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Thursday, June 30, 2005 
i noticed a few days ago that my comment footer wasn't laying out properly. it was designed to track in to the last line of text, so that my post ends, there's a symbol, and then comment links. but this wasn't working; it was inserting an extra line break in there where there hadn't been one before.

tonight i finally got around to looking at the code to see what was wrong. blogger was inserting <div style="clear:both;"></div> at the end of each post, right before the haloscan comment code. there was no mention of it in the official blogger help, but i knew i couldn't be the only one experiencing this problem, out of however many hundreds of thousands of blogger users.

google quickly turned up this bloggerforum thread, which led to a suggested css fix on this thread. the fix used css to disable the "clear:both" part of those tags... but that wouldn't help for my template, because the problem there was that the <div> itself was a block element, and the fact that it was there at all was breaking the layout. fortunately, it turns out blogger now has a fix, and an explanation (emphasis mine):

In order to provide the layout options in our newly released Blogger Images we had to wrap all posts in a <div clear:both> tag. For some users this resulted in template formatting issues (even without uploading images). So today we introduced a new setting to suppress that markup.

Please note that suppressing the markup will result in layout problems when using left or right alignment for images. You should only change this setting if you are currently having trouble with normal posts.

emphasis mine. the new setting stops blogger from inserting those divs, fixing the problem with my layout. so that's that. however...

you'll notice that bobby vomit's blawg never experienced this problem. that's because that he hasn't posted in a couple weeks. if he ever posts again and republishes the blawg, the same thing will happen (unless we turn on that setting).

i don't know if i'll ever use the new layouts for blogger images. but maybe i will want to sometime. or maybe bobby vomit will, as he does post a lot of images. if we do, the current template/setting will fuck it up. maybe i should redesign the comment footers?

also, haloscan comments aren't totally reliable. sometimes haloscan goes down and they temporarily disappear. sometimes the number of comments doesn't update right away. and virago notes that she lost an entire comment somewhere in the ether. there's a trick here to switch over to blogger's built-in commenting system without losing your old non-blogger comments. that's kind of tempting. and blogger even has a new feature for pop-up comments like haloscan's.

in order to set that up i'd need to enable post pages. at first i was concerned that this would mess up any existing links to old blog entries, as post page archiving totally changes the way posts are archived and saved. but then i realized that as long as i don't delete those old files, the links should still work.

so... yeah. in the time i spent writing this post about changing to blogger comments, i could have actually changed to blogger comments. but if i do decide to do it, maybe i will soon. if you have an opinion, feel free to try leaving a haloscan comment. it works most of the time.

30 days
god damn i love this show... last week's episode wasn't quite as good as this week's or the first one, but they've all been very good. in this week's episode, a die-hard christian man from WV goes to live with a muslim family for 30 days, and must participate in all their customs. he has a real crisis of faith, fearing that by participating in their prayer rituals he is going to make jesus mad or something. of course, there's a lot more going on. and next week, a hardcore right-winger will go live with gay men in san francisco's "the castro" district!

i ♥ morgan spurlock.

last night i also watched the series premiere of stella, starring three guys from the state. i really enjoyed it.

and while i'm posting about tv, the new gay channel from viacom called logo premieres tonight. i have directv, so i'll be able to watch it. though unfortunately there is not much programming info on the website, so it's hard to tell what their schedule will look like (the directv page has a slow, hard-to-navigate schedule)... i'll just look it up on tivo when i'm at home.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 
headline mania
tdw has a game called "headline mania":

Here’s what you do: Go to the Star website and read the headlines out loud. Make a sarcastic comment about a headline. Or just giggle about the vagueness of something written by a copy editor at midnight.

let's try it out, as there are some interesting stories with really bad headlines up today.

Executives agree to prison in price-fixing

i'm envisioning something akin to the phantom zone in superman 2, that two-dimensional square where krypton imprisoned the very worst of their prisoners, like general zod... or maybe like han solo being frozen in carbonite, only in this case the executives would be somehow frozen in "prices".

but actually, it's a story about no-good businessmen from greensfield indiana who agreed not just to go to prison (a normal prison, i guess), but to pay "the largest [fine] ever in a domestic antitrust investigation."

Irving executives Daniel C. Butler, John Huggins, Fred R. "Pete" Irving, and Price Irving were charged with conspiring with competitors to set the price of ready-mixed concrete sold in the Indianapolis metropolitan area from approximately July 2000 until May 2004.

Pete Irving has agreed to pay a $200,000 fine and the other three executives have agreed to pay $100,000 fines. All four agreed to serve five months in prison, followed by five months of home detention. The pleas of the executives are subject to court approval, officials said.

Showers ease strain on utility

after a long, hard day at work in the muggy midwestern heat, sometimes the thing you want most is a nice hot shower. this is true not just for humans, but for utilities also.

or it could mean that showers increase utility, therefore also increasing productivity & worker efficiency. help stop outsourcing: shower regularly

or maybe it means that if your "utility" (wink wink, nudge nudge) is experiencing a "strain" (for example, becoming engorged with an oxygenated fluid), then a cold shower will ease that strain right up.

Farmland women strip for courthouse

i always felt a little dirty when walking by the courthouse, like it was undressing me with its eyes or something. now i know what a lecherous old perv that courthouse really is. these aren't young women stripping, either: the courthouse would probably call them GILFs. (also, i can't be the only one who's amused that there is actually a town in indiana called "farmland"... in today's star we have felonious businessmen and a small town called "farmland" full of nude grannies. really making the state look good.)

stock up on sudafed
doug directs our attention to this indy star article about new laws going into effect in indiana this friday.

speed limits: indiana races into the 20th century by increasing speed limits... in some places:

Lawmakers raised speed limits on rural interstates and four-lane divided highways during the past session, but it will take the Indiana Department of Transportation months to evaluate many of the state's eligible roads to determine whether they're safe for higher speeds.

Rural interstates that currently have a 65 mph posted speed limit, however, will go up to 70 mph beginning Tuesday. State transportation officials are waiting until after the busy Fourth of July holiday to start putting up new signs.

abortion disclosure: abortion providers are now required to tell pregnant women that they have the option to view an ultrasound. hello... are there any women out there who didn't realize that pregnant women sometimes get ultrasounds?

pseudophedrine: if you're an allergy sufferer, or you've ever looked at the contents of a box of cold/allergy medicine, you know that pseudophedrine is in something like half of the products on the market. i don't have any statistics on that, but seriously, that shit is in everything... though the majority of products also have something else: an analgesic (usually acetaminphen), an antihistamine, or both.

but ephedrine and pseudoephedrine can also be used to make crystal meth. so in the interest of combatting meth, indiana pharmacies will now be forced to keep all these cold/allergy products behind the counter.

Over-the-counter cold medicines, such as Sudafed, contain ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, ingredients used to make meth. Starting Friday, those cold medicines will be placed behind a counter.

Stores with pharmacies also could choose to place those medicines on shelves, as long as the pharmacy is open and the medicines are within sight of pharmacy staff and under 24-hour video surveillance.

Customers must be at least 18 years old to buy the medicines, show ID and sign a logbook.

Tip: Even before the law passed, some retailers had moved those medicines behind the counter. So if you look for cold medicine before Friday and can't find it, ask. There's no reason to be embarrassed.

from this i'm inferring that all products containing (pseudo)ephedrine will be covered by the new rules. but are meth manufacturers really going to use dimetapp 12-hour extra-strength cold & flu, with 3-4 extra ingredients? no, they will want plain (pseudo)ephedrine; no self-respecting chemist is going to use known-impure ingredients when better, cheaper ingredients are only an arm's length away.

anyway, if you do go out to stock up on sudafed before friday, don't buy more than a couple boxes in any one place. if you show up at the register with 50 boxes of wal-phed (walgreens generic pseudoephedrine), they will suspect that you're a meth dealer. and if you really need that much, you probably are.

them's fightin' words
military recruitment is way down. rumsfeld recently admitted that the "last throes" of the iraqi insurrection could last as long as 12 years. and while pres. bush said in his fort braggadocio speech last night that the generals tell him we have a sufficient number of troops on the ground now, he also said that if the generals tell him they need more, he'll send more.

it seems self-evident that if we're going to be there up to 12 years, we're going to need to send more troops sooner or later. and if we're having recruiting troubles, there won't be enough new troops to send. nobody will admit to wanting to restart the draft. so something needs to be done to drastically improve military recruitment.

what the military needs is for thousands of 18-to-20something-year-olds who are in favor of the war to enlist. bush even said so in his speech last night:

I thank those of you who have re-enlisted in an hour when your country needs you. And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces. We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves. Those who serve today are taking their rightful place among the greatest generations that have worn our nation's uniform. When the history of this period is written, the liberation of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will be remembered as great turning points in the story of freedom.

so the question is where the military could find a few ten-thousand strong youngin's who support the war, considering that war support has totally tanked recently? i can't think of a better place to start than the college republicans (operation yellow elephant and others have already been looking into this).

oddly, when you ask college republicans about enlisting, not only do they seem unwilling to join up and fight in the war they love so much, some of them even get angry!

I chatted for a while with Collin Kelley, a senior at Washington State with a vague resemblance to the studly actor Orlando Bloom. Kelley told me he's "sick and tired of people saying our troops are dying in vain" and added, "This isn't an invasion of Iraq, it's a liberation--as David Horowitz said." When I asked him why he was staying on campus rather than fighting the good fight, he rubbed his shoulder and described a nagging football injury from high school. Plus, his parents didn't want him to go. "They're old hippies," Kelley said.

Munching on a chicken quesadilla at a table nearby was Edward Hauser, a senior at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas--a liberal school in a liberal town in the ultimate red state of Texas. "Austin is ninety square miles insulated from reality," Hauser said. When I broached the issue of Iraq, he replied, "I support our country. I support our troops." So why isn't he there?

"I know that I'm going to be better staying here and working to convince people why we're there [in Iraq]," Hauser explained, pausing in thought. "I'm a fighter, but with words."

At a table by the buffet was Justin Palmer, vice chairman of the Georgia Association of College Republicans, America's largest chapter of College Republicans. In 1984 the group gained prominence in conservative circles when its chairman, Ralph Reed, formed a political action committee credited with helping to re-elect Senator Jesse Helms. Palmer's future as a right-wing operative looked bright; he batted away my question about his decision to avoid fighting the war he supported with the closest thing I heard to a talking point all afternoon. "The country is like a body," Palmer explained, "and each part of the body has a different function. Certain people do certain things better than others." He said his "function" was planning a "Support Our Troops" day on campus this year in which students honored military recruiters from all four branches of the service.

Standing by Palmer's side and sipping a glass of rose wine, University of Georgia Republican member Kiera Ranke said she played her part as well. She and her sorority sisters sent care packages to troops in Iraq along with letters and pictures of themselves. "They wrote back and told us we boosted their morale," she said.

By the time I encountered Cory Bray, a towering senior from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, the beer was flowing freely. "The people opposed to the war aren't putting their asses on the line," Bray boomed from beside the bar. Then why isn't he putting his ass on the line? "I'm not putting my ass on the line because I had the opportunity to go to the number-one business school in the country," he declared, his voice rising in defensive anger, "and I wasn't going to pass that up."

And besides, being a College Republican is so much more fun than counterinsurgency warfare. Bray recounted the pride he and his buddies had felt walking through the center of campus last fall waving a giant American flag, wearing cowboy boots and hats with the letters B-U-S-H painted on their bare chests. "We're the big guys," he said. "We're the ones who stand up for what we believe in. The College Democrats just sit around talking about how much they hate Bush. We actually do shit."

way to get shit done, boys. you really tought osama a lesson with your brilliant display of football stadium-style nationalism.

conventioneer at campus progress infiltrated a recent college repub conference (wherein they elected their new leader) and has loads of on-the-spot reporting.

Monday, June 27, 2005 
big new bent gallery
i've been working on this for a few weeks now, and i'm ready to launch it to the public:

the new stAllio! image-bending gallery:

this is the new home for my databent image work, and i kick it off with a massive new RRX gallery. this new gallery includes a bunch of new bent JPEG files (about 23 actual bent jpeg files and at least two screencaps of each), so if you enjoyed last month's bollybend experiment, you will enjoy this up to 23x more. beyond that, there are more than 100 images created by bending PSD files. so when i say it's massive, you know i mean it.

also, the classic RR8 gallery has been expanded as well as galleryized so you can easily browse through it by looking through thumbnails.

i even hope to have another new gallery up there in the next couple months, so stay tuned.


grokster loses
scotusblog is reporting that grokster has lost its supreme court case:

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that developers of software violate federal copyright law when they provide computer users with the means to share music and movie files downloaded from the internet.

unanimously? something is seriously wrong here. courts have ruled before... repeatedly... that manufacturers of products that have legal uses cannot be held liable is users decide to use their products illegally. this is how weapons manufacturers and the like get away with making products that are expressly designed to destroy living creatures.

so smith & wesson etc can pump out millions of guns and no matter how many people get murdered, they won't get in trouble. but if a software company creates a product that could potentially help people infringe on "intellectual property"... help! save us from the evil pirates, oh mighty supreme court!

according to the court, intellectual property is more important than physical safety.

here's the cnn article; not much useful info there now but hopefully it'll fill out as details come in.

update: yahoo news (really AP) has more:

"We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by the clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties," Justice David H. Souter wrote for the court.

At issue was whether the file-sharing services should be held liable even if they have no direct control over what millions of online users are doing with the software they provide for free. As much as 90 percent of songs and movies copied on the file-sharing networks are downloaded illegally, according to music industry filings.

The entertainment industry said it needed protection against the billions of dollars in revenue they lose to illegal swapping. Consumer groups worried that expanded liability will stifle the technology revolution of the last two decades that brought video cassette recorders, MP3 players and Apple's iPod.

Companies will have to pay music and movie artists for up to billions in losses if they are found to have promoted illegal downloading.

Two lower courts previously sided with Grokster without holding a trial. They each based their decisions on the 1984 Supreme Court ruling that Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE - news). could not be sued over consumers who used its VCRs to make illegal copies of movies.

The lower courts reasoned that, like VCRs, the file-sharing software can be used for "substantial" legal purposes, such as giving away free songs, free software or government documents. They also said the file-sharing services were not legally responsible because they don't have central servers pointing users to copyright material.

But in Monday's ruling, Souter said lower courts could find the file-sharing services responsible by examining factors such as how companies marketed the product or whether they took easily available steps to reduce infringing uses.

"There is substantial evidence in MGM's favor on all elements of inducement," Souter wrote.

in the discussion on snuggles, it has been pointed out that a large part of the ruling was grokster's "intent". proving intent is extremely difficult (which is why you so rarely hear about successful libel hearings, etc).

so while the result is not what we would've hoped (which would've followed a completely obvious reading of the betamax case, holding that grokster cannot be held liable), the entertainment industry still has an enormous burden of proof to overcome.

thou shalt not post the 10 commandments
it's the end of the session for scotus, and they're announcing all their big decisions this morning.

they just ruled 5-4 against posting the 10 commandments in courthouses:

Justices left legal wiggle room, saying that some displays -- like their own courtroom frieze -- would be permissible if they're portrayed neutrally in order to honor the nation's legal history.

But framed copies in two Kentucky courthouses went too far in endorsing religion, the court held.

update: scotusb log is reporting that the second decision is in regarding the 10 commandments posted at statehouses.

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist announced the second decision, finding no constitutional violation in the display of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the state capitol building in Austin, Texas.

so... can't do it if it "promotes" a religion, but you can if it doesn't. we really didn't learn anything at all here, from what i can tell so far, though maybe once the text of the rulings is in, there will be something useful in there.

Sunday, June 26, 2005 
highway to the free zone
my opening themes for the free zone are now available for download. you can find them at the mp3 of the week section as well as in their own folder at

Friday, June 24, 2005 
love theme from the free zone
the free zone is hands-down the best radio show in indianapolis. not that that's really saying a lot. they play the hippest indie rock, the best underground hip-hop (none of that top-40 50 cent shit; they play stuff like beans, dizze rascal, def jux artists, etc), and even play great artists like negativland, evolution control committee, secret mommy, and more.

they've also been very supportive of me, playing some of my stuff and even booking me for a show last halloween. (cohost rob g even listed maura's milk chocolate bath as one of his top 10 of 2004.)

a couple months ago they asked me to compose a new opening theme for the show. i made three. (though it took me awhile to get around to it, with all my other active projects.) they're supposed to start using my themes tonight (maybe one, maybe alternating between two).

the show is every friday and saturday at midnight (indiana time, currently equivalent to central daylight time) on WICR 88.7fm indianapolis. if you're outside the listening area, you can tune in online at

on sunday, i think i'll post all three mp3s in the mp3 of the week section, which will be the last mp3s posted to that section in its current form. in coming weeks i'll either discontinue the mp3 of the week or i'll significantly rework it a discussed here.

financial support for public broadcasting
it should be no surprise. the same thing happens every time the right-wing tries to drasticly cut funding for public broadcasting: the public throws a fit, and congress, suddenly receiving millions of angry emails and phone calls, quickly realizes just how unpopular the idea of cutting funding is and reinstates the money.

despite what tomlinson says, a very large majority of americans do not think public broadcasting is biased, and if anything want more funding for it, not less.

but the news isn't all good:

PBS still might end up with less money than in its current budget. The legislation would eliminate a $23 million for the Ready to Learn program, which subsidizes children's educational programming and distributes learning materials.

Public broadcasting advocates say $82 million is set to be cut for satellite upgrades and a program to help public TV stations switch to digital technology. Restoring the money would mean dipping into dollars intended for stations and programming, they say.

i was going to title this "big bird gets his money back" but did he? apparently not.

also, the cpb board picked a new president: the one tomlinson wanted them to pick. the one who was formerly a co-chair of the republican party.

fight bias with bias.

Thursday, June 23, 2005 
if you are what you own then you are nothing
the supreme court is on a roll. after their recent decision that growing a pot plant in your backyard equals interstate commerce, scotus has now decided that there is no such thing as personal property.

your house is not yours. scotus declared today in a 5-4 decision that local government can seize any property it chooses if it decides that doing so is in the "public interest".

the case revolved around a connecticut town that wanted to tear down seven working-class homes and replace them with a waterfront hotel, a health club, and other hoity-toity high-revenue stuff. the residents, convinced that they have a right to personal property, said "hell no, we won't go". scotus says "hell yes, you will".

the town apparently thinks that waterfront hotels and fancy health clubs do more for the public good than low-income housing, and puzzlingly, five supreme court justices agreed.

Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said, "Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted governmental function, and there is no principled way of distinguishing it from the other public purposes the court has recognized."

yes, there is "no principled way" to distinguish between a public service (say, a subway line, interstate, or road improvements) and private land development, according to stevens.

Justice Stevens noted that the homes in question could not be considered a slum area, and that indeed some of the people have lived in their homes for decades. Rather, he said, the properties "were condemned only because they happen to be located in the development area."

"In affirming the city's authority to take petitioners' properties, we do not minimize the hardship that condemnations may entail, notwithstanding the payment of just compensation," Justice Stevens wrote, adding that local governments have the authority to refine their condemnation policies, and curb them if they wish.

if you live in the wrong neighborhood, the government can now take your home away if it wants to put in something "better" than your house. though "better" almost certainly means "richer" or "paying more taxes".

the seeming irony is that the justices who are often called the "liberal" justices were the ones in the majority. some conservatives are trying to use this as evidence that "the left" is intellectually corrupt or what-have-you. of course, it doesn't really mean anything of the sort: if anything, it only shows that those justices aren't really all that liberal, unless you're comparing them to the "conservatives" on the court. and considering that scalia and thomas are so far to the right that they're driving on the shoulder rather than the actual road, just about anyone could be considered liberal in comparison.

the grokster decision will be announced soon. with scotus's current track record, things don't look very good there.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005 
the hoosier who spied on me
here we go, re-creating the post that was lost.

in my blog wanderings this morning i ended up on wayne besen's blog (because i wanted to read this post), and while there found the link to this nytimes article about ken tomlinson and fred mann, the hoosier who tomlinson hired to "investigate" bill moyers.

A researcher retained secretly by the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to monitor the "Now" program with Bill Moyers for political objectivity last year, worked for 20 years at a journalism center founded by the American Conservative Union and a conservative columnist, an official at the journalism center said on Monday.

The decision by the chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, to retain the researcher, Fred Mann, without the knowledge of the corporation's board, to report on the political leanings of the guests of "Now" is one of several issues under investigation by the corporation's inspector general.

i will be adding hyperlinks to the conservative advocacy/lobbying organizations that mann is/has been affiliated with. i think this helps show the bigger picture.

for example, the american conservative union is "the nation's oldest conservative lobbying organization". it has a link on its front page to a column titled PBS is No Longer Relevant -- If it Ever Was -- So Cut it Off. here's an excerpt that mentions bill moyers:

Some curmudgeons at the time wondered at the wisdom in a free society of establishing a government-subsidized broadcast capability, but in those days government, the academy and those who knew better than we what we needed were all singing from pretty much the same sheet. They were all, shall we say, liberals, and they set about establishing the new creation in their own image.

The result was a loose network of radio and television stations capable of beaming classical music into the hollows of Appalachia and providing the likes of Bill Moyers a lifetime platform from which he and those with whom he agreed could lecture the rest of us on our moral, intellectual and political shortcomings. They were giving us what they were convinced we needed and since this was, after all, a public service, felt no guilt as they extracted tax monies from the treasury to do so.

sounds like this guy has a grudge against bill moyers. the author of the column is david a keene, who is the chairman of the american conservative union. fred mann worked for his organization for 20 years. do you think maybe mann knew in advance what his conclusion would be when he started his study on bill moyers? and that maybe tomlinson knew it too? and maybe that's why tomlinson didn't report to the board that he was paying mann $14k for the analysis?

let's get back to the nytimes article:

Until last year, Mr. Mann worked at the National Journalism Center, which for the last few years has been run by the Young America's Foundation. The foundation describes itself on its Web site as "the principal outreach organization of the conservative movement" and as being committed to the ideas of "individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise and traditional values."

the national journalism center" has a bunch of blurbs on its front page advertising "journalists" nationwide who allegedly got their start there. prominently listed are ann coulter and maggie gallagher (maggie gallagher got in trouble last year when it was revealed that she was a paid shill for the dept of health and human services).

The Young America's Foundation shares some top officials with its politically active counterpart, Young Americans for Freedom, although the two are separate entities.

The National Journalism Center was founded in 1977 by the American Conservative Union and M. Stanton Evans, a syndicated columnist.

Mark LaRochelle, a top official at the National Journalism Center, said Mr. Mann told him last year that he was working on the Moyers project for the broadcasting corporation. He said Mr. Mann had run the alumni relations, job bank and internship program at the center, where he got to know Mr. Tomlinson. While Mr. Mann worked at the National Journalism Center, he helped place interns in the Washington bureau of Reader's Digest.

The editor in chief of Reader's Digest at the time was Mr. Tomlinson, and its top editor in its Washington bureau was a friend of Mr. Tomlinson's, William Schulz. In April, Mr. Tomlinson persuaded the board of the corporation to appoint Mr. Schulz to be one of two ombudsmen to monitor public radio and television for objectivity.

There was no response on Monday to voice messages and e-mail messages left for Mr. Mann.

Mr. Moyers has been a source of agitation for Mr. Tomlinson and other conservatives. They say that "Now" under Mr. Moyers (who left the show last year and was replaced by David Brancaccio) was consistently critical of Republicans and the Bush administration.

Last week Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, said that in response to a request, Mr. Tomlinson sent data from Mr. Mann's reports.

Mr. Dorgan said that data concluded in one episode of "Now" that Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, was a "liberal" because he questioned the White House policy on Iraq and that a second "Now" segment on financial waste at the Pentagon was "anti-Defense." Mr. Hagel is known as a mainstream conservative member of the Senate and a maverick who has at times been critical of the Bush administration.

The inspector general at the corporation is now looking at steps taken by Mr. Tomlinson to ensure what he calls greater balance in programming, including his decision to approve $14,170 in payments to Mr. Mann without the knowledge of the corporation's board.

yes, mann defines chuck hagel as a "liberal" because hagel occasionally dares to disagree with bush, and will even openly criticize the administration. while this does make him rare in the modern republican party, it does no make him anything resembling "liberal".

so on friday when i first posted about fred mann, i wondered whether any local media would pick up the story, since the nytimes reported that mann "was listed in the contracts as living in Indianapolis". and who would be better qualified to report on him than indy media, right?

and holy crap, the indy star has mentioned the story! they hadn't last i checked, but it's there now (though relatively buried in the metro & state section, as the fourth part in one of those many-stories-in-one stories they like to run):

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting did not respond to a request for copies of the reports, and efforts to locate Mann were not immediately successful.

A Frederick W. Mann, 61, who has worked for the conservative National Journalism Center in Washington, has Indianapolis ties.

Public records show he is still registered to vote in Marion County and has an Indiana driver's license issued with the same address as the voting record.

But a woman at that address, who said she was Mann's cousin, said he does not live there. Mann did not return messages left on his cell phone.

Moyers said paying $14,170 to see who was on his show was a waste of public funds -- Tomlinson simply could have checked the television listings.

but of course, local tv news is so far clueless. using the search engine on each site, i was unable to find anything on channel 6/wrtv, channel 8/wish, channel 13/wthr, or fox 59/wxin.

the newest issue of nuvo came out today, but the content isn't on their website yet so i can't check there. do any local radio stations (other than maybe wfyi, our local npr affiliate) have their own news departments? i only ever listed to wfyi and whhh, so i don't know.

we just had a blackout (or maybe a brownout?) and i lost a good 30 minutes' worth of work. i was in the middle of a long, info-packed post about ken tomlinson and fred mann... i guess i need to rewrite the whole post now.

the power went off just long enough for everyone's computers to shut down and lose their work, then the power immediately came back on. at least i had saved the "job work" i had been working on, so i didn't lose that.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 
batman begins
i really loved this movie. finally, a batman adaptation that really gets into batman's head.

when tim burton's first batman movie came out, it was the first time we'd really seen a "dark" batman onscreen. our only points of comparison were the uber-cheesy adam west live tv version and the almost equally cheesy cartoon version who was seen in superfriends and guesting on scooby doo. so this new darker movie batman was totally badass in comparison (especially after joel schumaker took over and completely ruined the franchise). but it was still somewhat campy: i suspect that tim burton is incapable of making a non-campy movie. not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that.

and maybe we needed a semi-campy batman in order to wean us off the adam west days. hell, the villain in that first movie was the joker, whose trademarks are cheesy jokes and maniacal murders. the burton batman was tough, and he was brooding, but he was not the compulsively driven, half-mad man who we knew from the comics.

but the batman in batman begins is. he's emotionally tortured, tormented, unable to emotionally connect to other people (except arguably alfred, who is brilliantly played by michael caine here).

people who cite batman as their favorite superhero often explain their choice by saying that batman "is a normal guy", with no superpowers. and technically this is true, and an important part of his appeal. but thinking of batman as a "normal guy" or that "anyone could become batman" seems to miss a fundamental part of his personality: that he is pathologically driven to to combat what he sees as injustice. and not just that, but to dress up in a costume specifically meant to scare people. the transition from "normal" guy to superhero isn't quick, like with spider-man: he requires years of intensive training to gain his skills, not to mention a large technology budget. if he had been unable to become batman, he very likely would have had a mental breakdown or ended up in prison.

the batman we see in batman begins has had all the camp stripped away. before he starts to find his way, he comes treacherously close to crossing over to the dark side. there are few jokes (batman is not for having a sense of humor) and no prince music videos. what's left is a true gritty crimefighter, pissed off and pathological. some will complain that the movie is slow, but it's not supposed to an explosion-a-minute extravaganza. batman first appeared in detective comics: his stories are about suspense, not beating people up (though he does that too, and very well).

supply & demand
i noticed recently that i have not updated my mp3 of the week in a month: yep, 30 days, or one month ago tomorrow, i posted two mp3s to that page (because i was going on vacation), and it hasn't been updated since. perhaps more significantly, not one person has emailed me or left any blog comments asking about the mp3 of the week.

"where's the mp3 of the week?" you could've said. but you haven't. which suggests to me that not many people really care about the mp3 of the week. the thing never really got more than 30-40 downloads a week anyway.

i never expected it to continue indefinitely (after all, i have a finite amount of material, and the concept of quality control suggests i should quit before i post it all, though i do have at least some more postable material). so maybe i should just end it now: there are still plenty mp3s on the site and i'll continue to keep posting new material, just not necessarily weekly and not necessarily old stuff. or maybe i should change it around, make it less stAllio!-exclusive? the current content rules mandated either stAllio! solo stuff or old side projects (meaning not awia or pirates). but there's no real reason i couldn't post awia mp3s. or i could make it into a "bad taste/awia" mp3 of the week, and then i could post non-stAllio! material from my friends and label-mates, like bobby vomit, unszene, dr. butcher m.d., zoke, masochistic ear, etc. (though if i did that, maybe it should be moved to instead of

Sunday, June 19, 2005 
the funeral party experimental extravaganza
this was a great show! there were enough people there that it never felt empty (until pretty late, anyway), and the performances were pretty fun.

amanmonfire went first, though he almost didn't because none of us knew what he looked like! but he managed to introduce himself to the right people and got set up onstage. he had an electric guitar that he ran through a big board full of pedals (at least 6-8). though he kind of "played" the guitar at times, he mostly seemed to be using it to generate signal that he could manipulate with his pedals. it was pretty cool.

next was luke warm bodies (at best), a four-piece with guitar, drums, bass, and electronics. i was pleasantly surpised to discover that i knew the bass player, dave (also in the dream is dead and any number of other bands), but hadn't seen him in years. their sound ranged from relatively straightforward "hardcore"/post-whatever to some pretty psychedelic stuff that reminded me of nurse with wound, where musicians would put down their primary instrument and pick up a whistle or small flute, or something similarly out of left field. they were probably the only act of the night with the "traditional" guitar/drum/bass format, but they didn't really seem out of place as can often happen at these types of shows.

after a bit of a break for setup/teardown, velvet played. velvet is the female half of the funeral party: sardonyx and hallow weener. hallow played cello and sardonyx played keys and strings (i couldn't see her from where i was sitting), all run through delay fx. it was cool and mellow, almost haunting at times.

i went next, my first performance using my new mixer. i must say that having a sampler built into my mixer really helps when i'm having problems with my cd decks. at first it took me a couple minutes to realize i was getting no sound out of channel 4 (cd deck 2), before realizing that i'd hooked the cables into "line A" but the input switch was on "line B". a simple flick of the switch fixed that.

but later i had a new glitch where i inserted a cd and it just started playing (i think it was also playing too fast), but no timecode or anything came on the display. it just played, and i couldn't control it at all. it sounded cool, though. then the second drive did it too. in the past this would've been a crisis, as rebooting the drives to fix the glitch would cause an obvious gap (which i could somewhat fill with the kaoss pad, but not as seamlessly). but i just took a live sample with the mixer, looped it, and rebooted my cd decks without the audience ever knowing there was a problem.

despite these technical problems, i thought my set went really well. because my watch broke a few weeks ago, i didn't know what time it was nor what time i'd started, so i just reached a stopping place and completed my set. then hallow came up and said "you can play a 20-minute set", to which i replied "i can't tell time". so i played a second set, an "encore" if you will, which i also thought went pretty well.

after another break came the funeral party, the guests of honor. the funeral party is the two ladies of velvet plus two guys: tj and antonius (though i don't know which is which). i think theirs was my favorite performance of the night, including all sorts of instruments such as strings, vocals, keys, theremin, congo, fx, and found objects used for percussion. christiebelle came out in full makeup and elaborate hairdo to recite the vocals for one song, which did not go as planned.

otto was scheduled to go next with his "experimental comedy" but by this point it was late (about 2am) and he bravely gave up most of his time in order to speed up the show, telling only a couple jokes. the last act of the night was soulspun, though unfortunately it was now time for me to go so i missed their set.

realicide didn't perform. when i got home i had an email from robert inhuman explaining that they'd shown up at the venue way too early (like 5 hours early) for what would've been the last stop on their tour, with little food, and robert himself suffering "a very disorienting cold". knowing that the bill was already quite full (in fact, i hadn't realized but there was actually another show at the melody inn before ours at 7:30), after some discussion they spontaneously decided to just head home early. they figured that with the lineup as full as it was, their absense wouldn't be too noticeable, and might even help the event by freeing up some time. they were probably right, as the show did get off track even without them, and if they'd been there we would've been even more off schedule. but everyone who came got to perform. (sardonyx and hallow's solo project rosethorns were both on the schedule but apparently cut, though not a big deal as both had already performed, and an "improvisational jam" had been scheduled to happen at the end of the night but probably didn't.)

i met some guy named john who's in a local experimental band called bay big odd back, who's been somewhat unable to find shows to play in the area. he told me all about technique, which involves triggering kaoss pads (which he called "kaoss pedals") using traditional instruments, & traded me a cd called rodina which he said is "a prequel to miles davis's pangaea." i'm listening to it now and it's pretty cool. we should get in touch with these guys whenever we put on our next bad taste show. at one point in the evening, john told me "i know some people in chicago who think your music is the best music ever." i didn't know what to make of that, especially since i've never performed in chicago. (weird, considering chicago's special relationship to indianapolis, and that i've somehow managed to play all over indiana & ohio but not so much in illinois.)

Friday, June 17, 2005 
tomlinson pays hoosier to monitor bill moyers
this modern world leads us to this very interesting nytimes piece.

Investigators at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are examining $15,000 in payments to two Republican lobbyists last year that were not disclosed to the corporation's board, people involved in the inquiry said on Wednesday.

One of the lobbyists was retained at the direction of the corporation's Republican chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, they said, and the other at the suggestion of his Republican predecessor, who remains on the board.

The investigators, in the corporation's inspector general's office, are also examining $14,170 in payments made under contracts - which Mr. Tomlinson took the unusual step of signing personally, also without the knowledge of board members - with a man in Indiana who provided him with reports about the political leanings of guests on the "Now" program when its host was Bill Moyers.

secrets are coming out tomlinson's mission to conservatize public broadcasting. secret off-the-books lobbyists?

Corporation officials said the two lobbyists did not approach lawmakers but provided strategic advice on handling a bill last year that would have given public radio and television stations more representation on the corporation's board. The measure, which died, was opposed by the White House and Mr. Tomlinson but was supported by stations.

One of the lobbyists, Brian Darling, was paid $10,000 for his insights into Senator Conrad Burns, a Montana Republican who sponsored the provision. This year, he briefly served as a top aide to Senator Mel Martinez, Republican of Florida, but resigned after the disclosure that he had written a memorandum describing how to exploit politically the life-support case of Terri Schiavo.

yes, this darling guy wrote the infamous terri schiavo "great opportunity for the GOP" memo. real stand-up guy. and if tomlinson hired the guy, and tomlinson opposed the bill he was hired to consult on, then clearly they were working to defeat a bill that the member stations all wanted, using CPB's money, and not reporting it to the board.

but on to the hoosier connection:

The inspector general is looking at contracts signed by Mr. Tomlinson with a man named Fred Mann to monitor the political leanings of "Now." The inquiry was requested by two Democrats, Representatives John D. Dingell of Michigan and David R. Obey of Wisconsin, after they learned about the monitoring.

Officials said the inspector general was examining whether Mr. Tomlinson, as chairman of the corporation, had the authority to approve the contract or the payments.

Mr. Mann, who was listed in the contracts as living in Indianapolis, could not be located, and officials at the corporation said they knew nothing about him.

googling "fred mann" indianapolis turns up 98 hits or so, but the only ones that really seem to refer to a hoosier mention a fred mann who lives in cloverdale and is on the indiana commission on agricultural and rural development (link to google cache because the actual link didn't work). i suppose that could be the guy, but i don't know why he'd be qualified to monitor tv content if his expertise is agriculture. it's probably not him. and i need to go to bed: no time for more googling right now.

still, if there's a naptown connection to a scandal at CPB, will our local media start picking up on the story soon? i suspect i know the answer, but wouldn't it be cool if the indy star or something tracked down fred mann & broke open that aspect of the story?

Thursday, June 16, 2005 
take in the funeral party
my show tomorrow night is, among other things, a cd release for the funeral party.

they got a brief write-up in today's INTake. it has a bit about the band as well as the show.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 
petition-me elmo
sign the petition to protest the propsed cuts to NPR & PBS funding.

the autopsy
the terri schiavo autopsy is out, and it essentially reaffirms everything michael schiavo ever said while debunking everything his detractors ever said.

In a victory for Michael Schiavo, a coroner who performed an autopsy on Terri Schiavo reported Wednesday that she suffered from an irreversible brain injury and would not have recovered as her parents insisted was possible. It also found no evidence that she was strangled or otherwise abused.

"Her brain was profoundly atrophied," Jon Thogmartin, medical examiner for Florida's Pinellas-Pasco County, told a press conference. "There was massive neuronal loss, or death. This was irreversible and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons."

"The brain weighed 615 grams, roughly half of the expected weight of a human brain," he added.

Thogmartin was joined by Dr. Stephen Nelson, who described her condition as "very consistent with a persistent vegetative state," which is what Michael Schiavo and most doctors had contended was the case.

half of her brain had turned to goo. but thinkprogress remembers back to when senate majority leader bill frist (who used to be a doctor, don't forget) tried to diagnose terri by videotape. frist claimed that "[s]he certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli". however, the autopsy shows that terri's vision centers were long gone, meaning that she was blind.

the only remaining question: is frist worse at being a doctor or at being a senator? or does he suck equally at both?

to live & shave in washington dc
when john aravosis of americablog picks up on a story, he really clenches it in his teeth and bites down hard. today he has lots about mary carey's visit to the white house fundraiser. (he also has a lot about the recent senate "anti-lynching", which was secretly passed during a late night voice vote, apparently because there are around 15 republican senators who are seemingly pro-lynching, but that's a different story.)

john even wrote an article about it for radar, which closes with this fantastic quote:

"Politicians see the people who make porn movies as sleazy and the girls as dumb, but Mark's not sleazy and I’m not dumb." She pauses for a minute then asks, "Do you think I should shave my vagina tonight or tomorrow?"

though still no answer on whether she went "brazilian" or shaved down to a "landing strip"... it appears i need to do more "research" on on the issue of carey's bush ("carey" sounds like "kerry"? "bush" vs "bush"? coincidence?)

and as much as certain media outlets might want to ignore the porn-star angle to the fundraiser story (*cough*washingtonpost*cough*), people are starting to take notice. and some of those people don't share my unabashed love of porn stars. some of them tried to get comments from white house spokesliar scott mclellan but scotty refused, redirecting the question to the NRCC, which hosted the fundraiser.

anyway, i hope the radar article gets picked up, because the only thing i like more than seeing the word "vagina" in the news is seeing the word "vagina" appear in an article about bush.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 
bankrupt-me elmo
tomlinson's crusade against PBS continues:

A House subcommittee voted yesterday to sharply reduce the federal government's financial support for public broadcasting, including eliminating taxpayer funds that help underwrite such popular children's educational programs as "Sesame Street," "Reading Rainbow," "Arthur" and "Postcards From Buster."

In addition, the subcommittee acted to eliminate within two years all federal money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting -- which passes federal funds to public broadcasters -- starting with a 25 percent reduction in CPB's budget for next year, from $400 million to $300 million.

In all, the cuts would represent the most drastic cutback of public broadcasting since Congress created the nonprofit CPB in 1967. The CPB funds are particularly important for small TV and radio stations and account for about 15 percent of the public broadcasting industry's total revenue.

way to go tomlinson! while you're smashing that awful "liberal bias" at PBS, go ahead and smash the funding for popular kids' shows like sesame street. PBS-kids is the only channel my 32-month-old nephew watches. but if those shows were to go away, he could just watch Kids' WB and get the same educational value from yu-gi-oh that he currently gets from sesame street or between the lions or my favorite boohbah, right?

The subcommittee's action, which came on a voice vote, doesn't necessarily put Big Bird on the Endangered Species List. House members could restore funding as the appropriations bill moves along or, more likely, when the House and Senate meet to reconcile budget legislation later this year. The Senate has traditionally been a stronger ally of public broadcasting than the House, whose former speaker, Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), waged a high-profile but ultimately unsuccessful campaign to "zero out" funding for the CPB a decade ago.

The cuts nevertheless surprised people in public broadcasting. In his budget sent to Congress in February, President Bush had recommended reducing CPB's budget only slightly.

Several denounced the decision by the panel, which has 10 Republicans and seven Democrats, as payback by a Republican-dominated House after years of complaints from conservatives who see liberal bias in programs carried by the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. Broadcasters noted, for example, that the 25 percent cutback in next year's CPB budget was a rollback of money that Congress had promised in 2004.

of course, even though this attempt to gut PBS and NPR is as transparent as susan storm's love handles, republicans are still trying to deny it.

Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), the subcommittee's chairman, said the cuts had nothing to do with dissatisfaction over public radio or TV programs. "It's pretty simple," he said in an interview. "The thinking was, there's not enough money for everything. There are 'must-do,' 'need-to-do' and 'nice-to-do' programs that we have to pay for. [Public broadcasting] is somewhere between a 'need-to-do' and a 'nice-to-do.' "

um... someone should call rep regula and point out to him that "must-do" and "need-to-do" are synonyms and mean the same damn thing. but anyway...

Regula suggested public stations could "make do" without federal money by getting more funding from private sources, such as contributions from corporations, foundations, and listeners and viewers.

yes, the two things that PBS needs to do is sell out to more advertisers (oops, i mean underwriters) and interrupt more programming by having more & longer pledge drives. the audience would love both those things, i'm sure.

But the loss of $23.4 million in federal funds for children's educational shows -- which PBS calls its "Ready to Learn" programs -- could mean the elimination of these programs, said an official at Alexandria-based PBS who asked not to be named because the network still hopes to regain the funding. PBS's revenue totaled $333 million in fiscal year 2004.

The Ready to Learn group includes "Sesame Street," "Dragontales," "Clifford" and "Arthur," among others.

that's my bush
today, bush will meet bush in the battle of the bushes! or not so much a battle as a conference of the bushes.

yes, president george "dubya" bush will today confer with another world-famous bush, or at least the owner of a world-famous bush: pr0n star and former california gubernatorial candidate mary carey, who will be at the white house today for a republican fundraiser.

sure, republicans talk a lot about immorality, and how much they hate pr0n, prostitution (which they equate with pr0n), and homosexuality (while carey is probably not gay, i can guarantee that she's had "lesbian" sex live on videotape)... but what warm-blooded male doesn't (at least secretly) love pornography? looking at naked people is fun. watching people have sex is fun. and watching a former gubernatorial candidate run around nude and fucking people... what fun!

it's not just fun, either. there's a lot of money in them there panties. courtesy of americablog:

Event: Mary Carey Pre-Presidential Dinner Fashion Show/Press Conference

Who: Porn star and former California gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey will be joining her boss, Kick Ass Pictures president Mark Kulkis, in attending a dinner with President Bush on Tuesday evening, June 14. Kulkis was invited to attend the event by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which is organizing the event. Kulkis serves as an Honorary Chairman on the NRCC’s Business Advisory Council. His company produces hardcore adult videos with a guarantee of “No Fake Boobs & No Condoms.”

What: This press conference will cover several topics.

* First and foremost, Carey will put on a mini-fashion show on Coyote Ugly’s bar, displaying the outfit she will be wearing to the President’s Dinner later that evening.

* Kulkis & Carey will reveal what happened at their luncheon with Karl Rove a few hours earlier.

* Kulkis & Carey will discuss how the president of a porn company and his contract superstar were invited to attend a Republican fundraiser, and why they accepted. (Kulkis has said: “Republicans bill themselves as the pro-business party. Well, you won’t find a group of people more pro-business than pornographers. We contributed over $10 billion to the national economy last year.”)

* Carey is expected to officially announce her candidacy for Lieutenant Governor of California in 2006.

no fake boobs and no condoms. that could almost be a slogan for the bush administration!

president bush is pretty unpopular these days. his approval ratings are the lowest ever, and have been well under 50% for some time now. his approval ratings on the issues are even lower. in contrast, president clinton big approval ratings in his second term, and i believe they were at their highest when he was being impeached for having sex with an intern (or not having sex, depending on your definitions).

so just imagine how high bush's numbers would climb if he one-upped clinton by bedding a porn star during a fundraiser! no need to do it privately in the oval office... take her to the lincoln bedroom to properly seduce her. or just do her right there on the banquet table in front of the other guests! that would really emphasize the president's manhood. (or maybe it wouldn't, depending on how small his manhood is.)

here it is

click to enlarge

this mixer is a bit taller than my old mixer, maybe one or even two rack spaces taller. my rack still had room for it, but just barely; i had to move the cd remotes in order to squeeze the mixer into its spot.

this also means that the back of the mixer (where all the ins and outs are) is much closer to the back of the rig. the gap is narrow enough that some of my rca cables won't fit, and the smaller cables will fit but inserting them requires some tricky finger work.

worse, the mixer comes with a detachable power cable (identical to the power cables used on PCs), which would be a cool design idea if space were unlimited. but it's not, and there simply was not space to plug the cable in. i had to have barry take it to the basement and carve a hole in the rack with his dremel tool in order to plug the cable in. but that's done now, and my studio is hooked back up with the exception of turntable 1, because i just didn't have enough rca cables with small plugs. i'll have to pick up a couple more cables, maybe tomorrow.

it will take time to get used to not having eq or gain on each channel; i'm used to cranking up the gain on quiet channels, which is bad mixing practice, but otherwise i didn't really use them. and now my whole setup, except for the kaoss pad, is numark. maybe they will sponsor me.

Monday, June 13, 2005 
all in the mix
so drbmd & i went to sam ash at lunchtime and bought my new mixer. i guess drbmd was bored and looking for a distraction, which was fine with me.

numark dm1295, with built-in sampler. that sampler is going to be awesome.

i don't know if i'll get a lot of time to play with it tonight, as drbmd & i are also getting together to watch a little movie called ninja of the magnificence, which is guaranteed to be magnificently bad. but i definitely want to play around with my new mixer for a bit before i perform with it for the first time this friday.

Sunday, June 12, 2005 
mixer shoppin'
i went mixer shopping today, but haven't bought anything yet.

first i went to guitar center, and was a bit taken aback at how awful their selection was. i mean, just terrible. they had a bunch of turntables and cd decks, but at most four 19" dj mixers. four poorly displayed mixers. one, which was too expensive & out of my price range, was on display near the floor; the others were stuffed in boxes on shelves, and were all crappy cheaper mixers. the only one i would be willing to accept was the $699 one, so i left.

on to sam ash, which probably had double the selection. but the mixers they had on display were not necessarily the ones they had in boxes on the shelves, and you can't always tell what features a mixer has by looking at its controls. of course, in both places, there was really no help to speak of. so i wrote down a few model numbers and left.

i drove back to guitar center, just in case they had some of the same models for cheaper, but i was only reminded of just how bad their selection was, and left.

so i drove all the way over to ipa pro audio, where they have exactly two 19" dj mixers, but of course i got help immediately. still, they had no good mixers, so i moved on, wandering around the lafayette square area thinking there had to be somewhere else in the neighborhood that sells such things. but i couldn't find one, and eventually came home empty handed.

so i guess i'll be going back to sam ash to buy something (no time to order online), probably tomorrow at lunch. here are the mixers i was looking at there:
  • numark 1295: $299. this has a kickass built-in mixer, with up to 110sec total nonvolatile memory (that means the samples stay there if you turn it off and back on). and the sampler is polyphonic, too. it has send but no return (useless to me), and it does not have 3-band eq on each channel... but i rarely use that anyway, except to crank up my midrange when i'm struggling to hear myself over my fellow animals.
  • denon dx-400: $399. this has send/return and 3-band eq on each channel, but it seems like the send/return only has two settings: mic and main (as opposed to a mixing board, which would have an fx control for each channel). that seems somewhat standard for send/return on the dj mixers i've seen, and is kind of lame, because it really doesn't increase the flexibility of my kaoss pad very much.
  • denon dx-800: $499. this is fancier than the dx-400 and includes built-in fx, send/return, and sample triggers. but it doesn't actually have a sampler, it just interacts with denon cd players (which i don't have), so fuck it.

out of those, i have to go for the numark 1295 because that built-in sampler looks pretty cool, and the denons don't really add much that would help me. so unless i come up with a better plan, i'll probably be going out to sam ash tomorrow to pick that up.

Saturday, June 11, 2005 
mess up the mix, mix up the mess
finally got around to opening up my mixer. hoo boy, that's complicated! fixing it is well beyond my skillset. it has two big PCBs so even disassembling it enough to really diagnose it will be pretty complicated.

i have a show on friday, one that will likely get press attention. i need a working mixer for the show; theoretically i could do a performance without a mixer, using two inputs on my kaoss pad (for one cd player and a microphone?) but that would be half-assing it, and this show is too important to half-ass.

so i guess i need to buy a new mixer by friday! i'd been fantasizing for awhile about upgrading to a mixer with more features anyway, so this is a pretty damn good excuse to do that. barry will still try to take a closer look at my broken mixer, and if he can fix it, i can sell it.

i need a 19" 4-channel dj mixer. some of the special features i'm interested in include
  • individual pan control for each channel
  • fx loop (send/return)
  • built-in fx
  • built-in sampler
  • eq controls for each channel

and that's not an exclusive list. i know i won't get everything on it. i'd rather not have to spend more than $400 (i'd go as high as $500 or so for something really special).

fx loop is more important than built-in fx or sampling, as fx send/return capability would greatly increase what i can do with my kaoss pad. that's probably the most important feature on the list, and any mixer with send/return will probably also have individual eq controls, which is standard on mid- and high-end mixers. i probably won't find one with individual pan controls, which they don't seem to make on 4-channel dj mixers anymore.

i'm open to suggestions and/or feedback. but i'm the kind of person who is very quick to go out and buy something once i've decided to do so. i wouldn't be surprised if i feel compelled to go out shopping for mixers after dinner. but maybe i'll be able to restrain myself until tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, June 10, 2005 
ever since the riaa raided a few indy record stores and seized their mixtapes, i've been waiting until i started to hear more stories about record store raids.

the wait is over. and this time, it might gain more attention, as they raided a popular store in new york city.

New York police, in cooperation with the RIAA, arrested five employees of Kim's Video — one of the East Village's most beloved independent video and music stores — during a Wednesday afternoon raid that netted 500 pirated CD-Rs.

Those arrested were charged with trademark counterfeiting, and police also seized 27 music DVDs, nine DVD burners and several store computers. All of the CD-Rs and DVDs were described by an RIAA spokesperson as "urban in nature" — mixtapes, featuring music by artists such as 50 Cent, Nelly, Alicia Keyes and Jay-Z.

and more raids have probably been going on that we never heard about:

According to the RIAA's Web site, because several retailers — including the owners of convenience stores, liquor stores or corner markets — are attempting "to make a quick buck by reselling illegal CDs, or, in some cases, manufacturing counterfeit CDs themselves," the RIAA has adopted an "aggressive 'zero tolerance' approach to retailers engaged in this activity."

A similar raid late last month in the Albany, Schenectady and Troy areas of Upstate New York resulted in 11 arrests, the seizure of 3,400 illicit CD-Rs and more than $54,000.

note the use of the term "counterfeit CDs"... but mondo kims wasn't selling bootlegged or pirated material. mondo kims sold mixtapes. to the riaa, djs are the same as pirates or bootleggers. except, that is, when they're trying to break the latest single, in which case they love djs and mixtapes.

when will the djs start making a stand?

deep fried reese's cups
i had a deep-fried snicker's bar at the fair last year. the experience was not unlike eating a candy bar you've had in your pocket or sitting in your car for too long: it tasted good but was essentially like eating a sac full of liquid chocolate. not a great experience.

but the indy star has the lowdown on this year's new fried crap at the indiana state fair.

If you loved deep-fried Oreos and Twinkies, get ready for Reese's Cups and Ho Hos, battered and fried as only the State Fair can.

If you don't know a Ho Ho from a Ding Dong, the Ho Ho also is sometimes generically referred to as an iced chocolate cake roll. It just so happens that Hostess, the company that makes Ho Hos, got its start in Indianapolis in 1925, according to Hostess' Web site. But we digress.

batter-fried reese's peanut butter cups? hot damn, i think i'll have to try that. just like i need to try the new peanut butter milkshakes at steak n shake (they're not listed on the menu on the website, but i found out about them during a trip to a cleveland steak n shake last week... mmm.... peanut butter shakes).

support for npr...
one thing i wanted to mention about the merck story but forgot (as by the time i finish a long entry i have often forgotten one or two details that i wanted to mention):

merck underwrites on npr.

or at least they did until yesterday. i know this because just yesterday, i actually heard the underwriting blurb just yesterday, with their new slogan about orgasming first and everything. a few hours after hearing that, i heard the big long story about merck's ultra-unethical practices.

so as much as i might criticize the public radio underwriting practice for essentially being "advertising" that they just won't admit is advertising, i do have to say that, at least on this occasion, npr went ahead with a story that was sure to piss off one of their sponsors. and they played the story big, so big that they put up a full text transcript.

how many other media outlets would air a story so highly critical of a sponsor? i'm sure there are some that would, but i'm even more sure that a lot would not.

Thursday, June 09, 2005 
merck: where profits come first
so the other day when i was reading this blurb on prwatch, my mind immediately went racing to the gutter. apparently pharmaceutical giant merck is trying to make over its image after its medication vioxx was pulled from the market for causing pulmonary and death problems. merck has a new slogan:

merck: where patients come first

i immediately started researching to put together an ad parody around erectile enhancement and the idea of "coming first". the possibilities there are endless. but after browsing through merck's website, i realized that merck doesn't make any dick drugs! i couldn't find a single penis drug on their product page. somewhat disappointed, i abandoned my ad parody idea, and i almost even felt sorry for merck that they have so far been unable to cash in on the ever-growing erection market.

but then tonight i was listening to all things considered on my drive home from work and was fortunate enough to catch their massive exposé on merck. it's a long story: long enough that it took up most of my drive home (and wasn't finished when i arrived, causing me to have one of those "driveway moments"), and big enough that npr has already posted a transcript of the story.

npr somehow (though one of those "undisclosed sources" that right-wingers seem to hate?) acquired some extremely incriminating internal documents from merck that detail how merck tried to buy off various high-profile doctors so they would speak well of vioxx, which from what i understand is fairly common.

When they located a prospect, they entered the details about that doctor into a spreadsheet at headquarters. Spreadsheet entries included items such as:

"...treats all of the major sports teams, including the Lakers basketball team and the Dodgers baseball team, as well as the high-profile members of our society."

"... 2,4OO prescriptions per year... also known nationally... Writes for a lot of rheumatology textbooks."

Merck's vast army of sales representatives gathered intelligence on what it would take to win over individual doctors. Their notes included the following strategic observations:

"Use in many speaking engagements... At least $20,000 for speaking engagements for the remainder of the year."

"Will speak for us only at certain restaurants and high honorarium... Likes to feel important... He needs the VIP treatment."

this is all ethically questionable (if the question is "is this unethical or is it super duper unethical?") but like i said, it's relatively common practice. so it wouldn't really be a story if it stopped there. but it doesn't; it's just getting started.

the story goes on to discuss a stanford researcher named gurkirpal singh, who did some paid speaking engagements for merck for awhile, but then started having doubts about the safety of vioxx. singh began to think, you know, maybe vioxx wasn't really that great, and maybe it was killing thousands of people, or something like that.

merck expected singh to be a good little paid-off corporate shill and ix-nay on the eart-hay attacks-way. but singh grew increasingly concerned about the potential dangers of vioxx, & he dared to openly discuss his concerns in his speaking engagements. then, worst of all, started recommending rival product celebrex instead of vioxx. that was it: the guy had to go.

the npr story discusses just how deeply merck "investigated" singh:

The profile of Dr. Singh is remarkably complete," says Columbia's David Rothman, who reviewed the final document for NPR. "One can't help but almost frame it in terms of an FBI dossier, except here Dr. Singh is not cavorting with possible communists, or possible gangsters. Here the dossier is filled with Dr. Singh's take on Vioxx, who is Dr. Singh talking to. It's scrupulously watched and very, very carefully recorded."

once it was clear that singh would not come back into the fold, merck had to take him out of play. so merck tried to call singh's bosses at stanford & get him in trouble. merck also called the deans at at least 7 other institutions that also had pesky researchers who dared to suggest that maybe vioxx was causing heart problems.

but why would merck think that a couple phone calls would be enough to make these universities clamp down on their employees?

"Look, medical research is expensive," says David Rothman of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. "No one can take a call from a drug company high official, critical of an investigator, and not realize that behind that call is the implicit reminder, implicit threat -- 'If you can't control your folks, how do you expect us to continue to do business with you?''"

of course none of that did much good for merck, as the fda eventually pulled vioxx from the market, and at least 38,000 people are now estimated to have died because of the drug.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005 
more on indy driving costs
my sister just emailed me with a very good point concerning the previous post on indianapolis being the #7 most expensive city to drive in.

she points out that the study lists indy's gas price (presumably some kind of average) as $2.335. "for premium maybe!" she says. but the article clearly states they looked at "the cost of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline".

i drive past at least one gas station every day (except some sundays), and i have to agree. the absolute highest i've seen regular go for here in indy was about $2.19. that was at the height of the price gouging a few months ago, and people were absolutely flipping out about gas prices. i sure as hell have never ever seen the price of regular gas in the indianapolis metro area come even close to $2.33.

so where the hell did they get that number? and are the numbers for other cities similarly overpriced?

well i found the AAA fuel gauge report, which is cited as one of their sources in their methodology. and it lists the current indiana average gas price at $2.043, which i can believe (i paid $2.09 the other day).

in fact it lists the highest recorded price for indianapolis as $2.340 on 4/8/2005. so how can the average price be $2.335 if the price has never even gone over $2.340?

something is seriously screwy here.

so let's keep looking. atlanta is listed as #1 most expensive. the sperling study lists atlanta's gas price as $2.200. the AAA says atlanta's highest recorded price $2.200.

#2: birmingham, AL. sperling gas price: $2.192. AAA highest recorded price: $2.192.

#3: nashville, TN. sperling price: $2.205. AAA highest recorded price: $2.200.

#4: orlando, FL. sperling price: $2.270. AAA highest recorded price: $2.273.

#5: jacksonville, FL. sperling price: $2.281. AAA highest recorded price: $2.283.

#6: pensacola, FL. sperling price: $2.281. AAA highest recorded price: $2.281.

#7: indianapols, IN. sperling price $2.335. AAA highest recorded price: $2.340.

#8: san francisco/oakland, CA. sperling price: $2.699. AAA highest recorded price: $2.748 for SF and $2.689 for oakland.

#9: raleigh/durham, NC. sperling price: $2.252. AAA highest recorded price: $2.252.

#10: LA/long beach/santa ana, CA. sperling price: $2.610. AAA highest recorded price: $2.625.

so the sperling study does not use average gas prices. the prices used in that study are pretty much the highest they've ever been... and 10-20 cents or more higher than they are currently. study authors used the "current" average from two months ago (4/11/2005), which happens to be a week of record-high prices.

thos prices are then treated as though they were "average" and used to extrapolate other stuff, such as percentage of family income spent on gas. that seems pretty disingenuous to me. and the findings of the study should be regarded with extreme scepticism because of this. though their points about urban sprawl should not be disregarded.

from sprawl to shining sprawl
the other day i finally watched i ♥ huckabees (which i absolutely loved). in the film, jason schwartzman's character is an activist who tries to create a coalition called "open spaces" to combat suburban sprawl, and mark wahlberg is a firefighter who rides a bike (never a gas-burning vehicle) because he is so upset about the world's petroleum dependency.

so it's probably natural that i immediately thought of i ♥ huckabees when i read this article about a study that places indianapolis as the #7 most expensive US city to drive in.

The hit you take in your pocketbook depends at least in part on where you live -- not only because gas prices range widely, but because commuting conditions do, too. So while California's gas prices are typically the highest in the nation, Southern cities top the list of most expensive places to drive.

Experts at Sperling�s Best Places looked at 84 major cities, factoring in not only the cost of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline, but also the number of miles driven by daily commuters and the effect of rush-hour congestion.

naptown's #7 ranking places us as more expensive than even "nightmare" driving cities like san francisco/oakland and the LA/long beach areas. the reason indy is so expensive for driving? urban sprawl.

i have driven in LA (though years ago), and when in the matrix reloaded they talk about how driving on the freeway is suicide, they're talking about LA's freeways. LA freeways are just nuts: constant congestion mixed with massive speeding. and gas prices in LA are 50 cents to a dollar more expensive than in indiana. but, at least according to this study, even though LA has 3-4x more people, and despite the fact that the whole region is almost 100% (sub)urban sprawl (seriously), indy ranks higher. because we apparently have even more sprawl.

i've spent some time in SF too, recently, and gas there is about as expensive as it is anywhere in the country. but the bay area does not sprawl in the same way. buildings and houses are so close together there that you can practically hear their shrieks of claustrophobia. this is likely caused, at least in part, by the fact that san francisco is an island, and land developers can't expand outward, so they have no choice but to cram everything in as tightly as they can. this is not so in indianapolis, where the metropolitan area seeps out across the region like fungus. in san francisco, with close proximity to everything and good public transportation, you can live quite well without ever getting inside a car (connie, who will continue to live there until late july, doesn't even have a driver's license). in indy, you can barely get from your house to the bank without a car, unless you're lucky enough to live near a bus route.

but i would be remiss (especially consideriny my previous post) if i just uncritically reported on this study without asking two important questions:

#1. what is the methodolgy for the study?

This study uses measures of gas usage and economy, such as the average number of miles drivers travel in each city and the average number of gallons each driver uses and wastes in traffic congestion each day. It was assumed that a typical family had two wage-earners, each commuting in separate vehicles. The total of federal and state tax rates varied from 35% to 42%, depending on the family�s income. Statistics were derived from the following studies: 2004 Urban Mobility Study by Texas Transportation Institute, the American Automobile Association (AAA) Fuel Gauge Report, 2004 Fuel Economy data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Tax Foundation and the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.

uh-huh. i have to wonder whether the study factored in the fuel efficiency of the typical vehicle in each area. places with a lot of SUVs and other gas-guzzlers will obviously spend a fuckload more on gas/driving than places with lots of hybrid or electric vehicles. (you can see more details here)

question #2: who or what is sperling's best places?

In 1985, Bert Sperling developed a software program named "Places, U.S.A." which allowed people to enter their personal preferences to find their own best place. is a natural extension of our work over the last fifteen years regarding demographics, preferences, and the selection of "Best Places" to live, work, or retire.

Sperling's concepts and methodology have been the basic of numerous studies since 1985. Today, Fast Forward, Inc. (the producer of is responsible for more "Best Places" studies and projects than any other single organization.

itunes NOT more popular than p2p
a new study came out comparing p2p to paid music download services, and it's already being misinterpreted and misread.

the headline in pcworld/macworld (and other places) is ITunes More Popular Than Peer-to-Peer... but simply reading the article shows this to be false.

A new report from market research company The NPD Group shows that Apple's ITunes Music Store is proving to be more popular than many peer-to-peer file sharing services.

According to NPD's MusicWatch Digital Service, ITunes is in a dead heat with P-to-P service LimeWire, and is beating out other services like Kazaa and IMesh.
At the top of the list was WinMX, a Windows P-to-P service that NPD claims is used by 2.1 million households. ITunes and LimeWire saw use by 1.7 million households. Kazaa came in fourth, followed by BearShare, Ares Galaxy, Napster, Morpheus, Real Player Store, and IMesh.

so not only is iTunes not more popular than peer-to-peer, it's not even #1 on the list. winmx has more users than itunes.

and of course, p2p isn't just one program: it's a community made up of users of dozens of different programs. in order to fairly compare whether itunes or p2p is "more popular", you would need to compare the number of itunes users with the number of p2p users overall, not the number of users of each p2p program factored independently. if you add up those numbers, p2p wins by a factor of at least 10.

i also note that bittorrent is not on the list. i suppose that could be because bt has fewer users than the "top 10" listed by the survey. but i'm skeptical, and suspect this is more likely a flaw in the survey.

then there's a question of methodology. where did they get these numbers?

The survey was conducted by collecting data from Windows-based PCs used by 40,000 online panelists. The information compares March 2005 to March 2004 household activity of consumers who had acquired digital music either through paid services or P-to-P file sharing services.

40,000 online "panelists"? who the hell are these panelists? how were they chosen? does anyone really believe that all 40,000 of them were entirely honest about their downloading habits? (p2p has been demonized and unauthorized downloading is still technically illegal.) does anyone really believe that those 40,000 users are representative of the general online community?

the npd group itself uses the somewhat-less-false headline iTunes More Popular Than Most Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Services, which you can at least pretend is true if you accept the survey results. so who the hell is the npd group?

The NPD Group provides global sales and marketing information that helps our clients make more informed, fact-based decisions in order to optimize their businesses. Many of the world's most successful companies rely on us for insight on what is selling, where and why so that they can understand and leverage the latest trends.

Since 1967 we have introduced market information and its far-reaching benefits across a wide range of vertical markets, including apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, cellular, consumer electronics, food and beverage, foodservice, footwear, housewares, imaging, information technology, movies, music, software, toys, travel, video games, and more.

yeah, they're a marketing firm. and i can pretty much guarantee you that "the industry" paid for this survey.

Monday, June 06, 2005 
up in smoke
okay, i am confused by today's supreme court ruling on medical marijuana:

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday ruled doctors can be blocked from prescribing marijuana for patients suffering from pain caused by cancer or other serious illnesses.

In a 6-3 vote, the justices ruled the Bush administration can block the backyard cultivation of pot for personal use, because such use has broader social and financial implications.
The decision means that federal anti-drug laws trump state laws that allow the use of medical marijuana, said CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Ten states have such laws.

okay, so it's illegal to grow medical marijuana in your backyard. that seems straightforward enough. so what was the reasoning?

A federal appeals court concluded use of medical marijuana was non-commercial, and therefore not subject to congressional oversight of "economic enterprise."

But lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department argued to the Supreme Court that homegrown marijuana represented interstate commerce, because the garden patch weed would affect "overall production" of the weed, much of it imported across American borders by well-financed, often violent drug gangs.

whoa, what? growing weed in your own backyard, for your own use, is interstate commerce? and not only did the supremes' heads not explode from cognitive dissonance when hearing this, but 6 out of 9 apparently agreed? (the other dissented not from cranial collapse, but because they believe in "states' rights".) so when my parents grow tomatoes in their backyard, for eatin' and givin' to friends in the neighborhood, is that interstate commerce? is the pile of clutter that has been growing in my bedroom interstate commerce?

and this doesn't make any sense either:

Anti-drug activists say Monday's ruling could encourage abuse of drugs deemed by the government to be narcotics.

"It's a handful of people who want to see not just marijuana, but all drugs legalized," said Calvina Fay of the Drug Free America Foundation.

monday's ruling was against the medical marijuana users, yes? so why would it encourage people to abuse drugs? making things illegal is supposed to deter them, right? so either about half this article was written on bizarro world or there is something else, something really significant, about this case that cnn isn't reporting.

apparently, there is a precedent that even something you grow in your yard for your own use can "affect interstate commerce" and therefore be regulated by congress. even something you grow for yourself, according to stevens, can affect interstate commerce simply because even if you aren't selling it, theoretically you could sell it. just like theoretically, because i have a lighter in my pocket, i could go out and start some church fires. of course this makes nothing resembling sense, and flies in the face of the legal principles that allow, say gun and missile manufacturers from being prosecuted everytime a civilian gets shot. if you want to try to make sense of the reasoning, you can read the ruling.

but if anyone can explain that second blockquote... how anyone with a brain could think that this ruling would "encourage abuse of drugs", please let me know.

