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August 3, 2005

Filed under: random»linky

Link dump, August

Boy, do I feel lazy.

  • The Skeptic's Circle, with Harry Potter theme. Well, nothing's perfect.
  • The Carnival of Gamers, #5. My bit on perfect games is on here. It seems a little small this time--I'm hoping the next monthly installment is more impressive. But you know, the summer is bad for games, both as new releases and in the general atmosphere.
  • Flying Cats make me smile. Set it to a 1-second delay and just sit back to watch.
  • I'll have more on this later, after I finish working on some fiction. In the meantime, someone needs to sit in a corner and think deeply about their misappropriation of Orwell.
  • Kung Fu Monkey speaks truth on evolution and the presidency.
Actual original thought on the way. It's been a busy week on my social calendar.

June 7, 2005

Filed under: random»personal»finances

I Am Waiting To Buy A Bass

Note the phrasing, if you will. That title does not read "I am buying a bass," or "I have bought a bass," or even the classic musician's lament, "I'm thinking about buying a bass." No, contained in that title is an expression of delayed expectations. It is a title that says I might buy an instrument in the future, once certain conditions are met.

See this bass?

Nice, isn't it? That's a Rickenbacker 4003, Jetglo, vintage neck pickup not shown. Through a good distortion channel, it sounds like the Wrath of God descending in one massive power chord. Clean, it has a piano-like chime that enunciates every note with clarity, without losing the low thunder. The Rick's best special feature, however, is called Rick-O-Sound, a stereo output jack that lets the pickups be routed through separate effects chains--like playing two instruments at once. For a looping solo artist-slash-lunatic like me, it's a perfect machine.

That's the idea, at least. And if the local shop where I'd placed my order for this bass, 3 months ago, had come through, I'd probably be boring you with experimental symphonies and signal diagrams. Unfortunately, it's now 9 months since the order date, and there is no Rickenbacker to be found. So as soon as I pay my taxes and my tuition next week, I'll be going down to the guitar shop to get my deposit back, and I'll be ordering from MusiciansFriend.com instead.

I didn't want to do that. I wanted to support the local shop, the same way I want to support local musicians and local everything else. Musician's Friend isn't a Wal-Mart in terms employee abuse, but they're still a big multinational corporation. As far as I'm concerned, that makes them the Man, and I prefer to spend my Rock dollars fighting the Man. On the other hand, the Man will sell me a Bass, and the shop in Centreville (one of the only Rickenbacker dealers around, especially since Guitar Center isn't qualified any more) won't.

Isn't that the problem with the age of Internet commerce? Thomas Friedman can go on about his "flat earth," but what it means to the average consumer is that there's a more boring retail experience. There's no brilliance--no clerks with clever recommendations or expert help--but there's also less incompetence, when the recommendations and the help aren't so clever or expert at all. I don't enjoy shopping through a browser as much as I do in person--with books and instruments there's a tactile side to the purchase that can really add to your confidence, and considering the amount I'm spending on the Rick, that's a nice option to have. Too bad the local music shop won't cooperate.

April 11, 2005

Filed under: random»comedy_and_tragedy

Best. Warning. Ever.

From an A&W Cream Soda, 20oz plastic bottle (emphasis mine):

WARNING: CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE. CAP MAY BLOW OFF CAUSING EYE OR OTHER SERIOUS INJURY. POINT AWAY FROM FACE AND PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY WHILE OPENING.

I don't know about you, but it makes me want to go shake up some cream soda.

Future - Present - Past