Monday, December 18, 2006

Music Video Thursday Super Deluxe Season Finale Monday Edition Extravaganza!

It seems like just yesterday that I uttered (well, typed) the words "I haven't missed a Thursday yet". I should have known better. 11 days and 70+ work hours later, here I am, realizing that the "crazy, crazy, crazy week" that I mentioned was merely the warm-up act, and that the main event was still to come. So, with the crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, CRAZY week behind me now, I've decided that now would be a good time for a season finale to Music Video Thursday, and give myself a break over the holidays.

Music Video Thursday began on an unassuming Thursday in June, when I stumbled across a video of a past-his-prime heavy metal icon on Jay Leno, performing a classic song in a musical style it was probably never intended for. I found it amusing, and decided that since I wasn't doing much else on this blog at the time, I might as well post it here. Within a month, I got it into my head that I should do it as a regular feature, and started the official Music Video Thursday posts.

Six months of musical mayhem and magic have passed by, and by some strange twist of fate, I've stumbled across a video of another past-his-prime heavy metal icon on Jay Leno, performing a classic song in a musical style is was probably never intended for. Ladies and gentlemen, for your holiday musical pleasure, Cowboy_K's Music Video Thursday is proud to present Dee Snider and Twisted Sister's heartwarming performance of the classic Christmas carol, "Oh Come All Ye Faithful":

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you, and watch for the season premier of Music Video Thursday in 2007!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Music Video Thursday: "Bombs"

It's been a crazy, crazy, crazy week and all I want to do is go to sleep (but that'll have to wait for another post), but I haven't missed a Thursday yet, and I'm not going to drop the ball now.

I don't really know much about Faithless or this song, but apparently MTV refused to play the video. It's very powerful, almost hard to watch, and it makes you stop and think about what is happening in the world today. My wife says that it's no wonder MTV didn't show it - the last thing they seem to want their viewers to do is think for themselves. I think she's on to something there.

Maybe next week I'll find something a little lighter.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Music Video Thursday: "Amateur"

Tonight's video is from a young Norwegian who, although he claims to not play drums or piano, manages to put together a convincing performance via some very slick video editing. Here's Lasse Gjertsen's "Amateur":

Also of interest is his earlier "Hyperactive" beat-box performance. It'll be interesting to see what else Mr. Gjertsen comes up with in the future.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

New look, same old crap

As you may have noticed, I've decided to do a bit of renovating of the ol' "Home on the Range" - there's these fancy label thingies on the sidebar and on the posts, and I'm experimenting with some different templates, so pardon the dust and watch your step.

Music Video Thursday: "19-2000"

Surprise! We're not regressing back to the 80's yet again - this is genuine 21st-century music! And these are strange days indeed, where a music group may or may not really exist - depending on how you define existence, I suppose.

Gorillaz burst on to the music scene in 2001 with their self-titled debut album. The second single, 19-2000, is a quirky little tune with a video that's got it all - stunt driving, UFO death rays, a giant moose, and explosions. How can you go wrong?

Get the cool shoeshine indeed.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Music Video Thursday: "Lovers In A Dangerous Time"

I'm feeling a little frustrated - I thought of the perfect song, and I know there's an official video for it out there somewhere, but I can't find it on YouTube, Google Video, or any of the other video sites searched by VDoogle. I may still have a copy of it on my workstation (I'm a digital packrat), but I won't be able to find it in time for tonight. Maybe next week...

But for now, the show must go on - here's the incomparable Barenaked Ladies and one of their earliest videos, "Lovers In A Dangerous Time":

See you all next week!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Music Video Thursday: "Go For Soda"

And we're going back to the 80s again - I had a heck of a time coming up with something for today's music video, but I finally found it in the form of Kim Mitchell's "Go For Soda":

The only question I have: what the heck was that guy (the guy in the video with the afro, not Kim Mitchell) supposed to be smoking anyhow? He takes a drag off it, next thing you know there's a little guy jumping out of the TV and a rock concert in the fridge. And at the end of the video, is it just me or does he sound a little... baked?

Methinks there's more than soda at work here...

UPDATE 2008-04-05: The YouTube copy of the video has been pulled, but it looks like Mr. Mitchell himself has posted it on MySpace, complete with full credits listing "Jacky Malbogat" as "Kid":

Thanks to "Anonymous" for pointing out that the original had been pulled, thanks to Kim Mitchell for being cool enough to post it himself, and thanks to Dr. Pepper for letting me go for soda right now myself.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Music Video Thursday: "Living on a Prayer"

We're in the middle of some "emergency renovations" tonight (discovered that a 25 1/2 inch geothermal heat exchange unit doesn't fit through a 25 1/4 inch doorway), so I'm not going into a lot of detail on tonight's video. Here's Bon Jovi, "Living on a Prayer":

Ahhh, the 80's - big hair, mascara, and keyboards in hard rock bands... and the hours I spent sitting at the piano, playing "Fantasy", "Jump", "Final Countdown", and "Here I Go Again", dreaming of being a rock star keyboard player. Then along came grunge, and keyboards suddenly weren't in. It's probably for the best - I shudder at the thought of me wearing leopard-print spandex.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Music Video Thursday: "Invincible"

OK Go does more than dance around on treadmills - they're also good at blowing stuff up:

The album is fantastic, by the way - I just got a copy... ummm... that is, a friend loaned me his CD. Yeah, that's it - from a friend. Ummmm... his name... Biff... yeah, Biff Torrance, that's his name, yeah...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Music Video Thursday: "We're Not Gonna Take It"

I told my wife my choice for this week's posting, and her response was "Bad day at the office, huh?" Guess she knows me pretty well...

It's cheesy 80's fun today, with Twisted Sister, the world's ugliest band (lead singer Dee Snider is quoted as saying "We should be called 'Hid' [instead of 'Glam'] because we're hideous."). Ask yourself this - "What do you wanna do with your life?!?"

"I wanna rock!"

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Music Video Thursday: "Land of Confusion", Before and After

This week, we have a double shot of music videosity for you with Before and After - one song, two renditions. If this isn't a complete disaster, this will become a semi-regular feature of Music Video Thursday. If it's not so successful... well, you'll probably still be able to find the Google cache of this post.

"Land of Confusion" was originally written and performed by Genesis on their 1986 album Invisible Touch. The single reached #4 on the U.S. charts, but it became notorious for it's video, featuring puppets from Spitting Image - including puppets of the band specially commissioned by the band for the video. The song touched on the Cold War themes of the day, and the general distrust of those in power to make a change for the better...

While Genesis claimed that their generation would put it right, that turned out to be a promise that they couldn't keep, as the song still seems relevant a decade later. In 2005, heavy metal band Disturbed included a cover of the song on their Ten Thousand Fists album, and released it as a single in July 2006. The video (animated by Todd McFarlane) shows the band's nameless mascot leading a revolt against black-suited, gas-masked, jack-booted soldiers wearing dollar-sign swastikas - an interesting commentary on the blurring lines between capitalism and fascism, perhaps? In any case, it seems that we are still living in a land of confusion...

GEEK TRIVIA BONUS: In the original Genesis video, the voice of Ronald Reagan was provided by Chris Barrie, who also spent time in front of the cameras as Arnold Rimmer in the sci-fi comedy series Red Dwarf.

BLOGGER SPELL-CHECK BONUS WORD: The spell check puked on Google - considering that Google bought Blogger over three years ago, you'd think that maybe the spell check would at least recognize the name of their corporate master...


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Music Video Thursday: "Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers"

Those crazy Scandinavians are at it again (and by "again", I'm actually referring to 2001, if you catch my transcendental chronometry). When they're not busy crashing Eurovision or being misleading about their origins, they're busy trashing apartments - musically, that is:

This short film is the product of Sweden's Kostr-film, and won a number of awards from various film festivals. Other than these basic facts, there's not a lot of information about it online - but there's a lot of people who seem to like it.

For more percussive furniture musical mayhem, check out Norway's Hurra Torpedo and their bold fashion sense.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Music Video Thursday: "White and Nerdy"

"Weird Al" Yankovic has long been a favorite of nerds - from "The Saga Begins" (Don McLean meets Star Wars Episode I), to his geeky flamewar rap "All About the Pentiums" (my favorite line: "You're just about as useless as JPEGs to Helen Keller"), to his recent satiric take on the battle between the recording industry and P2P networks "Don't Download This Song", Al has shown that he understands the inner workings of the nerd mind. But with his latest video, Al has stood up and loudly proclaimed that he is, truly, "White and Nerdy":

One of us! One of us! One of us! (as if there were any doubt !)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play Minesweeper on my Palm Pilot...

P.S. What the heck is up with Blogger? The spell checker rejected all the following words: nerds, geeky, flamewar, Pentiums, JPEGs, P2P - what kind of nerd-wannabes managed to write a spell checker, but missed words like that??? Bunch of posers...

P.P.S. ROTFLMAO! Guess what other word the spell checker rejected? Blogger!!

P.P.P.S. The spell checker accepted ROTFLMAO. (Cowboy_K walks away slowly, muttering under his breath)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Music Video Thursday: "JCB"

I lost my grandmother this past Sunday. We just got back today from Frontier, where her funeral was yesterday, and I'm exhausted emotionally and physically. So instead of my customary background and history regarding the choice for Music Video Thursday, I'm just going to point you to the Wikipedia article for "JCB" by Nizlopi, and let the video roll:

It feels like this song is what I needed today - sweet, gentle, sentimental. Next week will be fun again, I promise. :-)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Music Video Thursday: "Enter Sandman"

Ahhh, memories. Grade 11, fall of 1987, LCBI dorm, my room-mate Dave. Late nights staying up, listening to music, drinking Jolt, eating O'Ryan's "au gratin" potato chips. When Dave was choosing the music, it was almost exclusively Metallica. His side of the room was covered in Metallica posters, plus a glow-in-the-dark "Ride the Lightning" t-shirt that kept me awake at night the first week or so. And thus was my introduction to Metallica.

Metallica's first video "One", released in 1988, met with much acclaim, but "Enter Sandman" is still my favorite. And unlike last week's videos, I can guarantee that this one won't cause any nightmares. Unless you're afraid of falling. Or drowning. Or snakes. Or having your bed run over by a semi.

Dave, if you're out there, drop me a line - too long since I last heard from you, dude.

UPDATE 2009-07-30: just discovered that Dave died of cancer a week after I had posted this blog. I have no idea why I was thinking of Dave that day, but the timing was sure interesting...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

QuickLogger Plus updates (finally!)

About 6 weeks ago, I posted a little utility online called QuickLogger Plus. I got a fair bit of feedback, pretty much all positive, and a fistful of feature requests. I started plotting and planning... and then nothing happened. I don't think I even replied to most of the comments or e-mail.

I'm happy to say that I've finally taken a little time to sit down with the code and do some more work with it. I've tightened up the configuration a bit, and managed to add a few new features:

  • Flexible formatting: the formatting of the log entry is now controlled by a single configuration variable called entryTemplate - for example: "[[ISO_DATE]]" & VbTab & "[[ISO_TIME]]" & VbTab & "[[ENTRY]]" will create a tab-separated entry with ISO-style date and time, while "[[LOCAL_DATE]] [[LOCAL_TIME]] [[ENTRY]]" will format the line like the original QuickLogger script. You could also do HTML, comma-separated value, probably even RTF or any other text-based format if you like.
  • New logging fields: with the entryTemplate system, there are a few new pieces of information that can be logged, including:

    • current logged in user with [[USER_NAME]] and [[USER_DOMAIN]]
    • elapsed time since the last entry [[DURATION_MINUTES]]

  • Easier extensibility: need to log something else that I haven't included support for? Just create a token (i.e. [[MY_OBSCURE_DATA]]) in entryTemplate, add it to the validTokens array (line 158), and add a switch to the select case statement starting on line 161.

Feature requests still on the back burner include:

  • support for parsing embedded "tags" in the entry similar to those used in todo.txt - I've had a couple requests for this, but I haven't quite figured out how I'd like to handle it
  • logging to Excel, ODBC, or other non-plaintext formats - I've had a couple requests for this as well, but I'm not planning on adding this in the near future. I guess I'm a believer in human-readable plaintext. With the new entryTemplate, however, it should be a lot easier to create a template that facilitates importing into other applications (comma-separated values, etc.)

Download here - quicklogger.vbs - and let me know if you run into any bugs, have any new feature requests, etc. Thanks again to everyone for the feedback on the first release, and hopefully I'll be better at replying and keeping everyone up-to-date!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Music Video Thursday - Scandinavian Invasion: The grand Finn-ale!

The final installment of our Scandinavian Invasion is a doozie tonight, featuring a fearsome double-feature of Finnish frightfulness. Spooooooooooky!

The Creature Feature: "Hard Rock Hallelujah"

We now return to the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, and another controversial Scandinavian entry. When the winner of Finland's regional final was announced, many Finns called for officials to reconsider sending an artist with such "unusual musical style and stage theatrics". The calls were not heeded, however, and Lordi went on to perform at the semi-finals:

Unlike Iceland's entry, Lordi won the hearts of Europe, went on to the final, and ended up winning the competition with a record 292 points. As if that wasn't scary enough, Lordi fans in Finland went on to set the world's record for karaoke, as 80,000 people sang along to "Hard Rock Hallelujah". Truly frightening coming from a country where 83% of the citizens are Lutheran.

Second frightful feature: "Wanna Love You Tender"

The scene: a gothic castle on a dark, stormy night. In the cellar: a mad scientist's laboratory. A disco ball hangs overhead, a Finnish beauty queen and a Finnish musician are strapped to gurneys, and a large wardrobe full of red and white polyester stands behind them. With a maniacal cackle, the scientist opens the roof, lightning strikes the disco ball, and the monster comes to life:

I can't imagine anything more frightening - I'm going to have trouble sleeping tonight.

Next week on Music Video Thursday: something not necessarily Scandinavian! Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Music Video Thursday - Scandinavian Invasion: "Congratulations"

The Eurovision Song Contest has been going on for 50 years now. For those not familiar with Eurovision, imagine an Idol-style show, except that the contestants (solo or group acts) are selected by individual countries. Previous winners include ABBA in 1974 and Celine Dion in 1998. 24 countries took part in the 2006 edition of the contest, from Albania to the U.K., including Iceland, who, for reasons that may never be understood, decided to send Silvia Night, International Superstar:

Silvia's performance was unparalleled in the history of the contest - not only was she booed following her semi-final performance, she was booed before she started. After failing to make it to the Eurovision final, Sylvia had a complete meltdown (WARNING: PG-13 language) in front of the cameras, slapping her boyfriend, swearing at journalists, insulting other Eurovision competitors, and blaming the media for her downfall.

What most people outside of Iceland didn't realize at the time is that Silvia was actually Icelandic actress and singer Ágústa Eva Erlendsdöttir, who created the outspoken, flamboyant character for a TV show (in a similar vein as Ali G, Dame Edna, or Jiminy Glick) - according to her Wikipedia article, Silvia was meant to bring out "all the worst elements of human behaviour in modern society". Apparently she succeeded.

Yeah, I know - I should have played it safe and just thrown in a bizarre Björk video, or something a little more conventional like Írafár. - but this is just a warm-up for next week, as our Scandinavian Invasion comes to it's Finnish (sorry, couldn't resist).

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Music Video Thursday - Scandinavian Invasion: "She's Made of Chalk"

Last week, I told you to be afraid of Denmark. I had the latest in Danish reggae/hip-hop bands (with a bizarre video that involves karaoke) ready to go for today... and then, on a whim, I decided to feed the lyrics through a Danish-to-English translator. As with most machine translations, it wasn't perfect, but it was enough to know that it would probably offend any Danish-speaking visitors to this site. Not that I have a huge Danish audience, but better safe than sorry, right? Besides, I still have my Finnish entry that you should still be very, very afraid of. But enough of that now.

My sister-in-law recommended Mew for the Danish entry in the Scandinavian Invasion, but I decided to go with something different. Here's "She's Made of Chalk" by Kashmir:

Next week: Iceland!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Music Video Thursday - Scandinavian Invasion: Revenge of the Svensk!

Apparently Basshunter wasn't everyone's cup of tea, so at the suggestion of a conspiring Norwegian (you know who you are) I'm going to post an alternate Swedish entry for the Music Video Thursday's Scandinavian Invasion.

It's an incredibly annoying-yet-catchy tune, and the video is quirky and fun to watch. Any wonder that the video for "We're From Barcelona" by quirky and fun-to-watch 29-person Swedish musical ensemble I'm From Barcelona has become another Swedish internet sensation?

Next week: Denmark. Be afraid. Be very afraid. But not quite as afraid as you should be of Finland, but I'm getting ahead of myself. For now, just be afraid of Denmark. Plenty of time to fear Finland after that.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Music Video Thursday - Scandinavian Invasion Week 2: "Boten Anna"

Now we turn our attention to Sweden, home of a DJ who calls himself Basshunter. He spun up a little tune called "Boten Anna" that became all the rage in the northern lands this spring, including being voted the official Russ song in Norway. It's a pretty standard story - boy meets girl, boy mistakes girl for an artificial intelligence, girl tells boy that she's real, boy doesn't quite believe her. It's the same old story. If you don't like reading subtitles, by the way, I hope you understand Swedish, otherwise you're not going to get much out of this:

Programming note: I've got a Finnish entry lined up for the finale of Scandinavian Invasion, and I can probably drop some Björk in for the Icelandic entry, but I don't have a good candidate from Denmark. Any suggestions?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Music Video Thursday - Scandinavian Invasion: "Remind Me"

This week's Music Video Thursday marks the beginning of the Scandinavian Invasion - all the videos over the next few weeks will feature artists from the chilly north of Europe.

