Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Half a Point, Anyone?

So, I've been watching the markets lately and they've pretty much been going up a bit. Dipped my toes into some stocks, but have yet to back up the truck and really dive deep into anything spectacular. I suppose it's just that I cannot seem to get excited about anything as of late, and I know, deep down inside, that at some point the fed is going to rasie the rate and the little house of cards will fall down upon itself.

Interesting thing, this house of cards, seeing as it's an election year and all. I almost wish the feds could raise the rates half a point and get the ball rolling already, but they won't do that because of their constraints. The upcoming election is going to stymie any potential rate hikes.

There is a huge demonstration on Capitol Hill today regarding stock options and accounting practices, which could have the potential to bring about sweeping changes in the way high tech employees work and get paid. It has garnered little attention from the media. I find it particularly interesting how politics can indeed make for some strange bedfellows. In this case, I believe the folks supporting the stock option accounting changes include the likes of Alan Greenspan, while lining up the opposition is Congresswoman Barbara Boxer and several high tech stalwarts including the likes of Oracle founder Larry Ellison. Strange partnerships are forming in an already befuddled landscape.

I once had a conversation with my sister about Alan Greenspan. "He's getting old," I said to her, "he really should think about retiring." To which she replies, "are you nuts? We can't lose him?"

I was like, "he's made a few bad calls recently. Not sure about where his true loyalties lie and I think I would like to see him gracefully bow out." She responded, "Do you really want to consider an alternative?"

It's true. Ellen's right. It's hard to consider any alternatives. He's been in the position for so long, and so few people really understand the workings of the fed and the impact it has on the fiscal community. We will be hard pressed to find a replacement. A few weeks ago, TheStreet.com did a story about potential replacements for Mr. Greenspan ("Greenie" as we like to call him) and it seemed that any possible candidates fell extremely short. The one big thing he has going for him is that he is a die hard moderate when it comes to his approach to change. He has made the connection that, even a small change in fed policy or pricing has huge ramifications and impacts of global consequence. I doubt that few, if any, other people even come close to his level of understanding. It's something that I wish more people could do. It's not easy thinking about consequences and, espeically lately, there has been these prevalent extreme short-sightedness ruling the roost. Nobody understand the old laws of physics: "an action has an equal but opposite reaction" or "a body in motion tends to stay in motion until an unbalanced force stops it." Simple laws that apply about as equally well to finance as they do to gravity.

It's true even in small businesses and even with respect to quality. Nobody wants to produce high quality goods anymore. Nobody thinks beyond the next quarter, the next round of numbers, the next earnings season. Three months has become ultra long term these days. And people do things without understand consequences or considering them. Everybody has a horrah for me and to Hell with you attitude and everybody wants to get in and get out before they get noticed. If we were to collectively stop thinking about our own bad selves and start doing what was right, the world would become a much better place, but we can't see out past the breakers and into the next big wave.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Eric and Me and Mr. Johnson

No, no, no, get your mind out of the gutter. I'm not thinking that we'd make quite a threesome. Today is Eric Clapton's birthday, he turns 59, after having survived heroin addiction, booze, pills, and all those years playing the guitar for the likes of me. (No doubt that last one is the real killer of the bunch.)

I've always like the blues stuff the best, even though there was something fun about hearing White Room in the white room. I look to music for my inspiration for artwork, in as much the same was (I suppose) as Eric looks to Mr. Johson. There's something very enjoyable about making a connection with an artist or a piece of work that one simply cannot put to words. Sure, my life is filled with artwork, sometimes too much, but there are some pieces that transcend time and place and really connect deeply, making me think of my childhood, growing up, my youth, my new tennis shoes, whatever. There's just that connection deep inside that makes it special. Art at its best takes you away. Doesn't matter really what the medium or the message as long as you can get into it. I mean, really get into it so much so that you lose or redefine a part of yourself in the process.

I find it rather odd too that not many folks got as much into the works of Mr. Johnson. Perhaps it's because of the raw, unpolished nature of his work. I hear those old, scratchy recordings and I think about the depression, my grandparents, what life was like in that time. I don't hear the same potential that Mr. Clapton hears. To me, it just doesn't scream "re-do this and make it modern" rather is slightly suggests what once was. That's the difference, musically between Eric and myself (apart from his obvious technical mastery of the guitar, I'm talking just artisitc vision here, folks.) Eric sees what could be or what could become in the past. He redefines and re-invents the old stuff, giving it an entirely new, fresh look, but he brings a special connection to it. Almost as if he defines a part of himself in it's rebirth and makeover. I find it fascinating that he does this (and even that he can do this) as I always look at art in terms of raw creativity. What can I make that hasn't been made already? or Let's try this... instead of How can I add a piece of myself to this? It's like he's getting ahead by leveraging off of the past, but he's adding so much that he's redefining the future in the process. Interesting approach, old chap (Ok, 59 isn't all that old.)

