Friday, 26 October 2012

Green day - At It Again

I'm going to see them in concert on the 29th of January... But that's beside the point.


Album Art
Green Day, now in their 25th year (formed in 1987), is releasing a trio of albums to bring their total dick count up to 11 studio albums (setting aside their 'greatest hits' types and the Live performances such as their Bullet in a Bible live concert release). !UNO!, !DOS!, and !TRE! have brought a new twist to the old Green Day sound and I've come to bring you a little taste of !UNO! today.

Now their best song on the new album (in my opinion) has to be... A toss up haha. In all truthfulness I can't pick a single song but between Loss of Control and Sweet 16 you can get a pretty decent grip on the entire album. It seems to me that the songs tell a mashed up tale of love, loss, bitterness and nostalgia and these two piece bring out those tones perfectly.

Loss of Control - !Explicit Lyrics Ahead!

Yeah I figure I'll toss the warning up there just in case there's some misguided 12 year old reading this... However I've heard worse language from kids in my town so I don't think there could be much damage. ANYWAY.

There's a lot of resentment, social awkwardness, and a general distaste for what can only be assumed was a rather traumatising high school experience. The obvious stuff is fine but if you ask me this runs a bit deeper than that. To me, this song represents a rebellion against any and all things of the past that make their attempts to cling to the impending future. Being a fake asshole only gets you so far in life and Billy's fine with throwing that fact out there with lines like "we never had anything in common and I never liked you anyway". Let's face it, who HASN'T been at some social function where they've had to act nice and make small talk? And who of you hasn't at some point wanted to just tell someone that the latest story about their cat's sore tooth just isn't the conversational highlight that they seem to think it is?

Now I do find it odd that Billie Joe, now 40, is singing with the attitude of youthful revolt... Let's face it the 'youthful' days of the band should've been over and done with after American Idiot after taking a serious stand against the policies of former American President George W. Bush. However we find them back in an old, well-worn but still comfortable pair of shoes with Loss of Control and with a couple of other !UNO! tracks. The attitude is odd for the age of the artists, but at least they're not using yesterday's tune for yesterday's issues. It's a matured topic range (if only slightly) and the growth to me is something to be appreciated as most bands never hold a punk edge of any sort as they age and release new material. It'd be easy for Green Day to go on tour with their International Superhits tracks, but it would just be regurgitating the exact same tunes without any creativity.

Sweet 16 - Growth and Nostalgia

Sweet 16 takes you back no matter who you are. It brings you along on a ride into the past where things at the very least SEEMED to be simpler. It will likely remind the listener of someone that they spent time with in their younger days regardless of the specific events in that relationship. It's a feel-good song even with the obvious longing for the past but at least it's a positive set of memories and not some brooding, angsty list of whines and complaints.

Now I do note 'growth" in the subheading for the track and I think it fits. Far away from acting like some adolescent kid wishing their parents would leave them alone (Simple Plan hate slid in there... They deserve it) Billie takes time to play with his falsetto voice, and to soften up the 'alternative punk-rock' sound that's made the band what it is today. It's good to see him stepping out of the box a bit if even for just one or two tracks on the album.

So there's a little insight into the album... I hope you've enjoyed my takes on the songs but in case you'd like to review the album at-length, here's the whole thing in one video or you know... You could go out and BUY the album at your local music store (don't bother going to Walmart though as Green Day refuses to censor their albums just to be allowed onto Walmart shelves).

Enjoy your swim!

Complete Album:

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Re-Introductions - Tyrel Cote

Hey readers!

Some of you might remember Tyrel from the old Fishbowl, well he's back... Yeah it's that simple.

Ty's going to be writing a number of articles for the blog spanning more topics than the previous sports world pieces. Of course the usual sports news updates will be coming in periodically however Ty's looking to branch out in preparation for his journalism studies so I hope everyone will spread his links and show him the support he deserves.

That's all for now folks. If you don't know who Ty is you will soon.

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Friday, 19 October 2012

Negotiating - The Importance of "The High Ground"

Just a little background on the concept...

Having The High Ground: Military

  • A position of strategic importance in bygone times.
  • A position easily defended and maintained.
  • A location from which a conflict is more easily and safely observed.
Having The Moral High Ground:
  • Being able to know what you believe or do is 'right'.
  • Makes a person more qualified to assess the validity of the actions of another when comparing those actions or beliefs to the actions or beliefs of the person who is already established as being in a "morally sound" position.
Whenever you find yourself in conflict with another person or persons, it is always beneficial to assess what constitutes the "high ground" in the argument. The high ground is a place from which it is very difficult to displace someone and whether your struggle is military, political, or legal, having this position gives you the upper hand in when it comes to establishing final terms to resolve the conflict.

Let's lighten this up before I get too serious...
See? Kittens. Mood lightened.
The reason I am writing this post is rather simple, and relates (as most posts do) to events currently unfolding in my life. In this case we are talking about a disagreement between myself and an acquaintance of mine regarding a financial matter. To clarify things without actually releasing any real details we disagree over how things should proceed regarding my share of the cost of a purchase that has been made and she is insistent on changing our original agreement to one that suits her needs now without regard for my concerns.

  • An agreement was reached wherein payment FROM me would occur when my share of the order was handed over to me. "Cash on delivery".
  • The order was placed on credit.
  • Unbeknown to any party involved, the order's delivery date was such that payment of the credit account would be required BEFORE the order was completed (before the 'delivery' portion of "cash on delivery").
  • My acquaintance has now requested payment for goods that I have not received (something I am not required to do under our standing agreement of "cash on delivery").
  • Talks have begun to come to a new agreement that would replace the original "cash on delivery" contract.
Simple enough right? Well it isn't working out so simply but this is where my lesson to you on the "high ground" comes in.

If you haven't already noticed, I hold what we can call the "high ground" in this situation. The previous agreement cannot be altered or negated unless all parties involved agree on a new arrangement. I have offered new terms for an agreement and they have been rejected, though no truly new terms were offered as the principle for the rejection was basically "I'm not willing to compromise." Now legally speaking we've come to an impasse... The equivalent of what a courtroom setting would call "a hung jury" where no decision can be reached. My acquaintance unwilling to negotiate a compromise while I have the backing of the original agreement and no leverage or collateral is held against me and the original agreement cannot be breached. In the end, only two options are available to my acquaintance.

They are:
  1. Refuse to negotiate mutually agreeable terms to replace the original agreement and thus be held to the original agreement's terms.
  2. Negotiate to establish new terms.
At no point in this, due to the clarity of the original agreement, can I be REQUIRED to change my stance on the issue as the standing agreement favours my argument and cannot be changed without my consent. This folks, is called the "High Ground". I cannot be made to move by any force other than my own will, which allows me to dictate how far I move, IF I move.

Now for some A/V aides...

Enjoy the duel, but take note of the ending.

For the most part, THAT is what happens when arguing against someone who holds the conflict's high ground. You waste time and energy by refusing to bargain when you have no leverage or tactical advantage to use against them. I guess I really posted this to let the issue off of my chest but I think a valuable lesson can be learned here. The first thing you should do if you ever find yourself challenged by a person, persons, a system, regardless of what the opposition might be, manage to find yourself a piece of "high ground" and then hold onto it. If you cannot but moved, but your opponent requires you to move in order to reach an end that accomplishes their goals even partially, then they MUST agree to your terms. This position should not be abused though as the abuse of power only leads to resentment. If you have the advantage, although you may not NEED to offer terms other than those strictly beneficial to you, it may be a better choice in the long run to make some concessions regardless of your influence on the matter. Be respectful, but don't be a doormat.

Hope someone took something useful from this. I know it took me a long time to recognize how easy it can be to get yourself a slice of an argument's high ground and wield it to your ends... It took too much longer to learn how to wield it responsibly and in good taste.

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Boo-Boo vs. Big Bang

Honey Boo-Boo:

Say hi to the family... But don't feed the animals.
This might just be the most culturally damaging show I have seen on television since... Well, ever really. Now I'm not talking about the late-night stuff I'm speaking about the prime-time realm of television's airwaves. As far as that section of the TV Guide is concerned, I've been around to see a decade and a half of television that I can remember watching and the only sort of pop-culture phenomenon that depicted even slightly negative family roles would be Roseanne... Let's face it the whole group was dysfunctional, or abusive, or ill-educated. The points I'm trying to make is that I've really only ever seen one show that 'lowered the bar' and maintained such a high level of public support. Now I'm not saying that Roseanne is down on the same level as Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, just that it was something that could be seen as lowering the 'family standard'. Roseanne has one advantage in my mind that keeps its reputation above water for me though and that is the fact that the show is a sitcom, created for entertainment and that it does not portray an ACTUAL family in scenarios that are really taking place.

This is where Here Comes Honey Boo Boo loses the fight. The show is based around a real-life family (a spin-off from "Toddlers in Tiaras" for those readers who haven't seen the show) and it follows them around and documents their lives in the style of so many modern 'reality' television shows. Some say that the show's harmless but I'd like to point out just a couple of my problems with this family:
  • Diet:
    "Sketti", a spaghetti-type dish made up of noodles drenched in butter and ketchup.
    "Go-Go Juice", a mix of Red Bull and Mountain Dew fed to a seven year old to keep her energetic in pageants.
  • Health/Lifestyle:
    June, the mother. She weighs well over 300lbs but it's okay folks. To her, her weight makes her "sassy".
    Alana, "Honey Boo-Boo", this kid is beyond overweight, her habits and manners disgusting, and she's on the fast track to winding up either 230lbs or pregnant by 15 like her mother.
    Anna, pregnant at 17 and just as ignorant as every other family member.
To sum things up, there's not a single family value displayed by this show that I can get behind. Even their mask of 'we don't let what people say put us down' is really only their way of enabling the family to continue being just as obese, ignorant, and offensive as ever... Seriously what mother would feed her seven year old daughter Mountain Dew mixed with Red Bull? This show is nothing but poisonous filth and to all of the viewers who claim that they only watch it to make fun of the family... Think of the fact that you watching the show makes THEM money and wastes YOUR time. The next time you go to mock the idiots on the show, remember you're paying their bills.

[Note* I have not seen a single episode start to finish yet, and I do not intend to do so. The information I've gathered has been through acquaintances that watch the show or that I've found online.]

The Big Bang Theory:

"Raj", Sheldon, Penny, Leonard, Howard.
Yes I watch the show. Yes I'm a nerd and so, yes I could be considered biased here but I'd ask you to hear me out anyway.

This series, created by Chuck Lorre, depicts a group of friends as they pass through the worlds of academia, social stigma and Warcraft all while working at a university and living out of Pasadena, California. The core cast of players is as follows:
  • Jim Parsons as Dr. Sheldon Cooper: Socially inept genius with an eidetic memory and an IQ of 187.
  • Johnny Galecki as Dr. Leonard Hofstadter: Princeton graduate and experimental physicist, romantically linked to Penny and Pria Koothrappali.
  • Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz: Romantically inept aerospace engineer who marries Bernadette Rostenkowski. Designed the ISS's plumbing system... "Space Toilet".
  • Kunal Nayar as Dr. Rajesh Koothrappali: He might not be able to speak to women without alcohol or experimental pharmaceuticals but he's Howard's best friend and a particle astrophysicist originally from New Delhi.
  • Kaley Cuoco as "Penny": Aspiring actress and currently a waitress at The Cheesecake Factory. She has a great heart but is influenced much more by pop culture and societal 'norms' than the other lead cast members.
When you look at this cast (sparse as the bios are) you will see that four out of five of the leading cast members attended a post-secondary institution and that three out of those four have at least one doctorate. The humour is witty and based (mostly) in academia or in the 'nerdier' pastimes with some sexual innuendos to appeal to the adult and college crowd and the relationships are quirky in a "Friends" a la Monica and Chandler but rarely dysfunctional. The worst that this show can be accused of is showing characters who engage in premarital sex (which is more of a Religious-Right concern than a real problem) and who drink alcohol an act that hasn't been illegal for almost a century now. It's good, clean, intelligent fun and nothing more.


I wrote this because of two conversations that I've had these past 24 hours. One generally opposing the existence of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and one defending The Big Bang Theory when someone claimed that Honey Boo Boo had more to offer as a television show. I would like the reader to weigh-in on the issue now though and take it from my hands. I would love to hear what my readers think about each of these television shows.

Here's hoping that you comment on this post and...

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor