Ariana's Recent Posts

Where is my other shoe?

Posted on November 12th, 2007 in entry

Things this essay is not:

1. A tirade about web killing print, or print’s superiority to television, or anything vs. anything, really.
2. The work of a qualified web theorist
3. Sourced worth a damn
4. An essay

If you want any of that, go somewhere else.

I am so. fucking. tired. of people saying web is going to kill print. As tired as I am about people telling me that books are better than movies. So I’m just going to put this out there, for the record:

You’re all retarded. Shut up. You deserve the rounded edges on your user interfaces because you CLEARLY cannot handle sharp edges.

There.

I feel better.

That should get rid of all the know-it-all bastards, too, so now we can talk.

I’ve been thinking about the web. Haha, SURPRISE. But, more specifically, I started out thinking about print, and what the written/printed word can do that nothing else can. And what pictures can do that words cannot. And how that changes once you make those pictures move. And when, and if, you need to accompany your moving pictures with sound.

Yes, I’ve just now gotten around to dissecting the pros and cons of media, and wondering what, if anything, makes the web a different beast. (This is a lie, but I’m just getting around to writing it down. So we’ll pretend like I just got here.)

Because that’s really what all of this design and 2.0 nonsense is about. It’s about capitalizing on a different animal. Or, at least, it should be. The point, I fucking well hope, is NOT that the web is just like anything (only better). The point, I fucking well hope, is that the web is different, and we can do different things with it.

So I went back to mags printed in 1997 and found that yeah, we were pretty sure it was different back then. We were, in fact, really excited about the new challenges we’d face with this radically new content distribution system. And then we promptly set up online television stations, online printing presses, online radio, an online postal service, and online telephony.

Way to go, neenernet. You’ve managed to recreate the world we already had, just a little faster.

So let me, as a singularly qualified individual with no idea what I’m talking about, point out exactly what it is that the intertubes CAN do, what makes it different, and what you’re doing wrong.

You can trust me.

I’m not an expert.

Hyperlinks: Or, Why are we underlining everything?

Credits, supplemental information, and further reading are not new concepts. Neither are bibliographies, footnotes, or sources. For a very, very, very long time we have added information at the end of movies, or inline in books, that allowed the viewer to follow up if they were interested. And when we moved to electronic communication, we pulled that concept in, too. I can link you anywhere or nowhere, inline or in the sidebar. Hell, I can even embed a sound or video file if that’s relevant. At the simplest, links allow me to provide you, my reader, with credits, supplemental information, further reading, bibliographies, footnotes, or sources. See also: wikipedia. See also: google.

But that’s… well it’s certainly convenient, but how is that really any different from the linking of information we were already doing?

It’s not.

Digest that for a second.

Hyperlinks aren’t cool, or new, or exciting — not in base concept.

So why the hell am I talking about them (aside from my obvious need to talk whether I’ve got something to say or not)? Because the thing that hyperlinking online does that no other medium can mimic is the instantaneous transmission of information. Which is a few big stupid words that basically means: You don’t have to wait to find out more.

Did we forget that? I mean, don’t any of you remember reading a short story and having to wait until your next trip to the library to find out if the author had written anything else? Don’t you remember when we had to figure out definitions from context, or walk across the room or town to find a dictionary? Because we seem to be taking linking for granted, these days.

I’m not saying “I’m old, and in my day there was walking through snow before fire.”

(Well, yes, I kinda am.)

But I’m saying “Once upon a time we chose carefully what information we ‘linked’, because we had limited space and time. Now we do not. So why are you sending me in circles? I’m running out of time, again.”

Listen. Please. It is incredible that you can just underline a word or a name, and I can follow that to new information. It’s fucking amazing. It’s the future. But.

BUT.

But we’re using this amazing little miracle and using it, almost exclusively, to datamine. Which is great, sure, and necessary… but if everyone’s just pointing at content, where does the new content come from?

Apparently, someone got it into their head that all it takes to be a journalist is an access to the wire. That the news is just pointing at information and saying “LOOK WHAT I FOUND.” That, if content is cool, then finding it must be even COOLER.

And BoingBoing is, in fact, awesome.

We’ve just already got one of those. We’ve already, actually, got THOUSANDS.

So if your idea of a great new web site is some new way of linkmining and pointing me at content — some NEW way — then I am very excited and want to know more. If your idea for a new site is “Hey, this one time I totally scooped [insert news site here] and I could totally get famous if I did it all the time”, well then congratulations — you’ve reduced the web to your old high school newspaper, printed on the office copier, and no different than 1986.

You’ve got the ability to transfer information. Immediately. To supplement or hype or credit or define. It is up to you whether you want to shoot info bullets, or fling the same shit everyone else is.

Your call.

Which brings me, because I’m so sorry I’m not done talking yet, to part two of Really Awesome Stuff We Can Do Online That We Can’t Do Anywhere Else But Damned If We’re Using It To Full.

Archival, Storage, Syndication, and Aggregation: Or, Where does it all come from, and where does it all go?

Collectors, infojunkies, and obsessives rejoice.

The web is awesome.

It’s all here. Everything. And if it’s not, yet, it will be in a minute.

We’ve got YouTube quickly filling up with all the videos ever, and new ones every day. Literally millions of billions of gajillions of minutes of streaming multimedia content. We can access is, embed it, download it, upload it, watch it, share it, and (sadly) read comments on it. LastFM is doing the same for music, with some copyright limitations, but you can find pretty much any music you want through torrents or even google. Flickr is an ongoing and nearly infinite scrapbook and art gallery. You can even collect your friends and contacts and everything in the known world (thank you, technorati, for that little bit of tongue in cheek) about them.

It’s the biggest library in the world.

It’s linkable.

It’s streamable.

It’s searchable.

It’s… a little much sometimes, isn’t it?

Which is why, if I didn’t make it clear in part one, data and linkmining are, of course, necessary. At some point, someone smarter than I am is going to get around to creating stations of content, probably staffed by pirate radio dj’s, that rebroadcast new content alongside supplemental and links. At some point. And then we’ll have reinvented radio, or network television, or magazines — maybe one better, maybe not. But didn’t I start all of this by saying I was looking at what made the web different?

Yup.

Because when you have a seemingly limitless library, and you have the ability to access it immediately, and you have the ability to choose what to broadcast and choose what to pull…

When you have the ability to push and pull the information instantly, you have something new. Take another look at the right hand side of my screen. Yes, I’m just aggregating content from my friends list — but if they thought about it, and if I had a decent readership, they could push content to their site, through their site, to my site, to my readers.

Think about that for a second.

Remeber ye olde webrings of 2000? How you could move in a lazy circle of like-minded people, sometimes jumping up or down a level if you came to a new webring link? It wasn’t perfect, but it was the seed of RSS, I think. It was certainly the seed of my sidebar. Because if you’ve got a library, but you’re also IN the library, there’s another way to link information…

If you’re grabbing my rss, and I’m grabbing yours, we probably don’t want to both link the same site in a post. But if you link a site, and I’ve got more to say about it, and I know what I say is going to show back up on YOUR site… we’ll then we’ve started to have a conversation, haven’t we? Not in the comments section, or on a web forum that shoves us into a corner.

Aggregation and syndication, push and pull, friends lists and networks — when you add those in to this ever growing library where we can store anything — there’s the potential here for a constant growth of content.

Building on information. Not just storing it and sorting it and saving it and linking it.

Constant growth and dynamically shifting content that carries you and me not _through_ the library, but makes us the authors, photographers, creators, and curators.

Of course we’ve got to put it all somewhere, that’s the point of the storage, the need for the archival.

But we’ve got to realize we need to keep moving. We can’t just be sorting the data as it appears. Or we will run out, and become a dusty echoing repository. I know you don’t believe me — I know you think there will always be new stuff. Of course there will. You just won’t get to see it because you’ll be catching up on yesterday.

Which, I suppose, is part three.

Right Now: Or, This Matters. Or, The fucking point.

(With sincere thanks to Melissa Gira for letting me blather half of this at her last night, and certainly the theft of 80% of this directly from her.)

All that long, stupid, reiteration of concepts is really just to say this:

What really, really, I’m being serious, pay attention, sets the web apart from radio, television, print, and the neighborhood coffeeshop is that you’ve got 5 seconds, you’ve got 1024×768 pixels, you’ve got a MOMENT of life, THIS moment of life, to make a point. The irony of my loooooong post to come to that point is not lost on me. It’s the entire, hurt, screaming irony of the internet.

Twitter asks “What are you doing?” Say it. Right now. In 140 characters. That’s it. Touch quickly. What matters, right now. Not before. Not after. Right now. Make it quick. It’s already gone.

Tumblr says “Put it here.” Link it. Bookmarklet. Make it longer if you have to. But make it short enough to parse. Right now. What matters? What do you need? What did you see? Where was it? Leave a trail, but don’t stray too far. Touch in, touch base, make it quick, it’s already gone.

What seems a horrible handicap, this speed to the point of moments dropping off the front page too quickly to linger, this fucking frenzy of information, I give you leave to take a second and consider this:

If you only spoke of what matters, right now, not before, not after, how much more could you say?

Of course we need the archives, doomed to repeat the past if we don’t learn from it, etc, etc. Of course I’m thrilled to find an online novel I can dl in PDF and read at my leisure. Of course I don’t want to replace my life with a series of disconnected moments and broken transmissions.

But.

BUT.

But this is something different. This isn’t life, any more than your favorite tv show is life, or your favorite song is life, or your well-worn copy of a handwritten manifesto you found in an old bookstore is life.

This is entertainment, advertising, and sometimes networking to the point of comfort, yes, but mostly Just Another Medium. The web has the ability to push, pull, force, and ease content to and from everyone with $30 a month or a wireless card.

From anywhere.

About everything.

But only in a moment.

And if you make that moment SO IMPORTANT that it can’t be forgotten… and then move right on to the next thing — the next thing that is SO IMPORTANT that it can’t be forgotten.

Well that’s some goddamned entertainment, isn’t it?

That’s content so damned refined I can get a contact high just from 140 characters.

You know, if you can manage that.

If only there were some way for you to create content, and fill in the spaces with more content, from someone else, to create a constant stream of information, emotion, snapshots, videos, love, music, hate, words, sex, definitions…

Not a life online, but an online that anyone alive could dip in and out of at will. A place people want to visit, interact, and then go back out into that life to bring back more.

Well, there is.

It’s already here.

As soon as the other shoe drops.

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Big Buck Mike via Trixie Bedlam

Friday December, 07 2007 11:50 PM PST

trixiebedlam posted a photo:

bait or tackle via Trixie Bedlam

Friday December, 07 2007 11:49 PM PST

trixiebedlam posted a photo:

it depends on my mood

links for 2020-12-08 via Warren Ellis

Friday December, 07 2007 04:25 PM PST
  • actual structure of SIS (brief)
    (tags: sandbaggers sis war spook)

My spammers, let me show you them via Dan Curtis Johnson

Friday December, 07 2007 02:13 PM PST
Subject: Amazon is introducing a new account verification method.Plese renew ur account...

I'll get right on that, LOL.

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For consideration: I CAN HAS EMAIL FRAUD?

Couple of Suburban Glamour 2 reviews via Jamie McKelvie

Friday December, 07 2007 11:50 AM PST

“I had two Books of the Week and they were both written by young authors with big futures ahead of them. Suburban Glamour #2 dazzled me as much, if not more so, than the first issue of the mini. SG is an Image Book written and drawn by Jaime McKelvie. McKelvie was the artist on the Phonogram mini for Image and a few other things. I believe that this is his first published comic writing work. I am impressed. McKelvie has managed to create real and relatable characters with a skill level and elegance that you’d expect to see in the work of a grizzled veteran writer. The reader can’t help but care about them.” This Week In Comics podcast gives it joint Pick Of The Week with Northlanders.

Comics Daily: “Anyone complaining that the first issue was too slow should be satisfied by this one, which throws some serious twists at the reader. If the first issue was all about establishing the characters, this issue is all about setting up the plot. Just when I thought I had Suburban Glamour figured out (and I consider myself a fairly jaded and sceptical audience) it turns out I didn?t guess the half of it. McKelvie has proven himself as an artist over and over, and now he?s proving he can spin a decent yarn as well. Like a proverbial Icarus, he?s flying daringly close to greats like Whedon and Gaiman, but so far the wings haven?t come off yet. Roll on Issue #3.”

