Sunday, March 30, 2008

Your Official Invite

So, as promised, here is your official invite to virtually come to our wedding. The ceremony will be available to view on-line at approx. 3pm Pacific Time today and will be up for 30 days. Please follow these steps to view a wedding ceremony on-line.

All ceremonies will be broadcast Pacific Standard Time on our web cam providing the wedding couple has signed a web cam release. This will be verified prior to the start of the ceremony. If you are not viewing from home, but rather a place of business, please check your firewalls, which may prohibit you from viewing. You will need to have Windows Media Player on your computer. If you do not have this program, there is a free download available on our web site.

*Streaming or downloading a ceremony may take several minutes depending on whether you have a dial up connection or a cable modem. Log on to Click on Amenities located on the tool bar at the top of the screen. Select Wedding Chapel beneath the Forever Grand Wedding Chapel photograph, click on Services. Scroll down and click on the plus sign next to Webcam and click on the web cam link: Once you have reached the Cashman Professional link, you are able to view Live and Past wedding ceremonies by following the applicable prompts.

You will be looking for Martin Hennessy/Kerry Squire (if you didn't know that, you will have to sit wayyyyyy in back.) I better start getting ready. I think that I have less than 2 hours before I need to be there. Oh, the photo? We took that at a BBQ with her family.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Stung By Buzz

There are a lot of things going on so I might be able to get one last post (possibly a re-post of how to view the wedding) before the actual event. But, I had to post this up here while it is fresh in my head. It has to do with the podcast and an act we featured on it.

It took several episodes before deciding that we needed some music in the show. The best way to do that would be to focus on a specific artist, analyze their sound, talk about their music and what they are doing now. On Feb. 23rd, we featured a French electronic act named Buzz. I had been exchanging email with their principal member Jean-Christophe van Thienen and been sent a copy of their new album, Minimal & electronique, which we reviewed and featured on the show.

Yesterday, as I started work on the weekly newsletter, I noticed an email from J-C entitled "RE: surprise demo" with an attachment. It talked about the technical details of a new song that he'd been working on and that he didn't want to ruin the 'surprise.' When I played it, I heard a familiar voice... mine. It's a very good upbeat track of which I can't wait to hear the final product. If anything, I am absolutely overwhelmed by the honor. I'd love to let you hear it but I don't have the right to do so yet. Hopefully when finished or released we can. Way too cool.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Time & The Countdown Clock

It's been really busy over here. I thought that I'd be able to write a little something here and there but it isn't working out that way. I think most of it deals with time issues. Most of you know that I schedule some things into eternity and others, I wait until the last minute to schedule. Well, it seems that there are a lot of scheduled items for one important upcoming event.

I did have a momentary lapse of reason a few days ago. I was trying to fit a chronological square peg in a round hole. I just hadn't considered that the round hole could give a little. I'm better now thanks to a few Manns. Now, I just need to wrap up some other projects.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Was (Not Was) - Boo!

Semi-dormant since 1992, Was (Not Was) have buried the dinosaur and returned with another avant-garde funk/soul release. The 10 tracks that make up Boo! have been in the works since 2000 (some rumored to have been songs held over since the 1980s.)

Boo! opens smartly with the ear-tickling of "Semi-Interesting Week" which sets the groove but teases the listener a variety of effects. The smooth Temptations/Four Tops feel of "It's A Miracle" is absolutely brilliant as it is purposely sabotaged with an unexpected f-bomb and topical swings. Definitely our favorite track on the disc. "Your Luck Won't Last" is an funky electronic dance number with some wild samples. The beautiful, lilting yet disturbing "From The Head To The Heart" made us search the credits for Neneh Cherry for vocal credit... it's not her though. Just when you think the tracks are set for experimental, pop, experimental, pop, etc. you get thrown a curve-ball in the form of the big horns and soul-infusion of "Big Black Hole." "Needletooth" harkens back to sonic terrorism of 1992's "Hello Dad... I'm In Jail." The groove of "Forget Everything" is far from forgettable and leads into the fun bluesy "Crazy Water" which is a possible single. The album wraps up with two guest-influenced tracks. "Mr. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" is a very strong 70s-era funk tune that leaves you curious as to what parts were co-written with Bob Dylan. Closing the album is the outrageous psychedelic twist of the Kris Kristofferson-narrated "Green Pills In The Dresser."

