When It’s Radicalization By Any Other Name …

Con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones has been the sub­ject of con­tent dele­tions and plat­form bans by a num­ber of com­pa­nies over the past two weeks, includ­ing Apple, Face­book, Spo­ti­fy, YouTube, YouPorn, and Pin­ter­est, with com­pa­ny spokes­peo­ple cit­ing Jones’ repeat vio­la­tions of net-abuse poli­cies and fail­ure to abide by plat­form pub­lish­ing require­ments as the com­mon themes and caus­es of ter­mi­na­tion.

Before mov­ing on to my own com­ments on the sit­u­a­tion, I’d like to share two respons­es which I felt were par­tic­u­lar­ly mea­sured and insight­ful:

On to the big­ger pic­ture, then.

First, can we agree it’s time we backed off and left Alex Jones to his well deserved fate? The man made his bed, now he’s wel­come to lie in it and go back to being the pari­ah he was before Don­ald Trump put him in the spot­light.

Sec­ond, can we please stop call­ing it cen­sor­ship? Jones doesn’t lack a plat­form of his own. He’s been self-pub­lish­ing through his per­son­al InfoWars web­site and sell­ing prod­ucts through his online store for many years. Fram­ing this as de-plat­form­ing is miss­ing the point. Not only does Jones have a media com­pa­ny he can use any time he wish­es with­out lim­its, but it was his own deci­sion to ignore the rules of third-par­ty plat­forms on which he’d gross­ly over­stayed his wel­come.

While some aspects of the sit­u­a­tion could have been han­dled dif­fer­ent­ly (I’ll get to that lat­er), over­all there is no sym­pa­thy due. Jones has been pok­ing and throw­ing rocks at this par­tic­u­lar bear for years, know­ing in the back of his mind that one day it was going to wake up and slap the ever-lov­ing shit out of him. The only unex­pect­ed part was how long it took.

To those who cry ‘free speech,’ I note that free­dom of speech has nev­er been about free­dom from log­i­cal con­se­quences or free­dom from crit­i­cism. Both hap­pen in the real world, and in this case sev­er­al key busi­ness­es have come to the con­clu­sion that they’d rather not let Alex Jones use their net­works as a vehi­cle for dis­in­for­ma­tion, defama­tion, and alleged defama­tion.

While Amer­i­can defama­tion laws and safe har­bour pro­tec­tions insu­late from law­suits caused by user-sub­mit­ted con­tent, they don’t do any­thing to stave off the bad PR and bruis­ing to cor­po­rate image that come from asso­ci­at­ing with a per­son who’s made liv­ing off of trolling the pub­lic in some of the most base and ugly ways imag­in­able.

As wis­er jour­nal­ists have point­ed out, Jones’ flout­ing of Accept­able Use Poli­cies, harass­ment of inno­cents, oth­er­ing of minori­ties, and seem­ing inabil­i­ty to sus­tain polite rela­tion­ships with oth­er human beings online rise to the lev­el of cor­po­rate gov­er­nance, but not the First Amend­ment.

Sim­i­lar argu­ments could be made against numer­ous impres­sion­able Jones fans who’ve tak­en him too lit­er­al­ly over the years and engaged in harass­ment, vio­lence, and defama­tion, some of which ris­es to the lev­el of crim­i­nal behav­iour.

Con­tin­ue read­ing

Quoth the Raven: “It’s a Match!”

Years ago, when I first heard about online DNA match ser­vices, my reac­tion was some­thing to the effect of, “Stuff you put online lives for­ev­er, you no longer have con­trol of it, so what hap­pens when pri­va­cy breach­es hap­pen?”

 The recent high-pro­file US case of the alleged Gold­en State Killer was one exam­ple of the off-label use of DNA match­ing ser­vices that’s cap­tured the nation’s imag­i­na­tion.

While many peo­ple have a pre­con­ceived notion of DNA being unique, deci­sive, and absolute­ly air­tight, the real­i­ty is a touch more hum­bling, as mul­ti­ple news out­lets and law enforce­ment offi­cials have warned of the per­ils, error rates, and num­bers of false pos­i­tives involved in fam­i­ly match­ing. If any­thing, it rein­forces a need to fol­low the usu­al rules of inves­ti­ga­tion: strive to be more thor­ough, and always tread care­ful­ly.

