Archive for the The Soundtrack Of My Life Category

A New Way to Listen

Posted in Everday Living, Misspent Youth, Reviews and Previews, Stuff And Nonsense, The Soundtrack Of My Life with tags , , , , , , , , , on 12/12/2009 by gwenguin1

I know Christmas hasn’t arrived yet, but my Mum has given me one of my gifts early, actually my brother and I both got the same gift, and we got it early.  Anyone who has read my babbles for any time knows that my family are audio-and-videophiles, Matt and I have walls in our room that are pretty much filled by our stereo and television systems, which are hooked together via our DVD players.

The gift we both got was a new turntable for enjoying our vintage and new vinyl, this one however connects to a pc as well as to a component stereo system; I can hardly wait to do that- be connected to both!  

We got our hands on the Ion TTUSB10 from Costco.  This is the second time we have found a technical toy at Costco about two years before it is advertised to the general market.

I first checked the sound reproduction through my pc, and that is surprisingly good, and full of the depth and breadth usually reserved for CD players or turntables connected to stereos.  Granted my pc has a pair of Altec Lansing speakers for pc with a subwoofer connected to it. 

The Ion turntable’s performance and sound quality is close to the same as my other turntable, a Technics SL-Q200 that has been my workhorse from the early 80’s through today.

I have been favourably impressed by my new turntable’s ease of use and installation.  Less than an hour from the time I opened the box, I had it connected to my system and ready to go.  Unfortunately the hour had already grown too late to play with settings, so the next day I went at it again, with a refreshed mind, and changed the necessary settings. 

I then took the time to register the turntable and software, which includes I-Tunes. And found that the only way you will get left and right sides when you record is to register the software.  So… fully registered, and working in stereo I spun my first platter.

What did it sound like?  Matt popped his head in my room and went to Mum to tell her, “It sounds like a stereo Ma!!  Yeah, that’s from Gwen’s computer!!”.  I was sitting there with shivers on my arms because the sound wasn’t at all expected.

I had heard that the pc turntables offered near-Mp3 sound quality.   The sound quality I got was closer to DBx sound reduction to a metal cassette. The I-Tunes software converted all of my music to their format, and that improved the sound quality of all previously recorded music whether in Mp3 or WAV format.

Now, I’ve already talked about vinyl being back into vogue, and the difference in sound, so we don’t need to cover that ground again.  What I do want to talk about is where I get some of my best vinyl from, there is a series of stores across the Valley and beyond that sell quality new and used vinyl, CDs and DVD’s as well as some of the neatest extra goodies you’d want to find.

That is Zia  Records, with locations in Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas.  The Zia we visit regularly is at Dobson Rd. and Chandler Blvd..  Of all of the record stores we frequent, this store and location boasts the friendliest staff, the widest selection, and great offers.  They also have an E-Zine that I subscribe to.

They have in stock, replicas of the Leg Lamp from “A Christmas Story”, posters, books on music, and exotic incenses to match your every mood, and gifts for music lovers of all ages.  I think they are the only place that one can find Beeman’s Gum (remember that one kiddie-ohs?).

So, if you’re in the Valley of the Sun, and you are looking for some awesome vinyl, or CDs hit your nearest Zia records to find what you’re looking for and more.


Gotta Have Music!

Posted in Everday Living, Misspent Youth, Reviews and Previews, Soul Food Cafe Fun, Stuff And Nonsense, The Soundtrack Of My Life with tags , , , , on 08/10/2009 by gwenguin1

We can’t have Halloween without appropriate music, and, thanks to a special friend, we have a nice selection of spooky MIDI sequences to choose from.

Adams Family-


Night On Bald Mountain-




Black Sabbath-



Diary of a Madman-












Graveyard Symphony-






Haunted Mansion 1-7-


Monster Mash-






Scissor Hands-




Tales from the Crypt-


Twiglight Zone-





I’ve been Inspired Again

Posted in Blogging Memes, Everday Living, My Inspirations, Soul Food Cafe Fun, SS Vulcania, The Soundtrack Of My Life with tags , , , , , on 10/04/2009 by gwenguin1

My friend Shiloh,, you remember Shiloh?  Finds some cool writing memes, and this one is no exception.  I had myself a challenging good time writing my response to this meme.


