In Which We Give You Original Music

Analog Pop is the moniker I’ve adopted for my musical meanderings. Just a few hastily recorded demos posted at the moment (I have a newfound respect for producers and recording engineers): Enjoy, and if you are in the Baltimore, Annapolis, D.C. area this summer, watch for show dates. You could experience the magic in a more personal fashion.

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In Which We Share the Linking Love

For those of you who are students, or currently operating in some sort of academic environment, I highly recommend Lifehack.org. It is a great site for resources and support including suggested programs to increase your productivity. If nothing else, check out the ultimate student resource list. Wish I had had this (ok, and some self-discipline) in college. My current favorites from the list are as follows:

1. OpenOffice.org: I’ve actually been using this office software suite for quite a while. Not as pretty as Microsoft Office (spit thrice), but far more intuitive to use, compatible with every file type known to man, and (oh yeah) free. Don’t subsidize Bill Gates’ dysfunctional, resource-greedy software: Damn the Man! Start the Revolution!

2. GIMP.org: Sounds kinky, I know. Nevertheless, this is a great cheap alternative to Photoshop. And when I say ‘alternative’, I mean it is comparable, unlike the ‘editing’ software that came with your 3-in-1 printer/scanner/copier.

3. Mozy.com: A great online data backup program. For free, you can store 2GB, which oughta at least cover all those priceless papers and prize-winning essays you’ve been accumulating. For a fee you can get a lot more space, but at that point you might as well buy an external hard-drive. But if you’re a cheapskate like me, 2 gig will do the trick. I actually own all of my music on CD’s anyway.

4. Bubbl.us: This is a free “mind map” program. The concept of mind mapping is new to me, but this site seems to be a good place to start if you want to try to use this concept to organize your ideas into a coherent whole.

See Steve Bishop on mind maps if you, like myself, aren’t hip to this groove (he’s “Green Neocalvinist” on the sidebar).
He has all kinds of links and whatnot that should clear it all up for you, and get you started down the glorious path of trying to see all of your thoughts simultaneously. If you already map your mind, let me know what program you use, and why you like it.

5. Not related to the lifehack list, but rounding out my top five nonetheless, wishlist.com. Consolidate all of your coveting into one convenient place. Easy to use, organize, and publish so others can see all the desires of your heart and maybe even buy them for you.

In Which We are Confused by Product Labeling

So I decided to let my pregnant wife get some much-deserved sleep, and walked down to the grocery with my two-year-old in tow to acquire some proper breakfast food (read “waffles”). Whilst shopping, I witnessed what my limited understanding of processed “food” can only categorize as either the evilest of black magic or else blatant falsity in advertising:

“Fat-Free Half and Half”

Now, “fat free” anything is an abomination, but honestly; fat-free half and half? Isn’t that just a very small container of skim milk? I would think that, to be truthful, they ought to just call it “half”. I may be displaying my ignorance of dairy products as they are commonly mangled for American consumption, but if a pint of half and half is “fat free”, what, pray tell, is the other ‘half’?

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In Which it’s Funny, ‘Cause it’s True (Despite being False)

Dear Citizens of America,

In view of your failure to elect a competent President and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.

Her Sovereign Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy), as from Monday next.

Your new prime minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up “aluminium,” and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

2. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour’, ‘favour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix “ize” will be replaced by the suffix “ise.”

3. You will learn that the suffix ‘burgh’ is pronounced ‘burra’; you may elect to spell Pittsburgh as ‘Pittsberg’ if you find you simply can’t cope with correct pronunciation.

4. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels (look up “vocabulary”). Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “like” and “you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.

5. There is no such thing as “US English.” We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter ‘u’ and the elimination of “-ize.”

6. You will relearn your original national anthem, “God Save The Queen”,
but only after fully carrying out Task #1 (see above).

7. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday. November 2nd will
be a new national holiday, but to be celebrated only in England. It will be called “Come-Uppance Day.”

8. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you’re not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you’re not grown up enough to handle a gun.

9. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

10. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

11. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric immediately and without the benefit of conversion tables… Both roundabouts and metrification will help you understand the British sense of humour.

12. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling “gasoline”) – roughly $8/US per gallon. Get used to it.

13. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call french fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called “crisps.” Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with malt vinegar.

14. Waiters and waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

15. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as “beer,” and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as “Lager.” American brands will be referred to as “Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine,” so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

16. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors as English characters. Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English dialogue in “Four Weddings and a Funeral” was an experience akin to having one’s ear removed with a cheese grater.

17. You will cease playing American “football.” There is only one kind of proper football; you call it “soccer”. Those of you brave enough, in time, will be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American “football”, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a
bunch of Jessies – English slang for “Big Girls Blouse”).

18. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the “World Series” for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable and forgiven.

19. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.

20. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due, backdated to 1776.

Thank you for your co-operation.

John Cleese

I was made aware of this letter here. But it turns out John Cleese, despite being one of the funniest gentlemen alive, had nothing to do with it. But it does somehow make it funnier to imagine Mr. Cleese reading it.

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In Which We See Sunshine

We watched Danny Boyle’s Sunshine over the weekend. This film is like an Autechre LP visualized, until the completely unnecessary Pinbacker character is introduced, at which point it starts to feel like Ministry hijacks things for a bit.

That said, I’m partial to films with powerful imagery, such that I can forgive even major plot discrepancies, and this film stuck with me all night (causing near-claustrophobia), directing my dreams, and meandering through my mind all day informing and creating nearly every important moment. My one wish to make it more satisfying (aside, again, from getting rid of Pinbacker, who reminded me of the second to last level boss from Resident Evil 4), would have been to have Mace die in the observation room. Still freezing to death, sure: But he, of all the characters (Cassie, maybe, excepted) deserved to see the Sun as he died, if only through a glass darkly.

Friend Josh has two excellent commentaries on this film here and here.

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