Making a pledge.

11 07 2016

There’s a company out there which produces recorded work by artists, which lets the artist talk about their idea, and if the fans like the idea, they can pledge (key word there) money to the project. If the artist raises a particular sum, then work can begin on the project.

In theory it sounds wonderful, and ought to be, as a vinyl collector I have seen some great ideas bought from dream to reality.

I have bought a few items myself.

But here is where the problem is.

Their treatment of the product during packing, and the packaging of the product itself, results in damaged items upon arrival.

In one case, a print costing around $100, was man-handled and tossed in a tube that was far too big for it, It arrived in very poor condition.

Other members who were on the site’s forum had the same trouble.

Another recent package involved a 7″ single, which was put into a paper and bubble wrap packer and sent from the UK to Australia, it’s a wonder it made it at all.

As a result, although I’d like to support Artists who are using this site, I doubt I’ll buy anything from there in future, unless there’s a clear message to say that great care while handling and packaging of our items will be a priority.

 





Truth and lies

21 06 2016

People talk about Belief as though it is something which is true, but they are either mistaken, or wrong.

BELIEF is when you believe you have $100 in your pocket, and drive off to the shops, which are a fair distance away. You run in, choose your item and put it on the counter… you reach for your wallet or purse and discover that you only believed you had money with you.

Belief can be a very bad day indeed.

While a FACT is when you check your wallet first, see the $100 note is definitely in there and go off to get your item.





The Wizarding World

28 05 2016

We’re fast approaching a time where humanity will split, mostly due to our ideology. leaving those of us who accept science and rationality on one end, and those who believe in magical things such as religion and astrology on the other.

Some reading this now, may imagine the Wizards would be exceptionally clever, but it’s not so. a simple acceptance of progressive ideals is about all that’s needed, just a back turned on the silly, cruel and greedy.

Why waste our time, hammering truths into those who won’t accept it, the circular argument over what a theory is, for example,  gets us nowhere.

Perhaps it’s time to leave some people behind, and gather together friends and colleagues who will listen. Perhaps we can build a better world for ourselves and for those left behind?

Wolfie Rankin.

 

 





Disappointment

17 05 2016

I am disappointed with the human species.

I have been for a long time, and perhaps you’ve noticed as I’d rather identify as a wolf than a human.

People have great power to change the status quo, they could vote for change, but they don’t, politics is a broken light switch with left and right on it, every few years we flick the switch and get more of the same, it’s radical ideas that could save us, but we’re too timid to do anything about it.

We have deadly diseases and climate change which could be fixed reasonably quickly if we had the money to fund research, which we don’t, and yet we have trillions which goes to waste bombing the crap out of each other.

Sometimes our wonderful scientists come up with a cure, or at least a temporary fix which will keep us going until we find a cure, decades are spent in labs, trying to find reasons for why things go wrong, and how to fix them… and when they are finally fixed, The media praises a pretend man in the sky for this life saving miracle,  instead of the scientists who were the real heroes.

I want away from this planet, so desperately that it hurts.

I want a world that holds no hate in its collective heart, I want a world which doesn’t know anything about weaponry, I want a world which thinks and acts when it needs healing, I want a world entirely without religion, I want a world where you are allowed to love anyone or anything you like.

If reincarnation is real, I want nothing more to do with this World, I want to go out into the stars and find my home.

Wolfie Rankin.





The Universal Tip Jar.

12 05 2016

Let’s say that you live in Australia, You want to see Game of Thrones, but the only company offering it is Foxtel, which is a subscription cable company… which is too expensive for you. You don’t want the extras, you just want to see Game of Thrones.

So you download a pirate copy from the internet.

Or let’s say that you’ve found a stash of songs which aren’t available on mainstream sites, you love them and they’re in the highest quality possible, but again you’re not paying for them.

But you would like to.

Why isn’t there some sort of Universal Tip Jar on the internet, A small icon to the side of whatever platform you’re on, which you could click and donate money to… anyone.

Maybe it’s not about piracy, perhaps you simply like an artist, whether they sing, act, draw or simply make you feel good.

Perhaps they need help with medicine, perhaps they’re just getting by on very little.

A tip jar might be hard to implement and perhaps that’s why it hasn’t been adopted, but I reckon someone like Paypal could get it up and running.

What are your thoughts on this?

Wolfie Rankin.

 

 





Not waving, drowning.

11 05 2016

The fellow on qanda was right, it’s hard for people like us to keep going. I can afford food for Jette (dog) and Vicky (cat), but the bills are a killer.

While I’m not a parent, I’m finding life very difficult.

My house, while I’m very lucky to have one, it was passed down to me from my parents, is old and desperately needs help.

The bathroom, covered in asbestos, is falling apart. I have no vanity, and no sewer since it has fallen to pieces underground… I’ve had a camera and snake down there often, but now it’s beyond salvage.

A repair would cost thousands.

My old stove is buggered, and some of the rooms lack lighting.

Oh, the backyard… you should see what remains of the fences, they’ve rotted away and I’m surprised they still stand.

I can live on very little, but that little seems to be shrinking at an alarming rate, I am merely treading water.

I still have my internet and I have my hobbies which help keep me somewhat sane.

One of those TV renovation shows would be a lifesaver at this point.

Yes I could move, but despite it being horrible, it is the only home I’ve known, and I am allowed to have my dog and cat.

I don’t know what to do.

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Rocksmith – Learning to play Guitar.

24 03 2016

Late last year I finally did what I had been thinking of doing, for years, but had not, because it seemed silly or superfluous, I didn’t have the cash for it either, so why would I buy something I would probably never use properly?

I bought a Hagstrom Viking P, Electro-Acoustic Guitar, Cherry red.

I’d been talking about it for quite some time, with friends who had either sold guitars earlier in their life, or had played them once, or were playing them now as part of their job description.

I’d started looking around, I didn’t know what I wanted or at least knew that Fenders and Gibsons were way out of reach, as they sold for over $3000.

Knowing next to nothing about Guitars, I thought “Well I want something that looks like a proper electric guitar” found one through Google images, and then sorted through YouTube for a review.

I found Mike Bradley’s review to be very helpful, He said that while it wasn’t a Gibson, that is was almost as good, and a great bang for your buck, as it was a lot cheaper.

Based on that, I bought one, though that was another story, it was difficult, Hagstrom had no retailer in Australia and having it shipped here by anyone, was near to impossible.

Two weeks later I was talking about the Guitar on Facebook, and a friend mentioned Rocksmith, He said that it was a game that taught you how to play the guitar.

Apparently it was like Guitar Hero, which I had dismissed based on the idea that someone had spent their time learning how to play a thing that is a toy, when they could have spent the same amount of energy learning to play a real instrument.

I looked up Rocksmith on YouTube to see what it was, and it seemed to be just what I wanted.

I have particular difficulties getting out and about, so going to a teacher once a week was out of the question, If I could buy this and learn at home, then it might just do the trick.

There were a set of videos that Rocksmith had uploaded about a 60 day challenge, and while that did get me in, the problem with that idea is that if you’re not progressing as the ads suggest, you can end up feeling quite upset with yourself, and I did.

Rocksmith shouldn’t be taken as the ultimate teacher, it simply gets you started, and it’s quite effective there, I did end up playing the guitar for the full 60 days, with a slight drop off at the end because I got discouraged.

It reminds me of the Suzuki method of violin playing, where you are encouraged to play the instrument even if you sound terrible at first… you will improve later on.

I don’t want to be too hard on Rocksmith, most of the problems lay with me rather than the software, you may or may not be like me, and may or may not experience the same problems.

Once loaded up, I was confronted by a list of songs… many of which I didn’t know.

Many seemed to be of the Metal, Indi Rock variety… a genre that didn’t appeal to me in the least, but there were a few (very few) gems in there, and although extras could be downloaded later, there wasn’t much there either.

If you’re a Country fan or a Reggae fan there is nothing there for you at all.

The kind of music I like the most is radio friendly rock, I listen to a 70s – 80s rock station called Gold 104 at home, and while they play a nice range of hits, there’s a lot of stuff that I like that they don’t play.

I grew up at a time when there was a lot of synth pop around, and that is my genre.

Still, there was enough there to get me started, I did enjoy playing Bon Jovi and Def Leppard.

Rocksmith, for those who haven’t seen it, reminds me of an old pianola piano, which are self playing. rather than displaying a bunch of notes, it shows you where your fingers should be going, and this method really does work.

You select a song from a list, the guide scrolls towards you and you play along, and that’s basically it.

After a few months of playing, I found myself listening to songs on the radio and feeling that I knew where the guitarist was playing, as a result my air guitar improved no end.

The only hurdle I hit was that my brain is too slow, or I imagine it is, I can’t shred, and I can’t work out chords… but I can play with one finger.

I cannot physically spread my fingers to play a chord and while people have provided solutions, I know my limits and I cannot progress past it.

A friend suggested playing Bass instead, as there are fewer, if any chords.

But I didn’t want to shell out for another instrument.

Then he said that Rocksmith alters the sound of your guitar for you and lets you pretend that you have a bass guitar.

Well I’ve been trying that, and while not the path I originally wanted to take, I’ve been a lot more successful, and happier.

I recently scored 100% on “Pour Some Sugar On Me” which is a fairly easy tune, but still, considering that a few months ago I knew nothing about guitars, this is quite something.

A while back I felt quite defeated and wanted to give up, and I blame the ads which promised something worthwhile in 60 days… I did initially feel I was heading there, but when the chords started showing up, I hit a brick wall faster than a crash test dummy.

I gave up for weeks, but have now come back, not to beat myself up over my inability, but to give myself a break from social media.

It’s just a toy for me now, but it’s a nice toy to have.

There are people who are using tutorials on YouTube along side Rocksmith, and are going a lot further than I ever will, but it’s just a pastime for me.

For those of you who wanted to play guitar, even a little, Rocksmith will get you there.

Wolfie Rankin

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