Sunday, 21 December 2008
Thursday, 18 December 2008
Monday, 15 December 2008
And this shows that he still needs a shoe to the head.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Top Five Albums of the Year (in no particular order):
- Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
- TV on the Radio - Dear Science
- Santogold - Santogold
- Portishead - Third (I know its just more of the same, but i reckon its still pretty good)
- Bloc Party - Intimacy
Album that made me (for a fleeting moment) not hate hip hop for the uncreative, self-contratulatory wank-fest that it has become :
- Viktor Vaughn - Vaudeville Villain (I know, its old, but it still sounds fresh)
Albums that got me all excited with the first few listens, but then aged like a Hypercolor t-shirt (badly) :
- The Kills - Midnight Boom
- Yeasayer - All hour cymbals
- MGMT - Oracle Spectacular (apparently this was releasd last year actually)
Albums that dont deserve to have ever been distributed this year, perhaps ever (even on CD, and i hate CD's!)
- The Fuck Buttons - Street Horrrsing or whatever stupid hipster name they gave it
- Any song ever ruined by Mark Ronson (have you heard that guy speak? Ugh!)
Albums that i havent heard enough of to love yet, but will love in due course :
- Hercules and Love Affair
Full 'best of' list coming soon...
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Here are the 20 tracks I've listened to the most in the past 12 months per Last.FM
1 Alaska In Winter – The Homeless and the Hummingbirds 16
2 Bon Iver – Skinny Love 14
3 Bon Iver – The Wolves (Act I and II) 13
4 Bon Iver – Blindsided 12
4 Tobacco – Dirt (featuring Aesop Rock) 12
6 Bon Iver – Team 11
6 Bon Iver – Lump Sum 11
6 Bon Iver – Creature Fear 11
6 Bat For Lashes – I'm on Fire 11
6 Tokyo Police Club – Tessellate (Remix By Tom Campesinos!) 11
11 Bon Iver – For Emma 10
11 Bon Iver – Flume 10
11 Yeasayer – 2080 10
14 Thurston Moore – Honest James 9
14 M. Ward – Post-War 9
14 Okkervil River – Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe 9
14 M. Ward – Chinese Translation 9
14 The Arcade Fire – Neighborhood #2 9
14 LCD Soundsystem – North American Scum 9
20 Dr. Dog – The Ark
1 Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago 100
2 Tobacco – Fucked Up Friends 74
3 Eagles of Death Metal – Peace Love Death Metal 70
4 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Show Your Bones 66
5 Tinariwen – Aman Iman: Water Is Life 65
6 TV on the Radio – Dear Science 63
7 Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga 54
7 The Raconteurs – Consolers Of The Lonely 54
9 Yeasayer – All Hour Cymbals 53
10 The Dø – A Mouthful 51
But that's not quite an accurate reflection, as they don't show what I've been listeneing to on CD. My favorites this year:
1. Nick Cave - Dig Lazarus Dig!!
2. Bon Iver - From Emma, for ever ago
3. Tobacco - Fucked up friends
4. The Kills - Midnight Boom
5. TVOTR - Dear Science
6. Stax Records - 50th Anniversary Compilation
7. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
8. Mojo's New sound of blues and soul (just a cheap freebie with a mag, but damn it's good)
9. Calexico - Carried to Dust
10. Joan as a policewoman - Honor my wishes
These are 2007 records which I only discovered this year and have been sufficiently overplaying:
Thurston Moore - Trees outside the acadamy
Bill Callahan - Woke on a whaleheart
Tinarawen - Aman Iman
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Monday, 8 December 2008
So once again here's Time's list of best albums. They really are not a mag who I would expect to come up with good music recommendations, but I think that makes me more interested in their choices. Lil Wayne takes top spot (is this album really that good and why haven't i heard it?) beating TVOTR (taken me a while but I'm loving the new album). Strange inclusions from Metallica (wtf!?) and Girl Talk (it's just 2manydjs using american frat party music). Portishead is in their as well, but i still don't get the attraction of the latest album.
Also this article under the most underreported stories is amusing, and there are some great inclusions in teh best photos of the year.
