Psychobilly Sampler

I’ve been really getting into psychobilly over the last few months. Psychobilly is kind of punked up rockabilly or Western swing. There’s a huge variety in the sounds across the genre, from straight rockabilly to 50′s horror homage, but the bands all seem to be having a ton of fun. They don’t have a chance to get big and let fame and money sap the band’s spirit, since it’s such a niche genre.

To help you get started, here is a sampler of some representative psychobilly music. I included Reverend Horton Heat, Mad Sin, Tiger Army, Nekromantix, Mano Negra, Mad Marge And The Stonecutters, Horrorpops, The Goddamn Gallows, and Hillbilly Hellcats. I wrote comments on each track, hover your mouse on them to see.

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Specializing Theme Hooks in Custom Drupal 7 Modules

An important feature of Drupal 7 is the clean separation between the structure of elements created by modules and the rendering of those elements by themes. One cool thing is that a module can provide suggestions for the theme hook which should render an element. This gives theme writers an opportunity to override the theme for very specific elements in a module, and provides for more generic fallback themes otherwise.

The theme hook suggestions are lists of increasingly specific keys separated by a double underscore, for example node__mymodule__block5. The first entry, node here, is a top level hook defined by a hook_theme function. When the theme function is called, the theme system will try the most specific hook first, in this example node__mymodule__block5. If that doesn’t exist, it will try the next hook, node__mymodule, and so on until it gets to the top level hook. Themes that implement these specific hooks with template files will replace the underscores with hyphens, so node__mymodule__block5 would be rendered by node--mymodule--block5.tpl.php.

Module developers can set a theme hook suggestion for an element by using the #theme key of a render array. The keys of the render array will have to include any parameters that the top level hook requires. These parameters are defined when the hook is declared. Hooks in Drupal core have their parameters in the Drupal API, and hooks from custom Drupal modules should be documented in the module. Here is a nice list of default theme hooks in Drupal core

Here is an example that creates a list using a theme suggestion derived from the Drupal core hook item_list, getting the elements from some function get_items.

function mymodule_block_view($delta = "")
    $block = array();
    $block["subject"] = t("My Awesome List");
    $block["content"] = array(
        // item_list is the Drupal core theme hook for unordered or ordered lists
        "#theme" => "item_list__mymodule__awesome_list",
        // #type and #items are parameters for the item_list theme
        "#type" => "ul",
        "#items" => get_items(),

    return $block;

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Three Styles for LaTeX Vector Notation

LaTeX Vectors by Creativity103 LaTeX is a very flexible program for typesetting math, but sometimes figuring out how to get the effect you want can be tricky. Most of the stock math commands are written for typesetting math or computer science papers for academic journals, so you might need to dig deeper into LaTeX commands to get the vector notation styles that are common in physics textbooks and articles.

This post shows how to typeset a LaTeX vector with an arrow, a hat, or bold. Read the rest…

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Inside Drupal are All the Stars in the Sky

I have drilled deep into Drupal and come out the other side, dripping with offal and frustration. It is an incredibly powerful framework, with an easy, standard way to modify literally anything in the system at any point during the page flow. Of course, finding the easy way is the hard part, because there are also ten wrong ways to do anything you want to do, and the API reference is written as more of a gentle reminder to the API authors that relegates the uninitiated to swapping war stories in the comments on each page. I still love it, though, especially now that I know the secrets, which I will be sharing here soon.


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Hear How You Sound to Others

Are you surprised at how you sound when you listen to a recording of your voice? I always thought that we sound different to ourselves because your voice vibrates through your skull to your own eardrums, which gives you a unique experience of your voice. It’s kind of nice to think that every time you speak you’re giving yourself a private concert, but for effective communication you need to know how others hear you.

Vocal Coach Chris Beatty’s video shows one way to hear how you sound to others. He explains that part of the effect is due to sound travelling around your face to your ears. Blocking this sound lets you hear how your voice changes as it travels through the room. I gave it a try, and I was surprised at how well it works.

I have a deep voice, and people often have trouble understanding me. I’ve always wondered if I sound louder to myself than others, and if the distinct frequencies of my voice get muddled as they bounce around a room. When I used this technique and blocked my voice with some magazines, it sounded like my volume dropped to about 30%. I couldn’t believe it! I used to do theatre,1 so I know I can speak loudly enough to be clearly heard across an auditorium. Because of this, I try to keep my volume down so that people don’t think I’m shouting, but I think I went too far. Now, using this technique to hear how I sound to others for feedback I’ll be able to adjust how I speak to be more clearly understood.

via LifeHacker

  1. Yes, I was a stage ac-tor, I trod the boards 

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