While this par­tic­u­lar legal case has raised a lot of eye­brows, to me it seems to be more about the unmask­ing of a killer than the means by which the lat­est set of leads was gen­er­at­ed. This isn’t a new tech­nol­o­gy, it’s been around for quite some time. Police have used these ser­vices before, but those instances haven’t grabbed head­lines in the same way as the case of the Gold­en State Killer.

To the offi­cers involved, I salute your cre­ativ­i­ty and per­se­ver­ance. Hope­ful­ly, once jus­tice has tak­en its course and the case has been tried, you’ll have been able to give some much-need­ed clo­sure to the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims.

But that’s not why I’m writ­ing.

What’s prob­lem­at­ic about the main­stream­ing of genet­ic sequenc­ing and the sub­se­quent break­down of taboos sur­round­ing our most sen­si­tive per­son­al pos­ses­sion — the DNA code — is not the risk of false pos­i­tives or acci­den­tal misiden­ti­fi­ca­tion in a police inves­ti­ga­tion. It’s the line of oppor­tunists who are eager to acquire that data and bend it to their will for all man­ner of com­mer­cial, insur­ance, med­ical, and oth­er mis­us­es as peo­ple relax their guard and invite more and more strangers to the par­ty to play gate­keep­er to this extreme­ly sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion.

If you’ve ever been a vic­tim of iden­ti­ty theft, or if you’ve ever had some­one run up a bunch of unau­tho­rized charges on your cred­it card, you already have a glimpse of how it feels.

Your bank can issue a new cred­it card num­ber, but you don’t get a mul­li­gan once your DNA code makes it into the wild.

Con­tin­ue read­ing

Interesting Ideas for Interesting Times

These argu­ments are sim­ply bril­liant.

I know a lot of good con­ser­v­a­tives and lib­er­als, as well as oth­ers who fall some­where in between the two sides of the polit­i­cal spec­trum, and if there’s one les­son we all need to remem­ber in the cur­rent cli­mate of anx­i­ety, it’s that we all make mis­takes and we pos­sess the agency and capa­bil­i­ty to look with­in our­selves and cor­rect those mis­takes.

In North Amer­i­ca, far-right and far-left ide­olo­gies have both been hijacked in recent years by a mutu­al­ly intense fear and hatred of the oth­er side, such that the fear and hate have both become ends in them­selves.

This is why we’ve end­ed up with some decid­ed­ly out-of-place ideas infil­trat­ing each camp that fre­quent­ly lead to fur­ther harm and alien­ation as the feed­back loop inten­si­fies. It’s also why we see some peo­ple jump­ing ship, or jump­ing straight into the mid­dle of the con­flict.

His­to­ry has shown it takes a del­i­cate and ded­i­cat­ed effort to walk the line and bring peo­ple to the mid­dle, or even to main­tain one’s own set of val­ues and respect the oth­er side, but it’s worth it. In Cana­da and in the US, time and time again, the uni­ty of diverse peo­ples has ush­ered in many of our very best accom­plish­ments.

Video Platform Go Boom: Perspectives on the Adpocalypse

As it becomes increas­ing­ly obvi­ous a sea change is occur­ring at YouTube with respect to how the com­pa­ny con­ducts busi­ness and gov­erns its user base, it’s time we had a mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tion about the use of third-par­ty con­tent aggre­ga­tion plat­forms and the long-term effects of putting too many eggs into the same bas­ket.

Only a few gen­er­a­tions have been lucky enough to wit­ness the birth of the World Wide Web (and mass com­mer­cial­iza­tion of the Inter­net prop­er) and still have the priv­i­lege of liv­ing a rea­son­able num­ber of years on both sides of that flash­bulb moment in his­to­ry. Mine is one of them: togeth­er, we’ve grown with it, nur­tured it, aug­ment­ed our lives with it, watched it evolve — and we’ve drawn incred­i­ble ben­e­fit from the tech­no­log­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion that fol­lowed. Today all man­ner of com­put­er sys­tems cross paths with our lives hun­dreds of times on a dai­ly basis, and most times, it rarely elic­its a thought.

