28 February 2008

I gotta sweet tooth

...but then, don't we all sometimes? Yes, there is a somewhat cryptic message here. If you know me well you'll probably catch-it rather quickly.


Found on Flickr: Rock Balancing


Compliments of Flickr user Calanan, this photo comes from one of my favorite US cities, San Francisco. Now whether or not this rock stacking is ligit...I'll leave that up to you. I think it's a great picutre regardless.


NAME: Rock Balancing
ARTIST: Bill Dan
LOCATION: Crissy Field -- San Francisco, California

25 February 2008

Music Monday: Not Ready To Make Nice

Since I "republished" one of my very first posts here on "Nifty Nation" yesterday, I thought it only appropriate that today's feature be a Dixie Chicks video.

Yes, it's controversial.

Yes, it's "the" song.

Yes, it swept the Grammy's last year, and deserved every single award it was given.

I'm talking about "Not Ready To Make Nice," the centerpiece of the "Taking the Long Way" album.

You may not be a Dixie Chicks fan, you may not like this song, but at the end-of-the-day this is an incredibly powerful song. In fact, I personally feel it's such a powerful song it warrants highlighting the lyrics here:

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

I’m through with doubt
There’s nothing left for me to figure out
I’ve paid a price
And I’ll keep paying

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

I know you said
Can’t you just get over it
It turned my whole world around
And I kind of like it

I made my bed and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets and I don’t mind sayin’
It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

24 February 2008

John McCain & the Dixie Chicks

This is beyond strange. I'm watching "Shut Up & Sing" at this very moment, and John McCain has a prominent feature in part of it. I never realized it before -- of course, I never had any reason to before now.

Still at war and still singing

I've been blogging personally for nearly a year (I published the first post here on Nifty Nation on the 25th of March, and for the most part I've been pretty good at keeping up with staying active) and professionally for well over a year.

As politics are at the height of public awareness I'm reminded of a post I published about the Dixie Chicks and their documentary "Shut Up & Sing." I have to reiterate how important the movie is, regardless of whether or not you're a fan of the band. To honor the documentary I'd like to republish that post, which went live on 26 March 2007:


A couple of weekends ago I watched the recently released DVD "Shut Up and Sing", the documentary chronicling the controversy surrounding the Dixie Chicks and their remarks made a few years ago about the current world war in Iraq. I'm already a fan of the Dixie Chicks so I couldn't' wait to watch the movie, but after watching it I have to admit I love them even more and thoroughly recommend it to any American who believes in free speech. Now, I have some friends who believe "entertainers" shouldn't use their celebrity platforms to convey their personal beliefs, specifically when it comes to politics. You know, after viewing this film—and knowing the story behind the controversy—I disagree wholeheartedly.

The Dixie Chicks, although the statement made by lead singer Natalie Maines was not precontrived, are not only one of the most talented and incredible bands of our time, but also the most important. I was so completely moved by watching "Shut Up & Sing" that I couldn't contain myself. Sure, many folks would…and have…disagreed with the stance of the Dixie Chicks, but I find them totally brave and resilient. Can you believe, based on what Natalie Maines said in a concert in London, that someone threatened to kill her? I mean they told her the date, time, and location. Scary. All this just because she said she is ashamed George Bush is from her home state? Hell, I'm ashamed he is from the United States. And I am NOT fearful of saying that. Why did they have to be made the examples for a country who can't stand the person leading us, in the world's eyes? I just don't get it.

The documentary is not only a statement about politics and freedom of speech but also how ridiculous the music business is in our country, and how absurd people can be (in one of the scenes in the movie a woman proudly rebukes the Dixie Chicks and even encourages her baby—who can probably not even speak—to do the same; how can you impose your ideals on a person who can barely even think for himself?). It really is mesmerizing.

If you end-up watching "Shut Up and Sing" I'd love to know what you think.


23 February 2008

A crystal ball?

A few days ago I introduced a new series called "Found on Flickr." Last night after a long night of helping my friend celebrate her recent birthday, I went to grab a late-nite bite to eat at Denny's. Yes, I said Denny's. You know you've been there before; don't judge me.

While "Found on Flickr" is a Thursday feature, I saw a photo opp at Denny's that was too interesting to pass up. Plus it wasn't found on Flickr but taken by yours truly:


Can you guess what this is a picture of?

22 February 2008

Feel the Pulse!

If any of you follow me on Twitter, you likely know a good friend of mine and I recently started a blog about Orlando and the Central Florida area, called ''Pulse of Central Florida.'' Actually, we launched it last week. Already we're seeing some decent traffic, and folks seem engaged via comments to our posts. I'm really excited about this, and am looking forward to watching it grow over the coming months.

If you haven't checked it out yet, visit http://pulseofcentralflorida.wordpress.com. We're going to purchase PulseofCentralFlorida.com in the next couple of weeks, and just redirect to there.

If you are a resident of the Central Florida area and have any suggestions about what we should talk about, please feel free to leave them in the comments section here, or e-mail me.

21 February 2008

In front of the lens

I've been getting into looking at photography lately. Pictures fascinate me, particularly when presented in an artistic fashion. This is probably because I've been more active blogging over the past few months. I'd like to get more into taking pictures myself but I don't have the greatest camera, and don't really have the money to go out and buy a new, fancy one. (Maybe I'll get one for my birthday.)

