My Bleeding Brains

December 16, 2011

A smile on the inside

Filed under: Uncategorized — eeplebert @ 1:15 am

Anybody who has ever bought or read about bootleg music albums from the days before CDs has heard of a Beach Boys project called SMiLE. And if you haven’t, you should have. As with everything on the internet, though, take anything you read with a grain of salt the size of a bathtub.

I stumbled across a self-important article this morning on a random pop blog about “the smile meme” and how this morose bastard thinks any opinion other than his own is irrelevant. Just like half the nitpicking, self-defeating posters on the very message boards he finds himself utterly compelled to complain about. *facepalm*

I remember the existence of bootlegs being a thing of hearsay for years before actually encountering any dubbed onto tapes. It was a while after that when the sight of bootleg “silver” CDs, actually pressed and not just CDR burns, appeared in regional and local record stores. Often at inflated prices, but sometimes when they sold enough units of a popular title, you could find one for less than the $20-40 range.

2011 saw the release of a massive heap of session tapes and mostly-completed versions of those Beach Boys songs. Of course the history of that era shows that those songs morphed into other versions on an album called Smiley Smile.

I read about it in the dawn of the internet, circa 1995-1996. I actually traded a cassette tape with somebody back in the era before Prince’s The Black Album had been officially released and subsequently withdrawn. That tape had a lot of hiss, but promised there was something remarkable buried halfway in the dirt.

The “bootleg” tracks being passed around by Beach Boys nuts and SMiLE collectors sounded THE SAME to my ears as the half-finished, limp and full of guesswork, skeletal tracks which were churned out on the Smiley Smile album and subsequent “archival” releases, official or not.

When the Smile Sessions Box came out in 2011, the fanbase who had generated dozens of versions of the “what might have been” in the past had a whole new palette of source material to work with. Since the Sessions version of Smile follows the blueprint of Brian Wilson Presents Smile, a solo project from 2004, opinions once again are all over the map.

Armed with new material to process, Internet remixers have taken to editing software like Audacity and Ardour to expand their visions from grainy rough bootleg material to what will most likely be the very last hoard of session tapes from this era ever to surface. It’s Indian Summer for Smile remixers. While I’d never try my hand at it, I enjoy sampling the various efforts.

This morning I put on headphones and played through the Smile Sessions Disc One and found myself appreciating several of the songs as I never had before. Wonderful and Vegetables, specifically, while having a dopey kind of charm that modern music utterly abandoned, stand up as proper tracks now.

No previous versions of these songs, like the embryonic versions with skeletal arrangements barely reaching the two-minute mark on the officially released Smiley Smile album, could hope to compare to what’s been made available decades later.

This evening I made the mistake of speaking my point of view in another anonymous forum. One of the luddites therein crowed at me for having the audacity to exist – much the same as that pop blogger with too much cheek whom I read this morning.

So I learn to lurk once more, and keep my Smile on the inside, so to speak. For anyone who’s ever remixed a track, taken the “official” version as a springboard, a leaping-off point, we know when to shut up and DO something.

As the growing popularity of fan-edited content further blurs the line between artist and audience, I’ll be right here laughing, taking notes and munching popcorn, with some excellent music playing in the distance.

Rearranging reality between my ears, or remixing it anew with both my hands.

“A thousand Cheshire cats grin inside of me…” – XTC

Advertisements

September 19, 2011

Overcoming Adversity (the sardonic way)

Filed under: Uncategorized — eeplebert @ 12:14 pm

If I had anything to say about inadvertently taking the month of August (Awghost?) off from being online, I’d say something egregiously uncouth like “egad! omg sorry yallz!” and then just jump right back into it. A few hundred dry words must be better than nothing.

I had to parenthetically differentiate the post title since the first two words call to mind the notion of a stiff motivational speech given by a person who usually sells cars.

Nonetheless, the theme of my summer seems to have been changed from “just coolin’ out on the lazy tip, yo!” or whatever else I had been doing to something more along the lines of “Overcoming Adversity” since there’s been a few ways in which I felt challenged beyond what the most recent summers have presented.

I have made a few new friends, some online and some off, over the last few months. I grow to know more of the strange new town I find myself in. Never would’ve believed it when I was far younger…this being so far from home and yet having little incentive to get out and explore where I live now.

And I’ve done it several times. I lived not far from where I grew up and didn’t really explore a lot. I lived in the town where I attended college for 2-3 years and didn’t really explore a lot, aside from swamp stomping and sand-sliding my freshman year. I lived in Rochester a chunk of years and could probably still get lost there easily enough.

Various challenges this summer. The place is overrun with dogs, some cute, some disgusting. I finished one piece of artwork and moved onto another. I finished a project that will be a gift to my mother, about which I’ll get more specific elsewhere. I’ve made my electronics my own despite the best intentions of their craven, profit-addicted manufacturers.

I stopped using splenda on the advice of several different persons and my heartburn has subsided greatly. I don’t wanna wallow in what I’ve taken to calling “the organ recital” but the simple truth is that the older we get, the more the concerns of the body become important. Life doesn’t seem ready to give up and let us keep living it, so we take care with the details and try to preserve whatever we’ve got left of it.

I’m thankful there are adversities to overcome that aren’t entirely of the physical meatspace body I inhabit. The technological challenges provide welcome distraction when knees, stomachs, moods, sinuses, etc decide that they are gonna try to steal all your attention. Well, tech and a good book. (Reading atm: A Storm of Swords by G. R. R. Martin.)

As has become somewhat common among old friends whenever I have the chance to see/chat/email with them, here then is The Media Dump. A brief list of what I’ve been consuming, what I recommend: Little Mosque on the Prairie, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, Justified, Leverage, The Wire, Ringer, Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire, 2600, Nellie McKay’s Home Sweet Mobile Home, Brother Ali, No Bird Sing, Dan Wilson, Grieves, Mike Mictlan & Lazerbeak, Tom Morello, Ziggy Marley, Mike Doughty, Doop, Gillian Welch, the Decemberists.

Looking forward to: nanowrimo 2011, the Jayhawks Mockingbird Time, Ryan Adams Ashes & Fire, Ben Folds anthology with new Ben Folds Five songs, and last but mostly least – this goofy thing called “Wireframe Placeholder” – a novel.

A brief P.S. – I read over at hipiers.com that Piers Anthony took a spill while running, and a bit more serious fall while riding his scooter. I sincerely hope you recover ASAP. (I would call you ‘captain my captain’ or ‘great bird’ but despite being a regular reader most of my life, we don’t know each other that well. Here’s wishing you a quick and blessed mending of bones, tissue and spirits, though! Thanks for all the books…)

July 28, 2011

timeline

Filed under: Uncategorized — eeplebert @ 1:24 am

Opened back door, cat shot out. Wife laughed, other cat shot out. I take two steps, see fat-chested pitbull off leash and unattended, lunge toward us.

I get door back open, attempting to let cats to safety. Dog charges inside, barking, growling, drooling, a loose cannon knocking over lamps, paperwork, ruining printer, nearly tearing router and internet cable out of the wall.

Pathetic excuse for human being who “owns” this loaded pistol of a sick dog, mutters “my bad” and chest-tackles dog to remove it from trespass in our home.

Choking back the urge to retaliate violently, aside from skittish fellow survivors of the feline variety, most everything is back to normal around here. Except my tireless commitment to justice on this issue.

We’re 15 yards from the playground. Imagine if that dangerous animal had attacked a child instead!

June 21, 2011

keyboard use and maintenance

Filed under: Uncategorized — eeplebert @ 5:25 am

I taught myself to type with a Smith Corona word processing typewriter that could hold about 12 pages in its memory, and let you edit on a 2-line LCD screen with those segment display characters that looked like a digital watch readout.

I borrowed books and read everything I could about the Apple II and the Macintosh computers they used at the junior high and high schools that barely tolerated my attendance. I remember trading games on floppies with my fellow proto-geeks in the mac lab – a heavy walled room with wire-reinforced safety glass and double-locked doors.

The massive cost of that lab, the laser printers, was not lost on me at the time. It just struck me as strange that the library had been usurped in the “valuable enough to lock up after school” status. They locked the weight training machines, the computer lab, and the library.

The keyboards we used in that lab back then were quite similar to the one I’m using now. I’ve used the IBM Model M keyboards that were so prevalent in the PC lab at high school. I liked a few different models I’ve used with some combination of responsive and quiet keys. Anything beats the old Wang terminals in the Vax lab.

In some kind of bizarre tribute to the keyboard that I’ve written two Novembers worth of National Novel Writing Month on now…I set out to replace it – if necessary – when it began to have several sticky keys. I swapped it out for a logitech PC keyboard whose windows key worked fine as an apple key, but it didn’t have one on either side of the space bar and that annoyed me.

When that no longer sufficed I switched to a really nice HP that I found cheap at a thrift shop, but the space bar went wonky and got stuck down a couple months ago. So I fished back out the sticky-keyed Apple Pro Keyboard that came with my first Powermac – a dual G4. It was still a pain in the ass, but better than the alternatives I had around.

I looked to replacements and it just seemed the prices people wanted for a single USED Mac keyboard of any reliable condition were from $17-$30. New prices for such devices were astronomically inflated, and offered little familiar ground – in fact the Apple Keyboard as it exists today is a total aberration.

Why I’d want a white keyboard just because the aesthetics make some designer feel complete – it’s beyond me. It’s irrational fluff and superfluous to the function of the device to make me NOT want to touch it. Hands are messy, being human is messy. I refuse to accept – let alone type on – what looks like a big fugly calculator or Grandma’s jokey over-sized touch-tone telephone from 1988.

Just as I was about to despair the dismal state of the future and what keyboards have come to, a fluke of ebay presented itself. I found someone offering five (5!) of the very model I sought for $35 with free shipping. I waited about three days, hemmed and hawed, and then when another purchase fell through and the seller refunded me with regret that they had previously sold the item…I pounced on the keyboards.

(Good thing I did, too. I went back to leave feedback and found the seller had changed the selling price to $29.99 but the shipping was now $25-30. So I got it for half what it’s selling for now.)

I find myself amused listening to Kevin Smith and Joe Rogan talking about the differences between Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica and have a hard time suppressing my urge to shout “duh!”

I watched The Daily Show from June 20, 2011 earlier and found myself stunned that the Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin has his book out on createspace right now. The same amazon affiliate I myself just published a proof on. Something deep and speechless inside me is stunned by that yeah.

I intend to opine further on what I did to rehabilitate this keyboard, the Apple Pro Keyboard 7803 with black keys that I’m using right now. Aside from the white-cord that had vs this partially opaque corded one, the performance seems the same. I plugged the mouse’s wee little transmitter into the same end as the model I just unplugged and it works the same.

I just know dudes who’d tinker endlessly with their guitar, uncles and relatives who are long since passed who fiddled endlessly with their CB radios, and countless other comparisons I could make. But I spent an hour or more this evening rehabbing this keyboard.

I followed a teardown PDF somebody made, carefully removing the screws, popped off the keycaps and blew off the dust, removed more screws, and then cleaned out the inside of the bottom case under the keyboard membrane layer. Since there appeared no liquid incursion, I didn’t complete the teardown, rather after removing the debris and wiping it clean with a damp cloth, I reassembled.

There were a few hangups aligning the screw hole in the metal shield that sits beneath the keyboard’s circuit board. It wanted to pull to either side and not let the screw to its hole. Eventually I had to step back, remove the upper clear plastic bezel, and reseat the connector leading to the USB port at the right hand side. Then the shield set properly, allowed me to screw it back together from the bottom, the central screw that holds the two halves together just below the cord-tension block.

The most time-consuming part of this adventure was the keycaps needing a good hard scrub on all four sides and the face. But the same damp cloth helped a lot, and some OCD-style rhythmic persistence (accompanied variously by: the Rachel Maddow show, the Daily Show, Bagged & Boarded and Plus One Per Diem) paid off in a slowly-growing series of rows of cleaned keycaps drying face-down.

After that was over, I had just to pull down the one remaining attached to the mac and monkey-see monkey-do the keycaps back onto the right keys. Everybody remembers a QWERTY but nobody can translate a phone number to digits when it’s read off as a word. There are plenty of keys I didn’t know where to put right away and I stuck the plain-caps for the 10-key on the number row above the QWERTY that is supposed to have the shift-keys above. Then I switched them.

The simple truth is that I’d rather have this old keyboard than the new chicklet-style white ones Apple is hawking now. Those look annoyingly easy to get dirty, and the low-profile doesn’t speak to me. I like the feel of the Apple Extended Keyboard from the Mac II days. I still have a few of those up on a shelf in the closet. They’re built to last and whenever I see one in a thrift shop in decent shape, I find it hard not to want to buy it.

I still aspire to piano lessons, guitar playing, lots of other things. But the typewriter, the keyboard, the qwertys I’ve used have been essential, central, important things in my life. I suppose this is a testament toward that end. All hail the tools I use to make my magick happen!

