Saturday, April 30, 2005

30 years since the end of the "American War"

The first 30 years were devoted to survival. Who knows what the next 30 years will bring.  That seems to be the question for Vietnamese Americans, especially for the youth, today.  What are the issues facing us now, opposed to having to literally survive and create our own identity within American society?  

Got this email earlier- Wow, finally some stability within the school. It's scary when nearly half the deans are interim, the president is interim, provost is interim, you get the picture. At least one step's taken.

Statement from the California State University Chancellor's Office

"Chancellor Charles B. Reed will recommend to the California State University Board of Trustees on May 10, 2005, that the board appoint Don W. Kassing as the permanent president of San José State University. Kassing has been serving as the interim president since September 2004. Previously, he was SJSU's vice president for administration and finance. He has been at the university since 1993. The board's decision will be made public on May 11. If approved, Kassing's new title will take effect immediately."

Kassing expressed his appreciation for the support of the chancellor and the trustees. "This appointment gives me more time to work on the important tasks in front of us," he said. "I'm excited by the teamwork and collaboration among the wonderful people here, and by the great future we're shaping together. San José State makes an enormous difference in one of the best communities of America. I'm grateful for this opportunity to complete some of the exciting initiatives we started, both within this great university and across the Silicon Valley community."

Thursday, April 28, 2005

I'm just a little shocked and bitter that Bad Education was rated NC-17 and that that's probably what the film's most known for. It boggles my mind the amount of violent PG-13 and R-rated films that get away with so much more. But I digress... Since it's thursday and I don't have much energy to articulate why I liked it, I'll just say that it's a good movie and Gael is a great actor (from the Motorcycle Diaries, among other films)

Anyway, I need your help!!

I'm working with a friend in collaboration for the music to be played during our department graduation. It'll be played while everyone is having lunch, before the actual ceremony. I'm trying to come up with a mix of songs that are... celebratory... in the major key... upbeat but not overbearing... I don't know. I want it to be great background music but also not fluff. Any suggestions? I'm exploring everything and anything.

Oh and to followup, Luke Bulla was with Blue Merle on Jimmy Kimmel live, if anyone caught it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Hold the phone, is this my third entry in a twenty four hour time frame? Can't believe I was able to finish a paper and scribble away at three entries.

Anyway check out Thievery Corporation. How to explain... They're the kind of funky, cool ambient music you'll want to put on to set the mood. They make you want to drift. Their music is derived from so much, primarily a lot of rhythm and world music. It's electronic music to a point, but it's damn smooth. Very chill and trippy. Kind of a nice change of pace from other music that I typically listen to.

And then what causes me to post about it is I was flipping through possible songs for graduation, so I naturally flip through the Garden State soundtrack because it's all kinds of awesomeness. What do I see that I overlooked and took for granted before? Track #9 is Thievery Corporation! What a trip.. I originally gave it a listen at Borders the other week and saw that it's #1 in the college tracks in Paste Magazine. Anyway, my hip and cool recommendation for the night.

Download Clip: Warning Shots (this song is more "radio friendly" but still sweet.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Music update:

Blue Merle performs on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight, the evening of the 26th of April.

For localers, COLDPLAY is playing a "small buzz" show next Wednesday at the Fillmore in San Francisco!! Tickets on sale this sunday morning, the 1st, 2 ticket limit per person. One of your last chances to ever catch this band in such an intimate setting without. Show is on May 4.

That is all.
Time to play six degrees of separation...

So another reason to like Blue Merle if you're in the same boat I am musically. I did some research and they don't officially have a fiddler, but I think similarly to Nickel Creek not having a bassist, they rotate as they tour. Anyway, so I found out that in their rotation of fiddlers, Casey Driessen AND Luke Bulla, two of the more prominent fiddlers out there today have and continue to be on Blue Merle's rotation! Both fiddlers created the band, Wisechild, and Luke, as I recall, was once a roomate of Chris Thile of Nickel Creek and also co-wrote the Nickel Creek song, Beauty and the Mess, while Driessen is a friend of the Creek. I think both were getting ready for Merlefest or just fulfilling other obligations, which is why they unfortunately weren't at the show I went to. And there's your connection :)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Blue Merle

So I decided to google and figure out what a blue merle is, after seeing the fine band at Slim's last night. This is what popped up... Not what I was expecting. Something fishy came to mind, but hey you learn something new everyday.

