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A penny for your thoughts indeed. Around here that would be a raise.

What makes a good blog? I think thematic consistency, a little exhibitionism, and honest writing. I can promise you the last one.

Most of my posts seem to be about music or politics. Some of them are funny. But all of them would love to hear a comment from you.

Oh-- and please welcome God to the APW team. We're thrilled and humbled to serve as His earthly vessel.

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Location: NYC

I was born at a relatively young age. Growing up consumed the better part of my childhood. As a young man I chased a lot of girls. But they kept getting away. Then I got older and even slower, so I got married. I've lived in New York City almost since before I moved here. I summer in Manhattan, which is like New York City, but with more humidity.

Here's me, without baby, thinking big thoughts. (Actually, what I'm thinking is, "Hey, these aren't Pringles!") I think I look better with baby.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

(pre-ramble) Why do I blog? It’s a question I never really address here. It turns out, I don’t really like talking about myself all that much. People who know me are often surprised by that observation, because make no mistake; I sure do like to talk. But I’m not a guy who’ll talk your ear off at a party about me, me, me. In fact, the night my wife fell in love with me (date two if you’re counting, before she'd even seen-- well, just never you mind what she hadn't seen), I’m pretty sure that the following exchange did it. (Note that we were sitting one table over from a guy who was also on a date, and he was droning on and on about the tedious minutae of whatever inane middle management job it was he had.)

Future wife: "You seem troubled."

Me: "Its nothing. Just work stuff."

Future wife: “That's OK. Tell me about it.”

Me: “You know, I would-- but I’m afraid that I’d end up sounding like (gesture with head) THAT guy.”

If you read blogs, you know that about 60% of the blogosphere is self-examination. (The rest is evenly split between polarized political rants, born-again testimony, and obsessive hobbyists. In that way, blogs are a lot like cable TV.) And the self-examination runs the gamut, from the inane drivel of the high school diarist, all the way up to some I’d call sheer artistry (with, of course, way more of the former.) So what is this blog? Well, not a lot of self examination. There’s politics, and even though my politics are pretty clear, I don’t think this is a political blog. There’s lots of music, but it isn’t a music blog. Sometimes I think I should split off into two blogs; a political one and a music one. And heck, God writes for us, but it isn’t even a religious blog (the Lord, as we are continually reminded, works in mysterious ways.)

I guess the simple reason for this blog is, I like to write. And I write about the same stuff that I think about (and talk about.)

Which is all wholly unnecessary, but it brings us to what I feel like writing about today.

(ramble) Remember Napster? Remember 1999, when you could go online and download any track off any album ever recorded, and it was free, and there was nothing anyone could do about it? The music industry is still reeling from it. I remember our nephew, who was in high school at the time, telling us that kids in school would be selling, say, the entire R.E.M catalog on a CD-R in the cafeteria for $5. A generation of kids grew up thinking music was something that should be free, oblivious to the visceral, physical joys of the record store. I remember when MTV started, and my then-12-year-old sister asked me if I'd seen the new song by so-and-so. And I thought, to my sister, a song was going to be something you see, not something you hear. Today, a song is something you download. A lot of people think I'm mad for having those cabinets full of CDs (not to mention the vinyl LPs in storage.)

I just signed up for a seven-day trial of the new Napster. And I’m going to keep it. I think is about $10 a month for the service, plus whatever you buy; but I won’t buy anything.

So what does that $10 buy you? Basically, the new Napster model is one wherein you rent the music, but you rent it all (Yahoo! has a similar offering.) For a flat monthly fee you can download almost anything they have, and as much of it as as you want (I already grabbed over 30 albums in 5 days.) And you can put it on your portable MP3 player (which is a misnomer, since they aren’t MP3 files, they’re .wma files.) (Where would I be without parentheses?) Catch is, everything is covered by Digital Rights management (DRM), and if you stop paying, the songs stop working (unless you’ve paid for the songs over and above the monthly fee.)

What makes this work for me is, I like to explore lots of music, but I’m tired of buying tons of CDs when doing so is an increasingly hit or miss proposition. This way if I read an article about a band in Paste that interests me, I can immediately download and play the record; if I like it, I'll almost certainly buy the actual CD, because I still like to have my hard copy. In the coming weeks, for example, I expect to find out whether or not I like Coldplay.

I’ve already discovered some gems, and validated my non-purchase decision on a lot of other stuff; turns out I was right that I wouldn’t like the Decemberists. On the other hand, the Caitlin Cary/Thad Cockrell duet record? How did I miss that? I have to have it. (Cary, of course, was in WHiskeytown with yan Adams.)

In a coming post I will write about what I have liked and disliked. One song I’m in love with (off a sketchy record) is Liz Phair’s “H.W.C.,” a tune which she sings in such a peppy and yet bland, non-threatening sort of way that it could almost be a commercial jingle for air freshener, only H.W.C. stands for “hot white cum.” I’m going to buy that song and make it a future SOD.


Posted by: --josh-- @ 3:29 PM  

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