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Agalloch, Taurus, Rituals @ Rhythm Room Phoenix - review

Nicholas DiBiase
Poster: Nicholas DiBiase @ Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:09 pm

Agalloch brings the weight of darkness to the Rhythm Room


So yeah. This show was mind-altering.

Rituals, the local Pho band that opened, was boggling great once again. I've said it before, but I'm telling you : if you like epic doom, you have just got to listen to these cats. Their instrumental melodies and dread-inducing rhythms create a chokingly thick atmosphere. Rituals is carrying the torch for doom metal in Phoenix and they are going to be a household name in the near future (assuming yours is the type of household that listens to stiflingly ponderous corporocerebral doom plodding while a haze wafts in the darkened room and a black goat looms maliciously). Dig them now or count it forever in your litany of regrets.

Taurus was pretty fantastic. Stevie Floyd is a genius, and it was very cool to hear her do some clean singing -- she's got a really nice voice! This band is *totally* different than Dark Castle -- whereas D.C. is more like midtempo math-doom, Taurus is ambient atmospheric music, not really groove-based for the most part. The drummer Ashley Spungin had these great red Lucite drums and was outstanding in her showmanship and orchestral approach to playing. A very emotionally charged performance.

As for Agalloch, oh my G_d. I didn't expect such tightness and masterful showmanship from a band that rarely tours. The musical performance was flawless, and the show included a fair number of very un-black-metal 70s-style rock tropes that I didn't expect (leather pants, rock poses, etc).

Haughm brought out three big stumps, on which he placed incense bowls after lighting incense very theatrically. He even had this horn full of incense that he used. In addition to that, he took out of his gig bag what appeared to be two taxidermied deer fore-legs complete with hooves and placed them on the stump in front of him. It was hella grody as I was standing less than 2 feet away from the stage and I was like "Geez man, I thought you guys were vegan!"

Anyway, the performance was just unbelievably great. They tore through a brilliantly-chosen set with passion and precision. I was particularly stoked to hear "Ghosts of Midwinter Falls," which is my favorite tune of theirs, and "Kneel to the Cross," which is the first tune I ever heard them do.

They put a tremendous amount of energy and feeling into these performances, and I was really happy to see the full Haughm / Anderson / Walton / Dekker lineup present (since I've heard they live quite far from each other and there'd been speculation that not all would tour). Aesop Dekker is quite a bit older than the rest of them and is an absolute BEEZT on the drums. Also a hella nice guy. Anderson was highly animated, doing numerous entertaining rock moves with his guitar -- he's clearly a 70s / 80s metal fan. His command of the guitar is amazing, and the nuance in his picking technique impressive.

Oh one more thing : at the end of the show, Agalloch did the typical "rock band feedback freakout." At the end of it, Haughm was alone on stage and he started playing his guitar with the deer leg! Grooooosss

This was probably one of the top 5 shows I've ever seen. Easily the equal of last year's staggering YOB / Dark Castle show.

Gear rundown for hopeless nerds :

John Haughm :
Three (count 'em, THREE) Travis Bean guitars
Orange Rockerverb 100
Fender Twin Reverb
Hella lot of pedals, including Moogerfooger, Rat, DD3, looper, Boss Heavy Metal, Space something, EB volume, several more

Don Anderson :
Les Paul Custom (tri-burst, probably a GC '68 reissue)
SG Standard (naturalburst)
Marshall half-stack, modern, looked like a JCM2000 style
Hella pedals

Jason Walton
Alembic 5-string Epic bass
Sunn 2000S half-stack

Anderson's Les Paul sounded absolutely incredible. So did Haughm's Bean guitars, but Anderson's fine touch was really brought out by the clarity of this Les Paul.

The Rockerverb 100 sounded wonderful, especially in bi-amp with the Twin. Very articulate sound.

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The last-ever Abigail Williams show, Sovereign, goths

Poster: Hank @ Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:57 am

Just got back from the last-ever Abigail Williams show. Bittersweet -- a moving and deep performance by this brilliant atmospheric blackish metal band, sad to see them hang it up. There are only a handful of metal bands that can really transport you to damp scary places with their music, and Abigail Williams is one of them.

The bassist they had filling in on this tour was most excellent -- huge tone and a fine showman. Ken Sorceron rasped his heart out and got phantasmic tones out of his guitar. The drummer pounded with lethal precision and sounded gigantic with his well-tuned tom-toms. All ov them super nice fellas.

The opener, Sovereign, was a special unexpected treat -- these guys absolutely TORE IT UP with a set of old-school Norwegian-style black metal, and their drummer is a swirling octopus of necro beast beats. They were all decked out in corpsepaint and sleeveless shirts, and looked QUITE grim indeed, glowering from the stage, rocking the snot out of the crowd, and then stalking out through the side door without saying a word.

It's funny to go to black metal shows these days. The audience is about 60% 'standard' black metal fans (longhairs with worn black clothing, some spikes), 30% emo kids (thick glasses, caps, irony, beardy) and 10% chicks that look like they got ostracized from the high school goth clique.

Keywords: Music 
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Mac Pro Update A Dud

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:23 am

You ever look forward to something so much that it stays in the back of your mind all day, giving you a little added spring in your step? You come home from a hard days work, knowing this surprise is waiting for you, and maybe you think "oh, I'll see this tomorrow when I have more time to bask in its awesomeness".

Now I realize that this is just a computer, and I knew it was going to be made of parts that are already on the market and that I knew the best case scenario, but it used to be different with Apple. I remember when the Dual processor 800mg G4 Powermacs came out with the NVidia 6800 GPU option -- which wasn't even available for PC! It blew everyone out of the water; what a fantastic machine.

Really I was more pragmatic about this long-awaited update... and by long awaited I mean over 666 fucking days. I've already bought a new computer and had no intention of buying a new Mac Pro. However this update could still benefit Mac Pro owners wishing to upgrade. When Apple upgrades their machines with new video cards that means driver support expands and we can purchase aftermarket upgrades. This is good, considering the best official video card, the 5870, was released for PC in September 2009.

NVidia kind of hinted at possible driver support for the 570/580 when they released drivers recently for the cards. Though this did not have the necessary firmware to run without a backup card in the Mac Pro (unless you're okay with not being able to do a system recovery), it was only a firmware update away from being a candidate for inclusion into the "Apple Certified" club, which affords benefits such as Apple not killing the card with every software update.

So yes, I was still a little anxious to see what Apple was going to allow us to purchase at inflated prices this year. However, when I woke up like a little kid on Christmas day and ran to see the new toys, I was greeted with the sight of Tim Cook prancing naked around the burning ashes of my tree, hurling handfuls of his own feces at myself and all the other little boys and girls.

Yeah, this update was a little disappointing.

What they did upgrade: They upgraded the processors to ones released in March of 2010. That's right, 2 years old... They reduced the price a little, though the base model is still ridiculously overpriced. They also included $50 more RAM. Thanks Apple!

What they didn't upgrade: The GPU, the case, the USB (were you aware 3.0 is out, Mr Cook?), thunderbolt

On thunderbolt: It is probably upsetting for some that thunderbolt didn't get added, but that's probably the last thing on any reasonable person's list. Apple stuffed the viscous grape thunderbolt Kool-Aid down their users throats like they were geese slated for Foie Gras. I would say Thunderbolt is overrated but I can't seem to think by whom. Even many die-hard Apple fanboys are saying things like "Wait, so I get the same connectivity, but have to buy a shit-ton of expensive adapters to get there? I'd love to blow you, Tim, but I can't find your dick."

Getting back to the point, I really do feel bad for those who waited to upgrade only to have a big glob of Tim's smelly green feces lobbed at their faces, but never fear! David Pogue just wrote a column saying that the updates are coming! THE UPDATES ARE COMING!

As further evidence, someone named Franz emailed "Tim Cook" and received this response:


Thanks for your email. Our Pro customers like you are really important to us. Although we didn't have a chance to talk about a new Mac Pro at today's event, don't worry as we're working on something really great for later next year. We also updated the current model today.

We've been continuing to update Final Cut Pro X with revolutionary pro features like industry leading multi-cam support and we just updated Aperture with incredible new image adjustment features.

We also announced a MacBook Pro with a Retina Display that is a great solution for many pros.


Well fucking great. "No updates for now, but check out our outdated video editing software we keep butchering each update and BUY MY LAPTOP *BLUDGEON*!"

Really I'm not that emotionally invested anymore. I tried to troll the Mac forums trying to find unstable fanboys to tip into a rage-filled tirade to get them banned for profanity, but it looks like every single person there beat me to it. Nobody is excited to consume Apple's kindergartener macaroni art this year. While Apple may have some okay products in the portable markets, their professional line becomes more and more of a joke every year. This is just the latest incarnation of the "because Fuck You, that's why" attitude Apple gives to professionals, lending credence to rumors Apple may get rid of it entirely.

Keywords: Apple  Mac Pro  Macintosh  Mac 
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The legend of Tailypo, as told by Hank

Poster: Hank @ Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:41 pm

It was early November, and food was getting scarce in the woods on the north side of the mountain, where old man Willard lived in a one-room cabin with his three hounds Uno, Rico, and Lucky Tam. All four of them were getting very thin and the nights were biting cold.

The old man was tired on a night when the moon hung like a glowing fingernail above the treetops. All the same, he put on his boots and threadbare coat, picked up his big 12-gauge shotgun, and headed out into the darkness with the hounds in search of something to feed himself and his canine family.

After trudging through the damp forest for an hour, he saw a flash of movement high in a tree to his right. In one fluid motion, he turned his head, discerned the unhappy late-waking squirrel on the branch, shouldered his gun, and fired. The rodent tumbled from the tree along with some branches cut loose by the shot.

The dogs collected the pockmarked dead squirrel and the man took it home, where he skinned it and put pretty much all of it in a pot to boil with some stale water and dried herbs. He shared the stew with his dogs, and they all gulped dowen the meat ravenously.

