26 January 2011

Unnecessary Information, Vol.1

I wonder how many people love driving. I mean, really get a kick out of steering and accelerating and shifting. I do. I love driving. I also love not having to drive, but that's a different story. Driving is so fun me. I've been particularly enjoying driving around Denver. There are lots of stop signs and lights, but there are tons of corners and curves and cool over/underpasses. While I don't like driving in stop and go traffic with the manual transmission, I absolutely love shifting through the gears throughout town. On top of that the street lanes in Denver are much skinnier than TN's which you'd think would make it worse but I think it makes you have to pay attention more and therefore focus more on just driving. I'm sure if I wasn't scooting around in a little Civic I'd be singing a different tune, but I am, so whatever. I don't get as good of gas mileage out here. Probably a combo of the cold and city driving. So what if driving it like a rally car yields me 30mpg instead of the usual 33mpg. Seriously.

I just started a temporary job doing some stormwater plans and general CAD work for an environmental company. There are so many routes to get there! Commuting is an odd thing. It can be a daily drain on you or it can be a fun few minutes you get to enjoy being alone and listen to music as loudly as you want. I know anything get's old after a while, but there are so many ways to travel through Denver. I find that on the way to work I want to take the fastest way possible regardless of how many cars will be on the road with me. However, on the way home I'm up for taking any which way as long as it avoids me sitting in traffic.

And another thing! Since I'm trying to avoid anymore interactions with my funbag of a neighbor, I don't listen to music very loudly at home. It get's old but I'd prefer never to speak with funbag again. (Although I did pass him the other day coming in the entrance. I said, "What's up, Mike?" in the friendliest tone possible and he responded with a very cheery (seriously) "Hey! How's it going, pal?" I don't know if he actually knows what I look like. Maybe he just gets angry and blacks out and comes and yells at me. Either way, it was odd.) So anyway, because of all that, the car has been my stereo for jams. And I must say, it's a good one. A sub is about the best investment I can think of for a car stereo. My 12" is like an instant pick-me-up for me. I get in the car, away from everyone who can complain, and start shaking the mirrors. So combine that with the joy of driving and I feel like I'm in Need for Speed every time I commute. It's like a club on wheels but I don't have people all up in my mix everywhichway. It makes me so happy. There aren't a lot of things doing that lately. I'm really getting tired of not having a "direction," so to speak, in life. Temp job is working out fine, but it's only for a month and everyone else I call, it's just, no one is hiring in the Civil Engineering field right now. I know something will work out. It has to eventually. I know. But it's still stressful and disheartening.

I think Radiohead, Chemical Bros, Baths, and The Field are good morning commute soundtracks. In the evenings it's Dancehall or Swedish House Mafia or something of that nature. Those dancehall mixes by Kalibandulu are absolutely mad. If you check out one Dancehall mix your whole life, get Jugglin' from Mars, Vol 3. This guy makes killer mixes.

That's all for now I guess. I got a new lens for $192. Quite possibly the best deal for an amazing lens ever. The 35mm f/1.8. Big thumbs up. Also got a printer because it's really annoying to go to Office Max to print everything. I've also cut white carbs out of my diet and started doing kettlebell swings everyday. I guess that's pretty fun. With that diet I've been cooking a lot and have discovered my two favorite additions to any meal: lemon or lime juice. Either one literally transforms anything into pure tastiness. Lemon Juice: The New Salt.

Oh. And I've been kind of sick. I've been doing this every morning and it's awesome. (huh. more.)

It's all down hill from here... till Monday. Then it's back uphill.

19 January 2011

Fun With Channels

Saw this on Photojojo the other day: Make a Color Mashup. Pretty cool looking and not that hard in Photoshop. The bowling example is pretty fun. Any three shots will work (preferably with all with the same framing).

18 January 2011

New From Iron & Wine

Not sure if you've heard this new song Walking Far From Home by Iron & Wine on his upcoming album. It's really fantastic. Kind of chorale-like with nice variations every verse/chorus. It sounds beautiful. What a great evolution of his sound.

