All posts by John Morrison

Regarding Chris Cornell

I had the chance to see Audioslave live in concert right after their first album was released. They were incredible.

I can’t say I was ever the biggest Soundgarden fan but ‘Blackhole Sun,’ ‘Spoonman,’ ‘Ty Cobb,’ and ‘Rusty Cage’ are all songs I’ve LOVED at different points. The Johnny Cash cover of ‘Rusty Cage’ is perhaps one of the most underrated tracks of the American Recordings sessions with Rick Rubin. Looking through their catalogue today I was taken aback by really how much of it I knew and loved already.

I can’t say I ever knew all that much about Chris Cornell. I never really felt the need to make a point to. That said I always admired his talent and passion. His artistry, his craft, and his ability to capture emotion both lyrically and aurally.

I can’t help but think of my friend Matt Ryd at times like these. Matt was a good friend and a talented musician. Unfortunately we lost him to suicide a few years ago as well. I feel like he’d have a lot of say on this topic.

I’ve seen people on Twitter say “Chris somehow didn’t know how much people loved him.” And while I appreciate the sentiment, that irks me.

We don’t know Chris’ struggle, but I do know that depression is a cruel master. Yes, support and love and care can help, definitely, but it’s not that simple. Matt always used to say that he couldn’t kill himself because he couldn’t do that to the people who loved him. He knew he was loved and yet, here we are.  The whole world can love you and you can still hate yourself, or face crippling anxiety. Many “normal” people do.

This moment, while we mourn Chris, it isn’t just an opportunity to share the suicide hotline number (1-800-273-8255). That is good, that does help, but we should talk about mental illness in the open.

We need to stop stigmatizing it. We need to treat it as any other illness. As my friend Katherine put it:

Yeah, it’s like saying someone who died of cancer didn’t know how loved they were. It doesn’t have a direct correlation to the disease.

We can start de-stigmatizing by stopping using terms like “crazy” and “psycho” offhandedly to dismiss things we disagree with. And more importantly, those of us who can need to start talking about our own struggles. Not for attention or pity, but to normalize it, to remove the shame for others.

That said:

I suffer from anxiety and it’s fucked up my life pretty hard at times. I used to have full blown panic attacks and shut down. They are less common now, but it’s taken a lot of work for me to get here, and I still have a lot of work to do still.

One of the biggest things that has helped has been talking about it. In talking to friends about it, I’ve had more and more people tell me about their own struggles.

That’s the key:

You are not alone. There is no “normal.” Even the most “together” people in the world have stuff they suffer from. They just hide it because of fear or shame and the stigma associated.

We need to defeat that stigma.

This is literally a matter of life and death for someone you love.

Speak up.

Thanks.

‘The FeverTones’ – ‘Phantom Dreams’ Music Video

A few months ago I did some background extra work in a music video for my friend Sarah Snow’s band ‘The FeverTones.’ Today they released that video. It’s for their song ‘Phantom Dreams’. and not only does the video look amazing but the song is a heck of a jam.

Check out the video below.

The video was shot at ‘Uptown Arcade‘ here in Chicago which is a pretty cool venue with tons of free-play arcade games and a healthy selection of whiskey. Definitely worth a visit some time.

Thoughts on Star Wars Episode II

Watching Star Wars Episode II because I’ve gotten my hopes up too much for Episode VII and need to temper my expectations.


Clever foreshadowing:

Obi-Wan (to Anakin) “Why do I get the feeling you going to be the death of me?”

Wait did I say clever? I meant dumb.


The dog just stepped on the remote changing the input on my TV away from the PS4 playing Episode II. Apparently she doesn’t like it either.


Padmé: Please dont look at me like that

Anakin: Why not?

Padmé: It makes me feel uncomfortable

Anakin then grins like a creep
WTF George‽


Watching this movie you have to feel for Natalie Portman. You can practically feel her frustration with Hayden Christensen’s wooden acting.


What happened to Padmé to crush her self-worth so much that she would settle for a selfish and emotionally abusive misogynist like Anakin‽


Why can Yoda feel Anakin going on a Tuskin Raider killing spree all the way on Tatooine but not detect a Sith Lord sitting across from him?


Anakin comes back to Padmé, confesses Tuskin Raider genocide to her and she’s just like “to be angry is to be human”?

Seriously WTF George‽


If the prequels were never made and you told me they were making 3 Star Wars films with McGregor, Jackson, & Portman I’d be losing my mind.


