Blathr Wayne Lorentz

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Showing blathrs with the tag “Music.”

Lawyers on Mars

Thursday, August 31st, 2023 Alive 19,119 days

A portion of the text inside an R.E.M. Imitation of Life CD.

I have one of the Imitation of Life CDs that was sent to radio stations in early 2001 just before R.E.M. released the album. Today I noticed that the leaflet inside states:

Published by Temporary Music, administered in this and all worlds, inclusive, by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
Emphasis mine

I'm so glad that music industry lawyers are getting addressing the problem of Martian music bootleggers.

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I say, “Doctor!”

Sunday, August 27th, 2023 Alive 19,115 days

Iʼm starting to think that my doctor is completely untrained in what to do when someone puts the lime in the coconut and drinks it all up.

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Dickhead move

Thursday, July 20th, 2023 Alive 19,077 days

A screenshot showing both albums in the same directory

When I purchased Kate Nashʼs album Made of Bricks from iTunes, it helpfully sanitized the filename of the song Dickhead so that my computer wouldnʼt be offended.

Then, sometime later, Appleʼs Music program — the successor to iTunes — upgraded the quality of the song, and at the same time kept the filename “Dickhead.” Iʼm sure my computer is clutching its digital pearls.

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Iʼll be in the Charo section

Saturday, April 1st, 2023 Alive 18,967 days

A record bin at Sigʼs Lagoon

What? Doesnʼt every record store have an “Albums with Marlon Brando on the cover” section?

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That joke stinks

Friday, February 3rd, 2023 Alive 18,910 days

Show me a green onion that can rhyme, and I'll show you a rapscallion.

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How many notes per unit?

Saturday, January 21st, 2023 Alive 18,897 days

A screenshot from iTunes

It may be a symptom of age that I looked at this album on iTunes Japan and thought, “Eldo is the better song, but Halo is over six minutes long for the same price!”

For what itʼs worth, Eldo costs 2¥ per second, while Halo costs a little over ½¥ per second. So Halo is clearly the better value, even though Eldo is more popular.

Disgusted with myself, I bought neither.

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Iʼm sure you have some cosmic rationale

Sunday, November 6th, 2022 Alive 18,821 days

The Billy Joel song Pressure is on the radio right now. It reminds me of when this song was in the top 40 on the radio. My friends and I used to love this song because it spoke to us, how we felt and thought, and the pressure we felt in everyday life. Screaming the chorus together was a means of venting our anger and anxiety.

We were eleven.

I canʼt remember what pressure we thought we were under at that age, but how awful is it that at age 11 we even had a concept of pressure and sought coping mechanisms.

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Not yours. Canʼt has.

Tuesday, October 11th, 2022 Alive 18,795 days

Amazon Music stating that music that it can no longer play some music that it used to play

Streaming media is one of the many areas of technology that has failed to live up to its hype.

Streaming services use vague marketing words promising “unlimited” this and “endless” that. But the seldom-acknowledged fact is that if you rely on streaming music services, the music you love could just disappear tomorrow with no notice, or recourse. Thanks for the money, donʼt let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

Just like how newspapers publish lists of whatʼs going to disappear from Netflix at the end of the month, streaming music also gains and loses music and artists regularly.

The screenshot above is Amazon Music telling me that it no longer has any songs by Comsat Angels. It knows Comsat Angels. It used to have Comsat Angels music. But not today. If you love Comsat Angels and give money to Amazon Music, youʼre out of luck.

Streaming music is the same thing as renting music. You donʼt own it. It can be taken away from you at any time.

Itʼs similar to when Microsoft abandoned its e-book store and millions of people lost the millions of books they thought they owned. A digital librarian sneaked into their homes in the middle of the night, emptied their shelves, and left behind a note reading, “Didnʼt you read page 640 of the EULA? You only rented these books. Sucker.”

This is all fine if all you care about is whatever is trendy over the last 48 hours. But people connect to books, movies, and especially music emotionally. Thatʼs why people create music. And to have those emotions yanked away from you is going to be hard on people once they realize that the things they once loved have disappeared and they didnʼt know it was going to happen.

As for the Comsat Angels, Iʼll hit the local record stores to find what Iʼm looking for. Then Iʼll own it. For real and forever.

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Can't get there from here

Friday, July 29th, 2022 Alive 18,721 days

Me: “Hey, Siri, stop the music.”

Siri: “Sorry, Wayne. I'm unable to stop.”

Really? It's only R.E.M. It's not like you can dance to it.

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🎵Slow down🎵

Monday, May 16th, 2022 Alive 18,647 days

An Amazon Music error message

Part of the Amazon Music screen says “purchased.” Another part says I canʼt download the music I paid for.

Trying again in 15 minutes didnʼt change anything. Nor did trying again in 30 minutes, or 45. An hour after my purchase I got on the blower with Amazon customer service, and was told to wait 24 hours to download the music I paid for.

Thatʼs OK for me, because I'm patient. I was able to download the music when I tried a couple of days later. But isnʼt the whole point of Amazon Music that people are supposed to have immediate, unlimited access to their music?

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Radio and records

Tuesday, April 26th, 2022 Alive 18,627 days

The KRBE album The Sound of Houston

I found the record The Sound of Houston at the record store today.

In the early 1980ʼs, KRBE Radio held a contest where its listeners were asked to compose a theme song for the city. The winning entries were then pressed into a record, and 40 years later here they are today — in the value bin, priced at 99¢.

The songs are very very 1980ʼs. Lots of power ballads with saxophones, clarinets, and chimes. Surprisingly few have much of a country twang, but many would fit in with the local TV news themes of the era.

It seems sad that the heartfelt work of a dozen recording hopefuls has been reduced to just 8¼¢ a piece.

Listening with 2022 ears, none of them are very good. But they are an audio time capsule of a certain era, and a certain place.

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So expected

Thursday, January 6th, 2022 Alive 18,517 days

Things that sometimes donʼt work, or donʼt work as expected:

  • Apple Music
  • Spotify
  • SiriusXM
  • Amazon Music
  • Pandora

Thing that always works exactly as expected: My wifeʼs vinyl record player.

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Sunday, March 28th, 2021 Alive 18,233 days

I spent the last few decades collecting wonderful music from all around the world; carefully curating a library that I can listen to and enjoy.

But for some reason all Iʼve wanted to listen to for the last six months is silence.

Seems like I wasted a lot of time and money somehow.

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Wednesday, January 27th, 2021 Alive 18,173 days

Me: “Hey, Siri, turn it down.”

HomePod: “Sorry. There as a problem adjusting volume.”

This is what we used to call “Not ready for Prime Time.”

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Wednesday, January 27th, 2021 Alive 18,173 days

Today I learned that Appleʼs HomePod canʼt play the music you own, stored on your own Mac, in your own home, even with so-called “Home Sharing” enabled.

After 10 years of “Rip, Mix, Burn” can you imagine someone telling Steve Jobs, “We have this new music gadget, but you canʼt play any of the music you own on it.” Only rental music.

Someone would be fired before he even finished that sentence.

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♫ Brave new world, population one ♫

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 Alive 17,899 days

Chumbawamba in 2000: “Pass it along by word of mouse: Save yourself, donʼt leave the house.”

The world in 2020: “Okie dokie.”

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Go ahead and smoke it

Saturday, September 28th, 2019 Alive 17,686 days

An iPod Shuffle

I brought my 14-year-old iPod Shuffle to work to see how it works (flawlessly) and how long the battery lasts (all day+).

The office millennial asked, “Is that a Juul?”

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Thatʼs why the chairs suck now

Sunday, June 16th, 2019 Alive 17,582 days

Remember when Starbucks used to pride itself on its carefully curated selection of music?

Now itʼs like playing crap is its latest way to keep people from relaxing in-store, and to just hand over their money at the drive through.

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Eddy Grant sighs

Sunday, February 17th, 2019 Alive 17,463 days

Not only do kids these days not know how to rock on down to Electric Avenue, they’re clueless about taking it higher.

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Saturday, February 16th, 2019 Alive 17,462 days

Kids these days don’t understand that the rhythm is going to get them. The rhythm is going to get them. The rhythm is going to get them. Tonight.

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Tuesday, January 8th, 2019 Alive 17,423 days

Darcie drivinʼ home with one headlight

If I was a good husband, Iʼd fix Darcieʼs car like I promised to. But for now I just stand in the driveway when she comes home and sing that Wallflowers song at her.

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Saturday, November 3rd, 2018 Alive 17,357 days

One of the neighbor kids is learning to play the trumpet. Heʼs terrible, and everyone knows it because he likes to practice outside. It freaks out the cats.

The good news is that heʼs now getting lessons.

The bad news is that now it sounds like there are two people are trying to murder Chuck Mangione in my backyard.

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Friday, October 19th, 2018 Alive 17,342 days

A boombox and a CD of subway sounds

Awesome: I just picked up a boom box at a garage sale for $5!

Less awesome: I just found out that after 17 years of collecting digital media, the only CD I have left is the sounds of Tokyo Metro.

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Wednesday, October 17th, 2018 Alive 17,340 days

Restoring erased media

My main media drive ate itself away, wiping out 4TB of movies, music, and TV shows. So I spent most of the last week pulling my hair out trying to reconstruct the files and metadata.

Tonight I remembered that I make monthly backups. My brain hates me.

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Sunday, October 7th, 2018 Alive 17,330 days

The Shell station and trading post in Winona, Arizona

We were on the way to Flagstaff, Arizona when Darcie said, “Donʼt forget Winona!” So, here we are.

