Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Music for Gaming

Filed under: Fun,music — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

Ambient music with the gamer in mind.

Last week, I brought you a blog which explored the latest, and classic, MP3 music. This week, I’m bringing you a link to more music, but of a different kind.
I’m sure it won’t surprise anyone who reads my blog that I was a table-top role-playing gamer. Yes, that means Dungeons and Dragons, as well as others. Games like Traveller and Top Secret and Star Frontiers, not to mention the more obscure Gamma World and Villains and Vigilantes or Dragon Quest. (Yes, Dragon Quest was a table-top game once that had nothing to do with the more well-known video game.) Back in the day, we generally played these games in someone’s spare room or basement and, if we were lucky, there was a TV with a VHS player where we could run appropriately themed movies in the background for a little “mood music” soundtrack.
Now, though, I’d bet that pretty much everyone has a computer, of some kind, in their favorite game area. And, what with all the digital music available, means a much easier means of playing some appropriate music in the background. Which brings me to the link I have to share with you all today, Tabletop Audio, “ambiances and music for tabletop role playing games”. They pretty much have a background track for every genre and most every situation. Everything from a Wild West Saloon to a haunted House on the Hill to a Busy Space Port to the Colosseum or an Elven Glade. They also would probably make good background noise for genre writers looking to get into the right mood for their work.
And, yes, all free, though they do gently ask for free-will donations.

Come back next week to see if I even bother blogging anything at all!
And have a good weekend.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.


Free Music Downloads

Filed under: Fun,music — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I know, I’m all over the place this month.

Honestly, I think it’s the essential existential crisis of suddenly not having three quarters of our credit card debt. I mean, seriously, that is a huge deal. I honestly thought I was going to be paying those off for the rest of my life. But, now, poof. Gone. And, we didn’t even have to declare bankruptcy to do it or anything. But, one of our challenges now is to stay frugal and keep paying as much as we can against the other debt. And, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I can be a cheap bastard. It’s just how I roll.
Still I do love new music. Or at least music that’s new to me. In fact, I’m told that my wife kind of admires that about me.
One way I try to keep introducing myself to new music is via music blogs, like Fluxblog. And, who Matthew Perpetua has been writing about music on Fluxblog almost every day since 2002, claims that this is the very first MP3 blog. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do know that he has some pretty great ideas about music and regularly offers free MP3s you can download. Right now, I’m listening to selections from his six “disc” 2016 MP3 Survey Mix. He has others, focusing on other years, but, I’m grooving on the current stuff.
Matthew says the MP3s change often and are only available for a limited time, so grab these mixes while you can!

And, enjoy your weekend. Remember, Monday is Memorial Day, when we remember the brave service members who died defending their country and our way of life. It’s not just another day off.
See you next week!


Free Music

Filed under: Art,Fun,music — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:01 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

No, really, free and legal.

Okay, granted, it’s probably music from indy bands that you’ve never heard of before, but, hey, it’s free.  And?  You have the joy of knowing that you’ll be discovering bands that your hipster friends have never heard of before.  For real.  Also, did I mention that it’s free and legal?  Yeah, so, why not go check it out.
The site is Epitonic.com

C’mon, it’s Friday and not like you were really working anyway….



“I’m Glad You Called…”

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:06 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

So, I think I’ve driven off most my readers now.

Between my work schedule, the holidays and this damn crud that just won’t go away, I haven’t had a lot of time or energy for blogging. I do feel a little guilty, though. I know some of you do still read and my normally regular posts have been erratic at best and filled with little of my usual fare.
Well, get ready. Here comes an update…

Okay, my last excuse for not writing more is getting old, fast. I have been sick since before Christmas. It started as a head cold, or sinus infection, and moved South into my chest. Mainly, it just makes me unbearably tired all the time and gives me this terrible sounding death-rattle of a chest cough. My mother, naturally, is quite concerned. I told her that I would go to a doctor if things didn’t start improving, but I haven’t been to a doctor in years, so I don’t really have a regular doctor to get to down here. On the other hand, my mother is in Chicago, so what can she do besides scold me? Besides, at the moment, I have at least five women asking after my health.

First is L., J. the Groom With Cold Feet’s fiance. She was quite concerned Saturday night when she heard my cough. I honestly was waiting for her to cluck over me and tell me to get to a doctor. But, all I got was the worried look and an extra helping of concern.
Then, after dinner, the cute, red-headed Federal Probation Officer gave me a parting “Feel better” with a lot of direct eye contact and expanded pupils. That sort of caught me by surprise, really. I didn’t think she’d noticed me hardly at all, much less enough to exchange even that level of pleasantry.
Before that, when we were still at church, waiting in line for communion, K., J.’s former fiance, walks by. I’m standing behind J.’s brother, who’s developmentally challenged. Naturally, he sees K. and shouts her name, so she suddenly finds herself drawn into a conversation I think she was hoping to avoid. Turns out, he hasn’t seen her since she and J. broke up, so, naturally, having fewer social inhibitions than the rest of us, he asks her what happened. To her credit, she handled it with grace and said, simply, “Well, things just didn’t work out.” Then, of course, she has to stop and give me a hug hello before making a break for it. Sunday, I sent her an e-mail to check on her. My heart really goes out to her. She went from the failed relationship with J. to another engagement that also didn’t work out. Only with the second one, they’d set a date and started moving in to her house. Anyway, I asked her how she was doing and gave her some general cheering-on, but when I signed off, I apparently mentioned that I was going to take some Theraflu and crash. In her response, she asked after my health. (That’s three, in case you’ve been counting.)

