I’ve been anticipating Chuck Klosterman’s review the new Guns N’ Roses album, Chinese Democracy, at least as much as the album itself. Klosterman addresses the album, the event, and the anticipation with an appropriate balance of ridicule and reverence:
Reviewing Chinese Democracy is not like reviewing music. It’s more like reviewing a unicorn. Should I primarily be blown away that it exists at all? Am I supposed to compare it to conventional horses? To a rhinoceros? Does its pre-existing mythology impact its actual value, or must it be examined inside a cultural vacuum, as if this creature is no more (or less) special than the remainder of the animal kingdom? I’ve been thinking about this record for 15 years; during that span, I’ve thought about this record more than I’ve thought about China, and maybe as much as I’ve thought about the principles of democracy. This is a little like when that grizzly bear finally ate Timothy Treadwell: Intellectually, he always knew it was coming. He had to. His very existence was built around that conclusion. But you still can’t psychologically prepare for the bear who eats you alive, particularly if the bear wears cornrows.
The first in a series of (possibly only one) office survival tip(s).
You’re in the office. Coffee has been made. You have a clean mug (a topic for a future tip). You have sugar. You don’t have a clean spoon to stir in the sugar.
- Place the desired amount of sugar (or carcinogenic sugar substitute) in the empty mug.
- Poor a few teaspoons of coffee into the mug.
- Swoosh the mug around in a circular motion, creating a rich coffee/sugar slurry.
- Poor in the rest of your coffee.
Now, enjoy a cup of coffee with relatively evenly distributed sugar without having resorted to stirring with a pen.
A few years ago, I was contacted by a woman working on an article about keeping your work-area tidy for an internal corporate newsletter. She had found a photo I had taken of my messy desk with an old point-and-shoot digital camera and wanted to use it as a “before” photo with her article.
The photo was poorly lit, poorly framed, and relatively low resolution. However, it was valuable to someone, in part because of these issues. A photo like this would never have been for sale on a stock photography site.
The process of actually selling the rights to use the photo was awkward. First, there was some negotiation of the price, then I had to produce an “invoice” for them as they needed it for their purchasing department to send a cheque. They got invoice #000001 thanks to an OpenOffice.org template.
This is why we built ClusterShot - a site that simplifies the process of anyone selling any photo to anyone. Anyone can upload their images, or we can suck them in automatically from your Flickr account or RSS/ATOM feed. You can then set your own price or allow people to make an offer. There’s a simple PayPal-powered checkout process.
ClusterShot is not another stock photography service. Images are not quality-checked and tagged “horizontal white-background caucasian male” by an army of cubicle-farm employees. Some images are great, and some are terrible. Think eBay rather than Amazon.
Try it out - you might be surprised that you have just the photo someone is looking for.
Another short film in the series that brought you Man Falls From Airplane and Lands on Printer:
At our Zap Your PRAM conference ended up being great for many reason. The people, the location, and for me at least, the music.
Our opening evening include a performance by Tim Chaisson and his accompanist Tian Wigmore. Tim played a combination original songs, well-chosen covers (Jill Barber ftw), traditional east-coast music (fiddle and mandolin, omgftw), and a remarkable aside on piano.
Part way through the set, Tim said he was going to play a song on the piano. I looked around to see if they had brought a keyboard, but there was none to be found. The only keyboard was an old piano that lives in the lobby at Dalvay-by-the-Sea behind my seat. Tim excused his way through some of our chairs, sat down in front of the old piano and told us about Neil Gow, a Scottish composer from the 1700’s.
Tim played Gow’s “...Lament for the Death of his Second Wife” (which was apparently actually a lament for the death of his second wife). It was remarkable. Here’s an absurdly low quality video clip that will at least serve to show my proximity to the piano:
The next day lacked a live musical performance, but was not lacking for music. Brad Turcotte (aka BradSucks) walked us through the idea stage, writing, recording, release, and after-life of a song. I still have Dirtbag stuck in my head.
On Saturday, local singer-songwriter John Connolly performed some original songs, a few covers, then channelled the ghost (even though he’s still alive) of Stompin’ Tom Connors. He even took a request for a Bruce Cockburn song.
Great music for a great weekend. Also see my friend Stephen’s more general overview of the conference. Thanks to Nick Burka for the photos.
If you need me, I’ll be Zapping my PRAM this weekend. Awesome.