November 28, 2003

The copy of Double Fantasy signed by John Lennon for Mark David Chapman just hours before Chapman shot him is for sale online for $525,000.

Posted by elia at 04:56 PM
"I use a lot of colors, not just black."


I’m watching Basquiat on my parents’ 800-channel digital tv thing. I had forgotten what a fever dream it is, the one exception to the no-biopic rule, the seas crashing in the manhattan sky, the nods, the faint smiles, jesus there’s even courtney love and a baby faced benicio. Can someone who was alive in new york in the 1980s tell me that it was nothing like that, that drugged giants did not walk our streets?

Oh, this scene, in the limo, when the driver asks J-M to check out his studio sometime. It fucking breaks my heart. Not to mention the end. That too.

But I’m in San Mateo. Everything breaks my heart here.

Posted by dbrown at 02:21 AM
November 26, 2003
Please stop your breath while you're browsin these.

Matt Fraction puts it best in his blog when he writes:

>Xeni goes way, way, way down the rabbit hole.


For this particular image, referring to Kuniko's room, Warren Ellis excerpted the most meaningful part:

"Kumiko" says: "can't stop myself to go to the deadline. The second series I took off my wig and I wrapped my head tightly. At my neck, there are no hole for new air. There are no tricks in these pix. Please stop your breath while you're browsin these. Please, please NOT do the same. You must be killed. "

OK, so, you're wearing a mask of an abstracted teenage girl, and you're suffocating yourself. Please please not do the same.

This rabbit hole is deep, is all I can say, and I understand a little bit of what goes into it, but nothing at all that comes out.

Posted by kevin slavin at 04:49 PM
happy thanksgiving

Jones Soda has made some Turkey and Gravy soda for Thanksgiving: "With the first sip, hints of sweet caramel and savoury lard hit the palate."

Not at your corner deli? Try eBay.

Posted by elia at 12:14 PM
Times Warp

Kevin, I think it was you who said people don't buy the Times anymore because they don't want to not read it. Well, meet Irving Tobin. He reads the Times every day, but struggles to find the two and a half hours necessary to get through it. As a result, he's one year, five months, and four days behind, which places him in late June, 2002. And as a result of that, he filters the current news he gets on the radio, so he won't ruin the ending of any of the stories he's reading.

Posted by elia at 09:28 AM
You see as Yokohama everyone, at the leprosy

Some of you have been wondering what it was about Tokyo that creeped us out, what it was that made us hollow-eyed and quiet. It wasn't this thing that I found just now on Warren Ellis' page, but it could have been. The whole thing was like this, though I confess that this takes the fucking cake. The tragic, painful, implacable, car-crash-with-the-stereo-on cake.

Warren posted this follow-up later. Unsurprisingly, the video is the tip, not the iceberg, as regards that tiny island. It's a trend, with a name, consonant-vowel, consonant-vowel, consonant-vowel.

Posted by kevin slavin at 12:55 AM
November 25, 2003


There may be ten thousand ways to commit suicide, but this Isolation/Suicide Cell Smock from BobBarker products ain't one of 'em. "Flame-resistant and virtually impossible to tear. Can't be easily disassembled. Can't be easily twisted into knots or nooses." See more like this.

Posted by dbrown at 05:03 PM

Well, if you had any kind of instant messenger client last week, you got Paris Hilton's cell phone number (310-990-7444). Since it plays a supporting role in the video, you might have tried it out. Her voice mail was full when I called, but then, I never have anything to say anyway.

Point is that her number is far easier to find than the holiday-season customer service number, since it turns out the cybercoolie customer support centers aren't working out. But that's why our friends at Microsoft Slate have provided us with customer service of its own.

Posted by kevin slavin at 04:40 PM
the commissar is vanishing

Republican officials acknowledged yesterday that they altered part of Bush's State of the Union address for his new ad. The line, they said, was digitally enhanced in editing "to ensure the best clarity."

Posted by elia at 12:54 PM
A Small and Genuine Chunk of Prose from Our Friend at

>>>has my spam tripled in the last month? you know capitalism is out of control when even my penis is confused about who to get an extension from.

Posted by kevin slavin at 01:20 AM
the fortuitous encounter on an operating table of a sewing machine and an umbrella

Also, just for the record, and there is one, Doug Rushkoff playing keyboards for Genesis P-Orridge's Psychic TV is where rubber meets road. I'm not sure which is which, but it's where rubber meets road. Dogs and Invisible Hands, like that. Along these lines. It's late, is all I'm trying to say, and Douglas Rushkoff playing keyboards for Psychic TV is one of the strangest and best ideas I never thought of.

Posted by kevin slavin at 12:33 AM
Ether Legacies (starts with e and ends in irl)

Caveat that it's late, I'm on Sonata, and I'm typing more than I'm writing. So it would me more helpful to build on top of this than to take it apart.

Rushkoff points out that iPodjacking (is there a dumber word?) is "a legacy of online file sharing -- essentially the same thing, except offline."

A lot of people have come to independent conclusions that open source didn't start with software, nor does it end with it. That open source was essentially a set of phenomena that was searching for a coherent and cohesive expression, which Linux provided. Roughly (quickly), the boundaries between selfless and selfish, and how their interplay benefits everyone, if the rules of exchange are made clear and enforceable.

But Rushkoff's as-usual smart-as-hell take on iPodjacking makes me start to understand that there are other phenomena that had no language or paradigm to describe them, until computers accelerated, popularized, and standardized the experience of them. "Filesharing," after all, existed as far back as dbrown was running a 300 baud BBS, and a whiles before that as well. But that wasn't filesharing, yet, until we had Napster to provide enough density to the experience (individually and demographically) to give it a name.

So now we can understand the iPodjacking experience in the context of filesharing, and we may might probably promote or receive it in that same context. So essentially, filesharing is now brought into meatspace. There's nothing about iPodjacking that couldn't have happened with the advent of the Walkman in 1984(?) except that we had no way to consider that kind of exchange. We shared music by playing records for our friends, not offering it up to strangers. But that experience of sharing with strangers is so raw, so essential, that it seems silly that it would stop in the ether.

Similarly, meetups can be considered as the meatspace analogue to chatrooms, unless someone tells me otherwise. It's built around many of the same principles: maybe that, for defined periods of time, strangers with common interests provide the benefits of community without the burdens of same. It's what makes chat rooms brilliant when they work, as well as meetups.

So I think the thing to try to track is: what are the other real-life behaviors that start in ether and end IRL? They need not require technology in that extension (there's no genuine reason that iPodjacking can't happen with regular CD walkmans) -- but as phenomena, what became coherent when ether was able to express it, and then spidered out from the wires?

Posted by kevin slavin at 12:28 AM
November 24, 2003
road warriors

Funny how in this age of skyscrapers and chunnels and space stations, the hardest thing to build might be a road. If that road is in the middle of the Sahara.

Posted by elia at 09:58 PM
Paging Any Paranoid Ex-Business Partners I Might Have


If you've been noticing the psy-chalk "hobo language for paranoids" signs that you should be wearing your Aluminum Foil Detector Beanie, then you already know what the rest of the world is learning.

I remember seeing all those aluminum hats around New York City in the 70s, when the mental institutions were cleared out in order to promote homelessness. Guys walking down the street wearing Aluminum Foil Detector Beanies, muttering about how it was the only thing that stopped them from being tracked and persecuted. How it was the only thing that stopped the transmissions.

Then they all disappeared. I thought maybe it was because the transmissions stopped. Turns out they're just now starting.

Posted by kevin slavin at 06:32 PM
Upskirt No Wait


I know it's off MeFi, it's just too good to not put up the photo that the vice-president of Iran secretly took of Shevardnadze, and then put up on his blog. I don't even know what to say about it except that sometimes the best way to see the future is through someone else's little camera phone.

Posted by kevin slavin at 06:12 PM
I Don't Know iPod

iPodjacking sounds kinda dumb to me, but in a way it's a kissable cousin to Bluejacking. More interesting than the practice itself is Alex Pang's thoughts about it.

Posted by kevin slavin at 02:47 PM
November 23, 2003
10 Thoughts on Gus Van Sant's Elephant


1. For eighty minutes, a camera walks through a high school. A camera walks at the same slow pace of adolescence, where even the football players only gain a few yards at a time. Everyone is on their way from somewhere to somewhere, which is the essential nature of adolescence, and for eighty minutes there’s a camera behind them.

2. Not with them, not in front of them, the camera stays behind their heads, with a depth of field so shallow that only those heads stay in focus. The rest of the world – insofar as high school is world – blurs out and drifts in. There are overheard conversations and colors and general figures, and they never quite resolve into focus. Keywords: Parenthesis, periphery. Blur and hum.

3. This camera comes at the same scene from different angles at different times, so certain fragments repeat over and over, somehow different each time. The same fragmented conversation, reconsidered and redefined. It’s not a question of context; it’s that the thought is different because it's repeated. More is different.

4. Sometimes lingering. Following a lifeguard until he leaves the camera, and then lingering on the hallway that a lifeguard leaves behind. In the remainder of the shot, we see the janitor mopping, just past that horizon of blur. Sometimes lingering, and then other times cutting off, cutting short. A man enters a room and his colleagues shout “surprise” for his birthday, but the camera isn’t interested in that, and the only surprise really is that this bright moment is just as peripheral as any other.

5. These qualities – the speed of the camera, the human head in focus and motion, the cutting off and staying on, the repetition of phrases and motions – these qualities make the movie an echo of the act of thinking. High school as a human brain, these kids aren't archetypal but rather, andogenous, these are the kids inside you. Not the inner child, but all the inner kids, all the different raw impulses that we associate with teenagers. Teenagers not because these impulses fade, but because the freedom to express them fades.

An exercise in the act of thinking. This high school is the human brain with all its raw ideas and impulses, the way we repeat conversations over and over again in our heads, even the ones we never had. Especially the ones we never had.

6. Every impulse expressed at once, even the opposites, the insecure girl, the jock, the nerds and queers and homeboys. Every compulsion, every instinct we all of us have inside ourselves. Even the darkest ones, the instincts we have towards violence and vengefulness, even the darkest impulses, these are embodied in this high school, brought to life, in teenager form.

7. When three girls vomit in the bathroom, it feels like an essential and universal failure brought to form, or flesh, or viscera. When a girl stops to just breathe the air and look around, it feels simply like those moments in the day where we realize we were thinking of nothing at all.

And when two boys gear up in camo and start shooting everyone with automatic weapons, these too feel as familiar as the thoughts we have every single day. Every one of these kids feels familiar, not because we recognize them, but because we house them somewhere inside, and it’s no less true of the ones who are shooting, as it is of the ones who get shot.

8. There’s a scene where the camera is following a photographer around, an echo of an echo. At one point the photographer enters the darkroom, he removes his film from the camera and loads it onto spools. Parts of this scene, to the sound of the film rolling to spools, occur in total darkness. Few films that are this generous with a certain kind of space.

9. Some of the most important scenes of the film are the scenes that refuse to advance narrative. Because playing the piano is narrative, as is walking the hallway. Because slowly opening a locker is narrative, as is breathing air, and in the end, lighting incendiary devices, getting shot in the head, these things are simple narrative as well.

10. There are ten thousand ways to suicide, and some take seventeen years.

Posted by kevin slavin at 12:09 AM
November 22, 2003
Three Words


Three words: Kaiju Big Battel. Just got back from it, at the Warsaw in W'Burg. I've no idea how to convey how amazing it was, so let me just use keywords.

Dr. Cube, Poison Dog Food, Anvil From Heaven. Hello Hell Monkey. Mung-Wun the Thai Fly. Silver Potato. J-Pop "Peel Me Now," Los Platanos, Kung-Fu Chicken Noodle. If you don't get the picture, just try to catch them the next time it happens. Wear something you don't mind staining, there's toxic waste involved.

Posted by kevin slavin at 12:06 AM
November 21, 2003
Pretentious Title Goes Here


From a story in the WSJ today about Ford's collecting/collection.

Posted by dbrown at 03:05 PM
November 20, 2003
getting low on dough

Evidently the Atkins/low-carb craze is hitting the bread makers in their wallets - so the US bread industry is holding a crisis "bread summit."

Posted by elia at 11:07 AM
November 19, 2003
smarter mobs

The BBC is reporting that The Chasing Bush campaign is asking people to "disrupt the PR" of the president's visit to the UK by spoiling stage-managed photos.

They are being encouraged to send location reports and images by mobile to be posted on the Chasing Bush site.

"We want to give people a chance to be a visible voice of dissatisfaction," said campaign organiser Tim Ireland.

Posted by elia at 12:35 PM
Back to the Future, Like You Ever Left It

Off the new-to-me blog "test," is someone, unclear exactly who, who has English down, all the vowels, all the consonants, and a bunch of things to say with them.

The latest entry is on "Things of the Past," wherein the anachronistic and useless past -- as oulined in the cumulative pages of Wired Magazine -- are called and broken out. Hard landings, housework, chronic insomnia, all of these will go the way of contagious epidemics and nuclear weapons. No, wait.

Posted by kevin slavin at 02:12 AM
November 18, 2003
Cats Out of Bags, Bags Out of Paper

Speaking of East Germans, their penchant for documentation is coming to a different end than their secret police ever hoped for. Given the Stasi's abilities to separate signal from noise (like body scent) you might imagine that they'd make sure their own secret documents were irretrievable. You would imagine wrong.

Interesting too, what can be recovered from that period, and what can't.

In the meantime, their secret signals are also out of the bag:


1. Watch out! Subject is coming
- touch nose with hand or handkerchief

2. Subject is moving on, going further, or overtaking
- stroke hair with hand, or raise hat briefly

3. Subject standing still
- lay one hand against back, or on the stomach

4. Observing Agent wishes to be terminate observation because cover threatened
- bend and retie shoelaces

5. Subject returning
- both hands against back or on stomach

6. Observing Agent wishes to speak with Team Leader or other Observing Agents
- take out briefcase or equivalent and examine contents.

Somebody tell me how putting both hands on your stomach is an inconspicuous signal.

Posted by kevin slavin at 06:10 PM
You Better Watch Out

World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) has just released their “10 Worst Toys” list for the 2003 holiday season.

5. Air Hogs - Sky Commander Helicopter: HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR EYE INJURIES!
8. Green Orbit Extending Super Spyperiscope: HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR EYE INJURIES!
10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Electronic Michelangelo's Nunchukus: HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR BLUNT IMPACT INJURIES!

Posted by elia at 05:38 PM

The U.S. military's code name for a crackdown on resistance in Iraq - Iron Hammer - was also used by the Nazis for an aborted operation to damage the Soviet power grid during World War II.

Posted by elia at 03:23 PM
November 17, 2003
rat poison doesn't kill people

People kill people. Except in rural China, where people kill people with rat poison.

Posted by elia at 07:44 PM
for peanuts

A while back I mentioned the Cowan Americana auction. I never paged through the whole sale; it turns out I missed one important item: the organ grinder's monkey hat and box. Price realized: $440.63

Posted by dbrown at 07:31 PM
place your bets

CNN reports that the Pentagon's plan to create a market allowing traders to bet on the likelihood of terror attacks and other events in the Middle East has been revived. But the firm, Policy Analysis Market, says they're just offering opinion surveys based on a long questionnaire.

Posted by elia at 06:49 PM

I think most of us understand the urge to catalog[ue], whether it is of anti-slip devices in Tokyo or fried dough treats of the world. Via Cabinet, a modest site surveys Wide Right Turn signs, "An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society."

Posted by dbrown at 11:40 AM
Paging FT Marinetti

And another off MeFi, it's just that everyone should see how beautiful our own blog looks, ransomized.

Posted by kevin slavin at 12:19 AM
November 15, 2003
Eye for Eye and Word for Word

It's word for word off MeFi, but I'm duplicating it here. Where I'm from, it's Google that counts votes, not the government.

Gore Vidal releases new book about the founding fathers, has some words for the current administration. Vidal: But mostly we find the sort of corruption Franklin predicted. Ours is a totally corrupt society. The presidency is for sale. Whoever raises the most money to buy TV time will probably be the next president. This is corruption on a major scale. Enron was an eye-opener to naive lovers of modern capitalism. Our accounting brotherhood, in its entirety, turned out to be corrupt, on the take. With the government absolutely colluding with them and not giving a damn. Bush’s friend, old Kenny Lay, is still at large and could just as well start some new company tomorrow. If he hasn’t already. No one is punished for squandering the people’s money and their pension funds and for wrecking the economy. So the corruption predicted by Franklin bears its terrible fruit. No one wants to do anything about it. It’s not even a campaign issue. Once you have a business community that is so corrupt in a society whose business is business, then what you have is, indeed, despotism. It is the sort of authoritarian rule that the Bush people have given us.

Posted by kevin slavin at 07:14 PM
November 14, 2003

So I'm here at State of Play and the room is wifi, so everyone's surfing and getting mail, but there's something very interesting happening. Second Life made a very important IP announcement this morning, and what's amazing to me is that it got blogged as it was happening. There are maybe 150 people in the room here with me, and I don't know which two of them posted this and this, but it's a new phenomenon to me, to sit here alone and know what the strangers around me are thinking.

Posted by kevin slavin at 12:05 PM
Betting, Playing, Games and Gambling

OK, so I just got back from the first night of the NYU Law School "State of Play" conference. Speaking tonight were Richard Bartle (great inventor of the MUD) and Raph Koster (Chief Creative, Sony Online Entertainment) -- moderated by the oft-brilliant Julian Dibbell.

These are three very smart guys, but I personally didn't feel like there was much meat in the discussion. It seemed like both Bartle and Koster were focusing on the possible abuses of power by admins, which to my mind is far less threatening than the many abuses that players inflict on each other.

But then Bartle on his way to making a point (I don't remember the original point) said something about, if we were playing the board game Clue, and I offered you $20 to show me your cards, and then won the game...

It got me to thinking, you know, the funny thing about games IRL is that some of them are already legislated and regulated, and that's what we call gambling. And it got me wondering, in a room full of lawyers, why it is that some games are regulated and others are not?

Because, this is pure conjecture, the moral (and, down the line, legal) argument against unrestricted gambling is that people are taking something fixed (like money) and assigning it to a system that is arbitrary (like dice). Now, that's true with the stock market as well, but then, that's regulated too.

So, in the last 5 months, 5.79 million dollars have passed through eBay's category 1654, which are all the virtual goods of Ultima Online, etc. So here's my question: haven't people essentially bet (or invested) 5.79 million dollars, hoping that it will yield a profit within that same market?

Because what's different about that than playing high-stakes craps? One answer may be "game of skill." As I understand it, that's why it's ok to put 25 cents in a pinball machine but not a slot machine, because pinball machines were once demonstrated to be based on skill, not luck. "The trick is to create a game that is both playable, with an outcome that depends more on skill than luck. The law requires that it must be possible for a skillful player to win under normal playing conditions."

So is it just that? That your success in virtual worlds is understood to be purely a reflection of skill? Because to flip it around, if skill isn't part of gambling, what's counting cards all about? Or why do the same guys go to the world poker championships year after year, if skill's not involved?

In short: gambling, and virtual worlds, take cash, enter it into a parallel currency (betting chips, or gold pieces), and multiply or diminish that parallel economy in ways that involve chance. Then the currencies of that parallel economy can be converted back to real cash.

What I was unable to articulate tonight is that I'm not trying to say that online gaming is the same thing as gambling. I just don't understand how it's different.

Kio, if you don't hear me paging you, I'm paging you.

Posted by kevin slavin at 12:39 AM
November 13, 2003

Eight 30 second spots from candidates for Rock The Vote, intended to reach the youth demo. haven't watched them all, but did enjoy Sharpton's spelling of Florida. Points to Sharpton, too, for not using a "techno" soundtrack. ("Bed"?)

Posted by dbrown at 06:05 PM

Sorry, am I the last to hear about

Gothamist has a really good calendar up, but there's many angles on the same events.

Posted by kevin slavin at 04:41 PM
Twenty Headers About Sucking C0ck

The thing about spam is that you get so much of it that it's easy to forget, that like all other excreta, it's a human product.

So "Cocksucker," a recent entry on Oblivio, is a candid story about what it's like to sit down and write those unscreenable headers. "Give me twenty headers about sucking c0ck," says his boss.

If the ethics of doing this vary from those of working on the electric toothbrush account at the agency, I'm not sure precisely how. Quantity, quality, or what.

Posted by kevin slavin at 12:07 PM
ethics 101

so a slow-moving couple enter the starbucks in front of me, and the woman, wearing a calf-length down jacket, who moves a little jerkily, and resembles what the New York Press used to call a skel, reaches down, grabs a Starbucks sandwich, and pockets it. They loiter another minute, and the dude asks her, sotto voce, "Do you want a coffee?" And then they leave.

What should I have done?

Posted by dbrown at 10:40 AM
Curious, Orange

"There's a great story about one time Carney got in trouble on live TV. It was a 'Honeymooners' sketch on the Gleason show, and Gleason exited a scene and ran off to his dressing room to change clothes -- which he should not have done. He forgot that the scene had been rewritten and extended. He was supposed to go back in and engage Art/Ed in more dialogue but he forgot, leaving his sidekick sitting at the Kramden dining table, waiting for Ralph to return and play the rest of the dialogue. When Ralph didn't come, Art realized he had to fill -- this is live TV, remember -- so he walked over, opened the ice box and found there was nothing in it but an orange. He took it, sat down and did two minutes of orange-peeling. A stage manager finally got Gleason back so the scene could resume but as Jackie himself told the story, those two minutes were the funniest two minutes in the entire hour, maybe the entire season. The kinescope is apparently lost but I'm sure it was wonderful."

from News From Me.

Posted by kevin slavin at 10:28 AM
November 12, 2003
The Things They Wrote

While the Bush Administration has barred media coverage of coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, there's not much they can do about the letters those soldiers sent home.

Posted by elia at 10:23 PM
How High Can You Get?


My new favorite game journal, game+girl=advance, has an enlightening analysis of Matthew Barney's "Cremaster 3" in relationship to Donkey Kong. There's little I can add to what it says there.

Posted by kevin slavin at 09:28 PM
1.2 Pictures Per Day


Off MeFi, paging David Brown: "A fellow named Charles Cushman bequeathed his collection of over 14,000 slides and photos taken over a period of three decades, from 1938 to 1969, to Indiana Univiersity." Don't miss the notebooks he recorded all his information in.

Posted by kevin slavin at 07:26 PM

Just in time for a deep recession, Japan coins the "freeter" -- half "free" and half "arbeiter" -- to describe those with job, but not a lot of job. Perhaps spawned from "arbeit macht frei" (and nothing will ever surprise me from Japan) the interesting thing is the juxtaposition of the freeter against what they call Yuppies: the New Human Type.

Posted by kevin slavin at 06:56 PM
No More Discs and No More Jockey

There are live DJs who spin for big clubs, and then they broadcast the stream on net radio so everyone can listen.

The only thing that's new about it -- and it's really new -- is that these clubs don't actually exist.

Posted by kevin slavin at 06:09 PM

The Sims Online, In Real Life. International SIMCON 2004.

It could go either way, but it's possible that that thing -- with the bravado and poor code of the early web -- will be understood, years from now, to be where something started.

Posted by kevin slavin at 12:15 PM
Buck Privates

I wasn't sure where the Jessica Lynch story could go next, but it's better than anything I could've come up with:

Pornographer Larry Flynt says he bought nude photos of Pfc. Jessica Lynch to publish in Hustler magazine, but changed his mind because she's a "good kid" who became "a pawn for the government."

Posted by elia at 09:26 AM
My First Kiss


It started when I ran into some friends that were chatting while one of them was doing a little changing, or modeling or something like that. It was kind of interesting to watch in a voyeuristic sort of way. I then ran into a group of people that I did not know that were talking about leaving at 11:00PM when the service shut down. I told them about the "after hours" at "the bones" and they wanted to go.


Octavia_Larkspur took me to a little bench with a great view of the moon and just enough out of the way to feel like we were still at the party. We started talking and then she leaned-in and turned her head to the side. I tried to do the same but had some difficulty... evidently being a good kisser requires practice in There just like in real life.

My First Kiss.

Posted by kevin slavin at 01:50 AM
November 11, 2003
Somebody Kill Me


I wanted to open this post with a web artifact I can't find: the 3D rendered model of the woman that some guy wanted to meet. I can't remember if he saw it in a dream, or it was just his specific preferences, or what. I just remember thinking that we'd crossed another threshold when he posted that face everywhere, hoping it matched that of someone walking on earth.

If that was crossing a threshold, then, this is the fuckin' window we're falling out of, because I don't remember anyone asking me if Miss Digital World was a good idea. I think her power derives mostly from the clean inevitability of her existence.

(and then, if anyone can point me to a link for that first one, the 3D face, I'd appreciate it.)

Posted by kevin slavin at 07:59 PM
November 10, 2003
mysteries of the deep

Biologists have linked a mysterious, underwater farting sound to bubbles coming out of a herring's anus. ... Secondly, the herring are only noisy after dark, indicating that the sounds might allow the fish to locate one another when they cannot be seen.

Posted by dbrown at 06:12 PM
Memory vs. Storage, chapter whatever

As is often the case, in the process of researching material for a thought I had, I find that someone else has expressed it far better than I ever will. In this particular case, it's Jim Lewis in Wired on what might be thought of as a new digital phenomenology.

"Mechanical memory - to its unexpected advantage - degrades. Colors fade, negatives crack, manuscripts grow brittle, grooves get scratched. What emerges from these depredations is a crucial sense of both the pastness of the past, and its presence. Time takes just enough out of acetate and celluloid to remind us of the distance between now and then, while leaving just enough to remind us of the nearness of our own history."

Posted by kevin slavin at 03:40 PM
Carts and Horses

Not the end of history: the history of the end.

Posted by kevin slavin at 12:46 PM
NSFW Unless Your W is NS to Begin With

One idea of the blog is a voice that speaks somewhere between conventional ideas of public and private. This becomes far more interesting when applied to professions that blur those same lines. Like call girls and strippers.

Posted by kevin slavin at 10:33 AM
November 07, 2003
The Yuan Speaks

Q: "So does the term "junkspace" have a negative meaning?"

A: "What we always try to do is move beyond positive and negative and try first to understand things. Of course, the longer we worked in the private sphere, the more we felt an interest in, and perhaps even a nostalgia for, conceiving architecture as a public art. That's why, for instance, when we were invited at the same time to participate in the competitions for Ground Zero in New York and CCTV in China, we went for the competition in China because that was ultimately not a private client and seemed to provoke an architecture that was more serious than any architecture that could be built in America at this moment."

Posted by kevin slavin at 05:44 PM
November 06, 2003

499807947: Earlier today I pretended I was sleeping to stop a taxi driver talking to me - really I wasn't even tired.

495080214: i'm 25 and i somehow only end up sleeping with women in their mid 30's i meet at bars or 14-16 year old girls i find on the internet. one time i crawled out of a 36yr old womans bed and snuck into her daughters room.

Group hug.

Posted by kevin slavin at 02:37 PM
Quantifying Reputation

Not that anyone on saturation uses eBay, but, here's a great Castronova-esque study by Resnick, Zeckauser, Swanson, and Lockwood on the quantifiable value of eBay reputation. If you're in a hurry, the short answer is 7.6%.

Posted by kevin slavin at 02:11 PM

Not that this is news, but since DB and I are fresh off the plane, it's on my mind.

It would be difficult to really explain how pervasive the cell phone was in Japan, how many and how often, and how it was fairly unusual to see someone talking on them. Instead, they were typing, gaming, and actually shooting photos a lot more than I would have imagined. I saw one woman photographing a photograph, on the street, it was of a hairdresser's model, and I can only imagine it was to show it (send it?) to her own hairdressser.

Did I mention that tassels for the phone are crucial? That your identity is defined more by the jewelry your cell phone wears, than by the hardware itself. I'm all in favor of that, since jewelry is cheaper, more varied, and easy to swap. I bring this up only because I just stumbled across Justin Hall's photographs of these same and similar phenonema. I brought back one tassel, it came attached to my KitKat bar. Really.

Here, also, is a blog from Tokyo college students who are researching the changing role of cell phones in Japanese society.

Posted by kevin slavin at 01:58 PM
They Came, So Someone Built It

Social network, chat, duh. Huminity, yes. PC, only.

Posted by kevin slavin at 01:44 PM
Roadrunner Sailed Right Through That Shit


The first time I ever saw Tmonkey on the street, I knew immediately who he was, because we'd been sharing this blog for a month or two at the time. He just walked and looked exactly like I imagined he might, and to be clear, I could pick him out of a crowd of strangers. I remember the first word out of his mouth, too: "zoinks!"

And then last week, in Tokyo, DBrown and I met the bright and fascinating James Luckett, of, which we've cross-posted plenty. Not that a day is any way to come to any conclusions, but James struck me as more or less exactly who I imagined he might be, from what and how he writes.

I think this is a very powerful and beautiful power of the internet, this kind of knowledge of someone through their interests and how they express them, and how that can be the first stage of a relationship. I think that's kind of new, and good, because it beats some kind of validation through e.g., cliquish social nodes, or, like, sneakers.

Halley Suitt maybe and might not agree, suggesting that we might be "fooling ourselves," that it's a Trompe L'Oeil Online Intimacy. It's an interesting question, and a smart way to ask it. For me, I think the problem might be in the word and idea of "intimacy," which is only one way to consider the kinds of movement we have through each others' lives. There are friends, and there are friendsters, and there are a million other kinds of relationships; some of them are new, typology-wise, because we are connecting to each other with brand new points of contact.

If it's trompe l'oeil, I think it's worth considering that trompe l'oeil painting has its own beauty, and its own value, and that some of the more meaningful experiences I've had with art were the hours I spent staring into it.

Just thinking out loud, as always, and as always, insofar as this is loud.

Posted by kevin slavin at 01:14 AM

I took the Chinatown bus recently from New York to Philadelphia. It picked me up and dropped me off in deep streets of both cities' Chinatowns. Partly because Chinatowns are relatively opaque to me, and partly because it was Chinese poly-Elvis variety TV shows for the duration of the trip, it was essentially an uninterrupted tunnel through a parallel Chinese America. For 20 bucks.

Details are now quite available, courtesy of the Black Table.

Posted by kevin slavin at 12:43 AM
November 05, 2003

The Day After Tomorrow, a new end of the world movie, coming next May. Posted because I like end of the world movies, and the effects look great.

contest: guess the Time magazine headline for that week

trivia: title comes from a photobooth portrait by Kevin, from the early 1990s, in Copenhagen

Posted by dbrown at 01:33 PM
you're in the army now

Is Bush trying to reinstate the draft? Common Dreams thinks so. (But what else are they supoosed to think?) Here's the DoD link.

Posted by elia at 12:05 PM
Noise = Signal

Back when I had my Palm Pilot with me all the time, I would always scan for other Palm users on the subway. I had a memo ready -- something about an error, and needing to shake the PDA to clear the flash ram -- and I would discreetly beam it to anyone sitting there trying to write. Sometimes it worked, and they'd look worried and shake their poor little Palm. I don't know what it did to the hardware, but at the time, it helped me get through the day.

Now that I have a bluetooth-equipped phone, I can't believe I never thought of doing the same thing to all the blueteeth in proximity. Maybe I did, and forgot it, but in any case, it's got a name now, with a FAQ and hoodies and the whole damn thing. White on rice, I say. White on rice.

Posted by kevin slavin at 01:13 AM
November 04, 2003
We Looked Like Giants


A lot of people have been asking what it was like to be in Japan. So here's DBrown adding milk to his coffee.

We were having breakfast at "Cafe Bach," an Austrian-themed restaurant. It was like that.

Posted by kevin slavin at 04:08 PM
If It Wasn't Real It Would Still Be Poetry

>>Donald Rumsfeld was asked whether he's lost his "mojo"; the defense secretary responded that he didn't know, because he didn't know what mojo means. A gang of Catholic schoolgirls chased down and pummeled a flasher in Philadelphia. In Mississippi, a woman driver penetrated President Bush's security and crashed her car into a wall about 50 feet from where the president was sitting in his limo. A clown robbed a bank in Virginia.

From the Harper's Weekly Index. Of all the things in the world that happen on a regular schedule, this is my favorite.

Posted by kevin slavin at 04:00 PM

CBS is pulling the plug on the Regan mini-series. But don't worry, you'll be able to see it on Showtime.

Posted by elia at 01:11 PM

So in Iraq, the mystery weapon starts to flatten the playing-field. And here at home, we're beginning to catch up as well. Never mind the radar detector, or the police scanner frequency for the Federal ops joint strike force. What my anti-personnel vehicle needs is the greenlight machine.

Posted by kevin slavin at 12:09 PM
Mystery Gun

And we're back. Meanwhile, outside Baghdad, somebody's got a mystery weapon that can punch through American tanks like they were made out of yogurt. The Army has no idea what it is, which is reason #10,733 to regret and impeach.

Posted by kevin slavin at 01:24 AM
November 03, 2003


Posted by dbrown at 12:24 PM