Sunday, December 2, 2012

[LINK] Nobody Surfs to Work

Local NYC band The Peculiar Gentlemen have posted a hilarious list of albums I can no longer stand to hear when I'm at the bar. Especially Weezer:
1.  Weezer - The Blue Album
This is a combination of the band becoming douche-bags and douche-bags doing what douche-bags do best.  Weezer only made 2 great records.  This was one of them.  I'm afraid to tell you the other out of fear that they'll ruin that one too.  The Sweater Song isn't witty or cute after the 14 billionth listen.  Buddy Holly isn't associated with that awesome video anymore.  You still haven't learned the correct lyrics to Say It Ain't So.  He lied about his name being Jonah and nobody surfs to work.  Weezer has become everything they set out to defy.  (See also Metallica and Rage Against the Machine)  They were once the anti-hero and now they are the typical run of the mill mainstream mediocrity that douche-bags flock to.
 The rest of the list is just as spot-on: 10 Great Albums Ruined by Douche Bags

Saturday, December 1, 2012

[LINK] The Nature of Internet Monopolies

Faza over at The Cynical Musician has a really interesting post about the nature of online business to tend toward monopolies (Everything, Everywhere, All the Time). You may have heard the phrase "the internet only wants one of everything" recently, and his post explores that concept.

During a recent hearing on the reprehensible IRFA legislation, debate arose about why there's no other online radio service as popular as Pandora. In light of that discussion, here's a bit from Faza on the difficulties of launching a competitive business on the internet in a market dominated by one company (Pandora in this instance, but it just as easily applies to Amazon, Facebook, and Google):

Once we have someone in this position, there’s very little other businesses can do to compete. They can’t sell something that the established power player isn’t selling, ‘coz he is. They can’t go for geographic advantage because there’s no issue of distance on the internet. They cannot hope to sell when the big guy’s closed, ‘coz he’s always open. Their only hope is either to compete on price, which is a race to the bottom (and one could argue that online everyone’s living in silt as it is) or on purchasing experience, which only becomes a factor if they can match the established player’s prices – tricky if you ain’t got the scale to make it up on.

Everything, Everywhere, All the Time at The Cynical Musician

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Free Programs I've Come to Learn That I Can't Live Without

I find myself the owner of a new computer. My old one, which wasn't even mine to begin with, finally crashed for good. Or to be more specific, I grew tired of fixing it after the most recent crash, an event that was becoming more and more common. I shouldn't complain, though; that computer lasted a good eight years, four albums or so, on top of being given to me at no cost.

Anyway, since a reinstall of all my preferred programs is fresh on my mind, I think I'll go ahead and list the ones that are essential to me, both for the sake of my own weakening memory and just in case this info might be of some use to someone else out there on a lonely pursuit of music-making and whatnot. These are all Windows-based--but many have Mac builds--and free. And of course you can donate to the authors if you find them useful enough:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Judging a Book by Its Cover

The woman with whom Gen. Petraeus had an affair was also his biographer. The name of the book? All In ... yep... all the way up to the nuts, apparently.

Jerry Sandusky had his own life story published years ago. It's title? Touched: the Jerry Sandusky Story.

You can't make this shit up.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Not Like a Phoenix, But Still Rising from Ashes

Apologies to my handful of reader(s?) for the long lapse in posts. I recently moved to a new neighborhood in NYC, which coincided oh-so-conveniently with my battered old laptop crashing for the last time. Presently, I have moved from the East Village to Crown Heights, and I now have a new computer.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Resurrection Men

"Grave robbing was not a criminal offense. Stealing a pig or a goose was punishable by death, but in the eyes of the law a body was not property and therefore couldn't be stolen. The body-snatchers were careful to leave the shroud and clothes behind in the coffin because they were property."

                                                                    -- Smoking Ears & Screaming Teeth
                                                                          by Trevor Norton, p8

This is a true account of the medical trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. Bodies were needed in order for surgeons to learn their craft. This got exactly as ugly as you can imagine. It led to no less than outright murder in order to obtain another cadaver.

There are accounts of criminals being hanged while surrounded by surgeons and those who supplied bodies to surgeons, and they would fight, tug-of-war style, over the fresh corpses. In one instance, the jostling over the the body was rough enough to actually resuscitate the condemned!

Some people were 'specialists' in retrieving corpses from fresh graves. Sometimes they were able to retrieve the bodies before the funeral, which in reality was being held around a casket full of stones. These experts in corpse acquisition were known as "Resurrection Men."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Text Buffering

Like everybody else, I have rules and 'buffers' for sending text messages. You know what I mean, you receive a text and you don't respond right away for no particular reason other than to appear 'cool' or something.

Say you've just met someone and the two of you are planning a date. Of course you don't respond to a message right away, or else you'll seem too eager or desperate, or both. Not only that, you have to decide how long to wait before texting once you've gotten their number. Things get even more complicated when you've 'met' someone through an online dating site like OK Cupid because the other person can see when you log in and can assume when you've received their message, and thus their number.

I can understand the dating head games. Those are nothing new. The movie Swingers summed up the rules for calling girls in the '90s (three days, for those interested), and I'm sure there have been unwritten rules ever since the introduction of the telephone. Hell, I'll wager a cool hundred that even in the days of telegrams there were rules about how quickly to respond to 'callers' both gentleman and lady. Surely there must be some yellowing  pamphlet with rules for courtship by telegraphy out there somewhere?

