Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cheap Imitation Muppet Album

Way back when I was around 7 or 8 years old, I bought a bargain bin cassette at K-Mart full of songs that the Muppets performed. ...except the songs on this cassette weren't performed by the Muppets. Rather, they were performed by a bunch of people making feeble attempts at trying to sound like the Muppets. The album cover had a crude drawing of Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Fozzy.

Unfortunately, I no longer have that cassette. I have no clue what happened to it. However, I found the original album the songs were taken from, titled "Animal House Sings and Plays The Muppet Show Theme and other Hit Songs from the Muppet Movie & Sesame Street Show!" Again, why do these cheap imitation albums have to have such long-ass album titles? The bonus with the original version is it has something my copy didn't: Dialogue between the songs, spoken by what sounds like a gay Kermit.

Anyway, I took the song "Movin' Right Along" and sync'ed it to the video from the Muppet Movie, because I was bored. Funny how well everything sync'ed up, with some minor exceptions where I had to cut and insert some footage.

If you'd like to download the whole album, you can get it from the Way Out Junk blog HERE

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Candid Pic 08/12/23

I'm guessing "Wash Me" just isn't funny anymore... says "If You Can Read This, You Must Need My Proctologist"

Monday, December 22, 2008

Scruff Connors phones Dildo, Newfoundland

Back in the mid-1990s when I was a supple young teenager, the station I listened to (Power 97.5 FM Winnipeg) got a new morning man named Scruff Connors. The guy was freakin' hilarious and gave me reason to wake up in the morning and hit record on my reel to reel machine to catch his entire morning show. If you're wondering why I used a reel to reel machine, it's because it could record non-stop for four hours, and there was no other technology at the time that could complete such a task.

After I got home from school, I'd go through the recording and pick the best parts which I'd archive onto cassette. This resulted in a mass collection of hilarious shit that has brought me laughter ever since Scruff was replaced by two unfunny and irritating idiots known as BJ and Hal. Shortly after, I switched stations where I began listening to two boring morning men. Nothing ever since has held a candle to Scruff Connors.

Here is one of the golden moments on the radio show where he chats with an operator about opening up a business in Dildo, Newfoundland.

I tried putting this on Putfile, but it woudn't upload properly no matter how many times I re-encoded it and re-uploaded it. So, wasted a bunch of bandwidth and drive space, and made a video.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Christmas Gift from Henrietta & Merna

It's that time again, time for me to write a Christmas entry (or two if I have time). You may remember last year when I brought you highlights from the album "Shit Yule" which of course brought joy and suffering to the ears of many. Well, not much has changed this year... This time around, I'm bringing you another video from my collection of Public Access TV shows. Not sure what this show was called, but a very zealous, enthusiastic Christian lady is wishing all her viewers a Merry Christmas, and is helping us celebrate the birth of Jesus by having Henrietta and Merna sing "Go Tell It On The Mountain". I'm sure Jesus has forgiven these two for causing many to change the channel in search of a non-Christian TV program solely to have their ears relieved of such torture. After all, Jesus understands what torture is like. Update Dec 22/08: Ever since I posted this video just over a week ago, it has spread around the internet like a contageous venerial flu and has recieved some nice youtube honors. Here's a handful of my favorite comments posted on various sites & blogs: Borstalboy: Now THIS is the kind of Christmastime enthusiasm I expect from the Bible belt! You GO, girls! PalJoey: I may convert. But to WHAT? Reginald Tresilian: They found Jesus--and are obviously bitter about it. anthony: damn that bass has some FUNK Kidcobra: Most of all though, I'm loving that bitch on the far right. Merna, is it? Though she clearly looks like she's having the time of her life, I sense she would much, MUCH rather be downing whiskey chasers at a frat thedarkbackward: The hot little minx on the right would look great chained to a radiator. Update Dec 28/08 Here's a fun happy remix from Calpernia:

By popular demand, here's a couple of updated pictures of Merna:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

In The Pines... Another PC Full of Goodies!

