Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Charlie Daniels

You remember this guy, he is the fiddle player that released that great song 'The Devil Came Down To Georgia', well he is back! I got my hands on his latest CD Deuces yesterday. Now strictly speaking he should have gone to the bottom of the review pile, which at this point would have been something like position 51! The scary part is that I am not really behind, it's just the amount that keep arriving! Anyway, Janny is a big country music fan, and loves Charlie Daniels, so it had to go to the top of the pile.

In fact not only did it go to the top of the pile, it got put in the player.

Well this is some great album, Charlie decided to make it from duets, now his idea of a duet does not quite meet the dictionary definition, his idea is to play with some solo artists, but also some complete bands. The end result is outstanding!

I try and write my reviews as I listen, that way everything is fresh in my mind. So I rattled of a review, and stuck it on the web, you can read it here.

Well, today I heard from the promoters, they are happier than Cowboys with the new truck that has a custom gun rack. They are so happy they are setting me up with an interview with Charlie Daniels.

This should be fun.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Good Times hahaha

Occasionaly it gets quiet over at Blogger News, and one of my favorite things to do is write some controversial article that will upset some whacked out sector of society. I am not a political animal, I basically hold the opinion that all politics smells worse than an abattoir, and politicians as a whole are a species lower than a maggot.

So when I stumbled accross a story concerning right wing extremist CNN presenter Lou Dobbs and his public oopsy of calling New York Governer Spitzer "An Idiot" during an interview I could not resist a little fun and games.

The result has been outstanding! I have every right wing extremist whacko on my case. One particularly amusing commenter wants me "Fired from the internet".

I love it when a plan comes together! Good times!

Musical News

A while back I interviewed the wild man of the Moog Synth, Keith Emerson, of Emerson Lake And Palmer fame. I was amazed when he told me he is still using his 1970 vintage, full size modular Moog. Mind you, with an original price tag of $50,000 I'd want to get my monies worth out of it as well.

I noticed today that his official homepage is linking to the interview! I know the web guy that runs the site and dropped him a line to say thanks, his reply was 'Keith must have liked it, he is the one that selects whats goes on the page'.

I also discovered that late next month Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman are going to do a concert together. Now that should be some show, the two undisputed kings of the Moog playing together. I do hope there will be a DVD coming out of the event.

Several months ago I was poking around online and discovered that the 70's prog rock group Hawkwind are still going strong. As an adolescent hippie these guys were my favorite band. Spacey prog rock combined with what was at the time the best light show in the business these guys were awesome! Recently I decided it might be fun to play again in the Hawkwind world, and I im in the midst of doing an interview with the only remaining original band member Dave Brock. In what is becoming an increasingly small musical world another Hawkwind connection has popped out of the blue.

MVD sent me a box of CD's to review, one of the bands was Bedouin, while the name did not mean much, when I discovered the band members I was truly surprised. Alan Davey is the head of this band, and was Hawkwinds drummer during the 80's and for several years recently. Alan has agreed to an interview, which should be fun!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Spam In Literature

My good friend Outer Mongolian Mark has peaked my interest in Spam. For example, has it ever been mentioned in a book, well other than a book by the Monty Python folks.

I was reflecting on this question this morning as I bussed it to work. Actually the daily bus ride is where I do a good deal of my reading. And there it was.... A spam quote...

She pulled down a couple of cans of beef stew, a package of cornbread mix, and a tin of Spam
Now, I am sure that there are many other literary mentions of this delightful product, and I plan on tracking them down!

Oh, I am sure you Spam fans want to know the name of the book I am reading. Well as soon as the review goes up I'll make sure I add a link.

Spam Update From Mongolia

The worlds most travelled can of Spam seems to be having a great time in Outer Mongolia. I received a quick update from Mark, who seems determined to show it a good time before actually consuming it!

Spam Watching The Red Sox During Game 7

Spam on a London Taxi Cab Somewhere In Mongolia

Sunday, October 14, 2007

More Reviewing Nonsense

It has been a pretty interesting week. I finished Terry Turchie's excellent book Hunting The American Terrorist which explores the 'lone wolf' phenomenon. Terry was in charge of the Unabomber investigation, and also ran the hunt for Eric Rudolf (Olympic games bomber). The publisher has been hounding me to do an interview, and I think it will be quite interesting.

The Discovery Channel has an excellent new series 'Mars Rising' which looks at the problems we face trying to complete a manned mission to the Red Planet. This is definitely my kind of program so I got hold of Discovery andtold em that if they can get me screeners , I'll be happy to put up reviews a couple of days before air date. This pretty much is the industry standard. Super they said, and the very next day there was a Fed-Ex package. Then I noticed the problem, they had sent me the shows that had already aired! This is no good, it's too late! Of course I can't get hold of anyone at Discovery and episode 3 airs today! Oh well thats life.

I did an interesting interview last Thursday, it was with filmmaker Aaron Wolf whose latest movie premiered in New York last Friday. King Corn is a unique look at the growing, use, and abuse of this highly government subsidized crop. Well worth a look if you have the chance.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pure Insanity!

I have spent most of the week in Microsoft hell. I managed to attract some nasty little virus whose mission in life seemed to be to disable most of my control panel. For the longest time I have been mumbling that if I had to reload this computer one more time I would stick bloody Linux on it.

Well, thursday I was reading some press releases, and came across one from a company called Linspire. These guys hit the news two years ago when the released Lindows, a linux based knockoff of Windows. There were a lot of harsh words traded between Redmond and San Diego.

Anyway Lindows has become Linspire, and in it's own way is also creating some waves. It is a commecial offering ($49.99), and what is annoying Linux purists is the fact that they have liscensed some technology from Microsoft. Linspire can play Windows Media files.

Fifty bucks sounded like a bargain, if it lived up to its claims, but it was approximately $49.99 more than I was willing to spend! So putting on my best reviewer hat I fired off an email to Linspire. Within minutes (10) I had press credentials and access to their download site, I was pretty damn impressed.

I downloaded the ISO yesterday morning, and burned an install CD.

Now this is where it gets really interesting. Including a hard drive format the total elapsed time for the install was under 15 minutes! I was amazed. Oh and that included Open Office, and a full compliment of internet tools. During the install it asked me one question, and that was what my name was! Outstanding is what I call this. Microsoft could learn a thing or five from this small company. If you want the whole story you can read it here.

The other excitement yesterday was an interview I did with an AMD exec. Charlie Boswell is an energetic guy, I missed his exact job title, but its something like Vice President of being enthusiastic! 45 minutes on the phone with Charlie and I was ready for a nap!

What I did find curious about the whole thing was that while Charlie may be AMD's chief Evangelist, he is not allowed out without a handler! And the handler was there to make sure Charlie did not stray into areas not approved of. Very entertaining stuff.

I also noticed that the interview took less than a couple of hours to land on one of the AMD sponsored web sites, so I guess the big cheeses liked it. You can read it here.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Five down, forty to go!

I decided to have a real go at cleaning up the CD's that needed reviews. Alas the title of this post sums it up quite well. I found a couple that I liked, but they were in the minority!

What the hell has happened to the music world? Where did we go wrong?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Week(s) In Review(s)

I have not done one of these in a while. Life has been scooting by in lightning flash!

I have no doubt that you have all probably come to the conclusion that I had got out of the reviewing business, not so! I am busier now than I have ever been. The damn stuff seems to come out of the woodwork.

On the movie front I tackled the mainstream Steven King 1408 DVD, actually it wasn't as bad as I had anticipated, and Jan offered to hold my hand if it got too scarey (and it did). I did like the DVD packaging, you get two movies for the price of one. The directors cut version has a very different ending to the theatrical one.

I also tried out a couple of Indy efforts, King Corn, which is a very disturbing look at the state of of our food chain, and I have been playing phone and email tag with the director for the past week. But I will get my interview!

The Calgary Film Festival was the backdrop to Downtown Dawgs, I had interest in this movie because I know some of the people involved. Unfortunately I missed the the actual premiere, I was having too much fun having a stroke, but I did get to interview the director.

Music wise, well where the hell do I start? For those of you that are old, in celebration of the 40th anniversary Pink Floyd's Piper At The Gates Of Dawn has been re released. The movie Saturday Night Fever is 30 years old this year, and to celebrate, a two CD special Bee Gees Greatest has been released, great fun!

Refugee may not be a name that many remember, but it was the band that came into being when The Nice collapsed. Patrick Moraz while not the frontman, was most certainly the glue, he was also one of the very few people in the world that could run a Moog Synth. When Rick Wakeman decided to leave Yes it was only a matter of time before he joined Yes.

Jon Anderson was the guy with the strange vocal talent behind Yes, Searching For The Songs is a delightful collection of demo tracks from 1986, Yes influenced, but unique to Jon.

Remember Iggy Pop? Maybe one of the most reviled names in music! Many people consider Iggy to be the father of Punk in North America. Did Iggy have style, or was he a fraud? Everyone has their own opinion.

Every once in a while you come across some real gems, and Willie Nile is one of them, I was most impressed (not that I count).

Oh crap, this is way too long... more later... I haven't even got onto books...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Technology Sometimes Sucks

Now I am sure some of you think that I am the king of tech, I have the Beerbox, and the Pizza Box tablet PC, but the truth is, I run away from the 'bleeding edge'. It it always overpriced and for me, over equipped.

I am proud to say that I am the proud owner of only one cell phone, and I have never switched it on, I have never tried to connect it to a cell network, and to be honest with you I have no clue where it lives inside the apartment. I was given the phone, and it looked like a fun project to convert it to something useful, like a coffee cup warmer (those Ni-Cad batteries run hot!). Plan B was to duct tape it to a Toilet Bowl Brush and create a vibrating sonic toilet cleaner. Neither plan has come to fruition!

Just because I don't use tech, does not mean that I do not follow it in the press. The tech story of the past week has to be the iPhone. This nerdy and incredibly overpriced device has been selling better than Viagra! When you combine the hugely inflated sale price, with the even more inflated AT&T contract, you end up with a device that is going to cost you over $1000 a year!

Some enterprising nerds decided to tinker, and found a way to unlock the phone from it's reliance on the AT&T network, in other words, you could brag to your nerdy friends that now your $600 phone was only costing you $800 a year! Harvard MBA's take note, that means in only 3 years you have paid for the stupid thing.

Apple didn't like this, it is rumoured that AT&T are giving Apple a monthly 'kick back' for every 2 year contract, so if all these nerds moved their service to Joes Cellular' the payola would be over. Usually this kind of monopolistic action is frowned upon, but Apple seems to have friends in high places, they have effectively played the same trick with iTunes.

In a move that only Apple could get away with, they have released a 'downgrade' to the iPhone, and if you are one of those nerds that played in the innards, you are in for a depressing discovery, your $600 nerd-mobile is now an ineffectual door stop! My recommendation is to duct tape it to a brick, that will improve the 'door stop' abilities.