December 2010

12.31.2010

Motorhead

Some part of me knows that it’s wrong to laugh at this… and yet…

Still, as far as automobile-related pranks go, this kid should just be glad he doesn’t work in the airbag testing division at Moscow’s finest body shop, Brokeback Garage.

12.31.2010

One more round then it's bottles to the ground

To think, I almost gave up on doing this drawing in favor of a night spent honing my NBA Jam skills. Lucky for you (yes, you, the one nerd checking this blog on New Year’s Eve) I’m a slave to the grind. Maybe next year I can resolve to be less productive… although something tells me that probably won’t happen.

new years tentacle One more round then its bottles to the ground

In truth, I knew I had no choice but to finish this little doodle, if only because I spent $14 dollars on a bottle of wine for research purposes. And also drinking purposes. Speaking of which… cheers, bitch. Let’s pour one out for 2010 — after all, it’s the only one we’ll ever have.

12.30.2010

Street Chemistry

That skate magazine that everybody reads but nobody really likes all that much, Transworld, just put out a compilation featuring the best street skating from their year in web clips. Calling it “The Best of 2010 Street Skating” is a bit of an overstatement, of course. Given that all the footage is compiled from Transworld’s exclusive content, you can be sure this is, in fact, far from a comprehensive look at 2010’s best skateboarding, but it’s a pretty nice slice of it at any rate. Vincent Alvarez and Eli Reed have particularly enjoyable segments.

And of course the question remains why they ended their street skating round-up with some abominably-filmed footage of Lance Mountain shredding the Ridiculous Pool — are backyard pools considered street now? I can’t keep up with this shit.

If you’re looking for perhaps a more accurate representation of what street skating looks like in 2010, at least over here in New York, you might be better off wasting some of your company’s time today on YouTube, watching Flipmode’s latest two-part street-carnage epic, Caviar. Part one is embedded below, as a sort of contrast to the Transworld video. The sort of contrast that comes over, kicks your ass, and steals your girlfriend. You know, one of these types of situations:

charles atlas ad Street Chemistry

Anyway, it’s worth watching for the Shawn Powers part alone (starts at 3:27). In a word, timeless. It feels current, and yet it could have also come out 10 years ago. And I imagine 10 years from now it’s still going to be awesome — skateboarding stripped to its bare essentials always looks good. The line at 6:55 is a thing of beauty to me — I want to hold it in my hand forever, basking in its golden light.

Part two can be found on the Tube of Yous Guys if you haven’t had enough of that awesome digital to analog and then back to digital editing thing they’ve got going on.

12.30.2010

White Winter

Surely you didn’t think I was going to avoid making some mention of the great blizzard of our times (or whatever they’re calling that shit storm that dumped on the East Coast Sunday night). Indeed, I spent much of Sunday and Monday with camera in hand, trying to capture the unfolding snowy madness and develop a case of frostbite at the same time. The unrelenting winds, darkness and ass loads of snow made getting anything reasonably good somewhat challenging. But rest assured, I will be tormenting all of you longing for warmer weather over the next week or so with photographic documentation of snow that easily has outworn its welcome already.

hospital exit 29a White Winter

This isn’t a particularly good shot, as taking pictures through the windshield of a moving car is always something of a hit or miss situation, but it serves as a jumping off point to write about my latest near death experience. Everybody knows that powersliding on a skateboard is lots of fun, but have you ever tried it in a Jeep Grand Cherokee on a highway full of cars? Total rush, guys.

As it turns out, snagging a photo of that hospital exit sign was nearly a grand stroke of irony. Twenty minutes later, the snow on the highway was accumulating to nerve-wracking levels. The only visible asphalt was in the tire tracks left from the line of vehicles in front of us — but what does an all four-wheel-drive truck need visible asphalt for anyway? Well, apparently, a lot.

Quite abruptly, we started fishtailing dramatically in our lane, which quickly developed into a full on spin-out. Our wild dance across all three lanes of skittish, white-knuckle traffic was likely a jaw-dropping sight for members of the audience. Admittedly, the performers were a bit too preoccupied with not dying to enjoy the experience. Sliding perpendicularly in front of passenger cars going fast enough to crush my bones against any of the various hard surfaces inside my personal deathtrap seemed scary at first, but that was before we spun backwards, looking at our future ER roommates in the face. Strange that slamming into the guard rail was actually a pleasant sight, but when the Jeep finally stopped moving and I realized I could still feel my legs, well… that was one hell of a Christmas present.

Needless to say, I was happy to take the train the rest of the way to New York.

metro north train pulling in White Winter

blizzard brooklyn White Winter

The storm spared no automobiles. That car was still there the next day, considerably deeper in snow. And speaking of deep snow…

snowy backyard through window White Winter

Looks like it’ll be a while before we have any backyard barbecues at Dedleg HQ.

More to come next week, at which point the worst of the snow may have melted (if this Saturday’s 50 degree forecast has any truth to it). Maybe then all this will seem enjoyably nostalgic and not just like an irritatingly redundant reminder of why winter sucks lame weatherman dick.

12.29.2010

Hole in one

Is this real or fake? Just asking.

Jokes aside, this extremely short film has made the rounds on the Interwebs already and has amassed quite a number of plays, but on the off chance you haven’t seen it (like me), check out it out because it’s really well done.

Granted, once you watch it, inevitable questions of semantics (is it really a black hole, or more of a portal?) and common sense (aren’t there security cameras watching the safe?) will nag at your better faculties. But it’s important to remember that this short isn’t exactly rooted in reality. Science fiction, even at its lightest, involves a degree of suspension of disbelief due to its inherent fictitious nature. Let’s leave the petty quibbling to Star Wars fans, otherwise we too might never have time to get laid.

12.29.2010

Paralytic dreams that we all seem to keep

As far as I’m concerned, Plastic Beach, the latest studio release from virtual megaband Gorillaz, was one of the best albums of the year. I don’t know the other ones since I didn’t listen to all that many new releases in 2010, but I do know that Plastic Beach is something amazing. There are plenty of their standard quirks and collaborations to grab the interest of both tested converts and new fans alike, and as the album’s play count in your iTunes library starts ticking up, so all of its little moments of brilliant, sonic bliss begin to reveal themselves.

I bring it up as the Gorillaz just dropped another full length, right on Christmas Eve, stuffed with new tracks like an overfull stocking. However, unlike their last album, The Fall was completely recorded while the “band” was on the road, using an iPad and various recording apps, with some sparse live instrumentation thrown in only where it counts. They’re giving it away for free if you’re willing to sign up for the Gorillaz newsletter, or if you’re smart enough to read between the lines on certain renegade Internet destinations.

gorillaz the fall Paralytic dreams that we all seem to keep

Gorillaz adherents, if you haven’t checked this album out yet, allow me a minute to manage your expectations. While The Fall sounds like quintessential Gorillaz, it also sounds just like what it is: a collection of 15 electronic tracks created with an iPad. Not to discredit the ingenuity of Apple’s latest super expensive time waster, but it doesn’t quite double as a fully loaded studio set up. This album is not a true followup to Plastic Beach so much as it is a road journal — in fact, astute iPod-gazers will notice many of the tracks are named after the cities they were recorded in.

People who prefer to linger more on the energized, dance-pop side of electronic music than lounge in the hypnotic fields of chillwave and downtempo might even hastily brush The Fall off as boring. But I would argue that for a British rock star driving across the country, much of America probably looks pretty fucking boring too. I would also argue that this album is, in fact, not boring — like any Gorillaz release, it takes several listens to start unearthing its considerable depth.

Gorillaz - Revolving Doors

These 15 minimalist electro-pop slow jams have a very personal quality to them, but that’s not to say they won’t get your head bobbing too, assuming you’ve acquired a taste for the ambient. Damon Albarn, the driving force behind Gorillaz and that one dude who sang in that one band who had that one song in the Starship Troopers trailer, seemingly can’t help but write catchy songs, no matter what unidentifiable genre they might happen to fall into. But I guess that’s why he’s sold about a billion albums so far.

Coincidentally, I just discovered this storyboard video for “Rhinestone Eyes,” the fourth single from Plastic Beach. Unfortunately, labels don’t like putting up money for big budget video productions that don’t accompany club bangers and/or #1 iTunes singles, so the official music video was canceled. However, this version is still pretty neat and all the art is awesome, even if it isn’t fully animated.

12.28.2010

Penny for your hippie jump

This is a cool video Australian board company Penny put out to promote their new line of cute, plastic deathtraps. The cinematography is most attractive, but maybe not quite as attractive as having one of these little bastards hanging on your wall.

The decks are plastic injection molded, tiny like the banana boards of old, and, to be honest, riding one looks like a helluva lot of fun. Although I suppose that just means the commercial is doing its job. Damn you consumerism, you win again!

Nonetheless, due to a large influx of mongo-pushing meat heads of late, there has been a rising debate on the validity of longboards, and unusual shapes of all kinds, within the greater street skating community. Trinkets like these banana boards might find themselves rolling on some shaky ground indeed. However, while many jockish cretins have taken up longboarding primarily because it’s substantially easier than riding a proper board, and eliminates the possibility of doing almost anything cool on it in kind, one of Penny’s banana boards would probably be notably harder to ride than a standard skateboard. Indeed, people underestimate how squirrely little fuckers like these can be, and often learn their lesson by eating a hearty helping of shit. For me, anyway, that is a fairly solid measure of whether or not a company is offering a legitimate cruiser or something longer… something more deserving of our scorn — and as far as I’m concerned Penny passes the test.

12.28.2010

The Stranger

When it comes to any of your various and diverse fartistic endeavors, you stand very little chance of making anything cool if you’re afraid of cracking a few eggs. …Uh, wait a second, I think I’m mixing up my tidbits of marginally helpful advice with my trite cliches again. But while I’m here, I should tell you that when it comes to writing blog posts, you stand very little chance of being productive if you keep thinking about omelets the whole time.

What I really wanted to say is that experimentation, dabbling with the unknown, running with some wild idea even if halfway through it turns into a mess of erased lines and sweaty palms… these are the ways to keep progressing, the ways to keep your art fresh and interesting, not only to your audience but to yourself, which is probably more important in the end anyway. Practice makes perfect, sure, but perfection can be boring. Throw caution to the wind and allow yourself to get weird. Who knows, maybe you’ll even make something cool.

skull flower The Stranger

If you haven’t come up with any better resolutions for 2011 yet, consider making an effort to be weirder next year. If everybody was a total weirdo, the world would almost certainly be a better place. The real problem with our society is that weirdness, and thereby imagination and originality of thought, is discouraged. We all end up suffering due to humanity’s frustrating desire to fit in with the popular kids. It’s unfortunate that the truly crazy people in this world — and I’m not talking about the smelly guy on the train talking to himself with his hand down his pants — aren’t nearly weird enough.

12.27.2010

Blotter Paper

A pervasive drive that is singularly human is the need to temporarily change our state of awareness, to alter private reality, to be beside ourselves for a while. We are the only species that experiences this need; somehow the ordinary range of consciousness is incompletely satisfying to us. — Dr. Sidney Cohen in Drugs of Hallucination

An oft-regurgitated idiom is to never judge a book by its cover. Nonetheless, a book’s cover can be blamed for many last-minute impulse buys at the Barnes & Noble checkout counter, and you can bet this one would catch my eye.

drugs of hallucination cover Blotter Paper

Unfortunately, the book itself isn’t quite as much fun as its cover art. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas this is not. Indeed, the ideal audience is decidedly not Hunter S. Thompson’s “permanent cripples” and “failed seekers”. That’s not to say it isn’t a valuable and informative text, but if your interest in drugs ends somewhere between eating them and returning to reality several hours later, this might read like a particularly cool reading assignment, but a reading assignment nonetheless. From the first chapter:

“What is it really like? What happens to ordinary people when they take a drug like LSD?“

My answer to questions of this sort is a helpless silence. I remember the wide difference in our subjects’ reactions, and their difficulty in expressing what was happening to them. They generally agreed that words were not the right medium to try a description of the LSD state. One of the more frustrated asked, “How do you describe red to a person who was born blind?“

With the aid of numerous first-hand accounts, Dr. Sidney Cohen attempts to describe “red”, such that it were:

I remember saying, “It’s too much for me, it’s too much.” Was I afraid! I felt like a little boy, a naked, bare-faced little boy. And I pleaded, “Please stop, I don’t want to see me.” But it came anyway; and it overwhelmed me like the ocean washing over a little boy’s sand castle despite the little dikes and moats. It washed over the little sand castle me and spread my sands over the ocean floor of existence and said: “Now go find yourself and live like before.“

It may come as some surprise to you, especially if you’ve never rearranged the jigsaw puzzle of your mind, but that’s actually one of the positive accounts. And you can be sure they aren’t all kaleidoscopes and rainbows…

Throughout the course of the book, Dr. Sidney Cohen maintains an objective stance on acid, using his 12 years of research into hallucinogens to present the material authoritatively and accessibly. And you’d need about 12 years of experience with LSD to have a completely objective stance on it. That might seem contradictory to you, but that’s probably only because you haven’t been researching enough on your own yet (wink). For every transcendent voyage of brilliant discovery, there can be five nightmarish expeditions to the darkest caverns of your mind. It all depends on the person, where they are in their life, the dose they took, how experienced they are with psychedelics in general, and uh, well, more or less everything else ever. So yeah, a decade plus spent researching this distinct and potent brand of mindfuckery sounds about right.

For those of you who are actually interested in these incredible chemicals and not just coming as close to the brink of madness as you can on a Saturday night, the entire text is available online here.

12.27.2010

Kind of like Alicia Keys singing about New York in a leotard

Holidays are occasions when families come together, crossing state lines to be in each other’s company during such a special time of year and blah blah blah. Not to dismiss the importance of staying in touch with family, and not to discredit any good times had in the presence of familial relations (especially since I want to keep all those presents), but when you’ve been living on your own for a number of years, going back to sleeping in your old bed under the watchful eye of Sauron your parents… well… let’s just say it’s good to be back in New York.

cracked mta decal Kind of like Alicia Keys singing about New York in a leotard

parked train new yorker building Kind of like Alicia Keys singing about New York in a leotard

And for anybody else out there who has to be back at work today, my condolences go out to you. Hopefully you’re working as hard as I am, which is to say, smoking weed and billing your clients for the “brainstorming session.”

12.25.2010

Hall of Meat

Spotted this old Real ad on Chrome Ball a little while back and thought it would be a ghastly omission if I failed to find a place for it on this blog. So here it is, my Christmas present to you — one of the most horrifying images I’ve ever seen.

cairo foster bruise real ad Hall of Meat

Cairo Foster has been killing it for years, but he still remains largely underrated. There’s no way to downplay that bruise though. I can’t imagine the slam that created that abomination of internal bleeding, and I can’t imagine how sore it was the next day (or like… month) either. What a strange coincidence that my New Year’s resolution for 2011 suddenly became “fall less often whilst doing the skateboarding.”