On Money and Music

28 July 2009

Before I head into this weeks rant, I wanted to write a quick aside about my previous post: Frozen Heads and the Naked Man. I’ve been thinking a lot more about it, and I realised that it’s not about the Naked Man at all – it’s about being a man and having the courage to ask for what I want. And while I still kinda want to know if the Naked Man works, it’s much less intimidating if the girl knows that the option for her to say no is out there and acceptable. So instead of “Do you want to come back to my place?”, try “Here’s what I want: I want to take you back to my place and make out and maybe do more. What do you think about that?”. It takes a lot more courage to be able to own it all when I want to escalate, and let her own her own opinion on it. And that’s all I’ve have to say about that for a while I think.

So, on to the topic at hand: money matters. How is it that people less successful than me, with smaller pay checks, still have nicer apartments, more furnishings, better TV’s and can also afford to go out Friday and Saturday nights??!?! I has a money. What I do wif it?This really has me stumped, you guys. I always thought the best way to fix money issues (assuming I’m budgeting properly) was to make more money! Now it seems like I actually need to be female! Somehow the combination of what I would consider ‘normal’ financial pressures, plus the need to buy a new pair of shoes every fortnight has made the fairer sex much more penny-wise. Although that said, they’re also willing to pay $400 for a cardigan.

Aaaanyway, while I’m bitching, why the hell are we as a culture so hell-bent on being deaf in 20 years? Last Friday I was in a bar. Now I don’t want to get into trouble for defaming an establishment, so let’s just pretend it’s called ‘The Agincourt’. The music was so loud that *I* couldn’t hear what I was yelling at people. Now I know that bars have found that when they play their music a little louder, they sell more drinks that night. The reason for this is that when I can’t hear what anyone is saying, I (and I expect a lot of other people) tend to stop talking, not my head blankly, and drink. Quickly. Mainly, this is because I want to get this drink over with and go to a nice quiet cafe instead (yeah, I’m that guy). But if that’s the way most of your clientele are feeling while they’re in your pub, you’re doing it wrong!!

And finally, people with iPods. I’d say don’t get me started, but I’m already out the gate. I don’t need to hear your music up the other end of the bus. You don’t need the music to be that loud to hear it. I tried it once. It hurt. The beautiful thing about portable music players is that they let me bring music into so much more of my life. It’s sort of like having my own soundtrack :) . But that’s just what it is to me, a soundtrack. Background music as my feet crunch down the footpath, or as I pant around the jogging track, or as the train lumbers into the station. I simply can’t understand people who want their soundtrack to be so loud they can’t hear their life happening around them. They’re overpowering their best moments, and they’ll never know it. And in 20 years they’ll all be fucking deaf.

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(picture thanks to ICanHasCheezburger.com and http://galerias.ojodigital.com)

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So this Thursday I finally went into the Apple store to get the intermittent issue with my iPhone looked at. Ever since I first got it, the handset speaker has been popping and cracking in my ear whenever I tried to call someone, making them very hard to hear most of the time. In fact, I think a major contribution to my seething hatred of the iPhone was my inability to actually use mine as a phone! That aside, I never wanted to go back to keypad text-messaging, so I put off the inevitable tech support visit for as long as I could. But my warranty is soon due to expire, so I made my appointment and trundled down to the local Apple store on Thursday.

Intermittent issues are annoying little buggers, and always seem to know when you’re getting someone else looking for them and hide away until you get back home. And lo and behold, as I sat on the annoyingly hip couch in the annoyingly hip Apple store surrounded by computers with single mouse buttons that just screamed “Look at me I’m so f**king annoyingly hip!!” and awaited my turn with the ‘Genius’ aka annoyingly named tech-support geek: my intermittent problem disappeared. :(

Not to worry the Genius, he took one look at the bottom of my case, noticed a crack I didn’t even realise was there, and replaced the whole phone with a brand new refurbished one! Go banana! So after re-restoring, re-jail-breaking, and (annoyingly) losing all my Apps, I gots me a whole new iPhone!

Later it was pointed out to me that Apple get so many tech support issues they do this with everyone they can. That way they can keep their annoyingly hip designs away from anyone who might offer cheaper tech-support out-of-warranty, and in fact is Apple’s way of actively screwing their own suppliers. I guess screwing their customers out of a decent media/sync app wasn’t quite enough for them. :(

So despite my brand new Apple-pod, I still eagerly await the arrival of my HTC Hero, my own personal Jesus Christ. Okay, okay, I’m sure it’s not all that and it’ll probably be either really disappointing or only offered by Optus in Australia (I’m actively begging otherwise from Virgin right now). But it’ll certainly be a huge step up from my annoyingly hip iPhone :)

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Should be an interesting blog this week :)
But first for something completely different. This!…

It’s another one of those ‘so random I wish I’d come up with it’ memes that show up every now on the interweb. This one involves taking a picture of your head in a freezer, and then uploading it and tagging it with the cryptic tag ‘241543903‘. The idea is that when someone does an image search for this very unassuming number, all the photos of people with their heads in a freezer show up in the results. It’s such a strange concept that I couldn’t help joining in the fun. And of course, this means my friend over at Heart Explodes – who introduced this random idea to me – has to join in as well :)

But now let’s get to the meat of the blog. I’ve spent the last week musing on what I would call flirty friendships. Relationships with a girl where we enjoy each others company, spend a lot of time together, there’s an obvious mutual attraction but it doesn’t quite seem like enough to move it to the next level. So these friendships/relationships end up in limbo, forever stuck somewhere between platonicity and consenting adult action.

Although the more I think about it, the more I realise these relationships aren’t stuck at all. Last week I wrote about the ever-changing nature of the dancing connection, and all of our relationships dance to the same drum. A flirty friendship could never stay in limbo for 10 years. Or 5 years. Even for 1 year. Even when it seems like a relationship is completely stuck, Black Swan randomness forces a change that happens both quickly and completely unexpectedly. Maybe you meet someone else and the friend becomes crazy stalker girl. Maybe she meets someone else and suddenly you’re not in the picture at all. Something will always happen.

And here is the point where I think it’s my job, as the man, to not only embrace that change, but to instigate it. And for some reason the only example that comes to mind is the Naked Man from How I Met Your Mother. (For those of you who don’t want to follow the link, a quick recap: The Naked Man technique is where after a not-particularly-successful date, the man creates a reason to go back to the girls place. Once inside, when the girl leaves the room the man takes off all his clothes and is naked when she returns. She gets surprised, she laughs, he laughs and then..2 times out of 3..something just happens. Impressed by the mans honesty and bravado, and maybe a little pity, the girl decides she might as well sleep with him)
Obviously there’s a lot of poetic license in the episode. But I can’t help but think that in certain circumstances, with certain people the Naked Man would not only work, but be the right thing to do. Without exception, this is *not* a technique for when there’s any genuine interest in a girl beyond sexual fulfilment (which I might add is not the worst way to start a relationship).

But it highlights my point – as a man if I think a relationship with a girl is in limbo, I can feel stuck and just put up with it and try and enjoy her company while other – possibly better – girls are passing me by; or I could pull the Naked Man and find out how she feels for sure. It’s risky, if it doesn’t go down well the friendship is essentially over (and I may be kicked onto the street butt-naked). But if the friendship is likely to end over time anyway I’d rather own the game-changing event, so at least I know I tried to move the relationship in the direction I wanted to. A weird example, but it suffices.

So the point of my musings this week is this: Things always change, even if they seem stuck or comfortable. If there’s a direction you want that change to go, it’s better to try to go all-out for that change in the way you want it, than to let the universe make it happen for you.

Naked Man :)

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The Connection…

10 July 2009

It’s strange for me to notice, but as spend more time Swing Dancing and learn more pointers and tips, my connections with other people that I dance with seem to change all the time. Sometimes, people that I used to really enjoy dancing with now seem limp and unresponsive when I try to lead them. Others that I never used to feel like I was able to lead properly, I now seem to be able to discover some special angle, or setup to turn them into some of my favourite follows.

I’m not sure if it’s because my own skills are changing, or their skills are changing, or I’m changing and they’re changing and we’re all taking away different things from the lessons. But as I notice it I find myself thinking about the very nature of the connection between a man and a woman. I don’t say lead/follow here because I think the connection boils down to the sexuality that’s at the core of each of us. This connection, like the dance itself, seems like it’s always in motion. Always changing between one girl and the next, and then when I come back to the same girl it’s changed again.

That ‘perfect connection’ can only ever be a fleeting thing I suppose. Whenever I think I’ve found it, it doesn’t happen again with that same girl. The perfect connection is always moving on, always changing. And the only way to keep looking for it is to just keep dancing with as many girls as I can, new and known to me. And when I think about it like that, I wouldn’t have it any other way :)

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Startup woes

3 July 2009

I never would have described myself as a ‘busy guy’, but since signing up to the Game Design Concepts course online I’ve been finding myself pressed for time to get any of the work done. Now while catching up over the weekend is a tried-and-true method I used many-a-time during my degree at university, we all know that we never get as much done as we planned to. It’s the weekend after-all: easy to make that excuse :)

So I started looking over my time to see where all of it was going. 7 hours a day, 35 hrs a week total on work (I take an hour lunch-break doing anything but work, so I’m not counting that as ‘work time’). 4 hrs a week Swing dancing classes, plus or minus an hour of social dancing at the end of classes. 2hrs a week of Yoga. 8-9 hrs a week on public transport! What? I spend more time on trains and buses than I do in a day at work?!

Yes folks, it seems that I’ve been letting a whole lotta time go to waste waiting for that train to arrive, that bus to appear (if it ever does), or the next stop to be mine. And the kicker iss – I’m not even doing anything interesting in that time. If I haven’t got a book, or I don’t feel like reading, I find myself just staring blankly out the window. Surely a man with 2 laptops can find a better use of this time, no?

And this leads me to the essence of this blag-post/net-whine: computers take too long to start up! Packing and unoacking my laptop from my bag every time I get on the bus/train, get off, or change between means the once I’m seated I have to wait another 30secs to a minute just to get back in to whatever I was doing again. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it can easily be the difference between trying to fit 5mins of work into that 5min train trip, or (as I have this week) lugging a heavy laptop around with me and not actually turning it on that day AT ALL!

Disabling the hibernate options and/or putting the computer to sleep in these situations seemed like a good idea – but I’m rapidly finding that a sleeping or active computer inside a safety sleeve inside a bag feels pretty warm to the touch once it comes back out again. I’m paranoid that I’ll forget I’ve left it on and pull it out at the end of the day with heat damage all over the screen.

But until scientists hurry up and get memristors out there – it looks like this is the best solution for now. Happy overheating!!

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