Monday, March 30, 2009

Skittle Pool and Other Really Important Things

I had Skittle Pool, but I don't recall this commercial.

You'll have to do some mental time shifting when you watch this one, because of the shitty way so many YouTube videos get their audio so out of sync with the video. But it's worth it in the last portion of the Uniroyal commercial featuring 2 priests. Such unfortunate lines they gave them, but so hilarious. And they're sitting so close to each other, then the younger one gives that look. Were Uni, Roy, and Al actual stunt drivers? They sure didn't speak like actors.

Here's a rare gem. It's video shot during the making of a McDonald's commercial in 1973. Howard Morris was the director. Yes, Ernest T. Bass. Hear him actually sound cranky and say "sit down and shut up, please." Wow, Captain Crook—forgot about him. How could I? That's one creepy damn face with those fake eyes.

Do they still wear those far out hats at Burger King? I don't know because I hate their food and their whole image. If not, they should. Go back to that image and drop the stupid plastic king head.

Yeah, I'm just sittin' here waiting for Creator to build on my G5. Takes quite a while on that "old" dual–core PowerPC. Also waiting for Kim to get home. She had to go to goddamn Walmart in AK. Her return trip got routed to Dallas. Um, that's the wrong direction, airplane people.

This Can't be Good

Let's see, who should be cast as one of the troublesome but lovable kids in an episode of CHiPs involving a story about skateboarding? Someone with at least a chance of being cool, right? Bzzzt. Sorry, it's Cousin Oliver. Add in an overacting flamer at about 31:45 and you get the ultimate in late '70s cornball schmaltz.

Computers Are Hard!!

Again with the idiots. There's some insurance form everyone has to fill out for our company. It's on our internal web site. It's a pdf. It's a scan somebody made from a hard copy. It's crooked. Not to be confused the previous crooked scanned form I had to fill out. Holy fuck.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

GarARGH Band

So I finally found where you turn on a Real Instrument's monitor. First, Show Track Info to get the the side panel where you edit the effects and shit. Now click the Browse tab, not the Edit tab. What the hell is it doing there? Maybe it helps if you never edit your sounds, but if you do, would you think of going back to a place named Browse in order to change something that affects the instrument? I didn't. Now if they'd just make it so you can add Real Instruments fx to new Guitar instruments. I'd like to be able to use some of the more high tech filters on Guitar tracks, like the parametric EQ or even a compressor (not a stomp box type compressor).

So I got vocals recorded today; lead, 1 harmony on the verses and bridges, and 4–part harmony "ah"s in the guitar solo section (although some of them sound more like "ooo"s). That's the first time I can remember ever singing anything but the harmonies on that song. Weird. Also replaced a couple drum parts that weren't up to snuff.

Oh, I also noticed that when I came back from eating supper and turned the power strip back on that powers the stereo and USB audio interface, the USB LED kept blinking on it and I couldn't get a signal from it to the computer. I quit Garage Band, powered the interface off and on, then launched GB again. It then worked. I guess software doesn't like to lose its hardware devices and then can't get them back when they're turned on again.

Holy crap, I can't imagine how much shit we would've recorded back in the day if we had this digital cut & paste on a computer stuff. Our technology then was bouncing back and forth between 2 stereo tape decks. Maybe a 4–track if we knew somebody that had one or rented one for a few days. Even with the 4–track, it was pretty hard to punch in in the middle of the song. To think of how many complete takes we had to do just because there was a little problem somewhere in the song. Who knows, maybe The Papergirl From Hell would've had a 17–minute middle section with strings and French horns and 6 different time signatures. But it wouldn't have been nearly as funny, not the end product nor the dozens and dozens of takes it took to get through it all without laughing. It also would've stayed in pitch, rather than getting a little lower every time we swapped the tapes between decks.

Garage Band

I fired up Garage Band and tried recording Make Me Sad again, an original we wrote in Spare Change around 1984-5. Mainly because I wanted to try new features in the '09 version and because the song is fairly simple for my poor guitar skills. The new Arrangement track at the top is where you can specify verse 1, chorus 2, etc—finally! And you can drag each region around to reorder the song, and it will move that section of every track to the new location. Pretty slick.

But I have to say that they made it really hard to turn on the Monitor for Guitar tracks and it's now impossible to turn it on for some if not all Real Instrument tracks. I managed to get it turned on for the guitar and bass tracks, but could not find it anywhere for the drum track, even if I picked other types of instrument settings, like vocal or basic. That's fucking stupid. How else can I hear the drums other than monitoring them externally? With Apple, it's usually 3 steps forward, 1 clumsy step back into a pit filled with burning crocodiles holding swords.

Got the basic tracks done, including the little guitar lick, but I don't think I'll be able to do Nick's solo that he horked and reworked from Talk to Ya Later. I could probably pick out the notes, but there's no way I can play cleanly enough to execute it. I might start adding vocal tracks tomorrow. I almost forgot that later on we added some ah's over the solo section. I don't have a recording of that version. Anybody remember if we put that on the demo version or just started doing it live?

Had band practice again today. Andy sure is a hoot to play with. But he's having trouble with his Firebird—it keeps going out of tune. It even goes sharp sometimes. If it had a bolt–on neck I'd say maybe it was loose and was going from side to side, but it's a neck–through–body. Maybe the bridge is moving around.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Method Acting Typing Method

First reader comment: "Slow news day?" The item: Cinema's Most Dramatic Typing Scenes. Brilliant!

Speaking of typing in movies, I turned the TV on the other day and Hackers was on. Good gravy that's bad. I was getting nauseous after only a few seconds and seriously wanted to smack almost everyone in the movie. Matthew Lillard makes me sick, as does that faggy latin guy. They're just so gross. Luckily, it didn't have enough time to cause brain damage and I was able to turn the channel. Take the Watch Hackers and Not Turn into Moldy Jell–o Challenge! I dare you.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Some days I'd rather be sitting in the sun watching girls in bikinis and taking apart a lawn mower. Our new upper management at work are being royal dumb fucks, constantly asking for updates and estimates on how long work is going to take. We've told them 317 times that we don't know and can only give really rough estimates. Shut the fuck up already!!! Then our manager directly above us sounded surprised when I said that there could be a few months worth of work left to do after we get the first alpha build to Testing, even though we told him this same exact thing many times before. Jesus titty fucking christ. Leave us alone and we'll get the work done. It's as simple as that. Really.

And my fucking DOS box has been running about as fast as a dead Microsoft engineer's body can decompose (which is really slow with all that tofu and Diet Coke in there). It's been over 30 minutes since I hit Build, and only 1 source file needed to be compiled. The rest of the time has been spent creating some stupid browse info file. Yup, that makes testing and debugging on Windows a total joy. Praise the lord. Corn bread for the chillun. Lucky for me, Windoze usage isn't something I have to do very often.

Gladly, there are funny things on TV. We TiVo'd Better Off Ted and watched that last night. Funny as shit. Portia DeRossi as a cold–hearted bitch, but isn't afraid of trying to be human once a day or so. It's very smart humor, like Arrested Development. Go read the quotes. The Office was great, as always. My Name Is Earl was also fantastic, mainly because this episode didn't focus on Earl. I found it harder to like his character after finding out Jason Lee is a prick.

Update: I decided to see if my DOS box's drive needed to be defragged. We OS X users forget that shitty OSs don't do that for you. Yeah, 3000 fragments for some big ass file is probably a bit much. So there goes more productivity while I wait for the defragger to run.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Corkscrew

Google street view on the Laguna Seca Raceway? Fuckin' A! Fuckin' B! It doesn't go all the way around the track, but there are sections, including the approach to The Corkscrew seen in that link.

Long Johns?

Does anyone remember Long Johns cigarettes? I sure don't. They're brown and 120s, the same as Saratogas, the ladies' cigarette, but Saratogas were much thinner than normal. I see guys smoking brown cigarettes once in a while in movies of that era, but they always look like Saratogas.

Found in the October 1975 issue of Playboy online. I loved the cartoons in Playboy during the '70s. This one would surely have today's humorless dumb bastards screaming bloody murder.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Meal for Ernest T. Bass

Wanna read the best damn possum story you'll read all week? Really, the guy gets points for his creative story telling skills.

Golfbit? Rabolf?

What the fuck is wrong with VW? Rabbit is a much better name than Golf.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Big Big Speakers

This Japanese guy collects vintage speakers and audio equipment. Not just any old speakers, but mostly huge horns meant for large rooms or outdoors. It's an amazing collection. The kind of stuff that I'd be happy just smelling, cuz you know it's gotta have that old electronics smell, like dried varnish and dusty fabric–insulated wires.

Corpus Clock

Whoa! This is one far out clock. I like the combination of the shiny metals, creepy yet nicely designed grasshopper/monster thing, and blue LEDs. Nothing says modern like blue LEDs. But then other colors might not stand out as well against the brass or gold metal. Watch to the end where he demonstrates how the gearing works. That seems like an amazing feat of smarts.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Does Super Cuts Do This?

Um… hmm. Another sign that society has gone down the crapper. And speaking of crappers, item 4 says it all. The flowers really don't help.


I know what I'm going to be doing for the next 50 years; converting the basement into this. Actually, it wouldn't fit in our basement. Nice attention to detail there, like the camera flashes going off in the stadium crowd (stadiums are always full of idiots shooting with their flash turned on—each one is like a beacon that points to the dumb part of their brain). The fire–eater is pretty cool too. I also liked that the boats are really in water. Usually models like this use glycerine or plastic to simulate water, and boats just slide over the top of it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Baby, It's You—The Beatles' version—is a song that our band had been doing since before Kim joined. Then we switched to the version by Smith. (Not to be confused by the gay band The Smiths.) I'd never heard of them or this version before, but it's kinda funky and maybe even bluesy. I thought they were a black band, like some Motown crap. Then I saw a picture and was surprised to see they're all white.

So a few days ago when I was talking about Vox guitars, I went downstairs to see if I had this one record that had a groovy cover of some Vox guitars painted like the union jack. I can't remember the name of the band or where I got it. I didn't find it, but I did find one titled Sounds of the Woodstock Era by The Tribes, on the Pickwick label. This is a sound–alike band covering over bands' songs, like a K–tel record. I don't know why, but I pulled the album out and noticed it had 4 records in it. One of them was the Smith album that had that song. Consider my mind blown. I've been hauling that record around for the past 30 years.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


The band practiced today. Started at 4, had a short pizza break, then went until almost 9:30. That's longer than a gig! And Emily has left for a vacation, so I did all the singing so we wouldn't get lost. Most of it was mumbling the melody or scatting gibberish, but it got the point across. So I'm fried. Never let me sing blues. Andy continues to amaze and inspire. We keep picking up on each other's fills and stuff. He noticed the 3 off–beat chokes I always do after the bridge in I Saw Her Standing There. But nobody can choke a Wuhan like Brent. Listen to Authority Song from a Coggon gig on the CD I sent a while back.

I was playing with the new guitar modeling in Garage Band today. You can pick the type of amp, adjust all its knobs, then add stomp boxes and twist their knobs. To my ear, it all sounds pretty good. But it took forever to find the place where you turn on monitoring for guitars. It's always been right there out in the open for "real instruments", but some dumbass decided to hide it away in the Edit area of the amplifier for guitars.

At one point I had the chorus cranked up pretty high and was playing an open E chord, then slid my fingers 2 frets up, holding the same shape. I was suddenly playing a Rush song. Weird. It's the slow strum & picked part of Xanadu that starts at 4:40.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Much Better Than Nickelback

Need a break? Need to see a big hairy guy named Big Mouth and a pretty blonde from the Netherlands sing their kooky pop hit from the early '70s? Then you need to watch these Mouth & MacNeal videos. If you don't watch enough of the video to see Mouth sing with the mic stuck in his mouth, you're only depriving yourself of quality entertainment. The people over at PCL LinkDump sure do a great job of finding the weird European stuff.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Little 19-1862 TP† Riding Hood

Watch this amazing retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

† A nice dark red from the Pantone Textile swatch book. I'm such a geek.

Loot & Pillage for Jesus

Loot! Pillage! Loot! Pillage! (1 or 2 of you will get that.) So any way, here's an overweight double amputee pirate who—along with his friend Uncle Sam and some ventriloquist dummies—had a cable show to brainwash kids into being christians and recorded an album of christian pirate songs and stories. You can't make this shit up. You must watch the video. Jesus demands it. And yeah, you can also download the album. I'm sure it'll be good for a laugh or two, if only for the hi–res album cover scan.

Marrs Attacks Are Go!

