Thursday, April 28, 2011

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Beethoven's Last Night (mp3 download)

What do you get when some progressive metalists (is that a word?) create a tribute to Ludwig van Beethoven? You get this:

This turned up in my subscription for digital downloads from this morning and I figured, what the hey, can't lose for $2.99. I've been listening to it today, although I haven't had time to finish it (73 minutes long), and I like it. No Christmas music on this one; it's all based on Beethoven except for a little that's based on Mozart.

If you don't like bombast in your music, then you probably want to avoid it, but if you listen to any kind of metal at all you've probably developed either a liking or a tolerance for bombast anyway.

So yeah, I think $2.99 is a steal for this download. It comes with a "digital booklet" (pdf file) that I haven't read yet, one commenter recommended listening to the full album while reading along in the booklet at least once. I'll have to try that sometime.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Awesome lyrics

Just downloaded a new free track from Amazon, Damn These Vampires by The Mountain Goats. Great lyrics.

Brave young cowboys of the near north side
Mount those bridge rails
Ride all night
Scream when captured
Arch your back
Let this whole town hear your knuckles crack

Sapphire Trans-Am
High beams in vain
Drive wild broncos
Down the plain
Push up to the corner
Where the turbines hiss
Some day we won't remember this

Crawl til dawn
On my hands and knees
God damn these vampires
For what they've done to me

Tie those horses
To the post outside
And let those glass doors open wide
And in their surface
See two young savage things
Barely worth remembering

Feast like pagans
Never get enough
Sleep like dead men
Wake up like dead men
And when the sun comes try not to hate the light
Some day we'll try to walk upright

Crawl til dawn
On my hands and knees
God damn these bite marks
Deep in my arteries
Crawl til dawn
On my hands and knees
God damn these vampires
For what they've done to me

Monday, April 25, 2011

The pig-dragon

I'm sure this has some kind of deep cultural significance, but I don't know what.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A couple more from Juice Newton

Juice Newton: Dirty Looks and Can't Wait All Night.

I know I mentioned some time before that her first solo album to be noticed*, Juice, is one of my all-time favorite albums and has been since it was released when I was in high school. I also like her second album, Quiet Lies, although not as much.

These were her next two albums, and unlike the first two which I bought on cassette, I got these two on LP. I like both of these less than the first two but there are still certain songs on each that I will put on my general favorites playlist.

Both are still in print, and you can even buy Can't Wait as an mp3 download from Amazon, although Dirty Looks is available only as a double packaged with her following album, Old Flame. I was dissatisfied enough with Dirty Looks that I lost interest and quit following her after that.

Both rips were not completely perfect, but pretty close.

*Juice was actually her sixth album, but she had never had any radio hits from any of her previous albums, and Juice is when most people--including myself--suddenly noticed her.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


We heard this tonight at about 8:30 when we came back home from Cub Scouts. I remarked that I wish I had some way to record it. My daughter said that my mp3 player could record. I told her yes, but it probably wouldn't be a very good recording. I must say I am amazed and pleased at how good it turned out. If you listen carefully you can hear my son and me whispering in a couple of places.

P.S. In my opinion, this completely blows away the sample sound at Wikipedia.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Utterly bizarre conversation at work this morning

Regarding the new trucks. The ten of us who had been randomly selected (literally "had our names drawn from a hat") to get the first wave of new trucks were told, under no circumstances were we to open the hoods of our trucks and check the fluid levels, because "that's Fleet's responsibility."

Up until this time, we had been told, regarding our existing (shared) trucks, that we were to check all fluid levels every morning, because if something went wrong and it was because the brake/transmission/oil/coolant level was low, it was our fault for not checking.

I was completely nonplussed. Literally: "not more, no further, i.e., a state in which nothing more can be done." Yes, I was at -459.69F perplexity.

"What? So Fleet's going to come check them for us?"


"So how do we know when they need more fluid?"

"Use your common sense."

"I thought I was using common sense when I checked the fluid levels regularly."

"No. These are new trucks. They won't have any problems with fluid levels."

"Okay..." I think the look on my face indicated that I had somehow just cleared -460F.