B & Q Car Park via Tony Grist

Friday December, 07 2007 09:17 AM PST

? via Warren Ellis

Friday December, 07 2007 05:12 AM PST

Marketa Lazarova via Tony Grist

Friday December, 07 2007 03:23 AM PST
It's as spare as one of the Childe ballads- a narrative pared of all connecting links. One moment you're distanced, the next you're up close. The dreams and visions are as real as the killings. You flounder about, trying to make connections. 

I've never undergone past life regression but I think it would feel a lot like this.

We're in the 13th century. Somewhere in Middle Europe. There's a robber baron called the Goat, there's a teenage bishop, there's a beautiful daughter who's been promised to God, there's a witch who seduces her brother, there's a fat old man with a woebegone army who schleps round the snowy waste trying to impose the King's peace.  People keep doing unspeakable things to one another.

Rape, murder, thieving, crucifixion.

On the plus side- courage, honour, loyalty.

There are castles- but they're more like fortified farmhouses. For all the raggle-taggle trappings of chivalry, this is the world of the Hatfields and McCoys.  You can be a baron but still in danger of starving to death in winter- or having the wolves eat you. Which is why you do a bit of bushwhacking on the side.  

The central characters are absent  from the action for long stretches of time- peripheral to their own tragedy. This is not a world in which the individual matters very much.

Until last week I didn't know this film existed. Not many people outside Czechoslovakia did. It was made -over a two year period in the mid 60s- during the  brief, golden age of Czech cinema.  The history of world cinema is going to have to be adjusted to make room for it.

'fitting via Trixie Bedlam

Thursday December, 06 2007 08:13 PM PST

trixiebedlam posted a photo:

The 4am: 7 via Warren Ellis

Thursday December, 06 2007 07:42 PM PST

The 4am is a mixtape file containing nothing but music donated directly by new and/or unsigned acts. The 4am is of no set length and is released on no set schedule. The 4am is mixed down to 128 of the kbps. The 4am has never been kissed. The 4am does not care any more.

7: Meditation In Ruined Temples

It’s 3am, not 4am, as I write this. But that’s close enough. It’s meditational noise tonight, with slight hints of whisky and cigarette smoke.

“Vilnius Colony” is a term found in my graphic novel TRANSMETROPOLITAN, but that’s not why I’m playing it. Texture says: “I’m heavily influenced by dubstep (Burial, Kode 9, Skream) and lo-fi guitar bands (Sebadoh, Pavement, Silver Jews), and am trying to find a way to fuse the two.”

“Helston Music Fair 1992″ is a new one from 4am regulars Kemper Norton, who have kindly offered me a CD but said “Don’t expect the luxurious packaging and gifts that those Ice Bird tarts have given you though… I happen to know that they keep a dosed and washed graphic designer chained in their bathroom.”

The Intelligence Community is but one of the outlets for the fevered brain of Thor Johnson, whom you can find doing lots of things, some legal, at http://www.thorrific.com. I appear to have lost the email from The Thing With The Stuff, whom I’m fairly sure is one of the aspects of Lauren Heckman.

And finally, Yoda’s House return with “Piamono,” which is, basically, the soundtrack for the end of the world.

I know this one’s another quiet one. I tend to go with the flow of the first track in the submissions pile that really gets to me. Next week I’ll make you listen to The Poxy Boggards instead. I hope you enjoy this. Good night.

(edit - the inline player might be freaking out a bit again. If it stalls out, best to just download it.)

Texture - “Vilnius Colony” (6:34)

Kemper Norton - Helston Music Fair 1992 (5:28)

The Intelligence Community - “Neutron Island BBQ” (4:06)

The Thing with the Stuff - Exhibition 24 (5:41)

Yoda’s House - Piamono (7:11)

The 4am needs music: If you want your music to be played on The 4am, email your 128kbps-plus mp3 files directly to warrenellis@gmail.com.

4am broadcasts have been listened to 34261 times.

If you enjoyed The 4am, please spread the word, linking back to this post.

links for 2020-12-07 via Warren Ellis

Thursday December, 06 2007 04:25 PM PST
  • Possibly the best thing John Clute’s ever written: a lecture given in Prague on the subject of Fantastika
    (tags: sf)
  • Cory’s shot of a guy inking up as Spider at a convention
    (tags: transmet whathaveidone)

The painting via Irene Kaoru

Thursday December, 06 2007 01:36 PM PST
I graduated from college in 2005 and moved down to alphabet city where I shared the rent for a year with my friend Sena, then my other friend Caitlin. We rented a two bedroom place on East 7th street between ave B and C. It was a hole, frankly, littered with roaches and crazy people, but we didn't find that out for a few months, so we were alright. I was pretty sure I'd found my spiritual home; I was always meant to live out my twenties above a sake bar in alphabet city. (I still think this.) The next building East of ours housed (and still houses) a ground floor studio and gallery of sorts, called the Jacklight Gallery. The proprietor is one Walter Fields, and graceful, lanky white-haired man with large, intent eyes and a fat kittycat. When I was new to the block, one of the first things I did was go check it out. The door was generally closed, cat perched in the window, but if I stood there for long enough to spook the cat, he'd get up out of bed or wherever he was hiding and let me in. He paints, mostly, in heavy, glossy oils and acrylics on hunks of found wood panels. He has some nice quixotic screen printed tea towels and textiles, a funny portrait of his friend Kiki Smith riding a bicycle, and a series of paintings of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford and possible Shakespeare ghostwriter. What really drew me to the window again and again were the horses. He had several smaller pieces featuring horses, black shapes gliding through a murky bluish purplish brownish landscape like spirits.

There was one in particular, maybe the smallest painting in his studio, only a little larger than one foot square. It was in the window when I discovered the Jacklight. It was very dark, painted on a dark, stained panel (the top of a discarded wooden ice chest he'd found, so he said). The dark mossy browns faded into each other, into night's blackness. Thin suggestions of pale vertical lines, tree trunks, emerged from the wet dark, and in front of them, one white horse. Its legs were wispy, like a ghost, and raised as if in motion, galloping out of the darkness of that murky forest and coming out, escaping. The layers of slightly varied darks in the background piled up around the horse and the forest seemed to go on back there, forever, muffled and quiet as a tomb, those few trunks and the horses' back illuminated as if by stray moonlight. This painting enthralled me, I was in love. It was freedom, absolutely; I looked at it and I imagined the safety of the forest, then the suffocation, the fear of the dark and the welcome safety of the dark--it kept shifting. I was the night, I was the horse, I felt the wind one feels when getting away, the cool breeze of running, of being free.

All of this was a far cry from the 1970s conceptual art in which I had steeped myself over the preceding two years in college and in writing my thesis. There was little about Walter's paintings that I could say "radically subverted the institutions of art" or whatever other political rot I often look for in the art I liked and still do like to write about. I responded to the horses in a visceral way; they pulled on my guts. We all have motivations; mine is to be free, and I looked and I felt something. The panel was a perpetual play, perpetually night and damp and dark and moonlit and god damn it I wanted in.

Walter probably got a bit sick of me. His cat made me sneeze, and whenever I came by I wanted to see that one of the white horse, and he'd say, Oh god, you again and the horses, well, look at this new one I'm doing of Edward de Vere. Cocky, I asked the price of the one I wanted, but it was a little high for me and I sighed and resigned myself to just looking in the window everyday on my way home. It was almost like owning it, and one day when I made a little more money, I would come back and I'd buy it, maybe.

Except one day it wasn't there. I asked what had become of it. Oh that, said Walter. I have a couple very interested and I think they will buy it, but they are borrowing it for a little while to make sure they want it. Make sure! My heart quietly exploded. I could have screamed. Make sure! Who did these people think they were! How could they not be sure? Of course they would want it, it was perfect, it was beautiful, were they total philistines! And how dare they want it! How dare they, these people, whoever the hell they were, how dare they want it, my painting! Because already, my stupid heart thought it was mine.

I stayed away for a while then. Then I moved. I only moved one block, to East 8th Street and Avenue B, where I still live, but one block can change your world when you walk everywhere, and I didn't go check on the Jacklight much after that. The few times I did go, my painting wasn't there, and Walter didn't seem home, and I was too shy to knock. I let ashes fill in the space I had reserved for that painting. Some stupid yuppie had bought it, I decided, or maybe some damn tourist bought it to take home because it was the right size for their suitcase and they wanted a piece of the Village to show their friends. Who knew. Not me. Fuck them. Whatever the case, I would never see it again. I stopped thinking about it altogether because while the gallery had at first made me thoughtful and relaxed, happy and peaceful, it eventually just made me sad and wistful for what seemed lost, the painting that was growing fuzzy in my memory.

