Oh, please ghod...

by Mark Zaugg 24. February 2009 01:43

Please oh please oh please oh please oh please... 

Let tomorrow be THIS!

Music to go to work by... The battery edition

by Mark Zaugg 23. February 2009 20:41

A funny thing happened on the way into the office... 

Well, actually, I realized the battery in my iPod was dead about 10 seconds after I left the house.  To make things worse, I knew I would be riding the bus crammed to the gills with Jr. High students and I wouldn't have the sweet isolation of something odd playing. 

It is precise moments such as these that I have to give due consideration to that masterful composer John Cage who wrote that magnificent 4'33".  Too often taken as a joke rather than the brilliance of a three part composition playable on any instrument or any ensemble of instruments.  I doubt any is an equal, not even Copacabana, that is so flexible.  (And if you can't take the crappy sound, but can't live without the groove, go here.) 

Again, it's hard to find a copy of 4'33" online, but perhaps you could find one here

---

On a completely different note, I'm going to put a plug for my pal Helios.  He pretty much encapsulated why I do what I do on this blog entry.  Simply, it tells the story of setting up a young girl with a donated computer and what we all get in return.  Yes, we want to make a living.  Yes, we want to live our own lives completely and fully.  But we also want computers and technology to be available to everyone.  Our world is a meritocracy, where your talent and your hard work pays returns.  She's got her start in the world of graphic design, now it's up to her to drive onward and be productive.

Work with what you've got and make the world better.  Seems to me like there's a whole pile of bankers that need to learn lessons from an 11 year old girl.

Music to go to work by... The "I can't possibly do THIS on youtube" edition.

by Mark Zaugg 21. February 2009 22:22

One of the best parts of having eclectic musical tastes is that I can say with pretty solid confidence that I've got something in my music collection that no one else has ever heard before. 

The downside it's that it's bloody hell trying to find everything I want.  And if I can't be finding it to buy, I won't be finding it on youtube to share. 

In fact, I haven't even found a damned mp3 sample to share, let alone the whole song. 

The best I've been able to come up with are a few pretty nice reviews and some background links to the band where you can get CD's.  It's hardly worthy for one of my truly favourite albums ever recorded. 

I first saw Tamarack when they played at the Bow Valley Music Club many years back.  (Probably '96 or '97.)  Tamarack was the band that re-invigorated my love of music in ways that were both new and old.  Their music aligned my past and my future, embossing Canadian history and storytelling on my heart, and involving me in the folk music scene.  I consider James Gordon a personal friend these days, and Alex and Molly are always welcome in my world.

"Maple Syrup" is fantastic in the sense that it starts off with an accordion then brings in Alex's awesome vocals.  The song is whimsical and urging and it makes you feel like you're strolling from tree to tree hauling buckets and syrup.

Get up Billy and don't be late
Already Mom has got the pancakes on the plate.
She says there's lots of work just waiting to be done
Spring blew in, the sap is running and

Chorus:
Dad says this year the weather's just right
Warm bright mornings and cold clear nights.
This time we're going to get a real bumper crop
Tap that flow and it ain't never going to stop.

Well I love to watch my dad as he harnesses the team and
skids the stone boat over the still-frozen stream
Hauling buckets and barrels out to the wood lot
Where sap flows from spiles drop by sweet, sweet drop

[Chorus]

Well the team knows the way to pull a sled around the track
We dump the buckets in the barrel, haul the barrel to the shack
The evaporator's steaming with an ember glow,
It's almost time to try to make some taffy in the snow.

[Chorus]

Well my mom stays close all day and all night
So she can pour off the syrup when it stirs just right
She says she can tell by the feel of the ladle
But Daddy says that Mama's blood is one-quarter maple

[Chorus]

When we finally go to bed and we say our evening prayers
I can still smell the wood smoke and the maple in our hair
And the bubbling of the syrup in the pan so rich and deep
Lingers like a lullaby as we drift off to sleep

[Chorus] x2

One of those songs that just makes me happy to hear it.

My Thursday edition is a local artist who I think deserves far more accolades.  At least I can find Tim Hus on youtube.  And he's got a new CD coming out.  YAY Tim!

Of course, I haven't found the actual song I was listening to, but I don't have to guess on the lyrics.  (By the way, what the hell is a "spile" and do you know how long I actually looked to find out what the word could have been?)

Give me one more oil boom before I die!  Well, we had it.  Hope you kept more or less sane through the last boom, but don't worry, we'll have another one sooner or later.

Promise to track you down and see you live again soon, Tim!  Maybe I'll catch you at the Brier.

You've got to change your evil (work) ways, Baby

by Mark Zaugg 18. February 2009 00:54

Music to go to work by:  Monday. 

Yet another one of those, "Just what the hell is the RN God trying to tell me, anyhow?"

Am *I* supposed to be changing?  It is *work* that's supposed to be changing?  Or do I just really like Santana twiddling on the stringy bits? 


Music to go to work by... Thursday edition.

by Mark Zaugg 13. February 2009 23:58

I know Camz is going to be loving this one.  It had to happen sooner or later. 

Back in High School I ended up going to see Suzanne Vega.  An "experimental bagpipe band" called Rare Air opened up for her.  I've been hooked ever since. 

I'm nae even Scottish, ya bastard! 

The best thing about the pipes are that:
1)  There are considerably more variants of the bagpipes than you're probably aware of and
2)  There are certainly capable of playing more than just "Scotland the Brave." 

There are two parts to this story.  The first, of course, is the theme of the week when I walked through the front door of the office building listening to Andy May's version of "Da Slocket Light." 

I saw Andy a year or so back when he came through on tour with Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies.  Very happily, I took the kids to listen at sound check, they were completely taken with the sound of Andy's Northumbrian pipes, and they begged me to get a CD.  Not that it took much begging, I think Andy is an astounding player and he sounds fantastic in his own right.

"Da Slocket Light" is one of the prettiest songs on the album, and it wasn't until I started writing this that I discovered it's background.  It was written by Tom Anderson - from Wikipedia:

From an early age Tom was writing music, and throughout his life wrote roughly 500 tunes, mostly dedicated to Shetland place and people. Perhaps one of his most famous tunes was 'Da Slockit Light' which was inspired by the depopulation of the area of Eshaness where he was born. Each time the occupants of another croft moved out, or died, another light was 'slockit', (Shetland for extinguished).

It's a song worth listening to, and youtube is full of worthy renditions.  Let me present two others in addition to the above mp3 from Andy.  Max Cohen's version for guitar is fantastic.

The other version I fell in love with is by the Joe Trio, so you have a full selection of non-bagpipe versions to enjoy.


Now the second part of the story is while I was at Tai Chi on Monday one of the other members brought in his pipes.  Turns out he made his own set of Northumbrian pipes as a school project way back when and he actually went to a workshop with Andy May.  He also pointed out Kathryn Tickell to me.  Yes, even I have much to learn.  And I'm determined to keep picking up new stuff until I've heard all the songs worth hearing.

Music to go to work by...

by Mark Zaugg 10. February 2009 22:06

Wow, is THAT an awkward title or what? 

After last week's particular fiasco, I decided I'd try to keep track of what song was playing when I walked through the front doors at work for a while.  Just for fun, right?  Maybe the music I hear will continue to be prescient. 

Monday morning:  Yes.  "Shock to the System."  Well, I gotta admit, it was kinda a shock to go back.



Today, it was the mighty Clash.  "Train in Vain."  Don't have a bloody clue what it meant, but I walked through the doors grinning from ear to ear. 



Can you dig it?

Signs that your day may not go exactly according to plan....

by Mark Zaugg 2. February 2009 17:56

Have you ever had one of those days where you're really looking forward to what the day promises to bring? 

I've booked my vacation - a whole week of time to myself to get all those naggly little bits done that I never seem to get time to do.  To have a little bit of "me" time where I can care and pamper myself.  Some loverly time to knock off a few dozen things from my personal todo list. 

