Octopus Hat
We have the technology!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006  

Logic Will Break Your Heart.
I’m sure you have heard me bitch about my longer commute, and I tell you it would be much worse with-out my trusty 2nd Gen iPod. At only 10GB it pales in storage capacity to the newest beasts, but 10 gigs of music is still A LOT. Too much in fact to just fill-up, hit shuffle, and hope for a pleasing mix. Luckily iTunes has an under utilized feature called, “Smart Playlists” that allow you to hit your iPod’s library with the big hammer of logic. I use a smart playlist, (well, actually 9 playlists) to create “--> Drivetime:” a smart playlist that hovers around 500 choice tunes and never fails to deliver a great selection of songs for my drive. Here are the details on how it works.

First there is the “master” playlist; the one that I actually “play,” (on shuffle of course,) during my drive. I created a “smart playlist” (by hold “shift” or “option” and pressing the NEW PLAYLIST button in iTunes) that will play songs that are on the “drivetimeis” playlist but not on the “drivetime –remove” playlist which I named “--> Drivetime.” The dash-dash-bracket is important because this pushes my playlist to the top of the list on my iPod removing the need to scroll through my long list of playlists The “drivetime -remove" list is a standard playlist where I can put songs/artists/albums that I for one reason or another DO NOT want to hear in my car. For example, while I at times enjoy the ambient textures of M83, I don’t really lie to DRIVE to them. I put the M83 songs on this list and the are magically removed from my drivetime playlist. . The “Drivetimeis” list is a smart playlist that brings together songs on 6 other playlists that hold the bits of logic that do all the heavy lifting. These are:

-New gig: [“not podcast” limited to 1GB by “most recently added.]
This captures the newest stuff that I have added to the playlist, and represents about 50% of the total songs contained in the master playlist.

-Oft’ Play’d: [playcount is < 10 limited to 100 songs most often played]
This represents my “top-40 hits” and contains songs that I’ve listened to multiple times, but not so many (10+) that I’ve grown tired of them. Though I’m toying with the idea of moving the “<10” operator into the master playlist as there are songs with much higher play-counts that are getting through on the other lists.

-Shorty Podcasts: [podcast is true, time < 8:00, playcount is 0]
this was meant to grab any Podcast that I hadn’t listened to that was short enough to “fit” in-between songs. Really the only podcasts it catches are Merlin Mann’s 43folders podcast. Everything else is too long or has been deleted because it sucked (NPR “Story of the Day” I’m looking at you…)

-4Star: [rating is > 2star]
I tend to only rate songs I REALLY like, and then I usually only give them 4 or 5 star ratings. (Currently I rate 150 songs 4-stars or above.) But this playlist ensures my FAVORITE songs get put into rotation.

-50mix [playlist is not “newgig,” “oft’ Play’d,” or “4star” limit to 50 songs by random]
This is the newest addition and it is there to keep enough suprises in the master-list to keep it “fresh.” The “playlist is not…” operator ensures none of the songs picked by this list show up on any of the OTHER lists.

-Drivetime +add
This is a standard playlist where I can drop songs/albums/artists that I want in the mix. I usually have between 100-200 songs from my “standard” albums/ This allows me at least SOME control for my general “mood” from day-to-day…

That’s it. All the thinking is handled by the iPod, and I can concentrate on driving (or singing along.)

posted by JMV | 3/22/2006 05:36:00 PM

Monday, March 13, 2006  

I Woke Up This Morning…
Thankfully Comcast hasn’t yet pulled the plug on our HBO for 5 bucks deal, and last night we certainly got our moneys worth with long awaited the season premiere of the Sopranos. I must say, after last season’s spotty episodes I wasn’t actually very excited about the show’s return. But the opening sequence in last night’s episode hooked me all over again. I was pretty damn impressed with what they pulled together and I only hope that the whole of the season will follow suit and keep us off balance and interested.

posted by JMV | 3/13/2006 12:51:00 PM

Friday, March 10, 2006  

The Battle is Joined
I decided to treat myself to lunch out of the office today after two weeks of brown-bagging it. My destination, the LA institution Tito’s Tacos in adjacent Culver City. Tito’s is famous for their sparse, In-and-Out like menu and monumental lines at night. Luckily the lunch-rush was over by the time we made it, and we stepped right up to the counter to order our tacos: shredded beef and lettuce with cheese in a crispy shell. Simple and delicious. I had to get an enchilada too, since they are my great weakness, and while it was pretty good the key is clearly Tito’s tacos.

