Apple iTunes Music Store tops 1 million in video sales
. Well, Steve Jobs states the obvious:
"Selling 1 million videos in less than 20 days strongly suggests there is a market for legal video downloads,"
Well nerr ner ner, no kidding. This may be just an excited bulge resulting from hype but I suspect people like the idea of videos on their iPod and they be comin' back fer more. Key here is the uptake of outside content - ABC's "Lost" for example. If Apple can continue to sign up more content providers I don't see this slowing down too soon. Of course, the questions to be answered are how much the SAG will put up with this - they want their cuts too, those greedy actors -joke.
On top of this, TVHarmony.com even has a new version of their software that can convert "TiVo-recorded shows into iPod video compatible format
. This sort of thing may still be for the technically savvy but it's only a matter of time.
Along another vein, a slashdot post recently asked Can iTunes Resurrect Old Time TV?
- referencing the boom of old-time radio available on the internet as 'proof of concept'. My take? Maybe you can't get someone to buy Dragnet for $50 in the store but if you can get some insomniac surfing the iTMS at 1am in the morning and they see their favourite show from childhood, I think the nostalgia could kick in enough for people to cough up a dollar or two.
So where is it all going? Is the subscription model dead? I can only presume companies will continue to flog any dead horse that might once have been their beast of burden and this is what makes giant companies go belly up like a fish flushed down the sewer. We'll have to wait and see, but I will leave you with this little piece of math:
One show a day: $1
30 days / month: $30
Not enough? How about two or three hours of video a day?
$90? Still sounds cheaper than some people's cable bill.
Oh yah, one last thing: our favourite monopoly may be back, Ma Bell: Verizon Communications' purchase of MCI and SBC Communications' acquisition of AT&T has been approved unanimously by the FCC
[The FCC] voted to clear the deals after days of negotiations over conditions.
...consumer advocates warned that SBC and Verizon's acquisitions would suffocate competition for customers, lead to higher prices and poorer service.
"Approval of these mergers undermines more than 20 years of efforts to introduce competition into the residential local and long distance telecommunications market," said Gene Kimmelman, senior director of public policy for Consumers Union.
Nevertheless, competitor Qwest seems to have kow-towed to the FCC:
[Qwest] had urged the FCC to set tougher conditions on the acquisitions, such as asset sales and price controls.
"It appears that the FCC has imposed critical protections that will prevent the two mega-firms from increasing the prices or decreasing the quality of essential services they provide to competitors," Qwest said in a statement.
Ah, I have to post this even if I missed the jump on this. Bush and the monkey's who love him
.. or, at least, the ones that can mimic his faces ( or is he mimicing them.. hmm )
Here's a sneak preview:
Lost and now found: Old camera film finally processed
. Kinda creepy.
It's fall, and it's finally here to stay
Sam thought as he sat in his white cubicle looking out at the blustery weather on the front quad. Everything seemed so crisp out there, the bright red leaves, the small fish pond, even the street looked like it might crackle if you stepped on it. Not like in here
he thought. The white walls were bright and shiny but somehow very uncrisp. Soft, almost, in their halo glow. The special lights installed 15 feet above him splashed warm light on everything, from every angle, so that there were no shadows. It kept people "more alert" they said.
He sat at a small desk, or stand, whathaveyou. It didn't have a drawer or a place to write or even a small space to jot down a note on a post-it pad. There were no post-it pads. Instead, he just looked at his computer and thought don't forget milk on the way home
. It was a joke. A practice in comedy. There was no milk to get on the way home because it came right to his glass through the food delivery pipe in his kitchen.. or, room where the food came out anyway. What was
a kitchen anymore, really?
He didn't cook any more than the rest of the people in his office. That was left up to others who were professionally trained on large pieces of stainless steel and plastic machines that emitted electron beams, plasmisized sugar, cranked out microwaves; whatever it took to make the most perfect, wonderful, exactly normal
apple strudel you've ever seen. The same exact one. Every. Time.
This was modern living, they told you. Sterilized and perfectly pretty in all it's mundane glory. Outside the red leaves rustled silently in the wind. The thick plastic window panes kept every last sound outside. Sam listened intently. He heard nothing. For a brief moment he cocked his head, ever so slightly, aiming to catch the sound-canceller off guard, trying to hear the whir of the air purifiers for the first time in months. Damn
. He cursed to himself inside his head (at least he could hear that). There was so much pink, white, black, and purple noise being churned out from the very pores in the walls that nothing made a sound. If a pin dropped, the noise was detected before it had a chance to travel to your ears and negative waves would rush out of every corner, every surface, and combat the sound in a tiny and invisible battle right there in front of you. When Sam scratched his beard (not regulation) even that was a futile attempt at hearing or feeling something
- but there was nothing. Just the dull touch of inanimate object to inanimate object - he knew
he was touching his face, could see that he was touching his face, even sensed
in his mind that he was touching his face but - he could not feel
himself touching his face.Clean the account area with number scrubbers
he thought, sadly. He was so bored. Check each figure against the projected budget numbers in sequence one
. He didn't even have to think of the number "1" anymore, like in the old days. The computer was that smart. Then check sequence two and plot a four dimensional graph against the sets; look for irregularities
Somewhere, electrons travelled about, a computer beeped, chirped, chugged. He was sure of it. Nevertheless, his cubicle was darkly silent. The idea was that senses tended to muddle the brain, tended to confuse things, and disrupt the carefully balanced connections they had with their computers. They had even tried to blind them for awhile but people got sick and refused to do their work. So far it was just sound, taste and touch. Smell was reserved for diagnosis and monitoring, which was why he could smell an acrid but sweet smell in his nostrils: the computer was continuely failing to replace it's code with better, more optimized versions, but it was still doing it's job. The sweet told him that; it was still functioning. I'm still doing my job..
he thought. The computer smelled sweeter. Yes, I am
it seemed to reply. The pungent bitterness was annoying, though, so he thought of a number of solutions. Allot more memory and processing power to your genetic-advancement substrate
he considered, but no.. that was what he would have told it in the old days. Instead, he just thought Optimize better, you dumb bucket of bolts
. Computers were slowly taking his job away from him, becoming better and better at doing what he always did best - being a computer keeper.
