September 29, 2004

Toutatis Visits

"Look Mummy, is that all damn nation and certain death passing us by?"
"Yes Billy."

So, September 29th has arrived. The day that could have ended humanity as we know it.

Toutatis is in the (clear) sky tonight, and if (like me) you're heading to the Auckland Observatory tonight to catch a glimpse through the large Zeiss telescope, you can utter the mighty words of Billy above. Of course, say it in your head otherwise people might think youre crazy - although this closeness of certain death does medicate your inner monologue to "hyper", but trust me - keep it to yourself. We wouldn't want to create mass hysteria.

Which is another blindingly weird oddity. I've been on it for 6 months, posted an in-depth guts-n-all story a few months back, managed to scare the cat (which is now dead) and my peers, gain international interest (juding by the amount of hits its had) yet no interest here - where it will be best SEEN.

A few days back, Auckland Obervatory sent out a press release about this "close call", yet they've had no bites.

Editor: "Hey Ray - you wanna cover this story about a massive asteriod that could have wiped out life on the planet?
Ray: "I gotta take a whiz"

I guess, all we can do is.. celebrate. Dig out Earth Wind and Fire's "September" and crank it. It's all too appropriate.

September 28, 2004

Spam, Spim and Spit!

Spam: Unsolicited Emails
Spim: Unsolicited Instant Messages

Joy. Now there's "Spit". Audio spam.

Got VoIP? You could well be stuffed.

Well, that's probably not true. There have been no documented cases of VoIP spam/spit yet, but taking a look at some figures here (leans over to some research), In 2003, there were only about 131,000 residential VoIP subscribers in the US, but by 2008 the level is projected to reach 17.5 million. Spam became widespread because there was a big enough target audience, and these numbers are untouched CREAM for spammers.

I don't know anyone in NZ who uses VoIP, but lets hope Qovia's patent is an international one.

Small is big

First we got M&M Minis, then Baby Burger Rings. It seems that our food of the future is in bite sized chunks. Astronauts already complain of Portion Distortion, and now we may have to buckle as well.

Since 1982, the standard size of a hamburger has increased 112 percent. Bagels are 95 percent bigger than they were two decades ago and servings of pasta have gone up 480 percent, according to the World Cancer Research Fund International. Cookies, once bite-sized, now resemble a discus or Frisbee.

I ate a Mega Perky Nana a few hours back. I've always loved them. In Britian, King-sized Mars and Snickers bars will be cut down in size next year. Some weigh as much as 100 grams and contain 387 calories. They instead, will be cut into "two shareable portions" for you and your friendly bum on the street.

September 27, 2004

Creative Juices

I recall writing a spot for an Adult shop 5 or so years back. I convinced the manager to run with a series of ads over his campaign.

They were based around a young impressionable yet clueless delivery boy who was offloading (so to speak) the stock from his truck to the back entrance of the adult shop (I hope you're not reading this metaphorically!!!).

A typical script might go something like:

"Hey again!, it's Ben the delivery guy. I'm loading in some new things at (Adult Store) today.

(sfx of lifting boxes/straining).

I can never work out what's in these boxes, but this one says Lemon Zest Lube. I might take a peek inside and see what it is. (he always does this with every ad in the series)

(sfx: unpacking)

Okay. It's in a white and yellow tube, and squirts out like shampoo, really. (pause) OHHH gawd, it tastes like Lemon too! I'll just put that back. Got some in my eye.. ugghhh.

VO: (Adult Shop, blah blah specials, new stock etc.)

The key for the series was to have something dumb happen to the guy - to cause a listener reaction of "surely he knows what thats for" in an effort to put these products into the realm of common knowledge = new customers through door.

The client had a massive response. I'm not sure if he was kidding at a post campaign meeting when he mentioned a customer asked about the delivery guy's availability!

Magic. Hopefully the regulars at the Media Creative Writers forum will get a giggle.

