Friday, November 20, 2009


“You know how often the turning down this street or that, the accepting or rejecting of an invitation, may deflect the whole current of our lives into some other channel. Are we mere leaves, fluttered hither and thither by the wind, or are we rather, with every conviction that we are free agents, carried steadily along to a definite and pre-determined end?”

Thursday, November 19, 2009


It appears the secret to eternal youth is a solid diet of sugar and chocolate chips. Cookie Monster and his Sesame Street cohorts haven't aged a day. despite celebrating their 40th birthday on November 10th . The following is taken from McSweeneys and always makes me smile ( by Andy F. Bryan )

Cookie Monster searches deep within himself and asks: Is me really Monster??

Me know.
Me have problem.
Me love cookies.

Me tend to get out of control when me see cookies.

Me know it not natural to react so strongly to cookies, but me have weakness. Me know me do wrong. Me know it isn't normal. Me see disapproving looks. Me see stares. Me hurt inside. When me get back to apartment, after cookie binge, me can't stand looking in mirror—fur matted with chocolate-chip smears and infested with crumbs. Me try but me never able to wash all of them out. Me don't think me is monster. Me just furry blue person who love cookies too much. Me no ask for it. Me just born that way.

Me was thinking and me just don't get it. Why is me a monster? No one else called monster on Sesame Street. Well, no one who isn't really monster. Two-Headed Monster have two heads, so he real monster. Herry Monster strong and look angry, so he probably real monster, too. But is me really monster?

Me thinks me have serious problem. Me thinks me addicted. But since when it acceptable to call addict monster? It affliction. It disease. It burden. But does it make me monster?
How can they be so callous? Me know there something wrong with me, but who in Sesame Street doesn't suffer from mental disease or psychological disorder? They don't call the vampire with math fetish monster, and me pretty sure he undead and drinks blood.

No one calls Grover monster, despite frequent delusional episodes and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. And the obnoxious red Grover—oh, what his name?—Elmo! Yes, Elmo live all day in imaginary world and no one call him monster. No, they think he cute. And Big Bird! Don't get me started on Big Bird! He unnaturally gigantic talking canary! How is that not monster? Snuffleupagus not supposed to exist—woolly mammoths extinct. His very existence monstrous. Me least like monster. Me maybe have unhealthy obsession, but me no monster.

Me wrong.

Me too hard on self. Me no have unhealthy obsession. Me love cookies, but it no hurt anyone. Me just enthusiast. Everyone has something they like most, something they get excited about. Why not me? Me perfectly normal. Me like cookies. So what? Cookies delicious. Cookies do not make one monster. Everyone loves cookies.

Me no monster. Me OK guy. Me OK guy who eat cookies.

Who me kidding? Me know me never actually eat cookies. Me only crumble cookies in mouth, but me no swallow. Me can't swallow. Me no have no esophagus. Me no have no trachea. Me only have black fabric throat. Me not supposed to be able to even talk.

Me no eat cookies.
Me destroy cookies.
Me crush cookies.
Me mutilate cookies.
Me make it so no one get cookies.
Everyone right. Me really is cookie monster.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aqua Nexus

Spotted the video below on Huffington Post and was amazed at Paul Nicklen's experience (not to mention his courage!) in Antarctica. Nicklen is a photographer and National Geographic contributor. He grew up in Nunavut, Canada. The Inuit living there taught him how to survive in the Arctic and read the weather. These skills combined with a deep love of nature and 4 years experience as a wildlife biologist in the Northwest Territories serve him well as a wildlife photographer.

Nicklen travelled with the intent of capturing images of Leopard Seals, one of the top predators in Antarctica. The Leopard Seal is the second largest seal in the Antarctic and its only natural predators are sharks and Orcas. They are huge animals averaging a weight of 1,200lbs,a body length of 11 foot and are viewed by many as being dangerous towards humans. Aggressive behavior and attacks have been documented and a biologist was dragged to her death by one in 2003.

His encounter with a female leopard seal resulted in a stunning series of photographs. After an initial encounter where she took the underwater camera and Nicklen's head into her mouth as a threat display; she accepted his presence. Over a four day period they interacted with each other; with the seal attempting to bond and feed him penguins. To see more of Paul's amazing photography click the link below.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bullseye on Bullshit

It appears that F.Scott Fitzgerald and Bill Hicks took a similar stance on Advertising:

"Advertising is a racket, like the movies and the brokerage business. You cannot be honest without admitting that its constructive contribution to humanity is exactly minus zero."

"By the way, if anyone here is in marketing or advertising...kill yourself. Thank you. Just planting seeds, planting seeds is all I'm doing. No joke here, really. Seriously, kill yourself, you have no rationalisation for what you do, you are Satan's little helpers. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show. Seriously, I know the marketing people: "There's gonna be a joke comin' up." There's no fuckin' joke. Suck a tail pipe, hang yourself...borrow a pistol from an NRA buddy, do something...rid the world of your evil fuckin' presence."

The Milk of Human Kindness

From an album that's 4 years old and still sounds as fresh as the first day i heard it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Architectural Anomaly Part 1: The Broken Angel

One of the things that I really miss about Europe is the architecture. After moving from a place where thousand year old cathedrals and Georgian architecture exist alongside newer developments; Vancouver (a relatively young city) was a shock to the system. Downtown Vancouver is mainly constructed of glass and steel; developers appear to prefer to bludgeon older buildings in favour of throwing up yet another skyscraper. I’m drawn to decay, crumbling structures and the unusual. A walk through an older building serves to fuel my imagination and leads me to wonder about the people that have previously walked the corridors. Over the next few months I’ll be posting a series of my favourite buildings.

One of my all time favourites: The Broken Angel building in New York. It’s located at 4/6 Downing Street in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Artist Arthur Wood originally purchased the building, which was the former Brooklyn Trolley Headquarters, in the ‘70s for $2,000. Arthur and his wife Cynthia raised their son Christopher and over time they created a unique amalgamation of art and design. The building evolved into his largest work and was a work in progress over three decades. Wood used found objects and explored design as he added new floors and rooms to the original building. Gradually the structure rose about 104 feet above the sidewalk and had a wood-and-mirror Floor which appeared to float in mid air when viewed from the ground.

The inside of the building was like a huge cathedral with arches and colorful stained glass windows that were made from found bottles and glass. The house is a neighborhood institution and was featured prominently as a backdrop in the film Dave Chappelle's Block Party (You can see it in the clip below at 0.56 and 1.37). Christopher Wood said “Many of you wonder what the hell my parents are doing with that building. They always were building an outline of a dream, a building that was different from the usual architecture of today. They did this while never having enough money to complete their dream. But that didn't stop them for using found or discarded objects that we throw away ever day like the glass bottles that they used to create a stained glass windows.”

A fire broke out in the building in early October 2006 and the department of Buildings of New York city seized the building claiming that it was an unsafe structure. This meant evicting Arthur (75 years old at the time) and Cynthia (65 years old at the time) from their home of 30 years. A couple of days later police arrived, cordoned off Downing Street and had battering rams ready to strike down the door. When Arthur defied the vacate order by staying in the building, he was arrested. The police also arrested Cynthia. The Woods were not given an opportunity to challenge these claims and were denied access to accommodation in a shelter as they owned a property. Buildings inspectors issued numerous building code violations and as a result of this they were forced to sleep with their pets in a VW van near the building.

The Woods did everything they could to raise awareness of the issue. In order to try and save the building they removed the top structure and parts that may have violated any codes. Wood took out more than $1 million in loans to fund the demolition and rebuild the structure but it wasn’t enough for the Dept of Buildings who blocked additional work on the building. In early 2007 it was announced that Arthur Wood had partnered with a local real estate developer Shahn Andersen to renovate Broken Angel. The plan was to build a new addition to its side and to convert the building to residential condominiums and artist spaces.

Unfortunately things didn’t work out and plans to renovate it under the direction of Shahn Anderson were never completed. Facing foreclosure from Madison Realty Bank and with Cynthia battling cancer, the Woods attempted to fight the foreclosure and get their house back. After a 2 year struggle, Arthur put the remainder of what was once the 108-foot Broken Angel building up for sale. Now all that remains of a once truly individual building are the red brick walls and four floors of boarded-up windows.

All photos: Christopher Wood

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Shock & Awe"....Puscifer in Vancouver Review

I can't remember the last concert or gig that i attended where i was filled with trepidation and anticipation in equal measure. As i walked through the doors of The Vancouver Centre for the Performing Arts i had no idea what to expect from the beast that is Puscifer. Puscifer (rhymes with Lucifer) is a multifaceted creative outlet for Maynard James Keenan; better known to some as the vocalist from Tool and A Perfect Circle. The debut album "V is for Vagina" was released in 2007 and was followed by some remix albums and EP's.

The reason for my trepidation was simply not knowing what to expect. I've seen Keenan perform many times previously but not under the Puscifer moniker. Never one to bow to the demands of an audience and judging by recent reports, shows on this tour have ranged from full on country to throbbing industrial. Unfortunately i didn't get a chance to catch the opening act Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival (Edit:I've just been informed that Sweethead were the opening act) and arrived just as Maynard made his entrance...from inside a tent.

Shortly after this Major Douche (Keenan dressed in military gear standing in front of an American flag) made an appearance on the back screen and warned people about photography "Fucking Rude" and then urged the audience to get involved with a call and response. Indeed. Watching a few hundred people scream Vagina is always a good way to begin an evening :P

Combining numerous musical elements including industrial funk and primal drums; Keenan spent most of the night ensconced behind a fish eye effect monitor or wandering across the stage with a wineglass in hand. The band played a solid set consisting of "Sour Grapes", "Momma Sed", "Dozo" and "The Mission" amongst others. The night was interspersed with brief comedy skit interludes showcasing a tongue in cheek humour; not to mention Primus drummer Tim Alexander dressed as the tooth fairy. One thing that never ceases to amaze me is Keenan's voice; which i have never heard sounding anything less than note perfect live.

Overall i was really impressed and hope to catch Puscifer again. It was also refreshing to see something being given back to the fans in the form of a free copy of 'V is for Vagina'. The only downfall of the show was not the music or the band. It was the fans. At every Tool/APC gig I've been to there has been a small percentage of the audience that i want to bitch slap. Hard. Tonight was no different. It was a seated gig so people had to contend with others refusing to sit down; one idiot that lunged on stage and was dragged off by security and numerous others drunk and screaming through the songs. Puscifer is not a rock or metal band as such; they make music that evokes dancing (horizontally or vertically!) but i can't see the point of screaming or headbanging to it.

The new EP 'C is for (Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference HERE)' was released on November 10th and can be found on Amazon, I Tunes and will be available from the Puscifer store shortly.

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