Well, I decided to mke2fs the damn thing.. Apparently, something exploded on my hard drive and threw random bits everywhere. I wrote a tiny program to try and find the 0xEF53 magic number marking a superblock -- found nothing in 1GB of data. I'm still trying to figure that one out especially considering that I did a byte-by-byte check. I should have gotten back hundreds or thousands or millions of false positives, but I got nothing.
I dd'd the first meg or so of the disk, found all sorts of aincent garbage (OnTrack disk manager, anyone?). Perhaps the kernel exploded after hitting the 5% reserved space for root... Hmm.. Found some text files that got turned into binary files from all of the flying bits. Oh well, at least it wasn't important data, and I do have a lot of it backed up on a CD somewhere..
Some of the corruption may have hit my /usr partition as well. MP3s were not playing nicely from XMMS. I ran `rpm -V xmms' and discovered that libmpg123.so had a bad md5sum. I just hope there aren't more problems.. Hmm.. Perhaps this had something to do with the solar flares (though I'd put that at about 3% probability). Maybe I need more shielding...
I'm probably going to write up several mini-howtos so my users can figure out how to mount their home directories via SMB, print to the Novell printers, and use SSH instead of telnet. Pretty generic, but who knows how well things will work. Also, I played around with the login scripts on our main Solaris box. People can now safely get bash running by creating a ~/.iwantbash file. I couldn't just change /etc/passwd to point to /usr/local/bin/bash, because there are other systems in the NIS domain that are Linux boxen with /bin/bash instead. Also, people can get GNU ls to work in color now with a ~/.iwantcolorls file. Hopefully, I put everything in the right place so the scripts people have written won't be broken..
*Yawn* *stretch* Ooh.. Actually did some work today. Did some more mangling on login scripts. What a mess those things are. However, I am really beginning to like RedHat's /etc/profile.d idea. I can just make tiny scriptlets and have them get run from either /etc/profile or /etc/bashrc (since it's an either-or situation when you start a shell, AFAICT). I suppose I'll be tinkering on über-scripts that can startup both Solaris and Linux pretty soon. Then again, I shouldn't play too much, since I won't actually have an opportunity to test them (users get a tad peeved when the system reboots in the middle of a week-long run of data analysis..). Oh well.
One of my roommates is coming to the apartment to visit. Yeah, he's not living here this summer. Stayed at home. Whatever. Of course, myself and the other roommate that are around here are happy he's coming, since his car works and we can finally go buy some food. It's either that or try your luck on some 7-month-old beef in the freezer. We're planning on going to X-Men this weekend, and I have another friend I should invite to come along. I hope I'll remember.
Found some school songs encoded in .au and .ra format on the Marching Band's homepage. I think I'll vorbize them, though I don't know how well 8-bit mono works..
I hate Solaris. Well, maybe that's a little strong. I'm just so used to Linux, and it bothers me when things aren't where I expect them to be. Oh well, I'll get over it.
Saw that links browser. I'll have to try it out sometime.
Work is pretty slow, though it's not like I don't have anything to do. I really need to reinstall WinNT on one of my boxes. I suppose I may actually have to sacrifice some RAM from one of the Linux boxes I have -- I think the NT box only has 32 right now, which means it's dog slow. Personally, I don't need NT, but I have users who run it on their own systems, and I need to test out software for them (PuTTY and other stuff).
Lately, I've been organizing a lot of documentation. Clearing out old cruft from The Big Manual that we have for all of our systems here. At some point I actually have to use it to re-install a database or two.
I saw David Boies on Charlie Rose last night. He was talking about the Napster case, and was very good. I knew that he exaggerated some things, but he cited the 1989 Audio Home Recording Act when saying that it's OK to sample music and to share music with your friends noncommercially. I think I'll have to do some reading. I haven't decided if I'm going to buy any music this month, but my musical mind seems to be withering. I think I'll have to go get a few (or a lot) of CDs.
The commercial advertising actor strike is really bothering me. Very few ads are being made, so advertisers do not have any variety in their ads anymore. My mind is going numb after seeing the same ads over and over and over. It's becoming sickening, and I've been avoiding TV.
It rained tonight, quite hard. It rained much harder a while back, and there was a small leak. Today, it seemed as though the entire wall was leaking, seemingly coming throgh the window, streaming down the walls, and dripping all over. It actually wasn't as bad as that sounds, but I'm sure it will get worse if I don't say something. I'll have to talk to the management tomorrow. Sigh.
I had trouble getting up again this morning. I took a long nap after work yesterday, but then I stayed up very late mucking on IRC and doing other stuff. I decided to telecommute and have ended up having a very unproductive morning. I'm sure I'd be much more productive if I could just find some extra stimuli in my life. At least in High School I was forced to interact with people every day. At college, people aren't crammed so closely together, so they don't interact as much, or at least I don't.
Anyway, spent too much of my time reading Sinfest, which is really funny if you don't mind poking fun at God, swearing, and references to the sexual mentalities surrounding us these days.
I'm going to head out to actually work at work soon. The boss and I are a little worried that our developers are going to start using Microsoft J++ for communicating with the eventually-will-be-installed Oracle database. He gave me a copy of J++ to try out, in order for me to see if it's possible to actually produce something resembling pure Java with it. Unfortunately, my NT box is fairly underpowered, at least for NT4SP5 (P133 w/ 64MB RAM). I'm feeling masochistic, so I'm going to give Win2k a shot. My P166/128MB Linux box is extremely nice and snappy in comparison, though I really need to find a good video card for it (800x600 is becoming tiresome).
I'm displeased with my building's management right now. As I was walking out, I saw that we had a notice slid under the door stating that we owe $50 plus $25 penalty. Dunno what it's for, but I'll have to bring up my leaky wall when we talk to them about it.. Unfortunately, they keep relatively inaccessible hours like 9:00-4:30 or something, so I'll have to come to work late or leave work early some day. Blah.
I think I finally found something to hack on -- porting Secure Locate to Solaris. It's a small codebase, so it shouldn't take too long, though I'll have to read a bunch of man pages to refresh my memory about all of those functions. I think I'll be annotating a lot of source, too..
I'm annoyed with [X]Emacs, and *vi*, so I was looking around for decent editors. gIDE seems to be coming along nicely, and the syntax highlighting actually works (though it seems slow...). Finally, a text editor where I don't have to have a QWERTY keyboard (*vi*) or learn horrendous keystrokes ([X]Emacs). Not perfect, but it's something I can live with.
Oops.. I'd better quit before I start an editor war..
Somewhat disappointed that there was no mention of the multi-State suit against Big Music on the national news tonight. I guess it's not surprising, but it sure seems to prove the biases we believe to be out there these days. In a similar vein, it's amazing what is happening in China. I mean, the son of the President of the country is running a Linux company over there. It's basically impossible for interesting things to not happen because of this.
I've said too much today.. I'll be quiet now.
Woke up late, and stayed at the apartment again. I should have tried to do some work, but I've been lacking focus lately. It was probably good to play hookey a bit. Unfortunately I read my e-mail late. I got an e-mail (sent late last night, after work) saying I had to be around to tell some electricians where they should put some 30 Amp plugs. After swearing at myself for being so unorganized, I put myself together, had a quick breakfast/lunch, and headed out. Fortunately, I think I got there before completely pissing them off.
I did find some music by Paul Oakenfold this morning. Well, it's hard to say `some music' when you're talking about Paul Oakenfold, since the guy produces mixes running for an hour or two. It's amazing stuff, and I'll have to see if I can pick up some of it on CD.
I've tried to make music on my computer in the past, but I completely suck at it. I'm sure this isn't helped by the fact that I'm too cheap to go out and find a CD or CD-ROM of decent sound/instrument samples out there (actually, I'm probably not too cheap for that -- I've just never looked). Anyway, I'm a person that really likes high-quality samples.. None of that mono 8kHz crap.. Besides, the music trackers I've found have usually been pretty crummy (though there are some shining stars out there). Of course, hell would freeze over before I'd pay $100-1000+ for a decent tracker (and I'd never want to have to use Windows...) At any rate, I doubt I have the talent required to produce anything interesting...
Well, I actually got out of the apartment today. Went `guy-shopping' with a friend of mine. To the computer shop (my friend needed a replacement 3" fan) and up to Best Buy. I got some music. Would have gotten more, but I'm always scared that I'll get crappy music. I suppose I can exercise the availability of Napster (et al) a little bit more..
This flap over Lieberman as V.P. nominee is confusing to me. I guess it'd be a bigger deal to me if I was Jewish, but I could really care less. The only interesting aspect of it is how it may affect US involvement in any Mid-East peace deals. Besides, Nader has a woman as his Veep nominee. She's a Native American -- Mississippi Band of the White Earth Anishinaabeg. Beat that with a stick.
As for open source stuff, I think I need to take a look at RIMPS and any other decent music playlist software. I need to set up something for my system that makes it easier to find music in my expanding collection (though I can't say I have many many gigabytes of it yet, though I now have the available disk space to start doing so). I did make a simple attempt of my own with PHP and MySQL, though I haven't really played with it for a few months..
If only I knew how to get cp437 on the web..
o/~ I want your girlfriend to be my girlfriend... o/~
Dammit.. Way too many unwanted sexual images today. I'm noticing it because I'm depressed about my grades. I got two Cs and two Ds. At this University, a D usually means a failed course. Dammit. I was depressed this past semester, and unmotivated. I really didn't want to deal with differential equations again, but they forced it upon me. Why can't they just drop the math? Dammit.
My Dad's coming up tomorrow, basically to get me out of the apartment, I guess. He'll also probably try to do some amateur psychology. Not really looking forward to it, but I really do need to get out of this place for a while. Maybe I can get to a decent movie or something.
I'm really introverted, and I don't get into social situations as much as I should. Even when I'm in them, I don't say much, but just being around others and not being forced out of the loop makes me feel better and reminds me that these carbon entities that pass by me every day actually have brains.
I'm enjoying my work life, and I can't complain about my generous parents. I just wish that I'd had the strength to get to know some of the girls I went to High School with. I ended up fixating on one, which I'll probably never forgive myself for. I'm scared to death that she might be scared to death of me.
I just listened to ``Pink Moon'' by Nick Drake. It's a song that makes me wonder about what my classmates have done in their lives, as the song was featured in a Volkswagen ad a year or so ago. You may recall it -- several friends are driving along the road at night, enjoying the open air (since the top was down). They arrive at a party, where a drunk guy stumbles past their headlights. The friends in the car look at each other, then pull away from the party and continue driving around.
I've been to one party in my entire life. I'm definitely much more like the people in the Volkswagen than the folks at the party.
Anyway, I suppose I should actually put something about computers in here. I think I'll have to re-work some of my ideas behind the wireless ethernet firewall. Now I think that the bridge is a little too low-level. MAC addresess can be spoofed, after all. I think I'll use a combination of MAC address and IP filtering, plus VPN through PoPToP or something similar.
Hmm. Rack for servers is still sitting down in the loading dock. Not sure when that will get put together. I'm perfectly happy with it still being in pieces -- I don't really want to move everything again.
Still haven't gotten this WinNT box to crash. I've had it for nearly two months now, and it still works fine. I figure the reason why is because, being a Linux guy and realizing that running as root is not a good idea, I've been logging in as a user, then logging out and logging in as Administrator when I need to install something. Probably keeps things a little saner. It is annoying that I can't just `su' to run installers and whatnot, though. The Amanda backup setup here at work decided to estimate very strangely today. The actual backups were about 2x what the estimate was. The backup started at 1 AM and is still running now at almost 3 PM. Worrisome.
Whoa! Just reminded myself that the amcheck cronjob was just about to run. That probably would have rewound the tape (not that it necessarily matters at this point -- the dumps didn't fit anyway). I think Amanda might be having trouble calculating things when >2 GB dumps are involved.
Got an AIM note from a female friend up north. She's really cute, so it's always a joy to hear from her. I don't have enough girls in my life at the moment.. Wasn't awake this morning when she sent it, though, but I did respond through e-mail. Hope I get to see her again soon.
*sigh* Two weeks ago, the news media was terribly scared about reporting on the Code Red worm. Now they can't get enough of it. Jeez, does it have to require a press conference from the FBI for people to consider it newsworthy?
Bought some music: Paul Oakenfold, Live in Oslo and Orbital, In Sides.
Not sure what it is about music, but I always have to keep hearing more of it. I need to listen to new stuff, or my brain turns to mush.. It's something I realized several years ago, though I've always had trouble actually finding music, since nobody on the radio will tell you what they just played. I don't really like it, but I've ended up turning to MTV and (mostly) MTV2 and actually occasionally hearing music I like. At least they label their music..
Tuned in recently to notice Sugar Ray. Some cognitive dissonance there.. I actually like a lot of the music from that guy/group, though I thought I didn't.. Also heard Michelle Branch, who reminds me a lot of a girl I was obsessed over in high school. Strange that the one song of hers I've heard reminded me how I felt back then..
I'll have to pick up some more music to see if I can get my brain to unstick and start thinking again..
Last little note about this: I was watching something about Neanderthals/Cro Magnons last night, and they mentioned something about the brain. They aren't really sure if Neanderthals came up with art and jewelry on their own, or if they learned it from the Cro Magnons. It's interesting because they said something to the effect of, ``The jewelry was a manifestation of something more inside,'' suggesting to me that art is something more than I thought it was. The creative process, I guess, involves art, music, engineering, science. Everything. And if parts are taken away, we stop moving forward. The ``don't touch'' attitude is bad, I think..
I need more art in my life
and a girlfriend..
Exchanged some e-mail with one of the campus networking guys. He's interested in getting together at some point to discuss my firewall ideas in more detail. I should really talk to my boss a bit about it (and the discussion should go all the way up the chain and around the staff, probably). I shouldn't be representing the whole School without some more support (I'm only an underling, so I may have overstepped some bounds..)
I forget how much time can be spent playing games. SimCity moves too slow sometimes. Of course, it moves excruciatingly slow with disasters. Things just don't seem to burn as fast as they did in the previous versions ;-)
I kind of think Loki should see if they can port some older games. Hell, a lot of great old DOS games won't even run on Windows these days
Bah, talking too much. I should get to work.
Barely managed to do my homework last night and today. Grr.
I just get distracted when news stories come up. I've been avoiding real work for a week now. I should change that. Of course, it didn't help this morning when a new worm showed up. Sheesh.
Took a look at the Billboard charts today. Found a song name that seemed very appropriate (though who knows how appropriate the song itself is): ``Bleed American''
From today's campus newspaper: ``We don't live in America. America lives in us.''
Went home for the weekend, a nice diversion. Sort of. Got some music: Coldplay - Parachutes, Third Eye Blind - Blue, and Weezer - The Green Album. Mellow stuff..
Also picked up copies of Linux Journal and LinuxFormat. LXF seems chock-full of goodies, but it's spendy since it comes with two CDs and it's from across the pond..
I was successful in my Automata test today. Either the tests are a lot easier this time around, or I'm actually understanding the subject matter. Third time's the charm, I guess.
Internet Programming is still an interesting class. I'm learning much more than I was initially expecting. Sometimes, it's good to have a good teacher tell you what's going on, rather than trying to figure it out by yourself from disparate sources. Certainly, the interactivity of classes is useful.
Feeling decidedly un-interactive with the government and people making decisions about what is going on in Afghanistan. I was somehow hoping we could take a moral high ground of some sort and focus on the humanitarian goal of helping these people out while learning to respect their points of view -- why they hate or dislike us.
Now that bombs have dropped and missiles have flown in, I'm hoping that it was just the opening move in an intricate chess game including many different aspects. We need to put people on the ground, whether they are military or aid workers of some kind. Throughout all of the actions taken, we need to work to uphold the ideals put forth in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and other foundational documents.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Democracy, equality, free speech, and free trade.
The US shouldn't be in the country-building `business,' but we appear to be falling into that role. This nation certainly has limits, and we can't be a global policeman or carpenter or whatever forever. It all takes time, money and energy that we don't have endless stores of. We can do a lot, certainly, but it shouldn't get out of hand, either.
Life is often about striking balances, finding the middle ground. Politicians may be a little too good at this sometimes (actually, they're not -- they're just vague enough to fake it). I know we can help build a stronger, more tolerant Afghanistan. Hell, how much money will it take to replace those bombs and missiles we sent in? I'd rather that money get spent on building rather than destroying.
Tried to get the shower flowing again, without much luck. Tried some off-brand de-gunking fluid that may have not been the best solution.. Flow rate may have improved slightly, but not much.
Time to empty the dishwasher, I think...
Started mounting my roommate's shared files over SMB again. We're nearly equal in the number of songs we have. It adds up to around 5000. Way too big to easily handle in Xmms's ordinary playlist. I really need to work on my web/database interface.. It just seems like nobody's done a good one yet. I also really want to figure out how to integrate it properly with Icecast or something, so all of the rommates can be listening to a single audio stream.. Of course, keeping that synced up could be a big problem..
Life is sucking, but I picked up some music today. Take off Your Pants and Jacket - Blink 182, and The Invisible Band - Travis. I like most of the Blink 182 CD, and it is up-tempo at least.. I wish they could cut down on the raunch a little, as I really hate getting reminded that I can't get any.. The Travis disc is much more subdued, but still good.
Disappointed yet again by the cost of stuff. I thought I had the grand idea of using a PC104-based system to decode an Ogg Vorbis/MP3 stream in the apartment. I've wanted to have some way to keep music always playing in the apartment, with people voting for what they want, etc. Hopefully a nice random song picker as well. Something that would reduce `train wrecks' that happen when jumping between disparate genres would be wonderful.
Anyway, when I saw the prices one place had for piddly 386 boards with 2MB of RAM, I choked. Perhaps they were old prices, but I was hoping to get the whole thing put together for, say $150. Perhaps sans hard disk.. Anyway, looks like that's not going to happen..
What the hell is with our weather? It's the 17th of December, and there is no snow in Minneapolis.
My first final is tomorrow. Haven't studied yet.
One final down, one to go. Need to do some work after my final tomorrow, and I should probably go shopping for some gifts.
Not much hacking going on, though I might do some work on an XMMS plugin (or something) for using the IR port on my Live!Drive IR to control music playback. Shouldn't be too hard to do, though someone will probably beat me to it.
Too bad I had to have the thing for a year and a half before I actually get to use it. I still think it's funny that the IR port is a MIDI device ;-)
With the Sarah situation, things are going alright. Nothing to speak of, just `normal'.. I figure that's the best thing for me right now anyway. Don't want to swing too much one way or another, or I'll drive myself nuts over the break. I just hope it stays that way..
