Secrets of the 1%

I’m sorry I’m blogging so much. University break. It’ll stop soon.

Frickin’ LinkedIn. You had enough? It’s like a sad FaceBook for middle managers. Everybody links in and then avoid each other not wanting to seem too eager – at least on FaceBook you can try get laid.

The worst thing is the FIVE BULLSHIT MOTIVATIONAL ARTICLES YOU HAVE TO READ THIS WEEK that they mail to you. How do I get off that thing?

The one a week or so ago about how early CEOs got up in the morning. That one.

Slime P’orridge is CEO of Venture Capital Death Ray Corporation and gets up at 2am every morning. ‘I like to lie on the floor of my stone cave for a few hours before lashing myself with a leather whip and chanting FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION YOU DIRTY WHORE. Then I have breakfast of steel wool before hitting the office to get sacking staff bright and early.

Seriously, when they start using what time you get up in the morning as a measure of your business acumen we’re screwed.

Then I just got sent this prick.Who the hell is this fountain of sad cliches? A Marketing Guru? Oh right, marketing. This is exactly the kind of person who knows all about employment across all possible realms of endeavor. ‘Stop what you’re doing there – listen to me – I’m a MARKETING GURU. The way we do business is changing fast. You should try be better at your job. Thank you, please buy one of my 13 books’.

The ex vice president of direct! marketing! at! Yahoo! is telling us how to be successful. Sorry we can’t all try sell our failing company to Microsoft and then screw even that up. Can you find the tiniest bit of actual meat in the fluff this guy is woofing?

10 Questions That Create Success. What a sleazy title. I have questions in life; why me? who ate my chocolate? when is the next pay day? why the hell does it keep crashing? why is there no hot water? I ask these things without pretending that I’m somehow CREATING SUCCESS. This guy, he takes the sort of mottoes that hippies sew on their duffel bags and says, ‘Ask them at the end of each day and I absolutely guarantee that you’ll become more successful.’

My favourite: 10. Have I felt grateful for the incredible gift of being alive?

I’m just pausing a moment to let that wash over me. Hmmmmm. Nope, sorry, no success bulging out. (Mind you I wonder how many people are ungrateful for the wonderful gift of being dead?)

This guy. As Speedy Gonzales would say I like this guy, he’s crazy. This tenured academic knows an awful lot about Artificial Intelligence, but Dear Lord – not much about trying to sell stuff over the Internet.

One of Udacity’s first offerings will be a seven-week course called “Building a Search Engine.” … He hopes 500,000 students will enroll.

Week one, the course video will be pirated and uploaded on YouTube by SexyBoy23. No one will pay. Week twelve, no income has been made and staff are being laid off. Week 50, our man is trying desperately to get his tenure back. Why do academics ever think they know anything about the real world?

We are cool, sign our contract.

Interesting update to the post below: negotiations continue. The time limit has been dropped and they are going to talk to EMI about licensing. On the positive side, that shows they are aware that the agreement needs some fixing, which is commendable. On the negative side, I wonder what would be the case if I didn’t have a publisher? I can’t help but cartoon the upcoming discussion: North West USA Clothing Corporation VS Ye Olde English Publishing Company.

Yesterday I was sent a Licensing Agreement in the mail. Depending on what mood you are in, the whole thing is hilarious or a good reason to punch the next CEO you meet in the face. Probably they would chuck a tantrum if I just reproduced what they laughingly describe as an offer but they can’t stop me discussing the general ideas. Keep in mind I AM NOT EXAGGERATING only simplifying the gobbledegook. If this is the kind of shit that kids are signing, then it’s evil.

