Disclaimer: Posting may be pretty sporadic over the next few days as Megan and I head to east TN to visit my family for thanksgiving.

Today I just have some links for you. No rants. Just some links… mainly because Kottke.org had my RSS feed full of goodness this morning. The following three are from Kottke.

Photography is for Jerkoffs.
A very clever way to put the impressiveness of a magnetic hard drive into perspective.
Chinese use rockets to get the cables for a bridge higher than the Empire State Building across the gorge over which it is being built.

Via NME: It’s finally official. They’ve teased us for over a year now, but Blur is reuniting for another album. Let’s hope they tour too. I’m skeptically excited.

The Boston Globe’s website continues to post amazing hi-res photographs of even more amazing things, such as this series of International Space Station.

And now, for your daily dose of WTF?!?!? Blowjobs as performance art:

Enjoy your thanksgiving!

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Last night one of my favorite musicians/artists of all time, Matt Mahaffey (of sElf), played a last-minute show at the Boro Bar & Grill in Murfreesboro. I already was planning to attend the benefit show he’s playing this saturday in Johnson City for his late brother Mike’s kids/family, and to see him play twice in one week was all the more awesome. His fans, especially the old-school ones from around middle TN, are all just great people. It’s amazing how his music seems to only attract the best of people as fans. The show was really just a “warmup” for saturday’s show, which he said will include his longtime friend Seth Timbs of Fluid Ounces collaborating on some songs. I was fortunate enough to catch last year’s benefit for Mike, also in Johnson City, and I can only imagine how this one will be even better with Seth’s contributions. It’s amazing how last night’s show was announced at 1pm yesterday, and in about 8 hours word got around enough for 80-100 or so people to cram into the Boro. I won’t get into how that place has gone downhill in the last few years, but Matt and the crowd that showed up definitely made it cool again at least for one night. I was doing some videotaping, but I doubt I will post anything from last night since I’m also taping Saturday’s show. However, Jess McKelly was also recording with her pocket video camera, so check out her YouTube page in the next couple of days for some clips.

Nashville Cream has been doing some cool ticket giveaways lately. They’ve been posting some absurd photos and giving the tix to whoever comes up with the wittiest/snarkiest caption in the comments of the thread. Just go over and read some of the hilarity, or even post one yourself for a chance to win.

This has seriously got to be one of the coolest optical illusions I’ve ever seen on the web. Drag the lines slowly for the best results. Link via Bad Astronomy.

Nicole Kidman apparently loves Nashville, and is a little worried about the “secret getting out.”

Ok, I debated for a minute on whether to post this as an update to today’s earlier post, or make a whole new one. Obviously I decided on the latter because somehow having 2 posts in one day makes me feel as though I’m making up for not posting since last wednesday. Anyway- I found this video on Bad Astronomy and had to post it, because this guy is really awesome. He speaks the truth, as Dr. Plait said. We easliy take for granted the amazing technology and scientific breakthroughs that make our modern lifestyle possible.

Sorry for the dry spell in posting… last thursday was my birthday and that combined with having to take my cat Sherman to the vet (he’s doing fine now) resulted in me not having time to surf the interwebz for goodies and bring them to you.

Yep, I’m 27. That famous age where so many rock icons lost their lives. I’d better watch myself over this next year… I hope I can make it through, but being a rock legend isn’t easy… nope. A list of rock icons/musicians who’ve died at 27-
Jim Morrison
Jimi Hendrix
Janis Joplin
Kurt Cobain
Brian Jones (Rolling Stones founder)
Robert Johnson (legendary blues guitarist/singer)
Dave Alexander (Stooges bassist)
D. Boon (of the Minutemen)
Ron McKernan (of the Grateful Dead)
There are many more in the “27 Club,” but I won’t post them all here. Check out the Wikipedia entry if you’re interested.

According to Stereogum, this is Katy Perry, not Zooey Deschanel:

WTF???? Seriously? If you asked me who this was, I would say definitively that it’s Zooey Deschanel. This is uncanny. Either way, they’re both on my celebrity crush list.

This guy really knows his various British accents. I love listening to accents. My favorite has to be New Zealand though.

Facial asymmetry. Fascinating.

Wow. I’ve only been doing this for about a month and I’m already getting requests from a promotions company to review an album. Look for some mp3’s and my take on the new local band Blue Eyed Blacks, and their first album “Black Eyed Soul” soon.

If you know me at all, you know that I’m a huge sci fi nerd, and that I’ve been an avid fan of both Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis for many years now. SG-1 was the longest running sci fi television series ever, lasting a whopping 10 years. They started Atlantis as a spinoff in 2005, and even had some interesting interplay between the two series while they overlapped. While I was sad to see SG-1 come to an end in 2007, I knew it was time, and quite frankly, the new SG-1 team just wasn’t quite the same without Richard Dean Anderson’s character, Colonel Jack O’Neil. I was heartbroken initially upon hearing that this current season of Atlantis will be its last, which prompted me to do a little research as to the reasoning for this, and in the process I discovered that executive producers Brad Wright and Robert Cooper are up to something new: another spinoff series called Stargate Universe. There’s not much info about it yet, but according to the press release, it will be set on a ship rather than earth or a remote base, and the crew will be a group of earth explorers who get stuck on this ship and have to fend for themselves as the ship carries out its unalterable mission of exploring the entire universe. Yes, not just one galaxy… the whole universe. I’m cautiously excited about this new direction for the franchise. I really hope the writers keep the same level of character development of the other two and keep using the layers and layers of mythology developed in the SG-1 series. Read the full press release to get the details if you’re interested.

I’m not a sports fanatic by any means, but I have been following my hometown team, the Tennessee Titans, for several years now, and of course I’m quite happy to see them leading the NFL at 10-0. Their veteran quarterback Kerry Collins apparently has an unlikely side-hobby: songwriting. Only in Nashville.

And now for some debunking. I came across this video on Oddee.com and couldn’t resist posting it because of the astonishing absurdity.

Because the show on which this guy Ramana is performing is in Dutch I really don’t know how seriously they’re taking him, but how can anyone not see that big wooden post (and base) to which he’s attached? Are people completely blind?!?!? I have much respect for the needle and thread trick he does, and for any tricks that require real skill and years of practice. I also think his performance art installations of hanging on the sides of buildings are interesting in a purely artistic sense, but this particular levitation stunt is just silly. “Illusions” that are obviously the result of specialized props just piss me off.

Random interesting tidbit: Scientists have created microscopic Obamas out of carbon nanotubes.

And The Relatives, a local indie rock trio featuring my friend and fellow Scene contributor Patrick Rodgers on drums, have released their first proper EP “Animals.” Their EP release show was this past friday at the 5 Spot, but I was unable to attend due to a huge conference at work. I highly recommend checking them out this thurs. Nov. 20th (I may be there- it’s my birthday afterall) at the End with The Ettes, The Howlies, and Mean Tambourines. For a couple of free mp3’s, head over to Out The Other. They are part of a new collective of bands/artists known as Holly House. I’ve heard this name a few times over the past year or so, and recently I checked out their website to find that they have quite a lineup of bands associated with them. They seem to be onto something good here- a collective of bands just trying to make good music and help each other out with booking, etc… Basically it’s like Movement Nashville, but not so focused on the commercial/business aspect. The artists/bands associated with MN are very commercial sounding (and sometimes acting), and I think that leaves a bad taste in many mouths amongst local bands who really just want to make good music, regardless of the commercial appeal. I have nothing against a band trying to make a little money doing what they love, but sometimes it’s just too blatantly obvious that they’re making their art fit into a certain formulaic mold, at which point I usually say “no thanks.”

This is slightly old news by now, but the Space Shuttle Endeavour blasted off from Kennedy Space Center Friday night at 7:55pm EST and successfully docked with the International Space Station at 5:01pm EST Sunday. You can watch live footage from the mission at NASA TV. While we’re talking about NASA, there’s a little speculation about the future of NASA under the new Obama Administration. Current NASA Administrator Michael Griffin has said that he will stick around only if Obama wants to keep things going steady on the current course of developing the new Constellation program, and retiring the Shuttle in 2010. For more info see the full story at Universe Today.

Some random links:
10 fascinating last pictures of famous people before they died.
Obama plans to begin doing weekly YouTube video updates. FDR 2.0 maybe?
Plasma plants may vaporize garbage while generating power.
Photographs of female body builders. Not for the faint of heart….

And finally I’ll leave you with this bit of inspiration, thanks to the Holly House website:

CD’s are slowly becoming useless pieces of plastic, and good old vinyl records are making a comeback. I am sad to say that I only recently jumped on the vinyl bandwagon (at least for new releases). My vinyl collection really only consisted of the old records I will eventually inherit from my dad, plus a few other old Beach Boys records. I only recently started buying new releases on vinyl, but I’m totally in love with the idea of having a record at home, plus a digital version of the album for the trusty ol’ iPod. I think this is the future of music formats- embracing the greatness of the format of the past, while also embracing the format of the future. I think every release should be available on vinyl with a free download code inside the packaging. Normally the record label has the digital download on their website, but Insound is putting a new twist on this whole phenomenon by offering the albums for free download with a vinyl purchase, putting the digital end of the transaction in the hands of the online retailer, instead of the record label. Kudos.

Three exoplanets orbiting a young star 140 light years away are captured using Keck Observatory near-infrared adaptive optics. The planets are labeled and the two outer ones have arrows showing the size of their motion over a 4 year period.

Three exoplanets orbiting a young star 140 light years away are captured using Keck Observatory near-infrared adaptive optics. The planets are labeled and the two outer ones have arrows showing the size of their motion over a 4 year period.

The first-ever direct images of extrasolar planets have been released by NASA. This marks a major milestone in the search for that ever-elusive extrasolar “earth twin” that astronomers are looking for. Not only did they image one planet, they imaged three! I’m a huge fan of the effort to detect an earth-sized extrasolar planet, and I’ve eagerly awaiting the day that the science community announces such a discovery. Astronomers seem to mostly agree that there are earth-like planets lurking out there, it’s just that we haven’t been able to detect them yet. The smallest extrasolar planet detected thus-far is about 5 times bigger than earth. The vast majority of extrasolar planets are gigantic- several times the size of Jupiter, which makes them easy to detect through indirect methods. Earth-sized planets will be much harder to detect, and we just don’t have instruments or telescopes sensitve enough to detect them. Thus, I will probably have to wait until well after the launch of the new James Webb Space Telescope or the Kepler Observatory to get that exciting news.

So the Brian Wilson record signing at Grimey’s was a bit anti-climatic, but it should be expected, I guess. We stood in line outside in the cold for about an hour to get in. To my dismay they’d just sold out of his new album on vinyl, so I had to get it on CD. (The deal was that you had to buy a copy of his new album there at Grimey’s in order to get him to sign it, and you could also bring 1 other item.) My other item was the awesome original mono version that Megan got me for Christmas last year. Mr. Wilson was robotic in his signing, to put it lightly. He didn’t even make eye contact with anyone.
me-brianwsigningweb
But the man is lucky to be alive after going through all that he has- his father’s treatment of him, drug abuse, mental illness, losing his brothers, the tension between him and Mike Love… the list goes on and on. All that, and yet he still managed to be one of most profound and influential musicians/producers/composers of modern times. He is indeed the “Mozart of rock” as he was introduced on the stage monday night. This leads into my next item of interest- we ran into none than Robert Schneider of Apples in Stereo at the actual Brian Wilson show at the Ryman monday night. I saw him from behind and before I knew it, had blurted out “Robert Schneider!” He turned around and was very cool and friendly. I mentioned that I’d seen him perform as Marbles at the End opening for Of Montreal once and he was very appreciative. He seems to be in that sweet zone of moderate fame, where not too many people recognize him, but the ones that do aren’t obsessive about it, and it happens seldom enough that he’s appreciative and always willing to talk/take photos/etc… We took a photo with him and went on our separate ways. The show was nothing short of amazing, and from what I’ve heard from people who’d seen Brian before, it was actually better than other recent appearances. His band the Wondermints are absolutely phenomenal, and nailed every single note of the complex harmonies involved with both the Beach Boys material and Brian’s solo stuff. They recreated the sounds in the recordings (yes even the complex Pet Sounds material) with stunning aural accuracy, and the sound mix was almost flawless. I feel like it was worth every penny, and I got to photograph it for the Scene as well, which made it even better.
memegan-robschneiderweb

Frankly I’m a bit surprised this is public information, but as the article mentions, presedential codenames are a bit obsolete and unnecessary, given the strict security and hi-tech communications used by the secret service.
Barack Obama: Renegade
Michelle Obama: Renaissance
Malia: Radiance
Sasha: Rosebud

Diamonds made from tequila? Yes, indeed. If you told me that before I read this article I’d say you were full of shit, but it’s true.

The Phoenix Lander mission is officially over. They haven’t been able to communicate with it for a couple of days now, and the sunlight will only get dimmer and dimmer as the Martian winter sets in. This article seems to indicate that, while unlikely, the possibility does exist for Phoenix to re-awaken in October of 2009 when the Martian spring begins.

This is to cool not to post:

15 of the creepiest/distasteful album covers of all time: Oddee.com (a few are slightly NSFW)

Slideshow of my Girl Talk photos at Nashville Scene’s website. I must say that this show was not nearly as enjoyable as the last time he performed at the Cannery. This time it was a sold-out crowd of mostly Vandy “prepsters” decked out in American Apparel leggings and drunk off their asses. They stormed the stage as usually happens at Girl Talk shows, but it was such an onslaught that the stage sustained some damage and it apparently broke a sprinkler pipe. As the owner said in a statement to the Tennessean, the audience was “younger and stupider” than last time. I have to agree whole-heartedly. These people were completely beyond control and most of them acted like total douches. It made it very difficult for me to do my job because I had to fight my way through a crowd of sweaty Vandy kids just to get remotely close enough to get a good shot. The article also mentions that the owners want to ban all DJ shows in the future. I really hope they don’t stick to that, because events like the Club Sportag parties and MSTRKRFT went totally fine and were quite successful, and I think Mercy is a good venue for those events.

Not quite. But scientists in Japan at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology have apparently made a major breakthrough in cloning technology by cloning mice that have been frozen for 16 years. They say that with this technology it may be possible to resurrect extinct species such as wooly mammoths. WOW….. They can’t bring back dinosaurs, however, because there aren’t any dinosaur tissue specimens in existence that still contain viable DNA. Link: The Daily Galaxy

Apparently you can now turn your iPhone into a four track recorder. The app lets you record and mix four tracks using the iPhone’s built-in mic. I’d say the fact that it uses the mic would prevent you from being about to make a good quality recording, but still, this is amazing. My friend/bandmate Seth just got a new google phone. It’s called the G1 and apparently it’s only available through T-Mobile at the moment. It’s actually only the software that comes from Google- it’s called Android- the phone itself is made by T-Mobile. I only got to see it for a second last night, but it looked pretty amazing. It uses 3G or WiFi for internet, and you can open gmail easily and even gchat on it. I’ll have to check it out further, but it looks like the iPhone may have a legitimate competitor. I have Verizon, and an LG Voyager which I really like, but damn, why hasn’t Verizon “taken it to the next level” with a device that can compete with the iPhone and Google phone? I really don’t know enough about this deal, but let’s hope there’s no exculsivity contract between Google and T-Mobile to use Android on only their phones. I would like to see Android showing up on a Verizon phone soon.

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