Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Is it me, or does the ubiquitous iPod advertising campaign (bottom) -- launched in September 2003 -- appear to be a total ripoff of the cover image from Blackalicious's album Blazing Arrow (top) -- released in April 2002? Maybe it's just my imagination.
Whilst hunting for the iPod image, I also found parodies featuring Bender and -- even better -- Jebus.
I Love GarageBand!
As I noted in an earlier post, Apple's fantastic music production app GarageBand is one glorious package. It's never been easier for me to make high-quality music tracks -- and it takes me 1/3 of the time it took with my old software! I love it to pieces.
I Hate GarageBand! I Keel You, Apple!
GarageBand is ruining my spring break. Just like many other folks around the web, I'm experiencing bone-crushing problems with this evil app. It won't launch some songs; it completely mutates others to the point where they won't play at all.
On Monday I did an Archive & Install, and then -- when that didn't fix it -- I backed up my data and did a total Erase & Install. All was well for a few hours, but then it happened again. Fun! Hand me that machine gun!
I think there may be a conflict with the program Amadeus II, since I had it open this time when the demons returned. I suppose I can do another E&I, and avoid using Amadeus. See if that gets me anywhere. Meantime, the Apple Support People are consulting among themselves and promised to have an answer for me in "a few days". (TPCQ: "In several hours? Do you know that I lost a customer last week because of your .. silliness!") I only get 90 days of free customer support, so combined with my having time during the day, this is the best time for it to happen (if it has to happen).
While I remain steadfast in my commitment to nonviolent principles, I'd like to strangle someone right now.
Life Imitates The Simpsons
"Did you really have to handcuff the children?" "No, ma'am, I did not." (Which episode?)
So much for labor rights!
Republican governors in a few spots across the country are angering state employees by removing one of organized labor's strongest tools - the right to collective bargaining.Sigh. Meantime, NoWayWolfowitz is an interesting warehouse of news about Captain Spitcomb and his nomination to be the new president of the WB.
Check out these videos of walking octopi. They're coming to get us! (Imagine the chaos when they team up with the killer robots!)
Today I'm listening to: Orbital!
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Of course I'm Lisa Simpson. Was there ever any doubt? So which Simpsons character are you?
Got the new SynCast up today -- a little late, I know; but who's counting? I know I said I'd get to Part II of the political hip-hop roundup, but I doubt there will be any broken hearts because I took an easier way out. (If you're mad, leave comments.)
That's it. More tomorrow, perhaps.
Play is pretty nifty. Via ABS.
Today I'm listening to: Paul Hardcastle!
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Here's my new computer, a Mac Mini. (Its name is Zek Jadem.) Look at how tiny it is compared to my old G4. And yet, it's three times faster! It's such a pleasure to have windows open and programs start right away, instead of having to wait.
But one of the most excellent things about it -- and the iLife suite which came with it -- is GarageBand, which will completely transform the way I make music. Just from playing around with it for two days, I've already turned out this track (I think it's a hit):
Cake Dance is very polished and cute.
Today I'm listening to: myself!
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
So I got this new big EMeme through email from several people, and I decided to make it a blog post. Easier, more public. Well, maybe not easier. Whatever. Here goes. (Virus picture [for you, D] from here.)
1. WHAT IS YOUR FULL NAME?
Eric S. Piotrowski, DDS (No, not really. I have a friend who worked in a sign shop.)
2. WHAT COLOR PANTS ARE YOU WEARING?
3. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
4. WHAT'S THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
A big eplate of food from the Taste of Asia buffet.
5. DO YOU WISH ON STARS?
6. WHERE IS THE LAST PLACE YOU VISITED?
The land of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. (What kind of question is this? Thank you for defining your terms, whoever wrote this.)
7. HOW IS THE WEATHER RIGHT NOW?
Crummy, grey, slushy. I hear it's nice in Florida this time of year.
8. LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
A woman from MacConnection who sounded comatose.
9. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT YOU THIS?
Well, so far I've gotten it from four people: Garrett, whom I like very much; [CENSORED]; whom I also like very much; Jesse, whom I like very much; and Erin Hannon, who is cool -- but whom I haven't seen in many years.
