HDMI *IS* a Requirement

My wife has “signed off” on the purchase of an Xbox 360 Kinect. Being the semi-somewhat-half-frugal guy that i am (I believe that constitutes 1/8th frugal), I decided to shop around on some of the local classifieds. To my surprise, someone was looking to unload theirs for $60. I shot him a text with some generic questions: Does it have HDMI out? How big is the hard drive? Does it have wireless?

He explained that it did NOT have a hard drive, but that wasn’t a deal-breaker for me. 250GB hard drives can be had for about $20, so whatever. However, he very clearly stated that it did indeed have HDMI out. “SOLD! I can meet you at such and such place at x time.”

We met at the agreed upon location, and I handed over the cash while he handed me the box. “Hey … umm, where’s the HDMI out on this?”

“OH! ha ha … it’s my buddy’s box. Let me ask him.” He leaned into the car and asked about the HDMI. The guy driving muttered something about not having HDMI, but what did it matter? “Yah … sorry guys. That’s a deal-breaker. I need HDMI out.”

They handed me back my $60, and I drove off. Not a minute later they call and say, “Hey, ya know … my buddy brought this all the way up here for you to buy, and he doesn’t want it … would you take it for $40?”

“Well, no … it still doesn’t have HDMI out, and that’s what I’m interested in. I have a HUGE TV that runs 1080p … I don’t want a box that isn’t HD.”

“OH! Yah, well, hey … I have a huge TV too and it looks GREAT! It’s all just a signal man.”

“Yes … but the signal coming out of THAT box isn’t in high def, or it would have an HDMI out.”

*silence on the other end*

“So …. you don’t want it?”

“No thanks, but thanks for offering all the same.” *click*

It just infuriated me that a) they  lied to get me to buy it, b) act all pissy when they call back and ask me to buy it anyway, and I tell them no. I want HDMI out; I’m GETTING HDMI out. Period. How hard is that to understand? Seriously.

Oh well. The search continues.

Can’t See Straigh

Seriously. That’s it. I’m seriously having to type ths with my eyes closed rightnow cuz it hurts to have them open. If This looks all jumbled and crap, that’s because it is. 🙂

Death of the iPhone

Well, okay … not in the “Death of the iPod Classic” sense. Really, it’s just the death of my iPhone. Tragic, yes–but not on a corporate scale.

So I got in the car, threw my iPod on the docking cable, and listened to some Tool coming in to work this morning. I didn’t think anything of it cuz I knew I could come in to work and throw my phone on the USB cable and charge it. Well, ha ha … no love from the USB port. “Hmm … that’s odd.” So I tried a different USB port. No luck. Tried the iPod on the same cable. LOVE! YAY! So it’s not the cable. So, now we’re back to “Booooo.”

I ran out to the car to test the phone on the docking cable. Worked fine. Started charging, so I figured it must just be the USB cable. So I ran down the cube farm and found someone with an iPod cable. “Hey, can I borrow your cable?”

“Umm … sure.”

“Thanks. Oh, erm … yah. I’m Chris by the way. Relatively new writer.”

“Good to meet you …”

“Thanks. Okay … back in a sec.”

Again, no love. Not a single port on my desktop or any of my neighbor’s desktops provided joy, happiness or rapture. I tried both my and borrowed cable.

Verdict? Genius Bar appointment at the local Apple Store. I don’t know what they’ll say, but I do have the Apple Care package, so that better pull some weight. They’re pretty good about “turning and winking” as they read over the warranty and explain what is and isn’t covered. Though even without Apple Care, this seems pretty suspect. I mean … I had the thing sitting right on my nightstand all night, and it was charging fine yesterday. I have no idea what could possibly cause spontaneous internal problems, but something had to have happened. I don’t get it.

Well, okay … now this is just weird. Just now I unplugged it and repluggd it back in, and it turns on and shows 7%. Except now the battery is still draining. I don’t know what the deal is. Something’s defective …

Anyway, I have an appointment at 2:40. We’ll see what they say.

Well THAT’S Better!

I think there are a few more things to tweak, but overall, I’m happy with this new look. Cleaner, brighter, easier on the eyes … and it took a LOT less time than I thought it would. Also, I stayed up way later than I wanted to, but whatever. Short day at work tomorrow, but it’s real date night tomorrow, so I have to get in and out by 3 and still put in an 8 hour day. Yes–that’s a short day. Don’t ask … it just is.

Anyway, hope y’all like the new look. I do! If you have suggestion though, fire ’em over through comments. Thanks!

New Look Coming Up

So, initially, I thought I’d like the white-on-black look. It’s getting old, even for me. Not to mention the fact that I’ve actually had readers comment on the eye strain it causes them, which … you know … isn’t the point of a blog to be able to actually read it?

In college, I had a professor who eschewed every form of creativity when it came to document design if it wasn’t purely “black text, white back ground, 1″ margins, san-serif heading, serif body text.” Made for very, very boring posters, flyers, or … anything.

To some small degree, there is wisdom in the blandness. The point of a blog is to read it–not obfuscate the text or, more importantly, the message. However, I do enjoy experimenting with backgrounds, text fonts and colors, etc. The current css scheme just fit well, especially with the logo.

However, I am indeed working on a redesign that should provide a much more visually appealing design. Mostly just in the colors, but there may be some other tweaks coming down the pike as well. Guess you’ll have to wait and see.

Thanks everybody for stopping by!

EDIT: I threw up a “borrowed” WordPress theme for now. It’ll suffice for now, and it’s at least more legible until I can get my new theme up and running.

Extraneous Noises in Songs

I’ve come to a conclusion: I’m not a fan of “Uhn”s, or “WHOOO”s in my music. It just seems … blah. I don’t know. Contrived? Cliche’? Boring?

This morning, for my at-work listening pleasure, I turned in to the Jim Rome show on WGR in Buffalo NY. I was hoping to catch a local sports radio show, but apparently Rome Fills from 9-1. So I tried listening to him for a bit. At some point, he announced that he would have Sammy Hagar on his show. Having grown up with Van halen in all their various forms (except that Cherone “moment.” That was pretty desperate.), I thought it’d be interesting to listen to, especially since he just released an autobiographical book.

After the interview, I thought, “Hmm … now I’m in the mood for some VH, Hagar style.” I queued up 5150 and OU812. Yah …

While I still find there to be some gems of good songs on there, the excessive use of “WOOOOOOWWW” and “UUUUHHHHNNNN” just set me in a foul mood. Along with all the “babe”s, “baby”s, “honey”s, and whatever other ridiculous words that have almost zero place in a song beyond one time, and even then, there can only be one–not all three.

I do not, nor will I ever, deny that I still find Edward Van Halen one of the most fascinating, explosive guitarists ever. Not that I’ve heard anything he’s done recently, but that could be because he hasn’t done anything recently. Nothing published, anyway. Nothing we common folk get to hear.

Having said that, like I said, there are still some gems that I still enjoy. From 5150,  I still enjoy “Get Up,” “Dreams,” “Best of Both Worlds,” “5150,” and “Inside.” I believe that constitutes more than half the CD.  From Ou812, the list is considerably shorter. “Mine All Mine” is still great,” “A.F.U. (Naturally Wired),” “Source of Infection” … all good songs. Other than that … not so much. From “The Red Album” (For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge), “Judgement Day” and “Pleasuredome” is about it. I won’t even attempt Balance, mainly becaues I don’t own it and I barely remember anything off that CD. I do remember that when it was being released, there was an article in some magazine where the band claimed something like “This is our most serious CD to date: musically and lyrically.” Then they proceeded to produce a track about getting high in Amsterdam. Maybe it’s just me, but that does not scream “forward progress” to me. At all. If you want to get high, that’s your thing, but please … don’t bore me with details on the size of your blunt and the grade of the roll. I. Do not. Care.

So yah. I think this whole resurgence of “liking” Van Halen may be winding down. Not sure yet, but I’m fairly confident that the 10 or so tracks I mentioned are all I need from the Van Hagar era.

