To quote Death Cab for Cutie: “So this is the new year …”
I hope you’ve discovered some new music on your visits here. I know a lot of the readers who come to this site don’t necessarily pipe to make their presence known. That’s OK — I’m that way too.
I also know Holidailies was borne out of the tradition of personal journal writing, which this site tends to avoid. Rather I try to write personally about music I love, and while you may not come away with my life story, you should come away with a sense of my taste and a bit of my inner world.
I signed Musicwhore.org up for this month-long event because there was a lot of good stuff I encountered in 2012 that was just getting squeezed out by other projects on which I’m focusing. Before the last 31 days, this site would lay dormant for weeks and months at a time.
I do look forward to that scarcity, I have to admit. I’m at a point with this blog where something really, really has to move me to get me off my arse and write something.
And for those times when I’m not so compelled, I hope to be turn to Twitter and Facebook to pipe up now and again.
I don’t know how I ended up on the radar of Duran Duran’s social media mavens, but I got a shout-out from them on Twitter and Facebook for my review of A Diamond in the Mind. And they reposted the review on the official site as well. Thanks!
I thought I knew all 10 of my readers, but I guess you never know who’s visiting.
So now it looks like I’m back on the radar of the Duran Duran fan community, something I haven’t really been involved with since the start of the last decade.
Does anybody remember Tiger List? And those pesky Watchbeings who kept enforcing those mailing list etiquette rules? Yeah, I was one of them.
I posted regularly on the list and became something of a contrarian. If fan sentiment went one way, I’d pipe up to play Devil’s advocate. Just ask me what I think about “Palomino”.
That was back in the ’90s, which is eons ago in Internet years. I’m not sure who in the fan community today would even remember Tiger List.
I got less involved with the community around the time of Pop Trash. That was when Cocco, NUMBER GIRL and Shiina Ringo came into my life, and I adopted my current role as a lapsed Duranie.
These days, my fandom is a lot more personal. If the band does something I like, I’ll advocate for them. And if they do something boneheaded — like, say, release Red Carpet Massacre — I’ll voice a very strongly-worded opinion and still part with my cash.
But I no longer subscribe to mailing lists or hang out in forums. I follow the band on Facebook but not Twitter, since I figure both channels essentially disseminate the same information.
And I try to catch them live. I missed their show at the Austin Music Hall in 2007 because I hate the Austin Music Hall more than I love Duran Duran. (And that should tell you something about how much I hate the Austin Music Hall.) But I caught them in Dallas (1999, 2000), Austin (2004, 2010) and long, long ago in New York City (1993).
So if you’ve stumbled upon this site from those shout-outs, welcome! Feel free to say “Aloha” if you remember me from the Tiger List days.
I’ve fallen behind in my daily updates for Holidailies, but I have an excuse. It’s this:
Or rather, these — the amplifier is new as well.
During the spring, I was remixing a few Eponymous 4 songs, laying down guitar tracks on my beginner’s Fender Stratocaster, and I came to the conclusion that I really don’t like playing that guitar. My usual go-to guitar is my acoustic, and the Strat I have sounds really bad if I don’t attenuate the pressure of my fingers. Also, the fretboared is a bit narrow for my pianist fingers.
So I went down to Guitar Center and chatted up one of the salespeople, who steered me in the direction of Gibson. I tried a few and decided, yes, I would like to get a Gibson guitar. But not right then and there. I was still paying off the acoustic-electric I bought the previous year.
I told the salesperson it would have to be a Christmas gift to myself.
Welcome to Musicwhore.org, a vanity music blog where I tell an un-listening world what has been occupying the most time on my player. It tends to be heavy on Japanese indie rock and modern classical music, but I do make room for classic college rock (think Fugazi, the Smiths), and an occasional pop artist from time to time.
In the past, I thought it was my job to proselytize, to convince you that hey, what I’m writing about is cool and you’d like it. I don’t think that any more.
I like what I like, and you like what you like. And if you get bored with what you like, you might find something in what I like to make it something you might like.
What isn’t my job is finding what will be hot and make you cooler than everybody else. I leave that to other blogs to care about that kind of thing.
Instead, I write about music that at times may be hard to understand — especially if you don’t speak Japanese — and more often harder to acquire. And if you’re the adventurous type, you just might discover a whole ecosystem of listening that you may not have realized existed.
And if that happens, then perhaps I’ve done my job.
