Thursday, January 05, 2006

Quick hits on radio, Lohan, computer crashes, etc.

Rather than spit out several posts while watching The Office (back to the U.S. version, in which I'm still rooting for Jim and Pam to get married and move in next door so we can all hang out), I'm wrapping up everything in my brain (minus things possibly deemed obscene) in one post:

My radio presets needed a bit of an edit this week. Sure, I've been relying on my iPod for my commutes recently, but now I feel vaguely guilty. Should I be listening to good radio stations before they all go belly-up? Z104 was one of the stations that did it right -- good mix of music, not completely predictable. It was a bit poppier than the old alternative stations that didn't last more than a decade (WHFS was an exception, but it's also gone now), but that was OK. Now I've got a classic rock station clinging to dear life, a likable pop/AC station from the mountains, another "mix" station and some oddball choices.

The oldies station, which usurped my No. 1 preset, might be the most interesting option now that it's branched out from its surf-rock mainstays into funky '70s stuff like Sugarloaf's Don't Call Us, We'll Call You. (Note that Sugarloaf followed up this tale of breaking through the barriers in the music industry by ... breaking up.)

XM and my iPod are great, but I'm worried that we're losing something without local radio. The conglomerates and the egotistical DJs they hire have been poor custodians of the tradition, but there's still something about hearing the local traffic guy work "Occoquan" into every single report (even though it's miles from nowhere) that says "home" to me in ways that my 50th playing of High on the Ceiling just can't.

Speaking of my iPod, I'm writing tonight from a new laptop. The old laptop celebrated the new year by crashing hard. I blame Google Earth, which was a bit much for my 256K RAM / 16K graphics card system to handle. I also found out today, by a coincidence that would make Pat Robertson claim divine inspiration, that Toshiba is settling a class-action suit on hard drives and other components on my now deceased laptop.

Why mention the iPod? Because Apple makes it remarkably difficult to transport music from a hard drive gone kaput. I managed to retrieve a few documents before things would completely awry, but I haven't been able to get enough life out of the Toshiba to follow the prescribed iPod formula for music transfer:

  1. Convert the iPod to "hard disk" use.
  2. Copy music from your computer to the iPod.
  3. Upload to another computer.
If your iPod and iTunes are already synced up for listening purposes rather than simply having music in two places, that won't work. You can't just take your iPod and upload to iTunes.

I understand the reasoning. Apple has to do something to discourage piracy in an age that encourages 13-year-old cynics to have no respect for copyright or basic economic sense.

But here's the funny thing: Under this system, you can transfer music between two working computers, but you can't use your iPod to restore the music you lost when the Toshiba went poof.

Fortunately, there are some apparently reputable programs that use a few tricks to circumvent the process. They don't tell you how to get your iPod working again after you've done so, but I figured it out with a bit of nervy trial and error.

F*** ER and its anti-child plotlines. I've already reproduced, motherf***er -- you're not going to scare me off with your distorted reality in which everyone who dies is either under 25 or the parent of a little kid. (Or a distorted reality in which every ... single ... pregnancy is unplanned. Except the one with the lesbian parents.)

Goran Visnijc, Maura Tierney and the rest of the talented cast should storm the production offices with rib spreaders.

Why does Norton Internet Security give me alerts like "Microsoft Internet Explorer is attempting to access the Internet?"

The scariest thing about Lindsay Lohan is that, at age 19, she used to be pretty. I don't say that to be snarky -- I say it because it's sad. That said, she might bounce back from her years of drugs, bulimia and dating Wilmer Valderrama.* Drew Barrymore was a mess in her late teens, and she's adorable now.

* - (Why doesn't anyone demand an explanation from Fes as to how an underage woman with whom he was consorting got so messed up? Oh yeah -- the double standard, I forgot.)

Holy crap, what an amazing Rose Bowl. I won't argue against a college football playoff, but I hope all those ex-jocks who rip the BCS realize that the old system would've forced USC to face Penn State, leaving us to argue for the rest of our lives instead of seeing that game.

I resolve to be kinder in my next post. I just needed to purge.


Bonnie said...

Why are you using Internet Explorer? Firefox, dude. Firefox.

And I love your ER post. I haven't watched since the "original recipe" days, but I love the comment just the same. HOWL!

bdure said...

I got the same message for Firefox. I'm trying to use it more, but I'm not a complete convert. It doesn't support a lot of the things I use (read: Launch player).

ER has squandered a lot. They had the most compelling dramatic character on TV in Luka. They have a great cast. The writing is ... well ...

Neel Mehta said...

You know my feelings on ER. But, just so you know, your comment on the last episode was only the second most vitriolic I've read. The blue ribbon winner is here.

Patrick said...

What is this likable pop/AC station from the mountains??

bdure said...

Answered at Patrick's blog, too, but I'll copy here: 92.5, adult alternative/contemporary. Not a completely formulaic mix, and the DJs actually pay a little bit of attention to the community.