"Okay, just give me one example."

"Example?" That was me again.

"Yes, give me a specific example of how the fluid levels could fall dangerously low in a new truck."

"Okay...I personally had experience with a brand new truck--a Ranger, by the way--which had a leaky head gasket. It was not leaking oil where it could be seen pooling beneath the truck. It was blowing it up against the inside of the hood and I would never have known about it if I hadn't opened the hood to take a look."

"These trucks are built better now. That won't happen."

"Okay...forget about it then."

So...I have been officially forbidden from checking the oil, brake fluid, coolant, and so forth. I guess if I want to ensure my own safety I'll have to check them in the field where no one can catch me.

Your H2O company at work, folks!

I'm a stock market genius

I don't remember the exact date at the moment, but four or five years ago I bought 25 shares of Ruger stock. I wish I'd had money to buy ten times that much.

This chart only goes back 2 years. I paid around $5 per share for it at the time.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What are words worth?

Been listening to the Nacional Records Sampler 2011: The New Sounds Of Latin Music Volume 2. It was a free sampler download from Amazon. I had previously downloaded last year's sampler from that label and liked it quite a lot. I just got down to the end of this year's sampler to find Tom Tom Club, which I was almost sure was some 80s group.

Sure enough, they began in the 80s but are apparently still recording. Not sure why they're on a Latin music sampler. Anyhow, I know at least one of you is a big fan of Talking Heads (a related grouup), so here's a link to a free download of a rap piece that I somehow actually like: Wordy Rappinghood.


How to Defend Your Musical Tastes at Basic Instructions.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Adventures in meter reading

A peaceful scene at the "intersection" of Wurzbach Parkway and Tool Yard, off in the grass slightly to the lower left of that purple dot below.

From the time I first started doing this route, which was about 6 months after I was initially hired, up until about a year and a half ago, there was only one meter in this spot. Or so we all thought. This meter:

Someone, at sometime (not myself) painted that address on it, which says "10303 #B," meaning 10303 #B Perrin Beitel.

Yes, I realize the meter is not actually on Perrin Beitel. As I have come to understand, the location of a meter and its address are sometimes largely unrelated and irrelevant.

The old address of this meter was something on Wurzbach Pkwy. I don't remember the number. But then one day, like I said about 18 months ago, a new meter turned up; a large meter that was most likely in a vault because of its size, with the address 10303 #A Perrin Beitel. It was what we call a "niner."

So if you'll allow a brief digression, I'll explain the "niner" term. The meters on a route are all numbered from 1 to however many there are on the route. The numbering sequence begins with 000100, which is sequence 1. The two trailing zeros to the right of the 1 are so we can renumber the sequence and have plenty of room to shift sequences around, based on what we think is best. So for example if I had a meter that was at the wrong sequence, and I wanted to stick it between meters 1 & 2, I would change its sequence to 000101 or anything else that fell between 000100 and 000200. The next month, that meter would be changed to sequence 2, or 000200. The old sequence 2 would become sequence 3, or 000300. When an all new meter is added to a route, it is given a sequence of 999999. This puts it at the end of the route and makes it easy for us to check if we have any new meters. We just skip to the end and see how many "niners" we have, and as we work the route we change them to the proper sequence so they will be in the right place next time.

So this niner turned up at 10303 #A Perrin Beitel. The trouble was, there was nothing at that address. As far as I and my co-worker at the time could tell, there was no such address. So we just put a trouble code 53 on it (technically meaning "the meter is covered" but generally used as an excuse for "we can't find it") and kept ignoring it. That guy transferred to another department and I was left "in charge" of the route, so I determined to find it.

At the time, the athletic park across the way was still under construction, and we assumed we would be getting the new meters for that place. Therefore, we assumed our new meter was over there, with one of those nonsensical addresses. I drove all over that place and never found it. If you'll refer to that map at the top of the post, you'll see what's left of an abandoned street that runs roughly parallel to Wurzbach Pkwy on the south side of that road. I drove all the way up that street as well--a street that now leads to nowhere since Wurzbach Pkwy chopped it in two, and still couldn't find the meter.