10. HOW OLD ARE YOU TODAY?
29. Next year I get a wacky cake with a grim reaper on it, right? And salmon mousse.
11. FAVORITE DRINK?
Orangina is good (vive Charles de Gaulle). I've also become quite enamored of late with Bigelow's Green Tea with Lemon. And of course there's Thai iced tea. And let's not forget Mountain Dew. (Man, that looks like a dumb site.)
12. FAVORITE SPORT TO PLAY:
Is Go a sport? I like bowling. That's a sport. (TPCQ: "Batman's a scientist.")
13. HAIR COLOR? MY REAL COLOR?
My hair color is dark brown. What does "my real color" mean? My real hair color? Dark brown! What did I just say? Or does it mean what's the color of my soul? If that's what it means, then my real color is ultraviolet.
14. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
I have a brother named Mark. He lives in Gainesville, Florida. Hi, Mark! I've been meaning to call you. I'm getting that Mini tomorrow so we should talk about how I can send this G4 to the Labor Party.
16. FAVORITE MONTH?
I like the summer, so I'll say June. (When vacation begins.) April is the cruelest month.
17. FAVORITE FOOD?
I have many favorites. Refer to my journal writing on the topic. (To be posted one of these days in a big archive.)
18. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Death to Smoochy. Pretty good, overall. Ed Norton is of course The Man. The love story sucked (doesn't it always?).
19. FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR?
May 20 -- East Timor's independence day. March 10 comes in a close 2nd.
20. WHAT DO YOU DO TO VENT ANGER?
Yell at students. Play GTA:SanAndreas. Meditate. Yell at car radio while NPR plays snippets of President Bonehead yammering on about how we should err on the side of life in complex situations (this from the same man who made fun of Karla Faye Tucker's request to meet with him while on death row).
21. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TOY AS A CHILD?
I had a Snoopy stuffed dog that I dragged around a lot. My brother and I also had a pedal-powered Batmobile that we enjoyed very much. Then everything changed when I got my Casio SK-1 Sampling Keyboard. The rest is history.
23. HUGS OR KISSES?
I prefer cash.
24. CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA?
Pistachio! (TPCQ: "He says chocolate.")
25. DO YOU WANT YOUR FRIENDS TO WRITE/ E-MAIL BACK?
Duh. What a dumb question. Who says "no"?
26. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
Oh, I see. It was a setup. What's the point of all this friend-rating? Next question please!
27. WHO IS LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
Next question please!
28. LIVING ARRANGEMENTS?
Dangit, Garrett stole my answer. (Yes, I have living arrangements.) I think arranged marriages are a very bad idea -- as for arranged living, let's not even get into it.
29. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
When I was reading the dedication from Generations of Resistance to my students.
30. WHO IS THE FRIEND YOU HAVE HAD THE LONGEST?
32. WHAT DID YOU DO LAST NIGHT?
Ate much-too-spicy Thai food and watched 2/3 of Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks.
33. FAVORITE SMELLS?
When I was a kid trading scratch 'n' sniff stickers, I always loved the gasoline stickers. I've always liked the smell of fresh sheets on a bed.
34. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
East Timor. Diane. Frederick Douglass. The people of Haiti. Aung San Suu Kyi. Altin. Popular uprisings. Medea Benjamin. The Immokalee Farmworkers. (See picture at right.)
35. WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?
GWB. Violence. Willful ignorance. People who never examine their lives. Bees.
36. NEXT TRAVEL DESTINATION?
East Timor: July 2005.
37. FAVORITE CAR?
The one Mr. Burns drives in the episode where he demands that Marge "fill it up with petroleum distillate; and re-vulcanize my tires. Post haste!"
38. FAVORITE FLOWER?
That purple one I took a picture of with the ladybug on it.
39. NUMBER OF KEYS ON YOUR KEY RING?
(Goes to count) five, and one fob.
41. FAVORITE DAY OF THE WEEK?
Monday. Tuesday (Diane makes dinner). Wednesday. Thursday. Friday. Saturday. Sunday (Go at Dan's).
42. WHAT DID YOU DO ON YOUR LAST BIRTHDAY?
Had a special birthday dinner at Diane's. Relaxed. Slept.
