Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

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Friday Five #21

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1. How long have you had a weblog?

Since the 1st of November, 2001 (although I had an aborted attempt about a year before that so I’m not a total bandwagon-jumper). It seems ages ago now. I guess it is in Internet terms.

2. What was your first post about?

Not much really. You can read it here if you like.

3. How many changes (name, location, etc.) of your weblog have there been, if more than one?

The location (of the blog) has changed once. I moved to Tripod back in April when Yahoo cut off FTP access for free Geocities sites (the old address now redirects to the current one). Only one name though, which was the name I picked for my website when I started it back in October 1999. I’d thought about changing it to something more snazzy, but a) I couldn’t settle on the right name, and b) I hate it when people incessantly change the names of their blogs or sites or whatever, and I didn’t (and don’t) want to be like them. So there.

4. What CMS (content management system) do you use? Do you like it or do you want to try something else?

I use free Blogger. It’s my only option at the moment, since I don’t have a credit card yet. I’d love to have a better CMS like Moveable Type or whatever but I’d also need a better host with proper server access, which in turn I would gladly pay for but it’s just too awkward right now when I only have real world cash money at my disposal.

5. Do you read people who have both a journal and a weblog? Or do you prefer to read people who have all of their writing in one central place?

I prefer when everything is consolidated. Journals are fine and dandy, but they’re static. When you write for the web surely you should want to take advantage of its benefits (specifically hyperlinking). Otherwise, what’s the point? And besides, why segregate things? Weblogs that are simply lists of links are boring – keeping personal anecdotes separate is just stupid, really.

Storytelling

I watched Todd Solondz’s Storytelling earlier today.

It was shit.

Uncomfortably manipulative, laced with flavour of forced post-modern irony (you know, the kind that went out of fashion in 1995), his characters designed to be either repulsive (frustratingly so) or sympathetic in the face of such revulsion (but too weak to do anything about it). Such binary opposition is all too evident in most of the film’s character interactions (he even namedrops Derrida, just in case we didn’t get it!). Any points he may have been trying to make are left confused by his ambiguity (or just stubborn unwillingless to align himself to any idea); hardly deconstruction, which is supposed to bring us closer to the truth, not leave us stranded in a moral desert.

Why does he get so much praise for his work? What do critics find so special about him? Is he trying to turn a mirror on society? And if so, why contrive it so much as to bludgeon us into submission with the bad things? I can’t say that’s a reflection of my life. Is that a failing on my part, or his?

Whatever the case, something about his work – and this film in particular – tells me Solondz didn’t have a good time in high school.

Music Is My Life

I bought 15 CD’s and a book at the end of my shift today, the above-mentioned record being one of them. I know that might seem like a lot, but what can I say? I’m addicted to music.

In related news, when Olan leaves to move to Australia for a year, I will be the new store contact for the Shellshock rep, which basically means that I’m gonna be the back catalogue underground metal buyer (the rock and pop buyers will deal with the popular stuff). Although it’s not an official title or position, I’m still obviously really psyched about it. And it’ll even look great on my CV!

Spreaking of Olan and metal, his band will be recording a demo before he leaves to stir up some label interest (are you listening, Relapse Records?!). Hopefully I’ll get my hands on a copy, since they’re an amazing band. If you’re a fan of death metal or grindcore, get your hands on their latest album, Nadir (produced by Mieszko Talarczyk of Swedish grind lords Nasum). I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Censorship

I just happened to catch this whilst browsing the headlines on the Google News page.

This proposed deregulation of film censorship has its obvious benefits and flaws. Of course (assuming that the Irish Film Censors Office will follow suit, since that’s the way things usually go with us and them) it will finally give mature adults freedom of choice to view what we like and to make our own moral judgments about it, and it will clear up such niggly, totally arbitrary quirks like the 15 cert (since when is 15 such a benchmark age in childhood development?).

On the other hand, less (or lack of) regulation will mean it will be much easier for children to get their hands on material that they are simply not mentally or emotionally mature enough to handle, in particular (often gratuitously) graphic depictions of sex and/or violence. An advisory ratings system may be seen to work fine for music, but music is a totally different medium; it’s not nearly as visceral as the moving image. For example, the new Eminem album: the standard CD has the usual parental advisory label, but the DVD video version was banned here last week due to its (presumably gratuitous) graphic content (in the UK it has an 18 certificate). It’s all fine and dandy to put the onus on parents to regulate what their children have access to (indeed, in a perfect world this would be ideal) but a grim fact of life is that a lot of parents just don’t give a fuck about what their kids do (and then have the gall to kick up a stink after little Johnny brings home the new Slipknot album or whatnot).

