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"For those of you who've never heard Glasvegas, imagine a Glaswegian band who can turn "You Are My Sunshine" into a thing that makes you want to cry bitter, painful tears of abandonment and endless bleak lovelessness.

In my pants."

I'm not sure the "In my pants" was strictly necessary, but it wouldn't be Ellis without it.
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I really like this musical hook, it's all over Dre's productions. Can't say I expected it to originate with a French crooner, though. It's almost like finding a Jaques Brel line on a Death Metal album.
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Got a short-notice invite to a friend's place last week, where after the initial social activity had been dealt with we had a few rounds of Guitar Hero II on his PS3. After an initially promising start, I basically sucked rocks - got booed off the stage on the first attempt and possibly second or subsequent attempts, and when I finally did make it through a song I had something like an 80% hit rate. Given that I play an actual guitar I was pondering why it was that I found this game so tricky, and I think it's a combination of three things:
  1. My sense of timing is a bit slack, which doesn't matter so much when you're playing on your own, but really sucks when you're trying to play this video game;
  2. There's no concept of recovering a bum note or almost getting the right timing, which is particularly galling when the note you missed is a long one and you basically have to stand there like a spare tool waiting for the next note to arrive;
  3. The guitar itself is more like one of those keyboard-worn-as-guitar (keytar?) things so beloved of 80s musicians, in as much as the "notes" you're playing are fret-wide buttons. On the other hand, you do "strum" it, so it winds up being an odd sort of hybrid and I'm not sure my brain quite understood how to deal with it.
I thought it might be interesting to hack a bunch of extra strumming buttons onto one of the guitars so you could effectively finger-pick - useful for fast runs, I suspect. I would also be interested in seeing a more realistic controller; I played around with a fully electronic guitar at some point years ago, which had real strings (slack, heavy nylon) as actuators and used pressure sensors on the fretboard to figure out where you'd put your fingers, and on the whole was pretty much exactly like playing a real guitar - albeit lacking the facility for things like pick scrapes and harmonics.

I also had a few rounds of the original Wipeout, the soundtrack to which I've owned since it came out (I'd never seen the game before this particular evening, though!) and the high point was finishing third in a race, but mainly I was happy with any race in which I didn't finish last.

updated to add: I've been looking for the video clip that was floating around a while back of a guy playing pretty much every instrument in a studio, followed by 30 seconds of him swearing in frustration at either Rock Band or Guitar Hero. While looking for (and failing to find) the clip, I discovered that there's a lot of people out there who really get on a soapbox about how these gamers should, like, go out and buy a real instrument. I'd like to stress that I'm in no way in this camp.
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I recently received a nice little present: an AVI of me playing guitar and singing at JC and Anita's wedding in 2007. It's post-dinner, so I'm (presumably) a bit drunk and definitely hoarser than I'd like, but it's kinda funny, too. I'm watching myself doing U2's Running to Stand Still and throwing in random smartassery, like singing the "seven towers" line and then quipping that it's more like five now. Thanks, JC.
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One of the tracks on heavy rotation down at the gym is "Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy". There's a bunch of clips of this on Youtube, so you can go dig it out yourself if you don't know it, but damn it there's a catchy banjo line in it. Evidently I have some sort of Country Music hook in my head that I wasn't previously aware of. Listening to the track right now, it sounds pretty much like Country Rock, but I've a vague notion that the version at the gym has a more dance-music feel to it (probably just amped-up bass). Certainly makes me wonder what a Country/Techno crossover would sound like...
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First I saw Halifax (at least, I think it was Halifax) doing a spoof of the Crimson Permanent gag (the building that turns into a sailing ship), and tonight in the gym I saw Studio B's 2006? track, I see girls (not entirely safe for work, due to, uh, running women and gratuituous camera angles...)
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I did some digging around and found the problem. Firstly, some weeks ago I tweaked the configuration of my webserver such that the WPAD URL - viz. http://wpad/wpad.dat - no longer worked. This is the URL Windows clients use when you tell them to automatically detect proxy settings, and by extension I tend to stuff it into anything that claims to support proxy autoconfiguration but doesn't actually support fully automatic detection. I didn't notice I'd broken it, as everything using it decided that a 404 on this URL simply meant to abandon any attempts to proxy. It appears that some combination of the 10.5.3 update and iTunes 7.6.2 now causes iTunes to fail at network access unless the proxy autoconfig URL resolves to something useful. Having fixed this, iTunes is once more happy. I'd update my iTunes bug report except that, er, iTunes' feedback system doesn't allow me to refer to my previous bug reports, apparently.
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Right now iTunes seems to have decided that I've got no network connectivity, despite the fact that everything else seems happy with my network. It simply says "iTunes could not [do requested network thing]. An unknown error occurred (-4). Make sure your network connection is active and try again." And, well, my network connection is active. I mean, I'm posting this to livejournal, right?

Anyway. In searching online for potential answers, I came across the following whiny snippet in the middle of some guy bitching about his error -4: "I've wasted a good 45 minutes and I'm really stressing out. I have to be at work at 10 and wanted to download some TV shows." Seriously, dude, if you're stressing out because you can't download some TV shows before work, you need to reconsider your priorities in life.

updated to add: the problem appeared after I'd rebooted into whatever jumbo update Apple just rolled out ("security fix: people may have been able to reboot your mac remotely") so perhaps said update broke iTunes and iTunes alone in the networking realm. Whatever's busted hasn't been fixed by restarting iTunes or restarting the Mac. Time to file a bug, I think.

update to update: the iTunes feedback page has iTunes versions up to 7.6.1. Mine appears to be 7.6.2 (9). WTF?
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Today I picked up a couple of CDs in the second-hand store to backfill some music I'd borrowed off others and liked sufficiently to merit a purchase. For both CDs, iTunes informed me that importing them would clash with some existing music; would I care to replace the clashing titles? Indeed I would, this being sort of the point of the exercise.

iTunes then proceeded to populate the relevant directory with a full duplicate of the CDs ripped.

Apparently it means "replace the iTunes listing for" as opposed to "overwrite the existing file".
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After last night's nostalgia trip, I dug up a tracklist for an album I used own in college, and assembled a youtube playlist of same. As noted therein, some of the versions are wrong, and some of the sound is pretty ropey (and indeed, some of the videos are simply sequences of stills, but I spent at least a few minutes trying to find the best version where multiple were available, and the best version wasn't always the one with the video). I'm amazed at how many of these I remember exactly, down to the various breakdowns and musical flourishes.
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If you plug in your iPod while the screen is locked, upon unlocking the screen you can see the dialog box that tells you your iPod is corrupted. Ejecting and replugging cures the alleged corruptedness.
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Wow. There's so much stuff on youtube. I've just been punching in random song titles from the late 80s - early 90s (when it was de rigeur to have either "House" or "Jack" in your song title, and your chart position was seemingly based on how many samples you could cram into 3 minutes) and I've found a match for every single one. I may have to create a playlist to illustrate my point, if I can be bothered...
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In this case, the left hand knows exactly what the right hand is doing: they’re both giving you the finger. (link)
And a lovely quote, too.
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I noted to [livejournal.com profile] mopti that you could probably make a filk related to current political affairs out of a recent popular song. Alas, when I tried tooling around with the lyrics a little, it came out more against the incumbents than directed at my intended target:
They're gonna shake up the Dáil
Cos Bertie's taken a fall
And Brian's no longer number two
They said he told us some lies
And took some cash on the side
And signed it off with "p.s. - I owe you"
So I guess I'll abandon that...
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I believe he's playing some sort of stringed pipe.

awakenings

Apr. 3rd, 2008 09:10 pm
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Some time in the wee hours of this morning, there was a bird singing outside my window. It sounded like it had been taught to sing by a car alarm. Ugh.

I dreamed U2's new album[1]. I can only remember that the first and last tracks concerned meeting a girl on a train and seeing the girl depart on a train respectively. Actually, it might have been a tram. And the leaving tram/train was in a horrible accident with the implication that that's why there wasn't a next song. And when I say the songs concerned these things, I mean I was watching and/or starring in the videos. I don't recall music or lyrics, just that there was definitely some of both. The dream seemed to be partly lucid, too.

After the trainwreck song (hah) I was again on a train, this one being derailed by another train but somehow maintaining its pace, and then being chased by an avalanche for a bit.

Dreams are curious things.

[1] I don't know that U2 have a new album, but they're about due one.
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I haven't done this in a while, but: I caught a snippet of a song on something on TV, probably an episode of Scrubs, and rather liking the music I hit up Google and iTunes to see if I could find it. Behold, Dashboard Confessional's Stolen from the Dusk and Summer album. A quick check on RIAA Radar revealed them to be non-RIAA, so I picked up the album on Amazon - unknowningly picking up the extended version which includes a song from the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack titled Vindicated. Which is what's stuck in my head, mainly for the way the verse gives way to the chorus.

Lyrics reproduced without permission )

Oh yeah. Stolen is pretty good, too, but not sticking in my head quite so much.
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I just found Google's music search. On poking further, I find it's existed in some form since December 2005. But it's really neat (when it works): try, for example, a search for that Tom Waits album I couldn't find for years. Now click into the results - you get track listings, track details, and even links to lyric sites. Very nice.

Now I just need a "BUY NOW" link and I'm set...
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Listening to someone's mix MP3 this evening I stumbled across Frank Stallone's "Far From Over" which apparently showed up on the Stayin' Alive soundtrack; I've no idea where I first came across it, but it has the most awesomely over-the-top instrumental solo. If you can dig up a copy it's worth a listen for that alone.
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From the soundtrack of The Departed (a movie that could have done with being at least a half-hour shorter): The Dropkick Murphys performing Shipping Up To Boston. There's not much by way of lyrics, but I really like this.

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