BLEAGH!

Sep. 26th, 2006 02:55 pm
oneirophrenia: (Mr. Rogers)
You know...rarely--rarely--do I find music that I actually hate. Seriously. Even the crappiest records sometime have a moment or two of fun or interest to them. I mean, even Vanilla Ice's To The Extreme has its moments.

But The Fiery Furnaces' Blueberry Boat album is just, truly, the worst fucking thing I've ever heard.

What are these idiots trying to do? Write goofy "indie pop" songs using Schoenberg's twelve-tone scale? Or is it just that they can't write a piece of actual music and try to get by with just banging on various instruments until something like a melody or a rough equivalent of a song-structure comes crapping out? Otto von Schirach has a better song-writing sensibility than these morons.

Seriously...The Fiery Furnaces sound like Mates of State trying to be "avant garde" and failing miserably. What a waste of time.
oneirophrenia: (Hahaha)
Weird Al Yankovic's new album, Straight Outta Lynwood, is absolutely hysterical. You know...after, what, nearly thirty years of basically doing the same thing with every album, you'd think Weird Al's schtick would get old--BUT YOU WOULD BE WRONG, GANGSTA. Weird Al only seems to get better with every album. And this album is a silly masterpiece, from its first track "White and Nerdy" (which features W to tha A-L droppin' rhymes with skillz that'd make most whiteboy rappers curl up and die--except for White Chocolate, of course) to the final, "Don't Download This Song"--which Weird Al had put up for free download a few months ago. For all you Weird Al afficionados, you gotta get all up on dis.
oneirophrenia: (Berzerk2)
Check out the new article on The Spacing Guild Guide to Good Music concerning Camouflage's superb new album, Relocated, and Junior Boys' 8-bit depression-fest, So This Is Goodbye. Good sounds for you!

[livejournal.com profile] laerm, be sure you check this shit out, as I'd love to hear your comments....
oneirophrenia: (Relax Bear Music)
Check it out, folks: Subpop Records, one of my favorite indie labels on earth (Iron and Wine! The Postal Service!) has teamed up with BitTorrent to offer a number of new songs, videos, and so forth via BitTorrent! Get 'em here!

This is a ballsy move for a record company to take, but...man, it only makes sense that Subpop would do it. They represent their artists fairly and their artists know how to connect with fans. You give away some stuff for free, people will buy the hell out of the rest of your stuff. Why? Because you showed enough faith in your customers to give 'em a nice free sampling. That way, if they really like it, they feel perfectly comfortable with giving you money for your work. THAT is the spirit of contemporary post-capitalist commerce!
oneirophrenia: (r0b0t)
Artificial hearts don't have to "beat" in order to work.

I mean...it only makes sense: as long as the blood keeps circulating, it does not need to keep circulating in "pulses" the way it does when pushed through our bloodstreams by an annoying clenching muscle.

I'll totally step up to be one of the first people to have such a device implanted. And then I'll run around everywhere telling people, "Hey, feel my heartbeat? Oh, you can't? THAT'S 'CAUSE I DON'T HAVE ONE!"

Then some stupid bastard would probably try to run a stake through me or shoot my head off, no doubt.

YES!

Sep. 21st, 2006 02:04 pm
oneirophrenia: (Berzerk2)
The C64 Orchestra is just what it sounds like it is: an orchestra performing classical renditions of classi Commodore 64 games!

I just had a nerdgasm.
oneirophrenia: (Victorian Zevon!)
Cisco Systems' chief tech officer Bob Gleichauf calls Windows Vista "scary".

Why?

"Parts of Vista scare me," Gleichauf said at the Gartner Security Summit here on Monday. "Anything with that level of systems complexity will have new threats, as well as bringing new solutions. It's always a struggle in security, trying to build for what you don't know."


So, basically...because Windows Vista is a new operating system, it will solve a lot of problems, but no doubt cause others.

DUH.

Welcome to the World of The Completely Fucking Obvious.

