Saturday, May 10, 2008

Back on the Dogpile

I tried out the useful Web metasearch engine, Dogpile, years ago, found it pretty good, but then never made that much use of it in the end, it's probably more aligned with really difficult searches you might need to perform for heavy research. I think I'll have another go now - made a favorite button for it and all. Then there's also Metacrawler and Webcrawler to check out (all 3 metasearch engines are provided by Infospace - and they say the following "No single search engine covers the entire Internet. Different engines use different technologies and thus draw different results from the vast pool of available information. Our metasearch-driven searches cover more of the Internet because they combine the most relevant returns from multiple search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Ask, and Windows Live Search"). Apparently "A recent study found that only 1.1 percent of the first page results are the same across all four engines [Google, Yahoo!, MSN and Ask Jeeves]". does Ask Jeeves even exist anymore? ahh, of course, they are now and own a bunch of other sites.

I've also been interested in what people search for on the web, and came across this (now dated) article of the most popular Internet search terms (excluding 'adult content') using Dogpile in 2005, and "music lyrics" topped it, followed, of course, by lots of celebs and even "wedding vows". That article went on to say that lyrics topping the searches was surprising given big events in world news, although web-searching is all about "finding information that does not have a readily-known source".

Lycos in 2007 had "poker", "saddam hussein execution" (sick ppl), and "britney spears", interesting, but then whoever uses lycos? (perhaps in metasearches?)

And more interestingly, since Google handles ~60% of global web searches (50% in the US) as at Oct'07, if you trust that poll, the most popular things googled in 2007:

  1. american idol
  2. youtube
  3. britney spears
  4. 2007 cricket world cup
  5. chris benoit
  6. iphone
  7. anna nicole smith
  8. paris hilton
  9. iran
  10. vanessa hudgens
and as for most Googled questions: who is god, what is love and how to kiss topped the lists.

Google Hot Trends has what people are checking out at the moment (apparently updated several times a day). interesting.

and this is an intriguing article for where the world's most frequent searches originate. For example, "Egypt, India and Turkey are the world's most frequent searchers for Web sites using the keyword "sex" on Google search engines"; whilst others, include:

"Hangover" - Ireland, United Kingdom, United States (not much of a surprise! Australia must've been close behind);
"Terrorism" - Pakistan, Philippines, Australia;
"Marijuana" - Canada, United States, Australia;
and even "Love" - Philippines, Australia, United States
. ???

also, another handy hint, i didn't know that you can use ".." to search in a range of numbers, eg. seach "war 1810..1820" to find the 1812 war.

ok, that's enough web research before i actually search for what i was intending to before... what was it again? electroanalytical techniques used in pharmaceutical analysis... or something?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

WEEN live review: 6 March 2008, Forum Theatre, Melbourne

Well I didn't get around to writing a proper review, so this email to friends the morning after will have to suffice:

Yeah, i'm just in at work with ringing ears, it was soooo loud, trying to piece together a set list of sorts. It was an awesome gig, with a grown up band and crowd, and lots of surprise song choices, which was great. Deaner went insane on guitar, with almost no breaks, over their ~ 2.75 hour set. And is it Claude on drums (?) he's amazing. I loved Tooter (and my fave Tender Situation), Fat Lenny was a huge surprise, Sketches of Winkle, and really also enjoyed Smoker and Rope. Voodoo was fun with a good light show during the 'bizarre noise section'. there was a fair few off the mollusk, from which Johnny and Waving and Eel were highlights for me, Ocean Man and the Mollusk were ok, loved by the crowd. was it Ocean Man where Gener played a ukelele? He also played some really funny lead guitar in one of their older tracks - might have been in the end of Sorry Charlie (also a highlight! lots of highlights!). oh, and ZOLOFT was great! oh, and ReggaeJJ

the opening song of the night was Exactly Where I'm At. and then shortly after that (one of the first few songs) they hit us with the HIV song, and although it can be kinda annoying, it was a fun noisy song to make us laugh and start grooving along.

Very odd choice was The Stallion Part 5 - definitely not my fave of the stallions, but interesting. Also a song called something like Booze Me Up and Get Me High, which was funny for a while and I think I've downloaded that before, but it was a bit repetitive (the crowd really got into it - maybe it's on one of the live albums... and although the crowd was older there were still plenty of trashed people around). there was also 3 or 4? off the latest album, of which I only vaguely knew from RRR that one about the party and the other called Object (?) both which were pretty funny, the other track(s) from that didn't really grab me (there was also an instrumental i didn't recognise).

I wasn't upset not to get Buenos or Buckingham since they are a bit epic (and thankfully no Daises), but i'm sure they still would've been fun, and they've played those on the last 2 tours. didn't even get Mutilated Lips. wasn't too keen on Pandy Fackler, but they went off into one of those extended jazzy jams after that, with lots of synth and drum workouts which were cool. they had a fair few extensions of beginnings or ends of songs, and Gener must've gone off for refreshments. we did get Even If You Don't and i actually enjoyed that in context, as a slower break in the set.
They ended the first (long) set with Someday, which was awesome, and then the final encore with Blarney, which was so absolutely loud and bass heavy, reminiscent of the time at the POW. Deaner struggled with the pirate vocals on that and cracked up a few times.

So, all in all a good mix of stuff, and they seemed to have a lot of fun. Gener thanked melbourne for two gigs and reminded us that they were in fact Ween, on several occasions throughout the night. and remarked that it (the Forum) was a nice place.

