last week's jams:
sanskrit at gmail dot com
the speed of boredom
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Interesting bits in this week's sunday New York Times and Magazine:
- The past three weeks of Chris Ware's Building Stories (regarding the plumber finally coming to fix the toilet) have been rather pleasant.
- A rather lengthy article about Toronto's indie-rock scene, mostly following Broken Social Scene (pictured at left), but also mentioning satellite acts like Feist, Metric and Apostle of Hustle and unrelated acts like Final Fantasy and Ninja High School.
- Michael Cerveris reviews two of my favorite re-releases from late last year, Grizzly Bear's Horn of Plenty and Hot Chip's Coming On Strong
- Most politicians are in on the joke when they're featured on "The Colbert Report," but some of them aren't.
- Is Sony's new Blu-Ray DVD format doomed to fail against Toshiba's HD-DVD just as their Betamax fell to VHS and their Walkman fell to the iPod? (For the record, I hope not, as Blu-Ray sounds a great deal more promising so far)
Thursday, February 23, 2006
so by now pretty much everyone knows that Apple is going to show off some "fun new products" next tuesday. people are speculating new iBooks and more Macs with Intel processors. now, to me, those don't sound like "fun new products" as much as amped up old ones. a very popular rumor is that Apple will announce full movie downloads on iTunes, which seems like a logical and plausible next step, but still not a "product" per se.
there are two popular rumors i think are possibilities. one is a new Mac Mini with a DVD-R drive that you can hook up to your living room TV and use as an entertainment hub. that sounds fun and new. the ssecond is the much-hyped "true video iPod"
of course we've all seen the patent illustrations for a touch-screen iPod and there have been a couple of mock-ups of what that iPod might look like but it all seemed a bit too dreamy and unrealistic...until now.
this photograph has been a bit of buzz on the internet lately:
now, of course that could still easily be a hoax/mockup, but it looks pretty real and eerily similar to this photo of a 5G video iPod that leaked shortly before it was debuted in November. this would be almost a given to debut if Apple does go ahead and announce full movie downloads on iTunes, as watching them wouldn't be much fun on the current iPod screen. so i'd say a gesture-based widescreen iPod is very likely to debut next week, especially considering how "fun" and "new" it would be considered.
i'm also in favor of an Apple branded croquet set. that's fun. no, not really.
in a smooth transition from all of last week's "Dick Hunt" jokes (Dick Cheney shooting his lawyer buddy while quail hunting) to everyday pop culture pointlessness, check out LEGOd Video Games - a photoset on Flickr
if you happen to be going to the Todd McFarlane retrospective at MoCCA for the next two months, it might (very possibly not) be interesting to you to download Todd's audio commentaries on each of the pieces.
some might say i'll be "missing" the exhibit because of school. i can't say i'm all that upset. i'm still kinda annoyed by the horrendous pin-up he did for Sandman #50 (especially compared to the rather breathtaking ones by Scott McCloud and Craig Hamilton and Tony Harris). you know they only included him because Spawn was the most popular comic in the US right then. does that mean Ed McGuiness should do a pinup for Local now?
also, my favorite weekly article, Comics 101, returned yesterday after a two-week hiatus of moving from Moviepoopshoot.com to its own domain. this week's installment is part 16 (!!!) of the history of the Justice League of America (you know, the superhero team with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and others), a topic that didn't really interest me all that much when Scott published part one over a year ago (he's been covering various other topics in between the occasional month of JLA history) but has genuinely drawn my interest. right now he's wrapped up in the 90's run by Grant Morrison, which I actally read a lot of and enjoyed when it first came out. the topic seems much more interesting now, especially considering DC is about to relaunch the Justice League of American with Brad Meltzer writing. that cat can WRITE (and he's down with Chip Kidd, which is A+ in my book).
Sunday, February 19, 2006
In this week's sunday New York Times:
- How and why American families are loyal beyond reason to Cheerios.
- For a whole generation of workers on the go, your cell phone area code is a tether to your home.
- Alex Kuczynski spotlights my favorite Apple store, Apple SoHo (which I did not know was also the largest Apple store in the world. Wow! It's also the same one Ben Folds did an almost unannounced small concert at this past autumn.).
- Most well-known for his engaging demo tapes of folk music, but with a documentary coming out in the coming weeks and taking part in a major art exhibition with his marker drawings, New York's art galleries are totally in love with Daniel Johnston.
- This Week's True Life Tales is Jeanne Darst's account of chasing down the jerk who stole her cellphone in broad daylight.
