Sunday, February 28, 2010

Revelations.

From Wikipedia:

Krill is a shrimp-like marine invertebrate animal. These small crustaceans are important organisms of the zooplankton, particularly as food for baleen whales, manta rays, whale sharks, crabeater seals, other seals, and a few seabird species that feed almost exclusively on them. In the Southern Ocean, one species, the Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, makes up an estimated biomass of over 500 million tonnes, roughly twice that of humans. Of this, over half is eaten by whales, seals, penguins, squid and fish each year, and is replaced by growth and reproduction.

Once, a very long time ago, I was having a school camp in the Queen Charlotte Sound, on the Northern end of the South Island of New Zealand.

It was right on the water, and one morning, when I woke up early and went down to the dock, the entire visible surface of the water was covered in red krill. I didn't know what krill were yet, and I was a bit shaken, as the guy in the bunk next to me was reading Revelations from the King James Bible when I went to sleep. God, he was a fucking nerd.

Anyway, after a little while, this somewhat cooler kid called Rhys comes along, and tells me about krill. His Dad worked for the Department of Conservation, so if there was an animal in New Zealand that Rhys didn't know about, it must have just escaped from the zoo.

Then of course we dived off the pier into the freezing sub-Antarctic waters (Southern krill like to chill), and the krill went into our underwear, and I had one swim up my ass, which was uncomfortable and hilarious, all at the same time.

For all you know I could be talking about the summer of 1948. I never mentioned an iPod or an iPhone. And that's kind of the point here.

I'm not young any more, and although I pass for 20-something, my body hurts like 60-something. I do close combat fight training 5 or 6 times a week, and I have to work much harder than the younger guys to get the same result. I'm getting on.

Things change.

My mind certainly has.

I was talking to my girlfriend about music the other day, saying how I have 6 years worth of music on my iPod, but when I want to listen to some music, I can never think of anything to dial up. I just don't really love any of it any more.

I'm in an "I don't care about music" phase, which to those that know me, should illicit some kind of mild shock response.

But I don't care about art either, or motorbikes, or any of the things that usually get my happiness quotient rocketing skywards.

I'm thinking of selling my guitar collection.

And I felt guilty about having all that collected music. Bob Lefsetz says that owning music tracks is soon to be over (I agree partially). He says soon we're all going to be subscribers to the cloud, basically that no-one will own music, but rather we'll all collectively stream whatever we want from one source. We will all own all the music out there, together, just by subscribing. I still think greedy little people will want something physical to hold onto...more than just some digital code that signifies they listened to it first. People like to hoard, and that will be a hard instinct to break. But I digress...

I have all this collected music on my drives, and I'm over it all. I don't love it any more. And I realised obviously the music hasn't changed, I did.

I realised, somewhat pathetically, that my love for things has dropped off because whenever I love something, it generally dies, leaves, or turns out to be prostituting itself on the side.

Yup, issues.

And through the long journey of my life so far, my love has faded in comparison to the kick-ass laser cannon of power that it was back when I had things like enthusiasm and
naïveté. Back when I'd spend all day and half the night in the mosh pit at a music festival, headbanging non stop, as opposed to going to Soundwave for all of 3 hours, doing nothing more physical than standing and watching a couple of bands, then getting tired and going home.

If I saw that biblical ocean of blood again tomorrow, the last thing I'd do is go swim in it. It's cold in there! The energy for stupid (fun) things just isn't there any more. So serious all the time. Shitty old man.

I wonder if it's possible to get it back? That awesome rush of excitement. Bob Lefsetz gets it occasionally, but I hate the music he likes, and mostly he's being sentimental as opposed to objective.

I can actually see and understand the generational gap. I see how the kids are different to me and my people. I see how we fall short and they thrive. I'm glad I'm not a kid nowadays, I wouldn't last a minute.

Let's hope inspiration, excitement, true passion, and surprise reconnexion to the love of music/arts/whatever floats your boat is just biding it's time, waiting to jump out and blow our minds again.

