Winter Music

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The monthly mixtape is ready again. New music of good quality for 08.

Kidz in the Hall feat. Pusha T and Bun B – Drivin' Down the Block (Remix)
Welcome to summer. Well, if you're in the USA or the rest of the northern hemisphere where emerging from hibernation come the seasonal creatures that are rappers. It's time to shed the puffy jackets, hop in your ride with bass pumping and the windows down. Actually, Kidz in the Hall probably prefer blazers to puffy jackets when they deliver their brand of sophisticated Hip Hop on their sophomore The In Crowd. But when they sampled Masta Ace's Born to Roll and invited Pusha T and Bun B to make guest appearances on the remix it's apparent they wanted to at least attempt a cross over between their intricate beats and intellectual rhymes and the loud, thumping party sound. And so seeing today is the first day of summer, or for the southern hemisphere, the first day of wishing it was summer this track is the stand out on the album.

Bun B – I Luv Dat

The southern rapper/producer Bun B also released his second solo album IITrill this month and it's intriguing to hear him expand on his club filling, dirty south sound by spending some tracks detailing his life experiences, self doubts and dealing with the loss of UGK partner Pimp C. That said, party time tracks are still his expertise and I Luv That is pure club music. It's filled with the thumping, glass-rattling bass and sharp, contemporary synth stabs that get everyone off the walls and onto the dancefloor. From the opening violin fill it opens up a portal into the fantast club experience where there's no line for the bar, there's more girls than guys out drinking and no one is yawning or smelling of body odour. Bun B channels the magic environment where beats are pumping loud but it's still completely reasonable to have a normal conversation with a girl on the dancefloor. I don't even like dancing, but I want to go to Bun B's club.

The Roots – Rising Down

Continuing this month with a bevy of quality Hip Hop and I would pick Rising Down as the standout LP of the month. It features The Roots, plus a strong back up entourage of guests including former Roots members and a star studded line up of East Coast heavyweights such as Talib, Saigon and Mos Def. The Roots target a different echelon of intelligence, with Rising Down the album featuring more political and cultural themes than this month's earlier choices. On cuts like the title track he prefers telling it like it is to glorified clubbing tales over more subdued beats. Producer ?uestlove has engineered beats that are more subdued but just as catchy, with polished guitar work being a trademark album wide and a horn section and other instrumentation standing out across the whole LP.Continue Reading Best New Music - May 2008...

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The woman with the fake tan stepped into my office, sat across from my desk and lit a cigarette.
At least, she would, sometime in the next 20 minutes. Smelling the future has advantages, but precision isn’t one of them.

The Journal

My long weekend was very fun. I played in the Tanunda basketball carnival and we bowed out in the semi-final this morning. After arriving at the caravan park on Friday night after some slight being fucked over by the weekend was divided into four categories: basketball, sleeping, drinking and stretching.
I played for the enviable, independent club "Turbulence" (team dance: waving hands alternatingly up and down) and we represented two mens and two womens teams. I hit like 12 threes over the six games which was pretty epic. But the best part of the weekend was undoubtedly Saturday night where basically all the teams converged on the only pub in town. There my teammates and I played pool and then worked our way into conversations with all of the women's teams until we ended up in conversation with the best looking ones. This was notable because they'd watched our last game earlier and despite never having spoken to them they'd come up with nicknames for our team members. Alex was "The Face", Buff Sam was "Nugget" and I had been deemed "The Arms".

Now, I do go to the gym a lot but that's mainly because I'm a health fag and I like to be athletic for basketball. But this wasn't the first night at a pub that I've had girls tell me they like my biceps. It's an awkward problem, but I have no idea how to take this or use it to my advantage. I might like a girl, but how do I know she likes me and not just my arms? Especially when half the time I spend with girls they continually feel my muscles and lift up my shirt! All I do is feel embarrassed and self-conscious and this does not lead to phone numbers. After having my pecs groped a few times I inebriatedly decided to pluck "now do I get to feel yours?" out of my pick-up-lines-to-be-vetted databank but apparently this is "creepy".
I'm only saying, I want girls to like me but I want them to like me, not just my arms. I have a personality too! When am I going to meet a girl in a pub who calls me "The Journal"?

A Death in the Family

I think it's an interesting, human thing the way it doesn't take much of a change to compartmentalise your context.

For example, for pretty much the whole long weekend my only focus was on basketball games, basketball strategies, stretching and beer. Left behind in Adelaide were friends, family, careers, to-do lists etc. I thought it was pretty amazing how everything that was important or attention grabbing earlier in the week could disappear with only a 90km change in isolation.

While I was away I lost my tracksuit pants which, I think, were perhaps one of the only things in this world that made me think unconditional love existed. In the context of the weekend it seemed inconsequential as it happened between winning games and trying to win the next game. But now I'm home and have resumed serving normal context I can't shake the harrowing feeling of loss and hollowness that grips me every time I walk by The Berkley on Hindley St.

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So, who out there is my enemy?

This morning I woke up 3 hours premature to this:

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Which was obviously disappointing. Someone crept down our driveway last night and hucked a tin of oil based paint on my car. I don't know what beef they have with me or why they don't have the courage to confront me about it.

Nevertheless I decided I wasn't going to be angry about something I couldn't change. After filling out all the necessary paperwork with equally unhelpful police departments and Allianz insurance I visited the Holden Crash department and they showed me that with certain paint strippers I could remove the paint - slowly - by myself. Instead of making a claim on my insurance, paying an excess and losing my rating I could buy $10 worth of Turpentine and do the work myself. Fortunately I have a cool boss who felt sympathy for my situation. So I spent 11 hours today in my driveway with rags and turpentine cleaning off my car.

It was slow going of course, and I had plenty of time to think. One of the first things I noticed was that I listened to the radio today rather than CDs to avoid creating psychological associations between a messed up car and certain artists.

I was going to post an entry today along the lines of how the first thing I thought of this morning was about how this would make a good journal entry. And maybe post some passive-agressive rant about how it would have been a much better prank if they'd done it during summer when the paint would have a chance to set harder overnight, and that next time maybe they should have the balls to come all the way down the driveway instead of flinging paint from two steps in and then running away. But I'm not going to do that. I'm not too worried about creating further motivation for my car to be vandalised and damaged again (though if it happens after today's workload I'll obviously be disheartened). Instead I want to dedicate today's entry to saying how thankful I am to have friends, particularly the collection of them who came to my house today to strip paint, help wash and buff, and make jokes about ejaculating all over my car at every opportunity.

So although my day might have revealed I may have an enemy out there, it definitely has confirmed I have valuable friends.

So obviously being cut up and teeth gnashing gets difficult to drag out over more than a couple of days. Still, I've compiled a list of possible suspects for the unrequested painting of my car:

  • MIA, who I once accused of being crazy in a journal entry. And she does know how to use the internet, sort of.... Alibi: Was playing Bonnaroo last Friday...
  • Camille - A French singer who I also gave a negative review in Rip It Up a few weeks ago. Is an artist and seems to be a least a little crazy. At this stage, prime suspect.
  • Zoe. Former commenter, now St. Kilda supporter. She sent me an angry text message last weekend after I SMS'd her the Western Bulldogs theme song in all caps. Alibi: grew up in Queensland so it's doubtful she has that much football passion.
  • Zippo. Number 1 commenter who would predict that Zoe would be mentioned instead of her, despite her having more comments, thus causing rage. Alibi: way too nice, also this scenario is kind of recursive.
  • Professor Plum. I stole his carpark when I drove to work on Thursday.
  • Forlorn looking woman in Marion carpark. I went there last week and as I was reversing from my spot to get home I noticed her standing with a puzzled look in front of an empty car space. I didn't have time to help her and find out if her car was stolen. Mainly because I'm not a detective.
  • Karl the Painter. May have discovered what I wrote about him a few summers ago and is now more assertive and wants revenge. Evidence: has access to paint.
  • Craig Lowndes. Motive: Doesn't like Holden.

I have a few other suspects, but they're kind of drawing a long bow.

I Can't Stand It, I know you Planned It

Every morning that I go to work I spend between seven and nine minutes preparing, blending and gulping my breakfast smoothie. But I haven't had one in the last week, since my unlucky Friday the 13th. Friday, of course, I was too preoccupied by other things to prepare a delicious smoothie. And each day this week I've ended up rushed for breakfast and have instead opted to save time by putting Weet Bix in a bowl, adding equal parts milk and honey and smashing that down.

But with my low-fat, sugar reduced vanilla yogurt about to expire I made the effort this morning to blend up a healthy, vitamin rich breakfast. And it was all going well until half way through the puréeing when my blender started grinding and not stirring. Figuring some ice was stuck, I removed the lid and stirred a little and resumed, but nay! Still more grinding. I put the jug on the bench and gave it an almighty stir, sifting half crunched chunks of ice and lumps of protein powder and peanuts trying to remove a blockage that I was to find didn't exist! No, instead I found that the gear on the base of the jug had its screw filed through! When the motor said "spin!" the blades said "how!?".

So now there were metal filings and grease all over the bench and my hands, which I had to avoid as I gulped down my health fag flavour of a frozen coke to try and avoid running late for work. And as Beastie Boys lyrics and an ice-cream headache had a date in my brain I realised that, what should have happened last Friday is, I would have suffered through a sabotaged breakfast attempt and escaped from my frustration to a paint covered car. Had my mother not alerted me to it before breakfast.

Possibly jumping at shadows here. But I still have to fix my blender somehow tomorrow. Hopefully won't need any turps.

I wish 4 Corners had come out with me last night

I think I redefined binge drinking. It's ok though, Mens Health said I could do that occasionally.

So far this week

Steve, as of 0:01 AM on Wednesday morning became the next in line of a history of Army officers in my family. I flew to Canberra to visit him and watch his graduation ceremony, the morning parade and attend the black tie graduation ball.

Of course, being the middle of freezing June and living in Australia, it was easier to explain to my peers and co-workers that I was taking a tropical holiday to one of the northern parts of the big brown land. Somewhere that I could escape the cold and drizzle for a few days of sunshine. Something warmer than this shit:

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So, after spending most of Monday in airports I woke up Tuesday at 0730 to brave fog and dew to get to the final parade for the Graduates of June 2008. It started like this.
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Before out march a couple hundred cadets for their final inspection and a few wheels around the parade ground. After they'd all arrived and assembled in five companies I tried to spot Steve amongst their masses. Oh, there he is, he's easy to spot because he was so into this army thing that he finished practically top of the class, was put in charge of running the cadets during the parade and won himself a free sword.
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Yep, there he is with a sword yelling things loudly and seriously and then waiting for the assembled masses to do what he said. I've had similar experiences with the power of my IT degree, except all the people I ordered about live in the Asian subcontinent.

The parade was pretty impressive. The final thing Steve yelled managed to be the loudest and it echoed around the hills of Duntroon as Steve led them off the parade grounds for the last time, the sun broke through the clouds and a lone magpie flapped across the sky. Then we broke for family photos and lunch.

Canberra is an interesting place. They have this ungodly obsession with roundabouts there, not just on the main roads but in the middle of all the freeways which is kind of offputting. Also instead of having, say, roundabout warning signs when you're approaching one at 80km an hour they just pattern the road with a bunch of meaningless lines. So the first time you're hurtling along in your hire car at night and you go "hmmm, what's with all the lines HOLY SHIT A ROUNDABOUT".

They also have a supermarket chain called Aldis which is all around the place in Australia, but not in Adelaide. So for the benefit of the ignorant I'll explain that Aldis is the supermarket where TV shows buy props for their kitchen scenes.

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We bought a carton of "Balanced Right" for breakfasts and at the counter I was tossing up buying a Cherry Ripe wannabe bar (Cherry Chocolate Bar) or the Turkish Delight bar (Turkish Delight Bar).

Also, at the place I was staying the first thing I noticed on the side table was these random orb decorations.

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And of course I scoffed and chuckled to myself "Oh, women, why do we bother with such meaningless, nonfunctional items for decoration... Wait a minute, this reminds me of something. page layout circa 2005...
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Yeah, so Canberra is a weird place. I wouldn't recommend going there at all if you can avoid it. Especially if you're from Adelaide. Although I went through Adelaide on the way home from the airport and for the first time had an appreciation of how big Adelaide kinda is.
Canberra... so cold...

Canberra... so cold...

Day §╝ Thursday June 26th 2008

Hey there, just thought I'd better put an entry up today because I knew some people from 2003 would be reading it. Have a good one.