That meager meal served only to whet their appetites, and soon their stomachs growled for more. The hounds began to whimper, and the man felt compelled to get up and go back out. They had to find some more food.

He walked and walked, over mushy loam and slippery logs, and his breath soon began to freeze against the pulled-up collar of his coat, for the night was very cold indeed. He heard the distant sounds of tree branches cracking in the frost like gunshots.

Suddenly, he glimpsed something bright and yellow -- not the moon -- over his left shoulder. He spotted the outline of something about the size of a big raccoon silhouetted up in an old birch tree whose bark was gray and peeling. A good sized 'coon, thought the old man, will keep us going for probably a coupla days. As he raised the shotgun, the silhouette moved its head, and he was momentarily transfixed by a pair of glowing yellow eyes like nickels made of lightning. He snapped back into his wits, aimed, and pulled the trigger just as the shape began frantically clambering down the tree. BOOM! went the gun, and the animal vanished screaming into the night as the dogs barked.

The old man lowered his gun forlornly. He cursed himself for being distracted by the big yellow eyes instead of taking a good shot when he had one. He walked over to the tree to see if it looked like he'd hit the thing. And it did! There was a lot of thick fresh blood on the trunk of the tree, and he could see big spots of it glistening on the leaves below. Maybe the 'coon didn't get far and I'll find it around here and finish it off, he thought to himself. Then we'll have a big stew and be able to get some sleep.

Then something on the ground caught his eye. Something under the tree, what was it? The man walked over and looked. He saw a large tail, thick as a rattlesnake and covered with heavy brown fur. It was speckled with blood. Well I'll be, said the man to himself, and picked it up. It weighed a good two or three pounds and was about the length of his belt.

He walked around the nearby bushes to see if the animal had fallen there, but it hadn't. They followed the trail of blood until it led him to a brook that burbled down the mountainside, and the trail was gone. Well, thought the man, at least I got a piece of it. He walked back home with the tail in his hand as wisps of cloud traversed the moon overhead.
"Second dinner coming up, boys!" he grinned to the hounds when they returned home, and their tails wagged. The man made a stew from the tail, and after eating it hungrily, he and his hounds finally felt satisfied and could go to sleep.

Sometime in the hours between midnight and dawn, the man was wrenched from deep slumber by a stinging pain in his foot. He shot upright in bed, his eyes bleary and terrified. He bacame aware of a vile skunklike stench that filled the room and a dark lumpy shape. As his eyes resolved their sight, he saw it : a big brown creature with a sharp face, thick fur, and yellow eyes the size of nickels, perched horribly on the foot of his bed, its leathery long-clawed feet gripping. Thin, needle-like teeth hung crazily from its wet, slavering mouth in a smile like a sick dog. Its ears stood up on its head and twitched as if to shoo a fly that wasn't there.

The thing's front foot was still on the old man's bedsheet, the dirty claw stuck through where it had just now been pawing at his toes. A few spots of blood began to spread from underneath the sheet. The man gasped in terror but was frozen, he could not, dared not, move.

The thing's unblinking eyes burned into his for what seemed like minutes. Then the thing licked its disgusting black lips and hopped down onto the man's bed. The man felt the weight of the beast as it landed, a heavy repulsive weight. He felt like his body was made of broken glass, his bones replaced by pure fear.

The thing sneered at him as it inched closer. Then it spoke. It spoke in the most unpleasant, hissing, rasping voice the man had ever heard, and it filled his entire head as the words crawled from the thing's foul mouth.


The man remained frozen in fright. Again it spoke :

"Tailypo. Tailypo! GIVE... BACK... MY... TAILYPO!"

The man screamed, finally. His three hounds woke with a start and began barking loudly. The thing on the bed hissed a hideous hiss, its heavy fur standing on end, making it look even bigger than it was. The stump where its tail had been was scabbed and filthy. "Uno! Rico! Lucky! Sic 'em!" the man howled, and the three big dogs jumped toward the intruder, growling and snapping. The creature scrambled down from the bed and raced around the room with incredible speed, looking for a way out as the dogs viciously pursued it. The man stood atop his bed and didn't dare try to cross the room to where his gun hung next to the stove.

Finding no exit, the beast shreiked again and jumped back on the bed, zooming under the man's legs to leap massively through the window behind the headboard. The glass shattered and the wood splintered against the weight of the animal. Uno, Rico, and Lucky Tam followed close behind and ran out into the night after the thing.

The man was still reeling from shock, but he got down from his bed and limped over to where his gun was, loading it with all the shells it would take. The hounds will get that cursed thing, he thought, but just in case. He washed his foot where the claw had punctured it, and poured some liquor over it in an attempt to disinfect the wound. He wrapped a gauze bandage around it, put on his coat, and hobbled over to the chair to sit down with his weapon and wait for dawn. He had been very tired, but now the fear kept him awake.

He waited and waited. Dawn broke and the hounds still had not returned. The old man put his boots on and walked haltingly around in the forest, gun ready and looking for the dogs, but there was no sign of them. He made his way back to the cabin, looking out also for any food that might appear, but he saw none. He knew he'd be very hungry again today.

The old man sat back down in his chair and waited for a long time. When the sun was halfway down in the sky and clouds in the West turned orange, Lucky Tam and Rico came running back to the cabin. He opened the door and they entered, scraggly and whimpering. He hugged them and gave them water. "Where's Uno?" he asked. The hounds wheezed and whined. That thing got Uno, the old man thought to himself as hot tears welled in his eyes. It'll be back, he thought, I know that somehow, and I'll be waiting for it. Give it what I should have given it last night in the woods.

He nailed some boards over his broken window to keep out the cold, and made sure that his other window was secure. He checked the locks on his door and closed the fireplace flue. That thing's not getting in here without me seeing it tonight, he said to himself.

He boiled some water to make coffee and, once he had a pot of the strong black brew, sat back down in the chair with his gun to await the return of the repugnant animal. He thought about having a drink of liquor to calm his nerves and numb the heartbreak of losing Uno, but he decided against it -- need to be in fighting alert for when it comes back, he figured.

But the man was truly exhausted. He'd slept only a couple of hours the night before after a long day and night of trudging through the woods. And he was getting so old. He kept himself awake with the coffee, and he talked to his hounds to pass the time. Told them that together, they would get that vile thing. The night wore on and the moon passed by the remaining window. So tired. So tired. He drank more coffee and paced around the room. Still, the fatigue consumed him, making his eyes droop and his legs feel like jelly.

It was late, very late. He had to sit down. He sat, and he could feel sleep overtaking him. His head nodded, he snapped it back. Again and again he nodded off and instantly reawoke. I've got to hold out until morning, he thought, I've just got to.

He nodded. He woke. When his eyes opened, he saw the thing. It was standing on top of his bed. Underneath its yellow eyes was a fiendish grin. It smelled so bad that the old man could scarcely keep from vomiting, much worse than last time. As he gagged and fumbled with his shotgun, the beast rasped hashly:

"Tailypo, tailypo! GIVE BACK MY TAILYPO!"

The old man finally got a grip on his gun, swivelled it into position, and fired at the beast from less than five feet away. The animal shrilled a painful screech. Rico and Lucky, who had also dozed off, erupted into a din of barking and turned to see the creature, who should have been blown to bits by the blast, turn nimbly and bound out the gaping hole in the boarded-up window that had just been created by the old man's shotgun.

The two dogs gave chase. OK, thought the old man, I'm pretty sure I hit it, it can't get far. Rico and Lucky will tear it to pieces. He looked at the bed where the tailypo had been standing and saw a few drops of blood. Good, he thought. Can't believe I didn't blow it away, but at least it got a little something. How in blazes did it get in here? The hounds'll get it for sure.

After the adrenaline subsided, the old man nodded off to sleep again. When he awoke, it was at least noon and he was being nosed by Lucky. "Lucky," he said groggily, "did you get that darn thing?"

He saw that Lucky's tawny fur was streaked with blood.

"Lucky! Where's Rico? Where's Rico?" A terrible dread crept down the old man's frail back.

Lucky laid down on the floor and looked up at the old man with an awful look in his eyes.

"Oh no, no!" cried the old man, breaking into sobs as he fell to his knees. Rico had been his favorite, his faithful companion for many years. He could hardly bear this.

Lucky tried to comfort the man. "Did you... did you get that thing? Get it for good?" asked the man when he was able to choke back some of the tears.

But Lucky just laid there and grieved.

"I'm going to get that thing if it's the last thing I do!" bellowed the old man, suddenly filled with wrath. He stuck his knife in his belt, took his gun, and said "Come on, Lucky. You know what we have to do."

They searched and searched through the woods, finding no trace. Maybe Lucky didn't want to find it, thought the man. It began to grow dark, and he knew they had to return to the cabin. When they got back, he hastily nailed up some more boards over the blown-out window. He sat back in the chair.

I've had some sleep, he thought, so I should be able to stay awake until that thing comes back. And I'll be ready to finish it off. He checked to be sure that his gun was fully loaded, and he waited.

And waited. He waited until the first fingers of blue morning light slithered through the trees. But the beast did not come. It didn't come.

When morning had fully broken, the man stood up and said, "Well, Lucky, I guess you really did get that monster. Good job, boy. Now let's go get something to eat!"

He limped out with Lucky, and they hunted. They had good luck, catching several rabbits and finding some roots that were still edible even though the ground was hard with frost. They returned home and cooked up a delicious stew that was heartily enjoyed, but they were both very sad about Uno and especially Rico.

The sun went down and the weary old man and his one dog laid down on the bed and drifted into much-needed slumber.

They both woke up shivering in the dark. The man sat up in bed. He saw that the door was wide open. He grabbed the gun which he'd left at his bedside just in case. He looked around, scared nearly out of his wits. "Hello?" he called. Did I forget to lock the door? he wondered. "Hello? Who's there?" He pointed his gun around, peering frightfully into the darkness. He listened intently for any sound apart from the whistling of the chill wind. Lucky was keenly alert.


Maybe I did forget to lock it, he said to himself. Better close the door and have another look around.