Later Notes: the only other songs i can think of that i missed above are Baby Bitch and Pony, which we're pretty good also, Pony was actually more fun than i would've expected. there was probably another song off White Pepper or Quebec, but i can't remember. actually, i've just worked out that they also played Beacon Light, which is meant to be an outtake from one of those albums, I don't think a great song, but has an awesome ending. it has that line "so strap on that jammy pack" in it, repeating those same sentiments from the Pod, and at the gig I couldn't place it...

also, i just came across this interesting article from the Age the day before this gig.

and apparently you can stream their new album, which so far hasn't worked for me...

and of course there's always Ween Radio

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Eloise is 2 and rapidly ascending

"at this rate my daughter might by pushing 4m by age 18..." i dutifully informed my lovely wife this evening, following measuring, excel plotting and extrapolating my daughter's height over time to her present age of 2 years (today) and beyond.

admittedly, a linear fit is hardly appropriate, given the pattern of slowing growth rate observed in humans over their adolescent years, but i couldn't get a decent logarithmic fit. i think the plot will look better when i find the data from her first year.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Place

yeah, i just wanted to put a link here of our new place - we moved in on Oct 17. it's small and cozy, and we're mostly unpacked, i guess. apart from books and CDs and my boxes of hoarded goodies in the shed and carport...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Smash Hits: Music I Loved in the 80s

found some stickers in a heap of stuff i was hording from way back, from the late 80s, along with scrap book memorabilia from the early-to-mid 80s...

thought these stickers just had to be put online, for those who would enjoy the wonders of shite teen music mags back then. check out all the almost rans. laugh at the kitsch trends of the times!

how cheesy are the neighbours shots? i don't even remember Ashley Paske, he can't have had a musical 'career'... and this reminds me that i once dressed up as one of the Goss brothers from Bros for a school dance. one of our friends had brownish hair and thus drew the shorter straw by having to be Craig (from Bros, not McL) - on reflection, he was probably the most fortunate.

and more Danii and Jase, how awesome! plus, there's "RAP!" - glad i never stuck that sticker on anything public. but i'm sure back then it would've been a 'rad' display of my love of, ahhh, Mel and Kim, or Salt n' Pepa.

and i still can't believe Prince did all that batman shit, man i hate superhero stuff, it's soooo lame. i found prince interesting, sure, but i never was a fan, but still, what the F&*K was he thinking getting involved with that?

and i *have* heard of Alex Paps before. must've been a neighbours/home+away star. what intrigues me in this last one is not Foxy Samantha (hasn't some eastern european country erected a statue to her?), but the missing sticker - what was it and where did it go. should i shudder at the thought of what i might've displayed on my geography exercise book? it's also amazing that U2 get a guernsey amongst all this, back when they were actually good. and Poison! ahh, let loose that slightly darker edge of pop. every rose has it's thorn indeed! ha! oh, i nearly missed NKOTB.

i wish i had more to share from later years. although i'm guessing it wouldn't have been nearly as cheesy with the likes of Silverchair, Kriss Kross and the Spicegirls. and where was Rick Astley? he was awesome! even Richard Marx got in. we were ripped off.


I totally missed that there was actually THREE New Kids on the Block stickers, a GUNNERS sticker!!! and my fave of all time, a MILLI VANILLI sticker... oh, and Indecent Obsession, do you remember that song of theirs (Sugar Free) with the lyrics "Oh, my love and me/ oh, we're sugar free/ oh, and we wanna be/ nah nah nah nah nahhh"? that was gold. from a golden era.

2nd Update!

In extremely disappointing news the statue of Samantha Fox was apparently never erected. I'm not very pleased with the Serbian town of Cacak - they should've just gone ahead with it, just think of the tourist dollars! i'd go and get a photo with it/her! ha!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

introducing Clagh

yeah, well, been playing a bit of Warcraft in my spare time... so much so that i've given up even checking email or facebook, not that there's like anything at all to reply to ever anyway... and i can rant all i like here to the zero ppl who actually know about this site and would even bother to read this far. just look at the pretty picture.

not the best picture, but it's all i've got at the moment

saw a great Insight tonight, on Freedom of Information in this country. interestign stuff indeed. then i hoped to get onto warcraft since my WIFE had finally left it, and all servers were DOWN - it's FREAKIN' TUESDAY, scheduled maintenance night. for freeeeeeak's sake. it was working fine on the weekend, why'd ya have to 'maintain' it? but it is an amazingly deep game with awesome stories, graphics and options. so easy to get addicted to. try that free 10-day demo at your own peril!

so i created a 4th character: Clagh, some sort of little (but tough) person. i think he's a gnome. and a warlock. thought i'd give that a go. my server was crashing on the weekend. he's only a level 2, only just started, so he can't do much besides inflicting death to wolves via some sort of lightning bolt. my main dude, Milah, is my undead rogue, he's getting half decent. lev26 (out of 70+) and it's awesome how he can cannibalise corpses to recover health. how good is that? he also makes potions and stuff from herbs and alchemy. then i have 2 other alts, which i hardly ever use: my hunter with mining and engineering, Darksnark, and an orc called Mudloch, named after a comic antihero i created... i can't even remember what Muddy is good at/for. he's only a noob. like Clagh. i should say at this point that Clagh is my first foray into the realms of the 'goodies', or the Alliance. so, sure, i've sold out, but it all falls under the banner of 'experiencing the many wonders of warcraft'... the other two alts and Milah fight for the Horde, go the Horde!


Well the wife adn i finally quit the fairly all-consuming WoW addiction over Easter, and looking back, it's crazy how you 'just have to' log on to finish a quest, or to check your auctions, or something, and how 15min can turn into several hours, sore eyes a
nd getting to bed late again. still, it was a really fun game, and a great way to relax (although was occasionally frustrating, with other gamers, or stupid quests) and totally tune out from many worldly concerns - particularly since we'd just moved house and had pretty stressful situations at work at the time, etc. i don't think it's much worse than tuning out watching TV for an evening, or whatever (it is more all-consuming), but then there are good docos on TV which could be more educational. at least now i'm getting back into playing guitar more and reading books.

oh, as for a final obituary for my characters (although i think they remain playable, if we ever decide to pay up again and log back on): Milah got to the mid-30s, but i was more and more bored by him, also it takes ages to level in the 30s, you have to d
o more and more quests. I actually got Clagh to 40, and got a 'mount' (this hellish horse with flaming hooves), that's part of the attraction of getting to higher levels, an animal or machine to ride so you can move around faster. i think having my 'little buddies' (various demons you 'tame' and summon for battle: imp, voidwalker, succubus, etc) made the warlock more interesting to play in the end, although i did miss the ability to stealth with my rogue.

oh, and here's what the inside of a Crocolisk corpse looks like, cool huh?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Games - WoW and Second Life

Got sick a couple of weeks back, had a day off work and a horribly sick weekend, and couldn't do much besides read or watch tv and wanted to play some computer games - which i generally avoid because of getting addicted and then having no time for anything else...

so i started downloading World of Warcraft, a very popular game that one of my bros has been really into at certain stages. i didn't realise it was over 3Gb, and that with our shitty 256 adsl it took 2 days to download, and then another half day of patch updates... (and if you do try the 10-day free trial, i'd suggest skipping the account details setup and downloading the whole file first so you don't lose too much of your trial time) so in the meantime i tried Second Life (which is one of those big virtual worlds i've heard about - 8.7 million 'residents' at the moment, and it was actually free and quick to download through bigpond)... just skimmed thru the interesting wiki article on second life, and came across this awesome parody page.

but Second Life really sucked, graphically it's nothing like WoW, and it's a tiny file to download anyway, so fair enough, but i just couldn't work out what you'd want to do there - i just wanted to explore, and kept getting lost around the islands that Telstra had set up as their 'free Australian area' or something, there was hardly anyone around, and the scenery was boring after a few minutes. i couldn't work out how to explore the rest of the Second Life world. and tried to get eaten by a shark which wasn't interested, checked out a nightclub and some resorty places (and got stuck in a paintball field for ages), but they seemed to be full of bogans or kids crapping on about what part of rural victoria they were from, and talking about chicks. and i felt a bit weird at those times, since i was actually a 'chick' in that world (thought i'd check out what it was like and all), and after getting 'checked out' by a couple of guys, they got hip to my gig and wondered if i was actually male (i guess my acting was pretty bad?). my wife found this all hilarious, and particularly my avatar's name, Skogg Fargis, which she thought was a terrible name for a girl. anyway, i'll stick a pic or two below of how i looked chilling out in that world, at what i assume is some sort of kanoodling point for electronic love...

and in the week or two since then my wife and i have been fighting over the computer each night to play WoW, which we are now totally hooked on - she's some sort of night-elf hunter, and i'm a undead rogue. it really is an awesome game with amazing graphics, adn so much detail in quests, characters, possibilities, 360 degree vision, etc. it's mindblowing. and totally addictive. we'll have to quit soon to reclaim our lives. i'll try and get some cool screen shots of that for a later post.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

camp 80s pop

what i really intended to write tonight was inspired by watching some music videos before, the Jarvis Cocker programmed RAGE show a few months back which has such a good variety of music, making it good for background music and amusement. it goes from 80s pop and punk and ends with GnR, which is pretty out there.

and there was this song by a band i'd never come across before, but i'm sure they were pretty big by the youtube comments i've read, Alphaville and their song "Big in Japan" which is just totally awesome camp 80s pop - it's somehow cheesy and epic and catchy, and musically somewhere between Soft Cell and Tears for Fears... check it out!

actually, i'm not even sure if JC chose this song, it was unannounced, and sometimes i wonder if the RAGE producers sneak in some clips, since they can seem totally unfitting with the guest presenters' choices. but then again, you never know, i'll never forget that time Trent Reznor selected Ween's Freedom of 76 and gave it the thumbs up. actually i thought he and Dean were meant to record something or other way back... did i miss that?

Tom "freaking amazing" Waits has a great song also titled "Big in Japan", although from possibly, IMHO, his worst album in the past 10? albums, for someone who has made so many amazing songs and put out so many incredible albums that just take you into another dimension and make you wanna grab a stick and start whacking a chair in some frantic, hypnotic rhythm, while singing in a throaty, wrecked voice about some sailor in port in Singapore or something...

and while i'm on it (the JC rage special), how amazing is the Add N to (X) song "Take Me To Your Leader"? Jarvis said something about Goldfrapp ripping them off, does she cover that on one of her albums? it's a really familiar song, and a great clip too.

blogger and formatting

jees i freaking hate the lack of user-friendliness of this site adn the lack of decent formatting tools, but then i guess i'm just one of those freaks who cares about such stuff. i know there's a lot of us out there. there's a lot of correct spelling and grammar freaks too - i've seen the groups on facebook. i do appreciate good spelling though, and a nicely worded, flowing sentence. and i like these things: ; -they rock. colonoscopy indeed. but this was really inspired by my previous post where the font is all over tha place, as it has often been in the past, and i know it's not worth the effort to try and fix it, because i've been there before and that was a waste of my life.

