It's So Creamy!

Black Moods CD Release Party

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 02:56:13 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music, Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene)
Tonight was The Black Mood's CD release party - the coolest part, broadcast on Creamy Radio to kick off their 'Last Exit Live Concert Series'.

It's been so many years since I've tuned into a net station, and I only vaguely remember tuning into Creamy in the early days when it first started. So firstly I was suprised with the quality these days. 128kb/s streams, hmmmm, tasty and creamy! [smile] Broadband internet access truely does kick ass! [smile]

First up, my first duo - Scotty and Troy! I've been going on for months about wanting to hear them again - the whole night being broadcast on Creamy Radio, bring it on. Awesome hearing them again.

The downside of Scotty and Troy as openers is that there is simply not enough of them. A half hour set, simply not enough Scott and Troy! I had the same feeling when I saw them at Last Exit in person, which was an almost exact same lineup - Scott & Troy, Simplify, (a non show) Velvet Elvis and Charmer's Green (The Black Moods) - vs. Scott & Troy, Strange Young Things, Simplify and The Black Moods - half an hour is just not enough! That's one thing that really kicked ass at Pranksters, getting to see the full Scotty experience - all of his songs, plus the classics - Perfectly Still, Follow You Down (which I never witnessed) and the cool Memphis Time ("geetting high"). And maybe even a bit of Better Beautiful Than Perfect.

Getting to hear (and record [wink] ) this show was awesome. Listening to Mr. Johnson again made me think not only do his songs remind me so much of those early days in Tempe (meaning the early days of my trip), but also how much I associate them with Arizona - the real Arizonia, what I physically experienced. All of the bands have the Tempe sound, but there's something about Scott - it goes back to the 'vintage' thing. Like he sums up age old Arizona, opposed to when the Arizona music exploded. That's how it seems though. It's not that he's actually neccesarily been around any longer than the other old schoolers, but he definately feels like he captures multiple decades of Arizona. Which probably doesn't make much sense, but I know what I mean. [wink]

It's awfully painful that there was no Get Drunk tonight. Kinda suprising, given that it was an absolute staple, at least when I was in Tempe. A 30 minute set, just not enough.


(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 01:52:55 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music, Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene)
The moment I first heard Scott Johnson sing, it struck me what it sounded like - though I couldn't for the life of me put my finger on the word to describe his vocal style. The word that came to me at the time, that first night at Pranksters Too was "authentic", which I knew wasn't really the right word to describe it, but it was the best I had.

Last night it came to me: Vintage.

Damn words can be ellusive sometimes! It's taken 3 months to find the right word.

Strange As Angels

Steve Larson @ Sugar Daddies

(Add / View Comments) (0)Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 07:51:17 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music, Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Arizona Trip)
The only thing better than having seen Steve Larson play at Sugar Daddies, is to have the recordings of when I saw Steve Larson play at Sugar Daddies. [smile]

The weblog has definately paid off - last week someone with recordings of the April 5th and 17th shows, came across my blog looking for photos for covers, and offered me the shows. Too cool to relive those shows again. They arrived today, and listening to them is Just Like Heaven, pardon the pun. [wink]

So much of that first show I'd forgotten about, including the 'Biker Night' thing at Sugar Daddies that night, but comes back instantly listening to it again.

Such a great, a clear memory is Katie ranting that Steve did not write the second last song for about his 'friend', as well as being smitten he played it.

Not to mentioning Steve closing with the blistering rendition of Skynard's Free Bird, cranking the distortion, it seemingg like at any moment the neck of his guitar was going to snap right off.

Ahh, Sunday nights sitting in back corner of Sugar Daddies with Katie, a cold Bud, and Stevie J on stage at is definately the best way to spend a Sunday night.

If I Was A Liar...

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, August 20, 2005 - 03:24:25 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music, Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene)
How would I lie? That's right, I'd say I love you.

Of late I've once again been listening to a lot of live Peacemakers. I've downloaded quite a few recent shows, and am currently watching the June 24, 2005 DVD recently seeded. (Which has killed /var on my server several times over the last few nights. [smile] )

The Peacemakers set's of late had some quite impressive things of late.