I asked for measurements to tell me exactly where this meter was. The problem is, the vast majority of new meters are never measured (not anymore). Likewise, there was no map of the meter, either. The only thing I was told is, "It's right there." Well, I told them, that's just not good enough. Then they told me the customer was listed as "The City of San Antonio, so I should look for a park or something." This information, it turned out, was incorrect and completely worthless.

And then one day, I arrived at the meter pictured above and noticed the same address had been painted on the nearby vault. You can see it on the far door in the picture below. Also, the address of the meter pictured above had been changed from a Wurzbach Pkwy address to 10303 #B Perrin Beitel.

"You gotta be kidding," I thought, although I knew they weren't. The meter I had been looking for had been literally right under my feet. Here's the kicker: it wasn't a new meter. It should not have been a niner. The only reason it was a niner is because it had never been on a route before. How long was it there without ever being read? I have no idea, but I can vouch for at least 18 months. Before that, I can only assume it had been there for years, a forgotten meter, using water, never being read. You may wonder why I had never thought to look in that vault. Good question. The truth is, there are empty vaults all over the place and another empty one wasn't unusual enough to spark any curiosity. Plus, the address on Perrin Beitel didn't have anything to do with the actual location.

And then a couple of months after that, I arrived at said spot to find that both meters had had another address change, to 10416 #s A & B Tool Yard, which is the site of the CPS Northeast Service Center.

This isn't the only stupid lost meter trick I have encountered, but it's certainly the best example of such. So if I ever mention a "lost" or "forgotten" meter, this is the kind of thing I mean.

"The Gates of Hell"

Side 2, track 4 of First Quest: The Music.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Got a Roku today

Roku, in case you've never heard of the device. Spent a while going through it and figuring out what I can watch for free or minimal cost. Already have a Netflix account, so I set that up so now I can watch some of the not-so-safe-for-kids stuff on my TV instead of the big TV in the living room where the Wii is. When I upgraded out internet to high speed, the first thing I did was set up the Wii to stream from Netflix. Man, what a ridiculous luxury that is.

Anyhow, I haven't actually watched anything on it yet, but I probably will later tonight. I'm still trying to talk my wife into dumping DishNetwork. Especially since one whole year of Amazon Prime costs only slightly more than one month of our DishNetwork bill.

My daughter is spending the night at a friend's and my wife is at work, but my son and I streamed Toy Story 3 from Netflix tonight. I thought it was quite good.
I may have to create another category: "weird audio stuff you can download from Amazon."

You may be surprised--or at least, shocked--to know what you can download, sometimes for free. For example:

#13 is free.

Weird movie

I just watched Paul McCartney Really Is Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison. When I see a movie like this, I always wonder: what did this guy hope to accomplish with this movie? He couldn't have made any money on it. He couldn't possibly have believed all that stuff. I kept expecting it to be satire, but it never got funny.

I guess if you want a 97-minute exhaustive account of the whole "Paul is Dead" conspiracy theory, this is your movie. Otherwise, just watch The Rutles, which actually is funny and entertaining.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

An update

Anyone remember this old post?

I got there today and found this:

Someone went in there, cleaned out a bunch of the brush, moved the meters out to within 6 feet or so of the road, and put them in actual boxes! Of course, they left that plastic one on the right with the lid screwed down and my truck (of course) didn't have the proper wrench to unscrew it, so I couldn't read it. I'll get it next month. Maybe. I guess I can remove the "HAZARD!!!" warning from the Roadrunner now.

The bolt on those plastic lids has a special extra-weird pentagonal head, instead of like most bolt heads that are hexagonal. All the company trucks were, at one time, equipped with such a wrench, but I have too many cow-orkers who are thieves, and nothing stays in the trucks for long.

In related news, the new trucks are coming in. Beginning next Tuesday I'll have my own permanent company truck that only I will use, and I should be much better able to control the equipment I need to do my job.

The new truck will be a 4-cylinder Ranger. Tilt steering wheel, cruise control, a/c and radio that haven't been broken by some dumb**** because "it's only a company truck." The downside to this is that I won't be getting a gas allowance anymore, which was big enough that it not only covered the gas I used for my POV* while working, but also covered all my commuting fuel. So I'll effectively be getting a pay cut.

