They Live Inside My Head, They Come To Me In Bed

I mentioned a couple of months ago about my recurring dream where I’m in my last semester of college and I remember that I’m failing a class because I thought I dropped it, but I didn’t, so I have to scramble to figure out what to do. I have that dream once every few months.

Last night, I actually got to take an hour and read the latest issue of Men’s Health magazine, which has been sitting in my mail bin at home for who knows how long. In the “Ask Men’s Health” section, the following question appeared:

Q: I graduated from college years ago, but I have a recurring dream about failing a class. What’s it mean? Stephen, Albany, NY asks

Ask Men’s Health Answers:
An armchair analyst would guess that you’re afraid of failing at something — a new work project, an upcoming athletic endeavor, or possibly even a romantic relationship. And so would a professional analyst. “This is one of the three most common recurring anxiety dreams, next to being naked in public or being chased by something,” says Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard medical school and the author of Trauma and Dreams. As for why the dream has you back on campus, Barrett says that “college was the last time you took tests that were based on your performance.” So take the hint from your subconscious: Step back and try to identify the high-stakes situation in your life that’s prompting the panic, and then start finding concrete ways to improve your odds of success.

Hmmmm. Interesting. I suppose there are plenty of high-stakes situations in my life right now, two of which sleep down the hall from me. But I’ve had these dreams since college, so I can’t say with any degree of authority that the babies are causing it. I suppose another would be my job, where part of my compensation is based on performance. But again, that hasn’t always been the case, either. Maybe I’m just afraid to fail in general. I know I’ve never had a dream about being naked in public or being chased by something, though.

Quick 2 points for anyone who can, without Googling, name the source of today’s subject line.

BTW, this is ROCKIN’ cool! Hat tip to Leo for pointing it out:

One Day At Fenway – Letus Extreme Film – Time Lapse – HDTV from Tom Guilmette on Vimeo.

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He Ain’t Been Right Since Vietnam

Time for a quick sample of some music I’ve been digging lately.

I clearly came late to the Josh Ritter party. I’ve been hearing about him for years now from various friends and I think I heard one song a few years back that I didn’t care for, so I didn’t give him another shot. Bad Jeff. Bad, bad Jeff. Ritter is a singer/songwriter who crafts excellent songs and makes most of them feel rather timeless. Here’s “Right Moves.”

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I’m finding it hard to believe that Warren Zevon has been gone five years already. It seems like just yesterday when I’d tune into Letterman to see his yearly appearance, which would almost always be terrific. It seems like just yesterday when I saw his last appearance on Letterman, where Dave devoted pretty much the entire show to Zevon. Well, “Stand in the Fire” came out a little bit ago and it’s a positively KILLER live album. Warren Zevon will never die! Here’s “Play It All Night Long”

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Finally, a little local band called Drug Rug from the Boston area is starting to make a little noise. Think Sonny & Cher for the new millennium. Their voices don’t soar, their instruments are not expertly played, but there’s still something totally delicious about their music. It’s infectious. Fun. Here’s “The Sound Alone”

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Enjoy! Would love to hear your thoughts via the comments.

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Working Remote

I’ve been using a universal remote for so many years now that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have 5 or 6 remotes piled on the coffee table. There’s just no other way to do it. The remote I currently have works pretty well, but it’s one of those deals where you have to press TV-Power-Cable-Power-Receiver-Power, etc etc. If you want to control something, you have to press the device button first (TV, Cable, DVD, etc), then you can control it.

No more.

Enter the Logitech Harmony 670 Universal Remote. All other remote controls should be embarrassed. You take this thing out of the box, hook it up via USB to your computer, answer some questions and VOILA! Everything works. There’s three main buttons: “watch a movie,” “watch TV” and “listen to music.” You press those and the remote does everything else except make your dinner. You can even do things like pre-set the volume or change the type of sound in your receiver for each of the three. And no more changing the TV to video 1 or DVI or component 2. All done automatically. Genius.

