Riddle Me This, Zune!

Zune-BrownWhat costs 1.2531646¢ each and ends up being trapped inside a black, white or baby-shit green-brown prison?

Why, a Zune point, of course!

In a marketing move that borrows heavily from Barumian tactics, the Zune player debuted today along with the Zune music store. In the Zune store, you must first buy Zune points, in blocks of $5 at a time.

Then, you browse the Zune store to discover that songs are only 79 points!!!

Wow…they’re totally spanking Apple now! First a brown-noise-player that’s bigger and bulkier and browner than an iPod, and then songs undercutting iTunes by twenty cents….errrrrr….points….Points. Make sense?

Here’s the kicker. 79 Zune points costs you 99¢.

Did they really think people would fall for that?

On the iTunes store, I can click a 99¢ song and it downloads, and the charge is added to my Visa card. Done.

On Zune, I must buy $5.00-worth of points…about 400 points. Then I can go buy about 5 songs. At 79 points per song. Total point cost: 395 points. Leaving me about 4 or 5 points remaining.

Seriously, do you think we’re dumb as brown-green Zune shit?

But hey, at least I can wirelessly share a song from an obscure CD that I ripped myself, and you can listen to it on YOUR zune for 3 plays (even 1 second’s worth of play counts as a full play) or 3 days, whichever comes first. At which point, since it’s probably not on Zune’s store, you won’t be able to buy it, but it will still just sit there on your Zune, unplayable and taking up space.

At least the Zune’s bigger-but-not-higher-rez screen will let you play those Zune movies you bought on—oh wait. No movies.

One upside: take your Zune to Quebec and let them giggle at you calling it your own personal pee-pee/tinkle/hoo-hoo/kitty.

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Chicks Rule!!!

Longway After the stupid uproar that Nashville staged in response to the Dixie Chicks’ stated opinion that they’re embarrassed that they’re from the same state as George W. Bush, the Chicks respond with a totally kick-ass song, Not Ready To Make Nice…a stark and direct song aimed at the losers who hate our freedoms (meaning the Red State yahoos who love freedom of speech as long as you never exercise it).

I bought the album, Taking the Long Way from iTunes Music Store, and discovered elsewhere that the album is #1 on the charts! Go Chicks!

And go ye to purchase the album. It’s terrific.

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Yet Another Music Meme

Meme from Sam:

…that reminds you of an ex:<br/> Such Great Heights by The Postal Service

…that makes you cry: Somewhere Only We Know by Keane

…that reminds you of your childhood: Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque by The Partridge Family

…that reminds you of high school: The Stroke by Billy Squier

…that mirrors you too closely: The Longest Time by Billy Joel

…that makes you laugh: Gett Off by Prince

…that will always get you up to dance: Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order

…that you used to hate, but now love: Can’t Get You Out of My Head by Kylie Minogue

…that you love but wouldn’t know of if it weren’t for a friend: Theme from Valley of the Dolls by k.d. lang

…that you like from your parents’ collection: Fly Me To The Moon by Frank Sinatra

…that makes you think of sex: Lovesexy by Prince

…that is your anthem: Downtown by Petula Clark (or Mary Chapin Carpenter)

…that is your ultimate love song: Move On by Bernadette Peters & Mandy Patinkin (music by Stephen Sondheim)

…that reminds you of something nasty: Any House music overly deconstructed and propped up by Steve Mueller

…that reminds you of a break-up: Somewhere Only We Know by Keane

…that makes you think of your friends: Any 80s alternative music, including industrial and techno

…that is held between you and a friend: Scenes from an Italian Restaurant by Billy Joel

…that would be your choice for a national anthem: War Is Release by The Toll

…that changed your life in some pragmatic way: Put On Your Sunday Clothes by Carol Channing & Original Cast of Hello Dolly!

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Other Places Only Make Me Love You Best

The chain of pain continues—and ends at a meeting of the weirdnesses.

First, you may recall, I invoked the dark side of pop music with references to an O’Sullivan and a Jacks. Then, BdbdbdbdbdbdBuck brings in a melancholic ONJ reference. Then Mr. Johnny Trinity invokes Ms. Manilow.

And yesterday was the 100th Anniversary of the Great San Francisco Earthquake.

10692.Jpg-1Which got me thinking about the City’s history, which got paired with Barry [Wo]manilow (as we used to call him) and I remembered the movie Foul Play, which was set in San Francisco in 1978 or so, and whose main theme song is my second-favorite Barry Manilow song, “Ready to Take a Chance Again”, which is an entirely apropos sentiment for me these days.

And? It just happened to be on comcast cable’s “On Demand” section, so I watched it immediately last night.

You know, I love this town. As if I didn’t already have the best parents in the world, not to mention the embarrassment of riches in all those who’ve been there for me through the years, San Francisco is something of the Mother of All of Us who know this is the only place to live.

Oh, and for the record? I’m a Jeanette, definitely not a Tony. I may be sentimental from time to time, but I’m not a sentimentalist.

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One has friends who are funny, sweet, kind, gentle, decent. Who are hot or handsome or pretty. Who have been thought of as more than friends or too much like family.

So what do you do with one of those in-betweeners, who is your friend and whom you think is hot, but who does something so horribly, horribly wrong that you don’t know what to do with yourself?

