Thursday, February 23, 2006

How To Get Stink Eye...

I accidentally found a new and unique way to insult Hawaiians today.

In a study group I was in we were discussing how some animals have more phonemes (or sounds made from the mouth) than some human languages. The English language has about 42 of them. We were not sure, but we remembered that the average dog can recreate about 20 or more of their own. Then we noted that it was funny how Hawaiian has only 13 phonemes.

We were laughing how the teacher was saying in class that dogs were capable of more complex speech than the Hawaiians. He obviously meant that as a way to help us appreciate the complexities of speech. While laughing at that a girl who is Hawaiian through and through gave me a glare that was reminiscent of the time that the native Hawaiians discovered that Captain Cook was not a God. It is best explained in pidgeon as "Stink Eye."

If you want to see that look, go ahead and tell a Hawaiian that dogs are smarter than them with the logic explained above. The results will be enlightening.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Valentine's Day Card Conundrum...

My first semester here I started a sort of tradition for myself. In February of 2003 I saw a box of cheap elementary school style Valentine's Day cards. I got them just for the heck of it. The next morning I spent at least half an hour thinking about all the girls I knew on campus and labeling my cards for them. I must have given out over 40 cards. I was astounded to see how my very simple gesture was very genuinely appreciated. That little piece of cardboard stock paper made a pretty significant impact.

The following year I got a new stack of Valentine's Day cards and did it again. I upped the ante by giving out candy with each card. It seemed harder for some reason. I realized that pre-writing the cards was too difficult. I had to fish around in my bag to find the right one. The girl would have to stand there awkwardly waiting for me. I still gave out most of them, but it seemed that I just had less girls to give cards to.

Last year I still wanted to give out cards, but I wanted to streamline the procedure some. I decided to write down only my name on each card, carry around a pen and write the names on the cards as I saw the girl. That was a less than best solution. If I didn't see the girl early enough to write the name, they saw me writing their name on the card. Nothing seems to make a girl feel more special than a guy thinking of her on Valentine’s Day only because he happened to run into her. The fact that he thought of her only long enough to write her name on a card is less than flattering. I ended up having a lot less cards given out.

This is my last year on this campus. I got nice shinny SpongeBob SquarePants cards. These were not the $.99 cards. They were nice. I gave out about 10. That’s it. And again, I didn’t write any names on them in advance. And it didn’t matter. I came to a sad realization. I don’t have very many friends any more.

I think living off of campus has limited my stock of friends in more than half. Each semester many friends leave, but usually, I make new ones. I haven’t been able to do that off campus. And I hate to admit this, but I think the lack of the Caf has done the majority of the damage. I don’t miss the food, but I miss the social interaction. I don’t know when I’ll get to use that stack of leftover Valentine’s Day cards I have set aside.

I don’t know where I will be next Valentine’s Day, but I’m pretty sure that I will not buy any more cards. This year I don’t think I disappointed any girls that I did not give cards to, but it disappointed me that I had almost no one to give cards to.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

RIAA: Ridiculous Industry Aggravating Audiofiles...

Is it just me, or is the music industry retarded?

Ever since the days of Napster around the turn of the century, RIAA (spokesmen for the music industry) has whined and moaned over and over about losing money from the internet. What was their action? To catch on? To find alternate methods of generating revenue? No, they first attacked the sites (like Napster) that allowed the downloading and then the individuals that did the downloading. Thanks to iTunes, Rhapsody, and other legal download sites, the music industry finally saw that there might be a ray of hope for making their usual gratuitous fortune off of remixed and rehashed crap.

RIAA admitted that legal internet downloads for 2005 had just about supplemented the loss of revenue generated from CD sales. Still, it is down over all from the past. What monotonous drum do they bang on? Yup, they still blame downloads!

I just read in this article that their problem might not be the internet after all. No big surprise here.

In the article, people are asked why they think the sales are down. All of the ruckus and rumors have succeeded:

"Overall, music fans were split on why music sales have been declining for the past five years: 33 percent said it was because of illegal downloads, 29 percent said it was because of competition from other forms of entertainment, 21 percent blamed it on the quality of music getting worse and 13 percent said it was because CDs are too expensive."

When the same people were asked why they didn't buy as many CD's the answers were in the opposite order as what were guessed.

"Eighty percent of the respondents consider it stealing to download music for free without the copyright holder's permission, and 92 percent say they've never done it, according to the poll conducted for The Associated Press and Rolling Stone magazine.

Meanwhile, three-quarters of music fans say compact discs are too expensive, and 58 percent say music in general is getting worse."

Duh! We don't want to go out and buy a whole CD for $20 when all we get are covers of songs that were good at one time or songs that are just plain rotten. We're not all resorting to downloading from the internet, we are just content listening to the songs we already have that are worth listening to.

RIAA is too proud to admit that the music they're pumping out is not worth the wattage it takes to play it. And they are defiantly too greedy to charge us less.

Why are CD's so expensive anyway? I wanted to get a Dave Matthews Band concert CD once. I went to the store and found the CD double set for $21. I then went to the DVD section, and bought the same entire concert with special features, multiple angles, and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround for $16. Why pay more for less? Why does an older and outdated technology like CDs cost more than DVDs? Greed. I bought the DVD and copied the audio to CD. I got both for the price of less than the CD.

Until RIAA catches on, provides better music, and does it at a more reasonable rate, my dollars stay with me and I'll pay $0.10 each for the songs that I actually want to hear.

Stick that in our CD player and spin it, RIAA!