Friday, October 29, 2010

D.I.Y. Culture

The terms "DIY" and "do-it-yourself" are used to describe:

* Self-publishing books, zines, and alternative comics.
* Bands or solo artists releasing their music on self-funded record labels
* Trading of mixtapes as part of cassette culture
* Crafts such as knitting, sewing, handmade jewelry, ceramics, etc.
* Designing business cards, invitations, etc.
* Creating punk or indie musical merchandise through the use of recycling thrift store or discarded materials, usually decorated with art applied by silk screen.
* Independent game development and game modding.

DIY as a subculture could be said to have begun with the punk movement of the 1970s. Instead of traditional means of bands reaching their audiences through large music labels, bands began recording, manufacturing albums and merchandise, booking their own tours, and creating opportunities for smaller bands to get wider recognition and gain cult status through repetitive low-cost DIY touring. The burgeoning zine movement took up coverage of and promotion of the underground punk scenes, and significantly altered the way fans interacted with musicians. Zines quickly branched off from being hand-made music magazines to become more personal; they quickly became one of the youth culture's gateways to DIY culture. This led to tutorial zines showing others how to make their own shirts, posters, zines, books, food, etc.


DIY culture in the United States can be linked to many of the same philosophies of the Arts and Crafts movement of the 1900's, which sought to reconnect people with hands-on activities and the aesthetics associated with them - in direct opposition to the prevailing industrialization and modernization which was moving many aspects of the culture's aesthetics away from the hand-made artisan-created styles of the past and toward a mass-produced sleek modern vision of the future. DIY culture in the U.S. arguably evolved from a simple cost-saving activity of the 1940's and 1950's to an increasingly radical political activity which stood against the increasingly visible trends of mass-production, conspicuous consumerism, waste, and the industrial corporate philosophy of planned obsolescence.

The need to connect with the physical world without interacting with computers or other modern technology , which in modern industrialized societies can go unfulfilled for days at a time, becomes a significant motivating force in leading people to embrace DIY culture.

Ellen Lupton embellishes these thoughts in her book D.I.Y. Design It Yourself: "Around the world, people are making things themselves in order to save money, to customize goods to suit their exact needs and interests, and to feel less dependent on the corporations that manufacture and distribute most of the products and media we consume. On top of these practical and political motivations is the pleasure that comes from developing an idea, making it physically real, and sharing it with other people."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

N.A.S.A. - "Way Down" (2009)

"Way Down"
N.A.S.A. featuring RZA, Barbie Hatch and John Frusciante
The Spirit of Apollo

N.A.S.A. - "Gifted" (2009)

N.A.S.A. featuring Kanye West, Santigold and Lykke Li
The Spirit of Apollo

N.A.S.A. - "Money" (2009)

N.A.S.A. featuring David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge & Z-Trip
The Spirit of Apollo

Monday, October 25, 2010

Madeira Wine

Madeira was a favorite wine of the Founding Fathers and was supposedly used to toast the Declaration of Independence. Up until the mid-19th century, no alcoholic beverage enjoyed greater cachet among well-to-do Americans than this fortified wine hailing from the Portuguese island of the same name. Today, though, Madeira is an obscurity; most consumers, if they know it at all, know it only as something used for cooking. A wine treasured by Thomas Jefferson is now relegated mainly to saucepans. How did Madeira so completely lose its stature, and what can it do to get it back?

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the island of Madeira was a popular port of call for ships traveling to Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Before leaving, the boats were loaded with casks of the local quaffer, which was usually a blend of several grapes: verdelho, sercial, bual, malvasia (also known as malmsey), and terrantez. So that the wines could better withstand the long journeys, it became standard practice to top them up with sugarcane brandy or a grape spirit, a step known as fortification. (Thanks to the added booze, Madeiras are typically between 19 percent and 21 percent alcohol, versus 12 percent to14 percent for table wines.) It turned out, though, that being stored in the warm hulls of ships and bounced around on the waves actually benefited the wines, producing smoother, more refined flavors. For a time, barrels of Madeira were sent out on round-trip journeys solely for the purpose of shaking and baking them. However, most Madeiras were ushered to maturity either by artificially heating the casks or by storing them in warm rooms (the latter method was and remains the preferred means of rearing quality Madeiras). Among its many virtues, Madeira is surely the world's most durable wine, which explains why bottles from the 19th and even 18th centuries are still drinking well.

Amid all this oceangoing, Madeiras found a receptive audience in the American colonies, an enthusiasm that endured through and beyond the Revolutionary War. By the end of the 18th century, the United States was importing roughly a quarter of all the Madeira on the market. Among the affluent, having a Madeira collection was a totem of success and sophistication; banking titan J.P. Morgan had probably the finest Madeira cellar in the world.

Beginning in the mid-19th century, Madeira producers were hit by a series of calamities that ultimately cost the wines their popularity. First, the island's vineyards were struck by a devastating outbreak of powdery mildew. Next, they were attacked by the phylloxera root louse, which forced growers to tear out huge swathes of vines. As was the case in other regions decimated by phylloxera, many farmers replanted with workhorse grapes, notably tinta negra mole. The natural disasters were followed by a pair of man-made ones: The Russian revolution deprived Madeira of one of its major markets, and Prohibition in the United States cut off another. From almost 200 wineries in 1880, the Madeira industry shrank steadily, and today there are only six houses left (and two of them are currently in the process of merging). A large percentage of the wines exported these days are bulk Madeiras, destined for kitchen pantries. But thanks to stricter regulations and a gradual comeback by traditional grapes such as sercial and bual, there are still high-quality Madeiras being made on the island.

Madeiras, though usually drunk as aperitifs or with dessert, can be consumed throughout a meal. What makes them so versatile (and also accounts in part for their remarkable longevity) is the potent acidity, which cuts through the richness and leaves your mouth feeling almost refreshed. And then there is the killer bouquet: Madeiras have some of the most enthralling aromatics of any wines. Orange peel, brown sugar, nuts, figs, raisins, honey, leather, chocolate, spices—the perfume alone will completely hook you on these wines.

Making of Madeira Wines

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Inside Job (2010)

The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, INSIDE JOB traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.

Inside Job hit theaters October 8th in NY and October 15th in LA.

Director: Charles Ferguson
In his small time as a documentary filmmaker, Ferguson has made quite the name for himself as a political filmmaker. His previous work, No End In Sight, conducted a deep and unforgiving look at the Bush administration and its control of the Iraq war conflict.

More information:
» Inside Job Official Site
» Fandango Showtimes

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Cinematic Orchestra - "Lilac Wine" (2010)

"Lilac Wine"
Performed by The Cinematic Orchestra
Directed by Blind
Written by James Shelton (in 1950)

About The Track
'Lilac Wine' was written in 1950 by the prolific James Shelton and, largely due to its ultra melancholic tones, the song was adopted by a succession of female artists. The very first being Eartha Kitt and then the great Nina Simone, whose haunting vocal rendition was cited by Jeff Buckley as reference to his cover. In the 1970s, 'Lilac Wine' came into the possession of more mainstream vocalists like Elkie Brooks.

In 1994, Buckley catapulted 'Lilac Wine' into the alternative psyche of the modern era. Featuring on his first and only studio album, the flawed masterpiece Grace, 'Lilac Wine' experienced resurgence and even went on to influence some of today’s music. Radiohead’s 'Fake Plastic Trees' was one such song and the band’s frontman Thom Yorke, famously delivered the vocal take for the track after returning home from a Jeff Buckley concert.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Roger Waters Live

October 10, 2010
Verizon Center
Thirty years after Pink Floyd first performed "The Wall" live, and two decades after Waters revived it to honor the fall of the Berlin Wall, the 67-year-old composer has brought the bricks back out on the road. "The Wall" was rebuilt Sunday at Verizon Center, and though the all-time-great album is about the overwhelming isolation of Pink from his fans, his wife, his parents and the world at large, there's nothing like a classic-rock concert to bring a crowd together.
Why Am I Doing The Wall Again Now?

I recently came across this quote of mine from 22 years ago:

"What it comes down to for me is this: Will the technologies of communication in our culture, serve to enlighten us and help us to understand one another better, or will they deceive us and keep us apart?"

I believe this is still a supremely relevant question and the jury is out. There is a lot of commercial clutter on the net, and a lot of propaganda, but I have a sense that just beneath the surface understanding is gaining ground. We just have to keep blogging, keep twittering, keep communicating, keep sharing ideas.

30 Years ago when I wrote The Wall I was a frightened young man. Well not that young, I was 36 years old.

It took me a long time to get over my fears. Anyway, in the intervening years it has occurred to me that maybe the story of my fear and loss with it’s concomitant inevitable residue of ridicule, shame and punishment, provides an allegory for broader concerns.: Nationalism, racism, sexism, religion, Whatever! All these issues and -isms are driven by the same fears that drove my young life.

This new production of The Wall is an attempt to draw some comparisons, to illuminate our current predicament, and is dedicated to all the innocent lost in the intervening years.

In some quarters, among the chattering classes, there exists a cynical view that human beings as a collective are incapable of developing more ‘humane’ ie, kinder, more generous, more cooperative, more empathetic relationships with one another.

I disagree.

In my view it is too early in our story to leap to such a conclusion, we are after all a very young species.

I believe we have at least a chance to aspire to something better than the dog eat dog ritual slaughter that is our current response to our institutionalized fear of each other.

I feel it is my responsibility as an artist to express my, albeit guarded, optimism, and encourage others to do the same. To quote the great man, "You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one."

- Roger Waters, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Duck Sauce - "Barbra Streisand" (2010)

Duck Sauce is a collaboration between DJs Armand Van Helden and A-Trak.

The song "Barbra Streisand" is getting heavy DJ and radio support in the UK, Ireland, Poland and Australia. The video features many prominent and affiliated artists, such as ?uestlove, Kanye West, Pharell Williams, Ryan Leslie, Buckshot, Smif-n-Wessun, DJ Premier, Chromeo, DJ Mehdi, So Me, Diplo, Ezra Koenig, Santigold and Fafi.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Temper Trap - "Sweet Disposition" (2009)

The Temper Trap is an alternative rock band from Melbourne, Australia noted for its atmospheric sound, featuring grand guitars set to pulsating rhythms.

Two years after they released their initial EP in 2006, the quartet recorded their first album, Conditions, with producer Jim Abbiss, who was at the controls for the debut albums by The Arctic Monkeys and Adele.

In an interview with a Melbourne newspaper in July 2010, the Temper Trap revealed that they are planning to work on their second album in the near future - as soon as their scheduled tour comes to an end - and slated the release of their 'crucial second album' as being sometime in late 2011.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Adobe Security Advisory

The definition of a "Critical" rating on the Adobe Severity Rating System is: "A vulnerability, which, if exploited would allow malicious native-code to execute, potentially without a user being aware."

Security bulletin

Security Advisory for Adobe Reader and Acrobat

Release date: September 8, 2010

Last updated: October 5, 2010

Vulnerability identifier: APSA10-02

CVE number: CVE-2010-2883

Platform: All


A critical vulnerability exists in Adobe Reader 9.3.4 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX, and Adobe Acrobat 9.3.4 and earlier versions for Windows and Macintosh. This vulnerability (CVE-2010-2883) could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. There are reports that this vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild.

A fix is now available for Adobe Reader 9.3.4 for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX, and Adobe Acrobat 9.3.4 for Windows and Macintosh as of Tuesday, October 5, 2010. Please refer to Security Bulletin APSB10-21.

Affected software versions

  • Adobe Reader 9.3.4 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX
  • Adobe Acrobat 9.3.4 and earlier versions for Windows and Macintosh

Severity rating

Adobe categorizes this as a critical issue.


Adobe would like to thank Mila Parkour of for working on this issue with Adobe to help protect our customers.


October 5, 2010 - Updated with information on Security Bulletin APSB10-21
September 13, 2010 - Updated information on the release schedule, and that the releases represent the next quarterly security update (originally scheduled for October 12, 2010).
September 10, 2010 - Added the Mitigations section with instructions for a mitigation option for Windows users.
September 8, 2010 - Advisory released.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Soundgarden's New Compilation Album Is Instant Platinum

"Selling a platinum album may seem like small potatoes for a band like Soundgarden, whose hit 'Superunknown' went five times platinum following its release in 1994."


On its first day out, Soundgarden's new album, Telephantasm, has already scored a platinum award from the Recording Industry Association of America, which hands out such distinctions.

It's not unheard of for bands to get gold or platinum awards before a single copy has been sold. That's because they're based on the number of copies of an album shipped into stores, not sold.

What's unusual about Telephantasm is that its platinum award is based on the 1 million discs that are included in packages for the video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, released Tuesday at the same time as the album's 2-CD plus DVD deluxe edition.

Isn't that cheating? Not quite, because the music discs technically have been shipped into stores. But more significantly, Soundgarden is getting an undisclosed licensing fee from the game's publisher, Activision Blizzard Inc.

The Seattle grunge band's promoters are billing the release as a "groundbreaking partnership" because it's the first time the RIAA has recognized a sale of "non-returnable units from a music label to a gaming company."

“These 1 million units, purchased by Activision, are non-returnable and represent official sales of the album,” said RIAA director Kate Harold in a press release Tuesday.

Platinum albums aren’t easy to come by these days thanks to piracy and free streaming music: It took Justin Bieber’s screaming army of preteens two months to buy a million copies of My World 2.0.

Harold expects this kind of chicanery to continue. “I anticipate we’ll be seeing more and more of these types of partnerships and cross-pollination of industries which benefit everyone, especially music fans,” she said.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, out Tuesday for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii, is the latest in Activision’s massive catalog of music games. The entirety of Telephantasm can be downloaded as playable game tracks for $18.

Soundgarden - "Black Rain" (2010)

Directed by Metalocalypse co-creator Brendon Small.

The song appears on the compilation album Telephantasm and on the music video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. This is the first single that Soundgarden has released since 1997. It features lyrics written by frontman Chris Cornell and music written by bassist Ben Shepherd. The song was recorded during sessions for Badmotorfinger and, according to Chris Cornell in an interview with USA Today, "Black Rain" captures "that super heavy version (of the band) we were finally realizing to its fullest potential about 1991."

Chris Cornell: "Here we are, all these years later and we're in a room and talking about new music and it doesn't feel like carrying a mountain up a hill," he says. "It seems like a completely natural idea and a natural fun thing to do, all the baggage that I think can sometimes come along with that we don't have it at all."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

MADtv - North Korean Scientist (Video)

Season 12, Episode 8 – Aired: 12/9/2006
North Korea hires a loose cannon scientist (Bobby Lee) to test missles on American TV in "North Korean Missles Test".