September 26, 2004

Before our very eyes

I have just realised I was cringing my face at a C4 Promo for "Dirty Sanchez". I'm probably right in the right age and sex target for this type of show, but instead I was repulsed. These idiots are into self mutilation and torture!

This is desensitisation as we know it - and for what? I dont rate it.

Hate Spiders? If you expose yourself to them enough, you may begin to get used to them - possibly even like them. If this theory works, can the same be said for our next generation of people who are constantly exposed to acts of terrorism, war or even a TV promo about watching people hurt themselves?

Does it become less of a problem to us?

September 22, 2004

You Like Them Apples Punk?

Shee-it! I just read in the Herald (the paper version - yes there's a version, ha!) about that Fraggle Rock 'Trashheap' chunk of land up north, that once spat unpleasantries on the landscape, that fuelled critics and non-believers into arrogant hibernation and gave an American Ba-zillionaire the quacky idea to put a golf course on it.

It was brush for gods sake. Unmanageable, unpleasant brush. Just like Basil.

Here we are yen years later and the nervous yank (still ba-zillionaire tho') opens a lush estate for peg nosed upper crusts to play golf, spit wine and drive around in electronic buggies saying 'what what' much like the corporate execs on Bro Town last night (shit it was funny). They could have got the Saatchi guys to give it a better name than "Karikari Estate Vineyard and Winery and Carrington Farms".

How will Wises Maps manage that?

September 20, 2004

We Were Wrong

That takes balls. Admitting that all the fuss over a post 9/11 band name change decision was a mistake.

The forums have been going nuts since the news the other day, and probably will for some time. I for one dont care what name they take - the fact is that since the demise of The Exponents, Shihad/Pacifier are the best consistent live unit I have ever come across. Its just like the Hulk Hogan/Hollywood Hogan thing. Good vs Bad. It's weird how we just like the whole thing.

They got airplay in the US as Pacifier, and US Rock Radio will probably look past the name change because of their moderate success there. Their American fans understood the initial change, and now two years later I suspect it will prove to be a positive spinoff for Shihad. They're in for a treat actually.

They will not lose anything out of this. If anything, they will only gain support. The people that bagged them for changing the name to Pacifier and ran away crying, should mostly come back after the band admitted they were wrong. Then again, if fans ran away because they changed their name, they were not really fans in the first place.

To boldly go

I just finished a nice glass of bubbly. In celebration.

In 1990 on top of One Tree Hill, I swore an oath to myself that I would impact the Auckland airwaves at some point in my life. I had no idea how or when I could do it, or if it was attainable. Instead of becoming a school teacher like I intended back then, I locked myself into the dream and went for it.

Over the years I have impacted the Auckland airwaves in more subtle ways. I made a lot of the music beds and remixes that are used on More FM. I make station imaging for Times FM in Orewa, and Niu FM Nationwide. My production hand is heard on George FM & UpFM also. It's still not 'on the air' though. I've conquered Hamilton three times over, Tauranga and the Coromandel (ick) twice but no strike in Auckland.

Now may be the time. I've started my own station with the help of two dear radio buddies of mine. We've probably got more than 60 years radio experience between us and a shitload of music research. We've been working on our format for the last 2 years, sourcing music, writing content, planning strategies, budgeting, designing branding, technical, even doing a dummy run - numbers and all!. We've taken it slow and steady and waited for the right time to turn on the low powered transmitter.

I joined a team of Low Powered broadcasters and helped form a society, assisted countless radio startups in my time and a former co-host has asked me to be his best man next year. Joy! I'm in a good space and I've had a lot of awesome feedback about my station by two radio bigwigs (yes, actual bigwigs!), colleagues, peers, friends and family - many of whom have been waiting with baited breath after my grand presentation last April.

So here it is. My oath and promise to the dream comes alive, and, err, my glass is empty. Be right back..........


September 15, 2004

Maori Language Week Awards

It's quite interesting how a Pacific Island radio station wins an award in a category that really should have been won by an iwi station.

