buck-tick: taboo

Writer's Block: From beyond

If you died and became a ghost and could only haunt one place, which place would you choose, and why?

In the small town where I grew up, our pre-school was in the middle of the woods; and behind the pre-school was an old abandoned outhouse. We used to tell freaky stories about a boogey man who live in it and dare each other to go inside. No one ever did.

Those years were the best I've had. I'd haunt the outhouse myself just to be close to the place that holds my happiest memories.
robert downey jr: perusing

(no subject)

I think I have the best dentist ever in the world, ever. He may look like he's only 5, but his skill level puts him well into his late twenties.

My x-rays showed a cavity so close to a nerve it should've been an automatic root canal. But not to Dr. Do! He took a bit more time and care and managed to save my tooth, AND my bank account.

Hugs, Dr. do. Hugs for serious.

Mein Fuhrer Sings: Reflections on iHumanNature

The following anecdote says volumes about the internet, my relationship to it, and the way it intersects with modern culture. [Links are not provided on purpose. If you want to see the stuff I'm talking about, find it yourself. Just try and be mindful as you do it. It may give you pause.]

The other night my roommate and I sat in our respective corners, tapping away at our respective web delivery systems, when Jo came over and asked if she could send me something. "It's tasteless," she warned, "maybe even offensive. My dad sent it to me." Naturally, I said yes. Too curious to wait for her email to dial up mine, I asked her what it was. "A video of Hitler singing," was her answer. I was so in.

She double checked my email address and hit "send." We waited, but the message never arrived. Silently cursing hamsters for blocking up the tubes, I decided to search for the thing myself, something apparently called, "Mein Fuhrer Sings." The first page of google results showed the requisite links to wiki articles on nazis, one of Hitler's more famous addresses and a couple of random forum quotes. But there was also something promising, something potentially offensive. The fourth link down. I clicked it. It turned out to be a flash cartoon of Hitler singing "Barbie Girl"...with a sock puppet.

After watching for a few seconds - because, really, how funny can something like that be - I clicked away, bored and slightly crestfallen that this was not the same video Jo's dad had emailed her (I know him, he wouldn't find a German rendition of Aqua and a sock with lipstick on it funny either). Then it hit me: there is another video of Hitler lip-syncing out there and I wanted to find it. In fact, there are 38,300 hits for the phrase, "Hitler sings." Apparently, the intertubes are not clogged with rodents, they're clogged with videos of Hitler getting his karaoke on.

It's tempting to look at what the internet has wrought and blame it for a downward spiral in the quality of our culture. It's an easy argument to make. Enter lol-speak, exeunt proper grammar in the under 25 set. Thing is, we've been complaining about this same trend for thousands of years. Just ask Socrates or Peter the Hermit.*

Maybe it's true, maybe things are worse. Or maybe they're just different. I'm convinced that nothing much has changed. Ancient Romans etched graffiti onto stone lavatory walls, today we use sharpies, but we're still drawing pictures of cocks. Where we once turned to America's Funniest Home Videos for a weekly fix of baseball-on-crotch action, now we aim those suckers at ourselves and post it to Youtube. We've always been just a bunch of cave-dwellers amusing ourselves around a campfire with tales of hunting and fart jokes. Only now our campfire is really fucking big. To think otherwise is to deny what I feel is an essential truth about humanity: we're not all that. Some of us are pretty exceptional, but most of us are just alright. And that is not something to be ashamed of, it is something we need to accept in order to get on with what's really important in life. And while I think "what's really important" has more to do with communing meaningfully with our fellow humans, and less to do with vector-izing a long-dead epic bastard, I doubt the internet had much more to do with the impulse than providing a convenient medium.

I will say one thing, though: it is beyond fucked up that I didn't just get up and watch the damn thing on Jo's laptop.

*"The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to their elders.... They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and are tyrants over their teachers."
-Widely attributed to Socrates

"The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress."
-Attributed to Peter the Hermit, A.D. 1274
57 channels

She Blinded Me With Science

Oh man, I have such a nerd-on for this woman right now. Using copious amounts of cheek and know-how, she scores one for the little guy. LifeHacker made her MacGuyver of the Day yesterday: http://lifehacker.com/5481197/macgyver-of-the-day-limor-ladyada-fried.

To quote the article:
"In contemporary Western society, electronic devices are becoming so prevalent that many people find themselves surrounded by technologies they find frustrating or annoying. The electronics industry has little incentive to address this complaint; I designed two counter-technologies to help people defend their personal space from unwanted electronic intrusion. Both devices were designed and prototyped with reference to the culture-jamming "Design Noir" philosophy. The first is a pair of glasses that darken whenever a television is in view. The second is [a] low-power RF jammer capable of preventing cell phones or similarly intrusive wireless devices from operating within a user's personal space."


