links for 2007-03-29

music parenting


I didn’t used to be one for custom ringtones on my mobile phone. When I got my Sony Ericsson T616 a few years back, the only additional ringtone I used on it, other than Sony Ericsson’s fairly nice included set, was a ring that sounded like an old telephone. But when that phone went belly up, I ended up with the Motorola V551 (since replaced by a V557). The ringtone selection that came with the Moto was anemic, and you can bet I wasn’t shelling out three bucks for ringtones from Cingular AT&T.
I’ve become one of those people who can’t stand the default rings on most phones, and for whatever reason it irks me when someone’s phone rings in public and you can instantly tell it’s a Nokia, or a Motorola, or they’re with Cingular AT&T, or Verizon, because they never bothered to change the default ring. And so many people don’t change the default ring, how do you ever know it’s your phone that’s ringing when you’re out in public?
But I digress. Yes, there are plenty of of free ringtones available online, but this time around I thought I would just make my own. One copy of iTunes, one copy of Audio Hijack, and voila!–instant custom ringtones. I only needed 22 seconds of any particular song, as that’s how long the Moto rings before it goes to voice mail.
The first song I ripped was The Who’s “Baba O’Riley“. The synthesizer at the beginning makes a great ringtone, and people always seem to look at me with a sense of wonderment when they see it’s my phone making that sound. They may not be able to place the music at first, but they know they’ve heard it somewhere before. This is my default ringer.
The other song I ripped was New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle“. This ringtone was applied to all of my wife’s numbers in my address book.
“Bizarre Love Triangle”?? Really, Chris?
Yes, I know it may sound odd to have a song so named be the default anthem for whenever your one and only beloved calls, but there’s a profound and sensible reason behind this.
Oh, this should be good.
Oh it is. You see, when I was in high school, I was a metalhead. Oh, I didn’t necessarily hang out with the metalhead crowd, but I was in to heavy metal and hard rock, with a little punk thrown in on the side. This was my big teenage rebellion; having grown up on a lot of classic country (some of which I still enjoy), along with Neil Diamond and other assorted light pop, I went a different direction, musically. This is nothing new; the kids who followed Elvis and The Beatles were rebelling against their parents’ choice of music, too.
My wife, on the other hand, was in to the “New Wave” stuff, the alternative stuff of the ’80s before it took on something of a grungification in the ’90s. One of the groups she followed was New Order.
After we met in college and began dating, I was gradually exposed to this world of music her high school years had been spent in, and out of all of that, there were a handful of songs by New Order that I could stand, and a couple I actually liked. “Bizarre Love Triangle” was by far my favorite New Order song. So because it was something from my wife’s past that I grew to like, thus becoming something we now share, and it has that cool opening to the song, that’s how it became the custom ringtone for when my wife calls me on my mobile.
Okay, okay. That’s pretty good.
See? I told you. Now, you’ve read this far, and you’re probably wondering why the heck I’m bothering to tell you all of this. Here’s the payoff:
I’ve been using BLT as my wife’s ringtone for coming up on a couple of years now. Yesterday, in the Pilot on the way to the little phisch’s karate class, my phone rings. “Bizarre Love Triangle” begins to play, and the from the back seat, without any input from me whatsoever, the little phisch cries out, “It’s Mommy calling!!”
This morning, my wife is taking the little phisch to school, and on the radio, what song should happen to come on? You guessed it. At this point the little phisch cries out, “It’s Daddy’s phone!!”
Kids have amazing minds.


links for 2007-03-28

baseball tech

38 Pitches

Red Sox ace Curt Schilling is blogging.
(And for all the geeks, he’s using WordPress.)

iPhone tech

Time to switch to Yahoo! Mail?

TechCrunch is reporting that Yahoo! has announced unlimited storage for all email accounts, beginning May 2007. Gosh, just in time to be ready for all those new iPhone users…
[Via Michael Arrington on Twitter.]


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades…and thermonuclear weapons

So dropping game four this past Sunday was a little frustrating. I can’t speak for the rest of the team, but that’s how I felt. Our opponent played a make-up game just before our scheduled bout, so you’d think they would be more tired than usual, but in reality it appeared to have just been a decent warm-up for them.
We got behind early, again, but would tighten up as the game worn on. We just couldn’t quite come all the way back, and we lost by two runs. As a team, we weren’t as patient at the plate as we should have been, and that went double for yours truly. I was two for four on the day; one of my outs was a pop-up, the other a grounder back to the pitcher. On both of those, I should’ve been more patient. My best hit of the day was my first, a deep single I ripped to left-center that scored two runs.
Defensively, I was at shortstop, and had a little action, but spent a goodly portion of the game playing cutoff man to the left side outfielders.
Once again, if we would have had time for another inning, we may have been able to pull this one out. That’s how close it was coming down the stretch. If we could be as tight at the outset of a game as we get midway through, we’d have no problems overcoming run deficits.
In the end, though, it’s still just a game, and while winning’s always more fun than losing, it’s getting to play that keeps me going back. There’s always next week!


links for 2007-03-27


links for 2007-03-22

fun parenting Star Wars

The duel

Monday evening a promise was kept and shopping commenced for a lightsaber for the little phisch. We charted a course toward the Toys R Us system, arriving there just a few parsecs after dinner time. (It might’ve been faster if Solo had loaned us the Falcon, but whatever, he’s too busy dodging Imperial cruisers or something.)
The purchase was made of a blue lightsaber, because we figured this would juxtapose nicely with my own double-bladed, red lightsaber. (And, more importantly, it was the only color in stock.)
Alas, by the time we arrived back home at Echo Base, it was bed time for the little phisch, so any dueling with Daddy would have to wait another day. The new lightsaber spent the night on the night stand next to the boy’s bed.
Last night, the promised duel was held. The missus insisted it take place outside, so on to the back deck we went. Daddy only used one of his saber’s blades, to, you know, keep things “fair”. Both of us had an awesome time.
The little phisch held nothing back. Every swing of his blade was meant for limb severing, for disemboweling, for decapitation (if he could have reached my neck, that is). My knuckles held the proof of his relentless onslaught.
I also learned a bit of how Count Dooku and Palpatine must’ve felt going up against Yoda: it’s actually tough countering the attacks of someone half your size. That, and since I was seeking to have fun with my little guy without causing injury, played a part in my own defense and counterattack.
(For the record, yes, I injured the boy, but it was a tap on the shoulder that didn’t even leave a mark, and he was quickly over it.)
The little phisch is also quite the drama king. He has a great fake death scene, acting it out more than once when I stabbed him in the tummy. We should get video of that.


Kottke on Twitter

Picked up Jason Kottke’s thoughts on Twitter from Gruber, but for me, I thought the interesting part of Jason’s remarks came after the bit John quoted.

For people with little time, Twitter functions like an extremely stripped-down version of MySpace. Instead of customized pages, animated badges, custom music, top 8 friends, and all that crap, Twitter is just-the-facts-ma’am: where are my friends and what are they up to?

Twitter’s like Flickr without the images.

When one thing (i.e. Twitter) is easier than something else (i.e. blogging) and offers almost the same benefits, people will use it.
I have a MySpace account, but I rarely use it. I’m certain part of that is age-related, but the other bit is that I already have my own blog, on my own domain, so why do I need to reinvent the wheel over on MySpace? (Other than the juvenile reason of not wanting anyone else to have “”, I’m hard-pressed to explain why I even bothered.)
But there are bits of life’s detritus that I don’t feel like going through the trouble of blogging, and I think my Twitter account is a great place for those to accumulate, and it’s a heck of a lot easier, as Kottke points out, than either blogging or MySpace.