Thursday, August 21, 2008

Comcast presents Ecobill

"Congratulations! Every day we're making better and better for customers like you. Now we're doing even more ... so you can do less. Because we've introduced Comcast's Ecobill™ process, an environmentally friendly way to view and pay your bill online that takes less time and uses less paper.

paperless is more convenient!
One less bill in your mailbox? Less clutter? Who doesn't want that? Now, with just the click of a mouse you can quickly review your entire bill from any computer. And we've made paying your bill even easier.

paperless is more green too!
Imagine, by eliminating paper bills (and the envelopes they come in) we'll drastically cut down on the total amount of paper we use. So together, we'll save more trees.

wow, that was easy!
We've also made paying your Comcast bill more green. Just go to and sign in. Then, in just a few steps, you can choose to have your Comcast bill paid each month, directly from your checking account. We also have other convenient options that make paying your bill fast and easy."

Three cheers for Comcast! Finally, a company that truly cares about the environment. So many companies today promising us that they're "going green," but at last, here's one that really practices what they preach! Comcast, I raise my canvas grocery bags to you in respect! Sorry, this is the first time I've blogged about anything not related to music, I usually abhor such lazy sarcasm but I'm feeling too cynical to resist it in this case.

Paperless billing? Good job. Now then, do something about all this shit you send to me and every single other unit in this building every single week, junk mail that is apparently impossible to unsubscribe to.

I've lived here for 2 years and have surely received more than 100 of these 6" x 11" fliers. They just keep coming, and there seems to be no way to stop them. Taking your name off their list? Not an option! Actually signing up for the services they offer? You'll still get the fliers every week. For every 1,000 of these that are sent out to individual addresses, does more than 1 go anywhere from the mailbox but straight into the local landfill? Surely Comcast has done the research and has found this carpet-bombing approach of a program to be profitable in reaching customers, even if its benefits are minimal.

I don't have a scale to find out how much each of these fliers weighs, but altogether I can only imagine the tonnage of paper per year that could go into producing these. Factor in fuel spent and man-hours wasted by the Postal Service to deliver each one and you've got an astoundingly wasteful program that merely serves to annoy potential customers, not to mention reminding existing ones how little their continued patronage matters in trying to bring about a stop to this nuisance.


Wouldn't cutting out this waste also cut costs? Is it really bringing in that much business every week? Wouldn't this be the best way to "go green?" It won't be long before everyone sees these empty gestures for the PR moves they are, and when "green fatigue" starts to set in, will the new consciousness emerging in today's consumers be squashed?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Colin Chastain Kellaway - Tell Me My Name

Colin Chastain Kellaway - "Tell Me My Name"

I ripped this song straight from the stream of the entire film on Youtube, hence the sound effects in the middle. It's not the greatest quality but since the soundtrack is long out of print -- probably never released on CD at all and only surviving in a few scratched up LPs -- there aren't many other options if you want to hear this song by itself. Such a cool opening theme, I can't think of anything else that sounds like this.

Image courtesy of this blog.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

video #65: Stereolab - Three Women

The new single from Stereolab, sounds kind of phoned-in and isn't getting me too excited for the new album. But the psychedelic animation in this really takes me back, like I'm 3 years old again and watching Sesame Street.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cex - Retina

Cex - "Retina"

"Accessibility is like, really important to me," said R(j)yan Kidwell in a spoken interlude on his 2002 album Oops, I Did It Again. Kidwell's work as Cex had always stood with one foot planted in the impenetrably difficult world of IDM, but in both his live shows and the confessional, exuberant blog he kept regularly updated for several years on his website he made his desire to break out of the cult-like scene he was trapped in unquestionably clear. Being a solo laptop artist, albeit one of the first to give the genre a real personality, probably wasn't the best route to become the "#1 Entertainer" that he aspired to be. His metamorphosis into a brash but self-deprecating rapper would help him achieve this goal considerably, though the more accessible his work became, the more I lost interest in him as an artist.

Eventually expanding into an actual band with his wife and some other guy, the evolution of Cex from an ambitious and open-minded teenager into a career-minded and predictable young adult seemed complete. And yet... the most recent of his work that I've heard seems to have broken away from conventional pop structures and descended into a claustrophobic blend of mutant dub rhythms and looped samples that was probably never meant to play on, say, Jade Tree Records. Avoiding the indies altogether since his last album Sketchi, he's instead chosen to release much of his work over the past year on... limited-run cassettes from his own website.

The lo-fi, murky vibe of "Retina" feels familiar in the context of these releases, but surprisingly it first surfaced on a 1996 release, two years before Kidwell self-released Cells and four years before Role Model came out on Tigerbeat6. If this is all true, it means Kidwell was only 14 years old when he recorded it. I can't imagine trying to put together a track like this on a bedroom PC running Windows 95, or even a 4-track DAT recorder.

I love any song that incorporates ocean sounds, especially waves and seagulls like "Retina" does. Or maybe it's just be static and sampled baby Metroid squeaks. I can't tell for sure. The production on this isn't anything like the clean, crisp IDM that showed up on Role Model or Oops, I Did It Again, two of the best albums of their era even though they've fallen out of favor these days. A review in Pitchfork asks "Does anybody actually listen to old Cex records?" Okay then: hardly anyone. But does that say more about Cex or about the cynical attitudes of trendy electronic music listeners today? How long before bloghouse becomes the next electroclash?