And all I have to do is go into work for the morning, monitor my systems, drink a cup o' coffee and spend a nice relaxing couple of hours before I knock off.. 


And then this song plays on my iPod as I walk through the front door...



Kevin Bloody Wilson, you're a sage and a gentleman, but you're also a heartless ***.  Now if only you could say *** in Canada.

I Can't Stand Still

by Mark Zaugg 4. January 2009 19:37



"I feel the frustration 
In this funky old city tonight. 
There's a pack of dogs on the lawn 
And they're hung-a-ry for a bite." 

Ah, the new year.  Time for reflection on what's transpired and rumination on what is to come.  What did I do last year for my pseudo-contemplative musings? 

Oh, right.  Nothing.  I was going through the cold-soon-to-be-pneumonia with the side trip of "Does cancer run in your family?" and "Whatever happened to that blood clot in your lungs?"  I wasn't blogging much then. 

The year where I got fired from a place I no longer wanted to be and took the reins on a bunch of Linux servers just to get smacked around with how great the gap between what I know, what I want to know, and just what precisely it was I thought I knew in the first place.  You know? 

The year I turned 40 and realized that I still think of my father in terms of him being 30.  The year where I drove a honest-to-ghod race car and set my best time on a lap I made from a standing start.  The year I met my goal of 100 cache finds.  Wait, I didn't quite make it yet.  Next year.  The year I discovered the sweet intoxication of a Blackberry (my precioussss) Curve.  The year I recovered the photos of the kids I'd lost two years ago.  Remind me to back all those up to archival DVD's, okay?  Heh heh..

I get the impression most people are happy to see 2008 fall behind them.  For me, it wasn't all that bad.  Once I got past that really lousy few months.

I haven't been doing great on the Couch to 5k programme, but I'm significantly stronger in my lungs than I have been.  I took a hit with the cold weather and Christmas, but it's not about being perfect, it's all about improving.  There was a reason I gave myself six months to finish.  It's the year I got back into curling and I'm having the time of my life.  I genuinely like all the guys on my team, I'm learning how to be a better player and I'm adapting from the "player who doesn't fall coming out of the hack" to the "player who can adequately find weight about 50 percent of the time."

After a couple years of blah I've been more in touch with the music I love again.  I've actually got a little bit more than just the podcast of Dispatches on my iPod.  I need more blues, funk and jazz in my life especially after Iceberg reorganized again (sigh).  But riding home on the bus my mind flips over using one of those more obscure axes it likes to use, and I think of Danny Marks.  Damned if I don't dig up his website too!  Looks like birthday 41 is going to include some great music.

Thinking of Danny makes me think about this one time back on the Hum Line when someone called in and asked about a song that contained the phrase, "It's hot and it's sticky / Think I'll get myself a mickey / I'm so parched and dry."  And, in my mind at least, Danny shot out of his chair and said, "That's a song from a buddy of mine, _____ _______."  Now, I liked the song and hadn't heard it for years at that point and I was giddy to have a handle on who did it and what the album was and I rushed right out and searched for a couple of years and managed to dig up a casette tape (title and artist long since forgotten) which is probably out in Mike's basement right now.  And riding home on that bus, I dug out my trusty ol' Crackberry and spent the next 45 minutes chasing down the song, failing miserably.

Today, I'm messing around on youtube and I find it.  The Extras with "Can't Stand Still."  And he's got the video for "Jealous Girl" up there too!  Ooooooh, eightieslicious!  By the way, Danny's friend was Leon Stevenson who will also be getting a visit from my credit card in short order.

So yes, I still feel like I have too much to do and not enough time or brainpower to get it all done.  Yup, I've got a pile of clutter and hell stacked around me that drives my Lady-love crazy that I can't seem to get a grip on.  Runescape time has dropped from a couple hours a day to a couple hours a week on a good week.  The year I planned on shrinking my consulting business saw expansion.  I took a couple financial hits that I'll have to work on and probably won't see much improvement for a couple more years now.

