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About Summer Muse

Really, there’s no deep meaning behind my name. I’m the Summer Muse because I started writing here during the summer, I absolutely adore music, and I often lose myself in my musings. I take walks with my dog, read Yahoo! Finance news, chase seagulls, and am an absolute master baker... of pecan pies. I hope to one day be a New York Times Bestselling Author... or an astrophysicist. I haven't decided yet.
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Dancing Oobleck: Cornstarch and Water

It might not be the safest thing to do with your prized subwoofer. But it’s so much fun! If you’ve never heard of oobleck, you’re in for a treat.

Oobleck is a Non-Newtonian mixture that consists solely of cornstarch and water. When agitated, oobleck acts as a solid. When calm, it acts as a liquid. This is duality in nature is essential for oobleck’s purpose concerning subwoofers.

If placed on top of plastic wrap covering a subwoofer, the oobleck will lie benignly in a puddle while the subwoofer is off. However, once the sub begins emitting sound at low frequencies, such as 20 Hertz, sound waves become visible in the oobleck. As the volume is increased, the vibrations become stronger and the oobleck does much more than mimic the wave patterns of the sound. It begins to jump and dance, wiggle and stretch. It forms strange shapes, thrusting out little tendrils before coming together in eerie humanoid forms. Once you’ve had your fill of dancing oobleck, you turn the subwoofer off, and the oobleck monsters melt back into that same benign puddle of goo.

If you’re afraid of harming your subwoofer, don’t be. Cover the outsides with newspapers, and use multiple layers of plastic wrap to ensure no oobleck leaks through. Once you’re done, your subwoofer should be just fine.

If you want to make your dancing oobleck even more entertaining, add food coloring and watch the way it mixes together. It’s fascinating to watch. It might sound silly, but once you start watching, you start grinning, and you can’t seem to tear your eyes away from the dancing oobleck.

Here’s a little teaser to whet your appetites for oobleck:

(This one doesn’t have a plastic protector, but yours should if you want your sub to stay nice)

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Waterproof MP3 Players

We’ve been taught this since we were children: electronics and water don’t mix. And so we’ve held to this belief, until recently. It’s almost an oxymoron, waterproof mp3 player. I mean, really? Imagine listening to music as you swim. That sounds impossible. But so very, very cool.

There are many different types of waterproof mp3 players, from different companies. One style is to simply enclose a regular mp3 player in a waterproof casing, and attach waterproof headphones. Another is the waterproof mp3 player itself, with waterproof headphones.

The third style is bone conduction. Rather than using headphones, which can be annoying or uncomfortable, the bone conduction waterproof mp3 player attaches directly to your goggle strap. It rests against the face between the temple and cheekbone. The vibrations are transferred to the bone, which send the sound to the inner ear. When immersed in water, the water amplifies the sound, creating a richer sound that surrounds you completely. You can still hear the music outside the water, but the best experience is when your head is in the water.

If your preferred exercise is swimming, then the waterproof mp3 player is for you. Studies have shown that those who listen to music while swimming have longer workouts and faster times. Working out to a beat is much more productive than working out without one. Plus, it’s so much more enjoyable!

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Homemade Record Player

Some people have an amazing surplus of imagination and ingenuity concerning science, technology and gadgets. These people often become engineers or inventors, like our very own CEO and Founder David Hall. But sometimes their passion lies in some other field, and that techie ingenuity is suppressed. At some point, it comes bursting up to the forefront when some technical problem needs solving, or when that person comes across a really cool record and doesn’t have a record player (or the money for one). When that happens, the person comes up with a brilliant idea for a homemade record player. In this case, that person is Livia Ritthaler.

Ritthaler’s record player is made of a piece of rolled paper, a few pieces of metal, and a wooden board. The only downside is that it runs only by hand, not by electricity, so you have to crank it yourself. But for the relative ease and minimal expense with which the record player is created, having to crank it by hand is not too much to ask. The key is to turn the record at a constant rate.

It works just like any “traditional” record player. The sound is comparable, as long as you have a steady hand. And it’s a whole heck of a lot cheaper. When it costs less than a dollar to make this record player, what’s not to like?

Of course, this record player is wonderful as a novelty, but if you really want to hear some great, all-encompassing sound, the best thing is good speakers and one of Velodyne’s quality subwoofers. For travelling? The vPulse headphones. But at home with some vinyl you found? The homemade phonograph is without a doubt the perfect thing for the job.

Check out this video of her minimalist gramaphone, amazing!

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You Need A Subwoofer for This Music!

