Music


Same as last year, the days/weeks leading up to the NaNoWriMo event are once again entirely devoid of blog posts. That’s because any spare time I may have had in the the two or three weeks leading up November were mainly taken up by plotting. Same as last year, I’m working on a sci-fi story. This time, though, it’s based on a short story I wrote during the summer. It’s the same underlying concept/problem, but completely different set of characters (one of whom is named after a friend’s newborn kid) and a different resolution.

As opposed to last year, when I spent a lot of time on the concept behind the story and no time at all on actually plotting out the flow, this year I’ve jotted down the summaries of all the scenes, ahead of time. So now all I have to do is allot the required number of days per scene (about 2.5) and the story feels like it’s writing itself. It’s a much less stressful and more enjoyable NaNo experience than last year’s. And hey, I’m already at 10,000 words. I missed a day last week due to excessive alcohol intake (Trivia Tuesday, you understand) but aside from that I’ve been writing regularly, every day, about 1.6 thousand words, the required amount for me to coast through November and have 50 thousand words by December.

Speaking of alcohol intake, I’m considering not having less booze than normal, as I’ve found that writing while intoxicated just doesn’t cut it for me. At that point, I’d rather be listening to Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin or playing GTA: IV. Not exactly a good writing atmosphere.

And speaking of music (yes, this post is taking on a very tangential motif, but what the hell do I care?!), I’ve recently discovered Led Zeppelin and I gotta say: shit, I’ve been missing out! “Ramble On” is one of the best songs I have ever heard. Period. (Have you noticed that it starts out kinda like The Guess Who’s “No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature”? It’s weird, but I constantly think I’m going to hear “no sugar tonight” just as the song breaks into obvious Led Zeppelin.)

Sadly, I don’t expect to be writing much here until way after NaNo is over. This post itself is being written in between lunch and watching “Back to the Future: Part 2”. After that, probably going to head out to a coffee shop to get the day’s allotment of sci-fi written up.

The new Zune software – the one that supports Zune HD – is a slow, hulking dinosaur. Installing it on my computer at work took forever, and actually using it is a pain.

On the other hand, there’s now a new feature called Smart DJ that is absolutely amazing. Essentially, it’s Pandora on crack: Zune software plays music related to a particular artist and adjusts its suggestions based on your preferences. The cool thing is that all the song that it plays are available on the Zune Pass, meaning that if I hear an artist I like, I can download a crap-ton of their albums instantly.

Once again, this goes to show that while iTunes is for people who like songs, Zune Pass is for people who like music. There’s quite a debate raging online about which model is better, the concept of buying music (iTunes) or renting it (Zune Pass). Here’s my opinion and why the Zune Pass is right for me (bullet list time!):

  • Zune Pass (ZP, abbreviated to save me a few keystrokes) is 14.95$ per month
  • iTunes songs are ~1$ each
  • I can download and listen to an unlimited number of songs under the ZP
  • For the same price (per month), I could only listen to 15 songs with iTunes
  • Let’s say I download about 4 new albums every week (on average, this is probably a much lower figure than reality). If each album is 12 songs, that’s 48 songs per week, 205 songs per month (30/7*48), 2,496 songs per year (52*48).
  • If I use the ZP for a year, I will have paid 180$.
    • If I use the ZP for 10 years (highly unlikely, right?), I will have paid 1,800$
  • In a year, for the same price, I can listen to 2500 songs with the ZP or 180 with iTunes

For me, as I am still figuring out what music I like and all (shit, I just realized that I love Pink Floyd and their “Dark Side of the Moon” is (so far) my favorite album of all time), the option to listen to an unlimited number of songs, all for a veeeeery reasonable sum of 180$ a year, is a no-brainer. Maybe if I was stuck in my ways and knew that there are only 15 new songs I wanted every month, and never experimented with music at all, the iTunes approach would be perfect. But that’s not me.

I don’t care about owning music. I’m not one of those people who needs to have their CD collection in neat rows on a book-shelf. I need my music flying through my ears! Yeah, if M$ goes under, I’ll lose all that music. But then, if M$ goes belly-up, I’ve got more important shit to worry about. Like finding another job. But I digress. If I really like some of the music (once again, Pink Floyd), and need it after the ZP is gone, I’ll go out and buy it. Or steal it. Whatever. But I’m not going to constrict my options now to just be able to say that I own a Britney Spears album. The hell with that.

EDIT-

I forgot to mention yet another approach to the Zune Pass: with the Zune Pass is included the option to keep 10 songs every month. At the rate of 1$/song, this translates to you buying 10 songs a month and paying 5$ to rent an unlimited number of songs. So, let’s consider a hypothetical power-listener (buys 1000 songs a month) named Max. Max can use Zune or iTunes, since the cost (1$/song) is the same for either service. If Max also gets a Zune Pass and is smart, in a given month he will buy 990 songs and use the 10-song credit from Zune Pass to get the other 10 songs: the cost is 1,005$, compared to 1,000$ for iTunes. But, for that extra 5$ Max gets to try as many songs as he wants. In essence, he can listen to 10,000 songs and choose to buy only a tenth of that, all for an extra 5$ a month.

But enough of this non-sense, sleep calls.

Flickr

Found this amazing Flickr user, Deborah Chen, through a random search: was looking for “bionic bunny”, stumbled on some of her photos. Great photos, excellent composition, interesting colors, beautiful models (photographer herself included, of course). Just about the only gripe I have with her work (aside from wishing I could do something similar) is that sometimes the 1970’s-coloring is overdone. Here’s an example of where I think it’s appropriate, Argonaut, and here’s one where I think the photo was fine without the effect, Castro.

PostSecret for 9/13/2009

stay_smallerI wish I was there for my cat.

mousepoop_smallerAlright! Good for you!

Get Fuzzy

The brilliance that is Get Fuzzy is sometimes hard to describe to the non-believers. Below is a comic that shouldn’t need much explanation. Sunday edition comics are large, so click for the full image.

295013.full_part

Random thought

There is no such thing as “life”. If we’re looking for anything in this universe, it should be beauty. Possibly more on this topic later.

Fin

Well, anyway, enough internet for this morning, laundry’s done, I can finally go get some dim sum and read.

Currently listening to: Gomez, “Bring It On: 10th Anniversary Collector’s Edition”.

Currently reading: “The Dreaming Void”, by Peter F. Hamilton

Just three post-cards to examine today.

liam_smaller

Well, if you’re gonna believe in God, might as well believe in one who sounds like freaking Liam Neeson. Personally, I might have also tried Sean Connery, James Mason or Jeremy Irons, but yeah, it essentially has to be someone with a British-like accent. Ooh, I almost forgot: Alan Rickman.

manasgirl_smaller

OK, that’s just… fucked up. I’ve heard of lots of messed up things that happen to kids, and this mind-fuck is seriously weird. I’ve got no idea why they did this (and trust me, I’ve been contemplating theories since last night), but I’d just like to slap this guy’s parents around like two pinatas.

yourehired_smaller

A popular motif, where one of the partners is going to leave just as soon as the kids are gone, all someone cheats, or they’re ready for it economically. I wish them the best of luck, of course. Whatever it takes to be happy, right?

Currently listening to: Led Zepellin‘s “Stairway to Heaven“, “Whole Lotta Love” and “What Is And What Should Never Be” and of course Pink Floyd:

We went out on a double date,
Me and Edith, you and Kate.
Before we got past their front gate,
There you were making eyes at Edith
While you were making time with Kate.

You can’t have your Kate and Edith, too.
You, rascal, you. Yodel-ay-hee-hoo.

Then we went to a drive-in show.
You were kissing on Kate. She wouldn’t let you go.
I looked at Edith, started feeling bold.
I found your big, hairy hand holding on
To the hand I was trying to hold.

You can’t have your Kate and Edith, too.
You, rascal, you. Yodel-ay-hee-hoo.

Edith asked me if I would
Get her some popcorn. I said I would.
When I got back, dad-blame if you
Hadn’t crawled into the backseat with
Edith. And Kate was back there, too!

You can’t have your Kate and Edith, too.
You, rascal, you. Yodel-ay-hee-hoo.

Years have passed since that first date.
I married Edith. You married Kate.
Now every night when I come home,
Your car’s in the driveway, Kate’s in the car
And you and Edith are in the house alone!

You can’t have your Kate and Edith, too.
You, rascal, you. Yodel-ay-hee-hoo.

This song has been stuck in my head most of the week. It’s just too damn awesome.

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