All in all, the biggest plus in my corner right now is that I'm not standing still.  I still feel a lot of frustration, I can feel those dogs nipping at my heels, and it may be hot and sticky and on the edge of something nasty ready to break out, but I feel like I've gotten traction regardless of everything else around me.

The idea of keeping a finger on something from my past while looking forward to the future appeals to me.  Don't forget who you are and what made you the person you are.  Now just dig in, change what you can to keep moving forward and don't worry about the costs, focus on the benefits from your effort.

Remembrance Day 2008

by Mark Zaugg 11. November 2008 10:07

It's that time of year again, I'm sitting at home in the basement listening to the radio and getting ready to pick up the kids and head down to the Jube. 

At Bow Valley Music Club, John Clarke always sings one of a couple songs for Remembrance Day.  My personal favourite is his own "Photograph", the other he sings is the fantastic "No Man's Land" by Eric Bogle. 

This morning, I was flipping through the news picks on Groklaw when I found a little gem.  A young singer/songwriter named Holly Kirby put together a tribute for her great-grandfather.  She's done a wonderful job, I truly look forward to seeing Holly on a world tour sometime way off in the distant future and thinking, "Wasn't she the one who did that incredible tribute when she was still in school?"  Enjoy your future, Holly, you have a wonderful one ahead of you. 

Hello, Copyright Police? I'd like to report a crime against good judgment.

by Mark Zaugg 8. September 2008 23:51

Okay, I'm reading through the news Sunday when I spot this article from the BBC

"Rock band Heart have called in lawyers after US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin used their track Barracuda at a Republican Party rally." 


Yay!  This is so messed up I don't know where to begin.  How about I start with copyright law itself.  The continual re-extension of copyright terms is utterly ridiculous and deserves all the ridicule we can heap upon it.  In Canada, it is generally 50 years after the artist's death.  Fifty years!  Why not ten?  Why not one hundred?  Is this really for the author?  How about the author's estate?  What about when the rights have been signed away to a book company or record company or movie company or whatever? 

Given our ability to archive material, why not forever?  I mean, it's not like it was 400 years ago and we've long since lost track of who wrote William Shakespeare's plays!  We have the ability to keep track of these little details now and not forget stuff so quickly.  Really, it's not like we'll ever going to know who wrote Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" anymore. 

But do Shakespeare and Chaucer's decendents deserve a cut off every book sold anymore?  It seems laughable, but a company's ability to continue to extend copyright into the future is perverse.  Six hundred years down the road, will Mickey Mouse be in the public domain or will the image still be locked up by the Disney Corporation because there's value left to be exploited from Walt's most famous idea? 

And what about what I just said up there?  Is that even a valid comment for me to make?  I don't own the Mickey Mouse name.  Can I even legally talk about the character safely on a blog without invoking lawyerly wrath of those wealthier than I?  Must I mask my comments by talking about a fictional "Raymond Rat" and the large putatively family oriented Example Corporation? 

From the article, it seems the Republicans are claiming use of the song was covered under a blanket license paid for by the venue.  May I point out that the song was obviously broadcast outside of the venue?  In my opinion, that ought to make the whole license issue very cloudy indeed.  Otherwise I could simply be playing music in my bedroom for my own personal enjoyment.  The microphone and the broadcasting equipment pumping it through my neighbourhood would be merely incidental reporting on the news of my day, right?

Pttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttthb!

Listen, you damned moronic politicians:  The mess you've created is way too convoluted in the first place and it sure as hell isn't doing what it's supposed to do.  And let's start with the jackasses in the USA:  Quit trying to push your mess on the rest of the world.  It's your laws, in your convention centre, under your rules, and YOU messed it up.  If you can't keep it straight, and you're supposed to be professionals at this, don't expect amateurs to be held to the highest bar either.  Go to hell, and take your lobby groups with you.