Pick a band/artist:

I chose-Harry Chapin

“All My Life’s A Circle”

Are you male or female? The moon rolls through the nighttime.

Describe yourself: All my life’s a circle.

How do you feel about yourself?   Seems like I’ve been here before.

Describe your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend:  Just like a children’s game.

Describe your current boy/girl situation: And as I see you here again.

Describe your current location: Sunrise and Sundown

Describe where you want to be: And so far, no dead ends.

Your best friend is:  I’ve found you a thousand times.

Your favorite color is: The seasons’ spinning round again

You know that: Our love is like a circle.

What’s the weather like? Till the daybreak comes around.

If your life was a television show what would it be called?  Let’s go round one more time.

What is life to you?   No straight lines make up my life.

What is the best advice you have to give?  Let’s go ‘round one more time.

If you could change your name what would you change it to? Circle (Circe)

*smirking to myself*


Welcome Back Vinyl!!

Posted in Everday Living, Family History, Stuff And Nonsense, The Soundtrack Of My Life, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on 01/02/2009 by gwenguin1

Once upon a time all that was available for listening to music was records  and the radio. 

When they came along, 8- tracks were good, but their construction had inherent problems.  Like, clicking from one portion of the tape to the next in mid-song because of time limitations.

Reel-to-reel came along, and that could play the whole piece in one fell swoop.  Unfortunately, reel-to-reels needed special, expensive equipment to use, and they had a tendency to lose the magnetic particles carrying the sound  with every playing.

Then came cassette tapes, small, portable, and playable on everything from a portable cassette player to a high-end cassette deck as part of a component stereo system.  They lost magnetic particles at a faster rate than reel-to-reels and they were limited to 1/2 hour per side.

Through all of these vinyl records- LP’s(albums), EP’s(long-playing singles), and 45’s(singles) hung on, they were still more reliable than any of the tape methods, unfortunately, they scratched easily, so they required careful handling.

I got into the habit of buying high-end vinyl-Japanese and European Imports, and Half-Speed Master and Master recordings.  I would play them once on my component system, recording them on to cassettes as I did so.

Then came the day… the world went digital, with Compact Discs, and MP3 players.  So many people thought that that was the end of everything else, so they dumped all of their passè  goodies in favour of CD’s.

I still had my component system, and so I kept my vinyl and cassettes, and still used the cassettes as I slowly replaced them with compact discs.  I was very ‘into’ CD’s, they could be played over and over, were tougher than vinyl, and had an advantage in clarity of sound.

Recently, vinyl has begun making a comeback, and CD’s are not as favourable as they once were.  I have listened and have noticed a marked difference in the feel of vinyl, as opposed to CD.

I have the soundtrack to Walt Disney’s “Fantasia”, on CD, and I recently was gifted with a double-album of a “Fantasia” cover, I sat there listening to “A Night on Bald Mountain” by Moussourgsky and I had gooseflesh running up and down my legs from the subtleties missing on CD.

My brother and I have talked about it at length and we thing/feel/intuit that difference lies in the fact that the LP reproduces exactly what the musician and producer wanted, and the CD reproduces what it ‘percieves’  to be the music.

We have also noticed that when the music was recorded after the advent of digital sound reproduction there is little difference in sound quality, but… when the music was recorded prior to digital it is better on vinyl than CD.  So… we now divide our music into P.D. (pre-digital) and A.D. (after digital) categories.

Three Good’uns!!

Posted in My Inspirations, Reviews and Previews, The Soundtrack Of My Life on 05/03/2008 by gwenguin1

I have seen three good films in the past week, one an old(er) favourite, and the second film is a new favourite.  They will both be added to my growing DVD collection.

The horror film “Dead End” is excellent, one that immediately became a house favourite , which is the event of all three of us agreeing on a film. 

It is quirky, and very well put together; the teamwork between the producer, cast, camera and light crews is brilliantly and subtly blended. 

