Wednesday, December 31, 2014

About an Hour Until Show Time

This is one hell of a lousy time for a gig but it's for my friend and I just did a sound check so all seems ready to go for it.  I'm not going to shoot video and it's not for fear of taking a dive but I didn't take a bath ... but maybe I'm being too Justin Bieber about that.  Who knows.  There is charge in the camera and it's only thirty minutes to shoot.

From my time balance, this is kind of like getting up at four in the morning for systems programming.  I've done that countless times and your mind gets accustomed to it.  You get to where you go into kind of an overdrive and thinking is precise but you're way, way out in the Twilight Zone.  You know it but it's cool being out there.

So, we'll see how far out there it goes.  If there's anything cool then I'll put it on the podcast.

"Interstellar" - Sci-Fi Awards

Excellent.  Infinitely more satisfying than "2001."  Portrayal of the effects of time dilation through space travel is exceptional.  The physics and research behind the story and the visuals are said to be highly-respectable.  The end of it is fantastic and not simply to mean it is very good but rather that it is beyond belief but it brings the movie to a highly satisfying resolution.

Most Scientific Without Being a Drag Sci-Fi Movie Award

Time dilation is an exceptional and incomprehensible aspect of physics which would be insufferable and painful on a chalkboard but is shown in the movie with a precise clarity.  The end requires suspension of disbelief but that's handled deftly as well.  Overall, the presentation of the science that's beyond the comprehension of most mortals in an exceptionally artistic and non-patronizing way is, to my view, a mark of extraordinary genius.

Strongest Political Statement without Making One Award

The school system of the wasting Earth has modified the textbooks to show the Apollo missions were faked and really were set in Arizona.  The purpose is to stop people from dreaming of space as a solution for the enormous problems of the Earth.  Texas gets a blazing shot and it's well-delivered.

Most Novel Use of a Spaceship in a Sci-Fi Movie Award

This is the first time a spaceship has been used as a surfboard and it served well.  The science behind a monstrous tidal wave within minutes of their arrival on the planet is not precisely clear (i.e. nonexistent).  It was still cool to watch, tho.

First Use of Tesseract in a Sci-Fi Movie Award

Tesseract is a word for an entity that is only understood by people who can think in more dimensions than most people have old rock concert t-shirts.  You never hear it in real life much less in a movie so it's impressive to get that one in there.

Best DVD Protection for a Sci-Fi Movie Award

There's a varying whitish noise in the background.  It was only be playing frequently with the EQ to drop it out that the movie was tolerable.  A significant amount of dialog was inaudible because of it but there was enough to follow the story reasonably well.  The problem was not in one bad copy but rather I downloaded three or four of them from different sources.  All were substantially different in various ways but the same audio flaw was in all of them.  Who knows if there is an unrippable DVD but something sure beat the rips for this one.

The movie was so outstanding that it's worth stealing again to get a copy with a clear soundtrack.  The parts about love across time and space were beautiful but I couldn't hear all of the words and it would be highly worthwhile to watch it again to hear the rest.

It kicks "2001" as the music in that one was beautiful but pointless.  The docking scene in "2001" was breathtaking cinematography and the backing of the "Blue Danube" is as gorgeous as it is exceptionally grandiose.  Functionally, the scene is useless as there's a space station and a shuttle docks with it.  Yahoo.

There is music for "Interstellar" but it's much more tastefully and effectively used.  There was nothing that seemed like a light show simply because it looked cool on the screen.  For me this goes on a list of Best Sci-Fi Ever.

10:30 pm SLT - Silas at Sunshine Daydream for New Year's Eve

10:30 pm California time is 12:30 pm Texas time so I'll miss the Central Time New Year's Eve but that's ok as I'll do a thirty-minute set and turn it over to Grateful Stryker who will take it into the New Year on L.A. time.  He's been a friend for a good many years and he is one true blue soul.

The coolness is always on the fringe and Sunshine Daydream is definitely out there.  I think I may have to be Feather Man for this one as that outfit is completely nuts.  Sunshine Daydream understands exceptionally well completely nuts and that's the other half of why I go there.

As to the actuality of the New Year, I don't really care much as the solstice was the real turn of the year and this is just a chance for people to get drunk and puke on Times Square.  Amazingly about ninety percent of people polled said they want nothing to do with it.

Still, the vibe will be cool at Sunshine Daydream as they don't care about anything artificial either, it's just an excuse to play and Grateful asks so that's all the excuse I need.

It's Over for Men Around the World

Charlize Theron is getting married to Sean Penn.

Take a moment to let the enormity of that sink into your heartbroken soul.  Quite possibly the most intelligent and most beautiful woman of Hollywood is gone forever.

Maybe you can hope it's just a flash-in-the-pan Hollywood wedding but the chances of that are likely low.

Mates, I do think it's over.  Hoist up a Guinness and wish them well, if you would.

The Case of the Freezing Guy

It would have been better to correct the absence of Pepsi Cola at three in the afternoon but life decided three in the morning would be better, presumably because it's much colder at that time.

Outside the QuickTrip market, there was a guy sitting down and leaning against a wall with a thin white blanket around him.

I wasn't sure what to make of the situation as I went inside.  My business was short as I only needed to grab some soda and I would be out of there.  Even though I know what's in there, I still survey the food on offer.  The conclusion is always the same that it costs too much and looks like it's awful but apparently there is some reason to verify that each time so the ritual must be completed.

While I was doing that a pretty young blonde girl asked me if I would like to trade my job for cleaning the hotdog machine.  I told her not to worry, young lady.  I've done my share of dirty jobs.  Then she told me, if you ever have to clean one of these machines then you will never eat a hotdog cooked in a store ever again.  I told her I've seen worse, I've shoveled up for elephants in a zoo and, what's more, it was the best job I ever had.  I told her why and she said yah, I see that.

When I went to the counter to checkout, I told her about the guy outside and asked if there is anything anyone can do to help.  She said there wasn't but he comes inside every so often to warm up.  That was some comfort as it was clear she wasn't going to call a cop but still this guy is screwed.

I thanked her and went stumbling back out to the car but she quickly came after me and said, "I'm married already and I'm forty years too young for you but I'm not so hard on the eyes.  Take me with you!  Save me!  I want to have your baby!"

Of course I had to break her heart but she accepted it well and I continued out of the store still thinking what, what, what.

The best answer I had was to give him a five spot and a few cigarettes.  Telling you doesn't endanger my good conduct medal as I feel like a complete shitbag that he is still out there.

Anyone got a better answer?

P.S.  the answer is not political.  Out here in the real world we can't eat politics.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Why Don't Hobbits Fart

Perhaps you consider the topic inelegant and in some contexts that would be true but there is a biological imperative and it's important to review the fact of its absence as otherwise we may anticipate exploding Hobbits in the relatively near future.

Consider the circumstance as Hobbits eat like they're trying to win a hot-dog stuffing competition.  Their diet is very rich with little evidence of balancing nutrition and thus there is a high likelihood of substantial flatulence.  In fact, based on that alone, evenings in Hobbiton should sound like a barrage from USS Battleship Missouri.

However, zero farts.  In what must be close to fifteen continuous hours of Hobbits in the various movies, there is not one fart.  Perhaps Peter Jackson will resolve this obvious oversight in the last movie but, frankly, we doubt it.

There is another solution:  Mel Brooks

"Blazing Saddles"

Campfire scene


The above would be funny ... but ... we bring in Sergio Leone, King of the Spaghetti Westerns, as assistant director.  That way we can drag out the campfire scene to four hours and it would nothing but really intense close-ups of each Hobbit as they go through every aspect of bean eating and fart ripping.

The only difficult part I see is finding a Hobbit who looks like Lee van Cleef.

The Grand Re-Opening of the Donate Button

With great fanfare, ticker tape, and a flyover by obsolete military aircraft, the Donate Button returns.  It was so beautiful.  Ceremonies like this (sob) always make me cry.

There is not an immediate crisis as there were some highly-unexpected surprises at Christmas and they will get me through to the end of the month plus permit me to fix some Things that Seriously Sucked and in some cases caused painful suckage.

Note:  take the ergonomics with great seriousness.  That stuff is important.

Nevertheless, anything you can kick toward it will be most appreciated as almost all of this kit is five years old or older.  The synth was used when I got it.  Sooner or later something is going to break.  Bad chow is the ongoing problem and no particularly good answer.

There's been a lot of cancer coming out of Facebook this last week and it's been a supreme battle to keep it off the blog.  I'm pleased that it didn't come here as it's holding rigid that I will not yield to it.  That's good but it's wearing.

(Ed:  why do it?)

Tinkerbell is there and I have no other access.  I see her write something and she sees it from me so both know we are still breathing and not a word needs to be said.  We do anyway but not about that.  That is also the path to the others as they get the same information from it and I will as well should there be anything I need to know.

The rest of it is anthropology as seeing the reactions to things in people is interesting ... so long as they're not idiots.  The idiot filtration has been effective and conversation can be worthwhile.  Nevertheless it winds down as the number of contacts in there is under fifty and dropping.  That's good as it drops to a level at which it really may be worthwhile to use it and there's no chance of attack or it drops to zero and I'm out of there.

It may be a surprise but online confrontations rip my guts up.  Playing goes out the window because I'm obsessed with whatever is in-play online.  The approach to things on the blog is very deliberate for your health and for mine.

Maybe you'll take some irony in the knowledge there really was a War on Christmas and a highly-determined one but the blog held tight and I'm most pleased.  I'm not going to wobble on this as I like this ground and always have.  Peace, Love, and Understanding ... it's Elvis.

As to recording the video, it will come.  There was some poisonous stuff seething about and that sapped a lot of strength.  I didn't originate any of it, this came as the idea for multiple people that it would be a peach of a Christmas miracle.

(Ed:  isn't that bringing it back here?)

No, that's just what happened.  Bringing it back here is if I permit the poison to affect me and write things I would not otherwise have written.  I look back over the month and there's nothing hurtful in it so the vibe is set and it's a good one.  Please do feel free to unbuckle your seat belts at this time as we will stay at this altitude for a while and this aircraft is way too cool for turbulence.

Stop Strips Work Well for Seasonal Monsters

Now that the Gates to the Underworld are open, we rely on demons to scare them back to Hell.  This battle has been fought for centuries and we must never relax our watchfulness nor reduce our defenses.

(Ed:  what if you do not have a handy demon)

Not to worry, my vigilant friend, as there is an alternative.

First, we observe terrorists always drive white Toyota flat-bed pickup trucks.

(Ed:  say what?)

Look at the clips.  They either drive stolen military vehicles or it will be a white Toyota pickup every time ... and it's probably stolen as well.

The point is not whether they are Toyota or Subaru but rather terrorists find them a handy means of conveyance and the vehicles are most often white.

(Ed:  why do they prefer white pick-up trucks?)

It's unknowable, son.  It's like the idea anyone would find credibility in the idea Bill Cosby is a sex god.

Second, we observe monsters are terrorists.

(Ed:  inasmuch as they eat people, this seems reasonable)

Thank you.  Since they are terrorists and, keeping in mind the first provision, it is likely they will approach in Toyota pickup trucks.


Stop strips.  That's the ticket for yer monster prevention.  Throw a few of those babies across the highway and seriously imperil yer monster invasion due to flat tires and pickup crashes.

So there's a little seasonal tip for keeping things festive through monster prevention.  It's not clear when the Gates to the Underworld close again but we will monitor the situation closely.

Monday, December 29, 2014

It's Snowing in Bavaria

Maybe you think of course it's snowing in Bavaria, it's up in the fookin' mountains but it's more complicated than that. Snow has been sparse but yesterday it started and it hasn't stopped yet.  You can zip up and down those mountains in a four-wheel drive vehicle but there is one problem with that.  Cat does not have a four-wheel drive vehicle.

This is not a lament about the hard life in the mountains but rather it's gorgeous up there.  Tonight they will bring out their demons to fight back the monsters now that the Gates to the Underworld are open.  I don't know when exactly they opened but monsters have been all over the online world.  I also don't know exactly when they close again so we may be beset by monsters for some indeterminate period.

The answer is in Bavaria and their demons will come out tonight to scare the monsters.  You would be well-advised to hope they are successful.  There are way too many monsters in the world already and only the brave and terrifying demons of Bavaria are between us and even more of them.

There may be some measure of spiritual conflict for some as is it appropriate to pray for a demon ... if ... it is trying to repel monsters from Hell.  This surely is an ethical point to amuse you all day but mostly I'm curious about pictures.  Cat said the demons look so cool when the snow is falling and that's what they have right now.

So, Demons versus the Monsters tonight in Bavaria.  Don't miss it.

What Kind of Atheist Are You (NOT a Poll)

Richard Dawkins has done the most toward turning atheism into another product from General Motors but he's not the only one to turn a buck on it.  Ryan Bell was a pastor who decided to try an 'intellectual experiment' with atheism for a year.  After the year, in no surprise to anyone, he's not a pastor anymore and calls himself a 'weak atheist' ... but ... that weak atheist was copping thousands of dollars in support from atheists via his blog.  (Christian Post: Ex-Pastor Ryan Bell Hints At Leaving Christianity Permanently Following 'Experiment' With Atheism

Note to self:  put the Donate button back up as support for that kind of looney means only one thing:  get in the line.

All this confusion is kind of sad as they worry so much over something that really doesn't need any worry at all.  For a while I worshipped Loki Smoki, the God of Volcanoes, but that wasn't so good for fishing so then I switched.

All of the primary religions believe in the same God so there is one or there isn't or none of them know what the hell they say.  It's not clear how 'weak' applies to that as you is or you ain't.

People get insane when it comes to defining this God but these guys aren't talking about his attributes but rather whether there is any God at all.  That's only a problem if you think there is one and really there isn't or you think there isn't one and really there is.  If you think there is and you believe it, you're done.  If you don't think there's one and you believe it, you also can go get your pudding.  It's the wimbly wambly ones in the middle who don't get it.

The next layer of neurotic is what if there's a God but he doesn't like me.  You might want to pass on that thinking as the next steps after that are you start killing gay men and keeping them in the refrigerator.  Of course God doesn't like us, he fookin' kills all of us.  Just be thankful he didn't do it yet.

Then he gets thinking God doesn't like me because all this terrible stuff happens.  My wife divorces me.  I lose my job.  Woe the fuck is me.

Those things didn't happen because God doesn't like you but rather because you're a fucking dork.  God cannot cure dorkness.  Nowhere does it say Jesus laid his hand on someone and forever after that  person was no longer a dork.  That part is not in there.

Atheism is kind of a single-bite sandwich as if you're right then there's no possible way you will ever know it.

Sometimes atheists will try to impress you with physics and that only tells me they didn't make it to graduate school as physics has yet to find any relationship with metaphysics.  That's no more than a meteor on a dark night that's interesting for a moment and then it's gone, the night is still dark.  When one repeatedly tries to define something non-physical in physical terms it doesn't demonstrate science but rather obstinacy.

It's sad put also kind of arrogant that our boy is so confused and needs so much to know with certainty that which no-one can know with certainty.  Obviously he loses his faith but it takes more faith to believe in atheism, in my view, as that means none of this means anything.  It was just a huge explosion and everything thereafter was governed by no more than the laws of entropy and thermodynamics.  It may even be true but what a splashing bore.  The faith aspect is they have no idea why there should be a Big Bang.  They can tell you what it was but they can't tell you why.

Kind of a Political Day

That doesn't mean I talked about politics but rather that I didn't do anything.  I do have an excuse but it's pitiful and the only thing worse than an excuse is a pitiful one.  That also is political so way too much politics today.

There were some minor accomplishments

"Prometheus" is not just coincidentally related to the Aliens quad as that linkage was deliberate but not official.  However, the movie has Charlize Theron in it so how official do you need it to be.  It serves as a loose precursor to explain the intro to the first "Alien" movie.

Side-note:  I would like to see Charlize Theron and Chelsea Handler do some kind of rap antic as I think that could be blisteringly funny.  They're incredibly smart women so what would they do.

Half-Price Books was located about 15-20 minutes from here but then I saw they have an online order process.  From there I discovered three unread Larry Niven novels and all were 99 cents.  It may be worth paying for shipping as none of them are in the Fort Worth store.

(Ed:  what happened to stealing novels and reading them on the iPad)


But I did come up with a Strategic Action Plan as in a SAP for the sap in Fort Worth, ja, ja, ja.

My Christmas Let's Fix Some Shit Treat was that I ordered an internet cable extender and a 25' cable as it will not only save my life but also Yevette's as she has tripped over the damn thing as much as I. It also permits moving the computer a few feet to the left and this is ergonomically gigantic.  If you use a computer at all heavily, the effect of ergonomics goes considerably beyond carpal tunnel syndrome.  If you can afford the $300 computer chair, buy it.  Your body is worth it.

Note:  maximum cable run for RJ45 is about ninety meters (i.e. about 270') and this makes it 125' here so there should be little or no performance consideration.

There will also be a dual fan gadget and this is vital to prevent PCD (Premature Computer Death) as the fans spin up hard all the time I'm using Second Life and also when I use Final Cut and Compressor.  All the time those fans are spinning, the computer is running hotter than it should and is taking one extra step closer to death.  For eighteen bucks, we got value.

The last part of the Geek Treat was a powered USB hub and that's probably like getting a pair of socks to you but I'm using six USB ports on a two-port laptop and I frequently need more.  It's boring for you but it solves a problem that bugs me incessantly.

These treats aren't quite as exciting as snorkeling in Virgin Gorda (BVI) but they're pretty damn cool for me.  Thank you, Santa!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

"Alien: Resurrection" - Christmas Movies

What says Christmas more than a hideous creature with two rows of teeth and acid for blood.  Ho, ho, die Earthling!

"Alien: Resurrection" is sort of sci-fi and sort of isn't.  The story is set way in the future with lots of outstanding rockets and twisted machines but it's a psychology rather than thoughts on extrapolation of science.  That's not a criticism, it's that sci-fi is generally postulating what will happen if we had this kind of machine or that kind of capability and the psychology of it is secondary.  In this story the sci-fi is secondary and the psychology is brilliant.

