Category: Actual Mileage

Medialoper Bebop Episode 16: Qwikster’s For Kids (The Lost Episode)

There is no podcast this week.

Not because we didn’t record a podcast, but because Garageband sucks for recording podcasts over iChat. It just works? Absolutely. Working well, on the other hand, not so much.

We had this problem last week, but we able to get a shitty-sounding recording via Kirk using Audio Hijack, but the whole point of Garageband was that it supposedly would let us create a recording where everybody is on a different track, which is awesome. I thought I found a solution to the problem, and tested it this last weekend. But it didn’t work, and crashed twice: once about 15 minutes in, and again, about 55 minutes in.

In the end, after nearly an hour of recording, we got about 30 seconds of audio. This is the second time this has happened. So I’m done with Garageband and will explore different options. As Paul Rudd said in Forgetting Sarah Marshall: “When life gives you lemons, say fuck the lemons and bail.”

However, because I outline the podcast prior to recording it, and last night’s went pretty close to the outline, here’s a summary what you would have heard had we only been able to, you know, record it.


Five Awesome Things – August 2, 2010

OK, gonna try something here: a quick weekly list of five awesome things going on in the media, technology, pop culture, politics, sports, whatever happens to strike my fancy.

No real rules on this, except that whatever I put here has to be current, and it has to be something that I’m really liking right this second.



How Apple Took The Fun Out of Owning an iPhone

Three years ago, I was really excited. Though the magic of serendipity, I had purchased an original iPhone while driving from L.A. to Seattle, and I was just beginning to discover the seemingly limitless possibilities of having a web-connected personal computer in my pocket.

Sure, there were problems here and there, but, at first, the iPhone was new, it was transformative, and most of all, it was a helluva lot of fun to own. Apple had done amazing stuff in the past, but this felt like the pinnacle of their work. The iPhone combined everything great about Apple into a single beautiful device.

Fast-forward three years, and all that joy is gone. Kaput. My iPhone 3G is used as an iPod at work, to check traffic while driving, and (occasionally) make phone calls. It’s gone from being a fun device to something that is kind of a drag to own. And I blame Apple.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

On Twitter, there is a hashtag for complaints like this: #21stcenturyproblems, which adds a level of irony to the tweet by acknowledging that a few years ago, noone could have complained about this, and — by the way — most people probably don’t give a shit in the first place. Fair enough, and yet because the iPhone permanently established the smart phone as a must-have device, it’s weird that we’ve gotten to this point in such a short period of time.


The Top 120 Albums of the 1970s

To me, the 1970s is the canon. Because it’s the decade where I became a music lover as a way of defining who I was, but — until the very end — was mostly about catching up with the past, it feels different from the 1960s (ancient Boomer history) or the 1980s (when I was fully immersed).

So unlike my previous lists for the 1980s, 1990s and (especially) the 2000s, maybe I hold some of this music in awe, because it already existed and was just sitting out there for me to discover. And discover I did. When I was 14-15, a central focus of my life was riding my bike to Tower Records and spending $15 on two records — Love Gun and Foghat Live; Rocket to Russia and Marquee Moon; Who’s next and Aqualung — and listening to those records over and over and over and over. Oh, and over.

Good ones, bad ones, it didn’t matter. It was all about figuring out what I liked, and by extension, who I was. Or maybe the other way around. It was sitting in my room and determining that I loved Quadrophenia but not Tales From Topographic Oceans or that I loved Close to the Edge but not Who Are You.

Then, in 1978 (a year too late) (but still too early for Fresno): punk rock. I’d been resisting — it just seemed like fashion-oriented noise nonsense — but spurred on by that first Cars album and Creem magazine, I took the plunge. Ramones. Television. The Jam. The Clash. Talking Heads. The Sex Pistols. And a host of lesser new wave and power pop and whathaveyou bands. The world was changing, I was on the ground floor, and it was thrilling.


The Top 150 Albums of the 1980s

Ah, the 1980s. So maligned. But not by me. It is, of course, a truism that we’re never as connected to any music as the music that gets to us in our 20s, and so it is here: I spent the bulk of my 20s in the 80s, and while the decade itself almost killed me, it was the music here that totally saved me.

It’s no use trying to write a big long essay defending the 80s, except to say that after punk rock came along and blew everything up, one of the biggest questions was “OK, now what?” These records are what I consider to be the answer to that question.

So if you ever heard my radio show back in the day, you aren’t going to surprised by the albums listed here, even two decades down the road: I love what I love, you know? And this music was the soundtrack of my life like no other music from any other decade will ever be. It was all around all of the time: during loving and hating and playing and working and laughing and crying. It was everything all of the time. This music was part of me in a way that I’ll never even be able to fully explain.

Over the past few weeks, I went back and listened to the top 20 albums here, just to make sure, you know? And they reminded me of so many stories that happened, jokes that were made, fights that were had and things that nobody can ever discuss. And quite possibly, they reminded me of you.

That said, I’m hoping that the albums I loved, and the songs that I’m recommending and (especially) the essays I’ve written about these albums at least partially explains why I think the 80s were perpetually underrated, even at the time.