He cautiously got out of bed.

As soon as hit feet hit the floor, a piercing pain shot through his leg and he crumpled to the floor, his Achilles tendon severed by a filthy claw. In agony, he turned his head and saw the glowing yellow eyes right in front of his face, under the bed. He let out a desperate wail.

Lucky cowered on the bed, making pathetic sounds.

The foul creature hissed :

"Tailypo!... Tailypo! GIVE.... BACK ...MY.. TAILYPO!"

The old man cried "Lucky, sic 'em!" but the dog would not move. Lucky was paralyzed with fright. The old man grabbed for his gun, but it had fallen way over there, out of his reach.

The beast did not move.

"LUCKY!" cried the old man, "SIC 'EM! SIC 'EM NOW!"

The well-trained dog could not disobey any more of his master's pleas. Lucky jumped down from the bed, growling like an earthquake. In a blink, the beast lashed out with its paw, deeply cutting into the old man's face. "AUUUUGH!" cried the old man, his hands flying to his wounds. In an instant, the fiend and Lucky were out the door, Lucky gaining on the heavy animal with every stride and barking like mad. The old man watched with his remaining eye until they were out of sight, and began weeping from the pain, loss, and despair. He grabbed the sheet off the bed and pressed it to his face to stanch the blood. Why hadn't the beast smelled bad this time? Why didn't I realize it was there? Oh please, he begged to the sky, please let Lucky get that beast. Don't let that beast come back here again. Please.

He soon realized that he couldn't hear Lucky's barking any more. He looked up to see the diabolical animal, horridly covered with blood, in the threshold of his cabin.

" "Tailypo!... Tailypo!


BACK ...



The old man could only sob.

The beast crept closer, closer. It crept so close that the old man could feel its hot breath on his hands as he covered his face.

The hiss was more ghastly than it ever had been before :


BACK ...



"I can't! I can't!" sobbed the man. "I can't give it back!"

The beast was silent.

Then it rasped low and terrible :



The old man had lost all hope. "I ate it! I ate your tailypo!" he wept bitterly.

If the old man had looked up to see the beast, he would have seen its glowing eyes suffuse with a rage beyond any he had known.

A moment passed,


BACK ...


TAILYPO!" shrieked the beast, unleashing its rage with unfathomable fury and cruelty.

If there had been any of the beast's tailypo left, the beast certainly got it back from the man that night. And when dawn broke across the north side of the mountain, all that was left where the old man's cabin stood was a pile of wood scraps and glass, with a shotgun jutting out from the middle of it.

And if you walk in those woods and a still cold night in November, you can still hear the hiss :


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How To Obtain An IP Address of A Remote Machine

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:06 am

What you will need:
- Web-Space with PHP
- Access to the remote machine via VNC or SSH at least 1 time or a willing compatriot

I end up doing a lot of technical support for my friends/family all the time, and it gets annoying when I walk them through something and they're either not getting it, clicking on the wrong thing, not at their computer (presumably thinking they can memorize the detailed steps I'm telling them). I prefer to use VNC.

The problem is that sometimes I don't even trust them to give me their IP address using something like a website without being totally confused. I've found that paradoxically, smarter people are harder to coach than simpler ones as the smart ones get strange ideas about the way technology works and basically refuse to go through the steps.

So, basically, I've given up interacting directly. I just want to know what their IP is at all times and drop in when they want me to.

The machines I manage are mostly Macs these days, but the script here technically works with any machine. It's safe for the server.

First off, you'll need to create a clean directory on your webspace (which must have PHP enabled, btw). In that directory will be 2 files. The first you will make yourself, upload it, and set the permissions to 777 (writable/readable by everyone). Call it "ip_array.txt". Alternatively, you can change the filename for security, but you have to alter the script as well.

Next, upload this PHP script to your webspace and call it "index.php":

        echo "u variable = username, add &view=1 to view.
    if(!($_GET['u']) && !$_GET['view_all'])
        die("no \"u\" variable given");
    $_GET['u'] = preg_replace('/[^a-zA-Z0-9_ -]/s', '', $_GET['u']);
    $datafile = "ip_array.txt";
    $array= unserialize(file_get_contents("$datafile"));
   $array = array();
   echo "no file
   echo $array[$_GET['u']];
    //else, save it!
    $array[$_GET['u']]= $_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR'];
    echo "saving IP {$_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR']}. . .";
    $fh = fopen($datafile, 'w') or die("can't open file");
    fwrite($fh, serialize($array));
    echo "
file saved";

Next, you'll need to have your remote machine "curl" or "wget" the address you want.

Each IP has a label in the database the script creates set by the "u" variable. My mom's machine is called "mom".

To set the IP, go to
(username can be anything you want to identify the ip)

To retrieve it, go to

Forgot the username you had the remote machine go to? use


To set the IP, I made a cron job (google the word "cron") on my Mom's iMac that simply initiates "curl" every 4 hours.

To access this information on my machine, I just enter into my address bar.


Keywords: Php  Code 
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AppleScript: Toggle Between Audio Outputs Via Hotkey - OS X

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:42 am

In a previous post, I discussed using FastScripts in combination with a simple AppleScript to assign a hot-key to accomplish annoying tasks.

I frequently change my sound output to the TV I have in my other room, and back again to my main office. It gets annoying to have to use the mouse, so using FastScripts and a modified AppleScript I found online, I toggle between audio sources.

This script currently only works with toggling between two outputs: "Line Out" and "Digital Out", but is easily made to toggle between any number of outputs. To add more/different outputs to switch between, simply add to the "theOutputs" list at the top by putting the name of the output in quotes, and separated by a comma. Please note that the outputs you wish to toggle between must be written EXACTLY as they are in your Sound Preference Pane (read: Case Sensitive!), but can be in any order you choose:

set theOutputs to {"Digital Out", "Line Out"}

tell application "System Events"
   set frontmostapp to item 1 of (get name of processes whose frontmost is true)
end tell
tell application "System Preferences" to activate
tell application "System Events"
   get properties
   tell process "System Preferences"
      if (menu item "Sound" of menu "Window" of menu bar 1) exists then
         click menu item "Sound" of menu "View" of menu bar 1
         delay 1
      end if
      set theRows to every row of table 1 of scroll area 1 of ¬
         tab group 1 of window "sound"
      click radio button "Output" of tab group 1 of window "Sound"
      set nextOutput to ""
      set nextIndex to 0
      (* Obtain Selected Output / Choose Next Output based on Selected*)
      repeat with aRow in theRows
         if selected of aRow is true then
            set currentlySelectedOutput to (value of text field 1 of aRow as text)
            if currentlySelectedOutput is in theOutputs then
               set selectedIndex to my getitemindex(theOutputs, currentlySelectedOutput)
               if (count of theOutputs) is equal to selectedIndex then
                  set nextIndex to 1
                  set nextIndex to (selectedIndex + 1)
               end if
               set nextIndex to 1
            end if
            set nextOutput to (get item nextIndex of theOutputs)
            exit repeat
         end if
      end repeat
      (* Select the chosen Output *)
      repeat with aRow in theRows
         if (value of text field 1 of aRow as text) ¬
            is equal to nextOutput then
            set selected of aRow to true
            exit repeat
         end if
      end repeat
   end tell
end tell
# tell application "System Preferences" to quit
tell application frontmostapp to activate

on getitemindex(this_list, this_item)
   repeat with i from 1 to the count of this_list
      if item i of this_list is this_item then return i
   end repeat
   return 0
end getitemindex

Keywords: Applescript  Mac Os  Mac  Apple  Macintosh  Code 
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AppleScript: Move Windows to Main Monitor, OS X 10.7 Lion

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:21 am

If you're like me and have a monitor/TV hooked up that's either powered off or in the other room or hidden in the torture chamber in the wine cellar, you have a problem with stray windows getting stuck on other monitors.

I found a script on another website which works pretty well but throws an error every time that was annoying me. Not only that, but it's not application-specific.

I prefer to use a free application like Fast Scripts in conjunction with my modified version of the script. This allows me to just get the windows I want from the frontmost app with a hotkey which I defined myself (I chose CTRL+M). The "newpos" variable might need to be modified if you have a tiny screen resolution and like 40 windows, but other than that, everything seems to work well.

Here's the modified script:

tell application "Finder"
   set _b to bounds of window of desktop
   set screen_width to item 3 of _b
   set screen_height to item 4 of _b
end tell

tell application "System Events"
   set frontmostapp to item 1 of (get name of processes whose frontmost is true)
   tell process frontmostapp
      repeat with x from 1 to (count windows)
         set winPos to position of window x
         set _x to item 1 of winPos
         set _y to item 2 of winPos
         set newpos to (x - 1) * 32
         if (_x < 0 or _y < 0 or _x > screen_width or _y > screen_height) then
            set position of window x to {newpos, (newpos + 22)}
         end if
      end repeat
   end tell
end tell

Keywords: Code  Apple  Mac  Macintosh  Mac Os  Applescript 
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Guest Post is OFF now.

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:19 pm

Due to an overwhelming amount of spam, guest post is now off.

If you would like to post replies, please tweet @latewire asking for it or look here. Sorry for the inconvenience!

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MAYHEM live in Tempe, AZ - concert review!

Poster: Hank @ Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:48 am

The show's venue was changed at the last minute from the Clubhouse, which is a crummy club with a bad sound system (honored by GZA as "the worst system he ever rocked on") within walking distance of ASU, to Club 910 Live, which is a much better joint formerly called Boston's that's about 4 miles from campus. I think that this abrupt change hurt attendance somewhat, but the sound system at 910 is great, and the outdoor stage on the chilly night contributed a lot of frostbitten ambience.