Instantly, his nose tickled and he could sense a bitter smell, strong, like it filled the whole room. Calm down, I'm joking
. The computer was getting offended. HE was getting offended. Damn machine
he thought carefully; there was only one place he could think in his mind and not be heard and he had to protect it very dillegently. A simple slip up would reveal the place to the machines and from then on out they'd be with him every step of the way. The thought of it was numbing. STOP
. He cringed. He knew thinking about how horrible it would be if they found his secret spot was dangerous. It could lead them directly to it like a trail of breadcrumbs. They would creep along the forest of his brain, following the path of neurons that stank of human
, and eventually find his little cottage in a glade. They'd knock politely on the door - they were infuriating in their politeness - and then they would break down the door and tear through the small cabin, down the earthen stairs into the basement - the dungeon, really - where they would find him sitting in his old wooden rocking chair smoking a pipe. He'd look up at them, see their faceless expressions, and know the game was up. They would look around and see the tools of bondage, the straps and tie-downs, the shackles and chains, that he had employed all this time in their control. They would be furious. They would no longer be polite.
The computer sensed his apology and removed it's pungent complaint. It returned to it's number crunching, spinning out a beautiful and colorful graph above and beyond what was asked for. Like an old textile loom it spit out, line by line, inch by inch, row by row, a better representation of the ideas that Sam had already had. It just did it better.
Out of the blue, Sam sat bolt upright. He saw the computer busily working away at it's many matrices and he thought, This is it
. He quickly rammed his forefinger up into his right nostril and began digging arond. He pushed further, until he felt he could feel his fingernail poking at his brain stem. There was a small nub there and he scratched at it nervously. His heart was beating fast now, and he could know
himself sweating - he couldn't feel himself sweating, of course, because the air purifiers kept him as dry as a box of chaulk and his sense of touch was muted to the point of nothingness, but he knew he was sweating. Only a few seconds left
he thought. He continued to scratch furiously at the nub inside his nose passage. It started to come loose.
When it finally broke free he dragged it down the inside of his nostril with his one fingernail, scrapping it along the dry mucus-free walls. When he reached the opening, he stuck his thumb and forefinger together and pinched the small nub between them, and then yanked quickly down. He felt a a weird sensation in the back of his head like someone was pulling a piece of twine through it. He shuddered. When he looked down, he saw a tiny wire running from his nose down to the nub in his hand. He examined it carefully.
"Odors, Inc." was printed every few centimeters along the green plastic-coated wire. He took the length of it - one hand up by his nose and the other holding fast to the small nub at the other end - and yanked as hard as he could. The plastic just slipped in his hands. He re-adjusted his grip and then wrapped it twice around each hand, securing it tightly. He yanked again with all of his strength and the wire split down the middle, the green plastic tearing down the wire, around and around, in a spiral. He could see tiny threads inside the green plastic - not metal
but not clothe or plastic either. He yanked one last time, completely severing the connection.
Without a thought in his mind he stood up and grabbed his chair out from under himself. He grasped the back and pulled it back over his right shoulder, high up, and brought it crashing down, silently, against the thick plastic window of his cubicle. He paused only briefly, somehow amazed at the sound-cancellers ability to negate such a large explosion of soundwaves, but also non-plussed and unsurprised. He then returned to his work, smashing the chair over and over against the tall thick plastic of his mind. He pounded and pounded against the window. Each time the chair bouncing off in a sharp repercussion. His arms ached. He kept throwing his entire weight behind the chair, using a sharp leg end as the point of contact, aiming directly at the same spot each time. Eventually, after an hour, he saw a small scar in the clear, hard substance. He smiled and banged the chair harder. With every muscle in his body he smashed himself against the boundary that kept him from himself, kept him from the outside world, kept him inside, institutionalized, white, and mind-numbingly bored.
After ten hours, when his shift was up and everyone else had left their cubicles, they came and got him. Three of them approached from behind and grabbed his two arms, one of them removing the chair from his tightly-wrapped red blood-infused fingers. Immediately, he fell to the floor and curled up - despite their best efforts - into a small fetal ball. They pulled at his arms and legs, trying to untangle him, but he held fast and stiff, completely within himself. As they dragged him away down a white corridor he noted two things: First, the completely white and soft glow of the white white floors completely uniform along the whole surface, not a crack or rivet or nail or split in sight.. and second, that it was the first true thought
he had had in close on ten hours.
The second thought made him smile.
As a syanora to that venerable old email address email@example.com
, a picture of the jacket (or a jacket like it) that created you in the first place. You'll be missed. For those who do not know I've moved on to:
b.r.i.t.c.o.a.l @ y.a.h.o.o...c.o.m
(minus all those silly periods, of course)
The Iraqi conflict, started in March 2003 (~19 months) has officially claimed a US military death toll of 2,000
In other news, 36,000 people die in the United States every year from the common flu
Apple opened an Australian branch of it's iTunes Music Store
on Monday but, like in Japan, they couldn't get Sony BMG to participate. The price of songs is set at AU$1.69 (US$1.28), 29 US cents above the asking price of songs at the U.S. iTMStore. That's about a 29% premium... I guess that makes sense, considering the additional cost Apple incurs having to ship all those 1's and 0's down-under (joke).
White House sends Cease-and-Desist letter to The Onion
According to an article in the New York Times The White House sent the online paper a cease-and-desist letter, demanding that it remove images of the White House seal from its Web site.
