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Messages - SunDummy

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Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now reading
« on: April 08, 2008, 05:38:37 PM »
I'd always wondered what the fuss was about regarding Larry Niven, but it's no surprise after reading that one.

One of the few SF books I've kept is Niven's "All the Myriad Ways", a collection of shorts; great stuff.  "Man of Steel, Women of Kleenex" is absolutely hilarious.   ;D

I rarely read fiction anymore, but after seeing the LOTR trilogy again last weekend, I'm having a hankerin' for "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever", a six-book series I read as a teenager.  Anyone else familiar with this series?  I remember LOVING it; I'm curious to see if it's as good as I remember it to be.  It's about a guy in modern times who has leprosy; he keeps blacking out and waking up in this other fantasy world, where everyone thinks he's a hero.  He cuts back and forth between the two worlds, and thinks it's all a dream, but plays along anyway...  Great stuff.

Everything and Nothing / Re: WebDogme
« on: April 08, 2008, 04:11:33 PM »
Ah, that makes sense.  That also explains why the code I see on other people's sites is often very different from what I'm using, but giving the same result.

I use Dreamweaver Ultradev, just 'cause we have it at work; I like that it gives me a split-screen of WYSIWYG and code, so I can see the changes right away.  Maybe it's a crutch, but hell, I don't do it for a living, so I'll take all the help I can get.   ;)

Everything and Nothing / Re: WebDogme
« on: April 08, 2008, 02:53:33 PM »
I thought it was funny that someone came up with similar austerity measures for web design

Slight thread drift; what's with the "no WYSIWYG" coding mentality?  I see this all the time on forums, and even hear it from programmers.  I don't get it; who cares how a site gets made?  Isn't the end result what matters?  When I view a site, I don't see the code; it's not like 'The Matrix' where streams of green code substitute for real life... ???

(disclaimer:  my coding skills are weak at best; WYSIWYG is a necessity for me...)

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: March 17, 2008, 11:17:54 AM »
Going back to the '80s today:

Lime Spiders, "Nine Miles High" - a 'best of' collection.  Raw and hyper, I always liked these guys.
V/A, "Rockabily Psychosis and the Garage Disease" - Trashmen, Sonics, Meteors, Guana Batz, etc. - garage rock at it's most primitive.  Fun!
Skinny Puppy, "Remission" and "Bites" - This is the original version of "Bites", not the one with the crappy remix of "Assimilate".  I've always liked these two albums best of all their output, although the vocals can be a bit grating.  Cool sounds, funky beats, just so so good...
Severed Heads, "We Have Come to Bless This House" - just this track, over and over.  It's beautiful echoing vocals, simple beat, and synth lines mesh so perfectly...  their high-water mark for sure.
Stranglers, "Aural Sculpture" - This is their first album of more 'normal' pop tunes; not great, but worth a listen.  I much prefer the older stuff, like "Gospel According to the MenInBlack".

And going back to the 60's:
The Scramblers, "Cycle Psychos" - I bought this in about 1986, at a thrift store, for a quarter.  I bet I've listened to this more than any other album I've owned; it's primitive surf-music, very funky and well-played, with lyrics about riding motorcycles.  Seriously; there are even revving engines at the start of almost every track; "Bud Ekins" is credited on the cover with "cycle riding".  A sampling of the genius lyrics:

"He's got a souped-up bike and a real sked-led,
Leather pants, jacket, he's a crazy kid
And on his foot he's got a steel shoe
Get in his way and it's the end of you..."

This scratchy, beat-up LP was on almost constant rotation in my college house.  We would drink too much, and run around the house like maniacs, riding invisible cycles...   :-[

Everything and Nothing / Re: "Happy News"...sort of
« on: March 17, 2008, 10:59:02 AM »
Maybe Sir Paul should call Spitzer for a referral... 

$5000 whores would probably be cheaper than a new marriage every year or so.   :)


Apparently audiophiles can't tell the difference between Monster Cable speaker wires and coat hangers. The coat hangers sounded excellent.

Funny comments after the article, too.  So, who's shelled out for oxygen-free pure-gold half-inch-thick speaker wire, hand-woven by Tibetan virgins high in the Himilayas?   ::)

Is cable quality an issue when using digital signals?  Speakers are still (mostly) analog; does cheap wire make THAT much of a difference?  Or, as in the article, none at all?

