May 2006 Archives

when the music stops...

picked up a few new cds on monday...

  • dale watson - whiskey or G-d (palo duro)
  • enon - high society (touch and go)
  • dntel - (this is) the dream of evan and chan (plug research)
  • trans am - liberation (thrill jockey)
  • grandaddy - just like the fambly cat (v2)

dale watson is of course a Texas honky tonker, and as far as modern folk go, one of the best imo. this is an album of stuff he'd done live and gotten lots of requests for, but never recorded. the european release was called heeah! (a track on the album, as is the u.s. title).

i didn't really know much about enon...i bought it based on a couple of songs i heard on pandora. but the first track wasn't anything like what i'd heard. the band evidently has a desire to not be trapped by anything except unpredictibility and deconstruction.

dntel (jimmy tamborello) is half(+) of the force behind the postal service. and i love the postal service. this is an out of print ep. i'll be looking to pick up more stuff he is involved in.

i liked futureworld by trans am, but red line not so much. liberation is more electronic (like futureworld), which is good, but unfortunately it appears to be an album themed around an indignant response toward bush and america's response to 9/11 and the "war on terrorism". i'm not claiming i'm a flag-waving republican by any means, but i don't really care to hear politically-charged propoganda from either side.

and last but not least, grandaddy is a group of skateboarding commune granola guys from cali (that's my impression, at least) that play old electronic equipment mixed with guitars and a sort of indie/emo sensibility, and talk about the value of nature and interaction with it and other people. it's good stuff. i've not processed this album enough yet, but my favorite has been sumday. evidently this is their last studio album and they are auctioning stuff off on ebay.

on to other things...

last week on the radio show mc frontalot called in while he was on tour. this past wednesday the folk documenting his tour came to the studio and filmed awhile, then he dropped in himself. he was in houston playing a show. after the radio show, i headed over to the proletariat to catch his set (the first time i'd set foot in the place, as i have a bad impression of it for both perceived image and personal reasons). it was kind of hard to make out his lyrics (or maybe the acoustics were bad where i was standing), but the band was tight and the live show was nice. it was interesting to see the crowd that showed up. and the many computer and geek culture tees they were sporting. i think top honours go to the guy sporting the cult of the dead cow tshirt, whom i learned a bit later was actually skout.

perhaps i should explain this whole thing a bit...you see, mc frontalot is one of the forerunners of the nerdcore genre -- a combination of geek/nerd culture and rap music. in fact, he's credited with coining the term "nerdcore hiphop". others in the genre include mc chris, mc hawking, and mc plus+ (my personal favorite name choice). so there you have it.

music and book update

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got a few cds over the last couple of weeks...

  • on - soluble words (epic)
  • the clash - rockers galore (epic/legacy)

robb zipp gave me these a while back after the radio show.

  • adult. - gimmie trouble (thrill jockey)

adult. continues to rock. not as good as anxiety always imo, but it still has some nice stuff on it.

  • sbk, nikolai, dj dala - blueprint sessions, spring 2006 (indie)

i got this at a party i went to friday night. it was hosted and attended by people i work with, who work at the same place as me, or are related to those that do. plus a couple hundred other people. it was quite the shindy -- beer, liquor, and probably a number of other mood- and mind-altering substances. i ate supper with brad and kelly at an italian restaurant, then brad and i dropped kelly off at her house and headed over to the party around midnight (on our motorcycles, of course). we left there sometime after 3am. i'm still well aware i'm not at all a partier.

  • iron and wine - our endless numbered days
  • bonnie "prince" billy - master and everyone

these two were given to me by groovehouse to check out.

