Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Role Models and Vinyl... No not like that.

A friend showed me an article on the internet (It’s this new thing, everyone’s doing it.) people are in an up roar over the Merida from Disney’s Brave.  Disney gave her a ‘makeover’ so she’d look sexier. People have started a petition and I guess won. Disney has since pulled the images.
They say it corrupts her as a role model.
Am I the only one that feels this is wrong? People want a character created by Disney/Pixar is a role model for their children… Ok, let’s start with this:
Merida isn’t real. (Duh, I know right)
Merida is created by a company that’s bottom line is to make money. (Sure companies can do nice things for community/country/world, but face it, if they aren’t making money. Their gone.) So of course they are going to do everything they can to make the next buck. \
She wasn't that great a role model people. In the attempt to get what she wants she almost destroyed her whole family. I know I’d be a little cross at my son if he did what she did.
I scratch my head.
I think I’d encourage better role models…
Real role models…
I try to be the person I’d want others to be.

A new addiction has started…
Years back I started getting into vinyl records, I’m talking like ten plus years ago. I’d picked up some when my god brother worked at Tower Records. He got me a discount! Of course had money to waist on things I couldn’t listen to if they were discounted! Later,  I was given a nice record player by family, it wasn’t an audiophile turntable by any means, but I was shocked at just how good it sounded. I mean the turntable was a Sony from the 70s. But one day it had jammed and so my record collection was left to sit again for almost another ten years.
Then I started seeing there was an option to get my new music on vinyl with a free download code for the digital copies. That worked for me. I wanted the sound of vinyl and the convenience my iPod. I really don’t use CDs, and for the most part they just get piled into boxes for when the FBI comes knocking wanting to know if I’d stolen all my music.
Now vinyl was really starting stack up, and I’d never played any of it. I thought it would be a great idea to get myself a record player. A really nice record player! Anyone that knows me, understands that I can’t just get a low end anything. So I started looking… I was quite shocked at just how much a record player can go for.  “Audiophile” record players start at about $400 and go all the way up to almost $100K. I spent a week in sticker shock, I’m not normally one to succumb to sticker shock.
This was one of the few times where I had to weigh what I wanted with what I could afford.
I settled on a Music Hall MMF-2.2
It’s a good starter record player with a great arm on it, but I’m thinking I want to move to a glass platter soon. When I wear this one out, I’m hoping to be in a position to get into something a bit grander. For now it’s a phenomenal player. Stuff I’d only heard on MP3/CD sound so much better. And I do mean better.  Phantoms by Fixx sounds better than the CD version. Like night and day. It goes from flat to alive. Talking to my cousin, it’s because the early techniques for transferring music from the masters to CDs where flawed and it hurt the end product in many cases.
Now that I have a way to play vinyl, I've watched my collection explode. Some of it comes from hitting second hand stores and finding old records at .99 all the way up to five dollars. The rest is Amazon’s fault! There ability to feed me vinyl is disturbing!
Now that I have a record player, I’m going to buy and write a story on an old ink typewriter. Mark my words…it’s going to happen.

Till next week,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Camp and other family adventures

As I’d said last week, 5th Grade camp adventures were on! I had a great time and so did Zack. 
The number one thing learned; my son is a boating NUT.
As an experiment I thought I’d use some of my “Grew up in Alaska I can do about every outdoors activity ever” power and I took Zack out in a canoe. My largest worry about putting him in a small canoe was balance. Sure let’s put my hyperactive son in a boat that requires you keep centered and then sit you have to sit apart so you can’t help him!
Let’s just say; I was prepared to go into the drink! 
We put him in the boat and he quickly found that if he moved so did the boat and he came to enjoy his bird’s eye view carefully while I paddled him about. During the session two other boats capsized and both times teachers and instructors were sure it was us and came running. Only to find we were the ones coming to help. It was kind of a proud moment. ;)
From then on, his goal was to get into another lifejacket and back out onto the water. During free time we had the opportunity to join up with others and take one of the larger boats. This also meant we got to go farther out into the inlet.
The quote of the trip goes like so: 
As we reached the deepest point of the inlet, the boating guide starts telling us about the area and how deep it was when Zack turns to the guild and declares.
“Let’s raise the Titanic!”
Everyone looked from him to one another and we decide that the best answer was: We were on the Pacific Ocean, not the Atlantic. Also, I wasn't sure I was ready to drag the Titanic back on paddle power alone.

"Titanic Explorer Zack, reporting!"
With camp coming to a close, I got back just in time to host family down from Alaska. We did some of my normal northwest things. Cruised Seattle, checked out the university stores, I picked up some sweet records for almost nothing. Then Sunday we headed to Portland to check out the largest bookstore on the area Powell’s. If you’d never been, it’s worth doing. I recommend taking the train down from Seattle.

It has been a long time since I hosted family and it was really nice catching up. It reminds me just how much I need to visit home and just see… everything. It’s been embarrassingly too long. I wonder if I could fly up and then take a nice slow boat home. It would be good to go up and then write about my experiences on my way home. If I flew home, I wouldn't have the time to really write about it.

And if my boat sank, I know Zack would come along and raise it for me.
Till next week