After reading rumors that Apple is getting pressure from the music labels to increase per-song rates on the iTMS to $1.25 and albums to $16.99 (Let me just take a minute to wave both of my middle fingers directly at the music industry), I found a link to this site, which made me start thinking about the ethics behind file-sharing and buying legit copies of music. Until now, my M.O. has been to share stuff or buy used CD’s, because everybody knows artists make only pennies on each record sold, and make their money touring. Ergo, screw the music labels.

I read the related story about this guy in the Washington City Paper and started thinking, however, about the artists on the old blues and coutry labels he collects. There are a ton of stories about poorly-educated musicians getting screwed out of their royalties by the labels back in those days (…hell, it still happens to this day), and the reality was that most of their income, at least from music, was from playing live. Is this sounding familiar?

This guy is selling CD’s of the music he’s collected for $15/ea, which is remarkably affordable, as well as admirable from an afficionado’s standpoint—you can buy a digital recording of an obscure bluegrass song of which there is only one physical pressing left. And that’s pretty cool. What I thought was this: Is that stuff in public domain, or is it illegal for him to sell these recordings? Is there any surviving relative (son or daughter) who should, by rights, get the proceeds from these sales? Should he offer them that money?

As a neophyte collector of old blues and jazz, I intend to browse the catalog and purchase some stuff in the future. But I’ll be thinking about those musicians—and what was due to them—when I’m enjoying the music.

(Update: Prices on the iTMS are staying the same.)

Date posted: May 7, 2004 | Filed under music | Leave a Comment »

Our IT guy handed me a disc today and asked me if I could read it on my Mac. It’s a 12-year-old CD of sound effects from the Hanna Barbera archives, recorded in some proprietary format by a company that evolved into the folks that make ProTools. Anyway, the discs are filled with sounds any 18-45 year old kid would recognize, from Fred Flintsone’s feet making the car go to Muttley’s teeth chomping Dick Dastardly’s ass. Good fun for customizing alert sounds.

Oh, P.S. “That’s the way girls like Lynndie are raised.”

Heh. Here’s an article about something on our minds… The heck with it. We’re going to have a big fondue pot and let people pick their own hors d’oeuvres. (free registration may be required)

Well, That Helped. So Bush got on Arab TV yesterday and yammered on about how “…the people in the Middle East must understand that this was horrible.” No shit! He didn’t apologize for a goddamn thing, though, which is a fantastic lesson to teach our kids, country, and neighbors on this planet.

I spent about two hours working on some freelance last night while Jen was sleeping, and I have to say that I am extremely happy with our new office. This morning I got up early, made coffee, and sat down to another hour or so of edits. The sun was rising through the atrium windows over my desk, and the cats quietly paced around my feet; for the first time since we moved in the new house, I felt like things are coming together the way we want them to.

Date posted: May 6, 2004 | Filed under geek, house, politics | Leave a Comment »

Last night, I started the process of centralizing the house network; after running miles of cable from the bedrooms down through the walls, I wanted to actually get some of the computers in the office on a network. So I started by splicing into a power circuit that apparently contains both doorbells, an outlet in the basement, the kitchen stove, and the hallway light in my neighbor’s house. After putting an outlet in next to the panel, I ran a new phone line to it and put connectors on the office lines. This morning I got up early to install the DSL modem and router, then ran a network line back to the dining room for the Airport base station. Thankfully, everything works.

A few thoughts about the latest good news from Iraq:

  • America is doomed. We are a country of ignorant, bullying sheep.
  • If Bush is re-elected this year, it will be proof that he has sold his soul to the Devil. Jen and I have decided that we will leave the country and move someplace that isn’t doomed, and raise our kids to be intelligent. (No, I’m not kidding.)
  • I shudder to think of what will happen to the next American POW taken in that country.
  • What kind of animal does this? And what kind of moron lets somebody take their picture while doing this? (Don’t give me that “They’re under a lot of stress” shit. This is wrong. Plain and simple.)
  • Seymour Hersh wrote a fantastic article in the latest New Yorker about this—the latest in a series of fantastic reporting about the war. (For a great article about the previous Gulf War, check this out.)
  • Bush is going on Arab TV today to talk about this whole thing. Like that’s going to help anything.
  • Nobody in America cares about any of this. They’re all too freaked out about the last episode of “Friends”.

