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Monday, February 23, 2009

Thru You

In 1998, I bought my first sampler: an MPC 2000. I still have it and use frequently. It has a particular sound and vibe that I love, and it's a workhorse. Recently, DK brought to my attention a guy from Israel that cuts and pastes youtube videos just like someone would do with audio on an MPC. He's done an amazing job editing these together. Check it out!

Short Fiction & the Oscars

I won't pick apart the Oscars as I did the Grammy's, but I do have a few quick thoughts:

1. I'm very pleased for the recognition received by Slumdog Millionaire. Bollywood + Hollywood = HollyHollyBollyHollyBollyBolly
2. Ben Stiller is genius.
3. I love Beyonce.
4. I had no idea Hugh Jackman had it in him!?
5. When Philippe Petit balanced the award on his chin, it made me want to go see "Man on Wire" and gave me hopes for my short stories to be made into short films.
6. Heath Ledger: Rest In Peace.

The following below is an excerpt from "Flurry" by Marilyn Urena, which has recently been posted in its entirety on my latino fiction blog. I've been getting some great submissions to this latino fiction blog lately, and I hope it will continue to grow to be a place where people can share their creative works.

Author Bio

Marilyn Urena was born and raised in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan in New York City. She is currently a Bilingual second grade teacher in the Bronx. She published has published "Guiding Light" with LatinGirl Magazine, “Estrella” in Electric Fire as part of the National Book Foundation, “135th Street” in Voices of the Brotherhood Sister Sol, “The First Quarter” and “We Live in a Beautiful World” in The Tablet at Columbia University, and “Trans-Forming America” in Altar Magazine. She participated in the National Book Foundation’s Summer Writing Camp. Marilyn now lives in the South Bronx, and enjoys writing, reading, and dancing. She is currently working on her first novel.

by Marilyn Urena

“Your skirt is bunching up,” she said as she quickly pulled her daughter’s skirt down. “You were showing everyone your behind!” she exclaimed.

The last thing she wanted was for anyone to call her daughter a whore, especially the meddlesome, elder women that lived around the corner. She saw them at every 7am Sunday mass, with their colossal golden and lavender sun-hats and their sanctified rosaries. These widowed women seemed innocuous. Their spirit and minds were on the Lord, but she knew the truth.

She knew that when Señor Luis lined up for holy communion, for that perfectly circular bread and tasty wine, the elderly ladies sneered and rolled their eyes. Señor Luis had been caught going down on the nanny just a few days ago.
When Doña Ana dipped her small, stiff, wrinkled index finger in the holy water at the entrance of the church and made the sign of the cross, the ladies giggled. Doña Ana almost certainly also made the sign of the cross as she left the local supermarket from where she stole.

When Maria’s daughter, Sofia, shook others’ hands and said “Peace be with you,” the ladies bowed and shook their heads. They knew—thanks to that loyal, juicy grapevine—that she was in anger management classes and on house arrest for violating her probation.

. . . . read the rest here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New MuteMath EP Out Today!

There's a new MuteMath EP out today, available through iTunes, Amazon, and/or the new MM website: http://www3.mutemath.com/.

The limited edition vinyl is only available through the new MM site store, which is actually the best deal because you get the digital stuff, too.

I hope you guys enjoy this precursor to our long overdue, upcoming album.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Grammy Thoughts

Quick thoughts on performances in order of appearance:

1. U2 "Get On Your Boots": boring. Man, I really hate this song. It all seems so rehashed. Sorry, but what's happen to this incredible band?

2. Al Green with Justin Timberlake "Let's Stay Together": Decent. Obviously, put together in the last minute to make up for Chris Brown & Rihanna bail outs.

3. Coldplay with Jay-Z "Lost & Viva la Vida": I actually enjoyed the broken down part with Jay-Z because Chris Martin was singing well since he was not constantly jumping around like a wind-up toy. The second half was not as interesting; they're already accused of ripping off an artist for their song of the year, then why would they blatantly wear Sgt. Pepper jackets to this event? At least, they apologized to Sir Paul McCartney.

4. Carrie Underwood "Last Name": Nashsnooooozzzzze. Wait. Who's that guitar player?! She's awesome.

5. Kid Rock: The only redeeming factor for me is his drummer. I'm glad that he's stuck with her so long; she's great.

6. Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift "Fifteen": I must admit I like Taylor Swift, not her music per se, but the whole Taylor Swift genre. Needless to say, I got up and went to the bathroom during this.

7. Jennifer Hudson "You Pulled Me Through": Stellar. I loved her at the Superbowl, too. My condolences to Jennifer and her family for their losses.

8. The Jonas Brothers with Stevie Wonder "Superstition": Stevie is pure genius, and he has to have the biggest heart in the universe.

9. Katy Perry "I Kissed a Girl": Earthsuit toured with Katy back in her days as Katy Hudson, and not much has changed; she was crazy then, and she's crazy now. My friend Josh plays bass for her now, and he tore it up! Good job, Josh!

10. Estelle with Kayne West "American Boy": first performance of the night I got excited about. First of all, I love this song. Estelle was right on point, and both Kayne and her looked amazing. I thought I was watching a performance straight up out 1985!