Here's another rescued computer that was chock full of goodies. The thing was loaded with spyware, and I also found the loveletter worm on it. For those of you who don't remember, the loveletter worm swept across the world on May 4, 2000. I remember quite well how it showed up in my inbox at work, and I excitingly clicked on it to read what the funny content would be. Needless to say, the computer crashed and wiped out any .jpg files I had stored on my machine, which is exactly what it did to many of the .jpg files on this machine. Too bad.

But, there's still plenty of good stuff to be found. Imagine my reaction when the login screen popped up:


You can't see it in the screenshots, but it had a Jesus Fish for a mouse pointer, generously provided by a piece of spyware.

It really amazes me how people can just dump their computers when they contain some very sensitive information; sensitive enough that it could lead to identity fraud. Take a look:

So, I'm going to do these people a favor and wipe out this sensitive information from the computer. Of course, there's a small price to pay for such a service. The remainder of the data is going to be posted in a new blog titled...


It may take me a while to compile each post, as pictures, MSN chats, and Word documents were scattered all over the place. But, I hope you enjoy reading into the dramatic life of this teenager.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bastard Mickey

Today, I bought the ugliest fucking Mickey Mouse I've ever seen in my life...

I mean, just look at it. Perhaps it represents Mickey Mouse at age 70. He's wearing an old man yellow bowtie, he's got wrinkles, he's hunch-backed, and he's so goddam fat that his overalls won't stay up, giving him an effortless plumber's crack. I considered putting a thong on him, but the chances of finding a thong that small are pretty slim.

If Bastard Mickey were a real mouse, his mother would've eaten him at birth.

This toy is obviously a knock-off, and I can't find a tag anywhere on it to identify who actually manufactured it. I'm guessing he was made by a bunch of kids working in a sweathouse in China, and brought in some big Yen for those who managed to escape the evil Disney lawyers.

Genuine Disney Mickey (left); Bastard Mickey (right)

Even though Bastard Mickey is fat and ugly, I actually do like him. I generally don't like anything made nor promoted by Disney, and Bastard Mickey served his purpose of taking money away from the company. Someone paid money for him from some cheapy store for five bucks, and that's five bucks that Disney never got! They're now going to be five bucks short when trying to come up with the budget for Pirates of the Caribbean IV.

....yeah, I know I'm dreaming, but sometimes it's fun to dream. But Bastard Mickey represents something that Disney's against, and that's good enough for him to win me over! God bless Bastard Mickey.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

78 RPM Goodness

When I think about 78 RPM records, I generally think about what kind of music is on them. It's usually big band stuff that 90 year old women listen to. I'm generally not fond of things like "Harry Palms and his Orchestra play The Sweaty Balls Waltz." When I browse thrift stores, I usually ignore the 78s as a general rule since there's usually nothing of interest.

I had a whole box of these things given to me. Most of the records suck, but the most interesting items in the box were paper bags that people used to carry home their brand new records. Check them out:

Winnipeg Piano Company - Paper Bag circa 1950

National Radex (419 Portage Ave, Winnipeg) Paper Bag circa 1950

Last summer I finally found a nifty little record player to play my 78s. The stylus was destroyed, but believe it or not, I had a spare in my collection of junk which has been sitting around for about 15 years in case I ever needed it.

I quickly got bored listening to the box of 78s, and started skipping anything that had any of the following in the title: "...and his Orchestra", "Bing Crosby", and "Ella Fitzgerald". Oh yeah, and any comedy records. While they may have been funny in 1950, they're quite bland by today's standards.

Yesterday, I actually took a browse through the pile of 78s in the thrift store. They were all put into home made record folders. At first I was finding the same old shit. But I came across a couple of records that were finally worthy of putting on my record player. Here's one of them, oddly classified under the genre "Fox Trot":

If you want to hear the A-side (yes, you read that right), someone else already put it up on Youtube. The other record I found was The Platters' "Twilight Time", with a rockin' B-side called "Out Of My Mind".

Record companies generally quit manufacturing 78 RPM records around 1958 which explains why it's tough to find good music on them. A few countries manufactured them until the mid-1960s, but prepare to pay a small fortune for them on ebay.

I can guarantee you that I'll be picking up more 50's Rock n Roll 78s and ditching all the boring Big Band Numbers and Waltzes from my collection ....and the 5 copies of Bing Crosby's "White Christmas".

Monday, November 24, 2008

Found: Grocery List (08-11-23)

Found this grocery list while shopping...

Now, I've been shopping at Superstore for years, and I have NEVER seen shelves stocked with "Goose".

Check out the lipstick stain at the top :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Answering Machine Tape: July 2001

I Finally finished making the video for this answering machine tape. Here's the story behind it...

On June 24th, 2001, my fiance of almost 4 years decided that she needed to move on with her life. So she left me. I was pretty messed up from the whole thing, and took the week off work.

That Friday, my brother came into town. His exact words were "I know what you need... you need to get drunk and laid!" So we ventured out to the bar. We both got hammered and he ended up helping this girl named Shawna hook up with me. I went along with it mostly because I was lonely and sad.

We went out for three days. During that time, we went and watched the fireworks for Canada day. When I dropped her off that night, she had left her sweater in my truck.

On the third day, I ended up telling her that I wasn't ready for a relationship. She asked if we could still be friends, and I agreed. Now, I talk to my friends maybe once a week. Apparently, once a week wasn't enough for Shawna.

Here's the video, broken into two parts. I've included some of the outgoing messages here which will explain some of the bizarre and hilarious messages I recieved on this tape. I also edited out all the hangups, and there were plenty of them. (Guess who was hanging up.) You'll also get to follow my life for this one-month period, up to the time when I had my phone service disconnected the day before I moved.

Part One:

Part Two:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Album Review: The Hits of Elvis Presley (Vol. 1) as Performed by Bucky Dee James & The Nashville Explosion

I haven't written an album review in a while, so I figured I'd do one. I also want to start giving my albums a rating using a scale of 1 to 10 (1=shit, 10=kick ass)

Anyway, here is another offering from the Springboard label which I came across about a month or two ago. You may remember the first album I reviewed from the Springboard label, The Complete Music from the Movie Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band as Performed by Abbey Road '78. Springboard seems to be notorious for their long-ass album titles.

This time around, we have The Hits of Elvis Presley Vol. 1 as performed by Bucky Dee James and a bunch of Hoopy Drunken Yokels from Nashville. If you look at the unofficial Springboard discography, you'll see that Vol.2 does indeed exist. This is by no stretch the first Elvis tribute album in existence. Many people are aware of the "popular" Golden Ring Elvis tribute albums that likely graced the K-Mart bargain bins at some point in history.

Poor Bucky and his gang aren't the stars of this album, as their band name is put into fine print on the album cover, and Elvis Presley gets all the credit. Of course, Springboard is hoping nobody reads the fine print and buys this 1977 bargain bin 8-track thinking that it's full of genuine Elvis tunes.

The album is around 15 minutes long, since Elvis didn't bother writing songs much longer than two minutes, and Springboard milked the consumer by releasing a 30 minute collection of Elvis songs as two seperate volumes. Here's what we get in Volume one:

- Heartbreak Hotel
- Love Me Tender
- Blue Suede Shoes
- Don't Be Cruel
- Hound Dog
- All Shook Up
- Teddy Bear
- Jailhouse Rock
- Stuck On You

I must say that Bucky and his Nashville Explosion perform the songs quite well... I mean well enough for a crappy Elvis impersonator and a bunch of studio musicians. The vibrato in Bucky's voice on "Love Me Tender" sounds like it was created electronically. If I warbled like that, I would take myself in for repair. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN.

I give the album a rating of 4/10

Here's where it lost points:

- The shitty performance of "Love Me Tender"
- Bucky's name in fine print (1/2 point)
- Boring album cover (1/2 point)
- It's not real Elvis
- Bucky tries too hard to sound like Elvis
- It's only 15 minutes long
- Incorrect lyrics sung in "Don't Be Cruel"

Other than that, it's the best not-Elvis collection that ever graced the earth. Okay, so I lied... The Golden Ring series is probably the best not-Elvis collection that ever graced the earth and Bucky's album, in comparison, is a piece of shit.

Believe it or not, Bucky also released another album on Springboard where he does nothing but Glen Campbell impressions. If I ever come across it, you bet I'll be writing about it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Minor Update

Here's a minor update, just to let you know that I haven't died or anything. I'm working on a new video that I should be posting in this blog sometime this month (hopefully). It's a video to go along with an answering machine tape that I have from 2001. It's freakin' hilarious! I'm doing the video in Linux using Alpha software, so I'm hoping that it works. I've almost entirely given up on Windows, as it crashes too much and too frequently. The alpha video software crashes too, but at least I don't have to reboot my computer to get it started again.

Second, I got a new job that will probably allow me to take more candid pics! You'll likely see a nice steady flow of them starting in about a month or two.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Memories of Prarie Public Television

Sticker on the side of a TV someone gave me

I was going through some junk in the garage and came across a box of stuff rescued from my parents' house fire. In it was a video tape from the late 1980s that I recorded stuff on. I was hoping to have found at least one episode of "Do It For Yourself" with Mary Bellows. You may remember her as the lady who fixed (or broke) stuff around the house and kept treats in her tool belt for her dog, Zeke. Unfortunately, this video tape contained nothing of that sort.

However, it did contain some stuff recorded from Prarie Public Television. So I uploaded 3 videos to youtube.

First, here's Mr. Rogers singing about scary mad wishes! Pause the video where he says "I'M GLAD!" and you'll see the monster within him.

Second, remember how you'd be watching your favorite show on Prarie Public Television and it would get interrupted at like 4:05pm and you'd end up sitting through a Pledge-A-Thon until 4:25, effectively missing your entire show except for the opening and closing credits? Instead, you were hounded by a balding vision-impared man and some idiot in a big purple costume to bug your parents to send a pledge for a shitty "Big Bird's Buddies" magnet.

Here's a clip from such a pledge-a-thon:

And now, here's a flash-in-the-pan kids show called Zoobilee Zoo. Whazzat Kangaroo was hot, and this show likely explains why I love women who wear pink:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Company BBQ Email

Over the course of the summer, the company I work for is holding barbecue lunch events to celebrate summer. The company provides the meat, we provide all the other shit. Participation is MANDATORY. So I'm forced to invest money into a barbecue I don't want to participate in. Sounds fair.

Anyway, the September barbecue got postponed until this Friday. Even though summer's long gone by now and the trees are almost bare, we're still celebrating. Anyway, I took the initiative to organize this stupid thing because the company left it up to us to figure it all out.

Two people are not participating because, well, they're out at a site that day. One person might buy a pie from Costco and bring that. The rest of us have to bring salad n' shit.

Now, I don't get to send out corporate emails very often, but I decided to have fun with this one, as I knew I wouldn't offend anybody in our group. Here's the email (BTW, Truc is the only guy without a computer):

...and in case you were wondering, burgers got 3 out of the 4 votes (Truc didn't have a #2 pencil)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Apple Hacking

I recently saved another lot of computers from the big bad computer 'recycling' depot. As you may recall, they just take whatever they want out of the computers and then toss them in the dumpster.

Anyway, I got an Apple Power PC in this lot. When I got it home, I noticed that some of it was missing. Instead of a motherboard, the previous owner stuffed in a little note:

Unfortunately, they left the hard drive inside!

Since the motherboard is gone, I have no way of browsing this hard drive on the original machine. So, I took out the hard drive (which in this case was an IDE drive) and tossed it into a PC. I fired up a Linux live CD, mounted the drive, and I'm now able to see all the goodies included on it!

So far, it doesn't look like there's anything worth taking. Oh well, one of the other PCs was quite fruitful with data, so I'll be posting some goodies off that once I'm finished with the Kacey Beach PC.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Candid Pics 08/09/26

With Halloween just around the corner, pumpkins are coming into season...

And my Toyota 4runner may have been rusty, but I never tried to patch it up like this guy did...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Old Married Couple

I picked up this microcassette recorder at a Church yard sale a couple weeks ago for $3. I was finally able to listen to the tape that was in it. Most of it is background noise and talk radio. However, there was a brief interaction of the couple who owned this tape recorder before it got donated to the church.

I'm wondering if this was somewhat recorded intentionally, since the couple seems to be talking about making a donation.

It's amazing how these two old clowns sound identical to my parents when they're yelling at each other over stupid shit.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Mini Pops

This weekend, I picked up some old video tapes from the 1980s for ten cents each. Two of them were of particular interest to me. The first was Rubik: The Amazing Cube. It was an animated series that ran for about a year in the Saturday Morning Cartoon timeslot in the mid-80s.

The second video was The Mini Pops, volume one of two that K-Tel released. Most people who grew up in the 80s will remember the Mini Pops, and perhaps due to where you lived will depend on your memories of it. Here in Canada, it was all about the music, mainly Video Killed The Radio Star and the Abba Medley.

In Europe however, it was all about the music videos that were shown on television. Us here in Canada didn't get to see the videos unless we bought the video tapes, such as the one that I found. Because the videos were not as popular as the records in Canada probably contributed to the success of the Mini Pops as opposed to their demise and controversy.

So, I have put some of the videos on Youtube: The cheesy, the classic, and the controversial (all in that order.) I may post more when I get some time.

I Love Rock n' Roll

Spin the camera! Around and around she goes, where it stops..... a bad impression of guitar playing by a pre-teen girl decked out in leather.

Video Killed The Radio Star

The one that made the song popular. After the Mini Pops success with this one, it's really a shame that they didn't make a better video for it. The TV ad for the first Mini Pops album follows the video.

Morning Train (9 to 5)

I couldn't fully grasp why the Mini Pops were so controversial in Europe until I saw this video. Now I get it, and I probably would have been mortified (as an adult) to see this on TV as well.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Trend: Modified Garfield Comics

I'm enjoying the hell out of modified Garfield comics, and I figured I'd share some with you. Clicking on the comics will take you to where they're hosted.

There's a few different types of these strips. First of all, there's the ones with the speech bubbles modified:

Ones with Garfield's speech bubbles removed:

Ones with Garfield replaced with a real cat:

Ones with Garfield removed completely:

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Pentium 75 MHz: Thoughts of a Teenager


Here's a nice computer I dragged home. It was destined for recycling as someone had dumped it off behind a computer recycling depot. The thing about this 'recycling' depot is all they do is disassemble it, take whatever they want out of the unit (usually nothing if it's too old) and throw it in the dumpster. Hardly recycling if you ask me.

Anyway, I powered it up and was delighted by a badly color-coordinated copy of Windows 3.1! Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed Windows 3.1. There really was no other interface like it, and it sat on top of my favorite Microsoft operating system: MS-DOS. (In case you're wondering, my second favorite is Windows 2000.)

From what I can gather from the documents and files on this PC, it was used by a teenager. The documents (and pictures) are really quite interesting and amusing, so I created a new blog to store them in.

The contents of this blog will be more upbeat and positive in contrast to the journals that I've previously posted.

So now, I am pleased to bring you ....
From the PC of Kacey Beach!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Corporate Laugh

Many of us have heard it... it's that boisterous, hardy, PHONY fucking bellering, piss-poor excuse for genuine laughter. It is commonly used in business settings, meetings, and wherever the hell else these guys manage to find anything remotely humourous. It's annoying as hell to every employee in the company when there's a tour going through the building.

...Luckily I had a tape recorder that day!

There was a pack of businessmen (about six of them - seven if you include my boss) touring, making that loud HAH HAH HAH HAH HAH sound which echoed throughout the whole goddam building.

If these guys like to laugh, I should have gone up to them and started telling a nice string of "why did the chicken" jokes. Maybe I'll do that after I put in my two-weeks notice.

If you've never heard the corporate laugh, CLICK HERE to listen to it in all of it's sickening glory.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Canadian Opening Exercises

I have absolutely no clue where I got this reel 2 reel tape from. It probably came in a lot of tapes that I picked up about 10 (or more) years ago when I was still actively doing my Canned Peaches project. Solely because of the obscurity of an 'official' recording of the opening exercises used in a school, I had to keep it.