  • We are a large company that sells ‘clothing items’.
  • You are somebody that owns the entire rights in every respect of a piece of music (note the assumption that musicians don’t have a publishing deal in place. As much as I hate being tied to EMI, every time I get one of these ‘offers’ speaking their name causes amusing consternation – what, your music is worth something?)
  • We are making some kind of online advertising campaign where we pretend to be cool and hip.
  • We might also reproduce this in other ways, don’t know yet (‘any manner or medium now known or later developed’)
  • In consideration of the publicity that you might get out of this (‘the potential promotional benefits’)
  • You grant us the worldwide right to do with your track anything we can think of – transmit, exhibit, synchronize, sub-license, mix up with other people’s artworks … and things we haven’t even thought of just yet. (yep – sub-license, as in they can contract out your assigned rights to anyone)
  • You represent that there is no sampling. Not one sample. No infringements of any kind. Pure as the driven snow. Or we dump your ass immediately. (Lots of luck with this guys)
  • You are not a member of any music rights organization, or union that might fight for your rights.
  • We have the right to use your likeness and bio. You will not complain about invasion of privacy.
  • You don’t get the master back.
  • You indemnify us against any claims that might be launched because of the track (fair enough)
  • The term is one year.
  • Any disputes have to be settled in our home state.
  • We need you to sign and return this TODAY because we are behind schedule. Just do it.

I want to reiterate – I am not exaggerating this pathetic offer. For no payment, they get worldwide rights to use a track in an advertising campaign for a year. They probably don’t intend for it to be the highlight of the campaign and in this particular instance the target region is South America, but if it did become an important piece, you just gave it to them for free. To put that in context I would not ask much for a South American synch license, but I would also limit the use region by region. A worldwide buyout license I would expect to be paid up to $5000 per region.

So in this liberated age where kids are being protected by pirates from having a recording and publishing contract, it’s possible for a deal like this to get waved in front of a young band who have no other venue for their music. They are used to YouTube & MySpace – no money, only potential promotion, and the whole thing seems normal. Maybe they can get their track published on the basis of the publicity generated. It’s non-exclusive, so you could try that. If of course the publishers stay open in the face of so much openness. This is an example of how the YouTube model leads to evil.

My refusal is immediate, the music is encumbered and that’s it. But really, anyone who is asked to sign a contract THE SAME DAY should laugh at them. In this state of Australia that’s pretty much illegal, I expect that is true in many places. No solicitor is going to be able to examine it in that time. Seriously – when people complain about record companies, don’t they realise that just plays in the hands of even bigger corporations?

Latest Academic Fashion News

A gasp has gone out around the Academic Fashion Scene with the announcement that BRUTALIST U are bringing FRANK GEHRY in to design their new Fun House. BRUTALIST are of course best known for owning the ugliest building contemplated by the mind of man – the Dark Tower otherwise known as The Vertical Slum, Elevator Action or Long John Silver. But as their VC explains: “It’s lonely. Being the ugliest is only a surface pride – the tower needs a friend and so we have brought in someone that can top the very worst in architecture.”


Gimmee a 'B' Gimmee a 'U'!

GEHRY is known for his design process in which drawings are made onto paper which is then torn up and thrown in the bin (and sometimes pissed on) to be retrieved by the builders fighting off packs of starving dogs. Some of his best work includes Leaks When It Rains at MIT, the Whachamacallit of Bilbao and I Can’t Believe It’s Not A Joke of LA. His design is sure to be at odds with the existing structure, space, time and student comfort!

We asked students at BRUTALIST how they felt about this exciting development and they didn’t care that much.


Reminds me of ... um ...

We were sure that other universities would be just green with jealousy and got straight on the phone. But YE OLDE TIME UNIVERSITY pointed out that in the current retro climate their Gargoyles were back in style big time and in fact were acting as additional unpaid teaching staff. A heavy breathing spokesperson for the DEATH STAR laughed for some time in a musically deep and ominous voice before pointing out their current plan to destroy KUNST KAMP and replace it with a deep pit was ‘the boldest architectural idea – the complete negation of a building – no walls, no halls – the blackest anti-building. And besides – it saves money’.

Whew! Exciting times in spending federal funds! Don’t forget – for the latest academic fashion and gossip this blog is hot hot hot 24 7 with the freshest!

Space Attack!



comes an insidious new evil – a threat to eyeballs and stomachs everywhere



A symphony of fake metal gradations, jelly highlights and PURPLE

Everything it touches turns into purple mush


including people

Mattel Bratz

and small animals



Actually that last one wasn’t purple but it is sure is damn ugly.


