Thursday, October 30, 2008


Black CrowesOne of the interesting challenges that came out of the Hindu funeral I was at a few weeks ago is that I was told I had to be vegetarian for two weeks. While I'm a committed omnivore, I'm often accidentally vegetarian, so the change hasn't been difficult with the exception of takeout lunches. Good vegetarian sandwiches aren't easy to find and salad bars get expensive, so I've been cooking more than usual for the leftover lunches.

In thinking about it, here's what I'd miss if I decided to be vegetarian: all the various pork products - especially bacon and all the deli meats that go into Italian subs and muffalettas - and the very occasional burger. I don't eat any of those delicious things often, but how I'd miss them all...*sigh*...I'm making myself hungry. OK, no more food talk.

Caught The Black Crowes during their 3-night stand at the 930 Club last week. It brought back fond memories of the first time I saw them with my then boyfriend, an overly sensitive, Jesus-lookalike, drummer. This time around, it was just the rock if you please. They totally killed it...and without feathers, any overly-self-indulgent solos, banter, or opener to warm up the crowd, just two and a half hours of the Crowes. They played a third of their set from new material which wasn't as strong as the older tunes, but it didn't detract at all. They had a couple of gospel-esque back-up singers who I wish they'd used more. The crowd went wild over "Remedy" and I got to hear a few tracks off my favorite allbum Amorica (i.e. the album with the cover straight outta Hustler). Something about the Southern-tinged rock always leaves me feeling relaxed and refreshed.

In other non-election news, stuff I've been enjoying lately:
  • Feeling slightly less like a modern jackass when reading about the financial crisis now that I've listened to this and understand what "breaking the buck" means.

  • The awesome occasional mixes by the boys at Shilo Presents: #4 and #5

  • Patrick Smith @ Salon does a weekly column called Ask the Pilot about airplanes, air travel, airports, you get the picture. This post on airports, hedgehogs and poverty especially moved me.

  • Being something of a map fanatic, I found this fascinating.

  • Calexico's "Two Silver Trees"
  • Wednesday, October 22, 2008


    Mt. Auburn CemetaryIt's been a distinctly schizophrenic few weeks.

    After the frenzy of our New York events, I took a very necessary and relaxing vacation for a few days. But then I got word that I needed to be in Boston for a wake and funeral this weekend which put everything back into overdrive.

    I've only been to one other Hindu funeral and so I find that I look on the rites themselves more from an anthropological perspective. The ceremony featured a yogi who took one of the nearest family members of the deceased through the rites while stopping to explain what she should do at the end of every page. So, apparently neither yogi nor family is obligated to know what to do in advance and it's not considered rude to talk or leave and return throughout the ceremony. Then some songs are sung - none of which I understood - and then you pay your respects by pressing rice into red ink on the deceased's forehead and you leave a flower petal or a flower in the casket.

    One of the handicaps I go into any Indian gathering with these days is that I don't speak much Gujrati and I understand slightly more that that. Still, it was amazing how much more of the language barrier I could bridge after just a day around all the extended Indian family. Not long ago, I got a Bollywood film in Gujrati from Netflix thinking that would help me remember the language - alas the sound recording was so bad that I could barely make out the words and the movie was so incredibly awful that I couldn't watch more than 45 minutes. I'd also forgotten how any outing to eat with Indians always involves many, many requests for hot sauce and crushed red pepper.

    All chattiness aside though, seeing that much distant family at one time was somewhat stressful since at this point I barely remember their names much less how they're related to me. They all seem to know me and chatter on in Gujrati while my mind whirs trying to unearth that word I heard 30 seconds ago that came after my name. My 26 hours in Boston also featured a lot of smiling and nodding to random pronouncements on how I was now responsible for whatever, which was helpfully communicated in English. No questions about an impending marriage, but someone did opine that a boyfriend was keeping me from getting in touch more often.

    Of course, it was set against the very prominent backdrop of a funeral with all the grief and solemnity that accompany them. That made all the things that I normally would've laughed off feel more like an opportunity to go hang out in a cloud of mosquitos. Combined with very little sleep before and during and flight complications along the way, my nerves were pretty fried and my brain felt like a kaleidoscope that someone wouldn't stop turning. So as much as I usually love my visits to Boston, I'm glad to be back to my normal life.

    Friday, October 10, 2008

    Beautiful Morning

    It's a Beautiful MorningEverytime I go to New York City, I like it more. The same held true this time when I was there for 36 hours total.

    It was a pretty stressful few weeks in the lead-up with some expensive revelations along the way, but our event worked out well in the end. Lots of people showed up, they seemed to learn a lot and were very appreciative, the panelists were smart and personable, no fistfights broke out over webcasting rates, the cocktail party was beautifully done and tasty, the panel on sampling brought out a new and interesting crowd and no one sued us for breaking their leg on the premises. As I said, all went well.

    Things seen/heard/realized while in NYC:
  • A representative from one of our sponsors sheepishly showed me the (illegal) painted turtles he'd bought in Chinatown the day before. Remember those? I wanted some of those so badly when I was a kid.

  • Double-sided posters: so cool, economical and green!

  • Old Town Bar in Union Square was nearly deserted on Sunday night when I caught the middle innings of the Red Sox-Angels Game 3 with James. Probably 'cause New Yorkers got no one left to root for in October. Poor things. Great burger and a great bar though with a cool history.

  • I missed a chance to eat good bagels, but I had a great Italian dinner at a place that I don't know the name of unfortunately.
  • Anyway, now back and taking a few days off and lovin' it.

    Saturday, October 4, 2008


    A few months ago, one of our summer legal interns, Jenny, and I were talking about interesting, fun, law-student-worthy projects she could do. At the time, a friend had sent me a link to yet another fabulous mix that was distributed illegally. That got me thinking and I posed the following problem to Jenny: how do I legally post a streaming mix "tape" to this blog that includes any song I want?

    Jenny very diligently started researching and took all our ideas of websites that exist in some quasi-legal realm and started piecing the whole thing together. She quickly ran into all sorts of legal bogs and the post is still in mothballs.

    Anyway, I thought of it the other day when I saw that muxtape was planning a revival as a completely different service from the online mixtape service it started as. Muxtape's founder Justin Ouellette writes eloquently about his experiences with the four major label groups and the RIAA when he was trying to negotiate a licensing agreement that might have kept Muxtape alive in its former form.

    Muxtape is only the latest instance of the mainstream music industry biting the hand that feeds it by refusing to embrace and enable the new and then laying blame when those services are popular. They seem to enjoy crying poor. And now that venture capital is getting harder to come by, there will be fewer services for major labels to try to squeeze for cash. Digital Music News takes a good look at the possible venture capital lessons learned from muxtape as well.

    So, inevitable new, cool illegal services + industry reluctant to work with emerging tech = more music available to music fans but less money getting back to the artist and the record company. After a while, artists realize the majors aren't helping their careers and they find more visionary people to help them build music careers. If history is any guide, the major four will hold progressively tighter to their declining revenues and be less likely to work with emerging tech...

    Around the merry-go-round they'd think they'd recognize the view after seeing it a few times?