buy me a pony

November 19, 2006

so i’m basically just making a really quick update (edit: this actually turned into a really massive update spanning two days) as i’m just killing time before i go pick up some dinner and then hit the books again. it’s been probably my most distressing three weeks of the entire year, and my laziness and lack of discipline is mostly to blame. but i only have one more essay to write before i graduate (assuming i don’t fail), so that’s exciting.

anyway. over the past month or so i’ve kept myself sane by spending money. i have bought eight threadless t-shirts, a few fountain pens (free shipping, get into it!), moleskine notebooks, tickets to the cricket, boony dolls, birkenstocks, and lots of other similarly useless things. and the fun doesn’t stop there! my list of wants is longer than i care to admit, and the items on it only get more and more expensive, culminating in the illustrious creative zen vision w (since the widescreen video ipod with divx capabalities is, bizarrely, still unavailable), and a rickenbacker 650s (or any rickenbacker, really):

but my consumerist dreams don’t all come at a hefty price. no no, since i last checked in, new albums by my chemical romance, the shins and brand new have each found their ways into my possession, and subsequently onto my ipod shuffle (by the way, the problem that apple charged me $22 to fix can, as of october 26th, be fixed automatically by a free utility available on the website).

the brand new album is probably one of the most anticipated releases of the last…well, two years, and let me tell ya, folks: it’s been worth the wait. if you don’t believe me, the whole album can currently be streamed from the band’s myspace page for a limited time only! ok, so i’ve only had this one for a few days, but the whole thing sits very well together and brings the dark, foreboding moods with authority. think all the sad quiet songs on deja entendu but with all the creepy atmospherics turned up a good few notches. this is good news, for my money. i love seeing bands grow and expand beyond the confines of their genre, and brand new are perhaps one of the best examples of this kind of transformation. in case you were worried, ‘sowing season’ is probably the worst track on the album, and subsequently i am amazed they chose it as the first single, but whatever. the album officially drops on november 29th, so definitely check it out. don’t ask me what that cover art is about, though.

i was initially really excited about the my chemical romance album, but i have to say on the record, that after a good month or so of listening, it’s not grabbing me the same way three cheers did. by my count, there are only two or maybe three songs with real ‘single’ potential. the rest sounds essentially like they’ve forsaken all their energy and reckless abandon in favour of constructing theatrical or epic songs. not that this is necessarily a bad thing; i’m sure many, many people will eat it up, and so far i’ve seen nothing but good reviews for the album, including 4 1/2 stars in the herald sun and no less than 4 stars (count ’em) from pitchfork themselves for the next single. unfortunately for me, the verses in ‘welcome to the black parade’ are about as punk as it gets, and overall the album makes ‘the ghost of you’ sound heavy. to me, this band hasn’t really ‘evolved’ as much as stripped down their sound completely, simultaneously removing most of the minor chords and riffs. best track is ‘the sharpest lives,’ go download it somewhere.

so. on another note, my girlfriend threw down the other day with a list of top 10 killer mac apps. me, being the devil’s advocate stubborn and irrational son of a bitch that i am, thought i would share some pc love. now the disclaimer: not all of these are exclusively pc apps, and unlike her list, not all of them are free. but, they are all essential programs that any self-respecting pc user should have. if i’ve said it once, i’ve said it a thousand times: use bittorrent to find these apps. the RIA and MPAA will only bother busting your door down if you a) live in america or b) try to sell your pirated wares. so, without further adieu here are my top 10 pc apps!

10. dvd region killer (freeware)
most people don’t realise that, aside from the region-locking firmware that comes built-in to your dvd drive, windows itself also has software protection to stop you from playing/copying foreign discs. dvd region killer conveniently removes this protection. it runs in your system tray, down there next to winamp and your clock, and stays well out of your way. so once you’ve hacked your firmware, use this app and get piratin’!

9. advanced system optimiser (not…freeware…)
this package bundles together a good thirty or forty system apps, from memory optimisers to registry cleaners as well as hundreds of other windows tweaks, compression utilities, and all kinds of other stuff. the program is layed out brilliantly, so even if you’re not overly confident with computers, you will still be able to use the various wizards and guides to get your pc running more smoothly and efficiently.