43. HOW MANY STATES HAVE YOU LIVED IN?
44. HOW MANY CITIES HAVE YOU LIVED IN?
45. HOW MANY CARS HAVE YOU HAD AND WHAT WAS THE FIRST ONE?
Two. A maroon 1990 Dodge Spirit with many bumper stickers on the back.
46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
47. CRAZIEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE?
I'd rather not say.
48. NEXT CRAZY THING TO DO?
Dance around going "Woo woo woo / Woo woo woo". No, really -- grade a really big stack of papers. Can't hold me back! No, seriously -- I'm going to transfer all my data from this hard drive over to my new Mac Mini that I'll be getting tomorrow. I'm a wild man! But honestly -- I'm going to go over to Diane's and eat dinner, then wash some dishes. Born to be wiiiillld!
49. FAVORITE THING YOU OWN?
The books I've written. The albums I've made. The cartoons I've drawn. The painting Diane made of us.
50. IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE THING IN LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Check out Buddy Rich jamming with Animal on The Muppet Show. Evan showed me this a while back -- magnificent stuff!
Today I'm listening to: Made on Earth!
Sunday, March 20, 2005
The new Deviant SynCast is up. This week we take a look at some excellent political rap music from the past 15 years.
Next week we'll finish up with Part Two. Enjoy! (Sorry for the short post -- I got papers to grade.)
The Grid Game is a bit of fun.
Today I'm listening to: political rap music!
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
In case you haven't heard, Bernie Ebbers was found guilty today on all nine counts of economic malfeasance. It's been a good month for corporate justice!
The nine criminal counts against Ebbers -- securities fraud, conspiracy and seven counts of making false filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission -- carry up to 85 years in prison. He will be free on bail until sentencing.Now I'm not usually one to gloat in the impending imprisonment of a criminal, but . . Lock him up! Throw away the key! Put him in with Schillinger! (TPCQ: "Ha, HA!")
A Good Article about Hezbollah
Check out this good article about Hezbollah from DAWN, an English-language publication in Pakistan (they do good work).
Hezbollah denies it is a "militia". Instead it insists that there is a distinction between the militias that prosecuted the civil war, and the "resistance" that forced the Israeli military to leave southern Lebanon under fire, gaining it huge admiration across the Middle East.A little something to keep in mind when Dubya starts in about how they need to disarm. (But the Israeli settlers can all keep their weapons.)
Check out the Stupid Elvis Flash. Hey, it's got Hello Kitty and HomestarRunner.
Today I'm listening to: Public Enemy! Classic.
Monday, March 14, 2005
As you may have heard, former Bush campaign aide Karen Hughes has been named as President Dubya's foreign envoy in charge of making us look good as we violate international law and cluster-bomb civilian areas.
Born into a US Army family in Paris, Hughes grew up in the United States, Canada and Panama.How true that is! For instance, when people in Panama watch 3000 of their neighbors get slaughtered by foreign troops, they interpret the actions of US policymakers differently than people in the US watching heroic soldiers capture the evil dictator on teevee. (The Panamanians even refuse to call it "Operation Just Cause" like we tell them to.)
Hopefully Karen can do some PR magic and get those stupid foreigners to appreciate our benevolent bombing campaigns. (TPCQ: "I have seven pudding cups!")
Immutable Law of Human Nature #137: Music
A while back, Diane alerted me to NeoCon Luv by the Iron Sheik, et al. I thought it was cool, but not nearly as magnificent as she did. Lately, though, I've been listening to it more and more, and today I had a revelation: No one ever enjoys a song you play them as much as you do at the time. The more I think about this, the more true it feels.
I remember one time Jesse came into the Eric/Christie/Garrett/Max house and played us "Chemical Calesthenics" by Blackalicious -- as glorious as this song is, there were a dozen reasons why we didn't turn on to it at that moment. I know I've had similar results myself -- even with songs that my friends have gone on to appreciate.
So I dunno -- I guess the best way really is just to give the person the song and let them digest it as their own pace.
Thanks to Garrett for (long ago) linking us to Who's on First? (The video store remix). I think he got it from Sam.
And thanks to MoFi for linking us to It Puts the Lotion on Its Skin: The music video.
Balance is a little long, but very good. Also from MoFi.
Today I'm listening to: LaidBack!
