Music and Art Monday: November 20th, 2017

I have been horribly lax with MAAM’s lately. Working and taking care of five little hooligans doesn’t leave much time for music or art appreciation. But Spotify reminded me that it’s Native American Heritage Month.

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Thanks Spotify

I was excited to see these playlists, as I got used to listening to KIYE while in Idaho this summer. This is probably the only station in the world to play pow-wow music, Marty Robbin’s “El Paso“, and an entire album of T-Pain, all in the same hour.

Sadly, when I clicked on the main playlist I was greeted with new aged flute music. While I understand this is certainly a genre produced by many Natives, it certainly didn’t satisfy my desire to hear the good stuff from KIYE. Some of the playlists were slightly better, but here is my version of a Native American Spotify Playlist:

Fawn Wood and Dallas Waskahat: One More Chance

This has some of that new agey flute in it, but I don’t care, I love the harmony.

Robbie Romero & Red Thunder: Ya Na Neh Yo

This is a bit of a rock song, in fact the whole album is pretty good.

Alex E Smith: Just For Old Time’s Sake

This is somewhat more “traditional” and what most people think of as Native music. Great harmonies.

Edmund Bull: Follow Your Dreams

Edmund Bull does a great blend of western country and chant that makes for a smooth and easy listen if you’re not used to some of the drums and dance circle music.

Northern Cree: She Was Gone

Pretty much anything by them. My favorite thing about them is their ability to place totally modern situations into round dance chants, like in “Facebook Drama”.

My eastern very white upbringing comes out on this one, I actually chuckled a little at the juxtaposition. Growing up on the politically correct East coast, we were taught to be anti-stereotypes to the point of being anti-culture. It was a jarring experience to come out West and see roadside stands selling beads and artworks and run by actual Natives, and even more jarring to hear them actually singing similarly to the “stereotypes” I had been taught to shun in school. Wasn’t this exploitive? Not that this describes all Natives, but the simple fact is that it is deeply intertwined into the culture.

On my very first trip to Northern Idaho in 2013 I actually had a crew boss tell us to turn off KIYE because he thought it might be considered “offensive” by some of the Native firefighter crews. Having worked with several Natives I can assure that crew boss that no, they are not offended.

If you are not stupid (i.e. disrespectful) about it, appreciating a culture for what it puts out on the public airwaves is not offensive at all. As long as you understand that there are in fact differences between tribes of different regions (for instance, teepees were a plains thing, not a SW thing) and don’t make stupid assumptions based on TV or movies you’re not generally going to make anyone mad.

Enough of that political sidetrack. Back to music. There is actually a pretty decent Playlist here of just powwow music. Look around Spotify or just tune in to KIYE or other similar stations online for some more great Native music.

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I Virtue Signal, You Virtue Signal, Everybody Virtue Signals

That’s right, I admit it. I’m super guilty. I do it. I Virtue Signal.

What’s virtue signalling?

In short: preaching to the choir.

Basically when someone expresses a moral opinion just to get pats on the back from all the people who agree with them.

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I just want to virtue signal against the spelling error in this meme…

I do it all the time, because it’s virtually impossible not to in blogging. That post about rap? Yep. Totally virtue signalling. As was this, and this, and definitely this.

Social media was invented just for virtue signalling.

But you know what? I’m sure everyone at one point or another does it. We all like to say “Hey, look at me, I’m not a racist!” Like anyone suspected otherwise.

nobody cares

But still, everyone just pats them on the back and says “Good for you! You’re so awesome!”

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So I’ll probably continue with my virtue signalling, because as I’ve said before, I’m a bit of a narcissist (and dang does that post virtue signal!). It’s hard to kill those habits.

If you see me do it again, don’t pat me on the back, just shame me until I take it down.

 

 

Making Money the Millennial Way: Unemployment

Ugh
Ugh…

Before I start talking about how to make money with real work I must talk about unemployment. If you’ve chosen a seasonal career like me there is a pretty good chance you will be laid off at the end of every season due to lack of work. You will then have a choice, “do I try to work the off season?” or “do I just collect unemployment?”

So what is unemployment insurance? Well, essentially it’s a compulsory system into which your employer pays to ensure that if you are fired there is a structure in place to pay you little bits of money until you get a new job. That’s a lot of words just to say it’s not exactly welfare, but that it’s very similar. It was taken from your employer at the end of a gun, but in theory it was set aside as insurance in case your employer decided to give you the ax.

“How do I get into this magical pot of free money?” you may be asking. Well, that varies state to state. Each state sets its own requirements for who can collect and how much. And each state sets requirements for what you must do to get the money.