8. nero burning rom (not freeware)
this is the most powerful and versatile cd/dvd burning software on the market, and if you use it in conjunction with nero vision, it can even transcode videos on-the-fly for use in your home dvd player. nero can burn any kinds of files you can possibly imagine. i use it for dvd movies, pc games, xbox games, music, everything. use nero. don’t think. just go. now. oh yeah but make sure you don’t get crappy nero express.

7. soulseek (freeware)
before i discovered bittorrent, soulseek was the unquestioned bomb when it came to downloading music. in fac, there has never been a single album i have not eventually been able to find on soulseek. this is essentially a p2p file sharing app like kazaa (remember that?), the only major difference being that you can only a file from one user, so if they go offline you’ll have to find someone else who has it. but on the upside, you can run as many searches as you like at the same time, and you can browse other user’s files in chat rooms and the likes for anything else you might be interested in.

6. dvd shrink (freeware)
this is the second-best application under 500kb you will ever use. there i said it. dvd shrink is the ultimate in easy to use dvd authoring programs. when you load a dvd, it will automatically compress the disc down to 4.7gb so you can burn it to a dvd-r. alternatively, you can strip down the menus, special features, commentaries etc., and the program automatically adjusts the compression of the main movie to give you the best possible quality. you can either burn the image on the spot, or save it as an .iso to burn later (with nero, of course); nothing is more annoying than all those ts_video folders.

5. mozilla firefox (freeware)
i’m pretty sure most people already know how great firefox is, but for those who don’t, here is a short list of it’s awesomeness: tabbed browsing (so you only need one window), search plugins, themes, ad and popup blockers, etc. oh yeah and it barely ever crashes. still not convinced? hey, i’m not the one who voted internet explorer the eighth worst tech product of all time. hell; here’s a screenshot of my computer just so you can see how great it is.

4. irfanview (freeware)
forget that crappy windows picture and fax viewer. irfan view lets you do all the basic things with your photos: stretch, skew, resize, resample, etc., but with a million more options. it can read pretty much any format (including photoshop files) but with zero load time.

3. power archiver (not freeware)
surprisingly, this is an archiving utility, like winzip and winrar, but the exception being that power archiver can handle any format you care to throw at it, eliminating the need for more than one zipping program. it has all kinds of crc checkers and stuff like that, too.

2 . vlc media player (freeware)
vlc plays everything. and i mean everything. there has never been a file that this program couldn’t play, and it doesn’t require any extra codecs to work. again, this program works for the beginner and for the ‘leet hacker, with more options than you can poke a stick at. i play all my media with vlc, with sole of exception of mp3s where i use winamp. anybody using itunes or windows media player take note.

1. utorrent (freeware)
unequivocally the best bittorrent client for windows. utorrent weighs in at 170kb, compared to azureus’ 100mb+ (when you account for java), with all the same features. it’s smaller, it’s faster, it looks the same, just as many options, uttorrent is running probably 90% of the time i have my computer turned on.

so there you have it. ok so my list isn’t as fancy or as kitchy as alice’s mac list, but everybody knows pcs are about FUNCTIONALITY dammit, not just about looking pretty. ok, maybe that was a cheap shot, but the point is that there is something for everyone on that list, if you know where to look.

since i’m running out of time, i should wind this entry up. i’m currently waiting on the arrival of my next batch of threadless shirts, as well as a few other odds and ends, but what i’m most excited about is the ashes starting on thursday! if that’s not incentive to finish my last essay, then i don’t know what is.

that’s a lie; alice is also having her second round NIDA audition that day, so everyone wish her good luck! not like she needs it though. anyway, whether it’s celebrations or commiserations, there will be cause for drinking come thursday night. matt’s birthday, monash/melbourne uni end of exams parties and all kinds of other shenanigans shall be taking place, so that should be good!

on that note, since the state elections are coming up, here’s a message from puff daddy. don’t mess with him, he’s armed (and so is the rest of his posse).

in our next issue: movie reviews, photos (dating back a good couple of months now), more links that you won’t click, and bucketloads of other cool stuff!

see ya round.

