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My stupid life

Ireland Open Thread

We're in Ireland until 6/13. Behave yourselves or we won't bring you home any dead leprechauns.

You can use this post to discuss your wishes and fears while we are gone. And if you're dying for a liberal propaganda fix, you can check out Cursor. That's where we get 90% of our stuff from anyway.

If we decide not to come back, it was nice knowing you. I guess.

By fnord12 | May 28, 2006, 10:09 PM | My stupid life | Comments (9)| Link

Make friends with the badger - $5

Joshua sent me this article that continues the debate on the internet and the future of the music industry. It's pretty balanced so go check it out. It looks like a good music site in general, as well.

But the article says "And you shouldn't even get out of bed if you're not posting your music on MySpace and selling CDs on commission at CD Baby." I don't know nuthin' about birthin ' CDs at CD Baby, but i broke down and got myself a myspace account (feels like a step backwards after coming from Friendster to our own website). There's nothing there that isn't already here, but maybe it'll get me a little collaborative exposure and criticism from other musicians. And if you have an account, stop by and "make friends".

By fnord12 | May 24, 2006, 2:00 PM | Music & My stupid life | Comments (2)| Link

Endure it again for the first time

Joshua's We Endure site is open to the public (unlike my premature declaration last time). I understand that now you can compare your progress to Ensign Wesley Crusher. Check out the review of the site on a Wired blog.

By fnord12 | May 24, 2006, 1:56 PM | My stupid life | Comments (4)| Link

Weston A. Price/Sally Fallon Update

Some of you may recall my previous post We Help the Webmaster on the Weston A. Price Foundation's claim that 65% of Chinese people's daily calories came from pork. Sally Fallon wrote back to me on May 6th. Here's what i wrote to her:

In this article, you claim that 65% of calories in a Chinese diet came from pork, citing K.C. Chang's "Food in Chinese Culture" as the source. I have read Chang's book and cannot find such a claim. In fact, I read only 76 calories a day were from animal sources, 54% of which are from pork. This only accounts for 41 calories in total from pork. I highly doubt 41 calories constitutes 65% of the average Chinese person's diet. Also, the book repeatedly states the importance of soy as a staple in the Chinese diet and conversely, meat is consumed very little except on holidays or other special occasions. Please tell me where you found your information. Otherwise, I would suggest you recheck your source.

Here's her reply:

I'll have to recheck this. It was not from the book but from an article by Chang. . . will get back to you. Sally

First off, if such an article does exist and she did in fact lift this statistic from said article, she should make sure when she's composing her list of citations, she cites the correct thing. That's pretty shoddy work, if you ask me. You don't write a paper, cite the wrong material, and expect me to believe you have credibility.

Second, it's now been 2 weeks and lo and behold, she has yet to get back to me. Perhaps she's having some trouble finding this article. Mebbe she's having trouble because it doesn't exist.

By min | May 19, 2006, 3:52 PM | My stupid life & Science | Comments (0)| Link

I Apologize In Advance

But the Depeche Mode website has a picture of a shirtless David Gahan from one of the shows they did on this tour. We did not get a shirtless David Gahan. I mean, first off, nobody really needs to see a shirtless David Gahan. Let's just make that clear. Certainly not in 2006, if ever. Also, it was too bloody chilly that night for anyone to be taking their clothes off. But it's just not a party unless he takes his shirt off. It's another throwback from my 1994 concert experience and i can't help it so shut up.

By min | May 18, 2006, 12:19 PM | My stupid life | Comments (0)| Link

We Do Good Work

After 2 years, we finally fixed the toilet. Now it doesn't run anymore. We took all the insides out and replaced them with brand new insides that you can see in the picture above. It's been 4 days and nothing terrible has happened. Water is not leaking from the bottom of the tank. The tank seems to be sitting securely on the rest of the toilet. And, most importantly, it flushes.

Here's what i don't understand. You see that skinny, black rubber hose with the white thing on the end going to the white "overflow" pipe in the middle of the toilet? That rubber hose shoots water into the overflow pipe. The water then ends up in the toilet bowl. Why does it have to do that? Why are we deliberately shooting water down the overflow pipe? Shouldn't we reserve use of that pipe for when the tank, you know, starts to overflow?

