Monday, November 28, 2011

It's only a paper 'toon

Okay, so the animator went some distance to getting on my good side by starting with a Stephen Wright quote. Even aside from that, though, it's an eye-popping piece of work.

Paper Daydream from Jun Iwakawa on Vimeo.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The future is here. A future is here. Who ordered this future?

Passing by the Apple store in the mall, it looks kind of futuristic in a way between The Jetsons and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Something you can marvel at. Whenever I step inside, though, I get a sort of sinking feeling. It's a combination of business casual uniforms that announce the takeover of leisure time by commerce, the ever-present LED video screens, the sleek countertops that discourage any sales associate from tarrying.

A lot of the postindustrial landscape is like this: a machine where people aren't really necessary parts. I wouldn't really put all of this on Steve Jobs' shoulders, but I really don't think Maria Bustillos' recent essay is just a posthumous attack on the man. (Warning: By some weird irony, you may be redirected to a Chevy ad. Just hit the X and you'll be returned to The Awl.) It's more an examination of the cycles of design, how it goes from personal and democratic to impersonal and autocratic. And the Dieter Rams pieces that illustrate the former really are kind of nice.

21st century Friday Random Ten blues

I just tried logging into this blog and initially it didn't work. I was getting a message that said "password changed within last 24 hours. Didn't change password?" No, no I didn't, I thought. Then I remembered that for some convoluted reason I had changed my login for Google accounts, and apparently that changed the password for Blogger too. So again I manage to make myself paranoid without drugs. Triumph!

1. Jimi Hendrix - Crosstown Traffic
2. R.E.M. - Life and How to Live It
3. Mika - Lollipop
4. 8½ Souvenirs - Sharp-Dressed Man
5. Soul Coughing - Idiot Kings
6. Elvis Costello - Veronica
7. Tom Waits - Raised Right Men
8. Arcade Fire - Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
9. Joe Jackson - Happy Loving Couples
10. John Lee Hooker - Whistling and Moaning

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The musicality of my surroundings

Another absurd tempest in a teapot, but this one has kind of an awesome side. There's been the usual grousing about liberal media bias, as if the drummer for a late night talk show was NBC's chief opinion-maker. Conservative persecution complexes haven't gotten any more interesting over the years.

But everyone who's offended is spreading the word about fishbone. Without some knowledge of their work, the music is just a tight little jingle, which is why Bachman herself showed no reaction to it during the show. So there's no such thing as bad publicity here. Not that Fishbone would consider it bad publicity. As sort of confirmed here, I doubt Angelo Moore would piss on her if she were on fire, unless he really needed to take a piss.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

And a four-footed friend shall lead them

Not much mystery as to why African painted dogs would make a good teaching situation for kids (inner city kids, in this case.) They're badass hunters from hot, unforgiving grasslands. And as some of the squee-riffic pictures at the link show, they're also cute as all get-out. Geared to a young audience, they truly have something for everyone.

Scents of decorum

At the library I was sitting next to a gentleman who I guess had put on some kind of talc after shaving. It was a pleasant smell, but it's the kind of thing you have to pretend not to notice. You can't just tell another man you don't know, "Hey man, you smell good." It could lead to misunderstandings, and ugly situations in general.

Of course if you compliment a female stranger on her perfume she might think you're creepy too. I thnk you probably take a slightly different path to discomfort there.

Friday, November 18, 2011

An exchange and Friday Random Ten

Someone at work said that I'd been quiet all day. Which I had been, I suppose. I said that everyone seemed pretty quiet to me today. She shook her haid and said no. So I was like "What did I miss?"

1. Reading Rainbow - Always On My Mind
2. The Kinks - Two Sisters
3. Brian Eno - No One Receiving
4. Nick Drake - One of These Things First
5. Soul Coughing - Soft Serve
6. Arcade Fire - Wake Up
7. Gnarls Barkley - Going On
8. Tom Waits - Raised Right Men
9. The New Pornographers - Jackie
10. Nancy Wilson - For Heaven's Sake

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's a snap!

Slapsticky occurrence tonight. After work I walked to the store, and from there home. All this time it happened to be both windy and raining. So I had my umbrella up. A gust of wind rises, I struggle.

A standard thing to happen is for all the ribs to go inside out, perhaps permanently. But that's not what happened. Instead, the pole broke in half, the top flying out of my hands. I actually yelled "What the fuck was that?" so luckily there were no toddlers nearby.

Somewhat fortunate in that I was able to sort of fit things back together later in the evening. So this one may last a bit longer.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Having followed the career of Peter Milligan for some time, I had to pick up on Justice League Dark, if only out of curiosity. The first issue was nicely drawn and had some good scenes, but I was concerned it might be given over too much to decompression. That is, I thought the creators might be spending six issues telling a one issue story - yes comics industry, there is such a thing - and that this could be a bad omen for the series' future.

I'm less worried about that now, after having read the second issue. Artist Mikael Janin, not known to me before, is applying mad skillz. The story is delivering unexpected twists, in terms of what mysterious femme Madame Xanadu is doing, so that it could be said a new plot is already launching.

And the character work is taking a turn for the funny. In this issue, Deadman tries to get with his girl Dove in the body of another man. Even though he really doesn't have his own body - on account of the whole "dead" issue - she's not havin' it. Nor do his efforts taking on the body of a woman come to anything. It seems real life isn't like the movies, even if your real life is in a superhero comic.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Dank White Returns

Well that's teaching us. Apparently Occupy Wall Street's protets against corporate malfeasance are going to allow those wily Islamicists to make America part of their global caliphate. Thanks, Frank. Bosses everywhere will now be using the same line everytime some pissant holds out for a raise.

In re io9's header: I had thought that Miller had been a parody of himself for a solid decade at least. Guess there's always room to grow.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Slowly brightening Saturday Random Ten

I recently bought and installed a CFL light for the first time. It looks a little better than the ones I've seen previously because there's a frosted shell around the tubes. It's weird, though. When you first turn it on, the room is still dim. It's somewhere between lighting a votive candle and randomly throwing glitter on stuff. You do get to the desired point of brightness, but it takes a couple of minutes. I wonder how many people bring them back for refunds before they even get to that point.

1. Bob Dylan - One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)
2. John Lee Hooker - Boogie Chillen
3. Lou Rawls - Love is a Hurtin' Thing
4. Joe Jackson - (Do the) Instant Mash
5. Gnarls Barkley - Run (I'm a Natural Disaster)
6, Neko Case - South Tacoma Way
7. Tom Waits - Chicago*
8. Wes Montgomery - Prelude to a Kiss
9. The Kinks - Love Me Till the Sun Shines
10. Reading Rainbow - Prism Eyes

* Off his latest album. Man's still got it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why hasn't there been a Cookie Monster cover?

The young are always depraved, always monsters. History shows it to be true. And there is always a frantic search to find out just why this is. The old hysteria about "Louie Louie" is a case in point.

Once concerned parents began to report their outrage about this allegedly "obscene" song to the FBI, the Bureau made the mistake of expending all their effort in proving it true rather than investigating the rumor itself. It was as if a frightened mother had written to J. Edgar Hoover concerning a story she'd heard about a maniac with a hook being on the loose, and Hoover responded by sending out field agents to investigate whether or not a criminal with a missing hand had recently escaped from a psychiatric hospital. The FBI didn't try to find out where these dirty lyric sheets were coming from; instead, they spent two and a half years analyzing "Louie Louie" played at a variety of speeds and interrogating nearly everyone connected with the song, including Paul Revere and the Raiders, Richard Berry, the Kingsmen, and even record company executives. One person they never, ever talked to was the one person who indisputably knew what words had been sung on the Kingsmen's recording: singer Jack Ely. (Ely had been fired from the band well before "Louie, Louie" hit it big, a fact the remaining Kingsmen were not anxious to publicize.) After thirty-one months of trying to unravel the mysteries of "Louie Louie," the FBI could conclude only that they were "unable to interpret any of the wording in the record."

Need it be said? If the new Leonardo DiCaprio as Hoover movie doesn't explore this incident, it must be considered a failure.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sure, may as well make it Bird Week

This is an excerpt from the book Bird Brains by Candace Savage, which is both interesting and beautiful.

"Teenage" ravesns don't spend their whole lives scrabbling over food. Like most other young corvids, they also take generous breaks for what looks like fun and frolic. Until quite recently, the drybones of science insisted that birds never played. At most, the experts said, birds experienced random and uncoordinated firings of their reflexes, little more than behvioural twitches. But this position has now been revised, largely through a consideration of crows and their allies. As a group, corvids are recognized as the most playful of birds, much given to games for one player such as drop-and-catch, hang-upsdide-down-under-the-branch and balance-on-the-flimsy-perch. Occasionally they invent complex social games, such as tug-of-war or king of the castle. (In the latter, one bird stands on the top of a mound and brandishes a small stick, while its playmate charges towards it and attempts to grab the object.) Sometimes their play even reaches out to engage a member of another species. For example, a young rave developed a game with a dog, in which bird and mammal—apparently reading each other's gestures and signals of intention—took turns chasing one other around a tree trunk. Ravens have also been known to play catch-me-if-you-can with wolves, a challenging pastime in which the birds are always at risk.

Play both exhibits and develops intelligence. Perhaps not the same intelligence that we have. It seems to work for them, though.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Starling central

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

How is it that we as human beings still allow something as amazing as this to exist? It's a pleasant surprise.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mostly over-the-weather Friday Random Ten

Well, being sick for almost the whole month of October sort of sucked. Largely because having planned certain things as I did I didn't really have the option of taking time out. But things are better now. I'm still coughing a little, but my lungs aren't trying to escape from my body. You get to appreciate that.

1. Neko Case - Guided by Wire
2. Nick Drake - Poor Boy
3. Cassandra Wilson - For the Roses
4. Patsy Cline - A Poor Man's Roses (Or a Rich Man's Gold)
5. Tom Waits - Back in the Crowd
6. Mika - Love Today
7. John Lee Hooker - I'm Gonna Kill That Woman
8. Lou Rawls - A Natural Man
9. The Kinks - Funny Face
10. Wes Montgomery - Dreamsville

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In which I fail at clever headers

Last Sunday I read something in the paper and had the idea of using the article as the basis for a blog post. So I just had to wait until it came online. Except that as of Monday night, it apparently hadn't done so. And still hasn't from the Google searches I've done. Philosophically I'm fine with this. Publishers aren't necessarily obligated to put everything on the interwebs. I'd be happy if holding out managed to sell a few more copies of the paper edition and save some jobs. (Although this last part seems like a big if.) It's just a little inconvenient as a blogger.

Anyway, it was Erin McKean's "The Word" column from the Boston Globe, and it touched on a new fad. That fad is called "ignore-ing", and centers on placing an order at a drive-thru window, and driving away without taking the food. This strikes me as beyond annoying. If you can afford food that you don't need, try treating someone else.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Waking dream

One good thing about R.E.M. breaking up is that it may keep the real band, the band it once was, from getting lost in the shuffle of history. I don't mean just that they haven't been the same since Bill Berry retired from music. They haven't been, of course, but it was honorable to soldier on after that, and they've still put some neat sounds together.

What I mean more is that people have come to think of them as a slick, professional pop group focused on liberal politics. Whereas I like to think at heart they were always a goofy outfit all about the hammy stones covers.