November 29, 2004

Careful With That Cheeto

From the brilliant minds at UCDavis comes this innovative approach to communicating food safety issues...and lord knows there are literally tens of them.

“For the past eight years, I have combined my previous background as a musician with my scientific and communication training to develop an innovative, humorous, and effective musical approach for food safety education.”

Written while groovin' to The Way of the Explosive from the album “Maverick a Strike” by Finley Quaye

Posted by Pedraum at 02:22 PM |

November 24, 2004

A Beautiful Idea

Musicians On Call

Posted by Pedraum at 12:50 PM |

November 23, 2004

The Complete U2

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It's amazing that enough songs to fill over 30 CDs, spanning a band's entire career, can be purchased with the click of a button.

Written while groovin' to Miracle Drug from the album “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb” by U2

Posted by Pedraum at 03:44 PM |

November 20, 2004

Out Of Town

Sorry...more to come...

Posted by Pedraum at 06:32 AM |

November 14, 2004

Gladwell

His new book, Blink, is coming out soon. I can't wait; The Tipping Point is one of my favorite books. Listen to him talk about elements of it here.
Posted by Pedraum at 11:18 PM | | TrackBack

November 10, 2004

Street Memes

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I like to think of myself as a hip-hop aficionado and I understanding that hip-hop is more than simply talking over a boom-bap kick-snare; it has a culture. For years an integral part of the that culture has been graffiti art. I'm not talking about the annoying indiscernible tags you see marking gang territory. No, I'm talking the stuff that makes you stop in your tracks on your walk from the bus to the office. The stuff that makes you wonder how a kid with baggy pants can produce something with such beauty under the threat of arrest.

There's another kind of street art that's a meme. No doubt you've seen the André the Giant face spray painted on concrete or seen a sticker with the same image slapped on a street sign and wondered, “Huh?”. Well, it turns out that's kinda the point. André's not the only gig in town. Check out some of the other memes out there.

Written while groovin' to Paranoiattack from the album “Wet From Birth” by The Faint

Posted by Pedraum at 10:04 AM |

November 09, 2004

Bad Sweaters

Ever owned a bad sweater? You know, the ones you received as a gift but couldn't return 'cuz there was no receipt and you didn't know which mass merchant carried the “Few Boundaries” line? This one hits way close to home as those that saw me cowboy boots as a kid can attest. This guy's made the best of the bad sweater holiday tradition.

Written while groovin' to Undone - The Sweater Song from the album “Weezer (Blue Album)” by Weezer

Posted by Pedraum at 05:23 PM |

Customized Wall Art

You can look like you were done up by Andy Warhol or avoid your fifteen minutes altogether an opt for something more generic. In either case these are wicked cool.

Posted by Pedraum at 02:00 PM |

November 08, 2004

Grill Skills

Wanna develop them? Learn how (and build some mad 80's rap skillz) here.
Posted by Pedraum at 09:40 PM | | TrackBack

November 05, 2004

In Need Of A Distraction?

Yeah, I sure am.

Have the world's great voices sing your lyrical gems.
Space sounds (I have a funny feeling Jerry's gonna dig this one and I want to put some in the inaudible background of one of my songs).
Oh yeah, for sure gotta sample some o' these.

Written while groovin' to Hands from the album “Rounds” by Four Tet

Posted by Pedraum at 02:57 PM |

November 02, 2004

Dispatch #3 From Vegas

And not a minute too soon:

“It appears we got us one of them classic good news/bad news situations here. The bad news is that the *&#@$ guy I’m staying with while I’m here in Vegas has apparently totally *&#@$ forgotten that I’m staying with him, even though I’ve been using his guest bedroom every night for more than a week now, so he’s locked me out of his *&#@$ apartment without giving me a key and his cellphone seems to have gone on vacation and it’s Friday night in Vegas which means there ain’t exactly a cornucopia of available hotel rooms out there so Your Man in Vegas is pretty much *&#@$ screwed, which he’s none too happy about it, I don’t mind telling you...”

