Monthly Archives: May 2006

Nickelback doesn’t suck?

I welcome all comments to my site, even if I don’t agree with them. That doesn’t mean I won’t highlight something I think is hilarious. The following comment was posted to my Nickelback video post last night – a post over two years old.

I dont know wut u guys are thinking Nickelback doesn't suck. U know wut sucks is The people at Portugal aren't very smart..because there are people there who like Nickelback but now thanks to the people who happened to be at the concert ruined it for the people who do like Nickelback.Because now Nickelback wont and shouldn't go back to Portugal.

First and foremost, Nickelback does stink. They’ve gained fame by releasing the same song in about 10 different forms. It’s proven. Second, I have a very hard time listening to points made by someone who can’t spell or use something at least resembling proper grammar. I’m too distracted by things like “wut”, “U”, “at Portugal”, and capitalizing “The” in the middle of a sentence.

To address the point though – you’re right. Nickelback shouldn’t go back to Portugal. They shouldn’t go back to Europe at all. They shouldn’t go anywhere. There’s a reason why people threw rocks at them*. They’re a poor musical act. These people of Portugal saw through the crap that too many Americans believe is actually good music. People who were somehow duped into buying their CDs or concert tickets should be asking Nickelback to live up to their namesake – they should be asking for their nickels back.

*Note: As mentioned in the original post, I don’t condone throwing rocks at anyone, for any reason. It hurts.

Audio Deficency

While I’m totally digging XM, I’ve noticed something rather annoying. It seems as though the rock stations are encoded at a lower bandwidth rate than some of the other stations. The classical stations sound like they’re encoded at CD quality (and it sounds awesome), but every rock station I’ve listened is of noticibly lower quality. One of them sounds like it might even be encoded in mono. They also are substantially lower in volume. On a lower quality setup, it might not be a large problem, but both in my car and my home theater setup in my living room, it’s quite noticable. The local XM evangelist at work, Ben, says that they do tend to alter the compression settings across multiple stations from time to time, especially when they’re adding new stations or when time-oriented content like sporting events go on or off air. I doubt one customer’s complaints would do much, but I plan on letting them know that I’m not happy with the audio quality. It can’t hurt.

On a related note, I figured out a nagging problem with my audio setup. I’ve been noticing some issues with funny sound, and I finally figured out why. My CD player was skipping on a brand new CD, so I got out my CD lens cleaner and ran it through the CD player. It also has some audio tuning tracks on it, so I ran through it for the hell of it. It turns out that my right front speaker was hooked up out of phase, even though the wiring between the receiver and speaker was correct. I guess the wiring inside of the speaker is backwards. After I found that problem, I re-ran the automatic configuration on the receiver, and things sound a ton better now. I guess all the funny levels I saw before in the autoconfiguration were because of the speaker being hooked up out of phase. Let this be a note to you! Check your polarity!

They’re for real!

Ladies, gentlemen, and assorted computing devices – I have proud news. As of today, the Detroit Tigers are in sole possession of first place in the American League Central, and have the best record in baseball at 27-13. Yes, you heard me right. The Tigers are the best team in baseball. While die-hard Tiger fans knew it would happen eventually, I don’t think anyone realized it would happen this soon. I’ll take it though. It just goes to show that when you put all the pieces together, things can turn around in a hurry. The offense has finally kicked in and given the pitching some cushion to work with. The starters have been putting in quality starts, the bullpen has been closing people down. They’re playing good baseball all around. This just means I’ll have to catch more than one game down at Comerica Park this year.

Bless you boys, you have returned.

Don’t stare at me, you’ve got the bug eyes!

[bugeyes]

I’ve been wanting to take this picture for a week or so – I just kept forgetting. For those that are curious, those are the eye guards I’ve been given for protection after various eye procedures. They look a lot like bug eyes though.

In other news, I re-upped my subscription to XM tonight. My dad and a co-worker both mentioned that they had revived their heavy metal offering, Liquid Metal, and that I should give it a shot. I tried it out on my dad’s account last night online, and I love it. My biggest gripe about XM was that they didn’t have a good heavy metal station, and now they do. They had a couple hard-rock-ish stations that played metal now and again, but nothing that I would consider heavy. I’ve only heard maybe 5-7 songs that I didn’t like in about 8 hours of listening, and four of them were Slipknot songs. Man they blow. I can’t understand why people like them so much.

Losing my faith in humanity

My faith in the future of humanity has taken another blow. Matt read this story earlier today, and sent it on to me. For those of you who don’t click through on links, I’ll quote you the first two sentences of the story.

JACKSON, Tenn. - McKenzie, Tenn., police have charged two Carroll County parents with raping their child.The parents, ages 19 and 18, are charged with raping their 1-day-old girl before she was taken home from McKenzie Regional Hospital about six weeks ago, said McKenzie Police Lt. Tim Nanney.

Take a few seconds to let that sink in.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Done? Ok. I try to keep this somewhat clean since my family reads this, but hearing about stuff likes this really chaps my ass. What kind of fucking person rapes a ONE DAY OLD CHILD? I’m revolted by the thought of it. Rape is a horrible action by itself. Raping a child, who is most likely defenseless towards the physical advances of a much larger adult, is worse by far. But raping a ONE DAY OLD CHILD, in the hospital in which they were just born? I cannot even fathom the kind of person that would do such an unspeakable and revolting act.

It is mentioned in the article that the parents were implicated because the police ruled out all of the hospital staff, leaving only the parents as suspects. I suppose it’s my duty as an American to abide by our belief that people are innocent until proven guilty. It is very true that the parents might be completely innocent, and that someone else was to blame for this atrocity. It would only be slightly less hideous if it wasn’t the parents that committed the act, though. Someone raped that child, and whoever it was should face the unbridled wrath of the legal system. To quote my conversation with Matt:

i think it was among the best cases to lobby for capital punishment i’ve heard in a long time

I agree with Matt. Any person that is capable of doing such an unspeakable act should be immediately removed from the gene pool.

The sad thing is, I almost pegged the location of the act. When Matt told me about the story, I said “this had to take place in Kentucky.” He said something along the lines of “close, Tennessee.” The sad thing is, it’s not just the state that it happened in that makes this concept unique to me. My knowledge of the world and its people isn’t vast, and I’ll be the first one to admit that. I am probably speaking out of naivety, but I can’t imagine anything like this happening anywhere outside of America. So, now I say thank you. Thank you to the person(s) in Tennesse who raped that child, you’ve made me lose more respect for the country I live in. I hope you’re happy.

You’ve also made me lose respect for my species. I’ve never heard of any other creature on Earth that would violate its offspring in such a way. Sure, there are animals that eat their young, but as far as I know, that only occurs during times of extreme need, when it’s not likely that the offspring will survive anyway. While seeming completely heartless, it is a completely logical act to eat what’s available in a time of need. Animals do what is needed to survive, and what will ensure that the bloodline lives on. Nothing is served by the raping of a day old child. Nothing.

People of Tennessee, if you’re listening, please do the right thing and make sure the people responsibile for this atrocity are placed somewhere that ensures that they will never be able to disrupt the sanctity of an innocent life again. Put them in prison, throw them in a well, toss them off a cliff, or put them on a rocket bound for the sun. I don’t care. The person(s) responsible shouldn’t be allowed to see the light of day ever again.

Nobody Cared.

While working on a server today, I happened across the following error while reading the output of dmesg…

irq 169: nobody cared (try booting with the "irqpoll" option.

I can’t imagine anything worse than an unloved IRQ.

In Flames, Evergrey, <strike>Nevermore,</strike> Throwdown – 5/13/06

It starting seem that I’m destined to fail every time I try to see Nevermore live. The first failure was due to a misinterpretation of the stage schedule at Gigantour, but this time I was where I should have been! Well, apparently their singer, Warrel Dane, either wasn’t able to perform, or wasn’t even in the place. I couldn’t make out what they said over the PA from where we were standing. In either case, I was pissed. They were the band I was looking forward to in this show, and they ditched. Lame.

Evergrey played first, much to our surprise. I would have placed them just before the headliner in that lineup, but I don’t plan concerts. They might have been doing a rotating opener thing too, who knows. Since they were the first opener, their set was pretty short. I think they may have only been able to play 6 or 7 songs. They played some older ones, such as Blinded, She Speaks to the Dead, A Touch of Blessing, and maybe another one. They also played a couple songs off their new album, which I have yet to acquire. They sounded good – tight, clean, and in control. The volume on the keyboards was a little high, and it overshadowed the guitars in a lot of the verses, which is a drag. Both of Evergrey’s guitarists can really shred, so they should always be front and center in my book. Overall, they were solid, even with the short set. Grade: B+

Nevermore… yah. After a 30-minute stage change, they didn’t play. Grade: F-

The next band up was Throwdown. I saw them once before when they opened for Fear Factory, and they were pretty much what I remembered. They have a testosterone-laden vibe that’s comparable to Pantera’s “Far Beyond Driven” and “Vulgar Display of Power” albums, but they don’t have the powerhouse on guitar that was Dimebag Darrel. I can’t say that I was overly impressed with these guys, but at the same time, this music would be good to listen to if you were pissed off, or as workout music or something similar. The only member that was really impressive was the drummer. Jon commented that he should find some other bandmates to play with, because he was by far the most talented in the group. I agree. Since they had extra time to play due to Nevermore’s absence, they threw in a few cover songs to extend their set a bit. They played “Roots, Bloody Roots” by Sepultura, and they sounded pretty good at it. That’s not saying that much though, because it’s a damn easy song to play. The other song they played was “A New Level” by Pantera. They played it in tribute to Dimebag, who was murdered on-stage about a year and a half ago. Jon and I both wondered how well they would pull it off. They did fine for the first part, which is just heavy rhythm. They cut the song off and went into one of their songs at the point in the song where the solo is played, which is probably a good thing. We could forsee nothing but a guitar abomination in the future if that guitarist tried to play a Dimebag solo. Overall, they weren’t horrible, but not really my style. Grade: B-

In Flames headlined the show, and they were pretty good. I only have three of their albums, and my lack of knowledge about their catalog was really apparent. They played a good number of songs, probably in the 14-18 range, and I only recognized four of five of them. It didn’t really matter though. They rocked out, no two ways about it. Their set was energetic, and the crowd matched it. The equalization on the guitars really bothered both Jon and myself, however. Both guitars seemed to be exceptionally mid-heavy, and their leads were almost inaudible during the first half of their set. The sound guys seemed to balance it out a little in the second half, but the treble was still too low. In Flames sports two very talented guitarists, and to barely be able to hear them flexing their muscles is a travesty. Overall, their show was quite good, and it will probably inspire me to go buy a few more of their CDs to fill in the gaps in my collection. Grade: A-

Although In Flames and Evergrey were good, I would still consider this show a disappointment. Nevermore was the band I wanted to see most, and they were AWOL. I was also disappointed with the order in which the bands played. Throwdown should never have a higher billing than Nevermore or Evergrey. I can see Nevermore or Evergrey competing for or rotating through the second and third opener spots, but neither one should be playing first opener. Had they played according to my ideal arrangement, Evergrey could have an extended set, which would have been great. I did have one cool experience though. About half way through the In Flames set, Tom, Henrik, and Jonas from Evergrey came out into the crowd where Jon and I were standing, toward the back. I partook in a little hero worship and shook Tom’s hand, and thanked him for a good set. It’s pretty insignificant in the whole scheme of things, but it was neat nonetheless. For the record, Tom is not 6’6″-plus like Jon and I had guessed the first time we saw Evergrey, but he is 6’3″ or 6’4″. I guess the stage adds a few inches.

Edit: I just came across this news post, which states that the reason Warrel Dane couldn’t perform was an unspecified illness. I suppose that’s more acceptable than just not being there, but it’s still frustrating.

I <3 Firefox

Firefox is awesome. Firefox combined with cool extensions is even better. I’ve been using the Adblock Plus extension for a while, and I certainly dig it. It allows you to filter out advertisements (or other content, if you wish) using regular expressions, or just simple filters. Generally ads don’t bother me that much. I’ve just learned to look around them.

The ones that really bother me are the ones that interrupt the content I’m reading. There are two schemes that drive me bonkers. The first is Google Adwords. People seem to have zero reservation about placing the adword boxes right in the middle of their content, with the exact same styling as the content they’re surrounded by. How annoying. The second just appeared recently, and uses a piece of JavaScript to edit the document client-side so that certain keywords appear as links, but are really just advertisements that pop up on your screen as soon as you mouse over them. Since my sight is somewhat impaired, I do the “highlight a line so I know where I’m reading” trick quite a bit, and clicking on one of those keywords is a really quick way to piss me off.

Adblock Plus has given me an avenue to get rid of these annoyances. The following two rules seem to block all of the crap I mentioned above. I wouldn’t call them perfect yet, since I’ve only tested them on a few sites.

*googlesyndication.com/*/show_ads.js
*kontera.com*
The first blocks the Google Ads, and the second blocks the faux-link pop-up ads. Enjoy.

Just Add Beer!

Another trip to Marshall Fields for concert tickets and I get another picture of a shirt I would never expect to see there. This one is even more confusing than the AC-DC shirt I saw there last time…

[stupid shirt]

If you can’t read the caption, it says “Instant IDIOT – Just add Beer!” This is the kind of shirt I would expect to see in a magazine dedicated to selling off the wall gags and obscure items, not a reputable clothing store that doesn’t cater to young and/or non-mainstream people… The way they have it presented seems strange to me too… having it worn over a button-up collared shirt just doesn’t seem to fit the whole “beer guzzling idiot” motif. Then again, something like this would fit in perfectly in just about any fraternity…

Pantera In Chains?

I’ve been reading various internet musings regarding a reunited Alice In Chains recently, and how they’re going to be touring this summer across Europe, and to a lesser extent, the U.S. From everything I’ve read, they’ve lined up a singer to fill the shoes of Layne Staley, but will also be having plenty of guest singers on stage to sing a song or two. I like that idea. Layne Staley’s voice and the moods he painted with it were both very diverse, and varied widely from song to song. There are very few singers I know of that could rival the diversity that Layne had. One of them is Maynard James Keenan, and he actually sang a few songs with them for a benefit concert a few months ago. He was pretty good, but he’s got his own thing going on with Tool and A Perfect Circle, so I seriously doubt that he would ever join up with Cantrell and Company for anything more than a few guest appearances.

One person that I have heard rumors about is Phil Anselmo, singer of the now-defunct Pantera. I had reservations about him being any kind of permanent singer as well. While he can sing when he chooses, his singing style just doesn’t really fit a good portion of their music. Harmony is a big part of the AIC vocal style, and I don’t think that he has a lot of practice in that area, but I could be wrong. There are a few songs that I think he could totally nail, and I was given evidence of this last night. AIC played on a VH1 special last night with a vocalist carousel, and a few people were good enough to record it and post song clips online. The one I was interested in was Phil singing “Would” with Alice In Chains. I have to say that I liked the combo, even if Phil sounded a bit restrained. I think he could have let go a bit more and really let himself get into it with more of his singing style. He’s obviously not on stage with them because he sounds like Layne Staley, and “Would” is one of the songs in the AIC catalog where he could let loose and still be in the proper form for the song.

I have to say that I like the fact that AIC is touring again. They’ve been one of my favorite bands for a long time, yet I’ve never seen them live. Hopefully they don’t limit themselves to the limited amount of American tour dates they currently have lined up.