All This Crap about Rebecca Black

It just goes to show you what a sad state of affairs and the length that people will go to to exploit someone. All over Twitter, one of the hottest “trending” topics is this “Friday” song by Rebecca Black. I’ve watched it, and it really is as horrible as I was afraid it would be.

However, I have a completely different take on why it’s horrible. Leave alone the fact that the lyrics are some of the worst I’ve ever heard. Ignore the horrific mis-use of a perfectly good time signature (it’s done in straight 4/4 and the beat is as simple as it gets). The song is, for wont of a better phrase, utterly terrible.

The problem I have with all of the comments is they completely ignore the fact that this poor kid had absolutely nothing to do with the “creative” process in writing the song. She lent her voice to the track and the accompanying video, which is equally brain cell-killing in its mediocrity. No no–the blame for this crap can be squarely placed on the co-writers: Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson. I have no idea what their history with music is; if I had to guess, I’d say that there is no history because anyone with an ounce of musical background would have written a song at least 10x better than that. Regardless, these two felt qualified to write a song–replete with noise and some of the most inane drool for lyrics that has ever been uttered.

Personally, I’d be curious to see what kind of music Rebecca could come up with on her own. To be fair, she’s probably no Mari Smith (I doubt that there are more than 5 Mari Smith-like writers at any given point in the world … who at that age would have that much talent), so we can’t expect top-of-the-line music, but still … I wonder if she could hold her own. Only one way to find out, eh? Have her write a song. I mean this from the heart of my bottom: she could do no worse than “her” first single.

They *MIGHT* Be Giants

Once upon a time, in the frozen tundra of southeastern Idaho, I was force-fed one CD for an entire school year. That CD was Flood by They Might Be Giants. My only roommate that year was this blathering dumbness named “John” who apparently didn’t own any other music at all. Given that this was September of 1990, we didn’t have the convenience of hopping on our dorm’s wireless network and downloading anything from iTunes because there was no iTunes. I don’t even know if they algorithm for compressing audio into a small-form file was a possibility at that point. Given that DOS was still the preferred OS at the time, I highly doubt anyone was sending anything of a 3-5MB size at that point. So I got to wallow in my misery as he constantly pumped out this all-out assault on my ears. I didn’t have a desktop stereo. I didn’t even have a CD player. I was happy to have an alarm clock that would play a tape. That was my good fortune. Thankfully, I *did* own a pair of headphones, so there was that small blessing.

Anyway, I spent my entire freshman year of college racking my brain trying to figure out how anyone could possibly stand these guys. When your opening line to your first (well, second, but first actual) song is “I’m your only friend, I’m not your only friend but I’m a little glowing friend, but really I’m not actually your friend, but I am.” What? What drivel is this? I could poop on a paper and let yaks dance on it. That would produce better lyrics than these.

Musical tastes evolve. As previously mentioned, I’ve actually dabbled with interests in The Sea Hags and UK Subs, so … you know, tastes evolve. Even up until my wife and I got married in 2000, I thought that these guys were just crap. Horrible, boring, stupid crap. I had no interest in hearing them at all.

Then we started watching “Malcolm in the Middle.” We got to the point that we’d sing along with the opening credits. We wondered who sang the theme song. Imagine my surprise when we found out that it was actually They Might Be Giants. I was stunned.

So that was about 10+ years ago. Over the course of those years, I’ve slowly but surely warmed up to them. Now they come on and I don’t cringe. I actually turn it up and enjoy it.

THE Most Listless Crowd EVER

Last April, I had floor tix to Muse. My wife was with me, as were two of our good friends. We were all within inches of each other before Muse took the stage. Within moments of Chris pounding his bass, all four of us were swept away with the crowd. Back and forth, left and right, up and down. It was awesome! After two songs, I grew concerned that I couldn’t see my wife. After three, I was really concerned. Midway through the fourth song, I saw her little reddish brown hair bobbing along the front rail. I was about 3 “rows” back, but I muscled my way up, grabbed her shoulder, and we didn’t let go of each other. After the song, we made our way to the side for a break, but we ended up just staying there cuz she was nervous about going back in to the fray.