June 7, 2011

perceptions

Filed under: Uncategorized — eeplebert @ 9:34 am

In my time chasing the brass ring of Academia at College I met tons of people who remain important to me yet today. I remember a few who made me feel like I could do just about anything – and that we could have formed a trans-media superhero squad and collaboratively create in any medium known or as-yet evolving.

We’d remix and edit each other’s performances in realtime, like a video-scratching hybrid of The Slew and Information Society, can you dig it?

Thanks to facebook and twitter, even as far back as myspace, I’ve been in semi-regular contact with lots of the interesting minds I encountered back then. Many of them parents now, but they can still make me feel like a god, make me wanna write a word symphony that could alter the fabric of the space-time continuum and do a backflip on a jetski at the same time.

I had the firm, specific intention to visit Bill Holm and thank him for many things face to face. Maybe even sit back over a couple beers and listen to some Art Tatum. Sadly he passed thru the veil before I got that chance. Circumstance and life itself can keep us from renewing connections we’d very much like to. I guess that’s why I slapped the name of a ghost publication on the subject line of this post and blew past that low hurdle to get on with it.

I heard Robert Bly speak about The Human Shadow, the topic of one of his many books – even though in comparison to some of the gargantuan / impenetrable heaps of reading one might be expected to perform between two nights of a Dave Pichaske class – some of Bly’s works were pamphlet or essay-length at best.

Leaping past whatever Mr. Bly has to say about Our Shadow, this past Memorial Day found me sitting in front of my notebook making a list of Those Who Stand In My Shadow. From my late cat Spike through various relatives, grandparents, the Uncle writer/bard/poet Roy who slipped away just before Bill Holm did.

So reflecting on all that mellow jazz, I found myself inspired enough to break several paradigms, smash a few walls that had been caging me in. For an opinionated, wordy type like me one would think I’d never run up against anything that stops me, that shuts me up for long. Sometimes anybody can get boxed in, but recently I broke through.

I fall somewhere between Habitually and Universally Agnostic – refusing to believe anything without first-hand proof or respectable reason and logic. The greatest thing about free will and the ability to choose is that everybody gets the chance to choose to believe a thing or not believe it.

If today is not a good day for you, and your switch is off when you want it on, or if your religion turned your brain off and you want it back on…whichever position your switch is in on any given topic…you get a whole new choice again tomorrow. And you can choose whichever you want. Stop learning if that’s not helping, and start unlearning. Those are the two positions for your brain to be in. It’s always in one of the two.

Choice is wonderful like that. Brother Prince opined that Choice is the Original Cause and I imagine these from among his more humble words – were informed by and built upon the thoughts and teaching of others. I differ from many religions, and the most recent, entitled, self-important politics behind the new two-faced nature of modern Christianity. All that bluster inside me didn’t mean that I wouldn’t admit he had a very eloquent, potent point about Choice.

I ramble, but who’s really reading this anyway? What does it matter?

That’s where this post elbows the first time. We reach our first bend.

I recall meeting, and frankly being blown away by one rockstar of a woman named Kate Sullivan. I could put her on a level, draw a line from a few other talented, dynamic, inspiring women I’ve known. And I’m just far enough into this life, and unashamed of all the buckets of awesome I’ve been witness to with my own two eyes/ears.

I can’t help but share, despite the knock-kneed nervous boy I once was still being right here inside. I’ve just seen too much that merits testament, testifying, sharing however poorly I can form the words to do so.

Ali Hill in/near Perth in Western Australia, remains a stunning vision of a strong woman, a rockstar with a hell of a voice, a songwriter, a DJ, a voice-over person, and a musical actress. I met her when I was there half a lifetime ago and I’ll never forget her.

Cassandra L., a multifaceted artist and punster from my time at what is now known as Southwest Minnesota State University. She brings a smile to my face when I recall her. She of the tall paintings with lithe human figures dancing, and long talks late into the night about any and everything, and all of it intensely gratifying.

Aicha, a fine amazon queen of an African lady, who worked with and lived with my wife during her time in Labé, Guinee, West Africa a few years back. She’s a mother to a smart young woman schooling in Conakry. Aicha ran the household, she cooked the meals, she tended to almost everything, and she still had a little time to muddle through my poor few words of french and giggle over coffee. And she makes fish (Echeke) so good I rhapsodize about it to whoever will listen.

My old barely-casual acquaintance, miss Kate Sullivan – she blogs. She has been for some time and it’s my own damage that I hadn’t noticed until now. I just stumbled upon her again the other day. I look forward to delving into her rich trove of blog posts in my summer’s reading.