Parte the Seconde: the follow up

i meant to follow up that past topic and continue going on about amazing albums, but i think that's better for another time. i'm really only doing this for me anyway, so it'll just have to wait. it did occur to me, however, that there are a lot of albums which don't quite cut it and fall more into the ‘painful-but-not-as-worthwhile’ category, and well, the ones that spring to mind immediately are:

Sonic Youth’s “Sonic Death,” Lou Reed’s “Metal Machine Music,”
much Merzbow I’ve heard (but not all), some of John Zorn’s work (yes, i don't rate all of it as amazing), Mayhem’s “Pure Fu*king Armageddon”… but I’d still and do still continue to give these albums/bands a go and have actually been enjoying a number of Merzbow ‘pieces’ from the Merzbox videos posted on youtube. You certainly have to be in the right frame of mind for these particular styles of music.

I still do find a lot of avant garde and noise music interesting, although I have increasingly less time (and patience) for such activities – I do also wonder how much patience the average ‘fan’ has – sometimes I might chuck on an album once every couple of years, have a laugh and get through half of it, and it’s still intriguing/amusing/confronting/otherwise entertaining for me for 30-60min, and because of this I still value and cannot consider selling any such records. CD artwork from such bands/artists is often an intriguing art in itself, making having a real copy worthwhile, but that’s a whole other discussion…

Friday, July 13, 2007

Some of the Best “Difficult Music”


I’ve been thinking and meaning to write/crystallise my thoughts on albums which may be difficult to listen to or get into at first, but which can be very rewarding after a few listens and much open-mindedness. Certain albums (sometimes comprising a whole bands’ work) may come across as repugnant initially, for various reasons, yet may reward the listener on repeated listens and often become highly revered cult records amongst ‘true’ fans, sometimes for a good reason, but also sometimes just because the music is so extreme and where controversy outweighs the ‘quality of the art’ (in the ear of the beholder).

I’m interested in seeking out the albums that fall within this pretty broad definition which have worked well for me. I was initially thinking of stuff like the lo-fi tacky drum machines of Ween's early work, the amazing neo-classical darkwave of Shinjuku Thief, the goth/punk of Bauhaus, the brutal, ugly punk of The Birthday Party, some of John Zorn’s extremely diverse and eclectic albums involving almost all conceivable styles of music, but particularly those of collage, jazz improv, neo-classicalism and crafted noise, Mr. Bungle’s avant garde alternative art rock or whatever it is Disco Volante, the minimalism of Philip Glass, the extreme ambience and weirdness of Naked City’s Absinthe, or the noise and glitch sounds of Autechre and Aphex Twin, the paranoid lo fi black metal of Faxed Head (well, they’re certainly not for all people), the cheesy black metal of Sigh and Cradle of Filth (also not for everone), the beauty and strangeness of Eyvind Kang’s almost medieval, neo-classical and middle eastern freakout Theater of Mineral NADEs, improvisations like Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert, etc. on hearing these albums some people may question their worth as a medium of enjoyment or art or whatever, and that’s fair enough, because such unusual music can be jarring or boring at first. But over the past few months I keep hearing albums and thinking that I need to pass them on to friends. I think this is a good forum to rant about them and crystallise my ideas.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

this other blog

so, like, i started this other blog, for no apparent reason, other than at the time, it amused me to start writing a travel blog when i'm not actually traveling at all, apart from around the house, to work, to the shops, you know, everyday sort of existence, with no great meaning, but then it's funny that it's like a fresh slate, inspiring me to crap on like i haven't on this blog for quite awhile. i'm not even sure where this blog is going anymore, it used to be one big rant about all the crapness that got in my way, and now it's like turning into some wacky variety show of music and arts and miscellaneous. i need trevor marmalaide or that dylan dude from recovery to host it or somethign

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bleak Music for Bleak Times

Harking on about My Dying Bride again so soon, sorry. Anyway, was listening to the last album of theirs i ever got, the dreadfully entitled 34.788%... Complete (i bet there's a story behind that, but i really don't care). i wasn't that impressed with this effort back in 1998 and i have no idea of how they might've progressed/returned to their roots/degenerated into boring crap since then. i hope they got back on track, i was a big fan back in the day...

yeah, it was the perfect timing for that CD to come on - driving home in the pelting rain, doing 30 on the freeway, exhausted after several long, manic days. powerful, dismal, pretentious and hypnotic. it's funny how under certain circumstances even a dodgy album from a fave band can be enjoyable. i wonder if old fans feel that way about Jon Bon's latest shitfest?

ps. it sounds like they returned to their roots and displayed some good form (and their old logo) on their next albums... might have to back there one day.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Naive Art Explosion

Girl Throws Bike After Unknown Beasts That Appear to be Fleeing (or charging the 'artiste')

Happy Jumping Fish (detail)

Bemused Crab

Genderless Possum Clings to Tree with all its Might, as Shitbox Car Looks On (detail)

Dog-like Creature is Dropped into Bubbling Acid by the Artist's Disapproving Daughter

Who Needs Elephant Art...

...when you've got a 1.5er doing this?

obviously i had nothing to do with either of them. although the Pink Tigga graffiti almost never happened, the little girl was given another chance to stay up if she behaved... and lasted only about 10min.

i really like the colours in Deranged Doggie.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Will YouTube be the Death of the Music Video Show?