- Soldier-politicians are back as nearly one-hundred veterans are running as first-term congressmen, many as Democrats.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
LED Throwies are the new Graffitti (also: Clear is the new Black)Developed by the Graffiti Research Lab a division of the Eyebeam R&D OpenLab, LED Throwies are an inexpensive way to add color to any ferromagnetic surface in your neighborhood. A Throwie consists of a lithium battery, a 10mm diffused LED and a rare-earth magnet taped together. Throw it up high and in quantity to impress your friends and city officials. LED throwies consist of only a few inexpensive parts and can be made for ~$1.00 per Throwie. Depending on the color, Throwies can last up to two weeks, but you arent going to cause any permanent damage, so most property owners wont mind.
head on over to the Indestructables blog for a step-by-step guide on how to make your own LED Throwies.
check out this quicktime video of a gang from Graffiti Research Lab speckling a building and giving handfuls of LED Throwies to each fascinated passerby to try out. see how happy they all are! and how nice the building looks!
so last night i was really stressed out because i was just closing up a ten-hour stretch of portfolio redesigning and my buddy Dan Arrigo messages me to tell me to check out this internet radio show. i was moody and warned him that this better be worth the momentary pause in workflow.
and it so totally was:
last night happened to be the inaugural broadcast of "The Mad Spin Zone," a new weekly college radio show co-hosted by my good friend David Colon up in the District.
when i tuned in, they were just coming out of some Dangerdoom and made a classy transition into some Dead Kennedys, after which i was totally shocked to hear David almost praising the new Franz Ferdinand album before pelting us with some Gorillaz, Mos Def, Rancid and Wu-Tang Clan. after getting a general feel for what music they were playing, i IMed them to request either some Art Brut or some Liars. i guess they didn't have those, but they hit me back a little while later with Moxy Fruvous' "River Valley," and David even stayed true to his word by ending the two-hour broadcast with the ever requested "Freebird." all in all, i thoroughly enjoyed the show and i will definitely tune in next week after coming up with a list of more likely requests. i keep seeing the new His Name Is Alive album on the CMJ charts, so maybe i'll request "Seven Minutes In Heaven" and see if they've got it.
visit WVAU for more info about the station and click the headphones to tune in to the station whenever you want.
The Mad Spin Zone is on from midnight to 2am, late-Tuesday/early-Wednesday.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
i know i was just as confused and amused as pretty much everyone else when i was reading the news online on sunday and saw the breaking story that republic lawyer Ted Whittington had been hospitalized after being shot in the face by vice president Dick Cheney while quail hunting on saturday. the Duck Hunt parodies flew all over the internet pretty quickly, just as i expected they would.
what made it all worthwhile was the Daily Show's coverage on it last night. THESE - THREE - CLIPS are among the funniest i've seen from the Daily Show in months.
there, they did their think and made fun of it all while adding a tinge of social commentary, end of story, right?
oh, its never that simple.
this afternoon, my sister sent me this article on how the "stabilized" Ted Whittington had A HEART ATTACK when a piece of birdshot moved and lodged itself in his heart!He said later, however, that the single BB-like piece of birdshot is "in a fixed position" and is not expected to travel. Blanchard said he and other doctors treating Whittington feel "very strongly that all the other birdshot in him is not problematic." The number of other pieces of birdshot in Whittington's body is not known, he said, but could range anywhere from "more than five" to "less than 150 to 200."
and while the article reports that this "injected a more serious tone into reports of the accidental shooting, which had become the subject of jokes on late-night talk shows and the Internet," i couldn't help but find it even more hilarious.
first, it appears that Cheney's heart condition is contagious! either that, or he carries specially designed birdshot that causes minor injuries at first and then goes for your heart! what a maniacally sick bastard!
second, "could range anywhere from 'more than five' to 'less than 150 to 200'?" so this guys heart was shut down by one birdshot, and he's got somewhere between 6 and 199 more in him?! i don't know which is worse, the fact that there's that much crap floating around in him waiting to cause more harm, the fact that the range of numbers is that great, or how they came across those numbers. did they see at least five birdshot just laying about him in an x-ray and then run a test to determine that there were not 200? how do you get those numbers?
third, i can't help but think this is the absolute perfect time to bring up legislation regarding greater gun control laws. Cheney here is the perfect poster boy for a boy playing with a gun.
