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For Matt's writing projects, please go to storiesbymatt.net. Enjoy your visit here!

02/28/07: I was craving a little music when I went out to get a sandwich at lunch today, so I turned on the Loop and found that they were in the middle of something called "Time Warp Wednesday". I knew they were reaching way back because they were playing "Rockin' Into The Night" by 38 Special, which I remember reading about as performed by Survivor, well before I was old enough to see them in a club. But the kicker was when I was on my way back and they said they were going to play "Wango Tango" by Ted Nugent. I was a Ted fan back then (more so for the first couple albums, well before the politics and the bow hunting) and I remember when the song first came out, so I thought "Yeah! That's what I need to get my day going."
     And I turned it up loud and it was great. You don't get stuff like that on the radio these days. Sure, it's rough, crude and rude, but you gotta love lyrics like:

(I was going to paste some lyrics here, but reading them on a computer screen, separate from Ted's high-speed, somewhat unintelligible delivery ... well, they're a little embarrassing. OK, a LOT embarrassing. You'll have to look them up yourself if you don't believe me, but I wouldn't recommend it.)

     It got me thinking that there are times, usually in the middle of an especially bad day, when I turn on the radio in the car and a really great song can just lift me out of my funk. It doesn't even have to be a "great" song (witness "Wango Tango") but it's really something how music can lift your spirits. The last time I remember this happening it was a sunny afternoon, I had the windows open, a cool breeze coming in, a cheeseburger and a Coke, and Cheap Trick's "Surrender" playing loud. It's like I was back in high school, cruising in my '70 Cougar with the odd-colored driver's door. I think it cheered me up for three days, just that couple minutes.
     Of course, "Time Warp Wednesday" this week was playing music from 1980, which made me also think about how music can make me feel young again, and pretty old at the same time.

02/11/07: Lots of stuff going on around here, just too busy to write about it.

      First, it's been cold. Mind-numbingly cold. So much so that we haven't had Kisu on a proper walk for a couple weeks, even with her booties. We have a little cupboard just outside the kitchen door (in like an enclosed back porch) and yesterday Stephie found that a bottle of laundry detergent and a bottle of vinegar had both frozen solid. And we also noticed that the radiator in the front room was not generating any heat. Made for some cold nights watching TV before getting it fixed.

      With the cold came a little snow and ice, and one of our neighbors took a spill, breaking her leg and ankle. While she was in the hospital, we got to watch Siggy for about a week. Pictures (and a short video of the kids playing) are on Kisu's Pictures page. We had a great time watching him, but Kisu was getting increasingly jealous at all the attention he was getting. We tried to explain that he was a boy dog and we were just keeping him occupied so he wouldn't "mark his territory", but she was not amused. We kind of looked at this as a test run to see if we could handle another dog in the house. I'd say Stephie and I would be ready, but Kisu may need some convincing.

      Speaking of Kisu, she has been having problems with her eyes recently. We noticed they were really red before Halloween and the vet gave us some drops that appeared to clear them up, but the red came back after the new year and seemed much worse. So much so that my Mom said that she was worried, since it looked like Kisu was really uncomfortable. A couple trips to the doggie opthamologist later, it turns out that she'd having a problem with her tear ducts not creating enough tears to properly lubricate her eyes. The dryness caused some crystalline build-up, which in turn caused small ulcers to form on her eyes. To make matters worse, it turns out that the stuff our regular vet gave us is probably making them sting. That would explain why she's been fighting the drops more as time went on. Some different medicine (and more fighting) and the ulcers are clearing up, and she seems a lot more comfortable.

      A couple weeks ago I picked up one of the $99-after-rebate computer specials from Tiger Direct to replace our server. I got a great deal on a 320GB hard drive a couple months ago, to hold video files to feed to the MediaMVP box, but the BIOS on the old server box was too old to recognize it (and was not upgradable) so I was only able to use about a third of the capacity. Plus, I picked up a Hauppauge tuner card so that I might try to use the server as a third VCR (or second if the one acts up again) and the old server was not fast enough to do that. So I got this barebones kit. put it together, and found that Linux really doesn't need to be reinstalled when moving drives from one machine to another. I was even able to resize the partition (using a Knoppix CD) without losing any data on the drive, so we're in business! I'll let you know how the TV recording goes once I get around to setting that up.

      Finally, February is Jack Benny month on Those Were The Days, the old-time radio show that's on Saturday afternoon on WDCB. We can't get 'DCB real clearly on the stereo, but since they stream it on the 'net, we listen to it that way. You can listen to the previous weeks' program on their web site, so if it's still February when you're reading this, you can listen in and hear why we're such big fans of Jack and his show. If we're not going to be home, I use Total Recorder to record the stream for later listening.

      WDCB is also the new home for Blues Before Sunrise, a weekly radio program that has lots of good music week after week. I've been time-shifting it for several years now, first by recording the audio on my HiFi VCR, then using Total Recorder to record off the FM tuner in my video card, but since they were dropped by WBEZ, I found WUIS, a station out of Springfield, that has it as an MP3 stream, and found this program called Streamripper that does a great job recording the show so I don't have to stay up 'till all hours of the night to hear the entire program. I like to have it on my MP3 player, because it's good music to write programs to. I always found the blues to be entertaining without being intrusive while working, and the variety on BBS is pretty good, from the early days of recorded music to the early '60s. They used to have a complete playlist on their web site, but that part of their web site has been broken for over a year now. If you're any kind of a blues fan, or just open minded about music, you should check it out.

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