Fat Freddy’s Drop — Roady video coming soon!

My friend Paul asked me if I knew who Fat Freddy’s Drop was, because he didn’t (you’re under a rock, mate), and because that night he [had the honour of] working on the new Fat Freddy’s Drop music video for their groovy track Roady, filmed here in Wellington on the infamous Cuba St.

If you are like Paul and don’t know who Fat Freddy’s Drop are, climb out from under your rock and listen to their tracks! FFD are an independant Wellington dub reggae group who won all the major awards at the last New Zealand Music Awards. You’ve probably heard “Wandering Eye” on the radio without knowing who it was. Pick up their album or get their tracks from the iTMS.

So I got Paul to take my copy of their album Based on a True Story along and get it signed by the group. He did, he is some kind of legend ๐Ÿ˜€ And Fat Freddy’s are awesome for signing it too! Cheers guys, I don’t need to tell you how awesome you are!

I got a text this morning saying they were still in town, and if I wanted, I could come pick up my CD and maybe meet some of the group ๐Ÿ™‚ So I did. I wish I had a bit more to say and ask, but at that hour in the morning, I was just waking up, and they were about ready to go to bed after filming all night.

Anyway, the music video is due out in a few months or something, so keep your eyes peeled!

Read the Bible vs Get fit and listen to Podcasts

So I’m busy working part time at Dev-Zone (my old job) and the other part of the part-time at 3months (new job). I’m doing some work for Chris while he’s in Australia, which is taking up a large portion of my spare time; but that’s fine. It’s the old job that’s stressing me out.

But hey, I’ve got some cool stuff to tell you about, so bear with me.

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First of all, I bought me a small portable metal bible about two weeks ago. The cheesily entitled Battlezone Bible, Yeah, it’s cheesy, but it’s an ESV. I love it — best translation ever. Not to mention it fits in my trenchcoat inner chest pocket nicely. I would catch the bus just so I could read it. It reads so beautifully. And just carrying the bible with you everywhere is a constant reminder of the presence of God. I can read on my breaks, or any spare moment I get.

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Secondly, the IRD love me right now, but it wasn’t so shiny-happy-people until Thursday. I hadn’t filed my taxes for about 3 years, and the IRD got pissed and basically made a default assessment of about NZD$10,000 and sent me bills. But they bounced (because I hadn’t changed my address with them), and so the IRD talked to my employer and forced them to take NZD~$250 a fortnight out of my paychecks. The payclerk told me what was going on and I was all “WTF!!?!”. So I got an accountant and told them to sort this damn crap out. And they did, for a nominal fee of course. So on Thursday night, I come home from Thursday Night Curry to find an envelope by my door. I open it up: “Hi we’re the IRD, here’s a cheque for ~$3400!” And I was all like SW00t! So I paid my accountant (about $1400 :P, but hey, better than $10,000), and paid my bills…

…and bought a BRAND NEW IPOD! W000000T!

A 60GB Color iPod. I tell you, I seriously missed having one. When you’ve got music and podcasts to listen to on the way, I’ve found that I actually WANT to walk places. Roll on summer! Dang, I need to get fit…

I’ve also missed Craig Patchett and Adam Curry in the morning. I’m re-subscribed my podcast catcher (iTunes now, was FeedDemon) to the Daily Source Code, the Radio Adventures of Dr Floyd, and several others, including many Godcast Network channels. I also started listening to Rachel’s Choice which is done by potentially the youngest podcaster in the world, Rachel Patchett of age 8, who chooses a track of christian music and a bible verse to share each week. (a side note: Wellington christian band The Lads were featured on Rachel’s Choice back in June. For those not in the know, The Lads are probably the most popular christian group in New Zealand)

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So now I’m in this quandry: I can catch the bus and read my bible and listen to music, or I can listen to podcasts and walk to work. *shakes fist angrily at quandry!* Never mind, I will be going full time at 3months, which is only a five minute walk away from my house… at least I can still read on my breaks. Oh well.

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Oh yeah, and now that I’m rich, I’ve bought flight tickets and am fully paid up for WE05! YAY! A very HUGE THANKS to all of you who gave your support, I really appreciate all the help you’ve gave!