*I learned this abbreviation just today. It means "Personal Occupancy Vehicle." Corporate-speak.

States I've visited meme

visited 37 states (74%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Saw this meme at A Trainwreck in Maxwell. I know I did this once before, a long time ago, but I think the site it was hosted on then has gone kaput since then. These are all the states I hit while truck driving. Never managed South Dakota somehow. I once drove all the way across Nebraska without setting foot on the ground in one long shot, although I did stop there a few other times. Also add British Columbia and Alberta. The one time I went through North Dakota it was 20 below. The coldest cold I have ever experienced, and hope never to experience again.

I liked those big western states, except for Kalifornia, which sucks for out-of-state truck drivers. The only part of Cali I liked was the big open mountainous deserts between L.A. and Arizona.

Mark, Don & Mel inner sleeve artwork #2

Here's the reverse side of the sleeve I posted yesterday. From Mark, Don & Mel 1969-71 by Grand Funk Railroad. Note the "critic" at lower left who blamed them for his falling asleep while coming down from a mescaline high. Yeah. He probably worked for Rolling Stone. What a douche.

Note: I've been uploading these at about 2000px square. Blogger keeps downsizing them to 1600px.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mark, Don & Mel inner sleeve artwork #1

I said before I might try to upload some of this. Here is the first installment. Inner sleeve artwork from the 1972 double compilation album Mark, Don & Mel 1969-71 by Grand Funk Railroad. I couldn't get it quite perfect because that one corner is wrinkled. All four sleeve sides are collages of newspaper articles such as this. The common theme is how GFR was very proud of being hated by critics and loved by fans.

Click to enlarge, and it's quite large. Actually, it appears that Blogger, knowing what's good for me in spite of myself, has downsized it from the size I had it saved as, so it isn't going to be quite as easily readable. You know, if Blogger says there's a 8 MB limit on file size for uploads, they should mean 8 MB limit. ****heads.

Here's a text excerpt from some of that small print on the bottom right.
One group that soaks up a lot of money from teeny-boppers and "heads" is the disgusting Grand Funk Railroad. They fit the mold of trashy but saleable music like a deck of cards fits into a poker game [say what now? --ed.] "E Pluribus Funk" (Capitol), their latest release, will take care of the large-bulge-in-the-pockets thing that some people seem to have.

I can just picture that same little kid [wait--what little kid was that again? --ed.] turning the stereo he got for his birthday all the way up and putting on Grand Funk, most likely to bother his mother or something.

On the first cut, "Footstompin' Music," all there is is a bass, an organ playing one chord, and drums that sound more like someone fluffing pillows. One thing that typifies most trash music is a dull, repititious [sic], pounding bass; Grand Funk makes for further proof.

As our "young teen" jerks and twists to the droll pounding of his favorite group, Grand Funk, he imagines himself smoking a "J" with Mark Farner and discussing his three chord knowledge of the guitar (which makes the kid's talent equal to dear Mark's). After his mother makes him turn on the record player "'cause it's getting late," [wait a minute, his mother makes him turn on the record player? --ed.] he pretends to go to sleep, only to sneak out the window of his upper-middle class home. Grabbing his love beads and headband, he strolls on out to the scene on East Colfax. Then, after combing his hair to the wrong side to make it look longer, he goes from freak to freak whispering "D'ya know where I can score a lid?" [Jeez, need to see someone about your repressed fantasies before it's too late. --ed.]

And it's supposed to impress people that Grand Funk sold 15 million records in the last two years. To whom? Little teeny-boppers who look at music the way a baby looks at a skipping rope.

The quality of the music has nothing to do with record sales; record sales most certainly don't make the quality of the music on the album any better. So many musicians like Paul Parrish and Allen Thomas are extremely talented, but aren't making it.

At least the teeny-boppers have something to musically suck their thumbs with: Grand Funk.
A few items:

No, they are not looking at music the way a baby looks at a skipping rope. They are using music the way a kid uses a rope that was not intended for skipping but is being used that way anyway: they made it themselves. It might not be the prettiest thing in the world, but it works and they love it.

As for the "quality of music" argument, I agree with it, but it's largely irrelevant. It's not an argument that will ever have any effect on anyone. I usually look at how high sales are as an inversely proportional gauge of how bad the music really is. But it just doesn't matter.

I am not really a GFR fan. To me, they are another classic rock radio group that doesn't usually make me change the station. But when I read "critiques" like this one, it makes me want to hunt this guy down and beat the **** out of him. Just on general principles.

You can look Paul Parrish up on YouTube. He was a singer-songwriter type in the early 70s, and there are a few uploads there. I can't find anything on Allen Thomas. Of course, you can also look up Grand Funk Railroad and see scores of uploads on YouTube.

Take that, anonymous critic-from-the-past. You poor, emotionally disturbed b*st*rd.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ia! Ia!

Cthulhu Chick has created a Kindle ebook of The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft, which is free for the download.

Even if you don't have a Kindle and never plan to buy one (like myself), you can download the free Kindle for PC from Amazon (eh...look it up) and use it to read the ebook.

Now, I don't plan on reading all his works again from my computer screen. It just doesn't thrill me. However, I did download both and installed them because it seems to me that this is an excellent way to do specific word or phrase searches of his works. Now when I want to see exactly where (and how many times) he used "squamous," I can do so easily.


Big music news today

That's right, folks. The other guy from Hall & Oates has a new solo album. Unfortunately, it appears his magnificent 'stache has not survived the years. Follow the link and you can download the title track for free! For a limited time! Hurry now!

It's a kind of bluesy number. Nothing like Hall & Oates used to do. Nothing like anything I ever heard by them on the radio, anyway. I don't know anything about their stuff that didn't make it on the radio, I promise.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend update

I guess it's a good time for the somewhat usual weekend update. I got more stuff done this weekend than the last--not suffering any weird headaches this time.

Finished up one of the albums I've had in progress, finally. One problem with having too many going at once is that it takes a long time to finish anything. Oh well. More on that later. Also managed to edit one more track from that Marty Robbins album. Those are messed up enough that it takes a while to do even one track and I'm tired of it all by the time I get one finished.

Still working my way through the "99 Darkest Classical" collection. It takes a while to listen to a collection that runs 11 hours. Purchased one more of the albums I've been wanting to get for a while: Rush's Feedback, but haven't had time to listen to any of it yet. Since I don't consider it really canonical, I just bought the mp3 download. I still want to get Snakes & Arrows but since that's part of the canon I'm going to get it on CD. Also on my soon-to-be-acquired hit list is Kate Bush's Aerial, which will also be on CD and I'm going to get the import version if possible.

I also haven't had time to really listen to that Styx collection, either. I've heard it all before, but of course now that I have it on CD I want to give the whole thing another good going-through.

I should take this opportunity to mention another good jazz free sampler from Amazon, the Allegro 2011 Spring Sampler. Especially since April is Jazz Appreciation Month.

I downloaded a couple more free samplers of metal, but they aren't really worth mentioning. Maybe if I have time I'll mention them soon just to warn people off them.

I went back to using Winamp. I re-installed it and this time I installed only the bare minimum essentials so it now plays mp3s (and wavs) but does pretty much nothing else. It sucks up much less RAM this way and my computer is working much better now. RAM is at a premium on this machine. I might still upgrade the RAM. I just need to see how much it will cost first.

I guess that's about all for now. Oh yeah, one more thing. It's been two years since I mentioned discovering a webcomic called Lovecraft is Missing. I had bookmarked it but never read much of it because it took too long to download the graphics on dial-up. I remembered it today, and read the first two chapters this afternoon. Excellent comic. Anyone who is a comic fan (that's you, Babel), should check it out. It has some very atmospheric illustrations.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Packing Mamas

I found this at If Charlie Parker was a Gunslinger. Click to enlarge. Caption below:
Packing Mamas Round Up Marauders.

Viers Mill Village -- Pistol-packing mamas of Viers Mill Village, a Washington D.C., suburb, terrorized by night marauders for 3 weeks, rounded up four men in gun-fire studded chase early today. Wielding rifles, pistols, knives and baseball bats, the aroused housewives had the intruders begging for mercy when police reached the battlefield. Shown are Mrs. Mary Schultz, holding a .45; Mrs. Doris Young, carrying a butcher knife; Mrs. Martha Newell with a rifle, and Mrs. Warren Leigh, wielding a baseball bat. (1950)
An interesting note from the caption: this was in a suburb of Washington, D.C. But I see something interesting in this photograph. What you do notice about the way they have posed?

I'll add my own observation in a day or two. Leave your guess in the comments.

UPDATE: Answer in comments.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Comparison of Styx album covers - the Wooden Nickel era

Their first eponymous album, original release on the left (1972), the RCA reprint from 1980 on the right.
On the left we have the five members of the group, nude and exposed, apparently stoically glaring out from the fires of Hell. On the right we have old-timey racing cars zipping across a salt flat or something with airplanes flying overhead. I think this style is called art deco. Right? Anyway...

On the top left and bottom are two different versions of the original cover of Styx II from 1973. The top left is the one that came with the CD set, the bottom one was found on the internet. I think the one on the bottom is actually correct. I like it better anyway. The group in the act of performing as seen through cut-out letters of their group name. At top right we have another art deco old-timey roadster with a couple in it (I think) and a castle(?) in the background. Also they changed the name of the reprint to Lady because, after all, that's the only thing on this album anyone has ever heard of. (Hate not, Styx fans! I'm being sarcastic. Mostly).

Cool album art here. Click to enlarge. On the left, from 1973: a desert oasis with a giant cobra right in the foreground sitting next to some shrooms, a herd of llamas or possibly alpacas (hard to tell) behind that with...a goat? Okay, and then there's a white bat flying in front of that big saguaro, the really cool image of a wrecked sailing ship in the desert and I think some dude is riding a camel behind that back lake. In the far distance appears some kind of lost city, possibly El Dorado? On the right we have a cute and cuddly art deco snake with fangs so adorable you just want to eat him all up. Also some flowers. This one was retitled Serpent because...well, I don't know why.

From 1974, on the left we have a fairly self-explanatory image of a wizard apparently manipulating the solar system with nothing but wizardry and his bare hands. Nice. On the right we have some art deco old-timey gals (or possibly dames) with great gams hanging out by a swimming pool in front of some pyramids while a decidedly not old-timey jet airplane blasts by just overhead. I don't know. Also this one was retitled Miracles, probably for the same reason the previous one was changed to a one-word title.

I should note that finding all these images of the reprint covers was not easy. I found the original Styx album easily enough, but the other three required some digging beyond merely just looking them up on Google Images. I didn't want to go to the trouble of scanning them. It's like nobody wants to admit they exist. Somebody has the Serpent reprint on Amazon for $29 used, which seems crazy to me. Conversely, somebody else has the Miracles reprint on Amazon for $4.

Anyhow, I know for sure the originals are out of print, and I'm pretty sure the reprints are also now out of print. So there you go.

Oh, by the way

Styx: The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings

I guess I should have first mentioned (before the previous post) that this came in yesterday. I already had the RCA reprints of their first four albums as records, but when I saw this collection I wanted to get it on CD. Two CDs that include all of the first four albums, and some interesting liner notes. Also CD-booklet sized full-page reproductions of the original cover art, which was much better than that crappy RCA cover art. I might post a comparison of the cover art later on. What the heck.

The "Wooden Nickel recordings" refer to the albums they made while on a label called Wooden Nickel Records, which according to the source of all information, carried Chicago-area bands but couldn't survive after Styx started getting more famous and moved to A&M.

Interesting (to me) musical trivia

I always thought this sounded familiar, but I never made the connection.

Now try this one. If you don't want to listen to the whole thing, skip up to 1:10. This is the segue between "Krakatoa" and a short version of "The Hallelujah Chorus" from Styx's album The Serpent is Rising.

From the liner notes:
The Serpent is Rising concluded with an imposing choir-and-church-organ rendition of the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah. Equally offbeat was Curulewski's bizarrely theatrical "Krakatoa," which incorporated a striking electronic riff borrowed from the pioneering duo Beaver and Krause, hence their credit as co-writers. Many years later, that passage would be used by filmmaker George Lucas as the sonic logo for his TXH theater sound system.
From Wikipedia, Beaver & Krause:
A variation of the end of their track "Spaced" from the Wild Sanctuary album became the dual gliding synthesizer soundtrack for the original THX Sound Logo in movie theaters.

So there you go. It sounds to me like the TXH version was sped up a little and "punched up" in the recording, but it's still the same. Now I have to go see if I can find some of Beaver & Krause's stuff.

The journey continues...

Death metal Friday

At Regrettable Music.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Cleaning out my phone

Here's a photo of some wildlife I encountered last week at the eastern dead end of Texas Ave.

My question is: when it doesn't happen, can they be sued for false advertising?

This was on McCullough, on the route that reads SAC. I hate that route.

I tried to take another picture that same day, of an old house, the kind that makes me think: if this house isn't haunted, it should be. Unfortunately for some reason my phone didn't snap the picture when I pressed the button, but lagged several seconds and snapped it as I was putting my phone away, which resulted in an oddly skewed photo of the car in front of me. A phone malfunction, perhaps, but I think it more likely that the house does not allow itself to be photographed.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The "99 Darkest" collection

I was able to finally start listening to the "99 Darkest Pieces of Classical Music" collection, and so far this is the most enjoyable collection of classical I've listened to. And I've barely dented it. I was also pleased to discover that "Albinoni's Adagio" in G Minor is on here. That's another one I've been wanting to get hold of.

An important note: all tracks are properly tagged with the composer information.* So now I won't have to sleuth out the composers for all these. I'll only have to look each one up and find when he lived. When I do listen to classical, I like to have in my head when the composer lived so I can fit him into a kind of mental timeline based on what little I know of classical music (all learned in college long ago and mostly forgotten).

I fiddled around a little with MP3Tag and learned it can do yet another thing that my old tagging software couldn't: export file lists with all sorts of tag information. None of the included formats had composer information, but after a few minutes of reading I figured out what to add to the script to get it to do that, so I can now export the whole list for easy reference.

UPDATE 8:26 PM: AAAGGGHHH!!! VOCALS!!! I just can't stand operatic vocals.

*For example, I had always assumed the aforementioned adagio was actually written by Tomaso Albinoni. But no, it was written for him by Remi Giazatto, who, it turns out, was his biographer, and who lived in the 20th century. So my musical education continues.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Poor old Bach...

He's never going to make any money at this rate.

Couldn't turn down this one, even though I'm not a really big fan of classical. And I'm always ready for more "dark" music. Finally a full version of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, and Saint-Saƫns "Danse Macabre"! I remember hearing a very abbreviated version of that used as the theme music for Jonathan Creek and I went around humming it to myself for days afterward.

One commenter said it totals 11 hours of music and slightly over a gig of disk space. Ye gads. The only drawback is, I betcha they don't have the files tagged with composer information. I'm going to be doing a lot of Wiki-ing for composers in the next few days.

Currently in progress

My wife came home with this record from a yard sale last Saturday, and "requested" that I convert it to CD for her so she can play it in her car. It's in better shape than most yard sale records I have come across; it's taking some work, but so far when I finish with a track it sounds pretty good.

Marty Robbins sings the old standard "Misty." By the way, this is one of my favorite songs, regardless of artist.

NOTE: After uploading this, I found that this album is still in print. So I've deleted the full version of this track and uploaded a partial edit in its place. I tried uploading it straight to Blogger rather than use YouTube for this edit, but it just would not upload.

I'm not sure why there's a bassoon sticking out of his butt...

Steampunk Dalek, via Oddee.

Classic rock haiku #5

You see the new boss?
I think you will find he is
same as the old boss.

Bolts and locks

I went to the store the other day to buy a bolt for our front door, for as I told the store-keeper, the Governor was coming here. "Aye," said he, "and the Legislature too." "Then I will take two bolts," said I. He said that there had been a steady demand for bolts and locks of late, for our protectors were coming.