Haven't had much to do today. I suppose that I should be trying to do some programming now that I'm back to my apartment and computer. Well, I have school crap to deal with because of my grades, too...
Watched a lot of TV. Sad part was that the most interesting thing on for a lot of the time was junk on MTV & VH1. I guess I became somewhat intrigued by some rap/hip-hop stuff after watching Frontline's ``LAPD Blues'' report on PBS last night. Very interesting story about how some gangstas managed to get onto the police force. They had links to the hip-hop scene, the drug trade, and one of them may have even been the triggerman who gunned down Notorious B.I.G.
Finally remembered to send in my check to the local PBS station today ;-)
Anyway, after seeing a ``Best of'' episode of Cribs today, I'm just wondering if some geeky celebrity will ever show off their server room on the show :-)
The stuff on that show is so over-the-top, I'm already laughing my ass off knowing that some of those guys are going to crash hard in the coming years.
So much crap to do.. At least nothing is due for about a week, but I still better get cracking..
Had to deal with a stupid chirping fire alarm today. The thing kills batteries for some reason. Anyway, had maintenance come up and replace it, and they even took away the doors we took off of the closet over a year ago. With the doors on, you can't even fit jackets into the closet, so they're basically useless.. At any rate, it gives us another few inches in the den area, since they were stuck behind the couch.
I managed to get the old P100 that was sitting in a corner connected back up to the big stereo in the apartment. It's running ESD and listening over the network, so I can use my laptop with wireless and send decoded music out to some nice big speakers. Of course, now I just need to find some decent music to play ;-)
Been listening to the Ogg Vorbis streams for the BBC's Radio 1. They can suck just as much as the stations around here, but they don't have ads and they play different music, so they suck in different ways ;-) At any rate, they still play some good dance music -- a genre that is severely lacking here in the US, IMO..
Posted to Slashdot about that Kenwood Music Keg. Too bad it doesn't actually play Oggs yet. I guess PalmOS 5 is coming out soon, and will be on the ARM platform, so maybe some good decoding routines for ARM processors will show up soon.
Still waiting for XFree86 4.2.0 packages to show up for Debian. I really really hope it finds it's way into woody, though I suppose I shouldn't get my hopes up. Oh well, it's perfectly alright with me to keep my laptop running testing in perpetuity...
Anyway, I suppose I should actually try to start on my Computer Graphics homework..
Went out to Audio King and tried to get a Tivoli Audio/Henry Kloss Model Two, but ended up having to order it. I had to live closest to the one Audio King in Minnesota that didn't have it in stock. Anyway.. This morning, I was looking for a nice car stereo, but ended up hunting around for something to use in my room.
The box is supposed to have a great tuner, though the demo box didn't seem to pull in stations as well as I'd hoped. Of course, there are any number of things that can mess up reception even on the best of receivers. It still sounded very good compared to the boxes sitting next to it which cost much more.
At any rate, it should arrive in a few days. I didn't order the subwoofer, but I might get one later. I don't really have the space at the moment, and I felt like a pretty big dork as it was ;-)
At work, we're running around trying to find space in the server room. We got a very large air conditioning unit to go in there. Fortunately it's on wheels, but if it had been taller and wheel-less, we wouldn't have to deal with it taking up so much floor area. We've also got a rack or two of FibreChannel equipment coming in. My boss is frantically looking for a rackmount console for at least one of our Sun systems, and we're running into trouble with our Cyclades TS800 crashing. It seems to not like our Sun Netra X1.
I'm finishing up classes. Took a final for my database course on Wednesday, and I've been helping to put together our presentation for my Financial Information Systems course. Hmm.. I suppose I'll have to dress up a bit tomorrow.
Hmm. The world might end soon -- I've got a Christina Aguilera song stuck in my head, and I don't really mind. We were listening to "Fighter" in the car on our way to Little T's, and Kari and Erin got into a discussion of how the video for that song is worse than the "Making-Of" show for the video. This is kind of interesting. I've been noticing that meta-entertainment (entertainment about entertainment: trailers, promo shows, etc) is often better than the entertainment it's linked to. For example, if you had the people who made the trailer for Adam Sandler's movie Anger Management do the movie itself, it probably would have been much better.
I just hope this doesn't apply to The Matrix sequels.
I went to the CPC Job Fair today. Not much to speak of. There were more people there from schools and other self-improvement places than from businesses looking to hire.
I got a Mother's Day card for my mom. I was glad to find one quickly, as I was really tired by then. The lady who checked me out at Hallmark asked if it was raining out or sunny, but I honestly usually don't pay much attention to the weather. I knew it wasn't raining when I came down, but it started just as I left the mall.
I took the Crosstown (Highway 62) there and back, which is a pretty scary road at points. Fortunately, it seems to be a smoother surface than it looks, but it's probably a lot more twisty than a road carrying that much traffic should be.
On my way back, I actually heard a Phish song come on the radio. I was listening to Drive 105, the station that I think plays the best music in the Cities. Unfortunately, they still play a lot of stuff I don't like and their transmitters in the area aren't very powerful, so I have to switch between them, Cities 97, KS95, and some other stations. I usually don't like 93X, though I always tried to listen to it back when it was The Edge, but that was over five years ago.
Oo! Looks like edge937.com is an available domain name now. Last I checked, KQRS still owned it.
My car seemed to be producing funny smells, though maybe that's just because it's a fossil fuel-burning vehicle. It's overdue for an oil change, though, and I'm pretty sure it needs a new air filter and possibly other stuff. But that takes money, so I'd better get a job soon.
Went to Ground Zero and had some fun dancing. Didn't really get into it until around midnight, though. I probably throw myself into the dancing a bit too much, so I only last a few minutes on the dancefloor, so I guess I'd better learn how to slow it down a bit. Also, I should do some walking or running (though I really hate running). I used to walk a few miles almost every day, but I haven't gone more than a few blocks for quite a while.
Anyway, I was kind of disappointed that Beth didn't come along tonight. She kind of picks on me, so it's a bit weird when she's around, but she did dance with me the first time I went to GZ -- resulting in the strangest yet most hilarious three minutes of my life.
Now it's time for me to go drink a gallon of water and go to bed.
For anyone who's gotten tired of the song selection in DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) and has decided they've paid enough money, there are alternatives. I stumbled across pyDDR on HappyPenguin. There are others out there too, like DWI (Dance With Intensity).
I want a portable music player. Unfortunately, there aren't any good ones out there that support my favorite file format, Ogg Vorbis. There are hardware players that support it, but there are drawbacks. Many of them are large (ie, for cars or if you don't mind strapping a UPS to your back), while others aren't really meant to do that job (like the Sharp Zaurus PDA).
Hopefully, some company out there will produce a hardware player pretty soon. There are a few that have quietly agreed to look into the possibility of maybe supporting it, but nothing really definite yet. If any of them do, Neuros will probably be the first. It also looks possible that the iPod might be able to do it, if it gets re-installed with Linux first ;-)
I managed to exercise a little bit today, and went for a walk to Dinkytown and back. The main reason for going was to drop off the Mother's Day card I got for my mom at the post office. I'm not sure if I put it in the best place, though. I put it in the mail slot inside the post office.
At the post office back home, there are two mail slots inside, and two mail drop boxes in front. In both places, one is designated for in-city mail, and the other is for out-of-city. The mail will get there either way, but it's just faster if you put it in the right place.
Anyway, so my mom might not get her card until Monday. Oh well.
While I was in Dinkytown, I dodged some Greenpeace people and then went to Cheapo to get some music. I picked up the soundtrack to A Life Less Ordinary (another movie Ewan McGregor sings in -- or at least pretends to) and also The Matrix Reloaded. Yes, I got the soundtrack a week before I have any chance of seeing the movie.
Strangely, the soundtrack even has it's very own website. Hopefully, it's the only place you'll ever find a link image like this. Don't worry -- the Dave Matthews Band song is remixed by Paul Oakenfold ;-)
Okay, I'm almost done listening to both soundtracks. So far, I'm much happier with my Life Less Ordinary purchase. It even has a nasty message emblazoned on it, so I get to feel like a filthy lawbreaker ;-)
For promotional use only.
No sale allowed.
Must be returned on demand
of copyright owner
Anyway, check out the track listing. Of course, it helps that it cost $7.50 used versus almost $20 for the Matrix soundtrack (which has 2 discs).
I might change my mind after I see the new movie, though.
Sorry about the title—I've been reading Penny Arcade all day today, and have an odd desire to use the word “wang.” But, it's oddly relevant to this, since I've been mucking with something long and.. er, uhm..
I installed some new drivers for my sound card recently. The drivers I had been using seem to be unmaintained these days, and they are out-of-sync with some of the tools I need to use for turning on and off various features.
Anyway, I got my computer rebooted and brought up a mixer. The image there is actually expanded (it almost goes all the way across both of my monitors!), but I was shocked at how many different things there were to twiddle. The fun thing is that nobody really knows how it works, so it took me a good 20 minutes to actually get sound to come out of my speakers when I started.
But, I'm sure other people I know regularly manipulate much bigger wa—er, I mean, mixers than mine..
So, I've been kind of sliding downhill this week, especially the last few days. Every so often, I get reminded of the things I want but can't have. I must be that some curse was laid on me while before I even got into high school.
This is why I don't watch MTV.
Well, that, and the music usually sucks when they actually play it.
Good music can help me feel better, but sometimes it's impossible to find something new, or it tricks you and reminds you of a feeling you'd rather forget. Plus, a song just loses it's flavor after your mind has chewed on it so many times..
My mom and dad are coming up today so that we can have a birthday dinner with my brother. They'll be back up tomorrow, taking him home. It'll be good to see them. It usually makes me feel a little better when they come up. But, there's still that nagging feeling they can't do anything about.
Ah well, maybe I'll go out dancing this weekend. I remember I really needed somewhere to go to let stuff out the first time I went. There's good music, but that place can also (obviously) remind me of things I don't like. At least it lets me burn off some energy.
Went to Ground Zero. Played around, had some fun, and probably tore apart whatever holds my knees together.
Here's a neat story about Alf Clausen, the composer for The Simpsons. There's a lot of stuff there about the show that I'd never really considered before..
I was getting annoyed this afternoon. I was trying to take a nap, since my upstairs neighbors were being quiet for once. I got called by both of my parents independently, plus my laptop was annoying the crap out of me by trying to compile stuff all day long. The hard drive makes very loud clicking noises when the head moves back and forth, so it can be really distracting.
I'd IMed Dan, but he was being unresponsive (I have a knack for messaging people just before they step away from the keyboard), so I went to take a shower. I'd been working up the guts to yell at people for not talking to me when I noticed Adam had left me a voicemail about going to Ground Zero tonight. I called him up and he even said my name's on the list to get in for free.
I guess I've been on the list before, but I didn't know it. That's kind of neat. I never figured myself for someone to be on a list. I suppose this one's nothing special, but still...
Anyway, now I'm doing some laundry so I'll have some clean clothes when I go. Not that it will matter after I dance for 30 seconds, but I like to at least make an effort..
While I wait for that, I think I'm going to go buy some carbonated beverages. I think I'll try and find some of that Mountain Dew Live Wire stuff. Is that the name? I forget. Whatever it is, it's orange.
Ugh, ended up sleeping a lot later than I expected. I was tossing and turning all night, though. My brain was too active, I guess. On the upside, that must mean I actually had some fun last night. Also, I finally feel awake for once—I think I've been pretty sleep-deprived lately.
I joined Adam, Kari, Becky, and Spike in their activities by going to Ground Zero and watching some Sex and the City. We also had some pizza, which was good, but it felt like it took forever to get delivered.
I wasn't quite feeling like myself at Ground Zero for some reason. I think I had a headache—I just couldn't move in the ways I wanted to. Maybe I used up my monthly dancing quota last weekend ;-)
I probably just need more exercise.
Anyway, it's fun to go there and get at least one or two girls to smile at me—that really makes my day. But, I have to admit, it's probably all due to the shirt.
Haha.. I was just whistling along to a song a bit, and then I realized my lips were pretty weak. I guess it's because I haven't been playing any flute.
I did happen to catch my reflection in the mirror a while ago. I thought that I was a pretty handsome dude and it shouldn't be so hard for me to get a girlfriend. I guess it's good I thought that, since I don't always.. Ah well, there's always tomorrow (GZ! ;-)
Hmm. I'll have to make sure I go out for a walk or something and get my blood pumping a bit.. I felt a bit winded last weekend, but it was really crowded and seemed hotter than usual too.
Now, I should try to get some sleep for once.
Ugh, must start doing sit-ups again, my back is starting to bother me.
Various other thoughts that can be summarized as, “I need a girlfriend.”
Other than that, yesterday was kind of an odd one. It wasn't bad, but it kind of promised more than it delivered. I thought I might have had a lead on a job, but it just turned out to be a “business opportunity” (hence the quote in my previous entry).
Going out to Ground Zero was fairly fun, though I expected more people to show up, even though most of my social net is out of town this weekend. Oh well, I shouldn't complain, as I put zero effort into getting people to go (besides, who the hell would I call?)
Anyway, Erin put on a show with one of the guys there, which was “interesting”
There were a few parts I really enjoyed, though most of it wasn't really my style. Of course, it matters a billion times more that Erin enjoyed herself..
Well, today I am going to try and find 4 sets of 3.5" → 5.25" hard drive mounting brackets for my disk array. For some reason, they are very hard to find, at least inexpensively. I'm sure they cost like 50¢ to produce, but they charge insane prices for the things, and I usually can only find the floppy variety (which doesn't quite fit). At CompUSA last night, I found one they were selling for $15, though that included a UDMA IDE cable.. There were some less expensive ones there too, but I just can't justify spending more than a few bucks on the things.
Ah, my fan has a little variable resistor on the power cable. I thought that was what it was, but I couldn't get it to turn when I first tried. Of course, I was trying to tighten it, but it was already all the way in. Turning it to the left slowed down the rotation, resulting in a much quieter fan.
Cool, now I don't have to buy another one.
Hopefully I don't turn it down too far and toast my two working drives.
I think I'm going to go buy some music soon. My playlist is getting a bit repetitive.
Well, I came back to my place after watching The Animatrix and waited to watch The Daily Show. I didn't want to have weird Animatrix dreams...
Anyway, while I'm waiting, I hear one of my remaining drives click and spin down.
All of the drives seem to be having problems now. Not sure if turning down the fan is what did it. Hopefully not.
I guess it's good I didn't buy a Gameboy Advance SP while I was out with Dan at Best Buy this evening.. I did pick up some CDs. Free All Angels by Ash, and Golden State by Bush.
Heh, today's FoxTrot is pretty funny:
When I was at Best Buy the other day with Dan, picking up some music, I almost picked up a CD by Massive Attack. I thought I might have already owned it, and I was right. The CDs I did get are okay, but not great. I'm still eagerly anticipating Radiohead's next release (though I hear it's been floating around the file-sharing networks for a while).
The U pestered me again to renew my DHCP registration for my Ethernet MAC addresses on my laptop, so I did (although, I think one of the addresses is for a Wi-Fi card that I gave back to my employers at CSOM—I should probably replace that one with my new wireless card's address). Anyway, I was surprised that I could actually renew my registration. I'm pretty sure the registration system I built at CSOM has the same bug—you don't actually have to be a student to use the network, you just need an x.500 ID...
I'd been meaning to fix that, really! ;-)
It might have been a bit too smoky at Ground Zero tonight, I'm coughing a bit at the moment..
Anyway, it looks like Erin and Becky had a good time...
Other than that, I noticed that the one female security guard there was smiling, dancing, and carrying on tonight. I never even saw her smile until last week—I figure she must have just started dating one of the male guards there..
Anywho, the music seemed different tonight. It started off with some really poor attempts at beat-matching, but I think I enjoyed more music tonight than I usually do. The DJ also seemed to do more interesting lighting effects than normal.
Now my clothes are all yucky. Time to do laundry tomorrow.
Ugh. I did not sleep very well last night. Sleeping in 5-10 minute bursts is no fun. One of those mornings where you feel like you've woken up enough times for it to be 10:00 or 11:00, but it's still only 6 or so. Any of a number of things could be the source of that trouble..
Well, my Cat 6 cable experiment seems to have made things worse so far, though I haven't managed to swap the connecting cable yet. Yesterday, I'd picked up some DB9 connectors from Radio Shack, but I got male connectors instead of female ones. I guess I'll take another trip out today and get the right stuff. I should go buy some food too.
Oh, and I want to buy Radiohead, which is probably already sold out. Maybe I should go do that at Best Buy, so I can possibly pick up the third season of Deep Space Nine.
I've been reading more about network technologies and buses, learning little bits here and there. I guess InfiniBand isn't quite as fast as I thought, but it still sounds pretty cool. It's basically a cross between a computer bus and a network, so you can share your computer's bus with others. You could access the modem in another machine directly, for instance. This is most interesting for clustering applications..
HyperTransport is pretty wicked-fast, at least on the high end. In theory, I think it could do the same sort of things that InfiniBand does, but I think it's more being designed as an internal system bus rather than a combination internal/external one. At it's core, it uses serial links, though they can be ganged together to make faster connections.
Both the AMD Opteron and the IBM PowerPC 970 are designed to work with HyperTransport. I'm still not quite sure if Intel has some analog of it or not (probably, I just haven't figured out what it is yet).
I've written a few times about various types of Ethernet, but my memory isn't perfect, and some of the sources of information I have aren't complete. I think I may pick up the O'Reilly book Ethernet: The Difinitive Guide at some point.
One of the most interesting things I came across involves a merger of sorts between two long-standing rivals ATA (IDE) and SCSI. Serial ATA drives will be compatible with Serial Attached SCSI. You will be able to mix and match drives. Not exactly sure how you would tell the difference between them, though, or if it's even relevant.
One question I have is, will you be able to use Serial Attached SCSI drives in Serial ATA-based systems? Or does it just go the other way around? If things go both ways, I think the next few years will be an interesting exercise in marketing. How would the cost of one be justified against the other if they're compatible?
What's with everything having special editions nowadays? Can't we just have one version and be done with it?
I went and got Radiohead's Hail to the Thief and discovered that they have two of them. One appears to have a poster or some sort of pamphlet, but no jewel case. Otherwise, you can just get the (cheaper) standard CD. I just got the regular CD because it was $10, and I was going to try to buy the DS9 third season, which is a story in itself.