Here we have, of course, O Canada. This recording is old enough to still include the Lord's Prayer, which was removed from the Opening Exercises in the mid-90s.

I don't have a clue where the third song came from. It sounds as if it were an anthem written to represent the province of Manitoba. It also may have been written by someone in the school to use as a 'school song'. I also have no clue what school this recording came from.

What's really amazing about this recording is how clean and clear it sounds (with the exception of the tape wear from repeated playings). These recordings usually sounded like shit playing over the school's PA system.

Prepare to have the memories come flooding back from when you were young and in school (unless you showed up late everyday).


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google Chrome Browser Review

In Celebration of my 100th blog post, I have resurrected this entry which was originally posted for about one hour before I took it down.


Wow, what a piece of shit. If you're thinking of running this thing on 1.2GHz PC with 256 M of RAM, running WinXP, then you'd better think about sticking with Internet Explorer 5.5. The crashes from IE are tolerable solely because Microsoft's browser runs faster on shit computers like this one I'm using at work. Chrome is a resource-hoggy browser when you've got dick all for RAM and system resources. least that's my experience with my work computer. I'll be trying it out on my 2GHz PC with 2G RAM running Windows 2000 when I get home. It'll probably rule, except for the inevitable blue screens from the OS.


Google Chrome Logo

Oh yeah, and if you think that I did this solely as a publicity stunt, you're probably right.

Coming soon to Classical Gas Emissions...
The recovery of the mysteries of a high school student's computer. That's right, more personal goodies from other people's computers! If you look at my list of Blogs, you'll see it's already been started (although entries are still in draft mode). I hope to have the first couple available for your joyful reading sometime this week.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Video: (Ex)Girlfriend Sets Stove on Fire

I haven't posted anything from my personal collection in a while, so here you go...

Me and my (then) fiance had just moved into our new apartment. She went to make some food while I was videotaping our first day there.

Anyway, she had put a brand new electric kettle on the stove. She turned on a burner to cook (which was the wrong one - the one the kettle was sitting on) and it caught fire.

This is something you normally don't catch on video, and it's priceless! My apologies for the sound, it had conked out while I was videotaping this particular segment. Anyway, enjoy the video!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Why DRM Sucks and How To Remove It From Your Music

In the past, I've heard plenty about Digital Rights Management (all negative) but I've never had the 'pleasure' of experiencing it until today. Digital Rights Management (DRM) is basically a way of protecting music files from being excessively pirated, using proprietary software to play and manage the files.

Recently, I made use (took advantage) of a free 5 song download promo. I ended up downloading two albums that I've been looking for that are no longer in print. One was Super Transatlantic's Shuttlecock album, and the other was the first album by B'ehl. You may recall me writing about their second album here. I've been trying to track down their first album without success... until today.

The Super Transatlantic album posed no problems. It plays fine in Linux and is in .mp3 format. The B'ehl album, however, is a different story. It was only available in .wma format, which means I'm required to use Windows Media Player to listen to it.

Puretracks doesn't even mention Linux, nor the Opera web browser

So anyway, I go to download the songs from puretracks. Windows is required to download the music, using their special .exe downloader to get your music. Okay, so I boot into Windows and run it. After the first set of songs download, I try playing one. Something was wrong with my copy of Windows Media Player: it immediately crashed. So, I go download the newest version I can get (Media Player 9 for Win2k - Hey, I hate XP!)

Knowing Microsoft's stupid fucking way of doing things, I tried downloading it with Internet Explorer 6. The download only half completed, and IE told me it was finished. Of course the piece of shit thing didn't run. So, I tried downloading it with Opera. Success! Go figure, Microsoft's web browsers suck.

So, the thing installs and runs. I double click on one track, and WMP starts bitching about needing a license to play the song. So, I try looking into the problem, and recieved a suggestion that I do an update to the Media Player. I try, and it's up to date. Second suggestion, update the DRM fuckware, which I did. Still nothing.