We’ve become so inti­mate­ly tied to our tech­nol­o­gy that invis­i­ble design has become an exquis­ite­ly refined, and gen­er­al­ly expect­ed, norm. Where once the shar­ing of con­tent on the Web was an intel­lec­tu­al­ly expen­sive and fair­ly time-con­sum­ing under­tak­ing — often requir­ing an indi­vid­ual to learn var­i­ous back-end tech­nolo­gies and pro­gram­ming lan­guages as well as visu­al design and its atten­dant soft­ware — nowa­days, most peo­ple rely on a mul­ti­tude of turn-key solu­tions that do much of the think­ing and heavy lift­ing for us, offer­ing decent inte­gra­tion with very lit­tle down­time.

Well, at least until that ser­vice changes the rules, lim­its its fea­tures, crash­es, or liq­ui­dates its assets.

Then we have a prob­lem.

Con­tin­ue read­ing

SpaceX: There’s a Starman Waiting in the Sky

Yes­ter­day was the maid­en voy­age of the Fal­con Heavy and true to its nature, SpaceX didn’t dis­ap­point. Whether we’re look­ing at the tech­ni­cal exe­cu­tion of land­ing two boost­ers ver­ti­cal­ly after flight at the same time on tan­dem pads (we’ll ignore that pesky cen­tral core), or the inspi­ra­tion of real-life ‘Star­man’ enter­ing orbit to the tune of David Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars,’ there’s a lot to be excit­ed about.

What made this launch so mem­o­rable was the gut­sy aspi­ra­tion, the heart, the because-we-can’ ethos. Why launch a bor­ing reg­u­lar test pay­load when instead, they can test a new space suit and do it in one of the most endear­ing ways pos­si­ble? That cre­ativ­i­ty is a tal­ent in its own right. It doesn’t mere­ly make news, it cap­tures the love and imag­i­na­tion of gen­er­a­tions and reminds us exact­ly why space trav­el is fuck­ing awe­some.

And yes, there are times when we need exact­ly this kind of boot to the head to wake us from our earth­bound prob­lems and inspire us to dream of what humankind can accom­plish next — among the stars.

Keep being awe­some, SpaceX.

As for the tech­ni­cal side of things, the drone ship video feed was lost after the cen­tral core boost­er hit the ocean at 300 miles per hour, about 300 feet (100 meters) from the drone ship. The rock­et was able to restart only one of its three engines dur­ing re-entry before it ran out of the TEA-TEB com­pound required to ignite the fuel mix­ture.

Elon Musk’s com­men­tary and atti­tude on this are inter­est­ing: in a world where many CEOs tend not to engage active­ly with the pub­lic, he bucks the trend by being casu­al and upfront, often dis­cussing a lot of the learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, suc­cess­es, and fail­ures his com­pa­ny has had over the years.

And yes, there have been some spec­tac­u­lar fire­works at past launch­es and land­ings.

Auditory Flashbacks: The Crüxshadows

Now as then,
still truth.

Followup: Charlottesville

Quick update to Tuesday’s sto­ry …

It was wide­ly observed by atten­dees and report­ed in the media that Neo-Nazis arrived armed and well-pre­pared at the ral­ly in Char­lottesville, then moved in lat­er to attack counter-pro­tes­tors with bats and oth­er weapons as police took a hands-off approach to a good por­tion of the vio­lence.

Giv­en that author­i­ties have his­tor­i­cal­ly been quick to respond with over­whelm­ing shows of force in the instances of the DAPL Water Pro­tec­tors protests and the Black Lives Mat­ter protests, it came across as noth­ing short of infu­ri­at­ing when a major show of force was not tak­en dur­ing the Char­lottesville riots in the midst of a far more dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion.

In an arti­cle that ProP­ub­li­ca released over the week­end, reporter and wit­ness A.C. Thomp­son not­ed, “State police and Nation­al Guards­men watched pas­sive­ly for hours as self-pro­claimed Nazis engaged in street bat­tles with counter-pro­test­ers.” He then went on to name the main orga­ni­za­tion­al and tac­ti­cal fail­ures at the event and describe them in nau­se­at­ing detail.

I’m glad oth­ers point­ed me to this arti­cle, as I’d missed it in the ini­tial media shuf­fle that took place when the riots began, so thank you for that.