Sigourney Weaver is so outstandingly non-Rambo as the character is hugely complex and she goes through the nuances with incredible delicacy.  The previous ones were cool when she was playing Rambo with a heart but they weren't at this depth.  Men could say, hey, I'm a feminist.  I love it when chicks shoot machine guns.

Winona Ryder is my first choice for a personal robot as she does an exceptional job as well.  Her character doesn't go through as much of an evolution as Signourney Weaver but she's the other light as most of the male characters are one-dimensional.

To my taste, this is more a horror movie than sci-fi but there's a lot of horror in sci-fi anyway.  Harry Harrison wrote "The Deathworld Trilogy" and there's all kinds of horrible death in that.  Even though horror, the depth of the character portrayals moves it up to cinema level versus being just another cool movie.

There's been a string of bad sci-fi but this one is first-rate.  You can probably slash it on hyper-technical grounds as how does acid for blood work.  Only glass or (I guess) some other type of silicon-based material could contain it so maybe this makes them silicon-based life forms.  Doing that sort of analysis can be amusing but it doesn't gain much as suspension of disbelief is part of it.  If you analyze that disbelief, of course it will fall apart.

(Ed:  Christmas?)

Hey, Ripley saved the world.  That's got to count.

Another Shot on Video in Daylight

Tomorrow will give a good clear opportunity to take another shot at capturing a video.  I don't know if I can get another run out of that poor t-shirt.  I haven't worn it very much so if it looks fresh then I'll wear it.  This will wait until tomorrow as I specifically want available light for it rather than psycho lights.

(Ed:  who gives a rip?)

Laughing Gecko and consequently me as this is the shirt that best tells the Laughing Gecko story.  There are two others and I'm a bit more partial to a dark blue one as it is seriously beautiful but this shirt has some history so it's the one.

Recording technique is still the same as I will open a live stream except I won't go online.  What I want is complete focus on the music and the camera and the same applies in reverse for actually playing a gig as trying to film it means you play to two audiences and that can't work because their needs are different.

The Silas TechnoHypnoGroove Christmas Song has run out to fifteen minutes or so but it will achieve the required coolness at around five.  Maybe a little more if I start hallucinating reindeer and elves but right around that length would be good.

It's not that Frasers are so smart but, dayum, are we persistent.

(Ed:  but you're Scarborough)

That was the name of the street on which I lived in Rhode Island.  I thought it would be funny to play electric and have a name that recalled Simon and Garfunkel.

There was never really any intention of being a comedian but if you can make people laugh then why not as there are so many damn things draggin' people out.

(Ed:  you're not funny)

I do see that problem.  I can make people smile, tho.  I know I can do that much and that ain't bad.  Laughs are much better but a smile is pretty good.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Latest on the Video

The show was recorded today on audio and video but I know without previewing it that I won't release it.  I'm not holding it to a ridiculous standard, it's just that I know it goes better and that wasn't it.

This isn't depressing but rather a perspective as I'm fine with playing but gigs aren't much more than a nuisance.  Other than playing for Cat, I really couldn't be bothered as there's a lot more freedom if I don't go online.  If I'm offline and I think something sucks, I'll stop and start over rather than trying to save it.  That alone is one huge difference.

I'm going to do a couple more but the main interest is shooting video rather than playing gigs so this approach may not be the best way to do it.  I don't want the lights and all that madness as then you can't really see the t-shirt.  I did remember the plug for Laughing Gecko this time so at least that much worked.

It's not that the performance is terrible but rather I know what it needs to be and if I don't feel like it  was that then it goes to the dumper.  Any photographer knows how this goes as I bet I didn't even keep 10% of the pictures I shot.

More to come later.  I imagine I've been functional for long enough for just now.

12:30 pm SLT - Silas at Mania Muircastle's X-MAS EFFECT 2014

No idea what X-MAS EFFECT 2014 might mean but it sounds pretty cool and I'll play there at 12:30 pm SLT.  The camera is charged and I even talk a bath.  I only wore the Laughing Gecko shirt for about an hour so it still looks crispy new.  Going by Rockhouse Rules, that shirt has another wear in it.

There's been a lot of attention to sound levels and reducing the gain on the clean guitar sound worked well to prevent clipping.  All this has been tested on and off a live stream so I am highly sure it works.

Following me is my friend and the most jamworthy person on the planet, Maestro Michi Renoir.

Note:  I'm not Silas as in sigh-luss.  Almost all the Euros call me Silas as in see-luss.

So, about an hour and get on with it.

What Does Kim Jong Un Want for Christmas

The punchline is either shoot him or shut up as the little fat guy isn't that interesting.

There's so much foreign policy and diplomacy in North Korea and a squillion troops have stared at each other across the DMZ for sixty to seventy years.  None of it ever did anything except for troops who stare at each other and sometimes with a little military drama to make you think they really are doing something.

But it all comes down to a little fat guy who has a palace and he ain't goin' to give it up.  He'll send every North Korean except himself to get killed to keep that palace.

So you have three choices

1)  You can keep a squillion troops over there to stare each other down for another sixty or seventy years.

2)  You can kill everyone in North Korea and then finally kill him.

3)  You can smart bomb the palace and croak him from space.  Without Fearless Leader, they fall apart ... but ... you have a bigger problem in that now you have to replace him with something.

You can't make a deal with him as any merge with South Korea means the King gives up the palace.  Ain't going to happen.

As with East Germany, nothing is going to happen until the people make it happen and then it's unstoppable.  So the Silas hope is all this war talk backs off in favor of supporting the people who will topple him.  If you really want to piss him off, don't bomb the cities but rather drop leaflets to the people in them:  set yourself free.

(Ed:  Christmas?)

Ultimately they will.  They always do.

"The Interview" - How to Put Lipstick on a Pig

It's a Seth Rogen buddy movie.  With those words alone you know "The Interview" is crap but it pulled down a million dollars on Christmas Day alone.  There will probably, hopefully, never be a more crisp example of lemming cinema in which one knows something is worthless but does it anyway.

At first there was the hype from the FBI about the terroristic North Koreans rampaging through the virginal Sony's unmentionables drawer.  The story was hogwash but it set up Sony as a victim and they were ready to play after that.  (CBS:  Was FBI wrong on North Korea?)

It turned out the hack came from inside information from a long-term Sony employee.  The biggest flaw to this is that Sony is run with no more security than a putt-putt golf course.  Once you're in, you get everything.  If you want an interview, how about one with Sony's chief of security as that could be amusing.  Maybe they don't even have one.

Today CNN said it's your 'patriotic duty' to see "The Interview" and this shows they don't seem to understand the news is the last place anyone would ever look for a definition of what constitutes patriotism.  (CNN Money: For moviegoers, 'patriotic duty' to see 'The Interview')

Note:  no surprise that appears on their Money page.

Patriotism is what I deem to be best for America and doing it.  Patriotism damn sure is not what some plastic-faced pundit tells me it ought to be.

Once Sony was staged as the helpless victim, it was all gravy for them.  Miraculously, three hundred theaters appeared for the opening they had canceled.  Miraculously, there's a perfect print, untouched by hackers, that could be distributed to all of these theaters.  It was amazing to see how many miracles came to the pitifully victimized Sony.

Tenure at a university has nothing to do with the popular conception of job security but rather it's to keep political and religious considerations from having anything to do with one's employment.  Just as you see the state interfering constantly in what can be said in public schools, that isn't possible with universities as they have no leverage due to tenure.

There is no tenure in Hollywood and state interference in movies is nothing new as that goes back to blatantly jingoistic crap like "The Green Berets" during Vietnam and I believe that one starred John Wayne who never had anything to do with any war anyway.  The movie was top to bottom hogwash.

(Ed:  Hollywood is quite capable of making hogwash without assistance from Washington)

Yah ... but ... I believe there's supporting documentation but I'm not on such a wild-eyed conspiracy hunt that I want to find it.  I wouldn't view it as a conspiracy hunt but rather Washington trying to buy some public relations and Hollywood being slutty enough to sell that.

Given the state's willingness to interfere in Hollywood and that there are no protections against it, seeing yet another instance of it with "The Interview" is disturbing.  What Sony does or doesn't do with the movie is none of Obama's business.

(Ed:  you're seriously telling me there's Christmas in this)

Sure.  The Christmas is the freedom of choice you exercise.  You can see the flick or not based on its merits and not with any regard to what the state may have said.  The latter has no Christmas but freedom of choice always does.

(Ed:  there would be no freedom of choice if Sony had not released the movie)

True enough but that was a business decision and not a matter of national significance.  That North Korea was screaming about it only drove up the publicity.  No-one believed he would do anything as they never have.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Trainload of Aloha from Hawaii - Updated

Saying the Aloha came from Hawaii really doesn't tell you much as where else would one get a trainload of it.

Today was a momentous event as I got two Christmas cards ... which is two more than I've received in at least five years.  That's not a lament as Christmas cards are a little difficult when no-one knows where you are.

