omg, i was there

The most astonishing thing about finding this poster online is the realization that I'd forgotten about The Mothers. This was the first "psychedelic"-style rock concert I'd ever gone to and I'd always thought I'd retained a pretty clear memory of it (the light show, multiple Warhol films projected on the walls, the Velvet Underground closing the night by leaning a guitar up against an amp and walking out as the feedback continued to screech, and, of course, Nico), but not the slightest memory that The Mothers were there.

The funny thing is that in later years, I pretty much idolized Zappa. I spent a delightful evening with him in 1981 at his house up off Mulholand Drive giving him a private demonstration the then-new E-mu Emulator (it wasn't hi-fi enough for him, he ended up buying a Synclavier). He introduced me to his wife and daughter (Moon Unit - we sampled her voice into the Emulator and ended up using it as a demo for years), and played me tapes of an upcoming album (back when they were really "albums"). A truly memorable experience.

Up until tonight, I've always regretted that I never got to see him perform in person. I guess I'm glad I did, but I'm thinking it would have been better to actually remember it.

(And it was actually "Andy Warhol and his Exploding Plastic Inevitable.")


"she knows he'll treat her as he would a cigar..."

Inspired by N, here is yet another great moment in Amercian advertising.

Since Blogger annoyingly resizes graphics so that the longest dimension is reduced to 400 pixels, you'll have to click on the image to be able to enjoy the full grandeur of the copy. (What the hell is, "cigar smokers start young and stay young" supposed to mean, anyway?)




There are, as you might imagine, endless compilations of "best" Michael Jackson music videos pretty much everywhere you look on the web right now. The Huffington Post apparently sourced theirs from MTV and their video for Billie Jean inexplicably includes the MTV ID header that you wouldn't otherwise ever see when it's shown on the air.

The screen cap speaks for itself.

It's kind of a sad day for celebritydom (unless you're Mark Sanford, in which case you're probably breathing a temporary sigh of relief).


most awesome film review ever

Seriously. Go here and read the whole thing. You will not be disappointed.

super seven incher

When I first encountered the ad below, I was virtually certain that it was the result of someone playing around with Photoshop. I mean, no actual major international corporation would really produce that ad, right?

Wrong. It's real.

As someone who has spent the majority of his career in marketing, I truly believe that great advertising can be both effective and, in its own way, an art form. But stuff like this just makes me want to take a shower.

Update: In checking out some of the online response to this ad, I came across this post by Brian Donovan that makes an additionally damning point. If you look at what the ad is literally implying, eating the Seven Incher is like giving, rather than receiving a blowjob. So the real message is:
"The BK Super Seven Incher. It's just like sucking a dick."


zack johnson has a vagina

So, what do you think this is all about? (No fair googling or following it back to YouTube. That'd be cheating.)

(Via... well, that'd be cheating too.)


father's day

On December 7, 2007, one Buck Hyers posted the following on the AskART discussion board dedicated to an early California artist named Henry Hart:
H. Hart
In 1962, I acquired an oil painting in a heavy gold leaf frame, approximately 36" by 17". The painting had been hanging in an office at the Alpert Meat Packing Co. in San Francisco for many years. I was part of the demolition crew when the building was demolished. The painting is a landscape and is oil on canvas. The signature is H. Hart. Can anyone help me identify the artist?
As far as I've been able to discover, this is the only reference on the internet to anything having to do with my father, Harry Alpert.

He was a hell of a dad.


virtual misery

Recently, the computer game The Sims 3 was released on a variety of platforms. The third (duh!) generation of the Sims franchise, itself an extension of the venerable Sim City series, it lets you create virtual characters by assigning them a variety of personality traits and life goals. You then attempt to guide them successfully though their lives.

I've always been interested in games, computer and otherwise, and tried one of the earlier incarnations of The Sims. I hated it. In order to maintain a good attitude, you have to make sure your Sim eats, sleeps, bathes, and goes to the bathroom (among other things) and, at least when I played it, it seemed that I could never keep up with my Sim's basic needs. I know millions of fans disagree, but to me it just seemed more like work than a game.

So, with that as context, this is pretty fascinating:

Robin Burkinshaw, a UK games design student, has created two Sims, Alice and Kev, and is describing their Sim life on her blog. Kev is Alice's father. He's crazy. And they are homeless.

According to Robin's introduction:
This is an experiment in playing a homeless family in The Sims 3. I created two Sims, moved them in to a place made to look like an abandoned park, removed all of their remaining money, and then attempted to help them survive without taking any job promotions or easy cash routes. [...]

I have attempted to tell my experiences with the minimum of embellishment. Everything I describe in here is something that happened in the game. What’s more, a surprising amount of the interesting things in this story were generated by just letting go and watching the Sims’ free will and personality traits take over.
The story starts here. As I post this, it is still ongoing.

