A Frustration Dream for a Modern Era

I don’t have many dreams, or at least I don’t remember many. That’s actually been a goal of mine, and it seems to have worked, but that’s a story for another post. Last night I had a dream that I did remember, and it seemed pretty memorable for an unusual reason.

Do you ever have one of those dreams where what you’re trying to do keeps getting frustrated by some unknown force? For example, you’re trying to reach something, walk up to a sink or something, but for some bizarre, unknown reason you can’t reach it? This was like that, except I was trying to play a song for someone, but I couldn’t find the song at all. Google and YouTube were giving no results. I would try different spellings and alternate titles and get nothing. It was like it had disappeared from the internet entirely, even though it was a song I’ve listened to many times before.

Incidentally, the song I was trying to share was by Sonny J. Sonny J’s debut album was titled Disastro, and it was one of the last new Big Beat albums I remember hearing. I think he would’ve become more famous had he come along about a decade earlier, at the height of Big Beat’s popularity. As it stood though he scored a few minor hits on the UK charts. Most of his buzz centered on his song “Can’t Stop Moving”, largely due to a fan putting it to video of a young Michael Jackson singing (it really does fit).

What’s funny is if you read through the comments on the video, people are like, “oh, I remember when they did this song!” No you don’t; it’s a brand new song, sampling The Hues Corporation, among others. Here’s the actual music video for “Can’t Stop Moving”:

Somewhat ironically, the video from the official Sonny J YouTube channel has a copyright claim against it by WMG and has been blocked in the United States.

I know I have watched it on that channel in the past, so this is a new development, and is in a sense almost exactly what I dreamt about. It’s also strange that the song is totally fine coming from another account

A few other good songs from Disastro are “Enfant Terrible”:

“Handsfree (If You Hold My Hand)” which is more or less a remix of Donna Hightower’s “If You Hold My Hand” and I think it’s the song I was trying to find in my dream:

“Sorrow” which doesn’t fall in with the Big Beat sound of most of the album, but is lovely:

Finally I’d point you to “Sonrise” which concludes the album:

I first heard this album when I was a music director at my college radio station, and this was one of the standout albums I heard. I wish there was more from Sonny J, but his website seems to have been taken over by SEO “experts” and his Twitter page hasn’t been updated since 2009. Frankly, I wish there was more Big Beat still being made. But I’m really surprised and disappointed to see a music label hiding music from its old artist, and I hope this is one dream that doesn’t come true. Actually, I hope most of my dreams don’t come true; that’s why I try not to remember them.

Featured Image Credit: “Insomnia” by Paul Lofeodo, via Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.

Regrets? A Time the Bold Move Paid Off

I have a story to tell you that I think is true yet hardly believe myself. I’ve been reminded of it because I’m re-reading through the entire archives of the webcomic xkcd, going back to make sure I haven’t missed any. I’m fairly certain I’ve gotten back past the newest comic from the last time I did this and then some, but I’m heading all the way back to the beginning just to be sure. It’s been an entertaining look back in history, seeing references that are now actually kind of dated or would be confusing to younger readers. I’m all the way back to 2008 now, which doesn’t sound that old but is 8 years, almost a decade. There have been a lot of comics that focus on ways of making the readers or the people they interact with feel old, but now simply realizing the comic itself is that old is hitting me in the same way.

I’ve reached a comic that’s prompted this story now; the comic is titled “Regrets”:

[[Bar Graph]] Number of google results for:
“Regrets” by Randall Munroe, originally published August 4, 2008 at xkcd.com
Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License
The story this comic prompted is not mine, so I won’t be using names and am keeping details as light as possible. If I’d seen it in a movie or book I wouldn’t have believed it, but I swear this story is true to the best of my knowledge, or at least the person relating it was telling me about her own life and presented it as true. This was not a third-hand “friend-of-a-friend” story; it came straight from the horse’s mouth. (more…)

Carolina Hurricanes Tenth Anniversary as 2006 Stanley Cup Champions

I’m wearing this shirt and hat today, and they’re very special to me; I got them on this day in 2006, when the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup:

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I didn’t just get these that night, I was in the stands watching the team win. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, something I’ll always remember. That was easily the best $120 I’ve ever spent. Just getting those tickets was something I was proud of. (more…)

The sweetness of honey

I’m not usually one to pay much attention to decorating, but I think this honeycomb pattern my friend Morgan put up in her house is really cool!