For a more credible and extensive list on the music side, the amazon's editors top 100 is pretty good, although obviously very american.
On a completely different note, here's a random story that I think may interest some of you on how the consumer downturn in america has affected the price of recyclables just as it has done other commodities.
Friday, 5 December 2008
So now I have a chance to blog, and as always share some random articles that I've come across.
Some of you may have heard that in a couple of years you're gonna need a set top box (basically a decoder) to watch any tv (even SABC) in South Africa. This is because in line with the direction the rest of the world is taking, we're moving to a complete digital format. There are many reasons including greater language coverage, freeing up of spectrum for telecoms services and developing the electronic manufacturing sector. There's also a lot of critisism for the project. Basically it's an ambitious project that will affect most people in SA, so if you're interested read more here
In the global financial world there are more and more people predicting that the US is gonna have to take on too much debt to fund all these rescue packages, and ultimately the economy will falter. See here.
Following on Phil's article on Pitchfork, I was reading this review for Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit. Sounds interesting, there's a BLK JKS collaboration, and the album is a free download.
When I get home I expect these albums to be waiting for me in the post:
And finally a shameless plug. For those living in Jozi my sister has just opened a gift store with some rad xmas gifts. See the article in the times. It's in the Park centre on Jan Smuts in Parkwood. Park cafe next to them also serves great coffee.
The Findi's up but the Alsi's down. The world is not coming to an end, only the mining sector and a couple of hedge funds.
Have a great weekend y'all
You prolly saw on Pitchfork already, but this year's Grammy nominees are actually worth taking an interest in...
Like the article says: "Yes, Lil Wayne and Radiohead are competing for Album of the Year. Please dear god, let those two pair up for one of those collaborative medley things that the Grammys always do. Please!".
Thursday, 4 December 2008
...and Crystal Stilts.
I can't get onto MySpace at work to link you to their pages. So go do it yourself.
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
I'm having a sick day today, so spent quite a bit of time reading articles on the internet...... just like i would do on a work day.... anyways amongst my reads I came across this article quoting Jeremy on the state of telecoms so thought it was worth a post. Now I wonder if Mrs MacDonald frequents this site often enough to see the post....?
So you think you are on the ball?
You think you can count accurately?
That you are aware of what is happening around you?
That you always see the bigger picture....
If this link doesn't work as this is the first time I'm trying to post a video - just google: Awareness video on you tube.
It is all about CHANGE.
You need to be aware of everything that is happening around you.
It means looking at life from a different angle in order to expand your horizons.
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
An inconvenient truth
WHEN Water Affairs and Forestry Minister Lindiwe Hendricks said in Parliament this year that SA was not facing a water crisis, we believed her. We had to. The electricity crisis had brought the country to the brink of economic disaster, and no one was in the mood for any more doom and gloom.
But now a hard-hitting paper outlining just how critical SA’s water situation is has been banned from being delivered, and its author, Anthony Turton, an internationally respected political scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has been suspended and charged with insubordination.
Read the rest of the article here
Although more drastic than previous reports, this is not new. The report below was published in Sept in Engineering News:
Gauteng may face 2013 water crunch, top official admits
Accelerated infrastructural planning is under way by the Departmentof Water Affairs and Forestry (Dwaf) to supplement water supply to the Vaal dam, and failure to do so will result in a water shortage in Gauteng by 2013.
Dwaf director-general Pam Yako says, “Unless we do something about the current growth trends and needs, we are going to have a water shortage by 2013.”
This is disconcerting, given that the Vaal dam supplies water not only to Gauteng and the mines in Mpumalanga and the North West province, but also supplies the bulk of Eskom’s power stations.
The necessary planning is taking place and feasibility studies are being finalised for possible projects. The department is also considering upgrading a phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, or sourcing water from the Tugela river, in KwaZulu-Natal.
“We are looking at this issue very seriously. “But, even with the fastest implementation, these [projects] will only be ready by 2019. We need to do something for the next six years,” says Yako.
She says that, unlike electricity, there is no national grid for water, but rather a dependence on regional schemes.
Currently, there are 6,9-million people without access to adequate water in the country. “What do we do to make sure that community needs are balanced with economic needs?”
One of the challenges in South Africa is unlawful irrigation. In the Vaal area alone, illegal water abstraction accounts for losses equivalent to 100 ℓ/m for every household.
“We urgently need to [plug] the leak in this system,” says Yako, adding that the department has not been strong on compliance, monitoring and enforcement, but that it will “step up” efforts to deal with these challenges.
“It will take a long time to get new infrastructure of the magnitude and scale that we are talking about, and conservation and demand management are critical going forward, together with reviewing irrigation technology practices.”
While the majority of South Africans are supplied with safe drinking water in the larger towns and cities, a lack of technical expertise and inadequate treatment infrastructure has resulted in poor drinking water quality challenges, inadequate investment in operation and maintenance infrastructure and sustainability of current infrastructure.
Meanwhile, 94% of municipalities are monitoring water quality and also reporting this to Dwaf; municipalities continue to be challenged by a lack of investment in maintenance and rehabilitation of water services.
Dwaf technical regulation deputy director Leonardo Manus says that all available indicators show that the vast majority of South Africans are enjoying safe tap water, but failure, though not exclusively, occurs in smaller towns and rural areas.
“These challenges are being addressed by constantly applying regulatory pressure on municipalities to rectify and improve where and when required,” he says.
Dwaf and the Department of Provincial and Local Government are investigating the possibility of placing water services functions under their administration.
“This is a controversial issue. Municipalities have a constitutional responsibility, and we have a responsibility to monitor and regulate, and we will be playing this regulatory role more [rigorously]. The process of intervention is not as easy as it should be, because one has to deal with an independent sphere of government. There is a process to follow, and I think the debate on how we deal with the new dispensation, roles and functions between municipalities and national government is one of the issues to look at, especially where there is seriously no capacity,” she says.
As a result, Dwaf will be “beefing up” its regional offices to improve its support for municipalities. Yako suggests that the National Treasury should look at the possibility of incentivising municipal asset management.
The Cape Town, eThekwini, Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela municipalities have been identified as key cities requiring urgent water conservation and demand management attention.
“There are enough water resources, but there is a big need to address some of the challenges, such as pollution, illegal water abstraction and contamination. We need to institute water conservation and demand management in many parts of the country, where the demand is more urgent,” says Yako.
Dwaf national water resources deputy director-general Dr Cor-nelius Ruiters says that the general state of wastewater infrastructure is a cause for concern, with the general status of water treatment infrastructure varying from world class to extremely neglected.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Sunday, 16 November 2008
Saturday, 15 November 2008
Um... It is just me, or is this a little strange? Private funding for government functions? I don't get it.
Obama Transition Team Adopts Ethics Rules
WASHINGTON -- A top adviser to President-elect Barack Obama said Tuesday that the transition team would raise about $7 million to cover its costs, supplementing $5 million in government funds, but would reject donations from lobbyists or corporations and rely instead on the same pool of small donors who helped propel the Democrat to victory.
“We’ll raise all that money from individuals,” said John D. Podesta, who is a co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s transition team. “There’s a $5,000 limit on those contributions.”
In his remarks to a packed briefing room in the temporary transition offices here, Mr. Podesta, a former of chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, seemed intent on striking a tone of brisk efficiency and in advertising what he insisted would be historically high standards.
Under the rules announced by Mr. Podesta, federal lobbyists will not be allowed to raise money for the transition, nor continue lobbying while working in the transition. In addition, he said that someone who became a lobbyist after being involved in the transition would be prohibited from lobbying the administration on related matters for 12 months.
“These are the strictest ethics rules ever applied,” he said.
Mr. Podesta also vowed that the new administration would move “very aggressively and very rapidly” to address the country’s energy challenges, shifting American factories and consumers toward cleaner sources of power while creating more jobs.
Mr. Obama’s first priority was “to stabilize the economy and put America back to work,” he said.
Reiterating what Mr. Obama said at a news conference last week, Mr. Podesta said that if Congress did not pass an economic stimulus package in a lame-duck session next week that was announced on Tuesday, it would be “the first item of business after he is inaugurated.”
He confirmed reports that the transition team was reviewing options for closing the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, but provided no details.
Mr. Podesta also said that Mr. Obama had no plans to meet with any of the world leaders coming to Washington this weekend to take part in a financial summit meeting — “either here or in Chicago,” where Mr. Obama is spending most of his time for now.
He described a brisk pace for some transition actions, noting, for example, that fact-finding teams would review more than 100 agencies and commissions starting next week to aid in decisions on budget, personnel and policy.
He said that Mr. Obama wanted to expand on the practice of some presidents of selecting one cabinet member from the opposition party, but that whoever was chosen, it was rare for any cabinet members to be named before December.
“At a moment when we face the most serious challenges of a lifetime,” said Mr. Podesta, referring to the ailing economy. “President-elect Obama wants to assure that we hit the ground running on Jan. 20, because we don’t have a moment to lose.”
While new administrations almost always promise to hew to strict ethical standards, Mr. Podesta’s language was particularly strong as he promised “the strictest, most far-reaching ethics rules of any transition team in history.”He said about 450 people would be hired to undertake the work of preparing for the new administration, promising a transition “that is efficient, that is organized, that is bipartisan, and more open and transparent than others before.”
Thursday, 13 November 2008
Monday, 10 November 2008
Friday, 7 November 2008
"Indeed, the situation for retailers is so dire that it is creating opportunity for any consumers in a mood to spend money. Seven weeks before Christmas, stores are offering eye-catching bargains as they struggle to move merchandise.
“This is the year the consumer has been given a holiday gift beyond belief,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for NPD Group. “You can get anything, anywhere, at any price.”
Malls are papered with sale signs, some seven feet tall and obscuring storefronts. New merchandise is being marked down before it even hits the sales floor. Stores are extending their hours and offering the kinds of deals — “doorbusters” — that are usually reserved for the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday.
Kohl’s will stay open until midnight this Friday and offer an array of doorbusters, such as $250 diamond earrings for $77.99. Kmart is offering “early Black Friday” deals on Sundays, such as a Sylvania 32-inch LCD television for $439.99, instead of the usual $549.99.
Even Wal-Mart, whose sales at stores open at least a year were up 2.4 percent in October, began a big discount program on Thursday, lowering prices on thousands of food and gift items. It is cutting the price of a Magnavox Blu-ray player to $198 from $229, and of the Battleship board game to $10 from $14.38"
From the NYT.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
As the Economist clearly demonstrates, Florida housewives are why McCain still has a chance.
Monday, 27 October 2008
Friday, 24 October 2008
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
I wish I had some informed, interesting current affairs bit to share, but really this is just about the little 10km run we did over a week ago (I incite the 27th amendment: thou need not function in turbulent times) as my excuse for the delay...
Anyway, Paula and I joined forces with my family's rather eclectic running group and headed out to arniston last weekend to take part in Die Voet van Afrika in Bredasdorp. Arniston is gorgeous and the run was, can you believe it, fun. So here are some of the pics. Needless to say, I was slow, everyone else did pretty well but we all finished and felt good afterwards and the next day - my criteria satisfied :)
Paula, Rebecca and me - enjoying the tablespoon of coca cola after our run through the mountain farms in bredasdorpArniston fishing cottages in the village
Our house :) Whales in the bay all day, all weekend! (That is Seboko on the balcony)
The cave (Grot) - amazing!
OK, that is all I have today... Only two months to go before school is out for summer!! Crazy and busy. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the wedding!
Monday, 13 October 2008
Friday, 10 October 2008
See, as i understand it, the banks here do fine (Westpac is run by a Soufefriken woman, so why wouldn't it do fine?), and they don't lend money as easily as the States, so surely the AUD should be doing better than most? MC K-Rudd and DJ Swanney keep rapping to us about how the Aussie economy is doing better than most, but we seem to be doing KAK in relation to pretty much every other currency (most importantly for me, the Yen and the USD). I'm just a simple engineer, but it escapes me why the American dollar would be doing better than the Aussie dollar if their shitty banking system and under regulated finance sector was the one that fucked up in the first place? We have an analyst, an economist, some lawyers and an MBA grad (almost!) among us, can someone please explain? No words longer than 8 letters allowed, and nothing that could be classed as 'finance jargon'.