I've been watching a fair few clips, mostly live recordings, on the good ol' YouTube site, and it's really amazing how much stuff is there, even quite eclectic, like Japanese noise dude Merzbow, heaps of John Zorn's avant garde projects, home video recordings of Ween, interviews with people from TV, etc. it's truly a great resource for finding (and sharing) files. i guess the one major downfall is the quality is often pretty bad - i don't know how much of that is due to the size restrictions of files on YouTube or the fact that much of what i was watching was either filmed live by fans or recorded from TV.

i think music video shows (like my much beloved RAGE) will continue to live on, they are great for checking out new releases, adn for guest programmers. the excitement of not knowing what's next is a big part of the fun. and getting introduced to bands you've never heard of before.

anyway, since i finally got an account there, in order to be able to comment on stuff, i've now, many more months later, finally started to try out the 'favorites' and other features of having an account, and i like how it works so far. in case you find yourself particularly innerested in what i find enjoyable/intriguing, you can check out my faves, so far i've gone a bit overboard with Ween (but they are like totally amazing dude) and Secret Chiefs 3 adn John Zorn.

also, on a completely unrelated subject, for some unknown reason last night i started a travel blog. i don't know how it's going to go, but anyway, we'll see.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Awesome Doom/Death Metal Clip

I used to be obsessed by this band, My Dying Bride, back in teh 90s, and this was a clip of their first single (Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium), which other than it's awesomely over-the-top latin pretentiousness, blew me away back then, and is still excellent/amusing in that tacky way that most metal is. you gotta laugh, really. and with lyrics like:

" Failing Enochian tapestries / Depict the prince of fallen virtues / In almost poetic rhapsody "

... what metalhead can complain? and what the hell is 'Enochian' anyway? i think it's something from that H.P. Lovecraft's fantasy world, that somehow a number of metal bands (like Morbid Angel and even early Metallica) drew inspiration from, when those books really were a bit of a croc. actually, i've discovered Enochian really relates to magick. but it's still boring. actually, it appears as though old Lovecraft was seminal in horror/sci-fi writing back in teh early 90s, so maybe i should give him another go. looks like 'Tal were inspired by this book of his: The Call of Cthulhu - i shall have to give it a go one day when i'm less likely to fall asleep after the second sentence.

anyway, i'm just so glad of youtube in moments like these, when clips are at your fingertips, well, several minutes of loading, rather than having to find them on an old, grainy RAGE tape.

Update: just watched an amazing MDB clip, Black Voyage, which they pulled off really well live, even the awesomely eerie middle section. and great violin. never caught them live, so i'm glad to have an idea of what they might've been like. an amazing 9.5min song off their last good album, i reckon.

Update2: and while we're on Doom Metal, i couldn't pass up the opportunity to revisit my love of early Paradise Lost - here's their song Gothic (only audio)... wish they had Rotting Misery.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Ripple Effect

Another thing i came across on the intriguing Random Vandal site is Ripple - a charity organisation, which, has two easy and painless ways of raising funds: one merely by using their google-powered search engine, and the second if people click on buttons placed on a web page. either action, as far as i can tell, raises about 1 or 2 cents (paid for by an advertiser) for a range of help for less fortunate people - and 100% of the revenue is meant to be passed on. words from the site:

" ripple exists to harness the power of the internet advertising in the true spirit of the internet - providing a tool for people to help others. We are leveraging the market for internet advertising to generate revenue to help people rather than our pockets. "

check them out, you can easily make Ripple your homepage (and go straight to google search via them, which seems pretty much the same) and feel like it's also helping someone else to a very small degree. the more that use it the more money raised. i don't know how successful it will be, but i don't imagine it could hurt to try.

so i've just done the homepage thing, and it seems to work like a treat...

now i can do 'pointless' searches for eg. "hah!" - and i simply must check out the "Heathens Against Hate" site... and no surprise there's a wiki ref in there.

Later Note: don't go to that heathens site, it's weird, but more boring than anything and goes on forever. i'm not even linking it. whoever wrote that is all paranoid and wanting to be some peace loving heathen or something and distance them self from evil and racist heathens, and while that's fair enough, it just goes nowhere and eats up precious seconds of your life, rather like what this sentence is doing for me (and now you, unfortunate reader)...

i really do drop too many of those rabbit droppings...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Graffiti and Street Art

I've been totally lost in links of amazing artwork, starting from MissV's post of (and links to) the Crate People, then via another link of hers to Random Vandal, who posts some interesting graffiti art, and some thought provoking discussions follow on from the images. i then discovered Banksy (you have to scroll across to the right on this page) from a comment on Random Vandal - this Banksy dude appears to be quite well known, subversive, controversial and intriguing.

it's really a web of intrigue out there and you can never get beyond the tip of the iceberg.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Mighty Boosh

How totally amazing is this show? I probably missed half of them, and i still can't get over the Old Gregg episode, with the infamous line (which i thought was cool, but now i've recently realised it's gaining cult status) "easy now, fuzzy little man peach" - that phrase gets over 3700 hits in google. and it was casually dropped into conversation last week sometime on the RRR breakfast show, totally blowing my mind on my drive to work. i surfed some Boosh stuff, freaking out over teh amount of stuff out there, obsessive fans reporting every single detail, quote, analysing the Boosh universe etc. and i know i shouldn't be surprised. it is awesomeness; the best comedy in years.

there's a funny interview of the Boosh dudes on youtube. they appear to be just as insane in real life, which is just perfect.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cuttlefish and the wonders thereof

i've long been fascinated by these strange creatures and recently my wife adn i caught an amazing show about cuttlefish, which demonstrated amongst other things that they were the smartest of the cephalopods (and i love that that's greek for 'head-foot'!), when previously octopuses were thought to have been the nerds of the species. they have this awesome ability to change colour, and even to put on bizarre 'light shows' to dazzle their prey and also for attracting a mate - but it's just the males who do the prancing, ala peacocks.

here's another, smaller video which shows a 'light show' used in hunting (off Irian Jaya).

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Amateur - Lasse Gjertsen

Awesome clip on youtube. you've probably already seen it; if not do it now.

and he reckons he can't play either instrument, but he's certainly got a good ear for music. somewhere amongst his answers to the more than 11,000 comments he explains that he used Fruity Loops for the audio, made a wav of it and then did the video editing on top of that, don't know what he used for that... in only 15 hours! i think it would take me a lot longer. gotta get better with FL, i think.

big thanks to Bruce n Jeff up in sunny(?) QLD for the link.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Bumblebeez - Dr. Love

Just can't get this song out of my head. and thought this was some wacky Brit band, when they're from NSW... if i could stand listening to JJJ i might've known they were unearthed a few years back. Anyway, this is one of the best clips i've seen for a long, long time (and a damn fine song too). and I think they're singing about a mate of ours, Trevster - peace out to yo in the US!

(screen shot of an awesome moment in the song/vid)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

enriched dopaminergic function

The previous post made me google "psychedelia", mainly to check that i'd spelled it correctly, and apart from all the music links, there was this one which spun me out. it seems to go on about the future possibilities of gene manipulation to make life more fun and less painful for people, even to the extent of citing Huxley's Brave New World as something of a desirable possibility (i think). here's an excerpt or two, gee i love the interweb:

"The prospect that what we describe as "mental" pain, too, could ever be eradicated is equally counter-intuitive. The feasibility of its abolition via biotechnology [...]"

"The application of nanotechnology, self-reproducing micro-miniaturised robots armed with quantum supercomputer processing power, and ultra-sophisticated genetic engineering, perhaps using retro-viral vectors, can assure the eradication of the root of all evil in its naturalistic guise throughout the living world. Eventually, the global ecosystem will be redesigned. The vertebrate genome will be rewritten. The advent of the post-Darwinian era will mark a major transition in the evolution of life on earth and beyond..." [punctuation included from original]

"...the neurochemistry of pain and malaise [...]"

also, i think it's great that the text is broken down into a few sentences per page accompanied by an aesthetically coloured illustration indicating the potential future nirvana with dolphins, rays of light, crashing waves and other such glorious and visually uplifting images. there's even fricken koalas on page 12. then lots of elephants towards the end. how weird.

and after all that i remain unsure of what the author is trying to get at. is it pro-psychedelic drugs? it seems to be plugging the idea of "designer babies" with "enriched dopaminergic function," leading to future humans living in absolute bliss with each other and the environment. hmmm. still, an interesting detour through someone's bizarre fantasies. have to get back to that "zombified trance-state" of my "mundane and minimal existence"...

aha, here it is:
"When Paradise - or something better - has been biologically implemented, then perhaps the very notion of tampering with our new-won "natural" condition and feeling "drugged" may come to seem perversely immoral. For who would want to contaminate the purity of their ecstatic biological soul-stuff with alien chemical pollutants? Until that era arrives, we still need chemical mood-enrichers to flourish...."

and now that i've read the abstract, it makes a bit more sense, but is still far-fetched to say the least.

Viral Psychedelia : Glitch Art

thought this was pretty cool too, continuing from teh last post. and if only i could capture my old PC screen crashes (the alt-printscreen way) i would have a goldmine of bizarro by now... should've got the camera out long ago. i think it's awesome to still be running on Win98 almost a decade after it was released, yet still achieving such 'high quality' 'music'.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Stratospheric Annihilation : Glitch Art

My Father-in-Law and I were trying to get a digital set-top box tv tuner thingo to work yesterday, and we couldn't achieve any coherent signal from any of the variations in connection arrangements that we tried, merely confirming the possibility that the item was already malfunctioning. However, all was not lost, since some beautiful colour patterns were displayed. I seized the opportunity and the digital camera, and have now got some awesome glitch artwork for my new noise band side project, Insolitus Sonitus.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Durer - Knight, Death and the Devil (aka "The Rider")

Just looking through my HD for stuff, thinking of starting a new solo noise band, just kicking a few possible names around. but came across this, in amongst all the files, and remembered how much i like this Durer, and saw a great print of it at the NGV a year or so back.

it's a print from a copperplate engraving, 1513.

how ridiculous and horrible does the devil look? and for go here for some interpretation. i'm sure there's much, much more out there.

nice work Albrecht!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Secret Chiefs 3 live review: 12 May 2007 melbourne

Secret Chiefs 3, Saturday 12 May 2007, at the East Brunswick Club, Melbourne. (ad from Inpress Magazine)

the gig was amazing, just as you'd expect. most of the guys pictured (photo below from their label's site) were there, and i can't be bothered working out all their names from the SC3 site.

there were 8 musicians on stage most of the time, occasionally i could only see 7, but it was hard seeing the drummers and occasional others at the back. from l -r in the photo: one of the insane drummers, possibly Ches Smith? (along with Danny Heifetz, not pictured), then Eyvind Kang wasn't there - which my wife and i were very dismayed about, but fortunately the other violinist was nothing short of amazing, Trey Spruance, obviously, looking great with massive goatee, that ninja dude in the front could have been Rich Douchette, and played this thing (photo from SC3 site):

then the dude to the right of 'ninja man' was the amazing new violinist (i think Timb Harris), who really impressed the crowd (and even pulled out a trumpet in the middle of Renunciation, the last song of the 2nd encore), then the final dudes at played keys (can't work out who he might be) and bass (i think Shahzad Ismaily), of course, also really impressively. Bar McKinnon was also there on flute, sax and other. and i think Adam Stacey might also have been there on keys and wind instruments and maybe other percussion, but now that makes 9... oh well. and i wasn't going to try to work them all out.

Trey walked through the crowd 10-15min before the start, and asked the girls on the merchandising stall how things were, and said 'hi' to a few people in the audience, and generally seemed like a good, down to earth kinda bloke.

they played for around 2 hours, including two encores, and i've been going back through the albums trying to work out what most of the songs were ... i'll have a stab at it:

The First Grand Constitution & Bylaws (1996)
Assassin's Blade - awesome, of course
Zulfikar ? but it seemed slightly different, perhaps it was Zulfikar/Zulfiqar II

Hurqalya: The Second Grand Constitution & Bylaws (1998)
Book T: Broken Glass Hearse
Renunciation - last song of the night (end of 2nd encore), so glad we got this!

Eyes of Flesh, Eyes of Flame (live, 1999)
(the track with 5 skulls pictured)
Mary of Magdalen (Eyvind Kang cover)
Jabalqa/Jabarsa (from Hurqalya album, but without all the noise)

Book M (2001)
Knights of Damcar
Horsemen of the Invisible
Combat for the Angel
Dolorous Stroke
Blaze of the Grail
Lapsit Exillis

Book of Horizons (2004)
The End Times
The 4 (Great Ishraqi Sun)
The 3
Anthropomorphosis: Boxleitner

i think most of these are correct. i wasn't sad that they didn't play either of the two practically death metal tracks on the new album - i don't find them as interesting, even with my background in such music. they played a few newwies too, which sounded a bit like "The 3" and "The 4" from the latest album, which are by the SC3-subband Ishraqiyun (they now have 7 bands playing different genres within SC3, it's complicated), and the new songs were "The Fifteen", "Fast", and "The Nineteen", which you can see in live concert along with "The 3" and "The 4". Actually, not sure if they played the last one, The Nineteen, but there was one with an incredibly difficult rhythm, amongst a set of songs already with insanely complicated rhythms... that was probably it - and it was hard to even nod along to, i can't imagine trying to play it!

in fact, in that 21 minutes of video (which you can download), you can get an idea of what they were like live, they were just a lot heavier, but in a good way, not too loud or noisy. Trey was playing that weird guitar-like thing most of the night, there was only the violinist on the right (i think Timb Harris) not Eyvind, there's that weird instrument Rich Douchette plays (which you can hear really well just after 9 min in), and some sort of accordian and a keyboard, but not that dude playing that weird square sitar like thing (or that thing, as far as i could see), or that guy on bass?, and i think that's the same drummer (on the kit), and i don't think either of the extra percussionists on the floor were there, but there was tons of different and intriguing percussion coming from the back of the stage. my favourite part is The 4, which starts just before 15min. i've had that in my head for days now.

here's Trey and (i think Timb Harris), photo from an article in The Age, not the same gig.

and in case you're reading this and are unsure what SC3 sound like (and haven't bothered with any of the links), then here's a good attempt at a description of their newer material, from their (Trey's?) label's site, where you can also hear some samples:

What does this all end up sounding like? You will hear a kick-ass surf band playing in Arabic/Persian tunings, and then switch over to a wall of Penderecki-style orchestral chord clusters accompanied by AC/DC. Then, perhaps the traditional sounding, pseudo-folk Turk/Central Asian imaginal band will hit center stage with Dhol, Saz, Rabab, Esraj and rock drums and start whacking out to the original, catchy songs that no one knows or cares are in 19/16 time. This might be followed by a totally pummeling, nightmarish, not-kidding one bit blast-beat Death Metal band that employs Boulez-ish atonal serialism, played in dastgah tunings, which of course will naturally segue into a band that specializes in Hindi Film Music from the second Golden Era... you get the picture. We're scratching the surface here, not exaggerating. And again, it’s no joke.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

PIXIES - live 4/4/07 and other rambling

ahhhh, that PIXIES experience last night (The Best of V Festival at the Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne) was great... and i couldn't resist (giving my goodbye) jotting down as many songs i could remember them playing, and can't remember the order after the 3rd song, but i think they went into the Trompe album:

[this started off as a quick email purge of the songs i could remember from last night, and then got way long... so i've blogged it]

1. Bone Machine - a totally perfect starting song.
2. Caribou Monkey Gone to Heaven
3. Wave of Mutilation

and they stopped mid-song in monkey with Frank Black demanding that a stupid big beach ball was removed. i think most in the crowd agreed with this. there was an amusing few minutes of discussion of where to re-start the song again.

the rest of the concert (in rough but pretty close order to what we saw, based on the set list posted here, we didn't get In Heaven or Holiday Song, but instead got Broken Face and I Bleed... i think we were more lucky):

4. U-Mass
5. Head On
6. Caribou
7. No.13 Baby
8. Tame
9. Hey
10. Gouge Away
11. Mr Greives
12. Broken Face
13. I Bleed
14. Here Comes Your Man
15. Planet of Sound
16. Debaser
17. Crackity Jones
18. Something Against You
19. Isla de Encanta
20. Nimrod's Son
21. Vamos
22. Where Is My Mind?

and joey's theatrics were great in Vamos, with the feedback and playing guit with a drumstick.

