Known Johnson

March 31, 2008

Haiku surprise

Filed under: General — Tom @ 11:34 pm

You would be surprised
I know what you do not know
Things are going on

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March 30, 2008

There’ll be no mutant enemy, we shall certify

Filed under: General — Tom @ 8:36 pm

This weekend was insane. Not the college kind of insane, where you spend the weekend partying and don’t remember it . . . not that I ever did that (honestly, sorry, I’m boring.) It was just insanely busy. I was barely home yesterday – I was over at my parents for part of the afternoon, then ran some errands (part of which, admittedly, included stopping at Zia Records, of course,) came home, then promptly left again to get dinner and go looking for new plants to take over for ones that are failing to live up to our expectations. And we spent a long time looking at those plants. Then it was home, Amanda in bed and just a short while later, us in bed. It’s hell getting old.

Today seems to have followed a similar pattern – I spent nearly all day outside planting the aforementioned plants and doing projects related to the yard, all of which were very, very tiring, then promptly ran out for pizza, and now we’re back home and ready to put Amanda to bed . . . and in just a couple hours, we’ll be getting ready for bed. It’s not fair. I’ve hardly had a weekend. I worked far harder the past two days than I do at work. What did I get paid for it? Nada! And now I’m SORE!

Not to mention that I woke up early this morning right out of the middle of a great dream – I was just about to eat a very delicious looking piece of cornbread. Broke a piece off, I could feel it slightly sticky and warm in my hands, I could smell it . . . I could almost taste it. And then I woke up. So rude.

March 29, 2008

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco speaks about migraines

Filed under: Migraine,Music — Tom @ 12:13 pm

Jeff Tweedy, one of the more widely known migraine sufferers, has written a piece for the New York Times about his migraine experiences. While his are far worse than mine have ever been, I identify with a lot he has to say in there. And I’m really glad to see that I’ve been right all along about “Less Than You Think”‘s noise-drone coda being his interpretation of a migraine. I’ve never seen any confirmation of that until now, but the moment I heard that I immediately knew I was “hearing” a migraine sufferer reaching out through music. And, yes, every time I get a fairly serious migraine, I feel exactly the same way he does – that any progress I’ve made has been dashed and I’m on the downhill slide. I guess we migraineurs are probably not the most positive lot around.

March 28, 2008

Wait another year, Axl

Filed under: Music — Tom @ 9:38 am

I hate Dr. Pepper. I can wait one more year for Chinese Democracy.

Lights on

Filed under: Annoyances — Tom @ 9:34 am

Phoenix is participating in this – “Earth Hour” – a completely ridiculous waste of time unless you are actually really stupid. Lights off for an hour on Saturday night. Okay. What, exactly, is turning off all electricity for an hour going to do? I have yet to see any actual, solid answers. All I read is “it’s going to raise awareness.”* Awareness about what? Who isn’t aware that it’s better for the environment if we don’t use electricity?

*You know, like Live8 – it raised awareness of the one-time Waters/Gilmour-era Pink Floyd reunion, and helped sell a bunch of albums for the bands who played at the shows. Rock on, dude! Anyone aware of any other benefits we got out of that other than a bunch of short concerts and rock stars’ stroked egos?

March 27, 2008

Put the bass in the middle of my head

Filed under: Ipod/Iphone,Music — Tom @ 10:22 pm

I made a big sacrifice for you Mike Keneally fans tonight. All three or so of you that visit me, that is. I spent a couple of hours scanning in artwork and fairly painstakingly cleaning it up in Photoshop, then dumped it on Imageshack for your usage in Itunes and conversely, your Ipods. Why? Because it’s almost impossible to find decent artwork for this guy’s stuff. All I can find are tiny, blurry, off-color versions that look really awful. Anyway, what you see there is the end result of some reasonably hard work – my copy of my much loved Wooden Smoke, as I predicted long ago when it came out, is much the worse for wear, and so required a lot of stamp-tool work. It’s still not perfect – none of them are – but for these purposes, they’re all pretty decent.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, no, this isn’t all of the album covers. It’s only the ones that, for whatever stupid reason, I had ripped as crappy AAC files and decided, tonight, I simply had to re-rip as much higher quality mp3s. This might be a bit of OCD cropping up right here, but it benefits some of you out there, but there was another reason. There seems to be something wrong with those AAC files – they cause Itunes to constantly update whether they’ve been listened to or not, but never actually reflect any changes in play counts. I’ve listened to Wooden Smoke many times in the past six months but you wouldn’t guess it looking at Itunes. Something’s bungled with those files, so they needed to be replaced. And, eventually, as many AAC files will be replaced as possible. This will be a big job – I stupidly recompressed my entire King Crimson collection to AAC one night a couple years back in an effort to save space and now deeply regret it. Everything has to be re-ripped (yes, I actually can hear the difference.) The only thing I’m looking forward to is being finished.

March 26, 2008

The clap, the pips, the smell

Filed under: Curiosities — Tom @ 7:19 pm

You don’t just pull up to a red light and start clapping. (Wait – right? You don’t, do you?) I saw a lady do that today. Just pulled up, alone in her SUV, and started clapping – entirely nonchalantly, as if she was at a show and something just ended. No phone, no companions, no expression on her face – nothing to explain the clapping.

I’m not entirely convinced that “the Pips” isn’t some disease that Gladys Knight had at some point early in her career and she named her backup singers that to cover it up when someone overheard her before a show.

