Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hide and Seek

I normally don't do this sort of thing, but every now and then something comes along that deserves highlighting.

Imogen Heap's hauntingly beautiful song 'Hide and Seek' is one such thing in my opinion.

As I was saying to a friend online earlier tonight, if I could have something like this under my belt, then I would feel as if there was little more to accomplish.
The song is incredible. The video and it's production values (lighting, framing, grading, editing) are worthy of suitable award.

There's not much that can't be said by instead simply watching and listening to the different flavours, starting of course with her original released version:

Here's a campus a cappella group named The UNC Achordants singing at the ICCA Quarterfinals (Elon University - 2007), at which they placed first, covering Hide and Seek:

Next, a video montage put together by a friend of mine from Denmark. One of the most watched scenes from the TV series 'Lost', re-edited to the song Hide and Seek, arguably making for a much more intense scene:

A live performance of the track by Imogen, from Studio 11 @ Indie 103.1FM. Shows her using the Vocoder setup that the track has become so famous for, and proving that she has what it takes to pull it off live, solo:

A poignant montage put together by a fan, which interprets the song in a totally different way to most, likely including Imogen Heap herself:

And finally, the inevitable 'euro' dance mix. Although I must say, like the style or not (Tiesto et al), it works fantastically well within the genre:

The (brilliant) lyrics:

where are we?
what the hell is going on?
the dust has only just begun to fall
crop circles in the carpet
sinking, feeling

spin me round again
and rub my eyes,
this can't be happening
when busy streets a mess with people
would stop to hold their heads heavy

hide and seek
trains and sewing machines
all those years
they were here first

oily marks appear on walls
where pleasure moments hung before the takeover,
the sweeping insensitivity of this still life

hide and seek
trains and sewing machines (you won't catch me around here)
blood and tears
they were here first

Mmmm what do you say,
Mmmm that you only meant well?
well of course you did
Mmmm what do you say,
Mmmm that's all for the best?
ah of course it is
Mmmm what do you say?
Mmmm that it's just what we need
you decided this
Mmmm what do you say?
Mmmm what did she say?

ransom notes keep falling out your mouth
mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cut outs
speak no feeling
no I don't believe you
you don't care a bit,
you don't care a bit

(hide and seek)
ransom notes keep falling out your mouth
midsweet talk, newspaper word cut outs

(hide and seek)
speak no feeling
no, I don't believe you
you don't care a bit,
you don't care a bit
Song of the moment, hell - top 5 of all time. For me anyhow.

Hope you get suitably praised and awarded for such a breathtaking, original and influential composition, Imogen.

Wikipedia entry

Monday, August 13, 2007


Is it just me, or are people IRL just a total drag?

Over the past year or so I've been doing more and (increasingly) more socialising with folk online, rather than in real life. And from my perspective anyhow, it's just a whole fuckload easier.

It's not that you don't get your share of morons and assholes online just as you would in the physical world, but the people I connect with via some form of electronic medium seem to share a bond with me that's at a much deeper level than any single soul I know around me.

Is it because by default we share similar interests, being online in the first place and all?
Is it because if they turn out to be a cunt, I can simply click a button and effectively ignore/remove them from my life forever with zero consequences?
And do I really 'know' them at all? After all, the personality behind the keyboard at the other end may well be the total opposite of the avatar they portray to me.

I'm not sure, to be honest.

But I can tell you, that I have longer, deeper and more fruitful and enjoyable conversations with my online friends, than I do at any stage in the physical world that exists outside my front door.

It's kind of ironic in a way, because most of my 'actual' acquaintances here where I live and work find it 'odd' that I spend so much time online, not that they'd ever have the spine to say as much to my face. (If you've read any of my past blogs you'll see some fairly clear messages about that particular subject..) And in so doing they repel themselves out of my sphere of desire even further.

If I start to make some comparisons, I look to the most recent few days and look back at the multiple and lengthy conversations I've had with my online friends, covering what must be close to a hundred different subjects, each thoroughly fascinating and fun. God knows how much I learned these past few days and I know for sure that a couple of those convo's went on for over 7 hours..
..but if I look to the 'real' world, I start to glaze over after about 7 minutes.

Maybe this has to do with what I mentioned earlier - the similarities of interests. It seems that any actual (verbal) conversation I have labours upon the most mundane of topics:
Sport, weather, work, drinking.. ok I'm struggling now.
Yet with my non-physical friends, I find myself hurriedly Googling items, theories, texts, euphemisms, quotes, websites and forums about things I have never heard of before.

It feels like the more I socialise with my online mates, the more my perspective is expanded, the more my paradigms are shifted, and the more I learn.

I was speaking to a work colleague a couple of weeks ago, and we were talking about 'remote workers'. As in, staff who work from home.
The discussion was about the traditional 'corporate' paradigms that up until very recently have been incongruous to such a way of working. You know, that old-school and frumpy mentality that unless you actually turn up at a workplace, you can't possibly be doing any work. lol

Of course these days, the technology exists whereby an employer can monitor every detail of an employee's productivity whether they are on-site at an office location or at home. So in effect any debate about such issues are fundamentally moot.

What stands in the way, of course, are people within any organisation who fail to relate to the concept in any way. Especially if those individuals are in positions of senior management.
I'm sure you know the type - those irritating gnats who forever go on about "the value of face to face contact". (Aarggh even typing that phrase gives me the absolute SHITS!)

Why do you think they say that? Because they have absolutely zero grasp of the alternative concept. THEY are incapable of being able to work effectively without a physical presence, and so they project that shortfall onto everybody else. It's funny, if nothing else. Ignorant and unintelligent yes, but comedic nonetheless.

Additionally, I tend to believe that they reject the concept not only because they are unfamiliar with it themselves, but also because they are accustomed to exerting 'power' or 'authority' in a physical sense. And by that I do not mean they are waving around wooden clubs, but more that they rely upon a physical presence to maintain control, both emotionally and in terms of corporate/social ladder systems.
In other words, without a physical presence, they are stripped of some of their 'skill', and they feel threatened. Just as they are threatened by the unknown quantities of anything 'virtual'. They also feel that they are losing some form of control no doubt. (jeezus - grow the fuck up)

The thing is, they are going to get left behind, and more importantly (in the context of a workplace) they are going to hold back an organisation. The ransom for this closed-minded approach to the way we live our lives today ends up being paid in attrition. (Let's not go there shall we haha)

The thing is, that today's working and social youth are (horrible catch-phrase alert!) Generation Y.
Whilst it's not a defined term yet (nobody can agree on the exact birth dates for this group) colloquially it refers to those born in the 80's or early 90's. Now these particular individuals are about as opposite as you can get from the prior generation:
They really don't give a fuck.. about much at all, besides themselves. (three cheers for the Y's!)

It's all about them. And it's all about now.
No patience, no traditional 'respect', just me. Me, and I want it now.
What's more, if I can't have it now, I'll fucking well go somewhere else immediately, where I can get it now. You lose.

Previous gen's will look upon these 'kids' and uncontrollably belch about the demise of modern civilisation BUT the thing is, it's real.
In a world where pretty much anything is at one's fingertips. I hardly blame them for being so demanding and self-centered.

Consequences seem to be a thing of the past - once upon a time items such as religion, or adults, or social norms would prevent somebody from saying something particularly nasty or selfish. These days, such 'overbears' mean precisely zip.
How many times have you heard someone say "and what are you gonna do about it, then?". Exactly. The only consequences that exists seem to be legal ones, and even those are regularly flaunted to maximum extent.

It's not 'bad', it's just 'different'. It's like fashion. Hell, it is fashion. What it is now is not what it will be in the future; 'it' being pretty much anything (outside of water, air, and.. well thats probably about all really).

And so I come back to my original observation: my socialising choice. To you, I may seem 'weird'. Well guess what - I really don't give one single flying fuck. :D
All I know is that I continue to have more fun, expand my mind to greater extremes, and have time-flying conversations (whether that be via keyboard or voice chat) with the friends I have never physically met, than with anyone I've ever shared airspace with.

