Friday, April 29, 2011

Is That a Bass Guitar I Hear?

Yup, it is a bass guitar you can hear prominently on this March 19th, 1975 recording of the song Rock and Roll. It was recorded in Vancouver at the Pacific Coliseum and the cost for a ticket was $7.75 (including the service charge). Often in these soundboard recordings the bass guitar is almost nonexistent. This one has the bass up front and, no surprise, Jon Paul Jones' playing is rock solid and melodic. Not many people know this but the drum solo at the end is tapping out a Morse code message. It says, "What are you hiding? Show us the certificate of live birth!" Crazy, wild stuff.

This is the opening song of the night and it cuts out abruptly because the next song starts immediately and whoever broke the tracks up didn't time it quite right.

Led Zeppelin Rock and Roll 1975/03/19 by zzazazz

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Still Hungry

On April 27th, 1969 Led Zeppelin played the final show of a four night stand at the Fillmore West in San Francisco. Of all the bootleg recordings I've collected this is by far the one I have listened to the most. A close second being the demo recordings George Harrison made for All Things Must Pass. You can see flyers for the Zeppelin show here.

This song is a version of Killin' Floor which they later stole, put it on their second album and called "The Lemon Song." That song also borrows a line from Robert Johnson. I guess if you are going to steal, steal from the best. What I like about this song is that it is a good example of "tight but loose." It starts out nice and structured, it has an improvised middle and is brought back home nicely. They were a jam band before being a jam band was cool. Early in the song there is about 90 seconds where the sound quality gets pretty bad. Most of this bootleg is from a soundboard recording that is incomplete. Some collector somewhere out there took an audience recording plugged the holes in the soundboard recording. Those segments can be distracting if you're not ready them. That's what I love about the internet, you can profit from the obsessions of others. Whoever did do this did a fantastic job editing the parts together.

I love concert recordings of Led Zeppelin from the late 60s and 1970, right before they got real big and still play a lot of old blues songs. They are almost a different band on these earlier recording. They are just a hot blues rock band and not gods yet and it comes through in the performances. I guess everybody has more urgency about what they do when they are clawing to the top.

Another nice little tidbit this song offers is the very end. Listen to the crowd, it sounds like there is no one there. Can you imagine seeing that band in an intimate venue with a small crowd? Good god.

Led Zeppelin - Killing Floor 4/27/1969 by zzazazz

Howlin' Wolf performing Killin' Floor

Hendrix set this song on fire at Monterey
Let's Make Royalty More Fun

Because I am not blind and deaf and regularly watch the cable network BBC America I am aware that the second in line to the British throne is getting married on Friday. I think it's pretty cool with all the pageantry and tradition. If I was English I'd probably be one of the blokes standing in the street cheering. But, I do think, as was shone brilliantly in the movie The Queen, that the European royalty are way behind the times. They need to catch up and get more interesting. I have a solution. They should be legally allowed to assassinate each other. You know, bring back the good old days (as Stephanie pointed out).

Of course, you can't have the royals running around wantonly slaughtering each other like Americans do when we have a minor gas shortage. There has to be rules.

1) You may only assassinate another rival for the actual throne of England. If your father is an earl and you want to control his vineyards you cannot whack him.

2) You have to be at least the tenth in line for the throne. If you are eleventh you cannot take out number 4 just so you can move up. But, if Number 5 slashes the throat of Number 2 and you then move from 11 to 10, you are in the game.

3) You may opt out but if you do you abdicate all claims to the throne, you pussy.

4) You have to do the deed yourself, you cannot contract out your murder.

5)No firearms or poison. You are required to assassinate your rivals by knife, bow and arrow or by hand. Unless, of course, you can arrange a "hunting accident." If that is the case then firearms are allowed.

6) You may not assassinate those below you except for the one directly behind you since he may be gunning for you anyway. If you are number 4 and you really hate number 6 it is considered bad form to kill number 5 to get to number 6 but we won't stop you.

7) It is encouraged that these assassinations take place in public. This will make it easier for the judges to determine that the rules have been followed.

8) Alliances are also encouraged, the media will eat that up.

