Why I’m Using WordPress Again

I haven’t touched my personal site in a long time. Since I’ve had such a thing over the last 20 years or so, I’ve gone through phases of using other platforms and often returning to my own, hosted web site. I really loved Tumblr and still do, but I’m seeing more and more ads, which bothers me. I’ve also been doing some soul searching in terms of the platforms on which I participate. When it comes to Tumblr, I’m more uncomfortable than I am comfortable, so I’m going to spend less time on it and spend more time building my own site back up. I think most everything is still going to live on whatevernevermind.com, but I’m trying to figure all that out. It feels good to be working on something that’s really truly mine.

The February 2010 Monthly Mix

I decided to start posting a little something with each of the mixes. Who knows if I’ll actually stick with it. I don’t think I can match the explanations that tywhite does for his mixes. BTW, if you aren’t signed up for his list, you should do that right away.

I won’t lie to you. This mix has some weird stuff on it. As I sit hear typing, Laura and I are listening to it together and she thought it would be wise of me to preface it. I’ve been listening to a lot of electronic music lately (surprised @garyzero?). These mixes are absolutely a reflection of stuff I’ve been listening to. I don’t know a lot about several of the artists on this mix. I really should start making notes about where I find things so I can thank the people that turn me on to them. Hope you enjoy this month’s mix.

The Top 25 Albums Of 2008

1. Flying Lotus – Los Angeles
2. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
3. Sigur Ros – Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
4. Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
5. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
6. Department Of Eagles – In Ear Park
7. Kid Cudi – Plain Pat & Emile Presents a KiD named CuDi
8. Everest – Ghost Notes
9. Deastro – Keeper’s
10. Atlas Sound – Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
11. Portishead – Third
12. Hot Chip – Made In The Dark
13. Imaad Wasif – Strange Hexes
14. Fink –Distance and Time
15. M83 – Saturdays = Youth
16. Kings Of Leon – Only By The Night
17. Frightened Rabbit – The MIdnight Organ Fight
18. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
19. Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Lie Down In The Light
20. R.E.M. – Accelerate
21. The Whigs – Mission Control
22. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
23. Jim Noir – Jim Noir
24. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
25. Deerhunter – Microcastle

I Buy My Music At Amazon And Amoeba

I suppose this is somewhat of an endorsement, but there’s much more to why I shop at Amazon and Amoeba than the fact that they both offer great selections. And while most of my reasoning is different for each retailer, there is a common thread – I can find anything I want, whether it’s a top Billboard album or a rare, out-of-print album.

If you purchase music online, chances are you’re shopping iTunes or Amazon. I’ve never been a big fan of the iTunes store because I don’t like to be told how I can use my music. I continued to buy most of my music on CD until fairly recently, when unprotected MP3s were being offered at 256kbps from Amazon. Maybe you don’t care that you can only burn your iTunes downloads 5 times. Honestly, I rarely burn them, if ever. I do share a lot of music though. I’m not dumping the contents of my music library on other people’s machines or sharing music via BitTorrent, but I do like making mixes and sharing them. You can’t do that with an iTunes download, unless you opt for the unprotected MP3. That’s always been the deal breaker for me. As much as I like the overall experience of the iTunes store, I think Amazon’s user experience with their MP3 Music Store, is superior to Apple’s. When I shop at Amazon I feel like I’m among fellow music fanatics. The opinions are usually intelligent and substantive, recommendations are usually spot-on and the overall experience is just more pleasant. I’m about as big of an Apple fan boy as you can be, but I won’t be buying my music online from them.

Amoeba is one of the reasons that I love living in LA. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s one of my top 5 reasons. Amoeba is as much a record store as it is heaven on Earth. You can find pretty much anything you want, there’s people that know A LOT about music working at the store and they buy and sell used CDs. Find me a comparable brick and mortar retailer. You can’t. Amoeba is that good. I’m lucky enough to work a few blocks from the Hollywood location (currently the only LA location) and I visit fairly often. Some may find the experience of shopping at Amoeba daunting, and it certainly can be, but if you don’t have a lot of time to shop around, I highly recommend their end caps. The staff picks are so spot on, that a lot of times I’ll just pick something up because it’s recommended. I’ve only regretted doing that once. The used section is remarkable. If you’re willing to hunt, you can find some great albums at awesome prices.

I realize I’m an extreme case when it comes to shopping for music. For somoene that gets pretty much anything for free from the labels, I still spend at least $100/month on music. I want a great experience when I spend that money. For that reason Amazon and Amoeba are the two greatest places to buy music online.

Today would have been your 63rd

When I woke up this morning, I forgot for a moment what day it was. And then I didn’t forget for the rest of the day. I called mom on the way to work this morning. She answered the phone with happiness in her voice, which surprised me. Maybe it was just that she was awake and I hadn’t really spoken to anyone yet.

