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Today has been a charity day. We wrote a bunch of checks to various
organizations to get them in on this tax year/XMas season. My wife
came up with a plan last year that we didn’t actually follow this year
but is a great idea. Decide how much we want to give for the year,
divide that into monthly increments and then give that much to a
charity each month. That way, we aren’t doing it all in one lump at
the end of the year. We started the list for next year and I think now
we will actually follow through on this.

I also took a load of toys to Publix for the Toys for Tots drive. They
have these adorable Stuart Little in a raincoat dolls at Toys R Us for
$6 apiece, so I bought seven of them yesterday. I had made a TFT run
earlier in the week, but I went back special because these things are
so cute. I found doing my TFT shopping the first time when I was
making decisions to be both fun (as I put myself in kids shoes to
decide which would be fun) and very stressful (as I thought about the
responsibility for a kid getting nothing and something resting on my
dumb ass in a toy store). I tried to focus on things that looked fun
but were not the big trendy cool toy du jour. If it was on sale, that
meant I could get more of them. Somewhere in the middle I got very
teary and misty as I thought about kids in such dire straits that
these things I got them would be the only toy for this year.

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I was wondering if the station would play Tift Merrit (who I saw at
that thing with the Indigo Girls a few days ago and is from Raleigh)
and as I was pulling up her web page, one of her songs came on the
radio. That answers that question. I liked that song too.

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Music TopicBand of the day! Month, really, but house sets the rules. This
is the band I called Raleigh about an hour ago, The Jam Pain Society. It was
tough to get this information over the cellphone with a noisy studio
in the DJs background and I thought he was saying “champagne.” The
song I heard on the radio was “Goodbye Song”, which is available on
their MP3
download page at MP3.com
. They also have an MP3 from their new
still in progress album at their own MP3
page
. I haven’t listened to all these yet, but just “Goodbye Song”
is so good to qualify them even if I hate the rest.

These guys are such music geeks that on the web page you can see
diagrams of their pedal layouts and drum kit! Jesus, that is
hilarious and beautiful. I’ve listened to several MP3s now, and they
are all good. One sounded like Korn or Rob Zombie, one sounds like
really rocking Sheila E. They are awfully cool.

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The WREK Merzbow marathon is over, but until late next week it will
still be available in their week-long MP3 archive.

Music TopicHere’s something I found out from John Bartley
(from whom I’m getting a lot of these links lately) in a newgroup
post:

There is a station in Research Triangle, NC called WBZB 1090 AM that has an odd and
wonderful programming philosophy – they only play local music. Here
is an article about them.
In fact, since I’ve been writing this
entry I’ve been listening to their webcast and heard a song so good
that I called them up to ask who it was (finding today’s band of the
day in the process.) It’s almost a throwback to stations of 50 years
ago in the era of early rock and roll. The programming is loose enough
that they are playing trippy psychedelic rock (the song I called
about) alongside alt.country or even straight raw country, blues,
southern rock, etc. It’s kind of like a toned-down commercial version
of what WREK does. I strongly applaud this and I really hope this
works out for them. Their slogan is “It’s all about the music”, which
is a rarity in modern commercial radio. The CNN story has some quotes
from radio consultants basically giving WBZB no chance. I’d love to
see them eat their words and WBZB make it – radio consultants are why
commercial radio is now unlistenable. Screw those guys and their
cynical horseshit.

There’s a second level to this, which is that the station has a pretty
small signal range but I in fact really wanted to live in it. When we
moved from Oregon, my wife was going into grad school at either
Georgia Tech or NC State. I really was rooting for the latter, as I
wanted to live in the triangle. I like Atlanta and all (less now than
I did 15 years ago) but Atlanta was the choice of the comfort zone. We
had friends here, history, etc. Raleigh would have been a leap into
the unknown but one I wanted to take. I love the music there – a lot
of bands I really dig come from that area. I just wanted something
different and didn’t think I would have any problem coming up with a
job there. I’ve never even been in the area other than driving
straight to the airport once, but I had in my head that I’d enjoy
living there. I’m impulsive that way. I was completely and totally
prepared to load up the truck and head there. As it played out, the NC
State offer sucked compared to the one Georgia Tech made, so as much
as I wanted to live in the area I really wouldn’t have asked my wife
to make any decision differently than she did. She has worked out a
deal where she is going to be doing an intercomparison of her
atmospheric measurement stuff up there this summer, and maybe
I’ll fly or drive up and visit while she is there. That way my desire
to live there can hopefully be coupled with some empirical data. It’s
still in the south (and frankly, living in Atlanta is less like living
in the south every day as it becomes an island full of transplanted
carpetbaggers), it is close to some family, drivable to the rest. I’m
dreaming a little dream.

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So I have this Perl script that reposts this weblog daily to my
newsgroups on SFF.net and Dueling Modems. This thing uses the
HTML::Parser module and I have some rudimentary formatting things I do
to make this log become a raw text news post. Those tables I’ve been
pasting in of the search engine hits on the weblog really really
screwed that up. Combined with the Text::Wrap I do, it become a
hundred lines of unreadable mess. I’ve decided to make the script skip
it until and unless I can think of a good way to format them. That
tabular logic is always a bear. When I was at JStream, representing
tables was the programming task that made everyone crazy –
particularly when the tables could nest. For now, I punt.