Everything and Nothing / Re: TV: Lost
« on: March 03, 2008, 06:00:54 PM »
I agree; this season has been great.  Thank the writer's strike; 16 episodes condensed into 8 really keeps the plot moving!

I can't say I 'get it' by any means, but some things are starting to reveal their connections.  I just hope they can keep this up, and not go back to the slower pace of years past.

Everything and Nothing / Re: What should a small record label do?
« on: March 03, 2008, 11:00:28 AM »
Using ads to generate revenue can work.  I frequent a backcountry skiing site ( that survives soley on ad revenue; they don't produce a physical magazine, and sell no physical products.  Their talk forum sees a ton of traffic, however, probably way more than most music sites, especially in our niche genre, can attract (the owner once leaked that they get 100,000 unique hits a month; if true, that's astounding).

The Thinner netlabel seems to be doing well; they give it all away for free, but also offer physical releases.  But I think they're an exception. 

Everything and Nothing / Re: What should a small record label do?
« on: February 28, 2008, 05:34:27 PM »
This is such bullshit. will always claim that since they are not actually hosting the files, all they can (or will) do is delete links. 

What about the A-holes at Z-Share, Share-Bee, and their ilk who actually have the pirated material on their servers?  It seems that if the record industry is willing to file suit against individuals who share files via Napster-style software, they should be willing to go after the huge server farms themselves.  Or has this been tried unsuccessfully in the past?  Or are the servers all offshore, in a country that doesn't care?

I spent some time following links from blog to blog; you can download new movies, new software, etc., all of it copyrighted.  As soon as something hits a digital medium, it can be ripped and put up for the world to see.  I gotta agree with you, ffcal, it looks like the horse has left the barn; I don't see how this trend can ever be stopped.

Everything and Nothing / Re: found sounds
« on: February 27, 2008, 05:37:12 PM »
I jiggled an ice cube tray

Ice makes all kinds of cool sounds...  I've got a recording somewhere based on the sound of ice cubes 'plinking' when dropped into a gin and tonic, with a contact mic. pressed up against the glass. :)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Ambient Sub-genres
« on: February 26, 2008, 08:22:13 PM »
Zambient= ambient music of Zambia.

I thought Zambient was for hockey fans...

Everything and Nothing / Re: found sounds
« on: February 26, 2008, 08:19:56 PM »
Bees make a great sound; the pitch is steady, but the volume as they go buzzing around the mic changes constantly.  Take a long sample, then slow it waaaay down until it's a low growl.  Very cool.

Another great low drone w/out any highs or mids is courtesy of an oscillating fan.  Put it on the floor, the put a mic against the floor joists from underneath.  The fans rotor wash won't penetrate the floor, so all you get is this great low rumble that slowly changes, repeating infinitely.

Instruments are sooo over-rated. ;)

Jeez, Joe, you need to stop smoking so much!   ;D

I should clarify; my stereo gear is much more mid-point than high-end, but it IS the high end of my budget... ;)  I'm dealing with two mortgages right now (anyone want a house in the bluffs of west Wisconsin, near the Twin Cities?  I'll cut you a deal...) so money is tight for now.  And likely for a long time... :'(

I looked at Rotel a year or so ago, when both my NAD and Onkyo started acting up; it looks like good stuff, great sound, not too spendy.  Unfortunately, I can't find a dealer in Spokane; I might have to take a road trip.  Or go to Best Buy for a Panasonic.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: February 26, 2008, 12:44:44 PM »
Yesterday I listened to the entire "Alice in Wonderland" set by Randy Greif; great stuff.  Made for a really unsettling work-day...  ;D

Thanks Bill.  I've always bought 'high-end' gear, mainly because I thought it would be better sound-wise, and quality-wise.  With all the failures in my gear, though, I think I've been misled.  ;)

A little history:

NAD integrated amp:  Had to have it serviced twice in 8 years; one channel keeps dropping out.  It's still doing it intermittently, so it needs replacing.  Great sound, poor quality control.
Onkyo CD-changer:  It's now died, but for the last year, it's had trouble closing the tray, and gives a "mecha err" message every month or so.  Piece of crap.
Denon bookshelf unit:  FANTASTIC sound, but I have to load a CD about 10 times before the system will read it.  It will NOT read CDR's anymore.  Skips if I just look at it wrong. 
Technics CD-changer:  Stopped reading CDR's after about 5 years; started skipping all the time.  And I know you're not supposed to do this, but it was a last resort, so I used one of those laser-cleaning CD thingies; it didn't help.
Sony CD-changer:  Lasted about a month past the warranty.  Pure garbage.