She can't count all the pills I took...

The addition of Blue Collar Suicide as a staple over the last few months has been awesome. And has made me think how it's such a kick ass song, often over shadowed. This month of reminded of when I first got Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy (The Refreshments). I remember putting it on, and looking forward to Down Together, Girly, Don't Wanna Know and Banditos primarily. I would never specifically put it on for the kick off track Blue Collar Suicide. But as soon as the disc would spin up, it'd hit me how cool that Blue Collar was.

Similarly, I haven't really thought of the song, and listening to the recently live recordings, once it comes on it's hit me how good it is, and a highlight of the shows.

If I was a killer, how would I kill?

I'd use the government! I was actually shocked when I first heard about Psychosis (The Refreshments b-side) being added to a couple of set lists. Awesome, first as it's such a rarity, and secondly, because it kicks ass. I've definately noticed that over the years, the band has certainly nailed covering Refreshments songs. I remember the early days, and it really sounding like the Peacemakers playing old Refreshments songs. These days it sounds really natural, and just like The Refreshments. Psychosis sounds awesome with the Peacemakers doing it.

Furthermore, it's interesting how much easier it is to listen to Honky Tonk Union songs these days. After The Refreshments broke up, I obviously followed Roger and P.H, right through the Peacemakers and when Honky Tonk Union. I never disliked it, and Beautiful Disaster, Never Thought and Green & Dumb were classics, but overall, the Peacemakers "ain't no Refreshments". Sure, I was into them, but they didn't come close to the Refreshments. That began to change in a big way when Sonoran Hope & Madness came out, and furthered with Americano!.

Now with the variety in the band, the good dose of Refreshment-isqe Mexicana and it being obvious that they haven't just gone country, I did listening to the earlier songs so much more.

I Awake From A Long Deep Sleep

Thoughts on Leaky Little Boat

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, August 20, 2005 - 02:17:46 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music, Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene)
I remember when I first got Americano!, back in Feb 2004 - the first day, taking it into work (as I'd not had time to listen to it at home), and how I really didn't like Leaky Little Boat at all. I seem to recall that it was probably my least favorite on the album during those first few listens. I certainly remember skipping it that day. The whole dusty record effect intro grated on my nerves, and the song seemed fairly hick to me.

It's funny how much a song can change! It wasn't until I watching the accompanying Leave And Open Door DVD (Americano released as a CD and bonus DVD) a week or so later, did the song decide to change. Firstly, it wasn't until I saw the DVD that I realised that Leaky was a regaee nod. It seemed pretty obviously once it was spelt out to me from comentary on the DVD. That immediately gave it some street cred.

Very soon after I saw Leaky Little Boat in a completely different light, and it was right up on the list of my favorite songs on Americano!. With Americano! and Your Name On A Grain Of Rice, it's so hard to pick a definate favorite, but it's certainly between those two and Leaky Little Boat. The more time has gone on, the more Leaky has become the song.

It's really funny the way a song can go from your least favorite, to most favorite.

I awake from a long deep sleep. In a leaky little boat, on a wide blue sea. I spy no island, rock or shore; I see she's comin' to me through a whole in the floor.

Think I'm In....

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, August 11, 2005 - 10:43:58 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music, Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene)
.....Pranksters Too again. I listened to the tune that Scotty Johnson has put on his MySpace website. I'll refrain at this point from what a absolutely piece of shit MySpace is. For now anyway, the future is uncertain. [wink]

The moment Scott's lyrics kicked in - dark red carpet, narrow room, short guy, tall guy. Immediate and intense flash back to walking into Prankster's Too and hearing / see Mr. Johnson for the first time!

I'd love me some Stop, Suicidal Advocacy and Does Anybody Know? recordings. And some "gettin' high" Memphis Time. [smile]

Speaking getting high, I finished Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas on the way home tonight.