This is them. Not the doggies. How were they? Pretty swell! Swell, I haven't used that word in ages. But anyway, the hype on the band wasn't far fetched. Blue Merle = Coldplay + Nickel Creek. I can see it. Coldplay? Obvious. Nickel Creek? Well, they got an upright bass, a fiddle, a mandolin, electric and acoustic guitars, and drums. Pretty impressive amount of instruments on stage. Most importantly, though, is they actually jam and stretch out their recorded songs! Definitely look for them in the future, you heard it here :) Nice fellows too, the lead singer's got that all-american-i'm grateful for the experience sense of humbleness, but it contradicts his youthfulness. Kinda like Chris Thile in a way. And speaking of Chris, I spoke with the fiddler in the band who was taking in Glen's set where I was hanging out and they were able to sit in with Chris while they toured with Glen in Tennessee earlier this month! They'd only seen Nickel Creek once, but he had a nice grin wrapped around his face :) Always awesome to talk to people who can understand where you're coming from.

Glennnnnn.... So this is Glen for the third time in months after almost three years of no Glen coming to SF. Bald, with full band, was Glen this time, however. Lots of Toad songs played (probably because of Lost Highway pressure) but he and his band played a few favorites I hadn't heard live in ages, Fly From Heaven, High on a Riverbed, and Whatever I Fear. Awesome. His new album songs sounded a bit flat live with the band, but his acoustic portion really resonated. FYI, Slim's has really good acoustics, and I hadn't heard Glen's voice boom as vibrantly in the past, but unfortunately, there were a lot of non-Glen folks in the house carrying on drunk conversations. Not fun, I wanted to yell at a few people, and I'm sure Glen did as well with his constant staring in the back. Anyway, I'm beginning to ramble, but for fans of Glen interested, his wife and brother were both there and at one point, Glen asked his brother what song he'd want to hear. An imposter yelled a song out and Glen went..." hey... that's not my brother's voice, you son of a bitch!" playfully of course, as he's never serious. But in the end his brother yelled out "whatever I fear".

So in one sentence, Blue Merle's a band to look out for and if I hadn't said it five gazillion times already, Glen rocks.

I saw Shallow Grave earlier. Disturbingly fun, I love Boyle's other huge flick, Trainspotting. :)

Glen Setlist:
1. Thankful
2. Something's Always Wrong
3. True
4. Fly from Heaven
5. Gather
6. Train Wreck
7. High on a Riverbed
8. Comes a Time*
9. Windmills*
10. Easier*
11. Finally Fading
12. Courage
13. Crowing
14. Released
15. Walk on the Ocean
16. Duck and Cover
17. Cleareyed
18. All I Want
19. It Takes Time
20. Grace^
21. Whatever I Fear*
22. Political Science*
23. Don't Need Anything*
* = Glen solo
^ = Jonathan lead vox/acoustic guitar, with Glen backing vox/acoustic guitar

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Hi :)

Ok, so I'm back with full attention. The past week plus has been stickabulletinmyhead stressful. I'm not used to acting as a leader/facilitator/enforcer to a group of graduate students who're mostly at least a decade past my age. Very comfortable it was, but I felt much reassurance with my skills on leading.

Saw a great if not disturbing pair of films in the last twenty four hours. The Woodsman, a film starring Kevin Bacon about a man who, after twelve years in jail because of child molestation, must find his way back into society. Definitely reminded me of a concept I read about a year ago on Stigma, by Erving Goffman. Bacon's character is forever stigmatized as a sex offender and the film revolves around the question on whether or not he acts on this stigmatism. Is he so overwhelmed by the constant messages that society has placed on him as a sex offender that he begins to believe the message and act the role? Or does he go beyond that? Watch and check it out. I also caught the Corporation tonight, a documentary visiting the entire scope and subsequent corrpution to society that corporations have placed us in today, and potentially in the future. It's chilling, fascinating, disheartening, but necessary to view. Also one to watch.

