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3.27.2003
There are times in life when you think of something and go "why the HELL didn't I think of that before?" Today was one of those times.

There's been talk about replacing our current queen-sized bed with a king. A sticking point has been room, however: where we had our current bed, there was barely enough room on either side for night stands. Getting a larger bed would necessitate losing one.

Well, we had thrown out the idea of turning the bed 90 degrees, but for some reason we had assumed that there simply wouldn't be enough room to get past the closet. Today, however, I duly got out the tape measure and measured. I believe I told Amy "there'd be more room here with a king than how we have our queen now!"

That of course immediately prompted the moving of our current bed, and things suddenly just make a lot more sense in there now. Instead of a large empty space in the middle of the room (which really served no purpose), we've now got a ton of extra room along the walls, as well as more room to walk around.

It's so nice when things just fall into place.

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3.25.2003
Who's Next: Deluxe Edition

[note: this is a "generic" review meant for several places, so some things that seem very obvious might not be to people reading it somewhere else]

As most people know, one of the main selling points of Who's Next: Deluxe Edition is that the original album comes from the original stereo master tapes "for the first time on CD". The story is that only copy tapes have been used all of these years. On the other hand, Steve Hoffman, former MCA engineer [www.stevehoffman.tv], has claimed for a long time that he found the master tapes in a file cabinet at the Mastering Lab in LA in the mid-80s and used them for his CD version, one variation of which is still available in Canada today.

Well, between listening to the two side by side and running the tape box pictures past Steve, it would indeed seem the Deluxe Edition is the *second* time (at the very least) the true masters have been used for CD. There's little doubt in my mind that Hoffman's version also used the tapes. Both forms of the album sound quite good, although there are some differences between the two.

The Hoffman CD has an EQ that favors the vocals, with the side effect of causing the cymbals to sound a bit "midrangy". The Deluxe Edition, on the other hand, goes for a slightly more "smooth" cymbal sound, at the expense of the vocals, causing them to be submerged slightly, if you will. The DE is a bit less "open", IMO.

There are also some minor differences beyond EQ. For his CD, Hoffman essentially played the tapes back "straight", without fading the hiss out between tracks. [side note: the Canadian version has the hiss "blacked" between some tracks. The original US and Japanese pressings don't.] The Deluxe Edition takes a different approach. As the songs come to a close, the entire track is faded out, causing the hiss to fade as well. The side effect of this is that in some cases the very last moments of some songs are lost.

Interesting note: the between song gaps for most of the album seem to be just about identical between the Hoffman CD and the DE. However, while some previous versions of the original mix (including the Hoffman) have essentially no pause between Behind Blue Eyes and Won't Get Fooled Again, the Deluxe Edition has a few seconds of silence between the two. Very strange. On the other hand, the old US MCA CD (a version not mastered by Hoffman) does have a small gap as well.

A big question on many peoples minds has been noise reduction (NR). Jon Astley (who mastered the Deluxe Edition) is notorious for using NR on just about everything. This has the effect of sucking the life out of the music and causing nasty digital artifacts. Kind of a "swirling" sound if you will. Just listen to some of Live At Leeds: Deluxe Edition for a good (or bad, I guess) example of this. Well, I've got good and bad news. The good news is that *most* of the album is NR-free. Hiss levels are usually about the same as the Hoffman CD, and in a few cases they actually seem to be every so slightly higher. That said, several intros, quiet sections, and fade-outs do have noise reduction. One key place is Won't Get Fooled Again - the intro, synth break, and fade-out all have NR. There's very little hiss during the break, and then as soon as the drums come in, the hiss level goes *way* up. Fortunately the NR isn't quite as intrusive as it was on some other Astley-mastered CDs, but it is still annoying, and there's simply no reason for it.

As far as the rest of the (bonus) cuts go, I haven't really gotten that far yet. I would note that while Baby Don't You Do It is longer than on the 1995 CD, it is still edited in a few places. What's the point?

On the other hand, some (but not all) of the backing vocals mixed out of Pure & Easy on the 1995 CD are present here. The song also comes to a formal close, rather than a fade-out.

Behind Blue Eyes still only has a single guitar solo, unlike the dual solos on the bootleg mix.

I briefly skimmed through disc 2. Rich "White Fang" Weiner has said he thought the mastering was significantly worse on this disc, but honestly, I don't hear (m)any negative effects of noise reduction. It's certainly better than I was expecting. That said, I haven't heard the mixes prior to mastering, and I believe he has. Whatever the case, the sound is *far* better than some of Jon Astley's prior work.

