Aug 052013


2013 is the year that my mom (who still has a flip phone and turns it off when she has completed a call) has purchased an iPod. This has proven to me the the iPod’s time of relevance has come to pass. I have used the “mom” rule successfully many times before when it comes to electronics.

I have been interested in “cloud” music for a while. I like the idea that if I ever need to hear “Baby Snakes” or “Girls With Guns” that all I have to do is log onto any computer (not even my own) and I can access MY copy of this song and play it instantly.

I am an iPhone owner, so I only just discovered the Android Market aka Google Play and the Google Play music storage feature.

You can upload 20,000 songs (not a misprint) for free and access them from the homepage of Google or gmail.

I narrowed my digital collection to 20,000 (was 4,000 over) and could not use DRM-protected iTunes files (protected .aac). I think that was maybe 30 songs. It would not accept .wav files either, but you can make them into mp3s and they work.

MOST of the files are not uploaded, they are just “recognized” by Google Play and they match it with their copy. If they can’t match it, THEN they upload it.

You can stream from ANY Android phone or tablet and from any computer, but not iphone or other devices that do not use flash.

You can burn my house down. but you can’t take my music collection!

The Instant Mix feature is pretty decent (unlike iTunes’ Genius which was pretty bad). It makes mixes based on a single song or LP. Kind of like Pandora w/o commercials and ONLY using your music.

I am so impressed by this program and it’s potential to use with BluTooth to shove my music down everyone’s throats.

Apr 202013


No, this is not a reference to sammymaudlin’s recent post in today’s All-Star Jam.

This post is about remembering something good. About the transcendence of music, even crappy music.

Last night, I attended and performed in this year’s Talent Show at the middle school where I work. Yes, we adult faculty were magnificent in our rendition of the Harlem Shake (I’m sure my Funky Chicken will be commented on for years to come). But the part of the afternoon that stood out for me was a student’s rendition of Kansas’s “Dust In The Wind.” I initially guffawed when I saw the song announced on the program. When when she started to play, it realized it was a lovely choice. I am not admitting that this song has some sentimental value as I’d seen Kansas in concert about 3 times when I was growing up. I will admit that it’s a horrible song. But to hear this student sing it in a heart-felt way was oddly transcendent.

It reminds me of that album, The Langley Schools Music Project, and the student renditions of some popular songs at the time. Many of those songs are objectively horrible (“Mandy,” by Barry Manilow!) but when performed by young students (even horribly), they somehow lose some of that dreadfullness and become…palatable? Beautiful? Acceptable? (There is a cringe-worthy but great version of “Good Vibrations” that has been used in some movie soundtracks.) One of my favorites from that album is “Desperado” by [The] Eagles:

I’ve often been cautious about attending student/young performer musical events: they seem to be more the stuff of family photo ops than “art.” I can still recall the dread, waiting for my turn to play in annual piano recitals, sitting next to my father and hearing him rapidly suck air in through his teeth when someone played a wrong note, and then worrying that I would make some laughable mistake.

So yesterday’s performance was just what I needed: the kids who love music and it how it shows, even if what they choose to play is garbage.


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