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Wednesday, July 30, 2003  permanent URL for this entry

Linda Hope said the burial would be private... "My mother asked him where he wanted to be buried and he said, 'Surprise me."'

Speaking of comedy, I've heard from the Chief again (previous traffic). Apparently I've done all too good a job of convincing him I'm Nigerian. I wrote:

Sorry if my letter was not clear! Maybe I am not writing well! I want to be straight forward and square, OYA!

You say I should come to you to see the stone! But the stone is in Nigeria as I understand, and I am in Arizona USA! I think, YEPA, it would take large money for me to get there! Can you send picture of the stone?

and then after a few days of silence wrote again:

I have not had an answer back from you! I am still interested about the stone. Did you get my letter?!

This got a reply, this time entirely in a size-six font, and underscored. The mail headers suggest he's using a yahoo mail account; I doubt that that's the default formatting, but you never know...





Intriguing, eh? I wonder what "sabo" means in this context. It seems to be a relatively common Nigerian proper noun, sometimes perhaps meaning "ghetto" or "slum". Or "sabo" for "saboteur"? I picked another Nigerian 419 spammer at random and replied asking what "sabo" means, but he hasn't replied for some reason. *8) I have written the Chief back to discuss the possibility of getting a white man collected.

Speaking of 419 scams, this story is priceless; the prankster apparently persuaded the scammer to send him 5 grams of gold. That'd be hard to beat.

- 5 for "naked pictures of helen"
- 3 for "helen naked pictures"
- 2 for "gaulbladder"
- 2 for "ipod"
- 1 for "berry"
- 1 for "gaul bladder"
- 1 for "harry potter"
- 1 for "house of leaves"
- 1 for "ipd"
- 1 for "iris chacon"

A Drug War Carol.

Quote of the day: "After contacting 430 potential 'victims,' he met and befriended Bernd Brandes, who was interested in being eaten".

Words we'd hoped never to hear: "We have your wife and daughter. If you want your family released, you know where to find us. Sincerely, the United States Army"

Spam subject line o' the day: "The Father of GH Secretagogues".

Chomsky: How do you think these wizards build gigantic towers and mighty fortresses? Where do they get the money? Keep in mind that I do not especially regard anyone, Saruman included, as an agent for progressivism. But obviously the pipe-weed operation that exists is the dominant influence in Middle Earth. It's not some ludicrous magical ring.

And even more worryingly:

The winner of the 2004 U. S. Presidential election will be Howard Dean or Wesley Clark (or President George W. Bush, should he order the combat use of nuclear weapons before November of 2004).

On the one hand, How Not To Get Sued By The RIAA For File-Sharing; on the other, H. R. 2885: To prohibit the distribution of peer-to-peer file trading software in interstate commerce.

Briefly noted:

A reader asks:

Whatever happened to metababy?

I have no inside sources of information here. It got pretty nasty toward the end; battling 'bots and all. So it may be another of them extended rest periods. You never know! (The Gallery is still up, although over time the images are gradually breaking and falling away, like the windows in an abandoned house.)

One of the responsibilities of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to watch over and protect the doctrine of the faith, so that the People of God may remain faithful to the teaching which has been received. At times, the Congregation must proceed to a doctrinal examination and point out, even by means of a public notification, the ambiguities and errors contained in widely-distributed works that may be harmful to the faith of the People of God, in order to make the necessary corrections.

Monday, July 28, 2003  permanent URL for this entry

Thanks to the kind readers who pointed me toward the secret place within the Windows volume control thing where you can fiddle with the recording level of the various audio inputs (double click the volume control in the tray-thing if you've got one, then do Options then Properties then select "Adjust Volume for Recording").

For some reason the Line In volume on this Thinkpad was way down. I turned it up, tried again the things I tried on Friday, and it worked! I recorded Joni Mitchell's "Carey" off of my "Blue" cassette, and various songs off of Eno and Cale's "Wrong Way Up". The quality is pretty poor (not sure if that's the audio system or the software or the ancientness of the tapes), and it's in mono (because Windows Sound Recorder doesn't do stereo as far as I can tell), so it's basically AM Radio quality, but that's really kind of fun.

On the other hand I found that my beaten-up tape of "Wrong Way Up" has a damaged patch in the middle of "Empty Frame"; so I've ordered a copy of the CD used from Amazon. (I also ordered "Ambient 3" and "Ambient 4" brand-new, in a fit of madness, and bought Radiohead's "OK Computer" at the local fye just to see what all the fuss was about (I'm not sure yet); must lower music-buying rate!)

(I also converted a few of my favorites from my own algorithmic composition portfolio from MIDI to mp3 via the rather complicated route through iMovie, and added those to the iPod. Every iPod should hold at least a couple of songs written by its owner!)

There was a long line of cars in front of me,
I came as soon as I could.
I left without paying,
A suitcase under my arm.

While doing the recordings from tape I was of course bopping around the Web reading about the songs. On one page I found lots of juicy stuff and extended quotes from Eno about some of the songs, including the wonderful story behind the very enigmatic lyrics to "Cordoba" (reminding me why I think I was Brian Eno in a relatively recent life), and some thoughts about different kinds of music:

There are so many rock songs with "I do this", "I want", "I need", "I woke up this morning", "I gotta get next to you, girl" - that kind of thing, "I gotta feel your body". And I've always said, I don't want to write songs like that, 'relationship songs' I call them. So I had this idea, I didn't want to write songs that started with "I". I didn't want to write songs that ended with "you" - that was the other thing I didn't want. And I didn't want "love" in between. So I didn't want "I love you" as a message, how ever it was filled out and disguised. I didn't want that as a message.

And so, partly through John Cale's influence, he said "Oh, come on. Just do it!" And so I thought "Well, maybe I break my own rules for a change."...

But I thought "How could you do something with the love song form that is maybe original?"

I've felt a few times lately, listening to the iPod on shuffle, that the rotation is starting to get cluttered up with something like what Eno's calling "relationship songs" here, and I don't, or don't always, like that. I like music that's trying to do something "that is maybe original". Which isn't to say that I don't enjoy a good relationship song, too, or a good teen angst song, or a good ridin' down the highway song.

Maybe the next playlist I put together ought to be "maybe original". I've been thinking about that same idea under the name "edge" for awhile. If they're both actually the same idea.

Maybe I'll eventually start to figure out this music stuff.

If I don't get distracted...

Friday, July 25, 2003  permanent URL for this entry

Today we'll have just large swathes (swathes?) of text written by other people. Hey, at least it's different!

On the subject of getting music from these dusty old cassettes to the iPod, a certain digital medievalist passes on thoughts in the Mac context:

Subject: Analog to Digital


The spouse is a past master; get a Griffin imic, which allows you to connect a USB mac to your stereo receiver, and record the vinyl or cassette to a hard drive -- one with lots of space, since a minute will take a bit over 10 MB.

Then use (expensive) Toast Titanium or (cheap) amadeus to massage the sound files, divide the humongous file into smaller track based files.

Burn an archive CD of the files using uncompressed AIFF, then import them into iTunes and convert them to AAC for your iPod, MP3 for devices that speak MP3.


Thanks! That iMic looks useful (and since it's not actually made by Apple it doesn't cost like fifty bucks for the unit itself and another twenty for the wires, sheesh). Bizarre that the iBook doesn't have any sort of microphone or line-in port built in, really.

A certain relative weighs in from the Wintel side:

You asked about converting analog music to digital. I do it all the time. I've been converting audio tapes to cd's for quite some time.

I plug the output of the tape player into the line input of the sound card. (I plan to do the same thing with vinyl records, except there I have to run it through a preamp to bring the level of the record player pickup to line level.)

Then I use a really great piece of software. PolderbitS Sound recorder and editor, which I paid for and is not very expensive.

You use the sound recorder and click on the start button and then start playing the tape. It converts the sound to digital and stores it on your hard disk in a temporary file. After you click on stop, you automatically go to the sound editor where you can split the bands by looking at the silence. You can also play the stuff while editing. It will also automatically split the bands if the silence is clean. You can also listen and split it anywhere you want.

After you are done splitting you are allowed to save the pieces into what ever directory you want. Everything is saved as .wav files.

You can then assemble the .wav files in any order you want and burn an audio cd using another program. Or you can convert them to mp3's or ogg's or others using another program.

I use Easy Audio CD creator/extractor for the recording and conversion stuff. It will handle a whole bunch of formats. http://www.poikosoft.com. It also is quite inexpensive.

Both programs are excellent and seem very stable. I've been getting (and buying) the updates and the get better all the time. Both are from Europe. There is some great software being written over there.

I figured I'd play around with that a little, just using Sound Recorder in Windows to record a single song. Well, it turns out that the one working cassette player in the house has RCA jacks for Line Out. So I went to Radio Shack and bought a "stereo RCA plugs to stereo mini plug" cable (one can never have too many different audio cables), and I was able to hook things together. But then it turns out that the microphone input on the Thinkpad here has way too much amplification, and Sound Recorder records mammoth distortion if I plug the miniplug in there. On the other hand the other plug, the one that seems to be Line In, has not nearly enough amplification, and Sound Recorder records the tiniest wisp of sound, which can actually be heard only if you turn it up so loud that various hisses and random Brownian noise are clearly audible.

So that didn't work! Maybe I'll order the iMic from Amazon. Or maybe I need to get a more modern cassette player. Or both.

An evil person writes:

Dear eBay member.

Your account has been chosen accidentally. Since there are a lot of cases of cheating, we'd like you to visit your account.If you are not going to do that, your account will be removed away from our site system.

This is of course one of those password-stealing scams that have been around forever and have made the media recently. But the grammar of this one was so amazingly bad that I felt moved to record it. Remove me away from their site system, will they?

Feeling all grubby and materialistic and (worse) contingent so far, we will close with an amazing poem, seen on Alamut (who still doesn't seem to have useable permalinks to current entries); it's also on the Web in various other places, and now here also.


J.A. Lindon

Entering the lonely house with my wife
I saw him for the first time
Peering furtively from behind a bush --
Blackness that moved,
A shape amid the shadows,
A momentary glimpse of gleaming eyes
Revealed in the ragged moon.
A closer look (he seemed to turn) might have
Put him to flight forever --
I dared not
(For reasons that I failed to understand),
Though I knew I should act at once.

I puzzled over it, hiding alone,
Watching the woman as she neared the gate.
He came, and I saw him crouching
Night after night.
Night after night
He came, and I saw him crouching,
Watching the woman as she neared the gate.

I puzzled over it, hiding alone --
Though I knew I should act at once,
For reasons that I failed to understand
I dared not
Put him to flight forever.

A closer look (he seemed to turn) might have
Revealed in the ragged moon.
A momentary glimpse of gleaming eyes
A shape amid the shadows,
Blackness that moved.

Peering furtively from behind a bush,
I saw him for the first time,
Entering the lonely house with my wife.


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