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I’ve noticed a creeping change in the semantics of the word “spam” as
it relates to e-mail over time. Just now I got into it with a guy on
the WREK staff list because he thinks I shouldn’t have used the list
for a message I sent. “You should have called him on the phone rather
than spamming the whole list.” I am of the belief when you have a
mailing list chartered, and a member of the mailing list sends a
message, it cannot be “spamming” the list. At worst, it is off-topic
but spam has a more specific and different meaning than that. I got so
pissed at this guy so quickly that I wrote a procmail rule routing his
incoming mail to /dev/null. I’m not feeling like engaging people
about horshit today.

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I finished listening to the George Carlin book today. It was mostly
the same experience as listening to one of his albums and in a few
cases was the same material I first heard on albums. His delivery
makes already funny stuff even funnier. I would definitely consider
becoming an Audible customer, if only they had some way of hooking up
their DRM crap to my iRiver SlimX. As it is, I’ll be looking at
BookEars or other places that sell audiobooks on MP3 CDs. It makes so
much sense to me to do it this way, when you can put 10 or more hours
of book on a single CD. Beats that tall stack of tapes with the
bizarre “part 1 on the left channel, part 3 on the right” schemes to
put more stuff on one tape.

While I’m talking audiobooks, I should mention the company founded by
author Bruce Coville, Full
Cast Audio
. I don’t actually know Mr. Coville but I do run in
similar online SF circles (which is how I first learned about FCA –
from his group on Dueling Modems.) He has a taste for similar films as
I do, and seems like a good guy. What Full Cast Audio does is do big
production versions of prose fiction. It’s more like Seeing Ear
Theater than an audiobook. He has a free sample, one of his
stories up there, available for download or he’ll even send you a tape
for free. As best I can tell, all the material is the kind of young
adult fiction he writes, which translates into fun for the whole
family. Slap some of these babies on your Diamond Rio and plug it into
the car stereo during long trips. I wish this kind of technology was
available when I was a kid living in western Kansas, where any
vacation involved driving at least 3 or 4 hours, 8 or 9 for the good ones.

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The combination of helping a loved one pack for an extended trip and a
tight, heartbreaking loss in a close playoff elimination game is not a
recommended one. I’m exhausted after being up late with all that and
up early to drive my wife to school. Tonight I’m going to the gym for
the first time in I don’t remember when. I feel good enough to do it
after being sick, and I’m getting weary of my recent weight gain. I’n
becoming one of those doughy men they talk about on MST3K.

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Top of the 4th and my stomach is tied in knots. We’re down by two and
although the game is still young, I’m full of the familiar
dread. Millwood just struck out Sanders decisively, but gave up a home
run to Bonds this inning. Come on bats! Wake up, Sheffield! Dear god
it is tough work being a baseball fan. The games move slow enough that
you can be worked up for the maximum time. Yipes!

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I broke down and worked through the Audible docs, and finally got the
problem resolved. I had to delete a file called “debug.log” and
restart everything. This kind of bugs me, but it worked. I have heard
most of this as standup material or on comedy albums but it still
cracks me up. I swear there is new stuff, even in familar
routines. For example, in the classic “Football and Baseball” routine,
he now includes this section:

What is all this fuss about taunting? I don’t think it goes far
enough. If a lineman sacks the quarterback, I think he should be
allowed to pull down his pants and masturbate on him. If he can’t
ejaculate because of the 60,000 people in the stands, slap a 15 yard
penalty on him for delay of game.

Ever since I heard that, I’ve had the low-level giggles.

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I get e-mails from Handspring with various affiliate offers. This most
recent one had something about entering a drawing for a free Audible
Advisor, the Springboard module to listen to files from Audible.com. I’m kind of
interested. I bought the SlimX to play old time radio and MP3 audiobooks,
so I’m definitely in the broad target demographic. I went to the
webpage and saw that to enter the drawing for the Springboard module
you just create an account and that they are currently giving away the
audio books of George Carlin’s most recent book. OK, I signed up and
tried to download it. I installed the Audible plugin for Windows Media
Player, I went to the “My Bookshelf” where I saw the Carlin book. I
clicked “download”, which opened up the Audible desktop manager
program and waited. And waited. Nothing ever happened. I tried
again. I closed out the Audible program and IE and started over (and
it is worth nothing that none of this works with Mozilla, so I already
had to open a different browser to get anything to happen). Starting
from the top, same thing. Desktop app opens, nothing downloads or
happens after the click. I’m assuming the purpose of the giveaway
book is to sell people on the experience much like the Fictionwise
books are designed to let people dip their toes in the ebook pool
without risking cash. Thus far, Audible has managed to take me, about
as receptive a possible potential customer as they can possibly have,
and make me not very likely to continue screwing around with them. Not
a good way to win customers.

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It’s that familiar feeling for a Braves fan, the thought that despite
having a rock solid team, great pitching, great bats our team might
not advance. It’s hard to believe that Glavine has given up something
like 15 runs in 8 innings in the playoffs. I wish I could go, but
we’ll be packing up my wife’s stuff and getting her ready for 3 weeks
in Boulder.

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Unless we get some heroics, we will be having game 5 in the division
series. The boys have 2 more outs to make up a five run deficit. I was
wrong about the game day, which is tomorrow rather than Tuesday. I
can’t go to that, since my wife is leaving for a few weeks in
Colorado. They’ll have to do it without me, I’m afraid.

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Five anxious hours until game 4. We’re going out to do some shopping
and errands and see a movie, Sweet Home Alabama. When we get back, I
hope to see my boys shut down Barry Bonds for the umpteenth time in
the last 12 years.

I got a catalog the other day for Discmakers. It is all
for mid to high volume CD/DVD duplication. I have no legitimate reason
in the world to want any of this stuff, but I do. These machines in
which you stack blank CDs on one spindle, set it running and duplicate
CDs with the labels printed on show up on the other – they excite
me. Some just copy, some just print, some do it all with robotic arms
that move the discs from place to place. Wow! People keep asking me
about making radio shows available on CD (not enough to think there’s
a slam dunk business in it, like three or four a year) and that would
be a cool way to do it. Keep a couple of every show in inventory, and
when more are needed, fire up the robot and make a few more CDs. I’ve
really been wracking my brain trying to come up with a side business
where I could justify buying one of these things (or leasing). They are just so cool!

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This was an excellent baseball day in our household. First, my boys
rocked the Giants 10-2 with excellent pitching by Maddux and
Remlinger. Then, the Angels sent the Yankees home. Yeah! After the
Braves game was over, our Fox affiliate switched to the Angels-Yankees
game. It was 10 minutes until 8 and the top of the 9th innning so I
was hoping to see the game end before we switched over to Trading
Spaces. I was not disappointed. At three minutes till 8, the Angels
closed it out and started celebrating. I hadn’t quite gotten what I
was after, so we stuck on the channel until we saw some pictures of
some unhappy Yankees. Jeter and Torre and Williams with that look on
their face – priceless. I’m quite happy. I’d like to see the Braves
close it out tomorrow but if they don’t I’ll go to the game Tuesday.

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I didn’t write about my boys, the Atlanta Braves yesterday. The loss
yesterday was heartbreaking. Like all Braves fans, as excited as I am
to have them in the postseason for the eleventh straight time, I also
am dreading the thought of them going home early. It’s looking pretty
good tonight, a five run lead as I type this, with Smoltz taking
over. Smoltz has long been my favorite Braves pitcher, from back when
the rotation was Glavine, Smoltz, Kent Mercker and Steve Avery.

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On Dueling Modems, the question arose whether World Fantasy Convention
was at Callaway Gardens in 1992. I was completely sure that it was,
but I looked it up to be sure. As I looked it up,
memory that the special award went that year to
W. Paul Ganley. The first night I was there, he and I were each going
to the restaurant individually to eat dinner, and they didn’t have
any tables for one ready. I turned to him and asked if he wanted to
share a table, and then they seated us immediately. I didn’t
previously know him, just introduced myself on the stop. He was a
nice guy, and we just talked books and fandom for an hour while we
had dinner. I’ve never seen him again.

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As the illness continues, I keep missing days in the log here. I’m so
generally unergetic that I just sort of veg when I get home. I’ve seen
a number of funny web things lately, and I keep meaning to blog
them. However, by the time I get to doing an entry, I have forgotten
what I meant to put in. I guess this all works better if you keep up
with it in real time or as close to that as possible.

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The grunge seems to have moved from my nose to my chest. I’ve been
hacking like a 3 pack a day smoker the last few days. Yesterday I was
super low energy, today I’m merely low energy.

Music TopicI’m listening to the
WREK archives from Monday, because there is this great song that was
played then. It’s by a band called Go Back To Europe which is notable
in that two WREK music directors are in the group. Again, no website
for them (what is it with all these bands that in 2002 don’t have
websites? Isn’t it de rigeur, especially for Georgia Tech bands?) I do
believe I might have to go see these guys live. The song is available
here
until October 9th at 4 PM, when this archive becomes something
new. It’s the second song in that half-hour, about three minutes in. I
really like it. Because of my building all this functionality for the
music directors, I’ve gotten to know some of them, particularly Alex the
guy who is current acting program director.

Who Was that Masked Rabbi?

Here’s a small world story. I was looking around on the web to see if Atlanta band DQE, a group I’ve loved for many years, has a website. I want to put them in as band of the day. I googled on them, looking for such, and ran across this page about some kind of special CD. I turns out that this guy is Douglas Wolk, the dude who owns and runs DQE’s label, Dark Beloved Cloud. For his wedding invitation, he put together a CD of bands on his label and sent it out. Now here’s the small world part – elsewhere on the site he talks about the ceremony which is to be held in NYC and performed by Rabbi David Honigsberg. I know him! I interviewed him live at Dragon*Con on my last ever live remote in 1998 (along with the rest of the Don’t Quit Your Day Job Players). Even before that, I briefly met him and his wife Alexandra at the World Fantasy Convention in 1992 at Callaway Gardens. Still no DQE website, but this coincidence is quite cool.

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Today I browsed around a little, and saw that my boy Paul Melancon
will be opening for the Indigo Girls in November! Good for him. Whilst
browsing around their site, I found this article by Amy Ray debunking the
notion that lesbians currently control folk music
. It makes for
interesting reading.

What if a few mediocre, straight, male rock bands were used to
epitomize a whole scene? Would we blame Pearl Jam for creating a
limited genre and encouraging bad musicianship in others? All one has
to do is flip through commercial radio channels to see that mediocrity
in every form but gay is being sliced, diced, and marketed to us all
in the name of advertising dollars. This rampant mediocrity is a
symptom of a corporate music empire that encourages segregation of
audiences for reasons of profit rather than community.

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I did get the lawn mowed yesterday, so that was good. I’m not
embarrassed walking into the front door now.

TV TopicWe rented Sopranos, season three, volume two this weekend. I like Joe
Pantoliano on this show. I like him in everything, but his character
Ralph just emanates such bad vibes that I’m suprised he is still
alive, particularly after his brutal beating of one of the dancers in
the parking lot of the Bada Bing. I cringe every time he is on screen,
even more so than I did for Richie Aprile. I also remain amazed at how
completely unsympathetic they are willing to make the main
characters. The scene where Tony confronts Angie Bompencero, smashing
out her car windows with a bat and giving the impression he was going
to kill her dog, was a good example of that. Another was when Carmella went
to the hard-assed therapist who refused to hear any excuses about her
complicity in the gangster lifestyle. We have to face the fact
that after we finish the second half of season three, we have a year
or more to wait to see any more.

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Did a little work at WREK today. I went in and did an hour on the air,
testing my new interface that allows live DJs to enter their music the
same way the robot does it now. When this is in use, the current song
will always be up on the WREK page, which I find really cool. Not sure
what you heard? Look it up on the web, it’s there.

I’m at Georgia Tech right now, logging in (blogging in) from my wife’s
computer in her office. We are doing something that involves cycling
vacuum pumps in her lab. Actually, I’m doing Google research on
icecast MP3 streams and the metadata thereof. She’s doing whatever
with the pumps. This is all moral support. I hope I can get home and
mow before it rains. I’ve been waiting since the grass is so wet, and
will have to mow it that way even though I don’t want to. It looks
like we are growing alfalfa for livestock in our yard, the grass
is so high. It’s been raining every day and always too wet to mow. Must
bite the bullet and do it today. One minor upside of the drought was
that I didn’t have to do a lot of mowing.

Into the Treehouse

Music TopicOn to more fun things, a band of the day. This one is new to
me, which I found out about because of WREK. They are called Treehouse Project. Earlier this week, a
music director had a problem with the web UI while programming tracks
from this album, so I had to fix it in the database which made them
stick out a little in my memory. Today, I had to
look up their record label’s web site to add that into the DB and I ended up
browsing around a little (an occupational hazard.) I listened to their
MP3s and they are really cool! It’s a jazz band but with pedal steel
guitar, which gives it a country twang. Here is their their MP3 page.