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Late Night

Hi folks. I came across an article on the web through Twitter, about a feature which makes music louder on an iOS device. This was quite recent and in fact, I found it a couple of days ago. This feature is called Late Night and is in the EQ section of the settings app for the music app, on your iOS device. To get to it you can go to settings, go to Music and look for EQ. Go to Late Night, tap on that and it’s ready to be used.
The article said that with your iPhone (or whatever iOS device you have) the setting makes the music louder from the speaker. It’s true but the real fun is when you hear the music with this feature on, using your earbuds, headphones, EarPods and maybe even The new AirPods. What this does is take all the dynamics out of music and with the loss of the dynamics it makes you able to hear quieter parts equal to the loudest parts of a song. For example: the song Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen is a perfect song to try this with because, there are so many parts to it. If you know the song well, there are three sections: the ballad section, the operatic section and the rock section. Obviously, the ballad and opera sections have the most shifts in dynamics and gives this feature a real work out. If you have a song in your library or can stream it, just take a listen and you’ll here what I mean. In fact, it will sound like the song is being played on the radio and that is why I purchased the song in the first place because, I like hearing songs on the radio like that with many shifts in dynamics. It’s a real shame that today’s music has none of that because of the compression and every song having the same loudness and in general, sounding the same.
Another band who has songs with shifts in loud quiet dynamics is The Smashing Pumpkins and especially the albums Siamese Dream and melancholy And The Infinite Sadness. I will give you an example from both albums, where you can use this feature.
Siamese Dream has many examples of this loud quiet dynamic but the best one is in the track Silverfuck, which has many shifts in loud and quiet. For example there is the traditional drum bass and twin guitar attack from Billy Corgan and James Iha. In the first verse there is the bass, vocals and tribal drumming from Jimmy Chamberlain, with the chorus going back to the guitar bass and drums, with Billy’s shrieking vocals. The next verse is where we see Late Night at work. In this verse there is a haunting bass line with some equally haunting vocals and carefully placed guitar feedback. Well this is going on, the drums are plotting away quietly. After a few minutes of this, the instruments cease and we hear Billy singing the line repeatedly four times (By himself with echo delay) “bang bang you’re dead… Hole in your head”. After this the band finally kicks back in, with backwards echo on the first word Billy sings.
The next example is from the album Melancholy And The Infinite Sadness and it is the track 1979. It’s not the best example but it’s a classic. What really makes this song stand out as an example is that the song fades in, with electronic beats. If you have the song in your collection you know that but if you’ve only heard it on the radio you know the song starts immediately. To make Late Night work for this song, put the song in a playlist where the previous song has a fade out which is Close enough to make the transition as seamless as possible. If you do that you will hear the electronic beats at nearly the same volume as the song, as they fade in to start the song itself.
For TV shows I have one example I can give you right off hand. If you’ve watched the episode Waldorf Salad from the British TV show Fawlty Towers, you know that there is a part where the guests are complaining to basil about the myriad of mess ups which occurred throughout the episode, including the loud American guest. Near the end of the complaints the American guest says “satisfied customers. Huh? Hot dog!” and laughs in triumph. Meanwhile we see basil getting angrier and saying quietly at first “this is typical… Absolutely typical… The kind of arse I had to put up with from you people.” during the quiet part when basil says “this is typical… Absolutely typical… The kind of…” you hear more of a hiss from the audio and the voice at normal loudness as if he was speaking at a normal volume. When basil screams the word “arse” The audio reverts back to normal loudness without the hiss. If you heard it normally without late night that part would be quieter until the word arse was spoken.
I was one of the first people I know of, to put The word out about this feature on the web three years ago. However, I’m glad that somebody else discovered it along with myself and hopefully others use this feature before it changes or is killed off. I have a lot of fun with music with dynamical shifts and unfortunately with today’s compressed loud music of any type, the days of dynamics are pretty much gone. As much as I love some sub genres of heavy metal, I find them boring because there is no real switch in volume in some cases. However, with a band like Slipknot there are some songs which have such a range to them such as The Shape. However, the best examples are mostly in classic rock and all of its genres within such as: Art rock and progressive rock. Check out the progressive rock. Of Genesis and you will hear some very interesting music.
It’s very sad that today’s music is so boring, bland and loud and lacks interest. Yes, I’m old but I like music which has something to keep me interested, while listening and not just to make me dance and jump around. Even recent jazz records are sounding more compressed and they too, are lacking in dynamics which is very wrong. Well, I guess that is the way music is going these days so I guess I will have to get used to it. One of these days musical sound so compressed and squished together it will be unintelligible. I’m kidding about that but you know what I mean, when I say that eventually the musical become so compressed it will sound very different from what it was meant to sound like. The instrument which is most affected is the drums, because they keep the beat and in jazz they provide the most interesting parts when the drummer takes a solo. Now they sound more clattering and dare I say, harsher. Anyway, I digress.
I hope that someday music will get back to its dynamics again, so we can use Late Night as it should be used through our speakers or headsets. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the original albums of the classic songs and listen to them, to hear them louder and to hear the dynamics taken out by choice.