Star Trek: The Next Generation had a rainbow color theme to it's boxes. Each box is a different hue. The same is true of Deep Space Nine. Unfortunately for me today, both the second season and the third are green. Season two is a light green, and three is a not-so-light green. I mistakenly picked up season two, so I had to run back and exchange it.. I'm sure a lot of places are having problems with this.. Star Trek geeks are not really known for their good eyesight ;-)
I was surprised when I called up Time Warner Cable to get TV and cable modem service and the guy sounded really confused when I said I wanted to have radio service as well. Not that digital radio stuff, but terrestrial FM radio transmitted over the wire (just like they do with the local TV stations). This was offered by the cable system back in my hometown, so I figured a big outfit like TWC would do it too.
Oh well, they probably wouldn't even carry stations I'd want anyway.
Got bored watching TV, and then Hackers started up on SciFi channel. Watching it reminded me how much I always wanted the soundtrack, but I think it was only available in stores for about a week—three years after the movie came out. Something like that, at least.
Yay for the Internet!
Update: Of course, some of the files are broken, and the soundtrack didn't include all of the music in the movie (there's a track by Massive Attack that wasn't on it—I used to have the Massive Attack CD, though I think one of my friends took it years ago and never gave it back). Must have been replaced by a token rap song or closing credits diddy.
Well, I just got back from my interview. Seemed to go pretty well. They showed me around and explained a lot of stuff to me, which I figure is a positive sign. I was also dressed better than they were, which I suppose could be good or bad...
They said that they were just starting interviews, so that unfortunately, means the timeframe for notification (about 2 weeks) overlaps with another thing I might be able to do for a month. I'll have to call the people heading that up tomorrow and see if they're still taking people. However, this Adaptec job would pay a lot more and would likely be steady for 9 months or so.
So, I'll send out a post-interview thank you tomorrow, after I've called those other folks.
Too bad the Adaptec place is pretty far away on a pretty sucky stretch of I-94 and right next to a truck stop. Just what I need to be dealing with at 9 in the morning—screwed up roads overflowing with fleets of semis. At least I'd be going in the “wrong” direction (less traffic) and there would be plenty of opportunities to stop for supper on the way back. Still, I'd have to invest in some nice sunglasses (always driving toward the sun) and a CD player or MP3 player for my car so I don't have to listen to the DJs and ads on the radio.
I have a hypothesis that more crashes happen when DJs are yapping and ads are blaring than when music is on the radio. I'm sure there's no good way to figure out if that's true, though.
I've been researching various things today. I looked over options for cars a bit more, and figure I will probably end up shooting for a 4-door Volkswagen Golf TDI. I could probably run it on biodiesel if I became so inclined. It's more expensive, but I'd want to do it just because petroleum-derived diesel produces a lot of nasty gases in addition to your standard carbon dioxide and water vapor.
(Dropping away from my “what I'm going to spend my money on” topic for a second, I came across an interesting article on thermal depolymerization or TDP. That's a technique for breaking down almost anything into oil, water, and purified minerals and simple chemicals. Kind of a creepy-sounding process, but it could be a really important technology in the future. It's even supposedly a better way to do petroleum refining, strangely enough! ;-)
I'd like to buy a car outright when I do decide to get one, so that will require me to wait a while (probably two years). But, I wouldn't mind a relatively short-term payout (over 2-4 years, probably) if I had to get something sooner. I suppose I'll wait a year and see how much money I've managed to save.
I went to Best Buy today, mostly to look at car stereos, but I need to research those a bit before deciding on one. I had wanted to get one that would just rip music off of CDs I put in and store it on an internal hard drive, but I think I saw one they had previously, and it cost $1500 or something insane. I think I'll try to go for something a little more standard like a CD player that can handle MP3 CDs, or a deck that can be connected to an XM or Sirius radio receiver. I should figure out which one of those services I'd like more...
I stopped by the television area and decided to shoot for a nice Sony KV-34HS510. Pretty spendy, but the image quality seemed quite a bit better than the other similar sets nearby. I'll have to research what all it has for connectors—the display model cycled through about 10 inputs, but I need to figure out how many of them can work (hopefully full resolution) with a computer. It'll take me a while to save up money for that, too. I'll see how things look in 2 or 3 months.
Oh, I suppose here's another option for doing music in my car: Ogg Vorbis support for the Neuros Audio boxes has just gone Beta
Attempted to go see Pirates of the Caribbean, but the folks at Block E don't want to sell tickets after the showing starts.. That annoyed me greatly—I think I will tend to go to other theaters if I can. The actual seating is nice, but the service there tends to suck, and who thought out that stupid bathroom positioning anyway? Oh well, I was not sure about how I felt about being near a certain couple for an extended period of time..
So, I ended up wasting time at Borders, and then went to Target with Spike and Erin. Picked up Weird Al's new CD, and was informed that he'll be at the State Fair. I may have to go to that..
Moved onto some different test platforms today at work. One involves the same model of laptop that my brother has, which is kind of neat. However, I ran into a problem as soon as I started. In theory, the thing is supposed to work, but I was greeted with the Mac's equivalent of a Blue Screen of Death. Of course, Apple decided that the crash message should be multi-lingual, which I don't quite get..
Anyway, I want to bring in my laptop, just to see if Linux behaves the same way as MacOS. Just curious.
I accidentally trashed the database containing my preferences and desired shows for MythTV. Oops. I guess I shouldn't give myself root access after about 11 PM.
Ugh. Hewlett-Packard has some really annoying Shockwave Flash banner ads on Yahoo now that use a ton of CPU power. Whenever I open a few pages from Yahoo news, my browser slows down to a snail's pace. Bastards..
There was a really nasty accident this morning at the end of the off-ramp from I-94 to University Ave. The cops had it fairly cordoned off. A totally ripped up car ended up on its side just before the intersection, and there were a few other banged up vehicles behind it. I wonder how the cars ended up in that layout, as the accident seemed to happen before the intersection..
Listened to 89.3 FM the whole way in this morning, and they played some pretty good local-ish music. And I was reminded that they don't have to censor stuff on public radio ;-)
I've mostly been listening to 89.3 and 99.5 on my way to and from work, since they actually play music rather than having talking heads the whole time.. I really dislike the normal morning shows..
The Linux users mailing list I usually post to seems to be rejecting my mail now. Not sure why that is. I think the University may have stopped allowing a certain form of authentication that the LUG mailing list was using to verify that my e-mail address was valid..
I bought High Fidelity at Best Buy today, 'cuz it was $10. There aren't any paper “liner notes” (or whatever you call it for a DVD), but there's a lot of extra stuff on the disc. About nine deleted scenes (which I looked at) and interviews with the cast and so forth (which I didn't). There are a few trailers for other lame movies, too.. Not the best film to DVD conversion I've ever seen (they shrunk the image slightly and put a black box around the whole thing), but hey it was cheap.
I'm really wanting to write a nice music program for Linux. Something that will do everything automagically (though I guess those various artists discs are always a trick..)
Most Linux software for music cataloguing and playing is either web-based or requires you to be running a database server on your system. Like I want to do that. That takes effort, dammit. I want something that requires no effort.
Reminds me of a comment a Math professor once made. Something along the lines of, “It's amazing how much effort a Math person will put into something to avoid doing actual work.” That applies to programmers as well...
Well, someone probably made the program I wanted. There was something called “xTunes” (referring to the X Window System that most people use on Linux), but I guess Apple sued or something since the name was too similar to “iTunes.”
Has anyone else noticed that Coldplay's song “Clocks” is being used everywhere that people let you test speakers? Well, maybe not everywhere, but I heard it yesterday and today at Best Buy and CompUSA... It's a good song, but why is it everywhere?
Still wanna make an nice music program. I think I'll have to attack it bit by bit. Maybe I can use a relatively normal development model to do it. I'm trying to spec things out now, and slowly write a little code here and there just to get my brain figuring out how the little parts go together. It doesn't do anything yet, and I'll probably never get past this stage, but it's neat to think about.
The theory of the program will be much like that of Mutt: All Linux music players suck, this one just sucks less.
Saw Johnny English with the family. Overall, probably just fairly entertaining, though a few moments I was dying of laughter. One of the most innovative chase scenes I've seen in a while ;-)
And hey, Natalie Imbruglia is pretty hot ;-)
I've been thinking about T3 a little bit, mostly because Claire Danes stands out in my memory for some reason. I'm trying to remember if she's been in any movies I've seen in the last few years, but the only thing I can think of is Romeo and Juliet…
I got Jane's Addiction's new CD today. I think I most like the track that's been playing on the radio, but other tracks are fairly good…
Went to get the oil changed in my car, and they said I need a new gasket in the transmission, since it's supposedly leaking fluid. I guess I'll have to monitor that, though the fluid level seemed fine last I checked.
Speaking of cars, my mom mentioned that car dealers sometimes have good deals for recent (i.e. within 1-2 years) graduates. I guess I'll have to keep my eye out for anything about that..
Now we have to see if I'll finally get to hang out with my friend tomorrow. Hmm… I haven't gotten a haircut for a while… That sucks.
Well, after my last entry, the neighbor upstairs became eerily quiet. I ended up in my bed, and slept pretty well until 1 or so, but kept tossing and turning the rest of the night. Probably has something to do with the massive amounts of sugar I ate that evening…
I was really hungry after work, but went home to make a pizza. However, in the 25 minutes it took to preheat and then cook, I'd devoured some fruit snacks and half a bag of gummi Life Savers. Probably won't do anything for my waistline. Then again, neither will the pizza ;-)
I ended up just eating two slices of 'za and putting the rest away in the fridge. I suppose I can eat that instead of going out tonight and feel slightly less bad when I look at my bank balance after buying DS9.
I got some music at Best Buy the other day. I got a CD by Nickel Creek, because I'd heard their awesome “Smoothie Song” in a few places. Unfortunately, when I listen to the rest of the CD, I get the same creepy feeling I get when I hear Christian rock, so I'm not sure if that was the greatest purchase in the world. I got another disc by Maroon 5 (who are apparently billed as The Strokes of Hollywood). That one seems to be better overall, but it feels like they're playing tricks on me, using musical techniques that they know will get people's attention. A few songs sound amazingly like Red Hot Chili Peppers, while some others remind me a lot of Jamiroquai, other songs I can't place, but they sound very familiar…
I see Sarah has become one of the collective and started a LiveJournal account now. I think interlinked online journals are a really interesting result of giving everyone Internet access, although I'm sure more than a few people get freaked out by it at first.
Technology pundits (especially media consolidation apologists) have talked a lot about the Internet being a place where anyone can publish, but except for a relatively small number of sites that generated some traffic, few people really believed that it had any effect. Weblogs change the equation. Most sites still don't generate much traffic, but the important thing is that the people who do read the sites do so on a regular basis.
Or maybe I'm just sleepy and talking out my ass.
I guess I got paid just in time. Er, actually, it looks like I'll have to wait a few weeks yet. And there's no telling how that Ethernet connection works…
Too bad their website sucks. Viewing it in Mozilla gives me no joy.
Well, that pcHDTV card I talked about has hit Slashdot. I was going to send a link, but I decided to wait until my card arrives before advertising it to the world too much. It should show up at work on Monday.
Now, I'm in the process of designing an appropriate home theater PC that has the necessary CPU power to decode the video stream nicely. This will be a challenge, since I also ultimately want to have a system that is quiet. I think I've figured out what I want for the base system, though. Probably going to get an Athlon XP 3000+ running on a VIA KT600-powered motherboard. That gives me all the goodies like USB2, FireWire, Serial ATA, and whatnot. I would go for an nVidia nForce2-based system since they're faster, but nVidia only has closed-source drivers for some stuff, and nVidia motherboards apparently don't play nicely with non-nVidia video cards, at least in Linux.
I am looking at getting one of the wacky Zalman fan-shaped CPU coolers, but I guess the extreme size of these heatsinks could actually damage the CPU in certain situations. However, they're very quiet.
It would be awesome to get one of the Ahanix cases, but they're very spendy. I'm still hunting for a good power supply and some good fans as well, but I guess I can't find all of the parts I want right away—I may have to try a few different things before I get things just the way I like.
But, once everything is set up properly, it should last me a long time. The PC would replace the functionality of several A/V components, and it would be infinitely configurable and expandable.
This is one happy day ;-)
I've only seen stills of it, but there was this whole thing at the MTV VMAs with Britney, Christina, and Madonna. Then it suddenly became very Britney and very Madonna, and then very Christina and very Madonna.
This whole lesbian fad is just becoming disturbing…
I was at Best Buy today looking for stuff. I ended up getting music after hearing a song I liked over the speakers there. Of course, I had no idea what it actually was, but I figured, “Eh, maybe Oakenfold.” However, I already have some Oakenfold stuff, so I picked up an Underworld CD and a CD/DVD thing from Paul van Dyk.
Turns out the song I heard is the first track on the Paul van Dyk CD. Whee ;-)
Well, I'm not sure if I heard this mixed version or the original…
Now, if I could somehow apply this luck toward getting a date, I'd be set.
Went down to Uptown again today, after seeing Lost in Translation yesterday. Finally replaced my missing Massive Attack CD—I think a high school friend had borrowed Protection years ago, but I guess he never gave it back. Then again, I never paid him the $20 I was supposed to for that broken portable CD player.
I got some other music too, and tried out the Chipotle in the neighborhood (they just keep pulling me back in). Amazingly enough, they actually have their own parking lot! Shock of shocks. It was also nifty to discover that it's right across the street from the Brave New Workshop. I might have to go see their current project, Total Recall 2: The Governator.
Hmm. Did anyone see the TV ad that had Jesse in it, making fun of the California stuff? I don't even remember what product it was marketing.
Another TV ad that sticks in my head is this recent Pier 1 ad with Kirstie Alley in it, wearing some clothes that look disturbingly like Scientology uniforms. I have no idea if that's intentional or what…
In other news, I need someone to drop me a LiveJournal code, so I can make an account to see people's protected entries. I still plan to use my own website for journaling, although Movable Type seems to be a bit slow now that I have several hundred entries…
I got Think Tank by Blur the other day. The first time I listened to it, I thought it was amazing. The second time, not so much. However, I can't seem to stay away from the melodies and sound mixes of the disc for very long.
“Try Blur—It's Highly Addictive™”
For some reason, I really like the song “Faint” by Linkin Park (I must be losing it). I imagine the rest of the songs on that disc are probably not to my liking, so I must spend some time compiling one of those P2P clients to find out for certain.
The program I had been using a few months ago has become pretty difficult to set up and use, so I haven't been downloading much music for most of this year. Well, plus I'm weak-willed when authority figures tell me I'm doing something wrong…
Yeah, I'd never make it as President.
I totally fubared a computer today at work. Well, it's not really fubared. Truly destroying a Linux box takes effort (hmm… though there are a few commands I know&hellip). I managed to put a lot of files in a place where they shouldn't be—residing in place of other files.
“Oops, I mounted that partition again?” Bah.
On a few random political points:
The only thing I'll say about the impending California recall election is that Gray Davis makes me think of Johnny Carson impersonating a politician. And it creeps me out.
Israel attacked Syria the other day. Everyone was pissed off by that, except not. Syria is one of those countries that the U.S. administration has discussed in the past with potential military action in mind.
Wherever they got this reinvented idea of manifest destiny, I'll never know.
I kinda hate my upstairs neighbor. The fact that his subwoofer seems to be putting out more noise than my entire stereo on most occasions is a factor. I suppose my resonance chamber of a bedroom doesn't help things. I really need to put more things on the walls, but I don't know if that would dampen the noise much.
The noise level is not excessive, just at that point where it is extremely irritating. I'm so glad I didn't put my main computer in my bedroom, or I'd get really pissed off. The bass I hear just interferes with my brain, making it impossible for me to put any coherent thought together.
And the boots! Don't get me started on the boots (or whatever footwear is used up there).
Well, anyway, I went to the HAM fest at RiverCentre with my brother today. I picked up a new 60mm fan to potentially replace the old one on my desktop's CPU heatsink for just $1. Plus $5 for parking and $10 for a ticket to get in. Yay.
Lots of old computer crap there, and a surprising number of Macs and Mac clones (there was a whole pallet load in one corner).
Tracked down a bug in my software that had been troubling me for the last two days or so. Turned out to be a simle thing where I thought a field was one byte shorter than it really was. Oops.
I'd kind of like to see a movie this weekend, but I think I had worked far enough down my list that movies were either gone or just didn't seem appealing enough. I could watch my DVD of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom since I already watched the first one, but Temple is my least favorite.
My parents will be up tomorrow for the Simon and Garfunkel concert and we'll probably be doing some bumming around town. My Mom has a stated interest in seeing the light rail terminals, which is oh so exciting.
One of the strangest things I've seen in the last few days was on The Daily Show last night. There was a dedication in Baghdad marking the reopening of one of the major bridges there. The military band on hand played several songs, including “Imperial March” from Star Wars.
Good choice. *gack*
Not much else has been going on.
I randomly visited Drive 105's website today and noticed that they have a Just Played page, providing a way to see what song is on, or anything that has been on in the last several hours. Except, well, it's broken.
I remember suggesting a feature like this to one of the stations in the Cities a few years ago, but I don't think it ever got implemented. I can't remember which station it was, but I think it was back when 104.1 was the semi-alternative station in town.
I usually like Drive 105 the best, although don't like all of the music they play (if I hear that “Red Light” song one more time…). Also, I really wish I could get some consistent reception of the station.
Which brings me to two obligatory points: First, why doesn't Time Warner carry MTV2 all day long? It is arguably a “local” station, since you can pick it up over the air on channel 13 (a remnant of The Box). Second, I used to really like 93.7 when it was The Edge, in between phases of being 93X. Perhaps that day will come again.
Despite I Love the 80s and I Love the 80s Strikes Back, I remain unconvinced that the 80s didn't suck musically.
I think the 90s sucked less, but I suppose that remains to be seen.
Well, country songs are certainly…inspired…this year:
Tracy Byrd scored this year with “Ten Rounds With Jose Cuervo” and “Drinkin' Bone.” Other big 2003 hits include Toby Keith and Willie Nelson's “Beer for My Horses,” Keith's “I Love This Bar,” Joe Nichols' “Brokenheartsville” and Alan Jackson & Jimmy Buffett's “It's Five O'Clock Somewhere.”
I was amused when this little report came on the radio yesterday. Now, why the hell did it take me until now to figure out that the song is by Outkast? Stupid MTV2 and their unreadable font in that Sims segment… Of course, Outkast is normally on my shit list, so I wouldn't have believed it if I'd read it…
Here's another page to access the story, in case my previous link didn't work right.
Hmm. Radio K is looking to increase the power of their FM transmitter. Here's a proposed coverage map (blech, PDF). I haven't been able to pick up the current signal, and that one might still be too weak.