The Maori Language Week Awards were held last night in Wellington, and among two other iwi finalists (Mai FM and Te Hiku FM) in the Radio Category, Niu FM won it.

The press release makes light of TVNZ scooping a chunk of awards, yet this enlightening and odd news of the pioneering PI radio network made my morning.
He ra tino ataahua tenei - Its a great day!

September 14, 2004

U.G.L.Y.. you aint got no alibi

Theres a bus-stop campaign out there at the moment asking us to visit the Ugly Kids Website.

So I went there and punched in my vote. Now I have to wait until Monday to see what actually happens. Stay tuned I guess...

It was a gimmick by The Edge radio station. They're all ugly really. It makes me think of Bob Reid (if you know who he was).

Mozilla Magic

If you're a regular visitor of the web and its fruit, you may have seen the name 'Mozilla' at some point. I'm about to go crazy with recommendation!

If you've never used anything but Microsoft software on your computer, I seriously recommend you at least consider starting with your web browser. It's a safe bet, it will not compromise your computer system and can happily co-exist alongside your current browser.

Now, in an effort to keep this post simple and non-geeky for newbies, hover your mouse over some tricky words, and an explanation will appear. Do it on the word 'explanation'. Yay!

~preface for newbies~
More than likely, you are looking at my blog with a web browser called Internet Explorer. For the rest of this post I will nickname it 'I.E'. The reason for this, is that the Windows operating system you are using has I.E already built-in (or bundled). Over the last few years, hackers have found ways of exploiting this browser to the point that it is very much unsafe and a security risk for any computer.

Microsoft continually release patches and updates to fix these holes, but this makes it an annoying product rather than being a helpful one. Computer users have had real horror stories because of these security flaws - from bankruptcy, fraud, misguided imprisonment - or the most immediate problem: Viruses. Then there's the advertising pop-ups and bugs that install themselves on your system and track your every move, secretly sending data back to spam companies who in turn bombard your email account. It's crazy, and although it started with e-mail, the most common way to get a virus is through a web browser.

Coz I've freaked you out now, I will introduce Mozilla. It's not the answer to all of these problems but will certainly help - as it's all 'under the hood'. Oh, and it's pioneered by a Kiwi. reason enough?

~Quick History~
Mozilla is a new browser that has been bankrolled by Netscape.
Netscape has their own browser called Navigator and it was the worlds most used browser in the early days of the Internet (even I used it!), until Microsoft supplied it's operating system with a built-in (bundled) web browser called Explorer with the release of Windows 95. The rest is history.. Microsoft won the world over and Netscape couldn't match them.

Netscape has now partnered with the worlds most innovative programmers and created an organisation called, which in short, constructs software from scratch, in an open enviroment - unlike Microsoft whom like to keep their code behind closed doors. Because products are out there in the open, problems are discovered far more efficiently. This is good, especially when it comes to the most notorious pieces of software that impact the Internet environment the most: Email and Browsing.

Mozilla has developed a web browser called Firefox, an Email program called Thunderbird, and are currently developing a Calendar program called Sunbird.

Not only do the names sound wicked, but they are VERY easy to install, use and they look great. They are very refreshing. Just look at the logos throughout this post. At the time of publishing, Firefox was at version 0.9.3, Thunderbird at 0.7.3, Mozilla Browser at 1.7.2 and Sunbird at 0.2a (still a baby).

I mentioned a couple of paragraphs back that this software has it all 'under the hood'. Pop Ups were the first thing eliminated (or terminated as Arnie says). Next, came the option of nuking advertisements - done. Malicious scripts, and net-nasties were all severely kneecapped when Mozilla unleashed its browser - because the world had become accustomed to Microsoft programming and software. I suspect this is why the Mozilla logo is that of a T-Rex... it's a lean, mean beastly piece of work! It's awesome.

I recommend you install Mozilla Firefox and start surfing the net in actual peace. No popups for lotteries, credit cards, or penis enlargement. Just a browser doing what you asked it to do, and nothing more - if thats what you want. Mozilla Firefox can be filled to the brim with a whole lof of cool extra features upon your intention to enhance your online experience (I use a few), although most of these things - such as toolbars, news tickers and god-knows-what - just add clutter and we could really do without them.

Take the punt and install Firefox. You can download it direct from their website (no middle-men websites here) by clicking here - and it's free.

~Try It Out~
First thing I want you to try when it's installed (and it has kindly imported your I.E Bookmarks!), is load this blog page into Firefox. Select this address: ..copy then paste it into the address bar in Firefox. Firefox will then tell me you are using it to view my page.. Groovy huh?
Here is where Firefox will change the way you browse the internet - for the better. Firefox has made whats called 'tabbed browsing' a phenomenon. Heres how:

Hold down the Control button on your keyboard, press T. This will open a new blank tab. You will see two new buttons appear just under the address bar, These are called tabs and you can switch from one page to another as quick as you can click. So what? - well, do it again - do it six more times.. Control+T. You can view as many pages as you like WITHIN the one browser. Its a big deal because it allows you to bounce between completely different websites without tying up and slowing down your computer. When was the last time you opened 15 windows at a time? ..can you imagine the mess? Firefox keeps it all nice and tidy. OK, close down all of those new tabs - except one. So you should have my blog open, and a blank tab. Here's the trick I've been dying to teach you, just keep tabbing back and forward from this blog to follow these instructions:

Click on the empty tab, and at the top right of the browser you'll see another empty box. This is the Google search engine at your fingertips! Punch in something, anything and hit enter on your keyboard. The search results display in this new tab. See a result that interests you? Even if you don't, try this: Instead of clicking on a link to view it, right-click it and select from the menu 'Open In New Tab'. That page you selected now opens in a 3rd tab! So, I can now assume you have 3 tabs open. this blog, Google search results, and a page you opened as a result of the search.

Hey, while that page is loading, click back to the google search results and choose another website link, say halfway down. Open that in a new tab too. I hope you now see how browsing the web this way makes it so much easier to manage everything, and ultimately save you buckets of time.
Oh, you might not have noticed any pop ups. Firefox nuked them when they tried to load. Cool huh!

The safer, faster, better web browser with exciting new features such as tabbed browsing and integrated search. Stop pop-ups, spyware, viruses and other nuisances. Beware of spyware. If you can, use the Firefox browser. - USA Today (Sept 8, 2004)

Try Firefox for a week or so. If you still feel uneasy, then use I.E and at least share some of the workload with Firefox. You will notice the better performer when you realise that IE may have two, three, five, maybe ten pop ups at the end of your session, whereas Firefox will have none. Just itself. To me, that earns BIG brownie points and was what hooked me in from day one.

I've been using Firefox since March 2004 and it's not failed me yet. As a result I have more faith in products that are not built by Microsoft and ever since, I've been migrating away from Microsoft. I use Firefox for browsing, Thunderbird for email, and I just installed Sunbird for my calendar. I now do not use anything Microsoft except for the Operating System itself and I might even ditch that soon one day although ironically, I've had no problems since I erased the other Microsoft products. Coincidence?

A preview version of the first release is available for download, although I'd suggest you wait for the official release. In other news, Firefox is making "waves" in the news. About bloody time.

September 13, 2004

Radio Now

from radio ink
Start-up company AudioFeast is bringing radio to portable MP3 players, betting that digital audio fans will want a diet beyond their own music collections..

I'd be hesitant to call it 'radio' although its an avenue for radio in NZ to possibly expand its service. We do not have digital radio in NZ, yet this could be a fast track for us to catch up and join in on the digital aspect of radio.

I know its not a new idea coz we've been able to tape the radio for years, without any legal problems (although they still say its illegal). Only our time limit was limited by the length of the cassette. This way we can do it to the extent of the harddrive digitally and legally - as Radio can charge for the service, as they pay Apra anyway.

