Announcing 'Weird Fears'

Fun fact, I have known guitarist Bryan Bruchman for over ten years thanks to shared Internet interests (namely, the band Self). I'm overjoyed to be working with his band, Mount Sharp to release their EP, Weird Fears.

Later this summer, yk records will put out the six song extravaganza. It's an excellent mix of pop song, upbeat rock energy and some noisey guitar. The record itself will have the music on the A side and a custom etching on the B side, thanks to artist Kris Johnsen.

We'll be releasing the first track, some videos and more in the coming months. First things first, watch their episode of Break Thru Radio where they talk about the record and perform "Crazy Eyes" right at the end.

Introducing Mount Sharp

Happy to announce that Brooklyn's own Mount Sharp will be releasing their EP Weird Fears through my yk records project. The Deli Magazine put their song "Skin" on the "Best Guitar Rock Songs by Emerging NYC Artists playlist... which is oddly specific but it's still impressively complimentary!

Album details and proper streaming previews coming soon but the seeds are planted. Meet this band - you know, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. You will be hearing plenty more about them.

Layout In Flipboard

This articles on Layouts in Flipboard is a fascinating mixture of technical implementations and design how-to. Basically, Flipboard was powered by their internal Flipboard Pages engine and they completely overhauled it into a new, smarter, far more dynamic system called Duplo. The approach is pretty brilliant and creates over 2000 layouts based on the materials presented (images, amount of text, etc). This is a designer nerd dream. Enjoy.

Man In Supposed Vegetative State Communicates

This article on Scoutt Routley is a bit unsettling but it's a bit of science that everyone should be aware of. The basic gist? Routley has been in a vegetative state for 12 years, unresponsive in every way - he's able to breath on his own but has no basic reflexes, makes no noise and doesn't respond with his eyes. Nueroscientist Adrian Owen worked up a system where, if possible, Routley could answer yes or no to certain questions by thinking of different scenarios that would highlight different portions of his brain. Routley was able to respond and able to let the team know he is aware of his surroundings, just not able to respond. Fortunately, Routley was able to tell doctors that he is not in any pain - a small condolence for being trapped inside yourself for over a decade.

It's hard to know where to go from here with this new information. It's both unsettling and hopeful to know that someone in a vegetative state is actually somewhat aware. It's obvious a terrible fate but maybe this is the first step towards improving the situation for everyone in such a situation.

Hollywood Has A Major Problem...

There is no shortage of postulating about the movie industry these days - especially in the context of Movies vs TV. This Paul Cantor piece - Hollywood has a Major Problem: Why television is killing the movie business is a particularly interesting one. It's well written, thoughtful and brings up some interesting ideas.

However, there are parts of it that I completely disagree with - particularly the notion that media finds success through social media conversation. TV is not winning out because you can tweet about it while you watch it, TV is winning out because they are hiring writers that understand character and plot developments over long periods of time. Movies are not in a place to take bets on new ideas; franchises are the #1 bet. I don't fault them for that from a monetary perspective but it's obvious that it's not a formula that helps this argument.

There is a kernel in there that I think is particularly worth taking note of:
There may be a day, soon enough, when the majority of films are released on-demand and in theaters simultaneously. And the messaging around their releases will be about making sure we watch on-demand, rather than buy tickets.
Granted, the success of a same day release does require some promotion and word of mouth endorsement but it's not about the real time conversation that takes place while watching it. It's about availability. I don't think anyone can disagree with that.

Chief O'Brien At Work

If you're a Star Trek: TNG fan, you will enjoy the doldrums of Chief O'Brien at Work. Poor guy doesn't even get a seat but he's the main point person for transporting to and from the ship!

If you're not a Star Trek fan, this will likely not be the least bit amusing. Sorry bout that!

Toynbee Tiles (in the flesh)

I've been following the phenomena of the Toynbee Tiles for some time. There's a solid NPR article on it and a really fascinating documentary called Resurrect Dead that explores their creation and the person potentially behind them.

