Tuesday, July 31, 2007

on dreams.

In the future, I am a firm believer that we will be able to peer into (and record) our dreams. However, it is one of my (literally) daily wishes that we could do so now.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

on the future.

There are times when I'm afraid of the future. The Skynet thing, the Google-zon video kinda freaked me out, etc. There are times when I think for sure that all we're doing with all this tech is creating an enemy that we'll never be able to defeat.

However, my youngest brother told me that this video freaked him out and made him think, "we're losing our souls to the internet." I couldn't disagree more. This, if anything, is part of what I like about (the oh-so vaunted) "Web 2.0". I like the fact that everything's connected and that we can all be experts on something. We're all much smarter than we've been let believe in the past, and the future's only going to be showing us so. I hope that this sort of stuff continues.

EDIT: I tried to upload the video that I'm talking about using Blogger.Draft, but it's just not happening. However, the video can be found here, and I really want you to watch it to tell me what you think of it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

on jeopardy.

Okay, I had a real entry all lined up, but it'll just have to wait for my celebration of jeopardy! Holy hell, I love this show. I'm unashamed to admit it. It's smart TV and I feel like I always learn something when I watch it. And to top it all off for today, this girl just came back from down 25k in a two-day tournament to win the whole thing! I literally screamed out loud when she pulled it off.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

truly shocking.

I had a slight error with SNOCAP (the good music-buying service), so I sent them an e-mail. Here's the e-mail I got in return:

Dear Michael **,

Thanks for contacting SNOCAP Customer Care. We have received your
inquiry and we will respond to it soon. In the future, please contact
us directly at support@snocap.com.

Sincerely,

The SNOCAP Team

Please note: This e-mail message was sent from a notification-only address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. Please do not reply to this message.


*

I'll give you one guess as to what e-mail address it came from. Wow. Words fail me.

on good ideas.

I have what I think are good ideas all the time. Literally, all the time. I'm like a good-idea-factory. But some people may not think my ideas are as good as I think they are. (This is to be expected in most cases.) Therefore, for your added convenience, I'll throw up numbered titles to posts like this from now on. Just consider this "good idea #1".

So, almost everyone has an iPod now. And lots of those people who have iPods listen to them in their cars. Most people who do that broadcast their iPods over the radio, as opposed to using the old-skool tape converter method (Brother Numero Uno excluded of course, but that's just his character) and here in my fair city a ton of the people who broadcast do so on channel 89.5.

You may ask, how does he know this? I know this because I broadcast on 89.5. And since I use such a cheap, piece of crap transmitter it gets overridden by other, more powerful transmitters all the time. I don't mind this, actually. I like to drive by someone and have my radio taken over and see what they're listening to.

However, I've always had this idea, shared, at least I think, by The Sloot, that we should hack our transmitters and amplify the signal so that it broadcasts in a larger way than any of the commercial ones out there. (And this is the root of the problem of most of my good ideas: I have these good ideas, but I don't know how to achieve them. I don't have the technical knowledge to do so. It's disappointing. But it does justify my long-held belief that my ideal job would be to work in a Think Tank.) However, today, while driving to work, I had another signal cut in on me, and I looked over at a girl just absolutely jamming out to this rave music that was now playing in my car as well. And I thought really hard about rolling my windows down and trying frantically to get her attention.

So that's when my good idea popped up: If we're gonna hack these things and amp up the signal, we should choose to do that with a microphone! And then, if we're driving around with our shitty transmitters and someone else's overrides ours, we should make a snap judgment on their music. "Attention black Hummer that is playing Justin Timberlake! That song is played out! Go get the new Timbaland instead!" Or, "Wow, white Corolla, that is some seriously sexy music you've got going on!" And the people who were listening to this music would just flip their shit, cuz they wouldn't know who was speaking to them!

Am I the only one who thinks this is a good idea?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

rock 'n roll.

Like most people in my generation, I am utterly infatuated with music. It guides most of my days, if I had a choice, I'd listen to it non-stop. I'd listen to it while teaching, while sleeping, while fucking, while "watching" tv, etc. (Most of those are things that I actually already do, come to think of it...)

Regardless, my love started out in an odd way. When I was in 6th grade, Sponge's "Rotting Pinata" came out and most of the people I was hanging out with at the time fell in love with something that we would take to calling alternative music. (Now, as an aside here, let me say that it wasn't necessarily Sponge's album that "began" the alternative movement, nor were they my favorite band. But they were definitely the first one that I remember.) The memory of being introduced to this whole new concept (it's loud! it's rude! it's got guitars!) was something that's really carried me through life. And while I may have fallen in love with hip-hop ("Why do I need I.D. to get I.D.? If I had I.D. I wouldn't need I.D.!") rock music, and more significantly and importantly, alternative music is my true love.

Part of that love helps where it came from:

The Ex and I, as well as a various cast of other folks, had a habit in middle school of walking together as a group after school ended back to our old elementary school, to pick up our younger siblings. (This is another odd issue that I'll explore later: the idea that almost all of my friends for the first half of their lives were the eldest siblings.) On one of these walks, Chris had her Walkman with her and she put the headphones on my ears. "You have to hear this," she told me, "it's incredible." And it was. It was this whole new world opening to me. The song ("Plowed") really isn't anything special especially considering some of the truly amazing music that was coming out at or around the same time, but it was the first one I'd heard. And you always have love for your first.

Monday, July 23, 2007

on obsession.

So, I have a confession to make. (BTW, I guess I've just figured that it's my BFF duty to link to his blog in every entry. Preferably as soon in my entries as I can. So deal with it.)

Not of that variety, though.

Mainly, it just concerns how crazy I am. This is one of my big pet issues, and I know it comes across as a bit...over the top, but I figure it's worth explaining. I don't buy any major label cd's. Any. Ever. I refuse to do it for several reasons.

The majority of the reasons can be found here. Beyond those, it extends quite a bit into politics. There used to be seven major labels, then there were five and now there's only four. I don't think that this de-diversification of the market is a good thing. In any aspects. It distresses me when fewer and fewer companies control more and more of the power. And it cannot be argued that anyone controls more of the power in the music business than the major record labels. Starting in the 1970's American recording artists were selling a crap-load of records. However, as that time passed in to the eighties and nineties, fewer and fewer actual musicians were making money. Meanwhile, big record company executives were jet-setting around the planet, spending cash like it was going out of style. Frustrating to me, as a person who wants to reward the artist for making a product I enjoy. I can only imagine how frustrating it is was for those artists.

So, how best to fix a broken system? Refuse to participate in it, attempt to overthrow the current, corrupt system! (In fact, the founding fathers explicitly argued that when a system of government is corrupt it is not only our right, but our obligation to rise up against that government!) Therefore, I don't buy CD's from those companies. Ever. Under any circumstance.

(Although, to be fair to my sometime hypocritical self...I did buy one CD in the last six years. It was the Garden State soundtrack for The Doctor. It meant a lot to her that I swallowed my morals just so she could have that stupid, shiny disc, but in hindsight, that should have been a warning sign. I digress...)

My point? Go check out Downhill Battle and the folks who run it as well as their mp3 collaborators, Defective by Design. They have some good ideas and you might be surprised how convincing of an argument they make.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

on vacation.

Those who know me know that I'm not much of a vacationer. I've been many places, I go out of town semi-regularly, but I don't actually care for it very much. Unless I'm going to a specific destination for a specific purpose, I usually don't really like to go out of town.

(I know. It's weird. People give me shit about it all the time. But I just don't really care to go wasting my time in another place when I can be perfectly content wasting my time at home.)

Regardless, I am now out of town. I'm visiting an old friend and getting to stay in her aunt and uncle's magnificent condo (seriously, who has things like this? A condo they don't stay in but once a month, where she can just live cuz she took a job here?! That's awesome!) and hang out by the beach.

There's plenty more things to write, and if I get bored on my vacation, I might do so, but for now, I'm just going to enjoy getting to turn my brain off.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

on problems with the mail service.

So, I could hardly believe this, but it's true...

My dad (whom you'll recall I'm working for) had been complaining to me the other day that his mail had stopped. His wife (my step-mom, obviously) is a court reporter and I think she was probably leaning on him pretty hard about this, because he kept repeating to me what he had told the postal worker (which I highly suspect he got from her) that, if she didn't get her mail, "Literally, a federal prisoner could be set free!"

To me, this seemed a little bit like exaggeration but I don't mind, because he seems to do that frequently. Anyway, he finally found out what happened with the mail, it turns out that his neighbor had attempted to stop his own mail, but had accidentally put in my father's. Sucks for both: my dad wanted his mail and wasn't getting it and this other guy didn't want his mail and (apparently) was getting it. End of story, right?

Wrong. Dad was still pissed about this. He wanted to know how a person could request another person's mail to be stopped. I told him it couldn't be that easy, but he disagreed. I thought it was a silly issue.

Regardless, he harped on the issue for more than a week now, and then today, he had me explore around the 'net just a little bit, to find out just how easy it is to get someone else's mail stopped. Turns out it's retarded easy. WTF? I couldn't believe my eyes.

So I called the national line for the USPS and attempted to speak with someone about how ridiculous this was. The lady on the line sounded like she was amazed that I was calling about this. I told her the dilemma and she said, "Well, we can issue a complaint to your local post office, if that's what you'd like." I told her I'd (at this point, I was my father, at least on this call) already been to the local post office, and they didn't do anything. She said, "Well, that's about all I can do."

I was flabbergasted! "How can this be?" I said. "Does this mean that any one person can go in and stop any other person's mail? Doesn't that seem...a little...under par for a government website?" I asked her. She replied, "I guess so." At this point, I told her that filing a complaint with the local post office wasn't going to cut it, and I needed to speak with a supervisor. She told me that what she could do was file a complaint with Consumer Affairs and they'd give me a callback. I decided to settle for that, let my dad decide what to do when he got the callback.

But yeah, I told him afterwards, you were right. This seems like a much bigger deal than these people are letting on. What's to stop any one person from going and stopping a whole bunch of other people's mail? That doesn't seem right.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

on grandcentral.

Well, following up on my GrandCentral post the other day and the (semi-)joy that I felt at learning of Google's purchasing of said company, I have to say that after looking it over a little more, I'm not all that happy about it.

One of the things that I liked the most from GrandCentral was that I could upload any music file I wanted from my collection and play it; either as a ringtone for a person (or group of persons) or as a ringback (meaning the person would hear that sound instead of "ringring" when they called me). That feature is now gone. :( This makes me sad for several reasons:

One) It means that GrandCentral will one day charge for ringtones. They were always upfront about the fact that we're only beta-testing right now and they might charge for services later, but I liked the fact that they had all these cool features that might be worth paying for. (Unlike, say, CD's from the Big Five.)

Two) I interpret it to mean that Google is not willing to fight this intellectual battle. And they would be good people to have on our side. Bummer.

In good news, however, the other day I was driving down the road with a friend and she got cut off and started yelling, "I wish my car was a Transformer and it'd transform and pick up your car and put it in the damn tree!" It was hilarious.

Friday, July 6, 2007

one step closer to "google-zon"

I'm glad I hopped on this GrandCentral service before waiting too long, because apparently Google has now bought it. Which, granted, I don't think is a bad thing - I love Google. I think they do good things. Except when they do bad things. Regardless, I'm on this service and it's apparently invite-only now. So if you want to know more about it, check the page, or ask me. I think I'm not going to switch over all my class just yet, I'm just going to keep it and play around with it on my own.

Unless others also have it and can tell me how to best utilize it. ;)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

on genius.

I'm glad that Slate is giving Brad Bird his due. He's always been a genius as far as I'm concerned, especially when he started making some of my favorite things. For what it's worth, I think The Incredibles should have won Best Picture at the Academy Awards the year it was released.

In related news, happy Fourth of July. Now with more funny, so I do more than just suppose.