IE 7

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you know, i didn’t expect to like the recently released version of IE but i have to say it’s not that bad (for a microsoft product, heh). they’ve taken a lot of what i like about firefox and incorporated the features into IE like tabbed browsing and RSS feeds. but the main thing that i’m liking is their clear type feature that makes the text of webpages a lot more readable and pleasing to the eye. surprisingly a positive from the corporate giant microsoft. i’ll definitely use it a bit more on my laptop just for the clear type fonts. read more about the browser here.

the best deals online

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cyber-monday is just about over and you’re *still* looking for the best online deals for your holiday gift purchases? not to worry, got you covered. they conveniently list out the all the great deals to be had on their front page under Steals of the Day and if you want to dig a little deeper, you can browse through their archived listings by category. and besides the listing of the best deals, the website also features online coupons so that you can save even more cash on your purchases. oh and don’t forget to sign up for their email newsletter so that you can get registered for their fabulous holiday giveaways.

N101 Nutrition

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ahh, the wonders of online shopping. we, as shoppers reap the benefits, you know what i mean? better prices, the convenience of shopping at anytime and the ease of researching before you buy. N101 Nutrition is one of those online retailers that i like to shop from. N101 offers a vast selection of nutritional supplements, herbs and skin care products with great prices and a website chock full of helpful information about healthy living and the benefits of natural health and beauty products. not only do you get to save money on some great products but your health and your body benefit from your purchases as well.  oh and don’t forget to enter the coupon code “PPPNEW” to save 10% on your first order.

elliot easton speaks out!

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tired of all The New Cars fans grumbling about various canceled tour dates and the conspiracy theories surrounding the band and their management, Elliot Easton speaks out (sort of) on their website messageboard. instead of clearing up the issues about the cancellations, Easton is vague and comes across a bit frustrated and defensive about the whole thing. here’s his message from the New Cars site:

Some of you have reacted to some of the cancellations as though this is some sort of act of betrayal on our part! This is insane. I KILLS us to see any of these shows cancelled. For you, it means the disappointment of perhaps not getting to see the band. For us it means a whole lot more, and a dissappointment that I cannot even put into words. I have put my heart and soul into this project, and NONE OF THIS CANCELLATION BULLSH*T HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE BAND!!! Don’t you think we want to play as many shows as possible???!!!??? I am not responsible for disseminating information to fans, but enough is enough. If you want to bear with us through this difficult and challenging period, that’s great and we certainly appreciate it. But if you give up on the band because of these cancellations, you are punishing the band (and as a fan, yourself) for something we have no control over. I will not be responding to any questions, and I don’t really care if you believe this is really me or not…….but it is, and I’m sticking my neck out to tell you all of this because I care and it troubles me to think that any of you would ever believe that any of this is our fault. If you don’t know by now that I LOVE to play, and didn’t even stop for a broken collarbone, then you haven’t really been paying attention.
Faithfully Yours,

it’s sad really. it just sounds like a desperate musician trying to earn a honest living but the future just ain’t lookin’ so financially sound. from the looks of it his New Cars project has pretty much fizzled out and if I was Todd Rundgren, I would get out as fast as possible and hope that I didn’t do too much damage to my reputation by taking on this gig as Ric Ocasek’s replacement. it sounded like a messed up idea when the initial rumors first surfaced more than a year ago and sadly the first impression was spot on.

so catch them live while you still can. i’m pretty sure that you won’t be seeing Elliot, Greg, Todd, Prairie and Kasim together for much longer…

