Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dorkiest. Post. Ever. 

At the risk of revealing myself as the biggest dork ever, I was looking at antique tractors today and marveling at the clean use of the Futura font on their metal badges.


Allis Chalmers



Thanks Paul Renner

Comments: 0
Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Brave New World 

Believe it or not, I made my first online digital music purchase ever today.

I bought Jason Isbell's "Sirens of the Ditch" from the new Amazon MP3 store.


The store offers non DRM'd (non-protected) MP3s at 256 kbps (decent sound quality) at a really decent cost ($8.99 for 11 songs).

The non-DRM part means that I am not locked into one format or one MP3 player, and I can move these songs to my phone, my other PC at home or my new laptop when I get one. This was the main reason I never bought anything from the iTunes Music Store.

Although my first two searches (the new Eisley record and the spectacular new Iron & Wine (available streaming at MySpace here) were not available at the Amazon store, I did find a record I was interested in. There is a button to preview sound samples of all of the songs which worked like a charm, and a single button to download the album.

Most songs cost 89 or 99 cents, with all of the top 100 downloaded songs available at 89 cents. Most full albums I browsed were $8.99 or less.

The only complaints that I have are:

  • The store doesn't offer every recording ever made (hopefully Sony/BMG, Warner and the rest of Universal will join up soon)
  • The browsing seems a little clunky
  • And there are no album reviews (but they are showing a smattering of AMG artist Bios as evidenced Here written by yours truly).

    Overall, I'd be willing to bet that this single move will change the music industry almost as much as the iPod/iTunes model did. A distribution model that makes sense, makes users more willing to purchase, takes manufacturing and shipping comepletely out of the equation, and allows all of us non-criminals to use our music on the devices we've purchased.

    I encourage everyone to spend the 9 bucks, buy an album they've been thinking about, and support this model.

    AMG Review of the Jason Isbell Record Here:


    Thanks Jeff Bezos

    Comments: 0
  • Thursday, September 20, 2007

    Stop. What You're Doing. 

    The Beatles' song "What You're Doing" is totally ruling my world. I can't explain why, but it is the song in my head when I wake up in the morning, and all day long. It is mostly the drum break before the verse comes back in. Boom-Chak. Boom Chack-a Lack.

    Click Here to Rock It Out

    While "What You're Doing" is one of the Beatles' more obscure mid-1960s songs, in later years it would come to be appreciated by some as one of their more musically interesting early recordings. Like many of their other early ventures, it was almost ridiculously upbeat and cheering in melody, harmonized singing, and overall utopian glow, even though the lyrics are a complaint (a pretty mild one) about what a girl's doing to the singer. That might be the least interesting aspect of a song that fits a lot of varying sections into its running time, starting with an unusual unaccompanied rolling drum pattern. The drums are joined by a chiming 12-string guitar that sounds uncannily like the kind of sounds that became identified with the Byrds' Roger McGuinn, although "What You're Doing" was recorded in late 1964, about six months before the Byrds became famous with "Mr. Tambourine Man." The verses are unusual in how the group harmonizes -- chants, almost -- a single word at the beginning of lines, to be followed by conventional Paul McCartney singing to complete them. There are some very nice wistful harmonies supporting McCartney's voice in the latter sections of the verses, and at the end of the bridge the rest of the group comes to a stop as Paul elongates the word "me" for about seven syllables. The instrumental break has a sly raised-eyebrow quality, the guitar joined by almost jazzy, saloonish piano. To ride the song out, that unaccompanied rolling drum pattern is repeated, with a dramatic low descending bass run introducing the instrumental fadeout, where the guitar-piano combination takes the lead again. "What You're Doing" is likely one of the least frequently covered Beatles songs, but a fairly raw, straightforward version does appear on the sole album by the Fantastic Dee Jays, who were likely Pittsburgh's best mid-1960s garage band. - Richie Unterberger

    Beatles For Sale

    Thanks Dad

    Comments: 0
    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Pretty much just copying GoldenFiddle on this one 

    Wes Anderson did a bunch of AT&T commercials that are pretty clever:

    All of them are viewable here.

    Also, Jesus am I freakishly in love with these little notebooks:

    More information and photos available here.


    Upon seeing photos of this crazy orb in a field in Russia, Dan proffers:

    a) let the conspiracy theories begin

    b) there's something very J.J. Abrams about this

    c) Why the F would you drill holes in something that looks like a scale replica of the Chernobyl containment tomb and is marked with a radioactive symbol?!?!


    A couple of new Porchsleeper songs available on something called "My Space."
    What won't those kids think of next?


    Cool artist Phil Hansen made this portrait of Jimi Hendrix out of matches and then lit it on fire.
    More conceptual coolness here.


    Whoa (Blogging for an audience of 1 here). Hey Chris, remember when we were in college and there was like a week where we thought David Letterman was sending us secret messages? Like how we were going to do on our History exam, and what we ate for dinner that night? And then one night he said "And for those of you who have been receiving my subliminal messages..." and then he rubbed his temples and made his eyes all googly?

    All of the sudden I found this:




    Thanks BoingBoing
    Thanks Goody
    Thanks GoldenFiddle
    Thanks Dan
    Thanks Exquisite Dead Guy

    Comments: 0
    Monday, September 17, 2007

    R.I.P Shakey Jake 

    "on the move"


    Thanks Jamnes

    Comments: 0
    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    From a Smirking State Fan: 

    Go Green


    Thanks Julie

    Comments: 0
    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    "I like it fresh and I like it Raaawwwwww" 

    Best Band of the Summer so Far:
    Children of the Unicorn singing their hit song "Night Shark."

    Night Shark, I'm a Shark in the Night.


    This whole article is a little depressing, but it does feature two people named Chamaiporn Chongpatana and Xao "Steve" Vang.
    Hmmm... Chamaiporn Chongpatana...I wonder if her friends called her ChimiChanga?


    "And the ball gets loose!"



    Thanks Tim
    Thanks Derek
    Thanks Steve

    Comments: 0
    Monday, September 10, 2007

    "a long list of baroquely rendered, seemingly unrelated anecdotes peppered with obscure references" 

    Note the irony (in Blue):


    An Addiction Therapist gushing about how he couldn't wait for his iPhone,
    even if he knew that waiting 24 hours would save him $200. Take that, Alanis.


    Online music review site Pitchfork gives Music a 6.8.
    "Coming in at an exhausting 7,000 years long, music is weighed down by a few too many mid- tempo tunes, most notably 'Liebesträume No. 3 in A flat' by Franz Liszt and 'Closing Time' by '90s alt-rock group Semisonic," Schreiber wrote. "In the end, though music can be brilliant at times, the whole medium comes off as derivative of Pavement."


    Rachel Ray, Sex Instructor
    (NSFW audio if your boss' mind mind is drrrty.)

    She must've said the word "cock" at some point in her career...
    Either "Cocktail" or ...I dunno, like a rooster...I bet she regrets that now.


    Thanks Chris
    Thanks Steve

    Comments: 0
    Sunday, September 09, 2007

    "When the water bucket hits the bottom of the well, people start to get nervous..." 

    Much like Martin Luther King, I had a dream...

    Exterior: A desert country, possibly Iraq. A group of American soldiers are marching across sand dunes as gunfire occasionally sounds behind them and to their left.

    In this very Oliver Stone/Francis Coppola-esque 70's Vietnam-era setting, I am a soldier on the front lines of a large battalion of men. Most are in tan fatigues, some are in hunter's orange. We are moving across sand dunes, and a group of five of us or so at the front occasionally drop down to an army crawl in the sand. The other four guys know what they're doing by issuing almost inaudible commands and acting as one like groups of birds simultaneously changing direction in flight.


    My gun is made of white Styrofoam and keeps coming apart where the barrel meets the stock. On the barrel is hand-written: "165" and somebody tells me that is how many bullets come with the gun. We meet a woman who has messy short blonde hair and looks like a young Meg Ryan. I don't realize this but she has come back to Iraq/Vietnam to tell me something. Everybody else realizes this but I am oblivious.


    My friends Gerard and Goody are also soldiers. We go into the PX and I am looking at a message board/blog comments about what happened. Everyone online knows that the woman needed to tell me something and are jabbing me for not picking up on it.

    Then I am looking at a waterproof canvas bag that has a tent in it. The price tag says $30. I am thinking about going camping with my son Hank when I get back to the States, but realize that this tent is too heavy to carry around with me. Everyone else in my platoon has left the PX except Goody has stayed behind with me, telling me to hurry up.

    We leave the PX but don't know which way to go. The grounds are crowded with tents and soldiers, but Gerard has stayed halfway behind to show us where to go. There are men in army pants with no shirts on, smoking, one soldier is drinking clear liquor with an olive speared with a toothpick from a dirty juice glass.