This was an incredible value for a show -- 6 bands including black metal's defining act for $22 (or $18 if you got your ticket direct from a band). Over four hours of pummeling live metal for the price of a case of beer? Yeah, I'll take that. I was amazed at the low turnout -- I estimate 200 or fewer people were there in total, maybe as low as 125. How could the most sensational band in black metal draw such a small crowd? Gotta be some bad combination of poor publicity and venue change, because I know that there are literally dozens of extreme metal fans in Phoenix. One thing I noticed is that most of the crowd looked like 'traditional' heavy metallers -- you know, long hair, baggy clothes, spikes, makeup -- rather than the hipster, quasi-ironic emo-metallers (shorter hair, hats, colors other than black, fashionably tight trousers) that tend to dominate a lot of American black metal shows.

The opening act was locals Phoenix & Dragon, who shreiked through a half-hour set of Iron Maiden-derived power metal. The singer was top-notch, hitting those freaky operatic notes. The guitar players appeared to be very good players, based upon the speed with which their fingers flew across the fretboards during the many harmonized lead passages, but their tones were so saturated with distortion and compression that they were virtually inaudible -- it just sounded like a bunch of buzzing, wheezing wide-band static behind the drum noise. They were using Line 6 amps, and they probably had them set to "sounds great when I'm practicing but I didn't bother to check how it sounds in a band mix." This band wasn't a great genre match for the rest of the acts, being very far from black metal, and I think the crowd didn't give them enough props because of that. I enjoyed their set quite a bit though -- and they get extra points for their blue-jeans-and-white-sneakers 80s garage band attire.

Next up were Tuscon black metallers Chaos Ascending, who paint themselves like Gorgoroth while sounding and acting exactly like Watain. Which suits me fine, I @#$%ing love Watain! They played a set of very engaging Satanic black metal with a healthy dollop of thrash and anthemic rock thrown in. Excellent showmanship and playing from the whole crew, and the singer really made an effort to get the crowd involved with chants of "Hail Chaos! Hail Satan!" BC Rich guitars and Madison heads were the guitar gear of choice, and the bassist played a Steinberger Spirit 5-string. This band gets a big thumbs-up from me.

The LA band Abigail Williams followed with a very enjoyable set of Agalloch-style American blackish nature-metal. When I saw three guitarists and a bass player walk onstage, I was like "oh golly, this looks dire," but in fact, they played and sounded great. They played three epic, shifting songs with plenty of contour and dynamics, and an ambient backing track featured significantly. The lead guy, by the name of Sorceron, got splendid tones from a laser blue RG550 through a Dual Rectifier; the other two guitfiddlers used a white Gibson Flying V through a new white EVH 5150 III and a '90s Japanese Jackson Dinky (stripped to bridge-pickup-only) through another Dual Rec. These were the best guitar sounds of the night, and the whole set was a real treat for me.

Polish blackened thrashy band Hate took the stage next, corpsepainted and mostly shirtless, for an energetic set that got the crowd jumping like it was a Cypress Hill show. These guys had a distinct Children of Bodom flavor with a little Behemoth thrown in for good measure. Some of their songs were pretty much straight-up hardcore thrash metal with shreiked vocals, and the kids ate it up. Musicianship was very good; the guitarists played a Fernandes Rhoads-style axe and a black King V of indeterminate manufacture, through the same amps used in the previous set. A lot of the guitar solos had an actual "rock 'n' roll" blues-based feel, which was in strong contrast to the diatonic shred styles that dominated the rest of the night. The only thing that struck me as less-than-optimal about this band was the drummer, whose time was not all that great and whose occasional one-hit-too-many bass drum rolls were pretty distracting. Funny, because usually, the best musician in any given extreme metal band is the drummer due to the demands of precision placed upon them. That aside though, Hate turned in a good show.

Norse veterans Keep of Kalessin appeared next to deliver a rabble-rousing set of black fantasy metal. There were several diehard Kalessin fans in the audience who enthusiastically growled along with the singer as he relayed tales of dragons and stuff. This cat has some pipes and the melodic vocal parts were done in a very unique half-grunt, half-croon that was real effective. The shaveling drummer was like a machine gun, brilliant with stop-on-a-dime blast beats, bass rolls, and well-placed tom assaults that kept the heads bobbing. The guitarist was playing a fancily-appointed LTD Horizon through one of the Dual Rectifiers and getting a pretty good sound while playing like he was being chased by two malevolent mages or something -- superb musicianship all around in this band, and very good crowd interaction. When they played their last song, a cut from their recent record "Kolossus," the audience went apey.

After the next equipment breakdown / setup, there was a wait of at least a half-hour before Mayhem appeared. The crowd was getting antsy and chanted repeatedly for the band, but no dice. Mayhem's guitar techs fiddled with the guitars and amps a bit, and I checked out what gear was in use. Both guitar amps were Blackstar half-stacks. One guitar was a black-and-red Jackson Rhoads (I believe one of the Japanese models), and the other was a black LTD EC-1000. Hellhammer's bass was an old black Gibson Les Paul Special bass through what looked like an Ampeg 8x10 cabinet. There were a few Boss pedals around, sitting on top of one of the amps, but I couldn't tell what they were from where I stood at the edge of the stage.

Finally, the fog machine started spewing, and the main attraction got underway. Hellhammer strode onstage and sat down at his drum kit to much applause, and then the two guitarists, stand-ins for the murdered Euronymous whose names I don't know, walked on with bassist Necrobutcher, who sported a Mayhem t-shirt to remind everyone of what band they were watching. The crowd was going nuts as the opening riffs of "Deathcrush" sliced through the fog. Soon singer Attilla was visible through the haze. He was, as I'd expected from reading online reviews of their recent shows, most unusually attired. The singer, who'd appeared on the iconic record "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas," wore a red-lined taffetta Dracula cape over a Bathory t-shirt with a creative part-shorn, part-long hairstyle. He'd painted his face white with black curlicues. His microphone was taped to an inverted crucifix, and around his neck was draped a short noose of heavy rope. In his left hand he clutched a sans-mandible human skull, which he held with what appeared to be a cocktail napkin until he later revealed it to be a sash of some kind. Throughout the set, Atilla waved this skull in a spirited manner and used it as a puppet to 'sing' into the microphone.

I had expected that the band would turn in a performance that was at least partially 'phoned in,' due to the fact that they're pretty old and the crowd was so small, plus the venue change hassles. Not so! Mayhem launched into a show that was, in a word, phenomenal. The three originalish members looked pretty good for their ages, and Necrobutcher's showmanship exemplified what I like to see from a rock 'n' roll performance : lots of audience eye contact, moving around to make sure everybody gets to see him, cool rock poses and grimacing. He and Attilla posed together for phone cameras while performing several times, and everybody in the front row stage left -- me included -- got either a high-five or a handshake from Necrobutcher, whose facial experssion clearly communicated the fact that he was pretty darn thrilled with the show, for whatever reason.

To see such a storied, classic band in these close quarters was positively awesome and inspiring. They played plenty of hoary chestnuts like "Funeral Fog," the aforementioned "Deathcrush," and the title cut from "De Mysteriis...," along with some stuff that I didn't recognize that I guess was from their latter-day LP "Ordo et Chao" [sic]. Attila rasped and croaked well through all these tunes, and Hellhammer's performance on the drums was overwhelmingly great. Bludgeoning, powerful, orhestral, and precise, this was one of the best metal drum performances I've ever heard. Too bad they had him stuck way in back so that he was more or less invisible when the fog machine was running. The guitarists performed well, but their tone was really splattery and fizzy, making for a pretty indistinct guitar presentation that also sadly ate into Necrobutcher's great-sounding fuzzed bass. If this is what Blackstar amps sound like, I'm staying the hell away from them. I mean, of course black metal guitars are supposed to sound $#!%ty, but it should be "good $#!%ty" like Euronymous' Les-Paul 'n' Marshall tone on the records, or at least like Darkthrone.

The crowd was immensely excited and galvanized by Mayhem's performance, surging and headbanging furiously, horns aloft, while huffing out the words to songs they knew. The visible glee on Necrobutcher's face made the people rock even harder, and by the time to set was over, both the band and audience had a glow that I could only describe as postcoital.

In sum : a wonderful performance from a worship-inspiring headliner, supported by a grip of excellent opening acts. Rad show.

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It was a foggy and tumultous dusk...

Poster: withnursedwound @ Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:34 am

... whereupon I found myself once again bandied about Adrift the four winds of fate. I had sailed the usually mild coast off the Northern shores of the isle as many times in my dreaming states as I had within the confines of corporeal reality and felt well within my capacity as a worthy seaman on these familiar waters. Something about the noontime struck me as particular, however; and with the sudden and unexpected onslought of a vast malodorous miasma I hastily retired below deck for a brief siesta.

When I woke, I found to my abject and absolute horror that not only had the pernicious zephyr accumulated but that it now occluded the sun and only a glowing red orb- like the egg of some great Eastern Serpent sat low in the sky... the only remnants of that ever lustrous solar champion of planet earth. When day turns to night it is an un natural thing; young cower beneath the mammalian warmth of the security; the birds pause in their flights and are disoriented; pale things in creeping places rejoice in the momentary triumph of their patron, Mother Night. Such was the way with this, no birds where to be seen nor heard and all manner of marine activity had ceased though earlier I had been greatly amused by a doting pair of young seals feeding near a particularly choice and active reef. I was greatly dismayed and while realization of this dawned on me it also happened into my mind that getting home would now be rather quite impossible as the accursed wind which had brought with it the lingering abortive musk had now all entirely vanished. Blown out and exhausted, Æolus had since pissed off for a nap or a moments respite. Panic had begun to take its icey hold upon the strings of my heart.

The urge to retch had been nigh uncontrollable since my unfortunate wake. With the dismal assesment of my current surroundings there was now nothing holding me back from emptying the contents of my stomach all into the placid sepia waters below. Through tear choked eyes I saw the murky water and prayed for rain. In times of incredible need, desperate animals are known to make bargains with themselves in order to bolster their courage enough to simply go on. Frantically, i began to search for a paddle.

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Best Of Latewire Is Russia behind the global terrorist epidemic?

