Sunday, June 27, 2010

To my friends

I needed another post apparently ( according to my only official reader so far - Thank you Darren for being the lone-follower)

I started writing a long post about the silly characters I call my friends. Then I realised I'd be here all month.
So this is just a tribute to anyone who considers themself my friend :) Thank You for the good times (and the bad)

You're all awesome!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I Hate Everything!

My first geeky post. Took long enough. I'm just going to rant about the current frustration my geekness has caused me!

For my studies (3rd Year Bsc Comp Sci, for those who dont know), we have to complete this software engineering year project. Now, I won't bore you with details but anyone with a small coding background might find our project quite interesting.

Firstly, we have to interface computers with the Nintendo Wiimotes. (bane of my existence!)
Secondly, we have to create what they call a SOFTWARE VISUALIZATION from any (java) project specified by the user (ie create a graphical representation of one's code)
And lastly, we need to beable to navigate that through the visualization by using the Wiimotes.

All this results in a intuitive, multiuser, code-review tool!
Ok... so the idea is a bit obscure? But if you've had some programming background you'll know how tedious it is scrolling through lines and lines of code trying to find a single method or attribute. This system is going to aid that by representing a number of software metrics in the visualization
I invented our own metaphor for this software visualization which I'll go into detail another time. But fact of the matter is, it's gonna look pretty awesome. ... If we EVER get there.

We've spent months designing this system. We started coding last week and ALREADY we have a number of issues... GAH! It's these times I seriously question my choice of study.

Something that should have been seemingly simple: the BLUETOOTH connection between the WIimote and the computer system.
-.- Apparently not!
We've been struggling for 3 months with our prototype trying to get this stupid software to recognise the bluetooth dongle correctly and use the correct drivers. In the process we had to learn about the intricate working of what is known as the Bluetooth Stack. /* screams from background */
Here is a diagram of all the protocols that go into the workings of a bluetooth device

Our problem is occuring at the L2CAP level. -.- which is sitting BEYOND OUR CONTROL in between loads of other layers.
We've reinstalled software, drivers, bought new dongles, run on different operating systems and messed around in build scripts and still NOTHING will work. We've gotten a series of errors, none of which we can solve and every step forward leads to another wrist-slitting error. And no-one else seems to be having this problem! AAAAAH! I hate everything!

As a quick aside I need to introduce you to our mascot:

This is the I Hate Everything Kitten. The I hate everything Kitten epitomises mine & my team's outlook during times like these. I Hate Everything Kitten reminds us to not expect anything out of life. It also reminds us to maintain upmost cynicism with things like these and not expect sudden error-resolvement. I Hate Everything Kitten reminds us to close our eyes and cringe everytime we attempt to run our program! I Hate Everything Kitten reminds us that that only way we can feel satisfaction is through other's failure.

Thank you I Hate Everything Kitten. You teach us that it is better to be unhappy but alive, instead of at peace and dead... and in this way we are satisfied!

Enough of that.

I've also just had to redesign half th system. Which is a nightmare!
Apparently one either feel's awesome or shite at full moon. Full moon last night and I feel shocking >.< bleh!
But yea. I have to go get ready for a gig! Lets hope that works out a little better.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Words of clarity on Misted Glass

Words drip ripples on sliding doors
vicarious eyes & bent lines meet upon the floor
5 walls & 10 sighs crawl up washed jaws
While bittersweet aches queue up for more

Your word's dilute meaning trickles out over teeth
Sweetness unsafe, around secrets beneath
Who would have thought it'd be so succint?
When you stalked the halls and discovered it linked?

The hidden agenda of musketeers seem to unwind
as the earrings of the hearing pierce the membrane of the mind
And so do you with the vacuous affection of the kind
of animal you aspire to, these meetings have been timed.

True intrigue must be extracted, you've seen only skin.
Your constant mouth-machining means you'll never begin
And sorry to disappoint, this is not about you
You'll spend all night deciphering, & you wont have a clue.

By Jade Abbott

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Bands/ Other Families

I'm sitting here waiting for band to arrive, so I thought I'd write about my bands

Lets start with the one that has a name: Paint.
This started out as a jam band with Nelius Nortje & Mojo Barnardt. We'd just get together every week during December and make some pretty sounds. We named it in february and we started gigging 2 weeks ago. So far we have concluded our genre is "Progressive Art Pop". The music is pretty, light-hearted, catchy, but a lil' bit out there! Nelius does most of the writing. He is a fantastic song writer!! Mojo plays on this lovely Yamaha Custom electric kit (Yes... I can hear the groans from you traditional drummers - but who else can change their kit at the turn of a knob?! )

What's been great about jamming with these 2, is that we've decided to see the band as a learning device. Nelius is taking the role of frontman & vocalist (a change from his backup vocals position in The Paradigm) , Mojo is getting thrown some interesting time signatures, and Nelius is teaching me bits of the jazz theory he has been learning in his course as well as teaching me to sing (... :/)

So far so good! Last night we played with Cortina Whiplash and I think that was by far out tightest show. We got another gig on Tuesday at Tanz Cafe! Cant wait
Also, we should be recording this week on Wednesday. Should be fun & relatively painless!

Next Band:
Ok... So we dont have a name yet. We haven't had a name for 6 months!

It consists of Dmittri Zyrianov (Drums), Kaz Le Bihan (Guitar) & I. At the core, we are an experimental band & are currently going through a big math rock phase! (think Don Cabellero & Tera Melos). Kaz writes just about everything. He is insane - In EVERY connotation of the word. Absolute genius! I'm so privelaged to play with him. I've been jamming with Kaz for about 6 years now and I can gladly say we get each other and long ago was adopted as my brother!
After the disbandment of Alarmhouse, Kaz and I were in desperate need for a drummer. We asked around and this quickly lead us to this Russian chap with some serious style. Dmittri was a Goldmine! He SOMEHOW caught onto Kaz's extremely unique and time-signature intensive style of writing.

Typical Band Writing Scenario (for lolz)

Kaz: Hey guys, I want you guys to take a listen to this.
*plays intricate guitar piece*
Dma: Woah AWESOME *starts jamming*
Jade: Woah AWESOME *starts counting excitedly*
*repeats piece 12 times so everyone can catch on*
Jade: ... Kaz, you do realise you have written this in 13/8 which changes to a 7/4 for 2 bars and then counts out the Fibonnacci sequence from 7th term backwards.
Kaz: What?
Jade: Just play it. Dma's caught on anyway.
Both in unison: ok.
*We jam*

I get bored with 4/4 (Paint is trying to teach me steps ;) ). The music Kaz writes is complex, noisy and I love it. LOVE it! It enjoy the challenges that it poses when counting out the time signatures, writing interesting bass lines to fit the multilayered guitar loops and just feeling how a tune with 20 different parts eventually (after days of practice) converges into a single song. (We generally have to record our stuff to remember the structure)

I guess the only problem is that it does literally take days to write songs and we are all busy people and even with our constant commitment it is just taking us ages to write. Slowly but surely we are getting there. One day when we have our set DOWN we are going to blow everyone's brains out.

Also, one day we will also settle of a band name! I'll post an entry as soon as we have decided

Next blog entry: Something Geeky.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


It's 1 o clock on a Tuesday morning! A perfect time to blog I feel :)

So where was I? O yes. Complaining about metal. Probably time to talk about the good parts about this country's music scene.

Indie! By "indie" I dont mean the genre, I mean the label type. Self managed, self signed/unsigned bands who work with independant designers and organisers and create quality music, throw quality shows at worthy venues. I'm talking about Isochronous, Voodoo Child, The City is the Desert (In Disguise) & Black Pimpin' Jesus (To mention a few).

Why is it that these bands are surrounded by a sense of quality?

The City is the Desert released their EP in the form of a DVD with a badge, sticker, music video, photos, a note & the infamous 'secrets'. Not only this but the entire cover was handcrafted by the members themselves. Even better: R25.00. The music is original and they have the most mindblowing live show I've ever seen! Honestly the best deal ever. They not doing it cause they're cheap either - they're doing it to get their music out there.

Isochronous. Well... need I say more? They just put on a stunning tour for their acoustic album. Creative & beautiful. And are also planning to release a DVD. They play regularly at the countries best venues and bring it everytime. They've made so much of an impact to my life and others. Tomorrow they are doing a show with a band called Blak Travellers. Iso Travellers. The work they are doing to bridge the racial awkwardness that exists in this part of time, is just awesome =]

Each of these indie bands take time in their production, presentation and show. They name a price and are paid for their work. And best of all - they EVOLVE! Like I said, the metal industry has been stagnant for 5 years at least. These bands are constantly growing and evolving their sound with each new set.

From prog rock to post-hardcore to electro to rock 'n' roll... whatever the genre - Independant is totally the way to go.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Metal is Dead

This continues from my Tempo's blog a little.

From the day Tempos died, the industry changed. It became about 'big' record labels, Suicide Girls, scene zeenz, and event organisers. Only huge events like Season's Wither at Jet (first one was held at Tempos by the way) seem to keep the scene going (and that event is quickly failing as well).

The Metal-fests are failing (Thornfest was shockingly bad!! as was Lido). There are no more original gem bands. Everyone the same, and all the bands getting progressively worse & loosing crowds. The only metal venues left are The Black Dahlia (eww), Bells (who still only do the "big" shows) & FullMoon Lounge in Pretoria (who are more goth than metal). None of which had the location or vibe of Tempos. Cool Runnings Fourways is having a go at it, but it will never be the home to metal - same with Cool Runnings Victory Park

The quality of metal gigs has dived. Just look at the fliers - they are ugly. No thought has been put into any of them. They're mass-produced with no creative input or thought of design.
When you get to these gigs the sound is bad, the crowds don't rock out any more save for a few die-hards, and everyone looks, acts and sounds the same. Bands that have been playing for over 10 years still sound identical - regardless of how good they are (**cough** Pestroy **cough**)

The metal scene were the pioneers when It came to not paying bands. That is why I can't stand the metal record labels and event organisers.
Most of these bands have so called 'managers' - basically lil' boys who pretend to know the industry and are very good at telling people who they manage but barely know the songs their bands play. A real manager knows when you practice, for how long, can tell you what to practice, organises the right gigs, interviews, and sends in the demos and has the same participation as a band member. The one true metal manager was Agro's manager (also owner of Evolution Music and organiser of Heavy Metal festival MotherFudd) - Alan Pennicott - R.I.P! forever a legend!

Even long time heavy metallers Chromium are having family trouble and one or two Agro members were finding reasons to end.

Metal has stagnated. Entirely. All the big metalcore bands from tempos days sound exactly the SAME after 5 years (something thats pisses me off to no end) and the haze of ugly other bands around them has increased. In fact it stagnated as soon as Tempo's started suffering.

Metal is dead. It has been for years. Anyone still emotionally or otherwise invested in the genre get out. It is in fragments. As my favourite mathcore band say "Close one eye, step too the side" - time to move on and away. Put away your black skinnies, spikes and Bring Me The Horizon shirts. The time of metalcore & deathcore is over. Its boring. Its gone. Luckily for me I never really enjoyed the bands or the scene that much. My involvement in it was soley so I could oppose it. (Seems it still is ;))

However all is not lost for you metal fans, a new type of metalesque band are emerging namely the mathcore & prog metal bands. It seems I'm not the only muso tired of the uniformity (Finally a sub-genre of metal I love) and I think a few bands who entered the scene too early might get their chance to shine. The band who comes to mind first are Mazaru who combine Tool & Protest The Hero influences and are my favourite! Brilliant musicianship, original & interesting. They are pulling a different sort of crowd with a different sort of outlook. Props up to the Mazaru boys. Time for a reformation. Im talking about indie managed, well practiced and diverse metalesque bands who take care of their own event organisation (from flier design to sound guys to band choice) or are in touch with independant organisers who focus on quality as opposed to quantity.

Quality as opposed to Quantity. It is something metal needs to learn from the local indie/alternative scene.

Next blog (probably will write it tomorrow at this rate) is gonna focus on our faaaar healthier indie/alternative scene with maybe a mention about the latest in-scene: D & B.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

In loving/hateful memory of Tempos - RIP.

I was born into the SA Music Scene - whether I liked it or not. In fact it was this entertainment scene that has bought me clothes, fed me, sent me and my sister to one of the most expensive private schools, and to varsity. My dad (as many will know) is part of the comedy/music duo Abbott & Crabb who are local comedy legends (speak to your folks) and still gigging t this day.

As I became a tweenster I started exploring the other parts of our music industry besides the pubs and barnyards. One weekend I ended up at this stretched out, packed out pub. 2 stages, 2 dance 'floors' (well a beach and a barn) and an ominous looking playground. The place was also an all ages family venue. My lil' sis and I went crazy for this tight cover band by the name of White Rabbit... yes my readers,... we'd stumbled into the loving arms of Tempo's, Entertainment Park. ;)

And that is where the local metal & rock n roll scene took off and flew. Anyone (and I mean anyone) could organise a gig there. A mere R500 for bouncer hire - you were good to go, charging whatever entrance you saw was fit, and allowing any bands you thought were worthy of a stage to play (or gonna bring the crowds).

I also had a band at the time. A rock n roll indie outfit called Alarmhouse (R.I.P. Good times we had) and despite Tempo's shithole-ness (adjective yes) it was our favourite venue to play.
Cause lets be real, there was ALWAYS a crowd (even if you ended up with a unlucky 4pm/4am slot), there was ALWAYS a party, and even though your sound guy (more than not) didn't know what a mixing desk actually was, the response from the drunkern, underage,drugged up crowd was mind-blowing!

And so it became tradition. Every Saturday( sometimes Friday as well) the Tempo's crew would pitch up - pay their R40 entrance to some cock who thought they owned the industry (no names mentioned - you know who you are! ) and spend the evening either moshing to noisy unkempt metalcore bands, having sex in bathrooms (scary since half the girls there were 15), getting high, getting drunk or bitching about how boring and crap the bands you paid R40 to see were. But that didn't stop us pitching up the next week.
It was something, and it was something unique to this city.

Immediately, a group of mostly unoriginal (but unique to our country) group of metalcore bands sprung up... namely show-stoppers The Dead Will Tell & Facing the Gallows. They joined the already established metal bands Chromium, Agro & Sacrifist etc etc on the Tempos stage's... not soon after this every person thought they could start a metal band - and so they did (most of them only surviving long enough to play a single gig). Assault on the ears, but who cared - it was fun!

It wasn't only deathcore crap. Many wonderful local music gems got their chance to grace Tempo's stages and those where the bands I went to see. (I never liked metalschmetal you see) They were fantastic. Tempo's was a launching pad to many of these bands. (*cough* The NARROW *cough* )

Unfortunately the gigs were too many, the sound was too bad, the booze too much, and the kids were too young (not too mention the original crowd grew too old). The raids started, the crowds dwindled, the big bands disbanded, the owners immigrated and sold the place to Authentic Ideas who struggled to handle it. The hell-hole was sold to a catholic school (the irony! ;) Kids would be corrupted by the ground they walked on) , and then finally to a group of people who opened up the beach, put on some pub bands and called it Hickory's (no jokes).

My dad is now playing regular gigs at Hickory's. They've done up the beach all nicely - lots and lots of time, money & paint. It was a very bizarre experience sitting and watching him play. After a while, my sister and I, as well as a few old Tempos goer friends who'd also come to watch the old-farts play decided to go exploring the rest of our beloved home.

Wow. It was a creepy nostalgic moment. Next time I go there I'll take a camera. The playground (what I always called the teenage wasteland) is completely overgrown. You can barely even get to those swings I used to have such 'awesome' conversations on.

All the tempos signs have been taken down and piled by those bathrooms where you used to find lines of coke on the toilet seat.
The big main stage area looked a bit likea construction site - some one has used power tools to cut up planks of wood and the entire bar has been removed. The only thing that really remained was that sign that said "Dream" in bright tropical colours... it did feel like a bit of a dream. Even then Tempo's felt like a weird surreal dream - and I don't even drink or abuse.

We all got on stage. Vivid flashbacks. I remember playing up there. We auditioned for Woodstock up there and got in. We played with Japan & I & The Privates.
I got down and looked towards the stage. I remember my first heavy metal appreciation moment when I watched Agro play for the first time. Cliffy (Agro's frontman) was wearing 3 shirts - anti drug & anti-abuse. I screamed "HEAVY METAAAL" with him. (Grimfest - that was an amazing gig - anyone else remember it!?).
I remember watching Greenisforturbo - my favourite indie band of the time (I'm a lonely dinasaur!) and the most awesome post-hardcore band:
We walked past the food area - Prego Rolls! YUM! Even the Sushi was great.

By far the saddest thing was the Beer stage - my favourite stage. Where you could get right up and personal with the band (or crowd if you were playing). Countless awesome gigs. The first tempos gig I saw was there. Joday was the head act. She was fantastic. Suicide Kings played, along with Cellardoor Diaries. So much fun!
Today, the place smells of death. Literally. I nearly stood on a long dead rat when I stood on stage. Everything has died.

I laughed when I stood at the entrance - the tempos stamps are still on the wall of the entrance booth. It's name lives on in history ;) My teenage wasteland, the charming sh**hole of childhood memories. From Season's to Grimfest to the lost indie gigs

Next blog is titled: METAL IS DEAD. Its about the demise of the metal scene. Tune in ;)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

How to play a C Major Arpeggio in binary and make it cute?

Finally, my first blog post. 'Bout bloody time!

I've literally been stuck on NAMING the blog for about 6 months. I eventually just decided to shove in any old name and get something going. By the time anyone reads it I probably would have changed it 4 or 5 times ;)

So why blog now? What actually happened was that I had to study for my Software Engineering Exam next week and I just couldn't look at the textbook without throwing up. It's amazing what the art of procrastination inspires.

Here is to brief introductions: I'm a music-lovin', party-freak, ultra-geek, bass-slappin, short-skirted, lolgasming, friendly nerd girl with too many opinions for her own good!

I intend to use this place for:

- Music Reviews - especially the local stuff
- My endless opinions about the state of the local music scene
- Coding & technology chats and tutorials ( Mostly java & c++)
- Geekette culture ( geek girls ftw =] )
- My strong opinions about life, the universe & everything!
- Stuff I think is just awesome.


That's enough for a first blog post I feel?

Rock on