A great song to check out - Wake Up by the Arcade Fire
Funny story with this one, a few months ago I'd been in love with this band's album. This song played while we waited for U2 to begin and it just sounded like one of those inthemoment, i'm glad to be alive, cool songs. Something about hearing it in an arena filled with so many people, maybe. Anyway it's funny because I just completely blanked on who it was! I came to the conclusion that it was Bright Eyes, mistakingly, but you know what, they have similar voices! I eventually tracked the song down and kicked myself for not realizing it was the Arcade Fire. I want to play this song during my graduation.

I'm off to see Glen tomorrow :) A little less than enthused, however, as I've heard his new band I think he was "issued" for support, and they don't seem to be too hot. Hopefully a bunch of shows have seasoned them up. Glen at Slim's tomorrow, tickets still available. Blue Merle opens. They sound just like Coldplay's Chris Martin. And Coldplay's new single rocks as well. All's well in music land. Except that Matt Good took off his blogroll, but that's another story.

I'm rambling... off for now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

NEA, school districts sue over No Child Left Behind

Let's hope it's the start something.

I've decided to move my blog to blogger! 

But don't worry.  I plan on posting simultaneously on both this Xanga site and also on my new blogger site.  There were many reasons for the move, much of which came down to having more freedom and choice with blogger.  But one thing they don't have is communities, which I love here on Xanga.  I've run across and keep in touch with many of you through the rings I joined through this site.  So don't despair, the sites will mirror each other.  The blogger site is geared and focused for those who don't use Xanga. 

New site -->

It's named "Raining at Sunset" for one of my favorite instrumentals and features a favorite instrument, the dobro.  A Chris Thile tune, by the way.  Listen to it here.

I'm looking to create a banner as a header for my page as well, so if anyone is adept at that sort of stuff, let me know :)  The audioscrobbler feature on the right updates the last five songs played through my computer, and should change quite a bit.  That's about it, take a look at it, drop me a comment, and let me know what you think! 


Monday, April 18, 2005

I was about to write up a post on my frustrations with trying to get people to realize and acknowledge the difference in me from years past.  The change in values, the shift in relative importance, the urge of advocacy, and just attitude.  The basic sense of creed that comes with a pinch of maturity and awareness.  But I realized that I've written about it in bits and pieces in the past, and that it would've been just a re-hash.  It's hard if at all possible sometimes, though, to make people you've known for awhile to acquiesce to any change.  Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it to even try, now.  Move on?  At least now I'm realizing that I shouldn't be forcing it to others.  They either get it or they don't. 

Saturday, April 16, 2005

wow, crap, how about this one local readers!!  i was at south first street billiards earlier tonight and directly across the street at zoe's night club, i see a sign on top with guests coming... 5/6 --> Better Than Ezra.  Ya gotta be kidding me?  A nightclub, an awesome band like BTE, and most importantly, in San Jose ???  Wow.  Their new upcoming album, Before the Robots, is lovely.  The album before, Closer, was lovely.  Along with Deluxe and the followup.  Definitely going, anyone up for it?

Speaking of local Bay Area shows.  Some freebies

5/14 - SJSU / Metro Blues Festival with Etta James (yes, that grammy winning artist), Tommy Castro, and Cris Cain, both local heroes. 12:30-8pm on San Jose State University campus.

5/21 - KFOG's annual KABOOM!  at piers 30/32, this year we have the fine Kathleen Edwards (in the vain of mindy smith, both whom opened for nickel creek), the John Butler Trio of Australia, and the headliners, the Wallflowers.  All followed by the rockingest fireworks show you'll see.  No joke, it takes them a week just to set up the fireworks!  (read that somewhere on kfog's website) 4:30-10pm or so. 