Blog turns 3

Hi folks. I, meaning this blog turns 3 years old today. It will be another year before it goes to nursery school and then kindergarten and then to school for the first time. I know I’m just being silly but if it was an actual person I was raising that would be the ideal schedule. Right?
It’s been a rather crazy year so far, in not just my life but in the world i general. We’ve had more frequent terrorist attacks, police shootings, Donald Trump Will now be the president of the United States, The Simpsons has reached their 600th episode and counting, The new iPhone models have no earphone jack and we’ve also had a bunch of deaths this year in the entertainment industry. I would try and list the mall but there are way too many to mention here and counting. For me, one of the most significant deaths this year was George Martin who obviously produced bands such as The Beatles and before that, he produced comedy albums including those by Peter Sellers. If he hadn’t and produced The Beatles, would we have such comedy groups as Monty Python and mangy others like them? Even Cheach & Chong owe a lot to George, for his use of the studio, as an instrument to put the listener inside the music or sketch. Think of all the panning left and right and voices on either side or in the centre. You can trace all of that back to The Beatles, during the period from 1967 to 1969.
This is not only the third anniversary of the blog but it is also the 25th anniversary of the death of Queen singer Freddie Mercury. He is probably the only singer in rock, whom I can imagine crossing into other non-rock styles of music gracefully. There are other great voices in heavy metal but Freddie beats them all with his versatility.
Okay, so what is next for me and the blog? As long as I can create I will be continuing to stay the course and post things for you here. Also, for those of you who follow this blog and not my Simpsons Sunday blog, I started that in May, because I felt it was time to have my own blog with Simpsons related posts in it. I guess you could say it could be to attract attention to the staff on the show and that is partly right. I have made sure that most of the people I follow on Twitter know about it. Al Jean has always supported me from when he first got on Twitter in May 2014. Here is the link to it. https://simsonssunday.wordpress.com/
Anyway, thanks to everyone who has commented on posts here and I will continue to write for you, when something comes up which I feel needs to be said.