Viddy her site, it's pretty neat, and shows off some of her creations, including instructions on how to build a flashlight that makes you puke.
mynameisearl: ralph

INCEST is the New BLACK, an Open Letter to Mika

OK. Firstly.

Incest, is NOT the new black, people. Pedophilia is.

Secondly, incest is not actually cool, I repeat, NOT cool, despite what some pop idols will tell you. So get yer had off'a [insert name of family member you've always wanted to do].

Thirdly, this is NOT, I repeat NOT a serious post...In case the overzealous use of CAPS, and flippant treatment of a thorny subject didn't tip you off.

Now that we've got that straight, on to the letter.

"Dear Mika,

Your song Touches You weirds me out.

The reasons for this should be obvious, but in case they are not, here are the major strikes against it:

1) George Micheal already did this.
2) See 1.
3) If you are both a person's brother/father or sister/mother, then you are either a) an
ancient Egyptian noble, or b) the progeny of some very naughty dad. Either way, you're not
really fitting material for a pop song.

Wasn't this creepy enough the first time? At least Georgey had the decency to
make the matter more opaque by sticking the word "figure" in there. 

Listen, Mika, even if I concede that the poetry of songwriting does not have to stand up to the rigors of
literal interpretation, if there is any chance of reading something as dirty, people will do
it, so artists should, y'know, compose accordingly.

And it's not as if this song isn't oozing with sexual inferences:

When you're looking tough but you need a way to let it go
Come on now, what's a boy s'posed to do
When I can't seem to leave you alone
Touching me touching you 


I wanna be your brother, wanna be your father too
I wanna be wanna be
Whatever else that touches you
Whatever else that touches you
Whatever else that touches you 

Come on.

I don't have any siblings, so maybe I'm missing something here, but unless there is a totally
awesome, totally non-sexual kind of touch that you get only from your sister/brother,
we're talking about the big S. Do you really think this is sexy material? Wanting to be everything to 
someone is a nice sentiment, but I think it's best to stick with the standard: "I want to be your moon,
and stars, and Beatles Rock Band."

What's my point? Don't write songs that are thinly veiled odes to fam-on-fam relationships. I
don't care if it's catchy. Don't.

A Fan. No seriously. I Liked 'Life In Cartoon Motion' "


Now that's off my chest, I should get back to work on that paper for my Integrated Media class, shouldn't I?...Dammit.

Where's Your Head At?

There is No Wake-Up Call

In an email I wrote to a friend recently I said something that didn't fully sink in at the time, but dawns on me a little more every day: it's weird when your dreams become reality.

I was expecting joy. I was expecting excitement. I wasn't expecting weird. I've been fostering this hope of moving to another city, of finding the right art school for so long it seems like the last month has been happening to someone else...It's a strange feeling; the complete lack of familiarity in surroundings is almost enough to make one doubt the continuity in the person. Now and then I stop and think, wait, this is *me* sitting in this classroom isn't it? This is *me* seeing mountains whenever I look up...

But it's not nearly as disorienting and frightening as I thought it would be. I don't feel like I'm reinventing myself, but the newness makes everything, even tried and true personality traits, feel fresh. Which is not to say that it does not suck from time to time, because it does. Sometimes. Like when all you want to do is get home and collapse, but instead you get lost and have blisters on your feet by the time you finally figure out where you're supposed to go...

But mostly it's been good.

With each day I become a little more convinced this is for real. And little by little I'm allowing myself to believe that this isn't a one off. That there are other goals I might be able to turn into something other than a fever dream.


Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

One of the best things about the move has been my new living situation. The space I share with Joanna is small, but we get along so well it's not an issue, and amazingly we've already settled into a comfortable domestic routine. Most nights we wind up in front of the TV knitting and talking smack about whatever show we're half watching. Between Jo and Janet I've managed to get a pretty good grasp of local geography and politics all the while avoiding what is probably the hardest part of moving someplace new: not knowing anybody you'd want to hang out with.



As far as school is concerned, I'm in heaven. It's true that education out = energy in, but it also helps if your institution is bringin' it, and ECUAD is. This week we toured the research facilities and I just about peed myself with excitement. Between the Intersections Digital Studios (IDS), Prototyping Media, and Programming Studio (PMP), and Code Lab there are enough fancy toys to keep you dreaming for decades.

IDS consists of a huge motion capture studio (one of the largest in North America), 3D scanner/printer, interactive electronics and wearables lab (think: clothing = circuitboard), and an editing suite that can handle the massive files of a Red camera (i.e. about 28 times the resolution of current HiDef footage).