Sure, Microsoft is making the usual noise about Vista being absolutely necessary for the commercial sector, but that shouldn't fool anyone: Vista is being aimed squarely at the home-computing sector. People like me, for instance. I'll upgrade to Vista the second the OS hits the market, because I haven't a large-scale network that I'm worried about bricking due to compatibility or upgrade issues. Vista may be MS's excuse for a "cutting-edge" OS (and, yes, it's very nice and I like it a great deal, but it's not The Next Big Thing in OSes), but the commercial sector could care less as long as the crap they're currently using continues to work, more or less. The entire Waynesburg network is run on MS Windows 2K. Penn State Fayette is still running NT 4.0, I believe. And guess what? There are ATMs Out There still using OS/2 Warp! Businesses don't upgrade until it's absolutely, absolutely necessary. So who cares what security problems Vista may bring about? Businesses won't be the people dealing with that--average end-users like me will be.
oneirophrenia: (Mad Scientist 1)
OK...the new Scissor Sisters album, Ta-Dah!, wasn't exactly impressing me until I got to track three, "I Can't Decide". The lyrics are just awesome.

For the most part, the album is very enjoyable retro-'70s disco/glam kitsch...and that's all good and stuff, but it's nothing to go batshit crazy for like some hipsters have. It's just not all that memorable. Kind of like ELO's first two albums or Paris Hilton's album. Good stuff, but it doesn't really stick with you.

You want memorable, let me tell you: Camouflage's best-known single, "The Great Commandment", has got memorability in spades. ([livejournal.com profile] aidinslevel, I'm making you a copy of this album as well.)
oneirophrenia: (Blue Me)
Goddamnit. Ahab has shuffled off this mortal coil. Here's the details as taken from the Herald-Standard via [livejournal.com profile] lyssabard's LJ:

Ronald L. Forsythe, 71, of California, Pa., died Saturday, September 16, 2006, in Uniontown Hospital.

He was born February 19, 1935, in West Brownsville, Pa., the youngest child of the late James and Bessie (Snyder) Forsythe.

Alife-long lover of baseball, Ron pitched in the Brooklyn/LA Dodgersorganization from 1955-60 before leaving professional sports foracademia. During the mid 60's, Ron joined the Peace Corps and taughtEnglish in Nigeria for 27 months. After returning to the States, heattended North Dakota State University, receiving his Masters Degree in1968. He and his new bride returned to California, Pa., and he beganhis long career as a professor at California University of Pennsylvaniathat same year. His charisma and maverick teaching approach made him aperennial favorite among students; upon his retirement from theUniversity in 2004 he was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus. Hespent the last years of his life at home writing short stories.

Ronald was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Willis, Robert, and Carl Forsythe; and one sister, Carol Firestone.

Leftto cherish his memory are his wife of 38 years, Cherryl (Swenson)Forsythe, and their two sons: Aaron and wife Anne Forsythe of Renton,Wa., and Neil Forsythe of California, Pa.; and three sisters: Charlotte"Sis" and husband Mahlon "Mac" Pritts of Lowhill, Pa., Marsha andhusband Harris Earl of Brooksville, Fl., and Lola and husband Tom Hillof Waynesburg, Pa. Also surviving is his granddaughter, Athena Forsytheof Renton, Wa., and numerous nieces and nephews.

Friends will bereceived in the MARISCOTTI FUNERAL HOME, INC., Anthony N. Mariscotti,Supervisor, 323 Fourth Street, California, Pa., on Monday, September18, from 7 to 9 p.m., on Tuesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. and until11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 20, 2006, when services will be heldin the funeral home.

Interment will follow in Lafayette Memorial Park.













There'll be a due tribute to this great, great man in my blog in a day or two, so I'll save my major comments for there, but suffice to say: Another leg of the great tripod of English teachers who taught me everything I know has fallen. Cal U's English Department has suffered its next-to-last blow. Mind you, as you can see, ol' Ahab was a bit up there in years and hadn't been well for some time--but nonetheless, his death is...a bit of a shock. I was planning on calling him this week to tell him there's a new Cormac McCarthy book coming out.

I never had Forsythe for a single class, but that doesn't mean he and I weren't close while he was still teaching, and after, though my own teaching career and my annoying habit of losing touch with people I don't see everyday put some distance between us. Nonetheless, I owe everything to Ahab, and Bernie, and Alan (the last surviving member of the Trinity). They made me what I am.

Only one thing I can do now: keep the tradition going. Out of all the people who studied at Cal U and knew Ahab, I think I'm the only one keeping the torch alive in the college classrooms. And I'll do it until I die. I was kind of doubting, earlier this year, whether I'd be able to keep teaching since I haven't been making much money and all that shit. Well, you know what? FUCK the money. I never got into this to get rich in the first fucking place--I did it because men like Ahab inspired me to do it and peeled off all the layers of bullshit I'd caked around myself over the years to show me that this is what I'm meant to do. Bernie DeFilippo, my thesis advisor and friend, never even got to see me finish my degree and hit the boards on the other side of the desk--but Ahab did, and I will NEVER forget what he told me last year when I started teaching at Cal U:

"Never give up on a student until that student gives up on you. At which point you know you are the one who fucked up."

Don't even think for one goddamned minute that I'm going to invalidate all the inspiration and advice he and B and Alan and everyone who knew this was what I was cut out to do have given me over the years. I don't give a shit if I have to live in a ditch and crawl forth by night to teach writing by foxfire in an abandoned springhouse, this is My Thing. As it was Ahab's Thing. And Bernie's Thing.

The king is dead! LONG LIVE THE KING!

And don't worry, Ahab, I still have all the books you loaned me--and I'll be sure I get you a copy of the new Cormac McCarthy book! Might be a bit difficult to get it to you now, but I'm sure I'll figure out a way sooner or later. :)
oneirophrenia: (Hahaha)
Here's how to handle 'em.

And you'd better believe I've thought of doing this before.
oneirophrenia: (Swirly)
Just posted a new article about Whitest Boy Alive and Husky Rescue over at my music blog, The Spacing Guild Guide to the Humanities. Check it out if you know what's good for your ears!

Incidentally, it's also crossposted at Pegritz(.com)! as well, so you can check it out there as well, but you'll be missing out on the cool Amazon.com links and stuff that Vox.com supports. Enjoy!
oneirophrenia: (r0b0t)
I finally downloaded and installed Windows Vista RC1 on my old fileserver computer last night and played around with it for a bit. And the verdict is:

TOTALLY FUCKING SWEET.

First of all, I've been idly following Vista development for the past few months and noticed that most of the comments and reviews mentioned that Vista is shaping up nicely but still has a lot of problems. Namely, that it's slow as hell, still a bit buggy (expected with even a pre-release candidate), and nags you too much with User Account Control pop-ups asking you for permission to do damnear anything from empty the Recycle Bin to scratch your own ass with your own hand. I decided that the only way to truly experience Windows Vista and decide whether it will be worth upgrading to in the future is to give it a try myself...and in order to determine just what problems I might encounter, I decided to run it on my lowest-end machine just to see how it would handle on a four-year-old Compaq with only 512mb of RAM and a pretty average, three-year-old Nvidia graphics card.

First, I ran MS's Windows Upgrade Advisor thingee on the computer and it recommended that I turn off the much-ballyhooed Aero interface and a number of other advanced functions as "these would slow down performance noticeably." Well, fuck that, I thought--I want to see the performance hit myself. So I just installed the complete RC1 with all its standard high-end defaults.

I did not upgrade the version of WinXP currently on the computer--I just wiped the partition and installed clean. The complete installation took approximately 45 minutes...the exact same as with WinXP. When Vista booted for the first time, it took a while, naturally, but every subsequent boot took no more time than WindowsXP.

MS recommends a high-end video card to handle its glassy, transparent Aero interface...but my video card is a couple of years old and was middling at best at the time. I think it's a 128mb Nvidia Something-or-Other. It handles the Aero interface perfectly well. No performance slowdown whatsoever.

I tested out the ubiqitous search features in Vista next. They ran perfectly smoothly, though I've no doubt that once I'm running searches with my usual millions of documents, sound files, and graphics on an indexed hard drive, it will probably be slower--but, still, nothing to be alarmed about.

To test its multitasking capabilities, I ran almost every largescale programme that comes with it at one time. Internet Explorer, WMP 11, all the systems utilities, and so forth. I think I had a grand total of 25 apps running. The taskbar at the bottom of the screen was so jampacked I could barely tell what anything was--but Vista has a nice little feature that pops up a thumbail of the window in question above the taskbar slot. Sure, with 25 separate apps running, I started noticing system slowdown, but...nothing appreciable or any way worse than the slowdown I used to get with XP running a ton of big apps.

While I was working with the OS, I got two User Account Control popups. Only two. And none of them repeated when I accessed the commands a second time after having okayed them in the first place.

