30 November 2013

I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOU TO OPERATE


How to make a proper bootleg, in 3 not-so-easy steps:

1. Keep the best part of the original. That's usually the hook or, in this case, the legendary, unmistakable, world-beating vocal. You don't know what song this is if you're hearing it for the first time in a mix, and you hear a muffled "oooohhh" and you say, wait, was that?? Could it be? Nahhh. And then as soon as you hear 'BaaaaaayyyyyyyyBEEEE' BOOM YOUR FUCKING HEAD EXPLODES.

2. Put some bounce in it.

3. Crush.

Throw this on and let it wash over you. I dare you not to dance. Every time you play this jam somebody gets pregnant. Could be me. I don't even know.

My neighbors hate me right now. Do I turn it down? Close the window?
WRONG ANSWER. I TURN IT UP.

Because I'M HOT JUST LIKE AN OVEN, I NEED SOME LOVIN'.

Free download too. You're welcome.  

28 November 2013

Throwback Thursday: Both Hands by Ani DiFranco (from Living in Clip)



Moved Throwback Tuesday back a couple days this week. This is the live version of Both Hands, from the album Living in Clip. I'm completely disinterested in the rest of the record; this is the only song that I liked. Interestingly it's also the only song on the album where the guitar part had to be re-recorded. It was just too blown out in the original version, so she cut it again. It was recorded in Buffalo, NY and the orchestral arrangement is Doc Severinsen, of Tonight Show fame. 

If memory serves Big Cheese shared this jam with me in 1998. (Related: I am old.) I was still in college, working two jobs, one of which was parking cars on Thanksgiving night and again Thanksgiving day, and Friday on top of that. He drove down to hang out with me for one night so I wouldn't have to spend the time alone. Drove home the next day. It was a great kindness, one of many. The night ended with me listening to this song really loud on repeat. I was still drinking a lot then so it's all a bit fuzzy. (To be fair, that statement is roughly applicable to 1992-2002.) 

Years later, when Big Cheese asked me to teach a yoga class during his wedding weekend, this was one of the first songs I put on the playlist. It was great then and it's great now.

I hope you have a good thanksgiving: do the things you like to do with people you like to do them with.
See you out there.
-case-

27 November 2013

The Times Goes Long: Two Gunshots on a Summer Night

This story does not have a happy ending.

http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2013/two-gunshots/

I like the part where the guy who shot and killed his girlfriend gets a standing ovation. Seriously, that's a thing that happened.

Second favorite part is where the megalomaniac Sheriff says that it 'always was a suicide, and will always be a suicide.' It really sets a tone for the investigation.


25 November 2013

The Business of Doing Harm: Defense Spending Accountability


The next time you hear a politician talk about 'accountability' and how social programs encourage laziness ask them what we should do about the defense budget. Defense spending is (unfortunately) a great example of what happens when you give someone a virtually unlimited amount of money and don't ask how it gets spent.

The obvious difference between social welfare and defense spending (aside from how much more money gets spent on defense, like 10-100x more)  is that in defense spending THEY work for YOU, so giving you that information is part of their job. Or, it is supposed to be. The Pentagon cannot even get their own employees to do the most basic of jobs: tell me where the money went. They cannot do that in part because it's just so much fucking money; they literally cannot keep track of it all. Which is amazing, if you think about it.

As a result we don't even know how wasteful it is. This is a national embarrassment, and everyone involved should be ashamed, and then they should get fired, and someone that can do the job should be brought in. That means thousands of people would get kicked off the government payroll. That will never happen, which is why this problem is intractable:

In its investigation, Reuters has found that the Pentagon is largely incapable of keeping track of its vast stores of weapons, ammunition and other supplies; thus it continues to spend money on new supplies it doesn’t need and on storing others long out of date. It has amassed a backlog of more than half a trillion dollars in unaudited contracts with outside vendors; how much of that money paid for actual goods and services delivered isn’t known. And it repeatedly falls prey to fraud and theft that can go undiscovered for years, often eventually detected by external law enforcement agencies.
 ...
Because of its persistent inability to tally its accounts, the Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a law that requires annual audits of all government departments. That means that the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China’s economic output last year.