The only reason I didn't *actually* wet myself is that most of this is off-limits to undergrads unless you're interning or working on a special (read: so-brilliant-you-probably-shouldn't-be-in-school) project. The exception is CodeLab, the artist in residence program. Simon Levine, the AiR this year, is developing a project that explores the implications of the surveillance being put in place for the Olympics and extended an invite to students to help him work on it. Time permitting (hah...) I'd like to get involved somehow, not the least reason for which is that it will be presented sometime during the actual Olympic "celebration*".

My actual classes are humming along too. I've got some great teachers, but am particularly fond of Lucinda (analog photography), and Christine (film editing). We've already got two projects under our belts which just goes to show how lazy and distracted I'd been in the last couple of years. Who knew you could get shit done by just...deciding to do it?? It feels good, after some false starts, to be learning some skills I wouldn't mind employing in a career.


There's more I wanted to say. About how friendly people are. About how good the sashimi is (it's good, people. It's good.) About how many classic cars are out on the roads...About how nice it will be to visit Montreal at Xmas...But...another time.

I'll leave you with some...

Vancouver Fun Facts:

The city is hilly as fuck. 95% of the time you will be walking up or down a steep incline. The other 5% of the time you will be resting at an intersection.

There are more Starbucks cafes than people. I'm beginning to suspect it's a cult.

A cannon goes off in Stanley park every night at 9:00 sharp.

When waiting for a bus, people do not line up, they clump.


Good night :)

*Which I am quickly coming to realise will in fact be a two-week-long pain in the ass, neck, and everything in between.
Tom Waits: young

It's Not Dead, It's Resting: A Concert Review

The Players: The Kills / The Horrors / Magic Wands
The Venue: La Tulipe, Weds. 6, 2009
The Gist: There are definitely people out to get it, but rock and roll is not dead yet.

It Begins:
The club was packed and The Magic Wands had already played by the time Faraz and I showed up. I'm sorry to have missed them as by all accounts they're pretty neat, and the second opening act, The Horrors, were not very good at all.

The Plot Thickens:
It's a pretty bold move for such a thoroughly mediocre group of musicians to choose a name like that for themselves, and unfortunately, they don't have the chops to pull off the 'joke.' They are, in my opinion, just a bad Joy Division cover band. They might not know it, but this is what they are, and few things are more tedious to watch than tribute bands without enough self awareness to smell the irony. The lead singer aped Rock Messiah moves a la Manson/Reznor, and the the rest of the gang backed him up with blaring, apathetic indie noise. Yeah. Fun. They didn't play for long, though. In fact, they walked off stage abruptly in what I assumed was an effort to seem disaffected and cool, but which just came off as...well, abrupt, and kind of rude. The highlight of their set for me was when the bassist and keyboardist switched instruments for a song or two - an act that has always seemed deliciously transgressive to me...Like kissing your friend's girlfriend on their insistence. At any rate, they're well-meaning lads, from what I could gather, just not very interesting to watch or listen to.

Le Dénouement:
The Kills, on the other hand, are mesmerising. Right from the first song I knew it was going to be a good show. Hotel (Jamie Hince) started up the drum machine and got down to the business of strangling his guitar, while VV (Alison Mosshart) paced around the stage like a panther on a cocaine trip (which...let's be honest, was a possibility, -the panther), and with her raspy-sexy voice grabbed us by that lowdown place good music speaks too. Rock and roll is not dead; it is not lying abused and lifeless on the floor of some MTV execs office. It was on that stage, alive and fucking well. The chemistry between VV and Hotel was...awesome. They captured the vibe a lot of duos could benefit from: barely restrained sexual tension with no hope or promise of a pay off. They also seemed to be enjoying themselves and their audience, jerking and writhing and sweating right till the end when they thanked the crowd for being it's amazing Montreal self, and ambled off.

After an unnaturally long sound check (La Tulipe gets two thumbs down for their preparedness), The Kills came back for a few more songs before sending everyone off into the night a little better off, and a little more confident in the existence of decent, raw, dirty-fingernailed, dark-sunglasses-indoors, kick-ass music.

The Kills - URA Fever - Great video, great song.
get crunkay!

Take the Ticket

UPDATEY: Adding Yann Tiersen and The Kills (holy...!)


Some cool, cool shows are coming up. I’d love to go to all of them and, of course, would happily accept some company :)

Mar. 12 – Jon Lajoie – Club Soda – $22.50**
March 12/13/14 – Tryo – Metropolis – $28.50
Apr. 4 – The Presets – Le Studio - $20.00*
Apr. 17/18 - Yann Tiersen - Club Soda - $29.50**
May 6 - The Kills - La Tulipe - $21.50**
May 15. - Animal Collective – Metropolis – $23.50
June 3 – TV On The Radio – Metropolis – $24.36**

*Buying tic. this week.
**Already boughted.
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