Stupid Music Industry; Smart Musicians

I never really get why we’re supposed to care so much that CD sales are declining. Is it my problem technology has left you behind and only a fraction of the songs on most albums are worth owning? Every other business has ups and downs. Get used to it.

And some people are getting used to it. Like Shaun Groves. I talked about him a few weeks back when he tried to take on Amy Grant (for those curious, he failed–but that’s OK, he’s still cool). The simple fact is that Shaun Groves gets it. It might help that he’s no longer on a label and is forced to figure these things out on his own. Then again, Shaun was always a nice guy, even when he was on a label.

As proof that Shaun gets it, check out a couple recent blog entries, including one where he argues that rock stars need to get human and another where he talks about the story of Jackie, a former Compassion International sponsored child (right now Shaun is more interested in helping children through Compassion than selling his music–that’s refreshing).

What a Time to Live

I complain a lot. I know. I’m sorry.

But every now and then I realize how lucky I am to live in such a world that I have all these things to complain about. I’m just thankful I live in a world where I can type my thoughts in perfectly legible text–as opposed to the inky smears of my poor handwriting.

Imagine if I lived several hundred years ago. I’d be sitting around complaining to my friends about how I wish there were some mechanical device that would keep my papers for me. Or how cool it would be if we could hear the band that played the party on Saturday night–without having the entire band set up again in our living room. Or how I wish I could capture an image in perfect detail but I’m just not that good of an artist–there has to be a better way. Everyone would probably think I’m crazy. And I’d be so frustrated.

Opportunity abounds today. As much as I complain about things not being exactly to my liking, I’ve got nothing to complain about.

Video Games Improve Eyesight

A new study shows that playing action video games can actually improve your vision. Specifically the action games like first-person shooters help you better pick out objects (i.e., targeting the baddies in a dark room). Slow-moving games like Tetris don’t cut it.

But gaming will only help specific situations, like optical nerve or brain dysfunctions–or old age–but not typical problems with the physical size and shape of the eye (so I’m probably screwed).

Of course then they throw this bit in at the end:

On the downside, research suggests that too much time on a bright screen can cause eyestrain and may disrupt the body’s biological clock, particularly if played just before bedtime, and that some games may be psychologically damaging.

Psychologically damaging. Meh, minor issue.

Reviews, Rating, Irritating

I’ve spent a fair amount of time lately trying to redesign my blog, both the front end look and the back end guts. One of the projects that has yet to see the light of day is redoing my reviews blog. This blog was initially conceived of as a place to store my reviews and not have them clogging up this blog.

But reviewing stuff was too much work. I rarely did it.

I’ve been trying to find a way to make my review blog fun and useful again. One of my ideas was to take [yet another] page from and add the functionality to rate each item being reviewed. So now a review could simply be the title and my rating. Fun and easy, assuming you can do cool stuff like sort by rating.

Continue reading Reviews, Rating, Irritating

More Blog Funk

FYI, I’m tweaking my blog again.

I redesigned my Archives page so it lists the months by year instead of a ridiculously long list using the MTArchivesDateHeader plugin (layout inspired by I might tweak it a bit more. I’d love to list the years in reverse chronological order (latest first) and the months in chronological order (Jan. to Dec.), but I haven’t figured that out yet. I bet I could with MTSQL, but it makes my poor brain hurt. Contrary to all this blog tweaking, I’m not a techie.

I’m also trying to add some pagination to the homepage using the Paged Archives plugin (I’ve been a bit plugin crazy lately). But it doesn’t work yet (sorry). One of my pet peeves with blogs is when you get to the bottom of the homepage and there aren’t any options to keep reading. It’s such a pain to have to scroll back up, find the archives, then scroll through all the entries you just saw to find your place again. Hassle. WordPress nicely offers pagination by default so you can just go to the next page. That’s what I hope to offer if I can get it to work.

Update: After some help from Alden Bates, the creator of the Paged Archives plugin, the pagination is back in business. Thanks Alden!

Help Kids Read with the Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat turned 50 this month, and in celebration you can help kids read. Random House is donating a book to First Book, a non-profit that gives low-income children their first book, for every Dr. Seuss book purchased before May 7, 2007 (must send a receipt to Random House) and for every birthday card sent to the Cat in the Hat.

Random House is limiting it to 2 million books (a million for each Dr. Seuss book purchased and a million for each card received), but according to the web site they’ve already received more than 1.2 million cards. So you might need to go with the purchase a book option to make it count (or send a card anyway and see if Random House decides to go beyond their 1 million book limit).

More from Anne Lamott: Grace (Eventually)

Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith by Anne LamottThat “Jesusey” Anne Lamott is back with another book on faith, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith, releasing March 20, 2007. It looks like more in the vein of Traveling Mercies and Plan B, which means more talking about Jesus and using the ‘f’ word, often in the same sentence.

Which is OK by me, but a more cynical person might think Lamott has found the formula for publishing riches (or at least enough cash to get by, which is really all any writer wants).