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June 28, 2004

The aging of my musical tastes

Yet another quote from the Good Rev:

The point of being critical about music, especially if you're an amateur, is not to be "indier than thou." For cryin' out loud, I'm a 30-something pastor in the Midwest; everybody is hipper than me.
This got me thinking about how I'm a 30-something webgeek and that I'm not all that much hipper than Hasty. Sure, I can still vivisect pop culture with the best of them, but my musical and artistic tastes are starting to harden, like my arteries.

A couple of years ago, I stopped paying attention to the Billboard charts. Now, if you've known me for more than a few years, you know that I can identify song, artist, year, and highest Hot 100 chart position (within a couple places) in the same way a truck driver can rattle off every Cracker Barrel location in the US. But, one day, I just stopped looking. Part of it is that I looked at the list one day and didn't know a single song in the Top 10. Part of it is that I just don't like the overproduced soundalike hip-hop and country dominating the music scene the last five years. But, I think, the biggest reason is that I got married, turned 30, and had a kid. Songs about girls and cars just aren't germane to me anymore. (OK, they never were.) Fiona Apple has always annoyed me, but now she really, really annoys me. I mean, why won't she just grow the hell up? Alanis, for all her psychobabble, is starting to make sense, maybe because she's turned 30, too.

I'm sensing this is a pattern in our culture. It's the geezer-fication of tastes. We grow up listening to a particular kind of music, and eventually it becomes so ingrained as our soundtrack to life that anything that doesn't fit it is considered worthless. However, music, like all art, evolves, and after 30 years the popular styles have changed so much that we start considering anything new musically to be worthless. It's not our fault, it's just our conditioning. Then, partially out of sentimentality, partially out of this hatred of the new, we start listening to oldies stations, playing our college CD collection to death, and showing up at reunion concerts that cost $250 per head for the privilege to watch two guys our age play songs from generations ago.

Think of it like a cafeteria. You grab the REM tofukey with a side of U2 green beans and a Replacements baguette. The old guy in front of you frowns at you as he takes his Grateful Dead jello and puts it next to his Allman Brothers pot pie. Meanwhile, the hipster behind you shakes their head in a "you're too old for Dashboard Confessional salad" way. The kids, of course, are loading up on Wiggles ice cream. Everyone has their likes, everyone takes their likes, everyone looks down on everyone else's likes. We are, musically, a Furr's indie music geek cafeteria.

I'm a 30-something webgeek, and I'm not hip, and I'm proud to say that. The hippest I can say I am is that I downloaded the
latest Death Cab For Cutie album from iTunes. I'm not into emo-core, lounge-core, neo-punk, Modern Lovers revivalist, neo-garage, two-step, or any of these other hip new styles. The White Stripes are good, but I wouldn't build my CD collection around them. I like alt-country, and I am unashamed to say I own all of Gillian Welch's stuff. But I don't go to shows anymore, barely understand half of what's on KEXP, and don't feel any depressive connection to any of this emo stuff the kids are so into. I do all I can to expand my musical horizons even I will still fall back on my played-to-death copies of Lincoln and Reckoning.

And you know what? I'm 31.5 years old, and if you don't like what I like, you know where you can stick it, you smarmy little hipsters.

(UPDATE: I added in all the links I was too tired to drop in when I wrote this.)

Posted by dylan at 06:15 PM | Comments (3)

June 24, 2004

bug by bug, feature by feature

I knocked off another problem with Annabel's site -- I ended up moving the photos into their own blog and used a PHP include to suck the photo side bar onto the home page. (I wish I could find the site that suggested it; it makes a lot more sense than my previous method of using categories and excluding the photos from the main body. Very sloppy.)

In doing this I was able to get the Atom syndication feed for the photos working. So, now you RSS/Atom lovers can look at the photos as they come in.

I need to finish building the interior templates for the two blogs, then maybe my dear wife will write up a birth story and something about her name...?

Posted by dylan at 08:35 AM

June 20, 2004

Annabel: The Preview Edition

It's not finished (and man is it rough), but here's Annabel's website so far. The RSS feeds work right now. I even set up a photo-only feed.

Posted by dylan at 11:34 PM

June 19, 2004

Sleeping baby lie

Annabel is a freak. I put her down last night at about 11:30. I finally got to sleep at 12:45. We woke up at 8 this morning, and she was still asleep. I gave her a bottle, and she drank it... without waking up. It's now almost 9, and she's sleeping in my lap, moving through hour number nine.

She's been sleeping through the night for six weeks. That's more than half her life. We have several friends whose 6 month olds that won't sleep in more than five hour chunks. We don't talk about Annabel's sleeping patterns with them.

Posted by dylan at 08:56 AM | Comments (3)

June 16, 2004

The iPod does me well

In the spirit of Mark's shuffle-o-rama, here is what the iPod has dispensed to me today.

  1. "Such Great Heights," Postal Service
  2. "Melissa," Allman Brothers
  3. "Begin the Begin," R.E.M.
  4. "The Way It Is," Laura Cantrell
  5. "Man Out Of Time," Elvis Costello
  6. "Letterbox," TMBG
  7. "All of Me," Django Reinhardt
  8. "Fingertips (first snippet)," TMBG
  9. "It's Just That Simple," Wilco
  10. Nocturne in C Sharp Minor (Op.27 No.1), F. Chopin
  11. "Sugar On My Tongue," Talking Heads
  12. Subterranean Homesick Alien," Radiohead
  13. "Houses On The Hill," Whiskeytown
  14. "Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," Ella Fitzgerald
Sounds like a cross between what my afternoon playlist would be if I had a radio show... and the Muzak in a Williams-Sonoma. Of course, I like Williams-Sonoma, so I tolerate their faux riche 50s jazz soundtrack.

Speaking of Whiskeytown, every time I think of the title of Tara's blog "Burning Photographs" by Ryan Adams comes on in my head.

Posted by dylan at 05:57 PM | Comments (1)

June 15, 2004

CSS, or why I love/hate web design

(Caution: Techie web geek talk in this post. Non-geeks can expect to feel clueless.)

I finally had time to tweak the school's search engine knobs this past week. Mind you, this is three years after we installed the dumb thing. Then this hare-brained idea hit me that I should redesign the page so that it's tableless and fits with the rest of the scheme of the site.

That was Friday. It's now Tuesday. I'm close, but I'm still a CSS adjustment or two away from being satisfied with it. The big problem was with how Webinator creates its pages -- it puts a copyright line in the pages it generates on the first line, before any XHTML doctype declaration or html tag.

This is a problem. Why? It borks standards mode in IE6 and drops it into quirks mode. However, Gecko ignores it and stays with standards mode.

This is all fine. I can just drop it into quirks mode universally and live with it... except for the font size keyword problem. IE6/Quirks uses the old IE definition of "medium," while Gecko goes with its old definition. Same size? Abso-frigging not.

I went with ems for sizing the fonts on the search box. It's not the best solution here, but it's quick-n-dirty and doesn't require me to figure out how to undo a five year old mistake in how IE and Gecko render CSS1.

In the end, I think it looks better, and it's tableless. Is going tableless worth six hours of work over three days? I think it is. I don't know why a list of search results needs to be nested in a table.

Oh, wait, I should have used an ordered list, not divs. ARRGH.

Posted by dylan at 06:09 PM | Comments (4)

June 10, 2004

Goth-abel

134_3420.jpg134_3423.jpg

Posted by dylan at 11:47 PM

June 07, 2004

Commenting changes

Since I can moderate comments now with MT 3.0 (and mt-blacklist is currently incompatible with it), I'm establishing the following ground rules for comments on C&S.

1. If you're a spammer, your comment will never see the light of day on my site, because I won't approve your spam to appear here. Nyah.

2. If you do comment, you cannot be anonymous. Either your e-mail address or your URL better be yours, or else your comment will not be approved. Don't worry, I'm not publishing e-mail addresses on here, and I'm only selling them to companies that advertise for valid sexual aids, Canadian pharmacies, and fly-by-night mortgage lenders.

3. At some point I'll turn on TypePad. I hate TypePad and think it will be a massive failure at blocking spam -- on top of being yet another database where your personal metrics can be stored for every hacker in the world to crack and steal. Oh, and I hate registering for 50,000 different sites just to read one thing. For now, though, I'm just checking my comment bucket every two hours and approving comments.

4. This isn't censorship. OK, it is. But it's my damn site, and I can do what the hell I want.

Capiche?

Posted by dylan at 12:21 PM

June 06, 2004

Annabel at two months

134_3410.jpg

Her site is almost done. Just needs content now. If I get an hour tonight I'll post what I have.

Posted by dylan at 05:42 PM | Comments (1)

June 02, 2004

Update on Me vs. Movable Type

After some handwringing, I decided to take my beta tester discount and buy Movable Type 3.0. I've used MT for more than a year now and think it's a quality product, even with the comment spam struggles. Despite their cluelessness in the PR department, I'm giving the Trotts and Co. a flier on the licensing debacle.

However... I still haven't seen the "full" version of MT 3.0, and it has me worried. One feature I'd like is the ability to close comments after a certain number of days. Yes, I know there's a plugin that does this, but I'd like it to come integrated. I'm also suspicious of TypeKey's ability to block spam. Microsoft Passport has been abhorrently buggy and insecure, and its centralized authentication model is similiar to the model of TypeKey.

In short, I'm still hesitant, and if I don't like what the full version of MT 3.0 offers me, I'm switching to WordPress.

Speaking of which, I have one of these free copies of Expression Engine that I'm not going to use, so the first person that asks for it can have it. Sorry, it's been claimed.

Posted by dylan at 04:51 PM | Comments (11)