Building a Better Slice of Toast For Tomorrow...morning


Republican Dunderheads


Must See Photoshop Tutorials

If you haven't been keeping up with BoingBoing, Laughing Squid, Lifehacker, or other noteworthy blogs, there is a new series of tutorials for Photoshop from They are utterly brilliant in their hilarity and usefulness.

You Suck At Photoshop #1

You Suck At Photoshop #2 (personal fave...especially if Laura views it)

You Suck At Photoshop #3

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Mid Air Ravers

Here's a clip of the Su-30MK. Most of what your seeing is unimaginable by aeronautical engineers.



Everybody tuck ya trousas into ya socks...

The CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) system that generates all those squiggly random text snippets you have to enter to post to your blog or whatever online has been cracked by spammers. Why must digital image processing be continually used for evil?

CAPTCHA is annoying but is the only solution right now to prevent spam floods in blogs and web account generation. To read more about CAPTCHA, here's an awesome article on the guy who invented it and other Man-Teaches-Machine web technologies. Good news is on page 5 saying that CAPTCHA 2.0 (reCAPTCHA) is on it's way and it will also populate data for the Internet Archive's digital library project. Given the web's viral nature, you'll probably see a lot more blog spam paired with a huge rush to reCAPTCHA by service providers.



After listening to Sean Hannity and Mark Levin (and the entire Republican machine for that matter) call the Emergency Funding for Iraq Bill, the "Surrender Bill" (Nevermind the "emergency funding for the troops" part of it) I think we should call a spade a spade and call this veto to the update to hate-crime laws to extend protections against gay and transgender people the "BEAT GAYS NOW EXECUTIVE ORDER".

I'm a little on the fence about Hate crime laws in the first place, but to have them currently in our system and not include these protections seems a little off. "But what about my priest talking about the evils of homosex!?" Read the bill. It's about violent acts not speech. The last I heard, the KKK can still say they hate everyone.

Suck it up gay bashers. BEAT GAYS NOW. BEAT GAYS NOW.


Those Goddamn Democrats

It's been a long time since I FIFOed this blog, and it looks like a few people have come a knockin for new content.

Alas, I find myself with nothing to say. It has been a sad sad 3.607 months since "T" day (Terrorist Victory Day). You may not have known this but I took the month off before Nov. 9 to petition door to door not only for to get people out and vote "YES! YES! YES! OH GOD YES!! OOOOOH YES! IT IS SOOO GOOD YES!" VA Ballot Question 1, I was also petitioning U.S. Congressmen for a ballot initiative to reinstate FDR's Executive Order 9066. No! Not to exercise war-powers on Japanese Americans and immigrants (though their mother country's meddling in our industrial sector is a threat and they could someday take over our great nation from within), this time I was calling on Congress to amend it to replace the word "Japanese" in "Japanese Internment Camps" to "Democrat" to protect us from our most imminent of threats....Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Why? If you had a chance to stop Hitler from invading Poland would you? Have you people lost your minds!??!?!

For you insolant fools who voted these eunuchs into power, let me point out what GWB has pointed out a thousand times in the past 6 years:
A) Terrorism is Evil
B) People, no matter what their nationality, who aid terrorists are enemy combatants in the war on terror.
C) Enemy combatants have no right to clog up our nation's busy courts
D) If you are against the Iraq war, you our giving enemies comfort
E) comfort is a form of aide

A+B+C+D+E = F, Mass Liberal Detainment
This is the ONLY way to move forward and those of you who voted "D" on Nov. 9 voted for "T". The logic is simple and flawless here people. It doesn't take Archimedes to understand it. My man, the VP, the veep, the Big Dick of the Back Door to The Oval Office, set Pelosi straight on her non-kitchen-sculpted rear-end by standing by his comments saying she validated al Qaeda's strategy.Al Qaeda has their strategy, WE HAVE OURS! Adaptation is a THEORY taught only at LIBERAL war colleges.

So lock em all up. And when we do, we can turn their cozy little urban penthouses into corn crops and make all the ethanol we need to power their cozy new detention centers.