9) If you inherit the throne peacefully you may step down if the heat gets to be too much and the next in line inherits. But, if at some point you took out someone on your way to the throne you are there for life, however long that may be.

10) Anyone who inherits the throne violently is untouchable for a period of one year. Its nice to have some stability. After that, he is fair game.

That's all I have for now. I think this is a start and should be considered.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cool Cloud Over Downtown Charlotte


Monday, April 25, 2011

Stairway to Heaven

Over the years I have put together a pretty good selection of Led Zeppelin bootlegs. I concentrate on soundboard recordings. This is the earliest recording I have of Stairway to Heaven. This performance took place two months before the album came out. It starts out tentative but really smokes near the end.

Stairway to Heaven by zzazazz

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tiger Woods 12: The Masters

I bought this a couple of weeks ago and it's the first Tiger Woods game I have played that I've actually enjoyed. The overall gameplay is excellent. There is one glitch, however, that can pop up and really mess up a good round. That is pin placement. Sometimes the hole location on a green will be almost unplayable. I'm all for difficult pin positions. Putting the pin in the back corner of a green on a ridge near the slope is fine. If you miss the slope on your approach shot or putt too far past the hole the ball is going to roll over the ledge and down the slope ten to twenty feet past the hole. That is just the way golf works. But when the pin is appearing on a slope and no matter what you do you cannot put the ball close because any miss at all rolls back down the the hill, that is bad programming. Too often that has been happening in career mode on the last day of play when tougher pin positions usually show up. I had a hole placement on the St. Andrews Old Course that shot my hole tournament in the behind. Any missed put rolled away 20 feet. This glitch is almost a game killer.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gmail Theme

For a while now you have been able to use themes in Gmail to personalize the appearance of your inbox. I've been using one called "Silver Lining" for a while now. Today I changed it to what you see below. I saw on Lifehacker today that Gmail now allows you to use your own image in the background. I jumped at that. The first picture I tried didn't work because I didn't know until I saw the finished product that the only part of your image that can been seen is the left border and the upper border. I finally found this photograph I took of Lake Michigan back in 2009. It works for me. I think I'll have to tweak it some more but it's a nice start. You can do this yourself if you click on the option icon in the upper right corner of your Gmail screen and from there choose "Mail Settings" and from there click on "Themes."

Gmail Theme

Monday, April 11, 2011

World Traveler

Found this guys collection of photos and videos via the great Metafilter.

London Bobbies from 1966
Bobbies in London Piccadilly Circus 1966

His full collection of photos can be viewed here.

His Youtube videos are here.

Yesterday's Masters tournament was stellar. I've never watched anything like it. I felt bad for McIlroy but it looks like there are no hard feelings toward Schwartzel on his part.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Garden

A couple of years ago Kate noticed that there were raised beds outside the entrance of our library. With all the budget cuts and staff shuffling Kate has moved on to another branch and Charlie has taken up the role as Staff Gardener. He enlisted the help of a friend of his to create raised beds in the shape of open books and those two spent an evening putting the beds down. They spent hours doing this because they decided to make the sure the beds were level. The front area is sloped so they had a big task.

This last Friday Charlie brought in the members of his garden club and they piled dirt and mulch into the beds. Soon they will be bursting with herbs and flowers.

Charlie and the raised beds. You can see the open book design well here.

The Morrison Garden Club
The Morrison Garden Club

This is Charlie's friend who did the wood working on the beds

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Otomo No Tabito

To sit silent
and look wise
is not to be compared with
drinking sake
and making riotous shouting

A musician I am friends with on Facebook posted one of those watch-out-for-motorcycles announcements and it got me thinking about the time a few months ago I almost took a motorcycle out in the parking of the Restore. I was turning left from the parking area onto the drive in front of the store and a motorcycle was coming from my right. I'm a careful driver and I stopped and looked to my right and pulled out slowly because the road was clear. I didn't see the motorcycle coming because the rider and the bike were both blocked from my view by the frame of my car's windshield. As I pull out he's also moving so the frame and the bike were moving together. I might have hit him if Melanie didn't see him coming through the passenger window. She warned me and I stopped. As the biker drove by he gave me a nasty look and that pissed me off. Here I am being careful and the guy foolish enough to drive a vehicle small enough to be blocked by a window frame gives me attitude. Whatevs, get a convertible car if you like to feel the wind, brah.

