“Where’d all This Snow Come From?! and Other Comments

For those of you who don’t know, I live in Toronto, Ontario. And the last couple days has been beautiful spring-like weather.

Now you might be thinking, ‘oh brother, here we go – a Torontonian complaining about how much snowfall there was.’ but I swear, that’s not what this is about. This is about feeling hoodwinked. Like I said, it’s been beautiful the last couple days. Highs of 6 Celsius, and some light rain here or there to wash away the ice. Then last night, there was some more rain. That’s fine, because like I said it helps wash away the gross grey ice on the sidewalks. But then, while I was out with friends it turned to snow! Come on! I’m not complaining about the amount (once there’s snow on the ground, you might as well have enough to make a fort with), but it was warm 12 hours ago! And now there’s snow! I just needed to share that, because I’m having a bit of a hard time getting over it. Then again, it is kinda pretty…

On another note, this morning I had a very gradual awakening. Have you ever been having a dream that lasts until waking up, and you wake up is so slow that the dream doesn’t just disappear from your thoughts, but you slowly compare it to reality and realize how ludicrous it is? That happened to me not thirty minutes ago.

The dream harkens back to last week’s post where I expressed my longing for the continuation of the hockey season – yes, this dream was about hockey. I think a confluence of factors contributed to this dream’s making.

 

  1. A buddy of mine that I’ve been playing shinny with a lot called me a couple times last week to play, but I thought the outdoor rinks had all closed, so I had made plans for the whole week sans hockey.
  2. I realized after looking into a beginners summer hockey league that I won’t be able to play, because of my work schedule.
  3. I was watching the Leafs host the Blackhawks last night in between dinner conversation.

 

All of these things, I think, came together to create this hockey dream. The gist of the dream was being in a change room, lacing up for a game. Not just any game though – an NHL game. A pretty big deal considering that I had only been playing for four or five months. I’m not sure what happened before that, but this is about the point I started to wake up and compare my dream to reality, so maybe that’s why I remember it so well.

So as I started to surface into wakefulness, it occurred to me how irresponsible it was of an NHL team to put me on their roster.

But don’t worry, it was just for an opening game. “Oh! Well that makes sense.”

Ok… but I’m not that good, not even that that good. Can the Leafs really afford to have me and my upstart buddy (yes some faceless beginner shinny buddy was there too)  ruin their first game of the season? (Insert Leafs joke here).

No worries, I realized, this isn’t for the leafs, it’s the Marlies. “Oh! Well that makes sense.”

But wait, I’ve never even played an organized game, I won’t know when to get off the ice! Yes, I was actually worried about not knowing when to rotate off the ice. Out of all the inadequacies I would bring to the table, this was my most pressing concern.

And at that point I realized that my dream was just that. Sigh. I don’t need to play in the NHL, but I would at least like to keep playing into the summer!

This is just like that time when I was a kid, and had dreamed about having a hoverboard (hovering skateboard) like Marty gets his hands on in Back to the Future II. In my dream I even hid it under the couch in my parent’s room. I anxiously awoke, knowing that it would be there for me, and raced into their room… I looked everywhere for that damned hoverboard.

Biggest disappointment ever.

On a higher note, if you’ve made it this far, I have a recommendation for you. Check out CBC Radio 3’s website. I’m a big fan of CBC radio, and CBC radio 3 is pretty sweet. They do a top 30 every week of Canadian artists, and they always find some super cool ones. Their website has a collection of recording sessions of artists that have come in to play live on the show. It’s kinda like Grooveshark, which I mentioned in a previous post. There’s no uploading to complete your library or anything, but they have a huge selection of artists, and you can create your own playlists and share them on your social network of choice.

That’s my post for this week, and I’m sticking to it.

P.S. Finding the time to write in my blog now that I have a full time job is tough!

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Better than iTunes?

Music Notes

posted July 27, 2008 on http://blogs.voices.com/buzz

I’ve been itching to write this post for weeks now. When I discovered these musical services I was dumbstruck with their awesomeness. Now granted, none of them are perfect, but check them out, and then think back to the mid to late 90’s. Remember Napster? We’ve come a long way.

