More like performing

This thought came from an IM conversation I had with the lovely and talented Rachel. One of them anyway, there are many. Orkut, we agreed, is in many ways more like performance art than like conversation or writing. I had this thought the other day while I was avoiding Orkut. I thought a little about […]

This thought came from an IM conversation I had with the lovely and talented Rachel. One of them anyway, there are many.

Orkut, we agreed, is in many ways more like performance art than like conversation or writing.

I had this thought the other day while I was avoiding Orkut. I thought a little about why it’s different from any other on-line forum I’ve ever been in. And it is different; people claim it’s not, say it’s just USENET or it’s just [insert your favorite].

But it’s different; that’s a given. The questions then are; what makes different, and how is it different.

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Almost cut my orkut

Almost cut my hair It happened just the other day It was getting kind of long I could have said it was in my way But I didn’t and I wonder why I feel like letting my freak flag fly And I feel like I owe it to someone Must be because I had the […]

Almost cut my hair
It happened just the other day
It was getting kind of long
I could have said it was in my way

But I didn’t and I wonder why
I feel like letting my freak flag fly
And I feel like I owe it to someone

Must be because I had the flu for Christmas
And I’m not feeling up to par
It increases my paranoia
Like looking into a mirror and seeing a police car

But I’m not giving in an inch to fear
Cos I promised myself this year
I feel like I owe it to someone

When I finally get myself together
I’m gonna get down in some of that sweet summer weather
I’m going to find a space inside to laugh
Separate the wheat from the chaff

Cos I feel like I owe it, yeah
Said I feel like I owe it, yeah
You know I feel—- like I owe it yeah to someone

— David Crosby, ‘Almost cut my hair’

I couldn’t decide what part of that to include. There’s the whole fucking thing, it’s only disk space and network bandwidth, right?

I almost killed my orkut account today.

I don’t know why really. Oh, and when I say my orkut account, I mean that one and all the other ones. I had this sudden and almost overpowering desire to be finished with it.

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Bloggers block?

Ever have nothing to say? Funny, usually I don’t. I always have an opinion on everything, and want to tell you about it. Some reason, I seem completely stuck now. And I’ve reached the point where I feel I should be blogging and that just makes it worse. I keep having these vague thoughts about […]

Ever have nothing to say?

Funny, usually I don’t. I always have an opinion on everything, and want to tell you about it.

Some reason, I seem completely stuck now. And I’ve reached the point where I feel I should be blogging and that just makes it worse. I keep having these vague thoughts about some theme to blog on and it just — foop — goes away.

I’m at something of a loss.

There are these topics. Writing, the whys and why nots. Friends I want to talk about, and damn, I’ve made some really good friends on orkut, as I’ve mentioned before; people I’m keeping. There’s the book I’m reading now, which both makes me want to go into the theme of great writers losing it, but also carries a theme of important moments, points where things change.

I dunno. Can’t seen to lock down on one and get the thoughts rounded up and heading the same direction.

I also wanna talk about my friend Lex and the Survivor AllStars finale. And then there’s the story a friend of mine is writing which seems to feature my father as a character. But every time I crack that open and try to read it I run into my father’s name and can’t go on. Odd thing.

But let’s say this, on a completely unconnected topic.

Go Sharks.

I’m taking my ten year old to a sharks playoffs game tonight, and when I showed her the tickets, I think I got as many cool dad points as if I’d just told her she could have a helicopter. This kid almost exploded with glee. It was one of those moments that make it all worthwhile. She took off like a runaway train, screaming and hollering and dancing and tripping over herself in front of her school friends. And these kids – great kids and another entry to be done – all just accepted the goony behavior as if were the most natural thing in the world.

We went to one of the first games of the season – first hockey game ever for either of us – it it turned us both into huge fans, following the team all season. So this is a perfect culmination of that for us, to see a playoff game. It’s huge, and we’ve been trying to get these tickets for a while.

Go sharks. Win this one for a geeky ten year old girl who’s going to love watching this game even if you lose.

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Reading and Writing and Resolutions

Man, do I need to write something. I’ve been wandering around for ages now thinking I should. But today – now – I’m suddenly compelled. I did a couple of things today. One was to post a snippet of silliness called Giant Rat on an Orkut group called “Hopped Up on Goofballs”. No reason really, […]

Man, do I need to write something.

I’ve been wandering around for ages now thinking I should. But today – now – I’m suddenly compelled.

I did a couple of things today. One was to post a snippet of silliness called Giant Rat on an Orkut group called “Hopped Up on Goofballs”. No reason really, just because.

The other was I talked to someone on IM who I flirted a bit with on another site pre-orkut.

I need an aside here – I’ve been using Apple iChat as my chat client. Now iChat rocks, it’s got a great, easy, good-looking interface and is easy to use. But it’s got some limitations that annoy me. It supports only AIM and .mac accounts, and it will only let me sign in one at a time. Now I of course have AIM accounts (two of them), a .mac account, an ICQ account, and a Yahoo account. So I want one chat app.

Trillian, everyone says, but no — no mac client. So I’ve tried a few others and wasn’t happy with them. That was ok until my group at work decided to start using iChat for business communication. And they wanted my .mac account. So suddenly as far as my friends could see, I was gone. And then I was using yahoo chat and sometimes AIM and iChat all at the same time. So I just found a new client, Adium X which supports all the major protocols, and which I actually like. Not as much as iChat but still, I like it. It’s pretty usable even though the duck theme is annoying.

The upshot is that all my chat accounts are up and logged in at the same time, finally.

This meant that this woman who’s been trying to dig me up on chat for a while finally found me.

We chatted a bit today, started talking about writing and art (she’s both, a pretty good pen and ink artist and a pretty decent poet, at least to my reader’s eye). So we started talking, not really either of us knowing much about each other, and found a common ground talking about writing. I gave her a couple bits of mine to read, she gave me a couple bits of hers. I liked her poetry quite a lot more than I expected to, which was a pleasant surprise.

And I started thinking – damn, why have I stopped?

So why have I? and why do I suddenly need to start?

Orkut’s part of it. No question. I’ve focused a lot of my creativity, in tiny slices, on that universe. Scraps, testimonials, postings, it’s all little bits and pieces of cleverness and witty banter. Each one is a quick thing, but together, they add up to a lot of brain power and attention. Also, my compulsion to be a personality on orkut the way I was on USENET drives me. My compulsion to win the love of the many delightful females, I suppose, is also a factor.

But today – I had one of those “don’t care about it” days. Where I can’t keep up and don’t care if I do. Maybe that’s fatigue, sure. I’m fried. Worn out. But maybe it’s just hit a saturation point for me where I need to do something else.

I have a lotta stories I need to work on. I should maybe post excepts but I can’t stand sharing stuff that’s not done. There’s the Wanton followup, there’s a vaguely Carnivale-inspired story about a mysterious figure who comes to a small farm, there’s a bit of something that starts with two people who meet at a funeral. Several others. There’s something in that stack of stories started or conceptual that I could get traction on, but I need to quit fooling around.

The call of fooling around, though, is strong. Not to mention the call of work. But that’s another entry I wrote that went into the weeds and may never see the light of day.

So here’s my resolution – this weekend I’m not going to fool around on orkut. This weekend I’m going to get out one of the in-process stories and work on it. Maybe only a little but I have to do it before the skills get rusty.

We’ll see how well that holds. I might actually do it. B^)

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Orkut DNS problem

–UPDATE– Looks like all’s back to normal, or getting there. No word yet on what broke. –EDIT– Turns out there’s a simpler way. http://www.orkat.com Also works. Without any hackery. –EDIT– For those who don’t know, something’s badly wrong today with okut’s DNS setup. There’s a workaround to get in. No telling how long this will […]

–UPDATE–

Looks like all’s back to normal, or getting there. No word yet on what broke.

–EDIT–

Turns out there’s a simpler way.

http://www.orkat.com

Also works. Without any hackery.

–EDIT–

For those who don’t know, something’s badly wrong today with okut’s DNS setup.

There’s a workaround to get in. No telling how long this will be going on.

This is from my frined Henrik:

All you have to do is edit your ‘hosts’ file. In Windows you can
find it in C:WINDOWSSYSTEM32DRIVERSETC (assuming your windows
directory is in C:WINDOWS). In some UNIX like operating systems it
resides in /etc/ but your milage will vary.

It’s a plain text file, so you can edit it with Notepad, for example
Just add the following two lines to the end of the file:

66.28.250.19 www.orkut.com
66.28.250.20 www.orkut.com

Save, and you’re ready yo play

More on this as it plays out.

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Only two types of music

A commenter (Commentor? Commentator? One of these things), BykerSink, said this: There are only two types of music. Good music and bad music. The genre is not important. It's very glib to say genre doesn't matter, of course. It's one…

A commenter (Commentor? Commentator? One of these things), BykerSink, said this:

There are only two types of music. Good music and bad music.
The genre is not important.

It’s very glib to say genre doesn’t matter, of course. It’s one of those “I love everyone” sort of statements that makes the speaker sound very open-minded and above it all. Hell, I say stuff like that all the time. But the truth is, as truth usually is, much more complicated.

Labels are tools. And like any tool, misused, they harm or hurt. The hammer drives the nail, but also hurts the finger.

So sticking with musical genre for a moment; I rarely, very rarely, say to myself “I want music”. I say “I want this genre music. I’m in the mood, just now, for some jazz. And not just jazz, but cool jazz, or maybe bossa nova, or maybe I want some swing right now. And I’ll go look for that. or I’ll want heavy metal or funk. Because the genre implies a feel and mood. And I’m seeking music to fit a mood, sometimes.

This is why a record store will group by style. Because I don’t want to look through country/western today, I want Classical.

Obviously, it’s useful. I don’t put my shorts away with my flannel shirts. I don’t put my pans with my silverware. I don’t put my rat poison with my toothpaste.

But there’s the other side. The dark side of the force, if you will.

Since people tend to listen by genre, listeners, buyers, will say “I don’t like that kind of music.” They reject based on type. And we all do it. People who claim they don’t are lying to themselves. “Yeah, I love all music, but not those boy bands”. “I like all kinds of music other than reggae”. Because there’s always a bias. Always. It’s just a question of how the bias is laid out. BykerSink says there are two kinds, good and bad. So it’s simply binary, BykerSink don’t like a genre called bad music.

People cut themselves off from a lot of music with genres, sure. And bands suffer; when I was a local music scene person, I was surrounded by bands that didn’t fit a genre. My favorite, Dot3, were kind of funk but kind of afro-tribal and kind of prog-rock and kind of punk/pop. And yes, they were good, incredibly good. But promoters didn’t know what the hell to do with them. Another band that came out of the ashes after Dot3 broke up, Tongue Tied, used to get lumped in with hard rock bands because they were dark and heavy, but they were not at all a hard rock band. They had trouble getting to the right audiences because they’d been mis-labeled.

Labels are useful. All the more so with a modern collection of music on Mp3; I can’t find the right stuff from my collection without a genre label, there’s too much to wade through unless I’m seeking a particular song or album or artist. But they screw me up because some artists are so badly mis-labled (rock bands in ‘alternative‘? Punk bands in ‘hard rock‘? Let’s just call them all ‘rock‘ ok?). Worse for me is that ‘Disco‘ and ‘Soul‘ and ‘R&B‘ and ‘Funk‘ and ‘hip-hop‘ all tend to get crammed together in a blob; so when I’m trying to find funk collections, more often than not what I get are collections that are mostly disco or hip-hop, and not true 70’s funk at all. Not that I have an issue with those genres, but KC and the Sunshine Band != Funkadelic.

So BykerSink, I say – yeah, there are genres called good music and bad music, but for us to have a conversation about music, we need something a little more agreed upon. So the labels, the genres, are important, even if they are also a frustrating impediment to enjoyment in some cases.

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It’s like jazz, he said

Everything I ever said bad about rap and hip-hop? I take it all back. Just, you know, for the record. Ok. It was a long time ago the first time this white boy said 'you know, this rap stuff might…

Everything I ever said bad about rap and hip-hop?

I take it all back. Just, you know, for the record.

Ok. It was a long time ago the first time this white boy said ‘you know, this rap stuff might not suck’. I bought a Heavy D album and a De La Soul album (oh, hell, I don’t know how long ago, but first albums for both, when they were first released). And I liked ’em ok, but didn’t really play them.

A while later, I heard NWA and Ice-T and thought, y’know, I kinda like these gansta guys, even thought they’re sorta fuckheads. But I didn’t go buy ’em. Didn’t feel compelled.

And yeah, that was a while ago. I’ve heard things I liked since, sure. Tupac, Jurassic 5, Eminem, Kid Rock. You can’t avoid the rap and hip-hop these days even if you want to. But I never really felt, again, the need to own.

Then — well, I blame Jeff. It’s all his damned fault. Not that this is the first time Jeff ever talked me into anything, but I’m just sayin’.

Jeff’s a whole topic of his own – but let’s set that aside. Let’s just do this – Jeff’s my boss. Jeff’s just finished his full body suit tattoo (I mean just – like two days ago). Jeff’s been my friend as long as Austin Ray, but only my boss for about four years.

So Jeff – Radio Jeff – Jeff who owns more music than almost anyone I’ve ever known (Willy Keats may have him beat still, but I bet it’s close); Jeff has been telling me for a couple years now, ‘rock is dead‘. He’s been trying to get me to listen to hip-hop for a long time. Keeps handing me CD’s, bringing me his iPod, saying “Listen to this”.

But there’s one thing he said that finally clicked. ‘It’s all about the DJ’s.’

It’s about the DJ’s. It’s not about the rappers. The MC’s.

You have to think about that a little, if you’re not familiar with hip-hop. because when when people say hip-hop, you think rap; you think Snoop Dog or Tupac or Ice-T. You think about the MC. But rap != hip-hop. Rap is part of hip hop. So you have to step back a little and see that whatever that guy up front is doing, stalking the stage, posturing and rockin’ the microphone, the origin of it all, the beat, the backbone, it’s all the DJ. Or that’s where it started anyway, even if a lot of rap is now done on a computer, not by a live guy with two turn tables and a microphone.

So Jeff said to me — It’s all about the DJ’s. “It’s like Jazz,” he said. “Because they are improvising, and they’re just doing it for themselves.”

He said it a while back. But it didn’t sink in. he’s been playing me cuts for a while, talking about artists, DJ’s. He loaned me a DVD of Scratch, which I mentioned before. But I’d been sitting on it, hadn’t watched it. But then one day, in his office, he was playing a cut from something and I said ‘man, you should make a compilation disk of the hip-hop you really, really dig’.

So he did. he called it ‘Bounce, Dammit’,

I listened to this once. And didn’t like it much. And then I listened again – this time turned up loud, in my car. And loved it. And played it over and over. And loved it more each time. And it was like a light went on in my head. ‘Christ.’ I thought. ‘It’s about the fucking DJ’s‘.

I suddenly got it. I came home and watched Scratch. And it was like I discovered an instrument I’d never heard before. These guys are musicians. They’re artists. They’re insane. Cut Chemist, DJ QBert, a ton of others. Amazing people. And then I went back and started listening again. And the more I listened, the more I was amazed.

And then I started buying stuff. Eminem first, though he’s not a pure hip-hop guy, but I wanted to hear the albums again. Then Prozack Turner who’s a local boy, and is truly amazing (run, don’t walk, and buy Death, Taxes and Prozack, trust me on that one, this white kid from Campbell can rap.

But still, it’s the DJ’s. And I don’t even have a list of albums and artists for this, but the Return of the DJ series is a goddamned good start. I just listened to them, and they’re top of my ‘to buy’ stack right now. Then there’s Cut Chemist meets Shortkut. This is hard to find I think, but from my limited exposure, Cut is my favorite of the DJs. He’s amazing; he’s also the turntablist behind a lot of Juassic 5.

They are – as Jeff said – like jazz. And once you’ve actually seen these cats working, and then listen with that mental image, it’s frankly incredibly. It’s not just whicka-whicka-whicka scratching, though that, you start to see, has it’s own music. But it’s also whole new songs built from the old. I’ve only begun to explore this, but like my discovery of jazz a few years ago, I can feel a gateway opening to a universe of music I knew little about. These are the moments I live for; new experience come unexpected and bringing with it amazing rewards. You know, some of you, what I’m talking about. Out of nowhere.

…And I still wanna go buy those 1200’s and a mixer, call myself Dj Freaky E, and start scratching.


Now Playing: Jurass Finish First from the album Bounce, Dammit!

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