Month: July 2004

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].”


     I’ve updated the Acme Novelty Archive pretty heavily in the last couple of days. New design, new search capability, and new database-driven content. Nearly everything that’s been submitted since I started the site is now in there, the only thing left to be done is all the categorization for the (functional, but incomplete) browse by category bit. Good times.


MP3's of the week: Musical 'mistakes' / scoldings

     For people who are obsessed with music and the process by which it is recorded, filesharing is the greatest thing ever, as it offers easy access to session tapes. Session tapes, for the uninitiated, are generally recordings of a band working in the studio, complete with mistakes, between song banter, conversation, and tomfoolery. After downloading many such sessions, I’ve noticed that some people choose to edit out all the ‘superfluous’ conversation, neatly isolating each take into its own track. This drives me crazy, because one of the reasons I love sessions so much is for the banter, which often reveals unseen dynamics to the inner workings of a band.

     My favorite example of such an outtake consists of Mickey Dolenz hellaciously scolding Peter Tork for screwing up a take in the midst of the recording sessions for the Monkees’ ‘Headquarters’ album, but there are tons of other examples. In the outtakes from the Rolling Stones’ ‘Beggers Banquet’ album, there’s a clip of Mick Jagger expressing his impatience with the speed at which Charlie Watts was learning ‘Sympathy For the Devil.’

     The banter doesn’t necessarily have to be quite so heated to be entertaining. My opinion of Ryan Adams aside, I have to give him credit for including a bit of friendly studio squabbling as the first track on his ‘Heartbreaker’ album. In it, he and fellow musician David Rawlings can be heard arguing which Morrissey album ‘Suedehead’ appears on (Anyone who has more than a few morrissey CD’s knows that tracks frequently showed up on more than one release).
In addition to the ‘scoldings’ and banter that I so deeply crave, I am also a huge fan of ‘happy accidents’ that occur and end up being released. A great example of this is the end of the Archers Of Loaf song ‘Bathroom,’ released commercially on their collection of odds and ends, ‘The Speed of Cattle.’ At the end of the take, the drums abruptly cut out and the rest of the band comes to a halt. The resultant exchange is priceless, especially if you’re a drummer. Another commercially released example is the Whiskeytown song ‘Bar Lights’ which ends with Ryan Adams explaining through laughter that he flubbed the lyric and broke a string in the same moment. Turn up your volume for the choice bit of posturing at the end.

     I’m convinced that there are tons of these moments lurking about in the useless knowledge section of people’s brains. It is in the interest of expanding my library of audio joy that I solicit your favorite bits of studio exchange and happy accident-ry. Since most of these bits are pretty short, I’ll volunteer to host MP3’s of pretty much any that get suggested. My goal is to put together an entire mix CD of these moments, and give it a dopey title like ‘WHOOOPS’ or something equally lame.

     MP3’s of all the moments mentioned above are included below. I’ve also posted MP3’s of several of the bits suggested in the comments. I’m working on rounding up the others. Woo.

The Monkees – Mickey Scolds Peter
From: Headquarters Sessions


The Rolling Stones – Mick Scolds Charlie
From: Beggar’s Banquet Sessions


Archers Of Loaf – Excerpt from ‘Bathroom’
From: The Speed of Cattle (1996)


Ryan Adams – ‘Argument with David Rawlings Concerning Morrissey’
From: Heartbreaker (2000)


Whiskeytown – Excerpt from ‘Bar Lights’
From: Pneumonia (2001)


Led Zeppelin – Excerpt from ‘Black Country Woman’
From: Physical Graffiti (1975)


The Velvet Underground – ‘Temptation Inside Your Heart’
From: Peel Slowly and See (1995)


Morrissey – Excerpt from ‘I Know Very Well How I Got My Note Wrong’
From: ? (19??)


Don & Dewey – ‘Justine’
From: Jungle Hop (19??)


Modest Mouse – Excerpt from ‘Bukowski’
From: Good News For People Who Love Bad News (2004)


Beck – Excerpt from ‘Truckdrivin’ Neighbors Downstairs’
From: Mellow Gold (1994)


The Pixies – ‘You Fuckin’ DIE!’
From: Surfer Rosa (1988)


Bob Dylan – ‘Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream’
From: Bringing it All Back Home


Elvis Presley – ‘Hot Damn Tamale’
From: ???


Love – ‘Your Mind and We Belong Together’
From: Forever Changes Reissue


John Cale – ‘Big Apple Express’
From: Inside the Dream Syndicate, Vol. 3


Peanut Preserves

     A few years ago, I read ‘Double Fold‘ by Nicholson Baker – an enraging look at libraries destroying back issue newspapers and replacing them with often defective microfiche. In the book, Baker discusses both the alarming frequency at which this is occuring, and the inaccuracy of the science cited as justification (Propigated by microfilm and other such companies). As a result of all this, Baker started a nonprofit organization, rented a warehouse, and went on a crusade to preserve what was left of history’s primary sources – daily newspapers.

     I just found out via this messageboard posting that it was Baker’s collection that enabled Fantagraphics Books to assemble the strips necessary for producing their Complete Peanuts series. The first volume was released this spring, with the second (of 25 total) coming in the fall.

     Despite Baker’s best preservation efforts, however, there are several strips that may well be lost to the sands of time:

     “With PEANUTS 1953-1954 going to press next month, we’re setting our sights on PEANUTS 1955-1956. So far we’ve got all the strips gathered except for three very pesky missing Sundays, which we have only in truncated form (from the Nicholson Baker/Duke collection). If anyone by chance has any of these, let us know.

     These are REALLY obscure. I know PEANUTS completists/experts who apparently haven’t even been able to track down a microfiche version.

     The good thing is that the truncated ones we have were black and white, so they’re cleaner than color ones would be.”

     Those disappointed by Baker’s last novel ‘A Box of Matches’ (Me) can look forward to ‘Checkpoint‘ which is published on August 10th. The premise: Two men discuss an attempted assassination of George W. Bush. Oh man, call O’Reilly! This is gonna be a SHITSTORM of overreaction. His publisher (Knopf) has already released the following:

     “Checkpoint is a work of fiction by acclaimed author Nicholson Baker, a novella that explores the peculiar angst many Americans are feeling right now about their country and their president. The book is set up as a conversation between two old high school buddies. One of them, in despair about the direction the country is going, is convinced he must kill the president; the other tries to talk him out of it.

     Baker wrote Checkpoint in response to the powerless seething fury many Americans felt when President Bush decided to take the nation to war. “How do you react to something that you think is so hideously wrong?” asks Baker. “How do you keep it from driving you nuts? What do you do with your life while this wrong is being carried out? What are the thoughts – the secret thoughts, the unpublishable thoughts, so to speak – that go through your head?”

     Some people have rational responses. Others do not. Baker’s book does not suggest violence is ever an appropriate response. But in order to understand the reasons why a violent act is always a mistake, one must first look at the contemplation of such an act.

The dialogue in Checkpoint is angry, funny, pointed and absurd. All of it has relevance to our world. And it is through the conversation in this novel that Baker hopes to raise important questions about how we react to violence – both individually and as a nation.”

Great artifacts unearthed by the move, vol. 2

Log Hat

     This hat is great for confusing people. It has an illustration of a log on the front, and the word ‘LOG’ on the back. It was part of the ‘Ren and Stimpy‘ merchandising juggernaut.


Wu Eezer T-shirt

     When I was in high school, I made this T-shirt, co-opting the Wu-Tang ‘W.’ It once prompted a classmate to sternly implore that ‘Wu Tang Clan ain’t nothing to fuck with’ (Repeat).


‘Dork’ T-shirt

     When I used to skateboard (badly), there was a company called New School Productions, who made this T-shirt. Classic.


Weirdly Prescient Alien Workshop T-shirt

     Another artifact from my ill-advised skateboarding days is this ‘rebellious’ T-shirt, made by (former?) skateboard accessory powerhouse Alien Workshop. Maybe I should sell it on eBay as an election day uniform. I guess the fact that this is relevant just goes to show: the more things change, the more things stay the (HEAD EXPLODES).





Canadians before they were indie darlings, part 1: Neko Case

     Before Neko Case was a big shot alt-country star, she was the drummer in a band called Maow. Here’s a Moaw cover from Canadian weekly Exclaim. Neko’s the one with her heart being removed.


Morrissey Pillowcase

     Coming soon to eBay! When I saw Morrissey on the ‘Oye Esteban’ tour, he had these for sale, and they were too ridiculous to not buy one. That’s right – a pillowcase that says ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me.’ I totally forgot I owned it until I dug it up in the move. Prodigiously ridiculous. He also had branded condoms for sale on that tour.


Canadians before they were indie darlings, part 2: Carl Newman

     Here’s another Exclaim cover, this one featuring pop wunderkind Carl Newman in an ill-advised post-Zumpano, pre-New Pornographers, pre-solo career project: Superconducter. Carl’s in the middle.


MP3's of the week: Advertising Pop Trifecta

     A Beatle, a Monkee, and Harry Nilsson.

     My friend Zach Curd recently unearthed this bit of trivia on one of his frequent excursions into internetland – Beatles drummer Ringo Starr was hired as a spokesman for Japanese leisure suit company Simple Life in the mid-1970’s. Four television commercials were filmed, and at least two jingles were recorded. Singing backup vocals on the jingles: Davy Jones of the Monkees and pop mastermind Harry Nilsson.

     Obviously, this is the best thing ever. Mr. Curd quickly consulted the filesharing networks and managed to turn up two of the jingles, and one of the actual commercials. I present them here for posterity, and in the hopes that the other commercials, in which Ringo is said to encounter “unusual creatures while wearing his Simple Life suit and lip-synching,” will turn up.

Ringo Starr – ‘I Love My Suit’
From: ‘Simple Life’ Leisure Suits Advertisement (197?)

[audio:Ringo Starr – I Love My Suit.mp3]

Ringo Starr – ‘Simple Life’
From: ‘Simple Life’ Leisure Suits Advertisement (197?)

[audio:Ringo Starr – Simple Life.mp3]

     My pick of the two jingles is the Nilssonian ‘I Love My Suit.’ As always, I have included the lyrics below for your perusal.

I love my suit
(He loves his suit)
It keeps me warm
(It keeps him warm)
It feels so good, it makes me smile, it fits my form
I love my suit
(He loves his suit)
It looks so good
(It looks so good)
If I could wear it all the time you know I would
Well I’d wear it on the beach
and I’d wear it in the shower
I’d wear it every day and every minute of every hour
I love my suit
(Fade out)

     Below is a selection of the television ads that featured the jingles, wrested from the clutches of youtube.

(Download as .avi)

     Related: In the first episode of the Monkees TV series, one of the Monkees (Mike?) can be seen throwing darts at a photo of the Beatles. Does anyone know of a source for this image online, or have the DVD’s from which to grab an image?

The Future: Theft

     Kim Stahr, the person whose copy of Shellac’s ‘The Futurist’ LP recently sold on EBay for $810 emailed me the other day. You can read about the reasons this was percieved as significant in my previous post. Kim wrote:

     “Found out on Sunday night that my Futurist LP was stolen and sold on ebay for 810.00 and afterwards found all these websites discussing the sale and “how dare she” type comments. Just thought the fact that it was taken from me and sold might add a little spice to your archives.

Kim Stahr”

     Vindicated! More in the Electrical Audio thread.

Great artifacts unearthed by the move, Volume 1:

     The best magazine cover ever:


     Gamorrean Guard + Beach Ball = Awesome.

     Seriously, how has no one yet made one of those spraypaint stencils out of DARTH VADER HOLDING A MASSIVE BOOMBOX?! I’ve already done the hard part. Email me if you actually want to use it / improve it and I’ll send you a high dpi file.