Now, I’m going to get even more out of chronological order.
Last week, I got a little tired of C., the receptionist, not returning phone calls or e-mails. Not at work, mind, but personal communication. I figure I’m worth at least the same consideration that a professional contact would be, but that’s not what’s been happening. So, I dropped her an e-mail asking if that’s what she was tryng to tell me, and if it was, just come out and say it. I understand her worrying about how I would react at the office, since I recognize that not everyone deals with that sort of thing well, but I assured her it would not effect our professional relationship at all. I didn’t get a response. So, I just stopped calling or e-mail or anything else.
For the past month or so, I could be counted on to call at least once over the weekend and leave a voice-mail. Probably in the same amount of time, I might have sent one or two e-mails. But, this weekend? Nothing. Then, Monday, I was my normal, cordial self, but I didn’t go out of my way to make conversation with her. When she asked me for help with the mp3 player her daughter got for Christmas, I helped her, but didn’t make any other small talk. She noticed.
Later in the day, she stopped at the copier outside my office and made copies, then asked me if everything was okay. I shrugged and told her that I guessed so. She told me I was quiet. I reminded her that it was because I was sick. She seemed surprised. I laughed at her a little because I can’t imagine anyone missing my hacking cough for the past three weeks. She gave me a little “get well” wish and slipped off back to the reception area.
We’ll see how things unfold there.

The last woman who’s concerned about my health, besides my mother, is S., the nice Chinese lady I met on Match.com
We had a good date Thursday.  A quiet, little Thai place called Thai Corner.  It’s right at the edge of Chinatown and right next to a big asian grocery.  So, naturally, I ended up getting there way early and waiting a bit.  I’m pretty sure I was the only non-asian for a couple miles in any direction.  But, that’s okay, I’m used to not quite fitting in.  It was a nice, quiet evening that started and ended with a handshake.  Which is just fine, considering the hair-raising pace my last relationship took!  She has her undergrad in Biology and her Masters in Computer Science, both from Rice.  And her conversation showed that she was on the ball.  After dinner, she asked if I would come with her while she did her shopping at the store next door.  Naturally, I went with her.  When I walked her badk to her car, I asked if I could call her on the weekend.  She told me yes, so I planned to call Saturday.
Well, Friday, I got an e-mail from her telling me what a good time she had and thanking me for dinner.  So I replied back and set my sights on calling Sunday, which was a better day timewise anyway.
When I got her on the phone, she said, “Oh, Jim, I’m glad you called.  I’m really glad you called.”  And, naturally, she asked if I was feeling any better.  Sadly, I’m still not.

But, that’s not going to keep me from going out with her again Friday.


Book Soundtracks

Filed under: Adventures with iPods,Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fiction,Fun,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:17 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Music to read by…

So, as I’ve been cleaning up the massive pile of magazines that I accumulated over the past five or six years, I’ve been cutting out interesting articles. One of the more interesting articles, to me at least, was one in Wired magazine about soundtracks to accompany books. The article itself was called Books with a Backbeat and you can read it online if you follow the link. But, this got me thinking about music and books.

There’s an old “trick” that’s been given a modern twist, thanks to the iPod. In the old days, it was making a “mix tape” that your proto-character might listen to or give to someone. Now, of course, it’s all about play-lists on the character’s MP3 player of choice, which, usually, is an iPod. I’ve been thinking about this lately as I’ve been laying the ground work for my first attempt at NaNoWriMo. One of the ways people manage to get their word quota for that is by shutting out the rest of the world with music. Naturally, I’ve been ripping CDs and loading them onto my massive, 4 Gig Nano in preparation for drowning out the world. (Yes, for the inquiring minds that made the leap, Snow Patrol is on there.) But, I’ve been considering what the music I have selected will do to my writing. So, I’ve been looking at that article online again.

I’ve been trying to imagine what the sound track to my ur-novel will be like. Lots of Top 40 Pop? Rob Zombie for the fight scenes? Will that Paul Van Dyk that just came up in my random shuffle show up in a dance club? Will it drive my characters to a rave? (Do raves even still exist?) Will Bowling for Soup or Spoon be the love theme? Or will that be Sting or the Doors or, even, Warren Zevon? How is that all going to come together?
So, as I contemplate this conundrum, I’ve been looking at Albums to Books and seeing what some of my favorite books have been associated with by other fans. At least, I might find some new music out of the deal.

Oh, one other thing… One reason I haven’t used my iPod more is that I hate the earbuds that come with it. Sure, the sound is good, but I always feel like they’re about to fall out of my ears. Yesterday, I found these great Altec Lansing Clip-On Headphones at a local computer store. If you, like me, hate the default earbuds, try these babies. They stay put and the sound is as good or better than the iPod standard earbuds. I highly recommend them!
And, for all you fellow aspiring writers out there, or any artist really, what do you listen to when you create?


MP3s from Vinyl?

Filed under: Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:13 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Okay, I have to admit, this sounds cool.

You might have tonnes of MP3s that you ripped from your own, personal CDs, but what about all that old vinyl you’ve got? I mean, you spent a fortune on it and now it sits, lovingly cared for, on a shelf, unused. Well, what if you could make all that vinyl into digital? Now, you can, thanks to a program called Gramofile.

Now, if I can just get something that will update my tapes and 8Tracks….

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