By min | May 16, 2006, 5:35 PM | My stupid life | Comments (0)| Link

Don't Tell Me My IPod Isn't Psychic

For the last 2 days since the Depeche Mode concert, my ipod's played at least 3 Recoil songs. Out of a random shuffle of 9,505 songs, it played 3 of the 30 recoil songs saved on it.

UPDATE: Since this post, 2 more Recoil songs have played. (1:17pm)

By min | May 16, 2006, 10:47 AM | Music & My stupid life | Comments (4)| Link

Depeche Mode: Touring the Angel

They played last night at the Garden State Arts Center (i refuse to call it the PNC Bank Arts Center because that's a stupid name). Overall, I enjoyed the show. Nothing compares to the first Depeche Mode concert i went to in 1994. That was both my first Depeche Mode concert and my first concert ever. Now whenever there's a concert for some band i like, i sit there debating if it's worth the effort of getting to the venue and the money to buy the tickets when the sound quality is considerably better in my living room. Tsk.

Once we got to the Arts Center, there was some complicated series of driving in circles, getting off the Parkway, then heading back onto the Parkway, all the while being directed by high shool kids all in white shirts and beige pants/shorts. A stretch SUV was in front of us. They were clearly quite important because the white shirts waved at the occupants of said vehicle, and as the SUV passed, the white shirt closest to it would point at it while nodding knowingly at a compatriot farther away. They also got to park in the lot right by the entrance and were not diverted back towards the Parkway to the "Commoners" lot. At least shuttle buses were thoughtfully provided to us to get us from the lot to the venue.

The opening band was a group called She Wants Revenge. Two LA DJs who decided to get together and make music. Whatever you do, don't watch the video for their song "These Things" before you listen to their music. It will totally ruin it for you. The Garden State Arts Center is an open venue, so the sound wasn't great. And the opening band never gets the love and attention the main act gets, so basically, they pointed their amps at the audience and turned it up to 11. What's funny is that the 'group' is just these 2 guys. But in order to play live, they had to get a drummer and a guitarist to play with them. The singer played the occasional guitar and the other guy played the bass and the keys.

I think i can start buying music again. Tank goff for the revival of New Wave. I was floudering until Interpol and The Killers and Franz Ferdinand came on the scene. Don't get me wrong. I love the musics. But i'm a europop new wave baby, and i was mourning the loss of an era until these newbies showed up. I disagree with AllMusic in saying She Wants Revenge sounds like Joy Division. I think they say that about every new wavy band that comes out. It's required. The singing might be a bit same-y, but i'm willing to give their album a try and see what i get. Also, in the AllMusic review, they mention a band called The Bravery that i might look into. I might almost be excited if i wasn't so negative.

On Thursday night DM had to shorten their set because Dave Gahan (the singer) got laryngitis. We were a bit worried that our show might get cancelled or shortened, but it all went fine. Considering the amount of screaming he was doing, I'm not surprised Gahan ended up with laryngitis. Between you and me, i wonder if he had a little tipple before the show. Or mebbe it was just a little speed.

Conversely, I think they must have given Andrew Fletcher a sedative or some kind of happy pill. He spent the entire evening standing there, occasionally hopping around and mebbe pushing a button once or twice on his keyboard. He didn't even clap. So sad. They had monitors showing the band as they were playing. Peter Gordeno, the keyboardist not officially in the band, got more screen time than Fletch. I think that was because that guy was actually playing the keyboard. C'mon, guys. It's been 26 years. Teach the guy some chords or something.

It was a decent set that lasted from around 9:20 to 11. They ofc came back for a 4 song encore. On a side note, the whole business of the encore has lost some of its lustre. It's like when they started printing on the cover of the albums that there was a hidden track. Everybody knows they're going to come back for an encore. It used to be when the band said goodnight, they meant it. If the crowd was enthusiastic enough, mebbe they'd get a nod from the band in the form of the encore. When the encore becomes standard, the whole ruse of walking off the stage only to come back in a few minutes seems silly. We don't really need to keep cheering and shouting and clapping and whooping to entice the band back for a few more songs. They were going to come out anyway.

