markdown test

One of the things I love from Stack Overflow is that they use Markdown. Having written in it over there for a year, I wondered if I could add it to WordPress. Turns out it’s allegedly already in WordPress, but my copy must be so old and patched together that I was missing it.

Preview isn’t working for me (ugh) so I’m just going to

  1. let
  2. this
  3. fly

This is actually

fussier than I thought it might be.

And I do have a code plugin now that I should be testing.

string GetErrorLog()
      return m_ErrorLog;

string ErrorLog { get { return m_ErrorLog; } }


out for 2009

The following things have to go:

  • Any commercial that talks about how expensive gas prices are, like it’s still July. Put it in the can for when gas prices matter again. Most of you have moved on to “we know you’re broke and going to die of starvation but come shop here anyway”. Some are lagging behind the times.
  • That thing you do where I say something, and it happens to be a song lyric, and you start singing the song, especially if I didn’t actually say the actual lyric, or if it’s something that people say all the time. Like if I say “we can dance if we want to, it’s a safety dance,” then it’s on, go nuts.

And that is how you break a four month blog silence, son.


fancy tv calibration

Eh. Here’s what they tell you when you buy a fabulous new (hot) TV: “we calibrate it so you get a great picture and use half as much energy, saving you money, the room doesn’t get as hot, and it prolongs the life of the display.”

Which is fine – if you mess with the buttons like I do, you realize that you can run it at absurd levels, get it super hot, or tone it down a lot (fine for dark rooms) and compromise. But that’s all it is, switching between modes.

I did it for a few reasons:

  • I would be freaking out on a weekly basis, adjusting the levels and ending up on a sine wave of performance.
  • I actually was kind of concerned about the energy it’d be eating, and I’d rather have it be on the conservative side for that.
  • They do it for $300, and offered it to me for $200, with the option to cancel it before it happened. Then it rang up at $100 and they were like “that’s weird.”

I wasn’t thrilled with the process itself. (First, I had to wait for a few weeks to “break in” the plasma. Then they were booked for months, so it ended up being three months out.) I left a detailed note saying what I did with it, what I liked, and where I’d been leaving the levels so far. When I came back, everything was pretty washed out, so I might have undone everything by bumping the contrast back to higher-end and messing with the saturation (which I continue to do – there’s a fine line between the Vikings being a little washed out and Brian Williams looking like the B&W-then-colorized Shirley Temple.)

If your TV is like mine and every mode has its own color settings, he’ll do the ones you say you use. When we switched to the component-in in the back for TV (we were on S-Video when he was here) we used his base levels as a starting point, but I don’t think it’s perfect.

One thing they do that you can’t (or maybe you can, but I wouldn’t) is setting up a computer with a light sensor, and then going into the service menu to tune up the overall color balance. That should get you to an even, honest color no matter what you do to contrast or brightness. I think that takes effect for the whole TV, regardless of which mode you’re in.

In the end, there are a lot of settings I won’t bother with now that “the guy” has messed with them, but it hasn’t been the TV-performance peace of mind that I had anticipated. Then again, I’m a little fidgety about it.

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I recently got to hang out with someone who was a dear friend of mine during high school. She lived in New York then, and I didn’t, so this was the first we’d ever met in person. Even though we hadn’t kept in close touch over the past 10-or-so years, it was still fantastic.

She (and, to a degree, her brother who was working for a record label) got me into so much music I wouldn’t have really experienced otherwise. We started from a common interest in They Might Be Giants (who had just put out their fourth album – sheesh), but she insisted I hear the stuff they’d done with Frank Black. They brought Brian Dewan on tour, so she sent me a mixtape including that stuff. I wasn’t familiar with Pixies? She rectified that. This wasn’t particularly obscure underground stuff, or closely guarded rarities, but to me, only just starting to get into what we called “Alternative”, it was mind-expanding.

I made a muxtape of the stuff I still really like from those tapes. Obviously, everything is 15 years old. If it’s the kind of thing you might want to spend 45 minutes with, I invite you to

She told me she doesn’t really keep up with what’s going in music now (unthinkable to me, but she has her reasons), so I started sorting out what I’d really loved from the past 14 years – how I’d explain what I’d gotten into since high school with only 12 songs. That muxtape is up at It seems a little arbitrary, even silly, but I think it’s an okay snapshot. I am sure there’s stuff you’ve heard there (particularly if you’ve been following the albums of the week here), but maybe some stuff you haven’t, and you absolutely haven’t heard all 12 songs in this particular order.

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album of the week 2008.06.24

axlIf I’d done an album this week, it’d have been the Chinese Democracy leaks from last week. They are sounding fantastic. There’s one song missing from the demos we’ve already heard, and the new songs aren’t quite as sonically dense as the tracks that have been done for a while, but it’s seeming an awful lot like Chinese Democracy will be an album of the week, maybe even in the next six months.

There’s no cover, so there’s no picture. I don’t know where you can get it, and you certainly can’t buy it. So no links. But seek it out if you have access to that kind of thing.


album of the week – 2008.06.17

seeing sounds

N.E.R.D. – Seeing Sounds

N.E.R.D. is the rock band version of the Neptunes production team, but if I have to tell you that, you probably don’t know who the Neptunes are, so this whole exercise is futile. Coming at it from another angle, super-summery pop-rock with all kinds of chords and hooks is what you’ll find on Seeing Sounds, their third release. Also, they’re really goofy. They lead off with the single “Everybody Nose (All the Girls Standing the Line For the Bathroom)”, which is fine, but I’m more enchanted with the peeping-tom story of “Window” and the simple melody of “Happy”.

amazon | mp3s

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album of the week – 2008.06.10

judgment night

Various Artists – Judgment Night

Sorry if having the store closed last week caused you any great distress. I flatter myself to think you noticed. I was going to recommend a Steely Dan record or something but I’ve seen the light.

Judgment Night is the soundtrack to a pretty dreadful (I am told) 1993 film. It was groundbreaking, though, because they paired a pretty impressive rock roster (Pearl Jam, Sonic Youth, Faith No More, Helmet, Living Colour) with a real who’s who of rap at the moment (House of Pain, Cypress Hill, Sir Mix-A-Lot). If I were feeling really generous, I’d say that a ton of modern rap-rock (or at least the first decade of it) starts here, for better or worse.

cd, $1.38 | mp3s, $8.99 torrent


album of the week 2008.05.27

hot charity

Rocket From the Crypt – Hot Charity/Cut Carefully and Play Loud

Well, this makes two in a row that are maybe sort of hard to find. Hot Charity was released on vinyl alone in 1993. It fits between Circa:Now! and Scream, Dracula, Scream! in chronology and stylistically. The thing that I hear now (15 years later – yikes) is the intensity – these are close to live performances. All the lyrics are about you or the writer being in danger. Cut Carefully… was another hard-to-find vinyl-only release, but… you know those record sleeves with the hole in the middle, so you can read the sticker through the sleeve? Cut Carefully has the record in the sleeve, with a larger-than-the-hole sticker placed over the hole, so that the vinyl is actually attached to the sleeve until you cut it out. Carefully. This was 1999, so I got the files from Napster and never cut mine. And in 2002, both were remastered and re-released on this one CD, so you don’t have to go through that.

They constitute a best-of, really, because the tracks here are as good as any of their other output. I think it’s probably a decent place to start if you’re not a fan already, but you would know that better than I would.


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album of the week – 2008.05.20

dragonette - galore

Dragonette – Galore

Well, this is awkward. One of my favorite records of the past six months isn’t available in America yet. You can import it on Amazon, where users have given it tags like “fake punk” and “no talent”. So! They’re a slick electro-pop band with a girl singer. Lyrics deal with being a slut and partying your face off, but Wikipedia calls the lyrics “smart and sardonic” so perhaps they’re criticizing actual party-loving sluts. Either way, you should understand that there are better choices for your preschooler’s playdate.

amazon torrent

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album of the week – 2008.05.13


XTC – Skylarking

You know what? I’m sorry. I am a bad power-pop fan. I know almost nothing about XTC. I was a big “modern rock” guy from 1991 on, maybe a bit past their prime. We even started a little joke last year, when I added an Artist Alert on my XM radio to tell me when XTC came on, whether it would be “Peter Pumpkinhead” or “The Mayor of Simpleton”, because, ha ha, those are the only two XTC songs, right? But They Might Be Giants have been trying to turn you on to XTC for 20 years – they wrote a song about musical taste, “XTC vs. Adam Ant”, appeared on an XTC tribute, and invited Andy Partridge to do one of the first Hello Recording Club EPs. This is considered their best album – I don’t know. It’s my first XTC record. It’s super-Beatley, I’ll tell you that. If you can only scrounge together 89 cents, I’m totally infatuated with “That’s Really Super, Supergirl”. It won’t let you down.

amazon | mp3s torrent

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