We begin the Scandinavian Invasion with Norwegian electronic sensation Röyksopp. The video for their single "Remind Me" ended up winning the 2002 MTV Europe Music Award for best video:

Thanks to Google Video for still being up and running while YouTube decided to take some time off for "putting out some new features, sweeping out the cobwebs and zapping a few gremlins."

Monday, July 31, 2006

You do not know the power of the pink side of the Force!

I find your lack of cuteness... disturbing...

Via BoingBoing

Sunday, July 30, 2006

QuickLogger Plus

UPDATE 2007-09-26: Welcome again Lifehacker readers - it looks like a bunch of you have followed the breadcrumbs from the recent QuickLogger 2 article to the original QuickLogger article to get here. You may have noticed that QuickLogger Plus is a little stale to say the least - it's been well over a year since the last update. I feel like I owe you all an explanation for that, but I don't have the time to do that right now - I'll try to post something soon. Thanks for all your comments and suggestions, and if you haven't already, check out Joshua Tallent's QuickLogger 2.0 - it looks good!

UPDATED 2006-09-12: New features added (finally!) Read all about it here. If you still want a copy of the original, it's available as quickloggerplus.2006072801.vbs, but I highly recommend using the new version.

A few days ago, Lifehacker posted a neat little script called QuickLogger for keeping track of what you do during the workday. I downloaded, loved it, and immediately became dissatisfied with it. For starters, it didn't use the time format (ISO 8601) that I prefer, and it didn't automatically rotate the log file. So I made a few changes to make it work the way I liked it. Then, I started thinking of other things that I'd like it to do. One thing led to another, and the original 23-line script was now mutated into a 200 line monster (including comments and whitespace) that I dubbed QuickLogger Plus. The user interface remained the same, but under the hood there were a ton of configuration options.

I decided it was time to share my monster with the world, so on Friday (July 28 2006) I posted my changes to Lifehacker. So far, the response has been positive. According to my web server logs, it's been downloaded over 60 times since posting to Lifehacker - not bad considering that it didn't get posted until 48 hours after the original article.

I've got one feature request that I hope to implement in the next day or so - I could probably do it now, but since I can't really test it from my Linux system at home, I'll have to wait until I'm back in the office on Monday to test it under XP. If you've used it and have any comments, feature requests, bug reports, etc. please post a comment here, or drop me an e-mail (address in the script comments). I'll make this page the semi-permanent home of QLP - any updates, etc. will be posted here.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Music video Thursday: "1985"

All right, here we go - the second installment of "Music video Thursday". I'm actually looking forward to these - I've got a number of videos lined up for the next month or two already. And now... on with the show!

"1985" - a poignant examination of a middle aged lady, looking wistfully back at her life, at opportunities missed, dreams forgotten, the changes in the world around her...

Well, it could have been poignant, coming from someone other than self-proclaimed "drunk rock" group Bowling for Soup, but at least they manage to bring back the beauty and grace of 1980's music videos:

Ahhh, Video Hits - the memories come flooding back...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Music video Thursday begins: "Technologic"

I've decided that Thursday is the day to post music videos to my blog. Just because. You got a problem with that? Oh yeah? Well come over here and say that.

And now, for your viewing and listening pleasure, we are proud to present our feature presentation: "Technologic", by Daft Punk. Don't try to understand what's happening, just sit back and... ummm... watch, I guess.

Buy it, use it, break it, fix it

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Llllllllllolipop Jones!!!

The Pig and the Box is a fun kids story, and a decent fable about the pitfalls of DRM - distributed as a free PDF download, with a Creative Commons license.

Officially kid-tested by three of our in-house story testers, resulting in smiles, giggles, and three thumbs up.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I can only assume that David Lee Roth was abducted by aliens, or at least dropped on his head as a child... repeatedly... it's the only logical explanation for this:

EDIT: Upon further review, it appears that Diamond Dave has always acted like a mildly retarded monkey. Or maybe everyone acted that way in 80's music videos. Whatever.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Hey Anonymous!

At 10/6/06 00:25, Anonymous (who the heck are you?) said...

Ummmmm, I thought u were going 2 keep this up 2 date?????

Yeah, I thought I was going to do that too. Ever hear of a certain road that's paved with good intentions?

So, does this count?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


2005-11-10: "Hey, watch this, I'm gonna keep this blog up-to-date and stuff"

2005-11-20: "Hey, look, I'm posting and stuff! w00t!"

2006-02-01: "Ummmm.... yeah... where was I?"

The beatings will continue until morale improves I get back to this. Lots of stuff happened in the two "silent" months - not sure how much of it I want to talk about online, let's wait and see...