15 years, $8.5 trillion, and we don't have a balance sheet that shows where it went. None is forthcoming. Social welfare is not the problem. Unfettered defense spending is the problem.

So Much Neville

I Love this Photo Way Too Much
I'm not a big HP fan but this was too good to pass up.

Neville's role in the story has become something of a Cause among the fans. The central plot revolves around Harry but the supporting characters play pivotal roles, Neville chief among them. I wouldn't be surprised to see Rowling revisit the universe with Neville as a central character. That's a book I would buy.

24 November 2013

Feel Free to Indulge Your Whimsy

One of the benefits(?) of living alone is that you can do whatever you like with your stuff. So if you want to put something together that has some small parts and you need a countertop in a well lit space then you can do what serves you the best. Which is how I came to assemble a lower for an AR15 on my bathroom countertop. It's a pretty good workspace, all things considered.

Remember to close the drain. Anything that falls into the sink may be lost forever.

One drawback is that if you're missing a part, such as a trigger disconnector spring, then you have to either put it away unfinished (awful) or leave it out until you get the part (less awful, but not ideal).

Sooo that's why I had a pile of parts on my countertop for a couple days. Just FYI. 

23 November 2013

22 November 2013

Yoga and Branding: Chip Wilson and Lululemon Summarized

New Republic explains Lululemon and Chip Wilson, and it is on point.

Excerpt:
In fact, Lululemon has been so successful because, not in spite of, its founder’s combination of woo-woo New Age-iness with a sharply competitive spirit. It’s the same approach many American women (and men) bring to buying organic, to drinking fresh-pressed juice, and yes, to yoga. There is a boom market in ostentatious wellness these days, one that is underpinned by the same synthesis of seemingly opposite impulses—to achieve, and to bliss out—that drives Wilson. His customers are much more like him than many would care to admit. If you seek spiritual enlightenment through yoga and fasting, go to India or the 1960s. If you want to have the best-looking ass in line at Starbucks, try Lululemon’s free Saturday class and a pair of $82 Wunder Unders.
///
Word. 

The short version is yes, the pants are flattering and comfortable, but their real triumph is selling the 'lifestyle'. You're not just buying pants (or tops, or jackets, etc.), you're buying something that will enable you to become the type of person that buys those pants.

The men's clothing line is hit or miss. The sweatshirts are great but pricey. The t-shirts are flattering but smell bad because of the synthetic fabrics. The 'silverscent' workout tops are good but at $50 or more it's a big spend. They may/do help prevent embarrassing situations, and that's hard to evaluate in pure economic terms.


21 November 2013

Hot Jamz: Presence ft. Angel Taylor by Paris Blohm (Original Mix)



Got this in heavy rotation right now. It is labeled Progressive House, but it sounds like Trance to me. That break and build that starts at 1:50? Verrrrrry trance-y. No matter. Turn it up and dance like you mean it.

Free download, which is rad2themax.

This from the soundcloud page:

"My sister, Chloe Blohm, passed away in 2011. She inspired hundreds of people with her art, and her uplifting and loving personality even while facing her crippling disease, muscular distrophy. This song is dedicated to her because her 'Presence' is still here, pushing me and the ones who had the pleasure of knowing her. She did more than most able-bodied people ever even thought of doing. She leaves on the light, when the world goes dark. This song is a tribute to her."

20 November 2013

Bigger than Life: American Museum of Natural History

BEST. EXHIBIT. EVAR.
Visiting the American Museum of Natural History is awesome. Like, awe-inspiring. It's impossible to take it all in, so you kind of wander around, get overwhelmed. It's hard to wrap your head around the scale of it. And I mean all of it: the size of the museum itself, the vast number of exhibits, the absurd size of the exhibits themselves. So much good stuff. They have a 1:1 scale blue whale, for starters. But that's not the highlight.

The highlight is the paleontology exhibits. Dinosaurs and pre-historic animals of all sorts. It's the best. Seriously, the best. Room after room ("hall" in the museum parlance) of mind-blowing fossils, big and small. If you didn't have a fossil record and invented some of these creatures you would never believe they were real.

Anyway, my shit camera phone is supposedly a good camera but there's only so much a tiny lens can do. It's not good for taking great pictures but that doesn't matter. You can get a glimpse of the awesome in my weak photo. It's good enough, because no camera is going to do the place justice.

19 November 2013

9/11 Memorial


Visited the 9/11 Memorial when I was in NYC. It's an arresting scene, and beautifully lit at night. This picture was taken in the crisp November late afternoon, so the sun wasn't all the way down but it was dark enough for the lights to show. Someone had placed a rose in the '.' in the middle initial for one John M. Pocher. My picture doesn't really do it justice; it was beautiful.

14 November 2013

Portraiture

It's a Perfect Likeness
I want to capture all the details of my trip to NYC before they become muddy and indistinct. Like your drawers. HONK!

While waiting for my friends to catch up with me I took a time out on the front steps of the American Museum of Natural History. Saw a lovely bronze statue of a horse's ass and it reminded me of Ze Newbs, a fact that I was able to share with him immediately via the miracle of modern technology. Cameraphones: bringing people together.

JCVD + Volvo Trucks = Awesome



This is blowing up the internet. I watched it 10 times and it only got better. Instant classic.

According to the short article I read he did this in one take. Because of course he did. Special bonus for the Enya song, which is - and I don't want to understate this - FUCKING FANTASTIC*. Might be a Throwback Tuesday Enya song at some point. Or not. That is some deep water.



* Video goodness is inversely proportional to the song, so best bet is to throw that in another tab and let it wash over you in the background.

12 November 2013

Talk Yourself into It

Courtesy Big Cheese we get an interesting bit of science suggesting that you can talk yourself into improving your workout performance.

Makes sense. If you can talk yourself into something you can talk yourself out of it.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/06/keep-repeating-this-workout-feels-good/?_r=3

The weights aren't going to lift themselves.

Serve me some Cheese: Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus (J-Kraken and Cinto Bootleg)



I've been wearing this remix out since it landed on Soundcloud (FREE DOWNLOAD, BITCHES) and it's getting more traction now but still hasn't blown up like I would expect. Don't judge. Good hook, danceable. They took the best part of a song and bootlegged a hot jam. Forget that Miley Cyrus is inescapable and ridiculous and tell me that hook isn't sweet, sweet sugar. No? Whatever I can't hear you the music is too loud.

Fun Surprises

Never Bet Against a Sicilian when Death is On the Line
Went to NYC for the weekend. Full report on some of the cool shit later, but the special unexpected* highlight was bumping into Wallace Shawn (Vezzini, on the left). If you think I didn't get excited then you don't know me at all.

Didn't stop him - he was entering a building as I was exiting, it was late, everyone in my group had had a couple drinks, etc, etc. But I have a corroborating witness. After Shawn walked past me I looked at my friend and he said, "That was him." And then I got super pumped to the max. Couldn't help it.

Dude looks pretty much the same. Bit heavier. Otherwise, same guy. He's looked middle-aged since he was young, I guess. 

More highlights as I clean the photos out of the phone.


* Maybe unexpected isn't the right word. There must be some other word that conveys an even greater unlikelihood. It's on the top of my tongue...

06 November 2013

Get Your Dance On: Vogait feat. Beth Green - Supernova


Busy several days ahead. In the absence of any good posts, here's a good song. Yay.
Free download, too. That's a sweet deal right there.

I got this in heavy rotation. Decent hook, superb vocal. 

04 November 2013

Get that Away from Me

Haven't done anything with cats in this space for a while. This animated GIF wins at the internet.

01 November 2013

Keep Calm and Carry On, origin, explained



This is a charming video of a charming story.
That bookstore looks like a place I would visit and never leave. Special shout out to Sweet Katie because she will love it too.

Other places I would live, if they let me (in no particular order):
- American Museum of Natural History (NYC)
- New York Public Library, main branch, in the stacks
- California Academy of Sciences (SF)
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- National Gallery (London)
- Tate Modern (London)