First practice with our newest new guitarist, Andy last night. He sure brings a lot of energy to the band. Always kinda boppin' around and hollering when I do a busy fill. Let's hope this one's a keeper. I was looking at his Firebird during some song and suddenly realized it had no tuning keys! Ah, they're on the back of the headstock. He said the original used banjo tuners, maybe because the headstock looked like a Strat headstock and Fender was going to sue, so they flipped it over, which landed the tuning keys on the wrong side.

I had Kim pick me up a set of black Schaller strap locks tonight at her lesson.

Ooo, this Phantom Teardrop 12–string is gorgeous. The weird Voxes were always my favorites. I'd love to hear one of those Vox guitar organs.

Oh, and the new Marrs Attacks site is mostly up and running.

Dryer Repair

Yup, it was the controller that got fried when the power went off or on. Since it took an hour or so to get power back, I'd assume it was a transformer or line that was down, possibly due to a squirrel or car crash, and it sent a spike down the line before it blew the transformer or line fuse. So I did the research and found a Maytag repair place in Hopkins that had the part in stock. I zipped over there yesterday and picked it up. $182.79, non–returnable. Gladly, that was the problem.

I keep a multi–tip screwdriver in a kitchen drawer. I'm guessing I got it for xmas from Kim's mom. But it's really handy to have around for projects like that, rather than going all the way to the shop. I also love it when manufacturers use 1/4" hex screws and I have a screwdriver like that with a replaceable tip, because you just pop out the tip and there's your 1/4" nut driver. That Stanley also has a 5/16" in the handle. And see, even their web site says it's ideal for the kitchen drawer.

Bad Influence

Leo must've been on a road trip to L.A. in The Bad Influence. Or was the silver one the original Bad Influence, so this would be The Bad Influence II?

Fire Good

If they still put lighter fluid in packages like this, I'd be much more apt to cook with charcoal than gas. (Yeah, it's stove fuel, not starter fluid, but you know what I mean.) Just look at the coolness of that illustration. Dad is really excited to cook his fish with a can of fuel that has an illustration of him cooking his fish with a can of fuel that has an illu… Whoa. That's deep. And Junior is all keyed up over seeing a bear in a park ranger uniform. The bear? Well he's just waiting around for the fish to cook.

Bum ba-dum bum buuuummm

Jack Webb sure had a weird sense of what was kooky. So many characters on Dragnet had quirks that made them unique. But these quirks were rarely played with any sense of subtlety. This episode has a perfect example of that; the guy with the flip–up glasses whose scene starts just after 10 minutes in. The actor is one of their regular actors; appeared in 7 episodes. This episode featured a lot of their regular bit part actors—I think I counted 6 of them.

Also featured is the blatant overacting played to the camera, not to the other people in the scene. Like right at the front is Gannon showing the trick card to Friday over and over and over and over. But Friday can't see it from where he's sitting. Lots of that went on in Dragnet, as did the pointing. I love the pointing. In the Dan Aykroyd/Tom Hanks movie version, they pay homage to the pointing at least once that I can recall. I'd bet that Aykroyd picked up on that. He's into those quirky details like that. But it's the quirks and kookiness and overacting that I love about the show.

And dig the computer system the little chubby guy (another regular) shows to Friday & Gannon. That's the quietest "high speed" printer I've ever heard, especially with the cover open like that. If it's anything like the big ass IBM printer I used at Seabury & Smith, it should sound more like about 100 nail guns going off.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Half Lincoln. Half tank. All badass. It can be yours.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Power Outage

Our power went out for an hour or so tonight. Right in the middle of watching Cannonball! (not to be confused with The Cannonball Run) on the DVR! After they restored power we were going around the house setting clocks, powering up computers, and powering down things like the washer and dryer, only the dryer wouldn't turn off and it's showing 8.8. on the display. A quick google shows some discussions about it and some possible fixes. I'll leave it unplugged overnight and see if that does it. If not, I get to open 'er up and run some diagnostics. Hopefully it ain't a fried board.

Turns out our internet was also out after power was restored, but of course I spent 20 minutes restarting the cable modem and routers and AirPorts and rerouting cables to bypass components and all that shit before I called them and found out it was their end. Arg.


Now that I think about it, yes, I would rather plow snow from the comfort of my house. And those days when the temp is in the 90s and the humidity is nearing seventeen–thousand percent, I'd just as soon not go out there and mow the lawn. That's where this remote controlled lawn mower comes into play, cuz you can also put a snow blade on it. Add a really long robot arm and it could even wash a car. Or suction cups for scaling walls and washing windows. And lasers! A flamethrower! Minigun!


Madonna hasn't been significant since she released her book Sex. She makes herself such an easy target, what with all the goofy religion and politics. Really, who is more fun to make fun of than Madonna? (Well, if Tom Cruise never existed.) And if that wasn't bad enough, her poor little daughter is well on her way to being the hairiest woman ever. More photos of her here. Too bad for her, but man, it's funny; she could play Frida without a makeup crew. And with that ’stache, she might even get the lead in a biography about Tom Selleck. Bwuahaha! I crack myself up sometimes.

Flattop Beehive

Remember those poor horrified kids from a couple weeks back? We can now see that they looked so terrified not because their parents were being raped before their eyes, but simply because they could see their parents.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It's Time to Rearrange

So here's the basement all paneled. I spent the day moving crap around. Brought the old desk down. It replaced a small desk, a table, and a stereo cabinet, plus having all the storage space in the hutch is nice. Being the do–stuff–myself kinda guy I am, I flipped the hutch onto its top, strapped some rugs under it, and slid it down the basement stairs. The desktop wasn't going to be that easy, so I borrowed neighbor Rob. The legs and cupboard part easily come off. Then we dug through my posters to find stuff to hang. I'd forgotten about a lot of them, since they haven't seen daylight since the early '90s. I knew I had a B&W photo version with colored helmet and gas tank of Peter Fonda on Captain America from Easy Rider, but I forgot all about the blacklight version. Then there's the Kiss poster that came with the Unmasked record. And a ceramic Black Diemond I made in art class. And the enlargement of my senior picture the photographer had in his window for a few years. And my snare head that Steve Smith autographed and the autographed photo of Terry Bozzio. Oh, and the Elvira beer sign from The Blue Chip in Monticello, IA.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Auditions Round 3

We started early today; noon. Ack. That's too early to rock. The first guy was kind of a hippy with stringy hair. Really cool purple American Strat HSS of some type with pearl pick guard. His amp was a black Mesa Boogie Lone Star Special (or maybe the higher powered regular one) with selectable wattages. Another very good, technical player that knew lots of tunes and could easily wing it. Then he opened his mouth. He didn't talk about how he'd like to join our band or stuff like that, but mainly told us things we should do to improve our band and that we don't play often enough, so he'd have to stay with his current band also. His wife—who came along and read a magazine—was also… well, she'd fit in perfectly at the Deadwood or at some Iowa City art show, most likely spouting off against Bush with tofu on her breath. I could just imagine the arguments I'd get into with him and/or her if he joined our band. That certainly is the impression I got from the couple.

Guy #2 was also pretty good. A bit of a rusher, although that could've been nerves. But not real rock & roll looking. Another Strat HSS and an overly complicated big ass 2x12" Line 6 amp. Sang some backup, but some of it was singing in unison with Emily. Uhhh…

We all liked Jamie Hyneman Andy Armstrong best, and he happily accepted the offer to join.

No Eating in Heaven

The breakfast food song as related by southern baptist weirdos. I love bacon, so I'm trying my best to get into good ol' hell, where they serve up a smörgåsbord of breakfast foods.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Compare Mics

Although it's not really that helpful without being able to A/B them at will, this site lets you hear tons of different mics on instruments or voices they could be used with. Like a sensitive ribbon might only have samples for voice and acoustic guitar, but an SM57 will have drum and guitar samples too. I supposed you could download each sample you're interested in for quicker switching back and forth. Even so, it's pretty hard to really tell a lot without knowing what the rooms and instruments sound like in real life. But it's an interesting thing to do on a web site.

Mopeds and Nopeds

Our town had a gang of moped riders that terrorized the streets. The ride of choice was usually the Honda Express. Even Chris Lillig had an orange one like this.

I think Pat Cady later got an Express II, which had a gay looking seat and was baby powder blue. Yeah, it was really manly.

Then there was Terry Dickenson with his grasshopper green Puch; pronounced "puke", naturally.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nine Seventeen

Jalopnik has a nice little happy–birthday article about the Porsche 917, which pretty much kicked the collective ass of everything on the planet. The later turbocharged version produced elevon–hundred horsepower. It's one of those cars that a boy (or a man my age) dreams they could just buy and drive on the road, flipping birds to all the candy–ass pussy boys in Mustangs and rice burners that explode as you scream by them. The other dream car is the Ford GT40, of which they eventually did sell a modern street–legal version called the Ford GT.

Auditions Round 2

2 more last night. The first was very promising. Had a gorgeous Schecter and a Traynor amp kinda like this one (I didn't know they were still around or that they even made guitar amps—I just thought they made crappy old mixers). When he was tuning up I brought up the fact that the husband of a friend of Emily suggested we learn Limelight. The guitarist clicks off his tuner and breaks right into the opening riff. I was one happy camper at the thought of finding another guy that could play Rush. He was very technical and used a variety of playing techniques. But his sound just sucked. He was using some smallish digital all–in–one stomp box, and I'm guessing he was using it to generate distortion instead of his amp. Some of his distorted sounds were like you EQ'd the guitar with a very deep V shape, distorted the hell out of that with a tiny transistor, then EQ'd it the same way again. Really nice guy. Seemed stable (runs an electrical engineering company).

The second guy was very personable and friendly right from the start. Big bushy mustache (think Jamie from Mythbusters), even a shaved head. Work boots, big fuzzy bombardier hat (it was around 0° last night), drives a truck at night hauling scrap metal. His axe is a Firebird (that page was broken when I looked). Had a solid state Fender amp. Not sure why he was using that, and he said he missed a tube amp. He was at the gig on Saturday to check us out. He came up after the first set, introduced himself, and complimented all my "crazy fills". When he was playing with us last night, I did some fill and he was hollering "yeah!". He just gets really into the music and you can tell that he's loving it. He had a nice sound and played really well. Nothing extremely EVHish, but a little more Billy Gibbonsish. Oh, and he also picked up a song on the spot that he'd never played before. Not just the chords and stuff, but the leads. Very Nickish that way.

I think we're all leaning toward the last guy. A few more to go. We never thought we'd get this many really good guitarists looking for this level band. Being that we only want to play once a month or so, we thought we'd only get dabblers who couldn't play all that well. But 3 of the 4 we've heard so far could play with nearly any band out there. Amazing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Auditions Round 1

We had 2 over last night. The first guy is really good and likes our band and music. He plays a right–handed guitar left–handed, low E on the bottom. Mostly finger picks, a la Mark Knopfler. He easily played along with songs he's never played or even heard, such as the Kaiser Chief's version of Heard It Through the Grapevine we do. He can also play keys.

The second guy was quite a bit older and looked like he has mobility problems, like the way he was very slow and careful going down the stairs. That means he wouldn't be very helpful hauling equipment. He also didn't play very well and had a biting sound, which really reminded me of Jack. Don't want that again!

2 more coming tonight, then 2 or 3 on Saturday. This is weird.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It Sounds Like That?

How many times have we heard the 2 words "hello walls" in our life? Every old time country album compilation put together by K–tel and others usually starts their commercial with a voiceover and then about 2 seconds of Hello Walls. But in all my life I've never heard the rest of the song, which features a group of singers repeating "hello… hello…". They sound like ditzy blondes and/or Stepford wives. It's even spookier with that goofy video performance. Check out the white Fender amp. Those are cool.

Oh, and I never said I liked the song.

The Blinding Light Show

Wow, I just pulled that song title out of thin air. It's an old Triumph song (they picked the least exciting section of that song for the 30–second sample). The only place I've ever heard it was on the Maxell Rock sampler album. Maxell sold these samplers back in the late '70s and then a 2nd series in the '80s. There was Rock, Jazz, and 2 other genres I think. I need to digitize that song. Or buy it from iTunes. Duh. That album also has Hall & Oates' August Day, which is one of the best musical depictions of a Summer day I've ever known. The chorused Yamaha electric piano sounds like heat rising off the road in the distance. The long, slow fade–in at the beginning evokes katydids (the northern variety that make one long note, rather than the repeating weee-a-weee-a-weee that the ones in Iowa made—do they still do that?), and the end sounds like crickets. The song could be an entire day and into the evening spent hangin' around the Taylor's front porch.

Anyhoo, getting back to my original point, the new lights are fan–fucking–tastic. Gone are the days of sunlamps on your head. Denny had fun running them. We also had another guy there to kinda preview a gig, because he'll be running sound for us at a May gig that Denny can't make. So they were both playing with the light board. It took them until the 3rd set to find the Full Flash button, which I noticed "get no"s in Satisfaction. That made me laugh. There was also about 20 seconds of total black at one point when they must've pushed something they weren't supposed to push. That made me laugh too.

So yeah, get some of these if you need new or more lights in your band. You can go all automatic if you want, letting each light run through its own preset programs, or even changing to the music with the built–mic. Depending on the light, they can also act as master and slave, so one could be the one choosing the program and changing to the music, and the rest just follow what it does, rather than all of them changing at their own speed or audio sensitivity.

The little par 38 size aluminum cans we have on the floor in front of my drums worked great for that, but might be too small to throw light from a tree to the band. They're $119. The ones we put on the trees are around $270 each. They're a lot smaller than a par 56 or 64, but just as bright as the older generation 56 sized LEDs. There are more choices all the time in this technology and at all price points, so go get some!

It was a great gig. Sadly we forgot to set up the video camera, so no footage of the lights in action or of our 2nd and last show with Craig. We begin auditions tonight for a new lead player.

Mac Prooooooo!

I had a feeling a new Mac Pro was about to drop. I keep having flashes of jealousy over Greg's 1st gen octacore compiling 8 files at a time. And as my hard drive slowly fills over time (down to 10% free), I wish I had a RAID in mine to help keep up with the CPU. I'm noticing more and more periods of waiting for one or more apps to access the drive. It must be getting pretty fragged by now, even with the modern frag–prevention file system. But goddamn, the price sure goes up quickly as you increase the CPU speed. WTF? I recall that faster CPUs have passed more stringent quality checks, but does it really cost such a premium for that?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Works Like Magic—Guaranteed!

I downloaded these scans† of an old comic called Panic, from the same weirdos who brought us Mad. The following ad was on the inside back cover of issue #1. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to figure out that the poor little suckers who bought these "walkie talkies" actually received 2 fancy paper cups connected with a string ("the conductor line").

† Note that each of the 3 .zips contain 4 files with extensions .cbr and .cbz. I looked them up and found they're just renamed .rar and .zip files, archived comic books. There must be some goofy apps out there decompress and display each image page by page. I just corrected the extensions and let OS X and StuffIt Expander do their jobs.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


This could almost be a scene in an episode of Dragnet. At least watch until you see the "face" on the hot dog. And then until she murders it.

Light Works

Since I have John's HD video camera here, I took some footage of the lights a–runnin' and puked it up onto YouTube, just so y'all can see them run. It should get posted later after they process it. Maybe I should've set the camera on manual exposure so it wouldn't jump around so much. I did try iMovie's new image stabilization. It freaked out when I was shooting the board and had the fade time set to instant—the image jumped back and forth. Guess it ain't perfect.

The Ice Man Layeth

He doesn't do much. But then he's 5300 years old. The 3D images are incredible, but you need a pair of red/blue glasses. I just happen to have some I keep around for such an occasion. I found myself moving my head around, like to see what was in his mouth.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Goddamn Printers

Always coming to life and spitting ink on the walls. Although none of mine have ever made that one cool sound that sounds like an airhorn at a basketball game. Maybe I just never got the right kind of paper jams. I wonder if my ImageWriter II is still around here somewhere. That could provide some good samples.

Mistabishi - Printer Jam from Hospital Records on Vimeo.

Thanks, Greg

Thanks for wasting over 8 minutes of my life by making me watch this Asian guy play Super Mario Land. I really could not stop after only 30 seconds or 2 minutes. I couldn't tear myself away and risk missing some new weird sound the guy might make.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bill Gates, How Could You Do This to Rush?

Alex Trebek Is Hip

One day I suddenly flashed on a game show from the '70s where the contestants rolled big dice down a table. Later that day the name "High Rollers" fell out of my brain. Was that it? Yup, sure was. However, I didn't remember that Alex Trebek was the MC or that he was such a crazy–talkin', happenin' hipster. Just listen to him speak and then think of the cold, arrogant tone he's since gained on Jeopardy.

Resolution Counts

I'd say that 300dpi is the minimum resolution you'd want to use for your own handwriting images. An 800pt view of the # it generated for me reveals way too many sharp corners. One would hope that an image with more data—say 1200dpi—would make much better font outlines. Or maybe it's just a limitation they've imposed to keep the server that traces the images and generates the fonts fast and free.