  • saxon shore - luck will not save us from a jackpot of nothing (burnt toast vinyl)

scott hatch included this with the black xxl burnt toast vinyl shirt he sent me. i've now finally got the entire order from him. but he did throw in this saxon shore cd and a the trouble with sweeney cd. scott's a good guy.

i'm probably going to be making a purchase from ersatz audio here pretty soon. (the duo from adult. run ersatz audio.) also, i was looking around locally for albums by ms. john soda, veronica lipgloss, and some others, but had no luck. i guess i may have to mail-order them.

in book news, i finished reading upton sinclair's the profits of religion last week. boy, he really had some harsh things to say. it was written in a conversational style, a lot of it dealing with events and goings on at the time he wrote the book - the late 1910's. i thought it made some really good points about some of the hypocrisy and greed that has infected the church throughout much of history. of course, america -- being a consumer oriented culture -- has created a very different version than the historical roman catholic church. he obviously believed strongly in the value of science, but it was at times humorous because he was very confidently and harshly using the "facts" of science against religion...when the science has since been modified or almost completely changed. it was also kind of entertaining how enamored he was by socialism and how he was convinced it was going to take over america, considering how things played out historically. some of the references and such contemporary at the time were lost on me, and parts of it now feel like wasted energy since some of groups are gone or irrelevent these days, but overall it's worth reading. yes, it's obvious he has some animosity and perhaps a bit of a grudge, but honestly there are plenty of things the church has done and does that deserves an angry response. (especially when they try to couch it in spiritualism, or deny it.) there were some really nice quotes, but i didn't mark up the book at all. perhaps i'll have to skim it again sometime to pull some of the quotes out.

this is long, but this blog is for journaling my thoughts and experiences more than for providing pithy banter for any possible readers. although the latter does occur. (well, the "banter" part at least...i'm not known for being concise.) these details are being recorded for posterity...mostly my own.

where i work, you accrue vacation constantly. but there is a maximum value, which is based on your length of time with the company. once you hit the max, the vacation time you earn just disappears and you stay at the max. i've had this happen several times, sometimes for several months. kind of stupid of me, but sometimes i feel like i have work to do and shouldn't be taking time off. shrug anyway, i've been maxed for a while, so i took thursday off to make 8 hours' space in ye olde vacation bank.

a few weeks ago i was contacted by a recruiter for a large bank who shall remain nameless. he got my info from monster.com, because i figure if a perfect job is looking for me it should be able to find me, even if i'm happy enough where i am. i wasn't confident about [big bank] or the job (first, it's a big corporate financial entity; second, it sounded more o/s intense than my current experience), but i figured i hadn't been on an interview in years and how do you know until you try, so why not? in our phone conversations i explained my background, my current skillset, my preferred work environment, etc. the recruiter went ahead and set up the interview. not by accident, i chose thursday afternoon.

i decided i'd do as i had done when i interviewed for my current job -- dress like i'd normally dress for work (since presumably i'd be coming from work). that time, i'd worn doc martens, blue jeans, and a knit polo shirt untucked. this time i wore black motorcycle boots (the only shoes i wear), blue jeans, and a cream long-sleeve pearl snap western shirt (tucked in, which i usually don't do).

my thinking on this is that i've already got a job i'm comfortable with, and since i am not doing a sales job, most if not all of my interaction is with fellow employees and computers. i've found that computers don't care how you dress. i'm pretty sure they don't even mind if you're completely naked. (fellow employees, on the other hand....) do i understand much of corporate america, like the general public, judges based on artificial and arbitrary antiquated standards? gee...ya think? but my opinion is that i should present myself as i am, and i should be judged for my skills, my communicative abilities, whether i'd fit in, etc. if that's not how someone else sees it, so be it. i'd probably rather not be working for them anyway.

okay, so i caved really fast. one week. i'm weak. sigh.

the new jbl speakers sound really nice, but they just don't have enough low end. so saturday afternoon i went back and bought the jbl l8400p subwoofer (one 12 inch speaker in a sealed enclosure). ...and an lc1 center channel speaker. yeah, that doesn't provide low end...so? the lc2 is a four-way while the lc1 is three-way, but the lc2 is designed for wall mounting. i didn't feel like messing with some kind of mount or stand, so the lc1 it was. they didn't have either speaker in stock in cherry, so i had to wait and pick them up this evening. i must say, they all look very nice.