Poster: Hank @ Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:51 pm

A headline on BBC grabbed my attention yesterday. Ex-Soviet chief Mikhail Gorbachev commented that Russian Prime Minister (and once and future President) V. Putin was "literally castrating" Russia's democratic system. His glaringly incorrect use of the word "literally" aside, that's some provocative talk.

Everybody has known that Putin is a bloodthirsty KGB thug with autocratic ambitions since the get-go. No revelation there; in fact, the Russian people wanted somebody like that to wipe out those pesky folks up in Chechnya. But the statement was bold and impolitic, maybe dangerous, even for Gorbachev. Of course, the blotchy ex-President is aged 80 this year, and that's about 500 in vodka-swilling Russkie years, so he surely knows that he's not going to see the decade out anyhow -- he has little reason to fear a fate like Alex Litvinenko's or Anna Politkovskaya's.

Haven't heard much about those poor blighters lately, huh? I got to thinking about them. Politkovskaya incessantly railed against Putin's efforts to turn the Russian state into a crime-sodden Mafioso version of the old Soviet regime, and there wasn't a lot of surprise when she turned up murdered on Putin's birthday -- a present, it was said, to Putin from some simpering vicious cur named Kadyrov.

As for Litvinenko, he was prancing quite merrily in London until a smarmy stranger slipped Polonium-210 into his cup of Darjeeling. In a note in English supposedly drafted by his lawyer at his request shortly before his death a couple weeks later, he openly accused Putin of ordering the hit.

Litvenenko was a KGB / FSB fixer and part-time goon-for-hire until he jumped the shark and held a press conference accusing his superiors of ordering the murder of his other boss, the apelike oligarch Boris Berezovsky. After that, he was mostly a professional pot-stirrer, blackmailer, and font of conspiracy theory while temping for the English security agency MI6. The sensational accusations of Litvinenko aimed at his former spook pals seemed inexhaustible, and, like the delightfully fantastic accounts of ex-Soviet Spetsnaz soldier Victor Suvarov, completely impossible to either prove or disprove.

Most of them are merely interesting, accusing the Russian government of orchestrating terror attacks on its own people for political gain, among other things, but there's one in particular that suddenly rang a bell with me when I read it again, years after the original allegation was made. Back then, being of the opinion that the dissolution of the Soviet Union and our own dalliances in the Middle East had thrust us into a chaotic era of distributed, decentralized terrorism, I laughed at it. But today, with our economy being equivalent to a pile of garbage, our global political standing severely damaged, and our defense posture compromised laughably by involvement in -- count 'em -- three wars of choice, it suddenly crystallizes and rings true.

Litinvenko's trenchant words were that "the center of global terrorism is not in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan or the Chechen Republic. The terrorism infection creeps away worldwide from the cabinets of the Lubyanka Square and the Kremlin."

The key is the Afghan war. All politics junkies thought that it was plum insane when Bush decided to invade Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. Didn't that chuckling little blue-tie boozehound know that the Soviets, who do not back down very often, had just fled in defeated shame after a long war there? And didn't he recall that it was us who had trained and armed the fighters and planners that became the Taliban and Al-Qaeda? They were called "Mujahideen" back then, and we loved them to pieces for willingly fighting a proxy war against our Red enemies for us. Then, once the Soviets had high-tailed it out of there, we said "Okey doke, thanks for killing some Russkies -- see you crazy Arabs later!" and left the Afghans to deal with the war's aftermath all on their lonesome.

The ex-Mujahideen were left with a desolate, befouled country with a population that was desperate, ill-fed, disease-stricken, and uneducated. As always happens in these situations, radical nationalist pricks took the scene over and started behaving in really beastly ways. After winning a nasty civil war, these guys -- now smirkingly calling themselves Taliban, "the students" -- cooked up an especially brutish version of Islamic law that took the worst elements of Wahabism and turned them up to 11. Through threats, propaganda, buy-offs of local warlords, and dumb violence, these whip-crazy clowns lorded it over the people like monstrous school bullies. But as do their greasy Italian peers the Mafia, they provided some public services, so that communities begrudgingly relied on them. The Taliban and the people at large were pretty miffed at the Americans for using them to fight a war and then splitting without helping to put their country back in livable shape.

Here's what I think happened then : After the collapse of the Soviet government and subsequent fragmenting of its territory, the Russian power stucture still had an obvious strategic interest in combating American influence -- a greater interest, in fact, since in the absence of credible opposition, the USA would become a global heregmon. However, the Russians now lacked both the resources and the political will to continue with their long-standing strategy of sapping our abilities using conventional proxy wars initiated by openly Commie revolutionaries (e.g., Korea, Vietnam, all that crazy ish down in Central and South America, etc). Most of the guys who assumed power had history as Soviet apparatchiks, so all the old desires, grudges, and mindsets remained, frustrated, under a different and waaay less-cool banner.

So they called up their former enemies the Afghans and said "Hey guys, sorry about that whole invasion thing. It was all that crazy Brezhnev and weird Gorbachev, we fired them. So you're mad at the Americans, right? They really gave you guys a raw deal, skipping out like that. Now they've invaded your brethren in Iraq. Guess they really like to screw Muslims over." The sweaty, seething Afghans said "You're darn tootin' they gave us a raw deal. We'd sure like to give them a piece of our minds, but we can't even pay for enough bullets to shoot our own adulteresses, much less get back at the Yanks."

The sleek-headed Russians replied "How about this : we'll give you guys some dough, plenty of weapons, and lots of training in covert operations if you promise to use them to really give the Americans hell -- on their own turf."

"Well hot damn!" said the Afghans. "Don't have to ask us twice. Let's get crackin'!"

So it was that the Russians cleverly changed Al-Qaeda from a loosely-organized asymmetrical-warfare unit designed to combat Soviet conventional warfare to a tool using which they could wage a worldwide proxy war on American interests. And -- bonus! -- they could now strike in American territory without fear of triggering a global thermonuclear war.

And strike, they did. In 1993, just two years after the 'fall' of the Soviet Union, the first terrorist attack on American soil since the Second World War was executed -- the World Trade Center bombing. This was followed by the Oklahoma City bombing and attacks against US interests in Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Kenya, and Yemen, all leading up to the era-defining attacks that demolished the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon on 9/11, killing 3000 people.

The 9/11 attacks created a situation that the Soviets could only have dreamed of : the USA miring itself in two enormously expensive, destabilizing, and diplomatically disastrous wars while organically creating a nearly limitless supply of fearless new jihadists, all at very little cost to the Russians and with practically zero political traceability to the Kremlin.

We slogged hard and unprepared through the Afghan war, being confounded by warlords and picked off by desert snipers just as the Soviets had less than a generation earlier. We bombed the living daylights out of where we figured the terrorists to be. More terrorist attacks, attempted attacks, and new small wars occurred, as the US government passed laws that greatly increased state power over individuals and caused discontent and division on the home front. The harder we tried to fight back against our attackers, the more Muslim civilians we killed, and the more vengeful resentment was incubated in the global Muslim population.

Meanwhile, completely uncontrolled war spending combined with essentially unconcealed corporate dictation of government policy combined to put the USA in the worst economic and social condition it had been in since the Great Depression.

So in less than 20 years, Russia had gone from being completely incapable of bugging its old enemy to having a more or less unstoppable way to constantly harrass, demoralize, upset, and drain the US. And after a break-in period, it was self-sustaining, requiring practically no maintenance since we handled the whole "fueling people's desire to be undeterrable suicide terrorists" thing.

Unlike Russian troops or even your garden-variety nationalist insurgents, jihadis would actually rather die than not die, which makes it impossible to convince them to sit down and be quiet. They need practically no expensive equipment; they can make bombs out of just about anything. They target civilians with impunity and can cause hundreds of deaths with each of theirs. Meanwhile, our political apparatus is distracted and inattentive as the Russian leadership solidifies its plan to burst out of its flimsy republican cocoon and spread its wings as a cackling drunken butterfly of Mafia-infused statism, free of any ideology but a raw lust for power.

The only thing left for us to do is to keep an eye on Russia, even as their autonomous jihadi robots spread ever further to do their bloody work. China is already in the business of securing a strategic advantage against the US by economic and colonial means; Russia aims to bleed us until our resources and will are stretched so thin that we have none left to resist their reassumption of parity. Then they can partner with any of the other numerous governments we've pissed off lately to further erode our interests and capacity. Putin, in a Freudian slip, has accused the Russian Mafia of involvement with Al-Qaeda. The kicker, of course, is that the mafia is indistinguishable from the government.

Of course, it could be that Litvinenko is wrong and that Russia is trying to go on the straight and narrow while dealing with its homegrown terrorist problem. If there's one thing the past decade has taught us, though, it's that the worst outcome is the most likely, and the most shocking possibility is usually true. And when the hideous nesting doll of modern terrorism is finally disassembled, I think we'll see a tiny, grinning, fundamental Putin.

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Open letter to those reading or influenced by David Icke

Nicholas DiBiase
Poster: Nicholas DiBiase @ Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:29 pm

So, it has come to my attention that the kids at large have been letting themselves be influenced by the pernicious ramblings of English sensationalist David Icke, that is, the guy who warns of a secret society of lizard-people he calls "reptilians" that control the world's institutions.

In addition to being a total joke, both factually and philosophically, and probably not even a person who believes his own utterly laughable speculative fiction, Icke is a conduit for racist, anti-Jewish ideas. This is what makes his influence more problematic than that of your garden-variety propagandist, rabble-rouser, or cult leader.

Below is my open letter to all who read or take seriously the output of David Icke. If you are among these folks, please read this letter in its entirety.


Listen. I'm not writing to argue with or attack you, I'm writing to give you a heads-up about something that concerns you. I know what it's like to be a person searching for answers to the way this often corrupt and assaultive world works. I get it. But the twisted racist venom of people like Icke is not the place from which to get your 'awareness.'

Before you start defaming yourself by parroting Icke's "truth," you must allow yourself to acknowledge that Icke, in his defining book "The Robots' Rebellion," repeatedly and explicitly references the book "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," which is by far the most famous and influential piece of anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic propaganda from the 20th century.

It's also a fact that in much anti-Jewish propaganda of the early 20th century and earlier, Jews are portrayed as having lizard-like characteristics --- this to dehumanize them and make them easier to hate. It is not coincidence that Icke uses the same imagery.

Do you understand this? Any time you spout Icke's ideas, you are associating yourself with the worst genocide in the history of modern Europe, and the ongoing racism that attends it.

Do you claim to support peace, wisdom, humanity, or higher consciousness? If so, I don't suspect that the above is an image you want to cultivate for yourself. Nor the sort of thing you want infecting your internal worldview. I believe that you have a brain that works and you may have important contributions to make to the world. Once you get yourself labeled as an anti-Semite, no serious peace-loving person is going to give you the time of day. Sit back and think it though.

It's not a matter of "backing down" from your beliefs. Emerson said, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds." It's a matter of realizing that something's not right with the information you've been given and revising your opinions in light of that realization.

Now, if Icke, who is more or less the Rush Limbaugh of conspiracy salesmen, has snowed you to the extent that you can't even be bothered to reread "...Rebellion" to see whether what I'm saying is true, well, that's your business. But the reality is that you will realize, sooner or later, that his propaganda is senseless, crypto-racist, and a crass scheme to make money on fabricated controversy. My hope is that this letter will help that time come "sooner."

Icke and his cartoon sensationalism aside, here's a serious suggestion for you : stop wasting your time reading insubstantial hogwash, and instead start learning how to solve, or at least address, some real-world problems. If you want to expand your consciousness, try reading some Zen koans or Lao Tzu or Brian Greene or Roger Penrose. If you want to learn about *real,* not made-up, problems that face the world and affect millions, read Francis Lappe or "Twinkie, Deconstructed." And if you want to understand how the world works, learn some science. In fact, the scientific method is a good way to start learning how to parse the credible from the bullshit.

There are a billion people on this planet who don't get enough to eat, daily. Hundreds of children die *every day* from dysentery, cholera, and other epidemics. Day in and day out, people are harassed, abused, and murdered because of their religion or ethnicity. The oceans are poisoned and the world is running out of clean water. The bees are dying en mass and can't pollinate properly. Don't you think it'd be a better use of your mind and energy to start working on some of these problems rather than worrying about who is and who isn't a lizard?

As I said, you can take or leave what I'm presenting here. It's up to you. But, again, I implore you : sit back. And think it through.

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Best Of Latewire Intern Hell

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:07 am

Let me first start out by saying that the last year of medical school is basically a bad joke nowadays. Historically, the 4th year was where medical students would continue the crazy feats of the 3rd year like toting the weight of the entire hospital on their shoulders while being loosely monitored by interns who were working so many hours they didn't even know there was a world outside the hospital after a while.

As any person who is entering the field will tell you, whenever the old doctors hear about our current duty restrictions, an over-rehearsed unending diatribe about how "back in my day .... 300 hours straight, while being raped by my attending, who was actually a walrus" will pour forth as if it were solicited. Yeah guy, we get it.

One such story was from an emergency medicine doc talking about his life as a medical student. He said that after a 30+ hours of admitting patients and running around the hospital like crazy, his attending physician told him to perform a lumbar puncture on a patient on the other side of the hospital. The young student jumped at the chance, flew through the labyrinth of corridors, triumphantly conscripted the assistance of a nurse, and began the procedure. Doing an LP is a simple but sometimes difficult procedure. You're basically inserting a needle into someone's lower back between the vertebrae next to the spinal cord and extracting some of the surrounding liquid (CSF) for analysis. What could go wrong? The young student performed the task masterfully. The needle went in, and the pus-saturated fluid started pouring out, really pouring out. Literally seconds after penetration of the needle, the patient seized and died. The patient had an infection in his CSF so bad that the pressure had increased dramatically. By providing an unmitigated outlet for that pressure, the differential forced the lower part of the cerebrum to cram through a tendenous opening within the skull, squishing that part of the brain, killing the patient almost instantly.

As if that weren't a terrible enough scenario for a young med student like me to hear, the EM doc followed it up with "Yeah, that was the first one I killed." The doc then looked around nervously, turned around, and went back to writing his note.

People hear these stories and immediately blame the medical student. The reality was, the Attending should have informed the student about the results of the patients head scan (which showed the pressure), but forgot. The modern-day medical student spends half of his/her time shadowing their doctor and being generally bored our of their skull. Having medical students doing procedures like lumbar punctures is a lot less commonplace.

But are we really better off? Sure, it can be dangerous to perform some procedures when improperly supervised, but how then do we produce more professionals that can perform those procedures? What caused this shift from learning as a student to learning as a late 20-something?

Medicare rules are what changed. Nowadays, medicare wont pay physicians who do delegate even menial responsibilities to medical students. Some physicians do anyway (lucky for me), but the fact that so many play by the rules means that our medical school graduates are fairly useless.

One of my old preceptors runs a clinic in rural Oklahoma. He was one of the best doctors I've ever known. He kept up on the science and could tell you the molecular biology and physiology of most of the things he was prescribing, and he never relied on this idiotic one-size-fits-all algorithm medicine that is taking over these days (if PATIENT has CHEST PAIN, get CARDIAC ENZYMES x 3, then STRESS TEST). He has been practicing for over 40 years and NEVER did an internship. He asked me if I was excited to start my intern year. I told him that I considered residency a formality, and that I was ready to be an intern a year ago. If the powers that be would have let me experience the training I needed, I would be ready to practice today. As it stands I feel like I had wasted a year or more of my life in pursuit of a piece of paper that essentially only qualifies me to be an intern and not practice medicine. He chuckled and said "Yep, kiss the last years of your twenties goodbye."

Instead of making mistakes as medical students, our sheltering due to the ridiculous Medicare system means that 1) now we MUST do a residency (not just an internship) and 2) we will be useless for the first few months of intern year.

So here I am, exactly 1 week into my intern year. I feel pretty good that I'm getting at least a meager pay check but I am having to play catch-up like crazy to fit into the shoes I was not allowed to fill over the past year. Even with the new duty-hour restrictions, it is very intense. I've worked 76 hours in the past 7 days if you believe my logs (which we have to fudge in order to get the work done and still stay within the rules), and it seems that with all the ridiculous amount things I've learned so far, I can conclude I've only scratched the surface.

It just seems like the entire doctor-production-line has been lengthening over time. It used to be you didn't have to do an internship. Then internships became necessary. Now internships aren't enough and you have to do an entire 3 year residency. I'm just wondering if the powers-that-be can do the math and see how many people they are discouraging from the profession.

Sure, a slave-like existence during medical school is tough, but let's look at the alternative:
  18 year old high school graduate
+4 years undergrad minimum
+4 years medical school
+3 years residency
29 years old at the youngest

Add in 3 years of subspecialty training, and you're looking at a person who has been living on debt, parental assistance, and laughable paychecks until age 32. Surgeons have a 5 year residency plus sub-speciality training if they want it. Interventional Cardiologists (the guys who clean out your arteries when you have a heart attack) have to do 3 years of Internal Med residency, 3 years of Cardiology sub-speciality training, plus 2 years of practice with the cardiac catheters (8 years, if you're keeping track).

Yes, there are still morons like me who will throw away their 20's and a live a frugal life to catch up with their loans. However, you can see why people would much rather choose much easier career paths. If the trend of duty-restrictions continues, it's only logical that eventually nobody will want to go through the enormous trouble of becoming a doctor anymore.

The Two-Year Wonders

Meanwhile, more clever people are becoming Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants. With only 2 years of graduate school and NO residency, they legally do most of the things a doctor can do except understand what the **** it is they're doing. The "Algorithm Medicine" mentioned before is designed to stuff all patients into a flow chart of care. Of course it works and solves most problems most of the time, but results in people being over-medicated, over-radiated, and ultimately over-encumbered by the cost.

Paradoxically, the push towards unskilled providers is driving costs through the roof.


Placing blame and attempting to change the direction of the unstoppable rolling-boulder of mediocrity wont fix a thing. Even if you think you know the solution to the problem, the implementation of your ideas will never get passed the metaphorical armies of bureaucrats who write rules that are enforced by literal armies of police and courts. Try and practice medicine without a government sanctioned license? Go to jail. Try and practice with a license without having attended residency? Do so without insurance and risk all that you've done with every human being you try and help.

I suppose I still hold on to hope that government and tort will halt their assault on American medicine, but realistically it's hard to be optimistic. I am just glad I got off easy, I got in before the barriers to becoming a doctor required an actual commitment to indentured servitude.

Keywords: Medicine  Internship 
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Geithner: F Small Business, We Need The Money For GOV'MINT

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:01 am

Geithner: Taxes on ‘Small Business’ Must Rise So Government Doesn’t ‘Shrink’

So in case the policy decisions of raising income taxes for the upper brackets and printing money to give away to large corporations (especially banks) were too subtle for you to understand the point, Geithner spells it out in this congressional hearing.

He's basically acknowledging that a tax on people making over 250k is going to directly impact small businesses. He acknowledges small businesses create the majority of jobs but continues to assert that we need the money to "stimulate the economy." He is saying that if the government shrinks, the Keynesian perpetual motion machine will break down and all the worthless government employees we pay for will have to find new jobs.

I'm glad someone in the administration is willing to admit they hate small business in favor of huge government and big corporations. At the same time, it's highly depressing he can openly admit it like this with basic impunity.

Keywords: Bailouts  Geithner  Economics 
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Foul Times : 1980s redux

Poster: Hank @ Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:30 pm

These are alien and foul times.

Or, maybe not so alien. Twenty-five years ago, our government was making deals with the Afghani Taliban and daydreaming about bombing Khadafi and his whole blood-sodden country back into the Stone Age, while disgraced TV preachers hid their stoatlike faces in shame. A decade ago, we were making deals with Khadafi while bombing the bejeezus out of the Afghans. Today, most people have figured out that making deals with us is a losing game, so we've just decided to bomb them all while this decade's disgraced preacher, the evil and destructive Harold Camping, gets his cosmic comeuppance, having been silenced by a stroke shortly after having conned many thousands out of their life savings to fund his ill-considered psuedobiblical doomsday campaign.

