Mysterious CD's

Blank_cdAs an IT professional, you would think that I wouldn't make a habit of inserting strange Cd's into my computer.  It seems, you would be wrong.

This morning I got into work and there was an unlabeled CD sitting on the keyboard of my laptop (I use a ThinkPad at work.  ThinkPads are the best PC laptops I have ever used, however, Powerbooks/MacBook Pros are still better than they are.  I am thinking of lobbying for a MacBook when it comes time to get a replacement). Now, as a responsible sys admin I would NEVER just pop a random CD into one of my servers, that goes without saying. Sadly, this same rule doesn't apply to my laptop.

Without a second though I popped the CD into my machine (though to my credit auto-run is disabled so nothing too bad could have happened) and checked to see what it was.

Can you guess what was on that CD?

Go ahead, I'll wait.

No? Well, I'll tell you.  It was an MP3 cd of Little Sparrow and The Grass is Blue (yep, those are both iTunes Music Store links).  What the heck are those, you ask since you don't want to click the links.  They are two albums by Dolly Parton (who I am mildly obsessed with at the moment).

This is one of the benefits to having a blog which almost everyone you work with reads.  Thanks to my mysterious CD gifter!

The moral of the story? If you find a blank CD laying on your computer, just pop it in... security be damned!  Sure, it might be some sort of horrible virus that will hose your system, but more likely the Dolly Parton fairy has visited your machine and you can rock out to the dulcet sounds of Miss Dolly Parton (and if you're lucky Kenny Rogers might be in there somewhere too).

Dolly Parton has taken control of my iPod

TravelinthruI never thought I would be writing about Dolly Parton, but here we are.

Dolly wrote a song for TransAmerica called 'Travelin' Thru,' and iTunes is offering it for free (iTunes Music Store Link), so of course I downloaded it.

I can't stop listening to it. Now, this isn't a new phenomeon.  I often obessively listen to certain songs for days on end (the one that held sway over me was A View to a Kill (iTMS link) by Duran Duran.  I would blast that over and over again.  It must be a joy to live above me).  I don't know why I do this, but I do.

But Dolly Parton?  I'm not saying she isn't talented (I was watching an interview with her an she said that she has written over 3,000 songs), but she isn't really someone I would expect to find myself listening to over and over and over again.

Check out the song though, it is good.

That picture of her is a little scary though, so be warned that it is even larger in iTunes.

See what I'm listening to

blankbaby fmSure, I'm rather open on this blog. I write about things that I won't talk about with most people (not even my close friends) but what if that just isn't enough? What if you are so interested in my life and tastes that you MUST know what I'm listening to in iTunes?

Check out my user page and you can see all sorts of 'interesting' data about what I am listening to in a give day, or week.

I hope you're happy now.

This Might Be A Wiki

tmbgwiki.jpgI love the fact that They Might Be Giants have a wiki called This Might Be A Wiki devoted to them and this is one of the taglines:

Who's gonna edit my wiki about cherry cola?

Now, if you don't get that and you consider yourself a TMBG fan... well think again, Chester. You're a rank amateur. Anywho, check it out for more info than you ever wanted to know about the Dual Quasars of Rock and the strange culture that has sprung up around them.

Things Scott hasn't thought about in a good while: Savage Garden

Savage GardenYou know, the group that did this song (iTunes link, get over it non-iTunes loving hippies!). Hey, it was big in the 90's.

Why am I now thinking about this song and Savage Garden in general? Well, you see, I was logging into the iTunes Music Store to see if I could score the new Belle & Sebastian album (or disc as the kids call them, though there is no album or disc involved when one downloads all their music from the iTMS) that I had just read about on Philebrity (album stree date: Feb. 7th).

I got as far as the front page when I saw Savage Garden in the 'What's New' section, and I thought, 'They have a new album?!' Turns out they don't, but their old stuff was recently added to the iTMS.

I don't know if I need you but ooo wah I'm dying to find out.

They Might Be Podcasters

They Might Be Podcasting

Sarcasmo sent me an email about the They Might Be Giants podcast, and I was so excited about it I failed to email her back and thank her (uhhh, thanks, Sarcasmo... sorry about the lack of email. Always remember, I'm a bastard).

I now know why podcasting was invented. So I can get more They Might Be Giants goodness.

If you know what's good for you, you'll subscribe to it (iTunes link).

Also be sure to check out their site where they are featuring videos from their 'Venue Songs' DVD (during their last tour TMBG wrote and performed an original song about each venue that they played at. I heard the one they wrote for the TLA whilst I was at their concert at the TLA, oddly enough). They are adding a new video each week (sounds like it would have made a great vodcast, but they are using Flash video which doesn't translate well to RSS distribution).

Gosh, I bet that Venues songs DVD would be a great Christmas gift for the TMBG fan in your life.

iTunes knows my future

So, I should be going to bed (hell, I should have been in bed hours ago) but instead I am doing this silly iTunes thing:

Here's how it goes: shuffle your mp3 playlist and take the song titles in the order they play as answers to the following questions.

I promise that these were the songs that came up, so here they are:

What do you think of me, iTunes?
"Come On Eileen" - Dexy's Midnight Runners

iTunes thinks I'm catchy, in a British way. I can live with that.

Will I have a happy life?
"The Silver Swan" - The King's Singers

Here are the lyrics to this madrigal:

The Silver Swan, who living, had no note
When death approached unlocked her silent throat.
Leaning her breast against the reedy shore,
Thus sang her first and last, and sang no more.
Farewell all joys,
Oh, death, come close mine eyes.
More geese than swans now live
More fools than wise.

So, I'm guessing.. no.

What do my friends really think of me?
"Moon Over Parma" - Drew Carey

So, they think I'm fat, have short hair, and wear glasses. The truth hurts, bub.

Do people secretly lust after me?
"Drive of Death" - Nellee Hooper from Romeo + Juliet

Umm.. I suppose that's a no too. Duly noted.

How can I make myself happy?
"De Der Down" - Brak

Ahh, Brak does make me happy. So the secret to happiness is to maintain my child like wonder and remain silly. I can do that.

What should I do with my life?
"Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah" - Barenaked Ladies

Great, I have to be a Rabbi. Thanks a lot, iTunes.

Why must life be so full of pain?
"Swamp" - Talking Heads

Here is a snippet from the lyrics: 'Watch but touch monkeys
All that blood, gonna swallow you whole' Is that a yes, or a no?

How can I maximize my pleasure during sex?
"American Nightmare" - Misfits

This really makes me question my sex appeal.

Will I ever have children?
"Every Sperm is Sacred" - Monty Python

That's a definite yes. Little Scotts will inherit the earth!

Will I die happy?
"Stealing My Heart" - Rolling Stones

I'll take that as a yes because who needs a heart?

Can you give me some advice?
"It's Funny to Everyone But Me" from the Impostors (good movie by the way).

Ok, iTunes that's the last time I tell you a knock, knock joke.

What do you think happiness is?
"It's a Sin" - Paul Anka (yes, that Paul Anka)

Message received loud and clear, iTunes.

What’s my favorite fetish?
"Twisted" Annie Lennox

I'll leave that one to your imagination, dear reader.

Blankbaby Approved: Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester

They did rock me

Tonight I had the good fortune to see Max Raab & the Palast Orchester in concert, and I must tell you that was the best $40 I have spent in a long time. Those Germans sure do know how to entertain, and entertained I was.

If you aren't familiar with Max Raabe, shame on you! He is a German cabaret singer who sings classics from the 20's and 30's backed by the Palast Orchester. Tonight they entranced a crowd at the Kimmel Center for a few hours, and we were transported back to a different time. I felt like we should have all been dressed in our finest (tuxes for the gentlemen and evening gowns for the ladies) whilst dancing on a large black and white checkered marble floor. Good thing we weren't though, since I was something of a third wheel (though in this case I was a fifth wheel). I would have been dancing with myself and we all know what that's a euphemism for (or is it?).

Max has that 30's sound down pat (if you don't know what I'm talking about think a cross between nasal and tinny, but in a good way) and the Palaster Orchester know how to play (and the lone dame in the group is quite the looker to boot). They seemed like they were having the time of their lives and that energy was sent to the audience, who seemed to enjoying the evening just as much (each number's completion was met with a rousing round of applause).

During intermission I used the restroom (they are nice) and then attempted to purchase a CD. There was one lone CD salesperson who was besieged by Raabe-heads jonesin' for a CD. People were just slapping $20 bills on the table faster than he could hand out the CD's. I was a good man though, and I waited my turn. I was rewarded with a copy of the same CD that other, pushier Max Raabe fans bought but I got something that was much more valuable than any CD: an air of superiority over those other gauche concert goers. Shoving is for plebeians.

Favorite moments of the evening? Here are a few:

  • During intermission, as I was waiting for my concert accompanists (see what I did there?) to return to their seats, an older woman and her husband (I assume) struck up a conversation with me. She told me, 'I've never heard of this Max Raabe.' I noticed she had a copy of his CD, so I asked her why she came to see him if she didn't know who he was. She replied, 'I'm german so I figured I would like it.' Like it she did.
  • Max Raabe on German waltzes: "They aren't as beautiful as Viennese waltzes... but they're much louder." (paraphrased)
  • Getting to say the phrase, 'I'm sorry but I'm going to have to ask your badger to leave,' and have it make total sense in the context of the conversation.
  • Wondering, with Type E, if the Palast Orchester was made up entirely of midgets and how great that would be if it were the case, but only if they never acknowledged it during the concert (turns out there wasn't a midget in sight, though they are small so I might have overlooked them).

Sherri and Badger were also in attendance, though I hear Badger was a naughty boy. Badgers, ya can't take 'em anywhere.

A big thanks to Becky, of Good Grief! fame, for organizing this outing.

I Love My Mac The Song

Damien posted about the I Love My Mac The Song on TUAW earlier today and I just listened to it. Ah, we Mac users are a... creative lot.

However, not to be out done Jim of Seattle wrote a very nice composition (link to mp3 which I think Mr. Scoble would enjoy. Too bad he doesn't read me anymore. Bitter party of one your table is ready) based on the Windows Start up chime. It seems Jim wrote it for SongFight, which is a website I need to check out. The basic premise seems to be people write original songs every week based on a theme and the best song wins. People never cease to amaze me.

Be sure to check out some of Jim's other stuff, it is lots of fun.

Jeff Ulicny (a TUAW reader) wrote this little ditty using a bunch of Mac sounds (including the start up booooong, which I think is a much more satisfying sound than the Windows startup chimes). Jeff also remixed the Brak Show's theme song.

I wish I were more musically inclined, but at least I get to enjoy the work of others.

Stick close to your desk and never go to sea

I'm listening to 'When I was a lad,' (opens in iTunes) from H.M.S. Pinafore and it just seem so appropriate to our particular times that I thought I would post about it.  I am a Gilbert and Sullivan fan; they have biting social commentary in their light operas.  It is very impressive.

Here's a taste of the lyrics:

I grew so rich that I was sent
By a pocket borough into Parliament.
I always voted at my party's call,
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.
I thought so little, they rewarded me
By making me the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Neil Diamond Loves Us All

Firstly, I would like to thank Julie again for the free tickets and for attending a concert that she really didn't want to go to. Thanks, Julie!

Julie told me that she exists to serve me, which I didn't know but I will keep in mind for the future.

I would also like to thank Becky, of Good Grief! fame, and Type E for joining us.

Secondly, I want to admit something. When Julie told me that she had secured tickets for the show, and told me the seat numbers I immediately looked at the layout of the Wachovia Center to figure out where we were to be seated.

Behind the stage.

Hmm, I know I should be happy that I get to go to the show for free, but behind the stage? Don't they usually have some sort of backing on the stage therefore making it impossible to see the band? I kept those thoughts to myself, and just enjoyed that fact that I was going to hang out with some friends and see a free concert.

At the Wachovia Center we found our seats and it turned out that they were, in fact, extermely close to the stage; the back of the stage, yes, but there was no back wall as I had feared; in fact, there was nothing on the stage but a guitar. A disembodied voice told us that Neil was the solo act, there would be no intermission (only lesser artists need such things) and that the lights would dim suddenly so please find your seats.

Since we were in our seats we go to talking about how Mr. Diamond would take the stage. Julie was hoping that he would descend from the sky and deliver unto us a kick ass show. I thought he would just, you know, walk on stage.

The lights dimmed, rather suddenly I might add, and the show began. The floor of the stage opened and slowly Neil's back up singers and band rose from underneath the stage and began to play.

Neil climbed up a stairway, which was visible to us since we were behind the stage, and rocked out.

It is clear that this guy has done this before. He sang for a little over 2 hours without a break and he is 64, people! That is something. Julie was keeping tabs on the songs that she recoginized and she tallied 14 (I think) that she knew. At one point she yelled out, 'Play America, Neil!' and the very next song was America.

Ahh, the magic of the Diamond.

Another fun moment happened when Neil started singing Red, Red Wine. Julie turned to me and said, "It is funny that he would play this song," to which I replied, "Well, since he wrote it I think it is ok." Ahh, UB40 with their covering of Neil Diamond songs.

Anywho, I think we all had fun (I know I did) and Neil rocked out with his sequined shirt on.

A few fun things about the concert:

  • A woman directly in front of the stage was using binoculars
  • The women sitting in front of us decided that they could talk to whenever they wanted, and they did
  • Neil Diamond is in better shape than I am
  • As suddenly as the lights dimmed they came back on when the concert was over
  • There were many, many people there

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Julie mentioned, a few times, that the concert had a definite 'church revival' feel to it, and I have to agree. But, in a good way. I believe in the Neil!

Blankbaby's going to see Diamond!

blankdiamond.jpgThanks to the good graces of FoB (Friend of Blankbaby) Julie, I am going to see Neil Diamond this Friday. The best part? I get to hang out with Julie!

Oh, and the tickets are free.

That's right, free tickets to see the concert I have been nattering on about for a good few months. I have no idea why I like Neil Diamond so much, but I feel no guilt about it. Julie isn't that big a fan but she is coming along because she is a trooper. Also joining us will be Becky, of Good Grief! fame, and Type E (whose fame I am sure will flourish sooner or later).

Ahh, I am sure it will be fun, and I would like to tell you that many photos shall be taken. I'm pretty sure, though, that photography is not allowed.

Perhaps I'll sketch something for you.

Tickets Still Available

diamondsing.jpgI just thought I would alert the Philly bloggers that tickets are still available for Neil Diamond's upcoming stop here in Philly (they actually added a show, so he is playing on Aug. 12th and 13th). I previously noted that I am a Diamond fan, and how can you not be? Just look at that picture, that is a man that wants nothing more than to entertain you and if that means wearing a sequined shirt, god damned it he is going to be wearing a sequined shirt.

They Might Be Giants 2005 at Penn's Landing

TMBGOne of my goals for yesterday was to post my TMBG concert photos, and I didn't. Actually, I uploaded them but I didn't write a post to go along with them, so like many things I do it was done half-assedly. However, this post fixes all of that, and let me put my whole ass into this process... or something.

Anyway, take a gander at my TMBG concert photos (though Mark's are better). Please close attention and you might even notice the worse picture of me ever (OK, it is this one. Pretty bad, huh? I can only explain it by saying I was obviously in the throes of some sort of TMBG inspired ecstasy).

TMBG were excellent, as always. I think I could go to one of their concerts everyday and still not be sick of them. Time for Three were very entertaining as well (I should have bought their CD, but I didn't), though I didn't care for that Belew fellow (but that's just me).

I tried to rustle up a horde of people to go with me to this concert, but organizing an outing doesn't seem to be one of my strong points (but I'm working on it) and no one could come with me to see the whole thing, so I showed up at Penn's Landing at 3:30, to beat the crowd and I settled in. I found a pretty good seat to the right of the sound booth (to the right if you were facing the stage that is) and waiting to be entertained.

As I was enjoying Time for Three a lovely young woman sat besides me. She was obvioulsy alone, as was I, however she wasn't taking pictures of everything (including herself). I did notice her looking at me a few times, but I didn't say anything to her because well... look at this picture. I rest my case, though I took that one after I had moved. Of course, as is always the case when it comes to the ladies (at least in my experience) I think I should have said something. The problem is I couldn't think of anything to say then, and I can't think of anything right now, so I am sure it was for the best that we both silently enjoyed the music.

So I sat next to that woman for awhile, and then I felt something in my pants vibrating. It was my cell phone (you sickos), and who was on the other end? Why none other than Julie. Julie, Owen (Julie's son) and Hilary had planned to see the concert but could only come for the TMBG part (since Owen is a wee lad and wouldn't have been happy with 4 hours of sitting quietly). After a few moments we figured out where we were in relation to each other and I joined them.

All was fine until my ass became wet. Owen had knocked over his water bottle, which I was sitting next to, and so I was sitting in a puddle. Luckily I had a very absorbent foam finger with which I cleaned up the water. However, I didn't think it was prudent to try to dry my ass with a large foam finger (though I bet there are websites devoted to that very thing somewhere on the internets). Julie thought I was over reacting since it was just water and, 'It will dry,' as she told me.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, who amongst you wants to sit and watch your favorite band with a wet ass?

Later, Mark came over to say hi and then had to run back to his kids. After he left Julie looked over and asked me, 'Do you know him?' Which I thought was an odd question. Most of the time random dudes don't come up to me at Penn's Landing and chat with me for a bit, though Julie might have had very different experiences than me in this arena.

The concert ended and we were off like a shot! Owen wanted to see the 'ocean,' and so we went closer to the river and who did I see but none other than Tony and his wife. We chatted for a little bit, but Owen was cranky so we had to run, sadly.

Overall, a good time was had by all, or at least by me.