Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ghosts of Xmas Past


A few previously posted Christmas items which might be worth revisiting.  Happy holidays!

HORROR FOR THE HOLIDAYS - A bunch of trailers for Christmas-themed horror movies (YouTube).

HAPPY GHOUL-TIDE - Monstrous Christmas music (YouTube).  Bobby "Boris" Pickett, Lon Chaney Jr., The Crypt Keeper, and more.

RATED XXX-MAS - Naughty Christmas recordings by Rudy Ray Moore, Blowfly, and John "Dr. Dirty" Valby (YouTube).

WEIRD-OH SANTA - A papercraft project for the kiddies.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Rockbox Bike Music



I’m not doing a heck of a lot of bicycling now that the wet/wintry weather is in full Portland effect.  But I’ve been inclined to make some tweaks to my bike sound system, and have discovered some very interesting and useful things in the process.

Originally I was using my iPod Classic as my bike music player.  Eventually I became concerned that all of the bouncing I was subjecting the device to wasn’t too good for its hard disk drive.  I thought it wise to begin searching for an inexpensive but reliable replacement player, something that utilized flash memory rather than an HDD.

I settled on the SanDisk Sansa Clip+ player, which is the #1 selling mp3 player on Amazon, and fairly highly rated by Amazon customers.  But I waited a while for a good deal to appear.  Finally, for a few hours on Thanksgiving day the 8 gigabyte version of the Clip+ went on sale for the ridiculously low price of just $29.99, so I quickly pulled the trigger.  I also got a fine deal on a 32 GB SanDisk Ultra micro SD card to use in the player.  Total cost for my new 40 GB player was around $43, with free shipping.



While waiting for the Clip+ to arrive in the mail, I figured out a simple way to mount the player to my bike's handlebars.  I settled on a small wooden platform (see photos below), with a canvas strap to clip onto.  Like my iPod Classic, the Clip+ is not a Bluetooth-enabled device…so I also made room on the wooden platform for my Anker Bluetooth adapter, which is held in place with a little Velcro patch.  The platform is mounted on the bike with a metal pipe bracket (like the one in the third photo below) and a couple of thumb screws.  I’m still happily using my Logitech Wireless Boombox speaker, attached to my backpack (see my previous post HERE).








While researching available mp3 players, I kept seeing references to something called “Rockbox.”  For anyone out there who doesn’t already know, Rockbox is a free replacement firmware for digital music players…and totally awesome.  After receiving my Sansa Clip+ in the mail I figured I’d play around with it for a bit while I debated with myself whether or not to install Rockbox.  Although I was perfectly satisfied with the sound quality of the Clip+ (see a remarkably thorough and technically over-the-top critique of the Sansa Clip+ vs. iPod HERE), it only took me a day or so to realize the device’s limitations when operating with the original firmware.  The Rockbox installation was relatively quick and simple.  Learning to navigate through the wide array of choices available in Rockbox is considerably more complicated…but well worth the effort, IMO.  After using the firmware for several days I already can’t imagine NOT using it, and only find myself wishing I could install it on my iPod Classic as well.  Why install Rockbox?




Meanwhile…other gadget news: I’ve already mentioned my enthusiasm for the TDK A33 Wireless Weatherproof Speaker…I like mine so much, I also bought its successor, the A34 (or TREK Max), with improved features.  Both highly recommended for their sound qualities, though battery life seems to be an issue for some.  The A34 features improved sound and battery life, NFC pairing, and added track control buttons (pause/play, skip forward/back).

       

One last thing...I just picked up this Jabra A125s Bluetooth Adapter for iPod.  This product is NOT highly rated on Amazon, but when I saw one still in the box at Goodwill for ten bucks I decided to go ahead and grab it.  So far it's working like a champ!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Contemporary Instrumentals


Regular visitors to this blog are most likely aware of my preference for instrumental music.  It’s true that I listen to a lot of “classic” instrumentals from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and beyond.  But I also listen to quite a bit of contemporary music…and I’m happy to report that the instrumental is very much alive and well in the present day.  Instrumental music may not be all that readily visible (or, more appropriately, audible) in our current vocalist-obsessed culture (how many instrumental musicians have you seen on American Idol lately?), but I’m aware of a considerable number of artists who are recording entirely (or primarily) instrumental music of late.  What the hell, I keep thinking, why not share some of my favorite discoveries here?


I hesitate to share the work of contemporary artists via download for various reasons, but partly out of fairness to (mostly independent) musicians who, like a lot of us, are scrambling to make a living.  YouTube is an excellent source for sampling all kinds of music, so posting links to YouTube vids seems like a reasonable way to go here.  Trouble is, many of the artists I like aren’t rich or popular enough to finance the creation of snazzy music videos to accompany their recording releases.  So, although I hope the links I’m sharing below will be of some interest musically-speaking, I won’t guarantee that the visuals will be all that compelling.  Just “stare with your ears,” as Ken Nordine has frequently advised…   
















More next time...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Kogar's Spooky Spectacular


Kogar the Swinging Ape posted this comp at the WFMU ICHIBAN blog way back in 2009, but it looks like the link is still good!

Track List

01. Boris Karloff - From the film TARGETS
02. the fabulous wailers - high wall
03. jackie morningstar - rockin in the graveyard
04. mad daddy - werewolf poem
05. the abstracts - nightmare
06. the fabulous five - janie made a monster
07. los sleepers - zombie
08. the connoisseurs - count macabre
09. BIG BOY GROVES- Bucket o' blood
10. The Tingler - William Castle
11. Unknown - Rat Pfink Theme
12. ricky roy - screamin mimi
13. ralph nielsen & the chancellors - scream
14. little marcus and the devotions - lone stranger went mad
15. The Five Jones Boys - Mr. Ghost Goes To Town
16. the poets - dead
17. Watusi Zombie - Jan Davis
18. the fortunes - the ghoul in school
19. Frankie Stein And His Ghouls - Knives And Lovers (Swim)
20. Duponts - Screamin Ball
21. the mighty el dukes - frankenstein's den
22. larry and the blue notes Night of the Sadist
23. lord luther - teenage creature
24. The Vampire - Archie King
25. the jayhawks - the creature from outer space
26. randy luck - i was a teenage caveman
27. Los Shains - El Monstruo
28. Cobwebs - Devil Girl '66
29. johnny anderson - zoola zooky
30. the tumblers - scream
31. Danny Ware - The Zombie Stomp
32. Johnny Fever - Zombie
33. Upperclassmen - Cha-Cha with the Zombies

KOGAR'S SPOOKY SPECTACULAR

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wolfman's Caravan


Let me clue you in about a couple of upcoming fun events, both taking place this Saturday at the East Portland Eagle's Lodge: First up is FRANKENSTEIN'S COMIC BOOK SWAP, from noon to 6 PM...later on, from 9 to midnight, is WOLFMAN'S CARAVAN.  I'm scheduled to be tabling/exhibiting at the latter event.  The Eagle's Lodge is really close to my place of residence, so I plan to bring down all kinds of cool junk for sale or trade...comics, buttons, magnets, CDs, original art & art prints, limited edition sculpture pieces, and miscellaneous odds & ends from the mouldering archives. I'll set up my computer to trade digital movies (avi, mp4, mkv, etc.) so be sure to bring along your flash drives/SD cards!