She recently wrote a post about Things We Maybe Shouldn’t Blog About. I had to appreciate it on many levels. I have a spouse, I am not a poo-flinging monkey living in a box under a bridge. I just don’t talk about a fair number of things online because they’re none of anybody’s business unless I choose to make them so.

And remember what I was saying about choice?

It isn’t paranoia to keep some of your cards close to your chest if the world itself has taught you that some things are best left unsaid. The world beats us all to a bloody pulp eventually, and I hear tell nobody gets out of here alive. So let’s make the best of it. Maybe I’ll feel more freedom, or if that’s not what’s lacking, then perhaps confidence – to write about things which have thusfar remained unsaid.

There are so many places to begin.

The third place I meant to touch on…the last thing I meant to bring up here is WHAT I blew through. Which paradigms got busted?

Well, NaNoWriMo winners get a coupon for a free proof copy of their novella. We only need pay shipping. I’ve actually finished up the first NaNoWriMo-Novel I did and plan to send for my proof copy soon. Just a few changes to make, minor edits made in ink on the first printout.

I recalled hearing Kevin Smith talk about Tweetbooks, or perhaps it ended with a Z, I dunno. It began to occur to me, and swept over me all sudden like woosh – that the various sites I’ve been blogging, tweeting, posting on and uploading to for the past several years. They are NOT intangible!

The teenager, the pre-teen who once dreamed of having his own words in a paperback book like Garrison Keillor, Piers Anthony, Stephen King – I don’t know if I ever dreamed that I’d have ALREADY written several books worth of material by the time affordable print-on-demand technology caught up to my overactive muse and the decade of digital babble already spent out there on the net right now.

I wanted a proper edited-and-professionally published paperback indistinguishable from what I bought on the racks at the drug store or borrowed from the squeaky wire rack at the library, but with MY words inside.

Yesterday when applying the same “survey of what is available” tactics I used last month on searching for a new cellphone to DIY pdf-to-print books made “on-demand” I busted out laughing.

I will probably, in the next year, end up paying quite reasonable sums of dollars for books to sit on my shelf. Far more professionally packaged than the 3-ring binder of printouts I gave me mum years ago.

To serve my youthful vanity, put a once-upon-a-dream to bed nicely. I may get a Twournal printed with my first year’s tweets. I could see a row of book spines, each with my name, one for LJ, one for my deleted myopera, one for myspace.

It would make it a lot easier to flip through that history, MY HISTORY, having it right here on the shelf at my fingertips like The Elements Of Style, A People’s History of the United States, or Custer Died For Your Sins. Might build that confidence we were speaking of before…

I made a PDF ebook from my LiveJournal posts at a pivotal turn in my life using a different site whose name escapes me. But the pdf file is nicer than the rough HTML grabs I made for backup.

I lost a blog – inexplicably deleted – from my.opera.com’s community. But the wayback machine helped me recover those years of my writing. Most if not all of it. And now with the new tools and businesses offering various methods to turn those blogs into printed books, even ebooks…

…how long before I at least have a shelf with 4-6 books of my various blogs and the years I posted to them?

And if my family or friends wanted to have those, I might be okay with that.

Would I ever want to publicize, monetize, perhaps even get all capitalist and SELL them?

Stranger things have happened. And these are quite possibly The Most Interesting of All Possible Times.

May 19, 2011

a brief amateurish lesson in quantum mechanics

Okay so I know I’m not by any means a master. But then are there any true Masters of Quantum Mechanics? Even Einstein and Stephen Hawking are at-best pedestrian at understanding things that exist almost entirely outside The Whole Capacity of Human Thought & Imagination.

But this whole doomsday fetishism thing going on, this rapture lust, this fad of rabid Christians trying to make everybody scared like 9-11 just because they can’t wait any longer to meet their Maker???

No!

Stop feeding the trolls, stop perpetuating this nonsense. This shite belongs on the front pages of the Weekly World News ffs! The Enquirer wouldn’t touch this, it’s beneath THEM, get me??

The absolute truth is that if the Universe did come to An End, it would either immediately reverse the big bang and collapse into a new fluctuation opposite to this bang’s trajectory and perspective, OR it would be entirely obliterated, all matter and substance eradicated to beyond Ether.

Immediately thereafter, The Universe would be replaced with an even harder nut to crack, a bigger puzzle, a bigger enigma in Its Place.

The inversion or replacement of the entire Universe is ALL THAT WILL OCCUR. Humanity schmoomanity, you can’t kill the Universe.

At the very least if the Universe turns itself inside out, THAT is where and why and how all this narcissistic, vain, Humanity-Centric BS will cease!

If that’s what it takes, then maybe I could be at peace with it. Gotta turn off the dark, end the endless night somehow. My life is light, but it isn’t enough. We want yesterday gone. We want the past to die. We want skin color or gender politics to be irrelevant.

So Xtians…go have your doom if you want it so badly. Just get less ignorant, get less stupid, or just get gone. If it were up to most of the under-20 aged people in America I’m pretty sure we’d Annex Jesusland and get on with our lives. Don’t make us need to!

Well and blessed be, safe travels.

[And btw dumping the negativity -from a personal, local, county, state, regional, federal, and international perspective, this would help IMMENSELY to keep there being more tomorrows. Just a hint from me 2 u.]

May 11, 2011

the ABCs of Free/Open Source Mac Software

Filed under: Uncategorized — eeplebert @ 9:37 am

You ever do just one thing at a time anymore? I know the productivity lecturers, the motivational speakers, and the performance analysts, the to-do list, GTD nuts all say that multitasking is a myth. Focus is the key.

Some days I just don’t get the people peddling to the middle, the mean, the average. I mean, of course, that’s where the easy money is. Convincing them to hand it over just takes a little stage panache and patter. So going to motivational seminars or becoming the used-car-salesman type required to be successful at giving said lectures – neither one ever appealed to me much.

For whatever reasons and whoever I have to thank (or coise) for my fate, I have not been over there. I’ve been up here for some yet-to-be-perfectly-defined purpose. Being in the 90th percentile for anything might be cause for celebration, but I’m afraid of heights and I don’t like pedestals.

Digression aside…

Listening to Kevin and Jen on Plus One Per Diem, one day behind via the podcast and not the live stream because old habits die harder than some, I guess.

I had to be productive too. So I did the dishes, made some notes, nixed attempting to read my book because it’s harder, while not impossible, to do listening to spoken word commentary. Shuffled through my notes for a novel written more than a year ago, discovering some interesting paths I never actually remembered to go down, or at least not yet, anyway.

and then the cloudy Salinas skies parted and I saw a ray of tungsten lamp light shine across the page where I’d written a hasty list of all the “essential mac apps” I wanted to re-download and install ASAP after acquiring a used mac those many years ago.

Some things have been added, but most of these pieces of excellent (and mostly “pay-only-if-you-like-it”) software have been around a while.

Without further ado (and not perfectly edited, I know I’m making some guesses here and some of these are either not open sourced or not free, but I intend a brief list of the few worthwhile unbloated paywares below, so please if you wish, correct my errors) :

The ABCs of Open Source Macintosh Computer Software

Adium / Audacity /  Adblock / anybody use Apache anymore?

Burn / Bean / Blacklight

Cyberduck / Cog / Camino / google Chrome

Disk Inventory X / DiskEject / DropBox

ffmpegx / FLAC for QT / flux / Flip4Mac / FlashFrozen / FlashBlock / FlashGot

Growl / GIMP / gimpshop / google earth

Handbrake / himmelbar

iBurn360 (legal backup software, and hey, I didn’t try to claim any old iApp!)

Jdownloader / JackPilot

KISMac wifi scanner

last.fm scrobbler (bit of a cheat for letter L)

macam (legacy webcam driver) / Max / Mac FLAC / Monolingual / MPEG Streamclip / Mixxx / MenuPrefs

Nocturne / Name Mangler / Name Changer

Opera (the browser, not the community)

Picasa / PeerGuardian / Perian

QuickTime Player / QuickSilver (a lotta people LOVE it, but I run a tight ship so I’ve never needed it, yet anyway.)

ReduxEncoder (what used to be VisualHub)

Safari / Seashore / Songbird / System Profiler

Transmission / Terminal (can’t handle a CLI? gtfo!)

the Unarchiver / UnRarX / uTorrent

VLC / VirtualDJ

WriteRoom / WrongRoom / WINE / WineBottler

xACT / X11

Not Free – but still worth a look:

Crossover from CodeWeavers!!

Spaceward Ho!

Peggle Deluxe

Bejeweled 3

Toast (by astarte, no, adaptec, no, roxio. cuz that just roxxy, yo! /sarcasm)

Adopey FotoChop

AudioHijack

Traktor DJ Studio

Unison / Unison 2

GarageBand, iMovie/iDVD. (Just not iPhoto unless they fixed it.)

Games:

Allgood Solitaire

Quinn

Snood

Solavant

Solitaire XL

Portal

Zuma Deluxe

There’s a similar list for the peecee, I just don’t bring out the gimp that often, it is my backup unit for a reason. So aside from the virus shields, the similar stuff that does the things I want on that side of the OperatingSystem fence, I’d say DaemonTools was a champion in a pinch more than once. But don’t be afraid to edit your windows registry on the fly and make certain you become a good process killer and veteran user of TOP or CMD to monitor your processes under the hood. That’s the only way to use a wintel box without losing your marbles very quickly.

+++

Okay! It’s your turn; what did I miss?

May 3, 2011

just because I can’t not

Filed under: Uncategorized — eeplebert @ 7:41 am

Salutations to the US Military, anybody along the chain of command that maintained some semblance of human dignity and didn’t let anyone go in with a firehose full of bullets Sopranos-style.

But I ain’t even gonna say his name, ok? Not here. Not now.

My brother, countless friends and relatives, yours too of course, served, were in danger, were away from home, away from their children, dirty, tired, dehydrated, shot at, etc.

I can go right down the rabbit hole with you some other day about if he ever existed or was a CIA plant, any other cryptofascist conspiracy theory you wanna spew. Just not today.

Today I’m thankful once more I ever won the stupid luck lottery and got born American. Somebody I respect said “three Presidents said they’d get X, finally one of ’em did it.”

I’m’a try and link to the lyrics of a few of the songs that make me choke up, of the hundreds if not thousands of songs borne of this stupid damn war and all the stupid pain it’s caused. In another context recently I shared a clip my brother sent me set to Jason Isbell’s song “Dress Blues.”

Here’s a few choice words from Master Jason Isbell I hope only bring him further renown.

http://www.songlyrics.com/jason-isbell/however-long-lyrics/

“See the man with the military mind
Trying to make us all afraid all the time
Trying to make us all stay inside and lock our doors and windows
See the man’s got too much to count
Try to recollect the sermon on the mount
Blessed are the poor when they’re all swinging from the gallows

But I ain’t afraid no more

I ain’t afraid no more

I ain’t afraid no more

No, I ain’t afraaaiiid…cuz

However long the night, the dawn will break again
We’ll be around when you have lost your oldest friends
There’s nothing you can say or do to us to drown out this Amen
‘Cause however long the night, the dawn will break again”

http://www.jasonisbell.com/

Think I’d sell a kidney to be able to write like that.

Since this joint appears to be so new the placenta’s still fresh, so to speak…no lyrics. Just listen.

Thank you Pat G and Bridge Life Entertainment, discovered via Mr. Lif on facebook yesterday.

We made it through the night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 26, 2011

Becoming the media (podcasts abound)

I remember the night before Paul Wellstone died. I’m sorry to start on a downer, but it fixes the moment in time. I was at a Jello Biafra spoken word performance in the First Avenue Mainroom with my wife and a handful of friends.

[Digressing just for a moment, Mason Jennings wrote the most heartfelt eulogy to Mr Wellstone and his lovely bride called Ballad of Paul and Sheila. If it doesn’t touch you, you might wanna check if you’re still a human being.

On the convex of that thought and reference, how honest and true to that memory, how just and carefully Senator Al Franken does your seat proud, Sir Wellstone. It is a wonderful testament to hope, if I do not strain my hyperbole ahead of itself.]

The topic of Mr. Biafra’s clear headed oasis of reason that good night centered around the theme “become the media.” Despite all the developments of blogs and crowd-centric social applications, it took a few years for the possibility of becoming the same sort of force in the world as a media conglomerate – even for the span of one short video clip – was possible for the little man.

Of course then iTunes democratized that access to podcast audiences. Among other developments, certainly not the only one. But here it is 2011 and Kevin Smith is become a network – certainly not all by himself but (paraphrasing Run DMC here) he “crashed through walls, cut through floors, busted through ceilings and knocked down doors” of all those who told him there was no place for him on radio except as the occasional guest.

As if he needed my help, I’m still proud to mention Kevin Smith’s SModcast Internet Radio, aka SIR! beginning next month, barely a fortnight away. It was SModcast that led me to discover Nerdist, Bagged & Boarded, Adam Carolla’s podcast, Doug Benson’s podcast, Money B’s podcast.