Meanwhile, the dope-sick shaggy hounds running the show at GOP headquarters are toasting the upcoming election, having learned over the past several years that the American public has a deep thirst for a certain species of bloodthirsty lobotomite, itself the result of a secret breeding program having been conducted deep within turncoat Dennis Miller's grotty basement over the past 15 years which culminated in the release and subsequent wild success of openly stupid, murder-crazed hateshell Sarah Palin. She slyly assisted in the final killing of emasculated old fool John McCain and then built herself an immense cult of ignorance. Its members, who are legion, aren't shaken when she or her numerous imitators are exposed as dangerously incompetent and possibly in the end stages of neuron-destroying syphilis. They applaud and rally, energized by a leader whose function it is to mirror and validate their own ignorance. Palin even became the first mainstream national American politician since the Reconstruction to openly encourage use of the racial epithet "n***er," which is no small signifier.

Palin and all of her murderous minions were raised on the bread of Ronald Reagan, a man whose twisted vision was driven by dreams of Armageddon. They've taken his doomed, "Us vs. Them" approach to reality and inverted it so that instead of Commies, they're after "Liberals" and others who don't cleave to their deeply nihilistic worldview. And of course, the slavering-mad rabble that follows them is ready to do their command. Arizona Repesentative K. Giffords found out the hard way what it's like to tangle with the insane animals influenced by these Draculas.

Of course, at the other end of the room we have a big clump of cackling Satanic hyenas who managed to hoodwink a nation sick of George W Bush's warmongering, total disregard for human life, and habit of giving tax money away to private corporations, and immediately after being elected on their platform of "Change," proceeded to perpetrate all the same vile crimes as their predecessors, but worse. Most of the poor saps who'd supported the Democratic ticket in 2008 were starting to get wise to this, when the news started pouring in that the hyenas had managed to summarily execute the king bogeyman of the previous decade. Whether or not that actually happened is irrelevant. Either way, the news gave Obama, who seemed destined from the start to be a one-termer, a vague shot at winning re-election in 2012. The hyenas are pleased, and lap happily at pools of human blood that have collected in their corner. .

And amidst these atavistic spectacles are the blighters once known as 'citizens,' but now more commonly called by a name that better describes their function -- "consumers." They're so petrified at the idea of having to confront reality outside the poisoned cocoon of cheap products that they more or less just hold tight while being slowly exsanguinated, hoping that they'll be able to cling to the bizarre and terrible fantasy of comfort and security until they're gently plucked from the land of the living by a smiling G_d.

The bottom line is that we're living in a profoundly cruel replay of the very worst scenes from the 1980s. Only this time, after a busy 30 years of systematically ruining our resources and society, 'hope' isn't anything but a mean joke sometimes cracked at drunken and cynical cocktail hours.

At least this time around, we don't have to listen to Don Henley.

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Mono - "Formica Blues" review

Nicholas DiBiase
Poster: Nicholas DiBiase @ Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:26 pm

Mono - "Formica Blues"

Wispy chick vocalists. DJ culture. Vague 'swinging Sixties' Brit references. Drum-n-bass breaks. Lounge vibe with a dark edge. These are some of the cliches that we've come to associate with '90s music. Certain bands from that era -- usually, the bands that came later, say '95-'98 and were influenced by the early '90s acts -- tend to combine all these factors in such a way that they now appear cartoonish. Sneaker Pimps, Lamb, Morcheeba. And so are the authors of "Formica Blues," the English auteurs of the album at hand, "Formica Blues."

One of the big differences between Mono and your average "trip-hop" / downbeat band is that, while most downbeat is based on spare, atmospheric samples, Mono relies heavily on classical (or, at least, "? and the Mysterians"-derived) keyboard figures. Martin Virgo, the music-producing half of the duo, is apparently a session keyboardist who used to work with Wild Bunch legend Nellee Hooper, so it stands to reason. Siobhan de Mare, the singer, frosts the spooky instrumentals with her pleasant, and undeniably Nina Persson-influenced, pipes.

The opening cut, hit single "Life in Mono," combines a wistful Blondie-esque melody with a grating harpsichord motif and post-jungle drums. All the ingredients of the ideal 90s downbeat tune are here : tweezy synth filter sweeps, sloshy sampled hi-hats, floating female vocal, occasional frantic breakbeats, mencholy melody.

Following this is "Silicone," which signals the record's turn to standard Portishead-influenced downbeat. There is a lot of "P" in this band -- when it's not being overtaken by jungle breaks, spy-oriented cut "The Outsider" sounds like something off "Dummy." This isn't a bad thing -- Mono does it well, and the influence of the moody Bristolians is pretty tough to avoid in this genre.

The oddball song is "High Life," which is a major-key uptempo sixties thing that TOTALLY sounds like the Cardigans in every way.

One of the standout tracks here is the instrumental closer "Hello Cleveland," whose vague Polynesian percussion feel and melodica stabs make it sound like Combustible Edison let loose in a room full of samplers. Also nifty is "Slimcea Girl," with its big sampled gospel choir.

"Formica Blues" is a good record. It's a perfect 90s time capsule. And taken for what it is, it's very enjoyable indeed. One thing sticks in the back of my mind, though, making me uneasy : "Formica Blues" is the damn paterfamilias blueprint of every Starbucks-electronica that was burped forth by innumerable bands in its wake. Who's to blame?

Of course, that's not Mono's fault. After all, Muddy Waters could never have known that his music would spawn the noxious ham sounds of Claptron and his minions. It's best to just relax the mind and enjoy this LP without allowing yourself to be mentally transported to a place where coffee drinks are $5 and the evil stench of global corporate fauxreality permeates every cubic inch of air.

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Screaming Trees - "Sweet Oblivion" review

Poster: Hank @ Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:20 pm

Screaming Trees - "Sweet Oblivion"

Screaming Trees were part of the first crop of "grunge / alternative" acts that emerged in the early '90s. They never achieved the big-time success of their buddies Soundgarden or Smashing Pumpkins -- today, they're best remembered for their minor hit single from the "Singles" soundtrack, "I Nearly Lost You," and for having been the launching pad for the career of Mark Lanegan, one of the greatest rock singers ever to howl into a microphone.

Lanegan later went on to sing with Queens of the Stone Age and Martina Topley-Bird after releasing a bunch of brilliant solo records. But what about the music of Screaming Trees, who seem damned to spend eternity as a grimy footnote in pop history?

One thing's for sure : if you haven't listened to them since you were a whippersnapper, their debut LP "Sweet Oblivion" will transport you back to the era of goatees and ripped-up Levi's Silver Tabs with no delay. Unlike "Nevermind," which has a crispy shiny sheen left over from 80s production values, or "Badmotorfinger," which is basically a heavy metal album and sounds like it, "Sweet Oblivion" is 100% pure unadulterated 90s grunge rock. The rhythm guitars are ragged like an acne-ridden Neil Young, the lead guitars are ridiculously over-distorted, and the drums are filled with cymbal crashes and rolls. This record sounds like the Platonic ideal of a "garage band." .

The big difference between what I call proper grunge music (Screaming Trees, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam) and the numerous other bands that got lumped in with grunge (Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Tad) is that the former are fundamentally Beatles / Pink Floyd / REM influenced slop-rock bands with a 70s feel, whereas the latter are straight metal bands whose managers convinced to start doing photo shoots in flannel shirts. Grunge, being a singer-songwriter tradition, is usually based on chord changes, while metal is based on riffs.

There is no way that you'd mistake "Sweet Oblivion" for a metal record. This is song-oriented, strummy, moody capital-"R" Rock that has no interest in getting you to headbang or commit Satanic atrocities. One of the things that really strikes the listener about the sound is that its guitars are authentically sloppy. None of that Bob Rock / Butch Vig stuff that's been recorded on the 37th take and run through every piece of studio trickery available. These tracks are really played with raw tone and a "whatever" attention to precision. This means that "Sweet Oblivion" perfectly captures its era -- no trait defines the early 90s more than bored apathy.

Apart from the hit, which is by far the catchiest tune on this grimacing mopefest, the closer "Julie Paradise" is my favorite cut. Set to a hard-swinging drum gallop, this tune hits all the right buttons with its exuberant guitar squeals and Lanegan's saxophone-like voice gruffling out lines like "Something's going wrong in my mind!" No kidding, Mark!

Classic teen-angst anthem "Shadow of the Season" has a sinister cast, with Lanegan grasping for reasons not to off himself.

"Troubled Times" is pretty cool too, with a very typical 90s fatback beat and a melody line that is reminiscent of "I Nearly Lost You" and was also ripped off by second-wave grunge poseurs Seven Mary Three.

We even get the requisite introspective ballad in 6/8 time, "No One Knows."

Most of the tunes here lope along at a slowish tempo, so to more fully externalize the band's inner turmoil. The way I feel about this really illustrates how my tastes have changed in the 20 years since this record dropped. These days, I prefer my tunes to be either toe-tappingly fast, or phelgmatically slow. This whole mid-tempo trip really throws me for a loop (or a lack of one, am I right?). Of these tunes, only "More or Less" is taken at what I'd call a Sabbath tempo, "Butterfly" and "Julie Paradise" are the only fast songs, and most of the melodies are meandering in service to the lyrics. But I can still get in touch with my preteen self to know that this is the still ultimate soundtrack to an afternoon closed up in one's room, posters covering all walls, scratching out confused and angry words on the pages of a Mead composition book.

The bottom line on "Sweet Oblivion" is that it's fundamentally mood music for self-conscious, doubt-ridden teenagers and college kids. And it's pretty glorious. Even if you didn't grow up in the 90s, Lanegan's vocals, gold drowned in nicotine, are worth the price of admission. But don't put it on thinking that you're going to get a shred of irony or smirking. This music is sincere enough to bring the Great Pumpkin to the pumpkin patch.

