Sunday, October 29, 2006

Weekly musical listening habits analysis

Taking my top 10 artists for last week (as reported by last.fm)
Adding up the total number of listeners (as reported by same site)
Taking the average and dividing by the number of listeners of the top artist of the week (as reported by same site)

1 Fleetwood Mac - 97,039
2 Evanescence - 210,037
3 Cat Power - 132,224
4 Sarah McLachlan - 115,790
5 bjorn lynne - 630
6 Tapping the Vein - 2,615
7 Aerosmith - 187,337
7 Michelle Branch - 74,756
9 Anna Nalick - 26,085
10 Avril Lavigne - 152,351

Average: 99,886.4
Top artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers - 399,815
Average / RHCP: .249831547090529

Which makes my listening habits for last week 25% mainstream (rounded).

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Some really cool sounds

This guy is damn good.

Simon Davies - Big Love (Lindsey Buckingham cover)




If you want to see & hear even more: Simon Davies Videos on YouTube

Friday, October 27, 2006

40 Songs, 38 Questions

Put your music player on shuffle.
Post the first 40 songs that come up. You can repeat artists if you want. If you have any repeats, skip to the next track.


1. Moby - We Are All Made Of Stars
2. Aerosmith - Crazy
3. Snake River Conspiracy - Lovesong
4. Evanescence - Understanding
5. Sarah McLachlan - Answer
6. Led Zeppelin - When The Levee Breaks
7. Dot Allison - We're Only Science
8. Tracy Scott Silverman - 1983 (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)
9. Audioslave - Getaway Car
10. Sarah McLachlan - Perfect Girl
11. A Perfect Circle - Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums
12. The Swank Band - Blurry (Puddle of Mudd cover)
13. Evanescence - Give Unto Me
14. Silverchair - Black Tangled Heart
15. Natalie Imbruglia - Smoke
16. Stabbing Westward - The Only Thing
17. Snake River Conspiracy - How Soon Is Now
18. Shadow Gallery - Hope for Us
19. Stevie Nicks - Landslide (Unplugged)
20. Audioslave - Shadow On The Sun
21. Blue Oyster Cult - Godzilla
22. Evanescence - Ascencion of the Spirit
23. Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love
24. Harry Chapin - Cats in the Cradle
25. Sneaker Pimps - Firestarter (Prodigy Cover)
26. Evanescence - Silver Rain Fell
27. Michelle Branch - I'll Always Be Right There
28. Aerosmith - Angel
29. Linkin Park - Krwlng
30. Vast - Pretty When You Cry
31. Led Zeppelin - What Is And What Should Never Be
32. Enigma - Push The Limits
33. Evanescence - Eternal
34. A Perfect Circle - Imagine
35. Fleetwood Mac - Black Magic Woman
36. Evanescence - Exodus
37. Sarah McLachlan - Sweet Surrender
38. Nine Inch Nails & Static X - Closer (Trance Remix)
39. Dave Navarro - Rexall
40. Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven


01. Which song do you prefer, No. 1 or No. 40?
No. 40, it's an old classic favorite I'll never grow tired of.

02. Have you ever listened to No. 12 continuously on repeat?
Yes...it's a great instrumental cover...really grows on ya.

03. What album is No. 26 from?
Origin

04. What do you think about the artist who did No. 15?
I like her stuff a lot when I am in the mood to hear female vocalists.

05. Is No. 19 one of your favorite songs?
I wouldn't call it one of my favorites, but I do like it a lot.

06. Who does No. 38 remind you of?
My daughter. She was the one that got me listening to NIN...and she LOVES Static X. Reminds me of the guy that Kiz & I were giving dance lessons to, in a chatroom, so he wouldn't look like a fool at his prom. Also reminds me of Martin...not going to explain why. :-P

07. Does No. 20 have better lyrics or music?
Lyrics. I like the song a lot because of the lyrics and especially the vocals. It has so much raw emotion.

08. Do any of your friends like No. 3?
Yes, but only because I made them listen to it.

09. Is No. 33 from a movie soundtrack?
I don't think so. I am pretty sure it isn't.

10. Is No. 18 overplayed on the radio?
I have never come across a radio station that plays anything by Shadow Gallery. (I am not counting internet radio like DeliciousAgony.com).

11. What does No. 21 remind you of?
It reminds me of my daughter and her idea to totally decorate her ex-boyfriend's livingroom in a Tokyo theme, complete with Godzilla movie posters and a foam model of Tokyo in the corner for her to pretend she is Godzilla and stomp on it when she is angry or frustrated with something....most likely him. Gee, I am glad she finally dumped him.

12. Which song do you prefer, No. 5 or No. 22?
No. 5 because of the lyrics. It's one of those sweet songs with heart.

13. What album is No. 17 from?
Sonic Jihad...and it's a Smiths cover.

14. When did you first hear No. 39?
About 2 years ago. My daughter was playing it.

15. When did you first hear No. 7?
About a year ago. Another one from my daughter.

16. What genre is No. 8?
It's kind of a new age smooth jazz instrumental thing. I was never really crazy about Jimi Hendrix, until I heard that tune. His stuff is much better when someone covers it....I am not sure why. maybe it was his voice, or just his style.

17. Do any of your friends like No. 14?
I have never heard anybody mention it before.

18. What color does No. 4 remind you of?
A dark maroon?

19. Have you ever blasted No. 11 on your stereo?
YES! YES! YES!...on repeat too. (Wake up, you sheep! The world is turning into a scary place because you sleep.)

20. What genre is No. 37?
Female vocalist alternative pop stuff.

21. Can you play No. 13 on any instrument?
Does a kazoo count as a musical instrument? If not, then no...because I can't play an instrument.

22. What is your favorite lyric from No. 30?
If you knew how much I love you, you would run away.

23. What is your favorite lyric from No. 23?
Way down inside, woman,
You need love.

24. Would you recommend No. 24 to your friends?
It's a classic I think everyone already knows. But if I hear them playing a cover I will mention the original, in a comparison.

25. Is No. 2 a good song to dance to?
Maybe a slow dance.

26. Do you ever hear No. 16 on the radio?
Never.

27. Is No. 32 more of a "nighttime" or "daytime" song?
I think that depends what you do during the day or night. If you need a song to get the energy flowing, this would be one of those. I guess if you were doing some sort of physical labor like cleaning your house during the day it would be daytime music...but I can think of some things you could do at night this song's beat would be great for. :-P

28. Does No. 36 have any special meaning to you?
Yes, it does. Reminds me of some of the rough times I went through as a teen. It almost seems like the songwriter was inside my mind at the time and wrote it about the crap I went through.

29. Do any of your friends like No. 31?
Yeah...it's a well loved classic.

30. Is No. 25 a fast or slow song?
Slow....and that's what makes this a cover good. It's slow, hot, & sexy.

31. Is No. 35 a happy or sad song?
Neither.

32. What is one of your favorite lyrics from No. 9?
The first time I saw you, you were chasin down a cyclone, all alone in the field with railyards and clovers. I kept rollin on. Never thought you'd wind up chasin me.

33. Is No. 34 better to listen to alone or with friends?
It's one of those songs people like to sing along to and everyone knows the lyrics to. So it is good with either friends or alone.

34. When did you first hear No. 27?
About a year & a half ago. I love this song. It expresses my feelings for my close friends...the ones I would do anything for...the ones that are like family to me, in my heart.

35. Name 3 other songs by the artist who did No. 29:
1. My December
2. One Step Closer
3. In the End

36. Do you know all the words to No. 6?
No.

37. Does No. 28 have better lyrics or music?
Music...especially if you consider the human voice a musical instrument. Most of the time it doesn't matter what Steve Tyler is saying. What matters is the way he says it...full of emotion. You don't hear the music, you feel it...and his voice has everything to do with that.

38. What album is No. 10 from?
Afterglow

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The fridge is clean, through no fault of my own

Last night I had to wake up my daughter. A phone call came in at around 4am about one of her friends being in labor. It turned out to be a false alarm, but untill my daughter knew that she was a nervous wreck. She was guzzling tea to wake herself up...then pacing through the house being a super chatterbox. When i started laughing she got a bit pissed and went into the kitchen to find something to do to keep herself busy & out of my hair....

Which means cleaning!

She cleaned out the fridge of anything she couldn't identify as being less than 1 week old, tossing it in the trash or dumping it in the toilet.

I offered her a sponge, but she declined.

Hey, I won't complain...I'll take what I can get...what she did was appreciated...much appreciated.

I only wish she could be that way about all messes she sees or makes, instead of growing 'science experiments' all over the house, and only being a picky, fussy, neat freak about what is immediately in front of me at my desk, while I am busy working, when I would rather she stop shoving her arm in front of my face & just go away and stop being a distraction.

Now I'll have to do some food shopping...that fridge is pretty damn empty.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Still slacking...sort of

In my last post I showed you what my sink looked like. It still looks like that right now. I haven't finished it.

But I have cleaned my microwave counter. I mean really cleaned it...moved the glass mat and scrubbed under it...scrubbed the mat...the works.

So while I still haven't shined my sink, I have shined my microwave counter. That should count for something.

My husband got sugar all over it already...says he didn't do it, but I don't use sugar and my daughter wasn't home...had to be him.

Woke up today to 3 empty water conatiners on the counter too. I am not filling them up...they can die of thirst.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

It's FlyLady time!

As I have stated in a previous post, I am trying to become more productive.

So far all attempts haven't worked, and have actually made things worse. But I am going to keep trying.

I have tried GTD (Getting Things Done), which the concepts in it seem very alien to me and don't feel like they can be applied to my life. Then I tried GED (Get Everything Done) and DIT (Do It Tomorrow), and it was the same way, but not quite as bad....it at least made a little sense, although I still felt like it wasn't addressing the needs that I have. All of these systems seem to assume you have appointments to keep, things to do, places to go, people to see, phone calls to make, etc. Things you can actually put on lists and check them off when they are done. It all seems so geared towards someone that has some sort of office/corporate life.

The results thus far have been bad. I am actually less productive than I used to be and I am very depressed about it. Mouser thinks the whole Getting Organized Experiment has put me on the verge of a breakdown, and he might be right. I don't really know. I don't feel like myself very much any more. I can't remember how I used to get the things that I enjoyed done. At this point I would be glad to be able to recover that much and say to hell with the rest.

But since I am not going to give up, now I am trying the FlyLady approach.

Small baby steps towards developing better habits, one at a time.

It's a totally different approach than the other methods I have tried before. The other methods seemed to be targeted at people working in offices and having some sort of structure in their lives, to begin with. I have none. I wake up when I want...go to sleep when I want...do wtf I please in between. I don't have appointments. I don't have a job. I don't have the things to do that office people do.

My computer is obsessively organized. My bills get paid on time if there is money for it and my husband feels like paying them. I don't forget any occasional obligations that pop up. but my house is a wreck and I am a wreck., and that is what FlyLady is supposed to help me with.

Flylady is more for people that spend their time at home, or need help with organizing their home life, outside the office. It's more domestic...which is what I need. And it's a whole life approach...not just cleaning your house. Her system puts you, your home, and your life back together.

I signed up for the email reminders. She reminds you to do things...like drink water, wear shoes, sweep the floor, vacuum the carpet, have fun on Friday night with the one you love,etc.

First thing I have to do is shine my sink.

Why? In Flylady's own words:


This is your first household chore. Many of you can't understand why I want you to empty your sink of your dirty dishes and clean and shine it, when there is so much more to do. It is so simple. I want you to have a sense of accomplishment. You have struggled for years with a cluttered home and you are so beaten down. I just want to put a smile on your face. When you get up the next morning, your sink will greet you and a smile will come across your lovely face. I can't be there to give you a big hug, but I know how good it feels to see yourself in your kitchen sink. So each morning this is my gift to you. Even though I can't be there to pat you on the back, I want you to know that I am very proud of you.

Go shine your sink! - FlyLady



Now this is my assignment for Day 1, which I have yet to complete, and it is already Day 3. It's not that I am not trying, because I am. The problem is I can't shine my sink till it's empty, which it isn't. I have to do the dishes first, which I am...and that's a lot of dishes! I have done most of them, though.

This is what I have left to do:



I am making progress, and hopefully I'll be able to start shining my sink sometime before tomorrow. And when I have done that I am going to hang up a sign by the sink telling everyone that if they love me at all, they are to wash, dry, and put away their dishes as soon as they have been used, because I am tired of cleaning up after everyone with things they should be doing themselves. It does not say that I should be abused this way in the definition of either wife or mother. This has to stop...and it is going to stop now!

And damnit, if those 2 mess makers I live with start filling the sink up again I am going to fucking snap and throw all the dishes in the trash! And if my husband thinks that means he is supposed to go out and buy a case of 50 plates and a package of 20 forks to replace them so he can fill the sink up again, I will toss them down the stairs as soon as he hands them to me.

And if it means throwing all the baking equipment away because my daughter can't clean up after making cupcakes, I'll do it. And if there isn't any equipment left for me to use to make Giftmas cookies, then oh fucking well. Both of them will have her to blame, and not me. They can go buy fucking cookies from a supermarket. I won't care. Putting myself and my life back together, and not being a doormat any more, is more important to me at this point than some damn cookie baking tradition.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Evil Lists

I decided that I wanted to become more productive.

A good place to start would be figuring out all the things I had to do...make a list of some sort. So I started.

At first, it was kind of hard to think of what it was I had to do. I am a stay at home unemployed housewife with no real life friends and one adult child.

But the more I thought about it, the easier it was for me to come up with things that I am supposed to do...things that were expected of me...things that were placed upon me by others as my obligations and responsibilities.

Next came the obligations I placed on myself because I like to be a good friend to my online companions. They are the only friends I have and they mean a lot to me. So I feel like I owe them something in return for their friendship...my way of expressing how I appreciate them.

The list started getting longer & longer and I started getting depressed and feeling ill over realizing that this list was full of things I did not want to do.

Where is the fun in my life?

I had to stop with writing that list. I was in tears. It was a mistake. I had to delete it. It was just too depressing.

Then I made another mistake. I started another list.

I thought it would do me some good to think about all the things I wanted to do instead of that list full of things I did not want to do. What I ended up creating was a list of all my unfulfilled dreams and heart's desires. Putting into text the life I wish I had. It was a list of things I never accomplished but wish I did. A list of dreams I am not allowed to have...goals I am not allowed to reach. It was just as depressing as the other list that I deleted, so I deleted this one too.

So I go to clean out my recycle bin and there are the two lists...sitting there all by themselves. And I realize that those two lists are a summary of my life and what it really is...and I cry.

Crying does not help though...it does not solve the problem.

So what am I supposed to do about this?

I restored the lists from the recycle bin, opened them both up, and put them side by side on my screen. My idea was to take some of the things off my list of stuff I did not want to do but had to...just say no and not do them. Nothing budged. I cannot bring myself to say no to a friend that wants or needs, even if what they want or need is something I really do not want to do. Saying no makes me feel like crap...like I am a shitty friend. I cannot do it. Saying no to my husband just causes trouble I do not want to deal with. I do not need any more fighting over bullshit in my house...I already have enough.

Step 2 was going to be to move stuff from the list of things I want to do, to the other one, to replace the things I removed. My goal was to make a more balanced list that was not so depressing.

Moving things to the other list was not happening either. There was nothing on it that I could actually do and make happen. Everything had some obstacle beyond my control blocking it from ever getting done.

So I have managed to reduce the core of my being to two pathetic, depressing lists.

So much for time management.

Microsoft's EULA

I was installing the .Net 2.0 framework on a WinME PC recently.

I am wondering if I should have agreed to this EULA:

omgwtfbbq!

 

Humorous Note: Windows Live Writer's spellcheck doesn't know what WinME is.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Brand Names: The Hell of the Hype

Related to a discussion on the hype behind brand recognition that is going on here, is this gem from Random Rarebits:


How is communication important in branding? Perhaps...the following analogies will help us define the word...

You're at a party and see a handsome guy. You get up and straighten your dress. You walk up to him and pour him a drink. You say, "May I," and reach up to straighten his tie brushing your breast lightly against his arm, and then say, "By the way, I'm fantastic in bed." That's Public Relations.

You're at a party with a bunch of friends and see a handsome guy. One of your friends goes up to him and pointing at you says,"She's fantastic in bed." That's Advertising.

You see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him and say, "I'm fantastic in bed." That's Direct Marketing.

You see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him and get his telephone number. The next day you call and say, "Hi, I'm fantastic in bed." That's Telemarketing.

You're on your way to a party when you realize that there could be handsome men in all these houses you're passing. So you climb out the sunroof of the car and shout at the top of your lungs, "I'm fantastic in bed!" That's Spam.

You're at a party and see a handsome guy. He walks up to you and says, "I hear you're fantastic in bed." That's Brand Recognition.


Some brands have become so recognizable, that the brand becomes the commonly known substitute for the generic name for the product:

Brillo = steel wool soap pads.
Q-tips = cotton tipped swabs.
Cheez Whiz = processed cheese product
Kitty Litter = cat box filler
Band-Aid = plastic adhesive bandage
Velcro = hook & loop tape
Post-It Notes = sticky notes
Scotch Tape = clear cellophane tape
Duck Tape = duct tape
Minute Rice = instant rice
Oreos = chocolate sandwich cookies with white cream
Coke = carbonated 'cola' beverage
Saran Wrap = plastic wrap
Windex = ammonia based glass cleaner
Escalator = moving staircase
Allen wrench = hexagonal screwdriver
Crock-Pot = slow cooker
Granola = oat and fruit mixture
Hula Hoop - toy ring
Linoleum = vinyl floor covering
Touch-Tone = dual tone multi-frequency telephone signaling
Yo-Yo = toy
Lava lamp = decorative light
Spam = canned pork product
Ace bandage = cloth elastic bandage
Alka-Seltzer = multi-purpose effervescent tablet
Novocaine = local anesthetic
Tylenol = pain reliever
Advil = pain reliever
Aqua-Lung = Scuba equipment
Breathalyzer = breath alcohol analyzer
Bubble Wrap = air-filled plastic packing material
ChapStick = lip balm
Ethernet = IEEE 802.3 LAN protocol
Fig Newton = soft cake-like cookie filled with fig jam
Jaws of Life = a rescue tool
Jell-O = gelatin dessert
Kleenex = packaged folded facial tissue paper
Laundromat = self-service laundry
Magic Marker = Felt-tip marker
Phillips Screwdriver = screwdriver with a cross-pointed drive hole
Play-Doh = commercial plastic modeling compound, clay-like
Pop Tart = breakfast toaster pastry
Rollerblade = inline skates
Speedo = tight-fitting swimsuit
Swiss Army Knife = a clasp-knife with multi-functional blades
Thermos = vacuum flask
Vaseline = petroleum jelly
Windbreaker = light jacket
X-Acto knife = sharp precision craft knife with short replaceable blades
Zamboni = ice resurfacing machine

In the end, regardless of what brand of the actual product you use, you still call it by its most recognizable brand name.

Could that be considered a success by a company? or perhaps a bit of a failure at the same time, since you call the competitors product by their brand name and buy the other product any way.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Companies Pay for Good Reviews and Praise

The discussion began back in February for us, on DonationCoder.com, but the latest chapter is quite hilarious.

If someone offered you cash or a freebie to say nice things about their products on forums or in your blog, could you, with a clear conscience, do something like that to your readers? Even if it was a crap product? Would violating their trust be worth it in the long run?

phoneJoel Spolsky didn't think so. Sprint gave him a free phone to write about. And he wrote about it in the most brutally honest way imaginable.

Way to go, Joel, for your honesty and not compromising your integrity for a free phone. You've earned +10 internet points from me.

Friday, October 06, 2006

How to measure success

The average person spends 1/3 of their life sleeping, 1/3 of their life working, with just 1/3 of their life left to do whatever the hell they please.

Of that remaining 1/3, half of that is spent on obligations to family & friends.

That leaves them with 1/6 of their life to do whatever the hell they please.

Now if you can take that 1/6 and not waste it, and actually use that time to do what it is you want...really want...and not what others think you should, then you have that much success.

1/6 success is not bad...better than the ones that spend it in front of a TV and never doing the things in life that they really want to do.


But it is possible to have more than that 1/6.

What if the 1/6 that you spend on friends & family was spent doing what you want to do, also? Spending time with "friends" that you really don't want to, just because you somehow feel obligated in some way, is robbing you of more success. Spending time with a spouse or "significant" other that you really do not feel so passionate about, robs you of more success. Spending time on kids you wish you never had robs you of more success.

I am not saying everyone does this. I am not even saying that most do it. But look at your life and any given moment during that 1/6 that you spend on family & friends, and ask yourself this:

if I didn't somehow feel obligated, would I be doing this any way? Is it what I really want to do?

That will give you some idea of how much of that 1/6 you can add to the 1/6 you are spending doing what it is that you really want. If you are a really lucky person, or extremely wise, you will have reclaimed the entire 1/6 to add and actually have 1/3 of your life that you are spending doing what it is that you want.

That leaves the other 1/3 that you spend on work.

Do you love your job? Are you doing what you really want? Does it feel like fun? Does it feel like play? If you had a different career, would you be doing what you do at work now, just for fun? for no pay? In other words, have you taken what you would be doing as a hobby and made a career from it?

If you answered yes, then you have reclaimed the remaining 1/3, meaning you spend all of your waking life doing what it is that you really want.

And that is my idea of real success.

It doesn't matter how much money you have...or what kind of car you drive...or what kind of house you live in...or what kind of clothes you wear.

Those things do not measure real success.

Happiness measures success...and you can only have that when you are doing what it is you really want...when you are making your dreams reality.

Anything else is wasting your time.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Song of Life

I thought the following story was very sweet, but almost too incredible to be true...like a fairytale. I'd love to verify it.

There is a tribe in East Africa in which the art of true intimacy (I would call it bonding) is fostered even before birth. In this tribe, the birth date of a child is not counted from the day of its physical birth nor even the day of conception, as in other village cultures. For this tribe the birth date comes the first time the child is a thought in its mother's mind. Aware of her intention to conceive a child with a particular father, the mother then goes off to sit alone under a tree. There she sits and listens until she can hear the song of the child that she hopes to conceive. Once she has heard it, she returns to her village and teaches it to the father so that they can sing it together as they make love, inviting the child to join them. After the child is conceived, she sings it to the baby in her womb. Then she teaches it to the old women and midwives of the village, so that throughout the labor and at the miraculous moment of birth itself, the child is greeted with its song. After the birth, all the villagers learn the song of their new member and sing it to the child when it falls or hurts itself. It is sung in times of triumph, or in rituals and initiations. The song becomes a part of the marriage ceremony when the child is grown, and at the end of life, his or her loved ones will gather around the deathbed and sing this song for the last time.

(From Birth and Violence)