Actually, let me get on with those useless lobby groups while I'm loathing them.  There's the paid lobbiests who should be outlawed, taken behind parliament or congress or the senate or wherever they think they can bend opinions on behalf of anyone else and be spanked soundly until their bottoms are raw and pussy and they cry for their seats to be spared.  (I'm Canadian, that's just about as harsh a punishment as I can defend.)  Then there's the Industry groups - the RIAA, MPAA, CRIA - that are sock puppets for the cartel of companies behind them that represent few, that are responsive to fewer, and act as though they have all the rights in the world to go on disrupting citizens by taking advantage of the dismal and vague laws the lobbiests have put into place.  Suing file sharers by hook or by crook, whether they have to break the law to do it or not?  Nice, professional leeches.

And further more, let me make one small jump to the record companies themselves who are less business men and more thugs with finite fiscal sense.  May the lot of you be on the corner hocking plastic disks real soon now - I trust the precious few worth anything will eat and the rest will drift off to hopefully something manually intensive to purge the ideas of sycophancy from your heads.

Think about it:  These companies exist for one reason - TO SELL MUSIC.  So what do they do?  Lock their vaults to protect their "property" and refuse to sell you the very thing you're trying to get your hands on.  And no one else is allowed to sell it because we can't pry their damned fingers off the copyright.  Go ahead, try to get something released 20 years ago on an obscure record label.  It's hell to find it at all, or if you can find it you're paying extortionate rates.  Don't tell me there's no demand, *I* want it and I cannot buy it?  Up yours.

Fix copyright.  The author deserves to reap the reward.  If the author wants to grant it to a company, fine.  Ownership of the original work must stay with the artist.  I'll even accept assigning copyright to the estate for a short period of time.  But exclusivity for 50 years?  No, that's crazy.  How about something like a non-exclusive copyright where others can republish works for a fee?  Go talk to Michael Geist a while until you put some sensible back into the law.

Define rules of fair dealing clearly and as unambiguously as possible.  The right to a backup needs to be enshrined.  It's not hard to draw a line between one backup and 500 given to friends.  But my backup for my personal use kept offsite is not and should not be considered unreasonable.

Shakespeare and Chaucer's works didn't die because they were republished and loved.  They got put out there.  Today someone can sit on a master tape and claim there's not enough demand.  Open the vaults and get those works into public so they don't get lost and we can find value anew.

And in case you were afriad I was going to run out of rants:  Ann and Nancy Wilson don't get a free pass in this either.

"The Republican campaign did not ask for permission, nor would they have been granted permission," they said.

Permission to use the song?  Are you frackkin' kidding me?

Did you get paid for the song?  (No, sadly that's a valid question in context here - there's no guarantee they actually DID get paid under the stupid licensing schemes of today.)  If they were paid, you can not dictate how the song is going to be used.  If you sell me a toaster and I squish it under a steam roller, it was MY toaster to do with as I wanted.  If you sell me a DVD of a movie, and I choose to shred it and store it in a sweaty gym sock, it is MY movie to do with as I wanted.  If you sell me the right to use a song and I choose to play it at an event you don't agree with, you can't go back after the fact and say I don't have permission.  If the company or organization or professional leeches you signed up with to represent you said it was okay, take it up with them for misrepresenting you.

Sometimes you have to throw your works out there and just hope they get appreciated for what they are.  It's a good song, I'm sure you've done well by it.  I can't say I'm fond of it, but a lot of people do like it.  Get it out there, play it loud and often and be sure the message of the barra-barra-barra-barracuda doesn't get forgotten.

And finally, for "Sarah Barracuda".  My ghod, it was a bad highschool nickname.  Really, horribly bad.  Stop drawing attention to it, it's lame.  Really lame.   See if Ann and Nancy will loan you a lawyer or two, and maybe you can start suing whoever dubbed you with that crap in the first place.

Seriously, I haven't heard of anything that bad since Boomer Adair.

Welcome

Change is the only constant.

Welcome to the semi-exciting new look, same crappy blogger.

All comments are still moderated, I'll approve everything that isn't spam or offensive.  Agreement with His Dorkasaurus is not necessary.

What has changed is that I don't have 1000 junk accounts clogging up the system that I have to go through one by one.  Yes, you too can set up an account and no longer need to wait for me to notice you posted.  Completely optional.

As always:  Have fun, be respectful.

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