Monthly Archives: February 2006

Personal Web Pages

Have you gotten your personal web page built on Google yet? Oh you’re so lame, that’s so five minutes ago! And older than that is the notion of Personal Web Page. Nobody builds personal Web pages/sites anymore, it’s not worth the investment. Now people blog. And then they extend blogs. Blogs are evolving to replace that old Personal Web Page notion; aggregating all the various services you use (Flickr,, 43things, whatever…) and letting you make sense of it – empowering you to decide how YOU want the world to see you. This first version of the Google tool has left me completely and utterly underwhelmed. Yeah yeah, I know, it will be awesome as soon as I’m done posting this. Go get yours then.

Best. Shipping. Message. Ever.

My favourite band, Concrete Blonde, has sadly split up once and for all. Despite these incredibly sad news, I was happy to learn that the lead, Johnette Napolitano (also my absolutely favourite singer), will keep working and has just released a new solo album.

As the hardcore fan that I am, I had to get it right away, so I rushed to CD Baby, the main distributor and most horrible music ecommerce site ever. The ordering process was less painful than I expected given the overall site quality.

After receiving the message below, I had to redeem myself. I shop online a lot. Really. A LOT. But with this, I have to elect CD Baby the best customer service of 2006 (ok, to date). Read through:

Subject: Livia – Your CD Baby Order! (#1192544)
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2006 17:32:31 -0800 (PST)
From: CD Baby loves Livia –

Livia –

Thanks for your order with CD Baby!

[Shipping Address]

Qty Description Price
=== =========== =====
1 JOHNETTE NAPOLITANO: sketchbook 2 $12.97

Sub Total $12.97
Shipping $2.25
Grand Total $15.22

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved ‘Bon Voyage!’ to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Tuesday, February 21st.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as ‘Customer of the Year’. We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you once again,

Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
the little CD store with the best new independent music
phone: 1-800-448-6369 email:

My dad, the entertainer

I often come across new music through my friends who send me track lists and mix CDs, but last year I came across Zoe’s Radio, which is absolutely fabulous. Zoe is 15 now and she’s been doing the show in different forms since she was 13 – what great taste in music! Her dad produces the show with her and this totally takes me back in time.

When I was 8 (or younger) until I was, maybe, 12, my dad and I would record tapes together. It was so much fun. It was mostly just talk, but sometimes he’d play some guitar or I’d play some guitar. I loved when he interviewed me and we pretended we were other people. I had totally forgotten about this until I was listening to Zoe’s show today. Sometimes we had accents. Sometimes we invented a new language and spoke in it for a whole afternoon, contributing much to my grandmother’s hysterical laughter.

I remember hacking sound equipment with him at a very early age to improve our production quality. Splitting microphones and taping them to the insides of his old guitar, or connecting a mile of electric chord so we could put the large speakers in the backyard and record in the sun.

Sometimes we’d sing opera off-key for hours. To this day the Barber of Seville is my favourite piece. I have my dad’s original vynil as a souvenir of those times, though now I listen to a 3-CD full version with every recitativo . I still know the words to the dialogues we’d sing together and I just realized that whenever we meet he will say a line from it and I’ll respond. We’ll go about our conversation like nothing happened.

When I moved to the US one of the first things I did was to buy a guitar. And a second shortly after. Before I left Sao Paulo I gave mine to my dad; his original guitar had finally succumbed after decades of enduring a caseless life. I hope he still plays. We play exactly the same way – we never studied guitar and we play by ear – but we play the exact same way because we play the exact same songs. That’s really how I learned, by immitating him.

I just loved watching him play – he was never very good, but he totally put on a show, specially when playing more traditional flamenco style. He could have fooled anyone with the posture and gesture. We’d sometimes play Paco de Lucia on the stereo and he’d pretend he was playing. There was this one song with a long pattern that went on and on for almost 20 minutes that I’d spin to. I’d spin and spin and spin until I was too dizzy to continue. I’d stop and sit down looking groggy and we’d burst into laughter.

I gotta find those tapes next time I go home visit him.