And get this: the remote can also control lighting and appliances in your house, although I haven’t set that up yet and I doubt I will. I don’t think that’s a line I need to cross.

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Stay With Me, Go Places

A couple people have asked me about the comments from “STEPH” in the comment fields for the last few days. Rest assured, those are not from my wife. It’s not really her style to ask questions like “how old are you?” and accuse me of trying to sound intelligent (sorry, it’ll never happen again). The “Steph” leaving the comments was somebody from Wyoming, according to WordPress’s IP lookup. If my wife Steph has any questions, she usually asks them in person, since we live together and all.

So, in the space of two months, two magazines I subscribe to have gone belly up. Harp and No Depression, two music magazines that I relied on heavily at various points in the last ten years, ceased publishing recently for a variety of reasons that don’t need to be explored here. Let it be said that my appreciation for these mags can only be described as overwhelming for a) packing issues with very good writing and b) being such a rich source for new discoveries. Two of my recent favorites, Johnny Society and Kelley Stoltz, were both Harp discoveries. These days most of my discoveries are found online (Hype Machine, Last.FM, LargeHeartedBoy, etc) anyway, so I can’t say I’m terribly surprised by any of this. Just sad.

Harp appears to have stopped cold, but No Depression will soldier on via the web, although it remains to be seen how they’ll go about doing this. Knowing full-well that that group of music fans are a very tight knit community, my approach would be to try and create and expand a niche social network. An ILike or Last.FM, with focus on the genre. Back in 1994 when I signed on to AOL (yikes) and found a discussion board dedicated to Uncle Tupelo (are you KIDDING ME, I thought!) – I was floored. Not only was it my first true exposure to how incredible the internet was and how small the world would be getting, but it was amazing to discover and meet new friends over the next couple of years from around the country who had the same crazy taste in music that I did! That was a 100% text-based message board. With the greatly expanding pipes of the internet, the opportunities for building a beautiful experience are ample.

No Depression’s opportunity is to create that feeling we all had in 1994 again, version 2.0. Given I’ve been working in the internet space for 9+ years now, I spoke with them last month and gave them some of my thoughts. It’s not all that important to me that they take the advice, it’s just important to me that these communities continue to flourish and prosper. They gave me a lot and I wish them well.

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What’s Your Name, Who’s Your Daddy?

I picked up a couple of magazines in the airport on Sunday before a long flight and one of them was the latest issue of Time Magazine, which devoted roughly half the edition to how the U.S. can “fight the war on global warming.” Having had some time in my room last night, I was able to read all of the articles and while Time has nothing overly inventive about solving the problem (it’s not really their job anyway), it was a good overview for anyone who is looking to find out more. So for that reason alone, I’d recommend it.

Whenever I see these magazines devoting space to global warming, I leaf through them and I never seem to find any counter-points anymore. Is this because there ARE no counter-points? Does everyone realize 30 years on that this is, gulp, a legit problem? The only hangers-on appear to be the current administration, whose recent “plans” in the last 1-2 months and whose efforts to laud ethanol last year as the magic solution were, simply put, laughable end-arounds for the business of oil and greed.

Time’s most direct hit was basically saying that while your wallet may take a short-term hit if we practice some REAL conservation efforts (and it will), the benefits are tremendous in the mid-to-long range timeframe. For example, alt-energy (TM) will undoubtedly create a plethora of new jobs. This isn’t just a fad, it’s a necessity. This is not sending a man to the moon or creating the atom bomb. Those are/were focused tasks. This is an undertaking that is multi-generational. Your kids and their kids, blah blah blah. It is a chance for America to once again take the lead in doing something constructive and good. We could have had a 20-year head start if we’d focused on it in the years just after the cold war, but oil companies wield a heavy hammer over both political parties.

Instead, money is being funneled into Iraq to the tune of $12 billion per month. Yikes. Not exactly the “war” many of us were hoping to fight.

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