An Inspired Bird of Oakland Music: Elisabeth Johnson of Mynah Music: Joup Interviews

Always grinning, Elisabeth Johnson, co-founder of Mynah Music (courtesy of Mynah Music)

Always grinning, Elisabeth Johnson, co-founder of Mynah Music. (courtesy of Mynah Music)

Grez Top Albums of 2012 : First Listen Regardless of Initial Release Date

As music in general progressed over the past 10 years, more and more musicians are recording and releasing more and more quality material. Couple that with how easily available many of these artists are due to online presence and it’s difficult to have time to keep up. There truly is an overwhelming amount of music to which to listen. So the thought came to my head to review material that is NEW to ME regardless of when the artist released the said recording. Upon compiling the list of 12 recordings (10 was not enough, plus it is 2012), I’ve noticed I still have 4 releases from this year and 9 releases total debuting within the last 3 years. So relatively speaking much of the list is quite modern. I make no concessions nor apologizes. After consulting Shawn Baker about compling such a list he proclaimed: “Do it! It’s your list!” So keep in mind that mine may not be as “up-to-date” as all other critiques.
As well, there is no stipulation as to where or how I came across the releases on this list since the release year does not bind them. Some were recommendations, some loose tips from a night at the bar and some were results of my own research. All though are releases that I’ve listened to at least a few times in 2012 and now have as part of my permanent collection.
Enjoy and responses are welcomed and encouraged. Here is to a year of great music. Hopefully you had one as well, if not there is little but still time. ;)

Chicago Music : A Word with songwriter/guitarist Bill MacKay : Joup Interviews

Bill MacKay at his best - creating (billmackay.wordpress.com)

Bill MacKay at his best – creating (billmackay.wordpress.com)

The Cost of Campaigning for President on the Environment

Image courtesy of thomasnet.com

So I had a YIM chat with my good German friend Sarah this past Sunday as we like to do from time to time. She asked me if I was nervous about the election on Tuesday to which I responded “No, not really. Whatever happens…well… happens.” But she noted that polls were close amongst both major candidates being incumbent President Barrack Obama (D) and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R). She as well as much of Europe (and world in my humble opinion) are big Obama supports, but I’ll reserve my judgement as Joup will endorse neither candidate. Not that we don’t have our own personal opinions but Joup is attempting to remain impartial in this election as a whole. But what really sparked in our chat was how much each of the candidates traveled on a daily basis. And to what lengths they are going to become the President of the United States of America. How did these individuals impact our Earth’s environment in going to these lengths? I’ll do my best to give an estimate.

The Opinionated Traveler: San Francisco, Day #6

I wanted to bookend my trip, primarily for the travelers out there. While San Francisco is not a very distant destination for us, it’s still a world away for those trapped by their regular lives in LALA land and the gold we’ve found is worth sharing for others who may venture down these steep, endlessly winding streets in Northern California (or “Nor Cal”, as many a t-shirt and hoodie annoyingly announce).

No trip to San Francisco is complete without a trip to Berkeley and no trip to Berkeley is complete without a trip to Dark Carnival Books (and now comic shop as well, two doors down!).

The Opinionated Traveler: San Francisco day #1

The first night in San Francisco in what, just about five years. It’s good to be here, it is a reminder of what it’s like to actually travel. San Fran is one of those cities – like New York, Baltimore or Minneapolis even – that feels like a world city, as opposed to my two mainstays, Chicago and L.A. both of which I love, but both of which are more like glorified suburbs to the eyes of folks who have spent any time out of the country (Britain especially – the British ‘flavour’ is strong in cities like San Fran and New York. These cities are literal melting pots and they feel that way).

Fuel for Thought: LPG

LPG v Petrol

Why can Australia effective use LPG for public consumption and the US not? (image courtesy of drive.com.au)

A right-handed turn from the left lane. Around the roundabout to turn around. Yielding to electric trams as they stop to pick up passengers. Yep, just a few of the challenges a driver will face in Melbourne, Vic. Not to mention paying on average AUS$1.37 per liter which equates to nearly US$5.20 per gallon at the current exchange rate. yikes.

But the right-sided steering column is not the only thing different between Australian and United States automobiles. How about cars that supplement their fuel usage with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)? We have school buses, heavy machinery and public worker fleets that run on it in the States, why not cars?

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