Nick Drake: Forgotten While He Was Here, Remembered for a While

My introduction to Nick Drake was likely the same as for many of his newer fans — a 2000 Volkswagen Cabrio commercial that used probably his most famous track, Pink Moon:


Drake reportedly sold more records from this commercial alone than from the previous 30 years combined. His music was ushered into the mainstream for an entirely new generation of music lovers to appreciate and discover.

Even so, Nick Drake is not for everyone. His autumnal style is often infused with solace, alienation, and extreme self-consciousness. To paraphrase my nephew about listening to Drake: “I like Nick Drake, but I have to be in the right frame of mind to want to listen to him.”

Yet for all its outward gloominess, the magic he created is unmistakable. Drake often tapped into nature to take us away on these wind-swept journeys through his fears and self-doubt; he was himself the personification of aloofness and sociopathy. In fact, there is not a single known video of Drake performing — he just couldn’t deal:

Fame is but a fruit tree / so very unsound

It can never flourish / until its stalk is in the ground

— Fruit Tree, from his debut album Five Leaves Left

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From Atari to Xbox: My Gaming Life

As you may have already read in a prior post, I’ve covered my personal ‘music map’ going back to circa 1983. While I’m not entirely certain exactly which year my dad brought home out first video game console, I’m reasonably sure it was around 1982, which would predate even my earliest music memories. So without further ado, here is my gaming map.

Circa 1982: The Atari 2600

Ah yes, the faux wood styling really stands out

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‘Mad Men’ Season 6 Premiere: All Alone is All We Are

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Let’s take a trip back to the final scene of Mad Men’s fifth season.

As Don walks away from Megan as she is about to begin the acting career that he finally enabled, take a look at his face (picture above). You can’t see it. It’s shrouded in darkness. As Don moves closer and closer to what seems like an interminable abyss, Nancy Sinatra’s rendition of “You Only Live Twice” broodily revs up as Megan’s image continues to shrink into the background. Finally, the scene shifts to a familiar setting: a bustling bar. Don leans into the bar, orders a “neat old-fashioned” and lights a cigarette like he’s done hundreds of times over 5+ seasons. Home at last. No longer faking it like the actor Megan pretends to be. And of course no Don bar scene would be complete without a female prowler, who left us pondering the question, “Are you alone?”

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Can Valve’s Steam Box Put a Dent in Console Gaming?

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I am not a PC gamer.

My cousin, who’s an avid PC gamer, reminded me as much in a passionate email rebuttal to my recent post about the changing battleground of console gaming. His main gripe was that I ‘completely ignored PC gaming’ and its impact on declining console game sales.

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Gadget Addiction: Admission is Always the First Step

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Our minds are becoming bookended by glass.

—Google co-founder Sergey Brin, speaking at TED earlier today

This statement is notable because it’s safe to assume that as an original Googler, Sergey Brin has profited handsomely from people’s addictions to that very same ‘glass’ he speaks of. Google’s Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world with as many as 700 million active Android devices. Sure, part of his motivation for describing the use of smartphones as ‘emasculating’ may have been the fact that he was hocking Google Glass, the company’s newest gadget that places many of the smartphone’s functions right into your field of vision (which is aimed to bring information ‘closer to our senses’) using a connected pair of futuristic glasses that remind me of something future soldiers or cyborgs would wear. (The Verge’s Joshua Topolsky has spent time with the glasses and you can read his fascinating take here.)

With all their speed forward, connected devices have actually taken us a step back in civilization

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Has the Battleground Shifted in the ‘Console Wars?’

It ain’t 2006 anymore…

Let’s face facts, the console wars aren’t what they used to be. Back in 2005 when Microsoft raced to rush out release the Xbox 360 a year ahead of its competitors at Nintendo and Sony, the buzz for the next generation of consoles was truly palpable and the competition would prove to be fierce. A quick Wikipedia search of lifetime console sales puts Wii at just under 100 million, Xbox 360 at 76 million, and PS3 at 70 million (or as high as 77 million according to IDC estimates), ranking 3rd, 4th, and 5th all time, respectively.

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5+ Reasons to Stop Worrying and Embrace iOS Jailbreaking

Before I go into detail, let’s take a quick look at the original definition of jailbreak.

From Dictionary.com:

noun

1. an escape from prison, especially by forcible means.

The “prison” here is Apple’s restrictive “walled garden” operating system (iOS) that allows little to no customization by its users. “Forcible means” is the software that allows users to hack into Apple’s delicately crafted OS. And the “escape” is users having fun in this new freer playground. You get the picture.

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