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Back home after our power trip to Augusta. Much cooing and googooing
and other baby fun was had by all. I was quite the baby hog, and sang
to her quite a bit, mostly “Two of Us” by the Beatles and
“Hallelujah”, the Leonard Cohen song. I also fed and burped, the only
man present who seemed to want to do this. I’m in touch with my
caretaker nature!

Music TopicToday’s band of the day is a new discovery for me. This year,
on Superbowl Sunday we went to
Eddie’s Attic
in Decatur to a benefit show for Circle of Grace
Church. There were a lot of great bands (including one that I’m
keeping up my sleeve for a killer future BOTD). Yesterday’s band, Michelle Malone played, as did the
fabulous Gentle Readers. I
remained flummoxed at how I missed hearing about this band. They are
unbelievably good. We picked up their album You in Black and
White
and still need to get their most recent. I must have
listened to YIB&W one hundred times since January. Their record
company has MP3s available for YIB&W and
their newest one Hi
Honey
. Seriously, check out the song “California” and listen to
the lyrics. They are all about getting screwed by record companies! In
this RIAA driven world, this song gets more relevant every
day. Besides that, it is catchy as all hell! This band is an A-one,
bonafide wonderful group. I wish I had the cash to buy $10,000 worth
of their records. I have been avoiding buying Hi
Honey
at a records story, hoping I could buy it at a show and
give them all the cash. I don’t think I can wait any longer,
though. Maybe I’ll just buy it and hand them a $20 when I see them.

New Experience (after all these years)

Music TopicThe band today is special for me, and I’m picking her because
she is within a month of the same age as me (we’re both aging pretty
well, I think.) She is Michelle Malone. She’s a
staple of the Atlanta music scene, and one of my most favorite
songwriters and performers. When I was turning 21 (and she was too),
she performed every Saturday night at the White Dot in midtown
Atlanta. I went to nearly every show. I later booked her on Live @
WREK and basically did everything I could in my meager way to spread
the faith. I still absolutely adore her music. Here is her MP3
page at MP3.com.
Listen to “Avalon”, an absolutely fabulous song,
one of my favorites of all time.

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Is it just me or does a lot of what mainstream blog
culture consist of is some kind of big cybernetic Ponzi scheme? A lot
of the logs seem to point to other people pointing to cool things,
etc. Why is this, and how the hell do I get into the scheme? Link to
me!

Music TopicI’m bending my own rules. It’s my party! Today’s musician of the
day is Aimee Mann. Although
she doesn’t have MP3s available to download, you can get a nice
quality streaming feed of every song on her upcoming
album. Jesus Christ, this is how you do it! You big labels with heads up
your asses, pay attention! I absolutely loved her album Bachelor #2,
which I believe she put out herself on her own label. She does have
the independent spirit that I so love. I saw her on that Brian Wilson
tribute show on TNT where she and her husband did an amazing rendition
of “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times”.

OK, I’m two songs into the streaming and I have now pulled out my
credit card and will be preordering it. You get an extra CD with bonus
tracks if you do. Can’t beat that deal with a stick. Way to go
Aimee! Also, although she doesn’t have downloadable MP3s on the site,
there are
downloadable movies
. Check out the computer animated music video
for “Red Vines” – it is great! I love that song, much like I love
all her songs. I’m saving a copy of this just in case they ever take
it down. I wonder if her people ever submitted this video to VH1?
Apparently the guy just did it as a project and then asked her manager
for permission to use it. I could be wrong on that, it might be an
official thing. Give this dude a job, someone! Look at how
good this is relative to most music videos!

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Until very recently, I had never used Mutt but the more I use it, the more I
like it. I’ve been using it to answer the WREK music director’s
e-mail and trying to set up a system where most mails can be handled
in a few keystrokes. By writing a standard “Here’s how to send us
records” file and then inserting that into replies, 80% of responses
can be handled in under 20 seconds apiece. Nice! It’s like a lot
of these tools (like Emacs) where I feel like even though I use it
I barely have a fingernail’s grip on the full power of it. Oh well, it
gives me goals for the future.

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Another change to how I handle this stuff. I’m going to start adding
new entries on the top, so the order of reading is always newest to
oldest, top to bottom. I suppose I might redo the previous entries,
but probably not. I’ll just start doing it now and let the old ones
ride. I’ve only been doing this log a week, and coming up with titles
has already gotten difficult. Thank god I’m not titling each entry.

I have a picture of Emily Nicole hanging on my computer now. I can’t
wait to see her tomorrow. It is really hard to concentrate on my work
when all I really want to do is to play with piggies and sing songs to
her.

