Subject: Trials and tribulations
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2003 14:44:59 -0500 (EST)
Ya boingboing bounced me over here....
Your funny!....Let's just say your "bar experiences" remind me of some naive kid in the 70's. Worrying about the DEA etc.
You need to come to Detroit and find out how "things" are handled on a "higher" plane. Just like the old wild west once everyone knows freedom=having a gun you find the "nazi's" lose their balls......Here no one fucks with you unless they're willing to get shot. That deterrent has an amazing effect upon dickheads. Neighbors fucking with your antenna? Funny.....those neighbors would last 3 minutes in our neck of the woods....
Good luck putting up with the bonesmokers kid!
It took some phone tag, but I finally got the woman on the phone. I was very cool and sweet. I explained the problem. "Do you allow your crotch to be grabbed without being asked?" I didn't exaggerate, I said that there was nothing sexual, I wasn't hurt, and it wasn't my genitals. I just said it was wrong. She said "Well, your feedback is really important because most people are afraid of us." She said, "I'd love to meet you so we could clear this up, and everyone wants to meet a celebrity." [...]
I said that I had talked to two lawyers and they said it was really a weird case because no one knows if he can be charged with assault and battery while working in that job. But I told her, that some of my lawyer friends really wanted to find out. She said, "Well, we're very new to this job..." and I said, "Yeah, so we need these test cases to find out where you stand."
She said, "Well, you know a LOT about this." I said, "Well, it's not really the right word, but freedom is kind of a hobby with me, and I have disposable income that I'll spend to find out how to get people more of it." [...]
"What the parallel deaths of Ramone and Crosby prove is that it really doesn't matter what you do artistically, nor does it matter how many people like what you create; what matters is who likes what you do artistically and what liking that art is supposed to say about who you are. Ratt was profoundly uncool (read: populist) and the Ramones were profoundly significant (read: interesting to rock critics). Consequently, it has become totally acceptable to say that the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" changed your life; in fact, saying that would define you as part of a generation that became disenfranchised with the soullessness of suburbia, only to rediscover salvation through the integrity of simplicity. However, it is laughable to admit (without irony) that Ratt's "I Want a Woman" was your favorite song in 1989; that would mean you were stupid, and that your teenage experience meant nothing, and that you probably had a tragic haircut."
<LJ-CUT text=" --More--(15%) ">
Chuck Klosterman (Senior Writer for SPIN)
New York Times Magazine December 29, 2002
Dee Dee Ramone and Robbin Crosby were both shaggy-haired musicians who wrote aggressive music for teenagers. Both were unabashed heroin addicts. Neither was the star of his respective band: Dee Dee played bass for the Ramones, a seminal late-70's punk band; Crosby played guitar for Ratt, a seminal early-80's heavy-metal band. They died within 24 hours of each other last spring, and each had only himself to blame for the way he perished. In a macro sense, they were symmetrical, self-destructive clones; for anyone who isn't obsessed with rock 'n' roll, they were basically the same guy.
Yet anyone who is obsessed with rock 'n' roll would define these two humans as diametrically different. To rock aficionados, Dee Dee and the Ramones were "important" and Crosby and Ratt were not. We are all supposed to concede this. We are supposed to know that the Ramones saved rock 'n' roll by fabricating their surnames, sniffing glue and playing consciously unpolished three-chord songs in the Bowery district of New York. We are likewise supposed to acknowledge that Ratt sullied rock 'n' roll by abusing hair spray, snorting cocaine and playing highly produced six-chord songs on Hollywood's Sunset Strip.
There is no denying that the Ramones were a beautiful idea. It's wrong to claim that they invented punk, but they certainly came the closest to idealizing what most people agree punk is supposed to sound like. They wrote the same two-minute song over and over and over again -- unabashedly, for 20 years -- and the relentlessness of their riffing made certain people feel like everything about the world had changed forever. And perhaps those certain people were right. However, those certain people remain alone in their rightness, because the Ramones were never particularly popular.
The Ramones never made a platinum record over the course of their entire career. Bands like the Ramones don't make platinum records; that's what bands like Ratt do. And Ratt was quite adroit at that task, doing it four times in the 1980's. The band's first album, "Out of the Cellar," sold more than a million copies in four months. Which is why the deaths of Dee Dee Ramone and Robbin Crosby created such a mathematical paradox: the demise of Ramone completely overshadowed the demise of Crosby, even though Crosby co-wrote a song ("Round and Round") that has probably been played on FM radio and MTV more often than every track in the Ramones' entire catalog. And what's weirder is that no one seems to think this imbalance is remotely strange.
What the parallel deaths of Ramone and Crosby prove is that it really doesn't matter what you do artistically, nor does it matter how many people like what you create; what matters is who likes what you do artistically and what liking that art is supposed to say about who you are. Ratt was profoundly uncool (read: populist) and the Ramones were profoundly significant (read: interesting to rock critics). Consequently, it has become totally acceptable to say that the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" changed your life; in fact, saying that would define you as part of a generation that became disenfranchised with the soullessness of suburbia, only to rediscover salvation through the integrity of simplicity. However, it is laughable to admit (without irony) that Ratt's "I Want a Woman" was your favorite song in 1989; that would mean you were stupid, and that your teenage experience meant nothing, and that you probably had a tragic haircut.
The reason Crosby's June 6 death was mostly ignored is that his band seemed corporate and fake and pedestrian; the reason Ramone's June 5 death will be remembered is that his band was seen as representative of a counterculture that lacked a voice. But the contradiction is that countercultures get endless media attention: the only American perspectives thought to have any meaningful impact are those that come from the fringes. The voice of the counterculture is, in fact, inexplicably deafening. Meanwhile, mainstream culture (i.e., the millions and millions of people who bought Ratt albums merely because that music happened to be the soundtrack for their lives) is usually portrayed as an army of mindless automatons who provide that counterculture with something to rail against. The things that matter to normal people are not supposed to matter to smart people.
Now, I know what you're thinking; you're thinking I'm overlooking the obvious, which is that the Ramones made "good music" and Ratt made "bad music," and that's the real explanation as to why we care about Dee Dee's passing while disregarding Robbin's. And that rebuttal makes sense, I suppose, if you're the kind of person who honestly believes the concept of "good taste" is anything more than a subjective device used to create gaps in the intellectual class structure. I would argue that Crosby's death was actually a more significant metaphor than Ramone's, because Crosby was the first major hair-metal artist from the Reagan years to die from AIDS. The genre spent a decade consciously glamorizing (and aggressively experiencing) faceless sex and copious drug use. It will be interesting to see whether the hesher casualties now start piling up. Meanwhile, I don't know if Ramone's death was a metaphor for anything; he's just a good guy who died on his couch from shooting junk. But as long as you have the right friends, your funeral will always matter a whole lot more.
Perhaps the significance of this is lost on you:
When one books hippie bands (and even certain psytrance acts), one runs the risk of having the club stink to high heaven afterward, because they are often a bathing-optional group of people. (There was one time that some guy came to retrieve his stuff from coat check, and the coat check girl told him, "you have to wait, because your parka smelled so bad I had to have someone go hang it in the back stairway." He said, "Oh, ok," and didn't bat an eye. You'd think most people would react negatively to "dude, you fuckin' stink." Alas, no.)
But I digress. This was an older, non-malodorous crowd, probably because it cost them $100 to get in, so they tended more towards the "yuppie" than the "hippie." That price included an open bar, and surprisingly, we did not have an above-average number of pukers.
So at some point early in the night, Barry calls Big Dave over to where he's standing. He hands him this small object: it's a pack of rolling papers, with the band's logo printed on the wrapper. Big Dave says, "huh." Barry steps aside, revealing the table behind him, which is covered with them, lined up neatly.
Big Dave gets big eyes, and says, "oh, I am so not ok with that." Barry says, "I didn't think you would be."
I mean really, in what parallel universe is doing something like that ok? Don't these people watch the news? Don't they realize the kind of bullshit crackdowns nightclubs are facing these days? The DEA claims that glow-sticks are drug paraphernalia. I wonder what they'd think about rolling papers? Oh, but I'm sure "it's cool, man" because they probably said "for tobacco use only" on the back. Morons!
Check out the image to the right, from the DEA's site. I can't find a larger version of it, but isn't that just the coolest thing ever? The grim reaper has a glowstick and a pacifier! And laser beams on his head!
