March 30, 2010

Wow! I haven’t blogged in a couple of days… Are you guys sick of my uber-unsurprising weekend recaps? Because that's exactly the kind of action I'm about to break out on your asses right now. If you don't mind.

The weekend was a tough one and, while this one promises to be a bit quieter, well, that promise is quite frequently broken. Luckily, Friday night and Sunday were major vegetation days. And I needed vegetation. Not a nice cold iced beer or a head of iceberg ice cream. I'm talking time without the need to think. On Saturday, I went out to this popular burger joint that so many I know have been talking about.

Verdict? The best damn beef burger I’ve tasted in my life. The company? Awesome. Both were excellent.
So, all-in-all, it was a fantastic weekend that I wished had never ended. But it obviously did, since sitting at my desk downing a cup of steaming hot water in the hope of recuperating from my nasty cold wouldn't be something I'd naturally decide to do if I'd had a choice in the matter.

Well, lots of things came together - I decided to try taking a picture of my niece on camera (A side note: She hasn’t been very camera friendly since she came back from her 6 month long vacation in Nagaland.) I clicked her saying ‘Yo China’ (her version of cheeeeeeese) - all at the right second. But of course, it wasn't just luck. It was persistence. I give you the original outtakes.

It has been a full month since the Lifehouse series graced this humble page (sorry mates, I couldn't post regularly, but work and sickness are simply dominating my time). So I still care. Honestly, I still care. So enjoy the last Lifehouse track on EC off the album ‘Smoke & Mirrors’. I hope it’s been worth the wait and we’ll all keep our fingers crossed that it’s not too long before they return. Enjoy the music.

Lifehouse with ‘Had Enough’

March 26, 2010

Scullers’ Get Their Groove Back

It appears that the heavenly bodies have united against me in a cosmic joke.

Let me explain. The trend at Scullers this season are actually sane, and this is overlapping with the first time in my life that I’m broke.

I used to shop at Scullers years ago. With ribbed sweaters and pastel coloured shirts, they always had a classic sense of fashion. After that they experimented, what I’d consider a strong euphemism, with different styles, until this season.

The spring/summer collection has gone back to it’s classic roots, with a lovely collection of chino shirts for women. New clothes are definitely more of a want than a need, so it’s hard for me to justify going further into debt to add more to an already full closet.
Maybe I’ll wait until it goes on sale at the end of summer. The problem, especially at Scullers, is that the small sizes disappear within days.

The cosmic gods, they’re laughing at me.

Since I purchased my Nikon. Some of the people I’ve photographed over the course of my sessions have made it a point to tell me I did a fantastic job with the pictures, and it really made my day.

I think I’ve really developed as a photographer in the little time I’ve owned my first SLR camera. Looking back on a year of photos has made me realize that I’ve learned a lot, not only simple photographic theory, but familiarity with my camera and post-processing as well. But I still have a lot more to learn, especially with exposure and metering, as digital SLR’s make it easy to get good shots without really needing to have an in-depth understanding.

Whether or not you actually like Lifehouse (or the copious amount of tracks that I’ve uploaded) we can all agree on one thing. Jason Wade. The lead singer of the band is brilliant at almost every single turn. So when he and his group came up with their new album I just knew it was going to be epic. And trust me, epic it is.
Honestly I’m not sure if there is anything I would change about the song ‘From Where You Are’. Let’s see. It’s about three minutes. It’s impressive. It changes moods and builds to an ending that can only be described as poignant. Really, I mean really, is there anything even slightly disappointing about this song?

March 21, 2010

Sorry to be so late to the party!

This weekend I’ll be crossing two things off my Life List: becoming best friends with my boss and going on my first pub crawl. I’ve wanted to go to pub crawling ever since I started drinking, but I was too young and had strict non-alcoholic parents who always took us to the beach or to grandma cottages for vacations with bottles of raspberry juice. But now that I’m a grown up and can stay up as late as I want and spend my paycheck on alcohol and pretty things and camera equipment, I am thrilled to spend a weekend severely dorking out with about 25 of my most fun colleagues visiting 10 pubs and chugging down massive amounts of the golden liquid and someone might’ve needed to taser gun me before I said ‘we’re out’. Too late!

This kinda freaks me out, because nineteen is an age I remember very clearly, and, a few things aside, it really wasn’t all that different from now. Okay, I can buy my own alcohol and I gave up on the whole hip-hop over-sized clothing thing, but other than that, on the inside, I still feel a lot like I did when I was nineteen.

