The Next Evolutionary Step...

I honestly hoped this (please click on link) would be a joke, but sadly it's not. I think the current generation of 'Youths' may not outlive their parents, which is a shame for the folks, but maybe not such a bad thing for the good of the earth and my peace of mind when I'm old and grey.
When you call for help via Facebook over the emergency services I think you've given up your right to legitimate help. You're on your own. The digital world is now your wilderness and you're Christopher Johnson McCandless.

As technology progresses our ability to recognise and process our natural survival instinct seems to regress. We used to navigate the earth using the Sun, now we click on a button and 'where you are' is on your phone in the form of a detailed map, pinpointing your exact location and you wonder aloud how you ever got by without it. In retrospect, it makes me glad my Dad encouraged me to join the Cub Scouts as a child, otherwise I fear my basic navigation skills might be slightly less than desirable. As for those that never experienced the learning structure of Baden Powell's finest, then how you can even get out of your front door each day is an achievement worth celebrating. The sort of celebration people are used to nowadays, alongside being better on Guitar Hero than on an actual guitar. Well done society of mediocre talents, well done.

Although to be consistent with opinions I've just shared, I guess I should be printing this out on a typewriter and distributing door to door. One man's blog post is a latter day man's telegram delivered by horse. I'm sure the recipients of that method were freaking out when it first was used and then complained on parchment using a quill about how 'we used to deliver on foot in our day' and then stuck the ramblings on a tree in the middle of the town. But the point is, they got somewhere, they progressed, they kept their wits.

Please imagine the below being read by Carl Sagan. Obviously he can't as 'he dead', but I think his tones would suit my little short.

"We are here!" she cried desperately, as her gaze, fixed and focused, looked toward the stars. She knew full well that the object of her desire had exploded before our civilisation was even conceived, but she still entertained the idea that there might be a chance that her call might be one day be returned.

"Please find us...". But the Universe failed to respond. It didn't so much as ignore her, it just had absolutely no idea she was even there.

Michelle is...sayin that the urth is well rubbsh 4 nt gettin bck to her. So much 4 alienz. LOLZ

This guys Dad rules

Let me point out that I do recognise the irony in the fact I'm complaining about all this via modern methods of communication.



Dead Scenes

I've decided to self title this post, because the subject matter is something dear to my heart and we'll only have ourselves to blame when it's too late.

Due to our desire for food and the modern world not being able to control it's gluttony, the ocean is on the brink of a species collapse (please check this link out). Sharks are killed in their millions for their meat, largely their fins which apparently doesn't taste of anything and is only used as a thickener in soups. Sharks are finned alive and thrown back into the waters where they sink and eventually die.

You may not eat shark meat or shark fin soup, but if you eat ocean life of any kind, you're contributing in more ways than you'd ever possibly want to think about or admit, because the need perpetuates the demand. The older I get, the less understanding I'm becoming with matters like this. I don't get it, I really don't. We're happy to view these creatures that have been on this planet longer than we have through glass screens in aquariums and marvel at their size and their beauty, yet when it comes down to it, we'd rather bury our heads in the sand and be able to clink our champagne glasses as we regale in the price per pound of food we're eating, just so we can fit in and aspire to be above the class we're in. Hey ho...

If you get a chance to watch the film Sharkwater, please do. I saw it at the end of 2007 when I was living in Brisbane, but I refrained from posting something because I really don't like stating the obvious (i.e ranting). Today, after seeing the article on the possible extinction of a species I've been fascinated with since a child, I decided I would (rant that is, albeit moderately I hope). It's an incredible, informative and heart-wrenching film. Here's the trailer

Also, check out Sea Shepherd. Captain Paul Watson is an absolute inspiration. He makes me feel humbled by just how absolutely badass he is. Long may he continue to destroy any ocean fishing vessel and prevent whaling at any cost. Fuck the humans. You crossed the line...(wow...).

Nina and me have started jogging. It's early days, but eventually I'd like to compete in a half marathon/marathon of sorts. If I do, I'll be raising money for Sea Shepherd, so get your money ready (realistically you'll have a long time to sort this, so I'll just continue to make periodic donations in the mean time...).

That's it.



We're Getting There, Albeit Via Belgium

A town called Ghent in Belgium has decided that at least one day a week, the whole town will go vegetarian. A massive round of applause to the people of Ghent. Nice one Belgian dudes. You can read the full article here. Their reason is environmental, which is fine, because in turn, this still inevitably leads to less consumption of animals for food. If you couldn't give a crap about animals, but are worried that environmentally, times are getting tougher, then take note. Did you know, that eating 1lb of meat emits the same amount of greenhouses gasses as driving an SUV 40 miles. Read some more interesting environmental/meat based facts here. In fact, watch this trailer for the film 'Meat The Truth' and then try and get a copy of the whole film

If you don't care about the animals or the environment, but you do care about your own health, read some interesting health/meat and dairy consumption facts here, here, here and here. (I'm not for a second suggesting that all people that eat meat are unhealthy by the way). In fact, watch this trailer for the film 'Food Matters' and then try and get a copy of the whole film

I could write for ages on this subject, but I don't want to get 'heavy', because it's something I know I'd find a turn off and plus the majority of the people I care about don't share the same views with regards to not eating meat/veganism as I do. I can just pass on some information that you will hopefully read and at least consider respectfully. I know you will, cos you're rad.

Update: I found this video today and it's dead nice and hippy with the acoustic soundtrack. It's a less intrusive/anger inducing way of getting the point across I think. Check it out.



I Don't Want To Read No More

The homepage on my computer when I log onto the internet is the Guardian newspaper online. I've been a little perturbed of late as I've been monitoring (how ironic considering I am against ID cards, you literally couldn't make it up!) the section at the bottom of the site, that show what are the most viewed stories of the past 24 hours & the past week.
As you can see by the screen shot I took at lunch, this list is particularly telling as to what 'Liberals, leftists etc' enjoy reading about these days. Or more to the point, enjoy looking at. If you take a look at the most read stories of the past week, you'll see some stories about the Chelsea v Barcelona game, pictures of a Panda breeding centre and how to master festival fashion which is largely a collection of pictures (because seriously girlfriends, we DO NOT want to turn up to a muddy field looking like every other top shop wearing/pop idol audition hopeful do we! Patchouli? With these shoes? You have to be kidding me...).

Regardless, the fact that number 5 in the list is even in the news, is incredibly telling/depressing. The news of a divorce between some overly tanned tits (ahem...not my finest hour, but I'm getting into the spirit of how a mainstream journalist would write) is deemed more interesting than this. Sorry, that is real news...my mistake. Lets try that again. More than this! The Guardian now pays people to write about 'Shelly The Giant Oyster'...wow...

This got me thinking about a recent piece of news I read whereby Rupert Murdoch stated that "The Current days of free internet will soon be over", in that he is going to start charging people to read online versions of the newspapers that he owns. The fact that in Britain this includes The Sun, The News Of The World and The Times, has absolutely no bearing on me as I consider them worthy of being nothing more than fish and chip wrappers, albeit online digital fish and chips...But after my initial sceptical reaction of assuming that this would be Murdoch's way of gaining more control over the internet and censoring its content (start at home) as a way of limiting what the public can find out, well I was still left with that scepticism and belief that 'the upper tier' will inevitably want the internet to be governed in this way, but my frustration lessened towards the concept of paying for the news.

In this argument, the rationale is that you would pay for a printed newspaper, so why not an online version. There is the common assumption that if it exists online, it should therefore be free, and this has spread further than just reading material in that you can chart the demise of the 'Record Industry' from file sharing downloads affecting record sales. Although this isn't such a bad thing. The 'Record Industry' has been putting out shit music for years and wasting money on bands with no longevity, so I can understand largely why the public is tired of paying for mainstream crap. Regardless, if you're savvy enough, manage your band correctly, tour properly, whore yourself out to every shoe, t-shirt and energy drinks company, you can have a good career. Well done. Underground scenes will always exist and occasionally, some of the bands from these subcultures will rise to the top, so it at least breaks the monopoly on manufactured main stream music, which of course is a good thing. But this isn't about music, this is about what we read, or inevitably, what we chose to.

I do recognise the irony in all of this though, in that this blog is pretty much read by less than 10 people, therefore many people either choose not to read the inconsistent ramblings of a 31 year old man, or more realistically, people just don't know it's there to read. If people did know of it's existence then I'm sure the former column of 'choose not to read' will be added to and I'd still be left with the aforementioned 10 people. So thanks guys.

Online American Newspapers such as the New York Times have been charging for content for years, but then there's still no guarantee that the content would be improved or even accurately reported, as John Pilger states in the video below with regards to the NYT. However, I was drawn to an article by David Simon, creator of The Wire (best TV show ever...) who is an ex journalist of many years, and as I am not, I thought it would be better if you read his account of the 'pay for news' discussion. I find it very interesting and if I could guarantee I'd be reading something that I regard as being of worth, then I'd more than likely pay for a subscription. But what is actually 'of worth'. It's subjective to to the individual, which comes back full circle to showing that on this particular day/week, the readers of the Guardian Online deemed 'How Does Microsoft Windows 7 Look' as 'of worth'. At least you may be more prepared for an 'online' virus.

