Natalie Merchant Discovers Tulsa Hospitality

#NatalieMerchantTulsaTacoBueno

Saw a great concert last night- plus a wonderful hometown story that I just had to share:

Natalie Merchant played a unique gig with the Tulsa Symphony orchestra this weekend at the University of Tulsa’s Lorton Performance Center. This is a great venue for this type of performance- wonderful acoustics and literally “not a bad seat in the house.” In fact, we were sitting in the balcony and had a wonderful view!

One of our favorite CDs from the Eighties.

She opened with a familiar 10,000 Maniacs tune, belting it out with that powerful voice that became a signature of the early days of “Alternative Rock.” The evening progressed through her 30-year musical career. Along the way she had high praise for our local orchestra and how fortunate Tulsa is to have such a treasure. After the intermission the orchestra was slimmed down and the music became a bit more intimate. So intimate she actually reprimanded someone in the audience, “Please stop filming me.”

But the best was yet to come. Continue reading Natalie Merchant Discovers Tulsa Hospitality

We’re Big on Roku

A few weeks ago I set up an account on Blip.TV for the Two Wheel Oklahoma TV show. By uploading to one single source my programming can automatically find it’s way to iTunes, Flickr, Vimeo, Facebook and yes- even YouTube. What I did not know at the time was Blip can also distribute my viddy to viewers who own a Roku.

What’s a Roku?
We’re longtime Netflix junkies so I was familiar with the Roku Player. It’s a device that allows you to watch certain Netflix selections on your TV. No waiting for a DVD to arrive in the mail. Over the years they have expanded the choices to include Amazon Video-On-Demand and the Major League Baseball channel.What I did not know at the time was a new feature, introduced in November, allowed people to watch T.W.O. on their television.

Roku Channels
With the introduction of Roku Channels the little box can deliver a wide variety of videos and music from providers like Revision3, Blip.TV and Pandora. These are all free and will soon be reviewed in detail.

Soon after the Roku HD Player I just ordered arrives.

Watch Two Wheel Oklahoma on….

FREE: Local Happenings This Week

Couple of cool things coming up in T-Town this week, and the best part is they’re free! So with no further adieu…

Tuesday, August 25
Tulsa Drillers Baseball
For their Advertiser’s Appreciation Night fans can snag free tickets at any Driller’s sponsor. That’s like- a lot.
www.tulsadrillers.com

Wednesday, August 26
Lights On at El Rancho Grande
In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the “broken window syndrome.” The theory is that just one broken window can eventually ruin a whole neighborhood. But fortunately this can also work in reverse.

Consider the restored Meadow Gold neon sign on 11th Street. It inspired the owners of one of Tulsa’s oldest restaurants to polish up their neon sign. El Rancho Grande has repaired the neon and given the sign a fresh coat of paint. This Wednesday at 7:30 pm they’ll be firing it up and celebrating with half price margaritas and appetizers. Ole!
www.modertulsa.net

Thursday, August 27
Fifth Night Finale
The 27th is also the final installment of Utica Square’s free concert series, Fifth Night. Drop by and slow your pulse with the smooth jazz of Grady Nichols.
www.uticasquare.com

Friday, August 28
Red Dirt Rangers Birthday Party
Hard to believe it’s been twenty years now since I listened to the Red Dirt Rangers at a dive in Stillwater called Willie’s Saloon. And now they have the audacity to book the Cain’s Ballroom?!? Well, hey… at least it’s free.

Seriously, doors open at 7:00 pm for this anniversary celebration for one of Oklahoma’s favorite bands. At one of Oklahoma’s most famous venues! Now where’d I stash those Tuf Nut jeans….
www.cainsballroom.com

Groove Even More with your Sansa

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=placestoride&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B000ETVKHE&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_top&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrSeveral months ago I posted a mini review of my SanDisk MP3 player. Since that time I’ve added a Belkin device that allows me to listen to the Sansa in the car (and simultaneously charge its battery) which is great on road trips.

