Friday, February 27, 2009

National Doodle Day

It is National Doodle Day in the UK. What a wonderful holiday! I wish we had one in Canada. Celebrities auction off their doodles to raise money for people affected by epilepsy and neurofibromatosis. Check out the website here:

A study released today announces that doodling "improves memory and reduces daydreaming," which goes to show that I actually was paying attention in school and Ms. Harman, my french teacher in grade ten can bite me.

"For the study, published today in Applied Cognitive Psychology 40 volunteers were asked to listen to a boring two and a half minute phone message that gave the names of several people and places, reports EurekAlert. Half of the participants were asked to shade in shapes without paying attention to neatness while they were listening, and the other half were not. After the test, they were asked to write down the names and places that were mentioned in the message.
The doodlers recalled on average 7.5 names of people and places, while non-doodlers only recalled 5.8 items. "

It makes sense. If you are doodling, you can still listen. If you are not doodling, your mind might be wandering, and daydreaming, which is more distracting.

Apparently the US has a new Doodle Day coming up on May 7th. Here is Barack Obama's doodle submission:


Pretty good for a President, huh?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

That Awesome Madonna/Letterman Interview

I forgot how great this was.

I think she totally had a crush on him.

1994. Doesn't it just seem like yesterday?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Upcoming Trip

In order to stay sane on a day-to-day basis, I need to plan trips. Having something to look forward to makes daily drudgery much more satisfying. I enjoy the count-down. Since my spring trip to San Andres or Cuba has had to be, um, postponed, I have decided to plan a smaller and much more manageable trip. Financially. Buffalo, New York USA!

The Albright Knox gallery in Buffalo is fantastic. It's much better than I would have expected for Buffalo, but I don't know why I'd think that other than Canadian snobbery. It is a lovely size and is always well curated. February 13 to June 10 there is a show called Action/Abstraction that I'm dying to see. I haven't been there since I checked out the James Tissot exhibit a number of years ago now.

The Action/Abstraction exhibit reviews American art from 1940-1976 as championed by well known critics and rivals Harold Rosenberg and Clement Greenberg. Artists included in the exhibition are, among many others, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns, Clyfford Still, Frank Stella, Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning and Claes Oldenburg. I'm excited!


Claes Oldenburg "Bedroom Ensemble" from the National Gallery of Canada


Willem De Kooning "Woman V" from the National Gallery of Australia


Mark Rothko "Red, Orange, Tan and Purple" from a private collection


Jasper Johns "Target with Four Faces" from the Museum of Modern Art, NY


Clyfford Still "1952-no.2" from the National Gallery of Australia


Frank Stella "Flin Flon" also from the National Gallery of Australia ...


Jackson Pollock, "Number 4 1950" from the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg

I don't think any of those above pieces will be there, but you get the idea. I can't wait!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Most. Useless. Invention. EVER.

The Bra Dryer is a "Patent Pending device used for drying bras", and will help "save your bras from damage in conventional dryers". Well, first of all, since you aren't supposed to put bras in the dryer, there's one big flaw with the concept. Also, it's something a woman doesn't actually need, which makes it genuinely flawed as a mass manufacture appliance, and since bra manufacturers don't actually recommend using heat of any kind to dry a bra, the concept is really a dud.

I suspect that the need for this has come out of women who insist on wearing moulded cup bras:


These presumably take longer to dry than the average lace bra, which take only 4-6 hours. Presuming this is the type of bra which as inspired the device, there is one other problem.

Behold the dryer:


It's just one size. And one shape. As women who wear molded bras know, they come in different shapes from different brands. The website claims it can be adjusted to suit many sizes, back sizes, cup sizes, etc, but this is a 'custom' part of the object. The website also claims it is the future of "luxury house appliances".

I wonder how much a custom bra dryer would cost. If it was fully customizable and utilized infrared technology, as it advertises, would it not be expensive? I'm sure it would be, if it is being called a "luxury" home appliance. This means the target market for such an item is the upscale luxury market. A market that currently purchases their bras at La Perla, for example.

In this case, their customer would certainly have more than one bra to choose from in their wardrobe, would they not? Why the rush to dry one in particular?

I am desperately hoping this is an ill-conceived student digital rendering project, but part of me says it is not, mostly because they are advertising for investors, and have a pretty slick website.

Anyhow, I'm chalking it up as the most hilariously useless invention ever. Can anyone top this? I think not.

Fuck You Men's Style

Women as garbage? Thats a tad much.

I Love the Pet Shop Boys

Rose is right. I need some Pet Shop Boys dancing time. Soon.

Not too sure how I feel about Gaga and Flowers muddling up the perfection that is the Pet Shop Boys, but I'll suffer through it, because I believe they are attempting to pay homage and give respect. That I'm down with.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wait, what?

Boing Boing has posted an article about a video game which is centred around "rape simulation". No, really.

The game is Japanese and is called "Rapelay". It seems that most gaming sites have recoiled in horror at the concept, and refused to review the game, however one website review describes "tears glistening in the young girl's eyes" as she is attacked in graphic detail. I think this is the limit. How much farther can the envelope be pushed? This just simply shouldn't be allowed, in Japan, or elsewhere. It is not healthy, even for the adult male.

I find this shocking. I mean, I'm not generally shocked by these things. Men are angry and violent at times. They enjoy the outlet violent games provide to them. Some would argue that they are a better outlet than the more reality-based options. I've hesitated to ever really form an opinion on this, but now I have. This is too far.

I know there are games out there that involve killing people, beating them, being drug dealers, or driving your car over a bridge with the goal of doing the most damage to whatever you land on as is possible. I don't find these games particularily shocking. What is it about this that gets under my skin? What is it about this game that makes me question all video games, and their effect on the subconcious mind?

Here is a description of how the play goes,
"Players begin the game by stalking a mother on a subway station before violently raping her. They then move on to attack her two daughters described as virgin schoolgirls. Players are also allowed to enter 'freeform mode' where they can rape any woman and get other male game characters to join the attacks.

Pregnancy and abortion are listed as 'key features'. One review said: "If she does become pregnant you're supposed to force her to get an abortion, otherwise she gets more and more visibly pregnant each time you have sex. If you allow the child to be born then the woman will throw you in front of a train!"

The game manufacturer claims their game is not to be sold outside of Japan, however, the game was available on Amazon and could be purchased in the UK. After the issue found its way to parliament, Amazon removed the game from sale.

What I am wondering about is the cultural differences between Japan and the UK, or the US for that matter. Is it so different there that this has a different cultural meaning? Are men so socially repressed that there could be some justification of this? Sexuality is different in every corner of the world. Certainly violence is acceptable here, violent video games are among some of the most popular titles. This seems socially acceptable, on a much broader scale than depictions of sexuality are. Children are allowed to play violent games, but are not allowed to see sex on TV, read about sex in books, and in many states, be educated about sexuality at all. Which is worse? Playing a video game about rape, or preventing children from learning about sexuality at all? We are quick to judge, aren't we?

It can be said that if you can imagine a fetish, no matter how beyond your own understanding, that there is an online community for it. I suppose, in a way, if you can imagine something you'd never want to play, for fun, that there is a gamer out there who would. I feel the responsibility for this is with the creators, and the companies who choose to sell it. Sure, some would argue, they should be able to play, because it's only a game, and they'd never actually hunt a virgin down in order to rape her. Just like they'd never drive their car over a bridge.

And perhaps this is true. Perhaps an adult, who has been educated on wrong vs right and reality vs fantasy could play this game and have no real discernable negative outcomes. The danger here is the simple reality that there is a good chance that this will end up in the hands of a child. Many of the most controversial and violent video games in america, depite having 18+ ratings, end up on children's video game systems and computers. Yes, it's the fault of their parents, who believe that giving their child Doom or Grand Theft Auto won't have a negative effect, because they believe that their child is special and knows the difference between reality and fantasy. But children don't. As much as any one child might be ok after experiencing first person video games, there is another child who would not.

Much like Joe Camel advertising cigarettes is a blatant attempt to sell nicotine to children, making a video game out of rape is marketing sexual violence to children. There is something deeply wrong with that. I think that's where my shock and dismay is rooted.

Childhood is a time that should be free of violence, anger, rape and hatred. I wouldn't say it should be free of sexuality. Perhaps it is the constant repression of sexuality and the force feeding of violence that is creating this isolated, violent and unpredictable society.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

Some songs I happen to love, for this day of love celebration...

Trent, Jeordie White (aka Twiggy Ramirez of Marilyn Manson fame) and (needs no introduction) Peter Murphy take on "Warm Leatherette"

There is, unfortunately, no video for my favourite Britney Song...

Peaches....Fuck the Pain Away, but this is a fan video

Spank Rock, another song with no video. Boo. People need to make videos more often:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Girl Can Dream

From the dream collaboration files: I've always wished that Trent Reznor would remix one of Britney Spears' sexier songs. Get Naked would be my pick, but that's from the last album, so it will never happen. If I had to pick a song from Circus, I'd pick one of the two break up songs (because we all know that Reznor loves nothing more than a breakup song) "Shattered Glass", which features NIN-appropriate lyrics such as "Did I wake you/Were you sleeping/Were you still in the bed/Or it a nightmare keeping you up instead?" or "Mannequin" with the lyrics "You can cry again/cry again/my face like a mannequin".

Why would I bother posting about such a pipe dream? Well, it just might happen. Busta and Reznor did a track together, after much of my wishing. Unfortunately it also featured Puffy, but whatever, I can block that out of my memory. Point is, my dream pairing of Busta Rhymes and Trent Reznor spent time together making dirty grimey beats. And now, my other dream pairing for Reznor might actually happen. Can you believe it? I can't.

According to her website, Britney Spears is currently sharing rehearsal space with Nine Inch Nails while they both rehearse for their upcoming tours. Trent Reznor himself is quoted as saying "I can hear the thumping low end of Britney Spears. It's been a treat having them here the whole time we've been here,"...cue squeals! I'm sure he's referring to the attention being on someone other than himself, but I am blocking that out....

And from Britney's camp? Today her manager was quoted as saying, "Brit has been sharing the same rehearsal space with NIN for the past few weeks and they are getting along famously. Maybe we should ask Trent Reznor to remix Circus?"

Fingers crossed, they'll even have sexy pop goth babies!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Incredible Shrinking Playmate

EDITORS NOTE: Shortly after posting the below entry (which included 4 examples of playmates of years past) I recieved notice that the photos 'violated terms of use' of where they were hosted, my private photobucket account. However, only 2 of the four violoated said policy. Apparently it seems that nudity = pornography. Which I strongly disagree with, but I also don't want to move my picture storage to a paysite. So, I'm removing 2 of the beautiful pictures. If photobucket somehow realizes there are two more that violate the terms, my apologies for the big red 'violation' boxes. I've put a link in place of the pictures, which leads to a location where you can view lots of lovely vintage Playmates...

This is something I've definitely noticed, having been a fan of, and collector of, Playboy magazine for many years. It's the very reason that I collect vintage issues, instead of purchasing the new ones. Not only has the length of articles shrunk, so have the waistlines of the models.

Wired crunched the numbers and found out that the BMI of the average Playmate has decreased from 19.4 to 17.6. Now, of course this assumes that the numbers provided to Playboy are true (and lets be honest, the models that claim to be 5'8", 36C and 105 pounds are probably lying, or misinformed) but the fact is that the models in the 70's issues were probably lying just as much as the models of today.

It should be noted that a BMI of 17.6 is actually considered to be "underweight" and "unhealthy", while 19.4 is within the "healthy" range. 19.4 is still quite slim, if we accept the averages that the Body Mass Index works on. (Of course it should also be noted that the BMI is not the most accurate way of determining if you are healthy or fit - differences such as bone mass, muscle to fat ratio, age and body type should be considered as well, but BMI is the most commonly used tool.)

Among other notable changes to the average playmate are a reduced back to bust ratio - as in, they are all still claiming to be C cups, but the average rib cage has decreased from a 36 to 34 (although, 99% of playmates don't know their REAL bra size - statistics my own) and also have significantly less hair. Everywhere.

What does this mean? Do men really like more androgynous women, thinner, with less hair? Or is Playboy missing the mark? Is there a connection to their falling sales?

I would love to see a mens magazine launch that features the currently popular Pin Up look, with models who have higher BMIs, natural busts, natural booties, and some hair. Maybe even retro tan lines and styling. I would even love if they published great lengthy articles by top-notch authors, like Playboy did at one time. I don't doubt it would find an audience and success. Anyone wish to finance such a venture? I'll happily be the model editor and lingerie stylist. In fact, I think that would be my dream job.

Here are a few of my favourites from the heyday of Playboy:

Rosemarie Hillcrest

Sally Sheffield

see more here:

Please Don't Divorce Us

Warning, you might blubber:

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Illustrator of the Month - February

I missed two months!
I will make up for this by posting the work of amazing Illustrator, Designer and Teacher Samantha Hahn. Samantha is based in Brooklyn NY and some of her clients include Hallmark, Glamour Magazine and personal favourite, iPop.

Check out her portfolio
Check out her blog

But most of all, check out her fabulous illustrations of lovely ladies:




This one's for you Ms. Samechka Covenhoven:


Steam Punk

Once thought to be just a literary genre, this look is growing in popularity from the more hardcore enthusiasts:


And finding its way into mainstream influence. Think: Beards, Granny Boots, Crochet, Heritage Brands (ie: Woolrich, Hunter Wellington, Levi’s 501s), Typewriters, Pocket Watches, DIY esthetic, Optimism about human potential, punk inspired anti-establishment thinking, spats, corsets, Victorian things, etc.

Check out Steam Punk Magazine

Check out this Steam Punk Wedding!


This is the officiant:

See all the pictures here.

Check out this crazy Steam Punk Guitar...

There is something very MadMax about this look visually, yet I can’t help but mentally draw correlation between Steampunks and the devolved humans made famous by Devo .

The thing most fascinating about this subcultural trend to me is its trickle into other subcultures, and then of course into more mainstream culture, as bits and pieces seem to be popping up in Alt-Country, Punk and Emo, as evidenced by the aforementioned beards, plaids and vintage work boots, etc. It is sure to find a mainstream audience in the coming years as in an era of mass consumerism (hit by recession) it’s an affordable, approrpriate cultural esthetic.

Now go make me a vintage lace corset, won't you?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Here's What I think You Should Do

In response to my previous post...


Today on gawker this video, featuring the tshirt emblazoned with the slogan "Ex-Masturbator" appeared. How could I not blog about this?

Unfortunately the embed function isn't working, so click here to really only need the first minute or so to get the idea. Avoid watching later when a woman admits she's never masturbated, you might find yourself saddened.

1. Why would anyone want to be "free from masturbation"? It's free, it's fun, and it's harmless. I don't get it.
2. How exactly is masturbation "sexually immoral"? In the video we are told that whilst masturbating, you are "lusting", and I have heard that 'lust' is one of the seven deadly sins. However, I'd like to argue that the meaning lust must have been misconstrued. After all, isn't lusting for one's husband or wife ok? If so, it could be argued that lusting in certain scenarios is acceptable. Personally, I believe that lusting for oneself, as one is really doing while masturbating, should be given a pass.
3. Shouldn't Christians be encouraging masturbation as a way in which to help oneself hold out for marraige?
4. Why did God make it so easy if it is a sin? Sex is not nearly as easy or uncomplicated. I get why puritan spirits wish to stop that. But masturbation! Sigh.

I have so many issues with this, but there's part of me that wants to stay away from the issue. I don't want to insult moderate Christians, and I don't want to say that people's beliefs are wrong. I don't profess to know God personally, but its just that I feel that if something makes you feel good, and it doesn't hurt anyone, and it's natural, I'm not sure if God would really think it was a sin. I have a hard time believing God would be that evil.