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Post 9/11.....06

Booming voices from the kitchen had driven me from my comfortable bed Monday morning. The volume on my kitchen stereo/alarm clock was up to high. As I navigated my way to the kitchen to kill the sound, the announcer of Morning Edition said that "this morning's Diane Rehm show" was soliciting listeners to call in to express how 9/11 had effected them besides politically...fitting since I had been thinking about it for quite a bit this year. Although I could think of personal changes, my mind kept crawling back to politics. From today's shitball fight in congress about the president's address, I couldn't think of anything else but the big bang theory and how it relates to our now divided life in America and how we got here.

Sins of Our Fathers
This year has been one of education, not only within my field, but looking at modern history. I've long thought about how we inherit the problems that our previous generation created. In war it seems to be the most apparent. The world's grandparents passed on the invention of atomic weapons starting an arms race between the U.S. and Russia. Through the generational handover, our fathers entered Vietnam through the policy of containment of communism. As we were born, the pictures of the fall of Saigon fresh in the national psyche, the new policy was that of "The enemy of my enemy is my ally." Our policy was to support anyone fighting against communist forces. When the fall of the iron curtain came about, we had already muddied our hands in supporting Mujahideen in Afghanistan, supporting Saddam's rise to power and supplying him with dual use biological agents in his war against Iran, sold weapons to our enemy to aid the Contras in Nicaragua, and began to protect American interests (oil) in the Persian Gulf. Terrorism is by no means something whose roots began growing in the past 10 years and 10 years is essentially how far back the media looks (even if that far) for investigative purposes. It is our generations inheritance. No seven hundred 100-megaton ICBMs flying our way for mutually assured destruction, just some crazy people hell bent on killing anyone via any means.

Oh Wikipedia...
I've turned into a wiki addict, I've come to know it's shortcomings, but I definitely see its value in communicating general facts (especially cited ones). I started with Israel, mainly because I knew very little about it except that many participants in middle east strife reference it, regardless of conflict, and that we've supported her throughout the course of her history. This search kind of had a snowball effect. Granted, wikipedia isn't exactly fact but it's a beginning of inquiry...something every free person should partake in.

Interesting reading on our "global war on extrema-islamo-fasci-terrorism."
U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup (interesting timing of article and lack of consequence)
Operation Desert Storm (why the overnight 180 on Iraq?)
Osama Bin Laden (interesting role in the 80's and early 90's)
Mujahideen (in particular the group in Afganistan fighting the Soviets)
Taliban (we thought THEY were the voice of moderation?)
Dick Cheney (interesting timing of having his first daughter)
Donald Rumsfield (what kind of envoy during the early 80's?)
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Mohammad Khatami
Gaurdian Council (of Iran)

Granted, I read all these in one sitting so my outlook seemed to creep downward pretty quickly.

Our Broken Society
In tatters lay our once great unity. The Clinton administration and the caustic 2000 election had divided a nation but for a brief time, we came together to help each other in grief and support, no matter the color of our state, the amount of money we had in the bank, or the way we swung. It all seems rather Tibetan in that once a being is conceived, thus begins its demise. Instead of sewing together tighter, our leaders have sought to divide us. Why? Because the more all of us focus on how much we disagree with each other, the more those in power can dominate the headlines and change the subject away from their own ineptitude.The two parties need each other to demonize, to feign effecacy over the other, and somewhere to lay the blame. Ideas don't flourish; each side panders to their extreme to bolster their support, and by support I mean...

Not only is this one of the most polarized of elections, it's also the richest: To date, $934 million has been contributed to races all over the nation. Business is BOOMING. What does all that money do? For the candidates: pre-election dollars for all those wonderfully nasty campaigns that become post-election dollars for the candidate's interests or their party's political slush fund. Here is Virginia's (which from what I gather, seems to be the norm among states):

Amounts received by a candidate or his campaign committee as contributions that are in excess of the amount necessary to defray his campaign expenditures may be disposed of only by one or any combination of the following: (i) transferring the excess for use in a succeeding election or to retire the deficit in a preceding election; (ii) returning the excess to a contributor in an amount not to exceed the contributor's original contribution; (iii) donating the excess to any organization described in ?§ 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code; (iv) contributing the excess to one or more candidates or to any political committee that has filed a statement of organization pursuant to this chapter; (v) contributing the excess to any political party committee; and (vi) defraying any ordinary, nonreimbursed expense related to his elective office. It shall be unlawful for any person to convert any contributed moneys, securities, or like intangible personal property to his personal use.