Here you go Apple, I took a minute to whip up some jelly bean purple and I did a kewl metallic effect and lens flare for you too.


This is a snow leopard. It is grey with some dots. When next you plop out your flaky desktop take a tip from Fido here and GROW SOME TASTEBUDS


Imagine my surprise and delight this morning when I got this email from Ebay!

It’s all yours, now you just need to pay.

We hope you enjoy your latest purchase. The next step is pay the seller. Don’t wait. Pay now to get your item as soon as possible.
Pay with PayPal, the safe and easy way to pay for your eBay purchases.
1 hc sofa for Habbo UK GBP 1.99
Quantity:50 GBP 99.50

Why that’s great! I won a … what the fuck? 50 hc sofa for Habbo UK?

A few questions started to peak at this point. How did I win an auction in which I had not in fact participated? How was it possible that a bid was made by me at 12.02AM for fifty of something that appears to be a couch for some computer game? If I had such game what would I do with FIFTY virtual couches? What is Habbo?

Soon after:

Thank you for shopping on eBay! Your total amount due is £99.50. More details about your purchase are included below.
1 hc sofa for Habbo UK 50 £1.99 £99.50

I was thrilled! I wrote back and got some more details on my latest acquisitions:

Please note that this is a system generated email; please do not reply to this email because it won’t reach us. You can contact the Customer support using the help section from the navbar.

Listing Violations > Fraudulent listings (illegal seller demands, you didn’t receive item etc) > You suspect that a listing is fraudulent (you didn’t bid)

Message: Did not bid on this item – I have no idea what it is about. Do not want it or to pay for it.

It was just like Christmas around here! But it was going to be a while before Santa got back to me. So I needed to think about what might have happened.

Possibly I am a sleepwalker, and during the night I got up and went to the computer to log onto Ebay and order what I secretly really wanted, which was 50 virtual couches. This is plausible except that I was in fact awake at the time the bid was made, doing 3D stuff.

Perhaps a fugue struck at my mind – I thought I was doing something else but was really unconsciously logged into Ebay on the prowl for couches. The problem is there is no record of my visiting Ebay at the time. Which also accounts for ghosts, gremlins and trained attack ferrets.

Could be a parallel universe has crossed into our own where couch ordering is part of everyday life. Could be Captain Kirk has used time travel. Could be the matrix.

Could also be that Ebay allows con artists to place fake bids as a means of shaking down suckers into paying for things they never bought, in which case their so called ‘security measures’ are completely SHIT.

When I get back from work:

REDACTED has sent you a request to cancel the transaction for 1 hc sofa for Habbo UK.
Reason for request: The seller says that you have purchased the item in error.
Please click the Take action button to accept or decline this request.

Yes, error. I was in the shower and slipped on the soap and accidentally fell on the computer making it buy 50 couches. Note in this mail it says ONE couch. In this case all I can do is accept the cancellation, but as far as EBay is concerned the case is closed, it was my error.

May the market collapse, taking Ebay to bankruptcy, may the CEO catch an embarrasing disease, may the person that played this scam find an urgent need to transgender themselves with a blunt knife. A pox on all their houses. Fuck them and burn their swag.

As a parting shot 21 emails sent to me by the university at which I study, having mysteriously vanished into the aether over months suddenly disgorged themselves into my inbox this evening. Mails I needed urgently for my application, mails that asked me to complete forms, mail inviting me to a night out but needing me to respond yesterday. Plurrp. Hello.

Bloody Internet.


At one time when I had achieved a very modest amount of fame I stared to have a problem with phone calls. People would ring up at any time of night or day and start pumping voice assuming that (a) I was awake (b) I was available for their entertainment. When this got depressing I had my phone made ‘silent’. I’ve done that twice – it seems normal to me coming from a psychiatrist’s family – most of my siblings have private numbers to control the flow of people bugging them.

Growing up, we’d have people show up on the doorstep looking for my dad that had to be ‘encouraged’ to get the hell out. One awful day a woman rang to say she’d bought an apartment overlooking the family’s house and she was watching me. I don’t know how but it seemed to be fixed rather quickly.