So. The verdict so far is: I don't know what all the alarmists on the 'Net are babbling about. Windows Vista does not seem to run slower than XP. MS's own "hardware requirements" greatly overestimate Vista's hardware footprint--I'm running it just fine on a computer that, according to them, shouldn't be able to handle all of Vista's advanced features. But it sure as hell does. So don't pay attention to ANY of that hardware bullshit. If you've got any computer better than a Pentium II and have at least 512mb of RAM, Windows Vista should be just fine on your machine.

Now, remember this, folks: these are all preliminary conclusions. I haven't installed any major software on it yet to see how it works. I haven't tried any of my audio software or installed Adobe Creative Suit 2. I haven't even begun to really play with all the configs and really get under the hood of the OS. My opinion will almost certainly change once I do that, and it'll probably go down a bit. I do know that Vista presently has problems with Creative's X-Fi soundcards, which is what I use in my primary desktop, but I'm betting that will be resolved by the time Windows Vista officially goes live. It damnwell better be. (Though this is not a problem for MS to work out--it's a problem for Creative, and they'd better get cracking on it.)

But, nonetheless...Windows Vista looks nice. It's basically OS X for Windows, but it's nice. It looks beautiful, like an OS from fuckin' Tron. And it runs smoothly so far. It seems stable as can be, and isn't that much different from WinXP--not so different that, say, it'll be difficult for anyone to upgrade to.

Looks like I'll definitely be plopping down the cash for it when it comes out this January. Unless some major problem creeps up in the works. But I really don't see that happening, if my preliminary OS Spidey-sense is anway correct.

Oh, and one last thing: [livejournal.com profile] eolh brought up a valid point last night: what about DRM troubles or other such weirdness? Well...as far as I can tell, the only instances of noticeable DRM in the new OS is with Windows Media Player 11, of course. But if you don't purchase "protected content" from the Urge musical service or anything like that, it's a total nonissue. The codecs don't even load if you leave "Automatically acquire licenses for protected content" unchecked during the initial config. I haven't seen any instances of copy-protection idiocy anywhere else in the OS yet, though, admittedly, I haven't even begun to probe under the hood yet. If I turn up anything, you'd better believe I'll tell y'all where to find it and how to disable it. :)
oneirophrenia: (Ear!)
WHY do colleges and universities schedule students into "remedial" writing courses like, say, Waynesburg or Cal U's ENG 100, and then also schedule them for history/philosophy/etc. classes that require mad amounts of research papers? They're in ENG 100 to be prepared to do college writing, yet in other classes they're already expected to be doing it. That is so backasswards it makes me want to travel back in time and punch an earlier version of myself in the head.

Yesterday, one of my 100 students, Jasmine--the only black girl in all of Greene County, it seems--asked me if I could help her with a research paper. "Uhhh...none of our essays in this class involved research," I noted. "No, no, no," she answered, "this is for my history class." This class requires her to do three separate research papers. The assignments provide the topics, but she is expected to research the data, put it all together, and then document it all using MLA style. Jasmine has never done a research paper in her life--her highschool didn't have a senior project or anything like that, and she went to tech school for health-care training, so she never really had to write anything. Which is why she's in ENG 100 instead of ENG 101, the research-writing class. And these three papers in her history class are the biggest percentage of her grade.

As an English instructor, it's my duty to make sure anyone who comes to me for advice or instruction--whether he or she's a student of mine or not--is provided with the necessary information. But how can I possibly teach this poor girl who barely knows what a standard 5-paragraph essay is everything she needs to know to do a research paper? The best I told her I can do is show her the basics of research (which isn't that difficult at all) and then try to show her how MLA works as best I can by next Wednesday, which is when the first paper is due. Oy freakin' vey. I'll do everything I possibly can to help her out, but there's just no way you can teach someone who has no concept of research writing how to do it well enough to earn an A in under a week's time. As long as she doesn't fail the assignment, I'll be happy--and I'll try like hell to ensure she doesn't.

This kind of cross-scheduling shit really frosts my balls, though. Perhaps a little interdepartmental continuity would be a good thing.
oneirophrenia: (Hahaha)
"We will crush your heads!" said Saddam Hussein at his trial today.

CRUSH CRUSH CRUSH!

