Apr 10

Things I learned about SiriusXM Radio

We had a Ford Focus for 4 days and it came with SiriusXM Radio. It was an interesting time, but I’m still not sure that service is worth $10 – $20 a month. Here’s a handful of things I’ve discovered about the service and myself:

  1. There really is no need for a Grateful Dead station or a Bruce Springsteen station for that matter.
  2. Chris Matthews sounds even more insane when you’re listening to him and not watching him.
  3. Soul Town is possibly the best radio station ever created.
  4. The comedy stations are truly not funny.
  5. There are too many commericials, considering you’re paying for the service.
  6. Classical music while driving is dangerous for me.
  7. The Jazz station would be better if it was KJZZ.
  8. Countdown with Keith Olbermann is not made for radio.
  9. Nina Blackwood and  Swedish Egil are still alive.
  10. 80s Music > 90s Music.
  11. I am so over Pearl Jam, U2 and R.E.M.
  12. Traffic in Phoenix, Detroit and Las Vegas sounds worse than LA traffic.
  13. The Coffee House station increased my roadrage.
  14. The reggae station, The Joint, is nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be, but they do need to kick back on the Marley.
  15. The Latin stations are infinitely better than what’s played on broadcast.

That’s about it…for my listening choices. I thought it pretty neat there was a station that played Showtunes, but the ones I listened to I own already. I wonder though, what others get out of the service.

Mar 09

The sound of music

On of the coolest things about being a parent is being able to rediscover things as you share them with your kid. I wonder if this is something unique to my generation as my parents did not actively share things with us as kids.  But one thing they passed down was a love of great music. I listen to music everyday, I was a DJ & worked at a radio station because I loved music so much. This in addition to singing and playing the flute.  My husband also was a DJ and loves music maybe a little bit more than I do. 

When our daughter was born there was always music blasting. We weren’t the type of parents who kept the house quiet just because the baby was sleeping. She’d dance and play with the various instruments we have. We have videos of her singing and banging away on Grandma’s piano when she was a toddler. After we had the boy, our trio became a quartet and more musical fun was had. The boy likes to rock and both kids will dance to anything.

We’ve urged this along by taking to the LACMAs Friday Night Jazz series and their Latin Sounds series.  We go to street fairs and festivals where they are exposed to music from all over the world. All of this in addition to our vast music collection on vinyl and CD, not to mention our mp3s and the use of sites like Pandora or  

Where we fall short is popular music. See, our kids were raised mainly on old funk & soul, reggae and rocksteady, jazz & blues. Occasionally they’ll hear daddy play some Iron Maiden or I’ll put on Music Choice’s 80s station, otherwise they’re not exposed to pop music. A couple of years ago I had realized this and tried to rectify it. I played my kids some old Michael Jackson songs which they both loved. My daughter told me that the Go-Gos were her favorite girl band in all the world after hearing 2 songs by them.  

My daughter who knows more bhangra than rock came home one day telling me she’s a punk rocker. They were listening to punk music in the car. Indeed, both kids can mosh & pogo like nobody’s business when they hear a punk song come on. Recently, my husband introduced the kids to the Beatles.  In 2 weeks, the girl now recognizes their music. Last night, the kids heard ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ and we had fun dancing along to it in the car.  

I’m cherishing these moments because I know that as she gets older, she’ll want to listen to what her peers listen to. I’ll be forced to endure bad pop, horrible R&B/rap medleys and bland rock. My only wish is that through the music we’ve shared with her, she’ll be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.

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Aug 08

Dance Ditty of the Day

Jun 08

Seesmic Guitar Lessons

Over at Seesmic, Craig Manganello is offering guitar lessons. This project arose from a conversation where people expressed interest in learning their guitars. So Craig, a singer and songwriter from Long Island, has offered to tutor. There are 5 lessons all together, culminating in the guitarist playing Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.

Though I’m posting the lessons here, you can also follow Craig’s lessons at seesmic under the user name ‘guitarlessons’:

Lesson 1: Tuning Your Guitar

Lesson 2: The G Chord

Lesson 3: The D Chord

Lesson 4: The C Chord

Lesson 5: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

Yay! Thank you Craig. Everybody give Craig a big round of applause.

