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Squidpod. is the Audio and Video podcast hosted by Joel and Jenn which tackles hard hitting issues like 'Robots On Fire' and 'Pants: An Option?'.

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    Tuesday
    Jan132015

    Space the final Frontier, finally final.


    I want to Congratulate U.S. Senator Ted Cruz on his appointment to oversee NASA. As an opponent to science over the years one might wonder how his particular "qualifications" might impact NASA. I'm not a psychic (nor do I believe in them) but I'm going to go ahead and predict that NASA will be seeing some budget cuts in the future. Ideologically Mr.Cruz' bias will naturally lead to the dismantling of the agency. Having a climate change denier in charge of a key scientific agency is akin to naming Richard Dawkins as Pope.... how can this not lead to entropy? Does old Teddy even believe in Space? There's about the same amount of evidence for outer-space as there is for climate change, unless the moon landing was faked and we all live inside of an elaborate hollywood backlot.

    I'm a Canadian, and outside of our astronauts we loan to NASA our other proudest achievement was creating the robotic arm used in the previous generation of space shuttles. A friend of mine tweeted "Now that Ted Cruz is overseeing Nasa does the Canadarm have to change its name?" in which I responded "the Freedarm." But the truth is that America and by extension Canada's Space days are most likely behind us, unless private visionary's like Elon Musk fill the gap, but that's a lot of eggs to put in one basket.

    Let's take a minute and assume that the Market Economy will continue on forever, as the Republican belief system demands, then the Earth will run out of... well... stuff to make things fairly soon. Pragmatically we should be looking for a new planet now... even if it's just to mine that one to bits too. but the truth is Space exploration is not immediately profitable, and therefore by free market accounts should be whittled away to nothing. Instead there's a strange logic of the throwing that same money into killing foreigners over securing resources that somehow makes more money while speeding up our time limit here on this perfectly functional planet. ... that can't really be how it works can it? Looking at it from outside like that, our oil wars seem like nothing more than grim, pointless busywork.

    Unless Space exploration can be outsourced to be cheap and dangerous it ain't happening. A sweat shop approach of sling-shotting bodies into space until somebody makes it alive. Space, like everything else, will most likely also be Chinese.

    There's been a lot of assumption that we will colonize Mars, which we should do. Many of us think of it as a Hail Mary play to save the human race as though we'll just make Earth 2 there (man that show sucked). But is living on a remote alien environment sustained by artificial life support, preferable to fixing our colossal destructive economic practices? Believe it or not they are about as equally hard, especially without a from the ground up (dare I say it) revolution. But if we do nothing, Is the guy who doesn't believe there is a problem really the best person to give us our last resort effort to save our species? Nope. With Ted driving the bus (sorry I mean SUV) we will lose both scenarios, this planet and the super crappy backup, Mars.

    Monday
    Oct042010

    I See You Too Asshole: A Personal History of Photography

    Going for a walk with a camera, everyday.Do you remember those old 110mm cameras that you'd get in a happy meal? Yeah me neither. But if you could strain your booze addled mind you'd remember why those cameras were any good. The photos they produced looked like shit but the camera was small enough the you could carry them around in your pocket. And in 1986 I always had my camera in my k-way jacket. Back then my dog and I would go to the "field" - an undeveloped plot of wheat fields and swamp. I took pictures of grasshoppers and frogs and cats I met along the way. Not one photo was in focus and even less of them were exposed. But the act of having a camera with me "just in case" was a practice lost in later years.

    In High School I got a 35mm point-and-shoot for my birthday. I started documenting adventures with my friends... quite often this would be late night skateboarding runs, 7-11 trips and punk gigs. I have stacks of photos of grungy alternative types smoking cigarettes, playing hacky-sack and generally looking stupid. But I was one of them, so what the fuck can I say about it. I have some shots of kids that would grow up to be famous and some that would grow up to be dead - or worse - losers. Around this time I learned how to develop my own black and white film, a process that has become obsolete... and good. It was smelly and annoying, and to get them done at the big box store was an affordable $5 a roll. In those days you got 24 shots, so you missed a lot of moments trying to save film for the perfect one.

    I bought my first SLR in art school for $15 at a senior's centre garage sale. It was a steal, and the old person who owned it though it was a piece of shit compared to her new Advantix auto-focus. And maybe it was, but for me suddenly photography changed, it was no longer about documentation it was about composition. For the new few years my photos became less about a moment but more about creating one.

    The first digital camera I owned was a gift from my Mom on the first Xmas I missed while I was living in Europe with my ex-wife. It was amazing to me the amount of photos I could take on whimsy… when the 32MB card filled up, I dumped it on to my ipod and continued on. In 2003, 5 mega pixels was huge and 15 gigs was insane. But on returning home, the Camera felt too bulky to take out to the bar or just walking around. I found it just came out on special occasions.

