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The Gimcrack Miscellany

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Archive for the ‘intarwebs’ Category

To Twitter Or Not?

Posted by The Gimcracker on November 20, 2008
Posted under blogging, intarwebs


5 Things To Brighten Your Day

Posted by The Gimcracker on October 21, 2008
Posted under gimcrackery, intarwebs

It seems like everywhere I turn I’m pimp smacked by the hand of bad news. Doom and gloom abounds on TV, in the movies, and even everyday conversations with people. Our economy is dying. Both presidential candidates suck. Gas prices are way up. The Colts played terribly on Sunday. Global warming. Murder. Abortion. Capital punishment. Genocide. Disease. Famine. Pestilence. Death.

This stuff doesn’t bother me. I don’t dwell on it very often. Heck, maybe I should, I don’t know. But one thing’s for sure, there are many more things in the universe that should put a smile on your face than a frown. Here are 5 of them off the top of my head.

#5 Our Country

Think about the fact that you can choose to vote or choose not to vote, and it’s nobody’s business but your own. You don’t have to tell anyone who you voted for or why, and you can have any political viewpoint you want without worrying about anybody (legally) threatening you. No matter who wins the election we will still be the best country in the world with the most powerful military, the highest GDP, and the best schools and corporations, regardless of what doomsday political know-it-alls are “predicting”.

#4 Taco Bell

Any time of any day that I so choose, I can get in my car, drive down the street, and shop at Taco Bell. Or Hardees. Or Subway. Anywhere I want to eat, I can. And I can eat whatever I want. I thank God for this privilege.

Yes, I consider my visits to fast food establishments to be shopping trips.

#3 Roads

Did you ever stop to think about how you can go anywhere you want? You can get on the interstate, which is probably not far from your driveway and get anywhere in the entire country (besides Hawaii). Or, you can drive to the airport, and get on a plane that will take you anywhere in the world (besides Antartica).

But the roads are especially neat to me. Some people complain about road construction. I see it the other way around. Someone is utilizing a bunch of amazingly-engineered heavy machinery and constructing a road for my pleasure. That brightens my day to think about.

#2 DVR

I can pause and rewind live TV. So can you. Even if you don’t have DVR yet, don’t worry about it. It’s one of those things that every household will have within the next 5 years, like dishwashers, microwaves, and cell phones. If you have a TV, you will have the power of DVR. And it will be magnanimous.

#1 Earth

Our Earth is indestructible by human hands. And most other powers too. The Earth cannot be blown up by bombs, and there is no comet or asteroid big enough to destroy the Earth. Even Mars isn’t big enough. If it smashed into the Earth, it would not destroy the Earth (unless it was going at an unbelievably high speed). Mars is only 11% of the mass of the Earth. The object would have to be as big as Venus, which is 81% Earth’s mass. And it would have to be traveling at 50,000 miles per hour. To find out just how hard it is to destroy our planet, see this article.

So, we live in the greatest country on the most resilient planet in the solar system, and we can travel to any Taco Bell we want on a very sophisticated highway system without missing new episodes of The Office. If that doesn’t brighten your day, I don’t know what else to tell you.

Why I Read “Basic Instructions”

Posted by The Gimcracker on October 9, 2008
Posted under intarwebs, music, rofl, sports

A while back, a good friend introduced me to the web comic called Basic Instructions. As I’m writing this the website is down, and I’m pretty sure it’s because today’s strip is hilarious and everyone’s reading it. It must have gotten submitted to Digg or something. If you don’t read this comic, you should. I’m probably the millionth person to blog about how you should read Basic Instructions if you don’t already, but for whatever it’s worth, I give it my seal of approval. Here is today’s strip:

I think I have a lot in common with the guy who writes this comic strip. Meh, everyone probably thinks they do. Just like everyone thinks their boss is worse than Micheal Scott. If your boss was really worse than Micheal Scott, do you really think he would still be your boss? No, he would be in jail and bankrupt.

What Is Wrong With This Picture?

Posted by The Gimcracker on September 18, 2008
Posted under intarwebs, news, stupidity

That’s a screenshot of Digg at around 11:00 AM on 9/18/08. What is wrong with that picture? You don’t have to look very close.

8 of the top 10 stories are anti-McCain/Palin and pro Obama. Why do I still read Digg? Oh that’s right, because it’s the best thing ever created, despite all the political articles.

For the record, I would be just as annoyed if 8 of the top 10 stories were anti-Obama and pro McCain/Palin. I don’t care about politics. I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care.

Top Fiver: TheSixtyOne Bands

Posted by The Gimcracker on July 25, 2008
Posted under gaming, intarwebs, music, top fivers

TheSixtyOne has held me in its musical grip since January and it doesn’t look to be letting go any time soon. I’ve already tried to explain to you why it’s so good. Let me see if I can put it another way in an attempt to lure you into the all-consuming fire.

You know how people are medically addicted to WoW these days? I know why. It’s because humans have an irresistible attraction to leveling up, regardless of the platform. We collect things. We get really good at golf and can describe every hole of every course in a 50 mile radius. We practice the guitar until we can play Flight of the Bumblebee at 340 beats per minute. We obsess over world records just to be able to say we hold the record.

