stAllio!'s way
Saturday, May 21, 2005 
results of the image-bending experiment
remember that image-bending experiment i posted last week? application-sensitive image-bending was the post title. well the results are up. thanks to everyone who sent in your results, and extra big thanks to those who sent in screenshots.

the results document is pretty long (by web standards, anyway) and just repeats all ten of the images that were involved in the experiment, so in the interest of reducing blog clutter, i thought it would be better to post it to a separate file rather than the blog. also, as a separate file it's easier to link to:

rather than that yyyy_mm_dd_archive.html#bigbunchanumericalcrap format necessary for linking directly to blog posts. you're welcome to post comments here, though. or feel free to email me any comments or screenshots.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 
detritus blog!
as of today, i am officially a contributor to the detritus blog. i just finished my first post, about how companies such as lucasarts engage fans and fan-generated art (fan fiction, fan films, etc). is an old-school site "about making new creative works out of old ones, whether it be fine art or pop culture." in addition to hosting the rumori mailing list, detritus also hosts the websites of illegal art and great "plunderphonic" artists such as the evolution control committee, people like us, and wobbly. so it's legit.

the blog is still in beta stage, and there hasn't been a ton of discussion there (my post was the first in a couple months), but as the blog evolves hopefully it'll turn into something pretty special. it's a great site that has probably been floundering a bit, as founder steev hise has been traveling extensively and just doesn't have the time to do it all himself. he wants to transform the site into something more community-based and -oriented, and the blog is perhaps the first major step there (as well as adding new contributing bloggers like me).

my posts there probably won't have as much snark as some of my posts here (or at least as not as much obscenity!), but if you're interested in intellectual property issues and "making new creative works out of old ones", check it out... i likely won't post about that stuff as often here on my blog in the future, but that doesn't mean i'll be blogging about those less in general (it'll probably be more, just over at the detritus blog instead).

Monday, May 16, 2005 
start the riot
there was rioting all over the middle east this weekend... massive riots with people dead and more people injured. things pretty much suck in afghanistan... remember them, that place we "freed" a couple years ago and promptly forgot about when it was time to bomb iraq?

well certain people in the right wing, even a few in the us govt, want to blame all those riots on newsweek, for mentioning in one sentence in a recent story that interrogators in guantanamo bay had desecrated copies of the koran, even attempting to throw korans into a toilet.

now, even the US state dept has said this is probably not true, and that "rioting was related more to the ongoing political reconciliation process in Afghanistan than anything else." but that sure won't stop the smear, as the right wing starts tripping over itself in an attempt to demonize newsweek for daring to publish what is most likely a true fact simply because it's an inconvenient one.

the very idea seems absurd on its face: tens of thousands of people in multiple countries are violently rioting... because of one sentence printed by newsweek? as though newsweek is popular reading in the middle east.

it all seems so ridiculous that you would think nobody would accept such a silly proposition without demanding some kind of evidence, but if you thought that then you probably haven't been paying attention to how the corporate media works these days. right-wing pundits, bloggers, and even major media media outlets bought the lie without hesitation, and now the meme is out there that newsweek now has blood on its hands.

newsweek a non-retraction retraction, where they apologize for the possibility of a mistake, though no actual mistake appears to have been made. allegations about koran-flushing have been all over the place for many months. all newsweek did was repeat an already-public allegation. if any "error" was made at all, it was simply that newsweek's source can no longer verify exactly where he read about all that koran-flushing.

update: talkleft has lots more past citations of koran-flushing. tons of 'em.

and sploid points out that the protests actually started three weeks ago when US forces accidentally killed 7 afghans and wounded 8. the newsweek nonstory, at worst, simply fueled protests that were already raging.

Sunday, May 15, 2005 
new mp3 and stuff
this week's mp3 of the week is "stuff (dizzy mix 96)" and it's a stereo extravaganza from my earliest days of computer music production, way back in 1996.

out of africa
the country has been abuzz about dave chappelle's disappearance, and the recent rumors that he had checked himself into a mental institution in south africa.

according to time magazine, which claims to have caught up with him, he is in south africa, but he's not in any kind of institution.

the article is long (that is, if you know how to get in)... i won't quote the whole thing, but here is a good chunk of it:

Chappelle's hasty hiatus was an unexpected turn in a success story that TIME started following last November. I introduced myself to the notoriously press-shy Chappelle through a shared connection (my wife's brother-in-law is a childhood friend of his), and as the conversations unfolded, Chappelle decided to give TIME extensive access to the production of his new season. He even stopped by TIME's offices in New York City several times, always coming off as approachable, engaging and irreverent. (At one encounter, he tweaked TIME's editors by saying he was reporting a story for Newsweek.) But in conversations before he skated for South Africa, the tension was showing. "Later today I gotta call the head of the network [Comedy Central chief Doug Herzog], and I gotta face the music," Chappelle said on April 19. "I gotta tell this dude either I'm doing it or not. Or if I do it, this is how I gotta do it. But what if he says no?

Then I gotta muster up all the balls I got just to say, 'Well, then, I'm walking away.'" Chappelle's words didn't sound that serious at the time—he is a comedian, after all. Just over a week later, he left the country. Our conversations, however, continued by phone after he reached Durban:
TIME Are you on drugs?

CHAPPELLE I haven't smoked marijuana in months. My drugs these days are nicotine and coffee.

TIME Are you in a mental facility?

CHAPPELLE No, no, I'm not in a mental facility. I'm actually staying with some friends [at the home of a man named Salim], although I did consult a doctor when I was here.

TIME A psychiatrist?

CHAPPELLE It was a 40-minute session. I guess he was a psychiatrist.

We just chewed it up, and that was the extent of it.

TIME Why did you take a break?

CHAPPELLE My personal feeling is I didn't like the direction of the show. I was trying to explain it to people, and no one was feeling me. There's a lot of resistance to my opinions, so I decided, Let me remove myself from this situation. You hear so many voices jockeying for position in your mind that you want to make sure that you hear your own voice. So I figured, Let me just cut myself off from everybody, take a minute and pull a Flintstone—stop a speeding car by using my bare feet as the brakes.

says Herzog, it was ultimately up to the show's namesake: "He absolutely has complete creative freedom.

There's no one from the network sitting on his head. Dave is in charge of his own world." Chappelle's writing partner, Neal Brennan, agrees. He tells TIME that Chappelle had "literally absolute, complete, creative freedom" and plenty of time to work. To some extent, his colleagues profess bafflement about Chappelle's reaction to what seemed to be garden-variety creative differences. "There were 1,000 ways to deal with this," says Brennan. "By the numbers, this was the worst way to have done it. He couldn't think straight. It was fight or flight—and he chose flight."

And then there are those voices in his mind that Chappelle speaks of.

While no one in his circle will talk publicly of it, some describe him as exhibiting increasingly paranoid and erratic behavior. At one point, Brennan says, "I told him, 'You're not well.' He didn't answer." Brennan won't speculate on Chappelle's health but argues that something about his pal of 14 years is different: "Has he made changes in his life? He's 140 degrees different than he was a year ago."

According to Chappelle, it's the people around him who have changed.

His wife Elaine and two children live on a farm in Ohio. Except for a cutting-edge hip-hop concert he sponsored last September in Brooklyn, N.Y.—among the acts were the reunited Fugees—he says he doesn't go out much: "I didn't buy a farm in Ohio to support my party habits. I drive a Toyota. My lifestyle hasn't changed at all."

As Chappelle sees it, his flight to South Africa was an extreme version of his efforts to keep his feet on the ground. He met in Durban late last week with TIME's Johannesburg bureau chief Simon Robinson, although he declined to meet at the place where he was staying, choosing instead the uShaka Marine World on Durban's shore.

As Chappelle walked along the beach, he painted a picture of someone struggling to come to terms with his position and power as well as with the people around him and the way they were reacting to that $50 million deal. Without naming specific people--"Out of respect, I'd rather say those things directly to the people involved than through the press"—he seems to blame some of his inner circle and himself (but not his family) for the stresses created by last year's contract. "If you don't have the right people around you, and you're moving at a million miles an hour, you can lose yourself," he says.

"Everyone around me says, 'You're a genius!'; 'You're great!'; 'That's your voice!' But I'm not sure that they're right." Among those close colleagues, Chappelle's growing distrust has apparently set off no small amount of anxiety. His publicist, Matt Labov, called TIME as this story was being edited, demanding to know if Chappelle had said anything inflammatory about his agent or manager.

Chappelle accepts some blame as well for the stalled third season.

"I'm admittedly a human being," he says. "I'm a difficult kind of dude." His first walkout during shooting "had a little psychological element to it. I have trust issues, things like that. I saw some stuff in myself that I just didn't dig. It's like when I brought a girl home to my mom, and it looked as if my mom really didn't like this girl. And she told me, 'I like her just fine. I just don't like you around her.' That's how I feel in this situation. There were some things about myself that I didn't like. People got to take inventory from time to time."

But as the late rapper biggie smalls once observed, mo' money, mo' problems. In August 2004, after Chappelle's big deal was announced, people started calling him a genius a lot more. They started laughing at the wrong jokes for the wrong reasons at the wrong times. And to his mind, the show became more like working at Wal-Mart, although for a much higher salary. But he kept on with it. Says Chappelle: "Fifty million dollars is a lot of money. And what I'm learning is I am surprised at what I would do for $50 million. I am surprised at what people around me would do for me to have $50 million." Although news of the deal was heavily reported, the conflicted Chappelle didn't actually put his name on the pact until last March. Says Chappelle: "I was thinking for the longest—I'm not even gonna sign this s___."

Chappelle's misgivings about his success kept growing. Increasingly, when he walked down the street or slipped offstage at comedy clubs, people would approach him—black and white and Hispanic and Asian and other—and say things like, "I love your show, I don't care what anybody says. Don't let them change you." The phrase echoed in his head: Don't let them change you. Chappelle used to work Washington Square Park with a stand-up named Charlie Barnett, a brilliant jokester and crack addict who died of AIDS. Barnett, who co-starred in the movie D.C. Cab in 1983 and later fell on hard times and slept in the streets, used to tell Chappelle, "If you fight change, you'll end up f_____ up like me." Chappelle realized he was caught in a paradox: he had always embraced change. Now he was resisting change.

And resisting it was having its effects.

The third season hit a big speed bump in November 2004. He was taping a sketch about magic pixies that embody stereotypes about the races.

The black pixie—played by Chappelle—wears blackface and tries to convince blacks to act in stereotypical ways. Chappelle thought the sketch was funny, the kind of thing his friends would laugh at. But at the taping, one spectator, a white man, laughed particularly loud and long. His laughter struck Chappelle as wrong, and he wondered if the new season of his show had gone from sending up stereotypes to merely reinforcing them. "When he laughed, it made me uncomfortable," says Chappelle. "As a matter of fact, that was the last thing I shot before I told myself I gotta take f______ time out after this. Because my head almost exploded."

Herzog says he has told advertisers and staff that he believes there will be no Chappelle's Show in 2005: "I don't know what the guy's thinking. This is a guy who walked off his own show and kind of left everybody bewildered." But he also leaves the door open—wide open—for the comic's possible return. "Do we still want to be in business with Dave Chappelle? Of course. Dave's an enormous, enormous talent. We're in the comedy business, and Dave's a comedy genius." As for Chappelle, last week he sounded raring to go but not sure he had a place to go to.

TIME Do you plan to start up the show when you return to the U.S.?

CHAPPELLE Hopefully, yeah. Since I've been gone, I haven't really talked to anybody. I've only talked to my family. So when I get back, [I hope] everything will be up and running, or we'll make other arrangements. I don't know what the lay of the land is.

things that hip and hop
samurai champloo

from the people who brought you cowboy bebop, one of the hippest, stylish anime on american tv, samurai champloo merges hip-hop culture with badass samurai swordfighting. it's ostensibly set in the japanese edo era (when japan was transitioning from feudal to modern ways), but stylistically it's total hip-hop, from mugin's breakin'esque fighting technique down to the editing, which is full of scratching and video "remix"-type transitions.

adult swim just premiered this series tonight (you can still catch the premiere at 2:30edt or again on thurs night)... it's pretty cool. i might as well join the adult swim street team considering how much i like their action lineup these days (though i've yet to see any advertising for paranoia agent or s-cry-ed, which start at the end of may, and metropolis, which is on right now, isn't really holding my attention).

so yeah, the premiere episode really grabbed me. it has all the style and slick design and iconic characters that bebop had, but totally distinctive. i've sure never seen hip-hop and samurai swordplay blended in this fashion, and it really works quite well. at first i was just going to email drbmd about it, but shit, i've already endorsed a few other shows on here, so there it is.

i just wish adult swim's comedy lineup was as consistent... they canceled sealab 2021, which i don't mind because it had jumped the shark long ago. and robot chicken... i don't care how good its ratings are; in between its occasional moments of brilliance, most of it's pretty lame. it's like they have all these toys and cameras set up, and 75% of the time they can't think of anything more creative to do with them is have the dolls fart or kick each other in the balls. american dad is good, but fox is running the new episodes two weeks before adult swim. and tom goes to the mayor has good guests and some good ideas, but its slow-paced ironic style can grow boring.

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