Tuesday, July 31, 2007

On Consumerism, Identity and Being "Mates"

There's an interesting post from the best-of-craigslist, Through Being Cool. In it the author explores what it means for boys/men to be "mates" (Aus, UK vs. "friends", US), and ultimately questions the impact an identity developed through consumerism affects the way in which we 'boys' bond.
[Via The Morning News]

Based solely on the trailer, This Is England (now in limited release in the U.S.) looks like a fantastic case-in-point of the very issues the author discusses in the above article.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Prince and the Innovation

Or maybe it is a revolution. He distributed 2.9 million copies of his new CD in the U.K.'s Mail on Sunday.

Here's the article, from L.A. Observed, about how the columnist for the L.A. Times that proposed his paper pursue the same path (an innovative delivery system sure to benefit both beleaguered industries) had his column pulled. It contains the full text of the pulled article.

[Thanx to Andrew for the tip. – Ed.]

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Don't Stop and Smell the Coffee

There's no time when you're imbibing one at 171 different NYC Starbucks. In one day. Roughly one every seven minutes for twenty hours. By bike for the most part until he starts losing his sh*t around hour 14 and has to catch a ride.

Simple, compelling, effective concept that's starting to get the dude mad pub.

[Thanx to Todd for the tip. – Ed.]
Image ©2005 Bernie Hou. Via AlienLovesPredator.com

Monday, July 23, 2007

The "What'up Dog?" Days of Summer.

July has been a slow month for WTF. It may be because we've been having such phenomenal weather here in the STL – "This sh*t is like southern California!", I've remarked excitedly on more than one occasion – that we've been spending a lot of time outside before Global Warming f*cks everything up.

[When you need knowledge dropped who better than alterna-rapper Dr. Octagon to get the point across? The vid is like School House Rock in it's effective communication of the issue – "Trees are dying." Nuff said. – Ed.]

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mad* Good!

Just finished watching the premiere of Mad Men, AMC's well-reviewed new show about a 60's Madison Avenue agency, and I've got to add my endorsement.

Very good. Some great, smart writing. Surprisingly complex characters realized by a convincing cast of 'little knowns'. A great period-nailing look. And a very cool way of integrating the commercials into the show.

And if you're looking for a show with mad* smoking... this is your show. Watch it.

*[From UrbanDictionary.com: mad adj. 1: really or extremely 2: alot: That kid's mad cool., I got mad money.Ed.]

Love Will Freak Us

Walking past Lynn's (Interactive PM) desk, I just heard the woeful strains of Love Will Tear Us Apart, Joy Division's melancholy ode to the divisive power of love, and just had to share Dsico's inspired 2003 mashup – which reimagines it as a sexier experience by laying Missy's Get Ur Freak On flow over the top.

What may seem blashphemous to those entrenched in either camp comes damn close to the whole being greater than the sum of the parts as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

BTW: Daft Punk (& Kanye West)

I like that rather than just license Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger Daft Punk actually got involved on West's Stronger. I haven't completely fallen off the Kanye Express, this might be enough to get me back on board.

If You Haven't Heard...

(Cross) the thick - n - sticky - (tho - sometimes - lyrical - and - restrained) - electro - groove - techno - disco album, by French production duo Justice (Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Auge) is the shite.

The shite, if you're into the likes of Basement Jaxx, The Go! Team, Daft Punk, etc. If you're into one or all of the preceding it's a fair bet you'll want to rock this.

Visit Insound to DL their second free digital sampler (a mixed bag), Let's Get Digital 2, which contains Justice's Phantom – my current fav off of

Friday, July 13, 2007

“Okay everyone here ?? This is an emergency !!”

Makibishi Comic is a very fookin' cool online interactive cartoon game. What little I've 'played' is mesmerizing and compelling. Apparently a walkthrough may come in handy.

[Via NYmag's Vulture culture blog.]

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Wrote a Letter to the Government!

Last night. An email actually. To Mayor Slay. I felt compelled to do something given the challenging headline of the previous post. It's not a scathing indictment yet it's not quite a lobbed softball. And in rereading it, there's a certain geek/nerd naïveté to it. But what the hell? You gotta start somewhere.

I hope he opened and read it. I'll let you know.

[Bonus points for anyone who gets the headline/image referrence. – Ed.]

From: Chris Aguirre
Date: Jul 11, 2007 10:16 PM
Subject: Saint Louis, Slow Cities and Fast Company
To: mayorslay@mayorslay.com

Mayor Slay,

In case you haven't already read or heard, Saint Louis is one of five 'slow cities' named in the current issue of Fast Company (July/Aug). Having bounced between Saint Louis and a number of other cities nationally and internationally over the years, I think I've finally settled into being a Saint Louisan (I've been here for 10+ years on this tour). So, in light of the Fast Co. 'ranking' and as a resident of the city who also works in the city, I'd genuinely appreciate a better sense of what our plan is. What are we going to do to put and end to the overwhelming outside perception that Saint Louis is a violent, backwards or worse, dying, town? (Beyond rehabbing and building lofts which, don't get me wrong, is wonderful to see when you're already here.) I know (hope) there's more to the plan.

If you're interested, I've got a brief post on my blog with some pertinent links – not the least of which is a link to the City Vitals Report which gives one a great snapshot of our place (or lack thereof) in the contemporary metropolitan scheme of things.

Thank you in advance for your attention.


Chris Aguirre
Saint Louis, MO 63104



If you really know the city, you might recognize that my (and my wife's) address is (close to) this: http://tinyurl.com/27vlja

How do we get a handle on the crime?

Thank you again for your time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What Are You Going To Do About It?

