Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Elle B's Hall of Fame: Jay-Z

It was coming.

I love this man.

If you know a
nything about me, then you are surprised I have not done this sooner.

This week Jay-Z is inducted in Elle B.'s Hall of Fame.
I am happy as hell Jay and Nas patched up their beef because now, I can write this post without anticipating the comments from people trying to argue why Jay is not better than QB's finest. It may still happen, but the likelihood has diminished.

As a bit of pretext, I am not a hip-hop head. So don't expect me to rattle of facts and hip-hop history like some would quote stats for their favorite ball players. The way it's always been in the Hall of Fame - I write from the heart, cus I choose the inductees from the same place. And like a fat kid loves cake, Jay-Z has a very special place in my heart.

For the man who only intended to make one record in his entire career we have:

1. Reasonable Doubt
2. In My Lifetime: Vol 1
3. Volume 2: Hard Knock Life *my first Jay record and probably the 1st one headed towards mainstreaming*
4. Volume 3: Life and Times of S. Carter

5. The Dynasty Roc La Familia
6. The Blueprint (fully mainstreamed Jay-Z
7. The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse *should have been called ambivelance b/c that's how people felt about it*
8. The Blueprint 2.1

9. The Black Album 1 became 9...

Here are my tops:

1. Politics as Usual, Reasonable Doubt *#1 Favorite Jay-Z song*

Politics as us-ual...
You feel my triumph never, feel my pain I'm lyin
Low in the leather Zion, the best that's ever came
The game changes like, my mind just ain't right
We 'gwan get this dough, I guess it ain't your night
( I wanted to post the whole verse, but it was a bit too long)

2. 22 two's, Reasonable Doubt

Too many bitches wanna be ladies, so if you a hoe I'ma call you a hoe, too many bitches are shady Too many ladies give these niggaz too many chances Too many brothers wannabe lovers, don't know what romance is Too many bitches stuck up from too many sexual advances No question, Jay-Z got too many answers

3. Come and Get Me, Vol 3: Life and Times of S. Carter

I got, shots to give come and get me nigga
Y'all wanna rob the kid? Come and get me nigga
I won't, part with this come and get me nigga
I worked, hard for this come and get me nigga
I got, shots to give, COME AND GET ME..

4. I Just Wanna Love You, Dynasty Roc La Familia *Best song from this album*

Huh, drunk of Crist', mommy on E
Can't keep her little model hands off me
Both in the club, high, singing off key
*And I wish I never met her at all...*

5. Takeover, Blueprint

When I was pushin weight, back in eighty-eight
you was a ballerina I got your pictures I seen ya
Then you dropped "Shook Ones," switch your demeanor
Well - we don't believe you, you need more people

And here is where I'll rest until next week. I want to know what are your favorite Jay-z lyrics, songs, guest appearances, albums even?

*I'll be waiting*

You Don't Own Me...

So why should his politics?

Favorite Pic of the Week...

What Oprah might look like if she didn't have money....

...Ms. Jay from ANTM. Don't get me wrong cus I love Oprah to death. And I love a man in good drag, but that's the first thing that came to mind when I saw this pic.

*I'm scared*

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Feedback from ohISHItsRichhhh and his girlfriend...

Below is the AIM convo my boi emailed me earlier today. My boi (chocol8boywunder) asked his bestfriend (ohISHItsRichhhh) to listen and critique Aint Gonna Cry.

chocol8boywunder: u wanna hear something?
OhISHhItsRichhhh: sure!
chocol8boywunder: but i need ur brutual and honest opinion
OhISHhItsRichhhh: k
chocol8boywunder: i need ur sound engineering and mixing hat on too
OhISHhItsRichhhh: okay
chocol8boywunder: but also, regular ppl hat
chocol8boywunder: and radio hat
chocol8boywunder: and dj hat
OhISHhItsRichhhh: got that too
OhISHhItsRichhhh: i can do that
chocol8boywunder wants to send file C:\Documents and Settings\SMH\Desktop\aint gonna cry.mp3.
OhISHhItsRichhhh: k
OhISHhItsRichhhh: now what am i listening too
chocol8boywunder: lauren
OhISHhItsRichhhh received C:\Documents and Settings\SMH\Desktop\aint gonna cry.mp3.
OhISHhItsRichhhh: steph says hi btw
chocol8boywunder: hey steph!
OhISHhItsRichhhh: i'll relay the message
chocol8boywunder: fa sho
chocol8boywunder: damn, im hungry
OhISHhItsRichhhh: k listening
chocol8boywunder: good....
OhISHhItsRichhhh: is this version "mixed" yet?
chocol8boywunder: yea
chocol8boywunder: lol
OhISHhItsRichhhh: it definately needs to be mixed again
OhISHhItsRichhhh: thats the sound engineering and mixing hat
OhISHhItsRichhhh: regular hat: DOPE
OhISHhItsRichhhh: dj hat: feelin it
OhISHhItsRichhhh: radio hat: dunno if this would be a single for mainstream but more for the alt urban stations
OhISHhItsRichhhh: cuz its definately radio friendly
OhISHhItsRichhhh: like this song could create alot of buzz
OhISHhItsRichhhh: very soulful
OhISHhItsRichhhh: does she have someone producing the vocals
OhISHhItsRichhhh: this is lauren no?
chocol8boywunder: i think she is gonna redo the vocals
chocol8boywunder: yea...lauren ball
OhISHhItsRichhhh: k
OhISHhItsRichhhh: nice
OhISHhItsRichhhh: i'll check it out
OhISHhItsRichhhh: she details her adventures beatifully
OhISHhItsRichhhh: the song could definately benefit from a better mix
OhISHhItsRichhhh: instrument volumes and compression
chocol8boywunder: she details her adventures beatifully <---what does that mean?
OhISHhItsRichhhh: she does a good job writing about what she goes through
OhISHhItsRichhhh: in her blog
OhISHhItsRichhhh: i check it out every so often
chocol8boywunder: yea
chocol8boywunder: she does
OhISHhItsRichhhh: yo can i send it to steph?
OhISHhItsRichhhh: or should i keep it on the low
chocol8boywunder: yea
chocol8boywunder: send it to steph
OhISHhItsRichhhh: k
chocol8boywunder: please tell me her feedback
OhISHhItsRichhhh: i'm kinda interested too since she's vocally trained
chocol8boywunder: fa sho
chocol8boywunder: is she listening now?
OhISHhItsRichhhh: i'm sending it
OhISHhItsRichhhh: shes got slo ass DSL
OhISHhItsRichhhh: u know when she polishes up the song she might wanna send it to the radio show that plays unheard bands on fridays
chocol8boywunder: lol
OhISHhItsRichhhh: its alot better then some of the stuff they play
chocol8boywunder: i know that's for sure
chocol8boywunder: i like it alot
chocol8boywunder: i love the bridge in the middle
chocol8boywunder: i think it has personality
OhISHhItsRichhhh: yeah its catchy
OhISHhItsRichhhh: got a nice beat
OhISHhItsRichhhh: good instrumentation
chocol8boywunder: it could be a radio song, esp. with a dope rapper
OhISHhItsRichhhh: true
OhISHhItsRichhhh: heres steph's input
OhISHhItsRichhhh: she coming from a more vocally trained ear tho so shes more butal
OhISHhItsRichhhh: brutal
OhISHhItsRichhhh: pstar919: she has a limited range...
pstar919: ?
pstar919: it's nicely developed at this range
OhISHhItsRichhhh: pstar919: i'm bothered by her limited range, tho
pstar919: again, nicely developed
OhISHhItsRichhhh: pstar919: but i want more
pstar919: she tried to hit a higer note there
pstar919: but it sounded straind
pstar919: she is soulful
pstar919: but she needs more work
pstar919: david was listening too
pstar919: he's a vocalist as well
pstar919: and agreed with me
pstar919: but definitely a good start
OhISHhItsRichhhh: ah now i got her font
OhISHhItsRichhhh: david's her coworker so was incidently on a singer on KIDS incorporated with none other then fergie from BEP
OhISHhItsRichhhh: small world
chocol8boywunder: lol
chocol8boywunder: small world
chocol8boywunder: okay
chocol8boywunder: anything else?
OhISHhItsRichhhh: the lady that invented stove tops stuffing dies on thanksgiving
OhISHhItsRichhhh: but not really its a good song

