The oil tax debate continues. Thanks to Senator Bill Wielechowski for being such a good sport. I’m still waiting for my phone call from Parnell’s office.
I guess this is my public testimony. I write and read and make things and I hope those things will float out into the world and help nudge our collective consciousness towards a better place.
I felt like this video was heavy handed and not as funny as some of the other political stuff I’ve done in the past but I’m also feeling the weight of a lot of frustration and futility. It was just a few years ago that we trudged through the VECO scandal and my faith in our state government never really recovered.
Ethics are as lax as ever, we have lawmakers who work for oil companies voting on issues that will directly affect their careers and pocketbooks. It’s a mess.
The amount of money Governor Parnell’s proposed tax structure costs Alaska over the next few years is estimated to be in the 5-6 billion dollar range.
To put that in perspective, for that amount, Alaska could own the New York Yankees, Manchester United, and the Dallas Cowboys.
According to the Forbes Global 2000 we could use that money to pick up Tesoro, US Steel, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, Goodyear, Safeway, or even bigger fish if we just wanted a controlling interest.
Or we could start our own oil drilling company.
The argument I usually hear against a state owned oil company is corruption and inefficiency. Well, the corruption is already there and a state owned oil company could only be more transparent to the public and lawmakers. Right now, people are trying to make important decisions based on speculation rather than information.
Inefficient? Yes, it would probably be massively inefficient but all those jobs and all that leaky money would stay right here in Alaska. It’s the Ted Stevens model of trickle down economics, corruption and inefficiency filling the pockets of locals and spilling out into the regional economy.
Whatever happens, oil is a finite resource and we should be preparing for decline and transition in the long game.
Also, I’m really tired of hearing about North Dakota. Let’s come up with a plan that works for Alaska.
Blat. It’s Alaska Robotics Gallery Newsletter time! In this issue, Lee Post, First Friday, welcoming Christy NaMee Eriksen to the gallery, and much more..
It’s been on “the list” for a while, we need to update our website. If you’re interested in nudging us in the right direction, please let us know what this thing looks like from your perspective.
In preparation for this task, I’m now going to talk to myself a bit. Feel free to follow along…
Websites are a bit like a homestead or a tree fort. You imagine something fantastic, scribble down a rudimentary plan and then maybe, if you’re lucky, end up with something close to what you wanted… in a handful of browsers.. for a few years. Then you start over again when your needs (and technology) change.
It’s a lot of work. I can see why some artists and businesses would want to just exist on Facebook but that’s a bit like building on sand. The community is great but the ground will eventually shift, the rules will change, and your home will be swallowed.
Alaska Robotics was originally created as a label for our personal projects. We do a lot of work-for-hire and we wanted our personal work to be something separate. Right now it’s a bit of a snarly mess, here’s how we’re probably going to sort it out..
LRCD.COM – Lucid Reverie, LLC is our media firm, we specialize in website design, video production, and pick up a lot of random work-for-hire. Unfortunately, people have trouble spelling and understanding the words Lucid and Reverie so LRCD is a handy shortcut. (L)ucid (R)everie (C)reative (D)esign if you like.. or perhaps, (L)ucid (R)everie, some (C)ool (D)udes.
So yeah, we’ll remove the store and rebuild the lrcd.com site as a basic information site for our media business.. it might need a squid illustration.
ALASKAROBOTICS.COM – Alaska Robotics is the label we use for all of our personal projects, things like short films and comics. The main URL used to be akrobotics.com but that looked too much like a bad play on the word acrobatics and we also learned that a lot of people don’t know AK is the abbreviation for Alaska… solution.. spell it out. It takes slightly longer to type but is much much easier to remember.
We recently opened The Alaska Robotics Gallery, a physical location in downtown Juneau where we sell our favorite art, graphic novels, shirts, local music, and cards. The online store that currently lives at lrcd.com will get rolled into the Alaska Robotics site as an extension of our new gallery.
Some of the content is going to shuffle as well. The comics are occasionally hard for people to find and we’ve got a wonky setup for the films as well. I’m going to put a lot of effort into smoothing those bits out and making the text on the front page more readable.
Ok. So it’s not a precise vision, more of an opening statement. I’m going to get to work on it this week and I apologize in advance for transitional bumps.
The latest gallery newsletter is about four miles long due to an overly windy holiday shopping pitch and several glowing reviews of local artists. Enjoy!
Also, a reminder — Gallery walk is tonight — Friday, December 7th. Mitch’s artwork looks great and he’s got the original pencils on display as well.
Hope you make it!
Now that we have a physical space, a kick-ass gallery in downtown Juneau, we’ve launched a bi-monthly newsletter to keep people up to date on events, shows, and visiting artists.
If you’re here in Juneau, you’ll probably want to fill out our newsletter registration form.
If you don’t need more email and just want to peek in occasionally from time to time and see what we’re up to on this end of the world, I’ll be posting links to all the newsletters right here, like this…
Communications is complicated with so many options out there and…. Excuse me, a warning, if you feel like jumping ship as I digress into an explanation of our communication methods and technology, now would be a good time to stop reading.
Still here? Fool. I will now bore you with a hodgepodge of communications related stream of consciousness writing. See. Even the word communications begs you toward slumber.