As far as the downloads were going, one file was being incredibly stubborn (it kept stalling) so I tried to re-download it. The stupid shitty puretracks download manager only lets you download what is in its queue; in other words, you have no control over what downloads and when. You simply have to do what it tells you. So, to download the stubborn file, I had to go back to their crappy website and download a new download manager with only the one song in the queue.

I was finally successful in downloading the track. I tried playing it and it magically played. Now, I had to figure out what the hell was wrong with the other 11 tracks that wouldn't play.

Simple answer: I needed to have the latest Windows Media Player installed BEFORE I downloaded the music. So now, I have to re-download ALL the songs that I've previously downloaded multiple times already.


Anyway, I FINALLY successfully downloaded all the songs, and each one is playable. Now, since I use Ubuntu as my primary operating system, I have to remove the DRM from the files and convert them to a Linux-Friendly format. Here's how to do it...

First of all, you need another computer with a sound card. Behold, my spare PC:

866MHz, 1G RAM, and it's almost never assembled. I connected a hard drive with a copy of Damn Small Linux I was using for testing purposes. It already had Audacity (music recording software) installed, so I was all set to go! Audacity is also available for Windows, and it's free. Don't use that "Sound Recorder" that comes bundled with Windows because it's a piece of junk that Microsoft hasn't updated since the Windows 3.1 days.

Next, I connected a patch cable from the LINE OUT of my computer with the WMA files on it (Source), to the LINE IN of the computer that I planned to transfer my DRM-Free music to (Destination)

I started recording on the Destination computer, loaded up all the files in the Windows Media Piece-of-shit and hit play. If you decide to take on this hideous task, you may want to do a test to make sure that your software is recording the music before you let it run for 40 minutes (or however long your tracks add up to) just to make sure everything is functioning properly. You can also split the tracks later with Audacity.

After I was all done recording and splitting the tracks, I save them as 16-bit .wav (you can save them as any format you want). I copied them all to a flash drive and moved them back to my source computer. They now play in Linux! Oh yeah, and instead of the limited 3 burns puretracks let me have with Windows Media Player, I can now burn it as many times as I want!

Click on Windows Media Player to hear the DRM-Free Music!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Found: Allysa's Cassette

After listening to stuff on the Sweet Thunder Tape Findings blog, I've been trying to find something equally as unique. I found an answering machine tape a while back, but the only interesting thing on that was the mention of someone being robbed.

Today, while browsing a thrift store, I found a children's cassette player. It wasn't the player I was interested in, but the cassette inside labelled "Allysa A. Rm 8" on it. I knew this was either going to be interesting, or it was going to be a mix tape. I pulled it out of the machine and spent the $1 on this potential treasure.

...and what a treasure it was! Side B seems to be a message of some sort to a Sunday School teacher, made up of what seems to be self-penned Christian songs. But the best part is they're sung by a child, and a child who can actually carry a tune! We've got a song called "Superman" followed by a Flintstone Theme Song parody called "Jesus Loves Me". Oh yeah, and there's the smash-hit "God Made Manitoba".

Side A is much less interesting. It's made up of the same kids repeating "Eenie Meenie Miney Moe" ad nauseum, followed by a good 15 minutes of background noise.

Click here if you'd like to listen to Side B in it's entirety!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Candid Pic 08/08/10

I keep a $20 digital camera in my truck for taking pics of odd an interesting things I see while I'm driving. Here's my first offering on this blog...

Guy sleeping on picnic table

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Garage Jukebox (v2.1)


At long last, I'm writing about my Garage PC. This is actually version 2.1. The original garage computer was a horizontal Compaq Pentium II machine running Win98, 48M of RAM, and one drive bay which held a single DVD-ROM drive. After deciding I wanted more DVD drives, I made it my goal to find a different computer with a case that had more drive bays.

The new candidate was my cousin's old computer which he gave to me as payment for installing Ubuntu on his new PC. Here's the specs on it before I opened it up and started hacking away:

- Pentium 133MHz (yes, a downgrade)
- 42M RAM
- Windows 95
- 500M Hard Drive

It had a couple of modifications that I made to it while he owned it. I put in a CD burner and an extra plug on the power supply for a second hard drive.

