Monthly Archives: April 2008

A Belated “Thank You” to Musictoday

We DanceYou might have seen my mini-rant a couple of weeks ago when the “We Dance” download wasn’t working properly from the musictoday site. It was mostly aggravating because the download for “We Sing” had the same problem and I was hoping all the kinks would have been worked out in time for the second album.

Maybe there were just too many Jason Mraz fans trying to download their bit of happiness all at once, or maybe my computer was pitching a fit, but after waiting a couple of hours and trying again, I was able to download the new songs just fine and pretty much forgot about the trouble until I checked my email the next day and found this lovely note from a Mr. Charles Dart regarding my troubles:

Dear Lisa,

I noticed your entry about the Jason Mraz download on Curbside Prophecies. Please accept my apologies for all the problems surrounding this release. I only hope that you did not succumb to the temptation to download this release from iTunes. You should not pay twice for product that we failed to deliver correctly.

As stated in the first email you received, we did have unexpected technical difficulties with the ‘We Dance’ download. I am pleased that we were able to address these issues in a timely manner.

The error message you received during your second attempt to download ‘We Dance’ may have been a result of not having the latest version of Java installed on your machine. This error also shows when the user’s machine has anti virus and spyware programs installed. It is, however, my belief that the error was Java related.

I am refunding you $4.99 to your credit card ending with XXXX. This is being done with the assumption that you accessed the download from iTunes.

Please see the instructions below for some assistance with accessing your download.

 

Sincerely,
Charles Dart

Isn’t that excellent customer service? I was very impressed, so impressed in fact that I wrote Charlie back to say that the refund wasn’t necessary because I did get what I paid for, fair and square. Most of all it made me think how nice it is to live in the world of Mraz, how many good, kind things can happen to you when you’re in with the right kind of (phrase) crowd.

It also made me wonder how they knew what my credit card number was, just based on my blog, but I try not to think about my total loss of personal privacy too much, so I’ll just smile and be thankful that they tried to give me money back instead of taking more 🙂

Make it mine (if I can get the link to work),
Lisa


Celebrate a Mrazian ANZAC Day

Jason Mraz SunriseI love Australia and New Zealand and I’m pretty sure Jason Mraz does too. So let’s celebrate this important day in ANZAC history with some of my favorite Mraz Down Under moments.

And if you aren’t sure what this ANZAC thing is all about, here you go:

What is ANZAC Day? (Taken from the Australian War Memorial site)
ANZAC Day – 25 April – is probably Australia’s most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as ANZACs, and the pride they soon took in that name endures to this day.

He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich,
Lisa


Jason Mraz and a Plate of Shrimp

There are a few reasons that Tuesday was a much better day than Monday. For starters:

The new Flight of the Conchords CD came out and Amazon had it on my desk by 2:00. Excellent. Unfortunately, the downside is that on Monday I saw that if I had pre-ordered through iTunes I could have gotten the bonus track, “Bret, You’ve Got It Goin On” which is clearly their greatest song of all, and is not on the regular CD. I’ll just have to keep YouTubing it.

It was Earth Day and I got some free Earth Day swag, including reusable shopping bags.

My friend, Laura in Florida, called me at work so that her two-year-old could sing me the Harry Potter Puppet Pals song. First the “Ron, Ron, Ron WEAS-ley!” bit, then “Snape, Snape. Severus Snape.” Apparently there was an adorable dance to go with it as well, but I laughed hardest at the thought of one of her friends asking what she likes to do at home and saying, “My mommy and I do the naked puppet dance.” Yeah. That must go over really well.

Finally, the day ended with what Jon Baron calls a “Plate of Shrimp” experience. I think it’s a “Repo Man” thing. It’s when something bizarre comes up out of nowhere, a phrase or object or name, and then you suddenly come across it a bunch of times. It can’t be something common like football, or Hannah Montana, or Paris. It has to be something uncommon, like a plate of shrimp, or Bananarama, or Canada (Kidding! Love you guys!).

On Tuesday afternoon I wrote about Jason’s “Song For a Friend” because although it didn’t speak exactly to my situation, it’s a good song about friendship and caring about the people around you. A few days before that I wrote about how his new album cover reminds me of Renoir and the painting “Luncheon of the Boating Party”.

Well.

