Tuesday, July 31, 2007

two questions about "gearwire"

1) How did this guy get this job?
2) Can you imagine how much more popular this would be if they got a girl to do this? (Even just to hear her say "big muff")

Monday, July 30, 2007

insert appropriate Frank Zappa quote here

an addition to the museum of great album titles

Bayou Degradable: The Best of Louisiana's LeRoux

"Bayou Degradable" is a pun that only works when one pronounces "Bayou" like BYE-oh. (Me oh my oh!) Which is, of course, how a person actually from the bayou pronounces it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

for no reason at all...

sound familiar?

For reasons unknown, the Atari 2600 still accounts for many of the generic "video game" sounds heard on TV. Especially things like cheaply produced commercials.

Check out the sounds in these videos:


Donkey Kong

See also: Doom Doors (not the Buryl Woodard kind, Chet)

Few package stores on tap in Gwinnett

So it's not just my imagination. There really are NO freakishly few liquor stores in Norcross, GA (where I am currently sitting). Legally.

Funny, I lived in Norcross from 2002 to 2005, and never paid attention to why I had to drive to Dekalb County to buy liquor. I thought it was just a coincidence.

I should have known better. These kinds of things are rarely a coincidence.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

context-free quote of the day

"He doesn't seem to know a lot of things. Rather oblivious, unless the topic is spray butter."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rule 34 Invoked

I've noticed that Youtube has a lot of videos that consist of nothing but someone playing some video game to its completion. For example:


I am utterly convinced that somewhere out there in cyberspace, somebody considers this kind of video to be their porn.

YouTube - Bugs Bunny-Hill Billy Hare

Banned cartoon of the day.

Trivia: was this cartoon "banned" (self-censored by WB themselves, not real-nazi-government-censored) for:

a) The stereotypical and potentially offensive portrayal of the people of the Ozarks.
b) The implied bestiality of the hillbillies attraction to Bugs in his Daisy Duke getup.
c) Guns.

even by spam standards, this is a weirdy

between Decorator, Facade

Good evening. What are you up to? Email me at ... only. I am female. Don't miss some of my naughty pictures.

Yes, an offer for design patterns pr0n.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

a phrase I plan to start using

"here be jargon"

more music theory wankage

From Consecutive fifths - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

During the common practice period, the use of consecutive fifths was strongly discouraged. This was primarily due to the notion of voice leading, which stresses the individual identity of voices. Because of the powerful presence of the fifth above the fundamental in the overtone series, the individuality of two parts is weakened when they move in parallel fifths.

In rock and metal music, we have another word for consecutive fifths: POWER CHORDS. The foundational musical idea of hard rock guitar, is a construct that was forbidden in classical music.

Just something I've found interesting ever since I first learned about it.

Songwriting, recording, and style change

In the Beatles' songs one can notice some remarkable style changes. To analyse these, however, one first has to solve the problem of the periodization. Yrjö Heinonen and Tuomas Eerola argue the solution lies in dividing the work of the Beatles into twelve recording projects. Using this intermediate level between song and period a more reliable picture of the change of the musical style of the Beatles can be obtained.

See also this page of Beatles recording projects which lists every Beatles song in the order in which they were recorded, with dates. (Beware that funky European day.month.year format, though)

EDIT: also, A flood of flat-sevenths. Or, what are all those flat-sevenths doing in the Beatles' Revolver?

whence mixolydian?

OK, here's another impossible challenge of rock musicology.

When and how did the mixolydian mode come to be used in rock music?

To help answer, let's first ask ourselves: What was the first pop/rock/country/rockabilly/r&b/etc song to to use the "flat seventh" or "subtonic" chord? That is, if the song is in C, the use of B-flat major. The use of this chord *implies* the mixolydian mode. This chord does not exist in the major scale, but it does exist in the mixolydian. (You can also think of it as "IV of IV". Think of all those chord progressions that go: Bb F C. Bb is to F as F is to C... the weight of the whole thing collapses inevitably towards C with a force as strong as anything in western harmony.)

