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amazingly life-like
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video shoot

A fun night at Steam Powered, with Matt in to shoot promotional video for the VC'ers. Click for the big picture!

The Evil of Banality Not talking about presidents here. Presidents come and go, and can for the most part be ignored. No, for me the greater evils are things which suck away precious time. Like Apple® software. Specifically, Notes.

iphone 5

As you can see there is something wrong with my phone. I smashed the screen with a chunk of steel working in the studio the night before last. It still works- but for how long?

It became important for me to back-up or copy a lot of files to my desktop computer. Just in case this thing failed. And while I've figured out how to do this for the pictures I take, and the sound recordings I make, it never occurred to me that the 4 years or so of notes I'd been keeping would be any kind of a problem. What could be simpler than copying some text files, right?

That's the banal part of the equation. Here's the evil part. Apple® software won't let you copy those files. I spent over 2 hours with Apple tech support, installed the iCloud® on my desktop, upgraded to the latest rev OS for my phone, only to be told- in the end- that the software doesn't support what I was trying to do. Doesn't support the banal function of copying files across operating systems. Now, that is evil.

Not as evil as killing people because they are the wrong color, or letting people go without essential services like water and electricity because they can't pay for it in advance, I will admit that. But it's an insidious evil, widespread and perverse, and we accept it as the flagAmericanflag way of doing business. Apple never said I would be able to copy these files- why should I assume so? Did I not read my EULA?

People, I am old. I have been using personal computers since there were personal computers. I had the original MACINTOSH 128 on my desktop the month it came out. The operating system wars used to cast Microsoft as the evil ones, and certainly they were (in the sense that I mean in this rant) and still are, but don't try to tell me that Apple is any better. My next phone will not be an iPhone.

I am currently mailing myself 4 years of notes, one at a time, just to get them into my desktop. How's that for evil?

(for balance, here's a list of software that is NOT evil)

NoteTab Light I do my webpage layout with this.
paint.net I do my graphics editing with this.
Goldwave Audio editing- the best!
FileZilla I transfer files to my server with this.
VLC media player Better than Winamp!
Beyond Compare For synching backup files.
Avast This anti-virus nags you, but it works.
Reaper Whenever I record in the box I use this.
LibreOffice Avoid using Microsoft Office®!

Discuss evil software.

There is a video of a performance of the ouverture for La Gaza Ladra (aka The Thieving Magpie) on YouTube that I have enjoyed for years. Watching it again tonight, listening through the "candy" speakers, I notice that the feel of the performance is positively affected by an accident.

At around 4 minutes into the piece, someone offstage knocks something down a short flight of stairs. This happens in a quiet section just before the famous melody.

the thieving magpie

Here the concertmaster and violinist behind him share an expression I find hard to describe. Has this entire recording been ruined?

After a brief, somber passage, the answer is provided by the oboe and bassoon. The melody is played clearly and without a hint of consternation. The show will go on!


This woman seems a little amused by the incident.

mona lisa

Looks are being exchanged. The performance picks up steam, as does the score. Soon everyone is playing their asses off, either to save this or because it doesn't matter anymore and is just for fun. The young piccolo player is no longer so nervous as he seemed earlier...


...and the percussionist with his tie undone is giving an outstanding performance on triangle and bass drum.


By this point the orchestra is about to reach a crescendo- the clarinette player seeks a cue from someone to his left.

let's go!

Then everything rushes down a mountainside together to the finale, which is (as we like to say) "ragged but right". It's a beautiful thing.

Discuss this performance of La Gazza Ladra by the Nina Rota Orchestra.

Watching a French movie starring an Italian actress from the early 1960's may have inspired this photo.

accordion soul

That movie was playing during the recording of what could be the final tracks for the Vinegar Creek Constituency project yesterday evening...


...which was followed this morning by the purchase of the third studio AW4416, seen here undergoing extensive tests.


Now I'll be able to link up 48 tracks if that should prove to be necessary.

Discuss the French connection.

Start with one of these...


Add this...

bon fire

End up with something like this...

Halloween Dance

Discuss bonfire dancing.


My former schoolmate Tim must have been chuckling when he wrote this one for our local paper.

Part of Lancaster city, suburbs among nation's hottest hipster havens, say websites

As life-long residents, we've known that this place has always been hip. Very hip.

Discuss hipness

Sad to lose Fred Amendola last month. Fred was a Stoker from way back, lugging his axe down my stairs to play on tunes by me and Mr. Bobby.


I had recently been listening to his work on my song Anybody's Fool and thinking how it was the best part of it. He once showed me how the warmth of his hand would throw his instrument out of tune, and how he had to compensate for that. Such a good player, and nice guy all around.

I re-recorded my vocal on that song, and added some organ. Someday it may be worthy of his contribution, but meanwhile you can hear his work here...

Anybody's Fool.mp3

Discuss Fred Amendola-