Sunday, September 30, 2007

...and so it starts...



Spring is here, daylight saving upon us and now I await leaves.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Something I was pondering yesterday

If a Cylon Basestar was to appear in the earths orbit, would we be able to see it from the ground?












Original Series base Star








New Series Base Star

With things like this on my mind I wonder how I ever sleep.

*bob is looking to the sky with trepidation*

Friday, September 21, 2007

Save the planet

Is it just me...

I don't quite understand how the govt's scheme of carbon credits and all this economic mumbo jumbo is meant to actually reduce our carbon emissions.

I can see the rationale behind the scheme - make it attractive to capitalists and therefore give economic incentives to key sectors to reduce emissions, but I don't see how this approach will actually do much of any good.

We've stuffed around for a decade whilst our emissions have increased - dramatically it seems, and now we are slowly implimenting a scheme that doesn't seem to address the issue so much as it seeks to pacify the detractors (major carbon emitters to BTW).

I don't profess to completely understand the scheme proposed that will become law next year as all the parties seem to be in favour of it. The doomsayers suggest this whole global warming and destruction of the environment is actually pretty serious.

Is it?

If one was to believe the articles propping up in the media everything is going to cost us the consumer more... and I can't help but wonder the motivation of these articles. So I pay approx $7 more a month in power in about 3 years time... fuck all to save the planet methinks... oh I am poor too, cool, the govt will subsidise that increase - sweet!

I dunno, I guess its a start and we do have to start somewhere. Getting business on board is obviously essential and all that. Yet I still can't help but think we're rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic.

Whats more important, the protection of our capitalist framework and extremely wasteful way of life or the protection of our species?

It'd be a non brainer to ants or sea monkeys, yet to us the intelligent ape like creatures its so much more complex.

Well it really isn't

If the cost to us to maintain the status quo is the demise of our species so be it, I guess.

Or simply put - there must be a better way, surely, one would think and I imagine we'll look for those alternatives when it is simply too late.

Wonder what spring is like on the moon?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Worst NZ Album Cover of the Year

Over at Dub dot dash Peter has a selection of local artists album art that will having you sniggering into your coffee cup.

A great light hearted look and critique of the local music world - something that generally is very much frowned upon/not done nearly enough.

Wouldn't it be great if the B.Nets or some other award granting organisation could bring some of the humour and light heartedness back into these sorts of things, I mention the B.Nets simply because once they had this area all but nailed.

They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa - Napoleon XIV

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Capitalists take note

Fear is the ultimate renewable resource

Get some today




Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Music Industry Most Hated

A cut and paste job today - somewords of wisdom from Mr Bob Lefsetz



1. TicketMaster

Every day I get e-mail complaining about this helpful service. Whether it be exorbitant charges on cheap tickets or a charge for printing the tickets yourself, people are fed up.

TicketMaster is awaiting its Napster moment. When the public finally gets some traction, has an alternative, TM is going to be in serious trouble.

If Live Nation does its own ticketing it MUST bury the service charge in the price of the ticket. And, if it does this, where does this leave TicketMaster?

Live Nation has the chance to solve this entire problem. Will the agents and managers help them and agree not to commission the fee, or will they be glad that the blame is not placed upon them, and screw Rapino and his minions?

Ultimately, the high fees reflect badly on the artists themselves. They just don't know it yet...

2. MTV

The music channel can trumpet its VMA ratings increase all it wants, perception is the VMAs were a train-wreck disrespectful to music, the veritable last straw/nail in the service's coffin.

It wasn't about ratings, it was about rebuilding MTV's franchise. But by going lowest common denominator, by going for the gold, i.e. cash, MTV blew its final chance to fall on the right side of this issue, i.e. MUSIC!

It's an entertainment channel now. The king of the teen reality shows. Hope it works for them, because their days in the music industry are DONE! As is MTV.com. If you want music, you go to Yahoo. Or AOL. MTV.com? RollingStone.com? They blew those franchises long ago.


3. Terrestrial Radio

What kind of crazy fucked up world do we live in where RADIO is hated MORE than the major labels?

One in which music fans have GIVEN UP on the major labels.

Radio used to be your friend, it used to be in bed with you. Now it's a tool of corporations you want nothing to do with. There's no honesty, research that delivers a constant, well, interrupted by endless commercials, drumbeat of empty calorie crap. Sure, it's free. But so is Net Radio. Blame whomever you want, but the terrestrial band is dead.

As for satellite? It barely ever got started.

Just like Whole Foods and Wild Oats, XM and Sirius will merge. And then talent/programming payments will plunge and what is aired will be ever narrower in focus, akin to terrestrial radio. Yup, Karmazin and Sirius are ultimately going to rule. It's almost endless repeats of the obvious on most Sirius channels. You expect the terrestrial guys who run it to do it any differently?


4. The Major Labels

They release crap and they sue their customers on the behalf of artists they don't pay. Perception is so bad, their future is fucked. Quality, long term/career bands want nothing to do with the majors! So, all they're left with is music of the moment, which is very hard and very expensive to break, and doesn't last long.

Want to know how deep the hatred for the majors is? The TECH REPORTER for the "New York Times", David Pogue, is beating them up for overpriced, evanescent ringtones. (http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/09/13/a-baffling-new-phenomenon-customized-ringtones/) When you can't even pull the wool over the eyes of the fourth estate, always out of touch, usually not even caring about the music industry, you know you're fucked.


5. Steve Jobs

Mr. Jobs is on the brink of a Q rating meltdown (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/Q+rating).

Oh, he hasn't changed. Not much. But suddenly, all his wisdom and all his talent have resulted in Apple being top dog. And EVERYBODY shoots for the top dog.

Stunningly, Jobs isn't even aware of the coming backlash. As evidenced by his failure to foresee the early adopter reaction to the iPhone price drop.

There have to be fewer special events. Steve's got to do some press where he laughs at himself. The record labels and movie studios and TV networks have done SUCH a good job of depicting him as a tyrant that some of it is now sticking. Steve's RIGHT! But right isn't everything.

Steve has always walked a fine line between the industry and the fan. But now, it's getting him in trouble. He's isolated, he's alone, out in the desert.

In order to win in the twenty first century, first and foremost you have to be aligned with the public. The Tommy Mottola decade is over. It's not about your flashy life and power, if you believe that, you've watched too much "Cribs". It's about being honest and delivering for the public at large, with your cash and power being mere BYPRODUCTS!

Buying tunes from Starbucks via Wi-Fi on your iPod Touch? That doesn't get my hormones going. How about a subscription that can verify via Wi-Fi, i.e. when you enter Starbucks? How about more music for less money? How about further illustrating you're in OUR world, not THEIRS!


6. 50 Cent

We don't hate Kanye because he's not dangerous. 50? We're afraid to walk down the same side of the street with him.

He's become so focused on business, has such a bunker mentality, that we can no longer relate. We don't want to give you our money to make you RICH, we want to belong to your club, we want your music to ENHANCE OUR LIVES!

50 needs psychotherapy.

Stunningly, he was warm in the VMA pre-game.

Only one problem, most people didn't see it.

Yup, you're on MTV and people STILL don't see you!


7. Ticket Prices

Since music is free (and if you don't know this, you probably disagree with most of this screed), acts make their revenue on the road. Only one problem, THEY'RE GOUGING US!

Oh, we're paying to see who we want. But we don't want to see many people.

Used to be going to the concert was a decision just a little more major than going to a movie, they weren't that different in price. Now a show is an EVENT! As a result, there's a focus on production rather than music. There's auto-tune and instruments on hard drive, all in an effort to make it perfect. Live isn't perfect, live breathes. These events leave one cold. Once is enough. And they drain all the money out of the marketplace.

There's no concept of repeat business in today's concert industry. It's get all the money NOW! If you're doing it right, people will want to see you in the future. They'll be on your side if you don't rip them off. They'll keep coming back. See the Dave Matthews Band for instruction.


8. Wal-Mart

Often the only game in town. Where you can buy very little repertoire, a good deal of it censored to fit the company's criteria.

The Eagles are gonna get paid upfront, they're gonna move a lot of product, but it's never gonna burnish the Arkansas retailer's image. Then again, people stupid enough to still buy CDs are probably so out of it they don't care that their communities have been ruined by the giant, they just want low prices. And probably think Iraq was behind 9/11 too.

Who you're in business with says a lot about you. Choose your partners wisely.


9. Simon Cowell

At least he has the balls to go on TV. Where you'll never see Doug Morris or Edgar Bronfman, Jr.

Simon gets away with it though, because he's not dishonest, he tells what he believes to be the truth. Bottom line, mainstream music is SO bad that the catatonic minority would rather buy gussied-up wannabes than the incomprehensible works of art rockers and metal-heads.

In the modern era, you've got to have a public face. You've got to be able to take your hits.


10. Music Itself

Unlike Mr. Cowell, most in this industry are dishonest. They won't call out travesties, they're only interested in what sells. And unless you LIVE for music, you just can't find anything with meaning.

Albums are WAY too long. Our heroes don't deliver anymore. New acts are not as good as the legendary ones. There's a focus on everything BUT the music. FASHION ROCKS? No it doesn't.

