Monday, September 19, 2011

Another Totally Random One

Just a few stray thoughts today.

1. I hate it when... I buy something on eBay that I really need and it looks like a great bargain, and then I realize that the seller is in Hong Kong and it is going to take three weeks to arrive, and when it does, it will be a cheap imitation that falls apart the first time I use it. I am a very experienced eBayer, and yet I still make this mistake from time to time. This week’s: new padded covers for my studio headphones. They are horrible.

2. I love these Betsey Johnson boots:

3. By this weekend roughly half of my children will be married. How did this happen?

4. Do you know of anyone who wants a family or individual photo session? Engagements? Bridals? I would love to book a few shoots in this next month! I am reasonably priced and fun, too. :) Click on the photo below to link to the sample gallery.

5. This begins my third week of being home alone during the day, and it is a little bit freaky how my house makes noises all by itself like there is someone walking around upstairs. Just saying.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The One Where She Begged (Again)

I have been putting in ten- to twelve-hour days on my new Christmas CD. It is scary, exhausting, exhilarating, and way outside my comfort zone. My business partner, Garry and I have to be finished by the end of October, which leaves us roughly five weeks to finish, and while we have made headway on each of the 13 songs, there is not a single one that is finished and put to bed.

I am not trying to brag here, but I need to express to you that this is going to be SO COOL. My last CD was really fun, but I basically recorded 13 songs that I had already written over the last ten years. This CD is a brand-new effort with all-new songs and arrangements of traditional numbers that Garry and I have created just in the last year. I am so proud of them... I can’t believe I am saying this, but there is not a single song out of 13, where I think to myself, wow, that one didn’t really turn out as well as the others. Each one is a little gift! I can not wait to share it with you.

For now, I am going to ask you for a favor. I need to increase the amount of people I can reach for this CD. I am going to try a few different things to accomplish that, and I will tell you more about that later... but for this week, I would like to pass the 1,000 mark for my Facebook fans. I am currently at 810. Only about half of those 810 are my Facebook friends, which means that half of my own Facebook friends haven’t even “liked” the page yet! So please, if you are a Facebook person, please click here to “like” my page. I would appreciate that so much, even if you are not my Facebook friend. For that matter, I would love to be your Facebook friend as well, so please feel free to send me a friend request! But regardless, please please please help me and “like” the page, here:

Secondly, if I have any friends in the blogosphere who would be willing to use their blogs to forward my request for more Facebook fans, I would love that. If you do, please be so kind as to leave me a comment with the name of your blog so that I know who you are! (I can e-mail you a link with the “like” button if you want it!) You have no idea what that would mean to me.

Thank you! Please, while you are over there, click on the “Band Profile” link on the left side of the Archangel Records page, and you can listen to tons of our songs and watch our videos from there. Enjoy...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The One Where You Get Spotified

In the category of cool things you probably haven’t ever heard of: Spotify.

I love iTunes. It has changed the way we listen to music, forever. I don’t like to pirate music, movies or software. I would rather pay a fair (hopefully low) price for it and just own it. The drawbacks to iTunes are expense and storage... I had to clear my iTunes library off my computer in order to have more disk space for our Archangel music project, and moving the library to an external hard drive freed up about 330GB of disk space! That is half the capacity of my computer’s internal hard disk. The new “Cloud” from iTunes is changing that... now you can store songs, apps and TV shows in the Cloud instead of keeping them on your own storage. But at some point you have to wonder, do I really need to own all of this music that I may not even listen to next year, or even next month?

Enter Spotify. Now, I like Pandora and I like iHeart Radio, and some of the other internet “radio stations” out there. But Spotify is different.

1. You can make playlists and listen to them online, without purchasing the music. So far in all my searches, there have only been a couple of songs I haven’t been able to get, and those were songs that are “album only” purchases on the iTunes store.

2. You don’t have to listen to all the songs that Pandora picks for you based on your specified preferences... you pick them out for yourself. For instance, the new Lady Antebellum album was released yesterday. It was immediately up on Spotify.

3. Spotify synchs with your iTunes library to make all of your existing playlists available in a very attractive interface.

4. If you upgrade from Spotify Free to Spotify Premium, all of your playlists can be available off-line and synch with your iPhone or other smartphone via a free app, so that you can listen to any of your songs anytime, anywhere. That means that for $9.99 a month, the price of one non-deluxe album on iTunes, you have access to every song, and none of the songs is taking up a single kilobyte of your own storage space.

5. Spotify links to Facebook so that any of your Facebook friends who have Spotify can access your playlists (should you elect to make them public, which I do), and you, theirs.

Why haven’t you heard of Spotify? Probably because it has been used internationally for the last two years, but only made it to the U.S. in the last few months. How do you get it? You have to receive an invitation. To request that invitation, you can click here or leave a comment on this post with your e-mail... I may have a few invitations left on my account.

Spotify. Go get it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The One With the Sneak Peek

Hey! If you haven’t been following my other blog, this is the time to start. I am in the last few weeks of producing a new Christmas album, and I am starting to post sneak peeks and other fun stuff. The latest is a song I recorded with Tandy earlier in the week. Please go over and check it out... start following... and leave me some comments over there! Thank you. :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The One With Skippy and the Full Frontal Nudity

Skippy is going to be baptized tomorrow. Last Sunday in church the kids were given a really cool object lesson about how watching and listening to unwholesome material can make our thoughts very muddy so that we can’t hear the Spirit. The visual was a clean, clear glass of water, and then another where several different food colors had been added to make the water murky. Skippy raised his hand and asked, “When you get baptized, do you get to pour out the dirty water and get clean water again?” I thought how sweet and innocent he is.

And then the next day I showed him a naked woman.

At this juncture, we can just stipulate that I am a bad parent. Skippy and I were home alone. I have been spending every waking moment at the computer working on music, and he begged to watch a show with me on TV, and I took an hour break to oblige. I love sci-fi and he does too, of late, and I figured Stargate SG-1 would be a fun one to watch. It ran for something like fourteen seasons, and I saw most of them. So we queued it up on Netflix and started watching. Bad mom alert: I was also kind of sort of checking my e-mail at the same time. I glanced up from my e-mail, and there they were. Breasts. Very impressive ones, I might add. Startled, Skippy and I looked at each other wide-eyed, and he immediately covered his eyes. I grabbed the remote and started zipping through. Breasts, breasts, larger-than-life breasts.... pan down... and there it is. A whole naked woman.

I watched Stargate SG-1 for several years on Fox network. It was such a clean show as to be unrealistically sterile at times... and so it didn’t even cross my mind that the shows were originally aired on SHOWTIME, and it seems that premium stations have become nothing more than peddlers of pornography, even more so now than when Stargate originally aired. While I was shocked to see it, and even more dismayed that I showed it to my eight-year-old son, I suppose it was extremely tame compared to what HBO and Showtime offer today, which we found to be so disgusting that we won’t allow those stations in our home at any price.

I am also extremely disappointed with Netflix for not securing the edited-for-regular-network versions, and even more so because, as you can clearly see here in the screenshot which I just took from the Netflix website, the series is rated TV-14, which does not, according to the TV rating guidelines, permit nudity. The program, aired in its uncut format, would have to be rated TV-MA, which is the rating Showtime and HBO generally use (and with good reason) for all of their original programming.

Netflix is definitely going to hear about this from me.