I wonder what I'm going to paint when I listen to the new tunes. And I hope you have a happy day, wherever you are.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Bad Ass Tribe

Today I am wearing my Bad Ass Tribe: Doesn't Play Well with Others shirt and somebody finally noticed it. I was talking with a fellow from work and he said, "Bad ass tribe, doesn't play well with others...shouldn't we all have a shirt like that?" It's true, very true. Lots of disgruntled folks out in River City these days. And lots of folks who can legitimately wear a "bad ass tribe" shirt.

I got the shirt in New Mexico or Arizona, on a visit out west. I remember seeing it hanging in a store thinking, "hmm. Why isn't anybody buying these? This would make a much better gift then a shirt that simply says 'Sedona' or some other touristy shirt." I wear it a lot and it often goes unnoticed. Actually, it seldom gets noticed, which again I find rather astounding, seeing as it's blatently obvious and it's blant that I'm making a point loud and clear when I wear it. But folks somehow just don't think it applies to them, I suppose. Same could be said of my Tweety bird sweatshirt which says, "Go Away and Stay There!"

Come to think of it, I have a lot of shirts with attitude, many of which do not get noticed. I buy them a lot and value them greatly. It's easy to be quiet and just let your wardrobe speak for you. And mine sometimes shouts. Art Can't Hurt You, is another one of my favorites. Boroque: when you are out of Monet the hits just keep on coming. Whoever makes up T-shirts should just overdose on attutide and then I would buy them out of stock.

Hey, don't laugh. It beats banishing yourself to Ecuador (as Ken points out, I've been spelling it all wrong all these years. Ken, just for you, I'm going to run out and get myself a shirt with my favorite saying. No, sorry it's not "I can't spell" but rather Byte Me .

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.


Friday, March 26, 2004

39 Degrees

Everyday I bring a bagel to work. Everyday, I toast my bagel and bring it back to my desk. And everyday, I check out CNN.com while I'm eating. Sounds routine, sounds dull, sounds boring, I know, but that's life inside of Carol's Little World. So today I hope on over to cnn.com and come across a story about Jerry Orbach leaving Law & Order. What?!? How could this be?!?

When it gets cold in River City (as it sometimes does) I always joke about the 40 degree mark. If it gets below 40 degrees, I cease to exist. "Equador," I tell people, "I'm moving to Equador. It must be warm there. It has something close to 'equador' embedded in the name of the country." If Jerry leave Law & Order, I think too I shall cease to exist. I mean, what's Law & Order without Jerry. It'd be like rice without white. It'd be like Starsky without Hutch. It'd be like Mick without Keith or John without Paul. It'd be like the Pope without Catholicism. It just wouldn't make any sense at all. It would be the end of the world as I know it and I wouldn't feel fine. It'd be like Must Fix TV or something.

My favorite Law & Order comment came from the guy with the frying pan. "Damn! Woman's got aim!" he said. Now that was a funny episode. Although I'm really not quite sure how many ex-wives Briscoe does indeed have (we know it's at least one.) Current talk is to have the Briscoe's character head up a spin off of some kind. I suppose, as long as he's around, the show must somehow go on. Still, it feels a little like its 39 degrees outside, I mean, I don't want to be around when he leaves NY and heads off to a new Law & Order, do you?

I'm almost done with my tile floors. I am finishing up doing the sealer on the grout. I've got one coat of sealer on almost everything. Just need a few touch ups. After I finish this, I can finally finish getting my house back together and then start looking at hardwood floors and other things I want to do. What fun. Put it back, tear it down, put it back. I'm like a human yo-yo. Much like Jerry running back and forth between Law & Order sets, I suppose.

Today's Friday, you didn't expect anything too thought provocing, did you? Geesh. Next Friday maybe I'll talk about pizza and beer. Just for fun.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.



Thursday, March 25, 2004

Of Peace, Politics, and War

Sometime last year, it dawned on me. I never seem to talk of politics in my web log. Maybe it's because I'm not a very political person, maybe it's because I really don't want to share my viewpoints, maybe it's because I think that, deep down inside, you really don't care. I suppose on some level I'm afraid to share for fear of being reproached. Somehow though, over the course of time, the talk of politics has been tacitly banished from Carol's Little World.

Leave 'em Guessing is something they sometimes say to performers. Conceptually, it's suggested that performers leave a little off the table. That they hold back just a tad, just enough to wet the appetite. It's something artists and performers feel comfortable with, in as much as they can carve out a small hold back. I suppose this talk of politics is my inhibition. Maybe, on some level, I find it too polarizing, and I'm just not a polarizing kind of girl (either photographically or otherwise.)

Being an artists and an outspoken sort, I'm sure there are those who know me who feel I'm totally liberal. In a way, they are correct. I'm very liberal on a social level. This does not; however, imply that I lean politically to the left.

Then there are those who know me from my interests in finance and business, or through one of my many programming/technology jobs. These folks probably view me as conservative. There's a strong sentiment a, "she follows the market, she must be Republican" notion that exists on Wall Street. To which I respond, "Wall Street, it's like a whole 'nother country. Perhaps one that should be invaded by reason."

As is usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I suppose, if I were forced to "pick one" I would have to say I was a libertarian, as my basic belief system stems from the fact that, deep down inside, I distrust the government. For they are the men who bare witness to the nine hundred dollar hammer and the multi-thousand dollar toilet seat, I shall place trust no longer in thee. I am not; however, the type who hides off in the woods with stockpiles of ammo awaiting the end of the known universe. (I have been told some libertarians do this, and that, forevermore, the City of Waco, TX shall be referred to as "we ain't comming out.")

The latest events of the 9/11 conference have me befuddled. Each party is up there trying to point the finger at the next. It's a sort of round robin, "he did it!" to which I do not care to spectate.

Hasn't anybody tried something new, like pointing the finger to Al Queda for 9/11? Or would that be more expensive and less believable than a $900 hammer?

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Help, I'm Trapped Inside of a Fortune Cookie

Now that we've got IM at work and some folks are starting to use it, it's starting to drive me bonkers. I'm getting IMed from all over and I can't even type in one window anymore. I can't keep my brains straightened out long enough to respond to anybody at all anymore. Still, it's kind of fun, not having to walk down the hallway and talk to people. I mean, IM is sometimes so much easier and better. Plus, one of the things I really like about IM is that I can login from home and nobody knows where I am. I can even get IM-ed on my tele (mobile phone anyway) and get the messages loud and clear. Of course, if I ever decide to go on vacation, I may totally be screwed, but I'll just have to deal with that and go to like the wilds of Mexico for a spell.

Speaking of traveling, I can't figure out what's wrong with me. I ususally love to travel, in fact, I would go so far as to say that it's the high point of my time on the planet. But lately it has lost its appeal. I don't know why, I just haven't been bitten by the travel bug lately. I suppose I should not complain about my lack of wanderlust because it's contributing towards saving some dinero, which I can use to do other things.

It's raining in river city today. Very much so. I suppose the ground is soaked and I suppose too that this will make for excellent bluebonnets sometime soon. Yes, it's almost that time again. Time to peek at the bluebonnets. I can hardly wait. I do want to get the new rig out for a spin, preferably sometime soon when it's nice outside.

My boring meeting last night was canceled and I ended up eating at home again. I always say I'm going to eat out and never do. Don't know why, perhaps just force of habit or something.

If Elvis were still alive, Ken came up with some interesting screen name for him. TheKing, JailhouseRockr, LoveMeTenderLoveMeTrue come to mind. Fun stuff. I thought of a better screen name for myself, lilDutchGirl, because I always wear clogs but I'm not really little and I'm afraid some of my perverted friends (and you know who you are) will find some alternative meaning of the word "dutch" to which I am not privy but will find more than moderately offensive.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

It's all about your Screen Name

No, I'm not about to thank the academy and all but today somebody asked me what he should select for a screen name. "Cool words," was my response. So now he's probably going to go off and become SycamoreBill or some such thing, all thanks to me and the idiot ideas running around inside of my little world.

My screen names are boring. They are more than boring, they making boring screen names look less dull. I always choose something incredibly common like "carolxxxx" where xxxx is my birthday or some other easily remembered number. What a crock. I should be so much more exciting. Afterall, I am an exciting person, so why should I have such a horribly dull screen name? Makes no sense but then, I guess it has a good side too, as none of the flakes and nuts seem to pester me. Maybe they figure I'm much too boring to be pestered.

Speaking of boring, tonight I have to leave work early (well, early for me anyhow) because I have to go to a homeowner's meeting. You would think I would be all happy and excited about going to this, seeing as I'm all happy and excited about being a homeowner, but I'm not. I hate these type of meetings. Aside from being very boring, they always make me depressed somehow. Like I hear about all the crime and the joys of having a sex offender in the 'hood and I get all swelled with pride or something. Tonight I'm going to be especially rude and stop off at Schlotzsky's to get dinner. And, yes, I'm going to bring it into the room with me and eat through the meeting. Sorry but, I can't help myself. I really like Schlotzsky's and miss going there from my Ci2i days. I used to eat there a bit, when I could walk over and get something at odd hours of the day and night. Was fun to do, although I usually went over there with Kanchan, who succeeded in driving Ken absolutely nuts at random intervals throughout the day. I can still almost hear her voice, "Ken. Ken. Ken. You want a sandwich on a big bun??? Hey Ken. I'm talking to yooooouuuuu..."

