Saturday, November 21, 2009

Interview with Ahmir Thompson

This old Believer interview with Questlove of The Roots made my morning. Only check it out if you're interested in hearing conspiracy theories about how Republicans make for the best hip hop, though. Or if you need a list of Questlove's personal Yodas. Or if you'd like an outline of his daily hair care routine. Or to discover a fascinating, saddening description of the rise and fall of D'Angelo. If these things don't sound interesting to you, don't read this interview. In fact, don't read anything. Just shut your computer down and go outside to play. It's a wonderful day, or so I'm told.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Thanks to everyone I worked with at the Empowerment Group over the last 2.5 years. Your caring brought me new hope.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Like a Bridge

At my going-away party we started talking about our favorite bridges (I'm really going to miss it here). My coworker Lindsey maintains the Verazzano is the best bridge in the world. I can't speak to that, never having traveled it myself. But in looking for pictures to demonstrate its awesomeness, I found this photo of the Verazzano under construction. I'm not an engineer, but brief glimpses like this make me appreciate the profession all the more.

The pylon's just sitting in the middle of the water! How did they get it out there in the first place?!!


Dear Readers,

This morning I wanted to share my favorite wake-up song with you. It's a perfect mix of pump-up and inspiration and always sets the stage for a wonderful day.

But I was thwarted. By my very own blog. Oh, the betrayal! Apparently there's no easy way to post mp3 files to Blogger. WTFuck, Blogger? Why do you stymie me so???

If one of you has a suggestion for embedding mp3 files in blogs, please let me know. There has to be a way to do this, right? I searched Google briefly to figure this out, but all I found was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about HTML and URLs and Flash - all things I could figure out if I had an hour to puzzle through them. But I don't.

All tips and tricks for the layman (and we're talking real lay here), should be left in the comment section below.

Please? Thanks,

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tea Time

A few links for your afternoon tea break:

Man finally divorces world's worst wife after she makes him eat cake. For every meal. (From)

Excerpt from an Ambrose Bierce article, written in 1887, that plants the seed of the modern smiley face emoticon. This emoticon shall henceforth be known as a 'snigger point' in his honor. (From)

Sometimes Kanye's blog is an awesome place to be. Photos of work by sculptor Kris Kuksi. (From)

I always wondered, if I got caught in a time warp, if I'd be able to remember enough about modern civilization to recreate all of today's wonders - basic sanitation, flight, the Internet, the compass, etc. The answer is probably no. Or at least it was, until the maker of this genius cheat sheet came along.

My New House


Monday, November 16, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Little Letters

Dear blueberry scones,

What the fuck is your deal? You think you can walk in here like you own the place and be nonstop delicious? Next time you try and pull that shit we're going to need to see some deliciousness certification.


Photos of the Day

As creepy as it is to imagine my innards as vegetables, this is sooo much healthier than what my organs actually look like. (From)

A map of all the area codes in which Ludacris claims to have hoes. Click here to embiggen.

My coworkers and I were talking over lunch about how sweet suspension bridges were. Then Inhabitat had to go and post pictures of the coolest one in the world. (From)

This one can't be real, right you guys? Right? (From)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day

Who was in charge of putting Veteran's Day in the middle of the week? I'd like to shake their hand.

Thanks to that anonymous genius, I've had time today for doctor's appointments, dinners that take hours to cook, and crappy home redecorating projects like the one pictured below. Feel free to borrow this idea for use in your own crappy home:

Here's how it's done:

1. Find cardboard boxes
2. Cut the flaps off
3. Stack them on your desk
4. Fill them with books voila! Impressed? That's what I thought.

There are also a few websites floating around the Internet this afternoon that may be of interest to you:

Shark gives lady shark a C-section. With his teeth. (From)
Philadelphia now home to world's tallest LEED-certified building. (From)
Woman creates to-scale paper cutouts of city maps. Covetousness ensues. (From)
Scientists finally discover how donuts are made: donut seeds. (From)

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

All Natural

Oh God. I get it now.

International Year of Astronomy

How on earth did I miss this? 2009, in addition to being the Year of the Ox, the Year of Science, and the Year Obama Entered Office, has given us further cause for celebration. It's the International Year of Astronomy! Stellar!

Four hundred years ago Galileo first turned his telescope to the sky. Dudeman got life imprisonment for sharing what he saw there. The International Year of Astronomy is meant to celebrate Galileo's discoveries (and the Universe in general) by encouraging us to focus our own attention starward, maybe to make a few discoveries of our own.

Coincidentally, it's been a fantastic year for galatic happenings: between the solar eclipse this spring, the Jupiter sightings in October and the upcoming Leonid meteor showers later in November, there's been a lot to love about the deep black beyond in 2009.

I know the year is almost up, but there's still time to celebrate. Check out the IYA's homepage for event listings and public sky-viewings near you. Bone up on your Galileo factoids. Peep some sweet astronomical poster art inspired by the celebration (one example is shown above). Or take the capitalist route and just buy some shit related to stars. My favorite is the paper constellation finder, pictured below and available for sale here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

And How Are We Feeling Today? was developed by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar to monitor the emotions of internet users in realtime. The result of this ambitious plan is the single most beautiful website I've ever used.

We Feel Fine harvests bloggers' emotions by searching thousands of blogs for the keywords "I feel" or "I am feeling". The website then pulls whole sentences containing those keywords from their original posts and sends them to a central location. The feelings gleaned are categorized ('happy,' 'bad', 'better', etc.), then tagged with a number of other variables, including the writer's gender, age, location, and weather at the time of posting. That's a buttload of information (buttload=technical term).

The information gathered on the site can be accessed in six different movements, but my favorite, 'Madness', is pictured below:

Each of the colored dots represent a different feeling. The longer the sentence, the bigger the dot. They're colored-coded according to type, but in Madness mode it's almost impossible to control what kind of feeling you're clicking on. The tiny dots zoom and carom around the screen. Some of them are curious, clustering by your cursor or in the bottom corner. Once you manage to corral a feeling, they're usually pretty emo, as in the feeling above. Still, the ability to listen in on the emotions of thousands people who have no idea anyone's paying attention is a pretty powerful thing.

Take some time to play around with this website, to change the settings, filter the responses, click on pictures and try different movements. You'll feel glad that you did.

Friday, November 6, 2009

DJ Hero

DJ Hero is the best new party game I've played in a while. If you've got an XBox, a few dollars to burn and space for yet another fake plastic instrument in your living room, buy this game tonight. I've been playing near-constantly since my roommate brought it home yesterday and I fall more in love with every mix.

For starters, the game play is fantastic, intuitive for those who've tackled the other ___ Hero games but by no means easily mastered. DJ Hero is one of few games in which the tutorials provided by the game's designers actually enhance my understanding of what's going on as opposed to wasting my time with superfluous information.

In terms of game progression, players test themselves against progressively harder setlists, earning stars which then allow them to unlock new characters, songs, and venues. Even without these bonus gifts, however, I'd find myself coming back again and again. Getting a chance to play Paula Abdul's 'Straight Up' mixed with Vanilla Ice's 'Ice Ice Baby' is worth the cost of admission alone.

Everyone from DJ Shadow to DJs Yoda and AM put their spin (heh) on the game by contributing one of their dream setlists. In some instances you can play an entire concert from their point of view. Daft Punk's set is deceptively hard. Even as you break your wrist trying to keep up with them, however, you find yourself nodding your head and dancing in your seat.

The cleverest part of this game has nothing to do with game play. The makers of DJ Hero invented a new feature known as 'Party Play'. At any point during the game you can choose to go hands-free. The music keeps playing as usual. The only difference? Your hands are freed to hold a drink or pump your fists. My guess is that this feature alone will make DJ Hero an indispensible part of hundreds of gamers' social lives.

Now if only I could figure out this crossfader ish...

Three Woolf Moon


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Le Bon Temps

Across the street from the cafe where I'm working these days there's a red brick building, nonremarkable, identical to the buildings that flank it except for the large wooden sign hanging above the door that reads 'Le Bon Temps'. In the four months I've been here I've wondered in idle moments exactly what bon temps they're talking about, since the building's been shuttered and abandoned ever since I've known it.

Today, for the first time, Le Bon Temps opened its doors. Starting this morning and into the dark, rainy afternoon, a crew of demolition guys have been steadily carting debris and wooden planks into a dumpster outside. The room was a jumble of stuff at first, but as they worked they uncovered some of the original fixtures. The sweeping staircase, milk-white columns and huge picture windows are so out of character for Philadelphia architecture and so surprising to find in such a long-abandoned building that I had to take a picture.

Looking at the inside of Le Bon Temps, you start to get the picture that someone really did have good times there. What could this building have been? It looks like an old speakeasy, or ballroom, or hidey hole for vampires.


Man, for once I'm not totally embarrassed by the piece posted to my work blog. Maybe that's cuz I wrote it super-quick and didn't have to think long about the all mistakes I was making. Or maybe it's just a good article. Whatever. You should read it; I've only got two more weeks of this shit left.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bears Gone Bald

Oh Jesus, what fresh fuckery is this? According to the Daily Mail, all of London Zoo's female spectacled bears have gone simultaneously bald. This answers the age-old question 'What do spectacled bears wear under their clothes?' Apparently a leather gimp suit that makes them look like something out of my nightmares.

At the moment, no one knows what caused this synchronized hair loss. I've got a few ideas of my own: 1) inbreeding. Captive animals, especially endangered ones, are regularly bred with siblings and cousins to make sure the world's zoos have enough docile creatures for display. 2) some kind of secret plot to freak us all the fuck out. Well, I've got news for you, female spectacled bears: it's working.