Archive for December, 2008

(X-mas) Dedication #5 – Wait Until Next Year

December 24, 2008

[I was posting on Manuel‘s Christmas blog entry. I realised my comment was way too long. I had intended doing him for the next dedication (a wee irritation in a Christmas queue had me gnawing at my lip the other day. A fucking whistler in the queue. Inner thoughts: Garrrrgh. Shuddup! Please. Please stop. Shuttit. Shut. Rrrrrrr….. Manuel himself may have been more bearable – at least whistling along to his i-pod, although the melody would have clashed with the in store muzak, but this guy was worse again. He tunelessly whistled along – in total free-jazz improv style (repeat no three notes together ever) with the muzak. Totally ignoring the melody or the rhythm, staying vaguely in key but whistling a complete non-tune over the top, right into the back of my head.
The thought of Manuel and his i-pod saved that man from a certain grumbling-at), so [anyway….] here’s a Christmas message to a blogstar:]

Wait Until Next Year
[I don’t really ‘get’ the title myself, but then again
(if you can’t tell already),
I’m still a bit drunk from last night.]

Merry Buggering Christmas Manuel.

Yoink! – So sue me Mr. ‘i-Stock
(Some loophole about parody means I get away with infringing your precious copyright… I think.)

I’ve been thrilled to have started tuning in during the latter part of this year, I have chuckled many a time, so thanks and all the best for the New Year.

[Manuel thinks the song I Saw Mommy Kissing Satan Claws is creepy(?!)]

A ‘by the way’; “I Saw Mommy…” is only creepy until the oddness of the whole ‘Chimney lie’ has been resolved and you realise it was Daddy all along. No? Okay, maybe it was ‘Uncle Jim’ or the milkman on a surprise ‘dress-up’ visit – that’s slightly creepier, but you get the jist – it wasn’t the *actual* Santa. The real one I mean.

Hope he brings you many lovely gifts and surprises (you deserve ’em and well done with the non-smoking too – you *have* been a good boy this year).

[He has been, and it’s been tough.]

[A gent at Manuel’s work establishment was reported to have been making “Homer Simpson impersonations” while indulging in carnal activities in the ladies powder room.]

If all else fails, hope you get to holler “d’oh! d’oh! d’oh!” (in the sexy way) a good bit over the holidays.

[That was all a bit weird and sprawling and meandering and [insert apt adjective] but see excuse above. It’s Christmas anyway – Merry one to you and that.]

Friday Dedication #4: Twenty is a ‘C’ word.

December 19, 2008

Twenty is a ‘C’ Word

20
Not pictured: The actual Twenty Major I mean.
[Also not pictured: an actual Major box.
I scoured Internet images for days to no avail.
I considered ducking into every dodgy auld lad pub on a stroll last night to see if they sold them so I could snap on the old phone.
I’m not unconscious in hospital, so as you can guess, I thought better of it.]

I first heard of Twenty Major through whispers around town back about the time I tuned in to the once great [and soon to be again one day?] community blog TCAL.
Twenty also contributed on it, but aside from that I hadn’t bothered to check him out simply through the usual begrudging and ignorant stance we Irish adopt at the mere whiff of others’ success [think ‘c’ word]. I eventually did bother when it was reported on TCAL that he’d won ‘Most Humorous Post‘ and ‘Best Blog Post‘ for the same excellent piece at the Irish Blog Awards. It was a good one to start with.


Still not pictured: The actual Twenty Major

I started reading him daily just weeks before he quit blogging [insert ‘c’ word] and cheated us all by starting a forum absolutely littered with… the ‘c’ word [This post is not as link-tastic as it could be – i.e. I wanted to link that “‘c’ word”to a search for it in the forum but got a result saying the word in my search query was ignored because it’s too common].

Point being, I was sitting in my “Ron’s” the other night, reading Bukowski at the bar and wishing I was an important well respected writer, like him…
…or Twenty fuppin’ Major, with two books to his name, and his gimicky use of that aforementioned word.

“…cunt”, I sighed, pocketing my book.

Friday Dedication #3: Me and ‘T’ are Old

December 12, 2008

T‘ now lives on the other side of the world.
We used to be hip and ‘with it’. Then we lost touch with what ‘it’ is and now ‘it’ is strange and scary to us.

Me and T are Old

ilk

Our ‘it’ was rawk music. As teenagers we would play in rock and/or metal bands, drink in rock bars and have long hair and mosh and play air instruments constantly. We weren’t goths (actually I was neither a goth or a rocker – more of a ‘gother’) and though goths would frequent our weekend latenight bars, we would not hang out at Central Bank during the day. Like the goths did.

Over a year ago, we were strolling through that section of town and I had a revelation as I remarked on the emo kids.
“What is it about this place that kids of that ilk have always chosen to hang out here?”

‘kids of that ilk’.

I turned to him and announced myself as officially ‘old’.

Essay on ‘Quality’ Mr. Williams, Sir.

December 11, 2008

*Disclaimer & spoiler*
This is ‘shit’.
You will probably find it boring and irritating as chewing stale crusty bread – stale crusty confusing bread at that (at least until the Starwars kid – then same again until the end).

Introduction:

I’ve touched on this before, and recalling Dead Poets Society and the ‘Quality’ essay challenge, I figured I’d stab about at the concept and eek out a few possible truths and a whole bucket load of BS (no doubt).

If I had been a decent student back in the day, or if I was even well read in philosophy or had a good memory or a thirst for research, I’d be able to shoot off references for most ideas I’m about to tackle. Little of that is true in my case, it all comes from my tiny mind, but if you care to read and point out the various relevant thinkers, names for concepts and schools of thought, go for it. I’ll then endeavour to enlighten myself on the people, facts, figures and dates (but that’s not a promise).