The makeup, hair, and costumes were wonderful, and every bit as subtle as the rest of the film. The score was so close to being perfect for film that I just might buy the soundtrack.

I am, after close to twenty watchings, still amazed how little special effects the directors used, and how well it worked.

The second film is “The Simian Line”, with an impressive lineup; Lynn Redgrave (her talent and beauty are timeless), Harry Connick, Jr. (CopyCat), Cindy Crawford (she is a talented actress as well as having lasting beauty), Tyne Daly (I think she is very underrated), William Hurt (if he is in a film I will watch because he’s in it), Monica Keena, Samantha Mathis,  and Jamey Sheridan (Randall Flagg in The Stand).  This ensemble is like the team that always wins, you can’t go wrong.  The story is well-written, the characters are believable and 4-dimensional, the lack of CGAs or special effects is refreshing.

The makeup, film-making, and editing are well and deftly done.  You cannot help but be drawn into the story and watch until the final credits are rolling.

This is a movie to watch with your sweetheart, and snuggle closer as the story unfolds, and be drawn into the world of The Simian Line.

The third film is a sleeper, it got lost in the shuffle when it came out, and shouldn’t have been.  If you get the chance to rent “The Man from Earth” please do so.

With one set, one costume, and some limited outdoor shots, this film relies on the story and interaction between the characters to keep you interested, and succeeds with ease.

I enjoyed watching the relationships between the characters, and the characters themselves grow and change through the film, and felt sympathetic for each one in turn.

I can’t tell you too much about the story without spoiling it.  Alll I can say is that one of the characters is an immortal, not through magic, but via a freak of genetics.

So, there you are, my online friends and family, three films for you to check out.

I would recommend either movie for friends and family, they don’t rely on nudity, foul language, sexuality, or violence to keep you interested; just good, old-fashioned filmmaking.

Wednesday Plans

Posted in Misspent Youth, Reviews and Previews, Stuff And Nonsense, The Soundtrack Of My Life on 21/01/2008 by gwenguin1

Krak Smokin’ Grannies

This last Wednesday, my sister-witch Melanie and I went out together.  We went to a pub where friends of hers were doing Acoustic Night.

The band’s name is ‘Krak Smokin’ Grannies’; don’t let the name put you off.  They did a delightful range of music, pop, folk, country, and soft rock.

The band’s guitarist, Kerry Jackson, is the consummate professional.  Even when his band-mates took breaks he kept on playing and singing in his clear, expressive voice.

The bass guitarist, Jim Van Streader, plays smooth, confident riffs as well as harmonising well with the guitarist and lead vocalist.

The vocalist, Rich Charlton, has a lovely voice, and harmonises well with his mates.  He has a pure, smooth tenor, and uses it well.

I would like to hear their ‘plugged in’ music, for the drummer, Gary Bruzzese isn’t there on Wednesdays.

The music was loud enough to fill the venue, but not loud to the point of annoyance or headaches.

All in all, I want to hear them perform again, and am looking forward to next Wednesday’s Acoustic set.  If any of you are in the area, I would recommend stopping by the Red Owl in Tempe, Az. and listen to some good local musicians do their thing.

Rudy the Skid Row Reindeer

Posted in Critter Tails, Misspent Youth, Stuff And Nonsense, The Soundtrack Of My Life on 20/12/2007 by gwenguin1

My family are all a tad… offbeat, to put it kindly.  My Aunt is the most musical one of us, and she seems to have started our ‘game’ of rewriting song lyrics.

This year I give you:


Rudy the Skid Row Reindeer

 “Rudy the Skid-Row Reindeer,

Had some very rheumy eyes

And if you ever saw him

You would have to say he’s fried. 

All of the other Hobos

Used to laugh and call him names

They never let poor Rudy

Join in any Hobo Games.

Then one frigid Christmas Eve

Santa came to say,

“Rudy you must be 90-proof

Shall we fly from roof-to-roof?” 

Then all the Hobos loved him

And they shouted out in a wheeze

“Rudy the Skid-Row Reindeer

Boozer, you will never freeze!”