I didn't know that the current tower is apparently broadcasting on 106.5 as KDXL during the day, and KUOM-FM (Radio K) at night when the K's signal isn't on AM. Wow, that part of the radio band is getting crowded, though. I get a weak signal from KFAI's 106.7 repeater in St. Paul, and there appears to be another signal on 106.9 or somewhere near there. Below 106.5 (or maybe it is 106.5, but I doubt it), there's some weak country station. Farther below, I pick up Drive's 105.7 signal.
So, I went to a great New Year's party—and I didn't even have to go through metal detectors or pass armed guards. Yes, indeed, my New Year's Eve was Dick Clark-free. In fact, having the only appropriate synchronized timekeeping device in the house, I had the duty of marking the countdown (it was cheap—you should get one).
I was surprised to see four DJs, as I had been told there would be only two or three. Then again, perhaps the miscalculation is due to considering Simmons a “friend” rather than a “DJ.” Anyway, they all did good work. Of course, it was also good to see Thosquanta in action, finally. I think most of the songs in the set last night could be apprecated by a not insignificant portion of the general public. So, I knew them before they were stars, sorta.
There was some food there (wouldn't have been a party without it). Some of your average snackages like cheese, crackers, and mixed nuts, but there was other stuff like Dan's peanut brittle and (Ooh! Ahh!) Ultimate brittle. Which nobody ate, of course. I would be remiss if I didn't mention Beth's artichoke dip, which was…artichokey.
I was trying to be at least moderately sociable, but it didn't quite happen. I especially thought it would be good to chat with Beth a bit, since I only run into her once every few months. Unfortunately, our attempts at conversation went downhill quickly. It has seemed in the past like we've got some weird yin-yang thing going on, but it's more likely that we don't have anything in common whatsoever ;-)
It felt in some ways like I was Mr. Faux Pas for the evening, saying and occasionally doing the wrong things. I accidentally sipped my champagne before midnight—I suppose that means a year of bad luck or something. Oh well, I balanced it all out by enjoying the music and dancing about as much as I could.
Unfortunately, my overactive sweat glands required me to cool off outside a few times. It was really disturbing to see steam rising from my shirt. That shouldn't happen! I'm not a cup of coffee!
Anyway, I guess I was surprised that we never really got many people dancing at once until the end of the evening. I thought that if I did it, more people would get going. Accounting for the fact that I wasn't drinking, I thought a bit about Cuervo Man, though lacking an imposing presence or voice myself, I have to leave the more boisterous activity to the professionals.
The drive home wasn't too bad, as I only had to dodge two police cars who had pulled people over. I dropped off one passenger, though I realize I accidentally didn't see “no turn on red” signs at least twice. I hate those things, though they do seem prudent every once in a while.
Waking up was a very elongated process today, and I did have a slight headache due to lack of sleep and blood vessels that were still constricted by caffiene. The sound of the hard drive on one of my computers clicking for several hours didn't help matters either.
Okay, that sounded a bit down, but I really did have a good time. Now I have to figure out something to do with Erik today or tomorrow before he has work and classes start up again.
Just got back from going to Ground Zero for the first time in months. The cold has kind of driven me away, and I guess I didn't know they have a coat check in the winter :-p
I didn't quite have the energy for it at first. I was really dehydrated for some reason, and I didn't hear about the outing until just before it happened so I hadn't been in the right mindset. Plus, once we got there, the video selection the DJ was playing was a little more than I had anticipated. But, it worked out, and I had a pretty good time. Toward the end of the night, Simmons was trying to get me to dance even more, but I knew that I'd probably die of hypothermia on my way home if I didn't take some time to dry off my sweaty self.
Beyond that, most of my Saturday was spent acting slightly Wikipediholic. I'm sure I'll be on to something else (hopefully job-hunting) in a few days.
0.008 kilowatts. That's what Radio K's FM signal is. Correcting for decimal stupidity, it's 8 watts. 8! I can't even run a decent fluorescent light off that!
Hmm. I guess I should try to figure out how to stream Quicktime audio in Linux (and don't forget the fact that “Quicktime” is deceptively non-descriptive). I suppose it probably sounds better than Ogg Vorbis, but at least Vorbis is natively supported by Winamp as well as my favorite Linux player.
I wouldn't complain, but the commercial stations in town are killing me with the same stuff over and over and over and over and over again. Plus, the stations I hit most frequently (Drive 105, KS95, Cities 97, and 93X) have quite an overlap on their playlists, so I will hear the same song more often if I go channel-surfing than if I stay on one station (but then I have to deal with commercial breaks every two songs).
I need music, or a girlfriend. To support either habit, I need a job.
Ugh, the weekend goes by too fast, even when you don't do anything the rest of the week.
This is no real surprise
I guess I'd think that I'm even more introverted than the test says (in a weird sense, as introverted as I am friendly, I suspect). Also, I would have expected the test to show me as significantly more open-minded, but I suppose it's still relatively accurate considering how long it takes for me to accept new ideas sometimes.
Anyway, I shouldn't overthink it…
Grr. Car Talk switched their online show to use Windows Media Player, which (surprise, surprise) doesn't exist for Linux. Just like I can't listen to a non-crappy version of Radio K because there is no QuickTime player for Linux either. I'd like to recommend Ogg Vorbis for such things, but I guess I haven't listened to very many Vorbis streams and I don't know how well it really stacks up—plus it's geared more for “live” content, since I don't think many Vorbis players allow seeking (ff/rew) in audio streams that aren't stored on a local hard drive.
Well, blah blah blah. I've got to do taxes and find a job and find a girlfriend and do laundry and get food and… (not necessarily in that order)
The single most annoying thing about my dad is the fact that he snores loudly and continuously at night. This is obviously not an issue for most people, and is usually not something I have to worry about, except for when I am traveling and need to share a room with him. I have phased in and out of something resembling sleep tonight, but I've mostly been frustrated by being kept awake. I'm escaping for a while to the bathroom to try and alleviate the stress.
There are a few things I had forgotten to write down. In Wisconsin, after a Wisconsin Public Radio station had been tuned in and subsequently faded out within about 5 minutes, we tried switching to music. After scanning up and down the dial, I found something that seemed okay, playing some fairly new rather alternative-ish song that I'll naver be able to remember. Of course, that train wrecked into '80s evil popstar music when it was followed by something by another artist I can't remember, but who is in the class of Rod Stewart whoever that was that wrote “Born in the USA” (My memory of music artists is exceedingly awful). (hmm, that would be Bruce Springsteen, right?) Anyway, Dad started up a tape after a while. What song was playing? “Mr. Roboto”
Something else I'd forgotten was the fact that my dad actually handed a guy the toll when we got to Illinois. I had been used to seeing the buckets used in the past—putting money directly in someone else's hand for a toll is not something I remember seeing when my family used to go on long road trips.
Oh. Valentine's Day. I was getting a bit concerned in the morning that we'd be overwhelmed by V-Day programming on the radio. I suppose we would have been if we'd bothered to try to find more NPR stations, but the radio DJs were restricted to only bringing it up once every hour or so. I had been starting to see the really sad side of the holiday that so many people complain about. I usually don't care one way or another about the day, but I don't like to be beaten over the head with it.
Before we left, I'd looked over the highway construction information on the various state DOTs' pages. I hadn't seen anything for any highway except I-65 in Indiana just north of the Kentucky border, which explains why I was surprised to see other construction areas (even if work has been suspended for the winter).
Well, my stress level has returned to normal, so I'll try to get to sleep. We'll see how that goes, since I can still hear my dad making noise through the door. I hope that I have my own room or something in Kentucky.
Well, we got to Louisville (actually, Taylorsville) around 1:30 or so, Eastern Time. We were amazed at the traffic on I-65 from Indianapolis to Louisville at 11 AM on a Sunday. I'd hate to see actual traffic on that road. Down at the south end of that stretch, 10 miles from the border (the Ohio River), we ran into some construction that has been going in fits and starts for most of my life. I don't know if we've ever been able to get over the bridge there at full speed. The roadway heading there is a mess, the roadway out is a mess (nicknamed “Spaghetti Junction,” though I think it may have been cleaned up somewhat over the years), and all of the other highways in the area are a mess. There are some stretches that are flat and smooth with gentle curves, but not anywhere near where those features would do the most good.
Anyway, Taylorsville is on the east side of Louisville, out kind of along the beltway I-265 (though we'd taken a side trip to drive by the older house that I had associated with my dad's parents when I was a kid). We managed to get where we wanted to go without making any significant U-turns (there was one intersection, but Dad just noticed he had to turn left, though he wasn't in the “middle” lane to be able to do that).
I had a hell of a time getting some sleep last night because of my dad's snoring. I guess he has a wedge-shaped pillow that he sometimes brings on trips that alleviates the problem, but we didn't bring it this trip. Sucks to be me. Anyway, I tossed and turned for about half an hour after I wrote the last entry, then finally decided that I wasn't going to be able to sleep at all unless I had something to cover up the noise. I pulled out my CD player, which fortunately has an FM tuner on it. Amazingly, the first station the channel-scanner found was a pretty good mixed classic-/modern-rock station. Kind of a weird combination, but it seemed to work well. In fact, I think that little station on the border of nowhere probably beats out 93X/KQRS for good programming by a large margin. There were some things I didn't like—some of the songs were a little too bluesy or conutry-y for my tastes, but those maladies were overcome by other excellent selections. I hope that the station broadcasts on the Internet.
Just to try and compete with the big boys in a small way, the station calls itself “K-Rock”, though the call letters are “WRHK” (wrahk?) I suppose stations east of the Mississippi have to pull the K- part out of their ass, while western stations have legitimate claim to the letter…
Still, I think the station should probably bribe the FCC to steal KROC's call letters from Rochester, MN. The Rochester station has been a top-40s station for ages, definitely not deserving of its call sign.
I listened to the station for about three and a half hours until the great programming was interrupted by The House of Blues Blues Hour or whatever it's called. I'm just not much of a blues person, at least not what Dan Aykroyd likes to call blues...
Fortunately, this was about time for me to get up anyway. I was rested enough, though lacking any actual sleep last night, I'm glad I didn't have to drive today.
Hmm. I should probably look up an Internet cafe or something so I can post these messages, though I'm a bit concerned about security in those places…
Heh. Now, if only DJs would tell you the names of the songs they play. Or, if in fact, DJs actually existed at 4:00 AM on Sunday… (Badly-remembered lyrics:)
The freckles on her chest
The dirt on her knees
Her pants at her feet
One more thing about that radio station in Danville:
… Coming up next: Music from The Cars, ZZ Top, and Audioslave
Anyway, my dad and I installed some hand-holds in the shower/tub for my grandparents to use. It was a somewhat troublesome process to figure out how to properly mount the rods, since we lack X-ray vision and can't see through the walls. One of the pilot holes bumped into a stud where Dad hadn't expected them, so things had to be fiddled a bit. In the end, though, all of the extra holes that were made ended up being hidden by the circular mounting area anyway.
Well, friends of mine that think I'm freakishly quiet will be happy to know that I understand how that can be disturbing. I've seen my uncle Joe pull this off especially well, though my Dad can do a pretty good job in this ouse for some reason. I haven't noticed when people move through the house sometimes. I've even seen Joe coming a few times, only to have him somehow go into stealth mode, and a moment later I lose track of which direction he went next. So, my quietness runs in this side of the family. My grandfather is really quiet and doesn't speak much either, though I suppose my uncle John kind of breaks the mold a little bit and seems to be a bit more chatty (though he's not here at the moment).
My grandfather is a lawyer, though I guess not a very litigous one. He's mostly been the type to work on the financial side of things, handling estates and sometimes certain organizations. He worked for one company (apparently one specializing in construction) around 1970 that led him to be at the Supreme Court once, which is a pretty neat thing to have done, even if it wasn't an amazingly interesting case or anything.
He's 89 years old now. Still handles a few estates here and there, I guess, but I guess the work is mostly just to keep him engaged rather than just sitting around all day. It looks like he may give that up fairly soon, though. He's received a few degrees. A B.A. in 1936, a Bachelor of Law in 1938, and a Juris Doctor(ate) in 1969. I guess he served a bit in World War II, but I'm not really sure how much. One of the previous times I visited, there was a story told about how he almost visited London one time during the war because some bad weather almost diverted the plane he was on, but then the weather cleared. I'm not sure where the plane would have been coming from or going to at that point, though.
Heh. I see from some of the pictures on the wall that he had wavy hair a lot like I do, though it was black. He seemed to be able to tame it somewhat, but one of the hairstyles is vaguely reminiscent of Don King, but it's not really bad or anything. It just sort of reaches a point at the top.
There are some photos that seem to be even older, though I don't know the stories behind those yet.
Hmm. Time for lunch.
Today has been even more laid-back. I suppose this is just about as low as I want to go in the activity department. At about this point, I have a tendency to just get tired out by doing nothing for too long and begin a downward spiral. So, I've been reading Catch Me If You Can, the book upon which the movie is based, not the other way around. I started in on it the other day, reading in bursts of a chapter or two when I get a chance. Since my grandparents have lost a fair amount of mobility over the years, my bed area downstairs hasn't seen much foot traffic except for my dad going in and out of his room from time to time. I've mostly just been sitting in one of the easy chairs with my headphones
on as I listen to the radio or a CD and read the book.
I'm kind of surprised by the radio stations around here. There doesn't seem to be a huge number of country staitons around. I guess it seems to be about the same ratio as I find in Minnesota. Still, the air is choked with various rock variants. Some are more geared toward the top-40s end, though most try to be fairly heavy rock or are some variation on classic rock or oldies. I'm appreciating the fact that the playlists are different than those in the Cities. Not quite as much overplaying of John Mayer Jack Johnson (or is that John Jackson? Reminds me of a Futurama episode or two ;-) Anyway, I've just gotten extremely annoyed by the Minnesota stations over the past several months since they beat their overly-short playlists into the ground.
A better strategy than restricting the playlist to 50 songs is to expand it. A lot. I need variety, dammit! It might be good to have scheduled times where certain genres are emphasized, though I'd hate to see certain songs essentially banned from daylight hours or whatever. Still, most stations make massive train wrecks most of the time when transitioning between songs. If scheduling is only going to happen on computers, then it's best to describe the songs in some way to prevent the new song from totally messing up the flow. Some simple beat and note (frequency) matching would be helpful.
WLRS 105.1 (“The Walrus” :-p) is now playing a new song I just heard on that Danville station the other night. Maybe we were all just going through a periodic drought period for new music. I suppose the aural pushers might take a break around Christmas. It would be nice to have some more stuff show up now. Ah. Then the segue to an aincent Red Hot Chili Peppers tune… Bleh.
Anyway, I'd read Catch Me If You Can. I guess I was surprised by the libidinous root causes of that whole escapade. That seemed to get glossed over from what I remember of the movie, though maybe I just try to avoid thinking about things like that. Reading the book yesterday definitely influenced my dreams last night. My mind gave me images I haven't had in a long while. They involved a girl I knew back in High School, though one I generally hadn't thought of back then. Still, I don't think I'd take this as a sign…she attended seminary after graduating from Byron :-p
Still, the book definitely reminds me that I'm not taking the appropriate chances to enjoy my life properly these days. Of course, this is another thing that seems to run in the family. Out of my dad and his brothers, only my father ever married. Both of his brothers (one older and one younger) are long-time bachelors.
My grandmother can't stop commenting on how she never knew that the younger brother, Joe, could cook. He's done a good job of preparing meals for us—often including a token amount of bacon ;-) Green beans, baked sweet potatoes, fried potatoes with vegetables, roast beef, and so on. Of course, it's not all exactly from scratch, but he's done a lot.
I should probably go see if I can help out with any of the repair/upgrade projects that are going on in the house. Dad was still slowly proceeding with installing new phone/fax lines upstairs so my grandfather could move his office up there if he wanted. His office is currently downstairs, though his space down there is much bigger than the room that he might move into later.
Today turned out to be a rather boring day as well. I'll be ready to head home on Saturday. My grandparents have made it difficult for me to watch any TV shows that I like, not that I necessarily like what I usually watch (and what I usually watch is recorded automatically by my computer these days, so I don't even know when it's on anymore). My grandma and grandpa generally restrict themselves to Fox News Channel. Scary, I know. I tried to start watching some stuff on the History Channel. The show that was on was about prisons, not necessarily the most enjoyable thing to learn about, but interesting nonetheless. I think that my dad, grandfather, and I were enjoying it well enough, but then my grandmother came in and started complaining about it before too long. Oh well, I'll be back to my own cable system soon enough. I just wish I got TechTV and one or two other things in place of all those sports channels I never watch.
Anyway, I've kind of been thinking about how a person or group might go about running a new radio station that plays stuff people actually like. Of course, it's impossible in more ways than one. Even if I somehow made a radio station myself, I'd probably end up scheduling things I don't like because I know other people like them. Still, I keep thinking about it, and it'll probably be on my mind until I get back to Minneapolis. I certainly hope the Cities stations will have turned over a new leaf by the time I get to my apartment.
If I somehow got control of a radio station of my own, I wish I could just start spinning random CDs that I own, but my collection is still relatively small, and a lot of the tracks I own are pretty much crap. Heck, most of them probably are. The good news is that there is usually one or two good tracks to make up for the rest, though sometimes I end up with something that I just consider to be a dud later. One thing I hate about my music collection is that I somehow spring for the slower, more mellow music, when I really would rather get pepped up by some faster beats and generally happier music.
So, I'd rather have control of a station that mostly played up-tempo music, probably usually stuff that you can dance to—or at least something that will get your feet tapping. I think I'd basically say, “we'll play anything except country, rap, classical, some ethnic music, and maybe a few others.” Which leaves all sorts of good music. That's really all I want—good music. Heck, even for the bits we wouldn't play, it might be nice to have hours where the music was influenced by another genre of music that generally doesn't get on the air (blues-influenced, jazz-infused, etc.). *shrug* Maybe it'd be a sucky idea. I guess in some ways, it sounds like how you'd define “college radio station.” However, I think the station would still have pretty heavy influences from popular music, rather than the fairly random stuff you get on college radio. The only thing I really want is to get away from playing only the top-40 hits of the past. Getting into the lesser-played tracks by new and old artists would be much more enjoyable.
It would be nice to alternate a bit between new and old music, showing musical influences along the way. That would be an especially nice thing to do during certain hours. Heck, if the station got to be good enough to be noticed by musicians themselves, it would be awesome to do interview sessions with the artists where they sit down and talk about the music that influenced them, letting it play and talking about it in-between tracks.
