The Shredi Master

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Location: Iowa, Afghanistan

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Christmas lights!!

I think the great philosopher Alvin, of Alvin and the Chipmunks said it best when he said - "Christmas, Christmas time is near. Time for joy and time for cheer. We've been good and we can't wait, so hurry Christmas - don't be late. " Ahhh.. words to live by.

Anyway, let's talk Christmas lights. As Heather pointed out, there are different routes you can with lights: fun, tacky, classy, etc. Anyway, I have this wired recessive gene that makes me always want to do something times 100. I don't know if you've seen those commercials for Scott Trade where the guy always talks about "as a kid I believed in giving people more than they paid for..." I guess I have a mix of PT Barnum and Walt Disney in my blood. Anyway, Christmas decorating is no exception. I used to light up my parents house for them. They have the perfect place for a classy display. It's a half Tudor house and it looks perfect with white icicle lights and bows and garland. Have a look. It took a lot of work and as you can see in the picture, there was still a strand that went out.

Understanding perfectionist males 101:
This is for all you ladies who are reading this entry: both of you. You can't just throw lights on a tree or hang them opn the house. They have to look right. This includes spacing and symmetry and how they hang. And you can't use adhesive hooks outdoors. As soon as it gets cold enough the adhesive will fail. All that leaves are special clips and the clips that you nail on.

Well, despite the fact that I agree with the "no Christmas decorating until after Thanksgiving" mantra, I started early this year. I have a huge mission to accomplish. There are so many cool possibilities with the Church/house that my mind has been spinning. I printed out pictures of the house and came up with a Christmas light plan. The plan is color coded and shows what kind of lights will go where. It's more of a guide really... So, because of the amount of work ahead of me this year, I - gasp - started - gasp - already. I didn't realize how tall the church was - I mean really realize - until I got up on the extension ladder last night and was about 2/3 of the way up there. When the thing starts swaying and you've got lights in one hand, garland in the other, a hammer tucked under your chin and a nail in your mouth, you start to get this sort of uneasy feeling. A feeling that says - I need a truck with a cherry-picker.

Well, I could go on and on, but I won't. All I want to say is IT HAS BEGUN. When everything is ready, I'll invite everyone I can think of to come by and check things out. That's the real fun of it all. For now, check out a few more Christmas pictures I just posted on my website.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

More music industry DIRT

Coincidentally, I just read that Elliot Spitzer's (NY state's attorney general) office just came to an agreement with Warner Music where Warner will pay 5million in fines for it's "payola" scandals. This summer Sony Music settled for 10 million for the same sort of scheme.

This is Reason #473 why Matt vehemently dislikes the major record companies. Basically, Warner and Sony paid DJ's, stations, and networks like Clearchannel to play their artist's records. The labels would line up contests, pay for trips, electronic equipment, prizes, etc. etc. in order for their artists to get more air time. Interestingly, this case pointed out that the stations and DJ's were essentially soliciting the labels for kickbacks. Certain DJ's wouldn't play an artists songs unless the label paid them for the priviledge.

In the previous post I mentioned that sales are in a slump because there is an inordinate amount of CRAP being pushed in the mainstream markets. If you are a budding band trying to make a start for yourself and get some airplay - or if you are a band who happens to be on a smaller or independent label - you have no chance against the machine that is the large Labels. As long as labels have to trow money at stations for airplay, only the larger names like Brittney and Christina are going to have a shot at airplay.

Anyway, it's discouraging to say the least. I just keep supporting online formats and online sales and anxiously watching and waiting as the general music industry sales figures crash each quarter. It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch...

Buy 1 get 1 free

Usually I like to buy something and get something else for free. I think most people do. Sometimes poeple are more apt to buy an item if there is something of value that comes with it for free. It's a good sales tool...

I don't think that was Sony Music's plan however. Sony didn't advertise what you got for free when you bought one of 52 select CD's. So... what was it? You got a nice piece of code added to your computer when you played any one of those 52 CD's. I actually only mention this for two reasons. 1) I have a tendancy to hate msuic companies and 2) you might have purchased Switchfoot's last CD.

Other than violating your privacy, you might be saying, "so, what's the big deal to me?" Well, I'm glad you asked. When you play one of these special copyrighted CD's on your computer the CD adds a bit of code to your Windows registry. The aim was to make it so that you could only copy the CD three times. Anyway, without getting technical, the problem is that you now have a bit of code that hackers have the opportunity to exploit in order to maliciously use your computer. As of right now, you cannot remove the code either. Sony Music came out with an uninstaller, but it didn't work as planned. So, you'll have to watch for them to release a working version.

Sony has about 5 million of these CD's on the market - over two million have been sold already. They recalled all 5 million. Along with the recall Sony has incrred the wrath of many consumer advocate groups - and rightfully so. They didn't tell anyone that they were going to be adding potentially hazardous code to your computer. Well, maybe Sony will one day wake up and realize that the music industry sales slump isn't a result of incresed piracy, but a result of the mainstreaming of musical choices and the general push of Crap that they are selling.
Then again, I could be wrong...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Planned Parenthood:1 Babies:0

Let me ask you a question. Maybe a couple questions actually.

Do you have to have parental consent to get a tattoo if you are a minor?
Do you have to have parental consent to get your ear pierced if you a minor?
Can you legally enter into a contract if you a minor?
Can you legally drive a car unrestricted if you're under 16?
Can you buy a gun if you are a minor?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, kill yourself, you are a burden on society. Just kidding... sort of.

Yesterday, Californians answered this question:
Do you have to tell your parents if you are going to have an abortion?
And 52 odd percent of the populous voted NO.

So, logically, let me get this straight. Teens - or minors if you wish - are not equipped to make the decision to get a tattoo. They don't have the tools do decide if they should get their ear pierced. They are not intelligent or responsible enough to vote or to consume alcohol. BUT, they can choose, on their own, to kill their baby. Does anyone else see an illogical parallel between all of these things? Is terminating a viable life a lighter decision than piercing your tongue?

There are no good arguments as to why a minor shouldn't have to notify their parents before getting an abortion. Not one. Anyway, I'm glad I don't live in California anymore. By the way, all 8 propositions were voted down in CA yesterday.