Walking Far From Home by Iron & Wine

09 January 2011

Everybody (Always) Thinks They Are Right

I'm reading this "book" right now called Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far by a guy named Stefan Sagmeister. Jesse got it for me for Christmas (she's so creative). It's basically a collection of twenty "ideologies" he has learned and used throughout his career as a designer. The title above is one that currently stands out to me: Everybody (always) thinks they are right. It makes so many things make so much sense and still opens up more questions. Hitler, Obama, my neighbor, and me. We all do what we do because we think we are right. He writes...

"Every human conflict throughout history, every war and every dispute, traces back to this one sentence. I think I am right when I cross the street as the light is changing... The bus driver blaring his horn thinks he is right to blow me out of his way..."

The presentation of the book (it's actually ten or so little books) is really interesting. There are a bunch of openings on his face that let all the different color inserts show through.

Which brings us to... this thing with my neighbor. It's really bothering me. If you don't know, the past two friday nights (both around 7pm) my neighbor who I've never even formally met has come over (after banging on the wall between us) and told me (in an aggressive manner) that he's going to call the cops if I don't turn down the bass. He won't stop to talk with me about it, only at me. It looked a lot like this...

(and he wasn't discussing his passion for !!! with me)

I've spoken with and talked down so many angry/crazy/drunk/etc Jamaicans in the last two years. Even the maddest of them was my best friend after 3min of talking. Now I realize there are some cultural differences with JA and CO, but this guy won't stop for 20sec to talk to me, so he's perpetually angry about the situation. He will not calm down. We could work out hours of listening. He could explain how I'm really interrupting his unusual schedule by playing music at 7pm on a Friday night. Maybe his kids can't sleep. But I can't make any accommodations for him other than complying with his banging on the wall because he won't talk to me. I can't tell you how angry he is. When's the last time someone was so pissed that no matter how calmly and plainly you responded and asked questions they still ended every (declaratory) sentence with a huge exclamation point? It's so bizarre to me.

So do I reward his bad behavior by turning it down? Or do I just go on doing what I think is appropriate for the hour of the day and potentially talk to the cop who responds to the noise complaint? Quiet hours start at 10pm in our building. Would a cop even respond to a noise complaint at 6:30pm on a Friday?

I left him a note requesting an grown-up conversation because the reality is, this is going to happen again. I guess he thinks if he's mad enough it won't? INSANE. I think I was cordial in the note. I realize that no one wants to hear bass from a neighbor all the time, however, is it fair to completely restrict the volume of said neighbor's bass or is a compromise in order? Isn't that what 'quiet hours' are for? Because at a certain point what's more imposing on the other person: his hearing my bass or me not being able to ever listen to music (mildly) loudly during appropriate hours of the day? I would say it's equal any given day.

Jesse thinks that even if he'd come to me politely and maturely (I can't stress enough what an infant this guy comes off as) and asked me to turn it down I still would've had issues with it. I strongly disagree. While I'm certainly more used to constant noise than the average American (see Jamaica) I also realize how frustrating it is hearing a neighbor's music till 8am. I don't want any neighbor of mine to be unhappy because of something I'm doing. I'm thoroughly happy to accomodate someone who shows me even an average level of respect. But the way this guy comes across? It really brings out the Todd Burka in me. It makes me want to learn him a lesson that I feel is necessary for his personal growth. Hard. At all hours of the day.

So anyway, this whole issue has been stressing me out since last night. I mean, it's not like I'm arguing with someone on the internet. The guy lives next door. I guess I don't have to worry about him coming out and talking to me when I'm not in the mood. All I have to do is turn my music up and it's like an invitation to him. So next friday when he bangs on the wall what do I do? I could... (a) also bang on the wall and not turn the music down (b) not turn the music down and then when he comes over be extremely polite and tell him "No problem. Sorry about that. Won't happen again." and proceed to not turn music down or (c) comply and turn it down whenever he bangs on the wall (encouraging his behavior).

