Friday, September 30, 2011

Yeah, it hurts a little...

So yes, for those of you who didn't see me in real life this week or spot the photo on facebook, I have a new tattoo. I'd be wanting this one for quite a while and on Tuesday I bit the bullet and once again submitted my flesh to the buzzing gun of my good friend Rohan from Jetty Road Tattoo Studio.

The tattoo is of Hopey from Jaime Hernandez' Locas storyline in the iconic comic book series Love and Rockets. The design is based on the back cover of issue 6, which features an amazing image of Hopey and Terry's band Jerusalem Crickets. I think the final result is pretty great and will look amazing when the redness goes down.

I had a very busy working week, at both my regular job and my lovely temp gig. Tuesday was my only day off and I spent a decent chunk of that getting my tattoo done and presenting the most stressful episode of the radio show to date. The studio's internet died completely, which left us without the ability to fact check, get up to date weather info, use social media and worst of all, stream the show online.

This was particularly galling as it was probably our best show to date, and virtually none of our listeners could hear it. Luckily our programming director has copied the studio's recording of it and so for us to share. I'll pop links to the podcasts up on here when they're all set up.

Speaking of radio things, I'll be at the Semaphore Music Festival on Sunday, handing out fliers and trying to sign up new members at the WoWfm stall from mid afternoon onwards. It would be great if people could come along and say hello, punch me in the mouth, or observe me from a great distance through a powerful telescope. You could also check out the great music and buy heaps of rad stuff at the record fair. Or not. I'm a blogger, not a cop.

Insanely my rotating roster has delivered me 5 days off; the October long weekend plus Tuesday and Wednesday. This is freaking incredible, because it comes when I need it most. I have 2 massive job applications to finish by close of business Friday, so the opportunity to spend 2 full days on the computer honing them is awesome. They are going to be two seriously shiny, well polished, glitter encrusted turds.

Hopefully that'll help, because I need a job where I can use my degree. Badly. I love the job I have now, but temping has given me a glimmer of what could be a really great career, which is something I don't really have right now. In the USSR they used to talk about people "seeing the west"; going outside of the controlled environment of the soviet union and seeing how other people actually live. Apparently it fucking ruined them. They couldn't go back to living how they normally did. I'm feeling a little bit of that at the moment. Not in a big way, just a little nagging burr, niggling at me. Like a faint shadow looming in my periphery vision.

That's some pretty gloomy shit. Sorry. I'm really not a miserable person. I think my posts tend to go this way because I usually type them when I come off night shift. Em is sleeping in and I am rattling away in the silence of our dimly lit lounge room. I've come straight off a 24 hour shift where I didn't sleep too well, but I've been awake since 5 so tired as I am, I'm too awake to sleep.

I am actually feeling pretty positive at the moment, not so much about things as they are, but about the future. I see a lot of potential for really great things if we're willing to be just a little bit brave, to show the tiniest hint of creativity and to stand up for what we know is right. So I joined a political party, in much the same way as I started this blog (filling in a form on the internet) and for precisely the same reason (to stop complaining about things and actually do something about them).

But that's a story for another post, and I'm starting to get seriously hungry. I think it's time for some breakfast, I've got a pretty busy day lined up.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Do all of the things.

It's been (and continues to be) a pretty busy weekend.

Em and I have spent a lot of time so far has been spent planning and putting together our radio show for Tuesday night. We spent Saturday morning each selecting and whittling down our 50 - 55 minutes of music from our vast music library. Once we got our tracks together we did a quick show and tell about our selections before heading off into town. Last night when we got home we got stuck into the serious work of trying to turn the mess created by our broad and disparate musical tastes into 2 hours of vaguely listenable radio. I'm really pleased with the results this week and am looking forward to doing the show on Tuesday night. This morning I normalised the audio and burnt off the two CDs we use to cross-fade back and forth between tracks. I've still got a little work to do on that getting the running sheet organised but we're basically done and dusted and ready to get in the studio and do it live.

In between our radio preparation tasks we managed to squeeze in a pretty great Saturday afternoon in town. We kicked things off with a delicious lunch at one of my favourite vego/vegan eateries, Zenhouse, before enjoying a very successful afternoon of record and CD collecting at Clarity Records and Title. Then we headed over to the Crown and Anchor Hotel to check out the Rockabilly Rumble with Seb and Lauren.

Today I've got a fairly quiet morning but I'm going to check out a friend's experimental music gig at the Gallery of South Australia's Saatchi Exhibition and later
I'm going to see some great doom and post-rock bands at the Squatter's Arms.

Things don't look like letting up during the week either, with work at one job or another every day (and some nights) except Tuesday, when I've got a big morning lined up (that's a story for another post) and then the radio show in the evening.

And then we're into the mad, mad month of October with The Semaphore Music Festival, Doomsday Festival, Bastardfest, a million gigs and a billion birthdays (including my own). Fucking hell. No rest for the wicked.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Tyranny of Convenience

The most recent facebook update really pissed me off. A lot. My immediate reaction was to lash out and complain about how a service that I used for everything and relied on everyday had suddenly changed in a way that I found very detrimental. Now, having chewed over things a bit, I'm glad facebook has changed, because it's helped me to realise that there's a big problem with facebook that has nothing to do with the most recent set of changes to its appearance and functionality.

To be fair though, it's not really a problem with facebook. It's a problem with us; the users. We've let facebook become too big a part of our lives. We've allowed the convenience of a website that does everything, and is used by everyone, to make us lazy and a bit stupid.

Facebook is just a website; a website that does a few things very well and a lot of things very poorly. It is, for example, a very good organising and promotion tool, allowing us to invite huge numbers of people to an event or make them aware of a product or service. It is, on the other hand, not very good at photography. There are many websites that do this better, allowing us to upload high quality images and edit and share them, while protecting our privacy and copyright. We use facebook for photos though, because it is an easy, convenient way to share our pictures with large numbers of people. When facebook is concerned, convenience trumps quality, and we allow it to handle aspects of our lives that other websites do better purely because it's easier to let facebook do everything in one simple step than it is to figure out how to do it ourselves.

When the new update made facebook less easy and convenient for me to use, the illusion was shattered. As soon as the convenience of facebook diminished, it became apparent to me that it actually wasn't really worth getting upset about. Facebook wasn't really any better or worse than it already was. Sure the new layout sucks and it's hard to navigate, but I quickly realised that the real problem was me. I was a fucking idiot, because I had let myself become too reliant on facebook.

So I thought about deleting my account, but there were too many reasons to keep it. Promoting my radio show, organising my social calender, sharing pictures on the fly, keeping in touch with some people I can't realistically contact any other way; facebook is still useful for these things, and giving up these things because of facebook's many failings would really just be cutting off my nose to spite my face.

I was washing the dishes at work yesterday when I had a much better idea. Instead of deleting my facebook account I would try to use facebook the way I did when it was new.

I decided to only use facebook for things that it was actually good at doing. I'm going to use the internet more intelligently, and seek out the best ways of doing things, rather than relying on the convenience of facebook. Right now I'm typing a post on my new blog. I've linked my new blog's RSS feed to the Notes app on facebook. Now I can share my ideas and my writing with all of my friends on facebook without having to log into facebook. I've done the same thing with my twitter account, which means I can post status updates, links, pictures and videos to my wall without ever having to log into facebook. I can do lots of the things I normally do on facebook, using better services, with better interfaces, and still gain all the benefits that facebook offers.

I decided to not check facebook every 15 minutes, or to sit on it all night. You know why? Because it's fucking sad. I never realised I did this until the new update made it difficult and less enjoyable. I'm going to go out there into the world and do some fucking awesome shit, and I'm going to do a lot of casual swearing while I'm doing it. I'm going to watch movies, see bands, spend time with my friends, go skateboarding, swim in the ocean, walk through a forest and then I'm going to come back home and type up a blog post about it and you can read about it on facebook and then maybe come here and read some more and leave a comment.

I decided that there were a lot of things that I didn't even really need to use the internet for at all. Recently, before all this facebook crap, a friend and I decided that we would write each other letters. A long time ago I used to write letters and I am sad that I ever stopped, because doing it again has reminded me of a fact that I had forgotten for some time. Letters are fucking awesome. There's no character limit and you can attach what ever you like to them and as a general rule nobody sells them to advertising companies.

They make you better at writing. They make you think about things a little more deeply. Also, receiving them is awesome, it's a wonderful thing to go out to your letterbox and find something other than hardware catalogs and your gas bill in there, and know that someone cares about you enough to take the time to write you a letter. I would rather receive one letter than a million wall posts. If you want to receive a letter, email me your postal address and I will send you one.

Well now it's time to see how this whole experiment goes. Hopefully I can follow through on these decisions and start enjoying my life a lot more. I'm looking forward to typing a lot more blog posts, about things that are better and more interesting than facebook.