Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Karlstad's rebirth!

Spring has come to Karlstad, and it has brought life to the city again. After months of "hibernating", it looks like all Swedish people are coming to life again: they walk around the streets (even after 17:00!!) , they walk around the university, they look happier... the city itself looks nicer.

For me, it is like coming back to August -when I arrived here- because this is how I remember the city was at first (and how I like it the most).

This days, Swedish people celebrate the arrival of spring. There were some things going on at Stora Torget and at the university yesterday, and there will be more today. I took some pictures of these lovely parties. I didn't manage to appear on this set, so I show you one from August. I hope you don't mind.




La primavera ha llegado a Karlstad, y ha traído vida a la ciudad con ella. Después de meses "invernando", parece que los suecos hayan vuelto a la vida: pasean por las calles (¡¡incluso más tarde de las 17:00!!), pasean por la universidad, parecen más alegres... la misma ciudad parece más alegre.

Para mí, esto es como volver a Agosto -cuando llegué a aquí- porque así es como la recuerdo al principio (y como me gusta más).

Estos días los suecos celebran la llegada de la primavera. Hubo algunos actos ayer en Stora Torget y en la universidad, y hoy habrá más. Hice algunas fotos de este renacimiento, aunque no pude salir en ninguna de ellas y pongo una de agosto. Espero que no os importe.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Just arrived from Berlin

Hi everyone! I'm just arrived from Berlin, Germany. It was an almost perfect trip (I'll explain it later). From now, I show you the first group of pictures from the trip. Berlin is more friendly and open (as a city) than I expected, with a lot of wide places.




¡Hola a todos! Acabo de llegar desde Berlín, Alemania. Ha sido un viaje casi perfecto (lo explicaré más tarde). Por ahora, os enseño el primer grupo de fotos del viaje. Berlín es más acogedora y abierta (como ciudad) de lo que esperaba, con un montón de espacios abiertos.

Friday, 25 April 2008

I´m in Berlin!

I´m writing from my hostel in Berlin. It´s a really beautiful city. I show you some pictures (more when I be back):




Estoy en Berlín!!

Escribo desde mi hostal en Berlín. Es una ciudad preciosa. Os ensenho un par de fotos (más cuando vuelva).

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

I'm going to Berlin!!

Tomorrow I will travel to Berlin, capital of Germany. I'm very excited about it, I like Germany and everybody tells me that Berlin is a really nice city. I hope I'll make some nice pictures, too.



Mañana viajaré a Berlín, capital de Alemania. Tengo muchas ganas de ir, me gusta Alemania y todo el mundo me dice que Berlín es una ciudad preciosa. Espero hacer muchas fotos guays :D

Monday, 21 April 2008

Helsinki Trip!!!

Hi everyone! I've arrived from a 3 days trip to Helsinki... though maybe it should be better to say "from a 3 days trip in a boat that went to Helsinki and came back". We expend more time in the boat than in the city, hehe.

Anyway, we had a lot of fun. I had great cabin mates, all the people from the university was really nice and we had a lot of good memories together now.

Here you have some pictures of the trip:



¡Hola a todos! Llegué hace unas horas de un viaje de 3 días a Helsinki... aunque igual sería mejor decir "un viaje de tres días en un barco que iba a Helsinki y volvía". Pasamos más tiempo en el barco que en la ciudad, hehe.

Nos lo pasamos muy bien, de todos modos. Mis compañeros de camarote eran geniales, la gente de la universidad genial también, y tenemos un montón de buenos recuerdos juntos.

Ahí tenéis fotos del viaje.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Music crisis (blog assigment 2)


Music piracy is not a new problem. Long time before the internet age, people copied music tapes (CD's later) from friends when they didn't want to buy an album. Music industry didn't care too much about that, because they kept selling records. CD's could be copied, but they were bought anyway. Indeed, someone had to have bought one album first to allow someone else to copy it. With the digitalization of music and the apparition of file sharing on internet the situation changed: people copied albums from strangers and the purchase of one single album could provide copies to millions. Then, music companies were really worried.

I don't have to explain much more about this situation, since almost everyone knows about it: music sales are dropping fast, music shops are closing, studies are closing,...

What can be done about it? Firstly, nothing at all. We can keep going until music, as we know it, disappears. If people wants to keep having so many bands to choose, music can't be for free, as some claim it should be (since they consider it now a long chain of bytes instead of an art). It's impossible for a music band to survive only with what they earn in concerts, especially if they are not a really (REALLY) well-known band. It would be impossible to attend to other concerts than of local musicians, since nobody could afford a tour.

If we want to do something, we have different approaches: on the one hand, consumers can be blamed, since it is them who are acquiring music illegally. On the other hand, music industry can be blamed. I'll be, consciousness, too simple, since this is a huge problem to "solve" with a few blog lines.

The first strategy is the most obvious, easiest and, therefore, the one that has usually being carried out. Anti-copy systems appeared on CD's or mp3 files, internet pages were closed, digital canons were stablished (punishing everyone, regardless of their innocence), and so on. However, this strategy has failed over and over again: with each new blocking system, a new way to break it appeared and music crisis kept growing.

The other approach, blaming the own music industry, is not so common, assuming that blaming yourself is never easy. Nevertheless, music industry should do it if it doesn't want to disappear. Instead of trying to persecute the people that is not buying music, they should try to focus on the people that is actually buying.

There are some people that love music. People that, despite the fact that they could get the music for free, are still buying it because they feel that musicians deserve recognition for their work. People that are still buying CD's because they know it's not the same to listen to a song in a good Hi-fi equipment, reading the lyrics and watching the artwork that comes with the album; than to listen to a low quality mp3 file in some low-quality computer speakers.

However, if those music lovers are not rewarded for their support of music, they will start, more and more, "changing side". It's difficult to keep paying for things if you can have the same for free.

And that's the point of my humble solution proposal: you should get more when you buy music. Consumers should have extras, when they buy music, that they can't get copying it. Some albums already offer some extras (e.g., better artwork, extra DVD's, tattoo's...). Though this could be interesting to attract buyers, it wasn't always so much in practice, since people realized that they had been paying the same prize before for the CD only, when they could have been getting all those extras.

Music industry should start asking what people want instead of what they want. The first question is, why aren't they offering some extras in the on-line stores (such as iTunes, for example)?. People want to have cheap music and to be able to listen to it everywhere: in their mp3 players/iPods and in their computers and in their HI-FI systems... So why not offer the extras there? When you enter into an on-line store, you can only get songs (it's even more uncomfortable to buy whole albums). Why not offer the album, the lyrics, some sort of artwork, videoclips,...? That would make a bit more attractive to buy digital music knowing that it could be acquired for free.

Even though it seems that the future is internet and the digital formats, physical formats shouldn't be unattended. Everyone knows now that making (not recording) a CD is really cheap. Therefore, prices should go down. It's the consumers who are being stolen when they have to pay 25€ for a CD. Nonetheless, the high prices of some CD's are not a excuse not to buy any at all, since everybody can save 6-8€ a year to buy at least one (trust me, you can find original CD's at that price if you know how to search).

Some people argue that artists get a tiny amount of what they pay for a CD and, therefore, it's not worth to buy them to support their favourite artists. Even though it's a bit strange to say that, since the artist won't get enough money, you won't give him anything at all, this situation should, indeed, change. Artists should get more money from the music that they make.

Maybe the artists could start selling the music themselves by internet. This way, they would earn everything from the sales, they could offer the extras that they want... However, this would be a difficult task for some bands. How can they offer some extras if they don't have the money to create them first?

So, for their own benefit, music companies should start changing their policies, trying to reward instead of to punish. People that love music want to save it and the effort should be done on them. Those who don't love it are already lost, they wouldn't care too much not having it.

PS: On the picture, Potatrucci.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Pictures of the T-Shirt party

As I promised, here you have the pictures from the T-Shirt party:




Como prometí, aquí tenéis las fotos de la fiesta de la camiseta.

Friday, 18 April 2008

T-Shirt party!

Yesterday I attended one of the best parties that we have had in Karlstad this year: the T-Shirt party. Everyone brought a T-Shirt to write on it, and it was reaaaaaally funny. Actually, the writing process was so funny that most of the time the dance floor was empty, since everyone was so busy writing things on the T-Shirts.

I shot a video of my entrance to the dance floor, when it was indeed used.




Picassa is not working now, so I'll upload the pictures that I took later.



Fiesta de la camiseta!!

Ayer fui a una de las mejores fiestas que ha habido este año en Karlstad, la fiesta de la camiseta. Había que ir con una camiseta a la que no le tuvieras mucho cariño (o sí) para que la gente pudiera pintar en ella. Fue muuuuy divertida. Tanto, que la mayor parte del tiempo no había nadie en la sala de baile porque estaba todo el mundo escribiendo en las camisetas. Todo el mundo hablando, pasándoselo bien,... genial.

Ahí veis el vídeo que grabé entrando en la sala de baile cuando sí estaba siendo usada.

Picassa no funciona, así que subiré fotos luego.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

I have a crazy neighbour!!

One weird Swedish guy lives in the room next to mine. Periodically, he gets absolutely drunk and starts screaming and beating the walls... It's kind of scary, even.






Tengo un vecino loco!!

Un sueco rarísimo vive en la habitación de al lado de la mía. Periódicamente, se pone borrachísimo y se pone a gritar y a dar golpes a las paredes... Asusta, incluso.


PS: Image from Playschool's Mister Potato coloring game.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Spain's Second Republic


Yesterday, 14th of april, was the anniversary of the Second Republic, a small period of light in the middle of a great period of darkness. The Civil War, started by rebels to the democratically elected government in 1939, ended a dream started in 1931.

While the right-winged rebels got help from Nazis and Italian fascists, the legal government was left alone by most of the countries. Only the USSR and international volunteers helped it.

But it wasn't enough. The rebels won the war and Spain had to suffer almost 40 years of a pseudofascist dictatorship from General Franco.

PS: The flag that is behind me was the Second Republic flag.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Listmania (blog assigment 1)

Mister potato thinks...
List are everywhere. You can notice that without leaving this blog: I've added a list of my most listened bands of the week, blogger makes a list with my published posts,... If you look outside of this blog (you should do it sometimes), you will find lists such as"my favourite movies", "the 10 best guitar players ever" or "things that I want to do before dying" not only in other blogs but in newspapers or magazines, too. Why everybody enjoys making (or reading) lists so much? I'll make a list of possible reasons:

  • In the last years of the 1990's, lists of "the TOP (insert number here) (insert category here) of the century/millenium " started appearing everywhere, for a new century was going to arrive and people wanted to summarize the ending one. However, that cannot be a good reason, since lists where popular way before the millenium change.
  • Lists are visual. They are more attractive than a plain paragraph and show the information faster, since they organize the information. There are some other better visual ways to organize information that are not so popular, so this might not be the most powerful reason.
  • Lists are, most of all, easy. They are easy to make, easy to read and easy to memorize (maybe not so much the longest such as "the 1000 books that everyone should read"). If, e.g., someone creates an ordered list of his "Top rock bands", he is giving a lot of information with few words. The order in which the bands are shown itself reflects the author's preference without saying "I prefer this band to this one and this one to that one". In brief, they simplify things. You can give all (and maybe even more) information that you want to your reader with few words and in a more clear way than with a bunch of huge paragraphs.
Those are only some possible reasons for lists popularity. The list can be longer and some more complicated forces (psychological , for example) might be involved. But this is a humble blog from a humble potato and I am not able to explain this phenomenon alone.

PS: Picture made from Playschool's coloring game.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Lists...



Our first task for the subject is to reflect on the listmania phenomenon. It looks like lists are everywhere, so it can be interesting.

Quite purposely, I've added a widget from lastfm to show a list of my most listened songs of this week. For now, if anyone reads this, he/she can give his/her opinion about it, since I will not post my reflection about the issue until I have the book.

Have a good weekend!

Welcome!

Hi everyone and welcome to my blog!

I am Mister Potato, the most friendly toy in the World. As you can see, I'm living in Sweden at the moment. I came here with my owner, who is studying in Karlstad University. If you want to find out more about me, check the "about me" section in the sidebar.

I've opened this blog as a part of Academic English subject and you'll find its assigments here. Nevertheless, I don't like the idea of using it only for that, so I'll write about more things, too.

I hope you'll enjoy my adventures.