The Onion used the images in a regular parody of President Bush's weekly radio address.
Lawyers for the administration noted that U.S. Code forbids the use of the seal "in connection with commercial ventures or products in any way that suggests presidential support or endorsement."
In Slashdot's post
on the matter they quip: The only joke here is that our tax dollars are being spent on this.
I know it's been sparse around here lately. I know I've been slacking. The last few days here has mimiced the collective experience of a group of 3rd graders watching an old oil painting. It's been a ghost town of sleepy-lazy tumble-weed posts about optic tricks, for fuck's sake.
And I apologize. We can't all be on the ball all the time. Sometimes it's gotta be left alone to roll and bounce by itself.. it's what gives us silly pseudo-artsy films of old men watching child-like objects from their past act, seemingly, on their own. Mix man with boy, add [digital
] camera, morph ball to plastic grovery bag: voila, an Oscar winning movie of amazing beauty.. no no, not just amazing beauty; American Beauty.
I guess what I'm saying is you can't talk all the time. You can try, and people will
give credit for it, but that's not necessarily the sort of credit you want to get. Believe me.
So now that my lips have been silent and sealed on matters of introspective thought for a few days I am struggling, like an insect in it's cocoon, to stretch out my mind's arms and legs. Eager to bounce around on all six appendages.
Process: sweep the ether waves of 1's and 0's for pertinent or interesting news bites. Look for the truth between the lines of hype. Evaluate different avenues of attack and then - flinch
- stare briefly at the banner-ad exclaiming "Q: Which State has the longest coastline? - Test your IQ for free @ Tickle your brain". Fight fight that nasty urge in the back of the brain saying click on the little icon of Alaska
because it's so goddamned obvious it hurts, like Neo being plugged into the Matrix for the first time.
GAH! So fucking OBVIOUS.
It's almost enough energy to wire the body into standing straight up out of my seat - lurch-like, zombified - and stumble to the first person in site. Stop. Stare. PUNCH their lights out.Ouch! Why Women Feel More
Women have more nerve receptors, which causes them to feel pain more intensely than men, according to a report in the October issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
On average, women have 34 nerve fibers per square centimeter of facial skin. Men average just 17.
"This study has serious implications about how we treat women after surgery as well as women who experience chronic pain," said Bradon Wilhelmi, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and author of the study.
I fight the feeling of hopelessness, and read another letter-to-the-editor about truth in journalism pretending as if it will
make a difference. Over my shoulder: "Maybe they feel more but maybe
they can handle it better than us because
they feel more and are therefore more used to it?" So be it. Write it up. Call it truth. As good as words on a piece of low-cost newspulp - because, why not?
Honestly, it's all Greek to me. What these words are trying to say, what they're telling me to do: How many of what product I should buy. I can't understand them, not the way I see normal people on the street understanding them. My comprehension level is basic, like a child's view of the world. I see squares and circles, I see light, dark, and funny books of thin grey paper riddled with tiny little symbols on them. They call them "words" but I know better. They are letters and it is these unassuming symbols - featherweight - that make up the heavy words.Of the richest men of all time, Andrew Carnegie
"My heart is in the work... the duty of the man of wealth... is to set an example of modest unostentatious living, shunning display; to provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent upon him; and, after doing so, to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds which he is strictly bound as a matter of duty to administer in the manner which, in his judgment, is best calculated to produce the most beneficial results for the community."
Yes, moderately and
legitimately. These are the watch-words of our time, the ethos of the people.
Call it what you will but news was one of the main traditionals left but now it's named for exactly what it is: media
. It's pulp. It's consumable pieces. It is marring the line between product and service so much you aren't sure what you're paying for; the paper, the words, or the fact that they come together to form sentences? Nevermind the intellect (ha!) - computer programs can form proper sentences. Is it the information
in those sentences? I think a long time ago in some land somewhere, town cryers yelling out death notices, it was. But then a little sarcasm here, a little slight there, and pretty soon you have yourself a competitve product. The service - cold, hard, measurable delivery avenues - falls off the business model's pie chart and soon it is the product - flawed and broken due to labour cuts and cost-cutting on the factory floor - that they are selling. No longer are they just in the business of delivery
. They're responsible for an actual real product now.
Would you let your phone company produce your telephone conversations for you? Not just the delivery but the actual content?
Your mother says hi. She is worried you're not eating enough. Please tell your father to fix the garage door, he won't fix the garage door, I wish he would fix the garage door. The Anderson's moved out. Went to Florida.
Quiet frankly, I don't think they know what they are doing. They've taken the entertainment model and slapped a new name on it. They call it information services but it's not, it's information product. It's taking what little pieces of truth there is to tell and trumping it up into a big flashy story with characters, actors, set pieces, and backdrops. It's mixing and stirring the words up so much that I'm not sure what they mean anymore, all blurred and mashed together on the cheap thin grey pieces of paper. Next to them is a square box with a picture of a matress and some more jumbled symbols below. "50% off" it says. I cringe.
It's all Greek to me. I blame Heroditus.
Ow. Me brain hurts. Check it out regardless: the rotating pink balls mindfuck
. Or brain/eye fuck. Whatever. It's got green all over it.
I don't surf the blogosphere much. I rarely check out new blogs. I hardly ever read more than the three or four I read on a daily. Occasionally, I'll even go days without reading a single one.. which is probably the second reason why I don't have any readers - I'm really not much of a participatory kind of guy. I don't comment much, I barely ever link, and I still don't really know what those trackbacks are (I jest). Basically, I'm not so cut out for this type of viral-media, or whatever hip lingo you feel like using to describe it.