Anyway, these idea most definitely does not come from traditional Western musical theory. You will not hear this in classical music. Not very often, anyway. And I don't think you'll hear it very much in popular music before the rock era, either.

Friday, July 20, 2007

every now and then computers actually do what I want

I have removed the "search" form that was traditionally part of my blog template. This is because I finally, after a couple of years of it being there, tried the search form built into the header by Blogger, and found it to so good that any other means of searching the blog is just redundant. I don't know if it's always worked this well, or not, because I always just mentally tuned it out, the way one learns not to look at banner ads.

In case you've never tried it, do so now. Search for anything I've written about since 2003 and it returns not just typical search-engine style listings... but the entire post! Instantly!

Also, urls like this work: http://jeff_robertson.blogspot.com/search?q=unicode

EDIT: there seems to be some sort of arbitrary limit on the number of posts returned. Either that or it just doesn't search as hard as plain old Google, which is weird, since it's made by Google. I may have to add the other thing back.

the "needles and pins" guitar riff

I'm still trying to discover the ultimate origins of what I call the "Needles and Pins Riff".

If you've ever heard the song "Needles and Pins", recorded by (among others) the Searchers and the Ramones, you'll recognize the guitar chords at the beginning. In TAB:

"Needles And Pins"
(S. Bono - J. Nitsche)

Intro (play 2x):

v v v v v v v v
first time only

The essential thing is the little melody on the B string: C# B C# B D C# B C# B C#. Just a bit of weedling around the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th notes of the major scale.

This riff, sometimes transposed to D (which makes it even easier to play), occurs in quite a few songs from the 60's.

If you aren't humming it in your mind already, check this out on Youtube:

Needles and Pins - The Searchers

Another place where you hear it is in all the pre-Hendrix versions of Hey Joe. There are basically two kinds of Hey Joe recordings, the fast ones that predate Hendrix and the slow ones that try to imitate Hendrix. We are interested here in the fast ones.

Hey Joe - The Leaves

Another example. "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better" by the Byrds. (This song has by far the best vocal harmonies of any these three... it's absolutely spine tingling. I do not say this lightly: BETTER THAN THE BEATLES (for this type simple pop song). The Byrds actually deserve their place in rock history for this kind of stuff, not the launching pad for the careers of David Crosby and Graham Parsons that some people tend to reduce them to. (BTW, has there ever been a supergroup more less than the sum of its parts than CSN&Y (HDANCN?)))

I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better - The Byrds

Btw. Guns N' Roses fans will by this point have recognized this as "that little riff in the chorus of 'Patience'". No youtube for that. Find it yourself. Don't worry GNR will eventually get their own treatment on this blog, but it won't be for radio-friendy chick magnet songs like "Patience".

Now... who was ripping off who? "Needles and Pins" is, I think, the first of these songs to be written (in 1962 by Sonny Bono. THAT Sonny Bono)... but I have a sneaking suspicion that this thing was already a public domain riff by then. Somewhere back in the forgotten mists of the 50's folk boom, probably, it was born.

Who can help me find the wellspring from which emerged such a simple but addictive musical idea?

Monday, July 16, 2007

YouTube - cold slither

No explanation could possibly do justice to this clip. Safe for work.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Short on police, neighborhoods hire private patrols

"Neighborhoods typically hire off-duty Atlanta police, who can make arrests just like when they are on-duty."

(Wasn't Troy McClure in a TV show about a cop who solves crimes in his spare time?)

Friday, July 13, 2007


"equals is very nearly a blemish on the language"

Friday, July 06, 2007

Teletraan-1: The Transformers Wiki

As neato as this may be, it makes me wonder. Why do we need all these wikis for things like Transformers and Star Trek, when Wikipedia could easily hold all this stuff (indeed, all human knowledge EVAR) if it wasn't for the people trying to make the place serious and "encyclopedic".