Sunday, June 05, 2005 
reinal do sanchez
several months ago i received a suspicious email asking me to send a free t-shirt. i googled the person who sent it, found other suspicious (and similar, yet very different) posts on various other sites (like this gullible sap, who thought it was legit), and ignored it:





i wasn't the first person to be suspicious. google also turns up this, from someone who even tracked down the photo that "reinal do sanchez" attached.

it's a scam. and surprisingly not the first person who has tried to scam me for t-shirts, either. i don't know how many shirts these people have, but i'm not a fool and when someone tells me they're doing "A PEDAGOGICAL PROJECT BASED UPON MODE & FASHION APPLIED ON T-SHIRTS" or that they want 20 t-shirts for their "store" in nigeria, i can tell i'm being scammed.

so tonight i got another email from reinal do sanchez.

My name is Reinaldo Javier Sanchez.
I am 25 years old. I am a girl Costume Designer (PhD).
I am professor of Youth Apparel at University:

I would like to know if you can send me (By Airmail)
one (1) T-Shirt (Size L) related to ANIMALSWITHINANIMALS

I just need this item in order to get better my classes
because I am developing -joined with my own students-
a project based on T-Shirts according to design, size,
texture, logo, color and fashion dressed by Teenagers.

The T-Shirt will be used for educational purposes only.
My students are waiting for your kind donation.

the address and url have been expunged, though they're easy to find if you look.

but anyway, why do her job description and study project seem to subtly change over time? and why is she sometimes a musicologist, and other times a professor of "mode"?

obviously, i know the answer to these questions. it's just a rhetorical device.

vacation notes
i've been pretty busy since i got back from vacation: at the office, catching up with work, and at home, catching up with tv and comics as well as working on other stuff i probably shouldn't mention yet. i haven't even fully unpacked my suitcase yet. and on top of that, we went to the video store tonight and rented 5 movies (4 of which i personally intend to watch).

but i drove up to the cleveland area last weekend to hang out with connie for the weekend, and to attend RRX. we had a lot of fun, and ate in a bunch of places: several mediocre all-night diners, and a bunch of other restaurants of varying quality. the big winners were mi pueblo taqueria and sahara, both on lorain avenue around W 120-125th st. (which are super close to each other; in fact, we discovered sahara because we were looking for mi pueblo and drove too far.) mi pueblo was very authentic mexican, with all the right stuff on the menu (though the chips were rather stale). their mole was delectable. sahara is a lebanese restaurant, and the food was quite tasty indeed, though the service was ridiculously slow, especially considering that the place was virtually empty. the loser of the restaurants was the chinese/japanese place around 160th & lorain avenue. it was notably worse than sakura, the sushi place in lakewood on detriot avenue that connie complains about so much (but that i think is okay, at least by midwest standards).

on friday afternoon we went to see star wars episode iii. overall, i really enjoyed it. it had some flaws, notably inserting things from the original trilogy that don't need to be there (the droid roles for example could be played by any two droids; there was no point in bringing back c3p0 or r2d2, though that's a problem with the whole trilogy). but it was very dark, and for the most part it delivered.

friday night was the first night of RRX. things were pretty laid back. thursday club played for awhile, and they were good. hetmana was supposed to play, but didn't show up on friday night at all. (she eventually showed up on saturday and played at 5am, which was a little too late for me & connie.) we hung out for a few hours and when things started winding down, we left. i want to say we went to some late-night diner. we probably did.

we spent saturday afternoon getting the last of our costumes and props ready. we also went to trader joe's to buy desserts to contribute to the vegetarian potluck dinner that was supposed to start at RRX at 6pm. well, the dinner didn't really start until after 7 and there were only a few food items available. so the potluck wasn't that great, but i ate some noodles, which along with my special cookies was enough to tide me over until connie & i could go to yet another mediocre late-night diner after we left.

for various reasons, this event de-emphasized the "musical performance" aspect compared to past recycled rainbows. this did help to tighten up the schedule somewhat (it only ran 2 or so hours late by the end), and new alternative activities were added, with more theatrical-type performances and a couple workshops. as a result, there were only 4 bona fide musical "performances" during the night, with occasional between-activity djing by bobby vomit & humdrum. AWIA was the first, and i think it went pretty well. i already posted the mp3 so you can judge for yourself. bobby & humdrum brought their gear, and virago collaborated with my on my gear. there were the typical occasional problems, and a new one: my mixer cut out suddenly, so for a minute or two connie & i were totally silent. eventually i slapped the side of my rig and it started working again, and the performance continued. by the end we had a small crowd accumulated in the basement, and at one point they even clapped & stomped along to a beat that i had playing... a first for animals within animals.

the other musical performances were by henry james, who did some kind of improv with guitar, electronics, and delay that was pretty interesting, and 9-volt haunted house, who as usual did a nice set as usual. their name is very apropos: electronic, a little noisy, and a little creepy. as i mentioned earlier, hetmana also played at 5am, but we were leaving and missed it. contrary to what bobby vomit posted on his blawg, i believe there was only one actual cancellation--jock trap--and i believe henry james was added to the schedule in jock trap's place.

i missed a couple of the non-musical performances, especially at first (and i missed the first workshop, which was on bookbinding, because i was busy setting up for the AWIA performance). but i caught several, of varying quality. there was a short play, frank lloyd wright vs van der rohe, about art in architecture, form vs function, and so on, using the narrative device of "dungeons & dragons rules" to keep the argument going. i thought it was pretty good. but i wondered: was frank lloyd wright really as big a dick as he was portrayed in this play? because i really wanted to agree with him a lot of of the time, but he acted like such a bitch eyes that i had to root for van der rohe (who designed skyscrapers and the like).

leia alligator's puppet theatre also involved dungeons & dragons, a humorous unforeseen consequence of the event's theme being legends and myths. i like leia's puppet shows, but i always feel somewhat bad for her because the audiences there tend to be over-the-top rowdy and disruptive. now, i don't mind a bit of friendly heckling at a loud music show, for example, but when 20-30 people are yelling out stuff during an unamplified performance such as a puppet show, it gets frustrating and holds up the show.

the other performance i saw was this thing about bill & ted's excellent adventure. i really wanted to like the performance, because i was all about bill & ted for many years, and they still hold a special place in my heart. but the thing was simply weak. this guy dressed up like ted (very accurately, i should add), played the movie on a vcr, and had volunteers from the audience read lines from his favorite scenes. that was it: he didn't even cue up the vcr or anything. he just had the video playing and had printouts, each one 2-4 lines, of some of his favorite exchanges, and would call people up to read the lines aloud. this went on for 20-25 minutes. even as a fan of the movie, i thought it was incredibly boring and quickly wanted to escape.

overall, RRX was a fun time spent with good people, but it wasn't as much as i'd had at past RR events. bobby vomit and humdrum, who only came up to cleveland for saturday night, were disappointed. i wasn't as disappointed as they were, but then i was there for a lot longer...

sunday we slept in late, then ate dinner at mi pueblo. there was a big soccer game on, but we couldn't tell who was playing. as i mentioned above, the mole was delicious. then we went back to relax at the hotel for awhile before it was time to leave for press the button on WRUW.

press the button was tons of fun; leia alligator had some electronic kids' book that he hooked into my kaoss pad & played through its fx. i was on the mic all night, spouting freeform bulldada along with everyman, kyle, people who called in to the show, and other guests such as ryan from thursday club. bulldada is pretty fun when they other people are doing it too; i at least need someone to riff off of if i'm going to be talking a bunch of nonsense for long periods of time. i had a lot of fun calling for price checks and clean-ups all over the galaxy, and our food-related riffs, inspired by all the food and grocery shopping in leia's book, eventually turned into an elaborate routine: i'm so hungry i could eat at subway! i'm so hungry i want to stuff your small intestines into your large intestines and eat them! i'm so hungry i want to chew your face off and smother it in frank's famous bbq sauce! i'm so hungry i could eat a whole batch of ecstasy rolls, or a bunch of condoms full of cocaine! at one point i tried to drive it into the realm of non sequitur (i'm so hungry i want to punch you in the face!).

then, 10 mintues before the end of the show, my mixer went dead again. i smacked it around and got it to come back for a minute, then it died completely. fortunately, it didn't matter much because the show was pretty much over. after the show, 7 of us went to a diner that's usually mediocre but that actually had really good service this time.

monday we ate lebanese, lounged around the hotel, and took a walk around the neighborhood near the hotel, while connie took pictures. she hasn't acclimated to the midwest yet, and was fascinated by things like robins and chipmunks. it was pretty cute. and there's some house only a couple blocks from our hotel that has a big yard full of sculpture... it's right by the lakeside, so it's probably not a cheap neighborhood.

tueday we ate crappy sushi and shopped briefly at bent crayon before i took connie to the airport and drove home.

my mixer still seems to be broken. i have a relatively important show coming up on june 17. i need to either fix my mixer or replace it before then. i wanted to eventually replace it with a fancier model, but i'd rather not be forced into it, and now is not the ideal time either. but if barry or i can't fix it, i won't have much choice.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 
i'm back from vacation. hopefully soon i'll have time to do at least a brief writeup. right now i don't. but i will post this new mp3. animals within animals returned to recycled rainbow X to perform for a live audience for the first time since summer 2003! but we showed that we can be as noisy and intense as ever. this mp3 is long and harsh: not for the faint-hearted or soft-eared.

new live mp3: animals within animals @ RRX
recorded may 28, 2005. featuring
  • bobby vomit: turntables + fx
  • humdrum: bent electronics + cassettes + fx
  • stAllio!: cds + kp2 kaoss pad
  • virago: cds + kp2 kaoss pad
63m16s, @192kbps = ~90MB

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