Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Artist Review: K2 Groove

I decided it would be fun to review a few of the stupid workout albums that I've picked up, so I dug in my queue box and pulled out three of them (one being a double album). I quickly realized that all these were done by the band "K2 Groove". Since these guys are the masters of workout music, I have to wonder if they're all thin and buff. Anyway, if you came here to lose weight, I'm gonna make you sweat your balls off with the Classical Gas Emissions intense workout blog entry! Remember to consult your doctor before reading this blog entry... or any of my other blog entries. I seem to attract the real nut bars by writing these things. Anyway, Let's get to the albums...

Cardio Workout: High Energy Music for Aerobics

The "Reflections" record label is proud to present this collection of "Energy Boost Fitness Music"! The woman on the cover is carrying a cassette walkman. I had much difficulty trying to fit this CD into my walkman, so I came to the conclusion that my walkman was faulty and threw it away.

I love how they cram the 8 minute "American Pie" into 3:12 (It's probably the Madonna version, but fuck Madonna for trying to cover that one). However, I must say that their cover of Cher's "Believe" is better because it doesn't have all that auto tune bullshit in it. Even though these are "energized" remakes, the song choices were actually very suitable for "energizing". The performances from Kathy Stradas and Katherine Filippeos (who make up K2 Groove) are decent. Although there's no copyright year on this thing, it sounds like it came out around the year 2000.

According to the CDDB (yes, someone bothered to put it in there), this is the second volume of a 2-disc set. Perhaps it was packaged with another K2 Groove album at one point.

This album was apparently endorsed by Debra Basch. She reportedly suffered a major concussion weeks before from dropping two dumbbells on her head.

Anyway, enjoy the non-Auto-Tuned version of Cher's "Believe". It will give you a good reason to throw away the Cher version.

Listen to Believe!

Cardio Mix 80s

After the huge success of "Cardio Workout", K2 Groove told the Reflections record label to go fuck themselves and moved over to the Somerset label. I've never heard of the "Somerset" record label, but they must have enjoyed pouring all their money into the foil-covered CD case with the emossed exercise bike on the cover. Before we get started, here's some excercise tips courtesy of Somerset:

You get your favourite hits of the 1980s except for "Come Undone" by Duran Duran which originally came out in 1993. But who's going to criticize "Reflections" for fucking that one up? For those who were expecting these songs to sound identical to the original artists, you're going to scream like a little girl who saw her dad's penis for the first time because you're getting energized versions of these songs again! Time to pump your pelvis and get your flab in motion!

The singing talent is decent here yet again, but they could have chosen better songs to energize as opposed to ballads such as Cinderella's "Don't Know What You've Got (Till It's Gone), Spandau Ballet's "True", and Poison's "Every Rose Has It's Thorn".

Listen to True!

Fitness Mix: Pumped Up Disco Grooves

K2 Groove stayed with the Somerset label and put out this two disc piece of cow shit. This is for those of you who need a LONG-ASS workout. This is the worst of the lot. All your favourite disco tunes such as "Funkytown", "Macarthur Park" and "Love Will Keep Us Together" are ruined, and you'll cry from the pain in your ears before you cry from the pain in your freshly worked-out thighs.

Both of these discs apparently have 24 bit mastering, so you get these shitty renditions in crystal clear quality!

Born To Be Alive (originally by Patrick Hernandez) has it's magnificently improvised singing and wrong lyrics. It also lacks the dude with the really cool low voice which is a cause for musical suicide.

The song "Good Times" (originally by Chic) has been butchered beyond recognition. The thing that makes the original song magnificent is the cool bass line that was sampled in "Rapper's Delight" and about 130 other songs. However, they attempt to redeem themselves by playing the bass line on some fucking Casio piece of shit. This totally ruined my work out and sent me off to the kitchen for the kettle-cooked potato chips.

Listen to Born To Be Alive!
Listen to Good Times!

So, did you have a good workout? Great! Now wipe the sweat off your balls and send $29.95 for your free tote bag to carry all your stinky workout clothes! Quantities dependent on when I shop at Walmart and get a plastic bag to carry the stuff I bought.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Best of the Worst Muppet Impersonators

You know you've reached the lowest point in your musical career when you're impersonating a Muppet chicken singing "Baby Face". Yes, it's on this album along with a bunch of other horrible Muppet violations. Kermit sounds like he's had a few penises shoved into his hand-hole, and Fozzie is at high risk for getting throat cancer from all the cigarettes he's been smoking.