Quality

What I’m looking to speak about is objective quality. I am not talking about individual taste or something that is popular. That said, these things may be indications of the presence of quality as objective – if such a thing actually exists.

What makes a ‘beautiful’ sunset appealing and inherently beautiful rather than say, a piece of turd?
A piece of shit looks ugly and smells bad. In evolutionary terms shit is unappealing because it leads to sickness – we are innately programmed to be disgusted by it for our own survival.
But a sunset?

A more beautiful sunset?

Buffalo tomatoes vs. buffalo mozzarella?
Techno music versus rock?

Perhaps these things can be explained in evolutionary terms. Allergy, taste, opinion, recommendations, peers, community… and loads of [what word could I use here to up the quality of this piece?… eh… uh…] stuff.

It’s true that high recommendations can prove popular.
…when the most powerful dictate taste. And those with the power (the strong) would have the ‘best taste’.
Popularising something lends a spirit of community and a strong community (especially with ‘good taste’) will survive over a less discerning bunch. This is why champagne tastes better than cider and the rich (the strong) drink champagne and the poor, cider. As an aside though, we have to note that champagne may not necessarily taste ‘better’ to the poor.

I’m getting bogged down in evolutionary theory when I wanted to look at the issue on a more metaphysical level.
Like, what is quality in itself? What is the essence of ‘objective’ quality?

Popularity is nothing. What is ‘good’ about this?

Ten and a half million views. Sure, it’s a bit funny. It’s a lot freaky when you think about it. But it’s ever more freaky when you consider its popularity. And especially considering that in terms of its quality. It’s pure kak. It’s even beyond “so bad its good”.

But we’re on shaky ground here becasue I’m introducing my personal opinion. And for every ten and a half million viewers (or however many there actually has been) there is at least one who will genuinely believe that the video is ‘good’ enough to warrant such popularity.

Actually, the whole argument for objective quality tumbles flailing to the flaming pits having introduced any element of subjectivity.

Balls.

I suck.

But why do I suck? And why didn’t I use ‘better’ words to express that? Could I have expressed it ‘better’ and what determines whether I could have or not?
It was succinct and apt and fully expressed but was certainly lacking in grace, skill and intelligence.
As an aside is miscommunication and misinterpretation. Someone just read the “Balls. I suck.” over my shoulder [nice] and suggested I not put those two phrases in the same sentence. They aren’t in the same sentence, but that’s beside the point…

…or is it? Is it an aside at all?

What if there is such a thing as objective quality and while we all get a sense of it (sunset vs. gloomy grey sky), we misinterpret it to varying degrees depending on our own interpretive/perceptive processes (as influenced by genes, environment, society, culture etc.)
And so Bach, The Beatles and The Venga Boys achieve varying degrees of popularity despite having a set and quantifiable (but not yet measurable) amount of objective quality objectively attributed to them.

I purport that there is. There definitely is. It’s why I can say I may prefer The Beatles of the three, but The Venga Boys are clearly the shittest and Bach the best. It’s why I can see the qualities in something I don’t personally enjoy that someone else could.
It also fully explains why the quality of a given thing can improve for someone over time – because they start to ‘get it’ – the more they understand the less they misinterpret. They also perceive it more clearly.
Contexts such as society and culture also help this process which is why Shakespeare is ‘shit’ to a school kid but is great when studied over time and with more understanding of the context, the time and place (and the references to times and places and people etc. within it) in which it was written.

The clincher, for me, is 180 degrees to my own argument.
It’s purely subjective, and it’s the notion that I definitely could have spent more time and effort crafting this and making it ‘better’.
More descriptive and/or apt words, clearer ideas, less clunky, rambling construed bullshit.
It does not have the potential [another day’s ‘idea stabbing’?] to be the greatest piece ever written (and if quality was truly subjective and objectively unquantifiable, that statement couldn’t be true) but it certainly is not as well written as it could be.

But enough of me and my qualities, the real question is: was it well read?

The Shuffle Horrors

December 5, 2008

The meek introduction to everyone’s i-tunes (or whatever) library is “eh… I don’t even know what’s on there… eh.”
And within five minutes of leaving it on shuffle “oh, man, I don’t know what that’s doing on there.” “I don’t remember downloading that!” etc.


Genuinely not one of my playlists.
…but I do have about a third of the tunes. My face becomes the main source of warmth for guests when my ‘Genius of Love’ mp3 pops up
– in spite of my actual inner pride in having it.
I search for a hole to swallow me up when ‘Footloose’ makes an appearance.

This is why when I have people over, I opt for jack-in-the-box option – up and down every 20 minutes to replace the stylus/choose an appropriate L.P.
God forbid I had a bunch of Waits lovers over and my sneaky i-tunes shuffle (which is usually absolutely spot-on in terms of ideal mood-fitting selection when I’m alone) were to pluck this classic out for their horror.

I fucking love that mix… until you’re with me in my living room – then I absolutely disown it.

Friday Dedication #2: Ode to Daisy

December 5, 2008

Daisy hates poets. She is actually offended by them. How dare they write poetry in her presence?!
(She also drowns puppies in canals and would rather take a granny to the zoo than pet a cute dog).

It is only fitting then, that I dedicate a poem to her.

Ode to Daisy.

Daisy, daisy,
A flower of the field.
A field – a field
What field, o! what field?

Why! a daisy, a daisy
Filled field.