Found In the Woods

September 29, 2005

Why I am SICK of Cindy Sheehan

Filed under: Blogging — bsullivan @ 3:49 pm

What makes me so sick is that in every photo I see of her being arrested in front of the White House, she is smiling. Sometimes almost laughing. I can almost read her mind…“Wheee! This protesting thing is FUN!” This “planned protest” fiasco that she and her nutjob allies cooked up is nothing short of laughable. Apparently her arrest was planned and plenty of media was on hand to capture it like some sort of twisted paparazzi red-carpet event, with photographers jockeying for a position to take a photo of this clown being hauled away by the police, who may I note were not smiling at all.

The photos make it look like protesting can be fun. It’s disturbing that this is the case. A fundemental right of Americans is to protest. It’s a national treasure. But, what pollutes it is when folks like this gain the media’s attention and begin to popularize the whole thing SIMPLY for the sake of the action. In other words, the easily impressionable might see this and think “oh yeah, she’s aweshome for standing up and protesting at the White House and making a stand!” where the truth is, she’s just another anti-war protestor. Many, many people have lost loved ones in this war, it’s a terrible thing. I think exploiting that is perhaps the greatest travesty of this woman’s life.

“If you haven’t had it with this horrible woman and her anti-American antics; her sick and disgusting exploitation of the heroic death of her patriot son, then I have…” Mark Noonan,

Freedom isn’t free.

A History of Music

Filed under: Blogging — bsullivan @ 1:31 pm

My folks brought me up listening to old 70’s folk (John Denver, The Mamas and the Papas), classical music and lots of “oldies” on AM radio. Growing up in Boston, there was (is?) an AM station that played nothing but oldies, all the time. I have lots of vivid memories of being in the basement working on the model railroad with Dad with the 50’s hits playing in the background .

I also have memories of that same basement, but soon it was my prized copy of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and my friend Alex and I working on the railroad. I used to make Alex get up and reset the stylus on the old Heathkit. Alex and I also used to have breakdancing expositions for my family down there too. He had red and blue light bulbs that we’d plug in. We’d then take my Dad’s Sony boombox that had detachable speakers and set it up under a desk. Greg, Alex’s brother, was the DJ, spinning (playing) Fat Boys, Run DMC, and the Beat Street soundtrack while Alex and I would show off all our moves.

I took to the radio as well, pretty heavily. I used to record just about everything I liked off the radio on cassette tapes in the 80s. I’d label them “TAPE 1” and “TAPE 2” and so on. I got up to about 35 and then started to buy more stuff. I still have those tapes and throw ’em in for a laugh now and then. My fav’s were Thompson Twins, Cindy Lauper, U2, Simple Minds, Tears For Fears, The Cars, Depeche Mode, Billy Idol and Duran Duran. Largely, my tastes consisted of anything that was played on the radio, so it was all singles and hits. I didn’t delve too deep into full albums and cassettes purchased from music stores.

In high school I kept to the radio largely until I got my first CD player for Chrismas in 1990. I had recently been introduced to “classic rock” (60s-70s) by some classmates. I quickly fell in love with Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, etc. I asked my Mom for a Led Zep CD to go w/ the CD player and Mom picked out Presence. She couldn’t have picked a more obscure album of Zeppelin’s but it was my first. I ate it up, too, listening over and over and over to Achille’s Last Stand, which I found fascinating in its tempo and drive.

During the next few years I would collect many Zeppelin discs as well as some grunge, hip-hop and pop stuff. I started to get into the Seattle Scene that was bleeding off of MTV’s 120 minutes (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Neil Young, etc.) and quickly into the mainstream. I still remember running over my copy of Nirvana’s Teen Spirit cassette single with my parents’ Toyota. I hated the fact that some of my favs were finding their way into the pop scene. Beck, The Beastie Boys and the above bands quickly made their way to fame and I lamented that. I knew where to dig, though, getting into some local DC bands like Ashes, which I saw after a Go-Go act at a high school homecoming at Maret High School in DC. They floored me.

Getting into College in Delaware I brought most of the same musical affinities, evident in my fairly large and growing CD collection (as well as my subscription to that evil organization Columbia House and BMG. Yes, both). My roommates had pretty similar tastes (as did most college freshman) which was fun. But, there were several new bands that I got turned on to. Most notable was Pink Floyd. I had heard random PF hits on the radio over the last few years, but never really paid much attention to them. It wasn’t till my roommate Brian brought his copy of the newly-released PF box set and played Meddle for me. I was completely hooked. I listened to each album, inside and out until I knew every song back and forth. I was somewhat obsessed with them. An early form of what we know as the internet in the mid 90s was Gopher. I scoured every site I could, digging up PF boards, discographies, histories, news, images, theories, etc, reading everything and eating it up. In my Sophomore year, during the winter session, I lived alone in my dorm room and sat glued, sometimes overnight, to my computer reading all about PF. Some days I would only leave the room to get water for my Ramen noodles and to take bathroom breaks. It was bad.

