Known Johnson

September 30, 2008

Making bail

Filed under: Annoyances — Tom @ 9:21 am

We live in a simple house. Our walls aren’t decorated with paintings – they’re not even painted, to tell the truth. We don’t have sculptures from local galleries all over our house, either, and we haven’t filled the house with a bunch of trendy furniture. We lived with basically the same cheap furniture we got when we got married nine years ago – until recently, when we finally got rid of the couches we realized long ago were a mistake and replaced them with my parents’ leather couches, and those were free. We just now finally bought a legitimate dining table after years with, frankly, a very ugly table we bought cheaply off of one of Alissa’s relatives. Our extravagances are simple – they are things well-thought out and probably overly considered, rarely anything “spur of the moment.” And I am usually behind their purchases – and they are typically things that make my life easier in some way: an Ipod, Iphone, Garmin GPS thingie. (more…)

September 29, 2008

The mileage of the beast

Filed under: General — Tom @ 11:33 pm

The mileage of the beast

September 26, 2008

Christmoween is here again

Filed under: Annoyances — Tom @ 11:59 pm

It’s the end of September, so it must be time to break out the, uh . . . Christmas crap at stores, right?

It's Christmaween

Christmas at right, Halloween at left. Check it out – look at the very right edge of the photo: 89 days left ’til Christmas. Remember when you didn’t see Christmas decorations until a week or two after Halloween?

Naval Aviation In Art?

Filed under: Curiosities — Tom @ 7:47 am

Questionable content?

Well, there goes my plan to use Wendy’s Kids Meals as a learning tool for Amanda.

September 25, 2008

I’ve been Metafiltered

Filed under: Boring site stuff — Tom @ 4:25 pm

This is going to kill my site – it already has a couple times today. Please go easy on me, Metafilter visitors. I don’t have that much bandwidth to play with. If you come back and find the site down, you know why.

Update: For those who like numbers, I typically get about 75 hits a day. Due to being linked on Metafilter, I received (drumroll please) . . . 8000 hits.

Updated Update: It’s a good thing I don’t pay for bandwidth:

Totally a coincidence

Filed under: Ipod/Iphone — Tom @ 12:53 pm

Google wouldn’t have any stakes at all in pushing all this pro-“g-phone” news would it? Nah, of course not, it’s not like they don’t have a huge investment in it or anything . . .

Google Bias

For what it’s worth, I don’t see how this thing is a true Iphone competitor, at least not in this form. No headphone jack (must use a USB-based attachment)? It’s not an Ipod like the Iphone is. 1gb of memory, expandable to 8gb with SD cards? Doesn’t this thing seem a bit expensive to be that low on memory? A few months ago, I might have liked the idea of a physical keyboard, but after more than two months with the Iphone on-screen keyboard, I honestly don’t even think about it. The open App Store “Android Market” sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, but maybe it’ll spur Apple into loosening its grip a little on what apps can be put on the App Store (big Itunes gripe: have separate sections for everything in the the free area. It’s really annoying to have to dig through 40 pages of apps, most of which are games, when you’re not looking for games.)

And, to me, it’s just ugly, and it looks kind of flimsy in the videos I’ve seen where they slide out the keyboard. Maybe that’s just due to early prototypes being used or something, I don’t know. People have called the Iphone a toy, but I got much more of a toy feeling out of watching the G1 being handled (admittedly, I obviously haven’t held one yet.) Pick up an Iphone and you don’t feel like you’re holding a toy – it is solid, and that’s exactly the way Apple intended it, and exactly why there are so few buttons on it.

I’m no Apple fanboy, okay – I realize I may sound like it sometimes because I really am pretty much thrilled with my Iphone. I also realize that the Iphone does what I need it to do the way I need it to do things, and there are some who may prefer a much more PC-like interface. The G1/Android phone may be exactly what they need. I just can’t imagine why – I use the Iphone because it’s quick and easy, and while Android looks like a very similar user experience, it still looks clunky compared to the Iphone interface.

And one more thing: where is all the bitching now that we know Google’s phone is locked to T-Mobile just like the Iphone is to AT&T? Things are suspiciously quiet on that front, aren’t they? There has been an awful lot of hot air blown about until now because Apple locked their phone to AT&T, but when Google does it, no one says a word. Hmm.

Stupid observation

Filed under: General — Tom @ 12:14 pm

The abbreviation for “building,” BLDG, could also stand for “bulldog.”

September 19, 2008

Hitting the (Matthew) Sweet spot again

Filed under: Music — Tom @ 10:47 pm

Sweet, he of the huge hit “Girlfriend” back in the early 90s (and deservingly so – awesome song) kind of lost his way in the later 90s. I don’t know what happened, exactly, but the snarly, quivering barely-in-control guitar lines that made Girlfriend, Altered Beast, and 100% Fun so much, well, fun disappeared, and things got dry and kind of boring. He’s put out a number of releases since then, each getting middling-positive reviews, but nothing that made me curious enough to go after them in the long run. A few weeks ago, however, he released Sunshine Lies and something about the write-ups I saw, indicating a real (you guessed it) “return to form” got me intrigued. And so today, when I found a used promo copy, I snagged it, and I’ll be damned if it pretty much isn’t the fulfillment of that promise – about as close to a “return to form” as possible without simply rehashing what has already been done. It was just a damned satisfying listen from beginning to end, but most of all, it was fun. The album is covered in that great, loose, wild guitar that made his earlier albums so addictive. I can’t say much more at this point, having only heard it one time through, but first impressions are very strong with this one. If you liked Sweet’s heyday, this one is for you.


Filed under: Ipod/Iphone,Music — Tom @ 8:27 am

I had to chuckle out loud (not LOL, but COL, I guess) when I saw Oblique Strategies listed among the free apps in the Itunes App store this morning. Oblique Strategies, if you’re not aware, is a set of cards Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt came up with to help creative people get out of a rut, and Eno’s been employing them for the past 30 years or so with everyone he works with. If you scoff, think about the very first Strategy, which was “Honor thy error as a hidden intention,” and how, if you were a musician, stuck beating your head against a particularly difficult piece of music, that could help you turn the music another direction by using the mistake in your favor. Seems obvious now that I say it, but people need help thinking like that, even creative people like musicians.

Anyway, as an Eno fan, I had to install the App on my Iphone. Now I can have Eno helping me get through my creative ruts just like Talking Heads, U2, James, Coldplay, and many others. I’m sure people will recognize the change immediately.

September 18, 2008

As I was saying: Death Magnetic sounds like “death warmed over”

Filed under: Music — Tom @ 4:15 pm

Every time I type that title, I type “Magnetica.” But I digress.

I mentioned a few days ago how bad the album sounds and here is some proof in the fact that the Guitar Hero folks were given early versions of the mix that does not suffer from the same mastering problems that the final release does. (Now even Rolling Stone is talking about the issue. It’s pretty bad when it gets that far.) Someone was kind enough to put together this handy little YouTube video demonstrating this rather obvious problem:

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