Speaking of big buns, I need to stop talking about leather chaps. Period. I have this strange recurring dream involving a certain article of clothing and, well, I'm just not ready to share quite yet, so I have to stop talking about it. Maybe someday I'll feel more comfortable but, until then, it's going to go down in same column as the true identity of HIM. You just don't need to know that tidbit of information. In fact, come to think of it, everything you really need to know about me is in my screen name.

If Elvis were still alive, what screen name would he have? Now there's a question for you.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.





Monday, March 22, 2004

The Passion of the Something-or-Other

My friend Ken went to see The Passion of the Christ this weekend. He tells me it isn't all that gory. I suppose it's a good movie too, from what I've heard. I will probably wait until it's out on DVD though, as I absolutely despise attending movies at the theater. I just can't sit still for all the long and, if I can somehow muster the strength to sit still for hours on end, I hate the thought of sitting through most movies. They just aren't that good. Either that, or my attention span is just really all that short.

Somebody I work with has just come by and started me talking about leather jackets and the like. Ok, I admit it. Being a veggie, I should not really condone leather clothing. But there's just something about a good leather jacket. I managed to get him to run away though, when I mentioned the words, "leather chaps." Now I'm totally distracted, thinking about leather chaps and, well, a certain part of the anatomy (I'll leave you to guess which.)

Today, he was bored, so I got him taking these personality type tests I found on the net. I knew about the Myers-Briggs type of tests, but then we happened across this other one, to which I took a great deal of offense. It told me I was a sexual (I guess, combined with the context of the "leather chaps," it's probably right) type and I was prone to substance abuse. I just don't see it (despite the occassional, brief contemplation of leather chaps, I rarely think of such things.) In hindsight, I guess you could say I am, seeing as I'm sitting here now writing about leather chaps and all. But still, I didn't agree with the test results.

I also read the astro profile for my sun sign and that doesn't fit me at all. I'm just not the person they describe in the little "blurbs" about scorpios or sexual types, or, I suppose, typical substance abusers. I guess this is a societal attempt at typing us all and, in my case anyway, it backfires. I just don't fit the mold. Sure, I have type and substance, it's just not in as neat a little package as the pundits would like. I do somewhat agree with the Myers-Briggs assesment, in so much as I'm strongly typed to certain traits. The MB type indicators dictate that I'm of a strong perspective nature, which in turn dictates that I change topics of conversation frequently (almost hop around wildly.) Reading this blog, one could assert this as fact and so I would have to say that, for the most part, my MBTI type holds to a certain degree. Don't ask me to make a list, for I won't. Expect me to change the topic of conversation, be rather abstract but fall back upon logic and reason, be somewhat shy in social situations, and the like. That's just my MBTI and my passion talking, I suppose.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.
It's Bloggisimo Baby!

Today I went to one of the astro advice sites, just to see what they say about me. I'm always curious about these sorts of things, even though you can't really say I'm a believer. Just for grins, I used HIS birthday. We match at 70% on the "love meter" thing-a-ma-bob. Aren't you glad you know this? I mean, where, just where would you be without this information.

Earlier this evening, I was watching Trading Spaces and now I have a special treat for those of you who are just dying to know more about HIM. If you watch TS, if you really watch TS, they sometimes have a designer named "Barry." Barry is very much like HIM. Suprisingly so much like HIM, it's almost eery. I suppose this is why I could never get used to Barry, being a newer designer and all; it always seemed like there was something about him. And now I realize, it's actually something about HIM. Except for Barry's nasal voice, he's very much like HIM (looks like HIM, walks like HIM, reminds me of HIM, etc.) So, rather than me tell you more about HIM, just watch TS and check out Barry. (As an aside, I believe that Barry, in "real life," is gay. FWIW, and I'm not sure why this matters, but somehow I felt I just had to tell you. Now you know.)

Yes, I know it's a rare and unusual Sunday evening blogger entry but I cannot sleep. I had some iced tea earlier and now the caffeine has kicked in. No sleep for me this evening, I suppose. Rather than watch TS re-runs infinitely on my tele, I decided I would blog the night away.

My computer at home is acting up too. I cannot seem to get the DVD drive open. It's closed and appears to be staying that way. I'm going to have to do the old paper clip trick, and I'm really not looking forward to this. Sigh. Don't they make anything that just works anymore? Must everthing be so damned hard and broken all the time?

I haven't listened to much music this weekend at all, despite the best attempts of SXSW. The local media has found it newsworthy that a grammy award winning band was arrested in downtown Austin for forming a Conga line and marching through the streets, violating a noise ordinance at 2 am last week. How interesting. It all has me tempted to enter the upcoming auditions for The Apprentice. I'd love to get on that show and get fired. It would be the highlight of my life, I suppose. You're Fired! Gotta love it. But somehow, I doubt I could be off selling lemonaid or peddling socks or the like. I'm not even certain of what they have the idiots do on the show. Reality TV, apart from TS, has grown boring to me, and even TS is beginning to loose it's luster. Just how many houses can you trash, in the name of "decoration" anyway? But, oh what I wouldn't give to be able to say, "Hildi, You're Fired!"