Last night, J and I lit candles for Hanukkah, something we've never done together before, and he gave me an early gift. We sat face to face on the bed and I pulled from the shopping bag something sturdy and flat, wrapped in a screenprinted pillowcase. I pushed aside the fabric to reveal it, glowing from within in the dimly lit room--my painting.

I didn't understand at first. It was there, in my hands. How could it be there when it had already been sold? It was slightly larger than I remembered, the colors more varied and subtle than they ever were through the window. J said: Don't cry on it! as I wept and wept and held him in my arms.

Yes, he explained, it had been sold already, but Walter helped broker a deal and J bought it back. Beginning to believe it was really mine, really ours, we hung it up on the wall.

Ice Bird Spiral via Warren Ellis

Thursday December, 06 2007 09:22 AM PST

So the other day those nice people from Ice Bird Spiral saw that I’d given them a mention here, and asked if I’d like a CD. I said yes, of course, what kind people you are, thankyouverymuch and etc.

This is what I received in the post today.

You may embiggen it if you wish.

Amazing. This is what I’m listening to tonight.

Gutterbreakz covered an Ice Bird Spiral gig here — worth reading.

Oldham Library via Tony Grist

Thursday December, 06 2007 08:47 AM PST
 

Presents! via Tony Grist

Thursday December, 06 2007 03:15 AM PST
It's that season again so I've been buying myself presents. 

3 movies and a book. And they all arrived in the post this morning.

OK, I've had my Christmas now. 

The movies are.....

Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend-  I saw this first in a neighbourhood cinema in Neuchatel when it first came out and the Paris evenements were playing in the background and what it said to me was, "Anything is possible; everything is permitted." I've had a lot of big experiences with a lot of movies but this was the biggest. 

Lindsay Anderson's If-  I went to an English public school and- forget Mr Chips- this is the movie that tells it like it is. I too had had that fantasy of stealing guns from the armoury and climbing on the chapel roof and shooting the bastards down. It's what kept me happy during the nightly ordeal of choral evensong. If is the only British movie of the 60s that belongs in the same company as Weekend, Belle de Jour and Persona.

Frantisek Vlacil's Marketa Lazarova- This is entirely new to me. It's a medieval epic that's been compared to The Seventh Seal and Andrei Rublev and that's all I need to know. The Czechs seem to think it's the best Czech film ever. 

And the book is...

Murakami's Wind-up Bird Chronicle. They don't have it at the library and I wasn't prepared to hang around while they ordered it for me. We'd built up a lot of credit at Amazon- so it actually cost all of 1.47.  

Rachael Gray via Warren Ellis

Wednesday December, 05 2007 01:56 PM PST



mouse pie

Originally uploaded by Fauxred.

“Mouse on toast, and or mouse pie- the remedy for some obscure ailment, not so long ago.”

Perhaps you meant...? via Dan Curtis Johnson

Wednesday December, 05 2007 10:15 AM PST
How much do I love the fact that my phone already appears to have the word "Vandenberg" in its auto-correct dictionary? (Answer: "None more black.")

Oh, which is also to say: Folks in central-to-southern CA might want to find themselves outside this evening at 6:30PM PST with an unrestricted view in whatever direction Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo might lie, to watch COSMO-2 on its way up. (Estimated 20% chance of scrub due to weather, though.)

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For consideration: sadly, a little too late for the exhaust plume to get much sunlight

S S writer's block C via Dan Curtis Johnson

Wednesday December, 05 2007 09:51 AM PST
Sometimes I envy writers who work better when they've been drinking.

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For consideration: one sure sign that I'd never make it as a full-time professional writer - one good scotch and I'm pretty much through getting anything useable down

art is the new religion - blog banner via Marc Johns

Wednesday December, 05 2007 09:46 AM PST

Marc Johns posted a photo:

This is a drawing I did for the banner on Krissy's music blog, art is the new religion.
I like drawing cassette tapes; much more interesting to draw than CDs or iPods.

Shopping for HL for Xmas. Shh. via Kelly Sue DeConnick

Wednesday December, 05 2007 09:40 AM PST

Photo 6.jpg
Decided on an exersaucer. Now: trying to decide between this one and this one. Any opinions/guidance?