Man Man part deux

October 30th, 2014

Got my bicycle back today! I ended up taking an Uber to the shop, for the amazingly low price of $4.86, or probably not much more than it would have been to drive my gas guzzler and sure enough it was ready. Back brake pads were good, new ones in the front, brakes feel good as new, new tires and tubes, lubing of the chain and new grips for the handle bar. Total bill: $66! Full disclosure: the derailleur is not properly adjusted, because when I select 7th(1?!?!?) gear it goes into 6th, but since that’s the only one I use anyway, I’ll live with it. Maybe one day it might be a fun project to adjust it myself…..

“That’s the way it had to of went down.”

October 29th, 2014

The commenter meant “….it had to have gone down.” But without saying it out loud, it might be quite confusing! This title was literally the last sentence of a very wordy comment on the “poked my heart” video on Youtube. Would you put any trust in anything else this person wrote?

Full comment:

“WOW! She made this account 5 days ago (24/09/14), uploaded her very first video, she’s got 2,450 subscribers. Me, i made my account 11 months ago and i only have 25 subscribers. I’ve not really been trying though. I’ve just uploaded 23 videos of some stuff that some people might like to see. This is a 2 minute video. It’s funny as hell, but it just makes you think. All the effort it took was to take out your camera for 2 minutes and record some children. My god. Effortless as hell.

This really goes to show how talented you have to be to get subscribers. I haven’t subscribed. I don’t hate the person who made the video or anything, i just think it’s stupid to subscribe when they only made one 2 minute video. Maby she’ll never upload again, who knows.

I know why everyone is subscribing though. They hope that this channel will become really famous and have millions of subs so they can tell their friends that they were the first people to subscribe. Imagine the first person to of clicked subscribe. What an idiot. Imagine him thinking this. “Alright! I found a channel with no subscribers, 1 video, 1 view. Alright! I’m subscribing” Hahahaha…. That’s the way it had to of went down.”

eVite

October 29th, 2014

Something strange happened to me; it bothered me, but maybe I’m crazy. A friend of mine invited me to a Halloween party via eVite, the ubiquitous invite-systems on the web. That in itself is fine, I get them once in a while, but I never repsond on the service; it just doesn’t feel right to give a commercial company that much insight in my life. Especially with all the ‘promotion’ we have to do these days as artists, I just don’t feel like publicizing yet another part of my life. I emailed my friend and told her I’d be there after my gig.

So much to my surprise, the next day I received another email from eVite explaining my RSVP had changed to ‘maybe’! Huh, I never did that! So, I went on there and changed it to ‘no’. Within minutes I get an email from my friend saying she’s “so sad I won’t make the party”, explaining she had changed the RSVP, “I just wanted to update the list for myself, I hope that didn’t bother you!” Am I crazy? I’m not mad or anything, but I do find this a pretty odd….. this culture of promotion is getting out of hand as far as I’m concerned ;-)

Alicia Keys

October 29th, 2014

Last week’s “Battle Rounds”, as bizarre as the premise they’re based on is namely making people who are on the same team fight each other, has showed us that this year’s talent pool on the Voice is pretty deep actually! So much so, that while watching I could not stop wondering where in the world we are gonna find enough songs for all of them once they start making albums!

The most powerful part of the show for me though, is when the contestants really learn something, about the craft or about themselves. This year Alicia Keys has been the most helpful so far, showing a few of them how one takes command of a stage! She’s a superstar, but her confidence comes not from being ‘hot’, as she’s gained quite a bit of weight again, but from knowing she’s got talent and abilities. In addition, quite a few hopefuls learned quite a bit about ‘feeling’ what you’re singing. There was some incredible progress, truly inspiring…..

You can say what you want, but most of the contestants are significantly better singers than ALL of the coaches, especially now that Aguilera is gone, but the assistants they bring in are top notch, and the whole machine is working. Again, becoming a true star is going to mean original songs and going forward that will be harder and harder. In Holland there has been a competition for songwriters on TV for a couple of seasons, with success I think. It’s probably time to start doing the same here…

Mad man

October 28th, 2014

After countless miles, my beloved bicycle’s year tire literally exploded a week ago and it was time: new bike, or refurbish this one…..as time has gone by, I bought some tires, a new seat which is worn out again, all at pretty high prices. If you add in new grips, truing the rims, oiling, tuning, most bike shops would probably charge $200 I figures and I only paid $220 for the thing new. Still, I decided to put my money where my mouth is, and spend the money on a local shop, instead of Target. The frame of my bike is excellent, the pedals, the welding, even the derailleur and the wheels are solid. Damn it, even if it costs a little more than getting a new one, discarding the old one just doesn’t make ANY sense.

So where do I take it? The obvious choice is the place on Ventura, but they laugh at me and my Giant. Wait, there’s always the crazy guy on Woodman! His shop is so full of stuff, it looks like an episode of hoarders; not kidding. I check his ratings on Google: excellent, even though almost every review mentions how crazy he is, and how insanely packed his store.  To the Bike Factory it is!

When the man in his wheel chair finally figured out the required turns to back out because there simply wasn’t room to turn around, and I could respond to the grunting questions (?) the owner had directed at me over the wheel chair, I explained I needed all new tires in and out, new handle bar grips, new brake pads, full adjustment and lube, plus truing of the rear wheel, he quoted me $92! That’s excellent! According to the reviews, the man knows what he’s doing and my ride should be smoof az new.

Falli

October 28th, 2014

How about this one: an Icelander, married by the way, sets out to collect one of every mammalian species’ penises; there are between five and six thousand different ones, and he’s got every single one, from a giant whale cock to a tiny bumble bee bat bat……..there is only one mammal missing………Homo Sapiens of course! It’s the premise of a documentary called “The Final Member” which showed up on Netflix. I’m not gonna give it away except to warn you there is footage of Elmo, a very proud American’s penis, having been freshly tattooed with full color “Stars & Stripes”……yeah, no kidding! Not sure if the guy is an actor, but if you can handle it, it’s a very, very entertaining watch!

Unbundle

October 15th, 2014

As none other than Neil Young, who I just watched on Colbert this morning, sits tables behind me at Starbucks, I want to talk about some good news of the day, a show of progress if you will: HBO has announced it will start an online streaming service of some kind that does NOT require a cable subscription of any kind! Hallelujah! It certainly took long enough, but this is just excellent and I will be one of the first to put his money where his mouth is! It’ll probably be more than the $15 add-on it is now, but hopefully not much; I’m saving $25 by not patronizing Time Warner anymore, and would gladly pay that for perhaps Showtime and HBO on my computers. Now let’s hope that other talented content providers get on-board and we can shake this thing up a little….

BTW, Neil Young was promoting some music player device that gives you “100%” where an MP3 player gives you “5%”. He is of course strictly speaking correct, simply because the bitrate of the latter is normally a tenth of hat a CD has, and the former probably uses 96Khz, 24Bit audio. Of course our brains are so easily fooled, and I bet you 99% of all people would not be able to distinguish between the two formats, especially with the sonically limited material we listen to today.

Well, I decided to look it up: the device is called the PonoPlayer and costs $400. The corresponding Ponomusic service promises to always provide the highest resolution file-formats available for any particular content, with 44 Khz 16-bit as the lowest. The player does many formats up to 192Khz 24-bit….there you have it!

Yet another voice

October 10th, 2014

The new season of the Voice US has started, with two new ‘coaches’ to boot! Let me say, the vocal ability in this panel of superstars has certainly not gone up with the addition of Gwen Stefani and Pharrel, that’s for sure. Blake Shelton is not a particularly great singer, so I guess that leaves Adam as the best of the bunch…..ouch….a few of the contestants are going to far outclass the pros in this dog and pony show!

The blind auditions were divided into 4 episodes this year and featured some pretty good performances in the first three as always. But then there was number four: mostly a recap of the first three, with barely enough new footage and blabbing to call it a program. Wow, regurgitating already! It did show some footage of coaching sessions of some of the people who made and it was quite painful actually; it seems the well was not very deep this year and we’re going to have some painfully average contestants. Miss Stefani has already made it clear during the auditions that she’s more about fashion than music…..this could be the last season…

Maturity

October 9th, 2014

After thinking about my childishness post from yesterday, there are a couple of things I want to add to the discussion. There are more problems in our modern culture caused by our desire to stay young forever; I believe that it leads directly to that crazy lack of sense of responsibility that has made people sue so readily. A good friend of mine just got married and now some lady is suing the establishment where the ceremony took place because she broke her ankle. Mind you, not only had the groom specifically stated in the invitations that the venue was in a hilly, rocky place, thus flat shoes were highly recommended, but the place was very well maintained and sensibly laid out. When my friend explained to her that even though he bought insurance, he’d be on the hook for a $1000 deductible, this lady who not only has full health insurance but actually works for Kaiser(!!!!), kept repeating she’s not suing him, then offered repeatedly to reimburse him from her expected settlement. This type of utter lack of comprehension of decency does not fit an adult.

Another example that so common is how people behave in regards to customer service, in restaurants or stores for instance. The expectations are oftentimes so unreasonable, it’s incomprehensible. Why in the world do grown people feel they can act like spoiled brats? Is it because their parents never raised them?

Let me say that I understand the desire to stay young, of course I do. It’s great to not have to worry, to live freely, as in a sandbox. It’s awesome to believe that the day you die is so far away, it’s not worthy of consideration. Even deeper goes the fear of losing the ability to play, instead of work, if you know what I mean, but this is where the solution lies I believe. You see, you don’t have to lose playfulness at all when you grow up! Just because you are responsible for a couple of kids, it doesn’t mean you can’t make time to get in a few rounds of XBox. It’s of utmost importance to keep playing, to balance your life, no matter how much your wife nags you; standing up to her is part of the adult thing… ;-)

Childishness

October 8th, 2014

How do humans improve when they mature? What are the problems children typically have that adults don’t? First of there’s irrational fear: monsters under the bed! Part of growing up is learning to channel the mechanism of fear that protects us; we start with the simplest of stories, in which there’s a clear distinction between good and evil. As we mature, we’re supposed to realize there are many shades of grey.

Then there’s responsibility for your actions. Kids are allowed to explore the limits and go over the edge once in a while. By the time you get your own housing, the idea is that you know how to manage money, that you pay your debts, have learned to budget. The immature thing is to blow rent money on something fun, with no regard to future consequences; to think in the short-term!

How about compromise? Of course there are differences between different people, but in general the older you get, the more you should start appreciating compromise, because you know getting along is more important than getting your way. Children get a few fresh starts for building friendships if needed: new school, new round, new prizes.

Finally there is confidence! As a human learns, he or she should feel more and more confident; that just comes with finding what you’re good at, finding where you belong, and who with. Again, some of us are less secure than others, but generally there should be an improvement.

So why this list? Well, many times I talk to my friends in Holland about the US and for years I’ve told them that to understand Americans is to realize they want to be children forever! Grown men yelling out they’re going “to Disneyland!”, 40-somethings being thrilled with the ridiculous ‘compliment’ of being asked to prove they’re old enough to buy beer. Those are the benign side effects of the desire to be young forever. The bad are the incredible irrational fear of the typical person here: of being robbed, killed, generally the world coming to an end! There’s talk of “evil-doers”, almost like politicians are talking about the evil witch in a fairytale! Compromise? Forget it! Politicians are digging in like neighborhood kids who don’t have anything to lose by standing strong. And look at what women, and now increasingly men, do to themselves to look younger; risking your life for a fight you’re gonna lose just doesn’t make any sense. The insecurity present in so many women here puts to shame the agony of the 13 year old girls I remember from school.

It really needs to change if we want to have a chance at happiness, don’t you think? We must take responsibility like the adults we are; we must realize that we have to care about others, unlike a selfish child who has nothing to worry about but itself. This is a cultural thing, and culture can change.