THE CREATIVE IMPULSE, QUEEN’S AND THE CBC

Greetings,

So this is my first blog posting in more than a week. I’m really at this lull period with the blog. Sometimes I’m not even sure why I have it. Sure, my blog gets, albeit inexplicably, a higher than average degree of traffic, but mostly I have to thank good folks like Tod Maffin who put links to my blog on his blog. Tod’s a hugely reputable guy and he’s been maintaining the CBCUnplugged.com web site throughout this lockout. If that web site isn’t a sign Canadians want more digital CBC, not less, I don’t know what is.

CBC SITUATION: Sometime next week or the week after there should hopefully be an end to this situation. I can’t even begin to tell you how happy a day that will be. I really can’t. I plan to have several drinks that night, starting with beer and ending up somewhere in the neighbourhood of vodka.

QUEEN’S: As most people are aware by now, my alma mater got rocked by a mega-street party that went out of control. 5,000 people on Aberdeen? My God. I can’t even imagine. Nor do I want to. Aberdeen was a crazy street normally, let alone during a Homecoming Party.

Far be it for me to criticize (ok, I will), but in noble efforts to avoid “tut-tuting” the younger Queen’s folk who are attending the school I will say it wasn’t every student who did this. Sure, much of the crowd was non-Queen’s students (out of towners, townies, hangers-on). But let’s call a spade a spade here. There were a lot of underaged Queen’s folk who got so loaded they smashed beer bottles over cop’s heads and set a car on fire. That’s a bit much, no?

Sometimes I think when a university like Queen’s lets all these academically high strung folks in, they should take a better look at the whole person. Are these people actually mature enough to handle it? Better yet, maybe Queen’s could try to also make a considerable effort to completely dismantle the alcohol culture that comes with the school (and come on, Queen’s may be for the academic elite in Canada but it’s always has and still is a party school like no other in Canada).

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BLOGGERS RISING AND OTHER STUFF

Greetings,

Tomorrow I’m going to be attending an event at the University of Toronto on bloggers and their growing influence in the media. Should be a very interesting event. It’s going to feature Captain Ed – the man who revealed the Gomery testimony last spring – Jesse Hirsh and Andrew Coyne. Should be really good.

VLOGGING: Unfortunately, before I decided it was such a good idea to download clips from the BBC, I should have noticed it was restricted to British residents only. So no vlog yet. I have a really cool idea for a vlog posting coming up, however. Just depends if Final Cut will behave.

CBC LOCKOUT: Apparently some progress has been made on the talks. Hopefully some kind of resolution will be forthcoming. I still can’t believe this is now only a few days away from six weeks of locked-out CBC.

KANYE WEST, MISSY AND OTHER MINUTIA


Greetings,

Ok, small confession here: some readers may find it really weird, but I really like Kanye West. A lot. And no, not because it’s trendy. He was an incredible producer before he hit the big time on his own and The College Dropout was the best album of 2004, easy. Late Registration is even better than Dropout; I don’t know how he does it, but Diamonds and Golddigger are so good I can’t stop listening to them on my iPod. Check out this review at Rolling Stone. To say it’s glowing would be understating it.

Now I’m hardly a hip-hop expert. I know what I like, though. Musically, I’m so diverse I just can’t pin myself down – I’m a lot like my brother when it comes to electronic music but I also incorporate my dad’s love of blues and my mom’s love of Latin with my own love of folk and jazz. And yes, I can even listen to A Perfect Circle or System Of A Down.

But back to Kanye. I think Kanye represents the future of hip-hop. He’s got more courage and creative energy than most artists in hip-hop today. He’s hooked up with Jay-Z quite well with Roc-A-Fella Records (hell, Jay-Z even has a remix out of Golddigger already). And unlike this guy or even this guy (who’s gone way downhill since 8 Mile), Kanye’s not afraid to be intelligent about his music (as opposed to simply slumming it through predictable, lazy music, featuring the same old guns, ganja and game BS).

Some people don’t like the fact Kanye’s egotistical. Well I say he’s earned that right. He’s easily the best hip-hop artist in North America right now and unlike the “playa” culture that most hip-hop is associated with, Kanye’s got huge crossover appeal.

And, of course, his female counterpart Missy Elliot can match him everyway. Missy’s videos are amazing, her creative output similar to Kanye’s – Lose Control just kicks ass, I strongly suggest you download it if you haven’t already – and she’s able to do whatever she wants in the industry.

Again, I’m no expert but I like ’em both a lot. Keep doing what you’re doing, guys.

VLOGGING? No video posting yet, but it will come soon. I’m going to be making a video mix through Final Cut Pro with this BBC Radio 1 contest, just for fun (contest is for U.K. residents only, so no dice for me). Once it’s done, I’ll post it. For people hooked into email with me (sorry, comments and trackbacks aren’t coming back, at least for some time yet), I welcome your comments, criticisms and suggestions. Video editing is something I really want to get into more, so anything that can make me better is welcomed.

