Review – ‘Amplification’ by Dragonfly

Dragonfly is a new band  years in the making, that recently released its first album, Amplification. Industrial-influenced metal with Turkish, Moroccan, and Indian themes, this 14-song album gets in your head and stays. Powerful writing, amazing musicians, heavy riffs, insightful lyrics, and musical themes that take you to several corners of the world combine to make great music.

This band is comprised of serious professional studio and live musicians who formed Dragonfly as an “Internet experiment” under Corey Tamas, singer, guitarist, and songwriter for the band.

Aaron Ferrera (drums) is a composer in addition to his work as a drummer, while Olga Zoubkova (backing vocals) has a successful solo career in Europe. Andrew Tokuda (bass) is better known as Digital Droo, and Anward Khurshid played Sitar on the Life of Pi soundtrack. MJ Cyr (backing vocals) is touring North American in support of her own solo album, Canopy.

Corey Tamas - Dragonfly

Corey Tamas – Dragonfly

Dragonfly bills itself as metal, but I think it would be more fair to call the band hard rock, if that even means anything these days. There is plenty of distortion and the metal influence is clear, but the wonderful Middle Eastern, North African, and Subcontinent influences are just as, if not more, prevalent the the metal influences.

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Something Goes Wrong

In writing, sometimes you just have to get back to basics. I’ve been banging my head against the wall for some time. It turns out that the answer to my problem was pretty simple. In fact, I posted it to my Instagram feed:

Something Goes Wrong

Courtesy of My New Dry Erase Board

Something Goes Wrong! Of course! That’s just what I needed. It seems so obvious now, but the truth is it took my friend and fellow writer Dmitri Del Castillo to help ferret it out. He’s great at that sort of thing.

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Dave Hamilton & Schrödinger’s Amp

Macworld/iWorld 2013 took place last week. In case you’re unfamiliar, this is an annual trade show and conference for users of Apple’s Mac and iOS products. It’s a ton of fun, and one of the highlight of the week is the party thrown by The Mac Observer and Back Beat Media called Cirque du Mac.

This year marked the 10th Cirque du Mac event, earning it the moniker Cirque du Mac X. See what we did there?

Anyway, I really look forward to it. Not only is it the biggest party of the week, it’s not a schmooze event like most trade show parties. People aren’t there to network, they’re there to have a great time. In recent years, we’ve had a trapeze artist doing an aerial silk act. For many years, we’ve had a face painter and henna tattoo artist who dresses up in the most amazingly awesome costumes.

20130204cirquedumacx2

How Cool Is That?
Photo courtesy of Amanda Pearson

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Scatter Shot: 12-12-12, Dobby, Two Rogers, & Instagram

Hey folks, it’s time for another scatter shot post. First up:

The Stones

OK, how did I miss this? When did Dobby sign with The Stones? To refresh your memory, here he is in one of the Potter films:

Dobby

Dobby

And here is is playing guitar with Mick Jagger in the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief.

Dobby Jams

Mick’s on the left, Dobby’s on the right.

It’s great to see that even a house elf can get a leg up in the world.

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I Wrote the Book I Want to Read – What about a Book that Will Sell?

I’ve been working on my first novel, a SciFi book about a PI who gets dragged into something much bigger than he thought. All he wants is to drink his strained-algae coffee, but it turns out he’s going to have to save the world. It’s called The Mason Truman Project, and I’ve blogged about it several times.

I finished the book early last spring, and I’ve been working on refining it off an on since , while I also worked on the second book in the series. I started shopping it out in June, resulting in another raft of fine editing.

I’ve had a fantastic group of beta readers. I’m lucky enough to know lots of very smart folks, and it turns out my mother thinks my book is the bee’s knees. Thanks, Mom!

I’ve also been fortunate to meet some fellow writers, and between the betas and my writer friends, I came to a realization a few weeks ago: I’ve written the book I want to read, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the book I can sell.

