Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20071217

Hi,

This will be the last Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” for 2007. We will return in the New Year probably around the 7th or the 14th. The year has really flown past.

Seeing as how this is the season for really crass commercialism I have decided to join in with a few “Last Minute Gift Ideas”.

First up, lets consider stuff. We all have tons of stuff, and if this Christmas runs true to form we are all about to get tons of new stuff. (Jools could use a new MX5 if you have one lying around)

One of my clients, the International Women’s Development Agency is promoting a great idea for you last minute shoppers (note how I casually implied that I am not a last minute shopper myself… I can see some of you rolling on the floor laughing as I type this).

The idea is that you give them some money, they give some women in a developing country stuff and you get to nominate the friend who doesn’t get the stuff but gets the warm feeling of having done good without actually doing anything. It’s like “Blame” in reverse.

Seriously though, I have worked with these people for about six years now. They are a non-profit organisation and they do make a difference for women and their communities in Asia and the Pacific.

Here is an example, $45 purchases stationery for 20 women in remote rural villages in East Timor to participate in literacy and numeracy classes. You receive an email card to send to the recipient of your gift. Low carbon foot print, the planet wins, the women win and believe it or not you win. (face it $45 wont even buy a decent Single Malt)

Confused? Go to http://iwda.com.au/catalogue and IWDA will explain it in English (rather than the gibberish I type)

OK. So you actually want to give stuff, no problem. How about music? (c’mon you knew I was going to get music in here somewhere). I have two recommendations here.

First up lets go with music with words and stuff. My Friend Ian (vilified in the odd previous post) has an album that is magic. (Disclosure: I have a credit on the album as “Devils Advocate” which means I made respectful suggestions about the mixes and stuff. My marac solo was on a track that ended up on the cutting room floor, “a marac?” I hear you ask. The budget was so tight that Ian couldn’t afford a pair of maracas. I digress). The album is called “Drifter” and you can check it out at http://www.ianbland.com.au/ or his MySpace site.
If you are in Melbourne (or Australia) and are quick, Ian can get a copy to you before Christmas.

Next let’s consider a pressie for yourself, everyone knows that Christmas is the most stressful time of year. So why not pickup a CD of relaxing music to help you through the season. I have mentioned Bill Canty before (we agreed that we weren’t going to call him My Friend Bill. it was just silly). Bill has a ripper of a CD called “Elysian Peace”, that is perfect for this purpose. As an aside he recently uploaded two takes of a new idea he is working on. The first is the idea with no tarting up, just played.

The second is after he has lavished his usual care and attention on it.

I find the way his music grows and develops truly amazing.

Anyway back to the commercial realities… er Christmas suggestions. Head over to http://billcanty.com/html/elysian.htm and have a listen to “Elysian Peace”, you know you are going to need it. Again if you are in Melbourne and quick, Bill can get a copy to you before Christmas.

Now back to some more Non Stuff bits. These people won’t send you a card but they can use our support.

Creative Commons is an organisation that provides free tools that let musicians, authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from “All Rights Reserved” to “Some Rights Reserved.”

They are a a nonprofits organization and like all free organisations need some bucks to keep going. Got http://creativecommons.org/ and have a read of where they are coming from.

Last of the Non Stuff bits.
SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) is the name for a number of organized efforts to detect Extraterrestrial life. The general approach of SETI projects is to survey the sky to detect the existence of transmissions from a civilization on a distant planet, an approach widely endorsed by the scientific community as hard science. There are a whole bunch of hassles in searching across the sky for a first transmission that could be characterized as intelligent, imagine trying to tune in 3RRR if the tuning dial was about a mile long and you didn’t know where they were on the dial. Now scale it up to looking for 3RRR by pointing an aerial at just the right place in the sky at just the right time.

Tricky huh?

They could use some money as the US government pulled their funding in 1994. Head over to http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/sah_donate.php
And consider slipping them a few bucks.
Remember if SETI goes under how will the aliens find us?
No More Crop Circles. It’s your call.

Duggup will be taking a short break of about a week and hopefully getting a facelift for Christmas, it should be back about the 2nd or 3rd of January(ish).

So there you have a few ideas for Christmas. Thanks for reading, have a good silly season and make sure you are careful out there. Remember Single Malts and moving anywhere don’t mix.

Have a good one

thatch

{Currently listening to Acoustic Alchemy and Al DiMeola}
{Currently reading: Still working through Raymond Feist oldies, I think I’m a masochist.}
{Quick Status Check: Hell! It’s Christmas next week.}
{Crop Circle Status: It’s over for another year.
“Bother” said a rather grumpy bear.
http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/2007/2007.html }

Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20071210

Hi,
Sometimes it takes awhile but eventually the gods (and Google) smile on you. About 18 months back I heard some amazing guitar work coming from the radio one morning and by the time I woke up enough to be able to recognise actual words I didn’t quite catch the band name just that they were from Ireland. Time passes and I just kept the guitar riff in the back of my brain.

Now for the good bit. I was scanning Decibel (it’s a heavy metal mag http://www.decibelmagazine.com/ ) and there they were. The one line description was enough, I just knew that the band they were writing about matched up with the music in my head.

Rodrigo (Sanchez) and Gabriela (Quintero) are two awesomely talented, Mexicans now based in Dublin with a truly singular sound created with two (very very nice) acoustic guitars. The biggest problem is that their music is difficult to define,they list as influences Metallica, Megadeth, Paco DeLucia, Al Di Meola and Alex Skolnick Guitar Trio. Their reworkings of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and Metallica’s “Orion” are amazing. I will clean this up and write them up in duggup.

If you are interested have a look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNc5o9TU0t0

Oh well, looks like I may have found my Christmas present, time to ring Basement Records.