I’d babble about how much I love Hollywood Babble-On, but you could just go listen to it…go ahead, I’ll wait…

There are more podcasts everyday. Yahtzee Croshaw over at Zero Punctuation seems to have done at least one. A friend contacted me tonight about his premiere on one tomorrow. No need be shy about it anymore, right?

Adam Sward over there on me friends list, referred to in my eyes as Illustrator Samurai. Paraphrasing what Bender might say, “Go look upon Adam’s art, and then kill yourselves.” Well, don’t die, but join me in amazement and then admit you’re unlikely to do near as good.

Also, hear him on a podcast if you wanna. Isn’t the internet great like that?

I keep thinking about finding the words to humbly offer up my oddball music lexicon brain up to a friend (see over there where it says Friends? Russ4Life. That’s him.) to use however might help his weekly radio show. Not that he needs any help.

I miss college nights listening to The Shag on KKCK. Russ keeps a blog for it over here: http://kkckmusicnews.wordpress.com/

Participation is infectious. Playing solo DJ sets into last.fm makes me miss my college radio show. Le sigh…

The Ben Heck Show is a prime example of how incredible things can reach massive audiences with little if any politics involved in it at all. This is the kind of ‘become the media’ that was just beginning to get possible when Jello suggested it – mainly as a counter to corporate personhood. Those were the beginning days of youtube, back when video on the internet was mostly a joke about “buffering….”

There are times it truly staggers me, almost grinds my gears to a halt – seeing how many video tools exist entirely online in the cloud. Seeing friends kids who were (as Kevin would put it, still come) not-born-yet back when I first used a digital camera. [For class. And I had to sign a waiver, it was THAT expensive.] These same kids use video editing software to chop up their skateboarding videos so effortlessly I feel like a fossil.

Mistah Smiff had one of the people involved in this link on a podcast a while back. A special one for charity, with a microscopic price tag I hardly blinked before donating.

In fact, possessed by the spirit of heightened connectivity, you can hear that lovely podcast right at their Smodcast.bandcamp.com page link right here below.

http://smodcast.bandcamp.com/track/chapter-1-the-neil-amanda-interview

Tonight I stumbled across a techdirt story that tickled my brainmeats.

http://www.berklee.edu/news/3311/rethink-music-ben-folds-damian-kulash-amanda-pal

I see that they remark how producing an 8 track album in 8 hours is exemplary of the process outgrowing entirely the album-release model. Even going further than Radiohead, who broke the mold for sales. This one is created far faster than In Rainbows was.

I can’t wait to give it a whirl. Web timestamps aside, according to the article I just RTFA’d they should be finishing this right about … NOW!

April 24, 2011

We do what we must because we can!

Filed under: Uncategorized — eeplebert @ 5:59 am

Loving Portal and Portal 2. I bought Orange Box first thing after acquiring a uber-cheap xbox360. Before even taking it home to verify that it worked entirely properly. This is how you function when you find something this good.

I think I asked somewhere “how could something this great become popular in a world where every game gets saddled with an utterly irrelevant multiplayer campaign?”

Thank you GLaDOS for making me forget Sony. I mean it.

There remain a couple of Ratchet & Clank titles in existence that I have not played but it just doesn’t matter anymore. I haven’t laughed out loud and giggled enjoying myself this much since Going Commando. Fony is bass-ackwards.

In the timeless geek analogy, I once agreed with a phrase I read which said to George Lucas “Joss Whedon is my master now!” Well, Portal is my master now.

In some ways this reminds me of the first time I played Doom back when it first came out. Even after just 5 minutes playing it, I began to imagine Cacodemons hovering just over my shoulder out of sight. Now I think about whipping out my portal gun in the aisles at the grocery store. 🙂

I didn’t catch the train, the drift, the momentum right away. Didn’t even have the hardware to play the game once I’d discovered how irresistible the puzzle solving madness could be.

Once I’d done the diligence of laying in the necessary hardware and played more than a few levels, it was clear I’d found a new favorite. Not just a new game, but a new type of game, a new type of puzzle. Even in a poorly hacked together port for my decrepit old integrated video card, I enjoyed playing, glitchy or not.

Black humor from deep inside my sick cold heart that made me laugh out loud repeatedly, and puzzles so carefully balanced as to reach for that spot where I almost can’t figure it out and then tickle me until it just POPS and gives me that rewarded-brain feel.

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.