the photography, music and ramblings of Matt Lipstein

The Record Ends and We Must Begin Again

Greetings Stupidfresh family and friends, and welcome to the 300th post of! As some of you are already aware, I've got some exciting news to share with you in regards to the site. I'm packing up and moving my website to:

This is my brand new website that will carry on the traditions started here on Stupidfresh, and will be my playground for a whole new batch of shenanigans. I've had a blast creating it and I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

By all means please go and explore But if you're interested in any back-story of how I got here, enjoy some explanation and navel-gazing below.

Why the change?

Stupidfresh has been great to me and we've had a lot of fun. A few months ago, Blogger (which powers this site) announced they were changing the way my website would work, and for a large number of reasons I just wasn't down with keeping my site on Blogger.

At first I was simply annoyed by the reality of having to make major changes to the website. After some simmering however, I took the chance to step back and examine my online presence and persona. Why do I have a website to begin with? What's the point? How do my contributions to Twitter, and my other blogs play into this? Who reads all this stuff anyway?

What I began to understand is the content I share online allows me to explore elements of who I am. We're all multifaceted individuals, and for whatever reason I've embraced the opportunity to show a few sides of myself on these here Internets.

But as of late I've felt that I've spread myself out a bit thin. A Stupidfresh blog rant here, a work Tweet there, and maybe a video of Theodore to round out the day. There are too many outlets segmented for too many specified purposes.

It became clear that it's high time to bring together all of these areas under one banner. The new site is configured to pull all my different worlds together on one website. But how does it work? I'm glad you asked.

Under the Hood (For my nerds and the people who love them)

I had a lot to consider when thinking through how to put this all together. Some of my criteria included:
  • Backend - Who has time to hand-code anymore? Give me a strong CMS for publishing
  • Mobility - I want to create all styles of posts while out in the world, either from a computer or simply my phone
  • Cross-posting - The key to my quest was finding a way to post in one place and have that be mirrored on my website, and vice-versa
  • Simplified Workflows - Beyond the work it initially takes to configure and design the site, this should all run itself moving forward.
It turns out that a service called Tumblr affords me all of these things. Their web & iPhone posting tools are simple and powerful. They have built-in import tools that will grab anything I share on Blogger, Twitter, and the like and automatically post it on As a bonus, Tumblr also has it's own social network between Tumblr blogs. Tumblr users can follow each others sites and "like" each others posts.

To get a sense of what's coming in and what's going out, I created this schematic. Yes, this is the type of stuff I think a lot about. [Click to enlarge the image]

Basically, I've tried to design my "one site to rule them all".

See You on the Other Side

I'm looking forward to seeing how this all develops, what's going to happen next and I'm hoping you'll join me for the ride. Nothing will be deleted from Stupidfresh - all these posts will still exist online, but all new content will be going down at the new site.

You can subscribe to updates to the new site either via email or an RSS feed.

Thanks to all who have read and supported Stupidfresh in the past few years. Let's keep it going full steam.

Lady in Red

Been meaning to post this for a few weeks . Saw this blast of color during the snowpocolypse.

The secret of my (hopeful) success

Things that make you go hmmmm...

So here's an update on the ongoing analysis/transition of my online identity. I've been finding a lot of power in these resources:
Last night I started the process of migrating elements of this here Stupidfresh blog over to the Blogger servers (that's how all this craziness started in the first place). One tactic I'm considering is just leaving the current iteration of this site as an archive (Stupidfresh Classic if you will), and moving on.

Tumblr has been really intriguing to me as a very efficient, light-weight, on-the-go method of continuing to post online. Hmmmmmm.

One key to this mess would be to find the tools that will cross-post well. That will allow these different modalities to play nicely together, and wil build in redundency. Hmmmmmmm.

As before, I'm struggling with "what's it all for"? Nathan makes the point that blogs used to be the place to "just spill", but now there are plenty of places to do that. So maybe my goal is to Rube Goldberg all of of my spills into one pitcher. Hmmmm.

Domain names, hosting, history, ownership, ease of use and more booshy you coudl imagine come into the mix here, but I digress. I am getting closer.

Post Script: Please pardon the public multi-post monologue here. In addition to working this through, I'm also hoping to gain your perspective (yes, you!) . So hit me off with a comment or an email.


Park Ave Party

Which way to go?

Hello Stupidfresh fans & friends. Long time no talk!

Next month Blogger is making some changes to the way my site is setup. In short they're forcing some restrictions on how I publish to Stupidfresh, and that will change the look of the site, the way people access SF and the archiving of all the old posts. Nerdus explanation maximus: I publish using their CMS backend in conjunction with a hacked HTML template (that I'm quite proud of), which uploads any posts via FTP to my own hosted webspace. They are about to forbid that.

They offer a tool that will rebuild my site on their servers, and then direct any traffic to Stupidfresh back to them. I've already seen some people who have gone through this Blogger migration and it seems tumultuous at best. When I set this all up a few years ago, I spent a long time tweaking their system (in ways it apparently wasn't supposed to be tweaked), to make it work the way I wanted. And now all that is for naught.