Webb v Allen 2008 for Pres baby! (Better get a bucket, I'm gonna throw up)

Lobby, not Liberty, and Justice For All
For the constituents: Waters down what the individual has to say and minimalizes their role in a democratic society. In order to be heard and avoid those rubber stamped standard Congressional Replies, we must go through 3rd parties: The ACLU, The NRA, etc. etc. We may only feel strongly about one topic they are lobbying for, but as a participant you are guilty by association on all other topics. Ahh, the wonder of social generalizations. ALL of our leaders* can't find shit in a chili cookoff portapotty so taking one from Maggie's dad's playbook:

Dear Congress,

Fuck you.

James P.

P.S. Strongly worded letter to follow.
C.C. Executive Branch

*More on the Do-Nothingest Congress later.

Words to Think About - 7/21/06

Name the politician who, in an address July 2, stated:

"Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason." Principles must be "accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all."Now, this is going to be difficult for some who believe in the inerrancy" of sacred scripture. "But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. . . . At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It's the art of the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God's edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one's life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime; to base our policymaking on such commitments would be a dangerous thing."

Was it:
a) Nancy Pelosi
b) Rick Santorum
c) Barack Obama
d) John McCain

She's dead.....DEAD....AHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!! - 7/20/06

That's right, she (the Prelude)is without a doubt, dead. No persistant vegetative state, no hospice, no d...ownstairs dusting, ....she's done. Dead. Pushin up the daisys (albeit oily daisys...ok ok Burnt Oily daisys). I must say she put up a good fight.

CEO Jayson and I were headed out to Seneca Rocks, West Virginiiiiieeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to get some totally sweet trad climbing in with our brand spankin new camelots. For some spectacularly brilliant reason, I offered to drive. We made it down I66 and I81 but after a 15 or so miles out on route 55, something didn't feel so good, and it wasn't the McDonald's hashbrowns mixing with the previous night's Taco Bell Burrito Bucket. No no. We were heading up a moderate hill when I noticed a loss of get up and go from the engine. I mumbled something resembling a curse word, laid off the gas, depressed it again, and just short of nothin. I listened to the car as we crested the hill and it sounded exactly like a go-cart engine. We pulled over and smelled something burning and that something definitely wasn't a clutch (thanks for the lesson in that one Waan!). Nothing out of the ordinary: No steam, No leaks no torn belts, nothin. So we thought it would be in our (ok my best) interest to get the car as close to home as possible and stop along the way and see if we can get a quick diag from a local mechanic. We stopped in Cityvillechestertonfield, VA (@ the intersecting of 55 and 81). The mechanic there advised us that it was in fact a misfiring cylinder and that driving on it a whole lot wasn't "a jolly good idea" (because that's how they talk in Cityvillechestertonfield). Jayse and I made it back to his place and jumped in his Tahoe because as we both agreed, not climbing was not an option and headed to Great Falls for the day.

The earliest I could get the car to be looked at by Honda near my place was Tuesday. You can't see me but I'm totally patting myself on the back for moving forward with my Bike To Work campaign before this happened. Honda didn't get a chance to look at it until 3:30...I received the call at 4.

Honda: Hello, may I speak to James?
Chief: That's me, what's the damage?
Honda: Well, sir...I don't know how to put this.
Chief: Give it me straight doc.
Honda: Have you been driving particularly hard recently?
Chief: Hmmm....No actually! I've been babying her since her last breakdown.
Honda: Well, you looks like you need a new *long pause* motor.
Chief: Awesome! She's dead! That bitch has been nothing but trouble these past 7 years. She *is* dead right?
Honda: Yea. On a compression test, where the normal pressure is 150, none of your cylinders passed. One was 122, Two was 127, Four was 125, and Three wasn't compressing at all.
Chief: I'm looking at having to buy a new car or get this one repaired. How much would you fucksticks charge for this?
Honda: I can only estimate here: $800 for a new motor, $400-$500 for misc parts--
Chief: That's not too bad---
Honda: ...and about $2000 worth of labor

Well after the whole MR2 fiasco (entirely different story) and a bunch of other factors, I have come to loathe the idea of getting a car. Mr. 2 showed me that the so-called curse on my prelude wasn't so much a curse on the car as it was a curse on me, conveniently timed around December of every year. Secondly, is it me or are drivers in this area getting dumber...oh wait, they are. So anything I get is ultimately going to be destroyed by most likely my curse, myself, or a Maryland driver. Also, my biggest gripe with the MR2 was that I never had an opportunity to drive it like it should. Aside from driving habits, curses, and gas prices, the biggest reason I hate the idea of a new car is a new car payment. Debt is really my archnemisis; I fucking hate it and I carry none of it. If I can't afford to have something now, I shouldn't have it now (with the exception of equity and education).

So now I am again, sans auto, and again borrowing a car...this time from Maggie. Hopefully she hasn't read last year's post from when I borrowed the Porsche. I'm torn between getting a supermondo econobox (Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa) or getting a Mazda3 which now that everyone owns one, would be hilarious. So much for the promise I made to myself "No 4 door cars until your 35."

The Calm Before The Storm - 7/20/06

Hopkins should be interesting this year. This fall, I'm taking Intermediate Dynamics:

Course topics include kinematics and dynamics of systems of particles and of rigid bodies, applications of the conservation equations, orbital motion, vibration theory, Lagrangian mechanics, gyroscopic motion, and Hamilton’s principle. The course is oriented toward a balance between classical theory and practical problem solving. Matlab is introduced and used as a computational and plotting tool throughout the course.

Dynamics was a class that was a total sophmore engineering weed out course. The Engineering Science and Mechanics department had a weekly tutor session with this TA who essentially explained out the assigned homework short of giving us the final answer. I started attending this session 3 weeks into it and after the first exams were handed back to all the sections, it grew from about 10 of us to about 30. By the end of the semester, it was about 50. Needless to say, I'm not looking forward to this one but it will serve as a good refresher.

Spring, I am super siced about. First we've got Kinematics and Dynamics of Robots:

This course introduces the basic concepts and tools used to analyze the kinematics and dynamics of robot manipulators. Topics include kinematic representations and transformations, positional and differential kinematics, singularity and workspace analysis, inverse and forward dynamics techniques, and trajectory planning and control.

Finally some actual robotics classes. Next is one not on my radar until this past month - Orthopedic Biomechanics:

This course is an introduction to the field of orthopedic biomechanics for the engineer. The course will cover the structure and function of the musculoskeletal system, including detailed discussions on the material properties of bone, ligament, tendon, cartilage, and muscle. Other topics of discussion will include viscoelasticity, bone remodeling, and injury mechanisms. Journal articles from the biomechanics literature will be used to explore current areas of active research.

I think it will totally help me in my whole Haptic Systems/Human Interface slant to my masters. It would also help me in what I'm thinking is my next masters: Physical Therapy. Hopefully by spring time, my mind will be adjusted enough to night classes that I can handle both. Classes start September 6th.

*Cracks Knuckles Over Keyboard*

It's high time I knock a little dust off this blog. Prepare yourself, for I have no mercy for you.


Random Photoshop

Following in Mike's footsteps.


Boiling Point

It hasn't been easy living the life as an independant/moderate in America post Sept. 11, especially in D.C. My view is that partisan squabling burns american government worse than either party at the helm, especially when the arguements taken in context of say, 60 years, makes no difference whatsoever. The word "Bi-partisan success" in terms of bigger ticket issues gives me warm fuzzies...say like a ban against torture of persons held by the U.S.

I remember the winter of '04 vividly; it was a time when America becamemy America...specifically, "What the fuck is my America doing?"British tabloids publish photos of detainees with bags over their heads and dogs being restrained at the U.S. occupied Iraqi prison Abu Ghraib. Stories were released detailing despicable acts to get information out of prisoners. Evidence was released showing earlier pentagon knowledge. It was a time that I remember thinking that this global war on extremism, just got another 10 years longer than the 10 years we anticipated. I remember thining "if the world didn't hate us enough already for invading Iraq." I remember thinking "these, are my countrymen." People all over the country, the world, denounced these actions, no matter what level of government it went up to, for the act in it self was deplorable.

