Fair is Fair - My Top-5 "Desert Island" Songs.

Fair is fair.  The other day I posted about which music I absolutely loathe so it's only reasonable that I now post about the music which I count as my most-favorite.

I've given this a lot of thought.  At least twenty minutes or so.  Mostly.  Of all the available music, were I suddenly stranded on a LOST-like island somewhere, these are the song which I hope would survive on my magical iPod of Eternal-Battery.

I could literally listen to these songs over-and-over again, all day long, without going insane and wanting to do the post-office dance.  Every time I hear one of these songs, it's like hearing it for the first time.

So, again realizing that this is extremely subjective (you're going to disagree with most of my picks), here's my Top-5 Desert Island songs from most-to-least favorite order.  One last comment: most of this music is decades old.  One of the criteria, of course, being that the song be capable of witstanding time's test.  I like a lot, if not most, of today's alternative music.  However, who's to say if I will still like it as much, decades later...

#1 Battle of Evermore by Led Zepplin

Led Zepplin was obviously going to be in my top-5 lists.  The only thing that surprises me is that I chose this song over one of their older, bluesier, pieces.  I love this song.  Of all the music I've ever heard, it remains my favorite song of all time.  Not only does it tell a great story, but the music ranges from savage to delicate - peaking at all the right places.  At the end of this song, I'm wrung-out emotionally.  It's that great of a ride.

#2 Who Wants to Live Forever by Queen

I made a comment a while ago -- "if you don't love Freddy Mercury, you're dead to me."  Well, of all the contenders in the Queen portfolio, I choose this relatively little-known song.  It was made for the movie "Highlander", the original starring Christopher Lambert.  Queen did the soundtrack for that move and it was awesome.  (Both the movie and the music.)  This song plays while the newly-immortal Highlander watches his first love age and die while he remains young.  When listened to in-context, the song is bittersweet and poignant, conveying the emotions of grief and love.  Frankly, I'm surprised this song isn't played at more funerals.

#3 Sabbath Bloody Sabbath by Black Sabbath

This was the first album I ever bought.  It cost $5 brand new and the year was 1974.  My parents were horrified.  Heh.  (My second album was Alice Cooper's "Billion Dollar Babies"...)  What I love about this song is the soul-crunching bass riff that hits about 3-minutes into the song.  It's so incredibly massive that I've not heard anything done with the same levels of harmony since.  Nearly 40-years after it's release, this song can still get me thrashing and banging and is my tribute-selection to all things Metal.

#4 Sidewalk Hobo by Tony Joe White

I love the blues.  I listen to the blues constantly and it's been a large part of my life for as long as I can remember.  There are so many, many  great pieces of music in the genre that it's nearly impossible to select just one title.  From a young boy watching Louie 'Satchmo" Armstrong play "When The Saints" on live TV, to my Mother's favorite: Billie Holiday, to watching the now-departed Flash Terry play every week at Willie's Saloon, there's just too many to chose from.  John Lee Hooker, Aretha, Stevie-Ray, Buddy Guy, ... the list is endless.  In the end, as homage, I chose this song because, simply, it moves me every time I hear it.

#5 Pie Jesu (Requiem) by Charlotte Church

I had a hard time choosing my favorite classical music piece.  Not all is rock-and-roll and if I was to be limited to only five songs, then this one, specifically by Charlotte Church, would be my fifth.  I choose this over Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and even Beethoven.  I even chose this over Pachelbel's Canon in D which was the song that made me fall in-love with classical music.  I was first exposed to Charlotte Church while watching a, of all things, Craig Fergusson movie called "I'll Be There".  The movie was easily forgotten, the voice of Charlotte Church wasn't.


That's my top five.  I wish this was a top-10 list because there are so many others I could add.  The Who, Cage the Elephant, BRMC, Cat Stevens, Karen Carpenter, Rush, David Bowie, Barry White, Dean Martin, Harry Chapin, Jim Croce, The Hollies, Elton John, Janis, Nina Sinmone, Ted Nugent, Ray Charles... the list is endless.  Which explains why I have thousands and thousands of music titles in my collection.

Hopefully, my iPad/iPod will survive the crash intact!

