Archive for April, 2003

2003.04.28

2003.04.28

well now, 10 days. i think that’s a record for this journal. i’m sure skooz will be jumping for joy that i’m posting something! hopefully it will be enough to maintain her -and everyone else’s- reader loyalty!

part of the problem is that for the past month i haven’t been having many deep thoughts. at least none while i’m here at night sitting in front of my computer.

recently, though, i’ve been thinking about the bloody RIAA and the music industry in general. sunday while helping clean up ann’s house from the birthday party the night before for sharone and derek we talked about how hard it is for musicians to make money in the music business. then today apple announced iTunes 4 and a deal with many of the recording industry giants to help sort out this BS with filesharing networks and the RIAA’s stick up their arse. the essence of the deal is that using iTunes a user can purchase individual songs for 99 cents (so someone makes money) that the user can then use somewhat liberally like making a CD (making consumers happy).

99 cents really isn’t much to pay for a song these days. a 10 song album would cost just under 10 USD which is actually cheaper than most out there anymore.

still, i can’t help but think that in the end the musicians are still the ones getting screwed. i posted this article on OOKEE.com. basically it says that the hottest selling band could still make very little (in their example about 40K USD) while the record company makes tons. is this fair? is this right?

no.

musicians make most of their money through live performances and merchandising. this is their porridge. the best thing the recording industry does for them is the marketing which doesn’t have much rivalry in the small independents. however, this is an *internet* age. surely the web could get things kicking for a band by way of promotion, and if the band released their music free of charge on the web people might be inclined to go see them or buy their CD directly from the band.

think about it… the band i am nominally with, Not Bill, could record music of near professional quality here on software already owned, convert that to MP3 format and put it on a somewhat hip website and start promoting it on the web through various channels like BBSes, music blogs, etc. if apple is smart they will set up a program that allows individual bands to use their distribution system as well; more profit this way for the band and apple this way, and skipping the RIAA and their cronies (kindly called “middlemen”) entirely.

distribution. this is a great part of what is a danger to the current music industry. they are so tied into music distribution and marketing they would suffer huge losses (according to their bottom line). they try to force congress to pass laws inhibiting the thing the internet does so well; distribution of information (music in this case).

the deal with apple and iTunes really is an interesting compromise between the RIAA (and their ilk) and the internet as a concept and reality. in the end it doesn’t help the musicians one freaking bit, but it points a way through and on that hopefully the slow learners in the established media can learn from and eventually embrace.

Comments Off on 2003.04.28 | Catergorized: apple  audio  thoughts

2003.04.18

2003.04.18

i know it’s been a while since i’ve written anything here. hope everyone and everything is well.

scott and i played ireland’s 32 again this past wednesday. the playlist:

superman (REM)
out on the cherry lane
lonesome world
$1,000,000 (BNL)
living in hell
chopping up robert

the remarkable feature of this show was that scott played guitar and was pretty much solo for lonesome world. i jumped in a bit but i probably should have just stayed out. we had a few other songs in mind, but we got cut short.

we had a good crowd of people. andres and (his girlfriend) rene showed up, dave and lia, ann, sarah, nick and angela, miller, and a bunch of scott’s teacher friends (most of whom i don’t have names for except mr. carey). in addition there were loads of other people playing that night and they brought crowds of their own.

we flubbed a few bits, but unlike other bands/players we make a joke of it. i’m not even sure if anyone else noticed, but we did and so whatever. i think miller took a few pictures and if so i’ll try to get them posted here when i can. a picture of scott with this guitar strapped around his torso is something to see! the poor guitar must have felt like a cowboy riding the bull in a rodeo.