As a foolish child, I bought this cassette thinking it was the real Muppet songs. Little did I know, Madacy Inc. was just robbing me of the money I begged my dad for to buy this piece of shit. I should have known better judging from the artwork. Fozzie looks like a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome. Kermit has a scar from the re-constructive surgery done on his face. Miss Piggy looks okay though.

When I brought this tape home and played it, I knew something was wrong with it from the sound quality of the first track (Mah-Na Mah-Na) and it became more apparent on the second track (Ten Cookies). Cookie monster sounded like he had been drinking with my dad.

After doing some internet research, I discovered this album is actually a compilation of two other albums: Animal House Sings and Plays Hits from The Muppet Movie and Sesame Street and Irwin Sings Sesame Street Hits. Both of these albums were originally done by Peter Pan records. I have a downloaded copy of the Animal House album sitting on my hard drive. The thing that makes this particular cassette unique is the fact that all the applause on the Animal House album is NOT included on these recordings.

As for Madacy Inc, I fucking hate them at the best of times because their compilations generally suck Muppet balls. Besides the atrocious tinny and distorted sound quality, there is some very noticeable crosstalk from the opposite side of the cassette. This is usually a problem I only hear on 8-track tapes. The crosstalk is likely an indicator that Madacy's cassette duplication machine had very badly worn out heads, probably resulting from the cheap and abrasive tape stock they used. You know what 1-ply toilet paper feels like on your ass? That's exactly how my tape deck felt while playing this tape.

What puzzles me is that Madacy thought it was a good idea to release these shitty disco renditions in the mid-80s when disco was that woman you were ashamed to wake up next to after a hard night of drinking. They're really awful not just because they're disco songs, but because you have someone impersonating the woman you woke up next to!

Here's a few selected songs along with the album download. Mah-Na Mah-Na has been extended to four fucking minutes of laughable horribleness.

Years ago (on this blog) I matched up this crappy version of "Movin' Right Along" with the original video and created hilarious greatness, but Youtube mangled it and when I went to restore it, I realized that I accidentally deleted it off my hard drive. The world shall never recover from this loss. Regardless, I'm letting you have the song for your sick enjoyment because you're all a bunch of nostalgic bastards.

Listen to Mah-Na Mah-Na
Listen to Movin' Right Along

Download the whole thing!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Wedding Tips From The Experienced!

Wedding season is upon us! Since I don't want your wedding and marriage to suck ass, I'm going to provide you with some great advice based on some of the materials sitting in my queue. So put down those wedding invitations, hang up on the guy who's booking your wedding reception, and listen up! You're going to get the input of some seasoned professionals here, so I'm going to need your undivided and full attention! Let's get started...

A Day Filled With Love - Crystal & Cary Brosch - October 5, 2002

I bought this CD at the thrift store for 2 bucks. I generally pass by people's wedding mix favour CDs, but this one had a bit of a twist to it. It contained a slideshow of Crystal and Cary through the years! How exciting!

At first glance of the track listing, you're probably saying to yourself, "These songs blow cookie dough!" Yes, most of these songs are fucking terrible, but don't knock them just yet. How do you know these songs aren't going to cement the foundation of your marriage and prove to be the greatest bedroom mix CD for an evening of passionate penile penetration? Try saying that twelve times fast.

Here's the contents of the "readme" file that came with the CD...

Honoured Guests:
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for sharing in our special day.  We have composed this CD for you which entales some of our favorite love songs together with a great slideshow of us when we were younger, just to give you a little taste of what cute little angels we were and still are.
To play the songs that we have chosen, open the "Music" folder or simply put it into any audio CD player (including your car stereo).  Hope you enjoy.
To view the slideshow that we have created, open the "Pictures" folder and look for the "CrysCary.exe" file.  Double click on that and the slideshow will start. Select 3 seconds for the interval time, uncheck auto loop and check the effects box.
Thanks again for coming. Hope you have enjoyed yourself and this CD.
Cary and Crystal Brosch

I decided against the idea of putting up a video of the slideshow, and instead included the most interesting pictures that were on it. So here are the "cute angels" in all their glory...

So now you may ask, how are they doing 14 years later? I'm happy to say that they're still together!



I told you not to knock their shitty taste in music!

Our Wedding Record, As recorded by Jack Pearce

I absolutely love finding acetates. You never know what's going to be recorded on them. I found this one at a record sale for 3 bucks. James and Sharon Walker were married on July 27, 1968. I've never seen a wedding recorded onto a record before, but I suppose it was a big deal back then since nobody had a VCR to watch their wedding over and over and over and over and over again. I can't help but wonder how much this service cost them.

Judging from the recording, it seems that it was recorded onto a reel to reel tape first, and then compiled for the record. Most people back then didn't have reel to reel machines nor 8-track players, so a record was probably the most ideal way to go.

Whoever stored this record did an extremely shitty job. This particular brand of record was (to my knowledge) made by Transco, and has an aluminium core. The record has a fairly significant warp in it. To get aluminium to warp like this takes a real talent for stupidity and neglect. I would've tried to remove the warp with a hammer, but I figured that might have been a bad idea.

I've uploaded the entire recording, but it's a fairly boring listen. If you've been to at least one traditional religious wedding, then you're in for no surprises here. This is exactly why I don't upload the wedding videos I find. A wedding record however is a rare treat.

Listen to James & Sharon's Wedding!

For Daily Living #5: You and Your Love Life

Yes! Now we're into the real meat of your love life. Pay attention you brides and grooms to be! I've touched on one of these records before (the one on how to talk to your kids about sex) and I own about 14 different volumes in this series. I've been trying to figure out whether to stick them in as I see fit, or to do an entire entry on these. They're all interesting in their own special fucked up kind of way.

On this one, we get to find out how husbands are horrible people and how wives are horrible people. The flip side is a drama about a husband who's too busy making money to fuck his wife. There is no happy ending to this story. Her ticking biological clock eventually explodes, and the world becomes a more miserable, splattered-uterus covered place. You'll enjoy it!

I must give kudos to the organ player for their continuous marathon of depressing background music. He or she deserves a trophy.

Listen to The Ten Worst Faults of Wives & Husbands
Listen to My Lap Is Empty

So to summarize, here's what we've learned:

What Wives Do Wrong

- Being a lazy slob
- Being a nagging bitch
- Crying and whining
- Temper tantrums and cursing like fuck
- Being dominant
- Spending too much money on useless shit
- Being Jealous
- Not wanting to fuck
- Never being home

What Husbands Do Wrong

- Not spending time with his family
- Continued sucking on his mom's sagging breasts
- Using his wife as a cum dumpster
- Drinking and gambling
- Jealousy
- Not Telling his wife he loves her

Now that you've come to the end of this blog entry, you're now ready to tie the knot, fuck like rabbits, and have 20 children. Then both of you will get old, piss in your adult diapers, and tell each other "I love you and all your sexy ways."

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Video Review: WWJD: The Fruits of the Spirit

Sometimes I really have no clue what I'm getting when I purchase something. Sometimes I'll pass an item up at risk of it being extremely boring or very mediocre. But after nearly a decade of seeking out all this junk, I'd like to think I have a pretty good radar for things that will bring tears of joy and laughter to my black heart. This video hit my senses in all the right spots.

Judging from the cover, it looked like a lame religious play put on by a bunch of pre-teens. The back of the DVD kept my interest going...

When I opened the case, I noticed that the DVD was burned which is usually an indication that it was made by an amateur.

I put the DVD into the player and noticed that there were two version of the play. I opted for the first version and was bored out of my skull, watching a bunch of kids talk about Jesus in front of a green background. When I went back and tried version two, The green screen had been put to full use! This is the worst fucking green screening I've ever seen in my life.

The video is mainly about a little bitch who... well... acts like a little bitch. She treats everybody like shit, and then kills somebody with her car.

