Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quack!

Son and wife (daughter is away at camp this week) came home with the DVD of that Percy Jackson movie.

Pretty much butchered traditional Greek mythology, but I didn't expect much else.

P.S. It's a little-known fact that the gaze of Uma Thurman can turn one to stone. Fortunately, both her eyes have to focus on their target at the same time, which rarely happens since they're on opposite sides of her head.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Matt Lauer can suck it

I was off work yesterday (vacation day) so I didn't do much of anything except catch a few movies on the free HBO weekend DishNetwork was having.

Aliens in the Attic -- Watched this one because I knew my son would like it, and he did. Not much of a movie but okay for kids. Also that chick from that Disney TV show is all grown up now. The scenes with Doris Roberts doing Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon-style karate were pretty cool.

The Imposter -- Sigh. Let me make it clear in case I haven't already that Philip K. Dick is one of my favorite authors (often referring to him as The Other Master). But a great many of his stories have the same basic theme, and it seems that all the stories Hollywood picks to make movies from are the stories that use that theme*. So I watched it, but I knew how it was going to end pretty much from the minute it started. For some reason I've always like Gary Sinise though. First thing I ever saw him in was a stage version of The Grapes of Wrath that was shown on PBS many years ago--an odd version which didn't use any props whatsoever. He played Tom Joad, of course. I was so impressed with his performance in that play that I've always kind of kept an eye out for him. Also Rose of Sharon's expression as the play ended was indefatigably haunting.

Land of the Lost -- If you're a purist for the original show, don't watch it. If you have no time for extremely low-brow "comedy," don't watch it. But as a farce, I enjoyed it and it had its moments, especially with Will Ferrell playing his totally clueless genius dimwit character. The "it's a walnut" scene had me cracking up and the ending was great. Also Will's reaction to Marshall riding the T-Rex was hilarious. I've added the DVDs of the original series to my Netflix queue and am looking forward to seeing those again (also my son is REALLY looking forward to it). I was unaware that the series had been rebooted in the early 90s until just recently when I was reading about it at Wikipedia, but it appears that DVDs of the reboot aren't available.

*If you've seen Total Recall you know what theme I'm talking about.

As I've said before...

Good riddance.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ULLA!

Had a setback with War of the Worlds. Side 1 had two skips on it, one physical and the other digital (must've been a momentary computer problem) which required extra cleaning and re-recording. So I'm going to have to do it all over again. I'm being very picky to get this one as perfect as possible.

Anyhow, here's a quick clip from Side 2. Should make a pretty cool ringtone.

ULLA!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Toto IV (1982, LP)

I hadn't gotten around to commenting on this recent LP rip. Not that it's important or anything, but I know there may be a couple of you who knew me in a past life and who are still slightly interested in my history.

Anyway, I looked this one up to see exactly when it was released: April 1982. So it was released the month before I finished high school. I was completely unaware of it until I began college that fall, so I always think of Toto as "college music." I'm pretty sure I didn't buy it until at least 1983, and this would have been among the first actual records I ever bought (as opposed to albums on cassette, which I began buying several years before then).

And I'm not sure exactly why I bought it, but it must have been because of the song "Africa." I'm fairly certain this was purchased at the ACU Bookstore when I was going to school in Abilene. I'll tell you one thing for sure: I did not buy it because of the song "Rosanna."

The college radio station played that song so much... I had mental pictures of the student announcers sitting there frantically checking their watches and screaming at each other ohmygodit'sbeenlikefiveminutessincewelastplayedrosannafortheloveofgodplayrosannaagainQUICK!!!

So...I will definitely add "Africa" to my general favorites list, and probably even to my special favorites list. "I Won't Hold You Back" and "Make Believe" will also go on my general favorites list, and maybe even a couple of the others after I've listened to it again. But "Rosanna" will never go on there. I got so sick of hearing that song almost 30 years ago that I still haven't recovered from it. They must have run that song 30 or 40 times for every one time they played any of the other three singles.