“Hi Mom. I just wanted to call and tell you that I love you and that I’m thinking about you and especially dad a lot today.”

That’s what I said to her. She told me that she was going to get some lemon tarts to eat in your honor today. They were your favorite. They’re my favorites too, though we don’t have that great pastry shop here in the big city. I love anything with lemon, which I know you did as well.

Tonight I went to a community center and chanted for an hour, which felt good. I focused my energy on our family’s health and happiness and determined that each of us would be at peace with your death. I know we’ll always miss you though. And I’ll always get choked up when I think about you for longer that a few seconds. When I talk about you, my voice cracks and I get upset. I imagine so many different things, but the one thing that always gets me is the day you called everyone to your bed as you laid waiting for death to take you. I leaned over, with my ear to your mouth and listened as you told me that I was a good son. That will always stay with me as long as I live and it will probably always make me cry a lot.

I always looked forward to coming home to visit you and mom. It’s not the same anymore. I never told you, but your hugs were a little weak. That makes me chuckle. I would always wrap my arms around you and give you a kiss like I was a little kid. I don’t think you ever used both hands to hug me back. Maybe you did. I’d do anything for a one-armed hug from you now.

I was at a Buddhist meeting a few weeks ago. It was at this young family’s house. The woman’s parents came to the meeting and they were so adorable. The dad, in particular was funny and wise and reminded me of you in some ways. I got upset because it made me think about how I would never get to see you as an old man. I know you weren’t looking forward to that, but I was.

When I looked at the clock in the car tonight, it read 9:11 and just below the digital readout of the time, the date said 9/11/2008. I took it as a sign, as I usually do when I see it in the morning, that you were somewhere out there, acknowledging your presence.

I love you, dad. Happy birthday.

Why Mac Consulting Helps Me At My Real Job

I’ve been doing Mac consulting in one form or another for nearly 12 years now. When I’m between jobs, it’s something I fall back on. And when I have a job, it’s a side hustle that not only makes me some extra cash, but it also helps me at my real job. Helping people with their Macs teaches me to think with a different part of my brain than I usually do. I’m not solving problems at the office like I do when I’m diagnosing why a MacBook Pro is the only computer that can connect to the AirPort Express in some guy’s house when his iMac and Mac TV can’t even see the network. It’s process of elimination. It always works the same way. And in the years that I’ve been solving people’s Mac problems, I’ve never not been able to figure something out. I may have to consult an obscure thread on a message board or even call someone who knows something I don’t, but it’s never impossible. And I guess that’s what’s exciting about it. You know damn well that there’s a solution, but how do you get there? There are no rules. The client isn’t gonna think less of you because you had to call some other guy or look around online. They’re going to think you’re a genius because you thought to do the things you did and they feel like their money was well-spent. You walk away with a wad of cash, another victory under your belt and a recommendation. Happy Mac users talk and for every good job I do, I get at least 2 new customers.

When I was working in music supervision for feature films, I had an awesome boss who taught me a lot. I wasn’t always fond of how he did it, but it’s made me a much better employee. The main things were to pay close attention to detail, exhaust all possibilities and be really nice. If you can’t pay attention to detail, it’s a non-starter. In order to be good at any job, you can’t let details slip through the cracks. We all make mistakes, but there’s no worse mistake that the kind that result from carelessness. Working as a Mac consultant comes with a lot more pressure than my other job, believe it or not. It’s all eyes are on you. Sometimes the client is literally watching everything you do. If you miss a detail, either the client will catch you or you’ll realize what you missed after you’ve spent too much time diagnosing a simple issue. Missing one small detail can make the difference of solving a problem in 1 hour or 4 hours.

I used to think that checking things online or calling someone else that might know a little more than I do would come off as weak to a client. Boy was I wrong. Clients are impressed by it. You know where to look and who to call to solve a problem. Having a second opinion is always nice too. I’ve even called Apple a few times when I’ve gotten real stuck. And the client was happy I did. You have to exhaust all possibilities when you’re trying to problem solve. There’s nothing worse that saying you can’t figure out why a computer won’t power up and then a client notices the power strip isn’t turned on. Many times, it’s the obvious stuff.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from working with some of the biggest egos in the music and movie business, it’s that being kind, saying thank you and smiling will get you really far. My Mac clients are no different. I would say that the vast majority of Mac users are cool, creative and hospitable people. When you’re kind in return and stay positive even when you’re sweating bullets, it can make a big difference. They may even buy you lunch or dinner.

Sometimes I forget a lot of this stuff when I’m doing my regular job. Doing a little consulting on the side helps keep my brain working and helps me think more critically when I’m at the office. Just like anything, you gotta practice to stay sharp and if practicing means I can make a few extra bucks, then I’ll be doing as much of it as I can.