2016.06 minutiae

  • I think I will quietly shelve those plans to pursue a career as a pastry chef.

  • I have to use Google Docs for a freelance gig I'm working on.  In other news, I will never, ever be able to type "Google Docs" without first typing "Google Dogs" and then backspacing.

  • I have pretty much given up on the idea that people on the Internet will ever go back to spelling "whoa" correctly.  Fine, "woah" people.  Victory is yours.  But I am never going to be able to reconcile myself to the fact that 90% of people on the Internet now type "chocked" and "chocking" as forms of the verb "to choke".

  • PS: corck nut

  • PPS: yes, I know that maybe two people in the world get that

  • Speaking of jokes no one else thinks are funny: Solange moved recently, and warned me that she would be hard to find online for a while because the Internet service at her house hadn't been set up yet.

    Me: "So, 'No Adventures in Wi-Fi' HA HA HA HA HA"


  • I bought a couple of bags of flaked coconut from Tradey Joe.  The nutritional information says that a serving is ¼ cup, and that each bag contains "about 7" servings.  And yet the total amount of coconut in each bag is three cups.  But I guess that 12 is about 7, in a way.

  • Spotted as I walked to my polling place to vote: a cat sharpening its claws on a car tire.  Somehow I'd never seen that before.

  • This Vox article points out that if we could test the entire population of the U.S. for intent to commit a mass murder, even if the test were 99% accurate there would be millions of false positives.  Specifically:

    Still, you can't be too careful.  We should probably kick Oklahoma out of the union just to be on the safe side.

  • Speaking of 99% accuracy, every time I upload a new installment of Radio K to Youtube I find it uncanny how well the automatic closed captioning works.  Intuitively it seems like it should be easier for a computer to turn text in one language into text in another language than to turn speech into text — not particularly well enunicated speech into text, at that — yet there is remarkably little Babelfishing in the captions.

  • So one of my very favorite musicians, Julie Christmas, provided vocals on the new album by a band called Cult of Luna.  There are lots of great moments, but one song in particular, "Cygnus", would probably have vaulted into my top ten except for one thing: there are times when the band's regular vocalist insists on making an appearance, and he sounds like an injured bear vomiting.  Totally unlistenable.  I went into Audacity, cut all his parts out, and stitched the remainder together; the transitions are seamless, and this is the version I listen to (frequently, sometimes on repeat), but the cuts do undermine the overall structure of the song a bit, particularly in that I had to drop the big finish and end on a fade out.  It would have been so much better had Julie sung all the parts.  But really, even just the opportunity to cut the male vocals while keeping the underlying music would have improved the song immensely.  And I actually found myself kind of frustrated that songs are still released mixed down to a single stereo track instead of in multitrack format for listeners to remix as they will.  Normally I am pretty firmly in the "authorial control" camp, but I kind of figure that it's 2016 and that battle has pretty much been lost, so the fact that the original separate tracks aren't publicly available felt weird to me.

  • And it occurs to me that most people who hop onto Youtube and pull up "Cygnus" are going to think I'm a crazy person: "He's screaming, she's screaming, what's the difference?"  The difference is that her screaming is glorious and his is horrible.  It's not just a female vs. male thing: Kurt Cobain's screaming made for some of the greatest music ever made, while Sugarcoma would likely have been one of my favorite bands back in the day if not for Jessica Mayers's abominable bellowing — her singing was very sweet, but she kept breaking out that grotesquerie.  Anyway, while I was catching up on what Julie had been up to since her last solo release in 2011 and this album with Cult of Luna, I happened across a song of hers called "Scalps", from a 2012 compilation album:

    This is pretty jagged even by Julie's standards, but it sounds like absolute candy to me.  I love music that initially sounds like dissonant noise but that on a second or third listen suddenly makes sense: "Oh, wait, this is actually lovely!"  Unfortunately, when I go looking for stuff like this, pretty much everything I find ends up sounding like dissonant noise forever.  Feh.

  • So I stopped into an eatery on Telegraph Avenue, and as I was waiting for my order to come up, someone tied a large dog to a table outside.  The problem?  The table wasn't actually attached to anything, so moments later the dog was running off down the sidewalk at top speed while the table went KLONG KLONG KLONG after it.

  • I am used to just sticking my hand out my front door to see how warmly to dress, but now that I have students in places like San Ramon, I have to consult weather.gov.  For instance, one morning it was 67°F here and, simultaneously, 93°F just on the other side of the tunnel.  I really do think that if I hadn't been lucky enough to land in the wonderful microclimate that is Albany I would have had to leave the state by now.  Seriously, who invented heat and light?  They are the worst.

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