“You’ve got the pips? Is it communicable?”
“No! No, what I mean is . . . I’ve got this group that sings behind me, see, and they’re called the Pips!”
“It still sounds like it’s going to need a shot.”

Looking back in the little “child mirror” I have mounted to my truck’s rear-view mirror (handiest device ever, by the way,) I saw Amanda putting her fingers to her nose. Not in it, just up to it. After a couple of instances of this, I asked her what she was doing, adding, “Are you smelling your fingers?” and she replied, very matter of factly, “No, I’m just scratching my finger.” I could only shake my head – there’s only so much sense you can make of what kids are doing half the time. A moment later, she exclaimed, “Hey, my fingers don’t smell!”

March 25, 2008

There must be more

Filed under: Ipod/Iphone,Migraine — Tom @ 10:47 am

My new Ipod arrived yesterday. Amanda ran around to the front door to retrieve the amazingly small box when we got home – Ipods come in smaller and smaller boxes as time goes on. My first one, a 4th generation 40gb model, came in what I guess is a 6″ x 6″ cube box. The next, the just-retired 5.5 gen 80gb, came in a 6″ x 6″ x 1.5″ or so box. This one? Just a little 5″ x 2″ x 1.5″ or so box. There’s something to be said about the perceived amount of money being spent on these – back when the Ipod was still “new,” spending $350 on something like this was a lot of money, so the package needed to be bigger and more meaningful. Now that it’s such an important part of so many of our daily lives, and that these are often replacements rather than new items for many of us, it’s more of a commodity and doesn’t need to look quite so impressive. Smaller boxes = more Ipods in shipping boxes = lower shipping costs for Apple. Weird how that happens, huh?

Some of my excitement was dampened, however, by an oncoming migraine. I didn’t realize at the time, but something was clearly wrong. The whole day, in fact, something was wrong – I just felt “off,” weirdly hungry, and craving – this should have tipped me off – a Mr. Goodbar. And ONLY a Mr. Goodbar. Nothing else would do. About the time I made dinner I started feeling exhaustion and achiness setting in, but not in a normal way. Within a couple hours, my head was slowly cranking up the hurting, and I realized I was getting very annoyed with sounds around me – I couldn’t focus. I remembered reading something about taking Tylenol to head off a migraine, so I jumped on the computer and read up on it and sure enough, that is recommended. Not too much later I did indeed feel a little better, but still very exhausted. Unfortunately, I woke up this morning feeling much the same, and not much else has changed. That is life for us migraine sufferers. It’s not awful, I’ve had much worse, but it’s not how I wanted to spend today.

So, for the time being, my new Ipod is gleaming silver in its new case . . . ignored. There’s already over 90gb of stuff on there and I want to listen but every time I go to listen, I just can’t because, like last night, my brain is annoyed. That I managed to sit and fill it last night is pretty amazing to me, given how irritable and crappy I was starting to feel. That said, I’m pretty thrilled that the 90gb represents the majority “gotta have it,” large-capacity stuff (King Crimson catalog: 7gb,) and what goes on there from now on will be bands with one or two albums. Yet part of me keeps thinking, “90gb? I’ve got 240gb on my computer. There must be a lot more I’m forgetting about that I have to have . . .” I hope not!

March 23, 2008

Easter

Filed under: General — Tom @ 9:27 pm

For a while it seemed it was all about the giant squishy sheep . . .

Sheep

But it quickly became all about the chocolate . . .

Chocolate

And are you marveling at the relative lack of chocolate stains on her pajamas? Pretty amazing, huh?

March 22, 2008

Now that’s Classic

Filed under: General — Tom @ 8:38 am

The move has been made. After months and months of drooling and wishing and dreaming, I finally committed to a 160gb Ipod Classic, in silver. I would have one in my hands right now were it not for Costco’s and Sam’s Club’s reluctance to carry that particular color. I almost settled for black but after thinking about it decided that compromise is just not something I should do on a $330 purchase. This is one time when the phrase “once you go black you never go back” has not proven true. I like my current 80gb Ipod in black, but once I had it for a while, I realized I kind of missed that classic Ipod look. So silver it is.

I’m really pretty excited about this. Walking out of Costco and Sam’s Club last night empty handed was extremely disappointing – I wanted to be filling it all night and play with it all weekend. Now I have to wait for Amazon to deliver it on Monday (I know: pity me waiting three days.) Once I get my mind set on something, that is it. Any deviance from that path results in annoyance and depression. We got ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery, which kind of made up for it.

With this comes the concern about a new case. It needs to be covered in something. I’ve never understood why it is that Apple sees the thriving case market yet never thinks to simply cover their Ipods in something durable themselves. The polished metal back is beautiful but scratches so easily. The fact that a company has employed something developed by the military for a mere $25 (InvisibleShield) that truly lives up to its name boggles my mind – extremely strong, extremely thin, it doesn’t look like anything is even on your Ipod, but it’s almost fully protected from scratches. Why wouldn’t Apple simply apply something like that at the factory and negate the need for a great number of these cases? Most people are concerned about scratches, not protecting their Ipods from falls I’ve dropped mine only a couple of times in the entire 3 years I’ve owned them – only once at a significant height.) So I’m considering eschewing a “traditional” silicone case in favor of the InvisibleShield, or going for a ContourCase from which the Ipod can be easily removed. I’ll likely be hitting the Apple store today, along with all the other Apple loonies, to see what is on offer there.

So, who wants an 80gb Ipod?

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