Friday, November 21, 2008

Web Based Tunable Ham Radio Reciever - Listen to the world.

I love Ham Radio. I had a license to transmit Morse code back in my scouting years (only, the early 1980's, honest.) The memories of the nights I spent tuning, ever-so-lightly, the WWII aircraft receiver across bands and bands of chaotic jamming, unknown languages and frantic dots and dashes are some of my fondest. My room lit by the radio's single lightbulb (painted half read so as not to illuminate the cabin of the airplane to which it originally belonged). Warmth flooding off the tube-driven voltage converter.

Albeit stripped of most of these tactile elements that made DXing really great, a tunable online shortwave receiver is available courtesy of the the amateur radio club ETGD at the University of Twente.

Best listened to late at night, in a dimly lit room via headphones. There's also an amazing book about the life of one OM called Hello World (previously).

Thanks Metafilter

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jim Backus Memorial Cocktail Napkin Museum

I've been collecting cocktail napkins for some time now.

The naive nudes, the hand-drawn typography and the absolute corn beneath my glass of rye make me yearn for simpler times and a stronger liver.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are more to follow, so subscribe to the feed for updates as they happen.

Pablo Valbuena: Augmented Spaces

Before clicking on the title link, hold onto your jaw and visit Today and Tomorrow's coverage of this installation. Be patient, it's worth it.

Real World Guitar Hero Riding A Bicycle

Fake or not, this is pretty cool. I'm hedging on fake, xmas is right around the corner and a viral video seems to be appropriate. I'll play along.

Thanks Sticksel and thanks Laughing Squid!

Wild Combination - Arthur Russel

The DVD for Wild Combination just became available yesterday. I'm pretty excited to see this film which up til this point has had very limited showings.

Arthur Russell was first and foremost an absolute perfectionist. His primary passions were his voice and his cello, but he forayed into many musical styles. People keep talking about the timelessness of his music and influence. It's not surprising that something so saturated and honed by one man's emotion should be timeless and beautiful. It's also not surprising that that immense attention, could cause someone to retreat deeply into themselves.

An Iowa farmboy; devoted Buddhist; and contemporary of David Byrne, Phillip Glass, Allen Ginsberg; Russell provided Sire Records with their first disco single in 1978. But, what really strike me are his minimal private pieces, just he and his cello, like Terrace of Unintelligibility :

YouTube video (part 1)

YouTube video (part 2)

There's a great interview with director Matt Wolf and the trailer clip over at Fecal Face

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Via Metafilter

Who is Bozo Texino?

The First Lady hates that we live so close to the railroad. She claims it is because of the noise. I think it's because she catches a twinkle of wanderlust in my eye every time the train whistle blows.

Who is Bozo Texino? is a sootily shot documentary about the grease crayon hobos who have been marking up boxcars for the past 50 years. In particular, film maker Bill Daniel's quest for the true identity of one of the most prolific artists, Bozo Texino.

Amazing Pyramid Home

This caught our eye as we were heading to The Grotto of Redemption last month. This is also just down the road from Britt Iowa, annual home of the National Hobo Convention. Imagine the amazing Logan's Run themed birthday one could have here.

Denotes Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Member Pyramid Home
(515) 987-7441 or (515) 771-3647

Very modern 5,500 square foot house locally known as the "Pyramid Home". 5 bedrooms (6 double/queen beds), 2 1/2 bathrooms. Lake view, AC, washer/dryer, attached garage, 2 grills and picnic table available. Formal dining room and living room with fireplace and surround sound, modern kitchen with dishwasher, microwave and large refrigerator (2nd refrigerator in garage). Kitchen is also equipped with plates, glassware, silverware and basic pots & pans. 3rd level of the home features multiple windows on all 4 walls and glass pyramid-like structure at the pinnacle of the ceiling. Public boat access and 200 foot dock nearby (call for status of dock). Weekly rental is $1,750 during summer months, with longer stays qualifying for discount. Off season rent negotiable.

Unemployment Haiku Weekly

My favorite blog about the state of the advertising industry. Laugh. Cry. But, whatever you do, don't hire them.

Matthew Bottkol
Todd Eisner

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hi-Fi Clips

Hi-Fi Money Clip

Repost: Phone Phreaks

Back in the day, a small but extremely diverse community of technophiles figured out how to hack into the worlds's network of pay phones in order to talk for free and hold international chat conferences. They were the original hackers and there stories are incredible. From Viet Nam vet, Captain Crunch's exploits with a cereal premium, to born blind, Joe Engressia - a.k.a "The Whistler" later Joy Bubbles, who telephonecast his platform of Eternal Childhood Spirituality daily, and a couple of guys named Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Interested in Phone Phreaking or not, these clicks, clacks and conversations are great background music to a day's typing at the computer.

Recordings of these pioneers' phone trips have been compiled HERE.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Pete Drake

Back in the mid '90s, I was living in Olympia Warshington. I would make frequent trips down to Centralia and Chehalis to hit the thrift shops and to visit Richart's Art Yard.

On one of these trips, I found a record called 50 Country and Western Hits. It was one of those half-assed Starday compilations of Nashville also-rans. I picked it up for my girlfriend at the time.

In all honesty, I never really scruitinzed at the album cover until I heard an amazing sound, a Framptonesque cover of the late Porter Waggoner's Satisfied Mind.

There on the cover were the standard country dandies in all of their early sixties Grand Ol Opry wannabe stylings; white Stetsons, bolo-ties, toothy smiles. Except one photo. It showed the profile of this balding, pallid, liver-lipped nobody wearing a paisley shirt. It was Pete Drake, the artist who 'sang' the amazing song.

Always wanting to assume that art is born from adversity, and trying to make sense of the soul wrenching truth meets Steven Hawking vocals, and not knowing Drake's background, I contrived my own history of Pete Drake.

In my mind, he was a young trachiotomy victim, who fell in love with the true country legends, but because of his ailment (pasty, liver-lipped, voice-box-removed) couldn't sing. So he picked the closest instrument to a human voice box (steel guitar) and rigged the open hole in his neck to a microphone wired in to the pickups on said steel guitar so he could sing.

I began collecting as much of his steel guitar work as possible. I have a lot. I love it more than Charlie Rich singing "Life Has It's Little Ups and Downs". And, that, my friends, is a lot.

So, long story short, through the back covers of his albums and a little poking around, I learned that Mr. Drake was not disabled. He originally played steel in The Sons of The Pioneers back in the '50s. He became a session musician for Nashville, picking up where legendary picker, Speedy West left off, sitting in on nearly every session requiring steel guitar from 1959 to roughly 1974. During much of his early career, he worked an early morning job delivering milk (his nickname was The Milkman).

Most of you not prone to overalls and bare feet (I pity you) can sample more of Pete Drake's work on Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline and George Harrison's All Things Must Pass.

Thanks for the video and coincidence, Boing Boing.

Absentee Mayor

So where have I been the last 6 months? Well, I've been ignoring my computer in. Yep, Life is sweet.

For more info on what I've been up to click here.

The End

The End
Originally uploaded by Dill Pixels
An amazing Fickr group collecting the many ways movies and tv present "The End".

For the Love of a Hat

Many of you who have camped with me, have commented on my former cap. One that was so greasy from my self-basting noggin that it remained moist through entire winters of hook hung disuse. I loved that hat. Yet . . . well . . . I willingly cast my trusty old chapeau, so full of my genetic material that it was more like a parasitic twin than an article of clothing, into a blazing funeral pyre after laying ownership to the magnificent cap pictured above.

It's a super old fitted cap of canvas wool and a little simulated rabbit with just a teasing edge of a manufacturers label stitched into its innards.

I'm not going to josh you about not knowing what this hat is really designed for. I know it's for the safety and style conscious deer hunter who wants to be safe in the woods and who also wants to look unlike a dufus while walking down the street.

However, I have dubbed this hat my drinking buddy for it serves an additional, more beneficial service, when perched upon my head at the local watering hole. Just a quick, upfront conversation and demonstration with the barkeep makes both of our jobs easier. He can be made instantly aware of my need for a cold one with out frequently asking and I can keep my machine gun pace of drinking up unmolested.

It's quite simple. My hat maintains it's placid green hue while I am sated, consuming a barley pop. But, once I fear that I may be getting a bit too close to the bottom of the bottle, the cap takes on an enraged, thirsty crimson color, alerting the barkeep that the fragile peace of my end of the bar is in jeopardy should I not find myself in posession of a replacement beer, tout de suite.

I love my new hat.

Ape Lincoln

An amazing costume from one of my cryptozoologically aroused friends here in Minneapolis, Rob Franks. Hearing him tell the story of this 30 year dream come true is incredible. You find yourself alongside a young franks sitting agape in a dark movie theater as simian hordes on horseback harvest feral humans. You share the immence teenage yen for thousands of dollars of Hollywood caliber prosthetics and makeup. You shudder with a full-grown Franks as he clicks the purchase button, closing the deal on an unbelievable $45 worth of foam and latex, that turn birng his dream into reality.

From Rob's Blog: Blogfoot

There you have it. I really enjoyed doing it, as "Planet of the Apes" has been an obsession of mine since I was a wee lad. And the pieces moved really well together - I was able to drink many beers easily (using a straw), and even managed to eat nachos and two corn dogs. And undergoing this whole process, which allowed me to accurately duplicate something that landed with a thud in my young brain and never left, cemented a certain thought in my head. And that thought is this:

The world has never been in a shittier state, but it has never been greater, either.

What I mean by that is: War, famine and strife seem to be our constant companions. Our economy is in the crapper. Weather systems grow increasingly more extreme, harsh and destructive. Greed runs rampant and colors our every move, and our government rushes to bail-out bankers who made stupid decisions of their own accord while the ranks of the homeless, unemployed and uninsured swell. And yet - I can click a button on my computer, and for a mere $45 someone will mail me a foam facial appliance of a chimpanzee that utilizes the same technology that somebody used to win an Academy Award with back in 1969. Amazing.

Getting in touch with your inner chimp from Blogfoot.

Ape Lincoln
on IMDB.

Rod Serling on Censorship

Via Metafilter