Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm All Over It

Okay, so the boat thing didnt happen. The frog said he wanted to leave this week, I told him I would look into travel options and whatnot and call him monday, it actually seemed like it was going to happen, and... his number was out of service. Must have gone back to frogland. Oh well.

The point of this post is really to express my admiration for the musical genius that is Jamie Cullum. A friend introduced me to him in high school after his first US release- Twentysomething. I was instantly enamored with his sound, he showed songs that I already knew from a totally different angle, and his originals sucked me in with their catchy melodies and jazzy beats. He does covers that you would never expect, like Pharell's rap crappin hip hoppin "Frontin", and totally spins it, jazzes it up, and turns it into something that is good, no, great. Twentysomething contains covers of some songs of today, like the aforementioned "Frontin" and Radiohead's "High and Dry", but also adds a little pop to some songs from the past, like Frank Sinatra's "I Get a Kick Out of You" and the classic "Singin' in the Rain". Twentysomething is not even why I am writing this, I should move on.

A couple of years after Twentysomething's release, the pending release of his second album "Catching Tales" got me excited, though I was skeptical that it could get any better than Twentysomething. The release of the first single "London Skies" fueled my concern that I would be dissapointed my the album, and upon its full release my concern was confirmed. Now dont get me wrong, the music is great, I still love it and many say it was an improvement, it just wasn't for me, didnt suck me in, lost some of the jazz i think. Just after the release I went to see Jamie play to a sold out Byham Theatre in Pittsburgh and he was incredible, full of energy, it was amazing to see the genius just oozing out of him on stage. Any doubt I had was gone. Then there was nothing for 4 years except little updates that he was working on some things, a rogue show now and then, some radio interviews, and a pretty sweet collaboration with Clint Eastwood on Gran Torino which got him a Golden Gldobe nomination for best original composition. He finally announced the release of his new album "The Pursuit" and went on tour, one stop being New York's Carnegie Hall, which I attended and it was awesome, just got me more excited for the new album.

Afraid that Jamie's music was headed in the wrong direction for me, The Pursuit had potential to turn me into one of those snooty "I like his old stuff" people. The first single "I'm All Over It" was released a couple weeks ago... I am so happy. It brought back all the excitement and drew me in just like Twentysomething did. He released the video which is crazy cool, and then, in accordance with his obsession with twitter, did a live video broadcast for his twitter followers. The broadcast is probably the best example of just how good he is at what he does. When an album is released it could be the product of so many alterations and polishing that it sounds nothing like the original recording. Jamie doesn't need polishing, and he proves it. Twentysomething was recorded and mixed on analog tape, meaning almost straight from the instruments and his voice to print, and this live twitter show is another example. Jamie sets up a mic and a webcam in his kitchen, and in perhaps the most informal situation possible, cranks out some damn good music, this might be more impressive than anything else I could show you, a recording some girl from Singapore did of her laptop playing the show Jamie did in his kitchen, broadcasting over twitter, watch it, really. In the broadcast he asked for requests, saying that he is sure that some people have gotten ahold of the new album even though it is not to be released until next year... which fueled me in a search through the dark alleys of the internet, which turned out to be pretty easy, and I am now listening to the full album. In all of its glory. Jamie has done it again, injected the new and old with his jazzy flavor while continuing to progress his style, produced some originals that will be played over and over, and created an album that could appeal to you, your grandma, the stinky guy at work, and most importantly, me. Thanks Jamie. You rule.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Stumbling Along

Still in philly. Working at Toys-R-Us. It isn't exactly exciting, but it is satisfying to be working again, no matter what it is. I am enjoying my time, and in an attempt to take advantage of my current situation I am in contact with a guy who just bought a boat and needs it delivered to Florida from Connecticut. This might be the only job I will ever have that I can go up to the store manager and ask for a month off so I can go sail a boat to Florida and get a "yes" without hesitation. He did say he would really rather I didnt go, but thats as much resistance as I have seen. A while back I posted my profile on a crew finder website, not really thinking anything would come of it, as there are thousands of profiles on there. I had forgotten about it until about a month ago when I got a message from a guy who just bought a boat in Connecticut and needs it delivered to Florida. He lives in France and makes a living as a chef on yachts. It sounds great and he seemed like he had at least a basic knowledge of cruising and would kind of know what is going on. He is clueless...

I have talked on the phone with him a few times and he just gets more and more confused every time. We were originally supposed to leave on the 15th, but after his arrival in the US on the 2nd I guess he realized he had much more to do than he thought, and every call after that he has become more and more hopeless, to the point that I think that if I dont take it upon myself and go up and take the boat out of the slip myself, he might just stall until its too late. Everyone keeps telling me this is a bad idea... I am going to end up sodomized and finely chopped into chum by a crazy french chef... whatever, I miss the ocean, and I think he seems ok. It is kind of serving as a justification to me that I can go off sailing and it dosnt really affect anyone (except the less than thrilled Kari), makes my less than ideal situation worth it, in my head.

So other than that, theres not a lot going on in my life, not a lot to write about. Work is fairly routine, the most interesting about it is the people, the guys that work in the storeroom with me are pretty cool, but there is of course the requisite crazy. Unloading the truck one day I found myself in a conversation with one of the requisites about the reptilian overlords, the boy of wonder, Friday night mudwrestling and Saturday night monster trucks. After a contemplative silence, me going back over the absurd stream of consciousness pouring from this mans mouth, him, brewing his next profound insight, he lifts a box, looks at me and pauses as it clunks onto the rollers, our eyes locked "How well do you think the average human can handle the truth?", and goes on with his business, leaving me to marinade a bit in the broth of that insight. Thats pretty much how every interaction goes with him, lots of questions about the establishment, whether they care, why you care, if anyone cares, "do you consider yourself a good person" "sometimes I dont know if i am a person at all", "Good morning" "thats what they want you to think".

I would like to take this time to do a little spot for something that has taken up a lot of my time the past few years. A program called StumbleUpon (I just got lost for a good 20 minutes just by going to the page to get the link). They have over 8.5 million subscribers, so I am sure that some of you are already stumbling away your time like me, but for those who have not discovered StumbleUpon, tread carefully. This is no joke, you will waste time, it is an absolute guarantee, if you are have an addictive personality, very little free time, no self restraint, cataracts, back problems, are or may become pregnant, well then this is not for you. StumbleUpon is a simple idea, you supply them with interests, a quick selection of the columns of my interests gives : Archaeology Astrology Astronomy Gambling Genetics Geography Geoscience Psychics Puzzles Quizzes Racquetball. And after you supply them with a list of interests, they supply you with a button. And when you click that button a website comes up that others in the 8 million subscribers thought was interesting and that you would be interested in it as well. Its that simple. They of course go far beyond that by giving you a thumbs up and thumbs down button, giving you suggested interests to expand into depending on what thumbs you give, allowing you to network with other users, etc. etc. I have given a thumbs up to 351 sites and they can all be seen in my profile, I have worked long and hard on that list. So if you are a stumbler, add me as a friend, maybe i will share things with you, and if you are not, join us in our time wasting ventures into the interwebs.

Another amazing program. Picasa. Have you seen the new facial recognition feature? You give it one sample of a persons face and it goes off and finds more pictures of them, its incredible, I have tagged hundreds of pictures with peoples faces with hardly any effort, and it is remarkably accurate, in 100 suggestions of myself, the only inaccuracy was that in one picture it thought that Alan was me, a very forgivable offense. It tags them in sync with your google address book, and I dont even know what it can do from there. Google, you amaze me.

To a tree, who in the proper conditions could live an infinite amount of years, struggling with disease and damage day after day towards infinity, the agony of death must be just that much more devastating with so much unrealized potential.