    When the iphone came out in Canada the first time, my phone contract still had two years on it and thinking it was just a phone, I compromised by getting an ipod touch. Besides I thought, my phone has a 2MP camera just like the iphone so why would I pay the crazy data plan. I used that camera five times, tops. Not because the pictures were crummy and not because the user interface was bad, but because there was no reason to take photos, and when you did, it was a pain to get them off the phone. What I didn't understand is that the iphone doesn't offer a better camera… It offers an "audience".

    In the realm of digital photography there's photos you plan and photos you don't. If you leave the house with a DSLR you're planning to take photos. You are making art and you are conscious of that. DSLRs are big and clunky, but they take beautiful photos. You take them to consider later. When you leave the house with your smartphone, you're just leaving the house. You have no plans, what you take photos of are things you stumble upon: things you notice, people you run into, and moments. Your smartphone is always with you and it takes quick and dirty photos that you can share instantly.

    The smartphone camera is the biggest advance in photography since going digital, and not because of the lenses or quality. But because it's not a camera at all. It's your communication tool, it's always in your pocket and it's always connected. The fact that it just happens to have a camera makes the act of photography an impulse. Sharing those impulses with others becomes about pure communication. A thousand instant words. How you feel, your mood, your sense of awe communicated, instantly. Art, journalism, experience. A moment.

     The Medium of photography has become new again.

    Tuesday
    Mar232010

    The Beatles are Dead, Long Live the Beatles!

    Why the Beatles 2.0 are actually better than the Beatles.

     

    A few months ago Canada’s conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper did a spot on performance of “With a little help from my friends” at the National Arts Centre.  As surprising as it was, watching a vanilla politician sing about getting high, felt mismatched. This musically talented world leader still represents the exact opposite of anything the Beatles stood for; Capitalism, War (we call it peace keeping in Canada), Privatization, and Healthcare for profit. Which makes me wonder why he would choose the Beatles? Simply put they don't matter. They've become elevator music. The old Beatles are dead and so are their ideals. Two of them are literally dead. And the survivors? Well... the survivors envy the dead. Or at least they should.

    The Sun is setting on the "Meat" Beatles.

    Now, Ringo has always been my favorite Beatle purely from a loveable underdog point of view. This is the same lumbering man-child that called a press conference to let his fans know he'll no longer be answering fan mail. Aww... adorable right? But truthfully the man’s become a shill. He’d do a jingle for anal suppositories, if you told him his face would be on the box, in fact he'd demand it. I remember in the 90’s right before “Free as a Bird” and the Anthology came out, Ringo was hawking Pizza Hut. His perfect match was Shining Time Station and we all know it. I really bought him as the conductor. 

    Paul is an old blithering mess who simply keeps busy by making over-produced crap. Wings rules by comparison. That's right, Fucking Wings! Occasionally Paul will show up and play bass in some super-group benefit concert with the other corpses who refuse to leave the spotlight... Right Zombie Mick, Zombie Keith? Paul is richer than God, what the hell do you do with all that Money… I guess you just fill your days in the studio re-discovering jazz, blues and reggae and then re-recording some unrecognizable version with all the soul removed. Yeah... carry on, you made it better Paul. Die already.

    George had the least offensive post Beatles career… I mean the Wilbury’s were alright... but they still mostly sucked. Now he’s dead. And thanks to his interest in Indian mysticism, he forever ruined Rock and Roll by introducing the Sitar. Maybe George has been reincarnated as a Bagpipe, that’ll learn him.

    John is the only one who never got a chance to become a full-fledged embarrassment. I tried to find something I hated in John’s post Beatles life but I had a really hard time. I even like the stuff where Yoko’s singing. I guess had this genius not been taken out of the world… there were really only two paths he could have taken… He could be like Bowie is today... respected and interesting… or like the Stones; Old, Decadent, banal, lame… and stubborn. Who can say, at least his legacy remains somewhat intact.

    But who cares, those Beatles are the dead and lame mortals.

    What I’m interested in is the institution of the Beatles. In the past, the ever-present immortal machine, had made certain that whenever a member died or had bad press (or even good press), a new box set was instantly produced. This is the same institution that has remastered the classic albums so many times that it’s amazing that they even sound like music. The machine that made sure every media format on the earth had Apple records stamped on it and were reissued in a new packege every second year. Yes that’s the Beatles I’ve come to know and love, beating dead horses and milkin' cash cows.