Now, it’s only been a few days since the riots, and it can take time to con­duct a for­mal inquiry into the police response, but here’s a spoil­er: when author­i­ties appar­ent­ly had sit­u­a­tion­al aware­ness “for a long time” and went on to make errors such as fail­ing to sep­a­rate camps of pro­tes­tors and going easy on Nazis who phys­i­cal­ly attacked offi­cers, the optics of the over­all sit­u­a­tion don’t look good. As Thomp­son fur­ther notes, “Sev­er­al times, a group of assault-rifle-tot­ing mili­tia mem­bers from New York […] played a more active role in break­ing up fights,” after riot police failed to ful­ly inter­vene.

I’m not sure how to respond to that, besides not­ing the same con­clu­sion oth­ers have acknowl­edged many times: white priv­i­lege, it’s a thing.

Addi­tion­al­ly, the fact police didn’t mount a stronger response to stop the fight­ing and the way they failed to arrest more of those involved in the fight­ing are things that work to the advan­tage of far-right insti­ga­tors, who love the oppor­tu­ni­ty to be cast as vic­tims of left­ist vio­lence.

In oth­er words, let­ting Nazis slug it out with Antifa for a few days isn’t just a shit­ty idea, it’s actu­al­ly a recruit­ment win for Nazis and their ilk.

I’m sure this isn’t what author­i­ties want­ed, but regard­less of whether it arose through acci­den­tal blun­der or planned non-inter­ven­tion, that’s now the real­i­ty they’re going to have to deal with, as will many oth­er cities who are cur­rent­ly fac­ing spin-off ral­lies in the wake of the mess in Char­lottesville.

It will be inter­est­ing to read the results of a for­mal inquiry, if one is ever con­duct­ed into these mat­ters.

On Hate: Charlottesville And Beyond

Dur­ing one more in a long line of racist clash­es in the Unit­ed States, one pro­test­er was mur­dered and at least nine­teen oth­ers injured after a Neo-Nazi from Ida­ho attend­ed the “Unite the Right” ral­ly at Char­lottesville, VA, and pro­ceed­ed to dri­ve his car into the crowd.

A run­ning theme with white nation­al­ists, Neo-Nazis, and oth­er hate groups is they’ve tried repeat­ed­ly to avoid the name they’ve earned for them­selves while still try­ing to per­pe­trate all of the moral and crim­i­nal wrongs his­tor­i­cal­ly asso­ci­at­ed with their move­ments. To vary­ing degrees, they will advo­cate fer­vent­ly in pub­lic spaces for the advance­ment of racism, social seg­re­ga­tion, racist pro­pa­gan­da, hate speech, acts of vio­lence, and even mur­der, but if recent news cov­er­age is any indi­ca­tion, many seem unable to stom­ach the idea of get­ting caught or called out for their dis­gust­ing behav­iour.

This, in and of itself, speaks vol­umes.

Remem­ber — if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, then racist apol­o­gists be damned, it’s a fuckin’ duck.

Con­tin­ue read­ing

You Keep Using That Phrase …

… but have you ever won­dered where the expres­sion “Drink­ing the Kool-Aid” comes from?

 

BC Election: Green Has the Balance

As of tonight the recounts are fin­ished, the final results are in, and BC offi­cial­ly holds a Lib­er­al minor­i­ty gov­ern­ment along with an enor­mous tech­ni­cal win for the Green Par­ty.

The chance of an elec­tion turn­ing out exact­ly as this one has is infin­i­tes­i­mal­ly small, and yet it’s hap­pened. We’ve made his­to­ry.

The Comox-Courte­nay rid­ing, which denied a major­i­ty for the Lib­er­als, went to the NDP by an ini­tial mar­gin of 9 votes, lat­er con­firmed as 13 votes dur­ing final recount, and final­ized as a 189-vote NDP lead once the absen­tee bal­lots were tal­lied.

With the Lib­er­als hold­ing 43 seats in the Leg­is­la­ture, the NDP hold­ing 41, and the Green Par­ty hold­ing the remain­ing 3, this puts the Greens in the unprece­dent­ed posi­tion of being the ful­crum on which any gov­ern­ing mat­ters will stand.

The priv­i­lege of being in such a posi­tion essen­tial­ly lends the Greens a huge mega­phone. Being the decid­ing vote on leg­isla­tive work brings a stronger bar­gain­ing posi­tion when it comes to doing good for this province, our res­i­dents, and our shared envi­ron­men­tal lega­cy. It also brings enhanced oppor­tu­ni­ties to build a stronger polit­i­cal track record and can­di­date port­fo­lio, shape the par­ty into more of a house­hold name, and hope­ful­ly secure addi­tion­al seats in future elec­tions if all goes well.

It’s not easy being green, but it’s an amaz­ing time to be Green … so con­grat­u­la­tions, fel­low Green vot­ers and par­ty mem­bers, wear it well!

This post also wouldn’t be com­plete with­out heart­felt thanks to every sin­gle per­son who went out and vot­ed, regard­less of affil­i­a­tion. Being part of the polit­i­cal process is absolute­ly vital to the health of our democ­ra­cy and the progress of our future, and if ever there was a time to be remind­ed of the pow­er of the indi­vid­ual, 2017 has tru­ly show­cased this in the most amaz­ing of ways.

The Ongoing US Trump/Russia Media Flap

Here’s a fair­ly lev­el-head­ed expla­na­tion of the Trump/Russia cov­er­age that’s par­a­lyzed the news cycle for the past few months, cour­tesy of Michael Tracey from TYT:

It’s impor­tant to note that whether or not the Trump/Russia sto­ry has legs, we’ve long since passed the point where irra­tional nar­ra­tives became ends and pur­suits in them­selves, and peo­ple have large­ly cho­sen to see what they want to see come out of this sit­u­a­tion.

If there’s one thing 2016 taught us, it’s that the Amer­i­can polit­i­cal sys­tem and elec­torate are, large­ly, no longer ratio­nal actors. They’re in a bad place and they want to burn some­thing down because they’re under­stand­ably pissed off at the sta­tus quo. The oth­er side of the coin is most aren’t ter­ri­bly con­cerned with how they go about doing it, or what cor­ners they cut when giv­ing it thought.

Con­tin­ue read­ing

BC Provincial Election, Tuesday May 09

Get ready, get set, go vote! Your local polling sta­tions will be open today from 08:00–20:00.

It’s impor­tant to make your­self heard in an elec­tion, not only because cur­rent media stud­ies sug­gest a close­ly con­test­ed elec­toral race, but also because each par­ty diverges from the oth­ers in its own view of ‘com­mon ground’ as well as unique pol­i­cy deci­sions.

Please take some time today to read fur­ther, get to know the par­ty plat­forms, and make a choice on who you’d like to sup­port.

Full plat­forms of the major par­ties can be found here:
Green Par­ty
New Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty
Lib­er­al Par­ty

Share this mes­sage with your friends!

Donald Trump’s First 100 Days

Until now, I haven’t been report­ing on the polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in the Unit­ed States because news on the sub­ject has been ubiq­ui­tous, and many tal­ent­ed indi­vid­u­als and media out­lets have been call­ing the sit­u­a­tion for what it is.

Today, this changes. I don’t feel it’s appro­pri­ate for a per­son to stand on the side­lines and wait for oth­ers to do one’s duty in the midst of a mat­ter this impor­tant. I’ve writ­ten on Cana­di­an pol­i­tics on this site in the past, and arguably US pol­i­tics can have just as sig­nif­i­cant an impact on any­one liv­ing north of the bor­der due to wide­spread export of Amer­i­can cul­ture, val­ues, and geopo­lit­i­cal influ­ence.

At the same time, lin­ger­ing con­cerns remain on the polit­i­cal and finan­cial affil­i­a­tions of some media out­lets, the impact of com­pro­mised jour­nal­ism in an infor­ma­tion dri­ven soci­ety, and the pit­falls of the rat­ings-dri­ven sys­tem hold­ing sway on most TV-based media deliv­ery plat­forms which tends to cap­i­tal­ize on dra­ma and suf­fer­ing while often fail­ing to deliv­er con­text and his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive.

While there are many media groups who are doing high qual­i­ty work and pro­vid­ing in-depth jour­nal­ism, the mixed nature of tech­nol­o­gy and its use (or mis­use at times) means it’s wise to ensure infor­ma­tion is reg­u­lar­ly fact-checked and fur­ther research is con­duct­ed to under­stand con­text and estab­lish a broad­er per­spec­tive of cur­rent events.

