Saturday, February 24, 2007

Charles Gocher, RIP

Shit, I come up for air from my current project surge and see this:


With deep regret, we must announce that Charles Gocher passed away yesterday in Seattle due to a long battle with cancer at the age of 54. He is survived by the two of us who adopted him as a brother 25 years ago and his many friends around the world. He will be missed more than most could ever know. Our thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement during the past three, very difficult years. Many of you were not aware that Charles was ill and that’s because he wanted it that way. Details of a memorial in his honor will be announced soon.

---Alan and Richard Bishop

"Space Prophet Drogon" - Sun City Girls

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Apple Insanity

Everybody loves Apple, right? I admit I use iTunes as my music library and even download an occasional song. More recently, I've used it to keep up with some fave TV shows like The Office, Heroes, Ugly Betty and Lost -- stuff I've been missing because one of my projects is coming to fruition and I'm reaching roll-out phase (sorry for the lack of postings).

Anyway, yesterday I fired up iTunes, hoping to burn a drive mix CD and after five seconds the thing crashed and gave me one of those "we don't know your problem, sorry for the inconvenience, please contact Microsoft (HA!)" boxes.

I tried again. Again. Again. Panic starts to set in -- not because all is lost but because I know nothing else but iTunes and didnt want to spend the weekend farting around trying to either fix the problem or load up some alternative media player program.

I go to Apple "Support" page and find that REAL hard to find anything but ended up in a forum and eventually found someone who posted what seemed to be a similar problem and followed the solution that was posted because the original poster and others said it worked.

Do all that shit, wank, wank, point, click, install, deinstall, start, restart, stop, start, rinse, remove, scrub, bleep, blop. You know... computershit.

Nothing helps.

Finally I search long and hard and find an actual phone number for iPod support. Well, I have an iPod so I called up, got the usual guy who was probably English as a Second Language tech support. Of course, the first thing he tells me is the shit on all the message boards. While I'm googling, I'm finding what appear to be other legitimate solutions such as use Windows Install Clean-up to delete stuff, etc.

Anyway, after several minutes with the guy, he says there is a solution to fix iTunes but... my iPod is out of warrentry and would I like to get the solution for $30.

THIRTY DOLLARS?! For you to help me fix your STOREFRONT? What kinda shit is that? It's like paying admission to go shop at Trader Joe's (and I'm sure there are people who would actually do that). I asked to speak to a supervisor and after about 10 minutes got online with a lovely woman who asked me about my system, blah blah and then said, well, we don't normally do this but since you seem pretty riled up about this (well, she didn't say THAT), she would give me the magic $30 formula to reinstall Apple's "free" software...

To quote a recent appearance by Ian MacKaye in front of a DC Council Member "This is INSANE, that place is INSANE"... oh, and ef Steve Jobs...

Here's how to totally uninstall Apple shit from your Windoze computer and save yourself $30 bucks or 45 minutes on the phone harruanging their tech support:

  • Open up Windows Install Cleanup - delete all iPod, Quicktime, iTunes stuff
  • Open up Control Panel: Remove Programs Window - delete all iPod, quicktime, iTunes stuff
  • Open up Program Files under your Cdrive and find all iPod, QT, iTunes, Apple folders and delte them. If you can't delete them, go to the Process Manager (ctrl-alt-del) and remove any related processes such as iTunes, Quicktime, etc, etc.
  • Empty Trash

(and optional: Reinstall iTunes/quicktime)
yeah, I'm too dependent on the program to quit and too lazy to switch... any suggestions what I should do to break the iTunes dependency (the solution should allow me to DRM-remove my TV shows and few music tunes).

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sufjan/NSO and others at the Kennedy

Well, there was a little concert last night in my neighborhood. I didn't see the headliner but had an awesome night at the symphony... Above is the Washington Post picture of Sufjan doing his thing looking all like a hick going into the Big City. You can read their review of his performance but here's an excerpt:

To listen to Stevens is to wonder what it's like to live in his head. It must get loud in there, with all those Beatlesque references, the baroque instrumentations, the darkly rhapsodic lyrics and those lushly romantic medleys all competing for attention. One gets the impression that Sufjan played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons as a kid. If he spent his adolescence toiling in rarefied geekdom, banging out Mozartean sonatas on a toy Casio in Michigan's Lower Peninsula (as his MySpace page suggests), then his Kennedy Center performance last night was a nerd's sweet revenge.
The Symphony played Pictures at An Exhibition - rock fans will remember the Emerson Lake and Palmer album of that same name (well some rock fans will remember it). But this was the real deal - nine movements based on a different painting. If you've never heard the symphony live -- and it's a rare thing for me -- it's something else especially in a decent acoustical theater.

I can't get it to work right now - but when they fix the link or I figure out what's wrong with my RealPlayer (sigh) the Sufjan performance is available here

The NSO performance is here.

Photo used without permission - but here's a link for purchase in case you want a version suitable for framing.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

New Stuff: Sic Alps: Pleasures and Treasures CD (2006)

This CD, coming as it is from a two-man band with roots in The Hospitals and Coachwhips - both of whom I adoor - is the reason I gut blistahs on mah fingahs... and NOT what you are thinkin. West coast guitar and (mostly) drums bliss-noise-garage-psyche, simply put - tailor made for my ears, tired as they are of uber-cold indie emo-pop and meandering Americana that's soooo prevalent these here days. A test of a good try at this type of playing is that it can induce a natural high if listened to correctly (distance from the two speakers, volume, that type of stuff, trust me). - I'm pretty sure that van on the CD cover is where they recorded this - that is after they ripped everything out and coated it with machine oil, lit a few hundred candles and set up a 30 year old 4-Track, is my guess at least. And yeah, that gives the whole thing a rusty, found-in-a-musty-basement aural sheen and smell (might as well go for broke in mixing metaphors).

CD was purchased via Forced Exposure. Visit the Sic Alps 'n' get you info on some of their other recordings -- I have their Semi-Streets 7" in my stack-o-vinyl for future listening parties. Big ups for the band for deleting their Myspace site because of "crappy ads, Madonna videos, and the fine print about them owning your tunes"... (1/2 snicker).

MP3s posted with permission of the band - other highlights from the album are "Down Comes The Perm" (available on their website), the stomp-drunk "Stories" and the two guitar screecher "Reconnection Land.":

"Semi-Streets" (video) - Ever been lost and confused?
"Surgeon And The Slave"- At some point, masters will run out of slaves