Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mad Men

I've been watching Mad Men, A new show on AMC about ad writers in the 1960s. Only two episodes into the series and I love it. It follows two characters in a major ad agency, one a rising star in middle management (played by Jon Hamm), the other his secretary, a naive girl just starting out in the field (played by Elizabeth Moss). The show seems to focus on the fucked up sexual dynamics of the middle classes at the time. It takes place at the moment before feminism began to finally push it's way into the mainstream. The main characters all play into the sexual roles society expects them to play, but all show a clear dissatisfaction with how it's working. The series is just starting, and shows glimmers of other social critiques of 60's society. It seems, if anything, a series about how much better society is now then it was back then. It focuses on things characters say and do and allow that would never fly today. With out mentioning modern times, we still automatically make the comparison. A child with a dry cleaning plastic bag over her head "playing space man" elicits shocked giggles at the sight of something the media has terrified us into never allowing. A gynecologist giving a woman a prescription for birth control pills and telling her that if he suspects that she is abusing them and "whoring" herself out, he'll revoke it, causes shock and outrage. A woman with obvious neurological problems is told nothing is wrong and sent to a therapist. The show pays homage to the social advancements of the last thirty years not by mentioning them, but by clearly demonstrating where we were before they came. It is both shocking and beautiful even to a cynic such as myself.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

The bloop

Better quality version is here.
I'm excited for this film. Rumors are that it might be a Lovecraftian horror/Cthulu epic, but I don't know where that's coming from.

Tyler sent me this link which led me to 1/18/08. The bloop. Fun! Check out the realtime sound here.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I recently Buzzed my head. Tonight I went to the Yacht Club (a local IC bar with mostly terrible music but cheap drinks and people I know) and was twice asked if I was Andrew Juhl, the sexist asshole who writes "The Ledge (an unfunny column in one of the worst newspapers I've ever had my hands on). I somehow found this more offensive then when a coworker told me I looked like the webmaster for the Aryan Nation. Apparently buzzed hair isn't a good look for me.

Being the worst part of one of the worst newspapers ever is no mean feat. If you aren't familiar with how talentless and horrible Andrew Johl is, here is a sample of his latest ledge. Not his worst, just his latest in his string of atrocities against taste.

Bad pick-up lines actually used on women in Iowa City bars
by Andrew Juhl

• Hey! You look just like my next ex-girlfriend.

• Tell you what: I’ll flip a coin. Heads, you have to sleep with me; tails, I have to sleep with you.

• Roses are red, violets are blue. I like peanut butter, let’s [have sex].

• Excuse me, but are you a lesbian? (No.) Well, what a coincidence: neither am I.

• Other than making men drop to their knees and thank God for being men, what do you do for living?

• Hi. I’m sterile.

• For a second, I was confused; it’s midnight, but the sun was out. Then I realized: It’s just your smile.

• Your face or mine?

• Wanna go halvesies on a bastard child?

• Mind if I put my twinkie in your ho-ho?

• I guarantee you an orgasm or your money back.

• Hey, baby, my car and my chest are both waxed. Can I offer you a ride on either?

• If we go home together, I promise that you won’t regret it in the morning; I sleep until 1 (p.m.).

• I’m just transferred here from [smelly Big 12 university], and I don’t know my way around. Could you please give me directions to your place?

• Want to make a quick $20?


Sunday, June 10, 2007

woo for trailers


Sunday, April 08, 2007


Here's a fantastic short story by one of my favorite authors, Cory Doctorow. Read it.

"God. God. The person was so old, saurian and slow, nearly 300, an original revolutionary from the dawn of the Bitchun Society. Just a kid, then, rushing the barricades, destroying the churches, putting on a homemade police uniform and forming the first ad-hoc police force. Boldly walking out of a shop with an armload of groceries, not paying a cent, shouting jauntily over his shoulder to "Charge it up to the ol' Whuffie, all right?"

What a time! Society in hybrid, halfway Bitchun. The religious ones eschewing backup, dying without any hope of recovery, entrusting their souls to Heaven instead of a force-grown clone that would accept an upload of their backup when the time came. People actually dying, dying in such number that there were whole industries built around them: gravediggers and funeral directors in quiet suits! People refusing free energy, limitless food, immortality.

And the Bitchun Society outwaited them. They died one at a time, and the revolutionaries were glad to see them go, each one was one less dissenter, until all that remained was the reputation economy, the almighty Whuffie Point, and a surfeit of everything except space."


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

About a lot of people I know and respect

A Forward: This may seem corny, but understand that this is coming from my, the cynical scum-bag who despises everything cheesy.

I know nobody is perfect. Well sort of. I don't even know what perfection is. It's a cliche but our imperfections do make us who we are. I know I'm kind of an asshole sometimes. I know I'm sometimes mean to friends. But you need to know, if you haven't already been able to tell from my incredibly judgmental ways, I have high standards and if I show an interest in hanging out with you, I like you. You have passed my subconscious testing ground. You are a decent human being.

I don't mean to imply that someone should be honored for the opportunity to hang out with me. I'm not so egotistical as to think I am anything special. I am as flawed as as the next person. If anything, my pickiness is one of my major imperfections. The point of this isn't that I like you. It's that you should like you.

I like smart people. I haven't really figured out what this means. I've discovered that amount of education seems to have no bearing on how intelligent a person is. I've met people, who, at first meeting, seem vapid and dumb, but after extensive conversation seem to have a firm grasp on reality and common sense. Generally my initial impression is based off of a stereotype: Frat-boy, Sorority slut, Hipster, Punk, Goth, Hippy, Nerd. Or it's based off of the vocabularly they use. A person who doesn't use complex words must be stupid, according to whatever part of my mind decides first impressions. Experience however tells me that intelligence has nothing to with that. School teaches information, not smarts. Intelligence hasn't anything to do with experiences either, at least not directly. It's more to do with how a person understands their experiences. It has something to do with a person's though process rather then their exact thoughts. Like I said earlier, I haven't really figured it out yet.

Being smart helps a lot in life. But it isn't a key to success, nor is it even a necessity. Their is a price to a mind that works. The problem is that smart people think a lot. I like to think I'm intelligent. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do it too. And thinking a lot leads to thinking about things that aren't important or relevant. It leads to thinking too much. It leads to worrying about things that shouldn't provoke worry. And nothing is more present in our minds and more prone to inspection and worry then ourselves.

I hear and see and sense things in friends over and over that say outright, or merely imply that they doubt their own quality. Someone will kid-on-the-square about how unattractive they are, without actually being unattractive. Someone will talk about being dumber then someone else they perceive as being more intelligent for all the wrong reasons. Someone will latch onto a stereotype of their race or sex in an attempt to fit in or gain attention when that stereotype isn't who they are or want to be. Over and over again I see friends in emotional pain, mild or serious. Over and over again I see them dislike and disrespect themselves. Over and over again, I see nothing wrong with them except for their own self esteem.

I understand disliking yourself. I understand the feeling of insufficiency. I spent my entire public school career and almost two and a half years of college before dropping out thinking I was worthless because I couldn't make myself be interested in classes. I lied to myself and my family about my academic interests purely because I didn't know what other interests I could fall back on. I said I wanted to be a teacher. Not because I wanted to teach, but because the things I was interested in didn't have any other professional field to fall into. I told myself and others I wanted to continue on through grad school only because I didn't know what else to do with my life besides pass tests. I haven't found what I want to do. I haven't found my niche. I spent my social life through school either fighting people I thought meant me harm, or hiding from people in order to avoid those who might mean me harm. I wasn't happy. My last months of college before dropping out were spent without the willpower to even leave my bed. I found myself unwilling to deal with the outside world, or even the necessities of life. I had convinced myself I was worthless, so I became worthless. I stopped attending classes. I wouldn't look for a job. I wouldn't read my books. I wouldn't do my assignments. I couldn't even pass the tests that used to be so easy for me anymore. I dropped out of school. It was that or fail out.

Working full time dropped my into a situation where I was forced to be social. I had to talk to my coworkers for work, and that naturally turned into more casual conversation, which turned into friendships. I realized that all I had to do was talk to people honestly and they would like me. The only people who didn't like me were people I didn't like. My fear of social situations was caused, not by the sinister intentions of others, but rather by myself and my own fear of social interaction. I failed at life because I didn't trust myself enough to succeed at it.

Now I'm not rich, and life isn't always easy. But I'm happy. Happier then I have ever been. I have my moments of doubt. I have my spasms of depression, but nothing has ever been as terrible as it was when I didn't love myself. And I see others around me destroying themselves with doubt and self pity. So if you know me. If I am willing to hold a conversation with you. Then I like you. You are talking to me. I am talking to you. You are capable of thinking. If you are experiencing despair. If you aren't succeeding where you want to be, the only thing that could possibly be wrong with you is that you don't love yourself enough.

Fuck your faith, fuck your family, fuck your friends, fuck your fellow human beings. None of your actions or feelings for them are relevant if you can't even take the time to see the things that are wonderful about yourself. You're beautiful, you're smart, you're interesting. You have to learn to help yourself before you can help those around you. You have to learn to love yourself before you can love those around you.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Brandon's first firing...

I believe I've been fired from the Hamburg Inn today. I was quitting my regular schedule in a few weeks anyway. But after writing a note on a note to employees at work yesterday (something that is done fairly often but has, as of recently, become a threat to business security according to the 'Burgs not so bright owner) I was asked about my attitude towards the job and I decided to explain to him that, well I liked the restaurant and I liked my coworkers, I had absolutely no respect for him and thought he wasn't smart enough to run a business. This came with numerous examples of his jackassery.

I believe the lesson learned here is telling the owner what you honestly think of him can shorten your time working for him.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Declaration of Independance of Cyberspace, February 8, 1996
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

by John Perry Barlow

Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.

Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.

You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.

You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don't exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract . This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.

Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.

We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.

We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.

Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.

Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge. Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.

In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.

You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.

In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.

Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.

These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.

We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.

Davos, Switzerland

February 8, 1996

Hi! A reintroduction.

My name is Brandon. I am sitting at my computer at 1pm eating cold pizza and drinking Mountain Dew. This is my breakfast. On finds that they run out of food at home while working two different restaurant jobs that supply free meals.

I spend the majority of my life working or complaining about working. I am on a 1 month drinking hiatus which leaves me bored and restless and unsure of what to do after work instead of going out. I am quitting dishing at the Hamburg Inn at the end of this month and saved money from the last couple months of 60 hours a week, and the money I save from not drinking are going to help keep me afloat while working only one job. I was supposed to get my vacation money with my last pay check at the Hamburg but my boss apparently forgot as he is a royal asshole and a large reason why I am dumping my dishing shifts there.

I listen to music. Who doesn't? I find funk and hip-hop absorbing a lot of my time with a little psychedelia and dance music mixed in for variety. I recently obtained some tracks by a 70's band called Amnesty. They have a re-release of their album coming out at the end of this month through Now Again records (a branch off of Stones Throw). It's fun jazzy funk full of vocal harmonies and meandering smooth instrumentals. It is awesome. I've also been listening to another 70's funk band called Black Merda that features political funk with psychedelic Hendrix style guitar accompaniment.

I've also been on a Alice Coltrane kick recently since her death last month. A friend threw some Joe Henderson tracks she was featured on at me as well as her album "Ptah the El Daoud." And the track Caballeros off of her album "Eternity" is amazing.

60's German psychedelic noise band Can has reentered my mp3 players play lists as well.Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi are awesome and crazy. These guys were making sounds that wouldn't enter popular music until the late 90's.

A recent barrage of Stones Throw compilations, from "Chrome Children" volume 2 to the Stones Throw 10 years release has absorbed my hip-hop habits. Oh No's Exodus into Unheard Rhythms and The Disrupt has also absorbed my attention. When I first heard that Madlib's brother had his own music on stones Throw, I worried it was going to be riding on the coattails of his sibling. Boy was I wrong. Oh No's beats in no way resemble the out there surreal beats of Madlib. Oh No has feel good old school bounce in his beats whereas Madlib is all jazz and free jazz backing his efforts. Considering that their father is soul singer Otis Jackson, I'm convinced there must be something in this family's genes or their drinking water that makes musicians. It's amazing.


Friday, January 19, 2007

DJ Drama and Don Cannon arrested for making mixtapes

And an official RIAA report last May says, "As part of its report, the RIAA for the first time has identified 12 "priority" cities as part of its nationwide physical goods piracy assessment. These cities – Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, San Diego, and San Francisco – are all "hot spots" of music theft, with significant piracy problems from the manufacturer level all the way down to the point of retail sale. The RIAA will step up law enforcement training and commit additional investigative resources in all of these cities in the coming year."

The RIAA is beginning it's crackdown on self promotion and any sort of examples or paths to musical success that don't require the Recording Industry's permission. And the government has agreed to give them the authoritative power to do so. The official claim is that they were selling counterfeit CD's. That it threatened the major label's ability to make a profit off of their artist's music. In reality Mixtapes are a good promotional tool and can increase sales. The fear here isn't that they will lose sales directly to mixtape sales. It is that DJ's with the ability to release mixtapes are a clear demonstration of why the Recording industry is obsolete and unnecessary. By cracking down on whatever unaffilliated artist and promoters of artists that they can. they hope to stem the tide of independant musicians who are finding ways to succeed without signing their work they put their heart and soul into, to a record company.

Regardless of whether you are a fan of hip-hop or DJ Drama and Don Cannon, this is an issue you should care about. There are going to be more arrests and each person arrested, each musician, music dealer, producer, DJ, promoter, or whoever else they arrest needs to be put in the limelight. Every person the Recording industry hurts needs to be a martyr figure in the eyes of the media. Everytime the RIAA makes a move like this, it needs to be turned into a press loss for them. The only way to stop this is to get the  masses to care.  Tell your friends, enemies, family, coworkers, and acquintances about this. Post it on your blogs, your Myspaces, your Facebooks. Plaster bulliten boards, Spray it in graffiti, write it on bathroom walls. Free DJ Drama and Don Cannon. Fuck the RIAA.