the listenerd

optimized for maximum incontinence

Month: June, 2009

Video: Guy drumming on ICE DRUMS

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more about "Video: Ice drummer from Hellacopters", posted with vodpod

See also: The making of this video.



The Absence of Everything: On Bootyclipse and Garfield Minus Garfield

One of the more well-worn ruts of my day job concerns the idea of context. We natter endlessly about why people make the decisions they do – and how that why changes depending on the context of their choices. People buy coffee in the morning for the ritual. They buy it in the afternoon because they’re bored. They buy it in the evening to be social. The situation shapes the decision, and it’s notable that in this brain-dead example (as in many scenarios), the actor and the outcome are the same each time, despite changing context.

One of the concepts those explorations of context eventually spawn is around something that’s been increasingly engaging my imagination – the changing importance of the idea of absence. Absence as I’ve been thinking about it, and as illustrated by a recent rash of online examples, actually often accentuates the centrality of context to narratives – traditional media narratives, brand narratives, the flow of your home, your expectations about how to interact with people, with pornography, with a website, with whatever – by removing all but the context.

Online, the subtraction of key actors (or a radical shift in a narrative’s perspective) has taken a few notable forms. The most prominent recent manifestation, of course, is Garfield Minus Garfield – the book and comic series that takes the cat out of the comic, leaving the pathos-inducing Mr. Arbuckle staring into space by himself.

Add to that awesome example, though, a litany of other high-concept subtractions:

*Dennis Knopf’s Bootyclipse (booty shaking videos in which the booty shakers have been removed)
*Waxy’s Meme Scenery (YouTube faves without the main characters)
*Unphotographable (a site of descriptions of pictures never taken)
*John Haddock’s Porn Sans People (porn! sans people!)
*And these Danish porn interiors of the 1970s (a focus on the furniture rather than the fucking)

Though online occurrences of conspicuous absence abound, the digital realm isn’t the only place to find what’s not there. Again for the day job, one of the observations we wrote about months ago was the Debranded home – a company that gives homeowners the chance to remove branding from everyday objects – soaps, shampoo, etc. It’s an exercise in deconsumption, surely – a way to buy cheap goods and transfer them into bottles that don’t look ugly. But it’s also a way to change the story of one’s home by taking away, by creating a conspicuous absence. (Similarly prosaic, Product Displacement is a blog that tracks the removal of product brands in movies and television shows.)

It may seem difficult to extrapolate anything useful from bootyless booty videos, missing cats and consumers choosing to debrand their lives, but absence is also at the root of the “local assignment” I noted on this blog the other day. (It seems like in a world of opinions and assholes, what isn’t here is still one of the great untapped opportunities for online conversation.)

So is Garfield Minus Garfield really an example of “late capitalist anxiety,” as Mother Jones said? Huh. Maybe. And maybe it’s some other things, too. Maybe it’s a simple manifestation of the fact that in a world of extreme exposition, silence and subtraction are becoming ever better ways to tell a story. Or maybe it’s an acknowledgement of a rising primacy of context over individual actor.

Reading over this, it’s obvious that I’ve failed to completely articulate why these ideas interest me, how they connect or even what they are (not to mention what insights one may draw from them). And that’s actually fine – and even fitting. Call me an idiot, but I rarely write what I know anymore. I more often make the effort when I don’t know – or when I know that something should be there, but isn’t. At least, not yet.

(**If anyone has any other examples of conspicuous absence, I’d love to hear them.)

Links for 6.7.09: Written in the style of a Larry King USA Today column

Saw “Synechdoche, New York” this weekend. Was it just me, or did that movie make you feel like you’d dropped a twelve different kinds of acid? Still, that Hope Davis – what a knockout … Have you seen that Star Wars film? With Harrison Ford? (My wife is telling me it was a trilogy.) Then you’ll love Hot Chicks with Stormtroopers. (Some of them didn’t seem all that hot to me.) [spincity] … In 65 years in the business world, I’ve learned one thing: Never wear a beard to an interview. Regarldless, here’s a beardfolio. [notcot] … I’m reading Walter Isaacson‘s biography of Ben Franklin right now. Man, was that guy pithy! … Everybody hates an uncomfortable interview. Unless it’s really uncomfortable – like these 6 awful interviews with musicians [mental floss] … Singer-songwriter Jeff Hanson died of a freak fall in his St. Paul on Friday. He was 31. Mortality fucking sucks … You know that thing that Oprah does? Twittering? Tweetering? Anyway, I’ve decided that this is my favorite tweet ever … Speaking of Twitter, Stephen Johnson wrote a much-linked-to Time magazine article about how Twitter will change the world … Mae West is a LOCK for a Tony Award tonight! … I swear I’ll never do this again.

Interactive: aM laboratory

Another musical thing to play with – Andre Michelle’s Tone Matrix. The more you click, the more entranced you will become. [travors]

Video: Beatboxing + flute = fluteboxing

This video of Nathan Lee performing is a few years old, but I had not heard of fluteboxing before.


Links for 6.5.09: The world, Goths, dance parties, Twitterbelle, seed bombs…

*Economics: This brief history of the world over the past 200 years – in vizzie form narrated with an awesome accent – is simply wonderful. I strongly urge you to watch the video if you are a human being with a mind or know any human beings with minds. [stubbs or reed]

*Books: The next major book deal from the world of the internet is upon us: Goths in Hot Weather. Did the creators of this blog not know about Tumblr? [urlesque]

*Politics: Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic is running for county clerk of Wahkiakum County in Washington. County clerk. Heh. Geek.

*Offices: Check out David Byrne’s office on this video slide show. [psfk]

*Update: Friend of the listenerd music blog Spin City KIND OF almost knows that dude who started the Sasquatch dance party that we (and everybody else) blogged a few days ago.

*Podcasts: Friend of the listenerd music blog The Blisslist did a playlist / interview on Breakthru Radio. You can listen to the mp3 of the show here. Iron and Wine’s Sam Beam was not on it.

*Gardening: Horticulture jammers gets a new weapon – the seed bomb. Have I mentioned that I like to activate the nitrogen in compost heaps by urinating in them? Remind me not to. It would be embarrassing. [eyeteeth]

*Twitter: Twitter user @poeks has created Twitterbelle, a useful tool for seeing whom you have most favorited. The site’s especially handy for serial favoriters, such as those who frequent Favrd. If you don’t use Favrd, you should probably consider it. Unless you are bad at twittering.

*Local assignment: This is for someone at Heavy Table, or any other locals smarter than I am (the list as long and distinguished).

I’d like for someone to put Twin Cities neighborhoods on a Google map. Then I’d like residents of those neighborhoods to be able to indicate what restaurant or food experience they feel they’re lacking in their area. Then I’d like other users to be able to agree or disagree with them, or suggest alternatives.

For instance: I live in Como Park. There’s no pizza here. My neighbors all acknowledge the lack of pizza. Some have suggested alternatives. Some are OK, none are perfect (or even, really, that great). This idea properly executed would serve as both a nice recommendation engine for residents by micro-region and also a VERY useful tool for companies or marketers looking for food-related needs gaps. (Let me stress: This is not REVIEWS – which many sites have. The emphasis is flipped and consumer need is at the forefront. This is important. Or something. Thank you.)

Yes, I just said needs gaps. If there’s something out there already that fulfills these purposes, I apologize for my ignorance and would use it.

Video: The Game Boy as an instrument


Video: MGMT finally releases “Kids” video


Links for 6.3.09: Sexy uglies, wild dog commuters, Seeking Seekins, pudding…

*Cork: Is it art or is it cork? This reminds me, I have several cases of wine that need drinking. Boxed wine. But I will be wearing cork pants while drinking it. [bits]

*Twitter: Two interesting tidbits from this post from Economix (a highly recommended blog from the NYT) about Twitter – 1) The median number of lifetime tweets among all twitter users is one. 2) Men are 15% more likely to follow men on twitter than they are to follow women. Also, Kirstie Alley may have found her medium. I don’t know what that says about her. Or the medium.

*Music covers: The 20 personality traits of record and CD covers. They’re not exactly personality traits, but they do point out some of the form’s shorthand. [presurfer]

*Trailers: The video for the Beatles Rock Band game is lovely and amazing and animated and lovely and nice. Bollocks.

*Food: Ice cream that turns into pudding? What will they think of next? Beer that turns into martinis? OMG, BRB. [lowindustrial]

*Humans: Nerve puts out its own list of the 20 Sexiest Ugly People. Biz Markie at #15 is an inspired choice. Additionally, and for the record, my looks have been compared to John Malkovich’s on a number of occasions. And now I’m crying. Crying into my cupped hands. While typing this. [urlesque]

*States: In Nate Silver’s (is he Sir Nate Silver yet?) most recent article for Esquire, he points out that Minnesotans are happier with the state they live in than Hawaiians, and are near the top of the happy meter among states. (The article doesn’t appear to be online yet.)

*Local: I saw Minneapolis artist and man-about-town Scott Seekins yesterday and promptly reported him to SeekingSeekins. (I used the name JOSH in this report and may have exaggerated some portions of the encounter/sighting. Don’t hate me because I’m stupid. Or because I look like John Malkovich.)

*Commuting: Wild dogs take the commuter trains from the suburbs to the city in Russia. Fucking freeloaders. [treehugger]

*Local: A short story in the fiction issue of the New Yorker by Jonathan Franzen takes place in our beloved St. Paul. This local blogger was contacted by a NYer fact checker about the story.

Also, Heavy Table names the city’s two worst cups of coffee. AND I AGREE. (Also, Nina’s has pretty nasty coffee. Java Train also pours a terrible cup. Great train, though.) [brauer]

*AN OPEN LETTER TO HARPER’S: Open up your RSS feed. Make your page somewhat readable. Good content; please let me see access it without such pain. Thank you.

Video: Reservoir Frogs

A scene from “Reservoir Dogs” enacted with Muppets.


Video: Expialidocious – made from sounds from Mary Poppins

I love it.


Video: Frightened Rabbit’s “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”

In front of a hedge, from Off the Beaten Tracks. [so much silence]

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Links for 6.1.09: British pop, boobs, vizzies, skulls, chocolate inhalers…

*Lists: The top 100 British pop songs – hahahaahahahhhhaahhhhhhahaahahahh. Ugh. [pop candy]

*Double-serving site: Explosions and boobs. Twice as nice as single-serving sites? [buzzfeed]

*Vizzies: GOOD magazine has put up its infographics on Flickr. [kottke]

*Prose: Whatever you think of the message, the Boner Party dude can write. He is onto something. “we are stupid in exactly the same way that Tom from Tom & Jerry is “stupid” (he’s the cat, you idiot). we know what we want but have no idea how to get it. silly traps? fun and games? wine and dine another intermittent character to make her jealous enough to come over there and ruin your date? that’s exactly what its fucking like and you know it.”

*Head: If you like looking at skulls, check out Jim’s work. ART skulls. Man, I don’t know. [coudal]

*Music 2.0: Sony is bringing all of its catalog that’s older than two years old to eMusic and eMusic is raising prices. I stopped using eMusic like three years ago and I still have a soft spot for them, even though I hate them. I’m complicated like that.

*Festivals: This video of a guy starting a dance party at Sasquatch music festival reeks of virality. But VERY impressive moves. [aprilini]

*Media: Take a tour of the last 200+ (and the few) years of media – with quilt-like visualizations. [magnetbox]

*Food: If you like things that are delicious, perhaps you will love chocolate inhalers. [kate]

*Twitter: Kids don’t Tweet. Less than a quarter of 18-24 year-olds use Twitter. Is is a tad alarming only in that Facebook is currently structured to be the more brain-dead medium.

*Today’s links: Weak sauce.