Feel the Music [synesthesia]
February 17, 2009, 2:44 am
Filed under: airships, design won't save the world you pretentious fuck, zombies | Tags: , ,

So apparently in Canada they make machines that basically enhance synesthesia-like experiences. It looks pretty cool in this picture, and I really want to know what it’s like to play a keyboard and feel the results instead of hearing them…

I can’t say I agree with Paste‘s phrasing in their explanation of what the “Emotichair” does…

This chair, developed by Ryerson University’s Centre for Learning Technologies in Toronto, is a full-body vibrator that reacts to the frequency of individual notes.

… but I guess a full-body vibrator is cool in and of itself.

Anyway, it seems that there will be a concert for deaf folks, all of whom get to sit in these nifty contraptions and rock out to Fox Jaws, The Dufraines and Hollywood Swank, along with some other bands.


Everybody Move to China
January 15, 2009, 12:38 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

srsly. do. it. All I keep hearing is that the economy sucks in America. Why don’t you all come here? Let’s hang out! China owns America’s foreign debt. Come over here and help get it back.

That said, I’m looking for an intern. It’s an unpaid position, but you’ll get really good free food and drinks at least a few times a week (and the rest of the food is cheap). You can sleep on the couch. I promised Hayk hugs. You can all have hugs (unlike interest rates and mortgage stuff that I don’t understand, a surplus of hugs does not devalue the hug economy).


  • Understands the word Internet (see also: tubes, interweb, etc.)
  • Can write
  • Can walk

Multitasking not required, but if you can walk and chew gum at the same time, then you’re in.

Other helpful skillz (not required):

  • Internet skillz
  • Language skills
  • Adobe CS skillz
  • nunchuck skillz (sorry, I had to do it)

If you apply for this position, then you will be hired. I guarantee plenty of time to also find a “real job” that pays you loads of money while you’re an intern. I will also make you sexy business cards that you can use for “networking.” When the company hits it big, interns will get to share the bounty (that’s how the pirates did it, and that’s how we’re doing it).

Note that the position is only unpaid because no one is making money on this project yet. So, technically, you won’t be an intern so much as a founding partner.

Do you know how much the founding partners of Google are worth?
Neither do I. But I’m sure it’s a lot.

Also note: creative people are in high demand here. Leon Leon Leon could make money money money djing in clubs. Look, Orion! could go on tour. There is freelance writing and photography work galore. Graphic design? You betcha. And what’s more: when all else fails, you can make a FORUNE teaching English – the easiest job in the world.

All this for the low low price of one plane ticket to China. There are even direct flights from New York. And there’s a crazy time difference, so you get to travel to the future (true story: when I post something on facebook, it says that I did it “tomorrow”).

Beardsley: there are French people here too. You could even get a job speaking French all day. It’s practically Paris, except with fewer berets and baguettes.

Howe: Every great writer did his finest work in exile. Think Joyce, Hemingway, Forster… you know, ALL of them.

Zam: music.

HayK: Art. Artists. Cheap art supplies. umm… other stuff.

Wool: ditto. Also, like I said, plenty of opportunities to be a photographer.

Ricky: More opportunities to be witty on the Internet and less snow to get you down when you’re driving.

Everyone else: this post is getting too long. Move to Beijing for a while! It’ll be fun!

December 25, 2008, 7:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

In what will certainly be noted as a completely useless expenditure of grant money, scientists in Australia recently proved . . . absolutely nothing.

Well, the did prove that bees on coke act just like people on coke. They dance more absurdly and they like to talk a lot. They also get really excited about doing their work, and insist that everyone else pay attention to them. Luckily, the scientists were watching.

One researcher remarked, “The poor little buggers had to drink cocaine for a week. Then we just stopped it dead and we gave them a learning test.” We’re pretty sure his implication was that the “little buggers” were “poor” because he gave them a test right after they had been partying. Major soil.

I originally found this item in the same newspaper section that ran stories about lenience for poverty-stricken drug dealers and new government sponsored detox programs. I’m still trying to figure out how getting bees high helps get people clean.

December 15, 2008, 3:47 am
Filed under: help, New York, photos

Okay, here’s a new use for a blog:

I need some help from a New Yorker with a camera, and I know that there are a few of you who write for or read this blog.

If you happen to find yourself on 5th Ave this week, in the area of high-end 5th Ave shopping and holding a camera, could you take a few pictures and send them to me at the highest resolution possible. Seriously, I only need like 3 or 4 shots.

You will find yourself published in China and definitely with a photo credit. And I promise to buy you like 10 drinks when I see you in New York (100 drinks if I see you in Beijing).

Please help if you can!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (!)

High (Ancient) Times
December 4, 2008, 9:18 am
Filed under: china, drugs, old stuff, science

Bringing you more news from China (by way of MSNBC): Turns out people have been smoking pot for a really long time. Based on this picture, though, you would think that this scientist picked up his sample from the dealer down the street.

[Caption: When rolling 2700-year-old joints, you have to be very careful.]

The article does not go so far as to say whether the stash is “dank” or “sticky,” but does note that much of it is still “green.” However, one researcher does insist that it is no longer potent (technicians, we have to imagine, were lining up to run that experiment).

For the complete story, click here.

Chinese Democracy
November 23, 2008, 5:37 am
Filed under: awesome, china, democracy, guns, ROCKN'ROLL, roses

For 15 years the best thing about Axl Rose’s pet project was the name. The ambivalence created by titling a mysterious album Chinese Democracy was priceless. If someone asked, “What do you think of Chinese Democracy?” You could answer in a number of ways that would be equally applicable to the political system and the hard rock enigma. For example:

Asker: What do you think of Chinese Democracy?
Answerer: Oh, I don’t think it will ever happen.

Asker: What do you think of Chinese Democracy?
Answerer: I think it would be a mistake.

Asker: What do you think of Chinese Democracy?
Answerer: I’m not sure if the people are ready for it.

Asker: What do you think of Chinese Democracy?
Answerer: In a country with a population of 1.3 billion people a democratic political system built on a Western model of checks and balances could create chaos and actually negatively impact social and economic growth.

That said, we all knew that Axl chose the name for aesthetics and irony more than for the sake of political convictions. After all, he’s a rock star whose claim to fame is 1980s excess and obsessive tendencies. If the man has any strong feelings about foreign policy, they are probably more focused on trade arrangements with Colombia than on human rights violations and freedom of speech in China. In a past interview, Axl himself admitted, “It could also just be like an ironic statement. I don’t know, I just like the sound of it.”

Regardless of the motive behind the name, and the motive behind the album, it’s finally here. I’ve been listening to the title track for the last couple days, and I just finished listening to the entire album. First of all, I have to say that this is an impressively coherent effort for something that has taken seventeen years and at least five guitarists to produce. You can’t just listen to the single, you MUST listen to the album.

That said, there are a couple of standout tracks. The first track, “Chinese Democracy” is like an announcement: Rock is back, deal with it. The guitar stabs into an incomprehensible sea of babbling Chinese as if Axl is telling everyone to shut up and listen to what he has to say. I agree with other critics in saying that it’s not exactly clear what the message of the lyrics is: it’s something between a personal meta-narrative about the process of making the album and typical rock and roll drivel about love lost and found. He does make a few references to China, but it’s unclear what the point is.

Clocking in at 6:41, “There Was a Time” is the first track that made me think, “Damn, now there’s a rock song.” There are a lot of people out there who are saying that without Slash it isn’t a GNR album. I say they’re wrong. This is as much Guns N Roses as “Sweet Child Of Mine” and “Welcome to the Jungle.” And it’s a hell of a lot better than any of the trash that Slash released with Velvet Revolver.

“Catcher in the Rye” is a track that’s going to get a lot of attention. Most of the attention will come from the title and analysis of how Axl relates to Holden Caulfield. Personally, I have always found the superficial reading of Catcher in the Rye as a tale of adolescent angst to be the most convincing. Given the frustration that must have either come from or gone into the 17 year production of this album, I think the connection here is pretty obvious. It’s a good song, but not the strongest on the record.

There are also a number of piano propelled tracks that conjur up allusions to “November Rain.” If you listen to this album from start to finish and still think that the lack of Slash diminishes the GNR characteristics of this album, then you are either not listening or you are in denial. If nothing else, tell yourself that Axl set out to prove he could make a GNR album without the iconic guitarist in the top hat.

I prefer a different analysis though. I think that the album is stronger without Slash. While Slash is a great guitar player, he has a very distinctive style of amped up meandering blues-rock. I love to listen to it. As Regina Spektor says of “November Rain,” “that solo’s awfully long, but it’s a great refrain.” He played great sing-along solos, but you always had something of an idea of what they would sound like. On this album, Axl uses riffs and solos from at least five different guitarists recorded over the course of almost two decades. It’s amazing that he put together such a tight album from such a mess, and one of the best things it has to offer is diversity in guitar playing.

On the whole, I am very impressed by Chinese Democracy. While I will admit up front that I was predisposed to think positively of it because I found the hype highly enjoyable, I will also say that I was originally in the “it’s not GNR without Slash” camp. Color me converted. This album rocks, and definitely counts as Guns N Roses. In the spirit of the title, I say grab this album however you can – legally or otherwise. No matter what, definitely go out and listen to it.

Then send copies to your friends in China, where it’s officially banned. Maybe they’ll get the right idea (the right idea: Rock and Roll is fing sweet, and censorship is bullshit).

I’m an Adult!
November 21, 2008, 5:09 am
Filed under: growing up, treats, window, winter, work

… and I just ate ice cream for both breakfast* and lunch. Guess what I’m having for dinner!

*The breakfast ice cream was actually whiskey flavored, so I guess that makes me feel a little more grown up.