23. La La Love You
24. Gigantic

so 24 songs in total, a great set really. would've been great to have a song or two from Bossanova... and it's interesting that they ignored this album at the Gold Coast gig too. would've also loved (everything else!), but some of:
hang wire
is she weird?
the happening - has to be one of my fave Pixies songs
all over the world
dig for fire
cecilia ann

motorway to roswell - this song's really been getting to me lately, it's quite amazing
distance equals rate times time
the sad punk

cactus - a fantastic song, and possibly Bowie's version is even better... contentious, i know
ed is dead
river euphrates
levitate me
i've been tired

and i can't believe all of Doolittle apart from 3 songs was played:
dead (would've loved this)
There Goes My Gun

and maybe, after looking at the songs played, i do like Doolittle the best after all. i've always thought i liked Bossanova more, with it's surf-rock feel, but apart from the overplayed monkey and wave, i think Doolittle could become my fave again, like back in the early 90s... i mean, Bossanova, still has a lot of totally mad, great songs, but in general they don't seem to have the same complexity and strangeness that permeates doolittle (and surfer rosa/come on pilgrim for that matter). but songs like the happening, is she weird?, all over the world, dig for fire, etc are still amazing. i think possibly the first track on Bossanova, cecilia ann says it all, it's amazing musically (and is apparently a cover of the Surftones), like the rest of the album, but Doolittle just wins by miles with its lyrical content.

i've never sung along so much at a gig, nor noticed such crowd response and knowledge of lyrics etc. and just having something like 11,000 fans singing along with the likes of Caribou, Hey, etc. sounded amazing. often i've been at gigs of bands i really love, and get bored with a couple of songs here and there, and get tired, and start wondering what good songs they still haven't played and hope that they play those and get it over with. but last night, despite sore back and legs, i could've stayed for hours and heard every pixies song (still, there's not that many more, even with the b-sides). i think that's a sign of just having so many amazing songs, and partly the reminiscing value, of a band i've loved since i moved to brisbane in 1990 and discovered them, the cure and the violent femmes. it was such a jump from milli vanilli and average top 40 pop. yeah, i found the discomfort didn't matter and instead of hoping for particular songs almost every song was a surprise - "what's that chord? yep, it's a good one...". apart from say Head On (the Jesus and Mary Chain cover) and Gigantic, both of which i find slightly ordinary. but i found myself singing along to both, regardless. i was really impressed by the sound at the bowl. and there was great guit playing by joey, he re-created all those great sounds really well i thought. his guitar was a little too loud in one song, but that was ok. frank screamed a fair bit and changed delivery of the occasional line. dave was awesome on drums, as expected. and i didn't have any problems with the bass, i didn't really notice it that much. kim's vocals were kinda average, but that's how i've always thought they were, and they certainly add to the songs.

it's funny, i've found hardly any reviews of the gig yet, except for here.

i was checking out the meanings behind some Pixies lyrics this morning, although it partly ruins the intrigue of songs... i started with what the hell "Uriah hit the crapper" means in the song Dead... i thought it was about Uriah Heap (i think i saw Frank playing a Uriah Heap tape on a doco of them on the road), but no:

The song is taken from 2 Samuel, Chapter 11.

After Bathsheba tells King David that he has impregnated her, David sends for her husband Uriah the Hittite who is fighting in David's army. David tells Uriah to "Go down to your house and wash your feet". But Uriah, being the faithful servant refuses and sleeps outside the entrance to the King's palace.

The reason David was telling Uriah to go wash his feet is so that he would go home, sleep with his wife, and cover up the pregnancy. That's where the "hit the crapper" part comes from... it's King David telling Uriah to go home to his bathroom and wash his feet.

I believe that the whole reference to "Dead" is the fact that starting with these evil deeds, King David's life starts to go downhill, leading to his death.

P.S. Frank Black confirms that this song is indeed about David and Bathsheba in a recent SPIN article, (Summer 2004).

and go here if you want more Pixies lyrical analysis.

and it looks like Gouge Away is about Samson and Delilah, which makes sense now.

after reading more of these lyrical analyses, i'm just blown away more and more by this band. i've always loved the colour and bizarreness of Frank's lyrics, like i'm sure everyone else has, but it still amazes me when eg. a song like Mr. Grieves, which i thought was pretty simple, actually could have a lot more levels and intertwined possibilities throughout it (it's probably well over-analysed, but Frank's got some complex stuff going in most of his songs which is intriguingly stripped back to almost abstractness):

also, i've never been a big fan of the choice of title for "Doolittle" but maybe that last discussion makes it a bit more clear. still it's better than what it almost was.

other comments on the V festival:

Jarvis Cocker was good to see. a seasoned front man, great to see him finally, but a big shame he didn't throw at least one Pulp song into the set. loved his in-between song banter and his general swagger and charisma.
missed the New York Dolls, and saw the last few Phoenix songs. they were ok. really just wanted to see the Pixies.

it was funny seeing the blatantly commercial tents around the perimeter, advertising mobile phones, and various drinks. i sortof think wonder if the advertising would have any impact on the middle-aged crowd who would certainly be very cynical about such stuff. especially a crowd that's into such non-generic music like the Pixies. but then i guess advertising will gradually filter into the most impervious minds, and that must be the plan. even discussing this with friends at the gig is promoting the ads to some extent, giving them credence.

and another great thing about the festival/evening was the middle aged crowd. i didn't feel too old like i have done at more recent Big Day Outs - people just wore everyday clothes; there was very little "hey look at me" statements of clothing, hair, piercings, etc. i guess 'cos it was a cold night most people had jackets on too, so all the band t-shirts weren't that evident. and there were a few, but no where near the amount you'd expect at other festivals. and again, the sound was surprisingly good and there was very little wind. a great gig all round.