Shuffling

I’m listening to MP3s on random shuffle on my PC, which is new to me. I know, this is something I was supposed to start doing five years ago, which is also when I was supposed to chuck my CD player and receiver and start stealing all of my music. I used to listen to a lot more music in Seattle, when everything was in one room and my bed also served as my couch, my kitchen table, and the place where I read, wrote, watched videos, and played music. Now I never seem to want to find a CD I like, and except for the times when I’m writing and I listen to the same handful of discs, I usually turn on the tube when I need background noise. I need to stop doing that.

I have been interested in some kind of master convergence solution that would somehow solve all of my media woes and not cost a fortune. I was just having this discussion with Ray last night, although his idea is more like a credit card-sized drive that holds fifty gazillion terabytes and can wirelessly communicate with every type of electronics in his house or anywhere else. He’ll never find this, and with about 20,000 CDs in his house, he’s never going to find any kind of mobile drive to hold all of that. I have less of a problem, as I don’t need a car unit, and my iPod takes care of most of the mobile issues. Also, if my stereo is up loud enough, you can hear it in any room, so that solves the multiple-speaker/multiple-zone problem.

I saw a writeup on a new system by Sonos which is promising. You hook up your computer to their box, and then you have a ~$500 unit per zone. Each unit talks to the PC wirelessly, and has a built-in amp and inputs for other audio components (turntable, CD, iPod). Each one operates on its own; you can be listening to something downstairs while someone upstairs has another song going. The whole thing is controlled with a very slick handheld remote that has a color screen driving a good navigation system, and touch controls that look easy to use. I like the controller a lot, but I already have a good receiver and don’t like the idea of paying for another one and then somehow wiring it in tandem with my DVD sound setup. I also like its general looks, but I don’t like that it probably requires me to run in Windows all the time.

My predicament now is that I dual-boot into Windows to use my iPod software, so all of my MP3s have been stranded on a different hard drive. I just got NTFS mounting to work in linux though, so now I can just fire up xmms and point it at that directory and it works. But I am playing through the tiny speakers built into my LCD, which are about as big as the one in the back of my watch. I need to figure out a way to string some cables across the room and get the signal to my receiver. Then I need to figure out how to get XMMS to run so it isn’t microscopic. Also, it would be cool to do some kind of web-based control for it so I could fire up a browser on my laptop in the next room and change songs. Or maybe I should do something useful, like clean my bathtub.

After a prolonged break because I had other books to read, I’m back on Stolen Valor. It’s pretty good, although it pisses me off to find out that so many popularly held beliefs about Vietnam are false. I just got done reading about the huge racket of benefits scamming that’s often done, not only by people who aren’t Vietnam Vets, but who never served in the military whatsoever. There’s a big business in pretending you are a whacked-out vet with PTSD to get disability checks from the government. Military service is seldom checked or verified and easily forged or duped. If you have 100% disability (something you can do without losing arms and legs) you get about $3500 tax-free a month, plus health care, free license plates and other benefits. Work up a story about how you were near Agent Orange and you can get a kickback from that, too. All you have to do is let your beard grow out, dress in camo, come in to the VA drunk once a month, and start talking about your days as a Green Beret when there were slopes on the line and you had to kill babies. I’m not saying there aren’t vets who suffer from PTSD, but there are a lot of scamsters living off of our tax dollar who are disgracing the sacrifice of those who did serve.

I’m now listening to an Asia song from the Over the Top soundtrack that rhymes fire with desire. I think all of the songs on this soundtrack do, though. Anyway, I think I’m going to either write or play videogames.

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