I'm going to finish this post with a video by one of my favourite journalists, John Pilger. He talks about his book 'Freedom Next Time' and the experiences that lead to it being written. He's a veteran journalist and has reported from all corners of the globe. His dissection of the mainstream media is incredibly fascinating and worth paying attention to, plus it's a far more detailed account of this topic than I'll ever be able to give. I'd definitely recommend that any of his books are worth picking up if you are unfamiliar with his writing.

It's interesting though. I've always connected with the saying 'Don't Believe Everything You Read' (religious texts, yeah guys!), in that I would rather report and experience it myself, but this isn't always possible, especially as I can't experience or report on the things I want to read about. Plus, I'm not exactly sure how realistic or plausible it would be for me to turn up in The Middle East with my Canon 450d and turn to the nearest person and say

'Hi guys, I'm here to report on and take some photos of the American/British Military base's that are situated next to the oil pipelines stretching down to the Caspian Basin. I read that the blood of the earth is being secured as quickly as possible, hence all these 'wars', because the majority of supplies peaked in the 70s and what with Saudi Arabia finally stating that their output has dwindled, they're OPEC's biggest exporter don't you know, it's not going to be very long until the general public learn that the lifestyles they're accustomed to might not be that sustainable within the next few decades...phew! Can you show me who the best person to speak to would be so I can just have a wander round and take a few snaps? You'll take me to them? Fantastic! What? I've never put on a blindfold before when riding in a taxi in London, but if you say so. I certainly don't want to insult anyones cultural traditions. Why are you burning my passport? Ahhh it's a religious thing, I totally understand. I'll get a new one from the British Embassy before I leave won't I. What's that? Waterboarding? Oh definitely, I surfed a little when I lived in Australia. Righty ho and off we go"

...so we're left to trust our instincts as to what we ascertain to be believable. We're at the mercy of other peoples words as to whether we choose to decipher them in a way that we regard as palatable. Everyone wants to believe in something, whether it's the belief in a non-belief, the belief that you're not being told the entire truth by the mainstream media, or a belief in the accounts of a person you've never met before, in this instance John Pilger. Maybe you believe that you're so good at Karaoke, that you're an undiscovered singing talent. It's all escapism. Providing it doesn't harm anyone, what does it matter.

I know there have been a lot of links on this blog, but I honestly think, that if you have the time, it'll be worth checking them out. Maybe it won't. In which case, I hope you have a nice day.

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense" - Buddha



Be Scared All The Time!

Remain scared, if you're not, think about what it's like to be scared and make yourself scared. Whatever you do, you must forget about how economically fucked the majority of the world is and ignore the fact that more of 'our troops' are moving back into Afghanistan to continue the destruction of a nation under the guise of hoping to find a previously CIA funded affiliate in the mountains, oh yeah apparently there's some oil there too, plus the small matter of having the largest opium harvest in the world, who knew...and just focus on this and this only. Focus on it all the time, if you can't focus on it all the time, you're obviously not scared enough, so go back to the first line you read and start again. Remember, this is not a distraction. Why? Because our governments are in control and they assume we wouldn't doubt them. Feel better? If so, read up about how Donald Rumsfeld owns millions of shares in Gilead Science, (the company that developed the drug Tamiflu. I'm sure you've heard quite a lot about this recently. This was also the drug used to 'treat' Avian Flu) about how he used to be the chairman of the board until 2001 and how Gilead is reported to have made between $250 - $500 million from sales of Tamiflu when Bird Flu was that seasons 'must have'...then get scared again and remain scared all the time...sigh...

Incidentally, top searches on google recently have inevitably been 'swine flu', but also 'American Idol' and 'KFC Coupons'. I have a feeling these searches could have some sort of correlation...



Swandive BC

When I was in Australia, as mentioned in previous posts, I played in a band called Swandive. This is the video of the last gig we did. It easily ranks as one of the top 5 gigs I've ever played in my musical life. The whole night was blast and fuelled with 'punk' exuberance from the start. Literally a minute or so before we played, a guy punched a friend of ours Stu in the face, cue Nick (in a drunken moment of 'this is a great idea' thought process) hurling a pint glass at the the offenders head. Thankfully it missed and just hit the wall. The guy ran out of the club with Nick in tow leaving the rest of us to just look at each other and shrug. It was smoothed over when I imagine the fresh air allowed the realisation to kick in, so Nick returned, still a little pissed off, and enabled us to all play one of the most fun gigs I've ever been involved in. It was all over in 10 minutes too. But then that's sometimes the best way. The proverbial short and sweet. Playing in this band, although it being temporary and consisting of only 4 gigs, made me remember why I love playing music. It was just so much fun and I will be forever thankful to them for letting me be a part. Cheers wicked dudes.