Patchwork Aplenty

Blueberry season is winding down and life as I formerly knew it is beginning to resume. Which of course means cleaning again, because I’ve been neglecting pretty much everything other than making sure I have clean clothes for the next day. But it also means long hours equals a little extra spending cash and I’ve been working on home decorating!

Yesterday I received my honeycomb prints from CG Home I found on Etsy and I couldn’t wait to put them up. Check them out, they have amazing vinyl decals at a good price and quick shipping (all the way from Poland!) And I won’t go into too much detail because the final result speaks for itself. It turned out to be exactly what I envisioned!

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They were so easy to put up, it makes me want to put decals on all my walls, but for for now I’ll keep to…

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Joey Alexander

Friday night I went to an outdoor performance of the North Carolina Symphony, part of their Summerfest series. I hadn’t really paid much attention to what was on the schedule, just that they would be performing some Gershwin, in particular “An American in Paris”. I’ve enjoyed their Gershwin performances, so I wanted to be at this performance. This time the symphony did not bring in Timo Andres, who was a guest the previous two times I heard them perform Gershwin. Instead, the guest was a pianist named Joey Alexander along with his Joey Alexander Trio. I hadn’t heard of him, but I’ve also somewhat stopped paying attention to modern jazz groups, much preferring the jazz of the mid-20th century. I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve largely found more modern efforts somewhat lacking. One theory I have is that as jazz training moved out of the clubs and into college classrooms, it lost some of its life as it became institutionalized. It doesn’t feel as energetic or organic, that it perhaps must now conform to structured rules and lesson plans, innovating in a prescribed manner.

In the case of Joey Alexander and his trio, though, I have been missing out. I was surprised when the conductor announced that the pianist joining them was a 12-year-old from Bali, Indonesia. I was a little skeptical at first, wondering why on earth they would bring in someone so young to perform with the NC Symphony. He quickly changed my mind, though, and by the end of the night I was wondering how the NC Symphony had gotten him to little ol’ Cary, North Carolina. His performance has that life and energy I’ve been missing, both as the trio performed works from George Gershwin and Thelonious Monk as well as Alexander’s original compositions. It is for good reason Alexander became the youngest person ever nominated for a Grammy. He is the level of good that seeing someone at such a young age be so accomplished already leaves you thinking about all the time you’ve wasted over the years and what you might have been able to accomplish had you only applied yourself more. While I’ve been writing this post I’ve had this concert playing in the background; check it out to see what I mean (the concert actually starts 11:30 in):

During Friday’s concert the conductor mentioned an anecdote from when George Gershwin first heard Ethel Merman perform in Girl Crazy. Gershwin allegedly advised her to never take a music lesson because they would ruin her natural talent. I kind of feel the same way about Alexander and hope he doesn’t attend a college for music. Perhaps one reason his performance has the energy of a bygone era is that much of his training has come from listening to old recordings and jamming with professional musicians in Bali and Jakarta. On the other hand, two other members of his trio, bassist Dan Chmielinski and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr., both attended Julliard, so perhaps there is hope of attending college and still keeping the life in jazz (Friday’s performance featured the talented Kyle Poole on drums, who does not appear to be a Julliard student, so that’s a point in favor of learning in the clubs; I’ve found several drummers listed with the trio so it seems like that position has had some rotation). I want to keep track of Alexander and his trio and look forward to hearing what the future brings them!

The Little Prince

I was pretty excited late in 2014 to see a movie version of The Little Prince by Antoine de Sainte-Exupéry was in production. It’s a French classic written as a children’s book, but the concepts and messages seem like something that will go right over a child’s head. It’s almost better read as an adult to remind us of important parts of life that are easy to lose sight of as we grow up.

Growing up is not the problem. Forgetting is.

—The Aviator, in the movie adaptation

The first trailer I saw was in French, but it was enough to get me excited with its beautiful animation, particularly the loving tribute to Sainte-Exupéry’s original illustrations.

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Waking Ned Devine

As lottery mania grows in the U.S. with the Powerball jackpot surpassing $1.5 Billion, I feel like this is a good time to recommend everyone watch Waking Ned Devine (known outside North America as Waking Ned). It’s a British comedy set in a small Irish town where the winner of the lottery promptly dies from the shock, and his friends and neighbors attempt to claim the prize as him.

The movie is one of my all-time favorites. A recommendation: the accents are strong and over the years we’ve found it better to turn the subtitles on for first-time viewers. Waking Ned Devine is available on multiple streaming services.