Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Earthquake!

After living down here for nearly five years, I've felt my first California earthquake.

5.6 Earthquake Hits Northern California

A magnitude-5.6 earthquake shook the San Francisco Bay area Tuesday night.

The moderate temblor struck shortly after 8 p.m., about 9 miles northeast of San Jose, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Residents reported feeling the quake, which lasted about a minute, as far east as Sacramento and as far north as Sonoma.
I felt it in Stockton for, oh, about 30-60 seconds. But it seemed like a few minutes at the time.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Joshua Tree 2007

http://joshuatree.u2.com/

Twenty years after its original release, The Joshua Tree has been remastered for release in a series of special formats. As well as a fourteen track bonus-CD of b-sides and rarities, the 2007 release features a live concert DVD from Paris in 1987, liner notes from band and producers and previously unseen photos in a limited edition booklet.
I'm too new of a U2 fan to remember this album's original release. But its songs are undiminished and the album is worth the special treatment. This remastered anniversary release will have to tide me over until they release a new album (2008?) and then I can look forward to the remastered Achtung Baby! in 2011.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wallace and Gromit news

A new Wallace and Gromit short film is now in the works (think "The Wrong Trousers and "A Close Shave"). Visit www.wallaceandgromit.com to watch a video interview of Nick Park talking about the new film. Plus, you can enter a contest to win 2 tickets to the premiere.

Interesting Comment

You probably missed this interesting comment because it was posted on Oct. 10 to an entry dated July 7 (thus long gone from the main page)

I am one of 200 volunteers who appeared in the winning Springfield Vermont video. After we helped our local Chamber of Commerce win the contest, they turned their backs on us. We should have been the first in town to be invited to view the world premiere of The Simpsons Movie but instead we were kept off the invitation list so the more elite members of the community could all be invited instead. And then not even a word of thanks or mention of us in the public ceremony outside the theater. Read more and view our famous winning video now at our new website: The Simpsons Springfield Vermont

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Speak, Optimus!

Create and send a personalized message from Optimus Prime by visiting
optimus.transformersmovie.com

And by 'from Optimus Prime,' that means it is spoken by Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime. Yes, it's all to promote sales of the Transformers DVD (and HD-DVD) but it's pretty darn fun. Here, listen...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Annie Lennox at Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium

We had a very enjoyable evening last night on San Francisco's Nob Hill. Yeah, it was expensive, what with the $40 for parking, but it was worth it to not park 10 blocks away and walk uphill there and back. And though our seats were only a few rows from the back, we were probably only 50 feet away from the front of the stage. So it was a very intimate, classy venue.

She opened the show with "No More I Love You's," which is not a favorite of mine and, frankly, from her least interesting album. But I recognize it was a pretty big hit for her. I still hear it occasionally in malls and such. Thankfully, it was the only song from that album she performed that night.

She followed it with a few more hits from past albums ("Little Bird," "Walking on Broken Glass," "Pavement Cracks"). Hmmm, four songs into the concert and nothing from the newest album, Songs of Mass Destruction? Maybe the biggest surprise of the show was that she only performed three songs from her just-released effort ("Dark Road," "Smithereens," "Sing"). With most artists, listening to less of their newest work is preferable, but her new album is quite good.

Competing for biggest surprise of the show was how many Eurythmics songs she performed ("Here Comes The Rain Again," "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves," "There Must Be An Angel," "Thorn in My Side," "Sweet Dreams"). A welcome surprise. Clips from the old videos (which I was largely unfamiliar with) played in slow motion on a large screen in the back.

That video screen was also used to play a short movie about her trip to Africa two years ago and the efforts she is involved with now to prevent HIV transmission from mothers to children. (For more information, visit annielennoxsing.com) That type of thing can be preachy and uncomfortable, but the mission can't be disputed and the audience was supportive. Despite that, she was largely unable to get the crowd to sing along with "Sing" directly following that. Bono makes this stuff look easier than it is.

The highlight of the show for me was hearing my favorites from her original solo effort, Diva, such as "Why" and "Cold." It only took me 15 years.

Monday, October 08, 2007

And now for news on another solo artist from a popular '80s band who only releases new albums once in a long while...

Gabriel juggling new album with array of projects

Peter Gabriel has resumed work on his next studio album while juggling an array of other projects.

"There are some (new) things," he told Billboard last Friday in New York. "I've been very good at distraction with some charitable things and some Internet things. But I'm now back in writing mode and I'm very much enjoying that."

The Shins and Shaky Hands


Megan and I saw The Shins Friday at UC Berkeley's cool (figuratively and literally) Greek Theatre. It was a good concert, but they somehow managed to not play the one song from their latest album that is my favorite ("Red Rabbits").


The opening act was the band Shaky Hands, also from Portland. I've been surprised at how good the opening acts have been at most of the concerts we've seen in the past year (with the exception of the Morrissey concert).

Now that Blogger supports embedded video, here's a (very) short movie clip I captured with our digital camera:

video

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Lame Show: Episode 20

It's probably the best-sounding episode of the podcast we've ever done, thanks to Noah's new headset microphone.

Sounds Good

Music takes center stage in this episode, as Eddie & Noah (with his spiffy, new mic) discuss Microsoft's new Zune models, Amazon's new MP3 downloads, and the first person to take the record companies all the way to trial over illegal music downloading.

Plus, UC Berkeley puts lectures on YouTube, Ask makes new TV commercials and eBay admits its purchase of Skype was a big waste of money.

Lame List nominations include those complaining about the latest iPhone update and the price cut. Picks of the Week include new albums from Annie Lennox and Radiohead.

The truly burning questions are asked: Will those who download music for free be willing to help pay someone else's legal bills? What products could be advertised during online physics lectures? Can owning an iPhone help you get a date?
Episode 20.m4a (1:07:01)

The Lame Show on iTunes

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Kidz Bop their way into live arena

The Kidz Bop World Tour will feature six kids and two young adult lead singers performing with a four-piece rock band in theaters and small arenas. The concerts will also spotlight local talent in each town and offer contests, song-voting and other interactive events, according to a press release.
Surely this is the second sign of the apocalypse. I noticed that most of the tour locations so far are in Iowa, Michigan and Ohio. Does that say something about those states? I'm not certain, just asking.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Radiohead fans can pick their price for new album

Radiohead will release a new studio album Oct. 10, and allow fans to pick their own price when ordering the digital-download version of the album, which will be titled "In Rainbows."
But will the digital download be MP3 or some proprietary format like Windows Media?