Saturday, April 19, 2008

My videos on my ipod part 1

Since I got my video ipod last year, I don't know how I ever lived without it. It's handy if you just got a few minutes to kill or several hours on a plane. I've put a few of the kids videos on that keep them entertained on long car trips, but I've also put some of my favorite music videos. Here is some of the music videos that I have downloaded from itunes:

Depeche Mode Enjoy the Silence My favorite DM song features a pretty cool vibe video to go with it. Lead singer Dave Gahan dresses up like a king and walks to distant locations with a beach chair to sit and enjoy the silence.

U2 Window in the Skies A song from their last singles album, the video features cut out images of the band in their early days. It's a great video, but I kind of prefer the other version (which is not available on itunes) of everyone from the Beatles to Radiohead singing the chorus of the song.

U2 Original Of Species A beautiful digital video mixed with images from the band. The song is a message to a unborn child and with the digital effects capture the beauty, wonder, and innocence of new life. This video really hit home a few weeks ago when some friends of ours from church lost their baby an hour after birth.

U2 Where the Streets Have No Name This video captures what rock and roll is about--"civil disobedience" as Bono would put it, and that's just what they did back in 1987. When most music videos where about chicks and cars, U2 showed how music can still move people. This video captures an unrehearsed performance of U2 playing on a roof top to downtown LA. Of course, the police pulled the plug, but not before thousands turned out for a free concert.
U2 The Sweetest Thing U2 show a little humor in this one as Bono attempts an apology to his wife (who makes a 2 second cameo). This song was originally a b-side off the Joshua Tree (1987), but the band discovered it's potential a decade later and reworked to a bittersweet song. Bono originally wrote the song for his wife for missing her birthday. The video shows him making up for that mistake by offering her everything from a boy band, to shirtless firemen, to a marching band, to a giant heart in the sky.

Suede Metal Mickey Suede was one of my favorite bands of all time. They exploded onto the British music scene with what I would describe as "trash, gender bending, glam rock, David Bowieque"music. I found their image fascinating and musically being hopelessly romantic. This was one of their first videos about a girl working as butcher by day, and a stripper by night.

Suede Trash This is one of my favorite singles of all time. Brit pop at it's best. When I had first heard this song, I had all but given up on Suede. After all, the lead guitarist and co song writer had left, and the band replaced him with a 17 year old guitarist. The song captures life being young, poor, and in love.

Sigur Ros Hoppipolla I love Sigur Ros videos. Their music is a perfect backdrop to their videos. Here, Sigur Ros celebrate age and wisdom with a group of seniors running around town, playing pranks, and fighting like children playing pirates. It will make you feel like a child again.

Sigur Ros Glosoli Another celebration of age, only this time centered around a group of children in the Icelandic landscape. The finale shows the children running off a cliff, only to fly off into the distance. Original.

REM Leaving New York Another one of my favorite songs of all time, about how hard it is to leave a place (or city) that you love. The video features Michael Stipe (lead singer) wondering around an airport reflecting on if he wants to leave. REM loves New York.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Trip out to Eastern Oregon #2

We spent this last weekend exploring parts of Eastern Oregon that we missed last year on our first visit. Wah-Wah and I were both feeling like we needed a break from the daily grind, so we headed out back east.
Eastern Oregon is very different from Portland and the coast. It's referred to as the high desert. The area gets about a quarter of the rain, that Portland and the Cascades gets. It is much more isolated and less trees. As a result, ranches pop up everywhere.

After Woogy finished his T-ball game on Saturday, we headed out of Portland through the Columbia River Gorge and stopped at a natural preserve (I can't remember the name of it, Wah-Wah can I'm sure). I was promised fields of wild flowers but had to settle with small patches of them. Still, I thought it was sweet to watch my little girl pick some.

After stopping at White River waterfalls (which we saw last year), we headed out towards John Day National Monument, which are fossil beds spread out over three areas. We stayed the night at this bed and breakfast in a small town called Fossil. Fossil is a very small town and kind of depressing. Cell phones were no use. This bed and breakfast was nearly the only place to stay in town. I guess it was alright, but Wah-Wah and I stayed at a much nicer bed and breakfast in Weston MO. The kids seemed to enjoy it and the breakfast was pretty good.

After leaving Fossil the next day, we headed out to our first John Day site called Sheep rock. This area reminded me of the Badlands in South Dakota that I visited when I was much younger. The hike we went on had some fossils on display throughout the trail. No dinosaur fossils, but all early "horse like "mammals use to inhabit the area.

After visiting Sheep rock, it was off to the Painted Hills (the second John Day fossil site). They were pretty impressive to see shades of red throughout these hills. Not a lot of other people around the area, so I really enjoyed the solace.

Here was a trail that went around a red hill. It was like walking around on Mars.

