Finally, lala.com

In my never-ending quest (though it's slowed nearly to a halt in recent months) for cool new sites and ideas, I came across one a while ago that offered me the chance to upload my music catalog to a website, and then stream my music from my mobile device. Awesome! Except, I didn't (and still don't or I'd be all over qik) have an unlimited data plan on my phone. And that site, whose name is readily available in my caffeine-starved mind and is not worth tracking down because I have to be at work in 10 minutes, did not allow streaming through my browser. Thanks a lot, website-whose-name-I-can't-remember.

Now, I just read about a beta offering by lala.com, and thus discovered, lala.com. This is what I want. I can upload all my mp3's, or at least I didn't come across any limitations in the sign up process, and then stream them from any web-enabled machine. I'm very excited about this. I was gonna start uplaoding right now, but it turns out Jen (my wife, who's Macbook Pro has now become the family machine since my Acer finally gave me the finger and died) has all her music encoded as AAC files, so I've got some converting to do.

Anyway, if that sounds good to you, go to lala.com. If it doesn't, why the hell not?

Oh, and as for their beta offering, nextlala.com offers users the chance to buy the rights to stream a song for life, for a dime. This means that from any web-enabled machine, you can log into lala and stream your catalog. There is no download included in this scheme, which seems a bit weird, but once internet access and connected mobile devices become ubiquitous, there'll be no reason to burn a cd or even load a song to your portable music device. Sounds like it'll be awesome in 5 years.


Adventures in $0 Marketing

I've been working for Valet Closet and Garage Organizers since January. Recently, I've been talking to Myron, the owner, about their web presence as well as their marketing strategy. So far, I've revamped their website, but it really needs a redesign and a new hosting setup. The current hosting is through their service provider and includes a stock site with a weak cms and a max of 6 pages. Hopefully, before I leave there in July we will have nearly launched a new site.

We've also been talking about their marketing strategy. Thus far, it includes the yellow pages and home shows. We're working on identifying some potential strategic partners and then increasing the network marketing focus of the company. Valet manufactures everything to custom specs, so they c an pretty much build anything a customer can think of. Now we just need to partner with some networks that already exist, to get the word out about what Valet can do. Some of those ideas include home theater companies (entertainment centers) and clothing companies (custom closets).


A Real Vacation

Despite Jen being ready to pop anytime, I decided to take the family on a much needed weekend getaway. Thanks to some very generous friends in Sandpoint, we were able to stay in a lovely house, less than a block from the beach. It was wonderful. Unfortunately, we have lost our sun-savvy. We spent a couple hours at the beach, in the beautiful sun, on Saturday. We spent the rest of the weekend trying to avoid the sun. Jen and I both got burned, but she got it really bad. The poor woman had her whole right side toasted to a bright, shimmering red.

Other activities or the weekend included several walks that Ani and I took as Jen's recuperated inside. We cooked some great food. We watched some family movies. We went to the Avila Valley Barn, and had a meal in Pismo. It was a lovely weekend.

Now back to work. Only six weeks to go before we're headed back for the great (wonderful, less-hot-than-hell) northwest. And only about 7 1/2 weeks until we're back in our house. Wow. I'm excited to settle in a bit. Now If I can just find a job...


The Overdubs, on Stage and in Print

Friday evening, last, I played my first show with The Overdubs. Ryan and I have collaborated, as The Overdubs on several songs, and even an album that we never really saw fit to release called "Old Mission of the Sacred Heart."

So Friday, we played a benefit show at Kuppajoe to help raise momeny for a remodel, and it was incredibly fun. We played much better than I expected we would, though it took me three songs or so to start getting comfortable. But by the end, we were pretty tight, all playing the right chords most of the time, and the songs are really developing as we learn to play them, as a band.

We were also in the paper on Friday. The 7 section of the Fresno Bee featured an interview with Ryan. You can find that interview here. I'm not sure how many people saw it, but it feels like a momentum builder. Unfortunately, I'm leaving in 6 weeks, so I won't be around for the momentum built. However, we are playing at the Starline in Fresno on June 10. And I'm plaing in Sandpoint at the Pend d'Oreille Winery on August 1.


Who's Buying This Gas Tax Holiday Bull$&*!?

Here is the information I've found thus far.

Clinton and McCain are proposing a one-month moratorium on gas tax. This would lower the price of gas temporarily to offer some reprieve to working-class families. However, the gas holiday would, over the month, result in an average of $.30 per day. (That's 30 cents) Multiply that by 31 and you end up with somewhere in the vicinity of $9. The quote I heard from Obama suggested that the average family would end up saving about $28 in a month. Either way I'm not impressed.

Would $28 really make a difference? Would I have no problem making rent, utilities, fuel and food costs (not to mention any sort of recreation) if I could only make an extra $28 dollars next month? And what about after the tax is reapplied? Now I've simply gotten used to seeing gas prices lower, and they're just gonna shoot back up again. I'm not an idiot. I'm not gonna forget about the future and past just because gas prices drop suddenly. They're coming back up.

Oh, and bear in mind, that the government does not regulate the price of fuel. So it's completely possible, and maybe plausible, that oil companies would raise prices during the hike to take advantage of the low cost to consumers.

Don't go in for the gas tax holiday. It could be the most deceptive one-month stand of your life.


A Couple Dynamite Links

Here's a great article on a parent teaching independence to her thirteen-year-old. I found it pretty inspiring.

Here's another blog I'm becoming a huge fan of. It's called Rage Against the Man-chine. Here's one of the posts I read recently there. And don't forget to read the comments.

Hope these at least spawn some good conversations.