Also

Mar. 22nd, 2012 02:46 pm
oxfordtweed: Nicholas Angel frowning at the camera (nicholas - :-\)
To anyone who watches me on FFN, for whatever reason, I've completely taken that account offline, in as much as I seem to be able to do. I couldn't find a way to delete it outright, but there are no longer any works of fiction posted there.

I'm going to be doing the same to what still exists on LJ today, as well as getting rid of any WIPs still posted out there. Sorry. Just wanting to do some housekeeping.
oxfordtweed: (Martin Freeman - Aha!)
I'm not dead. Just haven't got much to say. Also, I've been working furiously on my big bang fic, which is eating my brain. It's about twice the minimum length, so yay?

Uhm, things. Nothing. Nothing much has happened at all lately. I did catch the oven on fire again a few days ago. There was that. I don't think Ryan ever noticed it, though.
oxfordtweed: The TARDIS in the foreground on a helipad, over-looking the city of London (Dr Who - TARDIS)
I was sent to the mall today to fetch a backpack and some motorcycle goggles. This is not important, but merely the vehicle through which I realised several things today.

The first is that Hot Topic has got into Doctor Who. FINALLY. This made me oddly happy, because it now means I can get dorky t-shirts in person and don't have to worry about shipping charges. The one I got today has given me an idea for a blanket I may eventually want to make. We'll see.



The big thing that I realised is why you can't find any Iron Man gear out there. I tried six different shops all either specialising in nerdy things or which slightly cater to them, and the only place I found something even tangentially related to Iron Man was again Hot Topic. And what I found was a t-shirt that was sort of all-inclusive of Iron Man. And then, looking at all of the various shirts and hats and belt buckles and everything else that places like Hot Topic and Journeys sell, it hit me. Iron Man does not have a logo or an emblem that is definitively Iron Man. Cap and Superman have their shields, Batman has the bat, the Flash has the lightning bolt, Green Lantern has the ring. Spiderman, well, he's got the spider and the incidental association of a white/silver web on a red background. All your organisations have emblems: Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Justice League. Even Thor can be recognised by an outline of Mjolnir. I could go on, but I'm getting bored.

Anyway, what does Iron Man have? Well, he's got the arc reactor, which is paradoxically overly-detailed and still looks like nothing. Or, you've got his face. Which I don't really fancy face t-shirts. They bug me. You can also occasionally find shirts with Robert Downey Jr, but see the aversion to t-shirts with faces on.

The official reason you can't find this stuff is that he hasn't been in cinemas for a while. But when was the Flash in cinema? It's been a while for the Green Lantern as well, and let's face it. Superman and Batman can be out of cinema for a decade, and you'll still find their stuff. Iron Man's not marketable because he doesn't have a simple logo, and it drives me mental. I want an Iron Man t-shirt, damnit. D:



Mildly unrelated, but still amazingly nerdy, I finished reading Jekyll and Hyde today. I think it was with Cat the other day that I was talking about this, and the adaptation decay of this story was brought up. Which, the more I've been thinking about it, the more that's been bugging me. Near as I can tell, Hyde just spent most of his time out getting off with rentboys. Yes, he did do two pretty horrible things, but the first one he almost immediately compensated the family, and when he murdered the MP (after Jekyll had kept him locked inside for however many months, only to ensure that when he did go free, it was like a wild animal from a cage), Hyde's ever action turned to self-preservation. And yet, he's always painted as this serial slasher rapist god knows what.

Which really wasn't what the story was about at all. At the core of it, it's about how man needs the duality of character to survive. A person needs balance, or else who knows what might happen? I guess somewhere in the human psyche is the need to latch onto the truly awful in any situation and ignore the rest of it.