It's not just dating, though. I buffer everyone. Everyone. Everyone else seems to do it, too. I have one friend who is epically terrible at texting, who literally takes days to respond to the simplest queries. And of course, like an idiot, I always wait days to respond back. All of this is for no reason whatsoever; maybe the two of us are trying to seem cool to each other? As if we're too busy to, basically, acknowledge someone else's -- a friend's! -- attempt to get our attention. Objectively, though, we're morons. I know exactly what both of us are doing: mostly nothing (I can see your Facebook posts, you dunce!).

In fact, I'm betting that's the impetus behind most text buffering. We have all this technology to make our lives simple, so that we have more free time, and these gadgets are supposedly so amazing for communication, yet in reality we mostly use them to pretend at being too busy for communication.

This leads to another bane of my existence: neverending text conversations. I can't stand this, it's my main gripe about texting. I feel like I'm constantly involved in at least three conversations that never, ever end. If a person takes days to respond, then we've destroyed the general rule for knowing when an interaction is "over": when no one is talking, the convo has ended. Not so with texts! I mean, obviously you can't say "goodbye" because neither of you are present someplace where you can leave. Even chat rooms are more natural than texts. It also has the effect of making everybody seem like autistic children who can't read body language. For instance, if I type "Ha!" and nothing else in response to something, I feel like I'm making it clear that I'm through with my half of this transaction. In the real world, everyone picks up on this cue. If I laugh at something someone says, that person almost never expects me to say anything else.

Le sigh. On and on it goes. Welcome to the future, where a conversation that should take no more than two minutes on the phone is now stretched out over days because we have so little to do with ourselves and don't want anyone to know. Nothing gets done efficiently. It's like waiting for a god damn carrier pigeon.

Me: What was the name of that band you told me to check out?

Three days pass...

"Friend": Goodbye Bikini Island.

Three days...

Me: What the hell are we talking about?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I once read an article that was titled something like "Advice for DIY Musicians for Brand Building" or some other bullshit like that. Anyway, I swear one of the pieces of advice was:

7. Have a unique style in your fashion choices.
 Yeah, thanks a lot asshole!

Here's one I'll add to "DIY Music Brand Building for Dummies":

11. Always remember to plug in those amplifiers, kids! lololol You're all great.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

You know how when you're reading a book your mind will sometimes wander? Only realizing after a few paragraphs that your eyes have just been going over the words while you've been thinking about something else. Everyone has done this, I'm sure.

Today, it happened to me but with a strange twist. In the middle of the page I realized it was happening, but still I let my mind wander. Then after a second, I went back to the top of the page because I thought I had read something I wanted to get. Something I wanted to remember. After I couldn't find it on the page, I realized it had been something I was thinking that I wanted to remember. A thought, as my internal dialogue meandered, I wanted to come back to.

It wasn't a brief confusion. I was wholly convinced that I read what turned out to be something I was thinking. I really searched for it. In my mind I saw the words written in the same font as the book. I read the damn page three times. The words were not there.

This was a first. I had mixed up my mind and my media. 

Maybe when my mind flits off while I'm reading my eyes are on autopilot, but since my thoughts aren't about the book, my eyes can't possibly be processing the words on the page. Besides, my mind is what processes stuff, the eyes only receive light. So in effect, I think my eyes were reading my thoughts. I'm guessing if a person's eyes are continuing along the page while his mind is elsewhere, they are still performing the muscular task of reading. What are they "reading?" Only the mind can process letters, know where to jump between words, notice where the page ends in order to tell the eyes when to go down and to the left (for those of us who read in the Western fashion), and realize that neither your eyes nor your mind have been paying any attention to this book.

Maybe it just happened to you reading this record of my wandering thoughts.

Perhaps it's all just a muscular habit. Your eyes keep doing what they do, no matter what your mind is up to. Put a book in front of them, they go into "read activation mode!" It could be that we aren't as in control of our actions as we intuitively feel we are. Although it's hard to believe something as complex and recently developed as reading comprehension could be much like an animal instinct. It wouldn't explain why I was convinced I had read something that in reality I had only thought.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

At the Drive-In Hoopla

The musical internet is abuzz with reunion news this week. The brightest blinking light on my radar is the news that At the Drive-In will be reuniting. There's no shortage of enthusiasm and snark (naturally) spread across the blogs, but my personal favorite anonymous snarky internet comment so far is:

"This reunion marks the first thing ATDI have done that Fugazi didn't already do."

ZING! That came from a comment on some hip music blog, probably Stereogum or BrooklynVegan. Wherever it came from, and whoever typed it, it elicited a hearty laugh from myself.

Personally, I'm a big fan of ATDI. I'm not sure if I'll bother with checking them out on the reunion tour, since I saw them back in the day for far less than the hundreds of dollars the reunion tickets will inevitably cost me. However, I'm sure they'll put on an intense show, though I'm not sure how it will translate to the larger stages they'll be playing this time around.

Now, if somehow the musical gods bless me with a Fugazi reunion, I will definitely try to attend that.