My hesitation about creating a separate Musicwhore.org Twitter account is pretty much rooted in laziness. I like using Twitter’s web interface, but it’s lousy when you have multiple accounts. It’s the same situation I faced with my Eponymous 4 account — I would post updates to the personal account, even though they should be coming from Eponymous 4.
TweetDeck has always been a solution to this multiple account conundrum, but I disliked having to launch an Adobe AIR application to do something I feel more comfortable doing through the web. So I would barely use it.
A few weeks back, I migrated Musicwhore.org from Movable Type to WordPress as an experiment. Although I didn’t really post much after the migration, it did convince me to make the move permanent.
I figured if I’m doing that much remodeling, I should spruce up the look of the site as well. So here is Musicwhore.org relaunched!
For the web developer nerds out there, yes — I’m finally using such modern conventions as rounded corners, custom fonts and background gradients. I’m not an interface developer, so creating a WordPress theme specifically for this site took quite some time and effort. (Time and effort that should have been used posting entries. Ahem.)
I’m hoping all this work will bring me back to the fold. It’s been five months now since I left Austin and moved to Seattle. I’ve gotten into a routine, so I really can’t use that as an excuse for the lack of updates.
Not that I can come up with others …
UPDATE, 5/8/2012 08:22 PT: I mention things like rounded corners and background gradients. What I failed to mention are the supported browsers. Pretty much, this site was viewed on Chrome 18, Firefox 11 and Internet Explorer 9. You probably won’t see the same effects on any browser older than IE9. Also, I haven’t addressed layouts on smartphones browsers just yet.
It’s a change that’s long overdue, but I’m experimenting with using WordPress to deliver Musicwhore.org. For all this time, I’ve been using Movable Type to manage the content, but using my own custom code to deliver it. That’s an artifact of the days when the content was subsumed in the old artist directory, which I haven’t really updated since 2005.
Of course, the “Hello World” title of this entry is the default that gets generated when creating a new WordPress site. So I may as well repurpose it to say, “Hello, world! Welcome to a remodeled version of Musicwhore.org!”
The plan for now is to soft launch this site — make a few updates, get a feel for how readers interact with it.
It’s almost five months to the day since I last updated this site.
Is it dead? I’d like to think not, but for the time being, it won’t be updated till I get through a pretty major event happening in my life right now — I’m moving to Seattle.
In my mind, I’ve been done with Austin for the last half decade, but I wasn’t in quite the financial or professional shape to justify a move. Now it seems those proverbial stars have lined up. I landed a job with the University of Washington, which I’ll start in mid-January.
So now my life will be occupied with finishing up work projects, packing, organizing a move, finding a place to live — not much time to update a blog neglected for nearly half a year.
And even after I’ve settled in, I question whether this site will continue in its present form.
For my birthday, I bought myself a smartphone. Talk about toys for grown-ups …
I’ve been hearing about mobile development this and mobile development that, but I couldn’t empathize because the phone I had was state of the art for 2004. You should see me try to compose a text message with a numeric keypad — hilarious!
But now I’ve got an Android phone with Swype and a web browser and Kindle and Grindr … and more storage for music than my 2GB iPod. (I like having such limited space on my iPod, but that’s pontificating for another day.) It’s great.
Until I visited this site on a mobile browser. Yes, zooming would make it readable, but I noticed other sites such as Amazon and Google make sure their mobile visitors have an experience optimized for their devices.
So after a bit of research and a lot more hacking, I’m glad to announce Musicwhore.org has now been adapted for mobile browsing. At the moment, I just tweaked the current template to look decent on my new phone, but in the future, I anticipate actually changing the design to suit mobile devices.
Now pardon me while I go play with my new grown-up toy some more …
I’ve been pretty mum about the situation in Japan, mostly because there isn’t anything much I can add to what’s already been said. I’ve also tried to avoid reading and watching coverage of the quake because it would just break my heart.
So I instead donated $50 to the Red Cross, although Steve over at Engrish.comsuggests making donations directly to the Red Cross in Japan through a special landing page by Google.
As for the tsunami that hit Hawaiʻi as a result of the quake, I can report none of my family were affected by it. My mom’s house is located inland, and I doubted she would be up at 4 a.m. walking by the beach. Still, I was up at 7 a.m. in Austin, watching the news coverage on the web as the waves struck Honolulu.
At some point, I’ll report on SXSW 2011, Japan Nite in particular. Till then, I’ll repeat a sentiment that pervaded the festival in the wake of the news: かんばって！