Thursday, March 31, 2011

Classic rock haiku #2

"I love rock and roll,"
she sang over and over.
Okay--I get it.

Starvations-themed cartoons.

The Club Above has an interesting survey of starvation-themed cartoons. Not the kind of topic that might come up in everyday conversation, but still somehow oddly interesting. Several classic cartoon videos are included.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Classic rock haiku #1

Gathering above,
I thought they were angels, but
they were aliens.

(inspired by Country California's country haikus)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2¢ song review: "Pray for You"

You know what, Jaron? This song isn't funny, unless you consider praying for your ex-girlfriend to be killed in a car wreck to be funny. Here's some advice: be a man, get over it and move on. You're such a smarmy, whiny little douchebag, it's no wonder she dumped you. You should be thankful that she didn't do the world a favor and crush your skull with a flower pot.

New benchmark for determing if you are "emotionally dead inside"

I was checking out yesterday (been thinking about buying one of them Roku boxes and cancelling satellite TV--seriously) and this was one of the flash movie ads that slid across the top of the page.

click to enlarge

Yes, folks, if you fail to be emotionally affected by this (ahem) "flick," you are emotionally dead inside. I now fear to watch it, lest I learn something terrible about myself.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Allegro 2011 Winter Sampler (free mp3 download)

Just wanted to recommend this sampler that I downloaded recently. Many of the free samplers I've downloaded from Amazon have given me the opportunity to wade through a whole lot of cr*p to find a few tarnished gems. However, this sampler is full of jewels. In fact, the Allegro label seems to put out some really good stuff and this is not the only sampler of theirs that I would recommend.

Anyhow, ten tracks by ten different artists, the first 7 of which fall firmly into the jazz category. Most are instrumental but track 2 is a very clever (both musically and lyrically) vocal piece by Lorraine Feather. I had never heard her name before, but I think I should have. There are other jazz artists on here who I have heard of, for example Freddie Hubbard and James Moody. All great tracks.

Now, come track 8 we find a piece that leans far more toward the ambient, by Deuter, who I have also heard of but not in jazz circles. A cool new age-y piece that still has a beat and isn't boring like a lot of that kind of music. I've come across a few other random pieces by him and I've liked them all.

Track 9 is by Jasbir Jassi. This piece would just be called "world music" by most folks in the U.S., but is more specifically--as I have just learned--Bhangra, a form of Indian dance music. Also cool.

Track 10 hits the jackpot with "The Rebel Piper" by The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. Bagpipes with modern instrumental accompaniment. A great, bright piece to close the album.

It's free, but good enough to pay for. I don't usually say that about Amazon free samplers.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday haiku

The time is goin',
gotta get down to the bus
stop. I see my friends.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The thing about the ice cubes

Well, what I did is not, I don't think, worth the telling, because it wasn't a grand gesture or anything like that--just a mean, petty, vindictive thing I did because I was so constantly pissed off.

This job I used to have was a sedentary one. Eventually, I had gained too much weight and decided it was time to diet. I did, losing around 25 pounds in six months. I never could get rid of that last 5 pounds that I wanted to get rid of, until I began my current job a few years ago and burned it off in another few months. At one time I broke 200. I'm now right around 170, and honestly I wish I could drop another 5 pounds but it seems impossible. But I digress.

One of the things I did to help my diet was, I quit drinking soft drinks. I've said it before: if it comes to where I have to cut out soft drinks to lose weight, I'm not going to drink any of those disgusting diet drinks. I'll just quit completely. This isn't an idle threat because I've already done it once.

But I still wanted to have some kind of refreshing cold drink that preferably had some caffeine, so I started taking a small (quart) jug of tea to work with me. Our break room had a refrigerator, which like most such appliances came with a default set of ice cube trays. I figured if I filled the trays before I left at the end of my shift, there should be enough left the next day when I wanted to drink some iced tea.

But of course, it could not be so simple as that. The day shift, or more accurately the G&A staff used up all the ice and couldn't be bothered with the onerous task of refilling the trays. By the way, "G&A" was short for "General & Administration," "General" meaning they got their jobs mostly because they were friends with the operations manager and weren't competent enough at pretty much anything to get real jobs on their own. So anyway, I began by writing a simple, polite note which said: "Please refill the ice cube trays when you empty them. Thanks." And I signed my name to it.

This was apparently an egregious affront to their collective femininity (there were no males in that section, and for a good reason which I shall not pursue here). I came in the next day to find my little note crumpled up in the trash can and the ice trays piled, empty, in the sink.

Okay, screw you, I thought. I'll bring my own ice. And I did. I filled another small quart-sized Igloo jug with ice and brought it to work with me every day also. At first I put the ice jug in the freezer to keep it cold and make sure the ice didn't melt before lunch time, which was usually when I had my tea. I should point out that when I came in for the beginning of my shift, the G&A thugs were having their afternoon break, so every day they saw me put my own personal little jug of ice into the freezer.

One day I came out for lunch, and my ice jug was gone. I checked everywhere--the crisper tray in the refrigerator, all the cabinets, all the drawers, and couldn't find it. Since I always expect deliberate sabotage before I accept an honest mistake (a practice which proves correct almost all the time), I then climbed on the counter and checked the top of the cabinets--and there it was. Someone had dumped all the ice out--it was empty--then tossed it on top of the cabinets where it couldn't be seen unless someone actually climbed up there to look for it.

Okay, I thought again, to hell with all of you. From that point on, I locked my ice and tea jugs in my locker until I saw the G&A thugs clock out at 5:00. Since the only punch clock was on the tech floor, I had a good view of it at all times while working and this was an easy thing to verify. As soon as they had left, I would go back out and put the stuff in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

And, from that point on, the last thing I did every night before I left was dump out any ice that happened to be left in those trays--since they had been forced to start filling them themselves since I wasn't doing it anymore--and put the empty trays back in the freezer where they wouldn't be noticed as empty until--I hoped--it was too late.

I went a little further than this, of course. The copy machine they had up front for the G&A staff would go into "sleep" mode after a few minutes of no use, and when it had done so, it would pop back "awake" immediately if someone used it. However, if it had actually been shut down, it took several minutes to "warm up" before it could be used, which was very annoying. So every night I went up there and shut down their copy machine.

One other thing I did, although this was only on a few occasions when they had done something to especially piss me off, was if our water cooler ran empty, rather than just grabbing a new jug to put on it, I would take the empty to the front water cooler used by the G&A, take their partially used one off and replace it with the empty, and put theirs on our cooler.

I also took great pleasure in cleaning out the refrigerator every Friday night and throwing everything in it away, even the things with notes on them saying not to throw them out. Since having leftover stuff in the refrigerator was an especial grievance with our general manager, I was always able to claim that I only threw stuff away under orders--which was technically true (and that's the best kind of true).

So that's the ice cube story.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First Quest: The Music - Hobgoblins

Featuring a slideshow of goblinesque creatures from across the internet.

Tommy Shaw - The Great Divide (mp3 download)

As I stated my intention to in a previous post, I downloaded this today. I'm still a little shy about buying albums by download, mostly because I don't get the booklet with all the info about the backup musicians and other niggling details. But, I did download it and am now just about finished listening to it. I love this album. As I probably said before, I bought his first two solo albums way back when, but then bailed out on any others because I thought they were kind of boring and nothing on them really grabbed me. But if he keeps putting out albums like this, I will keep buying them.

If you buy the download you get one bonus track that isn't on the CD. This is not hardcore, traditional bluegrass, but rather more of a "newgrass" kind of thing with some rock influences. If you don't like bluegrass to begin with, you probably won't like this album much. Likewise, if you want your bluegrass to sound exactly like it did 60 years ago, you probably won't care for it much either.

Great album. 5 stars.

Red Dawn remake changes enemy from China to North Korea

No kidding. At LA Times:
When MGM decided a few years ago to remake "Red Dawn," a 1984 Cold War drama about a bunch of American farm kids repelling a Soviet invasion, the studio needed new villains, since the U.S.S.R. had collapsed in 1991. The producers substituted Chinese aggressors for the Soviets and filmed the movie in Michigan in 2009.

But potential distributors are nervous about becoming associated with the finished film, concerned that doing so would harm their ability to do business with the rising Asian superpower, one of the fastest-growing and potentially most lucrative markets for American movies, not to mention other U.S. products.

As a result, the filmmakers now are digitally erasing Chinese flags and military symbols from "Red Dawn," substituting dialogue and altering the film to depict much of the invading force as being from North Korea, an isolated country where American media companies have no dollars at stake.
Chinese invaders would have added some ("some") level of realism to the movie. But North Korea? Gimme a break.

I guess I should also point out that in the original movie the kids didn't repel any invaders. They were only moderately successful guerilla fighters in the opening weeks of World War 3.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Maybe that was the reason...

15 funny passive/aggressive notes at Oddee.

Long ago, in another job, I worked second shift and that meant I (as assistant shift supervisor when the real supervisor wasn't there) was the last one out of the building on Friday nights before they shut it down for the weekend. I had to accompany the security guard through the building for his last walk-through before I locked the door. The dude cracked me up. First of all, my lined vest really bugged him. He couldn't stand cold-weather wear that didn't have sleeves. It just didn't fit into his reality grid. By the way, man, I loved that vest. I still have it but it doesn't fit anymore. I put it away figuring my son would enjoy it some day. It looked cool, too. Sort of like that girl-magnet jacket that Kramer had on Seinfeld except it was a denim vest.

Anyway this security dude went through the building pushing down light switches that were already turned off and other weird stuff. The last thing he did was notice that someone had left a few seconds on the microwave timer in the break room and he hit the clear button to clear the time off. I had to suppress a sound of humorous derision right about there because it was so strange. The next Monday I told my supervisor about it and we were both laughing, as they say, "fit to be tied."

He was only one of a series of strange security guards at that place.

P.S. I don't think this note is passive/aggressive. Is it? It just seems to be a polite request from someone who probably needs therapy. Now, what I used to do with the ice cubes: that was passive/aggressive.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Super Moon photo

Cool photo of the moon last night by Syd Weedon, who some of you may remember as the blogger who used to do a second amendment roundup a few years ago. Right here: Super Moon. Makes me want to go all werewolf and stuff.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Because I f****** can

Still catching up on some old stuff that I had put aside for a while, while waiting for my new high-speed service to begin. So here's an older Cracked article that I found amusing and fairly well balanced for being about gun ownership: Gun Owners. It starts here:
The vast majority of gun owners buy a gun, learn and actually follow the rules of gun safety. They spend their time at the range, put it out of the child's reach, and teach their kids that a gun is always loaded. Because it otherwise it is just an awkwardly shaped club.
Also has a chart depicting various types of gun owners which I liked.

First Quest: The Music - Gnomes

I made a whimsical slide show out of it this time so it wouldn't just be a static album cover the whole time.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I still can't decide where to sit

Pretty good parody, and not nearly as terrible or annoying as the original.

A version that has turned ambient by being slowed down 800%. Unfortunately her voice is still recognizable.

UPDATE: "Melodic deathcore" band Screamo. My favorite so far.

Just indulging my morbid curiosity.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Woods of Ypres - I Was Buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery

I know it will take me some time to make up for that last video, but I hope this helps a little. This was part of a recent free sampler I downloaded from Amazon, the March is Metal Month 2011 Sampler. I like this track quite a lot.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Possibly the worst contemporary video and pop song ever

Please don't watch this, unless you want to share my pain.

Here is a pop song for those of you who don't like melodies, or for those of you who are big fans of middle B.

If you pay attention (G-d help you!) you will notice that all of the "high" notes are auto-tune.

PLEASE NOTE: I may not leave this here forever. I just want to inflict it on a few innocent bystanders for kicks and then maybe eventually delete it.

Kathy Dalton - "Justine"

This popped up on my mp3 player today and I thought, hey, that one is kinda nice, too. So here you go.


What is the deal with a certain people of a certain ethnicity having a fascination with Betty Boop? I don't get it.

If you live in S.A., you'll know what I mean.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I hate these things

I stabbed myself on this agave as I was just looking around trying to figure out WTF. Someone painted this lid, and since they got some paint on one of those leaves, or shoots or whatever they're called, that means someone crawled into this mess to paint that lid.


I left about a dozen of those sharp tips lying on the ground when I left. Always carry a pocketknife.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"...that frail breastwork of earth..."

Before I forget, I wanted to post another quick excerpt from Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi that I thought was interesting in light of not-too-long-past events. This is from chapter 41, "The Metropolis of the South."
The approaches to New Orleans were familiar; general aspects were unchanged. When one goes flying through London along a railway propped in the air on tall arches, he may inspect miles of upper bedrooms through the open windows, but the lower half of the houses is under his level and out of sight. Similarly, in high-river stage, in the New Orleans region, the water is up to the top of the enclosing levee-rim, the flat country behind it lies low--representing the bottom of a dish--and as the boat swims along, high on the flood, one looks down upon the houses and into the upper windows. There is nothing but that frail breastwork of earth between the people and destruction.
Written more than 100 years ago.

Happy birthday to me!

From icon vs. icon:
Tommy Shaw, guitarist of legendary rock band Styx, is set to release his debut Bluegrass album, “The Great Divide” on March 22nd, 2011...
Now I realize this might freak some folks out. I must say I am pleasantly surprised. I already knew he played mandolin, since he played it a couple of times with Styx--I'm pretty sure he played it on "Boat on the River" from Cornerstone, for example. His voice seems--to me--to have that high, keening timbre that is well-suited for bluegrass.

The album is to released on CD, vinyl and digital formats. I will definitely be looking to download it come the 22nd.

Check out the link, there's an interesting video that's mostly talking with a little music.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

This & that

Some this & that stuff. I've been having sluggish computer problems lately, all indications pointing toward the pagefile/virtual memory for the problem. Checked things out and apparently somewhere along the line my virtual memory setting had been set to a custom value which, according to what I just read about it, seemed too small. So I put it back to have the system control it, also it's now set to use both drives instead of just the C: drive. So far, it seems to have done the trick. Everything is working quite smoothly now.

Also, for a long time now I've been dissatisfied with Winamp being sluggish itself. So I've been giving a new program a shot today, called MediaMonkey. I like it a lot and I think I'll switch to it rather than Winamp. I have never really liked Windows Media Player for routine mp3 listening. It seems to suck up a lot of resources.

And finally, I also came across another mp3 tag editor today which I downloaded and have tried out a little and it looks good, called MP3Tag. The old tagger program I was using is actually several years old and worked well but this one does a few more things that I like so I think I'll stick with it.

Addendum: Another thing is that I was having very "jerky" operations with any web browser (Firefox, IE, Chrome). So I did some tweaking and it looks like the problem was being caused by Java Quick Starter. I disabled it so it doesn't load on start-up, and that seems to have fixed the problem.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Needs more purple

Well, I thought I'd change the layout here some. I just went with Blogger's template designer so I wouldn't have to dig into the html the hard way. I wanted a single-sidebar layout because I've noticed that some of those wide-screen videos don't fit the old template. Added a background image and tweaked a few other things, but it was all using their template designer, nothing original. I think it looks okay.

For some reason it isn't showing the date in that space where it should. I'll have to look into that.

Show Us Your Guns (SNL short)

I thought I'd use Netflix to stream some old SNL shows, since I've never seen them (most of them)--didn't watch that stuff when I was a kid. So I just saw this today.

I'm sure when they made this, they never realized how true it would become. We are everywhere, after all.

The real laugh happens at about 1:07.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Screen grabs from Viva Max!

I'm not going to try and write a review of this movie or anything, but here are a few screen caps. You can't get this on DVD, but I recommend watching it if you can catch it on a cable movie channel sometime. I might post more pix in the future if I get around to it.

A late-60s vintage Alamo brochure. I used to have one of these as a souvenir when I was a kid.

Downtown San Antonio, across the street from the Alamo. Probably about the same place that they have all those tourista places now.

Inside the "Alamo." This was a stage set, however. Filming was not allowed inside those hallowed grounds. Inside shots like this were (to my knowledge) filmed on stage sets in Italy.

Not sure exactly how they did this one. Inside the grounds scenes were filmed at the Alamo Village near Bracketville. The buildings in the background were dubbed in with filming tricks, I guess.

And...the Alamo itself, with lots of tourists.

A Boy Scout troop that winds their way around the cenotaph.

I'll post more of these soon, I think. There are lots of other interesting shots.

Monday, March 07, 2011


Many moons ago, when I worked at a place that had high speed service, I used to watch videos at this hilarious though weird website until they cut off our outside access.

Tonight, I remembered that site. It's not there anymore, but the guy who made it has moved to YouTube.

So I just want to take this opportunity to point you to Joe Cartoon.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Highway to Hell jugband version.

There should be something similar to Rule 34, the variation being: if it exists, there is a parody of it.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Pepto-Bismobile

Taken last week, somewhere in the Great Northwest, I think.

The Song of the Ass

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


On Cincinnati.

In other news, I bought & installed a wireless router today. Gave it a test by first streaming the first episode of Fat Albert, then the first episode of The Black Adder, and finally the Don Knotts movie The Shakiest Gun in the West. Works great.

It's that day again...

So when my daughter came home from school today, she asked, "Where's my present?"

"What?" I said. "You don't get presents for Texas Independence Day!"

Heh. She turned 12 today. I gave her an mp3 player.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The new internet service

I now have a potato-masher antenna atop of shiny new 50-foot mast. To other hams reading this, you may understand that to me, it is not an eyesore. It is an object of beauty and efficiency.

I had an interesting chat with the tech who did the installing. The sub-station that my signal is coming from is only 1 1/4 miles away from me "straight across country." He also told me that there are 6 different wireless services in our small town, not including GVEC. Although there is no law to require it, it is the custom of most such companies to synchronize their signals with each other to prevent interference. None of these little mom-&-pop companies have gone to the expense (a mere $200) to do this, so they constantly interfere with each other and with GVEC. He also said that my signal is so strong that I was actually getting a faster speed that I was paying for, and they might have to "turn me down a little." Good news.

I have been downloading some free mp3s from Amazon for the past little while, while simultaneously doing routine browsing/blog reading. No problems at all. I can download an album faster than I can listen to it.

I fit this into our budget by dropping our satellite TV back to the basic service, which covers just about anything we ever watched, anyway. I still need to buy a router so we can connect other devices via WiFi, but they aren't that expensive and it will be cheaper in the long run than renting one from GVEC. It will be really nice to be able to stream movies from Netflix now.

Also, no bandwidth restrictions with this service. The only restriction is on the actual speed of the service. When I asked about this, he laughed and said, "No, no restrictions. This isn't satellite!"

So, today was a good day.

Three more tracks from First Quest: The Music

Here are three that I completed while waiting for my new service. Tracks 2, 3 and 4.


The new internet service is a GO! New video upload: