25 October, 2008

Well, adventures with continue. I really should get around to making an order form so people could get books directly from me. Not that people really want to. I'm sure taking that first look at the order form and discovering that you need to make that check out to me doesn't help. Can't pay by credit card. No paypal or anything like that. Guy can't even afford a business bank account, which is why you can't make the check out to Stormsdream. Nope, has to be to the author, personally. Sounds fishy. Must be a scam. Guy'll cash the check and claim he sent the books or something. Or, guy just can't get his act together enough, make enough to afford a business account. Last time I checked, the minimum for opening a business bank account was five grand. No idea what it is today. Probably still five grand. Hopefully, still only five grant. But, I digress. When I do get around to making an order form, it will have some pretty nice discounts on the books. I'm not sure about shipping and handling. That'll be somewhere between six and ten dollars. Haven't decided.

Anyway, the post office said they delivered that first pair of books to Amazon. Yes, I splurged for delivery confirmation. But, time passed and Amazon didn't update their website. It was as if they hadn't received the books. Naturally, I had been anxious about the whole thing so I went ahead and contacted them, wondering what to do. I mean, I did try to be polite about it all. For all I knew, I was way jumping the gun, and Amazon would just have to roll its collective eyes at yet another yokel.

What I wasn't expecting was this long, vaguely scolding diatribe about the United States Post Office. The reply from Amazon went on and on about how much the package weighed. Or didn't weigh. Or really just the fact that the post office's delivery confirmation didn't say how much the package weighed upon delivery. Because the confirmation did not include delivery weight, Amazon did not consider the United States Post Office's delivery confirmation to be valid, and therefor, Amazon wouldn't pay for any lost books.


I hadn't said a word about wanting to be paid for lost books. I actually had kind of figured that I would just have to eat the cost of any lost books and replacement shipments. And, besides, what did any of this have to do with my original question. Which had been a little vague, I know, but I really had just been expecting them to say something along the lines of hey, relax, guy, it can take awhile to process books.

Wasn't expecting a diatribe. Nope. Wasn't. Made me suspicious, in fact. I know, unfounded. But, hardly the point. It's just the way Amazon went on about weight at delivery. Suspicious. Because I may not know first hand how they do things at Amazon but where I work, FedEx never weighs the package right before the guy hands it to you. Never happens. And, I deal with FedEx quite a bit at work. Package has just been sitting on a cart when the guy hands it to you. No scale.

So, when does the final weigh-in happen? Is the guy judging the weight that last time as he hands you the package? Doubt it. He's just trying to hand it to you. So, maybe it was weighed in the truck? Possible. I haven't asked. So, let us go with that just to be nice. But, here is the thing. The whole point of the weight at delivery thing is to prove that everything you shipped actually arrived. Problem here is that it doesn't look like the last weigh-in happened when the package was delivered. It happened at some earlier point even if we go with the truck.

Again, I don't know about Amazon but around where I work a lot can happen between the truck and the actual delivery. This really kind of means that weight at delivery doesn't necessarily mean as much as Amazon wants it to mean. I mean, really, unless an Amazon rep and the FedEx guy are both standing there in front of the scale, and together, they agree on the weight of the package, then you don't really know if it is accurate.

Not that this is really a big deal. Except for the fact that Amazon went on and on about it.

I should be nice. I mean, I do understand. It sounds like Amazon has to deal with a lot of people demanding payment for shipments that didn't arrive or maybe had less in them than the shipper claimed was in them. Don't know if it is true. But, it's possible.

All the same, not what I was expecting for a reply and doesn't really matter at this point. In fact, I've been working on this journal entry for three weeks. Or, to be more precise, wrote part of it one Saturday. Wrote, part of it last Saturday. And, here we are today. I never write journal entries like this. I'm much happier with an entry that is banged out all in one go. Complete thought. Done.

In fact, the only reason I haven't simply trashed this entry is because I really do want to keep updating every so often. I see months pass without an update on my website and I get nervous.

So, they did finally finds the wayward books. Or, maybe they did. It can be hard to tell because I also sent them copies to be scanned. You know. For that whole, search inside thing. I've discovered that after they are done scanning the book they place it into inventory. Or, eventually, it gets into inventory. So, I don't actually know if they found the missing package or if they placed the books for scanning into inventory filling the void as it were.

Anyway, books filled the void and were immediately purchased. The fact that I happen to know who purchased the books has nothing to do with it. They were purchased. I have a very sweet boss these days, by the way. So just as soon as they filled the void, they left a great gapping whole in the void.

Nothing happened for about a week, and I finally broke down and asked Amazon if they wanted any more copies. You know, after all, I did pay for my Amazon Advantage account and all of that. So, they said, yes, we want five more of each, which was really cool. Got me all excited and I threw a package together. I had even gone through all of the trouble of setting up a FedEx account so that there would be proper tracking and everything.

Still costs a freaking log more than the good-old post office. Even with all of these discounts I'm supposed to have because I used the FedEx website to generate the shipment. I'm supposed to have another discount because it is the first three months of my FedEx account, and I'm supposed to have a third discount because of Amazon Advantage. Well, if that is the discount price, then holy fucking shit! FedEx is expensive.

But, enough of this. I hear that people are starting to get sued for what they say on their websites so I hope I have been more vague and truthful than slanderous and misleading.

Oh, yeah, it's only been months in the making, but I have finally finished the first movement of my new piano sonatina. Or, not really a sonatina. At least, I'm not calling it a sonatina. It is the first new Outgrabe. Yeah, I like that name. I'm sticking with it. Way I figure it, most music names are more-or-less bullshit anyway so just make up a name. And, I've never been crazy about the totally bullshit dumb-fuck names that get slapped on most modern music.

Something I saw happen in music school. The students have been slaving away on their various and sundry pieces in composition workshop. The semester is over. It's time for the big end of show composition concert. And, what happens? Suddenly, you've got to have a title for the program. Come on. Come on. Program is due in five minutes. Sorry, this is the first time we've brought it up. Okay, maybe not the first time. Anyway, what is it called? So, yeah, the student stands there and has to think of a name real fast. Any old name. Well, it is just amazing some of the turkeys that people will think of under these conditions.

So, I've never been a big fan of the totally random bullshit name. I like something reasonable. I like the idea of the sonatina, impromptu, nocturne, prelude and all of that. I just happen to think they register almost as high on the bullshit scale as anything else. So, as long as we are making something up, I would just as soon make something up that is useful as opposed to totally random. And, I think Outgrabe fits the bill pretty good. It can be thrown into the same general bullshit category as nocturne, prelude, et al. and reused. Unlike some titles look good luck charm or tap dancing in the rain or twisted sister or whatever.

I mean, sure, you could make a serious out of any of those. I just happen to think it is dumb. And, all dumb things being equal, I go with Outgrabe until I get bored with it and use something completely different.

26 October, 2008

I know I've said this before, and I just know that I'll say it again. But, I really, really hate pretentious art, which is a form of pretentiousness all its own if you stop to think about it. But, that is not important right now. I hate pretentious art, and I really, really hate pretentious artists. They are so fussy and full of themselves, and if you really want to see me go off, just talk to me about art. Go on about the value of art. What it means. The underlying themes. The depth and grandeur. The meaning and message. It's still fucking art. I don't care how many eagles it saved or wales weren't slaughtered. I really don't care if it is a secret message that will slowly sink into your soul about how much the environment weeps for your grave. It's still just fucking art. It's a song. It's a painting. It's a matchbook cover or a cross dipped in pee. It's still just fucking art. It doesn't have to be about how much better life would be if we all just ate tofu.

Art is art. It just is. Very Zen if you want to get all profound about it. But, I also hate profundity if you can bother to remember. Profundity is about being so impressed by what is said that you don't actually have to bother to pay attention or think about what was actually said. But, let us not digress overly much here.

Latest example of what I see as pretentious art arrived in the morning newspaper. Yes, see? This is what has gotten me all frothing and raving.

They've been putting together this really cool piece of art at the local museum. It looks pretty cool from the pictures. Kind of like a wave out in the deep ocean. Or, maybe, a representation of a sound wave over time. Find in it what you will. Don't listen to me. The main thing being that I like it. It is quite cool. Well, worth admiring for its fascinating beauty. In my opinion, anyway. Nobody is required to share. If you think it looks like something that fell out of an elephant's arsehole, well, who am I to say you're wrong?

Not my point, anyway. Next to all the pretty pictures in the paper this morning was an unfortunate article about this particular piece of arsehole waste. Something about environmental art. Something about the intersection of art and industry. Or, something. I don't even know anymore. I got about as far as the representation of nature in industry or whatever, and I just had to throw the paper down. Rant at Samantha over breakfast for a minute.

Which reminds me of this other piece at the same museum. Now, this one is just a giant eyesore in my opinion. Other opinions may vary and I've got no problem with that. My real problem with the retched headache inducing thing aside from the fact that it is a rather impressive waste of space and looks like one of those 3D nightmares you used to see printed in the comics section of the newspaper is the pretentiousness of it, of course.

Read the little description next to the freaking thing. It goes on about the meeting of art and science and industry or something incredibly wretched like that. Oh, wait, if memory services, it is representative of something taken off a slide. Something about how this is actually a really small object and how it has been pasted across slabs of metal and stuck on a well at really increased magnification. And, you know what it actually looks like?

It looks like your computer's wallpaper. It looks like one of those background images you can have on your computer's screen. You know what I'm talking about, right? Back before everybody had their favorite picture or other to rest on their computer screen's desktop behind all of the open applications, there were these simple tiles or patterns. A little square of a design that was repeated over and over again until it filled the background. It was just something to hang back there so you weren't staring into the empty depths of the abyss if you didn't happen to have a program open at that moment.

Seriously, that is what it looks like. The background of your old computer's monitor write large, and an ugly background at that. I swear, I even recognize the tile. It used to come with all of those old Macintosh computers before they went all Technicolor on us. Seriously.

And, what do they call it? Some long rambling non-sense or other about the intersection of bull and shit.

I mean, really, why is it necessary to go on like this and sound like you've got your nose so far up your own ass that you think you can smell gold?

You like it or you don't. It moves you or it doesn't. It's an eyesore or it stuns you with its graceless majesty.

It's not about the intersection of industry, art and science. It just is. If you have to explain it, you've failed. If you have to justify it, you've failed. If you have to go on about the profundity before anybody realizes that it is profound, then you, my friend, have failed.

Actually, I will bet you a lead nickel why that headache inducing computer tile writ large has such a preposterously barf inducing description attached to it. The text is lifted from the grant application. No, seriously, you want to bet? They had to get the funds to slather ink all over laminated sheets of iron from somewhere. Those things are fucking expensive, I'm sure. So, you have to vomit forth the snake-oil prose in order to make the money men feel good about parting them from their--well--from their money.

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