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Friday, March 19, 2004

If it's Worth a Thousand Words and I Don't Like it, can I get my Money Back?

I've been looking into providing photographic content for my web log and happened across a few recommendations for sites that specialize in this sort of thing. The two recommendations that came in are sites called photobucket.com and weblogimages.com. Interestingly enough, weblogimages.com is located in Clinton, NY which, believe it or not, is located (I believe) not too far from Potsdam. Potsdam, NY for those who don't know me personally, is the sleepy little village, actually Canadian border town, where I attended college. While I was drinking beer and pretending to educate myself, I used to joke about Potsdam. We had a long running joke, "it's not the end of the world, but you can see it from here." Today, I find it rather difficult to imagine anything being near Potsdam (or Potsdam being near anything, for that matter.) Even so, the good folks at weblogimages.com are not too distant from the previously thought of end of the world locale. The point of this little diatribe is to demonstrate how you can never really run away from all of your past lives, despite your best attempts. That and, there still isn't all that much north of the Adirondacks. On a good day, I can probably make it through the park in three hours to get back into civilization of some kind, in as much as you can say that part of NY is all that civilized at all.

Rumor has it that some country singer (Shania Twain?) lives in the park somewhere, but I'd never tell, nor do I care. Truth be told, I would love to be able to go back to Potsdam. That part of the country is filled with natural beauty, despite it being rather desolate. It's a fun place to visit, unless you go in the dead of winter, then it's just plain cold and blustery for my liking. I would much rather forget the ever so distant memories of fifty below zero, down coats, gloves and mittens, Timberland boots with insulation, and mind numbingly cold evenings. Still, college was all the much fun. I mean, we were stuck there and we made the best of it.

In college, I was rather popular. Being one of about 50 women in an almost all-male engineering school tends to do that to you. Translation: I used to date a lot. I'm not saying the dates themselves were all that much fun, but the social interaction was, at times, a blast. I had a lot of really good, close friends in college, some of which I didn't even get around to dating and some of which I enjoyed the company of so much I refused to even consider dating at all. I pratically lived with about ten guys at various times, enjoyed myself fully, have fond memories, and miss some of what Potsdam had to offer.

But you can still keep all the cold.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.


Thursday, March 18, 2004

Ah the Sweet Smell of Seaweed in the Morning

One of the comments on my recent web log entry was about my longing for the ocean. To paraphrase, it said, "it could be worse, you could smell seaweed." I suppose that's true. I really need to start looking on the bright side of life more often I guess. I have to remember my quote for the week, "things are the way they are because they got that way." So true, it is. I'm going to stop wondering why things are the way they are and start enjoying life more than ever. Today's web log will be filled with the mundane. No more longing for a distant shore for me, time to start enjoying the backyard.

I have to stop at Home Depot on the way home from work and get a few items. That and I need groceries. We're almost out of coke at work and too coffee creamer. While these items may sound mundane to the likes of you, together they become quite alarming.

What if there's no caffeine in my office tomorrow? What if I don't have enough money for a coke from the vending machine and I can't drink coffee without cream? What will become of me. Oh the horror!

It's true, I don't usually blog about events at work, but this one is special. Without caffeine, you see, I simply cannot function. It's like death that you walk through (or sort of walk, stumble actually, well maybe kind of crawl or something.) Kind of like going through a drive-thru Hell without a car. Yeah, that's it. Without coke or coffee, the situation is very grim indeed. This is an emergency situation here. I mean, it's not like the network's down. Crap, I can't even use a NOTEPAD without caffeine, ok? A pen? Nah, that's way too complicated a device. Trying to muster enough energy to do anything will become impossible. It will be kind of like my entire universe taking a bath in molasses. No, no, no, this is far worse an emergency and has far reaching ramifications that I would stop and think about if I weren't in such a panic to run out and get myself some caffeinated something before my mind implodes.

Oh the horror! This is worse than watching a bad B-movie without the benefit of the mystery science fiction puppets. Gasp! If I don't get some coke soon, I'm going to have to free base and, well, the site of me with brown fluid coming out my left nostril will not be pretty, I tell you. I'm off! Off to make the world safe for democracy, off to marry a rich man, off to invent a cure for cancer, off my rocker, off to get myself some caffeine before the meldown.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off, running out, and getting caffeine.





Wednesday, March 17, 2004

It's a Nagging Longing

It's a distant feeling that sometime, somewhere, somehow, things were better. It's that feeling they must have gotten many years ago, sipping tea on the starboard side of the titanic; totally oblivious to the impending iceberg but yet somehow possibly knowing, a gut feel swelling from within. Maybe it's a longing for a better day, a better place, a harbor in the face of a tempest, that sort of thing. Lately I've been fostering a longing, restless feeling and it's been somewhat naggingly everpresent.

