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Public Image Ltd. @ The Royale, Boston MA, 10-15-2012

Music: 

Big Black - Racer X

Here are some of my favorite photos from Public Image Ltd. PiL played a long set, with no opener, and a good mix of old to new music. John's voice was a bit worse for wear, but he actually became better over the course of the night, I feel, probably due in no small part to generous application of Courvoisier VS.

We spent most of the night being systematically mesmerized by Lu Edmonds and his Buzuq. Natalie was convinced going in that Warren Ellis was touring with them, because she saw multiple sources mis-identifying him from previous shows. That's really a shame. They're similarly masterful, equally anachronistic visions of a late 1940's bearded man thrashing some poor instrument to death, but not the same person. I did get a sense last night for what it would have looked like if Wm. S. Burroughs were a guitar player.

The crowd was strongly in favor of this show, but artists need to keep in mind that Boston Does Not Dance. It just seems to not be what we do. Sorry. We were dancing in spirit, John. We get that a lot here.

A few pictures from the 27 I put to Flickr:

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Unwoman at Outpost 186, Cambridge MA, 9-29-2012

Music: 

Soft Cell - Insecure Me

I have been waiting for half a decade to see Unwoman and finally got the perfect opportunity in Cambridge. Unwoman is Steampunk / "Corsetronica" music, a tag which I really wish would have stuck, but which it appears she and I are the only ones to have ever used.

Over the years, her music has gone from more electronica towards a more natural cello sound coupled with her powerful voice. Using loops, she'll lay down several cello tracks for a rich sound with lots of depth. The technique is not unlike Zoe Keating, however their results are very different. I may be completely wrong, and her normal live set might include laptops and drum machines, but we got the perfect show for the venue, an intimate and engaging cello and piano based set.

The show was at Outpost 186, to a capacity crowd of about 30 or so. This is why I didn't want to conspicuously take any photos, however there is good-quality video here and here. I have no idea what happened to the full video shot by the house, but if I find it, I'll update here.

Hopefully it's not another several year wait for the next show. Now that she has a good Boston foothold, we hope to see her back.

Welcome to Boston.

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The Jesus and Mary Chain, Paradise, Boston MA 9-12-2012

Music: 

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - The Six Strings That Drew Blood

The Jesus and Mary Chain were a somewhat disappointing and listless live show. They really, for the most part, just seemed like they wished they were somewhere else. I don't know if that means "In front of a different crowd, on a better day", or "At home not having to slog it out on the road 20 years later in front of a middle-aged crowd of people who don't choke down pills anymore".

Overall it sounded all right, though there were many false starts that I would not have expected at this point in their tour and careers. I guess there are some times bands just don't gel with their audience, and this was one. Hopefully other cities had a better experience.

These guys really are a favorite band of mine and I hope they were more together for other crowds, don't like, not go see them, it's probably worth the gamble.

We really did both enjoy The Vandelles as an opener. They were pretty much super fun, wardrobe malfunctions not withstanding :-) Their name and style aside, they really were more of an early '90s band than Another Rockabilly Band, check them out.

I did get some photos, here they are:

I really do like a good zip tie job:

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More people I've confused

Music: 

New Order - Dream Attack

This past weekend I had a pretty awkward encounter with two candidates for the NH state house, Andy Hughes, and Henry Mullaney. This was largely my fault for being lazy and not having had my wake-up cigarette yet.

I also never expected them to be Democratic candidates. It was frankly refreshing to see and hear someone say he's my candidate for the state legislature, and that his interests include protecting a woman's right to choose, and improving education options, specifically the state technical college system.

I'm much more used to having one of:

  • Canvassers affiliated with a Republican candidate, basically just pamphlet-hander-outers
  • People trying to sell me stuff
  • People trying to sell me religions

These guys were pretty friendly, if a tiny bit bewildered by my out-awkwarding them. In my own defense though, come on folks, this is New Hampshire we're talking about here. I'm lucky to know the names of my neighbors, let alone have a chat with my state rep. hopefuls. I expect this kind of thing in the south, but in New England, I only expect to be sold knives and vacuum cleaners or Jesus, in that order. If a candidate (or candidates) for office shows up at your door, don't drop the ball, give 'em a chat. Don't bungle the encounter like my staggering, un-kempt, still-waking-up self did.

You'd have to spend time around me to fully appreciate what "xrayspx Unkempt" can look like and why it might be jarring to a man wearing a tie.

In exchange for their befuddlement, I promise I'll vote for these two, as if there is some case in which my (D) isn't enough of a foregone conclusion.

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The Gervais Problem

Music: 

If there is one thing I will always be able to hold against Ricky Gervais, it's that he made Martin Freeman just famous enough for him to be cast in this horrible Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy remake. Not to mention Mr. Definitely and the pixie dream girl.

I don't know if even delivering unto the world the gift of a round headed buffoon with a head like a fucking orange can make up for this crap I'm watching.

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OK Monster Cables

Music: 

Where do I sign up?

Yesterday I installed Ubuntu to dual boot with Windows on my HTPC. The idea is that it should boot into Linux by default, and I'll have a "reboot into Windows" button which will do a one-time Windows boot if I really want to run one of my 3 Windows games.

Mainly the machine is used for XBMC and MAME. XBMC works great in Ubuntu now, and with KDE I can tweak the sizes of every font everywhere in the UI, which was one of my big issues with Windows.

My main problem was with MAME and my joystick being all jumpy. For instance, in Ms. Pacman, it would stick "up", so that if you want to go in a different direction, you had to hold the stick the entire time. Games were pretty un-playable.

This only seemed to affect the left stick on my Logitech Dual Action gamepad, and it was driving me nuts. If I used the right hand stick, it seemed to work just fine.

I spent a few hours tweaking dead zones and such, which did work as advertised, but which did not solve the sticking issue. I booted into Windows, since I hadn't really noticed the problem there and wanted to check all my settings against my Windows MAME settings. What I found was that the problem was there, but it was more subtle so I didn't notice it.

So I unplugged my controller from the USB extension cable I was using (did I not mention that, did I not mention that I'm using J. Random USB Extension cable? Oh yeah, slipped my mind...), and plugged straight into the machine.

Rock.

Fucking.

Solid.

I found a shorter extension cable, which doesn't really work for me overall, but which does not have the problem.

Now I think the real solution is to have a powered USB hub screwed to the bottom of my coffee table, and plug joysticks into that (and phones, and tablets, and...and...and...) and then run that back to the PC. Seems like the best way.

What a massive pain in the balls for some 30 year old video games.

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Jane's Addiction, Bank of America Pavilion, Boston, MA 8-11-2012

Music: 

D.R.I. - Beneath The Wheel

Jane's Addiction at Bank of America Pavilion, Boston, 8-11-2012

This was our second time seeing Jane's Addiction in the last couple of years, and neither time did we manage to get anywhere near the stage. I think they sounded much better at the NIN/JA show than here, both just in sound mixery, and the playing. It was a good show, but unfortunately not the best thing ever.

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LGBTQ Bigotry - Finally Speaking Up

Music: 

Leonard Cohen - Anthem

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."" -- Jerry Falwell, with Pat Robertson, discussing why God sent religious zealots to attack American cities on 9/11/2001.

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This post is not an attempt at suppression of anyone's speech or opinions. It is an expression on my part of how those words make me feel. People's feelings, bigoted and horrifying though they may be to me, are their own. Americans have the right, and duty, to non-violently advocate their position as strenuously as possible. History and the sands of time will be the judges of which opinion was right or wrong. If you disagree with me and want to comment, feel free to speak your mind. I will certainly speak mine right back. This is ethical advocacy and will not prevent me from having a beer and a dog, and then another beer, with anyone, ever. And we shall breezily talk of other things. Weather. Inferior corn-height (I am a born Hoosier, remember that. I instinctively know what corn is supposed to look like, and when). Baseball. Kittens.
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I've made it clear through the history of my posts that I'm a vocal advocate for equal protection under the law for all Americans. Many of my inlaws do not share this belief, and out of an abundance of respect for my wife, and the fact that their opinions are their own, I've not said anything about the bigotry I see on a pretty regular basis. I have simply kept my mouth shut and turned the other cheek when I have seen attacks against gays, women and those who they perceive to worship religions different to their own.

However, the last week of batty Chick-Fil-A nonsense has brought things to a head. A string of updates, beginning with "It's unconstitutional for people to protest Chick-Fil-A" and culminating today in "[National Same Sex Kiss Day] is the start of Christian Persecution".

"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'" -- Dan Cathy, President and COO, Chick-Fil-A

There is no requirement for people to support a company which actively works to discriminate against those very same people. Just black people and Jews "boycott" Resistance Records, so shall Gay people (and the people who love them) boycott Chick-Fil-A. Resistance Records' first amendment rights are not being infringed upon simply because the object of their hatred doesn't give them money, and neither are the rights of Chick-Fil-A being infringed upon.

This "persecution" angle has finally prompted me to respond.

In the lifetime of our nation, we've seen:

  • Southern Christians abandoned the Republican party for 100 years after Lincoln took away their biblically mandated right to own other human beings. It wasn't until the 1960s until the Nixon/Goldwater Southern Strategy got them back on the team. (This makes me especially upset, because I often see people say both "Republicans, the party of Lincoln" and "Democrats, who opposed equal rights for blacks in the '50s/'60s", because it's not about the party when the demographic shifts 180 degrees, twice. Southern Evangelicals fled the Republican party because of Lincoln, and only returned to the party when racial intolerance became a plank of the Republican platform)
  • Christians protesting the right for women to vote.
  • Christians protesting the right for black people to vote.
  • Christians protesting the right for black people to eat in the same restaurants, drink from the same fountains, and attending the same schools as whites
  • Christians protesting and making laws against interracial marriage.
  • Christians abandoned the Republican party for 100 years after the Republican Lincoln took away their biblically mandated right to own other human beings. Until the Nixon/Goldwater Southern Strategy got them back on the team. (This makes me especially upset, when people say both "Republicans, the party of Lincoln" and "Democrats, who opposed equal rights for blacks in the '50s/'60s", because it's not about the party. Southern Evangelicals fled the Republican party because of Lincoln, and only returned? to the party when racial intolerance became a plank of their platform)



Since it's been said that boycotts are first amendment violations of the rights of Chick-Fil-A's free speech, and that we are seeing the start of Christian oppression in this country. Below is what "Christian Oppression" would actually look like when presented as mirror images of acts of oppression which have actually happened to other groups :

  • The 85% Atheist majority passes laws requiring science be taught to children in Sunday School
  • The 85% Atheist majority taxes churches to the point that it's not financially feasible for them to hold services (Taxes churches out of existence)
  • An Atheist-values-based chicken company gives millions of dollars to hate groups advocating the extermination, expulsion and imprisonment of Christians (Genocide! Ethnic Cleansing!)
  • A pair of lesbians in Wyoming viciously beats a straight Christian man and leaves him to die tied to a fence post for the crime of speaking to them in a bar
  • A lesbian Atheist group rises to national prominence by protesting that same Christian man's funeral carrying disgusting placards stating "God Hates Christians"
  • That same extremist group grows over the next twenty years, protesting the funerals of American soldiers because those soldiers fight for a country which permits Christians to practice their faith
  • A Christian is legally fired from their job simply because of the fact that they believe in Christ. The federal government does not recognize Christians as a protected group, safe from firing based on their religious beliefs.
  • The federal government refuses to recognize Christian marriage, and denies federal tax and death benefits to Christians who were lucky enough to marry in the tiny minority of states which have chosen to permit them to.
  • Athiest hate groups picketing and intimidating Christian Scientists and Jehovas Witnesses and shooting those who legally refuse to take their family to hospitals for medical care and blood transfusions
  • The 85% Atheist majority looting and burning entire countries to find Christian believers and forcibly convert them away from Christ. If the Christians don't renounce religion, they are murdered after watching their entire family die
  • A written test is required for segments of Americans to be allowed to vote. That test includes questions specifically pertaining to things of which Christians as a group have no knowledge. Additionally, a fee is imposed at the voting booth, which is then selectively enforced, but which Christians all must pay in order to cast their vote. If they pass the test, and pay the fee, the Christian vote then only counts as 3/5 the vote of an Atheist

Honestly, to equate yourselves to actual oppressed people is childish, disgusting, and shows a lack of knowledge of history and the struggles of oppressed peoples. The equal rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Americans is just the latest in a very, very long list of basic human rights and equality measures which have been violently opposed by Christians in the name of their bible over the last 400 years in the New World. For Christians to self-identify as some second-class put-upon minority class is frankly sickening.

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Streaming WFNX on Android

Music: 

Front 242 - Welcome to Paradise

UPDATED: I have verified that the process below is absolutely the right thing to do. We drove around for an hour to test and the phone only dropped in the largest of the known cellular dead zones, so buffering is a lot better. The phone also ran a /lot/ cooler than when I was using the flash player. Plus, this will work with our Nexus tablets, since they don't have Flash and Adobe stopped supporting Android

Earlier in the week, WFNX posted a quick and dirty mobile page with options for how to listen on various devices. There is an Android page there, but what happens is it loads a flash player in your Android web browser and streams that way.

This sucks on many levels. 1) It's flash and takes a ton of CPU, B) It doesn't buffer very much if at all, so it tends to drop and re-establish, and third) It's in a browser, and is limited by browsery-behavior stuff like "when the phone locks, it stops playing music", so you can't ever let your phone auto-lock. I get that FNX needs to be generic here, and can't get complicated enough to tell people to go get new software, and they probably don't want to be seen as endorsing a product, so that all makes sense. That said...

The right way to do this is to skip the Android page, and go to the iPhone/iPad page. There they have direct links to an MP3 stream. The MP3 stream is 65kb/sec, so they're not the highest quality things ever, but they'll sound better than whatever Clear Channel does to the air around 101.7.

What you need is a music player capable of playing .pls streams. Head over to the Play Store and get A Online Radio.

Choose the Live button, and scroll down and select Add Channel:

You can either type in all of http://provisioning.streamtheworld.com/pls/WFNXFM.pls, or, if you're on your phone now, click and hold here and choose copy URL. Then paste it into the Add Channel dialog:

Once you do that, it should create a new entry in the Favorites tab, right at the top, click that, let it buffer, and listen:

xrayspx's picture

United Way

Music: 

I just saw the LaDainian Tomlinso. united way commercial.

I really wish people would stop falling for the greedy hucksters at the historically corrupt United Way. Nearly as bad as the god bothering homophobes of the Boy Scouts of America.

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by Dr. Radut