More On iOS 10

Hi folks. I have more to talk about now, in regards to iOS 10. The main reason is because I have a new iPhone, the iPhone SE. I had to upgrade to it because the other phone was beginning to be a bother. Anyway, let’s forget about that and get on with the rest of this post.
In my last post I mentioned about the music app being well organized but with some flaws in it. I tried deleting music and it didn’t do that, unless I went to the settings option for music or ?Storage & iCloud Usage” options under “General.” I deleted what I had to get rid of and it did the trick.
As for downloading new purchases I don’t know why but, it takes longer than usual to even download an album or an audiobook. I had this experience with this problem ever since iOS 10 came out and I don’t understand why this is. Although, I have set my iPod touch to automatically download music and audiobooks so, it helps somewhat if I purchase whatever it is I want to buy for the iPod touch on the iPhone. Otherwise, this could be a bug which needs to be fixed unless I’m totally wrong on this.
I noticed somewhat the same thing when I tried to download the first episode of The Simpsons Season 28 “Monty Burns Fleeing Circus” onto my iPod Touch. It wouldn’t download for a while and I had to disconnect and reconnect to the wi-Fi network I was using at the time. However, with later episodes it hasn’t been a problem so far.
Okay, as for the iPhone, I find it responds well to iOS 10 but there is one thing I’m curious about. Why can’t I download the enhanced Siri voices onto it, when I can do so on my iPod touch? Not that this is a bad thing but I’m just curious. On the other hand, unlike my previous iPhone I can download the Alex voice and I currently use him as the voice, when I am writing things such as this blog entry. I think it’s a good voice to use when both writing and proofreading things. You get a better idea of how it sounds because Alex breathes and he sounds so human it’s scary.
Overall, I find the latest update for iOS 10 quite useful and I’m looking forward to the next one, whenever it comes out. Also, my new iPhone is doing great and is a real pleasure to work with so far. As for the iPhone 7 or later, I will resist buying those for as long as I can. The reason being, no earphone jack. Need I say more?

The Simpsons and The Canadian iTunes Store

Hi folks. Yes, it’s a Monday and an unusual day for me to post but, I have something to get off my chest. If you are a Canadian cidisen and you use the Canadian iTunes Store and are a fan of The Simpsons and you have purchased the latest season Season 27, you may notice that a couple of episodes have since aired. The last one available on the Canadian iTunes Store was The Marge-Ian Chronicles, which aired on March 13 and was available on Saturday March 19th. This was the last episode which has been available to those of us in Canada, who have purchased the Season Pass. I have checked on Google and all episodes so far are available on the American iTunes Store, Hmmm!

Clearly, something is wrong and I want to know what is going on and why, I am not receiving the episodes in a timely manner. I may not necessarily like every episode but it is important that they become available in a reasonable amount of time, after airing in all iTunes Stores world wide. I have contacted iTunes Support on this issue and nothing so far, has been said about it to me in my email. I certainly hope that this post will get the attention of certain people and that this issue, what ever it is can be resolved quickly.

IOS9… So Far

Hi folks. Yup, it’s a Saturday and unusual for me to post today. But I’ve been thinking about iOS9 and my favourite things about it so far.

I like the new notes option, where you can put notes outside your email and just on your device. In fact, that is how I compose these blog posts for yu each week. I even think the links option is great, if I want to tap on a link to a website I inserted into a note for some reason. Even the attachment browser is a great addition and I have used it to transfer audio files to my Dropbox and to one of my apps, which allows me to store such files.

Another thing I really like is the addition of the Siri voices, when using Voice Over. I like playing with the voices and trying to make them laugh and stuff. TheAmerican female Siri is great for that and to do that I just type in ha-ha. She even breathes after she laughs and even when you just write ah. I don’t know why but I like it and she is a lot of fun to play with.

The other Siri voice I am in love with is the female Austrailian Siri. No, I don’t mean Karen and the Siri voice is actually different from her, in both the accent and vocal range. The Siri voice is a bit deeper and she has more emotion to how she speaks. For example: her voice actually goes up when a question is asked. Karen doesn’t do that and her vocal range is much more restrictive and is not as fun to play with.

I even have the Austrailian female Siri as my default voice for the Austrailian voice, while I use Samantha as the default American voice. I must admit that I actually have a bit of a crush on the Austrailian female Siri too. I wonder who she actually is and it would be really cool to hear her talking naturally and breathing and laughing and, well, you know.

My main point of talking about the Siri voices and their accessibility is that I can make them say and do what ever I want them to. The only thing I can’t make them do is kiss me or make them cry. As for the male voices, well, not much to talk about here and I just use them for reading stuff for me. I mostly use the male US Siri voice to do that, when I feel like it.