How would I rate this set? Well, it was certainly better than expected. A key selling point is use of the "original tape" for the original album. While I'd say it does sound *very* good, bits of noise reduction aside, I'm hesitant to say it sounds "better" than the Hoffman CD. Both versions have their own strengths and weaknesses. Casual fans will probably do fine with the DE, although I'd still suggest the Hoffman CD to those who really care about sound quality. You might still prefer the DE, but then again, you might not.

Even ignoring the original album, I'd say the set is well worth picking up. The mixes of the Record Plant material are interesting, and the Young Vic show is great from both a performance and sound standpoint.

Despite its flaws, in my opinion this is the best Who reissue to come out in a long time.

Luke

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3.24.2003
As most of you probably know, Michael Moore won the Oscar for Documentary Feature last night, for his movie Bowling For Columbine. Here was his acceptance speech:
Whoa. On behalf of our producers Kathleen Glynn and Michael Donovan from Canada, I'd like to thank the Academy for this. I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us, and we would like to they're here in solidarity with me because we like nonfiction. We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fictition of duct tape or fictition of orange alerts we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up. Thank you very much.
Like it or not (and I'm sure at least some of you reading this won't), I was thrilled that a) he won, b) he wasn't afraid to speak out.

That said, I do have to agree with this article. As much as I agree with most of Moore's viewpoints, I do think he'd be taken a lot more seriously if he realized that not everyone is as left leaning as he is. I mean, as much as I agree with it, was bringing up the 2000 election results necessary to make an anti-war stand?

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3.20.2003
Ok, here's my anti-war post:

I think this war is a sham. Launching a preemptive strike against a country that has not threatened us or made overtures towards war is just bad. Since when is "but they are evil" a valid reason to go to war? It didn't work (and wasn't necessary, as history has shown us) for the Soviets.

Weapons of mass destruction - It's been said that Iraq possesses "weapons of mass destruction", whatever those are. The reasoning is that they had them in the past, and they haven't shown proof that they are gone, so they must still exist. Sound logic, right? Heck, even if Iraq does have them (which is somewhat questionable), what did we think they were going to do with them? Launch a strike against the US? This despite the fact that Iraq has shown little aggression towards the US since the Gulf War, other than trying to take out Bush Sr. shortly after that conflict. Can the same be said about, say, North Korea? Nevertheless, the war hawks insist that such weapons would be sold to bin Laden/al Qaeda, which brings me to:

Iraq/al Qaeda links - This one is really popular. Saddam and bin Laden have a common enemy in the US, so they must want to get together, right? Wrong. Evidence of such links is sketchy, at best. bin Laden is an Islamic fundamentalist, while Saddam hates such people. The best "evidence" seems to be the Ansar al-Islam group in northern Iraq, which has protected a weapons training center used by al Qaeda. The only problem is Saddam doesn't control this area of Iraq. In fact, the leaders Ansar al-Islam would actually like to see Saddam overthrown. Hmmm. Here's some fun reading:
Radical Islamic Leader Denies Powell's Link Between Al Qaeda and Iraq
Leaked report rejects Iraqi al-Qaeda link
Key to U.S. Case Denies Iraq-Al Qaeda Link
Iraq & al-Qaeda Is there a link?
Blair: Iraq Has Some Al Qaeda Links

Inspections weren't working/couldn't go on forever - To that I say, why *couldn't* they go on forever? Or, at least until Saddam was no longer in power. I mean, if it keeps him on his toes, what's the problem? No, Iraq wasn't doing much to cooperate with inspectors, in terms of volunteering information. On the other hand, though, inspectors had unrestricted access to wherever they wanted. No appointments necessary.

Containment didn't work with Hitler in WWII, and it won't work in Iraq - You know what? Saddam isn't Hitler. Saddam hasn't tried to take over the Middle East. His last show of aggression in the region was invading Kuwait in 1990, and we all know that was quickly ended.

You don't support our troops if you're anti-war - Bullshit. Saying the current administration's foreign policy is garbage has nothing to do with standing behind the men and women in the armed forces. You want to know what the *best* way to support our troops is? To bring them home safely (or keep them safely at home). Why should separate people from their families to send them halfway around the world where they'll be in danger to fight a war that doesn't even need fighting? BRING THEM HOME.

I think that's about all for now. I won't even get into the fact that all of this surely isn't helping out already frayed relationship with the Islamic nations of this world. Or the hypocrisy in going to war with Iraq while being allies with nations like Israel or Saudi Arabia.

Addendum - No, I don't think Saddam Hussein is a good guy. Far from it. He's an evil dictator. Nevertheless, that doesn't give the United States the right to launch a preemptive strike against him. I mean, why stop with Saddam? How about China? North Korea? Cuba? Or any of the other various dictatorships around the world? Why not just bomb the hell out of all of them as well? And why now? We've lived in relative peace with Iraq for several years. Why go start something now?