here's a link to the entire studio-l series: jbl studio l

of course i also purchased an audioquest type 4 cable for the center channel, and a sub-1 cable for the subwoofer.

here's a link to the entire audioquest site: audioquest

while i was there i went ahead and also picked up an audioquest vdm-xr cable so i can do digital audio (rca coax, not optical) from my dvd player to my receiver. i watched some of stanley kubrick's clockwork orange sunday night after changing out my audio feed and i can already tell it's going to be a nice upgrade.

my receiver can do 6+1, but i'm waiting on purchasing surround speakers. then of course one of these days i'll have to replace the tv and move to composite video and such, but that's not a priority for me at this point at all.

i'll learn more about the capabilities of my new equipment over the next few days hopefully...

louder, please

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last weekend i bought a new pair of home stereo speakers. i'm not audiophiling it by any stretch of the imagination, but i finally have a decent amp/receiver, and a couple of good front speakers.

i got the jbl l890 studio l speakers in cherry. they're four-way floorstanding speakers with a crisp upper range, okay mid-range, and adequate lower end (provided by two 8 inch speakers). i also bought some nice speaker cables -- audioquest type 4. the amp, which i've had for awhile, is a sony str-da2000es.

all told, nothing too impressive -- but it's a far stretch better than what i'd had before. the cd player i own is a mid-90's onkyo 6-disc changer i've had for a long time (since the mid-90's). it's standard analog rca out only.

a number of months back i bought a sony dvp-ns575p dvd/cd player. being newer, it's got a few bells and whistles, like digital audio out, s-video and composite video out, dolby digital, dts, etc. but i've got it hooked up with the standard analog audio and video rca jacks. seeing as my tv is an old late 90's rca 36 inch tube tv, a nicer video feed really isn't going to do me much good. now that i've got better audio equipment though...

is there anything finer than having a stomach full of excellent mexican food, driving down the road listening to great Texas country music while smoking a cheap cigar? probably. but it's pretty d4mn fine, nevertheless.

last night was the monthly "geek gathering" for the radio show i'm a part of (technology bytes, wed 8-10pm, 90.1 fm kpft). it was at tropioca on milam. it was pretty much all regulars, a few stragglers showing up an hour or two or three late.

after that, i headed over to blanco's to listen to the traditional country of james hand. he's got a new album out on rounder records entitled the truth will set you free, which i picked up. it was produced by ray benson and lloyd maines. it's good to see james get an album out on a bigger label.

Texas ranch house thoughts

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well, i finished watching the final episodes of Texas ranch house tonight.

i only got to see the last 30 minutes or so of yesterday's episodes due to the radio show, but i was able to keep up tonight. i paid penance for the missing of yesterday's by spending a couple of hours last night poking around online, finding interviews with some of the people and such.

so...i realize they spliced two plus months into 8 hours, and it's easy to manipulate things (like showing footage in non-linear fashion (which they did), not giving context so something is misinterpreted by the audience (which they did), things happening due to rules set by the show but not stating or explaining it on camera (which they did), and so on), but in the end i think the overall final analysis was probably accurate and they probably in general boiled down the essence of the people fairly accurately. maybe it's not traits they'd like made large, but i think they showed the traits that affected the show overall and led to the major events and the conclusion. for example: they played up the cooke women letting the house fall to pot after the cowboys left for the cattle drive...i wonder how true that was? and while i do think it was spliced to emphasize it, i believe the cooke adults had flaws that were a detriment to their positions on the ranch, flaws that led to the final analysis.

