28 September 2005

Audio NSFW but in a really, really hilarious way.

Panther - You Don't Want Your Nails Done [QT, 18.9MB]

I just saw this link this morning; someone described it as "If Max Fischer were in a band and it turned out to be not Phantom Planet"; in a way I can kind of see that (helps that the guy actually has sort of a Schwartzmannesque look to him), but I've been trying to figure out if Max would end up doing something more orchestral (I'm thinking either like Belle & Sebastian, or perhaps just straight classical music compositions) or something really Angular and Arty (which might fit the bill with this).

Anyway, apparently the band is Panther out of Portland, OR. I've... never seen or heard of them at this time, but, I think they might be kinda cool if they (or, well, he) ever come up north for a show.

I'm not as sold on the "twist" ending to the video, but the rest of it is pretty awesome.

(Speaking of videos; still need to watch the Flaming Lips one I got, and I found out that an Elvis Costello one just came out...)


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26 September 2005

Vespa Ride to Canmore!

It happened. Earlier this summer, we tried to get to Canmore, AB (this cute little town out in the Rockies on the way to Banff) and didn't make it (we even got two flat tires! We needed to be rescued, too!). This time, a bunch of us got together for a long ride to the mountains. Most of them were on their way to Banff, but I didn't want to pay for a hotel room and all the meals, etc., so I didn't go that far. Still, though, Canmore is only 15-20 km or so from Banff, so it was a pretty decent ride! A really long one, too! It's 104 km or so from Calgary (60 miles!) to Canmore. Check out the pix.

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Armed dolphins set free by Katrina

OK, how did life become a John Woo movie without me even noticing??

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25 September 2005

The Nutsiest Sound Around

When Madness' new record (The Dangermen Sessions, Vol. 1) came out, I wasn't, to be honest, that into it; it was all ska, and I'm much more fond of their pop stuff. There were a few standouts, though (their arrangement of "You Keep Me Hanging On" is superb, as is their version of "The Israelites"), but it just didn't have the same zing as the other, poppier records (like their previous non-released-in-the-US Wonderful, which was very good).

But last night, I caught them live on their Grueling, 4-Stop West Coast Tour and, well, hey, I'm sold on the new one. They played a ska-heavy set (though some of their pop hits as well), and it was just amazingly good and fun; they're really loose and great live. So much energy and just fun!

And, well, now, going back to the record, though I still hope their next record is another pop one, I'm liking Dangermen Sessions a lot more than I did previously and recommend picking it up. It is too bad, though, that in the US, pretty much the Madness bin immediately before Dangermen came out was made up of about 10 different albums.... all of which the same compilation with different titles and maaaaybe one or two different tracks. (Now, see, they're the 10 different comps with the same songs and Dangermen, so it's a bit of a step up, I suppose.)

I've been fixing to get The Lot, the box set of all the pre-Wonderful albums -- I just have The Business (3 CD set of the singles), Keep Moving (excellent -- highly recommended), Mad Not Mad (eehhh... some good stuff, but some of the band members left and there was even less in the way of the previous ska-tinged sound), Universal Madness (a live album.... with live versions of the same 10 songs on all the comps!), and the self-titled compilation (of the comps, the best, which doubled as their first US album and basically the source for 90% of the tracklisting on all the other comps, plus a bunch more songs). But really -- Madness are great. They've got such an ear and skill. I love listening to the way their songs are constructed, too -- the bridge of "Our House" (particularly the line break of "Then we'd say nothing would come between us/two dreamers"), and the "Something tells you that you've got to
get away from it" backing vocal in the chorus.

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24 September 2005

New Pornographers Twin Cinema

"They've shown this on both screens..."

OK, it took a few spins for me to really get into it, but now the New Pornographer's Twin Cinema is one of my favorite albums of the last year.



Links and audio in the complete post.


The album has had good but not universally positive reviews; most of the negative ones seem to concern the fact that it doesn't sound exactly like their last one. (Compare with the negative reviews for NIN's With Teeth, which mostly concerned how it DID sound like their older albums.) The pop hooks on Twin Cinema are buried a lot deeper than they were on Electric Version and Mass Romantic, but I think that's a good thing. In this interview, the group's main writer/singer Carl Newman explains how he deliberately gave Neko Case (the lone female in the band) all slower songs this time around, just because last time she got to sing all the real barn-burners.