The only two states I have experience with now are Arizona and New Mexico. Both require an extensive sign up process (have paystubs and such ready). Both have work search requirements as well.

AZ requires you to make at least four job searches per week on four different days. Basically apply to one job a day on four different days of the week, or do a job search and record it, or call someone about an application, or any such contact with a potential employer. Keep a record! When you file your weekly claim you will need to tell them what you did. Occasionally they will audit your records, so make sure they are thorough,

NM requires two per week. And I’ve been told they give you more money as well.

But here’s the kicker: you can only make what they give you per week, and if you want to work at all you will most likely just lose money. If you do decide to do something part time and just happen to make money doing it, you have to report those earnings. When you file your weekly claim you have to enter in any GROSS earnings you made that week.

This means if you make $200 driving Uber and spend $100 on gas doing it, you must report that you made $200. They adjust your unemployment payout accordingly.

What this meant for me was that if I made $217 from Uber I lost all unemployment benefits, even if it meant I had only netted $117 for the week. I lost out on $100 of unemployment payments, and wasted time and energy putting in a weekly claim.

Bottom line: don’t bother with trying to collect unemployment if you have any desire whatsoever to be self-sufficient. Unemployment is a disincentive to working, honestly.

If you plan to stay “unemployed” but still want to make a living, skip the unemployment altogether and try some of the other methods I’ll be discussing in later posts.

Making Money the Millennial Way (First in a Series)

I know what you are thinking, here is yet another in a million blogs telling you how to make money. And next he’s going to tell me about how this isn’t like the others.

Well, you are correct, on both counts. This is yet another blog out of a million about making money. And I am going to tell you it is different.

“How so?” You ask, incredulous.

Well, instead of telling you I made $1000 from my blog, then telling you all I had to do was give a guy who read my blog a Lyft referral code, and all he had to do was drive fifty trips in 30 days, I’m going to discuss various options for making money these days.

I’m going to give you a low down on all options from blogging to Uber (and yes, maybe even Lyft) to good old fashioned pizza delivery and product sales. I might throw in a yard sale as well, just to cover my bases.

All of these will be things that I or my wife have tried, or are in the process of trying. We are still collecting data and forming our opinions of the various options we have chosen. Therefore this is going to be a series spread out over awhile, so keep checking back, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.

Music and Arts Monday October 23, 2017

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Mo at home in his cigar shop Holy Smokes

It’s been a long time since I did a M&A Monday, so I thought I would start anew with a good one.

On Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting Holy Smokes Cigar and Pipe Shop during it’s weekly “Cigars and Guitars” night. It seems the turnout was a bit lower than normal, but that didn’t stop the shop’s owner Mo Leverett from treating us to a few of his songs.

I met Mo just before heading out on last year’s adventure to Arizona, and even from that brief meeting I knew I liked the man. Occasionally you meet someone who you just know has had an adventurous life, from his look, his manner, or his way with words. This is one of those men. That evening he told the men gathered at his shop  his testimony, and confirmed to me his interesting life. I remembered that much when walking in to Holy Smokes Friday night.

But I forgot about his music.

It’s not often that I get hooked on someone’s music from hearing a live performance of it,  possibly because I don’t get out that much, but largely because live music can often lack the quality and depth of music carefully manufactured in a studio. Mo proved to be one of the rare cases. His music almost begs to be performed live, just so he can pour his emotion into it time and time again.

So here’s my recommendation this week, go check out his videos on YouTube. In particular I really enjoy “Like Hell Inside“, “Florida“, “If You Know What I Mean“, “It’s Your Family”, and “His Claim To Fame“.

Then if you like what you hear, head on over to his site and purchase a CD or two. Or three.

You won’t be disappointed.

Why I Hate My Neighbor’s Rap Music

no crap

Someone out there is going to call me a racist for this, but to be honest, I hate the “music” my neighbors blare at random times of the week. It just so happens that my neighbors are black, and the “music” is rap.

But I’m not a racist. If you could label me anything it may be a “culturalist”. But I’m not opposed to “black culture” either. So I guess even a label like “culturalist” doesn’t fit.

Really, I just dislike any culture that denigrates any class of individual, whether they be white, black, rich, poor, male, or female. When your music contains words like “n*****”, “ho”, “b*****s”, and an abundance of the “f-word”, every other lyric, you might want to check your culture.

The over glorification of sexism, drug abuse, and violence is the sign of a dying culture.

Also, if you don’t want my children to be calling you certain racial terms, you probably shouldn’t blare them quite so loudly within 100 feet of my house.

It’s not a genre thing, my dislike of much of the music out there extends well beyond rap. I actually enjoy some rap, there are several good Reformed rappers out there who redeem the art form. It’s not the musical form, it’s the lyrics.

