New Ruby Suns, New Rogue Wave, The Dirty Three, And More

01/13/2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve had a good bit of time on my hands lately, the hotel being slow and all. Some new stuff I’ve come across, and some new-to-me as well… all good. Enjoy:

New

The Ruby Suns’ ‘Cranberry’ on The Needle Drop

Rogue Wave’s ‘Good Morning’ on Stereogum

The Shins’ ‘Plenty is Never Enough’ is track 3 on the Score! compilation that marks 20 years for Merge Records. Tracks are playable here.

The first volume in a collection of late 60’s and 70’s underground South African music. Be sure to download the wonderful track, ‘Kuya Hanjwa’ by S. Piliso & His Super Seven. Proceed to Aquarium Drunkard for the track. One thing AD says that sticks with me:

While derived from an incredibly economically depressed region, a strain of poverty this Western mind can hardly fathom, the music captured within these sets is paradoxically joyous—the sounds of life distilled to its purest form. And while driving through L.A. with this coming through the speakers, in a city of have and have-nots, the similarities/juxtaposition are anything but lost.

The Miracles Club’s ‘A New Love’ on No Conclusion

The Golden Filter’s ‘Thunderbird’ on GvsB

If you haven’t heard their other stuff, this is for you.

New-to-Me

The Dirty Three- ‘Really Should Have Gone Out Last Night,’ Band’s Myspace

The Low Anthem’s ‘To Ohio’ on Rcrd lbl

jj’s ‘Are You Still in Vallda?,’ ‘Ecstasy’ on Audiofordrinking and The Walrus respectively

Julian Casablancas’ website

Also check out the new links in the blogroll and necessary visits, I’ve been adding to both lists the past few weeks.

Didn’t say it last time, Happy New Year!

Strong Community Snippet #3: Livable Street Initiatives

01/11/2010 § Leave a comment

When we look out our living-room windows at our streets we usually see spaces for car travel, especially if their edges are lined with parked cars. A kid may see a space for playing games; the stick ball of past generations has given way to first-bounce-fly, capture-the-flag, and touch-football. Bmx bikes and skateboards can turn these areas into urban stunt-parks for late teens and 20-somethings. I can’t remember the last time I had a dream of playing in a street, but I used to. I am a part of the majority of adults who only use the street for transportation. I bike and use public transit now; occasionally, I’ll drive. Livable street initiatives have been challenging these steadfast notions of streets as spaces for cars for some time, although now they seem to be gathering clout. Pedestrians seem to be (re)claiming street space, and the creation of new types of street experiences may start to shift popular thinking a little. Possibly a loaded question…are we wasting space and muting our culture by designing streets solely for cars/transportation?

Read:

New York Times: Taking Back the Streets

Watch:

Making a better Market Street in San Francisco

The ongoing transformation of Market Street. Features a cool historical introduction.

Intersection Repair

The hippies in Portland show what concentrated power behind these ideas can accomplish.

A Wonderful Article on the Art of Curating a Mixtape

12/20/2009 § Leave a comment

I’m a big fan of the carefully curated mixtape or cd-r mix. Surfing around the web for Christmas tunes, I stumbled on a great article that reminded me of some great experiences I had during adolescence. Although I’ll make a ‘mix’ for anyone, the practice has been a part of my romantic ventures since late middle school. Possibly this article can remind you of some good times, and some worthwhile bad times too:

Actually, it has two parts.

A Cassette Valediction: Part One of Two

A Cassette Valediction: Part Two of Two

Also, I did find some Christmas tunes worth checking out:

Banjo or Freakout Xmas Album

Note that I haven’t heard the whole thing yet- just the first two (beautiful) tracks. GvsB blogger Chris says the album “[features] the eeriest versions of “Jingle Bells” and “Joy to the World” ever recorded.” I’m not sure if I want an erie version of “Jingle Bells.” We’ll see.

And now there’s more to check out:

Indie Christmas Songs 2009 at The Audio Muffin

A Very Indie Christmas Playlist at The Indie Files

Happy Holidays everyone!

Pictures of Manshiyet Nasser and the Zabbaleen

12/10/2009 § 1 Comment

I was clicking around this morning and came across the fascinating district of Manshiyet Nasser (a.k.a. Garbage City) in Cairo. The Zabbaleen (garbage people) pick up Cairo’s waste in trucks as would any other waste management company, but take it home with them. In their slum, they sort it and use, recycle, resell, or in some cases repurpose what still has functionality. Essentially, all living in Manshiyet Nasser work with and live off of refuse. The pictures below will link to photo galleries and more information. Moe Beitiks, the author of the Inhabitat article linked below says astutely, “At every angle, Garbage City feels like what the world would look like if someone grabbed it by the corner and shook it.” What a great subject for photojournalism:

Also, check out In Cairo Slum, The Poor Spark Enviornmental Change and Making Cairo’s Garbage City Green.