Today my thoughts seem to have drifted to the ocean. I can almost envision the blue swells of water crashing onto the sandy shore. When I was a child, I lived near the ocean. On a windy day, you could smell the salt; it's that brackish scent that has embedded itself into my consciousness. I used to sit by the ocean, watch the waves tumble into the sea, and wonder about points afar. It's been many years since I've seen the ocean, but it's still clear in my memory. In the late nineteen sixties, the Beatles were popular. I can remember sitting by the coast wondering what England was like, envisioning some far away place where everybody had mop top hairdos, go-go boots, and sung songs about holding hands. With small black taxis, it's own financial district, and red "tele" booths littered about the place, I thought it would be quite strange to one day stroll down Bond Street. When it finally happened, it felt like a dream, like some out of body experience. Now it seems it's been years since I've been. The memory is vivid, both of the longing, the ocean, and my thoughts, and less so the actualization of the enactment. Bond Street, like so many other foolish notions, was rather anticlimactic.

When I grow old, I imagine sitting in a rocking chair and conversing. When asked, "where have you been?" my response will be, "I have been many places. I have traveled the world from the confines of my own imagination. That and, I went to NY once. It's never cool to go to NY, but they have many cold drinks there." Indeed, many cold drinks. I have born witness to the ice chests and the street vendors, who too walk along the ocean, possibly wondering; thoughts drifting to the other side and points afar. It's something I hope they never have to see.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Content is King

If it's true what they say, "Content is king" when dealing with the web and digital media, I was wondering how to reconcile the recent popularity of the "free music download." Today, George Micheal announced that he will no longer be charging for music and that all his hits, misses, and almosts will be available on the web for downloading, free of charge. This got me to thinking...why is it that music seems to be the only artistic medium that appears to be struggling with the concept of on-line publishing and the mechanism by which royalties can be counted?

If you look at books, artwork, or any other media, the digital revolution does not seem to have impacted any of the mechanisms for providing payment to artists or creators. Rather it appears to be the opposite in many cases; folks who provide the content are making it rich when their websites are feeding a now larger audience. Authors are make more money while consumers are going to their web sites, no longer satisfied with just reading and owning the book, no, they want the T-shirt and, in some cases, are even willing to pay a website for "exclusive content" so they can gain insite into the author's mind and take a peek at new or unpublished works.

I think there exists a cultural difference in the music camp. Most folks who own books are proud of their collections. Sure, we have free books available in libraries all around the country but folks who read, and I mean really read, usually have masses of books in their own homes. It's not good enough for them to be able to peek at a book down the street for free at a library or in a glass cases; even download it for free, no they would rather own it entirely, so they can show it off. We take a certain amount of pride in ownership of artwork too. Having looked at a piece of artwork in a gallery pales in comparision with owning an original and hanging it above your couch, for example. So, this leads me to ask, what is it about music that they can't seem to catch on in the same way. What happened to the folks who had large music collections and took pride in ownership of music?

The younger generation seems to have taken offense with the very word "ownership" as if amassing a collection of music cannot allow one to "own" anything at all. The current reasoning is that music cannot be owned any more than it cannot be copyright protected. It's just not socially acceptable for younger folks to even contemplate owning music, rather they connect into an endless stream of continually availalbe music feeds, which are inherently free. Their mindset provides for no ownership of that which should be free.

I don't think there will be any resolution to the current on-line publication wars until these semantic and philosophical difference are addressed. Sure record companies think they "own" music because they are the ones taking the risk on the artists so, in their mindset, they should be the ones to reap the rewards. They feel they have earned their residual incomes, and take offense if any youngblood coming in and trying to milk their cash cows. Meanwhile, the young folks feel that anybody cashing in on this new "revolutionary" tool is a "sell out" and not warranted of their time. There has to exist some sort of common ground, coupled with a philosophical shift, before any resolution will take place. Sure the kings of industry can try to bog down the courts with criminal cases, but this won't produce consistent results, not with the propensity of downloads available. And the young folks can continue to fight "the good fight" as they see it but time is not on their side. Eventually they will tire of the endless chatter, the lack of selection, and just grow bored, moving onto video games, software, or some other pirated item. But where is the artist in all of this? Any why hasn't music learne it's lesson from other art, embracing the real king as being the content, not the messenger?

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Personal, Hidden, and Interesting

My personal music collection has grown and is dire need of a new home. Trouble is my living room has very limited wall space. I had been thinking about getting some kind of a wall cabinet, but most only hold about 200 or so CD's. I believe my collection now totals in the neighborhood of 800 or so. So, I've been on the lookout for a better type of storage system, but one which is sort of "hidden" so that I can tuck it away in the dining room or a spare bedroom.