    After several unsuccessful lawsuits against Apple computers, iTunes was born... something happened,. Apple v. Apple was about music and no longer about namesake. On that day The Beatles gained consciousness. The Beatles became an entity the day it refused to sell on iTunes. The Beatles (The institution) said No. It suddenly didn’t care what it’s real world doppelgangers Paul and Ringo thought. No, like the rest of us, The Beatles had given up on Paul and Ringo and Moved on. It waited until the time was right. And then with the fury of a neglected child it opened a causal nexus in the very fabric of reality. Thereby resurrecting the Beatles into... Rock Band.


    There my friends, are your real Beatles. Long Live the Beatles 2.0!

    They will never get lame because they will never progress. An Eternity of the Fab four who will never age, never suck, never get rich, and never get lame. It’s beautiful. 

    But this is only the beginning... the Beatles is still waiting for a physical form. And I for one, hope it looks like Yellow Submarine.

    Note: I have heard both Sitar and Bagpipe in rock that’s done well. But it almost never happens. Just sayin’.

     

    Update: Today the Beatles were added to iTunes. The fanfare of which you would think it was the second coming of Jesus Christ. Maybe it's because the Boomers are the first seniors to really be online or maybe they can only remember two things from their youth, drugs and the Beatles. But is this really such a big deal? I think it's hardly important, for over 10 years now, anybody with an internet connection and a CD drive has ripped or downloaded the entire beatles catalogue several times over. Way to join the digital age Hippy-Kings... a decade too late. Fuck the Beatles. There I've said it.

    The sad thing is the Beatles 2.0 machine will still make a fortune. 

     

    Tuesday
    Oct272009

    Saturday
    Oct102009

    We're Smitten...

    ...As in Biblical. God has decided to smite us. Only one of us believes in God, but you know... we're a couple so we share everything, including wrath.

    Things have not been so great lately, Our dog died in August. She had been sick with a degenerative genetic spine thing for quite some time. Being a pure bred the lack of gene variety causes these sorts of illnesses in many dogs. Breeding is a man made concept, There's no such thing as a Terrier. And much like your retarded cousin the results of Show dogs and inbreeding are often similar. Studies show that Genetic diseases are becoming more frequent in pure breeds. I can only assume this, is payback for man playing God. None-the-less we had to put her down and it took a few weeks to get back in our groove. Grieving, for a pet or a person is a process, it's over when it's over.

    Like the proverbial...uh... proverb? God had decided to fuck with something else we hold dear... Squidpod. After 4 solid days of shooting and two feverish weeks of editing. God deleted a huge amount of work off my external drive. in literally seconds. One minute there, gone the next. The nerds will tell me that it was due to a bad B-tree catalogue or some such heresy, but I know, this was no act of mere machine.

    "But Job* at least you have your health!" good point. Except I don't. I'm also diagnosed this month with Barette's Esophagus. A fun medical condition which restricts my diet, limits my drinking and puts me on the Cancer watch list. Oh and we get to sleep on a super fun bed that's sloped 25º at the head so that gravity will keep stomach acid in my stomach. Thanks Satan you dick... you're gonna win this bet on a technicality.

    No matter how much lamb's blood we painted on the door, the last plague came for us. No, the locusts haven't shown up, but our landlord did with an eviction notice. He made a cool million dollars, selling our place to a guy who "can't be bothered by tenants" and would rather have vacant property. Awesome! We love this place, it's exactly right for us. We got everything exactly how we like it and boom, six months in... See ya. Fuck them, I'm taking as much copper as I can out of the walls before we go.

    If we're being tested, one of us is going to fail. If this is coincidence (which it is) chaos is not as organized as I care for it to be. Either way I don't think we can take much more of this.

    We've got two things left to hold onto; Our Jobs and getting married. Somebody invited God to the wedding so we're good there... and I can't get fired if I don't twitter from work anymore, right?

    I may not believe in God but I fear him just the same...

     

    *God and Satan made a bet that the devout Job (pronounced Jobe) would renounce his faith if God ruined his life... He didn't... Satan was God's slave for a month.

    Update: November 1st, 2009

    Trying to get married in a foreign country when both parties are divorced is insanely expensive. After dropping a few hundred on paperwork, we found out that the translation fees would be another grand. At this point I might as well have stood on t the street corner with my wallet open inviting people to help themselves.

    So just to add a whole new level of stress, we decided to get married at City Hall one week after we move.

    The move itself went well then, second day in Jenn Realized that during the workweek we live below a bowling alley (figuratively). There is no sound proofing, and it wasn't exactly advertised as such. And the Coupe de Grace, wait for it... wait for it ... while hanging a shelf I managed to put a screw through a water pipe causing a minor flood... the cost of that damage is TBD.

    Knock on all the wood you can find for us squiddies.