MonthJune 2004

Aborted Criticism

     Last summer, when I only had one fake job (I presently have 2), I briefly entertained the idea of submitting writing to the local “weeklies.” The other night while “tidying” a disused hard drive (Hey baby, wanna come over and tidy some disused hard drives?) I stumbled upon the word file where I was working out my “samples.” Rather than delete them, I’ve decided to post the ones I finished here. Without further ado:


The Faint w/ Enon
(Live @ The Majestic, May 2003)

     I went into this show expecting a lot – having seen The Faint make their darkly-themed live show work so well on an early tour in support of ‘Blank Wave Arcade‘. After witnessing this performance at the Majestic, I’m not quite sure what to think. Part of the reason I was so impressed with them in the first place was because they were able to so effortlessly trigger the atmospheric effects (lighting, smoke) themselves, while still playing their instruments. In this new (post-no-doubt, post-electroclash-hype) version of the Faint, the band members are no longer bearing the burden of controlling the effects. Unfortunately, they’re not playing their instruments anymore, either.

     The visual element of the show has grown considerably since I last saw them, a development that is likely a direct result of their large-scale tour with No Doubt in 2002. The centerpieces of the new production are song-specific video clips, projected on two giant screens behind the band. Each of these clips is well thought-out and intimately integrated into the music, but the cost of this precision is reflected in the blatant abuse of prerecorded music. There are times when all four upright members are focusing the whole of their energy on dancing while their phantom instruments play on. That’s not to say that the band never plays their instruments — on the contrary, they all do from time to time. Roughly once per song, however, it becomes glaringly obvious that no one on stage is actively playing music.

     This new development has me a bit torn, as I am diametrically opposed to miming, but I really did appreciate the visuals – I felt they added a lot to the “show” as a whole. I just can’t help but feel that their synchronization to the music could be made slightly less precise, keeping the audience from being cheated out of a live performance.

     Complicating this musical moral dilemma are Enon – who opened the show, played all their instruments, and were very obviously having an off-night. I’ve enjoyed some of Enon’s recorded work, and have seen them perform once before. This set was easily the worst representation I’ve ever seen them put forth, live or otherwise. The Faint, as I mentioned above, were inherently stop-on-a-dime precise, and easily stole the show. I can’t help but wonder, however, what would have happened if Enon had been “on” that night – disregarding the fact that most everyone was there to see The Faint in the first place. For the average concertgoer, would the thrill of seeing a live band play a great set have outweighed the cold but crowd-pleasing precision of watching The Faint play bits and pieces of their songs to a backing track?

     Probably not. But then – I’m a cynic.

     Shortly after writing this, It dawned on me that our local weeklies don’t publish show reviews – just glowing teasers for upcoming events. I stopped working on the word file and it got “organized” into a remote corner of a drive that I later stopped using.

More fun with liner notes

Shellac’s ‘The Futurist’

     Shellac (Audio Engineer Steve Albini‘s vehicle for musical abrasion) had some fun with the liner notes to their limited-edition ‘Futurist’ LP. Click the image below for a legible version. A quote from this site sums up the concept nicely:

shellac

     “The Futurist is also referred to as the “Friends Of Shellac” record. Apparently, the boys did an album of music for some sort of dance production, and decided to press it to vinyl and give it to 779 of their closest friends.”

     “The sleeve is black with silver printing. The entire front of the sleeve is printed with the names of each of the recipients of the record. It looks a lot like the cover of XTC’s Go 2.”

     “The band apparently wants the record to not get into the hands of anyone besides the original recipient. Each receipient’s record has their name circled in silver ink. This is so that if any of them turn up for sale, the band will know whose copy it is.”

     The site from which this quote is drawn appears to be the reigning authority on this matter, having compiled an extensive alphabetical listing revealing who each of the Friends of Shellac ‘is.’

     One copy recently sold on ebay for $810, which is absolutely INSANE. The Albinos on the Electrical Audio Message Board (I’m sure someone else has already proposed ‘Albinos’ as a term for Albini devotees, so I won’t claim credit) have determined that the copy belonged to Kimberly Stahr – described in the alphabetical listing as a:

     “Designer, erotic film actress. Member of Louisville band Saint Christopher (Link?).”

     Several posters have offered their opinions of the sale in this thread on the Electrical Audio bulletin board, to which Albini himself posted the following:

     “Hey, it was a gift, and when you get a gift, you’re entitled to do whatever you like with it.”

     Awesome. If I were Albini, I would have bought it myself, so she’d have had to ship it back to me.

     This post was inspired by Fred Metascene‘s pointer to a page indexing every posting Albini has made on the Electrical Audio Message Board. Also relevant: Albini’s raised his rates.

Further Vinyl Minutiae

     …presenting yet another addendum to my series of vinyl trivialities.

Alternate playback methods

     I’ve turned up (and had suggested to me) a number of interesting variations on record playback whilst ‘researching’ vinyl oddities. On the ridiculous audiophile end of the spectrum are laser-based turntables. I’ve found two examples implementing this idea differently, one a collegiate study and the other a commercial venture based in japan.

     The Japanese ELP Corporation offers their fully-featured laser-based playback system for the paltry sum of $14,300. If you visit this page, you can sign up to recieve a free demo CD and some literature on the player. I’ve listened to the Demo CD, and can say that while it does seem to improve playback quality, you’d have to be one picky son of a bitch (alternately: filthy, filthy, rich) for the rather slight improvement to be worth fifteen grand.

elpjapan

     The technically inclined will be interested in this page, detailing the specifics of how playback is accomplished. One huge selling point of such a setup lies in the ability to play damaged records without the characteristic noise. The demo CD includes a track that is claimed to be a recording of a record broken into pieces and reassembled in the tray of the ELP laser turntable. There are still audible pops, but nothing even remotely resembling the cacophony that would ensue if one were to try something similar with a stylus-based player.

ELP Laser Turntable – Broken Record Demo

From: ELP Laser Turntable Demo CD

     The academic implementation of this idea can be found here. This implementation uses an optical fiber stylus that contacts the groove ridges in areas undamaged by normal stylii:

     “The force applied by the fiber on the record is limited to 60 mg, about 40 time less than that of a modern pick-up. Such a low force is possible because the guiding of the optical head along the groove is obtained by servomotors controlled by optical signals. The system allows the crossing of cracks and small zones without grooves, as frequently observed in ancient records made of a sheet of resin plated on a metallic surface. The spurious audiosignals (tocs, etc…) due to these type of defaults can then be easily removed using common numerical techniques.”

academrecord

     The website has an audio sample (.au) of the playback of the damaged record seen above, as well as a video (.mov) of their player in action.

     The most interesting caveat to the modern vinyl-enthusiast when considering a Laser-based turntable solution is the following:

     “Clear or colored records are transparent, or translucent, and will not reflect light to the sensors.”

Lo-Fi / Hi-Fi Optical Solutions

     Fellow vinyl enthusiast Ofer Springer reasoned that If one were to scan the grooves of a record at a high enough dpi, a program to ‘play’ the images of the grooves could be coded. He made a valiant attempt at producing such a setup in his spare time, and produced the Digital Needle website, where you can listen to the result of his attempts. While the resultant mp3’s are very noisy, traces of the recorded music are audible. He notes that he was not entirely clear on the way sound data is stored in grooves at the time he made these recordings:

     “The whole thing was done in a couple of late nights so I didn’t really have much time to gather all the technical details concerning phonograph modulations. Moreover the “archeological” reverse-engineering aspect was part of the fun. I now know (thanks to some great replies) that the horizontal modulation (the only one I did decode) is the sum of the left/right audio channels (which are each encoded on the sides of a V-shaped groove).”

groovesscan

     This idea has since been developed further by two physicists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California:

     “Carl Haber and Vitaliy Fadeyev have developed a new way to preserve the contents of old discs and wax cylinders: they take pictures of the groove instead of dropping a needle into it. The team shoots thousands of precise sequential images of the groove and then stitches the images together, measuring the shape of each undulation and calculating the route a stylus would take along the path.

     “We grab the image and let the computer model what the stylus would have done if it had run through the surface,” said Haber, a senior scientist at the lab who led the research team…”

opticalhifi

     The above quotation was pulled from a New York TImes article that is no longer available online. Further information can be found here and here. Those who are interested in the specifics will be pleased to learn that their 21 page paper on the subject (‘Reconstruction of Mechanically Recorded Sound by Image Processing’) is available online in .pdf form. A few more lines from the NYT article, briefly describing their method:

     “One day a few years ago, a radio program that caught their attention prompted them to consider a new application. “We heard a show on National Public Radio on the problems of preserving delicate recordings of the past,” Dr. Haber said. He wondered whether the precision methods the group used for particle detectors might be of use. “Why not just measure the shape of the grooves on the surface?” Dr. Haber said, and then pose the question to a software program: what would a needle do?”

     “The physicists began with old 78 r.p.m. discs, on which grooves run laterally, undulating in the plane of the record parallel to its surface. “So from the top down, you can see the groove profile,” Dr. Haber said.”

     “The team used a commercially available electronic camera and zoom microscope to acquire images of the grooves. But it was a slow process. It took 40 minutes to scan one second of audio, primarily because the optical tools were not optimized for the task. “It will run much faster when people use a machine built solely for scanning records,” Dr. Haber said.”

     Sound files of ‘before‘ and ‘after‘ recordings are available here. The difference is amazing – clear as a bell.

A Human Optical Implementation

     Dr. Arthur Lintgen, a Philadelphia physician is able to examine the grooves of records and determine the content of the recording. How does he do it?

     “All is explainable – up to a point. First, Dr. Lintgen is a dedicated audiophile with an extensive knowledge of the record catalogue past and present. He can identify only music that he knows, and he guarantees a high rate of success only in orchestral music ranging from Beethoven to the present. Earlier music has a less demonstrable contrast of dynamics, he says, and chamber and solo instrumental music create erratic patterns to the eye. He also prefers newer recordings to the narrower sonic range of early LPs. “I get a lot of these right,” he said. “But I’m much surer within my own limits.” This range excludes excerpts or suite arrangements, because the length, structuring and order of different movements are part of the doctor’s deductive processes. “I have a knowledge of musical structure and of the literature,” he said. “And I can correlate this structure with what I see. Loud passages reflect light differently. In the grossest terms, they look silvery. Record companies spread the grooves in forte passages; they have a more jagged, saw-tooth look. Soft passages look blacker.”

lintgen

     So we see that Mr. Lintgen is not discerning the actual audio content from the grooves, but rather the length and dynamic structure of the music. Using these findings he is able to identify the piece using his encyclopedic knowledge of orchestral music. Further Reading on Mr. Lintgen’s talents is available here, here, here and here.

Japanese Ingenuity

     Regular readers of Boingboing saw a post last week about a japanese vinyl-recording model kit (2). Some insight, provided by Boingboing reader Josh:

     “it’s a working model kit that costs about $40. that cup is actually a ’paper’ cup. in fact, it says that you use any paper cup and a regular sewing needle to complete the model. it also says that you can record onto CD-ROMs or ‘the lids off of cups of ramen’!!! that sounds too good to be true, but that’s what the site says. you can then play back whatever you record on it as well. it also gives tips on how to get better sound and one of the tips says to use ‘aluminum bags’ mounted to either a cardboard circle or CD-ROM (because the bags would be too thin) to get good sound (not quite sure what an ‘aluminum bag’ is…). it runs on two batteries, takes only an hour and a half to put together and they say that all you need to make it (that’s not already included in the kit) is scotch tape, a phillips screwdriver and a scissors. of course you also have to provide your paper cup and sewing needle as well…”

japanmodel

     There is a complete translation of the text here. The same site also points out that Amazon Japan has it, but my own efforts to order were thwarted after entering my shipping address (“We’re sorry. This item can’t be delivered to your selected destination. You may either change the delivery address or delete the item from your order by changing its quantity to 0 and clicking the Update button below”).

Mosaic Addendum

     A few items of interest spawned by my bottlecap mosaic post:

     An article in Readymade several months back pointed me in the direction of canstruction. A brief description:

      “Canstruction combines the competitive spirit of a design/build competition with a unique way to help feed hungry people. Competing teams, lead by architects and engineers, showcase their talents by designing giant sculptures made entirely out of canned foods. At the close of the exhibitions all of the food used in the structures is donated to local food banks for distribution to pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, elderly and day care centers.”

     Below is a soda can portrait of Elvis Presley, which was among the 2003 winners, all of which are well worth seeing.

elviscans

     I linked to these hook rug images in the original post, but I wanted to point out this one in particular: It’s an anamorphous hook-rug portrait of Marshall “The Medium is the Message” McLuhan. In order to view the portrait, a reflective trash can must be placed in the middle of the rug. The distorted portrait reflects correctly in the rounded surface of the trash can. Amazing on so many levels. Click the image for a closer view.

mmtrashcanrug

     Finally, someone who saw the original post re-introduced me to the wooden mirror, which is clearly the best thing ever. It’s a mosaic of 830 wooden tiles that are each connected to a tiny servo motor. A computer captures image data, taken from a camera hidden in the center of the mosaic. This data is translated into positions for each of the servo motors, as the wooden tiles reflect light differently depending on their position. The result is a real time mosaic mirror. Watching this video (Quicktime .mov) of the mosaic in action is the best way to see what exactly is going on.

woodenmirror

Coded Buildings

     I came across the following in a post on the craftster message board:

     “There’s a building on my old campus (western michigan university), that spells out WMU (or something like that, I couldn’t really read it, lol) in [binary using] the windows on each side of the building.”

     “I believe the building you are thinking of spells out “welcome to western.” right now its being used for the math department and then a few other classes that need a space to hold class.”

     “It was designed to look like a punch card spelling out “Welcome to Western”. The building was the original home to all of Western’s computer-y goodness way back in the dark ages (in other words, when I was a student there) when punch cards were used for input/output and storage.”

     I’ve done some googling but haven’t come up with any images. Does anyone out there know of any images online, or is there anyone at Western Michigan University who can snap a photo of the relevant part of the Math Dept. building? I’m intrigued!

     Additionally: are there other examples of hidden messages and codes in architecture?

UPDATE: here’s a building in Ukraine with an empty crossword puzzle on its side. The clues are scattered throughout the city. Apparently if a certain sort of light is shined on the building at night, the answers appear. Nice!

Ridiculous Mosaic Makin'

     When I was in high school, one of my art teachers showed us a video detailing the creative process of painter Chuck Close, and I was completely blown away by the way he dissected and reassembled images on a large-scale. I’ve since found a great book that extensively covers the many methods he’s used over the years: Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration. There’s also a similarly-titled web site that serves as a great overview of Mr. Close and his work (Check out the breakdown of his ‘scribble etching’ self portrait here). Ever since being exposed to these works I’ve been obsessed with anything resembling the methods used to create them.

     In the last months of the year 2000, I made a lego mosaic depicting my late brother, Chris. Legos aren’t the cheapest thing in the world to buy in bulk, so much of that project was funded by returning empty bottles and cans, and using the resultant refunds to purchase the now discontinued ‘blue tubs’ of assorted bricks. On one such trip, I joked to a friend who happened to be with me that my next project would be a mosaic of beer caps, and that my drinking habits would soon be dictated by the graphic design of a beverage’s captops. This was one of those instances when you say something and realize as soon as you’ve said it that it might not be such a bad idea after all. It was appropriately ridiculous.


lego1 lego4
lego3 lego2

     Soon after, I started saving caps. I saved for about a year before I even started entertaining the idea of beginning to assemble such a monstrosity. Because of the size of a bottle cap (approximately 1″ diameter, compared to ~.25″ width of a lego ‘square’), the finished mosaic would have to be fairly gargantuan to resolve to an image of roughly the same clarity. I made up my template for the mosaic in the summer of 2002, running another photograph of Chris through a ‘stained glass mosaic’ filter in photoshop. I applied the filter at several different resolutions, ranging from meticulously detailed templates that would be a story or two tall if actually constructed, to the absolute minimum resolution at which the project would still be worthwhile (‘Worthwhile,’ in this case, is of course a subjective term – I use it here to mean ‘The image would still be discernable’).

     I eventually picked one with a resolution somewhere in the middle, to balance the percieved detail against the sheer number of caps that would be required. Sometime in late June 2002, I sorted my collection (which was a five-gallon bucket’s worth at that point) roughly by color and began to determine which caps would correspond to which colored ’tiles’ on my rendered template.

The photograph on which the mosaic was based.
The working template I finally ended up using.

     I started to arrange the first few rows, just to get an idea of what I was in for, and determined that I was going to need a shitload of caps. At this point I briefly considered re-rendering a smaller scale template to expedite the project’s completion, but I finally decided the extra resolution would probably be worth it. At this point I was simply ‘laying out’ the rows on an empty desk in my basement. As I worked beyond the first few rows, it became clear that I would need some way to keep the caps stationary. The solution I arrived at was to use a Ginourmous piece of cardboard and a hot glue gun to hold the caps in place. Using this technique, I tore through my accumulated cap supply in the first dozen rows. I then began the arduous process of cap collection, applying new rows as my supply allowed. This slow collection / gestation period lasted from the summer of 2002 through early 2004.

     During this period I could often be identified by the characteristic jingle of a few day’s worth of accumulated bottle caps in my pockets. I developed a ridiculously comprehensive knowledge of the color of nearly every locally available bottled beverage’s cap, and as prophesized, soon began to alter my drinking habits accordingly. I was intimately aware of any changes in cap design – Which, incidentally, occur fairly often. These changes could be subtle, as illustrated in the slow evolution of the Rolling Rock caps seen below:

rollingrock

     …or drastic and sudden, as in the case of Honey Brown’s lame ‘modernization:’

honeybrown

     At various points, as I worked my way down the rows of the mosaic, the ‘in-demand’ colors changed. A cursory glance at the template above makes it fairly obvious that red, black, and white were going to be the most valuable. As such, I was pretty happy when Smirnoff Ice launched with almost completely solid red cap, and was almost overjoyed when Budweiser changed their cap from a useless gold to a predominantly red design.

budweiser

     Sometime in Late 2003 it became clear that the ‘ginourmous’ piece of cardboard I had begun with was not going to be large enough. This fact, coupled with the difficulty I had begun to experience in moving and storing the mosaic-in-progress while not working on it, convinced me that I was going to have to come up with a better, more permanent mounting solution. In March 2004 I finally got my shit together and built a sturdy wood frame, found some appropriately gigantic sheets of cardboard, and began final assembly.

materials
framedcb

     In doing so, I was faced with the monotonous task of transferring the rows I had previously completed to the new ‘canvas.’ I decided to document this process in stop-motion form, and the end result came out way better than I anticipated. Click below to view the 1.8 Mb animated gif file.

animatepreview

     I finally finished the last row of the mosaic this week. I may still ‘touch up’ the white areas, as I’ve recently sorted out a supply of better quality ‘whites.’ The finished mosaic Uses 2,635 caps, and measures roughly six feet tall by four feet wide. It took me a little over three years of periodic attention to complete, which is probably longer than I’ve ever spent working on anything else (Besides my degree).

     I need to thank literally tons of friends who helped with collecting caps, this project would have taken even longer without their help and enthusiasm. I’ve been collecting caps for going on 4 years now, so it’s very likely I’ve forgotten several people, and for this I apologize profusely. I would be more than happy to add your name if I forgot you. An extra special thanks to Jackie Valko who provided a wealth of much-needed reds towards the end.

  • Sarah Fabian
  • Krysta Stone
  • Wendy Stone
  • Zach Curd
  • Holly Pratt
  • Theresa, Mo, and Jackie Valko
  • Erik Koppin
  • Thunderbirds are Now
  • Red Shirt Brigade
  • Army / Navy
  • Erin Elise
  • B&N #2648 Employees
  • The Michigan Hat Bartender at the Loop
  • Joe Cwik
  • The Recital
  • Eve from NYC

     Clicking the image below will open a new window with a side-by-side comparison of the original image, the template, and the (almost) finished mosaic. The shape of the bottlecaps gave the final product a sort of horizontal distortion that is only apparent when viewed next to the template.

finished

     And here are a few more ‘detail’ shots of the finished mosaic and the process.

detail1
detail2
workspace

     The mosaic will probably be on display at this year’s barn show, an annual event that raises funds for the Chris Kempa Memorial Scholarship Fund (Offering art scholarships
to students at Livonia Franklin Highschool since
2001).

Other Bottlecap Art

     For some reason, whenever I told people I was collecting large amounts of bottlecaps, they always assumed I was making a coffee table. While I haven’t found any evidence that anyone has ever tried constructing a bottlecap mosaic before me, I have turned up several examples of bottlecap art on the internet. Here they are, in a handy bulleted list format: (Update! I’ve found several other mosaic examples, which I must admit is disappointing in a weird way. There’s an 8 foot by 8 foot bathroom floor, depicting a diver; a few giant college logos; the cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon'; and “The largest sign made out of bottle caps consisted of 105,000 Karmel beer bottle caps and was created by Browary Lubelskie S.A. in Lublin, Poland on June 19, 1999.” More info here.)

     Know of any others?

