My flickr pictures

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Pandora's [Music] Box, a.k.a The Coolest Thing...EVER

I wanted to start a running list on my blog of "Currently listening to..." artists and songs. I thought it would be a good way to share my latest musical tastes and findings, and hopefully get some feedback as to what else I may find enjoyable. So I did a search on Google for some sort of aggregator that would aid me in doing just that.

Instead, I happened to stumble across what I think may be the coolest thing I have ever found on the web. What baffles me is how I've missed hearing about it until now?

This wondrous find is Pandora.

Pandora is essentially your own personal radio station(s). It is a direct result of the Music Genome Project, another subject I've never heard about. And I thought I was "into music." I'm so ashamed.

You provide it an artist or song title you like, and it will (most likely) find it in its database and start playing it for you in surprisingly good quality. But thanks to having songs "analyzed using up to 400 distinct musical characteristics by a trained music analyst", Pandora will then continue playing music that matches the same characteristics of the song you provided. For each song played, you can tell Pandora whether you like it or not, which will then continually tweak your station. You can keep adding more preferred artists/songs to your station, and it will keep morphing to fit your needs. You can also have up to a 100 stations -- plenty for every genre you could dream up.

In the 30 minutes I've been listening, I've already heard some new bands I like, such as Adam F and Porcupine Tree. My only concern now? My savings account.

Can you imagine when the time comes that Wi-Fi is everywhere, and you can drive down the highway listening to your personal radio stations? Good-bye XM and Sirius.

I got eBayed

I almost completely forgot my reason for posting about SACD and DVD-Audio…

I saw a Michael Jackson Thriller SACD on eBay, and the price was right, so I decided to bid. I won the auction, but upon receiving it in the mail, found out it was not the SACD I bid on, but rather a plain-jane Thriller CD (which I already owned). I contacted the seller, informing her of the mess-up, and her response was, "I am SO sorry for the mix up…I see now where the listing says it is a SACD and I totally did not even know what that meant".

Monday, January 30, 2006

Betamizzle in the hizzle

I'm in the minority in the sense that I'm a fan of SACD and DVD-Audio. In fact, it's simpler than that: I’m in the minority in the sense that I am simply aware that SACD and DVD-Audio even exist.

Basically, the two formats kick butt. Both offer a greater sound quality than CD – and yes, you can hear a difference. If that isn’t reason enough to expand your musical horizons, a fair amount of the titles come in a multi-channel format as well (read: 6 signals for 6 speakers). My favorite so far is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon SACD. They did an excellent job of separating the music across all channels. The opening of "Money" is money – the cash register sounds revolve around and around the listener, creating a wow-effect the first time you hear it.

I'm really disappointed that the audio industry never marketed these formats. And it's not like they stemmed from companies that only audiophiles have heard of. SACD was co-developed by Sony and Philips. DVD-Audio was created by a consortium of other big-name players in the consumer electronics world. It's too bad the two groups couldn’t come to agreement. I think having competing formats has hurt the evolution of multi-channel music more than it helped.

I won't try to go into the details of SACD and DVD-Audio (bit rates and sampling frequencies) -- I would probably bore you to the point you’d never read my rantings again (if I haven’t done so already).

Instead, I leave you with a quote from a magazine that my brother sent me that sum things up quite well. So in the words of LeVar from Reading Rainbow, "You don't have to take my word for it":

It is hard to explain the subjective difference between the sound produced by SACD and DVD-Audio and the sound produced by a CD. Essentially, trying to reproduce music with a CD is like trying to reproduce cool seaside air with the dry brittle air blowing out of an air-conditioning nozzle in a jet airplane and a spray bottle of salt water. In a very literal sense, the CD format is like playing a violin with a hack saw -- there is simply no way to smooth out the saw teeth sufficiently to make it sound correct. SACD and DVD-Audio fix the problem by giving you enough data to filter out the audible errors created by digitizing analog sound.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I was browsing around the iTunes Music Store the other day and saw that L.O.V.E by Ashlee Simpson was one of the Top Ten Songs of the Day. I was curious to see if it happened to be a complete rip-off of the wonderful Nat King Cole song by the same name, so I clicked on the link to hear a sample. Fortunately, it was not a remake and therefore didn't ruin a true artist's piece of work. While listening to the snippet I happened to read a review of Ashlee's album that an iTunes user had posted. I found it too funny not to share with the rest of the world:

When I first found out that Ashlee Simpson had released a new cd, my first thought was "Ashlee Simpson isn't dead yet?" But, being the ever optimistic that I am, I decided that I would give the younger, less attractive, and slightly more retarded of the Simpson sisters another chance to please my eardrums. I am happy to report that I am now suing Ashlee Simpson and all her affiliates for the $9.99 that the cd cost me as well as $12.6 billion in damages that I have suffered after listening to this piece of rabit feces she tried to pass off as music.

Nothing would please me more than to meet the third grader that penned the majority of these songs and give him (or her) a swift shot to the jaw. These lyrics have about the same intelligence of a 12-count box of Crayons that my dog ate and left as a multi-colored surprise out on the back lawn. Let me give you one of my favorite examples of the lyrical genius that is Ashlee Simpson, and I quote, "L,O L,O L,O, L O V E/L,O L,O L,O L O V E/L,O L,O L,O L O V E/ x 14,000"


Thank you Ashlee Simpson. Without these strong words of wisdom you have imparted on me, I honestly don't know if I could have continued to work to succeed in this cruel and heartless world. You truly are the voice of a generation. Unfortunately, the generation I am speaking of is direct result of the cross breeding a cockroach, that third-grader that has a meeting with my fist, and Celine Dion.

So please, if you fall into the above-mentioned category, purchase this CD. But as for me, I'll be seeing you in court Ms. Simpson.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Gas Guy v2

Remember this post from back in November? Well it turns out that my creative juices must have been flowing just right, because I'm now officially 10x$100 gift cards richer.

Shocked? Yeah, me too.

And what's even more exciting is that they may use my slogan on a billboard / in their advertising at some point. So if you find yourself passing through Georgia in the future, make sure to be on the lookout for Georgia Natural Gas billboards featuring The Gas Guy and an especially witty comment. As for the caption itself, I don't even know which one they picked (since I think I submitted 4 or 5). I'm going to email them to see if I can't find out.

Friday, January 20, 2006

And the answer is...

Can't you just feel the tension in the air? A whopping 2 people played America's most exciting game, "My latest purchase - Can anyone guess what it is?"

And the answer is...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Six degrees of Ashton Kutcher?

I get my haircut at Beauty in a Bag, in downtown Oakhurst. It is advertised as being ran by a "Multicultural Stylist". Fortunately for me, Norwegians fall into this category.

I went to get my haircut tonight, and had to wait a little while for another woman to finish with her haircut. She said she had to run home to watch Beauty & The Geek, a WB show produced by Ashton Kutcher (a Cedar Rapids, IA native for those of you that were not aware).

Tria (the multicultural stylist) walks over to me and drops a copy of People magazine in my lap, open to a page featuring the show and its contestants. One of those contestants, Jennipher, is from Atlanta, and it turns out that she is the daughter of the woman currently getting her haircut. Small world.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My latest purchase

Can anyone guess what it is?


President Bush DID have a sure fire plan to end the war in Iraq; however, Chuck Norris was busy that day.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Georgia may be hazardous to my health

As sad as it is, I just realized that I haven't been paying any attention whatsoever to Iowa State / Big 12 basketball. Until now...I didn't realize that K State beat Kansas -- ending a 31 game losing streak between the two teams...and I didn't realize that we already beat Iowa, which means I missed my opportunity to send out as many emails as possible bashing the biggest loser of the major universities in the state of Iowa. (Did I mention that Iowa also lost to UNI?)

I just don't know what happened to the good ol' days when not only would we go to every game, but we would actually dress up as our head coach and hope to be as cool as him someday...
Larry Says Stand Up [Old People]
(The newspaper was unfortunately un-hip and cut off our last Larry impersonator and the sign reading "Old People")

Friday, January 13, 2006

Why haven't you signed up for an ING Direct account yet?

Honestly people. ING Direct is an FDIC insured savings account that is giving out a whopping 3.8% interest rate.

It's all web-based. You can easily switch money back and forth from your regular bank's checking or savings account. You can setup automatic deposits so you don't have to even think about it. No minimums, no fees...they should be paying me for this.

And what's better, is that we can both make money together. If you want to sign up for a new account (and you should) and are willing to open it up with more than $250 (and you should), then you will get $25 added to your account, and I will get $10. That's a 10% return in a matter of minutes.

So if you are interested on getting the most of your money (and you should), send me an email, and I will send you an invite, and we can both have a free beer (or 2 or 3) on ING Direct.

Flickr Addiction

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to Flickr. I find that I can easily pass an hour browsing from pictur to pictur, going wherevr the next interesting pictur takes me.

I think I'm going to start uploading random picturs that I particularly like, not ones that r necessarily most recent. I think what I like most about Flickr is the community itself. It seems to have drawn interest by pro and semi-pro photographrs around the world; so a lot of the photos you find ar really impressive.

Some searches that I think some of you out thr would enjoy:

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Yoga Fire

You may or may not recall that I took some Yoga classes while working up in Minneapolis, and I really enjoyed them. I learned the basics, but never really had the room to practice at home (unless James and Anders wanted to see my downward-facing dog in front of the tv). So I never got into the habit of practicing yoga in the home.

Enter Netflix. I was browsing around and they had this DVD. Now, these past few nights my living room has seen the likes of Adho Mukha Svanasana , Urdhva Mukha Svanasana , Virabhadrasana II . Up next, Hanumanasana.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Wine Smarts

My sister got me Wine Smarts Volume 1 for Christmas. It's kind of like a multiple-choice Trivial Pursuit all about wine. I thought I would spread my wine learnings with one its questions:

What is generally considered the inspiration for the original champagne "coupe" glass?

  • A - The widow Clicquot's knee
  • B - Marie Antoinette's breast
  • C - A fully-blooming gardenia
  • D - The top of Dom Perignon's bald head

And the answer is (highlight this text and the space beyond to see):B - Marie Antoinette's breast

Friday, January 06, 2006

Just lookin' out for my peeps

I thought I should mention a new critical Microsoft patch that needs to be installed by anyone that is using Windows XP or 2000 (Jen). You should go here and install it as soon as possible.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


It is January 5th. We went to eat lunch today at Stevie B's Pizza. The weather outside:

I know I'm not the biggest sports fan in the world, but I do enjoy a good football game when time allows. Anyone else think the BCS games this year were exciting?

Thumbs up to:
- Texas (and Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, and OU -- go Big 12!)
- Wisconsin (my true "home" team)
- Penn State (Go JoPa)
- Ohio State (for an exciting game)
- Iowa

- Iowa State (an unfortunate summary of our season)
- Georgia (have to support tgf)
- Texas Tech (cousin vs. uncle)

Monday, January 02, 2006


I can easily say without a doubt that this New Year's Eve was the best of my life. I am typically frustrated with New Year's Eve because it is the one holiday that has never really lived up to its hype.

However, the Downtown Countdown, hosted in the Hyatt in downtown Atlanta with an open bar, buffet, multiple rooms and stages, and 3000 guests proved to be one heck of a party. (Just slightly better than last year when we watched a peach drop...New York drops balls, Georgia drops peaches.)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

To all my friends, family, and fellow dot commers, Happy New Year! May 2006 bring you better luck, more love in your life, and peace on this tiny planet.