Speaking of Suicidal Advocacy (which the Blossoms are now doing), today I read the first comment referencing Hopkins. [lol] It was only a matter of time. The stupid media are going to have a field day with it. Not because it has anything to do with Doug, but because their pea sized brains will thing it's infinately clever to make comments about a band with a song with "suicidal" in the title, whose founding member commited suicide. Ridiculous. It hasn't happened yet, but bet your bottom dollar folks!

And speaking of which more, while MySpace completely sucks, I did get some enjoyment of today's technological advances - broadband internet, and high end PC's. It's quite cool that these days you can record streaming audio on the fly, without having to worry about bandwidth conjestion problems, nor CPU usage problems. I certainly remember a time when I wouldn't even bother trying to record (vs. capturing / saving) streaming audio from the internet as a wave file in real time.

Oh, and [wink]

Goddamn It's Cold

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, August 10, 2005 - 10:57:44 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
I've had my heater cranked since around 7pm, and I'm still freakin' freezing!

Maybe my heater is broken. Nah, it's just freakin' cold! [smile]

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Top 10 Tech We Miss - Keyboards

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, August 8, 2005 - 11:53:24 pm
(Posted Under: Geek)
Via Slashdot, by way of

Top 10 tech we miss

7. Good keyboards
Once upon a time, using a computer was a loud, tactile affair. The keyboards on early IBM PCs were heavy, had a great feel, and made a satisfying clacking noise when you typed, thanks to the expensive "buckling spring" design for the switches. They could also take a beating, which was important for people who were making the transition from pounding on manual typewriters. Nobody ships a PC with a good keyboard anymore, although you can still get IBM-style keyboards from Unicomp.
Here here! Not only have 15 of my keys completely lost their lettering, the spacebar, left arrow, M and N have jagged marks on the surface, but in the last two weeks the valley in the L key had progressed to an actual hole! And to think, I've only had this machine (and keyboard) for 2 years this month.

Sure, I know I use it a lot, but keyboards these days are ridiculous.

The Dell keyboard I have at work however is pretty nice. It'd have to be the nicest keyboard I've used in a long time.

Bow to me, IE

That Damn Menu Problem - Fixed

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, August 7, 2005 - 07:23:20 pm
(Posted Under: Development)

The Windows Classic theme for my website has been the bain of my existance since I first redesigned the website in September 2004. Well, not the theme per se - the bain of my existance has been Internet Explorer, and it's pathetic CSS support - in particular, when it comes to the menu bar.

For the menu navigatiom I use the Suckerfish approach. (Suckerfish is documented on A List Apart Suckerfish Dropdowns.) Basically the Suckerfish code, with my own adaptation - in my opinion, more manable code than the original, and supporting multi sub menus.

Suckerfish is the bomb, because it's a pure CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), is very accessible and has no messy DHTML or such - with a catch - it doesn't work as pure CSS in Internet Explorer - it does need a bit of Javascript to help the crappy browser along. You write a song about a porn star, fine.

However, my adaptation changed some (a lot? it was over a year ago, I don't remember) to make a great deal of use of CSS selectors, which in my opinnion has made the CSS much nicer. In Gecko based browsers (Firefox, Netscape) anyway. Of course, Internet Explorer, the piece of crap that it is, doesn't handle CSS selectors properly (if at all?).

Hence this theme has shown up perfectly in Netscape / Firefox, and always looked like a piece of shit in Internet Explorer. Most painful when I was overseas, and had people actually looking at the site, most certainly in IE.

It's been something I've wanted to fix for the longest time. I actually wrote some CSS that made it work in IE, however if Gecko rendering engines saw the code, the meny would break in those browsers. Eh! I could have done something server side to check the browser and send different CSS appropriately, but I wanted to stay away from that.

Finally today I've devised a method to make the menu work in both browsers, without going server side hacks. Basically, and why I didn't think of this months ago, I do not know, taping into the existing IE javascript helper code to tag elements under IE, and use those to tweak the CSS Internet Explorer uses. All the while Gecko based browsers completely ignore the Internet Explorer CSS hacks.

This has been pissing me off for 11 months! It's so good to finally have it fixed! The drop down menus are very touchy in Internet Explorer (hardly what you could call 'accessible' actually), but finally I have it at least working in both browsers. Color me quite satistied!



