He had soul. He was superbad.

Rest in peace, James Brown. Get the afterlife on the good foot and doin' the boogaloo.

Black and Brown Trading Stamp
James Brown: 1933-2006


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

...and/or Happy Seasonal Holiday-Cum-Fourth-Quarter-Consumer-Spending-Frenzy of Your Choice, blog-reading public.

Lessee, what's going on?

Music videos for Boss Tweed and OUCH are in the offing. Lads from the latter will most likely be dropping in to view the footage I recently shot up in Northampton and from there we'll talk about what we might wanna do.

Pseudo-planning a trip back to Amsterdam for a couple of days in February as a mini-vacation following the completion of this year's 2007 Pro Football Draft Preview: Blue Chippers and Hidden Gems (I'm pretty sure that title will be even longer in 2008 - more lettery value for your dvd dollar). It will have been a very busy January by then. Why, you may ask, am I going back to a city I've been to so recently? Sometimes it's less about the place you go than the people you see.

Recent explorations in TV land have proven to me that the NBC version of The Office is equally enjoyable when compared to the BBC original, if not more greatly enjoyable.

I am reading Tolstoy on the subway. Next up will be a novel about zombies.

Lastly, the lovely and talented Shepard Fairey is at it again:

By the way, the set of photos linked at the top of this post feature my friend Tara Giordano, a fine actress of some reknown.


Them Brangit

Don Red Brangit

This weekend I went up to Northampton, MA to soak in the collegial atmosphere and videotape OUCH! brangin' it at The Elevens. Some sort of mini-documentary or music video type thing will most likely follow.

Thanks to the town of Northampton for good rock n' roll party times.


RipFest is over

The screening was last night. I went to the earliest one, the 6:30, and subsequently spent about an hour nursing a beer at the nearly-empty afterparty before the rest of my crew arrived.

Personally I'd rate it as the weakest of the five in most respects, though we did get several solid laughs. People had very kind things to say to me and about working with me so that massaged the ego a bit. I passed out a few copies of my reel.

I'm still not sure if I'm glad I did it, but I did meet a few good people and that's always positive.

I'm still tired.


RipFest Update 2

The movie is titled "The Finalists" as of right now. For a summary of events to date I will copy below the email I sent out to the filmmaking team:

Hey, folks. Just thought I'd keep you all up to speed with what's happening.

Ignore the timestamp on this email; no, I didn't work 'til 1:00 in the morning (I'm saving that for later in the week). But I did get all of the footage logged and digitized into the Avid. It really looks great, so kudos to the camera team for their work. It's clear that everyone on the set was working very hard because it comes through on the tapes.

Tomorrow I'm going to put together an assembly edit so I'll have something you can see which will give those who dare to look a very rough outline of what the finished movie might be like. Jodi's [the director] planning to drop in in the evening to see how things are going and steer me in the proper direction.

Watch this space for future updates.

From what I've seen so far I think there's a fun little movie in there somewhere.

This is typed with tightly crossed fingers (can't you tell?), but it appears that "Belly Danza", the Don Omar video (feat. Beenie Man), is actually finished. I handed off the master tape to the director today, so barring any negativity from the label it will be on air (if I can believe Don Omar's manager) as soon as humanly possible. I just showed the final version to my roommates and they all reacted positively so I have some faith that it will entertain. I would link to it here, but I hesitate to do so before it officially premieres. However, I'm sure super special sekrit peepul can find it somewhere relatively nearby.

Tonight's Daily Show and Colbert Report seemed particularly energetic, so perhaps they've received a bit of a post-election jolt. I have faith it will continue for a while.

As I said to a friend today, I have an awful lot to criticize about Heroes warning: sound but I seem to keep watching it. As such I thought I'd point out some of the good things about tonight's episode.
I thought the murder of the new Super Memory character was cleverly executed, especially presaging it with the violent opening of the tomato paste can. The brief closeup of the dripping blood was, subsequently, all that was required to conjure the horror. I appreciated that we've encountered what is probably Hiro's moment of hubris.
Um... well, those were the things that stood out. On balance, though, I'd say this most recent episode was a bit better than average. I'm worrying that it's acquiring Lostish strokes but perhaps once I'm seduced into embracing the over-the-topness I won't mind.

NBC clearly believes they're building a new Thursday night comedy machine, and I'm pretty confident they're right. My current favorite (non-animated) show is 30 Rock ('cause as you all know, Metalocalypse is my favorite new show PERIOD) and NBC has moved it to Thursday to join with their version of The Office. I have finally seen an episode of the American version of The Office and I was quite happy to see that it managed to retain the stylistic elements of the BBC original without feeling like it was simply aping them. It's funny, too. If, y'know, you like comedy.

I realize I haven't said anything about the elections yet. I'm sure something will come to me eventually.


RipFest update

Okay, tickets for RipFest 9 are on sale now. Since you all love me I expect you to spend money.
Seriously, though, it should be a fun time.
The screening / festival is on Monday, Nov. 20 at 6:30, 8:00 & 9:30PM and the program will run about an hour and ten minutes or so. Apparently this thing sells out (probably largely because we, the participants, are not allowed to comp anyone) so BUY NOW.

Also, BUY.


RipFest #9, part 1

Today was the first production meeting for Raw Impressions RipFest #9 and I think this is going to be a lot of fun.

The whole group gathered for mass introductions and business type things, and then we found out in which of the five groups we'd be working. From there we repaired to a local diner (by the way... trying to seat 11 people at a diner in midtown on Marathon Weekend is not terribly easy) to get to know one another and go over logistics. We are off and running.

The writers begin now, and write through the coming week. Then the production is shot over two days next weekend after which the tapes are turned over to me and I have five days to edit. The festival and screening of all the films is on Monday the 20th at the illustrious Anthology Film Archives and I strongly encourage you all to attend. As the program's director said, "get all your friends to buy tickets before they know what your film is about!". Tix are $15 (ticket website not up yet, I'll let you know) and all money goes to support this fun, nonprofit collaborative arts collective.


and on and on

Peanut Butter Wolf

Last night I went out to B.B. King's (the local club franchise, not the man's house) to catch the Stones Throw Records Chrome Children tour featuring Madlib, J. Rocc Percee P and others.

It was quite the time, though I can't say the half-hour wait in line to get my crap back from coat check was a selling point.

Here's Madlib's first song of the evening:

The original, shot on my digital still camera, looks quite a bit better so hopefully I can upload a nicer version later on.


here come the busys

Metalocalypse is my new favorite show.
Frisky Dingo has my thumbs up, too, and I assume this past Sunday's episode covered the entire season's budget. All the money's on the screen, too, people, in the writing and the artwork. Adult Swim's experiments thus far with product placement have been pretty successful in that the episodes sacrificed to Sponsorship tend to be no less funny than any of the others (the pathetic "Boost Mobile" episode of last season's Aqua Teen Hunger Force being an exception), but I can't help but feel a little sad that Matt & Adam didn't bust out Grizzlebees.

Man I am busy as hell starting now. Old projects at work are overlapping, and tomorrow I start cutting a music video for a Don Omar1 song (featuring Beenie Man2[...I wonder if I now have beef with Bounty Killer?]) titled "Belly Danza". Sadly, Tony Danza does not appear in the video.

Anyway, there's that and then two weeks from now I will devote all my off-clock hours to editing for the 2006 RipFest project. Pros: meeting cool people who do good work, doing something that'll be seen, high probability of at least passable quality given the restrictions (two weeks total to write, shoot, post-produce and score), fun challenge. Cons: I will be living at my office. Hey, I have a couch.

Having accidentally blown off a sunrise shoot for Night Grinders last weekend I will arise cheerfully and do my duty this coming Saturday morning.

1. My favorite part of this Wikipedia article is this: "Don Omar was also able to beat the in-store appearance sales record at Disneyworld's Virgin music store previously set by pop star Britney Spears."
2. My favorite part of this Wikipedia article is this: "as he has explicitly said in lyrics 'I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays'."


politics, art... you know, the usual

Yesterday I saw a neon sign along 10th Avenue with some broken letters. The remainder read "SUPPORT OUR OOPS". I could only wonder how long it had been left in that state, and lament that we were driving by too fast to get a picture.

Kudos to the state of New Jersey whose activist judges have legislated from the bench in their war on people of faith and delcared that the state must create a legal status for homosexual couples that is equivalent to marriage. The state is not required label such a union "marriage" but it must be legally equivalent to heterosexual marriage. As proof that there's no pleasing some people, the chairman of Garden State Equality told the New York Times that "Those who would view today's ruling as a victory for same sex couples are dead wrong," and that "(h)alf-steps short of marriage — like New Jersey's domestic-partnership law and also civil union laws — don't work in the real world."

These are the hilarious vicissitudes of Federalism. A state can attempt to expand the freedom and liberty of its citizens while the Congress has taken steps to completely eliminate our so-called Republic by passing the Military Commissions Act of 2006. People, we now live in an overt tyranny which has done away with habeas corpus (the right to challenge your detention). The Executive now has the power to declare anyone, citizen or non, to be an "unlawful enemy combatant" and thereby strip them of all rights and confine them indefinitely to a secret prison. In that prison, nothing which will happen to them will be deemed torture, because as of now the President has the ability to decide what is and is not torture.

But it'll never happen to you, right? Well, according to a speech Sid Blumenthal delivered at the Center for American Progress on Oct. 23rd, Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff, believes there are approximately 35,000 people around the world secretly imprisoned by the United States and that only 5% of those prisoners "might" have something to do with terrorism. Obviously there's a lot of verification and fact checking required to support those statements, but I'm (unsurprisingly) inclined to believe them. Last month the AP reported there were at least 14,000 secret prisoners out there... so it's not terribly farfetched.

Finally, I had the pleasure of touring artist Alex Grey's gallery called the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. For only $5 one can wander around take in his (generally) enormous and incredibly detailed "visionary" paintings. I recommend taking a look.


reggae update

Heads up to those of you in the New York City area: Thrillamatic Sound System will be spinning vintage and roots reggae at the Southpaw Down South Lounge on Thursday 10/26 starting at 10PM. This man is good, people. Very good.

I, myself, cannot go as I have a class on Thursday nights... it's been a shame lately that a whole bunch of good shows and friends' bands' performances have been on Thursdays. I'm missing out.


roll camera

Last night my friends Cristian and Farid and I started shooting some footage for our short film Night Grinders. I was pleasantly surprised by the complete lack of hassle given us by the police/MTA/whoever on the Staten Island Ferry, because I had assumed we'd be told not to shoot any video. All of this stuff will be available to use as transitional devices or establishing shots in the movie and we got a few cool things. Our original plan was to get some sunrise shots on Sunday morning, but we decided to put that off. I haven't seen any of the footage yet, but it's all night exteriors so everything will be all wackycolored.

Today at the cat show / adoption event at Madison Square Garden I saw none other than Mr. Ricky Gervais walking around with some friends checking out the cats.

Also I took these pictures (not at the cat show):

LEGO Break 1

LEGO Breakin' 2

I would love to do a little stop motion animation thing of that LEGO man breakdancing on the record as it spins, but I doubt I could pull it off.


slave to brand loyalty

Well not really, but I do find it amusing that my digital point-and-shoot camera and my video camera are both Panasonic.

Speaking of the video camera, I spent an hour or so shooting some tests in Astoria Park. I wanted to try out the "24p Advanced" mode, which creates (supposedly) the most filmic look possible and is also the easiest way to ensure compatibility with tape-to-film (or dv-to-24p-HD). The 24pA thing is a cute trick... a clever way to pull 24 discreet frames from 60i video. They mess with the 3:2 pulldown in such a way as to allow an aware application, such as Final Cut Pro, to do away with the blended frames and provide true 24fps. I also threw the Gamma mode onto the CineLike-V setting and set the Matrix up for the "Cine" mode. All those "Cine" faux-prefixes should add up to purty pitchers, right?

Well pretty much, yeah.

After shooting I captured the 15 minutes of test footage into Final Cut Pro (using the Advanced Pulldown easy setup), then exported 24fps Quicktime movies (unnecessary step, actually... coulda used the captured clips directly) so Compressor could squeeze them down to a highish-bitrate MPEG2 file for DVD. I used Toast 7 Titanium to author the DVD and viewed it on our set-top DVD player.

To cut to the chase: the Cine gamma settings make the shadow areas slightly luminous, as if you were looking at projected flim. Soft light is this camera's forte, and the contrast added to the scene by the video has the effect of improving what seem to the eye to be flat lighting. It's fairly easy to achieve one of my favorite looks, which is a very hot rim or back light with beautiful, soft modeling on the subject's face. On the flipside, it's extremely easy to blow out the highlights and it appears that controlling contrast on the bright end is much more critical than the shadow. The settings I was using have some automatic, default Knee setting (Knee is highlight compression) and I dunno if I can fiddle with it but I'll give it a shot.

Regarding the 24fpsishness, I could see some slight stuttering when playing back the DVD but my snap analysis is that the DVD player is not doing a great job of adding in the pulldown frames on the fly... I'll need to check it on different players.
Next up will probably be some low-light tests.

Oh Studio 60, you keep dangling quality in my face. They let Timothy Busfield direct this one, which I assume was justified by it being good for his character (oh, and also he's directed a whole bunch of television). He did a completely adequate job, though fell prey to the desire to show off the set and his choreography with a very long Steadicam shot that, in its defense, allowed Nate Corddry some screen time. But I am already tired of being reminded exactly what the tension is between Matthew Perry's character and the Christian. Seriously, people... we're four episodes in and the preview for the next episode (and by the way, whoever is in charge of the previews for dramas on NBC should be axed because they ALWAYS make the show, and this was true of the West Wing as well, look about thirty times more overwrought and hackneyed than it actually is) featured the promise of yet more unearned emotional commitment to the Relationship Story. The plagiarism thing was good, but resolved in a bit too cute a manner for my taste.

Here's hoping YouTube's userbase is worth $1.6b of stock to Google.


time to get going


I have fulfilled a long-standing desire and purchased a used Panasonic AGDVX100A from a guy I've been working with for a while. Finally, tools! But to what use to put them?

My friend Jeff suggested an idea he'd been tumbling around for a while, and that is a documentary about Everything2. More specifically, a documentary about the unique and unexpected emergent social aspects of what began as a pseudo-encylopedic content management toy inhabited by writer geeks. Now that the general public is familiar and comfortable(ish) with the idea of internet-based social networking, we feel there could be serious interest in a story like this. We plan to spend a lot of the coming year traveling around the country (and possibly to other countries) interviewing people.

For my part, I'm happy to have a project that I can believe in.



Eddie Murphy, once-legendary American comedian, has finally* made his contribution to the emergent "Black Male Comedian Crossdesses as Fat Black Woman" subgenre with his new film Norbit. I imagine he will receive hearty handshakes from fellow pioneers Martin Lawrence and Tyler Perry.

Eddie's fatsuit is of the highest quality, as one would expect from a comedian of his stature.

If any of you cinema studies freshmen over at Tisch need something to write a paper on, you can guess what I'd recommend.

*Silly me, how could I forget his earlier work in the Nutty Professor movies?


take THIS, Pat Buchanan

DVD magazine Wholphin has posted a short movie to their website featuring a group of guys playing beach volleyball over the border fence between southern California and Mexico.
Check it out.


West L.A. Fadeaway

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip has a few problems.

I am willing to grant that many of these may be my problems. The West Wing approached moments of greatness, as a major network television series, which were exceeded only by Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So, granted, unfair baggage.

Pilot episodes are granted significant leeway. A new show must distill the charisma of the cast, the hook of the plot and the tone of the entire series into one perfect episode. It's Herculean, and mythical Greeks comprise an astonishingly small percentage of the entertaiment industry.

Studio 60's pilot was very successful. People we like to watch were portraying the elite of a mysterious, controversial world, and the show snapped along with creative wit. Most of the necessary exposition was done cleverly (unlike on Smith, which is a less engaging version of Thief) and that which wasn't can be forgiven on Pilot grounds. Amanda Peet's performance was weak, but I envy nobody who encounters Aaron Sorkin's pages for the first time. The "Out Christian" character had potential, but also threatened to reveal itself as a fallout shelter necessitated by Studio 60's attention to religious America. And, yeah, they got me with the slick transition to the opening title. So very well!

How disappointing, then, to tune in eagerly to the next episode to discover that all the information from the pilot was recapitulated not ONCE, as substitute for a "last week on Studio 60" montage, but continuously. The audience is reminded of every character's history and interrelationships as well as the plot points leading to the current state of affairs.

Our introduction to the gritty details of live television production sank into a Dead Sea of didactic flowcharting, which may have bottomed out with Timothy Busfield's character literally listing all the departments under his control.

The prevalent tone was of such high drama that it strained to breaking the show's emotional credibility.

It bothers me that the creative team behind Studio 60 seems to think they must pack an entire season's worth of Big Moments into 42 minutes. Are they worried the show won't last? The Internet Movie Database suggests to me that the first season will only be six episodes long, so that may be revealing. I do believe that limited series are the most successful television format for storytelling, but that doesn't mean it's always going to be employed artfully.

One survival strategy may be the choice to set the show in the "real world". As such it can incorporate and refer to an infinite list of people, ideas and products with which its audience can identify.

This is an ideal vehicle for marketing, if one chooses to use it and is skilled enough to make it all ring true. That duty would likely fall to Hermes, I think. Shout-outs to the Internet Crowd are cute, too.

I hope to be proven wrong, because we desperately do need shows that deliver on the promise of talking honestly about our society. Studio 60's second episode was largely about cracking (possibly, I suppose we find out next week) under the cultural pressure, but nobody wants to watch a bad show about a bad show. I'm crossing my fingers.

Meanwhile, Fox News (you remember them)Horroris launching a preemptive strike against the "Armitage threatened to destroy my country" story coming from Pervez Musharraf by attempting to blame ex-President Clinton for al-Qaeda.

That al-Qaeda was, in fact, summoned into the American imagination by Clinton's FBI is not the angle here so much as the less-supportable "Bubba plum fergot to tell us!" shrug. Somebody still believes that Condoleeza Rice has enough credibility (poor thing) to tell the New York Post Clinton is a liarpants, too. This is probably the part of the job General Powell warned her about over dinner. One wonders how bad things have to get before a President pro tempore of the Senate gets hung out to dry.

And finally, on a personal note, I found out today that I did not get the job I desired at TokyoPop.



Two things offended me between my house and the train today.

A Fox News Hummer. Of course. A death machine for the death merchants. What the hell else would those bastards use? I desperately wished I had a paint pen with me so I could have scrawled something witty like "LIARS" on their shiny black paint job. Alas.

This sign is posted on the temporary pedestrian walkway on the south side of the Triboro Bridge. Note that the sign gives zero indication on whose authority photography has been banned. Thank you, but I will photograph any publicly funded and maintained piece of infrastructure I like.



Five years ago today:

looking downtown
Looking downtown along the West Side Highway from approximately Houston St.

A firehouse in the West Village.

Probably the first I saw of what would be many such posters.

You R Alive.
I R Indeed. A wall in the West Village.

At the corner in front of the Exxon Station, Caton Ave. at Coney Island Ave. 9/12/01.


the violent and perilous expedients of compulsion

These pixels have been dark for quite a while, and therefore my apologies to whoever has been obsessively reloading ISOTA in search of new content.

I suppose I'm "between projects". Euro Zero Zero seems to have stalled out as an interweb thingamajig and a printed, bound version feels a bit remote. It requires me choosing to exercise the writebone to come up with some kind of text content, and then getting my layout on in Illustrator. I am, as yet, uninspired.

Seize Them! has been somewhat sidetracked the past few weeks due to certain members (namely, me) being away over several weekends. Jeff selected some bits from our old rehearsal DATs to put up on the website, so that shall be done soonwise. When we do get to practice, Ken seems to make significant progress in familiarizing himself with our material. Promising.

Some vague ideas for stickering or stencilling have begun precipitating into the brainmeat lately. Possibly they will be related to Alexander Hamilton; I've been somewhat obsessed with him lately.

What I really need is a story idea. I have an urge to write a screenplay, actually finish a screenplay, and make a movie. I lust after the Panasonic HVX200 HD camera. T'aint cheap, but t'aint really expensive either, considering. But there's no way I'm going to give into my lust and lay out for the thing without some kind of goal in mind for it. Really. Probably. Really.

That said, if anyone just got a sudden urge to be spontaneously philanthropic please don't be shy.

But like I said, I need a story idea. This should be a good time of my life for stories, right? 28 years old, had some ups, had some downs, laughed a little, cried a little... must have something to say, right?

Careerwise the status quo prevails. I have finally sent hardcopies of my reel and resume to my friend at Sony Computer Entertainment America, so if I'm lucky I might get a call from them. Another friend of mine forwarded an email to me which was calling for assistant editors in LA. I originally put it aside, but last night (in the wee hours, when rash ideas can creep past your drowsy judgement) I sent my resume off to the contact. Again, highly unlikely anything will come of it but it would, hopefully, satisfy my desire to actually be working in movies or semi-quality TV.

By the way, my dad is a rock star.

My Dad, Rock Star

I have just passed the 10 year anniversary of my move to New York City. Perhaps there should be a party.


the other half

Okay, the Icelandic companion to the Amsterdam pictures has also gone up onto the interwebs and can be enjoyed here.
Personally, I think this set contains some of the best photographs I've ever taken.

Wishing Well


partway there

I Amsterdam
I have finally scanned an uploaded actual film pictures of the city of Amsterdam to flickr.com. You can see just the new ones here or look at a set of all my Amsterdam pictures here.


I can read!

Some thoughts on some books I've been reading, now that I've dug into the pile acquired around my recent birthday:

The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman - This volume accompanied me on my recent vacation. If you find wit and absurdity amusing, as I certainly do, you'll have no reason to dislike this book. I did find that the list of 700 Hobo Names became a little bit of a chore to get through, but there are enough gems in it to be worth your time.

Quantum Evolution by Dr. Johnjoe McFadden, PhD - A pop science book, one of a genre I've always loved, applying quantum theory to the questions of the definiton of life and the mechanism of evolution via natural selection. His propositions, in a poor summary of a nutshell, are: 1. that conditions in the "primordial soup" (whatever its nature may have actually been) could have been such as to allow quantum superpositions of aggregations of whole molecules allowing the seemingly-improbable genesis of self-replicating proteins, 2. that quantum effects on codons within DNA lead to adaptive mutations, 3. that human consciousness may be the result of oscillations in the brain's electromagnetic field(s) which behave in a quantum manner. It was an intriguing read, though one does have to wade through a lot of layman's-terms explanations of quantum theory which are not significantly different than those used in many other related books. This is necessary, I suppose, but can lead to skimming if you're accustomed to reading a lot of pop-quantum theory. And who isn't?

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins - I'm ambivalent about this book. It certainly lays out in clear terms the mechanisms by which the oligarchy of which we are citizens operates, and while these revelations should not come as surprise to anyone who's been paying attention it's still a worthy examination of the history and development of the current state of world affairs. However, it often feels as if Mr. Perkins were writing a movie treatment or prose screenplay. Some of his recollections of events are simply too detailed to not raise an eyebrow... dramatic pauses for a character to sip a drink, etc. I was also irked by what felt to me like over-repetition of key points. This is difficult to criticize as, clearly, provision must be made for readers with poor memories and those unwilling to flip backward in the book to re-read anything. Still, I'd recommend this book to anyone who desires to have their last illusions about How America Really Works shattered. Assuming, of course, you believe his story.

Imperial America by Gore Vidal - This is mostly a repackaging of Vidal's essays and speeches from the past thirty years on the topic of American Empire, with a smattering of new writing thrown in. Heavy on repetition, since most of the above writings mirror each other in scope and content. It's certainly interesting to see the paralells between our current situation and those stretching back to the Nixon administration (and most all in between), and the overall lesson, of course, is that Nothing Has Changed. That current events seem surprising is support for Vidal's observation that we are the United States of Amnesia in which no history is remembered and neither are we desirous of remembering it. This book will provide you with Vidal's arch take on the history of American Empire beginning, more or less, with the Mexican War or the Spanish-American War of 1898 depending on which essay you're reading. Both are convenient benchmarks for When Things Went Wrong, said Wrongness finding it's apotheosis in the years immediately following World War II and, after a minor dip for a decade or two, surging forward now. Still, it's a repackage ripoff in many ways. Borrow a copy if you're interested.




I dug through a bunch of my old photos yesterday and scanned quite a few. They've been uploaded to my Flickr page. Some good stuff of kids I had as a camp counselor, and a portrait I really like of a student in a class I helped out with in college.

Also, I put up some pictures I took on my trip to China in 2000 and those are all grouped into a set here.

On Sunday my friend Jeff and I drove up to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (which occupies the land the original Woodstock festival was held on) to see Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon & The Benevento/Russo Duo and Phil Lesh & Friends. Car trouble caused us to miss most of the Trey + Mike + Duo set (note: Avis car rental sucks), but what we did catch was a lot of fun and very impressive. I'll have a better sense of it once I download the full set from wherever it becomes available.
Phil & Friends
The Phil & Friends show was a lot of fun. He had Joan Osborne on vocals and man, she can sing. Forgive her for having released a silly single many years ago, folks.


stop-gap. filler.

I'm sure, my dear audience, that you have been disappointed with me for not providing a detailed debriefing regarding my recent travels to the Old Countries. I offer my apologies and assurances that such postings are coming once I get my photochemicalcelluloid pictures back from the laboratory.

I can report, however, that I have created a crude web-based showreel of some of my editing work and it can be found here. You'll need Quicktime installed on your machine to watch the clips because Windows Media can suck it. You heard me.

The impetus for bringing the above into existence was an interesting coincidence that happened just prior to flying to San Diego to attend a good friend's wedding. It's not uncommon for mail to come to my house addressed to any one of a number of prior residents and last Friday a box arrived for long-departed Brett which was clearly marked as having been shipped from EBay. Upon opening the box I discovered a well-packed baseball card and thought I should, of course, contact Brett about it. He offered to send me packing materials and postage money but I demurred and told him that, oddly enough, I was going to be in San Diego the next day and that this was clearly a good opportunity to hand-deliver it and catch up.
It was during said catching up that he mentioned that there was a possibility that he could help me get work at Sony Computer Entertainment America editing for them.

So we'll see. I have no expectations, but it's an exciting idea.



Takk: it´s basically the only Icelandic word I know.
But yes! Here I am in Reykjavík. Mission Amsterdam was a complete success, and Mission Iceland is progressing expensively.
A possible report following tonight´s runtur is... well, possible.



Hello. Mission Amsterdam in progress.
More later.


more more seize them!

I am harnessing the massive marketing power of last.fm.
Check it.


more seizethem.com news

DNS seems to be propagating, at least as far as Verizon's network is concerned. Some of you may still not be able to get to seizethem.com but it IS up, so be patient. The 6.3.06 show is still up for download and if I interpret the traffic counter correctly it appears nearly 20 people have downloaded the show to date.

Also, there is now a Seize Them! email listserve, which you can sign up for here. There probably won't be much, if any, traffic for a good long time but, y'know... there it is. Enjoy.


Seize Them!

Some news.

First, there is now a real, working seizethem.com.
Secondly, a link on that page will allow you to download a .mp3 version of Seize Them!'s performance from the 6.3.06 houseparty. FLAC version to follow shortly.

That is all.

P.S. Please be patient with seizethem.com being a little flaky over the next few days.



PS Print has come through admirably, and the ISOTA QXZ stickers have arrived! The stickening begins forthwith.
Final ISOTA sticker


If any of you millions of faithful readers are looking for some live music events in New York City for this weekend, note these:

Tonight at The Delancey on the Lower East Side, my friend's band North is playing and I dig them.

Saturday night at The Bowery Ballroom is a triple threat, costume-tastic show featuring Peelander-Z, Bling Kong, and the second-to-final-ever show for good ol' Mr. Brownstone, everyone's favorite Guns N' Roses tribute. Their set will be introduced by a short video I put together for the band, so don't be late.

Here's a picture of Peelander-Z from Bonnaroo 2004 -
Peelander Z

I'm going to try my damnedest to get at least a listenable CD of Seize Them!'s performance from last weekend burned to give to some people over the next couple of days. Just gotta keep that kick drum from peaking.


and on 'til the break of dawn


The party was a "smashing success" as they say in the martini-swilling monocle-wearing circles.

Friday night was a bit of a nightmare... torrential rains shut down all the subway trains which could take me from work, in Manhattan, to home in Astoria and cabs were impossible to hail so it was a walk over the Queensboro bridge for the first time since the transit strike last December. Then upon arriving home I discovered the worst instance of basement flooding (the third flood in five days) yet which added a whole 'nother disgusting layer of preparation to handle before the party.

But by Saturday evening all was in place (minus any hot water in the house, which was unfortunate for residents and houseguests alike) and the guests were rolling in from as far afield as California, Detroit and Boston.

tweak you across the cross fade

DJ Porkcube set up and spun an incredibly awesome mix of Brazilian tunes, hip hop, soul, dub and various other flavors for about 2.5 hours. I was gifted with a pair of source CDs of the set and plan to enjoy it frequently. DJ Porkcube's actual mix can be found in .mp3 form here and I highly recommend downloading it.

The Disgraceland Family Freakshow contingent set up in the upstairs apartment and wowed the crowd. Magic tricks, hanging weights from various piercings, bed-of-nails tricks, swallowing balloons and then requesting that the crowd staple tips into the performers with larger denominations granting access to a wider variety of target areas. I, personally, didn't get to witness the action due to crowd size but the oohs and aahs and AAAAGGGH!s were audible all over the house.

And finally we in Seize Them! performed our second ever rock show. Once every 2.5 years is not a great record but we'll see what we can do about that. Our set started at 1:18 AM so thanks to the neighbors for not calling the cops and thanks to the party guests who stuck around through the whole thing and beyond. I'll probably have live tracks posted to the ol' enterwebnets as soon as I run them through Logic to even out some uneven things in the recording.

Dave has posted his pictures of the event here.

I've been notified that the ISOTA stickers have been printed and are on their way to me.


listening pleasure

First, an update on the stickers. I've contracted with the fine folks at PsPrint and they're doing a four-color print on vinyl stickers for almost $100 less than the StickerGuy folks were going to charge for a three-color stencil. PsPrint seems like a really pro outfit, or at least their website has suckered me into thinking that. Stickers should arrive several days prior to my Grand International Tour so all seems well.

Last night I spent out on the town with the fine folks from Boss Tweed, first for their show at Desmond's Tavern in Manhattan (surprisingly tasty cheeseburger and fries to be had there, by the way) and then down at the Mercury Lounge for a great show by The Dansettes. The Dansettes are a 7-piece Stax/Atlantic-style soul outfit featuring three ladies singing. Highly recommended if you're in the mood for a neo-sixties groove.

Speaking of Boss Tweed, it looks like we may be closer to choosing a song of theirs for the music-video makings. Watch this space.
Also, if you're in NYC and you like the musical stylings of Patsy Cline, you can check out the Boss Tweed side project known as "Carolyn Sills And The Poor Man's Roses". They'll be playing at Bubby's in DUMBO, Brooklyn, on Thursday, June 8th at 9PM.


flip back, turn, and try again

Well, hubris has gotten me once again. My assertion in the previous post that the sticker printing was going ahead turns out to be false. I was just on the phone with Dave at Sticker Guy and he informed me that they only screenprint... so my design is far too complicated to render properly. That they only do screenprinting is not, so far as I have found, explicitly stated on the website but I suppose it should have been a clue when I chose the "four color" option and was presented with a list of colors to pick from rather than the standard CMYK. Ah well. Time to look for a new printer. If anyone has any leads on cheapish four color vinyl sticker printing I would be happy to hear about them.

My old schoolmate Declan appears to be just about finished with his feature film Urban Assault.
The EPK trailer there is pretty exciting (though warning to those in need of warning: graphic gun violence and bare breasts). Good luck, Declan!


mix the inks

The order has been sent. The printer has his mission.
Final ISOTA sticker

Quantity: 1000



A photo of Lincoln Park (and no definitely not Linkin Park... them I throw paper airplanes at) that I took from my hotel room window has been included in the Schmap Chicago Guide.

hotel room view

Schmap appears to be a "Web 2.0" style deal that provides somewhat interactive and no-doubt advertising-heavy maps of major cities. One of their people found my picture on flickr and requested use of it so I gave the go ahead. Weird stuff.


glass house

On Thursday night a friend of mine invited me out to see You Aren't My Mother play at The Glass House Gallery in Williamsburg. The Glass House Gallery is a pretty awesome ever-changing collage sculpture that you can walk around in which also hosts music and "art jams".
You Aren't My Mother
You Aren't My Mother sound a bit like Godspeed You Black Emperor! but with lyrics and without percussion (yet). I liked them quite a bit. I hate to simply sum them up like that because it seems dismissive and lazy, but there we are.

Prior to YAMM's set a couple of noise acts performed. First up was Harm Stryker (warning: myspace) who played for about ten to fifteen minutes. Two people twiddling with various pieces of electronic equipment feeding back into each other without discernable rhythm or melody. It was interesting but I just never get much of anything out of the experimental noise stuff. Dead Girls were up next. They were another duo, this time with one guy on a drums and another guy on noise equipment. Dead Girls' set held my interest more than Harm Stryker but was similarly chaotic. The drumming added elements that were sorta free jazzish and the phrase that popped into my head while they were playing was "it sounds like the end of the world".

I feel like an old man during noise band performances sometimes.

Supposedly next week's Seize Them! practice will feature our brand new bassist, a guy that René dug up. I'm excited. We have four weekends to teach him our songs before The Big Party in June. Also, it looks like we have a third new song with two more from Jeff coming down the road. After the new guy gets broken in I'll be back to recording The Album in earnest.



Hell Gate Bridge

I think I've found my favorite spot in Astoria Park. Sunday featured weather just about as close as possible to perfect and I sat out there for a few hours reading and listening to music.


come on people now

There are some interesting things happening.

I'm very excited by the recent surge in the Immigrant Rights movement (so called). This is a massive polity and, though it's probably insulting to consider all the participants as a monolith, I can only hope the energy gathers and results in a radical political shift for the whole country. Already there are frightening racist noises coming out of the Right, at least if Bill O'Reilly can be taken as exemplary, about how supporters of Immigrant Rights, "the real racists who want a color-based country", are seeking to destroy "what they call the white privileged Christian nation". Xenophobia is tapped for CRAZY mana.

Those of you not local to New York City might be unaware of this, but there's a growing push to give a vote in city elections to documented non-citizens who have been residents for at least six months. I fully support this. The borough of Queens, where I live, has one of the largest immigrant populations in the entire United States and they've come from all over the world. Africa, Asia, The Caribbean, Central and South America, India, The Middle East, Europe and elsewhere. Local elections can have more impact on a given person's quality of life than any other, state or federal, and New York City is quite possibly unique among US cities in the sheer amount of resources available to the city government. In our supposedly globalizing society, isn't citizenship more meaningfully defined by participation in a society rather than an accidental intersection of birth and cartography? Anyone who works and creates and hurts and struggles and cries and shouts with joy and falls into bed at night in New York City is a New Yorker, and can you think of anyone better to run the place?

France stands as an example again of a culture that has some actual political life to it, as massive nationwide demonstrations against the CPE have resulted in at least nominal concessions from the government. I see paralells to the Transit Worker's Union strike down here last December. From the point of view of those unconcerned with the condition of the laboring classes both actions can appear to be excessive noise from people in an already relatively privileged position. On face value the CPE is creating jobs for "youth" in France, so how could that be bad? The devilish compromise, of course, was to make effectively second-class citizens out of young laborers as an incentive for businesses to hire them. And if they become such, doesn't that become incentive to unload an older, expensive labor force in favor of a cheaper, more pliable one? Why shouldn't young workers enjoy the same rights that have been won for their elders? Much as with the TWU strike, the necessity lies in retaining the few rights and protections remaining after decades of successful worldwide assault by capital. It has been remarked that it's sad to see such public political energy exerted merely to retain the status quo.

China is rumbling around a bit as well. China, much like the US, has a huge migrant labor pool (though the Chinese have enough dirt poor people within their own borders that they don't need to import any) working for pittance wages and living in squalid group housing in order to improve the lot of their family back home. As in the US, massive sectors of the economy rely on a flood of cheap laborers with no political rights. These people are not stupid. They have lived their entire lives under a government that preaches a flavor of Communism and the worth of The People, and the government's economic shift to State Capitalism after 1989 was radical enough to have caused, by now, cognitive dissonance in even the most undereducated field hand. There are tens of thousands of incidents every year in rural China featuring the people facing off against the government as economic disparities increase. If history teaches anyone anything it is that you ignore the the Chinese peasantry at your peril.

Tiananmen Che

If only there were some kind of technology that allowed all these groups of people to communicate and possibly organize to further common goals! Speaking of which I was thinking again about Yahoo and Google and Cisco and Microsoft and their recent activities aiding and abetting repression in China (and, as an aside, AT&T facilitating the NSA-related technical difficulties we are experiencing) and I think my attitude is now this: these companies are the epitome of a technocratic culture and, as such, made the decsion one would expect of a self-aggrandizing technocracy. What else did we really expect? After all Colombian Coca-Cola employees have a habit of turning up dead after agitating for improved conditions, so it's not like the tech companies are doing anything unique to their industry.

On the plus side? GENERALS ARE ALL "U=pwn3d, L@M3R" TO RUMSFELD. Right the hell on.

On the recommendation of a certain ninja (definitely NOT the kind that would be captured by ATF agents on the UGA campus) I picked up J Dilla's record "Donuts" and Madlib's Beat Konducta disc. Both are excellent. I have just now heard, on the Jaylib track "Strip Club", the use of a Jaco Pastorius sample that I've always wanted to do something with.


your name here and there and up there too

Graffiti Research Lab keeps on with the innovation and instruction with their LED Throwies and the extension thereof, the Night Writer project.

These folks are awesome and I hope I see more of their work around town.



I would direct all of you to Joshua Ellis' article/essay Dark Miracle recounting his trip to the Trinity site where the first atomic weapon was tested. It's a nice piece of writing and I pat myself on the back for donating some dollars to this exercise in netizen-funded journalism.

The success or failure of this particular model of independent media is as-yet undetermined, but experimentation is important so I encourage you to check it out.



The West Wing is coming to a close. I've usually enjoyed watching it, though I mostly lost interest after Aaron Sorkin left. This season grabbed my attention again what with it being (I believe) the last season, and also Election Time in both the paralell universe of the Bartlett Administration and that of our real world counterpart. A segment of America has been escaping into the idealized presidency of Jed Bartlett for many years now and it's not difficult to understand why.

Some, I suppose, might find it odd that America's beloved shadow President is, in his fictional-television world, far more 'reality based' than his consensus-reality counterpart is revealed to be on our reality-tv news.

Character arcs are resolving themselves in a satisfying manner, and so far I believe will be impressed by the handling of John Spencer's death. I also believe I will be rather bugged out by the incorporation of footage shot at the actor's actual funeral intended to be read as scenes from that of Leo McGarry.

And though it's difficult to write in a manner that doesn't clank occasionally, I appreciate their efforts in these final episodes to blaze through a summary education in how media is employed by government. The thorough argument-by-example of why massive voter turnout is vital in the '06 election is a welcome stab at public service. Finally, and most importantly, JOSH AND DONNA FINALLY DID IT OMG. Seriously.

The past weekend was spent experiencing bachelor entertainment in Las Vegas on behalf of my good friend Ethan Beigel. I would be curious to know on what he is credited as "Eithan Beigel" because, let me tell you, the man is not Irish. And not even fake Irish.

I would most likely choose not to stay at the Palmswarning: flash again. The rooms are fine and I'm told that the new tower is a very nice night's lodging indeed. But it's juuuust a little too far off the Strip for it to be reachable other than by taxi, and it is (for better or worse) the definitive MTV hotel/casino.

part of the show

hardly knew ye

Unfortunately, it appears the webcomic A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible has come to an end a mere two weeks after I first discovered it. The upside, I suppose, is that you can read the entirety of the back catalog in less than an hour.

Hopefully we'll see more out of those guys.

UPDATE: HA HA I've been fooled. April fooled. The comic is not over. Silly me.


why we fight

I just finally got around to seeing Eugene Jarecki's documentary Why We Fight. It's a film I'd been wanting to see ever since I heard about it, but various circumstances demotivated me from seeing it until this very day. However, this is a movie I believe will survive for a long time so I suppose there's no real rush.

Why We Fight is, in my opinion, as successful a contemporary document of the reality of being an American as any that has ever been made. It's the movie I think a lot of people hoped Fahrenheit 9/11 could be.

why we fight website screengrab

I realized recently that I had been deliberately avoiding watching anything containing footage from September 11, 2001. I, like many people, got so sick of not being able to turn around without seeing the World Trade Center towers crumbling into dust that watching it deliberately seemed ridiculous. It reads as silly to me to state that Why We Fight presents the event in a "tasteful" manner, but it's an accurate statement. But it's also a dry assessment and the truth is that Jarecki's facility with the power of the material moved me greatly. This is not to detract from Michael Moore's elegant solution to the problem which was, in fact, probably the most skillfully cinematic moment in his entire film. I have my hopes that Christopher Seward, an editor I briefly met recently, had a large part in creating that sequence. The point of the exceedingly long paragraph above was to say that if you have had a similar aversion in the past, I suggest not only that you should overcome it for this film but you will be greatly rewarded for doing so.

So thank you very much to Eugene Jarecki.

Also, hilarity on tonight's The Daily Show's dissection of Fox News' coverage of the Daytona Beach Serial Killer story.

Also also, I feel compelled to toss a large neon WTF? at Sharon Stone for being so gung ho for Basic Instinct 2. If I recall correctly she complained loudly and widely about how her trust and genitalia were exploited in the original Basic Instinct.

Lastly, holy awesome to the hundreds-of-thousands-strong marches across the United States in support of undocumented immigrants.


euro zero zero on flickr

One more step... stepped.
After many hours of prep work I have uploaded the Euro Zero Zero pictures to flickr.


dick dick dick dick dick is a killer

Okay, this is totally awesome. The folks at Graffiti Research Laboratories have created an excellent video HOWTO explaining the process of embedding LEDs into works of graffiti. If nothing else the sountrack to video alone is worth hearing.

Thanks to BoingBoing and YouTube.

solar powered rock n' roll revolution

First of all, Classy Dames & Able Gents has updated, this time translating everyone's favorite game, Mornington Crescent, into comic form.

I'm happy to see, via the Foresight Nanotechnology Institute's email newsletter, that OrionSolar has been given one million dollars in venture capital to assist them in producing their totally awesome nanodot-dye-based flexible solar power sheets which may wind up producing solar power for about $.70 per peak watt. That, friends, is CHEAP solar power these days. I want these guys to succeed for many reasons, not the least of which is my dream to travel the world making a documentary about how to make communities sustainable while charging my various media electronics with a light, cheap, flexible solar power source. I actually wrote to OrionSolar back when I first heard of them to see if they'd be interested in sponsoring such a venture by kicking me some product, but they informed me that, regrettably, they did not have anything in production just yet.

Met up with 2/3 of Boss Tweed to discuss their upcoming european tour and how the video footage I shot might help them in that endeavor. We also tossed some talk around about doing a music video, so we'll see what might go forward with that. Man, it'd be fun. After the "meeting" I checked out Warren Malone, a very good singer-songwriter, at a small gig he was playing at the grandiosely named yet tiny Allen Street club the Rockwood Music Hall. Excellent stuff. Interesting encounter with a waitress, too. She brought me my $5 bottle of beer and then, when I paid her, informed me that her "livelihood was based on tips so anything I could spare would be great". I hesitated and then handed her the dollar I'd been planning on leaving on the table like a typical tipper would. I'm pleased she enlightened me about this arcane practice of... tipping, is it called? and I'll endeavor to help out the city's waitstaff in future.

Otherwise, Seize Them! practice is on a mini-hiatus due to various members being out of town on upcoming weekends, but we'll have to get back at it with a vengeance in April if we want to be totally kickass for the giant party we're throwing in June. Also, WE NEED A BASS PLAYER, people. Please.

V for Vendetta, a story that I have loved for a long time, was actually made into a more than decent film. See it.



Here's the equipment list of stuff I used for the recent Boss Tweed shoot:

Cameras - 2 Panasonic AGDVX100s and 1 Sony PD150
Audio Recorder - Apple Macintosh Powerbook, G4 800MHz processor, 1GB of RAM, using Garageband to capture
Audio Interface - Presonus Firepod
Microphones - 2 Shure SM57s


this news is broken

The Boss Tweed shoot was tons o' fun and the footage is pretty decent given that all the stage lights seemed to get turned off for their set. I, personally, didn't do as good a job on the camera work as I did on my previous outing, but my friends Jeff and John more than capably backed me up on the other two cameras so I have plenty to work with. Thanks to Galapagos Art Space for letting us shoot there and to the sound guy, Josh Loar, for letting me plug in to the soundboard.

After the show I went to a party that my upstairs neighbors were throwing and we decided to have a Whole House Party, incorporating all three floors of the building, over the first weekend in June. It will be awesome, with a rock show in the basement and hopefully a succession of DJs spinning for about an hour apiece upstairs. More info as developments warrant.

And now to start cutting the Boss Tweed show. They need a couple of clips to help get a European Tour booked for this summer, so I've gotta get on that.


well, you found him, counter-epithet

RIP Gordon Parks, photographer, filmmaker, novelist, poet, composer. Pioneer for black people in journalism, media and the entertainment industry. He died at 93.


are you ready for some football?

Today was spent recording voiceover for 4th & Goal Films' 2006 Blue Chippers and Hidden Gems DVD preview of the 2006 NFL draft. Voice talent was Brian Baldinger, former offensive lineman for the Cowboys, Colts and Eagles and current football pundit for Fox Sports. Now I'm sure the following revelation will surprise none of you, but... I'm not a huge football fan. However! This process (which continues tomorrow) was quite entertaining. Over the course of editing almost all the footage for this DVD (which you should BUY NOW if you're a football fanatic) I have certainly gained a greater appreciation for football and I think I might actually understand and enjoy a game more. It was also a treat to hear a guy like Baldinger, an incredibly knowledgable expert in his field, hold forth on the players we were profiling and provide some anecdotes from his up-and-coming career as a commentator (the short version: John Madden is a jerk).

Relevant to last night's Oscars, congratulations to my ex-professor (if only for a few days before I dropped his class) John Canemaker for winning the Best Animated Short award. His film is called The Moon and the Son. Kudos also to Jon Stewart and the Daily Show writing staff for their excellent job on the most entertaining Oscars I've ever seen. Daily Show producer Glenn Clements is a friend of mine and I haven't gotten to speak to him about it yet, but if he was involved I say ROCK ON, GLENN.

I've finished a rough cut of the Mr. Brownstone show from NorthSix in December and, I'm happy to say, I've been contracted to shoot the upcoming performance of Boss Tweed at Galapagos (next door to NorthSix) on March 11. Boss Tweed is a great band and if you're in the area you should come out and see the show. I'll be covering the action with three cameras this time (with assistance from John Wiseman and an as-yet-unchosen third cameraperson) so I should have great material. I've wanted to make a concert film for Boss Tweed for a while now, so I'm pretty psyched.

Seize Them! practice over the past few weekends has yielded excellent results. Jeff completed his Herculean labor of culling through all our old DATs to find gems we could work into new songs and he found quite a few. So our catalog of material is poised to expand dramatically. It also seems we're covering Boston's "More Than A Feeling" which is totally frikkin' awesome and if you don't love the hell out of that song I dunno how you get any joy out of life at all.

It looks like ISOTA sticker printing will be delayed 'til May. But no later than May! I will require them for my June vacation to the Roots Music Festival in Amsterdam and the subsequent chillout in Reykjavik.
Th th th that's all.


(nature noises)

On my nightly visit to the uptown N/R/Q/W subway platform I happened upon an interesting sight.

Those of you who frequent the Broadway line platforms at 34th St. might be aware of the art installation known as REACH New York, An Urban Musical Instrument. If you are unfamiliar with it, it's a bank of infrared light emitters and reflectors connected to a synthesizer and speakers all housed in a green metal case hung about an arms reach above the platform. If one blocks one of the many beams, various musical nature sounds like birds twittering or bamboo windchimes knocking together play from the speakers. There are two of them, one on the uptown platform and one on the downtown. People love this thing and it's rare that you spend any time waiting on the platform without hearing someone playing with it.

The uptown platform's installation has the largish box which houses all the controller equipment and I'd always envisioned some ancient Power Macintosh living in there serving all these sounds. Well, tonight I saw none other than (I assume) the artist himself, Christopher Janney, up on a ladder fiddling around inside the control box:
Christopher Janney?

The train in the picture pulling into the station was mine, so I didn't have time to talk to him. Visible inside the open box was some recent model of Powerbook, an audio amplifier, and an apparatus that I assume was the switch detecting the IR beam trips. Janney appeared to be either loading new sounds into the installation or perhaps just testing it out.

Anyway, that was neat.


could you be loved?

I spent Friday night out on the town with my friend Cristian at a bar in Red Hook called The Hook. They were having a reggae night kicked off by a pretty good cover band from Jersey called Smoke and then the rest of the time was given over to Thrillamatic Sound System and King David High Five who DJed the shit out of some awesome old-school reggae tunes. No cover charge. I got there stupidly early by not noticing the start time on the flyer for which I was awarded a free beer by the highly accomodating bartenders. Cristian and I agreed that we felt very much like we were back in Amsterdam. I hope The Hook makes reggae night a regular thing because I will definitely be there.

me and my wisp

Cristian, by the way, would like to organize a shuffleboard tournament between himself and a chess Grandmaster to be played out in Iceland. Coming soon.

Also, my good friend René spent Sunday getting a Decepticon logo tattooed onto his left calf. Here's a photoset.



The Garageband export problem is solved!

Somebody (shout out to ronkurz at the Apple Support forums) has received an answer from a helpful Apple Store employee. Apparently all my problems have been caused by having forward slashes (/) in my filenames! For the non unix-types out there, the forward slash demarcates a filepath. When iTunes attempted to import the mixdown from Garageband it got all confused by the forward slashes and when 'HUH WHAT THE HUH NAH I'LL DISCARD THAT' and dissolved the file off into the ether.
Whaddya know. Exports work just fine now.

I feel kinda stupid. But hey! Who woulda thunk?


snow business like your mom's business

The snow cancelled any official band-related activity this weekend, though I did take the bus out to NJ to René's house and I played him some of our recent recording. He's feeling, in my opinion, overly self-critical. I'm still very happy with how easily Bianca dropped right in and caught on to stuff. Turns out René didn't call Bianca this week to tell her we weren't practicing so I hope she's not aggrivated by that.

Second meeting of the Nameless Art Collective on Saturday, again in the DUMBO loft. We added Farid's ex-coworker Nicole to the mix and she brings a desire to produce which is one of our missing pieces. She also apparently spent some time shooting a documentary about a real-life "School of Rock" situation that she may be interested in me cutting. The NAC decided that for our next meeting, in two weeks, we would pick a project to move forward on, and also perhaps consider a name for ourselves.

I was struck with the desire tonight to "mash up", as they say, the glory that is/was Sifl & Olly with the other glory that is/was The Wu-Tang Clan's classic album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Two of the greatest expressions of their respective media in the '90s. I want to watch characters from Sifl & Olly perform the entire record.


what the HELL, people?

Okay, this issue with Garageband failing to export to iTunes is becoming infuriating. The problem itself is infuriating enough, but there appears to be no known solution.

I've gone over (and posted to) the forums at Apple support, and every person who has had this issue has not had it resolved. The ones who've called up Apple Support directly have received nothing helpful from the list-readers on the other end of the phone who seem just as baffled as those of us having the problem, and nothing they've suggested to any of these people has helped. What the fuck is going on here?

This seems to me to be a fairly common problem given how many instances of it I've found out there on the interweb, but there is NO FIX? This is unbelieveable. You'd think Apple would be all over this.

Then again, I realize that Garageband is a $15 piece of software (if you happened to pay for iLife) and is essentially crippleware to entice you towards buying Logic (or Soundtrack Pro with the Final Cut Studio package, but AFAIK Soundtrack Pro does not allow multitrack recording...) but come on. It's stupid enough that the only way to export audio from Garageband is as either an AAC file (for "podcasting") or via iTunes. You SHOULD be able to export from Garageband as a .aiff to any destination you choose, but, again, I assume this is the crippleware factor. Failing that, it's unacceptable for iTunes export to break for unknown reasons and NOT BE FIXABLE.

I'm an Apple fan, but this is really chafing my hide.



Thanks to the ever-helpful ninja I have a new, fast hard drive in my Powerbook and thusly trouble-free 8-track recording is a reality! Testing over the weekend went very well.

Also, us three boys in the band brought in our acquaintance Bianca to play some bass with us and that also went very well. It's always awkward (for me, anyway) the first time a new person comes in to play, but it looks like it could be a very good thing. Our first homework assignment is for all of us to learn Black Sabbath's "Hand of Doom". Doooooom!

My friend Farid made good on his proposal to assemble a group of like-minded filmic folks to start producing some work. We all met at member Alexei's awesome loft down in DUMBO which overlooks Manhattan, the East River and both the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. Beer and discussion were both plentiful and it really looks like we might in fact Start Something. The current shakedown proposal is to do a very short film which would be ideal for portable video devices, very possibly based on a poem Farid has written. Off we go!

I received an email from, of all people, my old Latin teacher from way back in 7th and 8th grade. He's married to the woman who cast me in my first major children's community theater production waaaay back in the day and he's hoping I'll come up to the hometown for this year's production of "Oliver!" to talk to the kids in the cast. Maybe, maybe. I'll have to think about it.


big fat liars

You know what? I don't understand why everyone (or, at least, I get the impression from The Media that it's 'everyone', but it could be no one) is so pissed off at James Frey.

Now, granted, I did not read his book and therefore I don't have an emotional investment and cannot feel betrayed. I understand that people don't like being lied to, and I'm not a fan of people willfully misrepresenting themselves for reasons that aren't whimsical or amusing or muckraking or at least funny to me.

But here's the thing: what the hell difference does it make if A Million Little Pieces is gospel truth or a big pack of lies? Readers purchased the book to be entertained. Extrapolating from the popularity of the book I'd say people were entertained. The vast majority of readers do not know James Frey, James Frey has zero impact on their lives and vice versa. There is absolutely no difference if the James Frey in A Million Little Pieces is a fictional character or a depiction of a real person. The experience is the same. It was a good story that entertained readers and has no greater impact on the world than that.

A Million Little Pieces is not a history of nations or an analysis of current events or a biography of an important person or even "reportage". It is a novel-length personal essay at best. If you connect with the story contained therein, you connect with it regardless of whether or not it "really happened". Your time was not wasted, you sacrificed nothing, you were not asked to participate in anything other than the exchange of money for entertainment.

As I said, I haven't read it so any conjecture about my reaction to this revelation if I had read it is mere speculation, but I feel that if I had read and enjoyed A Million Little Pieces and subsequently found out that it was entirely false, my reaction would have been something like: "huh. really? okay. that guy's kind of a dick." and that would be the end of it. Now, I may be atypical because I am a Media Guy myself and basically take it as a given than any piece of mass media is, in large or small part, artifice. But I honestly don't understand why the general public thinks it's a Big Deal. Oprah, okay... she has to defend her "credibility" I suppose, but even she seems a little excessively indignant to me.

Perhaps in this age where practically everyone in our culture is aware of the fact that they are constantly being lied to by those in power about Things That Actually Matter, whether or not you support or don't support those doing the lying, having one's trust in a simple True Story violated is the back-breaking straw. Maybe everyone should be grateful that James Frey has actually provided the public with not only an entertaining work of essayish fiction but a case study in Media Literacy. You shouldn't implicitly trust anything presented to you by media. Everything must be questioned.

Except me, of course.


we hardly knew ye

It appears that my long-disused Alesis SR-16 drum machine has given up the ghost. I plugged it into my analog mixer and then into Garageband the other day and tapped a few pads experimentally. Rather than the very-good-yet-clearly-sampled drum sounds I was used to, I instead heard blasts of trashy, staticy, distorted digital noise with the vaguest hints of drum sounds buried in them.

"But that's awesome!" I clairvoyantly hear you thinking. Yes, in certain circumstances it could be very cool. But it's a sound that you can only use sparingly and it's a shame that such a quality, versatile machine has been reduced to a novelty noisemaker.

I have no idea what might have happened to it. It's been more or less sitting around untouched for a good long while. Ah well. Entropy wins again.


my city was gone

On the Great Grand European Tour of 2000 (the subject of the forthcoming Euro Zero Zero "visual memoir") my friends and I had the privilege of visiting the community of Christiania. Christiania is essentially a squatter community that has been more or less left to its own devices (lengthy ongoing legal battles aside) for several decades now.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Danish government has decided to build privately owned condominiums within Christiania. To this point all property within Christiania has been collectively held. In addition to the condos the government wants all existing Christiania residences (mostly ex-military barracks and DIY houses) incorporated into the Danish public housing system which will increase the rents paid by the residents from approximately 250 DKK to "between DKK 2500 and 4600 for a 50 sq. m apartment."

This, if it happens, is essentially the end of Free State Christiania. I will be sorry to see it go, and doubly sorry that I didn't take any pictures while I was there.

You can read the full story at The Copenhagen Post Online.

Thanks to Boingboing for bringing this to my attention.


I fly DIY

So we ran into a technical snag this weekend with the recording. While the Firepod audio interface is working wonderfully, I'm having issues in which I get an error message from Core Audio saying that my hard disk is too slow. I have to figure out if the hard drive or bus speed on my laptop is causing some kind of bottleneck when recording seven simultaneous tracks, and if so what I can do about it. External firewire drive using a firewire hub? Use Jeff's slightly faster bus-speed Powerbook? Get a Mac Mini? The bus speed isn't all that fast on the minis and I haven't yet seen what the RPMage and throughput is on the hard drives in those suckers. Pick up an old dual G4 tower that I can pack with fast-ass hard drives and lotsa RAM?

It's all a money sink, but man we're having a good time with this.


she done done it

I opened this month's issue of Res magazine warning: page is chock full of animated ads for Adobe products that will probably slow your browser to a crawl to discover that the artist who did the wonderful cutout paper piece on the Adirondack Furniture building which I photographed this past weekend has a name! She calls herself Swoon and the intarweb tells me she has pieces up all over NYC.

So Swoon, if you ever happen to read this, consider this a shoutout. I love your work.


Swoon interview from 2003
Swoon interview from 2004
Swoon Google search results


that's not writing, that's just typing

Finally finished transcribing the euro-trip journal into Word in preparation to lay out the pictures + words published thing which I'm tentatively titling Euro Zero Zero. I've also got about half the photos from the trip scanned, so the next step will be to edit the photos and re-write the journal into some kind of actually interesting narrative.
Not getting much done otherwise yesterday or today; I've come down with some mild flu-like thing which is making me feel like ass and lazy as hell.


everybody's workin' for the weekend

Things Began this weekend. Jeff and René and I laid down three demo/guide tracks for the Seize Them! recordings (I was saying "album" before, but it'll probably be a lot more like an EP. of course, what does any of this mean in the age of the .mp3?), and it all went pretty well. I think I've got enough to start doing focused overdubs on those songs and really flesh them out.

On a trip to Guitar Center I indulged my long-time desire and bought an 8-track firewire audio interface to use for multitrack recording. Specifically I bought the Presonus Firepod. My man Tom over at GC was kind enough to give me a pretty good deal. So we are practically a recording studio up in here:
Seize Them! practice space

On Saturday I went for a two-hour bikeride around Long Island City and saw plenty of neato stuff. Pictures of some of it are up at my Flickr page.
mermaskeleton 3

Getting the Firepod allowed me to move the little Behringer 8 channel mixer I have into my room which inspired a redesign of my working setup, showing here (notes are on the pic's flickr page):

Man, I feel like a commercial. But the overall thrust is that projects are happening, for real. I am very happy about this. As soon as the new FCP system is installed at work I'll begin working on the Mr. Brownstone concert video. ISOTA stickers are delayed a bit, though the final design element has been decided upon. Printing funds kinda got diverted to the Firepod, but hey... sometimes you gotta reprioritize. Tomorrow I'll start scanning the photos I shot on the '00 Eurotrip for the journal book. Here's to continued productivity!

Now as my friend the ninja would say, get back to work you fucking slackers.


all systems are go

Tomorrow I begin recording what will become Seize Them!'s first "record". Here we go.

Additionally my moleskine has about five or six other projects requiring my attention.

It is on, people.


lucy in the sky

This is a little "off topic", whatever that may mean here, but it's just too cool to not propagate.

A faint, reddish glow called the Extended Red Emission (ERE) pervades space's dustiest places. Astronomers have puzzled over the phenomenon for more than 3 decades. Now, a team led by Huan-Cheng Chang of Taiwan's Academia Sinica claims the glow comes from nanodiamonds in space.

Read all about it.


oh yes we are live as hell

New! Sorta improved! Mostly useless!

ISOTA has moved into the more modern world with delicious and nutritious Atom and RSS syndication feeds. You can find the links for your favorite flavor over in the sidebar.

Now, content...

Yeah, I got nothin' for today.


put your lips together and blow

Today I had the pleasure of editing a short promo video for The Louis Armstrong House & Museum. It's out in the Corona neighborhood of Queens and is one of those places I really should visit.

The promo will be shown primarily at the New York City tourism office in Times Square, so if you happen to be down there sometime soon look up at one of the monitors and you might catch it. It's not terribly fancy but the director of the museum created a good audio bed for the still images and video of the museum interior that we used. The tourism office is running the video silently, of course. Ah well...

I've been thinking that it's time for me to start writing a feature-length screenplay. It's something I never finished while in school and I'm inspired to make 2006 the Year of the Movie. Unfortunately I don't have any story ideas yet so if anyone has some feel free to toss them my way. You might even get a "story by" credit! Excitement!

Sticker design will probably get one last revision before being sent off to the printer. It's still missing something but I'm just not sure what. Speaking of stickers, you should check out this cool montage of the "Stormtrooper Che" sticker.


nerd day

My friend René and I went out in the drizzly day to the Big Apple Comic Con today. I brought along the Transmetropolitan page I own for inker Rodney Ramos to sign, which he graciously did. Slim pickings overall on the original-art-buying field today but I did break down and buy a page from Richard Sala's Peculia and a page from an Authority arc drawn by Glen Fabry. They're pretty awesome and I spent three times what my art budget was on the two of them... but hey, it's been a long time since I've bought art.

I also fell completely in love with Liza Biggers while I was at the con, but it turns out she's married.

My camera was with me, but I declined to photograph any of the rent-a-ho chicks.

In other news we had a fun time with the band tonight, and my hands played the best guitar I think I've ever played. My right index finger almost started to bleed around the cuticle. This is because I rocked SO HARD.
If I can ever get this shit out of garageband I will be happy.



how not to do it

Okay, I may or may not be serious about wanting to be mummified (signs point to yes), but this woman went about it entirely the wrong way. ISOTA does not support half-assedness unless it is on the part of ISOTA.

CINCINNATI, Ohio (AP) -- The mummified body of a woman who didn't want to be buried was found in a chair in front of her television set 2 1/2 years after her death, authorities said...


and the increase come

Finally saw my friend Farid today for the first time since this spring. He's working as a personal assistant to Tim Robbins now. We're thinking we should put all our creative, film-aligned friends together and get some kind of project off the ground. In one scenario, this is a way to just get something made. In another, it could be the beginning of our own American Zoetrope. Watch this space.

In other news, I did a quick revision on the James Brown sticker. The Black and Brown sticker. The Infidel Sorcerers of the Air sticker. The ISOTA sticker. I like it.

ISOTA sticker ver. 2