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January 2007

New Year's Resolution: Blogging
January 5 2007 01:59 PM ET (Permalink) (Comment)

There was a study recently that showed that some ridiculously high percentage of blogs in existence are inactive. (I'd point you to the article, but it's taken me so long to write this that it's out of most recent archives.)

For the last couple of months, I've been eyeing the fact that the most recent posting on this site was on January 7, 2006. I kept eyeing the date, and figured I'd have an easy time avoiding having this site be idle for a year.

That is, until I realized that January 7th is Sunday.

So I've decided to make this my new year's resolution (even though I hate the concept of resolutions and never make them): more posting here. More griping about whatever the hell is going on in the world. More random discussions about the songs I should be working on.

More banter about the other guy, who would help us all out by picking a band name for his music and promoting himself as "Band Name, featuring Chris Blackburn" rather than trying to use the bland, confusing, and circa-1995-style "The Chris Blackburn Band". That way, there's no chance of confusion between websites and Myspace pages. (Yes, I'm aware that in country music, it's popular to promote the musician. However, unless you're on a major label or used to be in a hugely popular band, it's not particularly useful.) I'm planning on using a band name for any future released material, btw.

For the record: no, I did not record American Roads, but he and I are both glad that you like it. Having said that, email about it should go to him, not me.

As for me, the more rock-based Chris Blackburn, I'm still working on material. But I'll save that for another update, just so I can be sure that there will be two postings this year.

A Guestbook for a Whale
January 8 2007 06:13 PM ET (Permalink) (Comment)

Gotta admit that the last couple of weeks were kind of odd, given several high-profile passings.

I caught part of James Brown's funeral on CNN, and there were a few moments that stood out. If you didn't see any of the footage from the funeral, Brown's casket was positioned in front of the stage, opened, and his band, plus a few semi-notable guests, performed behind him. Hammer got up on stage at one point and threw in a few of his signature moves. Reminded me of 1990.

Front of
Tue, Jan 2, 2007
Michael Jackson was there. They tried to woo him on stage to perform, but he declined. The highlight, however, was when he spoke. He used his real voice, not that helium-enhanced, "I wish I were still 12" voice that we usually hear. I was amazed - he sounded lucid and like an actual human being. [YouTube]

But I think the hands-down highlight was when his band played "Get Up". For most of Brown's career, he had that guy that came around behind him and threw a cape over him. During the last note of "Get Up", that guy pulled the cape out, flung it into the air, and laid it over Brown's body, one last time. I happened to see that piece live, and the surprise of it just nailed me. It just seemed like the perfect tribute, simultaneously uplifting yet bittersweet.

The Ford tributes were nice, but it just seemed like way too much. In particular, CNN interviewed a bunch of people waiting in line for the viewing at the Capitol, and it was odd to see a couple of 12-year-old kids being asked about why they were there. One kid made his best effort to sound like it was something he really wanted to see, though I suspect the real answer was: "My parents brought me." I guess what struck me: I can't imagine lining up for a viewing for a person I didn't personally know. Especially the concept of "Hey, Billy, let's go to Washington, DC, and check out the body of President Ford!"

Almost as odd as signing a guestbook for a whale.

Then again, Lenin's tomb is still open, eighty years later.

Clip for Today

Thought I might try adding something like this to each post as an experiment.

It's hard not to notice the general absence of females in alternative rock these days. And I suppose it's been true for the better part of a decade, save for occasional "hot bass chick". But in the early-to-mid 90s, there were a number of girl-fronted rock bands (Belly, Lush, Eve's Plum, Scheer, etc). I'm specifically referring to actual rock bands, but there seems to be an overall lack of women currently on alternative radio, which used to regularly spin songs by Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan. I've got a longer rant about this, but I'll leave it there for now.

This was a 1992 single by a band called The Darling Buds. 99x had this in regular rotation in early 1993. I heard it a lot back then, and dug it, but haven't heard it on the radio since. I didn't realize there was a video for it until yesterday.

The Darling Buds - "Please Yourself"

Pictures in Luminance
January 23 2007 12:23 AM ET (Permalink) (Comment)

Photo by Duane Storey

So far, so not so good on the blogging front.

I'm starting to think that part of the skill of blogging is in posting random stuff when you find it. The above is one example. Spotted via after clicking through a few other pictures.

The picture is part of a semi-recent photo technique called High Dynamic Range (HDR). Basically, folks take multiple pictures (using different exposures) from the same position, then manipulate and merge the pictures to form a single image.

I think my favorites of these are subtle, where the photograph has some subtle luminance as opposed to looking overprocessed. I'll see if I can retrack a few of my past faves. If you want to see more, check out Flickr's HDR Pool.

Clip for Today

What the heck. In the same spirit as the last clip, here's one of my all-time favorite songs, even if it took me eight years to realize that the lyrics at the end of the chorus were: "I know your kind and I know where your loyalties lie." Still amazing that Lush went from "For Love" to this song in a couple of years.

YouTube's also got a killer live version of this song.

Lush - "Hypocrite"


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