Another interesting factoid about my music collection is that I have several friends also housing large CD/DVD collections. I've a good friend who has about 1200 CDs. Interesting concept is that, if you combined all of our CDs into one big pile, apart from the fact that you would have one massively big pile, you would notice very little overlap. I believe we both have a somewhat rare Buzzcocks CD and a few other misnomers but there are very few CDs that are contained in both collections. You would think that, if you assembled a pile over 2000 CDs there would be two Brittney Spears, two Abby Roads, two Laylas, two Sticky Fingers, two whatevers. But you'd be wrong. We actually have quite divergent collections. And you would probably never have guessed that we'd have the same Buzzcocks CD. Just wouldn't calculate, it's unexpected, but factual.

I used to think that, over time, my music collection would grow and change. I used to hold onto the sentimental notion that music was important in my life and that it would always play a primary role. Lately it seems like most folks find a lack of new, interesting, engaging music. A common complaint we share is that "there's nothing interesting happening in music." While I suppose you could say that's true, there's also a lot of more underground type stuff that's not only interesting, different, fresh and new, it's actually vibrant. What's happening though is the distribution channels rely on the same old stand-bys. There's lots of Tori Amos', Norah Jones', Josh Grobin's, etc. out there but the music stores, video channels, and media seems to push the same old Brittney Spears (and the like) crowds. It's become up to us to find the good stuff. It's gone back to the days of music fans being like diamond miners; we have to shift through a lot of coal to get to "the good stuff" but it is, indeed, out there somewhere. Kind of like the old X Files motto: the truth is out there. The "good stuff" is out there, we just have to hunt and peck and hope the radio catches on.

With SXSW coming up, I'm certain Austin will bring lots of music that isn't even on the radar yet. It's just weighted more on the listener to scratch beneath the surface and seek out the unusual.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

It's All About the Archives Opening New Doors

Lately, I've been seeing these Iron Mountain trucks roaming about town. I don't know why or how but, in the past few days, I have encountered at least six of them over the course of the day. I actually saw one leaving a supermarket but I won't even go into that other then to mention it in passing, seeing as I find it so odd it may spur an entire unpleasant chain of events. Sometimes, what's the most odd in life is indeed best left un-blogged (if you will permit me to use such a word, and I know you will, seeing as this is my little world and all.)

Iron Mountain conjures up images of men in armor sitting atop boulders and flagpoles marking off international boundaries. The entire concept is a bit odd to me actually. I mean, you take your data, off-load it onto some CD or tape (backup type system) and then you give it to some guy who will bury it in the bowels of some distant Iron mountain. Just seems a bit odd to me. I mean, why not just keep it in your desk like everybody else? We all work in secure buildings, right? What ever happened to the back closet? And just how exactly do you get data back out of this distant, possibly non-existant Iron Mountain, or is it indeed a one way ticket into oblivion?

Now, I know what you are thinking. The events of September 11th should have changed me and I should more easily spot the errors in my ways. Security is now of utmost importance in our society, what with identity theft running rampant and terrorists living among us. But my point is this: if terrorists wanted to invade, I mean really invade, do you actually think they will break into my desk and take my code? Doesn't something first have to have some value in order for it to be worth stealing? Or would it be enjoyable enough to some distant villian that they would revel in the thought of disrupting my daily activities by taking the floppies out of my top desk drawer? The mind boggles at the mere thought of this. (Not to mention, the fact that I still have floppies in my desk.)

Just stop and think about what's in all of those distant Iron Mountain archives. Secret receipes for Coke could be alongside guidance instructions for Patriot Missles. Wal-Mart cash register recepits could be near Mellon stock certificates. Hundreds of millions of bit and bytes squirreled away safe and sound, just waiting for a future generation, a computer glitch, or a distant exective to cry out, "but, I need that!" in order to get resurrected back from oblivion. All this and more, hidden deep in the confines of the great Iron Mountain.

Yesterday, as I was arriving home, after passing the sixth great Iron Mountain truck, I waved to my neighbor who was "riding shotgun" to my local polling place. Yesterday, if you recall, was election day and my neighbor is a police officer who happened to volunteer so he was, quite literally "riding shotgun." He stopped to wave at me even though he was carrying a rather large, frightening looking weapon over his shoulder. In Texas, you see, they have peace officers ride along with the ballot boxes back to the county seat for proper counting and certification. Kind of like my own local version of an Iron Mountain, if you will.

Either way, I'd hate to be the guy who opens the door.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Bareneekid Ladies and Music, Music, Music

Almost forgot, the Barenaked Ladies concert at the Backyard is almost sold-out. You just gotta love a band who writes a song about getting too many postcards of chimpanzees. I mean, how creative is that?

And this from the band who brought us the tender ballad of a window-washer for a high-rise entitled, "When I fall..."

It's Almost SXSW Time

If you go to the blogger.com home page, you will see a blurb about the Blogger folks coming to Texas for SXSW. They are planning on having some event a Club De Ville during the great yearly festival.

