Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Plains Milky Way by Randy Halverson



Randy Halverson writes: 
During the month of May, I shot Milky Way timelapse in central South Dakota, when I had the time, and the weather cooperated. The biggest challenge was cloudy nights and the wind. There were very few nights, when I could shoot, that were perfectly clear, and often the wind was blowing 25mph +. That made it hard to get the shots I wanted. I kept most of the shots low to the ground, so the wind wouldn't catch the setup and cause camera shake, or blow it over. I used a Stage Zero Dolly on the dolly shots and a "Milapse" mount on the panning ones.

Canon 60D and T2i
Tokina 11-16
Sigma 20mm F1.8
Tamron 17-50
Dynamic Perception Stage Zero Dolly dynamicperception.com
Shot in RAW format, the Milky Way shots were 30 seconds exposure F2.8 or F1.8 with 2 second interval between shots, for 3-4 hours run time. ISO 1600
Ten seconds of the video is about 2 hours 20 minutes in real time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Simple Things Made Hard -- A Poem(?)

It’s not like you need to think hard
About these things

Like horse head cocked as the traffic hums by
Or thick crinkled paged book festooned with dust
Or hands on the clock click whizzing around

No, these are simple things to be enjoyed at this moment

Ice-cream drip on the tongue
Snow flake on the eyelash
Hands that smell like a god-damn puppy for Christ’s sake

Get your teeth out of your skull
Look around
Breathe
And bounce on the balls of your feet

The band will begin shortly
Wait until you see the light show
And the explosions

They’re extravagant.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A STATE OF MIND - A Documentary Celebrating The Artistic Achievements Of Sublimating The Self

Sometimes the most universal truths can be found in the smallest slices of life.  That’s what makes independent documentaries so powerful, engaging, and entertaining. Not only do they show you little worlds to which you’ve never had access, but they oftentimes also tell the larger story of what it means to be human. Armed with this intellectual conceit, a bag of Funyuns, and a couple of Miller beers, I curl up in front of the TV and delve deep into the bowels of Netflix Documentaries to find out a little bit more about all of us.

Today I found 2004’s A State of Mind directed by Daniel Gorden



A State of Mind follows two North Korean girls, Pak Hyon Sun (13 years old) and Kim Song Yun (11 years old) as they prepare for the 2003 Mass Games, while it also gives us a small insight into their daily lives.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Befuddlement Loves To Dance - A Poem?

Befuddlement would love to go out dancing more if she could only stop falling and chipping her teeth. It makes it harder and harder to eat the Mint-Chip Ice-Cream that she loves so much now that she’s learned to eat with a spoon. She laughs sometimes because it seems like the thing to do and when she does her green eyes glisten as if she is on the verge of tears. A few strands of her long red hair tangle in her teeth. Her chipped teeth. Chipped from dancing. Befuddlement loves to dance, back and forth like a ping pong game; around and around like a carrousel all high on the thick hooch from Tijuana. Befuddlement loves to dance even though the boys fear her steps and stand back as she twirls for fear of her falling again and the responsibility to touch her and ask if they can help. When Befuddlement dances she starts to sweat gently on the top of her head which sends a soft odor floating smelling faintly of blood, smelling faintly of smiles, smelling faintly of fear. When Befuddlement dances we forget to hear the music.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dismantling the Tower


Steven was busy dismantling the tower when Elizabeth dropped over. The tower had been an opportunity of one-upmanship over Steven’s neighbor, Jake, but the cops had swarmed in with a fistful of zoning laws and building codes and had put an end to the whole project.

“What ya doing?” asked Elizabeth.

“Avoiding prison,” Steven replied, using a crowbar on another two by four.

“Oh, I see….” Elizabeth stood by the ladder and kicked at the strewn lumber and bolts.

“You wanna help?”

Elizabeth smiled and shook her head, “Not really my forte, too much wood and sharp things involved.”

Steven pulled harder on his crowbar and muttered, “Yea, you never were much of one for sharp things….”

“What’s that?” Elizabeth asked, unable to hear.

Steven continued to work without answering and, after a few moments, Elizabeth stepped back and sat down on the grass.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cleaning the Basement


Willard sits in the oak breakfast nook trying to sink the few remaining Oateeos floating mockingly in his bowl.

“Damn dinghies got a hole in ‘em,” he thinks as the clacking of his spoon gets louder.

“Willard!” comes the nails on a blackboard screech of his wife’s holler floating down the stairs from the bedroom above, “Willard!”

