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Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Lamp's Running Away! 

Oh, would you look at that? Eileen had to get one of those stupid-looking lampshades around her head, because she wouldn't leave her stitches alone. What a silly puppy. (Pic by RobotArmMonkeyBrain.)

The whole story is in this week's SynCast, which also showcases...

Jesse's Music

My good friend Jesse was kind enough to feature my work on The Technocracy, WSUM-Madison's 91.7 college radio station (although apparently I wasn't cool enough to merit a link on their page, much to the contrary of what the host said on the air). Anyway, I thought I'd do some turnabout as fair play.

Therefore, this week's SynCast features the following Jesse songs, all from his 1996 album Myths and Metaphors:
  1. Who Hides
  2. These Hands (one of my faves)
  3. Carried Close
  4. and a Jesse song-like thing that not even Jesse has ever heard.
Enjoy, everybody!


Check out this Very Cool Illusion. I love stuff like this.

Today I'm listening to: Jesse!

Saturday, October 29, 2005


By popular request, I am today making available six of my best-loved dance tracks:The first two are from my GunFlower album This album is only being sold through huge corporate behemoth superchains like Blockbuster Music and Best Buy so if you see it for sale at an independent locally owned shop or advertised on the Internet you know it's a cheap bootleg knockoff. "Trip Funk" is from my as-yet-unreleased-but-I-plan-to-get-it-out-there-any-day-now INS release Chilled Water Plant #3. And the last three are from my latest hit CD (as heard on Madison's WSUM 91.7FM) The Citizen's Guide to Sonic Defense.

I hope the person who requested these appreciates all the hard work I had to do in order to prepare them in time.



Oh yeah. Garrett sent this along to me. (The part in italics.)

10 years ago it was 1995, and I was:
Starting my third year at New College. That year I became an RA in third court (the best court), and Dallas, Nate, Paul and I did our best Final Analysis work ever. I think that was also the year of Data Psychle. What a steaming load that was. But it was also the year of "Waiting for the Worms" if I'm not mistaken.
5 years ago it was 2000, and I was:
Moving in with Christie and Garrett. I was getting a taste of the first of the Truly Evil Winters. And I began to hope in earnest that maybe if I played my cards right, a certain East Timor activist I knew might go on a date with me.
1 year ago it was 2004, and I was:
Looking forward to spring semester, when I would finally get my first-ever creative writing class. It was as magnificent as I thought it would be.
Yesterday I:
Took my dog to the vet, since she had ripped open the stitches from her cyst-removal surgery. Now I've got a BrundleDog. (The vet said it would do no good to sew her back up. More on this tomorrow.)
5 Songs I know all the words to:
  1. "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" and others by Public Enemy

  2. "Pimps (Freestylin' at the Fortune 500)" and others by The Coup

  3. "It's the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)" by REM [yes, all the words -- I memorized them because I thought we might do it during 11th grade airband]

  4. "Da Rockwilder" by Method Man & Redman [I sang it at the year-end dance at Kanapaha Middle School in Gainesville, Florida]

  5. "The Economy, It's Stupid" by The Devil in Black. ]I love that song]
5 Things I would do with 100 million dollars:
  1. Invest heavily in East Timor

  2. Get out of debt

  3. Pay for Mark to work full time for the labor party

  4. Invest heavily in Haiti

  5. Buy something nice for Diane (like an ironing board cover)
5 places I would love to visit:
  1. Haiti

  2. Cuba

  3. Belarus

  4. Epimetheus, Saturn's fifth moon

  5. That new restaurant down the street
5 things I would never wear:
  1. A frog

  2. Bell-bottom jeans

  3. Military fatigues

  4. A sandwich board reading "I love ExxonMobil CEO Lee R. Raymond"

  5. Underpants made out of cheese
5 favorite TV shows:
  1. The Simpsons

  2. Futurama

  3. the Daily Show

  4. TV Nation [Awful Truth was Awfully Inferior]

  5. Charlie Rose
5 bad habits:
  1. Obsessing over the mindless comments of Blank Americans

  2. Allowing losses in games like Go and Age of Empires to sour my mood

  3. Carjacking

  4. Spending time filling in stupid meme things when I should be spending time with the people I love

  5. Taking too long to grade student papers
5 biggest joys:
  1. Diane

  2. Making art (music, text, cartoons)

  3. The PBJ Crew

  4. Mark

  5. Listening to really loud, really good music
I pass this along to you, ARoot! And any CW students who may be looking in..


SoccerTime. How very strange.

Today I'm listening to: GunFlower!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

On Teaching: Part Two 

The Interminable Horror of Blank America

I love my students -- I don't say it often and (because) I feel cheesy when I do. But it's the gods' truth. Anyone who's been in my class (or seen the sweat I pour into it) knows and will admit as much. I know that teaching the young is why I am on the planet, and I believe there is no one who does it better than I. I get an indescribable joy from being with -- and bringing truth to -- my students.

And yet some days I find myself adrift in the backwash of what we might call Blank America: The America of Meh. Land of the bored and home of the whatever. Some days are overshadowed by a few exchanges whereby one or two people express their desire to be forever invisible: I dunno. I don't care. Leave me alone. I'm stupid. I heard a quote today that I wish I could post here.

Paulo Freire stressed the need for dialogue. He insisted that educators work with students to proceed together toward an ontology of developing humanity. But what do you do when the student not only refuses to engage in dialogue -- but insists that neither you nor he will gain in any way from it? How can the educator overlay experience with perspective to produce a combined narrative of purpose when the individual in question refuses to accept that any of his experience is worthwhile?

I don't have trouble working with the hardcore gangsta-types, or the students with learning disorders or what have you. But when I come face to face with the existential horrors of a society which convinces its young that they don't matter -- that they might not even exist, for it's certainly as well that they don't -- my mind reels with infinite dread.

Sure, I'm only dealing with a handful of people here; I don't have any illusions that this problem is indicative of the Future of Our Society or anything. But the existence of the possibility simply crushes me. I am an empathetic person -- I always and immediately and forever imagine myself in the souls of others. And my flesh cracks when I position myself in such a mind, drained of imagination and dulled to only the most abject of impulses.

Never mind about how such a soul fares on the standardized test -- what about the much more important cost of living an existence without meaning? My inclination is to shrink away, to say "Well, it sucks, but ultimately it's up to him." And of course, it is. But how can I sleep with the notion of my own reticence? Isn't this hesitation at the core of our civilization's woes? Isn't the struggle about some sort of wakening?

Can you force-feed someone red pills?


Tiny Plaid Ninjas Part III. I haven't even watched it -- I'm too bummed out. The other ones were pretty good.

Today I'm listening to: Babbletron.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Silliness, Skill, and a SynCast 

Hold on to your nostrils, people -- because this week's SynCast is going to knock your septum off! We're featuring material from:
  • Jim Florentine
  • De La Soul
  • StrongBad
  • Autechre
  • All Natural
  • and more!
And we're back to a much more normal 15 minutes. Whew!

Nice Work

I've added two new blogs to the list on the right:
  1. Progress in Work, my brother Mark's site showcasing his fine work in graphic design; and

  2. Random Rants from Aroot the Rhapsodist, a collection from Adam Root, a former student of mine. The Espiotr saga continues..
As for the picture up there, that comes from Libelous Claims About Large Corporations, a very funny page sent to us by Mark. Thank, bro!

Et Cetera

Speaking of good sites, check out the graphics (and, if you're a Go fiend, the text) on ChiyoDad Learns Go. And everyone should take a look at Baka no Itte -- especially if you're a fan of Hikaru no Go.

Thanks to Diane for the Wired article about the Lego™ lovers in Arlington. Be sure to peep Homer Simpson.

Speaking of The Simpsons, how about an Islamically-correct version of the show?
With Omar as Homer, and Badr substituted for Bart, The Simpsons is now playing on Arab television ... [and] he has swapped Duff beer for soft drinks.
Durka durka!

I know we've all thought about this, but it's nice to see an article which puts it in black 'n' white.
A whole set of international volunteers and rescue teams were set to rescue pets from areas being lashed by Hurricane Katrina that hit the U.S. in August. This high professional team was moving quickly to be able to save as many dogs and kittens as they can in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. . . .

When India and Pakistan were hit on 8th of October by the devastating 7.6 magnitude earthquake, for three whole days the destructed cities and miserable homeless did not find any remedy from the international community. The corpses were spread everywhere, hunger was swelling, and the harsh winter was hitting the dispossessed people tremendously. The victims had to sleep in the streets among the dead waiting for a grain of aid or a piece of bread.
But those people are less important than our pets, because we're Americans and .. we don't need to care about you -- we just need you to care about us! And our pets. (Actually, the poor people in New Orleans had to wait five days for help from the US government, but the point still holds.)


What, you want more? Okay, how about a teeny-tiny, silent, 8-bit Star Wars? And thanks to Matt for linking us up to the ASCII Star Wars. (Careful -- this one's Java and it takes a minute to load.)

Today I'm listening to: Groove Salad!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

This is Just Ridiculous 

I know this site has been essentially dead for two weeks (thanks to our Anonymous Benefactor for getting us back online), but is it really necessary to overcompensate with a half-hour Deviant VidCast? Even with DSL, it's a 20-minute download!

Well, enjoy it. This week we feature:
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force
  • Noam Chomsky
  • Towelie
  • MadTV
  • The Shining
  • Ministry
  • and more!
Et Cetera

Saw A History of Violence this weekend with JB. My reaction? Meh. It does some things well, and for where it goes, it's a good ride. But it just doesn't go very far.

My beef with The Machinist was that -- unlike Fight Club and Usual Suspects and other movies with a warped-reality twist -- there was no other story to follow whilst trying to decipher the mystery. The same is true about History. In Cronenberg's best films, the violence is a means to discussing other things (technology, television). Here, though, it's just kinda there -- and unlike, say, La Haine, the story doesn't really delve deeper than: "What goes around comes around."

(Side note: Did you know they're planning to make another Fly?)

Still, Ed Harris and William Hurt give good performances (Vigo just sorta gawks the whole time).


UNICEF bombs the Smurfs? What the Smurf!? via MoFi. Watch the video.

Today I'm listening to: Zohar!

Monday, October 10, 2005

SYSTEM ERROR: deviant stabilization in process 

We're sorry, but due to:
we are currently unable to broadcast the fine textual, audio and visual content that you have come to enjoy here at DEVIANT SYNAPSE. However, we should have the problem fixed within THREE MONTHS, so please check back SOON.

DEVIANT SYNAPSE is your online source for the best in comedy, news, and the latest music from the artists of today. Started in LAST WEEK by young tech wizard Steve GRABOWSKI, this website is a hub for everyone seeking to turn a small LARGE INVESTMENT into real profits.

By working hard and keeping up with the LATEST developments in TECHNOLOGY and SWINE DISEASE, we've taken the lead in THINGS THAT ARE NICE.

Thank you for visiting, and we hope to see you back HERE again RIGHT NOW.


Sunday, October 02, 2005


No SynCast today. I've been lying up on the couch with a wicked headache all day. Hopefully I get something together tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!