Tuesday evening I was waiting for a friend and had some time to waste so I headed to a book store. I got out of my car and was walking across the parking lot when suddenly the great DJ in the sky started talking to me. Then I realized that I was not, in fact, going crazy. I really was hearing music. And it really was Jason Mraz. And it really was “Song For a Friend”. A car a few spaces away from me had it blasting. Wha?

First of all, I think we can admit it here, very few people know who Jason Mraz is. He’s popular among a certain crowd, but stop ten people on the street and maybe one would know the name. Next, even if you’re going to blast Jason Mraz, “Song For a Friend” isn’t really a blasting song. “Geek in the Pink”, maybe. “Too Much Food”, certainly. But not “Friend”. And finally, the odds of me being in just the right place to hear it, well, they’re phenomenal, I’m sure.

Luncheon of the Boating PartyI walked into the store, pulled some super stealth moves to wait and see who was in the car, but they never got out. They sat a few more minutes and then drove away. I guess once I was smiling, their work was done.

Happy to be me I started to look through the stacks of Buy 2 Get 1 Free books when I spotted one I’d never seen before: Luncheon of the Boating Party, by Susan Vreeland, featuring the Renoir painting as its cover.

Plate of shrimp times two,
Lisa


A Mrazian Blog Post for Some Friends

It’s been a weird couple of weeks. First, I get an email from the mother of a friend I haven’t talked to in ages, letting all his friends know that he had brain surgery, but was doing fine and was even cracking jokes.

Then, within 24 hours I find out that one friend is pregnant, and another one has died of a heart attack. That’s a little too much Circle of Life for me in one day. This is all within a month of another friend’s parent’s death, a co-worker’s biking accident death, and a couple of other pregnancies.

Is this what your 30s is all about? People being born and people dying or coming close to death? If so, I’d like my 20s back, please.

What’s a Mrazonite to do in times like this? A few dozen listens to “Song for a Friend” for one thing.

Song For a Friend
Jason Mraz

Well you’re magic he said
But don’t let it all go to your head
‘Cause I bet if you all had it all figured out
Then you’d never get out of bed

Well no doubt
Of all the things that I’ve read what he wrote me
Is now sounding like the man I was hoping to be
Keep on keeping it real
‘Cause it keeps getting easier he’ll see

He’s the reason that I’m laughing
Even if there’s no one else
Said, you’ve got to love yourself

He said you shouldn’t mumble when you speak
But keep your tongue up in your cheek
And if you stumble onto something
Better remember that it’s humble that you seek

You’ve got all the skill you need
Individuality
You’ve got something
Call it gumption
Call it anything you want
Because when you play the fool now
You’re only fooling everyone else
You’re learning to love yourself

Yes you are
You are
Yes you, you, you

There’s no price to pay
When you give and what you take
That’s why it’s easy to thank you
You, you, you, you, you

Let’s say take a break from our day and get back to the old garage
Becuase life’s too short anyway but at least it’s better than average
As long as you got me and I got you
You know we’ve got a lot to go around
I’ll be your friend
Your other brother
Another love to come and comfort you
And I’ll keep reminding
If it’s the only thing I ever do
I will always love you
You, you, you
You

It’s you I love, it’s you I love, it’s you, it’s you I love
It’s true I love, it’s true I love
It’s true, it’s you I love
It’s you I love, it’s you I love, it’s you, it’s you I love
I love you I do

Oh, it’s you I love

It’s you I love, it’s you I love, it’s you, it’s you I love
It’s true I love, it’s true I love, it’s true, it’s you I love
I’s you I love, it’s you I love, it’s you, it’s you I love

And I love I love I love
And I love I love I love
It’s you I love
It’s true
See my love my love my love
You see my love my love my love
It’s you my love my love my love oh

Climb up over the top
Survey the state of the soul
You’ve got to find out for yourself
Whether or not you’re truly trying
Why not give it a shot?
Shake it, take control
Inevitably wind up
Finding for yourself
All the strengths you have inside still rising

It’s you I love,
Lisa


Mraz and Renoir: Two Great Men in Hats

This drawing of Mraz has been nagging at me, trying to figure out why it looks so familiar. Then it hit me. It’s a sort of stick-figure version of Renoir’s self-portrait.

Renoir  

Well, if Renoir was younger in it. But Jason’s hat is more the style of Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party.

Luncheon of the Boating Party 

That was your art lesson for the week. Now, go forth and finger paint.


“We Dance” Ready to Download! Sort Of…

I had it on my Outlook calendar this morning: Download New Mraz!

But our appointment came and went, and I had no download. The site wasn’t working, no link was available, it was all going about as smoothly as, well, as the first download. I saw that it was available on iTunes, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy something I had already paid for. I decided that Jason’s crack team would get it all sorted as soon as possible.

I came back from an afternoon meeting and saw the email:

We Dance. Digital Download Now Available.

Due to technical difficulties, the download version of Jason Mraz’s We Dance. EP was not available earlier today. All technical difficulties have passed and the download is available. Please visit the Jason Mraz store here (http://jasonmraz.shop.musictoday.com), log in to your account and click “my downloads” to pick up the music you ordered. If you have further difficulty, please contact Customer Service at downloads@musictoday.com or 1-877-MUSIC77.

Thank you for pre-ordering. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

This e-mail was sent by: Musictoday, LLC. 5391 Three Notched Rd, Crozet, VA 22932.

And yet, when I went to download it, I got this:

Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.
Exception Details: System.IndexOutOfRangeException: Index was outside the bounds of the array.
Server Error in ‘/bigriver’ Application.
Index was outside the bounds of the array.

Plus a lot of gobbledygook that I won’t make you look at.

I’ll wait an hour then try again. I hope it all gets worked out in time for next month’s download.

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Update: I was able to download the files about an hour after this. Not sure if that was because something got fixed, or if it was because I gave up on the link I had in the email confirmation and logged in to the site directly, accessing the download from my account/order history. Maybe the fact that I’m spending time wondering about that means I’ve spent too much time with engineers and discussing user experience issues. The point is, download is working. Go and get it.


Review: Mraz at Chicago’s Metro, April 9, 2008

This one is going to get written in bits and pieces as I find a few minutes in my day between meetings and actual work. However, the lights on my floor don’t seem to be working today, and I can hardly be expected to concentrate on my duties while sitting in the dark, can I?

Reuben seems to have good footage of this one. Have a look while I get my notes together.

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4/16/08. I think I’ve about recovered from my day trip to Chicago. I still have the sore throat I got on the plane ride home, possibly from the four-year-old who sat next to me and decided to pet my arm and poke me when he felt like chatting, but otherwise I’m rested and back to normal.

First, let me say that I didn’t go to Chicago *just* for the Mraz show, but I wouldn’t have gone if there hadn’t been a Mraz show. Right after tickets went on sale for this tour, my friend, Steve, sent me an email with the subject: Serendipity.

He was going to be at a conference in Chicago the same week as the show. It had been planned months earlier, and just so happened to happily coincide with Mraz’s cross-country plans. Even better, another friend of ours, Liz, was going to be at the same conference and the two of them were going to see Mraz together. And there you have it. Serendipity.

I wrote back, very happy for them both, and jokingly said that if I had known they were going to be there, I would have planned to pop in for the day. They said that sounded like a good plan. I had an offer of a free hotel room, Liz wrangled me a free plane ticket (!), so all I had to do was get a ticket to the show and take a day off of work. Serendipity was oozing from our ears.

So I’m not going to say much about the show. It was excellent. The Metro is a great venue for short people (unlike the Fillmore) because the floor is done in tiers, keeping the people in front of you low enough to see over. Jason was shiny (in the Firefly way, not a greasy way). He told the story about how he wrote “Butterfly” after deciding that there probably weren’t any strippers performing to his music anywhere in the world, but there should be.

More important, is that I got to spend time with two people I haven’t seen in ages – it was six years ago when Liz and I last got together – and we came from Boston, Ft. Lauderdale, and San Francisco, just because of Jason Mraz. Well, and that conference thingy. But Mraz was the glue that brought us together for the night and gave us something to share.

I have to say a big ‘thank you’ to Cracky, Jason’s merchandise guy. When I saw him in SF he was out of something but said that if I made it to another show, he’d make it up to me. I wasn’t going to bug him in Chicago, but figured it couldn’t hurt to say hi, and he was great. I would expect someone in his position to be a little smarmy, but he seems like one of the kindest, most genuine people you’ve ever come across. (Awwww.)

So, three shows in one week. It was a lot of Mraz to take in, but I’m very thankful that I had the opportunity to do it. It was like having a really good, deep scrubbing of all the things that have been annoying me, making me bitter or grumpy or petty, so that I walked away lighter, simpler, more free. Does that make sense? You can walk into a Mraz show mad at the world, but you have to walk out thankful for everything. That’s just how he rolls 🙂

What a beautiful mess,
Lisa