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Our dog just killed a bird. Now, mind you, I saw it flying around 5 minutes ago. Then Freckles ran after it. Then...well, here:





Why couldn't she have killed an ugly bird?

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3.19.2003
Al Gore joins Apple's board

Christ, it's not even April 1st.

Maybe Al can insist that new PowerBooks have full-sized arrow keys and dedicated PageUp/PageDown keys. Oh, who am I fooling?

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3.17.2003
Didn't realize my last post would cause such a firestorm...

At any rate, I forgot to mention what a beautiful weekend it was. It felt so good to be able to go around without a jacket on. Luckily, the warm weather continued today. In fact, it was probably warmer. I got the truck all cleaned out, and then started on cleaning out the garage. And - surprise - we can actually get the car in there, for the first time in several months. It's pretty amazing how clean it is now.

Next up is cleaning up the inside of the house and finishing that wall.

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3.16.2003
This has been a long weekend, one of the longest in recent memory. A recap:

Friday: I entertained Ryan a bit (who arrived on Thursday), then spent a big chunk of the day draining the lake that formed in our driveway. It seems to be a natural water magnet, and it didn't help that all of the runoff from the street was running right down our driveway. After diverting that to the storm drain down the street, I spent quite a bit of time channeling some of the water into the neighbor's yard and vacuuming up the rest with the shop vac. Then Ryan and I took the dogs to the park. After all that was said and done, we went to an Indonesian restaurant for dinner. It was surprisingly good. And, Zach, my dinner was covered in sauce. After that it was off to the bar.

Saturday: After getting out of the house and getting some bagels, we went to the zoo to meet Pauline and Narf. After wandering around there for awhile, we headed to Belleville to have the breaks on the Camry looked at. The front breaks were making some nasty noises. Sure enough, some flecks of dust were masquerading as my front break pads. We also discovered that the front right wheel had a dented rim (on the inside), and that the tire was bulging out of the sidewall there. Not good. So after getting new pads on (as well as a new antenna, one that actually stays upright), we headed to Tires Plus to get the rim fixed and get a new tire.

Sunday: I worked today. What a boring day. Just about everybody decided they'd rather be out enjoying the great weather than shopping for printers, and as such, it was pretty dead. The job isn't too terrible when you're keeping busy, but when it's dead like that it's pretty bad. After work I went home and vacuumed out the car and Armor All'd it. It's pretty amazing how good the interior of that car looks for being 15 years old.

In other news, the wall is getting closer to being done. It's got a couple coats of plaster, and I just have to patch/sand a few small areas and paint it. I think you'll all agree it looks much better these days.

It seems the latest news is a member of the Dixie Chicks told a London audience "we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas". Because of this, fans and radio stations across the country are boycotting them. I have no use for their music, but come on, give me a break. Are people really that stupid and/or spineless that they feel the need to defend our leader (and/or country) no matter how stupid he is? Why is it the same people who like to call Germans stupid for rallying behind Hitler in WWII insist that we show a "united front" behind the president? Can't they see the connection there? Oh, wait, of course they can't. Duh.

Well, this has been one long post. More as I think of it.

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3.08.2003
And I just thought The Onion was joking around when they wrote this a few years ago. Dear God - it's amazing how scary that is when you continue reading past the headline.

"John Ashcroft will be invaluable in healing the terrible wedge President Clinton drove between church and state."

Some more sanding and the wall will be ready for painting. I just have to figure out to do with the crack right in the middle of the wall.

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3.05.2003
Well, the wall is coming along nicely. All of the ripped areas have been patched, and the entire wall has a coat of plaster (now drying). One more coat of plaster and it should be ready for painting.

Roger Ebert has a nice article up on prayer in public places. I find it amusing that Republicans conveniently forget/ignore the fact that "under God" was not part of the pledge originally, and that it can be taken out just as easily as it was put in by Eisenhower.

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3.03.2003
I got really sick of the paneling today:


Before


After

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The Simpsons Archive

Vital stats:
DOB 2/16/79. I'm a web developer at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. I like lots of old music, including The Who. I spend a lot of time working with computers. And my favorite TV show (when I actually decide to watch TV, that is), obviously, is The Simpsons.

Education:
In May 2002 I officially graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BS in computer science. In 1997 (man that seems like a long time ago) I graduated from Washington Park HS. Yes, I know, that site isn't very impressive, and no, I haven't touched it for several years.

WFS Logo

WFS:
One of the best experiences I have ever had was on a trip called Western Field Studies. This is a 33 day adventure throughout the western United States. Students travel on a school bus to national parks, monuments, forests, and places of historical interest and camp out (in tents or under the stars). I was a part of trip 25, which took place in the summer of 1996. A first for WFS was we took along a laptop computer and kept up a web site. That link will take you to the 1996 site, where there is a link to the current site.