Thursday, June 28, 2007

iPop Inspiration

As the much-lauded iPhone is being released tomorrow, I'm reminded how on top of their game Apple has been for the past few years. I mean, the iPod has created this huge revolution in music and prompted a multi-million dollar industry. Godbot even proposed to me on the back of an iPod, so this little slice of technology is more like an entire chocolate cake in my memory book. There are Apple haters out there (and I would agree that some of their products are far from perfect), but no one can deny the power of that little 'i' in popular culture today. That being said, I am no gadget geek and am not waiting in line for two days to get the first iPhone. Experts recommend waiting until all of the kinks of the first generation phone get worked out and perhaps deciding on the second generation iPhone whenever that arrives. Great. Someone lend me a few benjis next year and I'll be ready.

In keeping with today's theme, the rest of my post will be inspired by a random assortment of songs on my iPod. Random meaning whatever comes up on the shuffle setting. Excitement! Intrigue! procrastination.

"Rap Promoter" by A Tribe Called Quest
- Ahh, the golden days of ATCQ when I was discovering just how much I loved hip-hop. Plus it didn't hurt that Q-tip was cute and had a sexy, raspy voice. I adored Q-tip, even if he shared a name with a cotton swab you stick in your ear. Wait, I'm starting to get why he called himself Q-tip! Despite my lame girly-ness (I was, like, 13 when Low-End Theory came out), I knew I had found one of my musical passions and only wanted to absorb as much as I could.

"Today's You're Day" by Fatlip with Chali 2na
- This guy, who once was part of the once fantastic Pharcyde, is crazy as a solo artist. You can practically hear the drool coming out of his lips, but his lyrics amuse. Chali 2na adds a bit of balance with his bass-heavy, melodic flow.

"Everything" by Jehro
- This track reminds me of last summer. Lovely guitar playing and a mellow, Caribbean vibe. I believe this is one of the few albums I couldn't find at Amoeba, but I see it is available on Amazon.

"Promised Heights" by Cymande
- Cymande rules everything they do. That's all you need to know.

"Rapper's Delight" by Gang De Tagarela
- It's fun to discover songs you never knew existed on your own iPod. This one is a mainly instrumental version with lots of added horns. Godbot must have included this track in one of his playlists that I never end up finishing.

"Playground Love" by Air
- Aww, we used this song on our wedding CD. Once on our way back to UCSB from a break in the Bay, we were sitting in the backseat, tickling each other or something, and our friend in the passenger seat was like, "Hey, you guys, take it to the playground."

"Jump" by the Pointer Sisters
- Oaktown represent! Your eyes tell me how you want me, I can feel it in your heartbeat, I know you like what you see . . . sorry, I can't help singing along with this old school song. Awesome synthesized effects!

On that note, I must jump back into my work. Wow, that was pretty nerdy even for me.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

FYI

In regards to my previous post about wedding planning, I didn't mean to convey that I didn't enjoy my own wedding. My wedding was indeed fabulous and such a happy day. There was so much love in the air (and not just between the bride and the groom). My family and friends truly made the day extra special. I have great memories. I can't believe it will be two years in October!

Hmm, how should we celebrate?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Underground Albino

For this very special entry, please welcome my man, the lub of my life, DJ Godbot! (I'll be back in a sec...)

Uh, well, I'm not the "Underground Albino" that the title of this post might imply (I'm just the one who is writing about another Underground Albino>>). Brother Ali has been around for a while now; to the tune of a couple of full lengths on top of his breakout EP entitled Champion released in 2004. Indeed, Brother Ali is an Albino, and yes, he is Muslim, but to some of us who miss the heyday of Independent hip-hop
(when tons of non-commercial and genuinely innovative beatmakers and lyricists were dropping dope jams in the 1990s) he is a glimmer of hope that underground hip-hop is not going down the tubes.
I got turned on to this dude by my homie Frank (who is now in Iraq, serving as a Captain and still trying to be up on as much music as possible) a while back. Frank's a couple of years younger than me, so I often pick his brain on what he thinks is dope because he truly has made an effort to keep up on Underground hip hop (Especially stuff from Oaktown and the Bay) even though distance makes it a bit more challenging for him.
When he first played me some Brother Ali, I was struck by the overall feel of the music. The vibe definitely sent me back. The production and lyrics put me in a cool, mid-nineties underground hip hop mood, complete with sampled breaks from the butter years of early seventies funk and soul along with lyrics that were honest, deep and from the heart. I believe this dude is from Minnesota, not far from Detroit, and the closest rapper that his style reminds me of is an early Eminem (back when he was young, hungry and dope). Peep, if you will, a track from his new album The Undisputed Truth called "Take Me Home." Its got a nice upbeat groove with some clever banter, speaking to the fact that having skills is not a prerequisite to being successful in hip-hop today.

