Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Unemployed Human Tivo

When you aren't home and just need to hear the Pah-kuk - pah- kuk sound to rewind your life just a little.


Friday, January 27, 2006

Not Pulling Punches

Oprah Grills James Frey

Pink's new video for "Stupid Girl"

Disclaimer: I think both Pink and Oprah are hott.


Association for Psychological Science: 'To be or, or ... um ... line!'

Just putting this up for our resident handsome actor to comment on., since he is off at his ski chalet for the wekeend.


Drum Solo = More Cowbell?

I was reading the LA Times this morning and came across this article. Last weekend I happened to catch a VH1Classic showing of a live Rush concert. I commented to the wife about Neil's drumkit and how huge it is. So I called up my buddy in LA to tell him to catch it, not only didn't he have VH1Classic as a selection on DirecTV, but he also said he had outgrown listening to Rush.

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Neil Pert's Drum Kit


The Big Bang

By Dan Neil
January 22, 2006
Once upon a time, giants thundered across the land: Moon, Bonham, Baker, Palmer. These sweaty and indifferently groomed young men gave the world that curious and hard-to-love artifact of rock, the drum solo.

Won't somebody please hold up a flaming lighter?

For a couple of decades—from, say, 1967, the release of the first Vanilla Fudge album with Carmine Appice on skins, to the break-up of the Police, when drummer Stewart Copeland and Sting could at last no longer stand the sight of each other—the drum solo was a reliable part of arena rock's audio furniture.

And I was there. Nazareth. Black Sabbath. Pink Floyd. Yes. Emerson Lake and Palmer. Blue Oyster Cult. Aerosmith. Queen. The Who. Jethro Tull. I'm one of those few survivors who saw Led Zeppelin in concert—how quaint that sounds now—and heard John Bonham play the furious and fundamental "Moby Dick," with its phase-shifted tympani, tom-toms played barehanded like Indian tabla, machine-gun triplets and cymbals hissing like lava pouring into the sea.

It's been 25 years since Bonham's tragically clichéd drummer's death—choking on his own vomit during an alcoholic blackout—and while he is sorely missed, the same can't be said of the drum solo per se. Somewhere along the way, the drum
solo became a rock-and-roll punch line of the "More cowbell!" variety. Among the top concert draws of 2005, the Rolling Stones didn't break stride to give Charlie Watts—an exceptional jazz drummer when not propping up Mick and the lads—a 20-minute showcase; neither did U2 step aside for an intimate moment with drummer Larry Mullen Jr., because if they did, well, just think of the crush at the snack bar.

The passing of rock drum solos was so unlamented that I might have missed it but for a new DVD by Neil Peart called "Anatomy of a Drum Solo." Peart is the drummer/percussionist for the arena rock institution Rush and is widely considered the greatest living rock drummer. By my calculation, Peart is also
the most prolific drum soloist ever. In its astounding 31-year history with its original lineup, Rush has spent more time on the road than the Roman army, and there was always, always a drum solo in the show. At least there was the five times I saw them. So I called Neil Peart to ask: What happened to the drum solo?

"Rock drummers killed the solo themselves," Peart tells me when we meet at a coffee shop in Santa Monica. "It got to be so predictable and manipulative. They cheapened it by making it a clap-along or a boring ramble."

Oh yeah. Few things in music are so grating as a long, thrashing drum solo by some sweaty dude working his way around the trap kit (Tommy Lee, are you listening?). The trouble is, it was always so. One of the sacred texts of solo drumming is Ron Bushy's notoriously flatulent 2 1/2-minute tumble on Iron
Butterfly's 1968 monster hit "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida."

"Even as a kid I hated that song," says Peart. "It was the anti-drum solo.

There was no technique, no musicality, no dynamics at all.

If you owned this album, that's not incense you're smelling, it's shame.

Peart's larger point is that the rock drum solo, which emerged out of an honorable tradition of showmanship set by big band players such as Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, rapidly descended into musical cynicism. Partly at fault was the economics of the arena itself. When rock bands started selling out 10,000-seat coliseums in one town after another, any sense of intimacy—or rock's rebellion—was swallowed by the vacancy of the venue itself. The drum solo became part of a repertoire of arena-rock tricks to pull huge and disconnected audiences into the show.

"Asking the audience to clap along can be part of a really sincere desire to include the audience in the music or the performance," says Peart, "or it can be just like pressing a button. It can be a beautiful thing or an ugly thing."

So what started out as a virtuoso exploration of an instrument's solo potential became, almost immediately, rock's 7th-inning stretch.

The other big problem with drum solos? The audience. It became clear to me after watching Peart's explanatory DVD that civilians—which is to say non-drummers—don't really understand what they're hearing. In one section of Peart's "Der Trommler" solo, he keeps waltz time, 3/4 rhythm (PA-tah-tah, PA-tah-tah) with his feet, while playing lightning-fast 6/8 and 7/8 drum fills across his other drums. In terms of physical coordination, this is something like playing badminton with two rackets while typing with your feet. But if you hadn't been enlightened, you might think it just sounds like billiard balls in a dryer.

Peart amiably disagrees, wincing at the suggestion that the audience somehow just doesn't get it. "Drumming shouldn't be something you need an education to appreciate." After all, he says, "You can't blame the audience for everything."


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Idiotarod: Run Idiots Run

This sounds like an interesting activity. It made it to our alternative activities list MTV Labs. I just can't believe this is the THIRD ANNUAL and I've missed the first two completely.

Run Idiots Run
Time to steal your shoppin carts, the Idiotarod is coming!... "The Iditarod is the famous long-distance race in which yelping dogs tow a sled across Alaska. Our Idiotarod is pretty much the same thing, except that instead of dogs, it's people, instead of sleds, it's shopping carts, and instead of Alaska it's New York City"...




We love this crazy-ass, outlaw NYC event. The costumes are wild, the shopping carts are inventive, and the people are insane! (the carts are usually packed with beer.) And it's this weekend!... "The third annual event happens January 28, 2006. It will start in Brooklyn, run into Manhattan, and end approximately five miles later. Teams of five will race for a cash prize. And glory."

From The Gothamist - The Idiots are Coming
The Official site & info - Idiotarod
Photos from - Mikey NYC's awesome 2005 Idioarod set


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

What do you call this thing?

What do you call the little yellow thing you'd put inside of a 45 RPM record in order to make it play on a regular turntable?

It looks sorta similar to this Black Crowes album cover (minus the snakes):

I've seen Jason Lee wearing a t-shirt with this logo a few times, and want to try and track it down.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

East Coast vs. West Coast Rap Battle

Well, it seems that some people decided to show that SNL's Narnia Rap Lazy Sunday isn't fair and balanced to those that live on the West Coast. So they came up with Lazy Monday. As a born and bred Los Angeleno who's not lived there for 15 years, well I find myself a bit out of touch with what places they are talking about. Maybe it's because I grew up in the Valley, I don't know. I do know that Google Maps is MUGH better than Thomas Guides even though I know I grew up on pages 13-14 of the LA County edition. (unless that's now different pages...)

And yes, Red Vines are SOOOOO much better than Twizzlers. It's just that they originate from the West Coast...Will this turn into a East Coast - West Coast battle ala Tupac and Notorious BIG? Who knows...


Ryan Vs. Buckethead

My brother spent last week at the NAMM Conference in Anaheim, and ran into Buckethead (who was walking with Bootsy Collins).

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Ryan, you are my hero. I love that you're only a few inches taller than his freaky doll.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Because nothing says I love you like Dutch Yodelling.

Jason's love of the deeply strange early 70's rock instrumental "Hocus Pocus" by otherwise unknown Dutch group "Focus" is well documented. So naturally when I came across this ILX thread of notable musical performances archived on youtube
(well worth checking out if you like that sort of thing) I had to make sure that he saw a rare live clip of the mad dutch yodellers themselves performing their big hit on an unnamed 70's TV program (hosted by Gladys Knight? who is that?) with japanese subtitles.