*I think most of these comments are consistent with how I feel about the track myself. But I am still wondering what ya'll think out there*

Peep the link to the right (under Elle B.'s Links)
Holla @ me in the comments.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Someone said more focus "In Training" and less "Diva"

Alright Ladies and Gentlemen, I am doing this post against my better judgement. And the entirety of this little rant is my disclaimer:

In a previous post, I ranted about my disappointment from this past weekend with my producers. One particular track, Aint Gonna Cry, I mentioned, was recorded in August and was just mixed in the past two weeks. I also expressed how upset I was with the outcome of the track. I realize that I may have prematurely spoken about the situation. I am a perfectionist. But I am also nearsighted in that I can envision the future, but I can often be blinded by circumstances in the now. As a result, I was unable to see that at this point in my career very little will be perfect. Just the other day, I ran into one of Erica Wright's (read E. Badu) first demos. It was not the E were all came to know and love (and was mos def before a good vocal coach). Nonetheless, it illustrates to me that I need to get over my pity party-tantrum antics and move one. Do better next time. Share gotdamit!

Ain't Gonna Cry
Click Here to Download

Before you listen, please read the following:
I have compiled a list of the thing that I am going to change about the track. This is not the final version

1. Re-record the lead vocals.

this was my first recording for this project and actually the first time i recorded in several years. being a recording artists is different from singing live, it's an art - so i need to step my weight up. I've gotten better since August.

2. Re-record in a better environment

we recored this track in his frat house in the summer. DJ OK and his partner Hillsyde are almost finished building their studio in Santa Monica, so we should be in there next week to get a better sound quality.

3. Re-record with better equipment

a better microphone will be key to the sound quality of the vocals. the new studio will also have an industry standard mixing board with real physical faders and inputs and pre-amps and all that stuff. also, it will have more tracks to do a better mix between the vocals and the track (you'll notice one the song when you hear it).

Finally, this blog is supposed to be about me sharing with you the journey that I am taking into this industry. To not share the song is to not share this experience. In return, I would like your honest feedback.

*I won't be offended - I promise*

Pic of the Week...

A Little Political Humor...
Sorry to all my Bush supporters out there, but yall know he's not the brightest light bulb.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Bubble Project & Obey Giant

I love grass roots arts movements (all area of the arts too). Click the above pics for two of my favorite music related pieces. Visit TheBubbleProject for more information on this movement.

Have you seen this man in your city before?

Part of the reason for this post is to illustrate the point that art does not have to be mainstreamed to be successful and impacting. Part of my current struggle with my music career is fighting the temptations which encourage me to just go the mainstream root before self-discovery. There is something that is very alluring and even satisfying, at least temporarily, about pop culture - above all else its entertaining. But what we all know - even if it's just deep down- that we value our individuality because it is so necessary to our self-preservation. Both of the projects highlighted here are the result of individuality manifested. It's neither obscure nor is it unrelateable. Unfortunately, in our corporate society, we are lead to understand our opinions most often through saturated images and commentary propogated in the media. When I am told that a song form is not conventional, what I am being told is that it's not commercial. But then I look at someone like Lauryn Hill or even the birth of jazz or hip-hop and see that none of these were initially commercial but were special enough to appeal to the masses - And I have only to conclude that there is space for what I create too.

*You can't learn from a pundit any more than has already been learned. He does not create - he reguritates.*

"I don't want to one-dimensional. And just because I sing soul, I don't want to be

"I don't wann be"
Written by: Elle B.
(c) Apostrophe Music Licensing and Publishing 2005

I Ain't Even Got Started Yet...

and there are already road blocks. It has been, what, six months (if that) since starting this project and I am already running into road blocks. This Thanksgiving has been very disappointing. I have yet to receive "Joseph's Song" from The Beatnix (who swears he emailed it to me, but when I asked him about the other track that I sent him, he told he that he hadn't yet checked his email..right). In August, DJ OK and I recorded Ain't Gonna Cry. He told me then that I should give him 3 weeks before it'll be mixed because he was working a demo to submit to BMG publishing. I was patient and three weeks have come and gone. I don't have to tell you what day it is, but I just got the "mixed" version last night. He left parts of the track unfinished because he wanted my opinion - when I listened to the track first round - I almost cried from disappointment. It's not great. I think I waited long enough for GREAT! And really, this is the track, I am supposed to put on MySpace and here at Elle B.-dom. But I can't post this song because first impression are priceless and can never be given back. I am most disappointed by what seems to be a lack of integrity to this project, which I think have roots in something completely different. On more than one occassion DJ OK has told me that "he needs to make money" and that I can't understand cus I already "have a job." Well yes, but please don't give me an expected delivery date and miss it by months. That's not professional. And as if being in school is so much more difficult than sitting in a cubicle for 40 hours a week and then working until 1am several times a week isn't taxing. It's not that I am unsympathetic, because I just graduated and like my producers, I am trying to make a living from my music. But I cannot tolerate excuses that become Monkeys on My Back when we are supposed to be working together. What I am realizing is that no matter how much I want to "work" with my producers on the come up, until I pay them for a project from start to finish, I'll just be an acquaitance. I am not the client - as such deadlines nor quality of work apply to me.

