Apr 14

Time to Cut Back?

I’m considering making SB a weekday-only venture, or at least allowing myself to take Sundays off. There was no inspiration in the 2T this morning. There was no inspiration on the long, dull road back to the Command Center, either. That worked before. Not today. Not even old Ministry or relatively new VNV Nation could summon the Muse.

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This is actually one of the more interesting scenes on that drive.

Well, it did give me a few ideas for tracks on the upcoming Taxil and the White Noise EP. I recently came across a cache of public domain newsreels from the early 70s. I could totally sample some of those. Maybe I could play a couple notes on the bass and mix it all together. Hell, I might actually produce something halfway interesting.

Like yesterday thoughts also turned to the weather, especially after I hit the Boise city limits. I beheld a sure sign of spring despite the recent cool weather. There’s running water in the Ridenbaugh Canal, which flows just a little north of the Command Center on its way to Lake Lowell in the dreaded 2C. For the canal-illiterate, they keep them dry around here during the winter months.

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“Dem taters ain’t gonna water themselves, ya know.”

So, um, I’m home. The Pyramid Brothers are well. I’m OK. My audio software isn’t, as it decided to take a 10-minute newsreel track and compress it down to one second. That’s not gonna work. Let’s see if it can bring it back. Perhaps, but it apparently needs all my CPU power, which means I need to shut down Firefox. That means this post is over. See y’all tomorrow.

Apr 13

Treatise on a Boring Saturday

The worst enemies of a blog like this are boredom and mediocrity. Unfortunately, today is rife with both. A day to drink water, get a headache and contemplate the depressing silence enveloping you. It’s bland, blasé. Dare I say stagnant?

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Yes, comrades. I dare.

Although it’s sunny out, it’s one of those windy days you’d just as soon not be a part of. You know it’s cold. You don’t have to go outside or look at the weather. Crispness is seen in the air by those in the know. That in turn keeps you inside … where absolutely shit bloody nothing is happening.

It’s that time of year in the 2T. Especially during March and April, southern Idaho has a hard time remembering what the hell season it is. One day it’s an idyllic spring wonderland. The next, your internal barometer wonders if the Idaho State Bengals lost their football game yet, or if the ass-whipping this week has an evening kickoff. Many other places experience this phenomenon, but it’s here where I grew up and therefore here I write about.

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It used to be worse.

Back in the 80s a day like this was made to watch golf, mainly because nothing else was on. Also because to this day that’s pretty much all Dad watches on the weekends. Yes, even now I can hear the announcer’s forebodingly soothing intonations as Craig Stadler‘s ball finds the water hazard on 16. “Deep into a watery grave.” So much for his chances at that year’s Bob Hope Desert Classic.

After the United Airlines golf sign-off the day invariably degenerated further into the likes of a bad TV movie or worse, The Love Boat followed by Fantasy Island. There are very few specific memories from these ordeals. It’s all a blur of Charo, polyester and toothpaste commercials.

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“Abandon all hope, ye who sail with Gopher.”

Later on I’d try to break the monotony with bike trips to the neighborhood Circle K and/or 7-11. But Big Gulps only go so far in terms of entertainment value. Barring something unexpectedly cool such as a hailstorm, the day would lethargically and mercifully.

Sunday might be a better day, but after Saturdays like this the odds were never good.

Apr 12

Friday Crap Roundup IX

It’s Friday and I’m in the 2T again. Beachy has one of those teacher inservice days, so I had to interrupt her Smosh and Fred Figglehorn habit to write today’s FCR. Believe me, that’s not an easy task. Once I’m done I get to take her to Hop 2 It. Oh joy. At least she’s paying her own way this time ….

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NOTICE: FATHER CARRIES NO CASH
Image credit: Channel R

But First, A Shameless Plug

I’ve known Travis Hill since we were in fifth grade or something like that. He’s into hockey, writing and snark, just like me. If you enjoy SB, I venture to guess you’ll like his stuff too. You can find it here, here and here.

He doesn’t know I’m doing this, and when he finds out he’ll probably have some off-color remark for me. That’s part of his charm.

Speaking of Remarks …

SB got its first real comment in well over a month earlier this week. Feel free to comment at this site, you slackers. Constantly deleting Engrish spam hawking fake Air Jordans gets old after a few weeks.

Anyway, commenting on “Messing With Spammers,” Ray told SB he also encountered the infamous “gr8tits2play.” He wrote in part:

How can I report this user? That ISP address or whatever. Oh well my only option is to report it on Fling and hopefully they will warn others. I didn’t sign up for the other site because I couldn’t find her user name, so I Googled – you guessed it – gr8tits2play. should I respond back with something, or don’t reply?

(Ed note: link NSFW)

Good questions, Ray. You did the right thing by reporting the account to Fling and by NOT signing up to “her” site. The dating site is probably not going to “warn others,” but it should delete the offending account with extreme prejudice. I imagine they’ve already done so as of this writing. I don’t recommend responding unless you’re going to troll them like I do. That just invites more spam.

As for tracking where the e-mail came from, what I do is find the originating IP address in the e-mail source. A “View Source” option should be available in e-mail clients such as Thunderbird and Outlook. Finding the source in web-based e-mail, such as Hotmail, can be problematic.

The source consists of a bunch of computer gobbledygook. What you want is something that looks like “Received: from [1.2.3.4].” The numbers in the brackets are the IP address. There may be several lines like this; the one you want is usually the last one.

Once you have the IP, do a search on an IP lookup site such as IP2Location. The result should tell you where the IP originates and what ISP it’s registered with. This doesn’t work every time, but it’s the best way I know of to track an e-mail’s origin. If someone out there knows a better way, please share with the class.

Of course this only works with an actual e-mail. If all you have is the communication on Fling (or wherever), you’re not going to be able to track the original IP, although the site admins can if they so choose.

By the way, if you do troll them let me know. Definitely share if it nets you hilarious results.

My Message in Your Modem

SB reached an auspicious milestone earlier today. All you Rush fans out there should appreciate this:

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And the geeks shall inherit the earth.

Let’s Network … Or Something

Hey! Now you can “like” me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. The Mayor of Boise, members of the Idaho Legislature, and the Idaho Statesman all follow me. Why not you?

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In other words, the city knows my every move.

Oh yeah, for what it’s worth I have a Pinterest account too. I don’t use that much, though.

Track of the Week

I like me some trance, y’all.

We’re not in Kansas anymore.

Apr 11

It Begins …

Ha, ha! I warned you! Now I’ve gone and done it.

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Oh, snap.

Yes, that’s right! I have “discovered” a long-lost recording of my 31 February 1982 concert at the id-famous Owyhee County Pork Sausage Distillery in Dickshooter, Idaho. My performance of John Gage’s classic 4′33″ brought down the house. Have a listen:

Damn, I’m good.

This was put up on YouTube only yesterday, yet the reviews are already remarkable! B. T. from London, Ontario, Canada, an accomplished musician and regular SB reader, said:

Enthralling performance! Although I must say that the opening was a bit disturbing…. And I can thank you for now knowing that there is a Dickshooter, ID. Always learning from you….

Beachy had this to say:

Dad, that is just wrong and weird! Weird and wrong! Wait … did you do it for people who like plaid? Who like plaid and beige? Beige, plaid people?

The rest of Taxil and the White Noise is currently in production. 4’33” will be available soon in MP3 format from Amazon and iTunes. Look for it!

Apr 05

Friday Crap Roundup VIII

It’s Friday at the Command Center, so it’s time for the Friday Crap Roundup! But first, I have some cleaning up to do ….

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Cats and Kleenex. Gotta love it.

Trolling for Fun and Profit

Right. Now that that’s taken care of, let’s turn our attention to other beings who strike without warning.

You may have seen this video make the rounds on Facebook this week. It’s a hilarious “interview” by Brick Stone with members of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. Stone skewers them for all they’re worth, and then some.

“We’re done here.”

“Brick Stone” is actually standup comedian Dave Sirus, who turned guerrilla comic trolling in general – and baiting the WBC in particular – into his main schtick. He’s starting to get some good ink for it too. I’m happy to help.

Bashing the Classics

Those of you who know me well may know about my healthy disdain for English Lit classes. And for those who didn’t, well now you do. Here’s a diatribe on the matter I posted on Facebook recently:

Reason #1804 why English Lit sucks: Kids don’t want to read books like The Old Man and the Sea, or My Name is Asher Lev, or Frankenstein. Why? Because they’re all about FAILURE. Adolescents have enough pathos as it is. Let them read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or something. It may not be about success, but at least the characters chose their own terms.

I was compelled to read all three of these works at various points during junior high and high school. Hemingway’s prose in Old Man communicated his imagery very well, but after 50 pages of reading about a back-and-forth battle between some dude and a marlin, it got a bit … old. Then after three days of fighting the damn thing he finally hauls his catch in, only to have it eaten by sharks before he returns to port. How … utterly depressing.

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Kind of like watching the Outdoor Channel for hours on end, until your dish is stolen by wolverines.
Image credit: Experience Kissimmee, Florida

As for the others, Frankenstein was beyond turgid, while My Name is Asher Lev was so goddamn depressing it made Old Man look like an episode of In Living Color by comparison. I don’t think I ever finished that one, to hell with bad grades.

Naturally this sparked a mixed reaction and a debate on my Facebook page. Others mentioned books such as Lord of the Flies and The Grapes of Wrath. I never read either one, so I couldn’t comment intelligently.

Grapes of Wrath

I’m such a Philistine.
Image credit: scatterkeir

I’d be very interested to hear what you have to say on the matter, dear reader. Please feel free to comment and debate. I may respond in a later edition of FCR. If nothing else, it would be a break from the tedium of deleting spam comments hawking third-rate knockoffs of Michael Kors handbags or some shit.

The Moose and Spam Update

Earlier this week I unexpectedly heard from Moose Factory Boy™, who told me to expect a call or text “very soon.” Well, the most recent text I received as of this writing was from my ex-wife, who informed me Beachy is off of school next Friday. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t referring to that. No word from Myrtle whatsoever.

I haven’t heard anything from my Nigerian 419 scammer either. Apparently he/she fell for my “Church of Satan, Reformed (Nunavut Synod)” gag.

Both of these developments are a damn shame. I need material to keep this blog going. This crap doesn’t write itself, you know.

Track of the Week

Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the national anthem of the Great Basin:

A fan-made video, and a damn good one I might add.

Apr 01

Unexpecting the Expected

Hot damn tamale Mephistopheles! It’s April Fool’s Day! I suppose this means y’all are expecting me to base today’s post on some absurd, blatantly false declaration then cry, “APRIL FOOL’S!” Well, I did consider it.

Claim to have an epiphany and pledge to channel the spirit of the undead Jerry Falwell? Nah ….

Become the world’s most annoying Buddhist monk? Nah ….

Announce the end of SB to write at RedState instead? Nah ….

Tout a diet consisting exclusively of carrots, celery and Pabst Blue Ribbon? Nah ….

carrots

Oh, hell no.
Image credit: Chasqui

Then it occurred to me. Last night on Facebook I announced my intention to record an EP for download. I’m very seriously considering this. I mean, seriously ….

Friends, I’m happy to announce I’m going into the studio to record my first EP, Taxil and the White Noise. It’ll feature a cover of Allais’ Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man, La Double Vie de Théophraste Longuet as inspired by Leroux, the eponymous original composition, and Cage’s masterpiece 4’33”, which was voted one of the most important American musical works of the 20th Century. Look for it soon!

The key to a lasting presence on the Internet is going multimedia as soon as you can. SB regularly gets 50 hits a day now. That may not sound like much, but given that this blog was started less than two months ago with an advertising budget of absolute zero, I happen to think it’s pretty damn good. Hell, those guys from Smosh recently put out an album. If two kids from northern California can make it big by using pink sprinkled donuts and churros as props, then I can become famous too, dammit!

As you may recall, a few days ago I mentioned John Cage’s 4’33”. A groundbreaking work like that is exactly what I need to give this EP some serious gravitas. No less than Frank freakin’ Zappa covered 4’33”, man. I understand it’s pretty easy to play, and that it can be recorded on a shoestring budget. This is a good thing given my limited musical skills and financial resources. Just gotta get the timing down, or something ….

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The concept doesn’t need cheesy production, or Auto-Tune, or anything. I’m golden.
Image credit: Kenal

Last night I composed the title track, Taxil and the White Noise, on a state-of-the-art Walgreens Model 890-WGN cool moisture humidifier. The 890-WGN is a frequently overlooked instrument, which I think really makes the piece pop. You’re gonna love it.

So no, I’m not yelling, “APRIL FOOL’S!” I want to make this happen. More details are sure to follow.

Mar 29

Friday Crap Roundup VII

I’m back in the 2T for the first time in over a month. Beachy is currently transfixed by a show called Four Weddings on TLC. The fact an eight-year-old is into this is a bit disconcerting. However, given that she shushed me during a Lumber Liquidators commercial, this is evidently the wrong time to ask. I guess now is as good a time as any for the Friday Crap Roundup.

Getting Bombed

Dang, Good Friday indeed. As of this writing Superfluous Bloviations has already doubled its all-time daily hits record. There’s still a good six hours left in the day too. Call me crazy, but I suspect The B-52s fan club found me.

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The Love Shack is full today.

The one vote for Devo is mine. Oh well.

Seeing Red

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or in Oman, or something, you probably noticed the same-sex marriage issue dominated the news this week. I have just south of 700 friends on Facebook at the moment. I estimate about 400 of them changed their avatar this week to this, or a variation thereof:

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I think it pops well.

I find it curious that red – the same color the Republican Party uses – was chosen for this campaign, however I certainly support its aims. Although I personally have little use for marriage, I think it’s wrong to deny it to anyone else. Either make marriage legal for everyone or remove the concept from the state entirely. Anything else is half-assing it.

These are absolutely landmark cases the Supreme Court is considering, but I feel at this point the worst-case scenario decisions only delay the inevitable. Same-sex marriage is here to stay. Twenty years from now we’ll be wondering what the hell the big deal was.

Northern Remains

A few days ago I mentioned in passing another web site I run called the Quebec Nordiques Preservation Society. Earlier this week I was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal of all outlets about it.

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Yes, I’d love to see them back in the NHL. No, I’m not Canadian.

It wasn’t much of an interview. I last worked on the QNPS over eight years ago, and I’m not involved in any of the current efforts to bring the NHL back to Quebec City. Accordingly I very strongly doubt I’ll be quoted in any article. Yet people are still looking at this obvious web leftover from the 90s. Amazing.

Track of the Week

I recently rediscovered this album. It was one of my absolute favorites in high school. Such a shame Sting went all soft rock on us.

Love the bass line.

By the way, if Beachy wants a regatta setting for her wedding, she’d better be prepared to get married in Burley.

Mar 28

A Post About Nothing

I suppose it happens to the best of us. Call it lack of inspiration, a loss for words, writer’s block or what have you, all of us writers go through it from time to time. Unfortunately I haven’t written an analogue to The Catcher in the Rye yet, so I can’t just take the next 45 years off.

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“Dear fans, piss off. Love, J.”
Image credit: bbnick42

It’s been suggested I could write something about nothing. It’s been done before: Seinfeld, most political speeches, the entire Meat Loaf catalog. The list goes on and on. Eh, maybe I’ll try something like that. I know! I’ll create the blog equivalent of John Cage’s 4’33”, a piano piece (or whatever instrument suits your fancy, it really doesn’t matter) consisting of four minutes and 33 seconds of … absolute silence.

Yes, this is an actual piece of music. It’s been a topic of serious discussion since its 1952 “premiere.” No less than NPR called it one of the “100 most important American musical works of the 20th Century.” Cage himself called it his favorite work. Hrm, I suppose the literary equivalent would be something like …

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Sheer minimalism! Genius!

But then again, this kind of crap doesn’t go over well in Idaho. I doubt anyone from The New Yorker or the The Village Voice reads my dreck, either. So much for that little theory.

Another way to go about this would be to write about my mundane life. It would be like a diary, but it would bore the hell out of anyone who reads it, including any Internet archaeologist who stumbles upon this blog hundreds of years from now. Hey, let’s try it out!

Dear Diary: Well, today was a boring day. Sneferu and Djoser have been running around like maniacs. I did laundry, no whites so I didn’t use any bleach. I did the dishes too. There were a lot more than usual. Oh yeah, I went downstairs and checked the mail. Well, I guess that’s all for today. Love, Lane

Still awake? Good! I could write either one of those things today. Or I could copy and paste the lorem ipsum placeholder text over and over in white letters so you can’t see them on your screen. Yes, dear readers, I would do anything for cheap laughs …

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… but I won’t do that!
Image credit: Christie D. Mallon

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one. All right, now it’s time for today’s entry!

Ah, crap. Lost the moment again ….

Mar 24

March Blandness

March Madness is all over the news, so I might as well give it a mention. Inspiration is definitely in short supply today.

I’ve never been much of a basketball fan, so every year when the NCAA basketball tournaments come around I give them little more than passing notice. When the subject comes up thoughts invariably turn to Idaho State’s upset win over UCLA to make the Elite Eight.

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And that was way the hell back in 1977.
Image credit: thedraftreview.com

Although I’m not the prototypical American sports fan by any stretch of the imagination, I follow college football much more closely. Even then, my tendency is to check the scores online rather than watch the games. I know how they’re played, so except for the occasional big play they hold little interest for me. If I want to watch the big play later, it’s easy to find.

My sport of choice used to be hockey. I was a fan of the old Quebec Nordiques and to this day host a web site about the team. Many years ago I held press passes to report on Idaho Steelheads and Philadelphia Phantoms games for a long-dead minor league hockey news site. I haven’t been to a hockey game since I lived in Las Vegas. That was nearly eight years ago.

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I haven’t looked at the Nordiques site in some time. It needs some work.

Based on the premise that the person least knowledgeable about college basketball is the one who wins the office pool, I was going to fill out a bracket and post it here. However, I didn’t get around to doing it. Since the tournament is half-over there’s no point in doing it now. Maybe next year.

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Florida Gulf Coast. Really? Well, gotta go with them now.

A closing thought for today. Apparently “March Madness” is also a term to describe the height of the annual European hare mating season.

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Which would have undoubtedly made for a much better article today. Oh well.
Image credit: Takkk

Mar 23

Here We Have Tone Deafness

When I was a wee wiseacre in the 2T I learned about the Idaho state emblems. Every state has them. You know, state bird, state flower, state tree, state cottager ….

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OK, just kidding about the last one. Maybe.

Like every other state we also have a state song. Some state songs are well-known outside their borders, such as “Georgia on My Mind,” “Home on the Range,” “Oklahoma!” and … “Born to Run.” Seriously, you don’t mess with the Boss in New Jersey.

Our state song is “Here We Have Idaho.” Chances are decent you haven’t heard it, even if you’re from Idaho. There’s a reason for that. It’s bloody awful on every conceivable level.

Oh, the humanity.

Now please don’t think I’m picking on the performers here. There’s simply no way to sing this piece without sounding like you’re clobbering a rabid hyena with a Louisville Slugger. I chose this particular clip because apparently no one else wanted to be caught dead singing the song in its entirety on YouTube.

Just look at how this turd was constructed. The music was composed by a Sallie Hume Douglas in 1915 under the original title of (no kidding) “Garden of Paradise.” A couple years later, the original lyrics were written by a couple of people at the University of Idaho who were unaware of the tune’s provenance. By 1930, two other sets of lyrics were written because, why not?

Finally in 1931 the Idaho Legislature, noted patrons of the arts they are, declared the Douglas tune the state song along with lyrics written by the then-director of music for the Boise Public Schools. In other words, “Here We Have Idaho” was essentially written by a proto-Oprah fan and your elementary school music teacher. I’m somewhat comforted by the fact I’m not the only one to recognize its banality.

Oh but it gets better. The lyric, “Here we have Idaho, winning its way to fame” is bad enough. However, the original lyric was, “Here we have Idaho, scourged on its way to fame.” Wow, you can’t get much more metal than that.

Flagellants

Pictured: scourging your way to fame.

This state needs a lot of work in many ways. However, I think we can agree we need a new state song, one that’s not completely embarrassing. Granted, there’s not a lot out there to go on. I tried looking tonight on YouTube, but I didn’t find much. I did come across a band called Idaho in my search. They’re actually pretty good. Check them out. Unfortunately they wouldn’t work for this purpose, as they’re from California and their most recent album is titled You Were a Dick.

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There’s no way that’s getting through this government.

Still, write your legislator. Give Butch a call. Do something. If I give the world one less thing to laugh at us about, I’ve done my job.