There are some songs that just aren’t the same without the bass. When you’re listening to these songs without a subwoofer, you can hear the muted bass, and know that there’s something more to the song. You listen with a pained expression on your face, and you long for Velodyne’s Optimum 12-inch subwoofer to hear that much-needed bass. For too long have you heard Usher’s “Yeah” through tinny headphones. For too long have you suffered through Gorilla Zoe’s “Lost” with your bass-less computer speakers. You’re craving a subwoofer! You need bass!

Certain types of music have more bass than others, and so need a subwoofer for the best sound. Some of these genres include bass techno, rap, hip-hop, and other genres. Included in the bass techno category is a type of techno called Hardstyle, which includes DJs such as DJ Pavo, DJ Zany, DJ Paco, The Horrorist, and Amber Savage.

Some rap/hip-hop artists include Eminem, Dr. Dre, Drake, LMFAO, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, P. Diddy, Jay-Z, Soulja Boy, and many others. Hip-hop and rap are the two genres in which bass is the most widely spread. It’s difficult to find songs in these genres that don’t have bass, so if you’re a fan of hip-hop or rap, one of Velodyne’s quality subwoofers is the perfect thing for you. It’ll bring the bass like it’s meant to, and your favorite songs will sound awesome.

For those who aren’t into techno, hip-hop, or rap, subwoofers can still reveal a whole other layer of sound that you didn’t know existed. Maybe you listen to rock, metal, jazz, or the blues. All of these genres have bass in them, with talented bassists making amazing music. With a quality subwoofer, you can hear those bass lines, and the music gains another level of depth. You can’t go wrong with one of Velodyne’s subwoofers.

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Music ADHD: Hail to the CD

Remember those days when you popped in a CD and listened to it from start to finish? You didn’t play one song, then put in a new CD, play another song, and so forth. But that’s become practical with the advent of mp3 players. Now, if you play more than two songs by the same artist in a row, or even in the same hour, someone gets bored and wants to listen to something else. We no longer hear an entire album. There are some drastic consequences of this music ADHD.

Because you only listen to songs by an artist one at a time, you only hear the most popular songs, your favorites. But you know those songs that you didn’t like the first time you heard them, and then after a while they grew on you? You can’t get those anymore. Either you don’t listen to them anymore, or you never hear them in the first place, because you can buy individual songs now, rather than albums. And the album covers? Miss them?

Don’t get me wrong, iPods are great. They’re small, portable, and store a whole heck of lot of music. They’re terribly convenient. But they have their drawbacks too. I miss hearing Smash Mouth’s song “Waste” because “All Star” has already been played. It’s actually a very good song. But I’ll bet you haven’t heard “Waste” before. And who hasn’t heard “All Star”? Come on, we’ve all seen Shrek. If you think about it, how many songs do you like that aren’t exactly mainstream? How many wonderful songs would you have not come across if you didn’t buy the entire album?

I guess what I’m saying is to slow down, listen to an entire album for a change, buy the entire album rather than a few songs. You never know, you might discover a beautiful song that you otherwise would have overlooked.

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10 Inspirational Songs

Have you ever felt a little bit down and needed a mood lifter? Here are 10 songs that are sure to provide you with inspiration.

10) Cyndi Lauper – True Colors

Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” calls on everyone to cast aside their fear and show the world who they truly are. These true colors are beautiful because they are uniquely you.

9) Secret Garden (feat. Brian Kennedy) or Josh Groban – You Raise Me Up

“You Raise Me Up” is a tribute to all of those in your life who raise you up to be the best you can be. It gives thanks to them for their support and kindness.

8) Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World

Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” was meant as the antithesis to the escalating racial and political tensions of life in the United States. The song has an optimistic tone regarding the future.

7) R.E.M. – Everybody Hurts

R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” addresses the common feelings of loneliness and depression, telling those who would despair that they’re not alone, that everyone feels this way at some point in their lives. The song tells them to hold on, because you’re not alone.

http://youtu.be/pudOFG5X6uA

6) Michael Jackson – Earth Song

“Earth Song” calls in the people of this world to join together and help each other, the world. We destroy it with all the wars and the greed, and “Earth Song” eloquently tells us to stop our petty squabbling, because we’re destroying the best part of life.

5) Dream Theater – The Spirit Carries On

Dream Theater’s “The Spirit Carries On” speaks of overcoming one’s fears. The song tells everyone that there is no need to fear death, because there’s something more out there. It’s a very uplifting and optimistic piece, which is unusual for a song that revolves around death.

4) Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’

Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” follows two people as they search for something, for love. For those who haven’t found love yet, to them the song says don’t stop believing.

3) Survivor – Eye of the Tiger

“Eye of the Tiger” inspires the listener to persevere, to get back up every time you fall. It motivates the listener to keep fighting, to keep their dreams alive, and to never give up.