Extremely talented. Really good people. My producers are both of these things. But for Christ sake, can we get it together.

*I apologize for the rant...but this is part of the trip*

I Might Be...

...too lazy to post this weekend, but not too lazy to share.

"When you stayed in the sun too long
even the sun has to move one"

Bilal is in the studio working on his sophomore follow-up to 1st Born Second. I was blessed with an unreleased copy today by one of my producers, Tuna Butter, who's got the hook up from *somebody who know's somebody, who know worked for somebody* Well you get the point.

I saw Bilal when I had just turned 18 in Hollywood at the Knitting Factory. Jaguar Wright opened for him.

Great show.

Nonetheless, Bilal, has some great songs from 1st Born Second. My three favorites (in this order): Love Poems *the story of me & my first love*, Sometimes *classic song*, and Why Don't You Call *well done Prince cover, also attempted by Alicia Keys*

Who knows the future of this project or the anticipated release date. As such, divulging too much information on the project might be a little pre-mature. (read: I'ont wanna hype it and it never get released) However, this unreleased blessing will be worth the wait. My favorite song *cus you know I always have one* is (relative)Track #7. I'd like to share.

This is my favorite so far for creativity of the track *you'll understand when you hear it* and the lyrical content.

"blind but a man must move one
No time for regrets, who lives in rehearse?
Rehears the time you were here
through other ladies I drove myself crazy"

Track #7, Bilal
Click Here to Download

*I am thankful for music this Thanksgiving*

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thank You Mary

I know today is when I'd usually do a Hall of Fame post, but in lieu, I am instead just gonna share with you this song that reminds me of why I love music and pursuing my music dreams.

From the production to the lyrics and of course, you know, I am all about delivery. This song is amazing.

Be Without You
Click to Download

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I Miss It Er' Now & Then....

College, that is. Some memorable moments to share - since I am breaking for Thanksgiving.

Black Alumni Awards Afterparty
Elle, Sem and Bia

BSA Mahogany Awards 2005
Kemi, Crystal, Elle, Fallyn, Meh and DoniaBlack Women Investing
End of the Year Banquet
Founding Members, 2005

Graduation Day
May 13, 2005
Black and Gold Pageant
Sophomore Year

Jen's Baby Shower
Elle, Meh, Sophia & Bia

The Ladies of Troy
The Room: Santa Monica
Meh, Bia, Elle, Lanita and Meh's Homegirl

Studying... in club Leavy
Bia and Elle

The Gang @ Joseph's
Naima, Erin, Sem, Elle & Meh

Vegas Vacation w/
Mike and Dave from Hotlanta!
Mike, Sem, Elle & Dave

Breakfast @ Tiffany's Anyone?
Steph's 21st Bday
Steph, Sem & Elle

So, that's enough of memory lane.

Happy Thanksgiving People!

It's Likely That I'm Wrong...

But I have no interest in sending songs that I wrote from personal experiences to A&R reps for newly signed talent, here's why:

1. I don't think that another person can sing with the same vain of emotion that I intended the song to have. It takes experience to really connect with the lyrics.

2. If the songs that I intended to write for my own album are being sung by artists now, then how would I expect to stand out from the rest?

Reason this came up: I mentioned in my last Quick and Dirty post that DJ OK asked me to write a "hit song" *yeah, I was thinking the same thing* for this Atlantic artist name Geannie. I wrote something that I thought was good, but what hit song is crafted in less than 48 hours *4 of which were spent on an SC game, 4 were spent clubbin', 4 were spent shopping...and then there was sleep* ? Anyways, when I get to his house on Sunday night, he says he doesn't like the hook. It's not "fire" or whatever. I'm like, okay *slightly perturbed, as well*

Today he asks me if I would be interested in sending any of the 3 songs I've written for my release. The thing is, the A&R people are looking for music for their artists. Hell.To.The.Naw.
They can have what I write for demos and money-making purposes, but not what I've written based off of what I've lived through for the above mentioned reasons.

What do you think?
Let me know in the comments.

*I'll be waiting*

In Career News...

It's a Wrap, Folks...My next performance is:

Elevated Entertainment
2nd Annual Holiday Party
Hollywood, CA

More details to come soon.
If you are in the LA area, hit me up
I wanna see you there!

*Oh yea and I'm popping that champagne open too. Why not?*

From Friday Night.

Wish I had a full pic of the fit, but this'll do. We had fun at Level 3.

*Click to enlarge*

My boi think he's a pimp...see that smile?
Could just be the alcohol tho...

Monday, November 21, 2005

"A Great Day..." in Hip Hop?


According to MTV, this is too.

*Personally, I doubt it. The article almost reads like a mockery too*

P.S. Thanks to SM Harris for bringing the story to my attention.
P.S.S. And Where's Outkast?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Reason #503 Why I Don't Do Reality TV...

Almost without fail after a performance someone asks me... "Have you ever tried out for American Idol?" I say no. I think it's like the gong show: farcical and fixed. Additionally, I think shows like American Idol are great for people who need the exposure because they aren't geographically located in the traditional entertaiment markets, LA, NYC, ATL, Nashville. For that, I do not knock the programming and certainly not the millions of viewers who watch and vote. But the media circus and sub-par careers that are born out of talent themed Reality Shows *and it's safe to say reality TV shows in general* would be the worse career move I could make.

The problem I have with reality tv "star search" themed shows are they are counter-productive to a persons career. Most people start there because their careers would have never happened otherwise. Please don't misread me, I am not trying to be over critical of the choices that people have made, but I just need to illustrate my point before I go one.

