Friday, September 30, 2005
One question: Can you record satellite radio? I seem to recall there was some software that allowed this, and that one of the satellite radio companies freaked out and it nearly resulted in them ending the on-line portion of their service. I noticed that much of their exclusive content is only available at one prescribed time, just like normal radio, and a means to record it would be useful.
Anyway, I'm just thinking things over. Like I say, I love my iPod, and I don't really see satellite radio worth the investment. I have my iPod, as well as plenty of radio internet stations to listen to. Maybe by the time I need a new car, satellite radio will be a fairly standard add-on, and I'll take the plunge then. Or maybe I'll hit it big in Vegas and sign a five-year contract with one of the two (which one? XM seems to have better music offerings, somewhat more open-ended and let heavily programmed, while Sirius seems, on my examination of their current schedule, to have some better exclusive content...and they have local favorite Mojo Nixon). Or maybe I'll realize I need that $7/month subscription fee to pay off my gambling debts. No radio station is worth broken kneecaps, after all.
As I've said before, it seems like some sort of journalist shield law is a good idea, but journalists need to use more common sense in invoking such a priviledge. It seems strange to me that just because one calls oneself a journalist, one need not participate in our judicial system like a normal citizen, but it doesn't seem any stranger than the fact that one can invoke priviledge just because he offers people the blood of Christ to drink if they tell him stories about awful things they did, or refuse to testify just because one is married to the defendant (the husband/wife gag rule always struck me as patently absurd, assuming it functions in real life as it does in reruns of Law and Order).
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Monday, September 26, 2005
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Again, I do not profess to be that familiar with her music, but Paula Frazer has a sterling reputation in the Americana arena, and also invokes comparisons to Nick Cave. Surely I'm not the only person in the county interested in seeing this show. You can hear her voice on her web site. And it's only $12, you probably lose more than that on one hand of poker every day (well, okay, maybe that's just me). So if you're free on October 12 and want to hear great music, give this a try. And if you don't like it, just remember, you read about it in the Reader.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Saturday, September 17, 2005
What it comes down to is, playing online is a fairly profitable hobby. Despite fantasies to the contrary, I doubt I'll quit my job and drop out of school to play poker online. It's not that profitable, the long-term legal future is hazy, and it would be a pretty pathetic way to live one's life. The trick is how to stay disciplined when the games are avaialble at a moment's notice, 24/7. But I'm learning some psychological tricks to keep myself mostly disciplined, and the occasional painful losses when I play when I shouldn't hopefully will serve as a negative reinforcement. After I've taken a few days off, hopefully I can start winning some money again.
The amendment further confuses me, because last I heard, credit cards reject gambling transactions from the United States. And most off-shore gambling sites use an intermediary to handle banking transactions. And I believe these intermediaries, such as Neteller, service other "vice" sites besides gambling (i.e. porn). So while I would speculate gambling is 95%+ of Neteller's business, I think there is enough plausible deniability regarding transactions with them, that I don't know you could cut off all bank ties with them. It's a distinction between vices which is reminiscent of Homer's line, when asked, after a car accident, what type of establishment this Moe's was from which he was coming home. If a bank ever denies your Neteller transaction, just remember Homer's response, and when asked why you were transferring $100 to a business identified as "Paradise," explain in as blase a voice as you can manage,"It's a pornography website! I was purchasing pornography." How can they argue with that.
In any event, I guess I should be glad it's unregulated. Once the government takes their cut, the rakes will no doubt go up.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Thursday, September 15, 2005
I had never been to the Belly Up, but it was about what I expected, like a pre-fab barn with limited seating but plenty of standing room. I arrived too early, after having dinner at Tony's Jacal, a decent Mexican restaurant with a nice, Old Town ambiance. The beans and rice were first-rate, the carne asada unimpressive. I had a coupon for a free appetizer, some sort of turkey tostada thing, which made it a pretty good value overall. The Mexican food heavy in my belly, I skipped the bar and took my place on the floor. I spoke to someone who had been to their show the previous night, at the Hollywood Bowl. He said that Pink Martini played less than an hour at that show, and he seemed generally disappointed with that show, so I was somewhat concerned waiting for the show to start. But we both agreed this was a great venue in which to see them, a band with a devoted core following, and with an enhanced exposure from the new album and various soundtrack/compilation album appearances. They had played for some 16,000 people the night before, and now the twelve musicians were going to take the stage for a sold-out crowd of about 600 (they left the Brazillian dancers at the Hollywood Bowl, apparently). Vocalist China Forbes commented on the different energies of the two evenings, and when she said, "We're definately coming back here," she seemed to mean the Belly Up. But I have my doubts, as they would have no trouble filling up a larger venue with higher ticket prices (and given the number of mouths in the band to feed, making a bit more off ticket sales seems a reasonable desire). So even given that I was in some degree of pain from standing for three hours or so, and given that some of the people at the bar apparently bought tickets far in advance to the sold-out show just to have a place to talk, I treasured the opportunity to see Pink Martini in this great, intimate venue.
Pink Martini is somewhat difficult to describe, though attempts to describe them tend to overreach a tad, making them sound like some musical mutant (the Belly Up's web site describes them as being "somewhere between a 1930s Cuban dance orchestra, a classical chamber music ensemble, a Brasilian marching street band and Japanese film noir"). I tend to describe their sound as jazzy French caberet with latin influences, which seems like a good start (but why bother describing them? You can stream both albums in their entierty on their web site, so hear it for yourself). Sunday night, the emphasis seemed to be those latin influences (though perhaps they just are more overpowering when you see them live). But they lived up to their reputation for eclecticism, covering a wide range of material from both albums, including some French and Japanese tunes, and some new material, giving some hope we won't have to wait seven years for another album. Most notable amongst the new material was a tune called "Goodbye Little Bumblebee." But "goodbye" was in Russian, and "little bumblebee" in Italian, so it was something like "Da Svidaniya poco bumblebinno" (the translation for bumblebee I got off the web didn't sound close to what she was singing; it was something like "bambino"). The song sounded like a song of that title should, and I'm sure this Russo-Italian march/love song will make their new album a must-have, whenever that comes along.
Despite the concerns raised by comments on the Hollywood Bowl concert, I enjoyed the performance very much. They played most of the new album, and several songs from the old album, in addition to new material. And they closed with "Brazil," one of my favorites. I doubt I will see them in a similar venue in the future, as it must be cost-prohibitive to bring an ensemble of twelve musicians and many instruments down to San Diego to perform for a relatively small crowd. Which in a way is fine; I wouldn't mind seeing them in a more formal environment, with a little less chatter, and where I'm only on my feet if I choose to be. But I had a great time, and urge you to see them if you have the opportunity, and hear the albums if you haven't already.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Monday, September 12, 2005
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Of course, it's been observed that perhaps other Randy songs are also appropriate for the current situation. He sings about New Orleans in several songs. But it was also pondered in the Randy Newman discussion list to which I subscribe, about what would happen had Randy Newman performed "God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)" on the telethon (the consensus being it wouldn't motivate people to run for the phones). But seeing the headline for The Onion this week hammered home the relevance of that song, at it's final verse: "I burn down your cities--how blind you must be/I take from you your children and you say 'how blessed are we....'" Or if you're Pat Robertson, you praise God for the hurricane making Roberts confirmation road easier. (Which seems to tie it all back back to "Louisiana 1927": New Orleans blew the levy in 1927 even though the knew the town was in no real danger, and now God has smote a city to get a judge approved who already was almost assured confirmation. Nothing like destroying lives and property to get a little political insurance)
And on the topic of Randy Newman, a member of the discussion list above-mentioned produced a Randy Newman parody which I found exceptionally well-done and rather amusing. I don't know how much it appeals to non-Newman fans, but I think it's worth a listen.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Regardless of whether I have money on it, though, I'm expecting a good game. I doubt it can top the Blake/Agassi match on Wednesday, but what can, really? Too bad Davenport's out, though. Update: Turns out being slow on the draw saved me $20. I don't think Pierce has a chance, so I'll probably put that money on Clijsters, assuming the odds aren't too bad.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Update: Reading the user reviews at Amazon, I learn that Disney's odd titling of this release is apparently intended to obscure the fact that there's nothing new here. I was unaware that The Wind in the Willows was already available on DVD because it is called The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. I know I've seen Ichabod and was reasonably entertained as a child; I did not realize it was bundled with Mr. Toad as one feature. So Disney has re-released (the better) half of a film, tacked on a few shorts already available in DVD collections, and attempted to make more money. You don't get the "Ferdinand" short with the Ichabod/Toad release, but a review from a site I'm unfamiliar with claims the trailers can be skipped with one touch of the menu button on the older release, so that's probably the one I'll go with. Though the new DVD seems to get higher marks for audio/visual quality. Thank you, Disney, for being such douchebags that even when you put out something I want, you do everything you can to keep me from buying it.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
I just wonder, does Maxoderm come in a plain brown wrapper with "Not Penis Cream" stamped on it?
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Friday, September 02, 2005
I assume this is the culprit. 3.9 sounds about right, especially considering the relative proximity; usually, the epicenter is well out into the ocean or desert. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, as there have been quite a few earthquakes in Imperial County lately.
I watched the flood concert on NBC tonight. Randy Newman wasn't there; Aaron Nevill sang "Louisiana 1927," quite movingly. Not as good as Randy, of course; the way he doesn't try to sell the lines, "The river rose all day/the river rose all night,/some people got lost in the flood/some people got away all right," is what gives the lines their power. He changed the word "crackers" to "people," which seemed appropriate, given that it's the poor blacks bearing the brunt of this flood. And Kanye West's outburst was a nice change of pace from the annoying celeb talking-head moments, that resembled hackneyed Academy Award celebrity presentations. And my poor name-sake Mr. Myers standing beside him, stunned. West's point was valid, but I'm afraid it just came across as comic relief. But I'll settle for that.