May Randoms

Possibly useful thoughts collected throughout May:

sIFR 2.0.1

Sorry about the point release, but we had a tiny regression bug between RC4 and 2.0 which was only noticeable under rare circumstances in old versions of Mozilla. It is now fixed, and the update, as usual, requires only the swapping of your sifr.js file. Head over to the Official sIFR Landing Page for the download.

The Other Mike D.

I’ve always loved Mike Doughty’s lyrics and vocals but could never figure out what I didn’t quite like about his former group Soul Coughing. Now I know. The rest of the band. I went to Doughty’s show in Seattle earlier this month, and it blew me away. Usually when singers leave bands to go solo, they get worse, but Doughty has not only gotten better as a singer, he’s a better songwriter as well. More soul, less coughing, as one magazine puts it. The guy loves touring too. Before the Seattle show, he stood on the streetcorner outside the club with his acoustic guitar taking requests from fans and cracking John Curley jokes. I’ve never seen anything like it. Oh, and not only does the man play for free on streetcorners, but he’s a Movable Type user as well. How can you not love that? *Note to Doughty’s IT guy: The man gives you music. Please get him onto MT 3 or WordPress already.

The Decemberists

Their latest album “Picaresque” is my Album of the Year so far. The band’s previous release “Her Majesty the Decemberists” never did a lot for me, but this effort is epic. Long live folksy pirate music.

Downloading Live Shows

Croftie may not like live music but I do. As a result, I’ve found myself downloading a ton of shows lately off of It’s a bit frustrating that most shows are only available in lossless (see: overkill) formats like SHN and FLAC, but you can convert these to MP3s with a program like xACT. Can someone please point me in the direction of an app which automatically tags your converted MP3 files from a playlist file or something? Manually entering song info for each track you download is a pain and a half. Is there an AppleScript perhaps (or Automator workflow maybe?) which will convert an entire folder of FLAC/SHN files to MP3 and then tag them? That would be of incredible use.

Hybrid Bikes

If anyone is in the market for a good city bike, I just picked up a Marin Fairfax and I love it. Hybrid bikes are usually either heavy, ugly, or both, but this thing is only slightly heavier than a road bike and made of brushed aluminum and carbon fiber. I got mine for $599 at a local shop, but you can get the 2004 model for $329 online at REI if you don’t mind different components and a few other details.

TV Season Is Over

Thank god the end of good TV season coincides with the beginning of summer. This year, we had some great reality shows and some dud dramas. Survivor made a strong comeback from last year’s miserable season proving that it’s still the king of all reality shows. The Apprentice was entertaining, if not much better than the previous two seasons, and finally The Donald hired someone who isn’t a white male. Surreal Life was its normal entertaining self, making you embarrassed to be a human being, in a good way. And the newcomer, The Contender, proved to be a great addition to Mark Burnett’s lineup, despite Sylvester Stallone’s and Sugar Ray Leonard’s complete incompetence as hosts. On the flip side, I’m sad to say that the hitherto spectacular show 24 appears to be on its last legs. This season went south after about the 8th episode when the plot climaxed prematurely, the most interesting characters were killed off, and the least interesting (a.k.a. Tony Almeida) were brought back. The most pathetic episode saw mild-mannered Chloe O’Brien wielding a machine gun and shooting up a Jeep. Ummm, yeah. Time to put this show to rest. Quit while you’re ahead Fox. Somehow I don’t think they’ll listen to me, and somehow I’m sure I’ll still watch season five.

New Favorite Ice Cream Flavor

Haagen Dazs Creme Bruleé. I can’t believe it took this long to invent this flavor… or maybe it just took me this long to find out about it.

Kicking the Soda Habit

I’m not too concerned with getting off of coffee, but if you’re looking to kick your Coke and Pepsi habit instead, I highly recommend replacing your thirst for fizz with high quality mineral water. I didn’t drink mineral water for the first 20-something years of my life, but I’ve really taken a liking to it lately and have been virtually pop-free for about six months now. I recommend San Pellegrino especially if you’re new to the stuff. It’s a lot milder on the fizz than most other brands.

23 comments on “May Randoms”. Leave your own?
  1. Jeff Wheeler says:

    When I glanced at your feed, I saw the header “The Other Big D.” I was sure you were talking about Mike D. who I know loves your blog.

  2. Dave says:

    I still love 24. Any show that can be an A+ and still include an amnesia sub-plot (season 1) gets some slack from me (yes, even three years worth). Having Jack on the lam will either kill the show or resurrect it… come on, how many terrorism plots can take place in LA? And as for Tony, they gave him Jack Bauer make over. I thought for a while that they were grooming his character to take over for Jack. And, frankly, I was happy about it. Except for the mushy part with Michelle, which dulled his edge.
    I could go on for hours about this season, but won’t for the sake of your San Pellegrino and Haagen Dazs fans.
    It’s a gutsy move from a traditionally gutsy company and we all hope it pays off.