I always think of SXSW as a music festival and nothing more. I've forgotten that the film aspect of it is becoming almost larger than the music and that the interactive festival is catching on as well. Once upon a time, a few years ago, I was invited to attend the interactive festival. In fact, they were encouraging me to come. They were actually calling my phone and doing everything short of begging me to come. My how times change. Now they don't even want me or my kind at the interactive festival. No, they would prefer web rats with blue hair who can ride electric skooters around the place while wearing excessively baggy pants and overly dark mascara. They want folks who use words like l8tr to complete sentences in their IM devices at this year's conference. Yes, that's who they want most, not the likes of me. But still, it's fun to remember the good old days, even if they weren't all that good, it wasn't all that long ago, and they lasted scarcely past a day.

I'm still a bit miffed at blogger today because yesterday it ate my blogger entry. It seldom does this, so I shouldn't stay all too angry with it, but yesterday really got me. It's my own fault I suppose. I tried to load another page without clicking on the little browser button to open up a new window. When I hit [back], I ended up back at the blogger "New Post" page by all of my content was gone. Erased and dumped into the giant bit bucket in the sky. It wasn't even that good of an entry, rather it just kind of pissed me off because it went away so easily without saying a proper goodbye.

Speaking of proper goodbyes, I believe I shall post this before it gets eaten again, and then I have to contend with your angry emails protesting the lack of new postings on my weblog. Man, I really hate that.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.



Friday, March 05, 2004

It's the Down-side of the Up-side

Amidst all this harping about my lack of images on my otherwise image-obsessed web log, I received an email from England the other day, from my cousin who shares my first initial and last name. Besides the fact that it's rather strange getting an email from yourself with a .uk extension, my cousin noted that he has some photographs of me from when I was about 10 years old. Finding this kind of peculiar, I started to think about the downside to the web: Family Photos.

Sure, it's great getting to converse with otherwise long lost friends and family. The web enables us to "chat" from thousands of miles pretty much free of charge. But image poor saps like Britney Spears who are constantly bombared with images of themselves from their "early years." I would imagine some folks would much prefer to have such images locked into a trunk rather than spread about the web, much like a commonplace virus. It's "the trunk factor" as I like to call it. So the web gives us all this really great information, some of which would be better locked in a trunk and forgotten for all eternity. Not that I mind old photographs of myself surfacing, but it just got me thinking. One of the things I could post on here is old family photographs and the like. It would be kind of interesting and provide a totally different context.

We tend to think of ourselves in the present tense, our lives are these sort of linear progressions that keep moving forward, despite our best attempt at keeping memories or "well stocked trunks" littering about the place. As a photographer, I have a definate propensity towards fine art photography, almost at the cost of all that which is documentarian. But, as any true photographer knows, we cannot really separate the two. That which is art does document and that which documents is art, even given the circumstance that the same image may make "good" at one bearing the cost of the other. Despite this fact, I as a photographer, love to hone in on the artistic facet of the experience, even at the cost of the documentary, but that doesn't mean I'm not documenting the world around me as I see it. It's true, in fact, I have a record of people, places, pasts, memories, and the like, which in some ironic twist of fate, is in fact infinitely entwined with my body of artwork. To separate the two would destroy both, I suppose.

So, I suppose, in true artistic spirit, the down-side and the up-side are one in the same and we should all be thankful for the technology that supplies both of them.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Monday, March 01, 2004

It's All About the Photography

So I've been thinking as of late that I would really like to add some photography to this site. I don't know why I have so much photography and haven't added any at all to my site. Actually, I do. It boils down to laziness and my fondness for all things neat and easy.

Now, I know that you can ftp blogger entries back to your own site, and I know that you can create pictures on your own site, and I know about sites like tripod, where you can upload pictures. But I keep wanting to do something bigger something better, something like "wow!" that would make folks stand up and take notice of it. This is turn, feeds my laziness, which then makes me avoid the topic all that much more (please note prior web log entries concerning ostrich.) So, now I have to ask, what do I want. (Kind of like the old Spice Girls song, "tell me what you want, what you really really want," I guess.)

I really want to be able to post some photos to the web to allow for on-line critiques. I really want to be able to easily index my photography work, so that I can easily find it, and easily draw it up, and pull it up, and reprint it on demand. I really want a mac with a delux scanner, printer, etc. so I can have a full digital darkroom, which I can use to make prints on demand. I really want a cabana boy who knows how to matte and frame artwork (ok, ok, I can do without that last one.)

What I really need to do is come up with some kind of a plan to make this all happen. I really want to find a website to host this mess that would allow me easy access. Ken has suggested this site and I may check them out for starters. I have to start doing something, because I'm really wanting to put pics on the web. And I really should. Not to "toot my own horn" or anything, but I have some cool photos to share. Seems silly to relegate myself to text-only when I'm such an artist at heart, doesn't it?

So please, stay tuned. And keep those suggestions coming.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.