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Tuesday, December 30, 2003 
wow! today john ashcroft proved that he does still have a shread of integrity left today, & stepped down from the probe into who leaked the cia agent's name to the press. it's not often you'll hear me say anything positive about ashcroft, so pay attention: ashcroft did the right thing this time.

from the you too might be a terrorist department: the fbi has issued an alert concerning the extreme dangers of people carrying almanacs! that's right, if the police pull you over & you happen to have an almanac with you, the gig will be up! the police will know you're a terrorist because why else would someone carry maps if they aren't going to bomb the shit out of some innocents?!?! the lesson is that you should be sure to hide all you almanacs before going out, preferably somewhere where it will never be found, like wherever saddam hid all his WMD...

there's so much spin going around about mad cow right now... the US insists that other countries shouldn't be boycotting US beef (even though we we stopped buying canadian beef the very second word got out about a canadian mad cow case back in may)... and the usda was quick to mention that it thinks the american mad cow was probably born in canada, as though that makes any difference.

the usda simultaneously (in the same article) says it "stands by" its mad cow procedures and that it will be "beefing up" its safety procedures.... but if you stand by them, why do they need to be improved?

pretty much every article mentions that because the infected cow's nervous system was separated from its muscle, nobody is at risk from eating the meat (muscle). now the evidence suggests that's true (assuming they did a good job separating the nervous system). & you're probably less at risk eating a big cut of meat like a steak than you are eating ground beef, sausage, or anything where you can't be totally sure there aren't ground up brains inside. but even as they talk about finding the feed that this cow was given, nobody dares to suggest the obvious conclusion that if one cow was infected, chances are pretty good that there are more infected cows out there who also ate the same feed... maybe just a handful, maybe thousands.

and right now the big mad cow angle is that the sick cow was born before the "feed ban" was implemented. this sounds good because it gives the impression that the feed ban (supposedly to stop animals from being forced to cannibalize) might actually be working. but not so many stories mention that the US feed ban is totally riddled with holes (for example, you can't just feed a steak to a cow, but calves are fed formula made of cattle blood & nerve cells... & while cattle feed can't contain beef, chicken feed can, & excess chicken feed can be sold as cattle feed.

ooh, and upi reports that they have been trying to get mad cow testing info from the usda for six months (according to federal FOI regulations they should've gotten the info within 30 days)... there are other goodies in the upi article, too, like the fact that we don't use the same tests europe does, as well as this juicy rumor:

He noted he had been informed that approximately six months ago a cow displaying symptoms suggestive of mad cow disease showed up at the X-cel slaughtering plant in Ft. Morgan.

Once cows are unloaded off the truck they are required to be inspected by USDA veterinarians. However, the cow was spotted by plant employees before USDA officials saw it and "it went back out on a special truck and they called the guys in the office and said don't say anything about this," Schwochert said.

Monday, December 29, 2003 
my blog now has user comments! or more accurately, it has an empty hole where comments should be. after a little prodding from paul, i signed up with a haloscan account & now all three of my readers can offer their public feedback!

this could get ugly.

so i acquired a copy of an old 60 minutes segment from october called pirates of the internet.

how does this kind of irresponsible garbage pass for journalism? this piece was nothing but a mouthpiece for the industry. it is totally one-sided: lesley stahl begins the segment by pounding home the point that piracy is stealing. she states it herself as an appetizer, then for extra effect we're treated to several courses of industry hacks who repeat the point over & over again. once lesley (& producer rome hartman) have properly framed the debate by stating the industry's view as fact, it's time to dig up scary (& questionable) details.

at one point stahl basically confesses that she is absolutely clueless about the subject (she says "sometimes i think i'm the only person in the world who's never downloaded anything." well congratulations on being a luddite, but what the fuck are you doing reporting on internet issues? they might as well have brought in jack valenti to do the segment). then right when you think they aren't even going to attempt to show an opposing view, former grokster prez wayne rosso is brought in only to be demonized, then cut off before he can make his argument. they are nice enough to let rosso give his opinions of spoofing attacks on p2p networks, but they clearly have no intention of letting him defend the legitimacy of his business, let alone make any statement on the overall piracy issue any deeper than "it's stealing". i mean, this is textbook work here: bring in someone from the other side, to give off the illusion of objectivity, just don't let them actually say anything of substance.

it should make for nice sampling material, though, since stahl does say "pirates of the internet"...

i realized that if you do a google search for snuggles, you don't get to the correct info page for the snuggles list until page 3! in contrast, old pages on srn & turn up on page one of a snuggles search (but those pages won't get you to the correct snuggles page). this needs to be corrected. i'm a little hesitant to even call this a google bomb because it's not a prank; i just want people to get to the correct information...

Thursday, December 25, 2003 
so it's xmas. i got lots of t-shirts. lots. & a couple other things, like a neat soviet "self-winding" watch....

at dinner we had a conversation about the discovery of mad cow in the united states. of course the people at pr watch have been predicting this for 6 years, since publishing their book mad cow usa (available as a free pdf on their site). they say our BSE testing isn't nearly strict enough & point out many disturbing facts about how livestock are forced to cannibalize by eating feed & formula containing animal protein.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003 
update: TIF files are much more flexible... they're more resilient, easier to bend, & can reproduce a much larger range of results.

so last night i decided i should start working on artwork for the true data 12" & i started tinkering with databent images (specifically editing photoshop files in sound forge). most of my experiments resulted in pure noise but i did discover one nice trick (you can see some results in the new animated gif on the right side of the screen).

by carefully editing the RGB information in the image you can create an odd vertical "skipping" effect. in order to do this, you must use the "open" function, not "open as" because that will reinterpret the data. the trick is to leave the header untouched, then when opening the program will prompt that there are errors in the file. this means the program is very picky that you don't corrupt the wrong data. pretty much you can only jumble/process the data within each individual RGB channel. the amount of data in each section must remain the same, & it generally didn't like me cutting/pasting blocks from one section to the other, either.

unfortunately the images seem to skip at specific points, & in a shorter image there are only 3-4 "rows" total. furthermore the program seems to be picky about what images it will even open after they've been run through soundforge. i had no trouble editing a 640x480 snapshot (in psd format of course), but when i tried to edit my wrist brace devil horns, i kept getting an "unexpected end-of-file" error... i had to make a new image, with two copies of the brace image next to each other (on separate layers) to get it to work.

i need to experiment with more different images, as well as other image types (tiff, etc), to see if i can learn more.

of course, this doesn't do me much good so far for designing my label (which will be one-color)

Monday, December 22, 2003 
ooh la la... who really caught saddam? what was he doing in a hole in the ground anyway?

the foreign press is reporting that the kurds really caught saddam, kept him prisoner, then negotiated a deal to turn him over to the us. and naturally the us media ignores the story. i was trying to search for news on my own, but this blogger has already done the research. lots of articles, so why aren't we hearing about it in the states?

Saturday, December 20, 2003 
just catching up on the news after my vacation. pr watch has lots of goodies, like more tasty morsels about bush's turkey dinner in iraq. how bad must things be when stars & stripes starts embarrassing a republican president?

ooh, and slate reveals even more about how big pharma is trying to buy out the entire medical industry...

and okay, so it's pretty much official that there are no WMD in iraq (in constrast to 20 years ago, when rumsfeld personally told the iraqi govt that we still wanted to work with them even though we knew they were using chemical weapons at the time). saddam used to be such a great friend to us, so why are we supposed to be so excited to have captured him now? sure, it's kind of a relief that they finally caught someone... i was going to say 1 out of 2 ain't bad, but then i remembered that 50% equates to an F.

Thursday, December 18, 2003 
go to awia news for a few pixs from my bay area vacation.

i was ego surfing just now & noticed that if you do a google search for "pirates of the internet", our pirates of the internet project is returned as the #7 result. and if you search for pirates of the internet without the quotes, we're the #5 result (a bit counterintuitive, but true). not too long ago you had to dig pages in to get to that link, so clearly the word is spreading...

this made me think of the miserable failure googlewash & other experiments in mass link manipulation. google tracks links along with the phrase used to link to them. so i figure the more times i mention pirates of the internet (being sure that there's a link pointing to each time), the higher up pirates of the internet will move in the google listing. if you have a blog or website, you can do it too! it would be nice to be the #1 search result. (then again, how many people are seriously going to do a search for "pirates of the internet"? maybe i should be linking to a phrase like pirate mp3s or internet pirates or just pirates or piracy)

so i'm back from san francisco. great town with a hell of a culture, but it's also a cesspool of allergens. after two full days there my nasal plumbing was totally clogged. i mentioned that to barry when he picked me up at the airport & he recounted how bad my sister's asthma had been when she lived there. on the flight back i was reading michael moore's new book & he has a theory that a lot of what gets diagnosed as allergies or asthma is really caused by pollution. whatever it was, something in the frisco air does not mix well with my genes. a shame, because i loved the city overall, & am definitely interested in going back sometime...

i set a new personal record for the amount i've spent on records/cds in a single vacation. but how could i not when connie dragged me to two different locations of a great record store like amoeba, after i'd already bought so much at aquarius? i really don't want to say how much i spent all together, but my suitcase was so heavy i almost had to pay an extra $25 surcharge. (okay, there were clothes, gifts, & other things weighing it down, but let's not kid ourselves...)

so on tuesday night i went on no other radio on KPFA. i had been in touch with das for awhile & sent him some cds weeks back, but due to scheduling weirdness das ended up swapping nights with his cohost russ kent (better known to cali radio fans as mr hate). russ had never heard any of my stuff & didn't even have time to pick up the stuff i'd sent to das, but he was a real trooper & had me on anyway. luckily i was able to bring enough material to fill up the show (1 1/2 hours). the interview segments went pretty well too, though i'm curious how awful i sounded with my dripping sinuses. if anyone happened to record it, i'd love to get my hands on a copy.

i could go on with other tales from my visit, but it's almost 2am. i took a few pictures (almost all show-type pics, most of the ones from the show at the rx gallery being awful), so maybe i'll post those soon & possibly write some more then.

it's nice to be back in my own room, especially knowing that my congestion will probably clear up soon, but i can't really say i'm happy to be back...

Tuesday, December 16, 2003 
the moment you've probably not been waiting for:

bad taste artist and animals within animals founder stAllio! will be on
KPFA "no other radio" with host russ kent TONIGHT (aka wed morning) at
12am PST (3am EST)
KPFA broadcasts on 94.1 FM and KPFB 89.3 FM, Berkeley, and KFCF 88.1
FM, Fresno, California.

Sunday, December 14, 2003 
greetings from san francisco! the flight here was unexciting (the highlight was the in-flight movie, seabiscuit, which was watchable & well-done but rather slow-moving).

yesterday i blew $160 at aquarius records... the store itself is pretty small but proportionately speaking their selection is amazing. the good/bad ratio is far better than most record stores i've been to. lots of interesting experimental cds. we might go to another record store, amoeba, soon... connie says it's the biggest independent record store she's ever seen, so that might be pretty cool.

then last night we went to a show at the rx gallery, which is in a shady neighborhood called "the tenderloin", which just happens to be right next to a relatively affluent shopping district... you turn a couple corners & you can just feel the immense updraft caused by the plummeting property values. we even missed the gallery the first time we walked past it because the only distinguishing marker was literally an 8x10 sheet of paper with the "RX" prescription symbol on it, so i got a decent tour of the tenderloin at night. sweet.

anyway, the rx gallery is pretty new & the current exhibition has several pieces that involve sound & motion; basically electronic sculptures that move, freeform recontextualizing audio work, & stuff like that. this was their second night of audio performances, which i found out about on blevin blectum's site. i took a few pics, but i can't post them (or really even see how good they are; the preview on the camera LCD isn't very helpful) until i can get them onto my hard drive at home.

before anyone started playing, we talked to wobbly for awhile; we traded cds, talked about online plunderphonic discussion groups, & fun stuff like that.

first up was a performance by seth warren & dave dupuis. their instrument consisted of a water bottle with various tubes coming out the bottom. each tube had a valve at the end, which could be tweaked to drip water at varying intervals onto the pots, pans, cymbals, & other percussive items below. these pans were all mic'ed & one of the guys controlled the sound at a mixer while the other guy manipulated the water valves & occasionally played the pseudo-drums using drumsticks & brushes. the performance was fine, though i thought the instrument itself was by far the most interesting aspect (the audio itself was nothing spectacular).

next up was a set by joshua g churchill, who played using a guitar, laptop, various pedals, & probably some other things i couldn't see. he played some nice looping ambience & random noise; audio-wise i liked this set more than the previous (in fact, i think each set was probably progressively better than the one before).

after that was a set by sean rooney. sean apparently had a couple tracks on illegal art's commercial ad hoc compilation under the name peekaboo hudson (wobbly made a joke about how sean is a "serious composer" now, meaning he can only perform under his own name). anyway, this was some nice digital noise, often getting rather harsh. during the louder parts of this set (actually, starting with joshua churchill's set), connie would cover her ears... now i admit that we were really close to a speaker & things got pretty damn loud from time to time, but she would cover her ears long before things got uncomfortable to me. this made me wonder whether i'm simply more accustomed to high volume at shows (some of our bad taste shows... hell, even when we're just hanging out in someone's basement... have been extremely loud. anyone who was at the pleasurehorse show knows what i mean), or whether i've already started to develop minor hearing loss & i simply couldn't hear the frequencies that were bugging her. anyway...

last up was the performance i was waiting for: it was billed online (in the few places that promoted or even mentioned the show) as blevin vs lesser... but wobbly performed also, even commenting beforehand that he thought he was now a member of sagan... so i'm not totally clear on whether this was a sagan show, a blevin/lesser/wobbly show, or whether there is even any distinction between those... anyway, i thought it was a good set, much more rhythmic than any of the other performers (except possibly the first set), although afterward i heard that blevin was having trouble (she'd just installed OSX & it wasn't working for her), so i have no idea what it would have sounded like if not for technical problems.

afterward we hung out & briefly talked to lesser & wobbly (blevin had left to go get the car so i didn't get to talk to her). i gave lesser a cd, & it was established that all of us planned to go to the one-year anniversary party tonight (sunday) for the creative commons. so that might be cool. or it might be pretty boring. but i've heard good things about lawrence lessig's speeches, so that should be interesting at least, plus there might be free drinks, & at least a few interesting people (after all, lessig, lesser, & wobbly should be there, so one can only guess who else might stop in).

san francisco is interesting. i don't have a total feel for the city yet but the neighborhood where connie lives is called the mission: a largely latin neighborhood with tons of beautiful murals, taquerias, panaderias, mexicatessens, & even a fortune-teller nearby. it's maybe a mile or less from the bart (bay area rapid transit [aka train]) station, & connie can't drive, so we've been doing lots of walking & riding public mass transit. that in itself is pretty different from indy, where you can't get anywhere worth going in less than an hour via bus.

still lots more to see & do before i come home on wednesday... i'm not sure if i'll be posting again before then (i certainly will, at least briefly, if that kpfa thing pans out) but i had some free time right now with nothing better to do... more to come before too long, i'm sure.

Friday, December 12, 2003 
there just isn't enough time to post every interesting story i come across... maybe i'll find some time later but i'm not sure when that will be.

i still have a little more packing before i'm off to san francisco tomorrow for a few days. there was talk of appearing on kpfa while i'm out there; if i hear more about that you can be sure i'll post it here. vacation time is nice.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003 
here's a huge story that so far the US media is completely ignoring (i've only found two articles, on and in the uk's observer, though it should be front-page news throughout the west):

the word is starting to get out about just how much influence drug companies have over what gets printed in medical journals. since the journals have strict rules requiring that any links to drug companies in published studies should be stated explicitly, the drug companies now go out of their way to hide their presence even more. their latest trick is to ghostwrite drug studies, then bribe doctors and researchers into putting their names on the studies (as the sole author). here's a quote from the observer article that should pique your interest.

Estimates suggest that almost half of all articles published in journals are by ghostwriters. While doctors who have put their names to the papers can be paid handsomely for 'lending' their reputations, the ghostwriters remain hidden. They, and the involvement of the pharmaceutical firms, are rarely revealed.

Monday, December 08, 2003 
for awhile i had a screw loose. for how long, i don't know; maybe a few minutes, maybe many months. then finally i lost it. i started crawling around on the floor of my cublicle, mumbling to myself & squinting passionately like a pirate whose parrot had run off with his eyepatch.

at first i was going to wander around the building begging people to give me a ride. then in my best corey hart stylee, i put on my sunglasses. keep in mind this was at about 2:30pm, in the middle of an office building with "state of the art indirect lighting which is designed to reduce glare"... the lighting is still brighter than i'd like, but gazing at my monitor through shades is probably a challenge under any lighting conditions.

yes, these are the hazards of wearing wire-rimmed glasses (or at least the cheap-ass frames i end up getting). you can be simply sitting around innocuously, barely even moving, then pop, screws start flying everywhere, one of your lenses falls out, & suddenly you're screwed (or maybe i should say unscrewed). i was lucky to remember that i had my sunglasses with me or i would've been virtually helpless: unable to continue working, incapable of driving anywhere safely, & unable to rectify the situation without help. why had i never brought an eyeglass repair kit to the office? or as gordon gano put it, "why can't i get just one screw?"

so once i had my sunglasses on, & it was clear i could not locate the missing screw to replace myself, i had to find a glasses shop nearby. the closest one i could think of was at castleton, a high-traffic area 6-7 miles away. but on my way out, as i passed through what passes for a "smoking area" at the new office building, i saw a couple of my fellow four-eyed smokers & asked if they knew of anyplace. luckily, after a few minutes one of them gave me the name of lanter eyecare, a place at 106th & pennsylvania (about a mile from the office).

when i got to lanter i passed it by once & almost didn't stop in at all. the place is in the middle of a doctor park & it's full name is "lanter eyecare and laser surgery". so i assumed it was an opthamologist, not someplace to get glasses. but i stopped in anyway, & indeed they sell eyeglasses there (primarily to the aged, or so it looked from the people in the waiting room). i was out & on my way within 3 minutes. that was nice.

the down side, however, is that now i'm back in the office & expected to work. damn my eyes!

Thursday, December 04, 2003 
word is out now that the turkey bush held in his latest photo op (aka "visit to badhdad") was not what you'd call an "eating turkey". it was basically a prop, a "looking turkey". bush is a failure who can't do anything right except pose for purty pictures... (in fact, if you do a google search for "miserable failure" you get a bunch of stuff about bush. by the power of blogging, i have the power!)

how to censor a news organization (iraq style)

1. get authority (it helps if a foreign invasion force crushes the old govt for you & props you up with power)

2. use your authority to censor the news organization (this is the easy part)

3. take advantage of your pull in the US to get an op ed in the washington post

4. say you aren't censoring but are actually "protecting the fledgling democracy". when challenged about this hypocrisy, say something like

We are not acting against legitimate and objective journalistic activities. We are taking steps to prevent psychological warfare and, more serious, incitement to murder. No country would do less.

or more succintly,

That is not journalism; that is aiding, abetting and encouraging criminal terrorist activity.

good stuff, yeah? ashcroft would be proud.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003 
wowza. i'm hardly a fan of marketing in general, but neuromarketing is one of the creepiest things i've ever heard of.

Monday, December 01, 2003 
so after doing little more than watch tv & cruise the net during most of my weeklong vacation, eventually i started feeling guilty that i wasn't getting anything productive done (artistically, anyway). so on friday night i dusted off an old unfinished databending track & tried to figure out what to do with it next. i'd started it months ago, then gotten it stuck in a big mess that i couldn't maneuver out of. so friday night i finally came up with a few ideas how to get the track moving again in a new direction, & made a few additions. saturday i was able to get really moving & i had the bulk of the song's structure done. sunday afternoon i tweaked the ending, claimed that the track was "finished", & posted spamouflage to the site.

so i was feeling good that i'd finished a new track, especially this one, because i had a growing feeling that this was it; this was the track i'd been awaiting for months. finally, i thought, i might be able to finish up the true data 12", & maybe get the actual record out by spring 2004. wouldn't that be nifty? i chatted with connie & grey, got them to download it, & tweaked some more stuff on the site to announce its arrival into the world.

this morning i went back to work. nothing particularly exciting happened there, just catching up on email & author approval... but at the office i downloaded my new mp3. this was the first time i'd listened to it on headphones, & i was not pleased. the first minute or two were way right-heavy.

apparently the main sample in the beginning of the track has all its bass on the right channel. which meant that there was almost no bass in the first minute of the track. that's what i get for not monitoring in headphones before posting an mp3.

it's all a consequence of how the data gets interpreted into sound in the first place. most of the samples for this record are stereo. when i translate the raw data files on my hard drive into stereo samples, some information goes into the left channel but not the right, and vice versa. in this case, all the "oomph" in that particular sample ended up in the right. & i used that sample heavily, throwing the track off balance.

anyway, it was easy enough to fix. i just made a mirror version of the samples in question, then pasted it in where appropriate. now they alternate nicely. it took maybe 1/2 hour to do it all.

so if you downloaded spamouflage before about 5:30pm EST today (monday), you should download it again to get the fixed version.

the radiohead prophecies?

reports are still spilling in about the grievous police brutality at miami's ftaa protests in november, including this quote which is eeily reminiscent of the lyrics to radiohead's hit song karma police:

Miles Swanson, 25, a legal observer for the lawyers guild, was punched numerous times while being taken in by officers for pointing out undercover police dressed up as protesters. Eight of 60 guild observers were arrested that day; they wore distinctive green hats and were apparently targeted. When Swanson was grabbed off the street by three Broward County sheriff's deputies - two of whom were in ski masks - he said they told him "this is what you get when you f-- with us."

all units, be on the lookout for suspects who buzz like refrigerators or detuned radios. if you encounter these suspects, beat the holy living fuck out of them.

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