SlowThere were two problems, the beginning and the ending. OK, those are two huge problems, but let me explain. The beginning of my book is what I think of as a slow burner. The story unfolds organically in a deliberate way while Mason figures out how to get started on the case that gets him entangled with all this messy end-of-the-world stuff that interrupts his coffee time.

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Work In Progress Blog Hop: The Next Big Thing!

So there’s this thing called a blog hop, sort of an informal ring of unrelated sites posting on a related theme. In this case, the blog hop is for writers and the theme is our work-in-progress, meaning the book we’re writing. I found out about it from Diane Carlisle.

W.I.P. Blog Hop!

As I understand it, the rules are simple:

• Answer the ten questions (see below) about your current W.I.P. (Work In Progress) on your blog.

• Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

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What’s Up with All the Cheating on U.S. Top Gear?

Have you watched Top Gear? There’s two versions—the original is a BBC show featuring three brits as hosts, but the History Channel (of all networks) is broadcasting a U.S. version based on the original with three American hosts. I really enjoy both shows, but there’s something bugging me about the U.S. one, namely: what’s with all the cheating?

Cheating, Next Exit

In case you’re not familiar with the franchise(s), Top Gear is a show about cars. Three men do mostly manly things with, to, and in cars. They race them, they destroy them, and they test them. They praise the good and lament the bad, they marvel at the new technologies and reminisce about the way things used to be.

In the UK version, they frequently look for new and creative ways to destroy caravans (campers to us Yanks), and they test celebrities by having them do laps in a “reasonably priced car” that is far more entertaining than it might sound. Hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are also given brutal or hilarious—sometimes both—challenges by the producers. Endurance tests, or tests with ridiculous limitations, speed tests, that sort of thing.

In the U.S., hosts Tanner Foust, Adam Ferrara, and Rutledge Wood also host celebrities in a segment called “Big Star, Small Car.” It’s a little less entertaining for some reason, but it’s still fun. They also undergo similar adventures in the form of producer challenges, though more of those challenges appear to involve modifying their cars in some way. Whatever, it’s a lot of fun.

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Life Is…Getting Older

I got a notification from GoodReads the other day. It was an update letting me know that one of the authors I had tagged—George R.R. Martin in this case—had new blog posts I might like. Here, let me show you what I saw:

Life Is...Getting Older

Talk about accidental poignancy! Two unrelated blog posts listed in reverse order, and they say, “Life Is…Getting Older.”

Boy, truer words were ne’er spake.

Then last night, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine. During that chat, she asked me if I thought it was true that we undergo major transformations every ten years, or so.

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Civility & Discourse

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since my last post. The biggest thing has been the rollout of a new site design and engine at The Mac Observer. Dave Hamilton, Adam Christianson, and Eddie Machado of outside design firm Themble did an amazing job of bringing The Mac Observer into the present.

We also brought back the TMO Spin, a vehicle for our news guys to add perspective, context, and opinion to our news coverage separate from writing up the straight new itself. In that the thing that most interests me in my day job is the analysis side of things, I am super stoked we did that.

But, it’s kept me very busy. Then there was Apple’s iPhone 5 media event and all of the extra news generated by that. The spec comparison I wrote on Friday alone was a 12 hour task, and that’s not counting after-the-fact corrections and responding to comments.

Hence, the lack of updates.

An actual email I received

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Scatter Shot: Quadrophenia, Stormdancer, GoodReads

I haven’t made a post in a few days, mainly because I didn’t have a lot to specifically say. As I was trying to think of what to write about, I realized I should rip off John Martellaro, my friend and colleague at The Mac Observer.

He does something called Particle Debris, a weekly column where he throws in whatever he came across throughout the week that didn’t warrant a standalone article. I think I’ll call mine…Scatter Shot. That’ll do for now, at least. I can’t promise to do it weekly, but periodically seems doable.

Quadrophenia on Blu-ray by Criterion

I have been waiting for this since I learned what the Criterion Collection was! The company announced it was releasing Quadrophenia last month, and I immediately ordered the Blu-ray version. It shipped a couple of days ago. Man, oh man, but I can NOT wait!

Quadrophenia Frame

Jimmy’s Not Having a Good Day

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