Remember the rumor that N’Sync were going to be Jedi in Episode II? Honestly, they couldn’t have made the film worse http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2014/04/23/movie-legends-revealed-were-n-sync-members-nearly-jedi-knights/


If the clone troopers are all identical in every way how can some of them have higher ranks than others?

Also who determined their ranks?


The fact that all the Clone Troopers in the final scenes are all digital is just lazy. Men in suits would have looked so much better.


Verdict on Episode II? Mindless dribble with decent action but terrible performances from A-list actors. Should not have been made.


Episode II is not nearly as unwatchable as Episode I. Would let future children watch it.

I’ll die before I willingly watch Episode I again

Life is too short to ever watch Star Wars Episode I again.

Low Hanging Fruits: Apple in 2016 and Beyond

Between the Apple Watch, the iPhone 6S, the new Apple TV, and Apple Music, by all accounts 2015 was a banner year for Apple Inc.

Apple is a company of patterns and progression. As a former retail employee we often knew what was coming next, not due to any insider knowledge, but just due to patterns and understanding how Apple works.

Of course we’ll also get new iPads (spring), iPhones (fall), and Macs (throughout) at some point but I figured those are foregone conclusions.  Sometimes the company will throw a throw a curveball, but based on the way things are going currently here are some things I expect to see from Apple in 2016 and beyond.

Beats by Apple

The first product Beats launched after the Apple purchase was the Beats Solo 2 Wireless, but they were clearly well into development before the purchase took place. Shortly after that Apple began launching new colors of everything to match their iOS devices.

The Beats Pill+ however is different, it seems it’s the first true hardware child of this merger. It still has the look of the Beats brand, but taken to another level of polish that looks to be quite Apple-like. This should be unsurprising since Apple ended the company’s relationship with Ammunition, the design agency responsible for their headphones and the original Beats Pill. There should be little doubt that this product was industrially designed in house by Apple’s teams. Right down to the Lighting port. Little surprise that it’s only available in black and white (for now.)

Expect this trend to continue with new headphone designs in 2016.

Lightning Everywhere

Lighting ports are not just for iOS devices anymore. Almost as an afterthought Apple launched new peripherals before the end of the year. The Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2 and Magic Keyboard. Each of these devices is equipped with an internal rechargeable battery and charges via USB via Lightning cables.  However these were not the first new devices to pull this trick. The new Beats Pill+ speaker launched quietly a few weeks earlier with this feature already in place.

Expect this to continue throughout Apple’s product lines and pop up in some surprising places we haven’t though of yet, like new Beats headphones.  Most of their products today include Micro-USB charging, no doubt Apple will do everything it can to phase that out over the next year.

Refined Apple Watch

To some this may be a foregone conclusion, but there are those who have their doubts. While how much of a success the Apple Watch has been is up for debate, make no mistake, this is no iPod Hi-Fi.  Apple is committed to the Apple Watch and by association the fashion world.

Apple Watch users tend to tell people how much they love theirs (myself included) however many of us like it for different reasons. When people ask about why we love the Watch it’s hard to point to one thing. It’s a platform without a killer app, which makes it hard to sell. Expect Apple work on to changing that both through marketing and through iteration.

I anticipate that by the roll out spring fashion lines Apple will announce a revised Apple Watch. It won’t be radically different, but it will be noticeably more responsive for third party apps and will likely contain new sensors to track health and fitness.

Smarter Maps

Apple took a beating when it launched new Maps in iOS 6 without transit directions. Now Apple has a lot of trust to regain in this field. If the company wishes to succeed in this area it needs to iterate rapidly. The company’s health and fitness focus will likely help it here as well as its ‘proactive’ initiatives. Something we could see is more accurate time estimations on walks from place to place based on our own pacing.

Another area of focus could include bike directions in Apple Maps, which will be especially handy for Apple Watch users who will be able to accurately navigate to their destination via haptics alone without looking at their screen.

New Transit Innovations

Apple wants to be much more involved in how you get from place to place. Sure we’ve all heard rumors about a car, but if that is coming, it’s not going to be in the short term.

The expansion of ApplePay, and with it NFC chips, raises some interesting possibilities about how you get around town. Chicago, Tokyo, London and other cities already use some form of radio frequencies for mass transit payment systems and the movement is towards NFC. New York City is planning to switch to a similar system as well. This is good news for all involved.

Expect Apple to start making deals, especially if it designs its own radio chips, that allows the company to make future iPhones and Apple Watches that work as your monthly transit pass. Coming that much closer to fulfilling the digital wallet ideal.

I can’t say I expect all of these things to happen in 2016 but I do believe they’re all inevitable. I look forward to what the future has in store.