(spoilers coming) i don't recall them playing it up (though they obviously chose to include the footage), but mrs. cooke at one point complained that the cowboys were always threatening mutiny and she thought they should call them on it. she also complimented her husband on his shrewd hard-bargaining skillz when paying the cowboys, and his treatment of jared. then she convinced mr. cooke to fire jared that day instead of letting him leave the next day. mr. cooke of course did it...and all the cowboys left with jared. there's the payoff for playing hardball and calling the cowboys' hands (especially that close to the end of the time out there).

the cooke family was obviously defensive and upset about the analysis, but like i said i think it was probably pretty accurate. especially given the stated goals of the show. plus mr. cooke was the one in the position of responsibility, so any failings ultimately fall on him. even if he is put in an unenviable position of dealing with people he did not get to choose himself, he was the manager/leader and they not only get the glory when things end well, they get the blame when things end poorly.

it made me think of the parts of colonial house that i watched...was it a couple of years ago? the educated older couple from california (he was/is a college professor) seemed to think they were so intelligent and liberal and advanced, yet they floundered around and were rude and disrespectful and so on. again, i'm sure editing can work wonders, but i'm betting there is enough truth there that it was evident to participants in the show.

back to Texas ranch house...it would have been cool to be in austin to watch the show at the alamo draft house and see jared. i did a bit of google searching to try and find an email address, but no definite hit. i'd love to buy him a beer next time i'm in austin and find out more about his experience.

i watched the second set of Texas ranch house tonight. i think it's funny how some of them keep saying "cows" instead of "cattle". my dad made sure to reprimand me every time i said "baby cow" instead of "calf" because he didn't want me sounding like an ignorant city slicker, so i got a good learnin' in the proper terms for things. i'll have to miss tomorrow's episodes due to the radio show, but in the previews it appears jared gets captured by indians.

after the show i decided to go get something to eat. it's weird how randomly things hit me sometimes. i was walking out to the element and suddenly i was thinking in the moment how hard it is to believe this is my life. that events have unfolded so that i am where i am right now. it's almost surreal. unfortunately, not in a good way. but it makes the world seem almost unreal...like i'm not actually in my life but acting through my body in situations that aren't real. like i'm playing a video game (and i don't like playing video games much, even though i love computers and computer culture). it continued...

i stopped by the grocery store. it was 10pm but i couldn't find any signs big enough to read from my vehicle saying what their hours were, so i went ahead and parked. as i was walking up, a female security guard was opening the exit door for some people coming out and she looked at me seriously and gruffly barked "we're closed!". so i smiled and quietly said "excellent!" and started to turn, at which point she waved goodbye to me (as in "get out of here, goodbye"). so i gave a thumbs up as i walked away.

i then drove over to taco cabana, where i got to witness what i'm assuming was a drug purchase while i was sitting in my car talking to jack on my cell phone. i was kind of worried they might think i was an undercover cop (i've kind of got the odd cleancut-yet-grimy look), so i didn't stare at them or try to see what they were doing. plus i've seen an ambulance wheel away a bullet-ventilated body from that parking lot before. and everyone in the restaurant seemed awkward and odd, like they were too quirky to all happen to be in the same place at the same time. and it felt like the edges of my vision were fuzzy and dark, like reality faded as soon as it got out of my field of sight.

maybe there's some sort of glitch in the matrix right now. i just need to take some soma and everything will be good again.

Texas ranch house on pbs

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i got home this evening and was bored so i turned on the tv. it just so happened that pbs was showing the first two of the eight part series Texas ranch house. it's similar to all their other "edu-tainment" reality tv stuff, but it's even better because it's set on a cattle ranch in 1867 Texas. having had ancestors who lived that sort of thing (or at least pretty similar), it's intriguing. one of the guys on the show is a self-professed "computer geek" from Texas (jared ficklin) whose ancestors came to Texas, and part of why he did the show was to experience on some level what his ancestors did. that's pretty cool. it makes me kind of wish i'd known about it so i could have applied to be on it.

it appears that klru in austin is showing the finale at the lake creek alamo drafthouse on thursday for free, and jared will be there (link).

after that, brad called me up and i rode over to late nite pie to hang out with him and kelly and jason for awhile.

in other news entirely, i just noticed the blockbuster that was near my house is closed and the space is empty. hopefully netflix can take credit for that kill, and they didn't just move into some other location. now if only all the various wal-marts around here could do likewise (yeah, "dream on" indeed...).

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