Print Media Excitement!

     My bottlecap mosaic is mentioned in the Fall 2004 issue of Venus Magazine (Le Tigre on the cover). The mention is on page 73, in an article discussing Site originator Leah Kramer chose some of her favorite projects from the site, and apparently my mosaic was among them:

     “Some projects on craftster are way more art than craft. In this project, Adam Kempa pays homage to his late brother Chris by creating a mosaic of Chris’ likeness made entirely out of different types of bottle caps. It’s an unbelievable technical feat and a touching expression on Adam’s part.”

     Wow! Super nice, and Exciting!


Ridiculous Mix CD Packaging Part Deux

Renew my prescription.

     More here.

MP3 of the Week: Lyrical Palindrome

     I know almost nothing about this song, besides the fact that it is a lyrical palindrome (Not a musical palindrome, as I initially typed. I’m sure that some composer must have explored palindromic music, and if you are better informed than I in this department, I encourage you to enlighten me). It comes from a compilation of two-minute songs that a previous band of mine participated in: ‘I Am Shorter Than You Are Taller Than Am I,’ which appears to be available via the Kelp Records page. The liner notes reveal only that Big Fish Eat Little Fish was a band from Ottawa, Canada. As always, I THIRST for further examples of palindromic lyrics / music.

Big Fish Eat Little Fish – ‘Word Awk’
From: I Am Shorter Than You Are Taller Than Am I


     Another great example pointed to in the comments is ‘Bob‘ by Weird Al Yankovic, suggested by Andy Baio. I should probably clarify and say that the lyrics to this example are palindromes in the classic sense, whereas I was describing the lyrics of the Big Fish Eat Little Fish song as palindromic. If one were to write the lyrics out, they wouldn’t be a palindrome, per se. This is making no sense. Perhaps an illustration is in order:

     A bit of the lyrics to Yankovic’s ‘Bob:’

I, man, am regal – a German am I
Never odd or even
If I had a hi-fi
Madam, I’m Adam
Too hot to hoot
No lemons, no melon
Too bad I hid a boot
Lisa Bonet ate no basil
Warsaw was raw
Was it a car or a cat I saw?

     Each line is a palindrome. In the case of the lyrics to ‘Word Awk:’

Ment Face De Self Such With Live You Can How
Space My In Self Your Cing For
By Place Word Awk Such In Me Put You
Lone A Me Leave But
Ly Lite Po This You Tell To How Know Don’t
Don’t Know How To Tell You This Politely
But Leave Me Alone
You Put Me In Such Awkward Place
By Forcing Yourself In My Space
How Can You Live With Such Self-Defacement?

     The lyrics are palindromic in a broader way, in the sense that the entire song is the palindrome, as opposed to being made up of a series of palindromes. So you see, if one were to treat each WORD in ‘Word Awk’ as a LETTER, THEN it would be…(Head Explodes).

     Another of the links posted in the comments references a book I’m trying to read right now: Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. This is a good book to read if you like music, math, and art; and don’t mind your head exploding occaisionally.

(Mariokart Double Dash)^8

     One of my current places of employment, the Ann Arbor District Library, had a pretty great event this past Saturday. As part of their Axis Teen program, they’re sponsoring a five-month long Mario Kart Double Dash Tournament. Tournament play takes place once a month, and judging from the reaction Saturday’s event was met with, each month’s proceedings will draw more kids into the library.

     Eight Gamecubes were networked together in a LAN, and the S-video outs of each station were taken to a Video Toaster rig, which in turn had its output fed to a projector. This displayed the view of the leader of the race in progress, intercut with live video of the players and bracket information – all on a large screen in the center of the room.

     8 players (16 in team mode) were able to play simultaneously on dedicated screens.

     The Ann Arbor News wrote a story on the event, and I have some ridiculously shaky footage of the room in action from my camera.


Six degrees of Jon Brion

     Fun on The Jellyfish mailing list:

     “We are in the process of digitizing all our CDs so that we can share
’em all over the house via the wireless hub. I was reading in [the liner notes to] The
Wallflowers’ “Bringing Down the Horse” that Jon Brion played on it, and I
started thinking… what hasn’t that guy been on?! Well, since Kyle
loooves the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon game (and he is sickeningly good
at it) I thought… why not a 6 degrees of jon Brion game? i bet it can
be done. He has worked with a fairly wide variety of musicians and
with some really famous ones… on this record alone he is credited
along side Sam Phillips, T-Bone Burnett, and Michael Penn. Not to
mention the Roger Manning connection (he’s been on lots of stuff too)
Spilt Milk is like the JFK of the Kevin Bacon game… “

     The game hasn’t really kicked off on the list yet, but I can’t wait, so I’m issuing a challenge. If we get stuck, you’ll probably want these workarounds for the recently redesigned Allmusic. I worked out Jon Brion to Kevin Bacon, via movies (In two steps!):

  • Jon Brion was in “Boogie Nights” with Burt Reynolds (Brion played ‘Awards Ceremony Band Member’)
  • Burt Reynolds was in “Starting Over” with Kevin Bacon!

     The challenge is to get from Kevin Bacon (Who records music with his brother as ‘The Bacon Brothers’) to Jon Brion, in six steps or less, using only albums they’ve worked on. It looks like the Bacon Brothers have had some high profile guest appearances (ie Jon Bon Jovi), so it should be doable.
Incidentally, in piecing this entry together, I googled for six degrees of Kevin Bacon a bit. Given the state of geekery on the web, I’m AMAZED that no one has attempted to write some sort of Kevin Bacon Game php script using the imdb php class. So I guess that’s a bonus challenge. Write that.

     UPDATE! I don’t know how I missed the Oracle of Bacon on first googling, but I did. So yes, someone has written such a script.

Dinosaur Eggs!

     I was grocery shopping a few days ago, and I happened upon a bin full of “Dinosaur Eggs.” Clearly, these were not actual dinosaur eggs, but some weird crossbreed fruit, renamed to attract the fervent interest of five year-old boys. As five year-old boys and I share many of the same interests (video games, dinosaurs, robots), it should go without saying that I bought some.

     A bit of google, liberally applied to the nagging question of their origin reveals that they are in fact “Pluots” – plums crossed with apricots, and they are DELICIOUS. I’ve also found reference to them being called ‘Apriums’ and ‘Flavor Grenades.’ ‘Flavor Grenades’ would probably be equally effective in the ‘Incite five year-olds to nag mom for this fruit’ department.


     That night I dreamt that the world was being invaded by dinosaurs who turned people into crazy, bloodthirsty zombies by biting them. Good times.

Another MP3 of this week: ME.

     Busy week. Job interviews, recording, programming. Here’s a recently finished MP3 of a song featuring me on drums. WATCH OUT FOR THE TRIPLETS. Recorded by the eloquent John Krohn at Deep Deep Pink studios.

The Pop Project – ‘House of Books’
From: Forthcoming release of some sort (200?)

[audio:Pop Project – House of Books.mp3]

MP3 of the Week: Andy Thompson – LP of my Eye

     Andy Thompson is an insanely talented pop mastermind who used to live in Ann Arbor and recorded the last Pop Project album for a pittance. He now lives in Minneapolis, where he writes songs, symphonies, and plays live. This is an older song about loving the shit out of vinyl. He recorded it himself, and played every note you hear. He writes on the sleeve – “Please excuse the midi drums.”

Andy Thompson – ‘LP of My Eye’
From: LP of My Eye Mini-CD (2002)

[audio:Andy Thompson – LP of My Eye.mp3]

Miscellanea (mosaics, links, & games)

More Caps

     Chris, who wrote to me about his own bottlecap mosaic in progress after I posted the writeup on mine, has finished his.

     “Hey man, it’s more or less done, still looking to put a protective coating on
it so I can use it as a table without worrying about scratching it up.

     While searching for a suitable material to pour on it I found this site. Also a
pretty cool bottle cap project..”

     Here are a few pics of mine, I think it turned out pretty nice, I’m happy with
it. I am huge into sailing so this was a natural selection for me considering
the colors of caps I had sitting around.
For those wondering I first glued the caps down using a glue gun. I then
applied UNSANDED grout to fill in the gaps. Then I colored the grout to help
emphasize the color changes. I think it really helped to the color the grout.

     It would be awesome if you posted any of these on your website! Please credit
it to: “Chris Sivers and his drinking buddies at the University of Waterloo.”



Candy Heart mosaic, via

     “Nearly eight foot tall toddler bearing American flag. Built from several thousand pieces of Brach’s small Conversation Heart candy. The war in Iraq distracted me from painting, so I built this figure. Slogans on candy include ‘Mad 4 U’, ‘Hero’, ‘U R Bad’, ‘Be True’, ‘U R Mine’, ‘Go Boy’, ‘Dinomite’, ‘You Rock’, ‘Clueless’, ‘Awesome’, ‘Don’t Ask’, ‘Don’t Tell’, ‘You Rule’, ‘See Ya’, ‘I’m Sure’, ‘Gotcha’, ‘Got Love?’, ‘Fax Me’, ’email me’,’Dare Ya’, ‘No Way’, ‘Just One’.”


Drinkbox mosaic:

     “The poster was made at Takakura Junior and Senior High School in Nagoya (Third major city in Japan, one hour or so south
of Tokyo by bullet-train).”

     “The 44 thousand tiles were cut out of coloured drink-pack cartons! The poster uses only 24 colours.
Each tile is 3 cm². The finished masterpiece is abouit 4 metres high by 8 metres across.
It was their first ever mosaic poster and it took about two weeks to complete.”


From the ‘Link Pile:’

  • Great essay by Matt Stone of South Park fame on why he likes math. This is old, but when I went looking for it last year I couldn’t find it. I tried again, and Lo! Here it is.
  • If you happened to be into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Or TMNT), or (like me) have an unhealthy affinity for all things ‘Behind the Scenes,’ you might find this archive of TMNT production artwork fascinating. The archive is maintained by co-creator Peter Laird, and entries date from earliest days of the TMNT penomenon through the present. Some highlights include interpretations of the turtles by Will Vinton of California Raisins fame (to promote “Pizza Crunchabungas”) and Jack Kirby of Marvel Comics fame; as well as a look at the working relationship creators Eastman and Laird had with Playmates, the company responsible for the TMNT action figures.

Answering my own question Dept.

     I finally got my hands on a copy of Karaoke Revolution, and got to experience it first hand. It does, in fact, grade based on pitch, as well as rhythm (the timing of each word). You can, however, ‘fool’ it by just humming the correct notes on beat – you don’t need to know the words at all. The difficulty settings allow you to determine how forgiving the judgement will be. All in all, a totally useful music game. Weird! The disc also has some interesting ‘behind the scenes’ video of the in-studio recording sessions for each song in the game (They’re all ‘soundalikes’), and the second volume has a Darkness song, in case your falsetto needs work.



     “…also when you made me a copy the New Pornographers cd, you wrote ‘New Porn’ on it… and I just realized people must think I’m a perv when I leave that laying around here [work].”

Older posts Newer posts