Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A cold swim

I guess I will write about a little incident that happened this weekend so years from now I can reflect and maybe laugh a little.
Since Wah-Wah's birthday in Aug, I have discovered the joys of kayaking. With all the rivers and lakes around here, Oregon has plenty of places to kayak. I have found kayaking to be a very relaxing hobby.
Recently, I bought a hard shell kayak that I really wanted to use before the rainy season sets in around here. Last Saturday seemed like everything was going to fall into place. I just got a roof rack for the car installed and the skies were clear. So I took my new kayak down to the Williamette River (this is the main river that runs through Portland). As I was out on the water, I noticed that the river changed drastically from earlier in the year. First, the water level was much higher and there was much more debris in the water (due to all the recent rain we've had).
I ended up paddling pass Ross Island and into downtown Portland before I decided it was time to head back. Little did I realize that going back was going to be against a tough current. By the time I passed Ross Island again, I was exhausted. Next thing I know, I hit a current that started to turn the kayak side ways and I was in the water. I didn't see that coming.
Once a kayak flips, you can't get back in without taking it to land. With all the water, in the boat, I was lucky my kayak didn't totally sink.
Anyway, I was in the water for about 10 mins. I have to say that the water was pretty chilly. It was at least in the 40's. Thank God a boat came by and tossed me a line and then pulled me and my kayak to shore. They gave me a towel and said I better take off my wet clothes before I catch hypothermia. I told them I'd rather catch hypothermia before I get undressed in front of everyone. They also led me use their cell phone to call Wah-Wah and bring me some dry clothes.
Amazingly, my cell phone still works after being in the water for so long. Unfortunately, my ipod wasn't as lucky (at least I had an excuse to go buy a newer one). I also noticed my body has been pretty sore for a few days. I guess it was from all the treading water.
I've learned a few things from this experience. First, never bring electric devices on a kayak. Second, stay off the water till the summer. Lastly, God was watching over me that day.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Oct. Music

Oct was a great month for music. 9 new albums! Kind of made up for all those months of nothing.

Snow Patrol A Hundred Million Suns My favorite new album this month comes from Snow Patrol. A couple of years ago, they released a great album Eyes Open which was my favorite of that year. I thought that would be a hard album for them to top, but turns out they did with this release. Recorded out in the remote Irish country side and in downtown Berlin, the album blends the two worlds together nicely, by offering both deep thought and chaos. Lots of "ready for radio" tunes that fans from their past couple of albums will love.

Jesus and Mary Chain The Power of Negative Thinking I love that title. Jesus and Mary Chain were one of the coolest bands ever. They practically invented "noise rock"
and turned pure feedback into song. Best of all was their "I don't give a crap attitude." They eventually broke up about a decade ago and have slowly begun to reemerge. The 88 songs here are all B-sides and outtakes from their years together. Some of the songs are unnecessary and can be found on some of their imports, other songs are just crap and should remain unheard. The third disc here has most of the unreleased gems that I haven't heard before and are worth owning. Mary Chain fans would love it.

Starflyer 59 Dial M Another great album this month was from Jason "Can't fail" Martin. Jason has been on a roll lately putting out great album after great album. Dial M continues to blow away expectations. Most of the songs here have been on his "vinyl only" Ghost of the Future series, but more polished up. After listening, it's hard to believe that Starflyer isn't selling out stadiums.

Keane Perfect Symmetry Like Snow Patrol, Keane has often been called a "knock off" Coldplay band, but the two bands are moving in different directions lately. The songs here are a little retro 80's sounding. Keane really knows how to write some catchy tunes which they continue, just with a more retro sound. Still very grand sounding like most of Keane's albums, just a little different direction.

Mowgai The Hawk Is Howling Yes, that is a eagle on the cover, not a hawk. I have to admit, that after seeing them live a few years ago, I've kind of lost interest in this post rock band. Their latest album, peaked my interest in them again. This is a vast improvement from their last album, Mr. Beast. Like all Mogwai albums, this is filled with songs that spiral upwards, before exploding at the climax of the composition, before droning out with a guitar. Like always, cool names for songs: "I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead" and "I Love You, I'm Going To Blow Up Your School".

The New Frontiers Mending Bought this album on a whim, when I heard some of it on Facebook. Sort of an appealing middle America- post Coldplay band would best describe them. Unfortunately, there will be no follow up, since the band just quit.

The Cure 4:13 Dream It is always a big deal to me when the Cure put out a new album. The Cure were one of the first bands I ever got into, and are probably in my top 5 favorite bands of all time. After a long break, the Cure returned this year with a new marketing tactic- releasing a new song every month for half a year. I found this tactic kind of annoying by teasing the fan with samples of the album way before it's release. This is more up tempo than anything they have ever done. The songs are there, but over all it is not as focused as their best albums.

Oasis Dig Out Your Soul I really don't know why I still get their albums. Oasis is way past their heyday, and frankly, they are a bunch of jerks. I guess I'm still living in the past, when Oasis were a bunch of jerks, but they at least had really good music. Oasis doesn't do anything new on Dig Out Your Soul but they at least revisit some of their finest moments on a couple of the songs here. It is better than I expected.

The Radio Dept. Lesser Matters A few months ago, I really started to get into this band, and find their lo-fi, fuzzed out, brand of indie rock genius. Not very popular around the states, so I've had to resort to buying everything off itunes. This is their first album. Really relaxing to listen to.