Thursday, June 4, 2009

Google Squrared = Pretty Awesome

Google released a new app today named Google Squared which basically builds a quick reference table of any kind of data you search for. This is absolutely great for top line research of all sorts. For example, here's a couple of fun queries:

So yeah, check it out...?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stupidest addicting internet game ever

I can't stop playing this -- .

I have completed 189 races (!!!!), winning 108 of those, for a winning percentage of 57%. My WPM has increased from about 85-88 when I started, to 90-94 now. I guess that's good? More than I get out of most addicting online games, at least.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Please review my new blog design

What do you think???!1

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Google Reader, I just can't quit you baby

About a week ago, I decided that I was spending far, far too much time obsessively checking my Google Reader RSS feed. On days that I spent working from home, I would click and check the feeds every 30 minutes or so. And of course, because I subscribe to roughly 154 blogs and other misc. websites, there were always at least 30 new posts to sort through.

Realizing that this was totally ludicrous, I decided to scrap RSS feeds altogether, and start actually visiting websites again. I took all (well, most) of the blogs to which I subscribed, and neatly categorized each one into a folder like "News" or "Sports" that sat in my Firefox bookmarks toolbar. The idea is that I would only spend time checking up on the blogs I really cared about, and the ones I didn't I would just click on when I was really bored.

It wasn't a bad idea I guess, but I just don't think it was meant to be. Instead of lazily browsing through RSS feeds on Reader, I spent time lazily clicking around to a bunch of different websites, not completely sure of what I had read already. It also made my bookmarks toolbar look very ugly, with a bunch of folders sitting up there.

So anyway, I'm back on Google Reader, though now with a greatly reduced number of feeds to read through. I am going to scrap the little Google Reader Notifier that sits in my status bar, with the hopes that I won't feel the need to obsessively click every single time there is a new feed that shows up (about every 45 seconds, in other words).

And there is your quarterly update of my blog. Hope you enjoyed reading!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Not-So-Profound, Hastily Assembled List of 15 Albums That Changed Me

"Think of 15 albums (EPs are OK, too) that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life. The type of albums that smack you in the face, pour sugar into your gas tank, kick you in the groin, stab you in the teeth, etc. etc. etc. and change the way you look at things. Tag me and whoever else you want to see this."

**IMPORTANT NOTE** - I'm going to be honest on this one, instead of just listing 15 of my coolest albums. Reaching way back to my childhood with this one. They will be in rough chronological order.


Queen "Greatest Hits" - When I was a kid, I used to turn this album on and walk around the table while singing along. I must have been really bored. But hey, I learned at a young age to appreciate a great lead singer. For all of the shitty albums I could have been listening to, this one isn't bad at all.

Counting Crows "August and Everything After" - This was my very first CD. Also happened to be the first time I started to listen to "real music" instead of kid stuff. Counting Crows went to shit shortly afterwards, but this album still stands the test of time.

Soundgarden "Down on the Upside" - Jeff should remember this one pretty well. :) This album more or less kicked off an obsession with Soundgarden that lasted all through high school. All of the other albums are great, but this was the first one that I heard (keep in mind I went to a sheltered religious grade school so I didn't really hear good music until high school) and I was hooked. Again, this is still a kickass album.

Weezer "Self-Titled" - Anyone around my age that had a relatively normal childhood is lying if this album isn't on their list. Tons of other albums by bands like Live, RHCP, Green Day, etc. could be here instead, but this album was the penultimate mid-90s rock album, the "Abbey Road" of our time. So it gets a place on the list.

Metallica "Ride the Lightning" - I felt so bad for asking for this for Christmas one year, hahaha. Have to hand this one to Pete. The solo in "Ride the Lightning" made me love guitar, and of course I still play to this day, though I still suck so badly that I can't play Master of Puppets fast enough. Anyway, if this album made me love guitar, it easily gets a place on this list. If I was ranking them, this one might be at the top.

Various Artists "MTV Amp" - Shout out to Pappy on this one. My first foray into electronic music. Of course I branched out a lot from here, but this was a pretty decent comp of the popular electronic music at the time. Underworld, Chemical Bros., Aphex Twin, Orbital, The Prodigy, and more were all represented. And out of all of those great bands, which did I like best on the album? Fucking Josh Wink, with "Are You There?". D'oh.

Aphex Twin "Richard D. James Album" - Hoooooly shit did I love this album. Still do. When I was trying so hard to make electronic music during those years, this album is what I aspired to. Of course, I never came close. Oh well.

Radiohead "OK Computer" - I remember having debates in high school over whether this album was better than "The Bends". I think that time would say "yes", but it isn't exactly a blowout. Either way, both albums were absolutely masterful and really taught me the standards for great, great indie rock music.

NIN "The Fragile" - I knew of NIN already from The Downward Spiral (who didn't?), but this album sent me headlong into a new post-Soundgarden obsession with darker, more industrial leaning music. I consider this an unfortunate turn for the most part considering some of the utter shit that I ended up listening to, but who cares because this album was absolutely freaking amazing.

Haujobb "Solutions for a Small Planet" - If "The Fragile" was a gateway drug to dark electronic music, "Solutions for a Small Planet" was heroin. Props to Lucas on this one -- I still remember he gave me a fucking ZIP DISC with like 4 mp3s on it, one of which being a remix that Haujobb did for Wumpscut. I loved it and then got my hands on this album, which as far as I'm concerned is still the EBM album that has ever been recorded. Unfortunately, this album eventually made me check out bands like Funker Vogt and VNV Nation, which is a period in my music history I really regret.

Daft Punk "Discovery" - There wasn't really one single album that pulled me out of my shitty EBM/industrial abyss, but if I had to pick one, this is probably it. As a handy side effect, it made to start to love that deep French house music sound that has now been duplicated by bands like Justice and MSTRKRFT.

Muse "Origin of Symmetry" - I found out about Muse shortly after graduating college. I still remember downloading this on a whim and turning it on in my little apartment. I kept turning it up until the neighbor pounded on the wall. Just a ridiculously over-the-top epic rock ballad, in the same vein as the Queen album that made me a music lover in the first place. This album made me listen to guitars again.

Arcade Fire "Funeral" - This is an album that I personally consider an all-time great. I thought indie music was pretty much worthless for a long time, until I listened through this with an open mind. Any album that makes me totally reconsider my hatred of a genre has to go on this list.

White Stripes "Elephant" - Muse made me love guitar music again, but this album took me back to the basics. One dude, his guitar, and a heaping serving of unforgettable bluesy hooks. Great music doesn't need to be fancy.

Devo "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO!" - I guess this isn't as influential as some other stuff on this list, other than that it made me really love and appreciate 80s music. In 10 years, I'll probably look back on this as a bigger mistake than all the years I spent obsessing about industrial music.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My albums of the year 2008

1. Black Moutain - In The Future
Throwback rock that is completely derivative but completely fresh at the same time. Do I sound like a real critic when I toss around words like derivative?

2. Beck - Modern Guilt
More throwback, but in a completely different vein. I love how every Beck album is so completely distinct, but yet undeniably Beck.

3. Max Tundra - Parallax Error Beheads You
Kind of a Commodore 64 pop album with some guitars. This album is so mind-numbingly awesome that I hate having it all the way down at #3. Seriously, if you haven't ever heard this (chances are you haven't), you need to at least check out a few tracks.

4. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
2008 was a good year for over the top pop music. If you like bands that aren't afraid of synthesizers and big, fat melodies, you'll like this band.

5. Alex Moulton - Exodus
Daft punk meets Vangelis. Hilariously awesome album.

6. Torche - Meanderthal
Metal for indie kids? I have never heard anything by this band I didn't like, and this album didn't disappoint in the least.

7. M83 - Saturdays=Youth
You might see this one hovering near the top of a lot of "professional critic" lists, next to TV on the Radio. However, as opposed to TV on the Radio's release, this album is actually awesome. Huge, lush musical textures and killer production.

8. Clark - Turning Dragon
Dirty, nasty electronics with an unrelenting beat. Best Warp Records release of the year (Flying Lotus is close but no cigar)

9. Girl Talk - Feed The Animals
Mashup of the century. ANYONE would love this album. Seriously, if you haven't listened to this, do it now. Starts off with Gimme Some Lovin' (think Blues Brothers), 45 seconds later into the Cupid Shuffle, and then a minute later into Twisted Sister?!

10. Ratatat - LP3
Not sure what to say about this one other than that I really enjoyed it. Catchy electronic songs, kind of video game influenced, with melodies that stick in your head.

Runner-ups: Squarepusher - Just a Souvenir; Deerhunter - Microcastle; Portishead - Third; Flying Lotus - Los Angeles; Adventure - Adventure

Thursday, September 25, 2008


For those of you not in the Southeast, you may be interested to know that we are going through a bit of a crisis at the moment. In a sad commentary on the state of our national infrastructure, various cities throughout the Southeast have been running almost completely out of gas for the last few weeks, in the wake of Hurricane Ike. Last weekend, it was reported that 85% of gas stations in Nashville and its surrounding suburbs were out of fuel. This week, it appears to have spread to Charlotte.

The gas station across the street from our home has been mostly out of fuel for the last week or so. This morning, they received a new delivery. Within 20 minutes, there was a line for about a half mile down the road of people waiting to fuel up. After an hour, the line stretched to a mile. Police had to be called in because some people were filling up multiple containers of gas, and other drivers were screaming at them, apparently causing altercations. The gas station employees, who I just talked to, were scared for their safety because some drivers were threatening them about the people filling up extra containers.

Yes, panic has completely set in. Every station I have seen in the last few days is out of gas, and nobody knows what to do. School is likely to be canceled next week because buses cannot find diesel fuel. This is ugly, folks.

I thought this might be an interesting tidbit for those of you elsewhere, that still have plenty of gas. How is it that our infrastructure is so poor that we, more than two weeks after the hurricane, are completely unable to get a more even distribution of fuel throughout the country? This also serves as a telling illustration of this country's absolute reliance on fuel for our everyday lives. Not that we didn't know that already, of course.