Sunday, March 13, 2005
I've got a huge stack of essays I have to grade today -- so I don't have time for a big long blog psot today (or a long SynCast, for that matter). But I did whip up a show for today, just to keep up every week. Tune in again next week -- I'll be doing a comprehensive overview of political rap music. Special thanks to Yonk for doing the vocals on one of those tracks there.
Also a big shout out to my lady Diane, who had a birthday this past week -- last night we went for sushi and bowling to celebrate. (Not many people know this, but bowling was a traditional counterpart to sushi meals during the Edo period in Japan.)
Aiight, I'm off to grade some essays. Laters.
I'm the only one in this room professional enough to handle this gun. And I thought I looked foolish in front of the classroom!
Today I'm listening to: Amorphous Androgynous!
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has WON its fight for one additional penny per pound of tomatoes picked.
I'm off to the Bell for the first time in four years! Viva la coalicion!
Get a load of that tennis court! Yes, it's a real court -- the highest in the world -- in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I'll be they don't have too many diving saves in games up there. (Via MoFi.)
Get a Load of That Genocide!
But the big news is Darfur, Sudan. Guess who's blocking UN efforts to stop the bloodshed?
Twelve of the Security Council's 15 members are on record in support of referring Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as part of a Sudan resolution that is currently under negotiation. However, the Bush administration opposes an ICC referral because of its ideological aversion to the court. . . . In the face of no support for th[e alternative US] proposal, the United States is now seeking a 45-day delay to make a decision on accountability.(stirring Lee Greenwood music) And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know that my government will obstruct multilateral attempts to stop genocide. . . Wait, I got the lyrics wrong. Dangit!
Get a Load of That Generation Gap!
I've always considered my love of hip hop to be a bridge-builder between myself and my students. Even though the vast majority of rap music (like the vast majority of all music), I'm always into good hip hop wherever it's found, and I always like to hear new stuff.
But I've noticed that many students aren't into the rap artists I grew up with -- Run-DMC, EPMD, Rric B & Rakim, Public Enemy. Of course this is natural, insofar as no generation ever really enjoys the music of the one before it to the same extent; but I had an epiphany recently about this phenomenon.
I've never been a big Beatles fan. I appreciate their contributions to the world of music, and I feel indebted to them for their innovation and the positive effects their music has had. But I never really cared for the music itself. I realized not long ago that many younger folks have the same sort of detached appreciation for old-school rap music. So in a way, classic rap serves the same function for me that classic rock serves for so many in the generation that preceded ours.
Not major, I suppose -- but it felt significant to me. So does this mean we'll soon have 24-hour classic rap radio stations? If so, what's taking so freakin' long!?
Get a Load of That Glorious Theme Song!
There's new Dr. Who in town. And apparently it's been leaked onto the net.
Get a Load of That TimeWaster™!
Do you really want to waste some time? Then hold the button. Wassat? You want something more exciting? What could be more exciting than holding a button for no reason? Okay then, how about implosion videos? (TPCQ: "The best part was when the buildings fell down.") Both via MoFi.
Today I'm listening to: Hildegard von Bingen! (The remix version. I think it's a hit.)
Monday, March 07, 2005
President Bush has nominated John Bolton (pictured here on stage in 1996) to be the next US Ambassador to the United Nations! In addition to being a soulful singer and heart-melting balladeer, Mr. Bolton is apparently an outspoken critic of the UN.
In a 2002 interview with The New York Times, Mr. Bolton was asked about what seemed to be mixed signals from the Bush administration on North Korea. He grabbed a book from a shelf and laid it on the table. Its title: "The End of North Korea."Well, I don't know about all of that -- but if he's willing to get up on C-SPAN and do his own special version of "When a Man Loves a Woman," then he's got my vote! (TPCQ: "They're all .. pretty good, I guess.")
Don't forget to check the latest Deviant SynCast.
Garrett should be sure to see Hulk Blog. The rest of you, too.
A blast from the past -- un lapin! I love the foot-scratching DJ.
Today I'm listening to: John Bolton!
Sunday, March 06, 2005
The latest edition of Deviant SynCast is now available! This week we focus on comedy material, including bits from Bill Hicks, Paul Mooney, Ellen Degeneres, Mitch Hedberg, and others. Check it out!
Correction: I erroneously state in the broadcast that Bill Hicks died of prostate cancer -- it was in fact pancreatic cancer.