As for the rest of iOS9, I am happy with it and everything else is pretty much boring to me and there’s not much else to talk about in a blog. One thing I really should point out is that you can now transfer audiobooks from one device to another, provided that the book is available in your countries iTunes Store. I managed to do that with some of them but not all and hopefully, further fixes will be made to this new feature soon. I actually have some books which I would like to transfer to another device but I can’t because they are not currently available in the Canadian iTunes Store, but were when I bought them last year.

If you have an iOS device and you love or hate iOS9, I’m sure that things will get better when iOS10 comes around in September. That’s about it for this post.

Monty Python And The Simpsons

Hi folks and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday. This week Toronto radio saw the retirement of one and the death of another icon. Wally Crouter had been a main stay at CFRB for about 50 years, from 1946 to 1996. Since then, he retired and would play golf in Florida. He passed away on Monday at the age of 92 and there will be no funeral.

Dave Agar, a long time news man and commentator on CFRB has retired this Thursday, after a 46 year run in radio, mostly at the same company now owned by Bell Media. I enjoyed his News And Views at 7:00 AM during his shift as news caster, from 2009 to last Thursday. I also like that he is also a weather guy and keeps track of it like I try to do on a dayly basis. Thanks Dave for all the years of hearing your voice on the air and you will be certainly missed by me and many others.

This weeks post is about Monty Python and their influence on The Simpsons. The main reason for this is because of their style of comedy, which has of course influenced Matt Groening, among many others including the creators of South Park.
Last weeks birthday boy Eric Idle turned another year older on Monday and guest starred as documentery film maker Declan Desmond. He has guested in episodes from Season 14 onwards, with them giving insite into various characters on the show through his filming of characters in their dayly lives.

As for the influence of Monty Python on the show and me, I think that the episode Homer Goes To College is an example of it. Just listen to some of the dialog early on in the episode after Homer gets to campus and meets the two nerds he gets help from and listen to the Election Special routine on the Live At Drury Lane album.

Of course, all 5 surviving menbers of the troop are going strong and in their 70s. Since Eric guest starred, will others do so in the future? It would be interesting if John Cleese guest starred as a character similar to Basil Fawlty from his sit com Fawlty Towers. My Dad actually was a fan and I came across it by accident back in 1992. I don’t remember all the details but I found a pack of 2 tapes with 4 episodes on 2 tapes. One had the episodes Basil The Rat and The Builders and the other had the episodes Communication Problems and The Hotel Inspectors.

Can you imagine Homer getting into an argument with a character voiced by John Cleese? Better yet, Mr. Burns getting into one. He would probably be either shaken or even more determined then ever to feed his greed after being yelled and screamed at. As for the other Python members, I’m sure they would love to be on The Simpsons, like Eric Idle has been and would probably do it in a second if asked. At least, I hope so.

This week, Simpsonss guest star Alec Baldwin turned another year older. His first and best episode was from Season 10, When You Dish Upon A Star. I love it and he has guested once before but I didn’t like it as much. Never the less, he has done some great work and much continued success.

Well that’s about it for this weeks post. Check out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
http://simpsonsmusic500.wordpress.com/author/simpsonsmusic500/
Also, check out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
Don’t forget about Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
http://www.marchesvous.com
Additionally, for more news on The Simpsons, you can go to http://news.simpsonswiki.com/
You can also comment here or you can email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook you can comment directly to me that way too.
You can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and has ran it during Seasons 3 and 4.
Anyway, that is it for this weeks post. Talk to you again next Sunday

Through It All There Is Love

Hi folks and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday. It’s the first week in October 2015 and also after the first week of Season 27, starting with the premier episode Every Mans Dream. Wasn’t that interesting to see Homer and Marge actually going through their trial separation? That was one of the reasons why I put it in the top 10 season premieres for this year, even though like last years premier episode it hadn’t aired yet when I published the list.