Other ridiculous mosaics

     In working on this project, I also found several examples of similarly ridiculous mosaics and large-scale re-renderings of various images. Here are some highlights:

  • The new hot mosaic medium seems to be pieces of bread toasted different shades of brown, as I’ve found one group making a really big and well-executed one here, and another guy making tons of toast mosaics, of slightly lesser quality, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. It could be argued that the toast mosaics I deemed ‘of slightly lesser quality’ are actually more ‘pure,’ as the entire slice of bread is toasted one consistent shade, while in the previous example, some inconsistent toasting is used to vary the relative darkness over the surface of each individual slice of bread. I digress, however, as this is an argument that no one but me gives a good goddamn about.
  • One of the most intricate Lego mosaics ever can be found here, made using some weird sort of discontinued learning pieces. The resultant effect is that of ASCII art using small plastic characters. This was done by Eric Harshbarger, who does all sorts of insane stuff with Legos. Also: That’s his JOB. His other ridiculous mosaic examples can be found here, here, and here he documents the construction of a mosaic. Basically his whole site is incredibly good. Here he discusses his need for assistants, etc.
  • The Photoshop mosaic filter as fine art: From far away these paintings seem to depict nude folks in engaging in varying degrees of intimate contact. Up close, it’s just a bunch of colored squares.
  • Some pretty nice domino mosaic portraits are here.
  • Glass mosaics of Hitchcock films in London: here and here.
  • Two absolutely INSANE images (You need to see them both to ‘Get it’) that I grabbed off of an eBay auction that was linked somewhere several months ago. Image one: The big picture. Image Two: The lurking message. A few nice rebuttals can be find in this mosaic, assembled from images of America’s dead in Iraq; and this mosaic, assembled from photographs of actual assholes.
  • Rubik’s Cubes solved to specific patterns in order to compose multi-cube mosaics.
  • Several images recast as hook rugs.

     Know of any others?

Barnshow 2004

     Attention Michigan folks: We’ll be having our FOURTH annual barn show in just over a week, on Saturday, June 26th. We’ve been having these shows each year as a fundraiser for the Christopher Kempa Memorial Art Scholarship Fund, which has been offering art scholarships to students at Livonia Franklin Highschool since 2001.

     This Year’s Line-up is as follows:

     …and here are the vitals:

Where: Wilson Barn, Livonia, MI. (29300 W Chicago)

When: 5:30 PM – 10 PM, Saturday June 26th

How Much: $5

All Ages Welcome.

     There’s an online flyer for linking purposes here.

     Hope to see you there!

Rim Dodge

     With the sport of dodgeball soon to be immortalized in Ben Stiller’s new movie of the same name, I figured I’d confess. Dodgeball always seems to get a bad rap among the ‘less than athletic’ circles that I am a member of (The Tagline for a previous film called Dodgeball is “There’s a reason why you’re so messed up”). I, however, loved the shit out of math AND dodgeball.

     My favorite variation on the game was ‘Rim Dodge.’ Googling turns up one other person with fond memories of the game. From their description:

     “Played on a basketball court indoors, the twist was you could throw at the other team or at the other team’s hoop, always staying behind half court. If someone on your team hit the rim a player from your team could reenter the game. If you made a basket everyone on your team who was knocked out could come back in. The rim/backboard were in play though, so you could still get out if someone caught your throw in the air. At the elementary/middle school level it worked great, because most kids had a hard time hitting the rim from half court or beyond with a big rubber ball. After that it became a little too easy, and finishing a game became like finishing the card game War. It lasted forever.”

     There are all sorts of great games like this that never get played after elementary school.

     I recently found myself wondering how much it would cost to rent out a gym for a few hours to get a game together. Google reveals that many, many other people are already doing this. The IDBF (International Dodge Ball Federation) keeps track of leagues that currently operate in ten states. They’ve also put together a remarkably thorough (if somewhat dry) 48 page rule-book (available here in .pdf format). CNN has even covered the revival in an article about the Portland league.

     I’ve been completely inspired by this and am definitely going to look into getting something started locally. I’ve managed to dig up a few other variations, including a version in which teams defend plastic bowling pins, a version using ‘goalies‘ (Similar in play to the classic ‘Super Dodge Ball‘ video game), and several other variations.

THWOMP!

     As ‘research,’ I’m interested in hearing any dodgeball anecdotes you may have festering in your subconcious, as well as tales of any other long-lost childhood games. Woo.

MADNESS

     I got some great anonymous non-fan mail yesterday:

     “Your descent into madness is slow but sure, as evidenced by the turn for the worst your website has taken.”

     Come on now, really? A descent into madness? Isn’t that a bit dramatic? Maybe a descent into not-interesting-to-the-public-at-large, but madness? Not really.

Comic Homage

     The first panel of Sunday, May 23rd’s ‘Mutts’ strip (by Patrick McDonnell) was a subtle homage to Yoshimoto Nara‘s work (inset):

mutts

     The rest of the strip is fairly unremarkable. I just thought that was interesting.

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