And for those of you who are still super excited by the same things you always were- how do you do it?


This is knifey, from 'the internet'.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

1's and "oh"-s...

I don't have a mind for dates...I always forget them.

If you ask me how old I was when 'situation X' happened, I probably couldn't tell you. Oddly though, I do remember the first time I saw Metallica was May 1st, 1989.

Still, this isn't about them. They're kinda irrelevant to me, somehow managing to bastardise the epic memories I had of them, turning into a limp parody of themselves. I never liked Kirks solos, I think Trujillo was a bad choice (but an amazing musician), Lars is just a dick, and James...it's hard to see your heroes lose their fire. Did alcohol really make him that good?!

Still, this isn't about them.

As predicted, I have no idea when the following happened:

I was in a classroom, and I am 100% certain I wasn't doing one molecule of work, because I had ADHD before it was even invented. Back then (whenever 'then' was), we were just "bad students".

So I'm in a classroom, and it was before Metallica even formed.

Still, this isn't about them.

And I get pulled out of the classroom and told to go to the library.

I enter.

And there, next to some person I had never seen before, was a list of students names. And next to the list, was a beige coloured box, and something that looked like an ugly T.V, and the union of the two became my first glimpse of a computer.

Ever.

I was instructed to sit down, and type commands into it, because back then (the 80's sometime), if you wanted to use a computer, you had to type a bunch of stupid commands into it. If you didn't know how, then you were fucked.

The screen was green and black, you couldn't look at photos or listen to actual music or watch a movie on it. You couldn't sync it with your mobile or digital camera, because they didn't exist yet.

There are actually people reading this right now who are audibly gasping "No way!"

So I'm sitting there, and when the instructor said "Type '/run'", and so forth, I would spend approximately 6 years locating the correct keys, and tap them one at a time.

And you know what I thought?

"These things will NEVER take off."

That's it for today.


This is knifey, from "the internet."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Equation.

If you're new here, I'd like to offer two disclaimers.

1. I use references from religious figures here and there, although I am a de-facto atheist. I believe wisdom (like money) is good, no matter where you found it, and so I include religious wisdom here.

2. I'd like to say that nothing you are about to read is original, new, or shiny.

But it can change your life.

I'd like to say I'm not here to sell you something. I'm happy for you to leave just as ignorant as when you came in.

I expect it.

I'd like to say that I'm not a guru, or a Tony Robbins, or a celebrity with something that you can purchase, take home, unwrap from its amazing packaging, and put on a shelf for 5 years, 'til you throw it away.

I'm a loser, really.

And that's why people read me.

Am I sad about that? Nope, I celebrate it. I post it all up for you to read. Maybe you can feel better about yourself. The upshot of this thoughtless typing is, wisdom can happen. Accidentally of course, we sometimes stumble across a fact we had overlooked. There is no control, no game plan, no script. I have no idea where my posts will take me- I feel this one careening out of control already. It's out of my hands...the chaos has kicked in.

And so I think we're ready to begin.

Quotes:

"He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors." -Thomas Jefferson.

1 Corinthians 3:18 "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise."

"I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance." -Socrates as quoted in 'Lives of Eminent Philosophers' by Diogenes Laertius.

Some would contest we as humans are already there. We are ignorant, we keep ourselves ignorant. It's hard-wired into us, this denial. It's a necessary component in the circuitry of our will to live, our instinct for survival.

Half way there.

I don't know where you are. I'm in Australia. I sit in what we'll call a normal room for the sake of brevity, and I'm typing this for people I'll never meet. I do this not for you so much (although it's a pleasure to be of service, should that occur), but for me. Because physically writing/recording the lessons I learn seems to cement them into place within me, where I need them most.

If there's anything I know for sure, it is that, balanced against the vast storehouses of knowledge that collectively encompass human experience, I know nothing.

I know nothing, and in true Socratic spirit, I'm good with that. Good, because it means this empty vessel is ready to be filled. But no matter how full we get, we still know, comparatively speaking- nothing.

Between us, all of us, we might know something. But that remains to be seen. The proof lies in what we do with it. Clearly, if we as a species have missed the salient points contained within our shared experience, then we know, you guessed it, nothing.

So we know where we are, for the basis of this post.

I think it was Siddharta Gautama who said "The road to expectation is paved with disappointment". I love that.

Here we go-

We're all disappointed. "...the rich used to be content with their money, but now they want fame too." -Bob Lefsetz. Obviously, the poor are disappointed too, because they don't even get to have the money.

I hate essays that include dictionary definitions, but it may be in order here. The word is from Old French - 'desapointier', to remove from office. And so it is apt.

It is our expectation of life, our built-in feeling of entitlement, that leads to us being removed from the office of priveledge. Over the pavestones of disappointment. (This is starting to sound like The Lord of the Rings!)

Who among us would think mathematics would back up the sage advice of the Buddha? It does. It has to.

How many people are there in the United States? I don't know. Let's say there are 308 million. How many of them want to be famous/rich? Let's say 50% (which is of course, waaaaaaaaay lower than the real percentage, which we are not currently privy to).

So, we have 154,000,000 people out of 308,000,000, who want to be famous. 154 million people with expectations. Here comes the disappointment...

Is it possible, really, for that many people to be famous/rich at the same time? Is it possible for that many people to even be one or the other at the same time?

Of course it isn't.

And that, is the equation.

Sure, we know the media is evil, and they tell us things, and we believe them because we're fat and complacent, and living in denial. Yeah, we know that.

But read that last paragraph again without the sarcastic tone, and you have a nugget of truth we should be aware of at all times. It should be a filter through which we see the world, to keep us safe from not knowing how things really are.

Not because we're all conspiracy theorists, and want to live in trailers out in the desert and care very deeply about our right to bear arms.

But because you don't go see Avatar in 3D, and forget your glasses.

We have been convinced, and we are regularly reinforced, that we have the right to be famous. That being rich is our right! And if something is a right, then it's right. If you get what I'm saying.

So we buy into it. Is that so bad? Yes. Why? Because when we don't make it, we feel like we have failed at life. Worse still, that the good life is still out there, taunting us- the losers who couldn't get on the train before it pulled out on its way to good time Island.

I think we're all inherently good people. Exceptions abound, but I believe that is either mental conditioning, or physical damage. Once we learn as children what it's like to be hit, we tend to ease up on the hitting. Sure, it's a self-serving, fear of retribution kind of goodness, but that's how we learn (and also why the Bible and conceptions of Hell have worked so well in determining how anthropomorphic individuals will react to being told what to do by a Deity they have never truly met).

We generally want "...peace and happiness, and all that good stuff" -Steve Vai.

But this expectation of fame, this fallacious right to riches, makes machines out of us. Machines that break down, when the fame doesn't come. Machines that question themselves, that hurt themselves, that kill themselves, when the riches don't eventuate. So many of us actually live our lives, well out of our financial depth, and are shocked when our sports car or SUV is reposessed, or we lose the house. Those that actually had a house or a SUV to start with.

Why would we hurt ourselves because we tried to fight mathematics, and lost? Why would we act surprised at all? It's a lottery.

We think we're special. We think we deserve more. More than what? Everyone else? Why don't they deserve more? And if we all deserve more, who deserves less?

Recently, we as citizens (of the Western world) have been learning more and more about the importance of sustainability. In finance, with regards to the environment, and even through the unsustainable business models of dinosaur record labels. It's easy to point fingers at others, but from my experience, that has never helped me grow.

Let's get off this ridiculous treadmill of expectation, and see the numbers for what they really are.

None of us have the right to be rich, so live within your means.

None of us have the right to be famous, so develop your talent and try your best. But don't take it personally when the public chooses Lady Gaga's Warhol/Madonna pliagaristic pastiche over whatever you're doing that may really push a boundary or two.

Maybe you can help me, but there is an amazing Frank Zappa quote regarding the publics myopic and voracious appetite for songs that sound the same...if anyone can provide a link, I'll post it up and credit you here.

The shit that is being thrown at us has been getting thicker and thicker lately, mass media overdrive. So hard to see the truth from the spin...so what do we do?

Turn off the tv.

Turn off the radio.

Put down the magazine about who Gerard Butler is fucking now.

Stop hitting F9 on chatroulette for the fifth consecutive hour.

Unfollow all the pretty Twitter girls that post about nothing in particular ever.

Use this internet for what it was designed- information! And try to work out your place in the Universe.

I was lucky enough to receive advice from one of my readers recently (Thank You!), regarding what the point to life is. They made the point that life is meaningless, but rather than hit the Nietzsche button, to instead pump life full of meaning...of your own.

Like most pearls of wisdom, it was so obvious and yet so genius, I had never previously considered it. Now, however- it's part of my programming.

Let's help each other out. Most people don't, so let's see if we can.

Let's raise our heads above the media shit-stream and actually talk to each other! Person to person, like we used to. Let's pass on good wisdom, with no thought of financial gain or fame. Because if my friend knows something that can help me, it would be good to know it. And vice-versa. Let's not rely on Governments or media to tell us what is going on- let's start telling them. All you have to do is look away, and they will start caring very deeply about your opinions. All you have to do is stop buying, and Nike and McDonalds will suddenly be open to changing their business model. All you have to do is stop caring, and Simon Cowell, Mark Burnett, and Simon Fuller, will no longer get paid ridiculous sums of money to insult your intelligence.

As long as we people hold on to the thought that we are unique and special, the actual uniqueness of us is destroyed. As long as we think "I'm not going to make a difference", you've made a difference- you've helped us all to fail.

As long as we dream of being p.i.m.p.$ and divaz, we may as well dream of being fucking spatulas or air conditioners for all the good it will do us, or our species.

I'm not saying go live in a treehouse. I'm not saying you can't party. I'm not saying you can't stand on a stage and blow us all away. Just don't expect it as a God given right...devote yourself to your art, and if you're truly good, people will see. It's hard to see anything right now. We're drowning in the irrelevance.

Some of us are meant to just be mechanics.


And I think that's amazing and awesome.


This is knifey, from 'the internet'.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Soda Kids Clothing, Melbourne.

This is a departure from my normal blog posts, but I feel it necessary to post this.

I was given a job by a childrens fashion company in Melbourne called 'Soda Kids'. I was fired with 2.5 hours notice, without being given a reason, or even being formally fired. I was told to finish that days work, then they would call me when they needed me back in. The call never came, and this was directly contra to our agreement.

Basically, they used me. I created a detailed warehouse plan for them, which they still have, and once I had finished what they wanted, they tossed me aside.

I was put in an extremely dangerous financial situation as a result of this, and decided to not take it lying down, which is why I am posting this.

I have included a message I sent to Daniela Bussolaro, one of the owners, about the situation.

I want people to know how some employers basically rape the work force, then discard them when they're no longer needed. Dishonest workplace practices, illegal working conditions, these are all things so many have to silently endure week in, week out.

Here is my message:
_________________________________________________

Hi Daniela,
As you undoubtedly know, I was let go on Tuesday afternoon. My performance was not questioned, nor my punctuality. I was fired with 2.5 hours notice. But the interesting fact was, I wasn't even told I was being fired. I was told I'd be called today (Wednesday), and told when I would return to work. There was never any intention of bringing me back in. And the worst thing is, your business has done this to a person before.

Obviously this was highly distressing to me, as the arrangement Josie (your business partner and co-owner) and I had agreed upon stated I would be casual 5 days a week (at $100 per day), then hired officially on the 2nd of March as your new warehouse manager (at $750 per week after tax).

I had bowed out of all other job offers, and took my details off Seek.com, so I could follow through with my obligation to you. I had stayed up half the night on Wednesday to put together a draft warehouse plan for your business. I had agreed to work for you for
$140 less than the lowest bracket of the going rate for someone of my experience/qualifications, in order to meet you halfway.

I
worked hard, in a physical job in an unventilated, hot room, that is a violation of Australian OHS requirements by as much as 6 degrees on some days (The Australian Standard AS 1837 – 1976 Code of Practice for Application of Ergonomics to Factory and Office Work). In that kind of heat you are required to give us a 15 minute break every hour, but I said nothing, put my head down, and worked hard for you!

Worst of all, I had to endure the insult of having to work under Michael- a storeman so ineffective, slow,
belligerent, and incompetent, that it defies logic why you would allow yourselves to be weighed down like that. Of course I know why- he's cheap. Now, I have $200 to my name, my rent is due at the end of the week, and I have no way to pay it. This is because I was screwed, by your business, and therefore, by you.

Unfortunately, I have been in this position before (I'm far too trusting, people seem to enjoy taking advantage of my good nature). This time however, I have decided to take every legal avenue available to me to inconvenience you in return. I know you just needed someone to get this last order out on time (I could have done everything Michael and I did in a week, in 2 days maximum, had you allowed me to work by myself, and without Michaels constant interruption and disruption). Now the order is done, no more use for me.

I would have been happy to work as a casual for you and leave, but Josie seems to enjoy stringing good, hard working, honest, and efficient people along; then dumping them in the financial crap when she is ready. Just so you know I left $25 with Laura on my way out, as I finished 2.5 hours earlier than I had been paid to stay. That's called honour.


So here's what will happen:
I will submit you to be listed on the unethical businesses database, which as the name suggests, lists businesses within Australia who act in an unethical or dishonest manner to their staff, their customers, or the environment. Every time someone enters your name, Josie's name, Sissi G, or Soda Kids, one of the first entries they will see through their search engine enquiry is your listing on this site.

I have downloaded the links to all 155 of your current friends on facebook. I will contact all of them, and describe the facts of how you allowed me to be taken advantage of, and the situation of hardship it has left me in. Maybe they won't care, maybe they will. Time will tell. I will also circulate the list among my own contacts, many of whom are exactly the kind of people you want on your side.


I have the details of every retailer that currently stocks Sissi G and Soda Kids. I will contact them with the same message. Because we both know in business, people don't care for what goes on as long as the money keeps flowing, I will include the fact in my message that if they do not contact me with confirmation that they will no longer order from you, they too will be listed on the unethical business database. As much as businesses don't care, an increasing number of consumers do, and that sways the opinion of businesses strongly. It will be easier for them to no longer stock you, than deal with the potential fallout of being associated with a business that screws its own workers over.


I have contacted the labour department, and filled them in on conditions in the storeroom. Unless you manage to install air conditioning in there before the inspectors come, you could be fined, or in an extreme case (like this one), shut down entirely until compliance has been achieved, checked, and verified. Don't forget to allow time for bureaucratic paper shuffling.


There are of course more options open to me, and I will evaluate them on their merits in good time.I just wanted to communicate with you, and to let you know that you had a strong and efficient asset in me. Instead of just being human, and considering how your businesses actions would affect another person (who was helping you!), you wasted my time and talent, and fired me with no regard for my welfare.


There is every possibilty you had no knowledge of any of this, and if that is the case, then I am very sorry. I am very sorry, because now Josie will have to explain to you why your business is receiving such a great deal of negative publicity, through no fault of your own. No amount of money could ever change my mind, because my one goal is to legally inconvenience your business as much as your business has inconvenienced me. I am even prepared to spend my own money (when I get back on my feet) in this endeavour.
In doing so, hopefully the next time you take on someone new, you will show them the respect of not lying to them, not offering them a job that isn't there, making them work in illegal conditions, firing them without having the decency or respect to actually fire them, and if you do, give them reasonable notice.

I knew Josie was a snake- I could feel it all along. But I never saw you that way, and considering Daphne's endorsement of you, I felt you could be trusted. I am so unhappy to have been proven wrong in that regard.


_________________________________________________________________
This is knifey, from 'the internet.



http://www.sodakids.com.au/sodakids/