Saturday, December 12, 2009


Pinball Machine as tableAbout 20 minutes after I turn on my laptop and start writing, my machine has begun crashing and flickering like that fluorescent light flicker that gives you a headache. I've decided not to take it personally and let the Genius Bar live up to its name on Monday. We shall see.

Anyway, here's some cool stuff that's made an impression lately:

- A few months ago, I saw Martin Atkins of Killing Joke & Ministry on his book tour behind Tour:Smart. Book tour is a misnomer since he didn't talk about his book - which goes into great detail on how not to kill yourself on tour and the reasons why being a tour manager can be one of the worst jobs ever. He did talk a lot about marketing yourself though and had some fantastic examples to pass around. I thought these were really cool: 1) Moldovar's CD with a working light theremin, song titles written using circuitry, a headphone jack, and a built-in speaker, which altogether make the CD into an instrument of its own, and 2) Shogun Kunitoki's picture vinyl with animation loops that you can see if you get the strobe light that goes with the vinyl. I have a hard time caring overmuch about the music when there's so much extracurricular fun to be had with the packaging. As long as it's not Top 40 crap.

- Last month's issue of Outside is outstanding with a timely article on the perils and challenges of fighting in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan.

- Clone-themed entertainment I've enjoyed lately: Dollhouse Season 1 and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. There's definitely a creepy factor to both of these, but it's a good creep.

- Music Hack Day featured lots of boys slinging code for a couple of days to make music apps talk to each other. I'm still unclear on the need for the table full of soldering irons. But still, it's always informative to look at the music industry from a heretofore unknown angle and see how the consumer challenges get fixed. Check out the hacks.

- Stevie Wonder performing Superstition on Sesame Street. Money says that was the only time Cookie Monster got name-checked during a performance of that song.

- The Muppets redoing the music video of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Mama! Mama?

- The Puppy Channel from this episode of This American Life. That is, unless you think we've gone over the cuteness deep end?