Ripping results were okay. Most of the tracks turned out fine after some editing. "Hold You Back" had some kind of foreign material stuck to the grooves that required extra cleaning before it could be ripped. Unfortunately (and ironically), "Africa" had damage to the grooves that I couldn't work around and in order to have my favorite song from this album, I had to buy the download from Amazon.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

This and that

Somehow I managed to get lucky enough to not do my regular Cycle 11 route again, which makes two months in a row. That one thing made the whole week a lot easier.

As shown in the previous post, my 9-year-old son (who recently became a Bear) went to a Cub Scout day camp this week, had loads of fun and got a lot of things accomplished. They did not only a lot of BB gun shooting, but also archery (and now of course he wants a bow...will be checking into kid's bows for a Christmas present). He kept his targets, which will go into a box of other mementos I'm keeping for him.

The nagging cold I had last week settled itself in my throat and has given me slight laryngitis, but when I can speak it has changed my voice from a tenor to a mellow bass. It's always fun for me to exploit an illness like this just so I can hit the low notes for a change.

I changed my tactics in LP ripping lately. Instead of focusing solely on one album at a time until it's completely finished, I have about a dozen in progress so I don't get listening fatigue just listening to one artist. I even finally started editing the War of the Worlds today, but I don't think I'm going to break the sides into separate tracks. They all segue into each other with no breaks in the music and a lot of it doesn't really work as stand-alone tracks anyway. I will probably try to separate out "Forever Autumn" and possibly "Farewell Thunderchild" for my favorites list but otherwise leave it intact. It looks like I'm going to have to manually fix all the pops in the narrated parts; I have discovered that Richard Burton's voice distorts easily when run through Goldwave's pop filter.

Cracked has recently posted a couple of humorous and generally correct articles about Hollywood and guns. You can see them here: 5 Ridiculous Gun Myths Everyone Believes (Thanks to Movies) and Hollywood Guide to Gunshot Wounds for Main Characters.

In my ongoing quest to find the best ice chest for work, I have purchased one of those 12-quart "Ice Cube" chests from Igloo which Dollar General has for $15. Significantly larger than my old chest, but still small enough to fit where I need to put it. I'll be able to carry quite a lot of cold water and Gatorade, and on certain days when it's not so hot I can substitute a couple of cans of soft drink for Gatorade, or maybe a V-8 which I like to have with my lunch sandwich. I tried it out already and I plan on packing it with two 32-ounce bottles of cold water, two 20-ounce bottles of ice to keep it cold and drink the melt if I run low on other water, four 12-ounce bottles of Gatorade and two sandwiches plus even a banana or something like that. Plus, during the hot weather like this I carry a 2-liter hydration backpack (not an actual CamelPak but one of those that Wal-Mart sells). The new chest also has a small lid compartment where I can stash a couple of energy bars or something like that that doesn't require refrigeration.

I wrote about ripping Tony Carey's album Some Tough City a while back. Here's his video for "A Fine, Fine Day" which is from what I think of as the golden age of music videos. I never had any time for any of those "concert footage" videos; I think they're just boring. A video should tell a story, although not necessarily the same story as the song. This is one that follows the song.

One result of this week's Cub Scout day camp

Other results: a bunch of other belt loops & pins, sunburn, and a tired little boy for a few nights.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I think of her as "Hildegard"

I saw her again. This time she must have seen me coming, because she met me with a bottle of cold water. Completely bare from about the hip joint down. Painted on "Egyptian" eyebrows. About 4 inches taller than me in her bare feet. She must buy Nair by the gallon. Egad.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Spot the pop

Can you spot the pop in this screen shot? It's quite obvious even without hearing it.

It's that sharp vertical mark at slightly less than the 4 second mark in the left channel (the green one). Now here's a zoom-in on that pop.


Click to enlarge. If you look at the bottom part of the shot you can see some time information. This pop occupies less than 1/1000th of a second. Seems like something so transient wouldn't be so annoyingly obvious. This kind of pop is easily eliminated by Goldwave's pop filter.

Yearling buck

If I had snapped this photo one second later, you would have seen nothing but tongue. So, yeah, I had to wipe deer spit off my phone. Not many people can claim they've done that, I guess.

This guy had to be bottle-fed as a fawn, so he's very tame.

Both of the yearlings eating Antler Max.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This strange hobby

Anyone want to know all the stuff I do to rip LPs? Didn't think so.

