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


Recent randomness

I’ve been neglecting you again, dear reader. But then again, what else is new? Anyway, in lieu of a proper entry here’s a list of bullet points on what I’ve been up to the last few weeks:

  • A couple of weekends ago, the hard drive on my iBook started dying. Stressed me out no end, it did. The poor machine is in the shop for a replacement right now — the new shipment of drives is due later this week — so I should have it back soon. I hope.
  • Seems like nothing but problems with my broadband recently, too. It was slower than dial-up for two days last week, and a fortnight before was down completely on two separate occasions. Apparently they’re ‘upgrading’ the exchange at the moment… at least I can’t fault the customer service, which was more helpful than I expected. And it’s been working uninterrupted since last Friday. Touch wood.
  • After all the stress caused by the above, I gave Lightning Bolt a miss last Wednesday and had an early night instead. But I did go see the Boredoms on Friday night, and boy was I glad I did. Their current line-up of three drummers — plus Yamatsuka Eye on vocals and electronics — is quite a departure aesthetically from the sounds they were famous for with the cool kids back in the day, but the new direction fits them like a Saville Row suit. I’m a sucker for good percussion so I was in my element — if a little tired on my feet after a long day — for the more than 90 minutes they performed, perfectly in sync. Awesome doesn’t even begin to describe it. (And to top it off I bumped into at least five people I know when the house lights came up after the show, and everyone was chuffed to bits. That never happens.)
  • Speaking of music, on the same day as that Boredoms show I bought News And Tributes, the new album by The Futureheads. I’ve only ever been as disappointed by one other record, and that one — Chris Cornell’s Eurphoria Morning — stayed in rotation for at least two weeks before I was convinced of its craptitude. Oh, what have The Futureheads done to themselves?! The songs are there, more or less, but the production is just plain terrible; never has a ‘big sound’ sounded so small. And what’s with the rhythm-section-hating? The drumming, especially the snare, is barely audible on most tracks, while the bass is mired in murk. And don’t get me started on that godawful track 11! I’m sure they’ll sell bucketloads and get lots more teeny-bopper emo-lite black-rim-glasses-wearing groupies before they realise how far they’ve sold themselves out, and make up for it with a better third album. But this one? I disliked it so much that I returned it on Monday and got the new Mogwai CD instead, which is far more satisfying. (On a related note, most of the reviews of the Futureheads’ record give it a thumbs-up while almost universally referring to the term ‘mature’, as if pedestrianism in art is supposed to be some kind of virtue. Quite frankly, that’s bollocks. Whenever I see a record described as ‘mature’ it’s the kiss of death as far as I’m concerned. I’m sure others would agree.)
  • Oh yeah, and yesterday was my birthday. I turned 26. I feel old. However the wonderful Bee, who also celebrated her birthday yesterday, is still full of youth and vitality and the joys of spring. So I’ll have to live vicariously through her, then. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a place in a nursing home to book…

OMG!! Lordi wins Eurovision 2006!!

And Australian MeFites have a hissy fit about this thread being a spoiler because the poor babies had to wait for the tape delay broadcast. Well you know what? Tough titty, wallabee-wankers. #link


Meat Puppets reunite!

The Kirkwood brothers are back together and working on new material, which won't nearly be as good as Up On The Sun. But still... it's the Meat Puppets! #link


Soundwalk

As the tagline says, these are 'audio tours for people who don't normally take audio tours.' A bit on the expensive side, but might be worth it if you want to get a new angle on a played-out environment, to better appreciate it. #link


Travels with iPod

Basically, audio travel guides and walking tours for your mp3 player. A great idea, especially to help lone travellers to get a feel for unfamiliar places [c/o del.icio.us/mhonan]. #link


Farms of fear

A recent Sunday Times Magazine story on an extraordinary spate of racism-fuelled killings in South Africa's Limpopo province. If it does only one thing, it shows just how much further the country has to go, socially and economically, before full reconciliation can ever be reached. #link


This Boring Headline Is Written for Google

On the so-called death of the art of headline writing, the news of which has been greatly exaggerated. I think we will be seeing more dual headlines, to compensate for the linguistic formality of search engine algorithms, but that's as bad as it's going to get -- as if it isn't bad enough already [c/o SimonWaldman.net]. #link


Mini Pixel Icons

A great collection of minuature infographics for websites. I may be using a few of them here in the near future. #link


Google Trends: Pirate Versus Ninja

It had to be done. As you can see, the pirate just about has the edge (aside from a particularly huge influence in Scandinavia -- because of its historically maritime culture, perhaps?). However if you pluralise the terms, ninjas are completely trounced across the board. Which can only mean one thing: that ninjas work better alone. #link


Kinja card for MacDara Conroy's website

I'd forgotten all about Kinja, but it seems to have improved slightly and differentiated itself somewhat with these 'card' thingies. Mine is even using a screenshot from this site as it looked 18 months ago. That's so cute! #link


The Tumblelist

Probably the most comprehensive listing of tumblelogs in the world. And they deemed this humble site 'close enough' for inclusion. That's nice of them. #link


PDFLab

For splitting, combining and generally tinkering with PDF documents. It's not very elegant but it works [c/o paulhammond.org]. #link


City In Silence

"This daily project, started in 1997, aims to capture the beauty and mystery surrounding New Yorkers in the majestic setting of the Big Apple." #link


White off the scale

The Observer Music Magazine explores the murky underworld of neo-Nazi hate music. A great place to start for those previously unaware, although it does ignore two factors: that a) as a contributor to the letters page points out, plenty of (if not most) skinheads are anti-racist, which has been the case since the culture first emerged over 40 years ago, and b) the insidiousness of many elements within the black metal scene, where white supremacism and anti-semitism are rife. #link


Coney Island I

There's something about these images that really captures that intangible transition from spring to summer. #link