Friday, March 28, 2008

Is it just me...

... or have the products sold on television gotten even more ridiculous lately?

Among those I have seen recently...

  • The PedEgg - a handheld device for removing dead skin from feet. Not that the idea of removing thick skin from feet is necessarily bad, it's just a combination of ludicrous name with an implementation that just doesn't seem like it could possibly work.
  • That sticky pad you put on your feet at night to remove toxins while you sleep. If this idea had any merit, a piece of duct tape on your feet would do pretty much the same thing -- nothing.
  • An Amish-made electric stove. Of course they're the first group I'd call on for any electrical appliances.
  • ListenUp - An amplified listener pitched as a device that can hear distant conversations. I don't think so.
  • DualDrill - A drill with two chucks... too bad it's too weak to do anything and breaks if breathed on wrong.

Just to name a couple that come to mind immediately.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Recent Favorites


Wreck of the Day by Anna Nalick – She had a big hit with Breathe (2 AM) a couple years ago (yes, this CD is that old), but in a day and age where most CDs coming from the big labels are released with only one or two good songs, this one bucks the trend. My favorites here are "Satellite" (you may have heard this one) and "In the Rough." The lyrics are just so poetic they're inspired. General rule on this CD: the odd numbered tracks are great, with the even numbered ones being good. Anna is actually the songwriter on this CD, something else that is becoming more and more rare all of the time. She's got some real talent.

Coco by Colbie Caillat – Yes, I know that Bubbly has been played way too much, but fortunately this isn't the only noteworthy song on the disc. Oxygen, One Fine Wire, Feelings Show, and Older (hard to find outside of iTunes) are all fabulous.

Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield – She's back with her second (third?) CD. And you've probably heard Love Like This with Sean Kingston. Fortunately this isn't the best song on the disc. That honor goes to the first track, Put Your Arms Around Me, but there are plenty more that are not without charm. The first half of the disc is excellent (with one brief stop in Okayland with the title track), with things slowing down a little toward the end. However, Freckles is just great. Quoting the chorus: "…a face without freckles is like a sky without the stars, why waste a second not loving who you are, those little imperfections make you beautiful, loveable, valuable, show your personality inside your heart, reflecting who you are…" I like it.

The DVD performances of Celtic Woman – A group of 4-5 women vocalists performing Celtic music. There are CDs available, and they are okay, but the DVDs are the best way to experience the talent of these women. They're kind of hard to find for rental unless you subscribe to Netflix for Blockbuster Online, but they're worth the search if you have any interest in Celtic music at all.

Ready to Wake Up by Shannon Hurley – Who? Yeah, she's an independent artist I found on Amie Street. Normally I scoff at independent artists, not because they aren't talented, but because for the most part the recordings are so horrible that I can't stand listening to them, but there are a few standouts worth looking for. While Shannon's music may not be sophisticated from a perspective of its chords and progressions, this is actually one if its appeals. Lyrically and musically it is clean, simple, and refreshing. This CD is as good as anything you can pick up at your local music store.

Strip by Selena Cross – Another independent artist from Amie Street. Where Hurley keeps things simple, Selena goes more electronic with a heavier beat. It's upbeat, fun, and she's got this crispness to her voice that I just love. You shouldn't expect to be lead to any sort of intellectual epiphany while listening, but you can be guaranteed to have a good time here.

Picking up some older stuff

Absolute Garbage by (none other than) Garbage – I didn't think much of Garbage back when they were more popular, but my recent engagements with Rock Band and Guitar Hero have helped to reintroduce me to some stuff that had dipped below the horizon for me. You know all of the ones I like here… Only Happy When it Rains, Stupid Girl, I Think I'm Paranoid, Special.

And just for fun… Rock Swings by Paul Anka – I'm not quite sure how to interpret this CD, but it is certainly good for getting a look of confusion out of your friends. Mr. Anka redoes some popular songs from the last twenty years in his classical style. Somehow "Smells Like Teen Spirit" being performed in a style reminiscent of the Rat Pack is just weird, but kind of enjoyable at the same time. A couple of the tracks work rather well in their new home, such as "True" (a remake of the Spandau Ballet hit from the 80s) and "Tears in Heaven," while others just make you scratch your head. But still a CD worth trying out.

Most of what I mentioned above is available in Amazon's MP3 store, which is where I have been buying nearly all of my downloadable music for several months now. Since the files are in standard MP3 format, they'll play on any device and in any software, and they're cheaper than the versions in iTunes.

Non-Music Favorites

I've recently become a huge fan of the juices made by the Simply Orange company. Their orange juice is quite good, but I think their other products standout more than the OJ. They've got apple, lemonade, limeade, orange, and grapefruit. In my opinion the apple is far and away the best, but each stands out heads and shoulders above juices from other companies. Highly recommended.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A note to DVD distribution companies...

Stop putting those stupid clips on the sides of DVD cases. They're annoying, and serve no purpose!

Just venting...

Google Search