Archives » December 3rd, 2003

December 3, 2003

I Beg Your What?

Have you ever heard of Kon Kan? Neither have I. Not, at least, until yesterday, when this obscure 80’s pop group turned out to be the last stop in a quest that has consumed 14 years of my life.

Come with me as we board the Wayback Machine and go back, back, back. The hands of time are spinning. The year is 1989. Weekend At Bernie’s is packing ‘em in at the theaters. Paula Abdul is rocketing to superstardom on the success of her album Forever Your Girl. America is learning to laugh and love with the cast of Doogie Howser M.D. And a geeky little kid in Nevada is spending most of his time playing Legend of Zelda and programming his Commodore 64. I had just turned 13 and was starting high school when a catchy little electro-pop ditty caught my ear drifting over the speakers on the school bus. The DJ never announced what the song was, but I thought it was one of those tunes that would stick around forever. It didn’t, and it soon fell off the charts and out of radio playlists. I had managed to get a copy of it on cassette tape, but that was soon accidentally erased. That erasure turned out to be the precipitating event. I never heard the song on the radio again, and that’s when my obsession began.

I was at that age when I started listening to radio a lot and collecting my favorite songs. Back then that meant sitting in my room with the tape recorder ready and relying on cat-like reflexes to hit “record” when the first strains of a tune would come on the air. I amassed quite a collection that way, and once I got a job I started buying CDs so I could also have the first few seconds of the songs. As my collection grew, I gathered around me all those 80’s songs I had heard growing up. But there was always a gap in the collection. Yes, that one song from 1989 always haunted me. I figured that I would eventually stumble across it as I did so many of the other songs. The radio would play it again, or it would be a track on some album I bought. Soon I started to actively seek it out, but the memory started slipping away from me. I couldn’t remember exactly when I had first heard it. I didn’t know what year it first came out. I couldn’t remember who the artist was, so I bought albums by bands that seemed like they would have made it. I bought Depeche Mode CDs—they didn’t have it. I bought New Order CDs—they didn’t have it. I bought Erasure and Information Society and Yaz and Dead or Alive and the Pet Shop Boys and I bought compilations and I tried to scour the Billboard chart archives for a title that looked familiar. This song became my white whale. And what frustrated the search even more was that I couldn’t remember anything about the song. I didn’t know the title. I didn’t know who sang it. I couldn’t remember the lyrics. I could just barely hum the melody. I had nothing to go on. There was only one part of the song I remembered, and that was some jibberish in the middle, with an Oriental-sounding guy that mumbled, “Do you want to fight, sir?” And that wasn’t getting me anywhere. Even as I looked for it in the Internet age, a Google search for “Do you want to fight, sir?” turned up nothing.

I had given up. I had written the search off as a failure. I was never going to find this song. But I still remembered it. I never forgot, I never let it drop. It was burned into my head as the one that got away, a piece of unfinished business that would haunt me forever. And that’s why yesterday I tried the Google search one more time. After 14 years, this quest had become a part of me, and with things like that you never truly give up.

And hot damn, this time the Google search came back with results. The site it led me to revealed that, all this time, the one phrase I actually remembered from the song was a misheard lyric! It wasn’t “Do you want to fight, sir?”, it was “Leo’s got a flat top”. Which sound nothing alike, but still. This whole freaking time, I had the lyrics wrong! But the dumbheadedness of that move was soon eclipsed with the excitement that my search could finally be over. The song it mentioned was “I Beg Your Pardon” by Kon Kan. Well, I had never heard of Kon Kan. Could that actually be it? An AMG search provided details about the band and the song that seemed to match up. A search for the full lyrics of the song came up with lines that sounded vaguely familiar. I felt that I was getting close, so only one thing remained. I fired up KazaaLite and went searching for it. It’s a pretty obscure song, so it took a few tries, but I finally got a full version and played it. As the music started to flow out of my speakers, the thrill of recognition coursed through my body. This was it! It was the right song! After all this time, all the blind searches and dead ends, Google finally proved to be my savior.

So where do I go from here? I have my mystery song. All the blanks have been filled in. Thanks to MP3, which I could have never conceived of in 1989, but which probably would have made sense if you told me about it, I can listen to the song whenever I want. My quest is complete, but now I feel a little empty inside. I’ve been hunting for this song for so long, I don’t know how to do anything else. This little gap in my knowledge had become a part of me; now that’s it’s been filled, it’s a little unsettling. Life will go on, but I need to come up with a new unsolved mystery. I don’t think I can live without one.

And I still swear that Oriental guy is really saying “Do you want to fight, sir?”

Active Directory Deficit Disorder

This is a fine can of fish. All my Windows XP computers have had their Application logs filling up with an AutoEnrollment error. I tracked down the cause—it seems that Windows XP checks for an Active Directory every eight hours. If it can’t find one, it logs this error. Since we have a Windows NT domain running here, there is no Active Directory. So every one of the Windows XP computers (currently 25, or half the company) is filling up its event logs with this dumb error. The fix is easy enough, luckily, but I have to do it to every one of the computers, and make sure it gets done to every new XP computer I put out there. What a pain. And you’d think XP could detect what kind of domain it’s joining, and make sure dumb services like this don’t run if they don’t have to.