“What?”

“You promised to clean the basement today!”

“What?”

“The basement!”

“Yes, yes, the basement.”

“Clean it out!”

“I am!”

“The basement?”

“Yes!”

“You’re cleaning the basement?”

“I’m cleaning the basement!” Willard enjoys shouting back at his wife and takes every opportunity he can to do it.

Pushing his Oateeos aside with a promise to come back later “and teach you a few goddamn things about dinghies,” Willard makes his way to the stairs of the basement.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

September Song

Lou Reed covers Kurt Weill's September Song 
and we are all the better for it.  
Enjoy.





Buy the album Lost in the Stars from whence this came by clicking here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Two-Bit Comics -- X-FORCE #8

Two-Bit Comics
Random Pulls from the Bargain Bin

In these economic times, finding inexpensive entertainment is difficult. Thank goodness for my local comic shop and a slew of comics nobody cares about anymore! Each week I randomly grab a comic from the bargain bin (for 50 cents) to see what kind of bang I can get for my two-bits. These are those tales.

June 15, 2011 – paid 50 cents for:
X-FORCE #8
Published by Marvel Comics
Plot/Framing Sequence Art: Rob Liefeld
Guest Penciler: Mike Mignola
Guest Scripter: Fabian Nicieza


SOME REAR SUPPORT WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

So today we are looking back on March 1992. The Bosnian War is gearing up ugly. China ratifies the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. South Africans vote to end apartheid. Prince wins the “Heritage” award at the Soul Train Music Awards. The Jesus and Mary Chain release Honey’s Dead and Def Leppard release Adrenalize.

Rob Liefeld is comic’s golden boy. Among other things, he created this thing called X-Force which was wildly popular and its premiere issue sold four million copies. I was not one of the people who bought it. I had stopped reading mainstream comics by 1992, and Liefeld’s art style was one of the main reasons.

When I pulled X-Force #8 randomly out of the bargain bin and saw the Liefeld cover, my first reaction was to throw it wildly away from me as if I had just realized that what I was holding was not actually a clump of dirt as I had originally thought, but was in fact human feces.

But I am a purest at heart. The entire premise of this column is to randomly pick comics out of the bargain bin and write about them. So I held on to X-Force #8 with its Rob Liefeld cover, paid my fifty cents, and took it home and dreaded and fretted and ignored it until now.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

THE SUN'S NOT YELLOW, IT'S CHICKEN. A graduation speech.

The following is an excerpt of a speech I gave in 2002 to a group of High School Seniors upon their graduation.
I recently unearthed it and thought it worthy a second look.


In a song of his called Tombstone Blues from his album Highway 61 Revisited, the great American philosopher Bob Dylan once said , “The sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken.”  These sage words deeply resonate in the core of my understanding of the world. 

Why, though?  What does he mean and why should I have adopted this as a personal philosophy?

Let’s examine this statement carefully, shall we? 

Let’s begin with the first clause: “The sun’s not yellow.”  On the surface, the semantics of this are pretty straight forward.  According to Mr. Dylan, the sun, the flaming ball of gas at the center of our solar system which is responsible for all life on this planet, is not really the hue we as a society have mutually agreed upon to call “yellow.”  This is true.  If you are brave enough to risk a peek at the sun in the sky, it really does not look like any shade of yellow I have ever seen.  It’s more a shade of white, I think.  Yet, as a society, we have agreed to call the sun “yellow.”

Just look at the drawings of five-year-olds.  They always choose yellow to capture the essence of the sun.  The often also put a smiley face in the middle of their representation.  This goes to show you that you should never trust a five-year-old.

But I digress.

Going back to my original point concerning Bob Dylan’s assertion that the “sun’s not yellow.” 

I think we can all agree with Mr. Dylan and his assessment of the color assignment of the sun.  Once we agree with this assertion, though, we should, as sentient beings, try to figure out why we have decided to call the sun “yellow.”  This small fact will probably elicit some larger truth about us as a people. 

But this is neither the time nor the place to begin a true deconstruction of American society based on its assumptions of color designations.  Rather, I am working on a single philosophical notion, i.e. “The sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken.”


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Steve Martin ain't no chicken. He's a Chicken Enemy.