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Dom Moio - "Cinco de Moio" review

Nicholas DiBiase
Poster: Nicholas DiBiase @ Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:59 am

Dom Moio - "Cinco de Moio"

Dom Moio is, like me, an Italian kid from Portland, Maine. Unlike me, he's also a virtuoso musician and a local hero in the Phoenix jazz scene. His expert command of trap drums and Latin percussion instruments has people clamoring for his live performances, session work, and classes at industry clinics and ASU.

Moio has done countless sessions -- including playing all the drums on the Four Tops' box set-- but his self-released solo LPs deserve more recognition. One of my favorites is his Latin jazz disc "Cinco de Moio." Recorded in 2005 with Ionnis Goudelis on keyboards, Bob Lashier and Mike King on bass, Jerry Donato on tenor sax, Joe Garcia on percussion, and Dom's brother Bill Moio on guitar, this record isn't your average smooth-jazz faux-Latin pap. Moio is deeply schooled in traditional South American, Cuban, and Mexican rhythms, and that carries this whole disc into the category of "contemporary jazz I'd listen to by choice."

There's a lot of variety here. "Arroz con Pollo" has a hip Dolphy-sounding hook, while "El Tipo Blanco Tocando La Rumba" is pure hardcore African-influenced rhythm. The use of flute on a lot of these cuts, combined with Cuban-style piano and congas, gives the record a vintage '60s feel - but without caricature. The music here sounds fresh.

One of the highlights is the playing of guitbox furnace Bill Moio who, for my money, is one of the best jazz guitar players alive today. His lines are inventive, thoughtful, exciting, and free of the aping cliche that haunts so many who ply that craft.

The percussion work from Moio and Garcia is outstanding. They inject a big dose of vibe and edge into the set, which really keeps things interesting -- even on the mellow cuts like "Tres Palabras" or the opening "Tango for You."

Another great thing about this record is that the pointless high-speed bop-oriented modal noodling that infects a lot of modern jazz is pretty much absent here. Moio and his crew are more interested in creating memorable melodies and putting you in a good mood than they are proving how many notes they can play over two bars of a G#m7b5 chord. In fact, this might be the most hummable Latin jazz release of the last decade.

"Cinco de Moio" is a top choice if you're after a deft Latin jazz set that will put your party in a groovy zone AND make for good listening later on. Unless you live in Phoenix, it's probably not available at your local record store -- so nab it direct from Dom at .

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Ramones - "Live January 7, 1978" review

Poster: Hank @ Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:58 pm

Ramones - "Live January 7, 1978"

The Ramones, who were barely able to make a living during their two-decade-plus existence, have been posthumously lionized to the extent that nearly anything one could say in their praise is an instant cliche.

One thing about their legacy is for sure, though : the actual SOUND of their classic first and second LPs leaves a lot to be desired. Recorded on practically no budget in tiny amounts of time, "Ramones" and "Rocket to Russia" actually sound kind of flat and tame. Which is a real drag, considering that they're brimful of some of the best, wittiest pop songs ever written. Wouldn't it be great if all those songs sounded raucous, manic, polished, and at the same time raw? Like Mother Nature intended?

Well, luckily for all of us, King Biscuit Flower Hour Records got a hold of a high-quality recording of a complete early 1978 Ramones set at the Palladium in New York City. They realeased all 27 songs on a single disc in 2003, and boy, is it a doozy!

The Ramones have, perhaps partially due to their glue-sniffing teen-slacker image and partially to their legendary musical simplicity, always had a reputation for being sloppy, chaotic, and unprofessional musicians who paid more attention to the energy of the songs than the actual quality of their performance. This live record proves that old assumption to be utterly wrong. Through the entire set and two encores, the Ramones are completely locked in, focused, and tighter than the lid on a Belvedere bottle when you wake up at 1pm on a Sunday and really, really need a Bloody.

The band's not only tight -- the recording really highlights just how good the "brothers" were as musicians. Joey in particular turns out to be a really splendid singer -- his pitch and tone are consistently outstanding. You can really tell that he's spent a lot of time singing early-60s pop songs in the shower, because his mastery of that gestalt is complete. He projects a lot louder and more forcefully than he does on the records, and it sounds great. Tommy is completely in-time and hits with power. Johnny's guitar is searing, powerful, and massive -- so very much better sounding than on the records. Dee Dee doesn't disappoint, either. It's totally invigorating to hear these songs with excellent sound and frantic passion in the performances.

There are 27 tracks on this record, and not a clunker among them. There are some particular standouts, though : "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" and "I Don't Care" are crushing, "Commando" sounds a million times better than on the record, "Cretin Hop" is infectious, "I Wanna Be Well" is soaked with pathos, and "We're a Happy Family" is chilling. Also, the version of "Surfin' Bird" on this record is maniacal.

I own a lot of records from the 'original' NYC punk era, including some live ones. This set, like no other, captures the zany, frantic, electrifying excitement that I imagine to have been present during that time. Not having been alive when the actual ish went down, it's a blessing to have a rockin' time-machine like this. Not to say that the Ramones sound dated or 'retro' here -- the no-frills music and crisp sound give the record a thoroughly modern feel.

"Live January 7 1978" is simply THE Ramones record to have. It's a treat for fans and will convert any lingering doubters. If you don't get it now, you might end up watching "Wheel of Fortune" reruns while wating for Rush Limbaugh's radio show to come on. Don't say I didn't warn you.

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Guitar and synth recording process notes from Hepnova

Nicholas DiBiase
Poster: Nicholas DiBiase @ Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:44 am

So, I'm in this group called Hepnova. We do unique pop music (find proof at ); and today, someone asked about what gear we use in the studio. Being a terminal gear hound, I got real carried away and wrote waay too detailed of a primer, so I thought I'd share it with the Latewire so other curious musos can peep it.


Re : the sounds on recent Hepnova tracks : The synths are played by my homeboy Lee-Sean Huang, who sings and writes many of those songs. The physical synths these days are a 25-year-old Yamaha DX-27 (like the runt brother of the DX-7) and a brilliant little box called a Sid Station. We also sometimes employ a huge old Alesis 88-key (I forget the model). Most of the really distinctive sounds (solos, etc) are the Sid unit. We use the native sounds on the DX-27 once in a while for organ or chimey bell sounds, but usually, most of the 'traditional' synth sounds and bass are coming from software modules in Logic Pro, using the Yamaha as a controller. Some of the stuff is quantized, but the majority is played on the keyboard in real-time. We used to have a Novation Bass Station, but stupidly sold it when Lee-Sean moved to NYC for grad school. Big regret.

My guitar setup on recordings varies with the song, but generally on "Transistor Troubadour," you're hearing my black SG Special, which is a @#$%ing ace guitar, through either my English-made AC15 mic'd with Oktava MK219 condensers, a Behringer V-Amp emulator, or software amps in Logic.

I used to hate hate hate using soft amps or emulators in the studio, but with the recording now happening in my home studio with a baby sleeping nearby, we didn't have much choice at night. It takes a lot of effort to get fake amps to sound decent, especially for clean tones, but I think we got pretty decent results.

On the new album, about 75% of the guitar is fake amps with the balance being AC15. Since 2010, I've mainly used the SG and my old Rickenbacker 360. For example, on "Total War," the percolating rhythm part is the SG going through the V-Amp, while the clangs and the gainy lead lines at the end are the SG through the AC15 cranked all the way. On "Petrosino Square," the heavy rhythm guitar is the SG through soft amps, while the chiming arpeggios in the chorus are my Rickenbacker 360 through the AC15. On "Ghost Adventures," the lead sounds are my red Jaguar strung with 13s in standard pitch through the AC15, while the roaring rhythm guitar is the SG into the emulator.

All the acoustic guitar sounds are either from my Takamine steel-string or one of two crummy old nylon-strings.

On the stuff from 2007 through 2009, I used a mix of Rickenbacker, Phat Cat equipped Epiphone Les Paul, Jaguar, Strat, and Epiphone Sheraton (Duncans), usually with the AC15 but once in a while through my JC120. I tell you, when I got that SG in early 2010, it was like "Wow, THIS is where it's at!" Now I also have a Gibson Tennessean, which will be the main axe on all our stuff in the foreseeable future. The guit just eats everything else I've ever played.

Everything from 1998 though 2006 is Rickenbacker through AC15.

I use Dunlop Stubby 1.0mm picks.

The recording interface is a Presonus Firepod, which feeds into a Macbook Pro running the latest version of Logic Studio. That software has been such a boon, especially when sampling. As you can probably tell, most of our samples are us playing live percussion, etc, in the studio, and Logic is easier even than Recycle for getting those hits cut up and mapped to keys.

All our stuff prior to the year 2000 was recorded with SM57s, but since then we've used condensers on everything, including amps and drums, and very often in stereo.

The percussion sounds we use are a defining characteristic of our music, and that stuff is 98% self-recorded samples from my big collection of Latin and other international percussion instruments and my drum kit. Some kicks drums are treated djembe or cajon hits, but most are 808 or 909 samples in Logic.

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» Daaaaaan
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» Exclusive interview with Dr. LSD, part 2
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» Exclusive Interview with Dr. LSD, part 1
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» Land of Learning
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» Total Access
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» HT access
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» Soylent Black
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» Shit.
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» 2 Solutions
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» No Country For Old People
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» cat foot
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» Re: Dorsi
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» Mr. Lebowski is disabled, yes
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» Week-Long Brain Fart
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» Charles Burns' Black Hole
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» wilt
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» With all the nothingness of a black hole-womb.
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» L8wire
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» Inchcape vs Housing
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» The White Whale
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» Thirteen Cannot Be Divided
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» loc'd After Dark 4.0
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» snakehat
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» Re: Cactus Vs Banjo Player
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» inchc8pe part 2
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» snack
Comments: 0 Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:56 pm
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» Thunderfoot
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» inchc8pe
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» Human-Cow Hybrid Survives Three Days
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» frake
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» l8whyre
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