I was overjoyed to run into a few of them in person this weekend. Are they from the original creator? Doubtful. Are they still every bit as bizarre and elusive? Oh yea. Someone is continuing the tradition and it's as weird as ever. Keep your eyes to the ground, they're out there.

Friday Videos - April 18th, 2014

Technically I have today off work, but I'm still sitting on the ole computer just browsing around and looking at dumb videos. You know, these. Enjoy!
  • Nissin Commercial - I love this because there isn't a moment of it that I understand. I don't even want to understand it. I just enjoy it for what it is.
  • Worst Wheel of Fortune Contestant Ever - I mean, poor dude, right? But definitely better than this poor guy.
  • Obvious Child Trailer - It's a shame that Jenny Slate was let go from SNL after her one season but this movie looks pretty entertaining. Looking forward to it.
  • Bear on Stairs - this is not computer generated animation! It's actually a series of 3D printed models done in traditional stop motion style. Love it.
  • Pharrell - Happy (No Music Version) - I wish they'd pushed this further into These People Look Crazy territory but it's still solid.
  • Hulk Kid gets mad from Mama Jokes - I love this video. I made plenty of crude computer art growing up but the tools are so much more robust now you can make some pretty epic things - like these kids having an awesome afternoon. This is 100% not mocking.. it's just pure entertainment.
Unfortunately these two videos are not setup for embedding but I highly recommend them:
  • The Futility of Existence - just soak this in. Don't jump ahead.. just enjoy the struggle.
  • Japanese Racing Rendition - I've likely seen this before but it still strikes me as from another world. Make it a full minute, that's when the real insanity starts.
Have a great weekend!

Finding Vivian Maier Film

I've been enjoying the work of mystery photographer Vivian Maier for some time. From the initial blog findings, to the This American Life piece on her, to the documentary on her - I've been following. The tale of a highly private nanny hitting the streets of Chicago and creating some stunning street photography from the 1960's is worth taking note of.

Now I've finally seen the film and I'm no less a fan than I ever was. I highly recommend everyone see it - if not just for the work it showcases. I'd also love to have a dialogue with anyone about the director's mentality that her work needing to be exposed to a greater audience. Is this a product of our social media times or just the facts when it comes to photography this entrancing? Miss Maier knew she was talented but she is not depicted as the type that wanted to be a household name - at least not in life. I'd even argue that her reclusive nature makes her work more interesting but, surely, that wasn't her intent.

Drag & Drop Anything Anywhere.

I'm quite curious about the possibility of DragDis being the tool to finally organize my inspiration and compelling quotes and various long reads and links to spend time with into one spot. You know, what I thought I was going to be able to do with Tumblr, Pinterest, Pocket and Delicious. They certainly don't tout themselves as a replacement for all those things but this introductory video certainly makes a compelling case for it.

Inside Story Of Clinkle

Find some time to read the disastrous tale of Clinkle - the startup that earned the most seed round funding in the history of seed round funding ($25 million) and proceeded to squander it through secrecy, hubris and the folly of youth. It is pretty much everything you expect a horror story of the Startup world to be - a young CEO making all the mistakes. All of them.

via Adam.

Monument Valley

I hope that everyone reading this already well aware of the Monument Valley game but on the off chance that you are not - go get it stat. It's a beautiful undertaking of 3D puzzles done in a Fez-like / MC Escher style. It's not particularly challenging but that's not really the point.

Kitestring

This KiteString app may seem a little like feeding paranoia at first - it allows you to setup an alert if you don't reach a destination by a particular time. Walking home late at night and worried about the neighborhoods you're passing through - ask Kitestring to text you in the approximate walk time and if you don't respond in a timely manner, it will alert your emergency contacts that something may be wrong. Fearmongering? Maybe. A way to feel a bit safer headed home? Probably.

Shanks FX Best Of

Don't let that poster image derail you, the Shanks FX Best Of is a remarkable compilation of impressive special effects made with "household products." Some are decidedly cooler than others but it's hard to deny the appeal of the bubble planets, or milk galaxies or even the Star Trek transporter effect. The man behind the lessons has a Youtube channel as well that actually educates how to do these things but, for most of us, just watching them in practice is enough. I love that the stop motion is just a tiny bit low framerate, giving it a nice homemade effect without taking away its impact.

The Space Project preview

The Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probs launched out into the depths of space back in 1977, completing its mission 3 years later. However, in the following 34 years it has been hurtling through space and sending back transmissions - pictures and sounds of space. The Space Project, from Lefse Records, takes those sounds and hands them over to 14 artists for a helluva compilation. Released this coming Record Store Day the album will be available on all sorts of physical media (which you should buy) but you can preview it online thanks to this NPR stream. It's a fascinating project and I'm hoping to find a copy this weekend.

Fix Patents

If you are not familiar with the situation with patents at this point in time I highly suggest you watch this Rise of the Patent Troll video and listen to this rather engaging This American Life episode that gives a great bit of insight into what's happening.

Knowing all that, you're aware that some Fixing is in order. The Fix Patents website does a great job of explaining the situation and making a plea to contact your Representative to vote accordingly on passing legislation that will steer the ship properly. Amazingly, this weekend I concretely learned that calling a Representative is approximately 100x more powerful than any petition. A handwritten note is even more impactful. Is this backward to the way we think and operate? Yes, but that's government.

Long story short, if you can convince yourself to use their amazing widget to call your rep, it may actually have an impact. The #fixpatents hashtag won't hurt but it will take a much larger show of force.

The Startup Legitimizer

The Startup Legitimizer definitely falls hard on the snarky side of web tools but as semi-mean spirited as it is, it's also equally well made. I love the "pre-made packages" to showcase your startup's press association and the easy bake widget to place it on your site. Buzzfeed certainly knows their audience.

Friday Videos - April 11th, 2014

Some weeks yield more fruit than others and this weeks playlist feels rather delightful. Enjoy.
  • The Worf of Starfleet - maybe this parody has already made the rounds. Maybe I'm entirely behind on this but, man, I am loving this. Incredibly well done and I love a solid Michael Dorn quote.
  • Beck "Black Tambourine" - how have I never seen this video? Can someone recreate it with ASCIIcam?
  • Chicken Nugger - sometimes I delve into /r/DeepIntoYoutube and emerge with incredibly weird gems like this one.
  • Food Reviewer: BK Rodeo Chicken Sandwich - it's been 6 months since the Food Reviewer has posted any of his incredibly earnest takes on food. I want to make sure it is clear that I don't enjoy this as a means to mock this kid.. I enjoy it because he's reviewing terrible food and giving absolutely serious takes on how it sits with him. There's something hysterical about the calmness of it.
  • Rise of the Patent Troll - a quality video from Kirby Ferguson on a rather important topic. I will talk more about this later I am sure. Do your homework, watch this.
  • Imagine the Band - what happens when you take an instrumental version of "Imagine" and an acapella version of "Band on the Run"? Magic, that's what.
  • Let's Get Social - admittedly, I feel real bad for this girl and even worse for whoever wrote this. Be sure to read along with the lyrics.
  • Wish I Was Here - Trailer 2 - did you see the official teaser trailer for Zach Braff's new movie? Well, make sure you watch this second version to really get some enjoyment.
  • Uncle Skeleton - "VHF" - I've been posting about this all week and my desire to have it be seen by as many eyes as possible. So, of course, I'm including here.
  • 50 Cent dubbed with Jehovah's Witnesses want Deaf People to Stop Masturbating - don't care if it's legit. don't care if i've posted it before. this is too entertaining to not just enjoy again.
I'm off to DC for the weekend. Hit me up on the tweets if you know of something I should absolutely not miss while I'm there.

Have a great weekend!

Rentmeester SX-70

This SX-70 gallery is unbelievable. It's hard to say much more than that when looking at the results of LIFE photographer Co Rentmeester, as the images are painterly, ethereal and just other worldly. The only downside is that there are too few of them to look at.

via Jeremy.