Laughing Gecko sent a whole lot of Aloha and he also said the guitar picks did arrive so that was cool all the way around.  Right now there is snow in the mountains in Hawaii.  I don't know if Laughing Gecko is near there but it must be a bit unusual.

I've decided I'm not satisfied with the video from the show the other night.  I didn't think I would be and that's why I put it off but I'm playing tomorrow so that's another shot to try it again.  Plus it gives me another shot to do a good plug for Laughing Gecko.

There's more to come on the Laughing Gecko story.  There are two immediate benefits to trying again as it's important to cut the gain on the clean guitar sound because that's the patch that clips.  I've also cut the level of the signal going to the computer as that was over-driven as well but not terribly.  This stuff is very difficult to detect in real-time as the level meters and idiot lights all lie.  This is where headroom comes into it, at least in my conception of it.  If you keep headroom high (i.e. no possible chance of clipping) then you can screw with it in post-production by increasing gain.  There's no way of removing gain later as once a waveform is clipped, it is screwed forever.

Note:  increasing gain is not entirely acoustically transparent but it's vastly different from the problems of a track in which there is clipping.

The other reason is that my posture was horrendously poor in the video.  I'm wrapped around that guitar like a beached jellyfish melting in the sun.  In large part, that's due to the ergonomics with the laptop and I had not realized how much of a consequence there is to that situation.  Now it's crucial to get an extender cable for the the line to the router as that will permit moving the computer such that I can get my feet under this desk.

There was another card from Yevette and her mother and I'd like to thank both as the giving of this Christmas has been exceptionally beautiful and it's one of the best ever for that.  It wasn't just one day as Yevette has been on her mission for months and she damn sure isn't spending her time surfing.  However, she did see some dolphins up really close when they came into the harbor.

There's a lot you don't hear about what Yevette does and she wouldn't like it if you did but I tell you she's a big-hearted woman and she's always thinking about giving before taking.  That's why she makes her witchy potions and I've talked to her about putting them on eBay but what she wants is to make these things for friends and share some health with them.  For Yevette, it's Christmas all year 'round.

Apparently the package didn't make the date as it was supposed to get there today but she didn't have it.  The rescue is still in-motion, we're just not quite sure where that motion might be just now.

Update:  the package has arrived and Yevette has been back online but she hates it as anyone who uses a computer quite a bit is not going to regard a tablet as a dream date.  Nevertheless, she saw the news about The Raven and sends congratulations to everyone.  She was particularly impressed by the 'ceremony' as that was major style.

The Raven, the Missus, and All those Chilluns

How's this for Christmas as The Raven has announced his engagement.  There's only one question to ask, right:  you will make lots of babies, yes?

He said they will wait until they're ready ... but they always say that, don't they.

There's been a lot of discussion lately about models of unlimited growth with some even claiming economies can grow infinitely but the resources of the world and the ability to produce energy aren't there to support that.  The problem isn't that there are too few resources but rather there are too many people.

But I still say to my nephew to go forth and make many babies.

Note:  American birth rate said to be about half what it was in the Eisenhower years when people were making Baby Boomers but I saw the figures some while ago and didn't pursue the theme.

(Ed:  Americans use more stuff)

That's true and it's a lot more per head than other places ... but ... these Millennials have an awareness of a great many things.  They don't seem quite so sure what to do about them but they have the awareness.  I'm pretty sure they outnumber the Baby Boomers so they can almost certainly make anything happen when they start flexing their muscles to do it.

The Raven and I talked a long time ago about having lots of chilluns and it was charming how much he looked forward to it.  I never did look forward like that and, without going into any deep personal detail, the Mystery Lady wasn't heartbroken either when we did not have kids.  I've never seen it as selfishness but rather focus as there were too many other things we would rather be doing.

(Ed: you failed the assignment as Smart People must reproduce)

Yah, that is kind of an assignment for the future in case someone gets the Smart Genes and (gasp) actually uses them.  I did fail that one but the Raven has them and the Future Missus presumably has them as well.

Therefore ...

Go forth, young Raven, and make many babies, go for a dozen and they can follow you around like Lorenz and his ducklings.  Yah, go forth and read "Cheaper by the Dozen" as well.  Yah, that's the ticket ... cheaper by the dozen.

(Ed:  the Earth is going to magically heal itself or what?)

The Millennials have the awareness of it.  Whether they have the will to do anything about it remains to be seen but their passion is high and they're informed.  "The Road" showed a ridiculously pessimistic future as everything dies ... everything ... birds, trees, animals, grass ... all dead.  Any future is a possibility but that one is predicated on lack of action before there was total devastation of the Earth.  I don't believe that will come.  As resources decline, awareness will increase of the urgency of the need to manage things better and the awareness is high already so I don't believe it will get to "The Road" because they won't let it.

(Ed: the North and South poles are melting, it's crazy to bring more people into the world)

It's not crazy as these people are the ones who will have the awareness to do something about it.  Bringing more babies into the world is precisely the right thing to do.  That isn't the baby making that needs much management as there isn't that much of it anyway.  This isn't a Silas eugenics program but rather it's probably a majority of places in the world where people do not have education, access to or can't afford adequate birth control, etc, etc.  The Millennials seem more keenly aware of this and they're the ones who will act.

Hot tip:  the poles will melt anyway and it's not the first time.  As to the world going all to Hell from it, well, that doesn't seem likely or we wouldn't be here because of the consequences from the last time it happened.  To my taste, it's much better to live in a warming world than with an Ice Age advance.  Now that would suck ... in a hundred thousand years or so.

This was a pretty swell gift and many babies will be yet more.  I keep getting the Cheaper by the Dozen image as The Raven kind of likes to dress like that.

Note:  I can't be mellowing.  I refuse to accept that.

Video Load is Now Defunct as an Action Item

Forty minutes of video were loaded and that is one painful process (insert whine about painfully-slow processor).  That much is done and "The Silas TechnoHypnoGroove Christmas Song" is fading but the second one has got a beat and that's likely the one to put online.

The audio sync isn't straight yet but that's just annoyance through tedium type of stuff.  There's not much to be done to process the audio other than compress it.

What varies is how much to jack the video.  This is an LTH production (i.e. Less Than Hollywood) and using lots of effects won't make a dreamboat out of it.  There's a balance in the middle that will make it more interesting but every step toward that costs rendering time and I don't see why but it seems to cost transcoding time as well.  That's the part that's the bitch as I would crank these out much faster but those processes take hours, particularly if I pile on a whole lot of effects.

It's close enough that I probably should have at least one uploaded tomorrow.  It's late but so is the Christmas Card that Can't Possibly Arrive on Time.  I do have the card and it will arrive fashionably late.  I want a particular stamp but I don't want to buy a book of them.  It might be worth it as it's a cool stamp and I never use them but Yevette does.  More on that after it arrives.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

We're Done with Christmas Now, Right?


There's no plan to change anything.

(Ed:  there was so much Christmas in the review of "The Road")

That was a public service.  It's my gift to you because I love you and want to save those two hours of your life if it isn't too late already.  I did not know what to expect and selected it because it was ranked well for relatively-new sci-fi.  Based on that ranking, I conclude now the judges typically specialize in Super Bowl commercials.

Watching sci-fi is risky as there is so much complete crap but it's always been more than just watching spaceships.  "The Mote in God's Eye" is one of the most personally important books I have ever read and it was concerned greatly with the sociological implications of unlimited reproduction.  I recommend it highly and regard it as an insightful piece of work.

"Star Wars" didn't do too much for sci-fi with its endless sword fights and a generally puerile story ... but it was cool to watch when you're stoned.  For any enduring interest, it's got to carry a lot more beef than that ... although it was cool to watch when you're stoned.

So I'm not seeing a huge need to run "Ave Maria" every day but it's such an exquisitely beautiful song and I heard one today by Jessye Norman who sings in a rich soprano and does a magnificent job in a classical rendition of it.

You know ... why not.  One more time with all the love in the Universe.  It's Christmas.

"The Road" - Christmas Movie Awards - Updated

Here's a Christmas gift for you:  don't ever watch this movie, save yourself the two hours of your life.  Without kittens committing suicide, there's no way a movie could be more bleak.  What says Christmas more to you than watching some guy take two hours to die of cancer.  The concept is patently awful right from the top.

Most Pointless Story Line in Sci-Fi Award

At the start of the movie everyone was dead ... and they still were at the end of the movie plus a few more.  There's no explanation except that something happened.  Everything died except for a few people.  Why everything else died and they didn't is never explained.

So give us a hint, luv.  Was it because they practiced good dental hygiene.

Most Pointlessly Desperate Music in Sci-Fi Award

When you have bassoons groaning like depressive whales while you pan over a landscape that looks like it has been burned to the ground in a forest fire and do it repeatedly, you have direction and production so heavy-handed it should only be used for McDonald's commercials.

Worst Cinematography in a Sci-Movie Award

All of the turgid pans over an abundantly dead field of view are so heavily filtered that nothing remains other than shades of brown and grey.  It screams, this is really fucking depressing isn't it.  Actually it's just boring but bad cinematography in sum is always depressing as it means the cinematographer may do it again sometime.