For the music-streaming beginner, Grooveshark will feel the most familiar assuming you are familiar with Windows Media Player or iTunes. Grooveshark is essentially a database of music from tons of different artists, and interface is very familiar to the desktop music player crowd. You go to the site, look up an artist, song or album, and you can stream it from wherever you are. You can build a library, pick favourites, and make playlists. I remember first encountering Grooveshark a few years ago and not being very impressed with its music selection, but now it seems you can find nearly anything you could want. But say there are some choice albums in your digital collection that you can’t find on Grooveshark, what to do? Give back to the Grooveshark community! You can cross-check your computer’s music library with Groovesharks, and any songs it doesn’t already have, you can allow it to upload from you. Now keep in mind, you cannot download any songs from Grooveshark (which might have something to do with why it seems to be less copyright infringe-tastic than our old friend, Napster). Grooveshark is all about live streaming. No matter where you are, or who’s computer you’re using, as long as you’re connected to the net, you can click over to it and listen to your favourite tunes.

One downside I’ve encountered though has to do with album completeness. If you’re a stickler for wanting whole albums, you might be a bit disappointed. Probably due to the different ways people will label their music files, there is plenty of duplication and even some missing songs from some albums. And in some cases, completely mislabeled albums so that you think you’re playing one, and you get another. It ain’t perfect, but still, it’s pretty shiny.

Then there’s Blip.fm, the way cooler, funky, social-butterfly cousin of online music. With Blip.fm you are an online DJ (in the very loosest sense of the word you can think of). Basically you search a song, choose one of the many options that Blip.fm pulls from around the net (some come with video, courtesy of youtube) and then you blip it. Blipping a song is like tweeting, except that the string of continuous blips that’s created by all of these ‘DJs’ make a constantly updating playlist. So you blip your song, it plays, and then when its done, Blip.fm takes you to the next blip. Now instead of listening to just anybody, you can find people that blip artists and songs you like, add them to your favourites, and just listen to the DJs you like. Or you could make a filter with the tuner so that Blip.fm will only play songs that meet certain criteria. You can also show your appreciation for your fellow DJs by giving them props, the blip equivalent of liking a post on Facebook.

Now you might be thinking that this is kinda neat, but why would you want your music selection to be left up to a bunch of people you don’t know? Well, if you know exactly what you want, you might not prefer the blipping option. Fair enough. But I’ve found blip.fm to be a really great way to rediscover awesome songs I’d forgotten about, and to discover new artists and songs for the first time. Once you find some DJs that blip songs you know and love, check out what else they blip, and they might introduce you to some new music you would never haver heard otherwise. Another neat feature in Blip.fm lets you publish your blips (which can also include a short twitter-style message, by the way) to other social networks, like Facebook and Twitter. So even your non-blipping friends can benefit from your musical promiscuity.

Lastly is the aptly named Last.fm. Last.fm can connect to your iTunes and Blip.fm for free (and your Grooveshark account too if you’re a Grooveshark subscriber) and track what you’re listening to. It uses this information to create customized ‘radio stations’ where you can listen to your favourite music. However this feature is only free for the first few songs, and after the trial period you need to subscribe. But don’t worry, even if you don’t subscribe there’s another (free) reason to keep using Last.fm anyway. Last.fm is really good at making recommendations on new artists to check out. And on top of that, it can keep you on top of the gigs being put on by your favourite artists – a very worthwhile feature I think.

Anyway, check all this out and enjoy some easy online listening. And if you try out Blip.fm, my username is nibudd. Props are always welcome.

 

Oh, and I almost forgot. A way-too-smal shoutout to JB, and his suggestion of Spotify. It’s like the European version of Grooveshark, but apparently way better. Unfortunately for us North Americans though, it hasn’t hopped the pond yet. Apparently it still has some copyright issues to work out or something. But if you ever spend some time in the Old World, be sure to check it out. It’s pretty bangin’.

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