28 10/07
07:47

The James Machine

I spent all day yesterday working on a new old web site. I registered thejamesmachine.com. My first web site, years ago, was jamesmosheen.com. I let that die and registered medinaline.net and medinaline.com.

Medina Line has been my personal site for years now, where photos, music, lyrics, short stories (quiction), and a forum is hosted. Back in January of 2007, I rented a practice space and formed Medina Line the band to play my songs. Anyway, medinaline.net became the band site, so I moved my site to a sub-domain, medinaline.net/james. There is lots of fun php, mysql, and javascript functionality there. I have now pointed thejamesmachine.com to the sub-domain and changed up the look of everything quite a bit.

Here is a little something I stumbled on that just made my day. http://xkcd.com/36/ I have since tried to soak up everything I can at that site. Brilliant!

Anyway, enough about not me.

I was working on one of my old guitars yesterday, a semi-hollow body archtop electric Johnson JH-480-N that I bought back in 2002. It’s a beautiful (looking) guitar. I have really only used it for acoustic recordings. It has a much thinner, more manageable tone than most acoustic guitars. Anyway, it’s made in China and is very cheaply made. There are always problems with it. The input jack had a short in it almost immediately and is constantly coming loose. In plugging the guitar into my Kustom ’72 Coupe yesterday to play it for the first time in a couple of years, I found that the bridge pickup has stopped working completely. The pickups have always been weak. A beautiful guitar that has an awkwardly short scale, never works right, and doesn’t sound good when it does… it’s like someone reached into my soul and designed a guitar just for me.

A note on the Kustom amp, it sounds great, I like the giant pile of features that it has… Except that there is only one set of EQ controls that both channels have to share. There are no settings that are complimentary to both clean and distorted channels. It’s frustrating. If I wanted to have to rely on distortion pedals, I wouldn’t have bought a two channel amp.

I have been devoting a lot of time to my Pandora radio station. If you don’t know about pandora.com, it is a customizable Internet radio station that plays only music you like. If something you don’t like something, tell them and they move on. They are trying (somewhat successfully) to map the music genome. What makes different music sound different? What makes you like songs from one band, but not another that sounds similar? This is where trouble comes into paradise… I keep having to tell it that just because I like The Darkness doesn’t mean I will like any Poison or Warrant song they play.

Go have a listen if you like moderate rock. It’s like a window into my soul… I keep adding new bands that I like, Modest Mouse, The Shins, The Strokes, The Heartless Bastards… They keep playing Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins… In other words, high school. I was a grunge boy for sure. Anyway, I guess it comes down to this: The things that were really appealing to me 15 years ago in music are the same things I look for today.

So, there you have it. My first post in a month. Don’t pressure me. I’m teetering on the brink here.



30 09/07
20:37

The Island Of Dancing Skeletons

Another of my ‘hobbies’ is web authoring. I dare say ‘design’. That’s the part I suck at. Always function before form. I know how to do some cool little things and have spent way to much time figuring out ways of managing large amounts of data… My website, medinaline.net utilizes PHP and MySQL, as well as some JavaScript and (drags me kicking and screaming into this century) CSS. I have also written a couple of mods for the phpBB forum script. [brags]They have been downloaded and installed a few thousand times.[/brags]

Anyway, in my quest to learn this crap, I wrote a lot of functionality into my site that goes unused. First off, no one knows who I am, nor have they heard my music, nor do they know I have a band, nor have they heard the band’s music. Ah well, it’s always been this way. Now I have the potential for hundreds of people a day to find me. Potential is not the only thing I have wasted these thirty-some years.

So, back to the topic at hand, best friends. Mind you, I am not talking about ‘beast friends’, as in “man’s best friend”. I don’t even like dogs. I’m talking about my best bud and his band that live (almost) all the way across the country in Tucson, AZ. Chris is a handsome fellow in a smashing band called The IODS (which stands for the Island Of Dancing Skeletons) which I think is fab. They have a myspace page. Also, they registered a domain, theiods.com.

Chris and I talked it over, we had lofty plans for their website. He sent me huge resolution image scans of collages they made (Scanned pieces of paper! It has been so long since I have dealt with artwork that originated on paper…) Really cool pictures, nonetheless… all Grandpa Caveman technology aside.

Chris’ idea was to have an image background and mouse rollovers on different areas of the picture to get different places. I thought that was a pretty cool idea, so I got the pictures resized, got them up, and then went google image surfing. I like pages like Flickr and things like that, but if you want a truly random assortment of strangeness, you google that shit.

Anyway, the pages were really cool, but took too long to load, even on the T1 connection at work. It would have been much better as a Flash page. So, now we are 9 months into it, big eyesore of a not so working, oh so lacking content web site that is currently up at their domain… So, it’s time that I get back onto it and start working to make a simple, yet eye-catching, yet functional, yet interesting, yet informative, yet fun to make web site for my buddy’s band.

Today, I wrote some JavaScript drop-down lists that would change the background color, font color, and font background color on what will be their front page. It’s pretty cool, actually. Their current myspace background image is a tree with a kite stuck in it. I am using that as a fixed background image, and need to see which colors work and which don’t. When text goes over the tree image, most colors of text are impossible to read. That’s just bad planning if you ask me.

Look at the majority of myspace profile pages and you can’t read the text.

That drives me insane.

Now I don’t even want to write anymore.

The point is, I’m working on that page, we’re all very excited. I told them it was good.