Creepiest Premise in a Sci-Fi Award

Everything died so there's nothing left to eat except people ... so people do that ... a lot.  There are so many damn cannibals in this movie and, man, cannibals are really dangerous.  Even more dangerous is the dialog they inspire:

Son:  We're the good guys, right?
Dad:  Yes.
Son:  We don't eat people, right?
Dad:  No

Birds and the bees talks will never be the same.

It's also vaguely pedophilic as the kid looks girly, sounds girly, and the relationship isn't pedophilic but it still feels exceptionally weird.


Most Ridiculous Ending for a Sci-Fi Movie Award

We follow the kid and his dad for two hours while dad falls apart and finally dies.  In all that time, every single person wants to kill them and eat them except some old guy who won't lost much longer.  There are cannibals all over the place but it's never quite clear how any remain when they had eaten everything else.

So the dad dies, the kid gets eaten by a cannibal and fade to black, right?  Nooooo.

Almost as soon as dad lets out his last pitiful gasp, the kid finds another Good Guy ... and the Good Guy has a Good Wife ... and two Good Guy Kids ... and, get this, a fookin' dog.  And then they see a single bird in the sky.

The End.

What the hell do you mean The End, the movie never even started.

It's the type of flick that tags you in there and you hang with it thinking, man, there's got to be a point to this eventually.  Zero.  Total no-show.

The actors are reasonably good but you'd have to be able to bring life to reading a dictionary to make this thing work.  It even has a hot blonde ... so they kill her off early by freezing her to death in the snow.  Fookin' hell, man.

Don't do it.  Save those two hours.  I do have one good thing to say about it:  at least it makes "The Interview" look good.

Taking It to the Lazy on Christmas - Updated

I ain't doin' nothin'.  Nope, nothin' whatsoever.  I started watching "The Road" but it's highly morose. It's like Mad Max but without the crazy cars.  Who needs morose for Christmas so I may kick this one.

I keep meaning to edit the video but I haven't even listened to the audio yet.  Bone lazy, that's how it's goin' here.

In fact, I can keep a serious lazy going until Saturday as I'm scheduled to play then for Mania Muircastle.  It will only be a half hour set but that's what I requested.  I will open for thirty and then Michi Renoir will play a full set followed by a number of others in Mania's Christmas party.

(Ed:  so when does the video show up?)

Guilt pangs have already started.  It's already in my head that at least I could copy the video from the camera onto the SD card so it's ready to load.  Once it starts it's unstoppable as I've got to know if it worked.  I'm guessing four to six hours to get it finished and online.

Note:  there's a significant consideration in the load process as maybe you remember a previous video that lost audio sync after about ten or fifteen minutes.  This one runs about the same length so the same thing applies.  I have a theory for why it happened but I don't have an airtight answer so that could put a big change on things.  We'll see.


There's a hole in me lazy and I had to find out if the audio is crap.  The first and second tunes definitely have the groovulosity I want and I'll wait to see the video before anything on the lead.  There's a problem with the second one in that there's some clipping and there's no cure for that.  You've got to have the headroom.  Whether that's fixable with some tinkering is yet to be discovered. It's not awful but you can't hide a clip, it does or it doesn't.

So that was productive enough to say, yep, did something and now it's time to screw off some more.  I'll give "The Road" a little more time but if all it has to say is everybody dies then I don't think I really need that sunshine in my life just now.  We'll see.

Silasisms ... or ... Quotes You Don't Have to Remember

If you can't handle meat loaf for Christmas, music might not have been your best career choice, son.

There's one very cool thing about giving music for Christmas: you don't have to wrap it.

If you want to make money, you make songs.  If it's not enough money, make more songs.  If you still don't make any money then your songs suck or you play in the wrong place.  I asked Tobey the Dog if this was hard to understand.  He woofed.

No matter how much talent any performer may have, there is nothing that masks avarice.

Facebook is like doing nothing except typing while you don't do it.

Now I see the problem with the gig yesterday.  I was wearing a crumby pair of aviator sunglasses.  No wonder it sucked.

There's no Star of Bethlehem ... Except Tonight

Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 is a name that imparts such a compelling vision of spirituality that it's scarcely necessary to write.  It immediately gets me thinking of angels and trumpets, peace on Earth, and maybe some GMO vegetables.

(Ed:  Vegetables?)

The comet is green and Kermit the Comet is a little hard to accept but he's up there right now and is just becoming visible.

(Ed:  Hogwash!)

Oh really.

I did not Photoshop the image to make a dumb joke.  Astronomers say it glows green because of a high proportion of cyanogens and molecular carbon in the gas blowing off it.  (The Conversation:  A Christmas comet to be seen from dark skies)

"Transcendence" - An Awards Presentation - Christmas Movie Division

No way I was considering "The Interview" for my Christmas movie as Sony pulled the lamest publicity hoax of the Modern Era with their 'tracked, hacked, and attacked by North Korea' stunt (i.e. it never happened).

There are sci-fi movies which are believable and then there are movies like "Transcendence."  It's a dead certain guarantee that computer dorks hate it as there are compound absurdities.  Even Johnny Depp's brilliance can't save this one.

Bail out now if you care that I will blow the ending.

On with the Awards Ceremony ...

Most Preposterous Premises per Pound in Sci-Fi Award

There are so many aggressively ridiculous premises that they defy a simple list.  The first isn't so terrible as it assumes development of some sort of process to upload your consciousness into a computer.  We can give them that as there's no story without it ... but ... the immediate extension is that the uploaded consciousness will have an insatiable, megalomaniacal need to expand.  Perhaps it's true but there was no rationale for why it took this course in the movie.  He gets uploaded and immediately turns into a software Hitler for no apparent reason.

Preposterous.  I'll believe any crazy bullshit you like but you have to make at least some kind of flimsy case for it.

Most Pitiful Implementation of Computer Scenes in Sci-Fi Award

also the

Most Low-Tech High-Tech Sci-Fi Movie Award

It has to be made clear in Hollywood that the next director who uses images of server racks to indicate computers are 'thinking' will be summarily murdered.  It's not just that it's bad but rather that it has been bad so many times.  Even "Star Trek" wasn't that cheesy.

Most Annoying Ending in Sci-Fi Award

Relax, folks.  It was all a hoax.  His act of altruistic suicide showed his self-awareness and real empathy.  So what rings out to me is humans are shit because we will destroy anything cool we encounter so, man, thanks for that uplift.  In essence, man made God with the immensely powerful computer system driven by an artificial intelligence ... and the first reaction was to kill him.

Tip to Santa:  leave this one in the sleigh, buddy.

There's some personal bias as I strongly believe in research into artificial intelligence.  There are ethical concerns but that's also true of genetics and GMO, traditional medicine and any number of things, etc.  I don't see ethical concerns as reasons to stop but rather questions to address.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Christmas Around the World from Cat's Art MusikCircus

I apologize for my woefully inadequate skills as a graphic artist.

Scientists Talk About Christmas and Show Why They Never Get Laid

As soon as some Huxley starts talking about the veracity of the Christmas story, right away you know you've got a ping pong on your hands.

Silas:  So, Huxley dude, do you remember Immaculate Conception in Biology 101?
Huxley:  Uhhhh

Mixing faith and science is patently rubbish. There is no question for me in the value of science ... so long as it's good science, practiced correctly, etc.  However, any idea that it explains Every Damn Thing is kind of a blind techno-fundamentalism that isn't particularly useful and isn't even good science.  A scientist is open to anything no matter where you look for it.  Maybe he wants to know if magnets attract alien souls from other planets.  I'd say he would have a little difficulty getting funding for research but I understand he has to know.

Don't be too rough on your scientist when he insists there was no Star of Bethlehem, no Wise Men, etc, etc.  Keep in mind he probably hasn't been laid in a year and they forced him to write the article because one gets printed every Christmas.  (MNN:  How much of the Nativity story is true?)

If you go after the story like a woodpecker trying to poke holes in it then, sure, you can do it.  But what's the first thought when a woodpecker wakes you up at the crack of dawn for the thirteenth day in a row with that damn noise.  Yah, wring its damn neck is the first thought.

Note:  if you've never been graced by the presence of a woodpecker in your life, be thankful.  They are louder than a machine gun and I've heard both.  Even a .50 cal isn't that loud ... but much cooler to watch.

There hasn't been some Christmas conversion in me except insofar I've been highly determined not to disrespect it, for your sake and for mine.  It's not my way to avoid offense but at the same time it's not my purpose to create it gratuitously.

I didn't know until today that it's something of a Jewish tradition to eat Chinese food at Christmas.  The Mystery Lady and I did it because no other restaurants were open and who wants to cook up a huge feast for just two.  She isn't even close to a pagan ... well, except insofar as she was sitting next to me; there just wasn't anywhere else to go and what good is a day off if you just work more.

It's well into Christmas Eve in Germany now as it comes up on 2100 which is 'right about narn' in Texan or nearly nine o'clock in English.  Second Life has you looking around the world all the time and it's a delicious perspective.  Cat and I don't use German too much and the biggest driver for learning is talking to people at the MusikCircus where they may be speaking any of four or five languages.  She's good but she doesn't know all of them and I just tumble along with Google Translate at my side.

So Christmas Eve has arrived for some of you already and it's coming for the rest.  From all of us here on the Search for Ithaka production team (i.e. me), we wish you:

MERRY CHRISTMAS WITH NO WOODPECKERS (unless you want one for some strange reason)

Meet a Cat Named Samantha w/pics - Updated

It's close enough now to get into some seriously sweet stuff and Cat gave me, well, a cat.  Her thinking was that I have said more than once in the Circus, 'ich habe Cat verloren' (I have lost Cat) and sometimes people take that to mean it's a romantic melodrama unfolding but I quickly tell them no, no, no.  I just lost her.  My sister lost her boy in South Africa.  Sometimes stuff like that happens. Let it roll, let it roll.

(Yes, my sister did find her boy and, yes, I did find Cat)

Silas meets Samantha

(maybe you ask where but she's there to my right)

Wait for it ... wait ... wait ... ok ... scroll (laughs)

Meet Samantha

Is that at least twelve kinds of adorable or what!  Sometimes she just sits down and looks at me adoringly.  No-one should get this much love as it will spoil you!

I love you, Cat!  Merry Christmas!!

Wait ... one more ... hold it ... hold it .... ok

As to Processing the Video

Monday and Tuesday gave up a lot of wear and tear so silence right now is supremely good.  I have no idea what real silence is like and I don't think anyone does but the existential will keep existing, silently or not, as it will.

(Ed:  do you hear things other people don't hear?)


(Ed: do you see things other people don't see?)


(Ed: do you consider this unusual?)

Unusual?  Please, work with me on this.  I'm not following you on unusual, what is this word.

(Ed: that was kind of weak)


But it's late and I'm tired and it will be the next bounce before the video processing.  The material is in-hand and I'm feeling good about that.  Getting past promises, promises is very good.  Whether it sucks remains to be seen but at least there's something now that can be verified for its suckfulness rather than only promises, promises.

There was another bit that came out of nowhere right after the TechnoHypnoGroove and there may have been coolness in it.  I didn't use the drum machine at all for that one and sometimes I like a pseudo-classical style in the lead which I hope came through in the recording.  At first I was thinking only of the podcast but the camera filmed the whole show so maybe that will go up as video.

Airbus Flies $1.5B in Aircraft in Tight Formation (video)

When you're ready for something really dangerous, Texas Rules apply:  make sure you have a camera.  Hey y'all, watch this.

Five Airbus 350 aircraft are flown in a very tight formation and that may sound only interesting if you are in flight training or so but it's surprisingly beautiful.  Since it's Airbus, most of the speakers are Euros and the accents are delicious.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Silas TechnoHypnoGroove Christmas Song is Captured on the Wing

Cat said she loves The Silas TechnoHypnoGroove Christmas Song and it's got a great danceable groove.

Party elves, man.  Roll with it.

The audio was recorded at high-res and it was filmed on an HD cam.  I'll have to listen again to decide if it's respectful of Christmas in the way I intend to do it.  The way I'm seeing it is Mary is tired but she is sooooo happy.  I have no idea what is in her head after a woman delivers a baby, particularly when he is a deity.

I mean no disrespect as I imagine it must be a tremendous happiness through her tiredness and that's what I want in this.  Solemnity is all very well but delivering babies is not usually very solemn or at least as far as I can tell from movies.  It seems there is relief, happiness, and the joy that comes from creating a life.  I've never helped make one so I really don't know what that means but I see their eyes as if they do look into Heaven when they first see the baby.

Usually it's not good to say what your music means as that rips off a listener's opportunity to form an opinion but on this one I need it to be clear what I was trying to do in case there is any offense.

So I won't promise to upload it but it's definitely captured.  I'll review it as the first concern is that it probably went fifteen minutes.

I'm not sure if I hit it too hard as some of it was fairly aggressive but you've got to figure when you've got tom toms in a Christmas song then things are going to get weird.  That doesn't mean it turns hammerhead but we'll see if it's too heavy.

I'll do a better report later as much more happened than that.  Right now I'm gassed.

I was wearing a Laughing Gecko t-shirt but I forgot to plug it.  I am such crap.  A plug can still come visually through Final Cut but it would have been much cooler to say something and mug it up to the camera.

We'll see ... but later.

Giving Your Wife a Garbage Can for Christmas

Hang on as this isn't going to suck and every word of it is true.

A friend at work was ever so proud of saying he had once been so poor that he gave his wife a garbage can for Christmas.  They were even so poor that she appreciated it as they needed it.  When I met him he was a systems programmer for Amdahl and he could read IBM system dumps like someone else may read a comic book.  He was definitely po' no mo'.

(Ed:  that's kind of feel good but I can't say it's changing my Christmas)

OK, how about this:  he has cerebral palsy.

(Ed:  that's bad-ass)

There's more as his wife has cerebral palsy also and don't you think of helping them as that will piss them off.  Don't you insult me by doing something I could do myself.

(Ed:  definitely bad-ass)

And there's more.  When I knew him was maybe thirty years later.  He and his wife were still absolutely crazy about each other.

Oh, and this.  They had two beautiful daughters together, neither of whom was afflicted by the disease.

Merry Christmas.  Sometimes even a garbage can says it more than anything else can and it's the right thing to say.  Magic happens.

(Emphasis:  I have not exaggerated a word.  Mystery Lady knows them as well.  Lovely people.)

If You Had California for the Trifecta

Then come on down and claim your prize as the rescue is on its way to Yevette to save her from the banal circumstance of California so she can return to the scintillating sparkle of the Internet with its cat videos, techno Christmas lights, and (cough) Facebook.

(As with most of you, she doesn't use Facebook)

There is still the matter of getting some Christmas Cards That Can't Possibly Arrive on Time but the Yevette rescue has been blocking things as that absolutely had to happen.  Yevette is getting a pretty hard ride this Christmas and this may help.

Holy mackerel, a miracle!

I don't look at my bank account much as it's not such an exciting voyage but I had to know how much damage I did with this stunt and I was suddenly not screwed.

Thank you, Santa.  I guess you know I've been spinning things but I promise I'm not hiding some terrible catastrophe.  Now I eat until payday for sure!

With your help the Yevette rescue happens.  It all goes around.

Expectations are what screw Christmas.  I haven't been expecting anything and I've been having a good old time trying to figure, well, ain't much loot here but you must be able to come up with something you can give.  That's not even close to a sad exercise as it's been making the season for me and is a huge part of why there is no combat or reason for it on the blog.  In many ways, desperate as it may seem, this is more Christmas than it's been in a long time.

As Bill Murray said, "You get hungry for it.  You want it to be like this all the time."

Well, we should be able to manage that.

Unknown if a show will happen later as I'm gassed and more will happen between now and then.  We'll see how things play.

Promises, Promises and Where's That Tune

New and improved plan for the Silas TechnoHypnoGroove Christmas Song as there is a cancel for tonight and Cat asked if I would like to follow Michi.

Only question is whether to build the loop in real time or bring it up from a fade.  I'm thinking real time and record the whole thing for audio and video.

Maestro Michi Renoir will be playing and here he wishes for all Peace on Earth (Soundcloud MP3).

The vibe has to carry as he makes such gorgeous sounds and creates exactly the vibe for what he says.

Following that with "I Love Rats" is not a good plan.

Therefore straight into The Silas TechnoHypnoGroove Christmas Song right off the top and it goes or it blows.

So, a plan.  We shall see how this one plays.

The Champ is Going to Be Alright

The Champ has been sick enough for hospital and you don't wish pneumonia on anyone as that coughing makes you beg for death.


Muhammed Ali is vastly improved.  (CNN: Muhammad Ali 'vastly improved' after bout of pneumonia)

So how about Santa Muhammed Ali.  Usually Santa is some huge roly poly guy and if he tried to play football with the kid who just got one then he's going down with a myocardial infarct.  So Santa Muhammed is a fit Santa, a big ol' Gentle Giant Santa.  How do you suppose he tells Christmas stories as you know without asking he does it.

It looks like they will get Santa home in time for Christmas.  I might have overdone it a bit with the Christmas songs yesterday but I'm sure this one is cool.  When you think to all the things he did, it gets a bit teary but he will be going home for Christmas.

The Report for a Musician Being a Blazing Asshole

It's been my pleasure to write articles about the performances of various musicians in Second Life and a great many people have read them.  I get a little tingle out of giving something to music and maybe it helps someone.  There's no predicting how the Theory of Propagated Goodness will play but nothing bad ever came from it.

This Blazing Asshole's egregiously selfish behavior cost me my recording set last night.  So, for the Report on a Musician Being a Blazingly Selfish Asshole here goes:


How did you like that, huh?  Publicity can do magical things can't it.  But it can't send the Ghost of Christmas Future and we don't want to take that pleasure away.  I suspect there will be many lizards running about an exceptionally cold household on Christmas Eve.  Scary stuff.  I've seen that movie.

So that happened and it sucks but the Silas TechnoHypnoGroove Christmas Song doesn't have stabbing in it plus I've added a 'no creeps' rule as no good Christmas song has creeps in it or people sing "Mack the Knife" on Christmas Eve.  I know you don't want that.  Somehow this song is going to happen, it just ain't going to be right this minute.

It sucks being broke but for some self-proclaimed professional musicians my only thought on meeting them is, Holy Christ, I'm sure glad that's not me.

(Mystery Lady:  remember the Kenny Rogers show?  If that's success, pass the peanut butter!)

Thank you, Santa.  Being broke sucks hard but it's got to be better than that.  People don't get it too much that being broke is far from the worst thing that can happen to you.  How's this one for worse:  how about if you succeed in music but you know what you did was all commercial crap that was always just hustling for money.  In that case, success is worse than failure.  Be careful out there.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Pop Goes the Weasel

There hasn't been fury like this in quite some time but that's ok as it's not coming here.  Sometimes when someone trashes yer trip, you just want to stab the bastard but I'm really not seeing much Christmas in that.

There's no drama with Cat.  Lose that thinking altogether.

So I'll get me some aspirin, get some lying down time, and then have a go with some recording.

There's no tree here but there's still more Christmas than anywhere else.  There will be angels and bells later but that doesn't work so well for me with any thought of stabbing so we'll lose that before getting on with it.

In case you're thinking Santa is slaving away at the North Pole, here is what really happens.  He lost a few pounds and he's out skating with his favorite elf.  Guess what you get for Christmas this year ... marbles.  Santa has his priorities, man.

The Silas TechnoHypnoGroove Christmas Song Take VII Pending

Take V and Take VI came and went.  This is good as the loop still lives so it goes on to Take VII.

The trouble is trancefulness as Christmas isn't a trance.  Therefore, it may need some angels sweeping through from time to time.  Synths make outstanding angel sounds, they may even do that better than anything else.  You can play Swingle Singers all day long if you like.

So maybe I should.  Maybe a little swingle is what gives Christmas that tingle.  You won't get no tingle, if you don't got that swingle.  Do wop do wop do wop.

(Ed:  you aren't really going to do this are you?)

I hope not ... but I might.  It's almost starting to sound cool but it mustn't have any percussion.  I'm pretty sure angels don't need tom toms.  I may be wrong as I didn't think they needed lobsters either.

What it means is recording a second loop to alternate with the first one but whether that only adds gratuitous complexity is hard to tell.

It's much better with a band as something they would get in seconds takes all day to program.  The looper isn't a new art form, it's just a tool because no-one else is here.  I'm clear on that aspect so the question is how best to use it (i.e. create lots and lots of loops to impress the living hell out of people or what).

(Ed: nope)

Right.  Impressing anyone isn't part of it or it's a waste before it starts.

Off to some shows but this will be percolating in the background.  I'm getting more optimistic about shooting it tonight.

Too Heavy and Too Early - Kick Out Some Jams

Maybe so and the next couple of articles have some fantastically beautiful songs but which eminently warrant a closely-placed box of Kleenex.  I ain't apologizin', tho, as this isn't a shopping mall and it's your choice whether to listen to them.  Nevertheless, when Helene Fischer sings into the camera she will kill you.  Keep the Kleenex close.

My personal bumout is that nothing is recorded and it's got to come tomorrow night or the one after as doing it on Christmas Eve is like you think you're fookin' Mozart or something.  There's a bit of pressure to deliver which makes for some horrendous puns but we'll skip that.

There are demons in the drum machine and this is a long-standing exorcism as how do you get demons out of a hellpit which, clearly, all drum machines are, particularly when the damn buttons don't work.  The temptation is to take one more shot with that hell-fired machine to get it to record from its pads and why not to make the count an even thousand or so tries.

Playing drums on the keyboard sucks pretty hard but doing it with pads sucks pretty hard too.  The coolest ever was when I had an electronic drum kit as I sent the outs into a delay and then was playing the tom toms with echo.  Nothing is ever going to touch that ... or not.  The toms sounded kind of cool earlier.

(Pause for Take IV)

It's got hypnotic.  It's got bells and angels.  The toms sound pretty cool and I can go in and out of the melody line in lead on the guitar which is all making for good mellifluosity.  Now I don't feel so much a useless lump of meat as it was pretty that time.  Now isn't the time to record it ... but ... there may be an option.  There's no tree and there's nothing close to money so what's going to give anything that looks like Christmas in a video except for some old guy who obviously isn't one of the Wise Men.  Aha.  A candle ... so that means shoot it in low light by the candle.

Of course, if I could locate a lobster suit then that could also work.  (That will make sense in a subsequent article)

"My Heart Will Go On" - Helene Fischer (video)

Sometimes 'just because it is beautiful' is a good enough reason.

There's much more of a story to it than that and I haven't forgotten it.  I'm sure you all have stories of your own.

(Ed:  how is this Christmas and not just a tearjerker?)

Well, it is just a tearjerker but it's one hell of a good one.  In terms of the general concept of my heart will go on, I see a lot of Christmas in that even though it's not stated.

I need to find Christmas too and I haven't been finding it online anywhere else.  Where I don't see it really doesn't matter as that only encourages you to waste your time.  The theme of this comes from the last part of "Scrooged" in which you get hungry for it, you want it to be like this all the time.  And why not.

"Ave Maria" (German) - Ms. Helene Fischer - Mut Zum Gefühl - Live (video)

Sie ist eine Stimme aus dem Himmel
(She is a Voice from the Heavens)

Wiki:  Helene Fisher

Fair warning:  don't get one Kleenex, get the whole box.  This is exquisite and she is an angel who walks the Earth.

Don't worry about her speaking in German as it will make no difference to what you hear and feel as she sings.

The subtitle is 'the courage of feelings' and sometimes that's the most courage of all.

Is She the Baby or the Baby Mama

Lotho sent a pic to Yevette but she didn't know what to say because she wasn't sure if the pic is The Baby Who Isn't a Baby Anymore or the pic is the Mama of the Baby Who Isn't a Baby Anymore.

The last time I saw her, The Baby really wasn't too babyish anymore but she was still teeny tiny and had every ingredient of adorable.  I've seen a few pics and she's grown so much which I realize is just about the corniest thing you can say on seeing a kid after a few years but, dayum, she has grown so much.

I can't see the pic Yevette is seeing but it's charming to think she can't tell for sure if she's grown-up.  Mostly that was because of some kind of Christmas costume but the Baby Mama has some radical tastes in clothing so it easily could have been either one of them.

The term 'baby mama' isn't one I like as the original Mother is Mary the Virgin and after her your own Mother and I don't think either is a baby mama.  I doubt Pope Francis uses the expression very much relative to the birth of Jesus.  Of course this is just a hunch and times change but I'm reasonably confident I'm correct on this.

When I think of 'mama,' I think of a big woman in a cathouse.  Oh-feel-ya, Oh-feel-ya, Papa done come on home.

(Ed: where's the Christmas in that?)

Depending on your perspective, there could be quite a lot of Christmas in it.  Miss Parton was running a cathouse, after all.

(Ed:  so that's how one can segue from the Virgin Mary to Dolly Parton)

Right.  That's why you shop here.

Note:  I'm not going to crack and get cynical at the last minute.  I was going to hold off on Nat King Cole until Christmas Eve but I've been hearing some early Christmas bum-out setting into people so take it away, Nat King Cole:

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Silas TechnoHypnoGroove Christmas Song - Take III

Take II came and went but this last shot went on for satisfyingly long.  This time the drums aren't so nuts but they wound up heavy with tom toms.  I'm not sure if Christmas really needs tom toms but you never know.

Scene from "Love Actually:"  (Discussing the upcoming Christmas play at school)

Mother:  I wasn't aware of any lobsters in the Nativity scene.
Daughter (dressed as a lobster):  Oh yes.  Two of them.

So anything that works is ok for Christmas so the tom toms are in.  That part is medium cool but the part with the angel voices and the bells drives this.  They play melodies and they're similar but not the same so they make chords between them.

It's in F minor as the A2 or A3 key is still busted and Santa can't fix that so transpose.  The differences between keys are subtle so you wonder am I hearing it, am I really, really hearing it.  You have feelings from the play but the music would suck if you didn't so how much of that came from the content of the play and how much of it is inherent in this key or that one.

(Ed:  isn't that about as pointless as you can get?)

Absolutely but it's deliciously pointless as how the mind perceives music is endlessly fascinating to me.

It's not recorded but I'm liking it more for doing it in real-time and making a video of that.  I do see the date and know I have to get cracking on some filming.

Yes, I did take a bath ... well, yesterday.

The Most Bad-Ass Governor Texas Ever Had

Charles Durning plays the Governor in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" and the man making a joke of things in the movie now also won a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart in WWII combat in the Infantry.  An article was presented after he died that detailed his military history and I caution it's likely the most mean-spirited obituary you may ever find insofar as it damns him with faint praise.  (Steven Karras:  Charles Durning's War: Heroism, Exaggeration, Fabrication?)

(Ed:  why use that reference?)

It had the detail WIKI lacked.  The article is poorly-written insofar as there's no need to put him on trial, particularly as a dead man, but the information is easily enough to show you he did well beyond what he had to do.

Whether Durning got to Omaha Beach on the first day or the third day is immaterial in my view as he was a kid who never had anything growing up, his life had already sustained substantial tragedy, and now he's in Europe and they want him to fight.  He did and every one of his brothers did as well.

(Ed:  show me the Christmas)

No problem.  There's likely nothing more hellish anyone can imagine than being in the midst of a world war that seems like it will never end.  Not only that but you get blown up so badly that it takes some time before they can fix you up and get you walking again.

He survives all that by being as ferociously bad-ass as he has to be and after it's all over comes what he really wants to do:  sing in a Christmas musical comedy for you.

In fact, it's exactly the same with Jimmy Stewart and "It's a Wonderful Life" as he was a General in the Air Force and he had flown B-17 combat missions over Germany ... but then came home to make at least one Christmas movie.

I don't know their politics and really I don't care but anything they have to say about Christmas is probably worth hearing.

"Scrooged" Nails Me to the Floor

It's been years since I last watched "Scrooged" and I had forgotten.  It starts with so much Hollywood at the North Pole that I was going to give it up right off the top but that part works for the story and I got sucked into it.  Through the early game, Bill Murray has such a good time playing a complete bastard but the movie still wasn't pushing up to Number One territory.  It's the ending that gives Murray a guitar solo and that's a box of Kleenex by itself.  If you're still standing after that, the reunion with Karen Allen will set you up and then Tiny Tim will finish you, "God bless us everyone."

If you don't reach for Kleenex in chick flicks then it's a shame as letting them flow is part of it.  There's nothing to explain as if you do then you already know and if you don't then you probably won't.  I don't know why getting all emotional and moved like that should bring goodness but, wtf, it works.

Various toxifying influences have been removed as I was appalled deeply by the reaction to a recent Senate report, various judicial decisions, etc and that strengthened my resolve not to bring that here (from my 'home' perspective, anywhere else is largely irrelevant).  The last part of "Scrooged" says it all and restating it would be an assault on the movie.  I may just watch that part again.

Even though I'm broke, life sucks, blah, blah, this is an exceptional Christmas for me as I really do feel like I'm giving something.  In some cases, I really did.  I was at the Post Office earlier and Dad was there with his two little girls, maybe 4-5 and 7-8.  Dad was having a devil of a time writing out the label to a package and the girls were trying their best to be patient.  I was standing behind and it really wasn't necessary as I could have gone around him but it would have been kind of a jump of the line plus it was cute to watch the girls being patient.  The little one saw me smiling and she must have put a whole box of charming into one ray of light.  That was worth the drive by itself.  Absolutely adorable.

"Glad All Over" - Dave Clark Five (video)

If Christmas isn't making you glad all over, you've still got some days to get cracking on it.

I wasn't such a huge fan of The Beatles at the time but I loved these guys.  The gorilla beat on the drums was hard rock relative to practically everyone else back then and this was one of the best of them.

So, if you aren't 'glad all over' yet then crank it up and get yerself that way!

Christmas Movies That Don't Suck - w/NO slideshow

"It's a Wonderful Life" is supposed to be the Numero Uno Christmas movie but that old cranker is as boring as watching a cricket match.  Conversely, "Die Hard" flicks are classified by some as Christmas movies but they don't fall into that category just because they coincidentally happen at Christmas time.  Maybe it's just me but I don't see a lot of Yuletide in a brutal robbery of the Nakashomi Tower.

There are various criteria to use for the Best of Christmas Movies:


- Must not have McCauley Culkin (e.g. "Home Alone"), Will Ferrell (whatever he does), or Bruce Willis ("Die Hard" series) or Bing Crosby (just because he is annoying) in it.

- Cannot be so sweet that you risk cardiac or some other horrible type of health problems caused by sugar oozing from every pore.

- Must not be B&W unless it was shot before 1940.

- Must not be from before 1940 unless it has Alastair Sims in it.  (He might spell it correctly as 'Alistair' ... unclear)

- Nobody dies

Mystery Lady mentioned "Mixed Nuts" with Steve Martin but he's a highly mixed nut in any case.  It must be frustrating for him as people tend to polarize with him whereas with most performers people may like this or that but won't treat the artist's entire portfolio as one entity.

The list of movies is still changing as "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" is more a musical than a movie so it was moved to its own list.  The ones that meet the criteria are few but give some great Christmas.

That leaves the

List of Christmas Movies That Don't Suck:

1 - "Love Actually" - Kleenex: medium
2 - "Scrooged" - Kleenex: high
3 - "Trading Places" - Kleenex: zero
4 - "Bad Santa" - Kleenex: medium

Honorable Mention for "Mixed Nuts" even though I have not seen it.

List of Christmas Musical Movies That Don't Suck:

1 - "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" - Kleenex: high

Note:  "Trading Places" gets into the list for the same reason as "Die Hard," it just happens to be set during Christmas time.  However, any Christmas movie that gives a hint of Jamie Lee Curtis' beautiful self and most deliciously shapely body gets big points with me.  When she pulls off that hooker wig and shakes out her hair, if your reaction is not DAYUM, she is one beautiful woman, then I have a pro tip for you:  yer blood ain't movin', son.

(Ed:  these movies are almost all useless for kids)

Right you are but put a DVD into a player and kids will watch the same one for twelve hours, entertained just the same each time through.  That gives you time to find something you want to watch and hence the list.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Blog is Going a Bit Soft

There is no intention to write anything inflammatory but I'm also not going to start running articles with videos of houses covered in Christmas lights synced to techno which, in my view, is the only thing worse than Christmas jazz songs which are almost never jazz anyway.

When we get this close, people are already carrying a whole lot of extra sugar from all the revolting sweets people take to work.  Throwing any more at you here could trigger some sort of diabetic reaction.  Definitely no Christmas in that.

I was thinking of an article on 'DARPA Denies Plans to Weaponize the Tooth Fairy' but I suspect there's not much Christmas in that either.

So the plan is to get some sleep, ship some stuff out of here for as cheap as possible, and then it's an open shot on jams.  I'm hungry for that Silas TechnoHypnoGroove Christmas Song as it was close to coolness and I want to know if it can get all the way there.  Maybe I'll shoot video so I'll even take a bath.  wtf, it's Saturday in Texas, right.

But here's soft anyway.  Definitely on the All-Time Best Christmas Songs list.  It's from "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" which is my number two favorite Christmas movie.  Keep the Kleenex close.

What Do You Want for Christmas in Detroit

She doesn't give away things, she gives away empowerment, first of all to herself and then to everyone she can.  If Christmas is about a kid with a good idea, here's one:

She came from desperate circumstances as well and from that all of this grew.

Merry Christmas, Veronika.  You're every bit of the spirit.

"Swing Kids" (movie) - Dance, Young Jitterbugger, Dance

Before reading anything else about "Swing Kids," it's important to recognize the film for an immediate award:

Possibly the most Hollycrapulous telling of Tale of the Nazi Era 

With cute-as-a-button actors and the worst acting anywhere short of a Michele Bachmann tent revival, this movie delivers its full measure of awful.  There is a bit of observation of the social anomie that came from the prospect of becoming HJ's (Hitler Jugend or Hitler Youth) but it's relatively shallow and predictable.

The only character with much depth is Arvid, the kid with a club foot but a blazing ability to play like Django Reinhardt.  There are two live Django sets (i.e. Arvid covering him) and these are outstanding.  He also delivers a very special speech prior to his climactic moment but it's ludicrous to believe he truly would have been able to speak like that without a Nazi putting a boot in his face.  Nevertheless, the words are powerful.

(Ed:  so why in the world would I watch it?)

The dance, young jitterbugger, the dance.  This was the last time in history that dance had real elegance but I don't believe things will stay that way as you know how that story goes from "Footloose."  People need to dance, the trouble is so many don't know how to do it.  The kids in the movie knew the steps, all of them.  The dance scenes in this movie are exceptional, twerkers need not apply.

And the music.  Swing may be the most naturally-exciting music there has ever been as they used almost no electric instruments.  Symphony orchestras have more power ... but they don't got that swing.

Note 1:  Charlie Christian was one of the first to play an electric guitar and he did it for Benny Goodman.

Note 2:  The review doesn't give any indication of modern performance of the Django Reinhardt tunes and it appears all the music for the soundtrack was under license from the original artists.

My ol' Dad was a Swing Kid as he was sixteen in 1939.  He wasn't in Germany but swing was global or at least as much as the Swing Kids could make it that way.   My ol' Dad was quite the scientist but he loved swing and, man, that cat could dance.  The movie focuses on the Swing Kids of Germany and really not very well but it does give a glimpse of the revolutionary aspect of the era as so much it's thought everyone just rolled over and that's just not true.

(Ed:  you're telling me there's Christmas in Nazis?)

Noooo.  There's Christmas in Swing Kids.  In the end they won, didn't they.