31 March 2008

Music Monday: What Do You Want From Me?

There isn't really much to say about electronic group Monaco other than they put out one kickin' debut album...and that they were short-lived. I first heard the song, the video for which is featured here, at a place I worked during college. I was immediately "hook"ed.

To read more about Monaco--a side project of New Order bassist Peter Hook--check-out their Wikipedia page.


27 March 2008

Another "Good Mother"

I've written before about my passion for music, and specifically Canadian artists. One of my favorite said artists is Jann Arden. While she's never really hit mainstream success here in the United States, she is well-known and well-received in her native Canada.

Jann recently set out on a US tour to support her latest album, which I was super-stoked about. However, due to illness she had to cancel her tour. Major bummer. So to "get my fix" I was watching some videos & live performances earlier on You Tube. In doing so, I came across a video of a guy singing one of Jann Arden's most stirring songs, "Good Mother." Now, it's a fact I'm not typically drawn to male artists but YouTube.com user Jay Brannan has one of the most beautiful, emotional voices I've ever heard. And sometimes...in this day-and-age when anyone can essentially be famous...when I see postings like this on video sharing sites, it makes me wonder how much longer "celebrities" will be around. This guy is amazing....


Found on Flickr: New Years in San Francisco

San Francisco is probably one of the most amazing US cities. A few years back when I visited there for the first time I wasn't sure what to expect -- my anticipation was for it to be like New York City. And while San Francisco is certainly a bustling, busy city, it is nothing like New York City.

San Francisco is laid back. Nobody's in a hurry to get anywhere. It's very bohemian. And I love it. So when I came across this photo on Flickr I had to feature it on "Found on Flickr."


This photo comes courtesy of Flickr user *Christopher*'s photos.

Have you ever visited or lived in San Francisco? If so, I'd love to know how you feel about the city.


24 March 2008

It's my one-year-birthday! (Well, for this blog anyway.)

Tomorrow is my one year blogging birthday! Yup, I started this "Nifty Nation" blog exactly one year ago tomorrow, while I was in New York City for a conference. And while there have certainly been slumps, and what I would refer to as weak content, overall I feel I've provided something interesting and entertaining to the folks who've stopped by.

I will continue to do my best to create original, engaging content, and certainly always appreciate feedback and suggestions. After all...you're here reading what I'm producing, so I want to create content that's intriguing to you.



Music Monday: Fear (of the Unknown)

Siouxsie and the Banshees was one of the most intriguing bands of the 1990s...to me, anyway. I just thought they had an interesting sound, supported by an even more interesting image (particularly lead singer Janet Susan Ballion, aka Siouxie Sioux).

1991's "Superstition" was the album that originally caught my eye--thanks to the track "Kiss Them For Me"--and was probably their most mainstream. The video featured here, however, is a remixed, more radio-friendly version, of the song "Fear (of the Unknown), off of the aforementioned album "Superstition."


23 March 2008

This is me.

I'm taking a tip from my friend V, who owns-and-manages Jetsetters and Globetrotters (a travel blog)...although I'm always ratting on her about updating more often. At the end of each post she includes a small photo of herself, and I think it adds an entertaining, personal touch.

So I'm going to start doing the same. I hope you--my readers--enjoy this little feature, and that it helps you be a little more connected to me and my blog (after all, isn't that what blogging is all about?).


Are we a nation of negotiators?

A couple of weeks ago I was driving to work and heard an interesting dialogue occurring on one of the local radio talk shows (these days it seems many of my topics stem from morning radio). One of the DJs was saying his mother is a "negotiator": no matter where she goes or what she's doing she's always trying to negotiate a better price. I scoffed at first--I can't identify with this type of behavior because I'm not a "negotiator"--but then I started thinking about how many people I know that are "negotiators."

According to Dictionary.com:

ne·go·ti·ate /nɪˈgoʊʃiˌeɪt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ni-goh-shee-eyt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation verb, -at·ed, -at·ing.
–verb (used without object)
1. to deal or bargain with another or others, as in the preparation of a treaty or contract or in preliminaries to a business deal.
–verb (used with object)
2. to arrange for or bring about by discussion and settlement of terms: to negotiate a loan.
3. to manage; transact; conduct: He negotiated an important business deal.
4. to move through, around, or over in a satisfactory manner: to negotiate a difficult dance step without tripping: to negotiate sharp curves.
5. to transfer (a draft, promissory note, etc.) to a new owner by endorsement and delivery or by delivery.

Now, I certainly won't name those individuals in this forum as I think that's an abuse of this medium. But it does make me wonder if being a negotiator has become the American way -- as Americans we tend to want everything for a bargain...and that we deserve it to be that way.

Of course bargaining and negotiating certainly have a time-and-place. Say, for instance, a garage sale or a flea market, but trying to negotiate the price of a blouse or pair of pants, or the special at your local neighborhood bistro just seems--to me--like being cheap.