We spent the night at a regular hotel this time in a town called Prineville. After leaving there we headed out to Smith Rock State Park. We found this to be a spectacular park, but hard to find since there are not a lot of signs around. We ended up asking this grizzled old rancher for directions. He was pretty grizzled and reminded me of Curly from "City Slickers."I wanted to ask him what was the secret of life. I envisioned him saying "One thing." Anyway, this is the view from the other side of the canyon. Smith Rock is one of the premier rock climbing areas. Unfortunately, I've never had any desire to go rock climbing, so I settled with a nice hike down by the river.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Woogy's first game

It seems odd that despite the steady rain, baseball season is pretty popular around Portland. A few weeks ago I decided to sign Woogy up for T-ball in a neighborhood league. He seemed more excited about playing T-ball than soccer, so I thought it was worth a try.
The kids named the team "The Cheetahs". Basically, if the kids learn the rules of baseball and have fun, that is all that matters.
I've been taking Woogy outside and teaching him how to catch and throw. He does alright and is throwing the ball in the right direction. He's actually a pretty good hitter.
Today was our first game in a long season (16 games). No really keeps score, and all the kids get up to bat. Woogy did pretty good today and scored two runs (I was counting). Even more importantly, he was able to keep focus on the game and not lose interest. We played for about an hour before it was over. That was enough for these kids. Over all, I was pretty proud of him.
I wish they had T-ball when I was growing up. I had to wait till I to wait till I was in fourth grade before I started playing. I remember I wasn't a hitter. I got up and hoped I got walked.

Here's Woogy at his first time up at bat. It was a single base hit.
Woogy at the pitcher's mount (he doesn't actually pitch). He enjoys be at the center of the action, but he really wants to player catcher because of the cool gear.

Woogy at first base. He was one of the few kids that ran when the ball was hit.

Since Wah-Wah has the flu, I took the kids to the Shriners circus tonight. This was their first circus and they both loved it.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

March Music

After a slow start this year, music has been picking up this month. Got to get some new releases to get from REM and Foxglove Hunt, but here's what I picked up in March:

Muse Haarp When I first heard Muse, I thought what everyone else does: another "Radiohead sounding band", but as the band has grown in popularity, it's clear they are forging their own direction in progressive rock, drawing more influence from Queen mixed with some Jeff Buckley vocal style. Haarp is their second live album coming from their tour of Black Holes and Revelations (which is a great album). Sadly, I've never seen Muse live, which I hear is an experience. Anyway, Muse rocks and their songs sound great live. All their big hits are here.

Tango Alpha Tango Rebel Sons of Cowboys A friend of mine from Imago, Aaron and his brother are the founding members of this band. Aaron is a pretty talented singer and musician that has had several bands dating way back. When he was in a band called the Carolines, he got to open for The Presidents Of the United States. The Carolines had a pretty big local following before they split. Aaron's brother Nate, wanted to stay in music, so he and Aaron got together and started writing songs. The band is rounded out by Nate's wife on bass and a college friend on drums. I got to see them perform last month before they released their ep and was pretty impressed with their song writing. I ended downloading their album off itunes.

Counting Crows Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings I got this album primarily because of my loyalty to Counting Crows. It is their first album in over 6 years. I can't say I missed them terribly, but I did want to hear their new material. The concept of the album was originally suppose to be two eps. Saturday Nights was suppose to be the hard rocking album with Sunday Mornings a more acoustic somber ep. I guess the first half of the album is more up tempo, but not much to make it sound like two eps put together. Over all, it's alright, but not their best outing. I'm more curious on how lead singer Adam Duritz,deals with his clinical depression through song writing.

Moby Last Night Another concept album about going out to the clubs on Saturday night and the dealing with the morning after. Moby took some criticism from his last album Hotel because he lost track of his techno and club roots. Personally, I loved Hotel and admired him for trying something different. I thought Hotel was beautiful with it's adoring love songs. Last Night returns Moby to what his critics wanted--a techno album that sounds like it is from the mid 90's. Personally, I found it a pretty strong album, but noticed Moby doesn't sing at all on this album. Vocals are done with his usual "black gospel voice" lady he brings in on every album.

Minipop A New Hope A recommendation from A Forest last month that I found very impressive. I don't know why it was named after a "Star Wars" movie, but I'm sure the band has their reasons. This album is good old shoegazing the way shoegazing was meant to be--heavy swirling guitars, with a light female ethereal voice. It's like the two were meant to be together like peanut butter and jelly. No complaints here, I love it.

The Brother Kite Waiting for the Time to Be Right Another recommendation from A Forest that I was impressed with. I was playing this album at work and someone asked if it was Band Of Horses. At first I didn't draw that comparison, but then I thought about it and had to agree that The Brother Kite does sound a little like Band Of Horses but with heavier guitar. I still like it, so if you like Band of Horses, check it out.