Hanging out on the weekend for 8 hours with 25 of your co-workers are ships passing in the night, and try as we might, it will never work between us. Like former lovers, alcohol is the only thing that brings us together, and, thankfully, parts us before the sun comes up.

Also here are some pictures if you’re interested in that sort of thing, which obviously I am.

Continuing the Lifehouse series is a way to give us all the gift of this incredibly talent band. You see the path they’ve taken this year is one they’ve been on before. And in fact it’s the best path they could be on. This EP takes them back to the raw grit that flowed deep into arguably their best overall album No Name Face. What you’ll find in their recent album ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ is a collection of tracks and their leftover brilliance. This is the first single off the new album and it’s my favorite of the bunch. The venom that drips from Jason Wade’s trademark vocal delivery is absolute perfection. And if I didn’t sell you on Lifehouse earlier then consider this my official endorsement of the above album. Give it a listen. I seriously love this series and I hope you’re as enthralled as I am. Lifehouse with ‘Crash and Burn’.

March 14, 2010

I've been hearing friends telling me that they’re going to get hitched. My best friend, Runa being one of them. It's been a very cool experience watching these people in relationships and now finally seeing them getting married. Seeing the setbacks are humbling because it's never that easy making up your mind to settle down; but seeing them downright happy is a great feeling.

It's exciting but at the same time, a little sad. Everyone's growing up, including me. It's weird. You dream about it as a kid, living it up with some Prince Charming for the rest of your life. It's harder than it looks, and when you reach that point you think, "Wait, what? When did I become a grown-up?" It's a wake up call: you're not an adolescent anymore. You have the C-word. Compromise.

I'll always be a kid at heart though. Heck, I still laugh at "huffle puff" and will always do "That's what she said." But getting married... you can't help being more serious and a little less fun. Except I tell myself, ‘you just live it up. Embrace it and keep on laughing’.

(Click to view close up)

I think cinnamon rolls are a hidden treasure. They're my favorite. What's yours?

Off the fourth album by Lifehouse, Who We Are – ‘Come Back Down’ is quite simply a brilliant single. Other than that very serious statement (one which I have contemplated over for the past) I cannot figure out what else precisely confines the mood of this song. I’m struggling with how best to summarize a track that is beautiful, affecting, and dazzling throughout quite literally every single note. It’s a single so good, so undeniable; it forces me to go back to my old ways of literally forcing everyone I know to listen to it from start to finish. It’s a single that is so well created that I’ve listened to it now about twenty times.

For reference the following statements say nothing about the actual sound of the band, the type of music they produce, but it’s the easiest way for me to explain how. It’s well crafted and worth listening to, the song is infused with magnificent lyrics and it’s so epic and so moving you’re required to start it over again and again and again.

March 10, 2010

My Latest Plaything

I don't know what it was like in your neck of the woods, but it was a fantastically dazzling weekend around these parts. Let's recap, shall we?

I went out and got myself a new toy. Even though I regularly have to remind myself what SLR stands for, I've wanted one for a while and I finally bought the Nikon D3000. It’s feeling pretty awesome so far.

I'll spare you the technical details mostly because I don't know them and making them up would probably just make me sound stupid. The D3000 is big and fast and handles like a dream. A really good dream. It also has more settings than you can shake a stick at. I have no idea what half of them do but they look cool. And the clarity rocks.

Truthfully, the most interesting part was the reactions I got. The cam attracted a lot of stares. And more than a few virtual nods. Quite a few thumb's up. And I got a few interesting looks as well. They were thinking one of two things.

- Wow, cool cam!

- Huh, she looks a little young to have a midlife crisis.

I’m going to go ahead and talk about the single ‘Blind’ by Lifehouse which I’ll be playing for you folks here today. ‘Blind’ wasn’t exactly the single that made a huge impact. It wasn’t a direct continuum of the band’s first two albums, ‘No Name Face’ (2000) and ‘Stanley Climbfall’ (2002), but it is (when looked at objectively) a solid effort from a great band. ‘Lifehouse’ is just that; a solid third album from a great band. Unfortunately, it feels as if it was largely passed over simply because it was different from the band’s usual tough alternative style.

Long story short Lifehouse’s music is brilliant, and the songwriting and craftsmanship is apparent in this single and it’s something to be heard by all. To Ku2.