When I got it, I found out that the floppy controller was dead after trying to boot off a floppy, and trying about 3 floppy drives. Oh well, I didn't really need the floppy drive.

After putting a 1.7G hard drive into a PC capable of booting off CD-ROM, I installed Damn Small Linux v3.4.11 (which in my opinion is WAY better than version 4.x.) The great thing about Damn Small Linux is it searches for hardware on each boot which means you can just swap the HD into another PC and it will run fine.

Rear View and The Guts

Over time, I collected 3 DVD-ROM drives. The sound card has 3 internal audio inputs, so I'm able to play Audio CDs on each of the drives if I wish to do so. Ripping, downloading music, and modifying the MP3 tags has been the most time-consuming part. You can fit approximately 700 MP3s on a DVD-R (224kbps encoding). This would be double if dual layer discs are used.

I installed a USB 2.0 card into the computer so I could use USB flash drives with it. The card has 4 external USB ports, and one internal port. I ended up taking a USB extension cable, cutting one end off it, and soldering it onto a backplate which had two USB ports on it. I took a floppy bay cover, cut a hole in it with a dremel tool, and mounted the backplate onto it so I could plug a flash drive into the front of the computer. Not only is this useful, but it covers up the hole where the floppy drive used to be located!

For the future, I may take the USB hub that I have kicking around and mounting it inside the PC, making multiple USB ports on the front of this machine. But I probably won't be implementing that until I decide to make this computer entirely solid-state since the DVD-ROM drives start failing at around -30 degrees in our cold Canadian winters. I'll probably be moving entirely to solid state once 4G flash drives drop significantly in price. In other words, I'll probably make it 100% solid state in about two years.

Anyway, over the last month, I've been preparing to give the ol' Garage Jukebox a bit of an upgrade which I completed this week. I purchased a LaCie external CD burner at a yard sale for $1, and a Sony DVD-ROM drive (with a bad belt) for $2. I opened the external drive, took out the CD burner (made by Lite-On), and installed the DVD drive (repaired with a new belt). Believe it or not, it works great! Not sure how Windows would deal with this since it needs specific drivers to use it, but Linux is happy to make it work for me.

The old burner sitting on top of the hacked drive

Instead of turning the external drive on and off when I need it, I built a 'power bar' that connects to the switched power output on the power supply, using a plug from an old power supply and some outlets I pulled out an old UPS. Some of you may remember this plug on the power supply was used for making the power button on your PC control your monitor too.

The Home-Made Power Bar

I had some 72 pin RAM kicking around here that I am no longer using, so I jacked up the RAM from 42M to 128M. There was no noticeable performance improvement after doing this.

I wrote a couple of scripts to make drive mounting a lot easier to deal with. One click mounts all the drives and fires up the XMMS music player. One click kills XMMS, unmounts the drives, and shuts down the computer.

Desktops: Before and After

I also gave Torsmo a re-vamp (the spec display in the top right hand corner). Torsmo seems to be an older verison of Conky, since I used Conky commands to change it. I cleaned off the icons that I almost never use, and aligned them along the top. The desktop looks a lot cleaner now.

In the Garage / The Keyboard

The computer resides under my workbench in the garage. It's connected to a 19" monitor I found in the trash, and has a "Windows Certified" keyboard. For the longest time, I didn't even bother having a keyboard attached. I have a set of indoor speakers AND outdoor speakers connected. I can control which ones are on and off with a small switchbox I built. I eventually want to run internet into the garage, since it'll be easier to look up things like chip pinouts when I'm working on something.

Speaker Switchbox / Wiring Hell

Outdoor Speaker Above Window

There is a total of 2845 MP3s on this machine. Please note that these are ALL songs I enjoy listening to, and not merely rips of all my CDs with the filler included. I've also made an effort to avoid having duplicate songs, although I know there's a couple of slip-ups which I will fix when I re-organize the DVDs again.

Click here to see the entire playlist!
(You can REALLY tell which bands are my favorite)

Make way for more updates to this computer in the future!