Then came the reports of the private jet liner, run by the CIA, flying Very Important Terrorists, to countries where torture was legal in act of "rendition." No pictures appeared, thankfully, and we were left to our government's word that no one was being tortured. The idea was to elevate the level of intimidation. "Hey, we can hand you over to your folks right now and have your right ball removed, or you could talk to us." Frankly, if this were the case, why not just blind fold the guy, do a few laps around the continental U.S. and land somewhere in the Arizona desert, and get a whole bunch of pakistanis to say they were in Pakistan and use the same arguement.

Fastforward to October '05....10/5/05 to be specific. Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) provision calling for a ban on torture was voted 90-9 to be included to a military spending bill. After such a "bipartisan" success, President Bush threatens to veto the bill because of the provision, arguing that it would "limit the president's ability as commander-in-chief to effectively carry out the war on terrorism." What? That just full blown ridiculous. Im sure once the public hears about this, the administration will change their stance.

November 2, 2005. Dana Priest reports for the Washington Post on a network of secret prisons located in Eastern Europe, Thailand, and Afghanistan used by the CIA to perform interogations on high profile terror suspects outside of U.S. borders.

I sometimes read the Whitehouse Briefing by Dan Froomkin on washpost, a blog that I find a bit slanted to the left, but the format is great with full quotes and hyperlinks to full transcripts and articles. Since the "black prison" article, there has been increased attention on the lobbying being carried out by the administration to keep the CIA exempt of the McCain anti-torture provision. I thought I might as well see what they have to say about it? Right? eh?

Full Blown Hate
The first page of today's Whitehouse Briefing had a few kick in the balls for me. You can read it for yourself, but when Bush, when posed the question that his administration was seeking an exemption for the CIA to the anti-torture provision, Bush, not denying this assertion, had the following to respond:

..."We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans. Anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture.And, therefore, we're working with Congress to make sure that as we go forward, we make it possible -- more possible to do our job."

For a bunch of guys who make a big show to save one woman on a feeding tube, to "preserve the culture of life," "checking our shit" doesn't seem to be in their strategy. If the Vice President told me that torture was the only means, I'd say right back to them "That's all you got to save us? Raping prisoners with glow sticks?" I can see where the administration is going with this; say if we apprehended a suspect who knew about a plot to explode something big in a city in the next 24 hours, we should do anything and everything to stop it, which includes torture, if it will save the lives of countless americans.

Would we really be put in such a situation? Could the terrorists successfully craft a large bomb of some sort without anyone knowing, including their own? Is our color coded alert system, our heightened detection systems, higher awareness not good enough to prevent this scenerio from unfolding? And here is where I was going with this diatribe (philosophy and morality exluded); throw out the time aspect of this situation:

If a large threat was posed and had the high likelihood of succeeding that in the administration's eyes "warranted" torture, the government has already failed us twice over. First, the failure to identify the threat via intelligence beforehand. Secondly, compromising our values and becoming more like our enemies by lowering ourselves to torture.

As for the first, I'd say "WHY THE FUCK IS OUR GOD DAMN DEFENSE BUDGET SO HIGH AND OUR INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM STILL SUCK ASS?" (Yes, I know they are seperate budgets) The torture exclusion for the CIA screams that we are still chickens running around with our goddamn heads cut off in respect to intelligence activities post-9/11. If another successful terrorist attack did occur, don't you think they would hold a panel exactly like the 9/11 panel to find out where we failed and wouldn't the accountable sector of our government again be national intelligence? Or, given the unlikely ability of terrorists carrying out that quick a full blown attack without us knowing, then why do we run these black sites, why do we perform renditions? Signs point to torture. If we don't, then we'd better start explaining because that's what the rest of the world thinks.

Secondly, according to all the evangelicals, we're the moral authority of this world, that's one thing I'd like to agree with them on but hesitantly do not. Even having the option to torture shows that we are flexible in our morals. This not only creates more anti-american sentiment from our allies but increases the hatred of those who wish to harm us.

This war on terror (global extremism, whatever the fuck you want to call it) doesn't demand armies, it demands accurate and voluminous intelligence with succinct analysis without denigrating ourselves to what is universally unacceptable. In the past, everyday americans were asked to sacrifice for the greater good (well at least for WWII), to join the military, to save metal cans, etc etc. What we do today? Bitch about the housing market. If there was a greater cause to all this, it would be greater intelligence. Instead of calling for greater military recruitment, the government should create something like a clandestine civilian branch of the CIA. Train the crap out of people about languages, geography, culture, history of their assigned locations, have trained analysts at every location taking in the data. Throw so many americans out there that they are afraid to even breath the word jihad.

