Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

iPod stuff

So I had no interest in getting myself an iPod nor any other portable music player since I left the military. I had a Walkman, and later a portable CD player – but then I stopped traveling regularly and no longer needed portable music. I listen to music all the time on my computer, home stereo, and in my car, but I have not needed portability.

Years ago my wife snagged a Diamond Rio 500 (slick little MP3 player) and it was an interesting novelty, and remains a decent MP3 player because it uses standard memory cards and can be expanded easily. When she later got an early iPod, I inherited her old Rio 500 and used it for short bike rides. That has been good enough for years.

She upgraded her iPod, and sold her old one to our dance teacher. Recently she just upgraded again (she has a shiney new black 60GB iPod Video), and once again I inherited her old device, this time a very nice 20GB 4th generation iPod. Initially I was thinking, what would I do with this thing…

After a few days I figured out that I needed some accessories to make it work, so I grabbed:

Dock everything adaptor ($23):
http://www.sendstation.com/us/products/pocketdock/combo.html ( it is smaller and handles both firewire and USB connectivity and charging)

Y-adaptor with volume controls ($16):
http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/smartshare/ (for sharing your audio with someone else’s headphones)

Headphones for travel:
Etymotic ER-4P ($160) – noise dampening Canalphones (http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er4.aspx)
Belkin headphone to headphone plug cable (apple store) – this plugs my iPod into the Prius

So the noise blocking Etymotic headphones are stunningly awesome, both as ear-plugs (-38dB makes for a really quiet airplane ride) and as fantasically clean audio monitors for great music and really easy to hear spoken words. Shure and Ultimate Ears both get good reviews too, but for the music I listen to the Etymotics have cleaner crisper sound. If you like rap and never listen to classical, you might check out the Etymotic ER-6i, Shure E2C/E3C/E4C, or Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 Pro instead (for less money than the ER-4) or the Shure E5C or E500PTH if money is no object.

I spent the recent trip to the Bahamas listening to fun podcasts and music, and I gotta confess that though I am a late adoptor to the whole iPod/portable music scene, I am now thoroughly infected with the bug.


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I know it’s a paid for commercial for the music group “Bastard Fairies” and that it was all scripted, but the truths coming out of this little girl’s mouth are so profound and so awesome that I had to share it. Also, the band is giving away their first album in MP3 format and asking people to download and share it if they like the music, Ido.

I am reading Sam Harris’ “The End of Faith” right now – so her diatribe about religion causing violence strikes a familiar chord in me. Anyway, enjoy. I downloaded the album “Momento Mori” and I am enjoying it – though I’d like to buy higher quality version I think.

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Last night Erci and I went to see Noche Flamenca at Wolf Trap after a quiet sushi dinner at Hama Sushi (which has become our favorite regular sushi restaurant). The saki and sushi were terrific, and helped Erci calm down from a particularly harrowing day at work (her team is immersed in a sense of impending doom lately).

Soledad Barrio, Alejandro Granados, and Juan Ogalla were each stunning as dancers, both together and as soloists. It was a sticky, humid night, but the dancers did not hesitate to give stunning performances even though they were obviously quite hot. Juan was visibly soaked by the middle of his solo dance routine, and he kept turning up the intensity anyway.   Juan Ogalla photo courtesy of nocheflamenca.com

Wolf Trap’s Filene Center has interesting acoustics, and sometimes I have not been fond of them, but for classical guitar that is lightly amplified the stadium really shines. The guitar players played fantastic and rich music and the sound came through to us in the seats perfectly. It was like being right next to the guitar while these amazing players made their instruments sing.

Interesting anecdote: it was vastly easier getting out of the parking lot after this show than it was getting out after Gypsy Kings and Chicago recently; the crowd was far more polite and turn taking was reasonable and pleasant.

Tonight I look forward to the Ian Anderson concert, also at Wolf Trap. What a season!

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Last night sutragirl and I went up to Baltimore with Becca and Khoa to have dinner and see the Cirque du Soleil live music concert called Delirium. Traffic was bad on I-95 because of an accident at MD-198, so we diverted to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, which was very busy and moving slowly. We ended up grabbing a quick bite at an Afghan Kabob place on the corner of Charles & Lombard Streets. Man it was hot and humid outside. Baltimore Arena is now called 1st Mariner Arena (sigh), and I suspect it is normally a basketball and ice hockey arena. Not really set up for concert, but Cirque applied their usual amazing engineering team and came up with a very wide (as you face it) stage that had no depth (only about 18′ from front to back) because they had audience on both sides. All the numbers were set up to show well from both sides and they did amazing holographic tricks with thin curtains and projected images.

Nitza portrait A singer called Nitza opened for Delirium, and performed with them later in the show. Her music and her band are stunning, especially a bouzouki player. I was not stunned by her voice, but the music is awesome. We can’t wait for her first CD.

The show was music concert with a light sampling of Cirque signature acts throughout. Particularly impressive were the strongman/acrobats (team of four), the hoola-hoop juggling act with at least 7 hoops, and at least one fantastic popper (dancer). Some of the music was familiar from other Cirque shows, other pieces seemed new to me. The thin veils of curtains were used with video projectors to create a holographic dream-like of multiple layers. Really amazing show, do see it in your town if it comes near. capture from cirque du soleil.com

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Last night we went and saw the musical Chicago at Wolf Trap, it was very well done. I have sympathy for the performers and musicians for having to perform in the beastly heat and humidity (by opening number it had cooled down to 85F, but was still close to 90% humidity). The buffet at Ovations at Wolf Trap was very good. Stellar performances are delivered by Terra C. MacLeod (as Vema), Michelle DeJean (as Roxy), Carol Woods (as Mama), and Kevin Carolan (as Amos). Gregory Harrison (as Billy Flynn) can really sing beautifully, but I was disappointed in his dancing. I gather that Chicago (the band) will be playing Wolf Trap in August, so lots of people were confused when I said we were going to see Chicago at Wolf Trap. Life is fun sometimes. The show will be running through Sunday the 16th. photo of show courtesy of wolf-trap.org

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