Friday, September 28, 2007

Straight (Road) Trippin'

I've gone and done it. I'm making the move to ATL. So I crammed all my stuff into a U-Haul, and headed out for the Souf. I've made a few observations along the way. America has a vast array of amazing landscapes. Well, let me rephrase that. Most of everything east of the Rockies, and west of the Mississippi River is remarkably unremarkable. I'm gonna start a petition to get Oklahoma's motto renamed to "We're America's literal taint (taint quite the West Coast, and it taint the East either)." I did, however, eat at the Roadside BBQ tonight, just outside of Memphis, Tennessee. That one plate of pulled pork redeemed America's Taint. I mean, everyone needs a little taint now and again. Earlier today, I was told by a gas clerk in Butthole, Arkansas (who was working towards earning a degree as a pharmacist*) that I would get shot if I moved to Atlanta. This man with the nude woman tattooed on his left arm said this with an uncomfortable level of positivity.

All crap-talkery aside, I've learned a lot about America in just a few short days. Despite how toothless, and assumingly uneducated people are in their various walks of life, everyone has a point of view. And I learned that even amazingly good things can come from the that place where the sun don't shine.

Tomorrow, I'll dine at a Waffle House, and make my final approach to ATL. I plan on throwing my fair share of 'bows while I'm in the 404.

*stifling laughter

Friday, September 14, 2007

What gives music UNIVERSAL appeal?

Think about your favorite album. Can you remember the first time you heard it? How did you feel? I remember the first time I heard one of my favorite albums. It was ATLiens by Outkast. I bought the record from Tom Tom Music (Now a Curves Fitness) in Sandy, Utah. That was in 1996. This was also the first CD I purchased with a parental advisory label smacked on it (back in the day they were stickers you could peel off, so Mom wouldn't get pissed at you for owning a record that "cussed"). I promptly took the CD over to my homie, Kristjan Morgan's. At the time, Kristjan had the best AIWA 3 disk system for listening to rap. We put the CD in and listened to history. To me, it sounded like an album from the future. I'd never heard beats or lyrics like that. Almost 12 years and three copies of the CD later, I still have ATLiens playing- I listened to it today in my car. I still have the same reaction to that CD as I did on first listen. That, my blogospheric comrades, is a record with Universal appeal.

I suppose I'm getting into this due to a recent dust-up with a few good buddies on a road trip back from Colorado. We nearly got into a shoving match over what makes a band great. I couldn't quite articulate what makes a band universally appealing in the heat of the argument, but I think I'm nailing it down.

Without venturing into a variation of You might be a redneck if..., I'll name some characteristics of timeless album.

If you can't tell when an album was made (80s was fraught with overuse of synth, seventies had that overuse of the octave disco bass riff, early 90s grunge, and so on and so on)it's on the route to Universal appeal. Of course, some of the best albums (SGT. Peppers) are great due to the particular en vogue style.

If as many people in New York or L.A. know about the album as they do in Adelaide Australia, the record has global appeal. (case in point, 50 cent's music can be heard bumpin' by any number of Aboriginal folks in AUS)

If you can name a tune from simply listening to a two-second snippet, the song has potential for Universal Appeal (Arcade Fire's Neon Bible).

Music Means different things to different people. For me, I like music that arouses an emotional impact. Depending on the mood I'm in, I'll bust out some music that reflects my moods. I'd dare say that's about par for the course for most people too.

I love checking out albums of potentially epic proportions. For now, marinade on one of the greatest of all time.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Breaking out of the comfort zone

What happens when you reach a pivotal moment when you have to choose between staying cozy in your little rut, or really setting out to pave a course for a new phase of your life?

Well turns out, that's what I'm facing right now. Tomorrow I'm boarding a plane for Atlanta Georgia to check out a tremendous graduate level art school called the Portfolio Center. More than likely, I'll come out of this program with some really rad credentials and a portfolio that'll help land me a job in advertising anywhere in the country- maybe even the world. This sounds really dope, right? Truth is, I'm scared to death to go to this school. Long term, this path would provide me with a really lucrative career in advertising as a writer, or an art director. So what's holding me back? I love living where I'm at. I'm digging my hometown and I don't like drastic change. Moving from Salt Lake City to Hotlanta is a huge step for me. A step that will provide me with tremendous opportunities to enter a vocation that I love. But that means another two years of living on a college student's budget.

I'll throw in another variable to make things a little tougher. I could possibly have a great job at an good company. If I were to land said job, I could probably buy a nice condo and furnish it with all the latest IKEA furniture. I'd work away, BBQ on the weekends and amass some great toys...but would this be the long term best route for me? Perhaps not. Maybe I'll just end up hating life in my cubicle- eventually my life will become the personification of a Dilbert cartoon or an episode of the Office. I found a quote by Mark Twain (and I normally can't stand quotes like this) that says

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

It all comes down to whether I can man up and make the move to Atlanta. I know that this is probably the right thing to do, and I know I'll experience some fantastic growth as I venture out on my own. I once told a good friend not to settle in life. Get a job you love. Success will follow. Do I have the balls to take my own advice?

Time will tell what happens. Meanwhile I'm hedging my bets by continuing to interview for jobs in my safe harbor. I'm kind of a wuss.