Last night, Dave sent me a link to a copy of Satie’s Gymnopedie No.3, performed on guitar by John Williams. Again, it’s beautiful and soothing—classical chillout music. I recommended an album to him called Selenography, by a band called Rachel’s. It’s sort of contemporary chillout classical, with drums, piano, guitar, and cello. I have yet to find the physical CD anywhere, and so will have to break down and order it online when we return from Italy. (Rubbing elbows with greatness dept.: I went to school with one of the members of the band.) Anyway, thanks, Dave!

Date posted: May 5, 2004 | Filed under house, music, politics | Leave a Comment »

Folks with an iTunes account, go pick this up: Gymnopedie for Piano #1, by Erik Satie. You’ve heard the melody from somewhere; Satie was an eccentric French classical composer, and the advertising weasels have used this composition to sell cars or dog food or something like that. From an excellent BBC program on the history of chillout music. (second link is Real format—sorry via boingboing)

Last night I finally got around to hanging the sad-looking lightbulb fixture in the office that Jen was so tired of bonking her head on. $7 and some new hardware later, I pulled out the old 40’s mounting hardware and replaced the box, hanger and threaded nipple; some new connectors over the old wiring and it was all set. Too bad I can’t get the white in the cable cover to come back. Flush with success, I thought I might try to splice into a line to put a plug next to the main panel (for plugging in a router, DSL modem, et. al.) but was stymied by the rat’s nest that is my basement wiring.

Date posted: May 4, 2004 | Filed under house, music | Leave a Comment »

We got a lot of stuff done this weekend; among other things, the front porch is half-cleaned off (the waiting room side) and the boxes are arranged neatly on a new wire shelf on the high side of the basement. There are actual pieces of furniture in the bedrooms, even if we’re not using some of them; countless boxes full of foo-foo design books have been emptied and discarded, the living room has opened up with the deletion of my bed, and there are things hanging on the walls. This is progress, people.

Sunday we met with the musicians to find that we really didn’t want to use them (apparently the Wedding March doesn’t work so well on guitar, and we really didn’t want a singer), so Jen engaged the services of an organist. We are now finally registered at Target, for those folks who would like to buy us a gift (cash donations accepted as well) and I think you’ll find we tried not to break your bank—Dyson vacuum cleaner aside. (Hey, we can dream, right?) Instead of the usual plates-and-silverware list most people have, we went practical: that hose reel may not fit on the gift table, but it’ll come in handy when we have to wash out the tent the day after the party. There’s also a gag in there for the folks who appreciate such things.

We also managed to get the lawn mowed (a brief aside, if you will: I will admit to you in print, here and now, that I enjoy mowing my lawn. While my father attempts to perform CPR on himself with two bare wires from the lamp next to his computer desk, I’ll also admit that I was the worst child ever to deal with when it came to mowing lawns. Perhaps it was that our lawn mower was older and heavier than I was; perhaps it was the fact that we had five acres of lawn to mow, and that it was littered with ankle-breaking chunks of bedrock; perhaps it was just more important to me to watch that episode of Battle Of The Planets than spend six hours in the blazing heat of August pushing a government-surplus boat anchor through the weeds. In contrast, the lawn at the Lockardugan estate is a 45 minute exercise in immediate satisfaction.) and added two bags of soil to the side flowerbed. About 8pm, we called it a day, grilled some dogs, opened a cheap bottle of red wine, and fell asleep on the couch.

Freelance. From today’s Craigslist:

Freelance work a few hours a week.
Consultant position using your own equipment, setting your own schedule.

Yeah, right, that sounds like my kinda gig.

You should have and or be:
Honest and reliable
Proficient in Photoshop and 3DSmax
Moderate webdesign skills
Moderate understanding of MS office

Check, check, check, check.

Have a PC with DSL or cable connection and software
Be easy to reach by phone and or email
Have a flexible schedule
Be within 25 miles to Baltimore MD
optional: reliable transportation and ability to meet on location on rare occasions. The work can be done remotely but the ability to meet is beneficial.

OK, this is sounding more like me all the time.

We cannot respond to all inquiries/submissions, if the position has not been filled and you seem well suited for the position you will hear from us within 5 business days.

…Then I’m thinking you really shouldn’t post to Craigslist.

Compensation: $8.50/hour

??!?!?? I made more than that 15 years ago bussing tables in High School. Get bent, you jackoff.

Date posted: May 3, 2004 | Filed under house | Leave a Comment »

first cicada sighting of the year, 5.1.04

first cicada sighting of the year, 5.1.04

Date posted: May 2, 2004 | Filed under photo | Leave a Comment »