An animated music video for Jubilation Day by Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers, directed by Ryan Reichenfeld.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Isabel Behncke: Evolution's gift of play, from bonobo apes to humans

Primatologist Isabel Behncke Izquierdo says that "Play is the glue that binds us together" because it "requires trust and fosters trust."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Remembering Mark Linkous



I'm So Sick of Goodbyes

if I could just keep my stupid mind together
then my thoughts would cross the land for you to see
no one sees you on a vampire planet
no one sees you like I do

seconds click in which I'm changed to dust
whithered roots of knots and hairy rust
no one sees you on a vampire planet
no one sees you like I do

I'm so sick
of goodbyes, goodbyes
I'm so sick
of goodbyes, goodbyes
goodbyes

the night comes crawling in
on all fours
sucking up my dreams
through the floor

I'm so sick
I'm so sick
of goodbyes

I'm so sick
of goodbyes, goodbyes
I'm so sick
of goodbyes, goodbyes
I'm so sick, so sick, so sick
of goodbyes, goodbyes
I'm so, I'm so sick

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Poets You Should Know - Stephen Dobyns


Stephen Dobyns is a poet. He writes wonderful poetry.

The following poem is from his collection called Cemetery Nights. It was published in 1987 by Viking Penguin Inc.

It is called How to Like It.

You can read it after the jump.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TRANSDERMAL CELEBRATION


TRANSDERMAL CELEBRATION - by Ween
Transdermal celebration
Caused a slight mutation
In the rift
It's awful domination
Left the people running for the hills
But the mutants that I see
Shine their beauty unto me
I wish you could see them
Tectonic tribulation
Formed a crust of green beyond the reef
Waves fell in formation
Cause the plants to bend with spi-ked leaves
I'm growing with the land
Time has taken my hands and let me touch them
Hey, hey,
A billion miles to Mark A
Lay on the lawn, he's already home
When the morning ray hits his face
Transdermal celebration
Jets flew in formation
I could see them
Dropping the crustaceans
Leaving trails of flames in their wake
But where is the mutation
Who once told me it was safe, I can't find him

Monday, June 13, 2011

Two-Bit Comics -- ROUTE 666 #5

Two-Bit Comics
Random Pulls from the Bargain Bin

In these economic times, finding inexpensive entertainment is difficult. Thank goodness for my local comic shop and a slew of comics nobody cares about anymore! Each week I randomly grab a comic from the bargain bin (for 50 cents) to see what kind of bang I can get for my two-bits. These are those tales.

June 8, 2011 – paid 50 cents for:
ROUTE 666 #5
Published by CrossGen
Written by: Tony Bedard
Art by: Cliff Richards



Nowadays you can’t be sure just who you’re dealing with…

There was a preponderance of weirdness in November 2002.

It was in November of 2002 that then President George Bush signed into law the creation of a new Department of Homeland Security, Gauthier Hulot of the Paris Geophysical Institute discovered evidence of a reduction of the Earth's magnetic field over the last two hundred years which he thought may indicate a reversal in the polarity of the Earth, and The Godless Americans March on Washington included 2,000 atheists and humanists parading down the National Mall.

Eminem’s Lose Yourself was all over the radio.

James Coburn died.

Things were weird.

Into this weirdness, CrossGen published Route 666 #5 and this move, given the tenor of the times, made perfect sense. Route 666 #5 is weird, but it is weird in a good way and made for an enjoyable diversion from all the other weirdness that wasn’t so good.

CrossGen started publishing comics in 1998. In 2004 it closed up shop and declared bankruptcy. Disney then bought up their assets, and now Marvel is releasing some of their titles.

Route 666 was one of CrossGen’s few horror comics at the time and ran for 22 issues.

Let me just tell you right from the start that I really enjoyed this comic for a number of reasons.

Friday, June 10, 2011

ABSOLUTE WILSON - a story for everyone to see how anything’s possible

Sometimes the most universal truths can be found in the smallest slices of life. That’s what makes independent documentaries so powerful, engaging, and entertaining. Not only do they show you little worlds to which you’ve never had access, but they oftentimes also tell the larger story of what it means to be human.

Armed with this intellectual conceit, a bag of Funyuns, and a couple of Miller beers, I curl up in front of the TV and delve deep into the bowels of Netflix Documentaries to find out a little bit more about all of us.

Today I found 2006’s Absolute Wilson directed by Katharina Otto-Bernstein.


This documentary is ostensibly about the life and work of Robert Wilson, probably the premier figure in the avant-garde theatre world. On a deeper level, though, it is about human potential. It is a film about a man who happens to be an artist; it is not really a film about his art. As Ms. Otto-Bernstein has said, the film “tells a story for everyone to see how anything’s possible – it really is an extraordinary American success story.”

It is also, interestingly enough, a story about a father and a son.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Two-Bit Comics -- Secret Weapons #8

Two-Bit Comics
Random Pulls from the Bargain Bin

In these economic times, finding inexpensive entertainment is difficult. Thank goodness for my local comic shop and a slew of comics nobody cares about anymore! Each week I randomly grab a comic from the bargain bin (for 50 cents) to see what kind of bang I can get for my two-bits. These are those tales.

June 1, 2011 – paid 50 cents for:
SECRET WEAPONS #8
Published by Valiant
Written by: Maurice Fontenot
Art by: Joe St. Pierre


April 1994 was hard. Look at what was going on. The Rwandan Genocide began, Commodore International declared bankruptcy, Formula One driver Roland Ratzenberger dies in a wreck, Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz is sentence to 200 hours of community service for punching a cameraman, and Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane pleads guilty to pointing a shotgun at a cop.

Then April 1994 was a hard month made even harder by the suicide of Kurt Cobain.

There was fear and death in the air. It was the kind of month suited for Hunter S. Thompson prose.

It was also in April of 1994 that Valiant Comics published Secret Weapons #8. Coincidence or Cause-and-Effect? Either way, this publishing event certainly captured the zeitgeist of its time, as it caused fear in me and certainly made me think of death. After reading Secret Weapons #8, I was afraid for my sanity and started to think about killing something.

Valiant was Jim Shooter’s baby after he got forced out of Marvel Comics. By the time Secret Weapons #8 was published, though, Shooter had been forced out of Valiant too. Poor Jim Shooter, I wonder what ever happened to him… Valiant, on the other hand, after closing up shop after the demise of the speculator boom of the 90’s seems to have been recently rebooted.

As I’ve mentioned many times in this column, the 90’s were kinda a dead zone for me when it comes to superhero comics, so I have no prior knowledge from which to pull when it comes to the “Valiant Universe,” and picking up Secret Weapons #8 was like picking up A Tale of Two Cities, starting in the middle, and trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

I believe it was Stan Lee who said something to the effect of every comic book is somebody’s first book. What he meant by that was that there needs to be enough context in a book so that anyone who picks up a comic can quickly figure out who the major players are and what it is that they are currently engaged in. Maurice Fontenot, the writer of Secret Weapons #8, apparently didn’t get this memo.

I really had no idea what was going on in this comic when I read it. This made it enormously confusing to me, and, as a sense-making being, this confusion led to frustration which then led to anger. I tell you this by way of explanation, and I apologize in advance for the tone of the rest of this column.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Malcolm McLaren: Authentic Creativity vs. Karaoke Culture



How does one find authentic creativity? In his last talk before passing away, Malcolm McLaren tells remarkable stories from his own life, from failing school to managing the Sex Pistols. He argues that we're living in a karaoke culture, with false promises of instant success, and that messiness and failure are the key to true learning.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Arctic Light

A time-lapse video shot by Terje Sorgjerd on the archipelago Lofoten in Norway.

The Sunset and Sunrise are connected in one magnificent show of color and light lasting from 8 to 12 hours. The sun is barely going below the horizon before coming up again.



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Inteview with David Hanh -- Creator of ALL NIGHTER from Image Comics.

Author's Note: This interview originally ran on Forces of Geek!


This June, Image comics is releasing a five issue mini-series called All Nighter, written and illustrated by David Hahn.

David's web site says this about the series:

Kit Bradley is a 20 year-old art student and petty criminal who knows it’s time to leave her delinquent past behind, but isn’t ready for the responsibilities of adulthood. Her social headquarters is an all night diner, and while trying to put the ‘off’ on an on-again-off-again boyfriend, she runs into an old flame, and an enigmatic loner named Martha, whose mysterious disappearance will alter Kit’s life forever. Created, written, and drawn by Eisner and Ignatz Award nominee DAVID HAHN, with lettering by Aditya Bidikar

David Hahn is pretty well know in the comics world for his work on Bite Club, Murderland, and Suicide Girls.

All Nighter was originally part of DC Comic's Minx imprint, which was DC's attempt to grab a greater share of the teenage girl comic book reading market.  Minx never got off the ground, though, which left All Nighter in a sort of limbo.

Luckily, Image Comics picked it up and we'll all get a chance to pull an All Nighter this June.

Forces of Geek! caught up with David this weekend and found out more about the new series, what it's like having a creator owned series, and what's next for him.

The complete interview and some preview pages for All Nighter after the jump.