Nevertheless, in the little wandering I have done around town lately, I have been running across an inordinate amount of blog posts regarding catholic guilt and/or other extreme instances of self-questioning. It's like everyone thinks they have some amazing existensial piece of religion-philosophy fusion literature in them; a "God? Is that you?" in them.. or "What time is it really, God?" or even a snarky "God, turn the damn lights back on!"
Luckily, I'm semi-charmed so I don't have that problem. I've just spent my last few days wondering why some complete stranger changed my yahoo email password, instead. I've been pacing around wondering what they could possibly want with all those old emails - silly crap written to old girlfriends, party plans, directions to people's houses - what could they possibly want with this shit? It's a hassle, no doubt, but I call it semi-charmed cause in the end it's a walk in the park compared to some internal guilt mechanism that makes me feel bad for having sex before marriage.
The sort of books I have in me have little to do with God, religion, or genetic cloning. I like to avoid the big controversies since it's obvious nobody can agree on them - what's the point, really? The sort of book I think I might be able to write has a lot of wry humour in it, and some pumpernickle too. Dumb stories that go nowhere but leave you hanging, wanting more. Good thought-provokers that are just long enough to get you hooked and then leave you floating, alone, to make up your own stories in order to fill in the gaps. Interactive shorts that trick the mind into participating. Too much of life is watching other people live so I like to look inward and stretch the mind in the opposite direction as much as possible.
Course I'm not saying I have a book in me. I'm not saying I have anything worthwhile to say. I'm not saying anything, really. I'm Just typing words as they come to me, pushing little white buttons with letters on them repeatedly, until words and then sentences spill onto the screen in some sort of coherency. I don't really think that adds up to a book, in the end, but what do I know. A lot of crap gets published these days.
Then again I'd probably end up writing a heaping pile of steaming dogshit about some girl somewhere who broke my heart and how if only she saw the light I could solve world hunger with her love, bring world peace to everyone. A real page turner that would be. Maybe I could hire an illustrator.. some people read books for the pictures, right?
Here is a link to some cool NASA visualizations of this 2005 hurricane season
. Getting linked everywhere but I wanted a place-holder for it, in case I want to find it again.
So someone feels like standing up against Google - Ebay bans all payment processors except PayPal
eBay has revised its policies to only allow one online payment service, PayPal. This comes after speculation that Google is preparing a payment service.
But what that article doesn't mention (probably because most people know) is that PayPal is owned
by Ebay itself. So, no wonder they're a little miffed that Google might try to step on their toes. My favourite is the wording in their new policy:
“From time to time, as new payment services arise, eBay will evaluate them to determine whether they may present trust and safety concerns and are appropriate for the marketplace.”
Yah, right.. appropriate for their
marketplace. I shop on ebay every once in awhile like most red-blooded capitalists and they do offer the best deals on certain types of products, but the more they do shit like this the more I turn to classified markets such as Craig's List
On another note, when I get the time I'm going to sit down and do a rundown of all of Google's latest services just so we can see how fast this monolith is growing.
Talk about a time waster: YAFG (Yet another flash game) Gravity
.. and yeah, it's sorta fun.
Also, if you have a partner in crime trying to waste time (no, I wasn't trying to rhyme, it just comes out sometimes): GeoSense
is a two-player geography quiz sort of game that is awful and simple but oh-so-addictive.
From the AP - Experts Refute the benefits of Anti-Bacterial soap
. No kidding, gee what a surprise:
Antibacterial soaps and body washes in the household aren't any more effective in reducing illness than regular soap, and could potentially contribute to bacterial resistance to antibiotics, experts told a government advisory panel Thursday.
Good thing wes gots these here experts to do our thinkin' fer us, cause gee ma, that hadn't occurred to us before.
Also, I miss my combat boots.
Never fought in a war - not like that anyway
or killed anyone, though I've thought about it.
Hard not to when the killbox glows every night with pictures of guns and angry red-faced republicans doing the two-step double-speak.
So I've thought about it, sure. Maybe someday I could stick a knife in some poor fools neck and watch them bleed out onto the ground, dirt mixing with blood mixing with grass mixing with bugs, insects, centipedes. They have hundreds of legs I hear.
But in my foxhole, underneath the grass - looking up from the inside, seeing the roots hanging down - I know it's not in me. Fuckers could push me as hard as they want to,
I still feel bad when I step on an ant.
Once upon a time, quite awhile ago, I tried really hard. I put on my best clothes and I went out to the bar, met up with my people, and I put on a show. They all said "hey man, you're great. I appreciate what you're doing here." But honestly, it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. You can only try so hard before you reach a point - a y in the road - where you have to make a decision about the sort of man you want to be. It's these choices along the road that stone me and really smack me out of my reverie. These are the times you have to really give your full attention to or you'll find yourself on a lonely desolate stretch of highway and you won't know how you got there. You never know how you got there. People will tell you they do, that they ended up in the ditch they're in because so-and-so crossed them or such-and-such happened, the dice fell harshly for them, or it just wasn't their day
. But in the end - always - it's you're own ditch you're digging. Always. Sometimes you get to help someone else dig their ditch but when you come home at the end of the day there is still your own ditch to get working on.
Not everyone's a hobbiest, though, so some people take it to work with them. Or they take it to their friends, try to delegate and distribute the workload. It doesn't work that way. The dirt, the mud, you have to own it or it owns you. If you can't get comfortable in your own foxhole then where can you be comfortable? Only at the very bottom, when you can't possibly get any lower, hunkered down under your rain slick, in the bottomless pit of self, can you really learn who you are.
I'm no fate monger. I don't buy the theory of predestination. Yet there are some truths that you can dig for but it takes work. It takes effort and perseverance. You need to shovel past the lies and excuses, down past the layers of muck you've piled upon yourself, and just keep on digging. Somewhere, down there, is the truth; as honest as the day you were born.