If you like this track, also peep "Freedom Ain't Free" from
The Undisputed Truth and "Forrest Whitaker" from Shadows on the Sun

Peace Out,
DJ Godbot

. . . Okay, I'm back and in full agreement with my man. Brother Ali is worth checking out. Even though I haven't loved every track I've heard from him, his good ones are great. And while I understand the comparison with Eminem, one can also pick up on his KRS-1 (and other classic hip-hop emcees) influences. But this man is a legend-in-the-making in his own right, too. You can learn more about this underground albino and peep his tracks here and here. Let's support quality hip-hop because it's hard to come by nowadays.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Don't Hate-- Celebrate!


We are almost halfway through June and you know what that means. No, not summer and barbecues and swimming pools and suntans (see my previous post for talk of that ilk). It's wedding season! And along with it come all of the wedding woes, joys, memories, expectations, industry bombardment, etc., etc.

Two years ago I was in the midst of the hectic world of planning my own wedding. And now with friends getting married this weekend (and another lovely couple in September), I am reminded of that nutty time and am filled with empathy. People tell you to enjoy your engagement and make the most of that precious time together. A load of crap, I say. I don't know who the hell has experienced such engagement bliss, but those lucky suckers must have steady access to extra strength Valium. Or maybe wedding planning was not my cup of tea (or glass of champagne, natch). Some brides talk about missing the planning phase. Not I. I did not miss the planning when it was over and still don't. While my wedding was fairly traditional, I hated feeling pressured to engage (pun not intended) in cliched wedding rituals and spend a certain amount of money on this or that. The wedding industry is like that wolf dressed up in grandma's clothing. Everything appears all sweet and lovely until you look closely-- then it eats you alive.

But, save for my misleading rant above, it's not all bad. Especially when you're a guest, which I'm very excited to be! I love seeing two families and all of their friends come together and truly celebrate the union of a happy couple. Just remember that no bride needs to hear the "you should" and "why aren't you" comments. There's too much judgment that occurs around these purportedly blessed events. Just enjoy the love and pass on that haterade. Champagne is so much better.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Foggy Fuss in the Summertime

I have an odd fascination with the weather. My primary reason for watching Mo-Mo's on 2 (that's Mornings on 2 for the uninformed) everyday is to check on the weather. I anxiously await a heatwave forecast because that will almost guarantee a happy flyrish. And that, my friends, is why I love summer.

Plus summers are ripe with nostalgia-inducing elements. The distant splish-splash and laughter from the pool while dozing mid-afternoon. The scent of freshly mown grass mingling with the aroma of barbecue. Soaking up some vitamin D while floating on a raft. The clink of ice melting in a glass of lemonade and iced tea. Sitting outside under the stars in a tank top while listening to the chorus of crickets.

All of the above are associated with warm, sun-soaked days and sultry hot nights. Then how, pray tell, can I be happy in San Francisco during the summer? Even though I have lived in this area for most of my life, I refuse to believe that every summer must be filled with damp, chilly fog. Sure, fog can be beautiful and refreshing. I love San Franciso and what's more San Franciscan than fog? But it can also get old quickly. Last summer we were spoiled by an intense heatwave in July which made me believe in the possibility of warmer summers to come (perhaps one good thing could come out of global warming- just kidding, my selfish desire for a real summer is no reason to celebrate the ruin of our planet). Then here we are in June and it's been even colder than usual. But summer hasn't technically started yet.

Mark Twain reportedly (but probably didn't) said: "The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco." I have a love/hate relationship with that quote. If it keeps hordes of tourists away, that's great. But it's also pessimistic. I want to celebrate each day of summer that I see the sun, even if I'm just at work and can't fully enjoy it.

I awoke this morning to a gloriously blue sky. I thought it might just be in Oakland, but as I crossed the bridge this morning, I was reminded of how beautifully San Francisco shines under the sun. I don't want to wait until our "Indian Summer" to enjoy that view again.