The number one criterion is GOOD. If it's not good, just play the old stuff. That's what the teenagers are doing. That's why 20 million people want to see Led Zeppelin's show at the O2 Arena.

Led Zeppelin didn't play by the rules. They were not beholden to the man. They didn't play it safe. They were unique. But, despite all the foregoing, they were strangely listenable.

That doesn't describe today's music, and that's why today's music is in the dumper. And it doesn't matter if you agree with me, that's the PERCEPTION!

And we can blame everybody for this. The agents, the managers, the labels, MTV, radio... The only person we can't blame is the fan.

But now the fan has power. And he's mad as hell and isn't going to take it anymore. Won't anybody worry about the FAN?

_______________________________________


ADDENDUM:


We Don't Give A Shit About DRM

Anybody who cares about DRM is stealing the music in an unprotected format anyway. Rather than pissing the people off who ARE paying, just leave the DRM off. But really, this is a tempest in a teapot.


The Price Is Too High

I understand record revenues are tanking, but by raising prices, you're just encouraging people to steal. Don't tell me how much money, time and effort you put into recording your material. They spent a lot on the DeLorean too, and IT failed.

People own a lot of music now. They have a limited music budget. Focus on GETTING THAT BUDGET FROM EVERYONE! Not trying to get thousands of dollars from a few.

http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/

Where next columbus?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Don't get ya hopes up yet Bob

I do believe the fairer weather has kicked in.


There's been sunshine, the tree out the front (oh dear here we go...) has the first buds on its limbs... I feel springlike and that is a good thing.


I'm sitting typing listening to the birds sing... next up two months of rain to firmly teach me for being optimistic


Welcome to my world


Friday, September 14, 2007

Things to say on a Friday

At a 1992 University of Oregon event discussing the American people and their government, author Ken Kesey declared: “There are times when you gotta stand up in church and shout ‘bullshit!’”

Us kiwis could do with some more bullshit callers... as could most countries I imagine.

Kia Kaha

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Happiness is

Wandering around the blogs I visit regularly to find River is back - a five month break this time.
You don't get this on TV:

"By the time we were out of Baghdad, my heart was no longer aching as it had been while we were still leaving it. The cars around us on the border were making me nervous. I hated being in the middle of so many possibly explosive vehicles. A part of me wanted to study the faces of the people around me, mostly families, and the other part of me, the one that’s been trained to stay out of trouble the last four years, told me to keep my eyes to myself- it was almost over.

It was finally our turn. I sat stiffly in the car and waited as money passed hands; our passports were looked over and finally stamped. We were ushered along and the driver smiled with satisfaction, “It’s been an easy trip, Alhamdulillah,” he said cheerfully.

As we crossed the border and saw the last of the Iraqi flags, the tears began again. The car was silent except for the prattling of the driver who was telling us stories of escapades he had while crossing the border. I sneaked a look at my mother sitting beside me and her tears were flowing as well. There was simply nothing to say as we left Iraq. I wanted to sob, but I didn’t want to seem like a baby. I didn’t want the driver to think I was ungrateful for the chance to leave what had become a hellish place over the last four and a half years.

The Syrian border was almost equally packed, but the environment was more relaxed. People were getting out of their cars and stretching. Some of them recognized each other and waved or shared woeful stories or comments through the windows of the cars. Most importantly, we were all equal. Sunnis and Shia, Arabs and Kurds… we were all equal in front of the Syrian border personnel.

We were all refugees- rich or poor. And refugees all look the same- there’s a unique expression you’ll find on their faces- relief, mixed with sorrow, tinged with apprehension. The faces almost all look the same.

The first minutes after passing the border were overwhelming. Overwhelming relief and overwhelming sadness… How is it that only a stretch of several kilometers and maybe twenty minutes, so firmly segregates life from death?

How is it that a border no one can see or touch stands between car bombs, militias, death squads and… peace, safety? It’s difficult to believe- even now. I sit here and write this and wonder why I can’t hear the explosions.

I wonder at how the windows don’t rattle as the planes pass overhead. I’m trying to rid myself of the expectation that armed people in black will break through the door and into our lives. I’m trying to let my eyes grow accustomed to streets free of road blocks, hummers and pictures of Muqtada and the rest…

How is it that all of this lies a short car ride away?"

Oh dear I ruined it didn't I

So I've been experimenting with a regime of no TV, its been going well thank you, (3 plus weeks it is), and whilst there are a couple of shows I would like to see I don't actually miss them.

This is good it gives me more free time - actually something I don't really need more of but anyhow I now have this time in which to focus on other entertainment or time consuming activities.