In the olden days I used my wife's inherited Zenith stereo (which, btw, can play 78s!*) plugged into the computer via a device called an iMic. Although the iMic eliminated a lot of noise, since it inputs into the computer via a USB port, the stereo itself was really noisy. It's also quite old, and the left channel had a tendency to drop out quite frequently. So a while back, as you may recall if you've been reading this blog for a long time, I bought a USB turntable. It's not audiophile quality, but it's good enough for me.

The software I use is Goldwave. I tried a few other audio programs, but Goldwave is the one I really liked and eventually bought. So after cleaning the record with some stuff called GruvGlide, I play it and record a whole side at a time into a big wav file. I break this file into individual tracks and more or less give them all a fairly uniform beginning and ending silence, and save each of the individual tracks as separate wav files. This is not always the case, but it is for all "normal" albums.

Following that, I run a batch with Goldwave that runs each wav through a hum filter which eliminates pretty much all the hiss & rumble you get playing records, then it normalizes (or maximizes, in Goldwave's terminology) each file and saves them all as new wav files in a different directory.

After that, I turn the volume up some and listen to each track all the way through, carefully listening for pops. In most cases, when I hear a pop, I stop the playing and select just a brief section before and after the pop (including the pop) and run Goldwave's pop filter on that selection. Most of the time, this eliminates it, although sometimes it isn't quite as simple as I've made it sound--sometimes the filter itself creates an artifact, or a new pop. Sometimes it doesn't work well enough--or at all, so I "zoom in" on the pop until I'm viewing just the split second that it occurs and manually redraw the sound wave to eliminate the pop. This also (usually) works well. Sometimes there's a noise buried so deep in the music that I can't pinpoint it; in this case I will try to delete the fraction of a second in which the noise occurs, and if this doesn't work I just give up and go on. I've found that I can delete up to about 0.05 second without making it sound weird (sometimes more, but if you get close to a tenth of a second you will probably hear it). Most pops occupy much less time even than that--the main problem is pin-pointing them. Most of the time, I'm listening to these wavs at a higher volume level than I do for "enjoyment listening," so when I turn the volume back down to my normal level, I can't hear the noise anyway.

You may wonder why I don't just pop-filter the whole track at once. Well, I tried this when I was first starting out, and learned that it doesn't work as well that way. For one thing, it reduces the effectiveness of the filter when it's run on too big of a selection. For another thing, it tends to create distortion. The distortion is especially bad when filtering music that's made mostly with acoustic instruments such as jazz or classical (and by "acoustic" I am including the human voice). It works much better on pop/rock and so forth that use mostly electric or electronic instruments. I don't know why--it's just something I've learned.

When I think I've done all I can I save the wav file again and go on to the next one. When I'm done, I batch convert this directory of cleaned up wavs into mp3s using Goldwave. Then I use a little freeware program called MP3 Tag Tools to tag all the files properly. This includes tagging each file with an embedded graphic of the cover art. By "embedded" I mean it becomes a part of the mp3 file itself. I started out just snagging thumbnails from Amazon or Wikipedia, but I wasn't always happy with them and many times I couldn't find the exact art I was looking for, so lately I've been scanning the covers and resizing them down to a 400x400 pixel graphic. Of course my scanner isn't big enough to scan a whole record cover at once, so it takes me 4 passes to stitch all together to create the full cover.

I started out saving all the mp3s at 128 kbps, which is considered "FM radio quality" and which I had decided was good enough. Later on I became a little pickier (or snootier**) and now I save them all at 320 kbps VBR (variable bit rate), which is considered "CD quality." The files are larger, but I have room for them (so far).

A strange hobby, I suppose, but otherwise I'd just be out back building scale model fortifications and blogging about the difference between hornworks and bastions.

*It would be quite simple to play a 78 on my turntable at either 45 or 33 and then use Goldwave to speed it up to the proper speed. However, I'm not entirely certain playing 78s would be good for the stylus. I think if the situation ever arises, I'll just go back to the old Zenith.

**"snootier" is in Firefox's spell checker!? But "hornworks" isn't?!

Odd...

