Archive for June, 2006

Changing tastes

Saturday, June 17th, 2006

So today I wound up in fopp again and – just like last time – I felt compelled to buy a copy of the CD they were playing. I hate that. It’s like they know the music I like and intentionally play it or something (or they just have a good set of demographics for the time of day that I go into the store). Anyway, it made me think how much my musical taste has changed over the last few years even. I could say it’s part of growing up, but I’d prefer to say that it’s a factor of being exposed to more varied music and figuring out what my tastes really are. I’ve always liked this stuff, I just never expressed it in quite the way that I do now. Here’s an alphabetical list of CDs I bought this week:

  • Boards Of Canada – Trans Canada Highway
  • The Clash – London Calling
  • Eurythmics – Ultimate Collection
  • The Human League – The Best Of
  • New Order – Singles (2005)

I need more good 80s music (yes, it does exist) and I need to find a good 80s style cub in downtown Manhattan sometime and really go crazy. Failing that, I’ll just buy more of this stuff and pine after that quasi-existent existance that was the 1980s you see stereotyped in movies from that era. Meanwhile, right now, I’ve got “True Faith” on loop, some maple tea, and a lot to write.


Foreign donations

Saturday, June 17th, 2006

I’d like to give money to help bolster the Democrats in removing Republicans from office, but I’m very confused about the legal position of donating as a foreign national. From what I’ve read, you need to be a US citizen or a permanent resident for this – is that actually true? If it is, are there any groups I can legally financially support who actively work to support the work of Democrat representivies? I’m not looking for volunteers to funnel money through – I’m interested in lawful ways for non-citizens to help effect useful change.

Advice welcome.


No spin zone

Tuesday, June 13th, 2006

I’ve added Bill O’Reilly and his “O’Reilly Factor” to my list of dangerously negative media coming out of the United States. For those who don’t follow US happenings, Bill runs a nightly show on Fox called the “O’Reilly Factor”, which he claims is spin free. It’s also hosted on Fox, which claims to be “fair and balanced”.

Listening to this guy, it’s very clear where he stands. While he reads out mails from readers around the world, some of which go against his politics, he’ll always come back with a Republican answer to the points raised. Mention the number of troops who’ve died in Iraq? He’ll talk about the reasons retrospectively given by the administration for the invasion. Talk about media coverage? He accused the BBC recently of being anti-American. And he’s fallen into the trap of believing everything that’s made in the US is of high quality. Actually that’s a worrying xenophobic viewpoint that keeps the US from innovating in the wider world.

After watching the “O’Reilly Factor” and various other content on Fox, I’ve decided that the greatest thing a US billionaire could do would be to invest in a national NPR-style television network with high quality content, mixed in with general shit about pointless crap (so the average person is interested in watching it too). Thank goodness for BBC America, ABC, NPR and a few other bastions of high quality news over there. Nevertheless, millions of people in the US have no idea what they’re missing and that is truly very shocking to me indeed.


United 93

Saturday, June 10th, 2006

So, I went to see the first in a series of movies coming out this summer that they made about the 9/11 attacks. Initially, I was opposed to the idea of making movies about the attacks, but it was inevitable that they would and curiousity got the better of me. I was glad that I did because this was very well put together and helped to put the events into perspective. If you’re got over 4000 planes over the US on a September morning, it takes a lot of work to figure out when you’re under a co-ordinated attack and track down the bad guys. They didn’t have enough time or resources to do this properly – and I doubt they do now (since it’s not glamerous enough in the “war on terror”).

“United 93″ is more of a documentary than an action movie and wasn’t over dramaticized either, which is a good thing. In fact, it was a very good movie, though it did seem to be based purely on the official 9/11 report – I guess that’s better than sticking in a few conspiracy theories or something. The movie shows how these Islamic extremists took over various planes and the FAA response to each of the hijackings, obviously with a focus on United 93 (the only plane to miss its target). The heart wrenching bits are how well the movie portrays the people caught up in the hijackings as just ordinary people trying to get home/to work/wherever. The people on those planes weren’t making US foreign policy or trying to alter the lives of those who blew them up, they were purely innocent bystanders that served as an easy target. That’s what makes it all the more shocking.

