Les Miz


Kelly and I went to see the musical Les Misérables last week.

Now I’m not an expert on the theater. It’s the first time that I’ve seen Les Miz. Also, it’s only the second time that I’ve seen a professional stage performance, and the first time that I’ve ever seen a performance by the touring company.

So I might be inexperienced, but this was easily the highest quality stage production that I’ve ever seen. The orchestra was great, and the singers were really good, and the sets and costumes were amazing.

I honestly think the set was the best part for me. I think it completely made the ambience and mood of the play. Plus they had some really cool effects that added to its believability. In a few scenes they had a projected backdrop that would move with the actors, and it really looked like they were moving in a world bigger than the stage.

Despite all of the things that made it the best play I’ve seen, the funny part is that I’m not sure if I liked it.

First off, it was incredibly hard to follow. The dialogue was hard to understand and I don’t think the plot made sense in all parts. Kelly says that the lyrics aren’t normally that hard to understand, so it’s possible that all of the actors were just mumblers. All the same, I don’t think I would have understood what was going on if I wasn’t already familiar with the story.

The other thing was that it was kind of boring. Mostly just at the end. After Javert dies and you think the main plot line is resolved, it just keeps going and going for like 5 more musical numbers. In fact, I think it kind of ruined the end for me. The final song seems like it would have been really powerful and moving, except that I’d already stopped caring because the story seemed like it should have been over.

But to reiterate, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t like it. It just means that I don’t know if I liked it. Something funny happened in the days after we saw it that I think explains why people like this kind of thing.

The first thing that happens is that the songs get stuck in your head. And that is its own vicious cycle because as they get stuck in your head, you sing or play them, and so does your wife, and then they just get more stuck in your head.

Then the second thing happens. As you hear or sing the songs, you start getting reminded of various parts of the play, and then you start thinking about it more and more. And before long, everytime you hear one of the songs you think something like, “Oh, yeah, that part was cool.”

So that’s it. I’m not sure if I liked it as much as a lot of people seem to, but I can imagine that if I kept being reminded of it over and over by the music that I’d probably convince myself after the fact that it was the best thing ever.

iTunes doesn’t sell music


Kelly and I just drove past FYE and they’re running a sale where all CD’s are $9.99.

“About time,” I say, pointing the sign out to Kelly.  “They’re finally as cheap as iTunes.”

Kelly sees the sign and says, “$9.99?!  We should go in there.”

“Why?  It’s the same price as iTunes.”

“Yeah,” reveals my brilliant and beautiful wife, “but at least you own a CD, instead of iTunes just letting you borrow it.”

Dramatic?  Perhaps.  But think about what it really means for you to “buy” a song from iTunes.

When you buy a song on iTunes you can play it in iTunes or on your iPod.  You can’t play it on your Zune or Xbox or Nomad.  You can’t play it on your phone unless it’s an iPhone.  You can’t play it in WinAmp or Windows Media Player or any program on Linux.  Basically you can only use it where and how Apple Computer, Inc. says that you can use it.  You can use it only on their devices and software.

It isn’t your song.  It’s their song.  You didn’t buy it from them at all.  You just rented it.  If you’re really nice and do what you’re told they might let you use it sometime.

Punk Rock isn’t just for Anarchists anymore


I just found out that Michale Graves, famous as one of the singers for punk band the Misfits, is a conservative and a Republican. I also found this video from the Daily Show where they make fun of… pretty much everyone.

The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius


I listened to the Forrest Gump soundtrack the other day and I’ve had the Age of Aquarius song stuck in my head. While I was trying to find a place to listen to the song today, I read a little bit about it. Apparently it’s from some hippie musical called Hair, and then was later released as a pop song by the 5th Dimension. And, contrary to popular references (including my own three sentences ago) the song is just called “Aquarius”, not “Age of Aquarius”. Whatever, right?

Here’s the interesting thing: Apparently there is some discord among astrologers about when the age of Aquarius really begins, but the first lines of the song lyrics give their own measurement for when it begins: “When the Moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars”. According to Wikipedia this alignment will really happen on Feb. 14, 2009.
So, whatever the heck the age of Aquarius is, it starts on this week on Valentine’s day. Weird, huh?

Chicago radio


We were in Chicago a few weeks ago for Stefroni‘s wedding, and everything was really wonderful. But that’s not what I’m posting about.

Chicago’s a big city, right? Well, as you would expect from a big city, there are a lot of radio stations. You can’t go more than two clicks on the dial without getting a new station. I’d say there’s about 800 FM radio stations around Chicagoland.

The part that surprised me is that only about 5 of those stations are devoted to popular music. I don’t mean popular music as in Brittany Spears and the Backstreet Boys, I mean mainstream music, including country and rap and everything. So, between these 5 radio stations they pretty much need to play all of the music that normal people would listen to. The other 795 stations in the area are split pretty evenly between Mexican ranchero music and talk radio.

Now if I had just 5 quality radio stations to choose from in an area that’d be plenty. The problem is, I don’t want to listen to just any mix of mainstream crap. I need a rock station. Kelly and I spent all weekend scanning the spectrum for any semplance of rock, and the oldies station was the only one we could find.

So, in conclusion, Chicago radio stations suck.


So we go to see the Independents last night, and I was all excited about seeing them, but they weren’t the headlining band; the Queers were. We tried to get there early but we showed up at the theater half an hour late and they were in the middle of their last song. So we pretty much missed the whole show. No offense to the Queers, but we didn’t want to stay since we’d only gone to see the Independents. The ticket guy was cool, so even though there are no refunds allowed, he gave us our tickets back and we sold them to someone else waiting outside. So much for Independents day. The adventure only cost us $2, though, so it’s OK. I’m not angry. Just disappointed.

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