I AM CRUSHING YOUR KURDISH HEADS!
oneirophrenia: (Contemplative Doctor)
Art and Medicine.

Yes, there are plenty of cool vintage medical photos there to tickle your grotesque fancy....

But the highlight of the sight is John Wood's collection of medical poems that he wrote about various deforming skin and subdermal conditions of the day, each accompanied by a lovely photo of a patient displaying said symptoms. My favorite is "Elephantiasis":

Do not say to me that she is not beautiful )

The verse is actually surprisingly good, almost free verse with a touch of English Heroic Meter as described by Milton in the preface to Paradise Lost. Check them out, as they may be some of the best poetry I've read in ages.
oneirophrenia: (Berzerk2)
For those of you who DON'T know, I, Derek C. F. Pegritz, in my guise as RETAR-D2, will be rocking it out tomorrow at the Garfield Artworks! 8pm! BE THERE.

Here's the rest of the breakdown for all you hipsters and New Wave freaks:

If you're a fan of the latest dance-punk and electropunk stuff coming out of Brooklyn and elsewhere (think The Rapture, !!!, LCD Soundsystem, The Juan McLean, Hot Chip, etc) you will enjoy this band.

Touch & Go recording artists
SUPERSYSTEM
http://www.supersystemband.com

with local new-wavers STYLES FOR MODERN LIVING
http://www.myspace.com/stylesformodernliving

plus Derek Pegritz's latest incarnation
RETAR-D2
http://www.myspace.com/retard2

and new synthpop dude PFUNKT
("sounds like: The Faint, Right Said Fred")
http://www.myspace.com/pfunkt

Sunday September 10 8 pm all ages $8
Garfield Artworks, 4931 Penn Avenue
http://www.garfieldartworks.com

take the 54 C from Oakland or the 86B from Downtown.
This show will be discotastic! See you there!
oneirophrenia: (Cylon 1)
Holy crap...I don't know what the heck has been plagueing me today, but I literally cannot stop coughing. Yes, that old familiar curse has come back to haunt me yet again. I've been having some major allergy troubles all weekend--been eating Benadryl like they were Smarties--an, yes, sometimes if my allergies get too bad they'll really irritate my throat and set me to coughing...but, man, I don't remember it being this bad. I can barely talk right now, and I'm so damned tired from all the Benadryl (and the Robitussin now) I'm going to crawl into bed and doze off in about fifteen minutes.

Luckily, I did get stuff accomplished today: All of my class stuff figured out for the week, some basic house maintenance, and a trip to WalMart for cough medicine and enough Halls Mentholyptus coughdrops to keep me mentholated for six years. I also published something "new" to Pegritz.com--a little piece about empty parkinglots and holidays that I actually wrote last week but never actually got around to publishing until today.

Also, thanks to an anonymous tip on LJ, I have discovered something truly, unbelievably, unimaginably AWESOME: THE COMATEENS HAVE A MYSPACE PAGE!!!!! I'll freakout about that in detail tomorrow, though, because right now I'm fighting to keep my head from banging into the keyboard as I pass out.

Camouflage!

Sep. 4th, 2006 06:10 pm
oneirophrenia: (DE-VO)
Holy christ, the new Camouflage album, Relocated, is the second-best synthpop album of this year, after Depeche Mode's positively sublime Playing the Angel. In fact, Relocated sounds like Playing the Angel's less-hyped, but just as creative, younger brother. This music is perfect background sound for working out class notes and assignments, so [livejournal.com profile] eolh, take note!

My GOD, I need to DJ again soon. Seriously, somebody must need a New/Newer Wave DJ to at least fill in an hour guest slot somewhere!!! C'mon, you fucking hipsters, give a brotha a few minutes on the laptop and your booties will be shaken (not stirred).
oneirophrenia: (Nivek!)
Whitest Boy Alive are my new favorite band. Dreams is the best indie rock album of 2006. 'Nuf sed.

Get it now.

(You know, everyday, I realize that the only reason I became such a goth/industrial freak in the '90s was because the pop music of that decade sucked so much ass. Now that good music has come forth again, I'm back to being what I always really was: a stonecold New Waver.)
oneirophrenia: (Contemplative Doctor)
Cane Hill, an abandoned looney bin in London, is just what I imagine Thomas Ligotti's "Dr. Locrian's Asylum" would look like.

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