We have, by the way, been getting more visits from undercover (presumably) DEA agents soliciting illegal acts from our staff. I understand this is because the DEA recently got a massive budget increase to fight the Demon Drug Extacy, so now they've got the budget to start sending people out to harass nightclub staff every night. Your tax dollars at work.
Remember that wireless network connection we mostly got working a couple months ago? Well, the other day we got an irate phone call from the apparent owner of the loft building on the corner, on whose roof the dish sat. He had a total hissy fit at Barry about "how dare you tresspass on my property" blah blah blah. When in fact, we had gotten prior permission from both the residents of the unit whose roof it was on, and from the building's landlord! I guess "landlord" and "owner" are different people. Whatever, this guy was a real prick about it. So, we took the dish down; we hadn't been using it anyway. Oh, and he'd apparently tried to yank it down himself before he called. (We put our name and phone number on the side of it so it was clear who it belonged to, but I guess he was in a real hurry for it to no longer be there.)
At this point, I sure am glad we managed to get a land line.
There's this recurring problem we've been having where sometimes, the lower-bitrate audio streams will go all chipmunk-voiced: they playing too fast, meaning the MP3 data got corrupted somehow. Of course there's no way to automatically detect this, so the only way it gets fixed is if someone out there listening mails me about it, and I reset things by hand. (Please do mail me if you notice something going wrong.)
This isn't a bandwidth problem, since the 128k stream is always fine (and the lower streams are generated locally from that one.) So, my best theory is that it's a load problem: that the machine serving the streams doesn't have enough CPU to keep up with the current demand. It could be that this problem only started happening when we moved into our new colo, and upped the maximum number of connections. I tried temporarily lowering the number of connections to see if the problem went away, but the results were inconclusive and confusing.
The machine had a 700MHz CPU in it, and we bought a pair of 1GHz CPUs to replace that. Jonathan did his homework, and verified that the motherboard could handle it first... But no. We went down to colo and put the new chips in, and the BIOS was unhappy: apparently the BIOS was old enough that it believed that 700MHz was the fastest CPU available, and complained. If we ignored it and booted Linux anyway, Linux was totally happy, and utilized both CPUs.
So leave it alone, right? Well, when the BIOS complains, it sits there and waits for you to type F1 before it will continue: which means that someone would have to type something every time the machine rebooted. Not exactly a happy state of affairs for a colo machine. So we downloaded a BIOS update, wrote it to a floppy, and booted it. It ground away, reached 100% and then spat out some incomprehensible error message. Oh well, maybe we'd better reboot and try again.
Big mistake. Now we have no BIOS and the machine won't even turn on.
So, there's a jumper for "emergency BIOS recovery." Apparently how it's supposed to work is, you set the jumper, power on with a floppy in, and it has a tiny fallback BIOS that reads the floppy, executes the installer, and upgrades the real BIOS (all this without activating the monitor or keyboard, which is apparently rocket science.) You know it's done when it beeps twice, and you know it didn't work if it beeps continuously.
So what did it do? Nothing. No beeps at all.
Fortunately Jonathan knew that his former employer still had a few of these motherboards sitting in a cardboard box in the corner of their server room, so he was able to beg one out of them, and we got the machine running again (it's the machine that serves our MP3 archives.) But we're still in the situation that if this machine ever crashes, someone has to go in and type F1 before it will come up again. "Yay."
And amidst this CPU shuffling, I also upgraded the machine that runs RealProducer to generate the RealVideo webcasts: it had been a 700MHz CPU, and I replaced that with a pair of 500MHz CPUs. That part went fine, except ever since, the RealVideo stream has been choppy: either audio or video (but generally not both at once) will stop for minutes at a time. The stats have looked like this a lot:
and sometimes even:
...which is not good. So, I don't know, it could be coincidental network weather, or it could be that RealProducer just doesn't work right on multi-CPU machines. Now, you'd have to actually go out of your way to write a program that had that sort of bug, but those folks at Real are very, very creative like that, so I wouldn't put it past them.
Hey, don't forget to come out to see Nina Hagen this Tuesday and/or Wednesday:
We had her here in August, and it was an amazing show. That woman is some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production (to steal a line from Fear and Loathing.) She puts on one hell of a performance; pictures here.
Our advanced ticket sales have been pretty low, which is disappointing to me mostly because it means a lot of you are not trusting me when I tell you that this will be a great show! So, show up, 'k?