A fair amount of the country music out there is also junk. Rock has always been about
“sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll”. Top 40 pop rarely puts out a song that isn’t horrible. Not that pop has ever been as squeaky clean as it pretends to be, but at least back in the day they tried to use innuendo. Today it’s all about being as blatant and in your face as possible.

I know, I just sound like an old fuddy- duddy (does using that term make me one?). I need to get with the times and accept the fact that sex, drugs, and violence sell, and they sell very well. But to me, any form of “art” that reduces women into objects to be conquered should be considered anathema to a respectable culture’s ears. Any “art” that glorifies violence against others or turns self-abuse into a recreational past time should be put on the trash heap. That goes for all mediums, from music to tv to painting.

If the only thing we find entertaining is the degradation of others we need to wonder if our culture as a whole is dying. My neighbors need to seriously consider whether or not their culture is improving or crumbling around them.

I’m not seeing much improvement.

 

Losing Paper

I have this “certification”.

While doing the long overdue job of sorting through my over abundance of books the other day a question occurred to me: how often do we use paper anymore?

I mean obviously we use some. Toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, paper dishes etc. The wood fiber industry is in no danger of failing anytime soon!

But how often do we refer to paper for information? On my shelves I have at least a dozen and a half books about “how to do this” or “how to do that”, many of which I have never picked up, even if I had done projects in related areas. Several of these books ended up in my giveaway pile.

Even books of photography or art or fiction are hardly picked up anymore.

The reason for all of this is obvious. The internet has pretty much everything we need. Millennials have nearly given up on paper. They are often accused of being know-it-alls (isn’t every generation?) just because they feel quite confident that they can find answers to every question just a few clicks away. This is the first generation in history in which nearly everyone has virtually immediate access to vast quantities of data and information.

I remember the days when the internet was considered the last place to go for information. Every page was suspect, and if you couldn’t back up the fact with a book, you had better not put it in your research paper. Now, even the Bible is on an app or website. I’m certain I don’t have to fact check that one.

I greatly appreciate having the Bible in an app. It’s easy to find verses by keyword or topic, and I can even click the word to find out the original Hebrew or Greek words. How many paper books would I have to refer to to find that info?

These days I now carry a bigger library of fiction and textbooks in my pocket than many of my ancestors had in their entire house. And with internet access I have the ability to find any number of recipes, how-tos, and hints and tips. There is no need anymore to occupy large quantities of space with tomes of outdated information.

This easy access to billions (trillions? more?) of bits of data can be overwhelming. There are things that are much simpler to do with old fashioned paper or a few phone calls or face to face meetings. Like car repair. Type in any symptom of car trouble into Google and you will likely find at least fifteen different diagnoses with at least seven different fights going on in forums about what the proper repair is. While I have learned nearly all of my mechanical knowledge from YouTube and forums I must say there is nothing quite like the Haynes Manual when you just need to know something simple.

I was nice enough to buy this for my wife. She’s kinda into car repairing. She’s awesome.

They offer online access to these manuals, but for the same price you can have a real object in your hand, available even in the iffy phone service of southeast New Mexico. And unlike online versions your subscription will not expire and the site will never shut down.

What else do I want in paper? Well, the owner’s manual for one. Do you know how hard it is to look up fluid capacities and recommend oil types on a tiny little screen? Fortunately most cars still come with those.

And magazines. There is something great about being able to pick up some colorful and quick knowledge while sitting in a doctors office or car mechanic’s shop (because YouTube failed to mention that one step). It makes you look less stuck up to be flipping through a magazine than it does to have your nose buried in your phone.

Kids books also. My kids stare at enough screens all day, they need something tactile that doesn’t make random noises and overstimulating flashes. A child reading a book is a classic image that should continue to be ingrained into our collective psyche.

Children
Thanks Google. Try to find a picture like this in a book that quickly, I dare you!

What do I want to stop seeing on paper? Bank statements (usually a week behind), letters stating “disregard if you have already addressed this matter” (yep, three days ago, thanks to web alerts), and pretty much any bill that I have already set up online bill-pay for. All the nonsense that comes into my house and makes me think “oh this is important, they took the time and money to print it out” can go as well.

Books are not ever going to disappear, there will always be some nostalgic souls out there who just want to hold one in their hand. Or people who enjoy searching through page after page for the (probably outdated) answer to one question.

My prediction is that books are going to be the vinyl album of the next generation. “Oh wow, did you see they put that out in book?! We should totes get one to sit on our shelf. That would look swell!”

The word “swell” will also make a come back. Oh, I hope not…