The first half of US TV season is well and truly behind us now, so I'm diving into season 4 of The Wire this week. While I don't think it's as good as everyone else makes out, it's not a show to ignore.
"At Happy Lawson, a kid-friendly store that overlooks Yokohama Harbor, customers can buy fresh sushi and carbon offsets, pay income tax and change diapers, book airplane tickets and sip vodka coolers. There's hot soup, cold beer, fresh bread, clean toilets, french fries, earwax remover, spotless floors, and a broadband-empowered machine that will order home appliances, book concert tickets and sign a customer up for driver's education."- Japan's convenience stores profit by taking convenience to new level
"Brawling South Korean politicians tried to sledgehammer their way into a parliamentary meeting room barricaded by the ruling party as the National Assembly descended into chaos on Thursday over a free-trade agreement with the United States."Yes, there are pictures [via trendalicious]
- Motel Life is a photo essay by the Denver Post's Hyoung Chang and Jason Blevins documenting the lives of families who are currently living in American motels.
- My favorite news story from yesterday was that in 2005 Hawaiian oil drillers broke into an unusually shallow magma chamber: "They are not sure how large the magma chamber is, but some initial testing suggests it may have been put in place by activity from Kilauea in the 1950s, perhaps even the 1920s. Professor Marsh said the chamber was docile and slowly cooling. The consistency of the magma was like chilled pancake syrup."
- Lopi of Fashion Architect makes the most amazing birthday presents for her boyfriend. The t-shirt is stunning, but last year's graffiti doll blew my mind. She is so talented.
- The Big Picture: Scenes from Guantanamo Bay. Protip for American politicians, if you shut down this facility and gave the land back to Cuba, you'd improve your international reputation by 100 points.
- List of common misperceptions on Wikipedia. I learned things!
- An old-ish link, but I liked Ali-Bell's interpretations of captcha words: "regul, adj. The kind of woman who wears tracksuit pants with "Princess" written across her backside and gives her children names like Tiffnee, Kortnee and Willyum. Derived from regal."
"So now I'm conflicted, I have never behaved like this in a shop before. I'm standing there, delirious from the heat, heady with the bargains I have found, not entirely sure whether they fit me and missing one of my shoes."- It's a Jungle Out There by Lady Melbourne, an account of visiting the Primark flagship store in London.
I try not to blog or talk too much about how much I love the fashion blog culture of the internet, because there's no good way of explaining a fixation on exterior looks, especially when I am not a very aesthetically built human being, without the assumption being made that you're a bit of a twat obsessed with the latest designer offerings. Not so!
But anyway, I am currently watching Susie Bubble's quick video report on the epic Angel vintage sale that happened in London today. She's going to post a longer blog when she can, but the video she's posted for now is worth watching simply for the size of the queue that formed to get in. There were hundreds (maybe thousands) of people waiting to get in and rummage through the boxes that were laid out - and with good reason. It worked on a simple premise: buy a bag worth £10, £20 or £50 and fill it with vintage clothes until it can be filled no more. Brilliant concept, and it certainly packed the people in. As trendy as vintage gear has got in the last few years, I had no idea people were that into cheap clothes. It's pretty rewarding to see people turning on their heels and be happy to spend so little on what they wear.
Although I do wonder as to how much will be popping up on eBay for the price of a single bag...
I have started a Warhammer blog called Bow & Stab - I have a few posts completed and more in draft form. So if you play, take a look, tell me where I might be going wrong. The aim is to keep track of what I think of the game and the things I'm experiencing. Unless the game randomly turns awful, I want to stay on the positive side and include lots of screenshots.
Watching some old episodes of CSI - I'm at the point in the 2008/9 TV schedule where the early shows (eg: True Blood) have finished up and I'm struggling to find sources of entertainment. This is why I will always buy the boxsets of my favorite shows. Nothing's better.
Amanda Palmer is looking for a new record company because (amidst other cunty behaviour) her record company wanted to edit out her "fat" belly and she refused. Actually, she told them to fuck off. Here is the video:
Skip to 3:45. See a fat belly? No. Me neither. If there was one, would it matter? It's her video, her body, her choice to display it and her fans choice to look at it. Beth Ditto seems to be doing OK for herself. Have they ever been to one of her live shows? Do they know that *shock* she also doesn't shave her armpits? Do they provide such consultation for all their other musicians? Do they not see what these preconditions for female musicians do to the women? It's so ridiculously unimportant.
This is one of the reasons I do not support the recording industry. This is why I rarely buy albums. This is why I'm now blacklisting Roadrunner. Protip for Roadrunner: Amanda Palmer makes money by walking into a bar with a ukelele. She's has a growing loyal fanbase. You just lost yourself a massive meal ticket by being misogynist idiots on an uncreative label stocked with large hairy men in a culture that is increasingly refusing to buy what you sell because your industry is BULLSHIT. Welcome to failure.
- The End of the Good Times (Part 2) by Jason Scott, who attended an auction of arcade-type items, and then wrote about it. More interesting than you think.
- Air Canada flight attendant helps land a plane. The co-pilot had a nervous breakdown while in the air.
- BBC News: Crossbow fired at a North Belfast taxi cab: "The bolt shattered a side rear window of the vehicle."
- Bruce Gilden's Best Shot. I love this photo. There's nothing about it that isn't excellence and masculinity. I wish I had taken that image.
- I recently picked up chinaSMACK in my RSS reader - it's a blog bringing Chinese news/internet discussions to English language speakers. One of the recent post themes, Chinese People's Secrets, is my new favorite addiction. Some of the things people are sharing are very stark and honest, making Post Secret look edited and tame in comparison.
- William Burroughs' Thanksgiving Prayer, no doubt previously linked ages ago, but it's a good idea to refresh your mind. America can be an intoxicating country, swaddled from the world's problems and it's own history because it's just so damn great on the inside. Know your history.
"Do these “patriotic” spongeheads imagine the royal family (most of them long past retirement age) sit around, in full kevlar armour, ready spring into action when the realm is threatened? Have they ever actually seen the Queen? What exactly do they think she’s going to do? Lay a magic egg? Attack Hitler with a hammer? Shame invading armies into going home because their diction is so bad?"- Superqueen by speak you're branes.
- Candy, Magazines, History by Rachel Barrett documents the death of newsstand culture in New York. There are more pictures on her website, equally as interesting. [via] Watching my local area undergo massive redeveloping, it makes me wonder whether in 20 years I will still look back at these & my own photos and think of it as death or rebirth. All I can say is that if you live anywhere near anything that you love, document it. It might not be there next year.
- Richard Lea on modern Chinese literature: "China has one of the three great book publishing industries in the world. Along with the UK and the US it publishes around 200,000 new titles and new editions a year, well ahead of the nearest rivals, Japan, Russia and Germany. It is by far the largest publishing market by volume - officially about 6bn units a year, but many more when pirated copies are taken into account. In terms of value the market will probably amount to around £4-5bn in 2007, which would put it fourth in the world - behind the US, Germany and Japan and ahead of the UK. If you take purchasing power parity into account it is second only to the US."
- The Alexandria Hotel of Los Angeles: "The Alexandria Hotel, at 5th and Spring streets in downtown Los Angeles, was once the center of the high life in L.A. Built in 1906, it hosted three presidents and such dignitaries as Winston Churchill, and the Duke of Windsor. The earliest movie stars gathered there. After the larger Biltmore Hotel opened, the building fell into decline. At its lowest point, its owners scraped off the gold paint from parts of the building and sold it. In between, the building was "restored" to a Victorian past it never had. During World War II, the third story of the open lobby was converted into soldiers' barracks."
"She said, 'Sir, you have to take your turban off. This is the United States,'" Khera recounted. "That made me a little upset. I am a United States citizen."- North Carolina charity staffed by ignorant douchebags.
- I'm an ass for forgetting to link to his site in the first place, but now Pete has a blog, there's no excuse. If you like really rather good urban photography (one million times better than anything I can do), then you should go and read what he has to say. Sometimes he climbs things. Sometimes he lurks in the dark. Warning though: top post at the moment has clowns.
Tavi of Style Rookie raps about her H&M Comme de Garcons experience earlier in the week. She's twelve. I want to have kids exactly like her - she's smart, verbose, upbeat and totally fashion-oriented without being empty headed. In a culture that makes it so easy to be smart, THAT is our future ladies and gentleman. Bring it on.
PS - if you still feel snarky after watching that video, don't miss her tribute to young bloggers.
PPS - I love how the internet can find me people half my age and make me feel dumb as a brick.
- wreckandsalvage has made a plethora of good videos, ranging from hiking to the surreal to music to media mashups.
- AskMefi: How to put unused journals to use: "If you have a women's or family crisis shelter in your area, donate them. I've worked with such a shelter that would love to have blank journals to include in the kits they give women who are staying there."
- PingMag interviews the director of "Blindness" [IMDB] a film about society breaking down under a condition of contagious blindness.
- Belated but Obama's election win on the front pages, a nice slideshow by The Guardian.
- NSFW: Justine on a smoke break in the rain on my terrace by Clayton Cubitt
- 24 hours in Hong Kong - OK layout, excellent concept + execution.
"A displaced woman carries a child, wood and her belongings as she moves along a road in Kibati, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008, just north of Goma in eastern Congo. The humanitarian crisis in eastern Congo has exploded since rebel leader Laurent Nkunda launched an offensive Aug. 28, with around 50,000 refugees crowded around Kibati, packed into camps or sleeping out in the open, scrambling for the basics, including water to drink, wash, and cook." (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo)[The Denver Post]
Democratic Presidential Nominee, Barack Obama and his family on election night in Chicago, IL on Wednesday, November 5, 2008. (David Katz/Obama for America)
"We've been well and truly Rickrolled," Richard Godfrey, a senior vice-president at MTV and executive producer of the awards said. "We wanted to see who our audience would nominate and, given that we're in Liverpool, we thought it would be someone like the Beatles. But before the nominations were even announced he shot into the lead."- Rick Astley blitzes the MTV Europe Awards and wins Best Act Ever thanks to the internet.
A local club went and put speakers on their roof. According to YT comments, the cops were fine with it, and let everyone carry on.
There are SO MANY of these videos. Look at how happy people are. Look at the flags. Well done America. And thank you.
Why am I making this post? It's none of my business right? Well, I'm emigrating to the US soon and my partner is American. I will be spending the rest of my life being directly affected, and thus involved in Californian and US politics. So here is what I feel I know enough about to have an opinion:
Mr Barack Hussein Obama. I include his middle name because it's a fine middle name, a name no one should be ashamed of. Fuck off racists.
Prop 1A: No. As nice as better transportation for Southern California sounds, it's a lot of money (payments of $647 million a year) and will not directly improve the state for 30 years. While we need to improve the infrastructure of the state, debt is not a wise move to make. I'd like to see cities improve on what they have (eg: San Diego could expand their bus services and the mythical train system) rather than create an entirely new system. Prop 10 is better.
Prop 2: Yes. Inhumane treatment of animals isn't an arguing point. Regardless of their purpose in life, animals need to be kept in clean/spacious pens. It improves the quality of life for everyone, both animals and the people who take care of them.
Prop 3: Yes. Because it's money for child health. I only discovered recently that children do not have free healthcare in the US. I always thought that concession was made. If you're not going to make healthcare free, make it plentiful.
Prop 4: No. Although the proposition says: "Permits courts to waive notice based on clear and convincing evidence of minor’s maturity or best interests", it still puts vulnerable teenagers at risk. It's easier to ask for an abortion than tell a stranger your family problems. I can see the other side to the argument, it must be terrifying to find out your daughter had an abortion and you weren't informed. But let's face it - if you've got a good relationship with your children, they would call you without an amendment to the law being necessary. I think this one will pass.
Prop 5: Yes but only 90% yes. Increased drug treatment programs, increased parole for serious/violent crime? That's great. California needs that. Jail should be a place for those who are an immediate threat to others around them. What bothers me is that it also "limits court’s authority to incarcerate offenders who violate probation or parole". If you break the rules people, there should be consequences. I am hoping instead, that it's a way of dealing with jail overcrowding and the way drug laws end up targeting huge numbers of ethnic minorities. There have to be better ways of moving society forward, the current laws are not working.
Prop 6: NO, a really strong no on this one. Why? "Necessitate that all occupants who are recipients of public housing subsidies submit to annual criminal background checks and lose housing if convicted of a recent crime. " If you're applying for public housing, you're already fucked in life. Stop discriminating against those with convictions. Why would you make even more people homeless? Christ.
Prop 7: Yes. Let's get a bit of discipline going on in America, the world needs to work together to improve the environment and sustainability.
Prop 8: NO. NO NO NO. NO. The only people who vote Yes on this proposition are insecure bigots. It's no different to the laws in California that, 60 years ago, would have prevented me from marrying my partner because he's ethnic-Chinese and I'm as white as you get. And that's if he'd even managed to get into the country, thanks to the laws excluding Chinese immigrants from the country. Proposition 8 moves the state and the country backwards. If you need laws to reaffirm your heterosexual marriage, your marriage is extremely weak. If you need laws to "protect" marriage, why aren't you campaigning for the dissolving of divorce laws? If you're voting Yes on Prop 8, you should examine why you support the government interfering in other people's private business.
Prop 9: Yes. Giving more of a voice to victims of crime + helping them be more aware of the details of the case is a definite win. It should also help the perpetrator have a greater understanding of their behaviour and make rehabilitation more successful. I hope.
Prop 10: Yes. Helping people buy cost effective vehicles in such a massive state is a brilliant idea. See also: funding into alternative energy. It will be a more immediate change than the proposed transportation system and be an investment, rather than a growing debt. Better for the environment too. If this proposition had something included in regards to stimulating local shops in residential areas to decrease the need for travelling to Walmart et al, I'd be waving signs for it.
Prop 11: Um. I have no idea what this is about. "Requires commission of five Democrats, five Republicans and four of neither party" sounds balanced. But I don't understand this one.
Prop 12: Yes. Because war veterans are not being supported as they should be. If you work in any capacity for the country, you deserve to be taken care of. That's why people take government jobs. Because Ballotpedia died while I was thinking about/writing this, I can't get more details as to why this would be a bad thing. But what would be even better than what Voterguide is detailing, is if they were encouraged to buy farms and turn them into something productive, especially growing fruit/vegetables. That would help the economy and help create a sense of community - something Southern California especially seems to lack in my foreign eyes.
Best case scenario: I am hoping that Prop 8 fails, and Obama wins. The rest of it is negotiable.
"once they call the election for Obama you're seriously thinking of wasting your time drafting a fpp about it, you're automatically lame. the only appropriate response is to get out of the house & run naked in the streets, drunk, with a big ass "O" painted across your chest."- matteo of Metafilter on the question of Metafilter and the inevitable Obama wins/loses post.
Via the Bristol Graffiti blog, I wasn't aware of this but you can buy some Bristol graf on eBay for really really cheap. They're boards leftover from some event earlier in the year, and at the time of writing 19 of them are still going for 99p (pick up only, but still an amazing bargain). If I weren't emigrating, I'd be making a big fat beeline for the China Mike one. You could easily cut one down to size and frame it up. So yes, they're big, but no one is saying they have to stay that way. And the money goes to charity too!
"I stand a generator of generations bearing witness to a world that we are holding accountable for past actions. Me and my friends, we're changing our diets, re-inventing marriage, check-mating capitalism, re-defining ethics, replacing cruelty with compassion, and have sworn not to re-elect the sins of the father."
Fuuuuuuck. What a movement this is. What a year. For once, our generation has a shot at changing not just ourselves, but fixing the mistakes of the previous generations and having a better life. America, I have faith in you. Vote.
- Celebrating Webster, the man who dropped 'u' from 'color' - well now I know who fucked up American English!
"Feels like I've taken advantage of my right to become a part of the democracy," he said after casting a ballot in Georgia, a state that allows early voting. "It was definitely worth standing in line and doing all the things people complain about voting. I think it's more than worth it."
- T.I. after doing some research and discovering that, despite his criminal record, he could register to vote. Awesome. Vote America, vote until your feet fall off. [via]
This is the look on your face when Charles Bronson nicks your clothes in the middle of the mountains while you're trying to have a wash
This is the look on your face when Charles Bronson nicks your clothes in the middle of the mountains while you're trying to have a wash, originally uploaded by _saturnine.
Mifune: GIVE ME MY CLOTHES! >:|
Bronson: No, lol.
- Video of Banksy's Village Petstore. Did a cracking job there.
- Joe Klein analyses some time spent interviewing Barack Obama. Reasonably short video, and if you turn off the sound, a great photo slideshow. Part of me hopes that this will over after election day, that he'll do something unpopular and I'll stop liking him SO much.[via]
Since he blew up via the Obama campaign, there have been way too many armchair critics of his work. Fact is, this guy is epic. The sheer amount of work that he's put out over the last 20 odd years is tremendous. It's well made, well distributed and visible.
[note on the last image: if you click through to Flickr and view it all sizes > original, you'll be able to read the text in full.]
In a society that worships alcohol, puts Paris Hilton upon a pedestal (to her credit, but not to ours), where white is right and anyone else is an outsider, where wealth is measured by square footage and shiny technology, and divorce rates are high, it's not really surprising that Obama has developed a fanbase that rabidly admires his personality/lifestyle because not everyone subscribes to what's consistently offered through the media. What is surprising is that there are attempts to whittle it down to false idolatry, as if there's no substance behind the man.
As tacky as the campaign slogan of "change" now sounds, Obama represents something different to popculture whilst simultaneously becoming popculture. His wife is smart, their marriage is strong. His kids are forthright and intelligent. While he might dodge the subject for fear of upsetting the right, he's not homophobic, and he's pro-choice. His family, as varied as it is, looks more like all of our families (white, black, Asian, immigrant, interracial) than any other person in the public eye. He has a good natured and patient personality in front of cameras, and has weathered an unbelieveable storm of bullshit from both Clinton and the McCain campaign.
I have never had a role model, someone I thought I could look up to in my life. All my inspirations have been flawed (and usually end up to have some secret alcoholism), and while I don't think Obama is the next messiah*, he represents far better values than anything else that's available to me, my generation and the kids we may or may not bring into this world. I don't want this trend of negative behaviour to prevail over diplomacy. And I wouldn't mind a better America - it makes for a better world.
*He fucks up. The Joe the Plumber plant was badly handled, Obama could have done much better. And the next four years are going to be hard as hell, and no one is going to like him very much while he undoes the mess the GOP created. He's a pussy on the issue of gay marriage, and I hate his pro-Israel stance. You have to make compromises.
- Ignore the British by Peter Nidzgorski, which I think is available as a print. And I want it.
- The Art of Closet Organisation, which sounds easy, but how many of us actually get that done?
- I like the Robustness Principle which states: "Be conservative in what you do; be liberal in what you accept from others."