One of the few complaints I have with the Sansa is adding music to it from my computer. This isn’t so much a problem with the Sansa, it’s actually a Windows thing. The process of “synching” any MP3 player with a Windows computer involves using Windows Media Player. You can avoid it by downloading some other application, but I found a different approach that seems to work better.

Instead of changing the software on my computer, I changed the software on my Sansa.

Rockbox Jukebox SoftwareRockbox is an open source alternative for MP3 players from SanDisk, Archos, Olympus, iRiver, Toshiba, and yes, even iPods. It is a bold attempt to make music players easier to use, more customizable and add versatility.

Rockbox for the Sansa e200 Series

It works quite differently from the firmware supplied from the factory. But managing the songs on my Sansa has never been easier. And after a short learning curve the playlist options available are greatly improved. And you can even download plug-ins that allow you to play games!

Radio Milan on eMusic and iTunes

Just in time for Christmas!

Now you can download Radio Milan music from iTunes, CD Freedom or eMusic. Sign up now with eMusic and you can even download them for free!

Live Insects on the Night Shift TV ShowThis album is a live set recorded on the KTUL television show “Night Shift.” Songs on this set include classics like Forget Your Orders, Sofas in Motion, So Many People, Space-Age Pumps and Vampire 4 U. Download your favorite track or the whole album- such a deal!

These recording were made in 1984 when the band lineup was Tony Dapolito- vocals, Scott Miller- lead guitar, David Burdick- rhythm guitar, Rex Brown- bass and Les Mobley on drums.

And for those of you that still need something tangible to hold in your hand you can still order the Jim Anthology on compact disk. For the latest updates and samples from the analog music vault visit Radio Milan on Facebook.


Download 25 FREE songs at eMusic.com!

Groovin’ with the Sansa MP3 Player

I finally broke down and bought a decent MP3 player. After living with it for 3 weeks I’m happy to report my SanDisk Sansa E260 is a winner.

Sandisk Sansa e260 4GB MP3 PlayerBut the best part? It only cost me $40!

So what’s the catch you ask? It’s a factory refurb. Anyone that reads this blog knows I like to shop the reconditioned aisle (see Olympus E-410 Digital SLR). For these lower prices you get a shorter warranty, and usually have to download your own manual (but most electronics no longer come with paper manuals anyway). Typically these units are new returns that befuddled consumers, or gifts people didn’t want. The factory inspects and makes any necessary repairs, then makes them available through certain retailers, such as Buy.com.

The Sansa e260 4GB Digital Multimedia Device is the flagship product of the SanDisk audio line. SanDisk (get it? like without a disk) is one of the pioneers in flash memory- jump drives, SD media, etc. This player is flash-based so there are no moving parts. The design is nice looking, but more importantly, it works. The controls are simple and easy to use, even if you’re not looking at it. The back is metal with a weird heat-treated look and is supposed to resist scratches.

A new Sansa e260 will set you back about $120. Not a bad deal at all considering what you get- 4 gig of storage, a Micro SD slot in case you ever fill up 4 gig, a nice 1.8″ color display, FM tuner, voice recorder, 20 hour battery and a convenient one-plug-does-it-all USB connection. It supports MP3, WMA and Audible formats for music, plus it will store photos and video if you’re so inclined. So far, I am not. Another nifty feature, although I haven’t tried this yet, is recording from the FM radio. It claims to handle it on-the-fly, so preserving those important NPR interviews for future reference is now possible.
Portable Speakers for Sansa C200 & E200 Series MP3 Players
The Sansa connects to a USB port on your computer with the supplied cable. After turning it on and plugging it into a USB port, it was literally only one click to transfer all of my music from my PC to the e260. The port on the bottom serves as input/output to synch your music library and is also the charging receptacle. The only other connection is the typical 1/8″ stereo jack on top for connecting to analog inputs. If you need to charge the battery when away from your computer there a variety of inexpensive charging options available. Ala the iPod, there are also a variety of accessories available that connect to the bottom of the Sansa, such as speakers, chargers, clock radios, etc.

Conclusion
The Sansa is a great choice, an affordable alternative to the iPod. If you don’t mind the shorter warranty and downloading your manual the refurb option makes a good deal even better. Offering over 60 hours of MP3 storage (more if you opt for Windows WMA format) the e260 will serve most users well for a very long time.
MP3 Players at Buy.com

Set the Wayback for KTOW

Last week I was contacted by Mark Brown from the Tulsa World (no relation) who is working on a story about the golden age of radio in Tulsa. Namely, the zebra-striped era of KTOW.

In the Nineties this minor AM country station was commandeered in the name of alternative music by Tim Barazza and company. Later an FM transmitter came online and the upstart station started showing up on the ratings. Something the established players never imagined would happen. It was this unique time and place that is the subject of the forthcoming newspaper article.

It had been years since I’d thought much about KTOW and the phenomenon it wrought. I was never a DJ, but did have fun with a short-lived show on Sunday nights called Night Light. Bowe and I would read weird crap from the newspaper, run spoof commercials for a variety of fictitious local businesses and take live phone calls from listerners. My favorite memory of that was the night we played Battleship over the air. It was amazing how many people called that had never played Battleship! Not surprisingly we won.

I was able to provide Mark contact info for a few of the personalities associated with KTOW. Some were personal friends- like Robert Bowe (Robb on the Radio), Chris Hale (Caesar Vitalis), Tony Dapolito (Sabu), Carole Thompson (Carol Dane) and Tony Mills (Tony Too). Others were acquaintances that I didn’t really know all that well- Sanchez, Linda Berg (Taylor Chance), Joe Stone, etc. There were others I may not remember… sorry!

In case you have a KTOW story to share, or know how to contact some of the other DJs, you can reach roving reporter, Mark Brown at the Tulsa World or [email protected]

****UPDATE****
Hah!

Like magic is this Internet thing- no sooner do I mention a long-ago radio station then suddenly it appears on My Space! Join me in befriending this blast from the alternative music past… KTOW 102.3

This Recorder IS Handy: Zoom H2

Handy Recorder might be a silly name, but the Zoom H2 digital audio recorder is anything but silly.

I was looking for a way to record audio on the go, mostly with video in mind. The most common options are wireless microphones. But a really good one is expensive. And since we would be using it around machinery (ie; spark plugs) I worried about interference with the radio signal.


Then one afternoon I picked up a copy of Event DV magazine and saw an article about the Zoom H2. The specs rolled off like a wish list: built-in mic, external line or mic input, USB interface, no tape, no moving parts, weighs like… nothing. It even has a guitar tuner! What’s not to like?

We ordered one up. When it arrived I put a new battery in my trusty clip-on mic from Radio Shack and we were ready to go.
Synch
To record audio on the Zoom while recording video on our camcorder requires us to synchronize the two for our final product. This is really pretty easy to do with computer video editing software. It’s a similar process to synching a two-camera shoot.

To simplify this feat we use a $2 clicker from the local pet store (you’ve seen them before- like they use to train Border Collies). The click makes a huge spike that’s easily visible on the two audio tracks. Move them so the spikes match up and your sound is synchronized. Once we’re rich and famous maybe we’ll get one of those cool clapboards like the Big Boys use!
The sound is great, it can store days of audio and uses AA batteries. For under two hundred bucks we’ve got a fully portable audio system that can be used standalone or with a clip-on lapel mic. So far it’s worked out great for our nascent video productions, and we’re coming up with new uses almost every day.

I’m planning to use one at work to record conferences. Last week a buddy told me he attended a concert at the Cain’s Ballroom. A guy down in front was holding a Zoom recorder over his head to catch all the action.

This darn thing really is pretty handy.


Retro New Wave Java

Insects Coffee MugMmmmm…. smell that coffee now!

The other day I was reviewing all the wonderful products available in the Official Insect’s Department Store. There was a noticeable void in the housewares department. Shame on me!

To rectify this temporary oversight I crafted these lovely dishwasher-safe coffee mugs with an antique photo of the bugsters playfully leaping in the air.

Woo hoo!

Look how Les’ leg is sticking out of the picture. Wow! How’d they do that?