MySQL-Con Tips of the Day: AI Index Key Size and Ints

Don't use BIGINT as your auto-increment primary key. Wait.  Make that "Never".

Use "int unsigned auto-increment" instead.  Unsigned ints give you 4.3B potential rows.  Not even FaceBook has that many users.  If you're using unsigned auto-increment ints and you're running out of indexes, you've got bigger problems.

Not only that, resizing the index keys down will save your disk storage indexing space by as much as 50%.  Quicker recovery times.

Also, int(1) is still 4-bytes.  I loved that.  If you need single byte use tinyint or, better, enum.  Enum provides single byte values in readable form but automagically maps the k-v pairs for you in the meta table.  4-bytes down to one byte is a pretty huge percentage for compressing data.

But the best quote I heard today dealt with general advice on storing compressed innoDB data - and this was from the FB engineers who said:

"If your data is terse, make it dense."

This conference is awesome...

O'Reilly...and my timestamp index problem...

Just a quick jot - I'm headed to the O'Reilly MySQL conference, April 12-14 in Santa Clara for three joyous days filled with database geekiness. There's a lot of diversity in my schedule for the conference - I'm focusing mainly on performance tuning for mySQL, cloud deployment, replication and sharding, and a shallow dip into noSQL strategies.

Here's the current problem I'm working on:

For any given table, (I don't believe that the ddl matters), say you have a timestamp field which is indexed and referenced in a query.  The table is Innodb so the timestamp field can only be a btree index.  Which means that the index is stored in ascending order.

In your query, your conditional reads something to the effect of (where timestamp(now) > timestamp(now) - 5 minutes)  (it's psuedo-code, ok?)

What I expect to happen is that as the query is calculating the conditional border value and then doing an index-scan on the btree-index, examining each index value (row) until the current timestamp exceeds the calculated value.

What I'm seeing (in the slow-query log, among other places), is that the query is executing as an index-scan, but is scanning all the rows of the index, essentially doing a full table scan.

The query is calculated and stored as a variable passed to mysql_query() -- so the parser is determining the now()-5 minutes value and is passing it off as a string constant...

Anyone have any suggestions, I'd be most happy.  This lil' kitteh turd has filled my slow-query litter box....


I gave up vegetarianism today after almost 10-years of not eating *any* meat, except for shellfish and fish.  No beef, chicken, pork, ostrich, yak, quail, squirrel, or even marmoset.  For a decade. So, in a nutshell, you'll probably ask: why?  (I know the step-kids are freaking-out -- they've only known me as a veggie...)

The reason is two-fold.  One, I'm going on the Modified-Atkins-Diet (and, yes, I know I can do the diet as a veggie -- the point is, I didn't want to.  And Two, the list of things in my life that I don't do is now longer than the list of things I do do.  And that, my friends and family, is bullshit.

Aristotle said it best: everything in moderation.  The key is not to go berserk over what you do, or what you choose to not do.  So, today, I started eating meat again.  (I have sausage for breakfast, fajita beef for lunch, and a steak for dinner.

Imagine - not eating a steak in 10 years and sitting down to a sirloin cooked with garlic, onions, and mushrooms. Recollecting the taste is making my mouth water now.

I'm getting to the age where I don't smoke because it's bad for my health and brain cells.  I don't drink because it's too expensive and people are, for the most part, assholes when they drink and I don't like being around assholes.  For a while, I even gave up caffeine in all forms, including coffee and soda.

I was miserable and my bloodwork looked like shyte.

I've tried the Atkins diet before and it worked really well.   The modified Atkins looks better.  I've got all the warning signs they talk about and warn against - including being on the border of having type-2 diabetes.

And then, it hit me.   If my health is getting so screwed up where I can actually be classified as "morbidly obese", where my blood-work causes me to spend nearly $100/month in pharmaceutical supplements, and my diet is not only expensive, but is bland, an inconvenience to my entire family, and has become stale and boring, then what the hell is the point spending the last 20-30 years of my life like this?

Bring on the rib-eye!   Bacon and eggs for breakfast!  W00t!  Time to live a little and get my blood-chem back into check, drop some lbs, and have some fun.  Who knows, I may even smoke a stogie every now and then....