Or just do your goddamn homework and ixnay on the owstickglay.


I mean...Damn.

My life is like a car on the highway with no brakes...I'm steerin but I can't pull over to take a piss. I really wish I could update this thing more, but between night grad class @ Hopkins, swimming, climbing, overtime, hanging out, and keeping it fucking real, it's hard to find the time to type out all the fun stuff that oozes from my brain and into my bran flakes every morning. Shit, look at my last post, it's dated September 22, 2005. I just published it tonight, Nov 2...and it starts out with "this entry has been in my PDA for 3 months" That means it's been poking around since...well JUNE.

It's funny sometimes. If you've never tried the RSS (real simple syndication) reader function of Mozilla Thunderbird, or any other RSS reader I highly recommend it. I use Thunderbird; not only does it tell you the minute someone posted something to their blog, it also allows you to subscribe to any news outlet with the little orange RSS box, where it gets funny sometimes, which was I guess the meaning of this post. I am now convinced that NASA/Wal-Mart or someone is scanning my brains and sending my thoughts to the media because by the time I think about something enough to write a post about it, some media agency goes and publishes something about it.

Let's go with a recent example. Since I first downloaded my entire collection of 5.7k songs onto my Uber-huge mp3 player, I've been frustrated with the absolute retardness of it's random number generator. The thing is that my mp3 player gets into "funks" in that it will play some song by artist X on album Y from the thousands of songs I have, play another random song, but return back to another song by artist X or from album Y...sometimes even playing the next track on the album. At first, I thought when I pressed the random button on the player, it would shuffle the songs, assign them new numbers, then randomize this new song ordering, like shuffling a shuffled deck. This was eliminated as a possibility pretty quickly after seeing song's assigned numbers in the entire queue a few times. So then I thought "this is fuckin absurd...out of 5700 songs, what is the probability that within 30 random songs, I would hit 5 songs out from the 4970s to 4990s range?" Then I started noticing concurrent "funks" where i would hear artist X, then artist Y, artist Z, then may be a few songs later I would hear songs from artists X and Y again (I've actually seen funks of 5 or 6 artists at a time, which can be quite frustrating when they are something like MC Hammer, Winger, M, and Mr. T when all you want are some chill tunes). So I started poking around, knowing that statistically, this random number generator was apparently performing magic (or sucking...I say tom-ay-to, you say toe-ma-toe). One of my climbing trips, I started poking my friend Abe's head for more info on his field of Alchemy/Comp Sci and how random numbers are generated knowing computers are dumber than crap and many random functions are based off of a digit of Pi (my one true love). He didn't remember too many functions but told me to look up stuff like Chaos math and the like. No later than a week after this exchange, Wired Magazine goes and publishes the article "My Ipod For A Random Playlist" This is seriously like the 7th time this has happened. After they publish it, I'm just like "yea...uh....what he said." Which makes for a wonderful blog article doesn't it.

It's not just with Wired...Jim Hoagland, I putting you on alert. You may be an extremely instightful and intelligent columnist, but stop stealing my publishable ideas.



My god...this blog entry has been in my PDA for 3 months. Time to get it out.

Back before I put myself in the poor house, I set aside about $100 a month to buy me some new tunes. I figure some of them have to be good and if I don't like what I hear, I can at least discern what I don't like about it and then home in on better CDs.

So taking it from the top:

Lovage - Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By
From the title of the album, you'd think this album was straight out of the Naked Music label, or expect it to be a bank of porn groove tracks, (which is probably why no one ever got it for me from my X-Mas wish list) but really, it's neither. It's just trip-hop, with some dirty-dirty talk in it. It was my most moistly anticipated album of this volley, because it had some of the first few songs that I was completely blown away by when I first started listening to LaunchCast in 2001 (well, that and it was on 6wk back-order). Hearing a few of the unheard songs kind of disappointed me a bit, but for every dumb "short" track, there is a fucking brilliant quintessential trip-hop song, and with 16 tracks, that ain't bad.