Brittany from BET's College Hill, now "modeling."

Malika from Diddy's MTB 3. *Not Sure What She's Doing*

Toccara from Tyra's America's Next Top Model *I guess she's modeling too...*

Babs from Diddy's Making the Band 2 *She's signed but where is her album?*

3 of the 4 above mentioned were casted on reality TV shows for their "talent." There is nothing new about female celebrities posing for sexy magazines, King and XXL are two that come to mind. However, for former cast members of reality series this seems to be the transitional occupation. I don't know how it'll help their careers - as I mentioned earlier I think its counterproductive. Reality tv has created a genre of "below b-list" celebrities. Because they are forced to become "caricatures" of personalities on their shows, noone has the chance to really see what they have to offer, even if they are talented.

And what are our opinions about these personalities? They are entertaining on the show because it's contained drama. But don't we wince a little when we see pictures like the ones above? I do. I'm not knocking XXL or King, but what does posing in your lingerie have to do with a singing career, especially when you're not signed. I honestly think it makes it more difficult for serious artists because the bar is lowered - as if men are gonna buy my record cus I got a big booty. Like they said, why buy the cow when your giving the milk away for me. Why buy the record when all they really wanna see is another video chick?

Another illustration from a personal experience:

At the beginning of sophomore year, I auditioned for Diddy's Making The Band. A brief re-cap of my experience.

- Stood in line for 1.5 hours at the Hollywood Athletic club
-Had some whack group interview where the show producers attempted to decide who's personality would stand out.
-Auditioned with "America the Beautiful" for the judges. They let me get through my entire song - which is much farther than they let the 10 ppl ahead of me go.
-After my audition, some nice lady told me they'd keep my application on file and took my picture. She said that I may not be what they are looking for, but the Bunin-Murray team do a lot of shows where I might be better suited.

I didn't get called to be on show *but then again I kinda figured that would be the outcome* After seeing MTB, I knew why I didn't get called. To them I woulda been Ms Prim and Proper (read: not HOOD enuf). I am the No Drama kinda chick. It's alright though, cus I wasn't trying to get caught up with controlling-on the verge of abusive husbands, court dates, set-ups with Juvenile or the sort. Instead, I finished out college.

I wonder what'll happen to all the other girls on this cycle of MTB.

REASON #503 Why I Don't Do Reality TV... You have to pimp yourself out to miniscule publicity ploys for the public to continue to notice you.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Quick and Dirty...

Weekend Edition:

Friday was a great day. Here's why:

- DJ OK called to tell me that I have the opportunity to submit a song or two to A&R reps at Atlantic Records for some new RnB act, name Jenny (sp?). The only drawback is that I have to have something ready for Monday. So once I finish this post, I am going to start writing and tomorrow I have to record the scratch vocals. The reps are looking for complete songs because this girl doesn't write. *I hope to hell she can sang*

- Payday, Bitches. I got my first official paycheck from my new position in the bank. It was nice. I bought the flyest pair of brown Peter Pan boots. I'd link up a pic, then that might be a little self indulgent. *Probably not more indulgent that what I spent on said boots*

-Level 3 (EJ and AC's Bday Bash) - Last night, the girls and I, went to Level 3 @ Hollywood and Highland to celebrate the birthdays of two of our homies. Freshman year, we all lived together on Somerville Place (read: the Black floor). There is too much to write in a Quick and Dirty Post, but I'll consider a re-cap for Monday's post.


- Writing for Jenny
-Watching the SC vs. Fresno State game at EJ's spot.

Other Random Career Notes:
- SM Harris Media has created the place holder page for while it's under construction *now if only I could find a websdesigner that I liked*
- Angel La. over at Concrete Loop is a graphic designer. Peep I was really impressed with her work and look to work with her on my branding. She's gonna work with my tat to create a logo *read the details on my vision*.

*In honor my life right now, I leave with this quote: "I'm young, I'm single and I love to mingle" (c) Leroy, Fame: The Movie (1980)

Friday, November 18, 2005

If Only I Didn't Have To Work...

Since I'm not doing a REAL post today, I'll give a shout out to my favorite blogs instead. I find myself at work saying "I wish I didn't have to work..." cus then, I'd crawl the blogsphere, read and comment for hours. Thank God I have to work, otherwise, mines would be a life wasted away. But people have so much to say. Here is a re-cap (short for recapitulation, did you know that?)

The Cynical Ones: Although I blogged for a brief moment in 2004, The Cynical Ones really brought me back to this culture. One of my favorite people in the world, Mike is an aspiring author and journalist. He writes about whatever is on his heart (for the most part) which tends to be Beyonce "Bouncy" Knowles (read: entertainment), Bill O'Reilly (read: politics), HU (reads: the 'goings-on' in his life). And when he updates it (yeah Mike I called you's all love though), I always leave smiling and thinking "Him, gon' be famous one day." Simply put: Great Writing.

Crunk and Disorderly: This site is what someone called "Us Weekly for Negras." A Black pop culture site. See photos, read quotes and laugh your azz off at what Fresh (the creator) and all the visitors have to say in the comments. It's also a great site to find out about new blogs.

Just Another Girl on the IRT: I love this blog for the same reason I love Mike's blog. The writing is incredible. TriniPrincess writes so eloquently, that I catch myself wondering how someone can be so brilliant. If you know me (and it's not likely you do), then you'll know that I love words. And so by extension, I am blown away by people who are true wordsmiths. Just Another Girl writes about contemporary issues, entertainment, corporate life, self (perception & preservation), literature, sports and more - It's a life Blog. Must Read.

Concrete Loop: Another site I can't live without. It's a Black pop culture blog married with dope web design. Certainly a destination, not a pit-stop. Plus Angel La. the author shows lots of love to fellow bloggers. She's mos def coming up on the scene.

Beautiful Hustle: The originator of "Hoe Sit Down," Beautiful Hustle is an amazing site for web design and very opinionated insight on Hip-Hop today.

In Search of Rellevance:I'd always seen this link on other blogs that I frequent and I thought the name was clever (the name is 95% why I go a blog in the first place), but I never clicked. However, once I did - it was a wrap. In Search of Rellevance, was created by Sherrell, hence the play on words, a graduate student in NC. I like this blog because the topics are always intersting and as much as I love gossip about my favorite celebs, sometimes I need a dose of politics, sports (he does this weekly Heisman watch) and just about anything he or any of the contributors care to discuss. On this blog I feel like I am just kicking in on the steps in front of Commons shooting the breeze like I did when I was in undergrad.

*And that's it...*

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Elle B's Hall of Fame: Tony Toni Tone

As I mentioned on my "Don't Sleep On..." post last week, Teedra Moses was a hint for this week's Hall of Fame inductee here at Elle B-dom. She's been featured on Raphael Saadiq's As Ray Ray release.

As a bona fide child of the 90s, Tony Toni Tone was as essential as breathing. They hail from my mother's hometown, Oakland, California but resound all over the globe for telling folks "It Never't Rains In Southern California."

*I'm still telling fools, man, they were from the does rain in LA*

Cuts like "Anniversary" or "It Feels Good" only touch the tip of the iceberg in terms of Tony Toni Tone's hits. Does "Slow Wine" or "Lay Your Head on My Pillow" meaning anything to anyone, but me? I should hope so.

This entry into the Hall of Fame is unlike the previous posts. When I listen to their music I have no choice but to reminisce. In the early 1990s I was still a prepubescent darling, but dammit I was singing Tony Toni Tone songs *along with En Vouge songs - but that's another Hall of Fame entry* in front of the mirror imagining I had the guts to speak to my crush of the moment. And having music that makes your remember where you were, when you listened to it *not because it preceded your existence, but because it was new to the world when you were also new to the world* has a special affect.

So in homage of Tony Toni Toni, I'd like for you all to comment on your favorite songs and memories if you've got any...

*I'll be waiting*

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I Wanna Be Fabulous When I Grow Up...

Since I was working on new music last night *Tuesday* I missed the Vibe Awards. It wasn't until 9:30p did I realize that I had forgotten to call my roomate(s) to have it recorded, but I figured that my current blog diet (peep the links on the right) should keep me pretty well informed. Well much to my surprise, B-Money, taped the show for me. As a kid, I loved to dad would always let me stay up late to watch the music award shows and when I was old enough, and could appreciate it, he'd always make sure I caught the music acts on SNL *when he thought they were worthy of watching*. As a result, I am trained to watch music award shows and any televised music performances, regardless of how they start, continue or end. As such, I found myself parked in front of the TV despite what my blogging colleagues had to write about the show, although it was mostly on fast forward.

As an up and coming artist, I feel as though part of my homework is to keep my thumb on the pulse of the industry (translate, competition). I know that I am considered a nobody (although I'd never tell myself that in front of a mirror), but because music is so corporate successful acts must not only be talented (translated overexposed and well produced) but also unforgettable (translate FABULOUS!). Thus it's important to see who is really gonna last (translate, can command a stage) because they've got that something special or are the product of a corporate machine. *although it often takes a couple of live performances to determine this*

The worst thing to have come out of the Vibe Awards was not the MJB comment about her recent cover, nor was it Mimi Valdez's written response on - it was the show in total. Hence, my inseperable thumb from the fast forward button, stopping only to view performances. However, Vibe did do one thing right - they had great performances! I appreciate their committment to emerging artists, namely Keyshia Cole and that 16 year old...Chris, something or other. As a young artist it's a bit refreshing to watch people at the start of their careers who are getting recognition and support from the industry. Granted, the truly A-List celebs that will be in attendance at the AMAs next Tuesday were likely miles away from the Vibe Awards *which may have something to do with the "newer talent" showcased*, but still and yet, it was refreshing.

And like bball players have hoop dreams, I too have my dream. Ever since I was a little girl, I've always watched these shows with that twinkle in my eye, the way hoopers watch the playoffs - it's the ONE DAY syndrome. And for that reason, they spend hours on the court by themselves practicing that left handed layup or their version of the Iverson crossover *didn't that just take you back?* I can spend 8 hour days in a cubicle and leave the office only to spend another 8 hours in a studio - because music is my real career. And watching new talent being recognized at the award shows is like seeing your most favored rookie's numbers at the end of his first year - I always hope that my favorite singer will continue to ascend the charts and gain greater recognition because that leaves that hope that, I too, can - and shall - ascend just the same.

I am not disillusioned either by the "grounders." You know the people who make it their business to keep you grounded in your "hoop" dreams. DJ OK and I have the ongoing conversation about how long it's going to take before I start seeing things happening in my career. I know it won't happen over night - but then again, I'm not brand new. I made the decision not to pursue my career at 17 and go to college. And it was a serious decision considering the fact that I'd already auditioned for YabYum Records, Electra Records and Island Def Jam Records and was singing all over the Southern California region on a regular basis.

I could be ignorantly optimistic *and if I am, I prefer that to hopelessly doubtful* but the grounders can only say, what? but good luck. Unlike HS hoop dreamers, I've already got my insurance policy - a college degree *and currently enrolled in an LSAT course, just in case* with a secure job and benefits at 22. And although I know I am just a rookie in the game, I am cool with being the "bright eyed and bushy tailed" newcomer cus I've only just begun.

Everday, I think about my next step, my next move, my strategy...and it's nothing but exciting. Seeing award shows like Vibe or the AMAs or the Grammy's...or hell, even the Patti LaBelle special last week, keeps me energized. I love singing. I love the music that I make. I love performing. I am a hard worker. I am eager to face the road ahead of me.

And I know that I am gonna be FABULOUS (translate unforgettable) when I grow up.

*Working on "About Us" the new track. Still waiting to get the mixed of "Joseph's Song" to share on the site.*

Jesus Juice?

We've all heard Michael say it, but the two who are actually trying to market this product should actually be the ones sent to jail.

Not.Okay. (peep the link)

*Thanks to H.I.M. Your Ego for bringing this to my attention*

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

And In Career News....

No news is usually good news, but I've been on a long tangent lately because nothing extraordinary has happened in my career as of late.

I can say that everything is going as scheduled. Me and DJ OK are finally getting together this evening to work on some new tracks. With any luck, we'll finish the mix down of Ain't Gonna Cry, re-record For My Girls and start a new track. I wrote a new joint last night entitled "About You." If you want a reference for the subject topic, peep this entry.

Next week, Tuna Butter and I are in pre-production on "What's The Difference." I think this song is going to be exceptional because of the subject it addresses. You can't guess from the title, so you'll just have to wait for the EP.

Also, I've been feeling somewhat anxious in my new position. Since my music career is my first priority, all of my decisions preferential to its advancement. I am worried that once I get management and as opportunities rise, I'll have to quit. Normally, that would be a "Hallelujah" day, but I really enjoy what I do and the people I work for. So to my relief, my boss, whom I adore, told me that I need to make sure I give her sufficient time when I am ready to move on. She understands that I am heading elsewhere - what a load off.

Finally - "Joseph's Song" is mixed. I should be getting a copy of it tonight and hopefully I can give yall a taste tomorrow here at Elle B: Diva In Training. *But that all depends on whether I like the finished product* What kind artist would I be if I didn't have discriminating tastes?

A few come to mind...but I'll stop here. Noone needs a hater.


A Real Desperate Housewife....

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Lunacy of Email Macking

In the digital age there are many ways for lonely hearts to find companionship. Conventionally meeting someone in a bar has been replaced by chatrooms and websites, like Friendster, MySpace, TheFacebook which are little more than cespools of horny people trying to find someone who will join them in whatever it is they are looking for. And there are the explicit online dating communities like eHarmony or or Lavalife whose sole purpose is to match up "person looking for." The options are endless. I myself prefer the face to face connection that can only happen - well face to face. In a bar, at the bookstore, at a get together of a mutual friend. Call me old fashion. And well, I just have an aversion to cyber dating. I did the high school chat thing - where I lucked out -because me "friend" was actually who he said he was. Another 14 year old in Los Angeles with a similar background. On the chance that I didn't meet a weirdo, it also turned out that we ended up meeting each other in person, at my Aunt's wedding reception. His mother at the time was dating my cousin (my aunt's son) and as a result he ended up with an invite to the affair. We fell out of contact a short while later...had something to do with internet access and my parent's fear that I would meet some weirdo online. But since then, I've given it up - no more chat room pimping for me.

More recently, I've been engrossed in the phenomenon that is An online community that connects college coeds (and now hs students) through a social network of friends, classes and other random things. On this Facebook contraption is the ability to send private messages to people in your network...or more commonly, by chance view a picture of a cute him/her in someone else's friend "network" and begin to harrass, I mean, try to get know them better. Well I've had the distinct pleasure of becoming a victim of Email Macking one too many times. For the guys who live in Ohio or Nebraska or Georgia or someplace like that...they have no choice but to send a message. I typically don't respond to unsolicited messages that start out with "Girl, you looking good, can I call you sometime..." Um, no. But for the guy who I go to school with (used to anyways, now that I've graduated), and see at any "Black" event, who prefers to ask me out via "email" on is a definite no no. There was one particular fellow who is "Greek" and fancies the Krimson and Kreme *cough* who at a step show gave me a carnation in KAPsi fashion right in front of my boyfriend (ex) - who fancies the Black and Gold. Not too much later...with all the audacity to make a public display on the "yard" he decided to ask me out on the facebook. Not once, or twice, or even three times. But 4 times - when I still was with my *ex*boo. I never responded to him, because well Kappas aren't really my style you see. But what's more I am the loyal type, so no stepping *pun intended* out on my boo. But more fundamentally, i'ont respond to EMAIL MACKING. Here are a couple of reason why you shouldn't either:

1. EMAIL MACKING (esp through a PM) requires no effort, but the calories expended to write the message. And since most of them are not original, no brain power is used to type a heart felt message. Who knows how many he's sending that day.
2. EMAIL MACKING shows a lack of tenacity. See, either the sender is lazy or lacks confidence. And unless you like the I'm-Not-A-Go-Getter type...a response to this kind of message is telling him that you are fine with a McDonald's dinner and paying your own way into a movie.
3. EMAIL MACKING will finish how you start....An email for why the date was cancellled, an email on why he can't call you *My Minutes - what about my internet bill?* or a email message telling you why he's upset *assuming you get far enough into a relationship that there is a fight/disagreement involved* or the email on why things are not working out. If you treasure human contact or even appreciate the timbre in a human voice - avoid EMAIL MACKING, because it'll leave you doomed to your inbox.

I guess you may be wondering what prompted this post...I was in the grocery store buying my sick roomate some Ginger Ale. As I walk into the store this man passes me and whispers in my ear..."you're beautiful." Since we both were in motion and I could feign deafness. because there was no evident connection between my ear and his words, I ignore it. Not that I'm mean, but the brotha had finger waves and was wearing a bright red button down shirt that looked like it came from Rick James' closet. So I proceed to the Soft Drink Section and find the bottle on sale *$.99..."yesss!" (c) Napolean Dynamite* and steadily make my way to the checkout. The Express Lane is slow as hell, so I delve back into the new novel that I am reading. When I look up to see that an even longer line has amassed behind me, I am instantly irritated by the fact that Da Bishop's Magic Don Juan's brother, Rickety James. is standing in line right behind me. I try to act like I don't see him standing there, but he catches my eye and remarks "must be a good book." I reply "yes" and go back into "reading." By the time the clerk is scanning my ONE item, my not-conversation with Rickety James has escalated against my will:

RJ "What industry are you in?
Elle B "Banking"
RJ"You look like you'd be in the arts"
Elle B."No"
*ha, lucky guess guy I think as I give him this look like please back away*
RJ"Just Kidding*pause*You look like you could be a model...You have the height for it"
Elle B *not sure what to say* "Thank You"
RJ"I Put on shows twice a year to support a youth organization"
Elle B *I say nothing-----pulling the money out of my pocket to expedite this trip*
RJ*opening his wallet "I don't have any cards on me"
Elle B*Great, so this will minimize the risk of accidently touching you as I politely take a "business" card from you*
RJ*as I am walking away now* "So what do you think?"
Elle B."I'm not really interested in modeling, thank you tho'"
RJ" How about I give you my email?"
Elle B"UGH......"

Rickety James wasn't gonna stop until I was out of site. I was actually happy that the clerk was slow in checking people out because I could increase the distance between me and this man. And his EMAIL MACKING attempt. And this is what prompted the above post. Based on my responses, he knew that I would never take his number, nor could he successfully attain mines. The default is email. If you've ever been a victim of EMAIL MACKING you've noticed, there is something about email that make MACKING seem simpler. It carries the hope that somehow the senders' words will be charming enough to negate all of the things this person would be avoided for were you to meet them in person. My KAPsi guy knew he didn't have a chance because I was in a relationship, so he EMAIL MACKED instead. And Rickety James thought I might succumb to his petition were he to give me his email instead of asking for my number or other contact information. Either way, when EMAIL MACKING is attempted attempted avoid it at all costs, because whoever it is that is vying for you attention, is probably just the person you'd reject in person.

Have you been EMAIL MACKED before?
Are you an EMAIL MACKER?

*Have a good day*

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Quick and Dirty....

Just a Quick and Dirty weekend update

Friday was a day off from work - besides waking up to a cold setting in, I spent the majority of my day recording "Joseph's Song." Once I get the track mixed down, I'll post it online for your listening pleasure later on this week.

BTW, remember to peep the video of the show linked on the right. The video is about 19 minutes, so take a look when you've got a free moment.

I'ont know when it happened, but Elle B: Diva In Training has been seeing a spike in visits. Let's keep em' coming folks. And please remeber to comment.

Other than that, I've been trying to nurse myself back to health. I only get sick once every few years. Last time I was this ill, was Freshman year of college and I had the flu. I have my roomate to thank for this one, although, it's not too bad.

*And I know I'm late, but I do everything in my own time, I've finally got around to listening to Keyshia Cole's debut and it's pretty decent.*

Friday, November 11, 2005

Favorite Pic of the Week


This is probably just a really good Photoshop project, but it's still funny as hell. I don't make it a point to dis other artists on my site, cus it goes both ways *pun intended* but 50 cent consistently rubs me the wrong way.

Peep the pose too, Gorilla Unit? Wow. Too Much.

*Recording Joseph's Song today with the Beatnix*

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Don't Sleep On...

Today's post is the first of a new installment here at Elle B:Diva In Training. It's called the "Don't Sleep On" post. I have not decided how frequently I am going to do this type of post - ideally, it would be once a week, or twice a month - but to be honest, I don't always have my thumb on the pulse with sitting in a cubicle all day and having a computer that is allergic to the internet. However, this post will include all types of talent, signed/unsigned, big or small - I guess it'll depend on what I think is noteworthy, which is all subjective anyways. If you've got some suggestions on artists/songs/albums that should not be slept on - I'm all ears. Just hit me up in the comments section.

Latest Release: Complex Simplicity
Signed by: TVT Records
My Favorite Song: Backstroke
Recently Seen: Cover of Pride Magazine (UK)

*My selection of Teedra Moses is also a clue for next week's Hall of Fame Inductee*

Download Video From the Performance

Peep the link to download video from my first performance October 15, 2005 at the Reconstruction Concert: Benefit the Gulf Coast and Victims of Hurricane Katrina.

*You must have Windows Media Player to view.

Elle B's Hall of Fame: Prince


What can I say about Prince that you don't already know. The man is a GENIUS. I have to pay tribute to Prince for several reasons. The primary reason is PURLE RAIN. Prince's music has been one of basic installations to the soundtrack of my life. He ruled the 80s, I was born in the 80s. But his music transcends. and there is tons of it. Other than jazz musicians, there are few musicians who have created as much music as Prince. My ADORation for Prince has only evolved with my own coming of age. So although I was born in the 80s, I didn't really discover Prince until the late 90s. But as we all look back over our childhoods and reminisce on days longed for, I can remember PURPLE RAIN and ADORE & DIAMONDS AND PEARLS, just to name a few.

My Favorite Prince Songs:
- Darling Nikki
-Pink Cashmere
-Adore Live Extended Version
-Diamonds and Pearls
-Purple Rain
-Raspberry Beret
-Crazy You
-Call My Name
-Do Me, Baby
-How Come You Don't Call
-The Beautiful Ones



Few artists have created a body of work as rich and varied as Prince. During the '80s, he emerged as one of the most singular talents of the rock & roll era, capable of seamlessly tying together pop, funk, folk, and rock. Not only did he release a series of groundbreaking albums, he toured frequently, produced albums and wrote songs for many other artists, and recorded hundreds of songs that still lie unreleased in his vaults. With each album he has released, Prince has shown remarkable stylistic growth and musical diversity, constantly experimenting with different sounds, textures, and genres. Occasionally, his music can be maddeningly inconsistent because of this eclecticism, but his experiments frequently succeed; no other contemporary artist can blend so many diverse styles into a cohesive whole.

Prince's first two albums were solid, if unremarkable, late-'70s funk-pop. With 1980's Dirty Mind, he recorded his first masterpiece, a one-man tour de force of sex and music; it was hard funk, catchy Beatlesque melodies, sweet soul ballads, and rocking guitar pop, all at once. The follow-up, Controversy, was more of the same, but 1999 was brilliant. The album was a monster hit, selling over three million copies, but it was nothing compared to 1984's Purple Rain.

Purple Rain made Prince a superstar; it eventually sold over ten million copies in the U.S. and spent 24 weeks at number one. Partially recorded with his touring band the Revolution, the record featured the most pop-oriented music he has ever made. Instead of continuing in this accessible direction, he veered off into the bizarre psycho-psychedelia of Around the World in a Day (1985), which nevertheless sold over two million copies. In 1986, he released the even stranger Parade, which was in its own way was as ambitious and intricate as any art rock of the '60s; however, no art rock was ever grounded with a hit as brilliant as the spare funk of "Kiss."

By 1987, Prince's ambitions were growing by leaps and bounds, resulting in the sprawling masterpiece Sign o' the Times. Prince was set to release the hard funk of The Black Album by the end of the year, yet he withdrew it just before its release, deciding it was too dark and immoral. Instead, he released the confused Lovesexy in 1988, which was a commercial disaster. With the soundtrack to 1989's Batman he returned to the top of the charts, even if the album was essentially a recap of everything he had done before. The following year he released Graffiti Bridge, the sequel to Purple Rain, which turned out to be a considerable commercial disappointment.

In 1991, Prince formed the New Power Generation, the best and most versatile and talented band he has ever assembled. With their first album, Diamonds and Pearls, Prince reasserted his mastery of contemporary R&B; it was his biggest hit since 1985. The following year, he released his 12th album, which was titled with a cryptic symbol; in 1993, Prince legally changed his name to the symbol. In 1994, after becoming embroiled in contract disagreements with Warner Bros., he independently released the single "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," likely to illustrate what he would be capable of on his own; the song became his biggest hit in years. Later that summer, Warner released the somewhat halfhearted Come under the name of Prince; the record was a moderate success, going gold.

In November 1994, as part of a contractual obligation, Prince agreed to the official release of The Black Album. In early 1995, he immersed himself in another legal battle with Warner, proclaiming himself a slave and refusing to deliver his new record, The Gold Experience, for release. By the end of the summer, a fed-up Warner had negotiated a compromise which guaranteed the album's release, plus one final record for the label. The Gold Experience was issued in the fall; although it received good reviews and was following a smash single, it failed to catch fire commercially. In the summer of 1996, Prince released Chaos & Disorder, which freed him to become an independent artist. Setting up his own label, NPG (which was distributed by EMI), he resurfaced later that same year with the three-disc Emancipation, which was designed as a magnum opus that would spin off singles for several years and be supported with several tours. However, even his devoted cult following needed considerable time to digest such an enormous compilation of songs. Once it was clear that Emancipation wasn't the commercial blockbuster he hoped it would be, Prince assembled a long-awaited collection of outtakes and unreleased material called Crystal Ball in 1998. With Crystal Ball, Prince discovered that it's much more difficult to get records to an audience than it seems; some fans who pre-ordered their copies through Prince's website (from which a bonus fifth disc was included) didn't receive them until months after the set began appearing in stores. Prince then released a new one-man album, New Power Soul, just three months after Crystal Ball; even though it was his most straightforward album since Diamonds and Pearls, it didn't do well on the charts, partly because many listeners didn't realize it had been released.

A year later, with "1999" predictably an end-of-the-millennium anthem, Prince issued the remix collection 1999 (The New Master). A collection of Warner Bros.-era leftovers, Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale, followed that summer, and in the fall Prince returned on Arista with the all-star Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic.

In the Fall of 2001 he released the controversial Rainbow Children, a jazz-infused circus of sound trumpeting his conversion to the Jehovah's Witnesses that left many long time fans out in the cold. He further isolated himself with 2003's N.E.W.S., a four-song set of instrumental jams that sounded a lot more fun to play than to listen to. Prince re-bounded in 2003 with the chart-topping Musicology, a return to form that found the artist back in the top ten, even garnering a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 2005

One More 'Gain for Mario

Okay so I won't beat the dead horse, but I will give Mario kudos one more time for his performance on the Patti LaBelle "Star Studded" special featuring, Ashanti, Nelly and Kelly *cough* It was at this moment of Mario's performance, when he got down on his knees that I became a bona fide fan. It was so Gerald Levert-esque...who was also in attendance and was less than Gerald Levert-esque. *Sighing in sadness*

But alas, this blog is supposed to be about my career, so I'll leave the Mario thing alone - until he does something else that has me raising up shouting at the TV, "You Better Get it Boi."

*Until next time. Ciao.*

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Quick and Dirty...

Before I begin: I want to give KUDOS to Mario for his performance of "Somebody Loves You Baby" on the Patti LaBelle special on UBN *(c) Little Brother's The Minstrel Show*. The industry is sleeping on this young man - he's got something special. Considering the lackluster performances of the other younger talent who performed, I truly had to question why he isn't more popular/successful. I am wishing him the best and hope he gets it.

Check out his latest video: Boom

*I am mos def a Mario fan and proud of it*


Today is promising to be a very busy day at work, but I have to post because I missed yesterday. Here are the highlights Quick and Dirty:

- Elevated Annual Holiday Party @ the Garden of Eden: Although its not set in stone yet, I may have the opportunity to perform on 12/16. In anticiaption of a confirmation, details have already been decided on the wardrobe (mod sweater dress and boots) and show (Elle B. singing to tracks and DJ OK scratching) and songs (Ain't Gonna Cry, Despite What They Say and Joseph's Song). Crazy!

- Budget decisions for the EP Release: Since I don't want to break the bank on the EP release when I expect to release the album 3-4 mo. later, GV and I did some research to figure out how we can keep costs low for the packaging and still have a dope product. We decided: Bulk pressed CD with 3-color printing on top, white cardboard sleeves with the Elle B. sticker on the front. I know it sounds cheap, but we decided that people are more likely to keep the CD over a cardboard sleeve - so why pay that much for packaging.

- Logo Design: I decided that Elle B. will have a will be my tattoo. A Treble Clef with a butterfly sitting on top. It's really cute and I always get compliments on it (when ppl get over the fact that I have a tattoo in the first place.) I'm gonna get a necklace made of the logo as well for the album cover. If my tattoo's tranfer to "bling" aka jewlery, I'll think about other ways to create Elle B. Merchandising opps. *People this is a business and I am a business woman*

- The Beatnix and Me: Me and AS of the Beatnix are meeting on Friday to do Joseph's song. I can't wait!

- DJ OK and Elle B.: We are scheduled to do an all day Sunday session. We've not created any new music since before the show. I am feenin' to get back on the project especially since I've been moving forward with all of the business stuff.

- DJ OK, Snugg & Blue Cantrell: DJ OK and his partner Snuff have been working on some new RnB tracks for Blue Cantrell...there is a possibility that I may also get in on this gig if I write to the tracks they submit. I think she's looking for completed songs, so I'd be writing the lyrics and singing on the demo. *Cool*

- Elle B andn Tuna Butter: A few weeks and counting until Thanksgiving break (still on that collegiate calendar), when Tim comes back from Berkelee and we can get the pre-production track for "What's The Difference"

- New Sh*it, New Sh*t: Started on a new song last night...although I only have the first verse, I really think it's gonna be a good song. I don't think I'll have a hook until I have a track, but I am gonna work on an outline tonight.

- Crate and Barrel for the Holidays: I'm applying to Crate and Barrel at the Grove today for a holiday gig. Granted I just got hired full time at the bank and I make a great salary - but I've not received my first paycheck yet and my apartment is still close to pretty freaking empty. I can put away some extra money in savings, have that necklace made, get the EP and website done and pay for all the costs of adulthood. I'ont mind working on weekends either, it's LA and there are so many new people to meet.

- Link for Video: Hopefull, I will have a link to download video of my show soon. I can't quite figure out how to embed it on my blog yet, so if I have some free time to day, I'll zip it and add a Quick Dump link.

That's it for now...more rants to come later.