The story becomes difficult to follow when the little bitch (Alexa) turns from a skinny white girl into a chubby asian girl. Then she turns into a short red head. Then I lose track of what's going on because the Alexa character is constantly replaced by other "actors". The only way to tell Alexa apart from everyone else is by the stupid white hat she wears - with the exception of the car accident scene. Jesus should have preached about consistency in the bible which would have made this video the work of the devil.

Speaking of the car accident scene, I have NEVER IN MY LIFE seen such shitty camera work, editing, and acting all mixed into one video. It is by far the most magnificent scene on this DVD. I've chopped it out for your extreme enjoyment:

There are absolutely no words to describe that. None. And who goes places in their friend's car wearing only purple socks on their feet? Where the fuck are her shoes???? There's a world full of dog shit and bubble gum out there!

If you feel so inclined to watch the entire video, it's here to bring you all kinds of happiness:

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Restoring a Kaypro II Computer

At long last, you're getting something new! This has been part of the reason for my absence since it's gobbled up so much of my time. Here's the story of how I acquired this magnificent computer...

I had been keeping an eye on Kijiji to purchase a TRS-80 Model III. Ever since I'd seen pictures of them as a young boy, I made it my goal to own one. I had NEVER seen one in real life until someone posted one for sale on Kijiji for $100. I didn't hesitate to contact the guy to buy the computer. I noticed he had placed another ad for the Kaypro which was also $100. Honestly, I wasn't interested in the Kaypro since it ran CP/M as an operating system, had no graphical capabilities, limited software, and no ability to add a hard drive.

The computer was located in Altona, Manitoba. I had purchased vintage computer stuff from their thrift store on one of the Junq Tours. I'm now convinced that Altona is the captital of vintage computers, at least in Manitoba. The guy was absolutely pleased to see how excited I was at purchasing the TRS-80. He decided to also offer up the Kaypro for $50 more. I looked over the Kaypro and saw that the keyboard connector was broken and one of the drive doors was missing. I continued to show little interest in the Kaypro. I was too busy drooling over the TRS-80 as I should have, since this was my first time seeing one in real life.

As I was ready to leave, he ended up throwing in the Kaypro for absolutely nothing. Since he threw it in as a bonus, I happily took it off his hands and figured it would sit around doing nothing for a few years.

I did a lot of work on the TRS-80 both last Winter and this Winter. All my work came to a bit of a halt when I threw one of the floppy drives out of alignment by trying to read a floppy formatted for a different TRS-80 operating system. I now had the much bigger task of re-aligning the floppy drive and decided to put the whole computer away to alleviate my frustration. I ended up doing some work on restoring an Amiga 2000 computer which is also currently at a halt, because I'm waiting for a local guy to sell me some add-on cards to beef it up.

So out comes the Kaypro to keep me entertained for the Winter...

There were two immediate things that needed to be repaired on this computer which were the broken keyboard port and the missing floppy drive door.

To remedy the floppy drive door, I reached out to this guy who works on a lot of TRS-80 computers. The TRS-80 Model III and the Kaypro both use Tandon floppy drives, and he had a collection of parts scavenged from unrepairable drives. He charged me a good price, and the parts happily arrived from Australia. I successfully repaired the floppy drive.

The keyboard port was a little more difficult to deal with. It uses the same type of connector as an old telephone handset. Mountable or adaptable parts were NOT available on Ebay, so I had to wait until I came across an old telephone I could scrounge one from. I ended up finding one for free while scavenging at the e-waste recycler.

I took the phone apart, removed the components surrounding the desired connector, cut out some of the surrounding board with a dremel tool, drilled some holes, mounted a couple of standoffs, cut some of the traces, soldered the board to the keyboard connector, and mounted it onto the keyboard. It works great!

During the course of my repairs, the Kaypro suddenly failed to turn on. Since the fuse was good, I opened it up to investigate what was going on. I found a connector on the power supply board to be the culprit... One of the connector shell pins was displaced. I merely slid and clicked it back into place, and the computer turned on without a problem. I can't help but wonder how that came to be? Did it come brand new like that? Was someone poking around inside before me? I'll never know.

While I had the cover off, I cleaned the brightness potentiometer with some contact cleaner.

With everything in working order, it was now time to make some floppies and see if the machine would actually boot. The system disks for the Kaypro were fairly easy to find on the internet. It's a bundle of ten floppies that contain a copy of CP/M, some word processors, spreadsheets, and some other useless software (at least by my standards)

All that is needed to make the floppies is an old MS-DOS PC with a 360K floppy drive running Imagedisk. I've converted Agnes's old computer into a vintage floppy-making workhorse. Getting the software onto these disks required me to do things in this order:

1) Download the Kaypro software from the internet and put it on my file server
2) Copy the Kaypro software onto my Hacktop (old IBM Thinkpad running Windows ME)
3) Transfer the software via serial port (4800 Baud) to Agnes's old PC-XT
4) Extract the software and put it on 5 1/4" floppies using Imagedisk
5) Put disk in Kaypro, and turn it on!

Booting into CP/M was a complete success! Time to play, right? WRONG.

While I was playing with the Kaypro, the "A" key on the keyboard started failing miserably. I figured it was no big deal. While working on the TRS-80, I had to desolder each key switch, open every single one up, and clean it with isopropyl alcohol which was a 3 hour job. I figured it would be an identical job. Boy, was I wrong!

The keyboard on the Kaypro consists of spring-loaded plastic shells, each containing a plastic disc, a piece of foam, and a foil-like disk sandwiched together which makes contact with a printed circuit board. I looked at the letter A key, and the foil was flush with the plastic shell. After looking over the entire keyboard, I realized that all the foam was deteriorating in an identical way to how the foam pads in 8-track tapes deteriorate. It all turns into a gummy, lifeless mess.

I've replaced the pads in 8-track tapes before, so this was going to be the same job multiplied by 88. I had a long, slow journey ahead of me.

I bought myself some 1/4" open-cell weatherstripping from Rona. My original plan was to find a hole punch the same size as the pads, assemble a huge strip of foam/foil, and just punch them out. After visiting a couple of craft stores, I realized I was not going to find a hole puncher the correct size.

One by one, I popped each pad out with a dental pick. The plastic discs hold the rest of the "sandwich" into the key shells by four plastic clips. Pulling lightly on them with a dental pick will pop them out without damaging anything.

For the next step, I scraped the goop off the plastic and foil pads, put the plastic pads on the sticky side of the foam, then glued the foil onto the dry side of the foam. It wasn't fun.

I did one row at a time over several weeks when I had a couple of hours to kill. I put the sticky side on the plastic pad and the glue on the foil pad. I did it this way because I didn't want anything leftover from the sticky side to stick to the circuit board. I didn't mind glueing the foil pads because I figured those would be easily replaceable should I need to rip them apart again.

After this long labour-intensive job, I had a *mostly* working keyboard with the exception of about 5 keys. I cleaned off the circuit board with a soft white pencil eraser, and then cleaned each of the foil pads with isopropyl alcohol. This mildly improved things, but I still had some unhappy keys. After trying to get the five or so keys to work reliably, I gave up and just swapped the unhappy foam inserts with ones from the number pad. I never use the number pads on any computer keyboard.

I now had the main part of the keyboard fully functional! I can do stuff! Yay!

There's a few things I'd like to improve on with my new toy. First of all, I would love to find a textbook on CP/M. Some of the really basic commands translate from MS-DOS so I can at least somewhat get around the OS, but there's some really horrible things about it that leave me scratching my head. A textbook would be great help, but unfortunately Ebay is NOT a great help for finding one at a good price. For now, I'll have to make do with downloaded manuals.

Second, I want more software. There are a few games available for the Kaypro, but I'd be just as happy with programs running in BASIC, and there's plenty of program listings available on the internet which would require minor modification for functionality. I can do that.

Third, I need communication software. I don't want to be pulling out Agnes's computer every time I want to put new software onto the Kaypro. If I can get a good Comm program, I can connect the Kaypro directly to the Hacktop and eliminate the middle man.

But there you have it! A pretty much fully functioning Kaypro! I can't wait to lug this thing into Starbucks! I may eventually try re-doing the dead keys on the number pad, but I really don't care at this point in time.

In case you're wondering, yes I'll be doing entries on the Amiga 2000 and the TRS-80 Model III once I get them up and running to my satisfaction. Both have been extremely challenging, and I've been taking many pictures along the way.