The set was a mix of stuff off the Playing the Angel album and older stuff. Here's a rundown of the set (which the DM site is nice enough to publish because i sure as hell couldn't remember everything that was and wasn't played):

A Pain That I'm Used To - Playing the Angel
A Question Of Time - Black Celebration
Suffer Well - Playing the Angel
Precious - Playing the Angel
Walking In My Shoes - Songs of Faith and Devotion
Stripped - Black Celebration
Home - Ultra
It Doesn't Matter Two - Black Celebration
In Your Room - Songs of Faith and Devotion
The Sinner In Me - Playing the Angel
I Feel You - Songs of Faith and Devotion
Behind The Wheel - Music for the Masses
World In My Eyes - Violator
Personal Jesus - - Violator
Enjoy The Silence - Violator
Leave In Silence - A Broken Fram
Photographic - Speak&Spell
Just Can't Get Enough - Speak&Spell
Never Let Me Down Again - Music for the Masses

So, there you go, rod. One song from Ultra. And Martin Gore did the singing. They wisely stayed away from any songs off the Exciter album which wasn't so good, imo. Weird crowd. Lots of people who looked like they were the kind of people who watched alot of sports. Not the DM crowd i'm used to seeing (although, admittedly, i've only been to 3 DM concerts counting this one). I also think that the crowd didn't know the older songs. You know how they like to do that bit where they get the audience to sing along? Gahan tried that a few times with some of the older songs, and it didn't go so well.

Martin Gore sang "Home", "It Doesn't Matter Two", and "Leave in Silence." The first 2 songs Gore usually sings. But "Leave in Silence" is Gahan on the studio recording. And it's a fairly upbeat song. Something you could definitely dance to, though a tad slow. Well, when Gore came out for the encore, he sang it as a ballad. Still nice. Gore's got a good voice. But the song definitely loses some of its oomph as a ballad. I don't know what it is. I love the phrasing, the way the music comes in at certain points in the studio version. Definitely catchier. Then they played "Photographic" at about 1.5 times the normal speed. Which was kewl, but doesn't make up for "Leave in Silence." And i was sad they didn't sing "Shake the Disease," but it looks like during the tour, Gore sings this solo, so again, i wouldn't have been happy because inevitably he would have turned it into a ballad. He wore one of those knit hats with the ear flaps and the strings that dangle down. Usually those things have a pom-pom on the top. His had a mohawk. He's a weird guy.

DM also needed extra musicians to help them out with their live performance. Back in the day, DM stage setup would consist of 3 keyboards, a mic, and a guitar for the occasional Martin Gore guitar feature. Now, it's 3 keyboards, Gore's menagerie of guitars brought on and taken off one by one by a crew of roadies, and a fairly large drumset. As mentioned earlier, Peter Gordeno was the third keyboardist. The drummer is an Austrian named Christian Eigner. This guy was good. Really good. Since Ultra, their sound has been heavier, including more real instruments as opposed to the synth equivalents. Including real drums, not just a drum track. Some of this must be due to Eigner, as he is credited in some songs. I think it's a good direction. But i still don't feel right about it. It's just inherently wrong for DM to be on stage with real drums.

As for my experience with being around people, the guy next to me kept inching ever closer, forcing me to keep moving to the right. As if this process would soon land him in some prime viewing spot that i was hoarding. We were about 10 rows from the lawn. I don't think the viewing was going to get much better than it was.

In addition to the pushy guy, there was an older couple a few rows in front of us who were very happy to be at a concert. They were dancing and whooping during the 40 min sound check in between the opening band and DM. Rod predicted they would fall into an alcoholic slumber before DM got on stage, but it wasn't to be.

I opted to not get a $40 T-shirt or any of the other over priced merchandise being offered. I know. I'm a tightwad. The one DM concert tee i bought was at that 1994 concert, and it got shrunk in the wash. I won't say who shrunk it, but i will say that i'm still bitter. Not only was that my first concert, it was the last concert before Alan Wilder left. *sigh*

By min | May 15, 2006, 1:14 PM | Music & My stupid life | Comments (5)| Link

The Violation Zone

We live in a townhouse and we have an association. Basically, we pay a monthly due, and it covers lawn maintenance, snow removal, and some maintenance and repair to the exterior.