Written while groovin' to Killing All the Flies from the album “Happy Songs For Happy People” by Mogwai

Well friends and family,

It appears we got us one of them classic good news/bad news situations here. The bad news is that the *&#@$ guy I’m staying with while I’m here in Vegas has apparently totally *&#@$ forgotten that I’m staying with him, even though I’ve been using his guest bedroom every night for more than a week now, so he’s locked me out of his *&#@$ apartment without giving me a key and his cellphone seems to have gone on vacation and it’s Friday night in Vegas which means there ain’t exactly a cornucopia of available hotel rooms out there so Your Man in Vegas is pretty much *&#@$ screwed, which he’s none too happy about it, I don’t mind telling you.

But Your Man in Vegas believes that for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows. He also believes that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. With all these flowers growing and children leading it seems like there’s gotta be some good to be wrung from this wretched business, and so there is. The good news begins with the fact that the office is still open, because the paid staff here are *&#@$ maniacs and there’s a big rally early tomorrow morning they’re still preparing for and there are 500 or so people from California coming into Vegas this weekend to help out with the final sprint to election day and because in general there’s only four more days or three more days or maybe it’s just a couple of hours til election day and so everyone is still up and running and putting together walk lists for all the precinct leaders and crunching gargantuan spreadsheets full of eligible voters and phone-bank volunteers and people who are already on their way out here from San Francisco and LA and San Diego and Santa Barbara and Arizona and God knows where else and so on.

And the good news just keeps on coming. In some cruel quirk of destiny that can only be the result of something very bad I did as a young man—or maybe it was several weeks ago—I seem to have stumbled into the role of something like ‘office manager’ here. As most of you know, this isn’t exactly Your Man in Vegas’ strong suit, but if that’s what it takes to defeat George Bush, then so be it. Anyway, there really ain’t a whole lot of active office management to be done at 3:30 in the am—so here I am with the first chunk of spare time I’ve had in about 4 days—and the last that I’m likely to have until Tuesday at 7pm or so—so I thought I’d take advantage of the whole thing and jot off a few notes.

In all seriousness, the heat is getting pretty hot in the proverbial kitchen these days—much too hot for the kind of overblown soufflé served up in volumes 1 and 2—so I’ll keep the rest of this brief. The big news:

1. By far the biggest news is just the sheer intensity and professionalism and dedication of this moveon team here. All of you who’ve donated to this group—and even those of you who haven’t (I’m sure your checks are in the mail)--would be filled with pride and probably some awe by the kind of operation that’s being run here. These guys have been running on bad food and cheap coffee and 16 hour days for more than two months now—and despite all the frustrations that come with mobilizing volunteers and knocking on doors and shoestring budgets that make Wal-Mart look positively spendthrift and a not-exactly-gifted office manager—they just keep on going. It’s damn impressive. I’m telling you, this whole ‘internet time’ and ‘pre-launch crunch phase’ and all that biz ain’t got nuthin on this political thing.

2. Slowly (but with increasing momentum) and surely (mostly thanks to the relentless energy of underpaid, overworked people like those staffing the office here—and the serious dedication of a bunch of regular people who’ve been recruited into the game as local leaders—and a purty durn effective overall program) we’re actually accomplishing what we set out to do at the beginning: Give a whole bunch of regular people the tools and support that will allow them and their friends and neighbors to identify a whole bunch of Kerry supporters in each one of their neighborhoods/precincts who might otherwise not vote and get each and every one of those folks to actually show up on election day (or before) and shake their democratic groove thang. Thousands of voter contacts each day. Hundreds of identified strong Kerry supporters. Tens of Kerry supporters supportive enough to jump into the fray themselves and add to the strength of the teams.

3. Momentum is building. The folks from the DNC and Kerry campaign are out here en masse. The folks from ACT (America Coming Together—the George Soros funded bunch) are out here en masse. And so are we. Whatever you’re reading in the papers about the well-oiled Republican machine (boy, how's that for an apt metaphor?) driven by local field operations and paid canvassers and brain implant receivers transmitting directly the thoughts and orders of Karl Rove himself—I promise you—we are going toe to toe with them. If the political fates choose not to smile on us, it sure as shootin won’t be because of any lack of effort on the part of those who feel we need a change—or because people just never got the message.

Gotta run. Maybe ‘shuffle’ would be more accurate. Finally got a call back from my slightly drunk, thoroughly contrite Vegas host (also a volunteer, by the way). He thought he’d left the door open (a common practice, apparently, given all the camera-guarded gated communities around here).

See—good things do happen.

Likely to be my last transmission til after election day.

Good luck to all of us—

Your under-rested but still kicking Man in Vegas,

Erik

Posted by Pedraum at 01:23 PM |

November 01, 2004

Vote

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Thanks to Summer for the shirt. And thanks to you for voting.

Posted by Pedraum at 06:07 PM |

Erik Hagerman, Round Two

The second in a series of three dispatches from our man in Vegas, Erik Hagerman, finds him getting snappy:

“It's Your Man In Vegas (YMIV) again, big as life, twice as natural and SERIOUSLY AMPED UP on a combination of too much caffeine, too little sleep, some very exciting increasing political momentum, the TOTALLY UNPRECEDENTED PERFORMANCE OF THE RED SOX (which I'm not gonna talk about anymore because the game is still underway as YMIV writes these words) and--perhaps most significantly--the SURGING POWER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS flowing through YMIV as he bears the SWORD OF TRUTH, LIGHT AND CORRECT PRONUNCIATION into an EPIC BATTLE against the forces of DARKNESS, DECEIPT AND DUNDERHEADED PUBLIC OFFICIALS. * Sorry about ALL THAT SHOUTING, but like I SAID, man, I'M PURTY SERIOUSLY STOKED right now. There's some SERIOUSLY PROPITIOUS SHIZZLE goin on in the world right now and I'm finding it PURTY DURN HARD to resist getting PRETTY DURN EXCITED by it all.”...

Written while groovin' to Tell Me Something I Dont Know from the album “Lets Bottle Bohemia” by The Thrills

Howdy folks--

It's Your Man In Vegas (YMIV) again, big as life, twice as natural and SERIOUSLY AMPED UP on a combination of too much caffeine, too little sleep, some very exciting increasing political momentum, the TOTALLY UNPRECEDENTED PERFORMANCE OF THE RED SOX (which I'm not gonna talk about anymore because the game is still underway as YMIV writes these words) and--perhaps most significantly--the SURGING POWER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS flowing through YMIV as he bears the SWORD OF TRUTH, LIGHT AND CORRECT PRONUNCIATION into an EPIC BATTLE against the forces of DARKNESS, DECEIPT AND DUNDERHEADED PUBLIC OFFICIALS. * Sorry about ALL THAT SHOUTING, but like I SAID, man, I'M PURTY SERIOUSLY STOKED right now. There's some SERIOUSLY PROPITIOUS SHIZZLE goin on in the world right now and I'm finding it PURTY DURN HARD to resist getting PRETTY DURN EXCITED by it all.

I know what you're thinking (No, I'm not psychic. It's a figure of speech, man. Sheesh). “Come on, Erik--Knock it off with the 'propitious' stuff already. You don't believe in fate or omens or stuff like that. And knock it off with the shizzle thing, too--You wouldn't know a Snoop Dogg song if it bit you on the bizzle.”)

Both these things are absolutely true. I don't believe in omens/fate/etc. And I probably wouldn't know a Snoop Dogg song if it bit me on the bizzle. But here's what I do know: Every once in a while--amidst lots of not very good things goin on out there in the world--like stupid, unecessary wars-- and big media companies like Sinclair Broadcasting Group screwing their shareholders and betraying the public (not to mention breaking the law) by broadcasting propaganda two weeks before a presidential election under the guise of 'news'--and having to drive 8 hours through the desert with your heat on full blast--every once in a while some good things also happen.

Like the Red Sox beating the Yankees to go to the World Series for the first time in like 2,000 years or something--which I can talk about now AS MUCH AS I WANT because they just clinched it in a victory that can only be described as TRULY HISTORIC (All right, it's not strictly true that that's the the only way it can be described. There's probably an infinite number of ways it could be described. It's another figure of speech. C'mon, man--cut me some slack here. I'm SHORT ON SLEEP, MAN! Not to mention MORE THAN A LITTLE HUNGRY given the fact that it's WELL PAST 10 pm and YMIV STILL HASN'T HAD DINNER YET. And did I mention the 8 HOURS DRIVING ACROSS THE DESERT WITH THE HEAT ON FULL BLAST?!)

Anyway, back to the good news-So there's the Red Sox. And that's not where the good stuff ends, either. In another EVENT OF STARTLING BEAUTY and UNPRECEDENTED HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE, it rained in Vegas today. IT RAINED! IN THE DESERT! Now there are some people who might say to this news something like the following: “Um, Erik, it says right here in this almanac that it's actually not that uncommon for Vegas to receive occasional rainfall this time of year”

To these people I say two things:

1. “Oh yeah?!”

and

2. What about the rainbow I saw? Huh? And not just one of those partial, hazy rainbows, either, but a bona fide, gen-u-wine, horizon to horizon spanning arc—rising triumphantly over one of the driest, dustiest, most adulterated spots in this big, much abused, but still often heart-breakingly beautiful land of ours.

The Red Sox winning. A big honkin arc of pure sweet nature stretching over the parched sands of Vegas. This is some seriously historical stuff goin down, man.

But--I promise you--as historic as both of these events are--their historic significance pales in comparison to the presidential election that's heading down the tracks like a PROVERBIAL FREIGHT TRAIN. Only 12 days away now. Or maybe it's 5 days. I'm not exactly sure. These are details, man--TACTICAL matters. As most of you know, YMIV is not really a detail man--he's an IDEA man. A STRATEGIC man. A man focused on THE BIG PICTURE. And the BIG PICTURE today is this: Underdogs can win and rainbows can rise above the squalid glitz of Las Vegas and ‘87 corollas can make it all the way across the desert and we can win back the White House in two weeks. But only if we all get off our bizzle and get into the gamizzle.

In the immortal--or at least unforgettable--words of Steve Perry--a man who himself overcame serious odds to become one of the legends of 80s pop (albeit, one of the largest-nosed, least-attractive legends of 80s pop):

Don't stop believin'
Hold on to the feelin'
Streetlight people
Oh oh oh ooohhhhhhhh

Hmm. Not sure this is really the rousing finish I was going for. That 'streetlight people' thing doesn't really make a helluva lotta sense. And to tell you the truth, I never really liked that song that much anyway. The best part is the whole “Just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit...” and “Just a small town girl, livin in a lonely world” thing and that little arpeggio thing that comes right after, and all that is over in like the first 30 seconds of the song.

OK, so I gotta work on those endings. But if there’s one thing our big, beautiful, occasionally flawed country is about, it’s a tireless—and at our best, downright inspiring—quest for improvement--for doing stuff better than it used to be done--for leaving stuff in better shape than we found it--for treating people better than they'd be treated elsewhere.

Which, come to think of it, may be the very best reason of all to bring in a new administration on November 2. George & Co. are many things, but ‘representative of the very best of America’ sure don’t seem to me like one of them.

Anyway, like I was saying, I’ll work on those endings.

In the meantime, I am,

Your uncharacteristically--and increasingly irritatingly--earnest Man in Vegas,

Erik

Posted by Pedraum at 05:15 PM | | TrackBack