Sunday, April 08, 2012

Organizing Fit: I needed a CD, one that I know I own ... I just needed to find it.

This is not the first time I've been in the situation of scrambling through my music collection, looking for a particular disc -- what's made it difficult enough to mention is my storage system.

Instead of a single location where all the discs are filed alphabetically (which is true of my vinyl, but which is not possible with the CDs, since I don't have a continuous unoccupied wall of sufficient size in my house to accommodate them all), my CDs are stored in numerous spots throughout the house -- every room has its own tower or other storage variation, and although some attempts are made at keeping things alphabetically organized within each tower, the greater principle is some sort of grouping by type of music: jazz, drum'n'bass, house, R&B/funk/soul ... it's all very idiosyncratic and totally guts any hope of efficiency in searching out a particular disc. Because, after all, what DID I think, back then, about how to categorize that album? If I don't immediately remember my mindset at the time, I have very little hope of finding the disc without searching each and every tower.

All of which is to note that, in the midst of one of these common frustrations yesterday, I emptied out one of the 300-CD towers and put everything there (EDM/triphop/ambient/downtempo, single artists and compilations) back in alpha order. And dusted: gah. Having done one of these, I expect I'll do each tower in time, because no matter which kind of idiosyncratic my system is, it has to be consistent, or I'll be truly lost the next time I need something.

The offshoot, of course, in handling all these discs covering all these decades of music, is that I'm seeing and thus being reminded of great great stuff that I haven't listened to in years and am pretty sure I haven't yet ripped to the hard drive either. I have a friend who mentioned recently that he is listening to all his albums, in strict alphabetical order, and while I'm not prepared to make exactly that same investment of time at this point, I am being reminded that there's gold in those towers, just waiting for the chance to inform or inspire the next BeatConscious show. If I had all day, every day, at my command (rather than, e.g., having to go to work five days a week) it would be years before I mined all this. It makes me giddy just to contemplate it.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

OK, I love This American Life (TAL), but I gotta say this: Daisey's monologue was being performed on Broadway, and they asked him to perform an excerpt for their show. What part of "Broadway performance" did they not understand?

If what they wanted was a fact-checked investigative journo piece, there were several already out there on conditions at Foxconn and other Chinese high-tech factories -- they did not choose any of those.

They chose a performance piece from Broadway, then whacked it because (as in many other works of art, performative and otherwise) it was not fact and fact alone, but a conflation of fact, hearsay, emotion, conviction and concern. Daisey stands by his performance piece, and only regrets the context in which TAL felt they had presented it -- as well he might.

Mistakes were clearly made in the course of this whole episode; I'm just not sure they are the same as the mistakes that are being apologized for in today's TAL retraction of Daisey's performance on their show. They seem to be mistakes of communication between the main actors, and there's no way for me to get, for instance, inside Daisey's head and see if the communication mistakes on his side were 'knowingly made' because he wanted his performance to have the wider TAL audience.

I've heard the retraction broadcast and read the transcript. For the main actors seeking to deal with the fabrication aspect of the situation, the important matters are dealt with early, in sorting out the problems with Daisey's material; for me, though, the important matter is at the end, in this exchange between Ira Glass and reporter Charles Duhigg:

Charles Duhigg: So it's not my job to tell you whether you should feel bad or not, right? I'm a reporter for the New York Times, my job is to find facts and essentially let you make a decision on your own. Let me, let me pose the argument that people have posed to me about why you should feel bad, and you can make of it what you will.

And that argument is there were times in this nation when we had harsh working conditions as part of our economic development. We decided as a nation that that was unacceptable. We passed laws in order to prevent those harsh working conditions from ever being inflicted on American workers again.

And what has happened today is that rather than exporting that standard of life, which is within our capacity to do, we have exported harsh working conditions to another nation.

So should you feel bad that someone is working 12 to 24 hours a day in order to produce the iPhone that you're carrying in your pocket—

Ira Glass: Well, now like, when you say it like that, suddenly I feel bad again, but okay, yeah. [laughter]

Charles Duhigg: I don't know whether you should feel bad, right? I mean—

Ira Glass: But, but finish your thought.

Charles Duhigg: Should you feel bad about that? I don't know, that's for you to judge, but I think the the way to pose that question is… do you feel comfortable knowing that iPhones and iPads and, and other products could be manufactured in less harsh conditions, but that these harsh conditions [are perpetuated] because of an economy that you are—

Ira Glass: Right.

Charles Duhigg: —supporting with your dollars.

Ira Glass: Right. I am the direct beneficiary of those harsh conditions.

Charles Duhigg: You're not only the direct beneficiary; you are actually one of the reasons why it exists. If you made different choices, if you demanded different conditions, if you demanded that other people enjoy the same work protections that you yourself enjoy, then, then those conditions would be different overseas.

I don't know Mike Daisey, so I can't be sure, but it's my belief that his performance was intended to help make that point.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

End of the year thoughts, stimulated by an email from Sly Devil on boxing, of all things ... responding, I closed by mentioning my recent tech news, e.g. the death of some older PCs, and the philosophical response I found myself having:

And on a geekier note, two of my oldest PCs hard drives just crapped out, taking
with them a large chunk of MixMeister history in the form of unbacked-up mmp
files. I'm taking the position that, although we archive furiously, in fact we have no time to go back, we're in shark mode now, continually moving forward ... hard drives full of history crumble beneath us and we don't even blink, we just keep pushing on into the unknown, knowing it for a moment and then pushing on again ...

Happy New Year!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine's Day is coming up fast ... and as you might expect, Mixcloud is sponsoring a lovemix event, to which I have contributed a BeatConscious effort on behalf of all the uncertain lovers -- our name is legion. Click on over to that you can listen and leave a comment if the music moves you ... or if you're impatient (impatient AND uncertain? Now there's an inconvenient combo...) by all means, just click right here:

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Oh so sweet, that Mixcloud embed experiment in the previous post worked well enough for me to consider doing the same for all future sets here, as well as on the main site ( especially since that site may soon be repurposed for the BeatConscious Project (shhhhhh!)

Well, so anyway, here's the second 2011 mix to hit the cloud:

Short Memory by Mmefly On Beatconscious on Mixcloud

Comments always welcome ...
Thought it might be worth trying out the embed feature for Mixcloud uploads here in the blog ... thus, this test:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Freeze watch! Yes, that's right ... my mini-vacation to the hometown and participation in the Rally will include the thrill of seeing the frost that forms overnight and feeling the wind work its fingers under my scarf and down into my coat. With any luck, once I'm back home, I won't face this again until late December/early January ...

Uh, not too sure about the advisability of biking it down to the Mall ... we'll see how that plays out.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

A friend sent me a link to an article on a foreclosure in Maine that started the current examination of lender foreclosure practices--it provided an interesting review of the collateral issues ... you know, these are extraordinary times in the questioning of the basics of capitalism ... I mean that it works fine when everything is on the uptick, but the basic cohesion of society is called into question when there's a serious downturn ... if it was the best way, it should work well for the people whether things are trending up or down ... but we're seeing that it does not. GMAC is totally wrong in its practices, but it is fundamentally right that the debt hasn't been paid and there should be a penalty for that ... but then, who gave this person a 100% PLUS loan in the first place -- they did, and they did it because they made money off the deal even though the deal was rotten on the fundamentals ... under capitalism, the first principal was to make that money and devil take the hindmost (and anyway, there's money to be made in the foreclosure process also, so who cares about the human pain and social disruption that the whole thing results in.)

Obviously, this is a subject that comes up a lot at work, because growth management is focused on development which is supported by lending and depends on the overall economy ... and we're awash in people looking to make that dollar regardless of the social outcome ... there's no morality inherent in money, just in its generation and its collateral uses ... or, as the New Yorker's James Surowiecki says in the 9/27 column on inflation: "...the economy doesn't exist, in the end, to reward virtue and punish vice. It exists to maximize our well-being [as measured in dollars, obviously, not social cohesion], and currently, doing that may require helping the undeserving and irresponsible, if only because there are so many of them [and the undeserving means BOTH the banks and the debtors]."

There are people where I work, who make two or three times more than I do, who are walking away from their mortgages because they are under water ... or they are going into short sales (and, I suppose, looking to elude a deficiency judgment). I can remember when Jaron used to talk about us buying Mt. Mildew and I would point out that an asking price of $200,000 meant paying actually closer to $600,000 total over time, and how did he think non-career oriented ppl like us could make that kind of commitment and, oh by the way, did you realize that if you come up short at any point, you lose everything? I was having this same discussion with a friend a work, Matt, who is from PA where he owned a house that he sold in order to come down here to work ... we were talking about renting vs. owning, a conversation that is colored these days by the dimensions of the financial mess. You'd wonder why anyone would want to make that mortgage commitment now, when jobs are uncertain for so many people, even degreed professionals ... and you see how those considerations tear at the fabric of society.

Oh, and I have my absentee ballot in hand and will probably spend part of this day figuring out who / what to vote for ... Weird times.

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