AND THE GUY WAS A FREAKING REPUBLICAN LAWYER! aren't they (the Bush administration) supposed to be all over those guys (republican lawyers) like skin on public school cafeteria pudding? (i almost went for a vietnamese prostitute joke there, but nothing seemed appropriate, so i went for a more all-ages thing)
anyway, hilarious. at least we can laugh at this administration and then cry about it when we have no social security later on.
six new X-Men: The Last Stand posters were given away at WonderCon last weekend:
as much as these photographs, those poses, the lame tag line and uninteresting type treatment leave me nonplussed, any hype for this movie gets me slightly amped, so yeah.
actually, the type isn't bad, i just wish it were more engaging, but the focus here is obviously on the photos. i very much appreciate the thoughtful kerning of the letters, especially between the capital T and lowercase a in the word "Take". i suppose you work with what's given to you and do the best you can. kudos to whoever did the type on the poster, but shame on the art director. i know the audience here was fanboys at the convention who only really care about looking at the pretty pictures, but that's no excuse to not make a damn well designed poster anyway.
Monday, February 13, 2006
as i missed the outrageous storm up north this weekend, i had to live vicariously through friends' IMed accounts and images from photojournalists. here are some i particularly liked from the new york times:
my hometown of Long Beach was fairly well blanketed
a parade of temporary workers hired by the city to supplement the 2,500 sanitation workers working 12-hour shifts
a rough time for shoveling sidewalks. my mom told me that they actually paid a group of boys to shovel the sidewalk and a little later, it was just a lower level of thick blanketed snow.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Its time for another exciting round of "Articles I Like in This Week's Sunday New York Times":
Six men stand on trial for stealing two priceless Munch paintings in Norway, including The Scream. Even though the men have been arrested, police still don't know the whereabouts of the stolen paintings!
In addition to the traditional NYC bus tours, there is now bus tour through Harlem and the Bronx offering a view of "the real Hip-Hop". (check out Hush Tours for more info)
You say there's a city-wide smoking ban in Washington D.C.? Well, at least you can still smoke in Congress.
American atheletes in the Winter Olympics have always had lousy team spirit.
Apparently, apples are just too daunting to eat,so packaged pre-sliced apples are the newest rage. I've actually had them at McDonald's and they're pretty good, though I still prefer the real deal.
In a time where airborn illnesses seem more rampant than ever, Americans seem to think that wearing masks is silly. This article makes me want to buy a whole bunch of those medical masks and design cool woodblock print patterns for them.
The shocking truth about why and how "love" has changed in the 21st century.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
check out this amazing video of experiments with multi-touch interaction for computer applications.
if there's anything i've learned from the Nintendo DS, its that touch screens are one hell of a lot more innovative than the crap we've seen on Palm Pilots and the consoles on Star Trek.
Apple Computers recently filed a patent for a gesture user interface. the illustrations included with the patent can be seen here. the illustrations clearly show how such an interface would work with iTunes, iPhoto, iPod, word processing, and a world map application. all i can say is "awesome."
rumors are flying this interface could debut on a "real" video iPod this spring (most analysts say that the video iPod that came out in november wasn't the "real" one, but just a souped-up fourth generation iPod, which it really really was) which would have its face completely filled with a screen, rather than a small screen and a click wheel.
also, rumors are flying that Apple is trying to buy Palm.
maybe, if Apple buys Palm, they could combine the Palm Pilot and the iPod with this new gesture user interface and make an absolutely astounding multimedia pocket computer.
i must be dreaming.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
check out this wacky little toy that lets you spell anything you want using photographed letters on flickr.com. you can even change the individual letters to find ones you like better.
i hereby proclaim this thing super cres. sure, it could be better, but this is pretty awesome. i am a wild fan of photographed type and found type.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
i had a thought while watching Saturday Night Live last night, but i must preface the thought quickly with why i had the thought
last night's episode had the absurdly high-potential host and musical guest team of Steve Martin and Prince. my hopes were high, and while Prince rocked harder than i expected him to (which was totally refreshing) and Steve started out strong with a great intro and pretty good monologue, the humor went downhill fast and even when it was decent, all the skits had the same problem that the show has been having for almost a decade in that they don't know how to end a scene. there was rarely anything to signify that a scene was over, except for the mic volume lowering and the audience applauding as the camera zoomed out.
so here's my idea, what i would pitch if i were on the SNL writing staff right now. it may seem a little revolutionary or just plain crazy and nonsensical, but here it is:
every week, come up with one sure-fire ending to a scene, any scene, and apply it to every skit that episode. do not repeat this ending for at least a season and a half unless it really adds to the effectiveness of the joke.
par example: let's say one night, every skit, all fourteen or so of them, ends with Keenan Thompson running in from off camera and announcing a fun fact about lemon flavored Jell-o pudding. the next week, every skit ends with a massive explosion. the next week, every skit ends with the actors being chased away by dogs.
the first skit of the night, people will react "huh...well that was odd, but kinda funny, i guess." the second skit, "oh, i see, its a running gag. that's kinda silly." the third skit, its just plain funny. This keeps up for a little while, and by the last half-hour of the show people start to get a little tired of the joke, but thankfully, the joke won't be used again for another year and a half at least, and we'll get to experience the whole thing another time next week! that's a whole 'nother joke thrown over the entire episode as a whole in addition to the standard humor of the individual sketches.
maybe someday if i have the time and resources, i'll make my own stupid sketch comedy show and use this thematic element in each episode, if another show hasn't completely raped the idea by then. i find that alot of the ideas i have and get excited about are then used by someone else and widely accepted before i ever have a chance to pull it off myself.
articles i like in this week's Sunday New York Times (and Magazine):
Writer Greg Allen is mapping out all the Men's rooms in the city with baby changing tables.
A refresher in the vernacular neccessary to get you through the Super Bowl.
"The Meat Raffle" from the always amusing True Life Tales column.
Tap water is bad for your skin. (This article primarily amuses me because it name drops the Beauty Water Shower Purification System from Jonathan Product. Remember the episode of Blow Out where Jonathan's plumbing was busted and he washed his hair with bottled water and absolutely loved it? Well, he made a showerhead filter so you can do it all the time! Too bad it'll set you back about $150 a year.)
Theater in Chicago is crazy hot right now
A potentially trendy alternative to hyphenated last names.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
i still have the self-released 2002 version of their debut album, and a few stickers with their old logo (the one with the ghost), including one on my little art box from freshman year.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
yeah, we all heard the rumors that Brian Henson was working on producing a sequel to The Dark Crystal but most people assumed it would amount to nothing. well how's this for nothing?
GENNDY TARTAKOVSKY (Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Star Wars: Clone Wars) has signed on to direct the film, which will be set hundreds of years after the original 1982 fantasy classic and follows a mysterious girl made of fire who steals a shard of the crystal in hopes of reigniting the dying sun.
"The original 'Dark Crystal' was the pinnacle of puppetry; they created characters that were as believable as the ones you see in animated films," Tartakovsky said. Tartakovsky said that unlike in the pricey original film, for which otherworldly sets were built, the puppets this time around will operate amid a CGI backdrop.
"There is a limited budget here, and this will be more artsy, in a 'Sin City' fashion, with characters performing over greenscreen and great backgrounds behind it," he said.
i officially CAN'T WAIT!!!
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
sanskrit mixtape number nine: there is no such thing as love
valentine's day is in just under two weeks. last year i celebrated with sanskrit mixtape number two: ~love. rather than be redundant and do it again, i decided to flip it and do the opposite. these are still cute, gentle songs about love, but feature the overall theme of falling out. rock on, sweethearts!
i'm sure its just a phase i'll grow out of in a week or two, but i really love Ninja High School's album Young Adults Against Suicide right now. its totally upbeat lo-fi hardcore dance rap. "Positive Laser"'s second verse let's us know exactly what kind of thinking these guys are up to:
"No more defeat by feelings / The drugs you're taking is control they're stealing.
Bad psychiatrists call it "healing" / But never admit it's dull they're dealing.
They say it doesn't matter what we think / 'cause they're the ones with expertise in these things.
All I know is I can treat my friends better.
Not into transcendence, trends, or transgressors, we win with positive vibration!
And it's bad feelings out, good feelings in!"
and then, of course, comes the Ninja High School patented everybody-screams-two-lines-of-lyrics-as-loud-as-they-can chorus, which in this case is:
"We built a big gun so we could realize our goals!
POSITIVE LASER, SET IT OFF!
The ammunition's you: a hundred minds, a hundred souls!
POSITIVE LASER, YOU'RE MY FRIEND!"
this is totally club-worthy hip-hop dance whatever, but instead of talking about how hardcore they are and how they're tougher than everyone else or saying other rappers have small penises, as most rap seems to be, these guys are talking about actual issues in a well thought out and collegiate manner. and yet, there's still plenty of geeky references to amuse the people who are bound to like these guys' sound anyway. hell, the cover of the album has a damn game boy on it!
anyway, i also love that they sare the same initials as the National Honor Society.
download "Shake It Off"
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