So here I am, at my 295th Stupidfresh post using Blogger, trying to figure out what to do next.

Part of what makes this decision tricky is that in the past year Stupidfresh has been one of a few modalities I've been using to express myself online. I've jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, setup a Tumblr account for some subway haiku (that I have yet to officially tell anyone about), and I also maintain the blog for Theo's photos and videos.

I work with Picasa albums to privately share photos with friends and family, have started buzzing with Buzz, but as of yet have steered clear of Facebook, Flickr and Posterous.

Each of these outlets is for slightly different purposes, and each offers slightly different limitations. I'm questioning what direction to go in here, specifically with this blog. Is it time to roll everything into one web presence? Or should I choose one of these communication methods and roll with it. Hmmmmm.

It's time to evaluate what I'm using the web, and this website, for. Deep thoughts...

I would love to hear from people in the comments on how you're handling this complexity, or if you have ideas on what to do. I'll tell you this much - regardless of which way I go, I'm getting to 300 posts on this thing before March 26th!


Let's be honest with each other, shall we? There's a lot of crud on the internet. This morning however, on this glorious snow-day, I found this little gem in my google reader.

Watch and be amazed.

Everything (Ep. 4) from dannyjelinek on Vimeo.

Originally from the awesome "We Love You So" blog.

Infinite Regress Collective Mixtape 2009

Yeah, that says 2009 up there, not 2010, which means I've been meaning to post this for a few weeks now. In any event...

Our man Tim over at Infinite Regress ran the 3rd annual Collective Mixtape project toward the end of 2009. In a nutshell he asks people to do covers of songs released that calendar year. I had done this in the past, and always look forward to the project as forced excuse to work on some music.

This year I chose to cover "You're so far around the bend" by Brooklyn favorites The National. The track appeared on the Dark was the Night compilation (regular readers know we are oh so fond of that album here at Stupidfresh.)

Without further ado have a listen to my version, which couldn't have been done without the wonders of Garage Band.

So Far Around the Bend (The National) - lippy

Treat your self to a trip over to Infinite Regress and take in the other submissions, which are all great for different reasons.

Spidey Sense

Spotted on Carlton today.

Stupidfresh Best Songs of 2009

It's my pleasure to present to you the StupidFresh Best Songs of 2009 list! This was a good year for music. I was spending more time at home (thanks to a certain someone who came to live with us), and that seemed to translate to mining for more music online.

Looking over these selections, a few themes become apparent.

(1) There aren't many new artists included. Not sure what that says about the state of music - you be the judge. That being said, many of our old favorite groups were making songs with a new edge to them. Jay-Z has two (count 'em, two!) tracks included here. His new album really surprised me with it's diversity of styles and forward thinking music.

(2) There's more hip-hop on here than I would've expected. I've been walking around with pennant for the past few years which reads " Hip-hop is dead', but it looks as if there now may be a resurrection. I will now lower, but not release, said pennant.

(3) I still have a place in my heart for quality song-writing, even if it isn't steeped in the acoustic-guitar singer-songwriter aesthetic that I used to savor. In particular, the Rain Machine, Dirty Projectors and Micachu tracks all are exquisitely written but come at you at little but from the left.

There were also a good amount of older songs that came my way in 2009, but aren't new. Don't fret - you can listen to those on the StupidFresh Best Songs of 2009 (new to me edition).

Ok, enough preamble jibber-jabber from me. Press play, listen up and enjoy! And of course, if you like anything you hear support the artists by buying their stuff.

1) Dirty Projectors + David Byrne - Knotty Pine
This is the lead track from the Dark Was the Night compilation that came out last February which produced a slew of great songs (even if they're not all included on this list). If you're new to the unique song writing approach the Dirty Projectors take to their songs, "Knotty Pine" is a great place to start. It's got the slightly jarring time signature, excellent vocals and harmonies (complimented here by David Byrne no less), and those freaky Dave Longstreth guitar lines. If someone asked me what genre this is, I'd say "tweaked-out art-rock with a twist", which admittedly doesn't mean anything at all. But it sure does sound good.

2) Jay-Z - Empire State of Mind (ft. Alicia Keys)
Ok, I know this song is a huge radio hit and is now all but ubiquitous. However, it's also completely awesome. In a year where NYC was on a crazy roller-coaster ride, it felt great to end up with a true anthem for the city. Hova's rhyme style is as tight as ever, the music is driving, and that chorus - I mean damn! Makes me feel good to live in the best city in the world.

3) Phoenix - Lisztomania
Even though Phoenix have been making great albums and playing crazy shows for years, 2009 was their breakout. It all seems to go back to that SNL appearance. And then there was the fan made brat-pack video, and then the Brooklyn video response. Its been a long time coming for the little French band that could. Lisztomania is from their newest record called Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - the title alone would've gotten them on this list!

4) Devendra Banhart - Baby
Devendra always ran hot and cold for me. Some of his music is brilliant, and other songs are too out-there for me. And the fact that I peripherally hear about which young starlet he's dating took away from his appeal. All that being said, "Baby" is a perfect little pop-nugget. Picture in your mind your favorite fella or lady-friend, listen to this cut and then smile at the fact you're in love.

5) Kid Cudi - Make Her Say (ft. Kanye West, Common & A-Trak)
Nice lineup! Hip-hop's new wunderkind Kid Cudi takes control of the track declaring "Me first" and we're off. Kanye and Common contribute solid verses here too, and A-Track provides some fine scratches. Remember when scratching was a pre-requisite in a rap song?

6) Amy Millan - I Will Follow You Into the Dark
You may not recognize the name, but you'll know the voice. Amy Millan provides the distinct female vocals in the band Stars. She's been branching out on her own, and this year did a great cover of this Decemberists Death Cab for Cutie track (nice catch John W.!) . A lil' slide guitar and some country twang never hurt anybody right?

7) Micachu & The Shapes - Golden Phone
It's fair to say that Micachu was this year's blogosphere darling (if there can be such a thing). People simply loved her. Listen to "Golden Phone" and it's easy to see why. The sound is fresh, raw and good. And she looks cute and weird, which the bloggers always like. Good for you Micachu.

8) Rain Machine - Smiling Black Faces
Rain Machine is the side-projector of Kyp Malone, better know for his work with TV On the Radio. I've only heard a handful of songs from the full-length, but "Smiling Black Faces" really took a hold of me. The lyrics are deep and challenging, the music is tricky and a touch sloppy, and the overall feeling is powerful.

9) Regina Spektor - Eet
It must be hard being Regina. I'd imagine she feels like she's on the razor's edge when releasing new songs. On one hand, her music has the potential to be too out-there for the masses that now celebrate her. On the other hand, her core fan-base really gravitate to her unique quirks and twitches. So I was glad to listen to her new album Far and marvel at her ability to dance on the razor's edge. This track "Eet" is pure-pop candy.

10) N.A.S.A - Gifted (ft. Kanye West, Santogold, Lykke Li)
This songs got a little somethin' for everyone. An electro dance track runs underneath providing a bed for Kanye to get aggro and nasty, Lykke to be Swedish and sweet, and allows Santogold to do whatever she does (which I can't figure out what it is that people seem to love so much). Even so, "Gifted" is a fun time and that is a good thing.

11) Junior Boys - Hazel
Take a little Depeche Mode, some New Order, a dash of Hot Chip, sprinkle in some Postal Service and stir thoroughly. Serve in a tall lipstick-stained glass and drink in one swallow. This magical combination will produce Junior Boys. Even though I heard they had a rough go of their live show earlier this year in NYC, the album still can't be denied, with this song "Hazel" being a standout.

12) Lee Fields & The Expressions - Ladies
I think he likes ladies.

13) Jay-Z - What We Talkin' About (ft. Luke Steele)
Track #2 from the jigga-man. I was compelled to include this not only for the sweet rhyming syncopation that starts the second verse, but also for that backup track! Was this song written for The Warriors soundtrack? Is this some future ish that I'm not familiar with? Kudos to Jay for going bleeding-edge in the '09.

14) The National - So Far Around the Bend
It would make sense that The National track from the Dark Was the Night compilation would be kick-ass. The album was curated by National members (and twin brothers) Bryce and Aaron Dessner. "So Far Around the Bend" shows the boys stretching out a bit and adding more pieces into the instrumentation. The clarinet with the delay on it really makes it for me on this song. In fact, I liked it so much I did a cover of it! My version will be showing up soon on the 2009 Infinite Regress Covers Mix Tape. For now you should thoroughly enjoy the original.

15) Volcano Choir - Island, IS
This is Justin Vernon on vocals, better known as Bon Iver. But this ain't your daddy's Bon Iver acoustic track - the opening guitar loop will make you aware of that. As Volcano Choir, Vernon makes a song that is hypnotic and dreamy, and makes me feel the slightest bit uncomfortable - which I'm ok with. Mostly.

16) The Streets - Trust Me
Mike Skinner (aka The Streets) used a pretty innovative technique this year when it came to releasing a slew of new tracks he had made. As opposed to releasing an album for purchase, or posting songs to his website, he opted to release songs, one-by-one on his Twitter feed. A blatant shtick? Sure, but it still caught my attention, and a lot of those songs were darn good, "Trust Me" being my favorite. A few weeks after it's debut, Skinner asked fans to remix the song and re-submit back on Twitter. Which I did with pleasure (check my remix here).

17) Dirty Projectors - Two Doves
Sure - I'll bookend this year's best-of list with the Dirty Projectors. I wrote about this song earlier this year here on SF, and at the time I was still unsure about the whole album, even though this track had already won my heart. Turns out all I needed was a little more time. Bitte Ocra is tremendous - there I said it.

*Thanks to Rebecca D. for the awesome illustration! Check out her work at Drawing Challenge.*


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