22.3.05

Courier.

"One of the most appealing aspects of the courier lifestyle is the freedom. I don't really have the ambition required to make a good entrepreneuur, but I've always been drawn to the idea of working for myself.

I often describe myself as a chronically lazy person, but to be honest, I don't mind working. I simply hate working under an oppressive structure. As a coder, I would find myself slacking off just because the environment gave me no motivation to work hard. And at the same time, I hated the obligation to look busy from nine to five, regardless of how much actual work their was to do. And I hated working in a cubicle ten meters from my supervisor's office.

I think I may be the only courier who even knows what PHB means; the concept would be so foreign to their experience. The people in charge are almost exclusively ex-couriers themselves and they have neither the power nor the inclination to peer over your shoulder as you work. Your only obligation is to get the packages where they have to be when they have to be there. So long as you do that, no one cares what else you do. And if you don't do it, you don't get paid. That simple.

If it's a slow afternoon and you want to lounge around outside the hub drinking coffee or even beer, no one will ever come over and ask you if that is an appropriate way to spend company time. Ever.

Freedom."

~ "A Coder in Courierland" by transient0.

20.3.05

Two-Spirit.

"The Mohave ritual, usually carried out when the child is between the ages of nine and twelve, has a different form, but keeps the central element of allowing the child’s nature to manifest itself: a singing circle is prepared, unbeknownst to the boy, involving the whole community as well as distant friends and relatives. On the day of the ceremony everyone gathers round and the boy is led into the middle of the circle. If he remains there, the singer, hidden in the crowd, begins to sing the ritual songs and the boy, if he is destined to follow the two-spirit road, starts to dance in the fashion of a woman. “He cannot help it,” say the Mohave. After the fourth song the boy is declared to be a two-spirit person and is raised from then on in the appropriate manner."

Being gay and First Nations.

Link Dump 20/3/05

(10 days until Nine Inch Nails play London)

Packing.

I'm moving house sometime in the next month or so, so the brown cardboard boxes have been appearing, waiting to be filled. Which of course appeals to my organising fetish, and today I've been sorting through my bits and pieces and have filled not one, but two large garbage bags in my pursuit for tidiness.

Things that may have passed over my hands this evening include (but are not limited to): a Rock Sound interview with Alec Empire; a cut out of a woman asking whether dwarves (ie: Little People) penis' are tiny; a glossy magazine recollecting the year 2001; a bootleg Nine Inch Nails t-shirt; a leather Paighton Zoo bookmark; a naked picture of Marilyn Monroe; the hands free microphone/headset for my mobile phone (still in it's plastic wrapper); an inch thick pile of posters, interviews and articles from Kerrang between the years 1998 and 2001; a huge paper BS3 shopping bag that was used to buy a discount hat this time last year and a half used packet of anti-inflammatory painkillers.

I hoard a lot of crap.

19.3.05

OMG TAGS ON LIVEJOURNAL!

I heard via Waxy that Livejournal had added Podcasting support. Thought it was cool, put it aside.

Now I hear they've added tags. I love tags. It's the one thing missing from Blogger. It's the one thing I love about del.icio.us. Maybe this Six Apart takeover thing isn't so bad after all...

(My Livejournal, if you're interested.)

Link Dump 19/3/05

Trent Reznor is keeping me busy. He's such a slavedriver.

18.3.05

Wow.

Cunnilingus in North Korea and other visual text productions by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries.

You need to see this.

17.3.05

Video!



(requires Quicktime)

16.3.05

Don't care! Want one!



Tulip E-Go "is a design notebook, with a unique form factor and interchangeable covers. This provides the user with the maximum possible level of personalising abilities and freedom to create a great degree of individualisation."

In other words...drooooooooooooooooool.

Link Dump 16/3/05

Today I had a medical. The doctor prodded me in the stomach, made me take a flexibility test, and the rest of the time was dedicated to talking about the internet and my ambitions in life. Now, that wouldn't have happened if he had been female.

  • - No brown M&Ms! Van Halen put an insignificant twist in their touring contracts so that they knew when people were overlooking the significant sections.
  • - Girls are better than boys. It's official. Nyah.
  • - Rolling Stone's tributes to Hunter S. Thompson. Johnny Depp, you are a marvellous actor, but please don't write a book.
  • - Flickr > tag > Bristol. This is my city through the eyes of other people. At some point in the future, I will take my own pictures. Until then, enjoy.

15.3.05

Cath-tory.


"The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has backed Michael Howard's stance on abortions. The Tory leader supports a reduction in the legal limit from 24 weeks to 20 and told Cosmopolitan that current rules are 'tantamount to abortion on demand'. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor commended Mr Howard's stance and questioned Catholic support for Labour. In a statement, Cardinal O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, said abortion was a "very key issue", saying: 'The policy supported by Mr Howard is one that we would also commend, on the way to a full abandonment of abortion.'"

Yeh, hi, Michael Howard? I'm really not voting for you now. Getting Tony Blair down from his ivory throne is not worth the crackdown on my body.

The General Election in June is going to be ten times more depressing than the US Presidential elections last November. We have no limit on the length in office that our Prime Minister's stay. Blair has been in power for nearly 8 years, and perhaps it's only really coming clear as to why that's happened. No balanced, sane, modern opposition, besides the Liberal Democrats (who I have consistently voted for in every local election in the last two and a half years of my voting life) who aren't really much of an opposition in the first place because no one takes them seriously.

The Conservatives on the other hand favour tighter laws on drugs, gay rights, abortion and pretty much everything that I hold strong views about. I was going to vote for them because I didn't consider their manifesto to be effectual. But over the last year or so, they've consistently spoken out and proved themselves to be utter cunts. So I'm left wondering what's going to happen to my country. People want Blair out. Which means a lot of folks will be voting Howard in based on that desire and that desire alone.

If they have the backing of misogynist organisations like the Catholic church, I might as well start petititioning Canada to let me in based on asylum reasons because I'm not going to live in a country that takes control of my body in such a way. No one has the right to take this country back to the 1950's. No one. It's all down to what people think is worse - Blair or Howard?

[From BBC News]

14.3.05

Fight Club.

  • - "Women's boxing seems to be barely not worth worrying about, another freak show, except that for all the indignities and the lack of reward, the fighters keep coming. There's no shortage of working class girls out there who, when all else fails, rely on their physical selves and swing away, hoping to steal a little celebrity on the side." ~ Battered Women by Benjamin Wallace-Wells
  • - "When you’re very small, your mother tells you, ‘Don’t go alone on the street. Be careful of certain guys.’ You grow up in fear; you can’t really develop naturally, trusting everybody. So I try to turn it around: Holding a gun behind your naked butt says, ‘He can’t really trust you, even if you’re naked.'" ~ Hanin Elias, in an interview with Jay Babcock of the LA Weekly.
  • - "You couldn't do this music if you didn't have the attitude or experiences that we've all had, living here with politics that affects every aspect of our lives, so this is our motivation. I don't think we have any choice but to express ourselves in this way & to reach as many people as we can." ~ Nic Endo, one of the musicians on the DHR record label and former member of Atari Teenage Riot, in an interview with Free Radical Sounds.

13.3.05

Bjork.

"Does she ever tire of being eccentric? 'It's like music. So long as it's a form of self-expression, I'm quite into it, but not when it becomes about power status. I do try and wear stuff by unknown designers, and I make sure I pay because if nothing else I have money.'

Today she is wearing a vintage yellow garment that is very nearly a dress, accessorised with an orange tracksuit top, silver shoes and gold handbag. A dusting of blue eyeshadow highlights her feathery eyebrows and wonderful flat cheekbones. She looks lovely. But she is also endearingly fidgety: scratching like a small child, twisting in her chair and trying to keep her dress this side of modest."


~ Liz Hoggard interviews Bjork.

12.3.05

Bored.

It's school-holiday, sunny day but too cold to play outside, relentless, suffocating boredom. There's a quote...somewhere...by...someone...that says that boredom is the best gift bestowed to man because it's the only device that makes us live longer. Time is unquestionably slow when we are bored. My clean clothes are put away, my desk is (somewhat) tidy, my bed is made, my RSS feeds are read, I have eaten, I have dusted, I have wiped over. The things I should be doing just fill me with an inexplicable sense of death. I wonder why this happens? And why the only way out of the pit is to stick a fork in your eye, and make yourself work on something?

11.3.05

Trial.

I, like most of my fellow bored MTV generation, ran to my TV yesterday when I saw that an arrest warrant had been issued for Michael Jackson. We counted down the minutes as his lawyer paced around the forecourt with a flip top silver cellphone. And then audibly gasped/chuckled when he turned up looking even more of a skeleton than usual, in blue pyjamas and twisted around to wave to his fans despite a "serious" back injury.

This man is an "entertainer", and even if he'd turned up on a stretcher with an IV tube stuck into his arm, I still wouldn't have believed that he wasn't trying to disrupt the balance of the court. He's also 47 years old and shouldn't have to be threatened with a spanking in order to behave himself. How long is this going to continue?

I suppose it at least makes for an amusing topic of conversation.

That is, until you remember he's on trial for child molestation.

Good point.

"Point is, if you want to do something (raise sheep, race motorcycles, write for a living, or whatever), look at your options and figure out how to do it, making sure it’s in balance with the rest of your life. That goes for work, play, love, shelter…everything."

~ Jason Kottke in an interview with Glassdog

10.3.05

Bitch.


"Boys will beat each other up, but girls will be disloyal and vicious. There’s a reason a lot of women have self esteem problems, and have trouble completely trusting anybody. ~ penmage"

Teenage girls are fucking bitches.

9.3.05

Boobies.


'Mackinnon bristles at the old charge that anti-porn feminists were, in effect, in bed with the political right. ''I actually know who I'm in bed with,' she said in a recent interview. 'This was just something created by the pornographers to scare liberals off, which doesn't take much.'

But her language has been adopted by some on the right. Now, according to Janet LaRue of Concerned Women for America, 'It may be that we're not hearing as much from the traditional hardline feminist organizations, but when I write and speak on the topic of pornography, one of the aspects that I point out is that it certainly subjugates and degrades women and reduces us to the sum or our body parts.'

But perhaps it's porn's very ubiquity that has most weakened the anti-pornography case, feminist and conservative. Thanks to the growth of home-video pornography in the 1980s and the more recent shift to the Internet, far more people have access to X-rated material than ever before. As Williams puts it, 'In a way I think MacKinnon and Dworkin were able to invoke the kind of horror that they did at pornography at a time when not as many people had seen it. For better or for worse, now it has become part of the vernacular of our way of talking about picturing sex to ourselves.'

MacKinnon agrees, though she sees the shift as more insidious: 'The data just show that pornography sets community standards, so the more pornography there is, the less will be seen to be wrong with it. It's just its own intrinsic dynamic.'"

~ What happened to the anti-porn feminists? by Drake Bennett

8.3.05

Haha.

Dooce pwns internet retard.

It's the small things that I can appreciate. The tiny, weeny, the-internet-isn't-that-anonymous-enough for-you-to-be-a-complete-retard, things.

Site.

As some of you may have noticed, I've modified my Blogger template. I've been using Blogger since April 2003 (my old blog can be found here), which I originally ditched because I lacked the skills and ftp access to change it (check out this site if you're a fellow n00b, and want to change your template to something less generic). Two years later, and I've learnt CSS, and built a site somewhat on my own (thanks to all who helped me process out the crap).

Quick breakdown of the site: it has the usual content...a picture gallery, an about page etc etc. For those who are more interested in my proclamations to talent, there is also a writing section where I've been uploading old short stories (circa 2000-03) and miscellaneous material (textfiles, poetry, minor projects) for your general viewing. I've been told that it's quite a chunk to get through though, so I'm not expecting any feedback for a while, if at all. I also have a weird page dedicated to my influences, but that's very much in progress.

I'm constantly amending and adding to the site right now (especially design-wise), as it's an education in process, but I've thoroughly enjoyed working on it as a whole, and it was definitely worth the anguish and long hours.

7.3.05

Analyse.

"Cummings's assurance of superiority, like his failure to genuinely disturb his readers, makes even his most adventurous work seem like the antics of a beloved child, certain that his transgressions will be forgiven. "As for me," he said in his Norton lectures, "I was welcomed as no son of any king and queen was ever welcomed. Here was my joyous fate and my supreme blessing." And he recognized that Harvard, too, welcomed him, even in his rebellion: "As regards my own self-finding, I have to thank first of all that institution whose initial I flaunted unknowingly during my very earliest days." No wonder Harvard invited him back, almost 40 years after he graduated, as a Norton Lecturer. He may have been a prodigal, but he was always its son.

~ The Rebellion of E.E. Cummings, by Adam Kirsch.

6.3.05

Link Dump 6/3/05

Citynoise.

Citynoise is a site for those with an architecture/urban/cityscape fetish. The concept is simple: take pictures of cities, buildings or anything that encompasses the image of the city/town, and upload them to the site. People comment, regulars get a reputation, and everyone indulges. There are a wide range of submitted images...from a Spanish man who is building his own cathedral (my favorite so far) to the bridges of New York City to a 1970's Wisconsin farm.

5.3.05

Boycott Nelly!

"Church ministers are trying to prevent rapper Nelly performing in Arkansas, saying they do not want his "vile and filthy lyrics" in their town. More than 20 Jonesboro ministers urged music fans to boycott Nelly's 12 March concert at Arkansas State University in a bid to have it cancelled.

'Jonesboro is a wonderful city because of what does not come here,' said the Reverend Adrian Rodgers."

Now, ordinarily, I wouldn't have picked up on this in my blog. But there's something rather creepy about a church leader that proclaims "this city is wonderful because of what does not come here"...don't you think? It's almost an opener for a 70's horror flick. As if somehow, there's this great big denial campaign occurring, and somewhere in a darkened barn there's a mentally unstable teenager plotting the destruction of the town whilst listening to Nelly. Y'know, the guy who sings: "It's getting hot in here/so take off all your clothes". Wow, what evil threatens Jonesboro!

Girls!

"Whether a teenage all-girl pop-rock band can capitalise on their success is a more moot point. James Roberts, A&R editor of trade magazine Music Week, has his doubts: "There's nothing to actually say that's what kids want, there's not been a successful act like that for ages. The last one that tried was Simon Fuller's 21st Century Girls, and that was a real disaster.

Now kids are into bands rather than obviously manufactured artists in the Gareth Gates sense. It'll be interesting to see how these do. It's a lot harder to generate loyalty for a female pop act, because predominantly you're selling to 14-year-old girls and the biggest hook for them is that it's a male band that they fancy. It's a pretty open secret in the music industry that it's easier to launch a boy band than a girl band."

~What, no pillow fights? by Alexis Petridis.

4.3.05

Link Dump 4/3/05

3.3.05

Graffiti.

Up the road and around the corner from my house, there is a red brick wall. There's a yard beyond it, it's topped with rusty barbed wire, and across the brickwork, the words "ROCK AND ROLL" were once written. The "rock" was crossed out and replaced with "PUNK". I think it's been painted over now...

I've written about graffiti before. It's a staple part of the urban culture of Bristol, a city I've lived in for a good 20 years, a place that's built me from the ground up to be an innovative witty artist (or at least, aim to be one). Pictures of Walls is a site that bears no "about" page, just a flash gallery and a submit page that states:


"Submit your flicks. No "proper" graffiti or nazi crap obviously."

It's made my day. Someone is finally archiving the pictures I've been talking about, but have been unable to document myself due to lack of a digital camera. If you want to know how I see my city, this is the place to go. It's giving you the binoculars to examine what most other people tut and bypass, or just don't see at all. It's a microworld that has somehow leaked across continents: proving that even when people haven't got the money or the nice suit or even the basic education to make it to a place where they will be listened to, that they will still find a way to be heard. Even if it's just writing across a massproduced billboard ad.

Chink.


"The 22-year-old first encountered the double standard in his teens, as an aspiring MC competing in rap battles, the gladiatorial head-to-heads portrayed in the film 8 Mile. Every rapper he faced would bombard him with tired Asian stereotypes - Bruce Lee, fortune cookies, egg rolls and so on - to delighted whoops from the crowd. "I realised, and this was way before 8 Mile, that I should use the Asian jokes first so that they lost a lot of their value. Using equivalent stereotypes against a black opponent was never an option. "Hell no! I wouldn't even last 10 seconds. If I had said one thing even remotely about him being African-American, it would be over. I'd have a lawsuit or something. I don't feel bitter about it. That's just how it is."

As a rule, rappers make lousy interviewees. Jin's conversation, however, is as sharp and engaging as his lyrics. He's also the first MC I've ever interviewed who turns up early. The Japanese restaurant where we meet is a regular haunt of his. When his family moved to New York in 2001, he would stand outside nearby record shop Fat Beats trying to sell his self-produced tapes, then use the money to buy lunch. Within a few months he had won a slot on Black Entertainment Television's popular battle show, Freestyle Friday. Correctly guessing that the reigning champion, Hassan, would resort to Asian gags, he struck first: "If you make one joke about rice or karate/ NYPD be in Chinatown searching for your body." Hassan was so wrongfooted he couldn't even finish his rap, and Jin became the new champion. He was eventually "retired", undefeated, after seven weeks to give other rappers a chance, by which time he had been snapped up by the Ruff Ryders label."

~ Straight Outta Chinatown, an interview with Jin Auyeung, the first Chinese man to be signed to a major rap label in the US.

Back again.

Mary Kate Olsen is back in rehab for anorexia.

[From Oh No They Didnt!

2.3.05

Link Dump 2/3/05

1.3.05

Auteur.


"Auteur (French for 'author') is a word used to describe film directors who are considered to be artists with their own unique vision. The style of an auteur is recognisable in his/her films regardless of their genre and subject matter. However, this style does not need to be purely visual-- any unique point-of-view or obsession could be considered the mark of an auteur. It's more a stamp of the director's personality that marks a body of work as auteurist.

Some directors only work in one genre, and are still seen as auteurs (hence the somewhat derogatory phrases, schlock-auteur and horror-auteur, for those who work exclusively in those genres)."

[From Wikipedia where my ill-educated troll will find Mr. Tarentino's name listed amidst other directors who are also recognised for their Auteur status in the film industry...]