I speak of my friend Buck, who after reading my entry about Gilbert O’Sullivan and Terry Jacks, decided to add even more saccharine to the mix by offering up some lines to a song as an in-kind gesture:

I find the days hard to take now.
Empty rooms, with much too much space now…

It took me embarrassingly little time to suss it out. The artist came first, oddly. And then the name of the song. And then the true nature of the appropriateness of the song.

I’ve been singing the damned song in my head since I got his email last night at 10:32pm. Even more embarrassingly, I remembered all the words to the song. I guess they write these heart-wrenching ballads for a reason.

I kid the Buck. Even though what I’ve told you is all true. When I get back to the house I’m going to have to find it in my music collection and play it over and over again. (Yes, I own the song and have for a while—fuck you, too and shut up 🙂

Actually, everything in the last few days has reminded me of one song or another. Not necessarily sad songs, but sometimes the happier ones are the ones that end up being the most poignant as they play contrapunto to beat of your steps and your heart.

Still. Buck will pay.

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Almost Home

Yes, I’m home. They didn’t bother with the second x-ray this morning, since the last one looked good and the doc noticed I slept on a flat bed last night.

It took surprisingly little time to get me out of there. I expected red tape to hurt as much as surgical tape, but nope! I was home by 11:30 this morning. Everything was the same, except eight days later.

The calendars lie. The TV lies. My inner clock shrugs at me.

This convalescence is going to take a while.

excerpt from Almost Home by Mary Chapin Carpenter<br/> <br/> But there’s no such thing as no regrets<br/> And baby it’s alright<br/> I’m not running<br/> I’m not hiding<br/> I’m not reaching<br/> I’m just resting in the arms of the great wide open<br/> Gonna pull my soul in<br/> And I’m almost home

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I Want To Vanish—Sometimes

Sometimes, apropos of nothing—or at least of nothing tangible or identifiable—escape is the thought that pops into my head. And it’s not so much the need for flight, but the need for solitude. Sam can attest to this; all my family can. Sometimes I want the world to just leave me the fuck alone (hold your protests of irony that I speak of this in a blog).

I was thinking of this today, and in that wonderful serendipity that exists only in the Bay Area, this Elvis Costello song comes up on iTunes:

I Want To Vanish

I want to vanish
This is my fondest wish
To go where I cannot be captured
Laid on a decorated dish
Even in splendor this curious fate
Is more than I care to surrender
Now it’s too late

Whether in wonder or indecent haste
You arrange the mirrors and the spools
To snare the rare and precious jewels
That were only made of paste

If you should stumble upon my last remark
I’m crying in the wilderness
I’m trying my best to make it dark
How can I tell you I’m rarer than most
I’m certain as a lost dog
Pondering a sign post


I want to vanish
This is my last request
I’ve given you the awful truth
Now give me my rest

For all the “awful truths” I have given in this last year, for all the requests, sometimes I feel like I’m still “crying in the wilderness”.

And yes, I think I’m “rarer than most”, but we each and all possess something that makes us rarer than most in some regard. Those lacking in some kind of something I tend not to be around.

Is vanishing the same thing as escape, even if it’s not me that makes the effort to do anything but wish and want?

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Tonight, Tonight

I’m heading over in a bit to the East Bay (that’s Pig Latin for ‘BEAST’, by the way), to see Sam’s very first solo flight as a DJ. DJ Mix Mutt. The party: Pound. Same place as last Friday’s opener: The White Horse Bar at 66th & Telegraph.

As a little gift, I traveled all the way to Eastern Africa to get him a suitable domain name. There’s nothing there yet but his logo, but go have a look at http://mixmutt.dj

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The Reading of a Song

Mine is a very visual mind.

Words fall on a page and are captured with near-perfect fidelity. For images, that goes triple.

Listening to spoken word in conversation or film or song, though, and I’m deaf of remembrance. I’m not tone deaf, nor is my ear of tin. In fact, just as I possess some talent for drawing and for narrative and for cognitive eloquence, modest though they may be there are some musical talents in me.

It’s just that I can see the music on the sheet better than I can listen to it: the pattern of oblong dots and the neat lines and circles and arcs is more musical to me than the hearing of it—on a cognitive level, anyway, because there’s nothing like music in its effects on my mood, my outlook, my own personal timbre (and make it in threes—a waltz or anything in 3/4 or 6/8 time or carry on in triplets even in standard time—and I am utterly captivated. There’s no explaining it).

But the unhearing memory, unless consciously exercised, does not so often bring the words of a song out of mood and into cognition.

Which is the sole reason that I’m such a huge fan of the wiki-lyrical sites that post the words to most of the songs out there. I have Dashboard Widgets that look to those sites to display the lyrics of whatever song iTunes happens to be playing at the time. I’ll hear a song either on the radio, on my iPod shuffle/mini/20GB or in my head (that happens a lot) and I’ll go google “My Heaven Mary Chapin Carpenter lyrics” or “Fantastic Delusion The Tubes Lyrics” and go read the words to the songs.

And in the reading there’s so much more than in the hearing, for me. It’s like I get to enjoy every song twice: for the listening and its attendant swoon; and for the reading and its attendant understanding.

Sounds like a gift, right? Well, twice given, twice taken, I say. Because one can also google “Take Me Home Tonight Eddie Money Lyrics” or “Toxic Britney Spears Lyrics”. Shudder. Re-shudder.

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