I also thought it would be great to have some time on certain weeknights (or, more likely, the weekend) when local and visiting DJs come in to spin some dance music. I figure maybe a good DJ could come in at least once a week, though the station could still have an hour or two of dance/electronic/ambient music each night or every other night.
Another time slot could be dedicated to “Jam Sessions” where jazz-style music could be played by live bands or random recordings (this would also be a good time to schedule a lot of music by Phish and other similar groups). An evening hour might be dedicated to stress relief by playing some fairly angst-ridden music for much of the hour, with a transition out to something more upbeat toward the end of the session.
Part of the idea behind the station would be a good system for selecting what music to play. Being a computer geek, I figure this would probably revolve around some specialized software for selecting appropriate tracks from a music database. I figure part of the DJs' jobs would be to go through the music library, cataloguing the music, assigning the various genres, influences, artists, etc. that are represented by the songs. Information like that as well as descriptions of the intro/exit of each song, such as the beats per minute and what instruments are used (maybe even the pitch). Maybe it's an impossibly high standard to reach, but the Cities stations seem to be bordering impossibly low standards at the
Since I'm a Linux geek, and since I just read Linus Torvalds' book, I figure it would be good to have a fairly “open” radio station. At the very least, I would want to have an online database available for listeners to look up popular songs, and what was playing at a particular moment on the radio. It might be a good idea to open-source the software used for cataloguing music—maybe even the database itself. A lot of people would think it's crazy, I guess.
Also, it would be beneficial to have listener input on how to make the station more enjoyable for them. I already know that people hate ads. I personally dislike a lot of the DJs out there—they talk too much, or at least mention things I could care less about. I'd rather have the DJs merely mention who just played (and the song/album titles) and then mention who's coming up, instead of talking about boring crap. I want the station to be about the music.
Anyway, it's only an idea. I'm sure it'll never get past that stage. Something that would be nice to have, but will never happen.
Bah, okay, I just have to pick nits about Evanescence. I'm getting a little sick of their ballad-ish songs, and I'm wondering if the studio recordings were botched. I had downloaded an MP3 (or random format x) file, and I was getting audio “clipping” artifacts at some points. It's hard to tell sometimes if the audio is really meant to sound like that or not. The vocals seem to be going off scale, is what I'm trying to say, and you get some static in it from that. Anyway, it's hard to tell from FM broadcast, but it seems that the original recordings may have this problem, so I'd hate to go buy their CD and have the static-y voices.
Most pop music recordings are so “hot” these days, they don't properly exploit the capabilities of CD audio. A lot of music seems to be normalized, so when the bass line kicks in or the main guitar riff starts off, the music doesn't really get louder—the rest of the music just gets softer! Well, that's what it sounds like to me in many cases, at least. That's stupid. I suppose the music producers don't want to scare people or something. Oh well.
One of the big things that directors of large bands (marching bands and orchestras, I mean) have to worry about is how to get the appropriate dynamic range. It's amazing when you do it right. It's a pretty awesome thing to listen to a quiet theater with just a clarinet or flute playing, then hear everyone else come in with a rush. Maybe the reason it's so difficult to get musicians to do that is because they always hear pop music on the radio played at constant volume…
Blah, I'm wandering. Time to go try to find something to do, I think.
Sorry to everyone who still bothers to read my entries on LiveJournal. It sucks to be you right now because all of my entries for the past week have suddenly appeared on your friends pages. Sorry about that, but you can blame the LJ staff, since their software doesn't properly parse the timestamps in my entries :-p
If anyone wants to read my slideshow-esque recounting of the week's events, take a look at this category on my website.
Today, my dad and I managed to pull out of my grandparents' driveway around 8:20 AM (7:20 in this time zone). We didn't have too many stops, and managed to arrive in Byron at about 7:20 PM. 12 hours isn't too bad for 750 miles. It looked to me like some snow had melted along the way, but it's hard to say how much, exactly. All I know is, last night I heard motorbikes revving in the distance. Tonight, it's snowmobiles.
I drove probably about a third of the way, including the last stretch on the way home. The only time on the whole trip where you can legally go above 65 mph is in Minnesota, where the Interstate highway speed is 70 mph (well, you only get that high in rural areas, and nobody counts the stretch of I-94 from the Cities out to Hudson for some reason…) My dad pointed out to me that there was actually only one I-Pass–only lane in the center. The lanes to the left are the automatic buckets, and the lanes to the right have people in them to make change.
We had lunch in Urbana-Champaign, supper not far past Tomah (where I-90 and I-94 split in Wisconsin), and even got to listen to some NPR on the radio on the way. That Danville radio station I had liked on the way down has either changed formats to talk or had some strange program on while we came through before noon. Oh well.
I had a strange service provider pop up on my cell phone in Wisconsin. Einstein PCS? Never heard of them. Hopefully the call from my uncle I got won't give me any extra charges, since I was on that network at the time.
Last night, I didn't get to watch The Daily Show like I wanted. Supper was delayed, and we didn't even begin to eat until 7:00. But, my Dad and I stayed up until 10:00 to watch the episodef of Monk that was on USA. My parents are cable-impared, and miss out on that show since ABC is being idiotic about scheduling the show, since they aren't playing it very often. Dumbasses.
Now that I've rained the bits and bytes of hell upon everyone, it's time for me to check some e-mail, and probably go to bed early…
I should be heading back to Minneapolis tomorrow.
Blech, I'm sleepy. My sleep schedule is somewhat off since I ended up sleeping more with no Internet and restricted TV. Now I'm tired since I was in the next timezone, I guess. Oh well, I'll be back to what passes for normal in no time.
I think that at about 9:00 PM on the Friday before I left, I realized that I should probably try to call Erik and hang out with him more often. In theory, he's helping with teaching at the school right next to my apartment, so it wouldn't be hard to visit with him if he has an open schedule afterward… I suppose my desire to get to know some girls may have led me to distance myself from my male friends. I needed time to recover from being around guys all of the time in my CSci classes, I guess. Still, I'd want to spend time with some girls if the opportunity arose, but that's not going to happen if I never hang out with anybody…
I was guilted into going to church this morning in Rochester. It would have been nice to lounge around after driving all day yesterday, but no… I was worried that one of the pastors would mention Mel Gibson's movie, and one of them did. I was seconds away from getting up from my pew and leaving the sanctuary, but he managed to stop talking about it before that happened. It would have turned into a mess if I had left—my parents were on my left, and my brother and one of the church's pastors was on the right. Neither direction was a good option. Oh well, the guy didn't outright say, “you should go see this movie,” he just said something like “it sounds like this is an accurate portrayal of what [is believed to have] happened.” Still, I wish he'd actually see the movie before promoting it in any way.
But, I'm in Minneapolis now. Brought my brother up with me, since he'd visited home over the weekend. There was a little tension since we might have had to deal with bad weather, but things cleared up by the time we left (still wet on the road in some places, but not too bad).
Now I see that The Daily Show was all repeats this last week, so I didn't miss anything there. I'll have to go through the other shows my computer recorded and see if anything interesting showed up over the week (there appears to be a good Frontline episode).
Oh yeah—I'm glad Ralph Nader decided to run again. I wasn't sure if I wanted him there or not, but the Democratic nomination race is kicking out the candidates I like (er, the main candidate I liked, at least). By the way, the “Nader is a spoiler” argument doesn't carry any weight with me. In Florida in 2000, Gore and Bush were separated by 537 votes. The 10th-place finisher, James Harris of the Socialist Workers Party, had 558 votes, so that theoretically makes about eight people possibly responsible if you want to play the candidate blame game. In truth, the voting in Florida was just fubar in general (with tens of thousands of ballots considered “spoiled”), so you can't blame any of them.
400 more songs…No hype, no BS…That's Drive 105
Stop talking, dammit! That is hype and BS in my book. I hadn't bothered to check before, but almost every break between songs on Drive has an interstitial remark (somewhere north of 98% of the song changes while I've been listening today). It's endless self-promotion, which becomes very annoying. If you're going to waste my time talking between songs, at least tell me who the friggin' artist is. Commercial breaks seem to average between 5 and 7 minutes, while I generally can't be bothered to stay on the same station when listening to talking heads and ads for more than 4 minutes straight.
On my trip to Kentucky last week, I (probably re-)discovered that McDonald's, schools of bartending, and other organizations will make different ads for different regions of the country. The ads in Louisville often have exactly the same wording, but the themes are sung with a southern accent and country music, even when played on rock stations. Since we get urban-themed ads up here, this leads me to believe that there may be other versions. Personally, I have a very strong dislike of hip-hop, so I'd prefer to hear some rock-themed ones if they exist.
Oh yeah. I like the fact that Drive plays Phish every once in a while, but I think they have more than just one song. They seem to be suddenly playing half of Guster's tracks, so why not give fair treatment to some of the other bands out there. Go out, burn your playlist, and start over if this is so difficult…
Yesterday I started playing with GJay, a Linux-based program that analyzes music for audio frequency usage (which parts of the spectrum are heavily used) and BPM, giving the computer a fairly good idea of what a song sounds like. You can go in manually to give songs ratings and “colors,” which can be interpreted in any way you want.
I use the location on the color wheel (hue and saturation) to indicate genre. More saturated colors are used for “heavier” music in my system and less saturated colors (approaching white in the middle) are “lighter.” So far, I've got classic and modern rock in the blue and purple range, with red going into pop/hip-hop/rap, then circling around to techno/dance in the yellow/green range. Cyan, on the opposite side of the color wheel from red, is reserved for classical music, and occasionally sees other acoustic stuff. I use the value (brightness) scale to indicate how “happy” the song is, so it's kind of a representation of mood.
There's also rating, which the randomizer doesn't seem to use much other than to avoid certain songs below a cutoff point. It'll take forever for me to put all of the color/rating data into the system, and I'm sure the info will get corrupted at some point (at least it's in an XML file).
So, I get to cheat on the random playlist thingy going around (though some of the selections still aren't so good):
Heh, you might notice that most of the artist names start with A, B, or C. I've mostly only categorized the songs toward the (alphabetical) beginning of my music archive. My computer was still analyzing music when I woke up this morning (though it had gotten through over 50% of my collection overnight).
I was surprised to see that the “Just Played” feature of Drive 105's website is actually served by YES. They have computers that tune in various radio stations all over the country which do audio “fingerprinting” of the songs played. I imagine they don't actually have everything in their database, so that explains the gaps sometimes. At any rate, I think it's a sucky interface. You only see one song, while most people would want to see the last twenty—at least—in one glance.
Okay, I lied. My computer is still analyzing music. I had forgotten that I copied most of Dan's music collection off the living room computer one time, and I'd also copied some music back when I worked at CSOM (unfortunately, most of that turned out to be jazz, which I wasn't a huge fan of…) But, I think it'll be done soon (/me crosses fingers).
I need to find a program to tweak the volumes of the songs on my computer though. iTunes does this automatically, but my old player doesn't have this functionality built in. There are some plugins I can use, but one I tried in the past didn't pre-analyze the songs—it only went on the moment-to-moment volume of a file, which just seemed to mess things up more (and is generally not what I want anyway—I complained about this type of behavior the other day). There are some other tools I can try, but I'm not sure how well they work.
Anyway, this analyzer program is still doing a fairly good job so far. Having more music available to go between helps a lot. I've got something like 6770 music files (though many are duplicates or silly files), so there's plenty of wiggle room for the algorithms. One nifty thing is that the software is good at finding duplicate files. I've been getting files common to my normal collection and Dan's old one show up right next to each other in playlists. Sometimes the affinity for music by the same band is a little too heavy, though. I suppose I should just be glad I don't have a lot of stuff by Everclear ;-)
I just pulled my CD settlement check out of the mail. It had actually been sent home, but my mom mailed it here. $13.86. About what I expected, I guess.
In other news, Wired has a pretty awesome issue this month, though it bugs me that it is the third place I've seen the military-funded desert-traversing AI robot project story. I think I've also come across in in IEEE Spectrum and Scientific American. Someone wants to get more funding…
Update: Oops, it was SciAm and Popular Science.
Heh. For everyone who gets annoyed by the religious overtones of the president, maybe you'd like some scarily happy atheist-themed music. Listen here, about 1:25 in.
On a completely different subject: I don't know how in the world I wandered into this thought process, but I'm kind of curious about euphemisms for defecation at the moment. Actually, I'm specifically interested in polite euphemisms… I've hunted a bit with Google, but a lot of them are very sickening. As a kid, I was told to call it “big business,” which is pretty funny now that I think of it. I've never heard anyone else call it that (and no, when financial analysts talk on TV, I never get confused ;-)
Update: Oh my…
I was having a heck of a time getting any P2P software running on my little corner of the Internet. Anyway, I finally got online and started searching for some things. After googling a while and finally deciding to just do a brute-force attack on the Billboard Modern Rock chart, I finally discovered that the song I'd had in my head since my trip down to Kentucky was. Yeah, I ended up going through almost the entire list to figure it out. It was “Figured You Out” by Nickelback.
Oh. Yay. Them.
Well, whatever. I also have listened to almost all of the songs that seemed “new” over that trip. Boy. I remember when radio stations would play songs before they hit the top of the charts (and when they actually told the listeners what the fuck they were playing, for another thing…)
Apparently the halls of JPL have been abuzz with talk of “significant findings” from data being returned by the Mars rovers. There's going to be a press conference on NASA TV at 1 PM CST (though they have a knack for delaying press releases for one reason or another). Anyway, it might actually be interesting to see, so I'll be on Ch. 77 this afternoon. However, I imagine it's just something simple about water, so that would fulfill the missions' goals, but in the end I'm not sure if it will excite people very much.
Weird. I downloaded a video of Electric Six's “Gay Bar,” hoping that it was a larger version of this, but instead found it to be the regular version. It had been captured off of MTV2, and I noticed that the words “war” and “nuclear” were censored. What?!? A guy writhing around in various skimpy outfits with phallic symbols all around is fine, but mention war and you're out of the picture? Viacom is one messed-up organization…
Went to Adam's birthday and heard the band play again. And then heard the band play again. One of Spike's friends didn't get there until really late, hence the repeat. I managed to do okay in some of the crash games in Burnout 2 in the meantime, though.
In other news, it appears that Marcy Playground is actually named for the park across the street from my apartment (the playground at Marcy Open School/Holmes Park, rather than the playground at Marcy Park). Theoretically, the school was the “formative location” for one of the main guys in the band.
Blah blah blah. I stayed up too late.
I am disturbed by the fact that I was almost born on the same date as Clay Aiken. Yay Mom for getting me out before midnight.
I went to see Eternal Sunshine today. It was really good. Charlie Kaufman does good work—and Michel Gondry does too, for that matter. I was actually thinking that some scenes in the movie looked like Gondry's previous work (I picked up a DVD of the music videos he's made), but I didn't know he had anything to do with the movie until I got home and looked it up on IMDB.
Anyway, good movie, yadda yadda yadda. It's one of those that you need to think about a bit to get the scenes properly re-ordered in your mind, but it's nice to occasionally see a movie that requires your neurons to actually exercise a bit.
Most of the previews didn't do anything for me. There was one for Saved! which seems to be set in a Catholic school. Seemed like it could be a good antidote for that other Jesus movie, but I'm not entirely sure. It's definitely targeted toward the teenage crowd, though I don't know what direction it's supposed to be going with regard to the basic religion question. Hmm. Mandy Moore as an overdone Jesus Freak? Heh.
There was also a preview for Garden State that looked interesting. I know I was partially hypnotized by the trailer's background (or foreground, since there's pretty much zero dialogue) music. Well, whatever. Hmm. Looks like it's basically Zach Braff's very own movie. Wacky.
Heh. The opening riff of “Does Your Mother Know” by ABBA sounds a lot like the Invader Zim theme song.
Oh. If you are dehydrated and then go drink two 20 oz. bottles of Mountain Dew, you will go into shock. After taking a shower last night, I tried to lay down and go to sleep around 9:00. Despite the fact that it was about 70° in my apartment, I was shivering even under a comforter (granted, the comforter has become a bit skimpy). I had to pull out a heavy blanket I generally only use in the winter, put my pillows under the sheets for warmth, raise my feet and lower my head in order to stop shaking. That was not so good. At least I knew what to do. The action of the caffeine finally slowed down about three hours later, but it still took until about 1:00 before I was able to get to sleep.
Hmm. I'm reading through the list of songs that Clear Channel banned after September 11th. It's pretty weird. Things like "Walk Like an Egyptian" by the Bangles and "Falling for the First Time" by the Barenaked Ladies were on it.
Today feels like a Radiohead day.
If anyone is listening and can tell me the track that is played on the trailer for Jimmy Fallon's upcoming movie Taxi, I'd appreciate it. I know I've heard it before, but can't really place it. Seems like it must have popped up in an ad for a video game at some point.
Now that I think of it, it was probably Grand Theft Auto: Vice City—though I've never played that game and don't know if the song is in it. Hmm. If that's where the song is from, I guess it's not really surprising they'd use it to promote a movie about cars, bank robberies, etc.
Work was, well, work this morning. Tried to do my normal routine of support in the morning. I thought I'd be able to get done with that early, though I guess that didn't really happen.
It was my boss's birthday today. He was going to try and get his wife to go see Alien vs. Predator, but apparently that wasn't going to happen this evening. So, he dragged my workmate and I out of the office and over to the nearby theater to see the movie. About what I expected, I guess, though actually somewhat more plot than what I figured would show up. Considering the number of people that were at the 1:30 PM matinee, I won't be surprised if it ends up as the top movie this weekend. Not that it deserves it, of course.
Anyway, after the movie, we go back to the office. My boss finds out that his parents aren't visiting this weekend (he's originally from Alaska), which throws his weekend out of balance since he'd been planning on visiting Bemidji with them. Then it turns out that his wife had bought tickets already to go see AVP in the evening as a surprise. So anyway, I didn't envy him having to go home and make her feel better after the whole weekend turned upside-down.
Now, my workmate has got to spend the weekend in jail. Apparently it was either that or pay a bigger fine for his drunk driving conviction earlier this year. The advice my boss gave was simple: “Just don't do anything stupid.” I'm sure he'll be fine.
Sometimes it's good to just have a boring life.
Hmm. I noticed that Anne Hathaway was on The Graham Norton Effect last night. Yes, promoting her G-rated movie. That was kind of funny.
But apparently she's going to be topless in her next movie, so I guess it all evens out.
I walked out to my car after work today and thought, “Hmm. Tornados.” So, we'll see. A big line of crap is showing up on the radar right now, but I don't know how much will come through here. It was a really strong south wind this morning. My car was wobbling around much more than normal as I drove into work.
