Sunday, March 21, 2010

Out of synch

On Friday I went out and about in the hip area of Montreal, where I had some time to kill before meeting up with my girl. So, as is my habit, I went browsing a couple of places, just to see if I could stumble upon a nice deal.

It was a dead end all over. Its a weird feeling when you look at items that not that long ago you'd have dished out some cash for, you have them in your hand, you dont exactly have a problem with the price, but the thought that comes to mind is, I cant be bothered.

The selection does not attract me. I have actually fallen off the band wagon a little while back. Its becoming quite a bit more difficult to buy albums, because I have been out of stream for long enough that I dont know any of the new bands. And that's not mentioning the old ones who have not only fallen off the wayside, but actually seem to revel in their state and seem to spend more time digging their fetid pit than realizing that they're in one.

And its not just music; just walking about, I see all these people go by and I quite simply cant relate to them. While normally, the spring weather brings out the more revealing outfits and let the females of the species set off ocular beacons for the male members, if there were any, I didn't notice. I actually stopped noticing a while back. I cant say that current fashion trends help at all.

One of the things I've been splurging on (besides foods) has been books. Tho cookbooks certainly normally make a good half of my purchasing attention, I've been picking up some fiction lately; some Pratchett, because we haven't read all the Diskworld novels yet, but also, I've returned to my old stomping grounds and picked up several novels of Dungeons and Dragons; I wanted to return to my old ways, feel the old magic... but the magic's gone.

Its sad when you get right down to it. Dungeons and Dragons is certainly an influence, and was a motivation, for getting into writing. I'll freely admit that much of what I did write has more to do with heroic fantasy fiction than anything modern or scifi. Its my ballgame I guess. In a way, getting my hands on those books was a way to reconnect with the genre, but also somewhat scouting the field, to see what the "competition" was like. Er. Yeah. No. No no no no no. I cant say that I expected Howard to come out of his grave and write anew. But what the hell, guys?

See, D&D was purchased a while back by Hasbro, who saw money possibilities there, and has been trying to milk it since then. Which make sense, in a business way. But they are treating it just like any franchise, so its all about expanding the niche, getting the Playstation kids and selling more toys. That the novel are related to the product, I get it. But let me put it this way: I have been gaming for 20 years. I'm not through the second chapter yet and I feel the need to pull out the reference books to look up the creatures that are being put in. Also, I feel the need to pull out a baseball bat and take out my resentment on the writers, who are hired to pull out this shit.

I'm out of the spin, I cant connect. I've become an observer and I cant quite understand what the hell is going on. I feel the need for subtitles, just so that I can get some sort of frame of reference. But between you and me, I feel somewhat positive about the future.

Cause if that's the competition I'm up against, then bring it on, guys. Do your best.

And good luck.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Playlist for a wake (of sorts)

Last night I spun what is pretty much my last set for a while, and it was unforeseen; the night is winding down to its last few events, being replaced with some other weekly biz (no foul on the venue, but if you can bring in more paying customers as promised by the promoter, wouldn't you?) I wasn't scheduled to take part, but the officially listed DJ asked me to spin with him, a very nice and generous offer, I must say, and how could I say no? I quickly tossed together a book (as I had taken my bible apart a few days before), but I used somewhat different selections, going for less folksy stuff and more... abrasive material.

part 1

der blutharsh - untitled
laybach - propaganda
chapelle nitrique - lesson 4
cyclotomia - nwo
swans - stupid child
jarboe - shiva could not be defeated by any m
an or god, anywhere

part 2

sanctum - lets eat!
die form - spiral 1
genevieve pasquier - order of thoughts
pimentola -  sairaus ryomii silmistasi sisaan 2

the set ended up starting later than expected, because the venue was showing some doc on SNFU (and the frontman was in the audience...) later than expected, so we were delayed about, oh, an hour. And the official DJ, who normally either spins from a laptop, or burns CDs suffered a technological setback as his machine decided that life wasn't worth living anymore, so I ended up getting most of the airtime. As an extra irony, this was one of the largest attendance this night; I guess that the whole "not EBM/hard electro" thing just isn't that cool with the kids. Meh, doesn't change a thing for me. I'm just happy that I got to spin, and even more, I spun one of my own creation (which highlighted how much I need to work on the whole editing/processing thing in the future), and a few pieces that had gotten left by the wayside due to this or that.