One of these (slightly) slower tunes is also my current favorite from the album (I'm sure my "favorite" will rotate through all of the songs on the album eventually, like it did on Newman's solo album from last year, The Slow Wonder). You can download the song here: "The Bleeding Heart Show"


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23 September 2005

Turning the Page

Isn't this interesting... Turning the Page has 14 classic books online, and all are viewable and clickable and magnify-able... very cool! Some samples:

THE OLDEST PRINTED 'BOOK'View the Diamond Sutra, printed in China in 868

THE ORIGINAL ALICEWritten and illustrated by Lewis Carroll
MASTERPIECE OF THE RENAISSANCEBeautiful images from the Sforza Hours

SKETCHES BY LEONARDOSee the genius's personal notebook

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22 September 2005

One word:

DISTURBING.

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Bananas about to disappear?



I didn't know this. Can This Fruit Be Saved? The banana as we know it is on a crash course toward extinction. For scientists, the battle to resuscitate the world’s favorite fruit has begun—a race against time that just may be too late to win

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19 September 2005

Surreal gags I wish I'd thought of.

Like a giant pink bunny lying on an Italian mountaintop.



Wow.

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18 September 2005

Worst Album Covers



I know we've seen these sorts of things before, but I DID think this one was hilarious.

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16 September 2005

First-hand account of outrunning Katrina

CNN is asking people who were in the field during Katrina, and during its aftermath, to write first-hand accounts of their experiences.



Aaron Cooper, a co-worker and friend of mine, who has been working as a Production Assistant with the CNN Science Unit, wrote an AMAZING account of riding with "Hurricane One," the specially-equipped Humvee (the rugged military kind, not the stupid consumer kind!) that CNN sends out to hurricanes. I've reprinted the entire account after the "read complete post" link... wow!


Contributed by Aaron Cooper

I made it back from Katrina in one piece. (We got back Saturday -Sept. 3rd). It was quite the experience. My main task was to drive the chase vehicle behind "Hurricane One." (That's what CNN calls the Suburban we outfitted with a big satellite telephone antenna and various other gear so we can do video phone live shots while driving around during the storm.) We used a similar set up on a Humvee during the first weeks of the war in Iraq.

Here is a blow by blow account of some of the more notable experiences.

Sunday, August 28th - Before the Storm

Sunday, Tristan Smith (a Southeast bureau producer) and I left Atlanta (by Suburban) and headed towards the gulf coast. We stopped on the way in Montgomery and bought a weeks worth of food. (Granola, trail mix, canned food that could be eaten cold, water, etc). We also filled up four(4) 5 gallon gas cans which we tied to the roof. They became quite valuable after the storm (one woman tried to steal them from us while I was in the car, another man offered us $500 for them.) After several hours of driving we ended up in Gulfport, Mississippi at the Holiday Inn. The hotel was about 5 miles inland, had survived Camille, looked sturdy, and was one of the few staying open in the town. Shortly after we arrived, the local "Marine Life Oceanairm" dropped off a trio of dolphins. Yes the aquatic mammals. The aquarium was right on the beach, and the owner feared that the storm could wipe out the park so he made arrangements to have 3 of the animals in our pool and 3 in the Best Western's pool. The pools weren't huge, but the animals seemed happy enough. Some of the birds and sea lions that were on display at the park were also sent away to safer areas, but a number of animals were left behind. We did a couple of live video phone hits Sunday from the hotel talking about the dolphins, then piled in the Suburban and headed down to the beach to do some live shots for Newsnight. Eventually that live shot got canceled, so we headed back to the Holiday Inn for a few hours of sleep before getting up early to greet Katrina.

Monday, August 29th - In the eye of the Hurricane

Our first hit Monday morning was about 5am Eastern from US 90 (the highway that runs near the beach along most of the gulf coast) and Hwy 49 (the main drag through Gulfport). As we did the hits the water was already starting to rise over the US 90. The Oceanairm, much of the port, the casino parking lots, and the beach were already flooded. As we watched a number of large sailboats were blown in. Most were heavily damaged as they hit the highway, light poles, or other obstructions. After a few live hits we decided it was best to head further inland to get away from the rising water.

We drove around, dodging some of the early debris, looking for an area with some protection to do more live shots. We tried a side street and stopped in front of a store front. That building was beginning to fall apart, and a sheet of plywood slammed into the front of "Hurricane One" and gave us all a pretty good start. We quickly decided to move to another area, protected by a sturdy bank building and do some hits near a railroad track. While we were waiting we watched as awnings, roofs, and other more vulnerable parts of buildings were torn apart.

At about 8 or 9 am (ET) we decided the storm (which was still hours away from it's worst) was getting too dangerous. We headed back to the hotel parking lot to try to get further inland away from the worst of the wind. We parked in an arrowhead fashion in part of the parking lot that was somewhat protected. We talked about going inside, but since it appeared we were in a relatively safe area, and we couldn't do live hits from anywhere else we decided to stay in the Suburban for the time being. After spending a couple of hours in the parking lot the debris started getting worse. We watched the signs from the hotel and neighboring businesses, parts of the hotel next door, random pieces of siding, metal roofs, plywood and just about everything else you can imagine fly past. Some of it struck the vehicles, but we were mostly protected and seemed to be safe... that was until a chunk of something, I don't know what, took out the back rear cargo bay window of "Hurricane One."

We did a live hit on the damage and decided we should move the vehicles to a safer area. We parked next to each other, facing different directions with the damaged window in between us. Our "safe area" wasn't safe. Minutes after moving the vehicles a large chunk of wooden privacy fencing from the Verizon parking lot next door broke away and flew straight at our vehicles. I was facing it, so I saw it coming. It spun through the air, caught the corner on the hotel overhang, and slammed into back of "Hurricane One" and into the front of the Suburban I was driving. The 4 people in Hurricane One didn't have a clue what hit them. (They later told me they thought the hotel overhang collapsed.) We knew we had to get out of there, and quick.

We drove to the other side of the hotel and parked. There was no real significant damage to the vehicle I was driving (though there were lots of random pieces of wood sticking out of the bumper and grill) but Hurricane One was heavily damaged. A total of 4 windows were now totally broken out, glass was everywhere, and the rear tailgate was mashed in about 12 inches. It looked like an 18 wheeler slammed into it. Most importantly, no one was hurt.

We quickly transferred all of the important TV gear into my Suburban and an Expedition we had rented, and then got inside the hotel. Tristan called Atlanta and told them not to expect anything from us anytime soon. There was no power to the hotel, so we basically waited out the worst of the storm in the rear part of the lobby watching the dolphins swim around the pool outside, totally unfazed by the storm. We later determined we were the CNN crew closest to the eye of the storm.

After the storm died down enough we felt it was safe to go outside and work, we rearranged the gear, and hooked up the video phone equipment in the Expedition. It had a broken rear vent window, but a little gaffers tape, and some broken pieces of the signs that ended up in the parking lot helped fix that. While the engineer Kadoni and I worked on the Expedition, Tristan, the reporter Gary, and the photog Steve went out and shot some VO of damage and high water in Gulfport.

Once everything was good to go we decided to head to Biloxi (where we knew there was a sat truck) so we could feed the tape that had been shot, and do some live shots. We got on Interstate 10 and headed east. There was a tremendous amount of debris on the interstate - everything from wave-runners, and boats, to refrigerators and parts of homes. Evidently all of this came from a community that used to be just south of the highway. The debris eventually made the road impassable. We turned around and drove back to the last exit, got on the west bound lanes (heading East) and drove against the little traffic there was. We eventually made it to the Comfort Inn just north of the highway in Biloxi. The sat trucks were parked on a sheltered side of the hotel, but there was still a lot of debris piled on/next to them. The Comfort Inn had been covered with stucco, but the storm tore much of it, and many of the shingles off, as well as destroying the front overhang. We did live shots for several of the prime time shows before heading back to Gulfport to spend the night. When we returned to the Holiday Inn we found it still did not have power or running water. That situation would remain the same for the duration of our stay.

Tuesday, August 30th – The Aftermath in Bay St. Louis

Tuesday we headed West to the town of Bay St. Louis. We had to take I-10 and then come at the town from the North because the beach highway had been wiped out. (All along the Gulf Coast the worst damage was closer to the water.) Bay St. Louis had been an artsy community, but now was pretty much destroyed. We found the Hwy 90 bay bridge, which had been about a mile long, was gone. Only the bridge supports were still there.

We then met a woman who asked us to put her on TV so her family knew she was still alive. She had an interesting story, so we did. The live hit was, we believe, the first broadcast from Bay St. Louis since the storm. With the woman's direction we went to what was the area's "Old Town." The main street was full of debris, so we parked and walked in. We went a few blocks down to the former location of her bed an breakfast. She told us how she and several other people had been in the 100 year old building when the storm started, but when it broke apart she managed to get onto a tree in the back yard. Some of the others inside floated away an ended up on debris further down stream. An older woman who was with them had a few broken ribs, but all in all they were lucky to have survived. The building itself was destroyed. Searching through they debris they did find a plate that was intact, as well as a bottle of liquor. The survivors had salvaged a BBQ grill and were having hot dogs at a friends home further inland that suffered less damage.

After shooting elements to build a story for the prime-time shows we headed back to Gulfport, where the Atlanta 5 path, and a rented double path was located, to feed tape. The is was the first time I had been to the Gulfport harbor/beach area since we saw the water starting to overtake the highway. There were shipping containers piled all over, tons of huge rolls of brown paper (where they came from, I don't know), destroyed vehicles, boats, pieces of all sorts of buildings, and casino barges piled all over the parking lots and what had been highway 90. Anderson Cooper was doing his show in Gulfport, so Gary was able to be on camera with him for the show, then later we set up another location for Gary to do Paula Zahn's, Larry King's and Aaron Brown's shows. Afterwards, we headed back to the Holiday Inn. The Dolphins had been removed earlier in the day. An aquarium in Florida had agreed to take them. Their home down on the beach in Gulfport had been totally wiped out. Since there was still no running water, and since we had been sweltering in the heat, and covered with muck for 3 days without a shower, we waited until after dark, and then took our shampoo and soap to the pool. We rationalized the dolphin poop wasn't so bad, since they poop in the sea, and we swim in the sea (though this rationalization was hard to explain to the doctor CNN had hired to do medical checks on people returning from the area). Someone from the hotel had also poured a couple of gallons of bleach in the pool so we didn't worry too much about getting some dread dolphin disease. Regardless of what was in the pool it felt great to get the mud grime and sweat off of our bodies.

Wednesday, August 31st – Destruction in Waveland

Wednesday we decided to go to Waveland, which was just west of Bay St. Louis, and had received even worse damage. The storm had literally leveled the community. We couldn't get anywhere near the beach because of debris covering the road and mud (which caused the Expedition to get stuck at one point. We had to get it pulled out by some locals with a 4x4 Jeep). We parked and walked around a bit and found a woman and her granddaughter who were surveying the damage. The granddaughter took us back to what had been her house. The streets were totally gone. It was all just one big pile of debris. To get to their home we climbed over dozens of roofs of collapsed houses. The granddaughter said the people who lived there planned to stay... and she wasn't sure if they made it or not. When we got to her house, Gary climbed through a picture window and was able to find a few of her dolls, which Tristan carried back for her.

We then tried to find the truck. It took us a while. This was one of many times communication problems caused headaches for us. We were lucky, we had a satellite phone, but it still was hard to call. Everyone in the area was trying to use their sat phones, so the circuits were often busy. We eventually wound up at the sat truck in Bay St. Louis. Gary did several shows that night then we went back to the hotel. Tonight Tristan and Gary convinced me that the pool at the Best Value Inn (which had been closed since before the storm, and was next door) was a better bathing option. It didn't have dolphin excrement in it, but did have random pieces of wooden fencing (yes that fence) as well as some shingles. The water was cleaner, but not much. It still felt really good. Wednesday night the desk told us to think about going to New Orleans the next day. None of us were excited about that option, but we would go if we were sent.

Thursday, September 1st - Riding out the storm on a Shrimp Boat

Thursday morning we found out that we wouldn't be going to New Orleans. Instead we went west of Waveland to the port of Bienville. The area was heavily damaged, but not anywhere near as bad as Waveland. The eye had passed over Bienville, so the area was better off (though "better off" might not be the right way to put it since we are talking in degrees of TOTAL devastation).

At a volunteer fire department we met up with a search and rescue team from Hoover, Arkansas who were going out to search some boats in the area. When we arrived at the port area we found dozens of large shrimp boats grounded, and a group of men sitting on one of the more upright ones. After talking to them we found out that they were shrimpers who had ridden out the storm on their boats. We found one and he gave us a tour of his boat, which was about 100 feet from the water, and laying on the side of its bottom. The search and rescue team didn't find any bodies, so we shifted focus to the shrimpers. They had stayed with their boats because they were safer than their homes (which had been wiped out) and they needed the boats to make a living after the storm. They had no idea what was going to happen to their lives since they didn't know how they were going to get these huge boats back in the water. We headed back to Waveland (where the sat truck was this evening) fed in our video and did several hits. Our nightly call into the desk in Atlanta revealed that we would be released to go home after Friday night's pkg.

Friday, September 2nd - The Hospital

Friday we checked out of the sturdy, but still dark and dry (in the taps that is, the carpets in the room were still damp from the storm) Holiday Inn. We headed down to "Memorial Hospital at Gulfport" which was only 13 blocks from the sea; an area that - generally - was heavily battered, if not destroyed. The hospital had a lot of damage, but was open. After working out clearances to come inside we went in. All in all the building looked remarkably like any typical hospital. The power (generators) was on, as well as the water and air conditioning. We talked to a mother that was in labor during the immediate aftermath of the storm and didn't know where she would deliver after her intended hospital closed. She said the hospital welcomed her, but warned many of the usual "comforts" provided would not be possible because all of the doctors and anesthesiologists were in the ER working traumas. Everything worked out; however the family's home had been heavily damaged. The lower floors were gone, but some items in the upper floors were okay.

We talked to another family who had left their child in the NICU during the storm, and was relieved he was okay when they came back. While leaving the hospital we were approached by several people who were trying to get into the hospital, but were turned away by the guards at the front door. The hospital was overflowing (it was more than 100 beds over its original capacity, and some rooms were uninhabitable) so they were not accepting any non-critical patients. Sadly, we couldn't do anything to help the people outside, so we headed on our way. We fronted the DNT on the hospital from the Biloxi truck, then (after being goodnight by ATL) headed for Pensacola Beach, and a hotel room with power and water. We stopped on the way in Mobile for Mexican. It was one of the first real meals we had eaten in a week. After spending the night in Pensacola we headed home.

All in all it was an interesting week. I learned a lot. I can't say I had a "good" time, but the trip was worth it. I saw a lot of devastation that was heartbreaking, that I hope the people there will be able to rebuild and get their live back on track as soon as possible.

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Know Anyone Posh?

I am on the B3ta newsletter, which I won't even link to because I'm absolutely not sure it's even worth it. I loved it back when I was a Flash developer, but mostly it's utterly pointless crap about people trying to make spaghetti in breadmakers, sculpt things in phallic shapes, and other whatnot claptrap.

I think I've posted some of their Photoshop challenges, like the recent pimp my pet thing. Er, OK.

Anyway. Occasionally, though, it yields some fun brain nuggets, most often in the "Question of the Week" department...

This week's question: Are you posh? Some of the answers are GREAT, like this one:

I also descend from the Clan McLaren of Balquhidder. We're the ones that killed Rob Roy MacGregor, the famous Scottish Bastard. He's buried in our graveyard in Balquhidder.

You're welcome.

and-

I've often been labelled "posh" because I talk properly, drink wine and adore jazz.This is complete bollocks, though - I'm from Chesterfield. That being the case, the poshest thing about me is that my mum once met Tony Benn, the famous socialist, lapsed aristocrat, and MP for said hometown.An ex-girlfriend once said to me that I was "pretentious without being pretentious". I took this to mean that, although it might appear that such pursuits as listening to jazz and drinking wine are carried out merely to give a veneer of sophistication, in my case, I actually have a genuine passion for such things.

I once met a girl whom my fellow housemates and I were interviewing to see whether she'd be OK to live with. By Christ, she was posh. She was a Lancashire lass but had a cut glass, RP accent. After a few jars, we got on to talking about philosophy (not as Student Grant-esque as it sounds - we were approaching the finals of our psychology degree) and I asked her what she was reading at the moment.

"Kant", she replied.

"Fucking hell, there's no need to be rude", I quipped, with a dashing smile and a raise of the eyebrows. There was a brief pause, after which she burst into a fit of snorty giggles and said, "Oh, you're so naughty!"

And...

Living in West London (not the posh bits like Fulham/chelsea etc) i often meet said posh tossers when out on the sauce, I dont mind the girlys caus they get a thrill from chatting to us paupers but the Blokes (all sailing shoes and jumpers over the sholders) need a good kicking. Also was invited round to Martin Amis's house for takeaway curry and champagne....tre odd.But i have to admit that when im visiting some of my family in the US, who live on the Florida/Georga boarder, my accent turns from Londoner to Hugh Grant as the local trailer trash girlies go bandy for it.

Ha! And, since it's British, it's in English, too, which I enjoy, occasionally. I don't have to sit through reams and reams of "their for there" and "your for you're", either. And as for being posh, one guy said it best this way: "If you have an original 'van meer' you are posh. if you have an original poster from 'the shining you' are not. ;) "


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Devolution is real, spuds.

A racist moron gets punched in the head for wearing a racist shirt. A quote from said moron:

"I'm not racist or anything. It's just, some people I hate, some people I don't get along with. And black people just happen to be the ones because they think they're better than everyone else."

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15 September 2005

3d? Why not 10D?

Um, OK. Sorry, you guys, I know this is going to be, like, the LEAST fascinating post ever, but, I read something in my "physics update" email tonight that, as usual, by reading it myself, I have to file it in under the "dog watching television" department:

WHY DO WE RESIDE IN A THREE-DIMENSIONAL UNIVERSE? Andreas Karch (University of Washington) and Lisa Randall (Harvard) propose to explain why we live in three dimensions and not some other number.Currently, the popular string theory of matter holds that our universe is actually ten-dimensional, including, first of all, the dimension of time, then the three "large" dimensions we perceive as "space," plus six more dimensions that are difficult to see, perhaps because they are hidden in some way. There is reason to believe, therefore, that our common 3D space is but a portion of some membrane or "brane" within a much more complicated higher-dimensional reality. Specifically, Karch and Randall address themselves to the behavior of three-dimensional force laws, including the force of gravity. Having several dimensions rolled up is one way to explain why gravity if so weak. Another view, pioneered by Randall and Raman Sundrum, holds that if gravity is localized on a 3D defect in the larger multi-dimensional universe and if spacetime is sufficiently warped, then the other spatial dimensions might be large after all. But why is our "local gravity"apparently a 3D defect in a 10D universe? Why not a 4D defect or some other dimensionality? In the present paper, Karch(karch@feynman.phys.washington.edu) and Randall show that the cosmic evolution of the 10D universe, involving a steady dilution of matter, results in spacetime being populated chiefly by 3D and 7D branes. Several versions of string theories require the existence of 3D and 7D branes; indeed, the particles that constitute matter---such as quarks and electrons---can be considered open strings with one end planted on a 3D brane and the other end planted on a 7D brane.

OH. So that's it.

OK. So... why am I posting this? Just so you can enjoy the same thrill I felt. And what is that? It's why I like having an FTP sever on my PC. Or a screen saver that resolves protein strings to fight cancer or search for extra-terrestrial life (still waiting for the one that'll locate terrestrial life, but let's not quibble). It's all about the idea that my PC is DOING something while I'm not there, something, presumably, to benefit humanity. And what does 10D space have to do with anything? Well, I suppose-- no, I'd bet you a million dollars-- that these yahoos thinking about and working on all this amazing physics stuff are supported by MY-- er, correction: YOUR-- tax dollars. While 98% of all your tax dollars are going to line the pockets of Bush cronies or fight the war in Iraq, isn't it nice to know that somewhere, a small percentage of it goes to support dreamers-- guys who could REALLY change the world, I mean-- like these guys?

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How Republicans fix a leak

That loud crash you just heard was me falling out of my chair.

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A little bit of fun.

Yeah, it's a meme, but it's kind of a fun one. I put up 20 stills (all grabbed from Google Image Search! Thanks, Google Image Search!) from movies I like here -- can you guess them?!?!?!?!!?!??!?!

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Subway Flasher Caught

Remember that guy on Flickr? He's been caught.

The newspaper ran Ms. Nguyen's cellphone picture on its front page on Aug. 27, along with a story identifying the man as the owner of a local restaurant specializing in raw foods. According to a subsequent Daily News story, five women later contacted police and said they had been flashed on the subway by the man in the picture. Dan Hoyt was arraigned in criminal court in New York on Sept. 1 on four counts of lewd behaviour, and was released on $5,000 (U.S.) bail posted by his business partner and former wife. If convicted, he faces up to three months in jail.

The article also goes on to talk about this:

Subways also played a role in another recent incident of cellphone vigilantism in South Korea in June, in which a woman was photographed after she refused to clean up after her dog on a subway. This snapshot was also posted to a number of blogs, at which point the woman -- who was later identified by acquaintances -- became known as "Dog Poop Girl." But, many people criticized her treatment as a "witch hunt."

I dunno... is it a 'Witch Hunt' when it actually catches a witch?


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OK, you win



OK, the picture says it all.

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14 September 2005

Road Rage

My friend Robbie is doing a book on Road Rage, and she sent me this link to some really incredible video footage of an incident in progress. What an incredible idiot!

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12 September 2005

Captain Beefheart's 10 Commandments of Guitar Playing

1. Listen to the birds
That's where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren't going anywhere.

2. Your guitar is not really a guitar
Your guitar is a divining rod. Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you're good, you'll land a big one.

3. Practice in front of a bush
Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn't shake, eat another piece of bread.

4. Walk with the devil
Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the "devil box." And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you're bringing over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.

5. If you're guilty of thinking, you're out
If your brain is part of the process, you're missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.

6. Never point your guitar at anyone
Your instrument has more clout than lightning. Just hit a big chord then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.

7. Always carry a church key
That's your key-man clause. Like One String Sam. He's one. He was a Detroit street musician who played in the fifties on a homemade instrument. His song "I Need a Hundred Dollars" is warm pie. Another key to the church is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin' Wolf's guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty - making you want to look up her dress the whole time to see how he's doing it.

8. Don't wipe the sweat off your instrument
You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.

9. Keep your guitar in a dark place
When you're not playin your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don't play your guitar for more than a day, be sure you put a saucer of water in with it.

10. You gotta have a hood for your engine
Keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house, the hot air can't escape. Even a lima bean has to have a piece of wet paper around it to make it grow.

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09 September 2005

Toshio Matsumoto!

Here's a little bit of Synchronicity. Just a few seconds ago, I was thinking to myself that it's an incredible pity there there is basically NO English-Language resource for Toshio Matsumoto's stuff. (He's the guy who directed Funeral Parade of Roses if, for some reason, you don't memorize names of Obscure Japanese Avant-Garde Directors.) And while staring bored at my screen, I clicked the the Masters of Cinema link on my start page and found this:

In other news, Toshio Matsumoto's "lost" English-language documentary film Ginrin (1955), featuring the music of Toru Takemitsu, has been found. Ginrin was Matsumoto's first film, according to his filmography. The film was screened during the National Film Center's Lost and Found 2005 event. A future DVD release is planned. In the meantime, we are thoroughly enjoying the recently released 3xDVD box set Toshio Matsumoto: Experimental Film Works 1961-1987.


So, how cool is that? It always makes me real happy-like when a lost film is found, but this is particularly cool. I've still only seen Bara no soretsu, but that was enough to make me into a fan, so I'm real happy about that.

But, still, though, I wish there were more English Language stuff about his work. I mean, hell, there wasn't even an entry in Wikipedia until I added one! (Also had to add one on Peter.) Outside of that, the closest thing I've found is a Google Translation of that page about the new Box Set of shorts (which I am also jonesin' for, along with the Box Set of Four Features, including Bara No Soretsu). There's very little in the way of filmographies, too, the best I could find is telling Google to translate the Japanese one linked by MoC... Oh well.

I've even mentioned it to The Criterion Collection that they should look into this. (Via the "Ask Jon Mulvaney" thing, it's not like I've got any special connections... at least not when I'm awake...) I think I used the phrase "I would be the happiest boy in the whole US of A" to open my letter to them.

Anyway, though, yeah -- I just wanted to mention that, because it's cool when lost films are found, and who knows -- we might even get the upcoming DVD in this country (I can dream... Or, more accurately, Import It From Japan...)

Also, though, this has nothing to do with Matsumoto, but I'm off to see the Found Footage Festival tonight, so hopefully that'll be awesome.

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Bob loves me


Bob!
Originally uploaded by lee_3dhighway.
I'm really inordinately tickled about this... :D I found the button in my MP3 player software that lets you swap out the default bitmap it shows when shutting down.

I know, I'm easily amused... but at least it adds slack to my life.

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Support Bill 313!

My buddy in New York wrote this, and I think it's funny as hell. An exerpt:

In its campaign to push Proposition 313, The ACLU has coined the phrase 'Identity Genocide'- a dramatic term used to suggest the disappearance of homosexuality from the mainstream population. The ACLU argues that this scenario is inevitable given the nation's skyrocketing consumption of anti-effeminate medications. (Forest Research estimates that market-leader Hetracil is currently prescribed to 47 million Americans, with 11,000 new prescriptions being written each day- Numbers that the ACLU ascribes to the phenomenon of parents who forcefully introduce the medication to their teenage sons.)

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08 September 2005

Year of the Cock


Vancouver: Group Self-Portrait
Originally uploaded by CatsFive. That's right, according to the Chinese calendar, 2005 is the Year of the Rooster, so why not rent three trucks at $580 each, plus two trailers, and truck 12 Vespas and their owners 10 hours west to celebrate the year of the cock? That's what we did this weekend! I went and took pix, but so did my buddy Andy and Mike, too.

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The truth wants to be free

OK, maybe this is a little bit of a cheap shot, but...



BWAH HAH HAH!! :D

(Pic from SkyNews Ireland, one of Rupert Murdoch's networks, ironically enough.)

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06 September 2005

Drive-Invasion, 2005


Hot rod @ Drive-Invasion
Originally uploaded by lee_3dhighway.
We survived another year at the Starlite Six's Drive Invasion, and here are the pics to prove it! :D

The weather was perfect, and there were some GORGEOUS cars there. (A lot of the drivers weren't bad, either.) We went on Sunday, so the movies we saw were Dr. Phibes Rises Again with Vincent Price, and Count Yorga, Vampire... though we didn't stay for all of that one. One thing I realized as I was sorting through these- I forget to get Arn to take a pic of ME there! :D D'oh! But even though you can't see it, I was there having a blast.

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05 September 2005

Just for something a little bit lighter

Paul Collins wrote a new article for the Village Voice recently. As you can probably guess, it's about a rare book, but this one's pretty cool. It's a Victorian-era sex-ed manual. Starring a monkey.

Can't go wrong with that!

In other Collins news, he's announced the next Collins Library release... and it's a book by Harry Stephen Keeler! This is pretty awesome for bizarre and strange and slightly hard-to-read Sci-Fi fans everywhere! NPR did a piece on him recently, too, along with a couple synopses of his plot.

Keeler's also got great fans on the Futurama staff; Ken Keeler (no relation) actually won a competetion one year for best short story in (H.S.) Keeler's style. They've referenced him a couple of times on the show; and you know the standard "Man puts a nickel in the bank then goes one thousand years into the future and has all the money in the world" plot? Keeler was the first to do that.

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03 September 2005

"Do You Know What It Means to Lose New Orleans?"

Anne Rice on the disaster in New Orleans:

But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us "Sin City," and turned your backs.


I could never get through her books, but I've always liked Rice as a person, and this makes me like her even more.

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Buy music! Help people!

The good folks at CDBaby.com, whom I have bought CDs from many times in the past and have always found to be delightful to deal with, are currently selling CDs from about 5,000 artists who want to donate all their profits to the Red Cross to help the victims of hurricane Katrina.

Surely one of these CDs sounds interesting enough to drop a twenty on? Or less? You could literally help somebody get through one more day down there in New Orleans, and maybe find a band you like besides.

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02 September 2005

Verve Remixed 3

I've been a fan of this series of "remixed" jazz classics since the first one came out in 2002. The second installment was okay, but not as good as the first, IMO. I have to say, Vol. 3 rocks. (more inside)



I think the remixers are allowed to choose what tracks they want to work with from the Verve library, so it's naturally a little bit of a crapshoot each time. On Remixed 3 we get some songs that I loved in their original forms, and that translated well into a 2005 remix: I've always liked Sarah Vaughan's vocal version of "Peter Gunn," and some guy named Max Sedgeley does a cool, bouncy remix of it here. The Postal Service do a GREAT reworking of Nina Simone's "Little Girl Blue," and I like Danger Mouse's remix of "Baby, Did You Hear?" by Dinah Washington.

This disc has two Billie Holiday songs, and they're pretty good, but I think Billie is one of those artists who resists remixes and updates... she had two songs on the first installment of this series, as well, and I think in all four cases, the remixers' efforts pale in comparison to her amazing, amazing voice, and suffer by taking away some of her "visibility" in the song. A Billie Holiday song should ALWAYS be about her singing, first and foremost... her backing musicians in the 30's understood that, but so far her remixers in the 90s and 'naughties apparently have not.

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More Zoo Pictures!

Sorry I haven't really updated with much of substance lately. To distract everyone, hey, lookit! More animals! (from the Oregon Zoo, where we went this weekend -- it's a really, really great zoo; I actually liked it more than either of the Washington zoos I'd been to.)


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01 September 2005

Thalassophobia is the Fear of the Sea

This is probably the coolest phobia I've found so far (I just like the name) on Panphobia, a web site that contains definitions for hundreds of phobias.

There are some annoying Amazon "related links" scattered everywhere, but it's still an entertaining list.

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Perfect Album

In 2005, users of the message board and group blog plastic were asked to pick their "Perfect Album." Apparently, it's gotten a bit out of hand.

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