Fri 11/10/06 Jim Thorpe, PA Penn’s Peak
Sun 11/12/06 Peekskill, NY Paramount Center
Wed 11/15/06 Verona, NY Turning Stone Casino
Fri 11/17/06 Mashantucket, CT Foxwoods Casino
Sat 11/18/06 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata Hotel / Casino
Sun 11/19/06 Portland, ME Merrill Auditorium
Tue 11/21/06 Cleveland, OH House Of Blues
Wed 11/22/06 Detroit, MI State Theatre
Fri 11/24/06 Clear Lake, IA Surf Ballroom
Sat 11/25/06 Milwaukee, WI Riverside Theatre
Sun 11/26/06 Chicago, IL House Of Blues
Tue 11/28/06 Saint Ignace, MI Kewadin Shores Casino
Fri 12/01/06 Boulder, CO Boulder Theater
Sat 12/02/06 Rio Puerco, NM Route 66 Casino
Tue 12/05/06 West Hollywood, CA House Of Blues
Wed 12/06/06 West Hollywood, CA House Of Blues
Sat 12/09/06 Lake Tahoe, NV Harrah’s Tahoe
Sun 12/10/06 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
Tue 12/12/06 Santa Rosa, CA Wells Fargo Ctr. For The Arts
Thu 12/14/06 Ventura, CA Majestic Ventura Theatre
Sat 12/16/06 Las Vegas, NV House Of Blues
Sun 12/17/06 Anaheim, CA House Of Blues

dreams of spain

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i’ve been listening to some Mike Oldfield lately. some of his later work is a stark contrast to what he sounded like starting out. it’s a very interesting progression through his musical career. he mentioned in various interviews how living in Ibiza influenced the sound of his songs. since Ibiza is famous for the Balearic Beat (a type of trance music) i can see the connection. man, can you imagine owning property in Spain, living the high life out on the Mediterranean? that would be the life. and i can definitely see how the lifestyle would permeate into one’s work. the big summer parties, the majestic views, the wonderful weather and viewing the glorious sunset at Café del Mar. ahh, what a dream

from the music vault: squeeze

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deep from the depths of my very own music vault comes an old relic from the eighties.  the CD-3 single.   i still have several of these around.  today’s feature is by none other than the phenomenal band Squeeze

I spent too much money looked far too glad
Now I have so little of what I once had
I had too many parties I had too much time
I got so lazy and fell well behind

Now the summer is over I can count the cost
Footprints on the beaches are now
Footprints in the frost
The summer is over I can count the cost
Footprints on the beaches are now
Footprints in the frost

We did so much damage deep in our insides
The party’s over, it’s going home time
The cathedral is empty, no one’s at home
Winter’s approaching; paradise postponed

Now the summer is over I can count the cost
Footprints on the beaches are now
Footprints in the frost
Rain won’t stop falling and the people look lost
Footprints on the beaches are now
Footprints in the frost

I rang lots of numbers and walked many miles
I watched the Flintstones and I turned my dial
To a brand new station where the beat comes in
Now it’s all over, the winter begins

The summer is over I can count the cost
Footprints on the beaches are now
Footprints in the frost
People with umbrellas disappear in the fog
Footprints on the beaches are now
Footprints in the frost
-Footprints written by Difford and Tilbrook

click on read more to listen to a couple of the tracks off the CD-3

footprints (mp3) by Squeeze

Take Me I’m yours live version (mp3) by Squeeze

Sunday March 13th

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If you’re in the area, be sure to swing on by our church this sunday morning at 10AM to catch the Newsboys AND the African Children’s Choir. Definitely a once in the lifetime chance to catch both groups in one place.

feel free to contact me for more info.

The Store in Now Open…

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rejoice!! the online store is now open business!! Need a
coffee mug with Ethan, Alec and Christian’s picture on it? or how about
a new mousepad? well, you are in luck! we have both items for sale
right now! take a look.

Currently that’s all we have available in the store but don’t worry, more items are on their way.

click on the link to take a look!

it’s just another fun way to show your support for this site. :)
Yes, I’m shameless but you already knew that didn’t ya??!!

just me myself and I

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12 measures.

12 measures of music is what i needed to fill on a song last week. an all out drum solo. the dreaded, mind-numbing, “time for a bathroom-break” drum solo. no one wants to hear a drum solo. even *i* don’t want to hear a drum solo unless it’s by one of the all time greats.
so, who would want to hear 12 measures of just me? I know i can’t come
up with anything even *remotely* interesting. and that’s what i usually
tell the music director whenever something like this comes up and
normally my veto would go through. but not this time. the music
director as well as the horn section (those clowns!) were steadfast in
their demand for 12 measures of drums. now, i don’t mind something
that’s integral with the music itself, a drum fill or beat that
enhances the song or something that helps transitions a part to the
next section but 12 measures is asking too much …. from me as
well as the people that have to listen to me! it was tough during
rehearsal last week, trying to come up with something interesting as
well as something that gradually gained momentum that would carry into
the initial “true” intro of the song. mine felt more like disjointed
drum fill ideas pasted together haphazardly. it definitely made me
appreciate more how drummers like Neil Peart and Carl Palmer can carry
on for fifteen minutes or more. i can probably run through my standard
bag of ideas and motifs in about two minutes tops. that kinda gives you
an taste of how much i practice at home. zilch. nada. nunca.
and these “12 measures” almost made me break my long running streak.
*almost*. with two little boys running around the house *plus* a lil’
seven month old, having a drum set at home is just not a good idea.

so how did i do sunday? well, let’s just say my brain is still
trying desperately to deaden reality, spinning a web of denial and
shooting out endorphins left and right to ease the pain. i basically
held my breath and hacked my way through it. and now i don’t really
recall what i actually played. at least it wasn’t a massive train wreck
where it’d stop the song dead in its tracks. that’s a “positive”, isn’t
it? i’ve asked a couple of people and they all said “it was fine” but
how am i ever supposed to know if they’re just saying that to appease
me or if it’s something they actually thought was OK. whatever. it’s
done. it’s over. i’m not gonna worry about it. …i have to admit that
it did “stretch” me in terms of my abilities and … maybe my next solo
won’t be so bad. :P well, at least no one threw any eggs at me … not that it’d matter that much since i have a plexiglass shield around the drum kit. heh.

my current obsession

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i’m just a sucker for hard to find items. have been all my life. just look at my CD collection. tons of out of print titles and imports. just don’t get me started. don’t tell me about an item that’s out of print, discontinued or rare b/c the way my brain is wired, i’ll get all worked up about it and spend a butt-load of time researching it and i’ll then try my darnedest to get the best deal for it. this is especially true for electronic gadgets, CDs, DVDs and video games. yeah, i know, i’m an easy target. i guess it’s just some sort of way to feel like i’m part of a special club/group or something. you know, to be set apart from the mainstream. kinda explains my lifelong obsession with Todd Rundgren, but that another story altogether. anyway, my current obsession - Korean DVDs. i’m not totally sure what triggered it recently. elaine and her mom have always been into Korean TV dramas and stuff for as long as i’ve known them. i guess now that Korean movies are getting alot more attention from Hollywood and the media in general, i just had to see for myself what the fuss was about. and since i’m sorta in hickville, korean DVDs are hard to come by locally which basically puts more fuel to the fire for me.

here are some of the limitations/requirements that i’ve come across through reading about my current obsession:

1) i don’t have a region free DVD player (although i’m considering buying one.) so right now, i’m only limited to Korean DVDs that aren’t coded for their region (region 3).
2) i’m not totally fluent in Korean so i’ll need english subtitles. which is fine b/c most of the DVDs have english captions-option available on the DVD. ahh, the wonders of technology.
3) no gang violence, depressing melodrama, traditional korean costume dramas, or kungfu movies please. some of the movies i’ve come across in the past had some brutal violence in them. not my cup of tea. as for depressing movies - i like to watch depressing movies every now and then like everyone else but man korean movies can definitely be depressing. yikes. case in point, our recent rental through Netflix. we just saw the korean movie Failan. now that was depressing. even though folks highly recommended the film, it was just too much of a downer for me. plus there was too much cussing going on. what’s up with that? maybe i’m just not used to hearing so many cuss words in korean. whatever. i just didn’t connect with the film. i got two more korean movies coming through netflix before i cancel the free trial so i’m sure i’ll post something about them in the near future.

i’m not sure how long this obsession’s gonna last. could be as long as my Rundgren obsession or as short as my interest in MTV VJ Martha Quinn many, many moons ago. :P all i know is that there’s a huge fan base out on the internet and it’s encouraging to see all that information out there about korean films and the variety of online retailers that offer these films. and i’ll probably be looking into the availability of korean TV dramas (soap operas) on DVD/VCDs for Elaine. boy, the last one she watched, Stairway to Heaven … ugh. i didn’t watch it with her but i sure did hear it in the house … all that crying, wailing and shouting. Elaine loved it.