The unfor­tu­nate thing about pol­i­tics is that despite hav­ing great impor­tance in dai­ly life, it fre­quent­ly tends to be treat­ed as a spec­ta­tor sport. Media com­pa­nies run round-the-clock news cycles and make mon­ey from it, peo­ple talk to fam­i­ly and friends about what’s going on in the world, some offices run pools on what they think the next big change might be, but how many of us are actu­al­ly will­ing to roll up our sleeves and get involved?

When was the last time you talked with a Con­gressper­son, Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, or MLA? Have you ever read leg­isla­tive doc­u­men­ta­tion to learn the issues? When was the last time you fact checked a polit­i­cal state­ment? Ever been part of a pub­lic com­men­tary hear­ing? Heck, when was the last time you vot­ed?

Here’s why polit­i­cal engage­ment mat­ters:

Con­tin­ue read­ing

Auditory Flashbacks: Informatik, Assemblage 23, De/Vision

I’m about to head off for the evening, but before I do, here’s a music post … because, rea­sons.

 

 

The Sea-Change at YouTube

It’s time we had a con­ver­sa­tion about cen­sor­ship.

Recent­ly a mass exo­dus of major adver­tis­ers occurred at YouTube, which has since caused the ecosys­tem of that plat­form to fall into dis­ar­ray. As not­ed by both YouTu­bers and main­stream media out­lets alike, the pre­cip­i­tat­ing event seems to have been a small num­ber of gov­ern­ment and cor­po­rate ads appear­ing along­side racist hate videos on a very small num­ber of chan­nels. The issue was brought to the atten­tion of gov­ern­ments and cor­po­ra­tions in a high pro­file man­ner, and from there, indus­try brass decid­ed to pull all adver­tis­ing off the YouTube plat­form, cit­ing the desire to not be asso­ci­at­ed with harm­ful con­tent.

As var­i­ous media out­lets have report­ed, it’s an odd nar­ra­tive to fol­low giv­en the fact this prob­lem has exist­ed for many, many years. Until the mid­dle of 2016, it’s been an issue that’s rarely made the news. Fur­ther­more, despite the his­tor­i­cal efforts made by media com­pa­nies (espe­cial­ly Google) to stamp out racist and oth­er extrem­ist con­tent, the issue remains dif­fi­cult to address owing to the sheer vol­ume of data being uploaded at any giv­en time.

In Youtube’s case, at least 300 hours of video is uploaded each minute (though some put that num­ber as high as 400 hrs/min). If we go with the low­est esti­mate, that’s still 18,000 hours of video in an hour, 432,000 hours of video in a day, or 12.96 mil­lion hours in a 30-day month. These num­bers are def­i­nite­ly not in Google’s favour, and despite valiant efforts to screen user-gen­er­at­ed con­tent, Inter­net media com­pa­nies as a rule tend to be faced with a nev­er-end­ing, uphill bat­tle when it comes to man­ag­ing these enor­mous vol­umes of user-gen­er­at­ed con­tent.

Sim­i­lar to the ongo­ing sit­u­a­tion at Face­book (and its impli­ca­tions for that network’s 1.2 bil­lion dai­ly users), the logis­tics are impos­si­ble when it comes to set­ting up a pure­ly human inter­ven­tion as a solu­tion to harm­ful con­tent. There’s no prac­ti­cal way for Google, or any ultra high vol­ume media com­pa­ny for that mat­ter, to retain suf­fi­cient human staffing in order to indi­vid­u­al­ly review each piece of user-gen­er­at­ed con­tent that comes in the door. As a result, indus­try stan­dard prac­tices include the use of soft­ware algo­rithms as gate­keep­ers and the automa­tion of most issues relat­ed to pol­i­cy enforce­ment and con­tent man­age­ment.

Con­tin­ue read­ing

Auditory Flashbacks: Icon of Coil, VNV Nation

I’ve been busy as of late, albeit occu­pied with a lot of things IRL and not online as much. I real­ize it’s been a while since my last arti­cle here, so in the spir­it of keep­ing the beat going, here’s a music post.

Tonight we have select songs from Icon of Coil and VNV Nation. Crank that vol­ume knob way up high, and enjoy …

Regret // lyrics here.

Every­thing // lyrics here.

Con­tin­ue read­ing

Auditory Flashbacks: Sea Songs and More

When I began going through my posts as part of back-end main­te­nance the oth­er day, I real­ized I haven’t done an arti­cle on sea songs yet. Con­sid­er­ing how deeply that genre runs in my heart and my con­nec­tions with the sea, I feel a bit sil­ly at not doing it soon­er.

So here’s a smat­ter­ing of old favourites. I’ve searched a while for spe­cial ver­sions of some of these songs, which you’ll notice below:

Con­tin­ue read­ing

Auditory Flashbacks: Die Laughing

Tonight’s post isn’t a review so much as a hand­ful of snip­pets from the tal­ent­ed UK goth group Die Laugh­ing. Hav­ing been active from 1986 to 1999, they dis­solved the sum­mer before Y2K and even­tu­al­ly re-formed in 2012 with a new sin­gle, “Tan­gled,” and news that they’re work­ing on mate­r­i­al for a new album.

See­ing as their inter­na­tion­al fol­low­ing nev­er real­ly stopped (due in equal parts to the Inter­net and the peri­od­ic releas­es of their work on oth­er com­pi­la­tion albums) it’s refresh­ing to hear they’re intent on adding more works to their reper­toire.

Enjoy …

Auditory Flashbacks: Blutengel

Tonight’s post isn’t a music review (for now, any­way). I just want­ed to share this very beau­ti­ful song off of Blutengel’s 2011 album Trä­nen­herz:

Tea Time: Meßmer’s Rosehip and Hibiscus

I’m WAY over­due on post­ing this review, con­sid­er­ing I’ve been drink­ing this stuff for a long time.

Meet Meßmer’s Rose­hip and Hibis­cus:

Meßmer Rosehip and Hibiscus Tea Meßmer's Rosehip and Hibiscus Tea

It comes pre-pack­aged in indi­vid­ual paper wrapped tea bags (I’m not aware of there being any loose leaf vari­ants). The ingre­di­ents list notes only three items are used to make it: rose­hips, hibis­cus, and sweet black­ber­ry leaves. There is no caf­feine con­tent.

This tea is best served hot or cold. While it’s a great way to warm up on a winter’s night, it also makes some of the best iced tea, if you pre­fer it that way. The flavour is strong yet sub­tle, full-bod­ied with slight­ly earthy tones, and slight but notice­able sour and tangy notes.

The infu­sion is a char­ac­ter­is­tic blood-red hue, which makes for fun con­ver­sa­tion and inter­est­ing spec­u­la­tion about what one is drink­ing.

While this prod­uct tastes great on its own, there have been plen­ty of times I’ve paired it with a sweet­en­er in mak­ing iced tea to share with fam­i­ly and friends. For this, I’ve found hon­ey gives the best results as its flavour spec­trum runs com­ple­men­tary to the tangy and sour notes of the tea, and high­lights the earthy tones per­fect­ly with­out being over­pow­er­ing. The result is an iced tea that tastes excep­tion­al­ly smooth, which both adults and chil­dren love.

Much like good music, this tea is an export of Ger­many and comes to British Colum­bia as some­what of a niche prod­uct. Not many peo­ple know it exists, and few­er still have had a chance to try it. This has unfor­tu­nate­ly been borne out in the way retail­ers treat it, too: since 2005, I’ve seen both Wal­mart and Cana­di­an Super­store briefly car­ry and then dis­con­tin­ue the Meßmer prod­uct line.

More recent­ly, my girl­friend total­ly lucked out and found some at a down­town Lon­don Drugs here in Vic­to­ria (and on manager’s spe­cial, no less!) so need­less to say, I’m stoked at hav­ing it again. Hope­ful­ly they’ll keep stock­ing it!

Last but not least, I cre­at­ed a Food and Drink sec­tion to cat­e­go­rize this post, and it got me think­ing: this is not the usu­al con­tent I share here, but con­sid­er­ing how much kitchen­ware I own and how much cre­ative stuff we do each year in the kitchen, I think I’ve been hold­ing back. Per­haps in the future, I’ll post an occa­sion­al fam­i­ly recipe or rec­om­men­da­tion … there are just too many good things out there, and not shar­ing them would be wrong.

:)