Unfortunately, my workmate seemed to have a faint bit of that sickening type of BO you sometimes see on old hermit-like guys on the bus. I think it was causing me to sneeze a lot, but it might have just been hayfever or something. I seem to be allergic to something, but I'm not sure what exactly. It seems like a few factors have to be going on at the same time for me to really start sneezing.
Or, the sun just has to come out. Maybe the sunlight affects the nerves in your nose or something.
I went to Best Buy afterward and got some CDs. We'll see if they're any good. I didn't have any list with me, so I didn't have anything to search for specifically.
I want to get a PDA again soon, but I want one that at least has Bluetooth. As far as I know, Palm software still seems to work better in Linux than WinCE stuff (or whatever they call it these days). Unfortunately, I think my requirements will make the device quite spendy (and I probably wouldn't even use any MP3 capability since I'm a Vorbis man myself). I'd probably be best off getting something cheap at Target and spending my money on something important like dual drives so I can get RAID on my desktop (Yeah, it'd just be RAID-1, but I think I need something. Ugh, and I'd probably need to get a PCI IDE card so the RAID doesn't fail whenever I rip CD audio...)
Oh, and Wikipedia is running an article on the Holy Foreskin.
I'm not kidding.
Well, I succumbed to the will of the Force during lunch today. Not that it was really intentional. I went to Best Buy with the intention of getting the new Green Day album, but I was sucked in by the Star Wars music playing and everything, so I ended up getting the box set too.
After getting out of there and heading to lunch, I realized that I had yet again forgotten to go by the post office to get some stamps. I ended up getting some Buckminster Fuller ones, although they're pretty huge for stamps. Kind of unfortunate to realize that they'll mostly be going to pay bills (well, if they aren't too big for my envelopes).
I've been starting to listen to BBC Radio 1 and KCRW's music stream lately. I guess I got interested in KCRW after hearing about the station on Frontline's "The Way the Music Died." They say that they were the first station to play artists such as Fiona Apple (yay!), Coldplay (yay!), and Norah Jones (meh). I dunno, KCRW certainly is "eclectic," but that doesn't necessarily mean that I'll like it.
Radio 1 seems to play more beat-heavy stuff, which can be both good and bad. I generally despise rap/hip-hop, which they play a lot more than I like. However, there's a lot of dance music there too (which some would argue is essentially the same, but whatever). Unfortunately, the best I can get from them is a 44kbps RealAudio stream. KCRW has a 128k MP3 stream, but it seems to either be down right now, or the ISP we have at work blocks it. Hard to say. I suppose both of these places have Windows Media Player streams too, but I use Linux and I don't want to pay for the CrossOver plugin at the moment.
Anyway, it's something different. I'm just sick of hearing the same stuff over and over on the local FM stations around here (and I usually only listen for 30-90 minutes while I'm in the car each day). The sameness is just mind-numbing.
Robert Smith of The Cure is currently DJing on BBC Radio 1, and has been playnig some awesome selections (though he just dropped a peg by resorting to Nirvana which I still hear too much these days on local stations).
Update: The 2-hour show will be available for listening here until next Thursday afternoon (he was sitting in for a guy named John Peel). Oh, and a track listing. Neat (though it looks like that will only exist a few days before being moved).
Agh. Creepy. So I start listening to BBC Radio 1 last week, and then I hear some people fill in for John Peel in his regular slot. They seemed to be in awe of his abilities (he was the only DJ who had been with the radio network since it started in the 1960s), so I was anticipating hearing one of his regular shows. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack while on a trip to Peru.
Bad luck seems to be following me around these days.
Wow. I'm amazed at how many of the CDs I own are “enhanced.” Not that I've ever really seen any enhancements that I care about at all (but of course, I don't run Windows and can't run any programs on there anyway—videos often work though, even though they use an aincent encoding). If I get bored enough, I may go through and store the data from the data tracks, but I doubt I'll be that bored until the next catastrophic failure that destroys all of my music collection. But by then I'll have three times as many CDs (or whatever the successor to CD is).
Listening to Radio 1 online is causing my list of music to buy to grow without bound. Some of the stuff might only show up on vinyl. Some might only show up in Europe. That would be an expensive habit.
John Peel, the British DJ who passed away this past week, apparently had 26,000 records in his personal collection (of course, he got 200 demos a week and went and purchased music very regularly). If even KQRS has that many, I might have to eat my hat (and they only have music with white boys playing guitars anyway).
Given the number of acts that perform around the city every night, there seems to be little reason why there couldn't be live performances broadcast on the radio on a daily basis. Heck, even one hour a week would be better than what we have now (as far as I'm aware).
Now that I finally think about it, it amazes me how little the TV and radio stations around here do to foster community. There is no equivalent of the op-ed section found in the newspapers around here. The only performances by area groups that I'm aware of to be broadcast with any frequency are the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and St. Olaf's Christmas program. When was the last time an area play was on TV? Well, I guess TPT sometimes broadcasts stuff like that on channel 17, but it's not something I see often. I'm not even sure if stations around here broadcast community calendars anymore. It's been a while since I last saw one (though I suppose they were mostly announced in the after-school hours, at which time I'm usually working).
Radio doesn't seem to be much different. About the best you get for community involvement is when KS95 does their afternoon “is there anybody who…?” call-in routine. But jeez, what does someone's story about being run over by a lawnmower tell me about the people who live around here? Occasionally a group will do a recording locally, but I think the stations are too concerned with trying to get big acts rather than finding a group that can simply put on a good show.
Well, I suppose some people would rather not have their play or performance broadcast so that people wouldn't have to pay for it, but I'm sure a lot of groups would jump at the chance. Broadcasts wouldn't necessarily have to be live—heck there are disadvantages to that like working around annoying people standing in front of cameras, or blurting out swear words during an audio recording, or the simple act of touching up technical issues and cutting out empty pauses where someone has to reload their sampler.
Of course, I'm hardly one to talk, since I can beat out just about everyone when it comes to lack of experience seeing shows and other community involvement.
I have an interview scheduled for November 30th at the U. We'll see how that goes. The interview (and presumably the job) is at WBOB, which is just about the least accessible place from my apartment, due to the placement of the river and the Interstate.
Listening to BBC Radio 1 online will probably induce me to get a record player at some point, so I can play some 12s. Yeesh. Of course, that would require me to have actual space in my apartment. Well, they still play way too much rap/hip-hop for my tastes. Sometimes I can handle it, but in wears on me pretty quickly.
I'm getting curious about what Minnesota Public Radio plans to do with WCAL. The sale was finalized today, although it's not really clear if they have paid for it. The SaveWCAL folks have managed to get St. Paul to do another hearing about some bonding money the city was going to use for the sale.
Anyway, I did make some comments talking about what I'd like in the station. Since I haven't heard a selection of music I like on Twin Cities radio for a long time, I want a place that plays good new music, and hopefully with some dance/electronica/name-your-genre stuff. I want a place that will play Radiohead tracks other than “Creep,” and Cure tracks other than “Friday I'm in Love,” and … It's really doubtful they'd go that route, but it's still fun to think about.
There's a lot of other stuff I like as well but don't get much exposure to. I suppose bluegrass would be an example. Unfortunately, I think that the attempts stations like Radio K and KFAI make at this sort of diversity fall a bit flat. I suppose I'm just brainwashed by our corporate media (heh).
The Edge overplayed a lot of stuff, and I never really got a chance to sample Rev 105, so I don't know if I would have liked that or not, but I think they did a lot of community stuff that is missing around here. One of my main suggestions was that a new station should give artists a place to do live performances on a regular basis rather than the once-a-month stuff we get these days. How else can I get to know these bands when I have no money to go out? ;-)
My activities for tomorrow will probably involve going to Best Buy to purchase Gwen Stefani's album, and then hopefully getting the oil changed in my car.
I should try to assemble a birthday wish list, but not having much money makes that difficult, since I don't think about what I want (other than having money, a job, or a girlfriend).
I wrote a Wikipedia article on Radio K today. It's probably not really accurate, but I'm not really a historian.
I came across an archive of the last few hours of WLOL on 99.5 FM back in 1991. I was 12 years old and lived on the edge of the station's broadcast range, so I can't say I really cared at the time. I still don't care all that much, as I've pretty much held the opinion that 80s music should stay gone (though they did make many selections that would stand up today aside from the 80s ballads—yeaagh!)
Kind of remarkable how things seemed to repeat themselves this year with WCAL, though there's the significant difference of WCAL going from one classical format to another, while WLOL was going from pop/top-40 to classical. Strangely, WLOL had also been classical up until 1981 when competition from Minnesota Public Radio caused it to change format. 99.5 was bought in 1991 for $12.5 million (from a financially troubled company, it seems), and KSJN moved from another frequency (possibly 90.1, but I'm not sure) to 99.5. At any rate, it sounds like it was sort of drawn out, like the WCAL debacle this year.
I haven't seen much reportage on WCAL in the last few days, but $10.5 million has either changed hands, or will within the next two weeks. The papers are already signed, though. Again, I didn't really pay attention to WCAL. There will be more yelling in January when MPR starts the new format, though. They've only said that it will be music-oriented and target a “younger audience,” which could mean anything. I wouldn't be surprised if they resurrected the WLOL call sign (though I guess it's funny to mention that WLOL is being used on AM for a religious broadcaster at the moment, strangely enough on the 1330 frequecy where the station started back in 1939).
WLOL-FM probably retains the title of best studio location, though. They were at the top of the IDS tower. Can't beat that, at least in Minnesota.
Agh! I want to know what MPR is going to do with WCAL. I'm way too excited to find out, meaning I'll probably hate it. They won't tell us what it is for another week or three. Hopefully it will turn out to be good, and maybe there will be enough people who are happy to do away with ads that they'll shell out some cash each year to keep it funded. I'll take a good radio station as a (slightly-past-)Christmas present anytime.
The Arbitron ratings for the Twin Cities are disturbing. A country station is #3. Clear Channel clearly has the dominant position in the market, even though self-respecting people only seem to listen to one of their stations (yeah, I'm biased). Of course, they don't list public stations in the free numbers on their website.
People are sheep.
Not that I'm a major exception or anything, though I do try to make decisions based on actual facts rather than brands/marketing/the blessing of God.
I got bored today, so with the assistance of YES, I did a simple analysis of what Drive 105 played from 9 AM until noon today. 32 songs, a median age of 8 years, with the oldest dating back to 1979 or 1978 if you trace it all the way. Hey! That's as old as I am! Years from which more than one song were played were 1983 (2), 1989 (2), 1990 (2), 1993 (2), 1995 (2), 1996 (4), 2002 (4), 2003 (3), and 2004 (11). One-third of the songs were released this year, but another third were released more than ten years ago.
At some point, I may have to go through a whole 24-hour cycle and see how many songs get repeated, but that will require several hours of work. It appears that repeats are limited to once every three or four hours, so analyzing a three-hour block doesn't tell the whole story.
The license for WGVX/WGVY/WGVZ is set to expire on April 1, 2005, so I'm thinking of sending comments to the FCC on that. Finding something to pique their interest will be difficult, though. I might get somewhere with a localism angle, though that's even more difficult to track with that YES service, since they need to know a song's “signature” to be able to track it (I think). Local tracks wouldn't be in their database. The only remotely local band that they play with regularity is The Replacements, who apparently sort of re-formed when they found out that Friends was going to finally end. At any rate, I don't know how I would be able to quantify anything, though.
It's amazing what sort of weird things the Library of Congress has:
It's from an old 19th century song collection. I couldn't figure out the author or date of publication, though.
I went to the FCC forum on media consolidation last night. I stayed until about 11:30 PM, at which point I figured I'd better catch the bus home. I did get a chance to speak, but I forgot one important point. What I did say amounted to this:
Anyawy, the point I forgot to make related to the sale of WCAL, and is something I've mentioned here before. The station was sold to Minnesota Public Radio. The other bid that St. Olaf received for the station came from EMF Broadcasting, owners of the K-LOVE and Air-1 Christian networks. While I think MPR is big enough, allowing one of those other networks to gain a 100kW station would have riled up far more people.
It was interesting to see how people at the meeting saw MPR, since it is partially funded by the Greenspring Company, which takes profits from the KLBB radio station and by publishing Minnesota Monthly. This money is filtered up through the American Public Media Group, then back down to MPR. In some ways it is innovative; in others, creepy. The folks at last night's event apparently felt that it meant that MPR could do things without being held accountable to their members. I think that's only partially true—MPR couldn't survive without them. Could MPR be more responsive to them? I imagine so.
Most of the people at the meeting represented a slice of about five or six percent of the listening public (by my really rough estimate, they represented listeners of KFAI, KUOM, WCAL, and maybe some others, which works out to ~150,000 people in a region with 2,500,000 listeners).
Well, fortunately, it wasn't quite as crazy as I'd been expecting. There was less talk of WCAL than I expected, at least at first. It seemed to pop up more often as the night wore on. There were some other interesting topics brought up. Public access cable channels are apparently being bought in some markets. KQRS actually did a relatively nice thing, though at midnight to 2 AM. Oh, and Mental Engineering is making a comeback, apparently.
There have been two post-event articles in the local papers so far. Kind of disturbing in their quality level, though. Jonathan Adelstein's name was spelled “Edelstein” by the Strib, which also misspelled Michael Copps's last name as “Capps.” The Pioneer Press spelled it “Kopps.”
Unfortunately, the meeting won't have a direct effect, but it was put in the public record. Previous similar events were credited with causing courts to reverse an FCC decision made last year. Now I just need to refine my ideas and put them into some comments regarding the upcoming renewal of radio licenses in Minnesota.
Wow. I'm really disappointed by this Red Baron pizza I just ate. I don't buy that brand very often, usually because I perceive it as being too expensive. Of course, DiGiorno and friends have upped the ante on that one. Anyway, it just seemed really flavorless to me. Maybe they just have overly-powerful pepperonis or something, but the sauce didn't didn't seem to have much taste at all.
I'll have to try to remember to tune into Cosmic Slop on Radio K tomorrow. That series is wrapping up after ~12 years (they started back in the WMMR days before that micro-station merged into KUOM in 1993). They play the “forgotten pop of the '70s,” so it's any guess if I'd like it or not.
Potatoes are weird. Starch is weird.
Bought too much music today. Probably the wrong stuff. I may have to finally sift through my collection and take some stuff to Cheapo.
I got Gold Medal by The Donnas. Better than I expected. They could actually fit on 93X if a DJ so desired (I don't think they want to tamper with the image of the angry white man station, though). I can tell I've heard the group's music numerous times before (not tracks from this disc—previous ones), but I don't know if I've ever heard it in regular sets on the radio aside from Radio K. Seems more like something that got picked for background in TV ads or something. Why do we get better music in our ads than on our radio stations? Little dribbles of techno spread amongst Revlon commercials, for instance. FOOBAR!
I almost bought The Futureheads by The Futureheads, but then I was thinking, “this is just white boys with guitars,” so I eventually had to put it back. I also knew there was another not-based-on-guitars band I was looking for. As soon as I got home, Radio K pointed out my apparently useless brain cells by playing Unkle (or, if you want to be pedantic, U.N.K.L.E.).
In perhaps bad taste, I went for the man-of-indeterminate-heritage–with-guitar with Prince's Musicology. I may have to sell that one. Like Jamiroquai, only less fun. Well, to my ears, anyway. That's the last time I trust anyone on VH1 to tell me what's good (I normally don't—this was just a period of bad judgement). I'll hang on to it for a while, just in case it grows on me, but I have doubts.
Jimmy Eat World has a new(ish) disc, Futures. I approve.
I seem to remember hearing (of?) them eons ago when I was in high school. The first track I remember identifying with them was “Lucky Denver Mint,” which apparently came out in '99, but that would seem to be a few years too late. Oh well, hard to say.
I got an anthology CD for The Who, since it's one of those things you're supposed to have, I guess. And would someone explain to me why “Who Are You” is the title track for one of those CSI shows?
There was another CD I purchased, but it will remain nameless until Christmas, since it is a gift for my aunt and/or uncle.
MPR announced WCAL's new format and the call letters the station will start using in January: KCMP. The station's program director will be Steve Nelson, who reportedly helped create Radio K back in '93. He might still have a close affiliation with that station, though he had been working at MPR recently. They also moved a guy from MPR's distribution arm over to be music director: Thorn Skroch, previously of Rev 105 back in the '90s (I guess Nelson worked there too). If you haven't figured it out by now, the station will pretty much be what many observers expected: a mixture of everything.
MPR has set up a weblog for comments on the format. A few people are concerned that the station will stomp on the toes of KFAI, Radio K, and other community outlets. Hopefully there will be some differentiation, though KCMP will have a definite advantage over the community stations since they have a 100kW transmitter, just like the big boys of commercial radio (even though it's located in/near Northfield, which is on the southern edge of the metro area). I'm glad they have a repeater in Rochester, though. Then I'll be able to listen to it when I visit home ;-)
The Strib already has an article on the station and the call letters. KCMP apparently doesn't stand for anything, though it rhymes ("KCMP 89.3"). I suspect it'll be hard for the station to differentiate itself from “triple A” outlets around the country (and even around here), though Nelson has been calling it an “anti-format” station. So, KCMP is trying to be the new Rev (with more wattage than they ever had). I'm still excited. And no commercials! (Er, dramatically reduced from what you get on Clear Channel, Viacom, and Disney, anyway).
Interesting news of the (yester)day: Mark Wheat is leaving Radio K for MPR's third service. He's been the program director at 770 AM for six years, from the looks of it, and probably the station's most recognizable voice. I don't know if he did anything else there before that. Maybe.
I don't know exactly when MPR will switch to the new format. Could be as early as tomorrow, but it is more likely to be another week or two down the road, from the looks of things. They're really digging into the Radio K talent pool, though.
There are a bunch of movies I need to see, though I'm a bit worried that I'll end up going out to see them all and then end up with nothing to see for months. Then again, I have Netflix.
Keri Russell was on Conan O'Brien last night. She's got a few things coming out in 2005, and she's been in a play in New York lately—one of those rare moments where I wish I lived there, though she's going to be replaced soon. Kind of funny considering that some of her major credits include the New Mickey Mouse Club and The Babysitter's Seduction… Heh.
Anyway, January is shaping up to be a good month for me in terms of entertainment. Now I just need a job.
Mary Lucia will join MPR's (still not yet airing) KCMP. A lot of people had been requesting that she be asked to join the station. I never heard her in the Rev 105 days, though, so I guess I don't know what all the hubbub is about, but it's a name I recognize (apparently from the time the station was called Zone 105).
Oo! I want to visit the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting in St. Louis Park at some point.