    Dream Dream
    Dream Dream

    My base camp is an old painted school bus surrounded by tarps shared with a heavyset older "Good Ol' Boy" from the South in a blue flannel shirt and overalls. More blue flannel shirts and overalls hang on a rack. There is something moving in a bag in the corner (I think it is a dog) and I worry the man is going to kill it. There are more canvas bags on top of the bus and the man is pulling them down looking for traps to go trapping.

    Dream Dream

    General Zachariah shows up (who also bunks in the bus) and I find out that the man in the overalls is his valet. The valet wraps a red apron around the General's neck and begins to shave his face. As he does so, the Valet continually leans over and smells my hair. I come to realize that the only reason I am there is at the request of the creepy Valet since my name and the General's name are the same.

    The General begins lecturing me on how powerful the army is. He owns the equivalent of an entire city, and anything he asks for he can get. At one point he is discussing the upcoming battle and the mindset of our opponents, saying "When the water bucket hits the bottom of the well, people start to get nervous..." (My brain also tells me he said "When the water comes up to the bottom of the screen door, people start to get nervous" so I can't tell which it "actually" was).

    I never see the General's face, he is always facing away from me.


    Then the army started to roll out. The General left in an old limousine. The rest of us were walking.


    The blonde Meg Ryan girl was in front of me and she was approached by two hippie/researcher types who said "I haven't seen you since you were 5!" The woman was non-descript, the guy looked a little like a Jaws-era Richard Dreyfuss.


    We went with them to someone's house where there were books and papers all over the floor. The room was cult-like and filled with grad students and activists who were listening to Brian Cox lecture in the living room about genetic studies.


    There was a piece of wood sitting on a table top that had numbers written on it in chalk.

    Like this, but, y'know, numbers instead of letters.

    We were all watching a program on a little TV that showed Brian Cox talking with an animated version of himself on a sofa. The animated character was loosely sketched in black and white and looked like a Bill Plympton cartoon. The animated version was childlike...farting and acting out, made to represent the Id.


    The program then showed footage of kids with behavioral issues. One little boy was sitting in a rowboat on dry land hitting himself with his fists. Through this program and the lecture Brian Cox was giving, he was endorsing killing Adolf Hitler's grandparents so that Hitler would never be born.

    The conversation got more and more intense until the dream was just flashes of imagery. The lecturer waving a pistol around and wrapping his arms around himself. The rest of the people in the room getting more and more frenzied. He sprayed that expanding insulating foam randomly on the walls and announced that "the chickens had left and taken all of the good air." A woman clawed at her throat and said "Oh my God, he's right!"


    I looked at the door and noticed that there was no doorknob on the inside. Someone asked what time it was and the lecturer said "There's a clock right there" pointing at the chalk numbers on the piece of wood. The numbers had changed and I had a sense of panic because I knew a lot of time had passed.

    At that moment I deduced that he needed someone to kill General Zachariah. I was the closest person to the General and I know that the lecturer would not let anyone leave that room until I had agreed to kill him.

    That's when I woke up.

    Any idea? Armchair Psychologists: WTF is going on in my head?


    Thanks a lot, Gin and Ice Cream.

    Comments: 0
    Friday, September 07, 2007

    Mostly just YouTube videos anymore... 

    Dan and I were talking about how every single good domain name is taken, and he clued me into this SNL skit where an investment firm takes the last domain that was available which happens to be www.ClownPenis.fart.


    A skull made entirely out of '80s heavy metal tapes.


    "there is no amount of money that they could charge for that masterpiece that i would consider unreasonable." - Brian Raleigh


    Where Y' At?

    There Y' Go.


    Thanks BoingBoing
    Thanks Dan
    Thanks Dadid
    Thanks Brian

    Comments: 0
    Tuesday, September 04, 2007

    "all the minitials are in that" 

    A Star Wars-themed Simpsons intro? I'm in Nerd Heaven!


    Not a bug
    It's not a bug, it's a feature.


    I recommend listening to this song called "Hoogie Boogie Land" by the band Complete. It will make you feel good about yourself (if for no other reason than you realize that you are not in the band Complete singing about Hoogie Boogie land).

    Lyrics here.

    "Someone in the comments on Fazed says: It's like goatse for your ears...But with more hillbilly."

    Also: "Oh shit! These dudes worked on my tires this morning."

    Also: "They should continue to make their own alcohol instead of buying it at the store. I think it works for them."

    Thoroughly entertaining interview here:


    Thanks Steve
    Thanks Scott
    Thanks Chris

    Comments: 0

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