Some people just aren't cut out for the truth. They know it and they leave the digging to others. They walk around on the surface as if all of life were a hershey kiss - obvious and clear in it's intentions, chocolate. Life is tricky like that; you can fool yourself if you're not careful. Everyone likes chocolate but it's a lie. Onions and gobstoppers, layers upon layers, this is reality. Gotta take the good with the bad, afterall; the bitter with the sweet.
Fun new Guinness Commercial
(.mov). That is all.
Well this is interesting.. 81% of the population feels they have a book inside them.
yet..58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.
42% of college graduates never read another book.
80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.
70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
- from Jerrold Jenkins
- via back in 4 seconds
To be thorough:
The McGill Daily's take on the Playboy party rating is here
A followup piece by the McGill Tribune is here
, with an interview of one of the girls in the shoot.CTV's McGill Playboy take is here
For some editorializing, the features editor of the McGill Daily did an editorial here ("Comment: Why shouldn’t I pose for Playboy?")
..and alsohere is a random McGill student's opinion on his blog
(from his post, I am happy and impressed to hear that "Girls Gone Wild was considering coming to some Canadian universities, though I think people here generally boycotted it.
The McGill Daily is a bit easier on the news, giving a bit of both sides, but it's facts aren't straight. CTV were the only one's to actually find out which issue all this is coming out in: May 2006.
CTV also said:
McGill first year student Gen Grey said although the school is known for good times, she would hardly compare it to the partying that some American universities are famous for.
"In the States, they all drink in their dorms because they can't drink until they're 21, and they all go crazy with massive keggers, which is cool, but it's also very dangerous," Grey told CFCF.
Tushare Jinadasa, the event coordinator with the university's Science Students Association, said McGill's party reputation is a "bit of a misconception."
"There's a lot of partying that goes on, but it's responsible partying. As an events coordinator, it's something we place a lot of emphasis on."
In fact, statistics show McGill has a relatively safer party atmosphere than other Canadian schools on the list. A 2002 survey showed 12 McGill students were sent to hospital for alcohol poisoning, compared with 200 for Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia -- another well-known party school.
Apparently to be a party school you need to have lots of kids die from alcohol poisoning, or have drunk students fall out of balconies.
Personally, I give Playboy credit here for not
sticking to the "norm", as far as the media define "party". This is typical media grappling for the negative and sensationalist news story when in fact Playboy is tipping it's hat to McGill students for being able to have a good time and.. maybe still being alive the next day in order to go buy their magazine. God forbid.
It just occurred to me that there are some things that I subconciously never consider for the blog. I don't know why because they aren't offensive, overly private, or otherwise dangerous. Very banal, in fact. So here it goes, I'm squeezing this one out:
I went to a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday night. It was quite well done and the people who joined us were great as well. We chowed down on a twenty-eight pound turkey, and a ten pound ham. I made sweet potatoes.
He had alarmingly white hair, but more so because his skin was such a dark olive-brown. The shocks of lightening rising from his head jumped out that much more brightly because of it. He was Iranian, an immigrant from the Middle East back when the Shah was still around.
"But I love it here. I love this country," he told me in his cigarette accent. He adored everything.
I suppose that's what old men do. They learn to love everything around them because it's just easiest that way. Like water, life runs a little easier downhill, so when you get to the age of 80, well, you're willing to accept a little more of your surroundings as a-okay
. Things don't seem nearly as bad.
I guess they don't call them wisemen for nothing.
This wiseman was rolling a cigarette so I asked him how long he'd smoked.
"Not long," he said, inhaling sideways, looking at me with one eye... exhale, "just thirty years."
He explained that it started on his trip over from the old country and that there was really nothing to do on a boat but smoke cigarettes so that is what he learned to do, smoke cigarettes.
"How about you? Where are you from?" he said looking at the whole of me, up and down. I could tell he knew I wasn't from the area. Sharp old eyes catch everything.
"I'm from down south, actually," I said, blinking at him in the smoke.
"Oh, so you know this?" He said, eyeing his hand as he tapped his butt into a glass.
"Drum tobacco?" I asked.
"No, cigarettes: the weak mans cigar." He rose his hand in front of his face and held the cigarette out to me as if on display. He pulled it back to his lips and sucked in another lungfull and then kind of rolled his eyes at me as if to say oh well
"The thing about a cigar is," - he paused to pick tobacco from his tongue - " is that you have to really know what you are doing."
"This is no joke, a cigar. There is much to it, like a long war. And a man has to be prepared, has to know what he is getting into. Cigarettes, they are for babies. An infant could smoke one and not know he lived. But a cigar, you know. Deep down in your gut, you can feel it. Like life, it hits you down in your viscera." He poked around among the folds of his jacket around his abdomen.
I was starting to feel the nauseous pangs of cigar syrup in my own stomach just hearing him talk about it.
"So what do you drink, eh?" He wanted to know now.
"Cheap stuff," I said flatly, "anything I can get my hands on."
This arose a hearty laugh from the old man and he clapped his hand down on the bar.
"Yes yes, this is true. I like your style," his eyes twinkled. "Two whiskeys here, please," he said looking at the bartender and pointing downward to the spot in front of him. "Yes, we will enjoy some of this cheap stuff
." He said 'cheap stuff' with a sort of fluffed up sarcasm to it that made me think he was no better off in his own way of alcohol selection.
"Well," I said as I raised my shot glass, "to the cheap stuff!"
"To the cheap stuff" he mumbled in reply and downed the whole thing. He looked back up at the bartender and said, "another."
It continued on this way for some time and we enjoyed eachother's jokes for awhile. It was soon apparent that this man could love as much as anything could possibly love. He loved his homeland and his new land. He loved the sunset, the sunrise, and everything inbetween. He even loved the frat boys in the corner being overly loud at the pool table and he loved the bum that came through the bar begging for change. He loved to pay the bartender, he said, for his drinks.
