I’d like to officially welcome you to 2011. Yes, I know it’s already four days into the new year. I’ve finally found a moment to do some writing. I’ve really slacked on writing in this blog lately, I’m sorry. My only reason is that, at least in December, I’ve really been focusing on the new direction my internet radio station is going. I could reach back to October, that’s when I signed up for royalties coverage for my piece of mind. This allowed me to really drive the station in a bigger way. Otherwise, the Holidays and some other family issues have taken my energy and I’ve not been looking for good writing material. This will change!
First, let me give an update on what I mention has taken over my life in a lot of ways, some regrettably, my radio station. I’ll go into the regret part later here. As in my previous post, KXRT was a music station that played a variety of music genres; Country, Rock, Pop, R&B, Alternative and others. I always focused more on Country as it’s my favorite kind of music and it’s what I have most of in my personal library. I also like a lot of music from the 80’s and 90’s too so I played them along with the Country. Doing this was great for folks like me, who like a mixture of music. Research and experience shows that I’m in a vast minority and radio stations can only really do well when they stay with one flavor of music. Yes, there are variety stations that mix different versions of Rock or Pop and maybe throw in some crossover Country that still matches that station’s general flavor of music. But they are still Pop stations or Rock stations, really. To that end, I decided to make to full switch to Country. I also changed the name of the station from KXRT to America’s Country. I still refer to KXRT in some ways but it will be minimal. The main thrust of the music will be all of today’s biggest hits from acts like Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Toby Keith and Reba McEntire. We will also mix in a few big hits from the 90’s like Wade Hayes, Clint Black and Garth Brooks. It should be a great mix and our biggest difference from most traditional FM music stations is we don’t have commercials. The best thing I’ve seen from making this change is that the major record labels from Nashville, New York and Hollywood have all been very supportive of my little operation! I’m getting music now just like radio stations either on CDs in the mail or through online digital downloads. It’s been incredible for the most part.
Unfortunately, this has a flip-side. Along with all the excitement and progress and support I’ve gotten from the industry and friends, I let something more important fall to the wayside. I was spending so much energy and effort on getting America’s Country prepared and launched that I had nothing left for the ones I hold most dear, my sweet family. It all started coming to light when my sweet wife said in a quiet moment one recent night, “Honey, I’ve really felt disconnected from you lately.” At first, I was concerned but didn’t really put too much thought into it. It wasn’t until a day or two later that it dawned on me, I’ve created a major imbalance in my life. After some more thought and self-bashing, I spoke to Rachel about my discovery. Of course, she was understanding and things really started turning around. Coincidentally, this all happened on New Year’s Eve and I launched America’s Country that midnight. I promised that since things were now in motion and moving along with that, I would start reconnecting. I guess I lucked out, kinda. I would have probably fought back and been more reluctant to get back in line if she’d approached me with it a week or two earlier. I know that Rachel doesn’t always fully grasp the reasons I do what I do, especially with the station, but she is very flexible and willing to make things work. I love her for that!
Sunday, after church, we sat down as a family and made our yearly goals. It was a very productive discussion and they were recorded and had all the details to make the goals realistic and measurable. I’ll make a new post in a few days about our goals that are fit to publish. We also had a really good follow-up discussion with Wyatt about his upcoming baptism. He’s getting baptized this coming Saturday at 10am. Details are at our Facebook Event. Wyatt’s Grandma is coming from Washington to be part of it and spend the week. We are very excited to have her. It should be a wonderful experience!
We have just about 360 days to look forward to! I’m really excited about all the opportunities we have before us. New Year’s is a great time to “reboot” and give life a fresh start again. I look forward to posting more here. I also invite you to join the America’s Country party HERE and HERE.
Folks, I know this is just self-serving, shameless promotion. I know. So, what?
You may know that I am an owner and operator of a full-service 24 hour internet radio station. KXRT is one of my passions and if you ask my wife or son, they might use stronger language. I love all things radio and am always looking for the next opportunity to get involved. In the mid-90’s I got a teenager’s dream of working part-time at a real radio station. Sure, the station was a joke and had no direction and died shortly. But I LOVED every minute of it! Being behind that microphone and not knowing how many people might hear my voice was completely intoxicating. Soon, I was faced with reality when I had to actually make some money. Since then, it’s been a dream. I can now realize this dream from my house and have complete control over how it’s done.
KXRT means nothing as far as an acronym or abbreviation. I just put the letters together in my mind and they sounded exciting and dynamic. At the time, I did an internet search to find out if there already was a KXRT, I couldn’t find any. That was that, KXRT was born. Previously, I’ve used other names but they were temporary and pretty weak, really. I set about getting things started. I created a website, a Facebook Page, getting a radio buddy of mine to make some station IDs and promos, and tons of other stuff. The first computer that ran KXRT was a Pentium 3, 1ghz with 256mb ram and a 30gb drive. Through time, we went to a Pentium 4 1.8ghz with 512mb ram, a P4 2.6ghz with 512mb ram, a P4 2.8ghz (with hyperthreading!) with 768mb ram, and is now on a Pentium D 2.8ghz server with 4gb Ram and 500gb drive!
For most of its life, KXRT was running along with the risk of getting fined for playing music that isn’t covered by royalties and other fees. Last month, we finally licensed it and now is totally covered! The fact that it wasn’t totally covered kept me from really promoting it. Now I’m beginning to work on setting up promotional partnerships with small businesses. I’m not really focused on making money at this point. What I’d like to accomplish is having these partnerships benefit both parties. I can gain listeners by offering incentives and the business gets people in their doors and name exposure. If you would be interested in being a promotional partner, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently, we’ve added a new themed music day, Nuclear 90’s. It features all the pop, rock, hip-hop and grunge from the decade that brought us dot coms and Lewinsky’s! As always, commercial-free and NO REPEATS! We hope you enjoy!
A good friend and neighbor used this quote from Elaine Cannon recently. I thought I’d share.
On one occasion a group of us were talking about a person we all knew who had a particularly difficult personality problem. Suddenly Dr. Eyring changed the tone of the talk with his comment, “I hope I will always be tolerant of those who sin differently from me.”
Oh, Dr. Eyring wasn’t talking only about those blatant cardinal wrongdoings we all try to avoid. He was suggesting the importance of keeping the second great commandment and oft-repeated counsel from God to love each other-imperfect though we might be. And that goes for loving our enemies, too “Those who sin differently….” what a revelation into a man’s motivation! What a secret to the implementation for good relationships in our own lives!
But Dr. Eyring didn’t merely tolerate others, remember. He sought to know them better. With knowledge comes understanding, and the miracle of love comes next.
I’ve waited until I saw Inception three times and a few weeks to really take it in. I spoke with many friends about the movie and got their takes on it, after I watched it. Going into it, I knew that I was in for a mental whirlwind. Leonardo DiCaprio plays our lead, Cobb. He is joined by his friend and partner, Arthur, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In this film, these two and several others have developed a way to get into people’s dreams and by doing so, can steal their thoughts and ideas. This is used for corporate espionage and other such crimes. There’s the architect who builds the physical aspect of the dream, it would replicate the victim’s typical environment and provide a platform for the theft to take place. The others are essentially cast members who facilitate and in some cases hamper the progress of the job at hand.
Cobb has one big obstacle: his former wife, Mal. She is played by Marion Cotillard. She was heavily involved in this activity, called extraction. She helped him in many cases. She, in the midst of all the going back and forth began to lose touch with her true reality. In these dreams you can create anything you want to and have a lot of freedom to basically play God. In her loss of her grip on reality, she couldn’t keep track and wanted to return to her reality. In these dreams, to get out of the dream, you have to be killed or woken up. She knew this and when she didn’t believe Cobb telling her that she was in reality, she took her own life. Throughout the movie, she returns in the form of Cobb’s guilty conscience as he blamed himself for her confusion and death (oh yeah, the authorities also believe he killed her). This is very harmful as she is there haunting him and disrupting the plans and turning him in to the victims.
Due to this issue, Cobb cannot build these dreams as he is afraid that if he knows how they are made, she will be there and ruin things. He teams up with Ariadne, played by Ellen Page. She has a masterful imagination and can build mazes that are incredible. After an initial test and then a surprise visit to her dreams, she’s convinced that this is an outstanding way to express her creativity.
While performing an extraction on a corporate executive, Saito, performed by Ken Watanabe, the plan fails. However, Saito hears about another way that invading dreams can be used. Instead of extracting plans and ideas from the victim, they plant an idea into their minds. This is called Inception. It’s very risky and hasn’t been entirely proven successful. Or we think. Saito hires Cobb and crew to plant an idea into Robert Fischer, played by Cillian Murphy, the son of a worldwide power company’s CEO who is nearing death. This idea would say that his father wanted him to break up the company. This would allow competition with Saito’s company and prevent a monopoly.
In order to successfully do inception you have to go deep enough into the victim’s subconscious mind. This involves multiple layers of dreams. A dream in a dream in a dream. This poses great risk as dreams at his depth and complexity are very unstable and very risky for the victim and the team. They work out this plan and are ultimately successful at inception. The company is broken up and all is happy for all. In all of this, Ariadne becomes very suspicious of issues Cobb is having and hiding from the others. She sneaks into one of his dreams and finds out about Cobb’s kids and his wife. She pushes and pushes and he describes what her problem is. She also eventually uncovers why Cobb is so guilty of his wife’s death. He knew inception was impossible because he did it to his wife. They were living together for 50 years in this place called limbo. In limbo, you can create your own world. They did and lived happily for years. Cobb knew this wasn’t reality and wanted to get back. Mal, his wife, didn’t. She loved it there and was convinced this was her reality. He planted an idea deep in her mind that had her questioning her reality. He convinced her to get killed with him to return back to real life. They laid down in a train track and we both hit by the train and woke up in reality. This was all fine and dandy but because of the planted idea in her mind, Mal was still not totally convinced they were really in reality. She was very distraught and confused. He tried to convince her and comfort her but it wasn’t working. You find out pretty early that to help them keep track of reality, they fashion a totem. Some object that will do something only they know in reality that it will not do in a dream. For example, Cobb’s totem is a spinning top. In reality, it will spin normally and eventually fall. In a dream, it will continue to spin and spin. You see him using it from time to time in the movie when he needs to know for sure. While Mal and Cobb were in their limbo, you see that Mal, in her decision to not return to reality, hides and locks away her totem. In reality, with Mal’s struggling, she decides she needs to die again so she can truly return to reality. Cobb meets her at their hotel room where they spend their anniversaries. The room is a mess and he looks around to see her sitting out the window on a ledge. She tries to convince Cobb that this is the only way to return to their true reality. He knows better and frantically tries to talk her out of jumping. She is firm and ends up jumping to her final death. She says that she’s already told lawyers that he’s threatened her and her children’s lives and left the hotel room like that to further convince them of his intentions. He escapes and then is away from his home and children and cannot return as he is a fugitive.
As part of the deal with Saito, he offers Cobb a clean record. This is ultimately what motivates him to do the job. The rest of the film follows the crew through the son’s dreams and we see excellent effects filter down from level to level. They meet the son on a plane and initiate the dream with him there. Strong sedative is used and we’re now in the first dream level. It’s a city and they kidnap the son and threatened to kill him if he doesn’t provide his dad’s safe combination. They put him in a big van and put him to sleep. The second level of dreams is in a hotel. When the van from the first level gets into trouble and does a flip, gravity in the hotel is affected and there’s some awesome effects as they have fight scenes and such in the shifting gravity. You see that what happens in the level above affects the level below. In the hotel, they have the son and convince him that he needs to go into a dream to fight off the people that are trying to steal his ideas. Here comes level three. It’s a snowy mountain with a heavily guarded military style base. All of this is very well done and director/writer Christopher Nolan is a master at tugging on your brain cells. Eventually, he gets to his dying father inside the base. His father said instead of just “disappointed”, he clarifies by saying he was disappointed that his son tried to be like him. This is the idea that grows in his mind and finds a pin wheel in the safe that let him know his dad loved him.
At this point, they all wake up through the layers and you see Saito pick up the plane phone and make his call. You then see Cobb walking through customs at the airport with no problems and then to his home and his children. Before he walks out to see them, he starts to spin his top on the table. The camera zooms from him walking to his kids down to the spinning top. It seems like it keeps spinning, it wobbles slightly but recovers. Then the movie suddenly ends. We never know if the top stops spinning. Perfect ending to a very mentally involved and challenging movie.
I saw it three times. Each time was better and more enlightening than the last. Each time I picked up on something different. Each time I spoke with someone who’d seen it, we asked each other questions to see if we noticed something else. I fully plan to try to see it once more on the big screen and then buy the Blu-Ray. I recommend you see this! See it before it leaves the theaters! See it more than once! We took Wyatt and while he wasn’t bored, we had to help keep him on track with the layers and how it was moving. It affected him a bit as for the next couple weeks he would ask questions like if how can we really know we’re in a dream or not. Very cool.