A warning. It's not all fun and games.


inflatable toast

No, really. It's inflatable toast. Available from Amazon for $1.72.

Inflatable toast.

There's really nothing more to say.


people and horses

Accompanied Rocketgirl to a local horse show on Sunday.






the truth about video games

(Via Justin Blyth's blog. Beyond that, I don't know.)


a picture of the day: thursday june 11

(By Alex Brandon for AP. Via the New York Times Lens blog.)

And if we needed any additional reminders of what dispicable slime the conservative right is...


i want you back

I've been a big fan of contemporary a cappella ever since discovering The Bobs many (many) years ago. So discovering Sonos on Audrey Kawasaki's "other" livejournal today was a real treat. This is their truly amazing a cappella version of the Jackson 5's I Want You Back.


double life

The photos below are from photographer Kelli Connell's series, Double Life. Each is created by combining two or more images in Photoshop. Every figure in every photo is the same model. (Some people on the web seem to have made the erroneous assumption that the model is Ms. Connell herself. It is not.)

Ms. Connell states that the work, "represents an autobiographical questioning of sexuality and gender roles that shape the identity of the self in intimate relationships." While Ms. Connell clearly owes a debt to Cindy Sherman's seminal Untitled Film Stills, her approach to exploring these issues is very much her own. Plus, they are wonderful photographs (always a bonus).

The entire series can be seen at Ms. Connell's website. (Click the "Images" link to exit the slide show and have direct access to the individual photos.)


Guest House

5 AM

Head To Head


social media explained

From those wonderful folks at Despair Inc. comes this venn diagram which clearly demonstrates how social media is "unlocking the awesome potential of behavioral disorders."


probably not officially licensed

(Although there is that vibrator...)



Microsoft has long been a (largely deserving) object of ridicule for, among other things, clunky operating systems, bloated applications, questionable business practices, the ZUNE, and most recently, the disaster that was Vista. (Full disclosure: I'm a Mac person.)

But for all that, credit where credit is due. (Assuming that it's actually due.)

Today was the last day of the 2009 E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) Expo (department of redundancy department alert!), basically the trade show for the video game industry. While the big three (Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft) always vie to outdo one another, this year's biggest tech buzz was Microsoft's none-too-sexily named Project Natal.

On the surface, the Project Natal technology can rather simplistically be described as "Wii without the Wiimote." It tracks your gestures and body position and uses that information to control elements of the onscreen game. I.e., you actually become the video game controller. (You can watch a slick but typically cheesy promo video for it here.) Clever, but not exactly earth-shattering.


In 2006, Peter Molyneux's Lionhead Studios was purchased by Microsoft and became part of Microsoft Game Studios. For those not familiar with the development of video games, Peter Molyneux is literally a legend in the world of game design. Credited as one of the inventors of the "God game" genre, he is famous for a number of games that attempt to react to the player's ethical choices and modify the game world based upon them.

At an E3 press conference, Mr. Molyneux presented another vision of Project Natal technology which, if real (more about that in a moment), portend developments in human/computer interaction that go far beyond waving your arm to slash at that orc.

Here's a video of part of Peter's E3 presentation. Be sure to watch it all the way to the end of the video within the video.

If what we see there is really happening as presented, the moment when Clare hands Milo that piece of paper is the moment that a wormhole is opened between virtual worlds and (what we at least perceive as) the real world. I can't begin to imagine what the upshot of this might be 5 to 10 years down the line (jokes about Skynet aside).

On the other hand, another thing that Peter Molyneux is legendary for is making claims for games in development that aren't born out by the actual games when released. And frankly, despite his assurances to the contrary in the video, there are a few things about that demo that make it hard to believe that everything is actually happening live and unscripted (for one thing, it doesn't look like Clare is actually drawing anything on that paper - what's up with that?).

It was announced today that Peter Molyneux has been appointed Creative Director of Microsoft Game Studios, Europe. If this technology can actually do what he says it can, it could literally redefine what we think of as computer-based entertainment. 

This is going to be interesting.


appealing daintiness is assured

I was going to title this one, "open the pod bay door, dave," but of course that's not quite right. Too bad.
(click for a readable version)

Update 6/5: Oh man, it could have been, "dave?... dave's not here." Damn.


stop motion

I don't know if it's something in the air, but there seem to be a lot of really clever examples of stop motion animation showing up lately. Here are a couple of representative examples. Though they use the technique in radically different ways, each is brilliant in its own right.

First up is Sorry I'm Late by Tomas Mankovsky:

And this is Wolf and Pig by Dokugyunyu: