Introducing Shrinebuilder – American Doom Supergroup

Shrinebuilder is a doom metal super group featuring Scott “Wino” Weinrich (Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan, The Obsessed) on guitar & vocals; Scott Kelly (Neurosis) on guitar & vocals, Al Cisneros (Sleep, Om) on bass & vocals and Dale Crover (Melvins) on drums.

Their debut album Shrinebuilder was recorded in three days and released in October 2009 on independent label Neurot Recordings. It consists of five tracks, spanning 39 minutes of doomful bliss.

This album has been a permanent feature of my playlist since my doom mentor Frederico ‘El Edukator’ Campos dropped me the YouTube link to Pyramid of the Moon two months back.

Rating: 8.5 / 10

 

The End of an Era

Mediatorr is 5 years old. I am proud of that. But the business is not healthy. Things were pumping along, but then our big Australian client pulled out a few weeks ago. For more than two years they were outsourcing to us. Things were going well. But when we least expected it – as it so often happens – they decided to pull out…and take the work onshore. 

We have had this sort of thing happen at least three times since our inception. Cash flow becomes strained. You start taking on shit jobs. Everything is desperate. It fucks with your head. It fucks you up.

In the first year, we ran the business off fumes. With little to no capital, all we had was some severance, UIF & savings + a healthy wad of optimism. This kept us in business long enough to secure a few small clients. And then with confidence we found some better ones, took on staff and went about our days. Consistently, we paid for our expenses out of the previous months earnings. We never really made enough to maintain a cash reserve or market ourselves, but somehow we always managed to keep afloat. 

Before we began, stress was fairy tale. I had breakdown earlier this year. I turned off my cellphone, Skype, email and lay in bed disillusioned: Why was I doing this to myself? Is it really worth it? I convinced myself that it was, stopped feeling sorry for myself and jumped back into the fire. 

Now, going back to why we started. I had read Robert Kiyosaki when I was 19. We were essentially part of the rat race, imprisoned in our cubicles, sending our souls up the production line. In 2008, the company we were working for took some blows and had to let people go. This included Phil & myself. So, inspired by the their failures, we decided to set up shop. We wanted out of the rat race. We wanted to make money and do it on our own terms.

Things haven’t exactly worked out that way. The challenges we have faced and lessons we have learned have fundamentally evolved us, forcing us to adopt critical depth and extreme levels of resilience. That is profit in a sense. But we haven’t – as of yet – profited in the sense that counts when you are running a business, making mulla. I think we were naive and we focused our energy in the wrong places…and continued to repeat the same mistakes.  Winston Churchill said: ‘Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’ Perhaps this a lesson learned to late, but a lesson learnt the same.

Practically speaking, we are in a position where unless we pick up lots of work quickly (by end of January) , our operation will need to drastically downsize. Its inevitable that I will leave from operational duty (I have already been entertaining job offers). But its very important to me that the business soldiers on…I will support it strategically and financially from the outside world.

I think either way we look at it, its the end of an era and a time for new beginnings.

Out (of pocket) surance – they always get something out

So today I bought a car for R 34k – a Toyota Tazz, 2001, 1.3, in great condition. Yesteday, I was doing some insurance premium / excess quote research and started off with Outsurance, as my girlfriend has been with them for two years now.

I phoned the call centre. Within 30 seconds, I was received by  guy who eagerly proceeded to take me through the long-winded “get a quote” Q&A. It didn’t help that he kept saying “do you understand” at the end of each sentence, and then speedily rapping into the next line like those American commercials with the x, y & zee sold separately; terms and conditions apply. To which I found myself repeatedly replying, “No, I don’t. Please explain”.

The quote came to R 500 or R 600 (or somewhere in between) per month premium with an excess of R 7500 to R 9000 (remember the car is worth R 34k) or R 780 per month premium with an excess of just over R 3k.

I was shaken. He said it was because while using my girlfriend’s car I had been involved in accidents. (So, a lady drove into my girlfriend’s parked car in January; outsurance admitted it was the ladies fault. But I was using it at the time and I get the black mark [even though it’s on Nadine’s policy] & then there was another situation with a burst tire prior to that.)

Shocked: I said the deal does not make any sense. For a car worth R 34k. Seriously?

He then referred me to another option: Simply, its third party insurance (with theft + fire) that he disguised to sound like comprehensive. Trying to get me to buy in on something, he said something like: well if you crash into a tree or something you will have to pay for that. But otherwise, you would be pretty sorted on this option bla bla bla.

I told him I’d call him back in a few minutes. I gathered my thoughts, dialed and gave him my answer: No!

Then Mr mightier than thou, upon realising he had wasted his own time as much as mine, has the audacity to part with a little gem to the affect of: “no one will give you insurance for under R 500 per month with your record”.

Well buddy, I just got:

– full comprehensive for R 275 per month;

– retail payout should damages exceed +-R 34k (Outsurance does market value I am told);

– and a min excess of R 1500.00 or 5% of claim (third party / theft covered in full).

So now my girlfriend has cancelled her Outsurance policy and moved to my new insurer. I told the story to my co-workers and a several are keen on changing and even some of my girlfriend’s co-workers are considering moving too – all away from outsurance.

So, contact me if you would like me to refer you to an awesome insurer (who have handled my other insurance matters for some time now; and who have always made claiming easy and stress-free) and you will find yourself actually getting something out for a change.  My email address is ant [at] alteye.co.za

I am campaigning.