2) Peter Gabriel (featuring Kate Bush) – Don’t Give Up

Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up” deals with the devastation of unemployment and never giving up hope, because there are so many others. The song tells the listener that you’re not alone, that life will get better.

1) Imagine – John Lennon

Lennon’s “Imagine” asks us to imagine a world that isn’t divided by religion, possessions, politics, and so there is no war. It is a much better place. The words inspire us to strive for peace and to live in harmony with other people.

Listen to any one of these with your headphones on, tune in and turn up.

 

 

 

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Shampoo or MP3 Player?

 

It’s hard to tell that this nondescript bottle of shampoo is actually a cleverly disguised MP3 player. If you didn’t already know that it was an MP3 player, then you probably wouldn’t suspect anything.

It’s called the iMusic Shower Gel MP3 Player. Because it’s water resistant, music lovers and those who sing in the shower will love the iMusic Shower Gel MP3 Player. You can download your favorite music, and sing along while taking a shower or bath. It has a convenient hole at the top for shower hooks so that it is readily accessible throughout your shower. Even when you have soap all over your face, it’s always within arm’s reach.

The iMusic Shower Gel MP3 Player has touch sensitive controls for volume and track selection on its face that allows for ease of use. It comes in two colors—white or green. This cunningly disguised MP3 Player uses a standard SD Card and is powered by AAA batteries.

Now on to the review. The iMusic Shower Gel MP3 Player has received generally positive reviews, but nearly every single one points out a major flaw. It lacks the ability to remember where it left off, so every time you take a shower, it starts over at the beginning. In addition, it lacks a shuffle feature, so the only way to move on to new songs is to skip ahead to where you left off. When it’s turned on again, it’ll be back where it started.

Though a major flaw, it is not a fatal flaw. The device has acceptable sound, and really, you’d only be using it for 5-20 minutes a day. I know that listening to “It’s a Beautiful Day” first thing in the morning, every morning, wouldn’t be a terrible way to start off the day. And to be sure, you’d hear me singing along to it. Maybe we need to start working on waterproof headphones!

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B.o.B. – “Both of Us” featuring Taylor Swift

What with the vast majority of pop songs being what they are, about glamour and other trivial things, B.o.B. and Taylor Swift’s “Both of Us” is a breath of fresh air. It deals with the effects of the economic recession that is plaguing our country.

The music video, released June 27, 2012, was shot in Nashville, Tennessee. But rather than depicting the honky-tonks or other popular celebrity haunts, B.o.B. and Swift insert themselves into the adversity afflicting the grittier neighborhoods of Nashville. The lyrics center on this adversity, but rather than bemoaning the plight of the people, they stress the importance of the little things in life.

The video begins with B.o.B. in a small house and Taylor Swift in a pool hall. Shots of mobile homes, regular people, children playing, and many other everyday things permeate the video. B.o.B. and Swift tell us with their words to enjoy life, make the most of the opportunities presented to you, and make your own opportunities. They tell us that we’re not alone, we can get out of these hard times, but also that even in the midst of adversity, there can be great things. The audience is left observing B.o.B. and Taylor Swift living their lives as regular people in rural Tennessee.

Enjoy the video on the MTV website:

http://on.mtv.com/LmPz3t

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Summer 2012 Concerts To See

It’s summer! And there’s nothing better than enjoying a concert on a warm summer night. Artists and bands from all different genres are touring this summer. Some of them include reunion tours, orchestral performances, and promotion tours for new albums. But whatever the occasion, they’re sure to be great.

Starting July 21, Journey will be touring North America. Beginning in San Bernadino, CA, the tour ends on Decmber 14 in Honolulu, HI. In 2007, Journey acquired a new singer, Arnel Pineda, who fits very well with the other band members and sounds very similar to Steve Perry, Journey’s original singer.

Starting June 30, Eagles began touring North America. It began in Naperville, IL, and it will end on November 17 in Las Vegas, NV. On October 30, 2007, Eagles released Long Road Out of Eden, their first studio album since 1979. The tour ended in 2009, but they are currently touring along the Pacific coast.

Beginning on July 10 in Rama, ON, Yes began touring North America. The classic rock band will finish the tour on October 21 in Mexico City, MX. This year, Yes acquired a new singer—Jon Davison, lead singer of Glass Hammer.

Peter Gabriel’s Back to Front tour begins September 16 in Quebec City, QC, and ends on October 9 in Santa Barbara, CA. Gabriel’s Back to Front tour is in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of his popular album So. The tour will feature the entire So album and some of Gabriel’s biggest hits.

These are only a few of the concerts that are taking place this summer and fall, and there are many more besides these. Go see a concert this summer!

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