Comments Off on 2003.04.18 | Catergorized: audio  friends  life

2003.04.09

2003.04.09

i was writing an email to ann today, rambling on about my fear of sharks. this started when talking about surfing. i thought it might be interesting to share…? (slightly edited from the original)

…in the back of my head there is a desperate fear of going out in the water. i know i really don’t have any rational reason for it, but then if it were rational i could come to terms with it. … i don’t know if you realize how complete my silly fear of sharks is. it really tormented me for years and years. it was such a relief when the nightmares went away.

funny thing about it, though, is that i don’t think it’s a phobia. that’s a different kind of psychosis that most people can never get over. i WANT to go out in the water. someday i even WANT to go into the water with sharks. i just want to build up to it. and every step will still fill me with this dread.

i think the fear is both simple and deep. one is a fear of being eaten. not just being eaten, but being eaten in chunks that don’t kill you right away. i’ve told you how i wish i could turn my brain off sometimes because i can’t stop thinking. when i was younger this is one of the things i kept thinking about.

it is also fear of infinite below-ness.

by this i mean an unfathomable depth below me, filled with unknown and potential peril, as well as beauty, to be sure. this is in opposition to infinite above-ness which is sky, and space, and galaxies so far we will probably never reach them with any technology ever. only our imaginations. and when my imagination takes hold of the infinite above-ness, i’m filled with hope and wonder and a godlike awe. and when my imagination takes hold of the infinite below-ness i’m filled with uncertainty, dread, and… i don’t even know what words to use to describe it. a kind of morbid facination?

so my goal is to try and overcome this, or at least come to terms with it. carl jung would love how i’ve got such a clear idea of what it is i’m afraid of. now i just need technique to deal with it…

i like the idea of infinite above-ness and infinite below-ness; they are very much like jung’s dream symbol of the house with the upper floors having a completely different (and often opposite?) meaning from the basement. joseph campbell might also be able to point out how this relates to the symbology of myth, the decent into the underworld and the ascent into "heaven".

Comments Off on 2003.04.09 | Catergorized: thoughts

2003.04.08

2003.04.08

i haven’t been much inspired to write much lately. work has been much of a downer and my little uptime i’ve been spending in lovely female distraction. i could write about stupid protesters and how annoyed i am that the media doesn’t even have a clue what war is and is not about, about how some of the strongest economies in the world were built by america after defeating those nations, about how some of the greatest despots in the modern world were stopped by america. educated people know this, though, and those that don’t probably never will know this no matter how you explain it to them.

well, that’s not true. lately i’ve been thinking of writing a little story on how to best explain to someone why it’s necessary to sometimes do what we are doing in the middle east, or what we did to hitler, or… well, just read.

The talk at the party soon drifted to the “war”. Daren still had a problem calling what was happening a “war” as no formal declaration was made by Congress but it was warfare and he could forgive the bantering of semantics, if just barely.

“It’s wrong,” said Kate. “We have no business invading another country and killing people. No blood for oil.” A general murmur of assent ran through the room. Daren appreciated her opinion even if he disagreed.

Kate went on. “The French were right to stop the United Nations from endorsing this. War is wrong. There’s no good reason for war. Ever.” She was looking Daren straight in the eye as she said this.

“I don’t know why you’re looking at me.”

“You support the military. Hell, you grew up in the military. You were against this before. Now you’re for it? You’re a hypocrite.”

The room went silent with the challenge. Daren sighed. He knew there was no way to avoid this except to leave and he just didn’t feel like walking away from this fight. It would seem like Kate had won and he knew Kate was wrong.

“Ed, can I borrow you for a second? I’m sorry about this, but you can do what you want to me later.”

Daren hit Ed in the arm as hard as he could. Shocked gasps went out.

“Mother fucker!” yelled Ed.

“Wait wait,” said Daren putting his hands out to try and calm him down. Ed paused and Daren looked Kate in the eye. “Now pretend you heard I’m a bloody asshole. You’ve heard I torture my cat and you’ve heard I once beat one of my girlfriends. You’ve even heard I keep a rifle in my flat with a laser sight and aim it at joggers that run by in the park. You don’t know what to make of these apparent rumors. I seem nice enough and I do favors for you on a moments notice. I seem like a nice guy, but you can see where I might not be; I seem kind of unpredictable to you.”

Daren slugged Ed in the arm again. Ed took a swing at Daren, who was ready for it and ducked under the rather large fist. “Hold on, Ed! I’m sorry! Don’t hit me! I’m just making a point!”

Kate looked unimpressed. “What is your point, eh? All I see is you’re being a real asshole now. You want us to pretend all those things about a gun and hitting your girlfriend, but I’m beginning to think it might be true.”

“Funny how quickly you can demonize me, but fine. Now then, pretend that one day you piss me off. You may not even know why. You’re out jogging and you see a red dot on your arm. Now you’re freaked out.”

