Saturday, May 16, 2009

we're just watering weeds.


No matter how much file sharing is referred to as “piracy” or “stealing,” it never succeeded in making me feel like I was doing anything wrong. The argument is tiresome and irritating. It overlooks the enormous relevant difference which is stealing deprives ownership, file sharing doesn’t. It isn’t necessarily harmless, but it’s not the same.

I don’t purchase music very often these days for one very good reason; all of the music stores in my town have gone out of business. If I want to shop for CDs in Salinas I have to go to places like Target or Wal-Mart. I’m not going to patronize Wal-Mart for the same reason I don’t care if overpaid entertainers and their financiers lose revenue to file sharing. I don’t really like the idea of large fortunes accumulating around small groups of people.

Frankly I hope we get to a point when the role of the record company is deemed obsolete. Why be a bunch of losers who dream of making it big in the music industry when we can just drag the industry down to the rest of us by taking all of the profitability out of it? Get rid of the profit motives, it’s cheaper and easier than it has ever been to record and distribute music. Do it yourself, it certainly couldn't hurt the selection.

Now with that said, there is something that has come to bother me about file sharing:

I remember spending what sometimes ended up being hours browsing the shelves of Street Light Records. It took 45 minutes to get there, it was always hard to find parking and the people hanging out there were usually snooty, but it was rewarding. It was an occasion and I whatever I bought would entertain me for months. I would hold up 8 or 9 CDs and had to make a decision as to which 5 or 6 I would buy and which ones I would put back for another time. Now, there is no limit to the music I can acquire, only a matter of selection. I’ll always find something worth having as long as it's free. That tends to take the lasting enjoyment out of most albums for me. There are still unique albums that come along and hold my attention for months, but this happens less often when I can find dozens of albums I’d like to have in an hour or two.

I think I’m going to add a little ceremony to how I experience music with a long overdue trip to my favorite music store this weekend.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Irony is teabagging us.

About 600 people gathered for a Tea Party protest in Monterey yesterday. I'm surprised by how many people are gathering around this idea. gave a list of estimates compiled from police, reporters, and other non-protesters that added up to about 111,899 across the country. The numbers of people turning out aren't huge (less than 0.33% of the population?), but I'm surprised none the less. I have been reading about this for a while and it originally came across as laughable joke put forth by conservative pundits. It got a little more outrageous when it came out that this "sudden" uproar of popular protest against Obama's spending was actually planned by conservatives two months before the election was even decided, it was unconscionable, but ridiculous. I expected to see a few protests sparsely populated with angry, inarticulate citizens with more outrage than information.

I had a brief conversation with a client about the Teabaggers (there aren't many clients I can have political conversations with). I was disappointed to hear her say something to the effective of "If I wasn't so busy, you might see me out there with the Tea Party." I was respectful, but didn't hesitate to tell her how misguided I think those people are. My simplest explanation is that these are otherwise well-intentioned people gathering around an idea that is falsely labeled as a grassroots movement and making arguments against Obama's spending for the benefit of the GOP. She argued the issue went across party lines and the fight is against irresponsible government spending, bailouts and excessive taxation, not against Democrats or Republicans.

I agree that our tax policy is worth protesting and the problem is systemic, not partisan, but the notion of a movement against Obama for doing something that Bush, Clinton, Bush I, and Reagan all did before him without condemning them in all is asinine. For this reason most Teabaggers should be giving a heart felt apology for voting Republican.

Worse still, she suggested that I check on her claim that the Teabaggers are non-partisan by watching reports Fox News. Without missing a beat I told her to stop watching Fox News like she was a child I just caught eating her own boogers. I spent the next few minutes explaining why Fox News is the antithesis of journalism, and not too far behind it is the rest of mainstream media. ...but that's a blog of it's own. Five'll get ya ten that she went home and watched the Factor.

At heart I think those people are just pissed off. And they should be. They should be pissed off that they got tricked by the rich neo-cons who fuck them over into being leverage over the guy who is most likely to help them.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

the pulse of that horse.

As per usual, the urge to write hits me during bouts of insomnia or just before I'm about to fall asleep.

Recently I've wanted to get back into the habit of writing. Myspace is starting to feel like a sinking ship, so I created a blogspot account.

Recent trials and tribulations:

I threw up a craigslist ad a few days ago seeking bands or musicians looking for a drummer and the responses have been abysmal. I actually decided to ignore the ones I've gotten so far and I almost never do that. I consider it to be extremely poor craigslist etiquette.

Rewind to 2 months ago: I put an ad up looking for musicians to collaborate with and one of the responses I got was this guy who wanted to jam on some power pop. Sounded promising enough but there were 2 major setbacks; the dude just learned to play guitar six months earlier and worse still he's a severe manic depressive.

The first thing that tipped me off was that after he sent his first email, he couldn't wait an hour or two for me to reply before sending 2 more emails the length of a fucking novella. He unloaded every banal thought that entered his mind, least of which had to do with the music he wanted to make. I put this aside and humored him long enough to talk shop. From there it just got out of hand. Before we even got to the topic of setting a time to meet and jam (which I was not really inclined to do anyway) he got all freaked out and called the whole thing off, saying he was getting overwhelmed and then he started in with his problems with addiction. was nuts.

So back to the present: That same guy was the first fucking person to respond to the ad I put up a few days ago. It gets better though, the next response I got was from a convicted sex offender.

He dropped the names of a few awesome bands, but as soon as I saw his stupid ass nick name at the bottom of the email I immediately remembered the scandal from a few years ago. ...and yeah, it was like walking into a fart.

I realize I could seriously improve my chances of meeting musicians by going to shows again. But I feel totally out of touch with the scene(s) in this town.

Something to work on.