Sunday, October 19, 2008

Being a Troll at the Library:

K. I know no one's reading this, and I know this is NOT music-related, but...

Look. At. This.

It's beautiful. Really. I mean, just... just let that one sink in for a moment.
That is one gorgeous fantasy novel cover. And, (shocker) a DEBUT fantasy novel. In fact, check this dude out:

he is SO PROUD.
In fact, I suspect he might have made this cover himself.

These small .jpgs don't do justice to this nightmare photoshoppery. It's like you're dreaming, and it's your mother, and she's at the computer, making something, but she has the head of a snake, and you look over at the screen and you recoil in horror: "no! GOD, no, PLEASE! Don't touch that image like that! STOP!" You could have thrown a mere 50 bucks at deviantart and got a far better cover than this travesty. The cover puts this book in same hideous-cover league as social work textbooks and new-age self-help manuals. Honestly, it draws me to this book, because I hope in some way that the book will just be page after page of awful, tacky mash-ups in the same way the cover does. Flipping throught it I find mentions of fair but beguiling maidens, lofty 'spymasters,' and giant half-lizard, half-boar beasts dripping 'green ichor.' So, pretty much what you'd expect, but not as awful as you might hope.

I would add that I can tell this is clearly a quality title from a diligent publisher because the internal illustrations, including the crappy, tolkien-esque map and the little illustrations that go after each chapter heading (what are those called?) are rife with the worst jpg artifacting I have ever seen professionally published. Like they googled "old book illustration," found the first 237x341 image that pooped up and slapped into their word file.

check out the press release:

“My novel is unique in that it balances action, storytelling, and romance better than the average fantasy novel. I think that makes for a far more satisfying story.” Baker also noted that his new book features a strong female main character—something still relatively uncommon in fantasy and sci-fi literature."

MUAHAHAHAHA. I bet, dude. I bet.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sarah Palin, In the Polar Bear, with the Strap-on

SodaNipples: btw, didn’t you used live in Alaska?
Droidaphone: Yeah. When it sucked less.
SodaNipples: everything on this plateau's been sucking
Droidaphone: wait. are you pro-palin? Is this what i hear?
Or is that your ironic vote?
SodaNipples: pro as in using a strap-on
i was sitting there dumbfounded, dumber than usual
and i realized how surreal life has really become in the past near-decade
Um. So you want to do Palin w/ a strap-on. Ok. No, that's cool.
SodaNipples: lol i dont, but i can see how some people do, some of my friends a re-assuring me that their penises arent registered voters
Droidaphone: Well, look at it this way, who are you more likely to score with? An arrogant VP, or a depressed ex-VP-hopeful?
SodaNipples: you mean lieberman?
Droidaphone: No, like if, WHEN, Palin loses. You swoop.
SodaNipples: hahaha
thats a good strategy, you're like karl rove meets loveline
Droidaphone: You're all "No, yeah, totally. Polar bears suck. You would have been awesome. Did I mention you have beautiful eyes?"
SodaNipples: and then she slices one open like a taun-taun and invites me in
i meant the bear, not her vagina
Droidaphone: Yeah, got that. But thanks for that second image.
SodaNipples: you're welcome! please come again
Droidaphone: Dude, you're totally imagining having hot sex with Palin in a polar bear.
SodaNipples: YES!
it's going to be snug
Droidaphone: that's what she said...
SodaNipples: -rim shot
Droidaphone: Whoah. That going a little far there. You don't know where she's been.
SodaNipples: i really dont want to know, shes probably good some moose goods there at one point - idontknowwhatcrazypeopledo

Please Vote for the Pitbull With A Lipstick That Represents You!

I understand how the average-joe and Texas "cowboy" images worked for President Bush, jr. However, despite his presidential legacy and reputation ,at least he had been a governor for two entire terms before he ran for president. Even though, he was an average student and might've had an edge because of his family, at least he was an average student at Yale.

Yet, this Sarah Palin thing, I don't get. Well I do...but it's unfortunate. She's had a record of attending 5 different, mediocre colleges, in 4-5 years just to get her undergraduate degree. While she was a two-term mayor, she's only been governor for 20 months, and being governor of Alaska isn't the same as Texas. So other than having a vagina and being young and "exciting!!!," what's her appeal?

Check out this piece by Washington Post columnist, Marc Fisher: For Working Moms, 'Flawed' Palin Is the Perfect Choice . Fisher while presenting the perspective of female Sarah Palin supporters, does a qood job of succinctly analyzing the depressing situation.
We don't live in an age of looking up to authority anymore. We don't cotton to the idea that there are people who are our betters. In this time of "American Idol," bedroom bloggers and the belief that experience, knowledge and education don't necessarily mean a whole lot, Palin is a symbol, a statement that anyone can make it if he or she really tries.

In this hyperdemocratized society, the national conviction that anyone can succeed is morphing into a belief that experience and knowledge may almost be disqualifying credentials.
This is what her supporters had to say to Fisher:

"She's just as flawed as we are," Tweddle said. "It's not the fact that she's a woman but the way she does it all. And let me tell you: There're more American parents with unwed pregnant teenaged children than American parents with Harvard grads. She's real."

For hours, I walked through the crowd talking to people, mostly women. Again and again, I heard variations on this idea: "She's more like us than Obama, McCain or any of the others," as Rupp put it. "She knows what we go through."

"Being a mom is tough, and being a mom and working is really tough," said Carol Buro, who could spare only an hour before she had to pick up her daughter from kindergarten in Vienna. She went to the rally anyway, because she just had to see Palin. "I was going to vote for McCain, but I wasn't very excited. I felt he was a little too political -- saying things because that's what people want to hear. Now I'm just so proud of Sarah. You know, we've all been through a lot. And she's seen some tough times, and she's stood up for what she believes in."

Most people I spoke to readily conceded that Palin lacks experience with or knowledge of many important national and foreign issues. But, as Allison McGarvey, a teacher who lives in Stafford County, said, Palin is "a courageous woman, and what she doesn't know, she can learn quickly. Let's face it, no president knows all the issues. Anyway, I don't see how a candidate can pick one stand and just stick to it. The world situation changes every day. It's their moral and ethical background that's important."

Seriously women, what the hell is wrong with you?! Does she feel you because she knows what a bitch PMS can be, or how annoying tampons really are? How is Sarah Palin courageous? It's a slap in the face of strong women like Hillary Clinton who's experience, education, and hardwork make her more worthy of such attributes. She's the one that put up with Bill and his hoes, being maligned for years, and finally reaching to the top. The most courageous thing about Palin is that she's willing to submit her family to this dog-and-pony show and scrutiny when she's clearly not qualified.

No wonder our education system system is going to the shitter when you have such piss-poor logic coming from teachers like McGarvey. She says "no president knows all the issues," so as a result we're willing to forego candiates who know some or most of the issues, for one who doesn't know anything about the issues. It's not about their moral and ethical background either, clearly if you're book-censoring Miz Palin. It's supposed to be about their understanding of the world, history, and policy. It's about leadership and being able to pick a competent person who proudly represents the US as the best we can offer in the global scope. Do we want Palin to represent the best that we have to offer?

As for Tweddle-dumb's statement : "There're more American parents with unwed pregnant teenaged children than American parents with Harvard grads. She's real." Honey, you just revealed your flaw...sheer ignorance. Of course we have flaws, of course we want politicians to be honest, yet the problem with the Bristol Palin pregnancy scandal is that own her mom advocated interfering with other women, their sexual history, and their pregnancies while preaching about "good values" and "morals," especially when she cannot get her own house in order.

Maybe, if the poor girl had been properly educated about contraceptives she might not have "chosen" a shotgun wedding at 17 to some bonehead. Also, don't we want a country with more American parents with Harvard graduates then unwed pregnant teenaged children?? Is she really accepting the reality that easily? Would you prefer babies having babies as opposed to you know, attending a prestigious, world-reknown, and purely American institution? I guess not, she rather vote for someone who clearly doesn't know how to steer her own family away from the teenage pregnancy statistic.

Lastly, it is hard being a mom, and being a working mom is even tougher. Our mothers are an important part of our lives and they give so much. My own family and I would be nothing without our parents' efforts and hardwork. Yet, why are we so hard on them? Why do we pressure mothers of 3-5 or more children to go out an earn a living? Unless there's another parent who is at home full-time or most of the time that can help raise the children, it's difficult and a disservice to these families. With that said, Palin has 5 children, one's pregnant, one has health issues, and her husband works as well. Are these kids really getting the time and attention that they need?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Video Magic: Black Moth Super Rainbow's Tobacco

Trippy, witchy, making-psychedelic-electronic music in the Pennsylvanian woods band, I love you. Their music will make you think of all this, but instead of feeling like some lazy burnout, you'll be an excited one. Their music videos are interesting, but lead band member, Tobacco's are crazier - and crazy always ranks high in my world. Sometimes I find myself accessing them on Pitchfork and mindlessly watching them on repeat. If you actually watched both videos and enjoyed Tobacco, then it's no surprise that you'll be digging the complete Black Moth Super Rainbow magic, but you don't have to take my word for it!

Tobacco - Hawker Boat

Tobacco - Hairy Candy

Download free tracks and b-sides respectively for BMSR from their page and band website:

Mogwai/Fuck Buttons

There are a few shows that I can attend where closing my eyes while not stoned can still take me somewhere. There are even fewer where I'm taken to a place I'd actually like to be. Scottish band Mogwai is definitely one of them. I recently saw them at the Showbox Sodo in Seattle, which was a great setting - the warehouse was able to capture their ability to descent from whispering guitars to crunchy, palsy-inducing noise. Check out their video for BatCat, and enjoy watching the same creeptastically good Plague Doctor/Bird masks that the Knife use:


Fuck Buttons is a wasted name, it makes me think of Battles, nevertheless, they are an amazing duo. They were a fantastic opening act for Mogwai because they awoke the audience, cleared my mind, and kidnapped me with their noise. Two guys from England making loud, good things happen from electronics in suitcases. However, I think a lot of this comes across much better while hearing them play live.

Check out their Myspace page for more tracks and tour dates:

Review: Trash80 - Icarus EP

There was a magic moment for millions of people our age, somewhere between '85 and '93, where we held a video game controller in our hands and made a little dude move across the screen into dangers unknown. This was the moment something in our brain realized implicitly what 'virtual reality' meant. A world powered by computer technology. This is a powerful moment, one that has fueled millions and millions of dollars of pop culture. And this magic moment for each of us was usually choreographed to little, peppy, beepy, catchy tunes. We can all still hum super mario one, world one. What we didn't realize as little munchins glued to this new form of tube, was that the people making that music were weird new pioneers. People making music with computers, to be played only by computers, often even without the use of a intermediary device of like a MIDI keyboard. This was computer-only music. Music coded into binary. This was a new thing, and eventually, long after new storage and compression technologies made this form of music generally obsolete, it was known as Chiptune music.

I know, I know. Everyone else who is already hip is like "GAWD I KNOW WTF CHIPTUNES ARE." Point being, not a lot of people neither know nor care about the fact that there is a chiptune scene. Never mind that these people were making rave music like back in 85. Never mind that the entire current electro scene owes a huge debt to the resurgence in interest in retro gaming in recent years. Never mind that Crystal Castles, god bless 'em, wants us to think they have a modified Atari chip in their keyboards and their record company wants us to think this whole idea is brand new. NEVER MIND. Nobody but weirdo video game nerds give a shit about chiptune music. You know why? Because all in all, it's just a rare chiptune that can really hold it's own against a 'real' track. One not recorded strictly off the output of a lone set of microchip. Sound chips were never really designed for commercial music, so often they lack the depth more conventional synthesizers do. And often, chiptunes are programmed by people not typically musicians, so they have a quirky sense of structure. But these people, with their Commodores, and their Gameboys, and their NESes, these people have been known to occaisionally work wonders. And if you look hard, you can find a few Chiptunes that really rock out your headphones just as well as any vinyl 7" remix of the latest such-and-such track.

So in case you didn't see this coming, I have been winding up to telling you about just such a set of tunes.

I discovered Trash80's new EP "Icarus" on the site, which actually is host to a freaking PLETHORA of amazing Chiptunes and other lo-bit art. But of all the bleepy tracks I sampled on there, this EP was just miles away and above everything else. It's really fantastic to hear something so simple, so slick, and so clearly a work of personal passion after just trolling through clip after clip of mediocre pseudo-professional electro DJ work done on vinyl on YouTube. Imagine that, in some coffee shop in Stanford, Simian Mobile Disco and Freezepop's keyboards met, fell in love, moved into a one-bedroom, and recorded an dance album without their finicky, fleshy human counterparts. This is that intense, saccharine, and ubersynth album. Yeah, like that. Because you totally know EXACTLY what I'm talking about, I'm sure.

There is just so much joy and enthusiasm burning through these super-simple synth loops. Of course, it's much more in the 1-2-3-4 electro vein of Ladytron and Freezepop, not the funky breakbeat style of Justice or Digitalism. The quick, organic cut and repeat style of those artists relies heavily on turntables, whereas this plays to the the drum-machine strengths of the chips. In fact, like a lot of good chiptunes, some of the EP is so lit up with scales and simple progressive structure that it gets a little trance-y at times, but Trash80 knows how to keep it just unpredictable enough so that the love shines through without glowsticks and bad E. As for the sound itself, the site notes that a NES engine is used for the album, but I definitely hear some C64 as well. Either way, both have been so well-worked into the core of the sound that it seems to become something even simpler: pure synth. Of course, there has been a lot of post production done, it is only semi-chiptune music, but that work really fills in the bass and smoothes out the sound as a whole without ruining the simplistic beauty of the music. It sounds like the beeps and boops of chiptunes, just harder, better, stronger chiptunes.

The track that really shines is "Missing You," a bittersweet dance pumper that can stand up to the best of the likes of any nurave or dance-punk the vast inter-web has to throw at it right now. But past that, the whole EP is stellar. There are no skippable tracks, and that's not something that can be said about many EPs. I was just discussing with someone the best Electro dance release this year, and we mentioned Crystal Castles, but honestly, this is an equally impressive work, and it comes straight out of deep-blue left field. Which is to say, go listen to "Icarus" right now. Cuz check this, hold up, wait for it, you can download all this shit for free. These 8-bit folks are future-ready, and love their Creative Commons License.

So stop stalling. Go Forth. Rock it like a robot.