Daren slaps Ed in the face. This time Ed does hit Daren, knocking him down. People grab Ed before he managed to jump on top of Daren.

“I’m really sorry Ed. If I were going to do this properly I would have arranged this with you ahead of time and made it so everytime I hit you, you would just have to stand there and take it.”

“Fuck you.” In the background a chunk of ice tinged in a glass.

“What are you trying to do?” asked Kate shrilly. “Is there even a point to all of this?”

“The question should be what would you do? Now you feel threatened by me. Maybe I could even kill you. You don’t have any proof except rumors and a red dot that may or may not have been me. What do you do, Kate?”

“I goto the police and turn your sorry ass in is what I do.”

“Let me tell you what the police will do then. If -and that’s a big if– they even consider your case, then they will come to my house and ask me a few questions. I will act shocked and saddened that you would accuse me of such craziness. I would even invite them in to search for the rumored rifle ignoring my rights to demand a search warrant. They wouldn’t find it anyways, as I’m very good at hiding things. In the end they leave. Now what do you do?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well pretend one day you come home and your cat is dead, neck obviously broken. Would you think it was me?”

“Of course.”

“And later that day I pass you on the street. I look you in the eye and tell you I am not happy being visited by the police. Do you notice the possible menace? And let’s say that night you see me through a window with a big rifle. Hurredly you grab your camera, but in your haste the picture isn’t great. You know it’s a rifle, but it could be something else, too, and when you show it to the police they tell you, sorry, it’s just not enough proof. Now you’re frustrated with the police and just a bit afraid of going home.”

The crowd watching the exchange started murmuring. A few people were talking about Daren’s story when suddenly Daren kicked Ed in the gut. Ed freaked out and jumped Daren, punching and clawing. It took three big guys to rip him off Daren, and Daren’s face was a bloody mess.

“My point,” said Daren through coughs and the occassional spit of blood, “is how many punches, slaps and kicks can America take before it’s time to hit back? How long can you live in fear, that the fictional me might do something more serious to you than just kill your cat and point a large rifle at you?”

“I’m sorry, Ed. I hope someday you’ll forgive me for hitting you.”

Daren grabbed a fist full of ice from the tray and left the party that was no longer a party.

it needs some work, but that’s the basic scenario i’ve been playing around with in my head recently. yes, i am generally against war, and i don’t even want to go into the issues of the bush connections in the middle east or how our government supplied saddam hussein with chemical weapons in the first place. in this case, though, i am for the war if only because saddam hussein is an evil fuck, iraq and the world deserve better. in our country, if you don’t like the government then just wait a few years and bloody well vote. most of the world doesn’t have that choice, though. iraq certainly doesn’t, and saddam’s sons (who would surely inherit) are worse than even papa hussein.

hmmm. so much for not having anything to write tonight. i’ll try to edit the story as i see problems and errors. if you see any please let me know. thanks.

Comments Off on 2003.04.08 | Catergorized: political  writing

2003.04.03

2003.04.03

i question myself all the time. i question my attitudes, my prejudices, my desires, and my perceptions of the world we live in. while sometimes this can lead my mind in a downward spiral, most of the time i think it helps me adapt to the world better than most people.

sometimes it seems that many of the highly successful people in the world, particularly in economics and politics, lack this characteristic of questioning themselves. with apparent single-minded detirmination they pursue their goals of power and money regardless of the consequences. upon deeper consideration, however, i think many of them do question themselves. the difference is that while they may have similar mental processes, they *act* as if there were no question in their minds at all.

this decisiveness of action is the key to their success.

Comments Off on 2003.04.03 | Catergorized: thoughts

2003.04.02

2003.04.02

apparently scott was quite impressed with my previous entry concerning instant runoff voting. here’s his response (only slightly edited):

Instant runoff voting?

Problems:

1 – way too hard. You don’t believe me? Look at the last election and tell me that was hard. Now you’re asking these idiots to RANK them? Impossible (I’m serious, I honestly think the masses are just too damn stupid).

2 – Gore would have won? How do we know that? I understand how they correspond each candidate’s first votes to whomever, but how do you know the person who voted for Nader would have then voted for Gore, or the person who voted for Buchanan would then vote for Bush? There has to be an assumption there and as close as it was it doesn’t do any good.

3 – it would be unconstitutional. It takes away one man/one vote. If your guy doesn’t get picked you get to vote again!

4 – Our system is set up in such a way that generally there isn’t supposed to be a majority and the House of Reps is supposed to pick the president after no majority in the E.C. exists. The problem is our Constitution doesn’t address political parties.

5 – it would require a person to be well versed on ALL of the candidates. Too many people go in now to vote for someone and they have no clue who it is. They’ll vote for the Democrat (because he’s a Democrat — or the Republican because he’s a Republican). We don’t have an informed electorate as it is, now you want them to go from knowing about 2 candidates to knowing about 9?

Not going to happen.

Seriously, when you post shit like that you should tell me. I don’t need to read about left hand/right hand pool tourneys and shit, but that I actually enjoyed. And the Jonny thing was good. The rest is crap (ok, not crap, but I know most of it anyway because I see you all the time…no, I take that back. It’s crap).

Federalism has to exist for our country to maintain the unique balance it has. Unfortunately too many people think there has to be a majority for anything to get done. If there is no majority then proper alliances and balances can be struck to create one (if parties so chose to do that).

A better solution, at least to the Florida problem from 2000 would be to put a fucking gag on the press until the polls were closed in all states…WAAAA! you don’t have freedom of press? It’s just for 24 hours, you can still report the news. But people in the panhandle were told that Florida was won by Gore before the polls were closed. Then, the retraction was not given until after those polls were closed. Why wait in a line to vote if the state is decided? Literally a waste of time — and who lives on the panhandle? Well, two things come to mind – Tallahassee (the capital, and Florida is a generally conservative state), and Pensacola — lots of military and civilians working for the military. This whole Dade county thing would have been a moot point if the media had just acted responsibly.

I understand the merits of your ranking system, but people are just too stupid.

point by point here’s my reply:

1 – i don’t think IRV is too hard. you tell people they can rank more than one candidate, or they can just vote for one person. i do agree that the masses are generally stupid, but i think even they can figure this out, though maybe not on the first attempt.

2 – fine, whatever. the point still stands that with IRV the preferable candidate would have won, whether gore or bush or winnie the pooh (eeyore, his secretary of defence, would find saddam boring, i’m sure).

3 – it is not unconstitutional. you still only get to vote once. in the voting process however, instead of one candidate you get to rank several (if you choose). a vote is, after all, a formal and political means of expressing a preference, which then becomes a democratic fact (if the candidate or proposal is wins). if IRV is unconstitutional, then it could be argued that political parties are as well. i can tell your hackles are raised, but the argument you are basically using is that if it’s not in the constitution it is unconstitutional. not only are political parties not mentioned in our constitution, but as i recall the founding fathers were even against the idea of political parties.

4 – no argument here. political parties suck but are a necessity in this modern age. of course i dislike the idea of the electoral college as well, but that was also the founding fathers realizing that the masses were pretty stupid as well.

5 – the masses are uneducated about the candidates whether there are two or ten to choose from. hell, they would be ignorant of the issues even if there were only one candidate. the issue isn’t whether all people are aware of all of the candidates, it’s whether the few of us who do care and do know are allowed the ability to vote for those we feel worthy. they may not have a chance in hell to win (winnie the pooh made a valiant effort), but at least, perhaps, the second preference of candidate would win.

IRV will open the doors for other political parties to flourish. they may never win the presidential seat for the next hundred years, but people will be able to vote for them regardless. your argument concerning federalism and forming majorities by alliances and coalitions just supports this point; disparate political parties could band together on some issues and diverge on others.

as for shutting the press about voting result (polling results, i guess they call them), i am in total agreement. they can report all they want, but they shouldn’t have access to any voter results, and they should not speculate on what the results may or may not be. it should be written into their code of ethics, just like photojournalists are not allowed to tamper with pictures or journalists are not allowed to give away military tactical information. freedom of the press is not ultimate freedom, nor was it ever intended to be.

my question is: did you even go through some of the links i had put up there? particularly this one?

Comments Off on 2003.04.02 | Catergorized: political  thoughts
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