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April 30, 2004

Not even for free...

Here's what I mean when I say that RIAA music is crap:

Out of the seven FREE songs that I've accumulated over the past few months (no, I don't drink much Pepsi), here are the songs I went with:

  1. Becky Baeling - Heaven is a Place on Earth
  2. Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King soundtrack) - The White Tree
  3. Shakira - Te Aviso, Te Anuncio (Tango)
  4. Los Lobos - La Bamba
  5. The Bangles - I Will Take Care of You
  6. The Bangles - Manic Monday (Acoustic)
  7. DJ Company - Forever Young

Note that three of these are remakes of old material, one of them is old material, one of them is a song from a film score, which leaves two songs that were made in the last year or two. One of them is by The Bangles, whose song I chose off of their new release (bet you didn't even know they had a new release, since the record companies don't give a damn). The other is Shakira, one of the very few "new" artists I like.

I mean, c'mon folks. If I'm having this much trouble finding good music for FREE, what do you expect when you charge me as much for a one hour album of songs as I pay for a two and a half hour DVD? Please stop insulting my intelligence.

PGP Signed Entry

April 27, 2004

These are Days

Honestly, I do not recall a time in my life when I was as happy as I am now.

Despite all the problems in the world, and the fact that I feel we are engaged in an election this year which will determine whether the world is destroyed in the next half-century (Cheney/Bush) or whether we usher in the first steps toward a peaceful, prosperous, participatory world (Kerry/Anybody but Bush), I am happy and hopeful.

Through the past year's process of simplification, I've reached a point where I have everything I need, and aren't tempted by many material persuits. I've been doing a great deal of reading, which is a wonderful return to a pastime I've long neglected. I have gotten back into music, but not popular music, which I continue to believe has outlived its appeal, but classical music. I am proof that the record labels' loss of revenue is not because people are pirating the music, but because they aren't putting out anything worth buying. Since I got back into classical, I've spent quite a bit of money on music. Until then, I had purchased maybe two albums in the past year. The vast, vast majority of people are honest people who just want to know that their money is going into something that is worth what they're paying for it. They're just voting with their dollars. It's capitalism at work, and if the record execs were true capitalists they'd change their ways. But they're not, they're greedy oligarchs with connections that they're trying to pull instead of taking the hard road: lower the prices and change their sadly outdated business model. Heh, but enough bashing on the record industry. That's not even what this entry is about... it just gives me so much pleasure to stoke that fire.

I'm enjoying new restaurants, travel, and the wonder of new people all over again. I'm writing again! I mean, when was the last time I wrote on a regular basis? High school! But the past year I've gradually gotten myself into it more and more, and now I'm part of a little group of amateur writers who write weekly and critique each others' works. It's great.

I've been patronizing mom and pop shops. I go out of my way to buy organic groceries. I recycle. When I drive, I aim to maximize three things: fuel economy, time efficiency, and safety, and in a car that is EPA rated at 23/29, I average 28.4 miles per gallon (over the past 4000 miles). And I'm proud of it, and so is my wallet.

I'm healthy... just had my dental checkup and no cavities (though I need to change my floss technique to address some sensitive gums). I'm wealthy, at least enough to bring me happiness.

And probably most importantly, I am happy with who am I right now. With what I'm doing right now. With where am I right now. I don't have to look at the horizon and wish for anything. I don't have to wish I was somewhere else. I don't have to think there's something more I need to do or be.

It's just life. And I'm living it. And loving it. These are the days.

PGP Signed Entry

April 11, 2004

Goodbye, Moto...

...and thank you, for three years of continuous faithful service.

I retired my Motorola Timeport yesterday, after 26,105 minutes of talk time. That's 435 hours and five minutes I've spent on that phone since 2001. In this age of free/very cheap phones and constant innovation, it was second only to my Handspring Visor for "hi-tech" gizmo longevity among my stuff. For example, I've had four computers in that same span of time (two still current, of course), three cars (one current), and heck, even two rice cookers!

Yesterday, in one fell swoop, I replaced them both with one package that is sleeker and smaller than either one before. Yup, picked up the Samsung i500 Palm-powered smartphone yesterday.

This is my first non-Motorola mobile phone, so I feel a little bad for dissin' Moto. But the combination of Palm (which literally runs my professional life) and the phone was absolutely irresistable. Having my palm with me all the time opens up a lot of possibilities, and I'm excited. So far, everything's lived up to expectation (and at $400 after rebate, you better believe those expectations are in the stratosphere).

PGP Signed Entry

April 7, 2004

Depresso Fest

I don't know why I do this to myself... but a couple days ago I started reading "A Genius in the Family" by Hilary du Pré and Piers du Pré. The book is a gripping personal reflection on the life of their sister, Jacqueline.

I saw the movie "Hilary and Jackie" on the plane a few years ago, and while I was moved by it, I had not been interested in classical music in a long time. Well, I recently got back into classical and decided to pick up the book while browsing the moving sale of a bookstore, mainly because I had a little bit of interest in the subject and knew a little bit about her story and because the book could be had on the cheap.

My latest few books have all had a somewhat dark, if not downright depressing, mood to them. Perhaps it's a balance of psyche thing, since all other aspects of my life are fairly happy these days. But this book is just so hard to read. And worse, try reading it with her Elgar Cello Concerto playing in the background. It is impossible not to be driven to tears.

Still, I think my next book has to be about complete idiocy or low-lifes. Maybe a book about spammers. I need to feel superior, and reading about prodigies and geniuses isn't helping... heh.

PGP Signed Entry