Also check out my pal Dave Goulding's new blog, where he'll feature the same reflections on society and politics that he used to send only to privileged folk via email. Now if we can only get him to skip lines between paragraphs..
And the saddest news in the Blog World so far this year -- Kilgore Trout is hanging it up. This sucks in a royal way -- Chaotic Not Random is one of the most consistently entertaining blogs out there, and I'm bummed that he has to power down. Best of luck to ya, Kilgore.
HalliBush Wars, Inc.
Newly-released Italian journalist and former prisoner of the Iraqi insurgency Giuliana Sgrena is insisting that US troops did not warn the people in her car before shooting.
The U.S. military has said the car Sgrena was riding in was speeding and Americans used hand and arm signals, flashing white lights and warning shots to get it to stop at the roadblock.Well, she works for a communist newspaper -- and you know how they are. (Still, I'm obviously quite dubious of her claims that she was intentionally targeted because the Italian government negotiated with her abductors and the US disapproves of such activity.)
Meantime, how do most Americans feel about Bush's priorities?
Overall, Bush does not appear to be much more in step with the nation on what the White House has long viewed as his strong suit: 58 percent of respondents said that the White House did not share the foreign affairs priorities of most Americans.But, you know -- he's got good moral values and stuff.
Thanks to Diane for this article on the Korean animation process for The Simpsons.
"When it comes to Bart's spiky hair, if you make one mistake in drawing or pencil thickness, the animation looks funny," Shin said. The elaborate stories and the range of emotion shown by each character, it turns out, make "The Simpsons" an exceedingly difficult show to draw, he said.TPCQ: "Korean animation studio!" "Everybody work! Everybody work!" "He big mean man, whip us. We are slaves."
And thanks to Diane also for organizing a kickbutt Women's Day event!
Ohmigod! The BABY! Oops, I mean the CAT!
Would you believe I still haven't given up on my quest to find the perfect MUD? Right now I'm giving Cryosphere a whirl. One nice thing about SF-themed MUDs is that I can listen to techno whilst playing them. (With medieval MUDs I keep it locked to Enigma and Delerium.)
Have fun with the Tinky Winky Virtual Paper Doll. Yeah, okay -- that's pretty dumb. Okay then, here's Jokes with Einstein. Very nice. And the even-better sequel. Both via ABS.
Today I'm listening to: Hardstyle!
Saturday, March 05, 2005
We just watched Donnie Darko. While it does pose some interesting questions and present a tiny bit of food for thought, it's not 1/100th the masterpiece that Primer is.
Given the enormous popular success it's had and the incredible proliferation of websites and fandom associated with Donnie, I can only say this: If there were any justice in the world of film, Primer would be the film all my students are gaga over and that every person demanding intelligent SF is demanding I see. I'm inclined to view Donnie's success vis a vis Primer's relative box office failure as a prime example of the arbitrary nature of the media machine's favorite-playing.
Whatever. Primer comes out on video April 5. Rent it. Buy it. Watch it.
Nucleus is a bit of fun. Enjoy!
Today I'm listening to: The extra features on the Donnie Darko DVD that Diane is watching!
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Three cheers for the Supreme Court, which today ruled executions of minors unconstitutional. What took so freaking long?
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said many juveniles lack maturity and intellectual development to understand the ramifications of their actions.More good information -- as always -- is available from Amnesty International. And what discussion of the death penalty is complete without a few words from Sister Helen Prejean?
Pic swiped -- like magic, as one of the first images from a GoogleImage Search for 'electric chair' -- from this interesting site.
Francis Hwang is going to sell his Negativland iPod, dammit. Go get 'em, Frank! I'll ask Pastor Dick to whisper a prayer for you.
So what 'cuz I'm naked? I'll give you a taste of my sword! Never mind the sword -- the best cure for nudity is nacho cheese.
Life Imitates Simpsons
Mister Pinchy! We're not eating him, he's a member of the family now.
This Japanese bike-crash game is nuts! My record is around 4000. Set an angle and hold the mouse to get a full charge for the initial crash. And don't forget your bonus crahses. Fun! And stupid!
Today I'm listening to: Freaky Chakra!
MadWomen for Peace (incl. Diane)