Weird how we can have iPods yet Apple's service of downloading to them is not available here.

Murray Deaker on demand anyone?

September 10, 2004

Our appointment

Whats up with that blasted Green Room effect?

Bump into someone you've not seen in a while, and in haste say "lets catch up for a coffee".

1) It never happens and you find out 35 years later he/she own their own island..
2) Somehow they know Christina Ricci
3) The 'catch up' happens, and..

..a phonecall is made.
X:Oh mate, it's been too long really. How about we catch up later in the week?
Y:Yeah, how's Thursday for you?
X:Great, 2 O'Clock at (cafe/bar)?
Y:Cool, see ya then.. etc etc

A day later, someone tries to book THAT particular time you've pencilled with your long lost buddy. To steer the strange one legged person away you pretend you have an important business meeting at that time and cannot break it (if you are a true friend). "I've got a 2 O'Clock then, sorry"

I believe strongly in a personal matra of mine. Never Be Predictable. Instead I will make it a habit of going home using a new route, pick up a different brand of bread at the supermarket, and book really odd times for meetings.

I have a "4:17" sorry..
I have an "11:11" sorry..
I have a "2:39" sorry..

You should see some reactions I get. They think I'm joking.

FYI: I've been doing this with my posts here since July. Take a look at the log entry times ;)

So Damn Cheesy

Well, I WAS going to write something about the NZ Idol runner up Michael Murphy, and the kafuffle over his first single. Alas, Robyn exposed the truth, Paul Ellis got headlines, and Damian drove in the nail.

I never liked Michael Murphy. Too cheesy for my liking, although perfect for an 8 year old. I'm still happy that Ben Lummis got the votes, even if he couldn't stay in key for 'Treat Her Like A Lady'.

It seems interesting that all of the runner-ups in this "Competition" end up releasing albums, in turn discounting the point of having an overall winner. in spite of that, the only crowd favourite I've yet to hear a single from is the lovely Cosima Devito. Fear not, she is on her way with her album too - only hers is full of ORIGINAL material penned by Diane Warren. Already, she has released a cover of Cold Chisel's "When the War Is Over" which reached the top of the Ozzie charts a few weeks back.

September 9, 2004

Nightjocks diet

Back in the old days before automation, I would find Hotel California, American Pie, Stairway To Heaven* or any song that was longer than 5:20 and cue the bugger up when it came time for a food run. I'd prepare my cash, prepare the studio door, put the phones on hold (including the hotline) and as soon as I hit play, the old song was out, the next CD was in and I was off.
The petrol station where i'd get the tucka was across the road so there was no drama in getting the food, it was the food I ended up with which was dramatic.

my DJ Food was:
Pies, Chocolate, Chips, Coke or Energy Drink. It was a sad state of affairs really. All that effort I put into a great nightshow was morally destroyed by eating this unromantic 'ick'. My shift would end at 12, I'm home 15 minutes later yet I'd never get to sleep before 1:30am. The sugar kept pumping through me.

Here I am again facing the same issue. I am, however 8 years older and know what it feels like to have a tooth pulled out. I look back at that young jock I once was and sit here shaking my head and grinning, knowing I was not the only one who ate like that. This bad food habit amongst DJ's still happens today, yet not pointed out. It's like 'radio station coffee', or lack of pens - this is just part of the deal and because of your circumstances being night and all, there are a limited number of places one could go, and really it's tuff shit nightowl.

So now, I thank the accountants for bringing us automation. You have improved my health, my fitness and my attitude toward a bright and salad filled future. Tonight I am not on-the-air as a night jock, rather in production creating a new batch of Station Imaging. I have a ham roll that I picked up from a bakery at 4:30 this afternoon, along with a bottle of Ribena. I think I'll eat the roll now. It's nearly 1am!

September 7, 2004

Hiccout the Hiccups

Instead of adding to my mental list of remedies for this annoying human flaw, I'll just slap em here.