There are a million areas of interest out there. And there are people getting better at each and every one of them as we speak.

We are all obsessive compulsive to a certain degree. The reason we’re not medically diagnosed with it is because most of us have the ability to resist it if it gets in the way of our daily lives. Barely.

Let’s look at a specific area of interest: music. I am not a bona fide music collector because my parents weren’t yuppies, but I am well on my way thanks almost entirely to thesixtyone. Music does something to me that nothing else can do. I’m not talking about performing it, I’m talking about blasting it in your car during afternoon rush hour on a Friday with your windows down, which coincidentally I’ll be doing in about 40 minutes.

There is a problem with being a music listener though. There are so many people that really really love music that it’s hard to break into the inner-culture unless you live on the fringe of society. It’s not very fun to become a “music collector” because one of two things tends to get in the way: 1) as soon as you begin to share your expertise with others a much more seasoned collector inevitably comes along and scoffs at your shallow opinions, informing you that he not only owns a vinyl copy of your favorite 10 albums, but he’s been backstage at all the concerts; or 2) you become that guy and lose most of your friends.

So, we’ve discussed the intense desire to “level up” in life. We’ve discussed how much we love music. And we’ve discussed why it’s frustrating to love music so much. I have good news for you. There is a place at the innernets where you can combine your desire to level up with discovering good new music that will be big in 6 months, all without the frustration of the music snob. That place is located here:

When I play WoW, the level-up aspect is very satisfying until I realize that ultimately it has no bearing on the “outside” world. I can’t share it with my wife or my friends because when you boil it down it is solely for my benefit.

When I listen to thesixtyone, on the other hand, not only is the level-up aspect insanely satisfying, but it has a positive effect on my “outside” world because it is teaching me about music and giving me songs, albums, and bands that I can take with me for the rest of my life. I’ve had long conversations with my friends who are already on the site (Dan, Adrian, Phil, Luke, Jesse, and my brother) over new artists, leveling up, getting achievements & feature unlocks, and techniques on playing the game.

With that being said, here is my list of top 5 bands that I’ve discovered so far. I would have never heard of any of these bands if it weren’t for thesixtyone.

5. The National

See their profile on thesixtyone.

Man these guys are eerie. A baritone lead singer paired with heavy piano usage and constant beats, plus semi-depressing lyrics and a sense of hopelessness, all somehow pull me into The National. I know, counter-intuitive right? Just listen to Fake Empire and be completely amazed.

Required listening:

4. Leatherbag

See their profile on thesixtyone.

Just one guy who calls himself Leatherbag (preforming with the aid of a band) has captured my heart with another lonely, half-depressed song called Caroline. It is one of my favorite songs of all time and I immediately went and learned it on the geetar - banjo licks and all.

Required listening:

The lyrics really get me. It’s a sad love song, and I just HAVE to post a sample for you below:

Standing around this northern town
Patiently I stand and wait
When I find my sweet Caroline
We’ll spread our wings and we’ll fly away

Her hair is gold and her words are silver
She’s a lily in the month of May
She’s tall as hell and like the wind she whispers
Do I love her I cannot say

WOW. I’m not one for poetry, but I’ll be damned if I’ve ever heard anything so sad and poetic.

3. Chris Merritt

See their profile on thesixtyone.

Chris Merritt has about twice as many chords in his songs as other non-superhuman artists. Just listen to Linger or The Long Road to get a feel for his frequent key change-ups. He has a song on his new album called Mafia that’s even crazier. I had to listen to it three times to understand his insane chord progressions. What’s great is the song is still amazing and you can tell that a lot of thought went into each note.

Required listening:

What a great buildup and it doesn’t disappoint.

2. Your Vegas

See their profile on thesixtyone.

I guarantee you these guys are the next Coldplay/Snow Patrol/Keane/[enter favorite UK pop band]. Their songs are all epic. All. Epic. We’ll be hearing them on the radio in a few months.

Required listening:

The last half of the song is the most epic. It might be one of the best individual songs on all of thesixtyone.

1. White Light Riot

See their profile on thesixtyone.

I ordered a poster from White Light Riot’s merch site. I don’t buy music posters. That is saying a lot. These guys simply rock my socks right off every single day (which is how often I listen to at least one of their songs). I love them so much that when I noticed their entire album was available to download for free from thesixtyone, I notified them of the blunder and they quickly remedied it. I bet someone out there hates me. But you know what? I bought the album from their site for full price, so you better do the same.

Required listening:

“Can’t you see beyond the silver screens, the backward dreams, the scripted scenes?”

Well that about does it. Honorable mention includes Band of Horses, Ugress, and RAC. Sample some songs from these bands and tell me what you think, or let me know your favorite newly discovered bands on thesixtyone. I’m working on another Top Fiver for individual songs which is pretty enjoyable but much harder to nail down.

So, maybe I’ll see you at thesixtyone? My username is brianmcculloh and my profile is located here: You can also see where I currently stand on thesixtyone if you look at my listener badge in the side column of this page where it says “Listen To One Song Plz:”.