MORE MEDIA IS COMING

Greetings,

Well things are heating up – lots of freelance projects on the go and this blog keeps getting more and more full of media. Here are some exciting new announcements (well, I guess they’re exciting, at least to me).

PODCAST: My pal Mark from King’s and I are going to be making a podcast together! Same approach as Shift Audio, same themes, but infinitely better production values! You see, Mark’s in charge of radio production at King’s. He’s got access to a studio, sound effects and a whole lot more. The show’s title? Alt.Shift. Yes, I know. Geeky as hell. Our first production is scheduled for this Friday, but we will post a download on a new blog and on iTunes. Man, I’m such a nerd.

VLOGGING: I’ve decided to get into Vlogging, which is video blogging. Tomorrow, a video blog entry will posted on this blog. Tonight I’m heading down to the Toronto International Film Festival to rub shoulders with various celebs. Well, no, not really, the only chance of that happening is if I worked for this show, this show or this show, and quite frankly, I’m not quite cute enough to be there. But that’s ok. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. But there will be a pretty cool vlog entry here tomorrow.

DOWNLOAD: Here’s a link to a piece I produced on my very own little computer for CFRU in Guelph. It’s in tribute to Joseph Boyden’s amazing book, Three Day Road. I’ll admit my voice sound quality is kind of rough (when I’ve got the cash for a USB Flash Recorder, it will sound much better – for now, it’s a USB headset) but I sincerely hope you like it.

MULRONEY: I’m curious. What did the former PM think these tapes would accomplish to his reputation? And more to the point, why say such things into a tape recorder? I feel bad for the guy – I’m sure he’s probably on the phone making many apologies now. Still, it’s completely within Newman’s rights to do what he wants with them.

POSTING NON GRATA, SECURITY, AMERICAN EMPIRE, THE U.N. AND PODCAST


– Associated Press

Greetings,

The photo taken above marks my first real foray into the Hurricane Katrina story since all hell broke loose in New Orleans about two weeks ago. So President Bush is touring the disaster area today. Congress is pledging well over $50 billion in aid money to the area. But really, is all this going to repair the damage to Bush (and the Republican Party) politically?

I haven’t commented on Katrina or yesterday being the four-year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks because, quite frankly, everything that has been said has already been said. Blogs aren’t the best place to wax philosophical about what these events mean anyway. But really, all the good will Bush earned out of September 11th is gone. He’s now not only a lame duck President, but a lame duck president who’s actions may have a direct effect on his successor’s chances to win the presidency in 2008. While Bush isn’t entirely to blame in this (Michael Brown, you may now exit the building), the optics of an unresponsive government (regardless if you consider these moronic turf wars between the mayor of New Orleans versus the Louisiana Governor, the state against Homeland Security czar Michael Chertoff, the mindboggling incompetence of FEMA, I can go on) means he’s going to take the fall. And the hubristic response of Bush on his national radio address about the spirit of 9/11? No offense, but that President Bush is a profoundly different animal than the one of 2005. At least Bush Jr. back then could see how such a moment was not just U.S. changing, but global changing. Your foresight is gone. Your ability to steer the country through an epoch-making moment? Gone.

In any case, these two sites should provide some real context about 9/11. This one about Katrina.

SECURITY AND AMERICAN EMPIRE: Paul William Roberts had an excellent article in the Globe Focus section this past weekend about the decline of the American Empire. It’s four years after 9/11 and all that good will is gone. All of it. In the section, a little remembered security technology code named Echelon was brought up. You want to know how scary government surveillance has become? Just read this article. The nutshell version? The NSA, a couple of decades ago, created an international spy network that can monitor almost every communication exchange made via electronics in the world. You can only imagine how powerful (and useful) it would be for governments. Scary stuff.

U.N. REFORM: This week marks the international meetings of politicians from around the world at the U.N. headquarters. The mission is to bring about sweeping reforms to how the U.N. works. New definitions of terrorism, the use of force, environmental issues are just some of the topics. This is perhaps the most important meeting in the U.N.’s history. The future of the organization may be at stake.

PODCAST: Again, I know, still haven’t gotten on it. I still have to build my web site too. It will get done.

APPLE: ANYTHING THEY CAN’T DO?

– BBC News
Greetings,

What a crazy day for Apple. First comes iTunes 5 – a huge improvement over previous iTunes software, greater functionality – for release. Then comes the iPod Nano, which is kind of like a hybrid of the iPod mini and the Shuffle, and then comes the really big news: an Apple-supported mobile phone.

Wow. Apple’s finally gotten on board with some very cool new stuff. Apple and Google are going to rule the world of media and communications very soon.

So when is this company going to step up?