April 2002 Archives

Winning the award for most inisidiously evil hack of the year:

How I Turned a Mac SE into a PC

Cannibal Ox: The Cold Vein
Recently I have been re-discovering my love of hip-hop. I quite like the old school rap and hip-hop of the 80's but more recent rap and hip-hop left me unsatisfied. The single exception were the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.

The wu-tang clan also have done some interesting things with the boundaries of hip-hop, particularly the amazing production and arrangements courtesy of RZA, however without RZA as a guiding influence, the many talented rappers within the clan have failed to produce anything of great value separately.

So for the most part, my interests have been focused on the other side of the Atlantic, on the trip hop movement forming out of bristol, and the dark murkier beats found in the many electronic music movements coming out of Europe.

It seems this cross atlantic consciousness is full duplex as we are now starting to see releases coming out of the traditional homes of hip-hop and rap that are infused with music and influences of a decidely non hip-hop flavour.

Some accredit the recent increase in exctasy usage within the hip-hop culture with the slightly less in your face even verging on psychadelic tunes released recently. I would say this is partially the case in the more commercial hip-hop scene which is dominated by big name producers like Dr. Dre and Timbaland.

However all across hip-hop, particularly in the underground, sounds that were originally considered too electronic and unfashionable have started to be used in interesting and new ways.

Such is the case with the production work of El-P on Cannibal Ox's debut album, the beats and samples owe more to artists like Squarepusher and Autechre than to anything produced in the hip-hop genre. I have yet to hear the instrumental version of the album, but would expect that it would stand up well on it's own. Even though many hip-hop tracks have an instrumental mix, an entire album that stands up sans raps is extremely rare.

The rapping is casual yet sincere, something most effectively shown in the numerous occasions when the rappers will halt mid stream and start the stanza again, this time subtly changing the words to eliminate an accidental repetition of a rhyme. This gives a single take, free-flow sensation to the songs. Yet when you listen closely, the lyrics are biting and on the mark, using strong allegories to discuss the issues pertinant to life in the ghettos of New York.

Shinin' summer-time hydrants Splash passing cars, now run ghetto tyrants These faces carry scars (mega large) Pigeons turn penguins talk fables cellular Detached Christ's Word But freeze-frame gold chain swing Son of God Iceberg gem shines on the neck of ghetto flight bird Getting fly like word

It's hard to pick stand out tracks as the album is consistent in it's quality. Personally the first song I heard, which is a bonus track on the album and not named is a favourite, it's been dubbed "Scream Phoenix" and uses the metaphor of an ordinary pigeon rising from the flames reborn as a phoenix (the king of all birds) to symbolise how rap music has given those in ghettos a voice allowing them to break free of their environment.

Those of a particularly realist bent will note that like the dispossesed aboriginal communities here in Australia, the idealistic goal of breaking free usually ends up being perverted by exposure to the western gods of celebrity and commerce, thus totally losing the unique culture which started it all.

Also, the track "The F-Word" really moves me, the title is a play on words, friend is the word referred to in this title. However as the song explores the relationship between sex and friendship, in particular that tricky situation where two people want different levels of each, the title could also refer to the more obvious f-word. Lyrically it's one of the best breakup (of a friendship or a sexual relationship) songs i've heard in a long time, exploring the same issues that are usually treated with such saccharine excess on commercial radio.

How do we fight words?

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Thanks to my wonderful sister, I now have a complete collection of all three volumes of the Invisibles, written by Grant Morrison. The next free weekend I have I intend to sit down and read the whole damn thing in one sitting. I'll probably come away a vegetable, but I have to know, the story seems to subtly hint that it knows what is really going on, the big truths that i'm quite skeptical even exist. Mainly though it's a deconstruction of modern life and trends, to the point where the characters are regularly redefined, just as our corporate sponsored pop heros in this "real world" are.

alternatively it could be read as the semi-autobiographical writings of a drug crazed scot.

Well another year of my life has passed, it seems I end up forming patterns based around getting a year older. Today, as so often before, I ended up running into an old friend and wishing each other a happy birthday. Over the years the friend changes but the coincidence of meeting up at the right time has not.

I also seem to unwittingly time my house moving to around this time. Maybe I just like the excuse to combine a housewarming with a good birthday bash.

Coconut Bread

This is a basic recipe for lovely tasting coconut bread which can be made in a bread machine

The proportions may need to be varied depending on the type/size of the bread machine. Look at how much flour is recommended for a normal loaf and adjust the proportions of the other main ingredients to match. It can also be made by hand of course, but I'm not going to go into that.

1 Cup Coconut Cream
1/2 Cup Water
3 Tbsp Brown / Raw Sugar
1 tsp sea salt
4 Cups unbleached baking flour
1/2 Cup dessicated coconut
1/4 tsp Cumin Seed
1/2 tsp Caraway Seed
1 tsp Pimento (Allspice) - Ground
1 tsp yeast

Add ingredients in the order listed below, bake on the sweet bread setting if available, otherwise just bake as white bread.

Optionally, sprinkle with sesame seeds after kneading before the rising starts.

Variation: Add 1Tbsp Carob or Cocoa powder to the dry ingredients, then near the end of the kneading, add dark chocloate drops. This produces a lovely and sweet "Bounty" style bread.

Well it is offical now, I am moving starting this afternoon. I will be going full circle back to where I started in Sydney: Stanmore

I am excited, I will be close where many of my friends live again, and more importantly I will be finally getting away from the potentially toxic situation living with Michelle's family.

I'm also scared, it's a big step for me and a year long commitment to staying in Sydney, a place i do eventually want a break from.

For anyone else out there migrating from greymatter to movabletype the instructions are excellent except for a few small things, when exporting the data out of greymatter, the order of the posts is from newest to oldest within the exported file.

Movable type looks at the dates to determine order so this doesn't seem to matter on the surface. However this gets the numerical IDs used for permalinks all out of order.

The secret is to prior to export, open all closed entries and then run the following perl script against the generated export file. True perl gurus out there could tell me how to make this a one liner i'm sure, I just don't know how to reprogram $/ otherwise i would make it a one liner myself.

After having fought a new and unfamilar web hosting system for the past two weeks, today we finally see fruition. Moveable type is up and running on olethros.com and being used to write this post. Much still needs to be done in fine tuning the templates and ensuring that all old old links lead to olethros.com.

The Mac Hacking blog will be moved next, then permalinks fixed up and finally the static content that sat untouched for so many years will be put to rest.

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