SunCentral Computerized Mirror Array

12/07/2009 § Leave a comment

Daylighting is something I’ve been fond of for a long time, and I’ve thought about how to harvest daylight and bring it into a building in an efficient manner from time to time over the past few years. I had an idea a long time ago (not sure exactly when, college?) to use a large glass tube with slits in it to bring sunlight through a building as would a large fiber optic cable. I vaguely remember the desire for the quality of daylight in this random musing. (I had issues with fluorescent lights in both high school and the college dorms.) Anyway, this design is much more powerful than what I thought of, and is applicable to new green building as well as retrofitting efforts. Be sure to watch the video as well; the shit is bomb:

SunCentral Computerized Mirror Array Brings Daylight Deep into Buildings via Treehugger

Music Music Study Study Play

11/29/2009 § Leave a comment

Today I’m going to share some tunes. Quick easy fast post y’all. But first some other news.

I made a small impulse buy last week (good deals go fast) and that’s why I haven’t been able to devote as much of minze time to ze blog. Mostly I’ve been in PS3 and Linux forums troubleshooting installation woes or playing games with the roomies. I now have a PS3 with YDL 6.1. I hope to resolve the issues with mounting the root filesystem in Ubuntu 9.10, but I’m going to chill-out for a while. YDL will suffice for now. I’ll probably do a tutorial when I get it all straightened out.

Click on the images (or links) and prepare for aural pleasures:

Cast Spells

Best Coast

Sexy.

Something in the Way via rcrd lbl

When I’m With You + This is Real via stereogum

Up All Night via chocolate bobka

Sleigh Bells

Ring Ring + Crown on the Ground + Beach Girls + Infinity Guitars via stereogum

OutKast

I’ve been an avid listener to OutKast since ever since Aquemini. I really dig their music. ‘Humble Mumble’ is a song that has gotten me though some really bad shit. I want their music played at my funeral. Never really got around to the earlier stuff until now, strangely enough. ATLiens and Southernplayalistic are both albums to own.

Two Dope Boyz (In a Cadillac)

Enjoy the music! Get up, get out and do something! Peace.

Definitions to Perspectives: Resourceful and Artifact

11/11/2009 § Leave a comment

I am studying a lot of vocabulary for the GRE and have subscribed to a vocabulary podcast to listen to while on the way to work. On Monday, the word ‘resourceful’ popped up. Listening to the definition and example sentences made me look back at how resourceful I’ve been throughout my life, and how valuable this quality is. The SAT was one memory revisited, already speaking about standardized tests. The day I took the SAT, I arrived just before the test started, and had to sit at a wobbly table. I used one of my extra pencils as a shim for the shorter leg, stabilizing the table. It didn’t give me an awesome score, but it likely prevented me from annoying the shit out of pretty much everyone, including myself. It also felt so cool doing it. “Oh this is a wobbly table, hmm, no problem… where’s the test?”

I’ve looked at several definitions since hearing the podcast as most definitions prize skill, effectiveness, and imagination, but disregard one’s ability with a resource when citing the characteristics of one who is resourceful. To say the least, I’m most attracted to Merriam-Webster’s:

resourceful: able to meet situations; capable of devising ways and means.

When I think about the new technologies and designs that are constantly appearing on Treehugger or Inhabitat, I get a sense that engineers, architects, designers, and planners understand the success of their work will be measured by how resourceful it is. And ‘resourceful’ as in devising, creating within limitations. I think my generation’s artifacts and approaches will attempt to meet many needs/work towards many goals at one time, similar to Manfred Max-Neef’s ‘synergistic satisfier’. Green architecture now, for example, creates buildings that suit their purpose but fit creatively into their economic, ecological, and aesthetic contexts.

I’d like to think there’s another sense of the word ‘resourceful.’ We’d separate re- from -sourceful and, like redo or rethink; ‘resourceful’ can turn into a term embodying the idea of going back and creating new sources. Repurposing soda and water bottles for greenhouses, reclaiming wood for construction, and the awesomeness of biomimicry can all be good examples of new sources we’ve found. One kid at my high school bus-stop could turn an apple or a to-go cup into a bong in under three minutes. Desire and/or necessity spark creativity; the creative use resources wisely, and thus innovation results. So, check out the PEG and the FreeCharge. Amazing and small devices that create energy while you walk/bike:

A book that I’m currently reading, The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, defines ‘artifact’ in a fascinating way when clarifying Charles Darwin’s approach to artificial selection:

artifact: a thing reflecting human will (xxii)

I think looking at our emerging green products, buildings, and programs as artifacts in this sense can reveal what we value as well as infuse humanity into our work: Our sustainable designs reflect our willingness to act mindfully of/within our ecosystem, they show we wish to hold on to our varying traditions, and they emphasize our commitments to social and personal health.