Bears are fairly common in downtown Juneau, this guy was climbing around on our roof yesterday. He sure was itchy and incredibly agile.
This bears was probably drawn to downtown Juneau by garbage and other delicious aromas. This particular alley is often littered with trash from local winos and must have smelled appealing.
There’s been an effort to enforce bear proof garbage containers which has done a lot for the problem but “bear proof” doesn’t always mean bear proof to these clever animals and sometime they get bold enough to skip the bin and break directly into homes and businesses.
I know several people who have had bears in their homes and while I haven’t heard of them hurting anyone, there’s a frightening potential for a physical encounter. My dad had a few cubs wander into his house and my mom had a bear climb in her bedroom window and get away with a bag of sugar a couple years back. Live here long enough and you’ll probably have a bear story too.
The story of this particular bear has a sad ending. He was hauled away and killed not long after being darted. A news article mentions that this is likely the same bear that invaded a downtown yogurt shop and was seen climbing on another rooftop in the area. He was a repeat offender and was getting far too comfortable around people. I don’t know if it would have been possible to relocate him but some attempts to relocate has been unsuccessful and expensive.
If you’re concerned about bears, please keep Juneau tidy and store your garbage indoors until garbage day.
Kaboom! Big explosions going off in the world of music today. Maybe you read up on it already but I’ll break down some of the key posts..
Emily, an intern at NPR, wrote a frank article about the way her generation listens to music. Mostly, they don’t pay for it. Surprise.
David, of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, wrote a scathing response directed at Emily and her peers.
The thing is, I kind of want to support Emily here. I don’t know. She seems ok.
And maybe it’s because, in a way.. I am Emily.
I was a Computer Science major in college and I had access to things. Everythings. My drives were brimming with music and I was able to train myself in several high-end pieces of software I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.
I rationalized it of course, I wouldn’t have purchased these things and I wouldn’t have stolen them but cloning them was different, it did no harm.
Maybe I was wrong but I was a kid and kids get it wrong.
Emily for example, I never said she was right, I want to support her because I think she’s just being Emily. She’s offered up a frank assessment of how she consumes music and she’s been throttled with the club of morality. The pent up aggression of a thousand starving musicians is now focused on her like a laser… and hey.. did I mention, she’s a kid?
After college I went through a transition. First, as a business owner I made sure that every piece of software I used was legit. Then, I tried to clean up my music. It was a rocky transition, first to quasi-legal Russian Mp3 outlets and then to harvesting Mp3 files from music review blogs. Then, with one blunder, I accidentally wiped out my giant hard drive full of pirated Mp3s and I decided it was the end of an era.
I think the way people support the arts evolves with age. They get out of college, begin to understand real world economics and start to see that some of their favorite artists are insane people who will keep following their passions regardless of if they’ve been fed.
I think I do a lot more to support the arts these days than I did in college and I don’t know what you all were doing to support the arts at Emily’s age but guys, she’s interning at NPR.
Of course, all of this is bigger than music and the arts as Johnathan Coulton points out. It’s about.. Legos!?!
So.. yeah.. people are going to be printing toys and gadgets instead of buying them. Music is just one of the first bees out of the hive. Just you wait, it’s going to get stingy.
Kickstarter might be something to cling to. Maybe it’s a step towards the “Holding Things for Ransom” business model where an artist pitches an idea, gives a little taste of that idea, then tries to rake in cash up front before creating and releasing it to all the free grubbers.
This public review of proposed projects is fascinating. It actually seems similar to the old model of trying to submit your music to a label except now the label is the audience and maybe you stand a chance of finding your niche.
If you don’t, no one is stopping you and you can still pursue your project without up-front funding. At least you’ll be armed with the knowledge that people didn’t think it was worth supporting.. which is ok.. it isn’t about money and besides, they just don’t get it man.
As my personal economics improve and my abilities to support other artists improve, I try to support them more and more.
I don’t think it’s a cultural shift for me, I think it’s more about my age and place in the world.
I’m sure Emily will turn out fine, ease up on her a bit.
Update: More reading from Chris Griffy – The Case for Digital Music
The big gallery opening wasn’t the only event we had going last Friday. We also participated in the Lego Robotics Corporate Challenge, a fundraiser for the youth robotics teams in town.
This year we were cramped for time so at the last minute we gave up on all of our careful plans and built a chaotic smash-bot to destroy, rather than solve, the puzzles on the board. It was glorious. The theme was food safety and our little Monsantron got good and dirty out there crushing cattle and smashing rats with the Chop-tor 0′ Doom.
A big shout out to our team members in the Lego Robotics Division – Ty & Brevin Keltner, Ben Sapp, Jamie & Jen Karnik, and Tara Greenwood.
Thanks also to Susan Keltner for putting up with the strange noises coming from her basement at 3am.
Tara gave the newspaper what must have been a solid, full-page quote, the best unending line of pure unadulterated bullshit I’ve ever heard.
“It’s a non-deterministic universe and we are sort of moving out of the classical ideas of, you know, you have these inputs and you have a known output and in these chaotic times we wanted to tap into the interconnectedness of all things and to see what happens if we go back to the elementary and primeval … our algorithms are in some ways primitive or even shamanistic … it’s not just about destruction.”
- Tara Greenwood
You can read the rest of the article at the Juneau Empire.