Uvula always sounds dirty.
I'm bored. Nothing to speak of on TV tonight, from the looks of things.
I'm still curious about how KCMP is going to sound, but I'm worried about it sliding in a direction I won't like. Well, I have to give them a few weeks/months once they actually get on the air (and one station can't appease everybody). Anyway, I hope they are successful in one way or another. If they provide competition for the other stations around here, it can only help (er, I hope). Then again, public stations often don't show up in ratings numbers, so who knows if anyone would notice (if you add up all of the numbers given on the Radio & Records website, there appears to be 15 to 25% "missing" because of this—though maybe that's just because it's the "free" data).
Wow, I remember hearing KLF's "3 AM Eternal" ages ago on KROC in Rochester (er, most likely, since that was the only thing I listened to as a kid). It dates to 1991. I just heard it again on Energy Radio (KNRJ) from Arizona.
Not the greatest station I could have ever imagined, but they're the first non-Internet station that comes up when searching for "dance radio" on Google. Super mega bonus points though for sending the artist and song names through the MP3 stream.
Mark Wheat hosted his last installment of the Music Lover's Club on Radio K yesterday. He also mentioned that his official duty at the station was Program Coach, not Station Manager or anything. Anyway, it's easy for people to jump to the wrong conclusion since he's on the air so often. His last regular shift will be on Tuesday, though he might have to sub for someone after that point.
I guess this puts the switchover to KCMP near the end of this week or at the beginning of next week. The MPR folks are not being very clear about when things might happen. They're taking their time, which seems so weird in the modern radio world (it took an hour and fifteen minutes for Rev 105 to become X105 back in 1997). Well, then again, I was figuring it'd be about two weeks from the time it was announced by the MPR folks that he would be leaving Radio K.
I tried watching The Show to Be Named Later... again on Saturday night/Sunday morning, but the audio was crap (they acknowledged that fact with a little scrolling blob of text at the beginning of the show). I don't know who their musical guest was, since I ended up watching part of an episode of Monk I hadn't seen.
Unless some HR people just decide to cause trouble, it looks like my brother will be heading to California to work for Intel. My family will probably be driving out there the first week in February. Hopefully the weather patterns will have shifted by then and we won't get stuck in snow in the mountains :-p
We'd probably take I-35 to I-80 and go west to the Sacramento area. Some of the video of California snow I saw this weekend was a picture of an I-80 sign...
89.3 now has the call sign KCMP, according to records on the FCC website. I'm not sure exactly when that took effect—within the last few days. I don't think I've heard them use it yet, but I may have been distracted when they actually did station ID. It's kind of easy to drift off while listening to classical music.
I think Rick's Market may be getting sloppy. Several minor things seem to have cropped up lately—though it might just be that time of year or something. Then again, the place will get torn down at some point this year (Lunds bought the place and is plannng a low-rise development there). Of course, it's also more expensive than Rainbow (or Target), so I should probably start actually driving somewhere to get groceries.
The recent dip in temperatures came at the same time as an illness for me. It might be a coincidence, though I suspect the drop in humidity did it. I get a few sicknesses like this each year, usually one when the temperature first dips to around freezing, then another when it gets to around zero. I coughed/sneezed up phlegm in new and disgusting ways last night (fortunately it's not painful or anything, just gross).
I should have bought more orange juice.
Well, according to whatever source my computer is using for temperature, we got above freezing. Now KARE-11 can stop counting the hours since it went below zero. Sheesh.
I've been getting back into a semi-regular cycle of watching movies from Netflix. I watched The Cooler a few days ago and thought it was pretty good. A bunch of great actors in it, and I guess I've never seen Alec Baldwin in a role like that.
Today I watched Wild Things. At least it had a plot ;-) Yeah, I was hesitant to see it for a long time. I distinctly remember seeing the poster plastered next to the door in Territorial Hall when I was a freshman. It would be hard to find another image that screamed S-E-X so loudly. Given its non-existence in my life, I'm sure I consciously avoided looking at the poster pretty often. What was the thing that finally tipped the balance and caused me to see it?
Yeah, okay, rumors of make-out sessions between Neve Campbell and Denise Richards also had something to do with it, but I'm pretty sure that little tidbit had slipped my mind by the time it was added to my queue. I suppose it's weird for my priorities to be arranged this way, but I imagine it's an agitation-mitigation technique since things like that remind me of what I don't have. Then again, it's tough to feel too strongly when everyone is homicidal.
I finally caught the Battlestar Galactica miniseries on Tuesday and Wednesday, then watched the series begin on Friday. It turns out that the Brits have got a leg up on us Americans for once—the series started airing on Sky One last October. Should I just fire up BitTorrent? Perhaps if I start missing episodes—it's kind of nice to draw it out a bit (though it probably conflicts with when Monk is on).
Computer work seems so distant right now. Of course, everything is a little fuzzy at the moment because of my flu-ishness. Well, it's all a matter of my synapses being happy. Good new music and cute perfumed girls are the best antidotes for that. Since element B has been absent for a long time, this kind of explains why I've been so interested in the new radio station that I hope will finally be broadcasting soon. But, they probably won't be the station I want them to be. I'll just have to wait a bit longer.
Heh. Okay, I'm not sure if this was intentional, though knowing college students it probably is. Has anyone (er, outside of the area) noticed that the dash in the logo for the University of Minnesota's station in Morris, U-90 89.7 FM (KUMM), looks like ... well, you know. That's pretty funny. It's probably retaliation for not being able to pronounce the call sign as a word (maybe they can, but I doubt it—Grinnell College's KDIC has that restriction, according to a friend who went there).
Well, yeah, that's anti-format alright. KCMP is on the verge of wiping the floor with my heiney.
Ooo! Soul Coughing!
Here's a random link for KCMP 89.3 The Current, for all your Googlewhacking goodness.
Hm. I think I like Le Tigre. Hadn't heard them before, really...
Some things I want KCMP to play and that I haven't heard there yet
Well anyway, if they actually have 50,000 recordings, chances are good that they have all of that and just haven't gotten there yet. It would take months to get through everything if it was played end to end (and I'm not sure if they have 50k discs or tracks—quite a bit of a difference).
I think Mark Wheat is my favorite DJ so far, since he seems to like electronic-y stuff a bit more than the others. Of course, I haven't listened to Steve Seel much since he's on overnight. He got bonus points for Hooverphonic.
It looks like Leigh Kamman's show The Jazz Image will air late on Sunday nights, repeating what was on KNOW 91.1 earlier in the day. Did you know that the guy has literally been on the air since 1940? Crazy. I've never heard his show, but he must know his stuff. Yeah I'm not sure what he thinks of this zany new station, but I hope he has given some tips. Apparently he used to host jazz shows weekends on KSTP AM, and they would link up with other stations around the country to listen to what was being played in clubs. A simple and obvious idea if you think about it, but in a way it is so novel these days.
Whee! I got mentioned twice on KCMP today ;-) I sent Mark Wheat a note that he liked. Since I had to go home yesterday for a while to deliver some ceiling panels, I listened to the station on my way down to Rochester and back. He was glad to reiterate the point that the station can be picked up to points southeast (then I think he went on to get me confused with someone else, but I can hardly blame him with the amount of mail they've been getting). Then Steve Seel said that he was informed about the station entry on Wikipedia that "some kind person" was nice enough to write. My minute of fame.
Alright, last radio post for a while, I think. I just figured I'd mention that even being my currently-poor self, I decided to plegde money to KCMP. I was Googling around on the 'Net for other comments on the station, and someone mentioned that there is a monthly option (which I guess is right there in bold type, but I guess I got scared by the $120 right next to it). Anyway, I can do $10/month, just not a whole year all at once (not right now, at least).
Now I just need to figure out how to get to downtown St. Paul cheaply so I can get a bumper sticker. I never go there. It'd probably be best to do the 94 bus, though they charged me an extra 25¢ when I returned the last time. Some unmentioned rule about taking a return express bus, I guess.
I stole that image. Sorry to "mister jason".
Edit: Forgot to mention that I plan to do somewhere between a 3:2:1 and 6:3:1 ratio of donations to MPR, Radio K, and then KFAI. KFAI comes in last simply because I've never been able to listen to them very much, and I can't handle the block formatting, but I know they're an important voice. Radio K helped sustain me this past year.
I'd like to find actual figures on this sometime, but was reading online last night and today that Soul Coughing was unusually popular in Minnesota, with perhaps one in eight discs put out by the group being sold here—probably a more significant percentage than anywhere else. That's weird, but I suppose it shows that Minnesotans have different tastes than those annoying bicoastalites.
Okay, sorry another radio entry, but does anyone else remember "Music for Boys" by The Suburbs (kind of a funky song) as a background track for something or other on Newton's Apple? I only ask because the full track has some guy saying things like "for a summer they'll never forget" in a voice much like that of Big Gay Al. Since the show was kind of targeted at kids, it just seems weird. Well, whatever, I guess. If "Lust for Life" ends up in an ad for family-friendly vacations, all sorts of strange things can happen.
Wow. I had no idea that Information Society had been formed at Macalester in St. Paul. Sheesh. This is what we get for having crappy radio stations for a decade.
Hmm. My current music library is lacking InSoc. I may have to fire up a file-sharing client. I'll probably send off a request to KCMP tomorrow and to if they will play anything.
It's Valentine's Day, so 89.3 played a song about spanking. Heh. The glue is getting to Thorn (the MPR building is under construction/expansion).
Entertaining link of the day: Big Girl, Big Stuff
Hmm. I think Mark Wheat had to hit the panic button tonight around 8:35 PM. I heard a blip in a song that sounded a lot like what you usually get in censored stuff, but then the song faded out pretty quick, and I kept hearing more blips (kind of tiny repeated bits of sound) for about the next 10 minutes—probably the 7-second buffer filling back up. It was kind of annoying, like a b0rked MP3 file. I would have preferred a few seconds of silence rather than ten minutes of weirdness.
At least they have real live DJs though, unlike Hard Drive 105 (you can thank former Drive DJ Tim Connolly for that one).
Agh. The water is off in my building (the maintenance guys are doing something or other). So much for doing dishes, laundry, or taking a shower...
I think my level of happiness with The Current has been greatly enhanced by the fact that I have a good radio: the Tivoli Audio Model Two (with Model Subwoofer). I really wish it had a lighted tuner dial, but I don't really need that anymore since I'm only listening to one station (during daylight at least—I tune in Radio K every once in a while). It has a great sound and has a long cable between the left and right speakers, so I have them located about six feet apart (which is what stereo is meant to be). I think it's really optimized for classical music, but layered contemporary music works well too.
I've been thinking about how the station is affecting the current media landscape in the Twin Cities (and SE MN). The big thing about KCMP is that it brings a trifecta of goodness:
Everyone knows it's an apples-to-oranges comparison.. I'm just trying to more fully define it. The Twin Cities can't live on Radio K alone, and shouldn't. Nor should we live on 89.3 alone, since aspiring DJs need somewhere to get started. If Radio K ever ended up on the auction block, I'd lobby for it to go to another educational organization somewhere rather than be merged into a bigger operation (of course, it's hard to get bigger than the U, but whatever ;-).
At least one person has mentioned that Cities 97 and Drive 105 have shifted their programming, but I haven't tuned in enough to know for sure. They're drowning in sweeps-related ads at the moment, though, so it's a bad time to check (mostly for the sake of your sanity).
There's a lot of music I want them to play that hasn't gotten on the air yet, but I also have to consider this: If you merely wanted to play one song from each person/group listed at MusicScene.org, a directory of Minnesota music, you'd have to devote a whole week to it—and the list is incomplete. Considering that Minnesota has less than 1/1000 of the world's population (though perhaps more than its share of music), it would take 10 to 20 years to take even a sample of what all is out there. Fortunately, sifting through that stuff isn't my job—it's what people are supposed to be doing behind the scenes at radio stations and other music organizations, though.
Radio K has a whole network of people reviewing stuff, and from what I can tell, 89.3 is building one up too. I'm glad they've mostly gotten the late '90s/early '00s music out of their systems. They've probably got to work on expanding their world music to include places outside of the UK, France, and Scandahoovia, but it's decent. Metal is deficient, but this is MPR after all (and 93X is actually not too bad for people who like that, IMHO—I think it won the City Pages readers' poll for Best FM Station last year).
Well, the station is going to begin a new phase on Monday when DJ schedules get shifted around. The bigtime folks will get their airtime cut back a bit so they can focus on behind-the-scenes stuff more, which should help improve music selections. I wonder if they'll expand the local show… They had originally announced it as two hours, but it has onle been on from 5-6 PM on Sundays. As with local shows on other stations, there's been a bunch of great stuff there that doesn't get in regular rotation (which I suppose is another fairly big nit to pick).
I wish I could fatefully predict the demise of Drive 105 (not that I hate the people or anything, but the computerized rotation drives me nuts), but my predictions usually prove to be way off the mark. I won't be surprised if KCMP blows one (or a few) stations out of the water in the coming months, but I won't be surprised if it's only a minor blip either. If it ends up being anything significant, it might mostly end up being kind of the "Ventura Effect" of radio, where it draws many people who had turned to iPods, Internet streams, and satellite radio back to the medium. I think the localism angle is something that even the iPod would find hard to beat.
In the vein of the six degrees of separation concept, my closest link to Hollywood types would probably be through Trent Reznor. Some friends of friends had mentioned him on LiveJournal a while back, and it looks like Spike (at least) has met him now too. This definitely beats the tenuous connection to David Schwimmer that Dan or Josh has (father's brother's cousin's college roommate's ... ;-)
Yesterday was probably the worst day for Minnesotans in Iraq so far (though I haven't paid a whole lot of attention). Three National Guard members died.
I watched the first episode(s) of Minnesota: A History of the Land on TPT last night. Not too bad, though I guess the announcer threw me off because the voice didn't sound familiar in any way. Looked like they might have filmed it in HD, but I have no idea.
I've gotta get myself some Astronaut Wife (uh, the band). I guess it vaguely sounds like The Postal Service, but with female vocalists. Well, I've got about a hundred things I should buy (not even counting things like clothes and furniture).
The Kings of Convenience will be in town tomorrow and will make a performance on 89.3 before their evening Fine Line show. They're from Bergen, Norway—my grandparents grew up in the vicinity (I can't really say "suburbs" or anything, since my grandmother was on an island).
Hmm. I probably should at least knock the snow off of my car. I think it's the only one in the parking lot that hasn't been moved since the weekend.
Oh, I'd been meaning to link to the Pitchfork article about KCMP. It's fairly long, which is nice, but seems to be big on backstory and thin on impressions of the "format" itself. But maybe I'm just in a mood or something.
Hmm. I applied for a job at Sun today, and uploaded a .sxw (StarOffice/OpenOffice) file as my résumé. If they don't like that, they can suck it (since they, uh, own StarOffice).
Bill DeVille is not my favorite 89.3 DJ. But, he's the favorite for some other people, so I guess I won't complain much. In the meantime I can listen to the dance warmup stuff on BBC Radio 1. Yay for the Internets.
Something I have in my CD collection that you don't: Innovators by Sam Cardon and Kurt Bestor (et al.) Not only do I have the disc, I have the original 1993 WordPerfect 6.0 demo CD version.
Now watch me get ten e-mails with people who also have it.
I think I saw this somewhere else a while back, but it's nice to be reminded. There will be a new bike trail through Dinkytown next to the University of Minnesota. It has been a rail right-of-way forever, so it wasn't really legal to go down there before, but I rode my bike that way to St. Anthony Main a few times. I'm not sure if they'll connect it with the roadway there, but it would be nice. Of course, this might make getting there worse, as they might put up a fence or something to prevent that.
Aaa! This Beck song rocks! Except that you have to get the Hell Yes EP to get it. I personally dislike EPs with a vengeance, but maybe I'll learn to like them. ("Bad Cartridge" is a remix of "E-Pro" from Beck's forthcoming album that was remixed by Paza and released on vinyl and at the iTunes Music Store—it might not even be available on CD for all I know, though maybe it'll be a hidden track or something).
Thorn at KCMP just asked if anyone knows where the game sounds come from. I agree with him that it basically sounds like Mario Bros., but I'm not a gamer.
City Pages has a few decent articles about 89.3 today. They're at the collection "A Real Rock 'n' Roll Station... for Your Pledge of Just $10 a Month?"
Update: As always, I lost my train of thought while posting. I meant to include this quote from the second article:
Newly minted Current groupies have mobilized on the station's online message boards. ... Another recent post speaks of "mass multiple orgasms" brought on by the Current's frequency. This is possibly the first time anyone's ever dropped their panties over public radio, Garrison Keillor fetishists notwithstanding.Getting to the last bit first: Yeeeccchhh! As for the other bit, I saw people mention that more than once and considered mentioning it myself—in the first few days, it was definitely hitting my brain's pleasure center hard. Amazing how music can do that. I don't understand why the big media conglomerates don't recognize it though.
Well, since me complaining about my life isn't interesting, I may as well talk about 104.1 assuming yet another format. Actually, they hadn't changed significantly since late 2000, when they started the '80s format and dropped the alternative "The Point" (which is where they got the WXPT call sign). 104.1 and 105.1/5/7 kind of bleed into each other for me, and they both change formats at similar frequencies.
It's before my time (sort of), but 104.1 used to be KJJO (KJ104), which started off as a modern rock station (to my knowledge), then shifted to be more alternative. Well, those two genres float between each other for me (I think my old fav 93.7 "The Edge" was kind of a mix between those two). Anyway, those formats pretty much disappeared by the time I started paying attention. Rev 105 is considered a successor of KJJO by some. At least one guy on the 89.3 bulletin board had some old KJ104 bumper stickers and was hoping to put it on his minivan along with those of some of the other now-defunct stations, ending with a sticker for The Current.
Okay, I'm drifting. The point is that WXPT is now running the "Jack FM" format. Jack has been popping up all over in the last few months. It's a marginal improvement over what we've seen lately in commercial radio. Instead of 200–400 songs in the playlist, they have 1000–2000 (if you're lucky). However, they drop even the semblance of live DJs almost completely. (In one bizarre instance, a similar station fired their staff while some of them were out doing a remote broadcast—they changed to a "Doug FM" format). The songs are still Top-40, though. They're just the "underplayed" ones...
There are a few other bizarrely similar formats. They're licensed by some big radio format companies, which explains the names. Anyway, there's "Dave FM", "Bob FM", "Joe FM", and others. In Chicago, a Jack variant is named "Nine FM" for the 99.9 FM frequency. In Springfield, IL, there is "Abe FM", named after famous local Abraham Lincoln. Philadelphia has "Ben FM", named for Benjamin Franklin.