There are plenty of traditional remedies for the hiccups, so I'll start at the beginning. If you have any futher suggestions then add your comment at the end of this post.

  • HOLD your breath for 10 seconds.

  • DRINK an entire glass of water without breathing.

  • SWALLOW a teaspoon of dry, white sugar.

  • BREATHE into a paper bag for 2-minutes, re-breathing the air inside the bag.

  • USING your thumb, apply gentle pressure to the space between your teeth and upper lip. Using the index finger of the same hand, apply pressure just below the right nostril on the outside of the lip.

  • PLACE one finger in each ear and count to twenty.

  • CLOSE your eyes and apply slow, gentle pressure to the outside of the eyelids, over the eyeballs.

  • DRINK one cup of juice rapidly.

  • EAT crushed ice.

  • EAT bread slowly.

  • DRINK a glass of milk from the other side of the glass (you have to bend forward to do it).

  • EAT a spoonful of honey, or maple syrup.

  • STOP drinking alcohol, you're probably drunk.

September 5, 2004

Offline Shopping

Did a bit of offline shopping with my brother today. Ya just can't beat the real-world charm of a supermarket:

One of these is NOT photoshopped...

Can I Fix It?

Yes I Can!

Thanks to this brilliant site. You gotta love the net.

I know what all these colours mean now

September 1, 2004

Guilty Pleasures

Everybody has them. Hidden deep in the entertainment center. Buried at the bottom of the CD chest. Scratch the veneer of any hip music enthusiast and you'll find a closet Milli Vanilli fan.

Thats just how we humans like it too - we gotta be unpredictable, although this is usually unintentional.

Back in 1992, the father of a friend of mine was having a BBQ with friends. We were instructed to supply the music, and so we ran cable around the side of the house, attached them to speakers and proceeded to play a mix of classics and modern music (it was early Supergroove back then). We would take 30 minute shifts playing music between two cassette players. Every time my friend would start his set, Elton John's "I Guess Thats Why They Call It The Blues" would be his first song. It became a running joke, really.
Nowdays, he listens to The Rock, yet in his collection lies some hardcore shit from Snoop Dogg, Sum41, and yes, Elton John.

I've just been asked to transfer a couple of old LP's to CD for a friend. He explained to me that he couldn't find these anywhere on CD, so he would continue to listen to these two Rod McKuen albums outta the early 70's at any given chance. When he gave them to me for the transfer, he felt he had to explain why he had them. I knew exactly why - Guilty Pleasures - and I do not hold it against him coz, I have some doozies in my collection too.

Some of my guilty pleasures

Reef - 'Replenish' (1995)
Living Colour - 'Biscuits' EP (1991)
David Bowie - 'Black Tie White Noise' (1993)
Fan Club - 'Respect The Beat' (1989)
Various - The Brain Central Nervous System V1 (1995)
Margaret Urlich - Safety In Numbers (1990)
Hanson - Where's The Love (CD Single)

There are of course:
Michael Jackson, Madonna, Go West, Nik Kershaw, The Motels, 'Warped Tour' Compilations, 'Busted' Compilations, and the 'Rhythm Volume' series up to V16, the Kickin' series, NOW, WILD, Big Day Out, Triple J, a variety of OST's including Forrest Gump, The Truth About Cats & Dogs, Miami Vice, Cocktail, Friday & Next Friday and buckets more.

I'm yet to see a collection without:
Kiwi Rock Volume 1 (or 2)
OST: Dirty Dancing
Moby - 'Play'
Prodigy - 'Fat Of The Land'
anything from the Rhythm & Black series.

Theres great interest in this - we can't help it. If you're reading this during the weekend, then read up on the Guilty Pleasures of Robyn Gallagher, Fred Muller, Paul Radley (login required), or take the advice from this Google search

Crazy huh. If you want to confess, add yours in the comments below :) If you can't think of any, read up on this article, or visit Hamilton's Hindsight to jog your memory.