Latest notes (rough)

Radio interview, promoting “Stolen”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lR2_DwZi14U

Chris seems a little timid in the radio studio with probably 10 people watching. He performs the song “Stolen,” which on the recorded version he belts the chorus “you have stolen my heart.” He performs the song with his eyes closed the entire time, which is generally how he performs live regardless of where. The high note in the middle of the bridge is also sung rather timidly in falsetto. It’s a lot more difficult to really give it the gusto in a small room accompanied only by the sound of an acoustic guitar and the breathing of everyone watching you. I don’t blame Chris at all for pushing the high notes into his head voice because it’s awkward. Which, unsurprisingly, is the attitude the music champions.

Chris is witty, eloquent, explains himself very well, and answers questions with a self-deprecating humor that doesn’t come off as forced. He isn’t an actor playing a character. He is not Michael Cera in any of the roles he has played being the awkward kid in the corner who’ll get the girl in the end because he’s so pathetic. He’s legit, and authentic in who he is.

Chris Carrabba mostly reminds of a friend of mine whose name is also Chris. Chris Henningfeld played bass in my hardcore band Pilots (or The Pilot, or Pilot before that, and When Sorrow Fails before that even.) He wasn’t really a bass player, though he was a pretty good performer and a really cool dude. When coming up with ideas for this article, and trying to piece together with this Carrabba fella could be and not be a character it hit me

Radio interview on 93.7 WSTW
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoVXO4iQfnQ&feature=related

Camera is behind the radio personality, his face unseen, and he’s standing in front of three computers and a mixing board. He’s the DJ, the engineer, and the producer. Standing opposite him is Chris, also standing with his guitar on hand. The DJ says “You’re one of my favorite poets.” Chris laughs, then responds “That’s my favorite complement to hear, because I think it’s my main focus. I think it keeps me off the radio more than it keeps me on to be honest.” Chris is surrounded by 8 other people with Styrofoam cups as percussion, to perform “Stolen.” In this performance, Chris is moving around, dancing, really getting into it. His mic isn’t quite as hot, so he’s able to sing a little bit louder without feeling so awkward. Also, with the crowd of people watching his from behind, I imagine he felt a little more comfortable and could get a little lost in the song. Over the DJ’s shoulder we can see on one of the computers Cubase, or Sonar, or maybe another free digital recording software putting to disk this performance and I can’t help but wonder if he asked permission beforehand. Once the bridge kicks in the Styrofoam percussion kicks in on eights notes, sounds like paper clips, he later confesses it’s skittles.
The DJ asks a few questions that he found on the internet about Chris and Dashboard. Chris makes a few jokes about how Bigfoot and Lochness Monster doesn’t exist, and talks about Myth Busters and the whole room laughs. Chris was also never a mascot at his high school. Chris captivates a room, with his candor, and sharp wit.
He also performs “Vindicated” and while getting ready to play the DJ pulls up a new session to steal, I mean, capture the moment. Again Chris is comfortable, but still stuck in his head voice. After hitting the high notes in falsetto he drops back into his chest voice with a strain, as though not as used to holding back. The group backing him claps to the last chorus. “Vindicated” was written like the day after seeing Spiderman 2. He requests “Mr. Jones” by the Counting Crows to end.

NME Video: Profile of Chris
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFVFqoNKl68&feature=related

Mom was a musician. Always listening and playing music as a kid. At 15, Uncle found a guitar in his basement and gave it to Chris.
“I had no idea you had to learn other peoples songs. I learned by sounding out the chords on the guitar.”
“I found it pretty easy putting it all together.”
“First song I wrote was a country song, a comedic song, always trying to make my step-brother laugh.”
“I was amazed that I created a song.”
“The inspiration of songwriting is always fresh to me.”
“Songwriting has always supplanted whatever it is I had planned at the moment.”
“Music is some kind of crazy elixir that heals all, and unites all people.”
“I’m foolishly arrogant, I always know that I’m right. This music I make is not designed for mass-consumption.”
“I’m glad people connect to this music, and have been able to connect to each other through it. But I cannot take credit for it. It’s just a vessel, I’m lucky if I get a song.”
“[Every day I pick up a guitar], and hope to get something out of it.”

NME Video: Dashboard Confessional – Show
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz2u7OoUPCE&NR=1

“I’m glad to be playing KCLSU to play by myself in front of people, kind of naked and kind of scared. Which that kind of performance breeds, and I don’t see any point in waiting around. Why not come back and have fun again. I’m kind of a glutton I guess.”
“It’s a funny thing, the crowd participation at our shows. It’s kind of deafening. Even when I don’t play with the band, it almost feels like I’m playing with other musicians in the crowd. This sort of freedom that we’re all in this together as opposed to some kind of separation between ‘us’ and ‘them'”
“You’d can’t be rigid to your setlist. You better know how to play the songs they call out”
“My favorite songs are the ones I have memories about writing them, or the life-experience that went into them. The crowds energy peaks my interest in the song.”
“Winding down after a show is kind of impossible, my energy is so peaked at the end of the show, and holding onto that high.”

Dashboard Radio
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Slf_ccbw6E

First question is “when did you know to quit school to try to make it big?” Chris responded by explaining that he never planned on making it big, he just wanted to play music. He compares himself to the way Dave Matthews got big. He saw Dave Matthews, then the next time brought a friend. A slow growth to the top. Makes a joke about not actually knowing how to play the guitar, that he brings it just to look cool. Plays vindicated then Stolen, his guitar is out of tune. DJ says Chris has “sold out Madison Square Garden” multiple times.
“You know you right a song and you think ‘it rules,’ but the record company says ‘what were you thinking? you blew it.’ i like all of them. if it don’t think it’s good enough, then it doesn’t go on the record.”
“All the hot sales girls are here.”
“‘Stolen’ is a story of love and beats.” DJ: “Is there a girlfriend out there in South Florida?” “There’s probably a few.”

The answer seems simple. He’s an attractive, charismatic, funny guy who seems to fall pretty head over heals for the girl, and then is completely heartbroken when the seemingly innocent, flirty, casual relationship ends. That seems to characterize most of the break-up songs. He’s Michael Cera in the back room of the bar, Steve Carrell’s Michael Scott when he falls in love, John Cusak’s Robert Gordon when jilted, but more than anything else he’s just like Chris Henningfeld.

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The need for music

I am in desperate for a musical outlet, yet seem rather impotent in terms of writing. I cannot seem to create music for myself, as well as accompaniment for others. Yet I also have an overwhelming desire to do so. What is this need to create? Are there other ways in which this manifests itself in my life? I think of last month with the sudden urge to create a website, and with “tricking out” my computer with applications, and social networking type of things. I think of building instruments, some from scratch. I can think of this desire to write great articles and to maybe teach someday. This need to create new things, and put them out for all to see. Do we all have a need for significance? Or is it just me?

Emo

Dashboard is to punk like what Michael Bolton is to metal. No balls whatsoever. Heck, compared Dashboard to even original Emo, and I mean Fugazi and Rites of Spring and all that ’85 post-hardcore, slower, “emotional” music those DC kids were making and it’s like gumming your food. Absolutely without teeth.

Microsoft’s TV Ads: Take 2

Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld have joined forces in an ad campaign for Windows. So far they’ve been humorous, and about essentially “nothing” just like Jerry’s old show. The most recent commercial can be found many places, but here’s one:

http://digg.com/tech_news/Second_Installment_of_Gates_And_Seinfield_Saga

On the same page, another digger had something rather funny to say about it:

“So Bill & Jerry went to live with the “common” folk. In the process, they bug everyone in the house with their presence. They make people adapt to their tastes rather than actually adapting to them. When they order out for Chinese they coast on their reputations and offer nothing of value back in exchange for the food. Finally, they are framed as thieves due to lack of security and assuming that everyone in the house is really honest.

This actually sounds more like Vista than I initially gave them credit for.”

A few articles in this weeks Papyrus

Caitlin suckered my into coming up to the office, and then I was conned into writing a few articles. The first one is a review of one of Greenville local restaurants: La Hacienda Jalisco

This Ranch-styled restaurante serves up the finest traditional mexican cuisine this side of Juarez. You’ll feel like Clint Eastwood in “Two Mules for Sister Sara” with your ten-gallon hat and spurs (traditional garb not required.) Try the Burrito Ranchero, or the Chori Pollo (pronounced “Poe-Yo” you gringo!) and you’ll be begging for a siesta before you finish your chips!
La Hacienda Jalisco’s atmosphere is Mexico like you’ve never seen it: with a cobblestone carpet (that is a carpet with the appearance of granite!) Do you habla espanol? Try ordering your meal in Spanish to enrich your cross-cultural experience as the staff is fluent in the language of our neighbors to the south. Don’t like to wait? ¡No problemo! The Hacienda employs Speedy Gonzales, so your food is served fast.
What are you waiting for amigo? Get your trasero in gear and head over to the best mexican place in Greenville for a meal that is muy bueno.

I also wrote a news article about Google’s latest amazing and free product: Chrome.

Google out to polish the internet browser with Chrome

The company with the world’s most popular search engine has entered the realm of internet browsing with the open-source Chrome. Released on Tuesday, Google has attempted to reinvent the web experience for all by making a faster, more stable, and more secure web browser. Chrome implements several breakthrough designs including tabbed processing, an advanced Java Script engine, a smarter address bar, and a user defined home page with thumbnails of nine most visited pages, searches, and recently closed tabs.

“So why are we launching Google Chrome?” Google asks on it official blog. “Because we believe we can add value for users and, at the same time, help drive innovation on the web.” At first glance, Google Chrome is plain and simple with the bear minimum of buttons and controls. This was by design because to Google the browser is “only a tool to run… pages, sites and applications that make up the web.” Some of those applications, most prominently web searches, Google has on lock-down, though the company has others like Gmail, Calendar, and particularly word processing that present potential “malware” to mammoth Microsoft.

Microsoft, which claims 72% of the browser user base with Internet Explorer, is about to release IE8. Microsoft general manager of IE Dean Hachamovitch has claimed IE8 is better “for what people do every day again and again,” but it has already tested slower than Chrome. IE also comes pre-installed on all PCs shipped with Windows so it is in no way threatened by Chrome, but Google is not “out to get” IE, or Firefox, or any other browser.

Google’s main purpose in creating Chrome is to make the web better for everyone by encouraging innovation by means of competition. And, in typical Google fashion, the project is completely free and open source so other companies, like Microsoft and Mozilla, can apply their ideas to their own browsers; thereby creating a better web experience for all. And for those of us who do not understand techy-speak, the whole project is explained in a comic book found at google.com/chrome.

By taking products that usual cost money, making them better, then releasing them for free and turning a profit, Google is a company that stands alone in the marketplace, and there has yet to be anything it has put it hands on that hasn’t turned to gold, or in this case, chrome.

Sources:
Google Official Blog
The Age
Google Chrome Comic Book
Google Apps

Faith, Peter & an intentionality

Matthew 14:22-33 (NRSV)

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’

28 Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ 29He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’

This story from Matthew’s gospel has always struck me as slightly confusing and idiotic on the part of the disciple Peter. Skin pruning underneath their clothes from the raid, exhausted, and thinking they would die, the disciples see the image of Jesus walking to them over the crashing waves. I can imagine them rubbing their eyes, thinking themselves absolutely crazy by the intense rain and wind. I can see the first disciple, maybe Nathanial or Bartholemew, one of the faceless disciple we all but never see in any of the gospels simply stare and point at the ghoul approaching their boat. While one the more noteworthy and prestigious of these bumbling fools, maybe one of the sons of thunder, shouts something that is unintelligible to the rest of the crew, but he keeps shouting it nonetheless. It isn’t until the third repeat that the collective hears “a ghost! a ghost, don’t you see? it is a ghost!” With water running down their beards like a stream, and with skin pale they stand still as though they have seen their own death marching towards them. If you were to hear each man’s cry, you would hear calling to himself. What you would not hear is faith.

Faith is and can be very many things, but most of all it is how we react to the world, to life, to tragedy. Do we respond in despair, do we respond in faith. Do we internalize the problems way face, do we cry out for help. Later in the passage, the rock that came from a pebble, Peter see the ghost as the man they have been following these several, seemingly countless years. Peter runs to the edge of the boat and leans forward shouting at the top of his lungs “Jesus? Jesus? Let me come out to you! If it’s you, command me to come!” Jesus responds “come” and Peter renches his garment off and steps onto the waves as though dry land. I do not believe Peter to have been ignorant that he was in the middle of the sea when he stepped off the boat. I can imagine Peter’s face light up as he feels the muscles in his legs push against the normally infirm waves. His delight to be able to run to his teacher over the water unlike any fisherman, or man before.

But there is something interesting that happens as he gets closer to Jesus. The water cannot hold a man of Peter’s weight. Peter begins to sink, and his eyes widen, and his mouth opens. Like the disciples earlier on the boat, Peter is given an opportunity to react to his present circumstances. If Peter continues to sink, he knows that he will drown. Now Peter is a fisherman. He is good swimmer, but the storm is strong. The reality is this storm could kill Peter. Peter’s reaction to this reality is faith, for he cries out not to himself but to his Lord to save him. He says what we all say when we respond in faith “Lord, save me!” And we can imagine Christ pulling Peter from the waves, and walking him back to the boat before calming the storm.

Not to overlook the fact that Jesus says to Peter “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” surley Peter began to see how his walking on the water was not in accord with his daily dealings with the liquid. And there is the idea that he began to look down at himself and not towards Christ and began to sink. But at the same time I believe the sinking is representative of the unexpected turmoil that will follow our lives, and Peter’s reaction should be representative of ours. It is our crying out “Lord, save me!” that is faith.

You always ask questions that you already know the answer to had you only taken the time to think

But I love it when you answer your own question
I love seeing the light flash in your eyes
The sudden realization
“Oh”