related links that i’ve come across:

DVD Talk: newbie info on asian DVDs
Korean TV Drama InfoCenter
Darcy’s Korean Film website
KFC cinema reviews
Yes Asia online retailer
DVD Asian
Korean DVDs


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got some extra time on your hands? Check out surveysavvy!! It’s another one of those online survey sites but they’ve been pretty good at offering surveys that pay, albeit just a couple of bucks here and there but it does add up.
if ya do decide to sign up, be sure to use my referral link so that i can get credit for your sign up. :) heh.

An Evening with Todd Rundgren

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Since Todd’s on tour this year (and dropping by Carrboro in May!), i thought i’d dust off an old review i wrote last year that was posted on a Rundgren fan site. i’m pretty sure the show will be much better this time around since he’s got a band with him. anyway - enjoy reading my *honest* review. :)

Todd Rundgren at the Carolina Theatre in Durham, NC

I went into the show thinking that since this was the last official stop on his winter mini tour-of-the-south that I’d have a better chance in seeing a more polished Todd show this time around (you know, Todd had the whole tour to “practice” the piano ;) Well, better luck next time I guess. The show was pretty much typical Todd in terms of piano flubs, forgotten lyrics and technical difficulties. Todd started out well performing Love of the Common Man but had to stop mid-way through due to breaking THREE guitar strings. He had this “oh no not again!” look on his face since something similar to this happened the night before in charlotte. It seemed that Todd had a rough time recovering from this initial incident the rest of the night which may explain the shorter set list compared to other stops on this tour. some notable songs MIA this night:
Love In Action, Black and White, Hawking, It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference and There Goes My Inspiration.
I didn’t get a good read on Todd tonight. Couldn’t tell if he was glad this was the last stop on this leg of the tour and was eager to move on or if he felt this was an “off night” and decided not to push his luck by playing more than he had to. Todd wasn’t that chatty tonight which was kind of a bummer as well. The show was over by 10:30pm which was just TOO early. I was waiting for him to play on….. at least to hear him sing Hawking. But just my luck,it wasn’t meant to be this night. Even with all the flubs and mind farts, I still enjoyed the show (yes, i know it surprised me too). There were several moments of pure bliss where Todd would sing a line so sweet and perfect, it’d take you to another place and time. Those moments really made the show for me.
highlights for me include: the night’s version of compassion (spine tingling), the mp3-backed bossa nova set (although the abrupt way the “with a twist” instrumentals end is kinda jarring…..I wish he’d modify the tracks…), a sweet version of I Don’t Want to Tie you Down, Love of the Common Man (in the second run through of the song, Todd seems real determined to get it right this time and he definitely came through!), a solid performance of Cliche and the Wheel, and a surprisingly enjoyable version of Bang on the Ukelele Daily (personally I think I was more receptive to it tonight mainly b/c it came after the crash and burn of Hello It’s Me on piano.)
Overall Todd’s voice sounded great. And at times he seemed to really get into it.
lowlights: in addition to the cring-worthy performance of Hello It’s Me, Todd barely made it through A Dream Goes On Forever. Afterwards Todd remarked that he couldn’t let the night end like that so he strapped on the guitar one last time to send us home with One World. I was pleasantly surprised that he sang “Chapel Hill to Tokyo!!” in the song since I live there. cool!
As for the venue: kudos to whoever booked this tour. they picked some great places for Todd to play and the Carolina Theatre is definitely one of them. pretty intimate and great sound. And I was real glad to see such a great turnout. The place was packed. A big thanks to the management of the Carolina Theatre, STAR-FM and the News and Observer for getting the word out about Todd’s show. I think it made a big difference in terms of the size of the crowd. Another highlight of the evening came early on: the opening act (an acapella group from NC State) ended their set with a great version of Todd’s Hodja.
To sum up: even though the show wasn’t as polished as I had hoped, I still came out of the theatre with a big smile on my face. Thanks Todd. Come back and visit soon!!! (actually that just might be the case since Todd announced last night that Rex, his son, will be playing with the Greensboro Bats, a minor league baseball team associated with the Florida Marlins, this season which is about an hour away from Chapel Hill! cool!)