So with a single malt and ice in hand, its time to “Alez Sillies” once more.

Let’s start with Blame and Creepy
“Many Barbies gave their lives that this jewellery might exist.
Love, Jools
http://www.margauxlange.com/portfolio.html “
This stuff is just so weird and yet .

Also from Jools
“Ever wondered what the pepperpot tin toy R2D2 was saying? – this really won’t help – but it is silly.
Love Jools
http://www.r2d2translator.com/ “
It really is silly, I briefly considered changing the ringtone on my phone

I realise that not everyone ignores there birthdays with as much vigour as I have on occasion but did I really need to know that I have been around for over 484,925 hours (god that’s a lot of television). The site gives you stats about the day you entered the world, such as your age (in number of days, hours, and seconds), your zodiac sign, and more. You also can find other enlightening sites that teach you more about your date of birth (noteworthy events, names of famous folks who have the same birthday, and the most popular song on the charts when you entered the world, among others) which is I suppose a good way to impede productivity
http://www.dayofbirth.co.uk/

The Flash Game. Today’s offering is an addictive little impediment called MiniRacers (cute, innocuous, and wrong). The one thing to keep in mind is once you start playing with it, you’re going to be in here awhile.

It is reminiscent of the old 8bit classic Lunar Lander, where you’d have to carefully guide a ship to land safely on the moon. In this case the point isn’t to organise safe landing, it’s to race to a goal through a maze. (And Harry Potter thought he had it tough, he only people trying to kill him)

For the “competitive ones among you ( you know who you are)
Don’t get too excited if you manage to get a high score. They reset at midnight every night. So you get to go back and do it again. The high score thing isn’t really going to bug me. unless you can get a high score for crashing.
http://www.zefrank.com/miniracers/

More ebooks – Here is the hype ..
“Fired from a job he hated at a company he loved, videogame designer Paul Reynolds is drowning his sorrows in late-morning margaritas when he meets an alluring, pink-haired conwoman named Chloe. With her gang of techno-pirate friends, Chloe helps Paul not only take revenge on his former employers, but also extort a small fortune from them in the process. What more could a recently unemployed, over worked videogame designer in Silicon Valley ask for?”

It’s creative commons, it comes in enough download formats to keep even me satisfied and it’s a hoot of a read.
http://manybooks.net/titles/dakanrother07Geek_Mafia.html

Over at http://duggup.notdeadyet.com.au/ you will find some new additions to the ever-growing collection. Jools found a singing nun, Sister Marie Keyrouz and I was taken with Murder by Death.

And for a closing thought this week Jools found this. Remember what David Lynch told us back in Twin Peaks
“The owls are not what they seem”.

The Owl Song.

thatch

{Currently listening to Rodrigo y Gabriela (the question is are you?)}
{Currently reading: Still working through Raymond Feist oldies }
{Quick Status Check: blink blink blink hell the status check is broken}
{Crop Circle Status: It’s over for another year.
“Bother” said a rather grumpy bear.
http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/2007/2007.html }

Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20071203

Hi,

I find it amazing that everywhere I go people have a smile on their face after the election and the change of government. The new dudes get sworn in today. Maybe they will surprise me… I really, really hope so. The old set wasted so many chances and time. {political comment mode off}

So with a single malt and ice in hand, its time to “Alez Sillies” once more.

Lets starts with a Flash Game. One look at “Chat Noir” and you think “easy peasy” and then you start playing, and it all goes pear shaped. Rules? Dead easy. Stop the cat from leaving the board. To do this you just click a bright green spot to make it dark green and fence the cat in. Every time you click a spot, the cat gets to move one space. So after blowing way too much time on this, now it’s your turn.
http://www.gamedesign.jp/flash/chatnoir/chatnoir.html

Missile 3D is annoying. I lost, and lost and lost and then lost and you get the idea. But you may have better luck. It’s a guide yourself through a 3D maze that is moving around in circles. For masochists.
http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/games/missilegame3d

Oh and have a look at Turbo Tanks. Seriously funny.
http://www.turbotanks.com/

And in the whack another few bucks in Dan Brown’s account dept. Musician Giovanni Maria Pala claims to have discovered a hidden musical score for a solemn hymn in da Vinci’s masterpiece “The Last Supper.” And what’s more, the musical notes themselves encode for a Hebrew text, and even a image of the chalice!
What? What do you mean it’s not “Stairway To Heaven”, or “Like A Virgin” I’m so disappointed.
http://tinyurl.com/yw3m6p

Escape Pod is a Science Fiction Podcast Magazine that has been around since mid 2005 and sends out a 30(ish) minute short story every week or so. Now this is a great time soak, you can listen to it stream from their website or download it and drop it on your MP3 player and check it out on the commute to work. They recently podcast an audio version of Cory Doctrow’s short story “Other People’s Money,” which originally appeared in Forbes magazine. It’s a good story.

Text Version: http://tinyurl.com/3cz9bw
Audio Book: http://escapepod.org/2007/11/22/ep133-other-peoples-money/

Over at http://duggup.notdeadyet.com.au/ you will find some new additions to the ever-growing collection. Jools spotted the new Abby Dobson and I was taken with some music from a game by Jesper Kyd and “of Montreal” who are from Georgia USA.

And to finish, this wonderful piece of whimsy spotted by Jools. I will let it speak for itself.
http://silhouettemasterpiecetheatre.com/

thatch

{Currently listening to Alex De Grassi and Suzanne Vega}
{Currently reading: This week it’s Magician (Raymond Feist). yep oldies time again}
{Quick Status Check: What do you mean it’s nearly Christmas again??? Hell!!!}
{Crop Circle Status: It’s over for another year. “Bother” said a rather grumpy bear. http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/2007/2007.html }