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Audioscrobbler's cool website has given me these after much data analysis.  What do you think?  I've pretty much listened to most of these bands already and have formed opinions, but here's a few I'm going to check out that I haven't yet or haven't enough yet. Comment if you have any opinion on any:

iron & wine
fiona apple's new album that isn't going to be an album (a friend told me about this odd fiasco) but apparantly it's spread over the internet.
rilo kiley
josh rouse
sondre lerche
eisley (saw them open for coldplay but didnt think much.. but their new album got good reviews)

Under-appreciated Artists

Based on what's popular in your neighbourhood
1 The Postal Service
2 Wilco
3 Death Cab for Cutie
4 Franz Ferdinand
5 The Beatles
6 The Killers
7 R.E.M.
8 Bright Eyes
9 Iron & Wine
10 Simon & Garfunkel
11 David Gray
12 Frou Frou
13 Nick Drake
14 Kings of Convenience
15 Fiona Apple
16 Weezer
17 The Cure
18 Ben Folds Five
19 Björk
20 The White Stripes
21 Norah Jones
22 Zero 7
23 The Verve
24 Doves
25 Outkast
26 Dave Matthews Band
27 Beastie Boys
28 Pete Yorn
29 Nirvana
30 John Mayer
31 Remy Zero
32 Pearl Jam
33 Dashboard Confessional
34 Maroon 5
35 Thievery Corporation
36 The Clash
37 Howie Day
38 Yeah Yeah Yeahs
39 Dido
40 N*E*R*D
41 Gwen Stefani
42 Rachael Yamagata
43 Miles Davis
44 The Roots
45 Eminem
46 Colin Hay
47 Cary Brothers
48 Morrissey
49 Embrace
50 Lifehouse

New Suggestions

Your neighbours are into these artists
1 Badly Drawn Boy
2 The Flaming Lips
3 Belle and Sebastian
4 Muse
5 Rufus Wainwright
6 The Strokes
7 Counting Crows
8 Rilo Kiley
9 The Smashing Pumpkins
10 Pixies
11 Oasis
12 The Walkmen
13 David Bowie
14 Bob Dylan
15 The Smiths
16 The Decemberists
17 Josh Rouse
18 The Rolling Stones
19 Blur
20 Air
21 Cake
22 Green Day
23 Jimmy Eat World
24 The Thrills
25 Ben Harper
26 Sondre Lerche
27 Bloc Party
28 The Libertines
29 Ben Kweller
30 The Stills
31 Jem
32 Pink Floyd
33 Led Zeppelin
34 Guster
35 The Futureheads
36 Broken Social Scene
37 Jamie Cullum
38 Pavement
39 The Beach Boys
40 Eisley
41 Kanye West
42 Sufjan Stevens
43 Eels
44 Cat Power
45 Foo Fighters
46 Barenaked Ladies
47 Kings of Leon
48 Spoon
49 Whiskeytown
50 Van Morrison

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Farewell, Haley Jones, MD

So, I doubt anyone knows who she is, but she is the music director (MD) of the best radio station out here in the west coast, KFOG radio.  I've got a lot of strong negative attitudes towards radio and the business side of radio of late (heck i wrote a huge paper on it linked to your right -->), but KFOG has been that one exception that has continuously introduced new music that caters towards my everchanging interests (i mean who else plays both Glen Phillips & Nickel Creek and also features private concerts with both of them?) and Haley is a huge reason.  She's produced all of the recent popular "live from the archives" annual benefit cds, introduced new music every thursday morning, etc. etc...  So it was a complete shock when she announced her resignation.  She wrote more on her page on kfog's website,.  Anyway, though I've never met her, I decided to send out this personal thank you..

Hi Haley,

I've been a kfog listener for most of my life now and was popping through the airstaff websites just the other day when I found out that you're leaving kfog!  I'm not quite honestly sure how much input you had on what is played (i'm guessing a lot) but I did always enjoy the thursday mornings of new music you presented.  Over the years, I've become increasingly anti-radio because of the realities of how business is done, but kfog has always been that exception that has turned me onto so many musicians and has taken the risk to be what radio should be.  To that, I know that you've been a huge reason why and it's why I just wanted to give thanks for all the work and music you've helped spread out here in the Bay Area. 

And from reading what you've written on the kfog site, I think it's great that you're taking the opportunity to travel and just doing what it is you want for yourself.  What you mentioned about how we're so distracted about because of society is entirely true, and though it's easy to say one thing, it is another thing to recognize it and actually do something about it, so I think that's great with what you're doing.  Travel the road not taken, as cliche as that sounds.  It's one reason that I'm studying to teach, so that I'll still have that time during vacations to travel and see the world. 

