Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The 30 (no 31) albums meme

I HATE memes. I really do, but I have to admit that being tagged by Derek on this particular subject got me thinking and... well here we are...

Think of 25 (sorry, I couldn't whittle down below 31 - even then I felt like I was cutting off a limb...) albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums, no matter what they were thought of musically, that shaped your world.

When you finish, tag 25 others, including me. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill. Get the idea now? Good.

  1. Star Wars Soundtrack - John Williams
    (probably the first album I bought on my own)
  2. The Dream Police - Cheap Trick
    (first rock album I bought)
  3. Back in Black - AC/DC
    (god, memories of middle school flooding back...)
  4. The Wall - Pink Floyd
    (ditto with above)
  5. Moving Pictures - Rush
    (move to London Ontario - grade 8 - I've owned this on two cassettes, an LP and CD ... now ripped into MP3 - high quality of course!)
  6. Thriller - Michael Jackson
    (didn't everyone pick this up back then?)
  7. Freeze Frame - J. Geils Band
    (Centerfold - grade 8 - puberty ... need I say more?)
  8. Synchronicity - Police
    (like, who DIDN'T own this album and wear it out?)
  9. 1984 - Van Halen
    (Eddie plays an Oberheim ... my connection with hard rock)
  10. 5150 - Van Halen
    (grade 13 and summer before university - plain and simple)
  11. Songs from the Big Chair - Tears for Fears
  12. (grade 11 written all over this in my head)
  13. Rio - Duran Duran
    ('k, I was dating a John Taylor groupie back then...)
  14. Dream into Action - Howard Jones
    (wore this album out - grade 12 and 13 through and through)
  15. Appetite for Destruction - Guns 'n Roses
    (I can still remember the night I first heard Sweet Child o' Mine on the car radio ... blew me away)
  16. Boston - Boston
    (got me through a summer job)
  17. Pyromania - Def Leppard
    (they hit it big with this one, but still had that pent-up energy - can still remember playing this over and over at a pool I worked at - must have driven the regulars nuts)
  18. Scenes from a Memory - Dream Theater
    (still cannot get enough of this work - priceless)
  19. Emerson, Lake and Powell - Emerson, Lake and Powell
    (no, not Palmer ... Powell - remember seeing the video on MuchMusic with Keith surrounded by 20 keyboards ... woah, that guy is wild, I have GOT to get this album)
  20. 90125 - Yes
    (my first exposure to Yes ... it all went downhill after this - I've lost count of how many albums I have from them!)
  21. Pornograffitti - Extreme
    (got me through a summer clerk desk job...)
  22. Welcome Interstate Managers - Fountains of Wayne
    (there are still easter eggs and ear candy I find in this album - pop songwriting at its' best)
  23. So - Peter Gabriel
    (remember waiting to see what "Big Time" would look like when released on MuchMusic)
  24. Version 2.0 - Garbage
    (the model of late '90's pop sound)
  25. Genesis - Genesis
    (probably their peak with just the trio)
  26. Flying in a Blue Dream - Joe Satriani
    (when Joe actually started to sing - such diversity through this album)
  27. Metallica - Metallica
    (couldn't get enough of this CD)
  28. Dream of the Blue Turtles - Sting
    (you either hated the new sound or you loved it ... stuck with me)
  29. Bridges Over Borders - Spoons
    (their "rock" / change of direction album post Nile Rogers - grade 12/13 through and through - Catherine can't believe I have this in iTunes too!)
  30. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy - Sarah McLachlan
    (I think this was her peak - so far - she's just hitting what's now become her monotonous sound, but there are still things from days of Solace and Touch)
  31. Commitments Soundtrack - The Commitments
    (Catherine and I spent a lot of Sunday mornings listening to this)
  32. Sleepless in Seattle Soundtrack - Various
    (When I Fall in Love - NKC version - was what Catherine and I chose for our 1st dance tune - listened to this album pre-wedding almost every day)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Facebook & "My" Stuff

There's been a lot of hullaballoo about the recent update of Facebook's Terms of Service legalese. This was brought to my attention a couple of days ago by a good friend who has since closed out her account on the site.

Her departure from Facebook will definitely be missed as she had posted a lot of interesting mental fodder that was enjoyable, albeit (as she put it) non-productive, time online.

The uproar is appearing in a lot of different places - people ranting over their expectations of privacy and ownership of content being violated.

Now, Facebook has backpedaled and gone back to its' original terms of service. Mark Zuckerburg posted this earlier today. Now, the universe has righted itself after the voice of the people made a big roar - everyone is safe now... Everyone owns and controls their online content yet again.

Not to be cynical, but ... DUH - come on people!!!

I don't know about other folks out there, but my online mantra is:

Anything I put online can NEVER be guaranteed to remain in my control.