Music TopicOn Monday I’ll be going to Sonic
Youth
playing at the Variety Playhouse. I have
commented to my friends that all the shows I see are by aging
post-punks – just like me! I’m not nailing down dates, but somewhere
around this time I’ll be aging a little more (as measured by yearly
milestones.) This is part of the celebration. I’ve never seen them,
but their album Daydream
Nation
remains one of my favorite albums of all time. They’re
not the band of the day because they aren’t giving any MP3s away. They
should if they’re so DIY, but there you have it. I’m excited about the show.

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Just a few minutes ago, I finished transcribing my interview with
Storm Constantine. It
still needs copy editing (as does the one with Michael Moorcock) but at the
least the original work of transcription is done. Jesus lord, if I had
known how hard this work would be, I would have never
have started. I still believe that I can have principal text finished
by next weekend. I’ll take printouts of these two interviews with me
to Augusta this weekend as I visit my neice. Maybe somewhere in there
I can find time for a little red pen work.

I’ll be a guest at two science fiction conventions trying to promote
this book –
Dragon*Con
over Labor Day weekend and
Orycon
the weekend before Thanksgiving. Hopefully I’ll be on
interesting e-book panels (any interesting panels would be fine.) With
any luck, the guys from
Fictionwise
will give me some more coupons to pass out again. I
did last year, I don’t know how effective they were.

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Just before we went to the beach for the Fourth of July, I splurged on
a toy for myself – iRiver’s
SlimX MP3/CD player
. I really, really, really
love this thing. It plays my old time radio MP3s, which can be all
over the map in bitrates, mono, and weird encodings. It has a remote
control with an LCD readout that tells me what MP3 is playing. It even
has an onboard FM receiver. Rechargeable batteries come with it, and
the menuing system allows you to explicitly discharge and recharge
them! How cool is that? I’ve had it a month and am really taken with
it. The OTR stuff meant that I couldn’t just grab any old $49 player
and use it the way I wanted but I never expected that I’d have a
player I liked this much. On top of everything, it is so small, light
and really cool looking. All around, this device is a thumbs up.

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My friend from Portland, Shannon, pointed out that the CSS was making
the page scroll way to the right on IE. That should be fixed now. I
only use IE when I absolutely have to, since I hate it. I’ve been
using Mozilla for 8 or 9 months
now, and I think it is the way to go. The tabbed browsing has altered
how I use browsers, and being able to bookmark a whole set of tabs and
load umpteen pages with a single menu action is awesome!

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Music TopicSo I need to clarify a little what I’m after with posting
these music links. This is really the thing that got me wanting to do
the weblog in the first place, so I should canonize the ground rules,
if for no reason other than to allow myself to focus on what I’m
doing.

Originally, I thought that I’d post links to musicians that:

  1. I am enthusiastic about
  2. Make their own MP3s available on the web (ie, they choose them to
    be there)

  3. Are NOT major label/RIAA artists (this webcasting
    fee business is abominable)

  4. Have some of that roguish air of independence about them

Now, today’s artists presents a little challenge under point #3
above. She is a major label artist, yet she also is the owner of a local
(to Atlanta) independent record
label
and the champion of many causes for the underdog. I’m talking about Amy Ray of the
Indigo Girls. I’ve always
loved the Indigo Girls. The night I turned 21 I celebrated by seeing
them play at the Little Five Points Pub – if that doesn’t date me
nothing will. Amy released a solo album, Stag that I
really like. Most people seemed lukewarm on it, but I welcomed the
departure from the standard Indigo type songs. One of them, Late
Bloom
I slipped into the automation rotation at WREK. The other
one she has in MP3 form, Lucy
Stoners
is fabulous and would be worth note for no other reason than the feminist
chorus “Lucy Stoners/don’t need boners/no man could/ever own her.”
Both songs are great. Listen to them.

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My coworker Darin sent me this link to
The Poetic Systems
website. How is that for a work environment? I
want one. We’ve got four guys in a not huge office, two of whom are
subject to fits of farting, giggling, whooping over naked women
pictures and other fratboy behavior. Maybe if I worked in
The Aura
this wouldn’t bother me.

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Damn, I see that science fiction artist Ron Walotsky has died. I interviewed
him at Dragon*Con a few years ago and really liked him. He was a nice
guy and a great artist. RIP, Ron. You passed way too young.

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TV TopicI ended up up going to WREK over my lunch hour. Last week a
lightning strike caused some damage to the station, and this morning
the telemetry went nuts and just shut the station off. I happened to
be calling the shack robotic information line when someone picked up –
it was Chris, my compadre WREK alumnus. He also does a lot of the
engineering there (we were undergrads at the station together back in
the 80’s) and he was in the shack fixing things. His problem was that
he couldn’t both sign on from the station while checking things at the
shack. No problem, said I, and hopped in my car for the station. He
signed it on, I played the legal stuff and got us back on track. It
was just in time to play the 12:30 – 1 PM program, although about a
minute early so I cut on the mike and briefly explained that technical
problems kept us off the air all morning and that "robots seized control of the station for a while, but the humans are now back in
charge". I was only in the station 22 minutes as measured by the
parking meter out front. It helped that this happened during lunchtime
when it was easier to pick up and go.

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OK, I am definitely going with CSS for this site. Yesterday I decided
“I want all the timestamps to be bold, not italicized.” I’d rather
make one change in the CSS than rewrite all the damn tags, so thus it
goes. I’m going to alter the BlogMax templates to reference logical
names and move all formating to the stylesheet. That way, I can change
something in one second and have it apply to every page the next,
without regenerating anything.

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Music TopicToday’s band is linked to yesterday’s
band
, both musically and personally. Well, the “band” is actually
a person, Diana
Obscura
. She plays cello, amongst other instruments, and her music
is medieval, ambient, haunting and beautiful. I took some of her MP3s
and added them to WREK’s
Atmospherics rotation. I really like her music. Years ago I met her
when she was the one working the Changelings table at
Dragon*Con
and later when she was doing her Creepy Puppet
Theater. She’s very nice, cool and I love her music. Here is
her MP3.com download page.

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I’m already an uncle! Emily Nicole was born earlier this afernoon. Way
to go! I’m so excited!

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Technology TopicAt work one of the tools I’ve used recently is
the GMT – Generic Mapping Tools
. It is unbelievably cool! You can
generate practically any map you can think of via this tool. I
generated all kinds of maps with this, changing the colors, adding the
state or country borders, altering the projection type. If you wanted
to and you had an external data file relating population density to
coordinates, you could generate a 3-D topographic map where height
was related to population in a few command line
statements. Incroyable! I truly love this thing.

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Got a call this morning from my brother at 5 AM. Within the next 24 –
36 hours I will be an uncle! I can’t wait. This weekend we’ll be going
and visiting.

Changelings

Music TopicToday’s band is The
Changelings
. I’ve known them a while and I used to use their music
as bumpers for my radio show quite frequently. They have gothic,
ambient, Middle Eastern influences amongst others. I truly dig
them. You can download some of their music from their page at
MP3.com
. The only bummer is that my favorite song of theirs –
“Johnny Ether’s Great Escape” isn’t up there. Check them out, you will
like them.

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Got mail from Bill St. Clair, who added me to the BlogMax links page
today. Thanks, Bill!

I meant to do an entry or two during the day, but I didn’t. I was
planning to set up every computer that I use during the day with the
mode and my templates, but that didn’t work. I carried the stuff to
work with me on a Zip disk, and there isn’t a single Zip drive in my
office! If I had thought this through, I’d have set up my Linux box
first, and solely blogged from it. If I want to make an entry, I ssh
in and go for it. I still might do that. I’m also going to make some
shortcuts to icons. I was going to hunt some up, but I think instead
I’ll just steal them from the
Slashdot
topics page. Those already have the associations I want
to the demographic that reads weblogs anyway.

And, to add to my dumbass day, I locked myself out of the house
walking the dog. Wowza.

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Mmmmm, just had dinner at
Rocky Mountain Pizza
over by Georgia Tech. I’ve never had pizza
there, only their Smokehouse Burger. We’ve taken to always getting the
sweet potato fries. Tasty! Part of the deal was that we also got to
play the South Park pinball machine, one of my favorites.

Haven’t yet mentioned it here, but I’m on a mad dash to finish the
next Reality Break book. It will have interviews with Michael Moorcock, Kage Baker, Storm Constantine and
probably a fourth writer as well. I have targets on the length, so if
it runs short I’ll add another person in. I’m leaning towards James
Patrick Kelly, but Elizabeth Hand is also on the list. I’m trying to
group them such that it makes sense having them all in the same
volume. I just don’t know. This part is hard. To think that at one
point I thought I could put out three volumes a year. Ha! I’ve been nine
months on this and I’m not done! I so want to be done with the text by
next weekend, but that’s looking unlikely.