I thought I'd kick this entry off with my newest set of 8tracks, which you can check out here. Feel free to open it up in a new tab or window and listen to it while you peruse the rest of the entry.
Based on repeated recommendations from lossfound, I finally got around to seeing the documentary DiG! a couple of days ago. I'll save you looking it up: it's about the friendship/rivalry between two mediocre late 90s bands, The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Despite the subject matter, I have to agree with my compadre that it is a fascinating doco for rock music lovers, even if you don't care much for either band. I've had plenty of exposure to the Dandys but not so much BJM, so I spent a little time reading about them and locating some of their music. The film also reminded me how much I used to think Dandys keyboardist Zia McCabe was a complete and total babe. There's a snippet of performance footage in the film where she's on stage topless, which surprised me a little. I surfed around looking at photos of her and discovered that she did a SuicideGirls photo shoot a few years ago when she was pregnant. Unfortunately, I don't have an SG account nor am I willing to shell out the bucks for one. But if someone out there IS, please lend me access to your account for a few minutes.
As if watching footage of Zia McCabe wasn't enough, the film introduced me to the delicious and charming Joel Gion. Joel refers to himself as "a tombourine man" in the Brian Jonestown Massacre, which essentially is all he does. And maracas. He's sort of the band's Sid Vicious with lambchop sideburns: he doesn't contribute a great deal to the music but looks great on stage. In the band photo shown here, he's the guy in the foreground with the glasses pushed back on top of his head. Turns out that, in addition to continuing to tour with BJM, he's started his own band, The Dilettantes who released an album in 2007 called - are you ready? - 101 Tombourines. I have no idea what the album is like and I'm sure it will be probably be awful, but I've already taken steps to acquire it and will be giving it a listen in the near future. With a look like that and the ability to charm the pants off of anyone, he deserves a shot at being a bona fide front man.
If you do any torrenting, I highly recommend you surf over to Bluetack Internet Security Systems and check out their downloads area. There you will find a paintstakingly maintained "block list" of IP addresses. These addresses are a mixture of known government agencies, RIAA/MPAA, P2P anti-piracy activists, etc. Plug this list into the IP filtering component of your BitTorrent client and you wll be invisible to anyone who operates from these IP addresses. The list is updated regularly so be sure to refresh it every month or two. B.I.S.S. even has a Blocklist manager program you can install to automate the update for you.
I cashed in some survey rewards for $35 in Amazon gift certificates and went shopping. I managed to effectively halve my wish list buying used copies of various CDs I've been wanting. I took a couple of surveys as well. One survey in particular was about the exciting world of paper towels. They ask for responses to things like, "Brand X paper towel is the only paper towel my family can feel confident about" and then request you answer on a scale with how much you agree with this. I just can't imagine there are people that would agree with it at all, ever, for any brand of paper towel, much less have varying degrees of it. Are there really people out there who care as much about paper towels as this survey would have me to believe? What's worse are the open-response questions. Like, "What comes to mind when you think of Brawny?" and you're given a box to type in your response. I think I put "A lumberjack." That's the one with the lumberjack on the front right? "What comes to mind when you think of Mardi Gras?" New Orleans, ya twit. At any rate, I answer these inane questions and rack up their reward points. I scored 6 or 7 CDs that will hopefully be waiting for me when I return home again.
Tweak Guides has long been a great place for learning about the inner machinations of Windows and what you can do to achieve varying levels of performance and stability vs. your computing habits and needs. I stumbled upon a forum entry there from last year, which gives a detailed tweaking suggestion for AVG 8.0. In particular, it tells you how to completely disable/dismantle the annoying LinkScanner feature during installation, in addition to disabling email scanning and Resident Shield. Obviously, disabling these last two aren't for everyone - it provides a level of protection for people who don't want to think about these things. But for the computer savvy who are cautious and vigilant about email and the software they download ANYWAY, these features are bothersome and tax system resources unnecessarily.
Did anyone else know that Mia Zapata's rapist/murderer was caught, tried and convicted four years ago? How did I miss that? I never cared for the Gits, but I was doing college radio back then when it all went down and it was a Big Deal. This CBS story about it does a great job of covering the high points of the saga.
I consider myself fairly well-versed in 70s underground rock/punk. From the Ramones to the Electric Eels, from the Sex Pistosl to Crime: I've made it a point to consume anything I could get my hands on. Imagine my surprise to discover the band Death. No, not the Florida death-metal group from the 90s. This was a power trio of teenage kids from Detroit who recorded a handful of demos in 1974, releasing two of the songs as a 45 single. They had a sound that for all intents and purposes WAS punk rock, even though there wasn't a name for it yet. The first Ramones album wasn't released for another full two years. The best part about it? They were black kids who got turned-on to hard rock after going to an Alice Cooper show. Drag City Records got hold of the old demos and has given these tracks their first offical release. You kind find a couple of the songs floating around on YouTube if you're interested. A few days ago, The New York Times did a great article about the whole story.