I'm just about done with so-called high-end brands; I have heard good things about Rotel, though, so I may look at their stuff.  (some people never learn...   ;))

My wife says to just go to Best Buy and get a cheapie; when it breaks, I can just get another one; cheaper in the long run.   ;D

Everything and Nothing / Multi-disk changer, bookshelf stereo advice needed
« on: February 25, 2008, 08:31:13 PM »
My Denon bookshelf unit has been getting progressively less reliable over the past couple years (getting it to play a cd is an ordeal), and my Onkyo multi-disk changer on my main system gave up the ghost tonight. >:(

I've had it with Denon and Onkyo (NAD, too; long story).  I need a new bookshelf system, and a new changer for the main system. 

The changer must be able to play CDs, CDR's, and MP3 disks.  Single players need not apply; I want a changer.

The bookshelf system must be able to play multi-disks too; I don't care about the speakers, I have good monitors for both systems.

Any advice?  What do you use that really sounds good and is reliable?  Both systems get lots of use, usually 3-4 hours a day.    Anything to stay away from?

Everything and Nothing / Re: dave k
« on: February 10, 2008, 10:53:07 PM »
Shit, Jim; sorry to hear this. 

Good thoughts and vibes coming your way.  A friend once told me, when a mutual friend had passed on, "It aint good, it aint bad; it's just the stuff of life."

Take time to heal, in your own way.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Utopia & Dystopia
« on: February 07, 2008, 08:03:50 PM »
The closest thing to a working utopian society I can think of, is the Federation system in Star Trek.

Maybe, but we never see anyone other than the crew, who are mostly officers, a traditionally "upper class" group of folks.  The few 'lower rungs' of the crew who show up always die.  And if I had to live with that insufferable Will Wheaton character, well, that's not Utopia...   ;D

Everything and Nothing / Re: Utopia & Dystopia
« on: February 07, 2008, 06:04:36 PM »
Cool topic!

It's interesting that in all the utopian/dystopian stories (or "anti-utopian", as my high-school lit teacher would say), the utopians always live large on the backs of the labor class.  I've never read a convincing description of a utopia that works, not even close; they always succeed by creating stratified classes.  And even Walden 2 is just a fantasy; it's never succeeded in the real world.

Well, duh...  obvious, yes; but why is that?  I've read (like many of you) a TON of science fiction; with all the brains thinking on this, there should be at least a few examples of workable systems...  Since there are not, should we assume it's impossible?  And if so, what does that say about the constant quest for better societies vs. personal freedoms to guide our own destinies?  (I used to work for a guy who lived in a commune back in the seventies.  He said it was a blast for a few months, then the sex and drugs got boring, so he left.  It soon imploded as everyone's personal agendas and goals got in the way.)

Anthem and 1984 come immediately to mind; so much sci-fi is along this theme, in varying degrees.  "Stranger in a Strange Land" has a protagonist from a 'perfect' world; "Brave New World" is perfect, as long as you take your Soma...

And of course, Zardoz is a classic: Connery and Rampling, what a team! ;)

Hell, even music:  Rush's "2112" and maybe "Red Barchetta".

Everything and Nothing / Re: TV: Lost
« on: February 07, 2008, 05:31:26 PM »
I hear ya, Mike; my wife and I both get antsy waiting for each new episode.

I haven't had TV since I moved in mid November (absolutely no reception here, and I hate to pay for Dish Network); Lost is the only thing I miss.  We watched the season premier at ABC's website; kinda tiny on the laptop monitor, but good enough to get the story. ;D

I'll have to watch it later tonight, when ABC posts it at the site.  Let's see...  popcorn? check...  Beer? check...  ok, let's go!

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