A current screen shot of StatCounter hits for the Free Wayne Webring homepage. All of the hits appear to be from search engine hits using the string "free wayne." Anybody have any idea why?

Name this album cover

Since I have nothing better to post, here's a quick contest for my legions of loyal readers (all 6 of you). The first to name the artist and album title that this selection is from wins bragging rights!

No hints!

Inconsequential details: when I scan a record cover I end up with a graphic that's roughly 2400x2400 pixels, which I resize down to 400x400 pixels to keep in my digital collection. This is a selection that is 400x400 from the original large graphic.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The weekend

Apparently my being quite tired and really dragging @ss at work this week wasn't only because of the heat. Thursday night I discovered that I was actually sick. It was just another of those summertime colds but didn't have any severe symptoms (mostly just a scratchy throat) except for extreme fatigue.

Thursday afternoon as my wife was leaving for work, her car suddenly stopped going. Everything seemed to work okay except it wouldn't move. Well, we have this roadside assistance thing as part of our DriveTime deal, so they sent a tow truck all the way out here (we had to cover part of the towing fee, but not all of it) and hauled it in to their place in S.A. (some place on Old Perrin Beitel--which means I'll probably read their meter this coming week while our car is still there). I feared the worst, but it turns out that it's a common problem with the Ford Freestar and DriveTime is going to pay for all of it except a $50 diagnostic fee. So to that I said WHEW! and I've said it several times over the weekend every time I think about it.

Saturday my son and I attended a Cub Scout bird-watching outing at Mitchell Lake. I've been wanting to do this for some time, and I'd like to do it again in cooler weather. The kids got to ID several different birds that they hadn't seen before, and got some hands-on experience with a couple of soft-shelled turtles and one slider turtle. I kept my eyes open for alligators quietly surfacing but never saw any. There were some really big turtles sticking their heads up out there, though. As I said on Dave's blog, on the way there, we hit a bird. My son humorously pointed out the irony of the situation, even though he didn't know to use the actual word "irony." In spite of being extremely fatigued, the walk was much easier than my usual daily trek and a few of the kids learned that what they thought was enough water was not enough water. We had spare water so no one got too thirsty, and I was carrying a jug that I had filled with ice water so I passed out ice cubes for the kids to suck on toward the end of the walk. We spent about 3 hours walking around plus about another hour at the guard shack, where the kids (and myself) also got to see a rat snake that they keep in a box upstairs.

Other than that I have spent most of the weekend taking Alka Seltzer Cold Medicine and sleeping. I felt so bad I went three days without smoking a pipe, but I broke that fast today.

Selection from "California Flash"

Here is a 40-odd-second selection from the track "California Flash" from the Attila album. No vocals on this selection (although the track does have lyrics). I just picked it out as an example of some of the totally hot organ work Billy Joel was once capable of.

Selection from "California Flash"

Friday, June 11, 2010

"Revenge is Sweet" by Attila

video


Okay, let's see if this works. This is what I would say is the stupidest song on the album because of the lyrics. Your mileage may vary. I do actually like what he's done with the organ on this album. I think it's some good stuff.

NOTE: This is lo fi because I can't upload very large files on dial-up. Also, I haven't yet checked this track for pops, but I don't think it has any.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Update

My daughter has been down at the coast (Corpus Christi) with a friend's family for about a week. My son spent last night and will spend tonight at Grandpa's house. My wife has been working. So I've had two nights in a row with no interruptions except the $#@! telephone. Both kids come home tomorrow. So the house has been weirdly quiet.

I watched District 9 last night and enjoyed it very much. It gripped me and sucked me in right from the beginning and never let go. My minor gripe is that the aliens were only physically alien; psychologically they were just like humans. Also their language, though not reproduceable by humans, could be understood by them and was easily translated into English (or whatever that is they speak in Johannesburg). But I guess they couldn't have told the story they did if the aliens had been too different.

What I enjoyed the most was the psychological transformation of the main human character. He started out as an odious, mostly self-serving bureaucrat and ended up...well, if you haven't seen it I guess I shouldn't give away too many spoilers. But as I said on that other place (FB), being victimized by the government you thought you were a valued part of can probably do that to you.

Also when they got the aliens' weapons to work the carnage was totally cool. And I now have the urge to say "fookin'" a lot.

I hope they never make a sequel. That would ruin the story. But I'm sure they will.

I've found two possums in meter boxes this week. One Monday, one today. The humidity this week has been terrible, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that the alleys have become nearly impassable. Also I learned that the little spines on those big wild sunflowers will make you look like someone took a cat-o-nine-tails to you if you're not careful. In some of those alleys, the sunflowers are growing eight feet high with stems that are 2-3 inches wide at the base. Avoid brushing against them with bare skin.

And on Monday something bit me. I don't know what it was, and it's starting to heal now, but it left a big wound that looks like a very large mosquito bite, surrounded by a bruise. Could've been some kind of spider, I guess. Whatever it was crawled way up inside my pants leg before it bit, and when it happened I didn't even feel it. Which by the way is an odd phenomenon I've noticed before. Many times I have discovered minor injuries I never noticed before when I'm taking a shower at home after a bad day.

I had to schedule a day off Friday so I can be home with the kids. So...short week this week and a three-day weekend coming up. I am definitely going to take the kids fishing at my dad's tank this weekend. He says he has mudcats and "perch" (not really perch, as I said before) that are big enough to catch with a hook. So we'll see.

Sigh...next week is going to be the week when I get all my worst routes, and I have to check on my dad's deer every day because he's going on a vacation. It's fawning time, but it doesn't look like there will be any new births while he's gone. His stock is up to about 25 deer now, not counting fawns. He has several bucks with antlers all velvety right now.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Just for fun question

Without cheating, can you identify the eventually-to-be-famous-pop-star pictured on this album cover?

Monday, June 07, 2010

The day...

...was not fun. The heat was terrible, and I was in alleys all day. There's no air movement in those alleys, not even the slightest breeze. I saw a couple of things I could've taken pictures of but I was so beat that I didn't want to do anything that wasn't directly related to meter reading. I found a young possum inside one box. I don't know how it got in there because I couldn't see any access holes in the bottom. I left the lid cracked so it could climb out if it wanted to. That's the second time I've found a possum in a box.

Tomorrow should be much easier, unless it rains.

Original Jazz Classics Remasters Sampler

Downloaded this free sampler from Amazon last night, and it's very good. Thanks to a commenter there for filling in missing information. Ten tracks, 2 each from five different artists: John Coltrane (actually is probably Coltrane AND Monk!), Dave Brubeck Quartet, Sonny Rollins, Joe Pass and Art Pepper.

Recommended download. Like I said check the comments for additional information.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Nik Bärtsch's Ronin - Holon

I just realized I had never commented on this album. If I recall correctly, I heard of this group one day while listening to one of the Sirius jazz channels on DishNetwork. Not the "classic jazz" channel, but one of the other ones, I don't recall exactly (not the "smooth jazz" channel, either). It could have been one of DishNetwork's non-Sirius music channels, possibly the one called NuJazz.

Nik Bärtsch is a Swiss pianist and composer (click for his Wikipedia entry), and Ronin is a group he formed and which is one of his three main projects. The version of Ronin on this album consists of Bärtsch on piano with other musicians playing bass clarinet, alto sax, bass guitar, drums and percussion. So it's not your typical jazz band lineup, nor is it your typical jazz band music. Self-described as "zen-funk," it incorporates elements of many different musical styles to create something that is certainly jazz but not strictly jazz. I would describe it as hypnotic, funky, mysterious, somewhat in the "chill" range as well as somewhat avant-garde but very listenable.

This is not the kind of thing you would be able to find very easily in any music stores around here, nor do I think you would ever hear of it on the local jazz station (KRTU). Even Amazon.com has only three of his albums available. I got this one from Yourmusic.com, and was surprised to find it there. I do intend to expand my collection of his work with whatever I can find, finances permitting.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

38 Special - Tour de Force

This is the only album I have from 38 Special. I used to be a pretty big Skynyrd fan, but this group was, to me, another "radio group"* and not much else. That is, until I heard "If I'd Been the One."

If I had to pick One Song that pretty much defined the 80s for me, it would be this song. It's still a song that totally hits me in the gut and it gets a big 5 on my personal ratings scale, which is as high as it can get.

I'm pretty sure I got this record with one of those introductory "12-records-for-a-penny" offers from Columbia Record Club. Five out of the nine songs get a rating that will put them on my general favorites list: "If I'd Been the One," "Back Where You Belong," "One Time for Old Times," "See Me In Your Eyes" and "One of the Lonely Ones." Overall I give the album a 2.6. There's a couple of songs that I could throw away.

The sound quality that I finally ended up with is not perfect, although there are no obvious pops. There are a couple of dull noises that are buried so far down I can't dig them out and when I listen to it at my usual listening volume level I can't hear them, so it's good enough to commit to a CD sometime.

Pretty good buy for 1/12 of a penny.

*A group that I enjoyed hearing on the radio but never went so far as to buy their albums.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Tragedy

I was ripping Toto IV and discovered that "Africa" is completely unrippable. I can't even see what's causing the problem, although it must be a tiny nick in the vinyl. I tried weighting the needle, playing it wet, applying very slight pressure to the stylus arm--nothing worked. Since this was the only track that I really wanted from this record, because it's going right onto my special favorites list, I had to download it from Amazon.

All together now...

OOOLLLAAAAHHHHH!!!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

It goes to 50

I finished re-ripping the last handful of records that I had grabbed a few weeks ago, so I thought this time I'd grab some to re-rip and some new ones that I hadn't done yet and hadn't listened to in a long time. One song in particular has been echoing in my mind for the past few days for some reason, so I went to the big shelf looking for that album and ended up coming away with a stack of records.

The song and album I was looking for was "If I'd Been the One" from Tour de Force by 38 Special. I really wanted to see the video again and of course post it here but it seems that it is not on YouTube. How bizarre. They have the song with some still pix and some amateur video live clips, but not the official video. Really weird. They do have the official video for "Back Where You Belong" from the same album.

Anyway as soon as I had the record going I started playing as it was recording. I usually listen to music with my stereo turned up to "20" on the volume knob, and up to 25-26 while editing LP rips so I can listen more closely for pops & clicks. I cranked it up to "30" and had the song reverberating pretty much through the whole house. Man it was great to hear that song again.

So here's the stack that I grabbed today. If I can get motivated enough maybe I'll post more about them as I listen to them again.

38 Special - Tour de Force
Stormtroopers of Death - Speak English or Die
The Southern Death Cult (eponymous)
Skinny Puppy - viviSECTvi (previously ripped only from dub cassette)
The Smithereens - Especially for You (previously ripped only from dub cassette)
The Marshall Tucker Band - Searchin' for a Rainbow (Marshall Tucker Band? I have a Marshall Tucker Band LP? Who knew?)
Triumph - The Sport of Kings (previously ripped only from dub cassette)
Toto - IV (oh gosh I haven't heard any of these songs in such a long time)
Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds (I will definitely have to write something up about this later...I know breaking it into discrete tracks is going to be work--and it's a double LP too).
Marillion - Real to Reel (a live album that I'm only ripping because I'm such a Marillion fan...all the tracks on it are redundant with various studio versions...if you can call a "live" track redundant).
Uriah Heep - Very 'eavy, Very 'umble (previously ripped only from dub cassette)
Stryper - The Yellow and Black Attack (their 1st album, an EP...oddly inside the jacket I found a plastic flexidisk [a plastic single backed with stiff posterboard] from some other group called Shy...I don't remember ever seeing this before, maybe I overlooked it?)
Winterkat - The Struggle
Wall of Voodoo - Happy Planet (previously ripped only from dub cassette)
Wall of Voodoo - Dark Continent (original lineup with Stan Ridgeway)
The Steve Miller Band - Greatest Hits 1974-78 (I forgot I had this)
Metallica - Ride the Lightning (bought during my brief flirtation with metal in the mid 80s)
Dio - The Last in Line (I used to go to sleep listening to this)
Your Twist Party with the King of Twist, Chubby Checker (mother-in-law's collection...the cover is so totally retro I had to grab it)
Petra - Beat the System (I think I have one other album of theirs...this was Christian rock before there was Christian rock)
Kate Bush - The Whole Story (only going to rip two tracks from this one which aren't on any of my CDs)
Triumph - Thunder Seven (previously ripped only from dub cassette)
Jethro Tull - The Broadsword and the Beast (previously ripped only from dub cassette)
Johnny Cash - Classic Cash (to re-encode at higher bit rate for CD burning)
Medieval Music (re-rip)
Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams are made of this (re-rip)
Nina Hagen - Nunsexmonkrock (re-rip)
The Dream Academy (eponymous) (re-rip)
Triumph - Just a Game (previously ripped only from dub cassette)
Heart - Dreamboat Annie (to re-encode at higher bit rate for CD burning)
Steve Vai - Flexable (to re-encode at higher bit rate for CD burning)
Leo Kottke - Dreams and All That Stuff (to re-encode at higher bit rate for CD burning)
Heart (eponymous) (re-rip)
Ultravox - Vienna and Lament (to re-encode at higher bit rate for CD burning)
David & David - Boomtown (to re-encode at higher bit rate for CD burning)
Public Bulletin - Broke from the Sound (re-rip)

"Re-rip" means I want to encode it at a higher bit rate but I probably won't be burning it to CD.

So here's the video I found but wasn't looking for.

Let me hear your scream


Funny.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Also I used to have the hots for Jamie Lee Curtis

So about 4:00 PM today my cell phone "rang." Although it doesn't really ring. It plays a short ambient-chillish ringtone that came loaded on it already, and which to me sounds like it could be the beginning of a nice relaxing piece of electronic music. I chose it because 1) I like it, and 2) no one else uses it, so I know when it goes off that it's mine. Also a lot of people seem to be annoyed by it, which is a bonus.

Anyway it was a number I didn't recognize but it was the second time today I had seen it. Also it was one of those old-fashioned 1-800 numbers back when all toll free numbers were still "800s" and were once known as a WATS line and I think they still technically are but I haven't heard anyone use that term in a long time. So although I don't usually answer strange number calls I decided to see what was up with this one.*

Some woman asked me if she could speak with Lance. I told her she had the wrong number, so she verified the number she had called, which was mine but obviously wrong. "Is this a new number for you, maybe?" she asked. "No," I answered, "I've had this number for...a long time...remember back when T-Mobile used to be Voicestream?" "Oh wow," she said, "that is an old number."

Then she added, "So...you've never heard of Lance Lafontaine?"

I said, "Nope, sorry," but I wanted to say, "No, but now that you mention it I think I will be changing my name. That's just awesome."

So she said she'd remove my number from their call list. That must be the coolest name I've ever heard from a wrong number. Maybe someday I'll use it for a pen-name.

*A couple of different reverse phone number lookups yielded no results.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

X5 Free Sampler: Jazz Legends

Last night I downloaded the X5 Free Sampler: Jazz Legends from Amazon. I have downloaded a few of these X5 samplers so far, and they are all quite good. I thought I'd take a moment to recommend this one. It's a good way to add a few nice tracks to your jazz collection if you don't have them already.

Only five tracks, wish it could be bigger.

1. Swedish Radio Jazz Group - "Yaoundé"
2. Miles Davis - "My Old Flame"
3. Lena Horne - "Old Devil Moon"
4. Peggy Lee - "The Lady is a Tramp"
5. Sonny Rollins - "Just in Time"

I do have a quibble, however. The volume levels of these tracks are not even close to each other. Tracks 1 & 5 especially are so low that I have to reach over and turn up the volume four or five clicks to hear them better. It sounds like tracks 2 & 4 are in mono, although they were encoded in stereo, which only results in a larger file without changing the sound at all. I've never heard of that group on track 1, and it sounds more modern, so I'm not sure how much of a "legend" they are.

Nice little collection, though.

Perhaps I should reward him for his honesty

This is the last week of school for my kids, and it's a short week, at that, because of Memorial Day. Everything is over by now...all the tests and such. Last night at 9:00 I called out "bed time!" and my son asked if they could stay up until 10:00. "No," I said, "not until school is out."

His plaintive reply was, "But I'm not even going to learn anything this week!"

Man, that cracked me up.