March 05, 2010

An Honor Just To Be Recognized

I hardly ever talk about work, but...

Yesterday, I went to a very large meeting attended by most of the people with whom I work. In front of these people - 100 people or so - I was presented an award. I didn't know about it ahead of time so I'm sure I had that deer in the headlights look you see on people when their cocaine labs get attacked by the police in the dead of night. But I was stunned and thrilled to be recognized with a nice pat on the back for a job well done. It was, quite sincerely, awesome.

As my mom used to say (constantly - what was up with that?), you can't judge a book by its cover. There are lots of things you just can't presume about a person by just noticing them at the office or outside. Everyone has secrets. And secret abilities. Like me for example. I bet you didn't know that:

I was a quite a little dancer back in school. I even joined a team and we took part in a variety of dance competitions around the place. I'm afraid after that it was all down hill!

I judged a Dumb Charades competition for one of the annual college events.

I'd make the perfect spy. Nobody ever suspects me of anything. I've sometimes used this to my advantage.

I am able to see all sides of an issue or argument, which sometimes makes decision-making difficult for me. It's the curse of being born under the astrological sign of Libra.

I can remember crazy things I talked about with other people that are truly irrelevant.

When I didn't eat out all the time, I could remember everything I ate AND what you ate and where/when we ate it.

If my oldest and closest friend were to stop me on the street and ask me to run away with him, I would go because I know he’d treat his girl like treasure.

Well, not to brag or anything, but I am consistently and overwhelmingly 100% correct, all of the time. It's crazy. And it confounds people.

If you’ve been a regular around here you’ve no doubt that I have a deep love for the guys who make up Lifehouse. I also believe they’re one of the most under appreciated bands of all time. I mean honestly, their last four albums were out of this world brilliant. So it was great today when I got started with work and one of the advertisements I got to review was that of Lifehouse’s new album ‘Smoke and Mirrors’. On this latest effort the music is fascinating and diverse. There seem to be layers upon layers that can only truly be appreciated after repeat listening (I try to digest all of my new music acquisitions in this manner). For those of you whom are curious, the title track – ‘Halfway Gone’ can be found below. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
I’m going to be blogging about Lifehouse for a month straight. Also, if you like what you’re reading/seeing/hearing feel free to leave a comment on my blog. Every comment will be much appreciated.

March 02, 2010

Abigail, Abby, Abbymonster, Aolem, Lemlem (muh muh muh lem!), Princess Lem, Lemska –

And yesterday she turned three. How did this happen? I know that minutes flowed into hours which were carried by a swift tide into days and, in turn, years but these three years seem to have hurried much too quickly. And she is no longer a baby. Instead, a little girl who walks and runs and talks and repeats everything and grabs the prettiest things from my dressing table. Sometimes, I want nothing more than to be with her, even if that means having to play her crazy games.

I'm enclosed by toys of different Disney characters (I recognize Ariel, the Little Mermaid… well not really little anymore with the size of those knockers). Abigail, my niece while having her breakfast (donuts) on her birthday morning told her mum how she wished she’d look like one of her favourite female cartoon characters. I'm only somewhat appalled. I mean, the way Disney depicts princesses doesn't exactly make them look like missile engineers. They're over-sentimental, fall in love at the drop of a hat and get on any random idiot - uh-erm - magic carpet. It's like their whole celluloid way of life is geared wholly towards landing a prince. And that's not right.

In spite of awful role-models and near-lethal amounts of sugar, Abigail’s small birthday party restricted to just family, was fun. Just keep your fingers crossed that we have the same luck on her huge party sometime during next week...when friends, family and kids descend upon our house. Send good vibes. And if you don't hear from me soon, send help.

Abigail, you are adorable, special, smart and funny and I am proud to be your aunt. I'd appreciate it if you'd sleep a little later than 7:00 am and, maybe, not pound on my door when you think it's time for me to wake up (that's cruel). But you’re cute so you can get away with it.

For some reason the other day, I kept replaying the song 'Diamonds are Forever' over and over again in my head. Thankfully the internet still exists and I was able to find a version of this track which has become one of my all time favorite songs since Shirley Bassey’s original, which was the James Bond theme in the movie ‘Goldfinger’. Arctic Monkeys never fails to impress and this track is no different. Included below is one of the finest reworking of a song. This cover is not to be missed.