Thievery Corporation - The Cosmic Game
After hearing all of their previous albums, listening to their newest release, The Cosmic Game, one learns that these guys really like the words "__-national" and "Babylon." That and NPR loves Thievery. Like Outernational Sound in the previous order, Cosmic Game was my "Never heard any of it but can't go wrong with Thievery" purchase and I was right (which of course is always the case). Thievery embodies what I like most about Downbeat and Trip-Hop, and that is experimentation and collaboration with other artists to produce the next incredible groove. This album was no deviation working with artists from the trippy Flaming Lips to the much heralded David Byrne of Talking Heads fame, as well as many of the Thievery native vocalists from albums past. Regardless of the "never heard anything from it" situation, this album easily takes it's place as best album of this buying binge.

Miss Kitten - I Com
"You know Frank Sinatra?...he's dead....DEAD AHAHA!!" Ahh if only the FCC knew about our early morning public broadcasts. For most, this song is their only Ms. Kitten experience (actually, I'm in this class of listener...but Uno was fucking awesome), and I think if and when these people listen to her latest album, they might be a little disappointed. Where as Sinatra and Uno are Euro-Minimalist Techno (NOW ON SPROKETS WE DANCE) with little vocals, except when they are hilarious, I Com really shows off Kittens avant-garde (at least for America) style and let's her voice flow. People who like the previous songs for the comedic value will appreciate Requiem For A Hit; a song who's rhythm is derived completely from a guy saying "I'll Beat That Bitch With A Hit." There are some hard-hitting tracks like Meet Sue Be She and Soundtrack of Now but I think the album really shines with Kitten's vocal tracks Happy Violentine and Dub About Me.

Bebel Gilberto - Tanto Tempo
My immediate reaction to this album was "WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!" (as in WTF, STFU SNOW NOOB). Why the sudden fiery disdain for my love, Bebel? The first track is actually her singing along with Amon Tobin's Nova from his album Permutation. Then I looked and she coordinated with him on a few tracks, but this one was the only one pulled from Tobin's collection. The song is originally an instrumental fade out of his album Permutation; it opens this album to create a mixing of classical bassanova style with subtle electronic samples covered with a thick helping of hot/sultry smooth portugeuse vocals. Although this album doesn't have the immediate attention grabbing/listen for hours and hours value of her second self-entitled CD, Bebel Gilberto, it definitely is well worth the its value for tracks like Mais Feliz and Samba e Amor with Bebel's vocals in her native tongue taking center stage with jazz and downbeat samples.

Dzihan & Kamien - Gran Riserva
This was on of those "Hey, I've seen this album pop up on my LaunchCast station and in my Recommendations from" purchases. LaunchCast is incredible by the way. Anywho, since I rated the 4 songs I had heard from them positively, I thought I would take the plunge and get the album. But Alas poor urok, I knew my $10 well. There were some additional tracks I liked but for the most part, the rest of the album went a bit to far by gratingly distorting classic jazz instrumental tones (Ford Transit) and beat repetition (Sliding) by stirring in a few too many disco and house nuances you'd think came straight from a Ibiza club DJ trying out Jazz. Ok, so it was worth at least five of the 17 dollars it cost.

Previous Volley

Theivery Corporation - Outernational Sound
This may be a case of new music overload. With the purchase of Richest Man in Babylon, and its inherent quality, this album has gone relatively ignored after the first listen. It's like I hop in my car, say "Hey, how bout some Thievery" and automatically reach for the one I like better. But this album has got a lot of good stuff in it. I like how the one Porn Groove song on the album was aptly performed by group called "Crazy Penis". The best track in my mind is ReReturn of the Original Artform by Major Force. "SwEEeeeet-azzzz Funk". From this track, the album gently slides itself from the aforementioned sweetazz funk into East Asia suck, and closes on reggae with a decent remix of Richest Man In Babylon.

Thievery Corporation - Richest Man In Babylon
I really have no idea why I didn't get this CD sooner. Even after high ratings in my LaunchCast Station AND seeing them perform many of the songs live at the 9:30 club, I still hesitated. My only complaint (other than the annoying lyricist in From Creation) is that this album is much to short. It's runtime is something like 40 minutes. This is one of the google-plex reasons why I really think the music industry is such a racket. I always view CD purchases as price per minute, and when I can listen to an entire album during a commute home, I feel extremely short changed. All albums are NOT created equal. But I digress. Singer Emiliana Torrini leaves me continuously wanting more, especially in Heaven's Going to Burn Your Eyes, with her extremely cute singing style which makes me want to write Thievery and say "Keep her on Payroll or I'll come to the 18th Street Lounge with Hobo clothes under my metrosexual nipple bursting clothes and embarrass you pompous yuppie fucks. P.S. I love you."

Zero 7 - When It Falls
Thank god, their back. Zero 7 is one of those groups that always appears on those "ULTRA CHILLED TO THE MAX HARCORE STYLE AND IN YO FACE" compilations. These appearances are a few key tracks from their first album, Simple Things, which in all honesty, is one of the most soulful albums I have ever heard in my life. Their second album Another Late Night came up completely short, sucking most, if not all of my ass hair out, so I was a bit skeptical upon first hearing tracks from When It Falls. But Zero 7 pulled it off and came out with a return to my "groups I'm not going take a number 2 during one of their shows." It's still not up to code of Simple Things, but with tracks like Somersault and Passing By (to name a few) it is hard to say its anything less than "really good."

Waldeck - The Night Garden
Surprise! Another LaunchCast pick. I must say my taste for dark, brooding, trip-hop does not mean I have to like every group that sounds like Massive Attack. Waldeck is, after hearing this album, one of these artists, hiring a male vocalist that sounds a little too close to Massive's Horace Andy (ex. Slowly), and a female vocalist with equal sound abilities as Massive's Elizabeth Fraser. Let's see...Massive came out with a hit single called Angel, so let's make one called Fallen Angel (ok, I admit, this is a really money song). But shit, Waldeck even uses some of the same exact sound samples as Massive Attack. That being ranted, the latter half of the album is tasty trip-hop treat with Cat People Dub and Floater, but leaves little for aftertaste.

Less Than Jake - Losing Streak
This selection was purely for its nostalgic value in that I can remember a time when I had these tracks and they didn't skip. I initially ripped half of this album from an old hallmate of mine, Spencer, and since I had no idea what mp3s were at the time, I burned them and half of a Jimmie's Chicken Shack Live album to a piece of crap CD. There isn't a single CD in my collection that gets gentler treatment. So in a restoration effort, I added this to my monthly call for music out of the ether. If you aren't familiar, Less Than Jake was pretty big on the Ska/Ska-Punk scene, and this album was at their highest in creativity and quality. Anyone who sings a song about how Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts is good in my book. I think it goes along with my whole humor based in all that is absurd.

Fatboy Slim - On The Floor At The Boutique
Yes, the album that caused unstoppable shouting of "DISCO DANCING" through a FunMic in Mike's Prelude. I gotta say that I appreciate the sheer amount of sound samples Fatboy must have in his collection, because each song is chalk full of crazy shit. The album puts out some sweet beats in this way, but on the other hand, being assaulted with all these simultaneous sounds detracts from the overall experience in two ways. 1) It makes a lot of the songs sound similar making repetitive sounds (mostly voice samples...see "Disco Dancing") act as the distinguishing factor between songs and 2) It makes complete song recollection even more difficult (i.e. play the tune over in my head and still maintain all of the instruments in proper coordination). Other than that, Fatboy put together a pretty high energy album with nearly flawless track to track mixing. Or may be he wrote it to be just one big song.

Tenacious D - Tenacious D
I can't think of a time that a CD, such as this, has touched me so deeply and lovingly such that my poopchute is 4 times as big after hearing it. This album is goddamn bliss in CD form. Jack Black, of School of Rock, Saving Silverman, Orange County, etc. fame and his guitarist Kyle Gass are complete experts in all that is rock styling history and use it to deliver their genious/madness comic routine. I have to say this is one of my favorite albums of all-fucking-time. They hold to no social ettiquite, asking for listeners to take shits on their chests, ponder how many times they can lift themselves off the ground with just their boner, and pay homage to the greatest song in the world that they can't remember. All of this wrapped up in rock that actually fuckin rocks. It's like they studied every single aspect of rock history, took all the typical rock styles, rifs, effects, build-ups, releases, and my favorite-rock screams. (Try Tribute: 2:59 elapsed time, one ofthe best I've ever heard). So yea, I'd totally do Jack Black.