In the lastest issue of Fast Company there's a cover line teasing to The 30 Fastest Cities – and the Five Slowest. It was with great trepidation and a nagging sense that I knew what I'd find that I checked the ToC and quickly flipped to page 90, a couple more quick flips past pages of 'fast cities' and there it was – two lines wedged between Budapest and New OrleansSt. Louis. F*ck.

Too normal for its own good. it ranks dead last on CityVitals'"Weirdness Index," a measure of passion and engagement.
[City Vitals ranks cities across a variety of criteria in four categories: Talented, Innovative, Connected, and Distintive. Download the very interesting City Vitals Report PDF. ]

Except for a brief bit in the piece's intro, putting Saint Louis at one end of a spectrum that has Fort Collins, CO [My birthplace. – Ed.] at the other, that's it. Hardly a resounding condemnation. More an offhanded character assasination. Those of us who live here – in the city in particular – know that this city is in the midst of a renaissance. Sure, there's work to be done, but... come on.

So, as you might imagine, my hackles are raised, my sensibilities offended, and my ass chapped. This is an issue that all of us here in the STL would be remiss in being anything but vigilant in our efforts to combat these perceptions of our city.

Stay tuned.

Site Lines

Well-written, humorous, and highly literate The Morning News is a newspaper-like Web daily that is always worth a visit. It's been around for ages and just keeps getting better.

Check out, Obedience, their interview with Shepard Fairey.

Your Logo's The Bomb!

Photographer/blogger, David Friedman, rounds up some unusual suspects – the logos of roughly 40 terrorist organizations – and groups them according to their dominant design elements. Hopefully you won't visit looking for inspiration.

[Via The Morning News]

Sunday, July 8, 2007

What I'm Reading

I was rereading American Psycho, B.E.E.'s early 90s meditation on society's increasing desensitization to violence delivered in a running onslaught of late-80s excessive indulgence. I think I picked it up to get reintroduced to Patrick Bateman's rampant, label-whoring, hyper-cosumerism – consumerism being what pays my bills. But, half way through, I found myself... bored. It's possible that in the intervening sixteen years, I have become more desensitized to violence (of which there is actually very little in the first half) rendering the shock and awe of the original reading impotent. Or, I may have just become desensitized to rampant hyper-consumerism. Regardless, if you haven't read it it's worth reading once.

Now, I've just begun The Pesthouse by Jim Crace. I hadn't heard of the author but the reviews indicate the book is a worthy companion piece to McCarthy's masterpiece, The Road. [See the WTF mini-review of The Road. – Ed.]

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Peep This.

HBO's Voyeur 'project' appears to be a multi-media/ARG-ish 'look' [sorry] at voyeurism through your eyes and into many, many windows. I've only watched a very small part of what's going at HBOVoyeur.com, a site that puts you high above the streets of NYC with lines of site into countless windows, and found it absolutely mesmerizing, bewildering and a little disconcerting. There's a sister blog, TheStoryGetsDeeper.com that helps the peeping Toms and Tinas get a better handle on what, if anything (other than the indulgence of the audience's voyeuristic tendencies), is going on.

[NOTE: The soundtrack is by Clint Mansell of the late(?), great, visonary British group, Pop Will Eat Itself and more recently the composer of the stunning Requiem For A Dream score. – Ed.]

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

iPh*cking iPhantastic iPhone!

The desire became overwhelming around 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon.

So, with a call to the Apple Store and a confirmation of untold [Literally. The employees can tell you if they have stock or not, but are forbidden to say how many. – Ed.] 8 Gig versions in stock, I convinced Holly that the future of our freshly hatched marriage depended on my acquisition of an iPhone. At three, we made an early Holiday exit and raced like a restroom out of order for the Galleria.

Once there, we tore into the mall and first made a beeline for the ground floor Cingular (the Galleria store has not had its at&t makeover yet). I popped my head in, "Any iPhones?" The three employees sitting around all just shook their heads silently and pointed up. To the Apple Store, Holly!

An interminable escalator ride up behind three large Red Bird Fever carriers, and a power walk halfway down the mall later, the glowing beacon of the faithful was before us...

A throng encircled the central bar peering over the shoulders of those tapping away on the ten or so iPhones tethered to it. Defeated, I thought, "There's no way I'm getting one." However, defeat was mercifully brief. Cloud (he goes by his last name; his first? Chris.) drifted over and asked if he could help with anything. I think I managed to get out, "Eight gig i Phone?" His answer? "Sure." [It took everything I had not to make a 'silver lining' crack just then. – Ed.] He went in back and came back with a ridiculously small black box. But, before handing it over, he turned to Holly and asked, grinning, "Do you support this purchase?"

And, with her blessing out of the way, bing-bang-boom – Holly's an iWidow for the rest of the weekend.

Oh, here's my review: Apple overpromised and overdelivered – it's much cooler than the hype.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Up On A Soap (Pad) Box.

On April 21, 1964, James Harvey walked into New York’s Stable Gallery to see an opening for a rising artist named Andy Warhol. The show—which attracted a line around the block, despite mostly negative reviews—consisted of 400 large replicas of supermarket product boxes. The ones that attracted the most attention were the 120 containers for Brillo cleaning pads. “Oh my god,” Harvey said when he saw the Brillo boxes. “I designed those.”

If I were the type of person to call something 'fascinating' – which I'm not, or at least, I don't – I might call Shadow Boxer, from this month's PRINT, a fascinating article.

Effectively an introduction to James Harvey, the abstract expressionist working as a commercial artist who designed the original Brillo packaging, it's certainly an intriguing examination of the story behind the story of the Brillo box made famous by Andy Warhol in his reframing it as Art.