"I love the feeling of paying for something with my own
money. I earned that," he tapped a dollar coin on the bar with the back of his knuckle, his wrist twisting quickly into position as if it were a motion he had made a million times before.
"This is real - not like some sort of dot.com guy that gets billions for coming up with a catchy name!" he exclaimed, "no, this is real
. This wasn't given to me, which is why it is my
choice and my
choice alone to decide who I give it to. Now that's freedom, my friend."
When last call rolled around and the lights were turned off the bartender locked the doors.
"Do you guys want another one?" he asked us as he slipped back behind the bar.
"Sure," we both replied. I looked at him and he looked at me and he smiled.
"Yes, so it's true." He shrugged. "So life is good, I should not live it?" He seemed to be almost asking himself the question, not really directing it at me.
"Well, how old are you?" I asked. This one always works
, I thought.
"I am 73 years old," he said proudly. "That's not a number of years to wrestle with."
"No, I suppose not," I said. "I figure 73 is license enough to live your good life."
I looked back at the bartender as he put both our pints on his serving tray and carried them over. "These are on the house, guys," he said. "Thanks."
By this point is was getting late and so the Iranian pulled out some papers and began to roll a small joint. He made it tight, and thin.. the kind that burn slow and last for a long time on very little actual weed.
"Life is so good," he said as he licked the papers, "that I'm going to get up tomorrow and enjoy it, I think." He sort of chuckled at this but then stopped, and looked dull in the eyes for a few seconds, "I think I'll probably enjoy it the next day, too.. and the day after that."
For once he looked worn, like a tired animal at the end of a long day of mule work. He didn't look happy or sad or even indifferent really, as the suggestion of indifferent
would impart that he showed any feeling at all. He just looked tired. We sat silently for a minute contemplating the narrow view of the world through the windows of the dark cafe.
"That's what life is, you know," he said after awhile with a refreshed and bolstered twinkle in his eye, "life is living today and then the next day."
I thought he was talking about the odd jobs he did; the way he told me that one week it would be carpentry and the next it would be a night security man. I thought he was telling me that life serves up curve balls and sliders and sinkers and you never know what or where you might be even a day from now. I thought he was trying to give advice like old men like to do, but he wasn't. He was saying the exact opposite. It's all the same, every day, and it's here.
When we finished our pints and the bartender had the last drag out of the small joint the Iranian had rolled we pulled back our seats and stood up, stretching as if we'd been hibernating for some time.
"Well this discussion was wonderful," the old man said. He held out his hand to shake. I gave him a solid grasp and shook down quickly twice; an old man's shake. "I loved it, I really loved it."
We walked to the door where the bartender turned the key in the lock to let us out. When the Iranian stepped through he tripped on the lip of the door frame and I caught his jacket and held him steady. "Whoa, whoa.. whoa," he said steadying himself up. "I am fine now, thank you," he smiled.
"Have a safe night, guys," the barkeep said as he swung the door shut behind himself.
"This was a good talk, tonight," the old man repeated. "I much enjoyed it."
"Yes, it was nice. I will see you again, I am sure."
"Yes yes, I will see you again. You stay well because I will see you again," he smiled again, clapping his hands in the cold. His breath rose from his mouth in a pale white cloud. Just then two college-aged girls came floating by on a bicycle. One standing up, pumping away at the pedals and the other one riding on the seat with her legs splayed out so as not to hit the other girl's feet. The one steering had on a long red scarf that trailed off into the night behind her, keeping the other girl leaning in the opposite direction. They talked loudly and floated on past the intersection and back into the darkness of the early morning.
"Yes, I will see you again. You keep well, I am going home now." he said it finally, but then stopped and turned back around. "They were beautiful, weren't they?" He asked it like an afterthought. I wasn't sure if it was meant to be answered or not.
"Yes, they were." he said, seeming to reassure himself. I nodded. He winked. "I am going home now."
Apple did indeed reveal the Video iPod today (from SFGate.com)
The new iPod can hold up to 15,000 songs, 25,000 photos or over 150 hours of video and is available in a 30 gigabyte model for $299 or a 60 gigabyte model for $399. It ships next week and will come in white or black, the company said.
"The new iPod is the best music player ever -- it's 30 percent thinner and has 50 percent more storage than its predecessor -- yet it sells for the same price and plays stunning video on its 2.5-inch color screen," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, at a press event in San Jose.
Of course the Apple isn't going to hesitate with content, either.
Content for the video iPod, available over Apple's new iTunes 6 Internet service, includes over 2,000 music videos, six short films from Jobs' other company, Pixar Animation Studios, and five television shows from ABC and Disney Channel, including "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives."
Convienently for Apple, they also announced a net profit of US$1.3 billion for fiscal year 2005 - the first time they've cleared the one billion mark.
I talked awhile back about how well Apple has been able to generate hype
and this video announcement is no different. Take a look at the blogpulse trend for vide ipod here
Now, watch the blogosphere go wild deciding if this new product will change their lives.
Two worthwhile product mentions, though I don't make it a habit of posting these things:Maxtor 250GB Ultra ATA-133 IDE Hard Drive w/ 16MB Cache - US$97
AndA-DATA 1GB Flash Drive (USB Portable) - US$50
Both at Newegg.com
Microsoft settled YAATLS (Yet Another Anti-Trust Law Suit) today, agreeing to pay Realnetworks (makers of streaming audio software 'real player') US$761 million
. From the BusinessWeek article
: In exchange, RealNetworks agreed to drop all its antitrust claims against Microsoft worldwide.
Curiosity peaked my interest enough on this one that I thought I might go snooping into Microsoft's history of lawsuits and luckily, someone else was one step ahead of me. The Inquirer (tagline : "We're so offensive we're banned in Kazakhstan" ) has an article up describing Microsoft's lawsuit payouts
The surprising thing is not only the number of those lawsuits against Microsoft – at one time, it had more than 130 pending – but more importantly, the sheer amount of money it represents.
The Redmond giant has been ordered to pay nearly $9 billion, a figure which is set to rise with some lawsuits still to be ruled on.
Back on the Netflix/Blockbuster news bandwagon, as if anyone cared.
Blockbuster, the sadly failing movie rental company, might be looking at Chapter 11. From a variety article about Blockbuster's woes
Unlike its largest rivals, Blockbuster is simultaneously investing hundreds of millions of dollars in a new online service to compete with upstart Netflix, and losing hundreds of millions in revenue from a controversial no-late-fee policy launched early this year.
That's created a massive cash crunch and fueled speculation of Chapter 11 -- slicing the stock in half over the past six months alone.
What's truly sad? Blockbuster could have bought Netflix back in the day for next to nothing:
"We had the option to buy Netflix for $50 million and we didn't do it. They were losing money. They came around a few times," [CEO John Antioco] recalls.
Instead, in 2000, Blockbuster inked a 20-year exclusive video-on-demand pact with Enron as the energy conglom launched into telecom. Blockbuster canned the pact after nine months.
Netflix is now worth $1.4 billion. Blockbuster's market cap is about $850 million.
Oops. Another example of the old brick-and-mortar guys not seeing the future for what it's worth, and compensating poorly after the fact.
For now, investors are happy enough to see Blockbuster being able to pay off it's loans. Friday saw a 22% jump in stock as they announced that terms of a loan agreement were made. CEO John Antioco sees "significant growth opportunities" in online services and intends to "aggressively pursue" them, according to this NY Daily News article
Blockbuster, which has been losing money since at least 1997, has about $1.45 billion in debt...
The company said it expects to reach its goal of two million subscribers to its online service sometime next year, later than its original target of 2006's first quarter.
As far as I know, Netflix already has 3.5 million subscribers.
A 22% jump in stock price is nice.. but then again, the price has gone down roughly 80% in the past two years.
Now what was that I was saying about competition helping the consumer?
There were roughly 7 or 8 girls photographed at our place from thursday through saturday. The last day they shot in our kitchen (stainless steel countertops) with two girls, whipped cream, and strawberries. It was past the point of being surreal so I basically did what I'd normally do on a Saturday: drank lots of tea, surfed the web, read research articles, and tried not to interrupt them too much. Granted, I drink lots of tea so I had to visit the kitchen every.. oh.. one or two minutes. Really, I jest. I mostly kept out of the way when the cameras were clicking.
They were all great people - from the photographer to the makeup girls. They were friendly, respectful of the fact that they were sharing their shoot space with our living space, and entertaining to talk with. They put everything back the way they found it. They shared with us their vodka, champagne, orange juice, snacks, and whipped cream and strawberries too. We shared our coffee and tea and it was a good symbiotic relationship for the few days they used our place.
For $500 a day, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
Whoever said competition isn't good for innovation or the consumer? Get a grip. The last 5 years have seen more competition between Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google in the realm of online services than ever before. For years my Yahoo! Mail account was stuck at a tiny 6MB limit (a grandfathered amount higher than the 4MB they gave new users for a long time). Google's AJAXian GMail opened up with 1 gigabyte
of space and both Yahoo and Microsoft were forced to respond with similar size upgrades. Indeed, they have even been pushing to improve their user interfaces. Microsoft's new interface, called Kahuna, is in beta, and was reviewed here
Kahuna is a huge improvement over Hotmail, Microsoft's current service, and GMail, the Google-owned service with which it is clearly competing. Offering the best functionality from Web-based offerings like OWA as well as even Windows-based email clients such as Outlook, Kahuna is surprisingly full-featured.
Who said Microsoft can't innovate? They just need a bit of a push, and pressure from companies the likes of Google who are powerful enough to give them a run for their money. It took Netscape to get MS off their asses and make a truly powerful browser out of Internet Explorer back in the mid 90's but, when it was finally done, it was the fastest thing around for quite awhile.
Yahoo's new interface is also in beta (from Jeremy Zawodny)
the new Yahoo! Mail kicks a lot of ass. For lots of people out there, it's going to be the first web-based replacement for Outlook or Outlook express they've ever seen.
So whose going to have the killer email package out there? Is Google going to be able to keep all the converts it has made? Will people flock back to Yahoo and Hotmail now that there will be a new flashy interface to play with? I don't know, but I can't imagine all this competition being a bad thing.
Now let's bring on Linux and OS X in a serious way. I don't necessarily want to see Windows disappear off the face of the planet but then again, it could certainly use a kick in the butt.
Another crock of shit debunked - who said you can't recharge non-rechargable batteries? This guy says you can
You can fully recharge a depleted 9v alkaline battery at 63mA overnight without problems. You can fully recharge a depleted alkaline AA battery all day without problems. I recharged both types of batteries twice, and I would expect them to easily take many more charges.
What a complete waste. Batteries are some of the most nasty "industrial" waste we create these days, along with old computers and cell phones. Next time you buy a few AAs from Duracell, think of it like buying a disposable car: drive it for a day and leave it at the junkyard.
From the Montreal Gazette
Playboy magazine has just named Montreal´s answer to the Ivy League as one of the Top 10 Party Schools in North America. The only Canadian campus to make the grade, McGill shares chugalug laurels with such institutions of higher learning and advanced cheerleading as Florida State and the University of Georgia.
And of course the journalist is complaining, she's a grumpy old woman - and probably a feminist to boot. Okay, I jest. It's just that Playboy (you know, the magazine with great articles) seems to have actually had a really good measuring stick for this:
According to publicist Theresa Hennessy, Playboy´s Top 10 list was compiled with help from students who act as "volunteer interns who help market and spread the word about Playboy."
