Archive for May, 2007

Ash – Polaris

New single off the new Ash album, Twilight of the Innocents. Think turning 30 has finally made Tim Wheeler a little more socially conscious, what with the bring-the-troops-home sentiment of the video. But the song’s quite blah though, and I think this is the most prominent piano ever in an Ash song, not that it helps that much.


the vader project

As you (must already) know, it’s the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, and Star Wars Celebration IV is taking place right now in LA, with lots of the usual attendant mutual fanboy masturbation and balls-out merchandise consumption. There is however, one extremely cool idea that’s come out of this, and that is The Vader Project.

The Vader Project is presented by Master Replicas Inc. and curated by Dov Kelemer of DKE Toys. Kelemer gathered 75 of the hottest underground and pop surrealist painters, artists and designers to participate. Each artist was given a Master Replicas 1:1 scale prop replica of the actual Darth Vader helmet used in the Star Wars films. Each helmet served as a blank canvas for each artist to paint, design, mash up, and customize.

Here’s a sample of my favourites off the official flickr set:

I would be remiss not to include toysrevil‘s excellent interviews with the involved artists. You cool lah, dude.

And here’s something just for kicks:

keyboard of doom

I love my Logitech Cordless MX keyboard, but 4 years of non-stop use means a fair amount of detritus lurking under the keys. As evidenced by picture below.

Here’s a bloody disgusting close-up if you’re so inclined.

So I called up this useful guide to cleaning your keyboard, and went to work.

Here’s 4 years of my dead skin cells, the occasional food crumb, and I’m sure not a few decomposed insect remains – forcibly removed by cotton buds.

Much cleaner now…

Here’s a gratuitous shot of the keys, which were a lot of fun popping out.

By the way, I’m actually cleaning it cos I’m selling my Logitech Cordless MX Duo (means it comes with an MX700 mouse with docking base station as well). Its a pretty good and very comfortable keyboard. And the MX700 is a damn kickass mouse, I know I’ll never settle for anything less than 8 mouse buttons from now on. Although the rechargable batteries that came with it are crap now, so you’ll have to get your own.

So if anyone’s interested, can drop me an email at bsideprojektatgmail.

A Fair(y) Use Tale

I’ve never been a big fan of Disney’s perpetual copyright extensions so its with a fair bit of glee that I post this video mash-up of Disney clips explaining the core concepts of American copyright law.

Reads: Goodnight, Steve McQueen

Goodnight, Steve McQueen is advertised as being in the vein of High Fidelity, which I’d say counts as pretty misleading. Sure its about a 29-year old loser, Steve Danny McQueen – the name’s really just for cute factor, doesn’t add to the story – who’s still trying to make it as a rock star after yonks, and it’s written by Louise Wener, previously of the Britpop band, Sleeper. But there’s really not alot about music at all, which is a huge minus in my book.

Apparently an example of lad-lit, as opposed to chick-lit, it’s really about Danny’s relationship with his long-suffering girlfriend Alison, who’s got a real job, and who’s going to be posted overseas for work, so Danny’s been given an ultimatum to shape up or ship out. Along the way, Danny’s helped by an acceptably quirky one-dimensional cast consisting of his bandmates; shoes-obsessed band leader Vince and gullible but modelesque Matty, his well-meaning Greek boss, Kostas, and Sheila, an 80-year old kungfu enthusiast.

I guess it’s a pleasant enough read, extremely easy on the gray matter. Everything’s all very pat and conveniently plotted, with Wener even throwing in a not particularly tragic attempt at poignancy with the death of a character at the end. No prizes guessing whose number is up. It’s all quite predictable and boring, really. Goodnight, Steve McQueen is my first taste of lad-lit, I think, and probably my last.

Goodnight, Steve McQueen
(ISBN No: 006072563X) Check NLB Catalogue for item availability.

skullylovesyou deepdeep

So Grace has this LiveJournal onlinespreeshoppingthing going with pretty cool stuff for girls. She’s the most well-put together person I know, so you, my readers – all 3 of you – should head over and check it out.

Lots of skulls – hence the name – so you know it’s cool threads.

Reads: Snow Crash

Snow Crash is bloody amazing. I’ve come on a little late to the Stephenson party – in my defense, I did read The Big U back in school – and I don’t think there’s anything I can really add to the existing public opinion of this book. This was written in 92, mind you and is shockingly prescient, case in point: Snow Crash‘s Metaverse is already here today in Second Life.

Lest you think its just a Neuromancer wannabe, it’s not all just cyberpunk and wearable-computing – Snow Crash is ridiculously dense with ideas about the confluence between politics and business, micronation franchising and samurai swordplay as well as the best explanation of religion as virus I’ve read so far. Stephenson has so many genius ideas that even his throwaway hooks are better than what most sci-fi novels revolve around.

But what really gets me about Snow Crash is the characters: Hiro Protagonist, our, erm, hero protagonist, who is the best swordsman in the world, Y.T, the requisite spunky teen, except fitted with an actual dentata (look it up), Uncle Enzo, the pizza-hawking Vietnam vet Mafia Don, and Raven, quite simply the most badass mofo with a harpoon you’ll ever read about. Snow Crash is the most fun read I’ve had in a long time.

Snow Crash
(ISBN No: 0553380958) Check NLB Catalogue for item availability.

Dan Deacon – Crystal Cat

This song is fifty kinds of awesome.

Thanks to Grace who pointed me to Indeed Fantastic Music Videos, where I found it.

Marvin Gaye & Nick Drake – A Northern Soul

Most power mash-up ever. Makes all make-outs at least 50 times more pleasurable.

Go here for the song.

Reads: Reefer Madness and Other Tales from the American Underground

Despite the occasional bravado and leftist rhetoric, I play it just as safe as any other typical Singaporean. Though that’s probably got more to do with balls (the lack of) than anything else. I say all this as a precursor to the fact that I’ve not tried any form of drugs ever, apart from the societally-accepted poisons of alcohol and nicotine, though the idea remains both seductive and vaguely romantic.

Reefer Madness – which is the first of three essays in the book – deals with the marijuana trade in America along with its absurdist law enforcement policies, which impose harsher penalties on a clueless pot smoker than murderers or rapists. This despite exhaustive studies which have shown pot to be less toxic than nicotine, albeit a fair bit more hallucinogenic. Not to mention the various medicinal properties of pot, as opposed to cigarettes, of which there are none. Mostly, the essay hits home when detailing various cases of ruined lives more a result of legal persecution and witchhunts than actual drug abuse.

The next essay is In the Strawberry Fields, which is an indictment of the Californian strawberry industry and its unfair practices regarding migrant labour from Mexico. This bit is quite reminiscent of Schlosser’s earlier Fast Food Nation. The final piece is An Empire of the Obscene, which profiles Reuben Sturman, the greatest porn baron the world has never known. Seriously, Hugh Hefner is a joke next to this guy. Who would’ve thought that the first porn capital of the world would have been as nondescript as Cleveland, Ohio?

Reefer Madness and Other Tales from the American Underground
(ISBN No: 0713996587) Check NLB Catalogue for item availability.