Sharaun and I went to get Lil’ Chino’s first ultrasound last week. Man… what an amazing thing that was. This little baby, barely four months old and two inches long… was kicking and squirming and moving all over. Going in there, I expected so much less… people had set me up to expect seeing a peanut-looking thing with little definition. Turns out that’s about as wrong as wrong can be. This thing had a lot of definition… little arms, little legs, fingers and toes you can actually count, and clearly visible facial features. Looking at the little guy, alive and moving around on the screen (and even more impossibly, alive and moving around somewhere in the depths of Sharaun’s belly), it was hard to believe that something that’s already that real-baby-looking is, in reality, just a two-inch long “tadpole.” We got to hear the heartbeat, and got to take home Lil’ Chino’s first pictures. I was going to post them today, but my scanner is broken…
This weekend was a barnburner for music. Heard some ill tunes while at a party at Ben & Suzy’s place, and downloaded that. The album’s by some group named after an REM song, World Leader Pretend, but there’s this one song on the album that is just outstanding. I’ll try to find a link before I post this. Also at Ben’s party, he decided to kick the new Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! record, and to my surprise, it sounded different than mine. Then I remembered that my copy was seemingly patchwork in song titles and bitrates, and figured it must have been cobbled from various sources – some obviously including EPs of the same songs that were much different than the released album versions. Still, it’s nice to have heard the fetal version of some of the tracks – but the album versions have a nice shiny polish of studio applied, and I like it better. Then, Saturday morning, someone leaked the new Death Cab album. A pretty boast-worthy leak which surprisingly wasn’t accompanied by any release group hubris – which leads me to believe a lowly college-mag reviewer or record store worker ripped and released his/her promo copy for the love of the tunes. Not sure how I feel about it yet, but I’ll let ya know.
I think, had I been born 5 years later, I would’ve been a great MP3 release group insider. For those not familiar with how the whole pre-release MP3 thing works, the general process involves an “insider,” someone who has access to new albums before they are released for sale. This person could work at a radio station, newspaper, or in a record store that has access to promos. The insider gets the album, and sends a copy to the group’s encoders. The encoders follow the release group’s ripping and verifying protocol, ensuring a high-quality rip. The encoders then send the newly ripped MP3s onto the packagers/releasers. The tracks are then “packaged” for release and posted to one of the top-echelon underground FTP distribution sites. Within hours, a secondary group of folks, distributors, go in and download the album and spread it around to file-sharing locales accessible to us folks who aren’t “in.” Speed is key in the entire process, as the bragging rights only come for those who hit the ‘net first with the newest stuff in the best quality. It’s a huge deal, and it’s the machine that keeps me fed.
Anyway, when I was in college, I worked at a mom-‘n’-pop record store, and had daily access to promo releases of big albums. I know, because I used to beg my manager at the time to let me take choice ones home and rip copies to cassette (the pirate’s medium of choice at the time). That’s how I was tired of the Pumpkin’s Mellon-Collie before it ever hit the shelves; why, to this day, my copy of OK Computer is just a white disc with a black and white illustrated paper sleeve. Once I became “assistant manager,” I had unlimited access to whatever promos I wanted – and I used the privilege to be benefit. Transplanting those days five or so years into the future, I can completely see myself participating in the digital pre-release trade. Maybe not hooking up with a release group proper, but at least being an “indie” ripper/releaser for the glory of it. Y’know, the whole “I had it first, but am feeling benevolent… so here, you should hear this” thing.
I like the headline from CNN today, “Typhoon hits China, killing at least 1.” Not that I like typhoons, or them hitting China, or even killing, I just like the statement. Doesn’t the fact that some “killing” happened pretty much guarantee “at least one” was killed? If it were any less than one, you couldn’t really say any “killing” happened at all. I think it was the “at least” part was funny to me, it’s like CNN got some word that folks had died – but no hard numbers. Then, in a macabre desperation to post a body-count, they went with the safe “at least one.” Hey if there’s death, at least one poor dude must be dirt-nappin’… logical to me.