I don't know if I made the connection with the book very clear. The connection was that my neighbor thinks he's right (he's not, of course). We all do. I do.

What do you think? Stressin' me out.

07 January 2011

DJ Nate (Da Trak Genious)

I quite randomly came across this album several months ago. His name is DJ Nate and the album is Da Trak Genious. It's... really different. It's like this minimalist cut up hiphop/dance. I don't know how to describe it. But I really dug the album, but I had no idea if this guy was some 15yr kid or a legit DJ out there. Well, I came across his name in some Top 5 Artists You May Have Missed thing from SPIN magazine and he was right at the top. So I figured I should share it. It just such weird, cool, completely cut to pieces dance/r&b. I posted one of my favorites below. The horns in it are so cool.

DJ Nate - Footwurk Homicide

Another example of the weird awesomeness...
DJ Nate - A+ (MAYHEM)

04 January 2011

Two Thousand Ten (Mix) (Again)

04 JAN 2011: So my original post actually got taken down. Apparently just LINKING to files get's you a big copyright take down. However, Blogger was really nice. They just took the post back to draft stage. I thought that was pleasant of them. So anyway, I've left all the albums on there, just no links to them. Would you like to know more about the DMCA? Click here (digital copyright laws is actually pretty interesting stuff).

Man, a year is an insane amount of time. This year in particular seems long; like a day you woke up super early and it just seems to last forever (in a cool way). What a year. I can remember sitting on the beach or riding in a cramped taxi listening to so much of this. And some I just heard last month cementing it's place in my 'Denver time.' Music is a great way of marking time in my life. Music makes my heart and brain turn when sometimes nothing else can. It works like smells for me (like I remember where I was when I burned "that" album into my brain). It's just really fascinating stuff.

So I put together a weird mixtape. The weirdest? No, but all of the songs won't be for everyone. Some rap, dance, electronic, R&B, and Hip Hop. Some you may have heard on the radio a bunch and some you'd never hear anywhere else. Most of it from the latter part of the year since I've put earlier stuff on previous mixes. The only songs I left off (in this genre) were songs from these I've put links to below. The Robyn, Kanye West and Girl Talk albums were all too dense with awesomeness to single out one for a mix. I highly (highly) recommend listening to a sample below and getting the whole thing (one way or another*).

Please enjoy.

*All of the albums below I simply found by Googling "artist album mediafire." Please don't shoot the messenger. I just want to share. Obviously, I would encourage supporting any artist that adds enjoyment to your life. But if it means the difference in hearing it or not... well, I just really want you to hear it.

UPDATE: Well, Blogger didn't shoot me, but it did slap me on the wrist so I've removed all the links. 

Girl Talk [All Day]

Girl Talk - Let It Out

Robyn [Body Talk]

Dancing On My Own by robyn

Kanye West [My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy]

Dark Fantasy

All of the Lights

Power [Remix] (Ft. Jay-Z & Swizz Beatz)

Flying Lotus [Cosmogramma]

Flying Lotus - Do the Astral Plane

Four Tet [There is Love in You]

Four Tet - Angel Echoes

Star Slinger [Volume 1]

Star Slinger - Dutchie Courage

Star Slinger - Mornin'

Health [Disco2]

HEALTH - In Heat (Javelin Remix)

And there are just so many more...

Sleigh Bells [Treats]
Spoon [Transference]
Sufjan Stevens [Age of Adz] (is crazy but amazing)
Vampire [Weekend Contra]
Yeasayer [Odd Blood]
Pantha du [Prince Black Noise]
Delorean [Subiza]
Bonobo [Black Sands]

Man, can't even begin to list it all. What an amazing year of music.

(Also, don't miss some great Jamaican Dancehall Christmas music over on the PCBlog.)

What did I miss? What album changed your year?