Jun 08

Mondegreen’s come alive

Because I’m bored…

Apr 08

Hillary…Madonna’s got some words for you

Take a bow, the night is over
This masquerade is getting older
Light are low, the curtains down
There’s no one here
[There's no one here, there's no one in the crowd]
Say your lines but do you feel them
Do you mean what you say when there’s no one around [no one around]
Watching you, watching me, one lonely star
[One lonely star you don't know who you are]


I’ve always been in love with you [always with you]
I guess you’ve always known it’s true [you know it's true]
You took my love for granted, why oh why
The show is over, say good-bye

Say good-bye [bye bye], say good-bye

Make them laugh, it comes so easy
When you get to the part
Where you’re breaking my heart [breaking my heart]
Hide behind your smile, all the world loves a clown
[Just make 'em smile the whole world loves a clown]
Wish you well, I cannot stay
You deserve an award for the role that you played [role that you played]
No more masquerade, you’re one lonely star
[One lonely star and you don't know who you are]

(chorus, repeat)

Say good-bye [bye bye], say good-bye

All the world is a stage [world is a stage]
And everyone has their part [has their part]
But how was I to know which way the story’d go
How was I to know you’d break
[You'd break, you'd break, you'd break]
You’d break my heart

I’ve always been in love with you
[I've always been in love with you]
Guess you’ve always known
You took my love for granted, why oh why
The show is over, say good-bye


Say good-bye [bye bye], say good-bye
Say good-bye

Apr 08

Cherry Blossom Festival

We attended the Cherry Blossom Festival in Little Tokyo yesterday. It was a lot bigger and more fun that I expected. Kudos to the organizers of the event. As usual, with things like this in Los Angeles, it emcompassed all of Asia (though Indians were not represented at all), so we got to see things from all along the Pacific.

We started out our morning in the Plaza. Our original plan was to have get some coffee and pastries from Homeboy Bakeries but they were closed. So we wound up in the Japanse Plaza at the bakery there. BTW, they had surprising good coffee and the baked goodies we got were tasty. While we had our coffee, we sat outside the shop and watched this group. I guess they’re jazz singers and usually they’d be using a piano…I don’t know, I hadn’t had my coffee when they were introduced. Anyway, later on in their set, they sang Sukiyaki but the original Japanese song. I know some of the Japanese, but I know the English like everyone else. My husband asked me, “What is this song?” I was shocked. Mr. Music didn’t know this song? “It’s Sukiyaki!”. He looked at me, “How do you know that? See, I told you you know everything.” Whatever.

Something totally unexpected and random, Red Hat Society singing on stage. Yes. You read that right. I have pictures if you don’t believe me. We walked around, everyone and their brother were giving away trips to Hawaii. There was a section for kids with bouncy thingies. We watched a Hawaiian group play. Ilia liked that because she has a ukelele too. The kids made Chinese lanterns, something that took a lot longer than expected. There were quite a few tables set up for kids. They could learn origami, do a fish kites, paint a pet rock or make a lantern.

We walked around a bit, and looked for lunch. That should have been an easy task, but most of the places we usually eat at were closed. We wound up at an okay place, but $1.50 Kirin on tap. How could we not? Really? After lunch, we went to rejoin the crowds on the street. We caught the tailend of the Kabuki dancer.

Ilia loved it, but Alton did not enjoy the music. Then we went on the other side of the stage to see the Geisha dancers:

We also got a chance to watch the Japanese groups (I call them dance crews, since I’ve never seen them do anything but dance) do a dance in a circle. There were 4 “crews” and random people in a circle doing a dance who’s name is escaping me right now. It’s always fun to watch and it was even better to see more people under the age of 60 involved.

My little girl just loved all the dancing and the music. She wants a taiko, she wants a kimono, she wants to learn hula and kabuki. She wants to learn Japanese! That she wants to broaden her horizons and learn more about the world means the weekend was a success.

Apr 08



Just wow.

I’ve gone to opening nights before and the act is always good.  Ernie Andrews just blew them all away.  I listen to a lot of blues.  I like the blues.  Jazz…it’s great, when it has a more blues infusion.  Otherwise, that vocal jazz or the smooth jazz crap make me want to slit my wrists.  There are times that I’m listening to blues and in my head thinking, “Gosh, this sounds the same.  Boring.”  Every once in a while, I hear a singer who makes your heart break just listening to them sing the blues.  Ernie Andrews is that man.  Even the funny lines, and there were plenty, made you want to laugh through tears.

The opening night of the Friday Night Jazz series at LACMA is never to be missed.  I’ve been going since ‘ 95 or ’96 and it has always been one of the best ongoing series in Los Angeles.  Back then, it was truly a cross section of the city.  They used to have about 3 or 4 rows of seating in the front.  Then a few tables in the middle.  People would bring picnics to eat there.  I remember these two guys would come with lawn chairs and a cooler and sit there all evening.  That was back in the days when you could show up at 5pm and start getting served a drink and stay until 11pm without the security guards harassing you.  You could smoke on the patio, until 2002 when they banned smoking cigars and then in ’04 when they banned cigarettes too.  Times have seriously changed.

It’s always strange, since I’ve seen the same group of people at LACMA, off and on, almost every Friday night for 7 months of the year for the past 12 years.  I still have never spoken to most of them.  But we smile, nod, wave hello.  When I started going there, I was single.  now I’m married with two kids!  We were joking that next year they’ll probably institute a dress code, the year after that, they’ll ban kids, then by 2012-ish, they’d have a cover charge.  Times definitely change.

Ernie Andrews plays at LACMA

We arrived pretty late, thanks to my lameass husband.  Seriously.  If I tell him, I have to be somewhere at a certain time, guaranteed, he’ll find some reason to linger.  I had planned on leaving the house at 4pm.  I told him that, repeatedly.  We didn’t leave unil 5:30pm.  When we finally got to the museum, it was almost 6:30 and he was like, “Wow!  It’s packed!”.  Ya think?  Needless to say,  we didn’t get a table.  Not that it matter anyway.  The stupid museum only set up like 4 tables.  They used to have between 12 and 15 tables set up.  I counted 4.

Oh, and as for the other bloggers…I got 12 emails from people.  Unfortunately, none of had considered doing the obvious thing of sharing phone numbers.  I didn’t even know what blogs some of them wrote for!  So, I didn’t get to meet any bloggers.  There were a few people that my husband insisted looked like blogger (?), but he was being such a tool, that I thought it better he wasn’t around people.

At any rate, if you were there, I’m sorry I missed you. If you weren’t, I’m sorry you missed a pretty awesome show.

Apr 08

Los Angeles “officially” welcomes Spring

Well, you know it’s time to see half-naked people in the City of Angeles just based on the events happening. This weekend is the unofficial kickoff to Spring in LA. So many things to do, I’m wondering how I’ll sleep this weekend. The best part: Most of them are free.

Obviously, we’ll be at LACMA celebrating opening night of Jazz on Friday night. I heard that Les Claypool is also playing tomorrow night. Who knew he was still around?

Oh and the Getty’s Friday off the 405 series also starts on Friday night.  Since my idea of fun doesn’t include being anywhere near the 405 on a Friday night, I won’t be here, but I’ll try to make it one day.  It’ll be like me cheating on LACMA.

The Brewery kicks off their spring ArtWalk on Saturday, April 5th. If you haven’t been, you’re missing out on some kind of wonderful. The restaurant onsite is overprice, but the last times we went they also had someone grilling burgers.  We’ll be doing this on April 6th and grilling afterwards.  We live nearby, so if you’re willing, come on by.

The Brewery ArtWalk is a twice annual open studio weekend at the worlds largest art colony. Each artwalk, over 100 resident artists participate. During this event, you will have the opportunity to see new works, discover new favorites, speak with the artists and purchase artworks directly from the artists at studio prices.

The Brewery Art Walk takes place:
April 5th and 6th, from
11:00 am – 6:00 pm

Admission is free and so is parking. Come support LA’s finest artists, take home some great works and and dine at the onsite restaurant. If you have questions or require more information, please contact us via email (click here)

The Brewery is home to over 100 artist-residents and the art you see is usually for sale.  So if you see something you like, feel free to ask a price.

Over in Little Tokyo is the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.  It’s going on all weekend too.  Parking stinks so plan ahead.  The event is free to enter.  We caught the tailend of this a few years ago and have sworn we’d go back to see the event.

Descanso Gardens is having A World of Good Weekend.  It’s $7 for adults, $5 for kids 5+.  You get to enjoy all the festival happenings and the gardens.  The happenings:

This is your personal invitation to enjoy acres and acres of spectacular
Gardens, health-conscious salad-making demos, kid’s crafts, world music and fun
for everyone.

Salad Days: Salad Making Demonstrations
Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6 – 11 a.m. to noon
Magnolia Lawn
Chef de Cuisine Tiana Driggins tosses in her knowledge and celebrates Descanso’s 2008 Center Circle Edible Estates Demonstration Garden with a delicious and interesting salad demonstration.

Kids’ Veggie People Craft Table
Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6 – noon to 3 – Main Lawn

Music: Robby Longley
Saturday, April 5 only – 1 to 3 p.m. – Under the Oaks Theater
A beautifully orchestrated fusion of neo-classical/flamenco world music will be here for your enjoyment.

Music: Banshee in the Kitchen
Sunday, April 6 only – 1 to 3 p.m. – Under the Oaks Theater
Don’t miss the combination of traditional Celtic music, spiced jazz and rock.

That’s just a few of the big and interesting-to-me things going on.  If you’re in LA, I hope you can make it even just one of these events.  Otherwise, stay tuned because you know I’ll have pictures galore!

Apr 08

International Guitar Month

In honor of International Guitar Month, I’m going to share with you one of my favorite Flamenco guitarists, Ramon Ruiz. Ruiz is a London-based musician who has over 40 years of experience playing. One of my favorite videos is this: