Saturday, October 31, 2009

Homecoming Parade

Now normally I wouldn't post pictures of the homecoming parade because parades are usually pretty generic. But this past parade had some pretty interesting moments. You can read my thoughts on them on the individual Flickr pages.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Piece6 - Free kills mediocrity

I'd like to skip all the clichés about free things, but they are pretty true. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and, at the same time, the best things in life are free.

However, the musical band collective Bomb the Music Industry! embody both of these clichés quite well, but are far from cliché. A ska-punk collective hailing from Long Island, New York, they turn what we consider basic music production and distribution assumptions on their heads and the end result is amazing. Free albums downloaded over the net, spray-painting shirts brought by fans, and to top it off, all shows are all ages and $10. They distribute physical CDs & vinyl through a label called Asian Man Records, but otherwise Jeff Rosenstock, the lead singer and guitarist of BTMI!, puts their songs up on their own "record label", Quote Unquote Records.

Promoted by Jeff as "The first ever donation based record label", Quote Unquote Records is pretty much a gallery of music of Jeff's friends. Like, if they have a record, but no label, he'll put it up on the site. This brings me to my point that you the reader may have been wondering about. Money. As previously mentioned, this is a "donation-based label" so, much like Radiohead's In Rainbows, you pay what you want, or what you think it's worth. But staying afloat sometimes takes more than that.

When they play shows they, "charge what it takes to get there" according to an interview. And they actually kind of break even. To encourage buying of physical media, BTMI! released their newest album Scrambles on CD with a 32-page zine and a sticker decoder for their fun cover. Also, for the truly indie, they had an LP pressed on clear red vinyl (both $10). A neat little incentive to contribute money to this great band.

Another person who I just found out about who is doing sort of the same thing is Cory Doctorow. Cory Doctorow is (as far as I understand it) a "science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger -- the co-editor of Boing Boing ( and the author of the bestselling Tor Teens/HarperCollins UK novel LITTLE BROTHER."* He gives some of his books and works away for free, in turn generating hype and a following in the hopes that they will buy something. It's a different model from the antiquated, "Our stuff is ours and until you pay us, you can't have it, so there."

Here's how I see it: the old business model worked because the cost to reproduce and distribute copies of music, text, and movies were just too great for the consumers to get it themselves. Now the consumers can also be the distributors. While illegal, people will disobey laws they see unjust, unfair, or otherwise objectionable. In this case, it could be that charging the same rate for every piece of music, regardless of quality, is absurd. It is more sane to pay for things you enjoy rather than being forced to support a band that just raped your eardrums. That may be an exaggeration, but still.

I propose a system of pricing where, the consumer pays what they want, and after awhile, a running average or the most frequent price paid for the cd and post that as a "suggested price" as Bomb the Music Industry! does. Also, CDs, text, and movies are easily reproduced, but merchandise, concerts and a gigantic theatre screen are not. these are the surest methods of income.

The internet has brought about this drastic change of business models and I think, for the better. Those who are truly great and work hard, will get rewarded. Those who suck and are lazy will be out on their asses.

* Quote take from here.
Bomb the Music Industry!: [Wikipedia][MySpace][Tumblr][Twitter][QuoteUnquoteRecords]
Cory Doctorow: [Wikipedia][PersonalWebsite(Craphound)][BoingBoing]

Monday, October 26, 2009

U2-YouTube Concert - A commentary or "One More Pun and Someone's Getting Kicked in the Head"

NOTE: I do not own the rights to this broadcast and the images are here as assistants to a work of art. No money is being made from this blog, this work, or any derivative of this work. Still, if you demand a take-down, I will comply.

tl;dr version: Great concert, very spacey. Goes from straight up concert to about midway where it becomes a political statement (not that I'm against that). The bass player likes glittery guitars. Bono takes his glasses off only once. The 360° set is an awesome idea. I'm surprised YouTube is able to to support the huge amount of users.

Complete commentary after the break.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Un3ek Sy5tem

I found out recently through College Times and Java, that there is a native american design company based out of Chandler, Arizona that does some really interesting stuff. And yesterday at the Roy Track Memorial in Mesa I got to see them and their wares, but unfortunately forgot my camera and money for a shirt. : [

They combine native-american elements with some hip-hop and graffiti culture into their pieces. Among their pieces is a Stormtrooper adorned with tribal facepaint and in a native outfit, and a vector of a Mohawk Indian. The latter is simple, but used in many ways, much as the OBEY Giant stencil is used (and over-used). Their stuff is so inspiring to me and anyone else venturing into clothing design.

You can catch them at their website, MySpace, or Facebook.

Note: You can buy some things on their website, but they have much more stuff with them as they make appearances around the valley. It's cheaper too.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Piece5 - Immortal Pumpkin

I'm not too into black metal, but whenever one of my friends introduces a band to me, I usually enjoy it. But I don't listen to it often enough to warrant a pumpkin decoration... I don't know what led to me painting this pumpkin like this, but I just thought that since it's Halloween soon, how much blacker and tr00er can you get? Also, I find Immortal hilarious sometimes. If you don't know why, just watch this video:

Anyways, here's my pumpkin.
 Immortal Pumpkin - Front
Immortal Pumpkin - Back

Pretty easy, just white spraypaint and black sharpie. Used a dull xacto to carve the words on the back. Immortal just came out with a new album after 7 years of nothing, called All Shall Fall. Supposedly it's pretty good.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pride - 5 Best Pictures I've Taken So Far

Note: You know, I started typing descriptions of all of these, and I realized, I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.

Fox River at Dusk
Fox River at Dusk

Cloud Fortress
Cloud Fortress

Caterpillar climb
Caterpillar climb

If you walk away, I will follow...
If you walk away, I will follow...

The light is the limit
The light is the limit

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Piece4 - Ray-Ban Apology

Dear Ray-Ban,
  I'm sorry that the Wayfarer has been co-opted by the culturally, and creatively devoid. Instead of being an accessory of the culturally relavant, scene kids and frat boys have raped the cool of wayfarers. Where originally it was worn by icons such as John F. Kennedy, Andy Warhol, Audrey Hepburn, and Bob Dylan, the simplification and outright replication of wayfarers is inexcusable. I suppose that's what really bothers me the most. The idea that a generic company can unapologetically copy the geometry that made your glasses famous and claim it as their own is inexcusable.. This does a disservice to Raymond Stegeman and to the art of design in general. You deserve so much more.
  And as a personal note to my targets, if you aren't willing to pay $100 dollars for a pair of expertly designed glasses, then you probably don't recognize the value of design itself nor deserve to take part in the evolution of a cultural icon. So next time you see a cheap knock-off in stores, don't buy it please. Save up and purchase authenticity instead.
  But, of course, there are those who don't give a damn, and, as I said before, I hold the deepest contempt possible for those culture trawlers. Keep on going though, Ray-Ban. I enjoy your designs.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Aural Stimuli Update - October

Sooo I've been listening to a few albums like non-stop. I can't explain it. They're just too great. I'll update you on the others later, but for now...
Devin Townsend - Terria [HevyDevy][wiki]
Genre: Metal/Rock

Devin Townsend is a musician/producer who you might know from Strapping Young Lad, an extreme metal band. Mr. Townsend makes incredibly diverse music and will continue for the rest of his life. But it all stems from the general strength of metal. This album is a mix of metal and folk, with poppier elements at times. Which is not at all a bad thing. Pop can be good when used correctly. And good god, this is good. This record was released in 2001 when SYL were still together, and this really showcases both sides of Devin's personality in one album. Which makes sense, because he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1997. This album definitely has a duality to it; within the same song at times and the end result is simply amazing.

With "Canada", he pays tribute to his home and my god it is one epic tribute(he also has the word Canada tattooed on his right calf. Pretty proud I would say. : ) ). Then, with "The Fluke", he expresses his feelings of alienation and bravery through the driving riffs and huge sound. Finally, the one song I listen to more than any other on this album is the power ballad, "Stagnant". I'm at a point in my life where I definitely feel like I've been wasting away this gift of life. And this song really expresses what I could never put into words. It also gives you a sense of Devin's vocal range.
"So ain't it funny how, after trying to find my way home
I'm in the middle now and I won't get lost again..."

I truly think you should buy this album. And if not, at least get a shirt or something. He has his own label HevyDevy Records; I and he would really appreciate it if you would support him. He also has a new album coming out called Addicted which should be pretty amazing. As usual.

You can find Devin Townsend and his hilarious/geekiness/quirkiness on:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Piece3 - Modding Clothes

This is not a sewing piece. Sorry. If I had a sewing machine and the knowledge to use one, I might actually make clothes rather than paint things on them, but alas.

For the past day and today, I have been making improvements on shirts that I've considered "completed." The thought to take before/after pictures didn't occur to me until after I had done the first two. : / But I'll try to explain the best I can.

Bomb the Music Industry! shirt - LeftBomb the Music Industry! shirt - FrontBomb the Music Industry! shirt - Right
Materials: Marks-A-Lot
Red Sharpie

This was a shirt I'd made a long time ago for the excellent ska/punk/ridiculous band, Bomb the Music Industry!. I added the dollar and cent signs today for the mod. The awesome thing about this band is, it's a donation-based band. They don't sell merch, and give away their albums for free. They ask for donations on their website, and recently made the pledge to make every show all ages and $10. But, if you bring a shirt to them at a show, they will spray it. Which brings me to my next item...

Bomb the Music Industry! show shirt - FrontBomb the Music Industry! show shirt - Back
Materials: Spraypaint
This is from the 2009 tour. Me and a friend went to the show and it was worth wayyyy more than $10. Then afterwords the bassist Sean(I think?) sprayed this shirt and I added the back "All Shows All Ages $10" today. Favorite quote from that night: "Why would you give me this shirt? This is a nice shirt and you want me to ruin it."

Blaspheme shirt - Before modBlaspheme shirt - After mod
Materials: Spraypaint
Stencil (semi-circle)
This is an actual before/after. The Xs came out like shit, but I really like how the drips came out.

I personally believe that making something new out of old clothes is something everyone can and should do. Coming back to a piece and evolving its statement is something that is special and enjoyable. Mixing the old and the new, the vintage with the modern ideas.

But what do I know. I'm just some schmuck with a spraypaint can.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee Review

Now, I was skeptical when I saw the ads for VIA, because: a. I don't buy Starbucks often, I just use a french press and b. well... I use a french press. But I figured, why not. It's free, I'll try a cup. So I skated down to the Starbucks on Mill Avenue and got a sample of their medium Columbian blend.

Um, yeah, not what I expected. It was delicious. The trademark Starbucks taste, the sediment left in the bottom of the cup... Not what I expected out of a type of coffee that is usually looked upon with disdain. If I ever find myself strapped for time, but needing a little pick-me-up, definitely picking up some VIA.

Prices are (as I remember): 3-Pack $3.99    or   12-Pack 9.95

Friday, October 2, 2009

Piece2 - Post-Consumerism (or trash-tech)

Every time I take out the trash, I wonder, "Have I really taken all the use out of the things I am discarding?"

Native Americans used to use all of the parts of the buffalo even after the primary use, the consumption of meat. So, when I come across a problem in my life or workspace, I attempt to solve it using post-consumerist methods, or trash-tech as I may start referring to it. Here are a few examples of things I've made that cost me no additional dollars other than the product itself.

First, the already posted, newspaper iPod case.

Made out of a coffee cup sleeve, newspaper, and logos from coffee cups as accents. It does have bulk, which isn't a problem, because I appreciate that in a device strangely enough.

A related item, is another use for coffee sleeves, a cable organizer . This organizer came from the problem of my power cable being pulled down on about a 45 degree angle. So I stapled each end to keep the cable in and tada! No risk of a fraying cable end.

This next item is actually an interpretation of a Lifehacker article, but made out of a Panda Express cup and stuck to the desk with double-sided tape. No real reason for Panda Express, just something that was hanging around.

Another cable organizer made out of an Airborne container. Probably more useful with smaller cords, but yeah.

Also, using paper towel tubes work as multi-cable organizers or single cable organizers.

This concludes my little exhibition of junk. Hope you get inspired. Or something. Actual Piece-A-Week should come tomorrow maybe? We'll see.