Something can be said for beautiful, clean and predictable music. It presents itself as it is with little need nor room for interpretation in repeat consumption. That isn't bad but the often uncharted waters, the purposeful unraveling of expected threads, lend to a level of greater audio appreciation over time. The tapestry of Boo! is frayed, broken and missing threads under our microscope. This is a great thing. There's no reason to be afraid to purchase Boo! as it may be the best album of their career.

4 out of 5

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Giving Back

I've always believed in direct giving. Meaning that there is a specific feeling of seeing the look on peoples faces as well as having the knowledge that your assistance is actually received. This has been a sticking point for me over the last decade after an issue with United Way. I'm not going to besmirch some of the good work they do here. I signed up long ago to have a specific amount deducted from my paycheck for Big Brothers Big Sisters. United Way said that I would get a notification from the charity that the funds got there. I have yet to receive that notice and still don't know where that money went.

Since then, I've been very picky about my donations. Blood and physical objects can actually go somewhere and get instant use by UBS or Goodwill. But, it was a discussion with Kerry that made me consider something else. She was talking with a friend that was helping out with another charity and noticed they were specificly lacking warm clothing for underprivelidged teen girls. We've been thinking about setting up our own project to help with this. It's early in development but I keep thinking that only then can I really control how I give. We will see.

Meanwhile, I did get a message from someone setting up an event in Las Vegas on Aug. 23rd dealing, oddly enough, with rock music. Rock Against Diabetes will be hosting a benefit concert and live free webcast to raise awareness and funds. I'll try to work something out to promote it during Talking 80s Music and an upcoming news snippet in the next newsletter. But, more than ever, it reminds me that other people are taking the reins to make a difference in various projects.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Technical Label Lunacy

There are tons of different types of labels. There are record labels (my line of research leaves me iffy about some of them.) There are clothing labels (which I find myself seeking out more often for country of production.) There are food labels (that tell me there are too many carbs in my favorite things.) There are even stereotypical labels (that I will not generalize here.) But most often the labels we look for most are the ones that actually name a product.

I'd like to focus on that last one for a moment. You see, my older but very useful second computer did something screwy. It was trying to do an iTunes update that failed because it couldn't find a specific file. I then decided to check if there were any other updates Windows XP should have for hardware. During the install of those (which included a wireless card update), I figured that I'd get ready for my next project and inserted my USB thumbdrive. Dumb idea. It'd been way too long since I've seen a crash here at the house. Anyhow, upon needing to reboot Windows XP said that so many changes have been made to my system over time that I needed to re-activate it within 3 days. Whaaa..? Think about it. How many changes have been made on your computer since you first bought it? It keeps track of these things? Well, of course this is their way to avoid piracy of the operating system and to urge those who have a 'less than legal' copy to purchase an 'upgrade.'

To do this, I was urged to connect to the Internet for activation. But it couldn't. It seems the driver to the card was now AWOL. I thought about this for a moment. I was going to need to search for the driver (could have the disc but I stored a lot of things to make the house look more presentable...which could have included the registration key for XP.) That when I started freaking out. (Which includes me pacing alot and saying, "Oh, shit. Oh, shit!", very fast.) Had to leave for work though. Came back to the project 8 hours calmer...8 hours more tired later. I removed the case and pulled out the network card. I knew that it was made by AirLink but there was no other label to designate the model. Googled everything on the card from the serial number on down to a weird series of numbers but to no avail. I went to the Web site and found that there were 4 or 5 different types that could match up. I even called their tech support, emailed them too. Freakin' labels. Anyhow, I tried one last search adding AirLink+ to the serial number. One page on there referred to a possible model number. All this done, it's up and running.

Then I had to re-activate. I was a little afraid because I still hadn't found my product key. Would it shut me out of my system? It didn't even wind up asking for it though. I was pretty impressed. Fearful, I didn't do it online. I wound up trying the phone option. This was a pain but it got me through and now I can update the Web site. (I use the very old school program Symantec Visual Page that, for some reason, also went AWOL when setting up the new computer. I can't seem to find a new version for purchase anywhere for Windows.)

Overall, I think a lot of this headache would have gone by if I didn't have to go searching for what model number that card was. I guess you pay a little more to get a card that knows what it is.