Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Came and Went

This Christmas was pretty awesome. Having my Grandma Rosie here has been nice. I get the feeling she's a little uncomfortable with Aaron. Not because she's unsure about babies or even how she feels about him. It's just the fact that he's a year old, rather energetic, and really comfortable with everyone around except her because she's the new one. Maybe if she came over here alone... I should've thought of that before. Since my brother's family gets here tomorrow, I think the "over at my house" portion of the break is over...


Well, the "haul" is rather spectacular. I should've had a more impressive list. Asked for the world and all. When you get what you ask for, you obviously aren't shooting high enough.

Oh well.

Cricket and his esposa dropped by. It was really cool to see them both. They stayed a while, had some food, coversated, all that. I even inadvertently called Michelle emotionally abusive. Sweet. I don't know quite how that happened. I started saying something about attaching a face to the name, but at the sentence's off-ramp, I missed my turn and went three exits too far before crossing the median and merging into an 18-wheeler. I think that maybe she was aware that I was having a verbal meltdown because she didn't SEEM offended. I was, though. I was pretty offended at me.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Spectacular Spectacular

My mother bought the Josh Groban Christmas CD recently. I've heard a song or two of his before, but it wasn't until hearing his rendition of Little Drummer Boy that I realized this:

Josh Groban could sing the Taco Bell Value Menu and make it sound like a romantic epic.

That's all.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007


My musical quest continues. At my current position, I've gone through the vast majority of my own collection and have put a sizeable dent in my wife's when it comes to loading them onto the iPod. The current length, if playing every song until they were all played once, hovers at just under 40 days of music. Theoretically, I could ride out The Flood. Well, the flooding part. Not so much the floodED part. I might have to hear a song more than once, may God have mercy upon me. I was a bit worried, though, because a lot of stuff that I consider to be essential, along with some stuff that isn't, was MIA until late last night. As it stood, I was going to be without Soundgarden (not to be confused with Savage wife scares me sometimes...*shiver*...) and the MTV Unplugged disc was my only Nirvana. I still had AiC to up the Seattle count, but From the Muddy Banks... was unaccounted for and there's a lot of good Cobain stuff on there. Live tracks, no less. I'm considering the amount of work involved in creating a Live Tracks playlist, among others, and it would be hurting without some Heartshaped Box. Beyond that, I was also missing Jars of Clay's Much Afraid and a couple Beatles CDs. There may have been a logic to placing all those in the same case, the one that was hidden until last night, but it escapes me now.

They'll have to wait until I finish my wife's collection, which should take only an hour or two more. That's helped by the fact that, even though I'm endeavoring to load most everything on, there are certain things I will not abide. Savage Garden being one. I don't remember seeing any in her stacks, but if it is, it's getting bypassed.

My wife doesn't see the point in all the effort I'm going to get it ALL loaded on, but I think she'll appreciate it the next time we have to iPod it across the country to Idaho. I mean, not having to lug a CD case of the things we thought we might want to listen to, having it jammed in the front seat, taking up precious real estate, these all appeal to me greatly. Even if I have to have The Dixie Chicks on there.

Yeah, I managed to let them pass my crap filter. I don't feel good about it, but I did.

I've been lying to her, though, about how I just need to finish loading them, because unless we want to listen to them shuffled randomly or sorted by artist, album or whatever, there's no appreciable way to hear what I want to hear in groups. I mean, REALLY the way I want to hear it. Smartlists are fine, but somehow my Sinatra CD got into the 90's list I have going. That was a strange one.

It occurs to me that the Seinfeld CD is probably in there, too.

The problem with playlists, like mixtapes, is that they're just snapshots. Now, I'm not going to wax poetic on the subject, Cusack did that well enough, but finding a way to meaningfully divide music in a way that will remain relevant in the coming days, weeks, months, know, when I'll actually be listening to it...seems daunting. I mean, it's not permanent like a tatoo (I had a hard time with that one...), but the active time committment of wading through thousands of songs to piece together a list (versus the passive time committment of loading them in the first place) is serious business. On the upside, I won't be dominating the DSL by that point (I should've put a wireless router on my Christmas list...).

By the by, if anyone knows of a way I can import cover art for the CDs iTunes couldn't find art for, I'd love to hear about it.

I suppose that, really, the playlisting is something I should consider a work in progress. I mean, I really don't need to become obsessed with that after I finish this.

Who would've known that taking my music into the 21st century would be so much work?

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I recently acquired an iPod in a game of chance. Rest easy. I didn't kill anyone you know for it. The iPod, as a status symbol, never much appealed to me. I mean, I remember when the Walkman was the cool thing and the iPod was just a new iteration of that idea. I mean, I'd had an mp3 player and gotten maybe 10 or 12 hours of use out of it before deciding it was too much trouble.

You'll have to forgive my ignorance.

The strength of the iPod lies in the fact that it doesn't just hold the music you put on it from A playlist and, possibly, shuffle them in different, random, yet oddly repetetive orders. Instead, it holds all the lists you can devise. I wish someone would've been kind enough to inform me of this. Also, the click wheel interface didn't much make sense to me at a glance. So you can skip forwards and backwards. So you can play and pause. So what? I didn't realize you could actually wheel about! Why is it that no one lets me know when I'm thinking something stupid?

...Wait, they do.

Why is it that people don't let me know when it's something I care about?!?! It's reintroduced music into my way of life.

Now, the one I own is a 5th generation 30gb, making it tiny by current standards. That's fine with me. First of all, it was free. Second of all, it's better than the iPod I had before. You know, none. Plus, as I am blissfully ignorant and don't know if it's a bitrate matter or one of file format and compression, I'm finding that at this point, after uploading at least half, if not 2/3 of my CD collection, I'm just barely cracking 2.5gb. And I've loaded EVERYTHING.

Well, not EVERYTHING. I did leave a couple tracks out from a CD or two that I copied because the tracks were bad. They never played right. I assume that my CD burner was faulty. I also skipped a couple compilation CDs that came in some magazines because I wasn't ready to weed out the feces from the good stuff at the time. I may just go back and load the whole thing later. Who knows. And I also skipped a couple entire discs that I bought cheap because they were CDs that my brother owned when we were both at home still. Had I taken into account that his tastes are wildly different from mine, I might've saved my $1.50.

I may load those on, as well. You never know when I might want to listen to crap.

On a whole, though it's been a pleasant experience, the main lesson I'm carrying away is that I don't own enough music. It's like a challenge to fill it up, and at this point, I don't think I can without cheating and loading tons of videos or something on it. I mean, my wife says I'm displaying obsessive behavior, which is kind of true, but loading CD after CD onto iTunes takes a while. After I get it all loaded onto that, one sync and I'm effectively finished (except for when I get new Christmas and birthdays...) and the only other things I'll need to do with it (besides listening) are when I get an idea for a new playlist or something.

The lack of fillage (not a word) is rather annoying, though. I mean, according to the iTunes library, I've got 35+ days, DAYS, of music loaded currently and that's only 8.3% of it's total capacity. It suddenly makes sense that so many people are illegally downloading music. I mean, who has the time, let alone the funds, to continually shop for new music to fill these things? I think Steve Jobs is in cahoots (I despise that word) with the RIAA and probably the courts. He throws down the gauntlet by continually upping the capacity on his players. The User has to find methods to fill the player. The RIAA takes them to court for the illegal methods they use. The RIAA, the lawyers, and the courts collect their respective fees and winnings, and Jobs probably gets kickbacks or something. I don't know.

Now, lest ye think that I'm making some lame, old guy grab at the last vestiges of cool available to him, I should mention that of the non-music files on the iPod, which I named iPodicus Maximus...ironically, I think, I have pictures and videos of Aaron.

Sweet, but not cool. Because I was never that to begin with.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Kicking Skepticism in the Head

When I heard they were making a new Indiana Jones movie...back when they first started talking about it...I was excited. I mean, after Star Wars, the original Indy movies were the greatest film trilogy of all time, followed by the Back to the Future movies.

Being a child of the 80's (I don't remember the 70's...being an infant and all), I suppose that I'm not entirely objective when it comes to the subject, but still, they just haven't made movies like that since then. I mean, even the Die Hard movies, which were all loads of fun, didn't even measure up, and the first was made in '88 (the year before Last Crusade, which was, in turn, out the year before Die Hard 2).

Anyway, as time went on, I became a bit skeptical. I mean, Harrison Ford will always be one of the coolest actors ever, but he's 65 years old, for crying out loud! He's been eligible for AARP membership for more than half my life! And in the original movies, he fought Nazis. They were going to have to age the character past when Nazis existed as a threat. How could that possibly work?!?!? To be honest, I was almost angry that they were still considering it. And what's this crap about Shia LaBeouf as the sidekick? He's no Sean Connery or John Rhys-Davies. He's not even that kid that played Short Round!

I suppose I should qualify what I just said about Shia LaBeouf. I'm pretty sure I've enjoyed everything I've seen him in...I just haven't gotten to where I respect him on his own merit. Ke Huy Quan was in Temple of Doom AND The Goonies!

And nothing much else...perhaps I should be rethinking my respect levels on both of them...

Anyway...then, I saw the poster.

I don't know that I've mentioned it before, but I love Drew Struzan's work. Something about seeing a Struzan poster makes me want to see a movie. If Titanic had Struzan posters, I'd have one up on my wall. Or, I would've when I was single. Screw masculinity! That man can paint! And speed! He can paint a poster in the time it took me to do a comic!

Well, that's probably not entirely true. I mean, I draw slow, but I'm counting from when I'd start to when I'd finish, interruptions and all. He did the poster for Carpenter's The Thing in a night, but I imagine he worked straight through. Even still, his posters are a fair sight prettier than my comics ever pretended to be.

So, evidence notwithstanding, I'm once again excited about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull...all because the poster rocks.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007



Main Entry:
\ˌsiŋ-krə-ˈni-sə-tē, ˌsin-\
Inflected Form(s):
plural syn·chro·nic·i·ties
circa 1889

1 : the quality or fact of being synchronous 2 : the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality —used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung

It's funny. Well, really it's irritating to the point that I just want to punch someone, but that would be funny. Not for me, because I'd probably get beaten up, but funny for someone.

Anyway, having chased that rabbit, let's get back to the blog at hand.

So, the Heroes Volume 2 finale, titles "Powerless" was on last night. I know this in an academic sense. There is evidence it happened. I can cite sources and, were I inclined, give a close approximation of the plot. I cannot, however, give a first-hand account. Last night was the second night I stayed at my parents' because the power company was supposed to switch off the power to my house and connect some new stuff so that the old crappy stuff can go away.
I say "supposed to" because they didn't. Actually, today, the chances of it happening were, in their minds, slim. That was just information I didn't have. What they did today was send a woman with a spyglass-like measuring tool and a stake to mark where a new pole will go.

In two weeks.

Or whenever they get to it.

Beyond that, there's still no word on exactly how soon the new wire will be coming in along with all the switching off and on of power. April, I'm thinking. And what really bothers me is that there's nothing I can do but yell at people who 1) have no control over the situation and 2) aren't responsible for the mess, anyway.

Well, that, and I can watch Heroes....finally...

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