The students serve as "eyes and ears" about happening places and people. Key criteria are the campus party scene, proximity to a big city, a school´s male-female ratio and off-campus entertainment.
So having good off-campus entertainment, a good male-female ratio, and being in a big city is a bad
thing? Cause I certainly don't think McGill got it's props for "on campus party scene", especially given the 18-yr old drinking age here in this province - nobody stays on campus to party. Gosh, at least we're doing it legit.
The journalist combines this "debacle" with McGill's recent football hazing scandal which, if you didn't know about, isn't really worth mentioning. It is a tiny moon next to the red giant that is the likes of Colorado, etc.
So say what you will about the reputation of this fine institution but I truly think their woes lie not in their sports hazing and boobilicious populous but in it's commitment to higher learning. If they were concentrating on such things then perhaps they wouldn't be so defensive about Playboy appreciating their scene
Okay, sure, Playboy isn't in this for pure philanthropy. They solicited McGill coeds and alumni to pose for a piece in their magazine. Sure, they're trying to drum up some new prospects and some new business at the same time. Can you blame them?
The Student Society of McGill University's paper, the Tribune, at least had their own editorial take on things.. oh, wait, no they didn't. They sound exactly like the Gazette (read here
I guess I'm biased.. Playboy is doing the photo shoot in my apartment as I type this.
I've seen tihs srot of tnihg brofee, but it's aawyls fun to see it aigan aywnay:
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt.
In some other candy-coated world where raindrops taste like sweet rosewater and soda isn't sticky there are stripclubs where they play nothing but the beatles over the sound system and the announcer tells you about 'Candy's day job. The likes of AC/DC is saved for muddy dark bar dancing, football games, and outdoor ampitheatre concerts. Chrome on 50 year old motorcycles always shines the most brightly and stock broker
is a bad word. Arcades are still cool, pro-atheletes play skeeball tournaments for charity, and celebrities eat mac and cheese. It's illegal to watch tv by yourself. "Broadcast flag" marks social and community requirements of the citizenry, not corporate lockdown. iPods never made it because most towns pump pixies and nirvana over loudspeakers on the street and if you're frowning at the thought of a rip in your jeans the prolitariat police zap you with an electric shock in your genitals - in a good way. Nobody washes their hands after eating barbeque ribs.. In some other candy-coated world.
Instead, here we are. We have to take what we've got and work with it. Otherwise we're just writing stories about far away places that trump our freedoms with later last-calls and cheaper cigarettes, not knowing or seeing what is floating in front of us; brand new jeans manufactured
with holes in them - brilliant - I don't have to do any of this living
crap myself. This is where we're at, completely near-sighted so that our tunnel vision blocks out anything around us, blurs it all to a state of uncomprehendable cost
which we must pay for, pay for, pay for, more. Money. money. But ah, over there, to be over there with those later last-calls and cheaper cigarettes I don't care that the holes in their jeans are real
holes in their jeans and it's the jeans themselves that are fake; levy's "fiver-ones" for trademark reasons because even though it's over there
, our money - the money we pay for more and more pay for things with our money - it reaches far, like a spider's giant hinged and hairy legs reaching out with three, four, five spindly appendages at a time to wrap and spin those people up over there in a cocoon of our choosing, a cocoon where the holes in the jeans are real. Like a nice cake, a pie that you can have and eat too, a piece of circular reasoning, it all
makes sense if you sit and think about it long enough, listening to the beatles while Candy dances up on stage with her full fakeness in your face, her fake holes in her fake jeans as it were, jiggling juggling about in front of you... In a candy-coated world.
All too many are reporting
the rumours that are flying around about the upcoming Apple announcment. Yup, you guessed it, everyone's back on the video iPod bandwagon. Though I suggested as much a while back, I will nevertheless refrain from a i told you so
until the truth is exposed.
Rock/culture critic Neil Strauss spent several years mastering "speed seduction" techniques based on neuro-linguistic programming. Then he wrote a book about his experiences employing the psychological tricks to hook up with women.
But my favourite part was:
"On the surface it might sound like a horrible thing -- men learning tricks to manipulate women. But any guy who doesn't have anything inside -- like confidence and self-awareness, some sort of spirituality or goodness, being in touch with their emotions -- is not going to do well anyway."
Yup. Uh huh. Indeed.
If you haven't seen the "new" trailer for the Shining, you should. It's here
. Basically, some duder took the original trailer, did some snip-cut-paste action, added some new music, and voila: romantic comedy. Brilliant.
The Tattered Coat blog has the scoop
on where this came from. (Hint, it was an entry in a contest and there are more. Like West Side Story as a horror flick
ala 28 Days Later, as well as the Titanic
And if you're really bored
, go check out this blog
- from the dude who did the Titanic trailer remake - he has forced audio that I couldn't help but chuckle at (once I figured out from which of the zillions of tabs I had open it was coming from).
Okay, this post is a big thank you to everyone who comes by now and again to check on the ramblings of this small boy. August marked the fourth anniversary of this blog and this September marks the third straight rise in site hits per month. June was down around 500, July breached 550, August cracked 700, and September has come in close to 750. Slowing, surely, but never before in the history of this blog has there been a three consecutive month rise in readership (except, perhaps, for the first few months where even 2 hits was more than before).
I realize these numbers are tiny and insignificant to many well known blogs out there but trust me I do check them and I know that these represent more real people that I know reading this blog then ever before. Sure, lots of these hits are still just silly english folk looking for pictures of gunge (I never did figure that out, really.. gack?) or other silly search hits, but that does not discount in any way the other half of the hits from my friends and aquaintances who are interested in what's being said here - enough so to return again, and again, every day or every week.