Any email, blog post, twitter, forum comment, music clip, photo or movie I, in one way or another, move from my hardware onto the Internet - I consider it to be out of my control.

Seems like common sense to me.

Technology has made the dissemination and consumption of information so much easier than it used to be. Back in the olden days, when I was a kid, plagarizing a book for that school assignment involved actually hand-writing, word-for-word the text from a page. Having a copy of your friends' AC/DC album involved actually recording, in real time, the entire album to tape.

These days, copying, manipulating and/or forwarding on someone elses' intellectual property takes a matter of seconds.

It's the Internet ... if it's out there, I consider it to be out of my control - no matter what the terms of service are.

The Facebook kerfuffle took a more ominous tone in that people were up in arms about a clause from their revised TOS that stated:
The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other.
(There - I actually just copied that in a matter of a second... ha!)

I, personally, was not surprised nor offended by this. I'm not paying for my use of Facebook (and I don't consider the ads on the right-hand side of the Facebook interface - which I have long since ignored - to be an "inconvenient" form of payment), so why would I trust or even expect them to look after my personal interests?

I don't know about other people, but I consider it to be a bit naive to think otherwise.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Come on, stop it... it's embarrassing

Every so often, when there's nothing else to do or watch later in the evening, I'll watch the CBC's "The National". There's a segment that our eloquent host, Peter Mansbridge brings up every now and then, a segment called "Your Turn". It's a very small bit where he'll read off a couple of comments from viewers who have written in about segments aired on previous episodes.

I've asked myself, on a few occassions: "Who actually spends the time to write in?"

Well, I found out who - I actually went to the site, digged up the submit form and wrote in. Here's what I wrote:

"Please stop playing to the insecure, whining Canadian stereotype. It's really quite embarrassing.

Being a proud Canadian who lived in the United States for 9 years, I can tell you that yes, Americans do like us, and there are some who admire our way of life. We're just not at the top of their minds all the time... nor should we expect to be.

The Canadian media (that includes you, Peter and Rex), needs to get over the fact that the United States does not share your exaggerated sense of self-importance. Take a cue from the at-issue panel last evening who, at the least, all seemed to view the agenda for the Obama visit with rational eyes rather than snubs to petty, jealous delusions of grandeur."

What prompted this you ask?

Last evening, the burr in Peter's bonnet was the newly released schedule of Barak Obama's visit to Canada on February 19th. With a few peppered references to Canadians being "snubbed", the main thrust of the commentary for the evening wasn't the fact that this is Obama's first foreign visit as President nor that this could be a great opportunity to put our best foot forward with a new administration, but rather the fact that the visit is for less than 6 hours without {gasp} any expected pomp and circumstance.

The injustice!

The travesty!

He's not even going to address Parliament, stay for a state dinner or even bring Michelle and the kids along!

How rude!

{rolling eyes}

It was Rex Murphy's rant that put it over the edge for me. I hate to generalize, but why is it that Canadians (actually, it's mostly the Canadian media) have entitlement issues when it comes to the United States and Americans? There always seems to be some sort of cup-is-half-empty mentality when it comes to any interaction between our two countries. There's some sort of misplaced sense that Canada and Canadians are not much more important and proper than our southern neighbours.

A decade ago, this didn't really bother me, but after living amongst our American neighbours for a few years, I got a good chance to see Canada from an outside point of view. Don't get me wrong, I love being Canadian and am the first to admit I'm proud of the country I call home, but comments like the kind Rex Murphy made make our country look like a spoiled little brat.

I can not, for the life of me, see any high horse other Canadians seem to feel they are perched on. Please get down, you look stupid up there.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Turning Tables

I know, I know, it's been a while since my last post...

I've been frickin' busy already!!!

Ever since the first week of this year, I've been teaching a class at the Art Institute in Vancouver. I'm teaching second quarter music theory.

I have to admit, I'm actually quite enjoying it. It's taking up a lot of my time preparing, but it seems as though everything is going well. The guys (and 1 gal) in my classes are a great bunch - all seem to be quite receptive and interested in the topic. Well, as interested in theory as you can get.

The quiz I popped a couple weeks ago yielded some great results - either it was too easy, they all cheated, or I'm actually doing a great job. I'm holding out for the last option!

While it's going well, there is a bit of "weirdness" in the position. There's that student-teacher wall that although I remember being there as a student, it took me a bit off-guard as I wasn't really expecting it.

You know, it's that being-friendly-but-not-"friendly" kind of thing. Being in a position of "authority" isn't really new to me - I've been a dad for ... almost 9 years now, and I did do the management thing, but this is different somehow.

There's those furtive glances when I walk past students in the hall, or that silence or quieter voices as I pass a group from class. It's not like I'm itching to be "one of the gang" and all that, it's just that I never really thought about being on "this side" of the coin.

I'm just taking it all in and chalking it up as one more of my experiences in my life.