Luckily it was at the same time that I met one of my best friends, Andy. Andy has an exceptional interest in good music. He was into bands like Over The Rhine, The Sundays, The Cult, U2 (although when Zooropa came out he threw away his entire U2 CD collection), Joy Division, New Order, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Morrissey, and so on. Stuff I’d heard bits and pieces of (except U2) but never really got into. Now we were both being introduced to some new music and it sent us on a quest for more. Bands like James, Grant Lee Buffalo, Peter Gabriel, Catherine Wheel, Slowdive, Spiritualized, My Bloody Valentine all came into our view. We ate it up. Ate it up with a huge spoon.

A couple years later the next phase began when I was introduced to a guy who was into electronic music, among other things. I had never really taken much interest in it; Kraftwerk was still the butt of some jokes of mine and I owned one Techno album, not exactly representative of the genre. Paul turned me on very quickly to outfits like Orbital, Josh Wink, The Chemical Brothers, Sasha, Paul Oakenfold, Towa Tei, Aphex Twin, and. The second Techno album I purchased was Northern Exposure, a 2-disc set by Sasha & John Digweed which still to this day is one of my absolute favorites in the genre. Others have emerged like BT and Underworld, two of my favorites. Thus, the foundation was laid for much of the rest of my life.

Fast forward to today. Since the college years, I have mainly sought out sucessors to these bands and follow-on acts. I also look for similar groups and try to pick up LPs, EPs and singles that I missed (or couldn’t afford) way back when. I go deeper into catalogues of artists that I adore and rediscover music that I maybe didn’t appreciate years earlier. I have lately been getting into some new Genres, mainly Jazz, Bluegrass and Ancient music, mainly 11th – 15th century stuff, which I just love. Oh, and since having Kyle I’ve been playing a lot of kiddie songs, but we won’t go into that.

I would love to hear recommendations based on what I’ve written here, or thoughts. Music is a huge part of my life and I don’t think that will ever change. It’s such fun to dig an album or a group and immerse yourself in their creations and trivia. It’s addictive and sometimes expensive, but well worth it in the end. This satisfaction of love is overwhelmingly pleasing and comforting. Music does this. It will attach itself to you and give meaning in a tangible, sensory manner. Something that you can grasp and enjoy over and over.

September 28, 2005

Red Sox – Orioles

Filed under: Blogging — bsullivan @ 11:45 am

Last Friday a few friends and I went to a Red Sox vs. O’s game at Camden Yards. The game was fantastic w/ the Sox taking the win (which we desperately need). It was fun to see the Sox in person. It’s been a year since my last game at Camden Yards with the Sox. This is the first year in long time that I’ve folllowed the Sox from start to finish. Baseball faded from the forefront of my life during early high school and was rekindled a few years back. Seeing the Sox go to the playoffs last year was a seroius kick in the ass for me and got me way back in.

Camden Yards is a great stadium. Seats are nice, views are good. Overall a lot of fun. It was funny to be there and see just about as many Red Sox fans as O’s fans, maybe more. Beers are $5 for a 16oz draught. Traffic coming home was brutal with the 3 lane Rt. 295 main drag going down to 1 lane. It took over 30 mins to get from the stadium to 95. Didn’t get home until 1am. Still reeling from that one. GO SOX!

September 22, 2005

iPod my car!

Filed under: Projects — bsullivan @ 11:49 am

Yesterday I completed the installation of an interface in my 2003 Volkswagen Jetta Wagon which allows me to plug my iPod in to the OEM head unit and play music. I got interested in this about a year and a half ago after reading some extensive articles on the VW Vortex. I purchased gear for the install in August 2004 but didn’t get around to installing it until last month. Everything is in now and it is really wonderful. There are so many resources out there for doing this, if any of you are considering it, I highly recommend it!

Pics and details of the install are here.

September 21, 2005

Back again

Filed under: Blogging — bsullivan @ 11:49 pm

9:45pm Sunday night we walk in the door. It’s been 10 days and a few thousand miles. Kristin, Kyle and I are returning from our tour of Western/Southern Ireland and are ready for bed. It’s about 3:00am Irish time and Kyle has been up all day. What a trip.

We flew to Shannon Airport north of Limerick and headed Northwest to Doolin where we stayed for 2 nights. Driving South we stop in Kenmare for 3 nights. Visits to the Ring of Kerry, Black Valley & Gap of Dunloe are all spectacular. Heading South, East we end up in the old harbour town of Kinsale for 3 more nights. This town has a rich history (as does most of Ireland) complete with tremendously well-preserved forts, castles, churches and ancient street patterns which make for interesting navigation, especially when the main drag is under construction. Heading North, we hit the Cork Distilleries Co. in Midleton and then it’s up to Adare for 1 night in a 250 year old mansion on a famous horse stud farm (there are horse graves in the back yard complete with horseshoe-shaped tombstones). Up early, some eggs and sausage and we’re off to Shannon for the 7hr 15min flight home.

Worn and weary we make it back with an arsenal of photos, stories and wonderful memories. Kyle did great and Kris and I just had a fantastic time. It’s good to be home. Please take a look at the photos in the Gallery, here.

Oh yeah, as of tonight, the Sox are out of first place in the AL East. .5 games back to the Yanks. Of course this happens now. Of course it does.