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7 Responses to “buy me a pony”

  1. zac said

    hey

    On the topic of MCR. As you probably know i’m a pretty big fan of the new album. However, whilst i completely appreciate the album based on the merits of The Black Parade’s songs themselves, i can sympathise with claims that their musical evolution has diverted from it’s original course and the new album deviates significantly from the band’s original, natural sound in the scope of MCR’s back catalogue.

    3 Cheers aside, I had the privilege of listening to I brought you my Bullets & The Black Parade albums in full, back to back on a road trip last week. The musical disparity between the two is REALLY magnified when you remove the sophmore album from the equation. I brought you my bullets is fast and heavy. The guitar solos are dirty and cutting. His voice threatens to tear open with every scream and on the end of each long line the vocal gymnastics border on the absurd.However, the album has so much raw energy, originality and a deep, creepy, seemingly effortless darkness throughout with so much talk of guns and vampires and unrequited love. It sounds like a group of depraved, disturbed boys, locked in the basement who dropped pills and read edgar allen poe.

    Now I won’t speak in great length about The Black Parade, generally I like it, but the blood curdling yells, distortion and breakneck drumming have gone out the window. Additionally, themes of death and decay seem repetitive and even a little forced.

    “when the fractions of my skull begin to fall, on your tongue like pixie dust just think happy thoughts”

    and

    “And if the sun comes up will it tear the skin right off our bones
    And then as razor sharp white teeth rip out our necks . . . ”

    Has a sinister energy that The Black Parade is devoid of, like the diffence between watching the blair witch (when it first came out) and Scream.

    But consider this. I think MCR are generally a very talented, musically, vocally and lyrically, bunch with potential to play any sort of music. The thing is I think they are very susceptible to whatever musical influences they are around. I brought you my bullets (the most hardcore/screamo effort of theirs) was produced by the singer from Thursday, on his predominantly hardcore/screamo label. It’s also well known that MCR made really close friends with the The Used, who made it big first and they toured together around the same time 3 Cheers dropped, hence the neo-gothic characterisations, radio-friendly emo rock. Then they embarked on their biggest tour yet for like atelast 6 months on the road with Greenday who aside from being all-time punk rock legends, were arguably the most siginificant punk chart success story last year with their “rock-opera” American Idiot and tributes/covers of Queen at all the live shows. Starting to see a pattern here? MCR obvioiusly impressed with the magnitude of the Greenday tour (wasn’t everyone who went?) went and hired the same producer who made American Idiot come together and came up with The Black Parade.

    It’s also definitely worth noting that MCR aren’t the only medium sized band around these days who are toning down to reach wider audiences and dare I say it fill stadiums a la Greenday. With a declining number of “Super Acts” like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, Robbie Williams who could fill any venue, all of these medium sized bands are determined to reach that status. Just like MCR highly publicized The Black Parade as an effort to emulate the size and style of Queen, Greenday and Pink Floyd, The Killers heavily publicized the influence of U2 on Sam’s Town. Interesting to see how it pays off for both bands, particularly at this year’s BDO as they light up the main stages.

    And I have to disagree with you, The Sharpest Lives? Are you on crack? Welcome to the Black Parade and Mama are stnad out songs and House of Wolves is unquestionably the killer dark horse on the album.

    To be brutally honest, If i could only listen to one MCR song ever again, there’s no doubt it would be “Our Lady of Sorrows” off the debut, incredible song.

  2. leigh said

    good list of useful apps, i use most of those myself.

  3. your blog is what the french call: boring.

  4. ricie said

    you’re desperately in need of a new post to put johnny appleseed to bed.

  5. ricie said

    more more more!! i need more posts!

  6. ricie said

    omg this blog is offcially dead. your pictures don’t even show properly anymore. update man!

  7. ricie said

    you suck

    omg

    time to ditch wordpress i think

    you need to blog properly…at least in livejournal where you were being an emo kid you blogged.

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