(Add / View Comments) (1)Sunday, August 7, 2005 - 02:39:09 pm
(Posted Under: test)

More Blog Updates

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, August 7, 2005 - 12:38:15 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
I've been slowly but steadily working more features into my blog, it's really starting to come along into a fully flegded blog application.

This week I added search functionality, the ability to view a single entry, a blogroll and a RSS feed. The latter feature I'll largely to shut Goops up. [wink] No, RSS feeds are cool.


I Need An Attorney

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, August 5, 2005 - 09:18:08 am
(Posted Under: Books)
I need to get me an attorney. A side kick to say "As your attorney I advise you...".

Last night I started on the ether and acid orgy that is Fear and Lothing In Las Vegas. Definately makes those long trips to and from work a lot less boring. I'm really enjoying it.


On The Work Front

C++, PCRE and Regular Expressions in general.

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, August 4, 2005 - 10:11:11 pm
(Posted Under: Geek, Development, Work)
Today marks a calendar month at my new job (and almost a 5th week down). Time has gone blazingly fast. It really doesn't seem like I've been there for that long. And the last three weeks have absolutely flown. We're on the cusp of another Friday, yet it seems like it was only just the weekend. The last 3 have been exactly the same.

The past two days have been interesting, taking on some C++ coding. That's right - some real coding, in a real language. Y'know, object code, linking down to executible binaries. Real Linux development. It's certainly been fun. Professionally, any such work with real languages has been few and far between. Actually, except for writing a proftpd mod in C, to date has been non existant. Everything has basically been scripted stuff (whether it be PHP or Perl, or shell scripting). So, I'm a bit giddy about it.

It's also cool in that the amount of hours I've racked up working in C (obviously outside of work) are literally uncountable, but I comparitively haven't done a lot of C++, so I'm enjoying the exposure to it. I initially avoided C++ by choice, certainly had a thing for C and procedural code, and chose it exclusively. Though in the last few years, I sort of enjoyed the object orientated approach a lot more - both in OO languages I used (Perl, PHP) and even before that emulated OO features in a lot of the latter C code I wrote. I guess 10 years ago I was spectical about the OO thing, but I really dig it these days, and hence enjoy the opportunity to work with C++. Hell, for what I'm currently writing at the moment I could have easily gone with C, but chose C++ because I want to use it and get more exposure to it.

So, while I take pot shots at scripting languages (PHP, Perl etc.), I must admit this - going back to C/C++ I really longed for inbuilt regular expression support! Say what I will about the other languages, their inbuilt regex support is the bomb, and something I've become very relient on. Which is quite intresting in itself, given that at university regular expressions were the bain of my existance - I mean, I failed Computing Theory how times? [wink] But in the last 3 years, not only have I mastered them, but I really love using them. (Now, if Computing Thoery had of been hands on...). I can't think of too much code I've done in the last 3 years that hasn't had at least one regex in it. So that was definately a pain going back to C++. Immediately I had an application for a regex - and no built in support. (Not that I couldn't have solved the problem another way, but it goes to show how quickly I reach for a regex these days).

Of course, this turned out to be cool, as it gave me a platform to play around with PCRE (the Perl Compatible Regular Expressions) library in C++. Something I would otherwise like to play with, and have idly considered, but haven't to date had time to. Pretty cool. Pretty easy too, I like it. Of course, significantly more code than doing a regex in something like Perl or PHP. Language's with built in regex support definately get a thumbs up.

Back to work itself, I'm certainly enjoying being hired as a Linux SME. In my position, Linux is my domain, and I'm really liking that. Not that I haven't provided assistance on Windows matters and whatnot, but being hired specifically as a Linux guy and not having to deal with Windows as my area is definately very cool.

I've already got a reputation around the place of loving Linux, and 'hating Micro$soft'. [wink] Which isn't particularly a new thing. [wink] However, the company boast the fact (a new thing [wink] ), since they were specifically looking for Linux based expertise. Hearing my boss announce 'Mark hates Micro$soft' regularly with a positive tone is definately cool.

All in all very demanding, but I'm having a ball!

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