the listenerd

optimized for maximum incontinence

Month: November, 2011

Video: Crazy sewing machine portrait

Some dude “draws” a person’s portrait freehand on a Bernina sewing machine. Whoa?

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Links for November 9, 2011: Being Barbie, bathing in ketchup fountains, dripping false honey

Facebook: How many times have I, here, mentioned that I quit Facebook? And that my life is better for it?

Typography: Mayuko, a student at a Japanese university, has created a font out of leg hair. YES, LEG HAIR.

Actors: Adam Wilson writes about Owen Wilson in The Paris Review. (More interesting than that lame-ass sentence makes it sound.)

Science: Experience reality as a Barbie doll or a giant. (Remember when I asked that an oversized Andre-the-Giant-as-a-woman-avatar be set aside for me? Forget that, you sick bastard.)

“In order to accomplish this trick of self-displacement, participants in the experiments lay on a bed and wore a head-mounted display connected to two video cameras. These cameras faced a fake body lying on a bed next to the participant; thus, when participants looked down toward their own bodies, they instead saw artificial bodies where their own should have been. These artificial bodies were either huge (a 13-foot form made of chicken wire) or very small (a Barbie Doll).”

Video: This cannot go unlinked – The GAG Quartet’s “le internet medley” (it references, like, 40 internet memes?).

Dinosaurs: Scientists now believe that the archaeopteryx, the first true ancestor of modern birds, was BLACK. I’m afraid my son, once thoroughly obsessed with dinosaurs, has now moved on to being thoroughly obsessed with superheroes.

Condiments: The chocolate fountain is dead. The ketchup fountain is alive and well. (And not even in Minnesota?). [laughing squid]

Fashion: If you have really grubby hands, you can buy a $90 shirt that is optimized for cleaning off touchscreens.

Television: Would you, perhaps, like to watch every single episode of Law & Order ever made? For $450? CHA-CHUNG. [poploser]

Obituaries: RIP Heavy D.

Food: I try not to put up a bunch of stuff that prominent bloggers have already talked about. But the fact that 75% of honey isn’t honey has not just disturbed me, it has ROCKED ME to MY CORE. [kottke]

Video: Iron and Wine covers Nick Drake

Listen to Sam Beam sing Nick Drake’s “Place to Be.” Also, check out more Iron and Wine rarities via modestareloger’s YouTube channel.

It should be said here that Sam Beam still refuses to do a podcast with me. Note that it would be a whisper podcast. Still. Nothing. [via mefi]

Video: What happens when you crack an egg deep underwater

Enough with the thousand-word posts about deeply personal beliefs! Here’s a video of guys in scuba gear cracking an egg underwater! And then a fish eats it!

Video: Mark Mallman’s “Minneapolis”

Video: Minneapolis’ Dessa performs “Anabel” at the Fitzgerald

There’s an Ani DiFrancoesqueness happening here.

The Hidden Gems of Saint Paul (some are not hidden)

This post is a continuation of The Best Places to Go in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The Black Dog Cafe: There are many things worth noting about The Black Dog Cafe. There’s the fact that the establishment is a bohemian stronghold, holding steady for more than a decade in an ever-changing Lowertown neighborhood. It has weathered dug up sidewalks and diverted streets in an area that seems to be under constant construction.

There’s the solid coffee, the homely sandwiches, the beer and wine license, the neighborhood regulars who have been coming back for years. There’s the fact that it’s a pretty damn decent place to get some work done, mid-week, late-afternoon. And the soundtrack at the Dog is sometimes even quite GOOD, making you jealous enough to pop out your earbuds and listen. (“What is this Monster Mash bullshit?” asked one teen with disgust, in as authentic a word-of-mouth endorsement of an establishment’s aesthetic as can, perhaps, be had these days.)

But all of these characteristics pale in comparison to the true spiritual core of this cafe. They are Lilliputian relative to a single epic painting that once graced the Black Dog’s walls — maybe even for just a month or two — but whose lavender glow suffuses the space to this day.

The Black Dog has long hung the work of local artists from its exposed timbers. And nigh on ten years ago, a truly EPIC painting was hung. Imagine, if you will, an outsized masterpiece, 10 feet high by 6 feet wide (mind and memory may be exaggerating this beast’s scope and quality, but go with it). Limned with a gold filigree frame, it was. In the center of the painting, astride a mighty white steed, sat Napoleon Bonaparte. His war horse rearing, the martial figure sat resplendent in military garb.

And YET. The features gracing the Little Corporal’s mien did not add up to the familiar mug of the diminutive French Emperor. INSTEAD, peering out from beneath that famous bicorne, was the familiar (and, let’s be honest, innately sexualized) visage of one PRINCE ROGERS NELSON. Yes. Prince. (He may have even been wearing a purple uniform? Prince-as-Napoleon astride a white stallion in epic scale. It was incredible.)

Also, the bathrooms here are quite roomy.

The Blue Door Pub: Everyone knows about the dripping cheese coming FROM INSIDE THE BURGER, the craft beer selection, and the ubiquitous TVs forcing sporting events into your line of sight at the Blue Door.

Everyone also knows about the fried green beans. And the peanut butter on the hamburgers. So I will not waste any time recommending nearly all of those things. Instead, I will offer this tip: Should you find yourself waiting for one of the tables (which are frequently in high demand), ask one member of your party to stand diligently outside the Pub while you wander over to the antique mall next door. There, you should look for two things:

1) Bottle openers
2) Pendleton wool shirts

The shop frequently has an excellent selection of both, and I highly recommend buying bottle openers when you need to either break a $20 or alleviate your own guilt for browsing in a thrift shop or antique store for too long.

Micawber’s book store: It is an old and tired man that endorses a neighborhood bookstore. But let’s be honest with ourselves: I just bought a 1984 Dodge Ram pickup truck. What other kind of man could I be? Micawber’s is the rare sort of book shop where, when one asks the proprietress about a novel that’s slated to come out, she will not only be conversant in said author’s oeuvre, but will also know offhand the UK and American release dates of the publication in question. It is the kind of place that has a generous children’s section that isn’t too babyish and that’s easy to sit down and have a read in. It’s the kind of place that offers cogent, well-argued, on-shelf book recommendations that were written by ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS on the staff, and who may even be in the store. There is wood there. And paper. And ideas. You can wander for an hour.

Additionally, if you cross the street to the Finnish Bistro kitty-corner, you can DEFINITELY order a Finnish breakfast, which includes both pickled herring and lox. You dig?

Unique Thrift Store: Let’s not bullshit bullshitters here. Unique Thrift Store has some pretty weird shit going down. It sells big-ass motel art – trees with blue leaves and pink flowers in some sort of hideous-bullshit modern-expressionist morass of a style. It sells bags of toys, grouped in a way that seems to have some sort of inscrutable organizing principle (perhaps organized by weight? Or volume?) for $2 or $3 apiece.

I once bought some Don Ho tumblers there that loop through the absurd and swoop right back toward the divine. I think the place might also sell used mattresses? Which is unsanitary at best and illegal at worst. To look at the clothes section is to look at row upon row of heavily used and frequently stained garments of innumerable eras.

Product turnover at Unique Thrift Store is high. The sewing machine you see there one morning is replaced by two others eight hours later. This place moves product. It also moves people. Located off of Rice Street (and around the corner from The Lamplighter, Saint Paul’s only strip club), the Unique draws patrons from all walks – down-on-their-luck dads looking to outfit the family home, thrifty hipsters trying to find the leather jackets of a just-right era, power-shopping deal-hunters who have a load of laundry in the ‘mat next door, kids begging parents for cheap toys, assholes trying to procure reasonably priced kitsch barware. Everyone. It’s almost always grubby, frequently crowded and more-often-than not chaotic. I recommend it.

[Please note: I might do a couple more of these.]

Video: French-Canadian ad for 1984 Dodge Ram

Now this is the shit I’m talking about. (And this is, I assure you, crazy talk.)

The Best Places to Go in Saint Paul, Minnesota

I would like to preface this post by saying that I do not know the best places to go in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I will not, however, let that stop me from telling you what the best places to go in Saint Paul, Minnesota are.

(Please remember this: Vanity and humility are at constant war within any written piece.)

The Saint Paul Bagelry: The first, best place in Saint Paul is not IN Saint Paul, however, it is NAMED the Saint Paul Bagelry. It is also named Maui Wowi Smoothies. You’re not reading that wrong. It has two names. (You may, at this point, be questioning my competence. And for that I applaud you.)

Know this: The Saint Paul Bagelry not ONLY cooks their delicious bagels daily, they not ONLY whip their own cream cheese, they not ONLY blend a lip-smacking array of smoothie and coffee drinks (the likes of which Jamba Juice could not, in a thousand pear-lives of juicing, come close to touching), BUT they ALSO play real, vinyl records. They play shit I hate: Joni Mitchell (sorry), they play shit I love: James Brown (sorry). Most importantly, they play all this shit on actual records. Their bagel sandwiches, should you care about the menu, include The Al Green (egg and veggie – a personal favorite), The Luther Vandross (bacon, ham, sausage, egg and more) and the Isaac Hayes Hot-Buttered Soul (bacon, egg and cheese).

And so you may find yourself one Sunday, mid-morning, at the very time a more pious family would be attending church, sitting in a Roseville, Minnesota strip mall at a restaurant named after a municipality in which it does not even do business, listening to Bob Marley and The Wailers on vinyl over the loudspeakers, eating an Al Green sandwich on a toasted salt bagel, drinking a Kona Hawaiian coffee and sipping a brain-freezing Black Lava Beach smoothie.

It is due to this perfect combination of insanities that the Bagelry earns the listenerd’s highest recommendation.

Swede Hollow Cafe: Located in the Dayton’s Bluff area of Saint Paul, Swede Hollow Cafe is notable for the following things (in order of importance):

-Delicious mochas and cubanos, each complemented by a delightful little cigarette-sized lagniappe of chocolate
-An inviting ambience made extra cozy by the limited seating
-No fewer than TWO kinds of cobbler on weekends
-An outstanding French toast that requires no additional syrup
-Inadequate hours of operation
-An awesome painting of a lady with raven-black hair and a red skirt that I would like to someday purchase (the painting, not the skirt).

Swede Hollow Cafe is closed on Sundays. Go for brunch on a Saturday, sit outside if it’s warm enough. Order one dish and split it. Do not buy that painting (it is mine).

Choo-Choo Bob’s: I would expect that Choo-Choo Bob’s holds the greatest concentration of cooties in the Twin Cities metro area, if not the entire Midwest. The absolute PINNACLE of toddler train culture, CCB sells toy and model trains, from the highly commercialized Thomases and Berties holding down the back wall to the adult electrics enticing passersby out front. They also peddle tiny trees, faceless little men and cows, anomalous outbuildings and pretty much anything else it would take for a certifiably crazy person to recreate a realistic miniature landscape whose sole purpose is for a tiny train to repeatedly drive past it.

The play tables in the back of the store sometimes host birthday parties and they regularly draw armies of children, snot-nosed and entranced – each seemingly with a thousand germ-laden hands (think Sleipnir, but with mucus) – to come, play, move freight, and buy.

The Midway Ramsey County Yard Waste Removal Site: It is only if you have never BEEN to the Ramsey County Yard Waste Removal Site that you would question that such a place deserves its spot on this list. The RCYWRS has EARNED this praise. And I spit upon you for thinking otherwise.

Do you have yard waste? Great. Take it to the RCYWRS and dump it there in a stinking heap. Empty your bag and drive away with the satisfied air of a person who has simply left his problems for someone else to clean up. (You must be a resident of Ramsey county to take a dump here; if you are not a resident, though, I still encourage you to do a ridealong.)

Here, at the Ramsey County Yard Waste Removal Site, you will see the largest leaf pile you have ever laid eyes upon. Here, you will witness an ORDERLY procession of civic-minded Ramsey-county citizens pulling up their cars, trucks and trailers to an ENORMOUS pile of yard waste, wearily getting out of those vehicles, SLOWLY dumping out their sticks, leaves, branches, clods of dirt and the occasional, accidental hunk of dog feces and then nearly backing into someone as they hastily attempt to leave the facility.

To me, this yard waste facility is the essence of America. I just don’t know why. (It is a HUGE pile of AWESOME waste. That is why.)

[Please note: I will write one or two additional posts in the upcoming week to complete this list. Included: The Blue Door, The Black Dog, Micawbers and more.]

Links for November 6, 2011: Nickelback, Smerdyakov, Sausage parties and John Lennon’s tooth

Experimentation: Bohemian Rhapsichord turns Bohemian Rhapsody into an instrument. That is sort of fun to play with. The interface reminds me of an Andrew Kuo infographic. [waxy]

Rock: 41,000 football (and music?) fans have mobilized to try to prevent Nickelback from playing at the Detroit Lions’ Thanksgiving day halftime show.

Listicles: This sad list of the 10 Best Villains of Literature doesn’t include Grendel, Grendel’s mother, Karamazov’s Smerdyakov, General Zod or Nickelback.

Landscapes: What is reality and what is a screensaver? Check out Jeff Friesen’s ethereal panoramic photography. Also, here’s a picture of a DROP OF COFFEE!! [notcot]

Light: Sergio Silva’s light design is brilliant and gorgeous. [unconsumption]

Butchery: Sausage party! The T for the New York Times magazine’s design and living issue was inspired by sausage, made out of glass.

Dentistry: Someone bought John Lennon’s tooth for $31,000. It is, if you were wondering, hollowed out, yellow and as disgusting as you would expect a decades-old molar to be. Or moreso.

Today’s links: F.

Links for November 4, 2011: George, Teddy, Thomas and Abe

Monuments: Read up on the making of Mount Rushmore if you love America. (Don’t pay to see Crazy Horse. My two cents. Or ten bucks a person, as it were.) [mefi]

Photos: These pictures from Alexis Mire are pretty cool. Like chicks sort of floating. Clouds. You know. Artsy and all.

Architecture: This is so hot – Free Cabin Porn.

Radio: Watch this interview with Tom Keith.

Today’s links: F.

Links for November 3, 2011: Racists and breastfeeding

*Note: Please note that while these links and lines appear short, I believe they are as good as any ever here collected. (They’re just OK.)

*Images: This paper art from Nick Georgiou is gorgeous. [fubiz]

*Information: This site, Yo, is this racist?, is perhaps MORE USEFUL THAN GOOGLE?

*Blogs: Yelping with Cormac McCarthy. “We do not hear from the man who ate the taco until November of that year, when he returned to the town on the back of a mule.”

*Science: Who wants to read about 18th century breastfeeding? Hey now!

*Local: GWAR guitarist Cory Smoot was found dead today, after the band’s Minneapolis concert.

*Bands: The xx is now blogging.

*Recommended: The Walker’s Off Center blog is pretty good, too, really.

*Today’s links: F.

Video: My Drunk Kitchen Special: Burning Man

Video: Jian Sword Dancing

More from the anachronistic war department – sword dancing!