From before the first song started until the last note faded away, the energy level didn’t abate one joule. I mentioned this in my concert review, but it bears repeating: ALL of us were 100% expended after the show was over. We had nothing left to give! After the show, there was the inevitable parking lot frenzy where nobody moves faster than 5 feet a minute. We were so worn out and so desperate for water that we had to eat snow off the car to re-hydrate.

That was our show.

Check out this show.

Only after about 5 minutes into the video do you see any activity, and that was just from a little pocket of people. WHAT?! Do Seattle-ites just not know how to act at a Muse show?! I highly doubt it. Look at Seattle’s pedigree: Alice in Chains. Soundgarden. Pearl Jam. Nirvana. The music scene that gave birth to grunge. How do you not know how to get up and move it?!

I had to laugh. I even called my wife down to show her this video. Funny enough, there happened to be two Asian guys in the shot when she came down. “Well, honey … they’re obviously in Japan. Look.” and she pointed to the two.

“Honey, this was filmed in Seattle. As in, SEATTLE.”

“Ohhh. Hmm ….” She got a seriously puzzled look on her face, for obvious reasons.

It makes me wonder if the crowd was asked to “behave,” or something. I mean … it’s a pro-shot vid. I don’t know. I’m looking for any excuse I can think of to make sense of this.

I’ve been doing this list on Facebook for the last 4 days. If you want to as well, copy and paste the text below.

The idea is to share a little bit about yourself by choosing one song a day, for 30 days.  Introspection is required, but it sounds like fun.  Looking at the list, I can tell that some songs will be easy to choose, while others will require a little bit of thought.  See the list below and if you’re up to the challenge, let me know in the comments below.  Let the sharing begin!

The 30 Day Song Challenge

Day 01 – Your favorite song

Day 02 – Your least favorite song

Day 03 – A song that makes you happy

Day 04 – A song that makes you sad

Day 05 – A song that reminds you of someone

Day 06 – A song that reminds of you of somewhere

Day 07 – A song that reminds you of a certain event

Day 08 – A song that you know all the words to

Day 09 – A song that you can dance to

Day 10 – A song that makes you fall asleep

Day 11 – A song from your favorite band

Day 12 – A song from a band you hate

Day 13 – A song that is a guilty pleasure

Day 14 – A song that no one would expect you to love

Day 15 – A song that describes you

Day 16 – A song that you used to love but now hate

Day 17 – A song that you hear often on the radio

Day 18 – A song that you wish you heard on the radio

Day 19 – A song from your favorite album

Day 20 – A song that you listen to when you’re angry

Day 21 – A song that you listen to when you’re happy

Day 22 – A song that you listen to when you’re sad

Day 23 – A song that you want to play at your wedding

Day 24 – A song that you want to play at your funeral

Day 25 – A song that makes you laugh

Day 26 – A song that you can play on an instrument

Day 27 – A song that you wish you could play

Day 28 – A song that makes you feel guilty

Day 29 – A song from your childhood

Day 30 – Your favorite song at this time last year

My first 4 songs are:

  • Rush – Lock and Key
  • Los del Rio – The Macarena (that song just pisses me off … I don’t know why, but it gets under my skin and burrows like a tapeworm ulcer and festers until my mind erupts in pustules of putrid loathing and disgust)
  • The Weepies – Be My Honeypie. You cannot listen to that song and not smile uncontrollably. It’s a beautiful feeling!
  • Ugly Kid Joe’s version of “Cat’s in the Cradle. I swear, I want to be the best parent ever, but this song … Jumping Jehosephat on a hot tin roof sundae. I can’t make it through without having to fight the urge to bawl uncontrollably. Maybe it’s because I never had a good, solid father figure growing up, and now that I’m in charge of two kids, it scares the squishy shit out of me because I do not want them to go through what I went through. Don’t get me wrong–my mom was as saintly and wonderful as it gets, and God bless my step dad’s heart … he tried, but how do you dive in with a 14 year old and a 10 year old? That would be so mind-bendingly insane to try to adjust to! I give him credit for trying, but … I don’t know. Gah.

Anyway, there’s the list so far. It’s a fun list!

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