, wot is dis?

Holy shit a new post.  Yeah I dunno, the feeling hit me tonight to write some shit so here we are.  And it’s gonna be a pretty awesome post, just a heads up.

Music is great, I think we can all agree.  When we’re feeling like shit, we put on some tunes.  When we’re feeling awesome, we put on some tunes.  Travelling, driving, working, relaxing – it’s always there.  I won’t try to psychoanalyze why our brains like the repetition of beats and sounds, but there’s something to say that we’ve been making music for most of our existence.  From banging on drums and tapping your hand on your desk, to playing a real physical instrument or an electronic software instrument, it’s as old as we are.

Now more than likely, you have a music library of some sort.  It could be a library of CDs, or a meticulously organized folder of tunes on your computer, or a group of playlists hosted by some music streaming service (Spotify I love you).  But one thing most people don’t think about, is how cool it is to analyze your listening habits.  Enter,

I’m a massive sucker for stats and shit like that.  I check in to movies and TV shows I’m watching (see that Twitter feed on the right?  All automatic), but I also record what music I’m listening to as I listen to it.  This is called scrobbling, and it stems back to the mid-2000s when I first got started. is what the service is called now, back in the day I think it used to be Audioscrobbler?  It’s free, and it integrates with most music players out there.

It’s neat because at the end of the year you can see what your listening habits were that year:

Yeah, so I listened to over 10,000 songs in 2017, an average of 28 per day, and a total of 25 days, 5 hours of listening time.  Pretty crazy, and you can go back year by year and get the same info.

It’s interesting because if you’re curious what you listened to on this day sayyyyyy, 3 years ago, you can:

There was a lot of the same shit I listen to today.  But there’s a few gems in there I haven’t listened to since.  It’s pretty cool.  It can also show you some embarrassing shit, like the obscene amount of the Battlefield 4 soundtrack I listened to on this day, January 26, 2015.

Like I said, I’m a sucker for information like this.  It’s fun to look back and see where I was, what I was listening to.  Sometimes it’s depressing, like a song that brings back bad memories or a song that reminds you of better times.  Meanwhile it could be invigorating, like rediscovering a song or an album that you totally forgot exists.

The nice part is is free to sign up, and you can immediately link it to your Spotify account here, under settings:

But there’s an even better way, which links with Spotify, and works completely agnostically from what client you’re using.  Xbox, Android, iOS, computer, web, even your Amazon Echo.  They will all scrobble if you use the Spotify Scrobbling (Beta) plugin:

Pretty slick shit.  I tried it this evening and it scrobbles everything, you just need to remember to turn off the above mentioned client-based scrobbling.

Check it out audiophiles, you won’t be disappointed.

Shut your damn Pi-hole

At some point in your life, you might have heard about a device called a Raspberry Pi.  It’s a relatively small SoC (System on a Chip) that’s an entire computer.  Processor, memory, network interface, the whole shebang.  Well there’s a project out there called Pi-hole, which is a piece of software that you run on said Raspberry Pi.  What it does is something pretty awesome – it turns your Pi into a hardware-based, network-wide ad blocker.

Yep.  This shit is bonkers.  Now, on Raspberry Pis, the OS they run is called Raspbian, which is just a specialized distro of Debian Linux.  And ya know what that means – Pi-hole can be ran in a VM running a Debian-based distro.  After I did some research, I took the plunge, fired up a CentOS VM, and installed it with a single command:

curl -sSL | bash

That’s it.

Configuration-wise it’s pretty simple.  Usually when your computer queries a websites DNS information, it does so to your router.  With a Pi-hole in place, you modify your DHCP information to provide the Pi-hole’s IP as your network’s DNS server.  The Pi-hole then, in turn, forwards requests to your router as expected.

All your clients ask the Pi-hole for website IPs, and if it doesn’t have them, it asks your router.

Now from here, the Pi-hole has a list of blacklisted IPs.  If you load a website and any of those sites have an embedded ad that matches one of those blacklisted IPs?  It returns nothing to your browser and doesn’t even load the ad itself.  It’s really quite beautiful.

The absolutely awesome part of this solution running network-wide is that it blankets every single one of your devices.  Your phone, your PC, your Xbox, TV, Roku, anything.  No need for plugins or any of that jazz anymore, and because it doesn’t even load the ad, your network’s bandwidth use is potentially less.

Another plus is it actually blocks YouTube ads from playing.  I was watching some shit on YouTube through my Roku yesterday, and it would spin for a second like it was trying to load an ad, then just cut straight to the video I wanted.  It’s pretty slick.

And if you’re the type that likes to see logs and statistics – there’s a GUI that shows what the Pi-hole has been doing.  Logs for blocked and allowed connections.  Graphs showing forwarded and cached DNS requests.  It’s fantastic, and the ability to run on a relatively slim VM (1 vCPU, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB HDD), how can you beat that kind of functionality?

Link to the good stuff.

RIP Orangie

So, it was kind of a rough evening tonight/yesterday.  I usually head to work at 11:30, and as I’m walking to my car I notice a State Trooper pulled over by my neighbor’s house.  Right before I get into my car, I can see what he’s doing in the light from his headlights – moving Orangie from the road to my neighbor’s lawn…

I never did know what his/her actual name was, but Orangie seems to fit and I’ll just assume she was a she.  She was really the friendliest cat you can imagine, but she had a weary, cautious nature – something she learned from being an outdoor cat, I can assume.  If you moved too fast, she’d run a few feet and then come back for more rubs.  She was a little tubby, and her tail was broken in the middle so when she ran, the end half of her tail would just flop around.  It was pretty comical.

Sometimes I’d get home from wherever, and she’d just sit in the grass waiting for me to get out of my car.  Then she’d walk over and start rubbing your legs like cats do with people they like.  It was endearing.  One time I was bullshitting with Mike and Branden in the parking lot and she just came over and started rubbing all three of us.  The picture above I took literally the day before she died, focused on hunting something or other in the brush.

It sucks, and she wasn’t even my cat.  You’ll be missed, Orangie.

The Bestivus History of Cars – Great White

As an aside, this post was originally going to be about Chloe the TT.  It kind of ran off the rails and I ended up talking about my history in car modifications, so I guess I’ll just leave it at that.  And before you clowns remind me of Blue Death (RIP), I never modified her, so I’m leaving her out.

ANYWHO, I guess this whole thing started back in 2007, if I had to really pin the year down.  That was when I first started getting interested in automotive modifications.  It wasn’t something I had planned, but when you need better sound from your stereo, one thing leads to another… Continue reading

The Burger Tour – 2017 Edition

This was Photoshopped by me, surprisingly.

That’s right kids.  Today is 2017’s National Cheeseburger Day, so after some contemplation as to what I’d have to eat today – I decided to revisit an evaluation we first tried nearly eight years ago.

The Double Cheeseburger Tour

God damn it’s been a while, and boy how things have changed.  Not sure if McDonald’s remodel had happened back in 2009, but I’m leaning towards not.  But anyway, let’s dive in shall we?

Continue reading