RDS – Radio Data System

I was in someone elses car last night. The car stereo was tuned to ZM. For some reason, the stereo appeared to be switching between 90.9 and 93.5; the two frequencies that ZM broadcast on. But it was seamless. And then a new song started to play, and about 15 seconds later “DON T” flicked up on the screen, followed by “LIE”, then “TO”, “ME “, “BY”, “BLACK”, “EYED”, “PEAS”, “ON ZM”, “ZM ZM ZM”, then continued to alternate between “ZM 90 9” and “ZM 93 5”. I was tripping out, and everyone else in the car apart from the driver was all like “WTF?!” at it too…

Turns out it’s called Radio Data System (RDS), and does more than display text on the radio’s display. It can transmit the current time, so that your RDS enabled car stereo will remain sync’d, monitor other frequencies for traffic reports, and even turn the volume up if an emergency broadcast is detected…

Pretty neat huh? There aren’t many stations in New Zealand that support it, but I found what could be a partial or complete list on the Wood Electronics site.

Private Karaoke

Believe it or not, but Karaoke is cool. Unfortunately, us kiwis have preconceptions of it: we think it’s getting up on stage in front of strangers and singing along with words on a screen to complete strangers. Preconceptions become misconceptions.

Tonight, after a nice steak at the birthday party of my friend Matthew, he and his friends were gonna go and do some Karaoke. I was sceptical, as you can understand — I am the first to say “hell no” when it comes to karaoke. However, they mentioned that they were going to this place in Manners Mall — upstairs. There is only two bars on Manners, Hoops, a hip-hop bar on the ground floor, and the Pool Bar, which is a pool hall. Apparently, we weren’t going to either of those places. I was intrigued; I tagged along keeping an open mind.

Up the escalators in the Rock Shop Plaza and we reach the top floor just outside the Pool Bar. We don’t go in, but a couple of people from the group go up to “negotiate” our entry into “Oops! Karaoke”, a small complex of over 8 of what I could best describe as ‘karaoke booths’.

The seven of us are admitted and shown to a booth. The booth has 2 comfy couches, a table littered with vinyl covered books, a Korean remote control outclassing most label makers, two microphones connected by cables to a machine in the wall, which is also connected to 4 TVs in the wall.

Before I realise what is happening, a wig, a cowboy hat, and some tamborines are procured from the depths of the couches, and the lights dim and music begins. Two of the people have picked a song and are getting right into it, no waiting. I’m handed one of the vinyl books and told that the blue pages in this book are songs in English and advised to find a song I know and enter the code on the remote. I start flicking through the book, simultaneously listening to my new found Asian friends sing songs. (incidently, I’m the only non-asian in attendance) I’m sitting next to the birthday celebrant, who I know pretty well, and he’s singing a song I know REALLY well. He finishes a verse and hands me the mic. Everyone present encourages me to sing, so I do. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the songs we sang, but they were English pop songs that you’d probably know.

I get right into it, singing my best. When I’m done, a score comes up on the screen — 94. I guess it’s out of 100, because the birthday boy says that I did awesomely well. Well I’m not sure, but compared to one of the guys sitting across from me, I’m definitely doing okay ๐Ÿ™‚

I proceed to find songs I know in the book, and sing along with the songs that others have picked that I know the tune to, singing into the microphone if it’s passed to me. I’m having a ball! But I hate karaoke!? This isn’t the same as in karaoke bars; This isn’t embarrassing; this is having fun with your friends! W00t! I pick a song, and when it comes up, my friends join in with me!

In the wall, the little karaoke machine is responding to the remote. You look up a song in the book and punch the number of the song into the remote, and press the big yellow “reserve” button. The number you punch appears on the TVs, with the title of the song in English and Korean next to it. The number and title of the next song up are along the screen. When one song ends, the next song begins.

Quickly I realise that the machine is quite simple: it is basically a library of MIDI files, with a loop of irrelevant video behind the lyrics. I spot a laminated sheet on the table that translates the Korean remote: not only does the remote program which songs we want to sing next, but the remote can change the speed of the music, change the key that the song is in, change the volume of the music, the volume of the microphones, the amount of echo in the microphones, and even a button to unleash canned applause, the latter of which I managed to activate after a rather good rendition of “My Heart will go On – Celine Dion”; a song easily hammed, but in this case, well deserved of an automated applause ๐Ÿ™‚

The unit in the wall has a LED readout, one for the number of the song you’d punch in, but another for how many minutes we had left to sing. It started at ~70 minutes. At the end, we were having a really good time, and it let us sing our last song, then we left.

Would I do this kind of Karaoke again? You betcha. Making a fool of yourself in front of people you know, who are also making fools of themselves, is the best thing on earth. The fact that you’re doing your best to sing along to songs everyone already knows becomes hilarious and fun. Ask me 4 hours earlier if I’d have this much fun singing Karaoke and I’d have told you to get out of my face.

My name is Brett Taylor, and I like to sing karaoke with my friends.