'Aw fack Bruce! Look at it! The fackin' dollar just died in the arse again! There goes Gregs holiday down the fackin' tubes! 'Strewth!'
Thursday, 9 October 2008
The devil made me do it, says lone viewer of Hansie movie
BLOEMFONTEIN. The only person known to have paid money to see Hansie: The Movie says he was tricked by Satan. Hempies Smit, 28, of Brakpan, says he had no intention seeing the film about former cricket captain Hansie Cronje, but was overcome by demonic forces at the box office. Smit is believed to have seen the entire film and is currently in a critical but stable condition.
Speaking to journalists from his bed at the Gé Korsten Memorial Hospital in Bloemfontein where he is being treated for severe nausea and diarrhea brought on by prolonged exposure to the film, Smit said that he had gone to the cinema intending to watch something else, but that "dark forces" had made him buy a ticket to Hansie.
"The lady behind the counter went a bit pale, which was hectic because she was Sesotho, and she asked me if I was sure because nobody else in the country has paid their own money to see it," recalled Smit.
Describing the film as "diabolical" he confirmed that its tagline – "How do you start over once you've betrayed a nation's trust?" – was in fact a reference to Cronje's deception and not, as widely believed, a reference to the film's scriptwriter and director.
Smit said that he was still somewhat disoriented by the experience, but remembered being simultaneously overwhelmed by "intense boredom and an urgent need to run away". However, he said, he had remained in his seat "because by that stage Beelzebub was calling the shots".
However Smit said he was trying to remain positive about the ordeal.
"Look, it's a solid film, for a movie made to exonerate a deceased icon by his brother targeting a straight-to-DVD market in rural South Africa," said Smit. "To be fair there were only a handful of weak aspects."
He said that these had included the script, the directing, the camera work, the acting, and lighting and the editing.
"But for the rest it was fine," he said.
He had special praise for Sarah Thompson, the American actress who plays Cronje's Afrikaans wife Bertha, saying that Thompson had brought "genuine nuance to the role with her American German Cockney impression of Keira Knightley sitting on a carrot".
He said the film's other actresses had not had a chance to shine as their roles were limited to walking into the kitchen to prepare food for the men, or walking out of the kitchen having prepared food for the men.
Meanwhile the film's distributors have confirmed that Grey College in Bloemfontein has bought a print and will be showing it non-stop to its pupils for the next 300 years to remind them that nothing is wrong as long as you're forgiven by adolescent boys at your old high school.
... to see pretty pictures like this....
...and funny pictures like this...
Incidently the drunk guy is Zander Bloem who is well known for making this....
... which sorta looks like my i-net screen for the past few days. Which in turn is sorta why I'm avoiding work to put up very random posts like this one.
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
And before Phil gets excited, yes,i did reactivate my Facekak account, but its for a good cause (a fundraising thing, i'll explain when it gets sorted) and it only TEMPORARY. Facebook is after all a social crutch for people with nothing better to do with their time. HOLLAH!
God bless you all,
Monday, 6 October 2008
Thursday, 2 October 2008
She's debating Biden tonight. Wish I could stay up that late to watch. Will be fine entertainment.
Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Monday, 29 September 2008
This is pretty cool.
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Watch CBS Videos Online
Watch CBS Videos Online
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Fine. But then why have only 11 ministers tendered their resignations? Surely, if it is just protocol, the whole cabinet should do so at the same time?
All 11 have said they will be available to help with a smooth transition to the new administration, and serve in it if asked to do so. Methinks Kgalema will ask them to do so. But if he doesn't the ANC needs to find replacements. There's no way in hell the ANC has candidates ready to go in each position, least of all minister and deputy minister of Finance.
The announcement came at around 12.30pm today. Check what happened to the JSE (top) and the rand-dollar exchange rate (bottom) right afterwards...!