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Sunday, August 26th, 2018 Alive 17,288 days

A functional function

This is what happens when youʼre debugging a web site and The Smiths comes on the radio.

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Saturday, June 16th, 2018 Alive 17,217 days

A box of cassettes

I found a box of blank tapes in an antiques store.

I bought them since I, too, am an antique.

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Sunday, March 22nd, 1987 Alive 5,808 days

I got another compact music disc. Itʼs Substance by New Order.

This disc sounds very different from my Invisible Touch compact disc. Itʼs very crisp and thumpy. I wonder if itʼs because New Order plays electronic instruments, instead of analog instruments like Genesis, and the player is electronic instead of analog.

The compact disc box came with a leaflet inside:

The compact disc digital audio system offers the best possible sound reproduction—on a small, convenient disc. Its remarkable performance is the result of a unique combination of digital storage and laser optics. For best results, you should apply the same care in storing and handling the compact disc as you would with conventional records. No cleaning is necessary if the compact disc is always held by its edges and replaced in its case directly after playing. If the compact disc becomes soiled by fingerprints, dust or dirt, it can be wiped (always in a straight line, from center to edge) with a clean and lint free soft, dry cloth. Never use a solvent or abrasive cleaner to clean the disc. If you follow these suggestions, the compact disc will provide a lifetime of listening enjoyment.

That seems like a lot of work for something thatʼs supposed to be better than tapes.

My uncle Joe says itʼs not better, though. He works for Panasonic and is working on a Digital Audio Tape, which is like a regular cassette tape, but smaller; and you can fast forward and rewind like a compact disc. He says itʼs also more durable than a compact disc. He says that if you get a compact disc scratched, even a tiny bit, itʼs ruined forever, and you canʼt just record over it like you can with his Digital Audio Tape.

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Monday, March 9th, 1987 Alive 5,795 days

My new LASER music machine is good, but maybe not as good as it could be.

The music discs that it plays come in a very long cardboard box, about as long as my forearm. But flat. On the back of my Invisible Touch box it says:

The music on this compact disc was originally recorded on analog equipment. We have attempted to preserve, as closely as possible, the sound of the original recording. Because of its high resolution, however, the compact disc can reveal the limitations of the source tape.

So even though Iʼm playing my music on a LASER beam, itʼs actually the sound of a tape. Hopefully there are LASERs out there that can record music, too, so I take full advantage of my compact disc machine.

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Saturday, March 7th, 1987 Alive 5,793 days

I can hear the future.

This morning I bought a Compact Disc player at Crazy Eddie down in Wayne. Iʼve been reading about Compact Disc players in the Science Times section of the Times, and in Omni, and get this — it uses LASERs to play music!

Dad had to go down to a quarry for some stuff, and he let me come along and stop at Crazy Eddie. While he was looking at stereo receivers, I bought a Unisef portable compact disc player for $119. I also got a disc full of music: Invisible Touch by Genesis.

The machine is like a small shoebox that hangs around your neck on a flat nylon strap. Top flips up so you can put silver music discs inside. Thereʼs a liquid crystal display and a bunch of buttons on the top, too. It all looks like an oversized Star Trek tricorder.

The buttons on top are:

  • Open
  • Stop/Clear
  • Skip/Search
    ⏮ ⏭
  • Play/Pause
    ⏵ ⏸
  • Program
  • Repeat

On the left side is a switch to change the power source from batteries to power adapter, and three jacks — two for power, and one for audio line level output. Itʼs strange that thereʼs two for power. The end of the wall wart power adapter actually splits off into two different plugs, and you have to plug them both in for the machine to turn on.

The front has a headphone jack and a thumbwheel to control the volume.

And just so you donʼt forget that this machine plays music digitally, the word “digital” appears four times on the top.

The L.C.D. screen shows the song number that youʼre listening to, and it also counts how many minutes and seconds into the song you are. Thereʼs a forward button to go immediately to the next song! Itʼs so fast there isnʼt even the noise like a squashed chipmunk that my tape player makes when I fast forward to the next song. It also has a backwards button that restarts the song youʼre listening to now. The player makes chirping noises when moving from song to song. Maybe itʼs squashing crickets instead of rodents.

If you open the bottom, thereʼs a place to put ten AA batteries. I donʼt think Iʼll ever use that. Who can afford ten AA batteries? Iʼll just plug it into the wall.

Because itʼs LASERs making the music, the quality is supposed to be as good as can be. It sounds different from my Invisible Touch tape, but I canʼt really say how. Thereʼs no hiss between songs, I noticed that. But the music, itself, sounds different, too. More ringy. More hissy, but not tape hiss. A different kind. And there seems to be a lot more instruments than on the tape.

The Times says this is the future of music. Now I just have to find more music discs.

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Saturday, January 3rd, 1987 Alive 5,730 days

When the song youʼre humming is not the same song thatʼs playing on the radio, itʼs time to change the station.

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