I did quite enjoy the series Moffat did, I must say. All the meta and the surprise!Gatiss cameo made the show quite brilliant, even if it did succumb to the same adaptation decay as all the rest.
oxfordtweed: (Not His Date - Watson)
So. Went out with Bill yesterday, as planned. Had quite a lot of fun. I picked her up from the hotel, and then we made our merry way down to the Palms to go see Sherlock Holmes 2 (spoiler-rific review later, when I can brain better). My spoiler-free review for it: it was everything I expected, which isn't necessarily a good thing. Had some good bits, they removed the best bit (despite showing it in the trailers), and is going to annoy the canon fans all over again.

After that, we wandered about, looking for an open restaurant. Found nothing at the Palms, so we went to the Rio, and damn near found nothing there, until we found a sports bar that was open. I made Bill laugh like a loon by ordering a martini "extra dry, extra olives; make it dirty." We hung out there for about an hour or so before taking a shuttle down to Bally's, and from there decided to go up to the NYNY to ride the roller coaster. That was cold, but still fun.

There's a really great pub in the NYNY that I'd never been in before, but it was one of the few places open, so we went in there. Nine Fine Irishmen. There was this Irish guy up at the bar who was all annoyed that the barman wouldn't let him swear (by which I mean he kept shouting obscenities). Kept asking if he (the barman) had ever been in a proper Irish pub before, because you're allowed to swear there. The barman told him, "Well, you're not in Ireland. If you want to keep talking like that, go back there." I thought that was pretty good,

We found some drinks that Bill likes, and some drinks that she really doesn't. I wound up accidentally getting a bit hammered, and found that I quite like rum and coke and, surprisingly, martinis.

After that, back down to Caesar's to see Ryan, and on the way there, I stopped off at the Rock House so I could get another rum and coke, but the lady gave me some fruity slushy thing instead. Whatever. Bill wound up drinking most of that one anyway.

Then, home to go take the dog for a walk. Used Our Internet guy was there with his dogs, and we BSed with him for a long while before I got too cold to stand around watching the dumbass little chihuahua dog try to get it on with Used Our Internet guy's bloodhound, hilarious as that was. After that, Bill made me go to bed, which I did. And then woke up around 5am and when I was trying to go change into something a little more suitable than the trousers I apparently fell asleep in, I took a bit of a tumble, though I'm not sure if that's because I was (am?) still a bit drunk or just experiencing my usual lack of balance. Either way, I'm now chilling in bed, eating poptarts, and going through Yuletide stories (when I can get the pages to load). I got a KKBB fic that you should read. Go do it!
oxfordtweed: (Yatta! - Hiro)
2011's pretty much over and done with. I consider it a good year. Made some friends, got back into fandom (even if I did leave it again, but hey), learned some new things.

I also wrote a LOT. How much a lot?

Approximately 142,000 words.

This does not include the counts for both of my in-progress big bang fics, an unpublished Holmes pastiche that's also still in-progress, or numerous other things that haven't seen their way off of kinkmemes yet. I don't even know what that number would be if I included those items. This does include fics that I wrote as [personal profile] jumperfucker and exchange fics that have not yet been revealed.


I don't usually do new year's resolutions. I still don't really count these as such, but I would like to, in the coming year, actually make a bit of money, and not maim myself in any way. I tend to be really bad at both of those things.
oxfordtweed: (facepalm - Harry)
Finally got round to switching over to that iPhone 4 Ryan threw at me a few weeks ago. I had no idea you could insure iPhones now, so I did that as well. Now it's making me update iTunes, which I always hate doing because it takes a geological age to get through everything.

I seem to have lost my wallpaper from my other iPhone, and I don't think it backed that up. Lame. Oh well. I'm sure I can find something else equally entertaining.

Got my hair cut this week as well. Usually, when I get my hair cut, I don't so much cut it as I do just shave it all off. But I decided to go get a proper haircut. The guy was like, sixty and from New York and didn't listen to a damn word I said about what I wanted. Kept telling me that the style I want is out of date. I didn't care. I had a picture on my phone and I said, "make my hair look like that." And he... sort of came close, but I'm still annoyed. I may have it fixed when I get to Portland, because it's a ridiculous length that has no body and he didn't do anything to help it not lay flat. Also, from having not cut my hair in over a year, it's developed a rather annoying middle parting. Which I hate deeply. So now my hair is just drowning in product while I try to train it out of parting down the middle.


Not much else going on. Got a new stick to replace the knackered old one, which means I'm a bit more active lately. That's always a good thing.


Leaving on Tuesday. Gone until the 30th. Woo, I am going to FREEZE.
oxfordtweed: (Mad Grin - Sherlock)
Found myself overcome by ennui and lethargy today, to the point that I grew bored enough to give Ritchie's Holmes another go. I'd only seen it once before, back in like January or something, so I decided to see if it was really as bad as I remembered.

My opinion is still unchanged. It's not that it's a bad movie. Quite the opposite, actually. I think if it were anyone but Holmes, it would have been a very enjoyable Victorian action flick. And there really aren't enough of those, so kudos to it for doing something about that.

It's just a bad Holmes.

Ignoring the fact that I just spent two hours watching Iron-man do a weird accent, Downey's interpretation of the character doesn't feel like Sherlock Holmes. Holmes was, depending on which story you read, dreadfully untidy, yes, but he was never dirty. He took great care to be as presentable and gentlemanly as possible, which you just don't get with Downey. Instead, you get some scruffy, graceless commoner in toff's clothing.

Mrs Hudson bugs me as well. I've always loved her. She's supposed to be able to hold her own against Holmes, and tell him off when he does something positively bone-headed (like shooting the wall). So why is she acting like she needs Watson around in order for her to be able to cope?

While it's nice to see that Mary Morstan is getting a bit more spotlight, she could have been handled better as well, I think. Her entire backstory has been re-written so that it negates the entirety of the Sign of Four. Maybe it's because that was always one of my favourites, but that really annoys me.

Irene Adler... just... what? Seriously, what? Why is it that in a film full of subdued colours, she's wearing bright pinks and blues? I hate visual cues like that. Just like Blackwood wearing leather. Why did he need to be wearing leather? I know he's the bad guy. He's obviously the bad guy. Please make it less obvious. Adler's form-fitting male dress bugged the snot out of me at all. It completely negates the maleness of the clothing. And why did she suddenly become a pirate at the end? I can handle a bit of re-hashing of the backstory, if they wanted to hetero up the story a bit, but they just went way to far with her. I don't think anyone disagrees with that, though.

Also, I bet Ritchie is kicking himself over the utter failure that was the Sherlock Scan. So many deductions could have been made so awesome, but I felt that a lot of them fell flat because we didn't get to see his thought process. That it was only ever used for the fight scenes felt like a terrible waste.

Watson was great. I still can't find a single fault with him. The plot was properly sinister and engaging. I even quite enjoyed Lestrade, and Holmes' relationship with the police in general. But I just have such a difficult time seeing it as a Holmes movie.
oxfordtweed: (Martin Freeman - Aha!)
One dredged up from the depths of the kinkmeme again.

There's a word I see thrown around, not just there, but everywhere on LJ: privilege.

In this particular instance, someone mentioned how they didn't notice a certain racefail in the second episode of Sherlock (I'll admit, I was too busy boggling over Sherlock's wild, nonsensical deductions and didn't even notice the racefail the first time watching it). This apparently means that the commenter is privileged, since it adheres to the idea of, 'it doesn't hurt me, so I don't care.'

Funny. That idea sounds exactly like apathy to me. And correct me if I'm wrong, but anybody can be apathetic toward anything. Fuck, I'm apathetic toward a lot of things. I don't call the cops on my screaming neighbours unless I think my screaming neighbours are going to kill me. Otherwise, I let them scream. I don't care. That's what headphones are for. I'll be honest in saying that I had a really hard time caring about Japan. The three or four people on my F-list that I know are in Japan all posted to LJ to announce their well-being, and that was good enough for me. Am I privileged, or just too damn busy worrying about my own financial well-being and the state of my cupboards to even consider donating to the Red Cross?

I'm not doubting that such a concept does exist. Our very government, for instance: I'd call them privileged. Put them all on minimum wage and make them pay for their own health insurance, and this country would change overnight.

I don't know. It just seems like one of those words that gets thrown around in this storm of hyper-political correctness. Anything you say that isn't in some way friendly or beneficial to everyone is wrong. But, do you know what? I'd rather be wrong than feel like I was pandering to something I didn't believe in anyway.

Uhm

Feb. 16th, 2011 04:28 am
oxfordtweed: (Ross - Unagi)
I seem to have run out of interesting things to do on the internet. I'm considering bed, if just for something to do to kill some time.

Also, I'm fairly certain that something not good was spilt on my keyboard. The keys have been sticking oddly lately, and now they're just not registering at all. I JUST got this thing a few months ago. Argh.

I reckon I can always take all the keys off and try to clean it out. But not right now. That requires work, and I'm not that badly in need of a project.
oxfordtweed: (Sherlock - Mad Grin)
I'm doing a bit of boredom sketching, and trying to get a better grasp on this guy's face. All I seem to be doing is making things worse.


Seriously, this guy has GOT to be from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse. He's got that crazy ginger hair (when he's not being Sherlock), his eyes are at an impossible slant, he smiles way too broadly, and let us not forget those cheekbones.

Seriously. Who am I describing, here? Cumberbatch, or Ford Prefect? They're semi-half-cousins. That's the only explanation. Betelgeuse has already gone Supernova, with the Betelgeusians having spread far and wide across the galaxy, and one of them has landed on Earth.


Tell me, Benedict: Do you know where your towel is?
oxfordtweed: (Star Trek - Chris Pine Explodes)
I don't do very well with conversations, in person or over the phone. Anyone who knows me in person has probably noticed that I have odd moments of just not following at all.

I smell, taste, and hear colours (as well as see, but most people do). I can feel and see sounds, and am especially sensitive to some of the higher registers. Conversation is... totally screwed up. I don't hear words; I hear letters and see the words. When someone mispronounces a word, or I can't figure out how it's meant to be pronounced, I get totally bent out of shape, because then the word winds up misspelt, and I can't figure out what it's supposed to be sometimes.

It's synaesthesia to an extreme effect.

I often talk about living in a popular culture void because television is often overstimulating for me. If I do watch something, I'm usually not doing much else, because I can't divide my attention between everything that's coming in. Words and colours and sounds and oh god. The husband has the television on while he's home, which means I'm always focus-divided, because there's just so much input and not enough RAM to process it.

Textual conversation is infinitely easier for me to handle. It's already all there in text, without sounds getting in the way. Certain accents and languages just kill me, because I can never figure out what some of the sounds look like, and then I just get confused and upset.

Telephone conversations are strange for me because there's the sound, but it's not a "real" sound. It's a recreation of sound and not attached to anything; distorted and wrong. Thank god for an unlimited text package. When I do have to talk on the phone, I use my headphones to drown out anything else, and just focus on what the other person is saying. Even then, I hate it, because there's nothing to properly associate the sound to, and everything's all brown and grey and unpleasant.

Music seems to make everything easier to handle. I've always got music on, whether I'm at home or out and about. It's something of a white noise effect that drowns out everything else, and makes it easier to focus. If I don't have music, I see everything. Traffic, rain, neighbours, the cats, Ryan asleep in the next room; even the walls, which I hate because they are white, and white is the worst. This is why I tend to cover up my walls with as much random junk as possible, and with generally dark colours. It mutes out the sound the walls make, which is rather high-pitched and unpleasant. It sort of sounds like how neon* looks.

I was able to read by the time I was three, and when I go out, I wear red-tinted glasses, because red is one of the few colours that doesn't have a sound (which is why a lot of my flat is done up in shades of red and orange).

It's all pretty much as confusing as it sounds. Angering sometimes, and rather more complicated than this, but also very difficult to explain. To borrow a phrase used by Flynn in M'ways, this is rather like asking a frog to imagine a moon base.

* I am referring to the type of lamp, and not the gas that makes the lamp glow. Argon, neon, mercury; it's all rather the same thing.

eurrrrrrgh

Dec. 8th, 2010 09:23 pm
oxfordtweed: (Watson - WTF)
At this moment, I have 185 gigabytes worth of assorted data to back-up. I have 30 DVDs remaining, which have been failing at a rate of about 1/3, so I realistically have probably closer to 20 DVDs. I really hate having to pick and choose what I want to save. And even without such a huge fail rate, I'd still need about ten more than I have.

As of this typing, I have been working at backing stuff up for about 13 hours. Maintaining the rate I've been going today, I can probably finish sometime around probably 2:00-3:00 tomorrow afternoon. And then I get to completely to a full system reformat, which hopefully does not just catastrophically fail.

I want my email back. I want my sound back. I want to get out of fucking safe mode and away from 800x600 resolution. I want this thing to stop shitting all over itself every time I ask it to do anything beyond opening Firefox (which is, apparently, even occasionally too much to ask).

I need to go to bed.
oxfordtweed: (Default)
So. I was never able to get Windows 7 installed. Twice, I went through the process, and twice, it aborted itself halfway through. So, I'm still running Vista.

Annoyingly, I can get into the 'extra' login on the computer, and everything works just fine. The main one, though. Somehow fucked. It blue screens, and freezes, and is trying to give me an aneurysm or something.

Luckily, the second login on the computer is able to do everything except run Trillian or Thunderbird, for reasons I am not even going to begin to try to fathom. It can, however, run virus and malware scans, which is what I've spent the day doing so far. And since I can't run Trillian or Thunderbird, there's very little reason to actually be on the computer. So, my day has been spent largely listening to the Velvets and giving the kitchen a good, deep scrub. The kitchen looks fucking amazing, now. I don't think it's been this shiny since we moved in. I'll probably move onto the bathroom next, depending on how long this system scan takes, and whether or not I'm able to get into the main account afterward. If it is, fantastic! I'll make myself some cucumber sandwiches and spend the rest of the evening pretending to be a vegetable in front of the computer.

If it doesn't work, then.... well, I have a plan. It's a terrible, annoying plan and I loathe to do it, but it's so far the only other plan I have.

I've determined that the issue with installing Windows 7 lies with the install disc I have. There's a flaw, small but visible, in the inner third of the disc. I cannot afford to purchase a copy, because I need to fix the Xbox, which will cost just as much. I do, however, have the means by which to burn every single fucking file I have to DVD, and perform a full system wipe and reinstall. I don't want to do this. It's a nightmare, and I really, really, really don't want to go through the hassle of putting everything BACK onto the computer when I'm done. But, whatever. If I have to, I will.

If I'm not online by tomorrow, this is exactly what's happening.



Also, it would appear that the kitchen tap is now dripping. FANTASTIC.

Yuletide

Dec. 5th, 2010 12:59 pm
oxfordtweed: Bernard Black looking angrily at some papers, with a speech bubble with the text 'What? What does that mean?' (Bernard - What does that mean?)
I am pleased to report that I have my Yuletide fic all figured out. It took a lot of rambling to myself in the form of scribbled notes on grid paper, and half a bar of Cadbury Royal Dark chocolate, but the idea seems solid, and just strange enough to work for the canon I'm writing for.

Mind, I've not actually written anything yet. I only have it figured out, which was the most difficult part. Now that I know what to do with it, and how to work with the prompt I was given (optional or not, it was funny as hell, and I had to use it), I can relax for a bit and let the ideas settle. I'll probably have it written sometime in the next few days. Either way, I won't be posting it publicly until the authors are revealed on the 1st.

But I know what to write, at least. So, I feel accomplished.

Also, fuck

Dec. 2nd, 2010 11:52 am
oxfordtweed: (Not Amused - Chandler)
Recently, our apartment building was bought out. When we moved in, it was extremely low-rent (which had been the appeal of moving here in the first place). It's the sort of apartment building that's really common in this area of town, in that it started off life, long ago, as a hotel, and had been later converted to a more full-time living space. I've lived in buildings like this before, and while they don't always work properly, there's a certain sort of odd charm to them.

The new management isn't going to change the fact that this building used to be a hotel, but they do seem to be trying to change the fact that it doesn't always work. They've just finished up a massive landscaping project outside, redoing a lot of the masonry bits in the car park and replacing the dirt with grass (fake grass, granted. This is Las Vegas, after all. But it's very nice-looking fake grass, and was probably very expensive). After that, they started fixing up the corridors outside. They've fixed all the busted lights, have been patching up the ceiling bits, and are supposedly about to start working on fixing the floors, since they act like they're about to crumble away into oblivion.

Now they're working on renovating every single unit in the building. Intelligently, they're starting with the units that are currently empty, and will eventually move on to the units that are occupied. Don't ask me how they plan on doing that. I have no idea. But I've poked my head into some of the units that they're currently working on. All new kitchen appliances, new cabinets, new flooring throughout, new AC units, and fresh paint on the walls. This is shaping up to be an expensive damn project, and it leaves me wondering where they're going next.

But THIS IS A GOOD THING. And I have to keep telling myself this.

Anyone who's known me for a while probably knows that I'm jumpy, nervous, panicky, and generally hate anything that moves or makes noise suddenly. I have got builders right above me, and have for the last week. Before that, they were in the unit next door. Any time I hear any sort of noise, now, I want to jump out of my skin. For reasons I can't properly explain, I'm starting to feel rather frightened to just be sitting here in my own front room. All the pounding and rattling going on has rattled something loose in my brain, or something. Someone knocked on my door yesterday, and I nearly had a heart attack.


And people wonder why I don't drink caffeine.
oxfordtweed: (Futurama - Penn-in-a-jar)
It's not even midday, but today's been fairly interesting.

This morning, I decided that I'm sick of having more DVDs than I have shelves. So, I loaded up as many DVDs as I could manage (still leaving at least half of the collection on the shelves), and took them down to the pawn shop. At 50¢ each, I came home with $130. Holy fuck, that was a lot of DVDs. And now I have space for even more!

lol not. Netflix has eaten our souls, and that's where we've been getting most of our movies from. The only DVDs I've purchased lately are the sorts of things even Netflix won't carry.


On my way to the pawn shop, my dad rang me, because his Blu-Ray player has fucked up, making it impossible to get to Netflix (because I totally got him addicted last month. Whoops). Since I was lugging a bunch of DVDs to the pawn shop, I told him I'd call him when I got home. When that came about, he was apparently still having issues with it. My dad is one of the most technologically inept people on the planet. It so bad. So after about a half hour of getting nowhere, I just told him to turn off his power strip. His modem, as well as the BD Player (amongst a few other things, but they are not important right now) are plugged into it, so we pretty much killed two birds with one stone and rebooted both the modem and the BD Player at once.

I'm not sure which it was, but one of them was the problem. Netflix is working again. And now, he knows why the red button on his power strip is useful.


And now, I am going shopping. I hope that I don't explode.
oxfordtweed: (I hear ya got religion - Residents)
Ryan will occasionally leave articles and web pages up for me to find when I wake up. Sometimes, I think he does it just to annoy me, but for the most part, it's because he knows it's something I'll like.

This is what I woke up to today.

If you've known me for a while, you've probably heard me go on about how Adam and Eve were monkeys. If you haven't heard this little story, I'll tell it now.


I've always maintained that the bible, specifically the book of Genesis, talks of evolution. God creates Adam and Eve, and they live a simple, vegetarian (vegan?) life in the Garden of Eden. God tells them they can eat anything they want in this garden, except from one specific fruit. Okay, fine. Figs and papayas will be just fine. After all, they're tasty, and who doesn't like having an apple with breakfast?

One day, Eve is quietly chowing down when a serpent wiggles up to Eve and says, "Hey, you know that fruit God told you not to eat? I think you should eat it." Because Eve apparently lacked the capacity to resist peer pressure, she ate the fruit. Then she took it to Adam, who also lacked the capacity to resist peer pressure, and then all of a sudden, they realised they were naked.


That's a lovely, simplified Sunday School version, but our teachers always forget to mention the fact that Adam and Eve were monkeys. These monkeys are sitting happy up in the trees, scarfing down papayas and figs and generally spending all day eating, because that's what herbivores do. One day, Eve's sitting under a tree, eating a bunch of fallen fruit when along comes a strange wiggling little critter. It's in amongst the fruit, and may even be a similar colour. Eve, ever curious, picks up this new wiggling fruit and takes a big old bite out of it. It doesn't taste like any fruit she's ever eaten, but it's juicy like one. Whatever it is, she decides that she likes it. Furthermore, she takes it to Adam to show her what she's found. And wouldn't you know, he likes it too.

So now, Adam and Eve are still eating easily-accessible fruit, but now they're starting to go out of their way to find these little wiggly things to eat. Because little wiggly things will hide and bite, they have to start actually thinking about how they're going to go about catch them. Suddenly, they've become predators. As they move on to larger prey, they have to again adapt their hunting techniques. The smarter they get, the bigger the prey they're able to catch. The bigger the prey, the less they have to hunt. But if they want big prey, they have to leave the trees in favour of the plains, where they'll find gazelles and buffalo. Now, they're able to feed their entire family all at once, and for several days at a time. Eventually, they learn how to preserve the meat to make it last weeks or months at a time. This means they can spend a few days hunting, and spend months after that focusing on other things like shelter and warmth -- those things that God had provided in Eden, but which they gave up when they left.
oxfordtweed: (Halp! - Residents)
I'm talking specifically about music releases, but book and film releases are heading into the digital age as well. Hell, I just spent all of last night watching movies via Netflix's Instant View feature, streaming it through my X-Box 360 to my television.

I think the older readers will be able to relate more to what I'm saying today (or those who, in this single case were lucky, did not obtain internet access until recently). I've never really understood the the full appeal of downloading music, be it legally from sources like iTunes, or via a torrent. I can, however, glimpse beyond the curtain and catch hints of why people do it. There's the convenience of not having to go to the shop, prices can be drastically lower (especially if you get your music from the Pirate Bay or other Peer to Peer sources), and you can pick and choose which tracks from which albums you want.

But... why? Going to the shop to find music has always been something I've enjoyed doing. One of my favourite places to find music when I was in high school was pawn shops. This was a time when the whole Napster thing had blown up, and Limewire was coming into vogue. With computers able to store scores of gigabytes of music, CD players and small stereo systems were being pawned and sold left and right. Every Saturday, I would take about $10-$15 and hit up a chain of pawn shops between my house and the bus station where C-Tran (Vancouver's transit authority) and Tri-Met (Portland's transit authority) shared space, just by the I-5 bridge (this means nothing to most of you, but a small handful will know where I'm talking about). Every one of the pawn shops I'd stop at would have huge spindles of loose CDs up by the register; CDs which had been sold in huge booklets and without their jewel cases, or more often, had been forgotten inside of sold CD players and stereos -- and all at 25¢ or 50¢ each, depending upon the shop. Occasionally, I'd find something to fill a gap in my collection; that Chilli Peppers album I didn't have or a limited release. But that was never the goal when I'd go out to CD hunt. I knew labels and the sorts of sounds they liked to produce. With the internet having been a fixture in my house since about 1998, I knew how to look up bands and see who they affiliated with. If something was familiar, I'd grab it. I'd take it home, lock myself in my room all weekend, and listen to every CD I brought home. I discovered my favourite band in a similar way; Ryan's dad brought home a box of damaged CDs from work that were un-sellable. One of them was called Club Anthems by a band called Ballboy. That was eight years ago, and I'm still in love with those crazy Scottish bastards.

I also bought new CDs as well. If I really liked a band, I'd go to used CD bins and complete collections that way. I liked reading the liner notes and looking at all the pictures in the booklets that would come with the CD. I'd read over these as I listened to the music, making it a complete audio/visual experience.

I'd do the same sort of thing with records, only as one might imagine, it was a bit more difficult to find those by this time. I'd have to go to thrift stores and hope to find anything that wasn't gospel or "god knows what." Thrift stores seem to specialise in "god knows what" records.


And what of getting music more cheaply online? New releases on iTunes are just as expensive as they are in the shop, and you're getting less for your money. You don't get all the pictures and liner notes and something tangible to hold in your hands. You get 14 files full of 1's and 0's that only iTunes can decipher. Sure, every CD I own, and a few of my records, have been ripped to .mp3 format, but that's more of a convenience of not having to carry around a CD player with me. .mp3s don't tend to skip or scratch (unless there was an error in the rip process), and you can take thousands with you at a time. So, maybe that's why a digital release and a CD release cost about the same; you're paying extra for the convenience. Sure, some older albums are about $10, but those same albums are about $10 at Best Buy as well.


One of my favourite things about getting full CDs is the experience. I recently reviewed something called Countrysides, an album which I'd picked up on recommendation. I got it from iTunes because I'd heard about it at about 3am, and I was willing to pay for the convenience of getting the album right then, rather than having to wait about eight hours for Best Buy to open, and then hope that they had the album. As I clearly stated in the review, the middle of the album fell very flat for me. I might even go as far as to say that I didn't like the middle three tracks at all. But, I got the album because I heard one song that I had liked. I could have very easily just grabbed that one track for 99¢ and called it good, but I opted instead to get the full album. And most of the album, I wound up really liking. What great songs I'd have missed out on, had I only purchased the last track of the album! And I don't know; maybe after a few more listens, those middle three songs may grow on me. I had that happen with an entire album. I adored Smash Mouth's debut, Fush Yu Mang. When Astrolounge was released, I felt cheated. It sounded nothing like their first album. It was all full of slow metaphors and casually swaying tunes. After a few listens, though, I got it. I mean really got it. I almost think, now, that I may even prefer Astrolounge to Fush Yu Mang. There have been a few other times that this has happened, but Smash Mouth stands out the most in my mind and memories in this case.

Maybe I'm just getting old and rejecting change. I do buy digitally, but mostly because that's the only way I can for some bands. Some of them have gone to 100% digital, only releasing their albums in the form of .mp3 downloads from their sites. The smart ones even include custom package artwork and digital booklets. But I still miss being able to hold that booklet in my hands as I listen to the music. I want to be able to feel the pages as I read the liner notes. No digital booklet and .zip file release will ever come close to reproducing this, and I find myself almost mourning the loss of an old friend.

Or I can just keep calm and carry on, because there's bound to be yet some other advance in technology that will annoy me even more.
oxfordtweed: Dennis Doyle humping a shop mannequin (Dennis - hump)
oxfordtweed: (Bwuh? - Joey)
People don't... they don't actually subscribe to this, do they? The impression I always got from it was to point out the absurdity of Scientology some of these "fringe" religions; in the same spirit of the Invisible Pink Unicorn and Russell's Teapot.

I ask, because I've just come across someone claiming to follow this religion, and they seemed to be sincere about it. Granted, she's only still in high school, and maybe she missed the point? I'm just a little baffled right now, and had no idea that people actually took it seriously in a totally un-ironic way.


ETA: Maybe I'm just really sleep deprived, but Joey and Mr Blue in my icons both look absolutely shocked at this post. It's cracking me up.

I need to get some sleep, I think.

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Richard Book is Innocent

November 2012

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