Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Life without a phone or a computer

I'm not having a good week technologically. Both my computer and my phone decided to not work this week, so outside of my time in the office, I've been largely disconnected the last several days.

I'm sure I'll get both fixed/replaced soon enough, but it's been refreshing/interesting/horrifying to be disconnected. I found myself sitting with friends the other night and reaching to pull out my absent iPhone. I've taken a step back from our group evolution toward pseudo-cyborgs.

I've also found more time to read actual print material rather than clicking around Web sites, caught up on my Tivo, and used a payphone for the first time in years.

Time to go. I'm off to go get my phone repaired so I can end the technological equivalent of caffeine headaches.

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Prince writes Minnesota Vikings tribute song

I don't know if the Minnesota Vikings are going to the Super Bowl, but I do know they officially have the coolest tribute song. Prince, inspired by the Vikings' victory over the Dallas Cowboys, wrote the song "Purple and Gold" in their honor.

It's a great song, with a bit of a regal quality to it, as well as a marching band feel that fits well for a sports song. I'm not a huge sports fan, but the Vikings are one team that I have a bit of an attachment to, as I went to college in Minnesota and used to sell concessions at the Metrodome to raise money for a club at my college.

I went to one of Prince's three shows he played in one night to promote his last album, and it's great to see the joy and excitement he still brings to his music several decades in. It was the best electric guitar I've ever heard live, and he also still knows how to put on a show.

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A stormy night in

I'm currently figuring out what I'm going to do this evening. I just received successive e-mails informing me that a) my gospel choir rehearsal is canceled due to the weather and b) my hiking group, which I normally go to when I don't go to choir, is canceled due to the weather.

I'm thinking that I have no earthly desire to go hiking in this weather (as I feel the water soaking through my socks from braving the elements to get lunch), so that's probably for the best. Backup plan: Enjoy singing vicariously (and singing along poorly at home) with American Idol.

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Tornado warnings

As we deal with weather reminiscent of 2012 and the Day After Tomorrow, including a tornado warning in Southern California, it reminded me of my time going to college in the upper Midwest at Saint Olaf College. I remember one tornado that came close to the school while I was there, and we were all sent to huddle in a reinforced hallway. We sang songs and made the most of it, but I didn't care for coming that close to Oz.

I loved my time in the Midwest, but worried at the time about dealing with such cold winters. Of course, I ended up moving to the home of different natural disasters with fires, earthquakes, mudslides and more.

Best of luck to everyone dealing with the intense weather. I'm off to go do more reporting on it; stay strong, everyone.






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Remembering Martin Luther King in music

I had the chance to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. last night musically with the gospel choir I sing with, Hollywood Mass Choir, at our annual Martin Luther King tribute concert.

It reminded me of singing with my Seattle high school jazz choir at our annual Martin Luther King Day assemblies. Before I joined the choir, they used to perform "Shed A Little Light" by James Taylor every year.

Our school choirs would later start performing "MLK" by U2. It was fun to see the band play a snippet of this at their Rose Bowl concert at the end of October, which surprised me, since it was never a big hit.

Still, my personal favorite song about King is "Pride (In the Name of Love)," also by U2.

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