Also, was it a dream or reality sequence? To me, it sort of jumps around a bit, from dream to reality in The Simpsons world and it is sometimes hard to tell which is which, without looking at what’s on the screen or paying very very close attention to everything. This will certainly have a few listens from me, to figure out what is a dream sequence and what is real, dew to Homer’s narcolepsy. Of course, he tries to use his narcolepsy to his advantage to get out of pretty much anything he can, after he is diagnosed by Dr. Hibbert to have this disease. I had never even heard of narcolepsy before this episode aired and of course, the whole trial separation was all a dream.

What really got my attention though, wasn’t anything to do with the plot. It was a couple of seconds of a song by Dan Castellaneta himself, during the opening couch-gag. In case you didn’t know, he is the voice of Homer and some other male characters and has also put out a couple of albums. The song in question is Through It All There Is Love, from his 2000 album Two Lips. I bet that Matt Groening had the idea to include a small piece of the song in the couch-gag for this episode. If you think about the title of the song and everything the family as a whole, have gone through it really fits the episode and the series. With all the various times Marge and Homer have had problems there is always the underlying love for each other and the same can be said for Bart and lisa too, despite their sibling rivalry. To identify the song, just listen to a song that sounds like something that could have been written in the 1960’s by Lennon and McCartney. You hear Dan singing “I don’t believe it when you tell me that it’s all gone bad, it’s true to you” in a voice that sounds like either John Lennon or Paul McCartney. I think that Dan Castellaneta is a Beattles fan, judging from the over all sound of Two Lips. I hope that people notice this song and go out and either buy or download the album to either stream or have in their physical or Digital music collection. In my case it is in the latter and I bought it last year on iTunes, along with his other album I Am Not Homer. I’ve discussed the two albums in past posts here and I’ll leave that to you to find them in the archives. I’ll give you a hint… I wrote about them either around Dan Castellaneta’s birthday or in January 2014.

To further make the point of the title of the song and this post, I believe that every character on The Simpsons is vitally important to each other. Because if we didn’t have Principal Skinner or Mrs. Krabappel, Bart wouldn’t have anyone to rebell against in athority, besides his Mom and Dad. Also, if Homer didn’t have Mr. Burns as his boss, would life be interesting enough for him or us to follow? Most characters rub some of us the wrong way but they are all essential to the series because without them, it would be a very different and possibly boring existence in Springfield. Of course, some relationships with certain characters have and will change with time but they are all vitally important to each other, in order for the series to keep entertaining us for years to come… regardless of how you feel about the current crop of episodes, vs. the older ones.

Something else that has been talked about recently outside this episode is the coming out of the closet of Waylon Smithers. We all know he is gay but does Mr. Burns, his boss and best friend even know or comprehend his homosexuality? How would it go with Mr. Burns finally hearing the words “I Am Gay” from his loyal sycophant? It will be very interesting to watch the up coming episode which will finally reveal it to Mr. Burns and how it comes to a head in those 3 words to him.

Of course, another thing to look forward to this season is Sideshow Bob finally killing Bart Simpson in this years Treehouse Of Horror. I’m looking forward to that moment to hear how Bart dies. Will he choke or scream? I’m glad that he won’t die for real and he will be here to make us laugh and pull his pranks on Seymore Skinner, Groundskeeper Willie and other school staff. This goes back to my point about the importance of all the characters. If Sideshow Bob actually killed Bart as cannon it would be a very different series. Also, if Sideshow Bob actually kissed and made up with Bart it would also be different and also, not the same as it has been, with him as one of Bart’s nemeses.
Well, that’s about it for this weeks Simpsons Sunday post. In the mean time, I recommend checking out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
http://simpsonsmusic500.wordpress.com/author/simpsonsmusic500/
Also, check out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
Don’t forget about Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
http://www.marchesvous.com
Additionally, for more news on The Simpsons, you can go to http://news.simpsonswiki.com/
You can also comment here or you can email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook you can comment directly to me that way too.
You can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and has ran it during Seasons 3 and 4.
Anyway, that is it for this weeks post. Talk to you again on Weather Wednesday.