Most of those friends reside in countries outside of Australia, which adds to the fascinating discoveries I experience regularly, especially in terms of what is 'usual' for one person but totally foreign to somebody living elsewhere. This weekend alone saw me typing such things as "you have fish for breakfast??" and "..what, the whole town gets drunk all week?" amongst "oh I didn't know about that album of theirs" and "I agree, thats some of the best contemporary art I've seen this year" and "they show that on prime-time TV?".
Hearing about what it's like to work in Denmark looking after 9000 wind turbines, or that there's a corner shop in a little town in the Netherlands that sells the same magazines they have here in Australia. That in Carolina the beach stinks like rotten fish at the moment, and that I travel for longer getting to work than the average person in New Jersey does.

Much. More. Interesting.

But hey - feel free to berate me for shunning 'real' people. I mean yeh, those folk I speak with online aren't real, huh.
Nooo, they're just.. interwebs. Or something.

You just continue to be false in front of your peers and friends, not telling them a scrap of truth for fear of rejection or scorn. How does it feel, lying? When was the last time you really said what you wanted to? pfft
And indeed let me continue to be 'mean and nasty', that horrible thing called 'frankness' where one says what they believe without fear of reproach, where one can effectively hide behind a keyboard, having had social filters removed so that communication can continue unfiltered by traditional restraints.

It must scare you half to death huh.

No wonder you don't get it.
I almost feel sorry for you.


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Monday, August 06, 2007

Stabbity Stab Stab

What makes one person want to betray another?

What process occurs inside somebody's brain that triggers neurons to fire that result in the thought "I want to hurt this person"? (be that emotionally, politically, physically, or socially)

When thinking about this, one might draw some conclusions based upon impetus. To my mind, these would be along the lines of:

  • Where the net return is to gain something. The other has status or power and you do not. Jealousy, intolerance or hatred towards the other brews a compulsive desire to tip them off whatever perch you perceive them to be on. You will never be able to attain their cloud line, so the only course that remains is to clip them down to yours.
  • Where the drive is to exact revenge, to right a wrong. The other has gotten away with figurative bloody murder upon you. Where they have caused you suffering or loss of any kind. Where they have impacted you to a point that you are now without something (anything) you once had, or where they have that which they do not deserve, in one's opinion.
  • Where the drive is to eliminate them. The other is a constant bane upon one's life. An insurmountable obstacle to any forward progression. Where they are the only thing that lays in your path, or where their mere existence sickens your every moral fibre on a daily basis, or perhaps where they are successful trumpeters of a cause which to you is wholly repugnant.

It's logical to assume that there's a reason, right?
(Notwithstanding folk who suffer from psychological dysfunction)

Why then, would someone want to do this clandestine?

How could it be, if you were so upset or revolted or jealous of that somebody else, that you would not want them to receive the message directly from one's self? To have them fully comprehend that it is you that has blighted their outlook - you that has pulled the tripwire. You, are the one responsible for pulling the chairs out from underneath their balancing act.

The main reason I can think of for being non-confrontational, is that one would simply gain pleasure from the sufferance of the other. An ongoing and lingering lament that, in itself, satiates a desire for 'justice' ongoing.
And let's face it; that's fairly deep rooted in general nastiness.

However it could also be due to them simply being weak, sniveling and pathetic; a stone thrower who lobs and runs for safe ground.
I loathe those that are milquetoast in that way.

Why the rant?
Because, very recently, I was betrayed in kind. Well, an attempt was made.

And I'm finding it extremely difficult to figure out the motive. I'm struggling to find reason.

What were the individual's motives? Debatably they were only to cause harm? Surely if they wanted to help, or understand from a different perspective, they would have approached me front ways and not slipped into the shadows behind me?

And if this derivation is true, then what perceived evil am I guilty of?

I don't know. Perhaps the driver was less vindictive and instead was borne out of naivety or sheer selfishness; a sense of drama and attention seeking. Maybe the only route available to this person was through misplaced sensationalism in an attempt to flag significance.

Either way, it's not often that I feel the steely cold sensation of a blade in my flesh outside of forums such as these. For it to transpire into the physical world is a trifle disturbing.