A similar thing happened on our road trip to Michigan in 2008. North of Chicago we hit some nasty traffic due to roadwork and I thought I did a pretty good job of not splattering a couple of bikers all over the highway when things got hairy. Did they appreciate my darn good defensive drive? Nope. A couple of hand gestures made it obvious the close call was my fault and them not having left most of the skin on the pavement had nothing to do with me paying attention. I think bikers are so used to not being seen that anything close is the fault of the driver, maybe? I don't know. I do know that I am very aware of bikes because my Dad had a serious accident when I was 14 that he has never fully recovered from. I think if you are riding a motorcycle and I almost hit you then you should be thankful I was driving because someone else would have driven over you and probably not stopped to see if you were still alive.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The World's Easiest Book Purchase

I don't know how it works on the Kindle but purchasing a book and reading it on your Nook couldn't be easier. First, you log into Barnes and Noble's website, find the Nook area and then find a book you want and purchase it. Purchasing is easy, it's just like Amazon.

Once you have purchased the book you want fire up your Nook and make sure you are hooked up to a wireless internet connection. Open up your library and open up your B&N Library. Then you choose "Check for new B&N content." Your new purchase will then appear. Read it.

It couldn't be easier. I thought of this today when I read a Neil Gaiman quote on ebooks, quoted by Michael Swanwick on his blog. According to Swanwick he said ebooks are "inferior to any book but superior to any library." I assume he is referring to a personal library rather than a public library.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Downtown Panorama (A post 4 years in the making!!)

Three from almost the same spot.

April 2011
Downtown Panorama

December 2009
Uptown/downtown/center city Panorama

October 2006
Downtown Charlotte from the west

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Tiger Woods 12: The Masters

I've been playing this game a lot since it came out on Tuesday and it's pretty incredible. It's the third version of the Tiger Woods series I have purchased and it's the only one I have enjoyed. The graphics are great, the gameplay is challenging (at least it is on the Tour Pro setting I am using), the career mode so far has been addictive, and to be able to play a round at Augusta is just about the coolest thing ever.

I do have one complaint and it's about the downloadable content. For the first time EA has incorporated the downloadable courses into the career mode. That is a great idea for those willing to purchase new courses. However, I noticed that if you skip a tournament that requires a downloadable course the nonplayer characters still play that round and gain points toward the Nationwide Cup while you lose ground to them. Essentially, you are being penalized for not purchasing the downloadable content. I don't know if it's oversight or if it's a strategy to force people to spend more money on the game. Knowing EA, it could be either. It's too bad because there are 16 courses included with the game which is pretty generous. One complaint I have heard is that one of the achievements requires you to purchase DLC. To me, that is a legitimate way to entice you to purchase DLC because it doesn't interfere with the core of the game.

Another minor quibble is the announcers. You would figure that by now with all the years of incorporating announcers into sports games they would get to the point where they aren't just plain bad. Links 2004 had better announcing in the game. At least there was some humor in that announcing. They excelled at condemning with faint praise. There have been a couple of unexpected chuckles so far in this game but mostly I hear the same few phrases over and over. In game announcing doesn't make or break a game for me but this just feels phoned in and it's a little distracting.

Also, I have noticed that the game doesn't take into account whether or not your created golfer is left handed when you check the lie of your ball. When you check your lie you are told if the ball is above or below your feet. If your golfer is left handed the information you are given is the opposite of how the ball is actually situated. If you aren't careful you can compensate for the wrong lie and hit a shot that will go very much the wrong direction.

Another quirk that is more amusing than anything else is the animation after your hit your shot. Your golfer starts walking toward the spot where your shot landed. It doesn't matter what is in front of you. A lake? No problem he's striding confidently toward the water. Whatever obstacle is between your golfer and the ball doesn't matter, he is heading toward it. He doesn't get there, the view shifts to the new lie right after your golfer takes a few steps but, if you are paying attention it can be humorous.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Half Man

This is a character known to those who frequent downtown Charlotte. He is called Half Man. I think you can tell why.
Half Man