posted by JMV | 3/10/2006 05:18:00 PM

Tuesday, March 07, 2006  

An Epic Battle
Over the weekend I expressed, to Julie, my unearthly cravings for Mexican food and when she suggested that we scrap our plans to hit up our fav little coffee-shop for dinner and get some Mexican instead I told her that I would rather, “draw out the satiation of my craving” by eating smaller Mexican “snacks” of a few days and “culminating in a battle of epic proportions with a Mexican feast the likes of which haven’t been seen on these shore in years.” Julie was more than a little taken aback by this. The concept of a “meal as battle” did sit with her as something one would look forward to. Am I alone in this? Is my desire to eat until I can no longer function foreign to you? I once heard a morbidly overweight comedian explain how he would get SAD when he finished a meal. That his heart would sink with the last bite of a pie or the last spoon of ice cream. I knew that feeling. I have often felt sad when I finish a treat. I very clearly remember the sadness when I would finish the last fork-full of noodles from my instant lunch in elementary school. Is this normal? Does your heart sink when you eat the final French fries from your combo-meal? Do you know the sadness that lies at the bottom of a pint of ice cream? Or am I alone in that too?

I’m still biding my time before the epic battle… A taco here. A taco there. All the while I steel myself and wait. I know that soon the din of flatware on china will ring in my ears and legions of enchiladas and tamales will fall before me like sheaves of wheat fall before the reaper.

posted by JMV | 3/07/2006 04:45:00 PM

Monday, March 06, 2006  

It Worked for Me
Here is an interesting article in the Herald Sun regarding Soda and its effects on obesity. Take from it what you will, but there are some good points in there, and Julie and I frequently credit quitting soda for our weight loss of the past year… Regardless I’m sure Americans would be a lot better off if the de facto beverage from childhood wasn’t Coke or Pepsi.

I realized yesterday that I had completely neglected to offer any commentary, let alone predictions, on the Academy Awards. This wasn’t by design, but I think that it says a lot in its own right. I wasn’t at all surprised by Crash’s win over Brokeback Mountain. The Oscars are nothing if not political, and Hollywood is in no position to risk the further wrath of those audiences who would be appalled by the “gay cowboys” getting the top-nod. So instead they took the “safe” way out and recognized a stellar film about racism, corruption, and hate. Anyway… back to the grind.

posted by JMV | 3/06/2006 04:42:00 PM

Thursday, March 02, 2006  

What Once Was Lost

I was just about to give up on the meandering clusterfuck that Lost had become over the past couple of months and subjected Julie to a RANT as the “Previously on Lost” bit aired at the head of last night’s episode. Much to my surprise the writers seemed to turn things around and delivered a top-notch episode. An episode that actually LED places and that matched the “WHAT THE FUCK!” quality of some of the choice 1st season episodes. There were some BIG reveals this week (I don’t think I’ll give anything away when I say “theatrical glue!? OMG!!”) and some more big questions poked at. Lets hope the rest of the season will build off this model and deliver 10 more nail biters.

In more TV related content, Julie and I just worked our way through the two seasons of HBO’s Entourage and I have to say it really surprised me. It surpassed all expectations I had for it, and well deserves all its praise. I might go so far as to say it is the tightest 30-minute show on TV. Great writing, and great acting (especially by Jeremy Piven.)

It hasn’t all been roses though. The first disk-and-a-half of “House” has left us kinda unimpressed. Does it pick up anytime soon, or does the remainder of the 1st season follow pretty much the same formula? I’m a little warmer towards “Veronica Mars,” but still on the fence. The show is clever enough, and I enjoy the mix of single-episode cases and the slow unraveling of the over-arching “who killed my best friend” case, but it feels like is lacking something.

I mourn the loss of Arrested Development, though rumors are still murmured about Showtime picking it up.

posted by JMV | 3/02/2006 04:47:00 PM
Octopus Hat
Pics From Flickr
Other’s Blogs
Me, Elsewhere
Buy John Beer
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com