Then again, I may simply assume victory still, by deciding that quite obviously my musings on this blog are above any interpretable level of intelligence held by my assassin.

Yeh. That makes sense.

If you, the reader, cannot fathom the alter-egoistic and deliberately provocative nature of these texts, then I suggest you move along.

There will be nothing for you to see here..

Saturday, August 04, 2007

It's True

The rumours are true: WoW has a new expansion on it's way.

Titled 'Wrath of the Lich King', it will be set in the new continent of Northrend, and bring with it many new features:
  • new Death Knight hero class
  • new arenas and battlegrounds
  • siege weaponry and destructible buildings
  • customisable hairstyles and dances
  • a new Inscription profession
  • and the increase of the level cap from 70 to 80

To view the trailer, click here or here.

Additionally, Blizzard have confirmed that integrated voice communication and guild banks would be introduced to WoW in regular patch updates, along with a new 10-man instance, Zul'Aman.

Blizz refused to name a date for its release. "It'll come out when it's ready," said lead designer Tom Chilton.

Jeff Kaplan promised that the expansion's new continent, Northrend, would contain more zones than The Burning Crusade's Outland - since Blizzard isn't having to create starting zones for new races this time.
A map shown indicated ten new zones as well as a new captial city, Dalaran.

One zone, Lake Wintergrass, will be a new type of outdoor world zone totally dedicated to player-versus-player combat, even on normal servers.

Four more regular questing zones were shown:
  • Howling Fjord
  • Borean Tundra
  • Grizzly Hills
  • Dragonblight
There will be two points of entry into Northrend, from the east (in Howling Fjord) and west (in Borean Tundra). Despite the continent's northerly location they won't all be snowy: Grizzly Hills, for example, the home of the furbolg race, is a lush, tall forest.

The capital city will be Dalaran, which has been transported from the Eastern Kingdoms to a new location floating in the skies above Northrend.

Final boss the Lich King - formerly the paladin Arthas - will be a prominent presence all the way through the new content, promised Kaplan. "We're aware that in The Burning Crusade we didn't give you enough interaction with [end boss] Illidan. In Wrath of the Lich King there will be much more interaction with Arthas from the moment you arrive in Northrend."

The new Death Knight class will be the first of several hero classes to be introduced to the game, said Chilton. But these will be added gradually.
"If we tried to introduce all the heroes from Warcraft III at the same time, we'd face some pretty disastrous consequences in terms of impact on the whole game," he said.

Death Knights will be unlocked by completing a quest chain at level 80, said to be similar in feel to the Warlock epic mount quest. Once completed, the player will be able to create Death Knight characters of any race, starting at a "relatively high level" still to be decided, but probably in the 55-70 range.

Blizzard considered making players destroy their original characters to turn them into Death Knights, but "Too many people on the team felt they were losing something to gain something," said Kaplan.
"Even though the Death Knight is a hero class, it's not supposed to be a more powerful class, it's just supposed to feel different to play," Chilton added.

Death Knights will be damage-dealing tanks, similar to warriors. But they can tank without a shield and have the ability to cast strong magic spells, such as Army of the Dead, which summons several skeletal minions at once.
They will use runes inscribed on their weapons to cast spells, instead of existing resource systems like mana or rage.

In terms of the original continents, there will be a new Caverns of Time instance, and steps will be taken to speed up the leveling process. "Right now we really want to encourage players to roll alternate characters," said Kaplan.
"We feel that leveling is a little slower than we want it to be, so we're looking at ways to speed that up a bit. Maybe before the expansion comes out. But the Death Knight is also part of that," said Kaplan.

Kaplan also confirmed that a new raid zone and new daily quests (involving dungeons, battlegrounds and cooking) would appear in patches before Wrath of the Lich King is released.

On the ability to customise hairtsyle Kaplan simply stated, "Barbershops are coming! No, you can't change your face. Plastic surgery will probably be in the next expansion after this," he joked.

Screenshots are available here and here.

Full details including features, artwork, faqs, and movies are available at the official expansion website.

*sources: Eurogamer Blizzard

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