Earlier this week I started thinking about this, and tell me if you think it's a stretch:

Photography just may be the very first form of social media. Maybe not social in the way we think of it today, but consider it.... As defined by Wikipedia.com:

Social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words and pictures. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and "building" of shared meaning, as people share their stories, and understandings.

Photography is a thread to technology.
It definitely sparks social interaction.
It certainly tells stories and creates understandings.

To honor the art of the first form of social media, and to accompany my "Music Monday" series, I'm adding "Found on Flickr." Even though I'm not the biggest champion for Flickr (I think there are other photo hosting sites that are way more user-friendly), it is the largest and has the most stock to choose from. So every Thursday I'm going to feature a photo I think is interesting, weird, beautiful, etc. I will surely give credit to the account/author, and hope it will open others up to the beauty of photography.

Here is the first in the "Found on Flickr" series, taken from lifedeathpeet's photostream:


16 February 2008

Bound until "I Do"

PhotobucketYesterday while driving in to work, the DJs of a local radio show were talking about something that caught my attention. They were discussing a poll that recently took place on a UK website called You & Your Wedding. While I tried to locate any evidence of the poll, the best I could find is a thread on there discussion boards. So why did this particular poll capture my attention, you ask? Well, the poll asked its participants their thoughts on a bride having a contract for her bridesmaids, for their involvement in the bride's wedding party and celebrations. Now, that may not seem too odd at first glance, but as I continued to listen to said DJs discuss, they touched upon several very strange--and somewhat uncomfortable--points of interest.

According to the aforementioned poll, the contract would begin either once the bride officially accepts the bride's offer, or once the bridesmaids are fitted for their dresses, and contains items such as:

- No fluctuation of weight
- No drastic aesthetics alterations
- No pregnancy

Now, is this just some crazy new American trend? Or is there some legitimacy to it? Fortunately, I'll never have to be presented with the situation...unless grooms start drawing-up contracts for their groomsmen.

11 February 2008

Music Monday: Good Fortune

PJ Harvey is ridiculously talented. Hands down. Her voice is powerful. It demands attention. It's dark. It's sexy. It's haunting like Portishead. It pulls you in like a riptide. Can you tell I like her?

PJ Harvey--while an underground artist with a faithful fanbase--is probably one of the most underrated artists of my generation. Seriously. But take a listen to "Good Fortune" from her Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea album and decide for yourself.

08 February 2008

Back in the day

I've mentioned my friend V several times here on the blog. She runs a travel blog called Globetrotting V, although she doesn't post nearly as often as I'd like. But that's neither here nor there.

V brought a Polaroid camera with her to the office today. Of course we had a great time snapping photos, and it reminded me of being a young child.

Here's our picture:


Now maybe I can find someone who has an old school Atari console, and they can bring that in to the office for some Friday fun.

06 February 2008

I'm all about the "X"

It's obviously well-known that I love music videos. Heck, I have a series here on this very blog called "Music Monday," in which I highlight music videos I think are cool or innovative. That being said, I don't want the series--or the fact that I feature so much music here--to be cheesy.

So I'm a huge fan of Kylie Minogue. I think she's a great performer, I enjoy the fact that she experiments with her sound on each record, and she just seems like a genuine person. A couple of weeks I bought her "X" album, which hasn't really received much press here in the United States. In fact, I had to actually purchase the CD as an import at a not-nearby music store. But I don't mind telling you it's a fantastic pop album. Yes, it is pop, but it's probably one of the slickest pop albums in the recent past. And off of that album comes two--yes, two--new releases, "In My Arms" and "WoW." "WoW" is supposed to be released in the US (although it probably won't get much airplay), and the former is the European and "rest of the world" release. So to promote, two distinct videos have been shot. That's a pretty cool concept, and both videos are really pretty sweet.

So if you're a Kylie fan I'm sure you'll enjoy these. If you're not, hopefully you can at least appreciate them for their artistic merit.


"In My Arms:"

P.S. My MySpace profile currently features "In My Arms" as its song.

04 February 2008

Music Monday: Love

British band the Sundays has long been one of my favorites. I discovered their music during my mid-teens, when I myself was going through a period of discovery. I immediately identified with their moving lyrics, beautiful melodies, and lead singer Harriet Wheeler's chic style. Well, I obvioulsy didn't identify with her style, but I sure thought she was a fox! Anyway, while the Sundays haven't had much success here in the United States, they have been releasing sporadic records over the past 15 years or so. One of their best is their sophmore release, "Blind." It's from that album I'm selecting a song to feature today.

Here's "Love":

02 February 2008

Such a tease...

Exciting news this-way-comes, with the release of the street date of Madonna's yet-to-be-named (or revealed) album. The big date: 29 April 2008. This just days after Madonna, Justin Timberlake, and Timbaland wrapped filming for the album's first single, "4 Minutes to Save the World." Never one to to box-in her creative horizon, the storyline for the video is Madonna as a dominatrix, with Justin and Timbalake being her "bitches." Certainly peaks my interest....


Photo compliments of Madonnalicious.com.