Liars Tour

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OK, guess who’s playin’ at the Cat’s Cradle May 11th? our hero, Todd Rundgren.

so, who’s comin’ with me?
here’s more info on the new album which i’m really looking forward to:
After dedicating the past 25 years to constructing a bridge between
music and multimedia, Todd Rundgren announces the release of a new
album that is a work of sophisticated songwriting and musical
brilliance. Liars, released in the U.K. on April 5th (Sanctuary
Records), is an orchestral, complex, and cleverly witty collection of
songs all built around an ambitious central concept that weaves
seamlessly throughout the album. The album will be released in the U.S.
on April 6th.
From the frenetic opening track, “Truth,” to the blue-eyed soul in
“Sweet” and “Soul Brother,” to his signature guitar howling on “Liars,”
Rundgren exposes white lies, happy lies, lies with dire consequences,
and lies so woven into the fabric of our lives that we don’t even
notice them anymore.
“Most of my recent albums have been either collections from recent and
old recordings. Liars is an album of all brand new material that I’ve
been thinking about for about 10 years,” says Rundgren. “When I started
writing material for this record, I didn’t have a whole concept yet,
but the first song I did was ‘The Wondering.’ It was my reaction to the
2000 presidential election, and the completely surreal nature of it. It
really made me see that we go through life thinking certain things are
true, and then reality is thrust upon you and you realize you’ve been
living a lie, a complete lie. That you don’t seem to be able to count
on anything anymore.”

The album’s cover captures the concept in its simplest form - the
Easter Bunny. “It’s a myth and everyone knows it’s a myth. It doesn’t
even have the history like Santa Claus - there was never a giant bunny
that delivered Easter eggs and candy. But we’re asked to perpetuate
this myth.”
While Rundgren is renowned for his guitar performances, it’s his
dexterity as a multi-instrumentalist that shines through on Liars. The
keyboard and piano often take center stage, so much so that “Mammon” is
as much a piano concerto as it is a Gothic chant.
“I was going for a certain kind of sound,” describes Rundgren, who
played all the instruments on the album. “I did start to gravitate
toward a B3 and Fender Rhodes piano for the central element.
To me it’s old fashioned, and I wanted it to resemble all my
influences….some Mose Allison, semi-Beatles things. And there’s always
a bit of Marvin Gaye in there somewhere. But I’ll always make a point
of re-interpreting their sound, not imitating it.”
“All of these songs are about a paucity of truth. At first they may
seem to be about other things, but that is just a reflection of how
much dishonesty we have accepted in our daily lives. We are raised from
birth to believe things that cannot be proven or that are plainly not
true. People will often brag of their honesty, when there is so much
they have simply chosen to ignore or leave unexamined. The fact is, we
are terrified of the truth.”
-from the Sanctuary Records Press Release March 2004

joseph kahn, my MTV hero…. heh.

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saw a little bit of Joseph Kahn
on MTV’s Cribs last night. after watching the show, i now have more
respect for the famous music video director. the dude’s a slob and not
afraid to show it. he has a nice big house but no furnishings. just the
basics: computers, video editing hardware, a bed, a large TV and his
office where he does some of his business. but that’s about it. the
funny part was that he had kimchee in his refrigerator and his dog’s
name is “goghee” which is “meat” in korean. heh, heh. the guy’s got a
sense of humor. the other thing was that he said half of his
*girlfriends* hate kimchee. *girlfriends*?? have you seen the guy? he’s
definitely not the best looking korean that’s for sure. and he sure
doesn’t dress well. but i guess money and fame speak louder than looks?
whatever. i wish all the best for Joseph Kahn. he’s a pioneer being the
first korean on MTV Cribs (well besides the voice over host.) he’s
representin’!! now, go teach those MTV kids all about the wonders of
kimchee!!!! ;)

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