--Henry David Thoreau
journal entry, September 8, 1859

Monday, April 04, 2011


I was hunting for certain images for the next slideshow video, and I stumbled across this entirely by accident. I just wanted to share.


Classic rock haiku #4

Jude, don't make it bad.
Na na na na na na na--
Repeat sixteen times.

Bold words from Columbia Records

click to enlarge


--Columbia Records, 1962

P.S. It's monaural, or as we would more likely say these days, monophonic.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Weekend update

So...I got nothing done yesterday. I developed this weird, disorienting headache Friday night, decided to just sleep it off, awakened Saturday morning to find it had not lessened while asleep. Took some aspirin at about 7:00 AM--my customary headache dope--didn't work. Took some naproxen sodium at noon and took two separate hour-long naps during the afternoon which helped. Still, in spite of those long naps and complete inactivity yesterday, I went to sleep at 9:00 PM and slept like a dead rock for about 9 hours, which is quite a long time for me. Woke up this morning feeling much better, although still a little fuzzy but that wore off as the day went by. Can't blame it on sinus problems because they weren't any worse than usual. It didn't fit any of the symptoms for a migraine--which I don't think I've ever had. It felt like something was trying to pull my brain out through my forehead.

Anyway, I've decided to go ahead and order three or four albums that I've been wanting for quite some time. One of them, I think, I'll just download, the rest I'll get on CD. Ordered one of them today, which you may guess at if you have nothing better to do. It's a 4-album set on 2 CDs that includes all the original artwork--that is--the albums were later released with different cover art. A very popular band but these albums were before they were really popular--except for one song which got played to death and still gets played on classic rock stations now and then.

I stopped by a Radio Shack on the way home Friday to see if I could get one of those Roku devices, but they were sold out. I think I'll try one more store before giving up and ordering online. I discovered that Netflix has ALL Futurama episodes plus all the movies available for streaming, so I and the kids have been having some fun watching those from the very beginning. I think it will be fun to hunt down and watch various Christmas shows when that time of year comes around again, especially the Futurama shows and the Blackadder special.

Got a new shipment of pipe tobacco in this past week. This time I just said to heck with variety and ordered two pounds of Bayou Night, which is still my favorite all-around smoke and which I'd rather have than anything. I'll need to order more 1792 Flake before too long, though, I think. Those are two of my regulars--my other regulars are well-stocked enough that I don't need to order any of them.

I took a look at my stash to see where I'm at; I still have a vacuum-sealed bag of Bayou Morning that I sealed up not quite 4 years ago. This was a sample that I intentionally avoided using because I wanted to test vacuum-sealed bags for long-term storage. I intend to open it up when it reaches 5 years old. I still need to store my recent order of Bayou Night, which I'll just stuff in Mason jars. I'll probably do that this week sometime.

I got my son an mp3 player for his birthday. I put some stuff on it which he had requested (country-type stuff), plus some rock stuff that I thought he might like and should hear. So he's been listening to it and becoming thoroughly acquainted with Rush and Pink Floyd. He really likes Pink Floyd, especially Dark Side of the Moon and Meddle. Unfortunately my daughter is biased against most music that is that old, with the exceptions of Reba McEntire and Johnny Cash.

I did an audio rip of that "Friday" video, saved it as an mp3 and snuck it onto her mp3 player. I got a big kick out of it. She didn't think it was all that funny, and deleted it.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The River of Souls

This is one that I actually kind of like the music enough that I could include it on a favorites list, if I had enough pieces to make a list of funereal electronic instrumentals.

If you thought "Friday" was bad...

I have some news for you.* Must be produced by the same company. Same formula, same anti-melody, same rap breakdown, auto-tune the **** out of everything. By the way, I find that the rap part in these (cough) "songs" is actually a relief. The weird thing about this one is the rapper has apparently been breathing helium.

*Not going to embed this one, nor even link directly to it.

Evil increases exponentially

Seriously, if I walked into a room and saw this, I would run screaming. The eyes! The eyes!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Classic rock haiku #3

Start out acoustic,
mention something about elves--
instant rock classic!