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Archive for March, 2007

How to Make Wheat Paste and Posterchild

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

Wheatpaste, or potato paste (also known as flour paste, rice paste or simply paste), is a liquid adhesive used since ancient times for various arts and crafts such as book binding, decoupage, collage, and papier-mâché. It is also made for the purpose of adhering paper posters to walls. Closely resembling wallpaper paste, it is made by mixing roughly equal portions of flour and water (some argue using more water or more flour), and heating it until it thickens.

A similar flour and water formula is taught in elementary school (minus the low heat simmer) as an easy to make substitute for ready made adhesive. A typical application is in constructing streamers of paper rings made from colored construction paper. It can also be used to create papier-mâché.

Activists and various subculture proponents (such as hip-hop, punk, communist, and anarchist) often use it to hang-up propaganda and artwork in urban areas — usually during the dead of night due to the illegality of postering other people’s property, or near traffic zones in certain cities — although it is just as commonly used by commercial bill posters, and has been since at least the nineteenth century. In particular, it was widely used by nineteenth and twentieth century circus bill posters, who developed a substantial culture around paste manufacture and postering campaigns. In the field of alcohol and nightclub advertising, in the 1890s, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s posters were so popular that instructions were published on how to peel down the pasted posters without damage. Until the 1970s, commercial poster hangers always “cooked” their own paste, but since then many have bought pre-cooked instant pastes. It is applied to the backside of paper then placed on flat surfaces, particularly concrete and metal as it doesn’t adhere well to wood or plastic. Cheap rough paper, such as newsprint, works well, as it can be briefly dipped in the mixture to saturate the fibres. Due to danger of being apprehended, wheatpasters frequently work in teams or affinity groups. This process is typically called wheat pasting or poster bombing.

Wheatpaste is also known as Marxist glue, probably because of the left organizations which use it; and because its ingredients are staples which can be combined by the individual, bypassing capital and industry — a true example of non-alienated labor.

It is also used in fine arts preparation and presentation due to its low acidity and reversibility.

Posterchild is the nom de plume of a street artist based in Toronto, Canada who is best known for his Mario Blocks project, the purpose of which is to install homemade Mario blocks in public spaces. After being featured on Boing Boing the project has expanded as others have made and hung their own blocks.

Currently Posterchild also runs his own website, called Posterchilds Blade Diary. The term comes from the fact that graffiti stencils are cut using a blade. According to the artist, “I’m not writing this diary with a pen — I’m using a blade to make my mark.” The website features new artwork every weekday, typically a stencil. Usually there is a description of the inspiration for the piece written in the style of a blog. The website also features a large collection of photos of Posterchild’s work, including sticker art, poster art, and various other creative forms of street art. There are also tutorials on how to create various types of street art.

Recently, Some of Posterchild’s artwork — a series of stencils of a Betsy McCall paper doll and her dresses — was featured on the front page of the fashion section of The Toronto Star; the artwork was unsigned, which is typical of street art.

Starting in November, 2006, a store was added to the Blade Diary. Merchandise featuring the artist’s stencils including t-shirts and hoodies are available. Additionally, Posterchild has begun selling canvas paintings made from his stencils on ebay.

Ray Bradbury

Friday, March 30th, 2007

Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois, to a Swedish immigrant mother and a father who was a power and telephone lineman.[1] His paternal grandfather and great-grandfather were newspaper publishers. Bradbury was a reader and writer throughout his youth, spending much time in the Carnegie Library in Waukegan. His novels Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Farewell Summer depict the town of Waukegan as “Green Town” and are semi-autobiographical. The Bradbury family lived in Tucson, Arizona, in 1926–27 and 1932–33 as his father pursued employment, each time returning to Waukegan, and eventually settled in Los Angeles in 1934, when Ray was thirteen. Bradbury graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1938 but chose not to attend college. Instead, he sold newspapers at the corner of South Norton Avenue and Olympic Boulevard. He continued to educate himself at the local library, and having been influenced by science fiction heroes like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, he began to publish science fiction stories in fanzines in 1938. His first paid piece was for the pulp magazine Super Science Stories in 1941, for which he earned $15.[2] He became a full-time writer by the end of 1942. His first book, Dark Carnival, a collection of short works, was published in 1947 by Arkham House. He married Marguerite McClure (1922–2003) in 1947, and they had four daughters.

A chance encounter in a Los Angeles bookstore with the British expatriate writer Christopher Isherwood gave Bradbury the opportunity to put The Martian Chronicles into the hands of a respected critic. Isherwood’s glowing review followed and was a substantial boost to Bradbury’s career.

Ray Bradbury’s Mechanical Hound

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

The mechanical Hound slept but did not sleep, lived but did not live in its gently humming, gently vibrating, softly illuminated kennel back in a dark corner of the fire house. The dim light of one in the morning, the moonlight from the open sky framed through the great window, touched here and there on the brass and copper and the steel of the faintly trembling beast. Light flickered on bits of ruby glass and on sensitive capillary hairs in the nylon-brushed nostrils of the creature that quivered gently, its eight legs spidered under it on rubber padded paws.

Nights when things got dull, which was every night, the men slid down the brass poles, and set the ticking combinations of the olfactory system of the hound and let loose rats in the fire house areaway. Three seconds later the game was done, the rat caught half across the areaway, gripped in gentle paws while a four-inch hollow steel needle plunged down from the proboscis of the hound to inject massive jolts of morphine or procaine.
From Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Data attacks blue screen of death

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Having one of those annoying days at your computer? Well I swear this will cheer you up, and possibly put you into some sort of a meditative trance. The music loops is fantastic. Check the original on the site.


Planes Trains and Autombiles Recut trailer

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

“We recut “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” into a Brokeback Mountain trailer. Sure it’s an easier recut to make, but we just couldn’t resist! “

Net Neutrality 101

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Net Neutrality 101

When we log onto the Internet, we take lots of things for granted. We assume that we’ll be able to access whatever Web site we want, whenever we want to go there. We assume that we can use any feature we like — watching online video, listening to podcasts, searching, emailing, and instant messaging — anytime we choose. We assume that we can attach devices like wireless routers, game controllers, or extra hard drives to make our online experience better.

What makes all these assumptions possible is “Network Neutrality,” the guiding principle that ensures the Internet remains free and unrestricted. Net Neutrality prevents the companies that control the wires bringing you the Internet from discriminating against content based on its ownership or source. But that could all change.

The biggest cable and telephone companies would like to charge money for smooth access to Web sites, speed to run applications, and permission to plug in devices. These network giants believe they should be able to charge Web site operators, application providers, and device manufacturers for the right to use the network. Those who don’t make a deal and pay up will experience discrimination: Their sites won’t load as quickly, their applications and devices won’t work as well. Without legal protection, consumers could find that a network operator has blocked the Web site of a competitor, or slowed it down so much that it’s unusable.

The network owners say they want a “tiered” Internet. If you pay to get in the top tier, your site and your service will run fast. If you don’t, you’ll be in the slow lane.

What’s the problem here?

Discrimination: The Internet was designed as an open medium. The fundamental idea on the Internet since its inception is that every Web site, every feature, and every service should be treated exactly the same. That’s how bloggers can compete with the CNN or USA Today for readers. That’s how up-and-coming musicians can build underground audiences before they get their first top-40 single. That’s why when you use a search engine, you see a hit list of the sites that are the closest match to your request — not those who paid the most to reach you. Discrimination endangers our basic Internet freedoms.

Double-dipping: Traditionally, network owners have built a business model by charging consumers for access. Now they want to charge you for access to the network, and then charge you again for the things you do while you’re online. They may not charge you directly via pay-per-view Web sites. But they will charge all the service providers you use — who will pass those costs along to you in the form of price hikes or new charges to view content.

Stifling innovation: Net Neutrality ensures that innovators can start small and dream big about being the next EBay or Google without facing insurmountable hurdles. Unless we preserve Net Neutrality, startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay for a top spot on the Web. On a tiered Internet controlled by the phone and cable companies, only their own content and services — or those offered by corporate partners who pony up enough “protection money” — will enjoy life in the fast lane.

The End of the Internet?

Make no mistake: The freewheeling Internet as we know it could very well become history.

What does that mean? It means we could be heading toward a pay-per-view Internet where Web sites have fees. It means we may have to pay a network tax to run voice-over-the-Internet phones, use an advanced search engine, or chat via Instant Messenger. The next generation of magical new inventions will be shut out of the top-tier service level. Meanwhile the network owners will rake in even greater profits.
Sign the petition to protect Net Neutrality

The Ambiguous Panopticon: Foucault and the Codes of Cyberspace

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

by Mark Winokur

We cannot agree on an historical point of origin for the Internet. (Bletchley Park? The telegraph? The diorama? The abacus? The Atlantic Cable? Painting? Writing?) Its techniques and tools are still in the process of development, perhaps even in their infancy. Internet culture is heterogeneous and dynamic. Its economy is not stable, seeming sometimes as fantastic and illusory as the Internet itself. Its status as global tool or tool of globalization is still unclear. Most importantly, even the object of study, and so the appropriate methodologies for study, are unclear. Like other nascent forms of representation before it, the Internet in its infancy presents itself as — and may actually be — the site of cultural, political, and ideological contestation. Or it may not: the contest may in fact have ended before it began, in which case scholars interested in such things can, like Lawrence Lessig, write only about who won and who lost. The grandest claim one might plausibly make is that the Internet at the present moment is the material actualization of the post-structural indeterminacy that characterizes post-Nixon/Mao/Gandhi representation and cultural theory, from the post-1949 Middle East, to the films of Peter Greenaway, to deconstruction, to White Noise. However, it behooves the critic to find a sector of critical theory through which some of these assertions might be more clearly elaborated.

continue reading

Hamster Dance

Saturday, March 24th, 2007

Pulling up one from the past. You old schoolers may remember the Hamster Dance phenomenon. Since then numerous other internet memes have come and gone. But the Hamster Dance lives on in the original geocities site archived here

The Hampster Dance [sic] or Hampsterdance is one of the earliest examples of an Internet meme, originally a simple Geocities page featuring rows of animated hamsters dancing in various ways to a sped-up sample from the song “Whistle Stop” by Roger Miller. includes Hampton, Fuzzy, Hado, and Dixie as the singing Hamsters.

Canadian art student Deidre LaCarte, who was competing with her best friend and sister to see who could generate the most traffic, designed Hampsterdance in August 1998 as an homage to her pet hamster, named Hampton Hampster. Using four simple animated GIFs of hamsters, repeated dozens of times each, and a loop of background music embedded in the HTML, then a fairly new browser feature, she named the site Hampton’s Hampster House and had Hampton declare his intent to become a “web star”. The clip, “Whistle Stop”, was taken from the opening credits to Walt Disney’s 1973 animated version of Robin Hood and later the famous original HampsterDance 9-second loop WAV (dedodedo.wav) file was removed due to Disney copyright infringement. Until March 1999, only 800 visits were recorded (about 4 per day), but without warning, that jumped to 15,000 per day. The website spread by e-mail, early blogs, and bumper stickers, eventually even featured in a television commercial for Internet Service Provider Earthlink.

Fans of the site created variations on the original dance, using politicians such as Dan Quayle and Cynthia McKinney as well as household objects such as Pez dispensers.

Nerdcore: 2006

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

Over at is a nice wrap up of the events, and changes which happened to nerdcore hip hop throught 2006.

For better or worse, I came of age during the grunge era. It was a period of great cultural upheaval, a time when popular music in America was undergoing a transformation of sorts, and an era generally devoid of both fashion sense and self-awareness.

When I was 16, I watched Dave Markey’s seminal 1991: The Year Punk Broke at a house party. It was cool, getting to see all that tour footage of Sonic Youth and Nirvana, but the title bothered me. Even with the inclusion of old school punkers The Ramones, the film was hardly about punk rock, a movement that was birthed in earnest at approximately the same time as me.

Best of Bootie

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Mashup, or bootleg, is a musical genre which, in its purest form, consists of the combination of the music from one song with the a cappella from another. Typically, the music and vocals belong to completely different genres. At their best, bastard pop songs strive for musical epiphanies that add up to considerably more than the sum of their parts.

Best of Bootie is the most popular largest collection of audio mashups available on the net. Go to their website and download Best of Bootie for free.