What do you think about "negotiating"? Am I alone in my thinking that this action is cheapskate-like? Or am I in the minority? I don't live my life giving while expecting to get something for nothing. But has the rest of the country become a nation of negotiating...feeling something is owed to them?

It should make you think....

22 March 2008

I'm going to be "Blue" today

A little later this afternoon I'm going to experience the Blue Man Group, at their new home at Universal Orlando Resort, for the first time. I'm super-stoked about this; it's really a birthday present to myself. Supposedly I have really, really good seats in the second row -- the first four rows are referred to as the "Poncho Rows" so it sounds like I'll be getting a little dirty.

I'll be [mentally] taking notes the entire time, and will surely publish a post about it on Pulse of Central Florida.

Have you ever been to a Blue Man Group show? If so, I'd love to hear about it. Just leave me a comment here.

Stay tuned....

20 March 2008

Found on Flickr: The Eye

Eyes are intriguing.
Eyes are captivating.
Eyes are mesmerizing.

This looks like it would hurt.


Photo courtesy of Bobshaw.

17 March 2008

Music Monday: Walk This World

Heather Nova isn't well-known in America. In fact, I doubt any of her singles have ever received any [radio] airplay, and that's primarily where she would've received her exposure when she originally came out in the mid-90s. I think I somehow stumbled across one of her videos while watching MTV late one night. Said video was "Walk This World," which is featured here.

"Walk This World" is featured on Heather's first release, Oyster (1995). This release is eerie, haunting, and gorgeous. If you like "Walk This World" you should give the entire album a chance; however, be advised this song is the most "pop-y" track on the CD.

Heather's two must-have albums:

1. Oyster.
2. Siren.

16 March 2008

A perfect example of the power of social media

Did you happen to catch this feature last week on the Today Show? This actress--Amy Walker--has apparently taught herself 21 dialects, and created a video of herself that's making it's way around the Internet. I was at home getting ready for work when the spot aired, and I was immediately captivated. Not only because I think it's cool that this chick is marketing the crap out of herself (I'll give anybody props for that), but also because it got me to thinking:

Should American celebrities be threatened by video sharing and social media sites like You Tube and the like? I'm wondering how long it'll take before people like this woman--who seem to have genuine talent and skill--demand the attention of Hollywood and other media sources, and take jobs from those who have less-than...well, really any skills...like Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton.

If you haven't seen the video take a look at it here, and let me know what you think. This is the original video Amy created. I tried to find the interview from the Today Show, with both Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer, but TodayShow.com is not particularly user-friendly when it comes to searches and I wasn't able to find the segment.

15 March 2008

New Madonna album cover revealed

I'm sure this topic is being written about all over the Internet, but you know I have to share it here. The official album cover for the upcoming Madonna release, "Hard Candy," has been revealed. What's your opinion?


My apologies

This past week I was out-of-town on business, ironically at an interactive event. I realize I missed my two series posts, "Music Monday" and "Found on Flickr." I can almost hear the wailing and the tears from here, and only hope that my apologies can help rectify the pain-and-suffering my legions of fans must be facing. I can assure you both series will be back on track in the coming week.

Please forgive me, and come back for more.

06 March 2008

Found on Flickr: Water Drop with Reflections

I love water imagery. To me it says renewal, rebirth....

I stumbled across this interesting photo, and was attracted to the reflection within the water droplet.


Thanks to Flickr user Ray DS for the photo.

05 March 2008

A new top model?

Last cycle America's Next Top Model winner, Jaslene, was just in Jillian's show.


Not a clue

I still have no clue who's going to win Project Runway. Why is it such a mystery? Christian? Rami? Jillian? Guess we'll know soon enough....


Is Christian a girl? I'm not quite sure.

It's on....

"Project Runway" season finale is on now! Keep up with it here.

Project Runway Season Finale: Twitter It!

Tonight is the season finale of BravoTV's hit show Project Runway. I'll be Twittering the entire episode so you know what's going on. Follow me here if you want to keep up.

03 March 2008

Music Monday: I Need Love

Sam Phillips is an interesting artist. While an indie-underground sensation, she's never really hit "the big time." But she's been around for ages....

Sam started out as a Christian singer, but found herself limited by this genre...and unable to express her artistry the way she truly wanted to. So she--gasp--broke into the secular market. It's here she found mild success on radio and in film soundtracks (and even a little bit of acting, for which she received a backlash from the Christian community).

This video is for the single "I Need Love," which can be found on Phillips's Grammy-nominated "Martinis & Bikinis."

Here's a fun little fact: Sam Phillips is married to music producer T-Bone Burnett, who's been the mastermind behind albums for Counting Crows, The Wallflowers, and k.d. lang, as well as scored the music for the film "O Brother Where Art Thou?"

01 March 2008

An unforeseen source of inspiration

I stumbled across a blog earlier today called Monscooch. There I found a post called "Beautiful Music Made With Annoying Sounds" that contained this rad video: