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It's a bad day for ears


Big Black - Heart Beat

The other day, I noticed the cover for my headphones was coming off. Don't know how to fix that, but Natalie said she has an idea or two.

Today as I was listening, I started noticing the right speaker wasn't working. I found this insignificant looking notch taken out of that wire, something either fell or sat on it (how, I don't know, given where it is), and so I'm going to have to cut, strip, solder, tape.

Thu, 06/28/2012 - 12:20am -                                csFlickr

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Updated Music Collection Browser


Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - The Weeping Song

I've made some much needed updates to my Music Collection Browser, and thought I'd mention it. It now does a case-insensitive sort of artist names, while ignoring leading special characters ( "'",":","(", etc), as well as throwing away leading "The"s for sorting. This was a big deal to me since it annoyed me every time I had to scroll through 50 The Whoevers to get the band I want.

I also fixed the compilations piece, so linked that back in. I just settled for big ugly links for soundtracks/compilations and individual artists at the top of whichever page is loaded. It sucks but there's really not much of a better way to go.

Now I just have to re-tag a few albums and artists to make things consistent, since some artists have both a "The" and "non-The" variant in the list, but at least now they're right next to each other.

Also, I want to vent about Gracenote. Fucking Gracenote. That is all. ... For many artists who have lots of featured guests, it appends all the "feat. whoever"s to the Artist tag. That is wrong. It should be appended, preferably in parentheses, to the song title itself. It's the only way to maintain a reasonable collection.

Of course, iTunes is stupid enough to create different artist folders based on this idiocy, so now I have 15 Bootsy Collins directories on the FS.

The goal list for this project, after 24 hours, now stands at:

  • iTunes XML files
  • Case Insensitivity for sorting
  • Throw away non-alpha/num leading characters to build the list ('Til Tuesday, :wumpscut:, (Cevin) Key, though it would break !!! if we owned any, or else it would just show up first, where 'Til Tuesday is now, which is fine)
  • Throw away leading "The"s for sorting, but only one, so as not to break The The, or Thes One
  • Better handling of compilations
  • Searching
  • Port to PHP?
  • Here's where I justify not crossing the rest of the items off my list:

    (1) I've barely bothered to look at iTunes XML files because every time I open one and try to make sense of it, I end up weeping to myself. I think what it's going to end up being is me taking my iTunes DB and munging into either sqlite3 (probably) or MySQL (unlikely), in a stripped down version of the same form that Amarok built its sqlite3 databases. I can't help but think that all the searches I run against the DB would be slow as hell if I was searching an unindexed XML file every time I do anything. So now I just need to write a perl script to parse the iTunes XML database file and puke out SQLite3 in a schema my site already handles.

    (2) I don't personally care much about searching. The point of this tool is so that when I'm in a record store or otherwise away from my computers I have quick access to an accurate copy of my CD collection, so I don't purchase dupe CDs or whatever. Or if someone asks me if I've heard of some band I can pull it up. Also, helpful links to YouTube, Wikipedia and Amazon searches for each artist. That's pretty useful really. Searching is irrelevant. The only place it would really be handy is if I send the page to someone else and they want to quickly find an artist or song, to which I say "Suck it up and scroll".

    (3) I was thinking of porting it to PHP just because I've written like, 6 lines of PHP and figured I should know it. This thing could stay Perl until Unix time rolls over and I wouldn't care at all.

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    Catholics, This Is How It's Done

    This protestant congregation is reacting in the way I always expected Catholics should have reacted when confronted with a 50 year global child sex abuse conspiracy. Or a 50 year nationwide conspiracy to steal and sell thousands of Spanish newborns. This congregation sounded on the verge of lynching their church leadership after they covered up a minister's arrest for solicitation of prostitution, and further plea deal in which he pled guilty to a lesser charge.

    I imagine this is due to them not being cowed into subservience by 1800 years of patriarchal dogma. I applaud this congregation for standing up against their church leaders and their coverup, but I still have lots of questions for members of larger churches.

    Why didn't you rise up as one and boo Cardinals and Bishops into hiding?

    According to the stats I've seen, between 4% (Church numbers) and 10% (external estimates) of priests were directly involved in the abuse of children. Add to that the hierarchy that hid this from the world and enabled these priests by moving them to other parishes, and you've got quite the conspiracy on your hands. This adds up to quite a large proportion of the church either abusing kids, or having direct knowledge of child abuse and choosing to cover it up rather than go directly to the police.

    If you have been, over the course of your lifetime, in the company of 50 priests, at least two of those priests was statistically a child molester, and several more were conspirators.

    People have said that such abuse is "in line with society at large". As unlikely as I find that argument, it ignores two huge points:

    -- If 4% of priests and 4% of society are child molesters, the difference is that no one. NO. ONE. is willing to conspire with the societal molesters rather than turn them in.

    -- I don't know anyone who lives their lives according to the teachings of "Creepy guy who touches himself at the park"

    Anyway, I'd love to hear opinions on this. I would directly ask people I know if we could candidly discuss their beliefs and how that affects their feelings about all this, but I'm pretty sure it would cost me friends and family.

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    Parental musical advice


    I'm pretty much unqualified to give anyone advice on any topic, but this is the best parental advice I can give:

    Don't let people insult your kids and drive you insane with crappy childrens music.

    A friend posted that she felt bad because she may have waited too long to buy tickets to The Wiggles. As a non-child-owner, I of course had to interject with my option:

    It's OK, you can get these instead, with the benefit of it being Real Music: http://www.danzanes.com/tour

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    Vintage Drink Recipes


    Lou Reed - Dirty Boulevard

    Natalie and I have been booked for a tropical vacation for a few months. A while back I decided she should raise her tolerance for girly fruity island drinks ahead of the trip.

    Luckily we found the perfect book in an antique store to help us out. Here's How, a wood bound book with awesome illustrations from 1941. It's got like 70 pages of recipes, and I wanted to take a few photos since it might be the most fun book we own. Excuse the thumbs here, but the way the binding is hinged (like with hinges) doesn't really allow it to lay flat for photos :-)

    Fri, 04/27/2012 - 2:55pm - We found this wood-bound drink recipe book from 1941 in an antique store, and have been making lots of them.  Somehow, we still have full kidney function. csFlickr

    Fri, 04/27/2012 - 2:56pm - We found this wood-bound drink recipe book from 1941 in an antique store, and have been making lots of them.  Somehow, we still have full kidney function. csFlickr

    Fri, 04/27/2012 - 2:55pm - We found this wood-bound drink recipe book from 1941 in an antique store, and have been making lots of them.  Somehow, we still have full kidney function. csFlickr

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    Expedient Potato Clock


    Joe Buck - Muddy Waters

    Today one of our ISPs, Expedient(Warning: Opens annoying talking flash-based woman talking over your music), sent me a potato clock. I think it was to mark the 10 month anniversary of a new circuit we haven't quite been able to turn live yet (fault of another 3rd party vendor, long story) :-)

    You'll notice the sticker on top is not centered, and that made it rest on this like 1/32" lip around the right "potato cup". That was going to drive me mental, so I was able to re-center it, now my inner Monk is happy.

    Aside from that, it works great. It took me 10x as long to set the clock as it did to get it powered by potato, but it's pretty much staying right on time after 30 minutes anyway.

    This is not the first such strange vendor swag they've sent me. The last thing I can remember was an Expedient branded USB hub, that had a keyboard controller in it. The Keyboard controller was so that whenever you plugged it in, it could send "http://www.expedient.com" to your default browser and open their homepage when you attach it. It also had a button on the top that would send you to their site, which is why it needed to be a "keyboard". I can't put my hand on that thing at the moment, but if I ever do, I'll definitely update this entry. It may not have survived my move from my last cubicle.


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    Rodrigo y Gabriela, Orpheum, Boston, 4-23-2012


    The Pogues – Sea Shanty

    I'm no kind of authority on Rodrigo y Gabriela, beyond the fact that they're awesome and you should see them, I've never kicked them out of an iTunes DJ playlist, ever. I gather they started trying to play metal, didn't make money at it in Mexico, moved to Ireland and got huge with speed-acoustic music. I also know that whoever Gabriela's orthopedic surgeon is, he must drive a very, very nice car. The hammering she does on her guitar is amazing, amazingly fast and amazingly loud. I can't imagine retiring with perfect joints after 30 years of that, but it sounds awesome now, so it's not like I'm telling her to stop.

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    Bad Brains with H2O at the Paradise, Boston 4-16-2012


    Big Black – Bad Penny

    (excuses for the rambling. It's not even stream of consciousness, it's subconscious, I'm nowhere near awake enough to do a good job, we'll get through it)

    H2o opened, and I have to admit that they were a litte "after my time" for hardcore bands (1996), but I was peripherally aware of them at the time. You know, since I'm 37 and therefore I'm from back in Historical Times, when burgers cost 15 cents and I could get into a movie for a quarter. They were great, pretty much sounded like "Epitaph Band", which it turned out they were. I did recognize a couple songs and they did some good Ian MacKaye birthday tributes in covers and dropping Minor Threat phrases here and there. They had lots of local support and we were all really into it.

    It did depress me when Toby Morse did a song from the pit, and said "I'm 42, so you know, don't hurt me", and I was like "shit, you're the 'noob' from 1996, and now you're 42, I wanna hang myself". For the record, Ian MacKaye is now 50. The photos of them largely sucked, but I've got a couple for posterity.

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    An Uninspiring Summer of Music


    Sleater-Kinney - Slow Song

    Lou BarlowLou Barlow laments this summer concert season (Middle East, Cambridge)

    Have a look at a generous sampling of shows coming up this summer. We are currently only booked for 2 shows, only one of which isn't a reunion. We have Bad Brains coming up on Monday, and Rodrigo Y Gabriela some time in the next couple of weeks.

    Here's what it looks like:

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    The Daily Mail accomplishes the impossible


    Del Tha Funky Homosapien - The Undisputed Champs

    They've managed to compare Burger King to Heston Blumenthal in one breath. Favorably.

    I can't say I'm likely to order either a bacon sundae or a Burger King pulled pork sandwich. I mean, thank you guys for making your fries suck less, but knock this off.

    Via The Daily Mail

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