Last night I watched some telly, it made me angry - strangely somethingI haven't been during my non watching period. I got angry mainly at the news (always the way), the smugness of our media over the Rugby World Cup -saying its a huge honour for Portugal to be playing the All Blacks - WTF, they're not god, they are but a team in a competition... arghhhhh

I also watched some music TV - didn't last long I must say, I don't like the music they play.

So I stopped, I got up turned off the box and calm returned.

I listened to my new record... a NZ compilaton that includes (the reason I got it) a cover of the Headless Chickens "Do The Headless Chickens by Shihad. I was and I guess still am a huge fan of the Headless Chickens, probably the band I saw live more than any other and also one I followed for a long time after they impressed me musically - for thats what fans do.

I read some of my book - A History of the Berlin Wall, which I am really enjoying, so much I am rationing it out to prolong the enjoyment - after this I am reading Michael Kings a History of New Zealand which I've wanted to read but I also don't want to read - one of them you want to have done it but not do, if that makes sense.

Then I did some interneting and finally played some star wars crappy game I am a little obsessed with right now - I like space shit alright!

I shall pretty much repeat the above for the rest of the week methinks... though I am thinking about going to the Technical Music Awards on Wednesday, but probably won't... cause I really don't enjoy these things nor have much interest in the outcomes.

Oh the dilemmas of a boy whose trying to give up a bad vice.

I do wonder whats been happening on Coro street though... yep sad man alert :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Whats it all about

Monday that is and this whole working lark?

Surely after all these millions of years evolving we could find a better more human friendly way of living.

Blagh

*bob wanders off muttering about the helenic concept of leisure, jetpacks and small furry animals

Sunday, September 09, 2007

One down...

and plenty to go.

Thus far I am quite impressed at how little this game has impacted on my world, we are growing as a nation.

Cripes even the nz herald has had one piece about how many kiwis don't actually care for or about this game.

I hope the All Blacks do well and all that, but I don't need nor want this to be in my face... and thankfully it isn't.

Perhaps I have picked a wonderful time to not be watching any TV



Saturday, September 08, 2007

What is it with all this talk of nuclear energy?

The issue comes up once and year and every time I notice more and more people are ready to acept nuclear energy as a solution to our energy needs in New Zealand.

WTF

We have better energy solutions than nuclear - we don't need it in other words. We're not like China or France or India with the population concerns and the like, we're small we have endless more natural clean options for power.

yet the issue gets dragged up and as I said it seems more and more kiwis are into the idea




Friday, September 07, 2007

Tie me kangaroo down sport


I'm not usually taken by cartoons in the NZ Herald, but I did like this one
Have a good friday

Thursday, September 06, 2007

You've got to fight....

Congress holds hearing on hip-hop
Executives to be questioned about misogyny
By William Trippett

A new front on the content wars may be opening when Congress holds its first hearing specifically into media "stereotypes and degradation" of women -- particularly African- American women -- later this month.

Hearing, not yet officially announced and tentatively skedded for Sept. 25, will focus primarily on hip-hop lyrics and videos, which critics have frequently derided for explicit misogyny aimed largely at black women.

But other media will likely come under scrutiny, too.

"I want to engage not just the music industry but the entertainment industry at large to be part of a solution," said Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, which will hold the hearing.

Just as his colleagues on other committees have summoned TV execs to be grilled on sexual or violent content, Rush wants to hear from the leaders of companies purveying rap music. The intent is to examine commercial practices behind the music's most controversial content.

"I want to talk to executives at these conglomerates who've never taken a public position on what they produce," Rush said. "But it's been surprisingly very difficult to get them to commit to appearing."

Rush had planned the hearing twice before and had to postpone both times to accommodate execs' schedules. "But after a series of long conversations and other communications, they know this hearing is going to go forward, and they will be coming -- reluctantly, if I might add."

Witnesses include toppers Philippe Dauman of Viacom, Doug Morris of Universal Music Group and Edgar Bronfman Jr. of Warner Music Group.

A music industry exec said the delay was more an issue of getting the right people to appear. "Not everyone agrees that the top people are the same as the right people," the exec said, noting that decisions to sign particular artists or distribute their CDs are often made at lower levels.

Another insider said scheduling conflicts had been the only reason for the delay.

So far, only one artist has committed to appearing -- Master P, who began his career as a gangsta rapper but has since focused on positive messages and images in his music.

The witness list is still being developed, according to Rush's spokesman. A congressional aide said witness lists are never finalized and released before the hearing itself is announced. Expect this hearing to be formally announced one week prior to the confirmed date, per standard procedure, the aide added.