YouTube - focus - hocus pocus

Particularly entertaining are the weird muppet on crack facial expressions (and high-torque mennonite beard) sported by Focus leader Thijs Van Leer (that's him in the picture). Enjoy kids. I may post some other worthwhile performances off that thread in the comments.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Willie Wisely And A Cool Record Company

Jeff over at Jefitoblog pointed this one out. You rock, Jeff.

An artist named Willie Wisely (who I've never heard of before today) has a new album coming out, and the unbelievable recording company Not Lame believes in it so much that they're willing to present a terrific offer.

If you pre-order Wisely's new CD Parador, they'll not only give you 4 great bonus offers, but they will refund your money if you don't love the CD.

An impressive offer, no? I've purchased from Not Lame before, back when the Jellyfish limited-edition box set came out, and was so impressed with their customer service and passion for music. But this really takes the cake - an artist they are so excited about that they'll go to great lengths to spread the music.

All record companies should be doing this.

Now, yes, it's an impressive offer, but you're still taking a risk, right? Well, because Not Lame is, well, not lame, you can listen to the entire freaking album right there on their website. I listened to four tracks and enjoyed them all. They've got my money.

The Willie Wisely link is here. At the very least, check it out and admire a company that's not in it for the money.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Look what came in today's mail

What a thrill for me. :)

Click here

Tapping Out The Hits

The Song Tapper claims to be able to recognize a song that you tap into the computer using only your space bar. But I've tried "What A Fool Believes" twice now, and they're not recognizing it. Here's what I tapped, and here's what they suggested I was tapping:

Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight) Abba
We've Had Enough Alkaline Trio
Englishman In New York Sting
Saturday Night Whigfield
Run To The Hills Iron Maiden
Turkish March Mozart
My Favorite Things
Oh, Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel
Coin-Operated Boy Dresden Dolls
Sweet Home Alabama King / Rossington

"Run To The Hills" was on the suggestion list both times, which I imagine will bring Michael great, great pleasure.

I tried a second time, tapping out the entire verse and chorus of "Summer of '69" by Bryan Adams. (Why? I don't know.) Perfect match: it was the first song suggested. "Feel Like Makin' Love" by Bad Company didn't fare as well, but I'm not sure if that's because I counted the word "love" in the verses as multiple syllables. And no, I didn't play the guitar part of the chorus on the keyboard - but it sounds like the computer missed a few of the taps. I wonder if I'm typing out vocal dynamics using the space bar, and the light ones aren't registering.

Finally, I tried "Faith" by George Michael. No luck. And it suggested "Englishman In New York" by Sting and "No Matter What" by Boyzone for the second time.

Admittedly, my rhythm's not perfect, but I wonder how many people will find what they're looking for here.

Metal Face = Charlie Chaplin

Mike just called me to let me know about MyHeritage.com, a geneology website that is currently running a face recognition beta - you upload your photo, they do some sort of scan on it, and pull up celebrities that resemble your facial characteristics.

Naturally, I uploaded metal face.

The results? Apparently I look like, in descending order:

Leonardo DiCaprio (59%)
David Brin (53%)
Charlie Chaplin (52%)
Gene Hackman
Lee Harvey Oswald (51%) (uhhhh...)
Sonia Gandhi (49%) (??)
Anthony Hopkins (48%) (Now we're talkin'!)
Bruce Willis
Meat Loaf
and finally, Olav V of Norway (46%) . I always felt we had a kinship...now it's confirmed.

Interesting that I didn't get any similarities to Breckin Meyer, but maybe it's because I didn't use a more serious pic. However, I did post a picture that I think looks closer to what I currently look like, and I'm much more amused/satisfied by this result.

Who do you look like? Post in the comments.

Cartman on Ginger Kids

Beware the Ginger Kids!!!

"If you think Ginger Kids problems isn't a serious one, think again."


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A few entries from angryasianman.com

The first one, Wang Newton is a bit of a laugh. I'm not so sure just how to take it since normally Angry Asian Man points to racist articles and items and outright declares them racist as, "That's racist!" with the examples of the Spencer Gifts photo post further down the page. If “HANG OUT WITH YOUR WANG OUT” (Spencer Gifts) and "Wong Brothers Laundry Service -- Two Wongs Can Make It White." (Abercrombie & Fitch),  then why isn't Wang Newton's "Fresh off the boat, the Ruv Boat" also not? Maybe because it's like the N Word, okay when "they" say it.

I have no idea what to make of Wang Newton. Performing monthly at the Walnut Room in Philadelphia. Here's a brief interview with her: Meet Wang Newton, a relative newcomer. What is a "1950s-Hollywood-style Asian accent"?

I didn't realize that Rubik's cubes were still a popular thing. Here's an old school website that has links in old .edu style: Michael Reid's Rubik's cube page

The competition was tough, but 20-year-old Caltech student Leyan Lo set a new world's record this weekend for solving the Rubik's Cube: Man Solves Rubik's Cube in 11.13 Seconds. He also set a new world's record for nerdiness.

Here's an article on brothers Tyson and Toby Mao, stars of the deadly competitive art of speedcubing: Brothers square off in cubing contest. Okay, so it's not really deadly. It's solving the Rubik's Cube really really really fast—so fast it should be deadly! As you know, Tyson's on the current season of WB's Beauty and the Geek, along with fellow geek Ankur and beauty Cher (turns out she's of Asian descent, as many of you have pointed out to me).

UPDATE: Cher, the beer spokesmodel and former Hooter's waitress, is indeed part Korean. In this article on her geeky teammate Herman, he says that other contestants started calling them "Woody and Soon Yi." UGH. Yak. Pitooey.


Monday, January 16, 2006

Interactive Yacht Rock article

From the Channel 101 message boards, "Yacht Rock" creator JD Ryznar (who apparently dug the Thriller revisit from a few months ago on here) posted a great interactive article from AP on Yacht Rock. You can find it here. Lots of great tidbits on there (congrats on getting an agent, JD!), especially the parts at the end where they have snippets of some of JD's favorite YR tracks.

Good call on the Loggins versions of McDonald songs. I've heard his version of "I Gotta Try" but not "No Lookin' Back."

I'll be doing a bit more of a Yacht Rock/Michael McDonald intensive post in a few months. (Can't wait, can you?)


Friday, January 13, 2006


1: One who does not grasp the concept of caution.
2: One whose success is based purely off relentless aggression and
pure luck.
3: One who likes chicken.
4: One whose battle cry consists of their own name.

1: To destroy all hopes of success.
2: To rush headlong into danger without regard to consequences.
3: To satisfy one's own desires at the expense of all around oneself.

- I can't believe he just tried to headbutt that dragon. What a Leeroy.

- We were doing great until that idiot totally Leeroyed us.

- The party was really boring until Bob pulled a Leeroy.

Who is Leeroy Jenkins? Well he's made quite a name for himself via the internet as one of the viral videos that went around last year. He even made it into mainstream pop culture by being an answer in Jeopardy. I've been playing this game for a little over a year and the when playing there is lots of strategy and waiting about for other people to get themselves together to go do battle. When you are wathing the video, Leeroy is sitting to the left side highlighted by green while they are talking strategy. What sucks about what Leeroy did is that sometimes it can take about 45 minutes to prepare and get everything just right, when this happens you have to wait for the instance to reset and sometimes you could be 2-3 hours already into the battles inside the instance.

The irony of course is that while this is a video game, we do happen to work with these types of people, exist in our neighborhoods, or are even our friends.



my pet! 


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Chuck Norris always takes advantage of a plugging opportunity

Remember this?

Chuck responds.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

First Goatse!

Third post today!

Okay, this one is really for Brian, who does such a great job of adding posts to Plagiarist, way more often than I do. Thank you, Brian.

Flicker Photoset: First Goatse (SFW)

If you don't get it, that's okay; be happy. (Or if you're really curious, Google "goatse," but I wouldn't recommend doing it from work.) If you do get it...isn't it brilliant? Note Ron Jeremy's reaction in there.


Christmas Radio Recap

Back in November, I commented on WLTW's All-Christmas switch a full 5 weeks before the holiday, and the reasons for switching so early:

The reason they flipped so early has to do with ratings - the Arbitron Fall Ratings book is in its last phase, and if WLTW picks up enough listeners, it'll reflect in the fall book (and thus positively enhance their advertising opportunities).

Turns out the switch was right on target. According to the numbers provided by The Daily News, WLTW won the overall slot by quite a lot. A 7.4 overall. However, I was wrong with my prediction:

I predict that WPLJ will flip either on or the day after Thanksgiving. JACK will stick with its current format, as will 102.7, in the hopes of catching those who are sick to death of Christmas music.

I was right about JACK and WNEW sticking with their current formats. WPLJ didn't switch at all, and I still can't figure out why. But it turns out it bit them in the ass, with a pathetic 2.2 overall. Maybe they'll listen to me next year. :)

By the way, here's an interesting tidbit: the most played Christmas song on WLTW this past year?

"Winter Wonderland" by The Eurythmics. A staggering 293 times. I NEVER would have guessed it would be that song.

My source for the majority of this information, by the way, is the excellent New York Radio Message Board.

First Look: TiVo Series 3

Gear Live has gotten their hands on a new Series 3 TiVo. I haven't watched the video yet, but nearly choked when I read their initial price predictions.

I could see myself paying the $400 for this, but that's my absolute limit. Otherwise, I could easily wait until it comes down.

I do wonder why the cable companies haven't taken more initiative in creating a user interface that is similar to TiVo's. This is their chance. If the Series 3 TiVo is priced higher than $500 and the cable companies start offering features such as wishlists, online scheduling and suggested recordings - even just a few of these - I predict more people will give up on TiVo and switch to a local solution.

Of course, I'm just speaking of my own cable company, Time Warner in NYC...anybody have any experience with other cable company-supplied DVRs and their features?


Monday, January 09, 2006

". . . from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee."

CNN.com - Vengeful mouse sets house ablaze - Jan 8, 2006

Is that not the best headline of all time? How do you not click that? Kudos Associated Press.


Billy Joel pulled it out in the end

Well, since Jason likes him so much and I do enjoy listening to him play...
from newsday.com
Piano man rallies after curious twist

January 9, 2006

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Billy Joel pulled it out in the end, like his beloved Yankees trying to salvage a season.

Halfway through the launch of his latest tour -- his first as a solo headliner in nearly seven years -- here at the BankAtlantic Center Saturday night, it wasn't exactly a sure thing.

Joel opened strong with "Piano Man" and grand versions of "Allentown" and "New York State of Mind" quickly followed. But the early inclusion of "Everybody Loves You Now," a nugget from 1971's "Cold Spring Harbor," and a Beatles-esque take on "Laura" from 1982's "The Nylon Curtain" suggested that he was easing the crowd into a different kind of Billy Joel show -- one that supported his recent "My Lives" box set, which collected rare tracks and demos from throughout his career.

But that didn't come close to preparing them for the show's huh?-inducing mid-section: "Stiletto," "Zanzibar," "Great Wall of China," "All for Leyna," "Sometimes a Fantasy," "Sleeping with the Television On," "The Night Is Still Young," "Big Man on Mulberry Street" and "Where Is the Orchestra?"

Granted, it's a boon for many fans to see these songs -- especially the lovely "Where Is the Orchestra?" -- performed for the first time. And it's quite daring for Joel to go that long without throwing in one of his best-known hits. Unfortunately, it didn't work and it seems Joel could tell, since he "called an audible" on stage to let the band and crew know he was moving the rocker "Sometimes a Fantasy" up in the set.

There's little to complain about the songs individually, since Joel's voice and his first-rate backing band were as strong as ever. But taken together, they slowed the pace too much and erased the momentum generated by the start.

It's all part of the process of building a new tour -- along with getting the lighting cues right so that Joel could see drummer Chuck Burgi to know when the songs started. Rest assured, Joel fans, by the time he arrives at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 23, for the first of -- at last count -- nine concerts through March 2, this will, no doubt, be fixed by a couple of substitutions.

Starting with "Keeping the Faith," Joel began building the energy level again, before finishing the set with a powerful quartet of rockers -- "I Go to Extremes," "We Didn't Start the Fire," "Big Shot" and "You May Be Right." All four benefited from some new harmony arrangements that showcase Crystal Taliefero's vocals more and get some heft from guitarist Tommy Burns, bassist Andy Cichon and saxophonist Mark Rivera.

"River of Dreams," the first encore, had Joel and the band running like a well-oiled machine, putting to rest any worries about Joel handling a full two-hour-plus show on his own again after years of abbreviated sets he co-headlined with Elton John.

After all, few veteran rockers can close a show like Joel. And when he unleashes his murderer's row of hits, he is next to unstoppable.


Friday, January 06, 2006

Boom Boom Boom

If you have not already added it to your Tivo subscription (it's free, just subscribe to it in Showcases if you have broadband or use the link) it's a nice videoblog to watch. It's about 3-5 minutes long and adds a little bit more than a regular blog. I'd give it the same difference as going from print to radio to TV.

here's a sampling of what a typical blog offers:

quicktime win player torrent phone tivo

story links: 1000-pixel ebay auction for million dollar homepage, coldplay's new music CD has usage rules, (via), ozone hole repair models (thanks, dan!), bluesnarfer bluetooth exploit (video), creative labs rolls out zencast, bea camacho crocheted herself into a cocoon (via), the rocket launch (thanks, daniel!); music: instruments

Also, Amanda Congdon isn't so hard on the eyes.


New TiVo Announced

Dual tuners, CableCARD and HD ready?



Thursday, January 05, 2006

Best of the Fake MTA Posters


A couple of days ago, Gothamist's pal Andy created an online fake MTA sign generator. Now, he's hacked together a thumbnail gallery that displays all of the different signs you guys have made (and now that the meme has escaped to the other NYC sites, there are hundreds of examples!) But we need help-- our attention span is only five seconds long, which means that we didn't have time to find more than the four amusing examples pictured above. Go to the page and pick your favorites, then link them in the comments! Give your favorite sign hacker the eternal fame he or she deserves!

Of course then there is Mike's favorite I'm sure...


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Pete Townshend Warns iPod Users

'There Is Terrible Trouble Ahead' was the tagline that made me click on the entertainment news... what could be terrible trouble ahead especially in the entertainment industry world?

LONDON (Jan. 4) - Guitarist Pete Townshend has warned iPod users that they could end up with hearing problems as bad as his own if they don't turn down the volume of the music they are listening to on earphones.

Townshend, 60, guitarist in the 60s band The Who, said his hearing was irreversibly damaged by years of using studio headphones and that he now is forced to take 36-hour breaks between recording sessions to allow his ears to recover.

"I have unwittingly helped to invent and refine a type of music that makes its principal components deaf," he said on his Web site. "Hearing loss is a terrible thing because it cannot be repaired. If you use an iPod or anything like it, or your child uses one, you MAY be OK ... But my intuition tells me there is terrible trouble ahead."

Referring to the increasingly popular practice of downloading music from the Internet, Townshend said: "The downside may be that on our computers - for privacy, for respect to family and co-workers, and for convenience - we use earphones at almost every stage of interaction with sound."

The Who rock group was famous for its earsplitting liveperformances, but Townshend said his problem was caused by using earphones in the recording studio.


What will we learn this year?

Via Kottke, here's the BBC's list of 100 Things We Didn't Know This Time Last Year. I was especially interested in #25: "Nelson probably had a broad Norfolk accent." If that's true, it certainly doesn't come out in "Love and Affection" or "After The Rain." Unless they're talking about Nelson Muntz? I don't hear it in "ha ha!" either.

Gunnar, Matthew and Mr. Muntz wish you a Happy New Year! (I do too.)