They're fascists. If you've ever dealt with an association, you will know what i'm talking about. The front door has to be a certain color, the outdoor light fixtures have to conform to certain specifications, you can only plant things in the specified location, etc etc. There's also plenty of arbitrary rules that don't make sense like if i wanted to build a deck, it could extend 16ft from my back door. But if i wanted to put down a concrete patio, it can't extend more than 8ft. Does this make sense to anyone? If i can use those 16ft for one thing, why not something else? In fact, why aren't those 16ft mine to do as i please? I am afterall the owner of a certain amount of land outside the structure. I pay property taxes on it. If they want to dictate what i do in the "common" areas, that's one thing, but my own backyard?

Every few months we get a newsletter. I particularly enjoy the one we just got. They don't publish letters, but they will print comments.

A Heritage Home owner suggests that garage doors be kept shut during the day, unless you are working in the area. It gives the community a much neater look and keeps out rodents and dirt.

Another concerned resident reminds us that garbage is to be placed on the road near the curb no earlier than the evening before collection. Garbage cans must be stowed in garages by the evening of the pick up. [emphasis mine]

And if you think you can just flaunt these suggestions from "concerned residents" (read as "The Management"), think again.

Residents are encouraged to report these and other violations to RCP Management. Violaters will be fined, so please be considerate of your neighbors. Follow the rules and don't find yourself in the Violation Zone.

That's right. My association is actually the Communist Party in disguise. This is where all the higher ups went when the Iron Curtain fell. First they get us to spy on our neighbors for not keeping their garage doors closed. Next thing you know, we'll be turning in all the capitalists. It's ingenious!

By min | May 11, 2006, 2:13 PM | My stupid life | Comments (2)| Link

We're advertising

And, no, i don't mean the ad banner for the new Politburo album at the top of the page. People have been stealing our bandwidth, linking to pictures on our site that we stole from other sites fair and square (at least we had the decency to steal the pictures outright). So we swapped the images. Check out here and here, and scroll down.

By fnord12 | May 9, 2006, 2:29 PM | My stupid life | Comments (0)| Link

It's My Right

I hate it when people whip this one out. You tell them they're doing something that they're not supposed to do or something that is just plain rude. And what is their response? "It's my right as an American." Usually, the "right" they feel they've been granted is something ridiculous like their right to stay at an establishment after it's been closed or their right to talk loudly in a movie theatre or their right to carry food.

I am no scholar of the Constitution, but I'm pretty sure none of those are listed in the Bill of Rights. In fact, let's take a look at that right now. It'll be fun. (i originally had all 10 amendments posted here but somebody, and we won't say who, felt it was too "self-righteous" so you can go read them for yourself on your own time. suffice it to say, i didn't see mention of loud talking, carrying food, or even spitting listed.)

Mebbe those extra rights are in an addendum somewhere.

"Civility" isn't a right, but it's an important part of society. Trying to excuse incivility by spouting off about their "right as an American citizen" is a sign of ignorance, and it tears at the all too thin veil of society that we're trying to cling to.

Ofc, my version of the Bill of Rights is off of the old Constitution. In Bush's newly revised Constitution, I think he replaced the Bill of Rights with a picture of the big fish he caught in his lake.

By min | May 9, 2006, 11:47 AM | My stupid life | Comments (9)| Link

I gotcher wildlife right here

We traveled all over the Pyramid Mountain trails on Saturday, through Bear Swamp and Big Cat Swamp, and Poisonous Frog Swamp, and Super Deadly Killer Chipmunk Swamp, and failed to see a single predator. And yet on Sunday, what goes strolling through our backyard but a vicious Jersey Wolverine. He's totally considering going for my throat in that second picture.

By fnord12 | May 8, 2006, 7:43 AM | My stupid life | Comments (3)| Link

Journey to Pyramid Mountain

On Saturday, Rose, the noted naturalist and wilderness survival expert, led us on an expedition to the one place in New Jersey that isn't yet covered with strip malls. The tale of our exciting adventure is recounted here.

By fnord12 | May 7, 2006, 11:21 PM | My stupid life | Comments (6)| Link

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