Anyway, thanks for all you've done with kfog and for putting on such great diverse and wonderful music that I thought needed to be exposed!  Seeya at Kaboom! 


She responded promptly with a really nice note, of which I'll snippit this little part about what she thought about radio - 

kfog is one of the only commercial stations in the country that's not over researched and under programmed and that comes from the top down.  i'm hopeful that the future holds bigger and better things for terrestrial radio.  i think with all of the attention to clear channel and tight playlists (not to mention  the new competition like ipods and satellite) that the big companies and programmers will have get back to making good radio.  and come the fall, i know just the programmer that can help...:):)

I really hope it's true.  If you're interested in knowing more, you can check out the paper I wrote under the link "music for the masses" on the right.  It's not terribly well articulated (i recall being in a rush to write it... ahh undergrad days...) and might be a bit biased, but it should at least demonstrate the problem with radio today. 

But back to the subject, which is to publically thank Haley Jones for her work on one of the finer radio stations out in the nation.  I'm sure there are countless once-were or still are indie artists who share the same sentiments. 

Monday, April 11, 2005

During its 23-song, two-hour-show at San Jose's HP Pavilion Saturday night, the quartet not only was excellent musically, it was thought-provoking and politically stirring...  With its mix of politics, spirituality, charisma and intense playing, this concert was simply a masterpiece. The new songs, particularly a bass-whomping ``Love and Peace or Else,'' broke through the shells that encase the album versions.  Brad Kava  (full article here)

Above is a quote from today's san jose mercury paper, from the same critic who blasted their new album as one of the top five worst albums of the year last year.
File this one under: i'm stoked out of my mind and i feel pretty good

wow.  u2.  live.  that pretty much sums up the weekend.  i'd been waiting a few months for a show to just take me aback and simply awe and whoa me, simply take my breath away!  this tour, vertigo, is just simply breathtaking and gives you that giddy feeling. 

there was just so much that just revitalized me and just made me feel alive.  from the electrifying guitars of the edge to the presence and charisma of bono, the just crazy beautiful light show that amazed us.  the feeling of being one and a part of the world through the political tinged songs, expressions, images, and testimony.  there was just so much.  a lot to take in, and i just don't feel i can justify it with just words.  images to follow. 

and how'd they play?  amazing.  almost the entire new album mixed with alternate key-ed versions of many achtung baby songs (i love it when bands mix up their songs!), a 1980 single that they referenced was played on now-defunct but still alive in our minds KSJO radio.  many anthemic hits like new years' day, sunday bloody sunday, and pride.  even many of the new songs sounded much better live as they really fit in with the setlist. 

Bono singing blindfolded during the anti-war song, bullet the blue sky

Just look at how high those lights stretch out.  amazing!!


bullet the blue sky

I forget which song, but they'd just shown a video listing the articles of the UN's Declaration of Human Rights.  Very moving, they focused on Africa, especially.  During this sequence, they showcased the flags of all nations on the light display. 

`When Dr. King said, `I have a dream,' he was talking about a dream big enough to fit the whole world,'' Bono said before launching an Africanized version of ``Where the Streets Have No Name.'' ``Not just the American dream or the European dream or the Asian dream or the African dream. It is a dream where everyone is created equal under the eyes of God.''

love the spotlights on this shot

One of the most moving pieces of the night.  Before performing One, the lights all went out and Bono had us all flip open our cell phones to illuminate the Arena.  To help the band's efforts to end poverty in Africa, we were to text message our names to be added to a list.  Near the end of the show, all the names of those who texted were shown across the screen! 

I couldn't find other shots from high above, but if you see the red illumination on the tracks, well it was crazy!  Different colors illuminated in different patterns doing so many different things during each song! 

somewhat similar to my angle of the show. not the greatest seat in the house but anyone there felt alive. 

Another favorite moment was Bono reminiscing about meeting Pope John Paul II and how even though they didn't share the same ideas on everything, what he stood for, peace, was clearly above anything else.  To which he dedicated my favorite song on their latest album.  Miracle Drug. 

I don't often gush about shows as much anymore but this was a bit much.  Hope it didn't roll too many eyes.