Click for bigization.

Street Drags on Adam–12

Here's a neat way to kill 25 minutes and see some far out cars. This episode of Adam–12 has Reed and Malloy trying to get the kids off the street and onto a local track. It's the famous Lion's Drag Strip that was in Long Beach, so this is a fantastic look at drag racing history and how it got started. That's also where they filmed the Hot Rod Herman episode of The Munsters. Organized drag racing had been going on for a while, but it was still very much a hobbyist sport at the time, rather than a boring sponsored–to–hell factory–controlled show. The cars were still real. There's primer everywhere on these babies. Check out the red 'Vette with no hood or windshield. Dig the black cat behind the front wheel on Officer Reed's '54 Ford. (I think I'll cop it and put it up in the header with the Eveready cat. It's not nearly messy enough up there.) And the American flag peace sign sticker on Gary Crosby's (ugh, I hate him) wing vent is cool.

This episode is just packed with stuff. That's Dick Clark as the strip owner. In shots of the tower, the big wing of a Daytona can be seen on frame left. Looks like it's gold on the bottom, black on top, and orange Daytona lettering.

And yeah, the goofball with the Keota Eagles letter jacket, sideburns, and peace sign belt buckle is pretty creepy, especially when he has that Andy Kaufman smile while sitting at the start line. What a dork. He makes me laugh.

A few interesting things about the cars are discussed here. And the black cat is explained here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Font

And here's the result of submitting my lettering to Brent also seems to use all caps in his handwriting, which allows our fonts to look more natural by using mixed case when typing. They let you put in lots of characters that are of little use to your average American (§ ¿), but didn't provide spaces for ellipsis or en– and em–dashes? Pshaw! I use those like… almost daily. I guess I should stop complaining because it's free.

I made another font from my handwriting many years ago with FontMonger. With that one, it looks like I made a more valiant effort to print each character nicely instead of scrawling them out at my normal speed. But it was old font technology and they came out way too small for the given font size.

Click to bigify.


If I was rich and had ample time to sit around and listen to music, I'd invest in an over–the–top turntable. With 2 tonearms. One that probably comes with warnings about using 2 people to lift it. That describes the Lusso, Montegiro's high–end vinyl spinner.

Now what are you doing to Daddy?!??

These poor kids have to keep witnessing their parents being raped, year after year.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It Gives "Guitar Licks" a Whole New Meaning

A guitar made from a mannequin. It's all kinds of cool, not wrong, ya stupid bastards at MusicRadar! It'd be perfect if it giggled when you finger–picked it. Here's the list where it was found.

What are you doing to Mommy?!

That's the look these little boys have on their faces. I commented that the photog was threatening to kill their puppy, then I looked again and decided that he was really going at it with their mom. Poor bastards.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Light up the Stage

I added one more preset to the light board; all on full white for set–up/tear–down. It'll be so nice to not work up a sweat during that time because of hot lights. One thing that's weird is the color of the light when r, g, and b are maxed is that it's a very cool white. One of the channels on the COLORdash pars sets it to a preset color. As you go up through the values, it goes through the spectrum. The last dozen or so values are different temperatures of white, with the lowest being the warmest. So I used that setting for the full white light. It just feels more natural when it looks like tungsten.

The last time we played, I noticed I'm getting that callus below the 2nd knuckle of my middle finger on my right hand. That went away after I moved here and wasn't playing. That huge one is still on the inside of my right thumb from hammer drilling. Whee.

We put some ads out for guitarists. Got quite a few responses from guys who sound like seasoned musicians. I'm voting "no" on the one guy who can't afford a shift key and responded to our "add". If you can't take the time to type capitalize the word "I", then to hell with ya! One guy claims to have played percussion in the Minneapolis Youth Symphony at age 9, was in Animal House, then played in S.F. metal and punk bands in the '80s. Leave no genre unturned.

The Blizzard Maker

I've seen lots of video of the huge steam–powered rotary snowblowers they use to clear train tracks in areas of heavy snow, but this is the first time I've ever seen footage of the big ass snow plows in action. So the engineer pretty much just floors it, lays on the horn, and grabs a good book. I can't imagine that there's much looking ahead that one can do to make sure you don't hit anything.