Ya ok the JSE tracked back once people heard they would be available to work under the new President. But that whole 'it's just procedural' argument isn't 100% clear to me. And if it isn't quite true, the JSE might be ignoring what a half-empty cabinet under a new acting president really means for the next six or seven months.
Thanks be to Allah that the rest of the world has worse stuff to worry about right now than our political shenanigans. Let's hope it remains as such until we sort it all out.
Friday, 19 September 2008
"Some Democrats have been shocked to discover McCain is serious about winning. They assumed he understood this was a Democratic year and would go honourably through the motions like Senator Bob Dole in 1996. Wrong.
"McCain did not have to wait for pointy-heads at Yale and Duke to tell him how far he and Palin could push the envelope veracity-wise. They are knife fighters who will stab with populist one-liners, against which honest paragraphs will be no match in Pennsylvania’s Deer Hunter country, where the race may well be won or lost."
Thursday, 18 September 2008
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
I only ask because apparently you can still pursue a career at Lehman Brothers!
Admittedly they have put a little blurb on their front page: "As Previously Announced, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Filed Chapter 11; No Other U.S. Subsidiary or Affiliate, Including Its Broker-Dealer and Investment Management Subsidiaries, Was Included in the Filing."
Right next to: "Lehman Brothers, an innovator in global finance, serves the financial needs of corporations, governments and municipalities, institutional clients, and high net worth individuals worldwide. We maintain leadership positions in equity and fixed income sales, trading and research, investment banking and investment management."
It really is great/scary/amazing how quickly things go south. According to their "Who We Are" page, in 2007 Lehman's was ranked "#1 'Most Admired Securities Firm' by Fortune. Achieved record net revenues, net income and earnings per common share (diluted) for the fourth consecutive year based on record results in all three business segments." They also achieved "record net revenues, net income and earnings per share for the third consecutive year based on record results across all business segments and regions" in 2006.
They even created, in 2007, "the Lehman Brothers Center for Global Finance and Economic Development at Spelman College, the #1 ranked institution among historically black colleges and universities by U.S. News & World Report ...... and the Council on Climate Change to bring together leaders from industry, policy and academia to facilitate constructive dialogue regarding climate change policy formulation and its impact on business."
Shame. It's all gone poof now.
Merrill Lynch was also bought by BoA yesterday for 50 billion - all stock deal. I have two questions. Where does BoA get 50 billion from in this environment? And why the hell do it all in stocks? If Merill needed a buyer quick quick, surely safe money says their stock is going to keep drowning in all that bad debt they bought (along with Bear Stearns, Lehman, Fannie and Freddie, Northern Rock, and countless other banks that were supposedly too big to fail).
They say financial markets are imperfect. They are. Because they involve people. And people are morons.
Friday, 12 September 2008
Brassy follow up to last Sunday's Sunday Times cartoon. This one in the M&G - editors watching each others' backs.
For those not living here you have no idea the sort of stink this has caused. Beginning to understand why high school history teachers kept banging on about political cartoons. They can be fairly important it seems.
Oh by the way, Zuma just won his case. Zuma saga is OVER. Zuma is the next president.
Thursday, 11 September 2008
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
Chill Fran! Its a joke.
Obama fever has hit here too. Anyone that has been to Sydney knows that Campos makes the best coffee in the world, but i dont drink so much anymore 'cos i'm living sensible in the run up to 30. Jokes, i'm just sick of having the shakes before 8am. Anyway, i went there the other day to get my fortnightly cup of excellence, and saw they have an Obama blend! Check it. The write up is pretty funny too.
Anyway, so i know he is the saviour of the modern world and everything, and could beat Chuck Norris in an arm wrestle and helps old ladies across the road, etc. but like, isn't he a politician? I guess he is way better than the alternative, but he's still human, and a member of one of the most crooked fraternities on earth. Ja, ja, you could argue the 'change politics from the inside' story, but thats kak, everyone has an agenda. I guess I'm just worried by the hysteria, because NOBODY can live up to the hype.
Anyway, as you were...