Friday, January 8, 2010

This is just wrong.

On so many levels, this is just wrong. Found in a Food Lion. They had a very large tub of these in the middle of the aisle. Who picks that up and thinks "wow, I'll get this for my kids!"?!?!?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Confusing the message with the delivery vehicle!

So, I genuinely love my man, Chris Grams. I'm pretty sure we first met when he was hired at Red Hat, but somehow we have several non-Red Hat mutual friends we've since found. I don't see Chris often (not nearly often enough, that's for sure), but I do follow him in the social networking scene. So when this post popped up on his blog, I had to respond.

Normally, one might respond to a specific post like his through the comment section of the original site. I'm not doing that because I haven't updated my own blog enough lately. pause Okay, that's not true...I'm really doing it here because I'm going to disagree with him somewhat vehemently yet at the same time I believe his general point is still valid. It's more the metaphor and some of the quotation I don't agree with. Oh, and I'm also putting it here because this is a topic that my Dad and I were discussing just a few days ago (no kidding).

I had already noticed a trend that traditional albums on vinyl (or LPs, as they are commonly called) had started to make a bit of a comeback. It's long been known that serious musicians haven't given up on tube-type amplifiers, either. In fact, there was a long period where there were no mass produced turntables being made, yet now you can walk into any Restoration Hardware and buy one (thanks to the fact that the Beatles stuff was re-released recently). Chris points this trend out as well, and goes on to give some of the reasons why people are going "lo-fi" (which is short for "low fidelity", the opposite of the trend toward higher fidelity sound systems based on digital music and such).

I just don't get it. These days one can record with incredible accuracy for cheap. There's simply nothing stopping you from sitting in a basement with a dog on the floor and getting a precise recording of "the best stuff." So why would you then dilute your "best stuff" by sending it out the door via what's not only lower quality, but adds errors (cracks and pops)? To me that's using lo-fi to help hide your own flaws that might happen in your "best stuff." And if you do that, aren't you being less "authentic"?

Okay, I do get why someone would want to listen to a 1966 recording via LP. In fact, I see both sides of that coin. There's obviously a market for the remastered stuff for the folks who don't care, but it most definitely is more authentic to listen to it as everyone had to in 1966. What I don't get is why anyone would want to do that with a modern recording. You're just diluting your own authenticity, in my opinion, by lowering the quality of your product intentionally. (And for the record, pun intended, I'm the proud owner of a Seeburg jukebox that sits in my basement full of original vinyl that I dearly love.)

I think you can be "real" as a musician and still release your music in unaltered digital form. I think you can be fake in recording in a studio, obviously. But you can also be fake by recording in your basement with your laptop, editing to high heaven, and then releasing on vinyl. The vinyl and the CD and iTunes are all just vehicles. The vehicle does not define the message. It can't enhance the message, but it can take away. So what's the real reason for the resurgence of vinyl? I think it's just a cool fad. Nothing more.

How a company markets is no different than how authentic a musician chooses to be. A company can go hire a big corporate ad agency and end up with a lie as an advertisement that's nothing more than actors saying what writers who are completely disconnected with the actual company tell them to say. Then they can edit to complete "perfection." But I think we've seen companies hire big corporate ad agencies and get "authentic" advertisements using real employees and real messages. We've seen plenty of companies get even more "authentic" by doing contests to let customers create their advertisements for them and show the winner during the superbowl! The spectrum is there, and a company can certainly do a good job of getting their message out in a lo-fi way.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sometimes the politicians get it right.

I want to say a big thank-you to the NC General Assembly for passing legislation banning smoking in almost all restaurants and bars starting in less than two hours. I'm not sure if it was original or not, but a friend of mine posted to Facebook just yesterday with something I'm going to repeat here. "A smoking section of a restaurant is like a peeing section in a swimming pool."

I agree completely. Many restaurants had done a great job of having air filtration systems to help mitigate the problem, but I find that I had pretty much quit eating at "sports-bar" type places like Buffalo Wild Wings and Bailey's. And it was because of the smoke. I like bar food, and I like the fact that bars are the kind of place where you can often get fairly high quality food but get it faster than many fancier restaurants (nice for those times when you don't have time for Outback but want something better than fast-food).

As a life-long resident of North Carolina, a state whose economy was long dominated by tobacco, I honestly never thought I'd see a change like this in my lifetime. Thanks, legislators!