Would I spin again? Sure. I like it. Is it likely that I'll have the opportunity in the foreseeable future?

Very unlikely. I'm just not part of the cool set, mate.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Of pitchforks and bullhorns

The yearly Anti Police Brutality demo just went by outside. Mostly street punks, but more than just the locals, so probably patched up with out-of-towners. Bunch of kids that look like university students, probably kids who think that they are politically enlightened, but most likely, deluded. There were some older guys, but they were few and far between. I'd say that the median age is about 21, at best. I'd say that the average outfit would cost about $20, if it weren't for the sheer amount of studded belts and band patches. Generally grubby, "street" look. There were several kids wearing some sort of face masks, probably to "hide" their identities. Several Black Block wannabes. Several wannabe anarchists.

I'm fine with speaking out against abuse; I'm fine with pointing out bullies; I'm fine with targeting global chain outlets for political statements. What this was, however, is a bunch of teens who haven't really got any sort of plan, pounding the asphalt thinking that they are righteous in their "liberty" of thought. Of course, the fact that they go out of their way to get in people's faces, actually challenging people to mess with them... well, how can they rightfully complain afterwards if they get their asses kicked? You walk around broadcasting aggression 24/7, how can you be surprised that some people, who pack the sort of power that allows them to get away with it, will gladly beat the shit out of you, with a broad smile on their face?

If I were to define myself politically, am an anarchist by sympathy; those kids may call themselves anarchist, but that's just a cool label. In fact, what they are is troublemakers, and even more, teenagers that refuse to grow up. They just dont get it, because they dont think, and they are completely unable to see any issue from multiple points of view. They are unable to make any sort of meaningful contact with other groups, because they lack any sort of actual human empathy; they can only link up according to their limited, but profoundly anchored ideology. They are the exact same crop as the KKK and other extreme groups, just with a somewhat different label.

Overall, fail.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Trick question.

You want to set yourself an interesting challenge? Get nine guitars; then figure out the most effective way to store them in a way that leave them accessible and keeps the whole setup easily movable, yet stable. Take into consideration that you're going to be dealing with different types of guitars, of different sizes and shapes, from a mini concert to a hollow body electric and possibly a bass.

Oh, and you are on a limited budget.

Getting creative yet?

Thursday, March 11, 2010


If you'd have asked me a year ago if I were likely to change my tech for something up to date, and whether it'd change my behaviors, I'd have laughed at you.

And now, here I am, looking at my new phone and my first ever charges for text messenging, as I've busted the plan limit; trying to figure out whether I'm going to keep this little guy (which overall works just fine), or whether I'll take advantage to my trial period to upgrade to a smartphone (damn you bells and whistles!)

And here I am, typing away on a netbook, while preparing to sell off my desktop, to be replaced by an external memory drive, flat screen and possibly two new small computers, possibly two netbooks, all in a wireless network for the new home.

Damn nabbit, I'm becoming a tech junky, and all that thanks to a truck door strike of lifestyle inspiration...

Its all about timing, really

A few weeks ago, I had determined that I would be leaving this apartment, and neighborhood, for a much nicer, quieter, less commercial, and overall, better area. Leaving this place would imply a higher rent, but that would pretty much be the case wherever we went, especially given the cost to space ratio. This place now is still livable, its the neighborhood that's basically a pit in the process of gentrification.

For those who dont know how that process feels like, or aren't familiar with the area, let me give you a brief description: this is an area that was for a long time one of the armpits of the city, a cheap hood where blue collar families and welfare dynasties mixed up with crack whores and street punks; so basically, fairly lively and colorful, if you dont mind tar as a color scheme. With the real estate boom, some years back, this became a sought after area for developers, as the land cost was still pretty low, so condos have been popping up with a discomforting regularity. As the condos build up, the new tenants moved in: students, young professionals, young families and gays who ended up being excluded from the close-by gay area due to costs and lack of space. these fine folks mix in with the remaining locals, tho many are being pushed out, due to rent increase and just general property value, tho some left because they were "no longer welcome" in the area, like the skinheads. So gentrification has its good points. But also its bad, with awful buildings, pseudo city parks set up to try and discourage the low-rent locals from gathering there, and pretentious and chichi boutiques setting up shop to cater to the new kids.

But that is not the point. We put some math down and looked at the numbers, and it'd be conceivable that we move out on our current means, if a bit tightly. Given last year's events, being tight for a more extended period of time might not be the best game plan. So I came up with a solution: take a small loan. I've done it before, might even do it again, and it'd have taken care of the unknowns and our needs for the coming months.

But I was refused. And will continue to be refused unless I clear up my credit for a good six months solid. Which means that I'm renewing the lease, if only to find a way out of it later.

So what's this thing about timing then?

The thing is that, in hindsight, and hindsight being so great and all, that I had the potential to have dealt with this a few months back, when I got my insurance payments. Had I planned then, this matter would have been resolved at the source and I'd be packing boxes already. But then, I wasn't thinking of moving, not really. The thought wasn't in the headlines, so to speak, so that planning didn't happen.

But I'm not bitching about the past, its just not my style; its like focusing on problems instead of solutions. So instead of saying "if I knew then...", I'm looking at the opportunities that present themselves: we can start strengthening our finances; do the furniture upgrades that were going to take place in the move anyways; finish the clutter purge at a more leisurely pace; and feel less pressure to finding a new place, and settling on whatever is available now, and find something that is much more according to our needs and can fit our upgraded lifestyle, which we are still defining.

Getting old is when any sort of difficulty becomes a problem; youth is when those difficulties are tuned into challenges, and those challenges become a creative impetus. Yes, its possible to turn back time, if you put your mind to it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Its like avatar, just not by Cameron

I'm not saying that web designers are awesome; I'm not saying that they're not. Most likely, the problem lies more with the client, who knows shit about design and will dictate the most horrible shite for the designer to put up as a web page.

Anyways, I'm not a web designer. Far from it. I am trying to cobble up a site for myself (and others), and decided to cut the middle man a design my own shite. That way, I am wholly responsible for all the flaws, and the awesomeness, no matter how accidental.

The setting up is not that hard, really. A bit of googling will find you several shareware options to get the progging work out of the way, so all you've got to do is download a few, install and give them a test drive and see what feels comfortable. That's not a problem so far, especially since that the prog I'm using has this neat little function opening the page you're working on in your browser, so that you can see what everybody can see.

The problem I have is more... hardware related. That is, its a limitation of the screen I work on, the built-in rectangle of the netbook. I love my netbook, but its really not designed for that kind of work. Its not that big of a deal, really, as I can always plug in a regular screen and work that way (I have yet to try that out, but I will have to eventually.)

Well, I can go on and blame the screen for my slow progress, but the other is even more immaterial, really. While I have a base idea as to what its about, and what it'll sorta look like, now I have to make that a reality. And being the creative control freak that I am, I have to use next to nothing but original work. I could just browse the web and use pics and art as is, but for many a reason, some legal, some otherwise, I just cant use that sort of stuff. It doesn't feel right. For one thing, the intent just isn't there.

So more plodding around is required. No big deal, as there's no real deadline to have this going, and its not like I dont have several other things demanding my attention.

I am ignoring them. But then again, I am ignoring too many things. Besides updating my facebook...

Monday, March 1, 2010


What is the worst of all questions that can be (and will be) asked at any job interview?

So, tell us about yourself.

What the hell are you supposed to answer? In the case of a job interview, its a bloody pit trap. You have to guess what answers the interviewer is looking for, as they sure as hell ain't going to give you any clues; its a competition after all. Too much, or too little will sink your chances, as will being way off the mark. And why the hell are they asking this anyways? Its not a date, for fuck's sake.

Now, take this question to different context; imagine that you are the interviewer and you're interviewing yourself; what do you answer? What do you put into your bio, which would make you interesting, what details do you highlight, which do you leave out, how truthful are you willing to be?

The more honest you are, the least likely you are to find yourself interesting. Most likely, you'll feel that you haven't done quite that much that's interesting, or worth talking about. It gets even worse when the goal is to interest the reader enough to make the leap and actually take a peek at your output, perhaps even enough to inquire about some financial deal, like buying a copy.

How honest are you going to get? What makes you fascinating?