We sell videos and video games at my store (most music stores do). We have to be vigilant at all times, since it’s illegal here to sell any video to anyone under the age specified on the certificate. If regulation goes out the window, what are we to do? I mean, would I have the right to refuse to sell, say, Cannibal Holocaust to a 12 year old because of what I think about it? And if I did sell it, what would I do if the angry parent or parents of said child came charging in demanding an explanation as to how my store sold their innocent little baby such vile filth, etc. etc.? It’s hard enough as it is sometimes, even with music, what with the popularity of nu metal amongst the kids today and all (although in my opinion, swearing is nothing compared to seeing someone being raped or shot in the face).

I’m all in favour of a relaxation in censorhip laws – adults should be free to make their own decisions as adults – but surely we still need a solid structure in place to protect children (at least up to the age of 15) from things that they are just not ready for.

On The Air

Cormac Battle’s hosting a show on FM104 right now. He played Fugazi and Jawbox before I tuned in. Fingers crossed he’ll play Husker Du or fIREHOSE later (I know for a fact that he is a fan of both) ….

…. He just gave a spiel about how important the Minutemen were to him, and played History Lesson Pt. 2. Now he’s playing fIREHOSE’s Chemical Wire. This rules without question …..

…. Now he’s playing Husker Du’s Dead Set On Destruction – this keeps getting better and better!

Friday Five #20

http://fridayfive.org/

1. Where were you born?

Right here in Dublin. That’s Dublin, Ireland.

2. If you still live there, where would you rather move to? If you don’t live there, do you want to move back? Why or why not?

I still live here, obviously, but I would like to move, to somewhere like Canada. I went to Toronto recently, just for a few days, and had such a great time – felt so comfortable – that I could very much see myself living over there. As a matter of fact, if my finances had been in a better state earlier this year I might have been in Vancouver right now. I still want to go there, maybe next year.

3. Where in the world do you feel the safest?

Here, I have to be honest. Although I felt surprisingly at home when I was in Toronto. Not like London last summer. I found it to be a quite intimidating city. I guess Dublin can be intimidating too, with the winding streets and the getting lost every five minutes and whatnot. I still can’t find my own way around most of my local area, let alone the city.

4. Do you feel you are well-traveled?

Not yet. I’ve been abroad a few times but my list is quite short: England, Wales, Northern Ireland, France, Belgium and Canada. I’m not even nearly finished.

5. Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?

A toss-up between Paris and Toronto. I want to go back and see both properly. I’ve been to Paris twice and I still haven’t been to the Louvre! And I may tackle London again sometime, but not alone. Travelling just isn’t that much fun alone.

No Wonder

This says a lot about the current state of big time pro wrestling. With an attitude like that, it’s no wonder fans have been deserting in droves.

The Bisch Is Back

So Eric Bischoff has joined World Wrestling Entertainment. That was a bit of a shocker, eh? It seems that most of the company’s own employees were taken aback as much as I am.

I especially got a chuckle out of these little nuggets:

Bradshaw: “…the son of a bitch tried to run us out of business, he messed with every one of our livelihoods…”

Didn’t your boss, Vince McMahon, do exactly that to the independent territories back in the ’80’s? Didn’t he just do it to WCW last year? Bradshaw, you are a plonker of the highest order.

Triple H: “Believe me, he starts to screw up our product and I’ll be the first one to kick his ass.”

Excuse me, but isn’t the product already screwed up? And isn’t it partly your own fault? I mean, you’re not exactly Mr. Popular around the locker room, are you?

Euro-bashing

Uugh. Euro-bashing is so old. Idiotic comments such as this just reinforce my opinion of some people as ignorant fuckwits, a disproportionate number of which come from the gool ol’ US of A, a nation that – as a whole – seems alarmingly ideologically insular to me.

I try to refrain from commenting on stuff like this (I know it’s my weblog and I can write what I want to, however I won’t pontificate about things that I don’t fully understand… well not anymore anyway), but dammit, it makes my blood boil sometimes.

Update: I didn’t realise what I was getting into when I posted what I admit was a diatribe above, but in a way I’m glad I did. Despite his childish backhands, Mr. Long took the time to address my criticism rather than simply dismiss me as some namby-pamby leftie, and henceforth I have a much better understanding of his position.

My response? I still don’t agree with him, but he’s entitled to his opinion, however wrong he may be. That’s the beauty of the Internet, I suppose.

Oddbloggers

I recently came across this new web-ring.

What a refreshing change. It’s just a shame that this site is probably too straight to be a part of it.

Give The Public What They Want

So, Vince McMahon is becoming very desparate to turn things around, eh?

Here’s a tip, Vince: give the public what they want, not what you want.

Does he even understand how they got beaten in the ratings week after week by WCW? Bischoff didn’t have any hang-ups about smaller, lighter wrestlers – he filled his shows with them and they entertained, leaving the fans begging for more when the big guns came out – but it seems Vince and his cronies do. If they didn’t, I don’t think Jerry Lynn would have been told they didn’t have a niche for him.

Freshen the product. Even if you have to copy what others have done (WCW’s cruiserweight undercard; the NWA-TNA X division), it’ll be different and much more attractive than what you’ve got going on now.

Late Night Radio

I listened to the last hour of Jay Ahern’s show on 2FM last night, and immediately fell in love with it. I’ve been missing out so much. Why did I never check it out before? 2FM may be a horribly commercial pop station for 165 hours every week, but for the other three it’s genius. I mean, Daniel Johnston‘s Speeding Motorcycle at one in the morning – fantastic!

Check it out for yourself: connect to the live station stream on Sundays at 11pm, or for the Yanks, 6pm EST or 3pm PST.

But don’t bother this weekend, since they’ll be broadcasting live from Witnness and probably playing crap.

They Asked For It

They asked for it. When I saw the clips on the news yesterday, I cheered for the bulls. Especially that one, real cool, methodical one who rounded a corner, stopped, turned real slow, and aimed for the stupid humans against the wall. In slow motion. Gotta love Sky News for that.

Message to the fuckheads: didn’t your mothers ever tell you not to mess with the Animal Kingdom?

iLoggers

I can’t believe I never found iLoggers before now, considering the amount of time I spend trawling the ‘net for new blogs to read. I like it a lot, although I must challenge its status as the “definitive guide to personal Irish websites and weblogs”. (For one, I’m not on the list yet.)

Friday Five #19

Yes, I know it’s Saturday night, but here it is anyway:

http://fridayfive.org/

1. Where are you right now?

At home, in my room, sitting at my computer.

2. What have you lost recently?

Nothing that I know of off-hand. I tend to be quite careful about my stuff. I may forget things frequently, but I don’t lose stuff often.

3. What was the first CD you ever purchased? Does that embarrass you now?

Superunknown by Soundgarden. It doesn’t embarrass me in the least; in fact, I listened to it again a day ago or so after hearing it in work last week. It’s one of the best rock albums of the ’90’s, if not ever, and the catalyst that lead to basically everything I own or listen to now. It was my musical epiphany, if you will.

4. What is your favorite kind of writing pen?

You know, I’ve tried those cartridge fountain pen type things, and I hate them. They’re just not durable or versatile enough. I had a cool stainless steel Parker pen a few years ago that used ball-point refills. Mostly I just use Bic ball-points, blue or black. They’re basic but they do the job perfectly.

5. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

I don’t really have a favourite flavour, but anything with both chocolate and vanilla in it, and maybe some milk chocolate pieces or something, that would go down well right now. I’m sure I remember one like that when I used to man the Ben & Jerry’s stand at the multiplex.

The philosopher in me

The philosopher in me got off on this comment to a post on kottke.org a couple of days ago.

Do I believe that the world I perceive is an illusion, a Matrix-style fabrication? No, I don’t. Sorry if you were expecting a more controversial response.

Tenacious D: Good. Ambassadump: Bad.

Fuckers. MCD have moved the Tenacious D gig from Whelans (good) to the Ambassadump (very bad).

Well, to be fair, the Ambassadump isn’t the epitome of crappiness, since it happens to be close to my bus stop. But other than that, it totally sucks. Totally.