Interestingly, the "Bob FM" moniker comes from the former Twin Cities country music station WBOB ("Bob 100", if I recall), which took to the air around 1993 (today it is KJZI 100.3). However, modern Bob FM stations carry '70s, '80s, '90s, and contemporary pop music. Still, there is at least one country variant of the whole Jack/Dave/Joe blob, "Hank FM", which apparently launched in Sacramento.
Well, I don't have a crystal ball, but I think 89.3 will survive much longer than any of these bozos. (Tip for the other guys: if you want me to listen, you have to have a larger number of songs than I do.)
Heh. I've always confused Better Than Ezra's "Good" with Jennifer Trynin's "Better Than Nothing" since the main lick is "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling good, I'm feeling good for now." Well, if you want to relive 1995, like I seem to be doing on a regular basis, it's one of the tracks available off of her website.
Well, I know I've heard at least one other Nevins remix: his version of Duran Duran's "Sunrise", which I probably heard on BBC Radio 1 at some point.
Heh. Digging through my CD collection, I come by the "Plasticity" single by Front Line Assembly. I don't think I ever listened to it until now, since I was annoyed it only had three tracks (I didn't realize it was a single until after purchasing it). The funny thing is, I know I've heard it at Ground Zero.
Okay, for personal reference, just so I can keep these organized:
I saw Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on Monday and randomly ran into Adam and guest (Melissa?). I thought it was pretty entertaining, though not as good as it could have been. Still, when my parents asked, I gave it a thumbs-up. The Heart of Gold spaceship (and especially the escape pod) looks familiar, like one of the Red Dwarf pods or something. Then again, maybe it appeared on/in one of the books way back when. The huge hole in the rear end was unique, though. Zooey Deschanel was a good choice for Trillian, IMHO.
I got some extra cash back from the IRS, so I got myself some CDs.
I should give an update. I have a job, for the moment. It might blow over tomorrow (more likely Monday) or in a month. Maybe longer. Who knows. It's contracting.
Over the weekend, I went up to Duluth and back. Actually, that was just Saturday. I attended my cousin's graduation party. The drive up was kind of foggy near the lake, but it was really bad on the way back. Fortunately I didn't have to travel too far to get away from it. On Sunday, I mostly stayed inside to avoid the sun (which saw too much of me last week anyway).
Earlier in the week I'd been taking photos. I visited the top of the Foshay Tower, then wandered eastward into St. Paul. The bus let me off at St. Thomas rather than going through town as I hoped (I randomly picked the one weird variation of route 21 route that cuts back on a half-length trip).
Jumping forward in time, I attended a "meet and greet" for Minnesota Public Radio on Monday. Specifically, it was for 89.3, and potentially being one of those folks that sets up swag tables at shows or hands out goodies to folks at other events. We'll see if I ever do any of that.
Monday evening I got a call asking for a tweaked Word resume, which I sent out the next morning. Within an hour or so of sending that out, I was contracted for a job after a quick lunch meeting. Today I began working. Nevermind that the details are all screwed up.
Well, I shouldn't tell tales out of school, at least not yet. Suffice to say that I was having greater moral difficulties about this than with the potential work at United Defense...
I went home for the Father's Day weekend. I probably hadn't been home since coming down to help move my brother to California. I helped do some gardening, and got my dad a copy of the Spamalot soundtrack recording. We'll probably have to go see it if it comes through town, one of a very few musicals I'd ever be able to sit through.
There were some other discs I got: The eponymous Kasabian, Troubled Hubble's Making Beds in a Burning House, Let Go by Nada Surf, Demon Days from Gorillaz, and In Your Honor by Foo Fighters. They're all great discs, and actually my least favorite of the bunch is Demon Days, which is kind of surprising.
I volunteered Monday evening by helping in an after-school study session at a local charter school. It worked out alright, though I'm not sure exactly how helpful I'm supposed to be in that situation (plus some questions were phrased in a way that annoying way where you have to sit and ponder for a long time whether to put down the right answer or the answer you think they want to hear).
That storm was quite something. A bunch of traffic signals got knocked out or into a weird failure mode. A signal along Hiawatha Avenue was blinking red-green-red-green (rather than red-off-red-off), which was pretty wacky. Someone honked in my vicinity at one point, so they must have been thinking it was supposed to be like a ramp meter, but it was going way too fast for that... Idiot points to that guy for getting pissed off at people being cautious at a major intersection.
Well, my power went out twice today. The first time was from about 1:30 until roughly 5:20. I didn't expect it to last that long, so I suppose it's a good thing that I wandered around Uptown and got lost a little bit. Still, the power was off when I got home, so I had a rather large serving of slightly melty ice cream for dinner. Just about the time I got halfway through, the power came back on, but only lasted about an hour before going out for another 40–50 minutes.
I was right on the edge of the dead zone. When I got outside the first time around, I could tell that Marcy Open School across the street had power because their huge air conditioner was still running. Down the street at the 5th-Hennepin-Central triangle, the traffic lights were out. The nursing home nearby had its generator running. However, the traffic lights were operating normally at 4th and Central, and power was going to Rick's Market.
Well, I went to Cheapo and got a bunch of CDs. Most of them were used except for the Danny the Dog soundtrack (aka Unleashed, though the actual Unleashed soundtrack is different, I guess, featuring some rapper or summat).
Eh, I haven't posted in a while.
I've been looking around for a portable music player that will handle Ogg Vorbis files, but most of the ones that exist are small and can't hold much music. Blah. Only marginally less cumbersome than carrying around a CD player and a small wallet of discs. In addition, some of the bigger players that did work with Vorbis in the past are now discontinued, and no replacements have come to light.
Work is going alright. I have enough stuff to keep me busy now, which I didn't really have at the beginning. Still, I have trouble keeping track of all of the time I spend, and my boss is fairly picky about accounting for time. Somehow, things add up at the end of the day, but not at the end of the week.
At around 11:00, I headed out to get a new clock radio for my bedroom. My old radio is annoying because it is nearly impossible to understand what anyone is saying if the volume is down low, and I can only interpret certain strains of music when it is quiet. So, I got a radio with a better speaker, plus a somewhat better tuner. The old radio was actually quite good at pulling in stations, though it took some fiddling. My new Boston Acoustics Recepter Radio surprised me by being able to sort of tune in 106.5 KUOM-FM, even though I'm pretty far outside the listening range (relatively speaking). Then again, I can't pick up the 100.7 FM translator (W264BR), even though I am within the blue line—ten watts can't do much against brick and concrete, I'm afraid. That radio just happens to be next to a window on the west side of my building, which is why it can pick up the weak station and not the strong one...
I went to my first Fringe Festival show, which was also my first visit to the Brave New Workshop (sad that it's taken me so long, I know..). Unfortunately, either I transcribed the time wrong, or something got fouled up in the scheduling, so I didn't see what I was expecting. I ended up at Quarter Life Crisis, which was entertaining, but somehow I suspect Jaws: The Musical! The Director's Cut would have been more entertaining. Fortunately, most shows run several times, so I can try it again later in the week. I also missed Kung Fu Hamlet because I incorrectly estimated how long it would take me to get from point A to point B.
This evening, I'll be going to see Corleone, The Godfather as though it were written by Shakespeare.
Eek. There must be a funky temperature inversion or something. I'm picking up KFMC 106.5 here in Minneapolis, and it's drowning out Radio K's Uptown/St. Louis Park translator.
Well, some setup that took me two days at work finally got done today. Back on to testing. Installing those Sidewinders is a pain in the butt, partly because it requires more rebooting than I'm accustomed to...
I was thinking about my last entry on Radio K's Uptown/St. Louis Park signal—I've probably got it backwards and it's likely easier to pick up the other signal most of the time rather than KUOM/KDXL.
Well, 89.3 The Current has been nominated for three awards from CMJ: Station of the Year, Best Community Outreach, and Biggest Improvement (eh, wha?). Heh, not too much warning for those—looks like voting takes place this week and awards come out on Friday.
Well, after about two and a half years, RoadRunner finally kicked my firewall over to a new IP address. I tried connecting from work earlier in the day and was worried that the power had gone out or something. Ah well..
Minnesota Public Radio launched Minnewiki the other day, "The Minnesota Music Encyclopedia." Sounds like fun.
I should write something again, so here goes. I'm probably going to try to keep it short, though.
I had a simple costume for Halloween, pretending to be a rollerblader whose head and shoulder and leg had a not-so-pleasant encounter with a hard surface. I got rid of some old clothes by ripping them up. Hmm, I need a new bike helmet now too. Ah well. Omelettes and eggshells...
So, this party I went to was at Missy's. I thought she had a nice costume (fairy), though there were some problems (poorly-designed wing support structure) and she had to keep fidgeting a bit. Ah well, the glitter, perm, and plush-frog-on-a-stick all just added to the allure ;-)
I also found out that, yes, that guy is her boyfriend. No, she isn't quite divorced yet (meh, just a matter of paperwork). And the holes in yard? Not being filled in until the divorce is final (to avoid any increase in the amount of money/blah the cheating-and-possibly-gay bastard gets).
Justin and Beth also showed up, so it was nice to see them. I'd seen Beth when I went to homecoming, but hadn't seen Justin since my band days. Missy also has her friend-from-band Jill living at her place now, not that I see how that can last for very long, just given the cycle of everything. Well, what do I know...
There were leftovers of the non-perishable variety, so a second party was had last weekend, which mostly consisted of a game of Trivial Pursuit, some video, and some beverages. I held my own pretty well for being the only single player. Missy and Ian won.
I was amazed on Saturday when I actually had the energy to go out and do stuff. I guess I have to get out on Friday more often, so then my weekend is less busy? However that works...
New music for the week includes: Coach Said Not To (good, even though it's just an EP—but did you know that two of the people in the band at the time were responsible for the local TV show Nate on Drums?), Cloud Cult's Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus (one of the best album titles ever), Hum's You'd Prefer an Astronaut (yes, from 1995, and mostly just for "Stars"), and Nada Surf's new album.
Okay, I lied (not so short). That's alright.
Ah, and Kelly lost (yay!) and Rybak won (yay! not that it matters much).
Well, I ordered some headphones with my Christmas cash: a Sennheiser HD-280. Sen-who? Yeah, I'd never heard of them either. But apparently they make some of the most lusted-after headphones out there. Their real specialty seems to be "open" headphones where the outside has a bunch of little holes to let air (and sound) in and out. I prefer to block out most outside noise and keep my music to myself rather than bugging whoever is sitting nearby, so I looked at their "closed" options, and that one seemed to come out on top.
I did some hunting on Froogle, and saw that I could have paid about double and gotten something from Beyerdynamic, but I figured I'd be paying enough as it is. Besides, that white velvet on the ear cups just looks a little silly ;-) I also threw out another option or two because the companies in question used separate wires to power the left and right sides. I prefer to just have a single wire going to my head, since it's nice to be able to throw the cord over my shoulder without choking myself.
Well, it might just turn out to be an expensive little bit of folly. My ears can hurt if I have headphones on for 2–3 hours. It's not a volume problem, just the pressure of the enclosure against skin and cartilage. This is why I have monster headphones that encircle my ears rather than press directly against them—I'd be complaining much quicker in that case.. Unfortunately there just doesn't seem to be quite enough clearance in my current headset. Hopefully these new ones will fit nicely—comfort is probably my biggest worry in buying them.
Well, I wrote something. Happy New Year!
Hmm. My favorite 2005 discs (which I actually purchased) were a bit heavy on the Brit-rock. In no particular order:
Some notables produced in 2004 that I purchased in 2005:
My governor will suck the blood of your governor.
I finally got my new headphones yesterday, through a crazy route (with the DHL/USPS "alliance"):
It's still January (barely). It's been raining since sometime this afternoon. I was out in it for quite a while, mostly trying to find a place with a copier. Since Snyders moved to their temporary location, they've cut back hours (closing at 1 PM on Saturday, closed Sunday).
Ross Raihala at the Pioneer Press has an interesting article comparing 89.3 The Current, Drive 105, and Cities 97. Among the findings: Over a period of one afternoon drive-time hour for each of three days, 89.3 didn't play music by one artist more than once. Also, I'm not sure if this math is right, but apparently KCMP had about 7 minutes 30 seconds of non-music time per hour (DJ banter, promors, news), while Drive came it at around 13:15, and Cities 97 at almost 14 minutes.
Hmm. A moment ago I turned on Drive 105 for the first time in a while (since 89.3 was doing their weekly installment of Redefinition Radio), and caught Bloc Party's "Helicopter"—which was promptly described as a "Drive Exclusive". Sheeya right! That's a big reason I'm sick of commercial radio—everyone has to be "Number 1!" or "Today's Best Music!" or something else that is just total marketing bunk.
Anyway, on to other things. Last night, I set up a system for responding to SSH attacks using syslog-ng, SEC, and a small script I wrote up. I described my setup in an e-mail to TCLUG. I've gotten some responses, and it seems that most people have decided that different approaches suit their needs. I just set it up in a way that made the most sense to me.
So apparently the first station to carry a digital version of KCMP 89.3 "The Current" is …
KPCC 89.3 FM in Pasadena, California.
Well, it all makes sense. Perhaps a scary amount of sense.
KPCC is operated as Southern California Public Radio and has a low-power (600W) but high-altitude signal that covers much of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. SCPR is a relative of Minnesota Public Radio—both are under the umbrella of the American Public Media Group, which is a "financial support organization" for those public radio entities.
KPCC is one of the main competitors to KCRW, which has been known for its music selection, and has been credited with introducing a number of artists to the music executives and other influential people that populate the region. Digital radio is still expensive, the domain of audiophiles and others with money to spend (ie, those same music execs that bought an HD Radio tuner to pick up KCRW).
Moderately astute individuals will also notice the similarity between the current KPCC logo (Hah! Punny…) and logos that have been used by 89.3 here in Minnesota. This also makes the recent huff between MPR and Al Gore's Current_TV make a lot more sense. Well, I already figured that MPR would try to expand the brand of "The Current," though I expected it to spread here in Minnesota first.
Like a lot of things about Minnesota Public Radio, it's pretty cool and pretty creepy at the same time.
Today is the fishing opener, according to my calendar. No wonder it's cold and overcast.
I went to see Gomez play at the Quest last night. Very loud. The opening act was interesting because he used a sampler to loop and layer music. So, by the end of a song, you had a guy effectively playing four instruments with another four layers of vocals, though he's just standing with the microphone at the time.
Gomez played for a long time, I think it added up to two hours with the (first?) encore. I was really annoyed at first because it took about 45 minutes to get from the opening act to the main show, but I suppose I can't complain with that big of a set.
Wow, the group is ten years old. I had no idea...
Remember the music video? It still exists. And in the wonderful world of Internet video, you can actually see them at any time of day in full length without silly pop-up bubbles everywhere. And, golly gee, you don't even need nearly naked women or fancy special effects for them to be cool. Exhibit A: OK Go - "Here It Goes Again":
Hey. A music video that was filmed in Minneapolis. In winter, no less. Motion City Soundtrack - L.G. Fuad (it's not bleeped):
Ugh, my back decided to seize up this morning. Fortunately, I have some leftover meds—I usually don't have any since I usually don't need them. Unfortunately, I can't get to the Guthrie today.
Anyway, last night I went to see the Shoe Shiners at 7th Street Entry. One of the band members is a cousin through my grandma's marriage. They're definitely good, with most of the band members just 14 (the drummer is 12). Anyway, they were one of the opening acts for Melodious Owl, who I've heard on 89.3—but I had no idea that they were also high-schoolers (well, not anymore, they're off to start college this year).
So, you need to have seen OK Go dancing in the backyard for "A Million Ways" to get this, but here it is: OK Go on ice. Well, actually that's Utako Wakamatsu and Jean-Sebastien Fecteau, but they pull it off very well.
Found via Best Week Ever
A quick attempt at collating results of staff picks for top albums of the year at the Current yields the following short list. The big favorite is At War with the Mystics by The Flaming Lips. Of course, a few staffers picked favorite songs rather than favorite albums. Some of them ranked their choices, and others didn't. We'll have to see how the listener-selected Top 89 of 2006 turns out.
Albums with at least three mentions
Well, if anyone wants to influence the "Top 89", balloting will end on December 15th (any in-progress ballots will be automatically closed and submitted, according to the site).
Soft Machine by Teddybears was a wise purchasing decision. Track 7, "Punkrocker" with Iggy Pop, seems like it should be boring, but I can't stop listening to it. It's relatively simple, and it'd be hard to sing the chorus of "Well I'm a punk rocker, yes I am" with in a more laid-back way, but it all fits together.
Actually, that track was the first from the Teddybears that I heard it on 89.3 and immediately wanted to get. Then, of course, I discovered that they'd been playing a few other tracks off this disc. Oh, and that recent iPod Shuffle ad uses track 2, "Differest Sound" as it's background.
I was thinking of the movie Mallrats today as I was opening my new copy of Carnavas by Silversun Pickups. This is one of those discs that comes with an annoying sleeve around the jewel case which you have to remove to get at anything. The problem is that this one is way too tight and took some creativity to remove since most methods would seem to make it even tighter. So, I was thinking of that particular scene where—
Wait. Aw crap. That's not the movie I was thinking of at all, is it? Yeah, it's Kevin Smith's other film. No, not Clerks. The other one. No, no, no, not Jersey Girl—what the hell? The other other one. Yes, Chasing Amy. You know, the one where—
Well, I did go see The Fountain at the new Rosedale 14 theaters today. Unfortunately, the movie stopped halfway through for a few minutes, but it was already running again by the time I came back from complaining... I guess the Borg hive mind probably picked it up by the time I got over to the guest services counter.
Anyway, when I first heard the term "art movie" years and years ago, that's precisely what I was thinking of. I liked it, but it fits my kind of quiet patience.
Caught this on the tail end of Minnesota Public Radio's In the Loop yesterday: Jeff Horwich – "So Much to Protest (So Little Time)" (128 kbit/s MP3, 3.9 MB).
It's very entertaining, though thinking about the levels at which it may or may not be ironic makes my head spin ;-)
I got the new Smashing Pumpkins CD Zeitgeist at Best Buy. Yes, the "exclusive" Best Buy version (which was identified as the "Amazon version" when I put it in my computer, go figure). Anyway, so it's just "Smashing Pumpkins" now? It used to be "The Smashing Pumpkins," which can significantly change your interpretation of the band name. Well, I suppose it might be a deliberate thing, since the new band isn't the same group as the old band, but I halfway wonder if someone just forgot.