Currently titled "From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degradation," the hearing is intended to address "what is certainly a timely issue and one that won't go away," Rush said.

"I want to look at not only the problem caused by misogynistic content in some hip-hop music but also some of the pain that emanates from this degradation," he continued. Rush plans on having "representatives from African American women's groups" appear before the hearing.

Rush stressed that this is "not an anti-artist hearing, or antimusic or antiyouth hearing." He said he's hoping for voluntary -- not regulatory -- solutions. "I respect the First Amendment, but rights without responsibility is anarchy, and that's much of what we have now. It's time for responsible people to stand up and accept responsibility."

------------------------

I always get an uneasy feeling when people try and enforce standards, the intent can be quite innocent and have merit as in this case - there is no need for misogynistic crap in this day and age, yet the results of these sorts of incentives generally aren't a good thing for anyone.

If we focused on putting in place the resources that all people within our societies could enjoy a decent standard of life and have access to education and all our society can provide much of this sort of content would I reckon simply have no audience and thus not exist except perhaps on the very outter fringes of any art form.

This frightening creep to conservative values and the beginnings of a new era of authoritianism freaks me out and as a wiser person than I once said:

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Voltaire

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Will there be a US strike on Iran?

Let us hope not.
The US has been positioning itself for such a strike for a long time now... yet commonsense and logic would suggest that it would be a stupid thing to do.
That thought alone leaves one with a bad feeling... the Bush regime specialises in dumb moves.
I keep seeing the date September 21st in articles relating to such a event - hold tight!
Please give peace a chance ya war mongers!




Monday, September 03, 2007

Springtime

My Favourite season!
Warmer days but still a slight chill to the air


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Has it come to this?

People speaking Arabic stops plane
5:15AM Saturday September 01, 2007

All passengers on an American Airlines flight from San Diego to Chicago were ordered off the plane, after passengers complained of hearing a group of Arabic-speaking Iraqi men.

The Iraqis were questioned by police but released. All of the passengers had to stay overnight.

NZ Herald

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The modern world is surreal

The media is silent, Congress is absent, and Americans are distracted as George W. Bush openly prepares aggression against Iran.

US Navy aircraft carrier strike forces are deployed off Iran.

US Air Force jets and missile systems are deployed in bases in countries bordering or near to Iran.

US B-2 stealth bombers have been refitted to carry 30,000 pound “bunker buster” bombs.

The US government is financing terrorist and separatist groups within Iran.

US Special Forces teams are conducting terrorist operations inside Iran.

US war doctrine has been altered to permit first strike nuclear attack on Iran and other non-nuclear countries.

Bush’s war threats against Iran have intensified during the course of this year. The American people are being fed a repeat of the lies used to justify naked aggression against Iraq.

Bush is too self-righteous to see the dark humor in his denunciations of Iran for threatening “the security of nations everywhere” and of the Iraqi resistance for “a vision that rejects tolerance, crushes all dissent, and justifies the murder of innocent men, women, and children in the pursuit of political power.” Those are precisely the words that most of the world applies to Bush and his Brownshirt administration. The Pew Foundation’s world polls show that despite all the American and Israeli propaganda against Iran, the US and Israel are regarded as no less threats to world stability than demonized Iran.

Bush has discarded habeas corpus and the Geneva Conventions, justified torture and secret trials, damned critics as anti-American, and is responsible, according to Information Clearing House, for over one million deaths of Iraqi civilians, which puts Bush high on the list of mass murderers of all time. The vast majority of “kills” by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan are civilians.

Now Bush wants to murder more. We have to kill Iranians “over there,” Bush says, “before they come over here.” There is no possibility that Iranians or any Muslims who have no air force, no navy, no modern military technology are going to “come over here,” and no indication that they plan to do so. The Muslims are disunited and have been for centuries. That is what makes them vulnerable to colonial rule. If Muslims were united, the US would already have lost its army in Iraq. Indeed, it would not have been able to put an army in Iraq.

Meanwhile the US media focuses on whether Republican Senator Larry Craig is a homosexual or has offended gays by denying to be one of them. The run-up for the public’s attention is why a South Carolina beauty queen cannot answer a simple question about why her generation is unable to find the United States on a map.

.... The War Criminal in the Living Room by By Paul Craig Roberts

We've not learnt a thing in the past hundred plus years

Meanwhile back in New Zealand we smuggly laugh at the bimbo American and wonder why our standard of living keeps dropping and what the hell is happening to all them finance companies

Perhaps if the media gave a shit they might try and explain it all, or at least pro-offer some opinions that actually looked past the superficial