  3. Dave says:

    Why not just buy a decent water filter? Put it in your fridge and refill it everytime you use it. This still gives high quality water no matter what type of water you recieve to your house (hard or soft) and saves you a pritty penny?

    (Editor’s Note: Yeah, but where would you get the natural carbonation? What you’re talking about is still water I believe. I’m talking about carbonated water, or as they say in France, “Avec Gaz”.)

  4. action says:

    I would go with San Pellegrino as well, but I wonder what using this DIY soda maker would do for taste?

    The Fountain Jet Home Soda Maker

    I wouldn’t think it would be as good, but you never know.

  5. Marcos says:

    The Decemberists album Picaresque is like a musical orgy for the mind and soul. Several songs leave you energized… “filled.” The entire album is simply fantastic. I am glad to see you mention it with high regard Mike. Ciao!

  6. Mike, I completely agree with you on the comments on 24. Seasons 1 and 2 were great but the plots and storylines were executed very badly in seasons 3 and 4. I think they need some new writers or they need to actually write the episode before they film it and not make it on the spot.

  7. Andy Myers says:

    Hooray decemberists. Their strongest effort, however, has to be their first album Castaways and Cutouts. If you ever get a chance to see them live, take it.

    And dont forget to give me the ipod this month. *cough*

  8. Jon says:

    I don’t know much about ’24’ but I do know that the best fizzy water out there in my book (and my book has seen its share) is Hildon. They have a website:

  9. Rob Weychert says:

    You know, after meaning to check it out for years, I still haven’t listened to any of Doughty’s solo stuff. Mike, you have pushed my curiosity over the edge. However, I cannot accept your indictment of Soul Coughing. The beauty of that band (for me, anyway) was in the cohesion of its disparate elements, and while Doughty was the most recognizable figure, everyone in the band was equally important, and nobody else was within miles of their sound, before or since. Ruby Vroom was flawless. Flawless, I say!

  10. Oliver says:

    Oh nice. sIFR 2.0.1 released! I’ll experiment with this ASAP. How does the version system work though? If one little bug/features is fixed/added, the 3rd number after the decimal increases by 1?

    (Editor’s Note: Generally the first number is for major releases with major new features. The second number is for minor feature improvements. And the third number is strictly for bug fixes.)

  11. Raj says:


    For your audio conversion issue, have you tried using Media Rage? It’s a powerful program that friends on the Mac side of the tracks seem to use as an accessory to iTunes or Audion.


  12. Tom Oakes says:

    I thought you were talking about the other Mike D..

    I use fooBar 2000 pretty religiously for file conversion and tagging, but it just occurred to me that you’re on a Mac.

    I don’t buy Coke any more at all, because I drink way too much of it when I’m working. The water cooler is a poor substitute, given it’s lack of fizz.

    This comment-preview-thingie is brilliant, BTW.

  13. j says:

    I must say that I felt is was the best season of 24 so far. I guess its all in the eyes of the beholder becuase I couldnt even watch this seasons Survivor. I stopped about half way in since i already knew who the final 3 would be.

  14. j, I completely disagree about your opinion on this season of 24, heh.

    So far here are my ratings of the seasons:

    • Season 1 (9.5 of 10)
    • Season 2 (8.0 of 10)
    • Season 3 (1.0 of 10)
    • Season 4 (5.5 of 10)

    Hope somebody agrees. Some hardcore 24 fans I know won’t but when Season 2 of 24 was on (which was the season that got me hoocked) I was one of those extremely hardcore fans so we’ll see.

  15. Magnus says:

    For tagging mp3s you might want to try iEatBrainz

  16. I like that listing page – most bands have 2 or 3 recordings, one or two have a few hundred, and the Grateful Dead – 2789! Just shows the benefit of open source concerts :-)

  17. Jason says:

    Telling me to lay off Coke is like telling me to commit suicide; it’ll never happen. :)

  18. brian says:

    for music conversion, try shn2mp3. works beautifully.

  19. Eric Thompson says:

    I like to mix a little bit of lime juice and sweetener with club soda, myself. A nice, fizzy limeade without any weird ingredients.

  20. Eric Jasso says:

    Strange…some of my nicest recent evenings were spent watching the Contender while drinking Pellegrino! I buy that stuff by the case.

  21. loki der quaeler says:

    nah, you’ve got it all wrong: gerolsteiner! (when i had the pleasure of living in sf, i could always find it at trader joes; i hadn’t yet discovered it while living in c-attle)

  22. andy says:

    San Pellgrino rocks but if it’s the lower fizz factor that pulls you in, I recommend Badoit.

    I’m not sure if it’s available in the States in a big way, but you might try any shop that specialises in European or French food.

    It has a certain…

    …je ne sais quoi!

  23. alex says:

    I must say that I felt is was the best season of 24 so far. I guess its all in the eyes of the beholder becuase I couldnt even watch this seasons Survivor. I stopped about half way in since i already knew who the final 3 would be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe by Email

... or use RSS