11. Kenny Chesney "Better as a Memory": Nashboring. How is this so big?!

12. M.I.A. with Kayne West, Lil Wayne, T.I. & Jay-Z: I love M.I.A. and much respect to her performing preggo. Her part on this song was hype! Everyone else was stellar, too.

13. Paul McCartney with Dave Grohl "I Saw Her Standing There": Great match-up. I wouldn't be surprised if they did a tour together. One of the better performances of the night even though this is not one of my favorite Beatles' tunes.

14. Sugarland "Stay": Even though they might be trying to hard sometimes, this performance was good. I think she sang the hell out of it.

15. Adele "Chasing Pavements": Decent even though I was expecting more. I thought the mix was a bit off, but it came together towards the end. Sugarland cameo at the end was interesting.

16. Radiohead "15 Steps": Brillant! I wish, however, the mix was a bit better. Nevertheless, most innovative & interesting performance of the night.

17. T.I. & Justin Timberlake "Dead and Gone": Okay. Not too into this song.

18. Smokey Robinson, "Duke" Fakir, Ne-Yo & Jamie Foxx "I'll Be There" and "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)": Well done.

19. Neil Diamond "Sweet Caroline": I got up to get something to drink after the first 30 seconds.

20. Tribute to Bo Diddley featuring John Mayer, B.B. King, Buddy Guy & Keith Urban: Cool.

21. Lil Wayne & Robin Thicke "Tie My Hands": I'm happy that NOLA is still getting some attention. The city is still in vital need of recovery.

22. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss "Rich Woman" and "Gone, Gone, Gone": I'm not a fan at all. Why did this win album of the year?

23. Stevie Wonder "All About Love": Since when did Stevie Wonder become exit music? It was sad to see him playing up there all alone as if the service was over and everyone was going to go stuff their faces. But was it more sad than the Jonas Brothers stepping all over him in the previous performance? No.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

5 Reasons Why You Should Drop Out of Law School


1. Launch Your Political Career.
Would Lyndon Johnson, William McKinley, Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Woodrow Wilson ever have gotten to the White House if they hadn't dropped out of law school? Probably not. All these men had passions (e.g., Theodore-family life, Woodrow-women's voting rights, etc.), but not a passion for the law. In the fall of 1934, President Lyndon Johnson briefly attended Georgetown University Law School, but met soon-to-be-wife Claudia Alta Taylor on a trip home Texas; in two months, they were married in San Antonio, and about a year later, he was appointed to the head of Texas National Youth Administration, creating education and jobs for youth; two years later, Johnson ran for Congress.

In the early 1970s, Al Gore dropped out of Vanderbilt Law School to launch his political career by running for Congress in Tennessee; almost-President Gore, along with the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. U.S. Presidents who dropped out of law school (6) outnumbers those who graduated (5). But forget the White House, how about starting a nation? David Ben Gurion, a law school dropout, was one of the founding fathers of Israel and its first prime minister.

2. Write a Novel.

Harper Lee
completed To Kill a Mockingbird in the summer of 1959, about 9 years after she dropped out of University of Alabama law school. In 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was a bestseller, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961 in literature. It's sold more than 30 million copies.

In 1996, Richard Ford won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature for
Independence Day. He attended law school, but quit to write fiction.

3. Become a Comedian.

Demetri Martin attended New York University School of Law on a full scholarship, but he dropped out a year before graduation to pursue a career in comedy.

"It’s weird to make a decision where everyone in your life disapproves, pretty vocally and directly. They said, 'You've got one year left. Just do it.' I had a full scholarship so I didn’t have to pay for it. They asked, 'Why don’t you just get the degree so you can have it?' And I said, 'You don’t understand. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do and now I know. I have the answer and it’s dumb to waste any more time,'" Demetri Martin has stated regarding his decision.

4. Start a Revolutionary Philosophy.
At the age of 17, Karl Marx attended law school the University of Bonn, but later decided it wasn't for him, moving on to the University of Berlin, where he entered into journalism and became editor of a deeply criticized newspaper. Marx's works were viewed by several governments as dangerously revolutionary, which led to his banishment from Paris. Although largely ignored by his contemporary scholars during his lifetime, Marx's "big break" came after his death when workers' movements looked to his writings for guidance as with Marxist Bolsheviks in the Russian October Revolution. Marx is considered by some the father of communism.

5. Join a Rock Band.

Apparently, I'm not the only musician who has taken this option, although I am still working on number two. Ray Manzarek from the Doors, Paul Simon, Cole Porter, Cab Calloway, and Max Weinberg from Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band/Conan O'Brien are all law school dropouts. Manzarek once said, "I went to De Paul University, and got a bachelor's degree in economics at De Paul University, and graduated from there and went to UCLA to law-school at UCLA, where I stayed in law-school for about two weeks, and dropped out of law-school realizing that that was totally insane for me to be in law-school."

Like Ray, this fifth option was never really an option if I think about it; at some point or another, I would have gone insane with law and floated back to a music career; even when I was finishing my undergraduate degree, I played several nights a week. My whole life has been a battle of balancing my passions of music/writing against that which is logically and socially acceptable. But what is life if you cannot pursue what you love? Leaving law school was probably one of the hardest decision I ever had to make; sometimes I wonder if I made the right choice, but I always make my peace by reminding myself that I'm truly pursuing what I love.

Vintage cab used on MM debut (two 15" Jensen speakers).