PC and music

My recent small flurry of website related activity seems to have stopped almost as quickly as it started. I got the pages that I wanted to reformatted, and started on a couple of the features that I had been thinking about for a while, and then my Laptop crashed.

There are two extremely annoying aspects to the Laptop crash. The first is that it was just after we got back from vacation, and aside from the photos that I have posted on the Vacation Photos page (in vastly reduced size and quality), I had no backups of the images that I lost. A total of roughly 300 pictures, from vacation photos to pets, just gone. Damn it. The other annoying aspect was the loss of all the programs I use for the website: Leech FTP, Screen Hunter (image saving program, saves pictures to file with a click of keyboard button), Audacity (music editing), and numerous others. Some of those are easy to pick up again, just a click through download.com, but others I was using older freeware versions instead of new trial versions so I could have full functionality. Those are harder to come by, and usually require going through a seedy website and praying you come out of it without a virus (much like picking up a hooker on Van Buren). And I didn’t want to waste the time doing that on the Laptop since the crash, coupled with heat issues had cemented in my mind that I needed to get a new PC anyway.

I ended up getting a new PC from NewEgg. If you have read my page in that past, you know that I like them so much I am practically a spokesman for the company. The last time I bought a computer I stuck with a name I knew. This time, before I even went to shop for one, I knew that I was going to try a PC built specifically for gaming. Either a CyberPower PC or an iBuyPower machine. Both of these have an entry level price that is roughly the same as an entry level eMachine or a Compaq, but they are (theoretically) built for gaming. The one I chose this time was a CyberPower PC.

The CyberPower was my second choice. I had actually already put one from iBuyPower into my cart and went through the payment process, but due to a changing zip code my order was put on hold. Three days later it still hadn’t processed so I cancelled the order. By that time the machine that I wanted had sold out, so I went to plan b. The CyberPower machine I chose came with a 2.9ghz processor, 4gigs of RAM (upgradeable to 16gigs), a 1gig GeForce 9500 video card, and integrated 5.1 surround. I ordered an additional 4 gigs of RAM (to upgrade myself) and got the whole setup for just a shade over 600 dollars. And boy am I ever glad that I chose to go with a name I hadn’t heard of.

The tower is huge, but that is pretty much my only complaint about the system. When I fired it up for the first time and got to the desktop I was ecstatic to see that there were no icons there. The machine came equipped with 64bit Windows Vista and nothing else! This was a huge plus for me, though I could see how it could be a minus for someone who actually uses anti-virus software. The thing about anti-virus software is that it has always bogged down my machine so much that the tiny amount of security it provided (let’s face it, I have been on the internet for 15 years, I know how to keep myself virus free) isn’t worth sacrificing the performance. Honestly, I think the anti-virus software does more to harm the system by constantly running and updating, keeping you from running programs -even windows update won’t run under some of the bigger names-, than the actual viruses they are meant to protect against. In addition to the lack of anti-virus, there were also no trial software offers for AoL, NetZero, MSN, and all that other crap that usually clutters up a new machine. In fact while looking through the start menu, the only trial offer I could find was Microsoft Office. There were only a recycle bin and two other icons on the desktop, neither of which necessarily needed to be removed. The lack of third party software is why my next PC purchase will definitely be from these guys.

I do have one petty bitch about the machine though. For reasons unknown the 5.1 surround that it comes pre-installed with has all of the tools turned off. Instead of having an audio manager with an equalizer and such, the only thing it shows when you click on the “Via HD Audio Deck” is the ability to change the input/output assignments of the audio ports on the tower. It took me a lot of toying around to find out that if you go into the control panel and get into the sounds settings, under the advanced tab there is an equalizer option (which has presets that sound so terrible and tinny that they are of 0 use to anyone) which I was able to use to get it to sound great -but not through headphones. I am not sure if the headphone issue is my hardware or a software issue though, so I will hold back my tirade on that bit of it for now.

So in order to set the equalizer, I needed to get some samples of different types of music onto the machine. I have an external hard drive networked here in the, well, let’s call it an office, that all the pcs have access to, so I copied the library here. I started tweaking the settings while playing different styles of music until I got to where it sounded great for the Heroic Power Metal that I seem to listen to the most, and it still sounds good for the more popular Rock and Metal that makes up the rest of the library.

While I was copying the entire library from the external drive, I realized that my taste in music has changed quite a bit over the last decade. I used to listen to almost exclusively death/thrash metal, but that has been slowly evolving to where I now enjoy melodic stuff more. I still like the music to be in-your-face and pounding, but with death metal getting ever more bestial in the lyrics (the sound, not the content), and me with no particular desire to listen to the Cookie Monster doing death metal, I have been gravitating to the other type of music that seems so prevalent now: Heavy Music with a woman doing harmony over it.

I heard a song by the band Luna Mortis a couple of months ago, but wasn’t able to find the album online until recently. This is just the type of thing I am talking about, but with a twist. The music is heavy, but the vocals on this one range from beautiful and melodic to just a hint of the cookie monster-esque death metal that turned me off to death metal in the first place. For unknown reasons it doesn’t bother me in these songs, perhaps since there is actual singing to compliment it? That well could be, as I also like the band Bullet For My Valentine, who also have normal vocals mixed in with the Jaba the Hut chorus. Here is a sample of the song “Ruin” from Luna Mortis’ album The Absence

I chose that song because it was a good example of the mix of lyrical styles, not because it is one of the better songs on the album. In fact, I think it is probably one of my least favorite songs, but it typifies the style in a small sample far better than any of the other songs do. Now even I can’t listen to this style of music exclusively, but mixed in with a library old Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, and newer, popular rock and metal, it fits nicely.

And speaking of newer, popular rock, I can’t stop listening to Halestorm, even though every time I find myself enjoying it I want to kick my own ass. They are another band with a female vocalist, but very clearly trying desperately to be mainstream. All of the songs are three minutes long, they all have very easy to remember hooks for the chorus, and let’s face it, if you have a penis, you can’t help but want to bang the singer. She does display some amazing vocals in a couple of the songs, but every time I started trying to find an example of that to sample, I just ended up scrapping it and going back to this:

That is the beginning of I Get Off from their self-titled album. I don’t know what it is that keeps me coming back to that song. Perhaps it is the sexual deviant in me finding some comfort in a woman finally admitting that she knows that she is being watched when she is undressing near the window, and that she is doing it exactly for that reason. Which is great for me, since it just gives me a visual of a sexy, sultry woman in a teddy, posing near a window. But I could certainly see how a more delusional sexual deviant could take this as license to stop jerking off outside her window and go in to get him some. I have no doubt in my mind that within a year this song will be cited as a mitigating factor for some pervert raping someone. Just hopefully not Lzzy Hale, ’cause the visual doesn’t currently work for me if the woman teasing me is dead -that is an entirely different song.

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