, 2009)
08 OutKast – Stankonia (Arista/LaFace, 2000)
07 Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator) (Acony, 2001)
06 The White Stripes – Elephant (V2, 2003)
05 Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning (Saddle Creek, 2005)
04 Radiohead – Kid A (Capitol, 2000)
03 Arcade Fire – Funeral (Merge, 2004)
02 Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch, 2002)
01 Sufjan Stevens – Illinois (Asthmatic Kitty, 2005)

Do let me know if I should reconsider any of my assessments.

The Sugar Haul

•November 1, 2009 • 2 Comments

The Boys - Halloween 2009

Happy Halloween to all.  The boys successfully brought in bags of candy last night, which combined with the end of daylight savings time (a convention that drives me a bit crazy) has led to requests for candy starting at 8 a.m. this morning!

For those who haven’t met the boys yet, here is your legend for future reference here at cps consolidated:

  • The Skeleton = The Artist
  • Obi-wan = The Engineer
  • Captain Rex = well, The Captain

Friends and family know where to get more details and photos about the Brothers K Halloween.

Avett Brothers Backwards, Part I

•October 31, 2009 • 2 Comments

Another musical admission on my part.  I had never listened to, much less owned, an Avett Brothers album prior to this month.  That is notable because if the two albums I now have in my possession–which have been on almost constant play for two or three weeks–are any indication, I am a huge Avetts fan.  I knew they were out there.  I knew lots of people who admired their work.  I just never acted on that information.  Until now.

It started with NPR’s All Songs Considered streaming the new album I & Love & You which I listened to repeatedly (while concentrating deeply on my work of course).  I couldn’t listen all that closely but I could tell I liked it and away we went.  Now I know that this album, their first on a major label, has been received a lukewarm response from the critics for not being as cutting edge and adventuresome, for being sappy and not “true” enough–but really that narrative is so  predictable it isn’t worth worrying over.  Then again, who am I to say since I am coming at their work from this perspective?

Well, here are a few of the reasons I have been enjoying this album and we will get to the Brothers in general in a minute.

  • The album as a whole is uplifting which is not to say that all the songs are happy or upbeat, although some certainly are.  It is uplifting to me because the lyrics seem primarily about trying to deal with life–the good, bad, happy, sad–as it comes without overstatement.  They realize certain things at this point in their life but aren’t preaching to anyone that they have all the answers.  It is what it is.
  • The music is simply put, beautiful.  The arrangements have plenty going on but with lots of space among the instruments.  This is helped by a really wonderful mix where each instrument comes out clean but integrated.  And of course, that all rides on top of simply wonderful songs.
  • Even if they are not as adventuresome here, it is clear that these guys have a good understanding of a wide range of music and the influences, from bluegrass to jazz to blues comes through.
  • And ultimately it is perhaps because the music speaks to me both lyrically and musically.

Now I am going to try to be less mp3 heavy here in the new space (and somehow I imagine Sony will swoop down in a heartbeat if I sample this album), so here is the title track video.  This tune which opens the album, definitely exemplifies the “here is where I am at in life” now approach of many of the songs.  It is one of the many fine ballads on the album, but there are certainly other more upbeat tunes and also darker songs as well.

Now in the interest of time (mine and yours), I will come back to these brothers in another post to look at an earlier effort as I work my way back through their catalog.

Cuz it’s about the blog, not time

•October 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So this is the new space that I am going to now try to occupy.  Why?

For starters, I wanted to try a new place that was different from The Tuning Room and other efforts where I had partitioned my life into particular interests and so it seemed like I could only post on limited issues.  I recognize that is silly in some ways as I could have just posted on anything at that site, but The Room was built around being an mp3 blog and I want to get away from being limited to just that genre.  I also always felt like I had to do considerable work to post on music, trying to find a new angle on music that so many others had already written about.  That said, I still intend to write a lot about music and promote artists I find interesting.

Just another version of that same rationale was that I wanted to create a space to post shorter observations and accounts of life that were more about the various and interconnected parts of my life–kids, work, nature, projects and all the day to day that actually consumes life.  The image of the aspens is obviously intentional since an aspen stand is all connected underground and that is how I feel about my life.

Finally, I really love the blog platform and wanted to create both a place to write about life more generally and also have a more personal blog if that isn’t an oxymoron.  My sense of blogging has always been about connections with friends and family and I am hoping this new space will be about that in a more expansive way than The Room was.

So, no promises, because as my title suggests, it really is a question about time and not the platform, but my intention is to be a bit more spontaneous and less formal.  We will see how it goes.