2002 music wrap-up

Here are the albums I've bought this year that I actually gave a shit about. Of the 130+ albums I bought last year, these are the ones that rose above the level of "utterly forgettable."

A lot of these were actually released in 2001, but I didn't get them until 2002, so I'm allowing a little slack in my categorization there...

There aren't very many items on this list. It's pretty sad, really, considering the number of discs I consumed. I'm somewhat surprised to find that most of the stuff on this list is more rock oriented than electronic oriented. I certainly listened to a lot of electronic music this year, including dozens of comps, many of which I recall enjoying... but I can't remember a single song from any of them, so they don't make the list.

In only approximate order (I haven't really tried to rank them) here is the year-end wrap-up of not-completely-forgettable music.

Pzycho Bitch - "Eden"
S.I.N.A. - "Snapshot"

    Essentially the same band with two different names, this is probably my favorite music that I've found this year (though these came out in 2001 and 2000, respectively.) This is really hard, noisy techno-industrial with female vocals (perhaps more properly categorized as "power noise", I'm not real good with the categories.) Anyway, it's a kick in the head. I love it.

Various - "2001 Hands"

    A comp from Hands Records, home of the above, that has a lot of good stuff on it. I do love it so, but I can't be more coherent than that, because I haven't dug deeper into the bands represented here (primarily due to the difficulty of getting their stuff: this label doesn't seem to be carried by the major online CD retailers, and shows some evidence of not actually existing any more.)

Kidneythieves - "Zerospace"

    Industrial-rock with female vocals, more on the "rock" side. They opened for KMFDM at DNA in June. In the vein of Radio Iodine, or maybe Jane Jensen. Musically, a little reminiscent of the first Stabbing Westward album (please disregard this comment if you don't like Stabbing Westward on general principles; I think SW's "Ungod" was a decent album.)

Voodou - "The Blessing of Curses"

    An industrial-rock-ish goth band that I first heard when they opened for Thrill Kill Kult at DNA in October. I like. It's nice to hear something in that genre that isn't just another fucking VNV Nation clone.

Various - "Notes From Thee Real Underground"

    A 3-disc comp from Invisible Records; around half of it is really good, much of it in the rough vicinity of Pigface (as you'd probably expect.)

Rasputina - "Cabin Fever"

    New album and associated singles/remixes from an old favorite: Rasputina do quirky often-metal-style music with cellos and little-girl voices. This album is good, but it's pretty much just more of the same as was found on their other albums. I like it, but I couldn't tell you which songs came from which album, so they're not really reaching.

Apocalyptica - "Cult"

    Quite a lot like Rasputina (what with the cellos), but instrumental, and more unapologetically metal in structure. It's totally head-banging cello music. Hail Satan. \m/

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - "B.R.M.C."

    These guys remind me a lot of the David J side of Love and Rockets, with a smattering of Jesus and Mary Chain. Good stuff, though a bit retro.

Concrete Blonde - "Group Therapy"

    Oh my god, they were great live! I think this new album holds up really well against their older stuff; more like Mexican Moon than Free. The song "When I Was a Fool" is especially great.

Babes in Toyland - "Viled"

    This doesn't really count as a new release: it's b-sides and demo versions. Notable for their rocking cover of "The Girl Can't Help It."

Felix Da Housecat - "Kittenz and Thee Glitz"
Miss Kittin & The Hacker - "First Album"

    I might as well lump these together, since they're essentially identical (same vocalist.) This is that "electro-clash" thing you've been hearing so much about and are probably sick of by now: modern bands with modern gear doing continuous remakes of The Normal's "Warm Leatherette." What can I say, it's a gimick, but it's a gimick I like. I'm not burned out on it just yet (though getting close.)

Land of the Loops - "Puttering About a Small Land"

    I can't even describe this band. It's bleepy, bleepy music that is so cute it will turn you diabetic, but it really works.

The above albums aside, can music get better now, please?

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linux video

...or, why do I bother.

I understand that one can play videos on one's computer. I understand these videos come in many different formats. Every now and then I try to figure out what the Done Thing is, as far as playing movies on one's Linux machine.

I finally found RPMs of mplayer that would consent to install themselves on a Red Hat 7.2 machine, and actually got it to play some videos. Amazing. But it's a total pain in the ass to use due to rampant "themeing." Why do people do this? They map this stupid shaped window with no titlebar (oh, sorry, your choice of a dozen stupidly-shaped windows without titlebars) all of which use fonts that are way too small to read. But, here's the best part, there's no way to raise the window to the top. So if another window ever gets on top of it, well, sorry, you're out of luck. And half of the themes always map the window at the very bottom of the screen -- conveniently under my panel.

Resizing the window changes the aspect ratio of the video! Yeah, I'm sure someone has ever wanted that.

It moves the mouse to the upper left corner of every dialog box it creates! Which is great, because that means that when it gets into this cute little state of popping up a blank dialog that says "Error" five times a second, you can't even move the mouse over to another window to kill the program, you have to log in from another machine.

Fucking morons.

So I gave up on that, and tried to install gstreamer. Get this. Their propose "solution" for distributing binaries on Red Hat systems? They point you at an RPM that installs apt, the Debian package system! Yeah, that's a good idea, I want to struggle with two competing packaging systems on my machine just to install a single app. Well, I found some RPMs for Red Hat 7.2, but apparently they expect you to have already rectally inserted Gnome2 on that 7.2 system first. Uh, no. I've seen the horror of Red Hat 8.0, and there's no fucking way I'm putting Gnome2 on any more of my machines for at least another six months, maybe a year.

Ok, no gstreamer. Let's try Xine. I found RPMs, and it sucks about the same as mplayer, and in about the same ways, though slightly less bad: it doesn't screw the aspect ratio when you resize the window; and at least it's stupidly-shaped window is always forced to be on top. I don't like that either, but it's better than never being on top. It took me ten minutes to figure out where the "Open File" dialog was. It's on the button labeled "://" whose tooltip says "MRL Browser". Then you get to select file names from an oh-so-cute window that I guess is supposed to look like a tty, or maybe an LCD screen. It conveniently centers the file names in the list, and truncates them at about 30 characters. The scrollbar is also composed of "characters": it's an underscore.

What are these fucktards thinking???

Then I checked out Ogle again, and it hasn't been updated since the last time I tried, six months ago. It's a pretty decent DVD player, if you have the physical DVD. It does on-screen menus, and you can click on them with the mouse. But I don't need a DVD player (I have a hardware DVD player that works just fine.) It can't, as far as I can tell, play anything but actual discs.

Oh, and even though I have libdvdcss installed (as evidenced by the fact that Ogle actually works) Xine won't play the same disc that Ogle will play. It seems to be claiming that the CSS stuff isn't installed, which it clearly is.

A common idiocy that all of these programs have in common is that, in addition to opening a window for the movie, and a window for the control panel, they also spray a constant spatter of curses crud on the terminal they were started from. I imagine at some point, there was some user who said, "this program is pretty nice, but you know what it's missing? It's missing a lot of pointless chatter about what plugins and fonts have been loaded!"

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Description of $964,000 farce;

The flame that is the basis of it: <LJ-CUT text=" --More--( 6%) ">


I would like to offer special Disacknowledgements to the following degenerates for being an ever-present hindrance during my graduate career...

To the Dean and staff of the Graduate Division,

You fascists are the largest argument against higher education there has ever been. Any claims you make as an ally and resource for students is an utter sham. All dealings with you have ended in sheer frustration. I'd rather take a hot stick in the eye then deal with your bureaucratic nonsense. An especial disacknowledgement to David Fishman whose officious, blind devotion to absurd rules provides disservice to both education and the university.

To the entire management of the Davidson Library,

Your strict adherence to self-serving draconian policy has made it a supreme displeasure to work in your vicinity. Incomprehensible fines, unwillingness to help and general poor attitude has made most library visits an ogre. I trust your incompetence will preside over the continued decline in library quality.

To Professor Fred Wudl (formerly of UCSB, tenured at UCLA),

For failing to realize that your professorship and tenure doesn't give you the privilege of disrespectful and cruel treatment of your students and employees. Further, it has surprised me that your arrogance and proclivity at being an ass can affect even those isolated from your presence. It is my supreme pleasure to never have associations with you again.

To Former Governor Pete Wilson,

A supreme government jerk who has personally overseen the demise of the university. You policies have 1) raised tuition and fees fourfold since my first association with the university, 2) dismantled and traded some of the most competent senior faculty, and 3) generally hurt as many people as possible. For these, I wish you to never wield any governmental power again as you have surely proved your ineptitude.

To the UC Regents,

Whose continued suppression of graduate students, your most loyal employees, serves as a paragon of corrupt management. May your continually biased and corrupt practices be fraught with continued controversies brought upon by the students who you offer a fatuous disservice.

To Science,

    For being a hollow specter of what you should be. Your vapid conceits have rendered those in your pursuit lifeless, unfeeling zombies. If I can forever escape you, the better I will be.

        14 JULY 1999
        2nd Edition

        First Edition was drafted and written on 7 APRIL 1999 and subsequently censored by myopic action of officials at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Man makes walking stick from own hip bone

Man makes walking stick from own hip bone

A Norfolk man has got a walking stick made out of his own hip bone.

Ian Sutherland from Great Bircham asked doctors to save the bone when he had a hip replacement op. The 62-year-old retired landscape gardener got the idea for the stick from one of his sons, who is an archaeologist.

"I'm really pleased with it. It's great to find a practical use for a discarded part of your own body and it serves as a reminder of my own mortality."

Ian said the doctors gave him the bone as he recovered from the operation. "It was sealed in a bag marked 'hazardous waste'. When I got home I popped it in the fridge next to the frozen peas." He added: "The wife was horrified. I think she secretly suspects I'm a bit strange."


eagerly awaiting Steve Jackson's next visit from the FBI...

libertythink.com asks:

"How was Steve Jackson, maker of the Illuminati game series, able to predict with such a startling degree of accuracy the events of 9/11? These playing cards were produced in 1995."
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