Speaking of Rocking…

Speaking of rocking as I was a moment ago, I have to plug Only Way to Know for Sure by Rollins Band. I’ve been a huge fan of Henry Rollins since his Black Flag days. I saw him in Atlanta (at the now-dead Metroplex) on his first tour after going solo, way back about 1988. Anyway, his most recent record is a live recording from Chicago that is excellent. I’m sitting here working with this record blasting from my speakers. It’s good work music. Loud, fast and heavy. Very nice.

TortoiseCVS Rocks!

I’ve been using CVS for a very long time now for version control. I used the command line tools happily for years, then some good GUI tools appeared. I never really liked some of them, but SmartCVS really stood out. I ended up buying a license for SmartCVS and was quite happy with it. Then I discovered TortoiseCVS. Not that SmartCVS is bad; on the contrary, it’s quite excellent. But for some reason TortoiseCVS just grabbed me. I have been using it ever since. (Of course, TortoiseCVS won’t help you if you’re not on a Windows box.)

Anyway, I was just working on some code, and I removed five files, by pressing <del> in Eclipse. When I went back over to my explorer Window and did a Commit, it showed me that those files had been removed, and would be committed thusly. That’s very nice. Using the command line tools, you have to do a “cvs remove foo.txt” on each file. I can’t remember if SmartCVS handles this properly (it probably does) but it was just nice to see that it understood what was going on. This tool has lots of nice little features like this that keep me happy.

Now, I will say that I’m not doing any sort of rocket science version control. It’s just middle of the road stuff. But this is a really nice tool. And they have a cute mascot. I may have to get one of those t-shirts.

Brudda Iz

Brudda Iz If you’re a fan of Hawaiian music, then you know who I’m talking about. If not, you should become acquainted with Brudda Iz as quickly as possible. Actually, you may already be familiar with his music and not realize it.

“Brudda Iz” was a man called Israel Kamakawiwo`ole. He was a very large man, with the voice of an angel. He did a medley of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and What a Wonderful World that is an extremely beautiful thing to hear. The only instruments were his voice and his ukulele. The song has been used in lots of commercials, and you can hear the part you’d be familiar with by clicking here.

I remember when I finally discovered who sang this song. I was at a Borders browsing the international music section, looking for a Kate Rusby record, when I noticed that they had one of Iz’s records on a listening station. After reading the staff recommendation to listen to the medley, I turned it on and was instantly met with the song from “that commercial” that would get into my mind and not go away. I don’t know why I didn’t buy the record that day, but I didn’t.

Anyway, several of his records are on iTunes now, and I bought his 1993 record called Facing Future two days ago. I’ve listened to Somewhere Over the Rainbow many, many times since then. My son loves it, too. What’s kind of funny is that he does a cover of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” though customized for Hawaii as opposed to West Virginia.

Sadly, Brudda Iz died in 1997 at the way-too-young age of 38. I found this article and this one in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin covering his death and memorial service. The second article says that while his body way lying in state in the capitol rotunda, 10,000 people filed past to pay their respects.

Letterman on Clinton’s Heart Surgery

While my dislike of Bill Clinton is no secret, I certainly don’t wish him ill health. In fact, I hope he recovers from his heart surgery and gets back to his life.

Having said that, Letterman’s Top 10 list from March 14 was hilarious. I didn’t see the show, and the list hasn’t been posted to the website yet, but here it is, courtesy of the MRC:

"Top Ten Things Overheard During Bill Clinton's Hospital Stay."

10. "A nurse is coming! Put him in the restraints."
9. "Strange -- his veins have no blood. It's just Crisco."
8. "Canseco's here with something that'll make you feel amazing."
7. "Five more heart surgeries and you'll tie Cheney!"
6. "When I told him no sex for a month, he pulled a scalpel on me."
5. "My, what a lovely bouquet from Osama."
4. "For some reason, he always forgets the surgical gown opens in the back."
3. "We removed the scar tissue from the heart, as well as several impacted french fries."
2. "Al Gore! When did you start working as an orderly?"
1. "Hillary wants to know if you would neuter him?"

Imagine My Surprise…

… when I Googled for “css form field layout”, then clicked on the first item returned, which was titled “aplus moments > Blog Archive > Styling form fields” and I see the hot chick on the beach picture located here. It really is a blog entry about using CSS to style your form fields, but… um… wow. Nice visual…

Go See “Robots.” Now.

We went to see Robots last night. What an excellent film. Robin Williams, who I haven’t really liked since Mrs. Doubtfire and Good Morning, Vietnam was absolutely brilliant! I really enjoyed his voicing of the robot called Fender. The movie is a non-stop laugh-fest; it’s funny and touching at times, though slightly scary for young kids at one point. There were a few lines and sight gags that were not really appropriate for a family film; they go over the heads of the kids and the adults get them, but I would prefer them not be there. Having said that, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is no profanity, which was nice to see.

Grab your family and head to the theater, today, to see this great movie.

I Have a Lot of Music

Anyone who knows me knows that I am constantly listening to music. All the time; working, playing, sleeping… well, maybe not sleeping. But I have music going all the time. I just looked at the counts in my WinAmp music library, and here’s what I saw:

Artists: 557
Albums: 868
Songs: 10,728

That includes all my ripped MP3 and Ogg files, plus those songs I’ve purchased at iTunes and live concert files in FLAC, SHN and Monkey Audio formats. That’s a heck of a lot of music. I didn’t realize just how much I had.

Just this morning, I was listening to a random selection of songs, and several times a song would start playing and I had no idea what/who it was. And that’s kind of funny.

Two days ago a friend turned me on to AudioScrobbler, which is sort of a social network for music lovers. You sign up, download a plugin for the audio player of your choice, then start listening to music like you normally do. It will report what you’re listening to and aggregate you with everyone else. You can then link to other people who listen to the same stuff and see what else they listen to. This is a great way to find bands you didn’t know about, but that are similar to bands you already listen to. If you’re interested, my page is here.

Hey Hollywood! Come Up With Some New Ideas!

Is every single screenwriter in Hollywood completely out of ideas for new films? It would appear so. After the absurd remake of the classic Flight of the Phoenix, I now hear that Wolfgang Petersen is remaking the absolute classic The Poseidon Adventure. Noooooooo!!! The original was great. A true classic. It doesn’t need to be remade.

In fact, I am against remakes in general. I have never seen a remake of a film that I liked, or thought was better than the original, or even thought was somehow worth making. The sole exception to this is when Hitchcock took his 1934 The Man Who Knew Too Much and remade it in 1956 with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day. That was a great remake, and I applaud Hitchcock for doing it. Every other remake I’ve seen, like Planet of the Apes, Psycho and The Manchurian Candidate all sucked compared to the original.