My own phone calls could be amusing after the fact. The guy from Seattle that pretended to be a member of Pearl Jam and wanted to give me ‘the key to the city’. Best line: “I’m looking at a photo of my mother shaking hands with Sammy Davis Jnr.” Not so amusing was the guy in British Columbia that insisted that I was sleeping with him (by remote control? UFO?). But as modest fame became much more modest the phone calls stopped. I still don’t answer the phone ever. I feel sorry for people who actually have real fame, I understand why they go insane.

In the early days of email there were fewer people online. It was a given that the other person would be just some harmless dweeb and most mailing lists and chats would be just nerd rage mixed with computer babble. Most lunatics would send snail mail and you could just laugh it off. My old *** address would get some spam but I could just delete that. In that time I started a series of discussion forums, Twister 2 to 5, of which Twister 3 lasted a very long time. It was good at the start, not at the end. Various twists and turns never really fixed it up. That’s OK, culture changes. The Internet is the street now.

And email changes too. My public email address now has three layers of filter over it. All sevcom addresses refuse mail the first time it is sent and only on the second attempt – that catches most spam. Then comes Avast anti virus which lets off a siren for every suspicious mail – it can blast away for some time each morning. Then comes the black list – all the tedious attempts to play mind games, all the schizophrenic young men and alcoholic harpies and false friends start pouring into the Delete folder. Usually that leaves only a few messages I want to see.

That mode of communication is not working. I know a few people who have given up email, but they are big people that have staff that suffer it for them. The wife just looks at my mail and runs screaming. I can’t escape the noise but I am going to take steps to separate public from private – a new need-to-know email address for a start.

When people continue to talk of online community they seem to me like ‘game theorists’ who never play games. Plenty of ideas, no actual experience. Online community is like running a church hall, all Christian patience and thin soup. Tomorrow I go to a conference and I am sure there will be a talk of ‘online community’. Better you than me …

More positive note: It’s impressive to see how Something Awful has managed to run forums for so many people for so long, when they’re pretty much random dweebs. A mixture of small payment, probations and bans. It works. I’m jealous. I could never even get to the small payment.

More postive note: Right now I’m building a bunch of virtual ‘radios’ that play weird little ‘broadcasts’, mostly for fun, but also nostalgic for the (manufactured memory) of broadcast. I used to like listening to the shortwave radio to hear the strange sounds and speeches from very far away. It is enough just to hear something make a curious sound, without having to build a society out of it.


Hello readers of blog. I know you exist because the machinery tells me that people arrive here, perhaps looking for a limousine. Perhaps because feminism informs their research. Perhaps for a cheeky old door shutter. They arrive and curse their bad luck and move on. We are myriad Ellard, and I am the worst of them.

Imagine, if you will, that you are walking down the street and see somebody that looks a lot like you. No really, the resemblance is striking and disturbing apart from the fact that your doppelganger looks like he or she threw up over themselves. And pooped their pants. What little pants they have.

Later you meet a friend who tells you that you look a lot better than when they saw you yesterday. No, you say, that’s not me, just somebody who looks like me except they pooped etc. etc. But your friend and others don’t believe you – they think you’re a sly pooper. Infuriating! You’d really like to get that fake and give it a shake!

And that’s how I feel when yet another MySpace page shows up for my poor old dead band. It looks like it pooped itself. And there are ‘friends’ there. (No link to here of course, that’d give the game away.) Of course these aren’t really my friends and they don’t really want to do anything but advertise their own emo myspace pages. But like Mike Jones once said – you had better get rid of that if you don’t want people to think you are utterly sopping clueless.

You cannot kill that which does not live. If I went through the same battle I did last time I found one of these quivering fetid lumps of juvenalia, I’d probably win just in time for another mindless goth to think (oh wow how post punk!) of starting a new one. Serpent’s teeth these MySpaces.

Should I be flattered? If imitation is sincere flattery then I’m sincerely ugly. Man.

When I go to Last FM it notifies me I can ‘take over’ the Severed Heads group. Finger poises over the button. No, it’s got to go out in the world and find its own brains to eat. Let it wander around until it gets shot. I’ll just have to take care to wear a hat with I AM THE REAL ONE written on it. Me and all the others.