Sunday Post

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I could sit in a room all day long and listen to P.J. Morton play keys. He’s tracking organ on “Leaving California” here, a song that gives me chills every time I hear it. #tears

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Scrapbook Post: Vegas VI

Some more Vegas! Here are the 4 Recycled Percussion show pages and 1 Jeff Civillico for good measure. The background on the meet and greet page is made up of confetti that I collected at a couple of the RP shows. Confetti will make an appearance on a couple more pages too because I had so many!

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Great Ways to Find New Music

There’s a lot of incredible music being created today, but it’s not always easy to find out about new artists if they are not signed to a major label. You’ll miss out on hearing a lot of wonderful music if you don’t dig a little deeper, so let’s talk about some ways you can discover exceptional new artists and songs.

Stay Active on Social Media
Today’s music acts love connecting with their fans on social media. You’ll find everyone from huge stars to your next door neighbor’s garage band on Facebook and Twitter. You can learn a lot about new artists from their social media accounts, so check them out and start interacting.
In addition to finding musical acts, you can also connect with producers like Jordan Kurland on social media. Kurland loves interacting with fans on his Twitter account, so it’s a great place to find out about exciting news in the music industry.

Ask for New Recommendations
We all have people in our lives that have great taste in music. That might be your best friend, you co-worker or the guy who manages the local music store. If you’re feeling ready to discover some new music, ask people you trust for recommendations.
Even if those new artists don’t fit into your usual mold, you can enjoy some excellent new talent and incredible lyrics. Once you let people know you’re open to new music recommendations, they’ll love sharing their favorites with you.

Attend Live Shows
Whether you live in a small area or a major city, there are most likely a variety of live shows that you can attend. Instead of only buying tickets for popular artists, don’t be afraid to check out appearances by lesser known solo acts and bands.
You’ll like some shows better than others, but there are several advantages to attending performances by up and coming artists. First, tickets for these shows are normally very reasonably priced. In fact, you might be able to even attend concerts for free! Instead of standing in line for hours or staying up all night to wait for tickets to go on sale, you can usually snatch up tickets for some of these shows right before the performance.
Most importantly, you’ll get the chance to discover some great new music. Whether you’re a heavy metal fan or you love the simplicity of the acoustic guitar, search for live shows in your area. You just might find a new favorite artist!

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Book Review: Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer

momMom Made Us Write This Is The Summer is the journal of Maggie and Max, twins who are ending 4th grade and gearing up for 5th grade.  Their Mom wants them to learn to communicate with each other better so she decides that they will keep a journal throughout the summer – in ONE journal that they have to share.  The rules are that they have to write 12 entries throughout the course of the summer.  They alternate who starts which entry – and they get to pick the topic (unless Mom tells them what to write.) So there are entries about ice cream, baseball, doctors visits, the zoo, etc.  The book is done in Max and Maggie’s handwriting so it is just like you are reading their journal.  They also read each others entries and leave notes and drawings / doodles on each other’s entries which was a cute addition.  Mom picked the last topic where they needed to go over what they learned.

This is a super cute book for kids and would be perfect to have kids read as a summer reading book (and maybe even then have them start a journal of their own afterwards!)

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is a children’s book by Ali Maier, written for ages 8 – 12.

A sister and brother, forced to write in the summer, and share ONE journal? Ugh.

This is exactly what happens to 10-year-old twins Maggie and Max Pruitt. When Mom comes up with a plan for them to keep a summer journal, Maggie and Max can’t believe it. Worse yet, they have to share!

Through their writing, Maggie and Max find out they have very different (and hilarious) views about growing up, family and life – a conclusion they only discovered because, as Max and Maggie say, “Mom Made Us Write This.”

Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is a journal-style book for children that captures the essence of sibling relationships. Anyone with a brother or sister will identify with the fun and struggles that Max and Maggie experience this summer! From a trip to the zoo to the annual check-up at the docs – read all about the life adventures of Maggie & Max.

The series also includes ‘Mom Made Us Write This: Write Your Own Shared Journal’ and ‘Mom Made Us Write This Family Quiz Book’.

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Book Review: Breaking All Her Rules

rulesBreaking All Her Rules is about a financial adviser named Grace who meets an artistic cowboy when they are sharing a cab in New York City.  They accidentally swapped cell phones, so of course that meant that they had to meet up again after their first chance encounter.  Grace has a lot of rules that she has made for herself which she lives by – which basically means she is not spontaneous, she doesn’t do anything that might be outside the box and is trying to make her family proud of her.  All that goes out the window when she meets up with Zack and he is in a towel.  She decides that she can throw her rules away for one day – but then it becomes a one night stand time two… three… can you even call it a one night stand anymore? (Nah.)  Zack has his own baggage as well – his daughter died and he ended up divorced and doesn’t want to ever love again.  Will the two go against everything they think is right for themselves to be together?

This was another one of Cosmo’s Red Hot Reads – this is one of the better ones that I have read.  It was nice to see Grace sort of come undone and let loose a little bit throughout the book.  It was also nice to see how Grace made Zach let his guard down a bit and try to let her into his heart – even though he was trying so hard for that to not happen. A cute and quick read.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Buttoned-up financial consultant Grace Song lives life by her own strict rules. Spontaneity leads to chaos. Always play it safe. So when she shares a Manhattan cab with a handsome stranger and they accidentally swap cell phones, her first instinct is to track him down and put things right. Stay on track. Stick with the plan.

But when beyond-gorgeous Zack Camden answers the door draped only in a towel, Grace is suddenly inspired to ditch her rules for a day…and a night. Indulging in one delicious encounter with a perfect stranger is just the break she needs. But one turns into two, then three mind-blowing nights—and soon Grace is in danger of breaking the biggest rule of them all—never fall in love….

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Book Review: Hard Drive

harddriveHard Drive is written by the cousin and mother of Shane Todd, an American Engineer who took a job in Singapore.  He was supposed to be leaving his job and coming back home to the US – but he is found hanged in his apartment and several suicide notes were written for his family and friends on his computer and it is figured it is just a suicide.  By Shane’s family knows better.  Earlier he had mentioned that he thought his life was being threatened to his family. The suicide notes don’t add up.  They are not written by Shane. If he didn’t write them – he didn’t commit suicide.

A break in the case comes when Shane’s parents find a hard drive with the backup of a lot of Shane’s files on it.  The police seem to think that there is nothing important on it and claim that they checked it out and gave it to his parents.  His parents story suggests otherwise. His parents use it to try and prove that Shane’s death was NOT a suicide.

This book would have been great if it was fiction – but the fact that it is non fiction just kind of blew my mind.  Shane seemed like he was very bright and had a great future ahead of him.

I received a free e-copy in order to write this review and was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

For the First Time in Print!
THE CAPTIVATING, TRUE STORY OF THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF YOUNG AMERICAN ENGINEER, DR. SHANE TODD
–Shane’s family’s grueling battle against powerful forces that have sought to conceal, destroy, or discredit evidence surrounding his murder

On June 24, 2012, Dr. Shane Truman Todd, a young American engineer, was found hanging in his Singapore apartment, just a week before his scheduled return to the United States. Although Shane had repeatedly expressed apprehension about his work with a Chinese company and fear his life was being threatened, authorities immediately ruled his death a suicide. His family initially didn’t know what to believe. However, upon arriving in Singapore, they realized the evidence suggested not suicide, but murder.

Shane’s family later discovered that what they thought was a computer speaker was actually an external hard drive with thousands of files from Shane’s computer. The information in those files transformed this story from a tragic suicide to an international saga of mystery, deceit, and cover-up, involving three countries. “Hard Drive: A Families Fight against Three Countries” is the captivating story of Shane’s mysterious death and his family’s grueling battle to reveal the truth against powerful forces that have sought to conceal, destroy, or discredit evidence indicating homicide. This story, which is told from the unique perspective of Shane’s mother, Mary, recounts the family’s painful, arduous, and unwavering endeavor to reveal the truth about what happened to Shane Todd in Singapore

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Book Review: High Notes

highnotesHigh Notes is a book by Richard Loren that documents working with various rock legends over the years. It all started with Liberace and he was working as a music agent.  There are mentions of a local venue – Toad’s Place in New Haven,CT. (Not that I’m sure I’ll ever step foot in there again, unless it’s a Hanson show, of course) and of course the infamous Doors concert that was held there.  Part 1 of the book focuses on when Richard was based in New York.  Part 2 is much shorter and focuses on Richard’s time in Los Angeles.  Part 3 & 4 focus on the grateful dead.  And of course, based on the title, there’s lots of mentions of drugs!

Found it funny, or maybe ironic? that he mentioned that he had an “old hippie brain” and that therefore may have left some out in his book. That’s code for I messed up my brain with drugs and now can’t remember stuff, right? ;)

It was nice to read, once again, a bit of an insiders experience on the music industry from back before everything was so fabricated like it is now!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Richard Loren recalls his journey through the turbulent eras of rock‘s ascendancy in his new book, High Notes: A Rock MemoirWorking with Rock Legends Jefferson Airplane Through The Doors to the Grateful DeadWith never-before-told stories, Loren offers a humorous and heartfelt account that illuminates music history and provides telling insights into some of the most notable entertainment personalities of the late twentieth century. Eminently readable and authentic, readers will find Loren’s inside look fascinating and satisfying. 

High Notes is part history, part travelogue, part cultural coming-of-age tale,” explains Loren. “The rock ‘n’ roll icons that inspired and shaped a generation were my personal mentors, business partners, and friends. Through my experiences, music and pop-culture lovers gain a reflective insider’s perspective on these amazing artists in one of the most compelling periods of American history.”

High Notes is broken up into four colorful, story-filled sections:

· Part One: New York City – My life with Jefferson Airplane, The Doors and the Chambers Brothers
· Part Two: Stinson Beach, California – David Grisman, the Rowan Brothers, Garcia-Saunders, Old and in the Way
· Part Three: The Grateful Dead – Politics, Grateful Dead Movie, Garcia Bands, Egypt, Saturday Night Live, Alaska, Radio City Music Hall
· Part Four: The Grateful Dead Merry-Go-Round – Germany, Mississippi River Boat, Watch the River Flow, Sirens of Titan, Garcia-Grisman 

Uniquely personal, Loren provides insight and revelation with his singular take on the rich, famous and powerful people he encountered during his days as an agent, manager and promoter. High Notes is must read for those who lived through the times and for those who want to share a personal perspective on one of rock’s most formative and fascinating eras.

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Throwback Thursday – Aaron Carter

 

01-08-23

Headliner: Aaron Carter
Opener(s): A*Teens, Noni, Code 5, Play, Myra
Cost: $40
Setlist:

Life’s A Party
Get Wild
Iko Iko
Bounce
So Fresh
Outstanding
Not Too Young
Tell Me What You Want
Real Good Time
I’m All About You
Shake It
AC Alienation
OH Aaron
I Want Candy
That’s How I Beat Shaq
Aaron’s Party

Recap:  I remember feeling like I was much taller than everyone here because the rest of the crowd was so much younger than us! We were on the aisle too and at one point stopped allowing the little girls to rush up to the stage (and grab Aaron. I do recall him getting grabbed in the nuts by a small child at one point) and the security gave us a nod of thanks because we got fed up with the kids running in and out and they were having trouble containing them to their seats as well!

Where Are They Now:

Aaron is still trying to make his music career happen.

Noni was his backup dancer and opened as well, no idea where she has gone to.

A*Teens, which I was surprised to read, actually JUST took a break from each other in 2014!

Code 5 I cant find anything about.

Play was a Swedish pop group and they broke up several times, the last time being in 2011.

Myra released 2 albums in 2001 and doesn’t appear to have released anything since, but she has done several guest appearances.

 

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Product Review: Neat MP3

neatMP3

 

If you are anything like me, your iTunes is a MESS.  You have files from the same artist with their names spelled differently (*NSYNC and ‘NSYNC, for example!) and some that don’t even have names at all because they were lost in a computer crash and are now just cryptic combinations of letters. And if you’re anything like me you keep telling yourself “I need to put some time aside to get my iTunes organized” and that time never comes.

Well, I decided to try out NeatMP3 to see if it would help my cause at all.  NeatMP3 is a powerful music organizer software for Windows and Mac that will enable you to easily merge, organize, rename and edit the tags of all the audio files on your computer! (And this will be no small task as I recently realized I have over 10,000 songs in my iTunes!)

With NeatMP3 Pro you can merge, organize, rename and edit the tags of your audio files in a single processing session. Just select a set of audio files, choose the way in which your files will be organized and renamed from a wide set of commonly used predefined patterns, select the location where you want your files to be moved and you’re ready to go! Perfectly organized music in just 3 easy steps.

NeatMP3 supports all the commonly used audio file formats (MP3, OGG, FLAC, WAV, MPC, AIFF, ASF, MP4) and also benefits from additional features like custom rename, output preview, file search, saving the current settings as profiles for later use, logging, deleting the source photos after processing and even allows you to play the songs you are organizing.

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Disney Trip: Memory Maker

Memory Maker is offered at Disney World as a way to get professional photos throughout the park.  No matter how long your trip is, it costs $150.  I wasn’t able to justify the cost of that for just 3 days – so I looked into a Memory Maker Share which is when you go in with several other groups/families and share the cost of the $150.  It was a $30 buy-in and we all had to link our accounts together to the account which had the Memory Maker paid on it.

If you don’t get Memory Maker you can still get your photos taken, but they cost about $15 to buy – so basically as long as we had at least 2 we wanted to buy (and let’s be real, as a scrapbooker I bought them all) we would come out ahead.

We basically made it our mission to seek out every photographer we could (easier said than done since we had so much rain on our trip!) and ended up with about 150 pictures.

Once you get back, you can log in to the account and add borders and stickers to the photos, which can double or triple the number of photos that you have depending on how you edit them)

The only downside to the share is that you need to wait for everyone to come home from their trip and edit before you can download all your photos as a group.  Then once you do download there are several zip files (our group had 55) and you have to sort through them to find your photos.  This actually went pretty quickly once all the files had downloaded, but the wait was the hardest part!

Photographers are around the park and also with most of the characters at their meets. They will take a photo with your camera if you ask, but their cameras are professional and they’ll take several shots with it.  Here are a few of the shots that we got – including some MAGIC shots! (The big reason why I wanted to get Memory Maker!)  Oh and you get ride photos too! (And in the case of 7 Dwarfs Mine Train – a video! And we got video of holding Lumiere as well!)

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