Tuesday, July 20, 2010

List: Music Discovery Websites

I'm kind of a weirdo.

One of my happiest moments is when I'm driving down the road, either an unfamiliar highway or one packed with traffic zooming along just above the posted speed limit.

Blasting from the radio (or the 14-year-old's iPod) is a collection of really great music that I have never heard before. No matter what my mood before, this always makes me happy.

Lately I have been streaming music from various websites and blasting music into my kitchen while I cook or bake. Our current kitchen has a swinging door that I can close to confine most of the sound to that part of the house.

Sometimes it's hard finding new music, but over time I have collected a nice list of websites that help introduce new stuff, indie bands, unheard-of labels, and emerging artists hoping to make it big. No matter what genre you like, you'll probably find some great new stuff here, too. All legal, of course.

Here's my list:

last.fm - my current favorite. Type in a song or artist you like and get a radio station with a playlist based on that artist or song. You can also "scrobble" which means last.fm will look at what you have stored in your computer and make a playlist based on what you already have. Lately I've been playing "Groove Armada radio," "Bela Fleck and the Flecktones radio" and sometimes I'll crank up the bass and listen to "the Gorillaz radio." (I need bigger woofers, though.)

pandora - same concept as last.fm but I just prefer the radio station that last.fm creates better.

ilike - listen to 30 second samples of stuff and get free downloads of stuff you've probably never heard of (because they're new emerging artists). Shows you what's popular on their site or you can explore based on what you like.

emusic - monthly subscription for bargain downloads. We discovered a lot of good stuff here, including Pam getting hooked on Of Montreal.

Amazon - Start by looking up an artist or album you love. Then scroll down to see other music purchased by customers who bought your favorite album... browse from there. This is where I nearly wet my pants upon the discovery of Mrs. Miller, Florence Foster Jenkins, and Jonathan and Darlene Edwards.
Holy crap.
(I think this subject is a blog post all by itself.)

iTunes - I'm sure you've heard of iTunes. Honestly, this is probably the last place I go for music.

MySpace - I'm personally not a fan of MS, but this is where Rachel discovered so much fantastic music like Hot Hot Heat, The Fratellis, Hard Fi, Say Hi To Your Mom, Does It Offend You Yeah?, and a buttload of other fantastic artists. We have discovered many more artists here than at Facebook.

1227.com - You're going to hate me for this, but I love this site.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

stopmotioness uncut & remasterd

Yesterday Rachel performed in an orchestra concert at her (old) middle school. It was excellent; probably the best one I've been to yet.

After the concert, one of the kids ran through the hall yelling, "It's on YouTube!" During the concert, the guy next to me on the top bleacher had a tripod set up and he filmed the entire concert, so I wasn't surprised it was posted.

Today while searching for the performance (I couldn't find it!?) I stumbled across this vid that some of her classmates made. The school offers a film class and Rachel thinks they made it for class. Pretty neat.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mother Nature reads my blog

Three days ago, in a previous blog post, I complained about the cold weather.
I guess Mother Nature reads this blog and decided to show me who's boss:

It's ok. I love the heat.
You Oregonians might not appreciate my next comment, but I have to say it:
It's a dry heat...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pass It On Plates has a new website!

If you are looking for our plate diaries at www.passitonplates.com, don't worry if you don't find them. Your plate diaries still exist and everything written in them is still there.

You can now find your plate diaries at our new website address: www.pass-it-on-plates.com

For more details on this change, please check out our Pass It On Plates blog post about the upgrade.
(If you want your plate to have the new website address written on the back, there is information about that as well in our Pass It On Plates blog.)

Thank you!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Rant

It is July and I am cold.

Actually, I am freezing my butt off. Oh yes I'm here in Oregon, not Antarctica, where it should at least be 80 degrees by now. The windows are open and the thermostat in my house reads 64.

I reluctantly shut off the furnace for the season a couple weeks ago. If I had firewood, I'd build a fire in the fireplace because I'm so dang cold. My nose is icy and my nostrils feel frosted when I inhale. Doesn't that just sound wrong to want to build a fire or turn on the heat in July? I'm just tired of being so cold all the time.

It's just not right.

Our weather here in Oregon is usually so wonderful that I keep some weather widgets on my computer wallpaper just so I can be accurate when bragging about our weather. Hmph. It's depressing to realize that compared to Salem, Oregon: it's a little warmer on the coast, toasty warm in my Wisconsin hometown, and delightfully HOT in Rancho Mirage, CA (near Palm Springs.)
Gee, I'd like to be there right now...

Yesterday Rachel asked if we could go up the mountain to our favorite bend in the river at North Fork.

"Uh, that's a mountain stream fed by snow melt. I'm gonna have to say no."

"But mommmmmm..."

"How many days have we had over 80 degrees this year?"

"Ummm, 2? Maybe 3?"

Yah, No. Maybe by the end of August it will have warmed up enough.

Is it warm where you are? Has June delivered its June-like weather to you and your garden? Does July look like it's going to be everything you hoped it would be - as far as weather goes?

Comment here with your weather bragging and gloating. At least I can warm myself up by imagining your weather!

Friday, July 2, 2010

"Welcome Home!"

Phở = Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup
aka my family's favorite comfort food.

No, we're not Vietnamese, or even Asian for that matter, but we certainly know a good thing when we see it. Or in this case, when we smell and taste it.

We're regulars at a local Salem Phở restaurant, where we basically fill up on soup and salad. Frank orders Phở (the soup), which always comes with bean sprouts, sliced limes, sliced jalapenos, and lots of fresh basil on the side.Rachel and I usually order Bún. Bún is a salad - with noodles under the lettuce. Sometimes the lettuce is blended with chopped fresh herbs such as cilantro, basil, or mint. The Bún is usually topped with grilled meat, egg rolls, pickled carrot/daikon radish, bean sprouts, and served with Nước mắm (a sweet fish sauce, used as salad dressing) on the side.

Yesterday we had an appointment up in Portland, and afterwards we zig-zagged across downtown looking for a place to have lunch. We argued over burgers, Greek gyros, Indian food, shopping mall food courts and Voodoo Doughnuts, then backtracked to our starting point to eat at a place called "Toast and Phở."

Weird name, but it turns out Phở is a traditional Vietnamese breakfast (can you imagine a big steaming bowl of beef soup for breakfast every morning? I love it, but no. I couldn't do that for breakfast.) In the mornings they serve traditional American breakfast, Bún and some rice dishes for lunch, and Phở all day long.

We walk in and inhale. Smells like Phở: rich beef broth, star anise, basil, grilled meat... Yum.

The lady (one of the owners?) walks up to us and asks, "Family of three?"
"Welcome home! Right this way..."

Welcome home? I've never heard of that greeting at a restaurant before.
Welcome home.

A departing customer smiled at us and chuckled. He must have been surprised when he was welcomed home, too.

Welcome home. It stuck in my mind.
We looked at the menu out of habit, but were ready to order before we even parked the car.
"One Phở and two Bún please. Also two salad rolls and a pot of green tea please."

(Don't even get me started with the salad rolls. I don't have enough time to tell you how much we love them. Especially from Toast and Pho - where they lace the rolls with fresh basil AND fresh mint leaves. Holy moley. I will tell you about these amazing things another time - for now I'll just say that they're addicting. Rachel and I dream about them at night.)

She was absolutely right. As we dug into our favorite comfort foods, we were at home... in this new restaurant.