As I watched the movie, I reminded myself how damaging religion can be in the world today. I’m aware that religion helps many people get through their lives, but the fact remains that you’re very unlikely to see atheists going around blowing up planes and crashing them into buildings. Only someone who believes in an eternal reward for their actions is going to consider doing something like that. Too much fighting takes place around the world every day for extremely stupid reasons.



Thursday, June 8th, 2006

So I have a few invites kicking around for friends to join the hoardes on mugshot. If you’re interested in checking it out, drop me an email and I’ll hook you up.

Give it chance. It’s a new service, there are kinks to iron out and the UI is still under development. I am so far finding it pretty useful as a way of bouncing links around with friends and colleagues, though the ppc build that I did isn’t all too stable yet (we think it’s actually something else on this rawhide laptop that is unstable…). My nick on mugshot is (I hope that’s obvious enough for a human non-spambot to figure out).


World Cup – I’m in two minds about it

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006

Addendum: I’ve changed “UK” to “England” in two places here, because commentors are right that I’m talking about the England entry into the World Cup. My points however were more generic than simply the England football team.

I’m not finally decided on my views on this year’s World Cup. I think my views on football (soccer) itself are pretty clear – that in the UK it’s largely polluted by a contingent of troublemakers who travel around and give this country the bad name that it’s earned around the world as a result (actually in very specific parts of Europe where these people go for their troublemaking). It’s a game that fuels the supermarket tabloids and generally doesn’t do it for me at all. However, I’m in two minds about the cup. Here’s the conflicting thought process:

  • Part of me would love for the England team to lose as quickly as possible. This would reduce the number of nutticisms going on all around me, calm the flag waving nuts just a little and bring back some variety to TV programming over the coming weeks. But it probably would do nothing to stop endless debate about small bones in the human foot.
  • Part of me would love for the England team to go all the way and win. This would keep football supporters occupied elsewhere and reduce the chances that I’ll see so many going on drunken binge trips to mainland Europe on the weekend. Winning this time around would remove the interest in football during the 1960s and perhaps bring a sense of reality to many people.

If only people were as interested in world politics as they are in the tiny bones in some pointless footballer’s pointless foot. Just think what would happen if “The Sun”, “The Daily Sport” or one of these other disturbingly pointless newspapers would devote some time to serious issues on that backpage real estate. Just think what would happen if Sky weren’t so sexist in their advertising (“here’s the crap that’s left while the boys are out watching the football” – see their advertisements for more examples). Oh, what a place the UK could be without the “footie”.

There. I dislike football. But you knew that already.


America, Fuck Yeah!

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

Currently listening to: Team America – World Police (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) – America, Fuck Yeah!

I like this track enough to have spent two hours the other evening in reconfiguring/building SharpMusique, DeDRMS and various other tools to allow me to actually play the track that I had bought on my Linux workstation, before figuring they had actually rebroken their DRM in iTunes 6.blah. No, it wasn’t my machines. Finally, after I’d played spot the latest Apple annoyance, I just got pissed off with iTunes broken skippy, poppy audio functionality under CrossOver and decided to buy the album mail order instead. Well done, Apple, you’ve made your DRM – Digital anal-probing Rights Munching – so absolutely crap I’d rather just buy CDs that I can encode and actually play back somewhere…

Remind me, aren’t we in the 21st century? We were supposed to have flying cars by now and world happiness, but instead we can’t even play music we’ve paid for. I guess it’s just a shame we’re not products of the Canadian schooling system or we’d have been brainwashed by the RIAA from an early age to just accept a world without music. Just think, we live in a world where Russia will have a tough time joining the WTO because it plays host nation to an mp3 filesharing website – let’s just remember who’s really running the show. Now go pay the RIAA for those unpure thoughts and the oxygen you’ve used while you’ve read this. Oh to have a few billion dollars and infinate time to bankrupt repressive arseholes everywhere.